Monday, 05 November 2007

A TASTE OF THE FUTURE: PART 27

Ken Berwitz

Here, from our interesting friends at www.islamqa.com, is another of gem of advice concerning how to live.  This time it involves whether women should go to a women's club. 

Stop laughing, I'm serious here.  It is about whether women should go to a women's club.  Honest.  I'll show you:

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Ruling on women going to womens clubs
  Question No 9460
  Question:
We live in the residential quarter of one of the cities, and in this quarter there is a womens club which has a women-only swimming pool and a steam bath (sauna). What is the ruling on women going to this club, and what should their husbands do? We tried to advise some of our brother and they told us that the awrah of a woman in front of another woman is from the navel to the knees, said that their women wear Islamic dress when going swimming but this dress shows the shape of their awrah. We hope that you can answer this question with shari evidence, may Allaah preserve you.

Answer:

Praise be to Allaah. 

My advice to my brothers is not to let their women go to swimming clubs and sports clubs, because the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) urged women to stay in their homes. When speaking about women going to the mosques, which are the places of worship and shari knowledge, he said: Do not prevent the female slaves of Allaah from going to the mosques of Allaah, although their homes are better for them. This is also in accordance with the words of Allaah (interpretation of the meaning):

And stay in your houses [al-Ahzaab 33:33]

 Moreover, if a woman gets used to that she will form a strong attachment to it, because her emotions are so strong. Then it will distract her from her religious and worldly duties, and it will become all that she thinks and talks about. If a woman does something like this, it will be a means of taking away her modesty, and if a womans modesty is taken away from her, do not even ask about the evil consequences that may follow, unless Allaah blesses her with righteousness which will restore to her the modesty which is her birthright.   

I will conclude my answer by repeating my advice to my believing brothers not to let their womenfolk whether they are their daughters, sisters, wives or anyone else under their guardianship go to these clubs. I ask Allaah to bless all of us with strength and caution against the misleading ways of temptation, for He is able to do all things. Praise be to Allaah, the Lord of the Worlds, and blessings and peace be upon our Prophet Muhammad and all his family and companions.


From the fatwas of Shaykh Muhammad ibn Saalih ibn Uthaymeen for al-Dawah Magazine, issue # 1765/54
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Take a good look.  Because this is what will replace western civilization if we allow it to.  And it will be the way YOU live.

If we fight against radical islam we may win and we may lose.  If we do not, we will most assuredly lose because, either way, they will continue fighting.  And if they win, our culture and our civilization is over, to be replaced by what?  A society that tells women they are slaves to be kept in their own households, and that they cannot even be given the freedom to engage in social activities with OTHER women?  A society that stereotypes all women's emotional state and capabilities and treats them all accordingly?      

God help the people who want to live this way.  I know I'm not one of them.  Are you?

We play political games with this threat at our own peril..


CHRISTMAS PC, FROM ACROSS THE POND

Ken Berwitz

You can't make this stuff up.

Here, courtesy of www.thisislondon.com.uk,  is the latest attempt to deculturalize us in the name of PC....this time from the British Isles:.

Santa told to slim down for Christmas to 'set a good example'

05.11.07  (that's November 5th...in Europe they reverse the day and month)

Santa is being told to shift the pounds before Christmas - because the obese saint is failing to set a "good example" for children.

The traditional children's hero, best known for feasting on mince pies left out on Christmas eve, has always sported a bulging midriff.

But shopping centre bosses are giving the well-wisher his marching orders - to the nearest gym - to tackle the increasing problem of obesity.

The revelation comes after a medical report earlier this month stated that by 2050 more than 50 per cent of Brits will be obese.

Santa has been told he must slim down, or face eviction from shopping centres at Christmas

Enlarge the image

Bluewater shopping centre in Greenhithe, Kent, has even gone one step further and set-up a Santa boot camp.

Fiona Campbell-Reilly, spokeswoman at the shopping centre, said: "Santa has been around for years, but society has changed and our Santa needs to reflect this.

