Saturday, April 25, 2009

This Made Me Smile

Today’s Met Opera broadcast is Wagner’s Götterdämmerung. What I’ve had a chance to hear has been wonderful.

But whenever I listen to a Wagnerian composition, I can’t help recalling and smiling at Mark Twain’s comment:

”I’m told Wagner’s music's not as bad as it sounds.”

Friday, April 24, 2009

The Churchill Series - Apr. 24, 2009

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

Readers Note: One of you left a kind comment on yesterday's post thread to which I've responded there.


Churchill ended
My Early Life with the oft-quoted remark the he "married and lived happily ever after.”

Certainly he and Clementine had a wonderful fifty-seven year marriage filled with love and care in good and bad times.

But their marriage had its moments, too. Sometimes things got very testy. One reason was Churchill's choice of friends.

Clementine approved of most of them but there were some – Brendan Bracken and Lord Beaverbrook were two – who for years she wished Churchill would cast aside. But he wouldn't.

Worse for Clementine, despite her protestations, he'd often invited them as overnight guests at Chartwell.

Why wouldn’t he give in to Clementine? Or at least put a little "distance" in certain friendships?

Violet Bonham Carter, Churchill’s friend for almost sixty years, gives us her answer :

His friendship was a stronghold against which the gates of Hell could not prevail. There was an absolute quality in his loyalty, known only to those safe within its walls. Their battle was his own. He would concede no inch of ground, no smallest point against them. In a friend he would defend the indefensible, explain away the inexplicable – even forgive the unforgivable.
Most of us recognize the Churchill Bonham Carter describes as the same Churchill we respect and honor.

The dogwoods, azaleas and redbuds are still beautiful here. I hope it's nice where you are, too.

Have a good weekend.

Violet Bonham Carter, Winston Churchill: An Intimate Portrait. ( pgs. 116-117)

Mike Williams' Obama Watch - Apr. 24, 2009

Chrysler may be going bankrupt, but the U.A.W. won’t be feeling the pain. Joseph AshbyAmerican Thinker: at

That fact that Obama is seeking to completely isolate the union from its share of the blame shows just how much a money-laden political alliance can buy in the “New Era of Responsibility.”

Next thing you know Obama will be taking over the banks.

Speaking of Obama, is he or is he not going to charge Bush administration officials with torture?

Barack Obama on Tuesday:

President Obama suggested today that it remained a possibility that the Justice Department might bring charges against officials of the Bush administration who devised harsh interrogation policies that some see as torture….

Barack Obama on Thursday:

At a White House meeting Thursday, President Obama told Congressional leaders that he thinks it would be a mistake to set up a commission to investigate excesses of the Bush administration’s war on terror....

Ed Morrissey:

Until Tuesday, Obama had consistently downplayed any idea of investigations into allegations of torture involving Khalid Sheikh Mohammed and Abu Zubaydah. He reversed himself from a similar statement from his press secretary just the day before — and then when it became apparent that any investigation would not only include Congressional Democrats [my link] who signed off on the interrogations but the revelation of what got gained [my link] through the interrogations, Obama had to reverse himself again within less than 72 hours.

Maybe Obama should have considered the ramifications of his statement before he made it?

Ya think? Then there’s this:

A new Rasmussen survey suggests that the Democrats are barking up the wrong tree with their obsessive interest in the waterboarding of Khalid Sheikh Mohammed. At this point, at least, common sense reigns:

· 58 percent of voters say the Obama administration's recent release of DOJ memos "endangers the national security of the United States." Fewer than half as many 28 percent, think it "helps America's image abroad." (This suggests that Obama's apology tour hasn't been especially well-received, either.)

· 70 percent also say America's legal system either does a good job of weighing security against individual rights, or puts too much emphasis on individual rights at the expense of security. Only 21 percent say the legal system is "too concerned about protecting national security."

· Only 28 percent want the Obama administration to investigate how the Bush administration treated terrorists. 58 percent want no such investigations.

· Obama's decision to close Guantanamo Bay is now disapproved of by a 46-36 margin, with support for Obama's action declining.

So what’s Obama going to do if he can’t put the Bushies in the dock for torture?

From the Los Angeles Times, via the Seattle Times:

WASHINGTON — The Obama administration agreed late Thursday to release dozens of photographs depicting alleged abuses at U.S. prisons in Iraq and Afghanistan during the Bush years.

The decision will make public for the first time photos obtained in military investigations at facilities other than the Abu Ghraib prison in Iraq. Forty four pictures that the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) was seeking in a court case, plus a "substantial number" of other images, will be released by May 28.

The photos, examined by Air Force and Army criminal investigators, are apparently not as shocking as those taken at Abu Ghraib, which became a symbol of U.S. mistakes in Iraq. But Pentagon officials nevertheless are concerned that the release could incite another backlash in the Middle East….

