Forewarned, forearmed

This is worth posting.  See http://www.millersmiles.co.uk/report/1455 for info on Chase bank account phishing expedition which I just thwarted in my case by changing info at my Bank One site that I had put on their phony site.  Read all about it, and BE CAREFUL, noting especially this:

Chase Bank never send their users emails requesting personal details in this way.

It was the phony site’s request for my SS# that set bells ringing.  At least I didn’t give that.

Alito no Scalito

Orin Kerr at Volokh Conspiracy says the “Scalito” tag doesn’t fit, rather Alito is a John Roberts:

Like Roberts, Alito is an
   institutionalist who spent his career working in government at a very
   high level (including at the Solicitor General's Office). Like
   Roberts, Alito is a very likable person. In light of his similarites
   to Roberts, I expect that Alito will be confirmed without a

Hearing it for and about Alito

Let’s have an Alito Watch.  Begin, point of view yesterday from Suspicion Central, where I live:

 There isn’t even a nominee yet, and the Dems and MSM are already in major smear mode,

That’s from “Dog (Lost)” karinschulz3@aol.com, commenting at Protein Wisdom.  MSM means Chi Trib and Sun-Times, if circulation means anything these days.  So.  Chi Trib on line?

It was “a choice to cheer conservatives,” says the head of the Mark Silva and Jan Crawford Greenburg story.  To sadden liberals?  Say it, Trib; there are liberals out there, I think. 

“[A]fter the flame out of Harriet Miers,” says the lede sentence.  Colorful writing for breaking story, yes.

It “followed the embarrassing retreat of his first choice,” says 2nd sentence-graf.  More color.

There had been “mounting criticism within the Republican Party and increasing skepticism among senators and conservative interest groups,” says 3rd graf.  OK, more like it for breaking story.

The rest is good, informative deadline stuff, though obviously neither writer had to crawl under an upturned car to get the name of the pinned victim (an old CDailyNews story about Ray Coffey) and they were ready for this.  Crawford Greenburg has been quite reliable, by the way — I read a lead of hers to a Columbia College (Chi) writing class some years back ; I just don’t have a take on Silva at this point.

Sun-Times gives us three AP stories.  Its crack Washington bureau slept late?

more more more


There are no fascists there

Hoo boy, look at ex-Chi newsman Roger Simon’s saying today’s war on Muslim terrorists is not “ fighting predatory fascism that [is] trying to take over the globe.”  It’s at Transterrestrial Musings, where Rand Simberg draws a bead on that notion.

 If that word [totalitarianism, substituted by Simberg for fascism, now applied to any disagreement with any leftist position] can't be applied to people who want to run every aspect of everyone's daily existence, will brook no dissent, and have no apparent value for human life, as the Jihadis objectively do, then to who does it apply?

Etc.  Very good, Rand Simberg, but it’s to whom, dammit. 

CRIME FIGHTING . . . "Very fine distinctions" are at play in the Libby indictment, says special prosecutor Fitzgerald, who is also working to put various Chicago Democrats and a Republican ex-governor in jail on corruption charges. Not too fine, I trust. That would bespeak fussiness. Nor too fine in Chicago, where apparently rampant dishonesty is on trial. (On the other hand, not everyone thinks criminal prosecution is called for in Chi, including Mayor Daley and a DePaul law prof, Leonard Cavise.

PICKING AND CHOOSING . . . From a soldier killed in Iraq, found on his laptop for sending to his girl friend back home:

"Obviously if you are reading this then I have died in Iraq. I kind of predicted this, that is why I'm writing this in November. A third time just seemed like I'm pushing my chances. [end of what NYT ran in its rundown on 2,000 dead in Iraq, leaving this part out:] I don't regret going, everybody dies but few get to do it for something as important as freedom. It may seem confusing why we are in Iraq, it's not to me. I'm here helping these people, so that they can live the way we live. Not have to worry about tyrants or vicious dictators. To do what they want with their lives. To me that is why I died. Others have died for my freedom, now this is my mark."

Michelle Malkin has this, plus comments by an uncle of this man, whom the Times quoted selectively. Would you say the Times was giving an honest account of this brave soldier's letter to his girl back home?