"Bluewater's Santa Boot Camp is getting Santa in shape and setting a good example to children who idolise him.

"He will still be the same lovable jolly man, but will be fitter and healthier."

Despite Santa burning 600 calories an hour from delivering presents, the problem lies in the tasty mince pies left as a treat.

Boot camp: Santa does cardio

Enlarge the image

If he ate every single mince pie left for him by eager children in the UK he would gain an astonishing 721,000 lbs.

Dr Charmaine Griffiths, spokesperson from the British Heart Foundation, said: "The bootcamp would encourage people to get a bit more active - it is a great idea.

"If you are budding santa or a hopeful elf, then we should all be taking steps to being fit and healthier at Christmas.

"Half an hour of exercise, three days a week could make your heart healthier. I think that like most of us, santa could be doing more to make himself that little bit fitter.

"He can have a pie every so often but try to squeeze in a few carrots as well." .

Personally, my favorite part is that under each picture of Santas working off the suet, there is a box with the word "ENLARGE". 

Now I know all that means is that you can click on it and make the picture bigger, but the imagery of that word under those pictures in this article is priceless. 

I wonder if they'll can Santas who look too much like, well, like Santa.  Maybe their motto should be "either shed points from your belly or shed pounds from your wallet". 

Bad times for the mince pie makers.............


DAVID OBEY & THE TARGET SHORTAGE

Ken Berwitz

Get ready to do a double-take.  Because you are not going to believe what david "oh,boy" obey said today.

Here is the relevant excerpt, from tomorrow's issue of The Hill (www.thehill.com)..

Terrorists are running out of people to kill, says Obey
November 06, 2007

If violence is decreasing in Iraq, it may be because insurgents are running out of people to kill, House Appropriations Committee Chairman David Obey (D-Wis.) said Monday.

There are fewer targets of opportunity, Obey said in a speech to the National Press Club.

Obey was responding to a question about reports touted by Republicans that security is improving in Iraq and that President Bushs surge strategy is working. He stressed that military success has not led to political reconciliation.

The issue has never been military, Obey said. The issue has always been political improvement.

As the Houses top appropriator, Obey has his hands on the nations purse strings, giving him a significant say on the war in Iraq. 

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See, the fact that military and civilian deaths are way down since the troop surge was completed really has nothing to do with the surge itself.  It's that insurgents "are running out of people to kill". 

There are no more markets in Iraq.  No more police stations.  No more schools.  No more roadsides where they can plant bombs.  Hey, "there are fewer targets of opportunity".  So what can they do?  

Until the troop surge, al qaeda and their pals were killing Iraqis randomly.  But david obey says the terrorists "are running out of people to kill" and "there are fewer targets of opportunity". 

Since if the killing is random everyone is a target, obey apparently believes Iraq's 25 million people are disappearing.

Oh no.  The streets must be empty.  The stores shuttered.  The homes locked and abandoned. 

Or.................

This man is an idiot.  A complete, total, US government inspected prime idiot.  A mouth unattached to a brain, assuming there ever was one in the first place.

And it gets worse.  Obey, as the article tells us, is the house's "top appropriator".  This idiot has a major say in how moneys are allocated.

Maybe Democrats can do us all (especially themselves) a favor by telling obey to just shut up and stop making an idiot of himself. 

Or is the Democratic party running out of shame.  Just like insurgents "are running out of people to kill"


SUBLIMINAL SPIN AT THE WASHINGTON POST

Ken Berwitz

The Washington Post usually is a reliably Democrat/leftward newspaper - but one which sometimes surprises me with off-the-reservation honesty. 

One example was the paper's scathing, devastatingly honest evaluation of joseph wilson, a proven liar (read the 9/11 commission report) whose lies were used to subject us all to the plamegate circus.   For that, and for other similarly candid departures from orthodoxy, I salute the Post.

Unfortunately, however, sometimes the paper goes in an opposite direction and provides even more succor to the left than they usually do.

