Patterico's Pontifications

8/21/2008

A Very Interesting — and Potentially Devastating — Story About Obama and Terrorist Bill Ayers Is Beginning To Percolate

Filed under: General — WLS @ 8:39 pm

[Posted by WLS]

The subject of Obama’s connection to William Ayers through an educational foundation called the Chicago Annenberg Connection (CAC) has begun to enter the mainstream media.

As has been discussed over the last few days on several web sites, and as is now being covered in some mainstream media outlets, the University of Illinois at Chicago is withholding from Stanley Kurtz, a contributing editor at The National Review, and a senior fellow at the Ethics and Public Policy Center, the records of an enterprise called the “Chicago Annenberg Challenge (CAC). Kurtz’s published a long article on Monday explaining how he learned about the records, how he sought to review the records at UIC, how he was given permission to come review the records, how he was allowed to review a “finding aid” (akin to a table of contents), and then when he was about to board a plane to Chicago to conduct the review, the University suddenly changed its mind and denied him access.

Why is this important? Because Obama was the Chairman of one arm of the CAC from 1995 to 1999 — its “Board”. Ayers wrote the grant application for $50 million submitted to the Walter Annenberg Foundation which was used to create the CAC. But, more significantly, Ayers headed up a second arm of the CAC – the Chicago School Reform Collaborative.

The role of the “Board” was to handle all fiscal matters, i.e., the parceling out of grant monies to various applicants from the Chicago school system.

The role of the “Collaborative” was to serve as a “clearinghouse for ideas, for resources, for information — the place where strategies are created, successes and failures analyzed, and plans made and shared….”

Keep in mind that when Obama was made Chairman of the Board in 1995, he was three years out of Harvard, was an associate at a small Chicago civil rights law firm, and had no great political contacts to speak of. Nevertheless, he was appointed to the position of Chairman of a non-profit educational foundation with a $50 million grant — which came with the obligation to raise matching funds from gov’t or other charitable sources (the Board eventually raised another $60 million). Other members of the Board were such Chicago luminaries as former University Presidents and Presidents of other charitable foundations. Yet they were led by a 3rd year associate from a small Chicago law firm.

(more…)

The Vice Presidents

Filed under: 2008 Election — DRJ @ 8:38 pm

[Guest post by DRJ]

Reportedly tomorrow is the day Barack Obama will announce his VP selection. It’s been a closely guarded secret that is driving the media insane:

“Obama refused to say whether he’d notified his pick or when exactly he would send cell phones buzzing with the answer delivered via text message. He seemed to relish the frustrations of scores of reporters following him this week in anticipation of the announcement.

“Wouldn’t you like to know?” he said with a grin when asked by an Associated Press reporter when the text would be sent.

“I’ve made the selection, that’s all you’re gonna get,” Obama said as he visited a store selling roasted Virginia peanuts as nonchalantly as any other day campaigning in a battleground state.”

The campaigns are doing all they can to generate excitement and get a bounce from their VP selections. I don’t blame the campaigns but I’m not very interested in the decisions unless they are truly unexpected, and I don’t expect that to happen. People don’t want “truly unexpected” behavior from final Presidential nominees.

Let’s see who has the best ESP, political judgment, or both. Who do you pick for Obama’s Vice President? Feel free to guess McCain’s pick, too.

— DRJ

Hillary’s Campaign Debt

Filed under: 2008 Election — DRJ @ 8:05 pm

[Guest post by DRJ]

The Boston Globe reports Hillary Clinton’s campaign debt is still huge:

“Clinton raised less than $2.5 million last month and at month’s end still owed nearly $24 million, according to the report filed Wednesday with the Federal Election Commission. She cut her debt by only about $1.2 million.

About $13.2 million of Clinton’s debt is in loans she made herself, and she has said that any contributions will be used to pay vendors, not herself.

Obama, by comparison, raised $51 million during July.”

In late June, the New York Post reported Barack Obama’s massive fundraising network could help Hillary retire $10M in debt owed to vendors and over $13M in personal loans. That obviously didn’t work out.

Earlier this month NewsMax described Obama’s lack of assistance as a breach of his promise to Hillary.

I don’t think the Clintons will be happy campers at the Democratic Convention.

— DRJ

A Note on Comments

Filed under: Blogging Matters — DRJ @ 6:16 pm

[Guest post by DRJ]

Recently there seem to be more comments caught in the spam filter than usual and sometimes several hours go by before they are caught. This can make conversations seem disjointed as comments are delayed. It also changes the comment numbers.

Stashiu3 noted this on another thread and suggested that commenters who want to reference or respond to specific comments should do so by using the comment date/time stamp instead of the comment number.

I think that’s a good idea and I’m going to use that from now on. It doesn’t mean others need to do this but I wanted to clarify why it might be helpful.

— DRJ

Is That All It Takes?

Filed under: Miscellaneous — Justin Levine @ 5:42 pm

A surefire back-up plan for getting out of jury duty.

