Saturday, April 01, 2006

What are the three most foolish things a North Carolinian can do?

1) Smoke

2) Drag race

3) Trust The Raleigh N&O

Duke, Durham and lousy journalism

I guess we’ve all been reading and watching the media frenzy that’s followed allegations of rape, sodomy, and strangulation leveled against some members of Duke University’s lacrosse team.

I don’t know what happened in the house that night so I don’t know enough to say anyone under investigation is guilty of a crime. I just know enough to grant them a presumption of innocence and ask for a thorough and fair investigation.

Now let’s turn to the media and see what some of them know. Here’s part of what Knight-Ridder’s Tom Sorensen is saying:

I don't know much about lacrosse. Maybe it only seems as if a team is not complete unless it features players named Chip, Chad, Carter, Biff and Gray. The monikers suggest khaki pants and wide-striped rugby shirts, late-night keg parties and late-morning lattes, good old frat boys having a good old frat-boy time.

Now a woman emerges, saying members of the lacrosse team at Duke raped her two weeks ago. In the meantime, players appeared reluctant to assist in the investigation - a situation that reeked of rich-boy, frat-boy arrogance and entitlement. …
Sorensen may not know much about lacrosse but he’s convinced he can tell us a lot about ourselves just be knowing our “monikers.”

I’d like to ask Sorensen some questions.

Hi, Tom. My moniker’s John. What does that tell you? Am I “a good old frat-boy” or a fair-minded professional journalist or what?

Do you know much about the meanings of “stereotyping” and “prejudgment?”

I can’t say anything about the lacrosse players but I’ve known a lot of people who were afraid to come forward in certain situations because they feared stereotyping and prejudgment.

How about you, Tom? Do you know any people like that?

Folks, let’s move on and look at some of what Raleigh News & Observer news columnist Barry Saunders knows:
If Duke could pack up and move, it would, eager to escape Durham's reputation as a cesspool of civic incompetence.

Likewise, if Durham could bid Duke "adieu," it would.

There is palpable resentment by townies toward a university many feel exemplifies privilege, noblisse oblige and just plain spoiled rottenness.
If you know anything about Duke and Durham, you're thinking Saunders' remarks tell you more about him than Duke or Durham. You’re right!

Durham has some civic incompetence but so do most places. The city’s a fine place to be; Duke has no wish to leave.

Sure, there are some people around town who regularly spew in Duke’s direction the sort of palpable resentment Saunders exhibits.

Right now they’re spewing more than usual. They’re upset because of what they see as the university’s failure to make sure their kind of justice is done. Judging by letters to the editor, TV interviews and what I learn around town, the number of Durham’s palpably resentful may have increased in the past week or so.

But the overwhelming majority of Durham “townies” are very glad Duke’s part of the community. I know. I've been one of them for more than 30 years.

Many of us are proud to work at Duke. We’re grateful for the wonderful friends and neighbors its helped bring to Durham. Some of us will even tell you we literally owe our lives to the people and services at the magnificent medical center that’s a part of the university.

Say adieu to Duke? Why would we ever do that? We're not palpably resentful.

We know Duke, like any great institution, has faults, makes mistakes and sometimes deserves criticism. But we mean fair and constructive criticism; not the self-righteous, angry, short on facts kind the university’s received so much of lately.

We’re sorry for the current difficulties. We want things to work out as fairly and justly as possible. And we’ll always wish Duke well.

Now about journalists like Sorensen and Saunders:What would an awful lot of us like to say to them?

“Bon Voyage.”

Friday, March 31, 2006

The Churchill Series – Mar. 31, 2006

(One of a series of weekday posts on the life of Winston S. Churchill.)

Detective Inspector Walter Thompson, Churchill’s principal bodyguard during WW II, recalled many times Churchill and he narrowly avoided being killed.

He recalled one night during the Blitz when Churchill was at 10 Downing Street and the air raid warning sounded. Since structural and ground conditions prevented the construction of a satisfactory shelter at Downing Street, Churchill would be going to a reinforced shelter a few blocks away.

The shelter had been constructed to provide offices and quarters for Churchill and others who would have to carry on with duties during raids. It was in the basement of the Treasury Annexe.

