Tuesday, October 31, 2006

Duke lacrosse: The hits just keep coming

It is a measure of how things have changed in the last six months that the News and Observer's Ruth Sheehan is now out of patience with DA Mike Nifong:
To most of us, the Duke lacrosse case is such a disaster that Durham District Attorney Mike Nifong, up for re-election, should be preparing for a trouncing.
Robert KC Johnson's blog remains essential reading. He has the best on-going analysis of the many parts of this miscarriage of justice.

Johnson's most recent post discusses the most shocking revelation so far: DA Nifong's admission that the case is going forward because Durham needs a political show trial for closure and healing.

Some weeks ago William Anderson suggested that the Duke hoax was a new Reichstag fire. At the time, i thought his analogy was over the top. Now, though, the DA has confirmed that the case is exactly that.

All the more reason for Duke president Brodhead to speak out.

Monday, October 30, 2006

Highly recommended

Forget the Black Dahlia, Wonderland is the LA true crime movie to see.


Sunday, October 29, 2006

Nancy Grace: Another batch of shameless lies

Lauren Ritchie of the Orlando Sentinel has the sad details.

Grace's search for Trenton is about ratings

Grace's rantings are stale. So rev up the Trenton ratings machine.

The overblown, error-filled announcement of her arrival is typical of the "it's-all-about-me" way that Grace pathetically clings to the only story that has given her a recent ratings bump.

It's sickening to watch her play on emotions in a real-life tragedy to increase her dwindling viewing audience
.
Read the article and then read Grace's "response" on her Friday show here.

Note especially how Grace continues to twist the facts (blaming Ritchie for the errors that NG's PR person made in the email.) Beyond that, however, the rambling response-- incoherent, bathetic, belligerent-- is an embarrassment to any news professional. It sounds like the rantings of a drunk in a bar.

It is no longer surprising when Grace is caught distorting the truth. Such revelations have become as predictable as the full moon. The really important question is why she still has a job at CNN. How can that network remain the Most Trusted Name in News when it gives an anchor chair to someone who is so uninterested in getting the facts right or thinking logically.

UPDATE: Lauren Ritchie prints some of the email she recieved after her column.

Saturday, October 28, 2006

On deserving to lose

Michelle Malkin on the Webb/Allen race in Virginia

Political strategists in the belt are exulting that "Webb is toast" as a result of this Drudge/Allen bomb. But if this what Republican Senate candidates need to do to win elections, I don't think any of us should be cheering.
I think the recent attacks on Webb's novels are pathetic. Even worse is listening to Republicans justify it. Does anyone remember the outrage at the LA Times when they dredged up accusation against Schwarzenegger at the last minute?

At least the LA Times was reporting stuff that may or may not have happened. Allen is using material from a novel. A freaking novel!

Even worse, in my mind, is their attempt to attack Webb on his stand on women in the military. During the Clinton years, conservatives were very concerned about the attacks on military culture that followed in the wake of Tailhook. Webb was one of the stalwart in that fight and one of the few national figures outside of the uniformed services who stood up and spoke out against the witch hunt and the Great Military Re-education.

So now we see Republicans trying to attack him on the issue. Which means that they (implicitly) endorse the agenda of NOW and Hillary.

What is the point of winning an election if you have to abandon all your important positions to do so?

Thursday, October 26, 2006

Wrongful Conviction

Here's an old but timely Columbia Journalism review article on wrongful convictions.

Three Books and Ten Lessons for Journalists
The author offers the pious hope that his ten lessons will "encourage realistic investigations into possibly wrongful convictions, and perhaps help prevent wrongful convictions." But his earnest wish is not match for the customs of the journalistic guild and news outlets thirst for ratings and readership. The Nancy Graces of the world still taint jury pools in sensational cases. Crime reporters still protect useful sources and, consequently, enable bad prosecutions.

It is a shame that no one at the News and Observer read this piece. DA Mike Nifong seems determined to go a perfect 10 out of 10 on the wrongful conviction checklist provided in the article. In the Duke lacrosse case we see a miscarriage of justice played out in real time. Except for a few hardy souls like Stuart Taylor, the MSM has played their assigned role of cheerleader and enabler.

Wednesday, October 25, 2006

Atticus Finch doesn't work here

John Grisham's new book is a terrific read and an important work. It is non-fiction and tells the story of two wrongly convicted men. I hope that Grisham's popularity will bring much needed attention to this issue.

