Patterico's Pontifications


Ginsburg Cartoon

Filed under: Judiciary — Patterico @ 11:10 pm

It’s a bird! It’s a plane! It’s . . . a Ruth Bader Ginsburg editorial cartoon! (Via How Appealing.)

L.A. Weekly Lies About Three Strikes

Filed under: Crime,No on 66 — Patterico @ 3:50 pm

In the coming months, look for a lot of media distortion of the Three Strikes law. The reason is that voters will be faced with a ballot initiative in the next election which will propose requiring that the third strike be a serious or violent felony. The media is fully behind the initiative, and will do its best to hide the arguments against it. Be on guard.

Today’s example of distortion is this article in L.A. Weekly.

It’s All in the Headline

Filed under: Dog Trainer — Patterico @ 3:44 pm

Cori Dauber has an excellent observation about the sensationalistic headline of this article in yesterday’s Dog Trainer. The story is about suicide rates among troops in Iraq, and is introduced with the headline “High Suicide Rate Among Troops Found.”

But the story reports:

The suicide rate for Army soldiers in the Iraq campaign in 2003 was 17.3 per 100,000. . . . That rate was still below the national rate of 21.5 suicides per 100,000 for men ages 20-34, the age range of most soldiers in Iraq.

Dauber notes:

So I could just as legitimately have written a headline reading “Army Suicide Rate Lower Than National Average.” I suspect the parents of American soldiers opening their morning paper might have preferred seeing that, don’t you?

The story also notes that the suicide rate among soldiers in Vietnam was 15.6 per 100,000 — hardly any different.

Dauber concludes:

This is designed for people skimming the paper, who will just glance at a headline, and it isn’t even outrageous anymore. It’s saddening.

I don’t think this is so much an example of liberal bias as a preference for sensationalism. But it sure doesn’t strike me as responsible.

Clinton Did Not Think Terrorism Was the Top Issue Before Sept. 11, 2001

Filed under: Terrorism — Patterico @ 1:07 pm

Dick Clarke has asserted that the Clinton administration had no higher priority than fighting terrorism. I would like to point you to a speech that Bill Clinton made on November 7, 2001, which belies Clarke’s assertion. Clinton says that he didn’t think that terrorism was the most significant issue facing the world before September 11. Pay particular attention to the parts of the speech that I have highlighted in bold text:

Imagine yourself on September the 10th. Nothing’s happened on September 11th. Try to remember how you viewed the world on September 10th. If I had asked you on that day, “What is the single most dominant element of the 21st Century world,” what would your answer have been? What would you have said? Since you’re living here and we’ve been doing reasonable well the last few years, I can think of one of four answers you might have given if you’re a positive sort of person. You might have said, “Well, the global economy.” The globalization of the economy is the most dominant element because it’s made America 22 and a half million jobs and it’s lifted more people out of poverty in the last thirty years than were ever lifted out in all of human history. Or you might have said, “No, it’s the information technology revolution because that’s what’s given us all the productivity that has driven the economic growth.” When I became president in January of ’93 there were only fifty sites on the worldwide web. When I left office there were 350 million. In eight years. Today, before the Anthrax scare, there were thirty times as many messages transmitted by email as the postal services every day in America. Or you might have said, “Oh, no, as impressive as those things are, the most significant thing about the early 21st century will be the advances in biological sciences.” It will rival the significance of the discovery of DNA. It will rival the significance of Newtonian physics. We sequenced the human genome; we’re developing microscopic testing mechanisms. Soon we’ll be able to identify cancers when they’re just a few cells in size. Soon we’ll be able to give young mothers gene cards to take home with their newborn babies and in countries with good health systems, children will have life expectancies in excess of ninety years. Or you might have said, if you’re like me and you’re into politics and this kind of thing, you might have said, “No, the most important thing about the modern world is the growth of democracy and diversity, because that is the environment within which all the economic growth, all the technological growth, and all the scientific advances flourish best. I was honored to be president at the first time in history when more than half the world’s people lived under governments of their own choosing, and when America, as witnessed by your presence here today, and other advanced countries became far more diverse racially, ethnically, and religiously than ever before, and the societies were actually working, and working better, and I might add, a lot more interesting because of our diversity. So, you could have said any of that.

