Sunday, April 30, 2006

"Post-Katrina Politics"

This is a very interesting and encouraging article by Fred Barnes in The Weekly Standard, describing why "Louisiana is on the verge of a political realignment from Democratic control to Republican."

Saturday, April 29, 2006

Tonight's Movie: All About Eve (1950)

I watch this film every few years, and even with repeat viewings it never grows old, over half a century since it won the Academy Award for Best Picture, as well as Oscars for Joseph L. Mankiewicz as Best Director and Writer.

ALL ABOUT EVE has it all: razor-sharp dialogue, pristine black and white cinematography, and a dream cast, including George Sanders (Best Supporting Actor), Celeste Holm, Anne Baxter, Marilyn Monroe, Gary Merrill, Thelma Ritter, and, of course, Bette Davis. When Davis, in her amazing Edith Head gown, says, "Fasten your seatbelts, it's going to be a bumpy night," it's movie magic.

Tom Keogh writes in a review at Amazon: "This is a film for a viewer to take in like a box of chocolates, packed with scene-for-scene delights..." If you haven't caught up with this film yet, you're in for a treat.

ALL ABOUT EVE is available as an extras-laden DVD, No. 1 in the terrific Fox Studio Classics series. Bonus features include two separate commentary tracks (one with Celeste Holm) and an AMC BACKSTORY documentary on the movie.

For more information, ALL ABOUT ALL ABOUT EVE by Sam Staggs is an exhaustive chronicle of the making of the film.

Friday, April 28, 2006

Tonight's Movie: Four Girls in White (1939)

FOUR GIRLS IN WHITE is a very diverting MGM "B" picture about four young ladies -- Florence Rice, Ann Rutherford, Mary Howard, and Una Merkel -- embarking on a three-year course in nursing. The three years whiz by in under an hour and 15 minutes, as the girls encounter romance, tragedy, and a train disaster along with their nursing training.

The world depicted in this film, when nurses lived in hospital dormitories and found love with handsome doctors and patients -- played in this case by Alan Marshal and Kent Taylor -- reminds me very much of the classic Harlequin romances by Betty Neels, though Neels' books were invariably set in England or Holland rather than the U.S.

The supporting cast includes Buddy Ebsen, Sara Haden, and Jessie Ralph.

FOUR GIRLS IN WHITE is part of the Turner Classic Movies library. It is not currently available on video or DVD.

Times Suspends Hiltzik, Cancels Blog and Column

The L.A. Times, in classic "bury the news" mode, has released this news about its columnist and blogger, Michael Hiltzik, on a Friday afternoon. A Times editor's note to readers is at the subject link.

Hiltzik will be "reassigned." I think that is overly generous on the Times' part, considering this isn't Hiltzik's first ethical transgression. Apparently his pseudonym "sock puppetry," as some bloggers are calling it, on top of hacking into his colleagues' email accounts while he was stationed in Moscow years ago, wasn't enough to merit firing in his employer's eyes.

Unless Hiltzik has suddenly decided to reform, what will his ethical transgression be at his next Times assignment?

L.A. Observed has a Times note to staff.

Reaction at Patterico's Pontifications.

Note: Patterico's website is one of several prominent blogs suffering from an intermittent DOS attack today, along with Michelle Malkin, Hugh Hewitt, Captain's Quarters, and Instapundit. The attack is based in Saudi Arabia. If you can't access one of these sites, keep trying.

Update: Welcome to readers of Patterico's Pontifications! Please come again. :)

Thursday, April 27, 2006

What is Arlen Specter Thinking?

I don't agree with Arlen Specter on a number of issues, but his threat to pull National Security Agency funding to block the domestic wiretapping program leaves me speechless. In order to have his way and obtain more information on the NSA wiretapping, Specter is, to be blunt, engaging in a form of blackmail, with our national security at stake.

As Ed Morrissey notes, Senator Specter needs to study the Constitution: "He correctly states that Congress has the power of the purse, and that they can withdraw funds for government operations. The same document gave the President the power to exercise military force when granted authorization by Congress -- and military force has always included the duty to conduct intelligence and surveillance of the enemy."

Tonight's Dinner: Baked Chicken with Onions, Rosemary, and Garlic

This tasty recipe came from THE ALL-NEW, ALL-PURPOSE JOY OF COOKING. Based on trying the recipe once previously, I modified the recipe slightly, cooking the chicken a bit longer, for 65 minutes; my oven seems to need longer to bake chicken than some recipes call for. (An instant-read meat thermometer is a great investment!) I waited to add the onions to the top of the chicken until after the chicken had baked 15 minutes, to prevent the onions from burning due to the longer cooking time. I found two onions was plenty, rather than the three called for in the recipe. As I've become a better cook, I've enjoyed having the confidence to modify recipes slightly to fit our needs.

The chicken was served with small red potatoes similarly roasted with rosemary and a little fresh minced garlic.

I was married for over two decades before I owned a copy of JOY OF COOKING -- we were sure missing out! It's a classic for good reason. Over the last year we've enjoyed numerous recipes from JOY's pages. The JOY pot roast recipe has become one of our family's favorites.

I'd love to get the facsimile edition of the original 1931 JOY OF COOKING at some point. This fall a 75th anniversary edition will be published.

A biography, STAND FACING THE STOVE, has been published about JOY's original authors, Irma von Starkloff Rombauer and Maron Rombauer Becker.

Gimme a Break

The California State Senate has endorsed a walkout by illegal immigrants of schools, jobs, and stores next Monday.

The Senate says this will educate the public "about the tremendous contribution immigrants make on a daily basis to our society and economy."

How many times does it have to be said? The issue is not "immigrants." The issue is illegal immigrants. The politicians know this, of course, but play with the language for maximum effect.

At the risk of sounding hard-hearted, it would do everyone a favor if illegal immigrants walked out of our schools -- permanently. They are straining our infrastructure to the seams here in California, and I'm increasingly frustrated that our representatives, including President Bush, don't seem to care. I also don't understand why those in Washington believe any new immigration laws they create for temporary worker programs and the like will improve the situation -- if we can't enforce our current immigration laws, how would we enforce the new laws?

