Saturday, 20 October 2007
Just a quick note to tell readers that I will be blogging only sporadically
for the next week or so.
I'll try to put up material when I can but other activities will be taking
A week from now? For better or worse I'll be back 100%.
A POLL MOST MEDIA WILL IGNORE
The well respected Harris Poll is out. Its results are very encouraging
if you are rooting for a positive result in Iraq...and very discouraging if you
are rooting for bad news, maybe even our defeat.
With that in mind, please read the following article from the Washington
Times. Then wonder why you didn't catch it on the network news last
night. As usual, the bold print is mine:
America's hope for Iraq war up,
October 19, 2007
By Jennifer Harper
Americans have the distinct impression
that brighter days could be ahead in Iraq. Positive sentiments about the war are
on a slow but steady upswing, according to a Harris Poll released yesterday.
The number of those who say things are getting better for U.S. troops
has increased from 13 percent in March and 20 percent in August to 25 percent
Negativity has lessened: Those who say things are
getting worse for troops fell from 55 percent in January and 51 percent in March
to 32 percent now.
"Whether because of the news from Iraq, or
the messages from the White House, Americans are less pessimistic than they were
about the future prospects in Iraq," the survey said, deeming the findings
"moderately good news for the White House."
Although it is not
blockbuster in nature, good news indeed ekes out. Extremist attacks on
U.S. troops have dropped from 256 in August to 153 in September and 36 so far
this month, according to the Defense Department.
Fallujah has improved.
"Municipal governments are starting to stand up.
Fallujah now has a city council, has a mayor, has a city council chairman who
are all very responsive to the needs of their constituency," Stephen Falkan, the
team leader of the provincial reconstruction team in the Anbar province, said at
a press conference in Fallujah this week.
Are we buying such claims? A
modest number of us give grudging acknowledgment to improvements in Iraq since
President Bush sent an additional 20,000 troops in January.
May, only 9 percent believed the surge of new troops was working; that has now
almost doubled to a [still very modest] 17 percent," the survey said.
About 40 percent of the respondents said the increase has had
little effect on the conflict, about the same as it was in May.
nation still wrestles with ethics. A similar Harris survey two years ago found
that 34 percent of us said military action was the "right thing" to do in Iraq,
53 percent said it was wrong and 13 percent were not sure. Now, 37 percent said
it was the right thing, compared with 46 percent who said the war is wrong and
18 percent who are undecided.
Mr. Bush gets a tiny bounce. In January,
26 percent said he was doing a good job in Iraq. Now the number stands at 29
It's a toss-up between Mr. Bush and Congress as far as public
trust goes. Overall, an even quarter of the respondents trust the White House to
manage the war, compared with 27 percent who preferred Congress and 34 percent
who said "neither." Another 14 percent were undecided.
stand by their man: 58 percent said they trust the White House while 7 percent
trusted Congress. Another 24 percent said they trust neither and 11 percent were
Among Democrats, half trusted Congress, 5 percent trusted the
White House and 30 percent trusted neither. Another 16 percent were undecided.
The survey of 2,565 adults was conducted online Oct. 9 to 15.
Those data are a testament to the resiliency of our people. They are
faced with a daily barrage from mainstream media assuring them that their
president is a an inept fool and the war in Iraq is either lost or should
Good news, such as the dramatic lessening of attacks on our troops which is
cited in the article, are either noted in passing or buried altogether.
Can you imagine what people would be saying if media reported good news as
strongly and conspicuously as bad news? Can you imagine what those numbers
would be if people were actually given BOTH sides of what is happening?
Well, imagining is all you're going to be able to do. Because most media are not doing any
such thing. The national disgrace of an agenda-driven media
manipulating its readers/viewers continues.
We can only hope more and more people break free of the
assumption that media give them both sides, and see things as they really are. If
this poll is any indication, some may already be doing just that.
LIMBAUGH SPIN: ADD THE TODAY SHOW TO THE TIMES AND ABC NEWS......
So far today I've shown you that the New York Times and ABC News have
blatantly and fraudulently spun the facts about harry reid and the DCC's smear
letter to Rush Limbaugh.
I apologize. I left out the Today show, which was every bit as blatantly
fraudulent as the other two. Thank you www.newsbusters.org for calling it to our
Reid Letter: 'Today' Omits
Mention of Rush's $2.1 Million Donation
Given his show's
modest ratings, it's unlikely that Keith Olbermann would be in a position to
make a multi-million dollar donation to charity anytime soon. But let's imagine
he did. Do you think that, in a segment on a related subject, NBC might find a
moment to mention Olbermann's generosity?
So do I.
But "Today" managed to get through its report this
morning about Rush Limbaugh's auctioning off of the Harry Reid letter . . .
without mentioning that Rush has publicly pledged to match the $2.1 million
View video here.
Alison Stewart, who has on occasion subbed for
Olbermann on "Countdown," did the newsreading honors. Here's the entirety of
what she had to say:
ALISON STEWART: It is the priciest item ever
sold on eBay. A letter, signed by 41 Democratic senators, criticizing talk
show host Rush Limbaugh. It sold on eBay for over $2 million. It was sent to
Clear Channel, the owner of Limbaugh's show, about his "phony soldier"
comment. Limbaugh said he was taken out of context and put it up for auction.