HAVING THINGS BAD . . . Commenting on life in these U.S. as appreciated more by foreigners than us, David Gillies | October 29, 2005 04:25 PM, at Daily Pundit:

For truly mammoth death tolls on a semi-regular basis, you can't beat ferries in South East Asia. These accidents kill thousands, maybe tens of thousands a year, and really the only sane response for someone like me, snug and safe in a relatively affluent country, is to roll one's eyes, experience a fleeting pang of pity for the victims, and get back to what one was doing.

It really is extraordinarily dangerous to be born outside the developed regions of the Earth.

PRAYING . . . At mass today, 10/30/05, we were directed to pray that rich nations "do not hide behind complicated economic systems" to avoid helping poor ones. Uh-oh. A certain geopolitical world view there, wouldn't you say?

THEY ALSO SERVE, ETC. . . . Sox parade and rally Friday, stood stuffed in crowd at Clark and Wacker for 45 minutes or so, then was allowed with fellow stuffees to move down Wacker toward the stage at LaSalle. From this direction came muffled sounds of announcer and various players etc. which led to cheers around me. But hearing- and height-challenged as I was, I had to settle mostly for views and observations of those around me, a mixture in all the usual respects, almost all happy and in the spirit of victory and celebration.

One guy in the earlier stuffing of bodies came to be cranky, however, eliciting finally some pronounced impatience from a sergeant who told him, no, he could NOT cross the lines to get across Wacker. "Sergeant," he said irritatingly, "I'm not saying I want to cross, but WHY can't I cross?" as if in the situation there was a difference. "You CAN'T cross," said the sergeant, who had my sympathy but would have had my advice ("Be not afraid," i.e. be calm) if he had asked.

The complainer had been going on and on: "Can't see nothin'," "this is badly organized," etc. Badgering the sergeant, he was shushed by his wife, embarrassed by his display. Their kid was there. He had got up on wrong side of bed, the only one who had that day, and enough about him.

Oh yes, the pot smoker. He was mellow, however. That was in the midst of the cheering throng after the stage comments had begun. All of it was under a dazzling blue sky in 50 degrees or so, a perfect day. You could look at your fellow fans or at the skyline, buildings across the river. Glorious. That's a groundling's view. For a better one, you watch TV on such occasions.

IMPORTANT FIGURE . . . "Mr. Bush has three more years and three more months in which to take the lead in another direction. Will he use them well or squander them?" says Michael Barone in WSJ 10/29, concluding his wrap-up "Down but Not Out: After Katrina and Scooter, whither the Bush administration?" Barone, author of Almanac of American Politics, is a guy who deals in data; so his generalities deserve more than ordinary attention. As for the Libby indictment,

Fortunately, it appears that the Bush White House will have the services of Karl Rove available. Mr. Rove was not indicted along with "Scooter" Libby yesterday and, while he may remain in legal jeopardy, the comments of special prosecutor Patrick Fitzgerald in his press conference gave the impression that further indictments are unlikely. The indictment of Mr. Libby is of course a scar on the administration's record, but not one nearly so visible or disabling as a Rove indictment would have been. Mr. Rove has played a role in this administration that no presidential appointee has played in the first 212 years of our republic: chief political operator and chief policy adviser. He brings to his work an impressive knowledge of history and a sensitivity to the historic currents running through our times. He seems to have, despite his legal travail, the complete confidence of the president.

In 212 years. Hmmm.


AllKids by Blago

From reader Cal Skinner:

The only Chicago mention (or elsewhere, for that matter) that [Gov. Blagojevich’s] AllKids [health insurance program] includes for the first time those children in the US illegally was by Dick Kay on a WTTW show.  Don't you think that ought to be at least part of the debate?

From Dick Kay, asked about this:

He has it exactly right! They will not apply under Kids Care because that is a federally funded program. All Kids is state-only and will cover illegal immigrants so long as they can pay the monthly premium and the co-pay. For that matter it would cover children of billionaires so long as they could pay the much higher premiums that would require. Our sister station, Telemundo, has done a couple of stories on the program.