Andy McCarthy asked today at NRO's The Corner if we could end the debate with a simple question: Can we afford to do anything about Iran with our borders wide open?

Washington needs to hear the message loud and clear that we must close the borders. Then we can talk about what to do about those already in the country illegally.

As an aside, though, I believe anyone advocating the "reconquista" movement and returning the U.S. Southwest to Mexico should be excluded from the opportunity for citizenship.

Bring Your Children to Work Day

This annual day may have dubious feminist origins, started by the Ms. Foundation as "Take Your Daughter to Work Day," but my husband's employer has turned this into a wonderful annual event for boys and girls. The children have tours, participate in hands-on activities, eat lunch with mom or dad (this year it was Outback Steakhouse hamburgers!), and end the day spending some time at the parent's desk. This year it was our third child's turn to participate.

I was thus saddened to read that some educators across the country, with their eye on average daily attendance dollars, warned parents not to participate. A superintendent in Illinois said: "I'm talking about children learning as the primary reason. The second reason is that it's how we're funded in the state." This gentleman conveniently ignores (for the sake of his Reason #2) that not all learning takes place in the classroom. Most children who accompany their parents to work will remember this special day long after whatever activities that took place in the classroom today are forgotten.

Since our daughter is homeschooled we didn't have to worry about annoying her principal or teacher. One of the things I particularly enjoy about homeschooling is not being accountable to a government employee for our personal parenting decisions.

(Hat tip: Joanne Jacobs.)

The Success of "Grey's Anatomy"

USA Today analyzes the success of GREY'S ANATOMY today, suggesting that it combines some of the best features of previous hit series such as THIRTYSOMETHING and E.R.

The article does a good job summing up the show's appeal. I've only seen Season 1 thus far, but I particularly agree that the characters feel very real because they're flawed -- while on the one hand they have "book smarts," they sometimes make career mistakes and bad "life" decisions, and hopefully will grow and mature personally as they also grow into their careers. I don't agree with some of the choices the characters make (one-night stands and getting drunk are not cool in my book), but I find them worth watching, particularly as the show examines these choices from the prism of a different theme each week. As one of the fans quoted in the article says, "The show always has some underlying theme that makes me stop and think about my own life and how it relates."

In an interesting intersection of old and new media, the writers of GREY'S ANATOMY participate periodically in a blog, Grey Matter, analyzing past episodes.

Todd Beamer's Father on "United 93"

David Beamer's son, Todd, was one of the first to die fighting the war on terror. Mr. Beamer in today's Opinion Journal:

"I encourage my fellow Americans and free people everywhere to see 'United 93.'

"Be reminded of our very real enemy. Be inspired by a true story of heroic actions taken by ordinary people with victorious consequences. Be thankful for each precious day of life with a loved one and make the most of it. Resolve to take the right action in the situations of life, whatever they may be. Resolve to give thanks and support to those men, women, leaders and commanders who to this day (1,687 days since Sept. 11, 2001) continue the counterattacks on our enemy and in so doing keep us safe and our freedoms intact."

USA Today gave the film a 4-star review.

A Decade of "Fox News Sunday"

A special on the first decade of FOX NEWS SUNDAY airs Sunday night on Fox News Channel.

Sunday morning Chris Wallace will feature Tony Snow as his "Power Player of the Week."

The Sunday roundtable in the second half of the show is one of the things I most look forward to on television each week -- especially when it features Brit Hume shaking his head or otherwise reacting with exasperation to Juan Williams. Juan seems like a nice, personable guy, but he can be so...totally clueless! :)

Wednesday, April 26, 2006

The Ramona Pageant

The L.A. Times has an interesting article on the venerable Ramona Pageant, which has been performed at the Ramona Bowl in Hemet, California, since 1923.

The pageant, based on the novel by Helen Hunt Jackson, is a community production which is said to be the longest-running outdoor play in the nation. Audiences have declined in recent years, perhaps due to competition from nearby casinos and other entertainment choices.

RAMONA, incidentally, was filmed in 1936 with Don Ameche and Loretta Young in the leads.

Reaction to Tony Snow

Mary Katharine Ham says that Tony Snow vs. David Gregory will be akin to "John Roberts vs. Joe Biden, Round 2," and that round will, of course, go to the administration.

Hugh Hewitt thinks Tony's appointment is akin to the White House "signing one of the best free agents."

Senator George Allen thinks Tony has his finger on the pulse of what's important to the American public, due to his experience in talk radio.

Tony's colleage at Fox News, Brian Wilson, thinks Tony's a bit crazy to want the job, but is happy for Tony's success.

Another Fox colleague, Mara Liasson, shares her good wishes and thoughts on Tony at NPR.

Peter Robinson, like many of us, considers this great news.

Former Bush press secretary Ari Fleischer describes the role of the press secretary in the era of the 24-hours-a-day news cycle in Thursday's Washington Post.

Here's a fun look at the website of Tony's band, Beats Workin'.

Tony, I wish you every success in your new job!

Tuesday, April 25, 2006

No. 8 To Have No. 3 Paint Job at Talladega

Dale Earnhardt Jr.'s No. 8 car will not be its usual red this weekend -- instead it will be his late father's black paint design, in honor of what would have been Dale Sr.'s 55th birthday.

(Hat tip: Holy Coast.)

30 Years Ago in Baseball (and Patriotic) History

It doesn't seem possible, but it's been three decades since the Chicago Cubs' Rick Monday saved the American flag from being burned on the Dodger Stadium outfield.

Monday became a Dodger the following year, and was a hero for the team in the 1981 playoffs, when his homer put the Dodgers into the World Series. He's been a Dodger broadcaster since 1993.

Rick and his wife are inviting essay contributions from fans who were at the game for a book they're compiling on the event. He says he still receives letters about it.

The most famous picture from that day is posted with an article in USA Today.

Wednesday Update: Here are some enjoyable comments on Rick Monday from Warren Bell at NRO's The Corner.

