Sunday, December 31, 2006

Sparks from the Anvil Year End Review

Mike's America is gathering up "favorite posts" that fellow bloggers have done over the past year as an end-of-the-year wrap up. While going through my drivel, I was quite surprised at how many posts I have made that are actually quite good [/narcissism]. I don't consider myself a "citizen journalist". Just a radical center-right moderate, being pushed more and more to the right by the left, who has a place to come to and express his opinion; and a place to relay the news items of the day reported by others, that I think deserve more exposure or scrutiny.

After surfing through the past year's worth of posts, I settled on about 8 that I think are my best. It doesn't mean they are my most important posts. This is a numbered list, where #1 is the least noteworthy, and #8 the most worthwhile.

  1. Political Bias - We are all victims to this. I found the article from a liberal commentor who I got along with at Casting Pearls Before Swine, even as we disagreed. It's an important article, because I see the truth of it, all the time. We lean toward believing in anything that supports our side, and are skeptical of anything that doesn't. I am complicit in the bias. I at least, recognize it.
  2. Asians on a Plane- The only reason why I like this, is because I thought I was pretty creative and current with the times. Not great, but it amused me. And if I don't entertain myself, then I'm not having fun at this blogging business.
  3. Erectile Finger Dysfunction- Former President Clinton loses his cool with Chris Wallace. Why is my post so special? Only because of my photo-captioning. Again, not great; not ground-breaking blogging; but amusing to me, nevertheless.
  4. Bumperstickers- One of my favorite pastimes, is to take pictures of all the lunatic bumperstickers out there on the road. Why GOD?!? Why?!? WHY?!! Why do moonbats and peace fascists and losers-for-Kerry/Edwards-2-years-after-the-2004-Election insist on advertising their politics with ugly-ass bumperstickers on their vehicles?
  5. Heckler Thomas- The venerable old battleax, known as the "First Lady of the White House Press Corp" dukes it out with the President. Now she has Tony Snow to break lances with. But before that, there was this "lighthearted" post, courtesy of Wordsmith.
  6. My Ronald Reagan Tribute Post- Mike's America called for Reagan tributes, and Sparks from the Anvil answered that call with a reprint of a letter Reagan wrote to his son, Michael. Tell me that it is not deeply moving, wise, and romantic.
  7. America's First War with Islamic Terror- Not exactly; but it certainly beats the revisionist, romanticized, America-self-hating Howard Zinn-colored lens view of our nation's history. This was undoubtedly America's first real war with Islamic militant terror, of the variety we face today. But 200 years ago, our forefathers faced their ancestors, and it's worth noting the words of John Adams: "We ought not to fight them at all, unless we determine to fight them forever."
  8. 9/11 Tribute Post to David Reed Gamboa-Brandhorst- This might be the most important, worthwhile contribution I could have made to the blogosphere and to the family of David, Daniel, and Ron. For those who had read it in September, you might want to go back and check out the next to last comment made (#56). It's from David's first mom. It is long, and it is passionately written. There is not a newspaper "alive" that has done more than I in bringing you David's story. Joseph Rago miserably disparages blogs; but one advantage (and yes, in some ways, disadvantage too) of reading from a blog, is the fact that there is no editing due to space limitations and constraints. It is interactive, and it can be raw data, unfiltered.
While we're at this, can someone please, for the love of mercy, explain to me how this frog fell in this well? Is he going to live in that post, like gollum under the Misty Mountains, for the next several decades?

Finally, I'd like to thank all of my readers and blogging buddies. You folks make it fun. And a special thank you to Curt for inviting me to contribute to Flopping Aces. It's been almost a year.

Feel free to leave links to your own "best of" posts.

Happy New Year, everyone and God bless the Troops!

Jon Carry the Cartoonized Senator

Instead of embedding an Easter egg link like I normally do, I thought I'd leave it clickable, for a larger view and easier reading. But go to Marie's Two Cents. Don't forget to read the comments. And then go here and see the link at the bottom of my post for a possible "Hawaiian good luck sign" during a 2004 Kerry photo-op.

Saturday, December 30, 2006

The View in Review

On December 28th, for some God-awful reason, someone had the bright idea to repeat the broadcast of this episode of The View. What is it? Ratings week? As if they didn't have enough controversy hanging around recent comments by Rosie and Joy Behar . Whose bright idea was that? I think they knew it would generate controversy the 2nd time around if it was missed the first time.

Compound that with the childish mudslinging of Donald Trump and Rosie O'Donnell (the latter needs to learn to keep her piecrusted cakehole shut, so go Donald!).

James Brolin puts down Republicans and promotes a 9/11 conspiracy site. Meanwhile, we have Danny Bonaduce (check out the FBI tip at the end of this radio interview), who was a cohost to the male answer to the View a while back, and his family receiving death threats and harrassment, because he chose to call bull-sh** when rudely intruded upon by nobody John Conner.

