Patterico's Pontifications

4/29/2008

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

4/28/2008

Well, Well, Well — As John McClane would say: “Welcome to the Party Andrew”

Filed under: General — WLS @ 4:13 pm

Posted by WLS:

After spending months on his sactimonious soapbox lecturing the press and electorate in general, and conservatives and Republicans in particular, about why Barack Obama is simply the most transcendental political figure ever, and any attack on Obama’s “associations” is simply an effort to derail the campaign of a man with “popular policies and a brilliant speaking style” with meaningless distractions — it seems as if Andrew Sullivan has, as of about 5:55 p.m. eastern time, finally seen the light on Wright.

First, a couple things Andrew wrote yesterday and earlier today

4/27/08 at  8:29 pm 

The transcript is here. I found it moving in parts, and certainly a helpful counter to the notion that Wright is some insane anti-American demagogue. He has some views I don’t hold, but he seems a genuine Christian witness to me.  

To be able to see how some of the more toxic events in this campaign can be turned into opportunities for dialogue and mutual understanding is an authentically Christian achievement. And not easy. Bitter is easy.

4/28 — 10:15 am.

The face of the GOP:  And why so many of us find it a toxic place to be:

An entire election and an entire political season may be reduced by one party to three words uttered by a black pastor without context and conflated with the Democratic nominee. And it works in Mississippi primarily because the pastor is black and the candidate is black. Pure Rove….

The question, of course, is whether this kind of crude, content-free racial and ideological demagoguery will backfire outside places such as Mississippi. I don’t know. But if Republicans want to know why so many of us cannot stomach their politics any more, they don’t have far to look.

4/28 at 11:03 am.

Fifteen posts at the Corner this morning on the same subject. If only Jeremiah Wright was running for something … the GOP would have a chance this year.

4/28 at 1:41 pm.

That Crazy Corner [at NRO]:   A reader writes:

The best part of the Corner’s coverage of Wright is that half of it is under the guise of “defending” African-Americans against Wright’s stereotyping of them. The chutzpah never stops, does it?

4/28 at 2:22 pm.

Isn’t it a relief, by the way, for the MSM to have a presidential campaign in which no issues are actually discussed? This Wright-stuff is amazing to me. It’s all the MSM seems to care about. Even coverage of McCain is now about his attitude toward an unhinged black pastor from Chicago. Hey: it beats discussing war, debt, the economy, torture, and terrorism. Because it enables America to return to the classic boomer racial-cultural wars that are all the MSM truly knows how to cover. There’s nothing to be done right now but to duck and cover. And emerge when actual questions of actual salience emerge.

But, sometime in the three hours that followed this last post earlier today, Andrew managed to actually consider just what it is that Obama’s spiritual guide and father figure has been really saying over the last 48 hours — rather than simply derisively dismiss the firestorm in the blogosphere today — and now he’s suddenly singing from a different transcendental hymnal:

I guess I am late to the party, am I not? I didn’t watch Jeremiah Wright’s National Press Club performance live this morning, as every other blogger seemed to. Wright is not on the ticket of any major party, he is not Barack Obama, and I’m not going to be baited into making this campaign about him, or the boomer cultural racial obsessions that so many want this vital election to be about.

But then I actually read what he said.

I knew he was an exhibitionist; many of his sermons at Trinity, read in their entirety, do fall within the tradition of some prophetic teaching; I can forgive occasional outbursts from fiery preachers; he has done much good in his own neighborhood and his interview with Bill Moyers struck me as defensible; parts of his address at the Press Club were completely uncontroversial and even contained some important truths.

But what he said today, the way in which he said it, the unrepentant manner in which he reiterated some of his most absurd and offensive views, his attempt to equate everything he believes with the black church as a whole, and his open public embrace of Farrakhan and hostility to the existence of Israel Zionism, make any further defense of him impossible. 

http://andrewsullivan.theatlantic.com/the_daily_dish/2008/04/wrights-poison.html

Maybe Andrew will dignify his former political fellow travelers with a little more judiciousness in considering their political views of the transcendental candidate whose one true promise to Andrew is to bestow upon him the holy grail of the “right” to homosexual marriage.

