About a week ago, British Prime Minister Gordon Brown suggested in a UK Telegraph column that allowing hospitals to harvest organs from dead patients without their prior consent or their families' post-mortem consent might be a good idea.
Mr. Brown's occasion for bringing up the topic was telling, and perhaps explains why Brown's proposal got very little coverage in the US:
This year will be the 60th anniversary of the National Health Service: a year to celebrate and thank all the staff who run our hospitals, clinics and GP practices; but also a year in which to renew the NHS for the 21st century, because I believe that only by renewal can we make the NHS even more relevant for future decades than it has been in the past.
..... we may need to do more to encourage more of us to donate (organs. In Britain we have 14.9 million people on the organ donor register - which is around 24 per cent of the population. In terms of actual donors (not just people willing to give, but those whose organs are actually used) we have a rate of about 13 donors per million in our population. This compares with about 22 per million in France, 25 per million in America and around 35 per million in Spain - the best in the world.
That is why I want to start a debate in this country about whether we should take steps to move towards a new system designed to enable far more of us to benefit from transplant surgery - one that better reflects survey findings that around 90 per cent of us are in favour of organ donation.
Riled! Angry Romney Rips Reporter Sparks fly as Mitt Romney tells reporters lobbyists aren't running his campaign.
According to anyone else who has watched the video, theirs is a difficult assessment with which to agree.
As we stated when we posted the video last night (video below as well), the Associated Press' Glen Johnson angily interrupts Romney on the podium mid-sentence, already visibly flustered, and only proceeds to become more so as he tries to drive home the semantic difference between a campaign "run"ner and a campaign "adviser".
"Bush allows Navy to use sonar in whale areas," blares the headline to an AP story on MSNBC.com about President Bush granting the Navy the right to continue to test mid-frequency active sonar in coastal waters despite a federal court judge's order for the Navy to stop.
"Judge had earlier ordered 12-mile no-sonar zone off California," reads the subhead.
Gee, I wasn't aware that whales had legal claims on U.S. coastal waters, let alone that they are considered "whale areas."
The issue at hand is whether environmental laws can and should be shelved from time to time for national security exemptions, and if the president can make that determination as commander-in-chief. So why not a headline that's more straightforward?
"Bush allows Navy to use sonar in coastal waters. Decision challenges court ruling aimed at protecting whales."
Yes, the Democratic primary last night in Michigan was a beauty contest -- the delegates selected to represent their candidates will not be seated at the convention in Denver -- but it is something of a story that 45 percent of that primary's voters cast ballots in favor of alternatives to Clinton, including a sizable portion of them to uncommitted delegates.
Essentially this means that over 264,000 Wolverine State Democrats took time out of their day yesterday to vote against Hillary Clinton --voting uncommitted or for Kucinich, Dodd, or Gravel -- even though it didn't matter for much of anything.
The Washington Post picked it up on page A7 of the January 16 paper and Congressional Quarterly reported story on its Web page, noting the Clinton campaign heralded the victory with triumphant rhetoric even though her delegates will not be able to vote for her nomination at the convention:
A funny thing happened on the way to the wife of America's first black president being coronated: more than twice as many African-Americans voted for "Mr. Uncommitted" as Sen. Hillary Clinton (D-NY) in Tuesday's Michigan primary.
Clearly, the recent racial sparring between the Clintons and Sen. Barack Obama (D-Ill.) has not helped Hillary in the black community.
Sir Edmund Hillary, the first man to summit Mt. Everest, died last week. CBS's Katie Couric noted the passing in her January 11 "Notebook" at her Couric & Co. blog, but in doing so made a gauzy reference to New York Senator Hillary Clinton (D). Curiously, Couric failed to note that the latter once falsely claimed her parents named her after the New Zealand adventurer. In fact she was born years prior to Sir Edmund's famous climb.
A new "Veggie Tales" movie is hitting the silver screen and, as may well be expected, the New York Times doesn't like it much.