It probably doesn't help one's intelligence or reasoning ability, being married to Barbra Streisand.

Also discussed on: Dennis Prager Show

Friday, December 29, 2006

No New Year for You-Know-Who

Hat tip: Chickenhawk Express for the Swinging Saddam's watch

Looks like justice has finally caught up to the Butcher. kind of humor....gallows humor: Play the online Saddam Hussein Hangman Game.

Not enough? Here's another fun one.

The Youthful Curmudgeon

Haven't had time to write or read much, since I'm at work throughout the day (in fact I only have five minutes to write this up as I type here) for this week and next. But I have found time to catch Hugh Hewitt when he interviewed Joe Rago; and the other day he had a great 3 hour program on the milbloggers, most of which I caught. (By the way, if you haven't heard, a milblogger has been horribly injured by an IED. Send him some well-wishes and support, as he's at Walter Reed now).

To follow up with Rago, and why young journalists like Rago might feel as they do, I think Dean Barnett at Hewitt's blog makes a pretty astute observation on the turmoil going on in the decline of print and tv media and the rise of the blogosphere in its influence:
Thursday, December 28, 2006
The Birth of the Youthful Curmudgeon
Posted by Dean Barnett
“I think the best definition of journalism is history as refracted through the prism of the unfolding present.”
The above quote comes from young Joe Rago early in his interview with Hugh Tuesday night. When I heard it, I did a spit-take, regrettably spewing a mouthful of my Pinot over my computer screen. “Oh dear,” I thought. “Not only does Rago write that way, he also speaks that way. Worse still, he apparently thinks that way.”

I can’t even pretend to understand Rago’s sophisticated definition of journalism. Maybe if I had gone to J-School, I’d have a better shot at it, but as things stand I don’t have the foggiest idea what he’s talking about.

But I do know this: Rago’s freshly won dollop of fame (or infamy) heralds the arrival of a new creature in journalism – the youthful curmudgeon. Traditionally curmudgeons were old guys, the kind of crusty nuisances who would bellow, “I’ve forgotten more about that than you’ll ever know.” Now, moving at virtual speeds, young men can apparently join the curmudgeon club while still tender in age and light on life experience.

You have to ask yourself, What has made these young people curmudgeons? After all, Rago is far from the only young journalist who has a decided lack of fondness for the blogosphere and has expressed his hostility in print. In short, Why the anger?

PROFESSIONAL JOURNALISTS THINK journalism is tough. Most of them went to school with an eye towards entering their chosen field, and they think achieving a level of skill at it can only come through years of learning, practice and dedication. After all, refracting history through the unfolding prism of the present is obviously the kind of thing that amateurs shouldn’t attempt.

Most journalists also think they’ve paid their dues. Some clawed their way up by spending years covering Board of Aldermen meetings attended by only get-a-lifers, old people with nothing better to do and ambitious young journalists. Others paid their dues in a less onerous fashion by attending one of our nation’s best schools (or Dartmouth) and doing some writing while there. Regardless, most journalists feel like they had to jump through some hoops to win the privilege of writing for an audience.

With the creation of the blogosphere, the entry barriers to being a writer came down. Anyone who wanted to be a commentator or even practice a little freelance journalism was free to do so. Some of the people who chose to adopt this avocation met with huge success. The Powerline guys, for example, are probably read by more than any op-ed columnist in the country. What’s more, the political class seeks the favor of the top bloggers with an ardor that only the country’s most influential journalists get to experience.

The same is even truer on the left side of the blogosphere. Markos Moulitsas is unquestionably more influential than any American journalist. Actually, he’s probably more influential than America’s top five lefty editorial boards combined. He put Howard Dean on the map and on the path to the Democratic nomination. Later, after a disastrous and embarrassing presidential campaign, Markos got Dean installed as DNC Chair. When the dead-tree gang can pull off stunts like that, then we can debate who’s really got the juice.

IT HAS TO BE FRUSTRATING for journalists that hordes of bankers, lawyers, professors and other anonymous shlubs can so easily crash their gate. It’s probably still more galling that the gate crashing can only go one way. If the typical journalist said he wanted to give being a law professor a whirl, no matter how skilled he was at refracting history through the prism of the unfolding present, he would find no takers.

Neophytes can enter the previously sacred temple of journalism and go as far as their talent will take them. Other professions remain closed. A brain surgeon can go to and start a blog in five minutes. Journalists aren’t allowed to perform brain surgery, unless there’s a really crappy HMO out there that I’m not aware of.

So how has the journalistic class reacted to this new challenge? Some don’t seem to mind. Tom Friedman’s still able to sell a zillion books (God only knows why), and countless others remain confident enough in their talent and what they’re doing to not blindly lash out that their blogging compadres in the marketplace of ideas. I count among my email pals several of America’s most prominent conservative writers.

