Friday, June 29, 2007

Coulter vs. Edwards - Part II

I read an "interesting" article about the Ann Coulter vs. Elizabeth Edwards conflict I referred to in my previous post. It's garbage and it made me very angry.

It's from the Telegraph and is an interesting example of media slant that you might not even notice. Read the article here.

Now - After reading the article by Alex Spillius, I would bet a fair amount of cash that Mr. Spillius is left of center. I don't know how far left, but definitely left of center because of the things he put -- and didn't put -- into his article. In fact, Mr. Spillius downright lies in his article, and I can show you where.

1: From the git-go, Spillius begins his slanted "new article" by introducing Coulter as being "famous for her sharp tongue and offensive attempts at humour (sic)."

Attempts? So you, the reader, are introduced to Coulter with her being a nasty woman who thinks she's funny but isn't. There are many ways that sentence could have been made objective, the most simple being to remove the word "attempts" -- there are lots of types of humor that I don't find funny, but they're still humor. I like vegetables, but not asparagus, but it's still a vegetable.

2. When Spillius first describes what Coulter was doing on the show "Hardball" -- a news-oriented talk show -- he says "Miss Coulter was pontificating before a live audience."

"Pontificating" means "to speak in a pompous or dogmatic manner" and is derogatory. That's funny, because what people do when they're on a talk show is talk. Usually they talk about their views. So by using the word "pontificate," Spillius has already cast Coulter in a negative light. She wasn't on the show discussing her views, like every other guest on the show, she was "speaking in a pompous or dogmatic manner."

3. The next thing we learn about Coulter from Spillius is that she is 45 years old. He never mentions how old Edwards is.

Why does the age make a difference, anyway? I'm not 100% sure why he mentioned it, but the fact that he only mentions her age make me suspect he desires some negative reaction to it. If there is some other reason, I sure would love to know.

4. Here's the downright lie, plus a bonus slant all in one paragraph: "The day before Miss Coulter had on live breakfast television suggested that she wished Mr Edwards would be 'killed in a terrorist assassination plot'. In March, she referred to the silky-haired candidate as a 'faggot.'"

As you saw in my previous post, she didn't wish him to be killed - it's an incorrect paraphrase of a truncated quote! Flat-out wrong. And then, for the bonus, we learn a that Edwards has "silky" hair. What? The texture of someone's hair? Am I supposed to stand in awe of his hair, so silky soft like an angel? Does he smell good too? Come on!

5. Here's the slant he uses to end their debate: "The exchange deteriorated with Miss Coulter shouting over Mrs Edwards."

To Spillius, maybe. It's complete editorializing - maybe someone else thought that that was when the tide turned. To tell the reader that Coulter's actions made the exchange deteriorate is more bias. He could have said "heated up" or even "got more hostile," but that would be objective, and by this point, about halfway through, I'm pretty sure Spillius is anything but objective.

This is garbage, and Spillius is a bad reporter. I don't care if he's written a thousand other articles, as far as any real journalist should be concerned, once you show bias and subjectivity under the guide of news, you have no credibility (other than among your ilk).

Coulter vs. Edwards - Tale of the Truncated Tirade

One of my pet peeves about political discourse is the truncation of quotes to manipulate the reader - an easy way to slant a story is to cherry-pick portions of quotes that, when taken out of context, can be used to make someone look like they've said something they didn't.

This particular example is a two-fer: Ann Coulter, who is coarse, biting and sarcastic, was said to have (a) mocked the death of Edwards' son and (b) wished that Edwards would die in a terrorist attack.

But here's the catch: The quotes were truncated, taken out of context. The news outlets give you, the reader, misleading portions to support the above statement.

Here's what the truth really is:

(A) No one mocked the Edwards' dead son!

In one of Coulter's columns she was talking about how she felt Edwards was exploiting his son's death for political purposes. That's it. She didn't mock the dead son, she mocked Edwards for things he said about the event on the campaign trail -- and anything a politician says as they seek office is fair game for criticism (and you should look critically at everything they say unless you want to be a sheep!).

I felt the same thing when Edwards came out early on in this campaign to talk about his wife's cancer. I felt I as a potential voter was being manipulated emotionally, because his wife, her cancer, or anything of that sort has nothing to do with whether or not I should vote for Edwards. Everyone knows someone who is ill, everyone has bad things happen in their lives -- there was no reason for him to fill me in on his wife's illness because it has nothing to do with his qualifications to be president.

(B) No one wished a terror attack on John Edwards!

This one is rich. Coulter had been speaking at a political event, and, in referring to the Gray's Anatomy actor who had to go through sensitivity rehab after calling another actor a '"faggot," she said she was going to talk about John Edwards but couldn't because you have to go to rehab if you use the word "faggot."

I didn't really find it amusing, but, hey, whatever. Anyway, people went nuts after that, so she was talking about that incident on Good Morning America and she said this:

"But about the same time, you know, Bill Maher was not joking and saying he
wished Dick Cheney had been killed in a terrorist attack — so I've learned my
lesson: If I'm going to say anything about John Edwards in the future, I'll just
wish he had been killed in a terrorist assassination plot."