We live in a media world that encourages these type of mistakes. If the police arrest no one, they will be excoriated for days, weeks, even years if the case is high profile. (See Natalie Holloway, Jon Benet Ramsey, etc.) But if they charge and convict the wrong man, his exoneration is a one day local story.

At times, media coverage of criminal matters seems like a reversion to our primitive history. Watching Nancy Grace or Greta van Sustren brings to mind images from the Roman Coliseum. The goal isn't truth or justice, it is closure. Closure demands that someone must pay for the crime. Someone can easily become anyone, guilty or not.

I suspect that this is why the tabloid media continues to bash Aruba, but has lost interest in Chandra Levy. Both crimes are unsolved, but the DC police get a pass. Levy's murder, though, did cost Gary Condit his seat in Congress. Someone paid. That he was innocent of her murder is of little concern.

David Klinhoffer looks at Michael Savage

Savaged

There is much about him that would suggest, not an ideologue at all, but simply a performer. Then again, sometimes you get the feeling that a refugee from Air America (the failed experiment in liberal talk radio) has been writing scripts for him based on a lefty’s cartoon mental picture of a ranting right-wing caveman.
See also:

The Demented World of Michael Savage

Michael Savage: agent provocateur?

Tuesday, October 24, 2006

Presswatch

Two good columns by Jack Shafer

Newsbooks:The triumph of a journalism genre

The scoops found in the newsbooks indicate that the competitive pressure of the daily deadline buries as much potential news as it unearths. David Corn tells me that sources on Capitol Hill often won't disclose inside information about what's happening todaywhich every reporter is asking them aboutbut these same sources will be more forthcoming about last week's events, which are no longer the hot subject of the moment. By standing outside of today's news cycle, newsbook authors can recognize patterns and make connections that escape beat reporters filing four or five pieces a week.
Maybe I’m missing something but the same argument can be made in defense of the best bloggers. They add context and offer analysis that is often missing from stories written on deadline.

Having Climbed Out Onto a Limb That Cracks …How should a newspaper crawl back?

So, why are newspapers so hesitant to acknowledge their flawed work? Among other things, no journalist ever got a raise for saying, "I got it wrong." The whole incentive structure encourages journalists to deny or otherwise obfuscate the mistakes and miscues they and their publications commit.
I think there are three forces at work here. The first derives from David Warsh’s concept of “explanation space”:

the lofty region where short-term causal explanations of events are forged.
This is where journalists compete with others in the guild. Admitting errors undercuts their competitive position.

The second comes from the hold that sources have over reporters. Warsh again:

What is important to understand is that beneath the glitz, newspapers actually operate as favor banks, to use novelist Tom Wolfe’s phrase from Bonfire of the Vanities. That is to say, newspapers are forever paying favors forward, in expectation of reciprocal acts of kindness from players yet unknown, accepting deposits of information and emphasis, making grants of credit and blame.

Newspapers reward their culture heroes and presidential favorites, penalize those with whom they disagree, further the activities of which they approve and ignore those which they do not, hoping all the while that the intricate web of transactions actually is in the black over time. No accountant could ever hope to make sense of it. That’s what they pay publishers and editors to do
.
When a story goes wrong, it is often because reporters relied on the wrong sources. Revising the story means challenging those sources or portraying them in a bad light. This is hard because the reporter may still want those sources in the future.

Newsweek’s Susannah Meadow copped to half this charge in a recent media panel on the Duke lacrosse case.

Later, in response to a question about why the media seemed to assume the players were guilty, Meadows made this comment: “You had a public official [Nifong] who said, ‘I am sure!’, and say it to your face. We expect our public officials to know what they’re talking about.”
As noted before, crime reporters need the DA’s office to do their stories. Hence, they grant prosecutors much more credibility than most other officials. Can you imagine Evan Thomas quietly accepting a Rumsfeld pronouncement and then explaining it away by saying “we expect our our public officials to know what they are talking about”?

One last factor is the issue of worldview and explanation space. Important stories are written and published as part of a grand narrative. Journalists remain convinced that the big story is true even if some of the details are wrong. (Dan Rather, “fake but accurate”.) So why correct “trivia” at the risk of obscuring “the big picture”? This tendency has also been on ample display during the Duke lacrosse case.

Sunday, October 22, 2006

Dots?

