July 22, 2012
JANET NAPOLITANO: Pay No Attention To The President.
JANET NAPOLITANO: Pay No Attention To The President.
PEJMAN YOUSEFZADEH: The International Olympic Committee’s Disgrace.
AT AMAZON, coupons galore in Health & Personal Care. Lots of deals on batteries.
ELLEN BARKIN: Long live our president! Or as they say in Venezuela, Viva El Presidente!
SUSPECT’S RAPID DESCENT: Reader Tom Barker writes: “It struck me that this short article told me a hundred times more than we know about BHO’s college years.” Heh.
AT AMAZON, a Nikon D3100 for $499 with lens.
SALENA ZITO: Mitt Romney’s Moment.
“The president actually said, if you’ve got a business, you didn’t build that, somebody else made that happen.” He paused and threw his hands up before adding: “Really?”
Sitting in a small office attached to a local shale industry company for an interview with the Trib, Romney remained agitated and energized.
The agitation was personal because he is genuinely appalled by President Obama’s attitude toward business.
“I could not believe he said that. And it wasn’t just a twist of phrase, he actually goes on to explain what he meant by that,” Romney said, suddenly stretching forward as if finding it difficult to contain his feelings.
The energy came from what arguably was the presumptive Republican nominee’s best rally so far. More than 1,400 people packed a 4,000-square-foot warehouse – but it wasn’t the numbers, it was the event’s organic nature.
This was not a stacked rally, to which the usual GOP suspects bring a friend, or a ticketed event, for which you go to a local elected official to pick up a pass reserved for people who clap on cue.
This was the real deal – and the crowd, with nearly as many Democrats as Republicans, let Romney know they loved him and his message.
America’s spirit isn’t dead yet. In the age of Obama, it just smells funny.
HOW TO SAVE CIVILIZATION from itself.
THEY TOLD ME IF I VOTED FOR JOHN MCCAIN, THE ECONOMY WOULD SINK SO LOW THAT NEWSPAPERS WOULD BE VALUED AS APPAREL. And they were right!
UPDATE: Reader Ric Manhard emails: “I followed your link to the newspaper dress. I’m surprised she wasn’t arrested for indecent exposure since neither the Washington Post nor the NY Times cover anything adequately these days.” Heh.
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HIGHER EDUCATION BUBBLE UPDATE: Unemployment and Student Debt Sour America On College.
REMEMBERING THE VICTIMS OF this month’s massacre in Chicago. “A mass murder like Aurora, Colorado, naturally grabs the headlines and attention, as it should. A presidential recognition of the murders is appropriate. Yet more than twice as many people have been murdered this month in the president’s hometown of Chicago than were killed in the Aurora shooting. They are just statistics for whom there will be no presidential visits or flags flown at half staff.”
Well, since Chicago already has very strict gun control, these deaths can’t be turned to political use.
SCIENCE: Don’t Blame Sitting—Yet—for Shorter Lives of the Sedentary. “Instead, it could be that people who spend more time sitting are less healthy to begin with, or that those who sit less are using that time in healthier ways such as exercising.”
WORRIES ABOUT an electric-grid crash.
FACTCHECKING THE FACTCHECKERS: GOP truth squad targets bias in national PolitiFact units.
Well, Politifact Tennessee’s light-bulb debut wasn’t exactly brilliant.
THE CHROMOSOMAL EVIDENCE that mankind nearly went extinct.
GEORGE LUCAS shows his true colors.
WHY DIDN’T THIS MASS SHOOTING IN AURORA MAKE NEWS? Because someone with a gun stopped it quick.
ESPIONAGE: Virginia Man Sentenced for Spying for Syrian Government. “Mr. Soueid, a Syrian-born naturalized U.S. citizen, pleaded guilty to six counts of acting as an agent of a foreign government. Prosecutors said he recruited individuals in the U.S. to help gather information and supplied the Syrian government with contact information for key protesters in the U.S. and others. Mr. Soueid hand-wrote a letter of support to a Syrian official in April 2011, saying that he believed the dissension should be disposed of in a quick and decisive manner even through violence, home invasions and arrests.”
