Monday, July 25, 2005


No blogging for a while as we are taking a family vacation. Prediction for N&O front page when we return:

Rove not subject of investigation, not indicted, not being questioned, no new quotes except from lefty hacks - see story below.

And the business section lead:

Strong employment numbers drive rate under 5%, some economists say it may now be too low - Dems say time to raise taxes to cool economy

New Approaches to Terror War

U.S. News carries a pretty good article on new approaches we are taking toward the GWOT. (The N&O stays on the cutting edge with their 10th Rove mention in 10 days - this one is on the front page and contains exactly zero news - all of it is recycled by the partisan hacks who run the paper.)

Saturday, July 23, 2005

Roberts and the Federalist Society

While I would prefer to know that John Roberts was a member of the Federalist Society, it is certainly comical, and indicative of the terrible reporting of the MSM, that they would print his membership as a fact and even elevate him to a fixture in the society when he has not even been a member. Check the details at Patterico.

Facts on Wilson and Plame and the MSM does a nice job of laying out the chronology and explaining the facts of the Wilson/Plame story. Their detailed job exposes many of the distortions the MSM has printed over and over.

Still Talking the Economy Down

The N&O can't help themselves from talking this vibrant economy down. Today's header is Layoffs defy upbeat Wall St. The layoffs in question are the same kind we expect to see in a strong economy. Large and inefficient companies that are unable to adapt to new technologies must get smaller and/or go out of business. In this case those companies are Eastman Kodak, Hewlett-Packard and Kimberly-Clark.

The surest sign of a statist, and therefore sluggish and inefficient, economy is when we see these outmoded companies being saved by taxpayer dollars. But as long as the economy is producing new jobs that more than make up for the layoffs (which this economy clearly is), then we achieve a net benefit.

Lazy reporters and editors, especially those unwilling to admit that after 6 years of W the economy looks great, will run the headlines of large layoffs. Good reporters and editors who understand the economy, however, will do some work to find innovative small companies (the engine of growth in the U.S.) who are hiring and highlight the net overall job growth.

The Best Kind of Terrorist

In typical Brit fashion, a witness to the killing of the suspected terrorist on the train yesterday described the man as "quite seriously dead." The best kind of terrorist - quite seriously dead. (24 July edit - The Brits are saying the man was not a terrorist. Wrong answer: Let's stop aggressively following and killing suspected terrorists because of this mistake. Right Answer: Let's get a little better at getting the right guys)

Keeping the Dream Alive

Even when there is no more story to report, the N&O has become crafty at trying to keep the dream alive of taking down a GOP leader. They failed with Delay despite story after story, and their desperation with Rove is showing.

Today they had to resort to this headline: Ex-Intelligence officers talk Rove. The story, if there was one, was of a political stunt by the Dems to hold mock hearings and bring in some ex-intel guys friendly to their cause to criticize Rove. Prediction for tomorrow: Rove still not exonerated, more tomorrow.

Here are some more details from Captains Quarters, and more comments from Cynical Nation.

Friday, July 22, 2005

Howard's End

Mike Williams forwards the commentary of Chrenkoff and the recent comments of John Howard. Worth the read:

Australia's Prime Minister John Howard is no stranger to finding himself in the midst of crisis. He was Washington on September 11, 2001, only a few blocks away from the Pentagon when it was hit with the flying battering ram. Yesterday, again, he was in the middle of a meeting with Tony Blair when the second wave of terrorists struck (or tried to strike) London. There is little doubt that Howard would have been on the forefront of the Willing regardless - but such proximity to the brutal face of terror certainly adds immediacy to his commitment to the alliance with the United States and the United Kingdom.

Howard's words during the joint press conference with Blair have been quoted extensively around the blogosphere, so you have to excuse me if you've read it already, but it bears repeating as a clear and concise restatement of what we're doing and why we're doing it:

Question: To both Prime Ministers, what was your immediate reaction on hearing that some incidents had occurred, was it here we go again? And do incidents like this, coming just 14 days after the horrific attacks, suggest that the war against terror is being lost on the streets? And yesterday an Australian bomb victim of July 7 linked the bombings to Iraq. Does that suggest that the propaganda war against terrorists is also being lost?

