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Tuesday, November 25, 2003

James Yee: Terrorist or Adulterer? Which of these offenses James Yee is really guilty of probably doesn’t matter in John Ashcroft’s America. FOX News and Drudge are both reporting that Army Capt. James Yee has been charged with, among other things, adultery and storing pornography on a government computer.

Army Capt. James Yee, who worked at the prison camp for terror suspects in eastern Cuba, was released from custody Tuesday after being served with the additional charges, Raul Duany, a spokesman for U.S. Southern Command in Miami, told The Associated Press. He was arrested earlier this year in Florida and confined to the military brig in Charleston, S.C. Military officials brought the additional charges after an investigation, Duany said. The charges include storing pornographic images on his computer, having sexual relations outside marriage, disobeying an order and making a false official statement. Once a chaplain at Fort Lewis, Wash., Yee was charged on Oct. 10 with disobeying a general order by taking classified material home and transporting classified information without proper security containers.
The new charges, and Yee’s release, come at a curious time, just one day after Yee’s attorney asked President Bush to release him from the Navy brig he had been serving time in prior to his military trial, which is scheduled for next year. This follows a pattern familiar pattern for this administration. First, they pile on, overreacting and overcharging Yee for terror related crimes. Then they refuse to release him before his trial, meaning that he has now served more jail time than he would have received even if he was to be been found guilty. When demands are made for his release and the case against him starts to look weak, they finally relent and set him free. But they can’t let it end there. They had to bring in trumped up charges that have nothing to do with the original reasons for his arrest, including the rarely prosecuted military charge of adultery. The prosecution of adultery under military law has long been a contentious issue, with the main complaint being that it often gets applied selectively. Actually, “adultery” isn’t even an offense under the Uniform Code of Military Justice (UCMJ).
… adultery is not listed as an offense in the Uniform Code of Military Justice (UCMJ). The UCMJ is a federal law, enacted by Congress, to govern legal discipline and court martials for members of the armed forces. Articles 77 through 134 of the UCMJ encompasses the "punitive offenses" (these are crimes one can be prosecuted for). None of those articles specifically mentions adultery. Adultery in the military is actually prosecuted under Article 134, which is also known as the "General Article." Article 134 simply prohibits conduct which is of a nature to bring discredit upon the armed forces, or conduct which is prejudicial to good order and discipline.
Adultery charges are normally filed in cases where there is fraternization, or a relationship between a superior and a subordinate. It is rare to have it applied to cases where the affair is with a civilian, and a controversial case involving a female Air Force pilot’s relationship with a civilian drew a lot of criticism. Unless Yee’s alleged adulterous affair is with someone else in the military, the only nail that prosecutors appear to have available to hang this charge on is Yee’s status as a military chaplain. Presumably, one could argue that given his status as a man of the cloth, an adulterous relationship with a civilian would still be enough to bring “discredit upon the military” or be “prejudicial to good order and discipline”. Details will come out eventually, but I suspect this is yet another example of an administration that uses it’s power to attack and discredit anyone who might potentially embarrass them (remember Scott Ritter and Valerie Plame?)

posted by gunther at 4:52 PM Link

Monday, November 24, 2003

Austin Planned Parenthood Boycott: The Jim Phillips Connection Here’s an update on the boycott of the Planned Parenthood clinic in Austin. In some previous postings I’ve provided some information on Chris Danze and a couple of other people who’ve been cited in the media as being involved in the boycott. Today I came across another individual, who seems like a real piece of work. As I periodically scan the web searching for any new information concerning this fiasco, sometimes it gets to the point where I think that the entire body of knowledge on people connected to the boycott has been thoroughly mined out. But today I managed to dig up a few links that illustrate the extremism of the people behind it. A common misconception about the boycott in Austin is that it represents a “grassroots” effort, with a few dedicated citizens inspiring the involvement of a wider community of people with a common interest in seeing abortion ended. To be sure, the email campaign that spread the message about the boycott took advantage of a well organized, if loose, network of abortion opponents. The person cited in virtually every news article I have seen concerning the boycott is Chris Danze, who has a long history of involvement in anti-choice activities in Austin. This fact is only casually mentioned in most stories I’ve come across. Instead, he is usually identified first and foremost as the head of a construction firm, period. His long history of involvement in anti-choice activities in Austin is not given much attention. But a little bit of research provides further evidence that the people behind this boycott are not just “ordinary folks”, but are actually rather scary. Today’s lesson concerns an individual named Jim Phillips. I first came across his name at the Operation Save America website. Phillips had written an article for the OSA site titled “Miracle in Austin – The Gates of Hell Cannot Prevail!” (the wording here is one clue indicating that he just might be a supporter of the boycott). Reading the article itself it soon became clear that not only does he support the boycott, but he was also a key figure in organizing it. Here’s the intro to the article, written by a guy named Flip [more about him in a second]:

Jim Phillips, a simple Christian man who loves Jesus with all of his heart and soul, is painting for us a marvelous picture of what God can do when simple little Christians begin to live out their faith in the streets of their cities. When the theology of the church house becomes biography in the streets we give Jesus an opportunity to show up. And show-up He did, in Austin, Texas! The gates of hell are hemorrhaging in Austin, not because of what the Republican Party did, but because Christians are taking it upon themselves to give a voice to the voiceless. They are, "bringing it on!" in Jesus' Name. Jim has been a personal friend of mine and this ministry for the past 15 years. We have been on the streets together, in jail together, sued together, all the while the joy of the Lord has been our strength. He is a faithful and true man of God who fears nothing but God Himself. Enjoy.
“The gates of hell are hemorrhaging”??? I’m not quite sure what that means, but it can’t be good for Satan. Anyway, it turns out that Phillips was with Chris Danze when the latter came up with the idea for the boycott. Phillips helped Danze in sending out the initial 750 letters to construction firms to start the boycott rolling.
Then Chris had an idea. Why not send registered letters to the Austin building community asking them not to participate in the clinic construction? OK, I said, why not... yeah, we said, that might stop some subs (subcontractors) from doing the work. Now, we really can't stop the clinic from being built, for they're a lot bigger than us. But yeah, we could at least make it costly for PP. So we sent out 750 letters. We began to get help. And then Chris said, hey, let's call the subs, and yeah, the General Contractor over the whole project, Browning Construction of San Antonio, and respectfully ask them to withdraw from the job. So we sent out emails asking people to help make calls. Craig Teykl and Mark Hamilton stepped up and spent hours calling people, meeting Austin area subs for lunch, asking them to help our efforts and not to do the work for PP. George Transom, just another concrete guy who decided to be available, joined the effort, and soon 18 cement suppliers within a 60-mile radius said, we're with you guys, we're not selling to PP. All this when Austin area construction was down and some of those plants had laid off workers and needed the business.
You’ll remember Craig Teykl from an earlier post. I’ll have more to say on Mark Hamilton and George Transom later. Here’s more of the Phillips article:
…Early Wednesday morning, November 5th, Browning Construction made the electrifying announcement to all Austin media that "due to circumstances beyond our control," (a sub told the Austin paper he got 1,200 calls), they were pulling off the clinic job. In God's exquisite timing, that very same day was the 65th anniversary of Planned Parenthood in Texas. To further rebuke His enemies, that same day God had Missionaries to the PreBorn, in a stop planned months ago, visit Austin to preach, hand out gospel tracts, and show large posters of aborted children, revealing the real mission of Planned Parenthood. Whining and licking their wounds, the present and two former Austin mayors, two state legislators, and PP officials claimed in a press conference that day that "illegal intimidation" was used.
You’ll note that Phillips writes approvingly of a visit to Austin by the group “Missionaries to the PreBorn”. Missionaries to the Preborn are apologists for anti-abortion murderer Paul Hill, as this page clearly shows. The organization is led by an individual named Rev. Matthew Trewhella. In the past he has called for the formation of armed citizen militias. He was also a leader in the U.S. Taxpayers Party (since renamed), which represents a convergence of the violent wing of the anti-abortion movement with elements of the Radical Right in the U.S. There’s a great deal more about him at this Planned Parenthood site. More information on Missionaries to the Preborn can be found here. Some choice bits include the following:
Speaking to the Wisconsin state convention of the U.S. Taxpayers Party (USTP) … Trewhella called for church-based paramilitary training. "What should we do?" he asked. "We should do what thousands of people across this nation are doing. We should be forming militias." "...(T)here are plans of resistance being made," he continued. "Churches can form militia days and teach their men how to fight." …Demonstration spokesperson Monica M. Miller had previously argued in court that it is acceptable to shoot police officers escorting women into abortion clinics:... …After anti-abortion activist Michael Griffin murdered Dr. David Gunn in Florida on March 10, 1993, the Missionaries released a statement declaring that they "would not lament the Child Killers [sic] Death.” Rev. Trewhella said he "would not condemn someone who killed Hitler's doctors who committed atrocities against human beings, and neither will I condemn Michael Griffin." …The speeches at the USTP convention did nothing to ease the tensions. Jeffrey Baker called for doctors who perform abortions to be put to death. Trewhella then reveled in the glorification of militias and weapons: Recently our government tried to outlaw Black Talons, which is a bullet [that] when it hits opens up in five or six sharp edges so it tears out any flesh that it's going through and has much more chance of killing when it hits or at least permanently maiming when it hits... So I took my bullets, my Black Talon bullets, out of the closet and I sat down with my kids and I said, "see these bullets, kids" and they said "yeah". I said, "Our government wants to put your Dad in jail just for owning this here box of bullets." …Trewhella also conveyed an unusual sense of the spirit of Christmas: "This Christmas," he said, "I want you to do the most loving each of your children an SKS rifle and 500 rounds of ammunition...." SKS rifles are popular among paramilitary groups because they can be altered into a fully automatic weapon that can fire 20 rounds in 1.6 seconds.
Here is a photo of the bullet shaped flyer that Trewhella distributed after the Columbine shootings. Jim Phillips runs something called “Renovation Ministries” in Austin. The main web page has his photo (scroll down; Phillips is on the right). Rummaging around the RM recent activities, you find out that Phillips was also involved in the protests supporting Roy Moore’s efforts to keep the 10 commandments displayed in Montgomery, Alabama. There’s also a photo of him preaching at the University of Texas campus along with members of Missionaries to the Preborn. So you can see that Phillips, one of the two originators of the boycott, keeps some rather strange and disturbing company. A final note on Phillips’ involvement in the 10 commandments affair; this article in the Montgomery, Alabama Advertiser shows that Phillips was one of five individuals who were detained by Montgomery police overnight, because they refused to provide social security numbers to police. All others involved in the protest were released without bail the same day. Who is Flip? The character “Flip” who wrote the glowing intro (remember the “hemmoraging gates of hell” reference?) to the Jim Phillips article cited above is Flip Benham. Benham is the director of “Operation Save America”, which is what “Operation Rescue” has evolved into. Here’s Benham baptizing Jane Roe (Norma McCorvey). Information on Benham is here. Among the highlights is the fact that in 1998, Benham and Operation Rescue were fined $10 million for stalking and harassing an obstetrician and his wife in Texas. Benham was ordered to pay $170,000 of the judgement. He has been quoted as saying that "Allah is a lie from the pit of hell", that America’s current war on terrorism is actually a war against Islam, and that followers of Islam can either be killed or converted to Christianity. Benham was also one of the leaders of the Ten Commandments Monument fiasco in Alabama. A final word on Benham: He actually supported the execution of Paul Hill, and was quoted as saying that he would volunteer to “pull the switch”. His rationale for this does not appear to be that he disagrees with the use of violence to prevent abortions. In fact his thinking on the issue is somewhat confusing, but it seems that he believes that Hill killed an innocent person, i.e. the abortionist. These are Brenham’s own words, taken from a transcript appearing on a pro-life website: “Yeah but that abortionist was simply the gun that Paul Hill was, or the, the gun that was going to be used to kill the baby. You see, it's the mother that is most culpable in killing the baby. The mother is culpable. So if you wanna, if you wanna operate on justifiable homicide, which is utter foolishness and sin, then what you, what you, what you've got, is you've got to, kill the mother, C section the baby and save the baby. That's what you do.” So based on this one article that Jim Phillips wrote, we’ve established three things. First, the article makes it clear that Phillips was instrumental in helping to organize the Austin boycott, and has known Chris Danze for some time. Second, Phillips is held in high regard by Flip Brenham, the leader of Operation Save America, a man who talks about the murder of women who want to have abortions, and who has already been fined for stalking and threatening doctors. Finally, Phillips praises the visit to Austin of Missionaries to the Preborn, a group that advocates violence against doctors who perform abortions and police officers who assist patients going into clinics. He also holds joint activities and protests with Missionaries members. Contacting the creeps: There are at least eight people living in Austin with the name “Jim Phillips”. So at this point it’s impossible to provide direct contact information for him. His email address listed at the Renovation Ministries website does not appear to work either. However, Phillips was kind enough to include an email address for Chris Danze, as cited in the following passage: “Our calling strategy has shifted slightly; please email Chris Danze at for updates.” I strongly encourage anyone opposed to the boycott to use this address to try to find out what’s up. Craig Teykl, Mark Hamilton and George Transom are local contractors from the Austin area who got involved in helping out the boycott early on. I provided contact information for Teykl in a previous post. The contact information for Hamilton and Transom is: Mark Hamilton Centex Materials L.P. Mark Hamilton 3801 S. Capital of Tx. Hwy, Suite 250 Austin, TX 78706 Phone: 512-460-3003 - Fax: 512-444-9809 10706 Scotland Well Dr Austin, TX (512) 335-8649 George Transom Transom Construction 512-255-3875

