Wednesday, August 31, 2005

Cindy Sheehan Calls Iraqi Terrorists “Freedom Fighters”

Tuesday, August 30, 2005

George McGovern: Still Around, Still a Crank

From the Eminent Domain blog:

. . . George McGovern speaking at a memorial service for Hunter S. Thompson, said the following:
Along more political lines, McGovern recognized Kerry in the audience and said the crowd would be calling him President Kerry if the last election hadn’t been rigged. Then again, he said, that might not be the case if the election before that hadn’t been rigged, too, and Al Gore had won.

New Blog on Campus

Eminent Domain is the blog of a law school student, which appears to take a generally conservative view of politics.

It does refer to first-year students as “freshpersons.” Come on Steve, the virtue of being a conservative blogger is that you don’t have to be politically correct!

But it’s a good blog, and ought to be checked out regularly.

Monday, August 29, 2005

The Liberal Student Bloggers are Back

At least they are at the 1832 blog, all fired up for the fall semester.

It’s good to see them online, although we take strong exception to one comment from Ryan Alexander.
Cindy Sheehan proves just how shallow the right-wing is.

The woman lost her son, who served our country, and the right, including GOP3.com, launches a dirty personal attack on her just because she doesn’t share their viewpoint on the war in Iraq. I can’t think of anything more disgusting.
Does Alexander know about the crackpot statements Sheehan has made?

Perhaps he needs some time to catch up on reading the conservative blogs!

Alexander managed to shake up some things at Marquette pretty good last spring, the Office of Student Development and Student Government being particular examples. We wouldn’t be surprised to see him do something like that again!

Cindy Sheehan: Crank and Crackpot -- II

Via Sykes Writes:

. . . a compilation of the crackpot statements of Cindy Sheehan, as published by The American Spectator.

Read them, and wonder how it is the mainstream media continue to take her seriously.

It’s Still Going to Look Like a Chicken

Marquette has released artist drawings of two different (but actually virtually identical) versions of the new Golden Eagles mascot.

Quite clearly, the Administration intended to avoid a mascot that looks like a chicken, as the old version did.

This version simply looks lame. And when the outfit is put on a student (as opposed to being drawn by a cartoonist), it will still look like a chicken.

After a series of bad decisions — dropping “Warriors,” adopting both a lame nickname and a lame mascot, and then going to “Gold” — anything that the Administration does will be tainted by that history of incompetence.

More on Indian Mascots

An excellent article in Inside Higher Education gives a good overview of the Indian athletic mascot issue.

A couple of memorable comments from the article:
Charles E. Kupchella, president of the University of North Dakota, whose Fighting Sioux name and logo have been accused of furthering a racist stereotype, said in an interview that the NCAA had not made clear what it had determined was “offensive” about the university’s imagery or how it had done so.

“‘Hostile and abusive’ is not defined, and we do not know who says, and by what standard,” Kupchella said. “Our athletes and coaching staff have used the nickname and a logo, designed by an American Indian artist, with great pride and respect.”
And the article actually asked a real American Indian for a reaction:
Steve Denson, a member of the Chickasaw Nation who is director of diversity and an adjunct professor at Southern Methodist University’s Cox School of Business, said he believed that the NCAA, with its advocacy, might have done a favor to institutions that have encountered alumni and donor opposition to eliminating Native American mascots. “In some ways the NCAA is creating a favorable political climate for schools to go back to their patrons and say, ‘The NCAA is making us get rid of it,’ ” he said.

But Denson, who said he believes Native American nicknames such as Seminoles and Utes are acceptable when local tribes approve of them, also wondered if the mascot question really warrants the NCAA’s time and energy.

“The majority of American Indians I know say that compared to poverty on reservations and other issues we deal with every day that are challenging to our very existence,” Denson said, “this is a very secondary issue.”
Indeed. In fact American Indian “spokespersons” who wax indignant about the mascot and nickname issue should be told “get a life.”

Sunday, August 28, 2005

Media Bias: The New York Times on Partial Birth Abortion

A long and balanced article on media bias, taken from the Notre Dame Journal of Law, Ethics & Public Policy, appears on the Get Religion blog.

(The name of the blog, by the way, is based CNN political analyst Bill Snider’s comment that “The press . . . just doesn’t get religion.”)

The author, a veteran journalist at Newsweek, explains how the social biases of reporters, which are amplified by a liberal newsroom culture, create a general pro-abortion bias. He then goes further to discuss the special case of partial birth abortion.
But the term “partial-birth” presents a special set of difficulties, especially for a news organization like the Times that is committed to unrestricted abortion rights. The first problem is not that “partial-birth” is an inaccurate definition of the procedure. The term is listed and defined in the Merriam-Webster Dictionary, which is used by the websites of the National Institutes of Health and Harvard Medical School, among other medical institutions and organizations. Rather, the problem is that the term was appropriated by politicians who initiated the first congressional effort to ban the procedure and was quickly adopted by anti-abortion organizations. In this procedure, the physician typically pulls the fetus/baby legs first outside the mother’s body and then, using scissors, reaches inside the birth canal to break the skull, causing it to collapse. The brains are then sucked out and the fetus/baby removed entirely from the mother. “Partial-birth” as a label emphasizes the fact the delivery of a fetus/baby takes place, but only up to a point, and solely for the purpose of destroying it.

Once the details of this abortion procedure were made public, the opposition to it was no longer limited to groups and politicians who oppose all abortions. Various polls show that most Americans opposed it by margins of up to two to one.
In our classes, we discuss this issue under the topic of “the media sometimes withholds information from readers and viewers.”

We ask students to raise their hands if they know what partial birth abortion is. Usually, about half do. We then describe it. The reaction, from students who didn’t know what it was, is usually revulsion. Indeed, one of the greatest moments of our teaching career was watching a young woman who had been an outspoken liberal (including a liberal on the abortion issue) react in wide-eyed horror when the procedure was described.

So how does the media handle this? Many outlets, including most especially the New York Times simply refuse to use the term “partial-birth abortion.” The article continues:
From the outset, the Times determined to avoid using “partial-birth” in its news headlines. A computer search of the newspaper’s database since June of 1995 shows how persistently this prohibition has been enforced. Only once, on a news story published in April 2004, has “partial-birth” appeared in a headline. Instead, the Times has employed whenever possible a selection of opaque substitutes. The most frequently used terms were “type of” abortion and “form of” abortion, abortion “method” or “procedure” or “technique,” or simply a generic abortion “ban” or “curb.” Here is a sample of Times headlines, chosen for their variety of usages and published between 1995 and 2004:
  • House Acts To Ban Abortion Method, Making It a Crime
  • President Vetoes Measure Banning Type of Abortion
  • U.S. Judge in San Francisco Strikes Down Federal Law Banning Form of Abortion
  • Bush Signs Ban on a Procedure for Abortions
Anyone who has ever written a headline knows that a way could be found in most of these examples to use “partial-birth.” From my computer analysis, I think it is obvious that the Times regards “partial-birth” as a toxic term.
If the Times used the term “partial-birth abortion” people might ask “do you mean the baby is already partially born when the abortion takes place?”

That’s not the kind of question the pro-abortion crowd wants people to ask.

The media can be very self-righteous about the “peoples’ right to know.” But in this case, they don’t want the public to know.

Concealing A Blog Scoop

Yes, we risk seeming peevish raising this subject.

But Editor & Publisher magazine ran a story about the blunder of the Journal-Sentinel in running an op-ed piece that claimed to be written by former Milwaukee mayor Frank Zeidler but in fact was not.

They made no mention of the fact that the blunder was first revealed on this blog.

Editor & Publisher, of course, is the house organ of the journalism profession, and the journalism profession doesn’t much like blogs.

Journalists in the mainstream media, after all, were (not that long ago) the “gatekeepers” who got to decide what people were allowed to see and hear. They have never liked being held accountable by people who are not part of the clan, whether it be conservative talk radio, Fox News or bloggers.

So their reaction is to ignore what they can ignore (smaller blogs) and deride that they can’t ignore (conservative talk radio).

Of course, mainstream journalists react to blogs the way straight-laced Victorians reacted to sexual sins: they are against them in principle but attracted to them too. Thus a fair number of journalists are getting their own blogs.

But on the whole, mainstream journalists would rather blogs had never been invented.

Saturday, August 27, 2005

Media Bias on Sheehan

From McBride’s Media Matters:

. . . a discussion of how the media use biased labeling:
Conservatives have long complained that the media are more quick to label them as Conservative in stories but often leave out political labeling altogether when dealing with Liberals. The implication is that Liberals are mainstream and thus need no label but that Conservatives are biased or extreme and thus need labeling.

And so I noticed with interest that the Associated Press story on Cindy Sheehan in today’s Milwaukee Journal Sentinel not only avoided any political labeling of Sheehan or her supporters but at the same time specifically identified Sheehan’s opponents as Conservatives.
And further:
Nowhere does the story say the protesters surrounding Sheehan are Liberal protesters. In fact, Sheehan is surrounded by extreme Liberal organizations such as Code Pink, the organizers of which have long time immersion in radical politics (see earlier posting) and the anti-Israel Crawford Peace House. Well before her Crawford stakeout, Sheehan was staking out extreme political positions, even praising a terrorist lawyer as her “Atticus Finch.”

