Patterico's Pontifications


Kerr Takes on Savage (UPDATE: So Does Franck)

Filed under: Dog Trainer,Judiciary,Law — Patterico @ 6:05 am

Orin Kerr gently takes apart David Savage’s op-ed criticizing John Roberts, so I don’t have to.

Memo to Savage: if an umpire calls a strike in a big game, and changes the course of baseball history, it’s still a “modest” decision as long as it was really a strike.

I look forward to Savage op-eds telling us how “modest” decisions like Roe v. Wade were. Or decisions like the one that outlawed the juvenile death penalty. I could go on and on.

Unlike those decisions, at least Roberts’s decisions have the virtue of being correct and having a firm foundation in the law, rather than merely in the judge’s personal policy preference.

UPDATE: Matthew J. Franck whups Savage good.

Volokh Agrees: 9th Circuit Decision Preventing “Religious Services” in a Library Meeting Room Is Incorrect

Filed under: Civil Liberties,Constitutional Law,Court Decisions — Patterico @ 6:01 am

It appears that, like me, Eugene Volokh disagrees with the recent Ninth Circuit decision allowing a library to exclude “religious services” from activities allowed in a library’s public meeting room:

Here’s the key excerpt from near the start of Judge Karlton’s concurrence in Faith Center Church v. Glover, a case in which the majority concludes (based on a more plausible argument, though one I think is still ultimately mistaken) that a library may exclude “religious worship” from a policy that opens library rooms broadly to “meetings, programs, or activities of educational, cultural, or community interest”:

Since Prof. Volokh is a genuine First Amendment scholar, I take some solace in his opinion.

Big Media Quotes Darleen

Filed under: General,Terrorism — Patterico @ 6:00 am

Jules Crittenden at the Boston Herald has quoted our own Darleen on the Bilal Hussein affair. Nice going, Darleen.


Chris Wallace Has Indeed Grilled A Bush Official About Failing to Get Osama Before 9/11

Filed under: General — Patterico @ 4:56 pm

In an interview aired on Fox News Sunday today, Chris Wallace asked Bill Clinton why he hadn’t done more to get Osama bin Laden. Clinton’s furious answer lasted several minutes, and included finger-wagging reminiscent of Clinton’s angry declaration that he had not had sexual relations with that woman, Monica Lewinsky.

According to Clinton, this was all a right-wing hatchet job, and Wallace had never asked similar questions of Bush officials:

So you did FOX’s bidding on this show. You did you[r] nice little conservative hit job on me. But what I want to know..

WALLACE: Now wait a minute sir…


WALLACE: I asked a question. You don’t think that’s a legitimate question?

CLINTON: It was a perfectly legitimate question but I want to know how many people in the Bush administration you asked this question of. I want to know how many people in the Bush administration you asked why didn’t you do anything about the Cole. I want to know how many you asked why did you fire Dick Clarke.

Wallace replied that such questions had been asked. Clinton replied: “I don’t believe you asked them that.”

I believe he did.

In 2004, Wallace asked almost the exact same question of Donald Rumsfeld that he asked Clinton today.

Here’s what Wallace asked Clinton today:

[H]indsight is 20 20 . . . but the question is why didn’t you do more, connect the dots and put them out of business?

And here is what Wallace asked Donald Rumsfeld on the March 28, 2004 episode of Fox News Sunday:

I understand this is 20/20 hindsight, it’s more than an individual manhunt. I mean — what you ended up doing in the end was going after al Qaeda where it lived. . . . pre-9/11 should you have been thinking more about that?

. . . .

What do you make of his [Richard Clarke’s] basic charge that pre-9/11 that this government, the Bush administration largely ignored the threat from al Qaeda?

. . . .

Mr. Secretary, it sure sounds like fighting terrorism was not a top priority.