A charitable foundation bought it, and the money raised will go to children of
I waited for Stewart's mention of Rush's matching
donation, but it never came. As Rush stated on his show
The Marine Corps-Law Enforcement
Foundation, it's now official, is going to get in excess of $4.2 million
because I am matching Betty Casey's bid [of $2.1 million] on
Could NBC possibly have been unaware of Limbaugh's
contribution? Or do you suppose the network simply didn't want viewers to know
of Rush's generosity?
Note: NBC's stingy coverage of Rush's
generosity isn't the only MSM mishandling of the issue today. As
Power Line points
out, the New York Times story on the matter begins by misrepresenting Rush's
original remark, regurgitating the Dem spin that "phony soldiers" was an
allusion to all anti-war veterans. First sentence of Times story:
After Rush Limbaugh referred to Iraq war
veterans critical of the war as phony soldiers, he received a letter of
complaint signed by 41 Democratic senators..
Do you realize what they are telling you? They are telling you that you
are an idiot. An ignoramus. That they can report this any way they want
to, facts notwithstanding, and you are so dumb and gullible and easily fooled
that you'll swallow it hook line and sinker
They are insulting your intelligence. They are laughing at you.
For god sake, prove them wrong. Don't let them do it. Let facts
take you where you should be, not someone else's agenda.
GUEST COMMENTARY: WILLIAM KRISTOL ON THE 110TH CONGRESS
I'm not always William Kristol's biggest fan, but he hits a home run with
this analysis of the 110th congress --- the remarkably inept, do-nothing,
try-to-lose-the-war congress we have just suffered through.
Mr. Kristol provides the superb commentary. I supply the bold print
(there's a lot of it because so many points are worth emphasizing):.
Epitaph for a
In memory of the 110th Congress
and the party that led it.
by William Kristol
013, Issue 07
Perhaps the Democratic sweep in last
November's elections was providential. Consider what might have happened
if Republicans had suffered setbacks on November 7, 2006, but had narrowly
maintained control of Congress.
The political situation facing the Bush
administration would have seemed less dire. Those pushing for a new
strategy in Iraq and a surge of troops might well have failed to convince
the administration to embrace such a radical change. Shaky Republicans in
Congress, terrified by the close call, would have been adamant that we
begin to draw down in Iraq. The report of the Iraq Study Group would have
fallen on the desperately receptive ears of congressional Republicans ("we
barely held on and we'd better do something") and on equally receptive
disappointed-but-emboldened-Democratic ones. The 110th Congress would then
have insisted, with a bipartisan flourish, on an establishment-sanctioned
middle way that was, in fact, a disguised path to defeat. Bush would have
had a difficult time resisting pressure from a Republican or partly
Republican Congress. And we would now be facing an utter debacle in the
heart of the Middle East.
Instead, the GOP lost both houses.
Having little left to lose, Bush defied conventional wisdom,
changed commanders and strategy, and went for the surge. He was able to
hold Republicans together and beat back a series of partisan assaults from
the Democratic Congress, starting in January and continuing into
September. He was able to buy time until the new strategy backed by more
troops began to work.
The most comical evidence of the
surge's success was the story on the antiwar McClatchy Newspapers wire
last Tuesday, "As violence falls in Iraq, cemetery workers feel the
pinch." As the astute observers at the Powerline blog put it, "This
is one of those headlines you couldn't make up."
Jay Price of the Raleigh News &
Observer and Qasim Zein of McClatchy Newspapers (along with McClatchy
special correspondents Janab Hussein, Hussein Kadhim, and Sahar Issa--it
was a major story!) reported the sad news:
At what's believed to be the
world's largest cemetery, where Shiite Muslims aspire to be buried and
millions already have been, business isn't good. A drop in violence
around Iraq has cut burials in the huge Wadi al Salam cemetery here by
at least one-third in the past six months, and that's cut the pay of
thousands of workers who make their living digging graves, washing
corpses or selling burial shrouds.
A loss of income for cemetery
workers due to a decline in violence! Clearly an injustice for the
Democratic Congress to address. But first, on Thursday, they had to try to
override President Bush's veto of their cherished middle-class children's
insurance bill. Bush's veto was about to be sustained when senior
Democratic congressman Pete Stark, from the San Francisco Bay area, took
to the floor of the House:
You don't have money to
fund the war or children. But you're going to spend it to blow up
innocent people, if we can get enough kids to grow old enough for you to
send to Iraq to get their heads blown off for the president's amusement.
So U.S. troops in Iraq are just
"blow[ing] up innocent people," and the president is sending those troops
there "to get their heads blown off" for his "amusement"? Whenever you
think congressional Democrats can sink no lower, they prove you wrong.
Twenty-four hours later, Democratic leaders had yet to chastise their
18-term colleague. Stark refused to apologize, but he did say he respected
So does Hillary Clinton. But last month,
over on the Senate side, she couldn't resist impugning the integrity of
General David Petraeus as he testified to the Senate Armed Services
Committee. Clinton said Petraeus's testimony required a "willing
suspension of disbelief." That is, contrary to all evidence, Clinton
accused the commanding general of U.S. troops in Iraq of misleading the
All of this followed by several
months the defining statement of the 110th Congress: Harry Reid's
assertion, this past April 19, "This war is lost." History may well record
that statement as the epitaph for the 110th Congress, and the party that
led it. The Democrats engaged in endless efforts to make sure the war
really was lost. They failed. Now it looks as if the war, despite the
Democratic Congress's best efforts, may well be won. It's the
congressional Democrats who are the losers. And so could be the 2008
Democratic presidential nominee. Are the American people likely to elect
the candidate of a party that has tried its best to lose a winnable
Over the months I have referred to harry reid as the senate malaise leader
and nancy pelosi as the disparager of the house. Those descriptions are
not just sarcastic puns, they are reality based.