Does the man have a clue? Apparently not:

A few weeks ago, the Wall Street Journal reported how President Obama's global-warming agenda was losing support among Democrats in the Senate, as 26 of them joined Republicans in a vote insisting that any new cap-and-trade tax on carbon energy would require at least 60 votes. However, the Journal predicted that the administration's next step would be to impose cap-and-trade the non-democratic way, via regulation. Bingo:

So last Friday the Environmental Protection Agency decided to put a gun to the head of Congress and play cap-and-trade roulette with the U.S. economy.

The pistol comes in the form of a ruling that carbon dioxide is a dangerous pollutant that threatens the public and therefore must be regulated under the 1970 Clean Air Act….

UK's Lord Christopher Monckton, a former science advisor to Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher, claimed House Democrats have refused to allow him to appear alongside former Vice President Al Gore at a high profile global warming hearing on Friday April 24, 2009 at 10am in Washington.

Monckton told Climate Depot that the Democrats rescinded his scheduled joint appearance at the House Energy and Commerce hearing on Friday. Monckton said he was informed that he would not be allowed to testify alongside Gore when his plane landed from England Thursday afternoon.

“The House Democrats don't want Gore humiliated, so they slammed the door of the Capitol in my face,” Monckton told Climate Depot in an exclusive interview. “They are cowards.”


“The Democrats have a lot to learn about the right of free speech under the US Constitution. Congress Henry Waxman's (D-CA) refusal to expose Al Gore's sci-fi comedy-horror testimony to proper, independent scrutiny by the House minority reeks of naked fear,” Monckton said from the airport Thursday evening.

“Waxman knows there has been no 'global warming' for at least a decade. Waxman knows there has been seven and a half years' global cooling. Waxman knows that, in the words of the UK High Court judge who condemned Gore's mawkish movie as materially, seriously, serially inaccurate, 'the Armageddon scenario that he depicts is not based on any scientific view,'” Monckton explained….

Thomas Lifson at American Thinker: “Sooner or later, it will become obvious to most Americans that a case so weak it cannot be debated with an informed skeptic is not worth wrecking the economy for."

Amen! Let’s give D.G. Gearino the last word for today:

McClatchy Newspapers, owner and gutter (as in that which guts) of the News & Observer, filed its first quarter financial results Thursday, and the news was even worse than expected. But here are a few nuggets of information you had to dig for, and because most people don’t — what with lives and real jobs and all — I did the digging for them….

A good read for those of you in N&O-land.


Is Obama Taking Over The Banks?

Pundit and former Clinton White House adviser Dick Morris thinks he is - -

President Obama showed his hand this week when The New York Times wrote that he is considering converting the stock the government owns in our country’s banks from preferred stock, which it now holds, to common stock.

This seemingly insignificant change is momentous. It means that the federal government will control all of the major banks and financial institutions in the nation. It means socialism.

The Times dutifully dressed up the Obama plan as a way to avoid asking Congress for more money for failing banks. But the implications of the proposal are obvious to anyone who cares to look. . . .

Morris goes on to lay out his case before closing with - - -

The Times story did not influence the dialogue of the day. People were much more concerned with the death of 21 horses at a polo match. Much as we will miss these noble animals, we will miss our economic freedom more.

His entire column's here.

Morris is calling our attention to something very, very important. Be sure to read his column if you haven't already.

Thursday, April 23, 2009

The Churchill Series - Apr. 23, 2009

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

In the early summer of 1906, Lady Wemyss hosted a small dinner London party. The guests included a bright, charming nineteen year old, Violet Asquith, daughter of Herbert Asquith, then Chancellor of the Exchequer, and soon to be Prime Minister.

Violet was seated next to a thirty-two year old Member of Parliament, Winston Churchill, the son of a former Chancellor of the Exchequer, Lord Randolph Churchill. She tells us about the evening:

I found myself sitting next to this young man who seemed to me quite different from any other young man I had ever met. For a long time he remained sunk in abstraction.

Then he appeared to become suddenly aware of my existence. He turned on me a lowering gaze and asked me abruptly how old I was. I replied that I was nineteen.

“And I,” he said almost despairingly, “am thirty-two already. Younger than anyone else who counts, though, “he added, as if to comfort himself.

Then savagely: “Curse ruthless time! Curse our mortality. How cruelly short is the allotted span for all we must cram into it.” And he burst forth into an eloquent diatribe on the shortness of human life , the immensity of possible human accomplishment – a theme so well exploited by the of all ages that it might seem difficult to invest it with a new and startling significance .

Yet for me he did so, in a torrent of magnificent language which appeared to be both effortless and inexhaustible and ended up with the words I shall always remember: “we are all worms. But I do believe that I am a glowworm.”

By this time I was convinced of it – and my conviction remained unshaken throughout the years that followed.
The young Violet Asquith, and Winston Churchill began a remarkable friendship that night that lasted until Churchill died on January 24, 1965.

