Saturday, July 19, 2008

Why don't we hear more about surgeon Bill Frist

Most people don't know former Tennessee Republican Senator Bill Frist is an outstanding surgeon who for many years has gone to some of the poorest parts of Africa to provide medical care to those who'd otherwise be without it.

I'm on Frist's email list. I think many of you will be interested to learn what he's doing now so I'm sharing his latest email with you. It's a shame Frist's lifesaving work doesn't get 1/10th the attention Al Gore's speechifying and Jesse Jackson's odious whispers get.

Here's Bill Frist - - -

For the next ten days, I will be traveling throughout Mozambique and then into Rwanda visiting the worksites of great, lifesaving work being done by various groups with whom I hold a leadership role. These include Africare, Save the Children, the MCC, The ONE Campaign, Samaritan’s Purse, and the Mountain Gorilla Veterinary Project.

Yesterday, I flew from Arusha, Tanzania into Chimoio, Mozambique to observe a housing project, Project COPE, in Vanduzi town, where over 30 houses had been built largely for widows and orphans, those who had been left behind after their spouses and parents had died of HIV/AIDS.

One young widow with whom we met was a mother of three. She cried with joy at the newfound dignity she held from owning her new home. After living in a terrible, cramped hut with her young family, she was overwhelmed with their new life. Her four year old began to cry as well because his mother was so happy.

Africare not only is leading in the building of good, modern homes from local materials, but they also support a Community Care Committee who provides food, mentoring, education, and guidance for those in need. There was also a hospital in this community supported by Africare, training indigenous volunteers to teach the community about nutrition.

Africare and others with whom I will be visiting are leaving a lasting footprint on thriving communities in Africa.

I’m excited to have the opportunity to share these stories.

Please go to for a daily update complete with anecdotes, observations, and photographs to learn more about the good stories of Africa.

We’d love for you to join our mailing list to keep in touch!

Bill Frist, MD

Hope Through Healing Hands
2033 Richard Jones Road
Nashville, TN 37215

If you do not wish to receive email communications from Hope Through
Healing Hands, please email

Friday, July 18, 2008

The Churchill Series - July 18, 2008

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

After a long absence from the series, Scotland Yard’s Detective- Inspector Walter Thompson is back today with an amusing Churchill anecdote.

In case you’re new to the series, Walter Thompson was Churchill’s principal bodyguard for most of the 1920s and 30s. He retired in 1937 and became a greengrocer.

On September 3, 1939, Britain entered the war against Germany and Churchill was aksed to join the government as First Lord of the Admiralty.

The following morning, Thompson received a phone call and heard the familiar voice. He remained with Churchill until the end of the war.

Among many incidents during the Blitz, Thompson recalled one very cold night when Churchill, as he often did, insisted on leaving the safety of his bomb shelter in The Annexe to go up to its roof to watch the German bombing raid.

Churchill had been on the roof for some time when he decided to sit down for a few minutes and smoke a cigar. Thompson, always concerned when Churchill exposed them both to increased risk by being on the roof during a raid, was this night also concerned that Churchill was exposured to the cold.

But Churchill reassured him about the cold. In fact, he said he really felt almost warm.

About that time a sentry came up to the roof and asked the PM if he’d mind standing up.

Churchill asked why.

”You are sitting on the chimney, sir. You’re smoking them out below.”
I hope you all have a nice weekend and are back Monday.

Tom Hickman, Churchill’s Bodyguard: The Authorised Biography of Walter H. Thmposon. (p. 127)

Our “unbiased” MSM in action (Updated - contains error)

Readers Alert: After I published the post below, a commenter suggested the claim ABC's Martha Radditz and the network suppressed news of 54 soldiers expressing a perference for Sen. McCain in the story referenced below was very likely bogus. The commenter linked to

I did follow-up fact-checking I should have done before publishing the claim.

Bottom line: I'm convinced the claim is bogus.

In a separate post I'll detail the evidence that effectively refutes the claim. I'll place a link to that post here later today. I'll also be sending an apology to Raddatz and ABC News.

Right now I just want to let you know where things stand and tell you I'm sorry for my error.


From Mike Williams' latest electronic letter without further comment - - -

Martha Raddatz was in Iraq recently asking soldiers who they planned to vote for in November. According to ABC News, four said Obama and two said Clinton. Left out – the 54 who said McCain.

APS says "Position Remains Unchanged"

Yesterday I posted Cool news about "human-induced global warming."

Today at its web site the American Physical Society posted the following statement:

The American Physical Society reaffirms the following position on climate change, adopted by its governing body, the APS Council, on November 18, 2007:

"Emissions of greenhouse gases from human activities are changing the atmosphere in ways that affect the Earth's climate."

An article at odds with this statement recently appeared in an online newsletter of the APS Forum on Physics and Society, one of 39 units of APS. The header of this newsletter carries the statement that "Opinions expressed are those of the authors alone and do not necessarily reflect the views of the APS or of the Forum." This newsletter is not a journal of the APS and it is not peer reviewed.
I'll post at Cool news about "human-induced global warming" a Readers Alert and link to this post.

When I make a mistake I say I'm sorry. In this case, however, I reported correctly yesterday and today. So I offer no "Sorry." I just updated to keep you informed.

I hope before too much time has passed I'm able to report the APS has in fact reversed its position.

Message to APS: Ideology is not science.

Hat tip: Michelle Malkin

Lax suit sanctions hearing transcript and order

This posted yesterday at Duke Lawsuit:

Back on April 15, Chief Judge James A. Beaty, Jr. of the US District Court in Winston-Salem held a hearing to consider a motion for sanctions by Duke University’s and the City of Durham’s against lawyers for the 38 Duke lacrosse players for holding a news conference and maintaining this Web site about their lawsuit.

Judge Beaty denied the sanctions motion and issued an order which included guidance to both the plaintiffs’ and the defendants’ attorneys about their relations to the news media.

We are now able to post the transcript of the hearing. ...
The post continues with a reproduction of the transcript of Chief Judge Beaty's order as issued from the bench. It begins on page 47 of the transcript to which the post links.

In an email informing of the post, Robert Bork Jr, who maintains Duke Lawsuit, said:
We are now able to post the complete transcript of the sanctions hearing from April 15. We were unable to do so until now because it was the property of the court reporter until 90 days after the hearing.
A "thank you" to Bork for the explanation and for providing the hearing transcript and Judge Beaty's order.

Previous posts concerning the motion include:

Duke's Motion a Stumble

More on Duke's Motion to Suppress (3/9/08)

Court Rules Against Duke (4/15/08)

Obama’s “larger canvas”

Charles Krauthammer today:

Barack Obama wants to speak at the Brandenburg Gate.

He figures it would be a nice backdrop. The supporting cast -- a cheering audience and a few fainting frauleins -- would be a picturesque way to bolster his foreign policy credentials.

