July 08, 2009

How Can Everyone Pass This Up?

Kim Jong Ill

I hope it hurts.

Posted by Charles Austin at 11:03 PM | Comments (8)

June 26, 2009

Does This Say More About the Mental Health of Our Culture or Just the Mental Health of Big Media?

CBS News breathlessly asks:

Will Obama Make A Statement On Jackson?

Does your world revolve around waiting on a statement from President Obama (or seemingly anyone, for that matter) on the death of Michael Jackson (or seemingly anything, for that matter) before knowing what to think or feel? I guess some pathetic souls must know what the party line is before they can stick to it.

George Orwell was without a doubt the leading prophet of the 20th century. But I digress.

Posted by Charles Austin at 12:01 PM | Comments (0)

May 07, 2009

Adventures in Headline Writing

Bank stress tests show some banks need more funds

Here, let me fix that for you:

Bank stress tests show some banks need more funds to go under

But no worries:

Officials have said they will not let any of the 19 institutions fold.

Do you ever get the idea that the term "moral hazard" means nothing to our political masters?

Posted by Charles Austin at 03:30 PM | Comments (0)

Shiller's Remorse

Has anyone seen a good explanation yet of why Ms. McArdle, Mr. Brooks, and Mr. Buckley thought that President Obama wasn't going to do everything that candidate Obama said he was going to do? Especially with a compliant Congress?

I suppose it's a good thing that they see the error of their ways now, but some mistakes are so big they are not easily forgiveable.

Posted by Charles Austin at 02:19 PM | Comments (1)

November 22, 2008

As God Is My Witness...

I swear I thought turkeys could fly were meant to be eaten.

Tim Blair's roundup is consistent, coherent, and complete.

Posted by Charles Austin at 11:09 AM | Comments (4)

September 18, 2008

Look at Old Man Potter Buffett...

He's not selling, he's buying:

Buffett's Berkshire Accelerates Pace of Acquisitions

But wait, there's more:

U.S. Stocks Rally Most in Six Years on Plan to Shore Up Banks

California home sales surge as prices plummet

Several people have asked in the last twenty-four hours if I'm worried about the economic crisis. I've told them my only concern is that the government will not allow bad decisions to be appropriately punished. Otherwise, our closest thing to unfettered capitalism as we are likely to see system does exactly what it is supposed to be doing. Nothing more. Nothing less. Financial institutions failing does not scare me. People believing that it's just a matter of getting the right people to turn the knobs and tweak the dials correctly to always prevent this sort of thing on the other hand, they worry the bejeebus ought of me.

It's worth remembering that the people who run the government have the same educations, backgrounds, motivations, strengths, weaknesses, superstitions, abilities, and human nature as the people who ran Enron, Lehman Brothers, and Bear Stearns. No matter where you may sit on the political spectrum there seems to be an inverse relationship between how big you believe companies should get and how big you believe government should get. Glenn Reynolds quotes Lisa Fairfax asking:

When people say that a company is too big to fail, does that really mean that a company is simply "too big"? If so, does that mean that we need to do more to encourage smaller companies, or at the very least do more to discourage large companies or companies that are intertwined with too many industries?

Substitute "government" for "company" and "governments" for "companies" there and let me know what you think.

Posted by Charles Austin at 06:45 PM | Comments (1)

September 12, 2008


Watch as Whoopi Goldberg embarrasses herself and shows her ignorance of the US Constitution by asking if she should be afraid of being a slave again because John McCain wants strict constructionists as Supreme Court Justices. Mind you, John McCain's response is just as embarrassing, as is Barbara Walters' and everyone else on that stage. Sorry Senator, but that's not a valid point, it is a shamelessly ignorant one, especially in light of the 13th amendment. Slavery was officially abolished in the United States 143 years ago. Maybe if Whoopi were old enough to justify using the word "again" she might have learned how the US Constitution works.

At what point does a grown up have to stand up and say, "What the hell is wrong with you?" Gee, I wonder if any of them are also worried about being arrested for buying an alcoholic beverage?

Posted by Charles Austin at 09:35 PM | Comments (2)

September 09, 2008

Take My Candidate, Please

World wants Obama as president

So when's the election for the president of the world? Though it does probably help to be a citizen of the world if you're running, so he's got that going for him.

Posted by Charles Austin at 10:03 PM | Comments (1)

August 10, 2008

Thanks to HDTV

I can tell Bob Costas has too much makeup on tonight. Bob and Mary marveling over the miraculous ability of so many people to do the same things to such a level of perfection is, well, a little creepy. I bet they all have passports and can speak mutiple languages too.

Posted by Charles Austin at 07:52 PM | Comments (2)

August 03, 2008

Texas is Hot in August

Who knew? And when did they know it?

Texas plagued by heat, drought, water parasite, wildfires

Blah, blah, blah. Maybe Scott would like to weigh in... But note the penultimate sentence in the article:

The Dallas area has recorded 23 triple-digit days so far this year — still well short of the record of 69 in 1980.

So if the Dallas area temperatures reach 3 digits each day until September 18, then it will be as bad a 1980, for which I blame Jimmy Carter, but I digress. What do we have a problem with here, hot weather or journalists strving to create fear and panic for their own selfish ends?

Posted by Charles Austin at 03:04 PM | Comments (2)

August 01, 2008

They Say This Like It's a Bad Thing

John McCain ad irritates many in Hollywood

Posted by Charles Austin at 02:34 PM | Comments (0)

June 25, 2008


Bush Estrangement Syndome.

Posted by Charles Austin at 03:08 PM | Comments (0)


Policial Ennui Vertigo.

Posted by Charles Austin at 03:07 PM | Comments (0)

June 18, 2008

Self-Referential Journalism

NY Times article:

Michelle Obama to get subtle makeover

Beginning with the NY Times article.

Posted by Charles Austin at 06:19 PM | Comments (2)

June 15, 2008

Anticipating Keith Olbermann

Get Osama Bin Laden before I leave office, orders George W Bush

More proof that the 2004 election was fixed, since Bush had to wait until now to issue this order.

Posted by Charles Austin at 10:31 AM | Comments (0)

Mass Miss Marketing

I see a lot of people are panning M. Night Shyamalan's The Happening. I haven't seen it and probably won't. Something about the marketing of the movie, "The first ever R-rated movie by M. Night Shyamalan," was more than sufficient to convince me that the producers knew they had a clunker.

Posted by Charles Austin at 10:26 AM | Comments (0)

June 13, 2008

It's the End of the World As We Know It

ABC News asks:

Are we living in the last century of our civilization?

Well, that would depend on how we define civilization now, wouldn't it?. Since Lord Clark admitted that he couldn't define it, I'm not sure I can either. However, I am certain that civlization, as I understand it, is more likely to end if these neo-Luddites get their way than it is otherwise. But I digress.

So, what is civilization, and how useful is it to try and project it out one-hundred years? If you could go back in time and grab a half dozen people from 1908 and whisk them back to the present, how many of them would recognize America, or much of the world, as it is now, as the same civilization?

Here are just a few events and differences to think about from 1908:
- Pre-WWI geopolitics, lots of royalty, no communist states, the British Empire is peaking (though this is far from obvious at the time), the Congo Free State is annexed by Belgium.
- Artists in France begin to demonstrate their out of the box thinking via, ahem, Cubism.
- The First International Congress of Psychoanalysis is held in Salzburg.
- No Hollywood; no TV; no radio; Google and YouTube? Please.
- No X-Rays in the hospital emergency rooms, much less CAT Scans, MRIs, etc.; no antibiotics; perhaps 40,000,000 people were yet to die worldwide in the Influenza pandemic ten years later; no blood was yet stored for transfusions.
- Experiments in Vienna indicate that polio is infectious.
- The state of Georgia votes to abolish peonage the following year.
- The first Ford Model T rolled off the assembly line; optimists believe automobiles will solve the pollution problem New York City has with horse manure; General Motors files papers of incorporation.
- The discovery of oil in Texas just eight years earlier had reduced the price of it down to $0.03 a barrel; in some boom towns water cost $0.05 a barrel. In another 30 years oil would be discovered in Saudi Arabia.
- Glenn H. Curtiss is awarded the Scientific American trophy for a public flight of over 1 km!
- Barney Oldfield establishes a new world record for a mile in 51.8 seconds.
- The 46th star (for Oklahoma) is added to the United States flag.
- The Games of the IV Olympiad in London featured 22 countries competing in 22 sports.
- The Hydrox cookie first appeared. [ed. note: Kellogg discontinued it in 2003.]
- If you were a white male, your life expectancy just hit 50 years. If you were a non-white male, you should expect to dead by age 34.
- No man had ever set foot on the North Pole or the South Pole.
- Veterans gathered to commemorate the 45th anniversary of the battle of Gettysburg. [ed. note: We are 64 years away from D-Day.]
- There are approximately 10,000,000 phones in the United States, or about one for every 10 people on average. [ed. note: Approximately 135,000,000 cell phones were thrown away last year.]
- A few folks born in 1908: Edward Teller, William Randolph Hearst, Jr., Milton Berle, Lyndon Johnson, Simon Wiesenthal, and Edward R. Murrow.
- The nuclear model of the atom had not yet been released by Ernest Ruthford or Niels Bohr.
- The Chicago Cubs won the World Series! [ed. note: Now there's a portent of the end times.]

But of course, it isn't technology, transhumanism, or radical Islamism that has ABC News' panties in a bunch, but ..., wait for it ..., anthropomorphic global warming and the usual "we're running out of everything" hysteria.

Sigh. But I feel fine.

Posted by Charles Austin at 03:27 PM | Comments (1)

May 22, 2008

Same As It Ever Was

Hurricane prediction headlines and results for 2005-2007. Images taken from the National Weather Service National Hurricane Center Archives.

Above-Normal 2005 Hurricane Season Predicted by NOAA


US Forecasters See Active 2006 Hurricane Season


U.S. Agency Predicts Active 2007 Hurricane Season


So, of course, the headline for 2008 is:

U.S. government sees active Atlantic hurricane season

Must have something to do with colder water temperatures or something.

Posted by Charles Austin at 03:25 PM | Comments (0)

May 17, 2008

What Crisis?

Newsweek just offered me a professional discount of 92%, apparently because I am breathing, allowing me to get 54 issues for $20.00!

Hmm..., no, I think I'll decline on behalf of the environment and save the trees instead. It's what they would want me to do were they to be taken seriously.

DOWNDATE: An Instalanche! Thank you, sir.

Posted by Charles Austin at 05:56 PM | Comments (14)

April 21, 2008

Dog Bites Man

Read this article that claims:

Food Rationing Confronts Breadbasket of the World

I lost count of the bad assumptions, logical errors and sheer lunatic sentiments expressed and don't want to include the entire text here. FWIW, I purchased rice a week ago and there was no shortage or rationing evident. My stash of Japanese short grain and Basmati comes from Global Foods on Kirkwood Road where about a dozen different types of rice are available in ten to fifty pound bags.

Posted by Charles Austin at 04:11 PM | Comments (1)

April 04, 2008

Sing Along

Kyle's Chelsea's mom is a ...

Randi Rhodes, an afternoon host for the progressive Team Air America radio network, was suspended Thursday after repeatedly insulting Senator Hillary Rodham Clinton at an event last month.

Posted by Charles Austin at 06:06 PM | Comments (0)

Adventures In Headline Writing

Bengals WR Henry out of jail

The headline writer might want to pay special attention to the first word of the article:

Former Bengal Chris Henry was released from jail Friday, spending an extra night there because no one was available to provide a court-ordered monitoring device.

Posted by Charles Austin at 05:40 PM | Comments (0)

March 31, 2008

Sure, If You Ignore Inflation

Can America ever break its addiction to oil statistics that are worse than meaningless when taken out of context?

The U.S. retail price for gasoline set a new high of $3.29 a gallon after rising 3.1 cents over the last week, the federal Energy Information Administration said on Monday.

Maybe we should eliminate the Energy Information Administration and use the money we save to drill for oil in ANWR.

Posted by Charles Austin at 10:33 PM | Comments (0)

Attention K-Mart Shoppers

Blue state light in aisle three:

50 Cent Flip-Flops: From Hillary To Obama To 'Don't Know'

Posted by Charles Austin at 05:22 PM | Comments (0)

March 26, 2008



With eight months to go before the U.S. presidential election, the candidates have raised almost $1 billion to fund their campaigns -- more than the size of the economies of several African countries.

Sounds like a lot, especially given that the race for president dominates news coverage. Must be a big deal, right? Not so much:

Wall Street banks, brokerages and hedge funds may report $460 billion in credit losses from the collapse of the subprime mortgage market, or almost four times the amount already disclosed, according to Goldman Sachs Group Inc.

Hmm..., I bet that's bigger than the economy of any African country, if not the economy of every African country. Combined. Though why the economies of the most derelict African countries is a measuring stick still remains beyond me. I guess we can thank Robert Mugabe for making our elections look frivolous and expensive.

Posted by Charles Austin at 11:32 AM | Comments (0)

March 24, 2008

Nice Try

Remember, the NY Times reports the news and makes no effort to drive it:

Two McCain Moments, Rarely Mentioned

Posted by Charles Austin at 04:55 PM | Comments (0)

About Time

Sirius-XM deal clears big regulatory hurdle

Posted by Charles Austin at 04:31 PM | Comments (0)

Simple Economics

The first part of this makes sense, but the latter displays a breathtaking ignorance of supply and demand:

Sales of existing homes in the U.S. unexpectedly rose in February for the first time in seven months, easing concern credit restrictions and falling prices would hurt demand.

You'd think someone writing for Bloomberg would be embarrassed to type something this silly.

Link via Instapundit.

Posted by Charles Austin at 02:20 PM | Comments (0)

March 18, 2008

Precious Pretensions, Purple Prose

Via Amazon's Omnivaracious via Instapundit, here's Paul Wilner on Jackalope Dreams by Mary Clearman Blew:

Sentences seethe with urgent, unhurried energy, ...

No, they don't. But if they did, would that be good or bad?

Posted by Charles Austin at 04:59 PM | Comments (1)

March 14, 2008

No Country for Old Men

By chance, I wandered in to see this movie on New Year's Eve in Santa Monica. It deserved the Oscar for Best Picture and then some. Since then, I've read a couple of Cormac McCarthy novels and come to appreciate him a lot. You should too.

Posted by Charles Austin at 11:07 PM | Comments (0)

When You Walk Through the Garden...

The Wire is probably the best thing on TV since Ken Burns' epic on The Civil War. Lack of posting has inhibited much commentary, but here's a few thoughts outside what I've seen posted elsewhere.

When Hamsterdam had to be covered up, its amazing how much manpower and machinery could be brought to bear virtually overnight compared to the challenges of fighting real crime on the streets.

Throughout the series there are parallels everywhere between what happens on the street and what happens in the "legitimate" world. When I have about 120 hours, I''ll write an essay on this. Anything less and the brilliance and depth cannot even be scatched upon.

Marla Daniels is truly evil. I'm almost thinking she was the driving force behind Cedric's early Narcotic's thieving. Other than that, he's about the cleanest guy in the show. His only real fault seems to be a sense of loyalty that blinds him to those he holds closest.

One of the more perceptive comments over at The House Next Door is that the penultimate episode of each season is almost always the bets. It really is true, but now you'll have to buy the DVDs (or Blu-Rays) to know why.

Season Five has too much "insider baseball" to be as compelling as the previous years. For instance, I've never watched HBO's Entourage because I'm quite certain I could never bring myslef to like or empathize with anyone who makes a living in Hollywood. The newsroom comes close, but at least their level of pretension is at least tolerable since they only think they're smarter, not better, than everyone around them.

To pile on a little on Season Five the fake serial killer and illegal wiretap are a little over the top. Not to mention the coincidence of the fake Pulitzer and Mayor Governor Carcetti all being intrically interwoven into the story line.

It's a tragedy that so few people have seen this. Yes, it's profane and gritty, but it is more real than anything on commercial TV and most everything on cable.

Finally, a few too many happy endings in the final season to fit in with the rest of the series, especially considering the almost total lack of happy endings in the previous seasons.

Far, far too much to do justice to now, but more later.

Posted by Charles Austin at 11:04 PM | Comments (0)

February 13, 2008

Is That Obama In Your Pocket, Or Are You Just Glad To See Me?

Sorry, but I couldn't resist noting Chris Matthews' latest Obamagasm:

During MSNBC's live coverage of Tuesday's presidential primary elections, after the speeches of Barack Obama and John McCain had aired, Chris Matthews expressed his latest over the top admiration for Obama's speaking skills as the MSNBC anchor admitted that Obama's speech created a "thrill" in his leg: "It's part of reporting this case, this election, the feeling most people get when they hear Barack Obama's speech. My, I felt this thrill going up my leg. I mean, I don't have that too often."

Thanks for sharing Chris.

Posted by Charles Austin at 07:24 PM | Comments (2)

September 21, 2007

Slow News Day

Thanks for clearing that up ...

Hillary Clinton officially declared she's not a lesbian - not that there's anything wrong with that.

During an interview with The Advocate to be published next week, Sean Kennedy, the gay magazine's news and features editor, asked the presidential candidate, "How do you respond to the occasional rumor that you're a lesbian?"

"It's not true, but it is something that I have no control over. People will say what they want to say."

Kennedy told the Daily News he's convinced. "I 100% believe she's a straight, heterosexual woman," he said.

Of course, the correct response would be to wag a finger at the reporter and say, "I did not have sex with that woman." After all, it worked so well before.

Posted by Charles Austin at 10:05 AM | Comments (2)

I Never Would Have Guessed that So Much Undue Influence Could Be Purchased So Cheaply

Bring back the good old days when newsrooms exerted undue influence on governments and large corporations ...

Dan Rather said Thursday that the undue influence of the government and large corporations over newsrooms spurred his decision to file a $70 million lawsuit against CBS and its former parent company.

Assuming for the moment that Dan Rather is right, how exactly will putting $70 million in his pocket fix it?

"Somebody, sometime has got to take a stand and say democracy cannot survive, much less thrive with the level of big corporate and big government interference and intimidation in news," he said on CNN's "Larry King Live."

Dan has joined the black helicopter brigade. As with President Reagan once he left office, the only real question now is how long ago did his faculties fade.

Posted by Charles Austin at 09:55 AM | Comments (0)

July 26, 2007

Dear Mr. Foer,

I am cancelling my subscription to The New Republic. I have been a subscriber online for several years and a reader for almost twenty. During that time I have relied upon TNR to offer a reasonable and reliable center-left view of the world, but the latest bit of nonsense with Scott Thomas Beauchamp has been too much. The problems swirling around Mr. Beauchamp are merely a symptom of a much deeper and substantially more difficult problem at TNR. For me, the problem isn't whether Scott Thomas existed, whether he was a soldier, and not even the veracity of his stories -- though that is a bit troublesome. I necessarily expect and grant a little latitude in the presentation of the competing narratives offered by the political journals I read on the left, center and right. The problem is that the narrative you seem to to have settled on lately can be largely summarized as little more than "we suck." You are certainly within your rights to believe that and try to hawk it to whomever you can, but I'm no longer buying it.

Have a nice life.

Posted by Charles Austin at 04:00 PM | Comments (1)

July 19, 2007

Simpleton Math

And by 2047, 111% of the population will be overweight ...

If people keep gaining weight at the current rate, fat will be the norm by 2015, with 75 percent of U.S. adults overweight and 41 percent obese, U.S. researchers predicted on Wednesday.

I'd feel guily about losing 30 pounds, but I have to lose another 22 before the blessed BMI says I will reach my "normal" weight. This vaunted index says I could lose another 67 pounds and still be normal. Somehow, if you saw me at 133 pounds, I think you would believe I was very ill and had probably been so for some time. In fact, last time I was in the 160's some people commented that I was too thin.

Posted by Charles Austin at 06:23 PM | Comments (0)

July 16, 2007

Another Attack by the Vast Right Wing Conspiracy

I expect the Clinton camp to denounce Mr. Scaife and his media minions any moment now ...

The Pittsburgh newspaper owned by conservative billionaire Richard Mellon Scaife yesterday called the Bush administration's plans to stay the course in Iraq a "prescription for American suicide."

The editorial in the Tribune-Review added, "And quite frankly, during last Thursday's news conference, when George Bush started blathering about 'sometimes the decisions you make and the consequences don't enable you to be loved,' we had to question his mental stability."

Posted by Charles Austin at 05:22 PM | Comments (0)

Whatever You Do, Don't Tell Barry Bonds

I'm impressed as heck at what Mr. Pistorius can do. Apparently, not everyone is though ...

The prosthetic legs that double-amputee sprinter Oscar Pistorius races with provide less air resistance than normal legs, the IAAF said on Monday.

Pistorius, who competed against elite able-bodied athletes on Sunday at the British Grand Prix, wears curved, carbon-fiber prosthetic legs when he races.

Hoping to be allowed to compete at the Beijing Olympics next year, Pistorius also ran in a B race in Rome on Friday, and finished second.

"The guy Oscar beat on Friday - the stride length was the same, but the speed through the air was slower for the able-bodied guy," IAAF spokesperson Nick Davies said. "This research makes us want to do more."

The International Association of Athletic Federations has been reviewing footage from two high definition cameras that filmed Pistorius in Rome to determine if his prosthetic racing legs give him an unfair advantage.

Davies said the initial research also showed that the way Pistorius distributed energy was virtually the opposite to able-bodied runners. And unlike able-bodied runners, Pistorius was faster at the end of the race instead of the beginning.

Well, duh. I mean, aren't they all going 0.0 meters/second at the beginning of the race?

Posted by Charles Austin at 05:06 PM | Comments (0)

July 12, 2007

Gotta Catch 'Em All!

I'll bet you think this is bad news ...

Undercover Congressional investigators set up a bogus company and obtained a license from the Nuclear Regulatory Commission in March that would have allowed them to buy the radioactive materials needed for a so-called dirty bomb.

The investigators, from the Government Accountability Office, demonstrated once again that the security measures put in place since the 2001 terrorist attacks to prevent radioactive materials from getting into the wrong hands are insufficient, according to a G.A.O. report, which is scheduled to be released at a Senate hearing Thursday.

I don't. Why anyone thinks the government is good at anything just because they are the government is beyond me. Sure there's a partisan angle here, but the hubris of imagining that a Kerry or a Gore administration would have no problems like this is laughable. In the meantime, keep giving our, ahem, servants a hard time and keep plugging the holes as fast as possible. Western civilization thrives on criticism, so let's keep up the good work!

Posted by Charles Austin at 07:07 PM | Comments (0)

Adventures in Headline Writing

Bush says no shift on Iraq

Oh, you said shift.

Posted by Charles Austin at 06:57 PM | Comments (0)


Two Reuters employees were killed in Iraq today and that is a tragedy. Not missing a beat, even while being burnt as recently as last week by relying on unverified information of American atrocities, Reuters relies upon a preliminary police report that "random American bombardment" killed them.

Random. American. Bombardment.

Because, you know, that's what we do.

DOWNDATE: Here's the photo Reuters used on the story for today's press conference.


Presumably they couldn't get one of him sneezing.

Posted by Charles Austin at 03:30 PM | Comments (0)

July 10, 2007

Now That's a Headline

Swedish Volvo workers face big hairy spiders from Brazil

Posted by Charles Austin at 04:50 PM | Comments (0)

July 09, 2007

Adventures in Headline Writing

Republican rebellion over Iraq escalates

What an interesting headline. Shouldn't the word rebellion be replaced with the word insurgency? And shouldn't the word escalates be replaced with the word surges? Oh, I forgot that surges are miserable failures before they even begin. Never mind.

Posted by Charles Austin at 06:51 PM | Comments (0)

When Is An Increase Not An Increase?

Trick question, and, no, I'm not talking about cuts in Medicare, though the underlying mathematical concepts are similar.


Iran has slowed down its nuclear work: UN nuclear chief ElBaradei

Lead (lede):

Iran has slowed down the expansion of its nuclear enrichment capabilities at its strategic plant in Natanz, UN nuclear chief Mohamed ElBaradei said Monday.

Got that? Slowed down the expansion. Iran is still expanding its nukular capability, but just not quite as fast. Gold stars all around and a fresh package of international aid for everyone! Presumably, as a nukular scientist, ElBaradei understands the concept of acceleration and force. All he has said here is that Iran has eased a bit on the accelerator, or for those of you who remember your differential calculus, that the slope of the second derivative is now negative, though almost certainly not the value. But you can't blame ElBaradei for the inconguity between his statement and the headline. For that we can thank the self appointed guardians of our freedoms who apparently don't know the difference between a rate and a rate of change and a rate of change of a rate of change.

Posted by Charles Austin at 10:17 AM | Comments (0)

July 04, 2007

Because He Will Sell No Whine Before Its Time?

Drudge asks:

PAPER: Is Michael Moore the new Orson Welles?...

Posted by Charles Austin at 09:30 AM | Comments (0)

December 17, 2006

When Everybody Is Special ...

No one is.

Posted by Charles Austin at 09:46 AM | Comments (0)

November 17, 2006

Adventures in Headline Writing

State plans probe as Foley grieves for his father

Um, ok.

Posted by Charles Austin at 01:41 PM | Comments (0)

Actually, Contrasts Would Be More Accurate

Bush compares U.S. wars in Vietnam, Iraq

But, hey, why expect journalistic accuracy from Big Media to pick up now.

Posted by Charles Austin at 01:14 PM | Comments (0)

November 16, 2006

The Funniest Thing I've Read All Day

Last night CNN’s Larry King confessed to Roseanne Barr that ...

Who cares what it was about?

Posted by Charles Austin at 09:19 PM | Comments (0)

November 14, 2006

"Words, Words, Words" -- Hamlet

In today's installment of dumbing down the populace for political correctness, I offer you the following:

The New Oxford American Dictionary Announces the Word of the Year: 'Carbon Neutral'

Is it really too much to expect that anyone who publishes a dictionary can count to two and consider that a plural instead of a singular grammatical entity? Or did I miss the memo where a space became the 27th letter?

Posted by Charles Austin at 04:36 PM | Comments (0)

November 12, 2006

Adventures in Headline Writing

Ahmadinejad Blasts U.N. Security Council

Let's hope we don't see this one again in a few years with an entirely different meaning.

Posted by Charles Austin at 11:00 PM | Comments (0)

November 11, 2006

Hats off to the CBC

Watching the CBC tonight, at the first intermission of the hockey game between the Montreal Canadiens and the Toronto Maple Leafs there was a special called Coach's Corner featuring Don Cherry. Tonight, they didn't talk about hockey. Instead, they read a letter from a Canadian Unit in Afghanistan that calls themselves the Crazy Eights. This unit has suffered a casualty rate of over 70%. Intheir letter they mentioned that they had received a signed picture from Don Cherry which they have placed prominently in the trench they live in and that they cannot wait to get back to the greatest country and the greatest game int he world. Don Cherry noted that while the war may not be popular, there is no excuse for not supporting these men and women and caring for the wounded when they return to Canada. Then, the CBC ran a spot where each of the forty-two Candian men and women in uniform and one Canadian diplomat that has fallen in Afghanistan was featured for about six seconds with their picture, their name and their unit while a patriotic theme, which I'm sorry to say could not recognize, played. I was deeply impressed by the respectful way this was done by the CBC without rancor or agenda.

Canada, you have my gratitude. And the CBC rose substantially in my eyes.

Posted by Charles Austin at 08:40 PM | Comments (0)

August 01, 2006


Remember when Mike Wallace said he wouldn't warn American soldiers of an ambush because he was a reporter? I guess some things are too important for Mr. Wallace to stand on the sidelines and not choose sides:

Famed reporter Mike Wallace has picked sides in the guardianship dispute over philanthropist Brooke Astor.

Posted by Charles Austin at 12:13 PM | Comments (0)

July 31, 2006

The Grim Schlepper

I often wonder if Matt Drudge juxtaposes headlines like this intentionally:

Hugo Chavez Receives Iran's Highest Honor...

Iran to hang six men publicly...

Posted by Charles Austin at 01:18 PM | Comments (0)

Woman of the People

Perky Katie's "Do you know who I am" moment:

The witness told Page Six that attendants on Wednesday's 6:30 p.m. Delta Shuttle flight out of Washington, D.C., had already closed the door and passengers were buckled in, when the soon-to-be CBS News anchor raced up the aisle with a cellphone to her ear and told an attendant she had to speak to the pilot right away.

I'm kind of wondering what might have happened if some of the other passengers had viewed her actions as a threat and tackled and subdued her. After all, wouldn't giving perky, wealthy, middle-aged, caucasian women a pass as a possible terrorist on an airplane constitute a form of profiling?

Posted by Charles Austin at 01:12 PM | Comments (1)

July 26, 2006

No Unverified Accusation Is Too Wild For Reuters

Israel 'using chemical weapons'

The proof? We don't need no stinkin' proof. Though not even an organization known to get in front of the news cycle will back this one up:

Human Rights Watch, which has accused the Israeli army of using cluster bombs in populated areas of southern Lebanon, said it had not verified claims that Israel had used phosphorus.

Posted by Charles Austin at 11:42 PM | Comments (0)

Ask a Stupid Question...

Bad Day at Black Rock for Bush:

60% In CBS/NY Times Poll Say President Not Respected By Foreign Leaders

This doesn't trouble me. The rest of the world wouldn't much care what I think of them right now either.

Posted by Charles Austin at 11:20 PM | Comments (0)

June 28, 2006

Stop the Presses!

Another vice like grip on the short and curly hairs of the bleeding obvious:

Heart surgery, depression tied

Posted by Charles Austin at 10:10 PM | Comments (1)

Don't Mention the Anti-War

Bill Keller as Basil Fawlty:

In a letter to readers, Keller complained about the "angry words of conservative bloggers and TV or radio pundits who say that drawing attention to the government's anti-terror measures is unpatriotic and dangerous." He questioned "why they are drawing so much attention to the story themselves by yelling about it on the airwaves and the Internet."

So if someone does something I regard as egregiously wrong-headed or wicked, the proper response is for me to keep my blog shut about it?

Posted by Charles Austin at 06:18 PM | Comments (0)

May 22, 2006

Slow News Day


Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton has joined the iPod generation.

Motown tunes, classical music and the Rolling Stones are all on Clinton's iPod playlist, she told the New York Post for Monday editions.

But please, tell me she won't be dancing with her earbuds in while silhouetted against a colorful background.

Posted by Charles Austin at 11:32 AM | Comments (0)

Correlation = Causation, Big Media Incident #3, 200,341

When Black Monday comes, I'm going to sell everything I own:

CONDITIONS in the financial markets are eerily similar to those that precipitated the “Black Monday” stock market crash of October 1987, according to leading City analysts.