But other journalists are obviously angry. It just doesn’t seem fair. They spent the time getting their tickets punched, and find themselves not breathing rarefied air but instead being suffocated in a crowded room surround by a bunch of virtual Mongols.

Thus the youthful curmudgeon came into being. Hearing Joe Rago on the radio with Hugh, I felt bad for him. He seems like a nice guy. He also seems befuddled by a world that hasn’t lived up to his youthful notions of what it was going to be. A dozen years ago, the Wall Street Journal editorial page, almost alone, moved conservative opinion. Then came the Weekly Standard and the renaissance of National Review. And later came the blogs. The Journal is now but one voice in the choir and far from the loudest, in large part because it has a minimal internet presence. (James Taranto is great, but he’s only one man.)

So I guess if you graduated Dartmouth and thought you were going to be at the pinnacle of conservative thinking when you landed a gig at the Journal’s editorial page, there could be some disappointment. But there shouldn’t be.

The Journal editorial page remains at the pinnacle of conservative opinion making. It’s just that the pinnacle is a lot broader and a lot more crowded than it was a decade ago. A guy like Rago has a great chance to make a name for himself. His stuff will be read. Whether or not it will be appreciated will depend on its quality.

The fact that Rago and his like-minded colleagues have a problem with that says a lot more about them than I bet they’d be willing to acknowledge.

Thursday, December 28, 2006

Into the Sunset...

Tuesday, December 26, 2006

This Post Written by a Fool

Hugh Hewitt had Joseph Rago on his radio program today, discussing his article, "The Blog Mob- Written by fools to be read by imbeciles", which disparaged the blogosphere. Hugh Hewitt challenged Joseph on his belief that the blogosphere is inferior to MSM in reportage, in quality, and in providing oversight.

In challenging the superiority of MSM over the power of the blogosphere, Rago brought up coverage of the Iraq war as a case example. Hugh Hewitt brought up the important work of embedded bloggers, Bill Roggio, Michael Yon, and Michael Totten:
HH: Those three bloggers have, this year alone, Roggio spent three months in the country, Michael Yon brought news from Mosul of the Gates of Fire series of posts, Michael Totten has been in and out of Kurdistan and Lebanon reporting on the Cedar Revolution. Do you wish to set them up as inferior to any three mainstream media journalists?

JR: No, certainly not.

HH: So if those three represent one aspect of media, then we’ve got a tie.

JR: Well, I don’t think three people adds up to a tie. You know, a Baghdad bureau is extraordinarily expensive, reporters going in and out for the mainstream media. And I just don’t think it’s comparable to find isolated incidents…you know, three people, and compare it to the entire apparatus.

HH: But if those three people are doing good reporting, and mainstream media is by and large doing bad reporting out of Iraq, doesn’t that mean the ‘sphere is doing better reporting?

JR: Well, I mean, I don’t think that the mainstream media is doing all that bad reporting out of Iraq. You know, the pessimistic, glass half-full [I think he means glass half-empty- ws] reporting they’ve done has held up much better than the commentary in the blogosphere.
Rago doesn't really answer Hewitt's question about whether or not "if" three bloggers are doing good reporting and the vast mainstream media network is doing lousy reporting, wouldn't that make the 3 superior?

Hewitt goes on, though, to challenge Rago's belief that the mainstream isn't "doing all that bad reporting out of Iraq", by offering up an interview that Lt. General James Mattis gave:
“I was talking to a lieutenant in Haditha,” he told the San Diego County reporter, “He told me that because they are now all connected nowadays, and they’re FOB’s, he could read stories about Haditha.” He said, “I guarantee you there has not been a reporter in Haditha in my last two and a half months here. We are seeing,” the general continued, “I think, an unwitting passing of the enemy’s message, a critical, unwitting passing of the enemy’s message, because the enemy has successfully denied the Western media access to the battlefields. I’m not sure what Lloyds of London is charging now. I think it’s over $5,000 dollars a month insurance for a reporter or photographer to go in. But the murder, the kidnapping, the intimidation means that in many cases, we have media folks who are relying on stringers who are Iraqi. Now you can have any kind of complaint about the American media or Western media you want, but there is at least a nod, an effort, towards objectivity. The stringers who are being brought in, who are bringing in these stories, are not bringing in the same degree of objectivity. So on the one hand, our enemy is denying our media access to the battlefield, where anything, perhaps, that I say as a general is subject to any number of interpretations, challenges, questions. But the enemy’s story, basically, gets out there without that, because our media is unable to challenge them. It’s unwitting, but at the same time, it can promote the enemy’s agenda, simply because there is an apparent attempt at objectivity.” Now Joe, without debating the specifics of what the general’s saying here, he is putting forward the proposition that in fact, mainstream media is terribly broken because they’re giving the appearance of covering what’s going on in Iraq, when in fact they’re relying on Iraqi stringers.
JR: You know, I’m certainly not going to argue with the general who is on the ground and has all the facts. And again, my general argument is in terms of opinion and comment. If you look at the analysis of the Iraqi situation, I think what you’ll find in the mainstream media has largely been more realistic, and more rigorous, than what you’ll find in the blogs.