Like Clinton, Think Progress shifts the argument to specific questions about the U.S.S. Cole, in order to argue that Clinton is correct:

Neither Chris Wallace, nor his predecessor, Tony Snow ever asked anyone in the Bush administration why they failed to respond to the bombing of the USS Cole, according to a Lexis-Nexis database search.

That may technically be true. If you simply plug the terms “U.S.S. Cole” and “Fox News Sunday” into a Nexis search engine, it may well be the case that Bush officials were not asked specifically about the response to the Cole. But that wasn’t Wallace’s question. Wallace had simply mentioned the Cole as part of a detailed question about terror acts that occurred on Clinton’s watch, culminating in a question asking why Clinton hadn’t done more — the same question Wallace asked Rumsfeld in 2004.

Clinton’s charge that Wallace hasn’t asked these sorts of questions of Bush officials is false.

More in the extended entry.


L.A. Times Beating Into the Ground the Fable of the Church Supposedly Investigated by the IRS for an Antiwar Sermon

Filed under: Civil Liberties,Dog Trainer,General — Patterico @ 6:07 am

Remember the Fable of the Church Singled Out by the IRS for Its Antiwar Sermon? An L.A. Times story the other day elaborated on the fable by implausibly claiming that the sermon was critical of John Kerry. The article stated:

The IRS contends All Saints violated tax laws two days before the 2004 election by allowing Regas, who was a guest speaker, to deliver a sermon that was critical of Democratic presidential candidate John F. Kerry but heaped particular scorn on President Bush and the war in Iraq.

Ah, so the sermon was critical of Kerry, was it? Where is the evidence of that? I have three posts about the L.A. Times coverage of the sermon and the IRS investigation (here, here, and here), and I have never seen a shred of evidence that the sermon was in any way critical of Kerry.

Granted, I haven’t seen the whole text of the sermon. But Cathy Seipp has, and she says:

Although Regas called his sermon “If Jesus Debated Senator Kerry and President Bush,” he didn’t imagine Jesus sitting there awkwardly on a third stool, like Ross Perot, but as a presence directly criticizing only Bush, never Kerry. . . .

Who are you going to trust, Cathy Seipp or some L.A. Times reporter — who writes for a newspaper that has consistently misrepresented the contents of the sermon from Day One?

I’ve made my decision. How about you?


Patterico is, Once Again, Karnak

Filed under: Dog Trainer,General,Terrorism — Patterico @ 12:53 pm

I recently observed that the L.A. Times article on the compromise on detainees between Bush and the Gang of Four seemed quite lonely in its view that Bush had caved. That article was titled “Bush Bows to Senators on Detainees” and opened with the claim that “President Bush acceded to dissident Senate Republicans on Thursday,” saying that Bush had made a “major concession” to McCain et al. I observed that, as readers of blogs knew, practically everyone on Earth thought that McCain and company had caved to Bush, and not the other way around.

In my post, I said:

I wonder if the L.A. Times will have occasion in coming days to revisit its view of the compromise as Bush “bow[ing] to,” “acced[ing] to,” and making a “major concession” to the McCain crew.

Because that view seems to be rather . . . unique.

Today Julian E. Barnes and Richard Simon, the authors of the “Bush Bows to Senators” article, have another article titled Defense Lawyers Assail Legislation on Detainees, which says:

Military defense lawyers assailed compromise legislation for interrogating and prosecuting terrorism suspects, contending Friday that proposed rules would prevent them from learning whether evidence used against their clients was obtained through coercion or torture.

At the same time, rights groups that initially endorsed the compromise between the Bush administration and key Senate Republicans expressed reservations, saying it appeared on closer reading to be vague and could give President Bush and future presidents too much latitude.

I’m feeling kind of prescient right about now. Hey, I can foretell your future as well . . . for a small fee.

P.S. It isn’t really all the Times reporters’ fault. It just so happens that in the first article, they made the mistake of turning to the group “Human Rights First” for a quote. That group, which evidently spouted off before reading the terms of the agreement, is about the only group on the planet that thought Bush lost on the compromise. The Times just needs to get better sources . . . like blogs, for instance.