The ineptitude and counter-productivity of this congress, overseen by reid
and pelosi, is breathtaking.
Will voters understand how badly congress has performed and react to
it? Well, the polls show the current, Democrat-controlled congress
with the lowest approval ratings in history. That is according
to Gallup, which has been measuring congressional approval for 34 years, and
Zogby, which is anything but friendly to Republicans.
I'm no prophet and have no idea what the political landscape will look like
after the 2008 election. But one thing I do know: there is no lock
at all on Democrats retaining control of either house, certainly not if voter
sentiment remains where it is now.
They don't like Bush? Well he's not running. They don't like
congress? Well they are.
And if the Democratic controlled congress performs in 2008 anything like they
did in 2007, they should be ousted and then some.
ANOTHER INSTANT REVISION OF HISTORY: FROM ABC NEWS / POLITICAL RADAR
My previous blog showed how the New York
Times completely distorted and misrepresented events regarding the DCC smear letter to Rush
Limbaugh and the amount of money it generated for a worthy cause - an educational fund
for families of fallen marines and law enforcement officers.
Now, hot on its heels, I have come across another even
more egregious revision of history. This one, from the ABC News blog "political
radar" was uncovered by the invaluable site www.newsbusters.org (which is one of the
new links on this page). Please read it and see for yourself:.
ABC Tries To Credit Democrats
for Rush's $2 Million Ebay Letter!
If this doesn't take the cake, I don't know what
does? On an ABC News Blog called the Political Radar, ABC
reports on Rush Limbaugh's $2 million condemnation letter and throughout the
piece continually links "Democrats" to the charity donation that Limbaugh and
the ebay bidder for the letter are giving the money to. After reading this ABC
blog report, one gets the sneaking suspicion that ABC thinks that Harry Reid and
the Democrats are the ones that should be hailed as the good guys responsible
for raising this monumental sum for charity. It is clear that ABC did their
level best to play down Limbaugh's part in the story and play up the supposed
positive contribution of Democrats.
The report by Z. Byron Wolf starts off trying to
massage the outrage of the original faux controversy into a mere episode of
political fingerpointing instead of the outright calumny it actually is. "Who
says the political fingerpointing in Washington is all for naught?," the post
And even though there is a lot of "explanation" in
this report, the Political Radar report does not take any time at all to fully
explain what the letter even is nor the controversy that surrounds it, a move
that further softens the outrage surrounding the letter, making it all seem just
Here is how the post begins:
Back in September, when Democrats and
Republicans were sniping at each other over the Iraq war, Republicans passed a
nonbinding resolution in the Senate condemning Moveon.org for calling David
Petraeus, the commander of U.S. forces in Iraq, "General Betrayus" in a
For their part, Democrats sent a letter calling
for Rush Limbaugh to be reprimanded for calling soldiers who opposed the war
The furor seemed to have died down as the Senate
moved away from voting on a string of Iraq resolutions to voting on domestic
So, they describe the "Betray us" ad in detail
even though that episode doesn't really track the Reid letter story exactly, but
all they have to say of the letter situation is that "Democrats sent a letter"
to Rush? Then to further soften the outrage over the whole letter incident, ABC
blithely tosses it off as something that quickly faded from view because it
wasn't as important as "voting on a string of Iraq resolutions to voting on
domestic spending bills."
The Next paragraph again links "Democrats" to the
But today comes word that a Wasghinton, D.C.
area philanthropist, Betty Casey (or bettyc588, as she is known on Ebay) is
going to pay over $2 million for a letter Senate Democrats wrote to Mark Mays,
President of Clear Channel, asking him to condemn Rush Limbaugh for the "phony
ABC also takes great pains to show that the woman
who won the letter, Betty Casey an east coast philanthropist and long time
political donor, gave money to Barack Obama and other "disparate political
interests" like trying to donate $50 to build a mayoral residence for the mayor
of Washington D.C.
Then ABC is back to linking the letter to
Back on October 1st, Harry Reid brought the
letter to the Senate floor and asked Republicans to join him condemning
Limbaugh for saying that soldiers who oppose the Iraq war are "phony soldiers.
They give Reid's side of the story and mention
that Rush supposedly said "phony soldiers" several times in this piece and not
one time do they fully flesh out the fact that Rush did NOT say all soldiers who
oppose the war are phony. Nor do they even give Rush's side of the story using
the "Limbaugh claims" rhetorical device. They simply state he said "phony
soldiers" as if there was no question of the fact or any other context to inform
the readers about.
And the ending of the piece is an exercise in the
absurd as ABC reports with a straight face the efforts of Harry Reid to take
credit for the great good the $2 million charity donation will do.
