September 11, 2009

Josh Mandel on 9/11: ‘We Will Never Forget’

Filed under: Positivity,US & Allied Military — Tom @ 12:47 pm

Pentagon WTC-1.jpg Flight93

Note: This post will stay at the top today.

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I received this from Mr. Mandel yesterday in an e-mail:

This week, we will mark the eighth anniversary of the September 11th attacks that forever changed our nation. We will never forget those who lost their lives in that tragedy, nor will we forget those who have since paid the ultimate sacrifice to keep our country safe.

As a Marine serving in Iraq, I can tell you that I was inspired knowing that hard-working, patriotic Americans from across the nation were saying prayers, writing letters and flying their flags in support of all of our troops overseas.

It reminded me of the movement that spread like lightning through our country on 9/11 and the days to follow. We weren’t Republicans or Democrats…we were Americans.

September 11th might not be an official holiday, but I hope you will urge all of your family, friends and neighbors to fly their flag and tell their children and grandchildren what it means to be free.

As a great President once said, “freedom is never more than one generation away from extinction. We didn’t pass it to our children in the bloodstream. It must be fought for, protected, and handed on for them to do the same, or one day we will spend our sunset years telling our children and our children’s children what it was once like in the United States where men were free.”

On the eighth anniversary of these attacks, please take a moment to not only remember the lives that were lost, but the responsibility incumbent upon us to keep their memory, and the freedom for which so many have sacrificed, alive for future generations.

RIP, Jim Pouillon and Mike Fouss

Filed under: Life-Based News — Tom @ 12:45 pm

Reax will come later when more facts are in.

For now, here are links, probably dynamic:

  • Life News — “Slain Pro-Life Advocate Jim Pouillon Known as the Peaceful Abortion Sign Guy” (home page)
  • Detroit Free Press — “Owosso police look into two related murders”
  • Associated Press via Chicago Tribune — “Activist slain outside school; 2nd man also killed”

Michelle Malkin will probably be staying current.

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UPDATE: Pouillon, who was African-American, was killed for standing up for his pro-life views. That would seem to make his murder a double-barreled hate crime.

UPDATE 2 (via Rose): From Operation Rescue

Pro-Life Activist Shot Down in Cold Blood

September 11, 2009

….. Owosso, MI – A pro-life activist gunned down this morning as he peacefully held a picture of a baby with the word “Life” outside a high school in Owosso, Michigan. The victim is Jim Pouillon, a well known activist in the Owosso area and a friend of Operation Rescue.

A suspect was arrested about 45 minutes after the shooting and is now in police custody.

“We are stunned by Jim’s murder. We extend our condolences to the family and share in their grief over his loss. His life was characterized by his love and concern of the vulnerable, and he will be greatly missed,” said Operation Rescue President Troy Newman.

“We denounce this senseless act of violence in the strongest terms, and pray that this murderer will be swiftly brought to justice.”

This shooting comes in the wake of hundreds of death threats that have been received by Operation Rescue and other pro-life organizations over the past three months.

… “We have received literally hundreds of death threats in the past three months. Our office has been vandalized three times. Just yesterday, the FBI was in our office and picked up a stack of threatening letters that we received,” said Newman. “We denounce violence in the strongest terms. The bloodshed must stop both inside and outside of the abortion clinics.”

Read e-mailed death threats to Operation Rescue
Listen to a sample of telephonic death threats to Operation Rescue (Caution, strong and disturbing language.)

Instapundit’s Question of the Day

I like his response to this NY Times story about the conventional wisdom in New York City in the wake of the 9/11 attacks (“A Fortress City That Didn’t Come to Be”). The Times article includes this passage:

…. New Yorkers were introduced that day to irreducible presumptions about their wounded city that many believed would harden and become chiseled into the event’s enduring legacy.

New York would become a fortress city, choked by apprehension and resignation, forever patrolled by soldiers and submarines. Another attack was coming. And soon.

His reax: “Gee, who should get credit for that?”

Devolution: Revised AP Reports on GM Whitewash Trust Problem, Ignore Its Real Cause

GovernmentMotors0609If your blood pressure can stand it, you can learn a lot about how the Apparatachik Press — er, the Associated Press — operates as you watch a news story evolve, or I should say devolve. The wire service often reworks adequately-written stories with no new developments for no apparent reason other than to add bias and/or remove inconvenient truths.

A classic example of this occurred in the situation involving Barack Obama, Henry Louis Gates, and Cambridge, Massachusetts police in late July (covered at NewsBusters; at BizzyBlog). AP reporter Nancy Benac’s headline went from “Obama Rushes to Quell Racial Uproar He Helped Fire” on a Friday evening to “Obama Moves to Dampen Uproar on Comment Over Race” on a Saturday morning, even though there had been no new developments in the story. The later story’s text was heavily revised, totally deleting an accurate opening paragraph about the president being “knocked off stride” and trying to “tamp down the controversy,” leaving readers of that version with the impression that Obama had become the conciliator in the controversy instead of the being its fueler.

Another AP devolution took place between Thursday afternoon and early this morning. An already pretty weak story that bordered on being a PR piece about a two-month new vehicle refund offer by Government Motors — er, General Motors — only got worse in subsequent revisions.

