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PostWatch: An irregular correction to the Washington Post


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PostWatch
 

Friday, August 30, 2002
 
1:46 PM

Travel notes... I'll be hitting the road soon for the Labor Day weekend, so posting will be light-to-zero from now until Monday. Have a great holiday and keep surfing.



(0) comments  
8:34 AM

The Post is still fighting an international court that wants one of its reporters to testify in a Bosnian Serb genocide case. Because, of course, that's different from the International Criminal Court the Post wants the U.S. to give whirl.



(0) comments
Thursday, August 29, 2002
 
10:21 PM

Even I don't see this one... As noted by MediaMinded, the Weekly Standard gives pretty harsh treatment to the Post for the way it played Al Qaeda Deputies Harbored by Iran. The Weekly Standard item, by Christopher Caldwell, is titled The Post Buries a Scoop--The Washington Post runs a blockbuster piece on Iran and al Qaeda--and buries it under a Metro story

At first I thought this meant they buried it in to Metro section, which was not my recollection. Indeed not. He means it ran below the fold, under DC's huge news of the day, losing the Olympic bid.

The big shocker is that it ran in the middle of the front page, below a story about how Washington, D.C.'s bid for the 2012 Olympics had failed. You cannot get more parochial than this. The Post gets the scoop of the year and buries it under a human-interest story that wouldn't make page one if it had occurred in Jefferson City, Missouri ("Show-Me State's Olympic Dreams Dashed"). Did anyone seriously think D.C. had a chance?

Well, yeah, the Post did, for starters. The day before the announcement, in D.C. Learns Today if Olympic Bid Lives, Amy Shipley writes:

Because of the broad appeal and strengths of Washington's bid, several officials have said that it is hard to imagine a scenario in which Washington-Baltimore fails to survive the cut in a race that includes Houston, New York and San Francisco.

As MediaMinded says:

I haven't seen the front-page configuration of the paper, but I think that's still pretty prominent front-page play. Shoving it inside would be burying the story. And the Olympics? Heck, I thought D.C. had a hell of a chance to get the Games. Either way, that's a huge story for the Post's core readership.

Besides which, however good the Al Qaeda story is, it's hardly Story of the Year. The details are great and it bolsters the case against all kinds of evildoers in the Middle East, but who doesn't think Iran is harboring Al Qaeda? The Nation doesn't count.





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10:07 PM

Grand Strategy... I've been thinking about all the arguments concerning a war against Iraq, and cannot put it better than Eugene Volokh who has penetrated the center of arguments against it:

"LET'S NOT ATTACK OUR SELF-ANNOUNCED ENEMIES NOW; IF NEED BE, WE CAN ATTACK THEM LATER, WHEN THEY HAVE NUCLEAR WEAPONS."



(0) comments  
1:35 PM

Conventionally Wrong Wisdom... It may be the passing references that bug me the most. From GWU to Cover Birth Control In Student Health Plan-- Change Follows Complaint Alleging Sex Discrimination

"Historically, women's health has been given second-class status," she [a Women's Law Center attorney] said. "What brought this to everyone's attention is that as soon as Viagra came on the market, health insurance started covering it, and women said: 'What is this? Why don't you cover my pills?' "

One example does not maketh a case. Women have fared much better than men over the last century or so, with longer lifespans, and in more recent decades, more money being spent to research diseases specific to women, such as breast cancer. From Michael Fumento:


Compare breast cancer with prostate cancer. Breast cancer probably struck about 183,000 American women in 1995, killing 46,000. Prostate cancer probably afflicted about 244,000 men, killing 35,000. Breast cancer survivors may lose one or both breasts, a cruel maiming but one fixable through plastic surgery. More and more often the disease is being treated by removal of the tumor only.

Prostate surgery survivors, conversely, often face permanent impotence and incontinence. But while breast cancer will receive $500 million from the feds, prostate cancer will get less than $80 million. There are no studies looking for environmental causes of prostate cancer.


This column looks about seven years old, so I'll have to do more legwork and get current spending on breast vs. prostate cancer spending, though I know those proportions were constant through at least 1998. And I'm not too keen on comparing which disease is worse--they both stink. But it's a myth that women are systematically neglected by the health establishment.

UPDATE: It bothered me that I couldn't do better than a six- or seven-year old source, so I took another stab at it. Below is an excerpt from a special report published within the last half year or so by the Independent Women's Forum called Lying in a Room of One's Own: How Women's Studies Textbooks Miseducate Students, by Christine Stolba. Even as a PDF it's worth a viewing. The section on miseducating people on women's health starts on p. 10. Below is from p. 11:

The claim that women have been shortchanged in medical research has been debunked by numerous scholars, most thoroughly by Sally L. Satel in her book, PC, M.D.: How Political Correctness Is Corrupting Medicine. In fact, drug companies and government agencies such as the National Institutes of Health (NIH) routinely include women in clinical trials that test the effectiveness of medications. As long ago as 1979, over 90 percent of al NIH-funded clinical trials included women.

Other textbooks claim that women's unique health risks do not receive adequate attention from the medical research establishment... Thinking About Women urges its readers to "consider the attention given to Viagra, the drug that treats male impotency and for which the scientists who did the basic research underlying its functioning were given the Nobel Prize. Would fewer women be dying from breast cancer if such resources were poured into its study?" This is pure hyperbole, as the facts clearly show. For example, beginning in 1985, when the NIH's National Cancer Center began keeping track of specific cancer funding, it has annually spent more money on breast cancer than any other type of cancer research. Currently, women represent over 60 percent of all subjects in NIH-funded clinical trials....


With feminism, more is not enough.



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9:52 AM

IOC Blues... Marc Fisher writes Olympic Dis Is for All the Wrong Reasons:

Amazingly, we managed to lose this one not on the usual grounds -- no snickering about competence, no scoffing at our small-town mentality -- but because of our greatest strength. The 2012 Olympics will not be staged in Washington because it is the capital of the free world. We do not qualify to play host to the world's best athletes because we are home to the government that has done more than any other institution on the planet to spare people from fascism, communism, hunger and all manner of human suffering.



(0) comments
Wednesday, August 28, 2002
 
10:50 PM

Reporting made easy.... just run with accepted (liberal) wisdom and don't bother digging.

On Thursday online and on Friday in print, the Post ran essentially the same story on the problems black farmers were having in trying to claim thousands of dollars potentially owed to them under a class-action settlement. USDA did not agree that it had denied loans on the basis of race for over two decades, but agreed to a massive payout. The Post's account is an uncritical recital of the farmers' woes, and takes a human-interest angle by focusing on one farmer who, reluctantly, tooled up from South Carolina to make his plea.

Both stories have this line:

He was one of more than 22,000 black farmers who won a class-action lawsuit in 1999 over discriminatory loan practices dating back decades. Under that agreement, individual farmers still had to prove that they were personally discriminated against to receive the $50,000 payback.

John Perazzo at FrontPageMag.com goes a little further:

In April 1999, the government and the plaintiffs entered into a consent decree in which the USDA acknowledged no wrongdoing, but authorized compensation — to the tune of $50,000 apiece — for blacks claiming to have been unfairly denied loans during periods when they had either farmed or tried to farm.

On their face, the numbers simply don't support the notion that black farmers have been disproportionately denied such loans. Indeed, African Americans constitute fewer than 1 percent of our nation's farmers, but over 3 percent of all USDA farm-loan recipients...

In the lawsuit, the vast majority of the plaintiffs had no verifiable records of ever having filed discrimination complaints with the USDA. To get around this inconvenient fact, the court accepted, as ample evidence, declarations by non-family members that a given claimant had indeed filed either an oral or written complaint at some time in the past; no corroboration from the USDA was required.

If no such testimony was available, it was sufficient for a claimant to produce a copy of some correspondence he had sent, to any local or federal official, declaring that he had suffered discrimination at the hands of the USDA. Of course, it was impossible to verify the authenticity of any such correspondence. Nor was there any requirement that the USDA even possess some record of having received it; the claimant's assertion that he had mailed it was deemed evidence enough.


That's what's behind the Post's reassuring note that individual farmers still had to prove that they were personally discriminated against to receive the $50,000 payback.

Who knows if the fellow in the Post's story was discriminated against--I certainly don't. But does the Post give an honest account of this issue? Does it even pretend there's more than one side to this story?



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10:30 PM

Peaceful Islam Update from Daniel Pipes.org

A Muslim group in Denmark announced a few days ago that a $30,000 bounty would be paid for the murder of several prominent Danish Jews, a threat that garnered wide international notice. Less well known is that this is just one problem associated with Denmark's approximately 200,000 Muslim immigrants. The key issue is that many of them show little desire to fit into their adopted country....

Among the not-so-fun facts:

* Engaging in crime: Muslims are only 4 percent of Denmark's 5.4 million people but make up a majority of the country's convicted rapists, an especially combustible issue given that practically all the female victims are non-Muslim. Similar, if lesser, disproportions are found in other crimes.

* Self-imposed isolation: Over time, as Muslim immigrants increase in numbers, they wish less to mix with the indigenous population. A recent survey finds that only 5 percent of young Muslim immigrants would readily marry a Dane.

