Patterico's Pontifications

8/2/2009

Birther Conspiracy: Putting It to Rest or Fanning the Flames?

Filed under: Government,Obama — DRJ @ 8:04 pm

[Guest post by DRJ]

Ten Congressmen, including six from Texas, have joined in sponsoring legislation that would require the campaign committees for future Presidential candidates (2012 and beyond) to provide copies of their birth certificates:

“The Constitution stipulates that “no person except a natural born citizen” shall be eligible to serve as president. The Presidential Eligibility Act proposed in March by Rep. Bill Posey, R-Fla., would require campaign committees to submit a copy of the candidate’s birth certificate to the Federal Election Commission with other documentation as necessary to prove eligibility.”

Several sponsors say their goal is to put to rest any Presidential birth conspiracy theories, but Rep. Sheila Jackson-Lee described it as a bid to impeach Obama’s birthright as the first black president.

UPDATE 8/5/2009: See this related Hot Air post dated 7/28/09.

– DRJ

Administration Considers U.S. Detainee Prison-Court

Filed under: Judiciary,Obama,Terrorism,War — DRJ @ 3:06 pm

[Guest post by DRJ]

This month’s trial balloon from the Obama Administration is a new way to deal with the Guantanamo detainees:

“The Obama administration is looking at creating a courtroom-within-a-prison complex in the U.S. to house suspected terrorists, combining military and civilian detention facilities at a single maximum-security prison.”

The facility would be jointly operated by the Justice Department, the military and the Department of Homeland Security. Initial reports focus on a Michigan state maximum security prison that is scheduled for closure (cost to upgrade: $100M) or the military penitentiary at Fort Leavenworth, Kansas.

There’s a lot to consider and discuss regarding this proposal, but my first reaction is that implementing it will undoubtedly make Cash-for-Clunkers look well-run. Plus liberals, conservatives and libertarians may finally agree on something: I suspect most of them won’t like it.

– DRJ

Capt. Scott Speicher’s Remains Found in Iraq

Filed under: War — DRJ @ 2:53 pm

[Guest post by DRJ]

Navy pilot Michael “Scott” Speicher’s remains have been located and returned from Iraq:

“Officials said Sunday that they got new information last month from an Iraqi citizen, prompting Marines stationed in the western province of Anbar to visit a location in the desert that was believed to be the crash site. The Iraqi said he knew of two other Iraqis who recalled an American jet crashing and the remains of the pilot being buried in the desert, the Pentagon said.

“One of these Iraqi citizens stated that they were present when Capt. Speicher was found dead at the crash site by Bedouins and his remains buried,” the Defense Department said in a statement.”

It appears Speicher died after ejecting when his plane crashed in the desert. He was the first casualty on the first night of 1991′s Operation Desert Storm in Iraq.

I’m glad his family can have closure. R.I.P. Capt. Speicher.

– DRJ

Radley Balko’s Failure to Address the Substance of My Arguments

Filed under: General — Patterico @ 10:41 am

Some of Radley Balko’s fans are expressing regret that a discussion about the Henry Louis Gates affair devolved into a discussion about Balko’s stonewalling on a correction. What about the big picture? they ask.

Let me make this clear: I wrote a lengthy post (2120 words) addressing the substance of Balko’s argument point by point, and noting that:

  • Dunphy and I were not defending the Gates arrest — contrary to Balko’s suggestion.
  • Dunphy was not advocating unreasonable searches by cops, nor was he criticizing citizens who resist clearly unlawful searches or seizures — contrary to Balko’s suggestion.
  • Dunphy never said that “running your mouth” or “asserting your rights” alone might get you shot — contrary to the repeated suggestions of Balko, Doherty, and others.
  • The underlying principle of Dunphy’s analogy, that citizens don’t always know what cops reasonably suspect them of, did indeed have relevance to the Gates affair — contrary to Balko’s argument.
  • Balko repeatedly skipped over critical context (that the officer in the hypo was confronting a suspected armed robber) and clarifying language (“running your mouth” isn’t what puts you at risk, but rather “fail[ing] to do as the officer asks” in a tense felony stop situation), making Balko’s literalist interpretation crabbed, uncharitable, and unreasonable.
  • Balko had a flat-out undeniable error in his analysis: that I had omitted an allegedly critical phrase in Dunphy’s post. I hadn’t.

So yeah, I addressed Balko on the substance. And, of all these points, the only one that Balko addressed was the last — and then only after I made it crystal clear that I wasn’t going to allow him to leave the error uncorrected without comment. His entire response to all the points I made on the substance:

The rest of the post stands.

Thanks for that thoughtful rejoinder!

Note: I grappled with his actual words, rather than strawmen. I showed several gaping holes in his argument. I didn’t insult him; I called him “a smart man who sometimes makes apparently telling points about police misconduct” but who was attacking strawmen instead of what I had actually argued.

The closest I came to a personal jab was in connection with his error, about which I said: “I’m sure he’ll be correcting that with his usual speed and lack of accompanying grumbling.” Yes, there was a little sarcasm there, but I ask you: was I wrong?

His response consisted of: a half-assed “correction” issued 36 hours after he learned of the error, which strongly suggested I was lying about the phrase having been there all along; an airy dismissal of my Jimmie Duncan blog post as “nonsense” despite the numerous critical omissions and distortions I had showed; a dishonest portrayal of his Twitter feed as mostly him talking about what he has for dinner; a suggestion that I am “obsessive and creepy” because I took 10 seconds to add his publicly available Twitter feed to Google Reader; a blatant lie about why it took him 36 hours to make a 14-word correction; and a declaration that he is going to ignore my future criticisms of his inaccuracies unless they are picked up by a blogger with more traffic.

