Tuesday, 04 December 2007

MORAL EQUIVALENCE TO THE NTH DEGREE

Ken Berwitz

What would have happened if a class of 7 year olds in the United States voted to name the class teddy bear "Jesus"? 

I don't know either.  But I sure as hell (heaven?) know the teacher would not be tried, sentenced to 40 lashes and jail time, and that the teacher would have to be spirited away because thousands were demanding her execution.  I would like to think you know that too.

With this in mind, here is a transcript of the four resident geniuses on "The View" discussing this issue:.

WHOOPI GOLDBERG: Now Sherri, one of the things we wanted to do was to mention something that happened that we talked about several days ago.

SHERRI SHEPHERD: Right, we had talked about Gillian Gibbons, who was the British teacher who let her children at the school name a teddy bear Muhammad. And we were talking about whether she was going to-

JOY BEHAR: In the Sudan.

SHEPHERD: In the Sudan and whether she should get the lashes or not-

BEHAR: Which is a Muslim country.

SHEPHERD: In the Muslim country, and shes been pardoned, so she will not get lashes, she will not get-

[applause]

BEHAR: She was about to go to jail also.

SHEPHERD: She was going to jail too.

BARBARA WALTERS: But, you know, we were, we were talking here, and, and I said well, I wonder that if in a public school here, a school teacher allowed, not allowed, but said that the children could name the teddy bear Jesus, would there be any reaction? And you-

GOLDBERG: Only in a public school.

SHEPHERD: I think there would be a reaction.

BEHAR: Well, thats interesting.

WALTERS: A public school, you said- say what you said.

BEHAR: I would think that in a Catholic school, they would-

WALTERS: No, in a public school, not a Catholic school

BEHAR: I think they probably would object to it because-

WALTERS: You said no, earlier you said no.

BEHAR: Well, first I thought that most Christians in this country would not be uptight about it.

GOLDBERG: I would think that they would be.

SHEPHERD: I would think that they would be very-

BEHAR: There are groups in the public schools who may object to the fact that youre giving preferential treatment to the teddy bear.

GOLDBERG: Yeah, but if its the childs teddy bear, what difference does it make if-

WALTERS: See I do, but you see-

GOLDBERG: Wait! Wait!

WALTERS: Okay, but just the fact that were having this discussion. I mean we think, "isnt this horrible that theyre doing this in the Sudan?" And it is because they were going to put her in jail and beat her. But the concept of it, the fact that were doing it here, Im - even though its allowable and nobodys, nobodys going to whiplash and so forth- I think that there would be parents and people who would say "its irreverent to name a toy or a teddy bear after the Lord."

[...]

GOLDBERG: But I do think that if you say to a child "what would you like to name your teddy bear?" and the child says "Jesus," I think most people would say "you know what, good because you keep that teddy bear near you and that makes you feel good." I dont think anybody would deny a child who says "I want to name this Jesus, because its mine and I can be with that." I dont think anybody would have an issue with that.

WALTERS: I think there might be some who would say this is wonderful-

GOLDBERG: Im not saying we cant have a love affair.

[laughter]

WALTERS: But lets have a real discussion.

GOLDBERG: Im serious.

WALTERS: You give your point of view, which is you dont think anyone would object.

GOLDBERG: Yes.

WALTERS: And perhaps they should, and perhaps they shouldnt. I am saying there may be some people who might say to the school that you should-

GOLDBERG: Absolutely!

WALTERS: you know, that this is reverent, and we dont want it. Im just trying to say that even though we are, that what happened in the Sudan is outrageous, but it is in, if you try to put in, in your own head, it is not something that is so, "oh my goodness, how could they possibly do that?"

BEHAR: In the Sudan is that its, its state sanctioned there. Here it would just be an uproar from certain people.

WALTERS: No, Im talking about that. Im talking about it being offensive to some people. Thats all.

BEHAR: Right, right.

WALTERS: Its not that far fetched.

BEHAR: Everythings offensive to some people..

The good news is that I know the combined IQ of these four women is above 63.  The bad news is that I would not have been able to tell as much from this "discussion". 

Let's forget the talking over one another that resulted in almost no completed sentences.  Let's just concentrate on the words themselves:

-Please note that there is no mention at all of the furious demonstrations by thousands of Muslim fanatics demanding that the teacher, Ms. Gillian Gibbons, be executed, even though they continued for days. No mention that the radical islamists were neither dispersed nor discouraged by the Sudanese government - the same government which has allowed atrocities resulting in millions of murders in that sorry country.  (That was no typo.  I said, and meant, MILLIONS OF MURDERS. 

