Patterico's Pontifications

3/29/2007

Revenge Is the Best Revenge

Filed under: General,Humor,Scum — Patterico @ 11:31 pm

Remember Eliot Stein, the guy who cybersquatted on cathyseipp.com? The guy who, while Cathy was dying, wrote a “letter” purporting to be from Cathy, in which “Cathy” called her daughter a “skank” and herself a “hack” and a terrible parent?

Remember that guy?

Well, payback is a bitch.

(Link is not safe for work.)

The post title is the invention of Amy Alkon. I have no idea who is responsible for the linked site.

But whoever it is, they have — to quote Eliot Stein’s description of himself — an “incredible sense of humor.”

(H/t Ray Richmond.)

Jack Dunphy Gets Nixed by the L.A. Times — Again

Filed under: Dog Trainer,General — Patterico @ 11:09 pm

Regular readers will recall that, back in October, Jack Dunphy contacted me claiming that he had been blackballed by the L.A. Times. I intervened with Current Editor Nick Goldberg, who assured me it was a misunderstanding, and that Dunphy has not been banned from the paper. Goldberg said that there was a new concern over publishing pieces under a pseudonym, but that Dunphy’s pieces would be considered on a case-by-case basis.

I told Dunphy that I wanted to keep an eye on the situation, and to let me know if he got turned down again. This morning he wrote me to say:

Pat,

I wrote to Nick Goldberg proposing to do a piece about the sham that is the LAPD’s new anti-gang efforts, which to date amount to more meetings, more paperwork, more bureaucracy, and very little else.

Denied. He expressed an interest in running my stuff from time to time, but not right now.

Oh well.

Jack

I find this odd. It’s not as though the paper considers law enforcement efforts to combat gangs to be a non-story. After all, they put a story on the issue on the front page of the California section today.

Then again, that story (L.A. gang prosecutions called overzealous) took the anti-law enforcement, ACLU perspective. You know the drill: bitch about the harm gangs are doing, and then bitch again when law enforcement actually tries to do something about the problem. It’s typical L.A. Times “damned if you do and damned if you don’t” journalism, from the loony-left perspective.

So maybe the editors think anti-gang efforts are newsworthy topics only when law enforcement can be slammed.

Or maybe Nick Goldberg has really banned Dunphy, but is just breaking the news to him very slowly.

We’ll continue to monitor this, and I’ll write Goldberg and see if he’ll explain why he wasn’t interested.

In the meantime, I have told Dunphy that any piece that he considers to be too provincial for NROnline can and should be published right here. Keep your fingers crossed; maybe the L.A. Times‘s loss will be this blog’s gain.

UPDATE: Here is what the paper does consider suitable for its op-ed pages. And Goldberg responds here.

Gonzales Must Go — Or, I Am Defending the Truth, Not the Administration

Filed under: General — Patterico @ 10:53 pm

A blogger I respect, who shall remain nameless, writes:

Patrick,

I’ve read most of your Purge-gate posts with dismay. In brief, you are investing your credibility and integrity with an administration that does not deserve it.

Hold on there, hoss! Who said my purpose was defending the Administration?!

I started this post last night, before the weaselly Kyle Sampson testified, but its essential content remains the same. Apparently, I need to reiterate something I have said before: at this point, I don’t see myself as defending the Administration on this issue. Rather, I am pointing out lies told by Administration opponents.

One of those lies is that the Administration articulated no principled reasons for firing the U.S. Attorneys before the fact. Refuting that falsehold requires me to set out proof that they did articulate such reasons. Now, I don’t know whether those reasons were the real reasons or not. But they damn well were articulated.

Further, I have made it clear that I think Kyle Sampson schemed to lie to Congress. That much is evidence from this quote from a Sampson e-mail (in particular the last sentence):

good-faith.JPG

As I said in this post:

When someone puts the phrase “good faith” in quotes, you should watch your back.

I agree with Sampson (and have said previously) that the Administration has bungled the explanation of these firings.

So, no, I’m not putting myself in the line of fire for this cast of clowns, which includes at least one liar, and maybe more.

I’m glad Sampson quit. He should have.

In addition, I think it’s time Gonzales hit the road. I admire Ed Whelan considerably, and I find myself in agreement with his views on Alberto Gonzales, expressed here, here, and here.

It is indeed time for Gonzales to go. In fact, it’s past time.

This conclusion is only corroborated by Sampson’s confirmation today that Gonzales was more involved in the specifics than he has claimed.