Prime Minister Howard: Could I start by saying the Prime Minister and I were having a discussion when we heard about it, and my first reaction was to get some more information, and I really don't want to add to what the Prime Minister has said. It is a matter for the police and a matter for the British authorities to talk in detail about what has happened here. Could I just say very directly, Paul, on the issue of the policies of my government, and indeed the policies of the British and American government on Iraq, that the first point of reference is that once a country allows its foreign policy to be determined by terrorism, it has given the game away, to use the vernacular. And no Australian government that I lead will ever have policies determined by terrorism or terrorist threats, and no self-respecting government of any political stripe in Australia would allow that to happen.

Can I remind you that the murder of 88 Australians in Bali took place before the operation in Iraq; and could I remind you that the 11 September occurred before the operation in Iraq; can I also remind you that the very first occasion that Bin Laden specifically referred to Australia was in the context of Australia's involvement in liberating the people of East Timor.

Are people, by implication, suggesting that we shouldn't have done that? When a group claimed responsibility on the website for the attacks on 7 July, they talked about British policy, not just in Iraq, but in Afghanistan. Are people suggesting we shouldn't be in Afghanistan?

When Sergio de Melo was murdered in Iraq, a brave man, a distinguished international diplomat, immensely respected for his work in the United Nations, when al Queda gloated about that they referred specifically to the role that de Melo had carried out in East Timor because he was the United Nations administrator in East Timor. Now I don't know the mind of the terrorist, by definition you can't put yourself in the mind of a successful suicide bomber, I can only look at objective facts, and the objective facts are as I have cited. The objective evidence is that Australia was a terrorist target long before the operation in Iraq, and indeed all the evidence, as distinct from the suppositions, suggest to me that this is about hatred of a way of life, this is about the perverted use of the principles of a great world religion that at its root preaches peace and cooperation, and I think we lose sight of the challenge we have if we allow ourselves to see these attacks in the context of particular circumstances, rather than the abuse through a perverted ideology of people and their murder.

Prime Minister Blair: I agree 100% with that.

A Good Sign?

It is hard to find a silver lining in the recent terrorist attacks in London, but I think as we examine what has happened during the last week in London, we should also look at something that has not happened.

Since Sept. 11th, we have yet to see the type of extremely well-coordinated terrorist attacks many predicted. The bombings in Spain and London took some coordination, but not nearly as much as the 11th. Every death due to terrorism is a tragedy, but if we have been so effective at disrupting terrorist networks that they can't conduct planning and instead have to resort to isolated bus or subway bombings, then we have succeeded in significantly decreasing the terrorist capability and lethality.

This will be a long struggle and we will never completely destroy the Islamofascists who have taken up terrorism. But if we are able to kill or capture those who have the money, planning capability and willpower to plan and launch attacks using WMD or extremely lethal conventional means, we have earned a victory. Some of the isolated prospective bus bombers may choose to rejoin civilized society in the absence of leadership. Others will be able to pull off amateurish terrorist violence with varying degrees of lethality, but with absolutely no impact on our political will to win the GWOT.

Economic Spin

It is usually tough to find 2 objectionable stories in one day in the business section, but besides the state employee boondogle below, the N&O also does all it can, again, to put a damper on the true state of the economy.

As we have noted before, we have an economy experiencing consistent growth above 3.5% with unemployment near record lows, retail sales strong, inflation tame and the S+P at a 4 year high. Yesterday jobless claims fell by 34,000, the largest decrease in 2 years, and the Index of Leading Economic Indicators rose just less than 1%. Now both of those numbers are volatile, but combined with the earlier data it would not be a stretch to say the economy is strong. It might even be worthwhile for the paper to mention the Bush tax cuts and see if there has been any causal impact.

But instead we get this neutral headline: 2 signals of economic growth. And we get this tepid analysis: Both measures suggest that the U.S. economy is continuing to grow. But many analysts think the expansion has begun slowing from last year's torrid pace in response to Federal Reserve increases in U.S. interest rates.

Well, 'many analysts' can believe whatever they want, but the economy has slowed, so it doesn't matter what they think. If you want to paint a morose economic picture, you can always reference some previous point (last year we had a quarter with 7+% growth) and say the economy is not growing as strongly, but it really doesn't mean much.

This paper led the charge during the election cycle in printing the Dem. talking points about how many jobs had been lost under Bush, so you would expect they would have the decency to fully report this remarkable economic and job growth we have been experiencing.

So There is a Free Lunch

Kudos to the N&O for letting us know that employees we hire with our state taxpayer dollars can work for the state for five years and qualify for free lifetime retiree health benefits, also at taxpayer expense. State employees, by the way, also includes members of the General Assembly.

