Patterico's Pontifications

12/29/2008

Dallas Cowboys Lose 44-6

Filed under: General — Patterico @ 8:13 am

Ugly.

The appropriate line comes courtesy of this June 2001 story about the death of coach John McKay, noted by commenter Pablo:

His team lost its first 26 games — 14 the first season and the first 12 the next. After one of those losses, when he was asked what he thought of his team’s execution, he replied, ”I think it’s a good idea.”

A lot of people in Dallas may be feeling that way about now.

12/28/2008

Kwanzaa 2008

Filed under: Miscellaneous — DRJ @ 7:40 pm

[Guest post by DRJ]

The 7 days of Kwanzaa began last Friday and end this Thursday, January 1. Americans are celebrating Kwanzaa with events like storytelling in Austin and Denver, a concert in New Orleans, African dancing and music in Seattle, and a range of activities in Detroit. For something slightly different, Miami’s Kwanzaa activities include a “Kwanzaa Prince and Princess Pageant followed by Ashella, an African version of Cinderella.”

This New York Times’ article has a round-up of Kwanzaa events in the New York City area and revisits a “spirited” debate from 5 years ago regarding the merits of Kwanzaa:

“Five years ago, in an Op-Ed piece in The New York Times titled “A Case of the Kwanzaa Blues,” the author and lawyer Debra J. Dickerson raised a stir by questioning the purpose of Kwanzaa.

“With all due respect to those who celebrate it, Kwanzaa feels like a cop-out,” she wrote. “Just as drugs are for those who can’t handle reality, isn’t Kwanzaa for those who can’t handle knowing that our ancestors fueled themselves with Western ideals, Christianity uppermost among them?”

Citing the Afrocentric intentions of Kwanzaa’s founder, the black-studies professor and political activist Maulana (Ron) Karenga, Ms. Dickerson asserted that “Kwanzaa feels as if it is more about thumbing black noses at white America than at embracing the lost cause of resuming our Africanness.”
***
Ms. Dickerson’s essay prompted a spirited response. In a letter to The Times, Regina Austin retorted that there was “nothing anti-American about Kwanzaa” and added: “African-Americans, whether born here in America, in Africa or elsewhere, have the right to claim Africa as our ancestral home.”

We probably won’t settle that debate here so I’ll let this California Kwanzaa supporter have the last, somewhat confused, word:

“I’ve been celebrating Kwanzaa for many, many years,” said Ms. Bolden-Monifa, who lives in Oakland, Calif., and has written essays about the holiday. “It’s nice to have that connection. You acknowledge that you are an American of African descent, with some connection to the motherland, even if you don’t know where that is.

Her wife, Ruthie Bolden-Monifa, 47, is both African-American and Jewish. The couple, along with their daughter, Ashley, 7, and son Benjamin, 5, celebrate Hanukkah, Christmas and Kwanzaa.

“In many ways, we’re more into Hanukkah and Kwanzaa for the cultural richness than Christmas, which, despite its Christian roots, has become about getting presents,” Ms. Bolden-Monifa said.”

A final note: In writing this post, I couldn’t find as many 2008 Kwanzaa stories as I could for prior years or that I recall reading in the past. My admittedly subjective impression is that there may be fewer Kwanzaa celebrations and/or celebrants. If so, I wonder if it has anything to do with Barack Obama’s popularity among blacks and the fact he openly embraces Christianity.

– DRJ

Immigration Courts and the War on Terror

Filed under: Immigration,Law,Terrorism — DRJ @ 3:50 pm

[Guest post by DRJ]

Mohamad Kamal Elzahabi, 44, from Lebanon is being held in El Paso by immigration pending a deportation hearing. The Houston Chronicle reports the following government allegations regarding Mr. Elzahabi:

  • “Elzahabi came to the United States in May 1984 on a student visa, with plans to enroll in English as a second language classes at the University of Houston.”
  • He “entered into a sham marriage with a Houston exotic dancer and drug addict in 1984 to obtain legal permanent residency, also referred to as a green card. Officials say he promised Kathy Ann Glant, a waitress and dancer at the Pink Pussy Cat club, $5,000 to marry him.”
  • He has never faced charges of terrorism or committing violent acts but he was “arrested in May 2004 in Minnesota on a material witness warrant in a terrorism investigation. Before his arrest, he voluntarily underwent 17 days of questioning by FBI agents.”
  • He was convicted of possessing fraudulent immigration documents by a federal jury in August 2007 and turned over to ICE custody.
  • He has admitted “attending a jihad training camp, being a sniper in Afghanistan and helping train a group seeking to overthrow the Lebanese government.”
  • Elzahabi has already been convicted of possessing fraudulent immigration documents but we may have to wait to see if the remaining claims will be proved in an immigration hearing. (I think the standard of proof is lower than in a criminal proceeding — see, for instance, this article about Sami Al-Arian.) If this is representative, U.S. immigration courts could end up as the front line in the American legal war on terror.

