Saturday, April 29, 2006

Speaking up for America's defenders

Early Wednesday morning ROTC buildings on the campuses of North Carolin State University in Raleigh and the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill were vandalized. The Raleigh News & Observer reported:

Vandals staged attacks early Wednesday on the buildings used by the Reserve Officers' Training Corps at N.C. State University and UNC-Chapel Hill, echoing similar assaults on three Triangle recruiting stations last month.

As before, vandals sprayed anti-war slogans and profanity, splashed red paint and claimed responsibility with a mass e-mail message to area media outlets....
Today, N&O columnist Dennis Rogers described the vandals, and then want on and talked about the military. Here's part of what he said about the vandals:
They're politically inspired vandals who skulk through the night to spread their spoor because they're neither brave nor committed enough to stand and deliver in the light of day.

George Orwell, whose grim novels "1984" and "Animal Farm" cast doubt on the survival of free societies, saw such weasels for what they are: moral and intellectual cowards who offer stirring words about peace but shy away from defending it themselves. Instead, they denigrate those who do.

In an essay called "Notes on Nationalism" written 51 years ago, Orwell said of their type: "Those who abjure violence can only do so because others are committing violence on their behalf."

While I'm on a literary tack, let me also offer this well-aimed dart from Rudyard Kipling: "Yes, making mock o' uniforms that guard you while you sleep."
Rogers has it right. We know what kind of Chapel Hill and Raleigh we'd all have if the American military wasn't around.

Rogers closes with this:
The guest of honor at a recent party I attended was a 19-year-old home from boot camp. I have watched Evan Gearino grow from a good kid to an even better man who looks you in the eye and is ready to defend his country. He is neither poor nor a person of color. He is a proud United States Marine.

We live in dangerous and imperfect times.

Someday, Evan may be called on to commit the violence necessary for us to sleep soundly at night. The childish marauders who insult people like him are not worthy to wipe the dirt from his boots.
Rogers says a lot more. You can read it all here.

And then maybe send the column link on to a friend.

We need to keep speaking up for our military.

We need to honor and thank them and their families.

Heaven forbid we ever come to the day when the vandals have gotten their way.

Hat Tip: Mike Williams

The Duke lacrosse DA's Humpty Dumpty world

Regarding attendance at the Duke lacrosse party the night of Mar. 13/14: reports:

A noise violation and an alcohol possession violation against David Evans, a team captain, is being reinstated, (Durham DA Mike) Nifong said, because the party was held at the house where Evans lived.

Nifong said he will reinstate the charges against players with active deferred prosecution deals if they can't prove they weren't at the party. … reports:
(The second dancer, Kim) Roberts, 31, was arrested on March 22 -- eight days after the party -- on a probation violation from a 2001 conviction for embezzling $25,000 from a photofinishing company in Durham where she was a payroll specialist, according to documents obtained by the AP.

On Monday, the same day a grand jury indicted lacrosse players Reade Seligmann and Collin Finnerty, a judge agreed to a change so that Roberts would no longer have to pay a 15 percent fee to a bonding agent.

District Attorney Mike Nifong signed a document saying he would not oppose the change.
Got that?

Nifong has no problem with Roberts attending the party, even being one of its principal professional performers.

Afterwards he approves a reduction in her bail terms.

But Nifong thinks its pretty bad stuff for certain lacrosse players to attend the same party.

So bad that he's revoking agreements his office made with them.

What’s more, Nifong’s going to revoke agreements his office made with some lacrosse players who say they weren’t even at the party but just can’t prove it.

If what Nifong's doing bothers you, try chanting to yourself, “Guilty until proven innocent.” That's the mantra of a lot of his Durham supporters.

But if it doesn’t work for you, remember what Humpty Dumpty told Alice: “A word can mean whatever I want it to mean.”

In DA Nifong's world, being at a party can mean whatever he wants it to mean, including the same as not being at the party.

If you like DA Nifong’s Alice in Wonderland brand of justice, you can vote for him on May 2.

Friday, April 28, 2006

The Churchill Series – Apr. 28, 2006

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

Reader’s Note: Previous posts dealing with John(Jack) Strange Spencer Churchill (1880-1947) and his relationship with his only brother and sibling, Winston S. Churchill (1874-1965), are here, here, here, and here.