posted by gunther at 11:37 PM Link

Thursday, November 20, 2003

IBAM Episode 10: Bush/Blair Press Conference Tony Blair and George Bush held a brief joint press conference today. I’ve run the numbers for each of them and the results are shown in the table below.

language useage index scores
Speaker reading Ease Grade Level BRI-2
Blair 60.2% 10.2 .013
Bush 66.6% 7.2 .111
The results are not too surprising, but all the same Bush comes off appallingly badly in comparison to Blair. Blair is a full three grade levels ahead of Bush in terms of his speech complexity, and Bush’s BRI-2 index score of .111 is the worst that I’ve observed for him so far. Blair’s sole grammatical error was:
[missing “that”] I've already said in the House of Commons it will be resolved in one of two ways.
Bush’s errors were far more numerous.
[singular/plural] We could have less troops in Iraq, [“what is ever necessary”??] We could have less troops in Iraq, we could have the same number of troops in Iraq, we could have more troops in Iraq, what is ever necessary to secure Iraq. [number agreement; truly bizarre because he makes this error three times in one sentence, and then phrases it correctly twice more in the same sentence] There's Iraqis being trained for an army; there's Iraqis being trained for an intelligence service; there's Iraqis being trained for additional police work; there are Iraqis being trained for asset protection; there are Iraqis being trained for border guards. [number agreement] There's over 130,000 Iraqis now who have been trained, who are working for their own security. [“…brigades of THE Iraqi army…”] So part of the answer to your question is the -- is how fast the new brigades of Iraqi army are stood up, [just wrong; “…which is the ITC ruling that the industry…”] And I'm reviewing the findings about the restructuring of our steel industry, which is the ITC ruling basically said that the industry needs some breathing time to restructure.
What strikes me as the really appalling aspect of this is not necessarily that Tony Blair puts Bush to shame. I would have been surprised if he hadn’t. No, what occurs to me is that Blair would probably put to shame just about any of the 9 Democratic candidates as well. As much as people like to ridicule Bush’s speaking, it isn’t language level per se that sets him apart from other leading politicians. They all try to speak at a very basic level, and the reviews of the Dem’s debates that I’ve posted show that most of them aren’t speaking at anywhere near the 10th grade level. They like to keep it simple, presumably because the bulk of the people who are listening to them wouldn’t like (or it is assumed that they wouldn’t like) political figures who are too articulate. Dick Gephardt, for example, is probably more than capable of carrying out a debate on issues while speaking at something higher than a 6th grade level. The fact that he doesn’t, indicates that he’s been trained to aim his message at a broad and not particularly intellectual audience. The result is that we get politicians who talk like 13 year olds. Bush’s constant grammatical errors truly put him in a class by himself. But the low level of political speech in this country, and by this I mean language use as opposed to content, is really striking in comparison to what is expected from leaders in other western countries.

posted by gunther at 2:01 PM Link

Wednesday, November 19, 2003

Is Bush A Moron, Episode 9

Today’s version of IBAM includes three samples of Bushspeak from the past week. The first comes from a brief Q/A session with reporters that occurred on Sunday (11/16). It was short, as such encounters typically are, but even so it can’t be considered one of his better performances. The numbers for the Q/A were: Reading Ease 80.4%, Grade Level Equivalent 4.4, and BRI-2 (Grammar) index = .083. Given the brevity of the session I can only pull out two examples of speech errors.

[fewer] Somebody told me, they said, well, this means there's going to be less troops.

[was vs were] It's symptomatic of the fact that there was a lot of weapons lying around.
The second samples comes from an interview that Bush had with David Frost. This was much longer, and provided many more good examples of incorrect speech, for example:

[singular/plural] Well, I'm going to take a tux, and I'm going to take a – tails.

[that vs which] Again, we're not going to agree on every issue, but a Europe which works closely with America and an America which works closely with Europe means the world will be better off.

[not a word; is this man 14 years old?] I mean, you know, look. I mean, he's a man who has presided over suiciders,

[missing “A” or “the”] Serious consequence was with dealing with Mr. Saddam Hussein today, before it became too late.

[singular/plural] …and there's a lot of countries that made that decision with us…

[incorrect useage] We understand -- just like Saddam Hussein -- that he has been torturous to his people.
Besides these obvious grammatical errors, there were other cases that weren’t coded as errors by the spell-checker, but which nonetheless have to be considered examples of rather convulated language. Consider the following:
After all -- again, I repeat this because it's a very important point that people in your country must remember, and that is the world has spoken -- universally spoken -- about this man's danger for 12 long years, and in order for -- at the very minimum, in order for a multinational organization to be valid and effective, something has to happen other than resolutions. And when an organization says if you don't disarm -- in other words, in order to say they don't disarm, intelligence convinced a lot of nations, including France, that he had weapons; in other words, he had to disarm something.
This is one of those passages that seems to make sense when taken in small snippets, but when you listen or read all of them together it just sounds confusing. Here’s another:
We understand -- just like Saddam Hussein -- that he has been torturous to his people. The -- you know, people in North Korea are starving to death, and that weapons of mass destruction in his hands, given his history -- just like weapons of mass destruction in Saddam's hands, given his history -- is a very dangerous element. It's dangerous. It is -- inhibits the capacity for peace and freedom to spread.
Should adults be allowed to talk like this? And if they do, should they be put in control of nuclear weapons? Maybe he has very clear thoughts on these issues but can’t articulate them, but it’s been my experience that confused writing and speaking reflect confused thinking. Anyway, the scores for the Bush/Frost interview were as follows: Reading Ease 65.9%, Grade Equivalent 8.2, BRI-2 (Grammar) = .049. The score of 8.2 for grade equivalent is rather misleading. The sentence in the previous example that begins “The – you know,…”, as convoluted as it is, actually works in Bush’s favor in the traditional readability measures, since it counts as a very long sentence. Since these measures are computed taking into account average sentence length (among other things), sentences like this give him a higher score than should probably be allowed, based on how the sentence is actually structured.

