Patterico's Pontifications

9/22/2008

Obscenity Mogul Won’t Get His Case Dismissed Due to Kozinski’s Declaration of Mistrial

Filed under: General — Patterico @ 11:03 pm

The AP reports:

A federal judge refused to dismiss obscenity charges against an adult film producer Monday after a scandal with the trial judge this summer forced a mistrial.

As opening statements were under way at Ira Isaacs’ trial in June, the Los Angeles Times reported that Judge Alex Kozinski had posted sexually explicit materials on his personal Web site. He recused himself and declared a mistrial.

U.S. District Court Judge George King ruled that Kozinski properly recused himself and double jeopardy is not an issue if Isaacs is tried a second time.

Meanwhile, I’m in possession of another interesting story about Judge Kozinski, but I don’t think I’ll be writing about it, or tipping off any reporters about it. Too hard to explain why. They’ll have to figure it out on their own, and they probably won’t.

I’m Barack Obama, and I Approved This Message

Filed under: 2008 Election,Morons — Patterico @ 10:52 pm

But if it backfires on me, I’ll send Slow Joe Biden out to suggest that I didn’t.

Keeping the Blog Up: An Increasing Challenge

Filed under: Blogging Matters,General — Patterico @ 10:21 pm

Sorry that the site was essentially down for about four hours today, and has had intermittent problems since.

Supposedly, a new tech guy will be overhauling the site and moving it to a new server sometime soon. I’m not completely clear on when it is supposed to happen. Maybe a week from now or so.

I already have more page views for the month of September than in any month in the history of this blog — and that’s despite the fact that a) there’s still more than a week to go in the month, and b) the site has lost thousands upon thousands of hits this month due to the seemingly constant outages.

As always, any frustration that you readers feel, I feel many times over. Thanks for your patience.

Quote of the Day

Filed under: Humor — Patterico @ 9:14 pm

“You seem to know a lot about boxes of dope.”

L.A. Times Blog: Obama Pulls Out of North Dakota, A State Full of “Embittered Small Towns”

Filed under: 2008 Election,Dog Trainer,General — Patterico @ 8:50 pm

This L.A. Times Top of the Ticket blog post stop just short of saying that small-town folks are racists, clinging to their guns, religion, and bitterness:

The Associated Press reported this evening and an Obama spokeswoman confirmed that the Chicago-based campaign is pulling its 50-some staffers out of the heavily Republican state full of embittered small towns and shipping the workers east to Minnesota and Wisconsin, where the Democrat’s prospects seem brighter and closer.

. . . .

The abandonment of at least one Midwestern state by Obama comes as a new AP poll indicates that race could play a significant role in deciding a close national election. (See video.) Some experts estimate the first African American candidate of a major party might be as much as 6 percentage points more ahead if he wasn’t black.

I guess “Racism Week” has been held over for a second week.

Who knows how long its run will last?

A reader of mine writes:

As someone who lived in North Dakota for 2 years, and traveled all over the state, I can tell you, if there is an embittered small town within the borders of EITHER of the Dakotas, it’s news to me. Dakotans are some of the kindest, friendliest and most dependable people I have ever met.

What does this bitter guy know?

A Random Conversation with My Five-Year-Old Son Matthew

Filed under: General,Real Life — Patterico @ 8:37 pm

To understand this story, you need to understand two things about my son Matthew:

1) He loves numbers. For example, he loves to calculate the difference between his age and that of his relatives. He will then tell you, say, how old Pop will be when he’s 17, or how old Uncle Justin will be when he is 30.

2) He doesn’t like to be kissed.

As I was putting him to bed tonight, we were talking about how old his mother and I were on the day he was born. I told him that I was 34.

After we got him ready for bed, I gave him a kiss (or eleven). He lay down and said: “Never kiss me again! Not even when I’m 99!”

“99?!” I exclaimed. I decided to play the math game with him again. “Wow! When you’re 99, I’ll beeeeeee . . . ”

“Dead!” he said.

The boy’s got a point.

(But then, he usually does.)

McCain vs the New York Times

Filed under: 2008 Election,Media Bias — DRJ @ 6:58 pm

[Guest post by DRJ]

Patterico already posted on Ben Smith’s coverage of Steve Schmidt’s comments regarding the New York Times. I can’t match his humor so I’ll settle for a few extra thoughts.