Update:  In response to a couple of different comments, I have changed the spelling of the name of Bruce Willis’ “Die Hard” character in the caption.  But come on — who looks up the spelling of movie character names???

Supreme Court Upholds Indiana Photo ID Requirement

Filed under: Constitutional Law,Court Decisions — DRJ @ 4:00 pm

[Guest post by DRJ]

The New York Times notes today’s U.S. Supreme Court decision upholding an Indiana law that requires voters to present photo IDs before they can vote:

“The Supreme Court upheld Indiana’s voter-identification law on Monday, declaring that a requirement to produce photo identification is not unconstitutional and that the state has a “valid interest” in improving election procedures as well as deterring fraud.

In a 6-to-3 ruling in one of the most awaited election-law cases in years, the court rejected arguments that Indiana’s law imposes unjustified burdens on people who are old, poor or members of minority groups and less likely to have driver’s licenses or other acceptable forms of identification. Because Indiana’s law is considered the strictest in the country, similar laws in the other 20 or so states that have photo-identification rules would appear to have a good chance of surviving scrutiny.

The ruling, coming just eight days before the Indiana primary and at the height of a presidential election campaign, upheld rulings by a Federal District Court and the United States Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit, which had thrown out challenges to the 2005 law.”

Justice Stevens, joined by Chief Justice Roberts and Justice Kennedy, ruled that the petitioners failed to meet the heavy burden of showing the law was unconstitutional on its face, leaving open the door to a future complaint by a voter who could show his rights were violated by the law.

The opinion “brushed aside” complaints that the law benefits Republicans, noting that the law “should not be disregarded” even though it may be motivated by partisan interests. In addition, Justice Stevens’ opinion reportedly acknowledged notorious instances of voter fraud in American history.

Justices Scalia, Thomas and Alito concurred in the opinion but went even further:

“Justices Antonin Scalia, Clarence Thomas and Samuel A. Alito Jr. concurred in the judgment of the court, but went further in rejecting the plaintiffs’ challenge. In an opinion by Justice Scalia, the three justices said, “The law should be upheld because its overall burden is minimal and justified.”

Justices David H. Souter, Ruth Bader Ginsburg and Stephen G. Breyer dissented on the basis that the law “threatens to impose nontrivial burdens on the voting rights of tens of thousands of the state’s citizens.”

I hope Texas and other states adopt similar laws post haste.

— DRJ

The North Carolina Democratic Primary

Filed under: 2008 Election — DRJ @ 3:14 pm

[Guest post by DRJ]

Polls have consistently shown Obama leading Clinton by double digits in North Carolina but the lead may be narrowing. Today Democratic superdelegate and NC Governor Mike Easley will endorse Clinton:

“Gov. Mike Easley will endorse Hillary Rodham Clinton for president, The Associated Press has learned.

Easley was expected to announce the endorsement Tuesday morning in Raleigh, the state capital, one week before North Carolina’s primary on May 6, according to persons close to the governor and to Clinton. The individuals spoke on condition of anonymity because a formal announcement had not yet been made.

Easley is a Democratic superdelegate who has served two terms as governor. His decision comes despite several recent polls showing Clinton trailing rival Barack Obama ahead of the state’s May 6 primary.”

Six of 17 NC superdelegates have already endorsed Obama and Easley is only the second NC superdelegate to support Clinton, but the timing couldn’t be better for her campaign.

— DRJ

Are Smiley Face Killers Targeting Young Men?

