Patterico's Pontifications

6/20/2005

Clam’s Claptrap: Supreme Court Nominations

Filed under: Current Events,Government,Judiciary,Law,Politics — Angry Clam @ 1:53 pm

No, not that Supreme Court. I’m talking about the California Supreme Court, which will have a vacancy as of June 30, 2005, when Justice Janice Rogers Brown will leave the Court for the D.C. Circuit.

So how does one get confirmed to the California Supreme Court? Good question!
(more…)

L.A. Times Mystified as to Why GOP Won’t Accept Dick Durbin’s Ever-So-Sincere Apology

Filed under: Dog Trainer,Morons — Patterico @ 6:50 am

Dick Durbin apologized for comparing Gitmo to the horrors of concentration camps run by Hitler, Stalin, and Pol Pot. But that crazy GOP just won’t accept it.

That is the theme of today’s L.A. Times article on Dick Durbin’s so-called apology. The article is titled Sen. Durbin’s Regret for Remarks Not Enough for GOP.

“Sen. Durbin’s Regret.” That’s a hell of an interesting headline for a guy who had this to say in a radio interview conducted on Friday morning:

Q: No regrets on the statements you made?

Durbin: No, I don’t, and I’ll tell you why. I went to the floor and read a memo from the FBI. This isn’t something I made up.

Durbin was offered many chances in the interview to retract his ridiculous comparison. He declined. He was asked if he was surprised at the backlash, and guess who he blamed it on? You got it — that vast right-wing conspiracy:

Q: Are you surprised at all this backlash?

Durbin: Yes, I am. Well, I shouldn’t be. I have seen it happen before. What happens is this, for your listeners, so they understand now. The people on the other side, the president’s supporters, have a pretty substantial network behind them. The first thing they do when they get angry and decide to focus on something, my statement obviously was their focus, they start their blogs, which I don’t pay a lot of attention to but some people do. The next thing you know is it moves into this talk radio. I became a poster child for Rush Limbaugh. He put my number on his radio show. People called from all around the country. The Washington Times, a very conservative, Republican newspaper, puts a front page story about me on there. The White House lashes out at me, and pretty soon the mainstream media, it just follows. It has happened time and time again.

That was Friday morning. By Friday afternoon, Durbin’s only regret appeared to be that others had misunderstood him: “I sincerely regret if what I said caused anyone to misunderstand my true feelings: Our soldiers around the world and their families at home deserve our respect, admiration and total support.”

Do you think that it would have helped L.A. Times readers to understand GOP outrage if they had been told that, earlier that same morning, Durbin had maintained that he had no regrets for the statements? I do. But that is nowhere mentioned in the article. Instead, we hear that the guy has apologized, but that the rotten stinkin’ GOP won’t accept the heartfelt apology:

Sen. Richard J. Durbin (D-Ill.), the assistant minority leader, subsequently said he regretted that his comments were misunderstood as criticism of U.S. troops. But Republicans have continued to call for a more forthright apology.

. . . .

“I have learned from my statement that historical parallels can be misused and misunderstood,” he said in a written statement. “I sincerely regret if what I said caused anyone to misunderstand my true feelings: Our soldiers around the world and their families at home deserve our respect, admiration and total support.”

But that language, Republicans said, was not enough. On Saturday, former House Speaker Newt Gingrich called on the Senate to censure Durbin because his statement of regret did not retract the comparison.

The closest the article comes to alerting readers to Durbin’s hypocrisy is to say that he “initially seemed unrepentant.” Initially? What about on Friday morning, when he said he had no regrets? The paper skips over that and says: “By Friday, however, he relented.”

No. On Friday morning, he seemed unrepentant. On Friday afternoon, he “relented” to the extent of being sorry that others were too thick to understand what he was really saying.

If Durbin were a Republican making a ridiculous statement about policies of a Democratic administration, his Friday morning remarks would have been the focus of the story.

Instead we get a headline talking about “Sen. Durbin’s Regret.” Nice.

See-Dubya: Porter in the House

Filed under: General — See Dubya @ 3:01 am

CIA director Porter Goss sounds like he knows what’s what:

WHEN WILL WE GET OSAMA BIN LADEN? That is a question that goes far deeper than you know. In the chain that you need to successfully wrap up the war on terror, we have some weak links. And I find that until we strengthen all the links, we’re probably not going to be able to bring Mr. bin Laden to justice. We are making very good progress on it. But when you go to the very difficult question of dealing with sanctuaries in sovereign states, you’re dealing with a problem of our sense of international obligation, fair play. We have to find a way to work in a conventional world in unconventional ways that are acceptable to the international community.

IT SOUNDS LIKE YOU HAVE A PRETTY GOOD IDEA OF WHERE HE IS. WHERE? I have an excellent idea of where he is. What’s the next question?