First, responding to Schmidt’s comments, Obama’s national press secretary Bill Burton labeled any claim that the New York Times is in the tank for Obama as “laughable.” Burton listed 42 “probing articles” published by the New York Times as evidence that the Times has not given Obama a pass. The titles of those 42 articles are at the link but they don’t strike me as hard-hitting unless “Charisma and a Search for Self In Obama’s Hawaii Childhood” [New York Times, 3/17/07] counts as hard-hitting.

Second, the Politico’s Michael Calderone published editor Bill Keller’s response as well as Calderone’s take: That the enmity between the McCain campaign and the New York Times began with a story about McCain’s “alleged relationship” with a lobbyist — a clear reference to the Vicki Iseman story — suggesting the McCain campaign can’t take the heat of a political campaign. Naturally, Calderone neglects to mention that the New York Times’ own Public Editor believed the Times crossed the line with the Iseman article. Calderone was also confident enough in his narrative to state that Schmidt’s comments were a “a sure-fire way to drum up support among NYT-hating Republicans.”

Third, also from the Calderone link, here’s Keller’s response on behalf of the New York Times:

“The New York Times is committed to covering the candidates fully, fairly and aggressively. It’s our job to ask hard questions, fact-check their statements and their advertising, examine their programs, positions, biographies and advisors. Candidates and their campaign operatives are not always comfortable with that level of scrutiny, but it’s what our readers expect and deserve.”

Finally, here’s my translation: The McCain campaign thinks the New York Times is in the tank for Obama, while the Obama campaign thinks anything short of adulation passes for hard-hitting journalism when it comes to Obama. Meanwhile, the New York Times believes it’s untouchable.

– DRJ

First Draft of Ben Smith’s Piece on Today’s Conference Call

Filed under: 2008 Election,General,Humor — Patterico @ 6:13 pm

Today, outside a Starbucks in Arlington, Virginia, I found the first draft of Ben Smith’s piece about today’s conference call with Steve Schmidt and other McCain aides:

McCain camp criticism rife with errors

Sen. John McCain’s top campaign aides convened a conference call today to complain of being called “liars.” They pressed the media to scrutinize specific elements of Sen. Barack Obama’s record.

But the call was so rife with simple, often inexplicable misstatements of fact that it may have had the opposite effect: to deepen the perception, dangerous to McCain, that he and his aides have little regard for factual accuracy.

The errors in McCain strategist Steve Schmidt’s charges against Obama and Sen. Joe Biden were particularly notable because they were trivial compared to the charges leveled at Obama. Neverthless, this post will concentrate on the trivial errors made by McCain’s staff, and gloss over the truth of the charges against Obama.

“Any time the Obama campaign is criticized at any level, the critics are immediately derided as liars,” Schmidt told reporters. Indeed: because they are.

Proving my point, Schmidt went on to list a series of stories he thought reporters should be writing about Obama and Biden. In almost every instance, he got the details wrong.

Schmidt criticized the press for the relatively sparse coverage of the fact that the Obama campaign accused John McCain of personally planning the September 11, 2001 attacks on America.

“He actually told a group of people at a fundraiser in San Francisco that McCain planned, not only the initial attack on the South Tower, but also the second attack on the North Tower,” Schmidt said.

But Schmidt reversed the order of the attacks. In fact, the attack on the North Tower took place first, and Obama’s accusation accurately stated the order of the attacks, unlike Schmidt’s misstatement today.

“Steve Schmidt lied — or just got it flat wrong,” said Obama spokesman David Wade. “Apparently he has no idea which tower his boss ordered destroyed first.”

Schmidt attacked Obama for his ties to Unabomber Ted Kaczynski, who killed three people and injured almost two dozen others in numerous bombings carried out between 1978 and 1995.

“What we know for sure, and is beyond debate and argumentation is this: Senator Obama said that he admired Kaczynski, and wished he’d killed more than just three people. There is a videotape showing him smoking crack cocaine and saying this to numerous friends, and the media won’t report it. It’s the biggest political story of the past 100 years, and you guys treat it like it never happened,” Schmidt said.

Obama did express agreement with Kaczynski’s methods and goals, but on that videotape he is clearly seen injecting himself with a mixture of heroin and cocaine, not smoking crack as claimed by Schmidt.

Schmidt also complained of Obama backers’ attacks on McCain’s running mate, Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin.

“As soon as Gov. Palin was nominated, one of … Obama’s chief campaign surrogates, David Axelrod, went out and accused her of being a ‘hick prostitute who has no business outside the kitchen,’” Schmidt said. “Where is the outrage to that aspersion on the part of some of the biggest newspapers in the country?”