On Aug. 8, 1908, Jack Churchill married Lady Gwendeline Bertie, whom Winston knew and liked. Later that day, Winston wrote to Clementine Hozier, to whom he would propose in a few days and marry a month later:

I have just come back from throwing an old slipper into Jack’s departing motor-car. It was a very pretty wedding. No swarms of London fly-catchers. No one came who did not really care & the only spectators were tenants & countryfolk. Only children for bridesmaids & Yeomanry with crossed swords for pomp.

The bride looked lovely & her father & mother were sad indeed to lose her. But the triumphant Jack bore her off amid showers of rice & pursuing cheers – let us pray – to happiness & honour.
Jack and Goonie (as she was always called) were, much like Winston and Clementine: intelligent, generous, witty and deeply in love.

Clementine and Goonie quickly became fast friends. They discussed details of their children’s development and their husbands’ careers. They shared opinions concerning art, music, social issues, and affairs of state. In later years they traveled together to such places as Venice, Florence, Rome, Paris and the South of France.

Besides delighting in each others company, the two couples often cared for each others children.

For a time during WW I while Winston served on the Western front and Jack served in the Eastern Mediterranean and later on the Western front, Clementine and her children moved in with Goonie and her three children.

Right up until Goonie’s illness and death in 1941, Winston and Clementine counted on Jack and Goonie (nicknamed “the Jagoons”) for generous love that included a quality rare at any time, and vital to a statesman: discretion.

The Jagoons never let them down. Candid when speaking to Winston and Clementine, they were expert at protecting Winston and Clementine’s private lives and unguarded comments.

In Monday’s post, I’ll conclude this series with a sketch of Jack’s later years and some thoughts on his achievements, including his contributions to Winston and Clementine’s lives.

Winston’s letter describing Jack and Goonie’s wedding can be found on pgs. 12-13 of Speaking for Themselves: The personal Letters of Winston and Clementine Churchill (Mary Soames, Editor). I relied on that work for other material in this post. I also made use of Martin Gilbert’s Churchill: A Life and Richard Hough’s Winston and Clementine: The Triumphs and Tragedies of the Churchills.

A physician/social critic is worried about England

Physician and social critic Theodore Dalrymple returned to his native England recently. He found there:

a strange inversion of proper priorities, important matters are taken lightly and trivial ones taken seriously.
Dalrymple offers many examples to illustrate his point.

Here's an example of a serious matter taken lightly:
(A) 42-year-old barrister, Peter Wareing, (was) attacked in the street while walking home from a barbecue with two friends, a man and a woman. They passed a group of seven teenagers who had been drinking heavily, one of whom, a girl, complained that the barrister and his friends were “staring” at them. Nowadays, English youth of aggressive disposition and porcelain-fragile ego regard such alleged staring as a justified casus belli.

The girl attacked the woman in the other party. When Wareing and his male friend tried to separate them, two of the youths, aged 18 and 16, in turn attacked them. They hit the barrister’s friend into some bushes, injuring him slightly, and then knocked the barrister to the ground, knocking him down a second time after he had struggled to his feet.

This second time, his head hit the ground, injuring his brain severely. He was unconscious and on life support for two months afterward. At first, his face was so disfigured that his three children were not allowed to see him.
The doctors told his wife, a nurse, that he was unlikely to survive, and she prepared the children for their father’s death. …

Nevertheless, (Wareing) made an unexpected, though partial, recovery. His memory remains impaired, as does his speech; he may never be able to resume his legal career fully. It is possible that his income will be much lower for the rest of his life than it would otherwise have been, to the great disadvantage of his wife and children.

One of the two assailants, Daniel Hayward, demonstrated that he had learned nothing—at least, nothing of any comfort to the public—after he had ruined the barrister’s life. While awaiting trial on bail, he attacked the landlord of a pub and punched him in the face, for which he received a sentence of 21 days in prison.
Dalrymple reports that when sentencing the violent criminals, the judge spoke stern words.

On learning that, you many be thinking: “In America, “stern words” from a judge are often followed by a soft sentence. Is it the same in England?”

It was in this case:
Both received sentences of 18 months, with an automatic nine-month remission, more or less as of right.

In other words, they would serve nine months in prison for having destroyed the health and career of a completely innocent man, caused his wife untold suffering, and deprived three young children of a normal father.

One of the perpetrators, too, had shown a complete lack of remorse for what he had done and an inclination to repeat it.
It’s all terrible, isn’t it?

