People who say it cannot be done should not interrupt those who are doing it. Welcome to From On High.

Saturday, March 29, 2008

'Jumpin' Ugly' Redux

I brought to your attention two weeks ago a story about an unfortunate incident that had taken place inside the Bristol Herald-Courier boardroom one day when a delegation from Wise County met with the editorial staff of the Bristol paper to discuss the merits of that coal-fired power plant that's going up in St. Paul and recriminations started flying. See Jumpin' Ugly.'...

"Accusations of plagiarism, threats of retaliation, hurt feelings ... "

"The meeting must have been a hoot."

Well, there's a follow-up to the story. If the original account was one-sided - coming from the Herald-Courier team, the other side is now revealed - by one of the attendees. It provides a whole different - and clarifying - perspective. From the Coalfield Progress, in a letter to the editor, Mark S. Wooten writes:
Bristol Editor's Attack Offensive

I must respond to [editorial board member Todd] Foster's scathing personal attacks against me and others in that meeting.

First, I most certainly was not looking to buy any favors from the editorial board or the Bristol paper. My remarks on withholding advertising by our company were simply to reiterate what any newspaper company already knows: They sell a product and any potential customer has the freedom to make choices of where they spend their money. Shoddy standards of journalism compromise credibility and that does not go unnoticed by readers and advertisers alike.

Second, our meeting was considered "on the record." We were not looking to hide our positions, far from it; we wanted them known. We wanted them to hear from us and even publish what we had to say.

But instead of fairly reporting both sides of this conversation, the decision-makers opted to simply react on the opinion page.

Indeed, while everyone is entitled to an opinion, Foster is aware that his opinion is published, circulated and carries with it the power and freedom of the press securely protected by the Constitution's First Amendment. His editorial commentary and opinions, therefore, ought to be exercised in a professional and responsible manner in keeping with the obvious power he possesses as managing editor of a widely circulated newspaper.

He has every right to disagree with me and others on the power plant, and to even yield the power of the press by publishing and circulating his editorial disagreement with our opinions, or even our expression of them.

What he has done, however, is breach the very duty of fairness he has as an editor and a member of the press; he has unfairly and improperly utilized the power and freedom of the press to wage an ugly personal attack against me, my company and Ron Flanary, a dedicated and highly respected public servant whose services to the region are immeasurable as executive director of Lenowisco Planning District Commission, past chairman of the Crooked Road and a board member of the Virginia Coalfield Economic Development Authority.

What he wrote, published and circulated in his March 16 opinion column exceeded the boundaries of fair comment. It was offensive, mean-spirited, vengeful, unprofessional and immature. It did not fully inform nor enlighten. It served no public interest at all, only his personal misguided self-interest. (link requires paid subscription)
I'm a bit dubious about that notion that newspaper editors are to play fair. It's been my experience that they simply act out of self-interest - like the rest of us. They just prefer to think their attitudes and actions are "fair." Had he known that going in, Mr. Wooten would then not have been surprised by the reaction he got from those at the Herald-Courier.

Still, he holds the upper hand in this ongoing battle. He has the power of the purse. Wooten has either threatened or suggested to the folks at the Herald-Courier that his company might withhold advertising dollars from the paper. I respectfully suggest that he do just that.

The paper has a formidable power at its disposal as well - that of the printed word. That power was deployed to its fullest in the scathing editorial. But that power exists only so long as the balance sheet allows it to exist (see "The newspaper industry has experienced the worst drop in advertising revenue in more than 50 years. ").

Ask the good people who work ... er, worked at the now-defunct New York Herald Tribune. The Boston Gazette. The Baltimore Morning Herald. The Omaha Bee. The Sacramento Union. The St. Louis Sun. The Washington Herald. The Washington Star ...

The Bristol Herald-Courier needs Mark S. Wooten more than Mark S. Wooten needs the HC.

Something worth remembering.

On a Wing & a Prayer

If I had a quarter for every time I heard someone telling us how great the tourism industry is going to be here in Southwest Virginia some day, I'd be able to go out and buy us an honest-to-God tourist.

