September 22, 2006

To Calvin ‘Grim Accounting’ Woodward of AP: Read the Linked Post

Someone had to ring the moral equivalence bell. Someone ended up being Calvin Woodward of AP:

WASHINGTON – Now the death toll is 9/11 times two. U.S. military deaths from Iraq and Afghanistan now match those of the most devastating terrorist attack in America’s history, the trigger for what came next. Add casualties from chasing terrorists elsewhere in the world, and the total has passed the Sept. 11 figure.

The latest milestone for a country at war comes without commemoration. It also may well come without the precision of knowing who is the 2,973rd man or woman of arms to die in conflict in Iraq and Afghanistan, or just when it happens. The terrorist attacks killed 2,973 victims in New York, Washington and Pennsylvania.

Not for the first time, war that was started to answer death has resulted in at least as much death for the country that was first attacked, quite apart from the higher numbers of enemy and civilians killed.

Historians note that this grim accounting is not how the success or failure of warfare is measured, and that the reasons for conflict are broader than what served as the spark.

Aw, zheesh, Calvin. Read this post from September 3, and come back when you’ve got something really worth reporting.

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UPDATE: Tigerhawk“This is such a peculiar way to look at the war it almost seems as though the Associated Press is declaring defeat to make a political point. How quickly after Pearl Harbor did our casualties exceed the 2390 American souls who perished on that day? Fort Sumpter surrendered under Confederate bombardment without a single Union death. Did that fact render the first Union death newsworthy?”

UPDATE 2: USS Neverdock“Those lives lost, as great as that loss is, were not lost in vain. They died for our and the world’s freedom. In the process they freed over 50 million Muslims from tyranny. Moreover, those that died volunteered to serve and protect us – they died for what they believed in.”

UPDATE 3, Sept. 24: Others weighing in — Allah at Hot Air, American Mind, Point Five (who goes binary), and Texas Hold ‘em.

UPDATE 4, Sept. 25: Taranto at Best of the Web

We have three points to make, one glib, one obvious and one really important.

Glib: Why are they counting the deaths in Iraq, which, as we keep hearing, had nothing to do with 9/11?

Obvious: Were there any news stories noting the “milestone” of World War II deaths surpassing those at Pearl Harbor?

Really important: This comparison is an insult to the servicemen who’ve made the ultimate sacrifice. They volunteered to do a dangerous job, knowing that it might cost them their lives. They deserve to be remembered as heroes, not victims like the civilians who were murdered on 9/11.

Reporter Covers Supposed ‘Political Identity Theft’ by ‘Steele Democrats,’ But Ignores Democrat Theft of Steele’s Identity

From the Baltimore Sun (HT Taranto at Best of the Web):

Democrats accuse Steele of ‘political identity theft’

No, Maryland voters, the printer did not make an error. Lt. Gov. Michael S. Steele’s new campaign signs seem to identify him as a Democrat.

A “Steele Democrat,” they read.

….. The group and accompanying signs appear to be the latest Steele effort to distance himself from an unpopular White House and a Republican Party struggling to maintain its hold on Congress. The state Democratic Party chairman immediately accused him of “identity theft.”

What short memories everyone thinks we have:

  • The Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee (DSCC) staffers committed ACTUAL identity theft against one Michael Steele about a year ago by obtaining his credit report.
  • DSCC head and New York Senator Charles Schumer, who is sooooo worried about identity theft that he boasted of introducing a comprehensive ID theft bill in April of 2005, has, as far as I know, said nothing about the incident.
  • This past March, one of the two staffers received a very light community-service sentence, with charges dropped in a year on good behavior. The important question, namely “What did Chuck Schumer know, and when did he know it?” has gone unanswered.

A commenter at the Captain’s Quarters blog at the time of the original report reminded us that this was a serious matter:

To obtain a report legally, a signature authorization is required and information is required to obtain the report.

The access of the report is a crime. The distribution of the report is a crime. The acceptance and READING of the report is a crime.

If someone gave the people accessing the report personal information required to obtain the report, they also committed a crime.

In other words, stealing an identity and distributing the information are crimes in and of themselves, even if no financial or other crimes are committed as a result of obtaining the stolen information.

Though she must be aware of last year’s DSCC crime (if she isn’t, her editors are), Sun reporter Jennifer Skalka “somehow” managed not to make the obvious connection between last year’s REAL identity theft by the DSCC and this year’s allegedly political one.

How convenient.

Cross-posted at NewsBusters.org.

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UPDATE: Ian at Hot Air calls the “political identity theft” episode an example of SDS (Steele Derangement Syndrome).

What a Difference the Price of Gas Makes

Filed under: Economy,Taxes & Government — Tom @ 2:50 pm

There’s a lot of ink being used and bandwidth being burned today on the LA Times’ piece about the improving national mood on the economy.