From Rockford Register-Star columnist Chuck Sweeny just today: AllKids was a stealthy victory by Blago, an opening shot in his re-election campaign:

The governor?s plan to provide universal health insurance to 253,000 uncovered Illinois children and pay for it by putting Medicaid recipients on managed care, was dropped on the public Oct. 6 as a big surprise.

Soon the bill-signing, “ at a Chicago school or maybe at his favorite steel mill, A. Finkl & Sons, surrounded by smiling children with colorful balloons.”  Then the campaign:

When the ink’s dry, the governor will take the “All Kids” campaign on the road to sign up families in the run-up to the program’s July 1 start. That’s eight more months of campaign-style rallies paid for by taxpayers and amplified by your friends in the free media — that’s us. He won’t have to spend a dime of his massive war chest, which held more than $14 million as of June 30, and could hit $20 million by year’s end.

Smart guy!


No wuxtry for a reason: Churchill at DePaul again

Remember my wondering a few days ago if Chi Trib or S-T would report pseudo-Indian, accused plagiarist-college progressor Ward Churchill speaking at DePaul?  Then noting the next day that nothing had appeared?  Well there was a reason for that having nothing to do with editorial assignment.  It was that reporters were not allowed.  Nor were tape recorders.  American Thinker showed what amateurs can do on a website with its reporting of the Churchill talk by a non-reporter, a lawyer however, and so one expected to get things straight.  He had to finagle his way in at that and did not feel free even to take notes (!) on Churchill. 

He came up with this, in which Churchill is reported explaining away his “3,000 Eichmans” comment on the 9/11 victims and otherwise arguing his various positions.  The reporting is detailed and arresting; so much for amateurism, since people who can observe and listen and write clearly can do this work.  “We know you can write,” Daily News managing editor Daryle Feldmeir told me when I was hired without newspaper experience in 1968.  He had clips of mine from several magazines.  “But we don’t know if you can give us 500 words on deadline.”

The best part of the American Thinker reporting, by Chaya Gil, a Chicago attorney, is the ambience of it, where DePaul is shown as being so concerned about trouble or even publicity as to bar reporters — even Gil, who is apparently known at DePaul.  That being the circumstance, it’s not surprising that Churchill was misquoted, as he said back in Denver: what he said was in an email to him was presented by Gil as directly from Churchill.  It was about Hitler exterminating the wrong people and thus incendiary.  Churchill apparently reads The American Thinker and made a point to refute this allegation.

Thinker got to someone who had recorded the talk secretly, hiding the machine in his shirt or somewhere where the recording was muffled, and that recording finally, after much careful listening, backed up Churchill on this one point.  Newspapers can’t do this as quickly in hard copy.  But the upshot is that people who care about DePaul and Churchill and what happened have thorough reporting in difficult circumstances with honesty in admitting mistake and info about DePaul and it’s Toonerville Trolley administration. 

That camel again

Sen. Sam Brownback on why the Miers nomination fell through: "At the end of the day [news of speeches she gave] was the straw that broke the camel's back." 
Go Brownback, Metaphor Man of the day! 
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Elements of style

I’ll tell you what’s been a joy to watch, has been the daily 350 or so p-1 words summing up each Sox game in Chi Trib by Dan McGrath.  It’s been a lovely thing, to see copy so clean and substantive, enough to make E.B. White and his mentor William Strunk Jr. stand up in their graves and say Yippee, this stuff has no needless words.  See today’s if you don’t believe it.


Harriet, we hardly knew ye

From John Fund’s Wall St. Jnl piece:

"We spent about 1,200 hours together and had in excess of 6,000 agenda items, and I never knew where Harriet was going to be on any of those items until she cast her vote," Jim Buerger, a former Miers colleague on the Dallas City Council, told the Washington Post. "I wouldn't consider her a liberal, a moderate or a conservative, and I can't honestly think of any cause she championed."

Fund’s exertions bore no fruit.  He “called all over Texas and Washington in search of people she might have talked with about [her judicial philosophy].  No luck. In fact, it became clear Ms. Miers is a complete mystery.”

