March 12, 2010

Texas Social Studies Curriculum Vote Brings Out Worst in AP Bias, Labeling

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April Castro and the headline writers at the supposedly “objective” Associated Press are obviously not pleased with changes the Texas State Board of Education made to the Lone Star State’s social studies curriculum.

Castro’s report (HT to a NewsBusters e-mailer) makes almost no attempt to hide her clear disdain. She includes references to a “far-right faction” (a “faction” that happened to constitute a two-thirds majority!) and “ultraconservatives,” while uniformly describing leftists as mere Democrats, and generally comes across as a sore loser in solidarity with the poor, outvoted libs.

You’ll also see in the excerpt that follows that the story’s headline is disgracefully over the top:

Texas ed board vote reflects far-right influences

AUSTIN, Texas — A far-right faction of the Texas State Board of Education succeeded Friday in injecting conservative ideals into social studies, history and economics lessons that will be taught to millions of students for the next decade.

Teachers in Texas will be required to cover the Judeo-Christian influences of the nation’s Founding Fathers, but not highlight the philosophical rationale for the separation of church and state. Curriculum standards also will describe the U.S. government as a “constitutional republic,” rather than “democratic,” and students will be required to study the decline in value of the U.S. dollar, including the abandonment of the gold standard.

“We have been about conservatism versus liberalism,” said Democrat Mavis Knight of Dallas, explaining her vote against the standards. “We have manipulated strands to insert what we want it to be in the document, regardless as to whether or not it’s appropriate.”

…. Ultraconservatives wielded their power over hundreds of subjects this week, introducing and rejecting amendments on everything from the civil rights movement to global politics. Hostilities flared and prompted a walkout Thursday by one of the board’s most prominent Democrats, Mary Helen Berlanga of Corpus Christi, who accused her colleagues of “whitewashing” curriculum standards.

By late Thursday night, three other Democrats seemed to sense their futility and left, leaving Republicans to easily push through amendments heralding “American exceptionalism” and the U.S. free enterprise system, suggesting it thrives best absent excessive government intervention.

Castro should have been asking why the items described in the excerpt, plus the following cited by the AP writer in unexcerpted paragraphs, haven’t been in the social studies curriculum all along:

  • “… the origins of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict and its impact on global politics.”
  • former Israeli Prime Minister Golda Meir.
  • “a reference to the Second Amendment right to bear arms in a section about citizenship in a U.S. government class.”

Apparently the ultimate insult occurred when “Conservatives beat back multiple attempts to include hip-hop as an example of a significant cultural movement.”

Oh the humanity.

Cross-posted at NewsBusters.org.

Morgan v. Yost: The Battle Lines Are Officially and Clearly Drawn

Filed under: Activism,Taxes & Government — Tom @ 10:15 pm

Effective today (see the March 12 entry; HT Right Ohio), it’s the ORPINO (Ohio Republican Party In Name Only) establishment’s Dave Yost against the Tea Party movement’s Seth Morgan (bolds are mine):

Ohio Tea Party movement endorses Seth Morgan, CPA for Auditor of State

The Ohio Tea Party PAC, the newly formed PAC of the Ohio Liberty Council, has endorsed Seth Morgan, CPA for Auditor of State. The Ohio Liberty Council is composed of Ohio’s Tea Party groups, 912 groups, and other grassroots groups throughout Ohio.

Requiring a 7/8th’s majority of the Ohio groups, the Ohio Tea Party PAC voted to endorse Seth Morgan, CPA for Auditor of State. All statewide races were considered, but Seth Morgan, CPA was the only candidate chosen to be endorsed. Additionally, Seth Morgan, CPA is the first Tea Party endorsed statewide candidate of 2010.

“7/8ths of Tea Party and other like minded groups choosing to endorse a candidate is a strong statement. It means they have embraced someone as embodying their values. That does not come easily,” said Chris Littleton, President of the Ohio Liberty Council and the Cincinnati Tea Party.

“Ohio Republican Party Chairman Kevin DeWine said that the Republican Party needs to listen to the Tea Party movement. Well, the movement has spoken and said they want Seth Morgan as Auditor,” said Rob Scott, Friends of Seth Morgan Communications Director. “The Ohio Tea Party movement is behind Seth Morgan.”

… Members of the Ohio Liberty Council include:

