January 21, 2011

The Blade’s Tom Troy Is ‘Proud’ of Creating a Story Where None Existed

Filed under: Education,MSM Biz/Other Bias,MSM Biz/Other Ignorance — Tom @ 6:32 pm

Tom Troy of the Blade, in a letter to the Toledo Free Press:

Finally, I am very proud of The Blade’s handling of this story and of my own part in it. We did not misquote Brian Wilson.

It wasn’t a story until the Blade decided to make it a story. That’s not journalism.

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Previous Post:
- January 17 — Toledo Free Press Schools the Toledo Blade Over Talker’s Non-Racist ‘Monkeys’ Remark

AP Coverage of Govt. Union Membership Report ‘Somehow’ Omits Organized Percentage of Public Sector

I was reading Associated Press reporter Sam Hananel’s coverage (“Unions see sharp membership declines again”) of Uncle Sam’s latest report on union membership, and I came to this paragraph about what happened with private-sector union representation in 2010:

Union membership in the private sector fell from 7.2 percent to 6.9 percent, a low point not seen since the infancy of the labor movement in the 1930s. The steepest decline was seen in the construction industry, where unemployment remains around 20 percent.

Naturally, I expected to see Hananel’s reportage next address what happened in the public sector. As you’ll see, readers only got half of what they should have been told:

Public employment unions saw a 1.2 percent decline, mostly from job cuts among state and local government workers. Those unions could see further declines this year, as states eliminate jobs in an effort to make up multibillion-dollar budget deficits.

Okay Sam, but what is the percentage of overall public sector union representation?

It would appear that Mr. Hananel would rather the AP’s readers, listeners and viewers not know that public-sector union representation (36.2%) is over five times higher than it is in the private sector (source data):

PrivateAndPublicUnionMembership2010

Hananel had to consciously avoid reporting the overall statistic for public union representation, because it’s the very first highlight in the actual report issued by the government’s Bureau of Labor Statistics:

BLSunionReportHighlights2010

The AP reporter told readers about Items 3 and 4 above, but “somehow” missed Item 1. Amazing.

Mr. Hananel reveals a bit of his bias in the following paragraph:

Last year was the first time that public employees made up a majority of all union workers. Unlike private employers, government offices do not hire outside consultants to help them fend off union organizers. But newly elected governors and lawmakers in Ohio, Wisconsin, Florida and other states are backing legislation that would make government offices less union-friendly.

I don’t want to pretend that outside union-prevention consultants aren’t a factor, but there are several other more important reasons why public employee unions make up a majority (51.8%) of the nation’s workers. The most obvious is that governments generally don’t go out of business. Companies can and do go out of business, very often because inflexible labor contracts have tied their hands. Just as obvious: Governments, at least until recently, have blithely passed on the cost of their excessive labor contracts and opulent future promises to taxpayers, who generally haven’t paid as much attention as they should have.

Hananel picks on Ohio, Wisconsin, and Florida, all of which “just so happen” to have new Republican governors. Yet this passage from a Honolulu report indicates that it isn’t only new Republicans who are concerned about the high costs of public-sector unions:

(New Demcratic Hawaii Governor Neil) Abercrombie has already laid down parameters that may crimp lawmakers’ ability to make ends meet. The governor, after all, has said he will not raise the general excise tax, will not take from the counties’ share of the transient accommodations tax, will not implement furloughs, will not delay tax refunds and will not cut warm bodies.

Yet, other new Democratic governors from California to Illinois to New York are looking at those very things. In addition to tax increases, on the table are sacred cows like reductions in spending on education and cuts to public employee union benefits.

Gosh, Sam, how did you miss that? (/sarc)

Cross-posted at NewsBusters.org.

Rick Santorum Is Right (See Updates)

Filed under: Life-Based News,Taxes & Government — Tom @ 10:09 am

Rick Santorum, January 2011:

“The question is — and this is what Barack Obama didn’t want to answer: Is that human life a person under the Constitution? And Barack Obama says no,” Santorum says in the interview, which was first picked up by CBN’s David Brody. “Well if that person, human life is not a person, then, I find it almost remarkable for a black man to say, ‘We are going to decide who are people and who are not people.’”

http://i739.photobucket.com/albums/xx40/mmatters/GosnellReuters — January 19, 2011:

An abortion doctor killed hundreds of babies by cutting their spinal cords with scissors after removing them from mothers late in their pregnancies, prosecutors said on Wednesday.

Philadelphia District Attorney Seth Williams charged Dr. Kermitt Gosnell, 69, and nine associates with eight counts of murder, following a year-long investigation by a grand jury, whose report was unveiled on Wednesday.

The defendants are charged with first-degree murder in the cases of seven babies for which there is substantial evidence, Williams said.

Hundreds of other babies are likely to have died in Gosnell’s West Philadelphia clinic, which he operated from 1979 to 2010, Williams said.

A third-degree murder charge stemmed from the death of a mother who died from an overdose of anesthetics, he said.

“My comprehension of the English language can’t adequately describe the barbaric nature of Dr. Gosnell,” Williams said at a news conference.