But American’s shouldn’t be surprised. Such things and much worse happen every day on our streets and in our courtrooms.

Here's an example Dalrymple provides of something trivial in England that authorities there took very, very seriously:
The newspapers reported the case of an Oxford student who, slightly drunk after celebrating the end of his exams, approached a mounted policeman. “Excuse me,” said the young man to the policeman, “do you realize your horse is gay?”

This was not a very witty remark, but it was hardly filled with deep malice either. It was, perhaps, a manifestation of the youthful silliness of which most of us have been guilty in our time….

The policeman did not think the student’s remark was innocent, however.

He called two squad cars to his aid, and, in a city in which it is notoriously difficult to interest the police in so trivial a matter as robbery or burglary, they arrived almost at once.

Apparently, the mounted policeman thought—if thought is quite the word I seek—that the young man’s remark was likely to “cause harassment, alarm or distress.” He was arrested and charged under the Public Order Act for having made a “homophobic remark.”
The young man spent a night in jail.

Brought before the magistrates the following day, he was fined $140, which he refused to pay.

The police then sent the case to the equivalent of the district attorney, who brought the student before the courts again but had to admit that there was not enough evidence to prove that his conduct had been disorderly.

The degree to which political correctness has addled British consciousness, like a computer virus, and destroyed all our traditional attachment to liberty, is illustrated by the words of one of the student’s friends who witnessed the incident. “[His] comments were . . . in jest,” he said. “It was very clear that they were not homophobic.” (bold added - JinC)

In other words, the friend accepted the premise that certain remarks, well short of incitement to commit violence or any actual crime—words that merely expressed an unpopular or intolerant point of view—would have constituted reasonable grounds for arrest.
I can't help but wonder what would've been the reaction in England or here if Mr. Hayward was gay and said his attackers called him "gay" just before attacking him.

"HATE CRIME" headlines? Mass protest vigils? A statement from the Prime Minister saying such "hate" has no place in Britain?

And the sentence? Nine months? That would have been OK?

The PC crowd is mostly interested in special treatment for it selected favorites.

You want a safe society with equal justice for all? You don't believe there should be selective outrage and punishment when a heinous crime is committed?

If you do, get ready: The PC crowd is going to call you a "conservative."

Dalrymple's article is in City Journal. It's lengthy but well worth your time.

Hat Tip: Newmark's Door

Thursday, April 27, 2006

The Churchill Series – Apr. 27, 2006

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

Reader’s Note: Previous posts dealing with John (Jack) Strange Spencer Churchill (1880-1947) and his relationship with his only brother and sibling, Winston S. Churchill (1874-1965), are here, here and here.

On January 28, 1900, Jack Churchill arrived in Durban, South Africa, aboard a hospital ship, Maine, which his mother, Lady Randolph Churchill, had helped raise funds to equip. Recently commissioned in the Territorials, Jack had volunteered to serve in the Boer War.

Within a week of his arrival Jack observed his twentieth birthday and was serving alongside his brother Winston, five years his senior and, by then, an experienced combat officer who’d seen action along what is now the Afghanistan-Pakistan border, in Sudan, and South Africa.

The brothers’ first combat action together occurred on Feb. 12 when they were part of a mounted scouting patrol which encountered a much larger Boer force. The British patrol retreated under fire and appeared to have ridden clear of the Boers. Winston tells us what happened next:

I looked back over my shoulder from time to time at Hussar Hill or surveyed the large brown masses of our rearmost squadrons riding so placidly home across the rolling veldt. I remarked to my companion, “We are still much too near those fellows.”

The words were hardly out of my mouth when a shot rang out, followed by the rattle of magazine fire from two or three hundred Mauser rifles. A hail of bullets whistled among our squadrons, emptying a few saddles and bringing down a few horses.

Instinctively our whole cavalcade spread out into open order and scampered over the crest now nearly two hundreds yards away. Here we leapt off our horses, which were hurried into cover, threw ourselves on the grass and returned the fire. …

Jack was lying by my side. All of a sudden he jumped and wriggled back a yard or two from the line. He had been shot in the calf, in this his very first skirmish. …

I helped him from the firing-line and saw (that he received medical attention).
After treatment at a field hospital, Jack was evacuated to the Maine to complete his recovery. His mother had come out with the hospital ship and Winston soon joined them on board for a period of some days.