So you would think the gist of an investigative report would be to find out how these outrageous benefits were ever created, who voted for them, and who was in power when the laws passed. Then a good paper would lead the charge to throw the rascals out.

But the N&O is only willing to comment on the bill currently under consideration that would take a small portion of this perk away from state employees (they would have to pay some percentage of an already small premium). In their mindset of the need for big government and big benefits for those who work in big government, the N&O treats the initial passage of the bill as if it made perfect sense.

Thursday, July 21, 2005

No Critics to be Found

Just imagine if the Republican Congress failed to pass a budget and Pres. Bush stepped in to mandate spending in areas he deemed important. The N&O headline writers would have a field day:

GOP Congress fails again to pass budget

Bush disregards Constitution in power play

Republican infighting causes budget grief

But here in N.C., the Dem. legislature has failed to pass a budget for the 3rd week. So the governor has usurped legislative powers to spend money on his pet projects. And can the N&O find one critic of this move for their front page story? No. But they do run this beauty from Dem. House Speaker Jim Black, "He's an education governor, and I'm an education speaker." Thanks Jim.

Does the writer find one taxpayer group to comment on how the Gov. is spending our money. No. But the N&O does quote one of the superintendents of schools who has received more money in the past and will get additional funds now from Easley, "things are really beginning to pay off." Thanks again for that great reporting, but what things are beginning to pay off? Are test scores up in the counties getting more money for education? And if they are, are they up more than in other areas of the state that are getting fewer goodies from the Gov.?

Good papers answer those questions. They don't serve as a mouthpiece for their chosen party.

Prince Bandar's Friends

Prince Bandar is stepping down as the Saudi ambassador to the U.S. so let's see how the MSM and the N&O handle the story.

No doubt Bandar has been one of the most influential figures in Washington during his 22 years. Some will claim he had too much influence and the U.S. would have been better off moving away from the Saudis. Others say he was a moderating influence and helped keep relations cordial and reduced the level of extremism in the Saudi govt. After Sept. 11th, however, public opinion has turned against the Saudis, and it has not been a big plus to be seen as close to the govt. there.

So what the N&O wants to make clear in their article today is that Bandar was only influential with Republicans. They specifically mention Bandar's relationship with both 41 and 43, but oddly say nothing of his close ties not only with Clinton but also with a number of Democrat power brokers from as far back as the Carter administration. It took me 5 minutes to read about those ties in other references on my own bookshelf, so any writer worth his salt could have presented a comprehensive story pretty quickly.

Wednesday, July 20, 2005

Another Blog Exposing the MSM

Patterico exposes the L.A. Times for committing many of the same sins as the N&O - mangling headlines, including misleading information in articles to score partisan political points etc. And he has a nice explanation of the "french fry" case involving John Roberts. If that case is all the Left has against Roberts, they are in for another embarrassing defeat.

The Real News

The ever-predictable N&O, after feverishly working "Rove" into every possible story the last week, now follows with an editorial (as predicted here) worthy of a lefty college newspaper. Do these people not realize that John Roberts was just nominated, or that the real news is happening in Venezuela (with photoblogging)?

Reaction from the Left

Right Wing News brings us some comments on John Roberts from the Left's finest.

Monday, July 18, 2005

Nice Riff on Wilson

John in Carolina has a nice riff on Wilson and Plame.

Where is the "Outing" Outrage?

As Michael Barone points out, Liberals are still decrying the "outing" of a CIA employee (the N&O ran another piece today that only reiterated old news - expect more tomorrow, then another sanctimonious editorial from Steve Ford, then a mention in a related article, then a piece by old lady Ivins etc.).

But several months ago wasn't it the N&O that ran a front-page story (from the NYT) naming the location and the company identity of an airline working covertly for the CIA? Relative to the naming of a desk jockey at Langley, how much more damage do you think that story did to CIA operations?

Now if the MSM wants to continue to go after Bush on any issue where they think they can get traction (so far they have failed in every battle and have disgraced themselves in the process), they certainly deserve their shot. But they should not hide behind their new-found belief in the sanctity of the CIA to deliver their blows.

Going on the Offensive in GB

Blackfive tells us that Britain has "tactical teams" tracking AQ suspects, and that those teams have permission to kill if they believe the individuals will conduct a terror attack in short order.

First, glad to hear the Brits have the teams and the capability to do this (if the news reports are true).

