Patterico's Pontifications

8/5/2008

Race Still Divides Obama and Clintons

Filed under: 2008 Election — DRJ @ 11:16 pm

[Guest post by DRJ]

The Politico examines how the Clintons – especially Bill – and Clinton staffers have reacted to allegations of racism traded by the Obama and McCain campaigns. Apparently race is still a sore subject:

“The depth of the anger in Clinton’s circle became clear Friday, when McCain’s chief strategist compared his candidate to Bill Clinton, and the Clintons seemed to accept the analogy.

“Say whatever you want about Bill Clinton, but it’s deeply unfair to suggest his criticism of Obama was race-based,” McCain adviser Steve Schmidt told Politico, after his campaign blasted Obama for suggesting the McCain campaign would use his race against him. “We knew it was coming in our direction because they did it against a president of the United States of their own party.”

Hillary Clinton’s staff declined to comment, but her campaign communications director, Howard Wolfson, appeared on Fox News later that day to, in effect, back Schmidt up.

“I think the McCain camp watched our primary on the Democratic side very carefully, and they know that any accusation of racial divisiveness can be very, very harmful for a candidate’s prospects,” Wolfson said last Thursday.

In interviews Monday, some former Clinton aides declined to discuss the sore subject at all, because they support Obama and don’t consider it helpful. Others would discuss it only on background. But several former aides said that being tarred as racists, if not by Obama’s campaign, then by his supporters, had left deep scars on a campaign whose top officials were black women.”

In related news, a Lifetime Network poll via the Chicago Sun-Times shows that almost 1-in-5 female Clinton voters support McCain and 10% of women voters remain undecided:

“According to the survey, neither presumptive Democratic presidential nominee Barack Obama nor Republican presidential nominee John McCain has secured a clear majority of women, who have decided every presidential election since 1968. Obama garnered 49% to McCain’s 38%, and 6% of these women said they were only leaning toward a candidate. With 90 days to go until Election Day, 10% of women are firmly undecided, indicating either candidate has a shot at becoming the next president.
***
Hillary Clinton’s Legacy
Hillary’s Women Supporters

• While the majority of women who voted for Hillary in the primary are flocking to Obama (76%), nearly one out of five (18%) says they will vote for McCain for president.”

The Lifetime poll is lengthy but it has some interesting results.

– DRJ

Texas Executes Jose Medellin

Filed under: Crime,Law — DRJ @ 10:16 pm

[Guest post by DRJ]

The State of Texas executed Jose Medellin tonight in Huntsville for the June 1993 rape and murder of Jennifer Ertman, 14, and Elizabeth Pena, 16. Details of Medellin’s horrific crime and recent legal proceedings are at the link.

– DRJ

Texas Seeks Custody of 8 FLDS Children

Filed under: Civil Liberties,Law — DRJ @ 10:12 pm

[Guest post by DRJ]

The San Angelo Standard-Times reports that Texas Child Protective Services filed papers today in San Angelo alleging that 11 underage girls were married to older men and asking the court to remove 8 FLDS children from 4 families:

“At least 11 underage girls were married to older members of the Fundamentalist Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints, according to the sect’s own marriage records cited by investigators in documents filed Tuesday.

The documents, in which the state’s Child Protective Services agency seeks the removal to foster care of eight children from four families, are the broadest release yet of evidence investigators have uncovered at the YFZ Ranch, the Schleicher County polygamist compound raided in April after allegations of physical and sexual abuse.

The six girls and two boys range in age from 5 to 17 years old.”

The reasons for removal vary. According to the San Angelo Standard-Times, one affidavit sought removal of a 13-year-old girl whose 15-year-old sister was married to an older man and whose mother claimed no knowledge of the marriage.

The Houston Chronicle describes the 3 remaining removal motions:

“The four parents named in the filings include Dr. Barlow and one of his four wives. Barlow was charged with failure to report child abuse along with five men including FLDS president Warren Jeffs.

Also, three of the eight children belonged to Jeffs’ second-in-command, Merrill Jessop, and his wife Barbara. The Jessops’ 14-year-old daughter was married to Jeffs, three weeks after her 12th birthday.

One of the children, a 10-year-old girl, told caseworkers she was moved from her mother’s home in Utah to the home of her uncle, Merrill Jessop and his wife Barbara. It was at least three years — not until after the government raid, that the girl finally saw her mother.