Bonham Carter paid a last visit to the Churchill shortly before he died. She must surely thought of that summer evening in 1906 when a young man told her he was "a glowworm," something she never doubted and saw History confirm.
Violet Bonham Carter, Winston Churchill: An intimate Portrait. (p. 3)

Pelosi’s Doesn’t Always Say “Torture”

The Democrat’s and Leftist’s House Speaker Nancy Pelosi typically says “torture” when she’s expressing her "moral outrage" over waterboarding and demanding a “Truth Commission”

But today when questioned about reports she knew what was happening, she talked about “enhanced interrogation techniques.”

It would be funny except people like Pelosi, George Soros and, sad to say, possibly the President are putting political partisanship ahead of America’s security.

A Summers Nap

Be sure to read the part in bold.

Larry Summers falls asleep during Obama’s meeting with credit card executives.

Today, President Obama met with credit card industry officials at the White House. After the meeting, he pledged to push for a law that would offer "strong and reliable" protections for credit card users in the United States. He called the session with the industry executives "open and productive conversation." However, one person who seemed less than interested in the meeting was White House economic adviser Larry Summers, who fell asleep. From the pool report:

President Obama met with credit card industry officials in the Roosevelt Room. You have a list of who was at the table, with Geithner to Obama's right in the middle of the table and Jarrett to his left. At either end were Summers and Romer. Also in the room seated behind Obama were Chief of Staff Rahm Emanuel and Gene Sperling, who serves as counselor to Geithner. You will soon have Obama's remarks or can see them on TV.

One thing to note is that Summers appeared to be nodding off near the beginning of Obama's remarks. And then he DID nod off, doing the head on the hand and then head falling off the hand thing. Photogs seemed to be having a field day. All other officials in the room appeared fully awake.


Hat tip: AC

Former CIA Director Says Obama’s “Crossed The Red Line”

The Weekley Standard’s The Blog reports - - -

Porter Goss, former CIA Director and past chairman of the House Intelligence Committee, blasted the Obama administration for releasing Justice Department memos on harsh interrogation techniques.

“For the first time in my experience we’ve crossed the red line of properly protecting our national security in order to gain partisan political advantage,” Goss said in an interview.

Goss, a former CIA operative, has made few public comments since leaving his post as DCI in September 2006.

In December 2007, he told a Washington Post reporter that members of Congress had been fully briefed on the CIA’s special interrogation program. “Among those being briefed, there was a pretty full understanding of what the CIA was doing,” Goss told the Post. “And the reaction in the room was not just approval, but encouragement.”

In a letter to his intelligence community colleagues last Thursday, Director of National Intelligence Dennis Blair described those briefings. “From 2002 through 2006 when the use of these techniques ended, the leadership of the CIA repeatedly reported their activities both to Executive Branch policymakers and to members of Congress, and received permission to continue to use the techniques.”

That passage from Blair’s letter – along with another confirming that the interrogations produced “high-value information” that provided a “deeper understanding of the al Qaeda organization attacking this country” – was dropped when language from the letter was released publicly.

A spokesman for Blair attributed to the omission to normal editing procedures.

The rest of The Blog’s report is here.

Hat tip: Drudge

McClatchy’s Worrisome 1st Quarter Report

From Market Watch today - - -

The McClatchy Co. (MNI: news, chart, profile) said Thursday it swung to
a first-quarter loss of $37.7 million, or 45 cents a share, from a loss of $993,000, or 1 cent a share in the year-ago period. Adjusted loss in the latest period totaled 28 cents a share. Revenue at the Sacramento, Calif. company dropped 25% to $366 million. Analysts expected a loss of 3 cents a share, according to a survey by FactSet Research. (emphases added)


My comments:

The report has to be worrisome for McClatchy employees who know the company’s burdened with $2 bil in debt, junk ratings on its bonds, sharp revenue declines, penny stock status and a warning from the NY Stock Exchange that it faces delisting.

McClatchy Watch has a lot more here including links to WSJ, E&P, and AP reports.

Presidential Poison

is the title of a WSJ editorial which begins - - -

Mark down the date. Tuesday, April 21, 2009, is the moment that any chance of a new era of bipartisan respect in Washington ended. By inviting the prosecution of Bush officials for their antiterror legal advice, President Obama has injected a poison into our politics that he and the country will live to regret. …

Mr. Obama may think he can soar above all of this, but he'll soon learn otherwise. The Beltway's political energy will focus more on the spectacle of revenge, and less on his agenda. The CIA will have its reputation smeared, and its agents second-guessing themselves. And if there is another terror attack against Americans, Mr. Obama will have set himself up for the argument that his campaign against the Bush policies is partly to blame.

Above all, the exercise will only embitter Republicans, including the moderates and national-security hawks Mr. Obama may need in the next four years. As patriotic officials who acted in good faith are indicted, smeared, impeached from judgeships or stripped of their academic tenure, the partisan anger and backlash will grow.

And speaking of which, when will the GOP Members of Congress begin to denounce this partisan scapegoating? Senior Republicans like Mitch McConnell, Richard Lugar, John McCain, Orrin Hatch, Pat Roberts and Arlen Specter have hardly been profiles in courage.