What Obama does not seem to understand is that the Brandenburg Gate is something you earn.

President Reagan earned the right to speak there because his relentless pressure had brought the Soviet empire to its knees and he was demanding its final "tear down this wall" liquidation.

When President Kennedy visited the Brandenburg Gate on the day of his "Ich bin ein Berliner" speech, he was representing a country that was prepared to go to the brink of nuclear war to defend West Berlin.

Who is Obama representing? And what exactly has he done in his lifetime to merit appropriating the Brandenburg Gate as a campaign prop?

What was his role in the fight against communism, the liberation of Eastern Europe, the creation of what George Bush 41 -- who presided over the fall of the Berlin Wall but modestly declined to go there for a victory lap -- called "a Europe whole and free"?
Who is advising Obama?

Can't his campaign staff gently tell him asking for the Brandenburg Gate as a prop for what is effectively a campaign appearance puts the German’s in an awkward position, to say nothing of highlighting Obama’s towering ego?

Can’t even one of the former secretaries of state and defense from the Carter and Clinton administrations enlighten him?

Krauthammer tries to:
Does Obama not see the incongruity? It's as if a German pol took a campaign trip to America and demanded the Statue of Liberty as a venue for a campaign speech. (The Germans have now gently nudged Obama into looking at other venues.) …
That’s the least of it.

What if some far-left, anti-American candidate for the premiership of a European country wanted to use the Lincoln Memorial as a prop for a campaign speech? Could a President Obama object?

He wouldn’t want to offend the potential head of a European nation, would he?

But after using the Brandenburg Gate as one of his campaign props, how could President Obama object to foreign leaders using our national monuments as props for their campaigns?

The rest of the world would rightly view that as arrogance.

Krauthammer notes, “Americans are beginning to notice Obama's elevated opinion of himself,” and closes with:
For the first few months of the campaign, the question about Obama was: Who is he? The question now is: Who does he think he is?

We are getting to know. Redeemer of our uninvolved, uninformed lives. Lord of the seas. And more. As he said on victory night, his rise marks the moment when "our planet began to heal."

As I recall -- I'm no expert on this -- Jesus practiced his healing just on the sick. Obama operates on a larger canvas.
The entire column’s here.

Hat tip:

Thursday, July 17, 2008

The Churchill Series - July 17, 2008

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

Readers Note: In recent days there have been some generous comments made. My sincere thanks to the commenters.


With the help of Wikipedia, let’s recall today F. E. Smith, the man Churchill biographers consider to have been his closest friend. I’ve planned the post so we'll end it doing what Churchill and Smith often did when they were together: laughing.

From Wikipedia:

Frederick Edwin Smith, 1st Earl of Birkenhead, GCSI, PC (12 July 1872–30 September 1930) was a British Conservative statesman and lawyer of the early 20th century. He was a skilled orator, noted for his staunch opposition to Irish nationalism, his wit, pugnacious views, and hard living and drinking.

He is perhaps best remembered today as Winston Churchill's greatest personal and political friend until Birkenhead's untimely death at age 58.
After Birkenhead’s death, Churchill said he’d never once been with him without leaving better informed or wiser on at least one important matter. That’s quite a tribute coming as it did from one of the best informed and wisest men of the time.

Now to the laughter.

Again from Wikipedia:
About Bolshevism Smith observed:

"Nature has no cure for this sort of madness, though I have known a legacy from a rich relative works wonders."

On Winston Churchill:

"He has devoted the best years of his life to preparing his impromptu speeches." (When Churchill heard the remark he laughed, and afterwards would quote it to others. - JinC)

And in court as a barrister:

Judge: "I have read your case, Mr Smith, and I am no wiser now than I was when I started."

Smith: "Possibly not, My Lord, but much better informed."

Judge: "Are you trying to show contempt for this court, Mr Smith?"

Smith: "No, My Lord. I am attempting to conceal it."

Judge: "Have you ever heard of a saying by Bacon — the great Bacon — that youth and discretion are ill-wedded companions?"

Smith: "Yes, I have. And have you ever heard of a saying of Bacon — the great Bacon — that a much-talking judge is like an ill-tuned cymbal?"

Judge: "You are extremely offensive, young man!"

Smith: "As a matter of fact we both are; but I am trying to be, and you can't help it."

Judge: "Mr Smith, you must not direct the jury. What do you suppose I am on the bench for?"

Smith: "It is not for me, your honour, to attempt to fathom the inscrutable workings of Providence."

Smith to witness: "So, you were as drunk as a judge?"

Judge (interjecting): "You mean as drunk as a lord?"

Smith: "Yes, My Lord."
Smith's Wikipedia biography is here.

Could you blame Obama?

Those who work to keep guns away from law-abiding citizens – “the anti-gun advocates” -- regularly lobby legislators in places like Montana and Iowa to pass the kind of “tough anti-gun” laws that places like -- - oh, Chicago, for instance - - have.

Well, how's it all working out in the Windy City?

This today from the Chicago Tribune:

Gov. Rod Blagojevich on Wednesday raised the possibility of bringing in state troopers or even the Illinois National Guard to help Chicago combat a recent increase in violent crime -- an offer that Mayor Richard Daley didn't know was coming.

Appearing at signing ceremony for a bill that toughens the penalty for adults who provide guns to minors, Blagojevich said "violent crime in the city of Chicago is out of control."

"I'm offering resources of the state to the city to work in a constructive way with Mayor Daley to do everything we can possibly do to help ... stop this violence," said the governor.

Blagojevich said Daley had not asked for help and he had not talked to the mayor about offering it, adding he would call Daley after he met later in the day with the state police, National Guard and others. ...
I’m wondering: Do you think Sen. Obama’s going to Iraq to get away from Chicago’s violence?

Just askin’

The CT’s entire story’s here.

Hat tip:

Cool news about “human-induced global warming”

Readers Alert: Following publication of the Daily Tech post referenced below, the American Physical Society issued a statement saying it had not reversed its position on "human-induced global warming."

You can read it here where I also offer some brief comments on the matter.


Daily Tech headlines: Myth of Consensus Explodes: APS Opens Global Warming Debate

DT’s story follows with my comments below the star line - - -

The American Physical Society, an organization representing nearly 50,000 physicists, has reversed its stance on climate change and is now proclaiming that many of its members disbelieve in human-induced global warming. (all emphasis added)

The APS is also sponsoring public debate on the validity of global warming science. The leadership of the society had previously called the evidence for global warming "incontrovertible."

In a posting to the APS forum, editor Jeffrey Marque explains,

"There is a considerable presence within the scientific community of people who do not agree with the IPCC conclusion that anthropogenic CO2 emissions are very probably likely to be primarily responsible for global warming that has occurred since the Industrial Revolution."
The APS is opening its debate with the publication of a paper by Lord Monckton of Brenchley, which concludes that climate sensitivity -- the rate of temperature change a given amount of greenhouse gas will cause -- has been grossly overstated by IPCC modeling.

