April 14, 2008

Positivity: Principal saves girl, 10, from choking on pizza

Filed under: Positivity — Tom @ 11:50 pm

From Godfrey, Illinois:

The principal really is her pal
April 12, 2008 – 11:15PM

A 10-year-old girl has her principal to thank for quick actions that saved her life.

Kelci Ottwell, a student at North Elementary School, 5600 Godfrey Road, was sitting in the school’s cafeteria last Saturday, eating pizza with friends. Ottwell and her friends are members of Fifth Grade Friends, a group of fifth-graders from the school who volunteer and help out at school events. They were volunteering at North that day to help with the school’s kindergarten registration.

The school provided cheese, sausage and pepperoni pizza for the students. Kelci was eating a slice of cheese pizza from Little Caesars. Her mouth full of pizza, Kelci started to laugh at a friend’s joke but quickly realized she couldn’t breathe.

“I turned purple,” she said. “I was red all over.”

She tried drinking soda to dislodge the food caught in her throat, but it didn’t help. Using all of the strength she had, Kelci got up and made her way to the principal, Brenda Vernatti, who was standing a few feet away. Kelci touched Vernatti’s arm to get her attention.

“I could see she was very distraught the moment I looked at her,” Vernatti said.

Vernatti didn’t think about what to do next – she just did it. She grabbed the bottle of soda from Kelci, turned her around and started to perform the Heimlich maneuver. Vernatti called the assistant principal over to help, knowing that if she wasn’t able to stop Kelci from choking, they would have to call 911.

“When I looked at (Kelci), my biggest fear was that I wouldn’t be able to dislodge it,” Vernatti said.

On the fifth try, Kelci coughed up the pizza. She was scared and shaky, realizing she could have died.

“I had to cry afterward,” Kelci said.

But she was happy to be alive.

“Oh my gosh, I felt great,” she said. “I was really happy. You can’t put a price on life.” …..

Go here for the rest of the story.

Wright’s Probable Slander Against Thomas Jefferson: Only ‘Fix News’ Covers It (See Updates)

April 15 Follow-up: “Per Rev. Wright: Jefferson a Pedophile AND Rapist, Washington Also Fathered a Slave Child”


This morning, I noted that during a Saturday eulogy for a former appellate judge, Mr. R. Eugene Pincham, the Rev. Jeremiah Wright, “former” pastor of the Trinity United Church of Christ and acknowledged mentor of presidential candidate Barack Obama, characterized Fox News as “Fix News.” This criticism was, of course meant to be derogatory.

I suggested (fifth item at link) that the “Fix News” name is really a good one:

I like the “Fix News” nickname, because Fox does fix and repair a lot of what Old Media misreports and distorts.

Little did I know at the time that Old Media coverage of Wright’s eulogy sermonizing would become proof of that.

The audio of Wright’s Saturday sermon can be downloaded at the web page containing Art Golab’s coverage at the Chicago Sun-Times (see first item under “Related Stories”). At roughly the 9:30 mark of its 25-plus minutes, Wright says:

Jefferson had intelligence, but he also had babies by a 15 year-old slave girl. (I) think the judges call that pedophilia.

Apparently, Old Media, including the Sun Times’s Golab, don’t consider this probable slander worthy of mention. A Google News search on “Jefferson pedophilia” (not in quotes) at 6:00 p.m. Eastern Time shows only two entries (NewsMax and Fox News).


More: As of 7 PM, the news list has since grown, and now includes ABC News; but ABC only appears in the search because one or more commenters mentioned the pedophilia claim. That claim is not in the body of ABC’s story.


So Fox is among the first to “fix,” (i.e., fully cover) the story (HT Gateway Pundit):

Though Wright said nothing about Obama or the uproar itself, he alluded to the controversy while briefly back in the pulpit Saturday to deliver a eulogy for a late congregant of Trinity United Church of Christ — former appellate judge R. Eugene Pincham.

Wright, who is on sabbatical before retiring from Trinity United, said America’s mistreatment of blacks is the result of the founding fathers, who “planted slavery and white supremacy in the DNA of this republic.”

First reported by The Chicago Sun Times, Wright told mourners at the funeral that Thomas Jefferson, who partook in “pedophilia,” would also be considered unpatriotic these days because he wrote, “God would punish America for the sin of slavery.” He also quoted Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice, who said that the U.S. has a “congenital birth defect.”

