Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Accuracy in reporting

UPDATE Wednesday morning The Boston Herald Screams

UPDATE Tuesday 10:00 PM The Boston Globe steps up

UPDATE 2:30 PM: So apparently it was not the Umass bureaucrats who reconsidered domestic terrorist Raymond Luc Levasseur's speech and showed some spine by allowing it on Thursday. It was those damn Professors. And you can certainly tell that from the "official" press release issued by the highly staffed "news office"--penned by former Gazette reporter now turned PR flack--Patrick Callahan:

Umass Office of News and Media relations, grudgingly, "reports"


UPDATE: 11:30 AM: So I'm seeing by Google news realtime updates that UMass has now reconsidered the cancellation of convicted domestic terrorist Raymond Luc Levasseur and his presentation is back on. Damn! Nice to see Umass bureaucrats have a spine.

So as if the People's Republic of Amherst is not getting hammered enough by conservative talk radio because the Gitmo story gets misrepresented that Amherst is embracing terrorists, now our local newspaper has to join in.

Town Meeting did not invite "Ravil Mingazov" to move to Amherst. They invited detainees who had been "cleared" of any wrongdoing and were free to leave Gitmo. In fact the word "cleared" appeared four times in the warrant article overwhelmingly approved by Town Meeting last week.

Yes, Ruth Hooke (the original petitioner) did mention his name as a possible candidate but he was not specifically mentioned in the article Town Meeting passed.

And maybe if Federal authorities read the venerable Daily Hampshire Gazette they will not clear Mingazov and then he will fail to qualify as "cleared" and as a result would not be invited to live in Amherst.

The Springfield Republican reports (with a more accurate headline and lead)


Anonymous said...

Feeling the heat, meathead?

Amherst residents know who did this to them.

LarryK4 said...

Not in the least. The truth shall set you free.

Anonymous said...

Grab the prozac Larry, you're gonna need it.

AMHERST - One of the Guantanamo Bay detainees who was recently invited by Town Meeting to move to Amherst is also sought after by another group: Interpol.

Ravil Mingazov, 42, of Bolsheretsk, Kamchatka, Russia, is wanted by the world's largest international police organization for organized and transnational crime, human trafficking and illegal immigration. A wanted poster with Mingazov's likeness is available on Interpol's Web site.

Attempts to reach Interpol headquarters in Lyon, France, or its U.S. liaison office in Washington were unsuccessful Monday.

Last Wednesday, Amherst's governing body approved by voice vote a petition article calling on Congress to repeal the ban preventing cleared detainees from living in the United States, and inviting two such detainees, once exonerated, to come live in Amherst.

The article was brought forward by Town Meeting member and petitioner Ruth Hooke on behalf of Pioneer Valley No More Guantanamos, an advocacy group.

Hooke, of Precinct 8, said Monday she was unaware of Interpol's charges against Mingazov but added that it was important to remember that he's innocent until proven guilty.

She said it wouldn't change her mind about Mingazov; the other detainee invited to town, Algerian native Ahmed Belbacha, has already been cleared by the U.S. State Department.

"We're used to the fact that all kinds of allegations have been made about our people, including maybe that one, I don't know," said Hooke. "Things stay on their records even though they've been cleared."

Mingazov, who was captured in Pakistan in 2002, is awaiting a writ of habeas corpus, a legal petition that seeks to determine whether a prisoner is being held lawfully. Hooke said any outstanding legal matters for Mingazov will be addressed if the writ is granted.

However, Hooke said it wasn't set in stone that either man would end up living in Amherst.

"By no means is it a done deal that these will be the two. We just featured them mainly because we went over their stories and it sounded like they had very interesting stories to tell and would make a contribution to our community."

In the transcripts of hearings between Mingazov and U.S. military officials, none of the matters outlined by Interpol came up for discussion; most addressed whether he was an enemy of the United States, sympathetic with and trained by al-Qaida.

Not in his town

Precinct 2's Stanley Gawle is the lone Town Meeting member who spoke against the petition article on Wednesday.

He said Monday that he wasn't surprised to hear of the Interpol charges.