A low sensitivity implies additional atmospheric CO2 will have little effect on global climate.

Larry Gould, Professor of Physics at the University of Hartford and Chairman of the New England Section of the APS, called Monckton's paper an "expose of the IPCC that details numerous exaggerations and "extensive errors."

In an email to DailyTech, Monckton says,

"I was dismayed to discover that the IPCC's 2001 and 2007 reports did not devote chapters to the central 'climate sensitivity' question, and did not explain in proper, systematic detail the methods by which they evaluated it. When I began to investigate, it seemed that the IPCC was deliberately concealing and obscuring its method."
According to Monckton, there is substantial support for his results, "in the peer-reviewed literature, most articles on climate sensitivity conclude, as I have done, that climate sensitivity must be harmlessly low."

Monckton, who was the science advisor to Britain's Thatcher administration, says natural variability is the cause of most of the Earth's recent warming. "In the past 70 years the Sun was more active than at almost any other time in the past 11,400 years ... Mars, Jupiter, Neptune’s largest moon, and Pluto warmed at the same time as Earth."


A hat tip to Mike Williams who called the DT story to my attention. Somehow my local liberal/leftist newspaper, the Raleigh News & Observer, missed it.

I suspect most of MSM will ignore or grossly underreport this most important story.

A really big hat tip goes to frequent commenter Jack in Silver Springs. He’s been spot on about “human-induced global warming” and has in many detailed, well-written comments here informed JinC readers on the subject while the Al Gores, Nancy Pelosis and Barack Obamas have been misinforming the broader public.

What’s most important about the APS’s reversal for those of us who value Western Civilization and the scientific method based on free inquiry is this: The APS’s reversal is an overdue step back by APS from a possible embrace of fascist-like ideologues who’ve proclaimed “human-induced global warming” a settled matter and, in some instances, actually advocated punishments for those scientists who challenged it.

Copernicus and Galileo would approve of what the APS has just done.

Your turn.

In praise of JinC’s editors

On July 9 I posted Questioning a NY Times McCain story. It reported on a NYT story concerning the contents of a TV attack ad the Times said a McCain-leaning 527 was running against Sen. Obama.

Based on the Times’ description of the ad, I questioned whether the Times was accurately portraying the ad’s actual content. I regretted the Times hadn’t linked to the video or at least a print transcript.

Within minutes Zonga commented noting that I’d missed a link to the ad the Times had provided on the same web page as its story. Zonga also provided a link to the ad at YouTube.

Thank you, editor Zonga. And thanks to all of you who point out my errors so I can correct them.

In this case, within an hour I was able to add an "Update" to the post title and a Readers Alert and link to the ad at the head of the post.

Alert and informed editing makes that sort of thing possible. (BTW – The ad’s contents confirmed what I’d suggested about the Times’ spinning for Obama.)

Once more: to all of you who put forth the time and effort to help edit JinC, my sincere thanks for helping me correct errors and better serve JinC readers.

How can those MSMers keep telling readers and viewers bloggers don’t have editors?

Wednesday, July 16, 2008

The Churchill Series - July 16, 2008

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

It's November 14, 1940.

London's enduring the Blitz. In the North Atlantic, the British and Canadian navies are fighting a desperate battle to keep open Britain’s vital supply line from North America. It will be more than a year before the U. S. enters the war.

Churchill hears there's talk in government circles that perhaps it would be in Britain’s interests to draw closer to French Vichy. He decides to send his cabinet colleagues a note. It follows in full:

“Although revenge has no part in politics, and we should always be looking forward rather than looking back, it would be a mistake to suppose that a solution of our difficulties with Vichy will be reached by a policy of mere conciliation and forgiveness.

The Vichy Government is under heavy pressure from Germany, and there is nothing that they would like better that to feel a nice, soft, cozy, forgiving England on their other side.

This would enable them to win minor favours from Germany at our expense, and hang on as long as possible to see how the war goes.

We, on the contrary, should not hesitate, when our interests require it, to confront them with difficult and rough situations, and make then feel that we have teeth as well as Hitler.” (emphasis in original)
When was the last time you read an important government policy document that was so brief, to the point and wise?
Winston S. Churchill, Their Finest Hour. (pgs. 525-526)

Washington Post: Obama’s “irrational” on Iraq

Here’s today’s Washington Post editorial, "The Iron Timetable," with my comments below the star line.

WaPo begins - - -

BARACK OBAMA yesterday accused President Bush and Sen. John McCain of rigidity on Iraq: "They said we couldn't leave when violence was up, they say we can't leave when violence is down." Mr. Obama then confirmed his own foolish consistency.

Early last year, when the war was at its peak, the Democratic candidate proposed a timetable for withdrawing all U.S. combat forces in slightly more than a year. Yesterday, with bloodshed at its lowest level since the war began, Mr. Obama endorsed the same plan.

After hinting earlier this month that he might "refine" his Iraq strategy after visiting the country and listening to commanders, Mr. Obama appears to have decided that sticking to his arbitrary, 16-month timetable is more important than adjusting to the dramatic changes in Iraq.

Mr. Obama's charge against the Republicans was not entirely fair, since Mr. Bush has overseen the withdrawal of five American brigades from Iraq this year, and Mr. McCain has suggested that he would bring most of the rest of the troops home by early 2013.

Mr. Obama's timeline would end in the summer of 2010, a year or two before the earliest dates proposed recently by members of the Iraqi government.

The real difference between the various plans is not the dates but the conditions: Both the Iraqis and Mr. McCain say the withdrawal would be linked to the ability of Iraqi forces to take over from U.S. troops, as they have begun to do.

Mr. Obama's strategy allows no such linkage -- his logic is that a timetable unilaterally dictated from Washington is necessary to force Iraqis to take responsibility for the country.

At the time he first proposed his timetable, Mr. Obama argued -- wrongly, as it turned out -- that U.S. troops could not stop a sectarian civil war. He conceded that a withdrawal might be accompanied by a "spike" in violence.

Now, he describes as "an achievable goal" that "we leave Iraq to a government that is taking responsibility for its future -- a government that prevents sectarian conflict and ensures that the al-Qaeda threat which has been beaten back by our troops does not reemerge."

How will that "true success" be achieved?

By the same pullout that Mr. Obama proposed when chaos in Iraq appeared to him inevitable. (emphasis added)

Mr. Obama reiterated yesterday that he would consult with U.S. commanders and the Iraqi government and "make tactical adjustments as we implement this strategy."

However, as Mr. McCain quickly pointed out, he delivered his speech before traveling to Iraq -- before his meetings with Gen. David H. Petraeus and the Iraqi leadership.

