Patterico's Pontifications

3/27/2008

Slate Says the Race is Over for Hillary

Filed under: 2008 Election — DRJ @ 10:03 pm

[Guest post by DRJ]

Slate has looked at Hillary Clinton’s chances of winning the nomination and declares that she has no more than a 12% chance, if that. Thus, they’ve started the “Hillary Deathwatch, a daily update on Hillary Clinton’s dwindling chances of winning the Democratic nomination.” Slate plans to continue its watch until Hillary realizes it’s over.

From the first edition:

“At the moment, polls indicate that Obama has survived the Jeremiah Wright flap (for now). Clinton’s Bosnia blunder has metastasized from a headache into a five-day circus. Bill Richardson finally climbed down from his fence onto Obama’s side. And a Michigan court yesterday deemed the state’s Jan. 15 primary unconstitutional and declined to order a revote, effectively smothering the last glimmer of hope for a deus ex Michigana bailout. Meanwhile, a new poll puts her favorability rating at 37 percent—its lowest since March 2001.”

There’s more at the link on how Hillary might pull victory from the jaws of defeat.

— DRJ

Tom Lehrer: Masochism Tango

Filed under: General — Patterico @ 9:05 pm

I spent a half-hour last night watching Tom Lehrer videos on YouTube. I knew his songs were great, but — while I think I’d seen a video of an older Lehrer doing 2-3 songs — I had never before seen the performances by the man in his prime.

Whether you’re familiar with his music or not, take a few moments and marvel at the panache with which he brings off this performance. Then follow the link to YouTube and watch some related videos on the right. If you’re like me, you’ll easily lose a half-hour or so watching a few in a row.

Prediction

Filed under: Dog Trainer — Patterico @ 7:53 pm

My prediction: Chuck Philips is not long for the L.A. Times.

I’m going out on a limb here. A commenter earlier noted that he hasn’t even been officially put on administrative leave.

But I don’t know. I have this feeling he’s going to be gone in fairly short order.

If I’m right, you read it here first.

UPDATE: Here’s my reasoning. Check out the lede of this New York Times article:

A reporting coup has turned into an embarrassment for The Los Angeles Times, which acknowledged on Thursday that it had relied on apparently forged documents for its investigation into an assault on the rapper Tupac Shakur in 1994.

I just don’t think you can be the guy responsible for that, and continue to work for the paper. Pulitzer or no Pulitzer.

UPDATE x2: I should make clear: I’m not calling for Philips to be fired or to resign. I have concerns about his over-reliance on anonymous sources and his fact-checking, but I generally don’t like calling for journalists’ resignations simply because they have made mistakes. Like Jill Stewart, I’ve been told by someone I trust that Philips is a good guy. So I’m agnostic on the issue of what his punishment should be, if any.

A Tale of Two Recanters and their Friend, L.A. Times “Investigative” Reporter Chuck Philips: Part One [By Guest Blogger WLS]

Filed under: General — WLS @ 7:25 pm

[Posted by WLS]

[This post is by guest blogger WLS, and not by Patterico. It concerns a topic which Patterico has alluded to previously but has expressed a reluctance to post about himself, for reasons mentioned below.]

Here is the basic background as a setup here. In the mid-1990s there erupted a juvenile “feud” between East Coast and West Coast “Rappers,” with the two primary antagonists being Bad Boy Records (headed by Sean “Puffy” Combs), and Death Row Records (headed by Suge Knight). In November 1994, popular unaffiliated rapper Tupac Shakur was beaten and shot outside a recording studio in New York, supposedly because he was not showing sufficient respect to the East Coast group. This incident was the subject of a now discredited story published by L.A. Times reporter Chuck Philips on March 17, 2008, which seems to have been taken off the website.

What is true, however, is that a war of words in print and song lyrics erupted between Shakur and members of Bad Boy records following this episode, and Shakur thereafter signed on with Death Row Records, which was run by Suge Knight, a notorious L.A. Blood gang member. Shakur’s first album for Death Row was full of taunts and threats against various persons connected to Bad Boy Records. Rappers for Bad Boy responded in kind. Several shootings involving members of one or both groups took place over a span of time at various parties and events.

Shakur was one of Death Row’s biggest-selling rappers. Around the same time Christopher “Biggie” Smalls, aka Notorious BIG, was Bad Boy Records’s biggest-selling rapper. On September 13, 1996, Shakur died from gunshot wounds he had suffered six days earlier in a drive-by shooting in Las Vegas, a crime that remains unsolved. Six months later, on March 9, 1997, Biggie Smalls was killed in a drive-by shooting outside a party in Los Angeles. That murder also remains unsolved.

