Friday, July 17, 2009

Maddening Media Malpractice

I admit that it is almost a sign of laziness to blog about the MSM’s double standard when it comes to how they portray conservatives and Republicans versus how they portray liberals and Democrats. The double standard is so pervasive that it doesn’t take much time or effort to find examples of it.

But hey, when the target is as easy to hit as a low-hanging swollen grapefruit -- and every bit as juicy -- you might as well hit it.

As you know, Sonia Sotomayor was nominated for the U.S. Supreme Court by Barack Obama, and this week she underwent confirmation hearings. During them, she used the word “vagrancies” instead of “vagaries” and “providence” instead of “province,” and she referred to the National Labor Relations Board as the National Labor Relationships Board.

Do those gaffes disqualify her? No. Her judicial record and history of race indulgence do that. As for the gaffes, she probably just tripped over her tongue because she was in the middle of saying so many things and her brain got ahead of her mouth. It happens to all of us.

But the point is, the MSM never mentioned the gaffes, and you know damn well they would have talked about them ad nauseam had they been made by a conservative. They would have suggested that the gaffes “raise the question” of whether the conservative is dim-witted or ill-prepared and thus not ready for the job. After all, many members of the MSM were still talking about Dan Quayle misspelling potato four years after it happened, and are still talking about George W. Bush mispronouncing “nuclear” one time out of the thousands he used the word.

Unbiased? Hell no, they’re not. Everybody knows it. I just get tired of hearing them deny it.

Next time, I will report on a weightier topic. Until then, check out the July 16th post on Republican Remix because a) it is good, and b) it’s a primer.

Wednesday, July 15, 2009

et ceteras

A sampling of the thoughts running through my head:


Fact: Of the six times that decisions she made in lower courts have been reviewed by the Supreme Court, her decisions were overturned four times. The other two times, the decisions themselves were upheld, but the Supreme Court determined that the reasons she gave for making them were not legally valid.

Opinion: She has nothing but contempt for the Constitution, she fancies herself wiser than thou, and she thinks she has a right to go outside of the democratic process to impose her policy positions on everyone else.

Conclusion: She is woefully unqualified for the job, and is almost certain to inflict lasting harm on future generations -- much like our president, who is woefully unqualified for his job and has already inflicted harm on future generations.

The Gaffe Machine

I am 38 years old and have not watched a Chicago White Sox game in approximately 30 years. For that matter, I haven’t watched more than ten baseball games at all since the strike 15 years ago, and all of those games involved my hometown Tampa Bay Rays. But even I know that until recently, the home of the White Sox was Comiskey Park.

On the other hand, our president has made a point of calling himself a “devoted” White Sox fan and last night he wore a White Sox jacket to the All Star Game. But while wearing that jacket during an interview with Bob Costas, Obama referred to the team as having once played in “Cominskey Field.” Such a gaffe is sacriliege to people who love the team. Had George W. Bush made that gaffe, we’d still be hearing about it a decade from now, but Obama made it just last night and the only person who’s brought it up is Rush Limbaugh -- which begs the question, if a liberal says something that would make him look stupid, but the media never reports it, did he actually say it?


Because I have written things like this, several people breathlessly asked for my opinion about Sarah Palin’s resignation right after she announced it. Most of them thought it showed she was a quitter, and they were all disappointed when I said I didn’t really have an opinion. But as I saw it, the question of whether she “quit her job” is totally irrelevant to the American public unless she runs for president.

Now that a little time has passed, I can say that the reason Palin gave for resigning -- essentially, that responding to one bogus ethics charge after another, with no end in sight, is consuming so much time and money (both hers and the state’s) that she is prevented from doing her job -- makes more sense than any of the guesses other people have made.

I can also say this: If you read the editorial she published in this week’s Washington Post about cap-and-trade, it is obvious that she is every bit as sharp and feisty as ever. Liberals hate her because they are an angry breed and they know that her clear, unashamed conservatism threatens their ability to hold power over average citizens. Spineless Republicans, whom the media like to call “moderate Republicans,” don’t like her because they are afraid her presence in the GOP will cause their Democrat friends to stop inviting them to cocktail parties in the Hamptons. Therefore, I absolutely love the woman.

Local Yokel Issue

If you are not from Tampa or the immediate Tampa area, you have no reason to know or care about Mayor Pam Iorio. But I like her, and she just gave me another reason to keep doing so.

The city is in the midst of a budget crisis and is expected to have a $52 million shortfall. She proposed alleviating that shortfall by not giving raises to city employees this year, including all of those who belong to unions. The police and firefighter unions responded by opposing the pay freeze, and Iorio responded to the unions by basically telling them to go to Hell.