American commanders will probably tell Mr. Obama that from a logistical standpoint, a 16-month withdrawal timetable will be difficult, if not impossible, to fulfill.

Iraqis will say that a pullout that is not negotiated with the government and disregards the readiness of Iraqi troops will be a gift to al-Qaeda and other enemies.

If Mr. Obama really intends to listen to such advisers, why would he lock in his position in advance?

"What's missing in our debate," Mr. Obama said yesterday, "is a discussion of the strategic consequences of Iraq." Indeed: The message that the Democrat sends is that he is ultimately indifferent to the war's outcome -- that Iraq "distracts us from every threat we face" and thus must be speedily evacuated regardless of the consequences.

That's an irrational and ahistorical way to view a country at the strategic center of the Middle East, with some of the world's largest oil reserves.

Whether or not the war was a mistake, Iraq's future is a vital U.S. security interest. If he is elected president, Mr. Obama sooner or later will have to tailor his Iraq strategy to that reality.



When I finished WaPo’s outstanding editorial, here’s some of what I thought:

There’s nothing factual mentioned in the editorial that isn’t true; there’s nothing asserted as likely that isn’t very plausible.

The editors lay out the facts and their consequences or likely consequences as clearly as possible for Senator Obama and the rest of us.

Millions of Americans already get at least most of what the editors are saying.

It’s clear the editors think Obama doesn’t get what they’re saying. That’s why he views Iraq in “an irrational and ahistorical way”

The editors called Obama’s view of Iraq “irrational” when they could just as correctly have used a synonym that rhymes with “cupid.”

They used “ahistorical” as a polite way of saying he doesn’t know the basic recent history of Iraq.

The editors knew Obama would either read the editorial or be given a summary of it. With that in mind, it’s worth taking a second look at how the usually Democratic-leaning WaPo ended its editorial:

Iraq’s future is a vital U.S. security interest. If he is elected president, Mr. Obama sooner or later will have to tailor his Iraq strategy to that reality.
So the best the WaPo is hoping for is that “sooner or later” a President Obama will learn enough “to tailor his Iraq strategy” to the “reality” that “Iraq’s future is a vital U.S. security interest.”

That’s a hopeful thought, but shouldn’t people know at least that much before they run for President?

Making sense of Iraq and the WOT

Like many of you, I’ve read a lot in the MSM about the Iraq War and the War on Terror that’s been wrong, foolish and sometimes so defeatist I’ve wondered whose side the reporters and news organizations were on.

On the other hand, two great independent reporters, Michael Totten and Michael Yon, have time after time gotten it right on the Iraq War and much else.

Today Totten at posts Is the War Over? Here’s the start of Totten’s post with my comments below the star line:

Independent reporter Michael Yon has spent more time in Iraq embedded with combat soldiers than any other journalist in the world, and a few days ago he boldly declared the war over:

Barring any major and unexpected developments (like an Israeli air strike on Iran and the retaliations that would follow), a fair-minded person could say with reasonable certainty that the war has ended. A new and better nation is growing legs. What's left is messy politics that likely will be punctuated by low-level violence and the occasional spectacular attack. Yet, the will of the Iraqi people has changed, and the Iraqi military has dramatically improved, so those spectacular attacks are diminishing along with the regular violence. Now it's time to rebuild the country, and create a pluralistic, stable and peaceful Iraq. That will be long, hard work. But by my estimation, the Iraq War is over. We won. Which means the Iraqi people won.

I’m reluctant to say “the war has ended,” as [Yon] did, but everything else he wrote is undoubtedly true. The war in Iraq is all but over right now, and it will be officially over if the current trends in violence continue their downward slide. That is a mathematical fact.

If you doubt it, look at the data.

Security incidents, or attacks, are at their lowest level in four years. Civilian deaths are down by almost 90 percent since General Petraeus’ counterinsurgency “surge” strategy went into effect. High profile attacks, or explosions, are down by 80 percent in the same time period. American and Iraqi soldiers suffer far fewer casualties than they have for years. Ethno-sectarian deaths from Iraq’s civil war plunged all the way down to zero in May and June 2008.

Yon is braver than the rest of us for declaring the war over, but it’s important to understand that there are no final battles in counterinsurgencies and it’s impossible to pinpoint the exact dates when wars like this end. The anti-Iraqi insurgency – a war-within-a-war – really is effectively over. As long as another such war-within-a-war doesn’t break out, Yon will appear more perceptive than the rest of us in hindsight when the currently low levels of violence finally do taper off into relative insignificance.

None of this means terrorism and violence in Iraq are over. Violence is never over in the Middle East, and Islamist terrorism will be with us for years, if not decades. ….

The rest of Totten’s post’s here.



I’ll also say some more about the post later tonight.

Right now I just want to call it to your attention and say I’ll sign on to everything Totten says.

How about you?

McCain, Obama both face racial divide

Today the NY Times reports:

Americans are sharply divided by race heading into the first election in which an African-American will be a major-party presidential nominee, with blacks and whites holding vastly different views of Senator Barack Obama, the state of race relations and how black Americans are treated by society, according to the latest New York Times/CBS News poll.

The results of the poll, conducted against the backdrop of a campaign in which race has been a constant if not always overt issue, suggested that Mr. Obama’s candidacy, while generating high levels of enthusiasm among black voters, is not seen by them as evidence of significant improvement in race relations.

After years of growing political polarization, much of the divide in American politics is partisan. But Americans’ perceptions of the fall presidential election between Mr. Obama, Democrat of Illinois, and Senator John McCain, Republican of Arizona, also underlined the racial discord that the poll found. More than 80 percent of black voters said they had a favorable opinion of Mr. Obama; about 30 percent of white voters said they had a favorable opinion of him.

Nearly 60 percent of black respondents said race relations were generally bad, compared with 34 percent of whites. Four in 10 blacks say that there has been no progress in recent years in eliminating racial discrimination; fewer than 2 in 10 whites say the same thing.

And about one-quarter of white respondents said they thought that too much had been made of racial barriers facing black people, while one-half of black respondents said not enough had been made of racial impediments faced by blacks. ….
The rest of the Times’ story’s here.


The Times’ story is headlined:
Poll Finds Obama Isn’t Closing Divide on Race
But if you read the story, you see that Sen. Obama does much better among whites on favorability and voter preference questions than Sen. McCain does on those same questions among blacks.

A headline like:
McCain, Obama both face race divide
would have much more accurately conveyed the poll results which – no surprise – found that on questions concerning the candidates, public issues and social perceptions, there were significant differences between the responses of blacks and whites.

I think the Times didn't use a headline like that because it wants the public thinking only Obama faces and is disadvantaged by a racial divide.