* Importing unacceptable customs: Forced marriages - promising a newborn daughter in Denmark to a male cousin in the home country, then compelling her to marry him, sometimes on pain of death - are one problem.

Another is threats to kill Muslims who convert out of Islam. One Kurdish convert to Christianity, who went public to explain why she had changed religion, felt the need to hide her face and conceal her identity, fearing for her life....


And of course this greatest hit:

Fomenting anti-Semitism: Muslim violence threatens Denmark's approximately 6,000 Jews, who increasingly depend on police protection. Jewish parents were told by one school principal that she could not guarantee their children's safety and were advised to attend another institution. Anti-Israel marches have turned into anti-Jewish riots. One organization, Hizb-ut-Tahrir, openly calls on Muslims to "kill all Jews . . . wherever you find them."





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1:53 PM

Tax Guesswork... Barry Molefsky of A City Slicker takes on a story about the effects of a proposed tax increase that would fund Northern Virginia transportation improvements. After examining dueling statistics, Molefsky notes:

There are a lot of numbers being tossed around here. There are some inconsistencies. The Commonwealth says tax increase will generate $5 billion over 20 years. Economist Stephen Fuller says the tax increase raises $125 million a year. $125 million for 20 years equals $2.5 billion, not $5 billion. Are these figures adjusted for inflation? If not, does the government expect prices of taxed items to increase substantilly? Shouldn't the reporter have tried to reconcile the figures?

You got me! Some reporters are a bit innumerate, but up to a point I sympathize with this, near the top:

More difficult -- and sometimes more personal -- is the assessment of whether such a tax increase would discourage spending, or drive residents to leave Northern Virginia when it came time to make big purchases.




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1:45 PM

Study Finds Few Women at Top , a short file tucked away on E3:

When the University of Pennsylvania's Annenberg Public Policy Center first surveyed communications companies last year to determine the number of women in their top ranks, Susan Ness, a visiting professor who guided this year's study, hoped it would embarrass some into improving their record.

But when the most recent results were announced yesterday, Ness said it was clear that there had been "little or no" improvement: Women still account for less than 18 percent of board members at the largest companies and less than 23 percent of top executives


Wow--little or no improvement in some of the most prized positions after one whole year.

The story has the typical liberal line, saying it's all about glass ceilings and men hiring other men. Nothing to do with choices made by women to work less hours, drop out to bear and raise children, turn down career-building transfers that take you halfway across the country.

From an Independent Women's Forum report:

The effects on wages of decisions that affect seniority and turnover are particularly important to understand. The most obvious example is the decision to have children. Figure 2 shows the substantial difference in pay between mothers and childless women at age thirty. The figure also shows, however, that by 1991 the pay of childless women at that age had risen to 95 percent of male pay. [more recent studies put it at 98%-pw] Eighty percent of women bear children at some point in their lives, and a quarter of women work part-time, so a higher percentage of women’s time in their work years is spent away from work. Women, who are typically the primary caregivers for their children, consider the responsibilities of motherhood when making employment decisions, and many women choose jobs where flexibility is greater and salaries are lower. Given those choices, comparing the average wages of men and women is a misuse of statistics and a grossly misleading comparison....


Does a glass ceiling prevent American women from reaching the upper echelons of professions, simply because they are women? In 1995 the Glass Ceiling Commission released a report concluding that only 5 percent of senior managers at Fortune 1000 and Fortune 500 service companies were women and implied that systematic discrimination was the cause. Yet an assessment of the Glass Ceiling Commission’s methods raises questions about the 5 percent figure. Typical qualifications for senior management include both an MBA degree and twenty-five years of work experience. The logical sequence of questions the commission should ask would be, first, What percentage of women meets those requirements? and, second, Of that group of qualified women, what proportion has made it to the upper ranks of corporate America? By comparing the number of women qualified to hold top executive positions with the number actually in those positions, one could draw conclusions about the existence of a glass ceiling.

Those are not the questions the commission asked...



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10:27 AM

Black polticians complain of being "black politicians" in Confined by a Label That Once Empowered.

The story opens with Gregory Meeks, who ays ran on an all-business platform and then was let down when CEO's didn't beat down his door:

Thus Meeks discovered what an increasing number of his black colleagues are discovering: that the label "black leader," which empowered a generation of politicians in the civil rights era, has become confining to those who would expand on their achievements. A "black leader," they say, is unfairly perceived by nonblack Americans as narrowly focused on parochial issues, and this perception has created a glass ceiling for black officeholders who harbor credentials, interests and ambitions beyond those traditionally identified with the civil rights movement.

I didn't follow Rep. Meeks' campaign or anything else about him, so I don't know if this is a legitimate complaint. But this is rich:

" 'Black' is used not to describe us, but to define us, and therefore confine us," said Jesse Jackson, president of the Rainbow/PUSH Coalition in Chicago and the quintessential black leader in the minds of many Americans. "No one would call Orrin Hatch the white senator from Utah."

Well, Jesse, Hatch doesn't belong to the White Congressional Caucus and doesn't spend most of this time haraunging us on the basis of his race. Jackson and many if not most other national black leaders have defined themselves as black leaders. That's a box you built themselves, guys, aided and abetted in many cases by national media.
Maybe's there hope, though:

In two recent congressional primaries, Cynthia McKinney of Georgia and Earl F. Hilliard of Alabama, both Democratic incumbents with roots in the civil rights movement, were soundly defeated by, respectively, conservative and moderate African American Democrats with Ivy League degrees and overwhelming white support.
Their core constituents either voted against them or not at all, even though much of the black civil rights establishment campaigned to get out the vote.





(0) comments
Tuesday, August 27, 2002
 
11:27 PM

Oh great... From the Atlanta Journal Constitution:

No Progress in Georgia SAT Scores--State drops to 50th in rankings, ahead of only Washington, D.C



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11:20 PM

Speaking of Donna deVarona, I was nosing around the Atlanta Journal-Constitution website to see if there were any mention of the Title IX hearing--couldn't find anything--and stumbled across a discussion board there. Here's an excerpt--boldface emphasis mine:

The problem is not what Title IX does but how it is enforced. I have two daughters and a son and I want them to have every opportunity to do whatever they want to do, yet I don't want to any young man denied an opportunity because there are not enough young women interested in doing sports that he must sit out so that the ratio works out for the bean counters of the world.

It is absolutely amazing that a college can set up a varsity women's softball team where there can be 25 players but because only 15 women join the team then only the actual number of women on the team count toward the gender ratio instead of counting the total 25 spots that were available.

Studies have shown that the average women's track team needs to have 18 scholarships just to fill up the team, while the average men's track team only needs 12 scholarships to fill up the team. Obviously, men are just more interested in sports than women.

In fact, Donna De Varona, who is the Chairman of the United States Olympic Committee Government Relations Committee stated in an interview that most women will not go out for a sport unless they will start/play and not sit the bench. On the other hand, men are so passionate about sports that they will join a team and sit the bench and only participate as a practice player.

Title IX is a good law that has gone bad due to the way it is being enforced. It states that equality is for all, not just women. How would we view things if we applied this law to those areas dominated by women? Would we all still support it then. I bet a lot of people would change their tune if they had their daughters denied opportunities because there wasn't enough men in that area to satisfy the gender bean counters.

David M. Rodrigues



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3:20 PM

Title IX update... The first hearing of the Education Department's Title IX commission takes place today, in Atlanta. As has been pointed out to me, both the National Women's Law Center and the Women's Sports Foundation have posted messages on their websites saying the commission threatens women's opportunities and asking for help to fight it--and yet both those organizations have a representative on the commission. Who doesn't have that privilege? The College Sports Council, of course, which doesn't want to repeal Title IX but has filed suit to end the gender-quota now in effect, an outcome Title IX sponsors explicitly denied was their intent.

CORRECTION: The National Women's Law Center does not have a representative on the commission. Instead, the Women's Sports Foundation has two: Julie Foudy, President, and Donna deVarona, co-founder and board member. My bad.

This is from the Women's Sports Foundation:

After 30 years of affording girls and women the right to play, dream, sweat and excel, Title IX is being threatened by extremist politics.

This is from the National Women's Law Center:

Opponents of Title IX claim they are in favor of Title IX, but that its policies require “quotas” and hurt men’s teams. In reality, nothing in the law or the policies requires quotas, and neither the law nor the policies is the cause of the cutbacks to certain men’s teams. In fact, every court that has heard this argument has said that Title IX does not require quotas.

Courts have said that. But it is very plain that quotas are the result. Here's an op-ed from Iowa State head wrestling coach Bobby Douglas in the Atlanta Journal Constitution. I gather Douglas is one of those extremists the Women's Sports Foundation is talking about. Here he is:

There's going to be an unusual sports team touring the country this fall -- the new federal commission that will study Title IX, the gender athletics law. And if it does its job fairly, it will be hearing from some pretty upset folks in the bleachers. That's because the breadth of people who have been adversely affected, yes harmed, by the dubious enforcement of that law is much wider than you might think.