HH: Well, actually, again, I have to disagree with you, because Mudville Gazette spent a year in country as a sergeant there, a number of mil-bloggers are over there from chaplains to generals. For example, I interviewed John Abizaid at length, put it all up on the blog, got his message out there without the filter that you folks tend to put in the way, you folks being mainstream media people. And in fact, Michael Yon, Roggio, the rest of them, they run circles around your folks. And Bill Roggio just spent…embedded with the Iraqi army, for goodness sake, in Fallujah. That’s after a tour in Afghanistan, another tour in Iraq this year. I think maybe there are some isolated instances of good reporting coming out of Iraq by mainstream media people, but I think unless you can come up with three people who have done the same kind of ground-breaking work, or four people that I’ve just cited, I actually think you’re wrong. Are you open to the prospect that you’re wrong on that?

JR: I’m always open to the prospect that I’m wrong. I just don’t see an argument supported by three or four people versus the entire apparatus of the mainstream media. And I guess the other point is, I don’t think that anybody would read my article and come away saying that the mainstream media is infallible, or that it even always does a good job, or even sometimes does a good job. The point, rather, was that the institution, the way that they filter things, tends to increase seriousness and expertise in the purveying of opinion and comment, and I just don’t see that on the internet.

HH: Well, it sounds to me like you’re making the argument that because the mainstream media spends a lot of money maintaining bureaus in Iraq, they must therefore be doing good work.

JR: No, I don’t think that’s it at all. I’m saying that they have an institutional support which vastly increases the professional reporting.

HH: But again, I don’t think that’s by any means at all evident. If you’ve got Roggio running around Fallujah, typing up his notes every night, where you’ve got Michael Yon in Mosul, or you’ve got Totten running around Kurdistan or Lebanon, typing up their notes and putting it out there, the fact that you’ve got a thousand journalists in the Green Zone doesn’t negate the comparable quality of both of those things. I trust the three Americans who are out in the combat land, and I trust military bloggers, of whom there are legions, much, much more than Green Zone bound journalists. Do you?
So what do you imbeciles think?

Flopping Aces has the audio of the entire interview for download. Transcript up at Hugh Hewitt.

Sunday, December 24, 2006

Merry Christmas!

Thursday, December 21, 2006

Secrets of the SandBergler: Why is this not a bigger issue?

So here's the update, as reported by the Archives inspector general yesterday:
[*snipped, trimmed, & slimfasted*] when Berger was confronted by Archives officials about the missing documents, he lied by saying he did not take them, the report said.

Brachfeld's report included an investigator's notes, taken during an interview with Berger. The notes dramatically described Berger's removal of documents during an Oct. 2, 2003, visit to the Archives.

Berger took a break to go outside without an escort while it was dark. He had taken four documents in his pockets.

"He headed toward a construction area. ... Mr. Berger looked up and down the street, up into the windows of the Archives and the DOJ (Department of Justice), and did not see anyone," the interview notes said.

He then slid the documents under a construction trailer, according to the inspector general. Berger acknowledged that he later retrieved the documents from the construction area and returned with them to his office.

"He was aware of the risk he was taking," the inspector general's notes said. Berger then returned to the Archives building without fearing the documents would slip out of his pockets or that staff would notice that his pockets were bulging.

The notes said Berger had not been aware that Archives staff had been tracking the documents he was provided because of earlier suspicions from previous visits that he was removing materials. Also, the employees had made copies of some documents.

In October 2003, the report said, an Archives official called Berger to discuss missing documents from his visit two days earlier. The investigator's notes said, "Mr. Berger panicked because he realized he was caught."

The notes said that Berger had "destroyed, cut into small pieces, three of the four documents. These were put in the trash."

What was Sandy Berger's motive in stealing and destroying these documents? What was so important in them, that he felt the need to become a burglar of national records? I feel like he's gotten away with nothing more than a slap on the wrist; by stealing and shredding classified documents from the National Archives, he's basically rewritten history. And without so much as an explanation given.