This text from Wikipedia shows that the historical accuracy of Wright’s claim is, at a minimum, very suspect (internal links and footnotes removed):

Whether Jefferson fathered children with Sally Hemings is the subject of considerable controversy. Regarding marriage between blacks and whites, Jefferson wrote that “[t]he amalgamation of whites with blacks produces a degradation to which no lover of his country, no lover of excellence in the human character, can innocently consent.” In addition, Hemings was likely the half-sister of Jefferson’s deceased wife Martha Wayles Skelton Jefferson. The allegation that Jefferson fathered children with Hemings first gained widespread public attention in 1802, when controversial journalist James T. Callender, wrote in a Richmond newspaper, “…[Jefferson] keeps and for many years has kept, as his concubine, one of his slaves. Her name is Sally.” Jefferson never responded publicly about this issue but is said to have denied it in his private correspondence.

A 1998 DNA study concluded that there was a DNA link between some of Hemings descendants and the Jefferson family, but it did not conclusively prove that Jefferson himself was their ancestor. (He belonged to the Haplogroup K2 DNA group.) Three studies were released in the early 2000s, following the publication of the DNA evidence. In 2000, the Thomas Jefferson Foundation, which runs Monticello, appointed a multi-disciplinary, nine-member in-house research committee of Ph.D.s and an M.D. to study the matter of the paternity of Hemings’s children. The committee concluded “it is very unlikely that any Jefferson other than Thomas Jefferson was the father of [Hemings's six] children.”

In 2001, the Thomas Jefferson Heritage Society commissioned a study by an independent 13-member Scholars Commission. The commission concluded that the Jefferson paternity thesis was not persuasive. On April 12, 2001, they issued a report; at 565 pages, it was far longer than the Foundation report, though many of those pages were devoted to a review of the evidence that the Thomas Jefferson Foundation study examined. The conclusion of most of the Scholars Commission was that “the Jefferson-Hemings allegation is by no means proven”; those members’ individual conclusions ranged from “serious skepticism about the charge” to “a conviction that it is almost certainly false.” The majority suggested the most likely alternative is that Randolph Jefferson, Thomas’s younger brother, was the father of Eston.

The National Genealogical Society Quarterly then published articles reviewing the evidence from a genealogical perspective and concluded that the link between Thomas Jefferson and Sally Hemings was valid.

Regardless of how you interpret the collective weight of the above, Wright’s contention, as if beyond dispute, that Jefferson was a pedophile is a rash charge not supported by evidence that “judges” (he used the word, as seen in the audio excerpt) would accept as conclusive.

I’ll leave it to readers as to why Old Media, particularly Sun-Times reporter Golab, ignored Wright’s reckless rant on Jefferson. Regardless, Fox fortunately has done its part to “fix” the oversight.

If anything positive is to come of this, it may be that, thanks to the Rev. Wright, Fox News has another one-upping nickname it can consider.

Cross-posted at NewsBusters.org.


UPDATE: Doug Ross recounts the history of slavery in the US, and makes a compelling case that the country has been punished quite a bit, and probably quite enough, for the sin of slavery. 700,000 dead out of a population at the time of about 35 million would seem to suffice. A proportional loss of life in the US today would be about 6 million.

UPDATE 2: Part of a pattern, apparently — A couple of weeks ago, Gateway Pundit learned that Wright referred to our Founders as the “fondling founders” in its Trumpet Magazine in March, in connection with yet another eulogy.

This Guy Is a Kaus on Fire, and He Doesn’t Even Get to the ‘Bitter’ Part

Filed under: Quotes, Etc. of the Day,Taxes & Government — Tom @ 4:06 pm

Penetrating instant analysis from Mickey Kaus aka the Mickster (HT Instapundit), about the “Cling Along with Hicks” statement of the presidential candidate I refer to as Mr. BOOHOO-OUCH (Barack O-bomba Overseas Hussein “Obambi” Obama – Objectively Unfit Coddler of Haters; bold is mine):

There would seem to be four distinct, major problems with Obama’s “cling” gaffe.