That's not so surprising coming from the hallowed pages of the broadsheet bible of the secular left. But as Jeffrey Weiss of the Dallas Morning News's Religion Blog notes, it appears the hostile NYT reviewer is wholly unfamiliar with the Veggie Tales franchise and so may hardly have been the best reviewer for the assignment in the first place:
The New York Times has a bad review today of the new VeggieTales film, "The Pirates Who Don't Do Anything." It's a bad review, in the sense that it slams the movie. But it's also a badly written review in that it seems to be written by someone who has never heard of or seen any of the VeggieTales previous cartoons or movies. Here's the top of the review, by Neil Genzlinger:
Well, this strays from the usual silliness and less than credible work over at the Huffington Post and gets closer to a style of treasonous support for our espoused enemies than it does the normal fare. In a posting by one Hooman Majd, an Iranian born writer who dabbles in the music business, we are treated to the absurd conspiracy theory that the U.S. Military manufactured the incident last Tuesday in the Straits of Hormuz involving a few Iranian patrol boats and the the U.S. Navy. Majd seems to imagine that the Pentagon somehow faked the whole thing, and I'm not exaggerating. Catch the title of his posting: It's a Fake. No attempt at subtlety there!
Update (17:35): Paul Colford with AP e-mailed me with an updated obit posted at 14:40 EST that had more information. See more at bottom of the post.
Philip Agee, a leftist who exposed fellow CIA operatives by name in a book he published in the 1970s has died in Cuba. Agee's perfidy was one reason Congress in 1982 passed the Intelligence Identities Protection Act. If that doesn't ring a bell, that's precisely the law that Bush administration critics charged Karl Rove and/or Scooter Libby violated in the "outing" of CIA agent Valerie Plame.
Yet while the Plame case was a media obsession for roughtly four years, the AP's Will Weissert buried that detail deep in its January 9 obituary. What's more, the wire service practically painted Agee's defection to Cuba as retirement from CIA work to the private sector:
Pollster Frank Luntz has some 'splainin' to do writes Michelle Malkin, who has a post with video about one Granite State gentleman who's shown up in more than one Luntz focus group.
New Hampshire's a small state, but c'mon:
Yep. I think Frank Luntz, not any of the campaigns, is the one who needs to answer the questions about who Mr. Undecided is–and how he managed to end up in both focus groups. Transparency about how all of the people in the room ended up there would be wise.
ThePolitico.com continues to publish hatchet hackery on Republican presidential candidate Fred Thompson, with today's false coverage of Sen. Thompson's speech to supporters after his third-place finish in the Iowa Caucuses.
Politico reporter Roger Simon recently lied in The Politico about an incident at an Iowa fire hall involving Sen. Thompson and a fire helmet - an "error" that The Politico has never corrected even though video of the event clearly exposed the error.
Today, video again shows The Politico to be publishing fiction about Fred. This time, it is writer Ben Adler's coverage of the Thompson campaign's Iowa Caucus after-party, which uses words like "resignation" and "lackluster," though the video of the event clearly contradicts that depiction.
A frequent lament I've heard in conservative circles is that we're not as good at using the Internet to promote our message as the Left is. Of course, that fear may be a bit overblown to begin. After all, 2007 saw some marked success in conservative blogs growing in readership while liberal ones stagnated according to Simon Owens of Bloggasm:
It has long been understood that the largest liberal blogs have generally produced more web traffic than the largest conservative blogs. But I have noticed a general trend over the past few months that I didn’t want to write about until the end of the year. After surveying the traffic stats of many major political blogs, I found that web traffic for several major liberal blogs either declined sharply or stayed the same while major conservative blogs saw a sharp increase in traffic.
Alright, so Hillary Clinton bills herself as better suited for the Oval O because she has foreign policy experience, plus eight years as First Lady. And we all remember that then-Gov. George W. Bush was mocked in 1999 for not knowing who the military dictator of Pakistan is.
So why the media silence on Hillary Clinton's goof in thinking that Pervez Musharraf is up for election in Pakistan? In fact the elections that were scheduled for January 8 prior to Benazir Bhutto's assassination are parliamentary elections.
TVNewser has learned the CBS News blog PublicEye, once described as a "de facto ombudsman" of CBS News, has ceased operations. CBS Interactive cut several staff members last month, including Matthew Felling who was editor of the site.
A spokesperson for CBS Interactive tells TVNewser, "We weren't able to find a sustainable business model for Public Eye. We are exploring ways to maintain a similar spirit of public discourse by engaging the CBSNews.com audience and building a community around multiple voices."
Launched July 12, 2005, PublicEye stated its "fundamental mission" was "to bring transparency to the editorial operations of CBS News."