Today, Reid was more conciliatory to Limbaugh
and whoever is paying for the letter. Though he said on the Senate floor that
as he had watched the bidding throughout the week, he never thought it would
get to $2 million.
"Now, everyone knows that Rush Limbaugh and I
don't agree on everything in life and maybe that is kind of an
understatement," Reid said.
"But without qualification Mark May, the owner
of the network that has Rush Limbaugh, and Rush Limbaugh should know that this
letter that they're auctioning is going to be something that raises money for
a worthwhile cause. I don't know what we could do more important than helping
to ensure that children of our fallen soldiers and police officers who have
fallen in the line of duty have the opportunity for their children to have a
good education," he said.
You have got to be kidding me? Harry Reid LIES on
the floor of the Senate. Harry Reid FAILS to get support from his own party for
the effort. The Democrats create a FAKE controversy to help deflect from their
supporters outrageous attack on one of our most decorated soldiers. And ABC
lets Harry Reid take CREDIT for this charitable donation like HE was the one
responsible for it.
You can't say that the Democrats and their ABC
supporters lack gall, that's for sure.
And catch this last line in the ABC
The bidding ends at 1:00p.m. No mater what,
Democrats are going to make a ton of money for a charity off their political
Seriously. You have to be kidding me?
Democrats are going to make a ton of money for charity?
Democrats are responsible for this wonderful
They dont lack gall, for sure, and neither does
ABC for their outrageous efforts to give the Democrats cover for their
UPDATE: New York Times' Faulty
Well, not surprisingly, the NYT's coverage of the
sale of the letter is even worse than ABC's.
The Times' account starts with an outright
After Rush Limbaugh referred to Iraq war
veterans critical of the war as phony soldiers, he received a letter of
complaint signed by 41 Democratic senators. He decided to auction the letter,
which he described as this glittering jewel of colossal ignorance, for
charity, and he pledged to match the price, dollar for dollar.
Of course, only the nutroots and MoevOn.org still
thinks that Rush said any such thing as "Iraq war veterans critical of the war"
are phonies. he did no such thing.
It takes the entire story before they even give
Rush space to deny the "phony soldier" quote. But, at least the Times does that.
The ABC post doesn't even bother to reveal the truth of the matter at all.
How many times do you have to see such jaw-dropping dishonesty
to understand that much of the mainstream media in this country are in
the tank for Democrats? I hope for your sake you don't need me
to tell you anymore. But if you do, this is another classic
The sorosians are no doubt pleased as punch about revisions of history like
this one. But the rest of us? What a
THE NEW YORK TIMES' FRAUDULENT ARTICLE ABOUT LIMBAUGH AND THE LETTER
Remember those puzzles you used to see when
you were a kid? The ones where you were supposed to find 5 frogs, two
telephones, four ice cream cones, 3 cars, etc. hidden in the detail of a
Well, for your reading pleasure (outrage is more like it), I am going to show you
the literary equivalent of one of those puzzles. It is the New York
Times' coverage of Rush Limbaugh's E-bay auction, in which he sold idiotic, dishonest
"condemnation" letter, signed by instigator harry reid and the other 40 members
of the DCC (Democratic Clown College).
Here it is. I won't use bold print. You're supposed to spot the BS
without my help, so no clues:.
Critical Letter to Limbaugh Fetches
A letter from 41 senators, shown on
a screengrab from eBay, became a windfall for charity.
After Rush Limbaugh
referred to Iraq war veterans
critical of the war as phony soldiers, he received a letter of complaint
signed by 41 Democratic senators. He decided to auction the letter, which he
described as this glittering jewel of colossal ignorance, for charity, and he
pledged to match the price, dollar for dollar.
On Thursday night, Mr. Limbaugh, the conservative
radio talk show host, said he thought the letter would bring in as much as $1
million. He was wrong.
When the eBay auction closed
yesterday afternoon, the winning bid was $2.1 million. It is the largest amount
ever paid for an item sold on eBay to benefit a charity.
The money will go to the Marine Corps-Law
Enforcement Foundation Inc., a nonprofit organization in New Jersey that
provides scholarships and other assistance to families of marines and federal
law enforcement officials who die or are wounded in the line of duty. Mr.
Limbaugh is a director of the organization, which had total revenues of $5.2
million last year.
Its unbelievable, said James K. Kallstrom, the
retired head of the Federal Bureau of Investigation office in New York, who is chairman of the foundation.
Mr. Kallstrom said the charity would meet Monday
to decide how to spend the money. We might increase the size of the bonds we
give these children, he said, and well probably do a lot more for the wounded
veterans. Its almost unlimited what you can do for them.
The letter was bought by the Eugene B. Casey
Foundation, a $294 million foundation in Gaithersburg, Md., that has given money
to a wide variety of organizations, including the Washington Opera and
the Intrepid Fallen Heroes Fund. In a statement, the foundation said its
purchase of the letter was intended to demonstrate its belief in freedom of
speech and to support Rush Limbaugh, his views and his continuing education of
Mr. Limbaugh, who declined a request for an
interview, had advertised the sale on his show and elsewhere. He said fans had
written him with concerns that wealthy liberals like George Soros would
drive the price of the letter to $20 million or more in hopes of bankrupting
Its just amazing, Mr. Limbaugh told Sean
Hannity and Alan Colmes of Fox News Hannity & Colmes on Thursday night,
when the bidding stood at $851,000. This is more fun than Ive ever had in my
He predicted that the sales success would anger
one signer of the letter, the Senate majority leader, Harry Reid, whom Mr.