Somewhere I saw it said that Rove has been so busy with the Valerie Plame stuff that he hasn’t been doing his usual advising of GW, and Rove is reported as not having recommended Miers.  Reminds me of FDR’s pollster, the first to help a national politico, whom FDR did not have advising him during a difficult time when FDR made a lot of mistakes, as told in Mel Holli’s The Wizard of Washington: Emil Hurja, Franklin Roosevelt, and the Birth of Public Opinion Polling (Palgrave, 2002).

In any case, Rove or not, Miers appears devoid of philosophy, judicial or otherwise — in other words, a pedestrian individual, a girl picked to do a woman’s job, though why it’s a woman’s job this time around may be an important unanswered question.


Play ball, America, in Chicago!

Rick Telander in S-T notes that this is the first post-steroids series, hence full of speed (of legs), smarts, strategy.   “Baseball with brains, not just brawn,” sez USA Today.  And hence much more interesting, sez I.

As for smarts, Mike Downey in Chi Trib offers a seven-game scenario with AJ Perzynski running home with the ball hidden in his shirt.  It could happen!

AND as for the doughty defectors from the Island Prison, Sox pitchers Contreras and Hernandez, Chi Trib runs a p-1 story from its man in Havana, Gary Marx, about whom usually (and why not now?) the less said the better.  Kudos to Trib for featuring the defectors, however, though not as punchily as National Review Online with such details as this:

Orlando "El Duque" Hernandez and Jose Contreras . . . risked their lives to escape. . . .  Hernandez, the winningest pitcher in "revolutionary" Cuba's history, was a national hero in the early 1990s, but nine years after his 1986 debut he was banned from baseball. His crime was helping his half-brother Livan defect. Livan went on to become the MVP of the 1997 World Series, during which he embarrassed Fidel by shouting, "I love Miami" — in English.  . . . . . . . .  It would be as if President Clinton had banned Michael Jordan from basketball during his prime.

After Livan got out, in a show trial of an American who had helped him do so, Orlando crossed Castro up and called the guy his “companero.”  A year later, Orlando, his wife, and six others were found on a cay in the Bahamas eating conch to survive.  The Coast Guard picked them up after four days, and that fall, Orlando was winning Game 2 for the Yankees.  If he hadn’t defected, “he would have died another obscure Cuban pitcher, virtually unknown outside Castro's fortress.”

That’s language you don’t expect in a daily newspaper, where (a) politics and baseball steer clear of each other and (b) political commentary steers clear of outright condemnation of Fidel.

Contreras didn’t eat conch on a cay, but his wife was arrested after he defected from Mexico.  Missing her and their two daughters, he slumped with the Yankees.  Told by Castro she’d have to wait five years to get out, she and their daughters last year joined a boatload of Cubans who made it to Florida.  Contreras, no longer slumping, is one of the Sox Four, reading to start tonight vs. his former teammate at the Yankees, Roger Clemens.

Play ball.


Wuxtry, wuxtry, Depaul dustup?

Maybe a story tomorrow or the next day in Chi Trib or S-T about Ward Churchill at DePaul?  Could be, what with Freepers (Free Republic members) gearing up for a protest.  Churchill is the dude who called 9/11 victims “little Eichmans” and wants more of the same, with a view to erasing us, beginning with the effing capitalists.  He’s a pseudo-Indian from U. of Colorado, where he’s being investigated for plagiarism and other offenses.  His topic in part is “human dignity for men of color,” always a favorite.  You couldn’t make this stuff up. 

                                                                        — more more more —

Update: Nothing today, 10/21 . . .


Holy Kyoto!

