"Our differences are politics. Our agreements are principles."



Monday, May 07, 2007

Where Have All The Heroes Gone

Sunday, August 14, 2005

Why Casey Sheehan Died. Like many, we have been reluctant to write a post on the Sheehan story. Mike Hill refers to it as the Cindy Sheehan Problem. The fact that it has become the Cindy Sheehan story is instructive. The Sheehan news, as portrayed in the media, isn’t about an American soldier giving his life for his country, a bronze star winner and a hero, it’s about politics.

Don Surber wrote a post entitled Zero Heroes in response to the New York Times' piece Where Are The War Heroes?. The Times attributes the lack of well known military heroes from the war on terror to a complex set of reasons; but in the end blames President Bush and the Pentagon for the media’s “zero heroes” reporting.

The Times article, published on August 7, has a similar theme as our two postings on May 28; however, we reached a different conclusion as to why there are “zero heroes”. In our post, The Heroes of the War on Terrorism, we wrote:

What are the names of the heroes of our war on terrorism - of the wars in Iraqi and Afghanistan? Surely with news available 24/7 we should be able to rattle off a list of names…

And yet most of us can’t think of a single name of a service man or woman, connected to the war on terrorism, that hasn’t been tarnished in the media. Since the media covered the rescue of Pfc. Jessica Lynch and the death of Army Ranger, Pat Tillman, it’s been nothing but Lynndie England, Charles Graner and the others connected to Abu Ghraib.
Of course the Times' article makes sure the names of Lynch and Tillman are tarnished as well:

After the heroic tales of Pfc. Jessica Lynch and Sgt. Pat Tillman were largely debunked - with Private Lynch shown to have never fired a shot during her capture and rescue in Iraq, and Sergeant Tillman killed accidentally by fellow Americans, not the enemy, in Afghanistan - the Pentagon may have grown cautious.
Early reports indicated Sgt. Pat Tillman was killed by enemy fire, but has his sacrifice for his country been debunked? This is how we remember Tillman’s death initially being reported in the media – from MSNBC:

Pat Tillman, who gave up the glamorous life of a professional football star to join the Army Rangers, was remembered as a role model of courage and patriotism Friday after military officials said he had been killed in action in Afghanistan.

“Pat Tillman was an inspiration on and off the football field, as with all who have made the ultimate sacrifice in the war on terror. His family is in the thoughts and prayers of President and Mrs. Bush,” Taylor Gross, a spokesman for the White House, said in a statement.
The Times mentions the Medal of Honor was awarded in a White House ceremony in April and the President’s praising of a Mexican immigrant soldier in a radio address and at the National Hispanic Prayer Breakfast in June. Then the Times adds, “but these citations did not occur in prime time, nor have they been repeated.”

Curiously the media didn’t require a prime time presentation by the President or the Pentagon to tell negative military personnel stories. Again, from our May 28 post:

When the media weren’t fixated on the Abu Ghraib gang, we were blanketed with stories questioning the legitimacy of combat actions by Lt. Col. Allen B. West … and the marine filmed killing a terrorist in the battle of Fallujah; the check point shooting involving Italian reporter Giuliana Sgrena; and Lt. Ilario Pantano who shot two Iraqi terrorists in self defense.

Next we were bombarded with endless reporting and an unbelievable amount of hand wringing about a Koran that was not flushed down the toilet by an American serviceman at Guantanamo Bay.

It didn’t end there though. Sensing another opportunity to create a scandal, the media are working themselves into a lather because military personnel have touched detainee Korans…
Plenty of ink and air time for negative stories, but what about the story of the soldier awarded the Medal of Honor? We wrote:

On April 4, 2005 President Bush presented the Congressional Medal of Honor in a ceremony at the White House. Name the solider that was the recipient - the soldier cited for conspicuous gallantry and intrepidity at the risk of his life above and beyond the call of duty?

If you can’t remember his name, we are not surprised. Go to Time’s [Magazine] website and search their archives for Medal of Honor winner, you won’t find a single story on this hero. Enter Abu Ghraib and you’ll find 107 articles. Enter Guantanamo Bay you’ll have a choice of 148 articles. Search Newsweek’s archives – same result. Medal of Honor winner – no articles on the soldier winning the medal. Abu Ghraib - 140 matches. Guantanamo Bay – 108 articles.

The name you remember - Lynndie England: Time - 8 articles, Newsweek – 9 articles.

The Medal of Honor winner - Sergeant First Class, Paul Ray Smith. Time – 0 articles. Newsweek – 1 article, A War's Rising Toll, in which Paul R Smith was listed among those killed in action.
The New York Times article mentions Sgt Paul R. Smith received the Medial of Honor and even publishes one of the same photos we used in our post - Paul R. Smith – Medal Of Honor Recipient, but doesn’t bother to relate, as the Times would call it, his “heroic tale” or link to the U.S. Army's website devoted to the hero.

No, the media have settled on their hero for the war of terrorism – it’s Cindy Sheehan, a grieving mother who received The Call, not Casey Sheehan, the man that gave his life for his country.

(We highly recommend you read “The Call” on Verifrank, it puts the Cindy Sheehan story into perspective.)