Tuesday, December 19, 2006

The View on Time's "You"

It seems my new favorite Hollywood celeb,Danny Bonaduce, is receiving death threats. He used to be co-host on a show called The Other Half, along with Dick Clarke, Dr. Jan Adams, and Mario Lopez. It was the daytime male equivalent to The View. The latter program really should become my new "favorite" show [/sarcasm]; considering how often Rosie and company stick their collective foot in their mouths and say the dumbest things, as exemplified by this and this. In case you missed it, Rosie had this to say recently. Now, the "ching-chong" remark, in and of itself, is not offensive to me (to those who haven't heard: "wordsmith" is *gasp* an Asian!); but what makes me derisive of Rosie is how she champions herself as the self-appointed PC-police. Remember how she read bigotry into Kelly Ripa's action? And my favorite example of Rosie's liberal hypocrisy:
Cokie Roberts on ABC News asked O'Donnell her opinion on concealed-carry laws, which permit citizens to pack firearms in self-defense. "There is some evidence that those laws do reduce crime. But you would be against them?" asked Roberts.

"Of course I'm against them...," O'Donnell responded. This is not the wild west." O'Donnell argued that such laws do more harm than good."

Only days after the march, however, a stunned public learned of a hidden side to O'Donnell's stand on guns. While she denounces the carrying of firearms for the general public, she apparently thinks it's okay when the safety of her own family is at stake. On March 25, the Associated Press reported that the full-time bodyguard assigned to accompany O'Donnell's four-year-old son to kindergarten had applied for a permit to carry a concealed weapon.
Source: Richard Poe's The Seven Myths of Gun Control.

(One of my favorite lines, btw: "Guns kill people the way spoons make Rosie O'Donnell fat.")

So anyway, this past Monday we get the following from Joy Behar of The View:

One thing she did get right: Donald Rumsfeld deserves recognition.

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Sunday, December 17, 2006

Sunday Funnies with Flopping Aces

Hat tip to Mike's America for the Time Magazine cover. Even if Curt was outvoted in the Weblog Awards contest, he's still an ace blogger.

I hope Curt is able to travel to Iraq with Michelle Malkin. It may be a setup; but if it is, I see it as a win-win situation for the credibility of serious political bloggers and another major nail-in-the-coffin for the Associated Press and mainstream news. Not the other way around.

My busy December just peaked yesterday, and I should be able to refocus on blogging and catching up with everyone and everything. Haven't read a single news story in the past few days; not much of anything, anyway.

Hat tip to Flopping Aces for this video find. Donny Bonaduce is my new favorite Hollywood celeb:

Thursday, December 14, 2006

CJ at A Soldier's Perspective declares: "We've Lost the War in Iraq!"

"What's this about?!", you ask?

Click here and find out more...


The Narcissism of Multiculturalism


I'm sure everyone's heard about the Seattle-Tacoma International Airport Christmas trees that were removed when a Rabbi threatened to sue if a menorah weren't also displayed with the Christmas decorations. The airport, not wanting to put up the menorah only to open themselves up into having to accomodate every wiccan, Islamist, Kwanzaan, and multiculturalist under the sun, opted to simply remove all Christmas displays in the airport,
And that is not what Rabbi Elazar Bogomilsky wanted.

"I am devastated, shocked and appalled at the decision that the Port of Seattle came to," he said Sunday. As news coverage about the airport's trees spread from CNN to ABC to the Paris-based International Herald Tribune, Bogomilsky on Sunday began to receive hateful messages from people holding him responsible for the removal of the trees.
Like Mary at Freedom Eden, I think it is unfortunate that people found it necessary to send hate mail to the rabbi.

While I was at a client's home Monday morning, I caught Tammy Bruce on the FOX morning show with that Democratic strategist (whose name escapes me), and both thought the removal of the trees was outrageous. I thought Tammy Bruce had the most eloquent way of expressing it, when she mentioned about the narcissism of multiculturalism, and how we don't need to see ourselves reflected in everything. Christmas after all is about Jesus Christ. Can you imagine different interest groups wanting to push their identity to be recognized during Cinco de Mayo or Black History Month? It shouldn't be "all about me". It's okay to be exclusive. During Nisei Week, I'm not interested in seeing Chicano pride marching in the street parade alongside surviving members of the 442nd, the highly decorated all-Japanese-American WWII battalion. I expect to celebrate the beauty of Japanese-American cultural heritage. You might say that's different: it doesn't concern religion. I disagree about the difference. Religious culture is still culture; and true tolerance means you allow any given culture to celebrate in peace, without demanding that your culture also take center stage.

Here is what Tammy Bruce wrote on her blog:
The rabbi should have simply asked, and not threatened to sue. I have no problem at all with the idea of a menorah going up, but the bottom line is, 95 percent of Americans celebrate Christmas. This growing obsession with everyone everywhere needing to see their representation is the impact of narcissism and its increasing control of people's lives.
As everyone knows, the trees have since been restored in the airport; and we may now all sleep restfully with visions of sugarplum dancing through our heads.