Limbaugh calls Dingy Harry.
But in a statement on the floor of the Senate on
Friday, Mr. Reid, a Nevada Democrat, praised the auction. I strongly believe
that when we can put our differences aside, even Harry Reid and Rush Limbaugh,
we should do that and try to accomplish good things for the American people, he
Dated Oct. 7, the letter read: Although Americans
of good will debate the merits of this war, we can all agree that those who
serve with such great courage deserve our deepest respect and gratitude. That is
why Rush Limbaughs recent characterization of troops who oppose the war as
phony soldiers is such an outrage.
Mr. Limbaugh has said that he was referring only
to one soldier, who was critical of the war and had served only 44 days in the
Army, never seeing combat.
Marcus S. Owens, a lawyer who headed the Internal Revenue Service division that oversees charities and foundations, said the Casey
foundation might incur taxes on its purchase because it would have difficulty
demonstrating that buying the letter furthered a charitable purpose. Theyd
have to establish the link between the transfer of money for that letter and
promoting free speech, Mr. Owens said, and thats going to be tough.
Ok, times up. So how'd you do? How many did you come up with?
Here are a few from my list....and I'm sure that I'm missing a couple
-After Rush Limbaugh referred to
Iraq war veterans critical of
the war as phony soldiers, Not true. Limbaugh was
specifying people who PRETEND to be soldiers and lie about atrocities, not all
soldiers who are criticial of the war. As proof, both the day before he
said "phony soldiers" and just minutes afterwards, he talked
specifically about jesse macbeth, a perfect example of "phony
-...he received a letter of complaint signed by 41 Democratic
senators. Wrong. It was a CONDEMNATION
letter, and it was sent to his syndicator for
the purpose of trying to get an apology ... or, more exactly, to shut Limbaugh up.
Did it work? You're kidding, right?
-He predicted that the sales success would anger one
signer of the letter, the Senate majority leader, Harry Reid, whom Mr. Limbaugh calls Dingy Harry. But
in a statement on the floor of the Senate on Friday, Mr. Reid, a Nevada
Democrat, praised the auction. Yeah, right. Reid wasn't upset
at all with this...which is why he didn't say a word for the week it was up
for bids and then had to come up with his crow-eating after it raised over 4
Speaking of that sale, please note
that while the writer made quick passing mention of Limbaugh's promise to
match the high bid, she never acknowledged that he is making good on
the pledge and that the actual amount being donated is therefore not going to be
2.1 million, but 4.2 million. She also didn't mention that Limbaugh challenged
the DCC to also match the bid (a 41-way split) and none has pledged even one thin
dime so far.
How many instances of BS did that add up to? I
- Mr. Reid, a Nevada Democrat, praised the auction.
I strongly believe that when we can put our differences aside, even
Harry Reid and Rush Limbaugh, we should do that and try to accomplish good
things for the American people, he said.
Yep, the guy who put
out the condemnation letter and got the DCC to sign it is
And it is isn't Rush Limbaugh taking the DCC's idiotic
letter and turning it into a windfall for a deserving charity, it is some kind
of joint effort between reid and Limbaugh - they partnered all the
way. Ok, sure. Anyone for a helping of
green cheese? Here, I just imported it from the
Do these people have any shame at all?
Well, maybe I'm being too harsh. Maybe they're just into puzzling.
THE SEXUAL ABUSE EPIDEMIC IN OUR PUBLIC SCHOOLS
This is a terrible story to blog about, but it is an important one too, so
here it is.
The Associated Press, to its great credit, has put
out a frightening investigative report on sexual abuse in our public schools. It
runs a good deal longer than what I typically post, but its importance is such that
I decline to excerpt it -- you should see every word.
Also, I usually put key paragraphs in bold print - especially in a
piece this long. But not this time: Every word deserves careful attention.
Let me show you what the the AP uncovered, and then let's talk about
|AP: Sexual Misconduct Plagues US
12:19 PM US/Eastern|
By MARTHA IRVINE and ROBERT TANNER
|AP Video The young
teacher hung his head, avoiding eye contact. Yes, he had touched a
fifth-grader's breast during recess. "I guess it was just lust of the
flesh," he told his boss.
That got Gary C. Lindsey fired from his
first teaching job in Oelwein, Iowa. But it didn't end his career. He
taught for decades in Illinois and Iowa, fending off at least a half-dozen
more abuse accusations.
When he finally surrendered his teaching
license in 200440 years after that first little girl came forwardit
wasn't a principal or a state agency that ended his career. It was one
persistent victim and her parents.
Lindsey's case is just a small example of a
widespread problem in American schools: sexual misconduct by the very
teachers who are supposed to be nurturing the nation's children.
Students in America's schools are groped.
They're raped. They're pursued, seduced and think they're in love.
An Associated Press investigation found more
than 2,500 cases over five years in which educators were punished for
actions from bizarre to sadistic.
There are 3 million public school teachers
nationwide, most devoted to their work. Yet the number of abusive
educatorsnearly three for every school dayspeaks to a much larger
problem in a system that is stacked against victims.