In the next paragraph, the AP story paints the opponents of Sheehan as political by labeling them “a conservative California based group, Move American Forward....” etc.
A later post by McBride details the continued bias, as unsavory connections of Sheehan are concealed, and partisan opponents of the President (like the discredited Joe Wilson) are trotted out to comment.

The bias McBride noted in the coverage of Sheehan is broad, and it is systematic. A classic study by the Media Research Center simply counted the uses of the word “liberal” and the word “conservative” on the CBS, ABC and NBC evening news programs during 1997-2001.

While the word “liberal” was used only 247 times, the word “conservative” was used 992 times.

For the average liberal reporter, being a liberal isn’t anything significant or worth commenting on. Being a conservative, on the other hand, is to be in thrall of a particular, rather odd, worldview.

The PR Machine Behind Cindy Sheehan

Via Drudge:

A sophisticated public relations machine, involving veteran liberals and leftists and big money political activists, is running the show.
Cindy Sheehan kneels before a cross with her son’s name on it, touches his picture, wipes her tears. It’s an outpouring of emotion that is part of a scheduled news event organized daily for the television, radio and print reporters who crowd in to capture a mother’s grief.

Cindy Sheehan: “I’m never going to see him again, I’m never going to hold him again, I’m never going to hear his voice again.”

Sheehan’s message hasn’t changed since she got here, but the support staff interested in getting that message out to the world has grown considerably.

Organizers are set up in a house trailer. Their meetings closed to reporters.
Anybody who thinks that Sheehan is just a poor grieving mother isn’t well informed.

And, of course, that’s the fault of the mainstream media.

Friday, August 26, 2005

Capital-Times Sponsors Anti-Bush Speaker

We noticed on Sykes writes that George Galloway, a left-wing former Labour Party member in the U.K. and strident opponent of the Iraq War, will be speaking in Madison, and will be introduced by Jane Fonda.

Buried at the bottom of the story is a note that the event “is sponsored locally by the Havens Center, the Progressive and The Capital Times.”

That’s right, the Madison newspaper itself is sponsoring a strongly partisan speaker whose strident opposition to the Iraq War got him expelled from the Labour Party.

Managing Editor Phil Haslanger, when contacted by the Marquette Warrior Blog, explained this by noting that the Capital-Times is “more activist than most papers.”

When asked whether the sponsorship doesn’t compromise norms of objectivity — giving the paper, for example an incentive to report favorably on an event that it had sponsored — he responded ”those are good questions.”

Haslanger pointed out that for many years the Milwaukee Journal sponsored a foreign policy discussion series. This was an apparent reference to forums held at the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee, that claimed to be (and to a tolerable extent were) non-partisan.

We are not aware of any American newspaper having ever sponsored a speech by a conservative political activist — although we must admit that we can’t prove it never happened, and would like to learn about any such case.

It’s one thing for a paper to take an editorial position, but another to give tangible support to a particular activist individual or organization. Even if the paper gave no monetary support to the event (and the people who could speak to that issue were unavailable when we tried to reach them over the past half-hour), giving such an event publicity beyond what neutral news judgment would dictate is “support.”

And the incentive to report favorably on an event that a newspaper has itself sponsored certainly constitutes a conflict of interest.

Sign, Sign, Everywhere a Sign

Yes, another one of those e-mails, this time with a collection of humorous signs found in various places around the country, and put together by some anonymous person.

A check of snopes.com doesn’t suggest that any of these photos is a hoax, and in some cases the quality is poorer than a hoaxer would probably produce. So here goes:

Wednesday, August 24, 2005

Journal-Sentinel Apologizes For Zeidler Blunder

As we discussed just this morning, the Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel recently published a Op-Ed piece purporting to have been written by former Milwaukee mayor Frank Zeidler.

The column, we revealed, was a hoax, and was not written by Zeidler.

The paper has now finally admitted it was hoaxed.

While the retraction is welcome, the question has to be: why did they take so long?

According to the paper:
We were informed of the error by an e-mail that Zeidler asked his daughter to send us. This was sent late Monday. We’ve been trying to get to the bottom of things since then and held off on a correction until we could give the fullest possible explanation.
So, admittedly, the Journal-Sentinel took two full workdays to make the correction.

They pulled the Op-Ed offline yesterday, but failed to issue any retraction until late today.

Further, they stonewalled our inquiries — two e-mails sent last night, and four attempts to phone the Editorial Department this morning.

One certainly might suspect that, in spite of their claims, they were hunkered down, hoping that nobody would notice the blunder. And then, when the whole thing blew up via this blog and the publicity Charlie Sykes gave our story this morning, they went into damage control mode.

But perhaps they really did intend to issue a correction and apology, but took two full workdays to do it.

If so, this is rather strange behavior from journalists — whose profession is, after all, dedicated to getting accurate information to readers quickly. Even if they somehow didn’t have the “full story,” they could have gotten the key information — that the column wasn’t in fact written by Zeidler — online in a few minutes. Their web site is not, in fact, tied to their print editions and they do get “breaking news” online very quickly.

It’s a key maxim of public relations that, if there is bad news about your organization, you want to release it, and not wait for somebody else to do so.

There is also a maxim about the law: justice delayed is justice denied. There is a corollary to this: candor delayed doesn’t appear to be very candid.

The Media Ignores the Patriots

From McBride’s Media Matters:

. . . an account of a American soldier who died fighting terrorists in Iraq, and an eloquent letter he wrote, knowing he might die, asking “Please don’t ever forget what I died for, and never let anyone disrespect that.”

McBride asks the following question about how the media have handled issues like this:
Why don’t we hear more about people like him? What has bothered me about the Cindy Sheehan circus is not that she isn’t entitled to her point of view - she is. It’s that her viewpoint has been given an inordinate amount of media attention; the sheer amount of press has had the effect of giving her viewpoint more legitimacy than others, while at the same time the media have softened her extreme edges. But the words of Evans got one news story in a local paper and that was pretty much it.
Few in the media are so poisonously leftist that they have contempt for America’s soldiers, but certain biases still affect the coverage. Reporters are heavily liberal, and like things that are bad news for President Bush. They like the idea of “dissent,” gravitate toward “dissenters” and are just a bit embarrassed by patriots. Some of the older ones, especially, remember the huge rush of self-righteousness they had during the Vietnam War, and want to see this war as just like that one.

Put all this together, and it’s a recipe for biased coverage.

Journal-Sentinel Hoaxed on Zeidler Op-Ed

The Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel recently published (this past Sunday), an op-ed piece titled “A return to the rule of law.” The author was identified as Frank Zeidler, and a note at the bottom of the article said that “Frank Zeidler was mayor of Milwaukee from 1948 to 1960.”

The article is interesting, in that Zeidler, an avowed socialist, condemns judicial activism.

An e-mail correspondent brought it to our attention, but when we tried to find it on the Journal-Sentinel web site, the page turned up missing.

Our e-mails and phone calls to the Journal-Sentinel went unanswered, and so we called Mayor Zeidler. He knew about the article, and stated flatly that “I didn’t write that.” He further noted that the Journal-Sentinel has yet to admit that the op-ed was a hoax.

It is common, but certainly not universal practice for newspaper editors to confirm that Op-Ed pieces actually come from the person they purport to come from. The Journal-Sentinel apparently didn’t bother to confirm that this submission came from Zeidler. That’s sloppy.

But what is worse is that the paper, which clearly learned that the opinion column was forged, since they took it offline, has not bothered to publicly admit that they goofed.

The media pride themselves on revealing “cover-ups” in business and government. But they are just as willing as any other sector of society to cover up their blunders and misdeeds.

[Update: Charlie Sykes e-mailed the publisher, who sent this return message:
Charlie: We were made aware of this situation yesterday - and we’re preparing a full explanation of what happened and why for tomorrow’s paper. - Betsy Brenner
It’s good the paper is going to explain this, but odd that they are taking two days to do so. They knew and took the article offline yesterday, but failed to issue any correction or explanation. Indeed, as of this moment their web page lists the Zeidler article (scroll down to “More Commentary”), although the link doesn’t work.]

Monday, August 22, 2005

The Ginsberg Precedent and Judge Roberts

From supporters of Supreme Court nominee John Roberts: a video discussing the virtual free ride that Ruth Bader Ginsberg got from Republicans in the Senate.

Our view is that, after the tough partisan treatment that Bork got, the Republicans were suckers when they rolled over and played dead when faced with a judge who was a 100% predictable liberal vote.

However, given that they did that, they have every right to insist that Roberts get the same treatment. One of the best parts of the video is a clip of Joseph Biden explaining why Ginsberg should not discuss any issue that might come before the court.

Democrats will have a hard time reversing themselves and demanding that Roberts promise them outcomes that they like.

Another Marquette Student Blogger

No, Mary Ellen Burke does not have her own blog, but rather something maybe even better.

She is blogging on “The Right Noise,” the blog of the conservative journal Human Events.