    Don’t you wonder how many Elzahabis there are in America … and how many more there may be after the GTMO detainees have their day in court?

    – DRJ

    Year in Review: In Progress

    Filed under: Dog Trainer,General — Patterico @ 11:37 am

    Any time I spend at the computer nowadays, which is not much, is devoted to doing the Year in Review. Here is a snippet from the opening of the current draft:

    It happens every year. I read every post I’ve written over the past 365 days about this newspaper’s bias, omissions, and distortions — and I think to myself: this is just unbelievable. Even if you’ve seen all of the posts before, there’s something about seeing them all in the same place that makes you realize what an appalling newspaper the L.A. Times can be.

    This year, we had the presidential election, in which the paper slammed Sarah Palin, John McCain, and Joe the Plumber — and protected Barack Obama, Bill Ayers, and Rashid Khalidi. There were culture war issues, such as the “narrow margin” of 19 points against gay marriage, the P.C. attitudes on race, and the usual liberal claptrap on abortion, the judiciary, and crime. There was the paper’s overreaching on the story about Judge Alex Kozinski’s porn collection that wasn’t. There was Pulitzer prize-winning reporter Chuck Philips, who retracted a story in one of the most embarrassing incidents in the paper’s history. There were the paper’s distortions on DNA evidence. This year saw the bankruptcy of Tribune Company, and a collection of errors like none we’ve ever seen before.

    I think it will be a good one.

    12/27/2008

    A Test of the Obama Energy Plan

    Filed under: Obama — DRJ @ 9:02 pm

    [Guest post by DRJ]

    During the Democratic primary debates, Barack Obama said an element of his energy plan would be to mobilize Americans to use less energy. He later suggested American consumers were to blame for the nation’s energy woes because they would not reduce their energy use, followed by polls that showed little backlash from American voters.

    Thanks to a power outage from a lightening lightning storm during his Hawaiian vacation, last night Obama had the opportunity to implement his plan to use less energy:

    “President-elect Barack Obama’s Hawaiian vacation was darkened for 11 hours Friday night and early today when a power outage enveloped the island of Oahu.

    Obama, wife Michelle, and daughters Malia and Sasha are staying in a $9 million, five-bedroom oceanfront house near downtown Honolulu. Power to the compound went out around 7 p.m. Friday and was restored just before 6 a.m. today, about the time as that of the neighbors, Obama spokesman Ben LaBolt said.”

    The compound had 3 generators but the Obama family reportedly spent the evening in the dark.

    Good for them.

    Of course, Obama and his family won’t do without much in the next four years. But I hope this moment of nighttime sacrifice in a temperate climate makes Obama think twice about a policy that views sacrifice as the solution to America’s energy problems. If not, then I hope he has a big FEMA budget that will help people who aren’t fortunate enough to live in a temperate climate.

    – DRJ

    Drinking the Kool-Aid and Other Quotes

    Filed under: Obama,Politics — DRJ @ 7:39 pm

    [Guest post by DRJ]

    “Parties become much more pragmatic when they’ve won,”
    says Joe Trippi, head of media firm Trippi Multimedia, manager of Howard Dean’s 2004 presidential campaign, and adviser to John Edwards in 2008, explaining why organizations like MoveOn.org may be willing to make ideological sacrifices to align their goals with Obama’s:

    “At least in the initial stages, they’re going to try to work together (with Obama) to see what parts of their agenda they can get through,” [Trippi] says. And they recognize, he adds, that they will get more of their agenda passed if they don’t start trouble when they don’t need to.

    If anything can be read into MoveOn’s silence on Rick Warren — the anti-gay-marriage pastor Obama has chosen to deliver his inaugural invocation — Trippi is correct.”

    For now, then, MoveOn’s goal is to “make sure Congress is squeezed between a progressive president and a progressive constituency” or, as Joe Trippi puts it, members of Congress who stand in the way of Obama’s program:

    “… are going to find themselves between Barack and a hard place.”

    Meanwhile, MoveOn.org Executive Director Eli Pariser puts his faith in the people:

    “For his part, Pariser says he will do what his members want, no matter which way it takes the organization or what the implications are for its future. “I believe the fact that we hear something from all over the place at the same time means it probably is what we should do with the country,” he says. “I maybe drank the Kool Aid in civics class a little too much, but I think if you put your faith in that, you really don’t go wrong. People gravitate very quickly to the big things that are at the core of their problems.”

    “It also makes our jobs easier,” he adds, “because we just do what we’re told.”

    MoveOn.org’s leaders may have overestimated how in touch they are with the American people if the General BetrayUs ad is any indication.

