Patterico's Pontifications

4/16/2009

Pirates Are the “Voluntary Coast Guard” . . .

Filed under: General,Morons — Patterico @ 11:24 pm

So says Al Sharpton:

Meant to post yesterday, but it’s timeless.

L.A. Times: Republican Tea Parties, Which Were Attended by Republicans, Carry Risks for Republicans. Who Planned Them and Attended Them.

Filed under: Dog Trainer,General — Patterico @ 10:57 pm

Want to see the L.A. Times coverage of the tea parties?

Get it? Like a tempest in a teapot. Cute, huh? And dismissive.

Which is important.

Hey, did you know that the tea parties were a Republican thing, cooked up by Republicans, and thus carrying a risk for Republicans? I read it in the L.A. Times, so it must be true:

Republicans sought to ignite a popular revolt against President Obama on Wednesday by staging “tea party” protests across the nation to demand lower taxes and less government spending — but the tactic carried risk for the party.

With half a million or more jobs vanishing each month, many Americans are less concerned about how much Washington deducts from their paychecks than whether they will have a paycheck at all.

“Nothing is as pressing a concern as the economy,” said Republican pollster Whit Ayres, adding that even among Republicans the political salience of taxes is not what it once was.

In California, where the Proposition 13 tax rebellion of 1978 sparked a national conservative resurgence, the rallies carried extra resonance, thanks to the nearly $13 billion in state tax hikes enacted in February.

But for Republicans nationally, the issue is whether their call for shrinking the federal government in the depths of a severe economic downturn makes them seem out of touch or tone-deaf to the harsh reality of the jobs crisis.

Funny, when I wrote about the tea parties yesterday morning, I was under the impression that they weren’t really so much a Republican deal. As Glenn Reynolds wrote: “The bad news is that those Americans, despite their opposition to President Obama’s policies, aren’t especially friendly to the GOP.”

But the L.A. Times says the tea parties are a GOP phenomenon. Who am I to argue?

Oh, by the way . . . here’s a screenshot from the latest video to emerge of CNN’s liberal attack dog Susan Roesgen:

Never trust the L.A. Times.

P.S. Here’s that whole video. It’s worth watching, for the Roesgen-haters out there.

What Does the L.A. Times Plan to Do About Merrick Bobb’s Undisclosed Conflict of Interest? Nothing.

Filed under: Dog Trainer,General — Patterico @ 10:41 pm

I heard today from Sue Horton, whom I had written about that undisclosed conflict of interest involving Merrick Bobb. As you may recall, Bobb used the pages of the L.A. Times to praise someone who has been his consultant for several years, without telling readers about that relationship. I told Ms. Horton that I thought readers deserved to know about the consultant relationship. Evidently she disagrees:

I have checked with Merrick Bobb, who tells me that while Melekian used to be paid as a PARC senior advisor, he now volunteers his time. He has not been paid since last fall. That said, if we had known he formerly received pay, we certainly would have asked Merrick to acknowledge that in his piece. He notes, however, that he recruited Melekian to advise PARC for the same reason he defended him in the op ed: because he believes him to be an excellent police chief. Also, the main thrust of the piece was not a defense of Melekian but rather a defense of transparency and full disclosure by police. While we wish the former financial arrangement had been noted in the piece, we don’t feel it rises to the level of running an after-the-fact correction, since he is no longer a paid consultant.

So Bobb doesn’t pay Melekian now? So what?

For all we know, maybe that’s because Melekian feels it’s payment enough to receive praise from a well-known police watchdog. And that praise is more valuable when it appears disinterested.

And Bobb benefits from Melekian’s consultant position regardless of whether Melekian is paid. Bobb’s organization lists Melekian as a senior advisor, and his reports regularly tout Melekian’s participation as evidence that the reports benefit from true law enforcement experience.

Whether Melekian is getting paid or not is beside the point.

The point is that L.A. Times readers should be told about the relationship, so that they can make up their own minds.

Too bad editors don’t agree.

John Ziegler Handcuffed by USC Police After Trying to Ask Questions About Katie Couric Award

Filed under: General — Patterico @ 6:12 pm

Ziegler’s site says:

John went to USC to witness and ask questions about Katie Couric getting the Walter Cronkite journalism award for her interview of Sarah Palin. He intended to also give away copies of his film but was literally prevented from doing so. He did not go there hoping for or expecting any sort of confrontation, especially with law enforcement. He was simply shocked and horrified by what happened there, as should every freedom loving American. He did absolutely nothing wrong and was handcuffed, detained and literally abused by law enforcement at the event. The video speaks for itself, John will have plenty to say about this very disturbing episode.