Federal Funding For Education Soars, Results Don’t

Monday, July 25, 2005

How often have you heard that President Bush or the Republican Congress is shortchanging our children by not adequately funding education? Then maybe you’d be surprised to learn:

The entire education budget has ballooned during the president's time in office. The Department of Education's budget has grown by 82.5 percent in real terms from $34.9 billion in FY2001 to $63.7 billion in FY2005. This is the largest increase of any president since Lyndon Johnson.
All well and good you say, but I’ve heard the Republicans are cheating “blue states” and the education budget this year has been cut to pay for “tax cuts for the wealthy”. Just because Corzine and his fellow travelers say it, it doesn’t make it so:

President Bush's 2006 budget asks for more of the same. Every state sees an increase in grant money, nearly 5 percent on average. The average state receives a level of grant funding that is more than 50 percent higher than when President Bush took office; no state has an increase less than 35 percent.
John Corzine and others in the Democrat party have predicted doom and gloom for the country unless we invest more in education. Invest as we know in the “progressive” dictionary means increase taxes. But, is it more money we need to “invest” to in order compete in the global economy?

According to OECD figures, the U.S. spends 78 percent more per student than Germany, 58 percent more than France, 31 percent more than Japan, and 71 percent more than the U.K. But despite these large spending differentials, American students perform no better than average on international comparisons of math and reading skills.
Property taxes have soared across the country and New Jersey holds the distinction for having the highest property taxes in the nation. The major cause:

From 1960 to 2000, inflation-adjusted spending on education in the U.S. nearly tripled, yet test scores show little improvement, dropout rates are high, and a large racial achievement gap persists.
The education industry has to be in a league of its own, producing less with more resources. Only a state subsidized industry could make such a claim:

Education economist Caroline Hoxby explains that public schools today are doing less with more: school productivity -- achievement per dollar spent -- declined by 55 to 73 percent from 1971 to 1999. Meanwhile, private and charter schools are boosting student achievement with lower expenditures per pupil than public schools. In other words, there is no consistent, systematic relationship between education spending and student outcomes.
Ken Adams has completed a statistical study on public school spending in New Jersey and finds no correlation between spending per pupil and student achievement in our state. New Jersey spends more per student than any other state and yet produces average results at best. Ken asks: How can we solve the differences in performance between schools? Here’s our answer:

Parents that recognize the correlation between educational attainment and achievement in life pass this message on to their children. Children learn directly from their parents whether or not to value education and studies show that when parents expect their children to do well in school, they do. People that value education and take advantage of educational opportunities earn more than those that don’t. No mystery here.

Now, what do we do about it? We ask the community leaders where parents and children don’t value education to lead or get out of the way. We hold people accountable. Those schools producing results should maintain current levels of funding; those that don’t should lose funding until results are achieved. Schools still not producing should continue to lose funding until they hit the same average per pupil spending as non-Abbott schools.

More money and ever more expensive school facilities are not the answer. The education industry was used the more money “for the children” to silence the average person through guilt, preventing most from saying enough is enough. Politicians have been happy to indulge this special interest group – the education industry - to buy votes and achieve political power.

Student performance directly tied to funding is the incentive needed to bring about the changes so desperately needed. Now who will step up to lead?

Saturday's Insight

Saturday, June 18, 2005

Democrats: Long On Blame; Short on Memory - After two days of trying to get me to download a virus (you get me once, shame on you -- twice, shame on me. It's not going to happen again, fellas and gals), some of my Lib "friends" are now blitzing me with Emails about how President Bush lied and got us into war. Never mind the terrorists hit us first; never mind that every Democrat on the planet was as fooled as the Republicans by the intelligence about WMDs (which turned out to be there after all); never mind that the Democrats were begging the President to go to war. So I'm going to treat you to a list of things prominent Democrats said before we went to war in Iraq. Read More >>

Help Catch a Killer - You may remember the story of SPC Jorge Estrada, who was murdered by a coward while home on leave from Iraq for the birth of his daughter. Fabian Urrea, the man who killed him, is still free. Read More >>>

No Protection for Children - A 10-year-old autistic boy was preyed upon by a sexual predator and subsequently molested. So why is his family being questioned and looked at with suspicion by the authorities involved? Why are they not doing their job and working to assure that this never happened to another child in a similar situation? Why are the authorities not working to rectify this incident? Florida-- What is going on?!?!?Read More >>>

Bye Bye Byrdie

Friday, June 10, 2005

Here’s good news to the cause of good government. West Virginia Sen. Robert Byrd, styled by partisan Democrats as the “conscience of the Senate” and by those who are less biased as the last troglodyte in the body, could be defeated in his bid for his umpteenth term in the Senate. He’s up for election in 2006, and the latest polling in West Virginia indicates that an attack of sanity and judgment may, at last, be hitting an electorate that has routinely elected the 87-year-old Byrd to the Senate eight times with never less than 59 percent of the vote Full Article.

Friday's Insight

Thursday's Insight

Thursday, June 09, 2005

Voting is now open for Greatest American. - Voting is now open for the Greatest American. Make your voice known. As a matter of fact I urge you to copy and paste this piece into an email and send it to everyone on your mailing list!! Vote for your favorite from the top 25 finalists on the Web at AOL, via a toll-free phone call, or by text messaging. The Top 5 vote getters will be unveiled on Discovery Channel on Sunday, June 19, at 9 p.m. ET/PT. Read More >>>

D Stands for Democrat - The mantra of the Democrats has been, "We're smarter than you!" The media and his "supporters" painted John Kerry as an intellectual elite northern liberal and President Bush was the dumb southern redneck. Kerry's grades from Yale were finally released, however, and it trumps all the Democrats have said for the past 5 years. Read More >>

Closing the Book on Mark Felts - No wonder he went undercover. And no wonder he denied his duplicity for so many years. Mark Felts was a convicted felon. He was convicted for authorizing illegal break-ins at homes in 1972 of people associated with the radical Weather Underground movement--the very kind of crime he exposed as "Deep Throat." Read More >>>

Tuesday's Insights

Tuesday, June 07, 2005