A report by Barclays Capital says the run-up to the 1987 crash was characterised by a widening US current-account deficit, weak dollar, fears of rising inflation, a fading boom in American house prices, and the appointment of a new chairman of the Federal Reserve Board.

Whoa, such stunning parallels amongst five indicators cherry picked from the thousands available. Dude, that's amazing.

Posted by Charles Austin at 11:30 AM | Comments (0)

May 19, 2006

For Fun and Profit!

Clinton Plans to Write Book About Activism and Service

Former President Bill Clinton is following up his best-selling 2004 memoir, "My Life," with a book on citizen activism and service, to be published by Alfred A. Knopf sometime late next year or early in 2008.

Mr. Clinton was paid more than $10 million for "My Life," an amount then believed to be the largest ever for a nonfiction book. That book has sold more than two million copies in the United States and has been published in more than 30 countries.

Neither Knopf executives nor Robert Barnett, the lawyer who negotiated both of Mr. Clinton's deals, would comment yesterday on the financial terms of the new book. But one industry veteran with knowledge of the deal estimated that Knopf is paying an advance of around $5 million.

Posted by Charles Austin at 05:38 PM | Comments (0)

Apparently, It Really Does Stink

First B.O. Reports on Da Vinci Code

Posted by Charles Austin at 05:35 PM | Comments (0)

May 14, 2006

Silly Question

As mentioned previously, CNN is hyping their poll asking folks to compare the performance of a down in the dumps President Bush with a romanticized version of the utopia that never was during the Clinton administration:

In a new poll comparing President Bush's job performance with that of his predecessor, a strong majority of respondents said President Clinton outperformed Bush on a host of issues.

I'm curious though, what where the results of the poll in 1998 that asked how Bill Clinton's performance rated against Former president Bush's? Oh, never mind.

Posted by Charles Austin at 01:55 PM | Comments (0)

May 09, 2006

Stupidity Is On the Rise

Everybody hates Bush and Big Media couldn't be happier. Disregarding the public's and Big Media's apparent total ignorance of the economy booming around them, pleae allow me to select merely one sentence from the poll that CBS is trumpeting:

There is also concern that Mr. Bush is spending too much time on foreign policy issues: 55% think so.

Uh..., could it be..., because..., um..., well..., because there's a freakin' war going on? What in the hell is wrong with people? Naturally, Repubicans will yield control of each branch of government at some point in the future, but good Lord, Hillary in the White House with Harry Reid in charge of the Senate and Nancy Pelosi two heartbeats from the Presidency?

DOWNDATE: Haven't these Democrats seen the poll numbers?

Tough-on-terrorism Democrats urged their party on Tuesday to put foreign policy ahead of political retribution in the fall elections, underscoring a divide between the party's hawks and doves that could frame the 2008 presidential campaign.

"Simply lashing out in anger at the current administration doesn't accomplish what we want," said Indiana Sen. Evan Bayh, a likely candidate for the Democratic presidential nomination.

Bayh and another potential White House hopeful, former Virginia Gov. Mark Warner, spoke at an event sponsored by the moderate Progressive Policy Institute to promote its book, "With All Our Might," a Democratic blueprint for fighting the war on terror.

Several party chiefs, including House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi of California, have all but promised investigations — and perhaps impeachment proceedings — against President Bush should Democrats gain control of Congress this fall.

Personally, I think the Democrats and their Big Media allies are making a tactical mistake by trumpeting these polls too loudly. All it is doing is putting the Republicans on notice while there is still time for them to work on making things better. It would have been better for the Democrats to keep this data under wraps until the day after election day. They can't even maintain enough discipline within their party to allow the Republicans to destroy themselves without interfering and gloating before the task is complete.

Gosh, I do so look forward to these dimwits running the world.

DOUBLE DOWNDATE: I actually heard the words "booming economy" this morning on NPR, but only as a lead in to to frighten people with incipient runaway inflation.

Posted by Charles Austin at 08:52 PM | Comments (1)

May 04, 2006

The World Turned Upside Down Under

It is passing strange that you have to go to Australian media to find out just how good the U.S. economy is doing, even if it is a Reuters feed:

Activity in both the vast US services sector and at factories accelerated more than expected, according to data that pointed to fresh economic vigour and the risk of more interest rate hikes.

Most economists are expecting economic growth to slow from a torrid first-quarter pace of 4.8 per cent, yet the latest figures showed no hints of slowing and appeared likely to keep the Federal Reserve leaning toward further rate rises. Fed Chairman Ben Bernanke said last week a pause in the rate-hike cycle was possible.

The Institute for Supply Management's services index rose to 63.0 in April from 60.5 in March, with new orders hitting a two-year high, confounding Wall Street estimates for a slowdown to 59.2.

In addition, the government reported new factory orders rose a stronger-than-expected 4.2 per cent in March, beating estimates for a 3.5 per cent gain, as demand for transportation equipment, computers and electronics proved robust.

Treasury debt prices fell and the dollar firmed against the euro after the data.

"It does suggest that the overall economy is improving and for the market it is part of the recent theme - all the numbers are coming in on the stronger side of expectations," said Scott Brown, chief economist at Raymond James & Associates in St Petersburg, Florida.

Financial markets have fully priced in another rate rise at the Fed's policy meeting next week, and on Wednesday raised the chances of a follow-up move in June.

"They want to keep their options open for late June but most likely they may end up leaning towards another rate hike as the data continues to come in strong," said Brown.

The services sector accounts for about 80 per cent of US economic activity, including businesses like restaurants, hotels, hair salons, banks and airlines.

"This suggests GDP growth momentum of 4.5 per cent to 5.0 per cent, rather than the slowdown to 3.25 per cent trend growth the Fed is banking on," said Ian Morris, chief US economist at HSBC.

"As a result we think this piece of news is significantly hawkish."

Businesses cited rising energy costs, with the prices-paid index hitting a six-month high, but overall activity was not dampened as new orders surged to 64.6 from 59.5.

"Most of the comments our members made this month were very positive, very bullish," said Ralph Kauffman, chair of the non-manufacturing ISM business survey committee.

"Retailers indicated that the prices they are paying are going up. I don't think that their sales are having a problem. Their profit margins are probably being squeezed somewhat."

Kaufmann also noted inventories rose in April and businesses were deliberating stockpiling goods in expectations of increased business ahead.

Separate government data showed March's gain in factory orders was caused in part to a 14.7 per cent jump in new orders for transportation equipment, while civilian aircraft and parts orders soared 71.3 per cent.

Orders for non defence capital goods climbed 12.9 per cent, the strongest increase since November. Stripped of aircraft, orders for non defence capital goods - a proxy for business spending - advanced a still-strong 3.9 per cent.

Orders for durable goods, expensive items meant to last three years or longer, advanced an even stronger 6.5 per cent in March, revised up from a 6.1 per cent gain reported last week.

The report also contained information on factory inventories that implied a small upward revision to first quarter GDP of around 0.2 percentage point, economists said, which combined with other revisions point to a pace above five per cent.

A new indicator released for the first time suggested a solid gain in April jobs, ahead of the official payrolls report due on Friday.

ADP Employer Services, a private firm, estimated the 178,000 private jobs were added in April, based on a survey sample of 14 million workers. It also estimated 22,000 government jobs were added, which would bring the month's total payrolls increase to 200,000, in line with current Wall Street consensus.

Financial markets are hoping the April jobs report will help clarify the outlook for official interest rates. Fed Chairman Bernanke last week said a pause in tightening was possible, but rates rises could resume even after a break in tightening.

Posted by Charles Austin at 03:19 PM | Comments (1)

May 01, 2006

Big Media, (Hog)Warts and All

An AP headline like this:

Administration Has No Magic Gas Price Fix

Tells you everything you need to know about the sorry state of journalism today.

Posted by Charles Austin at 09:19 AM | Comments (0)

April 07, 2006

More Adventures in Headline Writing

Here's the headline:

Girl, 5, dies after Israel fires on Palestinian militants

And here's the story:

A GIRL aged five and her bombmaker father were among six people killed last night when Israeli aircraft fired missiles into a car carrying Palestinian militants, in the deadliest Israeli attack since the Hamas-led Palestine government took office.

The Israeli strike targeted a training camp of the Popular Resistance Committees, an umbrella group for gunmen from various factions, including many with ties to the Islamic militant Hamas. The group has attacked Israeli targets, including planting bombs under tanks.

The Israeli military said the aircraft targeted the car, which was destroyed, as it was leaving the isolated training camp. Palestine police said four missiles were fired.

Iyad Abul Aynayn, 29, who had ties to Hamas and was a chief bombmaker for the group, and his daughter were among the dead. A further 14 people were also injured in the blasts.

I'm sorry for the little girl, but I don't think Israel can give a pass to terrorists just because they keep children close by, no matter how bloodthirsty it allows their enemies to paint them. For those that think the Israeli's are cruel, inhumane monsters, what exactly do you call the bombmaking daddy? And why should Israel wait for him to blow somebody else's children up?

Posted by Charles Austin at 09:50 PM | Comments (0)

Pretty Man, Pretty Woman

Stupid actors:

With warnings about global warming reaching a fever pitch in recent weeks--Vanity Fair is about to come out with a special section featuring George Clooney and Julia Roberts on its cover--most Americans are convinced that the Earth is being affected, but they have still not grown urgently concerned about it, according to a Gallup poll released today.

Maybe the public is smarter than they get credit for. I know that this may be difficult for the editors of Vanity Fair to understand, but when I am looking for serious advice or relevant information on politics, science, or (gasp!) global warming, my instincts aren't to pay attention to a magazine that has Kiera Knightly and Scarlet Johannson naked on their cover. When I look at magazines with naked women on the cover, politics and science aren't foremost in my consciousness, nor I'm guessing most anyone else's.

Posted by Charles Austin at 09:26 PM | Comments (0)

Adventures in Headline Writing

Courtey of Reuters:

W.House does not dispute Bush leak allegation

In other news, W. House refuses to say whether Bush has stopped beating his wife.

Posted by Charles Austin at 07:37 PM | Comments (1)

March 31, 2006

Balanced Views

Sometimes, I get the idea that most of the speed dial numbers on every AP reporter's phone are for "activists":

Plans for a Pentagon-led experiment that involves detonating 700 tons of explosives in the desert drew criticism from state leaders and a disarmament activist.

... [blah, blah blah] ...

Disarmament activist Pete Litster said tests at the site violate international law. Litster, executive director of the Shundahai Network, said the site belongs to the Western Shoshone Indian tribe.

Why is it so difficult to get folks to understand that this constitutes editorializing in what is ostensibly a news story? There is no news here, just a transcribed press release from someone with a constituency of, well, himself and, apparently, AP reporters.

Posted by Charles Austin at 05:48 PM | Comments (0)

March 23, 2006

Now That's Progress!

It only took 10 days to sink in:

Commentator Arianna Huffington apologized to readers for a blog posted on her Web site on March 13 that was attributed to actor George Clooney but was actually a compilation of his views.

Huffington acknowledged on her Web site Saturday that she was "blinded" to the issue of assembling a blog in which the source of the material wasn't clear, as was the case with Clooney.

"I now realize that I made a big mistake in posting a blog without clearly identifying that the material in it didn't originate as a blog post, but was pieced together from previous interviews," she wrote. "I'm sorry I didn't see this earlier."

But then again, like Oscar Wilde once said, "the only thing worse than being talked about is not being talked about." And the AP humbly complies.

Posted by Charles Austin at 05:55 PM | Comments (1)

With Apologies to Monty Python

Drudge: See! Big Media hates Bush! You automatically gainsay anything the President does.
ABC: No, we don't.
Drudge: Yes, you do!
ABC: No, we don't.
Drudge: Yes, you do!
ABC: No, we don't.
Drudge: Yes, you do! John Green slipped up and admitted it on your corporate e-mail system.
ABC: He could have been hating Bush on his own time.
ABC: And stop questioning our patriotism by stifling our dissent!

Posted by Charles Austin at 04:30 PM | Comments (1)

Adventures in Headline Writing

Aid workers freed in Iraq

I have a problem with that headline. It seems to me that the verb "freed" implies that their kidnappers let them go. I think the verb "rescued" is much more appropriate here. In fact, I think Reuters agrees with me since the first sentence of this story reads:

British-led forces rescued three Christian peace activists from captivity on Thursday after finding them tied up in a house in western Baghdad, two weeks after their American colleague was tortured and killed.

Too bad Tom Fox wasn't "freed" a few weeks ago.

Posted by Charles Austin at 04:20 PM | Comments (0)

March 21, 2006

I Have To Highlight This Poll

Because I think I was interviewed by a Zogby zombie about two months ago to help generate the results:

Mexicans see Americans as racist, dishonest and exploitative, while Americans see Mexicans as hardworking and think they are more tolerant than Americans.

A new survey of attitudes the two countries hold toward each other showed the border is more than a geographic divide, but also a fissure in public opinions of the two nations and what their citizens think of each other.

The poll, taken by New York-based Zogby International and the Centro de Investigacion para el Desarrollo AC in Mexico City, found that 62 percent of Mexicans surveyed said the United States is more wealthy than Mexico because "it exploits others' wealth." Only 22 percent said it was because the United States is "a free country where people have plenty of opportunity to work."

Among Americans, 78 percent saw Mexicans as hardworking, and 44 percent saw them as tolerant. Among Mexicans, just 26 percent saw Americans as hardworking, 16 percent saw them as honest and 73 percent said Americans are racist.

"Mexicans think Americans are neither hard workers nor honest," the report's authors wrote. "They see them as racist, intolerant and moderately law-abiding."

The challenge of being lazy, dishonest, racist and intolerant, though moderately law-abiding was not further discussed.

I think I must have been a real outlier as the questions came and I was offered only multiple choice answers that were neither mutually exclusive nor comprehensive of the set of answers I had in response. At one point I was asked how many Canadian provinces and Mexican states I could name. She cut me off at around 10 of the Canadian provinces and 8 of the Mexican states, stating that very few of the respondents could name three of either. The fact that I am generally well informed, though conservative, and very much in favor of increased legal immigration also seemed to make me something of an oddball, if I interpreted her comments correctly

But the real reason I am writing abou this now is that the Zogby zombie asked me if I would be willing to participate in more surveys, presumably because my answers were sufficiently idiosyncratic enough that they could be manipulated with the appropriate phrasing of questions in the future. Alas, despite assurances that I would be hearing from them very soon, no further communication has taken place. So my ability to provide a lonely data point of logical sanity in these seriously bogus polls appears to have been lost.

Posted by Charles Austin at 02:36 PM | Comments (2)

March 20, 2006

Adventures in Headline Writing

Scandal shakes public radio

Actually, that should be:

Scandal shakes public radio, again

Posted by Charles Austin at 05:17 PM | Comments (0)

Sell the Fizzle

Not the flakes:

Anti-war protesters in SLC, elsewhere lament apathy

Posted by Charles Austin at 04:56 PM | Comments (0)

February 20, 2006

I Hear You Knockin' on Al Roker's Door, I Love You Baby Can I Have Some More...

I'm surprised Marc hasn't posted this one yet:

Not one, but two WSLS (Channel 10) meteorologists -- Marc Lamarre and Jamey Singleton -- have struggled with a heroin addiction in recent months, according to an interview with Singleton that aired on WSLS's late-night newscast Friday.

Posted by Charles Austin at 11:12 PM | Comments (0)

February 19, 2006

Adventures In Headline Writing

West may have to live with low-level Iranian atom work

You know, it isn't living with it that has us troubled.

Posted by Charles Austin at 02:05 PM | Comments (0)

The Sky is Falling, Rising, Cooling, Heating -- Whatever

Bush's Chat With Novelist Alarms Environmentalists

Well, sure, but let's be honest, the sun's rising alarms environmentalists. But who is it that has the permanently frightened's panites all in a bunch?

In his new book about Mr. Bush, "Rebel in Chief: Inside the Bold and Controversial Presidency of George W. Bush," Fred Barnes recalls a visit to the White House last year by Michael Crichton, whose 2004 best-selling novel, "State of Fear," suggests that global warming is an unproven theory and an overstated threat.

Ah, Michael Crichton. I suppose it's a character fault, but I do find it amusing to taunt those who's barely adequate psychic defenses cannot withstand the expression of any contradictory opinions. It does show you just how much faith they have in their ability to convince you of the correctness of their opinion, doesn't it?

Posted by Charles Austin at 01:44 PM | Comments (0)

February 08, 2006

NPR Lies With Statistics

I just wanted to document this further for posterity:

President Bush defended his federal budget blueprint Wednesday, countering critics from both sides of the aisle who have greeted with skepticism — and even outright hostility — his proposals to trim spending on Medicare and other programs.

Bush's $2.77 trillion budget plan for fiscal 2007, the most austere since the Reagan era, asks Congress to trim Medicare spending by $35.9 billion over five years. Under that scenario, spending on the government health program for the elderly and disabled would grow at a rate of 7.7 percent — instead of 8.1 percent, as currently projected.

All that was said about this on NPR's Morning Edition this morning was that Bush is cutting Medicare and they interviewed an advocate who lamented that this attempt to destroy Medicare will hurt the poor. Don't advocates for the poor realize how much credibility they lose when they say stupid things like this? Of course, anyone who thinks a growth rate of even 7.7 percent can be sustained indefinitely on a program this massive is a freaking dolt. It's not just a matter of all of us having to work for the government, it's that we will all soon enough be working for the governemnt just to provide Medicare. Jumping bejesus, where in Hell are the adults in Congress and in the media who will act like adults on this instead of conspiring to further a meme that, in Donald Luskin's words, keeps you poor and stupid.

But I'm curious about one thing for those who choose to call this a cut -- if you received a raise of 8.1 percent for each of the last four years but this year only got a raise of 7.7 percent, would you be standing at the water cooler complaining about how your boss just cut your salary this year?

Posted by Charles Austin at 02:17 PM | Comments (0)

January 30, 2006

Just the Facts, M'am

Things were so much better when Saddam was in charge:

CNN's top war correspondent Christiane Amanpour now says the Iraq war has been a disaster and has created a "black hole." Amanpour made the comments Monday evening on the all-news network. "The Iraq war has been a disaster. It's a spiraling security disaster," Amanpour explains to Larry King. "It just gets worse and worse."

Or is this just an overreaction to Bob Woodruff's injuries?

I think I'm going to start holding utopians to utopian standards.

Posted by Charles Austin at 10:23 PM | Comments (0)

Adventures in Headline Writing

Via Reuters:

NATO treads cautiously into Afghan quagmire

Jeez, even the successes are Vietnam all over again.

Posted by Charles Austin at 04:16 PM | Comments (0)

January 29, 2006

The Empire Strikes Back

And I thought they were merely being reactionary:

Steven Spielberg: "I just feel that filmmakers are much more proactive since the second Bush administration. I think that everybody is trying to declare their independence and state their case for the things that we believe in. No one is really representing us, so we're now representing our own feelings, and we're trying to strike back."

Sad, isn't it.

Posted by Charles Austin at 08:32 PM | Comments (0)

January 27, 2006

Adventures in Headline Writing

When I read this:

Iran atomic program called major U.N. test

I wasn't sure it conveyed quite the message they intended. Hmm..., are they grading on a curve or is it pass/fail? And the consequences of failing are what exactly?

Posted by Charles Austin at 09:31 PM | Comments (0)

I'd Like to Think It is Because Facts Matter More Than Truth in Reporting

But I know better:

"Truth no longer matters in the context of politics and, sadly, in the context of cable news," said Aaron Brown, whose four-year period as anchor of CNN's NewsNight ended in November, when network executives gave his job to Anderson Cooper in a bid to push the show's ratings closer to front-runner Fox News.

And no doubt the man who once said, "I am CNN," considers himself in no way responsible for this.

Posted by Charles Austin at 09:18 PM | Comments (0)

January 16, 2006


Hmmm..., I wonder if the NY Times or the Washington Post would publish the Barrett Report if it was leaked in full, and if they would fete the leaker. Or would that be regarded as helping the nation's enemies, i.e., Republicans?

Posted by Charles Austin at 01:03 PM | Comments (0)

January 14, 2006

Reuters' Grasp on the Short and Curlies of the Bleeding Obvious Remains Vise-Like

Sudan says U.S. force in Darfur unwelcome

Posted by Charles Austin at 10:26 PM | Comments (0)

A Santayana Aphorism Comes to Mind

What troubles me most about this is that, once again, the Grand Poohbahs of our society are promoting the idea that who says something is more important than what is said:

Having ascended to the national stage as one of the most vocal critics of President Bush's handling of the war in Iraq, Pennsylvania Democratic Congressman John Murtha has long downplayed the controversy and the bitterness surrounding the two Purple Hearts he was awarded for military service in Vietnam.

Being a hero in the past and now saying stupid things are not mutually exclusive. Cripes, doesn't anybody remember Charles Lindbergh anymore?

Posted by Charles Austin at 10:23 PM | Comments (0)

January 07, 2006

Meanwhile in the, Ahem, Reality-Based Community...

Today's Madison, WI, Capital Times editorial:

Today marks a critical turning point in the debate about holding President Bush and Vice President Dick Cheney accountable for the deliberate deceptions, failed strategies and assaults on the Constitution that have been associated with their ill-fated invasion and occupation of Iraq.

Across the United States, in more than 135 communities, town hall meetings are being held to call for extracting U.S. troops from the quagmire and to explore how best to censure Bush, Cheney and their aides for the wrongdoing in which they have engaged.

Many of the events will discuss the rationale for impeaching the president and vice president, and the Madison town hall meeting, which runs from 1 to 3 p.m. at the Madison Labor Temple, 1602 South Park St., is one of them.

Organized by local veterans and co-sponsored by a broad cross-section of local political, labor and community groups, the meeting offers an opportunity to start 2006 right: by recognizing that the best way to end the war is by calling to account the dark players who launched it in our name but without our informed consent.

It takes years of therapy and/or the prolonged application of some strong pharmaceuticals to be this delusional. I'm impressed.

Posted by Charles Austin at 09:24 PM | Comments (0)

Bow Down Before "The Report"

Report Questions Legal Basis for Bush's Spying Program

Shouldn't that be "Reporter Questions Legal Basis for Bush's Spying Program"?

President Bush's rationale for authorizing eavesdropping on American citizens without warrants rests on questionable legal ground and "may represent an exercise of presidential power at its lowest ebb," according to a formal Congressional analysis released today.

And that would be illegal because..., because..., Bueller? Bueller? Bueller? Anyone? I don't know, maybe there is some mention of illegality in "The Report" but since there are no other excerpts from "The Report" in the story, I guess I just have to take the reporter's word for it. Or I can put my faith in someone who did read the report and isn't a reporter, though to be fair, John Hinderaker is calling the Washington Post out rather than the NY Times.

Posted by Charles Austin at 09:09 PM | Comments (0)

December 20, 2005

Enquiring Minds and All That

Just in case you thought Big Media had any second thoughts or shame concerning their reporting on Hurrican Katrina and it's aftermath... Shepard Smith is reporting live from New Orlean's 9th Ward this evening.

Posted by Charles Austin at 07:17 PM | Comments (1)

August 23, 2005

Cherry Picking In the Antarctic

Headline: Antarctic ozone hole 'larger'

Lede: THE winter hole in the ozone layer above Antarctica appears to have grown from last year but is still smaller than in 2003, when it was at its largest, the World Meteorological Organisation (WMO) said today.

See! It's larger, except when it was smaller.

Posted by Charles Austin at 11:32 PM | Comments (0)

"I'm Going To Focus On This Problem Like a Laser Beam"

Fed's vow to get tough on illegal immigrants:

Homeland Security Secretary Michael Chertoff, acknowledging public frustration over illegal immigration, said Tuesday that the federal government's detention and deportation system must be fundamentally restructured.

"We have decided to stand back and take a look at how we address the problem and solve it once and for all," Chertoff said during a breakfast meeting with reporters.


They were a bit fuzzy on the details though.

Posted by Charles Austin at 11:08 PM | Comments (0)

August 21, 2005

Smells Like Katrina's Spirit

So, apparently Alessandra Stanley and the NY Times are under the illusion that MTV still plays music:

It was impossible not to snicker a little at the notion of Al Gore creating a hip, youth-oriented cable network, and sure enough, Current TV is at first glance a punch line: MTV without the music.

Jeez, if you want to suck up to Al Gore, be my guest. After all, look what you've done for Air America. But before you embarrass yourself any further you might want to listen to this. Just click on 1985. (Special bonus if you notice the link is actually from MTV!)

DOWNDATE: Oh, this stuff is like, great. Their journalism professors must so proud -- 8 minutes!

Posted by Charles Austin at 10:20 PM | Comments (0)

August 18, 2005

Even Reuters Is Right Twice a Day

Not the lead story on tonight's news:

A key measure of future U.S. economic performance edged up 0.1 percent in July, a private research group said Thursday. The New York-based Conference Board said its index of leading indicators climbed to 138.3 last month after an upwardly revised rise of 1.2 percent in June.

Posted by Charles Austin at 01:07 PM | Comments (0)

Hope Springs Eternal

Deep Throat envy is rampant:

Somebody is lying. So wrote Terry Neal, a Washington Post reporter, on July 25 2005. He was writing about one of the strangest stories to engulf the White House since the terrorist attacks of September 11 2001. It is the story of an official investigation into who leaked the name of a CIA operative to the media. According to a 1982 law, that kind of leak would be illegal. Two prominent names have emerged in the investigation of the leak – Karl Rove, President George W. Bush’s deputy chief of staff, and Lewis Libby, vice-president Dick Cheney’s chief of staff.

The investigation appears now to be heading towards rapid conclusion. If the prosecutor, Patrick Fitzgerald, finds that either Mr Rove or Mr Libby or both violated the law, they would face criminal charges, and the Bush administration would find itself enmeshed in a scandal of dimensions that are already being compared to the Nixon-era Watergate scandal.

Poor Marvin, stuck in the echo chamber so long he's beginning to lose it.

Posted by Charles Austin at 12:59 PM | Comments (0)

August 12, 2005

How Can You People Sleep At Night?

Judith Miller is still in jail! I keep waiting for that Spartacus moment when everyone else in Big Media stands up and says, "I'm Judith Miller," and voluntarily share her fate.

Posted by Charles Austin at 11:43 AM | Comments (0)

Cindy Sheehan's Fair Wail Tour

Morning Edition found time morning to report on the growing Big Media Productions, Inc. Circus that is engulfing Cindy Sheehan, with a gratuitous tip of the hat to the locals who toot their horns while driving --see, not everyone in Texas is stupid. Yet l didn't hear anything about the letter the rest of the Sheehan family sent calling this whole thing something of an abomination. But don't you dare claim there is media bias!

Posted by Charles Austin at 09:13 AM | Comments (0)

August 11, 2005

I Guess Oil Would Be $150 a Barrel If We Hadn't Invaded Iraq And Stole All Their Oil

Anybody want to guess how soon we see Paul Krugman write a column on the oil bubble?

Oil surges to $66 a barrel

Snicker..., and how Bush failed to protect those whose life savings were tied up in oil futures? Of course, like all economic data points, this is good news for some and bad news for others. The people of liberated Iraq will mostly benefit from these high prices, but what are the chances you will ever here this story reported from that perspective?

Posted by Charles Austin at 04:57 PM | Comments (0)

Totally Unwarranted Projection of Bias

Listening to Linda Wertheimer on Morning Edition at the top of the hour while driving into work this morning, I heard her say something along the lines of, (paraphrasing) "What can we do when the President of Niger will not admit that his people are starving?", as the teaser to this story.

And all I could think of was, "Blame Bush?"

DOWNDATE: Gee, think this will get any time on NPR?

Posted by Charles Austin at 01:53 PM | Comments (1)

August 08, 2005

Originality Is Overrated

Beth Quinn writes that Bush is, ...wait for it ..., stupid.

Somebody tell me again why I shouldn't be paid to be a columnist.

Posted by Charles Austin at 01:59 PM | Comments (2)

August 07, 2005

Uh, No Actually

Editor And Publisher thinks they have a scoop:

It was bound to happen sooner or later, and in what newspapers in Kentucky are calling a first, one American has killed another in a dispute over the Iraq war.

As it happens, the first incident I remember where one American killed another in a dispute over the liberation of Iraq was when Sgt. Asan Akbar threw grenades into the tents of his fellow soldiers back in March 2003.

DOWNDATE: And, of course, there's also the tragic case of Pat Tillman and doubtless other friendly fire casualties, though admittedly, that's not quite the same thing.

Posted by Charles Austin at 07:55 PM | Comments (1)

Ticking Away the Moments That Make Up a Dull Day

Dear Time, check your assumptions:

After six months as Secretary of State, she has seized control over U.S. foreign policy. Now comes her toughest test--finding a way out of Iraq.

It's not about how to get out, it's about winning. Until you grasp that, the actions of the administration are never going to make sense to you.

Posted by Charles Austin at 07:44 PM | Comments (1)

August 05, 2005

Spot the Oxymoron

Can you find it?

A man filmed himself jumping to his death on his mobile video phone and beamed the live images to his horrified girlfriend, an inquest heard.

Posted by Charles Austin at 01:51 PM | Comments (1)

August 04, 2005

Hmm..., Maybe I'd Better Resurrect Phaedrus

D.C. Airspace May Be Restricted for Good

Posted by Charles Austin at 10:16 AM | Comments (1)

July 28, 2005

Now We Can Find Out Definitively Whether Republicans Really Do Want to Kill Old People

Now, I really don't wish Helen Thomas ill, but this comment seems to me to be remarkably illustrative of the current Leftist mindset. Either that or Helen has been stricken with a case of terminal Bush Derangement Syndrome -- self-inflicted, of course:

"The day Dick Cheney is going to run for president, I'll kill myself," she told the HILL. "All we need is one more liar."

Please note that Mr. Cheney doesn't have to win, all he has to do is run for Helen to deprive us forever more of her tendentious and utterly predictable wit and wisdom. Poor Helen of UPI, the face that launched a thousand quips.

Posted by Charles Austin at 04:50 PM | Comments (1)

July 22, 2005

Stone Casting

Drudge says:

Mel Gibson's next film will feature abundant violence...

What has stirred the passions of so many about Mel's movie-making now that were not stirred previously with the release of Mad Max 2, Mad Max Beyond Thunderdome, Lethal Weapon 2 Lethal Weapon 3 and Lethal Weapon 4? And those are just the sequels! Do Raimi or Bay watch themselves slandered in this manner?

