February 28, 2007

I Really Wouldn’t Care About This, But for Two Things

“This” is a report by Sharon Churcher at the UK Daily Mail (HT Ace) about Barack Obama’s father. Churcher reports that:

A drunk and a bigot – what the US Presidential hopeful HASN’T said about his father…

We have discovered that his father was not just a deeply flawed individual but an abusive bigamist and an egomaniac, whose life was ruined not by racism or corruption but his own weaknesses.

And, devastatingly, the testimony has come from Mr Obama’s own relatives and family friends.

Do read the whole thing.

As the title of my post indicates, I ordinarily would not care. For example, Bill Clinton’s dad had his problems; that was, properly, largely irrelevant. His father’s name wasn’t on the ballot.

Unfortunately, there are two reasons why I won’t let go of this.

First, Barack Obama has made the life story of his father an issue, because he wrote a book that is strongly at odds with what Churcher reports:

(Mr. Obama’s book, Dreams From My Father) is a classic story of the American dream made real: an impoverished Kenyan goatherd rising to become a brilliant Harvard-educated economist.

On the way he fights racial prejudice at home and corruption at work, survives the heartbreak of a broken relationship and, despite it all, leads the fight to rid Africa of its colonial legacy.

This extraordinary story is told by US Presidential hopeful Barack Obama as he recalls the life of the man who inspired him to political success – his father.

Mr Obama’s book ….. is flying off the shelves of US book stores, exciting and astonishing readers in equal measure.

The junior senator from Illinois appears to have created a set of convenient fictions about the life of his father. Even that’s okay; we all have to make peace with the past, and thinking about our loved ones idealistically is one way of doing that. But by publishing a book that pushes those convenient fictions on the rest of us, and using that book to burnish HIS political (and now presidential) credentials, Barack Obama is asking us to demanding that we accept and buy into his alternative reality. If Churcher is correct, and there’s little reason to believe she isn’t, that’s an imposition on the American public that Obama has no right to make — and voters should seriously question the judgment of someone who would attempt to make such an imposition.

Second, for those in the “how dare you?” camp — If it’s fair game for the press to smear a presidential candidate by going after his great-grandfather (!) — someone whom the candidate has not even referred to, and would not be expected to refer to — for polygamy, how can it NOT be fair game to criticize another candidate who appears to have fudged his father’s life story beyond all recognition and incorporated it into his persona, thereby incorporating it into his campaign?

There is no reason why Mitt Romney should have to answer for his great-grandfather’s actions back in the 19th century — but he’s getting grilled by a press determined to take him out.

But Barack Obama owes voters answers as to why he chose to write what appears to be a highly fictional account of his father’s life, and to use it, at least implicitly, as part of the foundation for his political career and presidential candidacy. As of yet no one besides Sharon Churcher has raised the issue. Will anyone else?

Jose Ramon Ocasio Nuñez: He’s ‘Wheely’ on WKRC Channel 12′s Wheel of Justice

Filed under: Immigration,Taxes & Government — Tom @ 5:45 pm

Following on this post from Sunday, January 28, and after two three delays (one, I am told, due to communication problems, and the other two due to bad weather), I can report that Jose Ramon Ocasio Nuñez has returned to WKRC-TV Channel 12′s Wheel of Justice.

Here’s the full text of Nuñez’s page at The Wheel:

Jose Ocasio-Nunez
- Wanted in Warren County
- Wanted on two felonious assault charges stemming from a construction site shooting in July 2006. Nunez was upset after being fired from a construction job, gathered some friends from a latin gang called “MS 13”, and went back and fired shots at workers, also tried to ram a truck with the intent to injure the passenger- He was indicted, then jumped bail
- AKA: “Martinez” or “Max”, Victor Maximilia Martinez
- Has tattoo of bunny on his right leg and “Martinez” on his chest
- Lived around the 200 block of East Avenue in Hamilton
- M/ Latino, 21, 5’7”, 175#
- Contact: Lt. Jeff Braley, Hamilton Twp Police,
(513) 683-0538

Here are pictures of Nuñez from a previous post (the one on the left is also at The Wheel page):


Nuñez belongs on The Wheel because he is still at large for his involvement in the the July 2006 construction site guns-and-bats group-retaliation incident.