21ST CENTURY RELATIONSHIPS: Dear Prudence administers a well-deserved smackdown: “Your approach, however, seems to be to treat your sex life as if it is subject to regulatory review by the Department of Health and Human Services. Your prim, punctilious, punitive style has me admiring your put-upon husband’s ability to even get it up, given the possibility he’ll be accused of rape—or turn himself in for it!—if one of you fails a breathalyzer test. Living in terror that expressing one’s perfectly normal sexual desire could end one’s marriage, and freedom, is itself a form of abuse. Stop acting like a parody of a gender-studies course catalog and start acting like a loving wife. If you can’t, then give the poor sap a divorce.”
Plus, from the comments: “If Obama’s Julia were in the theater, who would have dove in front of her? A bureaucrat from the Social Security Administration or perhaps someone from Planned Parenthood?”
TRAFFIC CAMERA RECORDS IMPOSSIBLE SPEEDS: Red light cameras in St. Petersburg, Florida accuse motorist of running red light at 215 MPH.
CYBERSECURITY: Privacy advocates satisfied with Lieberman’s cybersecurity rewrite. “The revised Lieberman bill narrows the definition of what can be shared and requires that any information shared with the government must go to civilian, not military, agencies. The privacy groups argue that the legislation should not empower the CIA and the National Security Agency (NSA) to collect Americans’ personal computer information. The bill also dictates that the information can only be used for addressing cybersecurity threats and not other purposes, such as national security or criminal investigations.”
MIKE MCDANIEL: SWAT and the Second Amendment. “Millions of citizens lawfully carry concealed weapons. Police can encounter them, male and female, young and old, at any time and any place. Competent officers know this and behave properly and professionally around everyone. Millions more have firearms in their homes. Competent police officers know they may encounter legally armed people whenever they go to any citizen’s home. They know they may face particular danger if they do not clearly identify themselves or their purpose, particularly when they arrive at times and under circumstances people would not expect visitors — or the police.”
THE ELTON JOHN / RUSH LIMBAUGH bond.
WHAT ARE YOUR FAVORITE SCIENCE FICTION BOOKS?
IN THE MAIL: Writing to Win: The Legal Writer.
The deadly earthquake that leveled Haiti’s capital more than two years ago brought a thread of hope: a promise of renewal. With the United States taking the lead, international donors pledged billions of dollars to help the country “build back better,” breaking its cycle of dependency.
But after the rubble was cleared and the dead buried, what the quake laid bare was the depth of Haiti’s dysfunction. Today, the fruits of an ambitious, $1.8 billion U.S. reconstruction promise are hard to find. Immediate, basic needs for bottled water, temporary shelter and medicine were the obvious priorities. But projects fundamental to Haiti’s transformation out of poverty, such as permanent housing and electric plants in the heavily hit capital of Port-au-Prince have not taken off.
Critics say the U.S. effort to reconstruct Haiti was flawed from the start.
You’d think that in Haiti, at least, we’d have been able to find some shovel-ready projects. The reader who forwarded this, who has experience in the area, says that it’s a mistake just to write Haiti off as a basket-case because it has a lot of problems. Rather, the problems we’re having in Haiti represent systemic problems with how we do business.
SHRUNKEN VISTAS: Thrifty bride KNITS her own dress and hunts out crockery from charity shops for £5,000 recession wedding. She sounds like a keeper to me. Though I think the Insta-Wife and I actually spent less than that on our wedding, with no knitting.
AN EXPLANATION OF WHY being grateful to the government is not the same as being grateful to God. “I find the hypothetical fascinating not so much on the substance, but for what it says about the world view that would see an equivalence between the two scenarios.”
God created man. But man created government. And government is supposed to serve its creator, though . . . .
THIN AND CURVY is a fashion blog for women who are, well, thin and curvy.
LEGAL EDUCATION UPDATE: Court Dismisses Fraud Lawsuit Against Second Law School: ABA Placement Data Are ‘So Vague and Incomplete as to be Meaningless and Could Not Reasonably be Relied Upon.’ Well, it’s a win — but not much of an endorsement.
NEWS YOU CAN USE: How To Find That Perfect Husband In College.