I was struck by a point made by Andrew McCarthy in his article on Lynne Stewart and her apologists:
According to Preston’s article, Harris has told the judge that the terrorism counts against Ms. Stewart were “unwarranted overkill.” Harris reportedly elaborated that Stewart “didn’t have a clue that the stick she was poking in the government’s eye was going to have consequences beyond her imagination.”
I was curious to know more about this Clinton appointee who rallied to the defense of a terror-supporter. A little googling turned up this old Robert Novak column which is especially interesting:

[Fran] Townsend moved to the U.S. attorney's office in Manhattan -- notoriously liberal-laden amid a Republican administration. Townsend's boss and patron there was Jo Ann Harris, whose orientation was liberal Democratic.

When Attorney General Reno in 1993 summoned Harris to Washington as assistant attorney general running the Criminal Division, Harris immediately brought Townsend along as her aide. Townsend was promoted to oversee international law enforcement and then became counsel to the attorney general for terrorism and head of the Office of Intelligence Policy and Review (OIPR) -- a political Reno appointment for a supposed career slot
.
See also here and here.
Why Jason Whitlock is the best

His latest AOL column gets to the heart of the matter on Miami (FLA)'s problems, the real reason Howard Cosell's popularity, and the legend of Edgerrin ("Jesse") James.
I've never been a big fan of James. IMO, he was given a pass at Indy while Manning was made the scapegoat for all the post-season failures. Hundreds of columns have been written about Manning's "inability to win the big game" despite "all his offensive weapons."

Without James, the Colts are 5-0. Without Manning, James averaged less than two yards a carry against the Bears and the Cardinals are 1-5. Maybe Manning's weapons weren't all that great. Maybe, just maybe, James racked up big numbers because teams worried more about Archie's boy than they did "the Edge."

One thing is clear to anyone who watched last year's playoffs. The Colts would have beaten the Steelers if James had not been stopped short of the goal line by Larry Foote in the first half. That failure was all James.

Saturday, October 21, 2006

9/11 was a long time ago

The Coast Guard wants to train with machine guns in the Great Lakes. The New York Times finds plenty of people who are opposed to the idea.

We live in strange times. We demand that the government connect every dot and protect us against every contingency. Then, we nitpick every step the government takes to meet these expansive demands.

Andrew McCarthy offers another example: the muted reaction to Lynne Stewart's connivance with terrorists.
Cable news: get it fast, get it wrong

Cable news too fast, not final

The cable news networks, in the hyperdrive of a huge news story, or because of dogfight competition against others with the same technology, air stuff they have not properly checked out. Speed kills... their credibility.
Last year, management theorist Shoshana Zuboff wrote an interesting column for Fast Company. In it she noted that corporations were cutting costs by outsourcing work to their customers.

It seems to me that this is part of the business model cable news has adopted.

In the past, reporters and producers would conduct interviews, verify information and add context, write and edit the story, and then present the audience with a two-minute report. Cable, however, just fills air time with raw interviews. The audience has to do the work of verifying and assessing the information.

It is cost-effective because it is so cheap.

What i don't understand is why the respectable media plays along. Why do real reporters go on shows like "Nancy Grace" and provide grist for the mill? Many of these pseudo-newscasts would wither on the vine if they did not have real reporters doing their work for them.

Friday, October 20, 2006

Yes, indeed, a heartland World Series

No Yankees, no Mets, no Red Sox. Let the whining begin at ESPN.
Citizenship and education

Jeffrey Hart offers a definition given by his old professor Eugen Rosenstock-Huessy:
He also said that the goal of education is the citizen. He defined the 'citizen' in a radical and original way arising out of his own twentieth-century experience. He said that a citizen is a person who, if need be, can re-create his civilization.
Of course, if this is true, then we are doomed. Our institutions of higher learning are in the hands of people who loathe this civilization and are eager to remake it into something else.

Wednesday, October 18, 2006

When you win 45-7,

You get featured in TMQ:

Sweet Play of the Week: Pittsburgh leading 7-0, the Steelers had a first-and-10 on the Chiefs' 47. Pittsburgh ran a sweet-looking play in which Ben Roethlisberger faked the hitch pass right, then faked a handoff up the middle, then threw deep to the unguarded Nate Washington on the skinny post -- touchdown, and the walkover was on. Not only did Kansas City defensive back Greg Wesley let Washington go deep, not even attempting to cover him; not only was Wesley making the high school mistake of "looking into the backfield" trying to guess the play rather than guarding his man; check the tape of what happened once Wesley turned and realized Washington was behind him. Wesley merely stood there and watched the touchdown, jogging a little in the general direction after it was too late. This is the sort of defensive esprit de corps that would later in the game result in Kansas City taking over the mantle of TMQ's Single Worst Play of the Season So Far (see below).
Actually, I think this deserves to be the sweet and sour play of the week. A Chiefs DB had a chance to tackle nate Washington, but instead went for the big hit so beloved by highlight shows. The Pride of Tiffin College took the hit, bounced off, and went into the end zone. Had the DB wrapped up, the Steelers would have had first and ten in the red zone leading 7-0.

