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Wednesday, May 16, 2007

Well, They've Stepped In It Again

The Roanoke Times editorial team is seething with rage this morning and is breathing fire. Virginia Attorney General Bob McDonnell has chosen, according to the Times, for the worst of all reasons - politics! - to invade the privacy of millions of law-abiding Americans:

Lay off MySpace

Suppose you are an attorney general planning to run for governor in a few years. You're going to keep your name in the press as much as possible and jump on whatever overhyped cause grabs the public's attention. Case in point: Eight state attorneys general this week targeted the Web site MySpace.com for allegedly hoarding a list of known sex offenders.

The attorneys general, including Virginia's Bob McDonnell, believe MySpace has assembled a list of registered sex offenders who use the social networking site. In a letter Monday, the officials demanded that the company turn over information about those offenders and explain what it is doing to warn users and remove the profiles.

When did it become a private company's job to do law enforcement's work?

McDonnell and friends are, in some sense, doing their job, trying to protect vulnerable children. It's too bad headlines and press releases seem to control which children they choose to work hardest to protect. (link)
Wow. Bob McDonnell must feel really ashamed about now. Rotten bastard.

Oh, wait. One tiny little problem. Bob McDonnell didn't do what he's accused of here. The Times is as wrong as it could be.

From J. Tucker Martin, Director of Communications, Office of Virginia Attorney General Bob McDonnell, via email:

One problem. Bob McDonnell DID NOT sign this letter. In fact he expressly declined to sign, as he found this solution to be impossible, and that it did not represent the proper manner by which governments and the private sector should work together.

I am at a loss as to where the Roanoke Times editorial writers got the idea we signed this letter. They did not call here to ask us. And they must not have read the official release announcing the letter, which I have reprinted for you below. They also must not have checked the news reports:

(WVEC.com: "NC among 8 states asking MySpace.com for registered sex offender names")

That article is the basic AP, but WVEC was kind enough to contact me for comment as to why we declined to sign this letter. I appreciated their calling. [ouch]

There you have it. It appears The Roanoke Times ed board approved and ran a piece that is absolutely factually incorrect. I will be calling the paper shortly, but ..


AG Cooper seeks info about possible thousands of sex offenders on MySpace

AGs demand that MySpace turn over the names of convicted sex offenders the company knows are on its site

Raleigh: MySpace needs to turn over the names of potentially thousands of registered sex offenders the company has identified on its website, North Carolina Attorney General Roy Cooper said today.

Cooper and a group of other state attorneys general believe that data from Sentinel Tech Holdings, a company working with MySpace, indicate that thousands of known sex offenders may have been confirmed as MySpace members. In a letter sent today to MySpace, six state attorney generals asked the company to provide the names and states of all registered sex offenders with profiles on its social networking site.

“MySpace is a treasure trove of potential victims for child predators,” said North Carolina Attorney General Roy Cooper. “Sex offenders have no business being on this site, and we believe MySpace has a responsibility to get them off the site.”

Today’s letter requests that MySpace tell the attorneys general by May 29 how many registered sex offenders have been found on its site and what steps the company has taken to remove them from the site. In addition the letter asks MySpace to provide details on what it has done to alert other MySpace users who have communicated with these offenders, and also to alert law enforcement about these offenders.

Cooper and Connecticut Attorney General Richard Blumenthal are leading a group of attorneys general from 50 states and territories who have been pushing MySpace to do a better job protecting children from dangers on its site such as sexual predators and inappropriate content.

Correction: [In 2006 alone, the media reported almost 100 criminal incidents across the country involving adults who used MySpace to prey or attempt to prey on children.] In North Carolina, a former sheriff’s deputy was sentenced to 15 years in prison in 2006 for molesting a 15-year-old Cary boy he met on MySpace. In 2006, the NC State Bureau of Investigation arrested a Boiling Spring Lakes police officer for raping a 14-year-old girl he lured through MySpace.

Both North Carolina and Connecticut and a handful of other states are currently pushing legislation that would require social networking sites including MySpace to get parents’ permission before letting children join. Cooper is also pushing a measure that would make it a felony for convicted sex offenders to join social networking sites where children are members.

Today’s letter was signed by attorneys general from Connecticut, Georgia, Idaho, Mississippi, New Hampshire, North Carolina, Ohio and Pennsylvania. A copy of the letter is attached.

Noelle Talley
Public Information Officer
NC Department of Justice
(919) 716-6484

[my emphasis]

Mmm. Mmm. Mmm.

The phone lines must not be working between Richmond and Roanoke ...

Or the email server at the Times must be down ...

Or, with the postal rates having just increased, maybe they decided to save the newspaper money, and chose to not send a letter via snail mail to the attorney general to obtain verification ...