HOW’S THAT HOPEY-CHANGEY STUFF WORKIN’ OUT FOR YA? US Poverty on Track to Rise to Highest Since 1960s.
That’s not a bug, it’s a feature: They’ll turn us all into beggars ’cause they’re easier to please. . . .
LAWRENCE SOLOMON: Losing the Anti-Semite Card.
The anti-Semite card that Democrats have played so deftly over the years — the single-biggest reason Jews provide Democrats with more than 50% of their campaign funding — looks phony to many Jews. When Schultz got up to speak in praise of Obama, the normally sedate Jewish audience heckled her, leaving her visibly rattled.
The upset many Jews feel today is mostly directed toward Obama, whom they see as tolerant of anti-Semites such as Louis Farrakhan, tolerant of anti-Semitic organizations such as the Muslim Brotherhood, and intolerant, even hostile, to Israel. But Democrats on the whole need beware — more than a presidential election is at stake.
When Jews began to perceive Canada’s Liberal Party as being tolerant of anti-Semitism and unfair to Israel — such as through Liberal participation in the UN Durban conference and the accusation that Israel had committed a war crime — the rock-solid support that the Liberals had long enjoyed from Jews evaporated. . . .
Anti-Semitic, anti-Israeli venom is on the rise, and it is coming mostly from the left. Anti-Semitism on U.S. college campuses is a “serious problem,” concluded the 2006 U.S. Commission on Civil Rights. “There is more sympathy for Hamas [on U.S. campuses] than there is in Ramallah,” wrote award-winning Palestinian journalist Khaled Abu Toameh, who found during a 2009 speaking tour of the U.S. that it “is not about supporting the Palestinians as much as it is about promoting hatred for the Jewish state.”
Surveys by Jewish organizations confirm that anti-Semitism is on the rise, as does a 2009 survey by researchers at Stanford and Columbia University, designed to find explicit prejudice toward Jews as a result of the financial meltdown. To the researchers’ surprise, they found that “Democrats were especially prone to blaming Jews: while 32% of Democrats accorded at least moderate blame, only 18.4% of Republicans did so,” a difference that jars “given the presumed higher degree of racial tolerance among liberals and the fact that Jews are a central part of the Democratic Party’s electoral coalition.” Warning that “we must take heed of prejudice and bigotry that have already started to sink roots in the United States,” the authors noted that “Crises often have the potential to stoke fears and resentment, and the current economic collapse is likely no exception.”
Almost as if on cue, the Occupy Wall Street movement arose, with Jews often crudely singled out for blame, and with prominent Democrats, Obama and Pelosi among them, stoking the anti-1% sentiment.
Read the whole thing.
MICHAEL WALSH: A History Of Violence.
NEW YORK POST: The Fort Hood Whitewash.
After a more-than-two-year review, a report released last week accuses the FBI of having dropped the ball when it investigated the Fort Hood jihadist before the 2009 massacre.
So — how many people will be fired?
Exactly . . . none.
That’s right: The agency might have been able to prevent the killing of 13 people by a home-grown Islamic fundamentalist, Maj. Nidal Malik Hasan — but failed to do so.
And yet, not a single FBI official will lose his or her job.
Responsibility for failure is for the little people.
LONGEVITY UPDATE: A man depicts the often grim atmosphere in assisted living facilities. “What I hadn’t calculated was what it’s like to watch a friend — someone you’ve eaten breakfast with every morning for several years — waste away and die. And just as you’re recovering from that friend’s death, another friend begins to waste away. I can say with certainty that the prospect of watching dozens (at my young age, perhaps hundreds) of my friends and neighbors in assisted living die is a sadness beyond words.”
My photo on the subject:
#NARRATIVEFAIL: Generation X Is Surprisingly Unconcerned About Climate Change.
IT’S NICE TO SEE THE INTERNET taking such interest in a good, wholesome sport.
BUMMER: Stories of an Elvis-Mouse Hybrid turn out to be untrue.
A RICK PERRY ITEM I SOMEHOW MISSED THIS WEEK: Governor Welcomes President Obama to Texas By Demanding An Apology.
NO. BUT IT MIGHT HELP. Can Vitamin D Solve All Your Problems?