Akron Tea Party, Americans Against Government Excess, Ashland Tea Party, Ashtabula County Patriots, Athens Tea Party, Buckeye Firearms Association, Canton Tea Party, Cincinnati Tea Party, Central Ohio 912 Project, The Children of Liberty, Chillicothe Tea Party, Cincinnati 912 Project, Columbiana County Tea Party, Columbus Tea Party, Cleveland Tea Party, Dayton Tea Party, Defiance Freedom, Eastern Ohio Concerned Citizens, Findlay 912 Project, The Forgotten Man, Grand Lake Patriots, Hamilton Tea Party, Holmes County Liberty Coalition, Homemakers for America, Holgate Tea Party, If You Believe, Knox County 912 Project, Lancaster Tea Party, Lorain County 912 Project, The Mansfield North Central Ohio Tea Party Association, Marietta OH 912 Project, Medina County Friends and Neighbors, Mentor 912 Group, North Central Ohio Conservatives, Ohio Freedom Alliance, Organizing for Freedom, Ottawa Tea Party, Patriots Unite, Portage County Tea Party, Sons of Liberty Riders, Springboro Tea Party, Springfield Tea Party, Stark 912 Patriots, Summit 912 Project , Union County 912, WALNUT, West Central Ohio 912, Wilmington 912 Project , Wellsville Tea Party, Westlake 912 Project, Wooster 912 Project, Van Wert Tea Party, Young Americans for Liberty – OSU, Young Americans for Liberty – University of Cincinnati, and Zanesville Patriots.

All of a sudden, old Dave’s list of endorsing politicians and others afraid for their future viability if they’re seen supporting or donating to the opposition doesn’t look quite as impressive when side-by-sided against over 50 legitimate grass-roots groups. Not to slight all of the others in any way, but the Buckeye Firearms group’s inclusion in the list is an especially huge coup for Morgan.

AP’s Cooked Poll Claims 53% Obama Approval Rating Not Found Elsewhere

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One thing you can say about the Apparatchik Press — er, the Associated Press — is that it’s leaving no stone unturned in its attempt to prop up their guy Barack Obama.

In the tenth paragraph of an AP report today by Ben Feller on President Obama’s stack of priorities (“For Obama, big agenda and small window for results”), the wire service’s Ben Feller bitterly clings to an AP-GfK Roper poll result that is sharply at variance with others, and assumes that it gives Obama a level of clout that doesn’t exist outside the grounds of the White House:

Obama has a key edge in setting the agenda: public approval. His job-performance rating is holding mainly steady at 53 percent, while a new Associated Press-GfK poll finds that fewer people approve of Congress – a mere 22 percent – than at any point in Obama’s presidency.

Well, of course his approval is 53% in AP-GfK la-la land. The poll’s sample, as you can see at the top right (found at Page 31 of the 42-page PDF, consisted of 33% declared Democrats and 23% declared Republicans. The sample’s independents who were willing to declare a leaning split evenly at 12% each, leading to overall party totals of 45% Democrat and 34% Republican. That’s so widely and obviously at variance with what other polls are finding that it almost isn’t worth documenting. But I will anyway.

AP-GfK has Obama at 53% approve, 46% disapprove (Page 3 of the report).

Gallup has Obama at 46% approve, 45% disapprove today. That’s a 6% difference in the approval margin compared to AP-GfK.

Rasmussen has Obama’s approval numbers during the past week at 43%-48%, and his disapprovals from between 52%-56%. Today’s figures are 44% approve, 54% disapprove — a 17-point swing from AP-GfK (from +7 to -10). Rasmussen has the party affiliation as 35.1% Dem and 32.1% GOP, a difference of 7 points from AP-GfK’s 33%-23%.

But the most telling approval result relating to Obama’s popularity was found in Missouri on Wednesday, when “The Show Me State temporarily became the No-Show State on Wednesday as some prominent Missouri Democrats decided they’d rather be somewhere else when President Obama came to push his massive health care overhaul plan.”

It would appear that Obama’s fellow party members aren’t as convinced that the AP’s cooked polls are reliable as Ben Feller is.

Cross-posted at NewsBusters.org.

Lucid Links (031210, Morning)

Filed under: Lucid Links — Tom @ 8:25 am

Pathetic excuse of the week: In a story that is another element of the apparent press- and government-orchestrated effort to take down Toyota — an effort that early-March sales results indicate is fortunately backfiringABC News offers this “explanation” for including tachometer footage taken in a parked car while making viewers think it was shot during a “sudden acceleration” incident:

“This was a misjudgment made in the editing room,” Lenzner said. “They should have left the shaky shot in. But I want to make clear that the two-second shot that was used did not change the outcome of the report in any way.”

No, they never would have done the “not-shaky shot” unless the intent from the very beginning was to overdramatize and mislead.

The ABC story aired on Monday, February 22, which “just happens” to be the day after a Sunday report by the Detroit News’s David Shepardson — picked up by the Associated Press and then parroted in early Monday TV and other news reports — falsely characterized an internal Toyota presentation about recall results as one that “bragged” and “boasted.”

Once again, David, AP, and other press apparatchiks — in Japanese culture, and at Japanese-headquartered companies with operations in America, bragging is a cultural taboo, and it almost never happens, most certainly not in a presentation to a top Japanese executive.

Isn’t it amazing how all these things “somehow” came together at once, and just in time to intimidate Toyota officials about to testify at Congressional hearings?

The culturally tone-deaf enterprise conducted by a lot of people whose “diversity training” has supposedly enabled them to know better dances on the edge of xenophobia.

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HHS Secretary Kathleen Sebelius said on last Sunday’s “Meet the Press” that “(health) insurance companies (will) … ultimately pay … taxes imposed on them by the government.