Second, more glad to hear they are willing to use the teams to their fullest extent. They have clearly learned from the Israelis that nothing slows down terror attacks more than taking out leaders, or even mid-level members, of terror groups when they least expect it. Hamas attacks on Israel went from several per week to virtually none after the Israelis had taken out the 3rd consecutive Hamas "leader."

Good News in the Winds

Winds of Change brings us this good, and underreported news, from Afghanistan:

Australia is stepping up with 150 SAS special forces troops for the Afghanistan mission in the Global War on Terror. This is up from its current troop deployment level of one (there was previously a larger contingent, later withdrawn). It may also send a 200-person provincial reconstruction team later. More.

Canada, too, is stepping up its commitment in Afghanistan in a major way. Its elite Joint Task Force 2 soldiers are joining Canada's new 2,000 man deployment to Afghanistan.

While the contribution of some coalition troops has been limited in the GWOT, the Aussie and Canadian special ops guys have been superb. Not only are they truly fighting forces, but they also have looser restrictions on bringing in beer, so the U.S. boys appreciate their presence.

Saturday, July 16, 2005

Just the Facts Sir

The N&O continues their tradition of dragging out every issue that might damage the Bush administration by running a Rove story for the 4th day. This one chooses to not mention some important information.

The article states: Wilson, on a mission authorized by the CIA, went to Niger to investigate whether Iraq was seeking uranium for nuclear bombs in Africa. He reported that there was not evidence to support that suspicion.

Now how hard would it be to clarify 2 issues. First, the Senate Intelligence Committee determined that Wilson did in fact find evidence to support the claim that Iraq had tried to buy uranium from Niger? Second, why not mention that Wilson claimed his wife had no role in deciding to send him to Niger, but the same committee later found he lied about that statement as well?

These are not opinions, just the facts sir.

Veterans for National Security Foundation

I have been tracking this group for a while and have found that they do a good job helping military veterans run for office. Pass it around and encourage more veterans to run.

Losing the Moral Compass

HT to Mike Williams for again pointing out the failure of the MSM to accurately report the details from the Middle East:

Airstrikes Kill Mideast Truce: That’s the headline on Page 16A of today’s N&O. But why not “Palestinian attacks leave Mideast truce in tatters”? Especially since the Palestinians started this latest round of violence. Well of course: the notoriously anti-Semitic AP holds Israel to a much different standard than it does Hamas, Islamic Jihad, etc. Shame on the N&O for this one.

Fred Singer on Global Warming

The Carolina Journal relays the comments of Fred Singer during his recent speech in Raleigh. Singer takes the dispassionate logical view of global warming and Kyoto that so differs from those on the Left who choose to use the issue for their personal political gain.

Thursday, July 14, 2005

March Against Terrorism in Iraq

So why isn't the N&O and the MSM reporting on this march against terrorism in Iraq?

The NEA's True Colors

HT to Mike Williams here in NC for the following:

The NEA has its priorities all spelled out. Unfortunately, they don’t seem to have much to do with, uh, educating our children. Captain Ed Morrissey reports:

The NEA published its agenda for its July 7th Assembly, listing all the new action items under consideration and the action taken on each. How long does one have to read down the list before the NEA actually addresses an issue having directly to do with educating students? The first item? Third? Fifth?
How about ... fifteenth?
Here's what comes ahead of education at the National Education Association:
1. [Defeated, no description]
2. Fighting Wal-Mart
3. Investigating the positions of financial firms regarding Social Security privatization
4. Adding "multiethnic" and "other" as options on ethnicity questions
5. Celebrating the 40th anniversary of the NEA and ATA
6. Forming coalitions to "protect" Social Security
7. Explaining the difference between two different pension plans
8. Requesting an article for their newsletter on "health problems from exposure to fragrance chemicals"
9. Getting outside funding to allow 25 more people to attend the EPA Tools for Schools Indoor Air Quality (IAQ) Symposium
10. Creating a workgroup on health care
11. Sponsoring "political training" for Congressional candidates friendly to NEA priorities (see above!)
12. [Defeated, no description]
13. Opposing "billionaire Eli Broad and any other entities to remove elected school boards from cities"
14. Repealing the Social Security offset and explaining the differences between states' approach to Social Security for teachers who move

Five of the top 20 have to do with Social Security politics. Only two items in the top 30 have anything directly to do with educating children. As Michelle Malkin points out, however, they made room during their efforts to demand a withdrawal from Iraq (number 61), oppose CAFTA, (number 63), and support the boycott of Gallo Wines (number 47).