Today's wishing well offering from the Bluefield Daily Telegraph:

Driving tours — Region getting renewed attention

We applaud Virginia’s role in the new Appalachian Driving Tours Map, and we hope the national attention can help to foster renewed tourism growth in Southwest Virginia.

We join [Governor Tim] Kaine in saluting and supporting Virginia’s robust tourism industry. We believe Southwest Virginia, as well as neighboring southern West Virginia, remains largely untapped in terms of the region’s vast tourism potential. We expect great potential from the local tourism traffic created by the Coal Heritage Trail, Virginia’s Crooked Road and the Wilderness Road.

The renewed national attention of our local driving tours is indeed exciting. By bringing more visitors to the region, the driving tours will help to facilitate renewed tourism growth in southern West Virginia and Southwest Virginia. (link)
I picture Snow White singing to a bluebird perched on the castle windowsill: "Some day my prince will come ..."

You folks at the Daily Telegraph would do well to investigate the following affliction, at the hands of which you obviously suffer -

Pollyannaism: The tendency toward being foolishly or blindly optimistic.

The Massacre That Wasn't

Time magazine's libelous (clearly libelous*) story about U.S. marines going berserk in Haditha, Iraq on November 19, 2005 and slaughtering dozens of innocent civilians in the process continues to crumble under the weight of factual evidence. The latest nail in the once-venerable publication's coffin:

Case Against U.S. Marine Is Dismissed
By Paul von Zielbauer, The New York Times

Camp Pendleton, Calif. — Hours before his court-martial was set to begin, all charges were dismissed Friday against one of two remaining enlisted marines involved in a combat action that killed 24 Iraqis in Haditha in 2005, the Marine Corps announced.

With little public explanation, a Marine general in charge of the prosecution dropped the charges against Lance Cpl. Stephen B. Tatum, who was among four enlisted marines originally charged with murder in the case.

The charges against him had been reduced to involuntary manslaughter, reckless endangerment and aggravated assault for what prosecutors said was his role in shooting a group of unarmed women and children. (link)

This story - what turns out to be a complete fabrication - about a massacre having occurred in Haditha was a lie from the day it came out of the mouths of an Iraqi with close ties to the Islamist insurgents and two "human rights" advocates with a grudge. For details on the unraveling of this shameful hoax, go to "Time Magazine Massacres the Truth."

Lest we forget, there is someone else who deserves to be shamed in this deplorable incident. Congressman Jack Murtha of Pennsylvania. You may remember his now-infamous quote:
"There was no firefight. There was no IED that killed those innocent people. Our troops overreacted because of the pressure on them, and they killed innocent civilians in cold blood."
I've written it before; I'll write it again: May he rot in hell for turning on our troops in time of war.

- - -

Noun: libel lībul
1. A false and malicious publication printed for the purpose of defaming a living person

Santa Claus Comes Early This Year

Hillary Clinton is now promising most Americans that they'll be paying less for their universal health care when she becomes president. And most Americans will believe it possible:

Clinton Details Premium Cap in Health Plan
By Kevin Sack, The New York Times

Senator Hillary Rodham Clinton said in an interview on Wednesday that if elected president she would push for a universal health care plan that would limit what Americans pay for health insurance to no more than 10 percent of their income, a significant reduction for some families.

In an extensive interview on health policy, Mrs. Clinton said she would like to cap health insurance premiums at 5 percent to 10 percent of income. (link)

Unbelievable! We are all going to be paying less for our health care coverage! What a woman.

Unbelievable indeed.

You'll not see me argue that what Hillary wants to do is impossible. It's clearly possible. Just as it's possible for her to promise a car in every garage.

The question is: What will that car that everyone is going to be handed going to look like?

Count on it.

A Portent Of Things To Come

While we're on the subject of universal government-run health care ...

When the bureaucracy gets a hold of your confidential health records (including nude photos!), once Hillary's plan is imposed, expect to find those records turning up on eBay. Security, you see, isn't your government's strong suit.

Today's example:
Laptops, weapons missing at DEA
By Jerry Seper, The Washington Times

More than 90 weapons and 230 laptop computers belonging to the Drug Enforcement Administration have turned up missing over the past five years and, despite efforts by the agency to address weaknesses in tracking the items, "significant deficiencies" remain, a report said yesterday.