Thanks to Deb Dixon, Cara Mia Brooke-McMullen, Police Lt. Braley, and Warren County Prosecutor Rachel Hutzel for their help in increasing Nuñez’s visibility.

Now let’s hope someone is alert, notices him, and notifies police. March 2 — Deb Dixon reminded me in an e-mail that there is a $500 reward for info leadning to Nuñez’s arrest and apprehension.

UPDATE: Nuñez is also part of this list e-mailed about 10 days ago by Warren County’s Prosecutor:

(513) 695-1325

Everyone has a wish list. Maybe mine is a little different from yours.

Mine is really a “Most Wanted List.” I share it with you in the hope that one of you will recognize the name or face of one of these men and help us catch them.

Enrique Torres is wanted for the murder of Kevin Barnhill on August 26, 2006, in Mason. Torres is an illegal alien. A reward has been offered in this case for information leading to Torres’ arrest. His case will be highlighted on Spanish News Crime Stoppers on Channel 12, in Cincinnati, this Saturday morning.

Jose Ramon Ocasio Nunez is wanted for felonious assault with a firearm at a construction site in Hamilton Township on July 14, 2006. Nunez is believed to be involved in gang activity.

Paging Patterico: Media Bistro Has Your Next Meal Ready

Having just devoured Glenn Greenwald and other lesser luminaries (if that’s possible) last night, I can’t help but thinking that Patterico will look forward to feasting on this from Media Bistro:

LA Times Praises Baghdad Bureau

The Los Angeles Times is pretty pleased about their Baghdad bureau. From a memo to the troops:

I want to take this opportunity to thank BORZOU DARAGAHI, SOLOMON MOORE and LOUISE ROUG for their outstanding work in our Baghdad bureau. We had a truly remarkable year in 2006 with a wonderful mix of news, analysis, investigative stories and features. We were out front on death squads and the fact that the country had descended into civil war. We had a detailed reconstruction of neighbor-on-neighbor killings in Balad, a heart-breaking account of a family coping with the loss of a child, and a ground-breaking piece by one of our Iraqi staffers, recounting his own dehumanization as he watched the shooting of a man in front of him and did nothing to help.

At least one instance of poor performance in reporting from Iraq comes immediately to mind.

Have at it, pal. Or, I should say, chow down.

From the ‘Just When You Think You’ve Seen It All’ Department (UPDATE: Cached Version of Article Linked to, and Saved)

Filed under: Economy,Education — Tom @ 12:13 pm

Just read this, and go to TCS Daily for the rest (graphic is part of linked picture below):


L’Eggo My Lego

Some Seattle school children are being told to be skeptical of private property rights. This lesson is being taught by banning Legos.

A ban was initiated at the Hilltop Children’s Center in Seattle. According to an article in the winter 2006-07 issue of “Rethinking Schools” magazine, the teachers at the private school wanted their students to learn that private property ownership is evil.

According to the article, the students had been building an elaborate “Legotown,” but it was accidentally demolished. The teachers decided its destruction was an opportunity to explore “the inequities of private ownership.” According to the teachers, “Our intention was to promote a contrasting set of values: collectivity, collaboration, resource-sharing, and full democratic participation.”

The children were allegedly incorporating into Legotown “their assumptions about ownership and the social power it conveys.” These assumptions “mirrored those of a class-based, capitalist society — a society that we teachers believe to be unjust and oppressive.”

At a practical level:

  • Are any of these teachers pension plan participants? Those plans OWN stocks and bonds. If they were consistent, these cranky collectivists would opt out and repudiate their equity.
  • Do any of these teachers OWN homes, or OWN cars? Can I come get them and give them to the “collective” society?

I’m going to stop, because I’ll type some things about these brainwashers that I’ll regret.

Memo to Return of the Conservatives: This is as good a reason as any you’ll find to fire up that “Reasons to Homeschool” counter.


UPDATE: The headline at the top of the pic makes it pretty clear that things could be a lot worse than they are in the “oppressive, unjust” free-market, capitalist envy-of-the-world USA.

UPDATE 2: Well, well — Here’s the article in Google cache (the regular link didn’t work). It’s also saved to my host’s hard drive for fair use and discussion purposes in case the cached article does a disappearing act. I would hope that I don’t get any grief from the publisher over saving it because they think they, like, OWN the content or something.