That, to anyone with a brain, is clearly not what all the "news" stations are telling you she said - they say she wished death on John Edwards. ( "In the past, Ann Coulter has called John Edwards a "faggot" and recently expressed that she wished he [Edwards] had died in a terrorist attack." ) It was a sarcastic comment, truncated and paraphrased to make a different point than what as actually said!

Here's why you should be angry with the mainstream media:

They think we're fools! If you look at the quotes the "news" people referred to, and you look at how they paraphrased those quotes, how do you not see that the 2 are different?

Granted, maybe you disagree with Coulter's statements, and that's fine. But at the same time, you should also appreciate the fact that they were not the statements the news outlets made them out to be, and that should be insulting to you as an intelligent human being.

If the public has to rely on the press for information, and the press intentionally gives misleading information to the public, that's not right.

So anytime you read a story and someone is paraphrased ("So-and-so said this," or "So-and-so said that") you should make it a point to find the source of that paraphrased element and see for yourself what was said, because you can't trust the mainstream media!

And you can quote me on that however you like.

Tuesday, June 26, 2007

New Haven mayor wants to 'engage' young criminals

So far, seven people have been murdered in New Haven this year, quite a few more people simply wounded, in seemingly random gun violence.

In many of the cases the people firing the guns are kids.

The latest arrest, a 16-year-old who worked in conjunction with a 17-year-old to murder a family man by shooting him in the back after he refused to comply with a street robbery, has brought Mayor John DeStefano Jr. to again say his administration is trying to "engage" these kids so they'll stop shooting people.

But the city seems to want to shift responsibility from the criminals to society. The focus of any administration comment about the apparent trend seems to be how to understand why kids with guns run rampant around New Haven -- is it poverty, is it too much free time -- but, really, all New Haven seems to be doing is talking about why a problem exists without actually stopping the symptoms as well.

I'm a big-picture guy, I understand the concept of eliminating the source; at the same time, you have to ask if you can get rid of the hive without at some point having to deal with the bees.

The city has already spent millions to create state-of-the-art schools in New Haven, and countless time and dollars to create programs to give city kids activities to occupy their free time, including an annual push to create summer jobs.

And that's nice - but this was the second teenager arrested, accused of murder in the city, in a couple of months. In the other arrest, that teen, too, is accused of shooting a responsible, working man to death because the man would not comply with a street robbery.

In both cases, someone died for having a gold necklace. In one case, police allege, the teenage shooter killed a man for a gold chain because another kid told him that if he did it he could keep the gun.

That's nice.

While the mayor and the city rebuild the schools, implement after-school and summer programs and create job opportunities -- taking massive amounts of money from the city and the state to do it -- too many kids in New Haven are still walking around aimlessly, killing people for nothing more than trinkets they could have very well bought themselves if they were working instead of roaming the streets.

Read the paper and pay attention to how much is actually available to all the kids in New Haven. ... Opportunity, resources, aid ... about the same as any of the suburbs, really, and a heck of a lot more than in my late 70s/early 80s suburban upbringing.

Even with just as many opportunities open to them as many of their suburban counterparts, too many kids are choosing -- choosing -- to be dangerous burdens on the rest of us.

Come on - I, and likely many of you, grew up in schools without computers, cafeterias, air conditioning or music labs, with little or no field trips, cultural days or extra-curricular activities.

Did you commit crime?

OK, so I did, a little, a couple of stupid things, but it was nothing. Just adolescent boy stuff - playing with fire, stealing street signs, just loitering in general - but not actual criminal activity.

Plus, be realistic - If a kid can find a gun, and bullets, and then commit crimes, he/she could just as easily have worked for money, or taken part in any of the other productive activity the city provides.

Boredom should not be an excuse for bad behavior.

And poverty is no excuse for acting like an animal, especially when the city makes sure that everyone has access to food, clothing, shelter and health clinics, so it's not even like it's that bad in and of itself.

I contend that it's the behavior of the people in any system that dictates the quality of the system.

If 100 people all lived in a field and had nothing but dirt, there are still several things they could do beside rob and kill each other.

If you create opportunities but people refuse to take those opportunities, who is to blame? If these kids are making the choice to be little criminals, little thieves and murderers, maybe it's not that society has failed them, but that they have failed society.

