Patterico's Pontifications

4/29/2008

5.2 Magnitude Quake Hits Northern California

Filed under: Environment — DRJ @ 8:49 pm

[Guest post by DRJ]

A 5.2 magnitude earthquake was recorded in Northern California in the last hour. The USGS map shows the epicenter was approximately 35 miles east of Eureka CA.

Anyone feel it?

— DRJ

The Obamas From Opposite Sides of the Aisle

Filed under: 2008 Election — DRJ @ 6:57 pm

[Guest post by DRJ]

It’s double Obama with opinions from conservative Mark Steyn writing about Michelle Obama and liberal Todd Beeton of MyDD on Barack Obama.

First, Todd Beeton opines on Barack’s press conference regarding Jeremiah Wright a/k/a Rev. Doom:

“There are a couple problems that this press conference aren’t likely to assuage. First is Obama’s statement that he guesses he didn’t know Wright as well as he thought he did. “The person that I saw yesterday was not the person that I had come to know over 20 years.” That’s a big problem for someone running on judgment. Secondly, yesterday Obama pointed to Wright’s off-message press tour as proof that the his campaign was not managing or coordinating with Wright, I suppose to distance himself from Wright prove to people that he is indeed Obama’s former pastor. What is does for me is call into question his fitness to run a general.”

Then Mark Steyn weighs in on Michelle Obama a/k/a Mrs. Grievance:

“Ah, the benefits of an elite education. The thesis is dopey, illiterate and bizarrely punctuated, but so are the maunderings of many American students. What makes Miss Robinson’s youthful opus relevant is that the contradictions it agonizes over have dominated her life. Indeed, her apparent bitterness at a society that has given her blessings she could not have enjoyed anywhere else on earth seems explicitly to derive from her inability to live either as an “integrationist who is ignorant to the plight” of “the Black lower class” or a “separationist” embracing its hopelessness and “desperation”. Instead, she rode her privileged education to wealth and success and then felt bad about it. That’s why she talks about money – her money – more than any other putative First Lady ever has: it’s like an ongoing internal dialogue about whether she sold out for too cheap a price.”

Rev. Doom, Mrs. Grievance and Obama – it sounds like Halloween characters or a goth group, not something that would appeal to most Americans. This news cycle is not a good one for the Obama campaign.

Steyn wraps up his analysis of the Obamas by comparing Barack to Jesse Jackson and Colin Powell:

“There’s something pitiful about a political culture that has no use for Mitt Romney, a hugely successful businessman, but venerates a woman who gets the best part of 400 grand for running a “neighborhood outreach” and “staff diversity” program. They seem curious career choices for the closest confidante of a man who claims to be running as a “post-racial” candidate. Which Barack Obama certainly could have been. He’s no tired old race-baiter making a lucrative career out of grievance-mongering, like Jesse Jackson, President-for-Life of the Republic of Himself. In many ways, he’s similar to Colin Powell, a bipartisan figure born to British subjects (in Powell’s case, from the Caribbean; in Obama’s, from colonial Kenya) and thus untinged by the bitterness of the African-American experience. And yet the two most important figures in Obama’s adult life exemplify all the tired obsessions he was supposed to transcend. I don’t agree with Powell on anything very much, from abortion to Iraq. But, with hindsight, it’s a tragedy that he didn’t have the fire in his belly to run in 1996. He was truly the post-racial candidate Senator Obama poses as.”

One of the most disturbing things about the Democratic primary is how racially polarizing it has become. Jeremiah Wright might say society has always been polarized but I can’t recall a time since the 1960s that I’ve heard and seen so much focus on race.

— DRJ

Attendees at the National Press Club Event Honoring Wright Gave Him A Standing Ovation During and After His Remarks

Filed under: 2008 Election,Buffoons,Current Events — WLS @ 5:51 pm

Posted by WLS:

Yesterday I remember reading one commentator’s recollection of the event that included a list of numerous well-known attendees — a crowd handpicked to be supportive of Rev. Wright’s anticipated rehabilitation tour. 

The only two I remember as I write this were Cornell West and Clarence Page. 

Juxtapose the crowd’s cheering of Rev. Wright’s commentary while it was happening in real time, with Obama’s claim today that he was “outraged” by what he saw when he watched television clips of the Rev’s performance on TV last night.