I don’t like the idea of police and firefighters not getting raises, but I do understand that foregoing them is an unfortunate necessity in the current economic climate. And I know that when pay freezes are proposed in municipalities across the country, police and firefighter unions always squeal the loudest and usually wind up receiving above-market raises while everybody else goes without. I commend Mayor Iorio for making a tough decision that holds true to her fiscally conservative beliefs. She has more guts than your average elected politician. And just so you know, her record is neither anti-police nor soft-on-crime.

Tampa has had many very accomplished mayors over the decades, but Iorio is arguably the best of all. And for those of you who think I’m a party-line GOP hack, she’s a Democrat.

Thanks for reading. I'll opine some more at another time.

Saturday, July 11, 2009

Did you know that...

…over the Fourth of July weekend, North Korea launched a “cyber attack” against U.S. government computer networks, and according to the AP it was “powerful” and “overwhelmed computers at U.S. and South Korean agencies for days.”

The targets included the White House, Pentagon, National Security Agency, State Department, and Department of Homeland Security. We have learned that private networks were also targeted, including the New York Stock Exchange, NASDAQ, and The Washington Post.

The targeted networks were affected to varying degrees, and it is not clear to me which ones fared better and which ones fared worse. However, reading between the lines tells me that the government’s networks were less successful at fighting off the attack than the private ones.

You don’t have to be a genius to figure out what this means. It is known that the North Koreans are developing nuclear weapons, and some believe they already have them. They have said they will use nuclear weapons against other nations, and explicitly said the U.S. is one of those nations. The only responsible conclusion for us to draw from their cyber attack is that they are trying to learn how to disable our ability to detect and respond to a military attack.

This is an enormous and undeniable threat to our national security that should be reported and talked abut constantly, so that people will be aware of it and know who our enemies are. But the MSM has downplayed it by continuing to devote much more ink and air time to Michael Jackson, even though his death happenned more than a week earlier.

And on a similar note, did you know that the Government Accountability Office just reported that teams of investigators testing security at federal buildings were able to carry explosives into multiple sites without being detected?

It is in this environment that our president and ruling party are cutting military spending even as they raise spending on everything else. Doesn’t that make you feel good?

Friday, July 3, 2009

Mankind's Greatest Hour

Note: This post was originally published on the Fourth of July last year.

Today, as we fire up our grills and crack open our beers, let us remember why this holiday exists: to commemorate the greatest act of shared, selfless courage the world has ever seen.

Everybody should know that Thomas Jefferson authored the Declaration of Independence. Most people know the names of a handful of the 56 men who signed it, such as John Hancock, Benjamin Franklin, and of course Jefferson himself. But few people seem to realize that when those men signed their names, they were committing what was considered an act of treason against the British crown, punishable by death. Those men were property owners who were successful in their lives and businesses. Their lives were comfortable and they stood to lose everything by signing the Declaration – yet they chose to sign it anyway, because they knew that casting off the crown and forming a new government based on individual liberty was the right thing to do, not only for their own descendents but for all of humanity. And here is what happened to some of those men after they signed the Declaration:

Five of them became prisoners of war.

Nearly one-sixth of them died before the war ended.

British forces burned, and/or looted, the homes and properties of nearly one-third of them.

When the British did that to the property of William Floyd, he and his family fled and spent the next seven years living as refugees without income. His wife died two years before the war ended.

After being forced into the wilderness by British forces, John Hart struggled to make his way home. When he finally got there, he found that his wife was dead and his 13 children were missing. He died without ever seeing them again.

Richard Stockton was dragged from his bed and sent to prison while his property was ravaged. From the day of his release from prison until the day he died, he had to rely on charity from others to feed his family.

Francis Lewis’s wife was imprisoned and beaten. Meanwhile, his wealth was plundered. His last years were spent as a widower living in poverty.

Thomas Nelson Jr.’s home was captured and occupied by British General Cornwallis, who used it as what we would now call an operations center. Therefore, Nelson ordered his troops to destroy his own home with cannon fire during the Battle of Yorktown. To assist in funding the war, he used his own credit to borrow 2 million dollars, which today would equal about 25 billion dollars. Repaying that debt bankrupted him, and when he died he was buried in an unmarked grave.

It is a safe bet that fewer than one percent of our citizens have ever heard of these people, much less know anything about the devastating sacrifices they made so that future generations could have the freedom necessary to build the kind of upwardly-mobile, always-progressing society we now take for granted.

The Founding Fathers bequeathed us a wonderful gift called America, and we owe it to our own children to make sure we don’t allow that gift to be destroyed. We should never hear the words “Fourth of July” without feeling a skip in our heart and a tear in our eye.

Much thanks to Jeff Jacoby, Paul Harvey, and all the others who have written and spoken about the fates of the signers, to keep their story alive.