The third sample for the week comes from Bush’s interview with Trevor Kavanagh of "The Sun", a Rupert Murdoch paper. The questioning was pretty sycophantic compared to the ones that David Frost were asking. Some examples of Bush’s errors during the interview:
[singular/plural; should be “things that are imnportant”] You've probably followed some of my domestic policy, but one of the things that's important is to call on people to serve their communities by helping neighbors who hurt.

[“dealt WITH al Qaeda”] Fourthly, we dealt al Qaeda.

[an old time favorite; “suiciders” = not a word] He is paying suiciders to go kill innocent Israelis.

[“singular/plural; “BREED anxiety””] Free nations won't create conditions of strife and resentment that breeds anxiety and terror.

[his first use of “militaries” is inappropriate] That's the other thing about militaries, both our militaries are full of compassionate people.

[not a sentence] When you think about somebody in America can start their own business and grow it, and then actually own something.

[“done pretty WELL”] We've done pretty good on our budget agreements, so far.

[that vs which] After all, we were a country which was able to sit back in our -- kind of in our geographical posture and pick and choose where a threat might emerge...

[incorrect word; adapt vs adopt] We can have the debate all day long as to whether the Middle East will ever adapt the habits of democracy and freedom.

[“but also”] I would tell the skeptics that not only is the world more secure as a result of the decisions we made, the Iraqi people now have a chance to live in a society which is hopeful and optimistic,

[singular/plural] Our goals are peace.
I had to include this one additional quote, which appears to be a Bushism in the traditional sense:
Really quickly, this is a desk given to us by Queen Victoria. A famous desk called the HMS Resolute, and it's wood from the Resolute. The door was put on by Roosevelt to cover his infirmities.
One wonders exactly how many infirmities that FDR had. Maybe one for each leg? Bush’s scores from the “Sun” interview were as follows: Reading Ease 67.3, Grade Equivalent 7.7, and BRI-2 (Grammar) = .067.

All told, this was not a good week for Bush in terms of unscripted public speaking.

posted by gunther at 1:55 PM Link

Tuesday, November 18, 2003

Bushspeak, Demspeak: Episode 8 of “Is Bush A Moron”

I finally got around to analyzing the Dems debate from the previous week (“Rock the Vote”), as well as some comments that Bush made last Monday to workers at a BMW plant in South Carolina.

Since this is the first time that readers of LoL may have seen this stuff, here’s the link to an early posting of the “Is Bush A Moron” project that explains what it is all about.

Bush’s comments were pretty much par for the course for him. He didn’t say “suiciders”, but his grammar score was on the low end, BRI-2 = .050. Some examples:

There's a little bit of a change -- it used to be that government would judge you on just did you have job training programs.

There's health care jobs, there's jobs in the manufacturing sector.

We ought to make sure that we tailor curriculum for the jobs which will exist.

And we've got an energy bill that we're trying to get out, an energy bill which says we'll work on conservation.
His Reading Ease score was 71.7, and Grade Equivalent score was 6.8.

Rock The Vote Debate: The “Reading Ease” scores for the eight candidates who participated in the last debate are shown below. Also shown is Bush’s score from the 11/10 speech in NC, along with his average Reading Ease score from the 2000 presidential debates.
Reading Ease
Lieberman 66.3%
Moseley Braun 66.7%
Kucinich 67.1%
Bush (new) 71.1%
Dean 71.2%
Kerry 72.1%
Bush (2000) 72.8%
Edwards 75.9%
Clark 77.7%
Sharpton 78.5%
Clark continued to get a higher Reading Ease score than Bush, while Lieberman, Moseley Braun and Kucinich got the lowest scores.
Kucinich 8.1
Moseley Braun 8
Lieberman 7.8
Dean 7.3
Bush (2000) 6.9
Bush (new) 6.8
Edwards 6.7
Kerry 6.5
Clark 5.7
Sharpton 5.4
Kucinich, Moseley Braun and Lieberman also received the highest grade equivalent scores. These three have tended to use the most complicated language in the debates so far. The surprise of the debate was that Edwards, Kerry and Clark (as well as Sharpton) received lower grade level scores than Bush, indicating simplified, more basic language. In previous debates, only Gephardt consistently challenged Bush on this measure of language useage.
Dean 0.000
Clark 0.000
Kucinich 0.000
Moseley Braun 0.000
Edwards 0.000
Kerry 0.000
Lieberman 0.014
Sharpton 0.025
Bush (2000) 0.040
Bush (new) 0.050
Finally, the grammar measure (BRI-2) showed that six of the Democratic candidates got perfect scores, making no grammatical errors at all. Lieberman made only one and Sharpton made only two. For Kerry, Clark and Edwards, this is particularly important since it means that they managed to speak in a manner that allowed their message to be understood by the maximal number of people, while at the same time doing so in an articulate manner. Bush may be reasonably good at the first, but not the latter.

posted by gunther at 2:29 PM Link

Monday, November 17, 2003

What Do They Have Planned? While browsing the website of a local anti-abortion group, I came across the following message.

BIG NEWS COMING... If you haven't already noticed, there is a tremendous momentum building around the efforts of the Coalition for Life and other Pro-Life groups fighting Planned Parenthood around the state. Recognizing that we are in an unprecedented position to do incredible good, the Coalition for Life is taking the lead on a bold initiative that will capitalize on the many successes and educate millions of people across the state about the danger posed by Planned Parenthood. We can't release the specifics yet, since Planned Parenthood monitors this e-mail list, but please pray that God blesses the preparation going into these efforts. One thing we can tell you... You want to mark your calendar for the evening of Thursday, December 4th. Something BIG will be happening!
Sounds rather ominous if you ask me. One possibility is that there’ll be some announcement or event related to broadening or expanding the boycott that’s been generating so much news in Austin recently, but exactly what’s planned is anybody’s guess. I don’t know what if any significance the date December 4th has. Another posting at the HoustonCoalition website included a status report about the Austin boycott.
In an attempt to shore up sagging public confidence in the project, Planned Parenthood hosted a glitzy luncheon at the Four Seasons Hotel with a former Clinton advisor as speaker. At the event, the abortion chain announced that they will now serve as their own general contractor. Here's an update on the matters from Chris Danze: "The Planned Parenthood announcement yesterday that THEY will be the general contractor means they DO NOT HAVE a general contractor. In their statement they said they will protect the names of their subcontractors. Browning was doing that. They don't realize it is difficult even in a city Austin's size for a particular construction company to do anything without other construction people knowing about it. With the amount of attention the mayors have given this project it would be near impossible for anyone to work on the abortion chamber incognito. Putting the mayors up front on the attack may have helped morale for the pro-abortion people temporarily, but the fact is, it solidified the construction community against this project. At the fundraising luncheon held at the Four Seasons Hotel yesterday, Planned Parenthood had on display a 60 lb. bag of concrete mix with a sign on top that read: 'pro-choice concrete'. If they plan on pouring the foundation with 60 lb. bags of mix from Home Depot, we better pull up a chair, we'll be here a while. They are in trouble folks." Please continue to pray for these efforts!
Incidentally, the “Clinton advisor” at the luncheon was Sidney Blumenthal. The luncheon rasised over $180,000 for PP. Danze’s reaction to the fundraising effort by PP is also telling. The newspaper article that covered the luncheon asked Danze for a comment. Here it is:
This is good news for men who use women as sex objects. Bad news for women and children. The boycott continues."
“Good news for men who use women as sex objects”? What does that have to do with being pro-life? In this quote the mask slips, and you can see that the real agenda here has nothing to do with saving babies. Instead, it’s all about sex, or more precisely Danze and his ilk’s aversion to, but continued obsession with it. If you haven’t already contacted Danze to voice your opinions about his behavior, here is the contact information:
Home Tel.: (512) 306-1326 Maldonado & Danze Inc Business Tel.: (512) 837-9677 email:
Continuing the assault on women’s rights, anti-abortion activists have forced the closing of a Planned Parenthood clinic in Amarillo. The story is described on trhe same anti-choice website annoucong the “December 4th” event:
PANHANDLE PRO-LIFERS HELP CLOSE YET ANOTHER PLANNED PARENTHOOD The faithful prayers of many Pro-Life Christians in the Amarillo area have been answered as yet another Planned Parenthood facility has announced that it will be closing its doors forever on November 19. Several other Planned Parenthood facilities in the panhandle have now dropped down to a part-time basis as well. The Executive Director of Planned Parenthood of Amarillo told the media, "Basically we're in survival mode here." According to Jim Sedlak of Stop Planned Parenthood, in 1996 Planned Parenthood had 19 thriving clinics in the Texas panhandle region. Under the courageous leadership of Bishop John Yanta, the Pro-Lifers have seen Planned Parenthood's operations diminish to only one full-time and three part-time facilities. God is good!
Sedlak is the brains behind an organization called Stop Planned Parenthood (STOPP). Their mission statement includes the following description of the oirganizartion’s purpose:
The purpose of STOPP is really quite simple. We intend to cause such discontent with Planned Parenthood programs that it will have no choice but to close its doors and get out of town! That doesn't seem like too much to ask of an organization that has been ruthlessly attacking our children for years-abusing them in the womb and in the classroom.
Yes, that’s rigfht, PP is abusing children in the classroom. What STOPP is complaining about of course is the teaching of sex education, and other dangerous “secular humanist” activities. One of Sedlak’s pet peeves is underpopulation. He’s concerned that the world’s population is decreasing, because of decades of legalized abortion. At times he’s written of this so-called “crisis” in economic terms, emphasizing the problems that will arise when aging baby boomers outnumber the total population of working people who will be supporting them. To be sure, this might be cause for concern, but Sedlak’s solution is to have young people go on a “birthing spree”, with women supposedly acting as little more than baby factories, constantly pumping out a new litter every 12 months or so. Here he is in his own words:
You should plan for larger families," Jim Sedlak, director of STOPP International (STOPP), told students during an extended speaking tour in six cities and three states. "The world is facing a population shortage, and by early in the 21st century, there will be more people in the United States over 60 than under 20. The population pyramid has been turned upside down." "My generation has messed things up," Sedlak told the universally attentive students, "and it's up to you to correct things. Your generation must bring an end to legalized abortion, and must begin having three to five children per family. Only then will our birth rates grow and we will return to a healthy population increase." Sedlak said he is stressing this issue with students because "later this year, the world will reach a population of six billion people. These students will hear a lot of hype about the supposed 'overpopulation' problem. We want to let them know there is no overpopulation problem and, in fact, the real threat is just the opposite. The United Nations is predicting a world population decline by the year 2050, so we must begin now to change our view of abortion, children and family or face dire world-wide consequences."
It’s nut cases like Jim Sedlak who are responsible for closing down the abortion clinic in Amarillo, and who are behind the assault on the PP clinic efforts in Austin. Contact Mr. Sedlak and let him know how you feel about his efforts.
STOPP 540-659-4171 (voice) 540-659-2586 (fax)
Interestingly, a page at the STOPP website containing links to other related sites, include a link yto a group called Dentists for Life. Nothing odd about that, until you check and realize that both Dentists for Life and STOPP have the same phone numbers and fax numbers (the ones just posted above). The president of Dentists for Life is a Dr. Craig Bozzacco, who is among those that signed a petition urging the Pope to excommunicate a slew of Democratic figures (as well as a small number of Republicans like Tom Ridge and Susan Collins) for their stands on abortion and homosexuality. Among DFL’s many contributions to the debate over abortion has been the claim that the Pill causes gingivitis. Why do DFL and STOPP have the same phone and fax numbers? It’s because they are each part of an organization called the American Life League (ALL). According to a fact sheet on the Planned Parenthood website, the organization was “founded on April 1, 1979, by five families, including that of the current president, Judie Brown. Brown had previously worked for the National Right to Life Committee (NRLC).” ALL opposes abortion, cloning, sex education, contraception, federal funding for family planning, fetal tissue/stem cell research, homosexuality, international family planning, living wills, organ donation, Planned Parenthood, reproductive technology, right to die, and welfare reform.