“(The girl) said that she misses her mother very much and when she asked her uncle Merrill Jessop about where her mother is living he has told her it was none of her business so she has just gotten to the point that she had stopped asking,” a caseworker wrote. The girl told CPS when she grows up she was to “be a good mother and have as many children as the ‘heavenly Father’ wants her to have.”

She also told CPS officials that Merrill Jessop “would make the decision as to when she would get married, at what age, and who she would marry,” according to an affidavit.”

Hearings on the State’s motions have been scheduled for September 25 before Judge Walther in San Angelo.

– DRJ

Totalitarians, Leftists, and Censorship

Filed under: Civil Liberties,Politics — DRJ @ 5:39 pm

[Guest post by DRJ]

Today’s New York Post includes an article by columnist Ralph Peters entitled “Thought Police: The Left vs. Free Speech.”

Peters begins by recounting his recent experience in San Francisco where a reporter asked if Peters “should be tried for war crimes for his columns in The Post supporting our military.” From that appalling anecdote, Peters moves to his broader point: Leftists are intolerant to speech that challenges their beliefs, especially in academia. He also argues that modern history’s greatest “censors and book burners” had their roots in liberal ideologies.

I think it’s hyperbole to imply all liberals want to squelch speech, although it’s not clear if Peters was referring to all liberals or just those on the extreme left. Modern college speech codes suggest he’s not far off the mark when it comes to some academics.

However, I was most interested in Peters’ theory of the relationship between totalitarianism, censorship and leftist ideology. He begins by noting a book by Mahvish Rukhsana Khan that compares Guantanamo prisoners to Holocaust victims – a comparison Peters (and I) find outrageous – and expands to a discussion of the roots of modern totalitarian regimes:

“The truly outrageous aspect of such comparisons [between GTMO detainees and Holocaust victims] is that the American left, with its Stalin-redux willingness to rearrange history, neglects to mention that, outside of Japan, all of the 20th century’s great totalitarian regimes had roots on the political left.

It wasn’t just Lenin and Stalin whose propaganda machine prefigured MoveOn. Nazi is an acronym for “National Socialist.” Read Mein Kampf. It isn’t a tribute to free-market capitalism, folks. Mussolini was a populist. Mao was a leftist, as was Pol Pot. The last century’s worst censors and book burners all emerged from leftist ideologies.

At the moment, the American left evokes our Communists in 1939, who contorted themselves to justify the Molotov-Ribbentrop Pact between Stalin and Hitler. As this column recently pointed out, Support Our Troops, Bring Them Home! disappeared from the political scene the instant Obama called for sending those troops to Afghanistan and Pakistan, instead of back to Fort Hood.

For the hardcore left, the party line always trumps conscience. MoveOn isn’t new – it’s just Pravda with poor punctuation.”

I think Peters makes two separate but, in his view, related claims:

1. Modern totalitarian regimes have their roots in liberal ideology.

2. Totalitarian regimes and liberals are more likely to censor ideas they find offensive.

Is he right or wrong, and why?

Full disclosure: I don’t know what I think about this but I enjoy historical comparisons and this is an interesting theory.

– DRJ

125,000 “Endangered” Gorillas Found. Scientist: But They Still May Be Endangered

Filed under: Environment — DRJ @ 4:03 pm

[Guest post by DRJ]

Wildlife researchers found 125,000 low-land gorillas currently listed as endangered living deep in the forests of the Republic of Congo. This increases the estimated number of low-land gorillas to around 200,000.

Nevertheless, Emma Stokes, a member of the research team from The Wildlife Conservation Society based at New York’s Bronx Zoo, worries that these gorillas are still endangered:

“While calling the new census important, Stokes said it does not mean gorilla numbers in the wild are now safe.

“Far from being safe, the gorillas are still under threat from Ebola and hunting for bush meat. We must not become complacent about this. Ebola can wipe out thousands in a short period of time,” she said.”

Conservationists also warn that we cannot let this good news distract us from protecting other animals who are increasingly endangered by biofuel-related deforestation:

“There is a danger that we concentrate on the more famous species,” Oates said. “What about the other species that we’ve identified as in danger? There are so many that are on the brink of extinction.”

Among them is the highland gibbon, which counts just 19 known individuals. The review warned it will be tough battle to save that Asian primate from extinction.

Simon Stuart, with Conservation International, which provided data for the review, said primate populations are shrinking in Asia due to hunting and habitat destruction – some linked to the booming biofuel industry.

“In Malaysia, Sumatra and Borneo the big problem is destruction of forests to make way for palm oil and biofuels. Ironically, with biofuels, something that is nominally associated with helping the environment can have harmful unintentional consequences,” Stuart said.”