Here’s the video:

Link: Ziegler Arrest

I’m not going to say one word about the legalities of this.

But it is not clear to me from this video why the campus police asked Ziegler to leave.

I plan to have more on this.

UPDATE: Selected quotes from the video:

ZIEGLER: “Now my wrist is being broken by this security guard, and all I’m trying to do is ask questions of people why they would come to this ceremony to honor Katie Couric for an interview that was not journalism, it was advocacy. This is amazing!”

. . . .

ZIEGLER: “I’m being now handcuffed for standing on a sidewalk asking questions outside of an awards ceremony on journalistic excellence. You can’t get more irony than this.”

Why is a journalism school asking a journalist to leave a journalism school, for performing journalism??

UPDATE x2: Ziegler will be on Greta’s Fox show tonight, presumably talking about this.

UPDATE x3: I just caught up with Ziegler, who is about to go on Greta to discuss this. He told me:

I did not go there expecting or anticipating anything like this to happen. . . . This is a serious matter of free speech. I’ve gone from being shocked and amused to being angered and saddened.

He says he’ll call me again once he’s off the show. I just fired up the TiVo.

UPDATE x4: Spoke to Ziegler again, after his Greta appearance, which I thought came off well. He said they picked the right portions from the clip to play on TV, and emphasized (as he said on the show) that the full 20-minute video with all the context is available at howobamagotelected.com.

He repeated that this was not staged in any way. “I was so stunned by this.” He also explained why he was laughing: he was so surprised and caught off guard. ” I knew my only reactions were to laugh or to get angry.”

Not an illustrious moment for a journalism school, to say the least.

UPDATE x5: I told Ziegler I couldn’t find the unedited video on his site. He sent me this link to the unedited video.

L.A. Times on Rightwing Extremism

Filed under: Dog Trainer,General — Patterico @ 7:35 am

Last night, the most-viewed story on the L.A. Times web site was a hand-wringer about those Rightwing Extremists.

Titled Right-wing extremists seen as a threat, the deck headline reads: “A Homeland Security report says right-wing groups are on the rise because of fears about Obama and the recession.” And the story opens:

The economic downturn and the election of the nation’s first black president are contributing to a resurgence of right-wing extremist groups, which had been on the wane since the Oklahoma City bombing in 1995, according to a U.S. intelligence assessment distributed to state and local authorities last week.

The report, produced by the Department of Homeland Security, has triggered a backlash among conservatives because it also raised the specter that disgruntled veterans returning from the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan might “boost the capabilities of extremists . . . to carry out violence.”

That’s not the only reason, L.A. Times!

Also very problematic is the fact that the report specifically lists certain conservative beliefs as characteristic of extremism groups, warning of groups that “reject[] federal authority in favor of state or local authority” or “groups and individuals that are dedicated to a single issue, such as opposition to abortion or immigration.” The report at the end promises to monitor such worrisome possible thoughtcrimes:

DHS/I&A will be working with its state and local partners over the next several months to ascertain with greater regional specificity the rise in rightwing extremist activity in the United States, with a particular emphasis on the political, economic, and social factors that drive rightwing extremist radicalization.

Ed Morrissey reports that Mississippi Rep. Bennie G. Thompson

wants an explanation of what “activities” Napolitano has planned with law enforcement officials to monitor legitimate public political activity, as promised at the end of the DHS report. He called himself “particularly struck” by this statement. And well he might; it promises to have government treat political discourse as a subversive activity.

Were the politics flipped, you would almost certainly see an article from the L.A. Times warning of the dangers of government seemingly pledging to monitor people with disturbing political beliefs. Yet this is not even mentioned as a possibly objectionable aspect of the report! Instead, the article plays up the angle that those damn rightwing extremists are becoming really worrisome, calling the report “the first high-level U.S. intelligence report to call attention to an array of recent domestic developments as potential harbingers of terrorist violence.”

Simply incredible.

Saved for the 24th paragraph is the fact that there was a similar report in January about leftwing extremists — and even then, it is cited only as evidence that the government is being evenhanded. Which, by the way, is not true, as that report is nowhere near as politically charged as the one about “rightwing extremism,” which (unlike the one about leftwing extremism) focuses on standard beliefs as evidence of extremism.

And if the leftwing extremism report really was the analogue to this one, then where was the L.A. Times report about it?

P.S. Meanwhile, at UNC Chapel-Hill, Tom Tancredo, a man who has is virtually “dedicated to a single issue” (namely, that red-flag issue of “immigration”) tried to make a speech — but was shouted down by the voices of moderation, who disrupted his speech, broke a window, and chanted “We know where you sleep at night!”

I feel pretty confident that this episode will end up as part of a hefty government document on left-wing extremism that will be breathlessly reported in the L.A. Times.