posted by gunther at 3:27 PM Link

Friday, November 14, 2003

Kennedy’s Neurosurgeon With the 40th anniversary of JFK’s assassination coming up, this story makes timely reading. It’s about one of the neurosurgeons who attended the president after he was brought to Parkland Memorial Hospital. He’s still alive, living in Houston, and is currently chairman of neurosurgery at Baylor College of Medicine.

He cradled John F. Kennedy's head and turned it, parting the president's hair so that he could examine the wound caused by an assassin's bullet on that unforgettable day in Dallas, almost four decades ago. Even in that breathtaking moment in Trauma Room I at Parkland Memorial Hospital, Dr. Robert Grossman thought "how handsome a man the president was." As the nation prepares to mark the 40th anniversary of the death of JFK, Grossman can't help but reflect on a day that he said he knew would leave the world a different place. Most Americans old enough to be aware of that day can tell you where they were, what they were doing, when they heard President Kennedy had died. Few recall it from the intensely personal perspective of Grossman. Now chairman of neurosurgery at Baylor College of Medicine in Houston, Grossman is a private man who has chosen to share his memories with few outside of family. Next week, he will fly to Washington, D.C., to appear on CNN's Larry King Live with other physicians who were present in the emergency room when Kennedy died. This week, in his Houston home, he talked about what he had seen as a young doctor in Dallas. It was Friday, Nov. 22, 1963, 1 p.m. Only 30 minutes earlier, the day was so ordinary, life so normal for Grossman, then an instructor of neurosurgery at the University of Texas Southwestern Medical School in Dallas, making $11,000 a year, which "wasn't that much, even in those days." Back in 1963, Grossman's small, cluttered laboratory was across the parking lot from Parkland Memorial Hospital. He remembered sitting in his lab, "chatting about nothing in particular" with Dr. Kemp Clark, head of the Department of Neurosurgery, when the telephone rang. "I answered it, and someone said, `The president has been shot, come to the emergency room!' We began running." Kennedy was already in Trauma Room I when Grossman and Clark raced in, he said. The president, comatose on a gurney, was being examined by several emergency room surgeons. Grossman said he and Clark moved forward, one on each side of the gurney. They lifted Kennedy's head and parted his hair to examine the massive gunshot injury. They were the first to discover the head wound. The other doctors had only noticed the gaping hole in the president's throat. "We turned his head and saw the wound. It was obvious that he would not survive," Grossman said. ……. …"My whole life I've had people come up to me and say, `Your father is Dr. Grossman? He saved my wife's life!' He is so kind and soft-spoken. In my family, we just never spoke about the Kennedy assassination because he placed more importance on the people whose lives he was able to save," she said. Oakley said the family understood her father's dedication to his work. "There were only two times I ever asked him to turn off his pager: during my wedding and when I gave birth to my twins. Other than that, my family lived with the idea that at any moment, he could be called to go help somebody. This is what drives him. We accepted that and we loved him for it." His face will look familiar to many Houstonians -- he's the kind-faced doctor on the Methodist Hospital billboards around town. You may have seen them; he never has. His daughter has told him, though, that his grandchildren laugh whenever they pass the billboards. "I've heard about them, sure. My grandchildren point and say, `There's Grumpy.' That's their nickname for me. It makes me laugh, but the billboards don't mean much." …. ….Grossman recently visited Parkland Memorial Hospital for the first time since he moved to Houston in 1968. "I went with my son-in-law (Jennifer's husband, Judge Bruce Oakley of the 234th District Court). It was interesting. They have a waiting room for the X-ray department where the emergency room was back then," Grossman said. It was Judge Oakley who nudged Grossman back to Parkland. "I encouraged him to go and have his oral history taken by the museum up there. We were in a cab and drove by Dealey Plaza. He had never been to Dealey Plaza. Can you imagine that? "When we went into the old Trauma Room, I think I got more emotional than he did. He is a very reserved person. There is a plaque on the wall. To me, it was like breathing history, standing next to the man who tried to save the president's life."
If you really need a “JFK assassination” fix, there’s always this website, where someone has gone to the trouble of posting the entire body of testimony given to both the Warren Commission and the House investigation into the assassination.

posted by gunther at 2:27 PM Link

Thursday, November 13, 2003

Republican Filibuster Drinking Game The Republicans are having a 30 hour filibuster in the senate to protest Democratic senator’s blocking of four judicial nominations. Scout at And Then has a post where he alludes to the overnighter as a kind of pajama party, complete with gossip about the four unfortunate victims of Democrat’s hate mongering; it’s mildly amusing. And, it comes with bonus geek trivia, namely the origins of the term”filibuster”. I dug up a bit more…

Actually, the "difficulties" referred to are somewhat inconsequential. What we know is that filibuster and freebooter are doublets, both coming ultimately from Dutch vrijbuiter "pirate", formed from vrij "free" and buiter "plunderer" (booty is a related word). This gave English freebooter in the mid-16th century. The Dutch word was apparently very useful, for the French took it, as well, but they mangled it a bit more into flibustier (not to be confused with lingerie!). English also used the French word, with various spellings, until the middle of the 19th century. The Spanish, too, took the word from the French and turned it into filibustero, and English, perhaps not realizing it already had two forms of the word in flibustier and freebooter, took filibuster from the Spanish in the mid-19th century. The only cloudy issue is how the word flibutor, yet another form of the word, entered English, i.e. directly from Dutch or via another source. However, there is only one recorded instance of it, in the 16th century. We'll put our money on the Portuguese simply by virtue of the fact that they always seem to turn up in the most unexpected places in word histories!
In any event, and unfortunately for fans of tedium, the actual filibuster began last night, and apparently was not televised in its entirety by C-SPAN. On the off chance that it gets shown on the weekend, when C-SPAN has a lot of empty air time, I thought it would be useful to have some way of passing the time. This “Filibuster Drinking Game” might do the trick. Here are the rules: Take a drink when… someone uses the word “outrageous” or “outrage” x2 if its said by Orrin Hatch someone uses the word “obstructionist” someone uses the phrase “litmus test” someone uses the phrase “original intent” someone uses the word “hypocrite” or “hypocritical” x2 if its said by Orrin Hatch x4 if Saxby Chambliss speaks x8 if Bill Frist strangles a cat x2 if Trent Lott gets to speak outside of the 1:00am to 6:00am time window