UPDATE 3: Holy moly — Return of the Conservatives finds that one of the two teachers indoctrinators, Ms. Ann Pelo, has quite the kumbaya-obsessed resume, to the point where she made Bernard Goldberg’s list of “100 People Who Are Screwing Up America.” Despite her inevitable protests about this characterization, I’m going to say that Goldberg has her ranked her at Number 51 — with a bullet, because:

Pelo once told children that the Blue Angels stunt jet fighters are normally evil bombers, and that they are now just doing fancy tricks because they have nothing to do. She then encouraged children to express their hate of the Blue Angels in drawings. Pelo’s book, That’s Not Fair!: A Teacher’s Guide to Activism with Young Children, has become popular among educators.

Preliminary 4th Quarter 2006 GDP: 2.2%

Filed under: Economy,Taxes & Government — Tom @ 8:46 am

Well, there’s a bucket of cold water.

After the 3.5% advance estimate last month, and as Biz Weak noted a couple of weeks ago (link appears to be free for now), the BEA’s release says that the reduction to 2.2% was all due to inventories:

The real change in private inventories subtracted 1.35 percentage points from the fourth-quarter change in real GDP, after adding 0.06 percentage point to the third-quarter change. Private businesses increased inventories $17.3 billion in the fourth quarter, following increases of $55.4 billion in the third quarter and $53.7 billion in the second.

I had thought that the statisticians would find more production resulting from the increased employment in the fourth quarter, but that clearly wasn’t to be. I’m guessing that there may be an upward revision of 0.2% or so in the final release in late March, but that’s about it.

So It Was DRUDGE? I Don’t Think So

Filed under: MSM Biz/Other Bias,MSM Biz/Other Ignorance — Tom @ 8:15 am

This is stunning, either in its ignorance or its misdirection (bold is mine):

Did the Drudge Report Help Tank the Stock Market?

Here’s a headline sure to spook any investor or economist: “Greenspan warns of likely U.S. recession.” That was the headline right near the top of the widely surfed Drudge Report yesterday afternoon and this morning, referring to a speech that former Federal Reserve Chairman Alan Greenspan made the other day via satellite to a business conference in Hong Kong. Many market watchers are blaming those comments– along with a weak durable goods report and the plunge in the Chinese stock market – for today’s stock market sell-off. But despite the inflammatory Drudge headline – which, in all fairness, linked to an Associated Press story with that same title – the Maestro was hardly so definitive as Drudge made him out to be. Here is what Greenspan said, according to AP:

When you get this far away from a recession invariably forces build up for the next recession, and indeed we are beginning to see that sign. For example in the U.S., profit margins … have begun to stabilize, which is an early sign we are in the later stages of a cycle. While, yes, it is possible we can get a recession in the latter months of 2007, most forecasters are not making that judgment and indeed are projecting forward into 2008 … with some slowdown.

The bio at the link says that “James Pethokoukis is a senior writer at U.S. News & World Report.” Since the experienced Pethokoukis surely knows that Drudge is merely linking to a headline from AP and did not write it, why does he act as if Drudge is responsible for the “inflammatory headline”? Drudge isn’t the one who misinterpreted Greenspan’s remarks and turned into a scare headline. So why is Pethokoukis speculating that it was Drudge “tanking the market”?

“In all fairness,” the real question Pethokoukis should be asking is: Did the Associated Press Tank the Stock Market?



UPDATE: AP — Oh, never mind (“Economists: Recession unlikely”)

UPDATE 2: I just bolded “as Drudge made him out to be” above, because, Mr. P, Drudge didn’t write the headline, or the underlying story.

UPDATE 3: One has to wonder, given their relative stature, why the Washington Post isn’t getting any grief from Mr. P for carrying the very same AP headline:


UPDATE 4: Taranto at Best of the Web saw the absurdity, and took a snarky shot at AP that is richly deserved –

This is hilarious. All Drudge did was link to the AP piece, but Pethokoukis treats the venerable wire service as if it were merely incidental to all this. The media world isn’t what it used to be.

UPDATE 5, March 2: Taranto found another Drudge blame-shifter at ABC, one Michael Malone, who doesn’t seem to realize that the headline Drudge used was COPIED from the Associated Press. A copy of that AP story, with the headline (“Greenspan Warns of Likely U.S. Recession”) intact, can be found at among other places, …… ABC.