Tony Snow Expected to Be Named W.H. Press Secretary on Wednesday

Howard Kurtz reports that Tony Snow will be announced as the new White House Press Secretary on Wednesday. Snow has been assured he will be "an active participant in administration policy debates."

Fox News Channel has confirmed Snow's appointment to the job.

It's so nice to have good news to report about Tony Snow, who by all accounts is a wonderful human being. I've enjoyed him in his TV, radio, and news columnist roles for years, and I look forward to watching him in his new job working with President Bush.

Update: Captain's Quarters has some good thoughts on what Tony will bring to his new position.

Monday, April 24, 2006

You've Got to Be Kidding

ABC News is trying to equate Mary McCarthy's actions with Paul Revere, who was guilty of "unauthorized disclosure of British troop movements"?

This is the latest salvo in the media's defense of McCarthy...everybody leaks, you see, even Paul Revere. (Of course, on the other hand, if you're Scooter Libby and you didn't leak but you're accused of it...oh, never mind, my head hurts!)

More at Betsy's Page and Wizbang.

Byron York is waiting for McCarthy to receive the Scooter Libby treatment. He may have a long wait.

Don't miss the latest gigantic McCarthy link round-up from Allahpundit.

McCarthy Denies She's CIA Leak Source

Curious and curiouser...

Update: Ed Morrissey is skeptical of the latest pro-McCarthy spin.

Tony Snow Cleared by Doctors for W.H. Job

Good news for fans of Tony Snow, even if he decides against taking the job as White House Press Secretary. I'm delighted to hear he is doing so well after a grueling health ordeal.

UPDATE: CNN is reporting as breaking news at 7:00 p.m. PDT that Tony Snow is "likely" to take the job as White House Press Secretary.

Free Republic has a thread up to discuss the news. Tony, believe it or not, is a FReeper who uses his real name, Tony Snow, as his handle.

CNN has now posted the story on their website.

Roundup on the CIA Leaker

News has been breaking quickly, although you'd never know it from some of the media coverage. Once again it seems as though most of the heavy lifting on Mary McCarthy's background has occurred in the blogosophere, while print and TV media look the other way and even defend leaking classified material to the press.

Free Republic (subject link) has compiled a large number of relevant links.

As mentioned here last Friday, McCarthy has significant connections with the Democratic Party, including making substantial contributions to John Kerry and the DNC. McCarthy and Washington Post reporter Dana Priest are also part of a tangled web of Clinton-era bureaucrats who have made no secret of their desire to undermine the President. Rush Limbaugh spoke today about a link between Dana Priest's husband and Joe Wilson, also covered by Power Line.

Stay tuned.

Sunday, April 23, 2006

College Decision Day

No blogging today, as we were away on the last of several college visits.

With the National Response Date for college decisions one week away, it was finally time for our elder daughter to make her college choice this weekend.

I'm proud to say she was admitted to a number of fine universities, including Wake Forest University, Wheaton College, the University of Redlands, Biola University, UC Santa Barbara, and Sewanee: The University of the South. They all had unique things to offer; we joked it would be fun if she could attend each one for a semester! In recent weeks the list has been gradually whittled down for financial or other reasons.

Today she made her decision, and beginning this fall she will attend the University of Southern California (subject link). To celebrate her commitment today, she had the honor of ringing the rarely seen Victory Bell.

Fight on!

Saturday, April 22, 2006

O.C. Sheriff Carona Outraged by Deportation of Illegal Aliens

A Deputy Sheriff here in Orange County is under investigation...for enforcing the law.

The Deputy made the grievous error of handing over three illegal aliens suspected of theft to U.S. Customs and Border Protection. The women chose to voluntarily return to Mexico rather than go through deportation proceedings.

The husband of one of the women volunteered to a reporter that he planned to pay to have his wife smuggled back into the country within the week. Such is the state of illegal immigration in this country, that someone would feel comfortable publicly announcing an intent to break the law again.

The Deputy may be in trouble for "violating department policy and straining relations between Sheriff Mike Carona and immigration advocates." Deputies, you see, are currently allowed to inform immigration authorities of suspected illegal aliens in writing, but to phone authorities requires the approval of higher-ups. One can only assume that this rule is in place because by the time written notification goes through channels, the arrestees will be long gone and unable to be deported. Phoning might result in the quick response received by this Deputy.

Sheriff Carona is described as being "outraged." Unbelievably, Carona isn't outraged by those who broke the law. He's outraged at his own Deputy for alerting proper authorities about people who appeared to be in this country illegally.

I'm outraged that Sheriff Carona seems much more concerned with the feelings of lawbreakers than with supporting one of his Deputies who was attempting to uphold this nation's laws.

Tolerance For Me But Not For Thee

A Lexington, Massachusetts elementary school insists it has the right to expose young children to positive views of homosexual relationships.

The school has previously been in the news due to a controversy on the same issue at the kindergarten level. Now the parent of a 7-year-old is upset a teacher did not seek parental consent before reading the children "King and King," a storybook in which a prince finds romantic love and shares a kiss not with a princess, but with another prince.

The principal responded: "We couldn't run a public school system if every parent who feels some topic is objectionable to them for moral or religious reasons decides their child should be removed. Lexington is committed to teaching children about the world they live in, and in Massachusetts same-sex marriage is legal."

The principal further said "The Lexington school system cherishes diversity ... we welcome children and families of all backgrounds," and a school committee member similarly stated "We want all of our families and all of the children to feel that they're welcome."

Well, all families are welcome at this school unless they don't wish to have their children indoctrinated regarding sexual behavior from earliest school days. If a family happens to find homosexual behavior incompatible with their religious beliefs, I suspect that family is even less welcome. So much for true "diversity."

In a case like this where the school insists on usurping the role of "parent," parents who want to make their own decisions on when and how to expose young children to sexual concepts really have no choice other than to pay for a private school or homeschool.