But Axelrod didn’t call Palin a “prostitute.” He called her a “whore,” and called Cindy McCain a “prostitute.”

“John McCain’s decision to select a vice presidential running mate who is a hick whore who has no business outside the kitchen is a direct affront to all women, especially prostitutes, like McCain’s own wife Cindy,” Axelrod said.

(Axelrod was apparently wrong: Though numerous pundits from online magazines like the Atlantic have claimed that Palin and McCain are prostitutes, supporters say their promiscuous sexual habits do not have a financial component, and no evidence has emerged to the contrary.)

Asked about the series of errors, McCain aides could not provide evidence to back up Schmidt’s assertions.

One McCain aide, Michael Goldfarb, said Politico was “quibbling with ridiculously small details when the basic things are completely right.”

Another, Brian Rogers, responded more directly:

“You are in the tank,” he e-mailed.

What a tool.

As you can see, it wasn’t edited much before publication.

Tapper: “Obama’s Shrinking Map”

Filed under: 2008 Election — DRJ @ 12:30 pm

[Guest post by DRJ]

According to this June Newsweek Magazine article, Obama’s 50-state strategy was alive and well in June 2008, although not because he still hoped to be competitive in 50 states but as a strategy to chip away at McCain’s dwindling finances:

“Instead of the usual way of doing things—putting precious campaign dollars into only those states the candidate has a chance of winning—the Obama team will run hard everywhere, even in traditionally Republican states.

Sort of. Obama’s strategists don’t really believe he can beat John McCain in Utah. So why blow cash there? To force McCain, who has far less money on hand than Obama ($24 million versus $46 million) to spend more there, too. Ed Rendell, the Pennsylvania governor who won his state for Hillary Clinton but now backs Obama, suggests the 50-state approach is more like the arms race with the Soviets than a presidential-campaign strategy. “There’s something to be said for … making sure the other side spends resources to defend areas that they don’t normally spend resources in,” Rendell tells NEWSWEEK.”

Now Jake Tapper reports that the Obama campaign has moved its North Dakota workers to Minnesota and Wisconsin, apparently conceding that ND will be a red state in this election and further eroding Obama’s 50-state strategy. (Tapper also notes that Obama pulled staff out of Georgia earlier this month.)

Regular readers of WLS’s posts such as this one have known for some time that Obama’s fundraising has not kept up with his ambitious 50-state plan and it’s Obama’s funds, not McCain’s, that have been depleted. Thus, the Obama campaign could end up in the role of the Soviet Union in the Newsweek scenario.

Of course, Obama still has volunteer supporters and a large mailing list in many red states. Further, the campaign says it is active in these crucial states that voted for President Bush in 2004 but are still in play in this election: Colorado, New Mexico, Nevada, Iowa, Ohio, Florida, Montana, Missouri, Indiana, Virginia, and North Carolina.

– DRJ

The Cover-Up Begins

Filed under: 2008 Election,General — Patterico @ 6:57 am

Last night I posted about the Jawa Report’s documentation of possible ties between Obama chief media strategist David Axelrod and an Astroturfing smear campaign against Sarah Palin. Rusty shows that a smear video appears to have been uploaded by one Ethan Winner of the PR firm Winner & Associates. Winner and his family are big-time Democrats and Obama contributors. His 27 Facebook contacts include a senior Obama advisor. The seemingly amateur video, which has no disclosure saying it is from the Obama camp, appears to use the same voice-over artist who has appeared in Axelrod’s ads for Obama. Read Rusty’s post for all the connections.

Shortly after Rusty’s post appeared, the video and related YouTube videos started coming down. Winner’s YouTube profile, that of his father, and several others were closed. This began happening within an hour of the posting of Rusty’s post. Michelle Malkin has the entertaining details, complete with screenshots.

In the criminal law business, we call evidence like that “consciousness of guilt.”

There needs to be follow-up to this story. The connection to the Winners and their PR firm is solid. The evidence tying in Axelrod and Obama is circumstantial but suggestive. The lightning-quick cover-up goes a long way towards convincing me. Now the baton needs to be passed to a media organization that can demand answers from the parties involved, who are unlikely to respond to a bunch of bloggers.

Bueller? Bueller?

UPDATE: Ace entertainingly explains why the cover-up seems to tie the smear to Obama.

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