Her first post deals with liberals in Christian organizations.

Saturday, August 20, 2005

NCAA On Appeals of Mascot Issue

From the Red State University blog:

A good discussion of the NCAA procedures for allowing appeals from schools who have been forbidden to use their Indian nicknames or mascots in post-season play on the grounds that they are “hostile or abusive.”

The process will give a lot of weight to whether local Indian tribes claim to be “offended” by a particular nickname. But as blogger Michael Sever points out:
What if a school’s nickname is “Braves” or “Indians?” There isn’t really a national Brave tribe to consult. Say for instance though that approval from the local Native American tribe is needed. What happens if the local tribe in Illinois decides it doesn’t have a problem with Bradley University calling itself the Braves, but the tribe in Louisiana says they do have a problem with Alcorn State calling themselves the Braves? Would the NCAA be prepared to admit that a name is offensive or “hostile and abusive” in one case, but not in another....even if the name in question involved the same word?

The same could be said for “Indians.” What happens if the local tribe says it is OK for Arkansas State to use the Indian moniker, but Newberry College is not granted the same permission?
Such an outcome would, of course, show how utterly arbitrary this whole business is. If tribal leaders, for their own political reasons, want to be “offended” they can kill a nickname. If other tribal leaders take a different view, then the name is acceptable.

And of course, “Indians” is really just tribal leaders, not rank and file Indians who overwhelmingly have no problem with Indian nicknames and mascots.

Sever concluded:
This appeals process to me shows that the NCAA knows it overstepped its bounds, but is trying to backtrack without looking like total fools by creating a patchwork quilt of approval.
Most certainly. This foray into political correctness by the NCAA has been vastly unpopular, and prudence would suggest they should back off.

Thursday, August 18, 2005

Of Course, They Hate Us For Good Reason

At least, that’s what the left says about the radical Islamicists who kill American soldiers, western journalists, innocent Iraqis and passengers on public transit in Madrid and London.

Some less than politically correct insight on the issue can be gained from an article in The Scotsman as summarized by Opinion Journal’s “Best of the Web:”
The Scotsman has an explanation for the murder in Iraq of journalist Steven Vincent. See if you can finish this sentence:

An American journalist who was shot dead in Basra last week was executed by Shiite extremists who . . .

. . . had been worn down by grinding poverty?

. . . were angry over Israel’s treatment of Palestinian Arabs?

. . . resented the presence in their country of foreign troops?

. . . sought to avenge the abuses at Abu Ghraib?

If you said any of the above, you’re wrong. Here’s the full sentence:

An American journalist who was shot dead in Basra last week was executed by Shiite extremists who knew he was intending to marry his Muslim interpreter, it has emerged.

That’s right, Steven Vincent was killed to prevent him from intermarrying. Those Westerners who side with the “Iraqi resistance” against America and its allies are defending the equivalent of the murder of Emmett Till.
The simple reality is that the left in the U.S. and Europe are largely projecting their own hatred of democratic capitalism onto the Islamic radicals. Their logic seems to be “since we hate democratic capitalism for these reasons, and they also hate democratic capitalism, they must agree with us.” In reality, the Islamicists are in an equally pathological but very different world.

George Webb Credit Card Fraud

Student blogging at its best: Brandon Henak at GOP3.COM has discovered fraudulent billing of credit card accounts of students who ate at George Webb restaurant on 16th Street.

Everybody who has used a credit card at that location should check their account.

Wednesday, August 17, 2005

Anti-Warrior Elitism (From an Alum)

Dan Carpenter is a Marquette alumnus, columnist for the The Indianapolis Star and describes himself as “a left-lunatic student and campus newspaper editorialist during the late 1960s.”

So it’s not surprising that he was happy when the “Warrior” nickname was dropped.

But what is especially interesting is the elitist logic he uses in support of his position. In an article titled “World without Wompum [sic]” He admits:
As far as I could tell, only the politicized minority of American Indians themselves were passionate about the issue, a manifestation of social inertia that has counterparts in black fan support for segregated baseball in the 1930s and women’s acceptance of all-male fire departments before the 1970s.

Whether you’re a Seminole making a business deal with Florida State University or a Shawnee who’s barely aware there’s a football team in Washington, D.C., you’ll tend to flow with the tide of the way it’s (seemingly) always been. Keep this in mind the next time a defender of the status quo piously points out that he’s heard little or no objection from an exploited minority group. Like the rest of us, they’re trying to get along. It’s up to the best of us, regardless of whether we’re affected personally, to go on the warpath for social change.
So the people who want to do away with Indian mascots and nicknames are the “best” people, and don’t need to care much what the “less than the best” think.

Not only does Carpenter not know how to spell “Willie Wampum,” he recites all the standard politically correct rhetoric. For example, he explains that:
Given the genocidal treatment of America’s native peoples by the European settlers and their more subtle heirs, the use of Indian caricatures to sell beer and whip up stadium crowds strikes me as arrogant at best. . . . Dropping the nicknames and mascots has to be one of the easier acts of reparation the ruling class will ever confront. . . .
Yes, Indians are a “victim” group, and therefore anything claimed to be done on their behalf — no matter how patently absurd — has to be accepted.

Things like affirmative actions preferences and quotas that favor Indians, and lucrative Indian gambling monopolies may be ethically questionable, but at least they are things that benefit Indians (or at least some lucky Indians). Doing away with mascots and nicknames doesn’t benefit Indians at all. Some “reparations.”

Carpenter even asserts that:
A generation has come of age knowing only “Golden Eagles” for Marquette’s teams; and as drab as that fallback is, it survived a recent alumni referendum against “Warriors” (resurrected by some older diehards waving big donations) and the utterly lusterless “Marquette Gold.”
In reality, the only poll that pitted “Warriors” against “Golden Eagles” saw “Warriors” winning by a massive majority among alumni, a lopsided majority among students, and even a narrow majority among the (more politically correct) faculty.

Carpenter, during his years at Marquette writing for the Tribune, not only didn’t learn how to spell “Wampum,” he didn’t learn much in the way of logic either. But he did learn the poisonous elitism of the politically correct.

Tuesday, August 16, 2005

Cindy Sheehan: Some Media Get It, Chris Matthews Still Clueless

While much of the mainstream media continues to glorify Cindy Sheehan, the woman who lost her son in Iraq and is now camped out in front of President Bush’s ranch in Texas, the fact that she is a crank and a crackpot has begun to penetrate. From the Media Research Center:
An exchange on the August 15 Anderson Cooper 360 on CNN, with Cooper at CNN’s studio in Manhattan and Sheehan outside in Crawford, Texas:

Cooper: “Cindy, I was reading some of the essays that you’ve been writing about the war over the last couple of months. In one you say the war is blatant genocide and you go on to say, and I quote, ‘Casey was killed in the global war of terrorism waged on the world and its own citizen by the biggest terrorist outfit in the world, George and his destructive Neo-con cabal.’ Do you really believe the President of the United States is the biggest terrorist in the world?”

Sheehan: “I believe that he’s responsible for the needless and senseless deaths of more people than any other organization right now. There was 3,000 people killed on September 11th, which was a tragic day. Our nation still mourned it. I still mourn for those people and their families. But tens of thousands of innocent people are dead in Iraq, Anderson, and there was no reason for the war. The war was based on lies and we know that now.”

Cooper: “But when you say that the President, I mean you’re essentially saying the President is a terrorist. I mean I think a lot of people would hear that and think what are you talking about?”

Sheehan: “Well, you know, I’ve heard a lot of — a lot of definitions of that and it’s the definition they kill innocent people, you know, and his policies are responsible for killing innocent people and I say the organization is killing innocent people and it needs to stop. We know that he said there was weapons of mass destruction and we know he knows that there weren’t. There was no link between al Qaeda and Saddam and we know he knows that there wasn’t, so we need to stop the killing now and I’m here to confront him.”

Cooper: “You said that it’s blatant genocide. I mean you really think the United States is trying to eliminate an entire group of people, all Iraqis?”

Sheehan: “There’s 100, there’s an estimate 100,000 to 200,000 innocent Iraqis dead because of our occupation, either by bullets and bombs or by disease, malnutrition and he says we’re doing it for the Iraqi people. How many do we have to kill before we convince them that what we’re doing is right over there?”
Still, some mainstream media types remain entirely clueless. Chris Matthews of MSNBC comes across as the Ted Baxter of cable news:
An exchange on MSNBC’s Hardball, from the end of the two segments with Sheehan:

Sheehan: “And when I came down here and said I was staying until I meet with him or until August 31, I met him, I wholly disagree with him. We’re not going to cure terrorism and spread peace and good will in the Middle East by killing innocent people or, I’m not even saying our bullets and bombs are killing them. The occupation that they don’t have food. They don’t have clean water. They don’t have electricity. They don’t have medicine. They don’t have doctors. We need to get our military presence out of there and that’s what will start building good will. Because we know they’re building bases the size of Sacramento, California in Iraq. They plan on never leaving. And I see in the future, they’re starting to beat the drums against Iran. And I see Iraq as the base for spreading imperialism. And if we don’t stop them now, our babies and our unborn grandchildren will be fighting this.”