Most of the abuse never gets reported. Those
cases reported often end with no action. Cases investigated sometimes
can't be proven, and many abusers have several victims.
And no onenot the schools, not the courts,
not the state or federal governmentshas found a surefire way to keep
molesting teachers out of classrooms.
Those are the findings of an AP
investigation in which reporters sought disciplinary records in all 50
states and the District of Columbia. The result is an unprecedented
national look at the scope of sex offenses by educatorsthe very
definition of breach of trust.
The seven-month investigation found 2,570
educators whose teaching credentials were revoked, denied, surrendered or
sanctioned from 2001 through 2005 following allegations of sexual
Young people were the victims in at least
1,801 of the cases, and more than 80 percent of those were students. At
least half the educators who were punished by their states also were
convicted of crimes related to their misconduct.
The findings draw obvious comparisons to sex
abuse scandals in other institutions, among them the Roman Catholic
Church. A review by America's Catholic bishops found that about 4,400 of
110,000 priests were accused of molesting minors from 1950 through 2002.
Clergy abuse is part of the national
consciousness after a string of highly publicized cases. But until now,
there's been little sense of the extent of educator abuse.
Beyond the horror of individual crimes, the
larger shame is that the institutions that govern education have only
sporadically addressed a problem that's been apparent for years.
"From my own experiencethis could get me in
troubleI think every single school district in the nation has at least
one perpetrator. At least one," says Mary Jo McGrath, a California lawyer
who has spent 30 years investigating abuse and misconduct in schools. "It
doesn't matter if it's urban or rural or suburban."
One report mandated by Congress estimated
that as many as 4.5 million students, out of roughly 50 million in
American schools, are subject to sexual misconduct by an employee of a
school sometime between kindergarten and 12th grade. That figure includes
verbal harassment that's sexual in nature.
Jennah Bramow, one of Lindsey's accusers in
Cedar Rapids, Iowa, wonders why there isn't more outrage.
"You're supposed to be able to send your
kids to school knowing that they're going to be safe," says Bramow, now
20. While other victims accepted settlement deals and signed
confidentiality agreements, she sued her city's schools for failing to
protect her and others from Lindseyand won. Only then was Lindsey's
teaching license finally revoked.
As an 8-year-old elementary-school student,
Bramow told how Lindsey forced her hand on what she called his "pee-pee."
"How did you know it was his pee-pee?" an
interviewer at St. Luke's Child Protection Center in Cedar Rapids asked
Jennah in a videotape, taken in 1995.
"'Cause I felt something?" said Jennah, then
a fidgety girl with long, dark hair.
"How did it feel?" the investigator asked.
"Bumpy," Jennah replied. She drew a picture
that showed how Lindsey made her touch him on the zipper area of his
Lindsey, now 68, refused multiple requests
for an interview. "It never occurs to you people that some people don't
want their past opened back up," he said when an AP reporter approached
him at his home outside Cedar Rapids and asked questions.
That past, according to evidence presented
in the Bramow's civil case, included accusations from students and parents
along with reprimands from principals that were filed away, explained away
and ultimately ignored until 1995, when accusations from Bramow and two
other girls forced his early retirement. Even then, he kept his teaching
license until the Bramows took the case public and filed a complaint with
Like Lindsey, the perpetrators that the AP
found are everyday educatorsteachers, school psychologists, principals
and superintendents among them. They're often popular and recognized for
excellence and, in nearly nine out of 10 cases, they're male. While some
abused students in school, others were cited for sexual misconduct after
hours that didn't necessarily involve a kid from their classes, such as
viewing or distributing child pornography.
Joseph E. Hayes, a former principal in East
St. Louis, Ill. DNA evidence in a civil case determined that he
impregnated a 14-year-old student. Never charged criminally, his license
was suspended in 2003. He has ignored an order to surrender it
Donald M. Landrum, a high school teacher in
Polk County, N.C. His bosses warned him not to meet with female students
behind closed doors. They put a glass window in his office door, but
Landrum papered over it. Police later found pornography and condoms in his
office and alleged that he was about to have sex with a female student.
His license was revoked in 2005.
Rebecca A. Boicelli, a former teacher in
Redwood City, Calif. She conceived a child with a 16-year-old former
student then went on maternity leave in 2004 while police investigated.
She was hired to teach in a nearby school district; board members said
police hadn't told them about the investigation.
The overwhelming majority of cases the AP
examined involved teachers in public schools. Private school teachers
rarely turn up because many are not required to have a teaching license
and, even when they have one, disciplinary actions are typically handled
within the school.
Two of the nation's major teachers unions,
the American Federation of Teachers and the National Education
Association, each denounced sex abuse while emphasizing that educators'
rights also must be taken into account.
"Students must be protected from sexual
predators and abuse, and teachers must be protected from false
accusations," said NEA President Reg Weaver, who refused to be interviewed
and instead released a two- paragraph statement.
Kathy Buzad of the AFT said that "if there's
one incident of sexual misconduct between a teacher and a student that's
one too many."
The United States has grown more sympathetic
to victims of sex abuse over recent decades, particularly when it comes to
young people. Laws that protect children from abusers bear the names of
young victims. Police have made pursuing Internet predators a priority.
People convicted of abuse typically face tough sentences and registry as
Even so, sexually abusive teachers continue
to take advantage, and there are several reasons why.