I was reading www.newsbusters.org this morning.  It directed me to the Washington Post's reports on this weekend's NFL football games; more specifically, the one-paragraph report about Detroit's win over Philadelphia.  First let me show you what was written, then we'll talk about it:..

Dallas 38, Philadelphia 17

This game was overshadowed a bit by Eagles Coach Andy Reid's family troubles. His two sons are in jail, and a raid of Reid's house turned up so many pills that a judge described it as a "drug emporium." As someone who has had his own high-profile problems with prescription drugs, Rush Limbaugh was asked to comment; he declared it a tragedy for Reid that Donovan McNabb was so overrated. .

This is a sports report.  It is supposed to tell you the score and a little bit about what happened in the game.  But the writer, with his/her editor's approval (that's the only way it could get into the newspaper), decided to turn it into a political attack on Rush Limbaugh.

As you may remember, several years ago Rush Limbaugh developed an addiction to oxycontin, a prescription drug he took for back pain.  He appears to have beaten his addiction.  That is the extent of Limbaugh's "high profile problems with prescription drugs".  

Since Limbaugh's name was inserted into this "sports" report and the comments about him comprise almost half it's verbiage, it stands to reason that Coach Reid's boys must have had something similar happen to them.  Otherwise, what possible reason would there be to reference Limbaugh at all? 

Well, here, courtesy of the Associated Press, is the story on Garrett and Britt Reid:.

PHILADELPHIA (AP) -- As he reached adulthood, the oldest son of Philadelphia Eagles coach Andy Reid searched for his own identity and found it on the bleak streets of North Philadelphia.

Garrett Reid "got a thrill" out of being a drug dealer in the 'hood, just a few miles from his parents' suburban Villanova mansion.

"I liked being the rich kid in that area and having my own high-status life," Reid told a probation officer, according to court testimony this week. "I could go anywhere in the 'hood. They all knew who I was. I enjoyed it. I liked being a drug dealer."

The 24-year-old Garrett Reid and his 22-year-old brother Britt both face a treacherous future as they battle severe drug addiction and complete jail terms stemming from Britt's road-rage case and Garrett's heroin-fueled, high-speed crash.  .

Like Coach Reid, I have two sons.  Thank god a million times over, neither of them has the demons Garrett and Britt Reid are fighting.  I don't wish this horror show on my worst enemy.

Now, tell me what possible comparison there is between Rush Limbaugh and these two young men, both of whom are severely addicted, both convicted of crimes committed while driving cars (thus putting countless others in danger) and at least one an admitted drug dealer who destroyed other people's lives, not just his own?  Do you see one?  Because I sure as hell don't.

And then, for good measure, the Post tosses in a gratuitous, made-up, out of context sarcasm about Limbaugh's comment, made years ago, that Donovan McNabb was "overhyped" (the Post's word, not Limbaugh's) because he was a Black quarterback and the NFL wanted to promote him as such. 

Forgetting for a moment that the NFL was doing precisely what Limbaugh said it was at the time, in what way does this relate to the football game played yesterday between the Detroit Lions and Philadelphia Eagles?  You know, the game that this "report" was supposed to be telling you about?

The good news is that this kind behavior, increasingly, causes people to dismiss papers like the Washington Post (it is far from the only one) as a credible source of information.  The bad news is that there probably are a great many who read, or skimmed through, this "sports report", noted the score in its headline (the only sports reference there was) and allowed the attacks on Limbaugh to slip into their subconscious mind. 

These people have been subliminally indoctrinated to a political point of view, when all they wanted to know was who won the game.  It stinks.


STILL WANT TO TALK ABOUT THAT "RIGHT OF RETURN"?

Ken Berwitz

Some months ago I blogged about the fact that, when palestinian Arabs were fleeing what is now Israel - mostly VOLUNTARILY, on the recommendation of their grand mufti - Jews were fleeing Arab countries.  And most of this flight was anything but voluntary, I assure you. 