There’s also a lot of movement in the American Research Group’s monthly poll on George Bush and the economy — actually just the economy part, not George Bush. Up to now, it has been a case study of 527 Media success at convincing people that an economy with 4% annual growth during the past three years and 4.7% unemployment is in fair or lousy shape. It also needs to be remembered that ARG’s poll is of “telephone households,” with no apparent attempt to determine if the survey participant is a likely voter, or even a registered voter.

Well, the September 18-21 ARG survey turned pretty dramatically from August to September. True, the approval/disapproval numbers on Bush (38%/57%) and Bush’s handling of the economy (33%/61%) only ticked up a point or two. But since Bush is not on the November ballot, I would suggest that the following results are more important:

  • On the national economy, the “Getting better” response has more than doubled, with most of the gain coming from “Getting worse” –
    ARGnational092206
  • On the economy a year from now, the “Worse than today” response is down almost half from two months ago –
    ARGnational1yrOut092206
  • Then there’s “The Stupid Question.” It’s stupid because it doesn’t matter what people think, by definition we’re not in a recession. But since ARG asks, it’s worth knowing how many people will admit to being stupid, and it has dropped bigtime:
    ARGrecession092206
  • Finally, the “Getting better” response took 22% away from “Getting worse” in the question about current household financial situation:
    ARGhouseholdBW092206

I believe that non-voters generally tend to pay less attention to the news, especially news about the economy, and that the economic news they do hear and see is more likely to come from The 527 Media. This should mean that ARG’s results, since they include non-voters, will typically reflect more economic pessimism than actual voters will have, and is more evidence that politicians running against the economy in this election may be making a very big mistake.

For the First Time, Only Billionaires Made the Forbes 400 This Year

Filed under: Business Moves,News from Other Sites — Tom @ 1:25 pm

AP reports. Forbes’ list starts here, and is free, at least for now.

If, like me, you’re not on it, it looks like getting there just got tougher.

Quote of the Day: The Wall Street Journal on the UN

Filed under: Taxes & Government — Tom @ 11:48 am

Short, salty, and to the point — The quote doesn’t appear in the editiorial itself, but the index page at today’s OpinionJounal.com:

If Chavez and Ahmadinejad made a mockery of the U.N., it was only because the U.N. has made a mockery of itself.

Taranto Is Right; This Is Out-of-control Bias, Even for the Beeb

Filed under: MSM Biz/Other Bias,Taxes & Government — Tom @ 9:55 am

The BBC’s Story leads as follows (HT Taranto at Best of the Web):

Israelis ‘trains (sic) Kurdish forces’

The BBC has obtained evidence that Israelis have been giving military training to Kurds in northern Iraq.

A report on the BBC TV programme Newsnight showed Israeli experts in northern Iraq, drilling Kurdish militias in shooting techniques.

Kurdish officials have refused to comment on the report and Israel has denied it knows of any involvement.

From that point forward the story is literally riddled with assumptions about how other countries and the rest of Iraq will react, without a single quote or attribution from anyone who supposedly will object. Examples throughout the article’s text (scare words in bold):

The revelation is set to cause enormous problems for the Kurds, not only in Iraq but also in the wider region.

Kurdish politicians will most likely come under pressure to explain what their semi-autonomous government has been up to.

The news will most probably increase tension between the Kurds and Iraq’s Arab population, both Sunnis and Shias, reinforcing fears that the Kurds are pursuing a secessionist agenda.

This would be a serious blow to efforts for national reconciliation at a time when hundreds of Iraqis are killed every month in inter-communal violence.

Iraq’s neighbours, too, will be outraged.

Iran and Syria, which have long accused the Kurds of allowing the Israelis to operate on Iraqi territory, will most likely demand an explanation from the government in Baghdad.

The BBC report will be like the smoking gun the Arab media has spent years looking for.

Again, NOT ONE person is quoted. Why is the Beeb so sure how all these parties feel? Hmmm?

Taranto’s reaction is spot-on:

It certainly sounds to us as though the BBC, far from merely reporting the facts, is pandering to Arab anti-Semitism and making an active effort to promote discord in Iraq and retribution against the long-persecuted Kurds. Such despicable behavior doesn’t deserve the label “journalism.”

He’s right. This report isn’t even up to the “standards” of Al Jazeera.

Cross-posted at NewsBusters.org.

In France, Now at Least They’re Acknowledging the Source of the Violence

Filed under: Immigration,Taxes & Government — Tom @ 8:10 am

From Expatica:

Outrage after two police ambushed in suburb

EVRY, France, Sept 20, 2006 (AFP) – Police unions reacted with outrage Wednesday after two members of a CRS anti-riot unit were badly hurt in an ambush by youths in the southern Paris suburb of Corbeil-Essonnes.