posted by gunther at 4:24 PM Link

Monday, November 10, 2003

Still More on Chris Danze. Here’s some more background information on the guy behind the PP boycott in Austin. He’s featured in this post from last December, detailing a continuing series of protests that were occurring at Austin's Reproductive Services (Repro) clinic. It’s a long post, but search for the word “Danze” and you get a photo of him (2nd from the left, I believe), as well as his wife and two of his sons. They’re apparently on some kind of family outing. To his credit, Danze was one of the main people behind the establishment of something called “Our Lady of the Angels Maternity Shelter” in Austin, which has as it’s stated goal “to provide shelter to women in crisis pregnancies by offering a loving and stable family environment to support the mother and child in their efforts to create a hopeful future for themselves”. Nevertheless you could argue that the Shelter’s services wouldn’t be needed if people like Danze minded their own business and didn’t make a habit of harassing abortion clinics, but damn it, no one ever said the man was perfect. I’ll finish off with a brief sample from our friends at FreeRepublic, who have started to address this topic in some of their message boards. Just read them and feel the love… Given the anti-growth sentiment of the environazis who run our local politics, I'm surprised a baby death chamber could be built at all without an environmental impact study and all the red tape they would make you go through just to put up a structure. The PP spokeshag did say, unashamedly, that the new center would be used for abortions. Maybe a creative architect could design it to look like a back-alley for them. 1 posted on 11/05/2003 3:43 PM PST by Tall_Texan They need some kind of recognizable symbol, just like the candycane stripes for the old barber shop ... A coat hanger perhaps? And a brand of course: "BabiesNoLongerRUs" 8 posted on 11/05/2003 4:01 PM PST by WOSG (I SUPPORT COLONEL WEST.) SerialKillers'R'Us" should be PP-hood's shingle name, but we know they wouldn't stand for that much truth being said about them. 14 posted on 11/05/2003 4:30 PM PST by MHGinTN I would just shorten it to "DEADBabiesRUs". 28 posted on 11/06/2003 7:21 AM PST by DrewsDad

posted by gunther at 1:55 PM Link

Abortion Rights Switcheroo Following up on the other day’s post concerning the Planned Parenthood boycott that’s going on in Austin, I’m posting some new contact information of individuals involved in the boycott. Chris Danze is the person who started the whole thing. When I first read the articles I found about the boycott, I thought that Danze just happened to be a contractor who’d heard about the construction, and then decided to rally the troops to shut it down. Essentially, it was his role as contractor that jumped out at me. I simply assumed that this became an issue for him only when the construction on the clinic started, e.g. perhaps he’d been contacted to do some work and decided that it was against his moral principles, leading him to organize the boycott. I don’t know for a fact whether he’d been a candidate to work on the site, but it seems I was wrong about one thing. Danze has been lurking around abortion facilities in Austin for quite a while. It seems more likely now that he saw the construction effort as an opportunity to use his unique set of contacts to do something he’s long been working towards, namely shutting down abortion services in Austin. Consider this article, which appeared at in early June. The article relates the story of a Peter Kropf, who had formerly been the owner of an OB/GYN clinic in Austin and had (for reasons that aren’t described) left the business. In the middle of the article I found this little tidbit: Kopf, the former owner of the Austin OB/GYN clinic, told pro-lifers he'd never been happier since he left the business. Austin activist Chris Danze, a leader of the witnesses faithfully proclaiming truth every Friday and Saturday at the clinic, and dentist Dr. Don Hartsfield have both been telling him of the Christian faith and he's listening. So Danze isn’t some “Johnny Come Lately” to the anti-choice movement. Rather, it seems he was obsessed enough to have been the leaderof a bunch of wingnuts who were showing up every Friday and Saturday to do god’s work. Call me cynical, but this puts him in a slightly less sympathetic light, in my opinion. Was there more? Oh, yes, yes. A website called “Family News In Focus” featured an article dated September 26 that covered the boycott. Most of the article contains material I covered in the initial posting, but towards the end of the story was the following passage: “Danze, meanwhile, isn't stopping with one abortion clinic. He has plans to round up like-minded suppliers to deny pest control and even bottled water to the entire abortion industry in Austin.” If you aren’t convinced by now that Danze is a major league religious nut asshole who needs to be taken down a peg, then you probably never will be. So, at the risk of being redundant, here once again is his contact information, which I intend to keep posting as long as this travesty continues: Home Tel.: (512) 306-1326 Maldonado & Danze Inc Business Tel.: (512) 837-9677 email: There’s a new addition to our dishonor role today. While searching for information on Chris Danze, I came across an article that includes a quote from a certain Craig Teykl. Mr Teykl was quoted in an article about the boycott. Controversy surrounds a new construction project in South Austin, but that's not stopping work from beginning. Six years and more than $4 million later, construction at the newest Planned Parenthood site on Ben White Blvd. is underway. But the Austin area pro-life concrete contractors and suppliers are refusing to work on the project. The group doesn't object to some of the services that will be provided there, but they do oppose abortion. "Our stance is a construction community as a Christian community, that no matter what good that they provide, the killing of one innocent boy or girl does not justify all the goods that they think they will be providing at these facilities," says pro-life contractor Craig Teykl. OK, so Craig Teykl allows himself to be identified in a media report as a “pro life contractor”. He appears to be a willing and enthusiastic member of the group involved in the boycott, and for that reason you, Craig Teykl, have earned a spot on the dishonor role. Teykl manages the Austin branch of a company called “Aggregate Haulers LP”. Call his office and let him know you don’t appreciate his efforts to infringe on women’s rights, and that you’ll do what you can to see that his company gets no work from anyone you know. Here’s the phone number of his office: Craig Teykl Business: (512) 389-1400 (Austin) If you feel like it, put in a good word for Craig at his head office in San Antonio. The president of Aggregate Haulers LP is someone named Randy Wyatt. While I know nothing about Mr. Wyatt’s views on abortion or matters of choice, I think he deserves to know that one of his key employees is quite publicly involving the company that he owns in such a touchy matter. Ask Mr Wyatt how he feels about the publicity he stands to get from this affair, and whether he thinks his business might suffer if some potential customers get the idea that Aggregate Haulers LP is anti-choice, and take their business elsewhere. Randy Wyatt, President, Aggregate Haulers LP Office: 210-492-5501 Fax: 210-492-0031 email: More about David Bereit. I found the following at a site called It seems that Mr. Bereit is in the habit of using false names to get information about Planned Parenthood activities. Here’s the story: With our local Planned Parenthood going full speed toward building a new clinic here in Austin, they've attracted the attention of the Pro Lifers, who seem to be concentrated in Bryan, TX, rallying around their head propagandist, David Bereit. Apparently last week Mr. Bereit sent an email to our local chapter requesting more information about The Choice Project (the campaign raising funds for the new clinic). My friend who works at PP admin offices received the message, which was from a B.E. Reit. Sensing something odd, my friend Googled and they soon discovered that "B.E. Reit" is actually David Bereit, an outspoken Anti-Choice activist. Let me share with you some of the tactics employed by these "activists." If you or someone in your car visit the PP clinic (abortions are just one of the services offered there), the Anti-Choice police will note your license plate number and send a letter to you stating that someone visited PP for an abortion (whether it is true or not). The "activists" also harass clinic employees to the tune of, "Hello, Jane Doe, we know you work at the abortion clinic. Now, we're sure you enjoy your nice life, enjoy going to First United on Sundays with your son and daughter, who attend John Doe Elementary School. We're sure you wouldn't want anything to happen..." Now, these are factual accounts of things that have happened, told to me by my friend who works at PP. I'm recounting them here, because these people, purporting to be doing God's work, employ the most terroristic methods of deception. I cannot believe it is God's work they're doing, and it strikes me as not only hypocritical, but pathological and criminal. It's sickening and infuriating. Things are heating up locally. The Groundbreaking for the new clinic is on September 23rd, and the protesters are sure to be there. I just did an emergency web site tweak to remove all donor and staff names from the project's web site (so they won't be harassed by the Anti-Choicers). So David Bereit gives false identities over the phone in order to gain access to information about the organization that is raising funds for the new clinic. Very interesting. I’m sure that all he wanted to do was send all the donors a “Thank You” note. Here is some more information concerning the activities of “Coalition for Life”, the group that Bereit heads: Seven days a week, ten hours a day, picketers line the sidewalk, trying to change hearts and minds. On Wednesdays, when abortions are performed, they hold placards ("Please pray! 1654 babies have been killed at Planned Parenthood in Bryan"), beseeching each woman who arrives to turn back. "Mom, we want to talk to you!" they cry, or "Please don't kill your baby!"… What anyone passing by the squat, beige building on Twenty-ninth Street cannot see is the human drama that plays out each day inside the clinic. This is not just a place where questions of faith, conscience, and biology collide. It is also a place where a task as simple as opening the mail is done with caution. Here, the fear of violence has lingered for so long that its presence has become almost ordinary, as much a part of the fabric of life as the bulletproof vests that are casually slung over the backs of staffers' chairs. What rattles employees more than the protesters who stand at the gates is the enemy they cannot see—the people in their community who have, for four years, waged a campaign of intimidation. "Wanted" posters bearing a photograph of the clinic's doctor have been tacked to telephone poles all over town. Postcards with pictures of dismembered fetuses have been sent to clinic employees' neighbors, warning them of the "baby killer" in their midst. Nurses have been followed, volunteers harassed. Even clients have not been spared. The parents of several A&M students have learned of their daughters' abortions from postcards that arrived in the mail…. ANYONE WHO ROUNDS THE BEND ON Twenty-ninth Street and pulls into the clinic's driveway arrives at a building that looks like a military outpost in enemy territory. "No firearms allowed" warns one sign on the front door. "Trespassers will be prosecuted" reads another. An eight-foot black security fence rings the clinic and the parking lot. Nine surveillance cameras watch the perimeter of the building, which has been fortified with a fire-retardant roof and windows made of bullet-resistant glass. If the perimeter is breached, the exterior doors can be locked with the push of a button. … DYANN SANTOS FIRST SAW THE "Wanted" posters as she drove to work one morning in the summer of 1999. They were hard to miss. Every time she stopped at a red light or took a right turn on her route from College Station to Bryan, a poster bearing a photo of the clinic's doctor fluttered at eye level from a street sign or a telephone pole. "Someone knew my way to work," she said. "Someone had planned this out for me to see." Soon her neighbors began receiving postcards. "Under current Texas law, abortion providers, like convicted sex offenders, are required by state law to register with the State," they read, listing her home address. Farther down, the tone became more informal: "Please feel free to call Dyann at [her home number] or possibly catch her in the Wal-Mart parking lot. She drives a small 1999 silver Honda with Texas Tag [her license plate number]." Dozens more postcards arrived without return addresses. One listed the "body count" Santos was responsible for and the warning "God has his own way of keeping score!" And so she took precautions. She transferred her teenage son to a private school. She took different routes home. She changed her phone number, twice. She stopped taking walks at night. Not all the harassment has been anonymous. Debbie McCall, the clinic's community service director, was manning a Planned Parenthood booth at an A&M health fair two years ago when a man she had never seen before ran up and threw a note at her, then disappeared into the crowd. Across the piece of paper was written one word: "Murderer." At another health fair that year, a man whom McCall had observed picketing the clinic before approached her. "I'm keeping an eye on you," he said with a grin. "You should be careful driving home down that lonely highway." McCall commutes from the town of Crockett, 72 miles away, along a two-lane road that threads through farmland. "I felt the hair stand up on the back of my neck," she recalled. Still, she had little recourse. As with the anonymous mail and the "Wanted" posters, no one had broken the law. No threats of "imminent bodily injury," as the law requires, had been made. "They go right up to the edge of the law," observed Melissa Reyna, a nurse who worked at the clinic for three years. "They keep pushing that line a little further. The concern when I worked there was that someday, someone—that one loose cannon out there—would step over the line." Planned Parenthood believes that the coalition has either participated in the anonymous mail campaign or knows who is carrying it out. "The coalition's members stand outside the clinic and write down license plate numbers," said Dr. Elizabeth Berigan, a local internist and a member of the Planned Parenthood board. "The postcards have slowed down, but when clients used to get them, it was always a few days after they visited the clinic, at the address their cars were registered to. This isn't rocket science. If the coalition isn't sending the postcards, they're not keeping very good control over their notes." Here once again is contact information for Mr Bereit, or Mr. Reit, or whatever he is calling himself these days: David Bereit, Executive Director COALITION FOR LIFE 3601 East 29th Street, Suite 8 Bryan, Texas 77802 Phone: 979-846-2825 Fax: 979-846-0389 E-mail: Home Tel.: (979) 690-3009 The Ambassador’s Speakers Bureau represents David Bereit when he moonlights as a motivational speaker. Here’s their contact info: Toll-Free Phone: (877) 425-4700, ext. 235 Fax: (615) 661-4344 E-mail: Mark Lynn Proeger I don’t know any more about this guy than I was able to discern from the one article he was quoted in last week. He seems to be a small player, a supporter of the boycott but not necessarily involved in it himself. Nevertheless, he’s quoted in at least news article supporting the boycott, and I learned that he’s trolled around at least one website that has addressed this issue, gleefully proclaiming how successful the boycott is. This is the number of an Austin coffeehouse where he holds a weekly “LQFA” meeting (“Lots of Questions, a Few Answers”). Call them up and let them know how you feel about the fact that they host an event run by someone who opposes women’s rights. Spiderhouse Coffee Shop Business Tel.: 512 480 9562

