Egyptian Conflict Is Misleadingly Reported
New York Times Is Primarily To Blame

The liberal-leaning New York Times—and other newspapers prominently displaying New York Times stories—are almost predictably badly distorting the story of what is happening in Egypt.

To read The Times, and Times stories reprinted in other newspapers, is to be exposed to a slanted, irresponsibly misleading account of what is going on in Egypt.

From The Times accounts, a reader would get the impression that a brutal military-controlled government is responsible for all of the violence as it prevents Muslim Brotherhood members from returning to control of the national government.

The truth is, incontrovertibly, that the overwhelming majority of Egyptians support the military, reflecting the widespread feeling that the Muslim Brotherhood forfeited its right to central government control by its performance after winning elections last year.

Muslims Have Also Been Using Weapons

The true situation in Egypt has become so evident that even The New York Times couldn’t ignore it.

The Wednesday Times had a front-page picture of what remained of a Christian church described as one of several places of worship destroyed in recent days.

A story on page 10 carried this headline:  “Islamists Step Up Attack on Christians for Supporting Morsi’s Ouster.”

Under a color picture of a destroyed church and monastery appeared a caption which said:  “Nearly 40 churches were destroyed last week and more than 20 damaged.”

In the pages upon pages of coverage of the Egyptian crisis, I came across one relatively brief account, on page 10A of The Omaha World-Herald, which seemed to me to best summarize what has happened and is happening in Egypt.  That account included these facts:

Four months after his 2012 election as president with 51.7% of the vote, Mohamed Morsi decreed greater powers for himself, immunity from judicial review and dissolving the lower house of the national assembly.

On January 30, 2013, millions of anti-Morsi Egyptians demonstrate on Morsi’s first anniversary in office.

July 3, Egypt’s military chief announces that Morsi has been replaced by the chief justice of the Egyptian Supreme Court.

July 4, “huge demonstrations continue,” and Egypt’s powerful military gives the two sides 48 hours to resolve their differences, or the military will impose martial law.

July 26, “millions pour into the streets” after the military chief asks anti-Muslim Brotherhood protestors to give him a “mandate” to stop “potential terrorism” by Morsi supporters.

August 12, military authorities say they will postpone action against the Muslim protest camps, saying they want to avoid bloodshed.

August 15, military government authorizes police action against protestors targeting police and government buildings and attacking Christian churches.

Times Stories Ignore Clear Evidence

Quite a different picture than has been painted in New York Times stories.  The Times accounts, of course, make no mention of the clear evidence that the great majority of the Egyptian electorate has turned against Morsi and support the military government in its efforts to rein in Morsi and potentially pave the way for new elections.

Was this evidence available to The New York Times, President Obama, Secretary of Defense Chuck Hagel, Senator John McCain and some other members of Congress who have been consistently wrong to convince the Egyptian military to restore Mohamed Morsi and his Muslim Brotherhood-sponsored government to power?

Not to be overlooked, of course, is the fact that the Egyptian military has been extremely cooperative with the United States in allowing over flights by planes carrying troops or weapons or supplies to our forces in Iraq and Afghanistan and, if necessary, to support our allies in Israel.

American Naval Vessels Also Given Priority

The Egyptian military has also been extremely cooperative in giving American naval vessels first priority for passage through the crowded Suez Canal.

A specific example of evidence of overwhelming Egyptian opposition to Morsi was available to American television audiences the other evening.  Kelly McEvers of NPR who was in New York to receive a Peabody Award for outstanding journalism under dangerous circumstances, testified to what she observed in Egypt before her very recent return from that troubled country.

There is no question, she told her television interviewer, that the very great majority of the Egyptian people support the military government.

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Student Busing Still Doesn’t Help;
Classroom Results Need More Emphasis

After that heavy load of effort to set the record straight on an issue of vital importance to American and Israeli interests in the Middle East, let’s finish today with a variety of shorter items, some of them lighter but all of them of interest, I hope.

I start with the experience of the Omaha School District with its busing of students in an effort to promote better relations between white and black students.

A recent World-Herald story reported that there was little significant support for the voluntary busing program.

Have OPS officials forgotten Omaha’s disastrous court-ordered experience with mandatory busing, designed to achieve the objective of better education for black students and, for white students, better relations with black students?

One of the things that the disastrous experiment accomplished was to reduce classroom time by the time devoted to busing, with no noticeable improvement in grades or racial relations.

OPS today would do well to divert the money that it has spent on race-relations busing into improving educational opportunities in schools which parents want their children to attend.