Aaah....the wonders of YouTube. God bless the uploader of this:

Here's what Tammy Bruce said so well:
"It really is narcissism run amok; there's a point where we don't need to see ourselves in every single thing- and real multiculturalism, frankly, is being able to enjoy another representation without necessarily seeing yourself in it."
And the Democratic strategist is Bob Beckel...of course! One comment he made which I liked was in pointing out that a menorah is a religious symbol (although, Linda Chavez points out it also represents a cultural and historic celebration in its own right); whereas the Christmas tree, arising out of pagan tradition, is largely secularized. It is a religious symbol, yes; but also, so much more. It is a part of American tradition. And as such, means something to an even wider audience.

My family was never a Christian family; but we honored and celebrated the Christian holiday without feeling alienated or threatened by it; we always had presents under a tree and mailed Christmas cards; and in our own way- with feelings of peace on earth and good will to all, I think that brings honor to Christ....and to American solidarity, as exemplified by being bound by a common tradition: the tradition of Christmas.

Wednesday, December 13, 2006

Time to Rally the Base

C'mon you Flopping Aces stalwarts, you sumsabitches: y'know he deserves it.

Don't be a stay-at-home blogger. Vote!

If you could go back in time to stop Hitler....would you?

Monday, December 11, 2006

Propaganda is Why They Hate Us

It's one thing to have our school systems and universities indoctrinating liberal ideology. But what about this:

The AirAmerica moonbats think it's cute:

The O'Reilly segment is here.

Quite telling that Stephanie Miller finds humor and endorsement in this kind of hate-spew indoctrination.

What's the difference between that kind of indoctrination, and this kind:


Thursday, December 07, 2006

Our Generation's 12/7 was Their Generation's...

They understood 12/7. Do we understand 9/11?

Tuesday, December 05, 2006

Swearing In Upon the (Fill in the Blank)

Dennis Prager has been taking heat from both sides of the aisle ever since his column, "America, Not Keith Ellison, decides what book a congressman takes his oath on", came out. Today, it goes international.

Some fellow conservatives have disagreed with him; and liberal detractors have just been vile and nasty, making me question whether or not they've actually read the column, or listened to him speak. To call Prager "racist" and "ignorant" and a hater of Islam is to be blinded by one's own agenda and to not listen to the actual substance of what his argument and position is. As Prager would say, he "prefers clarity to agreement". And the liberal critics have neither. If they actually took the time to understand and listen, then they might achieve clarity. Then they would be able to intelligently argue against why Prager is wrong; rather than creating strawman arguments for a strawman liberal punching bag.

I've been perusing the liberal blogs, and I swear to Allah- I mean God- (peace be with Him), liberals almost carry a monopoly on hate speech and knee-jerk invectives. Rather unprofessional and juvenile, though, when it comes from a major newspaper.

Dennis Prager's airtime has been preoccupied mostly with defending his position and clarifying it, ever since his article came out. This included repeating the first hour in his second hour yesterday. He's also made appearances on Hannity and Colmes, Your World with Neil Cavuto, and Tucker with Tucker Carlson. Prager is firmly entrenched in his position, and nobly so. He offers a new, updated column today. Also today, after his program aired on KRLA870, Michael Medved, who is one of his conservative friends who fundamentally disagreed with him, had him on the first hour of his program.

Initially, when I heard about this column from Prager himself, I gently disagreed with him; when I heard Michael Medved come on right afterward on his radio show and vehemently disagree with Prager, that reinforced with substance, why I only vaguely didn't agree with Prager (at the time, I wasn't giving this issue much thought). But the next day, as more and more waves were being generated negatively (and positively) from his column, I caught some of Prager's program, and found myself understanding his line of reasoning, and leaning over onto his side of the fence. The reasoning is quite similar to why I agreed to stand and protest with Prager back when a tiny cross on the LA County Seal was to be removed.

This isn't an issue of "freedom of religion" to me. It is, as Dennis says, one of tradition and of honoring the values that this country was founded upon; or more specifically, honoring where our nation's values stemmed from. Symbols mean something. It's why we place our right hand over our hearts; it's why a piece of rag is transformed into "The Flag", and we give it reverence and meaning it otherwise would not have. Symbols and rituals mean something to humans; they define our civilization.

This issue has grown too big for me to blockquote, and dissect, and talk about in depth. I don't have the time to go through some of the anti-Prager position arguments (even when they aren't understanding Prager's position). Just check my links. Maybe I'll come back later and link some good and not-so-good lefty links.

I can see good arguments on both sides. But I have stepped over the line in the sand on this, and stand with Dennis Prager.

Prager is a Jew who has no problems being sworn in on a New Testament Bible; I, as a non-religious person, would do the same, just as assuredly as I celebrate the national holiday of Christmas, in my own non-religious way. It is about American tradition; not establishment of a specific church. I am grateful and proud to live in a nation founded upon Judeo-Christian values and principles, giving us the freedom to have such debates and disagreements without slaughtering one another over it.

