September 30, 2004, 11:05 PM

My view: The first presidential debate

By Owen Courrèges

I haven't done one of these columns for a while, but I couldn't resist giving my own personal analysis on the first presidential debate. Frankly, I believe this debate truly showed the difference between the two candidates in both style and substance. Suffice to say that I have come to the following conclusion: Bush won. My reason for reaching this conclusion is simple; while Bush stayed on message, Kerry dabbled in minutia. While Bush repeated himself ad nauseum, Kerry continually made his positions increasingly nuanced. The former strategy is time-tested; the latter reeks of talking down to the American people. It's part of why Gore lost to Bush in 2000. But Kerry is more guilty of it than Gore. Bush was admittedly kept on the defensive, but Kerry's offensive pitches were long and boring. Bush followed the K.I.S.S. rule — KEEP IT SIMPLE, STUPID. So although Kerry might have won on 'points,' as Gore did, Bush clearly won overall. Bush articulated a clear and concise message that every American can understand. Kerry didn't. Moreover, Kerry needed to communicate a new agenda, something to separate him from Bush and provide an alternative. He failed to do so. His message that he can handle Iraq better is not appealing, especially in light of his constantly-changing position on the subject (a message Bush drove home). And finally, Kerry failed in the style department. Bush seemed folksy. Kerry seemed like a northeastern elitist. I needn't tell you which image is the better one. So in summary, this debate simply reinforced what I already knew before — Bush is the better candidate.

Permalink | Owen's View

September 30, 2004, 09:41 PM

Call it in the air...

By Matt Forge

Permalink | Political Cartoons

September 30, 2004, 03:55 PM

Good News from Iraq

By M. Wildes

With all of the bad news brought to you daily by the terrorists in Iraq and the sensationalized doom and gloom media, here are a few encouraging stories from September you will not see covered by NBCCBSABCCNNMSNBC/TimesPostChronicle: Iraqi University Students Learn Democracy U.S. Navy Corpsman Saves Iraqi Village from Blindness; Medic Identifies Contagious Eye Disease Corps begins transfer process of electricity stations; Six sites set for return to Ministry of Electricity Iraqis Making 'Tremendous Progress' in Delivering Essential Services Building Renovations Under Way Democracy Comes to Wynot, Iraq; Village Residents Elect City Council Representatives 24th MEU Assists School In Iraq Spread the word!

Permalink | News and Views

September 30, 2004, 01:55 PM

Cameron Diaz in full panic mode:

By Terry Bohannon

Yesterday on Oprah, Cameron Diaz once again thought herself an expert on politics. She suggested that without abortion on demand, the birth unwanted children would be as forceful and horrific to the mother as if she were raped. She said, as the Drudge Report highlights:
Ms. DIAZ: We have a voice now, and we're not using it, and women have so much to lose. I mean, we could lose the right to our bodies. We could lo--if you think that rape should be legal, then don't vote. But if you think that you have a right to your body, and you have a right to say what happens to you and fight off that danger of losing that, then you should vote, and those are the... WINFREY: It's your voice. Ms. DIAZ: It's your voice. It's your voice, that's your right.
Cameron Diaz may be speaking for a lot of angry feminist in Hollywood, but contrary to what may be assumed, there are some women in Hollywood that fully understand how deeply abortion impacts the lives of women (and men) involved. Even though they wouldn't get invited to Oprah, they deserve to be heard. One of these women is Jennifer O'Neill, a model and actress who was forced to have an abortion early in her life. I had the opportunity to hear her testimony during Texas Right to Life pro-life banquet earlier this month. Her Christ-centered testimony that night was very touching. Although her book “From Fallen To Forgiven” dives far deeper than she could possibly have in an hour, she brought most of the audience to tears with her openness and honesty. She is heavily involved in an outreach organization, Silent No More, that seeks to dispel the myth that an abortion is no more serious to a woman physically and emotionally than removing a wart or a “mass of cells”. For a press release issued last month, Jennifer O'Neill described why she is driven to reach out to post-abortive women. She says:
“Sharing how my faith and the knowledge of God's truth brought me forgiveness, healing and closure after years of pain and regret is an awesome privilege. To have the opportunity to encourage and comfort the hearts of women who have suffered is humbling, and making the whole truth known about abortion is absolutely necessary.”
Diaz, however, would rather suggest that the pro-life movement is far more damaging to women than abortion ever can be. Please, if you can, tell your friends, family, and neighbors what Diaz really thinks about abortion and unborn children. It's likely they won't hear this from the major networks and newspapers; but if there is enough outcry from conservatives and the American public, perhaps more people can come to understand how radical the pro-abortion movement really is.

Permalink | Miscellaneous

September 30, 2004, 11:42 AM

Updated: One riot, one ranger

By Matt Bramanti

FoxNews.com is reporting that the Texas Rangers may be on the Burkett/CBS case. (It's the fifth story down.):
On Wednesday, 52 Republican congressmen urged Texas' attorney general and the U.S. attorney in Lubbock to investigate who created the bogus documents at the heart of the now discredited CBS News story accusing bush of shirking his Guard duties. “We request an immediate criminal investigation and prosecution if warranted. Our interest is whether any state or federal crimes were committed,” the lawmakers said. Texas Attorney General Greg Abbott has already forwarded the lawmakers' request to the investigative division of the Texas Rangers.
I've contacted the Rangers to find out more, and I'll pass it along as soon as I hear back. If the Rangers are conducting an investigation, I'm confident we'll get to the bottom of this. I'd go up against the IRS, SEC, and HCAD before I'd cross a Texas Ranger; they're the best in the business. Update, 1:29 p.m.: A spokeswoman for the Department of Public Safety confirmed that the Rangers have received the letter, and are currently weighing their options. There is currently no investigation underway. “That decision has not yet been made,” the spokeswoman said.

Permalink | News and Views - Texas

September 30, 2004, 09:40 AM

Chron joins foreign exchange program

By Matt Bramanti

A day after the Emir of Qatar spoke at Rice University, the Chronicle's editorial board is lavishing praise on the enlightened utopia that is the emirate of Qatar:
Qatar's benign despot has placed his bets on improved education at home and partnerships with energy companies and other investors abroad. While his neighbors criticize Qatar's attraction of foreign capital and openness to Western culture and learning, Qatar has largely escaped the social upheaval and violence that plagues much of the Middle East.
Well, it's nice to know absolute power is okay, as long as it's “benign.” This comes just a few days after the Chron ran a column claiming Sheikh Hamad bin Khalifa Al-Thani wants the Middle East to “embrace pluralism rather than authoritarianism.” I'll bet. By the way, Qatar's government is run by the emir, who overthrew his father (I guess he just couldn't wait for the old man to die), then selected his brothers as prime minister and deputy prime minister. The legislature is appointed by His Highness, while elections are for consultative postions only. The country's “openness” has resulted in zero political parties and one television station. The Peninsula, an English-language paper in Qatar, also reported on His Highness' visit to the Bayou City. Of course, there was the obligatory plug for Yasser Arafat and his terror corps:
“At the same time we can’t allow embarking on reforms to keep us back from solving the Palestinian cause.” the Emir said in a speech delivered at the James Baker III Institute for Public Policy at Rice University in Houston town. (snip) The Emir and H H Sheikha Mouzah bint Nasser Al Missned on Tuesday visited offices of the Houston Chronicle newspaper. During the visit, the Emir and his wife met Jack Sweeney, the Publisher and President of the newspaper and senior editors there.
How nice! I hope Sweeney hit that billionaire up for a subscription. The Chron could use some good old fashioned oil money.

Permalink | News and Views - Houston

September 30, 2004, 09:04 AM

Updated: Bombing in Iraq kills 35 children

By Owen Courrèges

This latest bombing is truly horrible, especially given that it apparently targeted children. Still, given the depravity of the Iraqi insurgents, it's not altogether unexpected:
At least three bombs exploded near a U.S. convoy in western Baghdad today, killing 34 children and three adults, a hospital official said. Hours earlier, a suicide car bombing killed a U.S. soldier and two Iraqis on the capital's outskirts.
At this moment, though, I'd like to take the opportunity to quote something that Michael Moore wrote back in April:
The Iraqis who have risen up against the occupation are not “insurgents” or “terrorists” or “The Enemy.” They are the REVOLUTION, the Minutemen, and their numbers will grow — and they will win.
Not to smear the left with too broad a brush, but given Moore's box office numbers, I have to wonder how he's gotten so many fans of the liberal persuasion (including, apparently, Senate Minority Leader Tom Daschle). Doesn't it bother these people that he supports child-murderers? Update, 1:40 p.m.: AP now reports the death toll at 35 children, not 34. They also have a disturbing photograph posted.

Permalink | News and Views

September 30, 2004, 06:45 AM

Spring Valley Taxes

By Rob Booth

There's some contradictory info out there about why taxes are going up in Spring Valley. Houston Chronicle: Spring Valley taxes to rise 27 percent
Infrastructure renovations, I-10 project cited as needs for funds [snip] The city also needs to make up for projected revenue losses from the removal of 56 homes and the loss of sales tax income from businesses that are required to relocate because of construction on I-10. [snip] Councilman Bruce Spain said too many people have the idea that the city is only raising taxes to address needs associated with the I-10 renovation project. “If I-10 were not expanding, we would still be raising taxes this much,” he said. "The only impact of I-10 is on the time line of certain projects.
Kudos to the reporter, Ronald Walker, for having both sides of the discussion in the article. In the morning, I suppose in yesterday's paper, there was this article: Around The Area
SPRING VALLEY Tax rate will increase 27% Spring Valley City Council on Tuesday voted to raise the city's property tax rate to 51.3 cents per $100 valuation, up 27 percent from the 2003-04 rate of 40.6 cents. The city needs to make up for projected revenue losses resulting from the removal of 56 homes and the loss of sales tax income associated with businesses required to relocate because of the Katy Freeway construction project. City officials say they also need extra money to rebuild its infrastructure and comply with a state mandate to convert its water supply to surface water sources.
The main reason I've seen stated in the Chronicle for the tax rate increase is the Katy Freeway expansion. That may be because they're mostly talking to the mayor and that's his position. I'm curious to see what the answer is. I'll try to do some poking around.

Permalink | News and Views - Houston

September 30, 2004, 06:44 AM

Chron says layoffs won't compromise quality journalism... Well, duh!

By Owen Courrèges

Houston Chronicle Publisher Jack Sweeney claims that the Chronicle's restructuring plan, which will entail layoffs, shouldn't affect the Chronicle's already hideously low journalistic standards (from ABC 13):
The Houston Chronicle plans a restructuring of its business that will include staff cuts, Publisher and President Jack Sweeney said. Sweeney, in a letter to employees on Monday, said the restructuring will include the creation of new niche publications as well as reductions in operating expenses, including the elimination of staff positions. [...] Sweeney said the Chronicle will address expenses without compromising quality journalism and service to advertisers.
Of course the restructuring can't harm what the Chon doesn't produce. 'Quality journalism' is something of an oxymoron if you work at the Chronicle. Right now, I'm just hoping that they lay off Cragg Hines...

Permalink | Chron Bias

September 30, 2004, 06:30 AM

Political arrogance at an all time high

By Dan Patrick

Yesterday morning on KSEV, Edd Hendee interviewed Harris County Commissioner, Steve Radack, asking him why he did not support cutting the tax rate for Harris County homeowners. As a long time friend of Radack, I was stunned at his anti-taxpayer attitude. Radack had done a good job as commissioner over the years. He gives a lot of time to various charities. He was instrumental in helping Be An Angel establish our Christmas light show years ago. However, all of his good deeds in the past do not give him the right to totally dismiss the desperate needs of his constituents who need property tax relief now. Radack copped the same attitude with Edd, as State Senator Jon Lindsay did with me a few months ago on my show, when Lindsey showed utter disrespect for the plight of homeowners and their ever-increasing tax bills. I have run into this type of arrogance in Austin every time I have gone there to fight for property tax relief. I could understand being dismissed if I were dealing with members of the democratic party, but Radack, Lindsay and most of the crew in Austin that have turned their back on the homeowners are republicans. Conservative voters who expected their political leaders to work towards reducing spending and taxes elected these men and women. The voters are now realizing they may have voted for the biggest “Rino” heard in the U.S. What is especially frustrating in the latest commissioners no vote for tax relief is that the county now has almost a quarter of billion dollars in excess funds above budget requirements. If a politician can’t give the taxpayers a break when the government is flush with cash, then when will it. The commissioners will be taking in almost 50 million more in revenue this year due to higher property appraisals. They could not even find it in their heart to give the homeowners a small piece of that increase back in a lower tax rate. The decision to stick it to the voters was not only wrongheaded, but also heartless. How is it that a politician seems to be for the people when they are asking for campaign money and votes and then against the people after taking office? Radack should go back and listen to the tape of his interview. He should be embarrassed. He blamed the citizens for voting for stadiums and other infrastructure as the reason that he could not give the voters a tax break. He was defiant saying that it was the people’s fault. How dare he blame his heartlessness on the people. Radack did admit in the interview that the stadiums had cost taxpayers a billion dollars. This is the first time that any elected official has admitted that local taxpayers are picking up the tab. I had forecast in 1995 that voting for the baseball stadium would end up costing taxpayers a billion dollars. I was attacked and laughed at by every politician and leading businessman in the city at that time. Ken Lay accused me of trying to destroy the city by fighting against the sports authority. It seems to me that Ken has done a lot on his own to help destroy the lives of many Houstonians, not me. Now, Radack has the nerve to use the stadium as one of the reasons he can’t give you a tax cut. Not only is that argument bogus, it is insulting. The commissioners can go back and vote again. They can re-think their position. I am asking you to contact all of the commissioners and ask them to call another vote and to support a tax cut for property owners. If at the end of the day, these commissioners and their counterparts in Austin continue to ignore the homeowners and continue to forget who they work for, then the people will have no other choice but to fire all of them the first chance they have at the ballot box. Many of you have watched the debate between CLOUT, myself, Edd and Paul over property tax relief for the last few years. We have told you how the league of counties and cities in Texas have fought us every inch of the way to stop the government from reducing the appraisal rates. The latest action by Harris county commissioners shows you why they have fought so hard to stop you from getting tax relief. The counties and cities never have enough money in their opinion. The appraisal increases are a hidden tax increase every year that they do not want to give up. Even now when Harris County has a huge surplus they won’t give you even a small tax cut. This is war. They are fighting to keep their power and you are fighting to keep your home. What are you going to do about it? If you want to fight you can do the following: 1. Join CLOUT today at CLOUTTEXAS.com 2. Send a donation (whatever you can afford) so we can fight the special interests and lobbyists. It takes money to wage a political battle. 3. Get all of your family members, friends and co-workers to join. 4. Educate everyone you know about how the government is out of control and unless something is changed soon, people will be forced out of their homes in the next 7 years due to property taxes. 5. Get to know your local state rep, senator and commissioner. Call them regularly and let them know you demand a reduction in the appraisal cap to 3%, as suggested by the Governor. Be polite and brief, but let them hear from you. 6. Call all of the Harris County Commissioners now and ask them to vote again and this time give the taxpayers a rate cut. 7. If you have friends around the state, call them. We need pressure from all areas of Texas. 8. Start up a group in your neighborhood to fight to keep your homes. This January the legislature will meet again for their semi-annual session. During the last two years the legislature has done nothing to solve the property tax problem or the school finance problem. You will have to monitor them closely this year and let your rep and senator know that no matter how long they have been in office and no matter how much good they have done in the past, that if they don’t fix these two problems, you will support someone else in 2006. I have predicted for the last seven years that we would have a tax crisis in this state. The Governor Bush agreed with me that it was only a matter of time before the taxpayers revolted. I predicted the huge increase we are experiencing. If nothing is done in the near future, the average home value in Texas will reach over $500,000 by 2015 and over a million by 2024. Will you be able to afford a tax bill of $15,000 to $30,000 a year? If the republicans do not fix this problem soon, they will open the door for the democrats to take power again. The republicans wanted control of the state and now that they have had it, they haven’t done much with it. Property taxes and school finance are the two biggest issues in our state. The lack of action by the commissioners yesterday and the arrogance of Steve Radack and others over the last few years, shows that they still don’t get it.

Permalink | News and Views

September 30, 2004, 02:07 AM

Catch me if you can

By Dan Patrick

I will be on channel 2 tonight immediately after the debate to give my opinion on how Kerry and President Bush perform. I hope you will tune in and then call in on Friday to compare my opinion with yours.

Permalink | News and Views

September 29, 2004, 08:25 PM

Bush, Cheney Make Historic Hang Glider Landing On Aircraft Carrier (Satire)

By Matt Forge

The campaign season came to one hum-dinger of a climax today when earlier this morning President Bush and Vice President Dick Cheney made a rather unorthodox yet daring stunt. It appears that Bush talked Cheney into hang gliding out into the Atlantic to land on an aircraft carrier. “C'mon, Dickey,” I [Bush] said. “Let's see if we can do it. And if we survive, think of the media buzz it'll stir!” At first Cheney was hesitant. He wanted to consult his physician, but the Prez wouldn't let him dial out. After a few moments of taunting and calling him a momma's boy, Cheney popped a couple of nitros and hollered, “Let's roll!” So unbeknownst to their wives, the public or the media, yesterday they geared up on top of the White House and launched themselves off the West Wing roof. Catching an updraft, they soared across the White House lawn barely clearing the trees. As Bush and Cheney were manning the single sailing wing, a battalion of secret service were following close behind in their own gliders. The Prez and Veep formed the head of this aerodynamic v-shaped flock of flying officials. At first they drifted around Washington hitting all the major tourist spots: The Lincoln Memorial, The Jefferson Memorial, Capitol Hill (where they dropped a few water balloons), and The Washington Monument (Cheney rather enjoyed skimming across the reflecting pool). But soon it was time to get down to campaign business, so after spiraling up The Washington Monument, causing Dick to become dizzy, they headed out for the ocean soaring high above the countryside (and all democratic protesters). Once out over the Atlantic, they hit the jet stream catapulting them towards the carrier. Bush was amused that the unexpected jolt and acceleration caused Cheney to “feed the fish.” He razzed the 2nd in command for the better part of their flight which grew tiresome after a while. As the clear blackness of night gave way to the streaming florid rays of dawn, and as the twinkling stars that guided their way faded into the bluing morn sky, the carrier became visible off on the horizon. Bush woke Cheney and told him to prepare for landing. After circling a few times and receiving landing clearance, the two made their approach. Coming in from behind they swooped down onto the deck. However, due to a slight miscalculation in distance, they were forced to perform a “touch-n-go” in which they had to keep running and take-off on the front of the ship in order to try and land again. Crew reported that this touch-n-go looked and sounded like the Flintstones running their leg-powered cars. So they circled around, made another approach, and landed safely. The secret service behind them landed as well in a single line one after the other. The gliders were stored on deck. The two were greeted with thundering applause and cheers. Cheney made a quick trip to the head, Bush was not in need of toiletry services. After a short speech and pleasantries with the crew, it was time to fly again. W. informed Dick that they were to take off and make their way to the Persian Gulf. Cheney promptly declined and hitched a helicopter ride back to the states. Bush took off to more thundering applause and cheers, as well as a 50 kite salute. As the day-glo kites, hovering high above the ship, waved good-bye to the Commander in Chief , he turned around, gave a salute, and yelled, “God bless America!” The President was last seen sailing over the ocean with the secret service and a wayward gaggle of honking geese following close behind.
Truly historic.

(The above story, though based on actual events, is satire or parody. It is meant for entertainment only and is NOT true.) Note: This is a story I did for another site some time back. I though it was fun and worthy of reposting here. -Matt

Permalink | Humor

September 29, 2004, 04:30 PM

The story so nice, they reported it twice

By Rob Booth

Yesterday, David noted that the Houston Chronicle reproduced an AP story on the Crawford, Texas newspaper endorsing Senator Kerry for President. Today, the Chronicle put up a Julie Mason article on the Crawford, Texas newspaper endorsing Senator Kerry for President. They must like that story. Was it in the “paper” paper twice? They threw a free one in my driveway yesterday, but I didn't read it.

Permalink | Miscellaneous

September 29, 2004, 02:10 PM

Kerry's fairy stories

By Terry Bohannon

In an interview for Good Morning America with Diane Sawyer, Kerry told a few fairy stories. Even though the transcript ABC News has made public is not the complete interview, the two stories Kerry told in this clipping will put Dick Gephardt to shame. For his first story, Kerry implies that President Bush was following the leadership he set forth, that “each step of the way”, John F. Kerry took the lead. He said:
KERRY: I am not the president today. But each step of the way, I've laid out a plan for success, and each step of the way the president had always been following — always later, never the one who is initiating the things to make it successful.
We can't be sure why Kerry said this. It's possible that he's reaching out to those people who think Cheney's really in charge. Maybe the people who believe that would believe this fairy story, but for the rest of us, it just doesn't pan out. Of the three bills Kerry sponsored in the Senate Armed Services committee in the 108th congress, only one had a single co-sponsor, Ted Kennedy. The leadership that it would take for a senator to singlehandedly steer the President in foreign policy would have to be tremendous. We must ask what kind of leadership Kerry's referring to when he says, “I've laid out a plan for success, and each step of the way the president had always been following.” His Senate record doesn't give evidence to this claim. In fact, those three bills he sponsored (of 48 that session) all failed to reach the Senate floor for a vote. With that in mind, it doesn't sound like Kerry is much of a leader. Perhaps Kerry is as disillusioned about his leadership ability as Gephardt is about his billionaire friend. The next story Kerry tells involves flip-flopping, although Kerry goes to great lengths not to mention the F word, he does talk around it. After Diane Sawyer asked him about “Bush campaign's insistence about flip-flopping”, and mentions that “53 percent of the voters in a recent poll think that you change your mind too often.” Kerry responds to this by first admitting the success 'that word' has had:
I think their advertising, and their effort over these last months — to use that word — have been particularly successful. I give them credit for it. But it doesn't reflect truth, nor does it reflect the truth of George Bush's record.
So, after admitting that the definition of him being a flip-flopper is “particularly successful”, he continues to tell the fairy story that “it doesn't reflect truth” that he's a flip-flopper. If that were so, and he was as consistent as he claims, the tag of flip-flopper would leave most people who hear it clueless. Flip-flop wouldn't work, it would be like calling Kerry a masterful leader — that's just not a natural assumption people are going to make. When he supports Iraq to vote against funding it, to then claim that he “did vote for the $87 billion before I voted against it,” the public sees inconsistency. The public sees inconsistency when Kerry tells the public that “I think it was the right decision to disarm Saddam Hussein, and when the President made the decision, I supported him, and I support the fact that we did disarm him” during the Democratic presidential candidate debate (source), to then suggest that Iraq would have been safer with Saddam when he said “we have traded a dictator for a chaos that has left America less secure” in a speech before NYU last week. The reason people come to believe Kerry is inconsistent, is because he is. Yet that doesn't stop Kerry from making the attempt to rhetorically divert attention from his title of flip-flopper by claiming that since President Bush isn't a flip-flopper, neither is he. After saying that 'flip-flopper' doesn't reflect President Bush's record when he said “nor does it reflect the truth of George Bush's record,” he tries to paint the President as inconsistent. Kerry said:
[George Bush] said he wouldn't go to the U.N., then he goes to the U.N., who said he didn't support homeland security and then he supports homeland security, who said he wasn't going to support the 9/11 commission and then he supports it, then he says he won't testify, then he goes to testify. I can run down the longest list I've ever seen of switches in George Bush's position, but I think it's important for the American people to focus on what we're going to do to change their lives.
The best way for someone to prove that they are not a flip-flopper, is to show how they're consistent. By pointing to President Bush, and claiming that flip-flopper “doesn't reflect truth” to either President Bush or himself, he tries to nullify the word “flip-flopper” itself. Besides showing how weak his defense is, he does make one critical mistake. Kerry does not understand what it is about President Bush that's consistent, or what it is about him that's inconsistent. President Bush's leadership is consistent mostly because our President believes in truth, in right and wrong, and is guided by principles. Kerry, however, is not bound by any steady principles at all, and whether or not he believes in truth, in right and wrong, his consistent inconsistency hints that he is not guided by those beliefs. As Kerry swims in nuances and tells stories, the only thing he has to lose is the voters' confidence. In this upcoming debate, it is more important for Kerry to connect to voters on a personal level than rhetorically win the debate by flooding the airwaves with nuances and stories such as the ones he told Diana Sawyer. Perhaps the mistakes Kerry makes, even if he's orange, will give President Bush another bounce in the polls after the debate.

Permalink | News and Views

September 29, 2004, 12:22 PM

Burkett: talk radio and critics are “terrorists”

By Phil Magness

Persons stating themselves to be the children of Bill Burkett, the Democratic Party of Texas activist at the center of the Rathergate forgery scandal, have unloaded an internet salvo at the talk radio shows and bloggers who brought down CBS' efforts to smear President Bush: we're all “terrorists.” The comments appear on a new web blog, www.billburkett.us, that appears to be hosted out of Dallas by persons stating themselves to be Mr. Burkett's family members. The site was created last week in conjunction with Radio Left, an internet syndicated far left talk network. Says the Burkett message:
There's a war going on in America. The result will define whether America remains a Democracy. The prize is the heart and soul of our country, the Constitutional freedoms and Bill of Rights we cherish and depend upon. And someone has decided that our Dad is the enemy. George Bush, Rush Limbaugh, Sean Hannity and the FreeRepublic terrorists would have you believe our Dad is a criminal.
The article continues with several criticisms of CBS and other participants in the story yet also contains two revelations. First, the article concedes that Burkett “only lied to protect his source” of the forged memos - an open concession of what many have suspected all along. Second is an incorrigable claim that the memos may not be forgeries! “They have not been conclusively proven either authentic or fake as of now.” The evidence of the forgeries, however, is virtually irrefutable and has survived without substantial challenge since those crucial days following the infamous CBS broadcast on September 9th.

Permalink | News and Views

September 29, 2004, 09:26 AM

How I know I haven't been desensitized by Hollywood...

By Owen Courrèges

I know that this type of thing is common in the entertainment industry (see Michael Douglas and Catherine Zeta-Jones), but I still feel revulsion whenever I read about it:
Billy Joel is getting married this weekend to a woman who's four years older than his daughter. “Access Hollywood” says Joel will tie the knot with Katie Lee at his estate on Long Island. She's 22 and a cooking student. He's 55 and the father of an 18-year-old daughter.
Say it with me, folks. Ewwwwwwwwwww!

Permalink | News and Views

September 29, 2004, 07:37 AM

SCOTUS to decide on property rights case

By Owen Courrèges

The Supreme Court has taken up a case involving the use of eminent domain to transfer property to developers for the purposes of urban planning. Put simply, the justices will decide if it's ok for your local government to take your home and hand it over to 7-11 (and trust me, that's not an understatement). Here are the gritty details:
The Supreme Court announced yesterday that it will decide whether the Constitution permits governments to transfer property from one private owner to another in the name of creating jobs and tax revenue — a case that could affect local economic development policy and individual property rights nationwide. Returning after a summer recess to the annual task of sifting the thousands of appeal petitions that have accumulated in their absence, the justices said they will hear the case of Kelo v. New London, Conn., No. 04-108, in which a group of New London residents say their constitutional rights would be violated by the poverty-stricken city's plans to buy up their homes and move them out to make room for a hotel-office-retail complex.
What I'm wondering is why the Supreme Court hasn't dealt with this issue before. After all, the right to property is secured by two separate amendments — the fifth, which applies to the federal government, and the fourteenth, which applies to state and local governments. Given this, I would think that the Court would have already recognized that property rights are unequivocally secured by the Constitution. And frankly, common sense alone should tell anyone that your property rights are violated if the government takes your house and gives it to somebody else. After all, it's my property. I don't care if the government doesn't like my house and would prefer to have a new office complex. That's the thing about rights — they aren't subject to the mere whim of government. To violate them requires exigent circumstances, cases where the public good vastly outweighs private interest. These cases are obviously quite limited. Sadly, given the Court's record, I have little confidence that they will make the right decision. The Court has a history of ignoring genuine constitutional freedoms (i.e. the right to bear arms) in favor of those they fabricate themselves (i.e. the right to privacy). To these people, the Constitution is just so much toilet paper.

Permalink | News and Views

September 29, 2004, 07:00 AM

Is KPRC the “rino” of radio stations ?

By Dan Patrick

I was amused by the decision of KPRC's Ken Charles to take Rather off of the air. Even though ChronicallyBiased.com is affiliated with KSEV, we surely don't hide from mentioning our competition, good or bad. We have also given the Houston Chronicle praise in the few rare times it was deserved. However, in this case, Charles deserves no credit. He is simply grandstanding, once again pretending to be a conservative. Along the way he destroyed another once great news radio station, KTRH. It was his brilliant idea to downgrade their news for liberals like Sam Donaldson. That was a disaster. It was the same Ken Charles who took over KPRC in 2000 and declared that his station would no longer cover conservative politics or discuss God on the air, as he took his station in a liberal direction. It was only after his station sank in the ratings that he made an about face and suddenly re-programmed his station back to a conservative format. Now, the same station that told conservative callers to take a hike back in 2000, when they complained about the liberal direction of KPRC under Charles, has become a born again conservative station waving the republican flag. This is the same Ken Charles who misled many national conservative hosts back in 2000 by promising to air their shows live. He either didn't air the shows at all or put the shows on late at night. The prime examples of his misdirection were in keeping Laura Ingraham off of the air in Houston for almost a year with his false promises; he also buried Sean Hannity late at night, after promising Sean a live clear. Sean called me in frustration at Charles' dealings, but was afraid to move to us in fear of retaliation at the hands of Clear Channel. (CC carried his show in other markets.) Charles did these things because he did not want any conservatives on the air back in 2000 and 2001. He didn't want their shows and he made sure no one else could get them. He had no choice with Rush. He wanted a “hot talk” format that bordered on trash talk and liberal ideas. When that format flopped he suddenly became a fan of national conservative hosts. I'm glad he passed on Laura. She is doing very well for us. However, I hear that he plans to cancel Sean Hannity from his live spot in 2005. We will find room for Sean if Charles doesn't want him. He has been obsessed with beating KSEV in the ratings. I'm not sure why. We are a lone independent station without the clout of Clear Channel. He has done well since he made an about face in his format. However, in the latest spring ratings, KSEV won the morning battle. Without Rush, Charles would be in deep trouble. Any station that has Rush as their mainstay can't lose in the ratings. I know, I built my radio business around Rush. The truth is, while ratings are important to us, I am more concerned about making a difference in our community. Where is KPRC when it comes to supporting our cause for property tax relief? Missing in action. Where was KPRC when we needed help to over turn the rain tax? Missing in action. (Thank goodness we got it done with the help of Norman Adams) And when I wrote my book about God and donated all of the profits to charity, Charles went on the air and mocked me and the Word of God. Yet, when KPRC held patriotic rallies downtown for the last two years, we gave them free on air plugs and praised their efforts. We have come to know a “rino” as being a republican politician in name only. Ken Charles is a radio “rino.” One last note on his grandstanding by canceling Rather. When I ran KPRC I cancelled Rather back in 1996 when we signed our agreement with CBS. It didn't take me very long to determine Rather's views did not mesh with mine or our listeners. The fact that Charles put Rather back on in 2000 and kept him on, until a few weeks ago, says all that needs to be said on what Charles really thinks of Rather. Before “Rathergate,” Dan was Ken's kind of guy. Less anyone think this is sour grapes, this is not the case. I have more freedom than ever on air and God has richly blessed me and KSEV. I left Clear Channel on very good terms and the Chairman of the Board, Lowry Mays and the President of the company, Mark Mays, continue to be close friends. There is room enough in this city for two good conservative talk stations. I congratulate KPRC for their about face turn. I'm still a Rush admirer. I owe him a lot. They also have some fine talent. I just don't like phonies who pretend they are one of us and pretend to be supportive of the conservative Christian cause when they are not; whether they be in Washington, Austin or down the radio dial. If KPRC would quit fighting us and instead join us to help promote conservative, Christian causes in our community and state, we could be a more powerful force for the principles in which we believe. Charles has done his grandstanding, now let's see if he's a rino or not. It is time for him to have KPRC work with CLOUT and KSEV to reduce property taxes and bring better government to Texas.

Permalink | News and Views

September 29, 2004, 06:45 AM

Harris County Commissioners refuse to cut taxpayers a break

By Dan Patrick

Once again the “rinos” have struck. Republicans in name only, rhinos, who hold sway in Harris County Commissioners Court, decided not to give homeowners a tax break yesterday; so much for their campaign promises of smaller government and looking out for you. The county figures to take in almost 50-million-dollars more in revenue this year due to increased appraisals. The county already has a 200-million-dollar surplus. The Commissioners had a chance to pass some of that increase in savings back to homeowners. They chose not to give you a break, not even a few bucks. In a debate with Harris County Tax Assessor, Paul Bettencourt, the county agreed with Paul that they had a surplus and would receive another windfall at a cost to homeowners. However, they apparently decided that they could do a better job of handling your money then you can. This is another example of why we need action in Austin. Local officials, even republicans, never seem to have enough. They are like the fat character in the Monty Python skit. He kept eating and eating and eating and eating. He never got enough. One day after a 20 course meal he exploded in the middle of the restaurant after eating one last thin wafer mint. One day the politicians are going to have one thin mint too many. Only this time, it will be the public who explodes in a full out tax revolt.

Permalink | News and Views

September 29, 2004, 06:28 AM

Thanks, WND!

By Rob Booth

WND: Site counters Houston Chronicle 'bias'
A new weblog has begun to keep an eye on the Houston Chronicle and report evidence of what the paper's critics believe is a leftward bias in its news coverage. ChronicallyBiased.com, an effort of Houston talk radio station KSEV, presents specific examples of questionable coverage at the Chronicle, which is Houston's only major newspaper.
Thanks to World Net Daily for the link and a hearty welcome to all the WND readers who have come over to take a look. Our focus is on Houston, but one of our writers, Phil Magness, broke some news on the Rathergate scandal. Here are links to some of his articles: CB Exclusive: Barnes' web of lies exposed
Disgraced former politician and Kerry for President co-chairman Ben Barnes made his scheduled appearance last night on 60 Minutes to levy allegations against President Bush's National Guard record. As CB first reported, Barnes' primary allegation - that he used the Texas Lieutenant Governor's office to secure a National Guard appointment for George W. Bush - is fraught with errors and inconsistencies, most notably the fact that Barnes was not even Lieutenant Governor in May of 1968 when Bush enlisted.
CBS' “new” Bush guard memos a hoax?
UPDATE: NEW PROOF OF FORGERY - SCROLL TO END Four supposedly “new” memos highlighted along side the Ben Barnes charade on last night's 60 Minutes may have been forged according to reports by CNS News. The memos, dating from 1972 through 1974, allegedly document George W. Bush's refusal to follow an order in the Texas Air National Guard, or so claims the Associated Press. They have since been circulated by Democrat operatives to bolster long standing allegations against the President's service record during the Vietnam era.
CBS forgery scandal deepens, possible Kerry link reported
The CBS memo forgery developments that originated from the internet blogosphere yesterday, Chronically Biased included, have exploded into a full fledged scandal for CBS and the Kerry Campaign.
Rather stands his ground, defends forgeries as “true”
The Drudge Report is reporting that CBS Anchor Dan Rather will stand his ground on the developing memo forgery scandal. Says Rather:
Click the article's title to see the full story.

Permalink | Miscellaneous

September 28, 2004, 08:09 PM

Kerry Courts Halloween Moms

By Matt Forge

Cambridge, MA (CB) — The Democratic presidential hopeful has thrown caution to the wind and dramatically altered his appearance to woo a certain untapped voting block - Halloween moms.

There is also debate as to whether the move has another intended result. Some political strategists speculate that Kerry is also trying to win the ever-accurate halloween mask poll.

My prediction is that Bush wins by a landslide because, well, think about it... who in the world wants to wear a mask of Kerry's sour face?

Bush in a landslide this November - Put your money on it!

Permalink | Political Cartoons

September 28, 2004, 04:19 PM

James Campbell: Found!

By Rob Booth

The Virginian-Pilot: Signs of fakery unheeded by CBS
Here we go again, I thought, as Dan Rather and CBS News began coming under increasing fire for their “60 Minutes” broadcast seemingly nailing President Bush for skipping out on some of his Vietnam-era National Guard service. [snip] Aside from damaged credibility, James T. Campbell, reader representative at the Houston Chronicle, sees another fallout from the CBS debacle. “I think what will result is mainstream media, unfortunately, taking a more cautious approach to doing stories that may be remotely damaging to Bush or his administration.” Interestingly, Campbell sees a “paradox at play here. People who consider themselves liberal may have some skepticism about the media in general, but had no problems with this particular story because they probably saw it as helping their candidate. ”Ultimately, any time you have a story like this blow up because of shoddy journalism or protectionism it hurts all of us. It means we must go the extra step to vet bias and safeguard our credibility."
I guess they haven't been going the extra step until now.

Permalink | Chron Bias

September 28, 2004, 03:25 PM

Chronicle gives voice to baseless editorial

By M. Wildes

The Chronicle reported today that the Lone Star Iconoclast (Crawford, Texas), “President Bush’s hometown paper” endorsed Kerry. The Chronicle quoted the editorial:
…Texans should rate the candidates not by hometown or political party, but by where they intend to take the country. “Four items trouble us the most about the Bush administration: his initiatives to disable the Social Security system, the deteriorating state of the American economy, a dangerous shift away from the basic freedoms established by our founding fathers, and his continuous mistakes regarding Iraq,” the editorial said. (snip) The newspaper praised Kerry for “30 years of experience looking out for the American people” and lauded his background as “a highly decorated Vietnam veteran.”
The editorial says to rate candidates on “where they intend to take the country.” Any non-partisan person should be able to realize that President Bush is not attempting to “disable” the Social Security System but to fix an already disabled system. Bush is not “deteriorating” the economy but has led the nation in one of its greatest recoveries. He has taken America from recession, corporate scandals, 9/11 and the technology bubble to levels equal to what they where before he took office and without a bubble. If the Iconoclast is speaking of the Patriot Act as Bush’s way of taking away basic freedoms, Kerry voted for it. If they are talking about weapons of mass destruction as mistakes in Iraq, Kerry voted for the war based on the same intelligence. Let me remind them that it took years to restore democracy in Europe and many more lives. When World War II was over, the violence and resistance still raged on. President Bush wants to take us to a safer place, with a continuingly greater economy, that includes financial security for our seniors. I wonder if the Iconoclast realizes that Kerry’s 30 years of “looking out for the American people” includes many years of increasing their taxes and cutting spending on their security. I would like to thank the Chronicle for giving a voice to this little paper with a “circulation of 425.” Your agenda is clear.

Permalink | Chron Bias

September 28, 2004, 10:40 AM

OIL gone WILD!

By Terry Bohannon

Yesterday, oil prices shot up to record levels in the immediate response to the news that “Rebels in Nigeria threatened to attack oil installations in the Niger Delta where Royal Dutch/Shell Group last week evacuated 235 workers from two facilities, Reuters reported.” Bloomberg continued to report that the fears of this reduced supply from Nigeria would “come on top of disruption in the Gulf of Mexico after Hurricane Ivan.” In the Chronicle's Outlook section Aug. 7, 2004, Michael J. Economides and Ronald Oligney, authors of “Color of Oil”, predicted that the price of oil could reach “$50, creeping up to that level next winter once OPEC's impotence becomes apparent.” They continue to explain that “There should be no illusions [about OPEC] after the past few years. The oil cartel has been rendered virtually powerless to affect oil prices in a big way, and its influence will be further reduced as the world continues its transition toward natural gas and coal gasification.” The current Secretary-General of OPEC, Purnomo Yusgiantoro from Indonesia, indicated that supply is not the major factor in the current rise of oil prices. AFX News reports this:
[OPEC] is still able to increase production, although lack of supply is not the reason behind the renewed rise in oil price, OPEC president Purnomo Yusgiantor said: “We can still add supply,” Yusgiantoro told reporters “We still have a spare capacity of 1.5 mln barrels per day until the end of the year. We will discuss this,” he said, without elaborating He blamed the renewed rise in oil prices to the impact of Hurricane Ivan in the Gulf of Mexico, but said the “real supply condition is now adequate.”
If the rise in oil price is not supply driven, and is in response to political upheaval in Nigeria, I think this indicates a problem with the oil market itself. Ronald Oligney, in an interview two years ago to Financial Sense Online's “Ask the Expert”, said:
“It's odd in a business in that in which you were to plot supply and demand over twenty years in a single line, it's amazing that we can have, based on a few news reports here and there, a single new number from the Energy Information Administration or the American Gas Association, we can have a 50 percent swing in the prices of our commodity. That's not extremely logical. ”And that lack of logic, of course, scares everybody. It scares the consumers, it scares politicians, and it certainly makes investors shy away from the industry since it's very difficult to predict what's going to happen.“
And when we have a market that's driven by like-minded investors, upward swings can ride easily on the pessimism and fear of a few. Such as the Reuters press release that Bloomberg quoted, that ”Shell last week evacuated 235 non-essential staff from two oilfields as troops launched raids on nearby communities to track down the militants." Perhaps there is little America or even OPEC can do in the short term to reduce the price of oil. However, there are ways to reduce the price of oil in the long term. For long term reduction, liberals call for consumers to reduce the energy they use at home and while driving. Their calls to changes in consummation habits will be ignored, and if they try to force it, they'll wreck the market even more. However, the sooner America taps the oil in Anwar and other drilling sites, the quicker we can become less energy dependent on OPEC and other oil supplying states. Even though it's unlikely that America will be energy independent, the inflow of crude from the Gulf, the coast of California, and even Alaska will reduce the pressure our oil refineries face in the face of political upheaval in Venezuela, Nigeria, or even with Yukos, a major Russian supplier. This is another reason why Nov. 2 will be a very important day. The decision our country makes that day will have long term effects on the oil futures market. We must choose a president who understands the oil industry well enough that he can initiate bills that allows America to wean off OPEC and the world energy market in general. We must choose congressmen who will vote for development in Anwar, for example. The choice is clear. Let's hope that American voters make the best decision on Nov. 2.

Permalink | News and Views

September 28, 2004, 07:59 AM

Chron leaps to defense of Planned Parenthood

By Owen Courrèges

We've always known that the Chronicle backs Planned Parenthood, which is by far the nation's largest abortion provider. They fund them. They gladly receive their awards. Accordingly, I fail to see why the Chronicle saw fit to give us their opinion about the tactics employed by pro-lifers in boycotting builders and design firms that do business with Planned Parenthood. Their views are, after all, a foregone conclusion:
In the past year, members of the anti-abortion movement in Texas have attempted to use boycotts for their own ends. But they've gotten some key tactics wrong. Rather than exemplifying peaceful resolve, they appear to be harassing, threatening, even lying about people they want to persuade. Even the movement's target — Planned Parenthood, a nonprofit organization dedicated to women's health — differs from the for-profit businesses targeted by boycotts in the past.
Sure, when people think of Planned Parenthood, all they think of is “a nonprofit organization dedicated to women's health.” Uh-huh. I'm certain the fact that they perform such a disproportionate number of abortions didn't even cross the Chronicle's mind. The truth is that Planned Parenthood rakes in a great deal of money from the abortion business. One might even say that they've cornered that particular market; their revenues certainly exceed their expenses. But even as a supposed nonprofit, Planned Parenthood can and should be influenced by advocacy. They aren't shielded by their status if what they're doing is wrong. The Chronicle only opposes these tactics because they don't want Planned Parenthood challenged. The issue isn't that they think construction boycotts are innately unfair, or anything of that nature. That wouldn't be worth writing an editorial about. What they find so objectionable is the idea that pro-lifers would stand up against an organization that the Chronicle supports. This explains why the Chron deems it necessary to trot out good ol' guilt by association to make its point:
Anti-abortion activists, meanwhile, deserve some credit for seeking a legal method in making their case. Unfortunately, too many members of their loose-knit movement have already used violence — including murder — in the cause's name. Last year, an abortion rights opponent drove a delivery van through the entrance of the Houston Planned Parenthood clinic. The driver had a long history of harassing Houston clinics and had served a year in federal prison for breaking a visiting doctor's windshield and threatening to kill him. It is incumbent on the law-abiding protestors, therefore, to make sure their boycott tactics are devoid of bullying, harassment and even veiled threats.
Gimme a break! The actions of a fringe minority of the anti-abortion movement have no bearing on the actions of mainstream groups. Nor do they have to act meek and passive in their advocacy because they Chronicle irrationally believes them to bear responsibility for a few unaffliliated wackos. This is why guilt by association doesn't work. You'd think the Chronicle would know that.