Matthews: “Are you considering running for Congress, Cindy?”

Sheehan: “No, not this time. I’m a one issue person. I know a lot about what’s going on in Iraq but I don’t know anything about anything else. And I want to focus my energy on bringing the troops home.”

Matthews gushed: “Okay. Well, I have to tell you, you sound more informed than most U.S. Congresspeople, so maybe you should run.”

Some New Words Worth Knowing

From an e-mail correspondent.

“The Washington Post’s Mensa Invitational once again asked readers to take any word from the dictionary, alter it by adding, subtracting, or changing one letter, and supply a new definition.

Here are this year’s (2005) winners:”

  1. Intaxication: Euphoria at getting a tax refund, which lasts until you realize it was your money to start with.
  2. Reintarnation: Coming back to life as a hillbilly.
  3. Bozone (n.): The substance surrounding stupid people that stops bright ideas from penetrating. The bozone layer, unfortunately, shows little sign of breaking down in the near future.
  4. Foreploy: Any misrepresentation about yourself for the purpose of getting laid.
  5. Cashtration (n.): The act of buying a house, which renders the subject financially impotent for an indefinite period.
  6. Giraffiti: Vandalism spray-painted very, very high.
  7. Sarchasm: The gulf between the author of sarcastic wit and the person who doesn’t get it.
  8. Inoculatte: To take coffee intravenously when you are running late.
  9. Hipatitis: Terminal coolness.
  10. Osteopornosis: A degenerate disease. (This one got extra credit.)
  11. Karmageddon: It’s like, when everybody is sending off all these really bad vibes, right? And then, like, the Earth explodes and it’s like, a serious bummer.
  12. Decafalon (n.): The grueling event of getting through the day consuming only things that are good for you.
  13. Glibido: All talk and no action.
  14. Dopeler effect: The tendency of stupid ideas to seem smarter when they come at you rapidly.
  15. Arachnoleptic fit (n.): The frantic dance performed just after you’ve accidentally walked through a spider web.
  16. Beelzebug (n.): Satan in the form of a mosquito, that gets into your bedroom at three in the morning and cannot be cast out.
  17. Caterpallor (n.): The color you turn after finding half a worm in the fruit you’re eating.
  18. And the pick of the winner:
    Ignoranus: A person who’s both stupid and an asshole.
It’s pretty obvious that 14. is precisely what happened when the Marquette trustees adopted “Gold” as a nickname!

By the way, a search of the Washington Post web site turned up nothing like “Mensa Invitational.” So that part appears to be a hoax. But who cares?

Friday, August 12, 2005

More on Cindy Sheehan

The mainstream media have presented Cindy Sheehan, the mother of a soldier killed in Iraq who is now camped out at the entrance to George Bush’s ranch in Texas, as merely a concerned and grieving mother.

In fact, she’s a leftist with a long history of anti-war protest.

For example, on January 24, 2005 she published on the leftist website Common Dreams an article titled “The Dangerous Gold Star Families.” Among her other incendiary comments were the following:
If we were granted an audience with him, we didn’t really expect Mr. Rumsfeld to be truthful with us or even polite to us considering his past history of being so sarcastically untruthful and blatantly rude. The real reason I wanted to meet with Rumsfeld was so he could see the face of my son, Spc Casey Sheehan, who was killed in Sadr City on 04/04/04. I wanted him to look me in the face and see my red swollen eyes and to see all the lines that grief has etched. I wanted him to see the unbearable pain his ignorance and arrogance has caused me and my family. I wanted him to know that his actions have terrible consequences.
Months before she showed up in Crawford, Texas, she was part of a traveling left-wing road show. According to the June 14, 2005 Lexington Herald-Leader:
The president of Gold Star Families for Peace, a mother who lost a son in Iraq, criticized the United States’ “illegal and unjust war” yesterday during an interfaith rally in Lexington.

Cindy Sheehan of Vacaville, Calif., accused President Bush of lying to the nation about a war which has consumed tens of billions of dollars and claimed more than 1,700 American lives — including the life of Army Specialist Casey Austin Sheehan.

Sheehan was one of more than a dozen activists who were scheduled to speak at yesterday’s anti-war rally at the Red Mile, which was organized by the Clergy and Laity Network and co-sponsored by dozens of liberal religious organizations.

“We’re watching you very carefully and we’re going to do everything in our power to have you impeached for misleading the American people,” she said, quoting a letter she sent to the White House. “Beating a political stake in your black heart will be the fulfillment of my life ... ,” she said, as the audience of 200 people cheered.
This sort of rhetoric comes easy for her. On the Front Page Magazine website, a May 2, 2005 post tells of her participation in a leftist conclave at San Francisco State University. Her rhetoric was typically inflammatory.
We have no Constitution. We’re the only country with no checks and balances. We want our country back if we have to impeach George Bush down to the person who picks up the dog sh-t in Washington! Let George Bush send his two little party animals to die in Iraq. It’s OK for Israel to have nuclear weapons but we are waging nuclear war in Iraq, we have contaminated the entire country. It’s not OK for Syria to be in Lebanon. Hypocrites! But Israel can occupy Palestine? Stop the slaughter!
The media may have a liberal bias, but this sort of bombast is beyond the pale for the standard media liberals. Which is why her history and her statements are usually sanitized.

Sheehan’s distrust of the Administration extends to outright conspiracy theories. In a “Memorial Day Interview” on lewrockwell.com, she says the following:
The official story of his death was that Casey was killed in an ambush in Sadr City by hostile fire. I have some speculative evidence that he was actually killed by friendly fire. The military lied to us and has told us conflicting stories. My friend Fernando Del Solar Suarez was lied to and told that his son was shot in the head, when he stepped on a US cluster bomb.
The reality of her son’s death is in fact well known. He not only enlisted in the military, he voluntarily reenlisted, knowing he was likely to be sent to Iraq. As a mechanic in his unit, he didn’t have to, and was never ordered to go into the battle that cost him his life. Rather, when some members of his unit ran into resistence, he took up his weapon and went to help them.

He was a hero. But the story of his heroism has been overshadowed by the extremist antics of his mother.

Cindy Sheehan: Crank and Crackpot

The current media darling is an anti-Iraq War protestor named Cindy Sheehan, a mother who lost her son in the War. She is camped outside President Bush’s Texas ranch.

Missing in most of the media reports about her is one embarrassing fact. The woman is a crank, or at least a pliable person willling to be used by the anti-war left.

National Review online records some of the things she said during a conference call with liberal and leftist bloggers.
“This is something that can’t be ignored,” Sheehan said during a conference call with bloggers representing sites like democrats.com, codepink4peace.org, and crooksandliars.com. “They can’t ignore us, and they can’t put us down. Thank God for the Internet, or we wouldn’t know anything, and we would already be a fascist state.”

“Our government is run by one party, every level,” Sheehan continued, “and the mainstream media is a propaganda tool for the government.” Sheehan also called the 2004 presidential election “the election, quote-unquote, that happened in November.”
She also called Bill O’Reily’s Fox News show “an obscenity to humanity.”

The full audio from the call can be found on the Joe Trippi blog.

Family members decry Sheehan

Members of her own family not only disagree with her, but suspect her motivations. Accoring to the Vacaville Reporter:
Sent to a San Francisco radio station Thursday, the first public acknowledgement of a family rift came from Cherie Quartarolo, sister-in-law to Cindy Sheehan and godmother to her son, Casey, who was killed in action in Iraq last year.

Reached by phone Thursday, Quartarolo said she consulted with other family members before releasing the brief statement, but she declined to elaborate. She signed the memo on behalf of Casey’s paternal grandparents, as well as “aunts, uncles and numerous cousins.”

Noting that her family is still grieving the loss of Casey, Quartarolo wrote: “We do not agree with the political motivations and publicity tactics of Cindy Sheehan. She now appears to be promoting her own personal agenda and notoriety at the expense of her son’s good name and reputation.”
Sheehan was not always such a strident critic of the President. In June 2004, her family was one of 17 families who had lost loved ones who met with Bush. Her impressions of the President in the wake of that meeting were at odds with what she is now saying.
“We have a lot of respect for the office of the president, and I have a new respect for him because he was sincere and he didn’t have to take the time to meet with us,” [Cindy’s husband] Pat said.

Sincerity was something Cindy had hoped to find in the meeting. Shortly after Casey died, Bush sent the family a form letter expressing his condolences, and Cindy said she felt it was an impersonal gesture.

“I now know he’s sincere about wanting freedom for the Iraqis,” Cindy said after their meeting. “I know he’s sorry and feels some pain for our loss. And I know he’s a man of faith.”

The meeting didn’t last long, but in their time with Bush, Cindy spoke about Casey and asked the president to make her son’s sacrifice count for something. They also spoke of their faith.
Her turnabout has been rather dramatic. It’s been described and analyzed by a writer for her hometown paper.
So, what changed? The anti-Bush crowd now handles Mrs. Sheehan, answering her phone and prepping her for the media, according to Sheehan’s online diary.

She still doesn’t like critical media attention or when the media ignore her.