October 13, 2005
Did Chi Trib or Sun-T cover this, as noted by Roger Aronoff in today's Accuracy in Media newsletter?
The Kyoto Treaty has received a major, perhaps fatal, setback, though it was barely reported in the media. It occurred when British Prime Minister Tony Blair told the gathering at the Clinton Global Initiative in September, the same week that the United Nations had its annual gathering of world leaders, that the treaty was basically dead. Blair has been a major supporter of the treaty, and has unsuccessfully implored President Bush to sign on.
No, but each had items blaming Katrina on warming of our globe, Chi Trib here, with excellent diatribe by certified ranter Jeremy Rifkin, including this:
[A]s more and more people begin to ask, "What's happening to our weather?" it seems that all of official Washington is holding its breath, lest the dirty little secret gets out: that Katrina and Rita are the entropy bill for increasing carbon dioxide emissions and global warming.
And Sun-Times had this in a letter from Richard Younker, elsewhere identified as “an award-winning freelance photojournalist”:
Responsible scientists in the 1,500-member Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change cross their fingers in hopes that we cut back our use of fossil fuels before carbon dioxide levels double from their 1937 level, which could produce cataclysms that we don't want to ponder, that would make Hurricane Katrina seem like a petulant schoolgirl.
But nothing in either paper about what Blair said, which Aronoff calls “quite interesting”:
As reported by columnist James Pinkerton of TechCentralStation, Blair announced that he was going to speak with "brutal honesty" about Kyoto, and then proceeded to do so. "My thinking has changed in the past three or four years," he said. "No country is going to cut its growth." He added that countries such as the two largest in the world, China and India, who are both excluded from the terms of the treaty, "are not going to start negotiating another treaty like Kyoto."
Blair suggested that instead, "What countries will do is work together to develop the science and technology...There is no way that we are going to tackle this problem unless we develop the science and technology to do it."
Thus, Pinkerton concluded, "That's what eco-realists have been saying all along, of course—that the only feasible way to deal with the issue of greenhouse gases and global warming is through technological breakthroughs, not draconian cutbacks."
Wouldn’t Chi Trib and S-T have advanced discussion of this issue better with such reporting than with blanket condemnations of Bush et al.?  Not looking for knee jerk in either direction, just something intelligent.
# posted by Blithe Spirit : 10/13/2005 
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Meanwhile, back at Chi Trib on the day S-T ran the gripping war story in Controversy, it was business as usual, and why not, with the same-old liberals running things.  “Desperate for work, lured into danger: The journey of a dozen impoverished men from Nepal to Iraq reveals the exploitation underpinning the American war effort” dominates p-1, complete with (surprise!) color shot of bereaved people.  For these Cam Simpson and his fotog went high into the Himalayas.  But they got their shot.

The only thing missing (it’s a series, so there will be more opportunities) is the head they are really looking for, here only part of it: “Exploitation underpins American war effort!”  Then only will their hearts be glad and spirits light.  It’s coming, yes!

Exaggeration aside, isn’t it funny how Trib juices never really flow unless they find something that makes us look bad?

Nabbing a killer

Run out now and buy your Sun-Times for “Night Raid in Mosul,” by Colby Buzzell, who was there, with his combat buddies skulking through alleys at night past houses where people watched TV, he carrying a battering ram which they used to break into a house where slept a family.  The man of that house was their target.  They used a smell detector and found dynamite smell on his hands and took him away, the wife and presumed mother of their kids wailing, “Don’t take him away.  I don’t want to be alone.”

But taking this guy away, maybe eventually to Guantanamo, made Mosul safer for many mothers who do not want to be left alone either, many others having wailed at night like this one because of his dynamite.

It’s a gripping tale of getting ready for the raid and completing it, from a book, My War: Killing Time in Iraq (G.P. Putnam’s Sons).  The piece is not on the Sun-Times site, which is why you have to buy hard copy.  It’s the lead story in this week’s Controversy section, edited by Tom McNamee, the sort of Ernie Pyle-style reporting you won’t find in Chi Trib, where instead the focus is on wailing mothers without context: a pacifist tilt.

This one ends with a quote from George Orwell, of Animal Farm and 1984 fame:

We sleep safe in our beds because rough men stand ready in the night to visit violence on those who would do us harm.



Correction to the above:

"Nabbing" has:

. . . . The piece is . . . the lead story in this week’s Controversy section, edited by Tom McNamee, the sort of Ernie Pyle-style reporting you won’t find in Chi Trib, where instead the focus is on wailing mothers without context: a pacifist tilt.

It should have said, in view of James Janega's reporting to which I have called attention, "reporting you almost never find in Chi Trib," or come to think of it, in Sun-Times either. 

Also, in addition to "pacifist tilt," I might have said "Viet Nam syndrome tilt," which is practically speaking the same thing these days, but it's such a hackneyed phrase.