LAT’s Rainey: (Shouted) Fox News Is A Bunch of Shills! (Whispered: Yeah, MSNBC Is Too) (Absent: Any Reference to CNN)

Filed under: Dog Trainer,Obama — Patterico @ 6:49 am

How can you tell when a journalist is firmly on one side of the political spectrum, and not doing a very good job of hiding it? When left and right are doing the same thing — and the journalist slams the right, while giving a slight rebuke to the left.

For example, L.A. Times media columnist James Rainey has a piece about the tea parties that starts off with a four-paragraph slam at Fox News:

It’s a real team effort over at Fox News.

You’d expect conservative commentators like Glenn Beck and Sean Hannity to be hyping today’s wave of anti-tax “tea parties.” But Fox personalities labeled “news” anchors are right there with their blessings too — one telling us the protests will focus on “how much of our hard-earned money is going to the federal government,” another assuring us the tea parties themselves are sparking economic activity.

The Fox promotions people have been pumping up the volume, with ads celebrating hundreds of rallies and citizens who are “demanding real economic solutions.” That’s in contrast, you see, to the fake solutions President Obama wants to foist on the American people.

There’s something dispiriting, though not surprising, in watching the conservative movement’s favorite news outlet shamelessly promote a political happening, while simultaneously claiming its coverage will be “fair and balanced.”

Then we get a tepid Oh, and some on the other side are also bad:

That said, some liberal media voices seem just as intent on squelching the protesters before they’ve shoveled a single bag of Lipton into a single pond. At MSNBC, commentators Keith Olbermann, Rachel Maddow and Chris Matthews wrote off the demonstrations as the work of nothing more than crackpots or political stooges.

The rest of the piece is like that: ranting against Fox News, and then references to Olbermann, Matthews & Co. that sound obligatory, as though Rainey realizes that failing to mention those clowns would be prima facie evidence of his ridiculous bias.

Not mentioned: CNN, a network capable of putting out sober and objective journalism like this: a reporter who goes walking through a crowd looking for nuts to pick out, to show how the whole gathering is extremist. Having found one, she then runs into someone who threatens to make a good case for the purpose of the gatherings. She shouts some leftist propaganda into his face, and when he responds, she cuts him off just as he’s getting to his point. The crowd doesn’t like how she treats him, and she plays the victim — acting as though the negative reaction to her liberal filibustering and demagoguing demonstrates what a dangerous, angry crowd this is:

Note how impressed reporter Roesgen is that Illinois is receiving a big chunk of money from the government, even as Roesgen interrupts citizens so she can repeatedly scream: “What does this have to do with taxes?” Where does she think the wonderful grant to Illinois comes from??

How about that, James Rainey?

Letter to Sunday Opinion Editor About that Undisclosed Conflict of Interest in an L.A. Times Op-Ed

Filed under: Dog Trainer — Patterico @ 12:50 am

I just sent this e-mail to Sue Horton, the Sunday Opinion editor at the Los Angeles Times:

Ms. Horton,

This past Sunday, the L.A. Times published an opinion piece by Merrick J. Bobb, who repeatedly praised Pasadena police chief Bernard Melekian.

Bobb’s piece did not disclose that Melekian has been a consultant for Bobb’s Police Assessment Resource Center since 1996.

I think this disclosure should have been made, so that readers could have had a full picture of Bobb’s pre-existing relationship with Chief Melekian.

Yours truly,

Patrick Frey

http://patterico.com

I’ll let you know what I hear back, if anything.

Previous post here — and thanks to L.A. Observed for the link.

L.A. Times Reports ACLU Wants to Close Men’s Central Jail — So Then What?

Filed under: Crime,Dog Trainer — Patterico @ 12:36 am

The L.A. Times reports:

Civil rights advocates Tuesday called on the Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors and Sheriff Lee Baca to close the Men’s Central Jail, saying nightmarish conditions and overcrowding undermine the inmates’ mental health.

Not mentioned: where all those inmates would go if the jail were closed. (Obvious answer: onto the streets.)

This is a paper that, to its credit, published a 2006 article on murders committed by inmates who should have been in jail, but had instead gained early release due to the Sheriff’s policy (at the time) of releasing inmates after they had served 10% of their sentences.

That policy, of course, was instituted because of scarce jail space. Which, L.A. Times editors, is a problem (I feel like I’m talking to a five-year-old here) that does not get better when you close down an entire jail.

Just what do you think is going to happen if you close down a jail, L.A. Times editors? Huh?

That’s right. More people are going to get killed. And you know that.

Don’t you think it merits a line, even one single solitary line, in your little press release for the ACLU?


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