It sounds like the biggest threat to some species comes from environmentalists.

– DRJ

“Leave The Gun, But Take the Cannoli” — Olbermann Sends “Fredo” Milbank Out To Catch Some Fish

Filed under: General — WLS @ 2:41 pm

Posted by WLS

Yeah, I know I mashed-up the scenes.  But this is classic.

Yesterday the left-wingnutroots shot one of their own when Keith Olbermann banned Dana Milbank from appearing on Countdown in the future, and just for good measure publicly impugned his journalistic integrity in the process.   On Kaily Dos yesterday, Olbermann posted this:

      Dana Milbank of The Washington Post, who notified us today that after four years appearing with us, he had accepted another television offer.

      This saved your crack Countdown staff an increasingly difficult decision. 

      For nearly a week we’d been waiting for him to offer a correction or an explanation for his column from last week in which he apparently reported an Obama quote without a full context turned the meaning of the quote inside-out.  

      Then he called criticisms of his column “whines” even though the dispute was over whether Obama said the self-deprecating: “It has become increasingly clear in my travel, the campaign — that the crowds, the enthusiasm, 200,000 people in Berlin, is not about me at all. It’s about America. I have just become a symbol of the possibility of America returning to our best traditions” — or only the part about “I have just become a symbol…” 

      We had decided not to have Dana on this news-hour again until this was cleared up, and, sadly after some very happy years, he’s apparently chosen to make that cloud permanent.

The cause of the divorce was this much-talked about piece on July 30 by Milbank calling the Obama campaign out on its increasingly presumptuous conduct and tone.  I thought the piece was an early warning shot meant to benefit the Obama campaign by calling their attention to a building meme in the press on the subject.  Milbank quoted several examples of reporting being done by other journalists where that impression was being conveyed.  The hook for the piece might have been the exclusion of  New Yorker writer Ryan Lizza from the Obama press plane going to Europe, after the New Yorker cover which caused so much consternation.  There was lots of murmurring on the press blogs that Lizza was getting a taste of Chicago-style political payback.

The passage that Olbermann and his followers (the whole basement full of them) complained about was the one where Obama was quoted by an attendee at a Congrressional breifing of having made reference to himself as being a “symbol” in Europe of the opportunity for America to return to its “best traditions.”  The context for the quote was contested the day it appeared in print by others present who said it was really a self-deprecating comment wherein Obama was talking about the fact that the crowds in Europe were about American and a hope for a better relationship with Europe in the future, and the Obama campaign is just a symbol of that hope – or something like that.

Olbermann never addressed the column on Countdown, and Milbank never appeared after it ran.  But Olbermann’s alterego Rachel Maddow led the pushback against the column and the “arrogance” charge on other MSNBC shows.  From Olbermann’s post on Daily Kos is now seems clear that Olbermann was demanding a correction by Milbank before he would be allowed back on the show.  Milbank told him to go pound sand.

Now Olbermann has MIlbank sleeping with the fishes — which leaves Olbermann’s producers able to count on one hand the number of real journalists who will actually agree to appear on screen with him.    

My two cents:   While Milbank is certainly a lefty in the MSM, and while he has certainly not been friendly to the Bush/Cheney adminstration, I suspect he is one of those political reporters who enjoyed a good relationship with McCain going back to 2000, and probably still likes the guy for his willingness to talk to the press and answer questions.  He probably had no use for a return of the Clintonistas, so while Obama was slaying that beast he was an Obama fan — hence a regular at MSNBC, especially on Countdown.   But the Obama campaign has never been press-friendly, and Obama’s unwillingness to sit down with the press for unscripted on the record sessions is well-reported — and resented.

Now that the race has shifted to McCain v. Obama, there seems to have been a concern on the part of the Obama-chorus – like Olbermann — that Milbank couldn’t be counted on to stay on the reservation, hence this other comment from the link above:

Anybody who would come on television to talk about the Dick Cheney shoot-up, wearing an orange safety vest and a hunter’s cap automatically gets my benefit of the doubt. But even that had a shelf-life, which was nearing, when he took any further decision-making out of our hands. It was quite a surprise conclusion, obviously, and I’ll take it (before anybody tries to take it back).

Isn’t that a concession by Olbermann that he could no longer give Milbank the presumption that he would faithfully preach the Countdown gospel which is that only good flows from the Obamesiah, and all Republicans are the spawn of the AntiChrist?  I’m going to see if I can find examples in recent Countdown appearances by Milbank where he refused to go “all in” on behalf of the Obamesiah and against McCain.