But I agree with Whelan: that doesn’t mean that everything Democrats have said about Gonzales and the Administration is true. Like Whelan, I have utter skepticism for the very weak case that U.S. Attorneys were fired for the express purpose of derailing prosecutions against Republicans, or jump-starting prosecutions against Democrats. Maybe that happened, but I see precious little evidence of it.

So make no mistake: I feel no duty to sit by and watch as the L.A. Times and other leftists distort the record. And I will continue to correct the record when I find it distorted by those on the left.

For example, this morning I documented the absolute travesty of the L.A. Times‘s decision to bury any mention of the clear fact that Bud Cummins has disputed the central premise of a major L.A. Times story on this controversy. I am proud of that post, in which I said:

It’s not “defending the Administration” to point this out. It’s defending the concept of giving the public the whole truth. The L.A. Times has made a deliberate decision to hide the whole truth from its readers. That’s what upsets me.

An analogy may help make the point. Imagine that a criminal defendant is accused of murder. There is evidence that he did it. The evidence includes the police’s discovery that the defendant’s alibi was fabricated. In other words, the defendant lied. But the cops go too far, and plant his DNA at the scene.

If you denounce the police for planting evidence, I suppose folks could say: hey, you’re risking your credibility by defending a known liar! But that would be an unfair characterization of your actions. In reality, denouncing the police is simply defending the truth, and the integrity of the process. This is a valid thing to do, whether the defendant is guilty or not.

It doesn’t necessarily mean you’ve taken up the defendant’s side. It just means that, even if he’s guilty, it’s wrong for people to lie about him.

P.S. I think the person who has shed the most revealing light on the controversy, not surprisingly, is Jan Crawford Greenburg:

The firestorm over the fired U.S. attorneys was sparked last month when a top Justice Department official ignored guidance from the White House and rejected advice from senior administration lawyers over his testimony before the Senate Judiciary Committee.

The official, Deputy Attorney General Paul McNulty, ignored White House Counsel Harriet Miers and senior lawyers in the Justice Department when he told the committee last month of specific reasons why the administration fired seven U.S. attorneys — and appeared to acknowledge for the first time that politics was behind one dismissal. McNulty’s testimony directly conflicted with the approach Miers advised, according to an unreleased internal White House e-mail described to ABC News. According to that e-mail, sources said, Miers said the administration should take the firm position that it would not comment on personnel issues.

Until McNulty’s testimony, administration officials had consistently refused to publicly say why specific attorneys were dismissed and insisted that the White House had complete authority to replace them. That was Attorney General Alberto Gonzales’ approach when he testified before the committee in January.

But McNulty, who worked on Capitol Hill 12 years, believed he had little choice but to more fully discuss the circumstances of the attorneys’ firings, according to a a senior Justice Department official familiar the circumstances. McNulty believed the senators would demand additional information, and he was confident he could draw on a long relationship with New York Sen. Chuck Schumer, a Democrat, in explaining in more detail, sources told ABC News.

Sounds convincing to me. Read it all.

What Tomorrow’s Lead Story Should Be

Filed under: General — Patterico @ 8:36 pm

I have been watching the re-run of Kyle “The Dweeb-Weasel” Sampson’s testimony on C-SPAN. TPM Muckraker — which has owned the lefty side of this story, and has done a fairly principled and incredibly thorough job of covering it — has numerous posts and entertaining You Tube clips of the testimony. Luckily, they have captured in a succinct clip the part that, in my own independent viewing of the testimony, I determined to be the most newsworthy thing that the Dweeb-Weasel said all day.

Rather than summarize it, I will bow to the magic of video and just let you watch it (supplemented by a transcript that I have personally prepared). But first, let me set it up, because the background is critical.

Before the clip starts, Dick Durbin is asking Sampson about Patrick Fitzgerald, and the fact (which I mocked in this post) that Sampson listed him as among the group of U.S. Attorneys that “have not distinguished themselves either positively or negatively.” I found that a rather odd thing to say about the guy who convicted the World Trade Center bomber and the Governor of Illinois.

Our friend WLS, himself an Assistant U.S. Attorney, had argued that “being a great prosecutor in the courtroom is not guarantee that he’s even a passably good US Attorney.” Unfortunately, that dog won’t hunt, given Sampson’s testimony.

Sampson acknowledged that, by all accounts, Fitzgerald was not only an impressive prosecutor in his own right, but a “strong, effective U.S. Attorney.” But he didn’t want to rate him as strong, because he knew that Fitzgerald was handling a “sensitive case” involving the Administration. Given that factor, he “didn’t want to go anywhere near that” — in other words, he didn’t want to rate Fitzgerald at all.