Clinton goes on to say that a “negative person” might have answered differently:

On the other hand, if you live in a poor country or you are more pessimistic you might have answered one of four negative things. You could have said, “No, no, you got it wrong about the economy. Global poverty will dominate the early 21st century because half the world’s people aren’t in this global economy.” They live on less than two dollars a day, a billion people live on less than a dollar a day, a billion and a half people never get a clean glass of water, and one woman dies every minute in childbirth. And that’s a recipe for explosion, and that will dominate the world. Or you might have said, “No, before that happens, the environmental crises will consume us. The shortage of water, the deterioration of the oceans from which we get our oxygen, and most of all global warming. If the earth warms for the next 50 years at the rate of the last ten, we’ll lose fifty feet of Manhattan Island. The Florida Everglades I worked so hard to save. Whole Pacific Island nations will be flooded, and tens of millions of food refugees will be created, destabilizing governments and causing violence. Or you could have said, “Well, no, before global warming gets us the epidemics will. All over the world public health systems are crashing down, and just to take AIDS as an example, there are now over 36 million AIDS cases, 22 million people have already died. If we don’t turn the trend around there will be 100 million AIDS cases in five years, making it the worst epidemic since the Plague swept Europe in the 14th century and killed one in four people. And the fastest growing rates are in the former Soviet Union on Europe’s back door, and the second fastest growing rates are in the Caribbean on our front door, and the third fastest growing rates are in India, the biggest democracy in the world. And the Chinese just admitted they had twice as many cases as they had previously thought, and only four percent of the adults in our biggest nation know how AIDS is contracted and spread. So today, two thirds of the cases are in Africa. Tomorrow, it’s everybody’s problem, unless we turn it around. Or you might have said even on September the 10th, if you’d been keeping up with this, “No, no, no, even before the health crises. We will be consumed by terrorism, by the marriage of modern weapons of destruction to ancient racial, religious and tribal hatreds.”

There you have it. According to Clinton, before September 11, there were eight issues that a person might have thought were the most significant issues facing the world. Clinton describes “the growth of democracy and diversity” as the issue that he would have chosen as most significant. Terrorism is the last item listed, and is described as an issue that only a “negative person” would have focused on.

Clinton goes on to suggest that terrorism is part of the price we pay for global interdependence, with a tone that implies that there is not much we can do about it:

I honestly believe it’s very important if you want to understand the world in which you live that you see September the 11th as the dark side from all the benefits we’ve gotten from tearing down the walls, collapsing the distances and spreading the information that we have across the world. We have not changed human nature, we have not solved all the problems, and there are a lot of people that see the world differently than we do. You cannot collapse walls, collapse differences and spread information without making yourself more vulnerable to forces of destruction. You cannot claim the benefits of this new world without becoming more vulnerable at home.

At the time Clinton gave this speech, many people focused on another statement in the speech: “This country once looked the other way when significant numbers of Native Americans were dispossessed and killed to get their land or their mineral rights or because they were thought of as less than fully human and we are still paying the price today.” Many were so focused on what they saw as Clinton’s equation of September 11 with our treatment of American Indians, that they lost sight of the other aspects of the speech.

I think that the speech has much more to tell us about Bill Clinton: namely, that he saw terror as an inevitable by-product of globalization. Therefore, he treated terror as a fairly low priority for his administration.

Dick Clarke’s case just got even worse.

P.S. Clinton’s speech is not too bad, overall. Some of his points are valid. But it is not the speech of someone who made terrorism his Number One Priority.

UPDATE: Thanks to David Adesnik at Oxblog for helping to get the word out.

Retaliacrats™ Issue New Threat

Filed under: Judiciary — Patterico @ 12:15 pm

The Retaliacrats™ have issued another threat to President Bush:

Senate Democrats, turning up the heat in their long-simmering feud with President Bush over judicial nominations, vowed on Friday to block all new federal court appointments unless the White House promises to stop installing judges while Congress is in recess.

I say call them on it. The first day Congress goes into recess, everyone who has been filibustered gets a recess appointment.

When are the Republicans in the Senate finally going to muster the guts to put a stop to this?

UPDATE: Captain Ed has a thoughtful post on the issue.

UPDATE x2: Pejmanesque has more good analysis:

So in effect, Daschle and the Democrats are threatening to completely obstruct any and all further judicial nominations unless President Bush promises not to exercise one of his constitutional powers–a power that would never have had to have been exercised in the first place had the Senate done its duty from the beginning, and given judicial nominees an up or down vote in a timely fashion.

This is not going to play well. But Bush has to have the guts to call them on it, and the Republicans in the Senate have to have the guts to follow through.

Leftist Viewpoints on Patterico Upsetting to Critics (and Some and Many)

Filed under: Miscellaneous — Patterico @ 11:51 am

I should say provocative, leftist things more often (as I did in the post immediately below). I get more feedback this way. Of course, it’s all negative.

I started typing a response in the comments to the post below, but I have enough to say in response that I think it merits a new post.

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