Patterico's Pontifications

7/2/2009

The Obama Show is Back

Filed under: Obama,Politics — DRJ @ 7:22 pm

[Guest post by DRJ]

Today’s edition of The Obama Show has Barack Obama talking about his daughter Malia’s birthday party this weekend at Camp David:

“The president talked about his family’s plans for the July Fourth holiday during an AP interview Thursday, and revealed that Camp David had been invaded by about 20 girls there to celebrate daughter Malia’s 11th birthday on Saturday.

“There are 24 double-X chromosomes up in Camp David as we speak,” Obama said. “It’s a little intimidating.”

Of course, talking about a politician’s children is “especially off-limits”

… unless you’re Barack Obama and your Daily Presidential Approval Index has been in negative numbers for 3 straight days.

— DRJ

Obama Names Taiwan Liaison

Filed under: International,Obama — DRJ @ 1:14 pm

[Guest post by DRJ]

The Obama Administration has named William Stanton as the new director of the Taipei office of the American Institute in Taiwan, the de facto ambassador to Taiwan. Taiwan is a sensitive diplomatic post for U.S. interests, especially as the Taiwanese government has moved to align its economic interests with China in recent years:

“One of Stanton’s main challenges will be to maintain a robust U.S. profile in Taiwan, as President Ma Ying-jeou presses forward in his ambitious program to improve relations with China.

Since taking power last May, Ma has jettisoned the more China-wary policies of his predecessors and moved the economies closer together.

That has raised questions of whether the U.S. is being left behind in a region where it had a vital stake during the Cold War.”

Blogging at One Free Korea, Joshua Stanton (no relation to William Stanton) has questioned William Stanton’s diplomatic skills and claims Stanton is “known for his strong support for Chinese policies” and accused of having “impeded internal reports critical of the Chinese regime.” Similarly, USC’s US-China Institute translates a 4/9/2009 VOA article that states some view Stanton as “pro-Beijing.”

Is the Obama Administration headed for an anti-democracy trifecta? Iran-Honduras-Taiwan.

UPDATE: Steve points out a Taiwan blogger who thinks everyone should keep an open mind about Stanton’s views.

— DRJ

June Unemployment News

Filed under: Economics,Obama — DRJ @ 11:29 am

[Guest post by DRJ]

Today’s economic news shows unemployment continues to rise, reaching 9.5% and a greater-than-expected 467,000 jobs lost in June:

“June’s payroll reductions were deeper than the 363,000 that economists expected and average weekly earnings dropped to the lowest level in nearly a year.

However, the rise in the unemployment rate from 9.4 percent in May wasn’t as sharp as the expected 9.6 percent. Still, many economists predict the jobless rate will hit 10 percent this year, and keep rising into next year, before falling back.

All told, 14.7 million people were unemployed in June.

If laid-off workers who have given up looking for new jobs or have settled for part-time work are included, the unemployment rate would have been 16.5 percent in June, the highest on records dating to 1994.”

In addition, the “average work week in June fell to 33 hours, the lowest on records dating to 1964.” One silver lining is that newly laid-off workers filing applications for unemployment benefits “fell last week to 614,000, in line with economists’ predictions.” But employment experts also say some job-seekers take the summer off and return to the job market in the fall.

As always, Innocent Bystanders has much more, including the updated chart.

Barack Obama issued his standard response for every problem: He is “deeply concerned.”

— DRJ

Third Circuit Concludes Proceeding Against Kozinski Without Finding of Misconduct

Filed under: Dog Trainer,General,Judiciary — Patterico @ 7:27 am

The Third Circuit Court of Appeals has issued its decision (.pdf) in the ethics complaint against Ninth Circuit Chief Judge Alex Kozinski.

The good news for Judge Kozinski is that the panel does not find any ethical violation in his handling of the Isaacs case. Nor does the panel specifically find any ethical violation in his handling of sexually explicit material on his server — although the judge does come in for some criticism for carelessness and embarrassing the judiciary.

The panel “admonishes” Kozinski for failing to take safeguards to prevent the sexually explicit material from being distributed publicly:

We join with the Special Committee in admonishing the Judge that his conduct exhibiting poor judgment with respect to this material created a public controversy that can reasonably be seen as having resulted in embarrassment to the institution of the federal judiciary.

Don’t be misled: this “admonishment” is not a finding of judicial misconduct. If the panel had made a specific finding of judicial misconduct, you would have seen language like “reprimand” or “censure” in the opinion — options available under 28 U.S.C. §§ 354(a)–(b). That is not what the panel does. Rather, the panel has chosen to conclude the proceeding without a finding of misconduct:

We determine that the Judge’s acknowledgment of responsibility together with other corrective action, his apology, and our admonishment, combined with the public dissemination of this opinion, properly conclude this proceeding.

Somehow I don’t think Cyrus Sanai will be pleased. I’m sure we’ll hear from him in short order.

The panel says that “the Judge’s possession of sexually explicit offensive material combined with his carelessness in failing to safeguard his sphere of privacy was judicially imprudent.” This seems fair. Nobody ever said it was prudent. As the judges note: “Some of the content of the stuff subdirectory — the sexually explicit material — is undoubtedly offensive to many.” This is true, as the judge himself has acknowledged. However, the material was kept for its humor or novelty value — something media reports from the L.A. Times failed to make clear at the time. See my posts for some examples.

The panel also makes it clear that the media did not take care to portray the matter accurately:

Some media reports in June 2008 suggested that the Judge maintained, and intended to maintain, a public website, as that term is commonly understood — a presentation of offensive sexually explicit material open for public browsing. This investigation has established, however, that such a characterization is incorrect. As explained in further detail, the computer files described in media reports in June 2008 constituted a small fraction of a vast aggregation of various items that the Judge had received by e-mail over many years and had retained in a folder, or “subdirectory,” on a personal computer in his home, which had been connected to the Internet using web server software.

Through a combination of improper security configuration and carelessness on the part of the Judge, the aggregation of retained files became accessible to the public.

It has always been quite clear to anyone following this controversy that Chief Judge Kozinski never intended that the general public be able to rummage through the contents of his server. This was not clear in the headline to the original L.A. Times article, which was titled 9th Circuit’s chief judge posted sexually explicit matter on his website.

This seems an appropriate resolution to the matter.

More at Above the Law and How Appealing.

Washington Post: Your Paper of Ill-Repute

Filed under: General — Karl @ 6:10 am

[Posted by Karl]

From the Politico (via Allahtwitter):

For $25,000 to $250,000, The Washington Post is offering lobbyists and association executives off the record, non-confrontational access to “those powerful few” — Obama administration officials, members of Congress, and the paper’s own reporters and editors.

The astonishing offer is detailed in a flier circulated Wednesday to a health-care lobbyist, who provided it to a reporter because the lobbyist said he feels it’s a conflict for the paper to charge for access to, as the flier says, its “health care reporting and editorial staff.”

Well, yeah.  Not that the WaPo isn’t stocked with fawning fans of Obama who would promote his agenda for free.  But perhaps someone might ask White House flack Robert Gibbs at today’s presser why WaPo madam Katharine Weymouth is getting to pimp out members of the Obama administration for a series of high-priced circle jerks.

—-

Update: The WaPo’s sputtering response.  I would still like to know which Obama officials and Congressmen the WaPo was / is planning to sell.

Update x2: The WaPo’s executive editor said today he is “appalled” by the plan, which is your Captain Louis Renault Award winner for the day.

Update x3: Cathouse canceled.

–Karl


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