Patterico's Pontifications

4/15/2008

Michelle Obama is in Touch with Student Loans

Filed under: 2008 Election — DRJ @ 7:34 pm

[Guest post by DRJ]

In an appearance today at Haverford College in Pennsylvania, Michelle Obama responded to claims of elitism by reminding voters of her humble upbringing and that the Obamas only recently paid off their student loans:

“Michelle Obama, appearing at Haverford College, gave a strong response to criticism that her husband’s remarks at a San Francisco fund-raising event were elitist.

“There’s a lot of people talking about elitism and all of that,” she told a gathering of students and townspeople on Tuesday, alluding to controversial remarks that Senator Barack Obama made at a San Francisco fund-raiser. “Yeah, I went to Princeton and Harvard, but the lens through which I see the world is the lens that I grew up with. I am the product of a working-class upbringing. I grew up on the South Side of Chicago in a working-class community.”

Then, referring to her husband’s student loans, she added sarcastically: “Now when is the last time you’ve seen a president of the United States who just paid off his loan debt? But, again, maybe I’m out of touch.”

Rebutting critics who called her husband’s remarks about economic bitterness out of touch, Mrs. Obama asked the crowd, “Am I telling you something that you don’t know? Am I in touch?”

I think most of us would agree that, when she talks about their student loans, Mrs. Obama is not telling us something we didn’t know.

— DRJ

Analyzing the Democratic Superdelegates

Filed under: 2008 Election — DRJ @ 1:43 pm

[Guest post by DRJ]

Jay Cost at RealClearPolitics asks a good question:

“[W]e’ve read a bunch of stories suggesting that Clinton has a “super delegate problem.” But by and large the super delegates haven’t budged. Most of those who were undecided in early March are undecided as of today. According to Dem Convention Watch, Clinton had a 97-delegate lead on February 10th. By March 9th, Obama had cut that lead to 39. But since then, despite all of these stories about Clinton having no real chance, Obama has netted just 13 super delegates. As a group, the super delegates have not moved. More than 40% remain uncommitted.

I think this is curious. They surely do not want a bitter convention battle, so why haven’t they brought an end to this?”

Cost thinks the reason Democratic superdelegates haven’t announced for Obama could be because Ohio showed Obama is weak with rural white independent and weak partisan voters. Read Cost’s article to see why he thinks this, and why “Bittergate” couldn’t have come at a worse time for Obama.

— DRJ

Religion and Politics at Messiah College

Filed under: 2008 Election — DRJ @ 12:38 pm

[Guest post by DRJ]

Given the discussion in another thread about religion and politics, this Jake Tapper/ABC blog post seems on point. Specifically, a reader questioned the hypocrisy of Obama and Clinton attending the recent CNN Compassion Forum at Messiah College in Grantham, Pennsylvania, while criticizing Republicans for speaking at schools like Bob Jones University:

“Both Democratic presidential candidates on Sunday night appeared at a CNN “Compassion Forum” at Messiah College in Grantham, Pennsylvania.

Messiah College describes itself as embracing an “evangelical spirit rooted in the Anabaptist, Pietist and Wesleyan traditions of the Christian Church.”

As such, its “community covenant” states that members of the Messiah College community “avoid such sinful practices as drunkenness, stealing, dishonesty, profanity, occult practices, sexual intercourse outside of marriage, homosexual behavior, and sexually exploitative or abusive behavior.”

In the past, Republican presidential candidates have been criticized for speaking at universities where certain religious beliefs are considered bigoted, most notoriously when then-Gov. George W. Bush in 2000 spoke at Bob Jones University, where anti-Catholic dogma was taught and inter-racial dating banned.

Messiah counsels its gay and lesbian students to seek the help of controversial organizations that use Scripture and behavioral exercises to coach them to stop acting on gay feelings and impulses.

It’s not difficult to imagine a big outcry among liberal activists if, say, Republican presidential candidates attended such a forum hosted by, say, Fox News at such a university.”

Why is it fine for Obama and Clinton to speak at Messiah College?

— DRJ

Pope Benedict XVI Visits America

Filed under: International — DRJ @ 11:56 am

[Guest post by DRJ]

Pope Benedict XVI arrived in America today for a six day visit, and he answered pre-submitted questions including one about the clerk clergy sex abuse scandal:

“It is a great suffering for the church in the United States and for the church in general and for me personally that this could happen,” Benedict said. “It is difficult for me to understand how it was possible that priests betray in this way their mission … to these children.”