It includes tens of thousands of male student athletes who have had their teams eliminated to comply with the law's onerous "proportionality" quota. There are also moms such as Deborah Downy, whose son lost his team and scholarship when Bowling Green State University axed its track program. There are sisters, too, such as Brooke Brandon. Her brother's swimming team at the University of Nebraska had the diving board pulled out from under them. Brooke traveled to Washington last week to meet with her congressman and stick up for her brother....

It saddens me enormously that the chances are ever-decreasing that a determined African-American or Latino boy from the projects will be able to use a sport such as wrestling to elevate himself and return to his community to help lift others. For my sport, like many others, that decrease has been steep -- from nearly 800 programs 20 years ago to fewer than 300 today and falling.

And as a coach who uses a spreadsheet, I can tell you that budget crunches don't explain it all. Non-scholarship athletes and walk-ons are a negligible cost and yet they are shut out by gender caps at virtually every school....


That's an important part of the problem, by the way. If schools don't meet the quota--the polite word is proportionality--they can't even accept non-scholarship male walk-ons, even if there are unfilled women's slots on other teams. Remember, that's what happened at Brown several years ago. There were around 90 unfilled slots on women's teams, and the school still was forced by the government to cut men's teams under its interpretation of Title IX. Why? Because the quota that matters isn't the number of opportunities you offer, but how many female athletes actually participate. This means the size of men's rosters is held hostage to whether or not the school has a lot of female athletes. It has nothing to do with whether those women want to be athletes.

In 1984, George Orwell wrote about the total corruption of language in an oppressive world.
Hate = Love, War = Peace. He called it Newspeak, and it wasn't a compliment. Newspeak is the language of the National Women's Law Center and the Women's Sports Foundation.



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10:05 AM

Tribunals for thee but not for me.... A story today about news organizations fighting an international tribunal's effort to force a reporter to testify got me thinking about the Post's stance on these courts and whether we can discern any consistent principle. I can't.

Back on July 2, the Post ran this editorial that gave qualified support to the International Criminal Court, a Euro-inspired supranational chamber that supposedly can indict anyone on the planet for war crimes. It's actually a confused editorial--more confused than I think I gave it credit for at the time--saying at one point that the Bush Administration should make clear that the court's pursuit of American military personnel would be intolerable, then give it a chance to prove whether it can become a useful part of the international system. I think it's a bad idea, but if you believe in the ICC and then wall off the American military from it, you're not accomplishing anything.

However.

The editorial eventually says This, however, is not the policy of the Bush administration. Rather than simply emphasizing U.S. concerns about the court, it seems determined to undermine it from the start -- before waiting to see whether the hypothetical dangers turn out to be real.

Meanwhile the Post is fighting the real dangers of a Yugoslav war-crimes court, as recounted today in an AP story on A12: More News Organizations Join Appeal to Court

THE HAGUE, Aug. 26 -- International news organizations have joined The Washington Post in contesting a decision by the Yugoslav war crimes tribunal requiring a retired reporter to testify before it.

A brief submitted to the court on behalf of 34 organizations on Aug. 17 and released today seeks to protect journalists reporting in war zones from subpoenas..

The media groups urged the tribunal "to recognize a qualified privilege for journalists not to be compelled to testify about their news gathering before this court unless certain conditions are met -- namely that the information is absolutely essential to the case and that it cannot be obtained by any other means."

The groups -- including CNN, the Associated Press, the New York Times and the BBC -- asked a five-member appeals panel to reconsider a subpoena issued by a lower unit of the court for former Washington Post correspondent Jonathan C. Randal....


Note these names--particularly the Post, NYT, BBC, CNN--the next time you see them preaching about the glories of the ICC.

And on the same page today, we have U.S. Presses Allies on War Crimes Court, with two columns running the length of the page to give everybody a chance to bash the U.S. in amazement over its resistance to the ICC.



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9:35 AM

Diet wars.... much more fun than the real thing. Today's What If The Big Fat Story Is Wrong takes on Gary Taubes' New York Times story touting the Atkins low-carb diet (the Post story online uses the inside hed as the leader; it's the equally insipid Experts Declare Story Low on Saturated Facts The headline writers must be bored out of their minds).

You remember What if its' all been a big fat lie, right? Eat steaks, eat eggs, eat bacon, sausage--but also eat chicken and fish. Which is one reason the Post illustration is amusing. They have a small photo of the NYT magazine cover, a sinful steak with butter drooling on top. The Post contrasts this with its own photo of a nice cut of fish. Which is also in the Atkins diet, but never mind.

Actually, the Post story isn't so bad. It takes on many of Taubes' claims one by one, including counter-rebuttals by Taubes. I'm not going to address them. Because I put myself on an Atkins-type diet and have lost six or seven pounds in about two months. I'm not a big guy but I was getting a little pudgy, so for me that's a lot. So I don't care when one of the sidebars says "Calories still count. Sorry, but there's no magic forumula that lets you eat more and lose weight Sorry, but I eat all I want now and I've lost weight. But it is a diet--I eat all I want but not everything I want. Goodbye potatoes, pasta, and some other great comfort foods. When I do go back to them, two things happen: I feel weighted down and lethargic, just like I used to, and I gain weight.

Do it at your own risk, though. Critics of the diet say it can screw up your kidneys. Defenders say the critics are confusing two different chemical processes that have similar spellings. Read the Taubes article above if you're interested. Writer and political commentator Norah Vincent, who sided with Andrew Sullivan in that recent public debate with Richard Goldstein over gay politics, now has a blog and one of the hottest topics there is the diet, which she's on.




(0) comments
Monday, August 26, 2002
 
11:04 PM

More fun facts on the Washington Post's ignoring of the College Sports Council and its associated lawsuit seeking to overturn the quota-driven regulatory interpretation of Title IX. My contact there sent me one long list of woe after I asked about their record, and I'm occasionally printing excerpts.

•Number of op-ed pieces submitted by our coaches on Title IX: 2
•Number they published: 0
•Percentage of other national papers (including USAToday, WSJ and LATimes) who have published op-eds we submitted after giving the Post first crack: 100
•Number of opinion columns the Post published by in-house scribes either trashing the coaches [filing the suit] or extolling the virtues of Title IX: 3
• Number of phone calls or emails to Post editorial hoping to give them advance notice of events in the legal case and to request time to provide our perspective: 8
•Number of return calls or email replies we received: 0


Not running Op-Eds is No Big Thing by itself; the Post must be swimming in them. But just blowing off a key player in a national drama is a little strange.



(0) comments  
10:44 PM

Chronologically impaired... PostWatch reader Nathan Carter Wood recently noticed this post on a discussion board, revealing yet another amazing historical discovery that will only add to the excitement of a recent Post report that humans didn't till the soil until the early 1800s. From an Aug. 22 story titled Back to Square One at Barney Circle:

The D.C. government has stalled plans to build a memorial at Barney Circle in Southeast Washington, frustrating the monument's originator and benefactor.

"It completely caught us by surprise," says Rodney Cook Jr., the Atlanta-based architect whose nonprofit American Urban Design Foundation proposed the $50 million "Millennium Memorial" at Barney Circle to commemorate U.S. contributions to the last 1,000 years.


My god, man, after the last 1,000 years of U.S. contributions, you'd think they could have figured out how to till soil before the frickin' 1800s.



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6:41 PM

MediaMinded visitors... First, thanks to that blog for sending you here. And I really should send you a link to the YACCS comments system, which is very reliable and could replace the one you just junked.

Secondly, Blogger has been acting up again and for some of you, the reparations-related post that MediaMinded noted was not here for awhile--Blogger has been just plain weird the last few days as they start doing some upgrades. But it should once again be on this page. Scroll down to Neo-Nazis demonstrating in Washington, one of my Sunday posts.

UPDATE: To save us all a lot of headaches, Kimberly Swygert of No. 2 Pencil notes in my YACCS-driven comments system that YACCS is not accepting new subscribers. That might be true irony.



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6:13 PM

Eleven Day Empire links to some amazing worse-than-I-thought facts about the recent reparations march in D.C. He points to Cut on the Bias and The View from the Core, which discuss this Pittsburgh Tribune-Review story. Here's a quote from the story as excerpted by11-Day.

Key event organizers -- Viola Plummer, Yvette Kelley, Coltrane Chimurenga and Roger Wareham -- have worked together for years. They were convicted 17 years ago on charges related to plotting a jailbreak in New York for two members of the Black Liberation Army who had been convicted of murdering a Brinks guard and two police officers in a $1.6 million robbery. It is well worth remembering that last year, Chimurenga and Jimmy Carter's Cabinet member, Andrew Young, became the paid lobbyists for Robert Mugabe, Zimbabwe's ferociously anti-white dictator.

It's a pity the mighty Washington Post didn't do a little legwork on this, but as I've said earlier this week and elsewhere, they were too busy portraying the demo in the most benign way possible.