For one, many Americans deny the problem,
and even treat the abuse with misplaced fascination. Popular media reports
trumpet relationships between attractive female teachers and male
"It's dealt with in a salacious manner with
late-night comedians saying 'What 14-year-old boy wouldn't want to have
sex with his teacher?' It trivializes the whole issue," says Robert Shoop,
a professor of educational administration at Kansas State University who
has written a book aimed at helping school districts identify and deal
with sexual misconduct.
"In other cases, it's reported as if this is
some deviant who crawled into the school district'and now that they're
gone, everything's OK.' But it's much more prevalent than people would
The AP investigation found efforts to stop
individual offenders but, overall, a deeply entrenched resistance toward
recognizing and fighting abuse. It starts in school hallways, where fellow
teachers look away or feel powerless to help. School administrators make
behind-the-scenes deals to avoid lawsuits and other trouble. And in state
capitals and Congress, lawmakers shy from tough state punishments or any
cohesive national policy for fear of disparaging a vital profession.
That only enables rogue teachers, and puts
kids who aren't likely to be believed in a tough spot.
In case after case the AP examined,
accusations of inappropriate behavior were dismissed. One girl in
Mansfield, Ohio, complained about a sexual assault by teacher Donald Coots
and got expelled. It was only when a second girl, years later, brought a
similar complaint against the same teacher that he was punished.
And that second girl also was ostracized by
the school community and ultimately left town.
Unless there's a videotape of a teacher
involved with a child, everyone wants to believe the authority figure,
says Wayne Promisel, a retired Virginia detective who has investigated
many sex abuse cases.
He and others who track the problem
reiterated one point repeatedly during the AP investigation: Very few
abusers get caught.
They point to several academic studies
estimating that only about one in 10 victimized children report sexual
abuse of any kind to someone who can do something about it.
Teachers, administrators and even parents
frequently don't, or won't, recognize the signs that a crime is taking
"They can't see what's in front of their
face. Not unlike a kid in an alcoholic family, who'll say 'My family is
great,'" says McGrath, the California lawyer and investigator who now
trains entire school systems how to recognize what she calls the
unmistakable "red flags" of misconduct.
In Hamburg, Pa., in 2002, those "red flags"
should have been clear. A student skipped classes every day to spend time
with one teacher. He gave her gifts and rides in his car. She sat on his
lap. The bond ran so deep that the student got chastised repeatedlyeven
suspended once for being late and absent so often. But there were no
questions for the teacher.
Heather Kline was 12, a girl with a broad
smile and blond hair pulled back tight. Teacher Troy Mansfield had
cultivated her since she was in his third-grade class.
"Kids, like, idolized me because they
thought I was, like, cool because he paid more attention to me," says
Kline, now 18, sitting at her mother's kitchen table, sorting through a
file of old poems and cards from Mansfield. "I was just like really
comfortable. I could tell him anything."
He never pushed her, just raised the stakes,
bit by bita comment about how good she looked, a gift, a hug.
She was sure she was in love.
By winter of seventh grade, he was sneaking
her off in his car for an hour of sex, dropping in on her weekly
baby-sitting duties, e-mailing about what clothes she should wear, about
his sexual fantasies, about marriage and children.
Mansfield finally got caught by the girl's
mother, and his own words convicted him. At his criminal trial in 2004,
Heather read his e-mails and instant messages aloud, from declarations of
true love to explicit references to past sex. He's serving up to 31 years
in state prison.
The growing use of e-mails and text messages
is leaving a trail that investigators and prosecutors can use to prove an
intimate relationship when other evidence is hard to find.
Even then, many in the community find it
difficult to accept that a predator is in their midst. When these cases
break, defendants often portray the students as seducers or false
accusers. However, every investigator questioned said that is largely a
"I've been involved in several hundred
investigations," says Martin Bates, an assistant superintendent in a Salt
Lake City school district. "I think I've seen that just a couple of times
... where a teacher is being pursued by a student."
Too often, problem teachers are allowed to
leave quietly. That can mean future abuse for another student and another
"They might deal with it internally,
suspending the person or having the person move on. So their license is
never investigated," says Charol Shakeshaft, a leading expert in teacher
sex abuse who heads the educational leadership department at Virginia
It's a dynamic so common it has its own
nicknames"passing the trash" or the "mobile molester."
Laws in several states require that even an
allegation of sexual misconduct be reported to the state departments that
oversee teacher licenses. But there's no consistent enforcement, so such
laws are easy to ignore.
School officials fear public embarrassment
as much as the perpetrators do, Shakeshaft says. They want to avoid the
fallout from going up against a popular teacher. They also don't want to
get sued by teachers or victims, and they don't want to face a challenge
from a strong union.
In the Iowa case, Lindsey agreed to leave
without fighting when his bosses kept the reason for his departure
confidential. The decades' worth of allegations against him would have
stayed secret, if not for Bramow.
Across the country, such deals and lack of
information-sharing allow abusive teachers to jump state lines, even when
one school does put a stop to the abuse.
While some schools and states have been
aggressive about investigating problem teachers and publicizing it when
they're found, others were hesitant to share details of cases with the
APAlabama and Mississippi among the more resistant. Maine, the only state
that gave the AP no disciplinary information, has a law that keeps
offending teachers' cases secret.
