Tuesday, November 28, 2006

We're All Gonna Die

We're doomed - again.

LONDON (Reuters) - The earth has a fever that could boost temperatures by 8 degrees Celsius making large parts of the surface uninhabitable and threatening billions of peoples' lives, a controversial climate scientist said on Tuesday.

James Lovelock, who angered climate scientists with his Gaia theory of a living planet and then alienated environmentalists by backing nuclear power, said a traumatized earth might only be able to support less than a tenth of it's 6 billion people.

Monday, November 27, 2006

John Kerry, The Least Warm and Fuzzy

When asked how "warm" certain politicians made them feel, Rudy Giuliani of all people evoked the warmest response from the American public. Barak Obama was second and John McCain was third. Condoleeza Rice was fouth. Hillary was ninth, but dead last, was John Kerry.

Wednesday, November 22, 2006

More Anti-Muslim Bigotry

From "The Corner."

In Aurora, Colorado, a man and his wife kept a 24-year-old Indonesian woman as a slave. The man, Homaidan al-Turki, a member of an influential Saudi family, repeatedly raped her over a four-year period. The wife was allowed to plead guilty to mere theft; after her 60-day sentence is up, she will be deported. Thankfully, however, al-Turki was convicted by a jury of sexual assault, extortion, theft and false imprisonment.

At his sentencing proceeding, al-Turki declined to apologize because, he said, he was engaged in "traditional Muslim behaviors" and thus did not commit any crimes. The judge, engaging in traditional American judicial behaviors, aptly slammed him with a sentence of 27 years to life in jail.

Naturally, our friends the Saudis are unhappy. So of course the State Department has hopped to it. Rather than a curt note explaining that this is what happens to slave-keeping rapists in America, State has flown the Attorney General of Colorado to Saudi Arabia to answer King Abdullah's "aggressive" questions — and those of other members of the al-Turki family, who are just astounded that "a jury can give credibility to an Indonesian maid." For them, the only possible explanation for the outcome is — drum roll — "anti-Muslim bias."

Friday, November 17, 2006

You Mean, Jacques Chirac is not a Woman?

A woman is supposedly the the Socialist party's favorite to win the presidency in France. Supposedly, she will be the first woman to lead France.

Of course, it would be just like the French to elect someone who will surrender more eagerly that any Frenchman has done before.

The Fruit of Ideological Segregation

Without a doubt, the ideological segregation that universities create with departments like Comparative Ethnic Studies at Washington State University contributes to incidents such as occurred on WSU’s Glenn Terrell Mall last week. WSU’s College Republicans erected a length of chain link fence promoting the concept of national sovereignty and secure borders, and specifically the southern border fence bill signed into law in late October by President Bush.
Only reconquistas believe that we can indefinitely permit as porous a border as we now have with Mexico. We already have an estimated 12 million illegal aliens living in the country and the status quo is neither fair to the aliens who exist in a legal and economic shadow land which guarantees their protracted poverty, nor to the taxpayers who are forced by judges to underwrite the social services the aliens exploit. The fence may not be the best first step toward managing this issue, but it is at least a step.
WSU’s College Republicans peacefully expressed their view of the matter, which was that they approved of the fence. But faculty members who incubate their righteous indignation in the Comparative Ethnic Studies Department did not share the academy ideal that enlightenment is gained through a free exchange of ideas and attempted to bully the Republicans into submission. One faculty member from Comparative Ethnic Studies who nearly and maybe should have lost his job because of poor teaching reviews and a second member of that department confronted the Republicans. Among other things, the first called the Republicans a pallid sack of feces, although he did not use precisely those words, while the other demanded that the demonstrators produce credentials for his inspection.
Liberal activists use the Mall to promote any number of political causes. I traverse the mall regularly as it is the fastest path for me to get from one side of campus to the other, and until the weather gets truly cold, I’m likely to encounter just about any liberal cause being peacefully advanced. I have never seen nor heard of anyone harassing one of these demonstrators.
I can’t help but wonder if a department that is composed almost exclusively of like-minded souls foments the sort of attitude that encourages such deplorable conduct from its faculty members. When all you have around you at work all day are people who share you low opinion of those who adhere to an alternative point of view, it’s quite probable that each feeds off the other’s venom to the point of dehumanizing the dissenter.
Such ideological segregation certainly occurs elsewhere and rarely with good results. The Aryan Nations compound north of Coeur d’ Alene was an example of ideological self-segregation and extremist cross-fertilization. North Korea might qualify as giant-sized Aryan Nations compound mentality.
But, it can also lead to a humorous naiveté as well. The late film critic Pauline Kael probably best exemplified the phenomenon of ideological cocooning when she expressed her shock at Richard Nixon’s landslide victory over George McGovern in 1972: "I don’t know how Richard Nixon could have won. I don’t know anybody who voted for him."
Clearly Ms. Kael’s habit of only interacting with like-minded friends left her unprepared for the possibility that there were any opinions other than those of her little clique.
While one outcome is humorous and the other dangerous, neither is conducive to promoting the free and inquiring minds that a healthy society needs. We would have a difficult time as a nation were we to be ruled by narrow minded bullies or left to float on the follies of simple minded film critics.
All universities should take heed of this incident and others like it and consider whether or not concentrating ideologies is the best strategy for incorporating non-traditional ideas into a college curriculum. Certainly the faculty currently housed in what are little more than academic ghettos could be incorporated into other departments, such as history, political science, philosophy and sociology.
If being exposed to new ideas is a healthy thing for the students who are marched into these classes, then it certainly follows that the faculty could similarly gain the benefit of contrarian perspectives as well. After all, the academy is a place where the students and the faculty learn. We certainly know now what happens when indignation is concentrated, distilled and allowed to feed upon itself.