That sounds to me like “he’s in Pakistan and the ISI won’t cough him up unless the price is right.” And this was interesting:

COULD AL-QAEDA HIT US AGAIN? Yes, it could. Certainly the intent is very high. And we are trying to stay ahead of their capability. And so far, I think we have done pretty well carrying the war to them, as it were. I think that’s mattered.

The FBI, on the other hand, is looking to give us more of the same.

When asked whether he, as the FBI’s former counterterrorism chief, could describe the differences between Shiite and Sunni Muslims, [Dale] Watson answered, “Not technically, no.”

He also said that his assertion a few years ago that bin Laden had been killed — a declaration that conflicted with CIA assessments and fresh video evidence — was not based on fact. “It’s my gut instinct,” he answered.

Which is a great line for an action/adventure movie, but doesn’t fill me with confidence. Maybe Dale Watson should stick to his country music career.

See-Dubya, over and out.

See-Dubya: The Statistical Life You Save May Be Your Own

Filed under: Crime,General,Terrorism — See Dubya @ 2:02 am

Let me try to synthesize a couple of divergent ideas. First we have a link from XRLQ to a scholarly article by left (I would say way left) University of Chicago law prof Cass Sunstein. The esteemed Prof breaks with type, however, and takes an honest look at new evidence about the death penalty. I’m going to post most of the abstract here:

Recent evidence suggests that capital punishment may have a significant deterrent effect, preventing as many eighteen or more murders for each execution. This evidence greatly unsettles moral objections to the death penalty, because it suggests that a refusal to impose that penalty condemns numerous innocent people to death. Capital punishment thus presents a life-life tradeoff, and a serious commitment to the sanctity of human life may well compel, rather than forbid, that form of punishment. … The familiar problems with capital punishment – potential error, irreversibility, arbitrariness, and racial skew – do not argue in favor of abolition, because the world of homicide suffers from those same problems in even more acute form. The widespread failure to appreciate the life-life tradeoffs involved in capital punishment may depend on cognitive processes that fail to treat “statistical lives” with the seriousness that they deserve.

This is a huge admission from Professor Sunstein and it will probably earn him some dirty looks in the faculty lounge. If the death penalty really is a deterrent to further murder, he argues, then we ought to retain it; capital punishment may be arbitrary and racist, but the murders it might prevent are even more so. Interesting.

But now look with me over at this piece up on Fox News, courtesy of The Shape of Days. Rep. Duncan Hunter’s office claims that of the 167 Gitmo inmates released after review so far, ten have been recaptured or killed fighting for the enemy. In other words, among the no-brainer easy-release cases there is a recidivism rate of about six percent, that we know of. NOT among the Gitmo’s really bad guys, but merely among the ones we thought we had by mistake or that were just not that serious a risk and so we let them go.

For those who would like to close down Gitmo, let us return to Professor Sunstein’s statistical lives. How many statistical lives would be lost as a result of a guilty decision to release more detainees, given that the remaining detainees are even more likely to be guilty and/or recidivist terrorists? To paraphrase Sunstein,

This evidence greatly unsettles moral objections to Gitmo, because it suggests that to release enemy combatants condemns numerous innocent people to death. Detaining enemy combatants thus presents a life-life tradeoff, and a serious commitment to the sanctity of human life may well compel, rather than forbid, that form of punishment. … The familiar problems with Gitmo- potential error, irreversibility, arbitrariness, and racial skew – do not argue in favor of abolition, because the world of terrorism suffers from those same problems in even more acute form. The widespread failure to appreciate the life-life tradeoffs involved in detaining unlawful combatants until the termination of hostilities may depend on cognitive processes that fail to treat “statistical lives” with the seriousness that they deserve.

Purely utilitarian arguments for the death penalty are kind of creepy (I’m a “retribution” man, myself), but Gitmo isn’t the death penalty. It’s just detention and interrogation–the sort of things cops can do with nothing more than probable cause. We don’t have a way to evaluate how much the information we’ve received through these interrogations has helped the war effort, because that’s public knowledge. But as far as the detention goes, we now have some tangible evidence that, contrary to the moonbat stereotype of addled Afghan shepherds who just wandered into a battlefield and were whisked away, we’ve got some genuine bloodthirsty headhackers inside there and we’re safer because of it. Our citizens and our soldiers are safer, and the Iraqi army and civilians across the Middle East are safer (and even the detainees are safer since several of those recidivists have since ended up dead on the battlefield).

We’re at war. These people are trying to kill us all. But Gitmo’s opponents are depending on cognitive processes that fail to regard this truth with the seriousness it deserves.

UPDATE FROM PATTERICO: See-Dubya’s post originally suggested (rather snarkily!) that the Sunstein article is not available to be read in its entirety on the Internet. But I downloaded it the other night, after seeing Xrlq’s post. At least one commenter has done the same. I have corrected the post. Hey, See-Dubya! Take your Acrobat Reader and go download the article!


Powered by WordPress.

Page loaded in: 0.2169 secs.