Permalink | Chron Bias

September 28, 2004, 07:38 AM

Dan Rather off the air at KPRC

By Owen Courrèges

Dan Rather may still be with on CBS, but at least in Houston, his radio broadcast is staying off the air:
Dan Rather's daily CBS radio broadcast is off the air where he grew up. Houston CBS radio affiliate KPRC hasn't been running it for the last couple weeks in reaction to his “60 Minutes” report questioning President Bush's National Guard service. “I felt no anchor ... should ever be the story or bigger than the story,” Ken Charles, program director of the news-talk station, said Monday. “I thought it was appropriate to take him off the air.”
It was very appropriate. I just hope that he never gets back on the air.

Permalink | News and Views - Houston

September 28, 2004, 06:46 AM

Westpark It!

By Rob Booth

So, yesterday I read this article in the Chronicle with great interest: Houston Chronicle: New Westpark Tollway section opens
Four additional miles of the westbound Westpark Tollway opened last week, giving drivers a faster trip to Texas 6 from the Galleria area. The tollway now has 12 miles of westbound lanes and eight miles of eastbound lanes. The eastbound stretch from Texas 6 to Old Westheimer is scheduled to open in mid-October.
I live near the intersection of the Westpark Tollway and Highway 6. (Aside: In my area we don't call it “Texas 6.” I guess they do in other parts of the county, but we call it “Highway 6.” We know what state we're in.) I drive the Westpark Tollway home every once in a while. I drive on Highway 6 over the intersection all the time. I thought it was pretty amazing that that interchange of the tollway was done so quickly. So last night, I got on the tollway heading west from the Sam Houston Parkway and sure enough, there's a big sign that says something like “Westbound Lanes Open to SH 6.” I zipped along and a while before Eldridge there was a sign that said “Southbound SH 6 Exit Eldridge,” or something like that. I was heading north on Highway 6, so I kept going and sure enough, the exit ramp from the tollway is complete. So, if you're heading west on the Westpark Tollway to Highway 6 south, the tollway is not done. According to Yahoo maps, you exit 1.2 miles before Highway 6. If you're going north, you're in luck. The Chronicle article is correct, but it isn't the whole story.

Permalink | News and Views - Houston

September 27, 2004, 08:23 PM

Does he have a contingency plan?

By Matt Forge

Sources:

New Kerry Ad Questions Bush Right Track, Wrong Track Comments

No French or German turn on Iraq

Permalink | Political Cartoons

September 27, 2004, 07:30 PM

AP's closing swipe at Bush

By M. Wildes

Today’s Chronicle contained a piece from the Associated Press about President Bush’s campaign, new ad, and his comments about Kerry and the war in Iraq. At the end of which, appeared the following statement :
The state's unemployment rate has risen to 6.3 percent and nearly 240,000 jobs have been lost since Bush took office in January 2001.
Appearing as the last sentence, the statement is unnecessary and has little to do with the story. The AP is both editorializing as to why the president is making numerous stops in one state and taking an opportunity to display disparaging data without examining its true nature and cause.

Permalink | Media Watch

September 27, 2004, 05:01 PM

Average Houston homeowner pays 106% more

By The Staff

This article was written by Paul Bettencourt, Harris County Tax Assessor This story has a headline that you haven’t seen in Houston yet, but like so many other stories on Chronicallybiased.com, it is true nevertheless and deserves more than just a passing reference. The average Houston home is up 106% in 2004, or $1,645.00 on their combined property tax bill since 1997, validating Dan Patrick’s use of the Rule of 72, Edd Hendee’s continuous CLOUT updates, and your Taxman’s predictions over the past several years. The bad news is that the property tax increase is worse than we ever thought originally. If you are typical of the quarter-million plus homeowners in HISD, for example, you will see a one-year increase in your home’s tax bill of 9.2% or $269 in just one year. Please look at the spreadsheet calculations done by the Tax Office on the whoppingly high tax bill you will pay this year. For those in other parts of the County, check out the two maps that show where all the 10% capped homes are located and what the value increase on all properties looks like in your neighborhood. By law, a homestead’s taxable value cannot increase by more than 10% in a single tax year, but every CLOUT member knows that’s not real property tax protection. Even in a non-reappraisal year, we have 181,000 homes that hit the cap. The map clearly indicates the highest concentration observed is inside the Beltway. Two-thirds of these homes are in the City where their recent tax relief of a half-cent on their City of Houston rate gives them some slight tax relief. The problem is that HISD’s and HCC’s tax rate increases, respectively, of nearly two-cents and the one and one-half cents (proposed) wipe out the Mayor’s and the Council’s gesture. Thus, more property tax relief is needed for homeowners. At the next Legislative Session, you can see why cutting the appraisal cap from 10% to 5% or less each year is truly needed for property tax relief statewide. All around the state of Texas, we are seeing the same pattern as single-family residences go up in value, many businesses see actual declines, causing the burden to shift to homeowners as a percentage of the tax roll each year. For example, in Harris County, the tax roll comes equally from where people live versus where they work! As recently as 1993, that percentage split was 39% to 61%. All property taxpayers should have protection from rapidly rising appraisals, so get ready to support Property Tax Relief as a part of School Finance reform next year. A bill filed in the 2003 legislature by Representative Bohac, with wide bi-partisan support, gave all real-property a 5% cap, passed in the House 134-0, but died in the Senate. We are going to work even harder to get this 5% or less appraisal cap issue passed the Senate in 2005, and with the Governor being the chief supporter of property tax relief statewide, he will no doubt sign it into law! Until then, remember to protest your property’s value if you have a case, call your elected officials that set tax rates and don’t fail to make your voice be heard on this important issue. It is not good government policy to have property tax bills averaging half of a thirty-year mortgage payment because you can always pay-off your banker, but never your Taxman.

Permalink | KSEV Topics

September 27, 2004, 10:32 AM

President's radio address rings with optimism

By Terry Bohannon

Saturday morning, President Bush gave an optimistic and memorable radio address on Iraq. He said, “In less than three months, Prime Minister Allawi and his government have accomplished a great deal.” Even though the accomplishments may surprise those who listen watch CNN and read the New York Times, it should not surprise those who saw President Bush and Interim Prime Minister Allawi's press conference Thursday. In that press conference Interim Prime Minister Allawi makes it clear that the fighting, the insurgency, is occurring in a relatively small area.
Let me explain something, which is very important. I have noticed — and the media have been neglected and omitted several times — Iraq is made out of 18 provinces, 18. Out of these 18 provinces, 14 to 15 are completely safe, there are no problems. And I can count them for you, starting from Basra moving into Iraq Kurdistan. There are three areas, three provinces where there are pockets of insurgents, pockets of terrorists who are acting there and are moving from there to inflict damage elsewhere in the country. So, really, if you care to look at Iraq properly, and go from Basra to Nasiriyah to Kut to Diyala to Najaf to Karbala to Diwaniya to Samaraa to Kirkuk to Sulaymaniyah to Dahuk to Arbil, there are no problems. It's safe, it's good. There are problems in Fallujah. Fallujah is part of a province; the province is called Al Anbar. It's vast, very big; it has many other important towns, such as Ana, such as Rawa, such as Ramadi. There is nothing there. In Ana and Rawa, indeed, there is nothing, no problem, except on a small pocket in Fallujah. So, really, I call upon the responsible media — throughout the world, not only here — to look at the facts as they are in Iraq and to propagate these facts to the international community.
The impression many have is that Iraq proper is as war-torn as Fallujah or Sadr City, yet in other cities and provinces, Iraq is getting back on its feet. As in Basrah, Iraq's third largest city. Before the supporting troops and engineers from New Zealand came home to allow Iraqi contractors to take over the reconstruction, they were working on “40 projects to restore key infrastructure, including the repair and refurbishment of hospitals, health clinics, schools, police stations, law courts, and municipal and government buildings,” according to an article by Scoop (NZ). Unlike many in the media, President Bush doesn't keep secret the progress Iraq, America, and the coalition are making in bringing freedom to Iraq. As our President makes clear in his radio address: President's Radio Address (audio) http://www.whitehouse.gov/news/releases/2004/09/20040925.html THE PRESIDENT: Good morning. This week, I was honored to welcome the Prime Minister of a free and sovereign Iraq to the White House. In less than three months, Prime Minister Allawi and his government have accomplished a great deal, despite persistent violence in parts of Iraq. The enemies of freedom are using suicide bombings, beheadings, and other horrific acts to try to block progress. We are sickened by their atrocities, but we will never be intimidated, and freedom is winning We're making steady progress in implementing our five-step plan toward the goal we all want: completing the mission so that Iraq is stable and self-governing, and American troops can come home with the honor they have earned. The first step was achieved on June 28th, not only on time, but ahead of schedule, when the coalition transferred full sovereignty to a government of Iraqi citizens. The second step is to help Iraq's new government establish stability and security. Nearly 100,000 fully trained and equipped Iraqi soldiers, police officers, and other security personnel are working today, and the Iraqi government is on track to build a force of over 200,000 security personnel by the end of 2005. In Najaf and other important areas, Iraqi military forces have performed with skill and success. The government's strategy is to surround and isolate enemy militias, reach out to the local population, and negotiate from a position of strength. Serious problems remain in several cities. Yet, Prime Minister Allawi believes this combination of decisive action and outreach to peaceful citizens is the most effective way to defeat the killers and secure the peace. And America stands with him. The third step in our plan is to continue improving Iraq's infrastructure. Today, in most of Iraq, children are about to go back to school, parents are going back to work, and new businesses are being opened. Electricity has been restored above pre-war levels. Telephone service has increased dramatically. In the next several months, more than $9 billion will be spent on contracts that will help Iraqis rebuild schools, refurbish hospitals and health clinics, repair bridges, upgrade the electrical grid, and modernize the communication system. Prime Minister Allawi and I agree that the pace of reconstruction can and should be accelerated, and we're working toward that goal. The fourth step in our plan is to enlist additional international support for Iraq's transition to democracy. The multinational force of some 30 nations continues to help secure a free Iraq, and we are grateful for the service and sacrifice of all. Our coalition is also grateful that the United Nations has reestablished it's mission in Baghdad. We are grateful to the G-8 countries and the European Union for pledging support to the new Iraqi government. We are grateful to the NATO Alliance for help in training Iraqi forces. And we are grateful to many of Iraq's creditors, which have agreed to a further reduction of Iraq's debt. The fifth and most important step in our plan is to help Iraq conduct free national elections no later than January. An Iraqi electoral commission has already hired personnel, and is making key decisions about election procedures. Just this week, the commission began a public education campaign to inform Iraqis about the process and encourage them to become voters. United Nations electoral advisors are on the ground in Iraq, and Prime Minister Allawi and I have urged the U.N. to send more personnel to help ensure the success of the Iraqi elections. The war for Iraq's freedom is a fight against some of the most ruthless and brutal men on Earth. In such a struggle, there will be good days and there will be difficult days. But every day, our resolve must remain the same: Iraq, America, and our coalition will stand firm, and Iraq will be free, the world will be more peaceful, and America will be more secure. Thank you for listening. END

Permalink | News and Views

September 27, 2004, 09:35 AM

Florida Moves

By Matt Forge

Governor Bush declares: “That's it, I've had enough. We're outta here!” He then tapped Haliburton to sever the state from the continental land mass and hired the largest fleet of tugboats ever assembled to relocate it to the Gulf of Mexico. Former President and Barbara Bush are glad to have their son close to them again. The new great lake will be called Lake Texida.

Permalink | Political Cartoons

September 27, 2004, 09:33 AM

New Poll

By The Staff

We have a new poll question up today: “Do you plan on watching the debates?” You can answer this question here. The results from our previous poll are here.

Permalink | Staff Notes

September 27, 2004, 08:38 AM

RAND study claims 'sprawl' causes health problems

By Owen Courrèges

I hate willful stupidity. I hate it when people who know better purposely put forth stupid studies to boost a specific agenda. RAND Corp.'s latest survey comparing “high-sprawl regions” with more dense regions is yet another sad example of this phenomenon:
Suburban sprawl, it appears, is bad for your health. A new study by the RAND Corp. think tank found that people in high-sprawl regions have more health problems such as diabetes, breathing difficulties, migraine headaches and high blood pressure. The study found that living in a high-sprawl area has the equivalent effect on your health as aging four years.
Snore. We've all seen this this before with those studies claiming that sprawl “causes” obesity, and this is merely the other side of that. If people in the suburbs happen to be slighly fatter than the average American, they'll probably have more health problems — especially with diabetes and high blood pressure — than a person living in the inner city. But does this mean that “sprawl” cases disease? No, that would be a stupid conclusion. You see, early on statisticians are taught this simple maxim: correlation is not causation. This means that simply because two things correlate, it does not follow that one caused the other. For example, let's say that I had a study comparing rates of deer hunting in the inner-city versus rural areas. To my utter shock, I find that rural areas have far higher rates of deer hunting. I thus conclude that living in rural areas makes one a deer hunter. Of course, the more likely explanation is that people who enjoy deer hunting choose to go to rural areas, and they're also more likely to live in them. It all boils down to one factor the researchers didn't consider — human choice. Human choice means that people who prefer a more sedentary lifestyle can move to the suburbs, and those who don't can elect to live in the inner city. And who would prefer a more sedentary lifestyle? Probably people with high blood pressure, diabetes, and migraine headaches. I know if I had those health problems I sure as heck wouldn't want to live in the middle of New York; it'd kill me. That's an alternative explanation, and one that seems likely given the facts. Yet Rand failed to even consider it, instead concluding that correlation was causation, that sprawl therefore “causes” health problems. That means that RAND apparently has some pretty stupid, politically-motivated researchers, and their data itself should thus be considered suspect.

Permalink | News and Views

September 27, 2004, 07:37 AM

Battleship Texas in dire need of restoration

By Owen Courrèges

As I'm sure our readers realize, I don't suggest using taxpayer funds lightly. In fact, I detest those who think that the dollars Texans pay to the government should be spent like cheap toilet paper (Molly Ivins, I'm looking at you). Still, when a project involves a symbol as meaningful as the Battleship Texas, I can't help but get behind it (from ABC 13):
Age, relentless corrosion from saltwater and tight budgets are doing what no bombs, torpedoes or bullets could accomplish. Sixteen years after the state spent $14 million to help preserve it, the nearly century-old Battleship Texas — the only remaining battleship to survive World Wars I and II — needs an overhaul to keep it from rusting away. “The ship is in need of significant repair,” said Steve Whiston, director of the infrastructure division of the Texas Parks and Wildlife Department, which maintains the 573-foot-long, 34,000-ton vessel in a berth on the Houston Ship Channel. “There is corrosion at the water line. We're continuing to experience problems that cause us concern. And the ship, given its age, is pretty fragile.”
I have pictures of myself on one of the gun turrets of the Battleship Texas from before its last restoration, when I was only about four or five years old. It was in bad condition then; I can only imagine how much it has deteriorated by now. This is a ship that survived two world wars. It served on D-Day. Surely we can scrounge up the funds to keep it in good repair.

Permalink | News and Views - Houston

September 27, 2004, 07:30 AM

Mailing address for donations

By The Staff

Some of our readers requested that we post an address where you can send donations to Chronically Biased. We aim to please so here is the address: Chronically Biased c/o KSEV Radio 11451 Katy Freeway Suite 215 Houston, TX 77079 Thank you.

Permalink | Miscellaneous

September 27, 2004, 06:16 AM

LCpl Casey Owens

By Rob Booth

Updates on LCpl Casey Owens On KSEV, Edd Hendee has been updating listeners on Casey's medical progress. There's a KHOU story: Local support for injured soldier in Iraq

Permalink | KSEV Topics

September 27, 2004, 06:06 AM

Property Taxes, Schools, and Slots

By Rob Booth

There's a state where they're legalizing slot machines to reduce school property taxes. I'm not talking about Texas. Pittsburgh Business Times: Some good, not-so-good points in Pa. property tax reform
The General Assembly recently enacted highly contentious slot machine legislation. In a companion bill, the assembly passed a provision providing for school property tax relief through the use of the Commonwealth's 34 percent tax on gross gambling revenues at the slots venues. The slots proponents argue that the state can expect a billion dollars from the gaming tax in a few years when there are 30,000 machines up and running. If that is accurate, the billion dollars will be returned to school districts that opt to participate in the tax reform program. It is important to note that the reform will not result in a reduction of millage rates, but a homestead exemption. Based on a complicated formula, the amount of state money returned to each district will result in exemptions ranging from 12.5 to 50 percent of the average appraised value of homes in the district.
The situation isn't perfectly analagous to Texas, thank goodness. They have a state income tax.

Permalink | News and Views

September 26, 2004, 05:40 PM

What do you read?

By Rob Booth

I caught Dan on the Newsmakers show today and some of the discussion reminded me of this column that ran in the Houston Chronicle recently. Chronicle: Go ahead, partisans, and take pride in not reading this
Lucky me. I get the e-mails from voters who don't read newspapers, but defiantly rely on Fox only or Web sites (which I use all the time, too, as a supplement to mainstream news) to tell them only things they want to hear. I hear the same chorus from lefties who proclaim that they find the truth on the Web sites that tell them only what they want to hear. Folks in newspapers are doing it, too. Some columnists even refer readers to unvetted blogs as good places to learn “facts.” Go to the Web sites and you, too, can learn about “Bush lies.” With an exposé on journalists who won't tell you “Bush lies.” One “Bush lies” site even touts a letter by David Brock (who called Anita Hill “a little bit nutty, a little bit slutty,” then later said he lied about her) — so you know how that site is.
She touches on two thoughts here that have been rattling around in my head lately. 1. What do I read? I find it interesting that this is going to be the stereotype of those of us on the right who critique the media: We are all in the right-wing bunker and refuse to venture out into the world and be challenged by other views. It's interesting to me because that's not the way I get my news at all. Every morning, after reading Chronically Biased, I go to Google News. Google News is not edited by a person. They have some secret computer program that searches 4,500 online sources for news and then arranges them on the home page. It seems to do a pretty good job of arranging the home page to reflect what everyone is talking about. What's nice is that the first story link can be from any source in the world, from all different sorts of perspectives. For example, just now the top story is Hurricane Jeanne and the lead article is from the Moscow Times. Google News doesn't always reflect what I'm interested in, because some of my interests are pretty specific. For example, I follow Houston light rail stories pretty regularly. They don't make the Google News home page. So, I have a web page that contains links to search results on Google. For example, see this link. Now, it's not perfect. It searches all the sources for articles that contain the words Houston and rail in them. If you search it every day, however, you can separate the useful information from the non-useful pretty quickly. Plus, I don't have to rely on the Chronicle's coverage of light rail, or any other Houston news outlet for that matter. I get also get my news from non-online media, KSEV, CNN, MSNBC, Fox, etc. I kind of follow the same pattern in that I flip around the TV looking for topics I'm interested in, and don't exclude watching a channel because I disagree with their editorial stance. So, I'm curious about our readers. Do you get your news from only the conservative press, or do you go to resources that have an editorial point of view you don't agree with? Full disclosure regarding the Chronicle: I quit subscribing a long time ago because they couldn't get the paper to me before I left for work (I'm an early riser). The Leroy Sandoval story and others have made me happy not to give them any money. I read it online from the top down most every day, but that's more because of this gig. If I wasn't writing here, I'd be a casual reader of the Chronicle. 2. Would I lie to you? Ms. Saunders brings up the reliability of blogs as a source for information and how they are vetted. Several people have e-mailed us about that same thing. It's a fair question. I can assure you that I'm an honest person and never write anything that I know to be untrue. That wouldn't be good enough for me as a reader and it shouldn't be for you. The biggest source we have for corrections is our readership. Commenters are free to question the factual accuracy of what we post, in accordance with the guidelines. We do approve comments and don't let them be automatically added, but I think the number of comments that disagree with a CB writer's position and the fact that we have corrected stories are both evidence that we do allow ourselves to be held accountable by everyone. Also, I try to back up everything I write with some online reference that you can go check on your own. I do this particularly if I assert that a news organization has made a factual error. I don't know if blogs in general always do a better job of factual accuracy than do the major media, but I think we do quite well here.

Permalink | News and Views

September 26, 2004, 04:13 PM

Old, but ought to be mentioned

By Rob Booth

OK, this story is kind of old. I could argue that this is a story the Houston Chronicle missed, but it's pretty obscure. But really it's just the kind of story I find interesting and wanted to share with you all. Army Public Affairs: Army's cowboys visit wounded Soldiers
Rodeo fan appreciates visit Reclined in a bed on Ward 57, his foot blown off by a grenade Aug. 12 while pulling security in Baghdad, Cpl. John Oshia said he was glad to be alive. He said fragments in his vest were about a centimeter from where he was carrying high-explosive rounds. A Houston, Texas, native and rodeo fan, Oshia said he appreciated the visit. “I appreciate the fact that you have cowboys who actually care about injured Soldiers, to be able to spend time away from the rodeo, away from training just come out here and see us.” “It is nice to know that people care enough to take time out of their busy schedules to remember that some people are less fortunate and maybe are not able to do the things they would like right now,” remarked his mother, who also seemed to enjoy the visit.
When I say I “like” this story, obviously I don't like the fact that Cpl. Oshia lost his foot. I like the fact that there are humble people like Cpl. Oshia who volunteer to protect us. He thanks the people who came by to visit him. Cpl. Oshia is the one who deserves thanks.

Permalink | News and Views - Houston

September 26, 2004, 12:00 PM

Updated: Chronically Biased endorses Proposition 2

By The Staff

This November, Houston voters will have a choice between two city charter amendments dealing with local government's lack of fiscal discipline. Chronically Biased strongly endorses Proposition 2, a proven method of restraining out-of-control city government. Proposition 1 would limit the annual increase in city property tax revenue and water rates to the lower of 4.5 percent, or the combined rates of inflation and population growth. It does nothing to limit the overall city budget. In addition, the mayor's scheme panders to elderly voters by offering token “tax relief.” It raises the homestead exemption for senior citizens over a five-year period, saving elderly taxpayers less than $30 per year. It doesn't address the overall budget, however. If Prop 1 passes, expect to see higher fees on a variety of city services, from ambulances to parking meters to building permits. Without a limit on overall revenues, the mayor and city council will find a way to spend your money. On the other hand, Proposition 2 limits the growth of city revenues in all areas. Prop 1 allows the mayor and council to pick their favorite cookie jars to raid; Prop 2 puts them all on the top shelf. It forces city officials to do what Houston taxpayers already have to do: live within their means. Prop 2 was drafted by Citizens for Public Accountability, a group of Houston's top accounting professionals. It's also being publicly supported by Harris County Tax Assessor-Collector Paul Bettencourt, and by the members of Citizens Lowering Our Unfair Taxes (CLOUT). In addition, tens of thousands of Houstonians signed a petition to get Prop 2 on the November ballot. Update: Monday, Sept. 27, the Harris County Republican Party also came out in favor of Proposition 2. We cannot allow the fiscal excesses of the last mayoral administration poison the economic future of Houston. Limiting the growth of city government across the board is the only way to deliver a message: Mayor White, it's not your money. The editorial staff of Chronically Biased will join Houston taxpayers in delivering that message. We heartily endorse a vote for Proposition 2 on November 2.

Permalink | News and Views - Houston

September 25, 2004, 03:34 PM

Catch me if you can

By Dan Patrick

If you are home Sunday morning, catch Newsmakers on channel 2 at 9 a.m. I am on to discuss “Rathergate” and to defend bloggers. We taped on Friday. It was another good opportunity to promote our site, which is gaining readers every day, as well as to defend our President against attacks from the other two panelists on the show.

Permalink | News and Views

September 25, 2004, 10:25 AM

Bush was one of the best pilots, says Col. (ret.) Ed Morrisey Jr.

By Terry Bohannon

Ed Morrisey Jr., the retired colonel that swore George W. Bush into service in May 1968 has spoken out, as the Maryville Daily Times (TN) reports. They write:
Morrisey said the commander he worked for at the unit in Texas was sent there to rebuild the image of the unit. There were only two to four pilot training slots given to them per year, he said. Individuals questioned by an evaluation board and then chosen by the commander had to be the best. “Bush was selected and he turned out just fine,” he said. According to Morrisey, after Bush began working as a fighter pilot, he became regarded as one of the best pilots there. Unit commander Col. Maurice Udell considered Bush to be one of his top five pilots, Morrisey said. “The kid did good,” he said. Each pilot had to perform alert duty where they patrolled for unidentified aircraft during the threat of the Cold War, Morrisey said. “Bush Jr. did good for us,” Morrisey said. “He pulled alert and he did it all.”
Morrisey's statements help debunk the assumptions the DNC and the Kerry Campaign (with CBS and others) have been making. In fact, according to Morrisey, President Bush was one of the unit's top pilots. That's a far cry from the lackluster dunce the President's political opponents would rather see him as. As it seems from the lack of interest so far, this story may not get the media attention it deserves. Since only two media sources have covered this story, the Maryville Daily Times and a CBS affiliate from Knoxville (WVLT), other media sources may not consider it 'newsworthy'. Even after the Drudge Report linked to the Maryville Daily Times' story, CBS, NYT, and even Fox News have yet to cover it. Perhaps they will cover it in the upcoming days. It's possible that these networks and newspapers are securing interviews and researching so they can have confidence in the story, but a story like this is hard to ignore for those who value truth more than politics.

Permalink | News and Views

September 25, 2004, 09:00 AM

Source of Astrodome conversion funding uncertain

By M. Wildes

Thursday, Owen Courreges mentioned and our readers discussed the possibility of the Astrodome becoming a super hotel convention center. Many readers addressed concerns about how it would be paid for. Yesterday's Chronicle suggested that state lawmakers already approved use of hotel taxes produced by such a facility to pay off its construction. The article indicates that County Judge Robert Eckels and “two other commissioners” oppose raising taxes on residents and businesses and that Scott Hanson, president of Astrodome Redevelopment, does not plan to ask for funding from any other taxes. However, the article contains too many words of uncertainty for citizens to take their eyes off of this issue just yet:
Harris County could help pay for a $400 million convention hotel-entertainment complex in Reliant Astrodome with taxes generated by the facility… (snip) The local portion of the hotel taxes from the hotel, Eckels said, would not be enough to pay for a $400 million project. “It will take substantial private investment,” he said. (snip) Scott Hanson, president of Astrodome Redevelopment, may ask the county to use the local portion of hotel taxes generated by the complex to help pay for the project. It does not plan on asking the county to tap other tax revenues, he said.
[Emphasis added] I am not questioning the word of any of these individuals, but there are far too many other people and circumstances involved and a little certainty and words of guarantee would go a long way. After all, the article reveals that “the county still owes more than $50 million on bonds issued to pay for renovations at the Astrodome in the 1980s.”

Permalink | News and Views - Houston

September 25, 2004, 07:31 AM

UT no longer nation's biggest school

By Owen Courrèges

The University of Texas at Austin has just lost the rather dubious title of being the nation's largest university:
The University of Texas at Austin is no longer the nation's largest university. According to numbers released Thursday, Ohio State University has passed UT for number one on the list of the biggest schools. Ohio State says its enrollment is 50,844 students. UT has 50,403 students enrolled.
Ah! So close! What's even worse for UT, though, is that Rice is definitely going to cream them in today's football match-up. This is our year, folks; I just know it!

Permalink | News and Views - Texas

September 24, 2004, 08:16 PM

Helen Thomas Refuses to Answer Allegations (Satire)

By Matt Forge

Washington (CB) — On Wednesday, we posted the image of a young Helen Thomas, the so-called “dean of the White House press corps.” Since then, the credibility of the image has come under attack from liberal partisan main-stream media operatives. The photo appears to back up what we believe to be true: That Helen Thomas portrayed the character known as Uncle Fester on the popular 60s sitcom The Addams Family.
Since then, critics have focused on the upper left-hand corner of the image describing what appears to be numerous linear repeats of Thomas' face. They claim this is clear evidence of a technique known as 'cloning' in a program titled 'PhotoShop' on a programmable electronic machine that performs high-speed mathematical or logical operations called a 'computer'. Our expert, however, vouched for the image's authenticity. He is a scholar with a Ph.D. who wrote his thesis on the mating habits of the web-toed yellow-bellied sapsucker chicken-finch. But amid increasing questions about the authenticity of the image Chronically Biased vowed to re-examine the photo in question. And we promised that we would let the American public know what this examination turned up, whatever the outcome. Now, after extensive additional interviews, I no longer have the confidence in this photo that would allow us to continue vouching for it journalistically. I find we have been misled on the key question of how this image was produced. That, combined with some of the questions that have been raised in the press, leads me to a point where-if I knew then what I know now-I would not have gone ahead with the story as it was posted, and I certainly would not have used the image in question. But we did use the pic. We made a mistake in judgment, and for that I am sorry. It was an error that was made, however, in good faith and in the spirit of trying to carry on a Chronically Biased tradition of investigative reporting without fear or bias. Please know that nothing is more important to us than people's trust in our ability and our commitment to report fairly and truthfully. I was privately “shell-shocked” by the overwhelming evidence that the image in question was fraudulent. But I'm a magnificent blogger who experienced every blogger's nightmare in connection with my posting of a manipulated photo. Truth is our Holy Grail. I'm sure everybody here is feeling bad about it. But! Anyway! However! Nevertheless! Anyhow! Regardless! There are more important questions than how the image was produced, which is where those who don't like the story like to put the emphasis, the more important question is what is the answer to the question raised in the photo! To me, the real issue is why doesn't Helen tell us the truth? Did she, or did she not play Uncle Fester on TV forty years ago? Why doesn't she put out documents proving that she wasn't? Because she can't, because its rather obvious she was! I mean, just look at her! But people are interested more in me. This is all so symptomatic of kill-the-messenger mentality. And the underlying issue of Helen's sitcom service goes ignored by the public. It's really sad to see what's happening to me. I'm a guy who may have been abused by my source and fallen victim to bad staff work. (The above story, though based on actual events, is satire or parody. It is meant for entertainment only and is NOT true.)

Permalink | Humor

September 24, 2004, 03:46 PM

House of death to open on schedule

By Owen Courrèges

Artist's rendition of what new Planned Parenthood facility ought to look like.
In spite of the valiant efforts of pro-life advocates to halt construction, Planned Parenthood's scaley minions have still discovered a way to complete their newest Austin abortion mill as planned. They've become their own general contractor:
Construction of a Planned Parenthood clinic is on schedule and nearly complete despite a two-month work stoppage last year organized by an abortion opponent. The clinic, a 10,000-square-foot limestone building with a red tile roof, will open in November as planned, said Danielle Tierney, a spokeswoman for the reproductive services provider. Planned Parenthood got workers back on the job after deciding to operate as its own general contractor.
This has to truly irk Planned Parenthood. They've dedicated so much time to destruction, and now in order to destroy they must actually take a personal hand in creating something. It would almost be ironic if what they were building wasn't a house of death.

Permalink | News and Views - Texas

September 24, 2004, 02:35 PM

The flippant flopper strikes again

By M. Wildes

The Washington Times is reporting that John Kerry supported pre-emptive action in Iraq on a “Crossfire” appearance in 1997:
Yet the candidate who now criticizes President Bush for ignoring French and Russian objections to the Iraq war blasted the two countries, claiming that they were compromised by their business dealings with Baghdad. “We know we can't count on the French. We know we can't count on the Russians,” said Mr. Kerry. “We know that Iraq is a danger to the United States, and we reserve the right to take pre-emptive action whenever we feel it's in our national interest.”

Permalink | News and Views

September 24, 2004, 10:25 AM

Viacom chairman stands behind President Bush

By Terry Bohannon

Yesterday, Sumner Redstone supported President Bush in a move that has surprised pundits across the country. The Wall Street Journal covered this story. They wrote:
Yesterday, the chairman of CBS's parent company chose Hong Kong as a place to drop a little bomb. Sumner Redstone, who calls himself a “liberal Democrat,” said he's supporting President Bush. The chairman of the entertainment giant Viacom said the reason was simple: Republican values are what U.S. companies need. Speaking to some of America's and Asia's top executives gathered for Forbes magazine's annual Global CEO Conference, Mr. Redstone declared: “I look at the election from what's good for Viacom. I vote for what's good for Viacom. I vote, today, Viacom. ”I don't want to denigrate Kerry,“ he went on, ”but from a Viacom standpoint, the election of a Republican administration is a better deal. Because the Republican administration has stood for many things we believe in, deregulation and so on. The Democrats are not bad people. . . . But from a Viacom standpoint, we believe the election of a Republican administration is better for our company."
This is quite interesting; Dan Rather and Mary Mapes must be fervently angry at this development since their liberal Democrat boss supports President Bush. Viacom's chairmen places the good of his company above his own personal political views. This is something Mary Maples may not be able to do. Since under the Bush Administration the FCC made three major changes to the rules and regulations of media companies, this increased the market reach of Viacom. Because of this, maybe also for other reasons, a liberal Democrat publicly supports President Bush over John Kerry.

Permalink | News and Views

September 24, 2004, 09:33 AM

Today's Features

By Mona Lugay

Make sure you view our Features section for daily commentary on entertainment “wonders and blunders,” the sports world's best and worst shots, local high school sports updates, the great outdoors, a little miscellaneous humor, Houston happenings and much more. Barry Chambers gives his take on Wimbledon starring Kirsten Dunst, Dan Lovett gives his weekly prediction and explains what it's based on and Matt Malatesta gives his weekly High School football forecast and highlights.

Permalink | Miscellaneous

September 24, 2004, 08:05 AM

House passes Pledge Protection Act

By Owen Courrèges

Ahem.
“I pledge allegiance to the flag of the United States of America, and to the Republic for which it stands, one nation, UNDER GOD, indivisible, with liberty and justice for all.”

That was very cathartic. What's better, though, is the news that the US House of Representatives has taken action to protect the Pledge from an unconstitutional attack by the federal courts:
In a vote with election-year consequences, the House sought to assure that God's 50-year place in the Pledge of Allegiance will be safe from federal court challenges. The bill, approved on a 247-173 vote Thursday, would prevent federal courts, including the Supreme Court, from ruling on whether the words “under God” should be stricken from the pledge. The legislation drew strong protests from Democrats who said they want “under God” to remain but viewed the measure as an unconstitutional attack on the judicial branch. They said it was meant mainly to force them into a controversial vote just six weeks before the election. [...] “This bill has been brought to the floor to embarrass some members, so I respect whatever decisions they have to make in light of the motivations behind it,” said Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif. In the end, 34 Democrats voted for the bill and six Republicans opposed it.
I have one question: If the words 'under God' in the Pledge are so trivial as to be left to a court system that is hostile towards religion, then why would Democrats be so embassed to vote against the legislation? Is it because they really are that far outside of the mainstream? That seems to be what Pelosi is saying. So I say let them be embarassed. If this is their position, it ought to be exposed to the public. And if they vote contrary to their actual views to avoid embarassment, then they're nothing short of cowards.

Permalink | News and Views

September 24, 2004, 07:49 AM

Dogs can detect cancer, study shows

By Owen Courrèges

Who woulda thunk it. Our canine companions, it would seem, possess the uncanny ability to detect cancer:
It has long been suspected that man's best friend has a special ability to sense when something is wrong with us. Now the first experiment to verify that scientifically has demonstrated that dogs are able to smell cancer. Experts say it's unlikely that pooches will become practical partners in cancer detection any time soon, but the results of the study, outlined this week in the British Medical Journal, are promising. They show that when urine from bladder cancer patients was set out among samples from healthy people or those with other diseases, the dogs — all ordinary pets — were able to identify the cancer patients' urine almost three times more often than would be expected by chance alone.
Yet another reason why I am definitely a dog person (Could a cat do this? Honestly!). I'm especially amazed by this little anecdote included within the article:
The idea that dogs may be able to smell cancer was first put forward in 1989 by two London dermatologists, who described the case of a woman asking for a mole to be cut out of her leg because her dog would constantly sniff at it, even through her trousers, but ignore all her other moles. One day, the dog tried to bite the mole off when the woman was wearing shorts. It turned out she had malignant melanoma — a deadly form of skin cancer. It was caught early enough to save her life.
Fantastic.

Permalink | News and Views

September 24, 2004, 06:36 AM

We were so left out!

By Rob Booth

From alert reader Brandon comes this article: My Way News: Stations Get E-Mails to Oust Dan Rather
NEW YORK (AP) - Station managers at several CBS affiliates said Thursday they appear to be a target of a national e-mail campaign placing pressure on the network to oust Dan Rather as anchorman of the “CBS Evening News.” The anger stems from Rather's role in a “60 Minutes” report on President Bush's service in the National Guard. CBS has apologized for reporting on documents critical of Bush's service, widely assumed now as fakes, and appointed a panel to investigate what went wrong in the report. Bob Lee, president and general manager of WDBJ-TV in Roanoke, Va., and head of the CBS affiliate board, said many e-mailers offer the same message: I will not watch CBS News again until Rather is gone. “To be honest, I'm most concerned when the e-mail is coming from a local viewer,” said Gary Gardner, vice president and general manager of WINK-TV in Fort Myers, Fla.
There's an e-mail campaign? Nobody told me. KHOU is the local affiliate of CBS. They had a way to leave comments on this article: CBS appoints panel to investigate Bush story, that you can view here (hat tip to reader Bob). It appears to me that they've shut down comments. I can't blame them, they didn't hire Dan Rather for the national news. (If anyone from KHOU reads this and has a place they'd like us to direct commenters, please send an e-mail to editor@chronicallybiased.com.) If you're so inclined, they have a page on their web site with their contact information here. I would be polite, to the point, and honest. If you give them your name and contact information, they'll probably take your comments more seriously.

Permalink | Media Watch

September 23, 2004, 09:07 PM

All Hail To The Honorable Chairman Mouse

By Matt Forge

Disney Taps Communist Group to Reach Young Chinese HONG KONG (Reuters) - China's future Communist Party cadres are learning about Mickey Mouse along with Mao.
To read the rest of this news article, click here.

Permalink | Political Cartoons

September 23, 2004, 07:52 PM

Kerry Warns of Bush's Possible Diabolical Post-Election Schemes (Satire)

By Matt Forge

WEST PALM BEACH, Fla. (CB) — Liberal presidential candidate John F. Kerry, citing the war in Iraq and other hot spots across the globe, claimed that a military draft could be reinstated if George W. Bush was reelected. He then went on to outline what might possibly be the President's evil plan for world domination. After reinstating the draft, the next step would be to force the maker of Twinkie pastry treats out of business because they bring too much joy to kids around the world. Oh wait, this plan has already been implemented. Never mind. The next step would be to somehow affect a major news organization by discrediting them and their high-profile millionaire anchor with some phony evidence that would later be discovered by the public via the internet. Oh, that's already been done too. Scratch that. Another link in this dastardly chain of conspiratorial design would be to construct the ultimate hurricane producing machine on the west coast of Africa and turn it on full blast. This may also have already been done. We're still looking into that. Also, all 70s pop music stars will be barred from entering back into the U.S. This especially includes peace activist folk singers and the Bee Gees. Forty-seven sequels of Gigli will be produced. And Bush will fire everyone. That's every working person in the whole world. Everybody will get the giant pink slip. This includes you and Donald Trump (don't think that it doesn't). Next he will direct the FBI, CIA and the 'Bush Youth' to round up any and all senior citizens' health care products (including wheel chairs, canes and even Clapper® sound activated switch devices). With all of this material, a giant statue of the President will be erected on his Texas ranch. Speaking of which, lastly he will launch a series of nuclear tipped missiles at the moon. The resulting explosions will force the lunar satellite out of its normal orbit causing catastrophic tidal waves of biblical proportions (apparently Bush just can't wait for global warming to do its job). The only remaining land suitable for life will be Texas (and a small chunk of Oklahoma). Crawford will be declared capital of the world with Bush as His Excellency the Supreme Chancellor Czar (and sexiest cowboy alive). (The above story, though based on actual events, is satire or parody. It is meant for entertainment only and is NOT true.)

Permalink | Humor

September 23, 2004, 06:45 PM

Houston Chronicle Apologizes

By Rob Booth

This appeared on the Chronicle's web site today:
A photograph accompanying a story on the Chronicle Web site on Sept. 17 about a Bush political rally was given an inappropriate file name by one of the site’s copy editors. It came across as an editorial commentary on the subject, and such commentary has no place in our news coverage. The Chronicle regrets this error in judgment and apologizes to those offended by it.
It appeared after this post, which I put up yesterday. (Short version of the story: The Houston Chronicle changed the name of a JPG (picture) file, which showed a little girl at a Bush-Cheney re-election campaign event, to brainwashedchild.jpg.) Within an hour or so of my post, the original file name was changed to hairdo.jpg. I was able to go into the Google cache and find a stored version of the original web page, which showed the original, rude file name. The apology is commendable. It appears that they made a decision to acknowledge what happened and not pull a Dan Rather (deny everything until bloggers embarassed them further). That being said, I have to quibble, a little, with this apology. It didn't just come across “as an editorial commentary on the subject.” Your copy editor insulted a six-year old girl and her family. That's rudeness, not just slipping editorial commentary into a news piece. So, my friends at the Chronicle, please understand that we're watching. I'm watching you closely. Shape up. Update: I routinely get some e-mail forwarded to me that originally came from people who work at the Chronicle or are associated with the Chronicle somehow. (Yes, our spies are everywhere!) Some of these folks have been in arguments with CB readers/KSEV listeners, some in discussions. In some cases the Chronicle employee/associate claims to be a Republican/conservative. I've been thinking about these folks tonight. If you are a conservative/Republican and work at the Houston Chronicle, I feel for you. I lived in Austin and went to UT (English department). If you all have company meetings of some sort where the whole gaggle of you gets together, you might think about bringing this incident up. It must be a little intimidating to be a Republican in the Chronicle office. I don't work there, so I'm guessing, but if a knucklehead copy editor feels safe enough to insult a six-year old supporter of President Bush on office time, then you guys must feel under fire all the time. Anyway, think about ways to change the atmosphere there. If you have an idea that you want me to publicize, feel free to get in touch. I can keep your name a secret.

Permalink | Chron Bias

September 23, 2004, 04:51 PM

Astrodome to become... a large convention hotel?

By Owen Courrèges

I'm glad to see that the Astrodome won't be seeing the wrecking ball, really. That being said, I'm not sure that I can really see the Astrodome becoming a large convention hotel complete with a few rides, a movie theater, and shopping:
In a major shift, the company looking to redevelop the Reliant Astrodome has shelved plans to turn it into a space theme park and is instead looking to convert it into primarily a large convention hotel. The new plan still calls for some rides, possibly even of the space variety, other entertainment, restaurants, a cineplex and retail stores.
The 'AstroHotel?' It'll be great if they can pull it off, but can they?

Permalink | News and Views - Houston

September 23, 2004, 04:35 PM

Chronicle gives “American Idiot” three stars

By M. Wildes

Green Day’s new album “American Idiot” is a rock opera featuring a bleeding grenade shaped heart on its cover. While the group, who contributed to the compilation album “Rock Against Bush” and performed on the tour of the same name, has not formally said the album is anti-Bush, Rolling Stone magazine is reporting that such is the case.
You can guess who the “American Idiot” is in the bang-up title tune, as [Billie Joe] Armstrong rages against the “subliminal mind-f*** America” of the George W. Bush era: “Welcome to a new kind of tension/All across the alien nation.”
The Chronicle also writes:
The band that once thought three minutes of music on anything more demanding than laziness and neuroses was indulgent, has created a concept album about war, international stress, conservative politics and seeing them all unfold in this super-saturated age of information.
The Chronicle says of the album:
American Idiot's sociopolitical story line gives the songs new lyrical passion without robbing them of their mosh-pit allure. (snip) It will be interesting to see who has the chops and chutzpah to emulate a punk record so beautifully crafted as American Idiot.
The title track, “American Idiot,” also includes such profound statements as “Don't want to be an American Idiot. Don't want a nation that under the new media” and “I'm not part of a redneck agenda. Now everybody do the propaganda.” Giving the Chronicle the benefit of the doubt, this may be a musically good album. However, as far as its politics go, this is simply par for the course for Chronicle entertainment reviews (i.e. The Passion of the Christ, Fahrenheit 9/11, etc.).

Permalink | News and Views

September 23, 2004, 09:15 AM

We must never forget!