The men were patrolling Tuesday night in an unmarked car in the Les Tartarets housing project when the vehicle was attacked with stones, a police spokesman said.

When one of the officers left the vehicle, he was set upon by about 20 youths who had been hiding in the undergrowth.

“The driver rushed to help. The two were then covered in blows to the face and other parts of the body as they lay on the ground,” the spokesman said. The gang dispersed when reinforcements arrived.

Both officers suffered injuries to the face and head, as well as bruising to the body. One was hospitalised.

It took until the 11th paragraph, but the report finally got around to saying who the “youths” were, and the source of their “inspiration”:

(State-appointed governor) Jean-Francois Cordet told Sarkozy in a letter sent in June that tensions were continuing to rise in the northern Paris suburbs — with rising crime, a court system that was failing to punish, and the active incitement of Islamic radicals.

A year ago the I-word would never have been mentioned. It’s late, but there appears to be an awakening to reality in France. Perhaps it’s not too late.

I Think This Is Very Revealing

Filed under: Taxes & Government — Tom @ 8:05 am

I should say so. This is from Ken Blackwell’s site quoting Ted Strickland (HT Right Angle Blog):

Strickland demeaned Ohio’s working men and women saying, “Without education, I probably would be doing what my brothers have done with their lives, finishing concrete for a living.”

Let’s just say I’m not hearing a lot of respect for the blue-collar guys and gals in that statement.

When Is a Promise of Financial Disclosure Anything But That?

Filed under: Taxes & Government — Tom @ 8:00 am

When UN Secretary General Kofi Annan makes the promise.

Claudia Rossett has the details at Pajamas Media.

Wal-Mart Announces Major Generic Drug Savings (Update: Target Matches!)

Filed under: Business Moves — Tom @ 7:55 am

I’m not creative enough to come up with an objection to this — But I’m sure Wal-Mart’s critics will find something not to like about this:

Wal-Mart announced today that it will start a test program in Florida, where it will sell generic prescription drugs for $4 for a 30-day supply. The test will start tomorrow in 65 Tampa Bay-area stores and is to expand to the whole state by January.

In a statement, CEO Lee Scott says the world’s largest retailer intends to “take the program to as many states as possible next year.”

On average, generic drugs tend to cost between $10 and $30 for a month-long supply.

The world’s biggest retailer said that it will test the program in Florida that will make 291 generic drugs available, which are used to treat a variety of condition from allergies to high-blood pressure. It will also be available to the uninsured.

The program will be launched on Friday at 65 Wal-Mart, Neighborhood Market and Sams’ Club pharmacies in the Tampa Bay area in Florida and will be expanded to the entire state in January.

The company said it plans to take the program to as many states as possible next year.

“Each day in our pharmacies we see customers struggle with the cost of prescription drugs,” said Wal-Mart CEO H. Lee Scott, Jr., in a statement. “By cutting the cost of many generics to $4, we are helping to ensure that our customers and associates get the medicines they need at a price they can afford.”

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UPDATE: “Is this a great country or what?” Department — Target announced Thursday evening that they will match Wal-Mart’s generic drug price reductions in the Tampa Bay, effective immediately.

I Am Sooooo Not Surprised — New York Times Warns of Lower Earnings

When you’re doing the kinds of things the New York Times has been doing for the past four years, these kinds of things will happen:

The New York Times Co. (NYT) ….. said on Thursday it forecast lower third-quarter earnings than during the same quarter last year because of a “challenging” print advertising market, sending shares down nearly 5 percent in after-hours trading.

The publisher of The New York Times newspaper and the Boston Globe forecast earnings of 8 cents to 10 cents per share, compared with 16 cents in the same quarter last year.

Gee — I wonder why advertisers might resist peddling their wares in a hopelessly biased, fundamentally dishonest, out of touch, and sometmes seditious newspaper when there are so many relatively objective, fair, in touch, non-seditious alternatives with integrity?