Or the Times editorialists are so blinded by hate that they trusted MoveOn.org for their information and chose to ignore our attorney general - their attorney general - when writing this stunning error-plagued rant.

With shades of the keystone kops atmosphere that was created with their release of the names of all those handgun concealed carry permit holders here in the commonwealth that got them in three kinds of trouble just a few weeks ago (and the resultant furious backpedaling), this should keep the boys over at the Times answering the phone and putting out corrections for a good length of time.

How embarrassing.


Take a quick look, folks. My guess is this editorial is soon to disappear to the recycle bin.

Update: Alton is on their case too: "It's odd that an editorial board that firmly believes that another law is all it takes to reduce gun violence would ridicule a common sense Attorney General such as we have in Virginia."

Should We Have a PLAN B?

The air traffic control tower over at Yeager Airport in Charleston found itself to be understaffed one day last week. So the FAA shut it down.

Say what?
Control tower closed briefly
By Paul J. Nyden, Charleston (WV) Gazette staff writer

The Federal Aviation Administration closed the air traffic control tower at Charleston’s Yeager Airport for about 90 minutes last week, because the tower did not have enough controllers to staff the evening shift at the 24-hour facility.

The radar tower was closed for about 90 minutes on Friday, between 8 p.m. and 9:30 p.m. (link)
Can you picture that Comair pilot coming in for a landing, calling the tower (at night, no less):

Hello? Hello? Anyone there? Hello?

Quote Of The Day

From Bernard Lewis:

From the writings and the speeches of Osama bin Laden and his colleagues, it is clear that [Osama's] task, dealing with America, would be comparatively simple and easy. This perception was certainly encouraged and so it seemed, confirmed by the American response to a whole series of attacks--on the World Trade Center in New York and on U.S. troops in Mogadishu in 1993, on the U.S. military office in Riyadh in 1995, on the American embassies in Kenya and Tanzania in 1998, on the USS Cole in Yemen in 2000--all of which evoked only angry words, sometimes accompanied by the dispatch of expensive missiles to remote and uninhabited places.

Stage One of the jihad was to drive the infidels from the lands of Islam; Stage Two--to bring the war into the enemy camp, and the attacks of 9/11 were clearly intended to be the opening salvo of this stage. The response to 9/11, so completely out of accord with previous American practice, came as a shock, and it is noteworthy that there has been no successful attack on American soil since then. The U.S. actions in Afghanistan and in Iraq indicated that there had been a major change in the U.S., and that some revision of their assessment, and of the policies based on that assessment, was

More recent developments, and notably the public discourse inside the U.S., are persuading increasing numbers of Islamist radicals that their first assessment was correct after all, and that they need only to press a little harder to achieve final victory. It is not yet clear whether they are right or wrong in this view. If they are right, the consequences--both for Islam and for America--will be deep, wide and lasting.

"Was Osama Right?" The Wall Street Journal, May 16, 2007

It's Beyond Their Ken

Ray McAllister, Richmond Times-Dispatch columnist, is all atwitter ("It's legal, but gun giveaway seems wrong") over the Virginia Citizens Defense League's effort to give two guns away in a raffle. Why? Well, it's hard to say.

He labels the League's effort to garner funds to offset legal bills being incurred by the owners of Virginia gun stores who find themselves having to fight New York Mayor Mike Bloomberg's jihad against legal gun transactions "a freak show" (how dare these freaks offer up 2 guns to be added to the 160,000,000 in circulation!) and because it "gives ammunition to the idea of gun control," which I'll bet he has sleepless nights over.

Anyway, read the column. It's a hoot.

We've Gotten Money Out Of Politics?

There were those of us who said at the time that John McCain had his head buried up his butt if he thought he could, through legislative fiat, separate money from politics. He didn't listen. McCain-Feingold is the result (I give Russ Feingold some slack here; he's generally detached from reality on an on-going basis).

After his law went into effect, McCain responded to criticism with this:

"I would hope that most people, no matter what their political persuasion, would recognize that we have eliminated one of the most corrupting influences here in our nation's capital, and that is the corrupting influence of soft money."

... we have eliminated the influence of soft money ...

John, say hi to Mike Bloomberg:

Three-party presidential freak show
By Tony Blankley, The Washington Times

I've got to give it to New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg — he does not suffer from low self-esteem. But then, as he owns a 68 percent share of the $20 billion to $30 billion, privately held, self-named Bloomberg L.P. firm, which yields more than a billion dollars of after-tax yearly income personally to him, why should he?

In the full flush of his flushness, the mayor of Gotham has announced that he probably will run as an independent for president of the United States — and is prepared to spend a billion dollars on the project. (link)

A billion dollars.

