The Locker Room

October 23, 2006

Who says?

Posted by Mitch Kokai at 6:32 PM

The latest edition of U.S. News inspires a reprise of my "who says?" argument.

Here's the basic idea: When a media outlet disguises unsourced opinion as a news report, you should start asking the question "who says?"

Consider this passage from Kevin Whitelaw's Iraq War piece:

The Ramadan resurgence-Iraqis have been observing the Islamic holy month-has added to a broader feeling that Iraq might simply be spinning out of control. Iraq's prime minister, Nouri al-Maliki, looks increasingly ineffectual. Last week, Maliki forced the U.S. military to release one of radical cleric Moqtadr al-Sadr's key aides, who was suspected of links to death squads. The next day, Maliki could only watch as Sadr's goons overran the southern city of Amarah, taking over several police stations.
All the violence has brought Iraq to the forefront of the coming election. President Bush, in a defensive tactic, has moved away from his "stay the course" refrain toward an apparent new willingness to shift tactics. But with even his former deputy secretary of state, Richard Armitage, conceding, "We can't win this militarily," everyone, it seems, is increasingly just looking for a reasonable way out.

Whitelaw quotes Richard Armitage, but the man who "outed" Valerie Plame offers just one five-word sentence. Who says there's a "broader feeling that Iraq might simply be spinning out of control"? Who says the Iraqi prime minster "looks increasingly ineffectual"? Who called President Bush's recent policy pronouncements "a defensive tactic"? Who says "everyone, it seems, is increasingly just looking for a reasonable way out"?

Note that I'm not attacking the substance of the statements. I just want to know how Whitelaw got his information. Administration officials? Pundits? His editor? The guy at his favorite bar? A Democratic operative? 

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Re: Expectations of Black Students

Posted by Lindalyn Kakadelis at 4:39 PM

Appreciated Terry Stoops's comment on Armstrong Williams's column in Town Hall regarding black achievement levels. Earlier this year in Education Next, Professor Roland Fryer, wrote a piece on "Acting White." Dr. Fryer discusses the social price paid by the best and brightest minority students. It is an interesting article and approaches the academic gap between ethnic groups differently than Williams.  Dr. Fryer writes:
    "My analysis confirms that acting white is a vexing reality within a subset of American schools. It does not allow me to say whose fault this is, the studious youngster or others in his peer group. But I do find that the way schools are structured affects the incidence of the acting-white phenomenon. The evidence indicates that the social disease, whatever its cause, is most prevalent in racially integrated public schools. Itís less of a problem in the private sector and in predominantly black public schools."


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Free Market Medicine? (Haywood Co. NC)

Posted by Michael Moore at 4:10 PM

This article out of Haywood County is interesting if youíre in to the free-market ideas and personal choice of the market.  I guess Unions really have a hidden agenda?   

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Conservatism is strong?

Posted by Mitch Kokai at 3:44 PM

You might be surprised to hear that message from a fellow who wrote his first book about the policies and practices on Capitol Hill that led to the Jack Abramoff scandal.

But Matthew Continetti found some reason for optimism during his Headliner luncheon address today in Raleigh. The 25-year-old Weekly Standard associate editor has spent recent months writing about Virginia Sen. George Allen's recent gaffes and Montana Sen. Conrad Burns' tough re-election fight. Continetti also devoted nearly 250 pages to the topic The K Street Gang: The Rise and Fall of the Republican Machine (Doubleday, 2006).

But his message included some positive notes:

In researching this book, I found that the conservative movement is probably the strongest it's ever been. Now you can just look at the measures of conservative strength. It's incredible. Whether it's the rise of alternative media such as The Weekly Standard, Fox News, and whatnot; whether it's the very fact I was discussing earlier that we now have an encyclopedia of conservatism; whether it's the fact that I can actually find a job in journalism -- which I think is amazing in and of itself. And it shows you how conservatism is strong because conservatives have developed the institutions in which they can find talent -- maybe not in my case -- but they can find talent and promote it, and they can nurture it. ...