Mr. Obama is more popular than his policies, due in part to his personal charm and his seeming goodwill. By indulging his party's desire to criminalize policy advice, he has unleashed furies that will haunt his Presidency.

The entire editorial’s here.

I’d like to think the WSJ editors are wrong but I’m afraid they’re not.

Something else: I can’t shake the belief President Obama may be doing what he’s doing for political reasons.

What are your thoughts?

MSM Versus the Tea Parties

Excerpts from Mona Charen’s column “CNN Versus the Tea Parties” with my comments below the star line.

Cheren writes - - -

… Susan Roesgen, who "covered" the Chicago tea party for CNN, was downright confrontational with attendees she interviewed, challenging a protestor who referenced Abraham Lincoln with "What does this have to do with taxes?"

The man attempted to explain. But the reporter interrupted him. "Did you know that you are eligible for a $400 rebate? Did you know that your state, the state of Lincoln, gets $50 billion out of the stimulus? That's $50 billion for your state."

She then tossed back to the anchor noting that "This is really not family viewing."

What Ms. Roesgen and others like her do not understand is that some people are interested in more than their own narrow self-interest.

Perhaps the protestor she interviewed, who was holding his 2-year-old son, is eligible for a tax rebate. And perhaps his state will get a juicy piece of the stimulus money. It is possible, just possible, that such a bribe does not influence him.

Perhaps it doesn't buy his support because he is skeptical that his taxes can remain low when the federal government is embarked on a record-shattering spending spree. He may be offended by the bailout culture, and worried that the obligations of taxpayers cannot remain low when it seems that every irresponsible borrower, failed car company, and free spending state is being rescued by the federal government.

Additionally, he may be dubious that the government will spend the money wisely. It has been rumored that government spending has produced waste, fraud, inefficiency, and corruption.

But he also may simply believe that engorging the government and enfeebling the private sector -- no matter who is writing the checks -- is not good for the economic or spiritual health of the country.

Charen’s entire column’s here and well worth reading if you haven’t done that already.


My comments:

On Arp. 15 I was using a computer in a library in a small rural town to get some Net work done. Over the course of about twenty minutes a dozen or so people came in and greeted one another. They were meeting to car pool and caravan to a tea party in a nearby city.

They were chatty as they waited for other folks so, as you’d expect, the librarian, who knew them all, gave them a few friendly “ssshs.” On their own accord and with smiles to the librarian, they moved outside to wait for their fellow protesters.

I decided that was a good time to stretch and get some fresh air while asking the people why they were protesting. So I went outside and told them I'd like to hear why they were protesting. They were happy to explain.

The reasons that group of protesters gave match up with the reasons Charen suggests in her column. Their reasons also match up with what other people I know who attended tea parties say motivated them.

Yet most of the MSM tea party coverage I’ve read and heard described the protesters in snarky or worse terms as “Republicans” or “conservatives” opposed to President Obama.

Reading both left and right oriented blogs this past week helped confirm my believe most of MSM got the tea party story wrong.

The way most news orgs reported the tea parties (or in many cases underreported them) told us more about news orgs’ liberal and leftist biases then it did the protesters and what motivated them to go to the parties.

Whatever motivated them, protesters at the library and others I know who want to tea parties are people who bring to mind the phrase "salt of the earth."

Hat tip:

Duke False Accuser’s UNC Hustle & Whine

Duke lacrosse false accuser Crystal Mangum spoke at UNC-Chapel Hill last evening.

Liestoppers Meeting posts Walt-in-Durham’s detailed report of the event followed by extensive commentary.

KC Johnson posts his commentary and Walt-in-Durham’s report. There’s another detailed report, this one anonymous, on KC’s post’s thread.

Carolina’s student newspaper, The Daily Tar Heel, reports on the event here. There are two comments on the thread right now, both worth reading.

JinC Regular cks summarizes:

It is amazing that she still claims that she was raped. What’s even more so is that she feels everyone is "out to get her" - that the big money pay-off for her "tribulations" has been denied her by the media which is working in cahoots with the families of the lacrosse players to make certain that "her story" is never told.
Thanks go to Walt-in-Durham and the Anon for reporting the event.

Apparently the video shown by Mangum’s promoter Ed Clark mixes images of Dr. King and the early civil rights struggle with content based on Mangum’s past hustles and whines.

I wish Clark hadn’t done that. He should have more respect for Dr. King and the early struggle.

But as long as Clark’s going to use Dr. King’s courage and legacy and the genuine claims on America of the early civil rights movement to promote Mangum and her “dream,” I’ve a suggestion for him.

He should title Mangum’s future public hustle and whine sessions “$$ Eye$ On The Prize $$”

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

The Churchill Series - Apr. 22, 2009

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

Yesterday marked the end of the reposting, with updating, of a 2006 set of posts concerning the three month long trip Churchill, his brother, Jack, and their sons, Randolph and Johnny, took in 1929 across Canada, down the American West coast, and than back by train across America to New York.

I want to share a few comments concerning the “travel series.”

