Wednesday, August 31, 2005

Double Play

Dems in TN are under fire as four of their current or former leaders in the state Senate have been charged with taking payoffs. So how does the N&O report the story today? They note the one Republican involved and name his party affiliation, but don't include the party affiliation of the four Dems.

Then, on the same page, they choose to run an article about political infighting in Kentucky. As in NC, the Democrats have controlled state government in KY for years and have packed the state with Dem political appointees. Now that a Republican Gov. is in power, the Dems are attacking him for appointing Republicans to some civil service positions. The N&O gives no background on the story and instead runs it as a slam piece on the Republican Gov.

New low for the N&O? Nah, they will do worse?


David Boyd carries some comments by Eleanor Clift. Clift has always been unwatchable, but Boyd correctly asks whether these words reflect what the left thinks about the military.

Tuesday, August 30, 2005

Medal of Honor Mentions

Jim Miller runs the numbers on how often the media focuses on heroic deeds in Iraq (for example, Medal of Honor recipient Paul Smith) vs. mentions of say, Koran abuse. Before you go to his column, guess how many mentions of both events come up in the L-N database.

The Good Stuff

John Hawkins carries an informative 10 Frequently Asked Questions About Iraq. Read it all, but this point caught my eye because while every bad recruiting paper is trumpeted by the MSM, I have yet to see this info in the N&O:

"Recruits in July totaled 109 percent of the Army's goal, the second straight month above target. In aggregate, the four services were 4 percent over (the Navy fell 1 percent short). The Pentagon says the Army will still fall short for the fiscal year, and reserve components are still not signing up enough new members (though re-upping targets are being met by the National Guard units of the Army and Air Force). Still, the enlistments ought to prove that America's young men and women still believe in their country and its difficult mission in Iraq, despite all that Cindy Sheehan and her band of like-minded demonstrators can do. The New York Post dug a little deeper than the bare-bones announcement. Every one of the Army's 10 combat divisions has exceeded its re-enlistment goal for the fiscal year so far. The 1st Cavalry Division was at 136 percent; the 3rd Infantry Division at 117 percent. As author Ralph Peters noted, ``This is unprecedented in wartime.''"

Monday, August 29, 2005

Hitchens with the good news

HT to Mike Williams for forwarding the following:

Want to read something positive about the Global War on Terror for a change? Courtesy of Power Line, we have these points from Christopher Hitchens:

1) The overthrow of Talibanism and Baathism, and the exposure of many highly suggestive links between the two elements of this Hitler-Stalin pact. Abu Musab al Zarqawi, who moved from Afghanistan to Iraq before the coalition intervention, has even gone to the trouble of naming his organization al Qaeda in Mesopotamia.

(2) The subsequent capitulation of Qaddafi's Libya in point of weapons of mass destruction--a capitulation that was offered not to Kofi Annan or the E.U. but to Blair and Bush.

(3) The consequent unmasking of the A.Q. Khan network for the illicit transfer of nuclear technology to Libya, Iran, and North Korea.

(4) The agreement by the United Nations that its own reform is necessary and overdue, and the unmasking of a quasi-criminal network within its elite.

(5) The craven admission by President Chirac and Chancellor Schröder, when confronted with irrefutable evidence of cheating and concealment, respecting solemn treaties, on the part of Iran, that not even this will alter their commitment to neutralism. (One had already suspected as much in the Iraqi case.)

(6) The ability to certify Iraq as actually disarmed, rather than accept the word of a psychopathic autocrat.

(7) The immense gains made by the largest stateless minority in the region--the Kurds--and the spread of this example to other states.

(8) The related encouragement of democratic and civil society movements in Egypt, Syria, and most notably Lebanon, which has regained a version of its autonomy.

(9) The violent and ignominious death of thousands of bin Ladenist infiltrators into Iraq and Afghanistan, and the real prospect of greatly enlarging this number.

(10) The training and hardening of many thousands of American servicemen and women in a battle against the forces of nihilism and absolutism, which training and hardening will surely be of great use in future combat.

Power Line comments:

Moreover, while it's not clear whether or to what extent the American public shares Hitchens' pride in what we've accomplished, Hitchens is undoubtedly correct that the public itself has displayed a fortitude of which it should be proud:

Faced with a constant drizzle of bad news and purposely demoralizing commentary, millions of people stick out their jaws and hang tight. I am no fan of populism, but I surmise that these citizens are clear on the main point: It is out of the question--plainly and absolutely out of the question--that we should surrender the keystone state of the Middle East to a rotten, murderous alliance between Baathists and bin Ladenists. When they hear the fatuous insinuation that this alliance has only been created by the resistance to it, voters know in their intestines that those who say so are soft on crime and soft on fascism.