"I think it's been a superficial review of the people that are down there. At Town Meeting, they said, ¿Well, bounties were placed on people's heads, and then they just arrested them.' I don't really think it's that simple," said Gawle. "I just don't feel it's in the best interest of our security. Who's going to keep their eye on them? That's the point."

Pressure to close the U.S. detention facility at Guantanamo Bay has compromised safety and judgment, said Gawle, even if those who are released are "cleared."

"My whole point is, what is the definition of cleared? I basically said I don't trust the government," Gawle said. "They want to close (Guantanamo) so they'll do anything to get them out of there, and do we really know what these people really are?"

Gawle is fearful that these detainees, if released to their home countries, would be back on the front lines killing American soldiers.

And if the detainees come to Amherst, Gawle said that's a call for him to arm himself.

"I'm going to start carrying a gun. I don't feel safe. We've had a reduction in the number of police officers. It's ridiculous," said Gawle. "They didn't send these people down there for the hell of it."

LarryK4 said...

Yeah I saw that (last night actually). Only important part is the lead...which is wrong.

Unfortunately most people only read the headline (also wrong) and lead.

Anonymous said...

Ruth Hooke writes in the guardian:




Ravil Mingazov joined the Russian army's ballet corps at 19 and converted to Islam while in the army. Trying to remedy the army's intolerance towards Muslim soldiers, he was harassed and his home was ransacked by the KGB. Seeking a Muslim country where he and his wife and child could practise their faith, he went to Afghanistan, then fled to Pakistan after war broke out. All of the men in the Muslim refugee house where he was staying were arrested because someone in the house was unfairly alleged to have a connection with Abu Zubaydah. The US has never charged Mingazov with any crime, but he is still awaiting a habeas corpus hearing, which he hopes will clear him from release.

Now these roaches are jumping like frogs in a frying pan...

Aw, poor them.

LarryK4 said...

"Jumping like frogs in a frying pan"?

Hmmm...gotta wonder what you do in your spare time for entertainment.

Taylor said...

Larry, when you believe in something you become passionate about it, sometimes to the point of tunnel vision. I agree with you if cleared people from Gitmo want to come to Amherst, fine. I really think it is non-issue, as I can't imagine that people who did nothing wrong and were held against there will by the US, would have any desire to reside in the US.

Two points: 1) Hooke sounds like a moron in this article. Come on the man is wanted by Interpol for engaging in human trafficking! It is a nice name for modern day slave trading.

2) It looks bad! A town struggling to attact commercial tax payers, struggling to get aid from the state, struggling to staff its schools and public safety departments and this is what the focus of town politics is?

Amherst can be a better place than it is now. It starts with fixing our town government and its spending practices, not with weighing in on global political issues that only enhance the towns image as haven for the lunatic fringe and is not a place for businesses or to move to with your family.

Rick said...

Another example of inaccurate journalism – sells better than the truth.

They didn’t state the source of information, but I see it’s here on the Interpol site:

Note the arrest warrant is issued by Russia – I guess that’s where he’ll be headed if he gets out of Guantanamo. Not sure how much stock I put in arrest warrants from Russia – who knows. If the guy is innocent, he’s screwed, unless he can somehow avoid getting extradited to Russia.

I suppose this gives some weight to Stan Gawle’s argument that he doesn’t trust a government to clear anyone. Even if we trust the US Government to do that, what do we do if other governments do not clear them?

I also see that Stan Gawle is going to carry a gun: "I'm going to start carrying a gun. I don't feel safe. We've had a reduction in the number of police officers. It's ridiculous," said Gawle.

Maybe he’ll vote for an override next time to get police back. ;-)

Anonymous said...

I got news for people. Gitmo is not closing. A year ago Obama made it is first priority. However reality has set in. The US GOVT has no idea what to do with these people and no other countries want them either. Most of these people are dangerous and the world does not want them released to them, they just don't want them held at Gitmo.

LarryK4 said...

And if they are "dangerous" then I don't want them either.

But as I mentioned to Town Meeting last week, we currently have two "level 3 sex offenders" living in town and the state considers them "likely to reoffend", which I think makes them "dangerous".