Do you think this just might have informed what happened to Ms. Gibbons?  If so, I leave it to you to wonder why there was not a word about it from these four.

-And what about a comment or two regarding the laws that would allow a teacher to be tried and sentenced to lashes and jail, because her students named a teddy bear?  Maybe a sentence or two about how backward and intolerant the country must be, and how many other equally backward, intolerant muslim countries would have done the same thing or even worse? 

Nope.  The outrage required for that kind of reaction is reserved for attacking Christianity in the USA, not radical Islam in places like Sudan.

-Finally, did you enjoy that last comment, Joy Behar's toss-off that "Everything's offensive to some people"?  You want moral equivalence, there's a classic for you.

I've said it before and I'll say it again.  A great many media personalities are very brave and courageous when they want to bash Christianity in the USA.  But those same personalities cower in a corner when the issue is radical Islam;  the people who want to end our civilization and put every panelist on The View in either a burqa or a grave.


THE GALL OF BILL CLINTON

You can't beat Bill Clinton for gall.  You can't even come close.

Here are two realities about Hillary Clinton, both of which have been discussed in previous blogs:

-She is one of the most shielded candidates in political history, with a combination of loyal staff and some (not all) complicit media that protect her from answering almost anything about almost any subject to almost anyone.  This has gotten to the point where major media venues are speaking out about how impenetrably unavailable she is;

-She has virtually no experience that qualifies her for the presidency.

With this in mind, please now read the following whining complaint by Bill Clinton about coverage of his wife:.

 
Bill Clinton: Wife's Record Not Covered
Dec 4 03:01 PM US/Eastern
By PHILIP ELLIOTT
Associated Press Writer
KEENE, N.H. (AP) - Bill Clinton said Tuesday that if reporters covered the candidates' public records better, his wife's presidential bid would be far ahead of her rivals.

During a campaign stop on behalf of his wife, New York Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton, the former president said he can't understand why so much of the media coverage of the campaign ignores her experienceand, without naming him, the relative lack of experience of her closest Democratic rival, Illinois Sen. Barack Obama.

"One percent of the press coverage was devoted to their record in public life. No wonder people think experience is irrelevant. A lot of the people covering the race think it is (irrelevant)," Clinton said to students at Keene State College.

Clinton referenced a study from the Project for Excellence in Journalism that indicated much of the coverage of the race is dominated by daily horse race reporting rather than about policy issues.

"Sixty-seven percent of the coverage is pure politics. That stuff has a half life of about 15 seconds. It won't matter tomorrow. It is very vulnerable to being slanted and rude. And it won't affect your life," Clinton said.

Clinton also said his wife's bipartisan work in the Senate proves she can accomplish her campaign's message of change, and that records matter more than rhetoric. He said that when voters look at records and accomplishments, they will see clear choices between the New York senator and her rivals.

"I would pick her and be here if we weren't married," Clinton said.

Clinton recalled that this western New Hampshire town was the place he first thought he stood a chance of winning his Democratic Party's presidential nomination. He did not win the 1992 New Hampshire primary, but his second-place finish helped him position himself as "the Comeback Kid."

Hillary Rodham Clinton began the current campaign as the Democratic front-runner, but now faces a tightening race here and in Iowa. Her husband is one of several marquee surrogates trekking through snowy New Hampshire. Red Sox pitcher Curt Schilling planned to join Republican Sen. John McCain on Wednesday. Oprah Winfrey planned to join Obama on Sunday. 

.

The gall level is hall of fame quality.  Not only is Clinton's whining complaint (does he ever do anything but whine out complaints?) unbelievably ridiculous in view of how inaccessible Ms. Clinton has made herself to the media, but he parlays that BS into a second whining complaint that the lack of coverage is preventing people from learning of his wife's record.