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5:59 PM

A very worked-up Eric Boehlert of Salon.com apparently thinks that Anne Coulter actually wishes that Timothy McVeigh had blown up the New York Times Building. From MediaNews.org's letters:

From ERIC BOEHLERT: Lord knows enough ink has already been spilled over Ann Coulter, but do conservatives now have to run around, cleaning up after her hateful quotes with apologetic 'She didn't really mean that' asides? For instance, on today's Wall Street Journal Op-Ed page Melik Kaylan wonders why somebody would think Coulter wishes any real harm to the New York Times. Probably because Coulter recently told a reporter she wished Timothy McVeigh had blown up the New York Times building. (Kaylan conveniently left out the specifics.) Where exactly is the confusion? It's all a joke, insists Coulter's apologist. Than why didn't Coulter tell the reporter it was a joke when he pressed her on it? Funny, last time I checked conservative preached from the sermon that words have meaning. Guess now they're busy carving out a caveat for best-selling authors who spew hate against liberals.

Oh geez. Some people marvel at Coulter's fireworks, and there's no question she sets off more than I would. But one of the reasons she does, aside from the publicity, is that for many years liberals have been getting away with inanities like this. Evidently this is not intended as parody--Boehlert is incensed because Coulter wants explosives to destroy a newspaper's office and everyone in it.




(0) comments  
12:10 PM

Note to Eleven Day Empire... Jonathan Yardley has had enough of baseball for some time now, as he explains in Take Your Ball and Go Home:

How could anyone possibly care if all parties to this farce decide to take their toys out of the playpen and sulk in the corner? Yes, there are ordinary people whose lives depend on the crumbs that baseball so casually lets fall -- hot dog vendors, parking lot attendants, ushers, souvenir merchants, bartenders -- and it is a pity indeed that they will be the innocent victims of baseball's latest soap operetta. But that doesn't alter the essential truth, which is that it is a dispute between people who don't matter over a game that doesn't matter....

And as recently as five years ago, he used to be a stalwart O's fan, attending 50 games a year. Not too many of those guys left, including him.



(0) comments  
10:13 AM

History lesson... I'm looking with a jaundiced eye anyway at On Farms, a No-Till Tactic on Global Warming which has the usual assumption that human activity is a decisive contributor to global warming, if indeed global warming is happening to any significant degree. Significant degree! Get it!

Sorry. As I was about to say, I'm having a hard time believing this:

The practice of tilling, which was started with wooden plows in the early 1800s and is carried out with high-tech plowing machinery today, vastly hastens decomposition, because it turns over and aerates the soil, stimulating microbial activity.

Mankind didn't start tilling the soil until the early 1800s?

Can't be true.

You know, in the early days of the Republic (our Republic), George Washington was known as our own Cincinnatus. Here's a random web page that 'splains it:

Cincinnatus, one of the heroes of Livy's account of Rome's early history was the paradigm. A patrician whose son had opposed reforms the plebeians sought, he was forced to sell his vast estates to pay a fine levied against his son. Cincinnatus retired to a small farm. There, ploughing his fields like a good agricola, he was
found some months later by a delegation of Senators who announced to him that the Romans had elected him dictator to defend the state against the onslaught of the pesky, neighboring Aequi, who had managed to trap the Roman consul and his army that had been sent against them. Cincinnatus left the plow, got his sword, rescued
the army, and retired from his dictatorship within 16 days (although under the constitution he was entitled to keep the office for 6 months). Cincinnatus then went home, put down his sword, and went back to ploughing his fields. [The topic was a popular among European painters on classical themes - version 1, version 2.]


Version one shows Cincinnatus with a shovel. Version two shows him with a plow. Of wood.

I told you guys it was better to study history than journalism.




(0) comments
Sunday, August 25, 2002
 
10:21 PM

Dana Milbank Has A Big Problem....Why is Washington Post reporter Dana Milbank saying Al Gore is "sanctimonious" and thinks he's "better than us"---"gives a sense" that he's "better than us as reporters?" I'm frankly amazed a working reporter would talk like this. Here's an excerpt from the transcript at Howard Kurtz's CNN program, Reliable Sources:

DANA MILBANK, "THE WASHINGTON POST": Al Gore has a big problem. The problem is one day he's going to say something that he believes to his corps and it's going to be completely honest and we're going to say, oh, that big phony, he just thought that up last night. And Joe Lieberman has the opposite situation. He could be full of baloney, but everybody's going to take him to be sort of the honest guy, saying it as it is. So when the two of them fight together, you just know what side the press is going to be on.

Josh Marshall of Talking Points Memo (in the coming-up-roses department) then says that "deep down," reporters have "contempt" for Gore. This is the stuff that blogs are made of. But Dana Milbank is the Washington Post's White House correspondent. Though unlikely, it's conceivable he could be covering President Gore someday. So what's going on here?:

MILBANK: You know what it is, Howie, I -- and I think that Gore is sanctimonious and that's sort of the worst thing you can be in the eyes of the press. And he has been disliked all along and it was because he gives a sense that he's better than us - he's better than everybody, for that matter, but the sense that he's better than us as reporters.

What the %&!!@#!??

I wouldn't have known of this but for the Letters section at MediaNews.org:

From CHARLES PIERCE: Once, a long time ago, some Boston sportswriters helped to deprive Ted Williams of several shiny trophies by leaving him off their ballots out of personal spite. It should be noted that these people are now reckoned to be historic embarrassments. Yet, there's Mr. Milbank, right there at the pinnacle of American political journalism, admitting to Mr. Kurtz that the coverage of what only was the election of the President of the United States was corrupted root-and-branch by a petty, pre-adolescent animus toward one of the candidates. ("He thinks he's SO WICKED SMART. We'll get him at recess.") And Mr. Kurtz sits there and nods like a ceramic dog in the back window of a car.... Pardon me if I believe that the whole craft has gone out of its mind.




(0) comments  
8:47 PM

Bias by Bernard Goldberg makes the point that major media typically labels right-wingers and conservatives as such, but doesn't call a liberal a liberal. OmbudsGod backs an Orlando Sentinel ombudsman's column that says it's better to toss the labels altogether.





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11:38 AM

Neo-Nazis demonstrating in Washington got the same Metro slot that last week's reparations demo did, but there is one important difference. The Post covered up the anti-white racism of the reparations rally, but reports on the white separatist and anti-Semitic views of the wannabe Aryans in all their disfigured glory.

Now, at the moment, the Post search function is blanking out. I'll post the link a little later. But the headline to today's C8 story is Separatists Decry Israel, U.S. Immigration and here's the lede:

Hundreds of neo-Nazis and white separatists marched on the U.S. Capitol yesterday to protest American support of Israel, chanting "What do we want? Jews out! When do we want it? Now! and trading hostile words with an equal number of counter-demonstrators.

A variety of white supremacist groups...carried giant Nazi flags and frequently pumped their arms in the air yelling, "Sieg Heil!" as they marched in hazy, humid weather from Union Station to the West Laws of the Capitol. They complained about non-European immigration to the United States, shredded an Israeli flag and chanted slogans in support of Palestinian independence."


UPDATE: Here's the link.

There's also this quote at the end from 25-year-old Lisa Gomez:

"As a person of color, I get pretty frightened," she said as they separatists rallied nearby. "for some reason, these people don't' like me because of the way I was born."

Fight the power, Lisa, I know how you feel, though for some reason the Post didn't report on things like the Kill Whitey T-Shirts being sold at the reparations march.

The Washington Times also did what I expected it to do, which was to cover the neo-moron-Nazi's hatred just as they did the reparationists'.

The Post's reparations story was by Chris L. Jenkins and Hamil R. Harris. Today's neo-clueless-Nazi story was by Justin Blum. But it's supposed to be one newspaper with one standard of balanced coverage.

Blogger Note: Sorry this post is repeated. Every once in awhile blogger converts a publishing command into a truncated, uneditable post, which is what you see below.



(0) comments  
11:26 AM

Neo-Nazis demonstrating in Washington got the same Metro slot that last week's reparations demo did, but there is one important difference. The Post covered up the anti-white racism of the reparations rally, but reports on the white separatist and anti-Semitic views of the wannabe Aryans in all their disfigured glory.

Now, at the moment, the Post search function is blanking out. I'll post the link a little later. But the headline to today's C8 story is Separatists Decry Israel, U.S. Immigration and here's the lede:

Hundreds of neo-Nazis and white separatists marched on the U.S. Capitol yesterday to protest American support of Israel, chanting "What do we want? Jews out! When do we want it? Now! and trading hostile words with an equal number of counter-demonstrators.

A variety of white supremacist groups...carried giant Nazi flags and frequently pumped their arms in the air yelling, "Sieg Heil!" as they marched in hazy, humid weather from Union Station to the West Laws of the Capitol. They complained about non-European immigration to the United States, shredded an Israeli flag and chanted slogans in support of Palestinian independence."


There's also this quote at the end from 25-year-old Lisa Gomez:

"As a person of color, I get pretty frightened," she said as they separatists rallied nearby. "for some reason, these people don't' like me because of the way I was born."

Fight the power, Lisa, I know how you feel, though for some reason the Post didn't report on things like the Kill Whitey T-Shirts being sold at the reparations march.