A car was always available to take Churchill to the shelter, but that night, as usual, he insisted on walking despite Thompson’s urging they use the car.

As Thompson describes it they had just completed their walk and entered the Annexe when they heard a tremendous explosion outside; and Churchill went out to have a look.

The pavement where we had been walking twenty seconds earlier was now a crater. (Thompson later learned a thousand pound bomb had hit. - JinC)

As we went to the edge, the water main burst and we were drenched. I hoped this would teach him a lesson, but it did not. Hardly a month went by when we could not have been wiped of the earth.
The Annexe is now called The Cabinet War Rooms. It is much as it was when Churchill and others used it. You can learn more at Cabinet War Rooms. The website contains useful information for those planning a visit. A small Churchill museum has recently been added to the part of the shelter open to the public. If you haven't visited already, I hope you do someday.
Tom Hickman, Churchill's Bodyguard: The Authorised Biography of Walter H. Thompson. (pgs. 101-119)

More from Fund on Yale and its Taliban student

In an op-ed in today’s Yale Daily News, The WSJ’s John Fund continues his outstanding reporting and commentary on Yale and its Taliban student, Sayed Rahmatullah Hashemi.

Fund writes:

Kingman Brewster '41, onetime president of the University, once said of the qualities needed to gain admission, "A demonstrated failure of moral sensitivity or regard for the dignity of others cannot be redeemed by allegations that the young man is extremely 'interesting.'"

Many at Yale wish to "move on" from the debate regarding former Taliban ambassador and current non-degree special student Sayed Rahmatullah Hashemi. But are the issues raised best swept under a rug, or is it in Yale's long-term interest to confront them directly?…

Yale has offered no defense of Hashemi's presence beyond a vague, 144-word statement that notes the State Department approved his visa. …

"Yale won't allow ROTC on campus, but it wants to act like the Pentagon when it comes to information control," one Yale professor quipped. Is this how students, alumni and faculty deserve to have their legitimate questions treated?

Take questions about admissions. Thursday, at, I quoted a Yale official saying that determining factors in making the final cut for the Class of 2010 included an incident of shoplifting at age 12 and drunken behavior at one high school prom. Moral character is factored in at Yale.

But Richard Shaw, Yale's former admissions dean, has all but admitted that Hashemi got in because of his Taliban background. …
Fund has had to endure attacks from those who approve of Hashemi being at Yale. They claim Fund is motivated by a desire to drag Yale down.

But a number of people with strong ties to Yale, including two former Yale presidents and a former dean of Yale College, have also expressed concerns and asked why Hashemi's been welcomed into the Yale community.

Instead of attacking Fund, his critics should explain why Hashemi belongs on Yale’s campus. I’d also be interested to know how of them support Yale’s campus ban of the ROTC.

Raleigh News & Observer bias watch - Mar. 31, 2006

The Raleigh News & Observer's news columns continue to provide readers with heaps of liberal and leftist bias labeled "news."

Here’s a very recent example: When I called The N&O yesterday to complain about bias in a Mar. 29 front page story, an editor insisted the story, headlined “ Bush shuffles deck: Card out, Bolton in” was “straight news reporting.”

But look at the first two paragraphs of The N&O’s “straight news story.” (The N&O says it doesn't have permission "to reproduce this story on our website.” It's a Chicago Tribune story, one of many about the White House staff change available to The N&O. I typed the paragraphs from a copy of The N&O West edition, in which it ran below the fold and four columns across.)

WASHINGTON – In replacing long serving chief of staff Andrew Card with another administration insider, President Bush has taken only a small step toward regaining the standing that he will need to salvage his second-term agenda, analysts said Tuesday.

The president had been under pressure, including from allies, to shake up his White House team with his job approval rating reaching an all-time low and the Iraq war becoming incredibly unpopular. But experts say Bush presented little real change with his announcement that he will replace Card with another longtime aide, Budget Director Joshua Bolton, who followed Bush from Texas to Washington.
All the first paragraph does is give readers the opinions of unidentified “analysts” who don’t think much of the change.

Straight news reporting? The paragraph doesn’t even say who’s replacing Card.

Well, you can’t get everything into one paragraph, can you?

And what liberal or leftist news editor is going to knock opinions critical of President Bush out of a first paragraph just to include the name of one of the principal people the story is supposed to be about? MSM journalism priorities, remember?

