Wednesday, September 24, 2008

Extraordinarily good

Innocent Until Reported Guilty

The simple prescription for reducing wrongful convictions: better journalism about crime and punishment.

One solution for wrongful convictions, however, has not been explored in a sustained, meaningful manner. It is a solution that cannot be legislated or even come from the government. The solution requires writers and editors for newspapers, magazines, radio stations, television stations, Web sites and books to practice preventive journalism rather than after-the-conviction, too-late journalism

HT: Abb at Liestoppers.

Monday, September 22, 2008

Ugly loss

Ron Cook spares no one:

Coaches need to take some heat

The worst part wasn't the 15-6 loss or the nine sacks by the Philadelphia Eagles or the fact the Steelers' offense could have played the game all night and still not threatened to score a touchdown.

The worst part yesterday was that the Steelers didn't have a clue what hit them at Lincoln Financial Field.

I'm talking about the players, sure. All of the offensive guys -- everybody from the quarterback to the running backs to the wide receivers and tight ends to the poor, beleaguered offensive linemen -- were truly awful.

But make sure you don't overlook the contributions to this sporting nightmare from Mike Tomlin and his Steelers coaches. They couldn't have had a more rotten game.

Where were the adjustments to Philadelphia's all-out blitzing defense? Eagles defensive coordinator Jim Johnson is good, but he shouldn't be that much smarter than Tomlin and his guys

Based on what i saw this week, Dallas has the inside track to its sixth Lombardi Trophy.

Thursday, September 18, 2008

Making sense of the economic crisis

Two good artices

Michael Lewis-- Let the Heads Roll

Jack Shafer-- Fannie Mae and the Vast Bipartisan Conspiracy

Lewis has has harsh words for the Wall Street executives who have cratered their companies after pocketing huge bonuses. However, he is also asture enough to nothe the market dynamics that drove their actions.

But interestingly, if any of these men had behaved well and resisted the pressures and temptations of the moment, his firm would have, for several years, dramatically underperformed the competition. Probably he would have lost his job.

This passage from Shafer stopped me in my tracks

Next up is Jamie S. Gorelick, whose official résumé describes her as "one of the longest serving Deputy Attorneys General of the United States," a position she held during the Clinton administration. Although Gorelick had no background in finance, she joined Fannie Mae in 1997 as vice chair and departed in 2003. For her trouble, Gorelick collected a staggering $26.4 million in total compensation, including bonuses. Federal investigators (PDF) would later say that "Fannie Mae's management directed employees to manipulate accounting and earnings to trigger maximum bonuses for senior executives from 1998 to 2003." The New York Times would call the manipulations an "$11 billion accounting scandal." Gorelick, it should be noted, has never been charged with any wrongdoing.

Gorelick was responsible for hindering counter-terrorism efforts in the Reno Justice Department. The Wall she helped erect may have contributed to the 9-11 disaster.

Now we find out that she was hip-deep in the largest economic disaster of our time. Yet despite her sorry track record, she was selected to serve on the 9-11 Commission.

Gorelick is interesting in another way. She has exactly the sort of "elite" resume that lights David Brooks's fire. Given the results she's produced (almost uniformly bad), Sarah Palin's "Limited experience" looks like a powerful point in her favor.

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

Hmm. Could there be a connection?

McClatchy to Reduce Staff, Cut Dividend

Then check out how a senior McClatchy editor deals with public criticism:

This just gets better (and sadder)
Sic transit gloria mundi

Michael Hammer, the father of reengineering, died on September 3. His passing received surprisingly little attention in the press. He was, without a doubt, one of the most influential business thinkers of our time.

His 1993 book, Reengineering the Corporation, was a best seller. Fortune magazine named him one of the 25 most influential Americans (along with Martha Stewart and Oprah.)

The term reengineering soon went out of vogue after it became synonomous with layoffs and out-sourcing. In most cases, the corporate bureaucrats were simply using "reengineering" as a fig leaf to cover-up old fashioned cost-cutting. Very few were following Hammer's advice that they start with a clean sheer of paper to redesign their corporate processes.

Saturday, September 13, 2008

Is The Atlantic trying to become the print version of the HuffPo?

First they let Excitable Andy peddle his vile rumours on their blog. Now there is this interesting sidelight to the McCain cover photograph.

How Jill Greenberg Really Feels About John McCain

When The Atlantic called Jill Greenberg, a committed Democrat, to shoot a portrait of John McCain for its October cover, she rubbed her hands with glee.


Given her strong feelings about John McCain, we asked whether she had any reservations about taking the assignment in the first place.

“I didn’t,” she says. “It’s definitely exciting to shoot someone who is in the limelight like that. I am a pretty hard core Democrat. Some of my artwork has been pretty anti-Bush, so maybe it was somewhat irresponsible for them [The Atlantic] to hire me

Friday, September 12, 2008

9-11: Why we did not connect the dots

and what we must learn now.