Big Ben has a history of costly interceptions down close. He threw pick-sixes to both the Jets and the Patriots in the 2004 playoffs. We squeaked by the Jets, but the interception against the Patriots was a back breaker. (It made the score 24-7 at the half.)

In SuperBowl XL, it was his interception at the goal line that let the Seahawks score their only touchdown. It kept the game close when it might have become a rout. (Blitzburgh loves a 21-3 third quarter lead).

This season the Steelers were leading the Bengals 7-0 and were driving (sound familiar?) Ben threw an interception in the end zone and left the door unlocked for the Bengal’s comeback.

All of this illustrates why the Chiefs’ play was inexcusable. Anything can happen in the red zone. Even if the Chiefs don’t get an interception and 95 yard return, they may have recovered a fumble or blocked a field goal. Even a successful field goal would have made the score only 10-0 and would have let the Chiefs defense keep a little of their confidence.

So it was a sweet play, a sour play, and a hidden play (unplay?). I sometimes wonder if this isn’t one of those areas where hustling teams (cough, Patriots, cough) reap their reward. They don’t give up cheap touchdowns and so have a chance to force the red zone turnover in the first place. Or they hold their opponent to a field goal. Over the course of a season that can translate into 30 or 40 unscored points and one or two extra victories.

Tuesday, October 17, 2006

Foley and "the List"

When this kind of thing involved liberals and Stalinists, we called it blacklisting and now consider it an abomination.

From World Magazine (a newsweekly aimed at evangelicals):
Around 8 p.m. on Oct. 4, a Democratic Party henchman clicked "send" on an e-mail that sent a list to Focus on the Family claiming to out as homosexuals 19 high-level Republican staffers on Capitol Hill. The List included the names of nine chiefs of staff for Republican congressmen. According to many homosexual groups, efforts by some gay-rights activists to "out" closeted gays represents salacious and vicious gossip with the intent to destroy the careers of political staffers.

Media stories indicate conservative Christians initially passed around The List, but Focus received the list from a Yahoo! e-mail account registered to the Health & Policy Research Foundation, a small California AIDS awareness charity run by former Democratic National Committee operative Rick Reidy.
Duke lacrosse

The "60 Minutes" segments on the case were well done and were absolutely devastating to Nifong.

Robert KC Johnson has been on the story for months and this post provides an exhaustive summary of the lies and missteps.

Jason Whitlock calls for the dismissal of the charges.

As i watched the "60 Minutes" piece, i was reminded again of the power of real journalism. Ed Bradley laid out the facts and told a story. This case has been a staple of the cable tabloid shows since the DNA dragnet back in March. Unfortunately those shows subscribe to the "Crossfire" model of journalism where the goal is screaming debate, not fact-finding. Tucker Carlson needs Georgia Goslee or Wendy Murphy. Ed Bradley did not. We were all better for their non-appearance.

Double standard?

After this story broke, Duke suspended the team for the remainder of the lacrosse season. The ostensible reason was the repeated bad behavior of the team with the party being the straw that broke the camels back. That seemed harsh and a little disingenuous: Duke maintained that it was the party, not the rape allegations that triggered the action. Most sportswriters accepted the action as understandable and just.

Would it be fair, then, to suspend the University of Miami (FLA) football team for the remainder of the season? The brawl/gang fight has been caught on tape. There is no doubt about what happened on the field on Saturday. Nor can anyone doubt that players at the U have had a pattern of bad behavior.

Sunday, October 15, 2006

Steelers blogging

This Ed Bouchette column is outstanding.
As bad as things might seem in Steeler Nation, do not -- repeat, do not -- pull the quarterback.
i also like that he is willing to acknowledge that some of the blame for Kordell Stewart's problems should go to the coaching staff. Slash became a whipping boy among Steelers's fan, but i think it was largely undeserved. He got us to the AFC Championship game twice. His performance in the 2001 game against the Patriots was more than good enough to win. I can think of five or six reasons we lost that have nothing to do with Stewart.
Duke lacrosse

An outstanding column by William Anderson.