NYT stock plunged to $21.73 during after-hours trading Thursday, less than 1% above its 52-week low, after closing at $22.83 during regular trading.
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Other Times-Related Blasts from the Past:

- Sept. 18 — The Decline of The Times: A Local New York City Note
- Sept. 14 — New York Times Halfway Corrects Wal-Mart Smear
- Sept. 14 — Lance Armstrong Is Right to Be Peeved at the New York Times
- Sept. 1 — New York Times on Supposed Lack of Real Wage Growth: “Never Mind”
- Aug. 30 — The New York Tiimes’ Duke Lacrosse Vendetta
- Aug. 29 — The NY Times STILL Whines about Estate Tax Auditor Reductions
- Aug. 23 — A “Yeah, We Just Made It Up” Correction
- Aug. 8 — Gateway Pundit Catches NY Times Fauxtography
- July 26 — NY Times Fails to Do Its Homework on the IRS’s Estate Tax Auditor Reduction
- July 23 — They Think Know They’re Above the Law, and Above the Mere Mortals Responsible for National Security
- May 30 — The NY Times Gets the New Treasury Pick Wrong, and Reveals Its Paranoia in the Process
- Apr. 5 — The “Headless” Story from the Clueless New York Times
- Mar. 30 — New York Times Embarrassed by Phony Katrina Victim
- Mar. 22 — The Unreality-Based Community, New York Times Coal Mine Safety Division
- Mar. 14 — The Times Tortures the Abu Ghraib News
- Mar. 8 — Financial Transparency for Thee, But Not For Me at The New York Times
- Jan. 30 — NYT Columnist: Bush Reads “Mao: The Unknown Story,” Confirming That It’s a “Conservative” Book
- Jan. 6 — The NY Times and The AFL-CIO Futilely Attempt to Exploit the Sago 12
- Jan. 5 — The New York Times’ Disgraceful (and Wrong) Opportunism in the West Virginia Coal Mine Deaths
- Jan. 2, 2006 — New York Times: Transparency for Thee, But Not For Me
- Dec. 31, 2005 — Does Paul Krugman of the New York Times Read His Own Newspaper?
- Dec. 6 — Other NY Papers in a Snooze While The New York Daily (Does) News
- Nov. 11 — One More Reason The New York Times Should Be Paying YOU $50 If You Get TimesSelect
- Oct. 22 — Nicholas Kristof and Mao: He Just, Can’t, Let, Go
- Sept. 21 — There May Be More “Black Tuesdays” in The New York Times’ Future
- Sept. 15 — The New York Times-Washington Post Headline-Sharing Conspiracy Vindicates Their Longtime Critics
- Aug. 8 — If It’s Monday, There Must Be At Least Three Obvious New York Times Errors, Omissions, or Hilarities to Report
- July 17 — New York Times Running Out?

Positivity: Teen Will Be Playing Football Again Within Weeks of Serious Pellet-Gun Injury

Filed under: Positivity — Tom @ 6:04 am

A new medical procedure has saved a teenage boy in McHenry County, IL (video at link) who otherwise might not have survived:

New procedure saves teen wounded by pellet gun
Projectile traveled through vein to heart

September 18, 2006 – A teenager from McHenry County was released from the hospital Monday less than 48 hours after doctors at Children’s Memorial Hospital in Chicago saved him from a serious pellet gun injury. A pellet struck the 15-year-old’s leg but eventually settled in his heart.

It is an injury that a few years ago may have been fatal, but because of cutting edge medical technology, Bradley Jacobs is alive. Not only can the McHenry County High School freshman return to class within the next week, the 6-foot-4 inch, 200 pound 15-year-old can look forward to once again playing the game he loves, football.

Still recovering and bit sore, a healing Bradley Jacobs has quite a story to tell about how a quick-thinking doctor and new medical technology literally saved his life. A pellet is responsible for turning the lives of the Jacobs family upside down — when Bradley and a friend decided to go hunting for mice Saturday on the family farm.

“He grabbed to gun to load it and it slipped and went off and the pellet went in my leg. He was about eight feet away,” said Bradley Jacobs.

Afraid he would get in trouble, Bradley was slow to tell his mother about the injury. He finally did, and that’s when she rushed him to an area hospital.

“The ride down here was really hard. We’re thinking the worst when they said it was in his heart. It didn’t take too long but it felt like it was about six hours,” said Jennifer Wittum, Bradley’s sister.

But once there, the emergency room doctor attending to Bradley couldn’t find the pellet and grew even more concerned. He decided to x-ray the teen and found, in just a half an hour, the pellet had traveled through a vein in his leg to the right ventricle of his heart.

Bradley was immediately transferred to Children’s Memorial Hospital.

“We talked and they’d agreed to do the procedure, so it was like, ‘Whew.’ We were all on the same page, nobody disagreeing. This was the safest way to go,” said Ben Jacobs, Bradley’s father.

….. “We can advance this wire through the catheter in order to snare or lasso the pellet,” Dr. Steve Pophal, pediatric cardiologist.

Which now is a small reminder of the very big ordeal.

“I feel fine. I’ve got the couple holes in my leg, but I’ll live,” said Bradley.

Doctors say that Bradley should have a quick recovery in part because of his age. It is thought that in about a week he could be cleared to begin practicing with his high school football team, and in as few as 2 weeks, he might be able to actually play.