Most people don't have a clue about the fact that about as many Jews fled Arab lands in the post-war period as there were palestinian Arabs leaving Israel.  And it sure wasn't because some rabbi was telling them to go so the invading Jewish armies would know they were only killing Arabs, and then come back as conquerers.  That bit of historic miscalculation was only on the Arab side.

But here's something even most people who DO know about the Jewish exodus from Arab lands are unaware of.  It is posted at www.canada.com, and I read about it at the indispensable www.littlegreenfootballs.com website.  Please pay special attention to the paragraphs I have put in bold pint:.

Arab 'collusion' against Jews
'Draft law' points to conspiracy, scholars say

 
Steven Edwards
CanWest News Service

UNITED NATIONS - New research shows there was Arab inter-state "collusion" to persecute Jews in Arab countries after Israel's creation, former federal justice minister Irwin Cotler and Jewish rights scholars will announce today in New York.

While it is known up to 850,000 Jews left Arab countries after the post-war division of the Palestine mandate, the group is holding a news conference to highlight a rediscovered Arab League "draft law" that suggests a pan-Arab conspiracy was at play.

The new assessment comes just ahead of a major Israeli-Palestinian peace conference in Annapolis, Md., where the rights of millions of descendants of up to 600,000 Palestinian refugees of the Arab-Israeli conflict will be discussed -- but not the rights of Jews squeezed from Arab countries.

Without the inter-Arab draft, the measures individual Arab states took against their Jewish citizens may not have been so widespread, the researchers will say. Only 8,000 Jews remain in 10 Arab countries today that once hosted many more.

"We will show that the various state sanctions in Arab countries did not occur haphazardly, but were the result of an international collusion organized by the League of Arab States at the time to set in place a blueprint for the denationalization of their Jewish nationals, the sequestrations of their property and the declaration of Jews as enemies of the state," Mr. Cotler said.

He said he and his research colleagues will also present evidence showing the United Nations failed to investigate the matter, in part because an Arab League representative ran the agenda at one of its key debating chambers.

"It is now clear the United Nations has played a singular role in expunging the whole question of Jewish refugees from Arab countries on the Middle East agenda for the last 60 years," Mr. Cotler said.

Fellow Canadians David Matas, a Winnipeg refugee lawyer, and Stan Urman, executive director of New York-based Justice for Jews from Arab Countries, will join Mr. Cotler. They co-wrote a landmark 2003 study highlighting separate Arab government decrees that sanctioned repression of Jews to varying degrees, resulting in confiscation of more than $1-billion in property belonging to those who left.

"The existence of the Arab League draft law makes the story of what happened all the more heinous because it represented the acting out of a master plan," Mr. Matas said .

"It enhances the case for redress, which should at least include recognition of the Jewish refugees, given the peace process speaks of redress for the Palestinian refugees."

The researchers hope their work will influence U.S. lawmakers currently considering two bills that call for the rights of all refugees -- Muslims, Jews, Christians and any others displaced in the region-- to be recognized in the peace talks.

The bills are significant because the United States is a central broker of the Palestinian-Israeli peace process.

The researchers will also call on the Canadian government -- as chair of the Refugee Working Group under a peace track launched in Madrid in 1991 -- to include displaced Jews as refugees.

Today comprising 22 countries, the Arab League had seven members in 1947, the year documents say its political committee drafted a Text of Law concerning Jews. They were Egypt, Iraq, Jordan, Lebanon, Saudi Arabia, Syria and Yemen.

After the UN created Jewish and Arab areas in the Palestine mandate, laws reflecting what had appeared in the Arab League draft began to appear in Arab countries.

The draft law calls for registering all Jewish citizens of Arab countries, and freezing their bank accounts to use the money to help fund "resistance to Zionist ambitions in Palestine." This would happen even to those Jews prepared to join an Arab army. A Jew considered an "active Zionist" would be interned as a political prisoner. Such Jews would see their money confiscated.