  1. It lumps together things Obama wants us to think he thinks are good (religion) with things he undoubtedly thinks are bad (racism, anti-immigrant sentiment). I suppose it’s logically possible to say ‘these Pennsylvania voters are so bitter and frustrated that they cling to both good things and bad things,.” but the implication is that these are all things he thinks are unfortunate and need explaining (because, his context suggests, they prevent voters from doing the right thing and voting for … him). …..
  2. Even if Obama wasn’t equating anything on his list with anything else, he did openly accuse Pennsylvanians of being racists (“antipathy to people who aren’t like them”).
  3. He’s contradicted his own positions–at least on trade and (says Instapundit) guns. Isn’t Obama the one trying to tar Hillary as a supporter of NAFTA? Is that just ‘boob bait.’? (The trade point was also made by TIB All-Star and Weapons of Mass Discussion blogger Mark during Saturday’s show. — Ed.)
  4. Yes, he’s condescending. It’s not just that in explaining everyone to everyone Obama winds up patronizing everyone. He doesn’t patronize everyone equally. Specifically, he regards the views of these Pennsylvanians as ….. byproducts of economic stagnation–in a way he doesn’t regard, say, his own views ….. Once the Pennsylvanians get some jobs back, they’ll change and become as enlightened as Obama the San Franciscans to whom he was talking. That’s the clear logic of his argument. Superiority of this sort–not crediting the authenticity and standing of your subject’s views–is a violation of social equality, which is a more important value for Americans than money equality. Liberals tend to lose elections when they forget that.

Please note that Obama’s characterization of Pennsylvanians as “bitter” doesn’t even make the top four.

I’d make one correction to what the Mickster said: Liberals lose elections when they inadvertently fail to keep their strongly-held belief in their own superiority covered up.

Kaus’s Point 2 is crucial, and arguably traces its lineage to the poison of Obama’s pastor and mentor of 20 years, the Rev. Jeremiah Wright of the Trinity United Church of Christ.

As Bill Kristol wrote yesterday, “the mask slipped.”

Better now than in December.


UPDATE: Michelle Malkin links to appropriately designed Snob Gear.

Quick MRC Gala-NewsBusters Follow-up

Filed under: News from Other Sites — Tom @ 9:26 am

Just want to make sure I give shout-outs to fellow NewsBusters bloggers who were able to attend last Thursday’s MRC 2008 Gala featuring the DisHonors Awards:

All three have been preemptively and unilaterally blogrolled.

Other NB bloggers were in attendance, but we weren’t fortunate enough to get any hang-out time with them, because they either live in Metro DC or within driving distance of the event.

Also, final thanks to the VWR conspirators at the Media Research Center and its NewsBusters division (you guys know who you are), both for inviting us, and for their hospitality. The various MRC divisions are blogrolled in “Technical, Search & Media.”

African AIDS Could Be Conquered. Why Do So Few Know That?

Note: This column was originally posted at Pajamas Media on Saturday under the title “African AIDS Defeatable (Thanks to Bush).”

Between Bill Clinton and George W. Bush, who has done the better job fighting African AIDS?

In 2002, David Corn at Alternet told us that Clinton had been a bitter disappointment:

Clinton now wonders aloud why the West stood by and did little as the AIDS crisis in Africa exploded. ….. why did you and your administration not respond?

(For) seven years ….. the budget for combating AIDS overseas remained flat. (It was $124.5 million in 1992.)

Thanks to weak and inaccurate media coverage, those who recall Mr. Bush’s aggressive 2003 State of the Union announcement of PEPFAR (the President’s Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief) can be forgiven for thinking that the money spent, like so much other past foreign aid, has accomplished little.

My first inkling of the truth from, of all places, the Catholic News Agency on April 3:

According to a February 2006 report in the journal “Science,” the rate of HIV among eastern Zimbabwean men aged 17 to 29 fell by 23 percent between 1998 and 2003. Among women aged 15 to 24, the infection rate dropped by 49 percent.

The percentage of eastern Zimbabwean men aged 17 to 19 who had engaged in sexual activity dropped from 45 percent to 27 percent, and among women aged 15 to 17 the rate dropped from 21 percent to 9 percent.

While the period cited pre-dates PEPFAR, it’s the reason for the successes in Zimbabwe just cited, as well as Kenya and before that Uganda (not excerpted) that caught my attention (bolds are mine):

“five years after PEPFAR first began, the efficacy and importance of promoting abstinence and ‘be faithful’ initiatives have been demonstrated. The evidence is compelling” …..

PEPFAR ….. relies on the ABC model, which stands for “Abstain, Be faithful, use Condoms.” ….. the ABC model “is now recognized as the most effective strategy to prevent HIV in generalized epidemics” The legislation’s emphasis on ABC activities has been an important factor in the fundamental and needed shift in USG prevention strategy from a primarily C approach prior to PEPFAR to the balanced ABC strategy.