posted by gunther at 11:45 AM Link

Sunday, November 09, 2003

New Blog Showcase Apparently I have now joined the League of Liberals. My first duty is to cast a vote in the new blogs Showcase over at the Truth Laid Bear. So, after much consideration I'm linking to this post at Clarified. It's a brief piece on the helicopter downing of last week, which contrasts the treatment given the victims of the September 11th attacks with the anonymity accorded thoise who continue to be killed in Iraq. Check it out.

posted by gunther at 8:23 PM Link

Thursday, November 06, 2003

Harassment and Boycott Threat Stalls Construction of Planned Parenthood Clinic in Austin Planned Parenthood of Austin was in the process of constructing a clinic in Austin. Those plans have run into problems because the main contractor on the project has pulled out after harassment from anti-abortion activists. here are some details from an article in the Austin American Statesman: Austin American Statesman - Construction on Planned Parenthood's South Austin clinic took a hard hit this week when the project's general contractor walked away because of intense pressure from abortion opponents. Planned Parenthood officials said Browning Construction -- a San Antonio company that is one of the state's largest building contractors -- broke its contract to oversee construction of the 9,931-square-foot clinic. "They were afraid their business could not survive this project," said Glenda Parks, CEO of Planned Parenthood of the Texas Capital Region. In a written statement, company President James Browning said, "We have requested that the construction contract be terminated because we are unable to secure and retain adequate subcontractors and suppliers to complete the project in a timely manner, due to events beyond our control." Planned Parenthood has not decided whether to take legal action and is exploring its options. … …Parks said two other contractors have volunteered to spearhead the construction but wouldn't give their names. Though work on the building has slowed, she said it has not stopped. …Browning's departure comes after hundreds and possibly thousands of people across the country participated in an Austin-led campaign to cripple the project. In September, Chris Danze -- president of Maldonado & Danze, a concrete construction contractor -- organized a boycott. "Planned Parenthood is an organization with a health care wrapper, but it is a social movement at its core," he said. It's "a social movement that promotes sexual chaos, especially among our youth. Out of this sexual chaos comes the violence of abortion. That is the heart and soul of this movement." The 48-year-old Austin man, who said he personally assists women who have troubled pregnancies, persuaded concrete suppliers to boycott the project. He kept a list of companies that worked on the facility, contacted churches and asked pro-life supporters to call the contractors. Word got out. News outlets across the country picked up the story, including the Christian Broadcasting Network, Parks said. Hundreds of people called companies working on the clinic. One contractor received 1,200 calls to his business line, Parks said. Another received several hundred at his home. Parks said the contractors felt harassed and threatened. Danze said he has told callers to be polite and respectful. "The calls involved two elements," Danze said. "The first is that it's wrong to build an abortion chamber. The second is that it's bad for future business." Former Austin Mayor Bruce Todd called that "economic blackmail." "It's about tyranny," he said. "It's about harassment." More information can be obtained from a website offering a “Pro-life” perspective: The conservative, pro-family residents of Austin, Texas, are shouting "Not in my back yard" to Planned Parenthood, and builders as far away as San Antonio are listening. As News 8 Austin first reported, the general contractor overseeing the construction of an abortion clinic has pulled out amid a burgeoning boycott by subcontractors. Browning Construction confirmed for WorldNetDaily it has abandoned Planned Parenthood's $6.2 million "Choice Project." WorldNetDaily reported local concrete contractor Chris Danze organized a boycott of the project shortly afterwards seeking to "stop it, slow it down or make it more expensive." "Planned Parenthood and its agenda is bad for our community, bad for women and bad for children," Danze told WorldNetDaily, calling Browning's decision to pull out "very good news." Danze, chairman of the Austin Area Pro-Life Concrete Contractors and Suppliers Association, sent a letter to more than 750 chief executives of construction-related companies in Central Texas and San Antonio, asking them not to supply materials or work on the clinic. The letter was signed by 88 local business owners, physicians, friends and family members. In the past six weeks, the boycott has gained momentum with the lumber supplier, roofing supplier and air conditioning contractor climbing on board, according to boycott supporters. Danze says as many as 70 contractors officially registered their participation and several others have unofficially pledged cooperation but do not want to be named. "We are up against monumental odds here, but the funny thing is that we seem to be winning this thing," Mark Lynn Proeger, pastor at nearby University of Texas, told WorldNetDaily. "I think things are screeching to a halt." …"The location of the clinic will undoubtedly invite some people of lower income and those with less educational opportunities to find a 'quick solution' to their struggle. This also is unfortunate." Bishop Gregory Aymond, leader of the Catholic Diocese of Austin told the Austin American-Statesman. The Brazos Valley Coalition for Life has held prayer vigils and protests near the construction site. The coalition is locked in a battle with Planned Parenthood over another clinic in its back yard in Bryan, Texas. David Bereit, an A&M graduate who gave up his pharmaceutical sales job to become the coalition's executive director at two-thirds the salary, aims to wear out the clinic's resolve by eroding its client base and financial support. "Can there be a resolution that allows abortions to continue? From our perspective, absolutely not because the stakes are too high," Bereit told the Houston Chronicle. …"Everything we're doing is legal, ethical and moral and we'll continue," Danze told WorldNetDaily. "We have truth and grassroots support and that will outweigh the support from washed up politicians," he added. Okay, so all’s fair in love and war. But it seems to me that the folks behind this boycott/harassment campaign should be fair targets as well. If they think that it is their right to threaten the economic livelihood of people they don’t agree with, and call them at their home or place of business, they should be prepared to accept the same treatment. With that in mind, I’m posting below contact information for some of the individuals mentioned in the story as being behind this effort. Please use this information responsibly. Be polite but firm. Let them know that you don’t appreciate their infringement on individual rights. Call often. For businesses, let them know that you will boycott them and encourage others who do business with them to do the same. Christopher Danze Home Tel.: (512) 306-1326 Maldonado & Danze Inc Business Tel.: (512) 837-9677 David Bereit Home Tel.: (979) 690-3009 Bereit is represented by the Ambassador’s Speakers Bureaufor his role as a motivational speaker. Feel free to call them and let them know how you feel about the fact that they represent a client who has no regard for women’s rights. Toll-Free Phone: (877) 425-4700, ext. 235 Fax: (615) 661-4344 E-mail: Mark Lynn Proeger He lives in Austin. There is a contact number for a church he works at, but I do draw the line somewhere. However, he is in the habit of leading a series of informal meetings (“LQFA ; Lots of Questions, a Few Answers”) discussing faith type issue at a local coffee house. Call them up and let them know how you feel about the fact that they host an event run by someone who opposes women’s rights. Spiderhouse Coffee Shop Business Tel.: 512 480 9562