Update:  Now we’ve got some sniper fire this morning from each side.  Milbank’s versiongiven to TVNewser:

Milbank, who, because of a partnership between his paper and the NBC cable news channel, has been a part of MSNBC’s programming since at least the 2000 election.  So where did Milbank end up last night? On CNN, opposite Olbermann. And what does Milbank say about this? 

As for his MSNBC departure and arrival on CNN, Milbank tells TVNewser: “It predated the column and nothing occurred along the lines Keith described.” A week ago tonight, Milbank appeared on Countdown and was identified as “MSNBC political analyst.” An insider tell us Milbank’s contract with MSNBC expired earlier this year.

Here’s Oblermann’s response to that claim today:

Dana appeared with us the night before his column appeared with the truncated Obama quote — and did so under the terms of his contract which both he and MSNBC obviously considered still in force. After the column, he contacted us, joking he was glad I hadn’t put him on the “Worst Persons” list, and then discussing with the producers coming on to clarify or explain what he wrote. Out of appreciation for his work for us, I had delayed a permanent decision on whether he should again appear on Countdown. Dana used this time to make another deal, which he told us about the day before he appeared on another network.

But Milbank’s not going to take that lying down from Olbermann:

Milbank also respondedto FishbowlDC’s Patrick Gavin, and seems to take a swipe at Olbermann: “The CNN contract was negotiated long before the Obama column. It’s just that CNN’s a better fit for me and my philosophy of holding all parties to account.”

There is danger here for Olbermann with the serious journalism community.  I remember listening to a long interview done by Hugh Hewitt with Mark Halperin, who was at that time the Political Director for ABC, and famously started The Note.  

In talking about whether there was a liberal bias in the press, Halperin defended some of his collegues who he knew to be politically liberal on the basis that they made great efforts to keep their biases out of their reporting — but admitted they weren’t always successful.  When Hewitt mentioned Olbermann and Countdown, and the journalists that appeared there, Halperin was critical and said he knew of several prominent journalists who would not appear because they didn’t think Olbermann was a serious journalist, and he never had anyone on the show who didn’t agree with him. 

So, that is out there.  Now Olbermann has publicly banned a prominent columnist for the Washington Post rather than quietly allow him to move on to another network — and called him out by impugning his journalism at the same time.

I suspect Milbank has more friends in the press corp than does Olbermann.  Before long Countdown may resemble nothing more than a political leftwing-gasbag version of Regis&Kelly, starring Olbermann and Maddow.

UPDATE NO. 2 — I’ve eliminated the misspellings of Olbermann’s name based on Cyrus’ comment  below, which I think makes a good point.  Don’t think for a minute, however, that juvenile humor is beneath me. 

But the censorship by Olbermann of lefties who don’t toe the party line in his opinion should be an important issue in the blogosphere, no matter what his rationalizations for it are.

Zogby’s Got Some Really Troubling Poll Numbers Out If You’re An Obama Fan — Which Explains Why I Can’t Find Any Comment On Them From the MSM

Filed under: General — WLS @ 1:10 pm

Posted by WLS:

ATV/Zogby new poll out today measures the changes in the electorate since it did its first McCain v. Obama matchup back in July.  Some very interesting changes have taken place now that Obama is in a real shooting match with someone who disagrees with him on significant issues for the first time in his political career.  Keep in mind the numerous flip-flops Obama has committed in his “move to the center” following Hillary’s surrender in mid-June:

1,011 likely voters conducted July 31-Aug. 1 finds Republican Sen. John McCain taking a razor-thin 42%-41% lead over Democrat Sen. Barack Obama …. a notable turn-around from the Reuters/Zogby poll of July 7-9 that showed Obama ahead, 46%-36%

McCain gained 20% and Obama lost 16% among voters ages 18-29. Obama still leads that group, 49%-38%.

Among women, McCain closed 10 points on Obama, who still leads by a 43%-38% margin.

Obama has lost what was an 11% lead among Independents. He and McCain are now tied.

Obama had some slippage among Democrats, dropping from 83% to 74%.

Obama’s support among single voters dropped by 19%, and he now leads McCain, 51%-37%

By region, McCain’s greatest gains came in the Central U.S. and in the West, home to several key battleground states. What was a narrow Obama lead in the Central U.S. is now a 45%-36% McCain edge. In the West, Obama’s 15% lead is gone, and McCain is now ahead, 43%-40%.