Wednesday, July 13, 2005

Can the Govt. Pick the Winners

The Dems who run the N.C. govt. have come to rely more and more on targeted incentives to lure business to the state or to keep business in the state. Using targeted incentives reveals an underlying belief that, despite all evidence to the contrary, the government is good at picking the winners in business. The N&O today reveals the latest incentive scheme by the Dems to lure a Cheesecake Factory bakery to the state.

Now the govt. can intervene with taxpayer money to help certain people or small groups of people succeed in the short run. Those who make the decisions of where the taxpayer money goes may reap the short-term benefits of campaign contributions or trips to various locales from those who receive the largesse. But in the long run the best way for states to attract business is to create an environment where taxes are fair and low, regulations are not onerous and the threat of large liability lawsuits from folks like John Edwards are limited. Those rules should apply to all businesses equally and not to the chosen few.

Tuesday, July 12, 2005

Predictable Rove Reaction

How predictable that the N&O would run a front page top story yesterday on Karl Rove that echoed every talking point from Liberal interests groups and the DNC. Rather than conclude that Rove most likely did not commit a crime (a conclusion most legitimate commentators have reached), the N&O chose to print this gem: such a disclosure could be a felony. Well, a lot of disclosures could be a felony, but it looks like this one isn't. Any paper seeking the truth rather than printing a political attack piece would be able to explain the difference.

The article also incorrectly stated that Rove was fingered as the source of a news leak that exposed a CIA undercover officer in 2003. Rove may have been one source of the leak, but the odds are high that there are other sources of the information. In fact Novak has already stated that he had at least 2 sources (and one of them may not have been Rove).

Today the N&O follows up with more front page coverage under the header GOP defends Rove. So yesterday's headline must have been Democrats and Liberal interest groups attack Rove? No, in fact the N&O chose this gem yesterday: Firestorm erupts around Rove. No mention in the headline about the partisan nature of the attacks.

Cynical Nation has more here.

Monday, July 11, 2005

HVT Hit?

Winds of Change brings up an issue I have been thinking about since we lost the SEALs in Afghanistan (and also provides some good info on events in Iraq and Afghanistan that the MSM is failing to cover). They wonder whether the SEALs were close to a High Value Target (HVT).

A few items make me think this team was close to something important. First, they clearly ran into a large and well-trained terrorist force in Kunar province. If it had been a small group the SEALs would have taken them out. If the group had been large but not well-trained the SEALs could have evaded (though one did).

Now there are not many large and well-trained groups up there, but those providing security for the high-level AQ or Taliban terrorists certainly qualify.

Also, we have been flying around that area for over 3 years now and have had very few special ops helicopters go down due to enemy fire. So the shot that took down the rescue bird may indeed have been lucky, but it also may have been delivered by a guy with some experience shooting at helicopters.

Finally, we went in quickly and took out a target from the air. That target was in the same vicinity as where the SEALs were operating. So ... who did we get?

Editing this post after I saw this article via Malkin.

More Iraq and AQ Connections

Though largely ignored by the MSM, Stephen Hayes at the Weekly Standard has done some good work to expose the multiple links between Saddam's regime and AQ. HT to Powerline for providing an update here.

Sunday, July 10, 2005

More False Africa Poverty Links to Terrorism

OpinionJournal provides more examples of editorialists and opinion writers blaming the West for terrorism or creating dubious links between the London bombings and issues like poverty in Africa. Some of the examples or more shameful than Steve Ford's at the N&O, and some are less, but all demonstrate the failing state of the mindset of the MSM.

Fred Singer

The John Locke Foundation is hosting Fred Singer on Tuesday to talk some sense into us about the science behind, or not behind, global warming. Details here.

Friday, July 08, 2005

Using Terrorism to Pitch for Aid to Africa

Here is the best our Steve Ford and friends can do after the horrific bombings in London: The nation ought to join Prime Minister Tony Blair in his efforts to end the sort of mass deprivation and suffering, as in Palestine and Africa, that feeds terrorism.

Note to Steve: We do not know who the London bombers were yet, but if they resembled the 9/11 terrorists they were neither from Palestine nor Africa. Most of them were not from poor families who faced deprivation.

Those who planned the 9/11 attacks were and are Islamofascists who are primarily concerned with destroying as much of western society (or that portion of the west that does not seek appeasement) as they can. They mention Palestine as an afterthought, and to my knowledge they have never been too concerned with Africa except to blow up civilians in embassies and plan terrorist attacks.