The return to opacity is unfortunate just as election '08 heats up. After all, it was former anchor Dan Rather and producer Mary Mapes and their obsessive adherence to discredited phony National Guard memos in 2004 that set the wheels in motion to provide CBS News consumers an advocate and watchdog in the form of PublicEye.
That's not to say, however, that Public Eye has exactly lived up to its defined mission. A review of NewsBusters archives yields evidence of that:
When Jimmy Carter pulled the Persian rug out from under the Shah, we wound up with the Ayatollah Khomenei and a line of spiritual/political descendants culminating in Mahmoud Ahmadinejad. Terence Jeffrey has now pointed out that by her highly-critical statements undermining Pervez Musharraf, Hillary Clinton could be precipitating an even worse disaster in Pakistan. The editor-in-chief of CNS News.com, NB's sister organization, has thus described Clinton as "Jimmy Carter on steroids."
At about 4:15 PM ET today, CNN aired a Wolf Blitzer interview of Clinton notable for these two statements by her.
Rosie O'Donnell may have been one of Time's 100 Most Influential People, but now she is 2007's Most Annoying Celebrity. The woman who surprised blacksmiths everywhere when she claimed that fire can't melt steel trounced her competition in the Parade.com poll, getting 44% of the vote, nearly double the amount of second place winner Paris Hilton. Ann Coulter was third.
The woman who admitted that she's so gullible, she's “five seconds away” from joining a cult, also outed herself as a 9/11 Truther and floated several conspiracies. She doesn't think Al Qaeda is a threat--hey, they're mommies and daddies, too!
But she knows who the real bad guys are. She called the US a state sponsor of terror and equated the military with terrorists. She claimed the captured British sailors were really part of a “false flag” operation (“Google it!”), and Ahmadinejad isn't all that bad. Don't worry, she is concerned about terrorists. She thinks the US is robbing 9/11 mastermind Khalid Sheik Mohammed of his humanity by labeling him a “terrorist.” (Her sneer quotes, not mine.)
Here are some of the quotes that helped Rosie win her new title (bold mine):
Don't fear the terrorists. They’re mothers and fathers-11-09-07
The improving situation in Iraq is driving certain congressmen and congresswomen to rhetorical depths I don't recall ever seeing.
Though there have almost surely been other instances of offensive excess on the House Floor over the Iraq War, we've recently been treated to at least the following:
Pete Stark (D-CA), October -- "You don't have money to fund the war or children,'' Stark said. "But you're going to spend it to blow up innocent people if we can get enough kids to grow old enough for you to send to Iraq to get their heads blown off for the president's amusement." Stark, under intense pressure from Nancy Pelosi, later tearfully apologized.
David Obey (D-WI), November -- Insurgents “are running out of people to kill,” and “There are fewer targets of opportunity.” I do not believe that Obey has backed off of his remarks.
Nancy Pelosi (D-CA), December -- "They (Republicans) like this war. They want this war to continue." Pelosi later "clarified," saying she meant to say "support" instead of "like."
The latest example, courtesy of Virginia Congressman Jim Moran on Wednesday, may, despite the strong competition noted, take the prize for greatest smear of our president, his administration, and/or our troops -- ever.
When Larry Summers suggested in early 2005 that, as paraphrased by Slate's William Saletan, "innate differences between the sexes might help explain why relatively few women become professional scientists or engineers," the outcry was immediate, furious, and went to saturation level virtually overnight. The controversy ultimately led to his resignation a year later as Harvard President.
On Wednesday, Mr. Summers, a Democrat who was once Treasury Secretary under Bill Clinton, made a recommendation in his area of expertise -- that is, that a tax cut would be a good idea to protect against a possible recession. (Yours truly doesn't believe that a recession is anywhere near occurring. But hey, I've said since May, and several times since [here, here, and here, among others] that a tax cut is needed anyway to keep the economy chugging along at a good rate. So if panicked pols want to enact a tax cut for the wrong reason, I'll take it.)
Old Media reaction to Summers has been virtual silence.
Hollywood doesn't learn. Even though the latest round of America-hating movies flopped, Project Greenlight producer Chris Moore will turn "A People's History of the United States" by pop historian and Karl Marx fanboy Howard Zinn into a TV miniseries and a feature-length documentary.
Zinn's 1980 book influenced a generation of students with its negatively-framed distortions of American history which minimized successes like WWII. It exchanged traditional history for marginal topics such as Great Railroad Strike of 1877, Joan Baez and Angela Davis while omitting Washington's Farewell Address, the Wright Brothers and the Normandy Invasion.