Brackets written into the draft law suggest it was intended as a template: "Beginning with (date), all Jewish citizens of (name of country) will be considered as members of the Jewish minority State of Palestine," it begins.

The researchers located the document in UN and World Jewish Congress archives after spotting a May 16, 1948, New York Times reference to it. In the Times article, Congress officials cited the document as evidence Jews faced grave danger in Arab lands -- something the researchers say turned out to be prophetic. .

This is a story that I doubt you'll see in mainstream media:  Hundreds of thousands of Jews being forced out of their homes, bank accounts confiscated, and off they went.

But do you see anything in this article about the 60 year old "refugee camps" filled with those Jews?  Have you heard a nonstop chorus of whining and complaints frm them about their horrible mistreatment?  Or did the Jews treated this way immediately start going about the business of reestablishing themselves and getting on with their lives.

There is a huge lesson to be learned from the difference between how these two groups dealt with displacement (regardless of how it came to be) and the results of how they dealt with it.  One that will, I am 100% sure, be lost on a vast majority of the people who need to learn it most.


GUEST COMMENTARY: HERMAN CAIN ON HILLARY CLINTON

Ken Berwitz

Herman Cain is an amazing man with an amazing background.  He is one of the genuine success stories in our country, and a role model for anyone who thinks being down and out means you have to stay that way. 

You can find Mr. Cain's biography at http://www.northstarwriters.com/hermancain.htm.   I urge you to go there are read it, then I challenge you not to be inspired by his accomplishments.

Mr. Cain is also an excellent political commentator and writer.  Here is his take on the Hillary Clinton candidacy.  It is loaded with common sense and logic (translation:  he and I are in agreement).  Enjoy the read:.

November 5, 2007

Hillary Clinton Makes No Sense

When asked during the October 30, 2007 Democratic presidential debate whether she supported Governor Elliot Spitzers proposal to provide drivers licenses to illegal immigrants, Hillary Clinton said, It makes a lot of sense, but I did not say it should be done.

If something makes a lot of sense, then why not just do it? Or, is this another way of saying she is for it and against it, instead of not being able to tell if she is for it or against it. Either way, it gives no indication of where she stands on a very direct question about rewarding illegal immigrants with drivers licenses. For the record, Im against it!

Even two of her Democratic rivals for the partys nomination criticized the response as making no sense. John Edwards of North Carolina called it another example of her double talk (USA Today article by Kathy Kiely, October 31, 2007), and Barack Obama stated, I cant tell whether she is for it or against it.

Preceding her non-answer to the question, which was posed directly to her a second time by NBCs Tim Russet of Meet the Press, Hillary said, This is where everybody plays gotcha.

I think people were just looking for an answer.

I suppose it was gotcha when Hillary proposed giving every baby born in the U.S. a $5,000 baby bond, but in less than a week retracted the idea. When she proposed giving a $1,000 matching contribution to everyone with a 401(k) retirement account, someone wanted to know how that idea related to Social Security. Hillary stated the accounts would not replace any part of Social Security, but she is committed to addressing the long-term challenges of that program. I suppose asking How? would be another gotcha.

So! While the Social Security system keeps on ticking (as in a financial time bomb), Hillary proposes to give people a few crumbs of their FICA taxes back in the form of a matching refundable tax credit to be perceived as getting retirement help from Uncle Sam.

Only the Hillary Kool-Aid drinkers do not see a pattern here. If she is asked a difficult question, she responds with that annoying cackle, as when she was asked about her health care proposal recently on four TV news programs. Or her allies will say she is being attacked. Or she responds to a question in doubletalk. Or, the questioner is playing gotcha.

In the last several weeks we have seen Hillary Clinton display her ability for issue avoidance, more government giveaway proposals, political doubletalk and opportunistically playing the gender card, while claiming to be the most experienced candidate. Some of us are still waiting to hear and see the evidence that she is the most experienced candidate.