Churchill’s zest for living, his capacity to wring so much out of a day never ceases to amaze me. During the trip he produced newspaper and magazine articles, wrote and delivered at least 24 speeches by my count (no doubt he delivered more), and researched for the four volume biography of his ancestor, the first Duke of Marlborough.

Some of those speeches were on very complicated and internationally sensitive subjects including naval force reduction treaties and international debt repayment plans. They were delivered before important and well-informed audiences; and were almost always followed by Q&A sessions.

Most politicians would have relied on many different sets of expert staffers to produce those speeches. But with the exception of some occasional consultation with British consulate staff, Churchill produced the speeches himself. He had few books and policy papers with him. Most of what went into those speeches came right from one of the twentieth century’s great storehouses of knowledge: Churchill’s mind.

His command of knowledge in diverse areas and his ability to organize that knowledge reminds us again: he was a very brilliant man.

There’s more I could say, but I don’t want to rattle on. I’d be very glad to hear what you think.


Onion's Oursourcing Parody

Of course, it's not politically correct; certainly not the sort of thing President Obama, Speaker Pelosi, and NBC's Brian Williams wants us watching.

But IMO it's worth a look.

Hat tip: AC

Taliban News, Obama Response

WRAL runs with an AP story it headlines:

Taliban extend hold, advance near Pakistan capital
I wouldn’t blame intelligent Americans for thinking the follow-up story headline could be:
Obama Offers Taliban Apologies; Blames Bush
What about you?

N&O Spins For Tancredo Protesters

Last Thursday I posted N&O Soft-pedals Tancredo Silencing.

It documented McClatchy Company’s liberal/leftist Raleigh News & Observer’s spin coverage of the mob-like actions of UNC-Chapel Hill student protesters and others who forced the cancellation of former Congressman Tom Tancredo’s Apr. 15 talk and threatened students who brought Tancredo to campus.

Today the N&O again spins for the mob-like Leftist protesters in a story under reporter Martha Quillin’s byline.

The story begins - - -

Undeterred by a protest that derailed a planned speech by former congressman Tom Tancredo last week, a UNC student group has invited another conservative former lawmaker to campus tonight.

Former U.S. Rep. Virgil Goode Jr. was invited by the UNC chapter of Youth for Western Civilization. The former Virginia congressman opposes amnesty for immigrants, doesn't think children of illegal immigrants born in this country should be American citizens, and was an early sponsor of legislation to build a fence along the U.S-Mexico border, according to his Web site.

Tancredo, national chairman of Youth for Western Civilization, came to Chapel Hill on April 14 but left amid a disturbance involving dozens of student protesters and campus public safety officers.

Protesters claimed the incident turned ugly because officers used excessive force, pushing students, pulling one by the hair and spraying mace into some students' faces.

Randy Young, spokesman for the public safety department, said that incident is under investigation. …

The rest of the N&O’s story here.

Nowhere in the N&O’s story does it mention the threats (“we know where you sleep”) protesters directed at the students who sponsored Tancredo’s UNC visit.

The N&O doesn’t tell readers UNC chancellor Thorp issued a statement the day after the Leftists silenced Tancredo.

Thorp apologized to Tancredo, promised disciplinary action against the protesters who are students, and said campus police acted properly.

The N&O also failed to mention Tancredo’s comparison of the protectors' mob-like actions to those of
Nazi street gangs who, in the years before Hitler seized power, did so much to destabilize the democratic Weimar government.

Message to Leftists and others who hate free speech:
Be sure to let the N&O know how much you appreciated today’s story.

Message to N&O readers who believe the N&O’s claim to be fair and accurate and free of political bias: Open your eyes.

Message to Sen. Kerry: Subsidize the N&O out of your own pocket if you like, but don’t force taxpayers to do it.

Mike Williams' Obama Watch - Apr. 22, 2009

Dorothy Rabinowitz at the WSJ Online has a must-read. She starts off:

The president of the United States has completed another outing abroad in his now standard form: as the un-Bush. At one stop after another -- the latest in Latin America, where Hugo Chávez expressed wishes to be his friend -- Barack Obama fulfilled his campaign vows to show the nations of the world that a new American leadership stood ready to atone for the transgressions of the old.

All went as expected in these travels, not counting certain unforeseen results of that triumphal European tour. The images of that trip, in which Mr. Obama dazzled ecstatic Europeans with citations of the offenses against international goodwill and humanity committed by the nation he leads, are now firmly imprinted on the minds of Americans. That this is so, and that it is not good news for him, is truth of a kind not quite fathomable to this president and his men.

Now, on the heels of those travels, comes his release of the guidelines known as "torture memos" -- a decision designed to emphasize, again, the superior ethical and moral leadership the world can expect from this administration as compared with that of presidencies past. This exercise in comparisons is one of which Mr. Obama may well never tire….

The editors of the WSJ Online (another good read):

There’s a cost to this preening. Foreign intelligence services will rethink cooperating with us, knowing how bad we are at keeping secrets. Obama’s relationship with the intelligence community will be strained. And al-Qaeda now knows important details of the CIA’s controversial enhanced-interrogation program and will doubtless move to prepare future operatives to resist these techniques, should we ever feel the need to resort to them again….