Posted by Charles Austin at 04:32 PM | Comments (0)

July 18, 2005

"I'm From Hollywood"

Recently, some have been suggesting that Hollywood’s disconnect with Middle America is one of the primary rationales behind the steep decline in box office revenues this year. Considering the selection of well-known conspiracy nut Oliver Stone to direct the first studio movie about 9/11, George Lucas’ puerile incorporation of Move On talking points into the Star Wars prequels, and David Koepp, the War of the Worlds screenwriter, statement that the US military are the Martians in that flick, well, maybe they have a point.

To test this thesis further, I thought perhaps a comparison of Hollywood’s output during WW II could be compared to Hollywood’s output during WW IV, or as is more commonly known, the GWOT – Global War on Terrorism. But to be fair to the current incarnation of Hollywood, I’ll limit the movies, documentaries, and shorts from WW II to those that were under consideration to be nominated for Academy Awards. After all, back in those days, Hollywood lacked the twenty and thirty year-old television sitcoms to remake tired nostalgic covers out of, so they had to focus more closely on the human condition and how it was playing out in real life.

The first thing we have to decide is what time period we should compare for WW II and WW IV. In my humble opinion, the GWOT effectively began on September 11, 2001. The free world was attacked many times previously, but we weren’t fighting back as though we could lose. Still, Bill Clinton did launch cruise missiles into Afghanistan and Sudan on August 20, 1998, so I’ll take that as the starting date for the GWOT. That means that we have been fighting the GWOT, albeit for a while before it was recognized as such, for six years, ten months and twenty-nine days.

Interestingly, determining the date of the start of WW II is just as subjective. Did it begin with the Anschluss on March 13, 1938, which violated the Treaty of Versailles, or did it begin on September 1, 1939 when German troops invaded Poland, or two days later when Great Britain and France declared war on Germany? I will select September 1, 1939 as the start of WW II, since that is when the live firing and massive casualties first occurred. Of course, one could select dates much earlier for the “root causes” of WW II, but the same can be said for the GWOT, so the diminishing returns of trying to put too fine a point on it should permit me to take my assumptions and proceed without further concern or deliberation. For the sake of comparison, adding six years, ten months and twenty-nine days to the chosen start of WW II gives us July 30, 1946 as the end of the WW II period under examination. Since this is after the formal surrender of Japan on September 2, 1945, that effectively ended WW II, I'll take the earlier date as the end of the period under review.

To make this task easier from a research perspective, I’ll round the dates down to shorten the period for WW II and lengthen it for the GWOT giving us:

WW II: January 1, 1940 – December 31, 1944
GWOT: January 1, 1998 – December 31, 2005

So what movies, documentaries and shorts did Hollywood produce during this period after the start of WW II that promoted or spoke highly of patriotism, encouraged self-defense, supported the war effort, and ridiculed our enemies; or if you are so predisposed, movies that proudly say, “Us Good, Them Bad.” And remember, we are only interested in movies, shorts and documentaries that were under consideration for Academy Award nominations, so we’ll gloss over the dross that was inevitably put out even then.

1940 (Whose got the courage today to ridicule our enemies, and can you imagine the second film remade today?)
The Great Dictator
Foreign Correspondent

1941 (Keep in mind, no one had attacked the US prior to December 7, 1941, so it is unlikely any of these went into production on December 8, 1941 and were finished before the end of the year.)
Sergeant York
Dive Bomber
Christmas Under Fire
Churchill's Island
A Letter From Home
Norway in Revolt
Soldiers of the Sky
War Clouds in the Pacific
Buck Privates
Army Champions
The Tanks Are Coming
Flight Command
I Wanted Wings

1942 (Oh my, Mr. Cohan! That'll never do today, just ask Dennis Miller.)
Yankee Doodle Dandy
To the Shores of Tripoli
Wake Island
Africa, Prelude to Victory
The Battle of Midway
Combat Report
Conquer by the Clock
High Stakes in the East
Inside Fighting China
It's Everybody's War
Kokoda Front Line!
Listen to Britain
Little Belgium
Little Isles of Freedom
Mr. Blabbermouth!
Mr. Gardenia Jones
Moscow Strikes Back
The New Spirit
Prelude to War
A Ship Is Born
Twenty-One Miles
We Refuse to Die
White Eagle
Winning Your Wings
This Above All
Der Fuerher's Face
United States Marine Band
Beyond the Line of Duty
Don't Talk
Private Smith of the U.S.A.
Flying Tigers
Friendly Enemies
The Navy Comes Through
One of Our Aircraft Is Missing
The Invaders (aka 49th Parallel)

1943 (You must remember this...)
Watch on the Rhine
Five Graves to Cairo
Flight for Freedom
Mission to Moscow
This is the Army
Thousands Cheer
Air Force
Corvette K-225
So Proudly We Hail!
Baptism of Fire
The Battle of Russia
Desert Victory
For God and Country
Report from the Aleutians
Silent Village
War Department Report
Bismarck Convoy Smashed
Day of Battle
December 7th
The Dutch Tradition
The Labor Front
Land of My Mother
Letter from Livingston
Life Line
Plan for Destruction
The Rear Gunner
Servant of a Nation
Swedes in America
Task Force
To the People of the United States
Tomorrow We Fly
Wings Up
Commandos Strike At Dawn
In Which We Serve
Amphibious Fighters
Cavalcade of Dance with Veloz and Yolanda
Champions Carry On
Women At War
This Is the Army
This Land Is Mine
Crash Dive
The North Star

1944 (Battle fatigue is beginning to set in.)
Address Unknown
Since You Went Away
Thirty Seconds Over Tokyo
The White Cliffs of Dover
The Fighting Lady
Resisting Enemy Interrogation
Arturo Toscanini
New Americans
With the Marines at Tarawa
Since You Went Away
The Fighting Seabees
Days of Glory
Secret Command
None Shall Escape
The Sullivans

Well now, that's quite a list, don't you think? I'm not sure whether I'm surprised so many of these films, documentaries and shorts were produced or that so many were considered worthy by the Academy. My how things have changed. Can you imagine many of the stars of Hollywood wearing a uniform today, even if it was only for Army's Motion Picture unit narrating training films?

But what has Hollywood produced, whether worthy of the Academy's notice or not, since the beginning of the GWOT that might generously be said to be patriotic, reflecting a right to self-defense, showing our troops in a positive light, advocating the virtues of Western Civilization, and satirizing terrorists; or, again, if you are so predisposed, further perpetuating jingoistic fascism?

Saving Private Ryan

Three Kings


Black Hawk Down

We Were Soldiers

Tears of the Sun

Team America: World Police


My, oh my, the cupboards pretty bare, isn’t it? I mean, it's not as if these any of these are gung ho morale raisers. It is always possible that a slew of films and documentaries will come out between now and the end of the year that would merit inclusion on this list, but I'm not going to hold my breath, and I don't expect to see Oliver Stone's movie until at least next year -- if at all. Oh, I suppose some credit could be given for Fox Television’s 24, or the BBC’s Dirty War, but that would seem to be offset by Hollywood changing the bad guys in Tom Clancy’s The Sum of All Fears from Islamofascists to American white supremacists so as not to offend. And let's not mention the popular documentaries of the last few year or the ritualized abuse of history as represented by Oliver Stone's Alexander and Wolfgang Peterson's Troy.

The paucity of films, documentaries and shorts during the last seven and a half years that put forward a pre-postmodern, non-ironic, dare I say positive spin on patriotism – much less, patronizing or ignoring what at least half the country believes – would seem to be virtually a definition of sins of omission. I’ve heard that talk is cheap, but when it comes to speaking up for America and Western Civilization, Hollywood doesn’t even seem to have two cents to offer. And strangely, given Hollywood’s apparent willingness to ignore, if not insult, half its audience, I guess we can retire that other old aphorism – money talks, bullshit walks – since Hollywood is leaving a lot of money on the table to spout bullshit and maintain ideological purity.

There’s a documentary of sorts about Andy Kaufman’s wrestling career called "I’m From Hollywood" that used to play every twenty-eight days on the Comedy Channel. Whatever else one might think of Andy Kaufman – I think he’s hilarious, though I’ll admit to not understanding or appreciating some of his antics – the condescending attitude that Andy Kaufman displays to the locals while strutting around the old Mid-South Coliseum in Memphis, Tennessee, seems somber and majestic in comparison to what we get from the denizens of Hollywood today. Nowadays, whenever I see Alec Baldwin, Oliver Stone, Tim Robbins, George Lucas, Susan Sarandon, or any of the other representatives of Hollywood take a break from their packing – after all, they are leaving the country, don’t you know – to tell us once again how stupid President George W. Bush is, or to remind us that the war in Iraq is being fought for Halliburton and Texas oil interests, or that there are in fact no terrorists at all, just freedom fighters; well, just before they speak I hear Andy Kaufman insanely saying, “I’m from Hollywood.”

(If I've missed any movies, documentaries or shorts, say so in the comments and I'll update the list accordingly. Also, I started to include all the hyper-links, but I lack the addiotional hours necessary to do that at this time. My apologies.)

Posted by Charles Austin at 11:27 PM | Comments (7)

June 24, 2005

Hyperbolic Reflections

Greg Mitchell of Editor and Punlisher asks:

Is Dick Cheney the New 'Baghdad Bob'?

I don't know. Is Greg Mitchell the new Walter Duranty?

Posted by Charles Austin at 02:58 PM | Comments (0)

You Say Potato

Even if we are no longer secure in our property rights, at least our diction is improving:

George Bush has made the first visit to a nuclear plant by a US president in 26 years and declared: "It is time for this country to start building nuclear power plants again."

President George Bush pronounced "nuclear" correctly!

Posted by Charles Austin at 01:48 PM | Comments (0)

June 16, 2005

Nicolo Would Be Proud

When I read this:

Deep Throat has a book deal and a movie deal, and he could end up being played by Tom Hanks.

Or this:

... Felt's role as the most famous anonymous source in US history was even more complex and intrigue-loaded than the newly revised public account suggests. According to originally confidential FBI documents--some written by Felt--that were obtained by The Nation from the FBI's archives, Felt played another heretofore unknown part in the Watergate tale: He was, at heated moments during the scandal, in charge of finding the source of Woodward and Bernstein's Watergate scoops. In a twist worthy of le Carré, Deep Throat was assigned the mission of unearthing--and stopping--Deep Throat. This placed Felt, who as the FBI's associate director oversaw the bureau's Watergate probe, in an unusual position. He was essentially in charge of investigating himself.

When you realize that Mark Felt, the No. 2 man in the FBI, threatened the good name and liberty of others to throw the scent off of himself, well, is saying that it was all ok because he was "on the right side of history" anything more than a real life instance of claiming the ends justify the means?

Posted by Charles Austin at 11:27 AM | Comments (0)

June 15, 2005

Adventures In Headline Writing

Believe it or not, this headline is not an intentional joke:

Work now to protect jobless pay for Michigan's workers

Let me make sure I understand this, you want me to work to make sure that "Michigan's workers" that don't have paying jobs can get paid for not working. Uh huh. And here I thought this rotten kind of thinking only festered in our agricultural price support policies. Instead, how about I take a vacation in Michigan on the government dole to provide "Michigan's workers" with a paying job? Hey, every dollar I spend on vacation will multiply five times as it recirculates in the local economy, or so my Keynesian macroeconomics professors tried to tell me. Any politician or editorial writer who refuses to endorse me being paid to take a vacation in Michigan must be doing so solely because he wants to deprive these people of the diginity of earning a living wage. The heartless bastards.

Posted by Charles Austin at 02:58 PM | Comments (0)

June 05, 2005

Genuflecting at the Lourdes of Journalism

Jay Rosen notes that:

In his excellent book, Watergate and American Memory (1992, Basic) Michael Schudson distinguishes between the scandal, which didn't change the world very much, and the myth of Watergate in journalism. It did change journalism by giving the warrant of history (and the mandate of heaven) to the adversarial press and the Fourth Estate model, where the press is an essential check on government, a modern addition to the balance of powers.

The problem I have with this is that journalists have usurped great authority without assuming any corresponding responsibility for exercising this power. One point I hit upon periodically is that when there is a significant disconnect between responsibility and authority, bad things tend to happen. Clearly, our universe has moved more than a little out of balance when it comes to the power that journalists now wield in our society and in our government. As noted above, this is an largely an artifact of the myths of Watergate. The modus operandi of the press today seems predicated upon Shiva-like power to destroy anyone or anything -- whether for good or ill is not as important as the act of destruction.

Of course, teenage boys, with their proverbial one-track minds, have the power to destroy. The important question is what do journalists have the power to create or sustain that is greater than themselves? Or are their perspectives and timeframes as limited as those of teenage boys?

Posted by Charles Austin at 10:21 PM | Comments (1)

June 03, 2005

Mission Impeachable

Good morning, Mr. Felt. Your mission, Mark, should you choose to accept it is to bring down a president and elevate the Fourth Estate, permanently substituting self promotion and cynicism for integrity and idealism. As always, should you be exposed or subpoenaed, the editors will disavow all knowledge of your actions. This tape will self-destruct in five seconds. Good luck Mark.

And all this time I was betting on a dark horse -- G. Gordon Liddy. Not.

Actually, what amazes me is that there hasn't quite been the nostalgic love fest for all the editor's men that so many were no doubt expecting when Deep Throat's identity was finally, ahem, coughed up. Is this because of a new introspection on the part of Biig Media that questions the pedastal these men have been put upon? Or have the alternate voices now heard in the blogosphere made it impossible to achieve a harmonious single party, uh, I mean, story line? Or does it merely constitute "proof" in the eyes of those who, like Eric Alterman, believe that conservatives really have taken over Big Media? Nah. It now appears that, In the immortal words of, well, Deep Throat, that all we should do is, "follow the money."

There is no way to definitively ascertain this now, but I would like to know if Mr. Felt every actually told Mr. Woodward or Mr. Bernstein that their lives were in danger, or if this was, shall we say, a little journalistic license taken by an overactive imagination to make our intrepid self-professed protectors of freedom look a little more noble, if not more manly. At the very least, perhaps all mentions of Deep Throat, dark secrets, trenchcoats, and anonymous meetings in dimly lit parking garages at 2 AM can be dispensed with in polite company for a while.

Posted by Charles Austin at 03:11 PM | Comments (0)

May 26, 2005

Pro Bono


Thank you for sharing Matt.

DOWNDATE: Oh crap, now the google-eyed will end up here looking for them.

Posted by Charles Austin at 04:57 PM | Comments (0)

May 17, 2005

Unshirted Hell

Is what Jim Lehrer has threatened to bring if anybody tampers with his precious PBS NewsHour.

Do not look below the fold unless you are prepared for unshirted hell!

Just be glad I didn't autoplay any of his music...


Posted by Charles Austin at 10:46 PM | Comments (2)

May 16, 2005

Master Sergeant of the Universe

Michele Malkin suggests that former Army Sgt. Erik Saar may be the possible senior government official Newsweek had as its source for the Koran desecration story. But are the journalists at Newsweek so ignorant of military affairs that a former sergeant can be considered a senior administration official? Or is it possible they inflated the source to make him more important and that's why he cannot now be burned?

If Mr. Saar is the source, he deserves all the opprobrium that can be heaped upon him. I have no idea if Mr. Saar was Mr. Isikoff's source, but if Ms. Malkin and others don't have evidence of this they ought to back off now or they will be just as guilty of spreading hurtful rumors and innuendo as Newsweek has been, albeit with only one person's reputation having been destroyed instead of fifteen having been killed. But please tell me this isn't just a matter of degree.

DOWNDATE: I think it's Alzheimers. Either that or I had John Singer on my mind.

Posted by Charles Austin at 09:28 PM | Comments (2)

Epistemology 101

What did they know, and when did they know it?

"Based on what we know now, we are retracting our original story that an internal military investigation had uncovered Koran abuse at Guantanamo Bay," Newsweek Editor Mark Whitaker said in a statement, a day after apologizing for the report.

What exactly does "know" mean in this context? Or "now"? But, hey, maybe Newsweek is a CIA operation and it's all been a false flag to flush out our true enemies:

Muslims in Afghanistan were skeptical about the turnaround on Monday. "We will not be deceived by this," Islamic cleric Mullah Sadullah Abu Aman told Reuters. "It comes because of American pressure." Aman was the leader of a group of clerics who vowed to call for a holy war against the United States.


In other news, apparently, having editors is somewhat overrated.

Posted by Charles Austin at 09:02 PM | Comments (0)

May 14, 2005

Extra! Extra! Read All About It!

The St. Louis Post-Dispatch has been sold! Is there hope that its new owners might be a little more balanced and fair-minded in their approach to the news and advocacy? Uh, not yet:

When Lee Enterprises Inc. agreed to purchase Pulitzer Inc. for $1.46 billion, it also agreed that the flagship St. Louis Post-Dispatch will keep its longstanding liberal editorial slant for at least the next five years, according to the purchase agreement mailed to Pulitzer shareholders Friday.

Now, that's Editor and Publisher calling the St. Louis Post-Dispatch a liberal paper, for all you "What Liberal Media?" folks. The St. Louis Post-Dispatch has earned it's moniker, "the most reliably liberal paper in the United States."

"For a period of at least five years following the Effective Time, Parent (Lee Enterprises) will cause the St. Louis Post-Dispatch to maintain its current name and editorial page platform statement and to maintain its news and editorial headquarters in the City of St. Louis, Missouri," the agreement states.

This is more than a little strange. I wonder if someone is actually worried that a St. Louis paper is going to be produced in Iowa? Or are they afraid that the paper might actually leave the city proper and move to the suburbs with the rest of its readers, especially since the city's police no longer have to live within the city. But what about that platform statement?

The Post-Dispatch platform statement, adopted in 1911, includes the pledge that the newspaper "will always fight for progress and reform, never tolerate injustice or corruption, always fight demagogues of all parties, never belong to any party, always oppose privileged classes and public plunderers, never lack sympathy with the poor, always remain devoted to the public welfare, never be satisfied with merely printing news, always be drastically independent, never be afraid to attack wrong, whether by predatory plutocracy or predatory poverty."

But how is Ellen Soeteber and her reactionary gang supposed to abjure the toleration of injustice, fight demagogues of all parties, and never belong to any party for another five years when the St. Louis Post-Dispatch gave up all pretense of objectivity years ago? And lest you think I am exaggerating:

Over the years, the paper's editorials have taken a reliably Democratic or liberal view of issues, positions some worried would change under Lee's ownership.

Journalists writing about journalists and they still resort to the weaselly "some" instead of naming names. And of course, we all know that change is bad, especially when change means something other than toeing the ever progressing progressive line. But, for now, Ellen can keep writing interminably about the WAR ON THE WORKING POOR -- MISSOURI'S SHAME, always finding another pitiful anecdote every time Missouri's state government doesn't agree to raise taxes to support an insatiable progressive appetite. Why the state of Missouri found itself with a huge deficit, which had to be addessed under state law, inherited from the last two Democratic governors is never touched upon. No doubt, because their hearts were pure, because the editors won't speak ill of the dead, or negatively about anyone named Carnahan -- or all three.

Last week, an installment of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch editorial page's WAR ON THE WORKING POOR -- MISSOURI'S SHAME series published pictures of the homes of Republican leaders in the state, noting, amongst others, that the Governor's home was worth $250,000 -- a veritable mansion I tells ya! Ellen's minions claimed that these morally bankrupt politicians should not get health insurance from the state while depriving some by reducing the state Medicare rolls since, I kid you not, these politicians already had plenty of money. Gosh, doesn't publishing addesses and pictures of people's homes read like incitement to violence when someone does something similar with, say, abortion providers?

But speaking of the immmorally wealthy, gosh, I wonder how Ellen feels about her soon to be ex-boss:

Pulitzer President and CEO Robert C. Woodworth will be "terminated," the proxy materials say, though he may also be retained as a consultant. Pulitzer said Woodworth will be paid $8,804,132 in severance payment.

Say, I wonder how big Ellen's home is. Would it be wrong for me to post a picture of it here? Maybe I'll move into it in, um, five years, unless she can read the writing on the wall:

The agreement, included in proxy materials mailed to shareholders for a special June 3 meeting to approve the purchase by Lee, also provides that Pulitzer will have a say in the appointment of an new editor if Post-Dispatch Editor Ellen Soeteber "is replaced within five years following the Effective Time, whether by reason of her resignation or removal or for any other reason."

In which case, my moving plans may have to be accelerated. Oh well, there's always Err America for Ellen to MoveOn to.

For what its worth, four years ago, Missouri had a Democratic governor, a Democratic majority in the state's House and one US Senator who was a Democrat. Missouri now has a Republican governor, Republican majorities in the state's House and Senate, and two Republican US Senators -- keep up the good work Ellen! Maybe this is why the St. Louis Post-Dispatch editorial page has gone into full tilt batshit loony screeching mode since the last election.

P.S. I've checked the St. Louis Post-Dispatch website and there isn't any mention of this yet. That's weird, I thought progressives loved five year plans.

Posted by Charles Austin at 09:43 AM | Comments (1)

May 09, 2005

A Touch of Grey (Lady)

With apologies to Robert Hunter and Jerry Garcia, every silver lining's got a touch of grey:

An internal committee at The New York Times has recommended steps to increase readers' confidence in the newspaper, including reducing errors, increasing coverage of religion, "rural areas" and "middle America," making reporters and editors more accessible, and possibly starting a blog.

Bill Keller seems to have accepted, if not defeat, at least that victory against the blogosphere is probably unattainable, even in pyrrhic terms, and he has therefore decided to join "us" instead. But if he believes that New York Times can, perhaps, legitimize blogging, well, to paraphrase a line from Tracy Kidder, the bastards say welcome.

Posted by Charles Austin at 02:08 PM | Comments (0)

April 25, 2005

Is the Pope Still Catholic?

I see Big Media's knowledge of the Roman Catholic Church is comparable to its knowledge of almost any other topic:

American Catholics are responding with support if not great enthusiasm to the selection of Pope Benedict XVI, and with a clear message on his first priority: addressing the issue of sexual abuse of children by priests.

I'm not going to go into it here, but if you read the article, this is what is called push polling. A list is presented of five progressive topics and the participant has to rate them. Jeez. Of course, while I agree that the Pope needs to deal with this, I am afraid it is just a symptom of a much greater problem the church has these days when it comes to manning its bastions and ramparts.

Eighty-one percent of Catholics in a new ABC News/Washington Post poll approve of the pope's election; a quarter call themselves "very enthusiastic" about it.

How can that be? Didn't every Big Media outlet feature dissenting voices as soon as the anouncement was made?

His reputation as a traditionalist may be one reason: The vast majority, 80 percent, think Benedict will work to maintain church traditions — while nearly half would prefer, instead, that he modernize church policies to reflect the attitudes and lifestyles of Catholics today.

There is so much in that last sentence...

1. So, the catechism is just a policy handbook?
2. Whoa! Tradition is a good thing?
3. There seems to be some confusion, theologically speaking, between the sheep and the shepherds, and whom is leading whom.
4. ...reflect the "attitudes and lifestyles" of Catholics today? Attitudes? Lifestyles? (I thought that's what Big Media, Oprah and Dr. Phil were there for.)

Add your own absurdities in the comments. I've had enough.

Posted by Charles Austin at 06:37 PM | Comments (1)

April 11, 2005

Did You Ever Notice...

That Andy Rooney is a cantankerous ass?

Leading a parade of celebrity witnesses who claimed they were stiffed by a speakers bureau, Andy Rooney began his testimony Monday by questioning the wording of the oath to tell the truth. The CBS newsman later got a lecture from the judge for trying to interrogate a lawyer while on the witness stand.

Just as an aside, now that the average age of everyone who is still appearing on 60 Minutes is over 70, are kids in college still watching and getting their righteous indignation all stoked up the way I did 25 years ago? Of course, this was before I figured out that all Morley, Ed and Mike were good at was poking sore points with sticks while theynever seemed to have any actual solutions and wouldn't take any real responsibility for trying to make the bad situations they reported on any better?

Posted by Charles Austin at 09:04 PM | Comments (0)

March 31, 2005

Reuters Is On a Roll

Why haven't you panicked yet?

Oil markets have entered a ``super-spike'' period that could see 1970's-style price surges as high as $105 a barrel, investment bank Goldman Sachs said in a research report.

But before you take this too seriously, remember:

Goldman Sachs is the biggest trader of energy derivatives...

So, it's not like they have a stake in volatility, or anything.

Posted by Charles Austin at 04:46 PM | Comments (0)

Is the Glass Half Full or Is It's Semi-Completeness Being Used to Oppress Minorities and Destroy the Earth?

One of these sentences was written by Reuters, and one by me. See if you can guess which is which:

The defence contractor Boeing has won the right in NSW to discriminate against employees whose nationalities do not meet US security requirements.

The defence contractor Boeing has won the right in NSW to protect sensitive military technologies by granting access only to employees whose nationalities meet US security requirements.

This matters because:

A three-year exemption from the anti-discrimination act allows Boeing to exclude employees at its Bankstown plant from working on projects using US technology. Only Australians and other nationalities approved by the US will be issued tags granting them security clearance.

But notice how some people confuse nationality with race:

Robin Banks, director of NSW's Public Interest Advocacy Centre, said Boeing's application to the Anti-Discrimination Board should have been rejected. "We think there are much more tailored ways to protect national security, and that is through appropriate employment checks. You'd hope that would be sufficient to catch any problems than attempts to tag everybody of the same racial background."

Despite being, presumably, from Australia, I gather Mr. Banks is unaccustomed to nationality and race not being hopelessly intertwined. Trust me, the US is quite adamant about preventing racial discrimination while at the same time limiting the access to sensitive military information when it comes to foreign nationals.

In a submission to the Anti-Discrimination Board, the Public Interest Advocacy Centre argued that not all of Australian Defence Industries's contracts were sensitive, and that exemptions could be obtained from the US State Department.

Really? How could he possibly know either of these statements to be true? As someone who held security clearances for over 20 years and worked on multiple foreign military sale procurements from the United States' side of the table, I can safely say that Mr. Banks does not know what he is talking about. But, of course, he keeps talking anyway:

"The rationale for the exemption is not related to Australia's national security, but to the national security and trade interests of the US," the centre said.

I'd argue there's a fair bit of overlap between the US' national interest and Austalia's national interest, but even so, this is why the request was made in the first place since:

Australian Defence Industries has already been granted a broad exemption from anti-discrimination laws in Victoria. Because the company holds government defence contracts, and because many Australian defence armaments are based on US technology, it is necessary to enter into licensing agreements with US firms.

Thank you Mr. Banks for making the argument on the behalf of the United States. I'm trying to be culturally sensitive, so can any of my friends and readers from Down Under help me out here? What do Australians call someone so hopelessly out of his depth?

Posted by Charles Austin at 04:42 PM | Comments (0)

March 21, 2005

More Adventures in Headline Writing

Gun battle in Baghdad 'kills 24'

My, my, what will Kiefer Sutherland do for work now? But why would the BBC put quotation marks around "kills 24"? Is it because all 24 were, ahem, "freedom fighters"?

A gun battle between Iraqi insurgents and US troops near Baghdad has left 24 rebels dead, the US military says.

DOWNDATE: AP says it was 26. Fortunately, all were still "freedom fighters".

DOUBLE DOWNDATE (In an NCAA Division 1 Men's Basketball Tournament Dickie V. Hand Waving Style): The Liberators are on a 26-0 run, baby, answering every threat, denying the passing lanes with their pressure defense, scoring at will, taking it to Iraq and slamming it home with authority. Dipsy-do, dunkaroo, it's awesome baby!

Posted by Charles Austin at 06:09 PM | Comments (4)

Adventures in Headline Writing

Four given life for New Year killings

Too bad Terri Schiavo can't kill someone right now. Of course, any of these four bastards would be a good place to start:

Four gangsters have been jailed for life for machine-gunning two teenage girls outside a New Year party, a murder spree which prompted a wave of revulsion against gun crime. A judge at Leicester Crown Court on Monday recommended that Michael Gregory, 23, Nathan Martin, 26, and Marcus Ellis, 24, -- a half brother of one of the victims -- serve a minimum of 35 years each in prison. A fourth man, 20-year-old Rodrigo Simms, should serve at least 27 years, the judge said.

But that is a rather unusual definition of "life", in't it guvnor?

Posted by Charles Austin at 06:06 PM | Comments (1)

March 20, 2005

If You Worked for CBS...

Wouldn't you be embarrassed by the promos your network is running for Spring Break Shark Attack?

Posted by Charles Austin at 07:04 PM | Comments (2)

The Eternal Optimist

That's what Time calls John Kerry:

It seemed as if the campaign had never ended. There was John Kerry standing on a chair in a blue neighborhood of Atlanta, in the Democrat-friendly tavern Manuel's, speaking to 100 folks, many of them wearing Kerry-Edwards T shirts. The Massachusetts Senator insisted that he wasn't "one to lick wounds," but then he did: he noted that Bush had won with the smallest percentage margin ever for an incumbent and complained that the Republican team had six years to develop its electoral strategy while his had only eight months. And although he claimed that "my focus is not four years from now," he made sure his audience knew just how viable a candidate he had been--and could be again. "We actually won in the battleground states," Kerry said, adding that his loss in Ohio was so close that if "half the people ... at an Ohio State football game" had voted differently, he would be in the Oval Office now.

I never realized that optimists spent so much time looking backwards and so much effort making excuses. And for the record, the Horseshoe holds 101,568 people while John Kerry lost Ohio by 118,601 votes.

What a maroon.

Posted by Charles Austin at 06:33 PM | Comments (0)

We're # 1!

A common cry this time of year has been usurped by the denizens of Dallas:

The city's crime rate was the highest among nine U.S. cities, including Houston, with more than a million residents for the seventh consecutive year in 2004, according to police statistics.

But the real reason I highlighted this story is buried a little farther down:

Criminologists warned that strictly statistical comparisons can be misleading. They say the crime data can't account for the willingness of residents to report crime, the number of workers and shoppers who visit the city daily, as well as differences in geography, development and transportation. Many New Yorkers, for example, take mass transit, lowering the number of vehicles that can be broken into or stolen.

While concurrently, of course, increasing the up close and personal interactions for everyone fortunate enough to spend an extended period of time in cramped underground quarters where everything is sweetness and light. Oh dear, they forgot to take credit for that.

Posted by Charles Austin at 06:19 PM | Comments (1)

March 15, 2005

Vice Versa

There's been a great deal of commentary lately on whether bloggers deserve the same rights as journalists. But what if we turn it around by suggesting that the core problem is that journalists lack the privileges of bloggers? What privileges, you ask?

1. The right to wear the opinions on their sleeves, or skins if you prefer. Nothing gets Big Media taken less seriously than their pretense of objectivity.