Besides, readers can find the person’s name in the second paragraph.

All you need to do is start reading at "The president had been under pressure."

Then keep going. You'll get to "with his job approval rating reaching an all-time low."

Not too long after that, you come to "the Iraq war becoming incredibly unpopular."

Don't be discouraged; you're getting there.

Pretty soon you’ll be at “experts say Bush presented little real change with his announcement."

Yes, the "little real change" opinion statement is a repeat of the first paragraph opinion statement. That's deliberate. Repeating is a technique MSM journalists use to help news readers absorb opinions the journalists feel are especially important.

So don't worry that you took a wrong turn at the last comma and lost your place.

If you just keep going, you come to the fellow’s name: "Joshua Bolton."

See. That didn't take so long, did it?

But if you're out of breath, don't worry. The first time I did it, I was barely able to gasp, "Straight news story?"

Some time ago The N&O's executive editor for news, Melanie Sill, responded to a complaint of mine by saying The N&O has no news bias.

And well before that, when I was a little boy, my Mom told me it was the Easter Bunny who put all those baskets under the beds.

Mom later fessed up. I wonder if Melanie Sill ever will.

Thursday, March 30, 2006

The Churchill Series – Mar. 30, 2006

(One of a series of weekday posts on the life of Winston S. Churchill.)

Of course, Churchill’s part of this post but he has a secondary place. Primacy and the last word go today to H.R.H. King George V.

It’s July 1919. What they’re calling The Great War is over. Britain is drastically reducing the size and scope of its military.

The Royal Air Force is a separate service arm, having been made so in an expedient move in the closing months of the war. But the planned reductions include eliminating the RAF as a separate arm; and reassigning what remains of it to Army and Navy control.

Churchill, as Secretary of State for War and Air, believes a separate air service offers the best chance of Britain developing an adequate air defense system. So does King George. They carry the day with a decision that will later be seen as essential to victory in the Battle of Britain.

With the RAF’s future now secured, the matter of equivalent ranks arises. The Army has its Field Marshals; what will the RAF’s equivalent be?

The rank of Marshal of the Air is proposed. Churchill is fine with it, but the army doesn’t like it at all.

When the ranking RAF officer goes to Buckingham Palace to discuss the matter with the King, the King remarks, “Don’t you think Marshal of the Air is poaching a bit on the preserves of the Almighty?”

He has a suggestion: “Why not simply Marshall of the Royal Air Force?”

The matter is settled.
Peter Townsend, Duel of Eagles. (pgs. 22-41)

More yielding to fears of Muslim violence

We continue to see more institutions in America surrendering freedoms because of fears of Muslim violence. The latest is Borders/Waldenbooks.

Blogger Tim Blair posts:

Borders Books chickens out: Borders and Waldenbooks stores will not stock the April-May issue of Free Inquiry magazine because it contains cartoons of the Prophet Muhammad that provoked deadly protests among Muslims in several countries.
Blair recalls that in 2001 Borders sponsored events to express its opposition to book banning:
Borders Books, Music, and Cafe, 4030 Commonwealth Ave., hosted a reading in honor of banned books week. ... Nine area residents read excerpts from their favorite banned books.
Borders/Waldonbooks has lots of company, including almost all of America's major MSM news organizations.

Where will knuckling under to fears of violence or simply "offending the feelings of Muslims" take us?

Instapundit Glenn Reynolds suggests we're going to get more of this:
If you don't like ideas, don't bother arguing with them. Just threaten to kill people. They'll back down. Or at least their booksellers, universities, and governments will. How long before other groups take this lesson to heart?

Advancing toward fascism, one cowardly institution at a time.
If you're a Muslim extremist or an apologist for them you have to feel you're side is the big winner in the Cartoon War.

Who would have thought it would be so easy to intimidate major American institutions.

Wednesday, March 29, 2006

The Churchill Series - Mar. 29, 2006

(One of a series of weekday posts on the life of Winston S. Churchill.)

Many historians consider Carlo d’Este’s Decision in Normandy the finest account of that June through August 1944 campaign.

Here d’Este describes the relationship between Churchill and the commander of Allied ground forces in the Normandy campaign, Britain’s General (later Field Marshal) Bernard Law Montgomery.