And a John in Carolina reader:

…I have a great deal of experience in the intelligence field: twelve years in clandestine collection activities in Asia, nine of those years in an undercover capacity; twenty years as a counterintelligence officer; and 13 years as a senior counterintelligence and anti-terrorist analyst.

I join with all the former directors of the CIA in condemning Obama's release of the documents pertaining to interrogation of terrorists.

He has not only unnecessarily revealed sensitive classified information, but has also made perfectly clear to our enemies just how far we can go in dealing with captured terrorists.

This colossal blunder has another result: it will make our field operatives gun-shy and could well result in the deaths of our troops.

In short, there was absolutely nothing to be gained by this foolish act except to make a few leftist political hacks feel good about themselves.

Back to the WSJ Online:

President Obama on Monday paid his first formal visit to CIA headquarters, in order, as he put it, to "underscore the importance" of the agency and let its staff "know that you've got my full support." Assuming he means it, the President should immediately declassify all memos concerning what intelligence was gleaned, and what plots foiled, by the interrogations of high-level al Qaeda detainees in the wake of September 11.

This suggestion was first made by former Vice President Dick Cheney, who said he found it "a little bit disturbing" that the Obama Administration had decided to release four Justice Department memos detailing the CIA's interrogation practices while not giving the full picture of what the interrogations yielded in actionable intelligence. Yes, it really is disturbing, especially given the bogus media narrative that has now developed around those memos [my links]….

Ed Morrissey at Hot Air:

In other words, the Obama administration covered up the fact that even their own DNI acknowledges that the interrogations produced actionable and critical information. When Dick Cheney demanded the release of the rest of the memos relating that information, he wasn’t just going on a fishing expedition. Cheney filed a request to declassify those memos in March, and the CIA has yet to decide on his request, but we can no longer doubt that records exist showing the success of those interrogations.

Obama has occasionally suggested a truth-and-reconciliation approach to probing the use of torture by the Bush administration, but this establishes that Obama isn’t terribly interested in “truth”. Withholding the truth that waterboarding produced information that saved hundreds of American lives, perhaps thousands, shows that Obama values public relations more than he does the truth. He wants to argue that none of this was necessary to secure the nation against terrorist attacks. In order to make that argument, he redacted Blair’s memo, including his defense of his predecessors, whom Blair acknowledges had to face some tough decisions to uncover plots against America….

Here’s the bottom line for today: Obama’s blame America shtick is now firmly imprinted on the minds of Americans and will blow up in his face if al Qaeda manages a 9/11 repeat.


P.S. This certainly won’t help:

A retired Army General's startling new accusation about torture passed without follow-up from the host of MSNBC News Live, apparently accepted as fact.

At approximately 3:51 pm (Eastern), Monday, April 20, 2009, during the broadcast of MSNBC News Alive television program, as a panel discussed President Obama's speech before Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) employees at CIA headquarters, retired U.S. Army General Barry Richard McCaffrey, in the context of discussing the Agency's used of "torture" on detainees, said this at the 6:23 mark of the 6:37 video clip.

"We should never, as a policy, maltreat people under our control, detainees. We tortured people unmercifully. We probably murdered dozens of them during the course of that, both the armed forces and the C.I.A."

Was McCaffrey just running off at the mouth, or can he back these allegations up with facts? Unlike the manufactured flap over the torture memos, this needs to be looked into.

"We" clearly referred to the C.I.A. and the U.S. military, and "them" to terrorist detainees in U.S. custody.

This is an astonishing allegation, only slightly mitigated by use of the word "probably."

Raleigh N&O Gets Duke False Accuser Headline Wrong

UNC's Daily Tarheel reports Duke lacrosse false accuser Crystal Mangum will give a talk tonight on campus. KC Johnson's blogs about it here.

But at 12:30 PM ET the liberal/leftist Raleigh News & Observer's Bulls Eye blog carries the erroneous headline - - -

Duke lacrosse player to speak tonight at UNC

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The Daily Tar Heel reports that the accuser in the Duke lacrosse case, Crystal Gail Mangum, will speak at 6:30 tonight at the Sonja Haynes Stone Black Cultural Center.

Mangum wil speak on “the harsh realities of minority treatment both in the justice system and the media,” according to the event’s press release. Questions from the audience will be screened to prevent questions being asked about the lacrosse scandal.

Read the DTH story here.

And folks, there's more.

On the main page of there are two successive story links:

The links are to identical posts except for their headlines at the N&O blogs Orange Chat (it has the correct headline) and Bulls Eye which blog's post I pasted above.

Folks, the erroneous headline's a reminder of: 1) how much of what the N&O published in Spring 2006 about false accuser Crystal Mangum was wrong; and 2) the N&O's 13-month-long suppression of critically important and exculpatory for the lacrosse players statements Mangum gave the N&O which it only disclosed after the indicted players had been declared innocent by NC's AG.