L.A. Times' Tim Rutten Doesn't Get It

In today's Times, columnist Tim Rutten writes mournfully that the Times was "forced" to suspend Michael Hiltzik -- not because he's done something unethical, but because those mean right-wing bloggers want everyone in the media to be right-wing too:

"They'd like a press that is wholly blue or wholly red, one that stops bothering a nation...with inconvenient facts and doubts. That was a sentiment that came through with particular clarity this week, when the Los Angeles Times was forced to suspend columnist Michael Hiltzik's blog..."

Rutten connects dots in such odd ways it's hard to even follow the gist of his column...Hiltzik commits ethical transgressions, is called to account and suspended, and it's all a Vast Right-Wing Conspiracy.

And Rutten wonders why the "right wing" criticizes the American news media?

More discussion can be found, of course, at Patterico's Pontifications.

Friday, April 21, 2006

Strange But True: The Hiltzik Saga Continues

After all the hoopla surrounding the outing of the L.A. Times' Michael Hiltzik as someone who has responded to his own posts and commented at other blogs under varied pseudonyms, you'd think his fellow Times employees would be on their guard, right?

Unbelievably, another person with a Times address has been leaving posts at Patterico's website today defending Hiltzik. "Masha" has also posted pro-Times posts in the past.

Is "Masha" yet another Hiltzik pseudonym, or someone else at the Times with an anonymous axe to grind?

In either case, why would a Times employee, commenting from a Times account, be unwilling to post under his or her true name? One possible reason: the posts reveal the political biases that the Times would like to pretend its employees don't have.

The Times also might not like its employee calling respectable attorneys such as Patterico, Hugh Hewitt, and the Power Line lawyers "fascists."

This raises further questions about the overall judgment and maturity level of Times employees.

A comment left at Patterico's website exclaims "Good grief. It’s like cracking open a rotten egg, isn’t it?"

The Tribune Co. and the Times need to get a grip on this situation, and fast.

The Leaker at the CIA

An interesting few days -- first the Pulitzer Committee thumbed its collective nose at the nation and awarded prizes to reporters who compromised national security; then, in short order, the CIA fired one of its employees, Mary McCarthy, after discovering she leaked classified information to the press.

One can only hope that federal charges will be imminent. The New York Times, in the article at the subject link, (hopefully?) suggests that Justice Department lawyers interviewed thought McCarthy's termination could mean she would be spared criminal prosecution. I fail to see any logic in the notion that being fired is a "get out of jail free card" for someone who has leaked classified information to the press.

Fox News, on the other hand, quoted "a senior law enforcement official" as saying that "if the person admitted to leaking classified information," as apparently happened in this case, "it would be almost negligent not to prosecute them for breaking the law." Exactly.

McCarthy was a Clinton appointee who worked for Sandy "docs in his socks" Berger; she was also a financial supporter of John Kerry, which adds additional questions regarding her motivations to damage the Bush Administration's prosecution of the War on Terror.

Ed Morrissey has a fascinating post at Captain's Quarters speculating about how McCarthy may have been caught. What if it turns out that the Washington Post's Dana Priest won her Pulitzer for a story that was actually fabricated to catch leakers?

Further details at The Strata-Sphere here and here.

Gilmore Girls Creators Leave Show

The news that GILMORE GIRLS creators Daniel Palladino and Amy Sherman-Palladino are leaving the series at the end of Season 6 will cause consternation among GILMORE fans everywhere.

The Palladinos aren't always pitch-perfect -- any regular viewer can tell you immediately exactly what they've done wrong this season -- but they've created and maintained a unique, high-quality series for several seasons now, and their contributions to one of TV's finest programs will be greatly missed. They've made Stars Hollow a wonderful place to visit, and for that this viewer is extremely grateful.

Michael Hiltzik: Two Strikes and You're Out

Patterico (linked above as well as here) doesn't think L.A. Times writer Michael Hiltzik has committed a firing offense by responding to his own articles under pseudonyms, and that the embarrassment of public disclosure and the suspension of his Golden State blog is sufficient.

I strongly disagree.

Strike No. One: Hugh Hewitt has painstakingly compared Hiltzik's behavior against the Times' Code of Ethics, and Hiltzik comes up more than short.

One portion of the code cited by Hugh: "Fabrication of any type is unacceptable. We do not create composite characters. We do not use pseudonyms." Unless a writer is creating composite characters and pseudonyms for himself rather than a subject of an article?

Strike No. Two: One of Hiltzik's regular targets, Catherine Seipp, shares interesting background at National Review Online. Seipp recounts another disturbing incident in Hiltzik's long career with the Times: 12 years ago Hiltzik was transferred out of his Moscow correspondent's job for the Times after it was discovered he'd hacked into his colleagues' email accounts.

My opinion: Two strikes and you're out.

I can't imagine why the Times, which is struggling to stay afloat in more ways than one, would retain the services of someone who has proven on multiple occasions to have such a juvenile temperament and poor judgment, and that's phrasing it charitably.

Based on Hiltzik's questionable ethical history, the L.A. Times would also be wise to start examining Hiltzik's past writings with a fine-toothed comb.

Update: Here's a piece from Independent Sources corroborating Cathy Seipp's account of Hiltzik's Moscow history. (Hat tip: Chris from Victoria, BC via Patterico's Comments section.)

Further Update: Cathy Seipp reports on her blog today that the Times is, indeed, investigating Hiltzik's work for "other signs of dishonesty."

Friday Night Update: Patterico reports that the Hiltzik story is moving into more mainstream press outlets (such as The San Francisco Chronicle) thanks to the Associated Press. It doesn't appear this story will be going away in the immediate future.

Thursday, April 20, 2006

George Will on Eminent Domain

An excellent article by Will on a disturbing eminent domain case in Ohio, which has also been covered by Sean Hannity on his radio show.

L.A. Times Suspends Hiltzik's Blog

The Times has suspended Michael Hiltzik's blog -- but not Hiltzik, at least yet -- and is "investigating" the allegations that he has posted on his own blogs, as well as elsewhere, under assumed names.

See my post below for further details.

I'll be interested in whether my query to the L.A. Times Readers' Representative receives a response, and in the content of same.

Update: L.A. Times Reader Representative Jamie Gold has responded with a copy of the Times' blog suspension notice.