Hillary has had the highest national name ID since the official beginning of the race for the White House. She has built upon her name ID with the backing of the Democratic establishment, the perception of leadership and the liberal preferences of the mainstream media.

Ruth Marcus of the Washington Post calls Hillary Clinton the strong front-runner among the Democratic presidential candidates. Each week, the polls report her increasing lead over Barack Obama and John Edwards. Democratic strategists seem eager to just skip the formality of the primary elections and crown her the nominee. As Marcus writes, Its Clintons Race to Lose.

I believe it is Americas future to lose if we elect a president skilled at managing perceptions, but having no depth of experience in leadership and a demonstrated lack of common sense problem solving skills.

Hillary as president just does not make any sense. .


THE NEA - SELF INTEREST OVER EDUCATION

Ken Berwitz

The NEA (National Education Association) is huge and hugely powerful.  With over three million members, it sees itself as both a union and a professional organization. 

The NEA is also a group that frequently operates more out of self-interest than a concern for the children it purports to advocate for.

Here's a case in point.  The commentary comes from Ed Morrissey of www.captainsquartersblog.com and it is based on a story from the Wall Street Journal.  .

Utahns Get Heavy Dose Of Dishonesty From NEA

Tomorrow, Utah voters will decide whether to launch a school-voucher program to allow parents more choice in educating their children. The NEA has launched a full assault against the program, and in some cases against the truth, as the Wall Street Journal notes:

A new report from the Utah Foundation shows the state's public education could certainly use a shake-up. The states most similar demographically to Utah, by measures such as student poverty and parental education, are Iowa, Montana, Nebraska, South Dakota and Wisconsin. Utah finishes last in this group, based on eighth-grade scores from the National Assessment of Educational Progress (NAEP). Utah youngsters trail the pack across the range of core subjects -- last in math, last in reading, last in science.

Still, the unions are banking that fear of the unknown will trump demonstrated incompetence. The opponents have raised a bundle to disseminate their predictions of doom, including more than $3 million from status quo headquarters, the National Education Association. They're stoking that fear with antivoucher TV ads that aren't winning high marks for honesty. Salt Lake's KSL-TV, an NBC affiliate that has editorialized against vouchers, nonetheless felt compelled to label as "false" the central claims in two recent attack ads against vouchers.

One ad featured the "Utah teacher of the year" claiming that vouchers "take resources away from public schools." In fact, the law provides only up to $3,000 per child toward private school tuition, depending on family income, and the voucher money comes from the state's general fund, not the education budget. The average voucher will cost $2,000, but the state now spends $7,500 per student. The public schools get to pocket the difference, $5,500, without an obligation to provide any services. So the more parents choose vouchers, the higher per-student spending will rise in the public schools.

Another attack ad claimed that private schools would have "no accountability," when in fact they are required under the law to report to parents how their children in voucher-supported schools do each year on nationwide achievement tests. Market-based competition will force exactly the kind of accountability that the unions fear in public schools.

Voucher work by issuing a partial rebate on taxes spent on each child for their education. They remove part of the funding but the entire child from the state-run schools, meaning that each voucher represents a profit to the public school in which the child would have enrolled. Even at $3000 per voucher, more than half of the allocated resources for the child would remain in the public school system, which then would be relieved of the costs associated with that child.

As for accountability, the notion that private schools have less is simply absurd. Private schools in a competitive market have the ultimate accountability to parents to produce results. If they don't, the parents will find another private school that works. Schools that fail to educate will close from lack of customers, just as any other business does when it proves incompetent in a competitive arena. These schools will have to show the responsiveness of any business in the marketplace if it expects to keep its clients satisfied enough to do repeat business.

Compare that to the responsiveness of administrators at public schools. Most of them are well-meaning, but even school boards have their hands tied through federal mandates, union job protections, and other issues outside of local control. Parents have almost no influence over curricula, nor do they get much accountability for actions taken by the schools or the teachers. Those who have tangled with administrators find that the education monopoly inculcates a certain mixture of arrogance and resignation among most of even the best people in the system -- and much worse among the less worthy.