2. The right to correct errors without passsion or prejudice. The two biggest Big Media scandals (Rathergate and Easongate) became scandals precisely because of a circling the wagon mentality and a refusal to admit error immediately and forthrightly. The Better Blogging Bureau, i.e., the readers, will not tolerate such shoddy behavior for long.

3. A true celebration of diversity. True diversity of thought is readily available in the blogosphere to a depth and breadth unknown in Big Media. Frankly, Stephen Levy's idea of diversity in the blogosphere is sexist and racist, since he apparently believes that there are unique truths discernable only to sexually and racially balkanized groups. The blogosphere is a true marketplace of ideas, where melting pots and stews gather to produce a delightful melange of intellectual sustenance.

4. Freedom of the presses, not just freedom of the press. As H. L. Mencken once observed, "Freedom of the press is limited to those who own one." The evolution of the Internet, graphic browsers, and blogging software has transformed Speaker's Corner from a soapbox in Hyde Park to a worldwide platform where good ideas are repeated and promulgated and bad ideas are ridiculed and lost to posterity. It is ironic that so many concerned about the effects of corproate media consolidation are so opposed to the most effective counter to a limited media marketplace. Just as universal suffrage evolved from a severely limited franchise of landed gentry, the establishment of the blogosphere has empowered everyone with the ability to make one's thoughts and opinions freely available without having to bow or scrape to someone who owns a press. When it comes to publishing, "by your leave" has left the building. This is a good thing.

Posted by Charles Austin at 04:01 PM | Comments (0)

March 09, 2005


I missed Dan rather's final appearance as the anchor of the CBS Evening News-like substance, innuendo and rumor. But since I hadn't seen him in action for at least twenty years, I guess I'll survive.

Posted by Charles Austin at 08:20 PM | Comments (0)

February 26, 2005

U.S. Death Toll In Iraq Approaches 10,111,011,100

Or in base 10, 1500, according to the editorializing ghouls at Reuters:

The U.S. military death toll is nearing 1,500 in the 23-month Iraq war, with casualties easing in the weeks since the historic Jan. 30 elections but with little evidence the insurgency has been crippled.

Little evidence the insurgency has been crippled, except for this:

Iraq's January 30 election marked an important step on the road to a secure, prosperous, and democratic Iraq... Successful elections in Iraq are a blow to the forces of terror. In time, the defeat of terror in Iraq will set that nation on a course to lasting freedom, and will give hope to millions.

... this:

BAQUBA, Feb 19: Iraqi security forces on Saturday arrested the alleged commander of an insurgent cell close to Al Qaeda frontman in Iraq, Abu Musab al-Zarqawi, police said.

... this:

Iraqi state television aired a video Wednesday showing what the U.S.-funded channel said was the confession of a captured Syrian officer who said he trained Iraqi insurgents to behead people and build car bombs to attack American and Iraqi troops.

... this:

Early July 2004, a week or so after the CPA left Baghdad and Iyad Allawi’s interim Iraqi government took over: I was sitting in the Corps’ Joint Operations Center(JOC) in Al Faw Palace, Baghdad, drinking a big cup of tea. The JOC had a huge screen covering an entire wall, like a movie theater screen divided into ceiling-high panels capable of displaying multiple computer images and projections. A viewer could visually hopscotch from news to weather to war. In the upper right-hand corner of one panel Fox News flickered silently–and for the record, occasionally CNN or Al Jazeera would flicker there as well. Beneath Fox ran my favorite channel, live imagery from a Predator UAV circling somewhere over Iraq. That July day the Predator appeared to be flying above an irrigation canal. The biggest display, that morning and every morning, was a spooling date-time list describing scores of military and police actions undertaken over the last dozen hours, Examples: “0331: 1/5 Cav, 1st Cavalry Division, arrests two suspects after Iraqi police stop car"; “0335 USMC patrol vicinity Fallujah engaged by RPG, returned fire. No casualties.” The spool went on and on and on, and I remember thinking : “I know we’re winning. We’re winning because –in the big picture– all the opposition has to offer is the past. But the drop-by-drop police blotter perspective obscures that.”

... this:

Insurgents used a mentally handicapped child as one of the suicide bombers who launched attacks on Iraq's Election Day, the country's interior minister said yesterday. "A handicapped child was used to carry out a suicide attack on a polling site," Falah al-Naqib said. "This is an indication of what horrific actions they are carrying out."

... this:

Letter seized in raid on known Al Qaeda safe house in Baghdad contains detailed proposal for waging 'sectarian war' in Iraq in next few months; Americans say letter was written by Abu Musab al-Zarqawi, Jordanian identified by Bush administration in days before war as main link between Al Qaeda and Saddam Hussein's government; letter notes that extremists are failing to enlist support inside country, and have been unable to scare Americans into leaving...

... this:

It was difficult not to cringe during Reagan's speech in 1987. He didn't leave a single Berlin cliché out of his script. At the end of it, most experts agreed that his demand for the removal of the Wall was inopportune, utopian and crazy. Yet three years later, East Germany had disappeared from the map. Gorbachev had a lot to do with it, but it was the East Germans who played the larger role. When analysts are confronted by real people, amazing things can happen. And maybe history can repeat itself. Maybe the people of Syria, Iran or Jordan will get the idea in their heads to free themselves from their oppressive regimes just as the East Germans did. When the voter turnout in Iraq recently exceeded that of many Western nations, the chorus of critique from Iraq alarmists was, at least for a couple of days, quieted. Just as quiet as the chorus of Germany experts on the night of Nov. 9, 1989 when the Wall fell. Just a thought for Old Europe to chew on: Bush might be right, just like Reagan was then.

..and this:

As 55 people died in Iraq on Saturday, the holiest day on the Shiite Muslim religious calendar, Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton said that much of Iraq was "functioning quite well" and that the rash of suicide attacks was a sign that the insurgency was failing. Clinton, a New York Democrat, said insurgents intent on destabilizing the country had failed to disrupt Iraq's landmark Jan. 30 elections. "The concerted effort to disrupt the elections was an abject failure. Not one polling place was shut down or overrun," Clinton told reporters inside the U.S.-protected Green Zone, a sprawling complex of sandbagged buildings surrounded by blast walls and tanks. The zone is home to the Iraqi government and the U.S. Embassy. The five-member U.S. congressional delegation arrived in Baghdad as a series of suicide bombings and explosions killed 55 people, including an American solder. Much of the violence was aimed at Shiite Muslims, commemorating Ashoura, the festival marking the 7th century death of a leader of their sect. "The fact that you have these suicide bombers now, wreaking such hatred and violence while people pray, is to me, an indication of their failure," Clinton said.

Don't you wish there was some sort of Big Media Sergeant Friday saying authoritatively, "Just the facts, sir, just the facts"?

Posted by Charles Austin at 11:31 AM | Comments (2)

February 22, 2005

Tes Rall's Never Met Richard Cohen

Then again, this ought to be right up Ted's alley:

Upon hearing that I'd started writing a blog, a Luddite pal asked me to describe this latest new-media phenom. Political bloggers, I explained, link to articles in traditional media. Then they rant and/or rave about them. "Great piece in the Journal." "The usual crap at CNN.com." Anyone can write one; you don't even have to use your real name. "Oh," he replied. "A blog is like a column without the responsibility."

Posted by Charles Austin at 08:09 PM | Comments (0)

February 17, 2005

Richard Cohen

Jay Nordlinger's a couple years behind me:

Last Sunday, a friend asked whether I had seen that day's Friedman column, about which he was sputtering. I could only smile serenely and say no. "Why do you do it to yourself?"

And yet, one always looks for an honest liberal columnist, something to enhance one's media diet. Michael Kinsley once served this purpose for me. But that was . . . well, it's been a while. And Peter Beinart? The guy who declares that conservatives simply don't care about people? What can be gained from reading that? I can stroll down the streets of Ann Arbor, my hometown — or walk outside here in New York — and hear that any time I want.

I have always read Richard Cohen — but I don't know. In the past, he merely visited Friedman/Dowd Land. Now it seems that he has taken up permanent residence there.

Disdain, sarcasm, silliness, nastiness, unreason — he's afflicted with all those traits. Take his column of Feb. 10 (please). It begins,

The line — the semiofficial one, that is — has changed on George Bush. Where once he was supposedly the sort of guy who eschewed books and even thinking and favored instead a decision-making process that was almost entirely the product of instinct, we are now told that the president reads books — really and truly. Among those cited, and famously so, is Natan Sharansky's "The Case for Democracy," which supposedly enthralled Bush because up to then, we may deduce, the case for democracy was not obvious to the man who heads the world's most powerful . . . er, democracy. Better late than never, I suppose.
This must be disingenuous — because Cohen can't be so stupid as not to know that the debate is over the role of democracy in checking terror and changing the Middle East. And he can't be so stupid as not to know that the Sharansky position remains, throughout the West — certainly in Washington, D.C. — a minority position. Has Cohen ever talked to Brent Scowcroft? How about virtually the entire Democratic party?

Later, Cohen writes, " . . . two presidential elections and a war have shown Bush what he must have long suspected — that he has vast leadership abilities and that he has been called (and you know by who) to his historic role."

Leave the grammar aside. Snide Bush critics are always saying that the president considers himself on a mission from God. Funny, but the president doesn't say that, and his administration doesn't say it, and his supporters don't say it. Only the snide critics say it.

We shouldn't ignore language altogether. Cohen writes, "Because Bush is certain he can bend history his way, he just might become one of those American presidents who is thought to have made a difference." That should be, "one of those American presidents who are thought to have made a difference." Cohen is misled by the "one," like most everyone else.

Last, we get, "This quality, this firm and unmistakably American belief that history is our pal, our angel — ours, and not anyone else's — and that we can alter it, bend it and embrace it for our own needs . . . "

I know a lot of Americans, and I know a lot of conservatives. I bet I know more conservatives than Richard Cohen does. And I don't know a human being who believes that history is America's pal, or angel, and no one else's. Not one. Not a friggin' one.

Richard Cohen — perhaps thinking that he needs to write Inherit the Wind over and over — imagines conservatives who do not exist. He seems unwilling to debate, or consider, conservatives as we truly are. He is a caricaturist, and I'm looking for a columnist, and it is very, very hard.

I feel the urge... the urge to Scourge...

Posted by Charles Austin at 09:48 PM | Comments (3)

Incongruous Headline and Picture

Hey look everybody, Matt Drudge didn't use all caps!

Prosecutor: Cosby Won't Face 'Fondling' Charges...


How weird is that?

Posted by Charles Austin at 07:51 PM | Comments (0)

Be the News, Danny

Or as Marshall McLuhan once said, the medium is the message:

CBS Plans Prime-Time Tribute to Rather

Gosh, wouldn't true objectivity demand that you not be part of the story?

Posted by Charles Austin at 06:28 PM | Comments (0)

February 16, 2005

Good Thing They Are Professionals

Just deserts:

LAUSD wages war on cake and brownies in the name of health

I'm just giving you your just desserts, Mr. Professional Journalist.

Posted by Charles Austin at 06:28 PM | Comments (3)

Now That's a Headline

Matt Drudge says in his own inimitable fully capitalized way:


Kinky bastards.

DOWNDATE: Matt Drudge has now changed his headline to:


I'm not sure that's much of an improvement.

Posted by Charles Austin at 05:48 PM | Comments (0)

February 12, 2005

Heaven (On Earth) Can Wait

Here comes Mr. Jordan. I mean, there goes Mr. Jordan.

Eason Jordan, a senior executive at CNN who was responsible for coordinating the cable network's Iraq coverage, resigned abruptly last night, citing a journalistic tempest he touched off during a panel discussion at the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland, late last month in which he appeared to suggest that United States troops had deliberately aimed at journalists, killing some.

Like Joe Pendleton, Eason Jordan has to be thinking that this can't possibly be happening to him. His superior journalistic reflexes should've been able to allow him to dodge those pajamahadeen right up to the last second. Surely some Buck Henry type screwup has to be responsible for this.

One friend of mine said that now we would have to deal with a whole new round of blogger triumphalism. Perhaps, but it is true that without bloggers this never would have made the light of day. Now let's see if the bright sunlight of exposure sends the other cockroaches that hemmed and hawed, or outright defended Mr. Eason's obviously indefensible remarks. I'll also note that Mr. Jordan's mea culpa leaves much to be desired. Note his feeble attempt to be the victim:

After 23 years at CNN, I have decided to resign in an effort to prevent CNN from being unfairly tarnished by the controversy over conflicting accounts of my recent remarks regarding the alarming number of journalists killed in Iraq," Jordan said in a letter to colleagues.

"I have devoted my professional life to helping make CNN the most trusted and respected news outlet in the world, and I would never do anything to compromise my work or that of the thousands of talented people it is my honor to work alongside.

"While my CNN colleagues and my friends in the U.S. military know me well enough to know I have never stated, believed, or suspected that U.S. military forces intended to kill people they knew to be journalists, my comments on this subject in a World Economic Forum panel discussion were not as clear as they should have been."

I can only imagine that a job on Public Television awaits him now. Hmm..., I wonder if he plays the clarinet?

Posted by Charles Austin at 12:32 AM | Comments (1)

February 11, 2005

Is Mark Krikorian a Mole at NRO?

Here's something I never thought I'd read at NRO:

John, while I generally share your sentiments on Iraq, I'm afraid Ramesh is right that even if we don't use a drop of oil, it matters a lot to us if Europe and Japan (and China) do. But this is something that can't simply be left to the market to solve -- the solution (making oil economically irrelevant) needs to be accelerated by the government, through much higher gas taxes (preferably offset by eliminating other taxes), nuclear plants powering electric cars, and a Manhattan Project level of commitment to alternative fuel research.

Too important to be left to the market to solve? Raising taxes to effect a social policy engineering goal? A Manhattan Project level of commitment to alternative fuel research? Fascinating. The Government will save us! (But at what cost?) I guess we might as well get on the Hillary! 2008 bandwagon now to avoid the rush, or should that be the Rush?

Whatever her other faults, I'd like to publicly thank Ayn Rand for making this kind of thinking anathema to me. Now, I know that the folks at NRO aren't exactly fans of Ayn Rand or doctrinaire libertarianism, heck, neither am I, but gee whiz. When did they adopt this left wing, big government is the answer nonsense to achieve a strategic goal of energy independence? And yes, I mean they since there hasn't been any criticism that I've seen of this comment in the Corner.

Posted by Charles Austin at 10:30 AM | Comments (3)

February 07, 2005

How Noble of Them

Networks Pledge Restraint in Jackson Case

Anybody want to keep score?

Posted by Charles Austin at 12:09 PM | Comments (0)

December 22, 2004

What Passes for News In December

Snow Falls From N.M. to Lower Great Lakes

Ohmigod! Even Drudge gets in on the non-news in his subtle, nuanced, all-caps manner:


I grew up just west of Chicago, and no, it wasn't in West Chicago. One Christmas break it did not get above zero for two weeks. Just imagine the faux-Armageddon that would have been if we'd had the Weather Channel back then.

Posted by Charles Austin at 05:27 PM | Comments (4)

Worst Kept Secrets

Or, why media is confusing a train's headlights for the light at the end of the tunnel:

Hillary ’08: Don’t Ask If—It’s a Go!

Like, duh.

Posted by Charles Austin at 03:13 PM | Comments (0)

December 02, 2004

While Media Eyes Roll...

Americans' Role Eyed in U.N. Oil Scandal

That would be Americans as in whom exactly?

Former American fugitive Marc Rich was a middleman for several of Iraq's suspect oil deals in February 2001, just one month after his pardon from President Clinton, according to oil industry shipping records obtained by ABC News.

I'm shocked, shocked, to find gambling going on here. But despite his pardon:

Rich is still living in Switzerland and unavailable for comment.

I guess those pardons can't be for future crimes. so, what can be done about this? Hmm, I know: Hillary in 2008!

Posted by Charles Austin at 12:59 PM | Comments (0)

November 11, 2004

Fact Checking Her, Um, Facts

Peggy Noonan is positively giddy about the election. So giddy, in fact, that she cheated the United States Marines out of 29 years of their history:

But of course none of this is anything to what is being done today, and tomorrow, in another battle, called Fallujah. It was launched on what might be called the Feast Day of the United States Marines, their 200th birthday as an American fighting force.

For the record, it's 229 Ms. Noonan.

Posted by Charles Austin at 01:59 PM | Comments (2)


Via Instapundit:

NPR'S ANNE GARRELS IS REPORTING that Sarin nerve gas has been found in Fallujah.

Any guesses on which media outlet will be the first to claim that President George W. Bush is responsible for the Sarin since it was created by the insurgents after Saddam Hussein was deposed in response to the United States' illegal war on the people of Iraq? I mean, we all know that there were no WMDs in Iraq, or is this another of those conveniently deferred facts that can now be openly discussed since the election is over and their guy lost?

Posted by Charles Austin at 11:05 AM | Comments (0)

Pity Poor Barbara Plett Today

BBC reporter Barbara Plett's tears flowed when Yasser Arafat left his compound for what turned out to be the last time. She must be heartbroken that the murderous old bastard has finally died.

Here's hoping Gulbuth the Rampant enjoys his new boy-toy.

Posted by Charles Austin at 11:01 AM | Comments (0)

November 01, 2004

A Typo?

Kerry Looser, Ready to 'Bring It Home'

Posted by Charles Austin at 01:44 PM | Comments (0)

October 29, 2004

Bryant Gumbel -- A Painfully Silly Man

I watched most of HBO's Real Sports last night for the first time since, well, since I saw that the execrable Bryant Gumbel was its host. Mr. Gumbel finished the show last night with his personal commentary on the lack of athletes who are publicly taking political stands these days. He asked, where are the Muhammad Ali's, the Tommy Smith's and John Carlos', the Jim Brown's, and the Billie Jean King's. Mr. Gumbel accused them all of being too interested in their seven figures to act as responsible public figures.

I would liked to have been a fly on the wall when Mr. Gumbel heard about Curt Schilling's "Vote for Bush" comment yesterday on Good Morning America? How pleased do you think Bryant would be if lots of athletes suddenly announced their support for President George W. Bush, tax cuts, school vouchers, the Patriot Act, or heaven forbid, the Liberation of Iraq?

Oh, and as for the greedy athletes Mr. Gumbel, ever heard of Pat Tillman?

Posted by Charles Austin at 12:52 PM | Comments (1)

October 28, 2004


The difference between Big Media and the blogosphere cannot be illustrated more clearly than by what ABC is doing with its supposed Al Qaeda tape. Is it real? I don't know, although the CIA and FBI have apparently authenticated it. But did that matter to ABC yesterday? It certainly seemed to. Does that matter to ABC today? Apparently not. Now why would that be?

Before the tape was authenticated, ABC was worried about its authenticity, and rightly so given the spate of forged "news" items of late. Now that the tape has been authenticated, the self-appointed gatekeepers of the "news" are now concerned about the political impact the release of the tape might have. Gee, it's a good thing we have ABC to think for us, isn't it? All us rubes cannot be depended upon to make up our own minds as to the validity and appropriateness of this tape and the information on it. If this tape had been sent to, say, Rusty Shackleford, he'd put it up and let the world decide what to think of it.

If ABC news waits until after the election and then decides to show the tape, it will be clear that they are nothing more than another branch of the DNC, as the NY Times and CBS have been revealed to be. Why should political considerations weigh on their decision to show the tape unless, of course, they have a stake in the outcome of the election? If it is news, it is news now, not just beginning on 3 November.

It is becoming increasingly difficult not to think that the fourth estate has become a fifth column.

Posted by Charles Austin at 01:39 PM | Comments (0)

October 23, 2004

Team America: World Police -- The Review

My wife and I went to see Team America: World Police tonight. There were ten people in the theater, so perhaps the reactions weren't what they might have been. The reason there were only ten people is that we live in St. Louis, and apparently everyone here is watching the World Series. Even the roads were empty driving to the theater. But, I digress.

Crude, rude, and totally ruled, dude. But I don't think I'll be taking my teenager to see it.

The technical achievements are pretty damn impressive. The story was a little weak, IMHO. I liked it, but not as much as South Park: Bigger, Longer & Uncut. Their treatement of the F.A.G.s is a little unfair, but it wouldn't be so uncomfortable for them if it didn't hit so close to home.

The extended entry has some questions and comments that contain spoilers, for those who haven't seen it yet.

That was the bar scene from Star Wars wasn't it? I haven't seen anyone else mention that yet. I'd like to see Trey's notes to see how many movies they spoofed.

Don't you wonder what they had to cut out to get to an R rating? Especially considering that they had no genitalia. I wondered more if it wasn't the scene between Gary and Spottswoode, as I was cringing a little as Gary's head started to come up. I guess we'll have to wait for the director's cut DVD to come out -- about three months after the first DVD release, of course.


Some of the puppets were uncanny, but I would have had a lot of trouble identifying the Tim Robbins and Alec Baldwin puppets as Tim Robbins and Alec Baldwin ,respectively, without the name tags.

Posted by Charles Austin at 11:45 PM | Comments (1)

October 22, 2004

When You Really Want to Know, Ask an Amateur

According to a nationwide (England) poll of Odeon managers, here are the top 10 movie catchphrases of all time:

1. "You talkin' to me?" - Taxi Driver (1976)
2. "The name's Bond, James Bond." - Dr No (1962)
3. "What's it all about?" - Alfie (1966)
4. "Frankly my dear, I don't give a damn." - Gone with the Wind (1939)
5. "We're gonna need a bigger boat." - Jaws (1975)
6. "No one puts baby in the corner." - Dirty Dancing (1987)
7. "You're only supposed to blow the bloody doors off!" - The Italian Job (1969)
8. "May the force be with you." - Star Wars (1977)
9. "Show me the money!" - Jerry Maguire (1996)
10. "Yeah baby, yeah!" - Austin Powers (1997)

Bull. Here are the top 21 movie catchphrases of all time with each actor or actress only getting one entry, some with intros to set it up properly:

1. "I'm gonna make him an offer he can't refuse." - The Godfather (1972)
2. "Plastics." - The Graduate (1967)
3. "You know how to whistle, don't you, Steve? You just put your lips together and... blow." - To Have and Have Not (1944)
4. "Major Strasser has been shot. Round up the usual suspects." - Casablanca (1942)
5. "May the force be with you." - Star Wars (1977)
6. "What we have here is a failure to communicate." - Cool Hand Luke (1967)
7. "You talkin' to me?" - Taxi Driver (1976)
8. "Frankly my dear, I don't give a damn." - Gone with the Wind (1939)
9. "I can no longer sit back and allow Communist infiltration, Communist indoctrination, Communist subversion and the international Communist conspiracy to sap and impurify all of our precious bodily fluids." - Dr. Strangelove or: How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love the Bomb (1964)
10. "I know what you're thinking, punk. You're thinking, 'Did he fire six shots or only five?' Well, to tell you the truth, I've forgotten myself in all this excitement. But being as this is a .44 Magnum, the most powerful handgun in the world, and would blow your head clean off, you've got to ask yourself a question: Do I feel lucky? Well, do ya punk?" - Dirty Harry (1971)
11. "My precious." - LOTR (2001, 2002, 2003)
12. "Yippie-ky-yay motherf*****r." - Die Hard (1988)
13. "You'll put your eye out." - A Christmas Story (1983)
14. "What is the problem with Michael Jackson?" - Three Kings (1999)
15. "Is it safe?" - The Marathon Man (1976)
16. "As of now, they're on Double SECRET Probation!" - Animal House (1978)
17. "I'll be back." - The Terminator (1984, 1991, 2003)
18. "I'm gonna get medieval on your ass." - Pulp Fiction (1994)
19. "Rommel, you magnificent bastard. I read your book." - Patton (1970)
20. "We're gonna need a bigger boat." - Jaws (1975)
21. "The name's Bond, James Bond." - Dr No (1962), etc.

Link courtesy of FAD.

Posted by Charles Austin at 04:26 PM | Comments (7)

October 21, 2004

Personally, I Think He Never Forgave Them for the South Park Episode Titled, Roger Ebert Should Lay Off the Fatty Foods

You need to read Roger Ebert's review of Team America: World Police to see what happens when a liberal takes himself and his policy positions a little too seriously. Since I haven't seen the movie yet, I don't think I should fisk his criticism, but it still makes for educational reading.

Poor Roger is so preoccupied with the skewering of his liberal shibboleths he didn't even notice that one of the primary targets of satire in Team America: World Police is Hollywood itself. Maybe Roger was too incensed about his sacred cows being carved up and served rare to notice.

Posted by Charles Austin at 10:50 PM | Comments (2)

October 13, 2004

Of Course, I'm Going To Go See It Anyway

When are folks going to figure out that at least half the controversy surrounding a film like Team America: World Police is done simply for the sake of publicity?

Posted by Charles Austin at 11:02 PM | Comments (2)

Manuel, Let Me Explain

"Are you orally men?"

Posted by Charles Austin at 06:50 PM | Comments (0)

October 12, 2004

Bad Science, Or What Happens When Journalists Rely on the DNC for Objective Information About President Bush's Environmental Record

Look at what happens when a Big Media journalist tries to venture into the rough and tumble world of science and politics:

In the second presidential debate, President Bush said: "I'm a good steward of the land. The quality of the air's cleaner since I've been the president. Fewer water complaints since I've been the president."

Sen. John Kerry responded this way: "The president, I don't think, is living in a world of reality with respect to the environment. We're going backwards." He vows to reverse many of Bush's policies.

Which presidential candidate is right? How has America's environment fared under Bush?

Gosh, I don't know. Pray tell:

Over the past 30 years, the nation's air and water have become dramatically cleaner, but the steady improvement has stalled or gone into reverse in several areas since Bush took office, according to government statistics. On Bush's watch, America's environment deteriorated in many critical areas - including the quality of air in cities and the quality of water that people drink - and gained in very few.

Knight Ridder compiled 14 pollution-oriented indicators from government and university statistics. Nine of the 14 indicators showed a worsening trend, two showed improvements and three others zigzagged.

Wow, let's see what has gotten worse:

Superfund cleanups of toxic waste fell by 52 percent.

Fish-consumption warnings for rivers doubled.

Fish-consumption advisories for lakes increased 39 percent.

The number of beach closings rose 26 percent.

Civil citations issued to polluters fell 57 percent.

Criminal pollution prosecutions dropped 17 percent.

Asthma attacks increased by 6 percent.

There were small increases in global temperatures and unhealthy air days.

Whoa there Nelly, let's take these one by one:

Superfund cleanups of toxic waste fell by 52 percent. Well, you might not like that, but that's not evidence of a worsening trend. I certainly would think that some 24 years after the creation of the EPA's Superfund that new sites weren't being created as fast now as they were pre-1980. So maybe, there are fewer sites to clean up, or maybe the easy sites have been cleaned up and now all that's left are the tougher, more expensive sites. The decline in a government meta-statistic should not be confused with a decline in what is being measured.

Fish-consumption warnings for rivers doubled. But has pollution in rivers increased? An increase in warnings does not necessarily mean that pollution is worse. It may only indicate more attentive enforcement, which would seem to be a good thing under President Bush, no? Jeez.

Fish-consumption advisories for lakes increased 39 percent. But has pollution in lakes increased? An increase in warnings does not necessarily mean that pollution is worse. It may only indicate more attentive enforcement, which would seem to be a good thing under President Bush, no? Double jeez.

The number of beach closings rose 26 percent. But has pollution increased? An increase in closings does not necessarily mean that pollution is worse. It may only indicate more attentive enforcement, which would seem to be a good thing under President Bush, no? Triple jeez.

Civil citations issued to polluters fell 57 percent. Maybe because the evil capitalist polluters have been cleaning up their acts over the years. Do you really think all the fines and lawsuits over the years that Big International Conglomerates are actually more anxious to subject themselves to civil citations?

Criminal pollution prosecutions dropped 17 percent. Or criminal prosecutions? Sigh. Jeez to inifinity.

Asthma attacks increased by 6 percent. But is that because of increased pollution? Maybe it is, but there may well be other significant factors involved here as well.

There were small increases in global temperatures and unhealthy air days. First of all, the evidence that the earth is getting warmer may not be true, and even if it is whether it is because of "pollution" is debatable. But granting that it is, is this really something you think President Bush can control? Have you seen how much more energy China is using these days -- that would be the China not subject to the Kyoto Accords, so please don't bring up that red herring. And finally, do the number of unhealthy air days really indicate a worsening pollution problem or might it once again be more attentive enforcement, a byproduct of some weather cycles in some areas, huge wildfires in Southern California, or other events far, far beyond the control of President Bush, or even a President Kerry?

So, do you actually have any instances or data that support your contention that the environment has gotten worse under President Bush?

No, I didn't think so. Any good news?

There were signs of pollution improvement, though. Major air-emissions from smokestacks and tailpipes dropped 9 percent, and greenhouse-gas emissions were reduced by 0.5 percent.

Nice of you to pack that into one paragraph rather than double spaced bullets for effect, by the way. But do you know what's different about the two areas just cited and the nine previously cited? In the latter, there are real statistics quoted about pollution levels, wheras in the former all that are quoted are statistics about the government's measurement of pollution. Big difference.

So what about the three areas that fluctuated?

Statistics that have fluctuated are the number of people living in smoggy cities; the number of people drinking from tainted water supplies; and overall toxic pollution releases by industry.

What does fluctuated mean? Are they higher or lower? And, incidentally, these measures are pathetic. Smog levels could be going down in L.A. for instance, but if more people move in then there are still more people living in smoggy L.A. than before. To quote King Theoden, "Is this all you've got Saruman?"

Anything else?

In land-use policy under Bush, another 12 indicators reveal record-low additions to national parks, wilderness, wildlife refuges and the endangered species list. The Bush administration also approved 74 percent more permits to drill for oil and gas on public lands in its first three years than were granted in the previous three years.

Bush also has ordered dozens of sweeping changes to existing environmental policies, usually to benefit business interests. He reversed the government's course on global warming, power plant emissions, roadless areas of national forests, environmental law enforcement and agricultural run-off.

Two major Bush administration proposals still languish in Congress. One would change the way air pollution from power plants is regulated, with gradually shrinking limits on emissions and the first-ever limits for mercury pollution. Critics say Bush's approach would require fewer pollution reductions than current law.

The other pending Bush proposal is his energy bill, which calls for more drilling on public lands, including Alaska's Arctic National Wildlife Refuge - which Kerry has been a leader in opposing.

Kerry vows to reverse Bush's efforts to make it easier for older power plants to expand without additional pollution controls. He promises to "plug loopholes" in industrial air-pollution regulations, limit suburban sprawl and mount a new program to protect America's waterways.

