Saturday, May 30, 2009

Remember Miguel Estrada


They filibustered Estrada for years and he never made it onto the bench. So, when you see Barack Obama--who voted to filibuster Sam Alito!--piously denouncing "the political posturing and ideological brinksmanship that has bogged down this process" in the past, remember Miguel Estrada. Somewhere on this earth, there is a worse hypocrite than Barack Obama. I just can't think who he is offhand....

R.S. McCain understands why this scandal is scary:
The point is, there was evidence to suggest that the Obama administration may have been wielding its economic power -- gained at future taxpayers' expense -- to punish political enemies .
Now that the federal government is pouring trillions into semi-secret bailouts, there are a myriad opportunities for such strong-arming.

McCain and Malkin also note that the MSM is embarrassing itself on its non-coverage of this story.

Luckily, bloggers who are pushing forward (doing the work that the MSm won't do). The two best are Doug Ross and Joey Smith.

Useful background on Obama's car czar here:
Questions for Obama's Car Czar

Why did Quadrangle Group, run by Steven Rattner whom the president has chosen as the auto industry’s fix-it man, have a subsidiary buy the DVD rights to Chooch, a movie co-produced by a pension-fund official? It’s among the many things New York's attorney general needs to figure out.

Let's just say that Steven Rattner is no stranger to the "pay to play" culture at work in the Chrysler closings.

Friday, May 29, 2009

From the people who brought you the Reichstag fire

Spy Fired Shot That Changed West Germany

It was called “the shot that changed the republic.”

This photograph of Benno Ohnesorg being cradled by a woman after he was shot during a demonstration in West Berlin in 1967 is among the most iconic images in Germany.

The killing in 1967 of an unarmed demonstrator by a police officer in West Berlin set off a left-wing protest movement and put conservative West Germany on course to evolve into the progressive country it has become today.

Now a discovery in the archives of the East German secret police, known as the Stasi, has upended Germany’s perception of its postwar history. The killer, Karl-Heinz Kurras, though working for the West Berlin police, was at the time also acting as a Stasi spy for East Germany.

It is as if the shooting deaths of four students at Kent State University by the Ohio National Guard had been committed by an undercover K.G.B. officer, though the reverberations in Germany seemed to have run deeper.

“It makes a hell of a difference whether John F. Kennedy was killed by just a loose cannon running around or a Secret Service agent working for the East,” said Stefan Aust, the former editor in chief of the weekly newsmagazine Der Spiegel. “I would never, never, ever have thought that this could be true

Thursday, May 21, 2009

The guild is more important than the truth

Selena Roberts is on tour for her thinly sourced hatchet job on A-Rod. She hit a few bumps in the road when a few reviewers and journalists (like Jason Whitlock) brought up the Duke lacrosse case and Roberts's vicious, fact-challenged attacks on the lax players. (KC Johnson has documented Roberts's lies and evasions about the Durham hoax on his blog)

Honest journalists like Whitlock are rare. Most print outlets accept Robert's credibility without a second thought. (Apparently, Selena is clubbable).

Even more remarkable, plenty of outlets are running interence for the reporter.

This interview in the Arizona Republic is so fawning and cozy it confirms everything bloggers have ever suspected about the guild mentality of "Professional Journalists Who Have Implicit Credibility Unlike Bloggers Who Cannot Be Trusted To Dig Up The Truth."

Because of Rodriguez's stature, Roberts has become a lightning rod for broadcast commentators and bloggers. Roberts, who left the Star Tribune in 1996 to work at the New York Times and now is a columnist for Sports Illustrated, chatted recently with her old friend, TV critic Neal Justin, from her spot in the eye of the storm.

And here is how her old her old friend Neal Justin starts the hard hitting interview:

Question: There has been some negative stuff out there about you and your credibility. How are you dealing with that?
Finally, someone did it

A satisfying smackdown of Nancy Grace

Finally, someone has told off Nancy Grace, of CNN’s HLN network, while on the air.

Of course, Nancy could not handle the truth, so she cut the guy's mike and tosssed him from the show. No matter. McGraw Milhaven is still a hero in these parts

Wednesday, May 20, 2009

And BTW, Allahpundit is an idiot

But first, some smart ideas on reforming the banking system.

We Need Smaller Banks Now

If conservatives had their act together, they could seize the issue of financial reform and craft a market-friendly solution that addressed the key factors that drove us off the precipice last fall.

Instead we get bilge like this from Allahpundit at Hot Air:

Good news: Responsible credit-card users to “subsidize” deadbeats now

So much idiocy packed into such a short post.

1. Note the tone of moral outrage and angry condescension. This is the "moralization of credit" in action

2. There are none so blind as those who will not see. Allahpundit shows us what ideology-fueled naivete looks like. The starting point for his "argument" is a statement from a paid industry flack. Rightwing bloggers never trust politicians and their PR mouthpieces. When it suits their purposes, however, they will swallow whatever swill the private sector churns out.