Tuesday, November 14, 2006

And the Other 40% are Delusional

60% of Americans believe that Democrats have no plan for Iraq.

How to Become a One Term Majority

First, when the Islamofascists declare that a Democratic victory is a terrorist victory, you don't contradict them.
Step on achieved.
Step two, you weaken border security and let in more illegals.

"The incoming U.S. Congress will review the law mandating 700 miles of fence along the U.S.-Mexico border, and may seek to scrap the plan altogether."

Saturday, November 11, 2006

I Blame Global Warming

Giant storm discovered on Saturn.

Friday, November 10, 2006

Back to the Democrats Glory Days

The Democrats are consulting a surrender monkey from 34 years ago for advice.

George McGovern, the former senator and Democratic presidential candidate, said Thursday that he will meet with more than 60 members of Congress next week to recommend a strategy to remove U.S. troops from Iraq by June.

Republicans Win the Sane Vote By a Landslide

The good news is that Republicans won a huge majority of the votes cast by sane Americans. The bad news is that about a third of the American electorate is nuts. Late last summer the Scripps Survey Research Center at Ohio University conducted a nationwide poll and discovered that more than a third of Americans suspected that the federal government "assisted in the 9/11 terrorist attacks or took no action to stop them so the United States could go to war in the Middle East." If that weren’t bad enough, fully one of every six Americans believes that the World Trade Center twin towers did not collapse because terrorists flew fully fueled airplanes into them. Instead they choose to believe that the Bush Administration rigged the towers with explosives and staged the whole event as a premeditated pretext for war.
This bit of information tells us quite a bit about the results of the election that carried the Democrats to majorities in both houses of Congress. The final, overall national senate votes broke down as 56% Democratic and 44% Republican. I think we made safely conclude that none of those adherents to conspiracy theories voted Republican. That means that well over half of the votes cast for Democrats this past Tuesday were marked by lunatics who believe the most outrageous conspiracy theories.
It makes me a little nervous to walk down the street knowing that at least one of every six adults that I pass is stark raving mad. And that at least one of the remaining six is at best somewhat neurotic.
Such lunacy is not new nor is it confined to one party. To this day there are those who insist that Franklin Roosevelt had prior knowledge of the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor and let it happen because he wanted to join World War II. But I doubt that the numbers that believed that ever constituted a significant fraction of the electorate.
Just before Tuesday’s election, registered Democrats composed only 36.8% of registered voters. We can probably peel off about two or three percent from the lunatic fringe and assume that they compose the Green Party, leaving 30% . That would mean that conspiracy theorists compose more than 80% of registered Democrats. It will be interesting to see if the Democrats will manage to govern responsibly while nurturing their kook base. These nuts expect to have their paranoid fantasies stroked and indulged. They are going to want Democrats to investigate, expose the truth of these theories and impeach the president. If they follow that path then they will alienate the independent voters who put them over the top last Tuesday. Failure to assuage the nut roots will estrange the Democratic Party from its most loyal constituency.
It’s more than a bit frightening when, here in the 21st century, with all of the sources of information available that such willful ignorance manages to flourish. But if there is a party where such nonsense can thrive, it is within the Democratic Party.
A not insignificant proportion of this party’s base believes that George Bush ordered the destruction of New Orleans levees during Hurricane Katrina because he wanted to kill black people. Dennis Kucinich, who ran for Democratic nomination for president in 2004 and who still holds a seat in the House of Representatives, introduced a bill in 2001 that would forbid the United States military from deploying space-based mind control weapons. During the 1980’s, Democratic members of Congress accused Ronald Reagan and Oliver North of peddling crack cocaine in black neighborhoods to raise money to support the Contra revolution in Nicaragua.
What is different now is that what was once an entertaining collection of fringe kooks has now grown to become an overwhelming majority of the Democratic Party. Now that the nut roots have given the Democrats control of Congress, they’re going to expect to be fed red meat in the form of investigations and perhaps a public hanging or two.
I have always thought that the Democratic Party fed on ignorance fertilized by the mainstream media. But, I had no idea. This kind of paranoia is North Korean or Iranian in scope.
I predict a couple of turbulent years for the Democrats as they try to maintain a facade of respectability while keeping their core constituency satisfied.

Tuesday, November 07, 2006

Democrat Doom and Gloom

After months of pounding their hairy chests (is there such a thing as a Democrat with a hairy chest?), the Democrats are retreating into a redoubt of lowered expectations.

Nancy Pelosi Already Making Excuses for Defeat

It's fraud of course.

"That is the only variable in this," Pelosi said. "Will we have an honest count?''