I can’t seem to find the commentator that I read yesterday who listed the attendees.  So, a little assignment for those who visit here — let’s identify as many of the Rev’s NPC cheerleaders as we can.   It might lead to some serious navel-gazing if we can put a few of them on the spot over their conduct.

Houston and Guns

Filed under: Crime,Second Amendment — DRJ @ 1:47 pm

[Guest post by DRJ]

As we say in West Texas, it seems “everyone and his brother” has guns in the Houston area and they know how to use them:

“Robbers shot and wounded a northwest Harris County convenience store clerk late Monday but the clerk fired back and sent one of the attacker [sic] to the hospital in critical condition, the Harris County Sheriff’s Department reported.

The shooting occurred at the Phillips 66 store in the 10000 block of Veterans Memorial Drive about 11:25 p.m., deputies reported.

The clerk was alone in the store when two men entered and opened fire. When the clerk fired back the pair fled and one was hit by a bullet as he ran, deputies said.”

I wonder if the robbers’ willingness to open fire could be due to their belief that the clerk might be armed and dangerous instead of submissive? I don’t know, but I’d rather have a gun than rely on submission.

— DRJ

The Politics of Oil

Filed under: Environment,Politics — DRJ @ 1:32 pm

[Guest post by DRJ]

Democrats will do anything to help consumers deal with rising gasoline prices … except agree to open up ANWR for drilling as President Bush suggested in today’s Rose Garden speech.

Here’s Democratic Majority Leader Reid’s response:

“Only President Bush could allow Big Oil to write our nation’s energy policy, guarantee billions in oil tax breaks and refuse to stand up to OPEC or crack down on price gouging, and then shirk responsibility for gas prices that have more than doubled and oil prices that have quadrupled since he took office. Only President Bush could be surprised to learn that gas was approaching $4 a gallon and then claim the White House is concerned about high gas prices. President Bush’s Rose Garden rhetoric will not lower gas prices for Americans struggling in a weakening economy; he must work with Democrats in Congress to invest in renewable energy and lessen our dependence on oil.

“Further, President Bush still hasn’t learned that his words alone will not remedy the housing crisis threatening thousands of Americans families each day. Favoring voluntary programs that help far too few, the President and Bush Republicans in Congress blocked Democrats’ plan to help as many as 600,000 homeowners facing foreclosure by affording them the same bankruptcy protections available to other Americans. His call this morning for Congress to act is disingenuous at best. Whether on energy policy, the housing crisis or our many other economic woes, this Administration and its Republican allies in Congress offer nothing but the same failed ideas that got us into this mess in the first place.”

Only Democrats could conclude that putting Americans to work finding more oil won’t help our energy needs or the economy. Apparently they believe the only way to fix the “same failed ideas” is to give up oil and write new laws.

And we all know how well that works.

— DRJ

Obama Throws ‘Whatever Relationship He Had’ with Wright Under the Bus (Not Updated)

Filed under: 2008 Election — DRJ @ 1:01 pm

[Guest post by DRJ]

I borrowed this *slightly modified* title from an inspired caption at TalkLeft.

The Instapundit posts a round-up of links on Obama’s response to Wright’s National Press Club speech. Obama was “outraged and saddened” and “[w]hatever relationship I had with Reverend Wright has changed as a consequence of this.” The consensus seems to be that Obama was too lawyerly, especially the “whatever relationship I had” part.

My favorite response from all this – not counting WLS’s post on Andrew Sullivan – was from the Washington Post’s Dana Milbank. Here are the first 2 paragraphs:

“The Rev. Jeremiah Wright, explaining this morning why he had waited so long before breaking his silence about his incendiary sermons, offered a paraphrase from Proverbs: “It is better to be quiet and be thought a fool than to open your mouth and remove all doubt.”

Barack Obama’s pastor would have been wise to continue to heed that wisdom.”

The initial paragraphs are mild compared to the rest. Even the title of Milbank’s article is ominous: “Could Rev. Spell Doom for Obama?” I don’t know but I wouldn’t blame Obama and his staff if they decided to call him Rev. Doom from now on.

UPDATE: Politico reports that Obama plans a “big press conference” to talk about Wright. Never mind. Here’s a transcript of the complete press conference.