….. No generalized HIV epidemic has ever been rolled back by a prevention strategy primarily based on condoms.

….. Serara Selelo-Mogwe, a public health expert and retired nursing professor at the University of Botswana ….. said (to the Washington Post in March 2007), “If you just say use the condom… we will never see the daylight of the virus leaving us.”

Now I get it: George Bush isn’t getting much praise because he has violated a central tenet of Old Media concerning sexually transmitted diseases: Condoms uber alles. Journalists’ seemingly innate hostility towards anything that might be labeled a faith-based initiative doesn’t help either.

In the credit-minimizing process, the press has grossly exaggerated the amount of money spent on the “A” and “B” parts of “ABC,” and has even minimized or ignored the still-present “C” element.

Here is PEPFAR’s actual spending plan for the fiscal year that will end on September 30:


PEPFAR, at the end of its Introduction to the 2008 plan, makes the roles played by “A” and “B” very clear:

Of note, Abstinence and Be Faithful (AB) activities account for 7% of the total prevention, care, and treatment budget, 33% of all prevention activities, and 58% of programs that address prevention of sexual transmission of HIV/AIDS.

At an earlier point in that same Introduction, PEPFAR shows that the “C” element has not been ignored:

The USG has supplied nearly 1.9 billion condoms worldwide from 2004 through 2007 — as Dr. Peter Piot of UNAIDS has said, more than all other developed countries combined.

The President has seen the amounts dedicated towards “A” and “B” misconstrued by the press as one-third of all spending (instead of 1/3 of only the amount dedicated to prevention), and the degree of program success understated and/or denied. Incredibly, he has even been portrayed as a tightwad.

Here are just two of very many possible examples:

Jennifer Loven of the Associated Press, Feb. 17 –

Democrats want to strip requirements that one-third of the money go to abstinence-until-marriage programs and that some groups sign anti-prostitution pledges.

Some Democrats also say that Bush’s request for $30 billion over the next five years, twice his original commitment of $15 billion, is too little. …..

CNN, Feb. 17 — “Though PEPFAR has helped increase accessibility to anti-viral drugs, the program is controversial because there is little focus on distributing condoms — a staple of the program under President Clinton — or on sex …..”

“The program is ‘largely pursued through faith-based initiatives’ ….. (and) it’s not clear whether the AIDS-prevalence rates are going down.”

The bottom line is that the war on African AIDS, seen by many as virtually lost at the century’s turn, could be won. If it ultimately is, PEPFAR will have been a significant contributor. Couldn’t the press, just this once, put its biases to the side and tell the world about it?

TILTPAT-BIDHAT4 (041408, Morning)

Filed under: TILTpatBIDHAT — Tom @ 7:46 am

“Things I‘d Like To Post About Today; But I Don’t Have Any Time ‘4‘”:

  • Yesterday, Classical Values caught a New York Times report going through what I like to call memory-hole revisions, as whole paragraphs in previous reports disappeared in subsequent ones, while the originals became inaccessible. Been there, done that, CV. As long as the clowns in Old Media engage in this kind of track-covering behavior, bloggers should feel no guilt over saving iterations of their reports and linking to copies they save.
  • Noel Sheppard at NewsBusters last night — “Men Blamed for Hillary and Katie’s Failures.” Well, Noel, it’s never their fault.
  • Jake Tapper noted yesterday how the Obama (*) excuse-making over his “Cling Along with Hicks” statement isn’t cutting it.
  • Martin Finkelstein at NewsBusters caught what he called a “Pelosi Potshot” aimed at Bill Clinton — “Maybe Bill Had ‘A Late Night Adult Moment.’”
  • The “retired” Rev. Jeremiah A. Wright was back yesterday at Trinity United Church of Christ. He blamed Fox News for his travails, calling it “Fix News.” The only problem is that Brian Ross of ABC (HT Captain Ed at Hot Air) is the guy who gave life to the story about Wright’s guttural utterances. Anyway, I like the “Fix News” nickname, because Fox does fix and repair a lot of what Old Media misreports and distorts.
  • Late add: Don’t miss yesterday’s “Cling Along with Hicks”-related Day by Day cartoon.

* – That would be the presidential candidate I refer to as Mr. BOOHOO-OUCH (Barack O-bomba Overseas Hussein “Obambi” Obama – Objectively Unfit Coddler of Haters).