Why’d McClatchy’s N&O change its ID policy for Crystal Mangum?

The McClatchy newspaper chain has a policy of generously rewarding CEO Gary Pruitt and other top executives.

McClatchy’s stock’s plunged more than 90% in just a few years but Pruitt continues to receive his $1+ million base pay and various bonuses, including an $800,000 “performance bonus” last year.

While McClatchy’s hasn't changed its policy of generously rewarding Pruitt and other top executives even as its stock price crashes and it cuts its work force, McClatchy in one notable instance suddenly changed its policy regarding identifying alleged victims of sex crimes. And its never explained why.

For years McClatchy’s Raleigh News & Observer had followed the policy almost all news organizations follow: don’t ID a woman who reports she's a victim of a sex crime(s).

Instead, refer to her as “the alleged victim” or “the reported victim” until there’s been a legal determination a crime occurred; or until the person(s) accused admits to the woman’s charges.

But without any announcement or explanation to readers, the N&O in March 2006 suddenly changed its policy in response to a woman’s wildly improbable and unsubstantiated allegations she was a victim of sex crimes, allegations subsequently proven to be false.

In response to Duke hoaxer Crystal Mangum’s bogus allegations, the N&O dispensed with the use of terms such as “alleged” and “reported.” It told readers a young black mother was “a victim” who’d been gang-raped as well as beaten, strangled and robbed by three white members of the Duke Men’s lacrosse team while their teammates stood by and did nothing to stop the crimes.

In a March 25, 2006 front page headline The N&O said the crimes occurred during a night which ended in “sexual violence.”

In the story following the lurid, unqualified headline, the N&O told readers:

It is The News & Observer's policy not to identify the victims of sex crimes.
The N&O came under terrific criticism from fair-minded readers angry at the N&O’s racially inflammatory and unsubstantiated casting of some Duke students on the lacrosse team as vicious criminals and the other students on the team as abettors of their criminal teammates.

Perhaps in response to reader criticism or the transparent absurdity of what Mangum was charging or, more likely, some combination of the two, the N&O soon returned to using qualifiers such as “alleged” when referring to a woman charging a sex crime.

Just today senior editor Dan Barkin tells readers at the Editors’ Blog about a woman “who claims that she was raped.” Barkin informs readers:
And The News & Observer has a policy of not identifying people who allege sex crimes.
Well, OK. Glad to see the "allege" in there.

But that doesn’t explain why the N&O changed its policy in response to Crystal Mangum’s lies and dispensed with the use of terms such as “alleged.”

The N&O has never told readers why it did that.

Why not?

And shouldn't it do so now?

Hat tip: Anon commenter

Tuesday, July 15, 2008

The Churchill Series - July 15, 2008

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

In early September, 1918 Churchill, then Minister of Munitions in Lloyd George’s Government, crossed the Channel to meet in France with military leaders. Instead of sailing across, he flew.

On Sept. 8 he wrote Clementine from France about his flight. Some of his language might lead you to believe he sailed, but in those days it was common to use the language of the seas rather than land when speaking about flying: planes were airships and civilian pilots who flew passengers were captains, a usage which persists to this day.

Letter excerpts:

My Beloved,

We sailed across the Channel through a fierce storm and were over the other side in about 11 minutes. …

It was so nice on the beach with you and [the children.] …

I do hope you were not cold going back in the car, or were not worried at my method of travel. It gives me a feeling of tremendous conquest over space, & I know you would love it yourself.

The Canary [his pilot, Cyril Patterson] is much alarmed by motor cars & thinks them far more dangerous than aeroplanes. …

I am very happy to be married to you my darling one, & as the years pass I feel more & more dependent on you & all you give me.

With tender love
Your own
Far from coming to “love” flying in those years, Clementine was greatly worried by Churchill’s flying. After he was involved in two crashes while attempting to earn his pilot’s license, she along with many friends persuaded him to cease taking flying lessons.

Churchill greatly regretted not getting his license. During WW II on long flights he’d sometimes go into the cockpit and with a pilot beside him would, as the British say, “have a go at it.”

N&O's “lacrosse scandal” spares Steel, others, & itself

The front page of yesterday’s Raleigh News & Observer carried the headline “Wachovia's new CEO is pro in crisis control” followed by an almost 1400-word “rah-rah” story which began:

As investment bank Bear Stearns imploded in March, Bob Steel was among the financial titans making an unappetizing choice: Let the company's demise possibly unravel the global financial system or engineer a rescue sure to be labeled a bailout.

From his New York hotel room, Steel, then a top U.S. Treasury Department official, dialed in to a 5 a.m. conference call where he, Treasury Secretary Henry Paulson, the New York Federal Reserve Bank president and others finalized steps to prop up Bear Stearns. Later that day, it was Steel's job to brief President Bush.

It was a memorable moment, Steel acknowledged: "I didn't talk to the president every day."

Named Wachovia's new chief executive last week, the 56-year-old will need these crisis-management skills if he is to restore the tarnished bank.

"He thrives under adversity," said Paulson, who met Steel at Goldman Sachs when they both worked there. "I watched him at Goldman Sachs when we went through tough times. I watched him deal with others on the team, people inside and outside. He is cool under fire. He is measured. He knows how to pace himself, how to motivate others around him."

His resume isn't spotless. As chairman of Duke's board of trustees, he has faced criticism for the university's handling of the lacrosse scandal that rocked the campus for a year. Analysts also have questioned his lack of experience in retail banking, an area that provides 70 percent of Wachovia's profits. (emphasis added)

But by many accounts, the Durham native stands out for his intellect, work ethic and people skills.
You can’t miss the “rah-rah” treatment Steel receives from McClatchy Company reporters at the N&O (including Anne Blythe, bylined on some of the most discredited Duke hoax and frame-up attempt stories) and the Charlotte Observer.

And you can’t miss the N&O’s reference right at the top of the story to “the lacrosse scandal.”

But what “lacrosse scandal” is the N&O talking about 15 months after NC attorney general Roy Cooper said there never was any credible evidence with which to indict the three lacrosse players and without qualification declared them “innocent?”

There was certainly a Duke lacrosse hoax and frame-up attempt: Duke, led by Bob Steel, threw the lacrosse team under the bus; there were death threats against the players; Wanted and Vigilante posters were circulated at Duke and in Durham; the N&O withheld news exculpatory for the players; and the N&O deliberately promulgated what it knew was the “wall of solidarity” lie which within a day morphed into the “wall of silence” lie.

All of that is certainly scandalous; some of it may well involve criminal activity. But none of it is “a lacrosse scandal.”

There was a stupid, obnoxious party lacrosse players hosted and attended. It was much like many parties Duke students host and attend; with faculty and townies sometimes hosting similar parties, even attending some of the ones the Dukies host.

But the lacrosse party isn’t what the N&O meant by “a lacrosse scandal.”