I'm sure she's not talking about this vote fraud though.

So, less than a week before the midterm elections, four workers from Acorn, the liberal activist group that has registered millions of voters, have been indicted by a federal grand jury for submitting false voter registration forms to the Kansas City, Missouri, election board. But hey, who needs voter ID laws?

We wish this were an aberration, but allegations of fraud have tainted Acorn voter drives across the country. Acorn workers have been convicted in Wisconsin and Colorado, and investigations are still under way in Ohio, Tennessee and Pennsylvania.

Or this.

Stopping liberal fraud is known as "suppressing the vote."


We're losing the war. It's time to redeploy our forces - from Miami.

"It is much worse in Miami than it is in Baghdad," Gittoes said in Sydney today.

"There is a sense of people with guns, drug dealers lairing at you ... and being there, I knew I was in a war zone."

Monday, November 06, 2006

Confused Priorities

An abortionist who regularly performs late term abortions for just about any reason is upset that Bill O'Reilly got into his records. In fact, this seems to have gotten a lot of people bothered.
Many of the people who are bothered had no trouble with the New York Times disclosing intelligence secrets though.

Our Enemy, The Press

James Q. Wilson wonders why the press is so firmly allied with our enemies.

"We are told by careful pollsters that half of the American people believe that American troops should be brought home from Iraq immediately. This news discourages supporters of our efforts there. Not me, though: I am relieved. Given press coverage of our efforts in Iraq, I am surprised that 90% of the public do not want us out right now.

Between Jan. 1 and Sept. 30, 2005, nearly 1,400 stories appeared on the ABC, CBS and NBC evening news. More than half focused on the costs and problems of the war, four times as many as those that discussed the successes. About 40% of the stories reported terrorist attacks; scarcely any reported the triumphs of American soldiers and Marines. The few positive stories about progress in Iraq were just a small fraction of all the broadcasts.

When the Center for Media and Public Affairs made a nonpartisan evaluation of network news broadcasts, it found that during the active war against Saddam Hussein, 51% of the reports about the conflict were negative. Six months after the land battle ended, 77% were negative; in the 2004 general election, 89% were negative; by the spring of 2006, 94% were negative. This decline in media support was much faster than during Korea or Vietnam.

Naturally, some of the hostile commentary reflects the nature of reporting. When every news outlet struggles to grab and hold an audience, no one should be surprised that this competition leads journalists to emphasize bloody events. To some degree, the press covers Iraq in much the same way that it covers America: it highlights conflict, shootings, bombings, hurricanes, tornadoes, and corruption.

But the war coverage does not reflect merely an interest in conflict. People who oppose the entire war on terror run much of the national press, and they go to great lengths to make waging it difficult. Thus the New York Times ran a front-page story about President Bush's allowing, without court warrants, electronic monitoring of phone calls between overseas terrorists and people inside the U.S. On the heels of this, the Times reported that the FBI had been conducting a top-secret program to monitor radiation levels around U.S. Muslim sites, including mosques. And then both the New York Times and Los Angeles Times ran stories about America's effort to monitor foreign banking transactions in order to frustrate terrorist plans. The revelation of this secret effort followed five years after the New York Times urged, in an editorial, that precisely such a program be started.
Virtually every government official consulted on these matters urged that the press not run the stories because they endangered secret and important tasks. They ran them anyway. The media suggested that the National Security Agency surveillance might be illegal, but since we do not know exactly what kind of surveillance is undertaken, we cannot be clear about its legal basis. No one should assume that the 1978 Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act requires the president to obtain warrants from the special FISA court before he can monitor foreign intelligence contacts. Though the Supreme Court has never decided this issue, the lower federal courts, almost without exception, have held that "the Executive Branch need not always obtain a warrant for foreign intelligence surveillance."

Nor is it obvious that FISA defines all of the president's authority. Two assistant attorneys general have argued that when the president believes that a statute unconstitutionally limits his powers, he has the right not to obey it unless the Supreme Court directs him otherwise. This action would be proper even if the president had signed into law the bill limiting his authority. I know, you are thinking, That is just what the current Justice Department would say. In fact, these opinions were written in the Clinton administration by assistant attorneys general Walter Dellinger and Randolph Moss.

The president may have such power either because it inheres in his position as commander in chief or because Congress passed a law authorizing him to use "all necessary and appropriate force" against nations or people that directed or aided the attack of 9/11. Surveillance without warrants may be just such an "appropriate force." In any event, presidents before George W. Bush have issued executive orders authorizing searches without warrants, and Jamie Gorelick, once Bill Clinton's deputy attorney general and later a member of the 9/11 Commission, said that physical searches may be done without a court order in foreign intelligence cases. Such searches might well have prevented new terrorist attacks; if they are blocked in the future, no doubt we will see a demand for a new commission charged with criticizing the president for failing to prevent an attack.

In August 2006, when the British arrested the conspirators in the plot to blow up commercial aircraft in flight, evidence suggested that two leads to them were money transactions that began in Pakistan and American intercepts of their electronic chatter. Unfortunately, the New York Times and the ACLU were not able to prevent the British from learning these things. But they would have tried to prevent them if they had been based in London.