Ah, the substance!

P.S. Balko’s characterization of his Twitter feed is basically bullshit, like most everything else he says. Here is a representative sample of messages that showed up in my Google Reader feed; I didn’t cut any out. It’s hardly all personal, or what he just ate:

radleybalko: “keep your government hands off my Medicare…” http://www.nytimes.com/2009/07/31/opinion/31krugman.html

radleybalko: @MZHemingway It’s “extremely important” that Reason adopt your views on culture, eh? I’ll be sure bring that up at next ed. meeting.

radleybalko: @MZHemingway The whole discussion began with Carney’s attack on the article for tying Friar’s roasts to free speech, did it not?

radleybalko: @MZHemingway, etc. Space for adults to be adults is very much an important part of a free society. And damned well worth defending.

radleybalko: @TPCarney Envelope-pushing helps preserve less offensive free speech. Also, the roasts aren’t just vile, they’re also usually funny.

radleybalko: My Mad Men avatar doesn’t really look like me. And it doesn’t really look Mad Men-ish. But it’s fun! http://tinyurl.com/mktjkn
from Twitter / radleybalko

radleybalko: My Reason piece today on the Gates arrest is bringing in some ugly email.

radleybalko: Most convincing argument yet that Obama is not a U.S. citizen: http://bit.ly/NW2Bc

radleybalko: @RushGal Gates is racist? His father was white. So is his wife.

radleybalko: This week’s crime column: Gates arrest is about troubling scope of police arrest powers, not racial profiling. http://tinyurl.com/lsek5d

radleybalko: Scale says I’ve now lost 50 pounds since October. Things that are 50 lbs: a grown basset hound, 6 gallons of water, an average 7-year-old.

radleybalko: NRO’s resident cop says Gates lesson is: Hand over your rights when confronted by police, or you might get shot. http://tinyurl.com/naadve

radleybalko: Re: My pup’s poop-eating habit, someone suggested that “pumpkin makes poop taste bad.” This is a fact I never imagined I’d need to know.

radleybalko: Wow, are the Dems’ health plans scary. Basically keeping the worst parts of current system, ditching the best. http://tinyurl.com/nassft

radleybalko: The world’s saddest zoos. http://www.slate.com/id/2222991/

radleybalko: Your afternoon rage. http://bit.ly/8otvB

radleybalko: OK cop who choked EMT who he says blocked him en route to emergency was actually picking wife up from auto shop. http://tinyurl.com/nqd5x2

radleybalko: I’m quoted in two Christ. Science Monitor pieces on Gates arrest: http://tinyurl.com/ncr67q, http://tinyurl.com/momjgu

Clearly there’s plenty of stuff there that’s political, and I’m not sure it all appears on his blog. For example, I don’t think his blog has the links to his being quoted in newspaper articles, or the link where he touts the “[m]ost convincing argument yet that Obama is not a U.S. citizen.” (If I’m wrong, I’ll cheerfully and promptly admit it; I base this on a quick scan of recent posts.) Nor does his Twitter feed seem that much more personal than his blog; he talks about his dogs eating poop on Twitter, but he also posted about his dogs eating poop on his blog.

So Balko is engaging in his typical bullshit when he says:

When he tried to subscribe to it, I didn’t see a reason why a guy who clearly hates me would or should have any interest in what I’m eating for dinner.

Apparently 1400 people follow his Twitter feed. Why would they follow his Twitter feed when everything is already on his blog except what he had for dinner? Are 1400 people obsessed with what he had for dinner??

Of course I don’t care what he had for dinner. In fact, I don’t see why anyone would care what he had for dinner, and I don’t see why he posts what he had for dinner. It seems . . . a little narcissistic to post what you had for dinner on a feed that is followed by 1400 people. But hey, if that’s what he wants to post, so be it. Me, I’m more interested in when he posts misleading bullshit like this:

radleybalko: NRO’s resident cop says Gates lesson is: Hand over your rights when confronted by police, or you might get shot. http://tinyurl.com/naadve

It’s not creepy and stalkerish to have a way of staying on top of distortions like that, and it’s really just slander on his part to imply otherwise. But I understand why he tries to personally discredit me. Because time and time and time and time and time again, I show his arguments to be based on dishonesty, factually challenged, laughably one-sided, packed with distortions and omissions, and generally disrespectful of accuracy.

He wants me to go away. Not gonna happen.

Upcoming: a full post on Balko’s final article on the Jimmie Duncan case, including the ways that the final article seriously misled readers about Duncan’s history of abusing the victim in that case, and details about the video that Balko didn’t tell you about.

Best Caption Ever

Filed under: General — Patterico @ 12:03 am

Hot Air held a caption contest for this picture. I present to you the clear winner:

obama-afterbeers
Above: Just a cop, Skip, and a chump from the White House

UPDATE: Skip’s daughter had this classy postracial observation in a piece about the Beer Summit:

As our family rounded the corner to the White House library and I first caught sight of Sgt. Crowley’s lovely daughter; she was wearing an appropriately heavy and charmingly untrained amount of green eyeliner on her lower lashes, and I saw my former self in her.

Translation: “what a sweet little tramp she was.”


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