The Washington Times also did what I expected it to do, which was to cover the


(0) comments  
10:32 AM

Things that make you go hmmmm... I can't have been the only person to point out that earlier Post stories on intelligence leaks were ignoring the distinction between vague reports soon after the attacks and specific language later broken by CNN and corroborated by the Post and other publications.

But I sure don't know who else did.

In any case, the Post finally has reported accurately on who said what, when, though it's buried in a passing reference and does not acknowledge its earlier error. Here it is, in a Saturday story about the intensifying FBI investigation about those leaks:

Some officials generally involved in the probe believe that quashing the release of information to the public about embarrassing or sensitive information related to the Sept. 11 attacks was exactly what the administration intended when it sent Vice President Cheney to chastise committee members for unauthorized leaks that end up in news reports. Others say that although references to the intercepts had been in print before, the specific words in messages, which might be code words, were never released. Those code words, U.S. intelligence officials said, could well have tipped off the individuals targeted and dried up a source of valuable information.

You got that right, Dana Priest! At least now!

Priest, and the Post, has gradually moved toward the truth. Here's the intial error Aug. 2:

The Washington Times first reported the intercepts and the delay in translating them 11 days after the September attacks. Several news organizations published or broadcast similar stories in early June. But it was not until a June 19 CNN report that cited "two congressional sources," and June 20 reports in other major newspapers, including The Washington Post, that Cheney called Goss and Graham

That's wrong on the facts, and wrong in a way that makes it sound as if Cheny was using the leaks, which according to this mistaken account were old news, as a pretext to muzzle congressional criticism.

Here's what the Post published the next day--I don't have a record as to whether it was Priest, because the link isn't working, but whoever it is was getting warmer:

The leaked information, parts of which had been reported in The Washington Times in late September 2001 and then again by other news outlets in mid-June, contained snippets of conversation intercepted by the NSA on Sept. 10 in which people, speaking in Arabic, said "the match is about to begin" and "Tomorrow is zero hour." [sourced from my Aug. 4 blog]

Here' what he reports yesterday (this graf directly follows the first one italicized above):

On June 19, CNN reported the contents of two messages based on NSA intercepts. The Arabic-language messages said, "The match is about to begin," and "Tomorrow is zero hour." Other news outlets, including The Washington Post, also reported on the intercepts.

So there's no more blaming the Washington Times for leaking the same, much more damaging info, which they didn't.



(0) comments
Saturday, August 24, 2002
 
1:49 PM

Quick Clarification Department: My College Sports Council contact got an email from former Howard University wrestling coach Paul Cotton, who points out that the Washington Post did file a story way back in 1997 on Title IX issues there. PostWatch just ran CSC's rundown on the Post's ignoring the Title IX elimination last May of men's baseball and wrestling, and as far as I can see that's still valid. But the Post did report early, once, on Title IX at Howard--and by doing so may have aided the men's teams demise by shining a spotlight there. But as my College Sports Council correspondent notes,

What goes unreported in this piece is that women at Howard aren't interested in lacrosse, softball and bowling. Despite heavy promotion on campus and generous scholarships, I am told, the school has been unable to even fill rosters for those teams. In the eyes of the feminists that isn't simply disinterest -- it is manifest evidence of discrimination! That, of course, left the school with no choice but to cut men's teams in order to reach compliance. Not one additional opportunity for women has been created due to the elimination of the men's teams but, hey, the quota numbers look a lot better!

That's what happened in the landmark Brown University case, by the way, detailed by you know who. Brown was found to be discrimnating against women under Title IX even though there were more than 90 unfilled women's slots in a variety of women's sports there. Men's teams were cut anyway. This continues to be a problems, partly because women varsity athletes generally are not as willing as men to sit on the bench.

Here's most of the 1997 Post story. I'll pull it if anyone at the Post feels this is infringing copyright--if they even know I exist--since this is pushing fair use. But I did want to fill out the record.

By Karl Hente
Washington Post Staff Writer
Sunday, April 27, 1997

Howard officials are considering an athletic department proposal to add women's lacrosse, softball and bowling for the 1997-98 school year in an attempt to close the gap between the percentage of female undergraduates at the school and the number of female athletes.

According to a study by the Chronicle of Higher Education, women made up 62 percent of Howard's undergraduates during the 1995-96 school year, but 31percent of its athletes-one of the worst ratios in the nation. Sondra Norrell-Thomas, Howard's senior women's athletics administrator, said the university intends to add women's teams and scholarships until equity is achieved.

"Gender equity and Title IX are the right thing to do," Howard Athletic Director Hank Ford said in a recent interview. "It's not a situation where you say, 'Do you?' It's the law, and we're trying to comply."

The quest for equity in women's athletics is being undertaken at a school that has a Division I-AA football program, which is allowed 65 scholarships under NCAA rules. (Division I-A schools are allowed 85 scholarships). There is no women's sport offering a comparable number of scholarships at the school, so additional women's scholarships in a number of sports may be required to reach equity.

Norrell-Thomas said recently that Howard would have to find funding for additional women's scholarships, along with salaries for coaches' salaries and start-up costs. She said she hoped some of the money would come from the school's general fund.

Howard currently has men's teams participating in football, basketball, baseball, soccer, wrestling, track and field and swimming. Its women's teams are basketball, volleyball, soccer, tennis, track and field and swimming...



(0) comments  
12:50 PM

Torture and Death = Being Imprisoned... This is why I don't read Colbert King, who in today's column faults the State Department for daring to criticize a Nigerian sharia court sentencing a woman to death by stoning when, at the very same time, the U.S. refuses to release two accused terrorists.

King accurately describes the Nigerian case, as far as I understand it:

...the State Department is worried about Lawal, the 30-year-old mother of an 8-month-old girl. It's incredible, but she has been sentenced to an especially gruesome death in northern Nigeria for having had sex and a child outside marriage. To carry out the order, handed down last March by a Nigerian Islamic court under the Muslim sharia law, Lawal will be buried in sand up to her neck. Once that cruel task is completed, her executioners will round out the barbarism by slamming rocks onto her head until she is dead. Under sharia, as practiced in northern Nigeria, adult consensual sex by a single mother is considered adultery -- a capital crime. Now, it matters not that Lawal has been divorced for more than two years. It's enough that she was once married, according to the sharia court. As for the man identified as the infant's father? He's free as a bird, having denied paternity. Lawal lacked evidence to prove otherwise.

King notes that the woman still has some chance for appeal. That's nice, but it's not what State is protesting.

Back in the U.S. of A, King continues:

As you read this, one American and one likely American are being held by our government in solitary confinement, with no charges pending against them. They have been forbidden to talk to a lawyer and have been given no chance to confront or rebut the accusations cited as the reasons for their indefinite detention. Their government has declared them to be "enemy combatants." That apparently is sufficient in the government's mind to warrant suspension of their constitutional rights. And the enemy combatant designation, unlike the Nigerian sharia court's ruling, is beyond judicial review.

This is simply ignorant. The Hamdi case continues and the presiding judge has chastised the U.S. for its methods and inadequate arguments for keeping Hamdi incommunicado. I'm not up to date on the Padilla case, but there's a difference between being alarmed about executive declarations identifying somebody as an enemy combatant (I'm alarmed) and imposing a resurgent medieval version of Islam that intends to bury a woman in sand and stone her to death.


UPDATE: Eleven Day Empire is not amused either. He also refreshes our memory on the origins of the Hamdi case, which makes King's comparison to that of the Nigerian woman even more ridiculous:

Well, he was captured in Afghanistan while fighting against our troops. That pretty much by definition makes him an enemy combatant, doesn't it?




(0) comments  
9:40 AM

OmbudsGod thinks that firing the shock jocks Opie and Anthony has made them First Amendment Martyrs and is an abridgment of free speech. I read OmbudsGod all the time and will continue to do so and recommend everybody else read it. It's a fine blog. But we're just not going to see eye-to-eye on this one. OmbudsGod avoids the fact that this was not just speech but aiding and abetting a crime. It is illegal to have sex in, let's say for example, St. Patrick's Cathedral. Parishoners and all Catholics and all respectful people everywhere have every right to be outraged and seek redress from the government, which is the people's custodian of a limited public resource, in this case the FM airwaves--hardly a bountiful commodity in New York City, the home of WNEW, and other major markets where they were syndicated, including Washington. The charming shock jocks, by the way, were fired from another station in 1998 for broadcasting that Boston's mayor had died in a car crash, as an April's Fools joke. Opie and Anthony can be martyrs only to cruelty.

When OmbudsGod asks rhetorically "What caused all the fuss," I fear he doesn't quite sense what a wound this is to everyday Catholics, who have no need of further calamities that are not their fault.

I also don't know why OmbudsGod believes this was "simulated sex." This WCBS News Radio 880 story notes that the execrable woman involved was found naked from the waist down.

Daniel Patrick Moynihan called this Defining Deviancy Down.

This is not about regulating what you see and hear, even though the most staunch First Amendment lawyers agree there are limits even on "mere" speech. But this case is about regulating what you do.

Best to all and be of good cheer.