WHAT record?  What has she ever done?  Do we have to review this again?  OK, here goes:

Hillary Clinton:

-Became a partner in the corrupt Rose Law Firm when her hubby became Arkansas' Attorney General - without having to try almost any cases (how many lawyers do you figure that happens to, other than lawyers whose husbands are the state's Attorney General, that is?);

-Became a senior partner when her hubby became Arkansas' Governor - without having to try almost any cases (amazing how she moved in synch with hubby Bill's influence in the state.  Just a coincidence of course);

-Was put in charge of Arkansas' education task force by her hubby - which did not improve education in Arkansas;

-Was First Lady because her hubby won the presidency;

-Was put in charge of the health care task force by her hubby, which resulted in a set of proposals so bad that a vast majority of Democrats joined Republicans in voting it down;

-Became a US senator partly because her real competition had to drop out for health reasons -- and, in 8 years, has not sponsored and passed any legislation (although, at least she shows up to the committee meetings and seems to work at her job, which is a lot more than I can say for kerry and edwards, the Democrats' 2004 ticket).

There you have it.  The great Hillary Clinton record.  The one hubby Bill is whining and complaining that you haven't been told about.

Well, now you have been.  Impressed?


NEW YORK TIMES RUNS COVER FOR NEW REPUBLIC

Ken Berwitz

Ok, you're the New York Times and one of your political kindred spirits, the New Republic, has made itself look ridiculous.  So what do you do?

Specifically, The New Republic published months of stories about "atrocities" in Iraq from a soldier stationed there, Scott Beauchamp, and it turns out he made the stories up. 

Then, after months of a supposed "investigation", Franklin Foer, the editor of The New Republic, publishes a large article about the BS he has allowed to stain his magazine which ends up with the pusilanimous "...we cannot be confident that the events in his pieces occurred in exactly the manner that he described them. Without that essential confidence, we cannot stand by these stories.

That's it?  That's the mea culpa? 

Nothing along the lines of  "he was lying to us and we fell for it" or "He made fools of us" or, god forbid, "our troops in Iraq have behaved far better than what you would think if you read Beauchamp's accounts in our magazine"?  Just "we cannot be confident...we cannot stand by"  This is the ADMISSION?

So what does the Times do?  It runs cover for The New Republic.

And how does the Times do it?  It finds a mistake a conservative magazine made - one of dramatically lower importance, made for a dramatically shorter time period, which the magazine determined to be wrong and acknowledged as such in a dramatically shorter time period,  complete with an apology ------ and EQUATES it with the major league eff-up from The New Republic.

Here is the Times' article.  See for yourself:.

Magazine Voices Doubt Over Diary From Iraq

After months of accusations that reports written in The New Republic by The Baghdad Diarist, an American Army private, about the cruelty of ordinary soldiers in Iraq were false, the magazine says that as a result of its own investigation it can no longer stand by the articles.

At the same time, National Review, one of the conservative magazines that strongly attacked The New Republic over the diarist articles, finds itself fending off accusations that accounts of armed Hezbollah gunmen in Lebanon reported in its blog in September were erroneous.

The two episodes have allowed political bloggers on the right and the left to claim the moral high ground in the past few days while letting the arrows fly. Each side has questioned the others patriotism, honesty and ethics while arguing over who had made the biggest mistake.

The New Republics troubles started in July, when it published an article by an anonymous soldier. The columns, titled The Baghdad Diarist, were written by Scott Thomas Beauchamp, an Army private who made claims of casually cruel behavior by the men in his unit. These included one of a soldier who gleefully ran over dogs with a Bradley fighting vehicle and another of a soldier who jokingly put the shattered remnants of a childs skull on his head.

The accounts were almost immediately challenged by conservatives. An Army investigation concluded in August that Private Beauchamps reports were false, but aside from acknowledging one factual mistake, the soldier continued to insist they were true. The New Republic promised a full investigation.

Over last weekend, the magazine posted on its Web site a nearly 7,000-word column to run in the Dec. 10 issue by Franklin Foer, the editor. It concluded: In light of the evidence available to us, after months of intensive re-reporting, we cannot be confident that the events in his pieces occurred in exactly the manner that he described them. Without that essential confidence, we cannot stand by these stories.

Mr. Foer said in an interview that the delay in coming to a final conclusion was due to the difficulty in sorting through events on a combat outpost in Iraq and his hope that the Army and Private Beauchamp would turn over documents related to the case. (Neither did.)

As bloggers at National Review Online continued to criticize The New Republic yesterday, National Review Onlines editor, Kathryn Jean Lopez, was also on the Web apologizing, in this case over misleading reporting from Lebanon.

Ms. Lopez first posted an apology on Friday for online columns titled The Tank by W. Thomas Smith Jr., a former marine and a free-lancer, which claimed that 4,000 to 5,000 Hezbollah soldiers had been deployed in the Christian sections of Beirut and that 200 armed Hezbollah militiamen were stationed in tents near the Lebanese parliament.