Duke and the Death of Academe

Universities to some extent have prided themselves on being "other-worldly," in that they have seen themselves as places of refuge from the real world. Unfortunately, instead of being refuges from the bad aspects of life, they have become a nightmare of political correctness, in which professors have come to view their campuses as huge re-education camps.

Friday, October 13, 2006

Nancy Grace: Belle of the Freakers Ball

That's what Stephen King call her in his Entertainment Weekly column. Yeah, she's too creepy and nasty for the King of Horror.

Oh, by the way. I wonder who he was quoting here?
One politics-and-business blog calls this ''the dead mother bounce.''
Any ideas?
Nasty business

This column by Cliff Kincaid is a nasty bit of gay-bashing in the wake of the Foley scandal. Just one example:
Foley's progression from "friendly" to "explicit" Internet messages was part of his pattern as a homosexual pedophile predator.
The only part of that statement that is explicitly true is that Mark Foley is gay. He certainly was not a pedophile. The degree to which his behavior was predatory is what is under investigation.

I wonder how many people who blast Foley would also label Hugh Hefner a "perv"? Based on what we know now, Foley and Hef have a lot in common. They are both dirty old men who lust after teen-agers. Michelle Malkin, at least, is consistent. I don't doubt that she is as disgusted by Hefner as she is Foely. But i wonder how many others believe that?
Strange Days: Duke lacrosse

In 2004, "60 Minutes" tried to make news with the forged TANG documents. They got busted by Powerline and Little Green Footballs. In their defense of Dan Rather, the MSM poured scorn on bloggers.

This Sunday, "60 Minutes" will look at the Duke lacrosse case. CBS is reaching out to bloggers and encouraging them to watch. Check out this email from CBS at Lie Stoppers.
Five quick points about the conservative tantrum

1. I think most on the Right accepted that compromise was necessary. What aggravates us is that the Bush administration has been inept at the art of the deal. It capitulates on some issues but never gets the quid pro quo that allows it to achieve any of its conservative objectives.

2. On some of the biggest issues, the administration's actions have not matched its rhetoric. Take the revelations about secret operations in the War on Terror. The right was outraged. I suspect that a majority of Americans are opposed to intelligence officials who break their oaths and leak secrets to the Times and the Post. Yet, there is no indication that Bush and his appointees are serious about dealing with the arrogant bureaucrats who broke the law.

Net message of #1 and #2: The Bush style is to placate his enemies and ignore his base. (It may be a family trait.)

3. Given that, his right-wing supporters are in a tough spot. Their very public defense of all things Bush makes it hard to climb down. That is one of the key points made by Gardner in his book "Changing Minds." Hence the search for a scapegoat.

4. The polarized nature of political debate, especially in the blogosphere, has exacerbated this problem. Too much of what passes for debate has been thrust and parry between "wingnuts" and "moonbats."

It is hard to admit mistakes when that seems to confirm the "moonbats" were correct on any point. Once again, this is a situation where a scapegoat comes in handy.

5. Congressional Republicans and the right in general, have been trapped by an odd set of historical circumstances. Even before 9/11 we over-committed to Bush because he was in a peculiarly weak position. Remember, he was a minority president who needed a Supreme Court decision to confirm his victory. A few months into his term, his party lost control of the Senate. There was a very real danger of a Jimmy Carter type of failed presidency.

It was understandable that we rallied to the only leader we had. It was even more understandable that we rallied to a war president after we were attacked.

Unfortunately, in Bush we had a weak political leader who was also an energetic, self-confident CEO. He pursued his own course with little concern for the domestic coalition he led. Worst of all, he does not recognize that political loyalty is reciprocal.
Why are conservatives mad at the GOP?

Ace has a great post on the subject. Personally, i think he is on to something.
So I wonder if there's a bit of buyer's remorse here, magnifying the GOP's failings on other issues due to a possibly-unconscious need to lash out at Bush for the continuing chaos and violence in Iraq.
I would add that i think that the Right is lashing out because they invested so much hope in Bush as a conservative, as a political leader, as a war leader. Rather than admit that GWB was not what we wanted him to be, we look for scapegoats. Today, the chosen object of hate is the House GOP.

Wednesday, October 11, 2006

Should we arm the teachers?

Rev. Donald Sensing has a thoughtful post on the subject. He's not ready to have teachers start packing just yet.