I'm currently unable to bring up Hiltzik's blog and suspect it's crashing due to heavy interest about the suspension notice posted by Times management.

Thursday Night Update: Captain Ed weighs in on Hiltzik and blogging anonymity.

L.A. Times' Hiltzik Anonymously Praises Own Blog?

Patterico's Pontifications has a fascinating article in which he lays out the case that Los Angeles Times blogger Michael Hiltzik has used assumed names to pad his own blog with positive comments as well as to comment on Patterico's blog.

Hiltzik today does not directly contradict Patterico's assertion, and seems to obliquely confirm it by defending commenting anonymously on blogs.

While it might be standard practice for some bloggers to blog or leave comments more or less anonymously -- for instance, my own blog does not publicly disclose my last name -- if Patterico's allegations are true, Hiltzik's practice of defending his own work under assumed names seems entirely inappropriate for a journalist blogging as part of his paid duties at a newspaper.

It is a telling commentary on Hiltzik's lack of confidence and/or lack of public support that he apparently feels the need to make his arguments and support his public persona under these multiple identities instead of standing up for his point of view under his own name.

L.A. Observed questions if what Patterico has done isn't rather akin to a journalist using an assumed name to write letters to the editor praising his own work. I think that's an apt observation. I believe a writer would be fired for engaging in such a deceptive practice, and if the case against Hiltzik holds up, I think the Times needs to take a very serious look at Hiltzik's journalistic ethics and whether he and/or his blog should continue at the paper.

I also believe the Times needs to add a paragraph prohibiting their employees from commenting on the same blogs under multiple names to their employee code of ethics. It's quite sad this even needs to be spelled out for Times employees, but there you have it.

Hugh Hewitt wants to know what the L.A. Times thinks of this. As one of the Times' rapidly dwindling number of paying subscribers, I want to know too.

Update: National Review's Media Blog and Hugh Hewitt have more. Representatives of the Times and the parent Tribune Co. declined to respond to Hugh's producer, Duane.

This afternoon I have emailed the Times' Reader Representative, identifying myself as both a subscriber and blogger, and asked that the Times respond with their position on Hiltzik's ethical practices if the allegations at Patterico's website are, in fact, true.

Further Update: Welcome to readers of Hugh Hewitt!

As mentioned in my post above, the Times' Reader Representative, Jamie Gold, sent me an email this afternoon containing the text about the blog's suspension published on the Times' website.

Thursday Night Update: Welcome to readers of The Asylum.

Tony Snow Undecided on White House Job

Snow said today that "The most attractive thing about an offer from the White House at a time like this is...you've got to put your money where your mouth is." On the other hand, he also said, "Who wants to take a pay cut to become a piñata."

Tony and his family have been through a great deal in recent years, and I wouldn't be surprised if he ultimately decided against taking on a demanding White House job. If he decides to do it, I think he'd be terrific.

As a side note, one can only imagine how some commentators will harp about Fox News being "pro-Bush" if Tony takes on the White House job -- never mind the large number of liberals who move back and forth from politics to media and back again.

Thursday Evening Update: Negotiations apparently continue between Tony Snow and the White House, according to The New York Times. The new Chief of Staff, Josh Bolten, "has been focused on finding a new White House press secretary with good contacts in the Washington news media and a deep understanding of how they work."

Wednesday, April 19, 2006

"thirtysomething" Actors Move Behind the Cameras

USA Today has a good article on the behind-the-cameras success of some of the actors from one of my all-time favorite TV shows, THIRTYSOMETHING. Ken Olin, Timothy Busfield, and Peter Horton now executive produce ALIAS, WITHOUT A TRACE, and GREY'S ANATOMY, respectively, while continuing to act occasionally.

Busfield, who has had a recurring role as reporter Danny Concannon on THE WEST WING, is appearing in the final episodes of that show.

I've never seen ALIAS or WITHOUT A TRACE, but I enjoyed watching the first season of GREY'S ANATOMY on DVD. It occasionally veered into the tasteless, but it's a unique spin on the traditional medical drama, with memorable characters and a nice mix of humor and romance.

I'm anxiously hoping for an extras-laden DVD release of THIRTYSOMETHING, if its busy former cast members can find the time to do it right; ideally each season's set should contain numerous commentaries and the reunion program which aired on Bravo a few years ago.

Brit Hume Profiled by Howard Kurtz

Kurtz has written a detailed biography of Hume which offers new insights into the best news anchor on television, who says he tries "to make Washington political journalism consistent with an effort to lead a Christian life."

It's an outstanding piece. I simply hope that Brit won't retire in three years to play golf, we need him around for much longer than that!

(Hat tip: Betsy's Page.)

Tony Snow a Candidate for W.H. Spokesman

Fox News reports that weekend anchor and radio host Tony Snow is among those under consideration to replace Scott McClellan as White House spokesman.

I love Tony and think it's an interesting idea, though I'd miss him on the radio the next few years. (He's not on locally but we can pick up late-evening reruns from a San Diego station.)

Former Pentagon spokeswoman Victoria Clark is also a candidate.

Tuesday, April 18, 2006

"Grocery Disneylands"

A fun feature article from USA Today on "destination supermarkets."

I haven't been in a Wegmans, but it sounds like a fun place to visit, though I'm not sure I could afford to actually buy the groceries!

Joanne Jacobs in Orange County April 22nd

One of my favorite education bloggers, Joanne Jacobs, dropped an email letting me know that she'll be signing her book OUR SCHOOL in Orange County this Saturday.

Joanne will be at Borders Books at South Coast Plaza this Saturday, April 22, at 2:00 p.m. Borders is on what used to be called the Crystal Court side of the mall.

There's a great Ruby's Diner just around the corner from Borders which would make a great place to stop in for lunch or dinner. :)

American Girl Limits Growth

Mattel, which acquired American Girl in 1998, is wisely growing the brand very slowly, to avoid being a fad that "would burn very brightly...and then burn out." (One need look no further than today's news reports on Krispy Kreme to see the wisdom in Mattel's planning.)