Over nearly two decades in the Senate, Kerry has gotten extremely high marks from environmental groups, including from the League of Conservation Voters. Henry Lee, Harvard University's environment and natural resources program director, said Kerry didn't initiate any environmental legislation that became landmark law, but he often was "out in front on the issue."

If Kerry is friendly with environmental activists, "the Bush administration is sympathetic to the concerns of business," said Eban Goodstein, the chairman of the environmental-studies program at Lewis and Clark College in Portland, Ore. "They're bringing in people that are really hostile to the current regulatory framework."

Wow, that sounds like a nice objective press release from, well, from the DNC. There's more quoting Robert F. Kennedy Jr. and Carol Browner, but really, what's the point.

It is surprising what passes for journalism these days isn't it?

Posted by Charles Austin at 05:52 PM | Comments (1)

Propoganda for Me, But Not for Thee

FCC Commissioner Micheal J. Copps on Sinclair airing an anti-Kerry documentary:

“This is an abuse of the public trust. And it is proof positive of media consolidation run amok when one owner can use the public airwaves to blanket the country with its political ideology -- whether liberal or conservative. Some will undoubtedly question if this is appropriate stewardship of the public airwaves. This is the same corporation that refused to air Nightline’s reading of our war dead in Iraq."

It seems to me that Mr. Copps advocates broadcasting pro-Kerry propoganda but gets severely bent out of shape when someone tries to broadcast anti-Kerry propoganda. Thanks goodness the government is loooking out for us and will determine what it is safe for us to see, dont ya think?

Posted by Charles Austin at 05:12 PM | Comments (1)

October 07, 2004


Now that's a shocker:

Sen. John Kerry has opened up an early lead in the number -- and potential impact -- of newspaper endorsements, according to E&P's exclusive tabulation covering the race for president.

Counting every editorial endorsement we know of, Kerry has won the backing of five daily newspapers, with a total daily circulation of 881,012.

President Bush has gotten the nod from four papers, with a total daily circulation of 323,743.

I'm curious, when's the last time a Republican won the "circulation" election?

(Note: This has been cross-posted at Protein Wisdom if I can ever figure out how to get in.)

Posted by Charles Austin at 08:44 PM | Comments (1)

September 24, 2004

Oh Yeah, That'll Work

Alex, I'll buy a clue for $500:

One-time pop sensation Sinead O'Connor was back in the news Friday -- by taking out a full-page ad pleading for people to stop making fun of her.

Posted by Charles Austin at 01:31 PM | Comments (4)

Gee, They Say That Like It's a Bad Thing

According to Drudge (bad link though):

Report: OPEC has lost control over oil prices...

Posted by Charles Austin at 01:05 PM | Comments (0)

September 21, 2004

Look! There's Elvis!

Has "What Liberal Media?" been replaced with "What Democratic Media?":

A top adviser to John Kerry says he talked to a central figure in the controversy over President Bush's National Guard service at the suggestion of a CBS News producer shortly before disputed documents were released by the network.

But Joe Lockhart denied any connection between the Kerry campaign and the papers supplied to the network by the Bill Burkett, the former Texas Army National Guard official he telephoned at CBS' suggestion.

"He had some advice on how to deal with the Vietnam issue and the Swift boat" allegations, Lockhart said late Monday, referring to GOP-fueled accusations that Kerry exaggerated his Vietnam War record. "He said these guys play tough and we have to put the Vietnam experience into context and have Kerry talk about it more."

Lockhart, the second Kerry ally to confirm contact with Burkett, said he made the call at the suggestion of CBS producer Mary Mapes.

The most revealing indicator of how skewed things have become is how little attention active collusion between CBS News and the Democratic Party six weeks before an election seems to be getting. I wonder if John McCain is having second thoughts these days. If he isn't, he should be.

Posted by Charles Austin at 09:49 AM | Comments (3)

September 20, 2004

Fake But Accurate

Isn't that a fair assessment of the sincerity of CBS News' mea culpa?

Remember this from last week:

"If the documents are not what we were led to believe, I'd like to break that story," Rather said in an interview last night. "Any time I'm wrong, I want to be right out front and say, 'Folks, this is what went wrong and how it went wrong.' "

So, are milquetoast press releases and pabulum web posts the way CBS News breaks big stories now? Personally, I'm still looking forward to Dan Rather telling all of us what went wrong and how it went wrong.

Posted by Charles Austin at 04:05 PM | Comments (0)

Ya Know...

If Dan Rather was half as smart as he thinks he is he would have waited until around 28 October to bring this story out. By the time Big Media picked up on it the election would have been over. Of course, this makes me wonder even more what kind of October surprises they still have in store for us.

Posted by Charles Austin at 04:01 PM | Comments (1)

What Did Dan Rather Know and When Did He Know It?

From the CBS News statement today:

"Based on what we now know, CBS News cannot prove that the documents are authentic, which is the only acceptable journalistic standard to justify using them in the report," said the statement by CBS News President Andrew Heyward.

Oh? What has CBS News learned in the last 24 or 48 hours that everyone not drinking the Kool-Aid didn't already know over a week ago? How exactly was CBS News able to "prove" the documents were genuine before going to air? Shouldn't CBS News share this new knowledge with everyone since this seems to be an admission that they have some additional information that the rest of the public does not yet have? Either that, or CBS News is admitting that they are a week slow on the uptake if all they have now is what the blogosphere had last week.

Shameful, and incompetent.

Posted by Charles Austin at 02:37 PM | Comments (0)

Too Little, Too Late

First, CBS News:

CBS News on Monday said it regretted broadcasting a story about President Bush's military service based on documents whose authenticity is in doubt, saying the source of the material had misled the network.

CBS News Anchor Dan Rather, the reporter of the original story, apologized.

In a statement, CBS said former Texas Guard official Bill Burkett "has acknowledged that he provided the now-disputed documents" and "admits that he deliberately misled the CBS News producer working on the report, giving her a false account of the documents' origins to protect a promise of confidentiality to the actual source."

The network did not say the memoranda — purportedly written by one of Mr. Bush's National Guard commanders — were forgeries. But the network did say it could not authenticate the documents and that it should not have reported them.

"Based on what we now know, CBS News cannot prove that the documents are authentic, which is the only acceptable journalistic standard to justify using them in the report," said the statement by CBS News President Andrew Heyward. "We should not have used them. That was a mistake, which we deeply regret.

"Nothing is more important to us than our credibility and keeping faith with the millions of people who count on us for fair, accurate, reliable, and independent reporting," Heyward continued. "We will continue to work tirelessly to be worthy of that trust."

Additional reporting on the documents will air on Monday's CBS Evening News, including the interview of Burkett by Rather. CBS News pledged "an independent review of the process by which the report was prepared and broadcast to help determine what actions need to be taken."

And then, Dan Rather:

In a separate statement, Rather said that "after extensive additional interviews, I no longer have the confidence in these documents that would allow us to continue vouching for them journalistically."

"I find we have been misled on the key question of how our source for the documents came into possession of these papers," he said.

"We made a mistake in judgment, and for that I am sorry," Rather added.

Where's the apology to the people who's motives you questioned Mr. Rather? I don't detect anything but being sorry you got caught in trying to peddle a lie that was obvious to anyone not drinking the Kool-Aid. The Alan Parson's Project had this latest fiasco with CBS News nailed over twenty years ago with Eye in the Sky, just think of CBS News as the chorus in response to what the rest of the blogosphere has been singing for a while:

Don't think sorry's easily said.
Don't try turning tables instead.
You've taken lots of chances before,
But I'm not gonna give anymore.
Don't ask me.
That's how it goes,
'Cause part of me knows what you're thinkin'.

Don't say words you're gonna regret.
Don't let the fire rush to your head.
I've heard the accusation before,
And I ain't gonna take any more.
Believe me.
The sun in your eyes,
Made some of the lies worth believing.

I am the eye in the sky,
Looking at you,
I can read your mind.
I am the maker of rules,
Dealing with fools,
I can cheat you blind.
And I don't need to see any more
To know that,
I can read your mind, I can read your mind.

Don't leave false illusions behind.
Don't cry, cause I ain't changing my mind.
So find another fool like before.
'Cause I ain't gonna live anymore believing,
Some of the lies, while all of the signs are deceiving.

I am the eye in the sky,
Looking at you,
I can read your mind.
I am the maker of rules,
Dealing with fools,
I can cheat you blind.
And I don't need to see any more
To know that,
I can read your mind, I can read your mind.

Posted by Charles Austin at 12:48 PM | Comments (0)

September 16, 2004

Compare and Contrast

Big Media (in the person of CBS):

CBS anchor Dan Rather acknowledged for the first time yesterday that there are serious questions about the authenticity of the documents he used to question President Bush's National Guard record last week on "60 Minutes."

"If the documents are not what we were led to believe, I'd like to break that story," Rather said in an interview last night. "Any time I'm wrong, I want to be right out front and say, 'Folks, this is what went wrong and how it went wrong.' "

The Blogosphere (in the person of Allah):

UPDATE: Here's a great catch from reader "SAS" about the dispute over abbreviations. A 1970 memo from Killian praising Lieutenant George W. Bush (the authenticity of which appears not to be in dispute) reads "Lt. Colonel" in the signature block. This contradicts what the reader who works in the tri-service shop told me. Note, however, where the signature block is placed: On the left-hand side, where it's supposed to be, not on the right-hand side as it is in the newly discovered memos.

Good job fact-checking me. Keep it coming.

Posted by Charles Austin at 10:42 PM | Comments (0)

September 15, 2004

Guess Those Dinner Invitations Must've Started Getting Scarce

Hey, come on, lighten up,Jay's gotta work in this town:

Jay Leno says, “I’m not conservative. I’ve never voted that way in my life.” He “really worries” what a Dubya victory in November will do to the makeup of the Supreme Court. He believes “the wool was pulled over our eyes” with the Iraq war. He thinks the White House began using terrorism “as a crutch” after 9/11. He feels that during the campaign Kerry should “make Bush look as stupid as possible.” He believes “the media is in the pocket of the government, and they don’t do their job” so “you have people like Michael Moore who do it for them.” He has on his joke-writing staff a number of former professional speechwriters for Democratic candidates. “No Republicans.” When it comes to Bush, he doesn’t think his politics are much different from Letterman’s. “Does he show his dislike maybe a little more than I do? Probably.” Leno used to read Mother Jones magazine.

I can only hope that Nikki Finke was putting a lot of words into Jay's mouth. Otherwise, I'm not sure I can laugh with a man who really believes that, “the media is in the pocket of the government, and they don’t do their job” so “you have people like Michael Moore who do it for them.” Then again, the terrible job the government does on so many things could explain the whole CBS fiasco.

Posted by Charles Austin at 11:06 PM | Comments (1)

Line of the Year

Go ahead, tell me you've got a better one than this:

CBS anchor Dan Rather acknowledged for the first time yesterday that there are serious questions about the authenticity of the documents he used to question President Bush's National Guard record last week on "60 Minutes." "If the documents are not what we were led to believe, I'd like to break that story," Rather said in an interview last night.

You go, Dan!

Posted by Charles Austin at 10:59 PM | Comments (1)

I Never Thought I'd Write This

As CBS tosses the shovels aside and brings in the heavy equipment to keep digging, their window for plausible deniability is disappearing rapidly. What could have been considered mistakes can now only be considered to constitute fraud and a coverup. If a lot of heads do not roll for this and we don't find out soon who is behind the forged memos, then ladies and gentlemen, professional journalism will have jumped the shark.

Who's going to want to have CBS News on their CVs in five years?

Posted by Charles Austin at 10:43 PM | Comments (0)

Edward R. Murrow Would Be So Proud (cont.)

CBS News: The facts be damned, we're after the truth!


The editorial content of the report was not based solely on the physical documents, but also on numerous credible sources who supported what the documents said.

Through all of the frenzied debate of the past week, the basic content of the 60 MINUTES Wednesday report - that President Bush received preferential treatment to gain entrance to the Texas Air National Guard and that he may not have fulfilled all of the requirements -- has not been substantially challenged.

CBS News will make every effort to resolve the contradictions and answer the unanswered questions about the documents and will continue to report on all aspects of the story.

In other news, chocolate rations have been raised from four grams to three grams.

Posted by Charles Austin at 09:10 PM | Comments (2)

So I'm a Bastard, Eh Juan?

On Fox News, Juan Williams just said (paraphrasing), "the difference between Big Media and Interent sites is that Big Media has their credibility at stake." Instead of Big Media, Juan listed four or five Big Media vendors. Otherwise the statement is correct. I'd give you the exact statement, but I can't type that fast. And, yes, I intentionally used the word vendors. This seems to be a frequently forgotten fact when it comes to Big Media, but one which we bloggers who still live in a free market never forget. We have to sell what we write, but the currency is readership rather than cash (for most of us anyway). If any of us are whacked out and unreliable, we're going to lose in the free marketplace of ideas.

Mr. Williams is also still trying to push the "issues raised" by the memos meme being what's really important. And, oh yeah, if the memos are fake, then CBS must answer for them. This is sad.

Now CBS has released its take using a little old lady on 60 Minutes tonight, (surely this will be just between us, right?) and it is saying that the memos may be fake but the contents are valid. Can you imagine trying this in a court of law, which is sometimes less strict than the court of opinion? Unbelieveable, unless you're Juan Williams, I guess.

"The President still hasn't said he took the physical." -- You go Mr. Williams. Just go.

Posted by Charles Austin at 06:56 PM | Comments (2)

I Think We're In the Banging the Table Stage

Remember the old saying, when the facts are on your side, pound the facts, if the facts aren't on your side, pound the law, if the law isn't on your side, pound the table. Sometimes, we complain when lawyers attempt to try a case in the media rather than in the courtroom. Gee, since CBS is losing the PR battle, who or what can they turn to? Can we expect CBS to start suing people to distract everyone from their problems?

FWIW, I think Congress investigating CBS is wrong in so many, many ways. Better to let the market sort it out.

Posted by Charles Austin at 06:15 PM | Comments (0)

Equal Time?

Once everything has come out, CBS News' reputation is destroyed, and Dan Rather has resigned in disgrace, will the FCC weigh in and demand equal time for the Bush campaign? Especially if the memos end up being tied to someone from the Kerry campaign?

Posted by Charles Austin at 12:44 PM | Comments (0)

September 13, 2004

The Original Copy?

Martin Devon raises an interesting point about the forged Bush bashing memos. What if the forgers had been a little more clever, sought out an old IBM Selectric, and had the language, style, references, acronyms, and signature blocks more or less correct, all the while expressing the same sentiments about President George W. Bush and his alleged failures to fulfill his Texas Air National Guard responsibilities?

Thinking this one through makes it crystal clear, at least to me, how deep in the tank Big Media has gone for John Kerry. They so desperately wanted to believe that these memos were true, or, like an audience viewing a play, they were at least willing to suspend disbelief, because it just fits, you know? I believe it is because Big Media has become so cynical about their role in the process that they have abandoned their normal skepticism when it comes to Bush bashing. Now they will pick up just about anything (come here, Kitty, Kitty) and run with it if it fits their preconceived, jaundiced, myopic worldview. The only thing more predictable is the self-righteous anger they radiate when challenged by the hoi polloi.

But suppose for a moment that there were some genuine, damaging memos from that time period that suddenly came to light. Would they be believed? Could they be believed? How long will it be now before some enterprising eager young person manufactures some memos using the right equipment, language, style, references, acronyms, and structure? Regardless, the most important question is why any of this is more important than what has happened the last twenty years, or even the last four years. Are people not allowed to grow and mature any longer or must the transgressions of their youth haunt them forever?

This whole fiasco also reminds me of something Umberto Eco wrote in Foucault's Pendulum:

"Gentlemen, I will now show you this text. Forgive me for using a photocopy. It's not distrust. I don't want to subject the original to further wear."

"But Ingolf's copy wasn't the original," I said. "The parchment was the original."

"Casaubon, when originals no longer exist, the last copy is the original."

Hmm..., makes one wonder what Dan Rather is holding on to now.

Posted by Charles Austin at 11:05 AM | Comments (2)

September 11, 2004

Haute, Or Should I Say, Haughty Couture

This is funny:

JUST CAUGHT Jonathan Klein debating Stephen Hayes about the CBS forgery scandal. Klein says that "Bloggers have no checks and balances . . . [it's] a guy sitting in his living room in his pajamas."

Better pajamas than no clothes at all. (At least for most of us.) But jeez, this is worse than relying on the authority of the speaker or author to confer truth or relevance. Now you have to be wearing the right clothes to be taken seriously?

Are you sure you want to go down this path?


Posted by Charles Austin at 01:20 PM | Comments (1)

September 10, 2004

Sad, Very Sad

I almost feel sorry for Dan Rather. He's shuttled back and forth between a sheltered cocoon and an echo chamber for so long that perhaps he doesn't realize how big a fool this is making him out to be. Forget bias or partisanship, this episode is destroying his reputation completely and undermining whatever good he may have done in the past. What causes this kind of blindness or stubborness in the face of overwhelming evidence? How can someone so intelligent, cultured, and experienced lose his perspective so badly and engage in such wanton self-destruction? Can Dan Rather's particular form of illiberalism really make one so unable or unwilling to face reality if it becomes inconvenient? Can you picture Peter Jennings, Tom Brokaw, Aaron Brown, or Jim Lehrer acting like Dan Rather is acting now?

Now watch how quickly Mr. Rather's friends abandon him as the first cracks in the dam become apparent. At this point, I still think he won't make it through the weekend.

Posted by Charles Austin at 10:18 PM | Comments (1)


Pride goeth before a fall:

In addition, the documents are backed up not only by independent handwriting and forensic document experts but by sources familiar with their content. Contrary to some rumors, no internal investigation is underway at CBS News nor is one planned. We have complete confidence in our reporting and will continue to pursue the story.

Doesn't this sound an awful lot like:

I don't fall down. That sonofabitch ran into me.

Amazing, really. Not even a "we're looking into it" or "we will prove our sources our good" but mostly a "we don't make mistakes."

Posted by Charles Austin at 07:42 PM | Comments (1)

Tonight on CNN!

Anchors Gone Wild!

DAN RATHER, CBS NEWS ANCHOR: I know that this story is true. I believe that the witnesses and the documents are authentic. We wouldn't have gone to air if they would not have been. There isn't going to be -- there's no -- what you're saying apology?

QUESTION: Apology or any kind of retraction or...

RATHER: Not even discussed, nor should it be. I want to make clear to you, I want to make clear to you if I have not made clear to you, that this story is true, and that more important questions than how we got the story, which is where those who don't like the story like to put the emphasis, the more important question is what are the answers to the questions raised in the story, which I just gave you earlier.

So Dan Rather believes it is the seriousness of the accusations rather (no pun intended) than the facts themselves that are important. And how dare I question Dan Rather's faith tradition or what he believes! Maybe someone needs to explain the difference between truth and fact to Mr. Rather, as well as the difference between reason and faith. But boy oh boy, those authoritarian impulses do die hard, don't they?

Some of us are overly fond of calling out athletes who have been coddled for a long time and pampered to the point that they really think they are better than everyone else and not subject to the same rules. Well, that particular pathology isn't limited to those with a jump shot or 4.3 40 speed. That whole "speaking truth to power" thing looks a lot different when you're on the "power" side, doesn't it Mr. Rather?

Posted by Charles Austin at 02:16 PM | Comments (2)

And We'll Believe Them, Because...?


CBS Internal Investigator: "Mr. Rather, are these documents authentic?"
Mr. Rather: "Yes. We vetted them through experts."
CBS Internal Investigator: "Experts?"
Mr. Rather: "Yes. Experts."
CBS Internal Investigator: "Which experts?"
Mr. Rather: "Top experts."
CBS Internal Investigator: "Please reveal the names of these experts."
Mr. Rather: "A journalist never reveals his sources."
CBS Internal Investigator: "But these aren't sources, they are experts."
Mr. Rather: "These experts are the source for my claim that these documents were, I mean, are authentic."
CBS Internal Investigator: "Thank you for clearing that up."


CBS Internal Investigator: Prepare the press release absolving Mr. Rather and CBS from any wrongdoing. And get a copy of President Bush's honorable discharge papers to Mr. Rather's experts. I've got a hunch...

DOWNDATE: Not a CBS Internal Investigator: "Strike that investigation!"

"This report was not based solely on recovered documents, but rather on a preponderance of evidence, including documents that were provided by unimpeachable sources, interviews with former Texas National Guard officials and individuals who worked closely back in the early 1970s with Colonel Jerry Killian and were well acquainted with his procedures, his character and his thinking," the statement read.

"In addition, the documents are backed up not only by independent handwriting and forensic document experts but by sources familiar with their content," the statement continued. "Contrary to some rumors, no internal investigation is underway at CBS News nor is one planned."

Not a CBS Internal Investigator: "Just issue the press release. And keep digging."

Posted by Charles Austin at 01:42 PM | Comments (2)

They Harder They Come, The Harder They Fall

As many have noted, the greatest damage of the apparent forged memos concerning President Bush's time in the National Guard will be to Big Media. John Kerry was already, as I have been stating here for some time, going to lose badly, though this may help accelerate the process somewhat. But it is telling to look at how Big Media grabbed the story yesterday and ran with it, and how, even today, NPR was repeating it as though they were oblivious to the probability that these documents are forgeries.

This reveals an important aspect of media bias that isn't necessarily right-wing or left-wing, but insidious nonetheless -- the loss of skepticism and its replacement with a pervasive cynicism. The apparent absence of even a shred of skepticism about these documents by major news organizations is matched only by their cynicism that, of course, Bush lied, cheated, stole, was AWOL, or whatever else we want to accuse him of because, well, he's Bush and we know he's guilty of much, much worse. How else to explain why the NY Times, NPR, the AP, and others jumped out of the blocks and kept sprinting with this story towards the finish line even after it was clear that CBS had committed a false start?

Compare and contrast the treatment these accusations against President Bush received with the accusations made against Kerry by Swiftboat Veterans for Truth. Where was the skepticism about Kerry's frequently changing stories, or was it all used up on the Swiftboat Veterans for Truth? The cynicism and contempt for the Swiftboat Veterans for Truth is glaring as they were ignored by Big Media unless they could be maligned, usually with nothing more damning than an assertion from a partisan hack with an axe to grind that the Swiftboat Veterans for Truth were nothing more than partisan hacks with axes to grind. And yet, when Ben Barnes shows up with a shaky story that cannot withstand even one day of questioning in the blogosphere, he's featured and quoted and requoted along with some memos from unnamed individuals whose authenticity has been validated by unnamed experts. Nothing like building a house of cards on shifting sands in the face of a hurricane.

The blogosphere has become the ombudsman for Big Media, whether they like it or not. This has only become possible because the skepticism they value has been metamorphisized by market pressures, heat from new media, and world-weariness in the age of irony into a hardened cynicism. Hey Big Media, your protector of liberties crown wasn't stolen, you abdicated for a prominent seat at court. As for the great unwashed masses of the blogosphere, well...

We're here. We're fact checking your asses. Get used to it.

Posted by Charles Austin at 12:13 PM | Comments (0)

The Informal "Edward R. Murrow Would Be So Proud" Poll

Dan Rather will resign from CBS News because:

A. He admits that he has become nothing more than a shell of an objective journalist and a shill for the DNC, and that neither of these are compatible with professional standards for journalism.

B. The folks that run CBS see this as the opportunity to put an inflated, over-priced ego out to pasture. After all, they have never forgiven him for walking off the set in 1987.

C. The folks that work on the lower rungs at CBS News still have some pride and scruples and demand a restoration of objectivity to journalism at CBS or they will walk out en masse.

D. The folks who run ABC and NBC enter into a bidding war for Dan's services since they don't want to be seen as being second to CBS in the desire to have John Kerry elected.

E. The folks who run NPR have become concerned about the extremist right-wing slant of Daniel Schorr and ask Dan to join them to provide balance.

F. The folks who run CNN hire Dan to help make Larry King look like a tough and objective interviewer by comparison.

G. The folks who run Fox News want to hire Dan just to point and laugh at him from time to time.

H. The Bush administration finally yields to a Russian request to extradite Dan Rather to face charges of murder from his time as Gunga Dan in Afghanistan in 1980.

I. "Courage" just doesn't cut it any more.

Please leave your choices in the comment section.

Posted by Charles Austin at 10:46 AM | Comments (3)

I Can't Wait to Not Pledge This Year

Mara Liasson on Morning Edition this morning did her usual story on the Bush and Kerry campaigns, mentioning the new documents questioning President Bush's service in the National Guard. Strange, but she didn't seem to be aware that they are probably forgeries. Or perhaps like CBS, NPR decided that:

This was too hot not to push.

The Fourth Estate is crumbling and in dire need of repair.

"CBS" link courtesy of Instapundit.

Posted by Charles Austin at 08:50 AM | Comments (0)

September 09, 2004

I Predict

Gunga Dan is gunga gone.

Posted by Charles Austin at 10:48 PM | Comments (0)

September 06, 2004

Meet the Depressed

Anybody watch Meet the Press yesterday? Here's what I took away from it:

Tim Russert continues to be overrated as an interviewer.

Bob Graham seemed to be giving out information better left unsaid, as well as having some rather unusual ideas about intelligence and its uses. Thank God he won't ever be president.

Pat Buchanan couldn't get the time of day from Tim Russert, unless, of course, he wants to bash President George W. Bush. See, we cover both sides of the issue here at Meet the Press, people who hate President George W. Bush from the right and people who hate President George W. Bush from the left.

Can there possibly be anything more indicative of the utter worthlessness of political flacks getting airtime than seeing Mary Matalin and James Carville each making faces while the other gave rote responses to every question?

Posted by Charles Austin at 05:28 PM | Comments (2)

Blaming the Victim

How does this make you feel?

France has expressed solidarity with Russia but wants all "necessary information" about Moscow's handling of the Beslan school seizure, French Prime Minister Jean-Pierre Raffarin said on Monday.

In comments similar to remarks by the European Union's Dutch presidency which triggered a diplomatic row with Moscow at the weekend, Raffarin said France constantly reminded Russia of the need to respect human rights.

Responding to a call from Socialist party leader Francois Hollande for French authorities to demand an "explanation" from Moscow, Raffarin said in a live debate on RTL radio: "We have already done so."

"Indeed, we want to express both our solidarity over this act of terrorism against Russia but also we want to have all the necessary information and we remind Russia every time we meet of the need to respect human rights," Raffarin said.

How would this make you feel if you were a Russian? To paraphrase Sergei from The Wire, "A but. Why is there always a but?"

Posted by Charles Austin at 04:45 PM | Comments (0)

One Out of Three is Bad

From the New York Times:

Russian Rebels Had Precise Plan


The carefully planned slaughter of hundreds of children, a massacre of innocents mown down inside their school by zealots who bayoneted one when he asked for water and who blew others up or shot them in cold blood, is a monstrosity which has had a profound effect upon those who watched in horror as the tragedy unfolded.

The hellish images — of murder, of screaming terror, of naked and starving children forced to eat the flowers they had brought to school or drink their own urine — will surely serve to define our terrorised age. It is impossible to comprehend how human beings can behave like this to anyone, let alone to children.


Russian officials said authorities have determined that 10 of the 32 suicide attackers who took over a high school in Beslan in North Ossetia last week were nationals from several Arab countries. Most of the attackers were Chechens and Ingush who had been trained at Al Qaida camps in Afghanistan.

The 10 Arab nationals came from Jordan, Saudi Arabia and Syria, officials said. They said security forces seized notebooks in Arabic in the school taken over by insurgents. Officials said survivors told authorities that some of the captors spoke Arabic during the three-day hostage ordeal.

Well, they did have a plan. The New York Times if no Meatloaf.

Posted by Charles Austin at 04:34 PM | Comments (0)

Why Charlie Gibson Gets the Big Bucks

In a special post-operative report on Bill Clinton's heart surgery:

A quadruple bypass, so that is more complicated than... a triple?

I have to admit, that particular question would never have occured to me.

Posted by Charles Austin at 04:21 PM | Comments (0)

Washington Post Suggests Sticking to What Was Actually Said, At Least In Some Cases

Here's what the Washington Post's ombudsman has to say about the Post's page one headline the other day:

"Cheney Calls Kerry Unfit," read the big, front-page headline over a story in Thursday's Post about attacks on the Democratic challenger at the Republican convention in speeches by Vice President Cheney and Democratic Sen. Zell Miller of Georgia.

"Unfit" is a powerful, personally damning word; it has become even more explosive in the past several weeks because it is in the title of a best-selling book, "Unfit For Command" by John E. O'Neill and Jerome R. Corsi. The book is the cornerstone of a nationwide effort by a group called Swift Boat Veterans for Truth to challenge Sen. John F. Kerry's war record.

The problem is that Cheney never used the word "unfit." Yet the headline can be seen as reinforcing the Swift boat challengers' attack. The headline writer no doubt drew inspiration from the first paragraph of the story by reporter John F. Harris, who wrote that Cheney "reached back decades" into Kerry's life, "arguing in taunting language that the Democratic presidential nominee has demonstrated through his public statements and votes that he is unfit to be commander in chief in an age of terrorism."

You could draw that conclusion from listening to what Cheney did say. But that, in my view and those of some readers, was a poor choice of words and headline. The headline went beyond what Cheney said and then spread the characterization across the front page.

But lest you think that a new leaf has been turned over at the Washington Post:

In a campaign as volatile as this, it seems to me to be best to stick with what was said and leave the interpretation for readers.

Something to keep in mind for everything other than volatile campaigns, I guess.

Posted by Charles Austin at 04:18 PM | Comments (0)

August 19, 2004

What Liberal Media?

Have the New York Times and the Washington Post registered with the Federal Election Commission and the Internal Revenue Service as a 527 yet? Oh, that's right, if they did that then they couldn't coordinate directly with the Kerry campaign.

Never mind.

Posted by Charles Austin at 11:52 PM | Comments (0)

Nattering Nabob of Negativity

Thy name is Al Trautwig. He is always nattering on and on when he should be quiet. If he's not a nabob, he's certainly a nob. And he's got negative down pat, way down pat.

Posted by Charles Austin at 11:41 PM | Comments (0)

Polite Society Ain't What It Used to Be

Karl/Scott/Whomever in a comment below suggested I read this article in Slate by William Saletan and Jacob Weisberg. Responding to karl/Scott/Whomever before reading the article, I wrote:

Another helpful hint would be to avoid using MoveOn.org as a reputable source -- it's not. No doubt they occasionally get something right, but their blatant falsehoods and their wicked viciousness have robbed them of a seat at the adult table. Slate's certainly more reputable, but a little selective when it comes to which facts they'll use and which they'll ignore.