Mr. Smith had said that trusted sources had given him the information about Hezbollah. But his claims were disputed by other journalists there.

We have not been able to independently verify the reports, Ms. Lopez said in an e-mail statement yesterday. So far as I am concerned, they should not have been published as written.

Ms. Lopez resisted comparisons between Private Beauchamp and Mr. Smith.

If Smith was too trusting of his sources, that is a journalistic faux pas of an entirely different sort, she wrote in the magazines blog on Sunday. It does not, contrary to some bloggers claims, make him a fabulist.

Mr. Foer was asked if he were experiencing any joy over the troubles at National Review, and he replied, I have a feeling of how difficult this situation must be for them, and I wish them luck in resolving it.  .

Read it again.  Do these two situations look equivalent to you?

National Review did not claim a series of atrocities over a number of articles (wouldn't those have required the most scrutiny of all?).  And when it found out the source was wrong it said so clearly, no weaselly "we cannot be confident" vomit.  And not months later but almost immediately.

This, folks, is a classic example of the bias which pervades The New York Times and The New Republic and other print and broadcast venues too numerous to mention in one blog. 

Personally, I liked it better in the old days when the Times still had its bias but at least tried to make itself look neutral every once in a while.


THE TOONS OF NAPLES

Ken Berwitz

If this Associated Press report doesn't come under the heading "you can't make this stuff up", nothing does..

Tweety, Donald Duck summoned to court

By ARIEL DAVID, Associated Press Writer 36 minutes ago

Tweety may get a chance to take the witness stand and sing like a canary. An Italian court ordered the animated bird, along with Mickey Mouse, Donald Duck and his girlfriend Daisy, to testify in a counterfeiting case.

In what lawyers believe was a clerical error worthy of a Looney Tunes cartoon, a court in Naples sent a summons to the characters ordering them to appear Friday in a trial in the southern Italian city, officials said.

The court summons cites Titti, Paperino, Paperina, Topolino the Italian names for the characters as damaged parties in the criminal trial of a Chinese man accused of counterfeiting products of Disney and Warner Bros.

Instead of naming only the companies and their legal representatives, clerks also wrote in the witness list the names of the cartoons that decorated the toys and gadgets the man had reproduced, said Fiorenza Sorotto, vice president of Disney Company Italia.

"Unfortunately they cannot show up, as they are residents of Disneyland," Sorotto joked in a telephone interview with The Associated Press. "It certainly pleased us that the characters were considered real, because that's what we try to do."

The Naples court will have to rewrite the summons, although this will probably delay the trial, said Disney lawyer Cristina Ravelli.

"Let's hope the characters will not be prosecuted for failing to appear," Ravelli quipped.

Calls seeking comment from Warner Bros. in Milan were not immediately returned. Phones at the Naples court were not answered Tuesday. .

Is it just me or do you also think that Yosemite Sam's fingerprints are all over this one?


KATIE'S CARWRECK CONTINUES

Ken Berwitz

Well, the November sweeps are in the books, and here is how each of the network news shows made out:.

NBC Nightly News: 9.21 million total viewers, 2.3 rating/9 share, 2.79 million viewers in the key demo.

ABC World News: 9.11 million total viewers, 2.2 rating/9 share, 2.77 million viewers in the key demo.

CBS Evening News with Katie Couric: 6.74 million total viewers, 1.7 rating/6 share, 2.08 million viewers in the key demo. .

There you have it.  NBC and ABC are neck and neck for the lead, with Katie Carwreck so far behind she can't even eat their dust...because it has settled by the time she gets there.

Again we see that a terrific morning show personality (and make no mistake, Katie was just that) just may not be so hotsy-totsy as a network news anchor.

This anchor isn't mooring the ship, it's taking the ship down with it. 

If CBS were smart (and before you assume the answer is "yes", please remember that they were the ones who hired Dan Rather), they would ask Katie Couric to move to the CBS morning show and compete against her former employer, the Today Show.

They would ask, they would beg and they would threaten.

It doesn't take a lot of reality-checking to understand that this is where she belongs. 


THE "JENA 6" INCIDENT: A DOSE OF REALITY

Ken Berwitz

Remember the "Jena 6" incident, in which 6 Black students at Jena (Louisiana) high school attacked and badly beat up a White student, Justin Barker?  Remember the outcry that these young Black teenagers were being horribly mistreated?