REMEMBERING the Aurora shooting victims.
ALEC BALDWIN’S fracking hypocrisy.
AT LEAST THERE WERE NO STYROFOAM COLUMNS. Obama Paid $93k for Half-Empty Stadium Kick-Off Event. “The event was widely considered a dud, and perhaps best remembered for images of the numerous empty seats.”
Oh, well, it could have been worse: Tony Robbins event ends in disaster as 21 people are treated for burns after walking on 2,000-degree hot coals. At the Obama event, there were just snores, instead of “wails of pain and screams of agony.” Yet somehow there seems to be a parallel.
HMM: Report: Police seek second person of interest in Aurora theater shooting; fellow PhD student. If it’s true — and that remains a big “if” — that’s a real break with past mass shootings.
UPDATE: Some paranoid types are questioning the timing. Though post Fast-and-Furious I guess it’s not quite as crazy as it might have been. Which is a hell of a thing.
HAD A LOVELY EVENING IN CHATTANOOGA: LibertyCon is there this weekend, and while I didn’t make the Con, we drove down for the Baen Books party (it’s only about 90 minutes from Knoxville). Larry Niven and Jerry Pournelle were there, as were Mike Williamson, Tim Zahn, Sarah Hoyt, John Ringo (pictured below with Helen), Les Johnson, and a host of others.
Plus, I was presented with a lovely certificate in recognition of my support for the Baen’s Bar crowd’s work to support the troops. But, really, it was the InstaPundit readers who chipped in who provided the real support. A good time was had by all. Now we’re home again. Maybe next year I’ll actually attend the Con!
KASHMIR HILL: Using Twitter To Identify Psychopaths.
NO WORD ON HOW MANY OF THOSE WERE UNVERIFIED CREDIT CARD DONATIONS ONLINE: Obama out-raises Romney in direct contributions for month of June.
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A NEW GOVERNMENT CHEESE VIDEO.
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THIS WEEK IN THE FUTURE.
HOPE AND CHANGE: FAA Has Authorized 106 Government ‘Entities’ to Fly Domestic Drones.
HOW’S THAT HOPEY-CHANGEY STUFF WORKIN’ OUT FOR YA? (CONT’D): Unemployment Rises In Six of Ten Battleground States.
DAVID HARSANYI: Are Obama’s Ideas Un-American? “If not un-American, the ideas that propel Obama’s re-election campaign are certainly unprecedented. . . . The president’s central case rests on the idea that individuals should view government as society’s moral center, the engine of prosperity and the arbiter of fairness. Traditionally speaking, that’s not a very American notion. Surely, he’s not the first president to think it, but he’s probably the first to say it — and he says it over and over again.”
THE NEW YORK TIMES SAYS “organized labor is in free fall.”
WHEN YOUR WINDOW-TINTING also generates electricity. “UCLA researchers have developed a new transparent solar cell that is an advance toward giving windows in homes and other buildings the ability to generate electricity while still allowing people to see outside. The UCLA team describes a new kind of polymer solar cell (PSC) that produces energy by absorbing mainly infrared light, not visible light, making the cells nearly 70% transparent to the human eye. They made the device from a photoactive plastic that converts infrared light into an electrical current.”
WHY OBAMA LIKES FACEBOOK: “The real power of the president’s Facebook app: providing a window on supporters’ friends.”
WALTER RUSSELL MEAD: Russia’s Nightmare and the Danger of Abandoning Assad. “Someone is killing Russia’s pro-government, moderate, Muslim clerics. . . . From Syria to the Caucasus to Tatarstan and Moscow, radical Sunnism is a force the Russian authorities cannot ignore. But it is easier to recognize the danger than to fight it effectively, and nothing the Kremlin has tried so far has had much success.”
JEREMY LOTT: “Did anybody else read this anti-summer break piece by Peter Orszag and feel the urge to give the author a tremendous wedgie?” “Let’s grant that there is some evidence of summer slippage. But to look at the vast wasteland that is American public education — the poor teaching, the awful curriculum, the low standards, the anemic achievement, the institutional resistance to needed reform — and say that the real problem is summer vacation takes a special sort of mind.”
