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William Safire, RIP

Posted by Bruce Carroll at 8:20 pm - September 27, 2009.
Filed under: Great Americans

From the New York Times remembrance: (h/t – The Corner)

He was a college dropout and proud of it, a public relations go-getter who set up the famous Nixon-Khrushchev “kitchen debate” in Moscow, and a White House wordsmith in the tumultuous era of war in Vietnam, Nixon’s visit to China and the gathering storm of the Watergate scandal that drove the president from office.

Then, from 1973 to 2005, Mr. Safire wrote his twice weekly “Essay” for the Op-Ed Page of The Times, a forceful conservative voice in the liberal chorus. Unlike most Washington columnists who offer judgments with Olympian detachment, Mr. Safire was a pugnacious contrarian who did much of his own reporting, called people liars in print and laced his opinions with outrageous wordplay.

Critics initially dismissed him as an apologist for the disgraced Nixon coterie. But he won the 1978 Pulitzer Prize for commentary, and for 32 years tenaciously attacked and defended foreign and domestic policies, and the foibles, of seven administrations. Along the way, he incurred enmity and admiration, and made a lot of powerful people squirm.

On a personal note, Mr. Safire was my college graduation speaker at Syracuse University in May of 1990.

-Bruce (GayPatriot)

The “shock and horror” with which liberal journalists react to their conservative colleagues

Posted by B. Daniel Blatt at 7:22 pm - September 27, 2009.
Filed under: Blogging,Media Bias

Many in the rightosphere are making much of Clark Hoyt’s Sunday New York Times column about his paper’s lack of speed in reporting several stories that generated a lot of heat in conservative media and on FoxNews:

But for days, as more videos were posted and government authorities rushed to distance themselves from Acorn, The Times stood still. Its slow reflexes — closely following its slow response to a controversy that forced the resignation of Van Jones, a White House adviser — suggested that it has trouble dealing with stories arising from the polemical world of talk radio, cable television and partisan blogs. Some stories, lacking facts, never catch fire. But others do, and a newspaper like The Times needs to be alert to them or wind up looking clueless or, worse, partisan itself.

That’s the journalistic understatement of that year.  I do wonder if the Times picks up on those stories “lacking facts” from left-wing blogs and opinion sites.

Jill Abramson, the paper’s  managing editor for news, agreed with him “that the paper was ‘slow off the mark,’ and blamed ‘insufficient tuned-in-ness to the issues that are dominating Fox News and talk radio.'”

To remedy all this, the Times has now “assigned an anonymous editor to ‘monitor opinion media.’” Questioning Hoyt’s claim that the paper lacks a liberal bias, Michelle Malkin asks him to “address directly and openly the paper’s own complicity in covering up the ACORN story before Election Day” when the paper had information about financial shenanigans at the controversial left-wing organization.

More often than not, reporters from MSM outlets like the Times don’t seem particularly interested in conservative opinion.  In the controversy over whether NBC producer Jane Stone called Alex Rosenwald, media director of Americans for Limited Government “Jew Boy” in an e-mail, she claimed she had merely told him “Take me off this list!”  So, her defense of unbecoming conduct is that she, a news producer, asked to be removed from a list which might be a source of information and opinion, you know, news of the events and ideas shaping public discourse.

Guess they’re just not interested in what those free-marketers are saying and doing. That she would want to be removed from a libertarian e-mail list helps confirm the reports Matthew Vadum receives from “fellow right-leaning journalists that getting rude and offensive emails from reporters in the mainstream media is a fairly common occurrence.(more…)

Socialists: Big Losers in German Vote

Posted by B. Daniel Blatt at 5:00 pm - September 27, 2009.
Filed under: Politics abroad,Strong Women

With conservative parties winning elections across Europe, it seems now only a question of time until our friends in the UK replace Prime Minister Gordon Brown with a more conservative leader.  German voters just returned Chancellor Angela Merkel’s party to power, handing potential coalition partner, the “classical liberal” Free Democrats,” nearly 15 percent of the votes, the party’s best showing ever.”  She’ll thus be able to ditch her grand coalition with the Social Democrats (SPD), who, with “only 23.5 percent of the votes,” suffered their worst performance since World War II.”

As a result, “Mrs. Merkel will finally have the chance to enact the kind of liberalizing economic reforms she proposed when she first ran for chancellor four years ago.

While the SPD saw its support plummet, the far-left Left party saw a surge in its support, capturing 12% of the vote and securing it as many as 80 seats in the Bundestag.  That party favors “return to East German socialism” and did particularly well in the east German state of Brandenburg and in the “western German state of Saarland,” home to the party’s charismatic leader Oskar Lafontaine.

With the possible exception of the UK and Spain, now every major European country has a government significantly to the right of our own.  What a change a year makes.

UPDATE: Just checked the election returns from Germany’s last national election in 2005. Seems Mrs Merkel’s CDU/CSU coalition actually captured a slightly smaller share of the vote today than it did four years ago. The real increase was the FDP, increasing its percentage by about 50%. Note especially that the gains by the Left and Green parties do not alone account for the percentage lost by SPD. It seems those voters “defected from the left to the German most “committed to open markets and free competition“.

A sign that the ideas of freedom and smaller government seem to be resonating in Germany.

The conservative violence in left-wingers’ heads

Posted by B. Daniel Blatt at 4:09 am - September 27, 2009.
Filed under: Blogging,Hysteria on the Left

Of the latest story to drive left-wing bloggers into a frenzy, Robert Stacy McCain writes

The murder of Bill Sparkman in Clay County, Ky., has caused bloggers to engage in widespread speculation about the motive for the killing. Sparkman was employed part-time conducting a Census Bureau survey. . . .

[A] law-enforcement source, not authorized to speak about the case, said state and local officials are working closely with the FBI on the investigation. Internet gossip is a source of concern, he said.

“You’d be surprised what some of these morons write on the Internet . . . that they wouldn’t say to somebody’s face,” the official said in a brief telephone interview.

While we know a few more details about the murder than we did when I first mentioned Sparkman death in a blog post, we still don’t know who killed Bill Sparkman nor as law professor William A. Jacobson observes, why he was killed.  That, Jacobson blogs, “has not stopped the left-wing internet ghouls from seeking to exploit Sparkman’s death for political purposes, turning his part-time Census status into the reason for his killing and creating a cause célèbre out of thin air.

Paraphrasing what I wrote in a comment, whereas Kentucky law enforcement (and conservatives) are waiting for an investigation, many left-wing bloggers are leaping to conclusions, suggesting that comments by a Republican Congresswoman and radio and TV talk show hosts created the climate that led to Sparkman’s murder.  The problem is, since we don’t know who murdered Sparkman, we have no evidence to back up their accusations.  All they have is their narrative and their prejudice.

Interesting that these left-wingers are quick to accuse conservatives for fostering a climate of hate, but aren’t even considering that Sparkman may have been killed by people in the drug trade.  And there’s more evidence that Sparkman’s death was drug-related than that it was ideological.  Even the AP noted that his body was found “in a corner of Appalachiawith an abundance of meth labs and marijuana fields — and a reputation for mistrusting government that dates back to the days of moonshiners and ‘revenuers.’

These bloggers’ hysteria tells us more about their prejudices than it does about the circumstances surrounding this man’s death.  We don’t know why Bill Sparkman is killed, but we do know how quick left-wingers are to accuse conservatives of fostering violence. Even when the only evidence tying conservatives to violence exists in left-wingers heads. (more…)