“I conservatively got three to five phone calls a minute. I did about 25 phone interviews and several TV interviews,” Mrs. Sheehan wrote in the diary. “I was supposed to do: ‘The Today Show,’ MSNBC live interview, ‘Connected Coast to Coast’ and ‘Hardball,’ both on MSNBC. ‘The Today Show’ just never showed up and the other three MSNBC shows cancelled for no reason. Could it be because NBC is owned by General Electric, a major defense contractor?”
Could it be that the woman is captive to some rather bizarre ideas?

That the media are paying so much attention to her is highly revealing.

Most Indian Tribes Blew Off NCAA Survey

When the NCAA Minority Opportunities And Interests Committee sent out surveys asking various group what they though about American Indian Mascots, one of the groups surveyed was American Indian tribes.

Note, they did not survey actual American Indians. Such surveys have been done by reputable survey organizations and find that 80 to 90 percent of Indians have no objection to Indian team nicknames. In their Report, the organization tells what happened:
The MOIC forwarded correspondence to over 500 American Indian tribes and councils to obtain their thoughts and comments. A list of tribal councils and governments is attached as Appendix I. The MOIC received a ten percent response rate from this group.

Discussion

Ninety-nine percent of responses in this category requested the NCAA ban the use of American Indian mascots in intercollegiate athletics. Generally, American Indians view the use of mascots as racist. Many feel that the practice of using American Indian mascots is based on tradition and honor, held over from an outdated time of racial intolerance and prejudice in this nation’s history.
In other words, 99 percent of the 10 percent of tribes who bothered to respond were against Indian nicknames.

But 90 percent didn’t care enough about the issue to bother returning the questionnaire.

And this on an issue that is supposedly a racist outrage directed against all Indians.

Which makes the point we have often made: the entire mascot issue is the creation of white liberals and leftists, and a handful of Indian racial hustlers whose real constitutency is the politically correct whites.

Thursday, August 11, 2005

Atheists and Believers in Academia

From Live Science via Milt’s File:
Scientists’ Belief in God Varies Starkly by Discipline

About two-thirds of scientists believe in God, according to a new survey that uncovered stark differences based on the type of research they do.

The study, along with another one released in June, would appear to debunk the oft-held notion that science is incompatible with religion.

Those in the social sciences are more likely to believe in God and attend religious services than researchers in the natural sciences, the study found.

The opposite had been expected.

Nearly 38 percent of natural scientists — people in disciplines like physics, chemistry and biology — said they do not believe in God. Only 31 percent of the social scientists do not believe.

In the new study, Rice University sociologist Elaine Howard Ecklund surveyed 1,646 faculty members at elite research universities, asking 36 questions about belief and spiritual practices.
First, note that college faculty are more liberal and more secular than the population as a whole.

Second, the reason social scientists were assumed to be more secular than natural scientists is that social scientists are further to the left politically than natural scientists. And leftism is strongly correlated with being secular.

But the natural sciences appear to have their own distinctive ethos. Probably it is rooted in a hubristic belief that science can explain everything, and thus religious notions are just “superstitions” to be avoided.

Yet More Nickname Insanity

From Red State University:

Marx said that history does repeat itself. It comes the first time as a tragedy and the second time as a farce.

The controversy over American Indian nicknames, in contrast, came initially as a farce, and is quickly becoming a complete travesty.

As reported by USA Today, PITA has objected to the use of the nickname “Gamecocks.”
The animal rights group People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals sent a letter to Brand on Wednesday asking the NCAA to stop South Carolina and Jacksonville (Ala.) State from using the nickname Gamecocks.

The letter, a copy of which was given to USA TODAY by PETA, says Gamecocks “are named after the birds used in cockfighting, a hideous ‘blood sport’ that, like spousal abuse, bank robbery and driving while intoxicated, is illegal in both South Carolina and Alabama.”

Said [Rep. Tom Feeney,R-Fla.]: “For once, I believe that PETA, at least on the level of logic, is correct. If the NCAA has to protect offended Native Americans ... by God, PETA ought to advocate for the protection of every organism in the animal kingdom.”

Marquette Purchasing: Wanting to Waste $300

When Marquette’s Political Science Department wanted to buy an office chair for a faculty member, the departmental secretary checked out Marquette’s “approved vendors” on the Purchasing website, and found that the cheapest chair available cost $400.

She did a bit of digging, and found that Office Max had a similar chair for about $100. She went to Office Max and bought it with the Department’s credit card, put it in her trunk, and brought it in to work.

The faculty member in question was entirely happy with the purchase, and she had saved the Department $300.

But when bureaucrats in the Purchasing Department saw the credit card charge, they weren’t so happy. The secretary got an e-mail saying the following:
Leah, we have reviewed credit card purchases for April 2005 through June, 2005 and noticed that you may not have been utilizing Marquette’s preferred providers for some of your purchases. Examples of non preferred vendor usage are listed below:

[Details listed here]

If the items or services you purchased from these vendors can be obtained from university preferred providers, we would like to encourage you to utilize them for future purchases.

The use of preferred providers is important to the university. They have given competitive pricing, dependable deliveries, established billing accounts, sales representation, and have accepted the university legal terms of purchase.
Undeterred by this silly e-mail, she replied as follows:
Frankly, the situations of non-vendor usage should be more closely examined so that the venders can get a better sense as to why they are being undersold. In terms of customer service, I have found little difference in how non-Marquette vendors treat me. In fact, I would say that the customer service has been better because these vendors do NOT have a relationship with the university and therefore have a vested interest in cultivating a better relationship.
She then concluded by saying:
I certainly try to work with the preferred vendors when possible but significant cost savings for the department as well as the university cannot be ignored.
The whole notion of “preferred vendors” is a bureaucratic boondoggle run amok.

The experience of Marquette, particularly in regard to computer purchases, is that when a vendor gets a monopoly (or near-monopoly) on Marquette purchases, they jack up the price, knowing that they need not seriously compete.

Then why would Purchasing want to give vendors monopoly or near-monopoly status?

Basically, because it provides the bureaucrats something to do. It also increases their power. Potential vendors have to suck up to Purchasing or Information Technology bureaucrats, cater to them, and pander to them.

The “preferred vendor” program is also a dandy way of giving business to politically favored vendors, whether it be politically correct vendors (“minority” or “women owned”) or alumni, or simply companies that certain bureaucrats happen to like.

The upshot, of course, is that Marquette spends more money than it needs to spend, but the money doesn’t come out of the budget of Purchasing. It comes out of the budgets of all the departments, divisions and schools in the University.

All this goes back to the corruption of the administrative culture of the University under former President Albert J. DiUlio. When DiUlio was President (1990-1996) the “business side” of the bureaucracy became vastly more powerful as well as more overbearing and arrogant.

Fr. Wild did nothing to change that, indeed, he appears not to even recognize a problem.

Planned Parenthood Anti-Abstinence Video

From the Badger Blog Alliance:

A video from the San Francisco branch of Planned Parenthood that derides all those (abstinance advocates, anti-abortion protestors, conservative politicians and Jerry Falwell) who disagree with Planned Parenthood’s positions.

It features a “superhero” who is a black woman who eats organic vegetables. We are obviously deep into politically correct territory here.

The video shows her using violence against those who disagree with Planned Parenthood.

Particularly rich is the portrayal of the abstinence advocate who has the persona of the villain in an 1890s melodrama. He is stuffed in a garbage can by the “superhero.”

Liberals have always claimed that sexual abstinence on the part of teenagers might be ideal, but the problem is that it “won’t work.” This video, like the “Screw Abstinence Party” that NARAL in Seattle hosted, shows that the sexual liberals don’t want it to work. They actually seem to prefer sexual promiscuity.

If that seems irrational, it is. But in the culture wars, a move toward abstinence by American teenagers would be seen as a victory for conservatives.

Wednesday, August 10, 2005

The Hippie Wal-Mart

From the Economist:
NO ONE admits to being more surprised by the runaway success of Whole Foods Market than its boss. “In all my profound wisdom I decreed a maximum of 100 stores, and thought that would saturate the United States,” recalls John Mackey of the time when his company went public in 1992. That in itself was quite a milestone for a grocery retailer that he began in 1978 in a garage in Austin, Texas, when he was living in a vegetarian co-op. At first, hippies and college students were his main customers. But now, with over 170 stores feeding America’s organic-food-addicted middle class, Whole Foods Market has become firmly established as the world’s largest natural-foods chain.
Of course, rapid growth has brought Mackey some critics and some controversy.
Yet Mr Mackey’s organic idealism and greenery should not be confused with a lack of hard-nosed business acumen. He can quote Adam Smith with the best of them. He is often criticised for wiping out the small, local natural-food businesses that, not so long ago, were what the industry was all about. He is also opposed to trade unions. Whole Foods Market workers in Madison, Wisconsin, caused a stir three years ago when they voted to join a union, but the company persuaded them to back down. Currently his stores remain non-union. Mr Mackey says he dislikes the “adversarial nature” of labour unions—the “zero-sum mentality” whereby “if shareholders are winning, labour is losing”. The market, he says, is the “best check against exploitation, because people can vote with their feet.” Indeed, says Roy Bingham of Health Business Partners, an investment bank, Whole Foods Market benefits from the undying keenness to work for it of the “sandals brigade” of young idealists. The firm is regularly cited by Fortune as one of the top 100 places to work in America.
One of the virtues of capitalism is that it tends to absorb all kinds of new fads, movements and even cults. And indeed, from a scientific standpoint the organic food movement is close to being a cult. Critics of capitalism, both left and right, had complained that it is immoral and soulless. The reality is that capitalism gives people what they want and what they deserve.