Various theories have developed over the years concerning the killings. One is that Shakur was killed by associates of Bad Boy Records, and Smalls was killed by associates of Death Row in retaliation. Another theory is that both killings were gang-related, as it has been suggested that various affiliates of the L.A. Bloods and Crips street gangs working for both groups, but also making money distributing cocaine on each coast, committed each murder in retaliation for drug deals gone bad. Yet another theory is that Suge Knight of Death Row records was responsible for both murders — Shakur for being too independent and wanting to work outside the confines of Death Row records in pursuing an acting career (with his death allowing Death Row to cash in commercially on his martyrdom), and Smalls simply to antagonize Bad Boy and to make it look like his murder was committed in retaliation for supposed involvement by Bad Boy in the murder of Shakur — in other words, a creative way to frame Bad Boy for the murder of Shakur that Knight had ordered himself. This was the theory developed by LAPD Police Detective Russell Poole, as explained more fully below.

Who is Chuck Philips? He is a self-described “investigative” reporter for the L.A. Times who has long covered the L.A. music industry, winning a Pulitzer Prize for his reporting on corruption in the industry in 1999. I put “investigative” in quotes based on his performance in the article that has renewed this controversy, since it appears that he did little if any “investigating” prior to printing a bunch of claims based on fabricated documents. Philips has written several pieces over the years on the subjects of the murders of Shakur and Smalls. His reporting was taken to task in dramatic fashion in this 14,000-word piece in Rolling Stone in 2005.

(more…)

More Reaction to the Chuck Philips Forged Document Story

Filed under: Dog Trainer,General — Patterico @ 5:22 pm

Some more of my reactions to the revelation that Chuck Philips published a story based on false documents:

The paper deserves praise for quickly admitting its error and running a retraction on the front page. Yes, this was likely done to avoid a lawsuit and/or minimize damages in the event of a lawsuit. But it was the right thing to do.

In a comment, reporter Jim Lakely said that this move engendered good will — but . . .

Yet that good will is largely destroyed by the refusal of Philips or the LA Times to reveal their sources — both the source of the phony FBI reports and the “corroborators” in the poke.

I’ve been a newspaper reporter for 16 years. I’ve used the occasional anonymous source. Sometimes it’s the only way a reporter can get the truth out to the public. But an anonymous source, in my book, forfeits his cover when he lies. It is amazing that the LA Times is still protecting these anonymous sources.

Perhaps Philips and the paper won’t out these frauds because public exposure could put them in physical danger (though that didn’t seem to stop Philips before). More likely, I think, is that Philips has fudged to his editors about exactly how many sources he had. My bet? Philips’ source is singular: The Phraudulent Phat Boy Jimmy Sabatino.

I have no idea whether Philips misled his editors or not, but I agree that if the source knowingly provided phony documents, he has forfeited any right to anonymity — like Bill Burkett in the CBS forged documents scandal. This view is generally accepted by journalists. I did a post about it back during the CBS forged documents scandal, and many journalists weighed in agreeing with that view.

As I said in that post, this view assumes that the journalist can prove the source knew the documents were fraudulent. If the source was duped himself, he deserves to be protected.

In this case, it seems pretty clear that the source is Phat Boy Sabatino and that he knew the documents were forged. Philips should come out and say so, and be clear about what Sabatino said.

Philips’s Use of Anonymous Sourcing on Tupac Story Was Criticized Before the Story Saw Print — But the Warning Was Ignored

Filed under: Dog Trainer,General — Patterico @ 5:05 pm

One of the most interesting aspects of the Chuck Philips forged documents scandal at the L.A. Times is that the paper was warned in advance — but ignored the warning.

In a letter sent after the story was published online but before it was printed in the newspaper, Combs’s attorney pointed out how Philips’s reporting violated the paper’s Code of Ethics regarding the use of anonymous sources:

weitzman-letter-1.JPG

weitzman-letter-2.JPG

Yet the paper’s editors arrogantly shrugged off this valid criticism and proceeded to print a story that has now given them a huge black eye.

After Tim Rutten violated the paper’s standards regarding anonymous sourcing in a column on the Scott Beauchamp affair, Readers’ Representative Jamie Gold said that perhaps her blog would host a discussion about the use of anonymous sourcing.

Think it’s time to have that conversation yet?

Don’t Mess With Houston (Updated)

Filed under: Crime — DRJ @ 2:24 pm

[Guest post by DRJ]

The Houston Chronicle reports a Houston-area man and apparent robber has died after being shot by a homeowner:

“An east Harris County woman shot and killed an armed man, but also accidentally wounded her husband, as she foiled an apparent home-invasion robbery at their apartment, authorities said.

The dead man, identified as Charles Freeman, 21, was found at the bottom of a flight of stairs about 11:45 p.m. Wednesday when sheriff’s deputies arrived at the apartment in the 300 block of Audrey.