Anonymous said...

"And if they are "dangerous" then I don't want them either."

Joins with town anarchists and votes to bring shame and possible disaster upon the heads of innocent citizens and then shrugs shoulders as if it never happened/doesn't matter?!!?


LarryK4 said...

No, actually I voted to allow an innocent person who has been "cleared" by Federal authorities (you know, those folks entrusted to protect us from another 9/11) come live in my hometown.

Anonymous said...

Larry you need to change positions, apologize to the people of this town for what you've done and beg forgiveness...this has greatly damaged your reputation here. But a little humility goes a long way. Think about it.

LarryK4 said...

What I have done? I was but one yes vote of perhaps 100.

You should apologize for being an Anon coward.

Anonymous said...

Unused Amherst classrooms to be sold

Hampshire Gazette
Monday, November 9, 2009

AMHERST - Two years after Town Meeting approved spending $275,000 for two movable classrooms near Mark's Meadow School, they have not been used for that purpose and will be sold after the school closes next spring.

Two School Committee members said the purchase showed poor planning and that the modular classrooms probably will be sold at a loss. But another committee member and Mark's Meadow Principal Nick Yaffe defended the decision to buy the classrooms, saying the school had a different vision in 2007.

From Sanderson's blog:

My memory is that it was Elaine Brightly (former SC member) who presented the case that MM absolutely NEEDED those modulars. After Nancy Gordon spoke, I became skeptical of the urgency and voted against their funding. It seemed at the time if MM was overcrowded then its enrollment should have been capped at whatever would have fit into 7 classrooms (ie. one class/grade). It seems insane that the plan was to EXPAND (ignoring all demographic and enrollment predictions). The budget crisis was nothing new and has been with us since the birth of Prop 2.5.

I hope that this mistake prompts everyone at TM to be skeptical, regardless of the expert that presents the case...and resist group-think.

Old Larry thought Elaine Brighty was the best thing since sliced bread... and even defended her here!!!

I guess morons don't know idiots when they trip over them....

Can't imagine what will be next from "Self serve Kelley and and the chaos crew"...

Justifying stealing money from the most vulnerable town employees and giving to the highest paid town employees perhaps?!!?


LarryK4 said...

Actually I crossed swords with Elaine (and Jere Hochman) on Charter Schools when they tried to kill our Chinese Charter school.

And kicked their butts.

Anonymous said...

Priceless, Kelley, priceless...

LarryK4 said...

Yeah, too bad I can't charge you a buck for wasting my bandwidth.

Anonymous said...

Got to differ with you here, buddy. Some of these folks may not have had any particular crime that they could be charged with but they hang around with a pretty bad crew and it's not worth taking any chances. Just look at the high percentage of "cleared" detainees that have ended up back on the battlefield.

Our track record of charging them may be bad but what makes you think our track record on clearing them will be any better?

Level 3 Sex Offenders in our community are your rationale? Give me a break. We don't need that scum either but are forced by law to take them.

This one is optional. I pass.

Anonymous said...

It occurs to me after reading recent blog posts and observing what seems to be some type of transformation is that taking a class at UM has had an effect on the blogger.


Taylor said...

My problem is our tax dollars are paying for a man with a muderous background to come speak at Umass. Thousands of dollars will be spent on Amherst, Umass, and State Police overtime during this killers visit.

Umass will be seen as even further isolated from the mainstream, causing a drop in support from the legislature, the alumni, and new applicants. This speech is going to have a far reaching negative impact on Umass and the Amherst community.

Free speech is a pillar of our land, but sometimes that right carries very real consequences and those will be felt for years to come.

LarryK4 said...

Well according to the venerable Boston Herald cops are coming by the busload anyway.

Lets just hope that those who are "sworn to uphold the law" do not in fact break it.

When the going gets tough the tough gets going. It's easy as Hell to champion First Amendment rights for someone you agree with. A little harder when you do not.

Free Speech is indeed a pillar of our land. Whatever the cost, it's worth the price.

Anonymous said...