A LOOK AT NASA’s Next Spacesuit. “The Z-1 prototype—currently being tested in a vacuum chamber—has been designed for versatility: to explore alien surfaces, float outside a space station, and even weather the radiation of deep space.”
HEADLINE OF THE WEEK: Spitzer Thinks It Might Be Too Soon for Weiner Comeback.
FASTER, PLEASE: Nanoscale Scaffolds Grow Replacement Cartilage.
IN MANHATTAN, a breath of dissent from Bloomberg’s anti-gun nannyism. More and stronger, please.
UPDATE: Compare this disgraceful piece of blood-libel agitprop from the Daily News. For shame. And I’m sure it’s somehow racist to tie Obama to James Holmes.
STOP THE PRESSES — A CEO WANTS SUBSIDIES: BMW CEO says governments need to offer more tax subsidies for EVs.
READER BOOK PLUG: Reader C.L. Stegall writes: “Hi, Glenn! Would love for you to mention my novel on Instapundit.” Okay. It’s The Weight Of Night.
HIGHER EDUCATION BUBBLE UPDATE: Can Bankruptcy Solve Student Loan Woes?
ANDREW MORRISS AND LOTTA MOBERG: Cartelizing Taxes: Understanding the OECD’s Campaign Against ‘Harmful Tax Competition.’
IN THE MAIL: From Stephen L. Carter, The Impeachment of Abraham Lincoln.
WELL, THIS IS PRETTY MUCH HIS APPROACH TO EVERYTHING, ISN’T IT? Obama campaign effort spends more in June than it takes in.
PUNCTURING THE MUDDLED THINKING OF E.J. DIONNE.
THE OTHER DAY I POSTED A BLEG FOR LAPTOP BACKPACK RECOMMENDATIONS, and then got distracted and never compiled them. Sorry! Here they are:
Reader Patrick Carroll writes:
I’m a backpack consumer they way most women are shoe consumers. I currently use a Lowepro backpack for (simultaneously) hauling a Dell 17″ XPS, Apple 15″ Macbook Pro, camera, chargers, and misc other supplies. I have a convertible REI backpack-to-suitcase for overseas travel while hauling a computer or two, but a lot of my friends are in love with the “Mother Lode Weekender.”
Reader Rob Chilton emails: “Our son uses this one, after we got it for him, I had to have one myself! Great for laptop transport.” I think that’s the one I have in my car as a go-bag. Several other readers recommended this one too.
Reader Stephen Gorisch likes this one:
I got a Swiss Gear notebook backpack.
from a BestBuy about 7 years ago when I was still in school after using one of those hideous over the shoulder bags for several years, and right away was impressed with it. It’s built for a 15.4″, but housed my 17″ laptop quite snugly, and has plenty of padding in the pocket for the laptop AND for your back. While carrying a laptop, I don’t think I’ve ever once been poked by it because of all the padding. There’s also plenty of room for real notebooks, school books, reading books, etc. And the best part is that it has all these little pockets, including pockets within pockets, and not 1, but TWO pockets for beverages, be it your morning coffee, coke, or VitaminWater. Have I mentioned I love pockets?
The one I have has lasted me since I bought it, and it has been used almost every day in one fashion or another. Now that I’m gainfully employed and lucky enough to be able to walk to work, I still use it every day for my computer and programming books and notes, and it’s only just now starting to show a little bit of wear. The straps are still very well attached despite being slightly frayed at the edges, and one of the plastic rings that served no purpose for me other than to keep my hands occupied while I was walking has split (I think it’s a keyring). It’s still attached, but the plastic there did finally wear out and break it. I fully expect the bag to make it another 3-4 years, after which I will be replacing it with exactly the same thing if I can.
I’m not really sure if mine started the trend, as I don’t really remember ever pushing them, but since I started working here, 4 of the 9 employees where I work have bought them for their laptops.
Seriously. It’s well built, roomy, and very comfortable to wear with or without the laptop.
Reader Robert Reynolds (no relation) writes: “Hey Glenn.. here’s a backpack recommendation: The 5.11 COVRT 18. I’ve been abusing it for a couple of years now, and it is super-rugged. The interior laptop pouch easy holds my rather large laptop, and there are tons of other pockets. It also serves as my daily-carry bug out bag.”