Freeman was wearing all-black clothing with a bandana pulled over his face when he forced his way into the apartment, authorities said. “He came in and demanded money and the TV,” said sheriff’s Lt. John Legg.

After her husband began struggling with the intruder, the woman grabbed a pistol that the couple kept in the apartment, Legg said. She fired at least two shots, wounding both men.”

Freeman collapsed and died at the foot of the stairs, and the husband was treated for a wound to his arm. Authorities report there was no known connection between the parties. They were still questioning a woman found in a nearby car.

UPDATE: The homeowners have described what happened:

“An east Harris County woman said she was protecting her family when she fatally shot an intruder holding them at gunpoint inside their apartment.

“I refuse to be a victim,” said Angela Patterson, shaken but still defiant after the ordeal. “He put a gun in my face. If you’re bold enough to do that, you’re bold enough to shoot us.”

Patterson and her husband were watching television about 11:45 p.m. Wednesday when a man, stormed into the apartment in the 800 block of Audrey. Authorities identified the man as Charles Freeman, 21. He was holding a semi-automatic pistol and wore all-black clothing with a bandana covering his face, authorities said.

“He came in and demanded money and the TV,” said Harris County Sheriff’s Lt. John Legg. Patterson’s husband told the intruder that he needed tools to remove the wall-mounted television. “He said ‘Give me the cash.’ I said, ‘We don’t have any cash here,'” Jeffery Patterson said.

Freeman ordered the couple to take off their clothes and closely watched as Angela Patterson disrobed in the living room. “He didn’t pay attention to me so I charged at him,” Jeffery Patterson said.

As the two men struggled, Angela Patterson ducked into their bedroom to retrieve a pistol. “I got the gun and stepped back in and fired,” she said.

Freeman was hit at least once and fell to the floor but an errant round struck her husband in the right arm, authorities said.

The intruder stumbled outside. He collapsed at the bottom of a flight of stairs leading to the family’s apartment, authorities said.

Jeffery Patterson roused their two daughters, 8 and 13, who remained asleep during the incident. After locking the front door, the family moved back inside the apartment and called for help.”

Jeffery Patterson was treated and released from the hospital. Sheriff’s officials believe Freeman noticed the couple’s TV when he was buying drugs in the apartment complex.

— DRJ

“We Don’t Mind Being Used”

Filed under: Politics — DRJ @ 11:58 am

[Guest post by DRJ]

I’m out of time to do anything more than link it, but don’t miss this Weekly Standard article on Democratic Rep. Jim McDermott.

— DRJ

Jeremiah Wright’s Eulogy of Asa Hilliard III (Updated)

Filed under: 2008 Election — DRJ @ 11:37 am

[Guest post by DRJ]

Asa G. Hilliard III was a university professor and a “leader of Afrocentrism, an ethnic history movement that highlights historical achievement among blacks — in part to boost minority students’ self-esteem.” He died August 13, 2007, from complications of malaria while in Egypt on a study tour with students.

A NewsDay blog reports that Obama’s minister, Rev. Jeremiah Wright, wrote a controversial column in December 2007 as a eulogy of Hilliard:

“From the Wright-written eulogy for scholar Asa Hilliard in the Dec. 2007 edition of the Trumpet magazine: “(Jesus’) enemies had their opinion about Him… The Italians for the most part looked down their garlic noses at the Galileans.”

After calling Jesus’s crucifixion “a public lynching Italian style” executed in “Apartheid Rome,” he goes on to claim that white supremicists run the U.S. government:

“The government runs everything from the White House to the schoolhouse, from the Capitol to the Klan, white supremacy is clearly in charge, but Asa, like Jesus, refused to be defined by an oppressive government because Asa got his identity from an Omnipotent God.”

Fox News’ Greta Van Susteran has a video interview about the story here.

Trumpet Magazine is apparently a black-oriented magazine. I use the term apparently because the magazine’s website seems to have been taken down and the column in question is not available. Here is a minimal cached version that gives us a hint of the magazine’s content:

“» Genarlow Wilson: Justice Deferred
» An Empowerment Interview: The Honorable Minister Louis Farrakhan
» The Message: The Life of the Spirit – Dr. Asa Hilliard”

This blog entry speculates:

“Trumpetmag.com, the domain of the Trumpet Magazine that gave an award to Nation of Islam leader Louis Farrakhan, has apparently been taken down. We can only speculate that the reason is to limit its damage to Jeremiah “God Damn America’s” friend Barack Hussein Obama.”

At this point, I think it’s reasonable to assume there may be even more to come. No wonder Wright canceled speaking engagements in Florida, Houston, and Dallas.

UPDATE: Note Pablo’s comment #12. Thanks, Pablo.

— DRJ


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