The December 10 Variety stated production begins in Boston this January. Ironically, it will use wealthy celebrities like Matt Damon, Danny Glover and Josh Brolin to convey the book's Marxist theory (bold mine):
Miniseries will center on the actors and musicians as they read from the books or perform music related to their themes: the struggles of women, war, class and race. (...)
The "Midwest Teen Sex Show" -- a video blog that advises teens to use abstinence (the condom, not the practice) -- is being praised by a blogger at CBSNews.com as "good for a laugh" while being informative.
"[T]he creativity and humor of these three young people really shines through," Irregularly Scheduled Programming (ISP) blog contributor Tony Maciulis enthused in his December 11 blog post. Elaborating on that point, Maciulis mused that "Sex and the City" was nothing more than a younger, urban spin on "The Golden Girls":
The "First Bible in English may have sparked fundamentalism," suggested the teaser headline on Yahoo.com's front page, as of 2:45 this afternoon. Clicking the link took me to a special feature for LiveScience.com by writer Heather Whipps. Here's her lede:
The translation of the Bible into English marked the birth of religious fundamentalism in medieval times, as well as the persecution that often comes with radical adherence in any era, according to a new book.
Harvard professor James Simpson, the book's author, drew a parallel between early Reformation English Protestants and modern day Islamo-fascists:
Without the clergy guiding them, and with religion still a very important factor in the average person's life, their fate rested in their own hands, Simpson said.
The Bureau of Labor Statistics of the U.S. Department of Labor today reported revised productivity data--as measured by output per hour of all persons--for the third quarter of 2007. The seasonally adjusted annual rates of productivity growth in the third quarter were:
6.7 percent in the business sector and 6.3 percent in the nonfarm business sector.
In both sectors, changes in productivity are higher than the preliminary estimates published November 7, and represent the largest productivity gains since the third quarter of 2003.
Al Gore must've gotten to the Associated Press and introduced to them his invention, the Internet, because they have announced a refit for the new news age. The New York Times spins some coverage for the venerable news wire service's newest venture, even taking the chance to extend a compliment for AP's creation of the "24-hour news cycle" (I know, that one made my head turn, too). So, at last the AP has decided the world has changed... took 'em long enough.
First off, let's dispense with the Times' claims that the AP invented the "24-hour news cycle."
Dictator-groupies Sean Penn, Harry Belafonte and Danny Glover are at it again. They are among the “artists, scholars and performers” calling themselves “representatives of the cultural sphere in the US,” who sent a letter to President Bush asking him to “end the travel ban,” allowing a cultural exchange between nations.
Most troubling is the group did not address Cuba's lack of freedom and limited their travel demands to Cuba's “artists and scholars.” That wasn't a mistake. As faithful fans of the Cubano Dear Leader, they don't care about all Cubans' ability to travel, just those carefully-selected Party-approved “artists and scholars." Under heavy guard, of course, to avoid more embarrassing defections.
CNN is defending its job in vetting questions for last night's debate, reports Politico's Kenneth Vogel:
The retired general who quizzed Republican presidential candidates about gays and lesbians in the military was not the only person linked to a Democratic presidential candidate who got to ask a question at Wednesday’s CNN/YouTube debate.
Conservatives examining whom to support in the primary elections might do well to welcome an examination of both candidates and how they have departed from GOP orthodoxy on numerous social and fiscal issues. And while Rudy and Mitt aren't the only candidates being grilled by conservative activists for less-than-conservative positions, it's a good starting point, even if much of Romano's piece is snarky in tone (which it is).
Wash, spin, rinse, spin. Phone, spin, report, spin, poll, spin. The similarities between the work of the mainstream media and a laundry machine are striking. Yet there is nothing about the cycle -- the spin-report-poll-spin cycle -- that does for political events what detergent does for your boxers or briefs.
The media, as One, spend days or weeks bashing someone or something they do not like. They then conduct a poll to prove to you that they were right all along. In a campaign season, their one-sided coverage is calculated, then executed to produce a result. It’s not about reporting the events, it’s about changing the prevailing view.
And the polls -- such as the ones by the media, which are not independent surveys like those undertaken by the likes of Rasmussen or Gallup -- aren’t intended as much to gauge the public view of a candidate or events as they are to reinforce that which they have “reported”, or provide the media guidance on how effective their spinning of the news has been.