By Terry Bohannon

Travis Burgess, a reader of Chronically Biased, sent us a montage he compiled. We must never forget 9/11 It is very important that we never forget how, on Sept. 11, 2001, America was brought together, unified against terror. I think it is good to read or listen to President Bush's Address to the Nation on that day. There is a video that shows President Bush's visit to Booker Elementary School in Sarasota, Florida. The class was showing the President that they could read by reciting “My Pet Goat.” During the classes reading, President Bush received the news that the second tower was hit. In that video, you can see how deeply that news affected our President. His whole presidency from that moment was changed. His leadership comforted families and brought the Taliban to their knees. The video, narrated by a teacher from Booker Elementary, honors the memory of September 11, 2001. It can be seen here. America must not make the mistake of electing officials or even presidents that act as though we're living in a Sept. 10 world. Our President's leadership after Sept. 11 will not be forgotten by those construction workers and rescuers he visited on Sept. 14. And in honor of those who died that day, we must not forget.

Permalink | News and Views

September 23, 2004, 07:30 AM

Chronicallybiased hits new readership mark

By Dan Patrick

Chronicallybiased.com hit a new watermark on Tuesday as our pageviews hit an all time high. Our previoius record was set for the 30 day period of June. With over a week still remaining in this month, we are piling up the statistics for a new high each day. We have experienced steady growth since our debut in mid-May. Our surge this month was due in large part to “Rathergate” and the excellent writing of our staff on the subject. Phil Magness was our lead writer on this story. The good news is that many readers who discovered us for the first time due to this story have become regular readers. In just a few weeks we will be changing our name and expanding our blog. Chronicallybiased will continue to be the key element of our expanded addition. It's interesting that the Houston Chronicle has had to start a major new marketing campaign to find readers while we keep growing by word of mouth. As founder, I would never attempt to suggest that we have can match the Houston Chronicle in readership. That was never our goal. However, we have carved out an ever growing niche for ourselves as a viable alternative to the liberal bias of the Houston Chronicle. I believe our writers are better than theirs. They now know they are going to be held accountable for their Dan Rather like journalistic tricks. (see our current story by Rob Booth on the "brainwashed child) I want to thank all of you who have become loyal readers. You can help us by spreading the word to your friends, co-workers and family members. I have not asked for any donations since we started. Our tip jar is always on the front page, but we don't push it. I would like to ask you to consider making a one time contribution now of $10, $20 or more; or you could send in a few bucks a month. If you own a business you could send in $50 or more a month if you believe in our cause. We have one company that sends us $100 every month and it is greatly appreciated. We are about to embark on expanding and that will cost money and as always we will keep our blog free for our readers. Our writers work for free and I have picked up the expenses to date. I will continue to do what it takes to grow our influence in the community for the conservative and christian cause. I want to thank all of our advertisers who have kept us going through these first few months. I ask you to support them and send them an e-mail letting them know you appreciate their support for causes important to you. Lastly, you can also help by advertising your goods and services in our classified section, Where It Is. Biz, it's only $10 for 2 weeks. it will take a long time to build up our inventory, but we will make it work over time. Please remember to browse often to find great deals. Thank you again for your support. We will keep writing if you keep reading.

Permalink | News and Views

September 23, 2004, 07:17 AM

CBS fined $550,000 for 'wardrobe malfunction'

By Owen Courrèges

When it rains, it pours. At least that's true for CBS, which has just been fined $550,000 for Janet Jackson's accidental exposure during the Super Bowl earlier this year:
Federal regulators today fined CBS a record $550,000 for Janet Jackson's “wardrobe malfunction,” which exposed the singer's breast during this year's Super Bowl halftime show in Houston. The Federal Communications Commission voted unanimously to slap each of the 20 CBS-owned television stations with the maximum indecency penalty of $27,500. The total penalty of $550,000 is the largest fine levied against a television broadcaster. Most of the FCC's bigger fines have been against radio stations.
First the Memogate scandal, and now this debacle reaches its culmination. I'd hate to be a shareholder in Viacom (the parent company of CBS) right now.

Permalink | Media Watch

September 23, 2004, 06:00 AM

Governor makes a visit

By Dan Patrick

You can hear Governor Rick Perry today on my show at 5:30.

Permalink | News and Views

September 22, 2004, 05:41 PM

What a catch!

By Rob Booth

The below is from OpinionJournal - Best of the Web Today.
What Liberal Media? The other day David Langworthy, op-ed editor of the Houston Chronicle, penned a candid op-ed piece in which he acknowledged that the "mainstream" media have a liberal bias: For my money Fox news coverage is as down the middle as CNN's--or CBS's. . . . I would encourage more of my colleagues in the mainstream media to take a look at Fox regularly, as a matter of professional duty. It is an eye opener. It raises some honest questions about where the real political "mainstream" lives. Well, it doesn't seem to live in the Chronicle newsroom. Last week the paper published a Reuters dispatch about a Bush campaign visit to Rochester, Minn. It was accompanied by a Reuters photo of 6-year-old Madison Long, who "showed her support for President Bush by braiding her hair in the shape of a 'W.' " Oddly enough, this doesn't seem to be Reuters' fault--but on the Chronicle server the filename of the photo is brainwashedchild.jpg.
Thanks to reader Eric for the tip and thanks to the Opinion Journal. Update: So the question is, can we prove to any degree of certainty that someone at the Chronicle changed the file name? Via Free Republic, the Sydney Herald named this file madison_gallery__438x550.jpg. A Norwegian paper named this file Dagens_bilde__Madis_163213a.jpg. Yahoo named this file ra2710789804.jpg. Update 6:41 PM: So the Chronicle changed the filename. Fortunately, there's the Google cache. They keep a short term copy of the html file. I hovered over the spot where the photo used to be and clicked right>Properties. Thanks to all our readers over at the Chronicle! Update 8:09 PM: Sorry for the sarcasm above. That was fun to be caught up in the moment like that, chasing your changes around the Net. Anyway, you all should really issue an apology in the Corrections section. Not to us, but to Madison Long. Obviously she probably hasn't developed sophisticated political opinions, but she was probably excited to meet the president. No need for you all to dump on her moment like that.

Permalink | Chron Bias

September 22, 2004, 04:05 PM

President Bush's speech before the UN

By Terry Bohannon

Tuesday, President Bush spoke before the United Nations. His speech was comprehensive, and stunningly brilliant. He started his speech by shifting from human rights to AIDS, from human trafficking to cloning. After shifting between those topics, he focused on freedom and the war on terror. After clearly defining the brutal killings in Dufar, Sudan as genocide, President Bush cut to the core of the problem. The source of terrorism and genocide in Sudan and also the Middle East is the lack of freedom. His words bring an explanation to how women can be treated as chattel Middle East, and how human trafficking (slavery) can still run rampant in Sudan and other countries. This idea makes foreign diplomats very uncomfortable: when the strength of freedom is realized, they might have to commit to change in their own countries or neighboring countries they'd rather leave alone. President Bush said:
PRESIDENT BUSH: Because we believe in human dignity, peaceful nations must stand for the advance of democracy. No other system of government has done more to protect minorities, to secure the rights of labor, to raise the status of women, or to channel human energy to the pursuits of peace. We've witnessed the rise of democratic governments in predominantly Hindu and Muslim, Buddhist, Jewish and Christian cultures. Democratic institutions have taken root in modern societies, and in traditional societies. When it comes to the desire for liberty and justice, there is no clash of civilizations. People everywhere are capable of freedom, and worthy of freedom. Finding the full promise of representative government takes time, as America has found in two centuries of debate and struggle. Nor is there any — only one form of representative government — because democracies, by definition, take on the unique character of the peoples that create them. Yet this much we know with certainty: The desire for freedom resides in every human heart. And that desire cannot be contained forever by prison walls, or martial laws, or secret police. Over time, and across the Earth, freedom will find a way.
President Bush strongly suggests that freedom is found in democracy, America is a democratic republic (as Tocqueville analyzed). Yet in wisdom, President Bush does not seek to force a cookie-cutter type 'democracy' around the world, since “democracies, by definition, take on the unique character of the peoples that create them.” Yet this suggestion raises the hairs on the back of those diplomats like Kofi Annan who said that “the necessary fight against terrorism is allowed to encroach unnecessarily on civil liberties,” as the AP reported. The cry of freedom can be heard in Iraq and Afghanistan; it is a cry that cracks the foundations of dictators and breaks down the will of rebels. The insurgents hear this cry, indeed: they would rather see Iraq as an Islamic State than a free nation, as President Bush suggested in his speech. He said:
A democratic Iraq has ruthless enemies, because terrorists know the stakes in that country. They know that a free Iraq in the heart of the Middle East will be a decisive blow against their ambitions for that region. So a terrorists group associated with al Qaeda is now one of the main groups killing the innocent in Iraq today — conducting a campaign of bombings against civilians, and the beheadings of bound men. Coalition forces now serving in Iraq are confronting the terrorists and foreign fighters, so peaceful nations around the world will never have to face them within our own borders.
This sums up the ultimate goals for the war on terror: to bring freedom to those without it and to confront the terrorist and foreign fighters where they are, so we don't fight them at home. President Bush's speech deserves media attention. The broad agenda he gave shows the heart of what is truly compassionate conservatism. The speech clearly demonstrates what kind of leader our President is. He is not afraid to tell the truth even in the face of diplomatic complaints. President Bush is a natural leader who is not afraid to set long-term goals that will be brought to completion after he's term-limited. He seeks to bring freedom to the Middle East and he even seeks cures to diseases like AIDS with his 15 billion push for research. Both are momentual goals. The world would be better served when they're met. Great leaders take risks and have long-term goals. They set goals such as the fall of the Iron Curtain and the fall of Islamic terrorism. Ronald Reagan saw one of his long-term goals brought to completion, President Bush may not see his. Whether or not President Bush is and will be a great leader is a question for future historians to debate. However, if you have the time, please read President Bush's speech before the UN in its entirety, it can be found here.

Permalink | News and Views

September 22, 2004, 02:03 PM

The Chronicle denies media bias after CBS scandal

By M. Wildes

In an attempt to use its power to influence and change the liberal media bias discussion, today’s Chronicle editorial continued the paper’s recent trend of participating in the conversation while denying a bias exists. Going the way of most of the mainstream media, the Chronicle denounced CBS’s actions while attempting to paint what CBS did as an exception to the rule.
Conservative critics of the mainstream news media will attempt to tar the daily press, as well as ABC and NBC, with CBS's sins. The network's unprofessional behavior draws attention to the three broadcast networks' loss of audience and prestige, but CBS blundered on its own.
Perhaps CBS’s only blunder was that it was caught. The Chronicle should not worry though, with the recent fumbles at the New York Times and other “daily press[’s]” daily missteps, CBS is not alone. It is only a matter of time before another mainstream media outlet is caught and those missteps land them in a hole they cannot get out of. The people’s watchdog is being watched and the people are ready to take it back.

Permalink | Chron Bias

September 22, 2004, 10:53 AM

Twinkies maker gets creamed

By Matt Bramanti

The maker of Wonder Bread, Twinkies, and other baked goods has filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection. There's a possibility Interstate Bakeries Corp. might never emerge, the company acknowledged.
Last month the company missed a second deadline for filing its annual report, after request an extension in May because of a series of investigations into its reserve fund for workers' compensation claims. The report was due Aug. 27, but the company said it was still not finished because of problems with a financial system it started using in June, uncertainty over results for the current quarter, and questions about its ability to pay its loans this year. It also said there was a possibility that auditors would include a paragraph in the report saying “there may be substantial doubt about the company's ability to continue as a going concern.”
Say it ain't so, Hostess! (Note: please forgive the quality of the picture. I'm not a Matt Forge-style pro at the Photoshop game just yet.)

Permalink | News and Views

September 22, 2004, 09:27 AM

Feds to protect habitat of endangered bug

By Matt Bramanti

In the latest sign that federal officials don't care how stupid they look, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service will identify and protect the habitat of the Hine's emerald dragonfly.
A federal judge in Washington, D.C., signed an order last week to implement the agreement, said Brent Plater, an attorney for one of the groups, the Center for Biological Diversity. The settlement “will force the Bush administration to put the developers' interests aside and rely on science, protecting our region's precious natural heritage,” Plater said Tuesday.
Apparently the threatened insect's habitat is being destroyed by the creation of new farmland. From my perspective, any choice between feeding a productive society of people, and protecting a strain of bug is really no choice at all. Besides, those dragonflies are a pain to get out of the grille of my car. Sayonara, boys.

Permalink | News and Views

September 22, 2004, 08:30 AM

Today's Features

By Mona Lugay

Make sure you view our Features section for daily commentary on entertainment “wonders and blunders,” the sports world's best and worst shots, local high school sports updates, the great outdoors, a little miscellaneous humor, Houston happenings and much more The Streettalk Advisors give this week's financial forecast, Matt Malatesta says the Astros have turned it around and Dan Lovett explains the meaning of “We love truth when it informs us, but hate truth when it judges us.”

Permalink | Miscellaneous

September 22, 2004, 08:14 AM

“Houston, It's Worth It,” gets Houston bad press

By Owen Courrèges

I've been reading a good deal lately about this internet campaign to make “Houston, It's Worth It” the city's new marketing slogan (to replace “Space City USA”). It struck me as mildly amusing, but then again, I also wondered whether or not it might tarnish Houston's image. The results are in, and they're far from positive. That's the opinion of one Doug Williams, who works in marketing and public relations (from the Houston Business Journal):
Okay, we've all had our fun. We've had a good ol' time chuckling at the tongue-in-cheek “marketing strategy” that highlights all the things we put up with (and rightfully so) to live in and enjoy Houston. But clown time is over, folks. In the past few weeks, the Boston Globe and the New York Times have both written about the so-called online “Houston: It's Worth It” campaign under the smirking headlines, “Houston's Flaws Take The Spotlight” and “Selling Houston Warts and All, Especially Warts,” respectively. While that may not dent our sense of independence and swagger (who cares what those damned Yankees think anyway, let them sip Cosmos), the fact is we're getting a whole lot of ink for what's bad about the city — not what's good. That's about as funny as a rubber crutch.
Granted, I really do believe that Houston is a bit too image-conscious as things are. All of this “world class city” nonsense has gotten us nothing but bloated, wasteful rail projects, and an unnatural drive to copy every other city in America. However, Houston is actually an easy place to live. We should no more emphasize the heat and humidity than Chicago should emphasize the wind and snow, and our traffic, though annoying, is hardly as bad as in many other cities. So why should Houston focus on its shortcomings? Why single ourselves out? The conclusion people will draw is that Houston is somehow exceptionally flawed. Personally, I'd rather they didn't.

Permalink | News and Views - Houston

September 22, 2004, 07:46 AM

Travis County D.A. secures 32 indictments against Republicans, including DeLay aides

By Owen Courrèges

Pathetic political poltroon Ronnie Earle, a.k.a. the Travis County District Attorney, has secured 32 indictments against persons involved in GOP fund-raising during the 2002 election cycle. With this, Earle, a partisan Democrat who has been pursuing Tom DeLay for some time now, appears to have reached the culmination of his efforts:
A Travis County grand jury today returned 32 indictments related to Republican political fund-raising activity in 2002, including charges against three top aides to U.S. House Majority Leader Tom DeLay. The grand jury returned indictments against DeLay political aide Jim Ellis and fund-raiser Warren RoBold and John Colyandro, who was executive director of DeLay's political action committee Texans for a Republican Majority. Colyandro faces 14 charges, RoBold was named in nine charges, and Ellis was named in one.
I've got three words for you, folks: POLITICALLY. MOTIVATED. PROSECUTION.

Permalink | News and Views - Texas

September 22, 2004, 06:46 AM

Interesting

By Rob Booth

Chronicle: Go ahead, partisans, and take pride in not reading this
Last week, a capable radio talk-show host had me on air to comment about CBS News anchor Dan Rather's credibility meltdown. I had noted that CBS and 60 Minutes had acted more like participants in the presidential campaign — and incompetent ones at that — than reporters of events. At the end of a brief interview, the host thanked me for being on top of this story. Sorry, but all I did was write a column that piggybacked off the hard work of reporters at the Washington Post and the Dallas Morning News, and after watching Fox News and CNN dissect the story. While bloggers uncovered technical holes in the 60 Minutes story, the reason Rather fell so quickly was that mainstream media nailed this story. With, now, CBS admitting it screwed up big time, watch conservatives use this sorry episode as an excuse to boycott mainstream media, and ignore news they don't like. As those on the far left do in their way, these partisans also will seize the exception and call it the rule.
No time to comment, but I figured I'd take her challenge and link to it. Maybe I'll comment on it later.

Permalink | Media Watch

September 21, 2004, 08:34 PM

Da-dum...

By Matt Forge

Permalink | Political Cartoons

September 21, 2004, 01:18 PM

Kerry senior advisor reads degenerate weblog

By Owen Courrèges

Time Magazine has a story in their latest edition concerning the impact of weblogs and new media on the upcoming election. It contains the following line concerning the Kerry camp's use of weblogs:
Senior adviser Mike McCurry reads the Daily Kos and a few other blogs, but most Kerry aides don't and instead rely on one staff member to provide an overnight summary.
For those of you who aren't knowledgeable about the popular weblogs, The Daily Kos is run by a degenerate scumbag who gets his jollies from seeing Americans die in horrible ways. I say this because Kos, a Democratic partisan, reacted to the well-publicized killings of American security contractors in Fallujah earlier this year by saying, and I quote, “screw them:”
I feel nothing over the death of merceneries. They aren't in Iraq because of orders, or because they are there trying to help the people make Iraq a better place. They are there to wage war for profit. Screw them.
The security contractors in question were protecting a food shipment. They were mostly former military, and all had families. This is what was done to them. (WARNING: GRAPHIC PHOTO). Kos's words caused Kerry's official campaign weblog to publicly de-link his weblog from their site, and yet the Kerry campaign still apparently reads Kos so as to have its finger on the pulse of Democratic new media. They may feel that Kos made an “unacceptable statement,” but Kerry's senior advisor still reads him. I think that says a great deal, both about Kerry and the left. Frankly, their callous, unthinking attitude towards the War with Iraq is in need of some serious reevaluation.

Permalink | News and Views

September 21, 2004, 11:36 AM

Dan Patrick on MSNBC

By The Staff

As all of you know Chronically Biased is growing everyday. Our most recent appearance, an article written by Phil Magness, on National Blogs such as littlegreenfootballs.com has brought us to the forefront of the Rather controversy. Because of blogs, such as ours, the average person has knowledge of what is going on in the media and world around us. Catch Dan discussing these issues on MSNBC TODAY at 12:15 pm

Permalink | Miscellaneous

September 21, 2004, 10:55 AM

Kerry's problem

By Terry Bohannon

As Kerry's speech Monday at New York University shows, the only way Kerry thinks he can get ahead is by misrepresenting the truth. In that speech, Kerry showed that he has been watching Fahrenheit 9/11 far too much as he suggested that Iraq was better under Saddam Hussein. He said:
Saddam Hussein was a brutal dictator who deserves his own special place in hell. But that was not, in itself, a reason to go to war. The satisfaction we take in his downfall does not hide this fact: we have traded a dictator for a chaos that has left America less secure.
According to a human right's dossier [PDF] prepared by the UK government and summarized by the BBC, the torture under Saddam included eye gouging, piercing of hands with electric drill, suspension from ceiling by their wrists, electric shock, sexual abuse (Saddam had professional rapists), mock executions, and even acid baths. The summary of this dossier shows that women lacked freedom and even the right to life under Saddam's regime:
Under Saddam Hussein's regime women lack even the basic right to life. A 1990 decree allows male relatives to kill a female relative in the name of honour without punishment. Women have been tortured, ill-treated and in some cases summarily executed too, according to Amnesty International. The dossier says that BBC correspondent John Sweeney said he had met six witnesses with direct experience of child torture, including the crushing of a two-year-old girl's feet.
Yet Kerry does not see this as reason enough to oust Saddam. He said, “we have traded a dictator for a chaos that has left America less secure.” That misrepresentation only served to placate his base. Kerry suggested that Saddam, was 'only a dictator' and did not pose a threat to our national security; yet as he side steps the horror of the Saddam regime and Saddam's interest in WMD, Kerry shows that he cares more about winning than the truth. If the truth about Saddam or even Kerry's (Not Kerrey's) own Senate record cannot place him ahead of President Bush, untruths and misrepresentations will only place him further behind. Kerry's drive to sidestep the truth for political gain shows that as President, his indecisive and uncertain 'leadership' would make Paris the king of us all — as Sen. Zell Miller suggested in his speech. In this Post-9/11 world where the threat of terrorism is taken seriously, we don't need a president who would only “have tightened the noose” to “isolate Saddam Hussein so that he would pose no threat to the region or America” as Kerry claimed in that speech to NYU. America deserves a president who will wage a war against terrorists and the regimes that support them. America deserves a true leader as president. Our country is not better served by someone who tears down his opponents with untruth so he then appears (by contrast) to be the best option left, America deserves someone who rises to leadership in confidence and can take the lead naturally in times of crisis. America deserves President Bush.

Permalink | News and Views

September 21, 2004, 09:40 AM

Chron sacrifices sense at METRO altar

By Matt Bramanti

An editorial in today's paper twists a Texas Transportation Institute report to further our hometown rag's pro-rail agenda:
Tim Lomax, the TTI report's author, recommends cities devise other strategies, such as coordinating traffic signals and responding quickly to accidents, as Houston is attempting. The best way to improve mobility, especially in cities where roads are at capacity, is to develop a workable public transit network. Either that, or create a sluggish economy to encourage residents to leave town.
Or, we could try the METRO method, which simulaneously builds an unworkable public transit network while burdening the economy with blossoming taxes and debt. The Chron incorrectly implies that Lomax's study centers around public transportation, and the rest is just “other strategies.” In reality, the TTI report recommends road expansion first and foremost, and also promotes tolling as a way to allow market forces influence urban mobility. The Chron doesn't just gloss over relevant facts; it showcases the editorial board's elitist tendencies, too:
If more middle-class families return to the urban core to eliminate long commutes, new pressures will be brought to bear on city infrastructure and schools — demands for greater capacity, well-maintained infrastructure and higher academic standards. Real estate prices will balloon, changing the character of some close-in neighborhoods as they are redeveloped to accommodate more affluent residents and forcing low-income renters to move in search of scarce affordable housing. As the benefit side, Houston might get the dense, mixed-use development (and sidewalks!) of more pedestrian-friendly landscapes.
Wow, what a utopia! We can ship poor folks out to the boonies, inflate taxes and city government, cram families into smaller homes without yards and walk everywhere? Sounds great!

Permalink | Chron Bias

September 21, 2004, 09:30 AM

CBS forgeries have a Houston connection

By Phil Magness

Today's Austin American-Statesman has a surprisingly informative article about the origins of the CBS forgeries and the Democrat activist who provided them to Dan Rather. The article is based on a lengthy interview with David Van Os, Burkett's attorney and spokesman who, as CB revealed last week, is well connected with the Democratic Party of Texas and the Kerry campaign. The Statesman is reporting that Burkett claims to have acquired the forgeries from an unnamed source during the Houston Livestock Show and Rodeo earlier this year.
Van Os said Burkett determined that the man who provided them was using the name of somebody who once held a Guard position that would have made him privy to the documents. But Burkett had no way of knowing if the man was who he said he was, Van Os said.
Van Os, speaking on Burkett's behalf, also makes several critical statements against CBS news as if to imply that they are trying to shift the blame onto Burkett. Needless to say, new questions are emerging by the hour. Among the many issues to consider: 1. What was the nature of Burkett's relationship and conversations with Kerry campaign agents Max Cleland and Joe Lockhart? 2. What knowledge did David Van Os have of the memos before Rathergate broke? 3. Who and what other persons from the inner circles of the Democratic Party of Texas knew of Burkett's memos before Rathergate broke? 4. To what degree did CBS news discuss the memos with Kerry and Democratic Party staffers? Included is Mary Mapes' conversation with Joe Lockhart. 5. Who is the unnamed mystery source in Houston who allegedly provided Burkett with the forgeries? Where did he or she obtain them and when were they forged? UPDATE USA Today is reporting a name as the source for the memos. Burkett is now claiming that a Lucy Ramirez of Houston provided him with the documents last march.

Permalink | News and Views

September 21, 2004, 07:52 AM

Artist's 'Saint Clinton' raises eyebrows, induces vomiting

By Owen Courrèges

Scott Ritcher, a graphic designer and noted left-wing weirdo, has apparently been making a mint with paraphernalia depicting former President Bill Clinton as Jesus Christ. Needless to say, this is utterly blasphemous (via WorldNetDaily):
While Americans have a wide range of views regarding former President Bill Clinton, a Kentucky artist's depiction of the former commander in chief as God himself or a Catholic-style saint is raising those opinions to passionate levels across the nation.
The portrait, titled “Saint Clinton,” is the creation of Scott Ritcher, a 34-year-old graphic designer who is now marketing T-shirts, posters, magnets, coffee cups, coasters and even lunchboxes with the picture reminiscent of the “Sacred Heart of Jesus” images.
This definitely raises some serious First Commandment issues. Thankfully, however, I have as an alternative my own Clinton-themed religious artwork that better captures the man and his presidency. I call it “Satan Clinton:”
Apropos, no? UPDATE: Reader Jeff Farmer has sent in a revised version of “Saint Clinton” that is likewise quite appropriate:
I'm certainly lovin' it.

Permalink | News and Views

September 21, 2004, 07:15 AM

Today's Features

By Mona Lugay

Make sure you view our Features section for daily commentary on entertainment “wonders and blunders,” the sports world's best and worst shots, local high school sports updates, the great outdoors, a little miscellaneous humor, Houston happenings and much more. Dick Morris says Kerry's shakeups won't save him and believes Kerry and Bush aren't playing the same game. Barry Chambers recasts an American classic and Bob Willems proves that there is Moore trouble - in fact Fahrenheit 9-11 isn't the only “hater-ganda” disrupting Bush's campaign.

Permalink | Miscellaneous

September 21, 2004, 12:07 AM

The world will end soon...

By Rob Booth

The Houston Chronicle's “blog” has linked to Little Green Footballs. Get your affairs in order.

Permalink | News and Views

September 20, 2004, 08:29 PM

AP: Lockhart talked to Burkett before records flap

By Matt Bramanti

According to an AP piece, an advisor to Sen. John Kerry spoke with former guardsman Bill Burkett. That's not too surprising. What is troubling is who set up the call:
Joe Lockhart denied any connection between the presidential campaign and the papers. Lockhart, the second Kerry ally to confirm contact with retired Texas National Guard officer Bill Burkett, said he made the call at the suggestion of CBS producer Mary Mapes. “He had some advice on how to deal with the Vietnam issue and the Swift boat” allegations, Lockhart said Monday, referring to GOP-fueled accusations that Kerry exaggerated his Vietnam War record. “He said these guys play tough and we have to put the Vietnam experience into context and have Kerry talk about it more.”
This raises one key question: why is CBS coordinating Kerry campaign strategy?

Permalink | Media Watch

September 20, 2004, 07:26 PM

Kerry-Bot Watch (2nd recon)

By Matt Forge

Most people are unaware that the Democrats have launched a new tactic in the war against conservatism - the LURCH 2000 Kerry-Bot. LURCH stands for “Liberals United Repelling Conservative Hacks.” It is a masterpiece of technology and human engineering. Liberals hail it as the last great hope for socialism. It's sole purpose is to win the 2004 presidential election and crush Republicans. The LURCH 2000 Kerry-Bot has not been without its flaws, though. Here we cover its travels in an undated timeline format. Use this page to keep tabs on its actions and whereabouts. Be on the lookout for this unnatural intruder for it may be invading your small town next. Be afraid - be very afraid. Just click on a description to view it, if you dare...

Kerry-Bot gives speech...

Kerry-Bot loses power again, lands on woman...

Kerry-Bot attempts to levitate audience...

Without warning or reason, Kerry-Bot crushes microphone...

"Is it unnatural to be in love a robot?" she wonders...

Left arm stops working, nobody notices...

Bot displays finger extending ability...

The LURCH 2000 nearly topples over...

Kerry-Bot mouth locks open again (it IS funny)...

A few moments later (still stuck)...

Bot displays amazing control...

Kerry-Bot gets mini doppler radar attached to forehead...

Ejects it...

Goes pretty high...

Kerry-Bot keeps locked on falling target...

Tries the old "foot catch"...

Fails...

Kids love robots...

The LURCH 2000 disco dance...

Kerry-Bot mimics human clapping custom...

The LURCH 2000 takes off...

Bot hands miss on clap attempt...

Then, confused, attempts to clap on officers arm...

However, military still approves of Kerry-Bot technology...

Officer gets picture taken with Kerry-Bot...

Does it feel life-like?...

Kerry-Bot mimics sound of incoming bomb...

End of the long hard day for Kerry-Bot...

Permalink | Humor

September 20, 2004, 05:13 PM

BS News

By Rob Booth

So I cruised over to Google News and noticed something funny. I noticed their top link in the CBS forgery story was a New York Times article. The story actually led with “CBS News said today...” but because NYT uses a picture for the first letter in their articles, it dropped the C in the Google view, leaving “BS News said today....” null The Google News page changes all the time, so it might not be there if you go to look.

Permalink | Media Watch

September 20, 2004, 03:55 PM

Analysis: Bush to win handily

By Matt Bramanti

National polls are just that: national. To arrive at a meaningful idea of what Election Night will be like, you have to analyze polling figures on a state-by-state basis, something that is absent from most stories about polling data. There are a few websites out there that make such analyses available, like this one, which puts Bush ahead by well over 100 electoral votes:

Permalink | News and Views

September 20, 2004, 02:02 PM

UPDATE: Democrat Candiate of indeterminate party Libertarian wants Bush assassinated, daughters raped

By Matt Bramanti

Daniel Avila, a candidate for a city council seat in Thousand Oaks, Calif., is under investigation after distributing handbills calling for the murder of President Bush and the rape of his daughters, Jenna and Barbara:
Daniel Avila, 25, admitted Wednesday that he handed out fliers at the city's Oktoberfest celebration stating, “President George W. Bush Deserves to Be Assassinated.” The handbill also called for a sex attack on the president's twin daughters. Avila, who didn't attend the Tuesday night council session, wouldn't discuss his motives.
This is another stitch in the tapestry of violence and irrational behavior that has been the hallmark of liberals during the Bush presidency. Chronically Biased is investigating Avila's background, and we'll keep you posted. UPDATE, 2:23 p.m.: According to the Thousand Oaks Acorn, Avila owns a vacuum shop in Marina Del Rey. According to the League of Women Voters, Avila listed his occupation as “law student.” UPDATE, 5:57 p.m.: According to WABC, Secret Service agents are aware of “a credible threat against the president” during his visit today to New York. NYPD and the Secret Service are investigating. UPDATE, 11:50 a.m.: According to the Elections Division of the Ventura County Clerk & Recorder's office, Avila is registered as a Libertarian. According to a Libertarian position paper, “The Libertarian Party is the party of personal responsibility. We believe that anyone who harms another person should be held responsible for that action.”

Permalink | News and Views

September 20, 2004, 01:39 PM

Biased? Nah!

By Matt Forge

Little Green Footballs has a very telling post (scroll down below memo graphic)... CBS Favoritism...

Permalink | Media Watch

September 20, 2004, 12:02 PM

Rather apologizes for “mistake in judgment”

By Matt Bramanti

As Phil reported mere moments ago, Dan Rather and CBS released a statement apologizing for their conduct, but passing the buck on responsibility:
But we did use the documents. We made a mistake in judgment, and for that I am sorry. It was an error that was made, however, in good faith and in the spirit of trying to carry on a CBS News tradition of investigative reporting without fear or favoritism.
It's just about what we all expected. Portray CBS as being duped and claim it was all done in the innocent pursuit of the truth. A “mistake in judgment?” It's much worse than that. Wearing a striped tie with a plaid shirt is a mistake in judgment. Setting the oven too high because it will cook faster is a mistake in judgment. Putting forged documents on the air despite the protests of document experts and with knowledge that the source has an ax to grind is a grievous breach of journalistic ethics. This story isn't over. Bill Burkett has admitted to supplying the documents, but questions remain:
Burkett originally said he obtained the documents from another former Guardsman. Now he says he got them from a different source whose connection to the documents and identity CBS News has been unable to verify to this point.
If this goes beyond Burkett, we need to find out who is involved. I suspect that the CBS brass think this story will ride off into the sunset, but it's just not going to happen. Anything questionable in the national media will be scrutinized and picked over by the blogosphere, and we're pretty good at it. Kudos to CB's own Phil Magness and the folks at Little Green Footballs for helping to break this story wide open.

Permalink | Media Watch

September 20, 2004, 11:57 AM

Rather concedes forgeries, Burkett the apparent source

By Phil Magness

Dan Rather issued a statement at approximately noon ET conceding the falsehood of the CBS memos. CBS identified Bill Burkett as the source of the documents. Burkett, as CB has reported, is a well connected Texas Democrat with a longstanding grudge against President Bush. Rather's Statement, from the Drudge Report:
Last week, amid increasing questions about the authenticity of documents used in support of a 60 MINUTES WEDNESDAY story about President Bush's time in the Texas Air National Guard, CBS News vowed to re-examine the documents in question—and their source—vigorously. And we promised that we would let the American public know what this examination turned up, whatever the outcome. Now, after extensive additional interviews, I no longer have the confidence in these documents that would allow us to continue vouching for them journalistically. I find we have been misled on the key question of how our source for the documents came into possession of these papers. That, combined with some of the questions that have been raised in public and in the press, leads me to a point where—if I knew then what I know now—I would not have gone ahead with the story as it was aired, and I certainly would not have used the documents in question. But we did use the documents. We made a mistake in judgment, and for that I am sorry. It was an error that was made, however, in good faith and in the spirit of trying to carry on a CBS News tradition of investigative reporting without fear or favoritism. Please know that nothing is more important to us than people's trust in our ability and our commitment to report fairly and truthfully.

Permalink | News and Views

September 20, 2004, 07:45 AM

Chron Outlook editor admits 'mainstream media' is liberally biased

By Owen Courrèges

This is one for the scrapbooks, folks. David Langworthy, the Chronicle's Outlook editor, has published a Sounding Board column in today's edition in which he admits that the mainstream media is anti-Bush:
A while ago on these pages, we carried an opinion piece (“Where is media swarm looking into Dem 527 groups,” Outlook, Sept. 2) by Benjamin Ginsberg. He is the lawyer who came under intense, connect-the-dots scrutiny because he represented both the Bush-Cheney campaign and Swift Boat Veterans for Truth. Ginsberg's main gripe is that there are the same connections on the Democratic side that received nowhere near the media attention that his did. In the op-ed, he supplied chapter and verse. I can't help but agree with Ginsberg. The 527s on the Kerry/Democratic side have been given a virtual free pass compared with the swifties, and people notice it. Those same folks vote with their remotes for Fox News.
Langworthy's column even addresses the now-infamous 'Memogate' scandal:
Which brings us to the Dan Rather/CBS handling of supposed memos from George W. Bush's days in the Texas Air National Guard. At the very least, CBS' handling of this story suggests what the theater folks call “a willing suspension of disbelief.” In its eagerness to nail Bush on his military service, CBS checked its professional skepticism at the door. Where was the network's vetting process? These incidents and the way they were handled by the mainstream media during the summer of Campaign 2004 will be fodder for journalism ethics classes a generation from now, if not sooner. It won't be a pretty picture. Meanwhile, they grow Fox's audience. Try as we may, we in the mainstream media cannot belittle Fox News or wish it and its imitators away.
I'm glad that Langworthy wrote this piece. I hope that it was cathartic. However, in admitting the failures of the 'mainstream media' he fails to address the problems with his own paper. He fails to mention that the Chronicle, in its efforts to slam Rep. Heflin, incorrectly stated that his district includes none of Spring Branch ISD (hat tip to Rob). Their 'correction' only furthered the error. Nor does Langworthy address the Leroy Sandoval story, or the leaked rail memo. The Chron gets off scot free. It's about time the Chronicle admitted its own faults, specifically and directly. They shouldn't quibble over the splinters in the eyes of others while ignoring the plank in their own.

Permalink | Chron Bias

September 20, 2004, 07:23 AM

Mirror, Mirror

By Matt Forge

Permalink | Political Cartoons

September 20, 2004, 07:22 AM

Back by popular demand, Metrorail accident #62

By Owen Courrèges

There's been another accident involving the Wham-Bam-Tram, a.k.a. 'Metrorail.' As one might expect, the Chronicle's reporting on the matter is rather suspect:
Two people suffered minor injuries after a car ran a red light and collided with a MetroRail train today in downtown Houston. The accident was the 61st involving a light rail train. The accident occurred at about 4 p.m. at Main and Pierce. A northbound rail car collided with the car after the female driver failed to stop at a red light, said Metropolitan Transit Authority Police Chief Tom Lambert.
First of all, it's the 62nd accident, not the 61st. However, given the problems people have had in keeping track of these accidents, that's probably an honest mistake. What may not be an honest mistake, however, is the Chronicle's characterization of the accident based on the word of Metro Chief Tom Lambert. ABC 13's report of the accident claimed that there were “conflicting stories” following the accident, and that it was not immediately clear who was at fault. Was the Chronicle only giving one side of the story? I wouldn't be surprised.

Permalink | Houston's Light Rail

September 20, 2004, 06:21 AM

CBS News to discuss memos?

By Rob Booth

Here's a roundup of stories about the announcement from CBS News that is expected today: WaPo: CBS to Say It Was Misled on Bush Guard Memos
CBS News plans to issue a statement, perhaps as early as today, saying that it was misled on the purported National Guard memos the network used to charge that President Bush received favored treatment 30 years ago.
NYTimes: CBS News Concludes It Was Misled on National Guard Memos, Network Officials Say
After days of expressing confidence about the documents used in a “60 Minutes'' report that raised new questions about President Bush's National Guard service, CBS News officials have grave doubts about the authenticity of the material, network officials said last night.
BeldarBlog: NYT: CBS News to crater on Rathergate — ”Too flawed to have gone on the air“
It appears that when CBS News sent Dan Rather to interview Bill Burkett over the weekend, they sent along a grown-up with him — CBS News senior vice president Betsy West. And the fairly direct result — under the headline ”CBS News Concludes It Was Misled on National Guard Memos, Network Officials Say" — appears to be Monday's New York Times article by Jim Rutenberg (boldface added; hat-tip to Jim Geraghty's Kerry Spot on NRO):
It's a sign of the times that I'm linking to the NY Times, Washington Post, and a blog written by a guy who calls himself Beldar. Weirder still is I trust Beldar more than the first two.

Permalink | Media Watch

September 19, 2004, 04:20 PM

Correcting the Chronicle Correction

By Rob Booth

On Friday, I noted that Chronicle writer Kristen Mack took a swipe at Rep. Talmadge Heflin using incorrect information. The Chronicle ran a correction today.
State House District 149 represented by Talmadge Heflin, R-Houston, includes a non-residential portion of the Spring Branch Independent School District. A story on page B2 in Friday's Chronicle said incorrectly that none of the district is in SBISD.
I highlighted the term “non-residential” because that will be a surprise to the people who, well, reside in that portion of SBISD. The addition of the term “non-residential” is interesting. I can't read minds, but I can only infer that they're trying to minimize the error they made by saying, “Well, ok, it's in Rep. Heflin's district, but nobody lives there so it doesn't really count.” This apparent attempt to draw attention away from the error is wrong on two counts: 1. No matter what, they were still in error, even if this piece of the district was a sinkhole or a pond. They said:
Apparently he doesn't know it as well as he thinks. Turns out no part of the Spring Branch School District is in State House District 149, according to Heflin's Web site.
That's just plain not correct, and they should have just said that it wasn't correct. 2. The correction is factually incorrect, or I guess it depends on what the definition of the term “non-residential” is. I would feel safe assuming that if people live in that portion of SBISD, it's not “non-residential.” If you go to the Harris County Tax Assessor/Collector's web site and go to the street guide, you can find out what voting districts a particular address is in. Enter the address 15200 Memorial DR in precinct 0095 and you'll find that that address is in precinct 0095, sub 3. A “sub” is a subdivision of a precinct that tells you if a particular address is in a political district that doesn't respect the boundary lines of a precinct. SBISD includes one part of the precinct and 15200 Memorial is the only residential address I can find in that sub. So what's at 15200 Memorial Drive? A luxury townhome community, Village on Memorial. It's a new complex, part is still under construction. I called over there to check on what school district they're in, their web site says Katy ISD and the records show SBISD. I got a very nice lady on the phone who confirmed that their web site is in error and they are located in SBISD. She also told me that there are about 300 units in the complex and they are about 15% occupied. I took a drive by and snapped some pictures. If you want to see a larger version of the photo, just click on it. For their “non-residential” claim, I guess the Chronicle was relying on the report on Rep. Heflin's web site that states there is zero SBISD population in district 149. What they failed to note is that it says right at the top of it that the data is from the 2000 Census. That's four years ago. So, let's sum this up.The best thing to do in cases like this is just say you made an error and move on.

Permalink | Poor Chron Journalism

September 19, 2004, 04:00 PM

Washington Post's hard evidence

By Terry Bohannon

Today, the Washington Post released a side-by-side comparison of CBS' faked documents with a few official Killian memos. The graphic can be seen here. Laura Stanton's research shows without a doubt that Lt Col Jerry Killian did not write the memos CBS stands behind. Last week, I brought up the question of who (or what) CBS is protecting with their rigid stance behind their reporting. Maybe we are getting closer to an answer. Bill Burkett, as Phil wrote in his article, was said to be a source for the report. However, it seems obvious that Bill Burkett alone couldn't have been the only source: he would not have had the leverage to get the documents on air, and if he did, CBS wouldn't have been protected him as much as they're protecting their sources in this scandal. An AP release shows that Bill Burkett contacted the Kerry campaign. They wrote:
The retired Guard official, Bill Burkett, said in an Aug. 21 e-mail to a list of Texas Democrats that after getting through “seven layers of bureaucratic kids” in the Democrat's campaign, he talked with former Georgia Sen. Max Cleland about information that would counter criticism of Kerry's Vietnam War service. The Associated Press obtained a copy of the e-mail Saturday.
What this “information” was remains unknown. Yet, in the face of hard evidence, CBS continues to stand by their reporting. That suggests they are still actively protecting their sources. Since these documents are faked, CBS has no reason to protect their sources unless, of course, reveling their sources would hurt the Democrats or even the Kerry Campaign. The press, like the Associated Press, ABC News, the Washington Post, and even the New York Times, should seek the truth for an answer that explains CBS' defensive. Let's hope they do just that.

Permalink | Media Watch

September 18, 2004, 07:55 PM

Another Great Online Video (God Bless the Internet!)

By Matt Forge

http://www.squizzle.com/movieview.asp?id=2025

Permalink | Miscellaneous

September 18, 2004, 07:17 PM

Ignoring the Elephant in the Newsroom

By Matt Forge

Permalink | Political Cartoons

September 18, 2004, 03:10 PM

RNC Statement on the Memo Forgery Issue

By Rob Booth

RNC: Statement from RNC Communications Director Jim Dyke
Washington, DC—RNC Communications Director Jim Dyke made the following statement today “Bill Burkett, Democrat activist and Kerry campaign supporter, passes information to the DNC; Kerry campaign surrogate Max Cleland discusses ”valuable“ information with Bill Burkett; Bill Burkett talks to ”senior“ Kerry campaign officials; an apparently unsuspecting news organization uses faked forged memos and an interview with Ben Barnes at the same time the Democratic National Committee launched Operation Fortunate Son; and Kerry campaign manager Mary Beth Cahill was among the first to call Ben Barnes and congratulate him after his interview. The trail of connections is becoming increasingly clear.”
I think they could have made that statement a bit more explicit.