And Sharpton too

We asked for the N&O to keep the Sheehan story alive as the damage to the anti-war left mounts, and today they delivered with a story and photo of Al Sharpton in Crawford. You can always count on Al to show up when the story is dying and further embarrass the Dems. Here is the photo link from Michelle Malkin, and Patterico has some info that the N&O has chosen not to print. Update, Confederate Yankee has an even better shot of the Sharpton "event."

Sunday, August 28, 2005

Headline Bias

The headline writers at the N&O just can't resist attacking conservatives at every opportunity.

Today's front page had this gem, "Bush aims to placate both sides on immigration." First, given the complexity of the issue and the fact that the Clintonites did not have the courage to confront the problem, why not this headline, "Bush boldly confronts explosive political issue."

Second, the article itself defined "both sides" as Bush's supporters in the business sector and conservatives who want to restrict immigration. But why aren't the Democrats mentioned? Does the writer really think the Democrats are so unimportant that their ideas in this area don't matter? Or is it just that the Dems have utterly failed, again, to provide an alternative plan and instead have chosen to snipe from the sidelines? I think so, but for the N&O to carry a story that does not mention the lack of Dem plan marks continued poor reporting.

The other headline of note on the front page was "Constitution rift could unravel Bush's Iraq plan." Well, yes it could. But the headline could just as well have read, "Disputes in Iraq over Constitution mark birth of freedom." Under Saddam there were no disputes, so these discussions between formerly warring groups are amazing and the paper should note it.

Saturday, August 27, 2005

A lesson in "reporting"

John in Carolina catches the N&O hiding a story that could really hurt a Dem member of the NC House. Just imagine how they would report it if a Republican said what Michaux did?

Smelling Like Bacon

Via the John Locke boys, an article about pork in the N.C. budget. Is the Shelby Star really better than the N&O at revealing the details of this Democrat-inspired budget?

A giant step away from tyranny

Thanks to Mike Williams for the tip on the Amir Taheri piece titled A giant step away from tyranny. Mike correctly states that the MSM has tried to spin the Iraqi constitution story into as negative a story as possible to ensure that Iraq does not look like a success for the Bush administration and for our military. But the fact we are even at this point on the path to Iraqi freedom less than 3 years after the liberating forces went in is amazing.

Between the Iraqi constitution and the remarkable Israeli pullout from Gaza (remarkable mainly for the lack of expected violence and death during the pullout) you would think the press would be hailing the work of the Bush foreign policy team, but every article has taken a negative tone.

Keep Her in the News

The N&O pushed the Sheehan story every day for about 2 weeks, but I have not seen much lately. Given that Sheehan has now referred to the president as a "lying bastard," "filth spewer," "evil maniac," "fuhrer," "and the world's "biggest terrorist," (from George Will's editorial today), I say keep her in the news. She is representative of such a large part of the illness of the Democrats that she might serve as an illustration of the problem rather than just a loopy lefty. Confederate Yankee has more.

Gutless Relativism

The public editor of the N&O has already admitted that the paper does not have the courage to buck the political correctness of the MSM by calling terrorists, well, terrorists. In a story today the "militant" group Hamas released a tape of a "bombmaker" bragging of his exploits and telling the Israelis, "You are leaving Gaza today in shame. Today you are leaving hell. But we promise you that tomorrow all Palestine will be hell for you, God willing."

This "bombmaker" is apparently responsible for numerous acts of terrorism, and some of his bombs have undoubtedly intentionally killed women and children. So I will call him an evil scumbag and hope that an Israeli commando is able to put a sniper round through his eye. All I ask of the paper is to call the guy a terrorist instead of quivering like gutless relativists.

Thursday, August 25, 2005

Truth Telling

In a change of pace from their usual efforts to hide misdeeds of the Democrats here in NC, the N&O goes right after Marc Basnight today. The new budget that Basnight pushed through allows, at the cost to taxpayers, the state Utilities Commissioners to participate in the judicial retirement system. The N&O explains that "the big winner appears to be Sen. Marc Basnight's brother-in-law."