Now that I've read the article, I take it back. Slate is no better than MoveOn.org. They just have a better vocabulary and perhaps don't drool quite as much. Sometimes I wonder how people so filled with bile get through the day.

Posted by Charles Austin at 07:02 PM | Comments (1)

All the Views Fit to Print

From the Washington Post:

Records Counter a Critic of Kerry

Huh? What? Who is this critic of which you speak? Isn't it interesting that in the case of the Swift Boat Veterans for Truth, the "correction" appears on page one above the fold, while the original news was buried on page 19.


Military records counter a Kerry critic

Say, these headlines look suspiciously similar. These folks aren't cribbing from each other or working from the same playbook, are they?

From the New York Times:

It may seem outlandish to launch a campaign broadside by television ad and book flackery devoted to discrediting the respectable Vietnam War record of Senator John Kerry, who has five combat medals. But that is exactly what a Republican-financed group of partisans is doing in presenting itself as Swift Boat Veterans for Truth and tattooing the Democratic presidential nominee with accusations of lying about his service and war wounds. Never in Mr. Kerry's command, but claiming to have served near enough, its members are trying to contradict the firsthand accounts of his crewmates who are vouching for his war record.

And in case you still had a doubt where the NY Times squats:

The attack ads and the book, "Unfit for Command,'' are a visceral part of the anti-Kerry campaign in the battleground states.

For the loyal left, nothing says evil like Republican attack ads, unless, of course, we can drop NIXON into the mix:

The leader of the attack, John O'Neill, a Swift boat veteran and Texas lawyer, has been a detractor of Mr. Kerry for decades, ever since the Nixon White House recruited him to rebut Mr. Kerry's criticism of Vietnam policy.

Case closed. Or minds closed. Well, actually, neither case nor minds ever opened, but the effect is much the same.

Posted by Charles Austin at 09:36 AM | Comments (13)

August 18, 2004

Which Is Worse?

Reading the latest throughout the blogosphere today, it seems Big Media’s sins of omission are beginning to become more serious than their sins of commission, which is what the blogosphere is usually going on about. Instead of “What Liberal Media?” perhaps we should be asking “What Professional Media?”

Posted by Charles Austin at 07:24 PM | Comments (2)

Dog Bites Man

Kids Favor John Kerry, Fox News in Myers/Neopets.com Political Poll

Big deal. We've known for a long time that adults who think like children favor Kerry so why should we be surprised that children who think like, well, children are going to favor Kerry? And just in case you were thinking of taking this seriously anyway, my 8 year-old daughter -- who reads beyond a 4th grade level, which seems to exceed the reading level of most pro-Kerry trolls -- has an on-line Neopet, but I wouldn't think of asking her who she would vote for. I mean, I can buy her vote for a piece of candy, which, when you think about it, explains the thinking of far too many Democratic voters these days.

Posted by Charles Austin at 10:42 AM | Comments (4)

August 16, 2004

Is There An Alternative Radio Broadcast of the Olympics?

Can NBC please get rid of their primary announcer for men's gymnastics and find someone who will focus on the incredible feats the athletes are performing and the joy on their faces when they complete an excellent routine, rather than dwelling on the smallest mistakes and virtually wishing for mistakes from competitors not from the USA? It's about being the best, not being the least worst.

DOWNDATE: Oh, it's Al Trautwig, whose signature comment tonight was, "Damage assessment?" after one of the American athletes finished her floor routine. Congratulations Al, you're the biggest asshole at the Olympics since Jim Gray in Seoul.

Posted by Charles Austin at 11:24 PM | Comments (2)

Yea, Yea, Yea

When I was a senior in high school 27 years ago, I was told we would be out of fresh water, oil, and food within 15 years, i.e., by 1992. Seems like nothing ever changes, at least for the BBC:

The World Water Week in Stockholm will be told the growth in demand for meat and dairy products is unsustainable. Animals need much more water than grain to produce the same amount of food, and ending malnutrition and feeding even more mouths will take still more water. Scientists say the world will have to change its consumption patterns to have any realistic hope of feeding itself.

Thank God Bill Clinton came along in 1992 and restored the Earth to health, at least until the evil George W. Bush came along and destroyed everything. Again.

But my favorite item in this story was this picture with this caption:


Meat is a treat for the rich

Somehow, I don't think this is how the lucky 1% who have unfairly benefitted from George W. Bush's tax breaks on the backs of the middle class eat. But I can't wait for Morgan Spurlock to discover that he is now succeptible to John Kerry's confiscatory tax policies as one of the "rich."

Posted by Charles Austin at 02:58 PM | Comments (3)

Nothing To See Here, Keep Moving

Rowan Scarborough questions many Democrats' patriotism:

Saddam Hussein periodically removed guards on the Syrian border and replaced them with his own intelligence agents who supervised the movement of banned materials between the two countries, U.S. investigators have discovered.

The recent discovery by the Bush administration's Iraq Survey Group (ISG) is fueling speculation, but is not proof, that the Iraqi dictator moved prohibited weapons of mass destruction (WMD) into Syria before the March 2003 invasion by a U.S.-led coalition.

Two defense sources told The Washington Times that the ISG has interviewed Iraqis who told of Saddam's system of dispatching his trusted Iraqi Intelligence Service (IIS) to the border, where they would send border inspectors away.

The shift was followed by the movement of trucks in and out of Syria suspected of carrying materials banned by U.N. sanctions. Once the shipments were made, the agents would leave and the regular border guards would resume their posts.

"If you leave it to border guards, then the border guards could stop the trucks and extract their 10 percent, just like the mob would do," said a Pentagon official who asked not to be named. "Saddam's family was controlling the black market, and it was a good opportunity for them to make money."

Sources said Saddam and his family grew rich from this black market and personally dispatched his dreaded intelligence service to the border to make sure the shipments got through.

The ISG is a 1,400-member team organized by the Pentagon and CIA to hunt for Saddam's suspected stockpiles of WMD, such as chemical and biological agents. So far, the search has failed to find such stockpiles, which were the main reason for President Bush ordering the invasion of Iraq to remove Saddam.

But there is evidence of unusually heavy truck traffic into Syria in the days before the attack, and with it, speculation that some of the trucks contained the banned weapons.

Maybe the trucks were filled only with antiquities taken from Baghdad's museums since the US failed to post enough guards there, even before the liberation.

Posted by Charles Austin at 02:51 PM | Comments (0)

August 01, 2004

Michael Moore is an Asshole

I've been lying in bed unable to sleep while my wife insists on watching Bowling for Columbine. After an hour of his lies, innuendos, and non sequiturs, mixed with a heavy dose of evil corporations, and blame America firstism, I still have trouble believing that he was an honored guest at the DNC Convention this week.

Everything has changed since 9/11, but not all of it has been for the better.

Posted by Charles Austin at 01:47 AM | Comments (4)

July 15, 2004

TNR - Not a Serious Publication

Here's how the lead article I received today from The New Republic starts:

President Bush isn't an aspiring dictator, and he's not planning to rig the election. But...

Really, Jonathon Chait gets paid to write like this?

Posted by Charles Austin at 10:57 PM | Comments (0)

June 29, 2004

It Is So Much Easier To Destroy Than To Build

I wish Big Media would remember that as they weigh the importance given to the evil done by destructive forces in Iraq compared to the good that constructive forces are doing there. It really seems as though all Big Media can do any longer is rubber-neck and gawk at the scene of tragedies. Whatever happened to educating the public or at least presenting the "other side" of the story -- which in Iraq would be the good news? Does politically correct J-school groupthink have a boa-like lock on the body of professional journalism, constricting its vision and so immoblizing its practitioners that they can no longer provide breadth or depth of understanding to their readers, but only sensationalism and superficial platitudes learned by rote at the feet of the postmodern pedagogy? When did wit replace wisdom? When did cleverness displace careful consideration? Or is it that beating Bush simply takes precedence over perspective, professionalism and propriety?

Ernie Pyle and Edward R. Murrow would be so proud.

Posted by Charles Austin at 10:46 PM | Comments (0)

Perhaps a Mirror Might Help

Andrew Sullivan rightly rips William Raspberry for demonizing President George W. Bush in Raspberry's positive review of Fahrenheit 9/11, concluding:

Now let's summarize Moore's "conclusion": that the Bush family was, by its close financial ties with the bin Laden family, passively complicit in 9/11; that the administration did too little to apprehend the perpetrators of that massacre; that it invaded Afghanistan primarily to get an oil pipeline built; that it shifted the nation's resources to Iraq solely in order to appease oil interests and to enrich its own members; and that it lied about all of this. If William Raspberry really believes all this, then he should tell us why and how. But if he doesn't, he should have the basic integrity to say that Moore's movie is not just "sly" but a fantastical piece of malevolent propaganda whose only connective thread is a pathological demonization of the President of the United States. Raspberry cannot have it both ways. And the fact that he tries to get away with it says a lot about how corrupted the left has become in our national discourse.

Of course, Andrew has himself been just as guilty of demonizing said president himself lately:

Isn't it telling that the Bush administration wants McCain, Arnold and Giuliani as prime-timers for the convention? They're the three Republicans least in sync with the Bush administration. McCain is as close to a dissident as you can find. And Arnold keeps Bush at arm's length. A more representative selection would be: Santorum, DeLay, Ashcroft. And then you see why the Bushies won't let them hog the limelight. Too much honesty could wreck the campaign.

Gee Andrew, it must be frustrating every time President George W. Bush doesn't kowtow to your proffered caricature of intolerance. Of course, President Bush hopes some of their popularity will rub off on him, but McCain, Schwarzenegger and Giuliani could have said no. Could it be that these fine men actually support President Bush and want to see him reelected, even if President Bush is in favor of the FMA? Isn't it possible that President Bush and the Republican Party actually support a big tent and diversity of opinion? If you want a convention and a party where dissenting voices aren't allowed, may I suggest the Democratic Convention where the crushing and silencing of dissenting voices has become infamous. I also have no doubt that you will be able to find many more single issue gay marriage voters there.

Oh, and John Kerry opposes gay marriage as well, or at least he did last time I checked. Perhaps he has a more nuanced view of which I remain unaware.

Posted by Charles Austin at 09:33 AM | Comments (5)

Hindsight For Thee But Not For Me

Whenever someone asks why no one in the Intelligence Community was able to predict 9/11, keep in mind the razor sharp wits of our most important hair in Baghdad who weren't able to predict an early turnover of sovereignty to Iraq despite all the hints they had.

Posted by Charles Austin at 09:14 AM | Comments (0)

June 27, 2004


A copy of a popular newsmagazine showed up in my mailbox this week with my name printed on the cover. This is surprising because I'm quite certain I haven't ordered any magazines lately, and I certainly wouldn't have ordered this one. I think it is Newsweek, but I can't be sure since the last letter of the title on the front is blocked out by a picture of Bill Clinton's book. Perhaps it is Newseek, or Newsweed, or even Newswee. If you hang around until the end of the post let me know in the comments what you think is most appropriate.

I haven't picked up a copy of Newsweek in perhaps 25 years, so I thought I'd read it. Sometime later... Wow! I'm not sure but it seems as though the editorial boards of YM (yes, I have a teenage daughter) and Newsweek must have been combined to save money. How else to explain the remarkably juvenile nature of many of the stories and the predominance of puerile prose?

The Cover Story is about the release of Spiderman 2, sorry, I mean "Spidey's return" and:

... the tangled inside story of how the hot sequel to the original smash overcome a perilous casting crisis to make it to the big screen.

Bold fonts in the original. Meanwhile, less important matters this week such as the War on Terror, Saudi Arabia in turmoil, and partisan journalism are each relegated to less space in the index than that taken up by the blue material on "Spidey's" left thigh in the picture which dominates the week's index of articles.

Moving on to Periscope, or Newsweek's "Heads-Up Look at Scoops, Trends, Ideas, and People to Watch", my eyes are immediately drawn to the picture of Bill Clinton and John Kerry that unintentionally illustrates John Kerry's biggest fear as Bill Clinton is shown in full profile blocking out everything but John Kerry's important hair. The caption to this picture is:

TELL ME: The ex-prez and the prez hopeful at Reagan's funeral.

My goodness, I could read so much into this if I had more time, but I'll content myself with wondering what demographic they are trying to appeal to with the use of "ex-prez" and "prez." Perhaps the IM crowd are the only people left who take Newsweek seriously. At least I won't lose any more sleep worrying about alternate spellings of Al Qaeda, Beijing, Mao Zedong, etc., as the grand poohbahs of popular journalism try to stay hip with the latest fads in cultural sensitivity.

Moving to the bottom of the page we find Newsweek's "Conventional Wisdom" section. My favorite entry this week is Vice President Dick Cheney, or as the caption to the picture notes:


THE VEEP gets a big thumbs down with:

Despite overwhelming evidence to the contrary, he's still selling Iraq-9/11 link. Put up or shut up.

Uh huh. Aside from the fact that Dick Cheney has never tried to sell an Iraq-9/11 link, there's still the little matter of how one gets "overwhelming evidence" of a lack of evidence? Perhaps if the New York Times hadn't held on to its evidence for two weeks while printing contradictory headlines, it wouldn't have been necessary for so much of Big Media to be so wrong so often. As for "put up or shut up", well, if these magazines keep coming in the mail, maybe I'll start doing a weekly review of what Newsweek's Conventional Wisdom was one month previously, just to evaluate the worth or relative goodness of the Newsweek editor's conventions and wisdom.

In the event you fear your politically correct opinions may be in need of a refresher course, just read the Letters and Perspectives sections. If you missed your DNC talking points fax for the week, you'll probably find a fair bit of overlap here as well.

The first article is a five page layout on the War On Terror, dominated by three and one-half pages of pictures which do little but try to accentuate the snarky meme that Bush wasn't in charge on 9/11. The largest font is reserved for:

"Some doubted Cheney's account of the shoot down order. The White House reacted angrily."

Heaven forbid we learn anything about "some" or context surrounding the sitaution. Better to sow concern and doubt, allowing partisans to fill in the gaps with their own crayons.

The next article is about Michael Moore and Fahrenheit 9/11. There's a lot of inside baseball about the release and a quick, and unchallenged, recounting of Michael Moore's more spurious accusations. Well, let's face it, Bushitler still hasn't been able to adequately answer the rhetorical question, "Have you stopped beating your wife."

Fareed Zakaria follows with an article about the state of Saudi Arabia and the coming storm. The YM readers will be flipping pages rapidly here since there is a greater ratio of text to pictures than anywhere else in the entire magazine.

Flip the page and under National Affairs there's a story titled "Bill's Self-Portrait" about the unveiling of Bill Clinton's White House portrait and his book. The story is dominated by a one and one-half page picture of Bill Clinton admiring, well, Bill Clinton. There is also another smaller picture on the facing page of the cover of Bill Clinton's book featuring, wait for it, Bill Clinton. The unintended levels of irony almost make this whole exercise worthwhile.

Next, Robert J. Samuelson has an op-ed featuring the results of the Pew survey that documents the growing distrust the public has for Big Media. The date on the cover of the magazine is June 28, 2004. I read it on June 26, 2004. The original Pew survey came out on June 8, 2004. Clearly, Newsweek isn't aiming for a demographic that actually stays on top of current events through the blogosphere. This story is so June 9th.

Then there is a story about SUVs and high gas prices which notes sales are declining for the largest SUVs while priming the pump for the Prius, which isn't exactly a replacement for an SUV. Some samples of the seriousness of this article are:

[Chrysler CEO Dieter Zetsche on SUV sales], "This crisis scenario always pops up in May and June...". Nothing like a predictable crisis, is there?

[GM Chairman Rick Wagoner on the Hummer's declining sales], "They're a fashion statement." [He added that declining sales were], "completely predictable." I never thought Hummers would go out of fashion.

[Commenting on the new Dodge Magnum, SUV eschewer Sheryl Yeakey says], "This car has that gangster lean." I have to admit I have no clue what she's talking about. It didn't help that she then said in explaining why she didn't want an SUV, "With all that's going on in Iraq, I don't want to put all my eggs into something I'll be sorry for later." No doubt.

"With SUV's it's all about size and power," says Psychologist Margaret Krikorian of the L.A. trend-spotting firm Iceology. "It's all about Freud." What would a Newsweek article be without a little meaningless pop psychology thrown in? Later, Krikorian says, "It's a completely emotional purchase... but we all want to appear logical." This explains so much.

I'm getting almost as bored writing this as anyone still reading it probably is and we still haven't got to "Spidey" so we'll skip over the articles on the NBA draft being high school heavy, today's female bikers who are "reinventing motorcycle culture," banning tanning for wan teens, and a hazing scandal at an exclusive prep school.

And now, Along Came Spidey tells us more than we ever wanted to know about Tobey Maguire and Sam Raimi and how their inability to talk to each other instead of having my people work with your people almost resulted in someone else playing Peter Parker and having the opportunity to earn $17M. Then there's the love triangle with Kirsten Dunst involving her real life squeeze, Jake Gyllenhaal, who was tentatively picked to replace Tobey, who was rumored to be romantically involved with Kirsten during filming of the original movie. Finally, I'll note the cheesy, weirdly chosen list of film villains inserted into the article which includes Dr. Evil from Austin Powers. Strangely enough, there are nothing but white men in this list, but, to be fair, this is Newsweek. As far as the movie goes, they like it.

Skipping over an article on rap's newest superstar, in which my interest level is undetectable, the next article is ostensibly about issues concerning the use of electronic balloting, although the lead paragraph focuses on Walden O'Dell's, the CEO of Diebold, fund-raising for President George W. Bush. Gotta plant those seeds of conspiracy in fertile young minds every chance they get, I guess. That's so much more important than providing a balanced presentation of the technological and logistical issues involved.

Newsweek's Tip Sheet is a bunch of quick hits on topics that must strike the fancy of the the editorial staff. Contrary to the subtitle, I found nothing in this section that offered:

Smart Strategies for Your Money, Health, Family, Technology, Design, Real Estate, Travel

The penultimate Newsweek section is titled Newsmakers. In this section we learn the Los Angeles Lakers are troubled and that Kelly Ripa is "Super Busy Super Mom Super Rich." There's a gossipy item on Allegra Beck and Donatella Versace with an eerie picture that belies the fact that these beautiful people are the height of fashion. And to top it all off, you can learn the answer to the question we've all been waiting to ask Vince Vaughn about the time he kissed Christine Taylor in Dodgeball:

Does that mean you slipped her the tongue?

Or perhaps you were more interested in knowing the answer to:

Did you wear a cup for the movie?

Or even:

Did you actually train?

Perhaps my observation at the outset about YM makes more sense now.

The last page is reserved for The Last Word by Anna Quindlen. I have no idea what she wrote since, as a matter of policy, I'm not wasting any more time reading anything by Anna Quindlen.

Anyone have any idea why this thing showed up in my mailbox?

Posted by Charles Austin at 01:07 PM | Comments (2)

June 25, 2004


Ladies and gentlemen, I give you the New York Times:

Contacts between Iraqi intelligence agents and Osama bin Laden when he was in Sudan in the mid-1990's were part of a broad effort by Baghdad to work with organizations opposing the Saudi ruling family, according to a newly disclosed document obtained by the Americans in Iraq.

But I heard once again on NPR this morning that there were no links between Iraq and Al Qaeda. After all, the infallible and unimpeachable 9/11 Commission said so!

Posted by Charles Austin at 09:54 PM | Comments (0)

June 12, 2004

Andrew Sullivan

It has been previously noted here that some of Andrew Sullivan's posts and positions seem to be remarkably incongruent with his past writings. Frankly, I wonder if his activist mentality concerning gay marriage is starting to color his perspective on matters that are entirely unrelated. How else to explain his apparent shift to favor John Kerry over President George W. Bush the last couple of months. If you want to know more about why this seems so bizarre just read Andrew's archives. But what do I know, maybe Mr. Sullivan now believes John Kerry's repeatedly stated willingness to yield America's sovereignty to the UN is the right thing to do.

Maybe I should have been tipped off Thursday when Andrew spoke approvingly of Richard Cohen's take on Abu Ghraib and the "torture memos." Today, Andrew wrote something on this topic I just cannot let pass. In his haste to try and and make President George W. Bush look as bad as possible, Andrew drops into an absurd combination of moral equivalence and utopianism that is beyond the pale. Here's Andrew's post:

AIDS IN CHINA: We can be retrospectively critical of Reagan, but no one in America ever sent AIDS activists to forcible psychiatric treatment. But that's what just happened in Communist China:

When a fellow activist attempted to deliver some AIDS materials to Hu Jia on the evening of June 1, police refused to allow them to meet, and gave Hu Jia a brutal thrashing that resulted in injuries to his head and left arm. On June 3, four police officers forced their way into Hu Jia's home and said they would be staying there to monitor his activities. When Hu Jia objected, they struck him in the presence of his father and mother, then took him away and detained him in a cold, damp basement for three days and three nights. Since releasing Hu Jia on June 6, police have continued their surveillance on his home, cutting off all of the family's telephone access and refusing to allow Hu Jia to leave the house.
The more recent order for psychiatric evaluation is causing considerable distress to Hu Jia and his parents. Hu Jia's parents see absolutely no sign of mental abnormality in Hu Jia, and are well aware that "psychiatric treatment" has been forced upon a number of dissidents and religious practitioners, sometimes resulting in them actually becoming mentally unstable. A source passed HRIC a message from Hu Jia's family and friends calling on the international community to take note of Hu Jia's desperate situation. The message states, "If the police forcibly commit Hu Jia to a mental hospital against the wishes of himself and his family, this constitutes using psychiatric treatment as a form of torture and political persecution."

Yes, a form of torture. But how can the U.S. now take a stand against this, when the president has memos drawn up explaining why torture is sometimes okay?

This comment is so wrong on so many levels, tarring the entire United States because of the actions of a few, equating what happens in the confusion of a war zone (justified or not) with systematic, premeditated abuse of its citizens by the Chinese state, insinuating that President George W. Bush sought legal justification for an a priori decision to torture prisoners, and just generally falling into the same tiresome trap of claiming that we have no right to ever judge anyone for anything because we are not perfect all the time. Does Andrew really believe that the depraved actions of a few at Abu Ghraib reduces America and its government to the moral equivalent of the People's Republic of China now that they have adopted the old Soviet tactic of declaring dissidents mentally ill?

What utter rubbish. Andrew should be ashamed of spewing the sort of charges we are more accustomed to hearing from Ted Rall, Sid Blumenthal, James Carville, and, of late, Al Gore. Short of a change of heart and rhetoric, I am beginning to regard Andrew Sullivan as part of the same short-sighted, spinning cabal I generally refer to as Big Media. He now seems to be more interested in pushing an agenda than dealing with reality. That's too bad, because he is very intelligent, well-informed, and a much better writer than I'll ever be. Nonetheless, it is deeply distressing to see anyone, much less someone I have respected for so long, lapse so easily into utopian (postmodern?) moral equivalence because his otherwise clear vision has been obscured by his anger.

Posted by Charles Austin at 05:05 PM | Comments (9)

June 09, 2004

What Is This, 1984?

Drudge says: DAN & TOM: ENOUGH REAGAN...

Posted by Charles Austin at 03:05 PM | Comments (0)

Shithead Scumball (Rhyming Slang)

"Still, I'm not a knee-jerk left-wing guy," Mr. Rall said.

That's correct Ted. There's nothing knee about you.

Posted by Charles Austin at 02:35 PM | Comments (2)

June 02, 2004

What Liberal Media?

Dan Rather: simple-minded stooge or willful sycophantic shill?

Clinton, who flopped last year as a commentator for the CBS television news magazine, will discuss his upcoming book, "My Life," with newsman Dan Rather for an interview to be aired Sunday, June 20.

I find it amusing that they have to tell us that Dan Rather is a "newsman."

Posted by Charles Austin at 12:51 PM | Comments (2)

Who Said Irony Is Dead?

Did anyone else hear special U.N. envoy Lakhdar Brahimi on NPR this morning sternly admonish the new Iraqi government to remember that they are not elected?

Posted by Charles Austin at 09:55 AM | Comments (1)

May 27, 2004

At Least Women Are Not Hit Hardest

Report: 1 of Every 75 U.S. Men in Prison

Attorney General John Ashcroft said the report shows the success of efforts to take hard-core criminals off the streets. "It is no accident that violent crime is at a 30-year low while prison population is up," Ashcroft said. "Violent and recidivist criminals are getting tough sentences while law-abiding Americans are enjoying unprecedented safety."

Yea, but coming from John Ashcroft, even lower crime rates must be evil. But perhaps I spoke too soon about women not being hit hardest.

The number of women in state and federal prisons grew by 5 percent, compared to a 2.7 percent increase for men. Still, men greatly outnumber women: 1.36 million to 100,102.

At this rate, women will have broken through the cement ceiling and pass men in 2017 when almost 2 million of each are behind bars. My goodness, who's going to pay for my social security?

Posted by Charles Austin at 09:59 PM | Comments (0)

May 21, 2004

True Believers

Donald Sensing has a post linking to a story about the Argyll and Sutherland Highlanders performing a bayonet charge in Iraq titled:

There will always be an England

Before I got past the title, I thought, "that's true, there will always be an England." But, anglophile that I am notwithstanding, what I meant was that there would always be someone like Lynddie England, human nature being what it is. Once you understand and accept that, Big Media's compulsive obsession with Abu Ghraib looks even worse. The conscious and unconscious bias to defeat President Bush is one thing, but the child-like utopianism that all these earnest young people just can't shake -- even in the face of terrorism -- is what really worries me.

Posted by Charles Austin at 10:46 PM | Comments (0)

Didn't You Used to Gray Davis?

Remember how Arnold was going to be such a disaster as Governor according to the LA Times? No apology necessary:

A leading Wall Street ratings agency on Friday raised California's credit rating, citing an improving economy, the first such upgrade in four years and a move that promised to bring down the state's borrowing costs on $44 billion in debt.

Analysts saw the unexpected credit upgrade by Moody's Investors Service as an endorsement of the steps Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger has taken to bring California back from the brink of a fiscal crisis that drove its credit ratings near junk levels and had threatened to effectively shut the state out of the bond market for new borrowing.

Citing an "established trend of recovery," Moody's raised California's rating to A3 from Baa1, reversing a downgrade it made in December out of concern over continued political deadlock and a move by Schwarzenegger to cut car license fees.

Posted by Charles Austin at 09:01 PM | Comments (0)

Hey, That's My House!

The Learning Channel's While You Were Out episode running right now is rehabbing a fire station in Kirkwood, MO. Take that Webster Groves!

DOWNDATE: Chris of neighboring, decrepit Webster Groves seems jealous. But, why is it that all but one of the MWBB's have been held at the TNG's in Kirkwood after the inaugural bash at TNG's in Webster Groves?

Posted by Charles Austin at 08:37 PM | Comments (3)

Nothing to See Here

Anyone else notice how quickly Big Media turned and suddenly started defending and propping up Ahmed Chalabi now that he's no longer perceived as Bush's boy, but instead can be counted on to bash Bush's efforts in Iraq?

Posted by Charles Austin at 10:29 AM | Comments (0)

May 17, 2004

Tomorrow's Fish and Chip Paper

The St. Louis Post-Dispatch needs some competition. Otherwise they will keep publishing editorials like the two they squeezed out today:

STEM CELLS: Choosing life

THE MOST PROMISING RESEARCH into treatments for Alzheimer's disease, Parkinson's disease, diabetes and spinal cord injuries is being jeopardized by politics. In Jefferson City, Springfield, Ill., and Washington, hope is being held hostage by a handful of legislators.

Forward-looking leaders who understand the significance of this exciting scientific development would be encouraging stem cell research. But apparently they are in short supply in Missouri and Illinois, where last week legislators refused to endorse these promising inquiries. In Jefferson City, lawmakers shot down a plan to issue $190 million in bonds for life-sciences buildings in the University of Missouri system, where they feared therapeutic cloning - the process that yields stem cells - would take place. Those actions send an unmistakable message that researchers should go elsewhere to pursue the kind of research both states claim is vital to their future.

There is room for thoughtful people to disagree about the ethics of certain aspects of stem cell research. The research involves the use of cells present in the earliest stage of human embryonic development; the cells can be coaxed into becoming any type of cell in the body. Eventually, we may learn how they could be used to replace damaged heart or nerve cells, curing heart disease or Parkinson's. But producing stem cells involves taking them from blastocysts - tiny balls of cells that have been induced to divide for less than a week. However, these blastocysts were never fertilized by sperm nor implanted into a uterus and could not develop into a human being.

Now, a growing chorus of conservatives who identify themselves as pro-life are publicly speaking out in support of stem cell research. Earlier this month, at a fund-raiser for juvenile diabetes in California, former first lady Nancy Reagan talked about her husband's long struggle with Alzheimer's. "I'm determined to do whatever I can to spare other families this pain," Mrs. Reagan said.

She has called on President George W. Bush to ease restrictions on federal funding for stem cell research. So have other leading conservatives, including Sen. Orrin Hatch, R-Utah, and former Republican Sen. John C. Danforth of Missouri.

In August 2001, Mr. Bush said he would allow publicly funded stem cell research only on what he then estimated were 78 existing stem cell lines. But most of those turned out to be either unavailable or not viable for the work. Mr. Bush should listen to the words of wisdom and compassion coming from within his own party.

Most Americans recognize that a tiny clump of cells cannot be equated with a fully formed human being. Stem cell research is pro-life: It has the potential to ease the suffering of millions of people around the world. That potential must not be hijacked by an uninformed minority bent on scoring political points.

Regardless of your position on stem cell research or the sanctity of life, you gotta admit that it takes cujones the size of Micheal Moore's cheeks to advocate therapeutic cloning and call it pro-life. Oh, and it's nice to know the editors have such respect for their "intellectual" opponents.

You might think the St. Louis Post-Dispatch couldn't top that one, but you'd be wrong.

THE ECONOMY: Whip inflation now

IF YOU LISTEN CLOSELY, you can hear the American economy starting to hum again. Company profits are rising and employers are starting to hire. But now the inflation monster is showing signs of stirring from his long, sweet slumber.

The Federal Reserve should club the inflation beast before it wakes up and tramples our prospects for long-term prosperity. That means it's time for the Fed to raise short-term interest rates.

The old cliche holds that the Fed's job is to take away the punch bowl just as the party starts getting fun. The idea is to keep the good times rolling without producing the sort of wild economic bacchanal that results in a recession hangover.

By that measure, the United States is beginning to improve. The economy produced 288,000 jobs last month after adding 337,000 in March. That's strong evidence that the long job drought is behind us. Rising wages should follow as demand for labor grows.