I am reluctant to agree that arming teachers is a solution. They didn’t sign up for it when they entered the profession. There is enough on teachers’ plates without expecting them to stay proficient in handgun use. A teacher poorly trained or untrained in effective use of firearms could be just as dangerous to the kids as an intruder. If such a teacher gets downed, then the bad guy has another weapon.

As i see it, having armed teachers in classrooms will increase the number of accidents. If a teacher misplaces their gun (it's been known to happen even to police officers) the firearm will fall into the hands of curious twelve year olds or cocky teen-agers. That is a recipe for disaster.

Keeping schools gun-free is not a good solution, either. In a shooting like Columbine, an immediate armed response will save lives.

Right now, i lean toward permitting firearms in schools where they can be kept secured and away from students. A gun locked up in a principal's office is still better than no guns at all.

Rev Sensing's idea about trained volunteers has a great deal of merit and is another way to address the trade-off between preparation and accidents.

If we go down this road, however, we will need new training to make it effective. The scenarios are a hybrid. You cannot expect teachers or volunteers to become accomplished SWAT operators. At the same time, they confront much different challenges than those faced by a civilian CCW-holder.

Tuesday, October 10, 2006

Den Beste on the realty-based community and its entertainment preferences

It is today's must read.

The Unreality-based Community

There's a peculiar thing that's begun to happen to the left in the last few years: when reality is, apparently, too difficult to bear; when things don't go the way they wish things had gone, then they retreat into fantasy. And they're doing it out in public.
Long ago i discussed one specific example of this.
I felt better the moment i hit send

I emailed this to Pardon the Interruption. i know i won't do any good, but hey, i got a post out of it.

You're right. It is an outrage that Mr. O'Neil is not in the Hall of Fame. What say you show some guts and call out the brainless wonders who failed to vote him in when they had the chance.

When a quarterback throws a dumb pick we don't say "the Steelers had a pass intercepted". Oh, no. Sportswriters (Wilbon) and misplaced lame comedians (Kornheiser) will rant for hours about the bad pass that Roethlisberger threw, the poor decision-making Big Ben displayed, #7's complete inability to do the job.

In short, sportswriters call out players by name.

But it is different, isn't it, when the shoe is on the other foot?

So do it. Who were the idiots who left Buck O'Neil out of the Hall of Fame?

Or just shut up if you don't have the spine to challenge some of your colleagues
.
Duke lacrosse: New York Magazine

A strong article that gives credit where due:
Rape, Justice, and the ‘Times’

In the movie, Tom Hanks would play K. C. Johnson. He’s the most impressive of the “bloggers who have closely followed the case,” in the Times’ tacitly pejorative construction. But Johnson is the Platonic ideal of the species—passionate but committed to rigor and facts and fairness, a tenured professor of U.S. history (at Brooklyn College), a 38-year-old vegetarian who lives alone in a one-bedroom Bay Ridge apartment and does pretty much nothing but study, teach, run, and write.

Johnson has no connection to Duke. (His B.A. and Ph.D. are from the Harvard of the Northeast.) His attention was grabbed in April by the “deeply disturbing” public comments of Duke faculty that righteously indulged in invidious stereotypes and assumed the lacrosse players’ guilt. “One area that the academy, especially since McCarthyism, is supposed to stand up is cases where due process is denied,” he says.

He usually posts at least once a day—not standard autoblog rim shots, but carefully argued, deeply researched essays running 1,000 words or more
.

Monday, October 09, 2006

Two good posts on the Foley Mess

Michael Barone: level-headed as always.

Clarice Feldman: some thoughts on scandals, emails, privacy and double-standards.

Sunday, October 08, 2006

Yankee fans take heed

Beware the curse of the carpet-bagger. Do you really want six more years of heartbreak and frustration? History is against you. (Remember 1964!)
Yankee go home

Sometimes i love baseball
Yankees' mystique now in tatters
BTW, this editorial is exactly right:
Honors for O'Neil overdue

MEMO to the Baseball Hall of Fame: Hold an emergency meeting today. Elect Buck O'Neil unanimously. Don't make any more excuses. You've already waited too long.

It wasn't just baseball that lost a treasure Friday night when O'Neil died at age 94. Mankind did
.
I was surprised to learn that O'Neil was not already in the HoF. And i still am mystified that the brainless wonders passed him over last year. I guess being an arrogant jerk is part of the job description for HoF voters.

Saturday, October 07, 2006

Did Joe McCarthy ever stoop this low?