In Montgomery, Churchill had at last found a general who won battles, the most professional soldier, in fact, that he had ever encountered: a tough, blunt, no-nonsense commander with tenacious qualities, and a near-obsession with winning the war. It was of little consequence to Churchill that he was often high-handed, arrogant and difficult to handle, perhaps because these same qualities could just as well describe the Prime Minister himself.

For his part, while Montgomery deeply respected Churchill as a great statesman he was never afraid of him; he was respectful and admiring but, as he was to prove on several occasions, he never hesitated to say ‘no’ to his Prime Minister when he believed he was meddling in a general’s business – and managed to escape the wrath which traditionally followed a confrontation with the strong-willed Churchill.
Carlo d'Este, Decision in Normandy. (p. 46)

Two 911 calls but Raleigh's News&Observer reports only one. Why?

Today’s Raleigh News & Observer ran a six-column, page one headline:

Duke puts lacrosse games on hold
The story began:
As community outcry grew louder, Duke University President Richard Brodhead announced Tuesday that the university has suspended all games of its nationally ranked men's lacrosse team until rape allegations are resolved.
Later in its story The N&O said:
Emergency 911 tapes revealed that on the night of the alleged incident (Mar. 13 – JinC), two passers-by, both black women, reported that a man who came out of 610 N. Buchanan Blvd. (where the incident is alleged to have occurred - JinC) shouted a racial slur at them.
Despite mentioning “tapes,” the N&O only reported on one 911 call. It printed that call’s transcript beside its story.

But there was at least one other 911 call that night concerning the incident.

Both The Chronicle, Duke’s student newspaper, and the Durham based daily, The Herald-Sun, have reported on that call.

Here’s part of the H-S’s report:
(Durham City) Police spokeswoman Kammie Michael did not answer questions about the time between the woman's call and the call reporting the alleged rape, which came from a security guard at the Kroger on Hillsborough Road.

Michael said the alleged rape victim was not the same woman who called about the racial slur. But Michael did not respond to a question asking whether the woman who called about the racial slur was the woman who accompanied the alleged rape victim to the party.

When the Kroger security guard called police, she told the dispatcher that the alleged victim was sitting in a car and was "intoxicated, drunk or something." The guard said the woman wouldn't get out of the car.
The H-S report also notes that in an interview yesterday the security guard now says the women was not drunk or intoxicated.

The H-S provided readers with the transcripts of both 911 calls made the night of Mar. 13.

Why didn’t The N&O’s Mar. 29 story report the second 911 call? Why didn’t The N&O provide transcripts of both calls, instead of just the first?

Late this morning, I phoned N&O public editor Ted Vaden and asked him those questions.

Vaden said he hadn’t heard anything about the second 911 call but would look into it “with our editors.”

I asked if he would get back to me with what he learned, so I could share the information with you.

Vaden replied, “No." He did add that he "might write something Sunday that might speak to your concerns.”

There’s much more I want to report on The N&O’s coverage of the Mar. 13 incident but the hour is late.

I’ll be back tomorrow. I hope you are too.

Raleigh News & Observer McClatchy sale story leaves out key data

The Mar. 29 Raleigh News & Observer reports only part of an Associated Press story concerning its parent McClatchy Company’s plan to sell 12 newspapers McClatchy will acquire as part of its acquisition of the Knight Ridder news organization. (McClatchy receives bids for 12 papers – p. 2D)

Here’s some of the the AP report which N&O editors decided not to pass on to readers:

Industry analysts have estimated the papers being sold will fetch somewhere between $1.4 billion and $2 billion, helping McClatchy reduce the debt that it's absorbing in the Knight Ridder acquisition. The company is inheriting $2 billion of Knight Ridder's debt and borrowing $3.75 billion to finance the acquisition.

McClatchy's shares fell $1.29 Tuesday to close at $47.96 on the New York Stock Exchange. The company's market value has dropped by 10 percent since the Knight Ridder deal was announced.

Knight Ridder, the nation's second largest newspaper publisher, put itself up for sale late last year under pressure from three major shareholders unhappy with the company's sagging stock price -- a slump that reflected investors' souring sentiments about traditional media as the Internet siphons away advertising revenue.
Why would The N&O not share those three paragraphs with its readers?