But do you know what does "feed terrorism" Steve? Terrorists benefit more from the excuses offered up by western journalists than they ever will from milking the "deprivation and suffering" angle to justify their barbarity. So stop feeding the beast and start condemning their actions completely and relentlessly with no qualifiers.

Predicting Tomorrow's News

Based on the monthly employment numbers released today, we know that since May of 2003 the U.S. economy has created 3.7 million new jobs. We know that the unemployment rate is now 5.0%, well below the 6.0% rate that economists have long accepted as the non-accelerating inflation rate of unemployment. Based on these and other economic releases (strong retail sales, manufacturing and home sales numbers), we can expect the economy to continue to grow at the 3.5 plus percent rate.

So how much of this will be explained clearly in the MSM tomorrow? And how much will be spun to find any potential weakness in the numbers? At the very least, I will take even money that the 3.7 mm number will not be mentioned in the N&O.

John Hawkins has more here.

Continued NYT Woes

John in Carolina links the current NYT scandal (adding editorial comment to an op-ed without informing the reader) to the unfortunate willingness of the Times to run an op-ed with false information by noted anti-war mouthpiece Lucien Truscott.

Not to pile on too much, but if you include the Jayson Blair scandal, and then read the departing comments of Dan Okrent concerning the Times willingness to run the columns of political hack Paul Krugman, you would have to worry a little about whether we are really reading All the News Fit to Print.

And the scandals are not over. Though it is not getting a lot of play in the MSM, the NYT handling of the Plame/Judith Miller affair has been disgraceful. They led the charge to demand the appointment of a special prosecutor in hopes of drawing some Bush administration blood. But once their own reporter was threatened with jail, they took the position that no crime had been committed.

Bad judgment combined with a lack of courage makes for an easy target for the bloggers.

From London

The godfather of my oldest daughter reports from London.

Thursday, July 07, 2005

N&O Still Confused

Despite the reasoned explanation from my friend, the N&O insists on calling terrorists any number of other names. One headline from today read Rebels followed SEAL ambush with 'lucky' shot. But in the text of the article the writer refers to the terrorists as militants, and it is only when quoting a military spokesman that the correct word is used.

Why are those fighting against us in Afghanistan terrorists and not rebels? In order to be legitimate, rebels must have a cause beyond mere violence and chaos. The remnants of AQ have no such cause. They have offered some explanations to justify killing as many westerners as they can, but it is clear that even if their stated 'goals' are reached they will still strive to kill as many of us as they can.

The Taliban remnants are also terrorists as their goal, returning the Taliban to power, would only result in the continuation of their efforts to terrorize their own citizens.

By calling these vicious thugs 'rebels', the N&O gives them legitimacy and offers aid and comfort to their cause.

How Much Do We Not Know

HT to Mike Williams for forwarding CPT Ed's post on the corrections page at the NYT.

From the Times: The Op-Ed page in some copies yesterday carried an incorrect version of an article about military recruitment. The writer, an Army reserve officer, did not say, "Imagine my surprise the other day when I received orders to report to Fort Campbell, Ky., next Sunday," nor did he characterize his recent call-up to active duty as the precursor to a "surprise tour of Iraq." That language was added by an editor and was to have been removed before the article was published. Because of a production error, it was not. The Times regrets the error.

From CPT Ed: The Times acknowledges here that their editors make a habit of rewriting op-ed contributions, not just for clarity, but apparently to significantly change the meaning of the article. Take a look at the phrases that an editor added onto someone else's work, without having the benefit of experiencing the event himself. Both phrases indicate events that "surprise" the author, an assumption of a state of mind. Both of them, not coincidentally, make the military look bad. What a coincidence that the Paper of Record makes two "mistakes" that just happen to put the Army in a bad light.

Mike W. asks, and we all should wonder, if the NYT gets caught this time in so blatant an editorial abuse, how many times do they change op-eds or 'news' stories and not get caught? And how much of that bias flows through to papers who carry NYT articles like the N&O?

Wednesday, July 06, 2005

What They Don't Report

HT to John in Carolina for the lead to the Mudville Gazette's story on how the MSM reports, or doesn't report, events. We have plenty of ammo just criticizing papers like the N&O for how they slant the news they do report. The blogs have allowed us to read the stories the MSM does not want us to read because it does not fit within their talking points. Hopefully over time we can do the same here for those interested in NC politics.