Our daughters have treasured their American Girl dolls. They are relatively expensive (we don't collect the matching furniture) but we have found them worth the investment in terms of the long-term pleasure they have brought. They are treasured "members" of the family who have even occasionally accompanied us on trips. :)

The nation's third American Girl Place opens in Los Angeles next weekend. In keeping with the strategy to limit the brand's growth, this may possibly be the last American Girl Place store opened. We will be visiting soon. :)

Charles Champlin's Autobiography

I grew up reading Los Angeles Times film critic and columnist Charles Champlin, who retired in 1991. Over the years our family would occasionally spot him at screenings of classic movies at the L.A. County Art Museum's Leo S. Bing Theater.

I was thus interested to learn in today's Times that Champlin's autobiography, A LIFE IN WRITING: THE STORY OF AN AMERICAN JOURNALIST, is being published this month. Reviewer Clancy Sigal writes of Champlin: "Unfashionably, he seems to have been, for most of his life, optimistic, happy and eminently reasonable." That's how Champlin came across to me in the pages of the Times.

Champlin previously wrote MY FRIEND, YOU ARE LEGALLY BLIND, about his loss of vision due to macular degeneration.

Monday, April 17, 2006

Interesting Homeschooling Poll

Republicans are more likely to know someone who homeschools than Democrats, according to a new Harris survey.

Another interesting statistic: one-third of all adults know someone who homeschools. That would have been unimaginable to me even a decade ago. What a commentary on both the strength of the homeschooling movement and the poor state of many of today's public schools.

(Hat tip: Spunky Homeschool.)

Pulitzer Prize: Nastiness Wins

Robin Givhan, who last summer infamously ridiculed the dress of Chief Justice John Roberts' wife and children, has just won a Pulitzer Prize for criticism.

Apparently the members of the Pulitzer Committee are unable to tell the difference between legitimate "criticism" and mean-spirited attacks.

Update: Betsy Newmark recites the details regarding some of Givhan's more outrageous columns.

Congratulations to Betsy's Page for being named Blog of the Week by Power Line!

New Disney Postage Stamps Coming Soon

Some beautiful new U.S. Postal stamps celebrating "The Art of Disney: Romance" will be released later this month.

Scroll down through the MousePlanet article (linked above) for a peek at the designs.

Sunday, April 16, 2006

Sugar Egg Memories

Who knew you could buy old-fashioned Easter sugar eggs -- the kind they no longer make, with paper dioramas inside -- on eBay?!

Easter Blessings



A very happy Easter to each and every one of you!

Saturday, April 15, 2006

Schwarzenegger Opposes Preschool Initiative

California Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger has announced his opposition to Rob Reiner's Proposition 82 "universal preschool" initiative, on the grounds that he will not support a tax increase.

Prior to this week the governor had declined to state his position on the measure. He announced his opposition after two Democrats vying for the Democrat nomination for governor announced their support.

Among the newspapers editorializing this week against Prop. 82 are the Press-Telegram and, perhaps surprisingly, the liberal L.A. Times.

I am hopeful that by June the voting public might be educated enough on the proposition's flaws to defeat it, but I remain concerned that there are too many Californians willing to let someone else ("the rich") pay the bill for their "free" preschool.

9th Circuit Strikes Again

The U.S. 9th Circuit Court of Appeals has ruled that it is unconstitutional for Los Angeles to enforce an ordinance prohibiting sleeping on public sidewalks, because it makes "the unavoidable act of sitting, lying or sleeping at night while being involuntarily homeless" a "crime."

This strikes me as very mushy thinking. Following the court's so-called logic, one could also say that a homeless, unemployed person who steals food is committing an "unavoidable act" while being "involuntarily unemployed," and that a law against hungry people stealing is "criminalizing hunger." After all, food is as necessary for survival as sleep, so stealing it might be "an unavoidable consequence of being human and homeless."

This also begs the question, is it only unconstitutional to prohibit "involuntarily homeless" people from sleeping on sidewalks? It may be an absurd example, but what if someone isn't involuntarily homeless and just likes sleeping on sidewalks? Do the homeless now have a separate class of rights from the rest of us?

Monday Update: Welcome to readers of Stop the ACLU!

Friday, April 14, 2006

CA Olive Oil Graders Flunk Taste Test

In an interesting bit of "food" news, the L.A. Times reports that the 22 members of a California panel who have certified and graded California's olive oil for the last half decade have flunked an international taste test sponsored by the International Olive Oil Council.

The California Council will try for international re-certification this year.

Laptops in School: A Negative Effect?

USA TODAY reports that providing elementary school students with laptop computers may not make any difference in student achievement, and using computers to teach reading may actually have negative results.

Perhaps someone should pass this information on to the public school in Fullerton, California, which is requiring parents to buy their children $1500 laptops or transfer out of the school.

Thursday, April 13, 2006

Reiner Commission Missing Millions?

California's First 5 Commission, until recently chaired by actor Rob Reiner, is currently investigating the disappearance of $3 million in taxpayer funds.

The commission's new chair, Hector Ramirez, has asked the LAPD and California Bureau of State Audits to help with the investigation.

Curiouser and curiouser...

Disney World's Mission: Space

A Disney World guest died this week after riding the Mission: Space ride at Epcot. The guest had some health problems, and it's unknown whether there is any connection between the ride and her death. She is the second person to collapse and pass away after going on the ride.

While the linkage between Mission: Space and the deaths of the two riders is questionable, I nonetheless would like to see Disney remove this ride. It's a very intense ride which spins riders at twice the force of gravity in order to simulate blasting off into space. You have to be careful to look straight ahead at the screen in front of you in order to reduce the chances of becoming dizzy. My two older children liked it, but the rest of us found it most unpleasant, especially as we continued to feel the aftereffects in the hour following the ride. The lines for the ride haven't been very long on our visits -- we suspect because most people don't ride it more than once!