One reason may be that McClatchy and The N&O have presented the Knight Ridder purchase in very upbeat terms.

For instance, following the acquisition announcement, McClatchy CEO Gary Pruitt wrote an N&O op-ed in which he enthused:
But in each of the communities where we compete, almost every newspaper has the largest news staff, largest sales force, biggest audience and greatest share of advertising in its market.
In a similar vein, N&O executive editor for news Melanie Sill told readers
The N&O now is the third-largest paper in a group of 12 dailies and 17 community papers. We will become the seventh-largest in a group of 32 dailies and about 50 community publications, plus a much larger Washington bureau, new Internet assets and more. …

I'm glad McClatchy is buying Knight Ridder, because our company believes in quality journalism and good newspapers.
Today, Mar. 29, Yahoo Finance reported that McClatchy had ended the day trading at 49.32, down more than 33% from its 52-week high of 75.85. During the same 52-week period, almost all market indexes have risen.

I hope things go well for McClatchy and The N&O. I think there's a greater chance of that happening if the company and paper are more candid with investors and readers who are, for the most part, intelligent adults.

Readers Note: I'm sending links to this post to Pruitt and Sill. I'll invite them to respond and offer to post here what they say.

Traveling now - Blogging resumes at 5 PM Eastern

I'll be posting then on Raleigh N&O reporting on accusations involving members of the Duke lacrosse team.

Also on the paper's reporting (really lack of reporting) concerning the purchase by The N&O's owner, The McClatchy Co., of the Knight-Ridder newspaper chain, owner of The Charlotte Observer.

And lots more.

See you at 5 PM


Tuesday, March 28, 2006

The Churchill Series - Mar. 28, 2006

(One of a series of weekday posts on the life of Winston S. Churchill.)

I’m an admirer of William Manchester’s two volume Churchill biography: The Last Lion and Alone. I regret a stroke prevented Manchester from completing his planned third and final volume of the biography.

That said, there are some things Manchester says about Churchill that just aren’t so. Here's one example. In Alone Manchester writes :

As a man who reached his majority in 1895, when Victorian gentlemen never use the words “breast” or “leg” if ladies were present, he assumes that they are innocents who must be shielded from the brutal facts of life and that feminine beauty is unaccompanied by carnal desire.” (p. 17)
Churchill understood from youth that the Victorian convention of avoiding references to sex in front of women was just that: a social convention.

He knew that many women enjoyed sex. One of them was his mother; another was his wife. When he was away, Clementine would often end her letters to him remarks such “your ‘Cat’ needs stroking” and “I so want to purr with you.”

Bloggers continue to expose NY Times' agenda journalism

Bloggers continue to catch the New York Times practicing agenda journalism.

This morning Bob Owens at Confederate Yankee posted the latest catch:

For those of you who have read this New York Times article about captured Iraqi war documents being placed on the web, you'll note that the Times did not deem to give Ray Robinson, the blogger interviewed in the article, a link to his blog, nor did they bother to give you his entire background.

Ray Robinson worked for the Defense Intelligence Agency as a member of the Iraq Survey Group that collected and in-processed this documentation when it was captured. He isn't just a blogger, but a person with some hands-on expertise.

Too bad that the Times couldn't be bothered to provide a link or give his bona fides.
Of course the Times wouldn’t provide a link or background for Robinson.

If the Times did those things, it would be easier for people to learn the contents of the documents. And that would just get in the way of the Times' agenda which is to convince people: “Nothing to see in these documents, folks. You can all go home now.”

Good catch, Bob.

How do you solve Saint Paul's problem

The Associated Press reports that in St. Paul, MN.:

A small Easter display was removed from the City Hall lobby on Wednesday out of concern that it would offend non-Christians.

The display - a cloth Easter bunny, pastel-colored eggs and a sign with the words "Happy Easter" - was put up by a City Council secretary. They were not purchased with city money.

Tyrone Terrill, the city's human rights director, asked that the decorations be removed. Terrill said no citizen had complained to him.
With Saint Paul’s human rights director on patrol, nothing that could offend non-Christians – well, at least nothing that director Terrill thinks could offend non-Christians – passes muster.