And now, to the clip:

DURBIN: Were you ever party to any conversation about the removal of Patrick Fitzgerald from his position as Northern District U.S. Attorney?

SAMPSON: I remember on one occasion, in 2006, in discussing the removal of U.S. Attorneys, or the process of considering some U.S. Attorneys that might be asked to resign, that I was speaking with Harriet Miers and Bill Kelley, and I raised Pat Fitzgerald. And immediately after I did it, I regretted it. I thought, I knew that it was the wrong thing to do. I knew that it was inappropriate. And I remember at the time that Miss Miers and Bill Kelley said nothing. They just looked at me. And I — I immediately regretted it, and I withdrew it at the time, and I regret it now.

DURBIN: Do you recall what you said at the time, about Patrick Fitzgerald?

SAMPSON: I said: Patrick Fitzgerald could be added to this list.

DURBIN: And there was no response?

SAMPSON: No. They looked at me like I had said something totally inappropriate, and I had.

DURBIN: Why did you say it? Why did you recommend or at least suggest that he be removed as U.S. Attorney?

SAMPSON: I’m not sure, I think, I don’t remember. I think it was maybe to get a reaction from them. I don’t think that I ever — I know that I never seriously considered putting Pat Fitzgerald on a list, and he never did appear on a list.

It certainly does cement the image of Kyle Sampson as clueless boob — an image I already had of him. (Technically, I called him a “dishonest bonehead” in a previous post. Close enough. I stand by both characterizations.)

I will say, though, that if you believe him — I said if — then his testimony does some credit to Miers and Kelley, in that their reaction appears to have been one of incredulity rather than receptiveness.

M.C. Rove Is in the House

Filed under: General,Humor — Patterico @ 4:16 pm

Oh. My. God.

The best part is, you just know he practiced this.

9th Circuit On Prosecutorial Immunity

Filed under: Court Decisions — Justin Levine @ 4:12 pm

[posted by Justin Levine]

I know that Patterico is very busy these days. But if he ever gets around to it, I’d be curious to hear his perspective on this decision.

— Justin Levine

UPDATE FROM PATTERICO: I haven’t read the decision, but I do have one question: how does Stephen Reinhardt end up on every single case involving hot-button liberal issues?

Honestly, it’s more than a little odd.

I will add a comment that doesn’t go to the merits of the decision, but is based on news reports I have about read it. I never really held ambitions to be a supervisor. But if I had, this decision would kill those ambitions dead.

Unless, of course, it gets reversed.

UPDATE x2 FROM PATTERICO: I’ll try to post on this more when I’m not dead tired. But the upshot seems to be that, while prosecutors would get absolute immunity for deliberately hiding exculpatory evidence in a case, they are not entitled to such immunity for drafting policies that are insufficient to ensure that exculpatory informaton is disclosed.

I’m not sure I buy that.

The “Readers’ Representative” Responds: L.A. Times Readers Won’t Be Told that the Central Premise of a Previous Article Was Dead Wrong

Filed under: Current Events,Dog Trainer,General — Patterico @ 6:08 am

The editors of the L.A. Times know that fired U.S. Attorney Bud Cummins disputes the central premise of an article they published, about whether his dismissal was tied to a political investigation.

They know it — but their readers don’t. And they have decided to hide this fact from their readers.

The paper reported that Cummins feared there was a connection between his firing and an investigation he had conducted. Cummins has since unequivocally said that he does not fear that, and knows of no possible connection. He believes he was misquoted. Even if he wasn’t, he says, the quote did not accurately state his beliefs, as should have been clear from the context of the conversation.

No matter. The paper has decided to leave its readers in the dark. Here is the e-mail I received from the Readers’ Representative:

Patrick,

I had assumed that you meant this more as an advisory on Cummins’ thoughts on the subject as discussed with another outlet. As The Times story said, Cummins “wonders whether it had something to do with the probe he opened into alleged corruption by Republican officials in Missouri.” The Times story emphasized that point as more evidence that DOJ simply won’t tell the fired prosecutors why they were terminated. According to what you sent, Cummins said that he didn’t “intend” to say something in a certain way; he didn’t, as seems to be your interpretation, “deny the central premise” of the Times story.

Jamie Gold
Readers’ Representative

The hell he didn’t.