A side note of interest is that a manager of the gently rotating Garden Grill restaurant in Epcot's The Land told us in 2004 that after Mission: Space opened they had to slow down the restaurant's rotation speed, as diners seemed to be more sensitive to the circling after riding on the Space ride. The restaurant can be programmed to make its full circle, which allows diners to view a series of farming scenes, in 45 to 75 minutes. We were told at the time of our visit that the 45-minute speed was no longer an option for the restaurant due to aftereffects felt by riders of Mission: Space. I'd be interested to know if that's still the case.

Friday Update: Mission: Space receives more than twice as many guest complaints as Disney's other rides.

Wednesday, April 12, 2006

"Hillary Looks Stoppable"

Dick Morris, writing for The Hill, says that two new polls suggest possible problems on Mrs. Clinton's road to the Presidential nomination.

I don't know a great deal about New York politics, but I have trouble reading much positive into the poll Morris cites regarding Hillary's re-election chances. She's still got over a 20-point lead. It's true her opponent has yet to campaign, but the Republican opposition to Hillary has been sadly feeble since Rudy Guiliani had to bow out last time around, and I'm not expecting much better this year. I would be delighted to be persuaded otherwise.

That said, it's fun to read what Morris is seeing in the tea leaves, and any hope that Hillary may be stopped is always welcome.

Today at Disneyland

It was another beautiful spring day at Disneyland today. Below, the view on Main Street, USA:



We had a grand time, including rides on Space Mountain and Indiana Jones. We also got soaked on the Grizzly Rapids at Disney's California Adventure! Below is a view from DCA.

Tuesday, April 11, 2006

Stay-at-Home Mothers in Holland Could Be Fined

A member of the Dutch parliament has suggested fining college-educated women who choose to be stay-at-home mothers, saying that a highly educated woman who chooses to stay at home is guilty of "destruction of capital" by not using her government-funded education in the paid work force.

This Human Events article by Joseph D'Agostino makes a number of interesting points and is well worth a read.

(Hat tip: Spunky Homeschool.)

The NYT Reviews Julia Child's Memoir

"Exuberant, affectionate and boundlessly charming."

My copy arrived today. :)

College Admissions: The "Perfect Storm"

A good USA Today article on a subject that's currently near and dear to our hearts: the college admissions process, which this year is said to be more competitive than any other year. As with the students mentioned in the article, we've heard of students whose acceptances and rejections seem to be very "random," given their qualifications.

We are fortunate that our daughter has a number of good college options. Today we toured USC.

We'll be relieved when the decision-making process winds up over the next couple weeks!

Monday, April 10, 2006

Everything Old Is New Again

Jack Kelly (above) and Power Line on the media's remarkable ability to recycle an old news story into a brand-new headline.

Searching for Ben Franklin's Library

A fascinating article about a decades-long detective project to reconstruct Benjamin Franklin's personal book collection, which was largely sold off by his grandson over two centuries ago.

Sunday, April 09, 2006

College Board Sued For SAT Scoring Errors

It was only a matter of time...the New York Times has more on the filing of the class-action lawsuit.

It strikes me that the College Board has gradually acquired far too much power over students' futures -- and consequently their errors have devastating results. Unfortunately, when one company's sloppiness can destroy a student's chances of college acceptances or scholarships, the company saying "We worked day and night" to belatedly correct the errors just doesn't cut it. The College Board's credibility has been deeply undercut not only by the errors themselves, but by the way the company slowly released the bad news, which grew worse with each successive press release.

Something needs to be done to rein in the power of the College Board and its tests over students' futures. Test scores can be valuable tools, but they're only one part of the overall picture. Perhaps colleges placing greater emphasis on students' overall records and placing less reliance on the scores is one future possibility. As mentioned here earlier this week, an increasing number of universities are making the SAT and ACT tests optional.

Pending CA Bill Requires Schools Teach Gay History

There is a disturbing bill up for consideration in the California legislature, which would require history textbooks to teach the contributions of gay people in our nation's history.

As Karen England of Capitol Resource Institute says: "If we're discussing history, who someone had sex with is inappropriate." There's simply no need for the subject to come up...except that it fits in with the agenda of gay activists to "normalize" gay lifestyles in the eyes of children.

As Joanne Jacobs writes, California is one of the nation's biggest textbook purchasers so publishers often create textbooks to fit California requirements...then the rest of the nation also gets stuck with the same books.

Music and the Secretary of State

The New York Times has a terrific article on Condoleezza Rice and her regular participation as the pianist in a chamber music group.

Where she finds the time, I don't know! It's great that she makes the effort to keep up with important interests in her life beyond her career.

(Hat tip: Betsy's Page.)

Here's an interesting transcript of a public radio interview with Rice from 2005 in which she also discusses her love for music. I found it of interest that one of her professors at the University of Denver was Madeline Albright's father.

Friday, April 07, 2006

Cherry Ames Memories

Somehow I missed the Cherry Ames series growing up, but this delightful article causes me to want to make up for lost time. :)

I can relate to the author's desire to collect the exact editions she read as a girl. One of the most exciting days in my book-buying life was when I stumbed across an "Orchard House" edition of Louisa May Alcott's JACK AND JILL with color illustrations by Beatrice Stevens. I had checked it out of the library innumerable times and was thrilled to finally have it on my own shelf.

It's amazing how looking at the illustrations in a beloved book conjures up childhood memories.

College Rejection Rates High This Year

College rejection letters are going out at unusually high rates this year due to a variety of factors. More students than ever are applying to college, and fear of rejection due to the stiff competition, combined with the ease of filing the Common Application, has also led students to apply to more colleges than ever before.

Several Ivy League schools have set their all-time low admit rates this year.

The news for prospective college students isn't all bad. USA Today reported earlier this week that more colleges are making the SAT and ACT tests optional.

We feel fortunate that our daughter has several good college options. We'll be touring a couple more campuses over the next few days. Once her decision is made, hopefully life -- and blogging -- will settle back into a more "normal" pattern!

Update: Applicants to Columbia University figured out a clever way to learn whether or not they'd been accepted: they contacted FedEx to see if a package was on the way. The university sent acceptances via FedEx but "thin envelopes" by the U.S. Postal Service.