Major Iraqi Terrorist Captured

Filed under: General,Terrorism — Patterico @ 11:54 am

The head of Ansar al Sunnah (the second worst terror organization in Iraq) has been captured. Rusty has the details.

Osama Dead?

Filed under: General — Patterico @ 1:43 am

I don’t know, but Ace seems to think so. He’s got fireworks going and everything.

Here is why he thinks so:

PARIS (AP) – The head of terrorist network al Qaeda, Osama bin Laden, has died, according to information from the Saudi police, transmitted by the Directorate-General of External Services (DGSE), and reported on the Lorraine daily newspaper L’Est republicain in its Saturday edition.

“According to a commonly reliable source, the Saudi police believes that Osama Bin Laden has died,” said a September 21st confidential note from the DGSE classified as “defense.” L’Est republicain will publish it in its Saturday edition. The note, specified the daily newspaper, would be re-printed “un-edited.”

According to the note to be published by the L’Est republicain, the Saudi police “would try to obtain more details, in particular the location of the burial site, and then announce the news officially.” The DGSE specified in the note that no “jihadist Internet site has for the moment been made aware of the death of Osama bin Laden.”

According to the note, “the head of al Qaeda may have fallen victim to a strong case of typhoid fever while in Pakistan, on August 23, 2006,” and may have died within a matter of days.

The French news organization transmitted this note to the President of France, to the Defense and Prime Minister and the Ministers of the Interior Department on September 21, according to the regional daily newspaper, which added that a prior note transmitted on September 19th to the leaders of France explained why the Saudi police “sought to confirm the death of Osama bin Laden.”

That’s a Free Republic link — apparently a translation of an AP France story.

Can’t be an October surprise. It’s still September.

Well, it’s a completely unsubstantiated story. We’ll see what the morning brings. It sure would be nice.

(H/t See Dubya.)

UPDATE: See Dubya notes that this isn’t even on Drudge yet. While the Man with the Fedora snoozes away, some of us bloggers are hard at work bringing you news of unsubstantiated rumors.

OK, I gotta go to bed now.

UPDATE x2: I lied. It’s 2:13 a.m. and I’m watching Fox News Channel. They’re not saying a word about this.

Google News and the wires have nothing. This is just weird.

UPDATE x3 2:18 a.m.: Via See Dub, Reuters has the story here. Nothing new, but the lede makes it clear how shaky this is:

A French regional newspaper quoted a French secret service report on Saturday as saying that Saudi Arabia is convinced that al Qaeda leader Osama bin Laden died of typhoid in Pakistan last month.

Now I really am going to bed.

UPDATE x4: Mary Katherine Ham has a big roundup. She puts a lot of faith in whether Drudge is running it as his lead story, which gives too much credence to the Man in the Hat for my taste. Pakistani and Saudi authorities sound skeptical. The U.S. Government is not saying much, but this seems to throw cold water on the story:

U.S. officials have suggested that his death would be accompanied by a surge of e-mail and telephone chatter among bereaved al Qaeda members, if not an actual announcement from the militant network.

But officials said they were not aware of any such chatter in recent weeks.

Stay tuned. Gateway Pundit has another roundup.

UPDATE x5: Captain Ed is skeptical. So is Hinderaker. As I think we all should be.

Reason Not to Live in Britain #72

Filed under: Humor — Patterico @ 12:22 am

Brits are content to give up sex if they can live to be 100.

Me, I’ll just die at 99.


Not Really a Tough Weighing Process

Filed under: General,Scum,Terrorism — Patterico @ 9:01 pm

See Dubya weighs Khalid Sheikh Mohammed’s two minutes of terror during his waterboarding session against the many lifetimes of misery we averted by saving the Library Tower in Los Angeles.

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