The post and comments at the HuffPo are unbelievable. This isn't some cyber ranter on a message board. This is Mr. Larry O'Donnell, Democratic operative, Hollywood producer, favorite pundit of Chris Matthews.

Friday, October 06, 2006

Speaking of media shamelessness

This is just horrible:
One member of the media apparently tried to sneak into the private funerals, state police said, by dressing as an Amish woman.

Troopers caught her, they said, because she was wearing a “pink-ish colored dress,’’ instead of the traditional black
.
No names, of course. The MSM always protects its own.
Bless Mike Gallagher? My ass

In an otherwise outstanding column on the Amish and their reaction to the massacre of their children, Rod Dreher gets one thing terribly wrong:

The wicked Rev. Fred Phelps and his crazy brood of fundamentalist vipers even planned to protest at the Amish children's funeral, until Dallas-based radio talker Mike Gallagher, bless him, gave them an hour of his program if they would only let those poor people bury their dead in peace.
Mike Gallagher deserves no praise. He gave no peace to the mourning families. They already have the "peace that passeth understanding". What can a radio yakker add?

Any community that can collect money for the family of the man who killed their children can weather the ranting of the Fred Phelps Clan.

What Gallagher did was despicable. He tried to grab ratings by giving a microphone to the shrieking mutants from Kansas.

Fred Phelps and those who denounce him have a symbiotic relationship. They provide each other with publicity. There is nothing inherently newsworthy anymore to the "protests" at funerals. Yet the cameras still come out when the Phelps bus pulls into town.

Why?

It is just a cheap way to fill airtime. It is not news, but it will fill a spot on a news program. What Phelps says is not important, but it does give radio yakkers something to yak about.

Such is the way of the world. Publicity whores will always find a way to get publicity. But let's not confuse the issue by pretending that some of the whores are doing something noble.
Can Howard Kurtz read?

In his latest he details David Corn's 'revelation' that there is a list of gay GOP staffers circulating in Washington. He then uncritically gives us Kevin Drum's opinion that this is GOP dirty work.

Has Kurtz ever heard of John Aravosis or Mike Rogers? Are they GOP hardliners? Does Kurtz even read what he cuts and pastes? Here's Corn on the list and its source:
The List -- drawn up by gay politicos.
So why did Kurtz go on a GOP bashing jaunt and show so little interest in the on-going outing of gay Republicans by gay liberals?

Thursday, October 05, 2006

The Foley Mess: Anti-gay window advertising

"gay window advertising," a strategy that permits gays and lesbians to "read into an ad certain subtextual elements" --that is, queer subtextual elements--while heterosexual consumers remain unaware of such elements.
The Foley case, like Kerry's "outing" of Mary Cheney, is an example of anti-gay window advertising. The scandal may evaporate under scrutiny, but many of the people who stage-managed this don't care about that. In the end, they are happy that they drove home the message to the conservative base---- Foley Gay Republican, Foley Gay Republican, Foley Gay Republican.

They pretend to deplore the bigotry of the "Christian right", yet they are willing to exploit that bigotry if it will suppress turnout.

Keep checking Macsmind for the best coverage of the twist and turns.

Welcome Instapundit readers. While you're here, why not check out a couple of the blogs on my blogroll? Also, it's pretty easy to add this blog to your RSS reader, so why not give it a try for a week or so? I'll be posting more on Foley and the election when i get a few minutes.
Peters vs. Drucker: Genius and mediocrity

Tom Peters unleashes on on Peter Drucker. I knew they had different views on management, but i was surprised at the depth of the animosity on display here.

I'm of two minds about this post. I'm surprised at the dour cynicism of Drucker's comments. At the same time, his idea that schools exist to make the mediocre more competent has an element of truth. It is not so much that A, B, and C are mediocre people. Rather, A, a salesman, is not a numbers whiz (except when it comes to quotas and his bonus). On his own, he is unlikely to become a star financial analyst nor is he interested in becoming one. However, with training and education, he can become more adept at reading income statements, marketing reports, etc. Increasing his competence in those areas makes him a better salesman and raises his value to his company.

Wednesday, October 04, 2006

Random bits on Foley, Hastert, and the drive-by media

Good post over at the American Thinker. Two points that really hit home.