Jack later returned to the fighting. He was mentioned in dispatches and awarded the Queen’s Medal with five clasps.

For some years before WW I , Jack and Winston served together in the Oxfordshire Yeomanry, at the time a reserve unit whose members pursued civilian careers while training periodically.

Jack was on active duty throughout WWI. He served first near Dunkirk where the British fought to stop the German’s initial advance along the channel coast. Afterwards he served on the Western front, later at Gallipoli and, finally, back again on the Western front after British forces were withdrawn from Gallipoli.

As in the Boer War, Jack served with distinction. He was mentioned in dispatches; and in 1918 was awarded the Distinguished Service Order.

Most historians say the quality Churchill most admired in a man was physical bravery. Jack, he knew, was such a man.

In tomorrow’s post the brothers marry within a month of each other; their wives become close friends; and the two couples move through life sharing good times and bad until death parts them.
For this post I’ve drawn from Speaking for Themselves: The personal Letters of Winston and Clementine Churchill (Mary Soames, Editor), Martin Gilbert’s Churchill: A Life, Richard Hough’s Winston and Clementine: The Triumphs and Tragedies of the Churchills,and John Keegan’s Winston Churchill.

Still no answer to my Joe Wilson question

You remember former Ambassador Joe Wilson, don't you? Took a trip to Niger. Posed for Vanity Fair. Grants more media interviews than Chuck Schumer and Cindy Sheehan combined.

Back on July 18, 2005, I asked a question concerning Wilson in the post below. Take a look and see if you can answer it.

Some Novak reporting goes unchallenged

At there's a story on the Wilson/Plame tale that's a classic hit piece. Primary targets: Rove and Libby. Objective: Hurt Bush.

But the Tom Hamburger and Peter Wallstein story does provide a surely unintended laugh in this sentence:

(Wilson) said a friend who saw Novak on the street reported that Novak told him, "Wilson is an asshole and his wife works for the CIA."
When Wilson pauses for breath, do you think he'll notice no one's challenging either of Novak's claims?

Wednesday, April 26, 2006

The Churchill Series – Apr. 26, 2006

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

Reader’s Note: Previous posts dealing with John Strange Spencer Churchill (1880-1947) and his relationship with his only brother and sibling, Winston S. Churchill (1874-1965), are here and here.

Neglected by their parents, Winston and Jack received the care and love their parents owed them from their nanny, Mrs. Ann Everest, whom the Churchills first employed when Winston was born. The boys reciprocated Everest’s love.

That they would each love Everest is understandable. What’s extraordinary is that they developed in childhood feelings for each other of deep affection, admiration, concern, and devotion that would last their lifetimes.

There were so many factors that could have helped lead the brothers to an envious rivalry. Jack displaced Winston as the only object of Everest’s love and attention. Family and friends often let the boys know Jack was “good,” “really a dear,” while Winnie was “troublesome” and “a worry.” When Churchill’s father, Lord Randolph, spoke or wrote to Winston, he often held Jack up as an example of what Winston should be, usually using harsh, even brutal, language.

An act of Winston’s at the time of Mrs. Everest death on July 3, 1893 reveals his concern for Jack, then a thirteen year old school boy at Harrow.

When Churchill heard Everest was ill, he rushed to her bedside in London. Realizing her condition was serious, he arranged at his expense for a noted physician to attend her and engaged a nurse. But Everest died within a day of his arrival.

Common practice at the time called for Churchill to send Jack news of Everest’s death via telegram. There was also the matter of Churchill having interrupted his military training to go to Everest. He was falling behind each day he was away. He needed to return to his post.

Nevertheless, at a time of great personal sorrow, Churchill was mindful of Jack’s feelings. So he took the train to Harrow and spared Jack the shock of learning the news from a telegram. In doing so, Churchill was also making sure there would be someone at Harrow who understood and shared Jack’s grief.

At the time of Everest’s death Churchill was 18.

In tomorrow’s post, Churchill leaves for South Africa to report and fight in the Boer War. Jack joins him there. The brothers literally fight side by side and narrowly escape death, although Jack is wounded.
For this post I’ve drawn from Speaking for Themselves: The personal Letters of Winston and Clementine Churchill (Mary Soames, Editor), Martin Gilbert’s Churchill: A Life, Richard Hough’s Winston and Clementine: The Triumphs and Tragedies of the Churchills, and John Keegan’s Winston Churchill.