Gosnell and his associates were arrested without incident on Wednesday, and Williams said he may seek the death penalty for Gosnell.

He said Gosnell’s clients, many of whom were poor (*), were charged $325 for a first-trimester abortion and between $1,625 and $3,000 for an illegal abortion after 24 weeks.

* – A press which is willing willing to carry water for minority victimization in so many other venues, some of them questionable, only notes that the victims were “poor.” Michelle Malkin: “The 281-page grand jury report released Wednesday provides a bone-chilling account of how Gosnell’s “Women’s Medical Society” systematically preyed on poor, minority pregnant women and their live, viable babies.”

Here’s Jesse Jackson in 1977, from a footnote in a book by former Surgeon General C. Everett Koop and a co-author, providing the best evidence that before it went awry in the late 1970s (largely due to Jackson’s tragic abandonment of prolife principles), the civil-rights movement, including Dr. Martin Luther King, was staunchly prolife:

JesseJacksonProlifeFootnote01of1977

Barack Obama’s antilife track record is long and outspokenly strident. Based on the litany of positions and actions noted here in October 2008, especially the following item, it is inarguably true that he would find at least some portion of what went on in Gosnell’s “clinic” acceptable:

Obama, as an Illinois state senator, opposed legislation to protect children who are born alive, either as a result of an abortionist’s unsuccessful effort to kill them in the womb, or by the deliberate delivery of the baby prior to viability. The Obama campaign lied about his vote until critics produced documentary proof of what he had done. In fact, Sen. Obama continues to lie about his inhuman voting record in regard to the Illinois Born-Alive Infants Protection Act, even stooping so low as to run a disgusting television ad attacking the disabled survivor of a botched abortion.

The only question is how much.

Rick Santorum is right. It IS remarkable that any black man (self-identified in Obama’s case) would so stridently support a practice that snuffs out innocent human life at any stage.

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UPDATE: William Saletan in Slate (HT to an e-mailer) –

The Baby Butcher
Pro-choice absolutism and the grisly abortion scandal in Philadelphia.

… Now these absolutists face an awkward discovery. A grand jury in Philadelphia has indicted a local doctor for running an abortion clinic in which no limits applied. Babies of all sizes and gestational ages were casually butchered. It’s a tale of gore and nihilism—and an occasion for pro-choice advocates to reflect on the limits of reproductive freedom.

Don’t bet on it.

UPDATE 2: Brent Bozell gets it, on multiple levels — “MRC’s Bozell: Media Attack on Santorum Illustrates Campaign to Delegitimize Conservative Thought.”

UPDATE 3: Taranto at Best of the Web embarrassingly whiffs on Santorum, committing a multitude of rare blunders

We agree that it is intellectually defensible to draw a parallel between the antiabortion movement and the civil rights movement, or between abortion and slavery–though we would also note that this is an inflammatory and highly controversial comparison. Making the argument in a way that persuades rather than alienates those who are not already convinced requires an extraordinarily high degree of subtlety and sensitivity. In this regard Santorum’s comment falls very far short.

The ONLY reason that the abortion-slavery parallel “is an inflammatory and highly controversial comparison” is because it makes people uncomfortable with the truth. It would be nice if the goal were always to (quickly) “persuade and not alienate,” but sometimes shaking people out of their non-thinking comfort zone can be a step towards ultimate persuasion.

The fact is that the early civil-rights movement’s pioneers clearly understood that slavery (infamously upheld in the Dred Scot decision) and the post-slavery Jim Crow laws depended on the perception that blacks were lesser forms of human life. This “justified” enslaving them and, after the Civil War, segregating them. Martin Luther King and Jesse Jackson understood that.

Similarly, the legality of abortion ultimately depends on the perception that human life in the womb is a lesser form of life undeserving of legal protection. That’s why Dr. Alveda King, niece of Dr. King, and so many other blacks correctly call abortion the civil rights issue of our day.” It’s also why Jesse Jackson’s betrayal of his prolife principles is one of the most tragic and horribly consequential decisions made by a public figure in the last 40 years.

Taranto then dangerously doubles down:

What makes it racially invidious is not the underlying argument or the rhetorical inelegance with which Santorum makes it. It is the implication that because Obama is “a black man,” he is obliged to agree with Santorum.

The notion that the range of acceptable opinion is narrower for a black person than for a white person (or for a woman than a man, or a homosexual than a heterosexual) is a pernicious form of bigotry.

… To be sure, an unborn child, unlike a dog of any age, is human, and the idea that it should be treated as a legal person is not self-evidently absurd. But neither is it self-evidently correct, and abortion laws before Roe v. Wade were never predicated on the idea that legal personhood precedes birth.

Wow. Santorum’s the bigot? What a load of rubbish.

As to personhood, the only reason societies never bestowed “legal” personhood on an unborn baby before Roe v. Wade is that no one until just a few years before Roe ever conceived (pun intended) of the idea that someone would voluntarily choose to end its life before birth — and then have the gall to expect legal protection from any consequences for doing so. Everybody knew the natural-law truth that a pre-born baby is a person, which is why it was “self-evidently” not a subject of debate.