Liberals are now trying to copy the conservatives. So we've gone into a situation where in the 1950s Republicans -- and conservatives rather -- feeling so embattled, had to form their own media outlets, had to start forming their own non-profit organizations. Now we've come to a case where the liberals are trying to copy the conservatives. And to me, I think that's just a testament to both liberal weakness as a movement and conservative strength.

Continetti is under no illusions about conservatives' strength in the upcoming elections. He says the movement is electorally weak at the moment.

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"Diversity" rears its head at Univ. of Nebraska

Posted by George Leef at 2:31 PM

Here is an article by two University of Nebraska professors about a new diversity initiative at their institution that puts any faculty member who dissents from the orthodoxy right in the cross-hairs of the diversity enforcers.

I think that the diversicrats (as Peter Wood calls them) know how feeble their position is and that's why they are so antsy to silence people who question the need for and results of what they are doing.

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'Flags of Our Fathers'

Posted by Paul Chesser at 11:50 AM

Clint Eastwood's latest directorial effort tells the story behind the U.S. Marines' battle of Iwo Jima, and how the famous Associated Press photo of six men raising the American flag was viewed by a weary nation and used by military fundraisers. The event was misread by most Americans that victory was imminent, while in reality the conquest of "Sulfur Island" would not come for weeks. And for the three surviving flag raisers the indelible photo would lead to a lifetime of identification as heroes, while the U.S. government -- desperate for war resources -- capitalized on the euphoric moment.

Eastwood does an exceptional job capturing the horror of war and the daunting enemy Marines faced. Actors Ryan Phillippe, Jesse Bradford and Adam Beach play the three celebrated marines, and convey movingly their conflicted feelings about leaving their buddies behind in the battle. Barry Pepper's performance as Sgt. Mike Strank, who declined a promotion to keep a promise to his men, ranks as the best performance among the ensemble cast.

The obvious cinematic comparison is to Steven Spielberg's "Saving Private Ryan." I think "Flags of Our Fathers" is a better story, yet "Private Ryan" engaged my emotions more. Despite the fine performances in Eastwood's effort, I was drawn more to the characters in "Private Ryan."

My quibble is with the portrayal of military fundraisers as money-hungry desperadoes who merely wanted to use the three marines for their own gain. Certainly there is some truth to that, but a nation in dire need of financing to achieve victory is a necessary part of the war effort. I don't know if the intention was to set up a "good soldiers" vs. "evil money-raisers" storyline, and if it was, it was subtle. As everybody should know, World War II was won with the support and sacrifice of all Americans, mostly by those who fought, but also those at home.

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Expectations of Black Students

Posted by Dr. Terry Stoops at 09:00 AM

I do not buy Armstrong Williams's argument that black male students fail because of society's and teachers' low expectations of their academic performance.

Williams compares society's expectations of athletic and academic performance and finds that black male students succeed at athletics because society expects them to excel. This expectation encourages them to perfect their athletic abilities. "However, unlike coaches, teachers don't admonish black males; they accept their failure and even reward it by passing them on to the next grade."

I do not think that we can simply attribute low test scores among black male students to social conditioning, as Williams does. That would be the easy way out. It would be better to ask why some students, including black males, choose to invest their time and energy in academic pursuits.

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Mr. Spock's mom, R.I.P.

Posted by John Hood at 08:38 AM

The beautiful and serene actrress Jane Wyatt, Mr. Spock's mother, has died at 96.

Yes, yes, she played other roles. Other famous mom roles. But let's keep things in proper perspective here. Star Trek is all that matters. Amanda was a wonderful character.


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Suing to force seizure by eminent domain?

Posted by George Leef at 08:29 AM

That's the line in this story about a development in Florida, where a business group is threatening to sue the government of Riviera Beach if it doesn't employ eminent domain to assist them. Negotiating to buy the property they want would just cost too much!

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