Patterico's Pontifications

4/30/2007

Any story that begins “Secret DOJ Policy” is not going to be good for AG

Filed under: Current Events,Government,Law,Politics,Public Policy — WLS @ 6:22 pm

[Posted By WLS]

For a while now I have been of the opinion that the US Attorneys firing was a pseudo-scandal to help MSNBC fill its airtime in the evenings. I’ve “defended” AG to the extent that I wasn’t particularly shocked or surprised that he wouldn’t have been too personally involved in the decision-making over hiring/firing US Attorneys, and that he didn’t feel the need as it was happening to educate himself as to the facts of their individual performances in office.

I’ve defended Sampson’s job status, while bashing Goodling — probably not quite critical enough of Sampson, and certainly not critical enough of Goodling.

I’ve also posited that I didn’t see AG leaving because he can stay as long as he willing to suffer the “slings and arrows” of his critics, and as long as the Pres. didn’t fire him. Since the reports are that the Pres. is unwilling to fire him on the basis that the Pres. doesn’t think he did anything wrong, and firing him would be giving into the Admin’s critics, I thought that AG would be in the position as long as he wanted to be.

But that all changed today with this article by Murray Waas of the National Journal. The article reflects two changes in the situation:

1. AG did an incredibly stupid thing in March 2006, and largely hid it from view, while clearly acting in concert with Harriett Miers — rather than acting as AG.

2. Senior members of the WH have now decided to play hardball with AG in an effort to push him out — and I think its with the Pres’ acquiescence.

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More Circulation Woes at the L.A. Times and Other Papers

Filed under: Dog Trainer,General — Patterico @ 6:10 pm

Via JVW comes a link to news of the latest circulation woes of American newspapers, including the Los Angeles Times.

Blame the big metro papers — again. The Audit Bureau of Circulations released the spring numbers this morning, revealing more plunges in daily and Sunday circulation.

. . . .

The Los Angeles Times lost 4.2% of its weekday circ to 815,723. Sunday was down 4.7% to 1,173,096.

This keeps happening, over and over, and many conservatives will no doubt point to these numbers as further evidence that Big Media is driving away customers with its leftist point of view.

In response, I’ll make the same point I generally make: I hate the bias of Big Media in general and the L.A. Times in particular, but I don’t think it’s that bias that is driving these numbers. Rather, it’s the transformation of how people get their news, due to the revolution of the Web.

However, the two issues are not entirely unrelated. With the Internet comes access to a tremendous diversity of information sources — many far more accurate in their specific niches than the newspapers. More and more people are taking note, and faith in the news media, I think, is cratering as quickly as the circulation numbers, as Big Media’s bias is increasingly put on display.

But correlation does not equal causation, and I still think the shift from newsprint to computer screen is more a technological phenomenon than a fundamental transformation in the basic sources that most citizens turn to for news.

I could be wrong, and trends are ever-changing. But I don’t see this as another moment for blogospheric triumphalism.

Related point: I don’t want to see The Times fail (though if it stays this way, as seems likely, it wouldn’t bother me much). I want to see it get better.

Stone’s Silly Catholicism Post Becomes Chicago Tribune Op-Ed

Filed under: Constitutional Law,Court Decisions,General,Humor,Law — Patterico @ 5:59 pm

If I write a silly blog post, can I have it made into an op-ed at a major newspaper?

I guess I could . . . if I were a law professor.

As it is, I’m a mere lawyer (one sometimes mistaken for a non-lawyer by law professors who publish op-eds based on silly blog posts), so I’m relegated to pointing out the worst flaws in the silly blog posts before they make it into the newspaper.

You’d think I might at least get a mention at the end, for having helped to edit out the falsehoods before the piece was ever submitted.

Geoffrey Stone’s Silly Post Mentioned in Another “Post”

Filed under: Constitutional Law,Court Decisions,General,Law — Patterico @ 5:48 am

Geoffrey Stone’s recent controversial blog post, blaming the partial-birth abortion decision on the Catholicism of the majority justices, has been mentioned in the Washington Post:

“What then explains this decision?” he wrote. “Here is a painfully awkward observation: All five justices in the majority in Gonzales are Catholic. The four justices who are either Protestant or Jewish all voted in accord with settled precedent. It is mortifying to have to point this out.”

In finding that there was a moral reason for upholding the ban, Stone added, the majority failed “to respect the fundamental difference between religious belief and morality.”

Stone was immediately hooted down, blogospherically, for faulty logic, “religious bigotry” and failing to note anything from the majority opinion that would indicate the justices relied on religious belief, rather than their interpretation of the law, to uphold the ban passed by Congress in 2002. That ban, they noted, was approved by substantial and bipartisan majorities, made up of Catholics and non-Catholics.

I’m proud to have been among the crowd hooting down Stone.

John Yoo takes the hooting to the Wall Street Journal here.

Power Line’s Pessimistic Correspondent Responds

Filed under: General,War — Patterico @ 5:42 am

On April 1, Power Line printed this pessmistic assessment of Iraq, written by somebody fighting over there. I asked my guest bloggers Teflon Don and Badger 6 to respond. Teflon Don responded here; Badger 6 responded here and here.