"Big brothers" bring down liberal Air America

From day one, liberal talk radio’s Air America has struggled with low ratings, financial scandal and the “Where’s mine?” demands of its most highly touted show host, former funnyman Al Franken.

Now Drudge reports:


[...]the just released radio Winter Book [Jan-Mar 2006] from ARBITRON shows AIR AMERICA in New York City losing more than a third of its audience -- in the past year!

Among all listeners 12+, it was a race to the bottom for AIR AMERICA and WLIB as mid-days went from a 1.6 share during winter 2005 to a 1.0 share winter 2006. …

A network source says the radio ratings released today do not reflect the overall growth of the broadcast.

"The demos are better, and listeners trust AIR AMERICA to give them the real truth on issues and the Bush presidency," says the insider.
Listeners trust Air America?

He's not kidding?

Well, than tell those trusting AA listeners I’m a five-time Olympic gold medal winner. For an autographed photo, they need only send in $19.95

Now if you're serious about following the AA story, Brian Maloney is the "go to guy" at Radio Equalizer.

A few thoughts:

Besides its own boorishness, mendacity and incompetence, two “big brother” factors have helped bring down what many now call the Franken Fluff Network:
1) The huge, successful, well-endowed and passionately liberal National Public Radio has sucked up most of the liberal listeners who might otherwise have tuned in to AA.

2) Liberals see no reason to shell out their own money to support another liberal talk radio network when the government already subsidizes NPR through tax exempt foundation grants, tax exempt contributions, network station locations on tax exempt properties such as college campuses, and, of course, direct government subsidies using money taken from American's who work.
For the latest, stay tuned to Radio Equalizer.

Join the CIA and leak secrets to America's enemies

From a WSJ editorial today, Our Rotten IntelligenCIA:

Fired CIA officer Mary O. McCarthy went on offense Monday, denying through her lawyer that she has done anything wrong.

But the agency is standing by its claim that she was dismissed last week because she "knowingly and willfully shared classified intelligence." It has been reported that one of her media contacts was Washington Post reporter Dana Priest, who just won a Pulitzer Prize for her reporting on the so-called "secret" prisons that the CIA allegedly used to house top level al Qaeda detainees in Eastern Europe.

We're as curious as anyone to see how Ms. McCarthy's case unfolds. But this would appear to be only the latest example of the unseemly symbiosis between elements of the press corps and a cabal of partisan bureaucrats at the CIA and elsewhere in the "intelligence community" who have been trying to undermine the Bush Presidency.(bold added - JinC)

The existence of this intelligence insurgency first came to light in a major way with former Ambassador Joe Wilson, who wrote a New York Times op-ed in 2003 questioning the veracity of President Bush's "16 words" about Iraq seeking uranium in Africa.

Someone close to the White House had the audacity to point out that Mr. Wilson was an anti-Bush partisan whose only claim to authority on the matter was the result of wifely nepotism. Mr. Wilson has since been thoroughly discredited, including in a bipartisan report from the Senate Intelligence Committee. But former Vice Presidential Chief of Staff Scooter Libby is still being prosecuted as the result of a media-instigated investigation into the "leak" of Valerie Plame's not-so-secret CIA identity. ...

The case of Ms. McCarthy appears to be as egregious as it gets as a matter of partisan politics. She played a prominent role in the Clinton national security apparatus and public records show she gave $2,000 to John Kerry's Presidential campaign and even more to the Democratic Party. Such is her right. But rather than salute and help implement policy after her candidate lost, she apparently sought to damage the Bush Administration by canoodling with the press.
And what will that get her?

So far she's getting strong support from the "bash-Bush and never mind the consequences for America" crowd.

If you don't know that you haven't been listening to people like Denial Schorr at NPR or reading your favorite liberal MSM newspaper.

The WSJ continues:
There is little doubt that the Washington Post story on alleged prisons in Europe has done enormous damage--at a minimum, to our ability to secure future cooperation in the war on terror from countries that don't want their assistance to be exposed.

Likewise, the New York Times wiretapping exposé may have ruined one of our most effective anti-al Qaeda surveillance programs. Ms. McCarthy denies being the source of these stories. But somebody inside the intelligence community was.