Suppose the current media posture about American military and security activities had been in effect during World War II. It is easy to imagine that happening. In the 1930s, after all, the well-connected America First Committee had been arguing for years about the need for America to stay out of "Europe's wars." Aware of these popular views, the House extended the draft by only a one-vote margin in 1941. Women dressed in black crowded the entrance to the Senate, arguing against extending the draft. Several hundred students at Harvard and Yale, including future Yale leader Kingman Brewster and future American president Gerald Ford, signed statements saying that they would never go to war. Everything was in place for a media attack on the Second World War. Here is how it might have sounded if today's customs were in effect:
December 1941. Though the press supports America's going to war against Japan after Pearl Harbor, several editorials want to know why we didn't prevent the attack by selling Japan more oil. Others criticize us for going to war with two nations that had never attacked us, Germany and Italy.

October 1942. The New York Times runs an exclusive story about the British effort to decipher German messages at a hidden site at Bletchley Park in England. One op-ed writer criticizes this move, quoting Henry Stimson's statement that gentlemen do not read one another's mail. Because the Bletchley Park code-cracking helped us find German submarines before they attacked, successful U-boat attacks increased once the Germans, knowing of the program, changed their code.

January 1943. After President Roosevelt and Prime Minister Churchill call for the unconditional surrender of the Axis powers, several newspapers criticize them for having closed the door to a negotiated settlement. The press quotes several senators complaining that the unconditional surrender policy would harm the peace process.

May 1943. A big-city newspaper reveals the existence of the Manhattan Project and its effort to build atomic weapons. In these stories, several distinguished scientists lament the creation of such a terrible weapon. After Gen. Leslie Groves testifies before a congressional committee, the press lambastes him for wasting money, ignoring scientific opinion, and imperiling the environment by building plants at Hanford and Oak Ridge.

December 1944. The German counterattack against the Allies in the Ardennes yields heavy American losses in the Battle of the Bulge. The press gives splashy coverage to the Democratic National Committee chairman's assertion that the war cannot be won. A member of the House, a former Marine, urges that our troops be sent to Okinawa.

August 1945. After President Truman authorizes dropping the atomic bomb on Japan, many newspapers urge his impeachment.

Thankfully, though, the press did not cover World War II the way it covered Vietnam and has covered Iraq. What caused this profound change? Like many liberals and conservatives, I believe that our Vietnam experience created new media attitudes that have continued down to the present. During that war, some reporters began their coverage supportive of the struggle, but that view did not last long. Many people will recall the CBS television program, narrated by Morley Safer, about U.S. Marines using cigarette lighters to torch huts in Cam Ne in 1965. Many will remember the picture of a South Vietnamese officer shooting a captured Viet Cong through the head. Hardly anyone can forget the My Lai story that ran for about a year after a journalist reported that American troops had killed many residents of that village.
Undoubtedly, similar events occurred in World War II, but the press didn't cover them. In Vietnam, however, key reporters thought that the Cam Ne story was splendid. David Halberstam said that it "legitimized pessimistic reporting" and would show that "there was something terribly wrong going on out there." The film, he wrote, shattered American "innocence" and raised questions about "who we were."

The changes came to a head in January 1968, when Communist forces during the Tet holiday launched a major attack on South Vietnamese cities. According to virtually every competent observer, these forces met a sharp defeat, but American press accounts described Tet instead as a major communist victory. Washington Post reporter Peter Braestrup later published a book in which he explained the failure of the press to report the Tet offensive accurately. His summary: "Rarely has contemporary crisis-journalism turned out, in retrospect, to have veered so widely from reality."

Even as the facts became clearer, the press did not correct its false report that the North Vietnamese had won. When NBC News producer Robert Northshield was asked at the end of 1968 whether the network should put on a news show indicating that American and South Vietnamese troops had won, he rejected the idea, because Tet was already "established in the public's mind as a defeat, and therefore it was an American defeat."

In the opinion of Mr. Braestrup, the news failure resulted not from ideology but from economic and managerial constraints on the press--and in his view it had no material effect on American public opinion.

Others do not share his view. When Douglas Kinnard questioned more than 100 American generals who served in Vietnam, 92% said that newspaper coverage was often irresponsible or disruptive, and 96% said that television coverage on balance lacked context and was sensational or counterproductive.

An analysis of CBS's Vietnam coverage in 1972 and 1973 supports their views. The Institute for American Strategy found that, of about 800 references to American policy and behavior, 81% were critical. Of 164 references to North Vietnamese policy and behavior, 57% were supportive. Another study, by a scholar skeptical about the extent of media influence, showed that televised editorial comments before Tet were favorable to our presence by a ratio of 4 to 1; after Tet, they were 2 to 1 against the American government's policy.

Opinion polls taken in 1968 suggest that before the press reports on the Tet offensive, 28% of the public identified themselves as doves; by March, after the offensive was over, 42% said they were doves.