Dr. Krauthammer on Immigration Reform

I think Charles Krauthammer makes good sense -- if immigration reform includes any form of amnesty, as the President and others in Congress favor, it should only happen if the borders are secured first. Otherwise it's 1986 all over again.

Hugh Hewitt has made a similar point in a series of posts in recent days.

Thursday, April 06, 2006

NASCAR: NBC News Plan "Outrageous"

NASCAR is not happy with NBC's attempt to stage a "news story" by attempting to entice fans into confronting Muslims at a NASCAR race.

A NASCAR spokesman termed NBC's plan "outrageous" and said "Every legitimate journalist should be offended by this."

NBC's attempt to create a story appears to have failed. Michelle Malkin has an interesting roundup of reader commentary, including a note from a NASCAR fan who thinks he may have spotted the NBC "ringers" last weekend.

The Washington Times and NewsBusters have more.

As one of my readers pointed out in a comment yesterday, this isn't the first time NBC and Dateline have "staged" news -- remember the exploding cars some years ago?

As an aside, I suspect most NASCAR fans are happy this is NBC Sports' last year airing races. Their coverage can't compare with the superb broadcasts on Fox.

Wednesday, April 05, 2006

Schools Ban Patriotic American Clothing and Flags

It's a sad day for this country when school administrators treat patriotic symbols as the equivalent of gang colors.

So far this has happened in Colorado (above) and San Diego.

If school districts can't find a way to preserve peace on campus without banning our nation's symbols as "racist" and turning patriotic American pride into a negative, we're all in trouble.

Do you suppose this problem might never have had the chance to get started in the first place if Mexican flags -- which are not our nation's symbols -- had been banned from campuses during the "protests" last week? But then, that would have been seen as violating free speech...

Tuesday, April 04, 2006

Preschool Ads Spin the Facts

An interesting opinion column on the weak data being used to "sell" California's Proposition 82 universal preschool initiative.

If it passes, I believe this initiative will cost California taxpayers millions of dollars, while likely not delivering noticeably positive results. It's particularly distressing to have this on the ballot when the state is already dealing with significant financial problems.

Julia Child's Autobiography Reviewed

The San Francisco Chronicle says in its review of Child's posthumous autobiography, MY LIFE IN FRANCE: "The good news for readers of the captivating memoir...completed shortly before Child's death in 2004, is that her marvelously distinctive voice is present on every page."

I ordered it tonight. :)

More on MY LIFE IN FRANCE and other new cooking memoirs at USA TODAY.

NBC: Staging the News

NBC's idea of "news" seems to be taking Muslims to NASCAR events to see "if they attract any discriminatory comments or actions while being filmed."

Fascinating that NBC seems to have a pre-set notion that bigots might be easy to find at NASCAR...the more so since NBC is one of the networks which carries NASCAR races. Does NBC Sports know about the NBC News division's deliberate attempt to generate bad publicity for the sport?

Captain's Quarters points out that NBC News will have a "powerful motivation" to push for a staged "confrontation" of some sort that they can actually use on their show.

The wonderful thing is that in this day and age, the networks will usually be caught when they engage in "created news."

Meanwhile, over at ABC, word is that the news division is worried more anti-Bush emails by suspended news producer John Green may exist.

Tuesday Night Update: More on NBC's NASCAR "news" ploy from Instapundit.

Monday, April 03, 2006

Happy Opening Day

It is truly spring now -- baseball is back!

Captain Ed notes the discomfort Vin Scully has expressed in today's L.A. Times at the prospect of being the one to call Barry Bonds breaking Hank Aaron's home run record. Vinnie said the moment would be "awkward" and "I would rather have that awkward moment happen to somebody else."

Pretty strong stuff coming from baseball's greatest announcer. As Ed notes: "Scully has made a career out of announcing some of the most dramatic and historical moments in baseball, and for him to wish that history could be broken on someone else's watch demonstrates the overall mood towards Bonds this season."

All the latest Southern California baseball news can be found at Dodger Thoughts and 6-4-2.

Disney World Renovates Original Hotels

Disney World has been renovating its 35-year-old Contemporary and Polynesian Resorts, which originally opened in 1971, the same year Disney's first park opened in Florida.

I'm kind of sorry to see the ultra-sleek, modern changes to the rooms at the Contemporary. The bright colors have been replaced with dark tones and a slightly Asian feel. The Contemporary's "look" had been around so long that over time it fell out of date and then, with the continued passage of time, its look seemed to be back "in" as "retro contemporary." The A-frame building with the monorail running through the center and giant Mary Blair murals continues to provide visual thrills.

We haven't yet stayed at the Polynesian, though we've enjoyed shopping there, and look forward to staying there on a future visit. Alas, no Florida trip this year, with college expenses looming!

(Hat tip: Mouse Planet. Photo links: All Ears Net.)

Erroneous Admissions Emails

It seems that several major universities have blundered over the last couple years and accidentally sent acceptance emails to students they were actually rejecting. Not good!

Blogging has been light over the last few days as we continue to be deep in the college decision process. We have a large chart with pro/con lists and are busy researching and contemplating the possibility of further campus visits.

Next weekend we'll be visiting UC Santa Barbara. It has a fine academic reputation and a beautiful location, but has been working to overcome a reputation as a "party school." Our daughter was admitted as a Regent's Scholar so we are taking a careful look.

Spring break will find us touring USC.

There is the possibility of a visit or two out of state later in the month, depending on financial aid offers, which will hopefully arrive this week!

Sunday, April 02, 2006

Daylight Saving Time Will Begin in March in 2007

Today marks the last year that Daylight Saving will begin the first Sunday of April.

Starting in 2007, Daylight Saving will begin in mid-March. We will actually be on Standard Time for four months out of the year once that change is implemented.

Indiana marked Daylight Saving today for the first time in over three decades.

Monday update: Thanks to Missy for pointing out that this is the first time in many years the entire state of Indiana uniformly marked Daylight Saving Time.

Missy also reminded me of the fun WEST WING episode where a few characters' schedules were foiled by the varied Indiana time zones.

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