Of course, she’s wrong. The Business & Media Institute’s Dan Kennedy correctly notes that the people who really end up paying in some combination are:

  • Policyholders
  • Employers
  • Wage earners
  • Investors

This leads Kennedy to ask, “Is the Administration Stupid or Lying?”

Ultimately, it doesn’t matter, because regardless of whether postures such as these are ignorant or deliberate, they and the people who propound them are definitely dangerous.

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Awww, California RINO and gubernatorial candidate Meg Whitman hearts Van Jones.

That would be former “green jobs czar” Van Jones, who is a 9/11 truther and a 9/11 “deserver.” — and who just recently was shown to have praised the so-called “human shields” who went to Iraq in a hopelessly naive attempt to “protect” Saddam Hussein and prevent the Iraq War from commencing in 2003.

Golden Staters deserve better choices in 2010 than Jerry “Moonbeam” Brown v. Whitman. It doesn’t look likely.

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Christopher Horner in “Climategate: Three of the Four Temperature Datasets Now Irrevocably Tainted” —

The warmist response to Climategate — the discovery of the thoroughly corrupt practices of the Climate Research Unit (CRU) — was that the tainted CRU dataset was just one of four independent data sets. You know. So really there’s no big deal.

Thanks to a FOIA request, the document production of which I am presently plowing through — and before that, thanks to the great work of Steve McIntyre, and particularly in their recent, comprehensive work, Joseph D’Aleo and Anthony Watts — we know that NASA’s Goddard Institute for Space Studies (GISS) passed no one’s test for credibility. Not even NASA’s.

In fact, CRU’s former head, Phil Jones, even told his buddies that while people may think his dataset — which required all of those “fudge factors” (their words) — is troubled, “GISS is inferior” to CRU.

… wo down, two to go.

Reto Ruedy refers his inquiring (ok, credulous) reporter to NCDC — the third of the four data sets — as being the gold standard for U.S. temperatures.

But NCDC has been thoroughly debunked elsewhere — Joseph D’Aleo and Anthony Watts have found NCDC completely incredible, having made a practice out of not including cooler temperature stations over time, exaggerating the warming illusion.

Three out of the four temperature datasets stink, with corroboration from the alarmists.

The whole human-caused global warming argument is irrevocably tainted and stinks to high heaven, i.e., it’s a proven batch of globaloney.

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Congrats to My Pet Jawa’s Rusty Shackleford and all others who followed “Jihad Jane” (HT Michelle Malkin) and did the dirty work that led to her indictment (DOJ press release is here).

It’s not very often that a group of bloggers/citizen investigators can credibly say that they have made the world a bit less dangerous. This is one of those times.

Positivity: Virginia legislators drop bill restricting pregnancy centers, praise them instead

Filed under: Life-Based News,Positivity — Tom @ 6:04 am

From Richmond, Virginia:

Mar 12, 2010 / 03:52 am

Rather than passing two bills headed by abortion supporters which aimed to impose restrictions on pregnancy centers, Virginia legislators chose to pass a resolution this week that praised the pregnancy centers work.

Just one week after H.B. 452 and S.B. 188 headed by Planned Parenthood and NARAL were introduced, subcommittees in both the Virginia House and Senate dismissed the bills after legislators heard from numerous pregnancy center workers and their affiliates. The pro-abortion groups had sought to impose restrictions on pregnancy centers and to limit the revenue they receive from pro-life license plates.

During a stunning turn of events in the initial hearings in January, “SB 188 was heard by a Senate subcommittee, and after an extensive hearing featuring compelling testimony by directors of pregnancy resource centers and women who have been helped by them, the bill’s patron decided to withdraw his bill from consideration for the year,” Jeff Caruso, founding director of the Virginia Catholic Conference, told CNA on Thursday.

“Immediately after this amazing reversal, a House subcommittee heard similar testimony and then voted to reject HB 452,” he explained.

“One topic that resonated especially at these hearings was the high degree of skepticism legislators had about the ‘study’ done by NARAL of pregnancy resource centers in Virginia,” Caruso added. “One committee member noted that it was very much akin to one industry doing an investigation of a competing industry, and that you would not expect such a study to be objective or credible.”

Caruso also said that he found “it particularly ironic that Virginia’s abortion clinics are not even required to be licensed by the state despite the fact that they perform invasive surgeries, and yet the same groups who have opposed legislation year after year to require abortion clinic licensing were leading the charge for intrusive regulations on pro-life centers this year.”

After the two bills were defeated on Jan. 26, a resolution praising the work of pregnancy centers in the state was introduced in early March and was passed this week by both the Virginia House of Delegates and Senate.

“Pregnancy resource centers provide extremely valuable, life-affirming services to Virginia women and their babies,” Caruso explained. “These centers are financially supported by partner churches and by generous individuals, and through the work of many volunteers. They have saved our Commonwealth millions of dollars by stepping up to the plate to provide vitally important services to those who are in need.”

“States should be helping these centers, not hindering their good work,” he underscored. …

Go here for the rest of the story.