Permalink | News and Views

September 18, 2004, 02:00 PM

The Fifth Swift Boat ad:

By Terry Bohannon

Swift Boat Vets for Truth published another hard-hitting advertisement last Wednesday. It's titled “Dazed and Confused”. In it they juxtapose a 1971 interview where John Kerry said, “I gave back, I can't remember, six, seven, eight, nine medals” with an ABC interview last April on Good Morning America where he claimed “I threw my ribbons. I didn't have my medals.” In the interview Kerry had with Charles Gibson on April 25, 2004, there is a very telling exchange:
GIBSON: Well, Senator, I was there 33 years ago. I saw you throw medals over the fence and we didn't find out till later that those were … KERRY: No, you didn't see me throw. Wrong. GIBSON: Those were someone's medals. KERRY: Charlie, Charlie, you're wrong. That is not what happened. I threw my ribbons across. And all you have to do is go back and find the file footage. GIBSON: And someone else's medals? And someone else's medals, correct? KERRY: Later, after, excuse me. Excuse me, Charlie. After the ceremony was over, I had a Bronze Star and a Purple Heart given to me, one Purple Heart by a veteran in the VA in New York and the Bronze Star by an older veteran of World War II in Massachusetts. GIBSON: But, but … KERRY: And I threw them over 'cause they asked me to. I never, never -- GIBSON: But, Senator, let me, let me come back to this, the thing you just said which is that the military makes no distinction -- KERRY: This is a phony, Charlie, this is a phony controversy. GIBSON: — that the military makes no distinction, that the military makes no distinction between ribbons and medals, but you're the one who made the distinction. In 1984 -- KERRY: No. We made no distinction back then, Charlie. We made no distinction in 1971.
This isn't the first time this issue has harmed Kerry. As he was running for the Senate back in 1984, his opponents brought up his medal tossing. When criticized as a hypocrite after Kerry said he tossed someone else's medals. Senator Kerry, newly elected, said in his defense to the Washington Post on February 21, 1985:
“It's such a personal thing. They're my medals. I'll do what I want with them. And there shouldn't be any expectations about them. It shouldn't be a measurement of anything. People say, 'You didn't throw you medals away.' Who said I had to? And why should I? It's my business. I did not want to throw my medals away.”
Kerry said “It's such a personal thing” and that he did not want to throw his medals away, but he would throw someone else's medals to then go on TV in 1971 and claim that “I gave back, I can't remember, six, seven, eight, nine medals.” In that interview with Kerry last April, Gibson pressed Kerry on this discrepancy. Gibson said, “From 1984, Senator, to the present, you have said a number of times that you did not throw away the Vietnam medals themselves. But now this interview from 1971 shows up in which you say that was the medals themselves that were thrown away. Can you explain the discrepancy?” Kerry answered:
KERRY: Absolutely. That, that is absolutely incorrect. Charlie, I stood up in front of the nation. There were dozens of cameras there, television cameras. There were, I don't know, 20, 30 still photographers. Thousands of people. And I stood up in front of the country, reached into my shirt, visibly for the nation to see, and took the ribbons off my chest, said a few words and threw them over the fence. The file footage, the reporter there from the “Boston Globe,” everybody got it correctly. And I never asserted otherwise. What I said was, and back then, you know, ribbons, medals were absolutely interchangeable.
Kerry claims “that is absolutely incorrect” he threw away his medals when “everybody got it correctly.” Perhaps, then, the only person to not get it 'correctly' was Kerry himself in his 1971 interview where he claimed to throw his medals away. Perhaps David Thorne, the twin brother of Kerry's ex-wife, can give the best explanation in understanding this discrepancy: He said to the Washington Post in 1985 that “John is a difficult person to get close to. He's remote and not very good on a human level. He's not very good at assuaging feelings.” Perhaps Kerry has difficultly with the truth as well, and that is exactly what the fifth Swift Boat Veterans for Truth ad suggests. A direct link to the video clip of their advertisement can be found on their main page, the transcript can be found here.

Permalink | News and Views

September 18, 2004, 01:30 PM

Here come the election monitors

By M. Wildes

In Friday's Chronicle, the Associated Press announced that:
A team of international observers will go to five states beginning Friday to monitor preparations for the Nov. 2 presidential election. The observers, organized by the San Francisco human rights group Global Exchange. . .
Human rights are a noble cause. Fair elections are what everyone wants. However, to pretend that an international group will be some sort of objective third party is absurd. Looking at the Global Exchange web site, it is obvious that this activist organization may be incapable of assembling a nonpartisan group to monitor the election:
We are marching for our children and our families, who have been put at risk by the growing anti-American sentiment stemming from George W. Bush's doctrine of preemptive strikes, his arrogant use of force and his contempt for international law. We are marching because we don't want to continue to squander billions of our tax dollars on war when the funds are needed to provide the public with health care, decent schools and new forms of energy that can eliminate our dependence on other nations' oil.
Anti-war and anti-Bush comments are just the tip of the iceberg. The site is rampant with anti-capitalist, anti-corporation, anti-death penalty, and pro-Cuba rhetoric. Without digging any deeper than the group’s own web site, there are already too many blatant obstacles to fairness and objectivity for this group or any they put together to be taken seriously. Please, judge for yourself.

Permalink | News and Views

September 18, 2004, 10:00 AM

Today's Features

By Mona Lugay

Make sure you view our Features section for daily commentary on entertainment “wonders and blunders,” the sports world's best and worst shots, local high school sports updates, the great outdoors, a little miscellaneous humor, Houston happenings and much more. Matt Malatesta gives a review of this season's football state championship rematch between North Shore and The Woodlands.

Permalink | Miscellaneous

September 18, 2004, 07:00 AM

Kerry-Bot malfunctions again

By Terry Bohannon

Kerry-Bot has a sensory overload when shaking a hand before deciding not to (source).

Permalink | Humor

September 17, 2004, 10:40 PM

John Gaver scoops everyone!

By Rob Booth

Action America: 2004 Palm Beach Electronic Ballot (Democrat Approved)
Action America has acquired a copy of the Democrat proposal for the Palm Beach County, Florida electronic ballot (simplified version) for 2004. The Democrats also recommend putting it in other areas where Democrat strength is marginal or anywhere that voter intelligence is far below average. We, at Action America, believe that this ballot is at least as authentic as the Killian Air National Guard memos, publicized by Dan Rather and CBS. We present it here, for your enlightenment.

Permalink | Humor

September 17, 2004, 06:15 PM

Election Year Archaeology 2004

By Matt Forge

Note: I had posted an incorrect version of this last night, but an observant observer observed that I had placed the wrong dates on the tombstone. That post (without the new image) is still there to preserve the comments made by readers.

Permalink | Political Cartoons

September 17, 2004, 06:13 PM

Congratulations Kristen Mack! (Updated)

By Rob Booth

The Chronicle has apparently replaced columnist John Williams with Kristen Mack. Kristen's getting off to a great start, using incorrect information to attack Republicans. (Thanks to Off the Kuff for the link.) Most of Kristen's column deals with Mayor White and Propositions 1 and 2, but at the end there's this: Houston Chronicle: White courts Republicans to boost revenue measure
State Rep. Talmadge Heflin says he's in tune with his district. On a recent television show Heflin said: “I have been very much in touch with the district. It covers part of Katy school district, part of Alief, part of HISD, part of Spring Branch and part of Stafford. I know the district, I know the schools, I know the needs.” Apparently he doesn't know it as well as he thinks. Turns out no part of the Spring Branch School District is in State House District 149, according to Heflin's Web site.
I thought that last line was odd. The first time I read it I got the impression that his web site said somewhere that he didn't represent Spring Branch ISD. Why would his web site say that no part of Spring Branch ISD is in district 149? So I went to look and found this: DISTRICTS OF THE 78TH LEGISLATURE - SCHOOL DISTRICTS REPORT
SCHOOL DISTRICT — POPULATION IN DISTRICT 149 — TOTAL Alief ISD — (44.8% in district) — 99,959 Houston ISD (2% in district) — 25,168 Katy ISD (9.8% in district) — 13,739 Spring Branch ISD (0% in district) — 0 Stafford MSD (1.6% in district) — 249
Why would his web site say that there was 0% of Spring Branch ISD in the district? He has 0% of Fort Bend ISD in the district, why would the site single out Spring Branch ISD? Notice at the top that it says “Population in District.” Ah-ha, so there is 0 population in district 149 from Spring Branch ISD. So, I went to get a map of Spring Branch ISD. I downloaded the PDF file and found this: null See the little notch of Spring Branch ISD that goes west past Eldridge? That's in Harris County precinct 0095. Here's a map (courtesy Harris County GOP): Representative Heflin represents precinct 0095:
HOUSE DISTRICT 149 DISTRICTS OF THE 78TH LEGISLATURE (2003) PRECINCTS WITHIN DISTRICT BY COUNTY COUNTY - PRECINCT HARRIS - 0095
So, let's sum up:So, Kristen, congratulations on the new gig! I look forward to reading your columns. Very closely. And checking them. Closely. Update 9/18 1:15 PM: I did a little more poking around in the “notch” and posted a couple of comments to Off the Kuff. In a nutshell, I've confirmed through other sources that part of Spring Branch ISD is in District 149 and there is at least one person registered to vote there. There will soon be more. I haven't noticed a correction from the Chronicle yet. C'mon, I know you're reading this.

Permalink | Poor Chron Journalism

September 17, 2004, 09:40 AM

Ratherly the same

By Terry Bohannon

A keen reader recently e-mailed Chronically Biased a clipping of the Bloom County cartoon strip. It was drawn around 1984, and it's rather telling.
In the mid-eighties Dan Rather was on the top of his game. On November 29, 1985, the UK Telegraph reported that at that time, Dan Rather was “earning eight times as much as President Reagan” while reaching “a nightly audience of 22 million.” This Wednesday, Dan Rather prefaced Evening News with the following:
CBS News, 60 Minutes, and this reporter drew fire today over our reports that raised questions about President Bush's military service record, including whether he followed orders and whether he fulfilled his obligations to the National Guard.
That cartoon, although it's about 20 years old, shows that Dan Rather is 'ratherly' the same.

Permalink | Media Watch

September 17, 2004, 09:00 AM

Today's Features

By Mona Lugay

Make sure you view our Features section for daily commentary on entertainment “wonders and blunders,” the sports world's best and worst shots, local high school sports updates, the great outdoors, a little miscellaneous humor, Houston happenings and much more. Dan Lovett says “Don't worry, be happy” to some sports fans and gives us his top picks for NFL play. Barry Chambers give us his take on why we should add the Passion of the Christ to our DVD collection and Jeremy Weidenhof persuades us to join in the fun at this weekend's Museum District Day festivities - Why not, it's free!!

Permalink | Miscellaneous

September 17, 2004, 07:00 AM

American families enjoy soaring wealth

By Matt Bramanti

According to Thursday's Flow of Funds report by the Federal Reserve, wealth among American households reached a new record high, while consumer borrowing slowed a bit. How good is this news? It must be pretty good, considering even Reuters has to admit this economy is moving along well:
First-quarter household wealth was initially reported at $45.153 trillion, which had been a record high. Much of the increase in household net worth came from rising real estate values. The Fed said the market value of household real estate, which includes owner-occupied homes, second homes and vacant land, rose 2.9 percent to $15.713 trillion in the second quarter.
Looks like the President's plan for an “ownership society” is paying off for homeowners everywhere. Sen. John Kerry, of course, looks at it a bit differently. Or does he? USA Today reported on Kerry's speech to the Detroit Economic Club on Wednesday:
“George Bush accomplished all this in only four years,” Kerry said. “Imagine what he could do in another four years.”
We'll soon find out, won't we, John? By the way, I'm now proud to count myself as a member of the ownership society, as I closed on my first home yesterday (Thursday). Please help me paint the darn thing.

Permalink | News and Views

September 16, 2004, 11:55 PM

Kerry supporter valiantly defeats small child

By Matt Bramanti

In this AP photo, we see three-year-old Sophia Parlock, sitting on the shoulders of her dad, Paul. The little girl is bawling as she holds the remnants of a Bush-Cheney placard. The sign was ripped to pieces by Kerry-Edwards boosters, including the tough guy to Sophia's right, at a rally Thursday in Huntington, W.Va. Good work, fellas. You show that toddler who's boss!

Permalink | News and Views

September 16, 2004, 06:03 PM

Election Year Archaeology 2004

By Matt Forge

Updated image posted above... Didn't delete this post to save comments. -Matt

Permalink | Political Cartoons

September 16, 2004, 03:00 PM

Metro claims victory in war on “driver” problems

By M. Wildes

Since the launch of the Metro’s Light Rail earlier this year, all but one of the 61 accidents has been blamed on the public. We can all remember the condescending TV and radio ads in which the great and powerful Metro sought to teach us the error of our ways and Metro Police Chief Tom Lambert’s paternal rant, “So, what part of safety do we not understand?” In a quote in USA Today that sums up Metro’s view after each accident, Ken Connaughton of the Metropolitan Transit Authority said, “It’s not a rail problem. It’s a driver problem.” According to the Chronicle, the accident rate is down over the last several months. However, Metro does not credit the drivers for being safer. Instead, Metro solutes itself for implementing solutions. Of course, these can not be solutions to their own problems and short comings. They had none. These must be solutions to driver problems. According to Metro Chairman David Wolff:
“We have tried to take specific actions to reduce these accidents,” Wolff said, citing a number of safety measures implemented since March including changing many traffic signals to red in all directions as trains cross an intersection, adding additional signs and pavement markings, and redesigning some troublesome crossings. (snip) “We're proud of what we've done,” Wolff said. “We're hoping the motoring public would help us celebrate by lowering the numbers even further.”
Sorry Metro, you can not have it both ways.

Permalink | Houston's Light Rail

September 16, 2004, 02:07 PM

The hacking of Evening News

By Terry Bohannon

Dan Rather's Evening News, after years of mediocrity, has taken a major hit in the ratings, according to the Drudge Report today. According to the Drudge report:
CBS executives on both coasts have become concerned in recent days that Dan Rather's EVENING NEWS broadcast has plunged in the ratings since the anchor presented questionable documents about Bush's National Guard service. NIELSEN numbers released this week show Rather fading and trailing his rivals in every Top 10 city, other than San Francisco, with audience margins in some cities running more than 6 to 1 against CBS! Executives fear many voters inclined to vote for Bush are now switching off Rather.
In explaining the rating dip Drudge reported a top CBS source as saying, “we're being perceived as 'anti-Bush,' which I do not think is fair to Dan, who is a fine journalist... of course we do not like to see the ratings coming back the way they are this week.” Perhaps there's some type of company loyalty that explains why this source said that Dan Rather is a “fine journalist”; last I checked though, a journalist stops being considered 'fine' if he pushes forward fake documents for political gain especially after experts question their authenticity. Dan Rather wanted to politically damage President Bush; but with this document scandal, the only thing he has succeeded at is damaging CBS' reputation and perhaps has even set forward the face history will remember him by: as a cheap political hack that cares more about politics than journalistic integrity.

Permalink | Media Watch

September 16, 2004, 10:40 AM

Putin seeks to centralize power

By Terry Bohannon

In a move that radically strengthens the federal government, Vladimir Putin has initiated a plan “that governors should no longer be elected by those people who live in the regions, but by delegates instead,” according to a report from Pravda. That article continues in quoting Putin as he justifies his plan:
“To ensure unity of the governmental authorities and a step-by-step development of federalism it is important that the Federation and its units will act together in the formation of executive governmental bodies on the territory of the Russian Federation. In this regard, I assume that high-ranking officials of the units of the Russian Federation will ought to be elected by Legislative Assemblies of those territories.”
If this plan is codified into law, a source within Putin's administration “presumes that the new election system will take effect only after terms of acting governors expires,” as Pravda reports. This would not be the first time Putin has made reforms that weaken regional governments. In the first months of his presidency, he initiated the “creation of seven federal districts in May 2000” that oversee the 89 regional governments. These federal districts had “presidentially-appointed representatives”, as Jodi Koehn remarked in an article published by the Kennan Institute. She continued to say that this reform “was an attempt by Putin to regain control of the federal powers lost under Yeltsin.” Under Yeltsin, the 89 regional governors has controls over how central polices were implemented in their regions. As the Wall Street Journal said in 2000, “Most of Russia's 89 regional leaders behave as mini-czars, themselves paying little attention to democratic processes when they can get by with it.” It was this power that Putin was trying to stifle, but, as the Wall Street Journal continued, “both as regional leaders and members of the upper house, the governors constituted an important check on federal power. That check,” it says, “is, for now at least, effectively neutralized” with Putin's establishment of federal districts overseeing those regional leaders. Putin's second major reform that limited the regional governors power's was establishing his and the Duma's “ability to fire governors and disband regional legislatures,” as Jodi Koehn pointed out. The constitutionality of this reform was challenged, but after a few months the challenge was dismissed by the Constitutional Court. According to a May 1, 2002 article in the Current Digest of the Post-Soviet Press, the challenge was dismissed in part because Vladimir Putin hasn't fired anybody yet, and “there's really nothing to review.” However, the main justification given for upholding this law was that Putin's and the Duma's ability to fire regional governors “will keep some of [the regional governors] from getting into mischief and violating federal legislation, and it will foster the creation of a stable legal system and help strengthen federalism,” as the president's permanent representative to the Constitutional Court said. “Strengthening federalism” seems to be something that Putin is actively pursuing. Putin continued to initiate reforms that strength federalism in his third major reform. As Jodi Koehn said, this reform was “the reorganization of the Federation Council and establishment of the State Council” which reduces “the power of the governors to influence federal policy.” Which, “As a result, governors are no longer directly involved with budget making or in passing legislation. With less influence in the Federation Council, the governors are directing their lobbying power to the State Duma on budgetary issues.” Since Putin has sought to limit the regional governors' powers time and time again, his new reforms shouldn't be too much of a surprise. By further centralizing Russia's power, Vladimir Putin's goals might not be in the best interest of democracy. He was a KGB officer from 1975 to 1991 and later was the head of the FSB from 1998 to 1999. To be an influential officer in the KGB, undoubtedly Putin must have had a lot of political connections. He must have been throughly trusted by the overseeing commissar that enforced party loyalty. I will not speculate as to what Putin's ultimate intentions are, but I will stand behind President Bush's statement yesterday where he said:
“I'm also concerned about the decisions that are being made in Russia that could undermine democracy in Russia; that great countries, great democracies have a balance of power between central government and local governments, a balance of power within central governments between the executive branch and the legislative branch and the judicial branch. As governments fight the enemies of democracy, they must uphold the principles of democracy.”
Putin has gained a lot of political power from the anger spurred from those horrible attacks on schoolchildren. Let's hope he refrains from reforming Russian Government to the extent that it is vulnerable to zealous dictators or communists that would love to pull the Iron Curtain back up.

Permalink | News and Views

September 16, 2004, 09:31 AM

Funding pulled for black heritage museum

By Owen Courrèges

This is indeed a good day for all Houston taxpayers. A grotesque genuflection to political-correctness has been shot down, one that would have cost the city $2 million (from KHOU):
Houston has a district crowded with museums. But how Houstonians pay for their museums is up for debate. Last year, the City of Houston budgeted $2 million for an African-American museum, which would have been much larger than the privately funded Buffalo Soldiers National Museum. But this year, some council members objected. “We're opening a door now to really receive grant applications,” said Councilmember Pam Holm Mayor Bill White backed the museum. “I think it's worthy of having a hearing,” said Mayor White. The council seemed evenly divided. But in the end, the council's decision was unanimous. They kept the African-American museum in the city's long-range plans, but they also pulled its $2 million appropriation from the city's budget. And now, in an amendment backed by the mayor, the city has to come up with a policy outlining the criteria groups have to follow to qualify for the money.
As both Dan and I explained earlier, this effort was both wasteful and racially divisive. Mayor White should be ashamed for having supported it. I'm just glad that the city council ultimately proved to have more common sense than our esteemed chief executive. UPDATE: The Chronicle is reporting that “the Houston City Council agreed Wednesday to eventually spend $2 million on a proposed privately owned black history museum, but only after specifying that the money would not come from property taxes slated for infrastructure repair.” It would seem that KHOU didn't tell the entire story. The funding seems to have been pulled from the budget, but the council has still committed itself to eventually spend the money. Accordingly, this was not a victory for Houston taxpayers. Instead, it was a victory for Mayor White's deceptions.

Permalink | News and Views - Houston

September 16, 2004, 08:38 AM

Teresa plays Marie Antoinette role

By Matt Bramanti

According to an AP story, Teresa Heinz Kerry really, truly and deeply cares about the plight of Gulf Coast residents slammed by Hurricane Ivan:
Clothing is wonderful, but let them go naked for a while, at least the kids,” said Heinz Kerry, the wife of Democratic presidential candidate John Kerry. “Water is necessary, and then generators, and then food, and then clothes.”
Remember, folks, Perrier before Prada. And if you're going to send food to these poor folks, let them eat cake.

Permalink | News and Views

September 16, 2004, 08:00 AM

Today's Features

By Mona Lugay

Make sure you view our Features section for daily commentary on entertainment “wonders and blunders,” the sports world's best and worst shots, local high school sports updates, the great outdoors, a little miscellaneous humor and much more. Matt Malatesta give his latest High School Football Review, Michael Reagan says big media is getting smaller and smaller and Barry Chambers gives his take on “Rather-gate” - the way it is.

Permalink | Miscellaneous

September 16, 2004, 07:00 AM

Laura Ingraham slams Bill O'Reilly

By Dan Patrick

Last night on Fox, Laura Ingraham appeared on the O’Reilly Factor. She laid into him for attacking “right wing” talk radio and conservatives in general over both the swift boat issue and the Rather issue. Bill was clearly on the defensive and not able to respond to Laura. She spoke for the people last night, the good people who listen to talk radio, who believe the vets and who don’t trust Rather and CBS. As she said to Bill, you don’t mind selling your books or building your audience by appealing to conservatives, but if they disagree with you, you attack them like liberal democrats attack them.
I spoke with Laura late last night and thanked her for standing up to Bill’s attacks on the right. She said Bill was very polite after the interview and she appreciated that he allowed her on the show to question his comments, of late, about conservatives. I also spoke with O’Reilly’s personal staff yesterday and asked him to return my call today. Like Laura, I want him to know that conservative talk radio is not hateful. Our listeners don’t hate Kerry as a person, they just don’t agree with him on the issues. I also relayed the message that he was walking a thin line with his television and radio audience. He doesn’t have to always agree with his audience, but he shouldn’t attack them either. As Laura said last night on his show, he is where he is today because of conservatives. They saw him as someone who might not always agree with them, but who at least respected them. Much the same way that Rather became defensive that anyone should criticize him, O’Reilly has fallen into the same trap. He needs to admit he was wrong on the swift vets, wrong on defending Rather and wrong to attack conservatives as hateful people. Everyone knows Bill dislikes talk hosts like Limbaugh and Hannity. He sees himself as being above them. Bill sees himself as being the only one who is capable of discerning the truth. I have known Bill for years and if I know him, as I think I do, he will realize that he went too far in comparing the right to the hateful left and apologize to his audience. A few years ago when Rush was in trouble for the drug issue, I appeared on Fox and predicted that if it was true, the Rush I knew would come forward and tell the truth. He did within days. I hope Bill understands he has offended many in his audience and that he will address the issue. If he doesn’t, he will lose a lot respect from those who have supported him. One thing for sure, talk radio has never been more interesting. I thought the O.J. story was a hot topic, and then the Clinton scandal, then the 2000 election and then 9-11. Now we have a network under the gun, a network star under the microscope and a battle between the kings of talk radio. What’s next? You can hear Laura on KSEV 9.a.m. – 11.a.m. and Bill on KSEV 2 p.m.-4p.m.

Permalink | News and Views

September 16, 2004, 06:40 AM

Sad Scam Job

By Rob Booth

CBS News: GOP Slams CBS On Bush Memos
However, some experts doubt the authenticity of the memos. Killian's secretary — in an interview with 60 Minutes — tells Dan Rather she too believes the memos are fake, but accurately reflect Killian's view of Lt. Bush.
It's very sad when the person brought in to defend CBS in the Texas Air National Guard document forgery case says the documents are fakes.
Some at this network believe the backlash against the 60 Minutes report is pure politics. But that's the critics' point as well — that fake, or real, the fact that 60 Minutes got these documents during an election year was no accident.
Some at this web site believe the 60 Minutes story was a politically motivated attack against President Bush. Just in case you were curious.
Will said she e-mailed a CBS producer and urged her the night before the broadcast not to play up that a professional document examiner had authenticated the papers. [snip] West said Will did not contact the network the night before the report aired. “I am not aware of any substantive objections raised,” she said. “She did not urge us to hold the story.”
The old I-didn't-get-the-e-mail defense! Wonderful! Ms. West, will you release the logs from your mail servers for the night in question? CBS can resolve this issue easily. Get the original copies of the documents from their source. Give the paper-and-ink copies to an independent group of document experts for verification. Publish the results.

Permalink | News and Views

September 16, 2004, 05:30 AM

Is Mayor White just another slippery politician ?

By Dan Patrick

Yesterday, I asked you to contact the Mayor and ask him not to give away 2 million dollars of taxpayer money to a private group wanting to build a museum. The Mayor appears to have heard your voice. However, it may be that the Mayor is working with city councilman Green to concoct a scheme that makes it looks like he is pulling back from the give-away, but in truth he is going to move forward at a later date when he thinks no one is watching. According to sources, the Green/Mayor compromise would in essence allow groups to meet a low threshold for funding at a later date in order to build their pet projects. It also appears that this compromise may allow each councilman to have a pet project. This means millions may be given away for personal projects. I have several informed sources that say a game is being played by city hall to try and fool the public. If that is the case, then the Mayor is playing with fire. Any such scheme will be revealed. It was bad enough that the Mayor wanted to give-away taxpayer money to private citizens in what appeared, to some, to be a political payoff. It is quite another to pretend you have listened to the citizens, by pulling the funding, and then going behind the citizens backs to give the money away at a later date through an elaborate scheme. The Mayor is the highest-ranking democrat in the state. He may want to run for statewide office one day or for the United States Senate. In order to win any such office he will need moderate and conservative republicans to vote for him. So far, he has impressed many of these voters with his ability and openness. However, if he tries to pull one over on the public, these voters will view him, as just another liberal democrat who says one thing and does the other. I hope for his sake the Mayor is smarter than some network news anchors. The day that prominent people in the public eye you can get away with fooling the public is over. The Internet gives the little guy an even playing field with those in power. Republicans as well as democrats have found this out the hard way, as has Mr. Rather.

Permalink | News and Views

September 16, 2004, 01:50 AM

Burkett's Spokesman headlined Kerry rally in Austin last month

By Phil Magness

Emerging “Rathergate” figure with suspected memo connections has strong links to Democratic Party With the Washington Post's discovery of evidence that suggests disgruntled ex national guardsman Bill Burkett's involvement Rathergate memo scandal, scrutiny has quickly turned to the increasingly clear connections between Burkett and the Democratic Party. CB revealed yesterday that both Burkett and his attorney and spokesman David Van Os are heavily involved in the Democratic Party of Texas, the latter having been recently nominated on their statewide ticket. Chronically Biased has now learned that Mr. Van Os was a featured speaker at recent John Kerry for President rallies in Austin and Houston where he shared the podium with nationally known Democrat figures including Howard Dean. Photographs of the rally appear on the website of Austin for Kerry/Edwards 2004, an “unaffiliated” campaign support organization for Kerry. Van Os may be seen here addressing the crowd amidst a field of Kerry banners from the same podium that hosted Dean, a former Vermont Governor and primary contender for the Democratic nomination who is presently campaigning for Kerry. According to his own account written for a liberal website, Van Os played a key organizational role in Dean's recent campaign trip through Texas for Kerry and accompanied Dean by car from Austin to Houston. Dean's Houston rally also featured U.S. Rep. Sheila Jackson Lee and several dozen well known local Democrats.

Permalink | News and Views

September 15, 2004, 09:23 PM

The Official LURCH 2000 Kerry-Bot Watch

By Matt Forge

Most people are unaware that the Democrats have launched a new tactic in the war against conservatism - the LURCH 2000 Kerry-Bot. LURCH stands for “Liberals United Repelling Conservative Hacks.” It is a masterpiece of technology and human engineering. Liberals hail it as the last great hope for socialism. It's sole purpose is to win the 2004 presidential election and crush Republicans. The LURCH 2000 Kerry-Bot has not been without its flaws, though. Here we cover its travels in an undated timeline format. Use this page to keep tabs on its actions and whereabouts. Be on the lookout for this unnatural intruder for it may be invading your small town next. Be afraid - be very afraid. Just click on a description to view it, if you dare...

The LURCH 2000 Kerry-Bot shows off his human-like coordination...

Kerry-Bot clasps lady's hand, won't let go...

Kerry-Bot pretends to eat like a carbon-based life unit...

Close-up...

Running calculations to determine needed course of action...

Kerry-Bot poses with human food...

The LURCH 2000 pleased with acting like human...

Kerry-Bot goes berserk, unexpectedly pushes woman out of the way...

The LURCH 2000 displays balancing skill...

Kerry-Bot nearly crushes woman with hydraulic bear hug...

People amazed at LURCH 2000 technology...

Gather around to touch it...

Kerry-Bot experiences sensory overload...

Kerry-Bot pauses for 24.7 seconds to compute calculation, then resumes speech...

Bot's leg movement still needs tweaking from engineers...

Flashback: Kerry-Bot prototype passes ultimate balancing test, engineers ecstatic...

Kerry-Bot loses power, freezes during speech...

Bot's mouth gets stuck in open position, engineers aware of glitch...

The LURCH 2000 Kerry Bot - a towering marvel of scientific technology...

The LURCH 2000 imitates a crayfish...

Kerry-Bot attempts, succeeds in touching thumb to pinky finger...

Kerry-Bot in 'sleep mode' before being powered up...

Elderly still uneasy about non-human candidate...

Kerry-Bot displays enormous reach...

Kerry-Bot mimics human pledge...

Elderly woman cautiously examines Kerry-Bot...

Nervous man notices Kerry-Bot oil leak...

Kerry-Bot loses power again, becoming a problem...

Of bots and balloons...

Kerry-Bot takes off face showing inner workings to bot enthusiasts...

The LURCH 2000 fails to contemplate religion...

Kerry-Bot remarkably life-like...

Kerry-Bot poses with female humanoid...

Kerry-Bot promises to fight terrorism with laser-finger...

Kerry-Bot plays 'Star Spangled Banner' through mouth speaker...

A towering bot...

The LURCH 2000 dictates another speech...

Flashback: The LURCH 2000 Kerry-Bot first introduced to media...

Magnetic hands get stuck together...

Kerry-Bot successfully navigates around object to shake hand...

Power drain causes the LURCH 2000 to digress into slow-motion speed...

Kerry-Bot shows near perfect hand control...

Another Kerry-Bot rally...

Silhouette of Kerry-Bot before being powered up...

Permalink | Humor

September 15, 2004, 09:18 PM

Drudge: Guard memos came from Kinko's in Abilene

By Matt Bramanti

Matt Drudge claims that the Washington Post will begin to unravel the source of the memos purportedly written by the late Lt. Col. Jerry Killian:
Documents allegedly written by deceased officer that raised questions about Bush's service with Texas National Guard bore markings showing they had been faxed to CBS News from a Kinko's copy shop in Abilene, Texas...
We'll stay on top of this. UPDATE Evidence is building behind the theory that Bill Burkett is involved in the Abilene connection Radio host Kevin McCullough of WMCA Radio in New York is now confirming that Burkett maintained an account at the Abilene Kinkos in question. McCullough reports
UST GOT OFF THE PHONE WITH ABILENE KINKOS: Bill Burkett has a standing account with the Kinkos in Abilene Texas, and while the lady who answered the phone would not be more specific she did say Burkett was in there last week.

Permalink | Media Watch

September 15, 2004, 05:19 PM

UPDATE: CBS holds ground, House GOPs call for retraction

By Matt Bramanti

Drudge is reporting that Andrew Heyward, the president of CBS News, has released the following statement:
“We established to our satisfaction that the memos were accurate or we would not have put them on television. There was a great deal of coroborating [sic] evidence from people in a position to know. Having said that, given all the questions about them, we believe we should redouble our efforts to answer those questions, so that's what we are doing.”
It makes me wonder why that statement was postponed so much. It was originally scheduled for release at noon Eastern time, then 3:30, then 5:00. It appears that Drudge obtained an advance copy of the statement, as a search on PR Newswire turns up empty. Also today, the New York Times reports that about 40 Republican members of Congress have demanded a retraction of the controversial CBS story:
“To date, CBS's response to the specific and devastating criticisms of the accuracy of its reporting has been to question the motives of its critics, to offer half-truths in its own defense, to refuse to disclose crucial evidence, and to circle the wagons,” Representative Roy Blunt of Missouri, the House Republican whip, wrote in a letter to Andrew Heyward, president of CBS.
Update: Rather interviewed Marian Knox, former secretary for Lt. Col. Jerry Killian. Drudge has the transcript. More to come as this story develops.

Permalink | Media Watch

September 15, 2004, 11:46 AM

New Orleans evacuees arrive in Houston

By Owen Courrèges

After a 12-hour drive, I finally arrived in Houston last night just before 10pm. Tens of thousands of grumpy, disheveled evacuees from New Orleans arrived with me:
This morning a steady stream of traffic continued to creep into Houston from I-10 — sometimes coming to a standstill — as refugees from Hurricane Ivan fled Louisiana. Hotel managers say that finding rooms during an already active business travel week might prove difficult. “We're sold out for the next three nights,” said Pam Gilbert, marketing director for InterContinental Houston in the Galleria area.
The worst congestion is in Houston. When I arrived, it began at the Trinity River. Baton Rouge and New Orleans were mild by comparison. Needless to say, I'm rather perturbed that Texas DOT has allowed the situation along I-10 West going into Houston to get this bad. There was no apparent effort to expedite traffic. Still, I was lucky, managing to detour off of Highway 146. Others were not so fortunate. It currently looks as if Ivan will make landfall in Alabama, which means that New Orleans should miss the hurricane-force winds. Alas, New Orleans cannot withstand a great deal of rain, and even tropical storm winds will inflict some serious damage. So right now, I just hope that I don't come back to find that my apartment is a crater.

Permalink | News and Views - Houston

September 15, 2004, 11:12 AM

It's Wreck #61 for Metrorail

By Phil Magness

Metrorail hit a pedestrian earlier today near Main and Lamar, reports KHOU. Unconfirmed reports suggest the man may have been intoxicated. In other news, the Chronicle is reporting that METRO will run up a $93 million deficit this year. The transit agency's train building frenzy, bonus retirement packages to Shirley DiLibero, new downtown Lee P. Brown memorial transit HQ and, above all, Main Street Metrorail line are all without doubt the main contributers to this deficit. Metrorail alone recoups less than half of its annual operating expenses at the fare box according to FTA figures and will perpetually siphon $10-15 million in annual expenses off the public treasury as long as Metrorail is in operation. Get ready taxpayers - they're coming for you.

Permalink | News and Views

September 15, 2004, 09:55 AM

CBS News remains firm, but for who?

By Terry Bohannon

The tangled web CBS News is weaving around their documents is becoming far more knotty as the days go by. It seems that a few of the document experts CBS hired are now making public their disagreement with the authenticity of what they saw. One expert is Emily Will, was asked to authenticate the documents the “weekend before the broadcast”, as ABC News reports. She recently told ABC News that last week, she found “five significant differences in the questioned handwriting,” and she found problems “with the printing itself as to whether it could have been produced by a typewriter.” She said that the night before 60 Minutes II would air the documents, she sent the CBS producer an e-mail urging them not to use the documents. They ignored her, as ABC's article suggests:
“I told them that all the questions I was asking them on Tuesday night, they were going to be asked by hundreds of other document examiners on Thursday if they ran that story,” Will said. But the documents became a key part of the 60 Minutes II broadcast questioning President Bush's National Guard service in 1972. CBS made no mention that any expert disputed the authenticity. “I did not feel that they wanted to investigate it very deeply,” Will told ABC News.
A Second document examiner, Linda James had a similar experience with CBS News' producers. She “told ABC News she had concerns about the documents and could not authenticate them. She said she expressed her concerns to CBS before the 60 Minutes II broadcast.” She said, “I did not authenticate anything and I don't want it to be misunderstood that I did, and that's why I have come forth to talk about it because I don't want anybody to think I did authenticate these documents.” And what about the document expert they did use, Marcel Matley? He is now claiming that he only examined Killian's signature and did not even attempt to authenticate the documents. However, his claims specifically contradict CBS News' claims they made Monday that:
Document and handwriting examiner Marcel Matley analyzed the documents for CBS News. He says he believes they are real. And he is concerned about exactly what is being examined by some of the people questioning the documents, because deterioration occurs each time a document is reproduced. And the documents being analyzed outside of CBS News have been photocopied, faxed, scanned and downloaded, and are far removed from the documents CBS News started with.
Marcel Matley only analyzed the handwriting, which could have been copy and pasted, and he did authenticate the signatures. He did not authenticate the whole document, as CBS claims. It's shameful that CBS throughly ignored the experts they hired when they disputed the documents. The network, in response to public statements by Emily Will and Linda James, issued a statement that ABC News published. They said, “CBS News did not rely on either Emily Will or Linda James for a final assessment of the documents regarding George Bush's service in the Texas Air National Guard.” They imply later in that with “Ms. Will and Ms. James were among a group of experts”, that the opinion of those two experts were in the minority of a far larger group. That suggestion doesn't hold water. Perhaps they were in the minority. I'm confident, though, that if CBS had experts to support the authentication of those documents, they would be flashing them before the world's press. They would be using them to support their claims and original broadcast that they're doggedly defending. As it stands, CBS News has no experts to support its claims; and the experts they have used, as far as I know, are all backing away from any claims authenticating those document CBS continues to support as fast as they can. We do have to give CBS credit, they have a lot of guts for their determinism in defending these faked documents. Their reactions to criticism goes beyond normal 'defensive' responses that we'd see if they knew they were wrong but ashamed to admit it. If that were only the case, and they were just being defensive, they would have been backtracking shortly after defending the documents. Their rigid defence can only mean one thing: they must be protecting their source, the person (or group) that gave them those four documents. If CBS were to open up their records and tell the world who their source is and then backtrack from these fake documents, their reputation might be salvageable. But as it stands, CBS is willing to bury itself six feet under just to protect their source and maybe even (depending on who the source is) make sure that this doesn't affect the Nov. 2 election.

Permalink | Media Watch

September 15, 2004, 09:30 AM

Texas Democrat operatives linked to possible memo source

By Phil Magness

The New York Times is reporting that Bill Burkett, a disgruntled former national guardsman and longtime peddler of anti-Bush conspiracy theories involving the president's Texas Air National Guard Service, is connected in an undisclosed manner and extent to the CBS forged memos scandal. Says the Times:
CBS has refused to say how it obtained the documents. But one person at CBS, who spoke on condition of anonymity, confirmed a report in Newsweek that Bill Burkett, a retired National Guard officer who has charged that senior aides to then-Governor Bush had ordered Guard officials to remove damaging information from Mr. Bush's military personnel files, had been a source of the report. This person did not know the exact role he played.
Burkett has employed attorney David Van Os speak on his behalf as the scandal unfolds. What the Times does not report, however, is that Messrs. Burkett and Van Os are both Democrat operatives with a long history of activism in the Democratic Party of Texas. Van Os is even a past and current Democrat Nominee for the Texas Supreme Court. Van Os' website includes an enthusiastic endorsement from none other than Bill Burkett. Burkett, it also seems, is himself a Democrat activist whose past includes heavy participation in the 2002 Democratic Party of Texas State Convention. He previously employed Van Os' services in a failed lawsuit against several officers in the Texas National Guard, which some believe may be the motive behind his agenda against George W. Bush over the latter's guard record. While it should be noted that neither Van Os nor Burkett have been affirmatively linked to the Kerry Campaign (or at least not yet, that is), both appear to be partisan activists. If Burkett's as of yet unnamed role in the memo scandal is revealed, his close affiliations to the Democratic Party of Texas and a high ranking leader and candidate from its ranks would establish a direct link between the Rathergate scandal and Kerry's party. Van Os has provided no details to date of Burkett's role, however he did repeat Dan Rather's previous Non Sequitur to the Times: “the real story is and should be, where was George Bush?” Neither Van Os, nor Burkett, nor Rather have explained why we should believe that an allegation against Bush that is directly contingent upon the forged memos should be accepted ras the “real story” even if the memos are false.

Permalink | Media Watch

September 15, 2004, 06:45 AM

Houston Chronicle follows Drudge

By Rob Booth

Houston Chronicle: Secretary to military officer says Bush records fake
A former secretary at Ellington Air Force Base is challenging the legitimacy of documents used to discredit President Bush's service in the Texas Air National Guard, saying the records are probably fake because she never typed them. Marian Carr Knox, 86, former secretary to Lt. Col. Jerry Killian, worked at the Houston air base from 1956 to 1979. She is now retired. “They're forgeries as far as I'm concerned because I didn't type them,” Knox said Tuesday at her southwest Houston home.
As we noted yesterday, Drudge reported that Ms. Knox contacted the Chronicle last Friday with her story. The Chronicle story indicates that the reporters contacted her at home Tuesday (yesterday). Now this could be a bureaucratic snafu where the Chronicle person who answered Ms. Knox's call didn't know what they had. The Chronicle did seek out Lt. Col. Killian's son, so a kind-hearted person could assume that the Chronicle wasn't trying to let the forgery story die. The Chronicle, however, does drop this gem:
Last week, Knox said she had no firsthand knowledge of Bush's time with the Texas Air National Guard, although she did recall a culture of special treatment for the sons of prominent people, such as Bush and others.
So, the Chronicle did talk to her last week. They didn't report on it until Drudge did. Are they saying that her story has changed since last week? I'd like some more info on that. Anyway, the Chronicle spends the first four paragraphs discussing the forgery aspect and then spends most of the remaining paragraphs discussing Ms. Knox's assertion that the info contained in the alleged forgeries is “correct.” That's par for the Chronicle course. In the ongoing saga of the CBS memos, there is at least one important point of information. Lt. Col. Killian's family has stated that he did not keep personal files at home. According to the Chronicle, Ms. Knox says this:
Generally, Knox said Killian was anxious about creating a paper trail at the Guard base, and kept copies of his correspondence, which he would write out longhand and give her to type. Killian died in 1984. In recent days, questions have been raised by members of Killian's family and others, who challenged the authenticity of documents, in part by saying Killian did not keep copies of his letters. Knox disputed that claim, saying Killian kept copies to protect himself, although she said she did not retain any copies herself.
Assuming the Killian family and Ms. Knox are being honest, the source of these documents is being narrowed down for CBS. The only option left open that I can see is that their source is asserting that these came out of the official Texas Air National Guard archives. Dallas Morning News has a story too, you can see it here. Finally, it wouldn't be the Chronicle if they didn't insert a gem like this:
Questions about the president's Guard service surfaced during his first campaign for president and again this year, particularly in contrast to Democrat John Kerry's service in the Navy during the Vietnam War.
The implication here seems clear to me. The Chronicle is asserting that there are questions about President Bush's service in the military, but not about Senator Kerry's. Thanks y'all. Stuff like that keeps me going.

Permalink | Chron Bias

September 15, 2004, 05:30 AM

Mayor and council vote today to give away $2,000,000

By Dan Patrick

This morning the Mayor will ask the city council to approve two million dollars for a private group that wants to build an African American museum. I have written on this issue previously in chronicallybiased.com and talked about it extensively on KSEV. I will not review all of the facts concerning their issue, except to say that the city has no business giving taxpayer dollars to either individuals or groups that have pet projects. The city should not be selecting winners or losers in a new taxpayer lottery. If people want to build museums, to honor any group, they should build it by raising private funds as so many others have in the past. To date, the Mayor has done a relatively good job of trying to turn around the city’s fortunes after the six years of an inept and incompetent Lee Brown. However, by moving ahead with this budget item he is showing that he is just another in a long line of political figures who put party politics before what is in the best interests of all of the people. This push by the Mayor looks like nothing more than a political payoff to the black community who help elect him Mayor. The truth is this Mayor could repay the black community by helping thousands of black city residents by taking that 2 million and providing better streets, better playgrounds, more library books and computers, or more police or firemen to black neighborhoods. There are so many needs in our city for all citizens that the Mayor would not have to look far to help those who elected him, whether they be black, brown or white. Sadly, Mayor White looks like so many other democrats in our country. They pander to the black vote and promise to help blacks improve their life in this country. Once elected, they do nothing to really help those in need, rather do show projects that are short on substance but grand in style. Ask any black Houstonian what they would rather have in their community from the list above and a museum would be last on the list. Mayor White I am appealing to you to do the right thing. Prove that you are not just another liberal democrat who isn’t really concerned with the plight of people in need. I also ask the black leaders and pastors in this community to tell the Mayor to not give away 2 million dollars for pet projects but to put it to better use by helping thousands in need. Ask any city council person and they will tell you they do not have enough money for all of their districts needs. As a citizen you can register your protest by calling the Mayor’s office this morning and asking him to pull back on his request. Ask him to do the right thing and kill this budget request. Call your council representative and ask them to vote against this plan. The vote will be held today, so the time is now to act. The Mayor’s number is 713 247 2200. As always be brief and polite, but make the call to every council member and Mayor. If thousands call this morning, maybe they will find the wisdom to do the right thing.