Capt. John Votaw writes:
In answer to your readers request for laptop backpack reviews. I am a mooring master which requires me to board and disembark from ships on a regular basis. I need protection for my laptop, as well as room for rain gear, a book or two, and “office supplies.”
I have been using the “Surge” by North Face for two years and have been quite satisfied. Sturdy, lots of room, great balance between small and large compartments.
There’s a women’s model, too.
Reader Marilee Goodwin writes:
My brand recommendation for a laptop backpack is FUL. The quality is fantastic. I bought one at Costco 2 years ago for my middle school son. He hated going to his locker so the backpack was full everyday. In spite of a full year of abuse, he asked me not to get him a new backpack for 2011-2012. After two years, except for a bit of fraying at the edges, the FUL backpack is still in good shape.
I am a stay at home mom and don’t have to move my laptop often. When I have needed to, I have ‘borrowed’ my son’s backpack. It has a nicely padded space for laptops that I could trust it when I was traveling. I have since purchased a FUL backpack for myself and will buy one for each of my four kids for the next school year.
Reader Sarah Powell emails:
I walked all over Austin with the Jansport “Merit”. It had a padded enclosure for the laptop in the first large compartment; a second, equally large compartment; two smaller pouches on the front perfect for power cord and mouse and for wallet/keys/ID/etc. I could also reach around and dig into those pockets without taking the backpack off.
What she’ll probably need most is volume — she’ll need at least a folder or two, a spiral with tear-away notebook paper, a pencil bag, and any books/textbooks to fit into the backpack in with the laptop.
If the Caroline will be doing lots of walking, get shaped/contoured shoulder straps. Water bottle pockets are handy so you can stay hydrated.
Meanwhile, minimalist advice from reader Dan Scherk: “Buy any cheap backpack. Wrap laptop in a spare sweater to protect from bumps, and so you’ll always have one handy. Study hard.”
That last is probably the most important.
NEW OBAMA SLOGAN? “Welfare Is Sexy!”
I, FOR ONE, WELCOME OUR NEW ROBOT GUIDANCE COUNSELORS. “A small number of schools around the country—the University of Arizona and Austin Peay State University in Tennessee being most prominent among them—are now experimenting with new ways to use data mining to help track the performance of their students and guide them towards the majors and courses that suit them best. Although the two systems use slightly different methods and technology, the core principle is the same: by tracking students’ grades, course history, and use of online learning materials, a computer can determine when a student is in danger of falling behind and suggest steps to get him or her back on track. The hope is that this will decrease the number of students who drop out or spend additional years in college because of a switch in majors.”
HIGHER EDUCATION BUBBLE UPDATE: Obama Administration Backs Bankruptcy Option for Some Student Debt. Actually, as Brian Lehrer noticed when I was on his show last week talking about my book, Obama and I are pretty much on the same page about a lot of this higher education bubble stuff.
OBAMA MARKS RAMADAN WITH SPECIAL MESSAGE: “Islam is part of the fabric of our Nation. . . . This year, Ramadan holds special meaning for those citizens in the Middle East and North Africa who are courageously achieving democracy and self-determination and for those who are still struggling to achieve their universal rights.”
BAD NEWS FOR RETIREES: Treasury Yields Hit New Lows.
WHAT A WINNING CIVIL RIGHTS CAMPAIGN LOOKS LIKE: Post-Aurora, Don’t Expect New Gun Laws.
ALEXANDER COCKBURN has died.
CHARLES COOKE: Colorado Crime Was Not About Guns, But About People.
Related: Don’t blame the parents.
WAR ON PHOTOGRAPHY UPDATE: Cop Took Cell Phone Used to Film Him, Lawsuit Alleges Retaliation.
The war on cameras continues in Point Marion, Pennsylvania, with a federal lawsuit filed by a man whose cell phone police confiscated. Gregory Rizer says he was at a friend’s house, filming a police officer he felt was being aggressive in his questioning of his quadriplegic friend about the whereabouts of her cousin.