This morning I received an e-mail (with a cc to Power Line) from somebody claiming to be the originator of the pessimistic assessment. He identifies himself as a Sergeant, and gives his name — but I am withholding the name until he confirms that it is okay to print it. (I have sent him an e-mail requesting permission to do so.) His e-mail is interesting and worth reading. Here it is:

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It’s All About Me

Filed under: Blogging Matters,General — Patterico @ 12:04 am

Tech wizard Evariste is writing me a script that will give me a rotating batch of quotations about me and the site. I wanted to do this as early as August of 2005, and had collected about eight quotes or so as of that date. I have collected quite a few more, and there’s something amusing about seeing them all in the same place. Click on “more” to read them. (Yes, they are all real quotes.)

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4/29/2007

Good News from Iraq — No, Really

Filed under: General,War — Patterico @ 6:06 pm

There are some genuinely positive signs coming out of Iraq, in the critical area of Al Anbar. Who says so — the typical pack of mindless right-wing warbloggers? Not exactly . . . in this case the good news is coming from those notorious right-wing organs, the New York Times and the Los Angeles Times.

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New Blog Recommendation: Stubborn Facts

Filed under: Blogging Matters,General — Patterico @ 12:05 am

One of the thrills of having a blog is that I get to tell you about blogs I have discovered. My newest recommendation is a blog called Stubborn Facts.

It’s a group blog, and with apologies to the other bloggers, the blogger who really got my attention is a guy named Simon Dodd. His blog-within-Stubborn-Facts can be accessed here. He is a savvy legal writer who takes a conservative point of view.

Simon’s take on the partial-birth abortion decision is here. It’s entertainingly written in a law review-style format, with footnotes — the first of which reveals that the author’s e-mail address is a gmail address beginning with “acolyteofscalia.”

This is clearly my kind of guy.

Here is a sample quote from one of Simon’s posts, where he urges Alberto Gonzales to resign:

Al, this is reality calling. Like the Miers nomination, your boss is pathologically incapable of firing you, and like the Miers nomination, every hour between now and your resignation worsens the damage. This was a nothing story that you allowed to become a scandal. It no longer matters whether there’s any fire behind this smoke. Resign. Now.

Check out his blog today.

UPDATE: Bumped to top.

Review of Michael Crichton’s “Next”

Filed under: Books,General — Patterico @ 12:03 am

Recently I read Michael Crichton’s “Next.”

I always enjoy Crichton’s novels, but they follow a predictable formula.

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4/28/2007

Meeting Jan Crawford Greenburg

Filed under: Blogging Matters,General — Patterico @ 12:33 am

Beldar says:

I maintain a running mental list of “people whom I’ve never met, but who I’d buy as many rounds for as they’d let me, if I could just keep them talking where I could listen.”

I think we all have these lists. And for some time now, high on my list has been ace Supreme Court reporter Jan Crawford Greenburg.

So imagine how I felt when I got an e-mail from her on Wednesday, describing herself as a “fan” of this blog, and saying that she was coming to L.A. and wanted to meet me.

As regular readers of this blog know, Greenburg is the author of Supreme Conflict, an excellent book on the Supreme Court focusing on recent nomination battles. I gave it a rave review in this post. But she is also fast establishing herself as the top Supreme Court reporter in the country, supplanting the leftist and dishonest Linda Greenhouse.

So when she told me she reads my blog and wanted to meet me — well, it’s tough to find the words to explain how jarring, bizarre, unexpected, and completely cool that was. I quickly set her straight: if anyone was going to play the role of “fan,” it would be me. Anything else would just be ridiculous. But, of course I would be thrilled to meet her.

And so it was that yesterday evening, Ms. Greenburg and I sat down and had a couple of beers and hung out for upwards of 90 minutes or so. We agreed that what we talked about would not appear on our blogs. But I am not revealing any state secrets when I say that Ms. Greenburg is not only a fascinating person, but also someone who is completely down to earth. She is smart, funny, humble, and doesn’t take herself too seriously. Imagine talking to somebody with a personality like that — who has a regular seat at the Supreme Court, and speaks often with the Justices.

Beldar said of Jack Valenti:

I simply would that I had had a chance to hear him tell his tales unvarnished and in person — for no better reason than because I am a curious student of history, and he was [someone] who was so often . . . within arm’s length of its making.

For those of us who are fans of the Supreme Court, this is an apt description of Ms. Greenburg. She regularly scores exclusive interviews with Supreme Court justices — more so than any other person I can think of. She is constantly on hand when legal history is made, and unlike many of the clowns who cover the Court, she tells it like it is.

And she’s just plain good folks.

I’m always amazed at how blogging creates opportunites to meet impressive people. I don’t understand it, exactly, but I’m not arguing with it.

UPDATE: Check out more of Greenburg’s writing at her blog Legalities.

UPDATE x2: Thanks to Howard Bashman for the link. Glad to see he agrees.

By the way, I’m surprised that nobody noticed the subtle hat-tip I gave in the post about Bill Richardson and his praise of Justice White. Go look at it again. Get it now?

She would have blogged it herself, but she didn’t bring her laptop.

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