Permalink | News and Views

September 14, 2004, 05:49 PM

Drudge Report: Lt. Col. Jerry Killian's former secretary

By Rob Booth

Drudge Report: TEXAS GUARD SECRETARY SURFACES: SAYS CBS DOCS 'FORGERIES', BUT STANDS BY ACCUSATIONS AGAINST BUSH
The DRUDGE REPORT has found Lt. Col. Jerry Killian's former secretary who claims that the Texas Air National Guard documents offered by CBS in its 60 MINUTES II report filed by Dan Rather last week are indeed 'forgeries'.
For what it's worth, Drudge has been wrong before. Read the whole story, Drudge mentions the Chronicle.

Permalink | News and Views

September 14, 2004, 04:10 PM

Chronicle downplays Bush gains

By M. Wildes

In Tuesday’s article by Julie Mason the Chronicle tries to spin the significant gains made by President Bush since the convention:
The new emphasis on domestic issues by the Democratic challenger comes in the wake of modest gains in the polls by Bush, who has moved ahead a few percentage points in several polls since his party's national convention in New York.
However, according to several recent polls, the President’s gains were far from modest. On 8/5, a Time poll of likely voters had Kerry ahead by a margin of 7, but on 9/9, Bush was ahead by a margin of 12. Even CBS, in polls of registered voters, on 8/1 Kerry led by a margin of 7, but on 9/8 Bush was leading by 8. There are a couple polls that do show “modest” gains, Chronically Biased can admit that, but for the Chronicle to dismiss the overwhelming number of polls that show monumental gains since the convention, is simply insidious.

Permalink | Chron Bias

September 14, 2004, 11:18 AM

Today's Features

By Mona Lugay

Make sure you view our Features section for daily commentary on entertainment “wonders and blunders,” the sports world's best and worst shots, local high school sports updates, the great outdoors, a little miscellaneous humor and much more. Chris Begala gives us his views on the Rather implosion, Barry Chambers gives us his take on “Joey” and Greg Berlocher thinks Salties take the “bait.”

Permalink | Miscellaneous

September 14, 2004, 10:24 AM

John “fake” Kerry steps on the feet of gun owners

By Terry Bohannon

Tuesday morning, USA TODAY began a story with some very good news. Since the period ended for the 'assault weapons' ban, 15 round clips are no longer restricted to police officers.
The expiration of the 10-year-old ban on 19 types of assault weapons Monday drove up business at some gun stores and set off sparks in the political world.
Last week, a campaign spokesman issued a statement on Kerry, that “As a lifelong hunter and gun owner, John Kerry believes in the Second Amendment right to bear arms,” yet he fails to mention Kerry's passion in voting for every gun-control bill that was put in front of him. John Lott Jr., author of “More Guns, Less Crime”, wrote an article for National Review Online and said:
Yet, according to those on both sides of the gun debate — the Brady Campaign and the NRA — Kerry has voted for every gun-control bill before the Senate over the last 18 years. He has consistently voted for restrictions, from banning semi-automatic guns to mandating storage rules. He refused to rein in the lawsuits against gun-makers. Kerry has also voted to ban hunting on federal land and to ban most center-fire rifle ammunition, including the rounds most commonly used by hunters (positions that please the animal-rights groups, with whom he also has a perfect voting record of support).
But that doesn't stop Kerry, as Lott pointed out, from making a ridiculous claim in Louisiana. Kerry said, “I think I do a better job of fighting for the rights of sportsmen than George Bush does.” Kerry claims he's “the first Democratic candidate to support Second Amendment gun rights and to be an avid hunter.” However, according to Lott, he can't make such a claim since “John Kennedy, Lyndon Johnson, Jimmy Carter, and Bill Clinton all have hunted. Clinton went hunting frequently.” Regardless of that, I don't even think his claim of being a sportsman is too true. In one picture showing him handling a shotgun, with a goofy smile on his face, Kerry make an amateur's mistake of always keeping his finger on the trigger. In another photo he was blocking his sights and touching a part of the shotgun that gets very hot after a few shots, as can be seen here. There's nothing that annoys me more than seeing a fool at a gun range sweeping and even pointing with a shotgun or handgun with their finger on the trigger. Kerry's such a fool, and nobody told him to keep his finger off the trigger until he was ready to shoot. Regardless of what Kerry claims in his campaign, he would vote to restrict me from protecting my family with a few 15-round clips. I have been stuck with 10-round clips for years; I have been looking forward to the day when I can have 30 rounds at my disposal without spending an astronomical amount of money (upwards of 100 dollars) to purchase pre-ban magazines. That day is here. Although that day would have never come if Kerry were in power. Kerry would love to tie my arm behind my back with useless gun restrictions; if Kerry were in power to push for more gun control, he may very well make it more difficult to obtain a gun legally than illegally. Law-abiding citizens would have a harder time getting a gun than criminals, if Kerry's vision of a restriction-laden gun industry were to be fulfilled. Restrictive gun-control laws do not protect law-abiding citizens. When a criminal has an easier time getting a gun than a citizen, those criminals are empowered and leap for joy. Criminals are delighted when they know they won't find themselves at the end of a 12-gauge shotgun or a .45 in the hands of the 'angry white man' whose home they're trying to ransack. There's only one thing more dangerous to gun owners than having a flipper at the Oval Office, and that's having a determined leftist that has in 20 years supported every gun control bill that came in front of him. I'm glad to have President Bush in office, and I look forward to another four years without the fear of having my gun rights being taken away.

Permalink | News and Views

September 14, 2004, 09:12 AM

Bailing out...

By Owen Courrèges

After countless wasteful projects (i.e. stadiums and light rail) Houston is finally making preparations to better deal with flooding (from ABC 13):
Charley, Frances and now Ivan. Houston has managed to escape the hurricanes so far this year, but city officials want to make sure we're prepared to handle flooding. The estimated cost of flooding for Houston every year is $200 million. It includes damages to homes, businesses, and vehicles. On Monday, the city council proposed $50 million for drainage projects over the next five years.
Meanwhile, I'm here in New Orleans, right smack in the path of Hurrricane Ivan, and I'm about to hightail it out of here. A voluntary evactuation order has been issued, so I'll be out on I-10 West momentarily. Wish me luck, dear readers.

Permalink | News and Views - Houston

September 13, 2004, 11:58 PM

Rather: Despite Doubts of the Evidence, Seriousness of the Charge Must Be Investigated (Satire)

By Matt Forge

New York (CB) – CBS news anchor Dan Rather last night regurgitated his same mantra concerning the ‘Memogate’ scandal in which he and his network have found themselves embroiled. He demanded again that questions raised by the evidence must be looked into despite claims that the evidence is suspicious at best. What everyone didn’t realize is, is that Mr. Rather was calling for an investigation of his own position on the whole matter. Transcript CBS Evening News With Dan Rather September 13, 2004 Rather Lead In: Good evening, I’m Dan Rather. There are those who have raised questions about the legitimacy of the memos we used in our broadcast a few nights ago. They allege that the documents are forgeries at best, outright fabrications at worst. This is a very serious charge. This charge grew out of new blog witnesses combing over the evidence — including documents supposedly written by Lieutenant Bush's squadron commander. The next day I – who am a partisan political operative — concentrated not on the key questions the blog reports raised against my credibility but on the so-called physical evidence they had to support their story. I wasted my (and your) time concentrating on things such as superscripts, a font called New Times Roman and signature analysis. I lost track of what was really important: The seriousness of the charge leveled against me by the bloggers. I had had an epiphany. I realized that I wasn’t being consistent, that I was being a hypocrite. Of course, considering the seriousness of the charge, and despite how flimsy I feel the evidence is against me, the whole matter should be delved into with the same ferocity as that of a huntin’ dawg on a three-legged coon – as we used to say in Texas. I want to make clear to you if I have not made clear to you, that more important questions than how they [the bloggers] got the story, which is where those who don't like the story like to put the emphasis (like I did), the more important question is what are the answers to the questions raised by the internet skeptics. (The above story, though based on actual events, is satire or parody. It is meant for entertainment only and is NOT true.)

Permalink | Humor

September 13, 2004, 11:52 PM

The source of Al Gore's anger

By Owen Courrèges

Permalink | Humor

September 13, 2004, 10:48 PM

CBS remains indignant and incorrigible

By Phil Magness

Dan Rather regurgitated a growing litany of straw man arguments and other logical fallacies on tonights CBS Evening News as the Memogate story refuses to go away. Continuing his ad verecundiam method of response, Rather trotted out two new “experts” to support CBS' claims. The first is Bill Glennon, identified in Time Magazine yesterday as an ex typewriter repairman. Little Green Footballs blog correctly observed that Mr. Glennon has since been promoted to “document expert” by CBS. Says Glennon:
“Everything that's in those documents, that people are saying can't be done, as you said, 32 years ago, is just totally false. Not true. Proportional spacing was available. Superscripts were available as a custom feature. Proportional spacing between lines was available. You can order that any way you'd like”
Glennon, of course, is repeating Dan Rather's earlier straw man attack upon the anachronisms found in the hoax memos. Virtually every substantive analysis of those memos acknowledges that some uncommon high end typewriters in 1972 such as the IBM Composer could replicate proportional spacings and a few even had superscript keys (though their output did not resemble the CBS memos). The problem with Glennon's retort, of course, is statistical improbability. The various unique, uncommon, and high dollar features required to produce even a rough approximation of the CBS memos on a typewriter make it statistically improbable that a low level office in the Texas Air National Guard would have such a document. It should also be noted that Glennon makes no substantive attempt to account for the glaring anachronism of perfect autocentering on three of the memos, nor has any other CBS defender for that matter. Gerry Kaplan, an expert on the IMB Selectric Composer (a high-end 1970's era typewriter that some claim could produce the documents), states the following to Peter Duncan's blog in an apparent vindication of the autocentering issue that was first noticed here on ChronicallyBiased:
“If you can produce [computer] centered text that matches identically to the letterhead, it is, in my opinion, a true hoax. The reason is, because even if they were able to center text with a typesetting machine such as the IBM Selectric Composer, a PC (and good word processor), will center the text even more precisely, not at the ”point“ level, but rather on the twip level (1/1440th of an inch or 1/20th of a point).”
CBS' next “expert” in waiting makes an even more laughable attempt than their typewriter repairman. Richard Katz, a “software designer,” tells CBS that the superscripting issue actually seems to validate the memos:
“There's one document from May 1972 that contains a normal ”th“ on the top. To produce that in Microsoft Word, you would have to go out of your way to type the letters and then turn the ”th" setting off, or back up and then type it again
Backspacing to make the superscript go away? How cumbersome! How time consuming! How unnecessarily complicated for a simple-minded forger! And this is from the same news agency that expects us to believe that Jerry Killian, who did not know how to type, possessed the equivalent of a $15,000 typewriter with an unusual non-standard font, an unusual non-standard propotionality feature, a custom superscripting key, and an as-of-yet unexplained ability to perfectly autocenter address blocks in an age before computers could do the same. It gets better though. Look at Rather's latest argument:
For instance, the official record shows that Mr. Bush was suspended from flying on Aug. 1, 1972. That date matches the one on a memo given to CBS News, ordering that Mr. Bush be suspended.
In other words, the fact that a memo gets one of the details right along side a known document somehow makes it authentic. In reality one would expect that a forger attempting to fit falsified memos into the historical timeline would at least get some details correct, even if this one was sloppy enough to reference a guard commander who had retired a year prior and to address his hoax to an address that Bush had not lived at in almost four years.

Permalink | News and Views

September 13, 2004, 07:19 PM

Rather refuses to seek the facts

By Dan Patrick

Today on my radio show I had a professor, Jerry Waite from the University of Houston, as a guest. He is an expert on the printing industry. He is well versed on the history and capability of typewriters, computers and larger commercial printers. He has researched the issue of the now famous CBS documents regarding the President’s service in the guard. He told my audience that there is no doubt that these documents are fake. He make the distinction between the documents being fake as opposed to being forged, as forged would indicate they were based on actual documents. He believes these documents are total fabrications. The professor noted that only one typewriter was capable of producing the documents in 1972; an IBM Executive. However, he noted that it would take a major effort to produce these documents in the style they were written. He also doubted that the government would have such expensive typewriters available to guard officers. Additionally, he said that the very fact that these documents can be duplicated exactly on today’s computers proves that they are fake. Later in the show I was joined by a former IBM salesman who also served in the guard. He said the guard did not have these expensive typewriters in the 70’s. Even if they were available, no one would have gone to the effort to produce the documents in the manner they were produced. My final guest, known only as Mr. X, described himself as someone who once forged military papers. He gave several examples of how these documents did not match the standard military documents of the times and that any forger would notice the mistakes immediately as he did. Over the weekend the Dallas Morning News reported one of the documents in question was written 18 months after the alleged writer had left the guard. AP reported that a former Colonel, who CBS had called a key source in this case, said he was misled by CBS and now believes the documents are fake. The wife of Jerry Killian said her husband could barely type and she believed these documents were fake. Her son agreed. Meanwhile, tonight on the CBS evening news, Dan Rather was back with another defense of the documents and said he believes the documents to be authentic. CBS aired a lengthy story in which they interviewed experts who agreed with CBS on the authenticity of the documents. CBS did not acknowledge any of the facts or questions raised by AP, the Dallas Morning News, Newsweek or any other major news source. They did not interview one single expert who had a different view. Rather sat stoned faced staring into the camera as if to say, how dare you question me or my network. 90% of the experts interviewed on this issue believe either these documents are fake or at a minimum questionable. CBS only interviews the 10% that agree with their version of the facts. The experts call for the real documents to be released as opposed to copies, CBS refuses to release the originals that might be able to resolve this matter. And lastly, CBS ignores all of the other disturbing facts that surround this story. They refuse to interview key people who have different views from them, including the wife, son and former commander of Jerry Killian. In all of my years of broadcasting and in all my years of just watching the news, I have never seen such a slanted style of reporting. Networks always tell both sides of the story. They like to see experts disagree with each other on a major story. CBS is presenting only one side of the story, their side. Rather is finished as a newsman. His long career is crashing to an embarrassing close as he refuses to try to find the truth about the documents. The question is how can the CBS top management team sit by and see their entire news organization discredited and destroyed due to the arrogance of their prime anchor. CBS has already been greatly damaged. They will never get back the viewers they have lost over this episode. CBS needs to take this story out of the hands of Rather and the producers who originally presented the story and turn it over to an independent reporter/producer team to find the truth regarding these documents. Mr. Rather should welcome an independent investigation at this point. An honest vetting of the facts by CBS in this case is the only saving grace available to Mr. Rather at this point. The longer he sits behind his desk refusing to look at all sides of this story, the greater his network is at risk. Rather once wrote a book entitled “The Eye Never Blinks.” We can’t tell right now if the CBS eye is blinking or not, as it is blindfolded to the seeking the truth.

Permalink | News and Views

September 13, 2004, 12:51 PM

Kerry slams Bush over AWB

By Owen Courrèges

Well, Kerry is at it again, spreading his prevarications to whoever is still listening. You see, Kerry seems to be of two minds on gun control. On one hand he claims to support the Second Amendment's protection of an individual's right to keep and bear firearms. However, he recently criticized President Bush for letting lapse the blatantly unconstitutional Assault Weapons Ban:
The Democratic nominee, who will face Bush in the Nov. 2 election, said the president had chosen “his powerful and well-connected friends” in a secret deal with the gun lobby over the police officers and families he promised to protect. “Ten years ago today, with the leadership of police officers all over the country, we passed a tough crime bill to protect America,” the Massachusetts senator told supporters at the Thurgood Marshall Center. “We made sure, in a tough fight, that criminals couldn't get their hands on military assault weapons, and we put 100,000 cops into our nation's communities where they could make an impact and stop crimes,” he said.
Of course, the AWB has accomplished nothing, since the bill bans weapons based more upon their physical characteristics than their actual firepower. More importantly, it's been useless because criminals very rarely use large weapons with scopes, flash suppressors, etc. Instead they use concealable weapons, which are still quite legal. But that's common sense... Something that John Kerry lacks.

Permalink | News and Views

September 13, 2004, 12:37 PM

Metrorail a loser with football fans; Metro's response? “Oh well...”

By Owen Courrèges

It appears that Metrorail, a.k.a. 'The Wham-Bam Tram,' has failed to impress some football fans who now have to walk a half a mile to the stadium. KHOU has the details:
Buses from Metro Park and Rides are no longer available to get you to the game. The change left Rick Rojas feeling sacked. “It's pretty full,” said Rojas. Stuffed rail cars meant he had to wait a few more minutes before getting a ride. “It's too packed. That's twice already. They need to bring back the Park and Ride. Makes it easier for everybody,” said Rojas. Others called a penalty once the train dropped them off. “It's a nice, smooth ride, but we're a half mile from the stadium. A half a mile. Come on now, half a mile from the stadium when we used to have bus service right to the stadium. That was the best thing,” said Peter Carrizales.
I fail to see how using rail exclusively for football games can viewed as an improvment. Before: Park and Ride buses that took you up to the stadium. After: A rail train that drops you off a half-mile from the stadium. Isn't that more inconvenient? Why didn't they keep the buses? Still, KHOU bizarrely manages to claim that football fans were mostly happy about their rail experience:
But most fans said their rail experience was nothing but smooth sailing. “We live right around the corner and it's easier than driving the car,” said one satisfied rail rider. Even those with little elbow room agreed. “Yes, It was worth the trouble. Positively.” No matter what sideline people were on, one Metro employee might have summed it up best. “The people that's complaining, oh well. This is how we're gonna start moving around. Houston is on trains,” said Cynthia Young, with Metro. The game hasn't changed, but getting to it has.
Ok, I can see how rail might be more convenient if you live on the rail line, but most people going to these football games don't. We're talking about a 7 1/2 mile stretch of Main Street, most of which is not residential. If you live a short distance from it, you're not the typical Houston Texans fan. And listening to Metro's spokeswoman, you get the impression that Metro couldn't care less whether or not Metrorail is less convenient. “Oh well” is their response. “We're building trains whether you like it or not.” With this kind of arrogance, it's not surprising that Metro has so much organized opposition. Houston, I've always held, deserves far better.

Permalink | Houston's Light Rail

September 13, 2004, 11:59 AM

Today's Features

By Mona Lugay

Make sure you view our Features section for daily commentary on entertainment “wonders and blunders,” the sports world's best and worst shots, local high school sports updates, the great outdoors, a little miscellaneous humor and much more. Barry Chambers describes what it is like to be Frances Ford Coppola, Dan Lovett says Dan Rather should resign and read our newest addition to the Features section . . . A weekly finance newsletter by the Streettalk Advisors.

Permalink | Miscellaneous

September 13, 2004, 09:05 AM

Letters to the Editor

By The Staff

Dan Rather acts as Rev. Parrish in new “Crucible” I want to thank Dan Rather and CBS News for helping assist my daughter with her high school English home work. She came to me several times today complaining about having to read 'The Crucible' by Arthur Miller. Dad it's boring, it's stupid, why do we have to read it, yada yada yada. All that I could think of, at the time, [was] to tell her that it was assigned, don't complain, just do it. Then a little later I started reading about all the typography experts who are claiming that the new Bush memos may be forgeries. Also, the surviving family of the supposed memo writer, Lt. Col. Killian, is claiming that the text of the memo does not sound like something he would have [written]. I started thinking about the witch hunt that the former Texan, Mr. Rather, CBS News and all of the liberal media are conducting against President Bush. That's when I made the connection. We are smack dab in the middle of a new McCarty-like witch hunt. But this time it is the liberal press that are concocting evidence to burn a conservative at the stake. They cannot help get any traction for their shallow, directionless candidate by propping him up, so they send out the leftist of the leftists to be the new Reverend Parris. Mr. Rather has tried to incite hatred, has brought forth false witnesses, like Ben Barnes who is a major Kerry fundraiser and will do anything possible [to] tarnish the character of President Bush. Mr. Rather, CBS producers and executives, it is a privilege to be able [to] use the public airwaves to broadcast the news. It is your duty to report the news, not to fabricate it. Are you so dense in your ideology that you [are] blind to the fact that [you are] abusing this privilege? If it is proven that the memos were fabricated, either within or without CBS, Mr. Rather should be permanently relieved of his position with CBS. His replacement should state at the opening of every news show for a week that the memos were falsified and 60 Minutes should spend at least half of an episode describing how the forgery occurred. America no longer trusts the liberal media outlets. Look at Fox News, at least [they try] to be balanced and fair. Oh and I was able, at last, to explain to my daughter why Miller wrote 'The Crucible' and how Mr. Rather and others are doing the same thing today. They have identified the witch they want to burn and will stop at nothing until a good man lies in ashes. Tom Villman Conroe, TX Thanks Chronically Biased for looking both ways Thank you for producing a means of finding out more of the stories we hear about. Chronicallybiased.com is kind of like Paul Harvey's “The Rest of the Story.“ It is shameful that our freedom of the press has been molested and used against the very people for whom it was meant to keep informed with different points of view and protect against doctrines, agendas and lies. We are once again becoming a divided nation. Even with all the different subjects, it still comes down to morals or lack of morals: sexual morals, religious morals, political morals, human morals. All include respect for one another and doing the right thing. [The] lack of morals result in any means necessary, to win, [to] cheat, or [to] steal the other’s rights to suit your own and force others to comply. We are seeing it happen before our very eyes. I try to raise my children to look both ways before crossing the street. Only now has it become more important to do that with nearly every aspect of life. I shake my head in disbelief and disappointment when I see how some are so set in their ways, or so directed by outside forces that they fail to be free. They forget to look both ways. Now in my mind a question arises. Would I read your paper if it reported only the conservative side? My answer; maybe. Because, I would read the [Houston] Chronicle and then balance it out with yours. That's one reason I like your paper. You pick apart the problems, so I don't have to spend time digging for them myself. I would much rather prefer to have true journalist writing articles and true editors that are reporting facts and telling the story for what it is and following up when necessary. Fiction can be found in the library, it doesn't and shouldn't be reported as fact. Thank you for your comments section. I can't tell you how many times I have to get the ”BS“ filter out while listening to or reading the mainstream media. I want to scream, shout and pull my own hair listening to the unprecedented lies and spins on nearly every subject. And you provide me a space to vent. I thank you again for that and I'm sure some of the people around me thank you too. Why? Because I think for my next birthday, my family and friends are getting together and giving me a soap box to stand on! I almost wish I could put out my own paper filled with my drivel. First headline today would read ”Dan Rather leads lemmings to paradise with printed paper" and maybe a story on how he lead them there playing a comb and tissue, but he won't disclose what kind of tissue. Oh brother! Sorry, started going off on another rant. Really, thank you for Chronicallybiased.com. Please help keep us all informed with both sides of the story (I do like when you point out how the left got it right) and hopefully the world will start visiting the site and find the truth or at the very least, learn to look both ways! Respectfully, Buzz

Permalink | Letters

September 13, 2004, 09:03 AM

The ever-expanding Al Gore:

By Terry Bohannon

I wonder what happened to Al Gore (source):
A different Al Gore

Permalink | Miscellaneous

September 13, 2004, 08:30 AM

The day of the blog has arrived

By Dan Patrick

The day of the blog has arrived. On his Friday newscast, Dan Rather commented about those who blog on the internet. Major news sources are commenting that internet blog sites were responsible for getting out the truth about, what one of our readers has called, “Rathergate.” Chronicallybiased was right in the middle of the controversy. As publisher and founder of chronicallybiased, I want to thank our staff of volunteer writers and researchers who did amazing work on this story. Our readership increased by 400% on Friday as thousands of readers came to us from around the world after our site was noted for it's work on this story by other web sites. The day has come that the major media players can no longer get away with deceit and lies. Dinosaurs like Dan Rather don't comprehend the thousands of resourceful detectives that are on the world wide web holding them accountable for what they say and do. I am proud that chronicallybiased has played a part in the search for the truth. Our mission from the beginning has been to see that all of the facts concerning a story are known and not just the facts the major media outlets want to people to know.

Permalink | News and Views

September 13, 2004, 06:15 AM

Rathergate Update: two more memos found!

By Phil Magness

EVIDENCE OF HOAX'S ORIGIN BEGINS TO UNRAVEL Two new pieces of evidence have emerged to bolster concerns over the apparent forgery of memos released by CBS' 60 Minutes last Wednesday. The memos, which originally consisted of four documents in number, are purported to demonstrate disobediance and special treatment for George W. Bush in the Texas Air National Guard. Chronically Biased has learned of the possible existence of two additional memos on top of the original four released by CBS. The two most recent memos, allegedly from the dates of June 23, 1973 and February 2, 1972, both bear the name of Lt. Col. Jerry Killian, the purported author of the four originally released by CBS. Killian's surviving family members have stated that the first four documents are forgeries. The two “new” memos were recently placed on the website of USA Today along with copies of the four released by CBS. While little explanation of their origin was given by the paper at the time, today's edition reports briefly references their acquisition. According to the paper:
USA TODAY obtained copies of the documents independently soon after the 60 Minutes segment aired Wednesday, from a person with knowledge of Texas Air National Guard operations. The person refused to be identified out of fear of retaliation. It is unclear where the documents, if they are real, had been kept in the intervening three decades.
The website edition of the article contains an accompanying link to all six documents, though the resolution quality is extremely poor. The possible addition of two new documents to the original four forgeries opens up several new questions about the “Memogate” documents, their anonymous source(s), and the possibility of multiple copies having been created. Though the poor resolution of the two additional USA Today memos substantially inhibits the application of scrutiny techniques given to the CBS memos, an examination of them reveals that they may share and even corroborate some of the same evidence of forgeries found on the original four. The second USA Today memo contains a partial address line that, as best as we can tell, is autocentered by a modern computer. USA Today Memo Autocentering Chronically Biased was the first to point out that the CBS memos had perfectly autocentered address blocks that could have only originated by way of a computer program. While skilled typists and some high-end typewriters could mechanically approximate line placements for the purpose of centering, none could perfectly autocenter text with the precision of a modern computer. Even if pure coincidence were to produce a single line of perfectly centered typewriter text, it would be statistically impossible to repeat these results on three lines in succession with perfect correlation to each other as two of the CBS memos did. While several liberal sources and Dan Rather's Friday broadcast have made straw man attacks upon other anachronisms found in the documents such as superscripting, none has substantively addressed the autocentering issue. Expert opinion, as quoted on Peter Duncan's website, further confirms CB's observation as it pertains to the IBM Composer, a high end 1970's era typewriter with a mechanical centering mechanism that nevertheless cannot even come close to matching the precision of autocentering in a word processor. Several astute observers on the Free Republic website have also taken notice of material distinctions between the four CBS memos and their corresponding copies on the USA Today site. A few of the differences we were able to observe include: - CBS' May 4th memo contains a black marker stroke that partially obscures the Longmont Street address of George W. Bush (Note that Mr. Bush did not live on Longmont Street in 1972 and had long since moved from that address, further suggesting a forgery). USA Today's copy shows no marker stroke. - CBS' May 19th memo contains extensive underlining throughout the third paragraph. USA Today's version shows no underlining. - CBS' August 1st memo contains two slashmarks (in items 1 and 3) as well as a penned underlining of the word “suspension” in item 2. None of these stray marks appear on the USA Today copies. Implications Explored The existence of the stray marks and pen strokes indicates one of three possibilities: 1. After obtaining possession of the memos from its unnamed source CBS marked on and altered the appearance of at least two out of the four memos. A cleaner copy was then simultaneously provided to USA Today without the marks. 2. The forger or subsequent owner of the original memos created multiple copies at a simultaneous point in time. At some point in between the creation of the memos and their delivery to the various news outlets the CBS copies became heavily marked while the USA Today copies were left in their original state. 3. The forger created multiple copies of the same document at different points in time either from a computer file or by photocopying a “master” copy on different dates. The copy prepared for CBS was then embellished with stray markings and underlining while that given to USA Today arrived clean. If the first alternative is true, then CBS is guilty of embellishing the documents with inauthentic material of its own including an attempt to hide an anachronistic address for Bush and providing non-original emphasis to passages that are intended to reflect negatively on Bush, such as the suspension of flight status and the allegation that he was “talking to someone upstairs” as if to obtain favors. If either of the remaining alternatives is true then the forger, or a subsequent owner of the documents (such as, perhaps, the Kerry Campaign or the Democratic Party, as is rumored in the American Spectator) is guilty of the same textual embellishments and alterations. Only time will tell if these and other lingering issues reveal their origins and, with it, their authors.

Permalink | News and Views

September 13, 2004, 06:10 AM

Note to Ken Connaughton

By Rob Booth

I noticed this in today's Chronicle:
Q: Why doesn't the MetroRail schedule include a disclaimer that the last train to Fannin South Park & Ride each night is for training only and that no passengers are permitted to board? — Craig Thomas, Houston A: “Your reader is wrong,” replied Metro spokesman Ken Connaughton. “The last scheduled train is always a revenue train.” Connaughton said the confusion might have been created because Metro does train drivers on the rails late into the night. Those trains are not listed on the schedule.
That reminded me of this story we quoted back in May:
Ken Connaughton, spokesman for the Transit Authority, which includes Houston, said about two-thirds of the accidents have occurred along less than one-third of the line. Many drivers don't see or obey signs and signals, he said: “They jerk the wheel and expect the best.”
I don't know you, so I have no idea what kind of person you are. I'll assume that you're a nice guy who works hard, etc. Instead of telling Mr. Thomas he's “wrong,” you might try a nicer word like “mistaken.” Instead of disparaging Houstonians' driving habits, you might try saying something like “Houstonians are adjusting to the change.” Of course, I'm not a professional spokesman for anything, so what do I know?

Permalink | Houston's Light Rail

September 13, 2004, 06:02 AM

CBS Forgery Summary to Date

By Rob Booth

I could write a summary of links to stories concerning CBS and the allegedly forged documents, but others have already done it: Slate: Rather Suspicious - Searching for answers in the Killian memo controversy - thanks to Instapundit for the tip. Beldar: Last links of the night

Permalink | News and Views

September 13, 2004, 05:30 AM

A perfect storm creates “Rathergate”

By Dan Patrick

Much of America may not realize it yet, but we are at an historic point in our nation’s history. Since 1776, Americans have based almost all of their opinions on their political leaders and the policies those leaders espoused, from newspapers and then later, the electronic media. Over the last 225 years, the public came to trust those who were reporting on the issues and events of the day. One of the cornerstones of any democracy is the expectation of not just the freedom of the press, but just as important, the honesty of the press. Today, the public is finding out that it can no longer depend on getting the truth from the mainstream print and electronic media. It will not take a third world country with a nuclear weapon or hundreds of terrorists attacks to bring us down, just a few more journalists like Dan Rather and publications like the New York and L.A. Times. Once upon a time there was a difference between the tabloids at the grocery check out counter, the major newspapers and the evening network news; no longer. Newspaper editors and publishers along with television producers and anchors could be counted on, for the most part, to separate their opinion from entering the news. Editorial sections and television opinion commentators had plenty of space to insert either their views or the views of their organization. There was a code of journalism ethics and a strong sense of responsibility by those in charge that the news must be separate from opinion and reported as the facts warranted. There was a firewall that kept opinion out of a news story. Those rules apparently no longer apply. The firewalls have been breached. Today, we see a media that increasingly inserts their views and opinions into what once was the straight reporting of the facts. Because the media has chosen to blur the lines, the public can no longer trust reporting to be a true accounting of the events. The blurring of facts and opinions allows those who are in power of distributing information to focus public opinion as they wish. If the power to influence the public is combined with any political entity, then democracy is in peril. History is replete with political forces that controlled information in order to take over a country. It is clear that today’s media is more concerned with presenting their point of view then the facts. On the left, most of the nations newspapers along with ABC, NBC, CBS and CNN appear to slant their coverage to help democrats gain power. On the right, a few newspapers, talk radio and FOX News slant their coverage to help republicans gain power. Talk radio and several print publications clearly label themselves as supporting conservative issues and are not a cause for concern. There is also room for liberal columnists and television commentators to express themselves. The danger is that the daily newspaper and the evening news is still the major outlet to disseminate information to the public. Those outlets must remain free from the opinion and the views of those who deliver the news from inserting those views into the news. Because the public no longer has confidence in those traditional outlets, talk radio and the internet are becoming sources where the facts usrrounding a story are being distributed on a more frequent basis. How did this blurring of the lines begin? I believe the culprit is television and the decline in cities having more than one newspaper. Reporters like Geraldo Rivera, see themselves as bigger than the story they are covering. Anchors realize that ratings can mean personal paychecks in the millions and so they decide they must stand out from the competition. In the battle for personal gain, the facts become less important. Cable television began an era of news shows that allowed the hosts to have great freedom to express their opinion on events. I hosted a show like this myself. Bill O’Reilly has had great success giving his views on the news of the day. However, these type of shows are clearly labeled as opinion. The problem is that other news anchors became frustrated that they could not express their views. So, the nightly news anchors decided to exercise their opinion by the stories they covered and did not cover on the evening news. They may not be as obvious in their views as an O’Reilly or Limbaugh, but they nevertheless exert their influence of what the public sees and hears. In the world of newspapers, the papers of the past competed against each other for the “exclusive facts” of a story. Competition forced papers to be honest. Today, many cities have only one newspaper. With a lack of competition and oversight, they are free to report what they choose and how they choose. Our readers will recall that this very internet enterprise began after the Houston Chronicle appeared to try to mislead readers about the views of the family of a fallen Marine. As the major media began taking sides, the public and political parties began taking sides as they fought for the truth to be told as they saw it. This then began the bitter partisan political debate in this country that began in earnest during the Clinton years. The political right felt the media was not being truthful in all of it’s reporting about the President. Talk radio began a drumbeat of information against the President. The left oriented major media, who had protected the President, was caught in an embarrassing situation when their guy was caught in a lie. They had to protect their credibility and re-acted by attacking those on the right. Then the improbable happened, a dead heat, court decided Presidential election that left both sides bitter. The lines had been drawn. It was a “Perfect Storm.” All of the forces of the last 25 years had come together; the hippies of the 60’s had come of age, conservatives had a voice in the new world of talk radio, newspapers had a free hand in a landscape of no competition, television exploded with countless news shows, old line network anchors felt threatened and struck back by taking over the news content of their shows and the changing events in the world were moving at break neck speed. This is why the mainstream media heralded a Michael Moore film that would have been laughed at by the mainstream media 20 years ago. This is why Dan Rather is making a fool of himself today defending a story that he should have never done to begin with; a story CBS would not have allowed him to do 25 years ago. It is clear that Rather was taken in by false statements from a political partisan and forged papers. He can’t yield, if he does he will have to resign. If the major players in control of the nation’s information outlets do not make immediate and major changes in how they report the news, America is finished as a democracy. It may already be too late. Writers note to Dan Rather. Much has changed in the last 25 years. I could not have written this story as I did in the 70’s. You see Dan, my original article was typed in Times New Roman before being transferred to our site. That type did not exist in this format then….but you already knew that didn’t you Dan.

Permalink | News and Views

September 12, 2004, 08:51 PM

It's His Sport

By Matt Forge

Gor a must-see online documentary on this topic, go HERE.

Permalink | Political Cartoons

September 12, 2004, 05:03 PM

Kerry sees no Bush bounce

By Terry Bohannon

Sometime last week, Kerry sat down for an interview with TIME's national political correspondent Karen Tumulty. During this interview, while Bush is ahead eleven points in the polls, Kerry remains in denial:
KERRY: I don't know what you're talking about in terms of the Bush bounce. This is a very close race, and I'm not somebody that runs around worried about polls. If I did, I wouldn't have gotten up last December. Polls don't mean anything to me right now.
And I thought his midnight tirade in Ohio right after Bush's convention speech showed that in fact, Kerry was panicking about President Bush's success. Maybe he actually was worried about the polls, before he wasn't worried about them.

Permalink | News and Views

September 12, 2004, 12:13 PM

Kerry: GOP “may be planning” to stop black voters

By Matt Bramanti

In addressing the Congressional Black Caucus Saturday night, Sen. John Kerry hinted that Republican operatives plan on systematically disenfranchising a whole race of people:
“We are not going to stand by and allow another million African American votes to go uncounted in this election,” the Democratic presidential nominee told the Congressional Black Caucus. “We are not going to stand by and allow acts of voter suppression, and we're hearing those things again in this election.”
The man would have us believe that in 2000, Republican mobs armed with torches and pitchforks roamed black neighborhoods, intimidating people door-to-door, threatening to hang anyone who dared to vote, and torching polling places. But worry not, citizen! The junior senator is on the job.
Kerry has a team of lawyers to examine possible voting problems to try to prevent a repeat of the 2000 election disputes. He also has said he has thousands of lawyers around the country prepared to monitor the polls on election day. “What they did in Florida in 2000, some say they may be planning to do this year in battleground states all across this country,” Kerry said. “Well, we are here to let them know that we will fight tooth and nail to make sure that this time, every vote is counted and every vote counts.”
Whew, that's a relief. If there's any surefire way to make things run smoothly, it's by dispatching thousands of lawyers. Thanks, John.

Permalink | News and Views

September 12, 2004, 07:00 AM

CB Exclusive: Professional typesetter concludes memos are forgeries

By Don Carpenter

Watching Dan Rather attempting to suffocate the alarm raised over what many on the Internet seem to believe are forged documents was shocking to me. I work in the printing industry and since 1970 I have been keenly aware of the technology of type. After looking at the .pdf files released by CBS the previous day and reading how recreating them on a computer today using MS Word gave an exact overlay match, I remarked to my partner and graphic designer wife that Dan Rather and CBS were cooked. It might take a day or two for the technological facts to work their way out so the press and public will understand, but there is no doubt in my mind that these documents are phony. Rather’s attempt at stonewalling is baffling when I consider that graphic professionals inside CBS must certainly realize, as I do, that the overwhelming technical evidence by itself proves that these documents are fraudulent. This is more than just another CYA. I believe that these documents, presented as news against President Bush, are a blow to the credibility of network news in general. This will especially be the case if other major media sources do not follow this story to a fair and just conclusion. The ability to so accurately reproduce those documents with the default MS Word settings is as solid proof as you will ever get that this is how they were produced. The probability that they are fraudulent is nearly equal to an exact DNA match. Proportional type is formatted into lines using something called an hj algorithm which, if hyphenation is turned on, determines the way words at the end of a line are hyphenated. If hyphenation is turned off, as in the case of CBS's documents, the hj algorithm determines how the “rag” or line-breaks are created. It is virtually impossible that two type producing systems, one a 1970's typewriter and the other a 2004 word processor, could produce dead on duplicate word breaks and character and line spacings. Mr. Rather says the typeface was available from 1931, but for a proportional typeface, we must keep in mind that the character set is also augmented by two spacing parameters. One spacing parameter is kerning. This is the space between common letter pairs like ie or Po. This is adjusted in the typeface data to give a line of type a uniform balanced look so that it does not seem to have rivers of white space running through the paragraphs. The other is tracking. This is a fixed space between every character on the line. It is used to make the type more or less dense. From time to time at Desktop & Press, as type and graphic specialists, we have been asked to duplicate some block of type from some other system to “patch” in a repair in a brochure. We never tried to match the kerning pairs for the original typeface since it would take days and sometimes even weeks to do that. When adjusting the tracking to see if we could force the lines to break at the same place as in the original, we could usually get close, but the combination of kerning and letter spacing made it virtually impossible to get the kind of duplicate overlay that has been done between CBS's memos and the pantograph replications. That, in my professional opinion, makes the probability that CBS's memos are fraudulent almost absolutely so. Especially since only the default Word settings were used in the pantograph replications, and since there was no attempt to adjust tracking, leading, or kerning to get a match. Typefaces are licensed by one or more type foundries or suppliers such as Adobe Systems. Each foundry is free to adjust a typeface as it wishes. New Times Roman, for example, could be produced by a type foundry in the 1940's with adjustments to accommodate a specific use, such as for a ball or strike-on key typewriter. Other adjustments are made to give that foundry or supplier’s typeface a more distinctive look. With that in mind, even if there were many New Times Roman faces available at the time of the creation of these memos, the chance that they would match the exact character outlines and character spacings of the New Times Roman used as the default typeface with MS Word, is most unlikely. We have customers who regularly give us computer files with typefaces whose names match those we have in our own systems. We could not faithfully print their document the way they see it on their printer if they did not also supply us their version of typeface they used; the differences between their version of the typeface and ours can be significant. ABC News has reported that “The vertical spacing used in the memos, measured at 13 points, was not available in typewriters, and only became possible with the advent of computers.” As I recall when we typeset forms that would be filled out on normal typewriters, we used multiples of the standard 12 point typewriter line spacing. That would be 12, or 24 points and sometimes 18 based on a typewriter's ability to click up or down one half a line. Word processor line spacing automatically adjusts to fit the size of the type, this is something that typewriters were not designed to do. There is a reward of $10,500 being offered for anyone who can recreate these documents on a 1970's era typewriter. I think that money is quite safe. Microsoft's current version of that typeface is most certainly not the same typeface used in the late 1960's and early 1970's. I wonder what the implications of all this will be. CBS's competitors, like NBC, are spending a lot of time and money researching and verifying these claims of fraud. Soon, the day will come when these news organizations will release the conclusions of their investigations. It's possible that the truth may eventually affect the election, since the DNC has attached their name and credibility to the documents. The revelations will more likely affect the jobs of CBS's researchers and staff. Maybe even Dan Rather's chair will be empty after the dust settles. Whatever the outcome, I am confident that these documents are forged.
Don Carpenter has over 30 years of experience in the printing and graphics industry. He and his wife, Donette Reil, own Desktop & Press.

Permalink | Media Watch

September 11, 2004, 10:16 PM

Chronicle still treating forgeries as authentic!

By Phil Magness

The Dan Rather forgeries scandal has been common knowledge for at least the last 36 hours and virtually every media outlet outside of CBS has now conceded that the CBS documents are AT LEAST suspect. Several internet sources including Chronically Biased have examined the evidence extensively, presented findings, and reached the conclusion that the memos are almost certainly forgeries. One might think that the existence of compelling evidence of a fraud and the existence of unresolved questions about the documents' authenticity would prompt any responsible editor to halt subsequent news stories that treat them as authentic until the controversy is resolved. Not so at the Houston Chronicle, which posted a wholly irresponsible Associated Press story on its website this afternoon and will likely run the piece in Sunday's edition. The article purports to interview veterans about their reactions to the memos' contents - not their authenticity, mind you, but their contents - which are treated as genuine. The 20 paragraph article devotes only eight words to the forgery scandal: “Questions have been raised about the documents' authenticity.” It also says absolutely nothing about the nature of the forgeries while affirmatively asserting that they “indicate President Bush got preferential treatment in the Air National Guard during the Vietnam war.” The bottom line of this story: If the memos are forgeries, as they appear to be, the claim against President Bush that is directly contingent upon those memos collapses into the realm of unsubstantiated campaign bilge. Since the burden of substantiation always rests with the accuser, the fact that these memos are widely known to be suspect means that no responsible editor should treat them as settled fact. Doing so amounts to nothing short of journalistic fraud and perhaps even libel. Some have rightly called for Dan Rather's resignation on the basis that he ran with such a shoddy story. In light of the article linked to above, similar scrutiny should apply to the careers of Jeff Cohen of the Chronicle and any other newspaper editor who consciously decided to print this piece of journalistic fraud despite having full knowledge of the deception it perpetrated.