The N&O’ used “lacrosse scandal” as a euphemism in order to avoid correctly labeling the scandalous conduct of Duke under Steel; the scandalous conduct of certain Durham officials and police who are defendants with Steel in two major lawsuits; and the N&O’s own scandalous coverage of events which resulted from Crystal Mangum’s lies.

The N&O said:
As chairman of Duke's board of trustees, he has faced criticism for the university's handling of the lacrosse scandal that rocked the campus for a year.
because it didn’t want to say something like:
As chairman of Duke’s board of trustees, Steel led Duke’s response to the false rape charges against three lacrosse players. Duke’s settled a number of suits relating to its response. Steel remains a defendant in two suits brought by lacrosse players and their families.
That the N&O would would resort to using the euphemism "a lacrosse scandal" (it uses it again later in its story) to spare Steel, others and itself from more truthful descriptions of the events of Spring 2006 and the suits which resulted from those events, is shameful but not surprising.

The entire N&O story's here.

Duke’s attorney Gorelick's ties to Fannie Mae and more

Northwestern University Law professor Jim Lindgren blogging at Volokh Conspiracy takes a critical look at former Clinton administration deputy attorney Jamie Gorelick’s service as Vice Chairman at Fannie Mae from 1997 to 2003 as well as other matters. He ends with a link to DIW which has reported on Gorelick's role as an attorney for the Duke Defendants.

Lindgren begins - - -

In reading this article about Crony Capitalism at Fannie Mae (tip to Instapundit), I noticed that Jamie Gorelick was one of the Fannie executives who benefited from inflated bonuses based on Enron-style accounting. She was Vice Chairman of Fannie Mae from 1997 to 2003 (Fannie’s fraudulent accounting scheme was made public in 2004).

This is the same Jamie Gorelick who was Deputy Attorney General in the mid 1990s and was reported to have been the author of the Clinton Administration’s WALL against sharing intelligence data between foreign and domestic agencies. Without the policies instituted by Gorelick still in place in 2001, officials might have learned more about the 9/11 attacks before the planes hit the buildings. . . .

Lindgren’s entire post is here. Be sure to read the thread. Some commenters are very critical of Lindgren but he comes back on the thread twice to defend his post and other commenters help make his case.

Monday, July 14, 2008

The Churchill Series - July 14, 2008

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

Both Churchill and President Franklin Roosevelt were possessed great physical courage. Churchill had proven his in battles on three continents. Roosevelt's heroic struggles to overcome the effects of polio are legendary.

Less well-know, really now all but forgotten, in FDR's case is the extraordinary courage he displayed on Feb. 15, 1933 when, while still President-elect, a would-be assassin fired five shots at him just as he'd finished delivering a speech in Florida. The bullets all missed FDR, but one killed the Mayor of Chicago whose hand Roosevelt was shaking.

Throughout the firing, Roosevelt never ducked; and afterwards he sought to comfort others.

All of that is background to a small incident that occurred in January, 1943 in Casablanca where Churchill and FDR were conferencing. They were staying in villas very near each other. Their villas’ grounds were, as you can imagine, very heavily guarded.

Both men were amused by the extensive security. So you can imagine their mutual laughter one morning when Churchill told Roosevelt about something that had happened the night before involving Churchill and Mike Reilly, the head of Roosevelt's Secret Service detail.

As Jon Meacham tells it in his book, Franklin and Winston,

"Mike Reilly was on patrol one evening when he glimpsed someone walking in the darkness near Roosevelt's villa.

'The old bloodhound in me took charge and I stalked the intruder,' Reilly recalled. ‘I stepped from behind a bush, directly in his path, only to have Winston Churchill look up and inquire blandly, ‘What’s the matter, Mike, did you think I was some person of evil Design?'"
You can read more on the assessination attempt on FDR here.

Obama delivers on change

Sen. Obama isn't just promising change.

He's already acted to seal his change promise.

Take a look here.

Then pass the syrup.

Hat tip: McClatchy Watch

McClatchy’s N&O’s revealing Sunday circulation numbers

If you’re a Raleigh News & Observer reader and you’ve believed the editors and publisher’s “rah-rah” claims in recent years about “positive” N&O circulation numbers, fasten your seatbelt.

Last week I posted N&O’s McClatchy stock: then and now , which had to do with the stock's crash. Within the past five years McClatchy's stock’s traded in the mid-70s. In March 2006 it traded in the mid-40s. It now sells around $5.

A commenter noted the Daniels family, which owned the N&O for a century, was smart to sell it to McClatchy in 1995. The commenter included a link to a site where the N&O has posted milestones in its history including this one:

September 1993 - - - Sunday sales of The News & Observer top 200,000 every week this month.
Now look at what public editor Ted Vaden reported in his May 28, 2008 column:
The N&O's total average circulation this year is 172,029 daily, 210,185 Sunday
Assuming the September 1993 and Vaden’s 2008 Sunday circulation numbers are accurate, the N&O’s Sunday circulation increased between Sept. 1993 and May 2008 by about 10,000 paper, a 5% circulation increase over about a 15 year period.

Now the N&O being the N&O, I don’t doubt that kind of increase is just the sort of data editors and the publisher have been relying on for their “rah-rah” claims about how well N&O circulation is doing. In recent years the N&O “masthead people” have also noted how well the N&O’s doing compared to other newspapers which are losing circulation.

But if you’re sure your seat belts are fastened, look at the following U. S. Census Bureau population numbers for Wake County which contains the City of Raleigh (numbers rounded to nearest thousands):
1990 - - - 423, 000

2000 - - - 628, 000

2007 - - - 833,000 (estimated)
So in the 17 years from 1990 to 2007, the Census Bureau estimates Wake County’s population increased from 423,000 to 833, 000, an almost a 100% population increase.

Those Census Bureau numbers really put the N&O’s 5% Sunday circulation increase from 1993 to 2008 in perspective, don’t they?

They certainly help us understand why current N&O employees and former ones who’ve recently lost jobs there say they’re not just victims of recent tough times in the newspaper industry.

They insist they’re also victims of mismanagement by McClatchy's N&O “masthead people” who failed to face up to obvious and major problems at the paper, including circulation which for many years has failed to keep pace with population growth.

Hat tip: Locomotive Breath

What about Ego-bama?

Writing in the NY Post, National Review’s Jonah Goldberg thinks Sen. Obama should swallow some of his pride. Here's some of what he says followed by my comments below the star line.

Goldberg begins - - -

In his pre-campaign book, "The Audacity of Hope," Barack Obama proclaims, "I find comfort in the fact that the longer I'm in politics the less nourishing popularity becomes, that a striving for rank and fame seems to betray a poverty of ambition, and that I am answerable mainly to the steady gaze of my own conscience."