WSJ Pundit: “Obama Blames America”

Excerpts from WSJ editorial board member Dorothy Rabinowitz’s column today - "Obama Blames America" - followed by my comments.

The president of the United States has completed another outing abroad in his now standard form: as the un-Bush. At one stop after another -- the latest in Latin America, where Hugo Chávez expressed wishes to be his friend -- Barack Obama fulfilled his campaign vows to show the nations of the world that a new American leadership stood ready to atone for the transgressions of the old. …

All went as expected in these travels, not counting certain unforeseen results of that triumphal European tour. The images of that trip, in which Mr. Obama dazzled ecstatic Europeans with citations of the offenses against international goodwill and humanity committed by the nation he leads, are now firmly imprinted on the minds of Americans.

That this is so, and that it is not good news for him, is truth of a kind not quite fathomable to this president and his men.

Now, on the heels of those travels, comes his release of the guidelines known as "torture memos" -- a decision designed to emphasize, again, the superior ethical and moral leadership the world can expect from this administration as compared with that of presidencies past. This exercise in comparisons is one of which Mr. Obama may well never tire. …

In his appearance before employees of the CIA Monday -- part inspirational, part pep rally -- Mr. Obama held forth on the need to improve our image in the world, and on how in adhering to this great nation's principles of justice and right we could only be made safer. He was here to assure the employees of the CIA of his support, to explain, again, the release of those memos. And to describe, as he did, with some eloquence, how great and exceptional a democracy we were.

That no such estimation of the United States managed to infiltrate the content or tone of the president's remarks during his European tour -- nary a hint -- we know, and it is not surprising.

He had gone to Europe not as the voice of his nation, but as a missionary with a message of atonement for its errors. Which were, as he perceived them -- arrogance, dismissiveness, Guantanamo, deficiencies in its attitudes toward the Muslim world, and the presidency of Harry Truman and his decision to drop the atomic bomb, which ended World War II.

No sitting American president had ever delivered indictments of this kind while abroad, or for that matter at home, or been so ostentatiously modest about the character and accomplishment of the nation he led. He was mediator, an agent of change, a judge, apportioning blame -- and he was above the battle.

None of this display during Mr. Obama's recent travels could have come as a surprise to legions of his supporters, nor would many of them be daunted by their new president's preoccupation with our moral failures.
Five decades of teaching in colleges and universities across the land, portraying the U.S. as a power mainly responsible for injustice and evil, whose military might was ever a danger to the world -- a nation built on the fruits of greed, rapacity and racism -- have had their effect. (emphasis added)

The products of this education find nothing strange in a president quick to focus on the theme of American moral failure. He may not share many of their views, but there is, nonetheless, much that they find familiar about him.

The same can't be said for the large numbers of Americans who caught up with the details of the president's apology tour. Presidents have been transformed by office, and Mr. Obama may yet be one of them. But on the evidence so far, he has, as few presidents before him, much to transform. Or, at least, to understand.

Rebinowitz’s entire column’s here. I encourage you to read it all.


My comments:

President Obama’s apology tours remind me of nothing so much as those of Neville Chamberlain and British leaders during the 1930s. Like Obama, those British leaders were apologetic for things their county had done and careful not to do anything that might upset Mr. Hitler and Senor Mussolini. Even after war was declared, Chamberlain’s government refused to mine Germany’s harbors and the Rhine for fear of upsetting Hitler.

Chamberlain, like Obama a supreme egotist, believed the differences between Germany and England could still be resolved if only he had a chance to sit down with Hitler.

I hope Obama proves to be one of those Presidents about whom we say, “He grew in office.”

For America’s sake, as well as his, growth needs to start now. The bad guys pounce quickly when they spot weakness.

Hat tip: cks

Tuesday, April 21, 2009

The Churchill Series - Apr. 21, 2009

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

Churchill’s official biographer, Sir Martin Gilbert tells us:

Churchill’s return to New York coincided with Black Thursday, the sudden collapse of the New York stock market. That night Churchill dined with Bernard Baruch on Fifth Avenue.

“He had gathered around his table,” Churchill later wrote, “forty or more of the leading bankers and financiers of New York, and I remember that when one of them proposed my health he addressed the company as “Friends and
former millionaires.”

Churchill himself was deeply involved in the American stock market and suffered severe financial loss. But the payments he received for the articles he had contracted to write for such a high remuneration more than covered his losses.

On the day of the Crash, Churchill witnessed its consequences at first hand. “Under my window, he later wrote, “a gentleman cast himself down fifteen stories and was dashed to pieces, causing a wild commotion and the arrival of the fire brigade.” …
Later that day Churchill was invited to visit the floor of the New York Stock Exchange. Gilbert continues :
The 1,200 members of the [Exchange] were precluded, Churchill wrote, “by the strongest rules from running or raising their voices unduly. So there they were, walking to and fro like a slow-motion picture of a disturbed ant heap, offering each other enormous blocks of securities at a third of their old prices and half their present value, and for many minutes together finding no one strong enough to pick up the sure fortunes they were compelled to offer.
The article just quoted appeared in the Dec. 9, 1929 edition of the Daily Telegraph. It tells us a lot about Churchill that in the midst of perhaps the greatest financial panic of the twentieth century he could keep his head and tell readers that those shares on offer represented “sure fortunes” for those strong enough to buy.