Permalink | Poor Chron Journalism

September 11, 2004, 07:56 PM

Philly paper fires back on gun ban

By Matt Bramanti

The Philadelphia Daily News ran a story today with bias and ridiculous “facts” that would make the Chronicle blush. To wit:
It was the night of Sept. 2, 1990. Terence Ryans, 18, and Darren Norwood, 19, offered to give two acquaintances a ride home from 40th and Sansom streets. But before they could drive away, five men surrounded the car. They were armed with the very deadliest of military weapons - Tec-9s. Ryans and Norwood, not even the intended targets, didn't have a chance. Today Cherie Ryans, 54, spends her days wondering how her son, who had been studying criminal justice at Cheyney University, would have turned out.
Deadliest of military weapons, huh? Silly me. I would've thought that distinction would go to some sort of nuclear weapon, maybe the Soviet “Tsar Bomba,” which detonated with the force of 57 million tons of TNT. And hey, Guinness agrees with me! But there's more.
So as of Tuesday morning, the gun market could be flooded with military-style weapons. (snip) And what does this mean for Philadelphia? Cops are worried that gun crime will only increase. “My thing is that 85 percent of our homicides are by handguns,” said Police Commissioner Sylvester Johnson, who attended a press conference with other police chiefs in Washington, D.C., this week to call for an extension of the ban.
Well, which one is it? Are you worried about “military-style weapons” or are you worried about handguns? The military's standard-issue handgun is a Beretta 9mm Model 92. It's not particularly fearsome; it's just a good, solid pistol. But why worry about clear, rational thinking, when you can exploit the emotion and suffering of victims?
In the meantime, mothers like Ryans will continue to worry for the safety of their families, their sons, their daughters. “It's just not safe. Anybody can get a gun,”...Ryans said.
I went ahead and revised the paragraph. It's a vast improvement, in my humble opinion:
In the meantime, law-abiding citizens like Bramanti will continue to worry for the safety of their Constitution, their rights, their duties. It's just not safe. Anybody can get elected to Congress," Bramanti said.

Permalink | Media Watch

September 11, 2004, 06:22 PM

The Many Fallacies of Mr. Rather

By Phil Magness

Dan Rather has slipped into full denial mode over the unfolding Texas Air National Guard memo forgery scandal. His argument, found in a transcript of last nights CBS News defense, boils down to essentially five modes of attack, all of them examples of classical informal fallacies. FALLACY #1: Rather first resorts to argumentum ad hominem against his critics. Denouncing those who uncovered the forgeries as people “who are partisan political operatives,” Rather seeks to escape culpability for the evidence of a forgery by “attacking the person” of his critics. FALLACY #2: Rather next turns to a device known as the Straw Man fallacy to rebut a few points made by his critics. Noting that critics have pointed to typewriting anachronisms in the forgeries, Rather developed his case by attempting to demonstrate that two out of well over a dozen controversies did indeed exist in 1972. If they were available, the reasoning goes, then the critic's claim of anachronism is false. The problem with Rather's argument is that that it misrepresents and intentionally simplifies the critics' case against him. Far from making absolute statements of anachronism, virtually all of the sophisticated critiques of the documents have noted that typewriters capable of such techniques as superscripting and proportional fonts were uncommon and expensive in 1972. Rather did not even bother to address those anachronisms that even the most advanced typewriters could not obtain, such as computerized autocentering. FALLACY #3: Rather's next argument employs the fallacy of argumentum ad verecundiam - an appeal to expert authority. Per Rather's report, a CBS-hired expert, specifically a man named Marcel Matley, stated that the documents were authentic therefore on his authority they must be valid. Two problems went unstated: First, Matley's field of expertise is in handwriting, not typewritten documents. Second, literally dozens of other experts who have examined the documents disagree with Mr. Matley, demonstrating that his professed opinion is not universally accepted among authorities. Both of these facts are sufficient to demonstrat the ad verecundiam nature of Rather's argument. FALLACY #4: Rather's next fallacy appears in the form of a logical non sequitur. Responding to critics when approached by a camera crew yesterday, Rather remarked that there were “more important questions than how we got the story, which is where those who don't like the story like to put the emphasis, the more important question is what are the answers to the questions raised in the story, which I just gave you earlier.” To follow Rather's line of reasoning here one needs only look to what he is claiming: the “story” about Bush allegedly disobeying orders as found in the memos is more important than the authenticity of those memos, therefore we should not waste time with questions of their authenticity. The reasoning behind this position is not only circular but a downright absurd expectation. Rather knows that the story about Bush is wholly contingent upon the material found in the four CBS memos. Therefore if the memos are false, the story about Bush, which is contingent upon them, is itself unsupported. Rather evidently expects us to simply go on believing the material found in the memos - all because he says so - even if those memos are discovered to be hoaxes! FALLACY #5: Above all else, Rather is guilty of slothful inference. That is to say, Rather persists in adhering to the authenticity of the documents despite an overwhelming amount of conclusive evidence supporting a positive inference of their falsehood. Free Republic reports that almost 50 anachronisms, dubious contents, factual inconsistencies, and expert testimonies supports the conclusion that the documents are forgeries, yet Rather slothfully clings to his original line. Much of Rather's excuses have been built around asserting the possibility of various typewriter combinations that could explain some of the alleged anachronisms (while completely ignoring others that cannot be explained), yet the law of probability kicks in against him very quickly. The number of simultaneously occuring variables, rarities, and chance coincidences that would be required for the CBS memos to emerge from a typewriter makes the odds of this happening so remote as to be statistically negligible. Put another way, to produce those documents would take an unusually sophisticated typewriter for 1972 with a rare and unusual font setting, an unusual proportionality mechanism, an unusual kerning mechanism, two unusual keys for superscript and curled apostrophes, and a 100% chance coincidence of being able to perfectly center an address block by mechanical means to the point that it is indistinguishable from computerized autocentering not once but twice several months apart from each other - and all this found in a low level office of the Texas National Guard and at the hand of an inexperienced typist who, according to his associates, struck keys with his two index fingers and, according to his family, was not known to produce documents of the sort being attributed to him. William of Ockham's famed razor comes into application long before this point is reached and tells us, quite simply, that Rather's hypothesis did not and could not happen. Interested readers may also find a comprehensive summary of the visual evidence of a forgery, including that uncovered by CB, on Peter Duncan's website.

Permalink | News and Views

September 11, 2004, 06:15 PM

Now Playing Out

By Matt Forge

Here's the original image.

Permalink | Political Cartoons

September 11, 2004, 01:54 PM

Chron misses facts on gun law

By Matt Bramanti

Saturday's Chronicle carries a story by Rachel Graves about the assault weapons ban, which is due to expire by Monday. The story and accompanying sidebar graph has a few problems, including contradictory facts. From the story:
At Top Gun, a local gun dealership and shooting range, manager William Johnston said his customers want magazine clips that carry more bullets (the current limit on many guns is 10).
From the sidebar:
Manufacturers also could offer more features on rifles, pistols and shotguns. Among them: •Folding/telescoping stocks •Protruding pistol grips •Bayonet mounts •Threaded muzzles or flash suppressors •Grenade launchers •Barrel shrouds •Detachable magazine capacity •Fixed magazine capacity greater than 5 rounds
Which is it, Rachel? Can my gun have five rounds or 10? Can my handgun have a pistol grip? Will I be able to buy a bayonet for my shotgun? Since most journalists would never dream of owning or using anything as ghastly as a firearm, it shouldn't be surprising that they get the facts wrong, and mix the whole discussion into a jumbled mess. Graves ignorantly lumps restrictions on rifles, pistols and shotguns together. Pistols, of course, may have pistol grips. Pistols and rifles (but not shotguns) may have detachable magazines. They may also have fixed magazines with capacities of greater than five rounds. The barrel shroud restriction only applies to pistols. Sadly, the world of journalism knows very little about guns. Remember John Kerry's shotgun? The press kept calling it a rifle.

Permalink | Poor Chron Journalism

September 11, 2004, 01:48 PM

Mr. Eichler

By Rob Booth

Mr. Eichler
Our family moved to Houston when I was 11. Before that, we lived in Cedar Grove, New Jersey. Cedar Grove is about 15 miles west of the Lincoln Tunnel. If you've ever watched The Sopranos on HBO, you've seen the area. In Cedar Grove, the Eichler family lived up the street from us. They had a son, Rod, who was a couple of years older than me. We played in the neighborhood, rode skateboards, played wiffle ball, made forts, etc. Mr. Eichler (the dad) was a funny nice man who pulled quarters from behind kids' ears and told jokes. After we moved away, we lost touch. My aunt and uncle lived and still live in Cedar Grove, and on 9/11/2001 we called to make sure everyone was ok. Everyone in my family was fine, thank goodness, but we got the bad news that Mr. Eichler had gone into the city for a breakfast at Windows on the World in the Twin Towers. In our family we keep Mr. Eichler in our thoughts and especially on a day like today. Here's a link to the New York Times obituary on Mr. Eichler: John Ernst Eichler: Magician and Joker

Permalink | Miscellaneous

September 11, 2004, 10:14 AM

EU urges inaction

By Terry Bohannon

John “Forgery” Kerry would have America go to the UN and EU before taking action against any other country. Friday, the Tehran times reported that the Dutch Foreign Minister Bernard Bot, whose country holds the rotating presidency of the EU, asked the UN not bring Iran before the Security Council, as the United States is demanding. A reason he gives for this, besides the chance that Iran might kick out the IAEA, an Iranian diplomat (Hassan Rowhani) was “willing to give a whole set of assurances as far as the nuclear program was concerned,” according to a Reuters article published by the Tehran Times. That diplomat continued to say that Iran “would absolutely not engage in a program that would lead to a nuclear weapon, that they would not enrich [nuclear material] to weapons-grade uranium, and they were willing to accept European observers in all their enrichment facilities.” With these assurances, Bernard Bot believed Hassan Rowhani and took him at his word. Taking the words of an Iranian diplomat as gold, that Iran won't develop their nuclear weapons program, is highly irresponsible and the type of complacency that the EU and the UN demonstrates time and time again. Yet it are these organizations that Kerry would empower to control America's national security. We don't need a listless and weak-kneed follower as Commander in Chief, we need a clear thinking and confident leader as President. George W. Bush fills that role, and it looks like he will fill it again for four years more.

Permalink | News and Views

September 11, 2004, 08:20 AM

DNC hypocritically attacks President Bush's service

By M. Wildes

For the last month, the DNC and John Kerry have been raging that an attack on Kerry’s Vietnam service was the most awful, below the belt, uncalled-for, despicable form of political campaigning. They bent over backwards to link Bush to the Swift Boat Veterans for Truth, while ignoring connections between the DNC and MoveOn.Org. Why then, may I ask, is the DNC itself attacking President Bush’s Vietnam service? What a bunch of hypocrites! In writing that the “Kerry campaign returns fire over military service” while the “DNC rolls out big-gun strategists to hit back at Bush,” the Associated Press reports the attack as if there is no hypocrisy at all. As the AP writes:
After weeks of Republicans questioning Sen. John Kerry's military service and fitness to be commander in chief, Democrats are employing the same tactics against President Bush. [snip] Meanwhile, the Democratic National Committee made fresh allegations that Bush was AWOL for duty in the National Guard during the Vietnam War and a new independent group rolled out an ad making the same point. Kerry senior adviser John Sasso said Kerry will continue to drive home his criticism in the seven weeks to Election Day.
Let us not allow them to confuse the issue: the RNC criticized Kerry’s fitness to be commander in chief based on his Senate record, it was an independent group that attacked his Vietnam service. The Bush Campaign praised Kerry's service, but the DNC and an independent group are both criticizing the President's service! There is no hint that Kerry will praise Bush’s service or if the AP will criticize the hypocrisy and lead the search for connections between “independent” groups and wealthy Democrats.

Permalink | News and Views

September 10, 2004, 07:41 PM

Right back at ya

By Rob Booth

I couldn't have written a refutation of Dan Rather better than Blogs for Bush did here: CBS MELTDOWN.

Permalink | Media Watch

September 10, 2004, 06:10 PM

Rather Defends Memos with New Evidence (Satire)

By Matt Forge

New York (CB) — Tonight Dan Rather showcased another alleged 1970s memorandum that he claims sets the record straight on the controversy surrounding himself and his network. Reeling from accusations that memos he introduced on 60 Minutes II that apparently damage President Bush's character were forgeries, Rather says this document, which backs up the claims of the previous ones, has been both internally and independently verified as authentic in clinical lab tests by expert bipartisan scientists. You be the judge...
(The above story, though based on actual events, is satire or parody. It is meant for entertainment only and is NOT true.)

Permalink | Humor

September 10, 2004, 05:59 PM

The Black Eye

By Matt Forge

Permalink | Political Cartoons

September 10, 2004, 04:48 PM

Phil Magness/TANG/Barnes Article Roundup

By Rob Booth

For your reading ease, here are links to the articles Phil has written on the 60 Minutes II program: CB Exclusive: Barnes' web of lies exposed
Disgraced former politician and Kerry for President co-chairman Ben Barnes made his scheduled appearance last night on 60 Minutes to levy allegations against President Bush's National Guard record. As CB first reported, Barnes' primary allegation - that he used the Texas Lieutenant Governor's office to secure a National Guard appointment for George W. Bush - is fraught with errors and inconsistencies, most notably the fact that Barnes was not even Lieutenant Governor in May of 1968 when Bush enlisted.
CBS' “new” Bush guard memos a hoax?
UPDATE: NEW PROOF OF FORGERY - SCROLL TO END Four supposedly “new” memos highlighted along side the Ben Barnes charade on last night's 60 Minutes may have been forged according to reports by CNS News. The memos, dating from 1972 through 1974, allegedly document George W. Bush's refusal to follow an order in the Texas Air National Guard, or so claims the Associated Press. They have since been circulated by Democrat operatives to bolster long standing allegations against the President's service record during the Vietnam era.
CBS forgery scandal deepens, possible Kerry link reported
The CBS memo forgery developments that originated from the internet blogosphere yesterday, Chronically Biased included, have exploded into a full fledged scandal for CBS and the Kerry Campaign.
Rather stands his ground, defends forgeries as “true”
The Drudge Report is reporting that CBS Anchor Dan Rather will stand his ground on the developing memo forgery scandal. Says Rather:
Click the article's title to see the full story. Update: I would be remiss if I didn't thank Little Green Footballs for linking to Phil's post. Welcome LGF readers!

Permalink | Miscellaneous

September 10, 2004, 01:00 PM

Kompromat Compromise

By Rob Booth

Kompromat is a Russian word for compromising material, i.e., info that can be used to discredit, embarass, or blackmail someone. Compromise is what I'm putting forward as a way for CBS to resolve the President Bush/Texas Air National Guard/document forgery issue. Beldar writes on his blog:
Finally, readers who wish to send polite but pointed feedback to CBS News encouraging them to -
  • reveal their source,
  • disclose the names and full opinions of the “experts” upon whom they relied, and
  • offer their written responses to the many, many objections raised to the documents' authenticity
- are encouraged to do so via this link. Remember, rants and profanity gets your message trash-canned. Your own brief, non-cut-and-pasted, rational arguments and observations - plus, perhaps, “I'm thinking of writing to your advertisers” - are more likely to get your feedback noticed.
Beldar is one of the best writers going right now and his opinion is always worth considering. I've got, however, another idea. CBS probably doesn't want to reveal their sources, it would set a bad precedent. Fair enough. Release the original documents on their original paper to publicly identified experts. I'm not a technical expert on the examination of documents, but I know they can tell a lot by the paper, how the typewriter struck the paper, what ink was used in the signature, etc. Post the results of their analysis on the Internet. Let the media feed on this for a while. The blogosphere will have a swell time going over the minutiae of the results. There may be one problem. CBS may not have the originals and neither may their source. If they don't have the original documents, they're in deep trouble and the next story will be how many people at CBS lost their jobs over this.

Permalink | Media Watch

September 10, 2004, 12:23 PM

Rather stands his ground, defends forgeries as “true”

By Phil Magness

The Drudge Report is reporting that CBS Anchor Dan Rather will stand his ground on the developing memo forgery scandal. Says Rather:
I want to make clear to you, I want to make clear to you if I have not made clear to you, that this story is true, and that more important questions than how we got the story, which is where those who don't like the story like to put the emphasis, the more important question is what are the answers to the questions raised in the story, which I just gave you earlier.
In other news, Newsmax is reporting that Democrat strategists are quietly expressing concerns over the implications of the emerging “memogate” scandal. Democrat consultant Pat Caddell conceded on Fox News today that, if the forgeries are proven true, “It would be the end of the race” for President. The proof of a forgery, of course, is virtually certain. Click here to see for yourself.

Permalink | News and Views

September 10, 2004, 11:50 AM

Naked burglary ends in death

By Owen Courrèges

This is definitely one of the more bizarre burglaries on record:
Police believe the dead man found in a warehouse Wednesday by a Fed-Ex driver was actually trying to burglarize the business before dying. Investigators say the man's naked body was probably all alone in the northwest Houston business on Todd near 34th for a couple days before the delivery man made the discovery. Police don't know the man's identity yet, but it's believed he cut himself while breaking into the building and then bled to death. The one thing they can't figure out is why the guy wasn't wearing any clothes.
I won't even try to speculate...

Permalink | News and Views - Houston

September 10, 2004, 08:30 AM

CBS forgery scandal deepens, possible Kerry link reported

By Phil Magness

The CBS memo forgery developments that originated from the internet blogosphere yesterday, Chronically Biased included, have exploded into a full fledged scandal for CBS and the Kerry Campaign. As the country awakes this morning the Drudge Report has published details of an internal damage control investigation that is underway at CBS. 60 Minutes host and anchor Dan Rather, who publicized the forged memos alleging to show that George W. Bush disobeyed orders in the Texas Air National Guard, is reportedly “shell shocked” over the revelation and, if necessary, will be forced to recant the story on the air. CBS has already come under fire from both the widow and son of the late Jerry Killian, whose name is used on the forged documents. Meanwhile the American Spectator (see copy here if link is down) is reporting on rumors that the forged memos were provided to CBS by the John Kerry campaign and/or the Democratic National Committee after allegedly being received from an unnamed source. Reports the Spectator:
More than six weeks ago, an opposition research staffer for the Democratic National Committee received documents purportedly written by President George W. Bush's Texas Air National Guard squadron commander, the late Col. Jerry Killian...“More than a couple people heard about the papers,” says the DNC staffer. “I've heard that they ended up with the Kerry campaign, for them to decide to how to proceed, and presumably they were handed over to 60 Minutes, which used them the other night. But I know this much. When there was discussion here, there were doubts raised about their authenticity.”
We'll keep an eye on this one as it continues to develop. Back home on the Houston scene, all three nightly newscasts reported on the suspected forgery. Even today's Chronicle, which proudly continued its tradition of publishing “olds” in a Boston Globe hatchet job using the faked documents, managed to also print a Washington Post article about their suspicious origins.

Permalink | News and Views

September 10, 2004, 07:53 AM

Chron: Abstinence doesn't prevent pregnancy

By Owen Courrèges

I know that the Houston Chronicle is biased, but even bias has to take some account of reality. The Chron's latest news article on sex-ed refuses to do even this:
High school students in Houston and elsewhere may not learn about preventing pregnancy and disease in proposed new textbooks that teach abstinence exclusively.
Um, stop me if I'm mistaken, but doesn't abstinence prevent pregnancy and disease? Look, I know that refusing to teach youngsters about condoms and birth control constitutes a refusal to provide instruction in specific methods aimed at preventing pregnancy and disease, but it does not — as a matter of fact — constitute a refusal to provide any instruction in preventing pregnancy and disease. The simple fact is, forgoing sex until marriage will prevent unwanted pregnancy and STDs. And we're talking about a news article here, not an editorial. The distinction should have been made.

Permalink | Chron Bias

September 09, 2004, 04:53 PM

CBS' “new” Bush guard memos a hoax?

By Phil Magness

UPDATE: NEW PROOF OF FORGERY - SCROLL TO END Four supposedly “new” memos highlighted along side the Ben Barnes charade on last night's 60 Minutes may have been forged according to reports by CNS News. The memos, dating from 1972 through 1974, allegedly document George W. Bush's refusal to follow an order in the Texas Air National Guard, or so claims the Associated Press. They have since been circulated by Democrat operatives to bolster long standing allegations against the President's service record during the Vietnam era. Earlier today investigative work done by the Powerline Blog and the conservative organization Free Republic produced evidence suggesting that the CBS documents were forged on a modern computer word processor. While their findings are suggestive of document fraud in their own rights, a new piece of evidence has emerged following a forensic experiment on the Little Green Footballs blog suggesting the documents were fabricated with near certainty. The case against the CBS memos' authenticity boils down to four major discrepancies in addition to the Little Green Footballs blog discovery. FIRST, all four of the CBS memos are written in what is known as a proportionally spaced font such as Times New Roman and other common computerized texts. Word processors were few and far between at the time of the alleged Bush memos though, which are said to have come from a typewriter. Historically, typewriters use mono-spaced fonts that more closely resemble the Courier option that is common to computers. Typewriters that could produce proportionally spaced documents did exist in 1972, but they were expensive and unlikely to be found in a low level administrative office of the Texas National Guard. SECOND, several of the CBS documents attach superscript suffixes to numerical listings in their texts (e.g. the “th” found at the end of 111 in the term “111th”). Superscript lettering reduces the font size of the suffix and elevates it above the line of text. While common on word processor documents and in professionally printed material, superscript of this sort was virtually impossible to obtain from the common typewriter. Popular word processing programs like Microsoft Word, however, have default settings that automatically superscript numerical suffixes. THIRD, the signature of Jerry B. Killian on the CBS memo is virtually incomparable with known copies of Killian's signature on authentic Bush guard records. FOURTH, the first of the CBS memos, dated in 1972, contains a crossed out though clearly visible address for George W. Bush listing his residence as an apartment on Longmont Street in Houston. Bush lived on Longmont Street in 1968 according to his known guard documents at the time, however by 1972 he had changed addresses at least twice and was living in an apartment on Westheimer. FORENSIC EVIDENCE: In addition to this evidence, Little Green Footballs blog has produced a forensic demonstration of forgery based, whether advertently or not, on the time-honored document authentication technique of pantograph replication. Before the copy machine and the typewriter there was the pantograph, a writing mechanism based upon the geometric characteristics of the parallelogram that could create a one-to-one or scaled second copy of a document on a second sheet of paper as the original was being written. The pantographed copy matched the written original in all respects including errors, stray marks, and the exact handwriting itself. The technique was common prior to the 19th century. Thomas Jefferson, for example, is believed to have produced the draft copies of the Declaration of Independence by pantograph while he recorded the original. Forensic historians long ago developed a method for detecting pantographed documents by superimposing a projection of the suspected copy onto the known original to confirm that they originated from the same source. When two copies of a common origin are placed on top of one another the texts match up with near perfection including spacings, letter characteristics, and stray ink marks proving the pantograph. Since a common word processing program such as MS Word will not vary in its output from computer to computer so long as both are set on the manufacturer defaults, a modern day form of pantograph replication should indicate whether a suspect document and a test copy from a word processor originate from the same program. Little Green Footballs blog attempted this experiment by entering the CBS memo's text under default settings into a word processor. The superimposed images reveal that the test computer print and the supposedly original CBS memo are virtually identical in font, alignment, size, and format thus suggesting that the memo originated from a modern computer and not a typewriter (see the overlapped images for yourself here). The verdict is not in yet on the documents, but with each passing hour and each new piece of evidence a forgery becomes more and more apparent. UPDATE: NEW PROOF OF FORGERY Following the Little Green Footballs blog lead, CB decided to test the pantograph replication technique on another of the CBS documents to see if it held true. Using Microsoft Word on its factory default settings with 12 point Times New Roman font we copied the address line of CBS memo #1 and overlapped the two for comparison. CLICK HERE As you can see the test worked and, in doing so, inadvertantly uncovered more proof that the document is a forgery. The new evidence revolves around the fact that Microsoft Word auto-formats its text using the centering function. When the text alignment for “center” is selected each subsequent line will be precisely centered underneath the previous one with each word of the text readjusting to meet this alignment as new letters are entered into the line. Since typewriters mechanically stamp letters onto a sheet of paper one at a time, it is physically impossible to create a mechanical typewriter document that perfectly aligns two or more centered rows of text on top of each other. The address bar on CBS Memo #1 is perfectly centered and perfectly aligned, thus it had to have come from a computer word processor and not a typewriter. The replication experiment in Microsoft Word with an identical match further validates this origin.

Permalink | Media Watch

September 09, 2004, 11:30 AM

Issueless, Democrats look backwards

By Terry Bohannon

The Democrats keep their focus on the past as “the Boston Globe reported [President Bush] failed twice to fulfill training commitments in 1972 and 1973,” according to commentary by Bloomberg. Democrats hope that this will “hinder Bush's campaign for re-election.” The Boston Globe, which has written itself as a Kerry 2004 sponsor, reported yesterday focusing on the past, focusing on events that happened (or didn't happen) a little more than thirty years ago. Our President, while the mainstream media focuses on the past, has the 'audacity' to assume he will be in office four more years by looking forward. He spearheaded a discussion in the Cabinet Room on intelligence reform. President Bush began the meeting with this statement:
THE PRESIDENT: I want to thank the members who are here. Thank — thank you all for coming today. We are going to discuss intelligence reform. I will be submitting a plan to the Congress that strengthens intelligence reform — strengthens the intelligence services. We believe that there ought to be a National Intelligence Director who has full budgetary authority. We'll talk to members of Congress about how to implement that. I look forward to working with the members to get a bill to my desk as quickly as possible. It's important we get our intelligence gathering correct. After all, we're still at war. We've got to find the enemy before they hurt us. We've got to do everything we can to protect the homeland. We're still on the offense here in this country. We're chasing down these killers overseas so we don't have to face them here at home. We're making good progress. Ultimately, we will prevail because liberty changes countries, and liberty changes the habits of people. Liberty promotes peace. And that's why we appreciate the sacrifice of the men and women who wear the uniform. They're serving a great cause. We mourn every loss of life. We'll honor their memories by completing the mission.
We do not have a president that daily looks at the polls; our President has his own ideas and does not need a pollster to tell him what to think. The wide-spread rehashing of President Bush's guard service demonstrates that Democrats cannot win with their issues. If the media and Democrats were wholly honest, Kerry would run on his 20 year senate service instead of his “experience in a war” (a phrase newly coined after Clinton's advice.) Kerry would campaign on military cuts, tax raises, and even his pro-abortion stance. At the DNC Convention, Kerry pointed to his four months of service in Vietnam as the reason we should vote for him. Now that he's steering off that focus, he attacks President Bush or Cheney's service or lack of service thirty years ago and questions the war in Iraq once again. Voters are left with one question. “Kerry, why do you want to be our President, our Commander in Chief?” Now is not a good time for Kerry to start answering that question, he's a little late. Can anybody here answer the question: Why is Kerry running for President?

Permalink | News and Views

September 09, 2004, 11:00 AM

City Council debates museum honoring black heritage

By Owen Courrèges

In the proud tradition of political-correctness, Houston city council members are being bullied for questioning the wisdom of spending millions of tax dollars on a museum honoring our city's black heritage. Our budget is stretched very thin, but for some reason this project is supposedly of pressing importance. Thank goodness at least one councilwoman is standing up for fiscal responsibility and fairness:
A racially charged argument took place Wednesday inside Houston's City Hall. It happened when two council members objected to the idea of spending taxpayer money on a museum commemorating the city's African-American heritage. Former Mayor Lee Brown budgeted $2 million for a general African-American museum. Right now, if you want to visit Houston’s African-American past, the Buffalo Soldier Museum is about as close as you can get. However, it only commemorates only a small part of the city’s black heritage. The new mayor has kept that money in the budget, but a new council member wants it pulled. “I have no problem with the museum,” said Councilwoman Pam Holm. “I support it. I endorse it. I think it's great. It's the funding mechanism. I think it's inappropriate to use tax dollars to fund private facilities.”
Holm is right, of course. A museum honoring Houston's black heritage is all well and good, but it doesn't deserve taxpayer funding. Alas, another councilwoman, Ada Edwards, chose to try and impose collective guilt on whites to dodge the issue at hand:
“...I'm not going to get into comparative suffering!” said Ada Edwards, also a member of City Council. “If you don't want to acknowledge and recognize what African-Americans have done to contribute to build this country that most Anglos benefited from, that are still benefiting from, fine, no problem.”
Edwards, of course, is a disgusting race-baiter. In the past, for example, she has openly condoned the activities of Quanell X, saying that he “has a role to play” because “he says things that a lot of people basically don't have the courage to say in public.” Quanell X, you'll recall, is openly anti-Semitic and anti-white. If this is the most vocal voice on the council for funding this museum, I'd say the entire project is tainted with racist undertones from day one. The city should not be involved in this kind of racial tit-for-tat, and it certainly shouldn't spend scarce funds to satisfy some errant expectation of societal guilt. That's simply wrong.

Permalink | News and Views - Houston

September 09, 2004, 09:30 AM

CB Exclusive: Barnes' web of lies exposed

By Phil Magness

Disgraced former politician and Kerry for President co-chairman Ben Barnes made his scheduled appearance last night on 60 Minutes to levy allegations against President Bush's National Guard record. As CB first reported, Barnes' primary allegation - that he used the Texas Lieutenant Governor's office to secure a National Guard appointment for George W. Bush - is fraught with errors and inconsistencies, most notably the fact that Barnes was not even Lieutenant Governor in May of 1968 when Bush enlisted. Sadly but expectedly, the “mainstream” media has rushed to embrace Barnes' fanciful story, even reporting on it as if it were true, while giving him a complete pass over a growing volume of inconsistencies, contradictions, and outright falsehoods in the increasingly fanciful national guard story. Last night's interview with Dan Rather was no exception. Since the “mainstream” press refuses to scrutinize the claims of the man best remembered as an unindicted chief co-conspirator in the Sharpstown Stock Scandal, we at Chronically Biased have gone through the transcript with a fine toothed comb. What we've found is nothing short of an appalling demonstration that the only thing AWOL in this story is the news media's journalistic integrity. Like so many other things about Ben Barnes, the Rather interview demonstrates that his entire recollection of the 1960's era, to say nothing the Bush story, is extremely shady. Barnes' interview was fraught with factual errors and outright falsehoods that demonstrate he barely even remembers the composition of the chambers he presided over. Here are ten samples of the material that typified the interview - Barnes Quote #1:
Well, Texas was a one party state. John Tower had gotten elected to the United States Senate in a special election when Lyndon Johnson became vice president. And then there was only one Republican congressman I believe — Congressman George Bush from the River Oaks area of Houston.
CB Fact Check: Barnes' statement contains two errors. First, George HW Bush was not the only Republican Congressman from Texas in the 1960's. Republican Robert Dale Price was elected from a district in North Texas the same year that Bush Sr. took office. Second, Congressman George Bush did not represent simply the River Oaks area of Houston, which was at the time and has always been far too small to constitute its own congressional district. Bush's 7th District, which is currently represented by John Culberson, stretched across almost all of western Harris County. Barnes Quote #2:
A Democrat. John Connolly-- a Democrat governor. Preston Smith, the Democratic lieutenant governor. All of our state office holders were Democrats. And there was only one Republican in the state Senate when I presided over the Senate as lieutenant governor.
CB Fact Check: Ben Barnes took office as Lieutenant Governor in 1969 and presided over the 61st Legislature that same year. The chamber had two Republican Senators: Ike Harris of Dallas and Hank Grover of Houston. Though a relatively minor quibble, the fact that Barnes cannot even correctly remember the partisan composition of the chamber he presided over (a hard thing to do considering that the Texas Senate is a tight knit group with only 31 members) demonstrates that his recollections of that era are unreliable and without credibility. Barnes Quote #3:
I think maybe two or three Republicans were in the house when I was speaker.
CB Fact Check: Barnes presided over the 60th Legislature as Speaker in 1967. There were 10 Republican members of the House at this time including future U.S. Congressman Bill Archer, not two or three. Again, Barnes' unfamiliarity with the very same chamber he presided over suggests that his recollections of this era are seriously suspect. Barnes Quote #4:
Rather: Now, you became lieutenant governor when? Barnes: In 1969. I was elected in 1968.
CB Fact Check: Barnes at least managed to get the dates of his election right, but in doing so he inadvertently exposed the gaping lie in his allegation about President Bush. As the video located here conclusively demonstrates, Barnes claims to have used the Lieutenant Governor's office to get Bush into the National Guard. As is well known, Bush was admitted into the guard in May of 1968 yet, now by his own admission, Mr. Barnes did not take the office he claimed to use in Bush's favor for another year. Barnes Quote #5:
Rather: You almost corrected yourself. You said son or daughter and then you said sons because daughters are not eligible for the draft? Barnes: They were not in that. And it's changed in the last 30 years with women playing such an important role in our military. But not in the '60s.
CB Fact Check: Barnes is in error yet again. The United States Selective Service System has not changed its policy to register women for the draft. Only men between the ages of 18 and 25 must register. Barnes Quote #6:
Rather: I want to ask you to go back and tell me the story. Tell me the whole story. Tell me the truth, the whole truth about what happened with George W. Bush and the draft and the National Guard. Start at the beginning. Take me right through it. Barnes: Well, first of all I want to say that I'm not here to bring any harm to George Bush's reputation or his career.
CB Fact Check: Contrary to the claim of innocence with regard to impugning the reputation of George Bush, Barnes enjoys a substantial and formal relationship with the John Kerry for President Campaign. Barnes made his allegation against Bush (as seen on the linked video) at a political event for the Kerry-Edwards campaign. Barnes has also raised over $100,000 for Kerry's election effort, holds the title of Vice Chair with the Kerry team, and is widely rumored to be on the short list of top appointees for a Kerry administration, perhaps even a cabinet or subcabinet post. Given these facts and the context of Barnes' allegation at a Kerry event, his intent to harm Bush's reputation by making his charges is beyond question. Barnes Quote #7:
I don't know whether my recommendation was the absolute reason he [Bush] got in the Guard.
CB Fact Check: Barnes appears to be backtracking a little now, perhaps in keeping with his ever-changing story about Bush's Guard service. This passage stands out in marked contrast to the specific and unequivocal claim made by Barnes earlier this year and now circulating around the country with the assistance of Democrat 527's like MoveOn.org. That video shows Barnes stating “I got a young man named George W. Bush into the National Guard when I was Lieutenant Governor of Texas and I'm not necessarily proud of that, but I did it.” Barnes Quote #8:
Oh, that's true in Texas. And-- and-- but you also gotta remember that there was a Democratic side that had about 200 elected officials and a Republican side that had two elected officials.
CB Fact Check: Yet again Barnes cannot seem to make up his mind on the partisan composition of the very same government he served in. In reality, Texas during the Barnes years had one Republican U.S. Senator, two Republican U.S. Congressmen, and about a dozen Republican State Representatives and Senators, to say nothing of local elected officials. First Barnes claimed two or three legislators and one state senator, both of which were wrong. In the same interview and only moments later he claims only two Republican officeholders in the entire state, contradicting both his former claim of at least three and reality, which showed at least twelve. Though it is another a minor quibble, this distinction yet again demonstrates that Barnes' recollection of the era lacks credibility. Barnes Quote #9:
Rather: When he [Sid Adger} came to see you [on Bush's behalf], how did he get access to you? Did he call you? Write you a letter? Barnes: Oh, he just called. I was a young, ambitious office holder. I don't think I probably turned down very many-- very few people. Or I-- everybody got to see me that wanted to see me. I tried to make that possible.
CB Fact Check: While the possibility that Adger placed a call to Barnes is not itself impossible, reason dictates that a vague unsubstantiated claim of this sort by a credibility-challenged individual with unreliable recollections of the era should not be admitted as evidence. In addition, several facts about Barnes' history make the liklihood of this call even more remote. First, the legislature was out of session in 1968 when Bush enlisted, meaning that Barnes and most legislators were unlikely to be anywhere near Austin for most of that year. Second, we know that Ben Barnes spent a substantial part 1968 in Europe where he worked under President Johnson as a Special Representative to the United Nations in Geneva. Barnes Quote #10:
Barnes (beginning of interview): I met his father. I knew his father. And his father was a fine congressman who worked very closely with those of us in Texas who were trying to get things done. Barnes (several moments later): I knew the father [Bush Sr.]. I didn't know him well. He was a congressman.
CB Fact Check: Simply put, Barnes cannot even keep his story straight through the same interview. He began by claiming that he knew George Bush Sr. in 1968 and stated that they worked together “very closely,” then only a few moments later he admits that he “didn't know him well.” No wonder this guy is so involved with the Kerry campaign! As an aside, logic dictates that the latter version of the two is probably closer to the truth. In 1968, when Dubya enlisted, George Bush Sr. was a freshman congressman who was barely halfway through his first term. The likelihood that he either knew Ben Barnes well or had even met him more than a handful of times is slim to none. The sum of this material only goes to further discredit Barnes' already suspect account of the events in 1968. In any other circumstances, a notoriously corrupt politician with a demonstrably weak recollection of his own past, a self-contradictory and ever changing version of events, and enough gaping holes in his claims to conclusively show that they violate the very fabric of time itself would be ignored or, at most, given a brief moment at the microphone before being laughed off the stage. But in today's America we have a “mainstream” news media that actively participates in, covers for, and conducts the dirty work of a partisan Democrat's presidential campaign, all the while professing its own objectivity. So instead of being shunned as the bottom-feeding liar that he is, Ben Barnes is hoisted up and trotted around the national stage as a campaign tool for John Kerry by his willing accomplices and cheerleaders in the press box.

Permalink | Media Watch

September 09, 2004, 09:00 AM

Today's Features

By Mona Lugay

Make sure you view our Features section for daily commentary on entertainment “wonders and blunders,” the sports world's best and worst shots, local high school sports updates, the great outdoors, a little miscellaneous humor and much more. Dan Lovett gives you his thoughts on this year's NFL season. Matt Malatesta gives us another look at local high school football and Barry Chambers gives us his take on “Vanity Fair.”

Permalink | Miscellaneous

September 09, 2004, 08:00 AM

Comptroller recommends starting school after labor day

By Owen Courrèges

I'm old enough to remember when school used to start only after Labor Day, and I'm also young enough to remember when the school year began creeping into August. I always thought that there was some method to the madness, that I was starting school earlier for a reason that made economic sense. Boy was I wrong. According to Texas Comptroller Carole Strayhorn, shifting back to the old schedule would save hundreds of millions of dollars every year for the state:
Hundreds of millions of dollars can be saved if Texas schools started later in the year, state Comptroller Carole Keeton Strayhorn said in a report released Wednesday. Strayhorn identified $790 million annually in lost income and additional expenses because of August school-start dates. “The school year is more than two weeks longer now than it was 50 years ago, but the number of instructional days is the same, or even fewer in some cases,” she said. Costs associated with early school start dates include utility bills for air conditioning schools in August; increased daycare expenses to teachers; lost income to teenagers and teachers with summer jobs; and potentially lost income for migrant workers who might leave their jobs early to enroll their children in school, the report said.
Now I'm hardly Strayhorn's biggest fan (I personally think she's a disloyal showboat), but this proposal seems to have serious merit. Why not switch back to the old calendar? We'll have happier students and more bucks in our pocket. I really fail to see the downside.

Permalink | News and Views - Texas

September 09, 2004, 07:00 AM

Will the real Mayor please stand up

By Dan Patrick

In my view, to date, the Mayor has done a reasonably good job of managing our city. However, his decision yesterday to give 2 million dollars to a group wanting to build a museum for African Americans is the first sign that at the core, he is still a liberal democrat. This issue first came up under the Brown administration. Most thought it was a dead issue. After all, the city is strapped for money and past history has shown that museums are built with private funds, not public money. The idea of building a museum to honor African Americans may be a noble idea. I expressed this view, in a previous article in Chronicallybiased.com, in the spring when this issue was on the Mayor’s table. However, no group should be singled out for funds from the city for pet projects. We have a precedent for building museums. There is the Buffalo Soldier Museum, The African American Arts Center and the Holocaust Museum, just to name a few, that have been built with private funds. The Mayor says he would not give the money unless certain guidelines are met; a business plan and the group raising money on their own. Guidelines are great, but even if met, the city has no business giving 2 million dollars to any group wanting to build a private project. Who will be next? One councilman says he will ask for 2 million for an Asian Museum. Another councilman wants money for a Pakistani Museum. At a time when city workers are asked to take a cut in their pensions, streets need repair and parks need playground equipment, the city does not have the luxury of giving away millions for personal pet projects. Even if the city had a surplus, tax dollars should not be spent in this manner. The Mayor has a chance to show that he is not the same liberal who was a fundraiser for Clinton-Gore and Gore again in 2000. He has done a good job so far. Everyone makes a mistake every now and then. It is time for the Mayor to admit this mistake and delete the 2 million from the budget. This issue will come up for a vote next week and he is the only one who can kill it. It is time for him to stop thinking like a liberal if he wants to stay in the good graces of all of those republicans who voted for him the last time. If you want to contact the Mayor and let him know your feelings on this issue call his office at 713 247 2200. Keep your comments brief and be polite, but speak out if you agree that he should not support such issues.

Permalink | News and Views

September 09, 2004, 06:00 AM

Kerry wins in a landslide!

By Dan Patrick

Yesterday, a global poll was released that indicated if the world could vote in our presidential election, Kerry would win in a landslide. Only 3 out of 35 countries would vote for Bush over Kerry; Nigeria, Poland and the Philippines and were the three. The poll indicated that in most countries like Norway, Germany and Spain, Kerry received almost 75% of the vote! In France, Bush got only 5% of the vote. Are you shocked? China gave Kerry 52% of the vote. This poll in inself should be reason enough to re-elect the President. It is clear that the world, especially Europe, does not understand that there is a war going and that if the fanatical Islamic terrorists win, no one would be safe anywhere. The world either doesn’t understand or, as in the past, is not willing to do what it takes to win the peace. History is repeating itself and the mistakes of the past. Europe stood still in 1917, 1939 and once again in the 90s, in the Balkans. One country that was not included in the poll was Israel. In a recent Tel Aviv poll, Bush received 49% of the vote to Kerry’s 16%. The remainder did not express an opinion.

Permalink | News and Views

September 08, 2004, 05:54 PM

The Liberal Definition of Success

By Matt Forge

Permalink | Political Cartoons

September 08, 2004, 03:33 PM

Teachers trade red pens for lunacy

By Matt Bramanti

The red pen, long a potent tool in the education arsenal, is being phased out in favor of purple. According to Fox News, self esteem beats acheivement achievement every time, in the minds of these folks:
“Teaching should always be a positive practice. Red seems to stand out in such a negative way,” said Dorothy Porteus, school support specialist with the New York Charter Schools Association (search). “Little guys internalize the red and it doesn’t make them feel good.” Porteus, who taught elementary school for 20 years, said a teacher should coach kids to do their best, not scare them into thinking they’ll never be good enough. She equates using red ink with drawing a frowning face on a student’s work.
What's wrong with frowning faces? I used to get those when I handed in a sub-par assignment. And guess what color they were? Fortunately, not everyone in the academic world is as kooky as the purple-ink crowd:
“Children can figure out if they’re being corrected even if they’re not being corrected in red ink or red pencil,” Douglas Sears, Dean of Boston University School of Education, told FOX News. “They know when they’re being criticized, and by the way, they should be criticized when they’re not spelling or punctuating correctly.”
Well said, Dr. Sears. If only your lesser colleagues would heed your words.

Permalink | News and Views

September 08, 2004, 02:05 PM

Russia may target foreign terrorists

By Terry Bohannon

After the hostage crisis in Beslan, Russia may fight terrorism abroad (as we suggested before). What remains uncertain will be the extent of Russian military action abroad. On Wednesday, according to a report distributed by the Deutsche Presse-Agentur, after talks in Moscow with NATO military commander James Jones, the Russian Army Chief of Staff Yury Baluyevsky said, “As far as preventative measures against terrorist camps are concerned, we shall do everything we can do destroy them in any part of the world.” However, a press release by Reuters translates his statement into far harsher tones: “As for launching pre-emptive strikes on terrorist bases, we will carry out all measures to liquidate terrorist bases in any region of the world.” I'm not sure where the translators were going in the Reuters article, but 'preemptive' brings to mind the language President Bush uses in describing our actions in Afghanistan, and 'liquidate' brings up far more disturbing images; perhaps of the Holocaust or the Gulag. Which source provides the best translation cannot be easily discerned. The two quotes succeed, though, at shining light on the a desire within Russia to fight terrorism at its source. Whether Russia will focus on Chechens abroad, or branch out to those terrorist groups like Al Qaeda and target those foreign groups as well, is the question only time can answer. The following article, however, written by the World Tribune, may convince Russia to stand side by side with the United States in the War on Terror:
Russian officials said authorities have determined that 10 of the 32 suicide attackers who took over a high school in Beslan in North Ossetia last week were nationals from several Arab countries. Most of the attackers were Chechens and Ingush who had been trained at Al Qaida camps in Afghanistan. The 10 Arab nationals came from Jordan, Saudi Arabia and Syria, officials said. They said security forces seized notebooks in Arabic in the school taken over by insurgents. Officials said survivors told authorities that some of the captors spoke Arabic during the three-day hostage ordeal.
Perhaps Putin will spread fear among terrorist organizations as President Bush has done.