Global Warming

How reassuring to know that my state is hopping on the issue of the day and spending our money on a state commission examining global warming. If the article by N&O writer Wade Rawlins today is any indication, we are in for an expensive and misleading journey.

Rawlins starts by overstating the case for the connection between global warming and human activity. He finds scientists and environmentalists who believe in the link, but fails to produce one of the multiple experts who believe we are in a warming stage and human activity may be a minor rather than a major cause.

Rawlins also completely ignores the more important question of what exactly we might have to do to reduce greenhouse gases and what impact those actions would have on the economy.

Political Courage

In the N&O today Rick Martinez provides the details of some local political courage from Wake County School Board member Ron Margiotta. After two financial scandals in the school system Margiotta has called for a complete audit of the system by state Auditor Les Merritt.

The majority of the school board members do not want this type of scrutiny, and Martinez wonders why. He rightly lauds Margiotta for standing up to what must be significant pressure to just play along and let taxpayer money be wasted. But Margiotta ran on the claim that he would challenge the large and unwieldy Wake County school system, and he has proven good to his claim.

Where is the Democrat's Willkie?

The WSJ ran a book review today of the new Charles Peters book titled Five Days in Philadelphia. The book examines the nomination of Wendell Willkie in 1940 to run against F.D.R. Peters believes that Willkie, unlike the isolationist Republican candidates Taft and Dewey, gave F.D.R. the leeway to support the British in the early stages of the war.

If an isolationist Republican had been nominated, F.D.R. may not have had the political flexibility to help keep Britain afloat during the critical stages of the Battle of Britain. Even after the election Willkie supported the war effort and gave F.D.R. the cover needed to get us involved and defeat fascism.

So where is the Willkie of the Dems today? Beyond Joe Lieberman, has there been one leader of the party who has stood by the President? Most Dem leaders have either been against the invasion of Iraq from the beginning, or those who initially offered support have questioned every leadership decision for political purposes.

The behavior of the Dem leaders has cost, and will cost, the party dearly, and if they do not find a Willkie to lead them quickly they will lose all credibility.

Steve Reich

Some of my West Point classmates have been debating the merits of allowing cadets to enter pro sports leagues instead of fullfilling their commitment to the military. The arguments are complex, but here is a story of a guy who could have gone pro and instead stayed in the military and volunteered four times for Afghanistan.

His name is Steve Reich, and last week he lost his life when the Chinook went down in Afghanistan trying to rescue the SEALs in the Kunar province.

Tuesday, July 05, 2005

Patience and Precision

There will be times of swift, dramatic action. There will be times of steady, quiet progress. Over time, with patience and precision, the terrorists will be pursued. They will be isolated, surrounded, cornered, until there is no place to run or hide or rest.

W - Oct. 11, 2001

Bad Guys Get Married Too

Rantingprofs got me going on how the media botches the reporting of deaths of civilians during armed conflict. I think the media has an obligation to report when civilians are killed during a conflict, but they have an equal obligation to differentiate among the following:

1. Civilians who are intentionally attacked and killed with no military purpose.

2. Civilians who are intentionally attacked and killed during an operation with a military purpose.

3. Civilians who are killed inadvertently during an operation with a military purpose, and the attacker was aware of the risk to civilian life prior to carrying out the attack.

4. Civilians who are killed inadvertently during an operation with a military purpose, and the attacker had no idea the civilians would be present or no reason to expect they would be harmed.

Professional military units like our U.S. forces understand the rules of engagement when they enter a conflict. They do not commit acts 1 and 2 above without being subject to prosecution. Number 3 is always tricky, but the commanders will weigh the military necessity of the target against the expected loss of civilian life when deciding.

During conventional conflicts the lines of demarcation between combatants and military personnel are much clearer than they are in our more recent conflicts. We have repeatedly faced situations during the last 3 years when we knew with high certainty the location of a good target, but also knew that civilians were present.

The targets in these cases were not marginal characters but rather known terrorists. Not only did they know we were targeting them, but the adult "civilians" around them also knew we were targeting them. If there were children around, then the terrorists and adult "civilians" were knowingly putting those children in harms way.

In some of these cases U.S. forces probably chose not to engage. In Kunar, with our SEALs missing in the area, we chose to engage.

When the media reports the deaths of civilians they need to include the details surrounding the operation. They also need to avoid announcing that the U.S. has apologized for the attack in which civilians were killed. In almost all cases we do not apologize for the attack because we know we hit a good target. We do apologize for the inadvertent deaths of any innocent civilians in the area, but not for the attack itself.