I still think the paper errs by not noting the political party of Basnight, and I thing the story would gain from noting the political ties of the members of the Commission, but the blunt talk in the article is at least a start.

Cost of Rail Up, Again

You will be reading that headline again and again as the Triangle area continues the foolish pursuit of a light rail system that nobody will ride. The rail project will provide an excellent opportunity, however, for politicians to redirect taxpayer money to their friends and contributors in construction, marketing, finance etc.

The latest story adds $58 million to the price for the rail project. This increase in cost makes even more problematic the issue of justifying the cost with ridership estimates that the Federal Transit Administration has rejected.

Wednesday, August 24, 2005

The favored few

NC, like many other states, has adopted the "state knows best" approach by offering economic incentives to select companies. Politicians like these incentives as they offer photo-ops, job "creation" and an excuse for the politician to take taxpayer money and give it to a targeted (and potential campaign contributor) group.

But the schemes suggest that the state has the wisdom to decide which businesses will succeed, something the state has never really proven adept at doing. Instead, we have suggested here before that NC would be better off lowering taxes for all businesses in order to attract jobs.

Another pitfall of the incentive approach was just revealed as computer maker Lenovo is demanding an economic incentive to stay in NC. And why not? If the state can shower money on Dell to build here, why shouldn't companies here demand the same favors? Maybe the Democrats who run the state will find a slush fund with some money for Lenovo and hold a nice photo op and convince the fools in Durham to vote for them again. But eventually the shell game must end, and hopefully enough companies and individuals demand tax breaks so that we can elect representatives unwilling to pass the tax increases we just saw passed here.

Tuesday, August 23, 2005

Losing the Moral Authority

Mike Williams has more comments on "absolute moral authority" issue, and also finds out that Elizabeth Edwards has entered the anti-war fray:

Columnists Maureen Dowd and Ellen Goodman have been well and truly ripped for claiming that mother’s who lose sons and daughters in Iraq or Afghanistan have “an absolute moral authority” to make value judgments about the War on Terror. Now we read this:

Throughout his campaign for president and then vice president in 2004, former Sen. John Edwards of North Carolina made it clear that the death of his teenage son in a car accident was off-limits, not for discussion in a political context.

But now his wife, Elizabeth, has sent an e-mail to supporters voicing a connection she shares with Cindy Sheehan, the mother of a soldier killed in Iraq. As Sheehan was camped near President Bush's Texas ranch, protesting the war, Edwards called on her own family's backers to support Sheehan.

And, in a departure from a campaign-trail silence that the Edwardses kept about the death of their 16-year-old son, Wade, Elizabeth Edwards noted that Sheehan's son, Casey, 24, died in Iraq eight years to the day after her own son.

For John Edwards, who voted as a senator to support the invasion of Iraq, his wife's outreach to subscribers of their One America Committee Web site bears a distinct anti-war voice that could augur a new tack for Edwards as he prepares for a potential run for president in 2008.

"The president says he knows enough, doesn't need to hear from Casey's mother, doesn't need to assure her that Casey's is not one small death in a long and seemingly never-ending drip of deaths, that there is a plan here that will bring our sons and daughters home," Elizabeth Edwards wrote in her e-mail last week. "He claims he understands how some people feel about the deaths in Iraq. The president is wrong."

The Edwardses left questions about the e-mail to spokeswoman Kim Rubey, who said, "When Elizabeth read about Cindy Sheehan and her son, she immediately felt a strong personal connection."

Rob Tully, a Des Moines lawyer who campaigned for John Edwards in 2004, suggests that Elizabeth Edwards' battle with cancer since the election has given her an added perspective.
"She has gone through her own life-threatening experience, and that is life-changing," Tully said.

So let’s see: Elizabeth Edwards has breast cancer (we pray successfully treated), Casey Sheehan died in Iraq on the eighth anniversary of Elizabeth’s own son’s death in an automobile accident, and Bush doesn’t understand how people feel? Husband John is an Orange County squire, a prof at the PRCH (UNC-Chapel Hill), and a putative 2008 candidate for POTUS. Don’t expect to see this story run in the N&O. But if it was, they’d have to say something like

Are we really supposed to think that Edwards' wife has some unique perspective on war because she had cancer? Is the liberal opposition to the war that desperate? Who in there right mind thinks that having cancer gives you an "added perspective" into the war in Iraq?

More than any other development in this Sheehan business, this latest addition to the drivel shows…that the media really has no interest in intelligent discussion of the war in Iraq. It's all about "added perspective" (read: "feelings).