Some might think this odd testimony from a young and inexperienced freshman senator on the cusp of seeking the highest rank, and the most famous position, in the world.

It's a bit like a parish priest saying he's happy with his modest lot in life and then declaring he's throwing his hat in the ring to become pope.

But a closer reading reveals a possible explanation. Perhaps he's an adulation junkie. Maybe the diminishing "nourishment" Sen. Obama receives from "popularity" is actually causing him to ratchet up his pursuit of more and more praise just to get the minimal fix he needs.

That would account for why a man who thinks striving for popularity is a character flaw has nonetheless decided to give his nomination acceptance speech in a 76,000-seat football stadium. …

The rest of Goldberg’s column is here.

Question: What if Sen. Obama really, truly believes he’s as great and saintly a public figure as he and Michelle Obama say he is?

In that case, should we expect His Obama-ness to swallow his pride?

Could you blame Obama for believing he's made enough sacrifices for America just by distancing himself from his friend Tony Rezko, recently convicted on 16 felony counts and disowning his close friend and pastor of 20 years, the anti-American racist Jeremiah Wright?

How much more should we expect Obama to endure before he and Michelle assume the presidency of what Michelle Obama says is a downright mean country?

Hat tip: AC

More about the Addison Motion clanger comments: my responses

I’m continuing here responses to parts of some comments on the thread of More about the Addison Motion clanger.

It will help you understand the content of this post if you're familiar not only with More about the Addison Motion clanger and its thread but also with A clanger in the Addison Motion to Dismiss and its thread.

With that said, the commenters are in italics; I’m in plain

The precedent set here could be huge, and this is larger than just who wins or loses this case. Ronald Stephens shot a huge hole in civil liberties with his race-based NTO, and I do hope that the court says something about it.

By “[t]he precedent here could be huge, and this is larger than just who wins or loses this case” I’m assuming the commenter means the following:

A state court order (NTO) treated 46 citizens as suspects in a multiple felony case based solely on their race. Therefore the state court ordered the 46 to submit to police DNA testing and face and torso photographing.

The federal court system, at least at the district level (and likely at the appellate level as well), will review and rule on matters concerning the constitutionality of the state court's order.

The effects of any federal court rulings for individual rights, for the circumstances under which courts can issue NTOs, etc., would certainly be, as the commenter says, “huge.”

That no doubt is one of the reasons why the nation’s most highly regarded attorney in the areas of uses and abuses of court-ordered DNA testing, Barry Scheck, is a lead attorney in the suit brought by the three innocent young men against Durham City, Durham Police, DNA Security and individuals associated with each of those organizations.

The attorneys in several briefs charge that the Plaintiffs allege they have a right not to be investigated when there is a possible crime.

But the Plaintiffs have never alleged that; only that any investigation must be conducted with respect for the constitutional rights of suspects.

This is a blatant distortion of the pleadings; and the Court should (but probably won't) take notice of it.

You’re right on your main and very important point: it “is a blatant distortion.”

As to what the court will do about it, I won’t offer an opinion now other than to say what attorneys have often told me: briefs containing distortions in the form of ridicule and/or denigration of the other side’s case are almost always counterproductive.

Ronald Stephens shot a huge hole in civil liberties with his race-based NTO, and I do hope that the court says something about it.

I'm confident the court will have plenty to say.

I've not spoken to any attorney who doesn't think the NTO was unconstitutional or doubts a federal court will so find.

Where was the ACLU to complain about this?

It was MIA. If the suits gain public attention, as I think they will, the ACLU at the state and national level may “come out from under the rock.” It's past time they did.

Where was the Duke Law School to complain about this?

The silence of the Duke Law School faculty as the hoax and frame-up attempt played out on their campus and within a few miles of their classroom podiums is shocking.

I’ve posted on the Law faculty’s silence when Reade Seligmann was threatened by racists on May 18, 2006 outside and within the Durham County Courthouse.

I’ll continue bringing up that matter and other aspects of the perplexing and shameful silence of almost all Law faculty in response to the hoax and frame-up attempt.

Why hasn't the NC Judicial Standards Commission started investigating the judges who made such outrageous rulings in the lax case?

I’m sorry, but I don’t know enough to attempt an answer to your question.

Why hasn't the NC Board of Nursing started investigating the actions of Levicy?

I offer the same answer as above.

Why hasn't the NC [State] Bar started investigating[s into] the actions of many of the attorneys involved?

One reason is the actions which may yet call for State Bar action are still not “settled” in the sense that there’s even agreement they happened.

For example, there is yet no public acknowledgment by Duke or its dean of students, Sue Wasiolek, an attorney and State Bar member, that she advised the lacrosse players not to tell their parents and not to seek legal counsel other than to involve themselves with an attorney, Wes Covington, who knew Durham Police and its court system, and would "take care of things," so to speak.

Should discovery proceedings reveal Wasiolek did so advise the players, attorneys tell me that’s something they believe the State Bar would consider looking at although a number of factors would influence when the Bar would do that.

As a matter of fairness I want to point out Wasiolek has never been the subject of State Bar disciplinary proceedings of any kind.

The actions and inactions of a number of other attorneys involved in the hoax, frame-up attempt and its ongoing cover-up could also be subject to State Bar review, especially if what defense attorney Joe Cheshire said last year – that a thorough investigation of the Duke lacrosse case will very likely uncover criminal conduct – proves true.

Keep something else in mind: A federal judge can refer an attorney to a state bar association for review of the attorney's conduct in matters that have come before the court. Federal Judge Susan Webber Wright made a referral to the Arkansas state bar following then President Bill Clinton’s testimony in a civil proceeding involving Paula Jones. Among the consequences of Wright's referral was Clinton's eventual disbarment by the U. S. Supreme Court in response to a request from an Arkansas State Bar committee.

The other question that I have concerns Linwood Wilson acting as his own attorney. Does he have a legal background? If not, who is advising him in his responses to motions? Is he preparing the way for any judgment that might go against him to be thrown out based on inadequate representation ("only a fool hires himself ...")?

You no doubt know Wilson’s not an attorney.

As a former private investigator and subsequently an investigator in the Durham DA’s office, he’s surely more familiar with some aspects of the law and investigative and prosecutorial procedures than the average citizen. However, it's a very safe bet that there are “big holes” in his knowledge in those areas.

I don’t know who, if anyone, is advising him.

I don’t know whether Wilson is “preparing the way for any judgment that might go against him to be thrown out based on inadequate representation.”

In criminal cases a defendant is entitled to be represented by counsel, with the court appointing one or more when the defendant can’t afford to hire an attorney. In some instances, courts in criminal cases have even overruled a defendant’s wish to represent himself and appointed a defense counsel.