Meanwhile, the reasons given for punishing
hundreds of educators, including many in California, were so vague there
was no way to tell why they'd been punished, until further investigation
by AP reporters revealed it was sexual misconduct.
And in Hawaii, no educators were disciplined
by the state in the five years the AP examined, even though some teachers
there were serving sentences for various sex crimes during that time. They
technically remained teachers, even behind bars.
Elsewhere, there have been fitful steps
toward catching errant teachers that may be having some effect. The AP
found the number of state actions against sexually abusive teachers rose
steadily, to a high of 649 in 2005.
More states now require background checks on
teachers, fingerprinting and mandatory reporting of abuse, though there
are still loopholes and a lack of coordination among districts and states.
U.S. Supreme Court rulings in the last 20
years on civil rights and sex discrimination have opened schools up to
potentially huge financial punishments for abuses, which has driven some
schools to act.
And the National Association of State
Directors of Teacher Education and Certification keeps a list of educators
who've been punished for any reason, but only shares the names among state
The uncoordinated system that's developed
means some teachers still fall through the cracks. Aaron M. Brevik is a
case in point.
Brevik was a teacher at an elementary school
in Warren, Mich., until he was accused of using a camera hidden in a gym
bag to secretly film boys in locker rooms and showers. He also faced
charges that he recorded himself molesting a boy while the child slept.
Found guilty of criminal sexual conduct,
Brevik is now serving a five- to 20-year prison sentence and lost his
Michigan license in 2005.
What Michigan officials apparently didn't
know when they hired him was that Brevik's teaching license in Minnesota
had been permanently suspended in 2001 after he allegedly invited two male
minors to stay with him in a hotel room. He was principal of an elementary
school in southeastern Minnesota at the time.
"I tell you what, they never go away. They
just blend a little better," says Steve Janosko, a prosecutor in Ocean
County, N.J., who handled the case of a former high school teacher and
football coach, Nicholas J. Arminio.
Arminio surrendered his New Jersey teaching
license in 1994 after two female students separately accused him of
inappropriate touching. The state of Maryland didn't know that when he
applied for teaching credentials and took a job at a high school in
Baltimore County. He eventually resigned and lost that license, too.
Even so, until this month, he was coaching
football at another Baltimore County high school in a job that does not
require a teaching license. After the AP started asking questions, he was
Victims also face consequences when teachers
In Pennsylvania, after news of teacher Troy
Mansfield's arrest hit, girls called Kline, his 12-year-old victim, a
"slut" to her face. A teacher called her a "vixen." Friends stopped
talking to her. Kids no longer sat with her at lunch.
Her abuser, meanwhile, had been a popular
teacher and football coach.
So, between rumors that she was pregnant or
doing drugs and her own panic attacks and depression, Kline bounced
between schools. At 16, she ran away to Nashville.
"I didn't have my childhood," says Kline,
who's back home now, working at a grocery cash register and hoping to get
her GED so she can go to nursing school. "He had me so matured at so
"I remember going from little baby dolls to
just being an adult."
The courts dealt her a final insult. A
federal judge dismissed her civil suit against the school, saying
administrators had no obligation to protect her from a predatory teacher
since officials were unaware of the abuse, despite what the court called
widespread "unsubstantiated rumors" in the school. The family is
In Iowa, the state Supreme Court made the
opposite ruling in the Bramow case, deciding she and her parents could sue
the Cedar Rapids schools for failing to stop Lindsey.
Bramow, now a young mother who waits tables
for a living, won a $20,000 judgment. But Lindsey was never criminally
charged due to what the former county prosecutor deemed insufficient
Arthur Sensor, the former superintendent in
Oelwein, Iowa, who vividly recalls pressuring Lindsey to quit on Feb. 18,
1964, regrets that he didn't do more to stop him back then.
Now, he says, he'd call the police.
"He promised me he wouldn't do it againthat
he had learned. And he was a young man, a beginning teacher, had a young
wife, a young child," Sensor, now 86 years old, said during testimony at
the Bramows' civil trial.
"I wanted to believe him, and I
The first point to be made is just how pervasive public school sexual abuse
is. The AP makes it very clear that they probably have uncovered only a
small percentage of the actual number of incidents.
Another key finding is that there is a system - an insidious, mutual
cover-your-ass system - in place that protects sexual offenders in the public
schools. Am I surprised? No. Is it horrific? Yes.
The AP also makes quick reference to the comparison between
Catholic priests accused of sexual misconduct and public school
teachers. Fair enough. What they don't talk about, however, is that the depredations of
Catholic priests have been front page news for years and years, but public
school sexual misconduct has always been treated as one or another individual
cases, not as the pervasive epidemic it clearly is.
Will media pick up this expos and start talking about
what is going on in our public schools? I would like to think so, but I
doubt it. In our media, it is open season on Catholics in general and Catholic priests in particular.
Public school teachers, however, are perceived in far more exalted terms. We'll see.........
Let me end by making an extremely important point about presumed
innocence. Not every schoolteacher is a sexual predator and not every accused
schoolteacher is guilty. As a matter of simple decency and
fairness, each incident must be determined individually on its own facts.
Whether we are talking about a priest or a
schoolteacher, the last thing we want is someone's life ruined over a false charge.