Churchill and his brother Jack sailed for England on October 30. Tomorrow I’ll share a few thoughts as a wrap-up to this series within the series covering Churchill's almost three month long trip across Canada, down the West coast, and then across America to New York and other East coast sites including Washington.
Martin Gilbert,
Churchill and America. (pgs. 118-123)

NC Bar Dismisses Wasiolek Grievance

At Liestoppers Meeting Walter Abbott’s posted documents concerning a grievance he filed last September with the NC State Bar.

Abbott’s grievance cited allegations in a federal civil rights suit complaint filing which allege Duke University's dean of students Sue Wasiiolek, an attorney licensed by the State Bar, “advised the players that they should not hire lawyers and that they should not tell anyone,
including their parents, about the rape allegations. As one player recalled:“[R]ight now you don’t need an attorney. Just don’t tell anyone, including your teammates or parents, and cooperate with police if they contact you.” (italics in filing)

Abbott’s grievance was based on Rule 4.3 of the Bar’s Rules of Professional Conduct: Dealing with Unrepresented Person.

Rule 4.3 states:

In dealing on behalf of a client with a person who is not represented by counsel, a lawyer shall not:

(a) give legal advice to the person, other than the advice to secure counsel, if the lawyer knows or reasonably should know that the interests of such person are or have a reasonable possibility of being in conflict with the interests of the client; and

(b) state or imply that the lawyer is disinterested. When the lawyer knows or reasonably should know that the unrepresented person misunderstands the lawyer's role in the matter, the lawyer shall make reasonable efforts to correct the misunderstanding.
In a letter to Abbott dated Dec. 19, 2008 James Fox, chair of the Bar’s grievance committee wrote that he and a Bar staff attorney had concluded “the available information did not show that the attorney’s conduct violated Rules of Professional Conduct. The grievance was therefore dismissed.”


My comments:

Regarding the Bar’s dismissal of Abbott’s grievance, the key phrase we should all keep in mind is “the available information.”

If the plaintiff suit filing upon which Abbott relied when filing his grievance with the State Bar proceeds to discovery, as I think it likely will, Wasiolek will be deposed and asked about the allegations upon which Abbott based his grievance.

Also deposed and questioned concerning those allegations will certainly be the students who say they were so advised by Dean Wasiolek as well as J. Wesley Covington, an attorney whom the students say Wasiolek advised them to rely on and who himself is a defendant in two suits brought by victims of the Duke/Durham frame-up attempt and cover-up.

The allegations concerning Wasiolek surfaced three years ago. Neither she nor Duke has, as far as I know, ever explicitly and publicly denied them.

That doesn’t mean the allegations are true. But it does leave reasonable people wondering why Wasiolek and Duke wouldn’t explicitly and publicly deny the allegations if they were false.

Easy call: The State Bar’s dismissal of Abbott’s grievance is not the last we'll hear of the allegations.

Hunch: It’s also not the last the State Bar will hear of them.

What do you think?

Affirmative Action "Mismatch" At Duke

I thank North of Detroit for the heads up which led me to Paul Caron's TaxProf blog and the post below.

Caron is associate dean of faculty and professor at the University of Cincinnati College of Law who titled his post: "Affirmative Action 'Mismatch' At Duke."

Caron's post begins - - -

Inside Higher Ed: Testing for "Mismatch", by Scott Jaschik:

If members of some minority groups are admitted to elite colleges because of affirmative action -- and don't perform as well as they expected -- does this show a serious flaw in efforts to diversify student bodies?

Critics of affirmative action answer in the affirmative, and this is the basis of the controversial "mismatch" theory -- namely that affirmative action doesn't actually help its intended beneficiaries because they may struggle academically where admitted instead of enrolling at less competitive institutions where they might excel. Mismatch is heatedly debated ....

In a paper released Friday [Does Affirmative Action Lead to Mismatch?], four scholars at Duke University (three in economics and one in sociology) propose a new way to test for mismatch. ... They propose a test in which applicants admitted to an elite university are asked to predict their first-year grades and are then told the average grades earned by members of similar ethnic and racial groups admitted under similar circumstances. In this situation, they argue, students admitted under affirmative action could make an informed judgment on whether they were being mismatched.

Duke Admissions and Academic Performance Race and Ethnicity






Admissions office evaluations
















--Personal qualities










--Test scores





SAT average





Family income

--Less than $50,000










--$100,000 and higher





Academic performance

--Students' expected GPA





--Students' actual GPA





Folks, affirmative action supporters I hear from at Duke complain Asian students are "overrepresented" there.

The study Caron cites should help us all understand why Asian students at Duke are, as affirmative action supporters put it, "overrepresented."