The police officer, Kevin Lukart, confiscated the cellphone and Rizer was eventually charged under the state’s wiretap law, a common prosecutorial tactic against those who film police officers in states with two-party consent or other wiretapping laws. The charges were dropped by the state attorney in February (the Pennsylvania Supreme Court ruled in 1989 and again in 2005 that police officers don ‘t have an expectation of privacy under the wiretapping law) and Rizer says in his lawsuit the memory card was missing (surprise!) when his cell phone was returned to him.
So it’s theft as well as abuse of power?
UPDATE: I suppose I should take this opportunity to once again plug Morgan Manning’s excellent piece on photographers’ rights, as well as my own piece (coauthored with John Steakley) on a due-process right to record the police.
PROF. JACOBSON: About Those Polls.
ACCOUNTABILITY IS FOR THE LITTLE PEOPLE: California parks director resigns amid scandal. “State Parks Director Ruth Coleman resigned this morning and her second in command has been fired after officials learned the department has been sitting on nearly $54 million in surplus money for as long as 12 years. The moves come in the wake of a scandal, revealed by The Bee on Sunday, in which a deputy director at State Parks carried out a secret vacation buyout program for employees at department headquarters last year. That buyout cost the state more than $271,000.”
Hey, it’s not your money, peasants. It’s theirs.
OPERATION FAT AND FURIOUS: Obama Pushes Food Stamps In Mexico.
Simply as a matter of journalistic craft, the report was appallingly shoddy. Ross pointed the finger at an innocent man based on nothing but the coincidence of a common name and the man’s residence in the same city of 325,000 where the crime took place.
Let us amend that. There was one other factor, and this is what makes the ABC error not just amateurish but sinister: the innocent Jim Holmes’s involvement with the Tea Party. For more than three years liberal journalists have falsely portrayed the Tea Party as racist and potentially violent. After the January 2011 mass shooting in Tuscon, Ariz., speculation immediately began that the suspect was a Tea Partier. Even after it was proved that he was not, the New York Times published a despicable editorial blaming conservatives anyway.
Ross and ABC were out on this limb alone. Either other journalists learned their lesson from Tucson, or it didn’t occur to them to look for a political motive this time (it was a more plausible hypothesis in a shooting that targeted a politician).
It is reasonable to interpret Ross’s hasty unsubstantiated report as an expression of hostility–bigotry–toward the Tea Party and those who share its values, which are traditional American ones. ABC’s carelessness here is in sharp contrast with the way the mainstream media treat criminal suspects who are black or Muslim. In those cases they take great pains not to perpetuate stereotypes, sometimes at the cost of withholding or obscuring relevant facts such as the physical description of a suspect who is still at large or the ideological motive for a crime.
Oikophobia is no less invidious than other forms of bigotry.
True, though Brian Ross probably can’t spell it.
JOURNALISM PROF. JOSEPH CAMPBELL: Slow to learn: Lesson for journos in Brian Ross’ egregious error on ABC.
Brian Ross’ appalling error linking the Tea Party movement to the suspected Batman-movie shooter in Colorado demonstrates anew how slow journalists can be in grasping an elementary lesson of disaster coverage: Resist temptation to report more than you can immediately verify.
In the hours just after a disaster, journalists tend to be especially prone to error and imprecision, as Ross, the chief investigative correspondents for ABC News, amply demonstrated in declaring today on Good Morning America:
“There is a Jim Holmes of Aurora, Colorado, page on the Tea Party site as well, talking about him joining the Tea Party last year.
“Now, we don’t know if this is the same Jim Holmes,” Ross added, “but it is a Jim Holmes of Aurora, Colo.”
The suspect arrested in the shootings early today at a movie theater in Aurora, Colorado, is named James Holmes. But he is not the “Jim Holmes” to whom Ross referred, and the suspected killer has no known connections to the grassroots Tea Party movement, which advocates restraints in government spending. . . . Whatever the reason, his error on a television program that attracts 4.5 million viewers was inexcusable — and eminently preventable.
In the swirling uncertainty that invariably marks the hours after a disaster, journalists are well-served to show deliberation and restraint, to be mindful that error and distortion often blight the first reports of dramatic events.
Plus, the emptiness of ABC’s apology.