Doing News Reports the AP and Others Won’t Do

You’ll learn more about what’s going on in Iraq from this 7-minute YouTube video than you will in weeks of reading Formerly Mainstream Media accounts (HT Atlas Shrugs).

The Press Can’t Get Over Its ’16 Words’ Fixation

This time it’s the LA Times claiming that:

In his January 2003 State of the Union address, President Bush said Iraq had sought uranium for nuclear weapons from Niger, in West Africa.

What the Prez said was:

The British Government has learned that Saddam Hussein recently sought significant quantities of uranium from Africa.

As expected, Patterico wouldn’t let it slide.

The LA Times, however, won’t correct. So the LA Times deliberately chooses to remain wrong. That’s why they’re part of the Formerly Mainstream Media.


UPDATE: Oh, and in case there are still holdouts on something long since settled, the sixteen words were, and therefore still are, true.

There’s ‘Intellectual Property (IP) Protection,’ and ‘IP Imperialism’

This is IP Imperialism (HT Coyote Blog via Hit and Run via Techdirt).

Here’s a Question I Want Answered

Filed under: MSM Biz/Other Ignorance,Taxes & Government — Tom @ 6:08 am

How was the taxi driver described in this article able to get or keep his license after “he lead police in a chase through downtown Nashville in his taxi where speeds exceeded 100 mph” — just three months earlier?

If he’s still driving after running over a couple of students and being charged with attempted criminal homicide, you’ve been warned — never take a cab in Nashville.


UPDATE: LGF linked to more info on this incident yesterday — info that will surprise only the hopelessly naive.

From the ‘Microsoft Has a Valid Beef’ Department

Filed under: Business Moves,Corporate Outrage,Privacy/ID Theft — Tom @ 6:03 am

I’ll bet most of you using Firefox (all platforms) didn’t know that you were working with a browser having a major security flaw:

Mozilla on Feb. 23 released updated versions of the Firefox browser, v1.5.0.10 and v2.0.0.2, for Windows, Mac and Linux, which include the fix for a major security flaw.
The “location.hostname” vulnerability potentially allowed hackers to tamper with authentication cookies for third-party sites, manipulating how Web sites are displayed and how they operate, Mozilla said.

So update now already.

The Mozilla people are getting quite a PR pass on this one, and one that I daresay Microsoft would never get.

Positivity: Happy 18th birthday for the girl who survived all the odds

Filed under: Positivity — Tom @ 5:58 am

From the UK:

26 February 2007

A MIRACLE baby who was born more than two months premature, weighing just 2lb 1oz, has defied all odds of survival – and has now celebrated her 18th birthday.

Lisa Setchfield had to fight for her life after being born at Lynn’s Queen Elizabeth Hospital by emergency caesarian at just 27 weeks old.

But after more than 12 weeks of expert medical care, she soon got on the road to recovery.

She went on to become one of the smallest babies at the time to survive and has miraculously come of age with no long- term health problems.

“There were times when we really didn’t think she would survive,” said mum Denise (43), of Tilney St Lawrence.

“It’s amazing to think just how well she has done.”

“I am lucky in a way, but I don’t really think about it,” added Lisa.

“I was too young to remember anything.”


Mrs Setchfield said it was thanks to the skill of specialists at the QEH’s special care baby unit and the Rosie Hospital at Addenbrooke’s, Cambridge, that her first daughter has lived to tell the tale.

But it is also probably due to the fact that when she realised something was wrong with her pregnancy she was at work at Dawbarns Pearson solicitors in Lynn, and not at her then home in Marshland St James.

“It was lucky I was so close to the hospital, if we’d been further away it may have been a different story,” said the legal secretary, who has worked at the firm for 23 years and has two other daughters Jade (16) and Capreece (9).

Miss Setchfield, who lives with her dad Dave in Walpole Highway, celebrated her birthday on Wednesday, January 31, with a family meal at a local restaurant.

Richard Barr, a partner at Dawbarns, also presented the mother and daughter with a diary he has kept up to date for the last 18 years, starting from the moment Mrs Setchfield was taken into hospital from work…..

February 27, 2007

Markets Tanking; Tomorrow’s 4th Quarter GDP Predicted Lower

Filed under: Biz Weak,Business Moves,Economy,Taxes & Government — Tom @ 3:36 pm

The markets are tanking today for a lot of reasons (Update: Here’s the close: Dow down 415, S&P down 50, and NASDAQ down 97; good thing I didn’t pop the cork on that “NASDAQ 2500″ champagne yesterday. :–>).