For starters, here are the respective headlines and first paragraphs from Thursday afternoon at 3:47 p.m., Thursday evening at 10:27 p.m., and Friday morning at 5:38 a.m., respectively (links are to full versions of articles saved at my host here, here, and here, for fair use and discussion purposes):

APstoryDevolvutionGM091009

Note how the need “to regain consumers’ trust” and to “win them back” disappeared from Emily Fredrix’s initial paragraph. Though the next paragraph in the second and third renditions refers to how GM “aims to win back customers leery of GM since it filed for bankruptcy protection earlier this year,” the word “trust” disappeared entirely. By Version 3, the words in the headline and first paragraph were predominantly positive.

In Versions 2 and 3, Fredrix did refer to importance of making customers “less reluctant to buy” — in the second-last paragraph out of 17 in each instance. She saved her last paragraph for a person labeled as coming from “a Web site that follows and is often critical of the auto industry and GM,” who characterized the company’s move as “a Hail Mary pass.” That’s nice, but many if not most readers won’t get that far, and subscribing publications and broadcasting outlets will often leave it on the cutting-room floor.

No AP report of the three ever tells readers that the federal government now owns the majority of GM. The fact that Versions 2 and 3 manage to mention in their second paragraphs that GM “needs to improve sales so it can repay billions in government loans and stay in business” is in a way helpful. But it also gives the impression, in the absence of an ownership disclosure, that lending represents the full extent of the government’s financial involvement.

No one who reads any of the three AP reports will learn how much money has been thrown into the company’s bailout by taxpayers and other unwilling parties (at least $49.9 billion, plus billions more in value obtained through contract law-violating disproportionate treatment of the company’s unsecured bondholders), or that the Congressional Oversight Panel on Wednesday predicted that it is “highly unlikely” that taxpayers will fully recoup their auto-bailout …. (excuse me, I had to pick myself up off the floor after breaking out in convulsions of laughter) …. “investments.”

Perhaps readers might excuse AP for not bringing up GM’s baggage in a marketing story. But in a report that is really about a company trying to regain its footing, Fredrix failed to note one of the main reasons — if not THE main reason — why GM’s sales have been falling. That reason goes well beyond the products, product quality, or even that GM went through a bankruptcy.

The fact is that enough consumers to matter have been shunning the company’s vehicles because they opposed its bailout by taxpayers —  either on principle, or out of concerns that a government-owned operation won’t keep its warranty and other promises. Further, the substantial number of people who feel this way aren’t likely to put their opposition aside any time soon.

I’m not saying this, pollsters Rasmussen and Gallup are:

  • On June 8, Rasmussen reported that “only 42% of those who currently own a General Motors car are even somewhat likely to buy a GM product for their next car.” It further noted that “just 26% of Americans believe the bailout was a good idea, and nearly as many support a boycott of GM products.”
  • On July 27, Rasmussen told us that “46% of Americans now saying they are more likely to buy a car from Ford because it did not take government money to stay in business.”
  • Though it apparently didn’t attempt to dig into the whys, a June 9-10 Gallup poll said that “55% of Americans (are) saying they disapprove of the government’s investing $50 billion in General Motors to make the government the majority owner of that automaker.”

But in AP’s world, GM’s trust issue all but disappeared in the space of 14 hours. How did that happen?

In early May, AP reporters Kimberly Johnson and Dan Stumpf, in a nice bit of honest reporting, opened a story about April car sales by telling readers that “Detroit’s Big Three is becoming Ford and the other two.” Since then, the AP reports I have seen have largely glossed over the continuing market share declines at GM and Chrysler. Only the few who dig into the detail such as that found at the Wall Street Journal’s monthly auto sales report know that:

  • In August, a month dominated by the Cash for Clunkers program, Toyota sold a whopping 31% more cars than GM.
  • Nissan went from trailing Chrysler in total unit sales by 19% in July to beating it by 13% in August.
  • GM’s position in the marketplace has deteriorated in the past 12 months by a shocking 22% (19.4% market share in August 2009 vs. 24.5% in August 2008).

Tidbits like these and other are virtually absent from AP reports, while the negatives coming out of GM and Chrysler are often minimized or described in vague terms. That now seems to include the monthly missives from Johnson and Strumpf (August example here).

As long as AP engages the kind of truth avoidance described here, and despite occasional heartening exceptions, including one cited here on a different topic yesterday by NewsBusters, calling the wire service the Apparatchik Press will be too close to the truth for comfort.

Cross-posted at NewsBusters.org.

Positivity: Knights of Columbus air 9/11 tribute during NFL opener

Filed under: Positivity — Tom @ 5:53 am

From New York City, in full, from the Catholic News Agency:

Sep 11, 2009 / 03:08 am

Thursday night, during the 2009 NFL season’s opening game between the Tennessee Titans and the Pittsburgh Steelers, the Knights of Columbus aired a 60-second 9/11 tribute promoting the importance and necessity of service.

The ad, which ran during halftime of the match up,reminded Americans: “we can still see the best in humanity today,” if we “give back.”

The commercial featured the story of Capt. Al Fuentes of the FDNY Marine Division. On 9/11 he was trapped beneath the World Trade Center debris for nearly two hours before being rescued.

“What I have been given is another chance,” Fuentes recalls in the commercial. “I need to, and I will, give back: that is what the Knights of Columbus have always shown me for 38 years.”

The commercial also directed viewers to www.servicetogether.org, a site with resources for volunteers set up by the K of C.

The commercial was aired in New York City, Washington, D.C., Dallas and Los Angeles. It will also be broadcast in the same cities during the NFL games on Sunday.

A related story is at Catholic Online.