Filed under: Crime — DRJ @ 3:00 pm

[Guest post by DRJ]

Fox News reports that a task force of retired police officers believe mysterious drownings of at least 40 young men may actually be the work of a gang of serial killers:

“At least 40 young men who drowned may have died by far more sinister means — serial killings at the hands of a national gang that revels in murdering young men and leaving smiley-face markings at the scene, a team of retired New York City police detectives and criminal justice investigators said Monday.

They believe the victims, including University of Minnesota student Chris Jenkins and Fordham University student Patrick McNeill, didn’t accidentally drown but were actually killed by members of the so-called “Smiley Face Gang.”

A smiley-face symbol was found painted at some of the drowning locations — in Ohio, Pennsylvania, Indiana, Wisconsin and Iowa, they said.

“They’re telling you here that they’re into evil, they’re very happy as most serial killers are,” said retired NYPD Det. Kevin Gannon. “They’re content with their work and what they’re doing and the fact that they’re thwarting the police.”
***
The task force that formed to solve the crimes believes a national crime network has killed at least 40 men — mostly white college students and 20-somethings, often with high grades and impressive athletic records — in about 10 different states.

The team investigated 89 separate cases dating back a decade and said it had connected 40 of them through a variety of evidence — including matching sets of gang graffiti.”

The FBI and local authorities don’t agree that the killings may be related but many families of the murdered victims agree the deaths were suspicious.

— DRJ

Bill Clinton Talks About Bill Clinton

Filed under: 2008 Election — DRJ @ 2:30 pm

[Guest post by DRJ]

The conventional wisdom is that Hillary Clinton is a long-shot to win the Democratic nomination but I still hope she stays in and muddies the waters for awhile. I also hope Bill Clinton keeps talking because he’s downright entertaining:

“On the stump, the former President dispensed idiosyncratic political analysis. “One of the reasons that she won Ohio that nobody wrote about,” he said, without explanation, “is that Ohio has a plant that produces the largest number of solar reflectors in America.” He offered commentary about his wife’s earlier limitations as a candidate: “I think Hillary’s become a much better speaker.” But, most of all, Bill Clinton talked about Bill Clinton:

‘The headquarters of my foundation is in Harlem. . . . My Presidential library and school of public service are in Arkansas. . . . I try to save this generation of children from the epidemic of childhood obesity. . . . I am working on rebuilding the Katrina area in New Orleans. . . . I have major global-warming projects in cities all around America. . . . Most of the time I am out in America on the streets. . . . I once gave a speech to a million people in Ghana.’

When Hillary Clinton’s Presidential campaign was launched, in January, 2007, her supporters feared that Bill would overshadow her, as he had when they both spoke at the funeral of Coretta Scott King, a year earlier. Now the constant fear is that he will embarrass her. When he makes news, it is rarely a good day for his spouse.”

The article notes that, even with his bad days, Clinton is an excellent campaigner and he connects with the voters. He’s also put his heart and his reputation on the line:

“I think this campaign has enraged him,” the adviser told me. “He doesn’t like Obama.” In private conversations, he has been dismissive of his wife’s rival. James Clyburn, an African-American congressman from South Carolina, told me that Clinton called him in the middle of the night after Obama won that state’s primary and raged at him for fifty minutes. “It’s pretty widespread now that African-Americans have lost a whole lot of respect for Bill Clinton,” Clyburn said.”

What’s more, Bill Clinton is offended by Obama’s efforts to paint his Administration as partially responsible for America’s problems:

“In much quoted remarks to a private group in San Francisco, Obama said that some Pennsylvanians were “bitter” and would “cling” to guns and religion, because jobs “fell through the Clinton Administration and the Bush Administration.”

That is what offended Bill Clinton. “Hillary’s opponent, in his entire campaign, every two or three weeks has said for months and months and months, beginning in Nevada, that really there wasn’t much difference in how America did when I was President and how America’s done under President Bush,” he said in Lock Haven. “Now, if you believe that, you should probably vote for him, but you get a very bad grade in history.”

It’s fascinating to watch someone who thrives on drama the way Bill Clinton does.

— DRJ

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