The story in question was titled Cummins fears corruption investigation led to his firing. What do you figure the central premise of that story is? Bingo! The premise was that Bud Cummins feared a corruption investigation had led to his firing:

Still uncertain exactly why he was fired, former U.S. Atty. H.E. “Bud” Cummins III wonders whether it had something to do with the probe he opened into alleged corruption by Republican officials in Missouri amid a Senate race there that was promising to be a nail-biter.

Cummins, a federal prosecutor in Arkansas, was removed from his job along with seven other U.S. attorneys last year.

In January 2006, he had begun looking into allegations that Missouri Gov. Matt Blunt had rewarded GOP supporters with lucrative contracts to run the state’s driver’s license offices. Cummins handled the case because U.S. attorneys in Missouri had recused themselves over potential conflicts of interest.

But in June, Cummins said, he was told by the Justice Department that he would be fired at year’s end to make room for Timothy Griffin — an operative tied to White House political guru Karl Rove.

In an interview Thursday, Cummins expressed disgust that the Bush administration may have fired him and the others for political reasons. “You have to firewall politics out of the Department of Justice. Because once it gets in, people question every decision you make. Now I keep asking myself: ‘What about the Blunt deal?’ “

As I previously noted here and here, Cummins disputed the central point of the article in an e-mail to the TPM Muckraker blog. In his e-mail, Cummins said that he does not fear that a corruption investigation had led to his firing. As for his quote in the L.A. Times, he said:

Unfortunately, that isn’t what I said, or at least what I intended to say, and it is not the case.

The context of my conversation with LA Times reporter Richard Serrano was clearly that I do not know of ANY connection between the Missouri investigation (which actually had nothing to do with Governor Blunt) and my termination.

The L.A. Times “Readers’ Representative” claims that “Cummins said that he didn’t ‘intend’ to say something in a certain way.” But if you read the entire e-mail — and I reprint the whole thing below, with certain parts emphasized — you can see that Cummins firmly believes he was misquoted. He says more than once that he believes L.A. Times reporter Richard Serrano misunderstood him. He believes that he said to Serrano: “Now you are asking me — what about the Blunt deal?” He explains that he said this, not to suggest that there was a connection, but simply “to illustrate the point that people are questioning things that weren’t an issue before the information about the firings was recently disclosed.”

What’s more, he says, even if there was somehow a slip of the tongue and he was quoted accurately, the entire context of the conversation made it clear that he knew of no connection between his firing and the investigation.

It is crystal clear from his e-mail that this is not a situation where he simply regrets what he told a reporter. It’s not as if Cummins regrets saying something bad about the Administration, and wants to make nice with the Bush crowd. In his e-mail, Cummins expresses his belief that the Administration lied about the other U.S. Attorneys. These are not the words of someone who regrets something he said. He just doesn’t think he made this particular statement to the L.A. Times.

For L.A. Times readers to understand what Cummins meant, it is absolutely critical that this information be reported. The editors thought the original story was important enough to report. But now that the main player has clarified that the story’s central premise was dead wrong, that’s somehow not news. The editors have decided to allow the original misleading point to stand — just as they have left other misleading impressions to stand in recent weeks with respect to the U.S. Attorney firings.

And somehow, all these misleading impressions harm Bush.

Hmmmmmm.

P.S. It’s not “defending the Administration” to point this out. It’s defending the concept of giving the public the whole truth. The L.A. Times has made a deliberate decision to hide the whole truth from its readers. That’s what upsets me.

Cummin’s full e-mail is in the extended entry, with my emphasis in bold.

(more…)

Getting Information The Hard Way (Or, Why I Should Be Working For TMZ.com)

Filed under: Miscellaneous,Snarkage — Justin Levine @ 2:39 am

[posted by Justin Levine] 

Roger Friedman from Fox News gives us this breathless tidbit concerning the Anna Nicole Smith story –

How close was Anna Nicole Smith to the psychiatrist who prescribed all those drugs for her? Very close, it seems. Maybe too close. In fact, they were next-door neighbors.

Real estate records for both Anna Nicole and Dr. Khristine Eroshevich reveal that the patient and her doctor actually lived next door to each other in million-dollar homes in Studio City, Calif.

Umm…Note to Roger: Why did you feel the need to spend the time and effort combing through real estate records to discover this? Wouldn’t it have been easier simply to watch the Anna Nicole Smith Show? After all, Episode 18 features Khristine Eroshevich throughout the narrative and clearly announces her as being a neighbor. But then again, the second season is hard to find on DVD, so I guess only true fans of the Anna Nicole Smith Show would consider this to be common knowledge.

Note to TMZ.com:  My starting salary for such superior investigative tabloid skills starts at six-figures….


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