    – DRJ

    Joel Stein’s Latest Cry for Attention

    Filed under: Dog Trainer,General,Morons — Patterico @ 4:14 pm

    The subtext of every Joel Stein column is “Hey! Look at me!” He doesn’t say anything that might get him a nasty look at the water cooler, but he does occasionally (and deliberately) poke conservatives in the eye, just to get some buzz — witness his “I don’t support the troops” column. (As a bonus, he often gets an award for honesty from conservatives who believe that Stein is saying what they believe all liberals think.) He’s also a lazy putz who fell for the silly “Bush gave the troops a fake turkey” canard.

    I tend to think it’s best to ignore him, but I also want to make the e-mails stop.

    And so, here is Stein’s latest cry for attention:

    But I’ve come to believe conservatives are right. They do love America more. Sure, we liberals claim that our love is deeper because we seek to improve the United States by pointing out its flaws. But calling your wife fat isn’t love. True love is the blind belief that your child is the smartest, cutest, most charming person in the world, one you would gladly die for. I’m more in ‘like’ with my country . . . When I look at the countries like people, I love Sweden the best.

    The great thing about America is that there are no laws against leaving. If you prove to me that you’re serious about staying away, Joel, I’ll even take up a collection. I’m sure the readers here can collectively afford a single one-way plane ticket to Sweden.

    Why So Many Civilian Casualties? The L.A. Times Will Tell You . . . Eventually

    Filed under: Dog Trainer,General,Terrorism — Patterico @ 11:21 am

    The L.A. Times reports over 200 are dead after Israel retaliated for Hamas rocket attacks. Here’s paragraphs one and two:

    Israeli warplanes and helicopters bombarded military targets across the Hamas-ruled Gaza Strip today, retaliating for rocket fire into Israel but also inflicting a heavy loss of civilian life in the densely populated Palestinian enclave.

    The midday waves of airstrikes killed at least 205 people, according to a Palestinian Health Ministry official in Gaza, making it the deadliest Israeli assault on Palestinian territory in years. Health Ministry officer Moaiya Hassanain estimated that one-third of the dead were civilian noncombatants and that an additional 350 Palestinians were wounded.

    And paragraphs 14 and 15:

    The Israeli military said the targets it attacked included Hamas security headquarters, training camps and weapons depots. In a statement, it said the “vast majority of the casualties are terror operatives.”

    The military added that Hamas bore sole responsibility for any civilian casualties because it had located many of the targets “within civilian population centers.”

    Sure does take a while to get to that part.

    P.S. It’s too bad Obama isn’t president yet. This wouldn’t happen if he were in office.

    12/26/2008

    Doug Ross on the Community Reinvestment Act

    Filed under: Politics — DRJ @ 7:16 pm

    [Guest post by DRJ]

    Doug Ross has a wealth of charts demonstrating the tragic results of the Community Reinvestment Act. It’s interesting and easy to follow, and he concludes with this paragraph:

    “All that said, these factors pale in comparison to the underlying instigator: a changed policy within the Clinton administration. Andrew Cuomo’s HUD and Janet Reno’s Justice Department threatened banks with a variety of sanctions unless they loosened underwriting standards. Their aim: to hit certain thresholds for loans to the urban poor. Securitization, leverage and poor ratings were all built upon the underlying subprime rot caused by the Clinton administration’s egregious experiments.”

    I understand the urge to give money and benefits away but, at some point, politicians in every Party must accept this simple fact: People and societies succeed when they earn what they have, not when it’s given to them.

    – DRJ

    Questions About Caroline Kennedy

    Filed under: Politics — DRJ @ 4:31 pm

    [Guest post by DRJ]

    Caroline Kennedy wants to replace Hillary Clinton as the junior Senator from New York. Her primary qualification seems to be that she’s a Kennedy and the daughter of JFK. Apparently even she realizes her limitations since she admits she will have to work twice as hard as anyone else:

    “Caroline Kennedy told The Associated Press in an interview Friday that she knows she will have to work twice as hard as others if she is picked for the U.S. Senate. The 51-year-old daughter of President John F. Kennedy said she realized she will have to prove herself because of her famous background and her lack of political experience.

    “I came into this thinking I have to work twice as hard as anybody else,” she said. “I am an unconventional choice.”

    But Kennedy said there are “many ways to public service” and her accomplishments as a writer, mother and fundraiser for New York City public schools prepared her well for the post. “

    I’m also a writer, mother and school fundraiser so keep me in mind, Gov. Paterson. You, too, Gov. Blagojevich.

    But back to the point: I don’t see any way Caroline Kennedy is qualified for this appointment. Surely Democrats realize this, don’t they? I know there are liberals and/or Democrats who read and comment here. Even if I don’t always agree with you, I generally see both sides of the issues but I can’t here. Congressional ratings are low enough but to consider naming someone who is, at best, a genetic political celebrity makes a mockery of Congress. Tell me why I’m wrong.

    – DRJ

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