The reason a black person should be more concerned about the consequences of abortion on demand is simply because a monstrously disproportionate number of preborn black and minority babies are being killed — a fact Taranto conveniently avoided:

Black women are more than 3 times as likely as white women to have an abortion, and Hispanic women are roughly 2 times as likely.

It’s not racist to suggest that a black or Hispanic person would be expected to care more about this ongoing minority holocaust and devote more energy to stopping it than a white person.

Dedicated eugenicist Margaret Sanger, whose “intellectual” successors include Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsberg and Obama administration science czar John Holdren, still believe in the desirability of eliminating “lesser beings” from the gene pool (through sterilization, aggressive contraception, and abortion) and/or cutting them off from government services (through euthanasia). From their perspective, abortion on demand works out to be pretty effective tool for accomplishing that. The leftist elites’ claims to be looking out for the interests of blacks and other minorities will remain sheer hypocrisy unless and until they acquire a belief in the sanctity of human life from conception until natural death.

Barack Obama is one of those leftist elitists, and a (self-identified) black man to boot. As such, Rick Santorum is right.

Positivity: Twenty-somethings taking the pro-life reins in Alaska, elsewhere

Filed under: Life-Based News,Taxes & Government — Tom @ 6:00 am

From Anchorage, Alaska:

Jan 16, 2011 / 01:02 pm

Tweeting and texting, the Echo Boomers are taking the reins of the decades-long effort to restore legal protection to the unborn in Alaska and across the U.S.

These 20-somethings – children of Baby Boomers and Generation Xers – were born and raised after the 1973 Supreme Court decision of Roe v. Wade. They are survivors of the era of legalized abortion in America. But a full third of their generation did not survive – 26 million of their brothers, sisters and friends have been aborted.

For those who made it, like 28-year-old Christine Kurka of Eagle River, Alaska and 22-year-old Windy Thomas of Anchorage, the abortion debate is about human rights – rights they believe should be equally applied to all members of the human family, including the very youngest.

At age 18, Kurka was motivated to speak up for the unborn. Her awakening came during a visit to the Holocaust Museum in Washington, D.C., where she heard recordings of the Nuremberg trials. She understood that apathy, silence and the deflection of responsibility were no defense in the face of evil.

“If we say nothing, we are acquiescing,” Kurka told the Catholic Anchor in a recent interview.

Kurka began to see a correlation between the destruction of the Jewish people behind the walls of concentration camps and abortion.

“It’s a quiet thing, people don’t see it,” she explained.

She realized “it wasn’t going to be enough to just personally stay away from abortion or not to have one myself. I was going to have to be actively speaking and doing something.”

As the 38th anniversary of Roe v. Wade approaches on Jan. 22, the faces and voices of the pro-life movement are changing. But in terms of political action, charity towards mothers and babies and efforts to educate the public on the facts of prenatal life, Kurka’s generation is following a well-proved path.

Pro-life predecessors

While a growing number of Alaska’s pro-life activists aren’t out of their 20s, they have four decades of experience behind them.

Anchorage Catholic Pam Albrecht has been at the forefront of the abortion debate since 1969, when Planned Parenthood first lobbied Alaska’s legislators to legalize abortion. With help from local attorneys Wayne Ross and Bob Flint, Albrecht produced flyers opposing the legalization and urged Alaskans to write their legislators.

However, the legislation passed, and in 1972 Alaska amended its constitution to become one of the first states to explicitly recognize a so-called right to “privacy,” interpreted by some to mean a right to abortion on demand.

Meanwhile, Albrecht began to appreciate how women were being pressured into abortion.

“I could see this problem was more than just ‘this baby’,” said soft-spoken Albrecht.

So she and fellow Catholic Kim Syren founded Birthright – to help expectant mothers in crisis choose life for their babies by providing friendship and material support, like housing and clothing.

Eventually, Birthright was folded into Catholic Social Services’ Pregnancy Support program. And Albrecht continues on with Project Rachel, helping mothers suffering after abortion.

Mirroring the Civil Rights movement of the 1960s, other early pro-life advocates took the abortion debate to Anchorage clinic doors in the 1980s. Local pro-lifers organized peaceful sit-ins to slow the abortion business in Anchorage and raise awareness of what was going on inside. Ninety-two people joined the first sit-in, making it the largest civil disobedience event in the history of Alaska. A photo of the arrest of Jesuit Father George Endal, in his 80s at the time, made the front page of the Anchorage Times.

On the sidewalks were “sidewalk counselors,” pro-lifers specially trained to engage with the abortion-minded and help them find life-affirming options.

Still, today, members of the Legion of Mary, a Catholic lay apostolate, continue to pray on the sidewalks several times a week and offer help to women outside Alaska Women’s Health, P.C. – an abortion facility on Lake Otis Parkway.

Most young adults are pro-life

Thirty years later, in an age where the term “partial-birth abortion” is familiar and where prenatal ultrasounds are commonplace, the American people — including young adults — are increasingly pro-life.

A 2010 Marist College poll showed that nearly 60 percent of the nation’s 18-to-29-year-olds consider abortion morally wrong. Just 20 percent of that group thinks abortion is morally acceptable. …

Go here for the rest of the story.