(0) comments
Friday, August 23, 2002
 
10:56 PM

Don't Tell Mom I Own A Gun; She Just Thinks I'm Gay... That's the hilarious and too true headline in a short sidebar in the current issue of America's First Freedom, an NRA magazine. I don't believe it's online and at 10:46 on a frickin' Friday night I'm not about to find out. But the following sounds right and true and, to the extent it reflects on the gun-totin' community, good:

A gay gun-rights group known as the Pink Pistols is gaining membership nationwide, hoping to thwart those who would attack them based on their sexual preference. Interestingly, group members are finding they are being discriminated against a lot more because of their belief in the Second Amendment than for their sexual preference.

"I know of absolutely no conservatives who have attacked us," says Washington lobbyist and group member Austin Fulk. 'I've gotten more grief from gay people for owning guns and supporting the Second Amendment than I ever have from gun owners for being gay."

In fact, it is groups like the National Gay and Lesbian Task Force that wish to get in the way of the Pink Pistols' civil rights, and deny them the means to self defense. "We are not going to settle our scores as a community by having a shoot-out at the OK Corral," The Task Force's Sue Hyde said recently.


But Pink Pistols member Doug Krick doesn't need no stinking National Gay and Lesbian Task Force. His retort:

As the saying goes, "God made all men, but Colt made all men equal."



(0) comments  
2:03 PM

It's worse than I thought.... Yesterday I blogged about the Post's Blue State editorial that basically described critics of the UNC Koran teach-in as yahoos. A fascinating column filed by David Horowitz at FrontPageMag.com fills in the blanks.

The point of Horowitz's column is how he and his arguments were edited into near oblivion after a taped appearance for Ted Koppel's Nightline. Read the entire piece for that but with a stiff drink or a long smoke. For my purposes, I excerpt his observations about the climate at UNC and the history of those involved in this supposed exercise in tolerance.

I had no objections myself to the inclusion of the Koran as a college reading. My objection was to the fact that this assignment was not part of an academic agenda but was a political agenda of the leftwing administration and faculty at UNC who shared with others on the American left the desire to paint our enemies in the best light and us in the worst...

Statements I made in my opening remarks which you did not see, included the fact that there had been two anti-American demonstrations led by leftist professors at UNC right after 9/11. That there had been a pro-American demonstration but with no professors leading it because there were no conservative professors at UNC or professors willing to stick their necks out by supporting America. ...

At other points in the conversation which got lost on the cutting room floor, I pointed out that I had been to UNC to speak and that it was a highly intolerant institution, which is why there were so few professors to challenge the left wing line. This directly contradicted Koppel's message, which was that UNC was the very model of tolerance, and was merely attempting to introduce students to unpopular or under-represented texts like the Koran. I also pointed out that UNC's chancellor, James Moeser, whom Koppel's opening "report" from the campus portrayed as the very model of a liberal open-minded academic, was in fact a leftwinger who had personally attacked me when my ad on reparations appeared in the UNC paper the "Daily Tar Heel" and campus radicals attempted to shut the paper down. Under Moeser's guidance, I pointed out, UNC was involved in business and educational deals with the government of Qatar, the same government that controls the jihad propaganda station Al Jezeera TV. All this crucial background, as I have said, wound up on the cutting room floor....

In other segments of the Koppel "interview" I elaborated the leftwing bias and agendas of schools like the University of North Carolina. At UNC there were ten liberal Democrat professors for every Republican and -- in a state which George Bush won by a landslide -- all of the last 10 commencement speakers at the university were Democrats and leftists. Koppel's response was that UNC was a state school and if this were really the case the state legislature which controls its purse strings would fix that soon enough."Oh no it wouldn't," I replied. "Because you would do a show portraying those legislators as launching an attack on academic freedom, and they would be toast."...


Koppel dismisses that notion, but Horowitz is on the mark. Here's one line from the Post editorial:

North Carolina legislators, meanwhile, have threatened to cut state funding for the program.

The Post for some reason thinks this is a bad idea.



(0) comments  
1:44 PM

I got my answer about Post coverage of Howard University's termination of baseball and wrestling from my contact at the College Sports Council. He sent me a truly amazing running count of numerous Title IX developments and their related coverage in the Post. I blogged yesterday about this being reported in the Washington City Paper. The cuts took play in May.

I may add others later but this "Harper's Index style" summary of the Post's record will do for now:

•Coverage on Howard cutting baseball and wrestling for Title IX: 0

•Grafs of wire copy parroting Howard athletic department press release: 4

•Number of times Title IX was mentioned in that buried clip: 0

•Amount of legwork (expressed in terms of steps taken beyond 15th street)
put in to discover whether Howard administrators were telling the truth or
to examine the impact on local athletes losing scholarships due to a
national trend being contested in a federal court in Washington: 0

•Number of editorials noting the loss of these decades-old local teams: 0

•Number of column inches devoted to this local tragedy from Wilbon, Milloy,
Kornheiser, Britt and King, combined: 0



(0) comments  
1:35 PM

Instapundit has been posting a number of updates on L'Affaire Belleisles, as has NRO's Melissa Seckora, who I believe was the first to report that Emory University was going to say something about their investigation. Here's a full news report from The Washington Times

"Professor Michael Bellesiles will be on paid leave from his teaching duties at Emory University during the fall semester," the university said in a statement released yesterday....

The university's six-month investigation "is continuing," the statement said. "Professor Bellesiles and the university have agreed that the results of the university's inquiry will be made public when the inquiry is completed." Members of the Emory history department had expected to hear an announcement about Mr. Bellesiles' tenure today, Melissa Seckora of National Review reported yesterday on that magazine's Web site (nationalreview.com)....


More details in the story. Instapundit and others have been puzzled about what to make of it, but an Insta reader today says the university has screwed up other dismissals and they may just be trying to come up with a face-saving way to buy him off.



(0) comments  
8:50 AM

E.J. Dionne follows the conventional wisdom bandwagon and casts Cynthia McKinney and Bob Barr as two peas in a pod. His Op-Ed is titled Georgia's Preference for Problem-Solvers:

Reps. Bob Barr, a Republican, and Cynthia McKinney, a Democrat, both shared an affection for the outlandish statement. They measured political courage by the piles of news clips and the miles of videotape that being out there -- really out there -- produced.

They were defeated, respectively, by Rep. John Linder, a white conservative Republican, and Denise Majette, a moderate African American Democrat and former state judge. Linder and Majette had one important thing in common: They figured voters prefer candidates who speak softly and solve problems.


Let's see. McKinney apologized to that Saudi Prince for Rudy Giuliani's bad manners in rejecting a 9-11 "gift" that blamed America for the terrorist attack and tried to get the tainted money for her own district. She suggested that President Bush knew about the attacks beforehand. Let me say that again, because Dionne apparently doesn't think it amounts to much: McKinney thought Bush knew that terrorists were going to hijack aircraft, murder passengers on board and turn the World Trade Center and the Pentagon into human incinerators, and that Bush did nothing to prevent it. Meanwhile, she ran a campaign under a cloud of anti-Semitism.

Bob Barr, as aggravating as he could be, is chided by Dionne for fixating on President Clinton. Barr was the first to call for Clinton's impeachment in the Monica Lewinsky episode, which if it happened to any middle-manager in the rest of America would automatically get you fired and your company sued for creating a hostile work environment for other women. You would not be defended by sophisticated Washington Post columnists.

But McKinney=Barr and Barr=McKinney.

The fact that Dionne briefly acknowledges Barr's record on civil liberties and still makes this comparison just makes it worse.

A reminder from a Washington Times story about why Barr will be missed:

Mr. Barr has been widely viewed as a rigid partisan, a law-and-order "lock 'em up and throw away the keys" conservative. He was the first lawmaker to call for President Clinton's impeachment over the Monica Lewinsky scandal.
But those who know him see him as a fierce civil libertarian who repeatedly put principle over party and allied himself with liberal Democrats if he thought the cause was just. "Bob Barr understands that too much government is a threat to your liberties, whether it's welfare dependency or the FBI peeking in your window or your bank account," said Mr. Norquist.
Among his proudest achievements, Mr. Barr said, was allying with Mr. Armey in fighting moves by the Clinton and Bush administrations to create a national identification card....

He also was among the few lawmakers who went out of their way to draw public attention to government attempts "to put security cameras all over the place." Mr. Barr was allied with Democrat Rep. Jerrold Nadler of New York in opposing civil-rights abuses in major anti-terrorism bills in the Clinton administration in 1996 and then in the Bush administration last fall


There are not many guys in Congress who focus on this stuff. But Republican, Democrat, Greenie or whatever, you can thank Barr for not yet having been coded and filed in a central government database. Yet.




(0) comments
Thursday, August 22, 2002
 
10:52 PM

Crooooow Blog (permalinked) notes that the moronic shock-jocks who incited listeners to break the law and broadcast a live sex act in St. Patrick's Cathedral have been fired by WNEW. Goodbye and good riddance. Sometimes the system works. From News Radio 88:

Westwood One, Opie and Anthony's syndicator has also cancelled the program. The program aired on 18 stations across the country.