Nobody has figured out how to do better than this, and many societies have done much worse.

Gov. Bush Blasts NCAA on Mascot Issue

From the Red State University blog:

Sports Illustrated reports that Florida’s Governor Jeb Bush has strongly criticized the NCAA for outlawing the Florida State Seminole mascot and nickname in post-season play:
TALLAHASSEE, Fla. (AP) -- Gov. Jeb Bush criticized NCAA officials on Tuesday for their decision to penalize Florida State for using an American Indian nickname and symbols, saying they instead insulted the university and a proud Seminole Tribe of Florida.

“I think it’s offensive to native Americans ... the Seminole Indian tribe who support the traditions of FSU,” Bush said on his way into a Cabinet meeting. “I think they insult those people by telling them, ‘No, no, you’re not smart enough to understand this. You should be feeling really horrible about this.’ It’s ridiculous.”
It’s inevitable. Politically correct people always end up demeaning the victim groups they supposedly are protecting and defending.

This is the case when black race hustlers claim that young blacks can’t be expected to avoid crime or succeed in school because they are victims of racism. It’s the case with those who apologize for terrorism on the grounds that Moslems have been victims of Western imperialism.

From the standpoint of politically correct liberals and leftists, victim groups just aren’t capable for acting like normal decent people. Indeed, they aren’t even smart enough to know what is best for them.

Keep Catholics Off the Court

From the Opinion Journal Best of the Web:
A jaw-dropping op-ed piece in today’s Boston Globe suggests that these three justices got it exactly wrong. One Christopher D. Morris, “a writer and critic in Northfield, Vt.,” argues that the Senate Judiciary Committee should subject the Catholic Church, and Catholic jurists, to special scrutiny:
Catholic bishops threatened to exclude Senator John Kerry from the Eucharist because of his support for Roe v. Wade. The Senate Judiciary Committee is now fully justified in asking these bishops whether the same threats would apply to Supreme Court nominee Judge Roberts, if he were to vote to uphold Roe v. Wade.

The bishops have made this question legitimate because Americans no longer know whether a Catholic judge can hear abortion cases without an automatic conflict of interest. . . .

Asking the bishops to testify would be healthy. If they rescinded the threats made against Kerry, then Roberts would feel free to make his decision without the appearance of a conflict of interest, and Catholic politicians who support Roe v. Wade would gain renewed confidence in their advocacy. If the bishops repeated or confirmed their threats, the Senate Judiciary Committee should draft legislation calling for the automatic recusal of Catholic judges from cases citing Roe v. Wade as a precedent.
In other words, in order to preserve the bogus constitutional right to abortion, it is necessary to disregard the actual constitutional provisions for church-state separation and against religious tests for officeholders. It’s yet another reason why Roe must go.
Nobody has ever suggested that Ruth Bader Ginsberg should recuse herself from cases in which the ACLU is involved, in spite of her having been a staffer with that organization. Nobody has ever suggested that an atheist must recuse himself or herself from any case involving Church and State. It is only religion that is considered suspect.

The quoted article was not the editorial position of the Boston Globe, but the fact that the editorial page editor thought it worth publishing is revealing. It apparently met some minimal credibility test that a racist screed from a Klansman would not have.

But in fact, the Klan in its heyday in the 20s was anti-Catholic just as it was anti-Jewish and anti-black. Indeed, the sentiments expressed in the article might well have been those of a Klansman circa 1925.

Tuesday, August 09, 2005

Tax Twinkies?

From The Conglomorate, discussion of an article in The New Republic arguing for taxation of saturated fat and transfatty acids.

This raises all kinds of ethical and public policy issues. The law school professor (Will Baude) who wrote the article concludes:
It is arguments like this that make us libertarian types so nervous about the pervasiveness of the welfare state. As Virginia Postrel has pointed out, once everything is government taxed and subsidized, then every private decision can become an allegedly public one. At first, this made my Federal Income Tax class invigorating and exciting — every life decision was also a tax issue! — as the semester went on, though, I realized how frightening that was. The power to spend, John Marshall might have noted, is the power to destroy.
We didn’t think there were many libertarians among law school professors. We still don’t, but are glad to find one.

Monday, August 08, 2005

A-Bomb Was a Lifesaver

People who don’t much like America (and this includes a number of Americans) love to point out that the United States is the only nation that has used nuclear weapons in anger.

But the reality, as Jeff Jacoby of The Boston Globe points out, is that these fearsome weapons actually saved lives.
[Today], the revisionists are still going strong. An article in the radical journal CounterPunch, for example, labels the attacks on Hiroshima and Nagasaki “the worst terror attacks in history,” and trots out the old canard that their real purpose was to intimidate the Soviet Union. In the Los Angeles Times the other day, Kai Bird and Martin Sherwin asserted as “unpleasant historical facts” that “the atomic bombings were unnecessary,” serving only to devastate an “essentially defeated enemy.”

More than ever before, the historical record confirms what [American] soldiers knew in their gut: Hiroshima and Nagasaki, hideous as they were, shortened the war that Japan had begun and thereby saved an immensity of lives. Far from considering itself “essentially defeated,” the Japanese military was preparing for an Allied assault with a massive buildup in the south. It was only the shock of the atomic blasts that enabled Japanese leaders who wanted to stop the fighting to successfully press for a surrender.

“We of the peace party were assisted by the atomic bomb in our endeavor to end the war,” Kido Koichi, one of Emperor Hirohito’s closest aides, later recalled. Hisatsune Sakomizu, the chief cabinet secretary, called the bomb “a golden opportunity given by heaven for Japan to end the war.” That is still the right way to see it. President Truman’s decision to use the new weapons stopped a war that would otherwise have raged savagely on, and made possible the transformation of Japan from vicious aggressor to peaceful democracy. Six decades after August 1945, it is clear: The bomb made the world a better place.
The reality is that even after the dropping of the two bombs, it required the intervention of the Emperor — who normally avoided involvement in policy making — to tip the scales in favor of surrender. Many of the Japanese warlords were willing to fight until the last Japanese died.

Black Activists’ Hate Fest

It was a civil rights march in Atlanta, and all the usual suspects were there: Judge Greg Mathis, Harry Belafonte (who said blacks who serve in the Bush Administration are “black tyrants”), U.S. Rep. Barbara Lee (D-Calif.), Rep. Maxine Waters (D-CA), Rep. Charles Rangel (D-N.Y.), Rep. John Conyers (D-Mich.), Jesse Jackson.

Read the linked articles and savor the rhetoric.

All of this raises a fundamental question: why are black activists allowed to say hateful, bigoted and inflammatory things that no white activist could get away with.

The answer is simple: they supposedly “represent” a politically correct victim group.

But happily, most white Americans know the race hustling activists are not representative of rank-and-file black people. If they believed they were, then contempt of black people would be widespread. If the activists were representative, such contempt would be justified.

How Important Are Blogs?

Via NewsBusters:

An article in the Boston Herald titled “Americans aren’t all agog for blogs.”

It points out a survey by Forrester Research reporting that fewer than 2 percent of Americans go to the Internet to read blogs once a week or more. It then goes on to note:
Blog readership looks paltry against the 70 percent of Americans who watch ABC, 65 percent who read their local paper — or even the 18 percent who watch Home & Garden’s HGTV.
However, the article also presents a cogent counter-argument:
Herald reporter Jay Fitzgerald, author of Hub Blog and the Herald’s Econoblog, notes: “The New Republic, the National Review, the Nation and other political magazines have enormous influence, but their combined circulation doesn’t come close to the readership of the top blogs.”
Fitzgerald has a good point. Blogs aren’t a mass medium — they are for the politically active and interested. But in reaching the politically active and interested they have a vastly important trickle-down effect. When blogs debunked Dan Rather’s bogus documents about George Bush’s National Guard service, very few people directly read the blog entries. But the information spread like wildfire, and by the next day the Mainstream Media had to pay attention (and joined in the debunking).

Further, blogs are one of the media of the future, as opposed to (say) the print editions of newspapers or the broadcast networks evening newscasts. To survive, the more traditional media have become more “blog like.” The Journal-Sentinel puts wire-service dispatches online immediately, and columns may be posted as soon as they are written, rather than waiting for the print edition to come out. On mainstream media sites, discussion boards and online polls have become exceedingly popular, exploiting the interactive nature of the Internet.

If imitation is the sincerest form of flattery, blogs are getting a lot of flattery these days.

If a Football Team Was Made Up of Liberals

Not surprisingly, the discussion on The Huffington Post on the NCAA decision to ban Indian nicknames and mascots in post season play skews liberal and politically correct.