So what’s director Terrill’s next project now that he’s removed from public view a small cloth bunny, colored eggs and a “Happy Easter” sign?

Terrill hasn't said yet but folks know he's now ready to tackle bigger human rights project.

So what's big about Saint Paul that could possibly give offence to some non-Christian somewhere in the world?

Hey, are you all thinking what I’m thinking?

Of course, Saint Paul must be renamed to something that has no Christian connection.

Something neutral that won’t bring the PC patrols and human rights director Terrill marching down to city hall.

How about Grey, MN? Or to leave no doubt about what the city’s intention is how about Non-Christian, MN?

Or will director Terrill decide Non-Christian sounds too Christian?

Hat Tip: Best of the Web (James Taranto)

Monday, March 27, 2006

The Churchill Series – Mar. 27, 2006

(One of a series of weekday posts on the life of Winston S. Churchill.)

I want to confirm something about Churchill. Perhaps you can help.

I'll bet you’ve heard the following story:

George Bernard Shaw is one of Edwardian England’s best known playwrights while Churchill’s a London theatre critic who regularly skewers Shaw's works.

With the opening of his newest play just days away, Shaw sends Churchill a note:

Enclosed please find two tickets for my opening night: one is for you, the other is for a friend, if you have one.
Churchill replies:
Can’t make the opening. Will be there for the second night, if there is one.
Certainly a great story. But did it really happen?

All sorts of books with titles like “A Thousand Stories to Get Your Audience Laughing” and “Churchill’s Wit” contain the story and claim it’s true.

But when I read historians such as Martin Gilbert and William Manchester, I don’t find the story.

So did it really happen?

Can you help?

Molly Ivins’ real target

(Welcome visitors from Just One Minute and The Conspiracy to Keep You Poor and Stupid. Update: Also visitors from Betsy's Page.)

Is Molly Ivins' column (Suicide by a thousand cuts, Mar. 23) just one more attack on bloggers by a semi-hysterical MSM news professional?

Most folks say it is, but I'm not so sure.

Ivins certainly takes slaps at bloggers, but a careful reading of her column suggests her real target may be New York Times columnist Paul Krugman.

Note that Ivins says:

I have long argued that no one should be allowed to write opinion without spending years as a reporter -- nothing like interviewing all four eyewitnesses to an automobile accident and then trying to write an accurate account of what happened. Or, as author-journalist Curtis Wilkie puts it, "Unless you can cover a five-car pile-up on Route 128, you shouldn't be allowed to cover a presidential campaign."
As Ivins knows, Krugman is an economist and academic with no professional training or experience as a reporter.

The closest Krugman has ever come to reporting occurred about the time he served as an Enron consultant during the company’s glory days. While Krugman then wrote favorably about Enron, he doesn’t claim he was reporting.

Ivins clearly intends the author-journalist's quote, “Unless you can cover a five-car pile-up …,” to be what boxers call “the finisher.” And she had to mean it for Krugman.

Accurately report a five-car pile-up? Everyone knows Krugman has trouble accurately reporting a country’s annual GDP.

So why is liberal/leftist Ivins telling us Krugman, her ideological bedfellow , shouldn’t be allowed to write opinion? (Let's save for another day consideration of the First Amendment implications of what Ivins is saying. - JinC)

I'll bet it's because Ivins just discovered what many people have known for years: Krugman’s an embarrassment to punditry.

Take a look at this Mar. ’05 Just One Minute Krugman takedown, which includes a link to Krugman’s laughable July ’03 claim:
There is very little evidence in the data for a strong recovery ready to break out. As far as I can make out, Mr. Greenspan's optimism is entirely based on models predicting that tax cuts and low interest rates will get the economy moving.
The economy has boomed since, and the Fed continues to raise interest rates in an effort to prevent it from expanding at too fast a rate.

This Donald Lufkin NRO post from last August shreds an especially nonsensical Krugman column about the virtues of France and its economy.

BTW - Luskin's post provides background and information that’s very helpful to anyone seeking to understand what’s happening in France now.

A final question: Now that Ivins has attacked Krugman, is Maureen Dowd next?

Both Betsy Newmark and Tom Elia have interesting and more serious takes on Ivins' latest.