Leaving partisanship aside, this ought to be deeply troubling to anyone who cares about democratic government. ...

CIA Director Porter Goss is now facing press criticism for trying to impose some discipline on his agency. But he not only has every right to try to root out insubordination, he has a duty to do so because it undermines the agency's ability to focus on the real enemy.

The serious and disturbing question is whether the rot is so deep that it is unfixable, and we ought to start all over and create a new intelligence agency.

The press is also inventing a preposterous double standard that is supposed to help us all distinguish between bad leaks (the Plame name) and virtuous leaks (whatever Ms. McCarthy might have done). Washington Post executive editor Leonard Downie has put himself on record as saying Ms. McCarthy should not "come to harm" for helping citizens hold their government accountable.

Of the Plame affair, by contrast, the Post's editorial page said her exposure may have been an "egregious abuse of the public trust."
Yes, and Downie also told us he couldn't publish the Danish cartoons. That was a matter of being "sensitive to people's feelings."

Message to Downie: Lot's of American's are sensitive about protecting their country from harm.

There's much more to the editorial, all of it worth reading.

Hat Tip: Mike Williams

Tuesday, April 25, 2006

The Churchill Series – Apr. 25, 2006

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

John Strange Spencer Churchill, Winston’s only brother and sibling, was born Feb. 4, 1880, in Dublin, Ireland, where the boys’ father, Lord Randolph, was serving as Vice-Regent.

Sixty-five years later, Churchill recalled the day: “I remember my father coming into my bedroom at Vice-Regal Lodge in Dublin and telling me (aged 5), ‘You have a little brother.’” Shortly thereafter, the family returned to England.

The brothers’ parents were indifferent to their emotional needs and often away, even at Christmas. Or, if they were at home, they often arranged for the boys to stay elsewhere, lest they distract the Churchills from their political and social pursuits.

But Winston and Jack were not totally denied the kind of care and attention parents owe their children. They received it from a servant: their nanny, Ann Elizabeth Everest.

“My nurse was my confidante, Churchill later wrote. “Mrs. Everest it was who looked after me and tended all my wants. It was to her I poured out my many troubles.”

Everest had been employed when Winston was a baby. As a toddler he began calling her “Woom,” and would continue doing so throughout his life.

With Jack’s birth Woom was no longer just “Winnie’s nanny;” she became “the boys’ nanny.” Everest gave Jack the same deep affection and care she gave Winston.

Jack’s birth and Woom’s care, really love, for Jack confronted Churchill with the first great crisis of his life.

A five year old can be very angry and resentful when a sib arrives. Often, those emotions are directed savagely at parents, cherished caregivers and/or the sib. They can last a person’s whole life.

But a five year old can also take on a “big brother, big sister” role, “helping” parents or caregivers nurture the new sib.

We know how Winston resolved his crisis. Whatever anger or resentment he may have felt toward his parents, “Woom” and Jack, must have been slight and well-repressed. Historians and documents I’ve read note no change in Winston’s feelings or behavior toward “Woom” following Jack’s birth. What we know of the brothers’ relationship in their early years suggests it was then as it was during their adult years: warm, affectionate and caring; in a word: loving.

A five year old who resolves a great crisis in the way Churchill did has taken a long stride toward confident, caring adulthood. He’s beginning to learn that what he holds most dear may be threatened but that he has within himself the resources to master such threats and preserve what’s most dear.

The old expression comes to mind: “The child is father to the man.”
Churchill's recollection of his father telling him of Jack's birth is found in Martin Gilbert's Churchill: A Life (p. 2). This post draws on that work, John Keegan's Winston Churchill, and Speaking for Themselves: The Personal Letters of Winston and Clementine Churchill (Mary Soames, Editor) for background.

The discussion regarding Jack’s birth as a crisis and Winston's resolution of it is my responsibility.

Bush threatens another veto

Reuters reports:

President George W. Bush threatened on Tuesday to veto a bill to fund the Iraq war and Hurricane Katrina rebuilding if its cost exceeds $92.2 billion, as he weighed in on a heated Senate debate over the bill's rising price tag.

The veto threat, announced in a White House statement on the $106.5 billion emergency spending measure, was aimed at placating conservatives in Bush's Republican Party who are irate over extra items added that they deem as "special-interest" spending.

Bush has not vetoed a bill in his more than five years in office. ...
No, Bush hasn’t, despite often threatening to veto bills which didn’t meet certain criteria.