3. Points 1 and 2 lead to the most egregious error. Allahpundit gets it wrong about who is subsidizing whom.

For twenty years, credit card borrowers have paid for the free riders who pay off their full balances each month.

I should know, i worked in the industry for 10 years at two very large issuer/banks. We scrutinized customer profitiability from every angle. Those people who paid interest (Allahpundit's "deadbeats") generated the profits. "Responsible credit card users" lost money for the bank.

See also:
Diseconomies of scale

Tuesday, May 19, 2009

One, two, one hundred Nifongs

After John Grisham dug into the question of  wrongful convictions he offered this bleak assessment of our justice system:

The journey also exposed me to the world of wrongful convictions. Something that I, even as a former lawyer, had never spent much time thinking about. This is not a problem peculiar to Oklahoma, far from it. Wrongful convictions occur every month in every state in this country, and the reasons are all varied and all the same-- bad police work, junk science, faulty eyewitness identifications, bad defense lawyers, lazy prosecutors, arrogant prosecutors.
Nearly every day brings fresh examples to bolster Grisham's argument.

Radley Balko has an incredible article about a fraudulent "expert" and the prosecutors who still defend him.

A Forensics Charlatan Gets Caught in the Act

Dr. William Anderson has two posts that look at the mindset of prosecutors who defend the indefensible:

Prosecutors and Wrongful Convictions: They Don't Care, Anymore

More Disturbing News about U.S. Prosecutors
James Bowman on why political thrillers are so boring

State of Play

Now, the monolithic political culture of Hollywood has locked film-makers into an equally inescapable presumption that the bad guys are (a) never going to be anyone of a different race or religion from the white and Christian variety, and they are (b) always going to be racists, secretive corporations, smooth-talking politicians or military straight-arrows, preferably any or all of the above who are also Christian believers. Apply this knowledge to State of Play and you don't even have to bother watching it -- or the final "twist" which only twists the movie into incoherence.

I also like his take on Hollywood's business model:

the movie business has kept going by making special-effects-laden superhero movies that twelve year-olds, eager to get out of the house and too young for bars, will want to go to again and again.
Hard truths that rarely get mentioned

A very good case can be made that California's developers, mortgage lenders and house-hungry but income- deficient residents, with state and local officials as enablers, created an unsustainable housing bubble. And when that bubble burst, leaving holders of mortgage bundles – many of them overseas banks – with little more than toilet paper, it created a banking crisis that spread to virtually every other segment of the global economy.

No, it was not confined to California. It happened in a few other high-growth states such as Florida, Arizona and Nevada. But nine of the 10 top issuers of subprime and no-documentation mortgages were headquartered in California, and the state has been ground zero for the collapse of those mortgages as adjustable interest rates "reset" upward, having recorded more than a half-million foreclosures and other symbols of distress.

Currently, another 400,000 home loans in the state are delinquent because the economic crisis that was spawned by the banking crisis means hundreds of thousands of California families have lost their incomes – folks who were reasonably good credit risks originally – and cannot make their mortgage payments

Good news

Kornheiser exits MNF team

Too bad it took three years to undo something that should never have been done in the first place.

Tuesday, May 12, 2009

Good read

Richard Florida must be stopped

The flirtation with Richard Florida has to stop. We are worried about our cities, I know. And, in the Obama-era, I know we appreciate empirical evidence. Richard Florida tugs on both of these heart strings. He’s an endorphin producer for nerdy urban planning lovers. But Richard Florida is like intellectual cotton candy. He looks so good, you want to keep going back for more. But in the end, its empty calories. And it will rot your teeth.

Sunday, May 10, 2009

Smug and clueless is a dangerous combination in a media critic

Howard Kurtz

To recite the wonders of the daily paper -- the serendipitous mixture of serious and playful, plugged-in local columnists, a natural forum for in-depth articles -- is to risk sounding like a fuddy-duddy gentleman preaching the virtues of ascots and walking sticks.

But then there is the reporting. In 2003, the Globe won a Pulitzer Prize for exposing sexual abuse by Roman Catholic priests, a courageous journalistic feat that led to the resignation of Boston's archbishop and sparked inquiries around the world. Can the slimmed-down Globe of the future do such intensive reporting? Could any other media outlet in Boston even attempt such a project?

Newspaper folks may have an inflated view of their self-importance, but what they do has an impact beyond their readers and advertisers. Local TV isn't likely to expose a crooked mayor, as the Detroit Free Press did. Bloggers aren't going to reveal secret CIA prisons

Man, that makes me think that newspapers like Kurtz's own Washington Post should rank up there with Mom and apple pie.

Then reality kicks in and you see past the self-interested special pleading:

This is not only a failure of the D.C. city government, but also a failure of the media to ask the kinds of questions, and tell the kinds of stories, that King is asking and telling.

The shooting death of Kwanzaa Diggs merited a mere two sentences in a Washington Post crime round-up column. Meanwhile, the Washington Post devoted front-page treatment to the colonoscopy of a panda at the Washington Zoo.