Test Scores Show Need For Further Improvement

Further on the Nebraska educational scene:

A long and detailed story about improvement across Nebraska in academic achievement test scores was described by State Education Department officials as reflecting significant improvement in students’ test scores in reading, mathematics, science and writing.

The Education Department report on change in test scores in the past five years didn’t as I see it, give enough attention to what can be done to close or narrow the significant gaps which remain between the test results and 100% satisfactory performance in the state’s classrooms.

Gaps which, of course, will never be completely closed, but it seems to me we do need to emphasize not only how far we’ve come but also what efforts we must make to go further.

For one specific example:

Improvement from 41% to 50% in science-test performance among Omaha Public Schools 11th graders should be primarily a reminder of the huge poor-test-performance gap that needs to be narrowed.

* * *

UNO Hockey Players Not So Tough
Without Their Sticks And Headgear

A quick look at a story from the sporting world:

What an embarrassment for the University of Nebraska at Omaha hockey program in the news that three of the Maverick team became involved in an “incident” (there is that very vague descriptive word so often used) which resulted in some physical conflict at 2:00 a.m. in a parking lot in the Old Market area in downtown Omaha.

One of the Maverick players who initiated the incident, which involved racial slurs against some blacks who were also on the parking lot, pushed one of the blacks, according to police reports.  The black who had been pushed responded by hitting incoming freshman defensive recruit Preston Hodge, who was knocked unconscious when he fell and his head hit the pavement.

Maverick co-captain Matt White threw a punch but missed, according to police reports.

Two of the three hockey players were described as in the news stories as “dismissed.”  (No explanation whether that means dismissed from UNO as well as from the hockey team.)  And the case of the third was reported under investigation as to possible disciplinary action.

Could it be that some hockey players should avoid physical conflict when they are not armed with hockey sticks, with their heads covered by protective gear?

* * *

A Rare Distinction For The City Of Omaha:
Its Mayor Can Carry A Concealed Weapon

I’ve been following local state and national politics closely since I covered the Omaha City Hall as a young World-Herald reporter 67 years ago, so hardly any news that emanates from Omaha’s City Hall surprises me.

But I’ll confess to surprise when I read that Omaha’s new Mayor Jean Stothert has taken a training course in handgun handling and has been granted a license to carry a concealed weapon.  Her weapon of choice is a “Baby Glock”—a popular compact weapon that apparently will fit nicely into a handbag of the size women carry these days.

This is probably, if not surely, the first time in Omaha history that a mayor has secured a permit to carry a concealed weapon.  And it is probably the only case in which a mayor in one of America’s 50 largest cities has such a permit today.

Mayor’s Duty To Teach Second Amendment Rights?

As I see it, Stothert’s reasoning doesn’t hold up very well under rational analysis.

In an interview, she touched very lightly on the subject of self-protection, saying simply:  “It’s an issue of not being afraid to protect myself.”  Then she went on—and on—about what she said was her real motivation—to demonstrate to the public her strong belief that Americans should all understand they have a constitutional right to bear arms.

One of several quotes.  “I always say I like to lead by example, and I want to lead by example by this also—to say that it’s your right to be able to be a responsible gun owner.  And I do believe that responsible gun ownership is gun control.”

Mayor Wanted to Send “Strong” Message

Stothert said her gun should send a strong message:  “People have a right.  They have a right according to the Second Amendment and I want people to understand that right.”

(I believe the great majority of Americans—including Omahans—are well aware of their Second Amendment rights.)

Interesting—and surprising—when a mayor concludes that he or she has time—and any responsibility—to give lessons in responsible gun ownership while wrestling with such responsibilities as are specified in the City Charter and, in Stothert’s case, wrestling with such problems as having to break campaign pledges like repealing the restaurant tax and cutting property taxes.

I can recall in the past giving, as a columnist, advice to a public official from time to time that he or she should take a few hours off, find a darkened room and lie back with a cool cloth on his or her head.

Somehow that advice comes to mind as I consider Mayor Stothert’s making a decision—and then making a rather emotional detailed public explanation of why she got a permit to carry a concealed weapon.

* * *

Storz Beer Well Welcomed Home;
Beer Drinkers Can Now Take Over

There has been considerable front-page news story attention, complete with color pictures, to the return of Storz beer.

As a summertime employee of the Storz Brewery 71 years ago—a job which involved “beer breaks” instead of coffee breaks—I wrote a column item joining the “welcome home, Storz” celebration.

The Storz heirs, members of the Markel family, know by now that the community is delighted that the long absence is over and Storz is back.

Time to turn from welcoming Storz to drinking it again.  Bottoms up!

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