So next time you read a tearful article in the NYT or hear a somber reporter on NPR explaining how U.S. aircraft fired on a wedding in Afghanistan or near the Iraq/Syrian border, remember that bad guys get married too.

Monday, July 04, 2005

N&O Still Leading the Edwards' Cheering Section

The N&O acted as head cheerleader during John Edwards' presidential run, and they have done their best in the aftermath to keep the flame alive. We have seen about an article a week concerning where the Edwards family will live, where John is speaking, how John is "writing" a picture book etc. Now we learn, in big print, that Elizabeth Edwards works on own book. Eleven paragraphs give us all the juicy details. I am breathless in anticipation.

Holding the Best Hand

We noted here how the filibuster deal might work out fine for conservatives, and WaPo explains today how the Dems may have played their poker hands a little too early only to find Bush hold ing the best hand just before the River*, and sitting on the Button* as well.
*Texas Hold 'Em Terms for Those not on the Poker Bandwagon

Saturday, July 02, 2005

Slush Funds in N.C.

The boys at the John Locke Foundation are all over the slush fund story in N.C. I saw no follow-up on this story in the N&O, which means that they are either willing to cover it up to protect the Dem. state legislative leaders, or they are so used to the corruption in N.C. state govt. that they don't consider this story out of the ordinary.

Friday, July 01, 2005

Confronting Iran

The Counterterror blog muses about how we will approach the new leadership in Iran and handle the Iran problem in general.

Having just finished Kenneth Pollack's The Persian Puzzle, I drew one main conclusion: Don't exhibit weakness. Pollack gives example after example of the U.S. negotiating from a position of weakness and finding the Iranians striking out at us when they sensed our timidity. He explains that what seems like an attempt at accommodation on our part (and even worse on the part of Europeans in the 80s and 90s) is often viewed as weakness not only by Iran, but also by other Middle Eastern nations (the Saudis in particular) who we may need to help us if the Iran showdown finally comes.

Given that main conclusion, I am glad we have President Bush in the White House as unlike Carter, Clinton and Kerry, he is not a man of half-measures and U.N.-speak.

Not in the Still Calm of Life

I try to encourage young people to join the military whenever the opportunity presents itself, and if they express concern about the danger involved, I have taken to forwarding the following passage to them:

These are the times in which genius would wish to live. It is not in the still calm of life or the repose of a pacific station that great characters are formed. The habits of a vigorous mind are formed in contending with difficulties. Great necessities call out great virtues. When a mind is raised and animated by scenes that engage the heart, then those qualities which would otherwise lay dormant wake into life and form the character of the hero and the statesman.

That was written by Abigail Adams (our youngest daughter was named after her) to her son John Quincy (the future president). As a young man he had suffered a tough cross-Atlantic voyage and had done some complaining about it, so she bucked him up. Reading her words bucks me up too.

The Shame of Molly Ivins

Malkin carries a quote from the old and tired Molly Ivins, who for some reason is still featured by the N&O. And the post includes some Chrenkoff. We have called for more quality op-ed variety in the N&O here before.


More on the SEALs lost in Afgh., via Hugh Hewitt, from a SEAL himself.

N.C. Scandal Coming

The N&O was able to move a front-page scandal here in N.C. to 5B, but I will bet they are forced to run more on this soon. I have heard this story from several sources over the last month and was waiting for the N&O to stop protecting their favorite Dem. legislators, and they finally have.

Senate and House leaders (both bodies are Dem. controlled) conspired to set up slush funds (they called them reserve funds) in three state agencies. Rather than having the agencies decide how the money was spent, the legislators secretly controlled the spending. And guess where the money went?

From the N&O: But some of the money went to entities that had no plan for how to spend it, and some lawmakers requested money for nonprofits for which they serve as board members.
If you want to add some heat to the issue, contact the N&O, or call the offices of Marc Basnight, Jim Black and Richard Morgan and ask them where your taxpayer money is.

Your Turn

Good opposition parties not only criticize the ruling party, but also develop an effective alternative. Here is John Kerry answering a Bob Costas question following the Bush speech at Bragg:

Costas: If you had been elected president last November, by this point what would President John Kerry have done in Iraq?

Kerry: Well, I laid out--you know, I don't want to get in--I mean, I think that's not quite the way to go at it.