Ah, more Chicken Little stuff about the dire consequences to Amherst of being a bit more tolerant. I've got news for the doom-predictors: Amherst has had this identity in and endured the ignorant ridicule from the rest of the country for decades.

This argument is really about what "freedom" means. To me, it means tolerating (and deciding whether or not to ignore) people and ideas that may be repugnant to me. This man may very well have nothing meaningful to say. He may have constructed a personal narrative that excuses or mitigates what he did.

But none of those possibilities justifies banning him from campus.

I respect the police chiefs who have spoken out on this. I know how hard their jobs are, and I honor their service to our communities. They have a perfect right to speak out in condemnation of this man. But they are mistaken if they think this invitation to speak in and of itself makes him into a "folk hero".

What we are seeing is fear and distrust not only of what is going on between our own two ears, but inside the heads of people around us. We've lost faith in a collective intelligence to reject nonsense and to think clearly. And that's why we're afraid of men like this.

Once we have gotten done narrowing the limits of acceptable speech in this country, we will still have the big corporate bullhorns on cable and network TV, radio, and in print going full-blast, because they alone will have the money to keep going. Will the perspectives coming from those bullhorns be balanced in some magical way? Not bloodly likely.

But at that point, we will truly be living in an Orwellian world.

Rich Morse

LarryK4 said...

Yes Mr. Morse, as you well know: sometimes you just need to trust a jury of our peers.

Taylor said...


Your post is eloquent, well written, and passionate. It also displays your lack of comprehension of what I wrote and is offensive to me.

I am not a chicken little and at no point did I say he should be banned from speaking.

I did say there are consequences that will be real for allowing him to speak.

Amherst and Umass's relationship with the people of Massachusetts and the majority of the elected representatives of the Commonwealth is fractured at best right now. This is an incredibly difficult economic time. Any event that further polarizes Umass and as an extension, the Town of Amherst can create a wider fault line that further damages the already fragile local economy and Umass is the local economy. Beyond that the portrayal of Amherst and Umass as holding extreme values not commensurate with those of many parents who would be sending their children to Umass, risks a decrease in applicants. These are long term issues with a potential incalculable impact to be felt for years to come.

The short term issue of the expense of logistical planning and set up, along with the extensive security planning and implementation is going to be a costly line item that was not budgeted for. Are you willing to contribute financially to offset these expenses in order to defend the cause of free-speech?

You may choose to not believe the argument I have made, but sophisticated writing skills do not excuse your simultaneous ignorance and arrogance.

Anonymous said...

You keep using the term "cleared" like it actually MEANS something. These guys haven't been proven innocent of wrongdoing, or anything like that. "Cleared" just means "The Obama Administration doesn't want to prosecute them."

"Cleared" =/= "innocent"

Or, more succinctly, you'd better hope YOUR kid's school isn't the place one of these innocent, nonviolent, wrongly-detained victims decides to go free-lance jihad some afternoon.

Anonymous said...

The Herald comment against providing a venue for free speech using taxpayer money is how I feel. Larry want to hear what he has to say? Have him at your house or the AAC.

LarryK4 said...

But if it was Sean Hannity, Ann Coulter or Don Feder you and the Herald would be all for it.

Anonymous said...

Umass does have a track record of denying conservative speakers or honorees. Most recently Andrew Card. I think to say there is not a certain intolerance by liberals to opposing views is naive.

Anonymous said...

"Free Speech is indeed a pillar of our land. Whatever the cost, it's worth the price."

Like being tolerant of the Vagina Monologues. Yup.

LarryK4 said...

We don't allow young teens to buy cigarettes,beer, Penthouse magazine, or attend R-rated movies alone. Or yell fire in movie theater because they were denied entrance to an R-rated flick.

We should not allow them to shout the C-word in public either. Yup!

Anonymous said...

This is an award-wining play that's not exactly being performed at a mandatory school assembly. Plays are optional and each parent can decide both whether their children can participate as an actor or attend as a spectator. Of course you know better than their parents. Yup is right, you're a hypocrite.

LarryK4 said...

Yup. That's why Amherst was the ONLY high school in the nation to allow it in 2004.

And in 1999, over my stern objections, the only entity in HISTORY to cancel a production of 'West Side Story'.