Extremely important article by Walid Phares:

9/11 and Future Jihad

Since the early 1990s, jihad-inspired attacks had taken place against Americans, America, and other countries around the world. After the 1998 declaration of war, more strikes took place, including against the USS Cole in Yemen. But on September 10, 2001, the United States had not declared war against al Qaeda.


Thursday, September 11, 2008

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

It's the end of the MSM as we know it. Reason 39,751 why i feel fine about it

A journalism profgessor has written a scholarly paper on the Duke lacrosse case. The ideology-addled poseur (Varbara Barnett) argues that Duke was too concerned about due process and ignored the problems of campus rape.

As one who took a close interest in the case from the beginning, i have to ask: what color is the sky in Professor Barnett's world?

KC Johnson, as per usual, has an outstanding analysis.

See also:

Duke lacrosse: auto-de-fe
Football is back

And the Steelers look good. 38-17 and it was not that close.

Pittsburgh played close to a perfect game. That's a pretty big deal even though the Texans were only 8-8 last year.

In recent seasons, Pittsburgh has had a tendency to play down to the competition. They let inferior teams hang around. A couple of times a year it bit them in the backside as they lost games to they should win (like the Jets last season.) This year they have the toughest schedule in the NFL. They cannot afford to toss away any games. There was no danger of that on Sunday.

One of the big plays of the game came on the Texans opening drive. They went for it on fourth and 1 on the Pittsburgh 48. Brett Keisel and Casey Hampton stuffed the QB sneak and the Steelers got the ball on a short field.

In training camp Hampton was in the dog house because of his weight. I hope he came off the field after that play yelling "How do you like my fat ass now!"

The reaction of the sports yakkers was predictably wrong-headed. They focused on the rushing yards and proclaimed that the Steelers won by running the ball.

Any knowledgeable fan who watched the game knew that this was a case of correlation without causation. Pittsburgh jumped to a 21-3 halftime lead even though the running game was uninspiring. (Willie Parker carried 14 times for 46 yards in the half). The big story of the game was Ben Roethlisberger's almost perfect play at quarterback. Big Ben even had the best run of the half: a long scramble for a first down.

The sad fact is that sports pundits have little time to think or study. They have to opine on dozens of subjects every day. Therefore, they fall back on clichés and conventional wisdom. Once an idea enters the pundit-stream it gets repeated endlessly. It takes a bold and well-informed observer to break with the bloviating masses. But the sports media isn't made up of knowledgeable independent thinkers. It's full of Tony Kornheisers.

BTW, Cold Hard Football Facts has a great post up on Kornheiser. A taste:

But he's also typical of the modern celebrity "pundit" of the cable age. He knows little about the history or the intricacies of the game (the latter, to his credit, which he readily admits). He grew up professionally in the ESPN age, and if Chris Berman never gave the guy a chintzy nickname, Kornheiser apparently doesn't even know he existed.

What kind of person makes the pronouncements that echo into received opinion? I discussed that in this post. (Hint: it is not the best informed or most thoughtful).

Fortunately, sports opinion is mostly just noise in the ether. I wonder, thought, if the same dynamic is at work with political punditry. Do Andrea Mitchell or David Gregory do their own thinking? Or are they just articulate sheep following along behind some ur-pundit?

Saturday, September 06, 2008

He belongs there

Cold Hard Football Facts looks for the most underrated players in the NFL. #2 on the list is Aaron Smith (#91) of your Pittsburgh Steelers.

Nice to see a great player get some credit.

Friday, September 05, 2008

An important piece of history

Patterico lays out the record on John McCain and the surge.

Thursday, September 04, 2008

Apparently to work for the MSM you need a Ph. D. in "Not Getting It"

Howie the Weasel does his thing:

Sarah Storms St. Paul
It's a target rich environment for a blogger. Unfortunately, i'm pressed for time. Fortunately, the MSM is so stuck in its ways that old posts never lose their relevance.

Journalism: Worst of all worlds

MSM: Shrinking Audience, Leftward Drift

Media criticism and corralled rebellion

What is the true function of a public editor?

Howard Kurtz

UPDATE: This post gives Kurtz and Friends the fisking they richly deserve:

Media Still Doesn't Get It

Wednesday, September 03, 2008

BTW, Ace is still on fire

Go here so you don't miss anything.

This one is not to be missed.
Peggy Noonan on Sarah Palin

she is a real and present danger to the American left, and to the Obama candidacy.

She could become a transformative political presence.

So they are going to have to kill her, and kill her quick.

And it's going to be brutal. It's already getting there


Tuesday, September 02, 2008

Ain't that the sad truth

In 72 hours, the media has subjected Bristol Palin to more scrutiny than they've given to Barack Obama in two years.
The byline says Howie

But it is the same old weasel writing this crap.
Pregnant Pause

After defending the way the MSM covered for John Edwards, Kurtz now thinks the rumor-mongering about the Palins is understandable and probably OK. (Wow, what a surprise.)

Gee, i wonder if that means that the Post is now ready to dig into BHO's commie rapist mentor? Or his half-brother living in squalor?

UPDATE: Powerline has the goods on the flexible standrds at the new York Times:

Getting Less Squeamish By the Minute