Open posted at Mudville Gazette

Sunday, March 26, 2006

Looking for reliable Iraq reporting? Then try

If you're looking for ball scores, the NY Times and my local liberal/leftist newspaper, The Raleigh News & Observer, are good places to visit.

But if you want information about what’s happening in Iraq, consider Here, for example, is its Mar. 24 post:

Back on March 7th Muhammed Hilah Hammad al Ubaydi, better known as Abu Ayman, was arrested by Iraqi and Coalition security forces. He was the principal terrorist leader in the southern part of Baghdad Province and northern Babil.

When Saddam was in power, Abu Ayman was a senior aide to the Chief of Staff of Intelligence. The leadership of the Sunni Arab terrorism against the post-Saddam government has been men like Abu Ayman.

Several hundred of these guys, all former commanders in Saddam’s force of professional terrorists, have been running a bloody, clever, although unsuccessful, campaign against the new government. In particular, the Sunni Arabs have worked the Arab and Western media effectively.

Careful observers will note that a disproportionate number of the Iraqis interviewed by the Western media are Sunni Arabs. The clueless Western journalists often let their subjects admit that they, or someone in their family worked for Saddam military or secret police.

Naturally, these interviewees are not happy with the new government and all those American troops.

That's what the foreign journalists want to hear, and fellows like Abu Ayman, who were in charge of playing the foreign media when Saddam was in charge, are still there to help arrange those interviews.
If you visit Strategypage regularly and also read and listen to MSM Iraq reports, you may soon find yourself asking: “Why does most of what I learn at turn out to be true, while so much of what MSM says turns out to not be so?

Click here and you’re at

Hat Tip:

Will UNC administators and MSM now call him a terrorist?

At Polipundit Lorie Byrd updates regarding Mohammad Reza Taheri-Azar , who drove an SUV on March 3 through a group of UNC-Chapel Hill students, injuring many. He admits he wanted:

to take the lives of as many Americans and American sympathizers as i (sic) can in order to punish United States for their immoral actions around the world.
Taheri-Azar's admission was made in a letter he wrote shortly before the attack. The letter was made public during a court hearing Friday.

Lorie links to Athena, who posts the entire letter including this:
In the Qur'an, Allah states that the believing men and women have permission to murder anyone responsible for the killing of other believing men and women.
After reading Lorie and Athena's post, I've some questions.

First, to UNC Chancellor Moeser and university spokespeople: Will you now call Taheri-Azar a terrorist, or must a person do something even more horrific than attempting to kill UNC students solely because they’re Americans before you’ll call him a terrorist?

Second, to MSM news organizations: Most of you have dodged calling Taheri-Azar a terrorist. Instead, he’s “a recent UNC grad.”

Should we expect you to continue avoiding calling him a terrorist while perhaps varying your “recent UNC grad” descriptor with others such as “Tar Heel militant” and “the person U. S. officials accuse of masterminding the 3/3 UNC Pit attack?”

I hope not.

Why refuse to call him what he's told you he is: a terrorist?

Kudlow has France right; Krugman got it wrong

At NRO Larry Kudlow writes:

Indeed, at the heart of the French problem is a statist-run socialist economy that is massively overtaxed and overregulated.

France’s public government sector, for instance, accounts for more than 50 percent of GDP. In other words, private business in France is in the minority.

Added to this, France’s top personal tax rate is 48 percent, with a VAT tax of nearly 20 percent. So that means French laborers face a combined 68 percent tax rate on consumption and investment.

No wonder France has created less than 3 million jobs over the past twenty years, compared to 31 million in the United States. Economic growth in “cowboy capitalist” America has exceeded that of France’s worker paradise by nearly 50 percent.
Well how about that.

And to think that just last August New York Times columnist and Princeton University Professor Paul Krugman devoted a whole column to the virtues France and its economy.(paid subscription required)

Donald Luskin, who heads the Krugman Truth Squad, has a superb refutation of Krugman's column here. Luskin's worth a look not only because he demonstrates how deliberately wrong Krugman can be, but also because he provides a lot of information about how France got herself into so much economic and social trouble.

Neither Kudlow now Luskin gloat over France and her troubles. Instead, they frequently remind Americas to be careful lest we slide down the same slope France did.