Permalink | News and Views

September 08, 2004, 10:01 AM

Media complicit in Barnes fibs over Bush Guard Service

By Phil Magness

One week ago Chronically Biased exposed the fact that former Texas politician Ben Barnes, who is now waging allegations against President Bush's national guard service, can't even get his own story straight. Barnes claims to have used the Texas Lieutenant Governor's office to secure a spot for Bush in the Texas Air National Guard despite the fact that Bush entered the service almost a year before Barnes even won that post. Naturally, the same media establishment that gave John Kerry a pass over his claim that Richard Nixon secretly sent him into Cambodia a month before Nixon's inauguration has accepted the Barnes fib without question. Barnes will be featured tonight in a nationally broadcast interview with Dan Rather where he is expected to restate the same allegations against Bush. A quick review of the media's coverage of this event reveals full fledged complicity in spreading Barnes' fib through both inferences and direct assertions that contradict his known term of office as Lieutenant Governor. Other sources have even reprinted Barnes' claim without so much as even mentioning that he wasn't Lieutenant Governor at the time he claims. Here's a brief roundup of the stories leading up to Rather's interview. The Washington Post:
A senior Texas politician has told close friends that he recommended George W. Bush for a pilot's slot in the Texas Air National Guard during the Vietnam war because he was eager to “collect chits” from an influential political family. The reported comments by former Texas lieutenant governor Ben Barnes add fuel to a long-running controversy over how Bush got a slot in an outfit known as the “Champagne Unit” because it included so many sons of prominent Texans.
The UK Independent:
The first salvo is due to be fired on CBS tonight, when Ben Barnes, a Democrat and the lieutenant governor of Texas in 1968, will explain his role in securing for the 22-year-old Yale graduate Bush a coveted place in the state's Air National Guard - a unit so full of the sons of Texas's rich and powerful that it was known as the “Champagne Unit”.
Salon.com:
Ben Barnes, the former lieutenant governor of Texas, will finally break his silence and talk to the press about what role he played in helping Bush get a coveted slot in the Texas Air National Guard in 1968. Sources say Barnes has already sat down for a “60 Minutes” interview that will air next week. A “60 Minutes” spokesperson declined to comment, saying the program does not discuss reports that are in progress. Barnes made headlines last week when his videotaped comments that he was “very ashamed” of getting Bush into the National Guard began circulating on the Web.
Dallas Morning News/KHOU:
“The latest battle in this year's presidential political war is another fight over a 30-year-old war. The former Lt. Governor of Texas now admits he helped George W. Bush get into the National Guard during Vietnam. Implications that George W. Bush benefited from using influence to get into the National Guard slot — that kept him out of Vietnam — surfaced years ago. But now, a popular click on the Web is a video of former Lt. Governor Ben Barnes. ”See, I got a young man named George W. Bush into the National Guard when I was the Lt. Governor of Texas and I'm not necessarily proud of that,“ says Barnes.”
All of this makes for a convenient story if you're a Kerry supporter except, again, for one pesky little fact: Ben Barnes was not Lieutenant Governor in 1968 when Bush joined up. He was a lame duck Speaker of the House seeking election as Lite Guv in a year when the legislature was out of session and when he appears to have spent an extended period overseas on a UN job for LBJ. Of course the most bizarre lie to emerge so far comes from Democrats.com, an “unofficial” Democratic Party organization that was set up four years ago by a bunch of ex-Clinton administration insiders including John Kerry's new pollster Stan Greenburg. Democrats.com, it seems, doesn't want you to know that Ben Barnes is heading up their nominee's fundraising projects in Texas so they're claiming that he's a Republican!
Ben Barnes, a Republican who was first the Texas House Speaker and then later Texas's Lt. Governor, came forward to confess that he helped Bush and other privileged young men get into safe, cushy spots in the National Guard during Vietnam. By giving these young men these slots, Barnes acknowledges that he, in effect, sent other, less privileged young men to their deaths.
All of this hints upon another question that's certainly fair game considering the nature of Barnes' allegations. Exactly why is the media giving any credibility to Ben Barnes in the first place? The ENTIRE story is based on Barnes' word against anybody elses and, quite frankly, Ben Barnes isn't exactly the most credible source in the world. In fact, Ben Barnes' undisputed 40 year track record of corruption, shady business arrangements, and fibs concocted for political gain is enough to put an ex-Soviet cleptocrat turned third world arms dealer to shame. There is some good news to all this though. When the Democrats are turning to a disgraced political cockroach who is best remembered for getting booted out of office by the voters over his central role in the Sharpstown Stock Scandal we know that they're getting desperate!

Permalink | News and Views

September 08, 2004, 10:00 AM

CBS, NBC gang up on Bush

By Matt Bramanti

As the Independent is reporting, Dan Rather and Ben Barnes will host a nationally televised hatchet job tonight on CBS:
The first salvo is due to be fired on CBS tonight, when Ben Barnes, a Democrat and the lieutenant governor of Texas in 1968, will explain his role in securing for the 22-year-old Yale graduate Bush a coveted place in the state's Air National Guard - a unit so full of the sons of Texas's rich and powerful that it was known as the “Champagne Unit”. (snip) In recent months Mr Barnes has said he feels “very ashamed” about helping Mr Bush and the sons of other prominent Texans, and is said to have told friends that he did it to “collect chits” from powerful families. In the interview he is expected to expand on these comments.
Ah, yes. If there's anything the Democratic Party in Texas is renowned for, it's a strong sense of conscience and an ability to feel shame. But the story doesn't end there. Drudge is reporting that Kitty Kelley, author of The Family: The Real Story of the Bush Dynasty, will appear on the Today Show for three straight days to peddle her ridiculous allegations of Bush impropriety. Among them: Laura Bush sold marijuana while a student at Southern Methodist University. These moves by the press are clearly part of an orchestrated campaign by the press to discredit the president's military service and family life, but it's not going to work. Lt. Bush is going to fly circles around these guys.

Permalink | Media Watch

September 08, 2004, 08:37 AM

Bush Guard records show skilled pilot

By Matt Bramanti

The AP is reporting that it has acquired documents relating to President Bush's service in the Texas Air National Guard during the Vietnam War. The records don't show much to back up Democrats' claims that Bush failed to fulfill his duty, but they do note his skill at flying:
The records also show Bush made a grade of 88 on total airmanship and a perfect 100 for flying without navigational instruments, operating a T-38 System and studying applied aerodynamics. Other scores ranged from 89 in flight planning to 98 in aviation physiology.
Democrats suggest the president rarely showed up for training, yet he was able to fly perfectly without instruments. They suggest he's not exactly a rocket scientist, but he got a perfect score in aerodynamics.

Permalink | Media Watch

September 08, 2004, 08:37 AM

Chron: Texas must spend more on legal aid

By Owen Courrèges

The Chronicle is once again trotting out a ranking of states, without any context, with the obvious implication that Texas needs to spend more money on something to improve our standing. They've done this year after year with education, and now they're doing it with the legal system:
The U.S. Constitution guarantees accused criminals the right to an attorney, even if a defendant cannot afford to pay. No such protection exists for poor people who need help in civil disputes. Today, the Texas Supreme Court will hear from members of the Texas Access to Justice Commission, a body it set up in 2001 to work with legal services organizations to increase legal services for the poor. In 2000, Texas ranked 45th in per-capita state spending on legal aid. Since then the commission's status report, “Civil Legal Services to the Poor in Texas,” says Texas has clawed its way to 42nd.
Again, the Chronicle ignores (willfully?) that Texas ranks 46th in terms of cost-of-living. This means that the per-capita dollars we pay for legal-aid attorneys should be far less than in a state with a far higher cost-of-living, like, say, Massachusetts or New York. They might be higher in the rankings, but they're probably getting far less in return. Furthermore, money isn't everything. It could be that Texas spends its legal aid dollars far better than most states, with less overhead sapping up scarce funds. You just don't know from these raw figures; they're hardly enough to draw conclusions from. Yet that doesn't stop the Chronicle, now does it?

Permalink | Chron Bias

September 08, 2004, 07:45 AM

AP: Public transit eases congestion... REALITY: No it doesn't, stupid

By Owen Courrèges

I always dread seeing Texas A&M's Texas Transportation Institute's annual Urban Mobility Report, because their figures are always invariably misinterpreted and misapplied by both the researchers themselves and pundits in the media. This year, sadly, is no exception:
Houston lags behind Dallas in yet another study, but this time it's a ranking that doesn't rankle: Dallas is No. 4 in the nation for worst rush-hour traffic jams, while Houston's stuck in the slightly more bearable No. 6 spot. Also ahead of Houston: Los Angeles, San Francisco, Washington and Atlanta. [...] The biggest time-saver, according to the report, is public transit, which shaves 32 percent off the time drivers spend sitting bumper-to-bumper. “If public transportation service was discontinued and the riders traveled in private vehicles, the 85 urban areas would have suffered an additional 1.1 billion hours of delay in 2002,” the report said.
Lemme get this straight... Public transit reduces congestion, right? It has the biggest impact, right? Then would somebody mind explaining to me why Los Angeles, San Francisco, and Washington D.C. are among the nation's worst cities in terms of congestion? D.C. has an extensive subway network. Los Angeles's Metrolink boasts over 500 miles of rail. San Franciso's cable car system is legendary. If investment in public transit is really supposed to have such a major impact on congestion, wouldn't that make these cities major exceptions to the rule? Meanwhile, Houston — a city which relies very little on public transit — ranks 18th among major urban areas for its Roadway Congestion index. What does that tell you? It should tell you that roads are more cost-effective. Investment in public transit has a far lesser impact on congestion than investment in roads. Thus, a city which invests heavily in public transit will see some minor impact on congestion, but they will have lost opportunity costs. They will have sacrificed the opportunity for greater gains by forgoing investments in freeways. But the Associated Press didn't tell us that. They didn't use simple logic to parse the facts and give the reader the whole story. Instead, the bought the line from liberal academics that tells us to invest in cost-ineffective modes of transportation with the false expectation that this will clear up our roads. I've heard this all before, and it was a lie the first time. Frankly, I'm sick of hearing it. Let it be said here and now that public transit is not a solution to traffic congestion. It's indisputable.

Permalink | News and Views - Houston

September 08, 2004, 07:00 AM

Chronicle still confused about War on Terror and religious intolerance

By M. Wildes

Adding to Matt Bramanti's comments: In Tuesday’s editorial, “Dishonored cause,” which was about how the Chechen terrorists dishonored their own struggle against the “historic wrongs” of Stalin and Putin; The Chronicle attempted to teach the ignorant masses, while demonstrating its own continued lack of understanding of the War on Terrorism and religious intolerance. The Chronicle attempts to lump the entire Islamic terrorist movement to Western intolerance:
The mounting and global atrocities committed in the name of Islam cannot help but aggravate religious intolerance in the West, which is what the terrorists seem to want.
Religious intolerance of the West? This may be true if they were speaking only of Stalin, but he was not the West and the Chronicle is talking about “global atrocities” and in the previous sentence, “al-Qaida and Palestinian terrorists.” What generalized western religious intolerance are they speaking of? That of a few idiots that tormented Muslims after 9/11? Perhaps this condescending generalization should be pointed at the Islamic terrorists who are so religiously intolerant! They want to wipe out everyone who is not Muslim! To further preach to its slow minded readers, the Chronicle continues:
…we [Americans] should remember that the cult of death is not condoned by Islam and is rejected by most of the world’s billion Muslims.
Earth to the Chronicle: Americans know this. We are not idiots. I would venture to say that those who do not understand this obvious point are not reading the news anyway. Let me remind the Chronicle that it should remember that religious intolerance is not condoned by the world’s billion Westerners and in fact, that is why we are trying to stomp out a small minority of Muslims that are religiously intolerant. Not all Muslims. Not even just Muslims. Terrorists. We get this from a newspaper that is so religiously tolerant that it supports the removal of the Bible from a Christian’s monument.

Permalink | Chron Bias

September 08, 2004, 06:13 AM

Shooting fish in a barrel

By Rob Booth

Sometimes I think I've either got writers' block or the Chronicle is getting better. Then along comes Gebe Martinez. Houston Chronicle: Renewal of assault weapon ban shot down in Senate
WASHINGTON - The fight to renew a favored ban on assault weapons effectively died Tuesday after the lead Senate sponsor of a bill to continue restrictions on the sale and manufacture of some semi-automatic weapons conceded defeat.
Favored? The basis for this “fact” is a National Annenberg Election Survey he mentions further down in the article. Well maybe the Annenberg folks have great suveying methodology and are a swell bunch of folks, but take a look at some of the press releases they've issued:
Two Thirds of Public, One Third of NRA Members Support Extending Assault Weapons Ban Pluralities of Public, Independents Believe Bush Campaign Is Behind Swift Boat Veterans’ Ads Veterans Rate Bush Higher Than Kerry on Many Dimensions, but Kerry Gained After Convention Cable and Talk Radio Boost Public Awareness of Swift Boat Ad
Judging by some of the subjects they've picked to survey on and the way they title their press releases, I don't think they're bias-free folks. I would think a more accurate statement would have been:
The fight to renew a ban on assault weapons, favored in a public opinion poll, effectively died Tuesday after the lead Senate sponsor of a bill to continue restrictions on the sale and manufacture of some semi-automatic weapons conceded defeat.
A little awkward, if you've got a better editing suggestion, please feel free. The bottom line is that the word “favored” is posited as an objective fact, and I'm not sure that it is.

Permalink | Chron Bias

September 07, 2004, 09:27 PM

Kerry Shoots Self In Foot? (Satire)

By Matt Forge

Racine, West Virginia — On Labor Day Democratic Presidential Hopeful Vietnam war hero John Forbes Kerry received a semiautomatic shotgun with pistol grip and reportedly shot himself in the foot with it. Details are sketchy, but witnesses report hearing a loud bang and a puff of smoke when he took hold of it. “It appeared that the left hand didn't know what the right hand was doing,” claimed one person on the scene. “He ought to know that these things can be dangerous. He's handled this before.” Kerry claims he hasn't. Kerry immediately summoned help and demanded to be taken to New York-Presbyterian/Columbia University Medical Center. It's not certain whether he actually shot himself in the foot, but some retired vets claimed that he didn't and that all the fuss was a ruse. A few others sided with the junior senator from Massachusetts and said he was legitimately injured. A hot tell-all book about the incident is said to be in the works. Anyway, Kerry somehow wound up in a bed next to former president Bill Clinton in intensive care. As you know, Clinton had successful quadruple bypass surgery and is expected to go home in about a week. Kerry said he was going to have to stay with him until they both completely recovered - or until the election was over. Kerry also said it would be a good time for the two to share campaign strategies and that maybe the former president (and superstar campaigner) could stump for him in the comfort of their high-rise apartment. (The above story, though based on actual events, is satire or parody. It is meant for entertainment only and is NOT true.)

Permalink | Humor

September 07, 2004, 06:30 PM

Chron condemns terrorists, but not really

By Matt Bramanti

This Chronicle editorial buried the needle on my Appall-O-Meter. According to the Chronicle's editorial board, the real tragedy in Friday's killing spree was the harm it did to the “Chechen cause,” whatever that is:
Aside from the moral repugnance of the terrorism and those responsible for it, the killings can only harden Russian feelings against Chechens and reduce any sympathy their cause might have enjoyed in the civilized world. A defiant Russian President Vladimir Putin, who previously decided to escalate the war in Chechnya, vowed that a stronger, less corrupt Russia would rally to defend itself.
Oh, yes, let's just leave the moral issue aside. Let's gloss over the fleeing little girl who was shot in the back 49 times. Let's skip the fact that this horrific attack killed about one percent of the town of Beslan. (That's roughly equivalent to murdering a Minute Maid Park full of people.) Let's not worry about the hundreds more who were wounded, including many who will be disabled, blinded, or terribly scarred for life. Let's forget about the widows, widowers, and orphans this scenario produced. The Chronicle wants us ponder the future of the Chechen cause. I won't do it. Last week, the Russian people came face to face with the virulent strain of evil that we saw on Sept. 11. The perpetrators were so warped, they even began to kill each other. London's Evening Standard is reporting that some of the terrorists had pangs of conscience, but were quickly silenced:
Nur-Pashi Kulayev, one of three captured gunmen, told his lawyer the argument broke out after the group took over the school. Their leader had not told them what their mission was and a fierce row erupted. The commander shot the leader of the breakaway group dead and then detonated the suicide belts worn by two women raiders by remote control to establish order, the 26-year-old's lawyer, Umar Sikoyev, said.
Some cause.

Permalink | Chron Bias

September 07, 2004, 12:06 PM

Kerry flip-flops on guns, cracks tasteless joke

By Matt Bramanti

Sen. John Kerry proudly accepted a shotgun as a gift from the United Mine Workers union in Racine, W. Va. In itself, this is absurd enough, considering Kerry's liberal stance on eroding the Second Amendment. But Drudge is reporting that the senator sponsored a bill that would ban weapons of that type. But wait, there's more! Firearm-related hypocrisy wasn't Kerry's only acheivement of the weekend. He also managed, jokingly, to imply a threat to the president. The Seattle Times printed this article from the Washington Post and AP, noting the senator's tacky jest:
Kerry ventured into friendly territory in Racine, a tiny town in the heart of coal-mining country. The event was an annual picnic sponsored by the United Mine Workers of America, whose president gave Kerry a rifle as a gift. Kerry, a gun-owner and hunter, quipped: “I thank you for the gift, but I can't take it to the debate with me.”
Oh, that Kerry, what a cut-up! Joking about bringing a gun to debate against the president: classy. (Editor's note: It should be no surprise that the anti-Second Amendment press misidentified the weapon in question. It was a semiautomatic shotgun.)

Permalink | News and Views

September 07, 2004, 11:00 AM

Chronically airbrushing Chavez

By Clay Moore

Sometimes the Houston Chronicle is so biased that it stuns many readers. Last Saturday is one of those times. The headline says it all. Chavez leads Venezuelan revolution This article, written by Chronicle reporter Reed Lindsay, lauds Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez in glowing terms. Chavez is “blushingly” described as “Magnificent” and the poor “adores him, for more than one reason.” The article describes stipends for the elderly, free Cuban doctors, and titles to shacks being given to squatters. The article states “Chavez won 59 percent of the vote in a recall referendum on Aug. 15”. The article ignores the topic of vote fraud, a major controversy in Caracas. Exit polls by New York pollsters Penn, Schoen & Berland Associates showed a 12 to 19 percent lead rejecting Chavez, but Chavez was proclaimed winner with 58 percent of the vote. The large discrepancy is statistically unlikely, but Independent Media TV has an article discussing the lack of a paper trail in DRE (direct recording electronic) vote systems that figure prominently in the claims of election fraud. One supposedly unbiased source used by Reed is Patricia Marquez, “a columnist for a leading opposition newspaper.” A search for Patricia Marquez Venezuela finds a Patricia Carolina Marquez, whose PhD dissertation at UC Berkley in 1995 was for “Youth on the Streets, Commodities, and Violence in Caracas”. She is quoted in pro-Chavez articles and is a coauthor of ¿Esclavos del Dinero? (Slaves of Money) a book criticizing Venezuelan economics and society. Her writings appear to be close to Chavez’s views. Decades ago the New York Times described Fidel Castro as an “agrarian reformer” and the “George Washington of Cuba”. It would appear that the Chronicle is attempting a similar effort for Hugo Chavez whose “revolution” is “a unique blend of social welfare and grass-roots civic participation, with a strong dose of free market economics.” We don't need a paper that airbrushes hardened dictators to be palatable to its subscribers. The Houston Chronicle should tell us the truth, not propaganda.

Permalink | Chron Bias

September 07, 2004, 10:07 AM

Patriotic picture

By Dan Patrick

I saw this picture and just couldn’t resist sharing it with our readers!
Patriotism has no age limit.

Permalink | Miscellaneous

September 07, 2004, 09:25 AM

'World's Fattest Man' to go for 'Best Picture' Oscar

By Owen Courrèges

Interminable lard-butt Michael Moore is apparently prepared to shoot for the moon. He wants his Bush-bashing lie-fest, “Fahrenheit 9/11,” to be considered for 'Best Picture' at next year's academy awards:
Michael Moore says he won't submit “Fahrenheit 9/11” for consideration as best documentary at this year's Academy Awards. Instead, he's going for the bigger prize of best picture. Moore's critically acclaimed film slams President Bush's war on terror as ill-advised and corrupt. The movie has cheered Democrats but enraged the president's supporters, who booed Moore when he visited the Republican National Convention last week. “For me the real Oscar would be Bush's defeat on Nov. 2,” Moore told The Associated Press during a phone interview Monday from New York.
Methinks Moore is just a wee-bit perturbed after seeing the latest poll numbers from Time Magazine and Newsweek showing Bush leading Kerry by double-digits. In any case, I wouldn't be altogether shocked to see his film nominated for 'Best Picture.' This is Hollywood, after all.

Permalink | News and Views

September 07, 2004, 07:00 AM

Boondocked off the edge...

By Terry Bohannon

Last Sunday, the creator of “The Boondocks” comic strip crossed the line. Aaron McGruder took his art and the platform his syndication gives him to a new low. The strip published that day is explicitly racist and he intends it to be. He portrays President Bush to be racist. If you read a recent article we covered on the subject, you can see that the portrayal is far from the truth. Nothing President Bush has ever said or done would justify satirically portraying him as not wanting African-Americans to vote. The cartoon strip shows a Bush/Cheney 2004 advertisement targeted to African-American youth that ends with “Voting: It Ain't Worth It, Homie!” Aaron McGrudger said something last month in an interview with NPR that really brings to light the reason why he would draw such a thing:
I think there's been a group of us that have been--and I think it's a small percentage of the country, maybe even as small as 10 percent, who have been angry specifically at this administration since they stole the last election. They did not waiver during 9/11. They stayed angry. They saw that something was amiss, and then they stayed angry during the buildup to the Iraq War. They screamed at the world that this was all a lie, and no one believed us, and now here we are today. And so I think I'm angry that Americans have completely surrendered trust to the government, and that is something fundamentally that Americans are not supposed to do. You know, you love your government, you respect your government, you love your country. And because of that, you constantly question. And I don't completely blame the people. You know, I think the people have gotten somewhat apathetic. I think the electoral system in this country, the system by which we practice our democracy, is broken and not enough attention is paid to fixing it. And the respected institutions of journalism have stopped policing the government. So it's a combination of things which have led us to where we are today.
Mr. McGrudger hates President Bush and cannot forgive how Bush “disenfranchised” voters and “stole” the 2000 election. He sees himself as a journalist that polices the corruption in government, but then fails to see the dividing line between satire based on truth and satire based on untruth. He often makes false assumptions and rides them as truth, such as when Michael Moore portrayed a kinder, gentler pre-2003 Iraq in his documentary. Sunday's “Boondocks” strip has angered many; this indicates two things. Either the editors at the papers where he's syndicated agree with him and aren't too concerned if their subscribers read it, or there are enough hate-filled Americans out there that actually read his strip and buy his books to justify his syndication. I'm hoping for the former, but assume the latter is true after seeing the success of Michael Moore's 'documentary'. I do know one thing, however. Regardless of how many fans he has, I will never be in their number.

Permalink | Media Watch

September 07, 2004, 02:26 AM

Don't worry Hollywood, the Chronicle will save you!

By Phil Magness

Every now and then a newspaper will publish an editorial that leaves readers in a state of perplexity; the sort one encounters upon experiencing an unnecessary inconvenience. Upon completion of an article of this sort the reader fails to see any salient argument conveyed in its text but rather finds himself asking “why did they even bother to publish that garbage?” Today's Chronicle provides us with a treat of this nature in the form of an inane rambling that, as best as one can tell, professes to associate “America's values” with Hollywood. The Chronicle's quibble derives from a line in President Bush's recent acceptance speech in which he commented “If you say the heart and soul of America is found in Hollywood,” as John Kerry recently did, “I'm afraid you are not the candidate of conservative values.” This seemingly innocuous remark should appeal to the common sense of most voters as it refers to a well known and growing phenomenon of American politics, namely the bizarre tendency of celebrities with left wing political beliefs to incessantly present themselves as policy leaders, authorities, experts, and other movers and shakers of political opinion despite the complete lack of any position, title, background, work experience, academic credential, or other professional qualification that would otherwise lend credibility to what they say. Put another way, our nightly news broadcasts are consumed by stories about the Linda Rondstadts of the world pontificating to their concert audiences over the “need” to defeat Bush and support Michael Moore. Open a newspaper and you find a barrage of idle threats by the likes of Alec Baldwin, pledging to leave the country if Republicans win at the polls (yet always failing to fulfill his promise after the fact). Pick up a magazine off the grocery store rack and there's Rosie O'Donnell screaming like an overstuffed banshee about the “need” to ban guns, as if she's suddenly a trained gunsmith. Flip the channel and it's Janine Garafalo, that oh-so-qualified expert on warfare demanding that we cease from persecuting Saddam and Osama. The list could go on forever. As if these ubiquitous “policy expert celebrities,” whose only credential is having a loud mouth and a fan club of liberal reporters to tape their every utterance, did not get enough free air time as it is, the Chronicle has seen fit to rush to their defense now that President Bush has taken a much-needed jab at their politics. We start with this laugher from the Chronicle
The truth is that while the country's mainstream values might not reside in Hollywood, the entertainment industry faithfully influences, reflects and finally embraces those values.
Considering this statement along side such recent films as, say, Fahrenheit 9/11, it would seem that the Chronicle believes that the country's “mainstream values” are “faithfully” reflected in the hygienically challenged anorexic nudist vegan goths who populated the streets of New York last week during the convention protests. Or perhaps they're thinking of the onslaught of violence, crime, sexual perversity, and left wing social causes that pop out from all those “art films” that they honor with “A+” ratings. Sorry Chron guys, but none of that is the America I know. Then again, a possibility exists that they could be referencing this year's blockbuster The Passion, but that is probably wishful thinking considering that Houston's self described paper of record saw fit to label it with an “F” even though its box office totals indicate a popular appeal in the true mainstream America that eclipsed the average load of garbage out of Miramax by tenfold. The Chron continues:
The wholesome image of small-town, white-picket-fence America was an illusion first popularized by Hollywood. At the time, during the 1920s and '30s, most Americans were poor and lived in crowded city tenements or on subsistence farms.
Cry me a river. Though any compassionate person gives both sympathy to the hardships of his ancestors and thanksgiving for the good fortune and prosperity enjoyed in America today, the Chronicle's snide and mocking derision of any portrayal of our country's past that isn't mired in extreme poverty and third world squalor is both artificial and unsubstantiated. This comment is also far removed from the typical Hollywood versions of the very same events they describe. History tells us that the 1920's were marked by extended economic prosperity and peace, yet if one were to take Hollywood's word for it the 20's were a period of decadence, waste, and ruthless robber barons - all of it “caused” by the absence of the same socialist governmental regulations on the economy that so many actors and actresses espouse. As for the 1930's, the quintessential Hollywood portrayal of that decade is 1940's “The Grapes of Wrath,” a story about a wretchedly impoverished family, victimized by capitalism, that travels across the dust bowl to find work, food, and salvation in a New Deal government program camp out west. The film starred Henry Fonda and was based on an equally politicized book of the same name by the ultra-leftist author John Steinbeck. Virtually every major film about the 1930's since then has repeated the same themes: squalor, starvation, victimization by capitalism, and salvation in the leftist programs of the New Deal and its “hero” Franklin Roosevelt - all despite substantial historical evidence that the New Deal was an economic failure and that Roosevelt's intervention policies actually prolonged the Great Depression! The piece continues
Bush thought enough of Hollywood to have action-film star and California Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger speak at the Republican convention.
In other words, a transparent cheap shot designed to impugn Bush's statement with latent implications of hypocrisy. Lost in this quip is the purpose of Bush's original remark. Unlike the actors-turned-pundits and singing sociologists of the Democrat Party, Arnold Schwarzenegger (a) does not hail from the fringe of the political spectrum and in fact is one of most centrally aligned major officeholders in the United States, and (b) actually has valid and earned credentials in the political arena - he's the elected Governor of a State!
Schwarzenegger's films and many like them have taught a generation of American teens that violence and gunplay are like a painless video game, and that it is funny to say “hasta la vista, baby” before killing an enemy.
Funny. I seem to recall that all three of the referenced Terminator movies were quite graphic and explicit in their portrayal of severe pain and bloodshed upon the infliction of wounds by their respective major characters. But the Chronicle would never let little inconvenient facts like that get in the way of another cheap shot upon firearms and thus, by implication, firearm rights. Of course the editorial concludes without making a salient point on much of anything, which seems to reveal their only purpose in printing it: to fabricate a smear upon President Bush that a quality newspaper would not give the time of day.

Permalink | News and Views

September 06, 2004, 09:10 PM

Trump Opens Dollar Store (Satire)

By Matt Forge

New York (CB) — Business mogul Donald Trump has once again pushed the envelope of capitalism by venturing into a virtually untapped market - the wealthy who need a dollar store. Opening on Fifth Avenue here in New York City, 'Trump Dollar: Everything's A Buck' is a store that promises large discounts on everyday products that the most elite among us can't do without. The star-studded grand opening last night was the social event of the season. Celebrities like Ben Affleck, Bruce Springsteen, Teresa and John Kerry, Rupert from Survivor, Katie Couric, Michael Moore, and many others found their way into the lavish discount store to do some light shopping. Guests were greeted with marble floors, intricately carved wood cabinetry, gold-plated fixtures, a dancing water fountain in the middle of the floor housing the rarest of Japanese tropical fish, and the sleekest hippest most advanced anti-theft equipment that credit can buy. Not wasting a moment of marketing time and opportunity, the Donald shot a live commercial while the grand opening took place among circling search lights, a conveyor line of limos pulling up, and a roped-off quadrant of cheering fans. Here's how the commercial went: “Hey, hey, hey there. That's right, this is Crazy Donald here and I've gone loco. I want to introduce my newest adventured called 'Trump Dollar: Everything's A Buck'. You heard me right, nothing over a dollar in here. Of course, I'm known for developing the ritziest establishments on the face of the planet. But 'Trump Dollar: Everything's A Buck' is no exception. Sure, everything is dirt cheap but look what you can get for your money.” “Here's a paper-clip - only a buck. How about this green M&M? That's right, only one dollar (plus tax). My store is filled with crazy bargains like this. Yep, I've gone mad, mad, mad. Here are some of the better deals that can be found by our more budget-conscious shoppers.” “Take this bag for example, it's filled with one pound of vacuum cleaner lint from Trump Plaza. Who knows, it could contain clothing or bio fibers from the likes of Jennifer Lopez, McCauley Caulkin or Michael Jackson. There's no telling what this would go for on eBay, but at 'Trump Dollar: Everything's A Buck' it's just ninety-nine cents with your 'Trump Dollar: Everything's A Buck' Smart Shopper Discount Card.” “And there's this hunk of plaster. You may remember last season on my highly popular TV show, 'The Apprentice', when Amarosa was clunked on the head. This is that exact piece and I'm having a drawing for the first thousand customers. Just fill out one of these cards with some of your most personal information, and your card could be drawn next week winning you a photo of this famous piece of architectural material.” “Speaking of the show, I've directed last season's winner Bill Rancic to manage the store for me. He's earned the right and I know he'll do a great job. Bill, tell the folks how excited you are about this opportunity.” “I am excited about this (sigh) opportunity, Mr. Trump. It's not quite what I had in mind, but I, um, know that this will do wonders for my (gulp) career - I... suppose.” Last season's runner-up Kwame Jackson was also brought on board to stock merchandise and run the register. Unfortunately, the commercial was interrupted when the security system went off prompting a special force of black clad security commandos to repel down from the ceiling and secure a one-block perimeter. It was later discovered that two of the celebs were caught trying to shoplift. Michael Moore snuck out with a pocket full of Skittles ($47 dollars worth). And Winona Ryder was caught trying to swipe two Hello Kitty erasers and a cigarette. But other than that, the evening was a rousing success. If the night was any indication of how well the store will do, then 'Trump Dollar: Everything's A Buck' will be yet another one of the Donald's many big-time money making ventures. (The above story, though based on actual events, is satire or parody. It is meant for entertainment only and is NOT true.) Note: This is the story of “pure escapism” that I promised earlier. Hope you found it to be delightful :-)

Permalink | Humor

September 06, 2004, 04:00 PM

Kerry-Edwards: now in Contrive-O-Vision! (updated!)

By Matt Bramanti

Well, folks, they've convinced me. John Kerry really is your average guy. Just look at him drinking a beer with the proletariat in Stratton, Ohio: “Am I doing this right?” Democratic presidential hopeful Sen. John Kerry asks “am I doing this right?” before drinking a beer with fellow average people. Keep an eye out for other photo angles from this event. I'm curious to know what brand of beer the junior senator drinks. Update! I'm curious no longer. After careful research, we've uncovered Sen. Kerry's favorite beer. According to National Review, Kerry prefers Samuel Adams Boston Lager, which bills itself as “America's World-Class Beer.” The shape of the bottle in these photos confirms it. Here's another great shot of Sen. Kerry, being entirely comfortable and not-at-all awkward. Remember, he's not an out-of-touch liberal bazillionaire. We roll our sleeves up, don't we? We go to bars and drink longnecks, right? He's just like you and me! Kerry makes a pass at a waitress in average-person fashion. Feel free to add links to other photos, or your favorite captions for the photos above. That's all I've got for now, average people: get out and do everyday, normal American activities, like sailing, windsurfing, billionairess-marrying, and beer-drinking.

Permalink | Humor

September 06, 2004, 02:50 PM

Michael Williams shows us the real President Bush:

By Terry Bohannon

Last Thursday, former Texas Railroad Commissioner Michael Williams gave a short speech the mainstream media has tried their best to ignore. In the mid eighties, before George W. Bush had a political career in mind, he became Michael Williams' “campaign chairman in the Republican primary in Midland County and helped him come in third” in Midland, Texas, as he said in a speech earlier this year. Michael Williams was an African-American seeking political office as a republican. That President Bush sought to be Mr. William' campaign manager shows us one thing. Our President sincerely cares about all Americans. His cabinet is the most diverse in American history not because of politics, but because we have a President that is truly colorblind. At the UNITY Conference, President Bush said, “My Cabinet is diverse. The people who walk into the Oval Office and say, Mr. President, you're not looking so good today, they're diverse. And I'm better off for it. I'm better off for listening from people from different walks of life.” Liberals, however, even if they admit Bush's sincerity, discount the implications such a move has, as an op-ed writer from the CS Monitor claimed:
[The Republicans] could send Michael Williams, a close Bush friend and a genuinely charming public speaker, to talk about Bush's racially diverse Cabinet, which, while true, elides the fact that Bush's personal commitment to color-blindness seems, to put it mildly, not to have trickled down to his party.
The author of this op-ed admits that President Bush is committed to color-blindness but then rhetorically diverts his readers by claiming that has not “trickled down to his party.” Whether sincere color-blindness has trickled down the Republican party at large or not is another issue altogether. The issue is used in that quote as a red herring since it diverts attention away from President Bush's heart, away from his commitment to color-blindness. Michael Williams' speech is important. It helps show us what snide op-ed writers would like to divert us from; and if you missed it Thursday, here it is: Michael Williams' Remarks at the 2004 Republican National Convention Ladies and gentlemen, the story I'm going to share goes back nearly a quarter of a century. It's the story of an unlikely friendship between an African-American man from the other side of the tracks in Midland, Texas, and a Harvard graduate building his career in the energy business. I'm speaking about the friendship between me and a man named George W. Bush. From the time we first met, it was evident to me that George saw America as a land of opportunity. And more than that, he felt a personal stake in creating opportunity not just for some, but for everyone. He was willing to work against the odds to help somebody realize the promise of this great country - somebody who could do nothing for him. You see, twenty years ago, Midland had never had an African-American elected to office. When I decided to run, George W. Bush didn't just agree to vote for me. He agreed to be my campaign manager. I have to admit, he's proved himself a far better President than campaign manager. We got stomped! But with that defeat, he didn't lose faith in me. He also didn't lose faith in his vision of America. After he appointed me to the energy commission in 1998, I became the highest ranking African-American elected official in Texas state government. Today, President Bush has one of the most diverse cabinets in American history. I'm here to tell you first-hand that his commitment to inclusion goes back to a time when nobody was watching. It goes back to a time when we drove around Midland in his Oldsmobile, baby seats in the back, scattered with toys for the twins. It goes back to a time when he did everything he could to avoid the dance floor at my wedding reception. It goes back to a time when we rolled up our sleeves, grabbed our hammers, and put up the walls of a home for a Christmas in April project. And to a time when we chewed on sunflower seeds and visited with folks at the ballpark in the hot Texas sun. America has been a land of opportunity for me because George Bush believed in me a quarter of a century ago. And you know what? I believe in him, too.

Permalink | News and Views

September 06, 2004, 11:50 AM

Another hurricane eyes Florida (updated)

By Matt Bramanti

The Sunshine State just can't get a break. The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration is tracking Hurricane Ivan, which is projected to reach Florida by the end of the week. The storm is expected to be a Category 4 storm by that time, packing winds higher than 130 mph. This is an excerpt from the National Hurricane Center's latest advisory:
...DANGEROUS HURRICANE HEADED FOR THE WINDWARD ISLANDS... AT 11 AM AST...1500Z...THE GOVERNMENT OF BARBADOS HAS ISSUED A HURRICANE WARNING FOR BARBADOS...ST. VINCENT AND THE GRENADINES. (snip) MAXIMUM SUSTAINED WINDS ARE NEAR 125 MPH...205 KM/HR...WITH HIGHER GUSTS. SOME INCREASE IN STRENGTH IS POSSIBLE DURING THE NEXT 24 HOURS.
Update 9/6/04, 11:00PM: Ivan is now making a beeline for the center of the Gulf of Mexico. Keep an eye on this one. The storm is over warm water at a very low latitude, and is still far out in the Atlantic, so it has plenty of time and fuel to strengthen before it bombards populated areas. Let's all pray for folks in the Caribbean and Florida, who have been getting pounded over the past few weeks.

Permalink | News and Views

September 06, 2004, 09:30 AM

Today's Features

By Mona Lugay

Happy Labor Day!!!! Make sure you view our Features section for daily commentary on entertainment “wonders and blunders,” the sports world's best and worst shots, local high school sports updates, the great outdoors, a little miscellaneous humor and much more. Dan Lovett tells you what really matters and Matt Malatesta says fathers know best when it comes to football recruting.

Permalink | Miscellaneous

September 05, 2004, 08:00 PM

Goodman slams Bush, Cheney, Miller, Schwarzenegger, GOP, Carthaginians

By Matt Bramanti

Calling the president's address to the Republican National Convention “rife with distortions,” the Boston Globe's Ellen Goodman pens this column, attacking basically everyone at the convention except Michael Moore:
This year's RNC was the RMC, the Real Men Convention. The polls show that half of all Americans think the country is on the wrong track. But the delegates and speakers here all praised George W. for being the President Who Wouldn't Ask Directions. Arnold Schwarzenegger, the “once-scrawny boy from Austria,” cited his two role models as John Wayne and Richard Nixon before he said what he admired most about Bush: “perseverance.”
But at least she didn't make a tacky joke about impotence. Whoops, I spoke too soon:
Zell Miller, the angry old Democrat of the Republican Party — no, you can't give him back — sounded like he was suffering from the side effects of Cialis when he called Kerry a “bowl of mush” and praised the president's, uh, “backbone.”
It's interesting to watch a columnist from the Boston Globe, which has been a tool of the Kerry campaign, slam a fellow Democrat. But the most curious part of Goodman's column is her misunderstanding of history.
Leadership in itself is neither good nor bad. The paradox of leadership is that the skills can be utterly disconnected from the goals. You can be led by Hannibal — there was a guy with an elephant problem — straight into the mountains.
I hate to break this to you, Ellen, but Hannibal's crossing of the Alps in the Second Punic War was a success, and Carthage took the north of Italy. I suspect we'll see another pachyderm victory in a couple of months.

Permalink | News and Views

September 05, 2004, 06:00 PM

Letters to the Editor

By The Staff

Media editorial disguised as objective reporting Let me start off by saying that I consider myself a moderate who has no party affiliations or associations. I listen to KSEV for lively political dialog. I am a Christian familyman so the majority of the views of the station appeal to me. One of the themes I hear often from conservative radio hosts is the leftist media bias. To be honest, I didn't quite buy into this. However, if there ever was an article that has inflamed me so much to write in to protest, it's an article that came in my SBC Yahoo “News” page. Here's the link: http://story.news.yahoo.com/news?tmpl=story&u=/ap/20040903/ap_on_el_pr/cvn_bush_analysis&cid=694&ncid=2043 Here's my point: This story comes across as news. A story reported with objectivity. Nothing could be further from the truth! This is one of the most biased pieces of left-wing propaganda I have ever read. At the end of the story the word EDITORS appears. That's the closest thing the Associated Press comes to admitting that this is an editoral, an opinion piece. I wouldn't've taken issue with the attacking style of the article had they (the AP) clearly labeled this an editorial. I now have seen with my own eyes and using my own judgement that, in fact, the major news organizations do try to push their agendas. Conclusion: Well, I refuse to be a media puppet. I form my opinions based on facts, values and morals. I do plan on voting for George Bush because he seems to be a man who has morals and values and a strong faith in God. This is important to me as a person who believes in my Bible, my God and my Christ. John Barraza The Mainstream Media Many years ago I used to get perturbed at the way the television reporters were spinning the facts. I also used to subscribe to the Houston Post until they started turning to the “Left.” That's when I dropped my subscription. It became apparent that the news became more and more slanted towards the “Left.” Now they are worse than ever before and they are steadily losing subscribers and viewers. The market place works if you have a lousy product. Then most people refuse to buy that product. The old media people seem not to have caught on to this yet. Go back about 15 years or so, a few people like Rush and Dan Patrick took a chance by using AM radio to tell the other side of the story and they gave the people their own soap box to voice their opinions. Add to this the internet, and more recently, FOX News and the information has become fair and balanced. Anyone interested in finding the truth is able to. Now, both sides are being presented. That’s the way it is supposed to be. If we had a decent paper here in Houston I would subscribe [and] if there was anything on TV worth watching I would watch. As it is, there are about 200 channels on cable, but only about five to six are worth tuning in to (including the locals). They don't seem to care, because they have these mega billion dollar corporations, with deep pockets, so they are immune to market pressures. Just look at all of the cable channels being owned by the same few companies. They have all the bases covered. I suggested to Dish Network that they offer a la carte channels where we only pay for those we actually watch. Remember the days when we had four TV channels? Remember too, that all four had something to offer? Remember when we could actually watch TV the whole evening? Remember when you could tune into one channel and didn't have to change to another channel the whole evening? Remember when it was safe for the whole family to watch? Rolf Strauss

Permalink | Letters

September 05, 2004, 02:14 PM

Crossley: City should take Superblock

By Matt Bramanti

Last week, the Chron reported that urban designers were considering a $77 million park at McGowen & Main Streets, and we kicked it around here. In today's paper, David Crossley argues that a prime piece of Midtown real estate shouldn't be left in the hands of private entrepreneurs. After all, they'd just turn it into a productive, job-creating commercial development. What we need, Crossley says, is a municipally subsidized mosquito ranch:
Two years ago, I proposed that a new urban park be created on the Midtown “superblock” on Main Street abutting the McGowen rail stop. This four-block long property with no streets crossing it has been the subject of a hunt for the right development project. (snip) With a lush river garden ambience surrounding a formal boat pond and promenade, McGowen Green would produce the highest value center in the Midtown district, and in time one of the most important in our city.
Sigh. Does free enterprise mean anything to these smart-growth folks? Not a whole lot. You see, Crossley is president of the Gulf Coast Institute, which sponsors “a comprehensive plan” for the future of our fair city. What's the plan? The creation of a development code, which is newspeak for zoning. The Gulf Coast Institute says “this isn’t about zoning - it’s about devising a vision and a plan,” then comfortingly says “zoning is not necessarily a given at the outset.” In the words of Justice Antonin Scalia, “Don't believe it.” One little snippet promoting the plan belies the anti-growth motivations behind this zoning scheme: “the Native Americans who first lived in this region would have planned ahead for seven generations.” I supposed they would've ridden the MetroRail from the wigwams to the hunting ground.