But right now Wilson’s involved in a civil proceeding. I don’t know what defendants’ rights are as regards a right to counsel in civil cases; or what the court’s responsibilities are as regards defendants in civil actions and a right to counsel.

I hope attorneys will comment on those questions.

It would seem that the defendants in this case are still hoping that all of this will somehow be swept under the rug and will go away.

We can all understand why they’d hold such a hope. But I’m confident they’re going to be disappointed.

Except for what one reads here, on liestoppers, and DIW, there is no national coverage of what is occurring. I cannot understand the lack of concern that seems to permeate the reading public on this issue of political correctness that seemingly has permeated all levels of society in this country - the case of the IUPUI student is just another example of this. We have administrators, police, and prosecutors who are more than willing to insist that their version of things must be correct and even when the evidence contradicts their positions, they insist then that the evidence is faulty or dead out wrong because nothing should be able to get in the way of the politically correct narrative that they have spun.

You say some very important things I want to comment on, but not now at the end of a long post.

But I didn’t want to overlook your comments; and they provide an appropriate note on which to end this post. So there they are.

Thanks go to the commenters cited here and to all of you who provide such commentary.

You all add to the blog.


Sunday, July 13, 2008

A “tied” race and “the enthusiasm gap:”

Both Gallup and Rasmussen poll findings now show the race between Sens. McCain and Obama a statistical tie.

That will change many times between now and November. One factor that'll influence those changes and the final citizens’ vote that matters most concerns “the enthusiasm gap.”

Here’s some of what Stephen Hayes in The Weekly Standard has to say about it. My comments follow below the star line.

… Then McCain grew serious. "I have to say, and I don't mean to disappoint you, but I haven't changed positions." He defended his vote against the Bush tax cuts and, at some length, reiterated his concerns about global warming.

Later, he went out of his way to emphasize his respect for Hillary Clinton and boast about his work with Democrats Joe Lieberman, Russ Feingold, and Ted Kennedy.

This is McCain being McCain. He clearly believes that bipartisanship is among the highest virtues of political life. But it also reflects the campaign's strategic attempt to position McCain as a centrist in order to win the votes of independents and even some Democrats.

There are risks to this strategy and the enthusiasm gap is chief among them.

A Washington Post/ABC News poll last month found that nearly half of the liberals surveyed are enthusiastic about supporting Barack Obama, while only 13 percent of conservatives are enthusiastic about McCain. More generally, 91 percent of self-identified Obama supporters are "enthusiastic" about their candidate; 54 percent say they are "very enthusiastic." Seventy-three percent of such McCain supporters say they are "enthusiastic" about his candidacy, but only 17 percent say they are "very enthusiastic."

A USA Today/Gallup poll reported similar findings last week. That survey shows that while 67 percent of Barack Obama's supporters are "more excited than usual about voting" for their candidate, only 31 percent of John McCain's supporters can say the same thing.

More troubling for the McCain campaign is that more than half of those who identified themselves as McCain backers--54 percent--say they are "less excited than usual" about their candidate.

It is not surprising that conservatives are not warming to a candidate who likes to talk about climate change and government subsidies for displaced workers. But this coldness is increasingly alarming to some McCain backers. They believe that all of McCain's efforts to win over Democrats and independents can only pay off if he is able to get conservatives to turn out to vote for him in November. …

Hayes’ entire article’s here.


I think Sen. McCain can overcome “the enthusiasm gap” and rally conservatives because, among other things, he’s sure to get a “helping hand” from Sen. Obama and some of his surrogates, such as Gen. Wes Clark.

Can conservatives (or anyone for that matter) really be sure of what Obama’s true position is on FISA legislation he first promised to filibuster and then voted for?
When Clark and others denigrate McCain’s military service, they only help him with conservatives.

As Election Day draws nearer, Obama’s shifting and contradictory pronouncements on the war in Iraq, his lack of experience, his close, long-time associations with racists and far left anti-Americans, and whom he might appointment as federal judges will loom large with conservatives.

McCain has a good chance of at least shrinking “the enthusiasm gap” among conservatives, without having to do anything which could cost him support among Reagan Democrats and Independents.

Back to those Gallup and Rasmussen polls.

Suppose there isn’t much voter attitude change between now and November; or that what changes there are for each candidate tend to cancel each other in terms of benefiting either candidate except among conservatives, who by election day are markedly more enthusiastic for McCain.

In that case, the pundits now thinking how they’ll report “President-elect Obama’s historic victory” may have to do quick rewrites come Election Night.

Hat tip:

TIME dissembles in Tony Snow "Appreciation"

TIME offers what it calls an “Appreciation” of former White House press secretary Tony Snow who died yesterday at 53 following a courageous battle with cancer.

TIME begins:

The White House press corps is a temperamental group, and by the spring of 2006 its collective attitude towards the administration of George W. Bush was, at best, one of hostility. The problem wasn't the administration's policies — objectivity is still very much the goal — but the way those policies were expressed. Part of the problem had been Bush's two unsuccessful press secretaries: his first, Ari Fleischer, had proven capable but combative and condescending; his second, Scott McClellan, had been inadvertently caught up in misleading the press about the White House leak of the identity of a CIA officer. …
TIME's paragraph is self-serving dissembling.

Who believes the WH press corps' goal is “objectivity?”

If you’ve watched many White House press briefings, you know there are some reporters for whom “objectivity is still very much the goal.”

But it’s the “gotcha,” Bush-bashing types - Elizabeth Bumiller (NYT), David Gregory (NBC), Terry Moran (ABC) and Helen Thomas (Hearst) – who’ve typified the White House press corps during the presidency of George W. Bush.

When average citizens get a look at the WH press corps in action, they see its rank partisanship. No wonder a recent poll found only 17% of respondents thought MSM reporters would not spin stories to help their favorite candidates.

About Ari Fleischer – TIME calls him “combative and condescending.”

TIME is no doubt referring to those occasions when Fleisher would respond to a reporter with something like: “The President didn’t say that. If you’ll come to the press office after the briefing, I’ll make sure you get a copy of what he actually said. The full text of his speech has also been on the White House web site since last evening.”

TIME ends the paragraph misleading its readers with a reference to “the White House leak of the identity of a CIA officer.”

TIME knows the White House didn’t leak Valerie Plame’s identity.

The Plame leaker was former deputy secretary of state Richard Armitage, a TIME favorite, as is his former boss, Gen. Colin Powell, who was secretary of state at the time of the Plame leak.

Tony Snow would've immediately realized TIME dissembled in the opening paragraph to make the WH press corps look good and take shots at the Bush administration.

Given the source, he wouldn't have been surprised.

For genuine tributes to Snow see Mark Davis' I cited in this post yesterday and Mike Allen's at and Michelle Malkin's at her blog.

I'll post later today on Fox News' tributes, especially Brit Hume's.

The entire TIME "Appreciation" is here.