But there are a fair number of posters who think the whole business is political correctness run amok. Here is one poster’s comment:
If a football team was made up of liberals they’d lose every game. They’d refuse to play claiming conscientious objector status. They, as usual, wouldn’t try to win or protect their own, they’d form committees to study why the other team hates them so much and wants to defeat them. Then they’d apologize to the other team and surrender.

Sunday, August 07, 2005

Greenpeace: The End Justifies the Means

We recently posted about about an ad, from Greenpeace, U.K, titled “Blair Blows Bush.”

It is, we explained, exactly like it sounds. We opined that:
. . . we think it’s a window into a culture where standards of civility simply don’t apply, because those with different political positions have been demonized.
Orbusmax blog did a follow-up, and printed a response that Greenpeace U.K. sent to an irate person who wrote to complain. Perhaps the most revealing paragraph said the following:
Greenpeace has never shied away from controversy. Our tactics are often condemned as extremist or alarmist, though history has proven us justified in our alarm again and again. We’re a textbook case of an organisation which puts the needs of the planet in front of any concerns about our reputation or good manners. We draw attention to causes which need attention, by whatever non-violent means we can.
Translation: “the end justifies the means.”

Alternate translation: “we are in the right, so the normal standards of civility don’t apply to us.”

Of course, if a bunch of people have such poor judgment on matters of political tactics, and so few moral compunctions about smearing their political opponents, what are the odds that their views on environmental matters should be taken seriously?

Saturday, August 06, 2005

NCAA Mascot Decision Highly Unpopular

Now on the MSNBC website: an online vote on the NCAA’s decision to ban some Indian nicknames and mascots in post-season play.

The question:
Do you agree with the NCAA’s decision to ban Indian names and mascots from postseason play? * 23424 responses
The results, as this is written: 14% say "yes" and 86% say no.

Such surveys aren’t strictly scientific, but when they are so lopsided, it’s hard ignore the results.

This, like the lopsided pro-Warriors majority in the survey that Marquette took this past November, highlights how out-of-touch academia and academic organizations (like the NCAA) are. Living in a parochial, isolated politically correct world, they can’t fathom how hostile most Americans are toward their antics.

Meanwhile, the Deseret Morning News reports that the University of Utah, which has explicit permission from the Ute tribe to use their name, as well as Florida State, which has the explicit permission of the Seminole tribe to use their name, are both going to fight this.

[Update: As of Monday evening, August 8, the poll showed 87% opposing the NCAA, and only 13% supporting the ban.]

Dan Maguire, Catholic Theologian?

While the fellows at GOP3.COM are debating whether Dan Maguire should be fired, or at least transferred to a department other than Theology, we can’t help notice a singular bit of chutzpah on the part of the leftist Marquette faculty member.

From a website largely devoted to publicizing the thoughts of Maguire, the following:
Against his better judgment, Dan Maguire accepted an invitation to be interviewed on Fox’s On the Record. Gretta Von Sustern in her introduction kept referring to him as “a former priest” not as a theologian. When Dan got to speak—and he was cut off very quickly—he said that he was indeed a former priest and that he was also a former high school student, but that he was not appearing as such but as “a Catholic theologian, trained in a pontifical university in Rome and teaching on a Catholic faculty at Marquette University.” In this and in other interviews, Dan remarked that the press usually interviews priests or bishops who are not theologians but play one on television. Thus the press is regularly getting misinformation on true Catholic teaching from those who could not pass a graduate exam in theology but happen to be priests of bishops. Gretta then immediately, with much deference, brought on a priest who was not a theologian to refute Dan.
Maguire seems to believe that “a Catholic theologian, trained in a pontifical university in Rome and teaching on a Catholic faculty at Marquette University” is the appropriate spokesman for Catholicism, and that people without such a degree and without a Theology Department appointment can’t speak for the Church.

In the first place, a lot of Catholic theologians disagree with Maguire. So why should anybody pay much attention to him, as opposed to those theology professors who disagree with him?

But worse is the elitism that Maguire shows.

He seems to think that “Catholic theologians, trained in a pontifical university in Rome and teaching on a Catholic faculty at Marquette University” should have more authority than the bishops, more authority than priests and certainly more authority than lay people.

Maguire, in other words, is as elitist and authoritarian as the Church hierarchy at its worst.

Let’s be honest here. Maguire is just a college professor, and college professors aren’t any sort of special people. They know bigger words than most people. But their opinions are heavily influenced by both prevailing academic fads and by secular ideologies popular among academics.

Maguire is just a 60s-type former priest with the standard leftist opinions. The notion that he somehow has more authority than a bishop is bizarre, and the idea that his opinion should count for more than the average lay Catholic is highly questionable.

He has every right to express his opinions, but no sensible person will take them very seriously. Nor consider them perceptibly “Catholic.”

Free Expression in Canada

From the Calgary Herald:

Harper bumper sticker stirs up controversy

An Edmonton man won’t be charged for having a rude bumper sticker that insults Conservative Leader Stephen Harper.

The sticker has a four-letter synonym for intercourse followed by the name Harper.

Back in June, Rob Wells [received] a letter from Mounties in Ponoka saying a resident had seen the sticker while driving near Red Deer and was offended.

He was asked to remove the sticker but refused, accusing the RCMP of trying to suppress political dissent.

Police have since backed off on charging Wells.
We aren’t convinced that free speech requires tolerating obscenities imposed on unwitting people who are just going about their business in the public square.

But we suppose one could say that, at least, Canadian officials are bending over backwards to protect free expression.

But that’s not the way Canada works. In Toronto, Miss Universe was forbidden by municipal officials to appear in a public square unless she concealed her title. The politically correct crowd there felt that the Miss Universe contest engages in “sexual stereotyping.”

Indeed:
In 1992, then Toronto mayor June Rowlands banned the Barenaked Ladies from playing in Nathan Phillips Square, saying she felt the name objectified women.
This, of course, is typical of contemporary liberalism.

They are happy to defend speech the gratutious, useless vulgarity of which offends the vast majority of citizens, but quick to outlaw expression that offends their politically correct sensibilities.

Friday, August 05, 2005

NCAA: Warriors is Fine

When the NCAA released its list of politically incorrect schools that have to conceal their mascot or nickname or both in tournament, one nickname was entirely absent.

Warriors.

Those institutions that got singled out were chosen from a larger pool of 31 schools who used Indian nicknames and were required to fill out a questionnaire produced by the Minority Opportunities and Interests Committee in an attempt to establish their political correctness.
The MOIC’s most recent actions were based, in part, on results from that second self-evaluation. The survey was distributed to 31 institutions representing all three divisions. As part of the voluntary self-evaluation, schools were asked to clarify their position on the continued use of American Indian mascots based on NCAA constitutional amendments that establish the Association’s commitment to the values of diversity, respect and nondiscrimination. Institutions also were asked to provide information on their educational and outreach initiatives related to American Indians.
All of the schools using “Warriors” were either not on the list of 31 schools, or passed the political correctness test.

This in spite of the fact that the NCAA’s own list shows nine schools using “Warriors” as a nickname.

Governor Ryan’s Execution Moratorium in Illinois: Killing the Innocent

In 2003 when Governor George Ryan of Illinois commuted the sentences of all the convicted murderers on death row in his state, he became a hero to anti-death penalty forces.

Three years earlier, in 2000, he had imposed a moratorium on executions to allow a review of the supposed defects in the system.

Ryan said he would “sleep well knowing I made the right decision.”

Now, two scholars have concluded that he killed a bunch of people.

A new paper titled “Execution Moratoriums, Commutations and Deterrence: The Case of Illinois” by Dale O. Cloninger and Roberto Marchesini (both of the University of Houston) examined the effect of (first) the moratorium, and then the mass commutation on the murder rate in Illinois. Their conclusion:
In January 2000, the Governor of Illinois declared a moratorium on executions pending a review of the judicial process that condemned certain murderers to the death penalty. In January 2003 just prior to leaving office, the Governor commuted the death sentences of all of those who then occupied death row. We find that these actions are coincident with the increased risk of homicide incurred by the residents of Illinois over the 48-month post event period for which data were available. The increased risk is associated with an estimated 150 additional homicides during the post-event period.
Translation: Ryan’s antics killed about 150 innocent people.

This can be added to seven recent econometric studies showing that the death penalty does indeed deter murders. (See the Cloninger and Marchesini paper for citations.)

We think the anti-death penalty crowd has a lot chutzpah claiming to occupy some moral high ground. Just how moral is it to allow the killing of innocent victims because you happen to be squeamish about executions?

NCAA: “Hostile” or “Abusive” Nicknames and Mascots Banned from Tournament

Via the Red State University blog:
INDIANAPOLIS-- The NCAA banned the use of American Indian mascots by sports teams during its postseason tournaments, but will not prohibit them otherwise.

The NCAA’s executive committee decided this week the organization did not have the authority to bar Indian mascots by individual schools, committee chairman Walter Harrison said Friday.