The lost and stolen weapons include pistols, rifles, shotguns and a submachine gun, said a 105-page report by the Justice Department's Office of Inspector ... (link)
Why am I having sleepless nights these days?

Quote of the Day

From Mark Steyn:
"I'm sure," said Barack Obama in that sonorous baritone that makes his drive-thru order for a Big Mac, fries and strawberry shake sound profound, "many of you have heard remarks from your pastors, priests or rabbis with which you strongly disagreed."

Well, yes. But not many of us have heard remarks from our pastors, priests or rabbis that are stark, staring, out-of-his-tree, flown-the-coop nuts.

It is Barack Obama's choice to entrust his daughters to the spiritual care of such a man for their entire lives, but in Philadelphia the senator attempted to universalize his peculiar judgment – to claim that, given America's history, it would be unreasonable to expect black men of Jeremiah Wright's generation not to peddle hateful and damaging lunacies. Isn't that – what's the word? – racist? So much for the post-racial candidate.
"So much for the 'post-racial' candidate," The Orange County Register, March 22, 2008

Food For Thought

From Don Surber on Barack Obama's perplexing Jeremiah Wright equivocation:
Barack Rodham Obama might have quit his church if Rev. Wright had stayed on. Once again, on the tough issues, Obama votes, “Present.”

Democratic Sen. Barack Obama of Illinois taped an appearance that will be aired on “The View” on Friday morning,
AP reported.

Obama’s latest position on the hateful, race-baiting sermons of the Rev. Jeremiah Wright: “Had the reverend not retired, and had he not acknowledged that what he had said had deeply offended people and were inappropriate and mischaracterized what I believe is the greatness of this country, for all its flaws, then I wouldn’t have felt comfortable staying at the church.”

This is hilarious.

The man has a banana in his ear. And he won’t admit it, let alone remove it.

You feel uncomfortable in a church when you are wearing wool on a hot day in the summer.

You run the hell out of said church when it is on fire.
Starting to get the idea that this man who talks a mean streak about audacity struggles from a paucity thereof?

Par For The Course

You may have seen the headline from the Columbus Dispatch:

Limbaugh safe from voter-fraud charges

Your reaction probably mirrored mine: "Whew, I'll bet Rush was shaking in his boots ..."

The only item of interest in this non-story, as it so happens, is a quote from a spokesman for Ohio Attorney General Marc Dann - a Democrat:

"'We have no intention of prosecuting Rush Limbaugh because lying through your teeth and being stupid isn't (sic) a crime,' said Leo Jennings."

A spokeman for the state attorney general.

A Democrat.

A towering intellect.

Somebody Explain This To Me

I understand why black Americans vote as a block for the Democratic candidate - always - in national elections. Whether they have a legitimate reason to do so is neither here nor there. They vote Democrat; I accept it as a given.

What I don't understand is the American Jew. For this reason (repeating itself over and over again):

Rev Jeremiah Wright lands Barack Obama in trouble again
By Tom Baldwin, Times of London

Barack Obama faced fresh controversy yesterday over the anti-Israel views propagated by his former pastor even as he was being welcomed to New York by Michael Bloomberg, the city's Jewish Mayor.

The disclosure of articles published by the Rev. Jeremiah Wright's church newsletter threatened to overshadow his speech outlining his economic plans. The articles included a column by the Hamas leader, Mousa Abu Marzook, which asked: “Why should any Palestinian recognise the monstrous crimes carried out by Israel's founders and continued by its deformed modern apartheid state?”

Mr Obama swiftly denounced the decision to reprint the article but faced further embarrassment over comments from Mr Wright, quoted in another church magazine, which referred to Italians as “garlic noses”.

The presence alongside him of Mr Bloomberg prompted speculation that he could yet help Mr Obama fix his growing problems at least with the Jewish vote, an important constituency and source of Democratic campaign donations. (link)

There has been a miniscule migration of Jewish voters to the Republican cause in recent decades, but only miniscule. This despite a clear anti-semitic, anti-Israel undercurrent flowing rather freely through the Democratic Party.

Why Jewish Americans continue to beg for entry into a club where they are obviously unwelcome is a mystery to me. A complete mystery.