Sociologist James D. Wright directly measured the impact of press coverage by comparing the support for the war among white people of various social classes who read newspapers and news magazines with the support found among those who did not look at these periodicals very much. By 1968, when most newsmagazines and newspapers had changed from supporting the war to opposing it, backing for the war collapsed among upper-middle-class readers of news stories, from about two-thirds who supported it in 1964 to about one-third who supported it in 1968. Strikingly, opinion did not shift much among working-class voters, no matter whether they read these press accounts or not. Affluent people who read the press apparently have more changeable opinions than ordinary folks. Public opinion may not have changed much, but elite opinion changed greatly.

There are countless explanations for why the media produced so many stories skeptical of or hostile to the American military involvement in Vietnam. But many of these explanations are largely myths.
First myth. Media technology had changed. Vietnam was the first war in which television was available to a mass audience, and, as both critics and admirers of TV unite in saying, television brings the war home in often unsettling graphic images. But the Second World War also brought the struggle home through Pathé and Movietone newsreels shown in thousands of theaters nationwide at a time when Americans went to the movies remarkably often. Moreover, television accounts between 1962 and 1968 were not critical of the American effort in Vietnam, and public support for the war then actually increased.

Second myth. The war in Vietnam was conducted without censorship. As a result, the press, with trivial exceptions, could report anything it wanted. Moreover, the absence of a formal declaration of war made it possible for several Americans, including important journalists, to travel to Hanoi, where they made statements about conditions there that often parroted the North Vietnamese party line. But the censorship rules in the Second World War and in Korea, jointly devised by the press and the government, aimed at precluding premature disclosure of military secrets, such as the location of specific combat units and plans for military attacks. The media problem in Vietnam was not the disclosure of secrets but the conveying of an attitude.

Third myth. The press did not report military matters with adequate intelligence and context because few, if any, journalists had any military training. But that has always been the case. One veteran reporter, S.L.A. Marshall, put the real difference this way: once upon a time, "the American correspondent . . . was an American first, a correspondent second." But in Vietnam, that attitude shifted. An older journalist in Vietnam, who had covered the Second World War, lamented the bitter divisions among the reporters in Saigon, where there were "two camps": "those who wanted to win the war and those who wanted to lose it." The new reporters filed exciting, irreverent copy, which made it to the front pages; the veteran reporters' copy ended up buried way in back.

In place of these three myths, we should consider three much more plausible explanations: the first is the weak and ambivalent political leadership that American presidents brought to Vietnam; the second is the existence in the country of a vocal radical movement; and the third is the change that has occurred in the control of media organizations.
First, Presidents Kennedy and Johnson both wanted to avoid losing Vietnam without waging a major war in Asia. Kennedy tried to deny that Americans were fighting. A cable that his administration sent in 1962 instructed diplomats and soldiers never to imply to reporters any "all-out U.S. involvement." Other messages stressed that "this is not a U.S. war." When David Halberstam of the New York Times wrote stories criticizing the South Vietnamese government, Kennedy tried to have him fired because he was calling attention to a war that we did not want to admit we were fighting.

Johnson was willing to say that we were fighting, but without any cost and with rosy prospects for an early victory. He sought to avoid losing by contradictory efforts to appease doves (by bombing halts and peace feelers), satisfy hawks (with more troops and more bombing), and control the tactical details of the war from the Oval Office. After the Cam Ne report from Morley Safer, Johnson called the head of CBS and berated him in language I will not repeat here.

When Richard Nixon became president, he wanted to end the war by pulling out American troops, and he did so. None of the three presidents wanted to win, but all wanted to report "progress." All three administrations instructed military commanders always to report gains and rely on suspect body counts as a way of measuring progress. The press quickly understood that they could not trust politicians and high-level military officers.

Second, unlike either World War II or the Korean conflict, there was a radical peace movement in America, much of it growing out of the New Left. There has been domestic opposition to most of our wars (Karlyn Bowman and I have estimated the size of the "peace party" to be about one-fifth of the electorate), but to this latent public resistance was added a broad critique of American society that opposed the war as not only wrong as policy but immoral and genocidal--and, to college students, a threat to their exemption from the draft. Famous opponents of the war traveled to Hanoi to report on North Vietnam. Attorney General Ramsey Clark said that there was neither crime nor internal conflict there. Father Daniel Berrigan described the North Vietnamese people as having a "naive faith in human goodness." Author Mary McCarthy said these folks had "grace" because they lacked any sense of "alienation."

I repeated for the Iraq War the analysis that Professor Wright had done of the impact of the media on public opinion during the Vietnam War. Using 2004 poll data, I found a similar effect: Americans who rarely watched television news about the 2004 political campaign were much more supportive of the war in Iraq than were those who watched a great deal of TV news. And the falloff in support was greatest for those with a college education.

Third, control of the press had shifted away from owners and publishers to editors and reporters. During the Spanish-American War, the sensationalist press, led by Joseph Pulitzer's New York World and St. Louis Post-Dispatch, William Randolph Hearst's New York Journal, and Joseph Medill's Chicago Tribune all actively supported the war. Hearst felt, perhaps accurately, that he had helped cause it. His New York paper printed this headline: "How Do You Like the Journal's War?" Even the New York Times supported the Spanish-American War, editorializing that the Anti-Imperialist League was treasonable and later that the Filipinos "have chosen a bloody way to demonstrate their incapacity for self-government."