Permalink | News and Views - Houston

September 05, 2004, 09:13 AM

Closer to Osama:

By The Staff

According to an AP press release, the United States is closer to capturing Osama bin Laden:
The United States and its allies have moved closer to capturing Osama bin Laden in the last two months, a top U.S. counterterrorism official said in a television interview broadcast Saturday. “If he has a watch, he should be looking at it because the clock is ticking. He will be caught,” Joseph Cofer Black, the U.S. State Department coordinator for counterterrorism, told private Geo television network. Asked if concrete progress had been made during the last two months - when Pakistan has arrested dozens of terror suspects including some key al-Qaida operatives - Black said, “Yes, I would say this.”

Permalink | News and Views

September 04, 2004, 02:31 PM

Is the Chron really ThisWeak?

By Matt Bramanti

Take a look at our Media Bias Indicators, adapted from Texas Media Watch, and you'll see that the misuse of “experts” and “facts” in stories is a big problem. In this story from ThisWeek, the Chron plugs a Harris County entity which has set up a garden to encourage water conservation:
The municipal district hired landscape consultant Michael Murr to come up with a plan for the garden. Murr specializes in landscapes that work with indigenous environments. “Water is our next black gold,” Murr said. “We pay for it like oil, it comes out of the ground like oil and pretty soon it's going to cost as much as oil.”
Are you kidding me? The man isn't an economist, an environmental pro, or an energy expert. He sells plants. Incidentally, the City of Houston charges less than 3/10 of a cent for a gallon of clean drinking water. I don't know what makes this guy think oil prices are going to surge 35,500% “pretty soon.”

Permalink | Poor Chron Journalism

September 04, 2004, 12:13 PM

Putin vows to fight:

By Terry Bohannon

After Russia has faced one of its most heinous terrorist attacks in North Ossetia, Vladimir Putin vows to fight back. Putin said, “This is not just a challenge to the president, or to the parliament, but the whole of Russia. It is an attack on the whole country,” as The Scotsman reports. Like 9/11 was to America, this massacre may be that event that pivots Russian diplomacy to fight a war against terrorist. Whether Putin or the State Duma and the Federation Council (about) will take this fight beyond Chechenia, only time will tell. It is possible, though, that Russia will more strongly come to America's side since, as WorldNetDaily reports, “it is becoming apparent that the operation closely followed the terror roadmap laid out in issue 10 of Al Battar, al-Qaida's online training manual.” Russia might come to believe that stopping terrorists abroad, such as those residing in Iraq and Pakistan, will greatly help their efforts to stop the terrorist in Chechenia and Ingushetia, so that another school massacre or terrorist attack will be prevented.

Permalink | News and Views

September 04, 2004, 06:46 AM

Kerry Weighs In On Chechen School Massacre

By Matt Forge

Ohio (CB satire) - After viewing this slideshow of the tragic Chechen terrorist school standoff, Democratic Presidential hopeful John Forbes Kerry renewed his call for a more sensitive war on terror. The campaigning politician broke from his busy schedule and placed a call directly to Vladimir Putin. Kerry asked the Russian President to piece together an “Education Campaign” that would, with a series of public service announcements using popular celebrities, enlighten the murderers as to what they were doing wrong and inform them why the world community disagreed with their actions. He also told Putin that he was going to personally urge the UN to, with France at the helm, pass one or more resolutions denouncing the barbaric act and have economic sanctions levied against the Islamic terrorists if the Education Campaign didn't quite work out. Putin thanked the Democrat for his bold and decisive leadership, and for going above and beyond the call of diplomatic duty. Kerry welcomed him. (The above story, though based on actual events, is satire or parody. It is meant for entertainment only and is NOT true.)

Permalink | Humor

September 04, 2004, 06:34 AM

Fun With Protesters: Convention Day 4

By Matt Forge

The final day of the Republican convention has come and gone. President Bush has returned to the campaign trail, Delegates and protesters returned to where they came from, and New Yorkers are trying to return to life as normal (whatever that may be). But everyone agrees that it was the political demonstrators who left their mark on the city…

It was only a matter of time...

The Democratic base?...

I can't think of anything more violent than abortion...

Winning hearts, winning minds (example #1)...

Winning hearts, winning minds (example #2)...

Winning hearts, winning minds (example #3)...

Winning hearts, winning minds (example #4)...

Winning hearts, winning minds (example #5)...

It is so cool to give the peace sign, man...

It's a well-known fact that George Bush has actually stollen money from the AIDS research coffer, much less donated money to it (especially in Africa)...

I thought truth was relative...

Celebrity Catch: Kid from That 70s Show...

CURE AIDS: Make Pop Tarts Tastier / CURE AIDS: Stop Chapped Lips / CURE AIDS: Put Your Own Slogan Here...

New Black Panthers now on the scene...

New Black Panthers redirected to another scene...

I liked it better in 2000 when Jesse Jackson yelled, "Stay out da Bushes! Stay out da Bushes!"...

Vietnam fallen finally get their respects from the left (yeah, right)...

Make your own caption...

Outkast member defending outcasts (Isn't he dressed nice?)...

Now THIS is original - very creative...

Where are the anti-capitalists when you need them?...

They sure do cling to religion when it suits their needs...

We'll see come Election Day...

You bet - if we need them to defend America...

Hey, have you seen the actions of your fellow protesters and democrat leaders? Your sign is a joke, right?...

Unless it's for your candidate trying to fault the President...

Yeah, here's a liberal uniter...

So, would you have us go in and take care of business, or just pass another useless resolution...

Or maybe just stop the U.S. altogether?...

We're glad you finally came to your senses...

Is your anti-American antics about to make YOU puke as well...

Another Democratic uniter...

Dude, you've got the sign backwards. Turn it around, quick. Oh crap, too late...

Now what you do is touch these to the corners of the flag. That way it catches fire quickly...

Protest Warriors mixing it up again...

Got Originality?...

She's making a real difference in the world. She should be proud of that...

Pest control at the convention...

Is the "pink slip" thing getting old by now?...

Are you even old enough to vote?...

Holy willikers, Batman! The Joker's henchmen are headed our way...

Could you sing an Anti-Bush Christmas carol for us?...

It's Protestapalooza!...

Permalink | Humor

September 03, 2004, 09:30 AM

Today's Features

By Mona Lugay

Make sure you view our Features section for daily commentary on entertainment “wonders and blunders,” the sports world's best and worst shots, local high school sports updates, the great outdoors, a little miscellaneous humor and much more. Matt Malatesta discusses his new book and let's hear it for Saint Thomas Episcopal High School's Scottish Pipe Band - Number One in the World.

Permalink | Miscellaneous

September 03, 2004, 08:45 AM

Kerry attacks Cheney over draft deferments

By Owen Courrèges

Kerry is once again attempting to use his Vietnam War record to shield himself from criticism over his policies on national security. This time he's bringing up the issue of Cheney's deferments:
Democrat John Kerry hit back at Dick Cheney on Thursday by raising the Republican's failure to serve in the Vietnam War and asking voters to weigh his two tours of duty against the vice president's five deferments. [...] “We all saw the anger and distortion of the Republican Convention,” Kerry said. “The vice president even called me unfit for office last night. I guess I'll leave it up to the voters whether five deferments makes someone more qualified to defend this nation than two tours of duty.”
Need I mention that Kerry himself sought an educational deferment, and was turned down? Apparently I do:
Senator John Kerry, the presumed Democratic presidential candidate who is trading on his Vietnam war record to campaign against President George W Bush, tried to defer his military service for a year, according to a newly rediscovered article in a Harvard University newspaper. He wrote to his local recruitment board seeking permission to spend a further 12 months studying in Paris, after completing his degree course at Yale University in the mid-1960s.
Kerry only 'volunteered' after his deferment was rejected. Cheney never 'volunteered' because his deferments were all accepted. That doesn't place Kerry in a better moral position than Cheney; when push came to shove, both of them didn't want to serve. Besides, Kerry is still suffering from the tired delusion that his Vietnam record has the slightest thing to do with his qualifications for the presidency. Cheney's background as secretary of defense is relevant; whether or not he served two tours in Vietnam is not. Likewise, Kerry should either fall back on his record in the senate, or just keep quiet altogether.

Permalink | News and Views

September 03, 2004, 08:14 AM

Frances takes aim

By Terry Bohannon

Florida needs our prayers again as another hurricane takes aim at the state.
Hurricane Frances, a view from space
Fortunately, some Houstonians are already on their way to help, according to a news report by KHOU:
Red Cross volunteers and crews from CenterPoint Energy are preparing to head east. Red Cross volunteer Gary Hightower left Thursday morning in an emergency response vehicle. He will be responsible for a storm staging area in Atlanta. From there, volunteers will help distribute and administer help to disaster victims. About 140 repair crews from CenterPoint Energy will leave Houston Sunday, en route to Florida. The workers will primarily help restore power to customers. CenterPoint crews also helped in the aftermath of Hurricane Charley.

Permalink | Miscellaneous

September 03, 2004, 07:45 AM

Bush delivers a rousing convention address

By Owen Courrèges

In his convention address yesterday, President Bush mounted a defense of his administration's record, particularly the war on terrorism:
President George W. Bush has vigorously defended the invasion of Iraq and his leadership in the war on terror, promising to create a safer world and vowing “I will never relent in defending America — whatever it takes.” “We are staying on the offensive — striking terrorists abroad — so we do not have to face them here at home,” Bush said on Thursday in accepting the Republican nomination for another term in the White House. “We will build a safer world and a more hopeful America — and nothing will hold us back,” he said.
Kerry, conversely, has promised to kowtow to Paris and inspire despair and fear in the American people. He hopes that his passive policy of “hoping the terrorists don't destroy us” will subvert terrorism worldwide. Well, not really, but we can read between the lines, can't we?

Permalink | News and Views

September 02, 2004, 02:50 PM

Kerry's speech

By Terry Bohannon

In a speech yesterday that hasn't captured wide public attention, John Kerry said what he would have done differently in the War on Terror:
KERRY: I would have relied on American troops in Tora Bora when we had Bin Laden in our sights. I never would have diverted resources so quickly from Afghanistan before finishing the job. I would’ve given the inspectors the time they needed to do the job. I wouldn’t have ignored my senior military advisors. I would’ve made sure that every soldier put in harm’s way had the equipment and body armor they needed. I would have built a strong, broad coalition of our allies around the world.
To begin with, it's highly unlikely that Kerry would have acted so strongly against the Taliban as President Bush did on September 20, 2001 in a speech before congress and the American people:
THE PRESIDENT: And tonight, the United States of America makes the following demands on the Taliban: Deliver to United States authorities all the leaders of al Qaeda who hide in your land. (Applause.) Release all foreign nationals, including American citizens, you have unjustly imprisoned. Protect foreign journalists, diplomats and aid workers in your country. Close immediately and permanently every terrorist training camp in Afghanistan, and hand over every terrorist, and every person in their support structure, to appropriate authorities. (Applause.) Give the United States full access to terrorist training camps, so we can make sure they are no longer operating. These demands are not open to negotiation or discussion. (Applause.) The Taliban must act, and act immediately. They will hand over the terrorists, or they will share in their fate.
President Bush, after giving this speech, followed through on his demands and dismantled the Taliban's regime: something Kerry would have a hard time doing as he acts within the U.N.'s control. Kerry's third point, that “I wouldn’t have ignored my senior military advisors”, is quite illogical. In a presidential cabinet and with the various advisors a president brings in, there will always be disagreement in how the president should shape America's foreign policy. It is a part of the President's job to sort through differing and even opposing opinions to then decide what will happen. And since Kerry would let “Paris decide when America needs defending”, as Zell Miller so eloquently pointed out, he may very well be so indecisive that he would try to appease all of his advisors as well, even those with opposite plans. It is Kerry's second point, however, that's the most telling. Kerry says that he “would’ve given the inspectors the time they needed to do the job,” and he's right. He would have given them all the time they need, as Bill Clinton did. Bill Clinton addressed the nation on Dec. 16, 1998, and said:
Earlier today, I ordered America's armed forces to strike military and security targets in Iraq. They are joined by British forces. Their mission is to attack Iraq's nuclear, chemical and biological weapons programs and its military capacity to threaten its neighbors.
Yet after we lobbed these few bombs at Iraq, Saddam remained in power and remained a threat. What more could the inspectors do? Like Clinton, Kerry will do little to truly protect our country if he becomes president. Even if he were to make a statement like the one Clinton made in that speech, that “The international community had little doubt [after Desert Storm], and I have no doubt today, that left unchecked, Saddam Hussein will use these terrible weapons again,” Kerry would not have held Saddam accountable, and it's highly unlikely that he would have held the Taliban accountable as well. In this post-9/11 age with the heightened concern for national security, it's unlikely that Nov. 2 will be as close of an election as 2000 was. Kerry is losing ground on national security. Blank claims like those he gave in yesterday's speech will not turn the hearts and minds of voters who see President Bush as a strong and decisive leader.

Permalink | News and Views

September 02, 2004, 07:45 AM

New York Times repeats Kerry's talking points

By Owen Courrèges

Bruce Bartlett has the scoop on the New York Times, which recently published an article regurgitating Sen. Kerry's spiel regarding the supposedly dwindling middle class. His analysis is spot on:
On Aug. 28, Mr. [Timothy] Egan published an article in the [New York] Times titled, “Economic squeeze plaguing middle-class families.” I know reporters don't write the headlines, but in this case it accurately describes the article's content. Unfortunately, the content is deeply flawed. Indeed, it is doubtful John Kerry's campaign staff would have written it much differently.
The article's central point is that recently released Census Bureau data show the middle class disappearing. The key data are presented in a chart accompanying the article, headed, “A shrinking middle class.” This chart shows the percentage of those households with incomes between $25,000 and $75,000 has fallen from 51.9 percent in 1980 to 44.9 percent in 2003. The clear implication is the middle class has suffered under Republican policies — why else start in 1980, the year Ronald Reagan was elected? If the chart had started in 1992, the year Bill Clinton was elected, it would have shown the exact same trend. In 1992, earners of between $25,000 and $75,000 were 47.9 percent of all households. By 2000, this fell to 46.1 percent. I don't remember the Times calling attention to it. The reason is quite simple: This is actually good news, not bad news, as the Times report strongly implies. First, it is important to know the data in the Times story are adjusted for inflation. This is mentioned in a footnote to the chart, but nowhere else in the article. It might be useful to know those with an income of $11,825 in 1980 now make $25,000, or that an income of $75,000 last year is the same as an income of $35,475 in 1980. In other words, the data take account of increased prices on everything from gasoline to college tuition. Yet the article implies costs for these things have increased without a concomitant rise in household income. The effect is to make middle-class families appear worse off, when in fact most are far better off than in 1980. The article's most egregious error is the clear implication the percentage of those defined as the “middle class” has fallen because many of those who once were considered middle class have become poor. This is totally untrue. In fact, the ranks of the poor have fallen along with those of the middle class. Using the Times' characterization of any household with an income below $25,000 in 2003 as being poor, what do the data show? We see this group fell from 33.1 percent of the population in 1980 to 29 percent in 2002. Looking at the data from the other end, we see the percentage of those making more than $75,000 has risen from 14.9 percent of the population in 1980 to 26.1 percent in 2003. In other words, the ranks of the poor and middle class have shrunk for one reason only — more of them are rich. How can it not be a good thing for society that fewer people now make low incomes and more make high incomes?
How indeed... But then again, do truth and logic really factor in when you're a part of the liberal media?

Permalink | Media Watch

September 02, 2004, 07:30 AM

Today's Features

By Mona Lugay

Make sure you view our Features section for daily commentary on entertainment “wonders and blunders,” the sports world's best and worst shots, local high school sports updates, the great outdoors, a little miscellaneous humor and much more. Read the latest from Dick Morris and Michael Reagan. Tom Puffer, a guest writer, explains his theory on “Why They Think We're Stupid” and Jeremy Weidenhof amazingly rides the rail without any accidents.

Permalink | Miscellaneous

September 02, 2004, 07:00 AM

Never Forget, Never Again

By Mona Lugay

In response to the Never Forget, Never Again video banner please submit all inquiries concerning the video to neverforgetneveragain@hotmail.com Thank You

Permalink | Miscellaneous

September 02, 2004, 06:43 AM

Sen. Miller's Speech

By Rob Booth

That speech was probably going to be the big news from last night before he even gave it. It might just end up being the big news from the whole convention or even from the whole campaign. Here's some reaction from around the web: 1. Julie Mason makes this statement:
Beyond the merely novel cachet of an irate Democrat keynoting a Republican convention, the political figure known as “Zig-Zag Zell” by his detractors served up enough red meat to satisfy the most partisan Republican carnivore.
According to a Frank Luntz focus group that appeared on Hardball, it worked with other groups too.
FRANK LUNTZ, POLLSTER: Chris, it‘s been a very interesting reaction. Even though the focus of tonight was supposed to be Dick Cheney, actually, it was Senator Miller who had an even more favorable reaction from them. In fact, let‘s do a show of hands. How many of you thought that Zell Miller‘s speech was stronger than Dick Cheney‘s? LUNTZ: I want you to give me a word or phrase to describer Zell Miller‘s speech. Kim (ph). UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Fantastic. Very upbeat. UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Energetic. UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Surprising. UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Focused on the family. UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Powerful, but one-sided.
2. Arizona Republic: Cheney and Miller deliver 1-2 punch
The one-two punch of Cheney and Miller, analysts said, was intended to pump up the president's commander-in-chief standing with two distinct groups of voters while taking jabs at Kerry. Cheney's message was to appeal to the established base of the party; Miller's to undecided moderates or independents. In occasionally harsh tones, Miller accused his own party of caring more about partisan politics than national security. He then lumped Kerry in with fellow Massachusetts Sen. Edward Kennedy for having, he said, repeatedly cast votes opposing defense-weapons projects.
3. AP via Miami Herald: Zell Miller, then and now
Georgia Sen. Zell Miller, keynote speaker at this year's Republican National Convention, also was the keynote speaker at the 1992 Democratic National Convention. Here's a look at some of the remarks he made 12 years ago and his statements Wednesday.
4. CBS News: Text Of Zell Miller's RNC Speech
(AP) Below is the text of Sen. Zell Miller's keynote speech as prepared for delivery at the Republican National Convention: Since I last stood in this spot, a whole new generation of the Miller Family has been born: Four great grandchildren.
5. Washington Dispatch: Chris Mathews Taken to the Woodshed by Zell Miller
In one of the most classic TV scenes I’ve seen in a while, the democrat’s newest shill Chris Mathews got his comeuppance from a veteran Democrat from the South. The blue blood northeastern liberal Mathews was given a stark lesson in Southern discipline by a very angry Zell Miller.
Although, he does get his name wrong. 6. Chris Matthews reacts to Sen. Miller's comments on Hardball: Link

Permalink | News and Views

September 02, 2004, 06:00 AM

Why the President will win big in November

By Dan Patrick

Put your partisanship aside for a moment. I want you to consider Zell Miller's speech last night, not as a diehard republican or democrat, but rather as an open minded American voter trying to decide on which candidate would best lead our country for the next four years. The pollsters tell us there are actually undecided open- minded voters who have not yet made up their minds. Their numbers are small, but they could decide the winner of this election. With about 60 days left until the election, the pollsters say about 18 percent of voters are still undecided. However, more than half of those voters are leaning towards one candidate or the other. That leaves about eight to nine percent of the voting public still unsure of whom to vote for in November. According to the exit polls from the last presidential election in 2000 about one third of voters described themselves as republicans, another third, democrats and the last third, independent. Now that we have established that you are an independent for the moment and qualified the block of voters you represent, lets add more factors. You and the other open-minded voters saw Democrat Senator Zell Miller speak last night. Here is my question to you and all of the undecided voters. After hearing Miller list, in great detail, the 20 year, anti-military voting record of Senator John Kerry, how could you or any undecided voter possibly consider voting for Kerry? We are at war. Our enemy thinks nothing of cutting off the heads of innocent people. On 9-11 they killed thousands of our citizens. They slaughter their own countrymen and this very morning, hold hundreds of children and adults hostage at a school in Russia, threatening to kill all of them. Our enemies would slit the throat of every American, Christian and Jew if they could. They would detonate a nuclear device killing hundreds of thousands of Americans if they had the chance. In a world that is so frightening and dangerous how could any rational thinking American elect a man to lead our war against these dark age barbarians who has proven over 20 years that he hates the very idea of American military power. As Miller laid out, last night in his speech, Kerry has voted against every weapon system that has crossed his desk. He voted against the first Gulf War, he voted time and time again to cut our intelligence budgets and even now in our current war, voted for the war, but against funding it and giving our soldiers the tools they needed to protect their lives and win the fight. A truly open minded person would not subject our soldiers to having Kerry as their supreme commander. He has shown a personal distain for soldiers. His comments about our soldiers when he returned from Vietnam bordered on treason. What would be the morale of our troops under Kerry? Newt Gingrich reported yesterday on Fox News that Kerry had three secret meetings with communist leaders in Paris when he returned home from Vietnam. If indeed this can be proven, this would be a punishable offense. At the time Kerry was still on active duty with the Navy and was prohibited from meeting our enemies. No open-minded rational human being, no matter their concerns about our current President, could possibly hand over our safety, security and armed forces to such a man. In fact, I don’t know how any honest, clear-thinking, democrat could support such a man. After all, democrats have families too. Democrats don’t want to be killed by terrorists either. Only the dumbest, most naive, most partisan democrat could vote for Kerry. From the very beginning of this race I have believed the President would win and win by a much larger margin than most think possible. I have believed this because I knew at some point all Americans would know the Kerry record. Zell Miller’s detailed account of Kerry’s anti military record last night was news to many. In the end, Americans will make the right decision and return the President to office for four more years. As Zell Miller said last night, his family is more important than his party. Americans will also make that decision. You may now return to being a partisan for your favorite party.

Permalink | News and Views

September 02, 2004, 02:17 AM

Chron admits error, reprints DA letter after butchering original

By Phil Magness

As reported yesterday by Chronically Biased, the Chronicle recently ran an edited letter by Harris County District Attorney Chuck Rosenthal in which they omitted a key part of his argument. Today's viewpoints page finally fesses up to the butchery committed upon Mr. Rosenthal's letter. From the website edition:
EDITOR'S NOTE: The Chronicle is re-running this letter to the editor from Harris County District Attorney Charles Rosenthal. Inappropriate editing of the version printed in Wednesday's Chronicle undercut Rosenthal's defense of his actions in the case.
Jeff Cohen must've realized, for once, that people take notice when his paper engages in shoddy journalism and people don't like to be misrepresented by its equally shoddy editing jobs. Sadly, that simple concession, which could easily apply to any number of the same paper's articles on any given day, took a major case of blatantly fraudulent editing to arise. Keep holding their feet to the fire though as this is a sure sign that it's working.

Permalink | Poor Chron Journalism

September 01, 2004, 09:50 PM

CSI: New York

By Matt Forge

Yesterday the Drudge Report posted some pics of liberal radio talk-show host Al Franken angrily violating the personal space of Laura Ingraham's producer. What on earth could make such a compassionate, calm, cool and collected progressive, such as Franken, lose his temper like that? Surely it would take more than being a Democrat having to suffer through the enemy's convention. Yes it was. Thanks to my eagle eye, sophisticated crime-scene photo analysis equipment and psychic abilities, I've uncovered some clues that shed some light on his breakdown. Was it a right-wing conspiracy? You be the judge... Read the posts below that correlate with each lettered red bullet in the image.
(A) These are not Al's glasses. Somebody switched them with some coke-bottle thick spectacles with magnification power rivaling that of the Hubble Space Telescope. Here is what he's really been seeing all week at the convention...
(B) Someone redirected Laura Ingraham's show feed into his headphones. (C) Assistant bribed to stick his hand into Franken's armpit. (D) Lanyard switched with one that has “Air-Heads” printed on it (an obvious sarcastic reference to Air America's listeners; similar to Limbaugh's “Ditto-Heads”) (E) Tie replaced with one that has an intricate “W” pattern stitched into it. (F) Official Press badge has name misspelled as “Alf Ranken”. (G) Very conservative-looking guy paid to follow Al around yet instructed to ignore him - just for annoyance. (H) Someone slipped peanuts into his Diet Coke. (I) Assistant paid extra to keep it in a good long time. (J) Computer used to hack into Air America's website and redirect viewers to President Bush's campaign donation page. (K) Everyone should NOT drink this crappy American water, but only Perrier like he does (a real pet peeve of his). (L) Photo frame has picture of Al Gore in his post-election “beard phase”. (M) This microphone spliced into Franken's show, with someone interrupting him at various points pretending to be the host and calling for Newt Gingrich to be nominated. (N) His microphone, unlike this one, was reengineered to give him a creepy alien voice. (O) Never stare directly into the camera - it only makes you look guilty. So there you have it. All of this would have pushed Gandhi or even Mother Teresa over the edge, so it's perfectly understandable that Alf would vent a little steam. Let's not be too hard on him. As for the right-wing conspiracy theory - I'm still undecided.

Permalink | Humor

September 01, 2004, 09:24 PM

Fun with Protesters: Convention Day 3

By Matt Forge

Today set the standard and raised the bar as far as protestin’ and civil disobedience is concerned. Not only do we have quality but we also have quantity – and lots of it. These guys are really making my job easy. So without any further delay, put on your helmet, zip up your contamination suit and pull down your see-through face shield. They’re just through these doors to your left…

Libs, upon viewing powerful Republican convention, send Kerry a message...

Another casualty of the "peaceful" protests...

Make peace signs, not actual peace...

Peace Litter...

The protester chow line (Mmmm, yummy)...

The height of laziness...

Liberal finagles a free drink of water...

Shout all you want you're still goin' to the pokey...

Ditto...

Yet another handy use for plastic...

You're going to be working overtime, dude...

Let me help you with your backpack, sir...

Nap time at the rally...

Cash fan protesters: A burning ring of fire...

Officer helps peace activist become even more peaceful...

No, sir, this wristband will NOT get you back into the club...

Hey, look there! That cloud looks like a tofu-burger...

Nabbed: The crazy train conductor...

These people have never worked so hard in their life...

Hey, I'm gonna need someone to feed Pickles, my cat...

Protesters or prostitutes? You make the call...

Civil libertarians for censorship...

Open-minded, tolerant, multi-culturally sensitive persons...

Man, I'm getting way too old for this...

Which is freakier - the Hannity mask or the woman?...

She always wanted to be Lisa Simpson...

More of the full taunty...

I never thought it would get this ugly - they've hired mimes!...

Hey, who turned out the lights?...

Honestly, I'm a member of Red Cross - just ask them...

Fashion police nab a ringleader...

It's like a rave, only with their hands tied behind their backs and no music...

"Shut up" is the first thing you learn to say in 'Debate' class...

Utterly pathetic...

I ain't afraid of you, copper...

Like, um, what-ev-er...

Here sir, let me help you get comfortable...

Tolerating diversity (example #1)...

Tolerating diversity (example #2)...

Tolerating diversity (example #3)...

It's a protest. It's a street party. Whatever...

Weee! Swing me again, officers...

Welcome to the Land of Make Believe...

Celebrity Catch: Sinead OConnor

Celebrity Catch: Howard Stern

This ain't as fun as I thought...

Dude, that's my best tee...

You --> Jail...

Man or woman? You make the call...

Liberal Diplomacy: Interrupting the convention (example #1)...

Liberal Diplomacy: (example #2)...

Liberal Diplomacy: (example #3)...

Liberal Diplomacy: (example #4)...

Liberal Diplomacy: (example #5)...

Liberal Diplomacy: (example #6)...

Liberal Diplomacy: (example #7)...

Honor, Respect and Reverence for Old Glory...

High-school zombies get into the act...

Way to go, comrades! We're behind you all the way!...

President Bush caused my tooth-gap...

Kerry makes an appearance...

Wouldn't abortion be considered a war on "labor"?...

Permalink | Humor

September 01, 2004, 06:58 PM

Lewis: Olympics are sexist

By Matt Bramanti

Left-wing Berkeley talk show host Andrea Lewis gets all bent out of shape in today's Chronicle. Why? Because the women's volleyball players wore bikinis:
During the last two weeks, we've watched female competitors come from all over the globe, each with her own distinct face and highly trained mind and body, each with her own unique story of pursued dreams and accomplishments. While much has changed about women's athletic competition, some sexist ideals remain the same. Take women's beach volleyball. Dallas Cowboy cheerleaders on the sidelines of an NFL game is one thing, but dancing girls in bikinis at an Olympic venue? That was what was going on during timeouts on the beach volleyball court as Misty May and Kerri Walsh pursued their gold medals. Worse, the female athletes in that sport were required (by the sport's governing federation) to wear ridiculously skimpy bikinis during the competition.
There are a few reasons she could be so upset. 1. Ignorance. The ladies didn't have to wear bikinis. The Russian team, for example, wore skimpy shorts, but they weren't bikinis. And the tops were modest. (Editor's note: It's been pointed out by a helpful reader that the image is actually a photograph of the Russian volleyball team, not the beach volleyball team. ChronicallyBiased.com regrets the error.) 2. Jealousy. Perhaps Ms. Lewis wishes she could fill out a volleyball uniform as well as an Olympian. 3. Nothing better to do. Ms. Lewis has made a cottage industry about putting a liberal agenda into sports, as you can see here, here, here, here, and here. Personally, my money's on #2. But I'll let y'all decide.

Permalink | Media Watch

September 01, 2004, 02:41 PM

RNC protestors become even more violent

By Owen Courrèges

Can you believe this? Now the protestors are attacking attendees of the Republican National Convention on the floor itself. These wackos are completely out of control:
Anti-war demonstrators disrupted a Republican youth gathering on the floor of the party convention Wednesday, shortly after President Bush's twin daughters left the stage. Jenna and Barbara Bush introduced White House chief of staff Andrew Card. As he began speaking, 10 protesters sitting in the crowd jumped up, blew whistles and began to chant, “Bush kills.” They also removed sweat shirts to reveal T-shirts reading “Bush Drop Global Debt Now.” Card tried to continue speaking, but was drowned out and stopped as young participants in the morning event scuffled with the demonstrators. Police moved in to remove the protesters, including a young woman hoisted out by two officers — one at her shoulders and one at her knees. At least one delegate was slightly injured. Suhr Daniel, 20, of Milwaukee, said he was punched in the head by a protester. He had a cut near his temple and the side of his face was reddened.
I'd like to reiterate what I said before: tear gas and billy clubs are the answer here. These are not peaceful protestors. They are violent fanatics from the political fringes, and they should not be allowed to disrupt the convention.

Permalink | News and Views

September 01, 2004, 12:14 PM

Harris County District Attorney Chuck Rosenthal

By Rob Booth

Mr. Rosenthal e-mailed Chronically Biased today to let us know that he wasn't happy with the way the Houston Chronicle edited his letter to their Viewpoints section. Here is the version he sent them:
Viewpoints In its August 25 editorial “Unmoved by Injustice,” the Chronicle characterizes the prosecution of George Rodriguez as a “probable miscarriage of justice” and criticizes my attitude towards Mr. Rodriguez's claims of innocence. The Chronicle has drawn a premature conclusion that is inaccurate and unfair. Injustice, whether to the victim of a crime or to anyone wrongfully convicted, is intolerable to me. The stakes in this controversy are very high. If Mr. Rodriguez is innocent, he needs to be released as soon as possible. If Mr. Rodriguez committed the sexual assault for which a jury convicted him, however, my acquiescence to his attorneys' appeals could result in a very dangerous person being released into this community. There are facts about the George Rodriguez case that are indisputable. A fourteen-year-old girl was completely disrobed and sexually assaulted by two men. That girl identified Mr. Rodriguez at his trial as one of the men who assaulted her. Testimony concerning Rodriguez’s alibi was also presented at his trial. That girl, now a woman, still believes that she correctly identified Rodriguez. There is a recent DNA analysis of a hair that was found on the victim’s underclothing. The analysis shows that Isidro Yanez or, a male or female relative of his, contributed the hair. The room in which the assault took place had not been cleaned in some time so it is impossible to determine when the hair in question was shed. A serology test conducted by HPD on the samples from a rape kit and the girl’s clothing eliminated Mr. Yanez as a contributor to the samples. The question now is to determine whether HPD’s test was done correctly. As I told Chronicle columnist Rick Casey in an August 24 e-mail, “since we do not have all the data in, it [the accuracy of the HPD test] is still speculative to me.” My staff is carefully reviewing all of the evidence and will recommend a course of action consistent with our duty to see that justice is done. To move precipitously in a matter of such importance would be irresponsible to Mr. Rodriguez, the victim of the sexual assault, and our community. Rather than try this case in the media, I believe that all of the evidence should be presented to a judge who will then make findings for the Court of Criminal Appeals. At that time, justice will be done in Mr. Rodriguez's case. Charles A. Rosenthal, Jr. Harris County District Attorney 1201 Franklin, Suite 600 Houston, Texas 77002
Here's the version the Chronicle printed:
DA reiterates position on justice THE Chronicle's Aug. 25 editorial, “Unmoved by injustice,” characterized the prosecution of George Rodriguez as a “probable miscarriage of justice” and criticized my attitude toward Rodriguez's claim of innocence. The Chronicle drew a premature conclusion that was inaccurate and unfair. Injustice, whether to the victim of a crime or to anyone wrongfully convicted, is intolerable to me. The stakes in this controversy are very high. If Rodriguez is innocent, he needs to be released as soon as possible. If he committed the sexual assault for which a jury convicted him, my acquiescence to his attorneys' appeals could result in his being released back into the community. There are facts about the case that are indisputable. A 14-year-old girl was sexually assaulted by two men. At his trial, the girl identified Rodriguez as one of the men who assaulted her. That girl, now a woman, still believes that she correctly identified Rodriguez. There is recent DNA analysis that shows that Isidro Yanez or a male or female relative of his was involved in the assault. A serology test was conducted by the Houston Police Department on evidence from the case and the question now is to determine whether HPD's test was done correctly. As I told Chronicle columnist Rick Casey in my Aug. 24 e-mail, “Since we do not have all the data in, it (the accuracy of the HPD test) is still speculative to me.” My staff is carefully reviewing all of the evidence and will recommend a course of action consistent with our duty to see that justice is done. To move precipitously in a matter of such importance would be irresponsible. All of the evidence should be presented to a judge who will then make findings for the court. At that time, justice will be done in Rodriguez's case. CHARLES A. ROSENTHAL JR. Harris County District Attorney Houston
Look at the Chronicle's paragraph that begins with There is recent DNA analysis that shows that Isidro Yanez or a male or female relative of his was involved in the assault. Look at Mr. Rosenthal's version of that paragraph. Enough said.

Permalink | Chron Bias

September 01, 2004, 11:30 AM

Schwarzenegger: 'Don't be economic girlie men!"

By Owen Courrèges

Although I'm hardly his biggest fan, Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger can certainly give a speech, and he's definitely an unabashed defender of capitalism. Suffice to say, I was very impressed by his speech to the RNC:
There is another way you can tell you're a Republican. You have faith in free enterprise, faith in the resourcefulness of the American people ... and faith in the U.S. economy. To those critics who are so pessimistic about our economy, I say: “Don't be economic girlie men!” The U.S. economy remains the envy of the world. We have the highest economic growth of any of the world's major industrialized nations. Don't you remember the pessimism of 20 years ago when the critics said Japan and Germany were overtaking the U.S.? Ridiculous! Now they say India and China are overtaking us. Don't you believe it! We may hit a few bumps — but America always moves ahead! That's what Americans do!
Inspiring words...

Permalink | News and Views

September 01, 2004, 11:12 AM

Letters to the Editor

By Mona Lugay

Winning the WOT Winning the War on Terror is like Winning the War on Crime. Both are impossible to totally eradicate and that is what President Bush was saying. The best outcome is to manage it to a controllable level that does not disrupt civilized activities on the grand scale. If crime were to be reduced to .01% of its current level then one could say that Crime was defeated but that would be of little solace if you were the victim within the .01%. When the liberals can only define themselves by what they are against, then they will exploit, over dramatize and victimize the .01% (or whatever the percentage really is) to demonstrate the failure to achieve victory. Can we defeat terrorism, that depends on how you define victory. Can we minimize and marginize terrorism, you bet we can. How do you do that? You fight the terrorists while at the same time you lift the people up and give them the gift of freedom. I do not ascribe to the philosophy that certain people cannot handle freedom, that is defeatist, racist and repugnant. People need to be trained in how to deal with freedom but people can deal with and grow with freedom. I do not advocate that everyone take up the American Democratic Political model but to experiment with different forms so long as the goal and result are individual freedoms, religiously, civilly and economically. Thank you for the opportunity to express my views. Regards, Dennis Freed Rolling Downhill Who remembers the song by Merle Haggert that goes something like this . . . “Are the good times really over? We're rolling downhill like a snowball headed for hell, why don't we stand up for the flag and liberty bell?” Are we close to the end times like it says in the bible or are we going through this natural cycle where we go from hard times to times of wealth and well-being, only to go back to the hard times and poverty? One thing's for sure, we don't learn from past history, or that history always repeats itself. Remember the times when Americans stood together, united, fighting together, praying together and working together. Now, to the delight of our enemies, we fight each other. We can not survive this grave malady which has stricken us; NO WAY! If we don't begin to come together we will truly have HELL on EARTH. There are some questions here. Have we reached the point where we can no longer get along with each other and why have we become so intolerant of one another? Is it going to take a disaster of major proportions to reunite us and to bring many of us back to God, even the people who are right now mocking the Lord? You have heard it said before, Joseph Stalin, Adolf Hitler, Nikita Kruschiev and Emperor Hirohito were unable to inflict lasting harm on us, but we seem hell bent on destroying ourselves. What will happen when America is no longer strong? Will Germany rise up one more time to try and conquer the world? (Look out France!) Try to imagine the world without the Americans for the last two plus centuries and try to imagine the world without a strong America in the future. I doubt that the “HATE AMERICA FIRST” crowd would be very happy if all of a sudden UBL was in charge of their future . . . you think? What can we do? Well, whether it is predestined or not, we need to get our house in order with God and we need to start pulling together. If you don't believe in God then just get your house in order and start pulling. You’ll be all right. But just in case things get really nasty maybe you should keep an open mind, if you change your mind, and you may want to pray for God's help after all. Rolf Strauss

Permalink | Letters

September 01, 2004, 10:29 AM

Kerry in trouble...say Democrats

By Terry Bohannon

Early today, the CNN reported that Democratic leaders are “increasingly concerned that John Kerry's presidential campaign is adrift.” These Democrats see that Kerry “has failed to effectively respond to attacks from Republicans” and the Swift Boat ads. They suggest that he “make changes in his staff before” it's too late. If Kerry follows their recommendations, it won't be his first campaign shake-up. Last November, as Kerry was struggling in the primaries against Howard Dean, the Boston Globe wrote:
[Kerry's] replacement of manager Jim Jordan with longtime Democratic strategist Mary Beth Cahill signals far more than just a behind-the-scenes shake-up, several Kerry advisers said. By taking the personally painful step of ousting one of his most trusted lieutenants, Kerry is acknowledging that something has gone badly wrong with his campaign.
Even though the same could be said now if Kerry replaces his campaign staff, it's doubtful that such a shake-up will get negative coverage from the big media. If a candidate for president cannot get his message across and “has lost ground on . . . voter enthusiasm for his candidacy, his personal popularity and his ratings on such issues as education, the economy, Iraq and terrorism,” as Kerry has, perhaps the source of the problem is not with the staff, but who they're trying to get elected.

Permalink | News and Views

September 01, 2004, 09:58 AM

Chronvention Roundup

By Rob Booth

The Chronicle's conservatives are more positive in their coverage of the GOP convention today. They both stick mostly to the facts and less on opinion: Edward Anthony Gibbons
Tonight seemed an attempt by all the speakers to show inclusiveness in the party. For example, Elizabeth Dole is against the gay marriage issue, while former Mayor Rudy Guiliani and Vice President Dick Cheney are for it. Other speakers, including Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger also stressed that the Republicans allowed diversity in their candidates and the voters. The first Afro-American to become Lt. Governor of Maryland, Marvin Scott, an eloquent speaker, is also a Republican of diverse views.
George Edwards Jr.
The speakers tonight represented the softer side of the Republican Party. The lineup of Elizabeth Dole, George P. Bush, Michael Steele, Arnold Schwarzenegger and Laura Bush clearly represented an attempt by the party to appeal to the middle of the road voters. Compassionate conservatism was clearly on display.
Clay Robison tries to shame the national GOP by quoting the platform we Neanderthals passsed at the Texas GOP convention. Chronicle: Texas Republicans have own agenda for next four years
NEW YORK - Declarations that the United States is a “Christian nation,” that “American English” should be the country's official language and that the U.S. Department of Education should be abolished wouldn't play well with large numbers of American voters. You won't find those provisions in the platform, or statement of principles, that was crafted by the White House and formally adopted Monday by the Republican National Convention. But they are standard fare in the platform of the Texas Republican Party.
Rep. Ron Paul takes the opposite view and tries to shame the national GOP into being more like the Texas GOP. Texas Straight Talk (Ron Paul): A Texas Platform for the GOP
As the 2004 national GOP convention begins Monday, we should be prepared to hear a Republican agenda that sounds more like FDR or Woodrow Wilson than Barry Goldwater or Ronald Reagan. A party that once defined itself by the fundamental conservative principle that government power should be used sparingly and judiciously, now supports a program of bigger government at home, more militarism abroad, and less respect for constitutional freedoms. An examination of the Texas state GOP platform reveals just how far the national Republican party has strayed from true conservative principles and the ideal of limited constitutional government.
That's not in the Chronicle, but the contrast was interesting. Julie Mason, in a pretty balanced article, does manage to remind us that President Bush was not born in Texas:
“George and I grew up in West Texas, where the sky seems endless and so do the possibilities,” Laura Bush said. “He brings that optimism, that sense of promise, that certainty that a better day is before us to his job every day.” The president, born in New Haven, Conn., moved to Houston from Midland in 1959, the year he turned 13.
OK, well I was born in New Jersey and moved to Houston when I was 11. What's that got to do with anything? I grew up in Texas, and so did President Bush.

Permalink | Chron Bias

September 01, 2004, 09:10 AM

Today's Features

By Mona Lugay

Make sure you view our Features section for daily commentary on entertainment “wonders and blunders,” the sports world's best and worst shots, local high school sports updates, the great outdoors, a little miscellaneous humor and much more. Read the latest on what Dick Morris has to say about this year's presidential election and Barry Chambers talks about a real movie hero, Audie Murphy.

Permalink | Miscellaneous

September 01, 2004, 08:23 AM

New poll

By The Staff

We've got a new poll question: “Can the U.S. win the war on terror?” You can answer this question here. The results from our previous poll about Tom DeLay are here. As you're weighing the options, take a look at Owen's post about the President's remarks earlier this week. Let's see how optimistic everyone is in internet-land. Vote early and vote often!

Permalink | News and Views

September 01, 2004, 07:45 AM

Birthday sweets back in Texas schools

By Owen Courrèges

Common sense has won yet another victory in Texas public schools. An exception has been made for cakes and cupcakes to the state's anti-obesity rules when given in conjunction with a student's birthday (via KHOU.com):
Texas officials have decided not to blow out an old tradition: Birthday cakes and cupcakes can come back to school. After a month on the state's banned food list, sweet treats will once again be allowed in elementary schools for classmates to share during birthday celebrations – but not until after lunch. Officials at the Department of Agriculture said e-mails, calls and a story in The Dallas Morning News persuaded them to relax the new rules. “A lot of parent involvement is bringing their child cupcakes on the day of their birthday,” said Allen Spelce, spokesman for the agriculture department. “We didn't want to penalize the child in any way. That's the way this was perceived.” “It's a cupcake,” he said. “It's not going to happen, you know, every day. It's a special occasion.”
I wonder why nobody foresaw this issue and dealt with it beforehand... Oh, wait, now I remember. We're dealing with bureaucrats here. They can't foresee squat, and apply universal regulations to unique circumstances on a regular basis, as if they're immune to reality. Still, I'm glad that they finally came to their senses. These kids do deserve their cupcakes, after all.

Permalink | News and Views - Texas

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