One of those reasons is the belief that 4th quarter GDP to be reported tomorrow will come in way below January’s first estimate of 3.5%.

About two weeks ago, Biz Weak (link appears to be free for now) predicted a big downward revision from the original 3.5% reported in late January to reflect inventory clampdowns by businesses — perhaps to as low as 2.0%. That still seems like a stretch from here, especially since the employment numbers reported in January and February included significant upward revisions to 2006′s final months, and since Christmas season retail sales were pretty darn good but not great. One is tempted to ask if all of these new fourth-quarter employees were sitting around producing almost nothing.

But tomorrow will indeed tell the tale.


UPDATE: This and this would seem to indicate that panic isn’t called for.

UPDATE 2: I would also suggest that the stock market news out of China (note: NOT Hong Kong) seems to be reflective of a mini- (and maybe more) Internet/Tech bubble. The hype around Chinese stocks with nothing there shouldn’t be overlooked. The point is that the attempt to build a “China is overvalued, therefore the US is too” seems pretty thin from here.

And I’m not in the mood for speculative market discussion, which is why comments (not pings) are turned off.

Big-Boxers: Hold the Shovels. Chicago’s Having an Election

Filed under: Business Moves,Economy,Taxes & Government — Tom @ 3:01 pm

The city aldermen who voted to sustain the veto of Chicago Mayor Dictator for Life Richard Daley of the proposed city ordinance that would have mandated minimum levels of pay and benefits at big-box stores are being targeted (link requires registration):

Voters across Chicago go to the polls Tuesday to decide whether to give Mayor Richard Daley a record sixth term.

In a number of wards, voters also will make their picks in City Council races pitting veteran aldermen against challengers backed by labor unions.

….. For much of Daley’s 18 years as mayor, the City Council has almost always gone along with the mayor. But aldermen have shown increasing signs of independence in the last couple of years, particularly in the debate last year over a proposal that would have mandated a $10-an-hour minimum wage for retail workers at “big box” stores such as Wal-Mart.

Angered by Daley’s veto of the ordinance, labor unions are backing many challengers to mayoral council allies.

The Chicago Federation of Labor plans to employ about 500 volunteers in five wards for “knock and drag” efforts—knocking on the doors of registered voters and bringing them to the polls.

The Service Employees International Union said it will have 800 volunteers, and some will shovel the walks of senior citizens so they can get to the polls.

Daley’s September veto was barely sustained. One or two replacements could bring some existing big-box projects to a screeching halt, and would almost certainly end any thought of new ones.

It’s hard to imagine a city effectively conceding the entire big-box retail sector to its nearby suburbs, but if key alderman seats change hands, it could very well happen.


UPDATE: If a Big Box law actually gets on the books in Chicago, the ripple effect will resound far beyond the Windy City. The Big Boxers will generally avoid cities with similarly Democrat- and union-dominated governments like the plague. This will lead to further declines in already-struggling urban areas — like most of Ohio’s. And to put an environmentalist’s angle to it, (though I don’t buy into it as a problem, nor does John Stossel) further encouragement of urban sprawl.

Union End-of-Secret-Ballot Legislation Update

Filed under: Business Moves,Economy,Taxes & Government — Tom @ 12:31 pm

On Monday, Matt at Weapons of Mass Discussion noted the hypocrisy of the laughably misnamed “Employee Free Choice Act,” which, if it becomes law, would make the following situations all legal at the same time:

“Priceless” — US workers will be less free of union and management coercion in Mexico than they are in the US.

Actually, the Act’s passage will have a price. Union leaders won’t want to hear this, but it’s true — The Act’s passage will be an open invitation to take more jobs overseas, where, incredibly, the labor situation in many other countries will be more predictable.


UPDATE: It would appear that those supporting the Act in Congress are hopelessly out of touch with their constituents, even if they ignore Republicans. Check out this McLaughlin & Associates poll (converted to HTML from PDF and saved at host for fair use and discussion purposes), which shows overwhelming support, including 89% of Democrats, for keeping the secret ballot in union elections.

UPDATE 2: George Will — “Clearly, the act aims less to help workers than to herd them as dues-payers into unions.”