Nicknames or mascots deemed “hostile or abusive” would not be allowed on team uniforms or other clothing beginning with any NCAA tournament after Feb. 1, said Harrison, the University of Hartford’s president.
It seems the NCAA has shied away from the more extreme form of political correctness: trying to ban Indian team names.

According to an NCAA spokeswoman, reached in Indianapolis, schools with Indian nicknames and mascots won’t be banned from the tournament, but merely required to shed any reference to the offending nickname or mascot in any tournament appearance.

There are only 18 specific schools affected, and a list of these 18 schools will shortly be posted on the NCAA web site.

Florida State, with the Seminole mascot, is on the list, not withstanding that the Seminole tribe in Florida has explicitly approved the use of the mascot.

The NCAA spokeswoman explained that there are some Seminoles in Oklahoma who object to Florida State using that nickname.

That is the way of political correctness. One looks for grievance mongers, and ignores the authentic representatives of the supposed victim group.

[Update: here is the NCAA press release announcing the decision.

Who is not on the list? North Carolina-Pembroke, which is historically an Indian school, and still has a large Indian enrollment. They are the Braves. However when Alcorn State University uses “Braves” the NCAA considers this “offensive.” But if Indian students at NC-Pembroke think Braves is fine for themselves, why should they think it’s bad for other schools? The answer: they don’t. It’s not ordinary Indians who are making these determinations, it’s the race hustlers.]

Thursday, August 04, 2005

Bolton at the U.N.: Editorial Cartoons

From the Office of Homeland Security, which has done a dandy job of collecting good editorial cartoons on various issues:

Wednesday, August 03, 2005

The National Council of Churches’ Favorite Marquette Professor

The National Council of Churches is the voice of “Mainstream Protestantism” — those no-longer-mainstream declining denominations whose national leadership is into leftist politics, rather than Christianity.

They claim, of course to be into Christianity. But they define it as pretty much identical to leftist politics.

They are the denominations that ordain gay bishops, approve gay marriage, call for the U.S. to get out of Iraq.

You get the idea.

Well whose book is now featured on the front page of the National Council of Churches web site? Marquette’s own Dan Maguire, whose volume A Moral Creed for All Christians can be purchased with a couple or three mouse clicks.

The blurb for the book says:
This new book by Professor Daniel C. Maguire of Marquette University seeks to rekindle the fiery core of Christianity by pointing out that the faith’s relevance is not uncovered by right-wing morality or left-wing rhetoric. Maguire asserts Christianity’s moral convictions about God’s care, rapport with the earth, the nature of ownership, the bond between justice and peace, the nature of enmity, the illogic of militarism, and the creative potential of the human species. Paperback, 208 pages, $14 from Fortress Press (800-328-4648).
Just how well qualified is Maguire to pontificate on Christianity?

He views are certainly not mainstream. For one thing, he doesn’t believe that Jesus died for the sins of humanity. Jim Stingl of the Journal-Sentinel interviewed him, and reported:
We sat in Maguire’s living room as he told this story. I noticed a wilted Easter lily but not a single religious image or crucifix. Maguire said he doesn’t believe Jesus died for our sins and called it heresy that makes God look like a sadistic monster. Jesus died for standing up to the unjust and exploitative Roman Empire, he said.

“That’s drama enough for me,” he said.
Maguire also wrote the following:
Jesus was crucified by an empire. With all deference to Mel Gibson, he was not killed so that his suffering would expiate for our sins, a very bad piece of theology that would turn God into a sadistic monster who would feel he had to torture his son to death in order to make up for sins of other people. No, Jesus was crucified as a rebel against empire.
Maguire hasn’t been shy in expounding on this, and e-mailed us confirming the accuracy of the Stingl quote. He even sent along a manuscript with a long footnote elaborating on his view.

Of course, he claims to be against “all the vicious ‘isms,’ that make life on a good earth horrible: sexism, speciesism, racism, heterosexism, nationalism, militarism.”

If he is against “speciesism” and thinks only a sadistic god would allow Jesus to die for the sins of mankind, one doubts he believes that the Judeo-Christian God would want animals sacrificed as an offering for sin.

Of course, Maguire has a right to believe anything he wants, and indeed a right to expound on his views at Marquette, given the institution’s commitment to academic freedom.

But one shouldn’t confuse views driven by leftist ideology with Christianity. Maguire’s views are basically leftist ideology, dressed up with a few biblical references.

Which makes him the perfect sort of “Catholic theologian” for the National Council of Churches.

The Black Family: 40 Years of Lies

Via the DAD29 blog:

An article that examines the problem in the black community that the media, politicians and academics don’t want to face: the decline of the two parent family.
By now, these facts shouldn’t be hard to grasp. Almost 70 percent of black children are born to single mothers. Those mothers are far more likely than married mothers to be poor, even after a post-welfare-reform decline in child poverty. They are also more likely to pass that poverty on to their children. Sophisticates often try to dodge the implications of this bleak reality by shrugging that single motherhood is an inescapable fact of modern life, affecting everyone from the bobo Murphy Browns to the ghetto “baby mamas.” Not so; it is a largely low-income—and disproportionately black—phenomenon. The vast majority of higher-income women wait to have their children until they are married. The truth is that we are now a two-family nation, separate and unequal—one thriving and intact, and the other struggling, broken, and far too often African-American.
It’s not hard to figure out why the arbiters of conventional wisdom don’t want to pay much attention to this problem. It doesn’t fit the template.

Having an interest in more spending on social programs, more "diversity" preferences and quotas and more bashing of those whites who don’t agree with these measures, they can hardly deal with a reality that threatens their interests and their worldview.

The template requires that white racism must be not merely the distant cause of problems in the black community, it must be the proximate cause.

And the villains must be white Republicans and conservatives.

In fact, there are indeed plenty of whites to blame. There are, for example, people in the entertainment media who have promoted sexual mores that seem harmless to middle class yuppies but are a disaster in the inner city. There are people in the public education monopoly who have fought against school choice. There were the policy wonks in the Johnson Administration that put together Great Society programs that encouraged welfare dependency and out of wedlock births.

But that line of inquiry raised questions that the conventional wisdom finds horribly inconvenient.

Tuesday, August 02, 2005

Marquette Magazine: Failing to Mention Dan Maguire

A good catch from the GOP3.COM blog:

Marquette, the alumni magazine published by the University, bragged in its Summer 2005 issue about Marquette professors who were consulted by the media to discuss the new pope.

Headed, “Marquette as national expert,” it listed professors Thorn, Avella, Del Colle, Fahey, Wolfe, Kurtz, Prospero and Carey.

Who was not listed? Dan Maguire, the outspoken proponent of gay rights, legal abortion and just about anything sexual that the Church condemns.

This in spite of the fact that Maguire was featured in the Journal-Sentinel article discussing a meeting he had with (then) Cardinal Ratzinger, and a letter to the editor to the New York Times. Maguire’s attitude toward the new Pope was, in both cases, highly derogatory.

The post ends by suggesting “I wonder if his exclusion for Marquette Magazine means that Marquette is embarrassed to have him on faculty.”

It would be nice to believe that the Marquette Administration has more loyalty to Church teaching than Maguire, and therefore is embarrassed about what he says.

Unfortunately, this is the Administration that honors pro-abortion politicians, adopts (in the University Ministry) the gay rights agenda, and has an Admissions Office that recruits at “gay pride” high school events.

So it looks for all the world like Marquette administrators, rather than being embarrassed because they are more loyal to Church teachings than Maguire is, are merely trying to conceal the fact that they aren’t.

Robert Wild: Grasping at Straws to Defend Nickname Fiasco

The current (Summer 2005) issue of Marquette has a longish interview with Marquette President Robert Wild, S.J., in which some fairly tough questions are asked about the process that caused Marquette to first dump, and then return to the nickname Golden Eagles.

Wild, clearly on the defensive, tries to put the best face on a fiasco.

Admitting that it caused a lot of hard feeling, he claims that when the University finally asked for active involvement things were just fine:
People quickly calmed down when we announced that we were going to continue the process and get them actively involved in this choice of determining a suitable nickname for our athletics teams. What amazed me more than anything else was that with the announcement of the new process, a very active group called Students for Warriors promptly disbanded. For many of our students, what was more important was the Board’s willingness to take seriously their concerns and respond appropriately.
In reality, Students for Warriors disbanded promptly because their Charter required them to disband when the choice as to whether to return to Warriors was made.

Wild is in denial about went on.

The “involvement” of the Marquette community was conditioned on the fact that the nickname that the vast majority wanted was outlawed. After that happened, it was just going through the motions.

Monday, August 01, 2005

Two “Must Read” Blogs from UWM

Jessica McBride is a member of the Journalism faculty in the University of Wisconsin, Milwaukee. She’s not nearly as liberal as that fact might imply, and her blog has become a “must read” for people interested in the local political scene.

Further, a former Teaching Assistant of hers is a soldier in Iraq. No, not one of those “embedded” weenies, but an honest to goodness soldier. His blog about his experiences is a fine reminder of the caliber of soldiers America has sent to fight this war.

We have our own friends in Iraq, and think the Americans there are both the best soldiers — and some of the best people — in the world.