You're a cowardly, Anon, Nitwit.

Anonymous said...

In response to Taylor's yes or no question as to whether I am willing to "contribute financially" to protect the right to free speech, the answer is a very loud "yes", for yours and for Mr. Levasseur's.

Whether you are offended personally or admire my writing is really not the issue. Bean-counting thinking like yours endangers the rights of others. But, as I pointed out in my original post, you've got some company, with some very good people, people who've gotten themselves turned around on this very specific issue about just what "freedom" means.

I do not accept the premise of your question: the dire financial consequences that you suggest will result from this one event, which will quickly recede in importance in the rear-view mirror, especially if we simply ignore the guy.

And I've got a little secret for Mr. Taylor: a system of rights costs money, sometimes a lot of money. It's very inconvenient. We taxpayers have been paying for them all our lives. Like the right to a fair trial: that costs money.

Either you want to live in a society with a marketplace of ideas, or you don't. If educational institutions do not provide a broader range of perspectives, then it's left to the private media to do it. We've seen how that's working.

Rich Morse

LarryK4 said...

Wells Fargo once spent tens of thousands to hunt down a perp who robbed one of their stagecoaches and made off with less than a dollar.

At the height of her power it is said a Roman citizen could safely walk from one end of the empire to the other without fear, because the Empire would expend whatever it took to avenge an attack on a single citizen.

Taylor said...

Mr. Morse;

The true danger to us lies in people like you; Lawyers who roam about in the rarified stratosphere above all us, casting judgment down upon us by virtue of the law books you read, without regard for the practical applications and consequences. While you may have endless disdain for people like me and our thinking and you believe that you are intellectually superior to me, I promise you, the world requires people like me. People that understand that you can’t just simply print more money and pay for everything you want. (I would explain the reasons why, but my rudimentary education in such mundane topics as economics would no doubt bore your without peer genius.) It is not this single event that will cause Umass and Amherst to suffer dire consequences, but it is the totality of the seemingly disparate issues and events that cause the people of Massachusetts and beyond to make personal, financial, and political decisions that will have an adverse impact on this community that both of us care a great deal for. When fire and police department overtime budgets are cut further because of the unforeseen expenses caused by events such as this and there is no ambulance to come to your house when you call 911, at least you will know why there was no money to pay for the firefighters to staff that ambulance. You may not like me and you may find my kind intolerable, but I assure I believe this speech should go forward. However, I know there is real world price to pay, and ideologues refuse to see that side of their rainbow.

Anonymous said...

"You're a cowardly, Anon, Nitwit."

Perhaps you should study ad hominum attacks in your Citizen Blogger class. It's a cheap trick to ignore the argument and just attack the person who is making the argument. Looks like you've got yellow journalism down pat. You flunk.

LarryK4 said...

Hmmm...so "hypocrite" is a complimentary term?

Anonymous said...

Larry Kelley?


Anonymous said...

"Amherst has had this identity in and endured the ignorant ridicule from the rest of the country for decades."

Hey Rich, you're everything wrong with this picture. Every single thing, understand?

Anonymous said...

You seem to like to crow about the important role of the Citizen Blogger and whether that should require training. At the same time you engage in childish name calling in order to dismiss ideas you don't like. Why don't you ask your profesor about it and see what s/he has to say.

Try something like, "I call people nitwits, cowards, etc., do you think this is appropriate?"

You could also ask, "Do you think name calling raises the level of discourse, or add to the credibility of the blogger?"

LarryK4 said...

She is not overly fond of Anon's either.

Anonymous said...

Explain to her that you attract a high level of "anons" because people feel personally attacked by you. Maybe she will understand.

LarryK4 said...

Oh yes, and I of course put a gun (not that I need one) to their scrawny little pencil necks and force them to come here and bother me.

Anonymous said...

Coming here to watch the show...

poor poor Larry Kelley lost like a mouse in a maze of anarchy...

and the town of Amherst gets all that it deserves...

ed said...

Where was Mr. Morse when Don Fedder got shouted down last spring?

Why should this be any different?

Anonymous said...

Rich Morse.