“I am deeply ashamed and we will do what is possible so this cannot happen again in the future,” the pope said.

The leader of the world’s 1 billion Catholics pledged that pedophiles would not be priests in the Roman Catholic Church.

“We will absolutely exclude pedophiles from the sacred ministry,” Benedict said, speaking in English. “It is more important to have good priests than many priests. We will do everything possible to heal this wound.”

Absolutely right.

[Edit: I corrected “clerk sex abuse scandal” to “clergy sex abuse scandal.” I’ve been a lawyer way too long. My fingers type legal words no matter what my mind thinks.]

— DRJ

The New Media

Filed under: Miscellaneous — DRJ @ 11:42 am

[Guest post by DRJ]

Two stories today demonstrate how the media is changing. The first is a Pajamas Media story about the unusual way Obama’s “Bittergate” ended up at the Huffington Post:

“It’s one of the great ironies of the campaign. The resolutely pro-Obama Huffington Post, the site Barack Obama chose last month to put out his statement on Rev. Jeremiah Wright’s outrageous comments, this month is the source of one of his biggest campaign crises. Its namesake co-owner, the conservative-turned-liberal commentator profiled recently in the New York Times as “Citizen Huff,” Arianna Huffington, was on David Geffen’s yacht in Tahiti when the deal went down.

I’m referring, of course, to the Huffington Post’s report of the now notorious comments Obama made on April 6th at a private fundraiser in San Francisco. There, the freshman Illinois senator, opining about people in small towns where the jobs have fled, said: “They get bitter, they cling to guns or religion or antipathy to people who aren’t like them or anti-immigrant sentiment or anti-trade sentiment as a way to explain their frustrations.”

The other story concerns a much smaller media venture by former NBC and CNN reporter, Mike Boettcher, and his son Carlos who plan a website devoted to military coverage:

“Boettcher, a Ponca City native, and Carlos are going to cover small units and personal stories about the daily lives of soldiers in Iraq and Afghanistan wars in the style of Ernie Pyle, World War II correspondent. Over the years Boettcher has been a correspondent for CNN and NBC.

The two-man team will first be embedded with the Fourth Infantry Division out of Fort Hood, Texas. Mike has worked with this unit many times before and is obviously respected by both the military and worldwide media.

“We have been given extraordinary traveling orders from the military,” Boettcher said. This apparently lets them travel with various units and all sorts of transportation which could even mean by aircraft carrier.

“I’ve been working in and out of Iraq since Saddam Hussein invaded Kuwait, Desert Storm and for the most recent invasion of Iraq. I’ve been in and out of there since the war began,” Mike said.

The reason Boettcher is launching this unique coverage is because he feels that the major TV news organizations and newspapers have ignored the troops in Iran and Afghanistan.”

Boettcher has YouTube video here.

In a sense, it’s as if we’re returning to Revolutionary days when one person like Tom Paine made a difference in what people thought. Sometimes everything old is new again.

— DRJ

L.A. Times Still Deciding What to Do with Chuck Philips

Filed under: Dog Trainer,General — Patterico @ 8:19 am

Editor & Publisher reports that the L.A. Times is still not sure what to do with Chuck Philips:

Editor Russ Stanton, who is in town for the Capital Conference combined media convention, told E&P that Philips “remains active and on the payroll,” but added “what he is going to be doing in the future is still in the process of being defined.”

The editor and publisher both seem to think this is an isolated incident, and that they’ve done everything they can do:

Looking ahead, Stanton said the controversy will not be a detriment to his efforts to make the paper successful: “I think it propels us forward, I don’t know how else to do it. I think we dealt with it as fairly as a newspaper can.”

Publisher David Hiller, who appointed Stanton to replace O’Shea, also offered no excuses, saying: “Things like that happen. What is important to do is to step up and acknowledge that we made a mistake. We draw a lot of attention. It is like the old saying that a million planes land safely every day, if one has a problem, it gets attention.”

The plane crash analogy is apt in one way and inapt in another.

Usually after a plane crash, authorities try to find out what went wrong, and disclose it to the public, as a way of assuring that the same thing won’t happen again. Here, we know that the problem goes beyond forged documents, since the paper has declared its lack of faith in what were supposedly numerous sources. But what did happen? And how do we know it won’t happen again? The paper won’t say.

But the analogy is inapt because it assumes that all Philips’s past stories were sound, like planes that have already landed. They don’t know that. Stories can crash and burn years after the fact — and if they were written using similar methods as this one, it’s not even a particularly unlikely prospect.

Less self-satisfaction and more self-examination, please.


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