Call it the "Maury Povichization" of the war on terror.

Monday, August 22, 2005

A Study in Contrast

The paper today provides two shining examples of how far off track the MSM has gone in promoting their liberal and anti-Bush agenda.

First, we see nothing on the successes our troops (and more importantly, the Afghan troops we are working with) are having against the terrorists and militants in Afghanistan. The stories are readily available. But the N&O does run a front-page piece focusing on the death of 4 U.S. soldiers with the sub-headline Roadside bombing punctuates worries of a growing Taliban insurgency. How about U.S.-Afghan offensive puts Taliban and Al Qaeda on the defensive? (Rantingprofs has more examples and commentary on the reporting about Afgh.)

Then, the paper runs a piece on Meg Scott Phipps, the Democrat and felon, without mentioning her party affiliation. But in an article about partisan maneuvering in Ohio the paper makes sure to clarify that Gov. Bob Taft is a Republican.

As with other stories that could prove damaging to conservatives, the MSM has milked the Taft story for all it's worth (Taft failed to report some golf outings and other gifts). But if you were running a regional paper in N.C., don't you think your first move when you hear about the Taft story is to investigate how many freebies your own politicians and Gov. have received but not reported? But that might involve dredging up information damaging to our Dem. Governor, so the paper has apparently decided N.C. readers are more interested in Ohio politics.

Saturday, August 20, 2005

JIC Strikes Again

John in Carolina strikes again with a comparison of how the N&O reported 2 noteworthy stories. I think that some of these writers and editors really believe that because they don't have "we hate Bush" on their masthead they aren't biased. But just a little close reading (and in John's case some good research and a phone call) revealed one of hundreds of bias errors the paper commits.

More on Talking Down the Economy

We have provided several examples here and here of how the MSM suppresses good economic news during a conservative administration, and now Betsy Newmark filling in for Michelle Malkin adds some detail. I took a class from one of the professors mentioned in the post, John Lott, and found him to offer a fresh voice on a number of topics. Read some of his work on gun control if you get a chance.

Is This the Best They Have

Another sign of the decline of the left in the battle of ideas is the lack of quality op-ed writing available. The N&O relies on the old windbag Molly Ivins and the economist-turned-political hack Krugman to convey the ideas of the left, but their pieces are nothing more than third-rate Bush-bashing.

But after reading an Ellen Goodman piece today I think the paper has reached a new low. As predicted here, the N&O is continuing to try to milk the story about the Sheehan woman (who has called for a war crimes trial for our national leadership). So when the news dries up they run a Goodman editorial to keep the story alive.

Goodman starts by claiming that the label "peace mom" trivializes "the lanky woman." But she is a peacenik, so why not say it? Sheehan thinks we not only should not have gone into Iraq, but also that we should not have gone into Afghanistan.

Goodman claims that Sheehan has "a moral authority" to speak out. She may have a right to speak out, preserved for her by the deaths of hundreds of thousands of U.S. servicemen, but losing a son does not grant a moral authority. It may grant a media platform to detractors of the administration, but nothing more.

Goodman faults those who question Sheehan's motives and analyze her statements. She writes that this proves that "not even the death of a child grants you immunity from attack." The death of Casey Sheehan has nothing to do with the attacks on his mother. The attacks on the mother have resulted because she is an unhinged media-savvy activist who has put herself into the public light and made some idiotic comments.

Goodman says Sheehan has "reckless courage born of grief and anger." What Sheehan has done has required no courage. The courageous people in the story are those who have quietly performed their duty to track down and kill those who would do our citizens harm, or who have brought the opportunity for freedom to 50 million people, or who have eliminated Iraq as a potential possessor of WMD. And the well-coordinated media plan executed by the left has been far from "reckless."

Goodman veers from the sappy into an attempt at some foreign policy analysis, clearly not her strong suit. She incorrectly claims that the invasion of Iraq was initially all about WMD, but in reality the administration advanced 4 pretty clear reasons to go into Iraq (all of which have been accomplished to varying degrees).

Goodman sets the Iraqi constitutional process up for failure by claiming that the result may "not look anything like ours." But no one in the administration claimed the Iraqi constitution would look like ours and that has never been a reasonable nor stated goal.

Goodman claims that "the question was never whether the president would talk with her. He wouldn't." Well, he already has. How many meetings does Goodman expect, and why would she be disingenuous on the point?