Also on Thursday, the top U.S. communications regulator ordered an investigation into complaints that the shock jocks allegedly broadcast a live, eyewitness account of a couple having sex in St. Patrick's Cathedral. This report lead to today's cancellation.

A Virginia couple was arrested Aug. 15 after allegedly having sex in a vestibule just a few feet from worshippers in the landmark Manhattan church. The encounter was described as it happened during the "Opie and Anthony" show, WNEW-FM's popular afternoon drive-time program.





(0) comments  
10:13 PM

Title IX updates... there are some developments brewing on the Title IX front, but I think the one I'll settle for tonight is my unexpected discovery that the Washington City Paper noticed Howard University lost male teams thanks to it. It's a passing reference and includes misinformation, but hey.

It's in a column called Cheap Seats; last week's version is still up but this is what you have in the Aug. 23 issue:

What [Howard student/player David] Durand thinks he should have seen coming was his alma mater's decision to kill off the baseball program, which was announced in late May by Athletic Director Sondra Norrell-Thoas. At the time, the AD said baseball got the ax because "we lack facilities to support' a team (The wrestling program was cut at the some time, for the same reason). The announcement was made after the spring semester had ended, so most players had already gone to their hometowns for the summer break. That meant that the players hurt by the ruling weren't available to publicly protest it. The timing also guaranteed that the affected underclassmen wouldn't have time to find a new school to play for next season.

Those orphaned by Norrell-Thomas's decision aren't buying her rationale. "That makes no sense at all," Says Brad Burris, an outfielder and rising senior from Hammond, La.

Durand, an accounting major who last season played "everything but first base and catcher" for the team, thinks he knows what was really behind the move.

"This is about Title IX," he says, referring to the 1972 federal act that compels colleges to spend equally on male and female athletics.


Of course, the the law requires no such thing. In short, as our old friend Jessica Gavora of Tilting the Playing Field has documented, the law states simply:

No person in the United States shall, on the basis of sex, be excluded from participation in, be denied the benefits of, or be subjected to discrimination under any education program or activity receiving Federal financial assistance.

In the context of sports, this was supposed to mean that a school should provide athletic opportunities generally in proportion to the interest shown by students of both genders. It was explicitly not intended to turn sports into a feminist utopia in which lower female interest was proof of discrimination, which is what has happened, despite this very explicit language inserted into the law to prevent the very quotas that have come to pass. The following is from Title IX:

nothing [in the law] shall be interpreted to require any educational institution to grant preferential or disparate treatment to the members of one sex, on account of an imbalance which may exist with respect to the total number or percentage of persons of that sex participating in or receiving the benefits of any federally supported program or activity, in comparison with the total number or percentage of persons of that sex in any community, State, section, or other area.

But listen, at least the Washington City Paper noticed the passing of baseball and wrestling at Howard. Perhaps my friend at the College Sports Council can refresh my memory as to whether the Post covered this at all.









(0) comments  
2:01 PM

Josh Marshall responds to current events at Talking Points Memo

Here's my two cents on this: A number of trademark attorneys have offered their services to me pro bono on this matter (offers I sincerely appreciate), telling me that my case would actually be reasonably strong, though certainly no slam-dunk. The heart of the matter seems to be that in trademark law the issue is the similarity of the names and the similarity of the products and whether the combined proximity would lead to people confusing one for the other. Thus it wouldn't necessarily be relevant if someone else were using the same title in a different context, etc. Other lawyers, though sympathetic, have written in to say that the whole thing is just too muddy and the phrase too commonly used to make anything of it...

But frankly I've never seen this as a legal issue. Just a matter of doing the right thing or the wrong thing, and my preference for the Post to do the former rather than the latter.


He thanks his readers for giving a damn and wisely focuses on packing his fishing gear.



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1:41 PM

When was the last time the Post endorsed a Bible-study class? Asked and answered. But they're confused over there about why anyone would object to the Koran being required teaching at UNC.

Before I bash the editorial, let me agree that Bill O'Reilly was off his rocker for comparing the Koran to Mein Kampf. Okay, all done.

THE PUBLIC firestorm over the University of North Carolina's decision to ask that incoming students read a book about the Koran is a peculiar display of enthusiasm for ignorance. The university made an altogether rational judgment, in light of the circumstances in which this country finds itself, that students might benefit by reading and discussing a book titled "Approaching the Qur'an: The Early Revelations" by a professor at Haverford College named Michael Sells.

The circumstances in which this country finds itself is that Muslim fanatics want to kill us because we're infidels. The Post scoffs at "the apparently widespread sense that the Koran is the enemy's text." But it is the enemy's text. We know this because the enemy has said, "look--here's our text."

This is a blue-state editorial. There is simply no awareness here that Americans are tired of being taught to be more understanding of the traditions used to justify mass murder. Nor does the Post seem to be aware of PC events at the school earlier this year, including blame-America teach-ins, which for many conservatives and regular Red-Staters makes it impossible for UNC to be an honest broker in this area. There is a way to teach the Koran and a way to justify teaching it, but there is little confidence that UNC has found the way. Ignoring the Bible in these freshmen sessions probably didn't help.

As a legal matter, the case is silly -- and both a district court and the 4th Circuit Court of Appeals have declined to interfere with the program. Nowhere does the separation of church and state preclude a public university from including religious texts in its curriculum. Books such as the Koran and the Bible are foundational texts of civilization, and understanding them is a basic part of education. As long as the state isn't endorsing or promoting a religious worldview, there is no legal impediment to such study.

When did all the Post's journalists become attorneys? Yes, the legal case brought by a Christian group was weak. Yes, a university can teach about religion. No, that's not the point. The point is that we're under attack from self-described jihadists and that the University of North Carolina has chosen this time and place to require students to read a book that doesn't even pretend to address that part of Islam's tradition. In short, UNC is requiring freshmen to study a piece of pro-Muslim propaganda.

The troubling aspect of this episode is not legal, but cultural.

Right.



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1:16 PM

Josh Marshall note... After the frenzy of the last 24 hours over the Post's graceless, ignorant infringement on Talking Points Memo, the one voice missing from the Josh Marshall debate is Josh Marshall's. He posted news that the "suits at the washingtonpost.com respond" two nights ago. Yesterday afternoon I posted my reaction to the Terry Neal email, and after notifying Instapundit of that development I was lucky enough to get mentioned by him yesterday--but it turns out I was beaten by a mile by Daily Pundit, which posted his copy of the email at 9:25 a.m. (InstaGlenn very soon linked him, too).

So what is Josh up to? For his sake, I'm just hoping he doesn't rename his blog Book World.



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8:40 AM

Missing the mark: Thomas Edsall writes Impact of McKinney Loss Worries Some Democrats -- Tension Between Blacks, Jews a Concern. Doesn't quite get there, pulling punches on the blatant anti-Semitism of McKinney's father, among other things. Edsall choses this anecdote:

It was the Jewish-Muslim conflict, however, that dominated much of the post-election reaction. In a TV interview on election eve, McKinney's father, state Rep. Billy McKinney (D-Atlanta), was asked to explain why his daughter was in a tough fight. He spelled out his answer: "J-E-W-S."

That's not very pretty but the line I quoted earlier via Photodude puts everything in an uglier light.

[local TV] 11Alive made a point of re-running the footage where Billy McKinney responds to a question about his daughter's "fudging" of Andrew Young's endorsement: "That ain't nothin'. Jews have bought everybody. Jews. J-E-W-S."

I wonder if these two snippets are from the same TV interview. You know, in her concession speech, McKinney said she was defeated by "powerful interests." Can you say "code words"?

And is it only Republicans who think her 9-11 slander--that is the word--was shameful?

Many Republican voters took advantage of Georgia's open primary system to cast ballots against McKinney in the Democratic contest. McKinney infuriated many Republicans this year by suggesting that President Bush might have known in advance about the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks and did nothing because his associates in the defense and energy industries stood to profit in the aftermath.




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Wednesday, August 21, 2002
 
11:14 PM

So you've got a gazillion-dollar media empire and a new column and you're casting about for a name and you have all those cutesy headline writers and some of the greatest creative talent in the country, you tell yourself, and you finally come up with Talking Points.

And then you find out somebody beat you to the punch with Talking Points Memo.

What to do? Unleash the hounds!

Here are some excerpts from the Terry Neal email I received today:

In response to your e-mail about our use of the words “Talking Points” for my column, please see the letter below that we sent to Marshall yesterday. The bottom line of this letter is that someone else, a Washington attorney named Alan R. Schwartz, was running a political website called www.talkingpoints.com, for three years before Marshall began writing his blog. That site is now inactive, but it was active at the time Marshall registered the domain name www.talkingpointsmemo.com in January 2001. In addition to that, Bill O’Reilly of Fox News adopted the intellection property “Talking Points Memo”—the exact same words of Marshall’s site—for his daily news show and online column as far back as 1998. Nonetheless, Marshall argues that he should have exclusive rights to the words “talking points” and all variations of the same. We
disagree.

Below, you will find the letter—with links that firmly document our position—that we wrote to Marshall and below that, you will see an e-mail exchange between Marshall and Schwartz, which Mr. Schwartz copied me on today. And finally you will see what the Wall Street Journal’s Opinion Column had to say on the subject.