Today, strong owners are almost all gone. When Henry Luce died, Time magazine's support for an assertive American foreign policy died with him. William Paley had worked hard to make CBS a supporter of the Vietnam War, but he could not prevent Walter Cronkite from making his famous statement, on the evening news show of Feb. 19, 1968, that the war had become a "stalemate" that had to be ended, and so we must "negotiate." On hearing these remarks, President Johnson decided that the country would no longer support the war and that he should not run for reelection. Over three decades later, Mr. Cronkite made the same mistake: We must, he said, get out of Iraq now.

There are still some family owners, such as the Sulzbergers, who exercise control over their newspapers, but they have moved politically left. Ken Auletta has described Arthur Sulzberger Jr., publisher of the New York Times, as a man who has "leaned to the left," but "leaned" understates the matter. Mr. Sulzberger was a passionate opponent of the war in Vietnam and was arrested more than once at protest rallies. When he became publisher in 1997, he chose the liberal Howell Raines to control the editorial page and make it, Mr. Sulzberger said, a "more assertive, populist page."

Other media companies, once run by their founders and principal owners, are now run by professional managers who report to directors interested in profits, not policy. Policy is the province of the editors and reporters, who are governed by their personal views, many of them acquired not by having once covered the police beat but from a college education. By 1978, 93% of the top reporters and editors had college degrees.

These three factors worked in concert and have carried down to the present. The ambivalent political leadership of three presidents during Vietnam made the press distrust American leaders, even when, as during the Iraq War, political leadership has been strong. The New Left movement in the 1960s and 1970s slowly abandoned many of its slogans but left its legacy in much of the press and Democratic Party elites. The emergence of journalism as a craft independent of corporate owners reinforced these trends. As one journalist wrote, reporters "had come to reject the idea that they were in any sense part of the American 'team.' " This development happened slowly in Vietnam. Journalists reported most events favorably for the American side from August 1965 to January 1968, but that attitude began shifting with press coverage of Sen. J. William Fulbright's hostile Senate hearings and climaxed with the Tet offensive in January 1968. Thereafter, reporters and editors increasingly shared a distrust of government officials, an inclination to look for coverups, and a willingness to believe that the government acted out of bad motives.
A watershed of the new attitude is the New York Times's coverage of the Pentagon papers in 1971. These documents, prepared by high officials under the direction of Defense Secretary Robert McNamara, were leaked to the Times by a former State Department staffer, Daniel Ellsberg. The Times wrote major stories, supposedly based on the leaked documents, summarizing the history of our Vietnam involvement.

Journalist Edward Jay Epstein has shown that in crucial respects, the Times coverage was at odds with what the documents actually said. The lead of the Times story was that in 1964 the Johnson administration reached a consensus to bomb North Vietnam at a time when the president was publicly saying that he would not bomb the north. In fact, the Pentagon papers actually said that, in 1964, the White House had rejected the idea of bombing the north. The Times went on to assert that American forces had deliberately provoked the alleged attacks on its ships in the Gulf of Tonkin to justify a congressional resolution supporting our war efforts. In fact, the Pentagon papers said the opposite: there was no evidence that we had provoked whatever attacks may have occurred.

In short, a key newspaper said that politicians had manipulated us into a war by means of deception. This claim, wrong as it was, was part of a chain of reporting and editorializing that helped convince upper-middle-class Americans that the government could not be trusted.

Reporters and editors today are overwhelmingly liberal politically, as studies of the attitudes of key members of the press have repeatedly shown. Should you doubt these findings, recall the statement of Daniel Okrent, then the public editor at the New York Times. Under the headline, "Is the New York times a Liberal Newspaper?," Mr. Okrent's first sentence was, "Of course it is."

What has been at issue is whether media politics affects media writing. Certainly, that began to happen noticeably in the Vietnam years. And thereafter, the press could still support an American war waged by a Democratic president. In 1992, for example, newspapers denounced President George H.W. Bush for having ignored the creation of concentration camps in Bosnia, and they later supported President Clinton when he ordered bombing raids there and in Kosovo. When one strike killed some innocent refugees, the New York Times said that it would be a "tragedy" to "slacken the bombardment." These air attacks violated what passes for international law (under the U.N. Charter, people can only go to war for immediate self-defense or under U.N. authorization). But these supposedly "illegal" air raids did not prevent Times support. Today, by contrast, the Times criticizes our Guantanamo Bay detention camp for being in violation of "international law."

But in the Vietnam era, an important restraint on sectarian partisanship still operated: the mass media catered to a mass audience and hence had an economic interest in appealing to as broad a public as possible. Today, however, we are in the midst of a fierce competition among media outlets, with newspapers trying, not very successfully, to survive against 24/7 TV and radio news coverage and the Internet. As a consequence of this struggle, radio, magazines, and newspapers are engaged in niche marketing, seeking to mobilize not a broad market but a specialized one, either liberal or conservative.

Economics reinforces this partisan orientation. Prof. James Hamilton has shown that television networks take older viewers for granted but struggle hard to attract high-spending younger ones. Regular viewers tend to be older, male, and conservative, while marginal ones are likely to be younger, female, and liberal. Thus the financial interest that radio and television stations have in attracting these marginal younger listeners and viewers reinforces their ideological interest in catering to a more liberal audience.