To give or not to give

I'll bet that when our revised Code of Editorial Principles is promulgated in a few weeks, it will include a flat ban on political donations by editorial staffers. . . . [T]he notion that any topic a reporter writes on nowadays can remain sequestered from politics and partisanship is simply an illusion.

That’s “public editor” Don Wycliff in today’s Chi Trib, in “Citizenship vs. the Tribune's Code of Editorial Principles”.  Good.  I’m a flat-ban man myself, holding that for newsies credibility trumps all.  It’s how they serve the world, even to the point of detachment, if that’s not too ascetical a word.  The reporter has to not care (horrors!).  Leave passion to the soap opera performers.  The editorialist has to make arguments, not just emote.  It’s a hard route to go, but the payoff is money in the credibility bank.


A surfeit of epithets

Sun-Times columnist Mary Mitchell calls William Bennett everything but a wife-beater and child-molester in the black-crime-abortion controversy — his is an  “ill-chosen hypothesis,” his comments were “disgusting,” “racist,” and “ignorant,” though more the last than the second.

Ditto Freakonomics author Stephen Levitt, who predicts crime based on socio-economic profile — his is “an unseemly theory,” he’s got “arrogance” that “frightens . . . and offends” her.

She reduces black crime to selling dope to whites, who “drive” crime, saying nothing about who commits it.  (Put dope on the free market, I say, but that’s another story.)

In any case, she rejects Levitt’s contention that you can predict high incidence of crime using as your measure “income, the likelihood of growing up in a female-headed household, having a teenage mother, and how urban the environment is,” as he said.  It frightens and offends her (as above).

But isn’t that beside the point, which is whether Levitt’s right or not?  Does Mitchell present her feelings in the matter as more important than Levitt’s argument?

If Mitchell wants to get to the heart of the matter, she should calm down, forget her feelings, and THIMK!

Konerko in Trib

Chi Trib scored well ahead of “Play ball” today at Sox park with a p-1 profile of 1st-baseman cleanup hitter Paul Konerko that moves along and tells a lot, is excellently organized, and starts the day right for a Sox fan, such as this one who at least from age 10 got the Trib off the front porch and went first to see how they did (and was doubly pleased if the other team had lost). 

“Heart of the order: Paul Konerko's gritty, workman approach makes him a clubhouse leader and a South Side hero” is by David Haugh, who puts meat on the bones of frequent throwaway references by sports writers to Konerko as a blue-collar, hard-working type, which is required in view of his big salary.  Beside the point in Haugh’s account, who quotes a brother:

"My grandpa [DiPiro] always told us that just having a job is honorable, so treat it with respect no matter what it is," said Peter Konerko, Paul's older brother who is a photographer in New York. "Paul's attitude came from learning at a young age that whether it's hitting a 90-m.p.h. fastball or digging a hole, your job requires integrity. I think Paul works harder now than he did when he was in [Class] A ball."

This is a hard kind of story to do right, because of the danger of overkill, also known as b.s. about local hero.  If there’s b.s. in this story, if it’s a con job, I’m conned.  It happens, even to citizens of an age that says they should know better.


Frisbie, Abra, Spielman

Of note today in Sun-Times are:

* Typically articulate and well-researched short letter by Dick Frisbie in defense of accused priests, in part wondering why no church trial or statue of limitations [in partial rebuttal, because present danger is the issue rather than penalties], which did not make the e-version cut. 

* Mary Laney column in praise of heiress-benefactor Abra Rockefeller Prentice, formerly Abra Anderson as reporter and later columnist — Jon and Abra — with Jon Anderson, “Among heiresses, we'll take a Prentice over a Paris anytime”:

Thanks to her giving, Chicago has Prentice Pavilion -- the largest birthing center in the seven-state Midwest region and among the top 25 birth centers in the United States. Close to 10,000 babies have been delivered at Prentice and received important neonatal care afterward.

And more more more.

* Typically sharp, enterprising, bread-and-butter muckraking story by city hall reporter Fran Spielman, “Ex-Daley aides cash in as they depart City Hall”:

Chicago taxpayers have coughed up $164,974 for the accrued vacation times of the newly departed mayoral aides, according to figures supplied to the Chicago Sun-Times in response to a Freedom of Information request.