Catholics, who are always a critical voting bloc, favored Obama by 11% in mid-July. Now, they favor McCain by 15%.

Now you know why Obama has been flopping around like a lip-hooked bass the last 10 days.  Lots of people losing sleep on Team Obama.

Does anyone in Denver smell something burning? 

I think its the Clinton campaign phone lines calling superdelegates.

Today’s News All in One Post

Filed under: 2008 Election,Current Events,Politics — DRJ @ 10:27 am

[Guest post by DRJ]

I’m home with strep that I got from my kids so I decided to do a global post with the headlines that caught my eye. (You might want to wear a mask as you read this, lest you catch my germs.)

PRESIDENTIAL AND VP DEBATE MODERATORS NAMED:

The New York Times Caucus blog says the 3 Presidential and 1 Vice Presidental debate moderators have been named:

September 26 – PBS’s Jim Lehrer will moderate a Presidential debate on domestic policy at the University of Mississippi in Oxford, MS.

October 2 – PBS’s Gwen Ifill will moderate a Vice Presidential debate on domestic and foreign policy at Washington University in St. Louis, MO.

October 7 – NBC’s Tom Brokaw will moderate a Presidential debate in a town-hall style forum at Belmont University in Nashville, TN. According to The Caucus, this debate:

“… will entail vetting questions submitted by undecided voters of the Nashville region who were chosen by the Gallup Poll organization. The commission says the vetting process is primarily to avoid duplication. In addition, Mr. Brokaw will be allow to pose questions submitted via the Internet.”

October 15 – CBS’s Bob Schieffer will moderate a Presidential debate on foreign policy at Hofstra University, Hempstead, NY.

DEMOCRATS REVISIT ENERGY AND OFF-SHORE DRILLING:

After reading this Politico report, Speaker Nancy Pelosi may have to single-handedly save the planet until January since she may have released politically vulnerable Democrats to back off-shore drilling and other aspects of Republican energy policy. Apparently she expects a big Democratic majority in Congress next year so she will wait until then to establish a conservation-based energy policy.

FLASHBACK – JOHN A. “JUNIOR” GOTTI ARRESTED:

John A. “Junior” Gotti, son of deceased Gambino family crime boss John Gotti, was arrested in Florida on conspiracy charges linking him to cocaine trafficking and the murder of 3 New Yorkers in the 1980s and 90s. His attorney described it as “tragic” and “laughable” that he and his family have to “continually go through this.”

RELIGIOUS HOLIDAYS MAKE A COMEBACK:

Tyson Foods in Shelbyville, Tennessee, agreed to a new 5-year contract that gives its poultry processing employees a day off for the Muslim holiday Eid al-Fitr in lieu of Labor Day. Approximately 700 of its 1,200 employees are Muslim, most of them Somali.

– DRJ

Patterico’s Next Target at the LADogTrainer: Staff Writer David Wharton

Filed under: General — WLS @ 3:11 am

POSTED BY WLS/POSTED BY WLS/POSTED BY WLS/POSTED BY WLS/POSTED BY WLS

In case there is any uncertainty, this is posted by WLS – 

Mr. Wharton’s offense — mis-spelling the proprietor’s name in today’s latimes:

On the day before the USC football team reports for training camp, a Compton jury heard final arguments in the criminal case against linebacker recruit Maurice Simmons.

The Compton Dominguez High graduate’s college career has been placed on hold while he stands accused of felony robbery, assault with a firearm and a misdemeanor charge of allowing someone to bring a gun into his car.

Carney said that when Hall returned to the car, he did not appear to be carrying stolen property. The pair was arrested shortly thereafter.

Deputy Dist. Atty. Patrick Frye has previously said through a spokeswoman that Simmons is not alleged to have handled the gun at any time.”

Does the LAT really expect us to believe that they don’t know how to spell the name of the guy who has been burning down LAT articles and authors for a couple decades on this blog???????

This is an obvious effort to denigrate Patterico — and it probably came on direct orders from the publisher, whoever that happens to be this month.

From now on, we’re not holding anything back.

A 9.75% Sales Tax In Los Angeles County?

Filed under: Government — Justin Levine @ 12:05 am

Unbelievable, but quite possible.

[Side note: I think Zach at LAist makes a technical mistake in his post - The state's base sales tax in California is currently 7.25%, not 6.25% as he suggests. But he is correct stating that the combined tax rate in L.A. County is currently 8.25% when you figure in both the state and county sales taxes together.]

- Justin Levine


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