posted by gunther at 1:31 PM Link

Tuesday, November 04, 2003

Evolution And Texas Schools The long running, if largely ignored, battle over the textbooks used in Texas schools will come to a head when the committee charged with approving textbooks meets on Thursday and Friday. The state Board of Education will hold meetings and the main item on the agenda will be a series of decisions to approve or reject various textbooks that publishers submitted for consideration. The central issue, for those of you who aren’t familiar with the story, concerns a prolonged effort by religious activists and conservatives to change the way that the theory of evolution is taught in schools. This follows up previous efforts to challenge the way that social studies were taught. Austin American Statesman - Texas will be under the microscope this week in the fight over teaching evolution in public schools as the State Board of Education prepares to vote on biology textbooks that have been at the center of the debate. The board meets Thursday and Friday to consider proposed changes submitted by 11 publishers. The board's decisions, which could determine which textbooks publishers offer to dozens of states, will end a review process that has been marked by months of heated discussion over evolution. Religious activists and proponents of alternative science urged publishers to revise some of the 10th-grade books and want the board to reject others, saying they contain factual errors concerning the theory of evolution. Most mainstream scientists assert that Charles Darwin's theory of evolution is a cornerstone of modern research and technology. Board members can vote to reject books based only on factual errors or failure to follow state curriculum as mandated by the Legislature. "There's a bait and switch going on here because the critics want the textbooks to question whether evolution occurred. And, of course, they don't because scientists don't question whether evolution occurred," said Eugenie Scott, executive director of the National Center for Science Education. Among those questioning the textbooks are about 60 biologists from around the country who signed a "statement of dissent" about teaching evolution and who say both sides of the issue should be taught. Several religious leaders also testified against teaching evolution. Any changes to the textbooks will have implications across the country. Texas is the nation's second-largest buyer of textbooks, and books sold in the state are often marketed by publishers nationwide. Texas, California and Florida account for more than 30 percent of the nation's $4 billion public school book market. Three dozen publishers invest millions of dollars in Texas. A vocal advocate of changing the textbooks is the Discovery Institute, a nonprofit think tank based in Seattle. Institute officials have argued that alternatives to commonly accepted theories of evolution should be included in textbooks to comply with a state requirement that the strengths and weaknesses of an issue are presented. "These things are widely criticized as being problematic. They aren't criticisms we made up; they're criticisms widely held in scientific community," Discovery Institute fellow John West said. Bruce Chapman, president of the institute, said his group simply wants publishers to present strengths and weaknesses of evolution theory, and that some have done so. "We think there's much more to be done, of course, and our proposal to the board is that further changes should be made," he said. Steven Schafersman, president of Texas Citizens for Science, said there are no weaknesses in current textbooks' explanation of evolution. Publishers are required to cover evolution in science books. The Discovery Institute has referred to a theory called intelligent design: a belief that life did not evolve randomly but progressed according to a plan. No book on the mainstream market presents that theory. Although the theory has become part of the debate, Chapman said his group isn't advocating it be put into textbooks. Samantha Smoot, executive director of the Texas Freedom Network, said the Discovery Institute's arguments are rooted in religion. The Supreme Court ruled in 1962 that the teaching of creationism in public schools violates the separation of church and state. "It says that the theory of evolution can't explain the diversity of life on this planet and that there must have been a designer," Smoot said. "That is a very valid and commonly held religious perspective, but not one that is upheld by scientific evidence." The Discovery Institute has maintained that its arguments have no religious foundation, but Smoot disagrees. "The concept of intelligent design was crafted specifically to get around legal prohibitions against teaching religion in public schools," she said. "And as long as proponents of intelligent design deny that they're referring to God when they talk about the designer, they hope to be able to pull this off." At least one publisher has submitted changes in line with critics' recommendations. Holt, Rinehart & Winston has submitted a change that directs students to "study hypotheses for the origin of life that are alternatives" to the others in the book. Students also are encouraged to research alternative theories on the Internet. Okay, perhaps a bit more background would help. While longtime activists like Phyllis Schafley have been associated with attempts by conservatives to influence school curricula in Texas, a key figure now in the push to control the content of textbooks in Texas is James Leninger. Leininger is a 58-year-old San Antonio physician. [Texas Monthly, Nov 2002] - Few Texans have heard of James Leininger, as his involvement in politics takes place far behind the scenes. But his influence is pervasive. The founder of Kinetic Concepts, Incorporated, a specialty medical-bed company that made him one of the richest men in Texas, Leininger is among the state's most active political donors. He was the top contributor in the 1996 and 1998 election cycles, when he gave a total of $1.9 million and, in the latter, co-signed two last-minute loans, of $1.1 million and $950,000, respectively, to Rick Perry's campaign for lieutenant governor and Carol Keeton Rylander's bid for comptroller. In the 2002 election cycle, Leininger has again proven himself an aquifer of campaign cash: Between January 2000 and June of this year [2002], he dropped $1.5 million on state campaigns and causes. And while Leininger's giving is liberal, his leanings are decidedly not; he supports Republicans and conservative groups almost exclusively. What makes Leininger one of the most powerful people in Texas politics is less the amount of money he has given over the years than the broad reach of his spending and his commitment to a conservative agenda. By pumping tens of thousands of dollars into the previously ignored State Board of Education races, he turned an obscure committee of retired teachers into an ideological hornet's nest, whose debates over curriculum and textbook content have made national news. In addition to funding candidates personally, Leininger has launched several political action committees to support conservative judicial and legislative candidates and advocate for school vouchers. … In 1994 Texans for Governmental Integrity [a group started by Leninger] sent out a mail piece in East Texas, illustrated by a photograph of a black man and a white man kissing, which warned voters that Democratic State Board of Education (SBOE) incumbent Mary Knott Perkins had voted to approve textbooks that promoted abortion and homosexuality. Leininger also directly supported conservative SBOE candidates to the unfamiliar tune of tens of thousands of dollars, in races that had previously been low-key. "He single-handedly changed the composition of the State Board of Education," says Samantha Smoot, the executive director of the Texas Freedom Network, an organization founded in 1995 to counter religious-right initiatives. "It went from a body that had been dominated by parents and teachers to a group characterized by a bloc of members who are there simply to push a right-wing ideology." … In 1989 Leininger was instrumental in founding the Texas Public Policy Foundation (TPPF), because, he later told the Houston Chronicle, "I realized there wasn't any intellectual capital in the state of Texas." (Alas, he is neither the first nor the last to arrive at that conclusion.) Taking the Heritage Foundation, the conservative national think tank, as its model, the TPPF aimed to influence policy by publishing research reports on state issues; its early preoccupations mirrored several of Leininger's own: tort reform, vouchers, and reduced government. Working in tandem with the new SBOE members, the TPPF began objecting to textbook material deemed liberally slanted or morally suspect. The Legislature retaliated in 1995, forbidding the SBOE to question any aspect of textbook content other than "factual errors." Despite the restriction, the TPPF continued to analyze proposed books, hiring researchers to ferret out errors both of fact and of insufficient patriotism. Last winter the group helped bat down an environmental-science textbook (in large part because of a poorly written sentence linking democracy to pollution); this summer [2002] it criticized proposed social science and history textbooks for failing to disavow socialism. Some of the changes that were forced to be included in social studies textbooks during last years review by the Board of Education included; deletion of passages that describe Islam positively, addition of text on the appeal of Christianity, elimination of scientific dates so as not to conflict with Biblical timelines, deletion sections on other cultures, and elimination of critical thinking exercises that discussed social issues. For example, a reference in a sixth-grade social studies book to glaciers forming the Great Lakes "millions of years ago" was changed to "in the distant past." The phrase "Millions of years ago" supported the theory of evolution and excluded theories such as intelligent design. One publisher agreed to eliminate references to "fossil fuels being formed millions of years ago". That was last year. This year the efforts of conservatives have been directed towards changing the way that biology is taught, most significantly the way that the theory of evolution is addressed. Two key players in the battle have been the Texas Freedom Network, which is a group dedicated to fighting the influence of the religious right in Texas, and the Discovery Institute, a conservative think tank based in Seattle. A visit to the Discovery Institute website shows that among recently posted articles, while there are three articles addressing the “intelligent design” and school textbook issue, there were actually more (5) that discussed Terri Schiavo (not surprisingly, these uniformly attacked her husband and supported efforts to prolong her life). Here is more information about the Discovery Institute: [Steve Benen] - While supporters of church-state separation frequently consider groups such as the Christian Coalition and Family Research Council their principal adversaries, the Discovery Institute has quietly positioned itself as the most effective and politically savvy group pushing a religious agenda in America’s public school science classes. Founded in 1991 by former Reagan administration official Bruce Chapman, the Seattle-based Institute has an operating budget of over $2 million. "Intelligent design" creationism has become such a central feature of the organization’s work that it created a separate division, the Center for the Renewal of Science and Culture, to devote all of its time to that cause. The Institute enthusiastically endorses what law professor and ID champion Philip Johnson calls the "wedge" strategy. (See "Insidious Design," page 8.) The plan is straightforward: use intelligent design as a wedge to undermine evolution with scientific-sounding arguments and thereby advance a conservative religious-political agenda. To promote the concept, the Institute works with 48 fellows, directors and advisors who are responsible for producing research, publishing texts and hosting conferences. The Institute team includes some of the biggest names in the ID movement. Johnson serves as an advisor, while Michael Behe, David Berlinski, William Dembski and Jonathan Wells are senior fellows. All of them have advanced degrees from respected universities, giving the group a level of credibility generally denied to fundamentalist creationists at the Institute for Creation Research and Answers in Genesis Ministry. Legitimate scientists reject the validity of intelligent design concepts, however, and are unimpressed with Institute activists’ credentials. "They’re trying to make it appear like they’re scientists who just disagree with other scientists," said Lawrence Krauss, professor at Case Western Reserve University. "A number of them have scientific credentials, which helps, but in no sense are they proceeding as scientists." Over the last decade, nearly every book used in the intelligent design movement has either been distributed by the Institute or was written directly by one of the group’s scholars. Of Pandas And People, Icons Of Evolution and Darwin’s Black Box are all staples on the Discovery bookshelf. _Institute representatives are well aware of legal restrictions on religion in public schools, so they rarely use theological criticisms of evolution in their work. Behe, for example, is a Catholic with eight home-schooled children. When asked about creationism in a February interview on National Public Radio, he said it isn’t his area of expertise. "To tell you the truth, I’m not real knowledgeable about creationism," Behe said. The strategy of making ID appear scientific, and not religious, is intentional. The Institute’s Stephen Meyer co-authored an article in the Utah Law Review in 2000 critiquing the legal landscape. While Meyer noted that the Supreme Court prohibits traditional creationism from public schools because it is based on biblical literalism, he wrote that excluding intelligent design, with its "scientific" underpinnings, would be tantamount to "viewpoint discrimination." In order for that scheme to work, ID advocates at the Discovery Institute try desperately to hide a religious agenda. Occasionally, however, one of the Institute’s fellows will slip and speak his mind. Two years ago, at a National Religious Broadcasters meeting, the Discovery Institute’s Dembski framed the ID movement in the context of Christian apologetics, a theological defense of the authority of Christianity. "The job of apologetics is to clear the ground, to clear obstacles that prevent people from coming to the knowledge of Christ," Dembski said. "And if there’s anything that I think has blocked the growth of Christ [and] the free reign of the Spirit and people accepting the Scripture and Jesus Christ, it is the Darwinian naturalistic view.... It’s important that we understand the world. God has created it; Jesus is incarnate in the world." The Institute’s religious agenda has won it the backing of wealthy financiers and foundations. For example, California multi-millionaire Howard F. Ahmanson Jr., has singled out the Discovery Institute for big contributions. (Ahmanson is aligned with Christian Reconstructionism, an extreme faction of the Religious Right that seeks to replace democracy with a fundamentalist theocracy.) The Institute also has friends on Capitol Hill. In May 2000 the Institute held a briefing in the Rayburn House Office Building that attracted members of Congress and their staffs. Sen. Sam Brownback (R-Kan.) spoke at the event. Though the Discovery Institute describes itself as a think tank "specializing in national and international affairs," the group’s real purpose is to undercut church-state separation and turn public schools into religious indoctrination centers. That’s unlikely to change anytime soon. As Institute President Bruce Chapman told The Washington Times, "[Intelligent design is] our number one project." See also here for a letter written by Dr. Steven Ettinger (Ohio State University) to the Ohio Board of Education in rebuttal to a submission by the Discovery Institute when that state was considering textbook changes last year.