But whenever a bill he's threatened to veto didn't meet his criteria and came to his desk, Bush has backed off and signed it.

You know what happens to parents, teachers, and anyone else in authority who keeps saying, “If you try that, I won’t stand for it,” and then stands for it.

Parents, teachers, Presidents: it’s all the same. We lose respect for them for threatening and then not following through.

Let’s watch what Bush does on this bill.

As reported by Reuters in the same story, Bush has made clear his veto criteria:
The overall spending in the Senate bill is about $14.5 billion more than Bush requested and which was approved by the U.S. House of Representatives.

"The administration is seriously concerned with the overall funding level and the numerous unrequested items included in the Senate bill that are unrelated to the war or emergency hurricane relief needs," said a draft of the White House statement, which was to be sent to lawmakers.

"If the president is ultimately presented a bill that provides more than $92.2 billion, exclusive of funding for the president's plan to address pandemic influenza, he will veto the bill," the White House said.
We’ll see what happens.

My thoughts:

If the bill calls for anything above $92.s billion, Bush should veto it, with no ands, ifs or buts about it.

If he doesn’t, the number of the Americans answering “Yes” when asked, “Do you believe what President Bush says,” will plummet further.

That will be bad for him, us and the rest of the civilized world.

Let's call this bill the "Veto or Else Bill (VEB)”

We’ll follow it to veto or signing.

Fingers crossed!

Duke lacrosse bathroom questions

(Welcome visitors from Betsy's Page.)

The alleged victim says three men took her into the bathroom where thy brutally raped and choked her. She says she tried hard to fight them off.


Have you and someone else ever helped a cooperative elderly or very ill person into a bathroom to shower?

Didn’t you have to be extremely careful and move very slowly lest you accidentally injure the person or yourselves by hitting one of the hard, angular, and large objects found within a bathroom, particularly a smallish one?

In order to avoid serious injury to any of you, didn’t you carefully plan and coordinate with the person and your helper every move you all made within the bathroom?

Nonetheless, all the while you knew the smallest accidental slip or bump could result in injury, didn’t you?

Did you think about getting a third person to help?

Did you reject that idea because a third person would’ve made things too crowded and harder for everyone to maneuver safely around the shower/tub, toilet, sink, medicine cabinet and towel rack?

Have you ever been asked to help a person who would resist a shower, say an Alzheimers patient with paranoid ideation?

Did you try to help; or did you reject the idea as simply too dangerous to the person and everyone else involved?

Did you think instead of a bedroom where you could give the person a sponge bath?

That would make a lot more sense, wouldn’t it?

The papers report the house at 610 North Buchanan Blvd. has three bedrooms.

What would we do without government regulations?

In Army Leaders of World War II, James B. Sweeney mentions the U. S. Army Air Service's first set of Flying Regulations, which the Service issued at the time of WW I.

Sweeney lists some of the regulations. My favorites:

Don't take the machine into the air unless you are satisfied it will fly.

If the engine stops, land as soon as you can.
Those regulations were good advice for sure, but also something like telling the spy not to use his cyanide capsule unless he really has to.

Monday, April 24, 2006

The Churchill Series - Apr. 24, 2006

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

Did you know Churchill had a brother?

People are often surprised to learn that. Here, for example, is an inquiry typical of many The Churchill Centre receives each year :

While watching “Young Churchill” the other day, I heard a reference to his brother. I have since learned he had a younger brother named Jack. I am highly surprised I have never heard about him before. Could you tell me something about him?

The Centre replied with a “bare bones” sketch, some of which follows :
John Strange Spencer Churchill, 1880-1947, known as Jack, a stockbroker.

Wounded in action in the Boer War, 1899.

Served at Dunkirk, 1914; on Sir John French's staff 1914-15; on Gen. Sir Ian Hamilton's staff at Gallipoli, 1915; on General Birdwood's staff 1916-18.

Married Lady Gwendeline Bertie (1884-1941), daughter of the 7th Earl of Abingdon, in 1908.

Jack and Winston were very close; their descendants still are.
In the next two posts, I’ll put some “flesh” on those “bones.”

Jack was a person of amiable temperament, generous, brave, and possessed of what we used to call “a fine character.” He and Churchill always got along, and after their marriages (both in 1908), the brothers’ wives became best friends.