The Journal reports that the measure appears headed for defeat, fuelled by the scare tactics of those with the most to lose from the end of the monopoly. Utahns should keep that in mind when they go to the polls tomorrow. Which side wants to give the power to the parents, and which side wants to scare them into keeping the power with the monopoly that has made Utah the worst educational system in the region?.

This, sad to say, is far from the first time the NEA and other "educational" organizations have gone to the mat to prevent children from escaping schools which do not educate them.   And I have no doubt it won't be the last.

What happens if the schools that vouchers are used for show an appreciably better success rate than where the students had previously been? 

Well, for one, students whose parents want them to succeed and are willing to subsidize an alternative education for them, will have more success.  And the schools that weren't educating them?  They will continue to not educate students, just not these students.  That's a net gain.

If the NEA were making a case that school vouchers take a disproportionate share of more motivated students out of the public schools, so they are pretty much guaranteed to do better, I would agree with them. 

But what's wrong with that?  Why NOT take motivated students out of a deficient educational environment and put them where they can soar academically?  Shouldn't that be a goal of educators?  Isn't that something the NEA should be thrilled with? 

Evidently not.

The article, and therefore Ed's analysis, talks about Utah.  But what about New York City, or Washington DC or any of the myriad other major metropolitan areas where there are poor minority children doomed right at the starting gate by schools that do not teach them?  Where they are supposed to "learn" in the same class with children whose lack of interest in school and lack of personal discipline make learning impossible. 

Try and remove a disruptive child from one of these classes.  See what you have to go through.  Nahhh, better to leave them there and doom EVERY child in the class.  It's the path of least resistance.

And before you call me a racist for saying this, remember, in a predominantly minority school a vast majority of BOTH types of students are going to be of the same minority.  This is not a racist statement, it is a statement of facts and reality.

A sincere effort to educate children means everything possible is done to make learning more productive. 

Doing everything possible to prevent children from finding better learning venues is not a sincere effort to educate them.  It is a sincere effort to hurt them - in this case because there is more concern about looking good and keeping the monopoly alive than seeing children learn and progress.


KEITH OLBERMANN AND HONESTY: OIL AND WATER

Ken Berwitz

You don't need me for this one.  Philip Klein, who writes for The American Spectator will give you all the particulars.  And here they are:.

Anatomy of an Apology
By Philip Klein
Published 11/5/2007 12:09:03 AM
Apologies, it seems, do not come easy to Keith Olbermann.

Last Wednesday, while researching a
column about the growing hatred of Rudy Giuliani among liberals, I reviewed a portion of Olbermann's show from the prior evening in which he and Arianna Huffington discussed why Giuliani was a liar. The jumping off point for their conversation was a comment Giuliani reportedly made in which he said that leading Democrats want to invite Osama bin Laden to the White House. The sensationalistic remarks had been first reported by the Associated Press on Monday, and caused a stir among anti-Giuliani bloggers. But when reviewing Olbermann's show, which broadcast a video clip of Giuliani's comments, I noticed that Giuliani didn't say Osama, but actually said Assad. As in, Syrian President Bashar Assad. This stripped the statement of any of its shock value, because Assad was one of the leaders who Barack Obama has, in fact, said he would be willing to meet with in Washington, with no preconditions, within the first year of his presidency. After discovering the error, I did a blog post reporting my findings, and assumed that all of the news outlets that erroneously reported what Giuliani said would have to issue corrections.

The reason I made that assumption is that I had spent more than three years as a reporter with Reuters, and though it may be hard for some to believe, I was required to issue an immediate correction whenever I made an obvious factual error, no matter how minor. It was always a considerable embarrassment to have my name appear under a headline that began with the all-in-caps word "CORRECTED," but I understood that part of being a journalist was owning up to errors as soon as they were brought to my attention. (Some examples from the archives
here and here.)