posted by gunther at 4:34 PM Link

Four Little Words, Revisited [Note: The original was posted on 10/28, but events since then have prompted me to bring it up to date to include reference to new material that wasn’t available at that time – G] Last Tuesday, something strange occurred, which I learned of only because I happened to catch a bit of Monday’s press briefing between Bush and Bremer. It wasn’t a formal press conference, but the two of them sat in chairs and answered a few questions from reporters. What struck me about the briefing was something that I heard just before I turned off the TV and went out the door to work. An unidentified reporter tried to ask a followup question of Bush, and was cut off in a manner that I thought was rather rude and discourteous. What I heard was Bush saying something about something (I tuned it out, as often happens when he is speaking), and then after he’d finished, a reporter started to ask a followup. Bush said (and I remember this very clearly) “That was your question”, ignored them, looked very annoyed, and proceeded to solicit a question from someone else. I remember thinking “What an asshole.” It struck me as a display of the kind of attitude you’d expect from someone who’d been catered to by servants his whole life, someone who resents it when the press is anything other than subservient. What really struck me as odd was that when I went to the Whitehouse web page later in the day to read the transcript of the entire briefing, I couldn’t find any evidence of the exchange. After reading the entire transcript over twice, it was nowhere to be found. The closest I could see to what I had witnessed earlier was the following (taken directly from the Whitehouse transcript): THE PRESIDENT: Deb, you've got a question? Q Yes, sir. Mr. President, the attacks are getting more brazen, they're getting more frequent. What do you know about who is behind these attacks? Is it Saddam? And what steps did you all discuss this morning about better protecting U.S. personnel there? THE PRESIDENT: The best way to describe the people who are conducting these attacks are cold-blooded killers, terrorists. That's all they are. They're terrorists. And the best way to find them is to work with the Iraqi people to ferret them out and go get them. And that's exactly what we discussed. What was the other part of your question? Q What steps did you discuss this morning about better protecting U.S. personnel? THE PRESIDENT: Well, I think if you -- we've hardened a lot of our targets for U.S. personnel there. And today's attacks were against places like the Red Cross, or police stations. These people will kill Iraqis. They don't care who they kill. They just want to kill. And we will find them, exactly what we discussed on how best to do so. The Iraqi people understand that there's a handful of people who don't want to live in freedom, aren't interested in their children going to schools, aren't -- don't really care about the nature of the health care they get, aren't pleased with the fact that the electricity is coming back on line, aren't happy about the fact that Iraq is now selling oil on the world markets and people are finding work. And they'll do whatever it takes to stop this progress. And our job is to work with the Iraqis to prevent this from happening. That's why we're working hard to get more Iraqi policemen; that's why we're working hard to build up the Iraqi armed forces; and that's why we're working hard with freedom-loving Iraqis to help ferret these people out before they attack and strike. And – Q But, sir – THE PRESIDENT: Randy. Q Mr. President, much of the aid offered for Iraq at the Madrid conference was in the form of loans, rather than grants. What impact might this have on your threat to veto the U.S.-Iraqi aid bill if part of the reconstruction aid is in loans? … It continues from there. I was convinced that what Bush actually said was “That was your question -- Randy”, but the transcript apparently was cleaned up so that this small section, just four little words, were removed entirely. Why? One can surmise that the original exchange doesn’t put Bush in such an attractive light, making him appear either unwilling to answer followup questions, or arrogant and condescending. If so, then someone at the Whitehouse took it upon themselves to do some creative editing. Just four little words. But they say so much about the focus this administration has on controlling every aspect of it’s image. After a delay of days, CNN finally posted a transcript of the exchange I just described, and it can be found here. This is their version of the section I described: BUSH: And our job is to work with the Iraqis to prevent this from happening. That's why we are working hard to get more Iraqi policemen. That's why we're working hard to build up the Iraqi armed forces. That's why we're working hard with freedom-loving Iraqis to help ferret these people out before they attack and strike. And... QUESTION: (OFF-MIKE) BUSH: No, that's your question. Randy? QUESTION: Mr. President, much of the aid offered for Iraq at the Madrid conference was in the form of loans, rather than grants. What impact might this have on your threat to veto the U.S. Iraqi aid bill as part of the reconstruction aid (inaudible) loans?… Pretty clearly, the Whitehouse transcript differs from what actually happened. Bush got a little snippy, and someone at the Whitehouse edited it out of the official transcript. While this episode might be considered somewhat minor, you have to wonder what the point is of posting transcripts if they’re not going to reflect what was actually said. This was brought home again by a couple of posts at Talking Points Memo, concerning Bush’s use of “see” versus “seek” in speech to Australia’s parliament (also here). What Bush actually said in Australia was: “We see a China that is stable and prosperous, a nation that respects the peace of its neighbors and works to secure the freedom of its own people." This raised a few eyebrows, but the transcript that appeared on the Whitehouse website put it a little differently, having the President say: “We seek a China that is stable and prosperous, a nation that respects the peace of its neighbors and works to secure the freedom of its own people." Which has a very different meaning. Furthermore, they had originally posted a version that used the term “see” (i.e., what he actually said), and then went back and changed it to “seek”. OK, a stupid mistake for Bush to make, getting a word like that wrong. But why cause confusion by posting what he meant to say on the Whitehouse website? Why not report his actual words? The lesson appears to be that transcripts appearing at the Whitehouse website are being massaged or tweaked to remove potentially embarrassing material.

posted by gunther at 1:35 PM Link