Here is Prager's radio response on 11/28/06:

Column of note:
Kathleen Parker "the wolf who cried racist" Favorite passages:
The U.S. Constitution, meanwhile, leaves plenty of wiggle room for those who prefer not to make religious statements. Eugene Volokh, constitutional law professor at UCLA, has written that requiring someone to swear on the Bible would violate the Constitution's provision that ``no religious Test shall ever be required as a Qualification to any Office or public Trust under the United States.''

It appears that Prager is, at least technically, wrong. But his concerns are not those of a hate-monger. Prager is merely the quarterback in the latest scrimmage over ideas in post-9/11 America.
On a certain level, one can understand Prager's view that introducing the Koran into American government is a taunt to traditional values.

On another level, those same values allow us to see Ellison's legitimate wish to swear on the holy book of his choosing. What Christian or Jew duly elected in a predominantly Muslim country would want to be forced to swear on a Koran?

The punch line, of course, is that our religious tolerance is shared by few Muslim nations, some of which won't allow a Bible to enter the country. Our better angels may yet be our worst enemies.

Also blogging: Woman Honor Thyself
Mary Katharine Ham
Mike Gallagher
Michael Medved's Three Questions for Dennis Prager on Congressional Oaths and the Koran

"I'm Special: So let's disable America"

Everyone, at one time or another, has felt the barbs of what it's like, not to fit in with the majority. To feel the sting of feeling (note, I said "feeling" and not "being") discriminated against. For some, this feeling is a pervasive, invasive aspect, forefront in all aspect affecting their lives. Like the Americans with Disabilities Act, signed into law in 1990, the following is motivated by good intentions. And we are all familiar with what that road of good intentions is often paved with...

From the Associated Press:
The government discriminates against blind people by printing money that all looks and feels the same, a federal judge said Tuesday in a ruling that could change the face of American currency.

U.S. District Judge James Robertson ordered the Treasury Department to come up with ways for the blind to tell bills apart. He said he wouldn't tell officials how to fix the problem, but he ordered them to begin working on it.
Did he even devote one iota of brain cell to thinking about what the costs would be to society? Or is it all about feel good politics? I'm not saying that such a ruling is necessarily wrong. It is a decision based upon compassion and the desire to make the world more accessible to those less fortunate not to have the same level of access to resources that the majority enjoys. It is ultimately bringing more productivity into the lives of the blind.
The American Council of the Blind has proposed several options, including printing bills of differing sizes, adding embossed dots or foil to the paper or using raised ink.
That actually sounds a bit like fun, having some more diversity in our currency. But again, did Judge Robertson really think this through? Will
the economic costs of change be worth footing the bill (puns intended)?

If the blind want to be treated like everyone else, why the "special treatment"? It's once again, "the nanny government", that will have liberals trying to make life "fair" for all people. The reality is, that life isn't fair. I don't mean to be callous, but where does it ever end? This neediness not for "equal treatment", but for "equal prospects of success"?

It is narcissism that has the majority oppressed by the will of the minority. It is the driving force behind why we have voting ballots in multiple languages. Accomodation because it makes economic and business sense is one thing; but accomodation because of some misguided sense of diversity and multiculturalism...of wanting to make everyone feel equally special, is quite something else.

I'm too short for the NBA. *Ahem*, I mean: "vertically challenged". Excuse me. So should certain rule changes take place, so that the playing field can be leveled, and made "fair"? After all, it's a sport that "discriminates" against short people. Either we bring the hoop down to my size so I can also slam dunk; or I get to wear "elevator shoes"; which makes about as much sense as a paraplegic being allowed to drive a wheelchair in a track race whose original purpose is based around determining who the fastest competitor on two legs could be; perhaps we could have mulitiple hoops on the court at varying degrees of height, based upon each athlete's unique size. Next, we change the size of the ball, because I have small hands, which affects my dexterity with the see where I'm going with this? Those may be extreme examples of "equality"-fixation; but it is still the line of thinking of those who seek to make all things fair and equal to all people. I'm just sick of people who complain about such things as there aren't enough gays on TV. If gays are (let's just pretend here for the sake of argument) 10% of the population, then television does reflect the reality. If blacks are 13% of the population, then television is over-represented with black actors; because I believe there are far more than 13% blacks on my television screen. Yet, we still hear complaints that there aren't enough acting roles for minorities. How ridiculous would that be if every minority group filed for equal representation in the NBA, which most clearly is dominated by black players? Participants should be based upon the merits of their skill and talent; not the color of their skin. It is a form of narcissism, to demand that your "special interest group" have equal representation. Why aren't there more Asian males in lead roles? Does it really matter? Yes...and NO.