Goodman's final stroke of lefty confusion is to call Iraq "a war of choice." Well, every war is a war of choice. Some leaders (Churchill, Truman, Bush) chose to fight the tough and even unpopular wars. Others (Petain, Chamberlain, Clinton) make the choice not to engage their countries in meaningful combat. You can always avoid war, especially if you are willing to accept the various degrees of cowardice that Goodman and Sheehan advocate.

Thursday, August 18, 2005

The Cause of Schroder's Upcoming Loss

Whenever a leftist politician loses, the MSM resorts to searching for a cause on the right. In the last U.S. election, despite evidence to the contrary, the press blamed evangelical Christians. In the upcoming German elections I guarantee the press will blame the rise of some small parties on the right for the decline of the Social Democrats. Articles will link these parties to the Nazis and cause much handwringing.

But will the MSM analyze the attacks on Schroder from the left? Will anyone beyond the WSJ express concern at the rebirth of the PDS communist party and the creation of the newly formed Left Party? Are these far left America-hating parties dragging the Social Dems so far left that they can't recover (just as MoveOn, Michael Moore, NARAL, the ACLU and others have torn apart the Democrats)?

Another Dad Speaks Out

I have lauded the "Harley Dad" story below, and today the WSJ brings us another Dad who seems like a right-thinking fellow

Larry Schweikart

I attended a speech and book signing earlier in the week featuring Larry Schweikart. Schweikart is a professor of history from the University of Dayton and has just released A Patriot's History of the United States. I bought a copy for my nephew, who is showing some interest in history, but have read some of it already and highly recommend you read it and buy copies for kids who are subjected to constant blame-America-first pablum in their schools.

A Lesson for Matt Lauer

HT to Mike Williams and Chrenkoff for bringing us this exchange:

The "Today" show's Matt Lauer went to interview American soldiers at Camp Liberty in Baghdad, and was told by the soldiers that the morale was high. Disbelieving, he chose to pursue this:

LAUER: Don't get me wrong, I think you're probably telling the truth, but there might be a lot of people at home wondering how that might be possible with the conditions you're facing and with the insurgent attacks you're facing... What would you say to people who doubt that morale could be that high?

CAPTAIN SHERMAN POWELL: Well sir, I'd tell you, if I got my news from the newspapers I'd be pretty depressed as well.

Wednesday, August 17, 2005

Hot on the Trail

John in Carolina is still hot on the trail of N&O editor Melanie Sill. John has taken the time to not only write civilly several times to Sill, but also contact other newspaper editors to determine if Sill's comments are accurate or believable. He has his doubts.

Tuesday, August 16, 2005

Starting to Get It

So some newspaper editors are berating the AP for sending them stories with persistent bias. Melanie Sill at the N&O could have distinguished herself by leading the charge on the issue, but she still seems to be bogged down on other issues.

Monday, August 15, 2005

Back on Track

Kudos to the N&O for not running another story about the whack-job mom protesting in Crawford (though they did run a funny bit about the guy who owns the land adjacent to the protest - he is getting pretty fed up and finally fired a shotgun into the air saying he was preparing for duck season. I like that guy.) [More on Sheehan's dopiness from Malkin here, and Confederate Yankee here]

And more cheers for the front page story (another Jay Price masterpiece) about Marines returning to Lejeune. Hard to not choke up reading about a father of a Marine killed in combat who rode his Harley to Lejeune to meet his son's returning unit. The father said, "I don't know why I'm here. I don't have any sort of agenda, no expectations. My heart tells me to be here to thank each and every one of them for serving. I say thank God for each and every one of them that made it back."

Let the Left have the protestor Mom, I'll take the Harley Dad.

There are no terrorists at the N&O

Despite the guidance we have offered to the N&O, confusion stills reigns at the paper regarding what to call people who drive cars loaded with explosives into women and children.

To his credit, Ted Vaden tries to address the issue in Sunday's paper. To his discredit, he falls into the gulch of moral equivalence as soon as he starts typing.

Vaden, always trying to show both sides of the argument, equates 2 reader viewpoints that have nothing in common. Susan Behrend of Raleigh takes the paper to task for not properly naming those non-state actors who intentionally target and kill civilians with no military purpose. Vaden equates this wisdom with a guy who makes no relevant points about the proper name for these people, but who says the paper is doing a good job.