Focusing ever more sharply on the mostly bicoastal, mostly liberal elites, and with their more conservative audience lost to Fox News or Rush Limbaugh, mainstream outlets like the New York Times have become more nakedly partisan. And in the Iraq War, they have kept up a drumbeat of negativity that has had a big effect on elite and public opinion alike. Thanks to the power of these media organs, reduced but still enormous, many Americans are coming to see the Iraq War as Vietnam redux.

Most of what I have said here is common knowledge. But it is common knowledge about a new period in American journalistic history. Once, powerful press owners dictated what their papers would print, sometimes irresponsibly. But that era of partisan and circulation-building distortions was not replaced by a commitment to objective journalism; it was replaced by a deep suspicion of the American government. That suspicion, fueled in part by the Vietnam and Watergate controversies, means that the government, especially if it is a conservative one, is surrounded by journalists who doubt almost all it says. One obvious result is that since World War II there have been few reports of military heroes; indeed, there have been scarcely any reports of military victories.
This change in the media is not a transitory one that will give way to a return to the support of our military when it fights. Journalism, like so much scholarship, now dwells in a postmodern age in which truth is hard to find and statements merely serve someone's interests.

The mainstream media's adversarial stance, both here and abroad, means that whenever a foreign enemy challenges us, he will know that his objective will be to win the battle not on some faraway bit of land but among the people who determine what we read and watch. We won the Second World War in Europe and Japan, but we lost in Vietnam and are in danger of losing in Iraq and Lebanon in the newspapers, magazines and television programs we enjoy.

Mr. Wilson, formerly a professor at Harvard and at UCLA, now lectures at Pepperdine University. Among his recent books are The Moral Sense and The Marriage Problem. This article, adapted from a Manhattan Institute lecture, appears in the Autumn issue of City Journal."

Tim Russert Takes Sides

Tim Russert lost all pretense of objectivity yesterday, when Elizabeth Dole spoke the forbidden words - "Democrats appear to be content with losing."

Sunday, November 05, 2006

I'll Bet He Craps His Pants

A defiant Saddam Hussein shrugged off a possible death sentence, saying he would die without fear and the U.S. occupiers of his country would leave humiliated like they did in Vietnam, his lawyers said on Saturday.

He's still counting on Nancy Pelosi and Ted Kennedy to save his ass.

"I’d almost feel sorry for him, if I didn’t know him so well"

John Kerry's delusions. Supposedly, he's about to announce his candidacy for president in 2008.

The Massachusetts congressional delegation would like to ask Sen. John Kerry a question:

How can we miss you when you won’t go away?

You see, there’s a whole other story involved in Gigolo John’s political suicide in Pasadena last week. For weeks, the persistent rumor had been that once the elections were over, Liveshot would announce that 1) he was officially running for president in 2008, and 2) he would not seek re-election to the Senate.

Nobody cared about 1) because a 2008 run would have obviously been his next “botched joke,” but 2) would have set off a stampede among the local solons.

Pre-Pasadena, there was another Kerry rumor making the rounds as well. It was less plausible - that he would immediately resign his Senate seat in order to show, as Bob Dole did in 1996, that he was very serious.

For the Bay State congressmen chomping at the bit to move up, the immediate resignation would have been the best outcome, because it would have triggered an election to fill the vacant seat within 180 days.

But then came Monday night and the “stuck in Iraq” crack.

Said one longtime acquaintance (the appropriate word, because Kerry has no real friends): “I’d almost feel sorry for him, if I didn’t know him so well.”

Poor Liveshot. All those wasted weekends in Iowa last summer, all those stupid blogs, sucking up to the moonbats - all for naught. What’s a gigolo to do?

Speaking of which, consider that famous pop standard, “Just A Gigolo.” The lesser-known first verse introduces someone very like Kerry - a Frenchman, a hero of the world who now hangs out in cafes wearing his medals, trolling for rich old ladies. But even as he is reporting for duty at the bistro, the gigolo sees the future.

“There will come a day/ Youth will pass away.”

That would be last week, when Jay Leno said a trick-or-treater showed up at his house with his foot in his mouth, and he knew immediately it was John Kerry. Then there was the cartoon in the Daily News: Kerry walking among flag-draped coffins, smiling, saying, “Stop me if you’ve heard this one before.”

“When the end comes I know/ They’ll say just a gigolo/ As life goes on without me.”

And it will. If only Liveshot hadn’t messed up everybody’s plans. Why do you think Rep. Marty Meehan rebuffed the national Democrats to kick in more dough for House challengers this fall? Meehan’s nickname is Midas, because he has $5 million in the bank and yet he’s been tossing around quarters like they were manhole covers.

That’s because Midas Meehan had heard the stories. He thought he was about to be in a statewide fight. Memo to Midas: feel free now to park that five mil in five-year CDs without worrying about paying the early-withdrawal penalty. You ain’t goin nowhere.