Dear God, what has happened to journalism in America? Is it any wonder that people hate "the media" so much? Here you've got the case of a 17-year-old shot dead, two others wounded, a crime that indicates a systemic failure of local government, and the local paper is too busy covering pandas at the zoo

Friday, May 08, 2009

Great new site

Conservative Political Report

It's an impressive news aggregator from a conservative perspective. Best of all, its focus is on local and state races, not just the blatherings that come out of Washington.

(HT: The Other McCain)

Thursday, May 07, 2009

Selena Roberts: Still lying

Great post by KC Johnson:

The Roberts National Mendacity Tour Continues

The bad news is that she is still out distorting her record on the Duke Lacrosse Hoax. The worse news is that many sports yakkers still hold her up as a credible, level-headed journalist.

The good news is that she is sometimes forced to confront her lacrosse columns as she promotes her A-Rod book.

Every talk show host who gives her airtime should read KC's post and ask the questions she keeps evading.

Some of Selena Roberts's greatest hits can be found here.

Wednesday, May 06, 2009

Gangster government

That's Michael Barone on the White House and its handling of the Chrysler bankruptcy.

Donald Sensing has more here.

Tuesday, May 05, 2009

Twenty years of political history boiled down into eight simple words

Lie down with Bushes, wake up with Democrats.
Courtesy of The Other McCain

Sunday, May 03, 2009

Sister Toldjah has some questions for the enemies of the patriarchy

Far left icon Keith Olbermann hams it up with hate-filled gay columnist on Miss California

All we heard last year was how most of the major nets were “biased” against women because of the ways some of them talked about Hillary Clinton. Liberal feminists were boiling with rage for months over treatment of her they deemed to be all too representative of American “patriarchy.” Yet Miss California has had the kitchen sink thrown at her from the far left over her opposition to gay marriage, and even though that isn’t all that unusual considering how intolerant they really are of people who disagree with them, the sexist remarks that have come from certain corners - mostly from MSDNC types - you’d think would spur feminists from coast to coast to challenge and ridicule those making the sexist remarks. You don’t have to agree with what a woman says to be able to slam her critics for trashing her based solely on her sex.
Jason Whitlock is not clubbable

Usually, the members of the journalist guild refuse topass judgement on each other. That is just one of the reasons why the MSM sucks. Jason Whitlock knows this first hand because he was banned from ESPN for daring to criticize some of the windbags at the WorldWide Leader.

Fortunately for us, he remains uncowed. He is one of the few journalists willing to take on the poobahs of the MSM.

This column on Selena Roberts and her A-Rod book is a gem.

Roberts’ book on A-Rod should be questioned

The national media anti-snitching campaign is twice as pervasive and effective as anything put together by the Bloods, Crips and LAPD. For the most part, we refuse to squeal on each other.

Roberts’ book is a long-winded blog. Why it’s being treated as an unimpeachable piece of journalism can only be explained by the cushy position she’s been handed by The New York Times, ESPN and Sports Illustrated and the unchallenged institutional bias found within the elite sports media institutions.

Like the Duke lacrosse players, the elite media have decided that Alex Rodriguez is fair game for abuse. Rules of fairness do not apply

HT: DiW who agrees with Whitlock about Selena Roberts.

Saturday, May 02, 2009

Psst, it's Full Metal Jacket Saturday

Check it out at The Other McCain.
Let's play did you know

Did you know that Fox News has more viewers for their mid-day news show than Keith Olberman pulls in primetime?

Yeah, me either. Makes you wonder why Olby and Maddow gets so much media attention. (We're working a theme here.)

Check out this post for more.

Here's another telling statistic, one you won't find in the media coverage of The New York Times. Everyone knows that Fox's evening line-up trounces the competition, but some of the network's daytime programs beat the prime time offerings of CNN and MSNBC. Keith Olberman's audience, for example, is about that of "Happening Now," FNC's midday news show that airs from 11 am to 1 pm, eastern time.

"Happening Now," is anchored by Jon Scott and Jane Skinner who are very talented broadcasters. But neither Mr. Scott nor Ms. Skinner have been hailed as cable news stars, or received the fawning coverage lavished on Olberman. In fact, the ratings "surge" of the MSNBC host has been largely the result of CNN's night-time implosion
Sometimes the MSM does not even try to hide it (II)

A new book by Elizabeth Edwards -- wife of disgraced putz John Edwards -- currently has 488 mentions in the media, according to Google News.

While a new book by Mark Levin, which has sold over a million copies in five weeks -- and has dominated the New York Times bestseller list with successive #1 rankings -- can't get the attention of a single major media outlet

Director Blue who has an idea why there is a news black out around Mark Levin.

Sometimes the MSM does not even try to hide it

Obama's lackeys in the media know exactly what they're doing. Turning an ordinary virus into a Code Orange national-security threat is political gold for Obama.

R. S. McCain. RTWT

Friday, May 01, 2009

Beldar has some advice for Kathleen Parker

Please, Ms. Parker, please stop. You're becoming like the drunk girl at the frat party with such a crush on the frat president that she's unaware there's still vomit in her hair.