Corporate profits were up 25 percent in the first quarter, and companies are again investing in new plants and equipment. The gross domestic product is growing at a healthy 4.2 percent rate.

All that's just ducky. What's worrisome is that prices seem to be rising, too. Consumer prices rose a modest 0.2 percent in April, the government reported Friday. But that monthly number tends to get knocked around a lot by volatile food and energy prices. So economists subtract food and energy to see what prices are really doing. That so-called "core" rate has been rising at a 3 percent annual pace over the past three months, up from 1.1 percent last year.
Historically, inflation has been a major economy party pooper. When out of control, it distorts business decisions, halts investment, cuts the standards of living, sends interest rates through the roof and brings on severe recession. No one wants to see mortgage rates above 15 percent again, as they were in 1981.

Once it catches on, inflation creates a psychology that feeds on itself. So history teaches that it's best to deal with it before it gets out of hand.

At its simplest, inflation is a product of supply and demand. As the economy heats up and more people get paychecks, consumers start to buy things faster than the economy can produce them. Prices rise. Other factors, such as the value of the dollar, federal deficit spending and oil decisions by the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries also play a role.

The trick is to let the economy grow as fast as it can without creating inflation. And that's where the Fed comes in. The Fed's lever is its ability to control short-term interest rates, which affect much business and consumer borrowing. Raising borrowing costs takes some steam out of the economy.

But the Fed's lever is slow-acting. It takes from six months to a year or more for a rate increase to slow the economy. That's why the Fed should act at its June meeting. On its present course, the economy could be getting wild and crazy a year from now.

Fed Chairman Alan Greenspan has been sending out smoke signals for a month or so, hinting that a slow, gradual rise in rates is in the offing. That's just what's needed. With current rates at a 50-year low, that policy should cause little real pain.

Opponents of higher rates note that American factories are still producing well below capacity, which argues against rising prices. But the actual inflation numbers belie such complacency.

Oil prices are the wild card. At $41 a barrel, they're at 20-year highs. They create drag on the economy, draining money out of the country and raising consumer prices at the same time. Chances are that oil prices won't decline very much any time soon.

The oil mess may allow the Fed to raise rates more slowly, but raise them it must.

OH MY GOD! Consumer prices rose a modest 0.2 percent in April! [The] so-called "core" rate has been rising at a 3 percent annual pace over the past three months! FOR GOD'S SAKE, RAISE THE FEDERAL FUNDS RATE NOW BEFORE WE ALL DIE!

There's no point in asking if the St. Louis Post-Dispatch has ever advocated higher interest rates before for a Democratic president six months before a general election, is there? Hell, I'll bet a dollar to a donut they've never advocated raising interest rates under any circumstances. It is amazing what Kerry's supporters have to do to keep their hopes up, ain't it?

Posted by Charles Austin at 11:13 PM | Comments (2)

May 08, 2004

Me Neither

Anybody else notice how much better Morning Edition was this week without Bob Edwards?

Posted by Charles Austin at 08:39 AM | Comments (0)

May 04, 2004

Air American't! (or Err America!)

As Glenn wrote:

GORE TV: Daniel Drezner is soliciting programming ideas.

Here are mine for game shows:

The Lock Box - Contestants vie for a pot of money they cannot have until they turn 70!

What My Lyin'? - Contestants have to determine the mystery guest based upon a recitation of their lies.

The $100,000,000,000,000,000 Pyramid - Contestants answer questions on Social Security to win as much as $2,800 a month for life!

Jeopardy! - Contestants match DNC talking points with the Republican policies being targeted.

Posted by Charles Austin at 08:32 PM | Comments (0)

April 25, 2004

Juan F'n Wiliams

When they mentioned Pat Tillman this morning on Fox News' roundtable, Juan Williams threw out a line asking if Pat Tillman's beliefs or sacrifice was more like John Kerry than George Bush. I'm paraphrasing and we'll have to wait for the transcript for the exact wording, but this was the sense.

Unbelievable. Can't we honor Pat Tillman and his sacrifice without trying to score partisan political points?

I no longer have any respect for Juan F'n Williams.

Posted by Charles Austin at 10:58 AM | Comments (3)

April 08, 2004

Fair and Balanced, Not

I'm watching Dan Rather for the first time in years right now, not by my choice. They are featuring Richard Ben-Veniste (with applause) and Bob Kerrey. The only quote by Condi Rice was her saying "I don't remember..." Oh good, my mother-in-law just changed the channel. Conservation of momentum continues in the liberal media.

Channel flipped to Tom Brokaw and Tim Russert is now focusing on the families' response. And Tim is oh so serious about demanding the release of the memo.

What a farce.

Posted by Charles Austin at 06:39 PM | Comments (1)

April 02, 2004

One Man's Graphic Realism Is Another Man's Celebratory Image

Big Media is all conflicted about whether to show graphic pictures of the recent terrorism, sorry, rebellious militancy in Iraq. Whether it comes from any remaining sensibilities about further coarsening the public discourse or concern about blowback for yet another cheap shot at the president is unclear.

Show them. Go ahead, let's see what the murdering bastards intend for all of us. Oh, and while Big Media is at it, they can pull up all the pictures from 9/11 (or Bali or Madrid or Israel) that their oh-so-sensitive paternalism prevented us from seeing when it happened, because, well, they didn't want to inflame the passions of the moment. And anyway, that wouldn't have riled up sentiment against President George W. Bush, would it? In fact, it might have helped him, and they certainly can't have that.

I propose the following to eliminate the faux moral conundrum our editorial betters find themselves in: run graphic pictures from 9/11 (or Bali or Madrid or Israel) side by side with any pictures from the atrocities they are showing us now, just for some context. It's war folks. It sure ain't pretty and that's why we want to win it and end it as quickly as possible.

No more partial measures.

Posted by Charles Austin at 08:50 AM | Comments (0)

March 28, 2004

Isn't "Lawyer" Redundant Here?

French lawyer 'to defend Saddam'

Posted by Charles Austin at 10:43 AM | Comments (1)

Off With Their Heads!

Professor Reynolds characterizes this as a lack of accountability:

Senior BBC staff are threatening to take some flagship programmes off the air rather than face criticisms from an internal inquiry launched in the aftermath of Hutton.

A remarkable series of internal battles, which has pitched some of Britain's most senior broadcasting figures against one another, has led to the threats. The inquiry, chaired by the BBC's director of policy, Caroline Thomson, has been described as a 'kangaroo court'.

Executives and presenters complained that the inquiry went against natural justice, was trying to find scapegoats for the Hutton debacle and had poisoned relations. The strength of feeling among senior BBC figures comes at a difficult time for Acting Director-General Mark Byford, who has been attacked for agreeing to the inquiry.

Byford hopes to become the next Director-General to succeed Greg Dyke, who resigned after Hutton. But staff said he could be presiding over 'mass walkouts' if individuals are attacked by the inquiry.

Stars such as political editor Andrew Marr, Newsnight presenter Jeremy Paxman, and Today's John Humphrys and Jim Naughtie have all raised concerns at the process that has been likened to 'the BBC's own Guantanamo'.

While Professor Reynolds is correct, we should do as our betters instruct and look for the root causes of the problem, rather than just it's symptoms. It would seem to me that the BBC, or more correctly, some at the BBC now regard themselves as some version of an absolute monarchy, ruling the realm of the airwaves through their royal will, placing themselves above us commoners and merchants, chafing at any challenge to their divine right to pontificate, extracting taxes from the populace to support their palaces and wars, issuing rhetorical bills of attainder for their political enemies, and expecting everyone to admire and celebrate the pomp and circumstance of their court. How dare these rustics presume to pronounce judgment on their betters, without so much as a "by your leave?" One can easily imagine the response to this challenge to their authority by Mr. Paxman, Mr. Marr, and Mr. Humphrys echoing Charles I, "I lyke this not."

I am unsure whether the United Kingdom and the BBC are headed for a showdown that was closer to that of King John and the nobles that produced the Magna Carta (which accomplished much less than commonly believed, but set a powerful precedent), or for a cataclysmic overthrow of the self-professed monarchy more akin to the execution of Charles I by Parliament. My money would be on the latter day Oliver Cromwells with the blogospere acting as the New Model Army. Of course, if this historical analogy carries on much further the leaders of the revolution should all expect to be gibbeted after the restoration.

Posted by Charles Austin at 10:19 AM | Comments (0)

February 18, 2004

What's Wrong With This Picture?

Was anybody else listening to Morning Edition this morning? Bob Edwards was talking with Miles Hoffman about orchestral auditions and Mr. Hoffman explained that auditions were all done behind screens to eliminate any possibility of favoritism based on anything other than the skill of the performer. At which point, Bob Edwards said:

"This is very cool, because this is about merit. Wouldn't it be great if all jobs were filled this way?"

Wow! Check it out. It comes at about 2:44 of the story titled "Playing to Win: Politics and Auditions" on Wednesday morning's Morning Edition.

I'm shocked.

Posted by Charles Austin at 06:52 PM | Comments (3)

February 17, 2004

What Liberal Bias?

Compare this headline:

Bush Tries to Boost Troop Morale in La.

To the first few words of this AP wire report:

Snapping a sharp salute before cheering soldiers…

And then compare those first few words to the rest of the sentence:

…President Bush put his credentials as wartime commander in chief on display Tuesday against suggestions he ducked his military duty as a child of privilege during the Vietnam War.

No, no bias here. Just the news, strictly objective and impassionate, without pride nor prejudice. But wait! There’s more!

Democrats have questioned Bush's stint in the Texas Air National Guard — how he managed to get in and whether he fulfilled his obligations — at the height of the Vietnam War. The Democrats also have contrasted Bush's stay-at-home duty with the combat-decorated record of Sen. John Kerry, the front-runner for the Democratic presidential nomination. Under pressure, the White House released Bush's military records last Friday but there was nothing new to document that Bush showed up for service in Alabama when Democrats have suggested he was AWOL, or missing.

Funny how it is never noted that there has yet to be any credible evidence provided that President Bush did not fulfill his National Guard obligations. But you have to appreciate the irony of Democrats and the Left getting so cozy and comfortable with someone whom they formerly would have called a “baby killer.” But wait! There’s still more!

It also was his first appearance on a military base since former chief weapons inspector David Kay concluded that Iraq did not have weapons of mass destruction, as Bush had alleged in leading the nation to war.

Is there any point at all in noting that that is not what David Kay said? Probably not. But, all is not lost if we can judge from the perspective of the troops whose morale President Bush set out to boost:

Staff Sgt. Jim Lee, an Arkansas National Guardsman, said, "I think he did his duty. We're certainly supportive of the president. We're all Guardsmen, so we know what happens when you transfer from one state to another. The records get convoluted."
Pfc. Allen Harmon, also from Arkansas, said, "In a sense you've got to look at people's past. But right now, he's doing a good job."

First Lt. Jason Cannon, a soldier of the 2nd Armored Cavalry Regiment who was wounded by a roadside bomb in Iraq, said, "I think it was a really long time ago. The press gets focused on things that aren't that important. I don't think he was AWOL. I've been in the Guard. He switched states. It looks like he was looking for a place to drill."

Pfc Willie Wade, a guardsmen majoring in education at Grambling State University, said, "I wondered (about Bush's Guard flap) when I first saw it. I take it he fulfilled his duty. They showed the papers."

I take it that the AP couldn’t even find a single troop to jump on the Bush was AWOL bandwagon. Looks to me as though the President managed more than just try to boost their morale, AP reticence to note same notwithstanding.

NOTE: I didn’t realize that the Professor (and a whole lot of other people) had already hit this.

DOWNDATE: Apparently the wire report has been changed.

Posted by Charles Austin at 11:05 PM | Comments (0)

February 10, 2004

Pretty Pennies

PRI's Marketplace started off this evening with host David Brown saying that he was lucky because he topped off his tank last night at $1.99 a gallon and this morning gas was $2.07 a gallon. Wow! Conservatively, I'll speculate that Mr. Brown might have saved as much as $0.80 overall, since he was only topping off his tank and, of course, we just know that's he's driving some fuel efficient minicar rather than a big SUV with a couple of 20-gallon tanks -- I mean, he is a host on PRI's Marketplace after all. Assuming that he won't fill up for, say, 4 days, that would mean that Mr. Brown has saved himself $0.20 a day for each of the next four days!

Now, what's funny to me is that Mr. Brown probably spent $4.00 buying a cup of coffee this morning, and yet he considers himself lucky that he saved $0.20 on gas today. But what bugs me is that Mr. Brown then wastes his time and mine talking about it as what I can only assume his producer considered a clever seque into OPEC's decision to cut production. While I have no doubt that when aggregated to the national level, the rise in the price of gasoline has enormous effects and implications, at the individual level this is beyond meaningless. Not that I have come to expect sophisticated market analysis from Mr. Brown, the show's title and the imprimatur of Public Radio International notwithstanding. For a program with a name derived from the most basic element of the free market they show an unyieldingly consistent hostility to capitalism. But then again, if Mr. Brown truly believed in capitalism, he probably wouldn't be working at PRI.

Posted by Charles Austin at 08:50 PM | Comments (0)

February 09, 2004

Don't Want My M T V

Scott Ott doesn't like MTV. I mean, he really doesn't like it.

Or with an apology to Mark Knopfler,

Now look at them yo-yo's, that's the way you do it
You pull her clothes off on that MTV
That ain't workin', that's the way you do it
Money for nothin' and your nips for free
Now that ain't workin', that's the way you do it
Lemme tell ya, them guys ain't dumb
Maybe get a blister on your little finger
Maybe get a blister on your thumb

We got to take o'er Super Bowl halftime
Grabbin' crotches, dissing stank hos
We got to move these album releases
We got to move these brand new Tivo's

That Janet Jackson with the titring and the makeup
Yeah, buddy, that's her own pair
That Janet Jackson got her own jet airplane
That Janet Jackson she's a millionaire

We got to take o'er Super Bowl halftime
Grabbin' crotches, dissing stank hos
We got to move these album releases
We got to move these brand new Tivo's

I shoulda learned to play the guitar
I shoulda learned to play them drums
Look at that mama, she got it stickin' in the camera
Man we could have some ...
And he's up there, what's that, nasally noises
Grabbin' on his bongoes like he's got scabies
Oh, that ain't workin' that's the way you do it
Get your money for nothin' get your nips for free

Now that ain't workin, that's the way you do it,
You pull her clothes off on that MTV
That ain't workin', that's the way you do it
Money for nothin' and your nips for free

Don't want my, don't want my, don't want my MTV...

Posted by Charles Austin at 09:50 PM | Comments (0)

(Lack of) Adventures in Headline Writing

Today's front page of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch featured a story below the fold from the Los Angeles Times about Howard Dean's troubles with the headline:

Missteps Tripped Dean's Campaign

Of course, it's no surprise that the headline writers at the St. Louis Post-Dispatch lack a sense of humor or they might have used this instead:

Missteps Trippi'd Dean's Campaign

Posted by Charles Austin at 08:18 PM | Comments (1)

February 05, 2004

I See I'm Not Alone

Andrew acknowledges that others have noticed his preponderance of posts pertaining to his sexual preference and how it may have prejudiced his perspective, and his perceptions, on politics.

I only mention this since my last post on it got more comments than anything else I've written. It was either that or the opportunity to have a lot of "p"-"p" alliteration.

Posted by Charles Austin at 07:00 PM | Comments (2)

February 04, 2004

If They Only Had a Brain

According to Drudge:

CBS announced today plans to enhance their ability to edit out any inappropriate and unexpected events from the Sunday, Feb. 8 broadcast of the "46th Annual Grammy Awards" on CBS.

Of course, this will virtually guarantee further boorish behavior since the "artists" know that their indiscretions won't really be exposed, so to speak, and yet they'll still get credit for being brave and bold, keeping it real, fresh, and on the edge. Jeez, this is so predictable you can't even chalk it up to unintended consequences. The only thing more predictable are the inevitable charges of censorship or squashing dissent when the delay is used to actually edit out something we aren't supposed to hear or see. Unless, of course, it is the correct kind of dissent squashing, like VH-1 editing out Hillary being booed, for instance.

Posted by Charles Austin at 02:31 PM | Comments (2)

February 02, 2004

It's Not TV...

HBO is playing the movie Unfaithful right now, starring Richard Gere as a man whose wife is cheating on him. I can only imagine that someone thought Richard Gere would be believable as a cuckold, in what they no doubt thought was a brilliant piece of casting against type. But why they thought audiences would feel any sympathy for him on this point is rather strange to me.

Posted by Charles Austin at 10:15 PM | Comments (2)

If History Repeats Itself, the First Time as Tragedy, the Second Time as Farce, What Is the Proper Description for the 9,045 Occurrence... So Far This Year?

I just heard someone named Michael on Dennis Miller's MSNBC show say once again that he cannot understand why the BBC is viewed so badly because of one error, which in fact wasn't really an error at all as we have seen, blah, blah, blah...

People -- and some journalists -- come on. Mr. Gilligan said something that was wrong and couldn't be backed up. No big deal really. Everyone makes mistakes or gets carried away with hyperbole from time to time. Apologize or ignore it, but just move on. But that is not what this is about. It's about the institutional problems that the BBC had in drawing a line in the sand over an indefensible position and sacrificing their actual integrity for what they claimed was their integrity but turned out to be little more than their personal bias.

Everybody who might read this probably already knows this, but I am sick to death of the mendacious dribble that passes for acceptable political discourse these days. And then, of course, there's the miserable defenses offered for what has transpired in the past year. Dennis Miller is disappointing me by letting Noami Wolf and Martin Short ramble on as though WMDs were the only reason Iraq was liberated (unilaterally, natch), not to mention Martin Short asking why Syria couldn't invade Israel claiming they had WMDs. Well Martin, dear boy, aside from Syria getting it's ass kicked big time if it tried, I think I'm within my rights to resent comparing the US and its allies to Syria, much less comparing Israel to Iraq. Personally, I'd love to see President George W. Bush give a speech announcing that the US, the UK and their allies saved the UN from terminal irrelevance by enforcing its resolutions.


Posted by Charles Austin at 09:41 PM | Comments (0)

January 21, 2004

Andrew Sullivan

I've been a fan and reader of Andrew Sullivan long before The Daily Dish made it's appearance. Nonetheless, Andrew seems to have done about an 140 degree turn recently with respect to President Bush. Is it just me or is Andrew's total commitment to gay marraige overly influencing his perspective on a lot of other topics?

Posted by Charles Austin at 10:44 AM | Comments (11)

January 15, 2004

Butt Experts

Shadoobay, shattered, shattered:

The death toll of U.S. troops in Iraq is nearing 500 but experts said this had not shattered public support for the war even as critics question whether the lives were lost for a worthwhile cause.

Go ahead (Reuters), bite the big ...

Posted by Charles Austin at 08:23 PM | Comments (1)

Apparently Iraqi's Aren't People

According to the Philadelphia Daily News:

FOR ALL the attention we spend on the number of U.S. soldiers killed in Iraq, this is the statistic that should really capture people's attention in Philadelphia: Last year, more people were killed in Philadelphia than in war-torn Iraq: 347 in the city vs. 327 in Iraq.

If they were to substitute "Americans" for "people" perhaps this might be true. Let's not minimize the loss of life of Iraqis, no matter how much better off they are now than they were one year ago today. One could also hope that the Philadelphia Daily news won't use the deaths of American's in Iraq to slam President Bush's policies, but I'd probably be happy if they don't slip into calling the thugs of Philadelphia "insurgents."

Posted by Charles Austin at 08:11 PM | Comments (0)

January 13, 2004

National (Not Re)Public(an) Radio)

I caught a few minutes of Morning Edition with Bob Edwards on the way to work today, and it never disappoints. Before I deal with their astounding puff piece on MoveOn.org, I want to note that it was preceeded by a piece on the Democratic contenders and how they are much more vicious towards each other in their e-mail and direct mail campaigns than they would ever be live with each other, in a debate for instance. To me, such behavior would seem to be just a variant of the "some people say" syndrome popular in Big Media these days, where the vilest unsupported accusations can be made against someone by "some people" without anyone having to step forward and take responsibility for putting the filth in the streets.

This point was made again big time this morning as NPR discussed the MoveOn.org contest that we've all read about lately. Morning Edition with Bob Edwards treated MoveOn.org almost as an independent middle-of-the-road, free-thinking institution, which was surprised that when they asked for entries for a campaign commercial to tell the truth about Bush, that every entry submitted was hostile to him. Imagine that! Morning Edition with Bob Edwards then proceeded to play snippets of three or four of the entries. While they all stopped a little short of Bush=Hitler, there was plenty of Bush the liar, Bush the despoiler of the environment, Bush the election thief, Bush the unilateral squanderer of internatioanl goodwill, et cetera ad nauseum. Now, of course, NPR would never actually say any of these things themselves about President Bush, but, well, you know, some people say...

Eventually, Morning Edition with Bob Edwards did get to the controversy over the Bush=Hitler ads, but amazingly enough, ... wait for it ..., MoveOn.org was the victim! No, really! The Bush=Hitler ads were submitted by people that MoveOn.org wasn't responsible for, and according to NPR and the MoveOn.org spokesman, the ads were removed as soon as they were noticed, but then the GOP and that nasty Drudge fellow somehow got them and exploited the ads to make MoveOn.org look really bad. Well, at least that's what some people say...

The attempts to mainline the fringe are in full tilt bozo operation over at NPR. Oh yeah, I don't recall any mention in their report of George Soros funding MoveOn.org to defeat President Bush either. Maybe it was there and I missed it since I was driving, but I think I would have noticed. Not that it mattered, since Diane Rehm had Mr. Soros on as her guest today. I don't know what others see or hear in Diane Rehm, but to me she's like a crazy aunt who lives in a cocooned little illiberal fantasy world, further publicizing what "some people say," surrounding herself with people whose views she finds comfortable, and pooh-poohing everyone who thinks differently than she. And if there was ever anyone who does not have a voice for radio, well, my goodness. She's got every right to have whomever she wants on as guests, to say whatever she wants, and to sound bad saying it, but please spare me the pretext that NPR and all their affiliates are anything but an extension of the the DNC and the Left, and increasingly the Angry Left which is chock full of people who will say just about anything.

I'm beginning to find this all to depressing to follow much longer.

Posted by Charles Austin at 06:28 PM | Comments (0)

January 08, 2004

Banging on the Plots and Plans

Sometimes, Matt Drudge is accused of sensationalism. Take today's headline for instance:


Mr. Drudge could have used plans, weighs, or contemplates for a verb instead of plots, which carries so many other connotations. Then again, I suppose he could have used schemes, conspires, or connives as well.

Posted by Charles Austin at 01:42 PM | Comments (0)

January 07, 2004

Be Afraid, Be Very Afraid

No, no, no, not of the latest scare mongering by watermelons posing as scientists:

Climate Change May Threaten More Than One Million Species With Extinction

What's really scary is that they may be right about the loss of biodiversity, but entirely wrong about what will have caused it. Destroying the engine of technology in the West and condemning the third world to endless poverty is much more likely to cause the loss of habitat for all these threatened species than the overblown, completely unproven threat of global warming caused by greenhouse gases emitted by first and second world countries.


Posted by Charles Austin at 07:08 PM | Comments (0)

But What About Their Self Esteem?

This opinion piece by Neal Starkman has the worst use of the letter "S" since, "Look at that 'S' car go!" in Trading Places. I have a few thoughts about Mr. Starkman's rather vacuous ideas I haven't seen expressed elsewhere in the blogosphere, but in an attempt to set a good example for Howard Dean, I'll demonstrate the virtue of an unexpressed thought. No further need for me to pile on at this point. I will merely content myself with the schadenfreude of knowing how miserable poor Neal must be knowing that he is ruled by his inferiors.

Posted by Charles Austin at 04:00 PM | Comments (0)

January 05, 2004

Tomorrow's Fish and Chip Paper

The St. Louis Post-Dispatch lead editorial today is titled IRAQ RECONSTRUCTION Gas gouging:

THE PENTAGON announced last week that it had fired the Halliburton Co. as the gasoline supplier for Iraq's civilian population. Furthermore, Pentagon spokesman Glenn Flood said the action had nothing - nothing at all - to do with allegations the firm had been price gouging.

Perhaps, perhaps not. But somehow, it seems the St. Louis Post-Dispatch has already made up its mind.

Mr. Flood insisted that decision had been under consideration for months. Halliburton, under contract to the Army Corps of Engineers, has been importing daily 2 million gallons of gasoline, fuel oil and benzene for Iraq's internal needs. Meanwhile, the Defense Energy Support Center was managing fuel supplies for U.S. troops in Iraq. For efficiency's sake, the Pentagon decided to combine both operations, Mr. Flood said.

Sounds plausible, but it's fair to ask the question and investigate.

Some people are skeptical.

"Some people" should be avoided by any self-respecting news organization since some people can be found that believe just about anything. Or is the St. Louis Post-Dispatch implying that they are the ones who are skeptical?

They've got some pretty good reasons, because:

A detailed investigation was performed by the St. Louis Post-Dispatch that found evidence of accounting irregularities?

Auditors discovered in early December that Halliburton was charging $2.27 a gallon to deliver gasoline from Kuwait, while gasoline from Turkey was selling for $1.18;

A fact, though perhaps some additional qualifying information seems to be missing. Perhaps there are significant differences between importing gas from Kuwait and importing gas from Turkey. Who knows? The St. Louis Post-Dispatch won't tell us.

Halliburton was seeking $61 million in excess charges under its no-bid contract;

Is this another isolated fact or is it related to the last one? Who knows? The St. Louis Post-Dispatch won't tell us.

Vice President Dick Cheney used to be Halliburton's chairman; and,

Aha! That obviously means that here must be corruption here because, well ..., um ..., who knows? The St. Louis Post-Dispatch won't tell us.

The issue had become a major political embarrassment for President George W. Bush.

Or, at least, the St. Louis Post-Dispatch would like us to believe it is a major political embarrassment for President George W. Bush. Otherwise, the amount of time and column inches devoted to it might prove to be an embarrassment for the St. Louis Post-Dispatch.

The weird thing about all of this is that Halliburton, for all the lousy publicity it has gotten out of its dealings in Iraq, may actually have clean hands on this deal.

Huh? Halliburton may be innocent, despite the implication that the Pentagon and its spokesman Mr. Flood are lying or at least spinning? Halliburton may be innocent, despite a headline of "IRAQ RECONSTRUCTION Gas gouging?" Halliburton may be innocent, despite the skepticism of "some people?" Halliburton may be innocent, despite Halliburton's request for excess charges which may have been justified on it's "no-bid contract?" Halliburton may be innocent, despite the fact that Vice-President Cheney formerly actually led Halliburton? Halliburton may be innocent, despite a strong insinuation that this is a major embarrassment for the President? How can this be?

The company insists that it was ordered to buy the expensive Kuwaiti gasoline by the Corps. The Wall Street Journal reported that the U.S. Embassy in Kuwait pressured the Corps and Halliburton to do business with the Kuwaiti firm Altanmia Commercial Marketing Co. Altanmia had no oil industry experience, but does have extensive ties to Kuwaiti government officials.

But ..., but ..., it was Halliburton, formerly led by Vice President Cheney. That's all that matters, isn't it?

So it may come down to this: The government of Kuwait, rescued by the United States after Saddam Hussein seized its oil fields in 1991, may now be repaying the favor by charging the United States as much as $2.65 a gallon for oil from those fields. And Mr. Bush's State Department may be complicit in gouging Mr. Bush's Defense Department.

Bastards. So, why doesn't the St. Louis Post-Dispatch take a strong position against Kuwait or the United States State Department instead of dropping snide allegations and insinuations against Halliburton, Vice President Cheney, and President Bush? Hmmm? I guess that might embarrass Secretary Powell, and we can't have that now, can we?

Meanwhile Mr. Bush's vice president is saying he knows nothing about all of this, Mr. Bush's Democratic critics are chortling and Mr. Bush himself says he'll make Halliburton pay back any excess profits, if there are any, but he's not sure.

Maybe Vice President Cheney said that because he has the habit of telling the truth. Why is it so hard for the learned scribes at the St. Louis Post-Dispatch to grasp that Vice President Cheney no longer runs the business of Halliburton? But, of course, chortling about the President's misfortune would seem to be what's important here. As to whether the President is sure or not about whether there were any excess profits, it may come as a surprise to the editorial board of the only newspaper in the 24th largest city in the US, but President Bush rightly would not track the accounting of charges on a contract let by the Pentagon. There are rules, laws, policies, and procedures for doing this, and none of them involve having the President audit the books. Perhaps Ellen Soeteber tracks the number of paper clips each employee uses at the St. Louis Post-Dispatch. At least that would explain the relatively paucity of thought that went into this lead editorial.

Kind of makes you wonder who's in charge.

If there are problems, I'm certain that DCAA will investigate and find them. What DCAA won't do is throw groundless accusations around so casually.

Halliburton's subsidiary, Kellogg Brown & Root, has been paid about $800 million to import gasoline, part of a larger, open-ended, no-bid contract it received to rebuild Iraq's oil infrastructure. The nice thing about all of this, from the U.S. taxpayer's point of view, is that Iraq is paying for its own gasoline out of seized assets and the sale of crude oil.

Oooo, a couple of facts! How did they get in here?

The bad thing about it is that trucking gasoline across Iraq is dangerous.

Shocking! But what does that have to do with any of the bulletized "arguments" for skepticism about Halliburton offered above?

U.S. troops are spending a great deal of time guarding gasoline shipments and mollifying hostile Iraqis who must wait in lines as long as 10 hours to buy gasoline.

Wow, it must be dangerous and risky to import the gasoline from Kuwait. When the risk rises, so does the cost. Having your employees killed is a pretty good indicator of a higher risk.

All of this in a country that floats atop the world's second largest reserve of crude oil.

The key words here are "reserve" and "crude." Getting the oil out of the ground and refining it are extremely difficult right now when the infrastructure in Iraq has been neglected and sabotaged. Unless the St. Louis Post-Dispatch is ready to provide everyone in Iraq with a spigot to this sea of oil and vehicles and engines that will burn crude oil, this is nothing but a mindless utopian complaint.

No wonder they're hostile.

So that's why the Iraqi's are hostile! But if only the St. Louis Post-Dispatch would spend one-tenth the effort trying to help educate the Iraqi's as to why there are gasoline shortages and the great lengths the US is going to to try and alleviate them, instead of casually assuming that the US is always the bad guy and Bush and Cheney and Halliburton are corrupt -- for no apparent reason other than they are Bush and Cheney and Halliburton -- then maybe the level of violence could decrease to the point where the oil wells and refineries could begin functioning again.