I'd have to run the numbers but Bloomberg may spend more money on his 2008 presidential campaign than all politicians have spent on all campaigns ever run - combined.

Meanwhile, Wisconsin Right-to-Life is battling for its life - at the Supreme Court level - with little cash on hand - over an ad that it ran in a local newspaper, having run afoul of McCain. Something about their "corrupting influence." That which we once euphemistically referred to as Freedom of Speech.

There is a "corrupting influence" in this mess all right. It is known as John McCain.

Jerry Falwell: RIP

An epitaph:

"An American who built and led a movement based on strong principles and strong faith has left us. He will be greatly missed, but the legacy of his important work will continue through his many ministries where he put his faith into action." Mitt Romney

The Intolerant, On Intolerance

Richmond Times-Dispatch columnist Michael Paul Williams, a man who routinely admonishes white America for its collective intolerance, attacks Jerry Falwell this morning for being intolerant, intolerantly.

A single quote will suffice. And it's all this scumbag deserves:

"Falwell's loved ones warrant our condolences. But a figure as cruelly polarizing as Falwell does not deserve a grace period."

Jerry Falwell died less than 24 hours ago.

I'd say that's about as intolerant as a civilized human being could possibly be ...

The Law Is A Joke

Millions of people broke our laws by entering the country illegally over recent decades. Millions. How are they to be punished?

Senators Report Progress on a Complicated Bill on Immigration
By Robert Pear, The New York Times

Washington, May 15 — With the new Congress poised to take its first vote on immigration, senators from both parties stepped up the pace of negotiations on Tuesday in hopes of cutting a deal on a comprehensive bill that would increase enforcement at the border and offer legal status to millions of undocumented workers.

The measure would alter the criteria for legal immigration, placing less emphasis on family ties and more on education and job skills needed by employers.

In addition, the federal government would have to create an elaborate electronic system that employers could use to verify whether job applicants were eligible to work in this country. To qualify for legal status, illegal immigrants would have to pay fines and back taxes and pass background checks. (link)
What a joke. Millions - m-i-l-l-i-o-n-s - of foreigners violated - openly and brazenly - the laws of the United States of America and we are going to tell them that all will be forgiven - and they will be rewarded - if they ... obey ... this new law.

(or else they'll suffer even greater rewards next time Congress decides to punish them).

How do I get in on some of this action?

Now That's Loyalty ...

Read this article in the Wall Street Journal about the bum rap that Paul Wolfowitz is getting from the Europeans at the World Bank over the "girlfriend" issue, and then join me in shaking our heads in disbelief (and disgust) over President Bush's acquiescence to the Europeans' outrageous demands that Wolfowitz be canned:
Bush Opens Door to Wolfowitz’s Resigning
By Steven R. Weisman, The New York Times

Washington, May 15 — The Bush administration, shifting strategy in the face of mounting opposition to Paul D. Wolfowitz, opened the door Tuesday to his resigning voluntarily as World Bank president if the bank board dropped its drive to declare him unfit to remain in office.

... bank officials said the board seemed determined on Tuesday evening to endorse the findings of a special committee that Mr. Wolfowitz broke bank rules, ethics and governance standards in arranging for, and concealing, a pay and promotion package for his companion, Shaha Ali Riza, in 2005. (link)
Now, hopefully, you are up to speed on this travesty and find it to be as shameful as I do.

Take it to the next level and read George Will's Washington Post article in which he makes a great case for disbanding the World Bank all together.

It - along with the United Nations - should be tossed on the scrap heap of history.

And Bush emboldens those who reap its rewards ...

They Don't Wish To Be Civilized

I often shake my head in disbelief when I hear some Democrat criticize President Bush - Obama did it the other day - for not doing enough to solve the Palestine problem.

Thing is, the Palestinians don't want to solve the Palestine problem:
Reality Overtakes the Illusion of Unity in Gaza
By Steven Erlanger, The New York Times

Jerusalem, May 15 — A third day of deadly clashes between Hamas and Fatah fighters suggests that the Palestinian unity government, put together under Saudi auspices at the end of March, is something of a fiction.

The continuing battle between Fatah and Hamas for power in Gaza also makes the likelihood of substantive peace talks between Israel and the Palestinians ever more distant.

The fighting on Tuesday, on the day in the Muslim calendar that Palestinians commemorate as the “nakba,” or “catastrophe” that overtook them after Israel’s independence, has been fed by continuing Hamas suspicion of American ... (link)
Bill Clinton devoted his life while in office to this issue and came away with squat for his efforts. As had every other president before him.

I think the Israelis have it right. Build a wall between yourself and these morons and arm yourself to the teeth.

Nothing is going to change, until the Palestinians want to change.