Not that I would encourage this – especially on Patterico’s site. He needs a steady stream of fair-minded jurors to keep his job.  :-)

– Justin Levine

A Conversation With Harry Reid

Filed under: 2008 Election — DRJ @ 5:15 pm

[Guest post by DRJ]

Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid was interviewed yesterday by his hometown newspaper, the Las Vegas Review Journal, and the conversation covered a wide range of topics. Most of it was predictable although a few of his opinions surprised me. For example, even though Reid clearly stated his dislike for John McCain, he defended Lieberman’s planned appearance at the GOP Convention and noted Lieberman is a reliable Democratic vote on social issues. Reid may not be so concerned about Lieberman if the Democrats increase their majority in the Senate this November.

Regarding Obama’s VP choice, Reid said he didn’t know who Obama would chose but he thought Clinton and Richardson might still be in the running. He was enthusiastic about Biden but not-so-effusive about Bayh or Kaine.

Reid comes across as wordy and gaffe-prone, and the reporter’s comments suggest this may be normal. No wonder Reid likes Biden. They are loquacious soul-mates.

— DRJ

Speaking of Houses — The One Obama Rented in Hawaii for a week is worth around $8 million

Filed under: General — WLS @ 4:14 pm

[Posted by WLS]

The house is legal as a vacation rental, but only on a monthly basis.  The community where the house is located — Kailua — has had an ongoing internal battle for years over owners of second homes using them as “short-term” rentals — generally meaning houses that are rented on a daily or weekly basis.  Short-term rentals — like Bed&Breakfasts — are not allowed, unless specifically licensed. 

The house Obama rented is not licensed as a “short-term” rental, which means the owner can rent it only one time a month.  I don’t know for sure what Obama paid, but I know someone who rented a smaller house on the same beach on a monthly basis in the same basic area, and the monthly rental was $18,000.   The house Obama rented is much bigger and newer.

Freakonomics Guy: Surprisingly Unexpected Odds Are, Surprisingly, Expected!

Filed under: Crime,Dog Trainer,General — Patterico @ 11:40 am

Freakonomics guy Steven Levitt takes a look at the “Arizona DNA database” issue raised by a recent L.A. Times article, and pronounces himself surprised to learn that the numbers . . . aren’t surprising:

When I heard about this, I wondered if the F.B.I. is totally off its rocker when it comes to the probabilities it gives about DNA matches. Is it possible that the F.B.I. is right about the statistics it cites, and that there could be 122 nine-out-of-13 matches in Arizona’s database?

Perhaps surprisingly, the answer turns out to be yes.

Of course, it shouldn’t be surprising at all. Levitt reveals that you would expect to find about 100 matches at nine loci. Instead, 122 were found, which is likely an inconsequential difference given the magnitude of the numbers we’re discussing.

But these numbers are set forth in the article. So why did Levitt, an experienced statistician, wonder whether the FBI was “totally off its rocker”?

The answer lies in the overly dramatic way the issue was portrayed by the L.A. Times.

On the front page, the paper portrayed the findings as surprising, announcing with great fanfare that dozens of matches were found with probabilities like 1 in 113 billion. It seemed to defy impossible odds, we were told.

Only on page A20 were we told that most of these stunningly unexpected matches were, in fact, expected — because the analyst was comparing every pair to every other pair. As Levitt explains, that means that about 1.4 trillion comparisons were done, making a 1 in 113 billion match anything but unexpected..

This sort of manipulation of the readership helps dramatize a story and sell papers. But it also has real-world consequences, as the last link shows.

More details to come in the comments.

A New Issue of “Not the L.A. Times”

Filed under: General — Patterico @ 11:19 am

Funnyman Roy Rivenburg has a new issue out at Not the L.A. Times.

One new story reports on Sam Zell’s purchase of the state of California:

In his first act as CEO, Zell replaced the state Legislature with a Magic 8 Ball, a widely hailed move that could save $1 billion a year.

He also ordered a 15% cut in the number of state residents. Millions of unlucky citizens were then called into their local mayor’s office and told they were being let go.

Heh.

I think this is supposed to be a knock on Zell, but it doesn’t come across that way to me. A Magic 8-Ball legislature and a 15 percent reduction in the population sound like a good start.

Anyway, it’s funny stuff. Go read it all.

Baldilocks Profiled in L.A. Weekly

Filed under: Bear Flag League,Blogging Matters — Patterico @ 9:15 am

The L.A. Weekly has a profile of my friend Juliette Ochieng, aka Baldilocks, in the current issue. The article focuses on some uncanny parallels between the lives of Juliette and Barack Obama — and the different ways they have responded to those parallels. Juliette says it’s mostly accurate.

Yours truly is quoted (cut me some slack; the interview was me talking on speakerphone on a bad connection as I headed down the 110 freeway after work).

It’s interesting stuff. Go read it all.

And Juliette? The picture looks great.


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