Democrats who see nothing suspicious about homosexual men who want to be scoutmasters are now claiming that the Speaker of the House should resign because he ignored the “red flags” and failed to initiate an inquisition into Foley’s sexual practices. Their blatant hypocrisy is as transparent as their lust for political advantage.
And
The tactical calculation behind the Foley scandal is the same as the calculation that drove both John Kerry and John Edwards to babble on about Mary Cheney’s sexual orientation in nationally televised debates. Democrats believe that they can suppress the evangelical vote by suggesting that the GOP is too gay friendly and they aren’t about to let mere scruples stand in their way. Kerry’s lesbian gambit failed because the targeted voters were not the troglodyte simpletons of the Democrats’ imagination. They largely recognized and resented the condescension motivating the attack, and affirmed their respect for tender love within a family.
There is a lot of hypocrisy on this issue by the Democrats and the MSM. They know that the gay angle makes it especially shocking to some and they are willing to exploit that.

Hastert took a beating in the press when he stood up for the rights of Congress by condemning the search of a House office. The subject of the investigation was a Democrat found with $90,000 stashed in his home freezer. Now Pelosi and company are attacking Hastert for not tearing Foley’s office apart because of an email.

Weren’t the Democrats worried about aggressive use of wiretaps when it came to terrorism? Why the change? I mean other than the election.

Hmmm. With Foley the scandal is the story. During the Clinton years, it was often the unearthing of the scandal that became the MSM’s story. (Scaife, American Spectator, VRWC, etc.) Why is no one interested in the facts that Mac’s Mind has unearthed and compiled?

I’ve heard several pundits “explain” that Republican scandals are covered more harshly because of the “hypocrisy.” Yeah, right. We know from the Starr Report that Bill and Monica used to rendezvous on Sunday afternoons. After, that is, Bill and Hill went to church and got their picture taken for the newspapers. Can’t get much more hypocritical than that. Yet, somehow, that part of the Clinton scandals never received much coverage.

Monday, October 02, 2006

Duke lacrosse: Auto de fe

According to Wikipedia

The phrase auto de fe refers to the ritual of public penance of condemned heretics and apostates that took place when the Spanish Inquisition or the Portuguese Inquisition had decided their punishment (that is, after the trial). Auto de fe in medieval Spanish means "act of faith". The phrase also commonly occurs in English in its Portuguese form auto da fe (or auto da fé).

History

The auto de fe involved: a Catholic mass, prayer, a public procession of those found guilty, and a reading of their sentences . They took place in public squares or esplanades and lasted several hours: ecclesiastical and civil authorities attended
.
I think this medieval custom explains a lot about the MSM’s poor performance in Durham. They cared little about the crime per se: respectable journalists and highly paid pundits don’t do crime stories. The case just provided a setting--a publicity hook--where they could deliver their sermons on racism, sexism, privilege, the sins of white athletes, and the need for change.

Everything was made ready. The potbangers had attracted the cameras, the guilty parties had been identified: 46 white lacrosse players. Tom Wolfe could not write a better script. The crowd had been gathered by the sensational headlines. Now they would hear the righteous sermons. “Esteemed” professors had already started to deliver their denunciations.

And then the facts came out.

A few hardy souls actually read the court documents and raised questions. Others soon joined them.

It’s hard to deliver a homily at an execution when the crowd is shouting that the condemned are innocent. What good are prepared notes in those circumstances?

It is embarrassing to be caught short on facts by the audience you intend to lecture. Preachers and priests do not go to the pulpit to debate; they go to preach and admonish.

What to do? What to do?

Maybe just sit down and hope it blows over. After all, it is their pulpit. Let the crowd disperse. Wait for the next big case and deliver the lectures there.

Most of all, hope that no one notices that the esteemed and mighty pundits know less than they pretend to. If that idea gets into circulation, who will listen to the sermons?
Voice of his generation?

Slate looks at Zach Braff and is not amused:
If Zach Braff is the voice of my generation, can't someone please crush his larynx?
An astute observer of modern media identified the core of Braff's critical appeal years ago:

Rock critics like Elvis Costello because rock critics look like Elvis Costello.


David Lee Roth

Sunday, October 01, 2006

Words cannot convey

just how sick I am of hearing about Terrell Owens. There is a network for soap operas and that is the right place for the off-field melodrama of Jerry, Tuna, and TO.

On the field, as a player in the Ultimate Team Sport, he is far from the best at his position. He loses big points for the melodrama; his game production just cannot overcome the deficit. If I was building a team, I’d take Troy Brown, Marvin Harrison, and Hines Ward. I’d avoid TO like the plague and not lose one minute of sleep over the decision.