Patterico's Pontifications



Filed under: General — Patterico @ 9:55 pm

ESTRADA TO WITHDRAW NAME: This story says: “Miguel Estrada has ‘raised the possibility’ with the White House of withdrawing his name from the appeals court nomination, financial news network CNBC reported, citing unidentified people close to Estrada.”

When I read something like this, I assume the White House is behind it. It looks like the first stages of capitulation. Which really, really upsets me.

INCREDIBLE: You may or may

Filed under: General — Patterico @ 9:51 pm

INCREDIBLE: You may or may not have followed the story about the New York Times reporter who was fired for plagiarism. This article in the Times chronicles his history of deception. I actually recognized a couple of stories that he apparently screwed up — both about the D.C. sniper.

The first article, “attributed entirely to the accounts of five unidentified law enforcement sources, reported that the United States attorney for Maryland, under pressure from the White House, had forced investigators to end their interrogation of Mr. Muhammad perhaps just as he was ready to confess.” Turns out that “Mr. Muhammad was not, as Mr. Blair reported, ‘explaining the roots of his anger’ when the interrogation was interrupted. Rather, they said, the discussion touched on minor matters, like arranging for a shower and meal.”

“On Dec. 22, another article about the sniper case by Mr. Blair appeared on the front page. Citing unidentified law enforcement officials once again, his article explained why ‘all the evidence’ pointed to Mr. Muhammad’s teenage accomplice, Lee Malvo, as the triggerman. And once again his reporting drew strong criticism, this time from a prosecutor who called a news conference to denounce it.”


Filed under: General — Patterico @ 4:15 pm

EXTRA! EXTRA! NYT EDITORIAL NOT COMPLETELY HONEST: Okay, maybe it’s not that surprising. The editorial gives a hint to where it’s going with the title: The Reality of the Judicial ‘Crisis’. The editorial argues: “The reason [Bush’s judicial] nominees have met with resistance is not Democratic intransigence or a flawed rule.” Oh, okay. So what is the problem? “It is that many are far-right ideologues whose views offend most Americans. . . . The only ‘crisis’ at hand is that the White House is having trouble getting its most politically extreme nominees confirmed.”

Here’s the part I like: “What kind of nominees are Senate Democrats balking at? One, an Arkansas anti-abortion activist, has written that women should be subordinate to men. Another argued, as a Justice Department lawyer, that Bob Jones University should keep its tax-exempt status even though it discriminated against blacks.”

Interesting that these people are not named. But Democrats are “balking at” two judges in particular: Miguel Estrada and Priscilla Owen. These are the only two nominees being filibustered by Democrats (currently). So these thumbnail descriptions of the “kinds of nominees [that] Senate Democrats are balking at” must be of Estrada and Owen, right? Wrong! The descriptions are of James Leon Holmes and Carolyn B. Kuhl. See, if they had to give a thumbnail description of Estrada, the editorial would read like this:

“What kinds of nominees are Senate Democrats balking at? Well, one was rated ‘unanimously well-qualified’ (the highest possible rating) by the American Bar Association. He was Phi Beta Kappa at Columbia University, where he graduated magna cum laude. He also graduated magna cum laude from Harvard Law School, where he was an editor on the Law Review. He was a law clerk to a respected judge on the federal Court of Appeals, and then to Supreme Court Justice Anthony Kennedy. He has been an Assistant U.S. Attorney, an Assistant to the Solicitor General, and a partner at a major law firm. He has argued over a dozen cases in the United States Supreme Court, and has been praised as a brilliant lawyer by many prominent Democrats from the Clinton-era Justice Department. But, uh . . . he won’t release his memos when he worked at the Justice Department! There! True, no previous nominee who worked at the Justice Department has ever been required to divulge all his memos, as the Democrats are demanding with Estrada. But, but. . . oh, never mind.”


Filed under: General — Patterico @ 3:23 pm

THE REAL NOOKYOOLUR OPTION: The Dog Trainer is reporting that the Bush administration is taking major steps towards developing a new generation of smaller nookyoolur weapons, apparently with an eye towards actually using them.

Is there really a good argument for this, in the face of the obvious arguments against it?

PRISON RAPE: I have never

Filed under: General — Patterico @ 1:31 pm

PRISON RAPE: I have never been a fan of prison rape, and I have never been amused by prison rape jokes. I was appalled when the Attorney General of California, Democrat Bill Lockyer, made a joke about prison rape. As I mentioned just the other day, prison rape (indeed, any rape of a man) is not even considered rape by the FBI’s report “Crime in the United States” yet prison rape is “possibly the largest category of forcible rapes.”

Many people think it’s not that big a deal because they figure prisoners deserve it. But think about it for half a second. Who do you think the victims are? The tough guys in the prison? Or the weak ones? Do you want your tax dollars supporting the notion that the meanest, toughest prisoners should be able to get their jollies by terrorizing the weakest and most helpless prisoners?

I have just learned from a recent piece by National Review contributor Rich Lowry that a “right-left coalition” has been “pushing federal prison-rape legislation” which Lowry describes as follows:

“The bill is mild. It requires that the Justice Department gather statistics on rape, and that prison officials from states where the incidence of rape significantly exceeds the national average explain themselves in Washington. It creates a National Prison Rape Reduction Commission, the recommendations of which the attorney general is free to reject or accept.”

Sounds sensible to me.


Filed under: General — Patterico @ 1:23 pm

AND NOW, THE REAL NUCLEAR OPTION: The Washington Post continues to have the best reporting on the huge and mostly unreported scandal of looted nuclear sites in Iraq — which I have previously discussed in posts from May 4 and April 22.

This article reports that seven nuclear sites have been looted: “Seven nuclear facilities in Iraq have been damaged or effectively destroyed by the looting that began in the first days of April, when U.S. ground forces thrust into Baghdad, according to U.S. investigators and others with detailed knowledge of their work. The Bush administration fears that technical documents, sensitive equipment and possibly radiation sources have been scattered.”

Although it is not clear exactly what has been lost, it is clear that it is not insignificant, as “it is well documented that looters roamed unrestrained among stores of chemical elements and scientific files that would speed development, in the wrong hands, of a nuclear or radiological bomb. Many of the files, and some of the containers that held radioactive sources, are missing.”

Since I was a child, I have always considered nuclear terrorism inevitable. I had hoped that it would not occur in my lifetime. Now, because of Bush’s unbelievably reckless failure to guard these sites, I am not so sure.


Filed under: General — Patterico @ 1:09 pm

THE NUCLEAR OPTION: In the filibuster wars, that is. If you are looking for a clear, well thought-out explanation of the mechanics (and consequences) of eliminating the filibuster for judicial nominations, look here — at Professor Lawrence Solum’s blog. His ultimate conclusion is that, wherever the confirmation wars started, the immediate battle has been started by our friend Chuckie S. (Schumer) — and has created a “high stakes game of chicken” between parties so angry that they may lack the “instinct to pull away just before the collision becomes inevitable.” Definitely check it out if you have any interest in the battle over Estrada and Owen.

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