Patterico's Pontifications

7/11/2009

Obama in Africa

Filed under: International,Obama — DRJ @ 6:29 pm

[Guest post by DRJ]

Barack Obama and his family have taken a whirlwind tour of Ghana in West Africa where, to an adoring media and populace, he has preached the benefits of democracy:

“At the heart of Obama’s message here: African nations crippled by coups and chaos, like Ghana has been in the past, can reshape themselves into lawful democracies. He said it takes good governance, sustained development, improved health care.

And that the moment is now.

“Africa doesn’t need strongmen,” Obama said. “It needs strong institutions.”

This is a good message and I give Obama credit for it. Too bad he won’t apply it in Honduras.

– DRJ

Washington Post Quote of the Day

Filed under: Media Bias — DRJ @ 6:04 pm

[Guest post by DRJ]

By Andrew Alexander, the Washington Post ombudsman:

“The Washington Post’s ill-fated plan to sell sponsorships of off-the-record ‘salons’ was an ethical lapse of monumental proportions.”

Alexander notes that ethics questions were raised months ago and that the “blame runs deeper” than previously revealed.

It also sounds like nepotism is an issue.

UPDATE: According to “most ethics lawyers” consulted by Politico, the proposed Washington Post salons would not have violated Obama Administration ethics rules. Politico says this is contrary to a statement by WH spokesman Ben LaBolt that the Post salon idea “was not consistent with the administration’s ethics policy.” Hot Air has more.

– DRJ

The Politics of Personal Destruction

Filed under: General — DRJ @ 5:14 pm

[Guest post by DRJ]

McClatchy reports “Sotomayor backers urge reporters to probe New Haven firefighter”:

“On the eve of Sotomayor’s Senate confirmation hearing, her advocates have been urging journalists to scrutinize what one called the ‘troubled and litigious work history’ of firefighter Frank Ricci.”

Shades of Joe the Plumber.

– DRJ

Creators Syndicate vs LA

Filed under: Government — DRJ @ 5:08 pm

[Guest post by DRJ]

The founder of Creators Syndicate explains why they may leave L.A..

It’s not because of the air quality.

– DRJ

Sotomayor and PRLDEF

Filed under: Government,Judiciary,Obama — DRJ @ 3:52 pm

[Guest post by DRJ]

Sonia Sotomayor served for 12 years on the Board of LatinoJustice Puerto Rican Legal Defense and Education Fund (PRLDEF), an organization founded to help Puerto Ricans combat discrimination in employment, education, voting, housing, law and other areas. The LA Times recently published an article on Sotomayor’s involvement with PRLDEF, including her involvement in a lawsuit against New York City regarding its police promotion exam:

“While Sotomayor sat on the board, the fund moved beyond traditional civil rights cases and began to address what she called “economic problems” — wage disparities and housing discrimination. A major target became civil service exams that the fund argued had a negative effect on Latinos and other minorities. It filed separate suits against New York City’s police, fire and sanitation departments.

In 1984, while Sotomayor was on the board, the fund alleged on behalf of a group of Latino police officers that a sergeant’s exam violated federal law because minorities did poorly on the test and its questions were not related to being an effective police supervisor. Fewer than 80% of the test takers were white, but the results indicated they would get 95% of the promotions.
***
Frederick A.O. Schwarz Jr., New York City’s top lawyer at the time, said recently that “it was almost impossible to prove that pen-and-paper tests” reflected who was most qualified for promotion. At the same time, the police commissioner was in desperate need of new sergeants. So the department settled the case by agreeing to promote an extra 100 black officers and 60 Latinos.

New York “had to reach down and [promote] some patrol officers who were black and Latinos who hadn’t passed” the test, said Kenneth Kimerling, the defense fund’s lawyer on the case.

Though Sotomayor was not actively involved in litigating the case, she has taken credit for helping to develop the group’s policy of filing such suits.”

PRLDEF supports Sotomayor’s confirmation and, in advance of Sotomayor’s confirmation hearings starting Monday, the AP interviewed PRLDEF founder Cesar Perales who seems to be minimizing Sotomayor’s participation in the New York promotion exam cases:

“Sotomayor held leadership roles on the legal defense fund’s board from 1980 to 1992, starting soon after she graduated from law school and began working, leaving it when she became a federal judge. Perales has described her role as helping with fundraising and setting policy and said she was not directly involved with the group’s legal arguments and activities.”

The idea that Sotomayor was “not directly involved” in legal matters is consistent with the White House claim that Sotomayor’s involvement in PRLDEF was limited, but at least one GOP Senator disagrees:

“Perhaps there is confusion about Judge Sotomayor’s role with PRLDEF, and that confusion may account for your unusual interest,” [White House counsel Gregory] Craig wrote, adding, “Judge Sotomayor was never an employee of PRLDEF nor did she ever supervise the work of PRLDEF staff.”

[Senator Jeff] Sessions disputed Craig’s characterization of Sotomayor’s involvement with the group as peripheral, saying she was deeply involved with the group for more than a decade.

“Judge Sotomayor served in senior leadership roles at the Puerto Rican Legal Defense and Education Fund for 12 years,” Sessions said, including chairwoman of the organization’s litigation committee and vice president of the board of directors.”

The LA Times’ excerpt noted above (that Sotomayor “has taken credit for helping to develop the group’s policy of filing such suits”) supports Sessions’ claim. In addition, the AP article confirms Sotomayor chaired the litigation committee during this period:

“The [New Haven] case bears similarities to a case PRLDEF brought on behalf of Hispanic New York City sanitation workers who sought to stop white employees from getting promotions, arguing that the promotion exams unfairly disadvantaged minorities. Sotomayor chaired the board’s litigation committee at the time.”

This should be an area that gets attention from the GOP Senators during Sotomayor’s confirmation.

– DRJ

The New GM and Privacy

Filed under: Government — DRJ @ 1:53 pm

[Guest post by DRJ]

GM is out of bankruptcy and calling itself the New GM. New GM is keeping the “core brands” — Chevrolet, Cadillac, Buick and GMC cars, trucks and crossovers. New GM is also emailing old GM customers, reassuring them that it will service GM vehicles and offering ‘summer savings‘ on new purchases.

The email includes this notice:

“We want to keep you informed about updates that are relevant to you. General Motors Corporation, Saturn LLC, and Saturn Distribution Corporation are transferring your personal information (e.g., your contact information and vehicle purchase history) to General Motors Company. General Motors Company has substantially the same privacy policies in place as General Motors Corporation had.”

Call me cynical but “substantially the same” is not “the same” privacy policy. I suspect the main difference is that my owner information is now being shared with court and government data bases.

I planned to end this post here but then I found New GM’s Privacy Statement. Here is a brief excerpt and I suspect the bolded portion is the new addition:

Your privacy is important to General Motors Company (GM), as is your trust in GM products and services. We want you to know that the information you share with us will be treated with care.
***
The information you share with us may be used by GM, our affiliates, our licensees, and dealers. It may be used by our suppliers exclusively to provide services for GM, and by our business partners to conduct joint marketing programs with GM. It may also be shared in connection with the sale, transfer or financing of a significant part of a GM business. We will not share your personal information with third parties other than these, or with any third party for their independent use without your permission.

Court, government and maybe more databases.

PS — Feel free to use this post to talk about GM exiting bankruptcy, too.

– DRJ


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