How about Steve Lynch? Kerry already made a fool of him once, back on Election Day 2004. A breathless Lynch rushed to announce he’d be having a press conference on Saturday morning at the Ironworkers hall to announce his candidacy for the Senate. A couple hours later, John had fallen a scant 3 million votes behind. Er, cancel the hall.....

John Kerry obviously lives in a very tightly wound coccoon, paneled with mirrors so that he only sees people who admire him.

Saturday, November 04, 2006

How About Brad Pitt as "Shaft?"

P. Diddy says that he wants to play James Bond in the next 007 movie.

"It's a dream of mine to play a great role like that," he admitted before insisting he was the man to keep Bond fans entertained should he get the part in the future.

Friday, November 03, 2006

1000 Bottles a Day is All it Takes

To gain the same advantage from wine that rats got from the active, anti-fat benefits, you'd only have to down about 1000 bottles every day.

The mice were fed a hefty dose of resveratrol, 24 milligrams per kilogram of body weight. Red wine has about 1.5 to 3 milligrams of resveratrol per liter, so a 150-lb person would need to drink 750 to 1,500 bottles of red wine a day to get such a dose.

I Can't Help It. I Was Born This Way

Is politics in the genes?

Genetic researchers are trying to prove that social attitudes can be inherited, and have discovered strong correlations between the two.

So far, the political connection has relied on studies by Lindon Eaves, professor of human genetics and psychiatry at Virginia Commonwealth University. About 8,000 sets of identical and fraternal twins answered a series of questions on topics such as school prayer, nuclear power, women's liberation and the death penalty.

Identical twins, who share their entire genetic code, answered more similarly than fraternal twins, who are no more similar than non-twin siblings.

If you assume that both identical and fraternal twins share an environment, then the disparity between the results must be genetic, Hibbing and colleagues conclude.

Touchy Feeling Wind Power Scam

Search your memory. It’s not as if you have to go all that far back. Recall the most uncomfortable summer days that you’ve experienced. We had some pretty warm days just this last summer. Do you remember any refreshing breezes on those days? Of course you don’t. That’s part of what made them so oppressive. These are the days when Northwesterners rely most upon their air conditioners for relief. And these are the days when those enormous wind generators that have sprung up around the state generate the least electricity – when it is most in demand.
Such subtleties seem to have eluded the proponents of this year’s favorite feel-good initiative, I-937 in Washington. Initiative 937 would mandate that by the year 2020, Washington utilities would have to generate 15% of their electricity using new, approved renewable resources. I say approved because the primary renewable energy in the northwest, hydropower is not approved. The initiative states that only hydropower that does not require “diversions or impoundments” is allowed. Which is a rather convoluted way of stating that hydropower is, in fact, not permitted. Neither are faster breeder nuclear reactors. Biodiesel and other biomass energy sources are so restricted that they don’t qualify and some, including the most cost effective are expressly forbidden.
In fact, just about the only renewable energy that the initiative allows is wind generators. Existing energy sources, regardless of whether they are renewable, clean, or abundant, don’t count.
Curiously, even wind power might not satisfy the tortured language of this initiative, as it requires that the renewable energy source be, “cost effective” and, "reliable and available within the time it is needed," and that the "estimated incremental system cost no greater than that of the least-cost similarly reliable and available alternative project or resource."
During this last summer, California discovered that, during the hottest weather, when electricity was most in demand, its wind generators produced only one-sixth of their average output. And so wind power would probably fail the initiative’s requirement that this magical source of power be “reliable and available within the time it is needed.”
Today, 95% of Seattle’s electricity is derived from non-CO2 producing sources, nuclear and hydroelectric. Nevertheless, to comply with I-937, Seattle City Light would have to replace much of that with expensive and unreliable wind power. In addition, because wind power is so unreliable, Seattle City Light may have to invest twice – once for the windmills and again for a reliable backup for those days when the wind doesn’t blow. Wind generators are already just about the most expensive means of power generation. Forcing their construction would also force utilities to build expensive backup power generators to serve when demand is high and zephyrs are absent.
It is really difficult to imagine that there has ever been a more poorly thought out initiative on a ballot. But nevertheless, this being the land of granolas and greenies, I would not be at all surprised if it passed. After all, just think of how good we can feel about ourselves if we mandate that clean, reliable and renewable energy just magically appear and make all those naughty greenhouse gases go away.
The touchy-feeling, warm and fuzzy goal of this initiative is to reduce Washington’s contribution to global warming. It will certainly achieve that, although only as an unintended consequence. Certainly Washington will produce less greenhouse gas if it has fewer people producing anything. I-937 will force jobs and businesses out of the state. One of the few things that make Washington attractive to business is its reliable and relatively inexpensive energy. I-937 would cure Washington of that advantage. Electricity generated by wind turbines is much more expensive than other sources. We only have wind turbines now because the government subsidizes their construction and the power they generate. If wind turbines had to stand on their own in the marketplace, they would never have come into existence. Forcing utilities to employ the most expensive and unreliable electricity source will force power bills up dramatically. And all those companies that have set up shop in Washington to take advantage of its electricity prices will fold up their tents and move elsewhere.
Seattle coffee shops are packed with simpletons who swoon over this sort of thoughtless nonsense. Let’s hope that enough Eastsiders have the brains to see through it.