I like Morgan Freeman's response when questioned how we get over race: "Quit talking about it." What that means is, not to ignore the problem of racism; but just to quit creating and perpetuating the racism by obsessing over it so much.

Link of interest:
"It's Our Money Too!"

Sunday, December 03, 2006

The Information Shadow War

The man who reads nothing at all is better educated than the man who reads nothing but newspapers. ~Thomas Jefferson

So how about if the administration devotes itself less to managing the news and more to trying to manage Iraq?- NYTimes columnists Nicholas D. Kristof

How about when the news establishment devotes less time to managing Iraq and more time to actually managing the news without driving an agenda?

I certainly don't regard journalists to be "cowards", as Kristof feels the need to defend their courage. But many of them deserve derision with their pompous, self-aggrandizement; with their inability to see their own bias and to be honest about it (to themselves and to their readership).

Crittenden(who has his own in today's Boston Herald criticizes the sloppy journalism going on at the AP.
The Associated Press is embroiled in a scandal. Conservative bloggers, the new media watchdogs, lifted a rock at the AP.

Curt at Floppingaces,, led the charge. He thought there was something strange about an AP report, and took a second look at it, then a third look. He and others blew the lid off it. The AP is making up war crimes. But the resulting stink in the blogosphere has barely wrinkled a nose in the mainstream press.
Curt's reaction and response here. Plus his response to the NYTimes contempt for bloggers over the questioning of the AP's credibility in the Burning Six story. HotAir also has a video of Crittenden's interview on FOX regarding this.

There are several types of bias:
Many of those links could fall into several categories. I was just in the mood for a linkfest.

An op-ed appearing in the NYTimes earlier this week, The Wars of Perception, details how public opinion and perception were colored during the Tet Offensive, Somalia, and the current war by the manner in which journalists reported "the facts". Here we have perception that is detached from the reality. And the power of those perceptions influenced political policy-making, and consequently, shaped the course of history. As a case in point of how the media can influence public perception, Johnson and Tierney write,
Eddie Adams’ photograph of South Vietnam’s police chief executing a Vietcong captive in the street caused a sensation. After he fired the shot, the police chief told nearby reporters: “They killed many Americans and many of my men. Buddha will understand. Do you?” Back home in the United States, the image spoke powerfully of a brutal and unjust war. For some Americans, this image was the Tet offensive.
As we know, today, the Tet Offensive was a victory for the U.S. And Eddie Adams himself, regretted how his photograph was perceived by the public, effectively taking the wind from the sails of those looking for victory in Vietnam.
Adams said ‘The General killed the Vietcong; I killed the general with my camera.” His photograph rallied the anti-war movement in the U.S. as it became the symbol of an atrocity, the execution of an innocent civilian by a corrupt regime supported by the United States. Adams himself fought against this interpretation of his photograph, saying that General Loan “was a hero. America should be crying. I just hate to see him go this way, without people knowing anything about him.”

“They killed
many Americans
and many of my men.
Buddha will understand.Do you?
-General Nguyen Ngoc Loan
Adams also later said:
photographs are the most powerful weapon in the world. People believe them; but photographs do lie, even without manipulation. They are only half-truths.’

There is a second war going on right now, behind the scenes, as illustrated recently by the "Burning Six" story. It is a media information war; a shadow war, simultaneously happening in the background of the current war against Islamic terror. And as Powerline indicated,
I have infinitely more faith in the U.S. military than in the Associated Press, but that doesn't mean the military is always right or the AP always wrong. It seems that the AP believes it is in a strong position. I'm tempted to say that one institution or the other must emerge from this affair with its credibility damaged. But perhaps it's just as likely that the facts will remain unresolved, lost in what sometimes seems like an epistemological fog. Or maybe it's just a fog of bad reporting.
I think the stakes are too high to allow the smug arrogance of the journalistic elite establishment keep shaping, interpreting, in some cases outright fabricating, and dictating to the world what is and isn't "news" and "newsworthy". In this information war, pajama-clad bloggers- an army of Davids- will be the media's oversight, doing the jobs editors aren't doing.

Hat tip: Further Adventures of Indigo Red for the NYTimes op-ed, "Wars of Perception"

Brutally Honest for link to Jules Crittenden's Boston Herald piece.

Recommended reading:

Bernard Goldberg's Bias and Arrogance
The Gospel According to the the New York Times by William Proctor
Journalistic Fraud: How the New York Times Distorts the News and Why It Can No Longer Be Trusted by Bob Kohn
Seth's book review of "We Were One", illustrating the dangers political correctness and anti-war journalism has on those who serve on the frontlines against the enemies of America.

To Nicholas Kristof and his NYTimes piece, I only have one more word of advice for him:


Day By Day© by Chris Muir.

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