You might also remember my blog of September 21, in which I posted a point-by-point demonstration that much of the accusations regarding treatment of the "Jena 6" were inaccurate, exaggerated and outright fraudulent (http://www.hopelesslypartisan.com/item_1441.htm#1441)

One of the visual images that troubled me most during the media's week or two of nonstop coverage about this incident was the signs - obviously professionally printed and distributed to protesters - which said "PRAISE MYCHAL BELL".  I was troubled because if anyone knew about young Mr. Bell's criminal history they were aware that he was a one-person crime wave. 

With this, I want to show you yesterday's Associated Press article on Bell's plea bargain deal:.

Plea deal reached for Jena 6 teen 4:50 PM CT

04:51 PM CST on Monday, December 3, 2007

Associated Press

JENA, La. A black teenager may get out of a juvenile facility in about eight months after a deal was struck Monday with prosecutors in the beating of a white classmate that sparked a major civil rights demonstration amid cries that his treatment was unduly harsh.

Mychal Bell, now 17, originally was charged as an adult with attempted murder in the beating of Justin Barker in December 2006. That charge was reduced before a jury convicted him in June of aggravated second-degree battery. In September, that verdict was thrown out by an appeals court that said Bell should be tried as a juvenile.

Under the deal, Bell pleaded guilty to a juvenile charge of second-degree battery in return for an 18-month sentence with credit for the 10 months he already has served. Without a deal, Bell faced being placed in a juvenile facility until his 21st birthday.

Bell also must pay court costs plus $935 to the Barker family and he must testify truthfully in court if any other of his co-defendants in the Barker beating go to trial.

"This was a way to put a close to an event at a time when everyone had reasons to want it settled," said Louis Scott, one of Bell's lawyers.

Bell is one of a group of teens who came to be known as the "Jena Six" as word spread of their arrests on attempted second-degree murder charges, which could have landed them in prison for decades.

"We were prepared to go forward with the trial, but you have to do what's best for the client," said Carol Powell Lexing, one of Bell's attorneys. A juvenile court trial was to begin later this week.

As part of the deal, Bell will undergo counseling and begin to be reintegrated into the school system, his lawyers said.

LaSalle Parish District Attorney Reed Walters said he was pleased with the deal "because Mr. Barker is beginning to get the restitution and compensation he's due."

Walters said he would try to work out plea deals with the other teens charged in Barker's beating. He said his decision to work out a deal was not influenced by the intense media coverage and civil rights demonstrations.

Barker spent several hours in the emergency room after the attack but was discharged and attended a school event the night after the attack, which occurred about a year ago.

Critics said prosecutors have treated blacks more harshly than whites in LaSalle Parish, pointing to an incident three months before the attack on Barker in which three white teens were accused of hanging nooses from a tree at the high school. The three were suspended from school but never criminally charged.

Walters has said there was no state crime to charge them with.  .

I'm fascinated by the comment within this story that "Critics said prosecutors have treated blacks more harshly than whites...."   Is that supposed to be a reference to the treatment of Mychal Bell?

Here, for your reading enjoyment, is an enumeration of Mr. Bell's previous year's criminal activity.  See how you think he has been treated:

  • Battery - 12/25/2005
  • Criminal damage to property - 7/25/2006
  • Battery - 9/2006
  • Criminal damage to property - 9/2006

Nice of the AP to leave that criminal history out of the article, wasn't it? 

Now, how about the claim that Bell was being treated TOO HARSHLY?  Are you kidding me?  He should have been in a reformatory or jail long BEFORE the "Jena 6" incident. 

With a criminal history like that, all within a 9 month period, Bell was still walking the streets?  That is about as far from "harsh" treatment as you will ever see.

Now will someone please tell me why anyone would "PRAISE MYCHAL BELL" as the signs said?    

And after you're through not being able to do so, maybe you can tell me where this story was on the network news last night and where it will be tonight.  Maybe you can tell me whether it was in your newspaper at all and, if it was, how many days you think it will stay there.  Then compare it to the nonstop coverage when the focus was on the "Jena 6" as victims instead of, in Mychal Bell's case, as a perpetrator.

But watch them squeal like stuck pigs if you call them biased.

dsf As part of his plea bargain, Bell not only admitted in court his role in beating Barker but he also agreed to testify at the trials of the remaining Jena 6. Reed Walters now has his snitch and five of the remaining defendants will be tried as adults. (12/04/07)


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