After reading this lead editorial, some people could be forgiven for thinking that the editorial board of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch is nothing but a bunch of partisan hacks who are more interested in slander and innuendo than trying to give its readers some perspective on complicated, nuanced news stories.

Posted by Charles Austin at 09:01 PM | Comments (1)

December 08, 2003

A Question

How is the public interest served by Big Media when they treat the political process primarily as nothing but a horserace in which they try to impress us, and each other, with the quality of their handicapping skills?

Place your answers in the comment box.

Posted by Charles Austin at 10:50 PM | Comments (2)

November 01, 2003

It's Not Fair!

The L.A. Times is shocked to find bias in the media. Well, at FoxNews anyway:

A veteran producer this week alleged that Fox News executives issue a daily memorandum to staff on news coverage to bend the network's reporting into conformity with management's political views, refocusing attention on the partisan bias of America's most watched cable news operation.

The key words in this complaint are "most watched." It's driving them batty. Presumably, daily memos aren't necessary at the L.A. Times. Perhaps since all contrary opinions have already been eliminated. I have another slogan for the slef-annointed Ministry of Truth concerning freedom of thought:

Diversity is Unity! Unity is Diversity!

Posted by Charles Austin at 07:34 AM | Comments (0)

October 29, 2003

Quagmire Alert!

Howard Fineman writes: Echoes of Vietnam Grow Louder

Maybe Howard should step outside the echo chamber for a while. He might find that his quagmire induced tinnitus would dissipate.

Posted by Charles Austin at 11:06 PM | Comments (0)

Adventures in Headline Writing


And up until now I thought it was: FIRE STRIKES IN EARTHQUAKE ZONE

I've got a lot of friends in San Diego. So far, they are all safe. I hope it stays that way for them and as long as I'm in a wishing mode, I wish the radiation hitting the earth from the solar flares can somehow put the fires in Southern California out. The brave men and women fighting the fires can use any help they can get.

Posted by Charles Austin at 09:24 PM | Comments (0)

Objective Journalism

Once or twice a year I wonder if I am being too hard on Big Media. Dick Meyer, the Editorial Director of CBSNews.com, helps disabuse me of this concern:

Thanks to some philosophy President Bush shared the other day, I realized that I’ve been looking at this whole Iraq thing bass-ackwards. The sorry truth is, my whole perspective on stuff like current events is pretty gloom-and-doom and entrenchified. I think that’s the word.

Hmm, my "Bush is a moron" detector is starting to tingle.

My big epiphany came after bad guys in Iraq bombed police stations and a Red Cross facility and killed about 40 people. I was very discouraged, but then the president spoke.

And we all know how much CBS respects the pronouncements of the President.

“The more successful we are on the ground, the more these killers will react,” the zen President said. “The more progress we make on the ground, the more free the Iraqis become, the more electricity is available, the more kids that are going to school, the more desperate these killers become, because they can’t stand the thought of a free society.”

"Everything's zen? I don't think so." -- Bush

Ding, ding, ding – of course that’s right.

Hmm..., does he mean these three bells? No, I didn't think so.

Do you realize how bad things would really be if there were no suicide bombings, guerrilla attacks and anti-American violence in Iraq? It would be a sure sign that the enemies of freedom were kickin’ back and getting ready for Ramadan because they knew we weren’t fixing up Iraq right. That’s scary. If we weren’t making such good progress, the lack of violence and slaughter would a sure sign of trouble.

Transparent sarcasm in the hands of a self-important professional is a sorry sight.

The real disaster would come if we found Saddam Hussein. Disaster-city, big time. It’s great that he’s still on the lam because it just shows how impressed the chief evil-doer is with our reconstruction of Iraq. If things were going to the dogs, Saddam would turn himself in, knowing the masses would rescue him and return him to his palaces. Remember this the next time your stuck at the water cooler with a gloom-and-doom guy like I used to be: a free Saddam means freedom in Iraq is becoming entrenchified.

But when said self-important professional's transparent sarcasm just drags on and on, it makes me wonder whether or not he needs an editor. Maybe his target audience needs to hear the same concept six or seven times before the light bulb goes off.

We also better hope we don’t nab Osama. The minute that guy gets plunked into a dungeon in Gitmo, forget about it. That will be proof positive that al Qaeda is so confident that our war on terror is terrible that they’ll let us capture their fearless leader as a taunt and a distraction. You see the logic here? If I were to bump into Osama at Starbucks this afternoon, it would be my duty to buy him a latte and a Halloween mask and send him back into hiding. Same with Mullah Omar. And all those weapons of mass destruction.

Remember, Dick Meyer is the editorial director of CBSNews.com, just in case you normally get your news from this source. No axes to grind here.

This kind of geopolitical theory isn’t just for foreign stuff. Take the California wildfires. Sure, they’re a short-term inconvenience. But in a year everything will be fine even though hundreds of thousands acres were scorched a little bit. It just proves that God wants us to drill for oil in the wilds of Alaska because it’s just not a big deal. In fact, all this smoke and pollution is just a reminder that smoke and pollution are a part of nature and all this EPA stuff is just mumbo-jumbo.

This reads just like a DNC press release. It's almost like the leaders at CBS work together with the Democrat Party. Can't be, can it? Hmm..., is this the same CBS that is making the historically-challenged movie about Ronald Reagan?

Some of the best news lately came from the folks who do the census. Not only did they find the official poverty rate rose from 11.7 percent in 2001 to 12.1 percent in 2002, they discovered that 2.4 million more people didn’t have any health insurance. First of all, this does a pretty good job of explaining why poor people are so full of sour grapes. But the statistics show that the war to make rich people richer is making progress. And when poor people realize that the rich are getting richer, they’ll realize that America is the land of opportunity.

"[T]he war to make the rich richer." And up until now, I thought that Mr. Cohen was the biggest Dick in Big Media.

So long as the economy doesn’t heat up, the president will do just fine in ’04. And bad stuff will be good.

Bad stuff will be good. Say, that's CBS' modus operandi, isn't it?

Posted by Charles Austin at 09:15 PM | Comments (3)

October 23, 2003


The fact that the obvious eludes so many who choose to be deluded is not news concerning the leaked memo by Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld. I concur with those who think that Secretary Rumsfeld is just doing his job, and doing it damn well, as best I can determine. Those that prefer pollyannish apporaches to the management of our national defense are not to be trusted with it. Ever.

But I saw something somewhere that I think is a little wrong. Anyone who thinks the memo was intended primarily, if not exclusively, for those it was addressed to (Gen. Dick Myers, Paul Wolfowitz, Gen. Pete Pace, and Doug Feith) do not understand the bureaucracy Secretary Rumseld is dealing with. These guys are already in agreement with Rumsfeld or they'd already be gone. In my opinion, this was a not very thinly veiled final threat to a lot of underlings to get with the program or get out. Now whether the memo had to be leaked or not to accomplish this is an interesting question, but marginally irrelevant. The transformation of our armed forces is here to stay and I think it's about to pick up steam. I also expect a lot of retirements in the not too distant future.

This is a good thing.

DOWNDATE: Confirmation of my thesis?

Armed with a dictionary and a gleam in his eye, Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld said on Thursday he meant every word of a leaked memorandum to Pentagon leaders questioning progress in the U.S. war on terrorism.

... It was not clear whether this latest leak was sanctioned by Rumsfeld, or whether it came from one of his many critics within the government, but his spirited defense of its contents appeared to be an attempt at disarming his critics.

Three steps ahead, as usual.

Posted by Charles Austin at 07:13 PM | Comments (1)

Duranty as Indulgence

By now, you've probably heard that Walter Duranty is now widely recognized as a fellow traveler, excusing the crimes of Stalin for a long, long time under the imprimatur of the NY Times, and that this should cost him his 1932 Pulitzer. Damn straight. But let's be clear about what this means and what it doesn't. Duranty was a tool in every sense of the word and deserves all the opprobrium that can possibly be heaped on him even now that he is no longer capable of defending himself. But if the Angry Left thinks that throwing an impossible to defend communist sympathizer to the wolves just because he is now long dead as some sort of indulgence that will wash away the sins of all the other fellow travelers, well, they got another think coming.

Posted by Charles Austin at 07:02 PM | Comments (2)

October 21, 2003

TMQ Haiku

Fans of Gregg Easterbrook's Tuesday Morning Quarterback (TMQ) on ESPN (sorry, no link available) were accustomed to reading haiku regularly about the NFL. To help overcome your Tuesday morning haiku jones I offer the following:

Gregg's fate was sealed when he made
it crystal clear he
was not a Friend of (Kill) Bill

The donnybrook over an
Easterbrook blog post
reflects badly upon all

demise is just so
M-I-C-K-E-Y Mouse

Political correctness
demands that no one
be merely wrong -- but evil

Tuesday Morning Quarterback's
a casualty
of Eisner's Rush to judgment

Limbaugh's canned, McNabb is benched
Rush now in rehab.
Bad things in threes -- Gregg is canned...

Of course, I would have published this sooner, but:

DoS attacks stopped this
from being posted
much earlier this morning

My feelings towards Mr. Easterbrook's dismissal can be inferred from the haiku above. At least ESPN is consistently stupid, if nothing else. Enter your own relevant haiku in the comments below.

Posted by Charles Austin at 06:40 PM | Comments (1)

October 19, 2003

Hmmm..., Any bites?

I just heard a commercial from the ubiquitous TV as background noise in which someone asked, "If Mr. Goodwrench were a tool, what kind of tool would he be?"

My guess: a dickfor.

Posted by Charles Austin at 12:26 PM | Comments (5)

Pee Wee Brains

If you read political blogs, it is sometimes annoying to read something like this from Howie Kurtz. I'm sure Howie gets paid a lot to regurgitate what I had already read a half-a-dozen times a week ago. But what really strikes me as sad are the arguments he repeats from the Left justifying their "hatred" of Bush as a legitimate response to what they perceived as the unjust vilification of their hero Bill Clinton. Come on guys (and girls), if it was wrong then, it's wrong now. Conversely, if it's fair now, it was fair then as well.

Of course, Jonathon Chait is the worst offender since it was The New Republic that accused all of us before the last presidential election (well, almost half of us) of not being serious people if we didn't elect Al Gore. So, apparently, being serious has now been defined down to the point that, "I know you are, but what am I?", constitutes serious political commentary.

Grow up.

Posted by Charles Austin at 11:57 AM | Comments (2)

October 11, 2003

The Tipping Point?

Have we reached the tipping point on recognition of Big Media's anti-American, anti-Bush, and anti-conservative propoganda concerning the liberation of Iraq? Hot on the heels of Andrew Sullivan raking Frontline's Martin Smith over the coals for seemingly endless repetition of the Big Lie, we have our mates Down Under taking Big Media to the proverbial woodshed over their, well, reporting. Wait until fellow Spleenville resident Tim Blair wakes up and reads this tomorrow:

The ABC has been found guilty of "serious bias" in its reporting of the Iraq war, in breach of the public broadcaster's own editorial policy.

An independent panel found 12 cases of serious anti-US bias – all relating to AM, the ABC's flagship morning current affairs radio program – opening a fresh round of hostilities between the Coalition and the ABC.

They have strengthened the Government's intention to apply more scrutiny to the ABC with a new, government-appointed watchdog now the most likely outcome.

Maybe they'll hire Tim!

Posted by Charles Austin at 11:43 PM | Comments (0)

Guilty As Charged

John S. Carroll, the editor of the L.A. Times offers up its mea culpa. No, that's not right. A mea culpa is an admission of guilt, and the last thing they are ever going to do is admit that thy were wrong. Some of what the editor of the L.A. Times has to say here regarding their reportage of Arnold Schwarzenegger is reasonable and some is pretty damn weak, but here's the final sentence:

Better, I say, to be surprised by your newspaper in October than to learn in November that your newspaper has betrayed you by withholding the truth.

As if those are the only two options. This is what is commonly known as a false dichotomy and, frankly, I expect much better from the editor of a major newspaper, and so should you.

Posted by Charles Austin at 09:46 PM | Comments (0)

October 10, 2003

Who'da Thunk It?

What if I told you one year ago that you'd see this headline on ESPN.com?

Painkiller addiction forces Limbaugh into rehab

Posted by Charles Austin at 05:10 PM | Comments (0)

An Ass Toot Observation

Buried deep within Paul Krugman's noxious screed Lessons in Civility, there is an element of truth, though I don't think he meant it the way it came out:

All this fuss about the rudeness of the Bush administration's critics is an attempt to preclude serious discussion of that administration's policies.

Judging by the factually challenged partisan anger generally evident in Paul Krugman's columns as documented by Robert Musil and Donald Luskin, I'd have to say that whomever it is that Paul Krugman thinks is trying to prevent serious discussion of the administration policies has succeeded beyond their wildest dreams.

Posted by Charles Austin at 02:53 PM | Comments (0)

October 08, 2003

Move Along, No Media Bias To See Here

Bush Congratulates Schwarzenegger, 'Proud' of Race

Well, now. You see a headline like that and the mind reels as the free word association starts with 'Proud' of Race, leaps forward to the recent slanders that had Arnold Schwarzenegger admiring Hitler, and pretty soon you're staring right at Bush = Hitler writ large, though very carefully between the (head)lines, by the freedom (of the press) fighters of Reuters (caution: may contain news-like substances).

The text helps clarify a little:

President Bush on Wednesday congratulated California's Governor-elect Arnold Schwarzenegger and said he was proud of the Republican actor's campaign in an unusual race.

Oh, I see. So the story is about President George W. Bush congratulating California Governor-elect Arnold Schwarzenegger on running a masterful race, not about George and Arnold believing in a master race. My, my, what was I thinking?

Posted by Charles Austin at 05:40 PM | Comments (0)

October 07, 2003

Paging Mr. Warhol

Is Ambassador Joe Wilson's fifteen minutes up yet?

Ambassador Wilson strikes me generally as a reasonable, serious man. If his accusations are true they clearly merit serious attention. But I can't help but notice that he really seems to be enjoying his time in the limelight. If my wife and children were truly in danger, I think I would find it difficult to make all the media appearances he has managed to make in the past week. Wouldn't a lower profile be somewhat in order? With every additional appearance Ambassador Wilson makes, this whole thing reeks more and more of being a partisan PR sideshow that, once again, is a triumph of style over substance. Damaging the President politically seems to be a higher priority than actually dealing with a potential security breach.

Posted by Charles Austin at 12:45 PM | Comments (0)

September 28, 2003

One Man's Ceiling...

Nick Kristof writes:

Mention the words "evangelical missionary," and many Americans conjure up an image of redneck zealots' forcing starving children to be baptized before they get a few crusts of bread.

Read the whole thing.

Actually, this is something of a mirror of the Professor's entry on Nick's column titled "God on Their Side." I read Nick's column in the airport yesterday and thought about fisking it when I got home, then I read Glenn Reynold's post this morning that would seem to be approving of Nick's thesis, which offers, at best, a backhanded compliment for people doing things we all hold up as exemplars of humanity.

You tell me, if you read the first paragraph of Nick's column offered above, do you then approach the rest of what Nick has to write with something of a different attitude than if you read the last paragraph first as Glenn Reynold's post did?

I'm certainly not an evangelical Christian, though I know several people who are. I'm quite certain that Nick knows none well or he wouldn't pander to his illiberal readers with such stereotypes. While there may well be some remnants of the 19th century archtype that Nick and his ilk refuse to moderate their thinking about, all the evangelical Christians I know are amongst the most decent, altruistic people I know. One of my evangelical Christian friends uses all his spare time to set up a mission in the inner city to help those that most New York Times editorial page readers wouldn't deign to help except through government programs using other people's money. They certainly aren't going to put themselves at risk as he does. Another of my evangelical Christian friends has a daughter who just graduated from college. She is a brilliant mathemetician who could do just about anything, but she has decided to go to Africa as a missionary for her life's work.

Oh, did I mention that both of these friends are well educated and quite conservative? But, then again, to acknowledge that intelligent, conservative, evangelical Christians might be something other than "redneck zealots' forcing starving children to be baptized before they get a few crusts of bread" doesn't fit the worldview of the paper which publishes "All the opinions fit to print."

You'll have to pardon me if the mere mention of the words "New York Times columnist" conjures up an image of a detached elitist who would prefer that children starve rather than be fed if there is any proselytizing going on. Unless, of course, it is on behalf of his own statist agenda.

Posted by Charles Austin at 10:47 AM | Comments (1)

September 24, 2003

The First Step Is To Admit You Have a Problem

If Jonathan Chait thinks this is reasonable discourse, then the Angry Left really is doomed.

Apparently "hate" is always bad, unless -- predictably -- it is directed against a Republican or a conservative; in this case, President George W. Bush. I realize that TNR already has us pegged as not being a "serious" people since we didn't elect Al Gore, but to list your complaints and use them to rationalize "hatred" is closer to being a sign of mental illness than civilized partisan argument.

Honestly, what is wrong with these people?

Posted by Charles Austin at 07:52 PM | Comments (2)

September 23, 2003

But Wait, There's More!

I can't stomach repeating most of this story from the Giardian:

Iraq: the reality and rhetoric

Rory McCarthy reports from al-Jisr, scene of the killing of three farmers at hands of US troops

Let me just give you the last paragraph:

"I swear we don't have any weapons in our homes and we don't have any intention to fight the Americans. But the Americans have become a heavy weight on our shoulders. They don't respect human beings, they humiliate the Iraqi people. They promised freedom and democracy. Is it freedom to kill people, make bloodshed and destroy our house? Is that what they mean by freedom?"

I don't know what happened there. But somehow, I don't think Rory McCarthy knows either. But he's quite sure that the Americans have committed yet another atrocity. Seriously, go read this article to get the full context for these other great excerpts from Rory's story:

... The US military has chosen not to count the civilian casualties of the war in Iraq...

... The US military likes to advertise its achievements: how their patrols in the troubled town of Falluja, a few minutes drive from Ali Khalaf's farmhouse, hand out colouring books and repaint schools and how elsewhere they repair broken water mains and sewage plants. Most of the time it matters little...

...Eventually the shooting stopped, the soldiers pulled back and then they called in the air strike...

I've been trying lately to pull back emotionally and keep an open mind, but it is getting harder and harder to not regard reports like this as enemy propoganda. I don't doubt that most of the factual statements are true, but the way the information is presented and what is so casually not reported can leave little doubt as to who Rory McCarthy thinks the bad guys -- no, the war criminals --are.

I have previosuly estimated that about 5,000 Iraqis died each and every month for the 30 years that Saddam Hussein was in charge. Just considering the deaths alone, haven't we passed a threshhold yet that we can agree the Iraqi people are now better off now than they were before May? Maybe we could start a counter for how many more Iraqis are alive now compared to how many would have continued to perish had Saddam Hussein been left in place We can call it the Iraqi Life Count instead of the Iraqi Death Count. And that's not even considering the torture chambers and the many other foul aspects of Saddam's regime.


Posted by Charles Austin at 11:39 PM | Comments (0)

No Bias Here, Move Along

Just in case anyone will still under the illusion that the word "conservative" does not carry negative connotation in Big Media, during the Morning Edition report on the California Recall hearing by the Ninth Circuit (paraphrasing from memory due to traffic):

"The group of eleven judges are more conservative than the three judge panel."

This particular panel of eleven judges is overwhelmingly dominated by Carter and Clinton appointees, so while it wasn't possible to call them "conservative" by any stretch of the imagination, it is still possible to truthfully call them "more conservative" than the gang of three headed by Judge Pregerson. "More conservative" doesn't mean "conservative," though it will help the Angry Left assume the correct state of mind as they exit their echo chamber when the ruling comes down.

I take this all as evidence that Big Media firmly believes the recall is a go.

DOWNDATE: I was right.

A federal appeals court Tuesday unanimously reinstated California's Oct. 7 gubernatorial recall election, swiftly rejecting a three-judge panel's decision to put it off for months.

Posted by Charles Austin at 10:27 AM | Comments (0)

September 18, 2003

I'm Too Sexed-Up For Milan

If Andrew Gilligan and the BBC "sexed-up" their coverage of the WMD debate to make the government look bad, would that mean that Big Media is "castrating" their coverage of the news in Iraq since its liberation to keep the government from looking good?

And can this act of "castration" be considered partisan and require equal time (the fairness doctrine cuts both ways!) since it so clearly benefits one side of the political debate? If you don't like the word "castrate" in this context, perhaps "burkhing" makes more sense. Pronunciation similar to "borking", but the etymology derives from the intent to hide information from public view like a burkha, so as not to inspire impure thoughts like "the liberation of Iraq was a good thing."

Posted by Charles Austin at 09:38 PM | Comments (0)

September 10, 2003

It's Later Than We Think

Considering what passes for hard science on global warming these days, I don't find this very surprising:

The world is in danger of running out of scientists because too many young people are opting to study "easier" subjects in school and university, the British Association science festival will be told today.

But then again, what do we need scientists for anyway?

"Everything that can be invented has been invented." - Charles H. Duell, Commissioner, U.S. Office of Patents, 1899

Posted by Charles Austin at 09:33 PM | Comments (0)

September 06, 2003

The Liberation of Iraq Was a Good Thing, Pass It On

The blogosphere is positively brimming with stories from returning troops and others about how much better the situation in Iraq is than what we hear from Big Media and Big Politics every day. Of course, Big Media will focus on controversy and bad news under any and all conditions because it is their nature. And since Big Media has so much invested in declaring Iraq a disaster, it is unlikely that they will willingly cross over the line in the sand they have drawn with such gusto. And we must always discount the self-serving pronouncements from Big Politics as well, since they must always do their best to convince us that the current ogre responsible for every bad thing that has happened in living memory needs to be slain and replaced with the latest self-proclaimed knight in shining armor who cares only for us and will see to our welfare and security like no one else can, because they have good hair or a clever slogan, or something.

If things are going as well in Iraq as may of us believe, then two things should happen. First, the current administration needs to be very forceful in the denunciations of the fear-mongers, worry-warts, and Chicken Littles of Big Politics and their enablers and start doing a better job of publicizing the good things that have been done. Maybe tonight's speech is the start of this effort. As Judy Tenuta used to say, "it could happen." How about recording 1-minute video testimonials from people on the street in Iraq who are willing to give their names and making these tapes available to the media, or better yet, posting them unfiltered on a web-site. This wouldn't be technically difficult, nor should it be hard to find people to do this. As more and more testimonials are recorded, any potential fear factor would go down in Iraq and it would provide incontrovertable evidence to offset the deluge of woe we are subjected to now.

Second, someone in Big Media needs to step back and truly assess Big Media's performance and start asking why Big Media, like the BBC, finds it necessary to "sex up" the coverage of Iraq to make it unequivocally appear worse than it is. Isn't this a major journalism with a capital "J" story? Fox News seems to be the only likley candidate to do this, but who knows? Maybe like Nixon and China, it will take someone with courage and a conscience (and a bigger profile than Bernard Goldberg) from the illiberal bastions of Big Media to do it and make it stick.

Well? How about it?

Posted by Charles Austin at 10:04 AM | Comments (4)

August 29, 2003

How Do You Push the Boundary Once the Boundaries Are Gone?

Drudge says:

Tongues wag over Schwarzenegger's '77 raunch mag interview...

Silly me, I thought that MTV had a monopoly on tongue wagging:

Britney Spears and Christina Aguilera gave a writhing tribute to Madonna on Thursday night as MTV presented its 20th annual Video Music Awards by reaching into its past.

Dressed in the same kind of white bustier wedding dress that Madonna wore while performing "Like a Virgin" during 1984's inaugural show, Spears and Aguilera gyrated on stage while singing a cover of the not-so-innocent tune. Then, while Madonna sang her new song "Hollywood" in an all-black outfit, she shared an open-mouthed kiss with both Aguilera and Spears - proving the former teen stars have come a long way since their Mouseketeer days.

I find this pretty darned funny. MTV goes to great length to censor any mention or image of drugs, obscene gestures, or specific words, yet they have no problem promoting sluttiness to adolescents. This also means that within five years, MTV and the MTV Video Music Awards are either going to have live sex acts on stage or they are going to fade into a well deserved obscurity. Actually, it may only be three years with projected images or shadows now that I think about it. Let's face it, there isn't a whole lot further they can go to keep it fresh, real and on cutting edge. Oh yeah, baby. As the kids say, "that's sick."

Posted by Charles Austin at 02:08 PM | Comments (3)

August 03, 2003

So Close, and Yet So Far

Tom Friedman's off the wagon again drinking the Kool-aid with The War Over the War:

History may one day record that maybe the most honest speech about why we invaded Iraq was given by Prime Minister Tony Blair, addressing the filing cabinets in an empty hallway just outside his office at No. 10 Downing Street.

History may also one day record the foolishness and duplicity of so many learned people who really should have known better concerning the liberation of Iraq.

On March 13, six days before the British Parliament would be asked to vote for war, Mr. Blair was stewing in his office, worrying about whether he would win the vote.

Kind of scary isn't it, to realize how close we really are to losing Western Civilization since so few are now willing to stand up for it and defend it.

Mr. Blair knew the real and good reasons for ousting Saddam Hussein: First, he was a genocidal dictator, who aspired to acquire weapons of mass destruction — even if he did not have them yet. And second, removing Saddam and building a more decent Iraq would help tilt the Middle East onto a more progressive political track and send a message to all the neighboring regimes that Western governments were not going to just sit back and let them incubate suicide bombers and religious totalitarians, whose fanaticism threatened all open societies. These were the good reasons for the war, and Mr. Blair voiced some of them aloud that day.

This is what really bugs most people about Tom Friedman. You see, he really does understand the issues.

As Mr. Stothard recalled the scene outside Mr. Blair's office: "the prime minister takes a walk out into the hall and stands, shaking out his limbs, between [his political adviser] Sally Morgan's door and a dark oil painting of Pitt the Younger. . . . Morgan is away from her desk. [Mr. Blair] looks into the empty interior as if the answer to the latest state of the vote count will emerge from her filing cabinets nonetheless. He comes back out, disappointed, and looks around him. `What amazes me,' [Mr. Blair says,] `is how many people are happy for Saddam to stay. They ask why we don't get rid of [the Zimbabwean leader Robert] Mugabe, why not the Burmese lot. Yes, let's get rid of them all. I don't because I can't, but when you can you should.' "

I've been reading Herodotus lately, and one of the key themes to The Histories are the calamities that befell great empires when their leaders refused to recognize their limitations. It just isn't possible to succeed if we set out to cure all the world's ills at once and to demand that we do so is a reliable indicator of simple-minded utopian thinking at best, and knee-jerk anti-Westernism at worst. So why doesn't Mr. Friedman label this foolishness for what it is?

Alas, Mr. Blair never really made this case to his public. Why not? Because the British public never would have gone to war for the good reasons alone. Why not? Because the British public had not gone through 9/11 and did not really feel threatened, because it demanded a U.N. legal cover for any war and because it didn't like or trust George Bush.

Cause and effect Mr. Friedman. The reasons offered here are only rationalizations of a deeper disease infecting Europe and most of the left, with the last reason offered being closest to the mark. But one could easily substitute anyone on the right for President George W. Bush, and not much would have been different.

Yes, what takes me aback here is the degree of European-style anti-Americanism and anti-Bushism in Britain — which Mr. Blair's personal and overt pro-Americanism has disguised. "Blair had a real George Bush problem," says John Chipman, director of the International Institute for Strategic Studies in London. "George Bush is disliked by a large segment of the British public. He offends the European sense of nuance. The favorite European color is gray and the only colors President Bush recognizes are black and white. So in supporting the war, Blair was not just going against European public opinion, he was going against his own."

Like I said, Mr. Friedman can see clearly. If only he would shed his deep-set prejudces that influence his reasoning and conclusions.

Unless real W.M.D.'s are found in Iraq, Gulf War II will for now and for years to come be known as "the controversial Gulf War II" — and the hyped reasons for the war will obscure the still good ones. Only future historians will be able to sort out this war's ultimate validity. It is too late or too early for the rest of us.

Oh please. The war was valid Tom -- you said so yourself above. As has been so often noted by others, an absence of evidence is not evidence of absence. But, of course, considering how blithely the mass graves, torture videos, continuous violation of UN resolutions, and past use of chemical weapons by Iraq have been ignored while the word "quagmire" has become ubiquitous in Big Media, I don't think this war would have been considered anything but "controversial" by the NY Times or Europe since it was led by President George W. Bush. After all, we can't have him doing anything right with an election on the horizon, now can we?

It's too late, because no one will ever know what Saddam would've done had Messrs Blair and Bush not acted.

Oh? And yet, the handwringing over why 9/11 wasn't prevented continues unabated. Well, which is it Mr. Friedman? Do we become purely reactionary and adopt some variant of Mutual Assured Destruction as our policy for dealing with state sponsored terrorism or do we plan and act to prevent acts of great terror before they occur? You can't have it both ways. Well, you can't have it both ways if you want to be taken seriously.

And it's too early, because the good reasons for this war — to unleash a process of reform in the Arab-Muslim region that will help it embrace modernity and make it less angry and more at ease with the world — will take years to play out.

A nice utopian finish there Mr. Friedman. Despite the clear intention to reshape the Mideast as one of the goals of the liberation of Iraq, this wasn't the primary goal. The primary goal was to protect the United States, and by extension the rest of the world, from state sponsored terrorism. Saddam Hussein and Iraq were guilty as charged and their demise was a very good thing. Whether the people of Iraq can seize this opportunity to improve their lot is primarily their task -- not ours! We will help, but if they fail, we still did the right thing. The war over the war in Big Media is merely a partisan sideshow that wouldn't be happening had Al Gore managed to steal the last election -- even assuming that he would have acted as clearly and forcefully to protect and defend the future security of the United States as has President George W. Bush. And please, I'm not attacking Al Gore's patriotism or love of the United States, but noting that his propensity to further the goals of transnational progressivism would have made the liberation of Iraq well nigh impossible.

I look forward to the day when Mr. Friedman can dispense with his knee-jerk anti-"rightism" and offer his insights and analysis without having to toe the party line or cater to the elite left's prejudices. Leave that to Paul Krugman, et al.

Posted by Charles Austin at 01:49 PM | Comments (1)

The Giardian

There's the NY Slimes, the Atlanta Urinal-Constipation, Louisville's Curious-Urinal, and now I offer one more. Henceforth the most popular far-left paper in the UK will be known as The Giardian. Those of you familiar with giardia will understand why.

Posted by Charles Austin at 01:07 PM | Comments (2)

August 01, 2003

Gilligan's Isle

Is an anagram for Gilligan's Lies.

Come here little buddy...

Posted by Charles Austin at 08:22 PM | Comments (0)