— DRJ

More on the Louisiana Story (Short Version)

Filed under: Law,Politics — DRJ @ 11:53 am

[Guest post by DRJ]

Recently we posted a lengthy discussion concerning James G. Perdigao, an indicted Louisiana attorney who filed a motion to recuse the office of the federal prosecutor in his pending criminal case. In the motion, Perdigao made serious allegations that relate to the bribery conviction of former Governor Edwin Edwards as well as to Congressman William Jefferson, the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Eastern District of Louisiana, the Department of Justice, and others.

It’s a complex story and I’m posting this to provide a shorter version and to introduce a related matter not covered in the original post.

If you want the very short version, there’s this helpful and clever visual aide of Perdigao’s Web created by 2klbofun at Ton of Fun. Great job, 2klbofun, and thanks!

In addition, in last Friday’s New Orleans Times-Picayune, columnist James Gill penned a brief and balanced analysis of the Perdigao story. Gill’s column includes two aspects of this story that were not fully covered in our earlier post: First, Gill notes the unusual vitriol in the prosecutor’s response to Perdiago’s motion to recuse. Second, Gill suggests the big picture that fits Perdiago’s allegations into chronological context, including how Perdiago’s claims explain confessed briber Robert Guidry’s “sweet deal” in the Edwards’ case:

“The abiding mystery of the Edwards trial is how come Guidry got such a sweet deal. After copping a plea and becoming the star government witness, Guidry was certainly entitled to a break, although five months in a half-way house seemed remarkably lenient after all the sleazy deals he admitted.

But that was not the biggest favor the feds did for Guidry. The license he secured for the Treasure Chest in Kenner eventually put more than $100 million in Guidry’s pocket. He was ordered to make restitution of just $3.5 million.

The explanation Perdigao now offers for that soft sentence is that Guidry, finding himself in trouble for bribing one public official, resolved that the best way to mitigate the damage was to bribe another.

So he paid Jefferson $1 million to ensure that his old protégé, then-U.S. Attorney Eddie Jordan, would go easy. Guidry, who kept large wads of cash in his freezer, could not have known at the time that Jefferson had similar habits, and Perdigao’s motion is silent on what happened to the alleged bribe after it was handed over. For good measure, Perdigao says, Guidry lent Jefferson’s brother Mose $300,000 around the same time.”

It’s an excellent column so read the whole thing.

In 2006, the local US Attorney’s office in New Orleans reportedly referred Perdigao’s claims to the Department of Justice for investigation by the Office of Professional Responsibility. In its response to Perdigao’s motion to recuse, the US Attorney’s office represented to the Court that:

“As they were levied, each accusation about the U.S. Attorney’s office including the claim that Perdigao’s cooperation was being leaked were contemporaneously referred to the DOJ Office of Professional Responsibility (OPR) which determined there was no merit in them and closed their investigation in April 2007.”

The OPR’s mission is to “investigate allegations of misconduct involving Department attorneys that relate to the exercise of their authority to investigate, litigate or provide legal advice … .” Its Policies and Procedures provide that “[u]pon receipt, OPR reviews each allegation and determines whether further investigation is warranted.” An investigation can include a written response from the attorney involved, review of documents, and interviews. When the investigation is concluded, “OPR makes findings of fact and reaches conclusions as to whether professional misconduct has occurred.” The findings may be publicly disclosed in the following categories:

“1. A finding of intentional or knowing professional misconduct in the course of litigation or investigation where the Attorney General or Deputy Attorney General finds that the public interest in disclosure outweighs the privacy interest of the attorney and any law enforcement interests;

2. Any case involving an allegation of serious professional misconduct where there has been a demonstration of public interest, including referrals by a court or bar association, where the Attorney General or Deputy Attorney General finds that the public interest in disclosure outweighs the privacy interest of the attorney and any law enforcement interests;

3. Any case in which the attorney requests disclosure, where law enforcement interests are not compromised by the disclosure.”

As we concluded in our post and as James Gill notes in his column, there are compelling reasons not to believe Perdigao’s claims and there are reasons that suggest his allegations may be true. Hopefully we will learn more if the OPR releases its findings or if the court holds an evidentiary hearing.

Stay tuned.

— DRJ


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