The letters that follow are pretty much as advertised. But Neal is so missing the point. The Post is big media and is stomping on someone who has neither the time nor the resources to establish a brand-new identity or fight for the one the Post is stealing from him. Like it would kill the Post to come up with something different!

In any other context--a small independent fighting a big evil corporation--the Post would be celebrating the little guy. I see Style Section.

But the suits, and that includes Neal, are yabbering on about Bill O'Reilly (as if his TV show shares intellectual space with blogger Marshall) and other sites elsewhere, scattered across time and space, that have used the same title. Okay then.

The Alan Schwartz correspondence is a bit of a puzzler. I won't reprint it--you can find basically the same material I received at Daily Pundit--but including it serves two purposes, one of which is legitimate. Neal is documenting that this fellow really did run a site called talkingpoints.com, which is now inactive. That doesn't settle it for me, but fair as far as it goes. However, the brief exchange shows Marshall asking Schwartz about it--did you really exist, etc.--and Schwartz getting very aggravated. The gossip in me is fascinated, but it seems intended to portray Marshall in the worst possible light.

PostWatch correspondent Michael Gebert sent me his copy of his own correspondence between him and Neal (I gather most people got basically a form letter, though in some cases with different intros and in some cases more than one exchange of notes). Netiquette prevents me from going into some of it, at least at this point, but as far as the heart of the argument is concerned, this is what Neal wrote him:

My point is, to claim "talking points" as exclusively your own would be like any one of the dozens of reporters around the country who write columns-- on line and off -- under the moniker "political insider" to claim that as his/her own.

Around the country is one thing-around Washington is another. Are Neal and the Post seriously contending that they'd have no objection if the Washington Times launched a column called Talking Points? Or a Saturday letters section called, let's see, Free for All? How about a Sunday review called Book World?

But the Times wouldn't do that, because they'd be too embarrassed. And if they weren't embarrassed, they'd realize the Post has cash and attorneys.

On the flip side, Josh Marshall doesn't have a law firm on retainer, and the Post has no shame. Maybe there's a threshold of money and power beyond which you simply don't get it.




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10:19 PM

I'm glad somebody finally pointed out that Bob Barr was a friend of liberty. It took Clayton Cramer to say this, in the comments section at Matt Welch.com in a post on the McKinney defeat. Cramer is a national treasure for his determined expose' of Second Amendment Fantasist Michael Belleisles and his celebrated work of fiction, Arming America.

Much of the quickie political analysis is that McKinney and Barr are two sides of the same extremist coin, and that their defeat is a victory for moderation. Barr was abrasive but it's unjust to compare him to McKinney. We need more guys like him, not less, at at time when the government and much of the country is ready to put the Bill of Rights on the back burner. So to speak.

Here's Cramer on Barr:

Actually, Barr was beaten by another conservative with whom he shared most everything, except Barr's ability to get the spotlight.

I watched Barr's performance during the second Waco hearings. Very impressive.

Barr has been a continual defender of civil liberties from the less rational parts of the War on Terrorism. I will miss him in the House.



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9:56 PM

A bit more on Josh Marshall coming up. But first, this message: OmbudsGod updates his comments objecting to citizens trying to rein in radio shock-jocks in New York:

There is something very unsettling about offended citizens petitioning the government to close down a popular media outlet, based on the content of a broadcast, and even more unsettling that the government may do just that.

But it's not merely the "content" of the broadcast that is prompting so many people, not surprisingly many of them Catholic, to blitz the FCC and ask for sanctions. The radio morons in question incited members of their audience to commit a crime on church property--and not only on it, but inside one of American Catholicism's most revered spaces. If the juvenile radio broadcasters in question want to mock the Catholic Church or any other institution, they are free to do so from their studio and many other venues. What they cannot do is recruit members of the audience to simultaneously break the law and desecrate a holy sanctuary by broadcasting a sex act right next to Christian worshippers, many of whom are begging God to be rescued from pain or given the strength to endure it. This is an assault on civic order and the social contract. It isn't merely okay for the FCC to consider imposing penalties--in fact it's plainly obligated to uphold the rather unambitious goal of preventing public resources from being hijacked by vandals.



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2:58 PM

The Post will continue to poach on Josh Marshall's site, Talking Points Memo, by using the title Talking Points for the Terry Neal column.

PostWatch just received an email from Terry Neal, who copies to us emails between Marshall; an attorney who had a site with the name Talking Points before Marshall did; and Post Executive Editor Douglas Feaver. Long story short, the Post's policy is being run by attorneys and I dare say by journalists who are using the clout of big media to steamroll an independent (those journalists would be Feaver and Neal.). Their position is that 1). Somebody else used it online before you did (legally the strongest argument, IMHO), and B). Fox's Bill O'Reilly used it before you did for his TV show; and 3) Other people have used it too. As I say, this is a lawyerly approach and it's a shame.

I may examine this in more detail later, with some excerpts from the email Terry Neal sent. However, as O'Reilly might say, I disagree with Neal 100% but he's a stand-up guy for responding to my questions.

CORRECTION: As a sharp-eyed commenter notes, I blew Douglas Feaver's title--he's Executive Editor of Washingtonpost.com. Sorry.



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1:17 PM

I'm not sure, but I think OmbudsGod today thinks the FCC's investigation of a shock-jock contest that led to a live radio broadcast of a couple having sex in St. Patrick's Cathedral somehow violates the establishment clause of the Bill of Rights. His item is titled THE FIRST AMENDMENT, THE FCC AND THE CATHOLIC LEAGUE

If I take his point correctly, that's nonsense.

The theory behind the FCC granting licenses (and having the power to revoke them) is that there's a limited amount of broadcast wavelength available and that it's a public resource subject to responsible use. Given what's broadcast these days, one can hardly say the FCC has taken a very restrictive view of what is not allowed, and to be fair OmbudsGod doesn't say that. He links to the First Amendment (Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof...) and then to the Post's account of the incident.

If the FCC cannot take action against a public resource being used to ridicule a place of worship and openly mock and invade its sacred spaces, then it has no business taking action against anything. The First Amendment bars the creation of a state religion. It does not require the government to provide technology to juvenile delinquents. Nor do Catholics give up their rights to seek redress on this matter simply because they are Catholics. The Constitution applies even to them.



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1:10 PM

Eleven Day Empire sees subtle but real bias in a Post story today on McKinney's (and Rep. Bob Barr's) defeat:

This is the graf that got his attention:

Jewish donors and pro-Israel organizations from around the country poured money into Majette's campaign, while most of McKinney's contributions came from donors with Muslim or Arab American surnames who live outside the district. A similar pattern occurred in an earlier Democratic primary in Alabama, where Rep. Earl Hilliard, who was backed by Arab Americans, lost to Artur Davis, who had strong support from Jewish donors.

This is what he thinks of it:

See it? "Jewish donors" and "pro-Israel organizations" versus "Arab-American surnames" - Majette's donors were definitely Jews; McKinney's donors may have been Muslim. "Poured money into Majette's campaign" versus "contributions came from donors". And "around the country" versus "live outside the district".

And of course the Jewish donors are mentioned first. It's subtle, but it's also typical of the Post.





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1:02 PM

Not in the Post Watch... another win for the good guys:

Ex-Navy pilot's lawsuit dismissed
By Rowan Scarborough
The Washington Times

A federal judge has dismissed a lawsuit from one of the Navy's first female combat pilots, who accused a pro-military group of libel in reporting that the aviator qualified for carrier duty through preferential treatment from instructors.

U.S. District Court Judge Royce C. Lamberth, in a 55-page opinion dated Friday, dismissed the 6-year-old suit brought by former Navy Lt. Carey Dunai Lohrenz against Elaine Donnelly, a well-known activist who heads the Center for Military Readiness, or CMR.

In 1995, Mrs. Donnelly issued a report based largely on information provided by one of Mrs. Lohrenz's former flight instructors, retired Navy Lt. Jerry Burns. Lt. Burns said he documented a series of special favors given to Mrs. Lohrenz when she was a student to ensure she would qualify for carrier aviation in the demanding F-14 Tomcat fighter. Mrs. Lohrenz, who subsequently flunked off the carrier USS Abraham Lincoln and left the Navy, disputed the report and filed the defamation suit. She said her flying performance on the carrier was a direct result of the negative publicity generated by the Donnelly report....


The story notes that the judge said evidence of Lamberth's piloting skills was "murky," and the ruling in Donnelly's favor hinged on agreeing with Donnelly that Lamberth was a public figure, which imposes a higher standard when trying to prove libel. The decision can be appealed.

"It's a tremendous victory," Mrs. Donnelly said from her office in Livonia, Mich. "It will be good for the Navy, as well as for CMR. The opinion shows I had a First Amendment right to report what I learned. I found it was true, and it was important to naval aviation." Mrs. Donnelly, who has waged a battle against what she considers politically correct policies in the armed forces, posted a statement on her Web site. She called the lawsuit "pure harassment by feminist advocates who misused the court to threaten my rights of free speech."



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