It followed than that each couple was the other’s “best friend.” They shared the good and the bad of their lives until first Gwendeline’s (called “Goonie” in the family) died in 1941, followed by Jack in 1947.

Jack and Goonie will tell us a lot about Winston. And Clementine, too.

Reader’s Note: I’ve heard from some of you recently. Thank you for sharing information about your Churchill contacts, visits to places associated with his life, and your Churchill readings.

He’s a wonderful companion, isn’t he?

Also, thank you for your nice words.

McClatchy N&O editor threatens to remove Duke lacrosse comments

The McClatchy Company's Raleigh N&O's executive editor for news, Melanie Sill, is threatening to remove from The Editor's Blog, which she operates on McClatchy's behalf, comments about The N&O's Duke lacrosse coverage another reader and I made there.

Please visit Sill's post and the thread where she makes the threats.

Judge for yourself.

Sill has removed readers' comments before. For example, last Aug. 9 and 10 when many readers questioned the factualness of statements she made concerning The N&O's failure to report the loan scandal then engulfing liberal talk radio's Air America, an entire comment thread with about 30 comments was removed.

It took considerable reader protests, including attorneys reminding Sill of First Amendment rights, to get the readers' comments put back.

Please read Sill's Aug 9 post and reader comments and then go on and read her Aug 10 post and readers reactions to that. Be sure to note the many readers who spent their own time and money to do Lexus and other searches in order to confront Sill with data directly refuting a series of statements she made to readers.

I posted at the time and have repeated since that Sill's statements were false.

Since then I've invited editors with The N&O and other newspapers to look at what Sill and the readers said, and than make a statement.

I've offered to publish in full at JinC what the editor(s) say after seeing what Sill and the readers said. My only condition is that the editor is "on the record" and identified by name and affiliation.

So far no takers on that offer, but plenty of journalists have been willing to say off the record Sill's statements were false.

Take a look and see what you think.

Below is a copy of a comment I just left at The Editor's Blog. It's here FYI and in case Sill removes it at her blog.

Comment from: John [Visitor] ·
04/24/06 at 11:08

“(F)ar off point?”

A reader comments and I responded to her and you.

I urged you to answer her questions and those of other readers concerning The N&O’s “coverage” of the Duke lacrosse story.

You respond now by telling her and me you’ll delete any further comments like ours.

This thread’s post is titled, “What’s a blog?”

Melanie, do you have any sense of irony?

Please make available to us the standards McClatchy uses to delete reader comments.

Will this comment be deleted if I ask when you plan to answer reader questions at “Getting it right?” They’ve been piling up for days.

As commenters here Joan and I have some First Amendment rights. Please tell us your understanding of those rights.

Finally, in your discussion of what’s a blog, do you plan to tell us the difference between a blog and those internet sites that call themselves blogs, but are really PR operations that operate like the infomercials we see on TV.

Thank you.


Sunday, April 23, 2006

Is McClatchy Duke lacrosse reporting “the best?”

The McClatchy Company’s CEO Gary Pruitt has been saying his company’s newspapers are generally the biggest and best in their market areas.

How about that?


Here in North Carolina, McClatchy’s Raleigh News & Observer has the highest circulation numbers of any daily in the central or eastern part of the state.

Score one for Pruitt.

But best? The N&O?

Well, you might believe that if you read only what N&O executive editor for news Melanie Sill tells readers in her posts at The Editor’s Blog.

But if you read readers’ comments responding to Sill’s post: WOW!

Try it yourself.

Are you interested in the Duke lacrosse story? Then take a look at “Getting it right.” Also, Sill’s “What’s a blog” post doesn’t mention Duke lacrosse, but wait until you see what happens once you get to the fourth comment which begins:

Ms . Sill, What your coverage of the Duke Lacrosse story has really done is to devastate all of us who truly strive for a color blind society.
I frequently post on the liberal trending left N&O’s “news reporting.” See, for example, this post.

The N&O’s public editor, Ted Vaden, has devoted two recent columns to The N&O’s Duke lacrosse coverage. Vaden goes easy on The N&O but still -- take a look here and here.

I plan to post tonight examples of The N&O’s prosecutorial Duke lacrosse reporting.

Mind you, I don’t know much about what happened that night at 610 N. Buchanan.

But each of us is entitled to due process and presumption of innocence.