Tuesday, June 19, 2007

Islam: Get Angry, Kill People

OK. Read this (from

Peter Foster, Delhi - June 20, 2007
A senior minister in the Pakistani Government has urged Muslim countries to break diplomatic relations with London and claimed a suicide bomb attack would be a justified response to author Salman Rushdie's knighthood.
The Pakistan Parliament called on the British Government to reverse the decision to award the knighthood or face further protests from Muslim nations.
"If someone commits suicide bombing to protect the honour of the Prophet Muhammad, his act is justified," the Minister for Religious Affairs, Ijaz ul-Haq, told Pakistan's national assembly.
"This is an occasion for the (world's) 1.5 billion Muslims to look at the seriousness of this decision," Mr ul-Haq said. "If Muslims do not unite, the situation will get
worse and Salman Rushdie may get a seat in the British Parliament."
His comments provoked an angry response around the world. Effigies of the Queen and Rushdie were burned in the eastern Pakistan city of Multan as students chanted: "Kill him! Kill him!"
But Mr ul-Haq said his main intention had been to examine the root causes of terrorism; he denied he was encouraging suicide bombing. The Foreign Office is seeking a full transcript of his remarks before making an official response.
Sher Afgan Khan Niazi, the Minister for Parliamentary Affairs who tabled the motion, said the knighthood was "a source of hurt for Muslims" and would encourage people to "commit blasphemy against the Prophet Muhammad."

Now, wait - think about this for a second. Seriously think about it. Replace all the Islamic references to any other religion you can think of.

OK. Now what do you think the reaction would be? Would it be the same regardless of religion. I say no. I think the reaction would differ greatly.

This story has barely gotten play in our area. Chances are you weren't even aware of it. It's been going on for days now, and you haven't heard of it. I say that's because it's the typical crazy Muslim garbage that happens every time someone even breathes the wrong way near anything Islamic.

And it won't get play because if it did, too many people might realize that Islamic states seem to be terrifyingly censored, closed-minded, racist, barbaric and generally ignorant places, and the people who say they follow it are really violent people that make populations that have absolutely nothing to offer - no cultural, scientific or academic contributions to the world - other than death, destruction and chaos.

Too many people in this country might see that it's not the U.S. that is to blame for it, that it seems to be bred into these people.

Before the fall of Saddam, you were told that the people were hungry for peace and love, and that they were held down by an evil dictator.

And they were. The Shiite majority certainly was held down by Saddam and the Sunnis. And for good reason - because this is what they do when you try to give them freedom. It truly is barbaric.

If you don't think so, think about the fact that every time there's an incident like this - the cartoons of Muhammad, for example - the Muslim fanatics don't just pull this Jihad-call-for-death garbage in the Islamic states, they do it in London, in Pakistan, in India ... places that are allegedly civilized!

So it's not even the Islamic states that are worrisome, it's the Muslims.

If you read this and you're Muslim, then don't get mad at me, get mad at them. You think I'm happy when ultra-right Christian freaks protest at military funerals, or the KKK has a rally?

But you can bet when those things happen and it's Jews, or Catholics or Baptists, the news organizations cover it like it's an inaugural ball. And we hear all about the racist bigots in this country and blah blah blah.

But for some reason, a society that does nothing but oppress speech, thought, word and deed; that harms and kills it's own people for breaking religious code; that vows to kill everyone in the world who does not agree with them or slights them in the least ... a society like that is somehow sacred to some people in this country who allegedly despise all those things.

Tuesday, June 5, 2007

New Haven gets national attention

New Haven Mayor John DeStefano Jr. Tuesday defended the city's plan to issue municipal ID cards to illegal aliens, saying the plan is the city's response to failed immigration enforcement by the federal government.

In a telephone interview on Fox News, DeStefano rejected claims that the plan, which would make it easier for illegal aliens to obtain bank accounts and utilize city services, would entice illegal aliens to come into the the U.S.; the mayor also denied the plan was a violation of federal immigration law.

An immigration reform advocate on the show questioned the legitimacy of the program, and noted that the "legal counsel" the city used was made up of Yale Law School students and the city advocacy group JUNTA for Progressive Action. The speaker suggested the city consult with lawyers more experienced in immigration policy.

The mayor's response? That questioning the city's plans for making it easier for illegal aliens to act like citizens is "fear mongering," and that questioning the plan is somehow "blaming other people for problems in their own lives."

For real? Sounds to me like typical liberal response - if someone has an opinion different than yours, or if someone demonstrates that your stance contradicts the law, then they have some personal problem that makes their opinion or stance unreasonable.

If you look at it plainly, there is no way to deny the fact that the mayor's plan helps people who are breaking the law. Period. If the mayor knows someone is in the country illegally, the only effort he should make in regard to that person should focus on removing that person from the country.

He owes it to the rest of the residents of his city who are legal residents, and to every surrounding municipality that will feel the effects of having an influx of illegal aliens visiting their communities because the mayor of the Elm City is harboring them.

What's next? Because drug dealers that live in New Haven are essentially bringing disposable income into the city, should drug dealers no longer be subject to arrest?

The mayor's plan is flawed at its root - the very people the mayor wishes to aid are people that shouldn't be here in the first place.

What part of "illegal" doesn't he understand?

Essentially, the mayor is saying that because there are so many illegal aliens in the city, the city should just give up enforcing the law and treat them like they are legal residents because it's easier than booting them out, and will make him more popular among legal Hispanic residents that vote.

The mayor has chosen to bend to the will of one segment of the city's population, and it is my hope that the other segments of the public will realize this and elect a mayor that represents them instead.