The first few hours following my initial post on the error reaffirmed my understanding of standard journalistic practice. Andrew Sullivan, who had lambasted Giuliani based on the inaccurate remarks,
issued a correction. The AP also corrected its story. It seemed natural to me that Olbermann would quickly have to follow suit. But the only mention of Giuliani on Wednesday night's show was yet another segment attacking him.

On Thursday, I called MSNBC's media relations office, and asked whether they planned to correct the mistake. I was instructed by the woman who answered the phone to send an email with the details so she could pass them along. I followed up with a cordial email explaining that on Tuesday's show, Olbermann said, "A year before the election and Rudy Giuliani is already publicly contending the Democrats are willing to invite Osama bin Laden to the White House to negotiate. Sure they are, buster." I noted that in the video clip that ran on Olbermann's show, Giuliani clearly said Assad -- and the
official transcript of the show appearing on the MSNBC website reflected this. I also pointed out that the AP had already corrected its story, and wrote, "I have been following this story, and am inquiring as to whether 'Countdown' plans to correct the error." After not receiving a response, I spoke to the woman two more times that afternoon, but was told only that she would pass my message along to MSNBC spokeswoman Alana Russo.

After yet another Olbermann show passed by on Thursday night, I called back on Friday and again was told that my message would be passed along. Since I wasn't making any progress, I decided to contact Washington Post media critic Howard Kurtz about the story. I specifically wondered whether the standards for correcting errors on television were different from what I was accustomed to from my years working at a wire service.

"Cable news hosts have great leeway to sound off about political candidates, but they can't bend the facts in the process," Kurtz wrote back to me that afternoon. "It looks to me that Olbermann made a mistake in criticizing Giuliani for supposedly saying the Democrats would invite Osama to the White House, when Rudy said Assad. The best course would be for Keith to correct the record."

I asked Kurtz whether he planned to follow up on the story. He soon responded that he had just called MSNBC and, much to my surprise, was informed that a correction would air Friday night -- obviously making his own comments dated.

I called MSNBC for the fifth time, and the previously elusive spokeswoman Russo answered her own phone, apologized for not being able to take my calls the previous day, and informed me that Olbermann would issue a correction and apologize that night.

During his Friday show, Olbermann did
apologize, but only reaffirmed his utter lack of professionalism. Instead of taking responsibility for the error, he pointed fingers at the AP. "There are obviously mitigating circumstances regarding this mistake," he said, because the AP didn't corrected its story until 47 hours after it hit the wires, or 21 hours after his Tuesday show aired.

In reality, Olbermann didn't have to depend on the AP, because he aired the actual video of Giuliani's remarks. In rebroadcasting the remarks during his correction, Olberman said they showed "why there was widespread confusion" about what Giuliani said. No, actually, the video showed Giuliani said Assad, something that was clear as a bell to your humble correspondent, as well as to whoever transcribed Olbermann's show for MSNBC. It is also worth noting that the AP correction still hit the wires nearly two and a half hours before his Wednesday show, and by early Thursday I had already informed MSNBC of the error, just in case he missed it. Yet Olbermann still waited until well into his Friday broadcast to issue a correction and apology to Giuliani. "To him, and to you, I apologize," he said after his long-winded explanation.

The rest was run of the mill Olbermann. He expressed surprise at a past Giuliani comment that Mahmoud Ahmadinejad's "government of Iran is considered to be the single biggest state sponsor of terrorism in the world." This, even though the State Department in its annual report on the subject released on April 30
wrote, "Iran remained the most active state sponsor of terrorism." Olbermann also gave Giuliani all three positions in his enlightening regular feature, "The Worst Person in the World." But dissecting that would require another column, and I'd rather not make correcting Keith a full-time job.
.

I would usually characterize something like this as unbelievable.  But we are talking about keith olbermann.  So that doesn't apply at all;  it is perfectly believable. 

If olbermann's honesty ever reaches the level of his bile, Diogenes will just sign over his lamp.  Mission accomplished.


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