Vaden falls back on the tired excuse that the N&O just follows the lead of the wire services (which leads to us asking why the folks at the N&O need to get paid). He also offers up the reason that the AP does not call Hamas a terrorist organization: "apparently because Hamas, at least, serves political and human-services roles within Palestine."

Here Mr. Vaden becomes irrelevant when he fails to call the AP to task. If Hamas raises funds to recruit and outfit suicide bombers and sends those bombers on missions to kill as many Israeli civilians as possible, then it does not matter how much day care they provide. They are a terrorist organization. Those unwilling to call them such are gutless cowards.


Do you remember when the MSM was touting Clinton for a Nobel Prize (Arafat and Carter have one, so maybe the Nobel is not such a great thing to own anyway) for his efforts to bring peace to the Middle East? Even though his efforts were an abject failure, they wanted to give him one for the try.

Now, with Bush and (gasp!) Sharon in power, Israel is pulling out of Gaza and some of the West Bank and suicide bombings in Israel have slowed to a trickle. So where are the Nobel notices now? Instead of trumpeting the amazing turn of events, the MSM is spinning the story as negatively as possible: the pullout will be difficult, some settlers do not want to go, even after the pullout Hamas vows to continue violence, etc.

The N&O today had only a throwaway line in the middle of an article today suggesting that U.S. efforts (not Bush administration efforts) may have played a roll in the tremendous progress. These folks have no shame.

Sunday, August 14, 2005

See No Evil

Malkin has more on Able Danger and a photo too good to pass up.

Crackpot Mom

The crackpot anti-Bush protestor Sheehan is now being quoted as calling for an Israeli withdrawal from Palestine (I assume she will provide more details later on exactly what she considers 'Palestine'), for a war crimes tribunal to prosecute the president, and she is pledging not to pay taxes for 2004. Yeah, this will really help the Left.

Will the N&O publish her comments, or will they continue to portray her as some kind of noble heroine.

John on the Spot

After spending 3 weeks away from the blogosphere and relying on the MSM for news, I realize I have missed a lot. I saw nothing on the Air America scandal, but a quick look at John in Carolina updates me on the whole thing and takes some well-deserved shots at the N&O.

Viggo is News

So while the N&O seems willing lately to focus on the misdeeds of N.C. Democrats, they don't seem to have changed their approach to the national news. In an effort to keep the anti-Bush protestors in the news, the paper reported the dramatically important update that Viggo Mortensen visited the protest site today. Hold the presses! No word on what Viggo had to say during his visit.

I would expect that just as the paper worked out every angle to keep the Delay 'story' and the Rove 'story' alive, they will keep this protest story in the forefront as long as possible. Meanwhile, a good story about a U.S. and Afghan offensive near Kandagal is pushed to the back page in favor of Viggo.

Moore Woes

More evidence that the N&O is getting the joke. They are publicizing the fact (though without noting prominently that the perpetrator is a Democrat) that State Treasurer Richard Moore has solicited contributions to his nonprofit from private money managers who do business with his agency.

"Moore recently asked dozens of fixed-income brokers, real estate investors, private equity managers and hedge-fund managers for $10,000 each for the foundation, a project that helps keep him in the public eye. ...To finance his foundation, Moore recently sent a letter to money managers who either do business with the Treasurer's Office or want to. ...Moore said he saw no conflict of interest in asking for donations from people doing business with his office. "

A News & Observer editorial later said of Moore's actions, "It's just a bad practice. Moore should stop it."(Source: "Moore sought gifts to nonprofit," Rob Christensen, 8/8/05; "No more, Mr. Moore," Editorial, 8/11/05)

Budget Busting

The issue may be a little arcane for most, but for those taxpayers who are concerned whether our state gov. is holding to the spending caps written into the law, the boys at John Locke say no.

Courage in Politics

Just back from a long vacation and pleased to be greeted by an article about political heroism in the N&O. And the article surprisingly features a Republican, Howard Coble, in this noted Democrat-friendly paper.

Coble pledged in 1984 that if he won a seat to the U.S. House he would forgo the scandalously high pensions lawmakers had voted themselves. To this point he has kept the pledge, and the N&O rightly lauds him for his courage.

Equally surprisingly, also on the front of section B the N&O investigates a buddy of disgraced Dem. Rep. Frank Ballance, and they also explore the favors Dem. Jim Black is handing out to the chiropractors who have given him campaign contributions.

Has something happened at the N&O while I was gone? Have they suddenly decided to report the news in a non-partisan manner? Stay tuned.