Patterico's Pontifications

9/24/2009

Ed Schultz Freaks Out

Filed under: General — Patterico @ 11:06 pm

I didn’t want you guys to miss out on this:

I am reminded of this:

Ben Sheffner on the ACORN Lawsuit

Filed under: General — Patterico @ 10:54 pm

Alert reader Hank K. (happy birthday, Hank!) asked for my opinion of that ACORN lawsuit against Breitbart, Hannah Giles, and James O’Keefe. Luckily, I don’t have to analyze it because Ben Sheffner already has — and did a bang-up, careful, apparently legally sound analysis here. Click the link and read it all, but here are a couple of key grafs:

Maryland’s statute requires consent from all parties to record — which the defendants clearly appear to have lacked. But, crucially, courts have interpreted the statute to apply only where the plaintiffs have a reasonable expectation of privacy (“REP”). . . . While the law in Maryland itself is scant, and the question is not entirely free of doubt, I think it unlikely that a Maryland court would find that ACORN and its employees had a REP in the circumstances here. Thompson and Williams were speaking with complete strangers they had just met. They were meeting in an office open to any customer who happened to wander in off the street. Though the meeting itself appears to have occurred in a conference room, the door was open. And it appears likely that their voices could be heard outside the room; after all, in the video, we can hear children’s voices carrying into the room where the recording occurred.

Cases from outside Maryland in which journalists have conducted hidden-camera investigations in places of business generally hold that plaintiffs alleging violations of similar statutes or common law duties do not have a REP when interacting with customers.

Good stuff. Meanwhile, if you want to donate to Giles’s defense fund, you can do so here. (Apparently there are no details regarding a fund for the other two yet.)

NEA Update: Yosi Sergant Resigns; UPDATE: L.A. Times Has Been Silent on Sergant All Year

Filed under: Dog Trainer,Obama,Politics — DRJ @ 9:10 pm

[Guest post by DRJ]

Yosi Sergant, the former NEA communications director who was demoted after revelations about a controversial conference call with artists, has resigned:

“His resignation has been accepted and is effective immediately,” NEA spokeswoman Victoria Hutter said in an e-mail.

Sergant, a public relations professional from Los Angeles, had come to Washington to work in the Office of Public Engagement at the White House. He moved to the NEA in May and was reassigned from his post as communications director two weeks ago after coming under fire from conservative Fox News Channel host Glenn Beck.

The talk show host accused Sergant of arranging an August conference call with the Office of Public Engagement and United We Serve, a service initiative of the administration, to recruit artists to create works in support of Obama policies.”

Another one under the bus.

– DRJ

UPDATE BY PATTERICO: I guess according to the L.A. Times, Yosi Sergant is not a story now and has not been a story at any point this year:

L.A. Times Silent on Sergant

This never happened, gentlemen.

UPDATE x2 BY PATTERICO: What’s worse, they can’t claim they didn’t know about it — they blogged about it. They just didn’t bother to inform print readers. Obama screw-ups are good enough for minor blogs at the the L.A. Times web site, but not good enough for the L.A. Times itself. Thanks to commenter Foo Bar for reminding us of this fact, which helps demonstrate further the way that editors fail to take seriously any story that helps Republicans — especially Glenn Beck!

Is Obama Ready to Lead Yet?

Filed under: Obama — DRJ @ 1:18 pm

[Guest post by DRJ]

Hot Air posted this video on Obama’s Endless Campaign but it’s worth a second look:


“Fired Up. Ready to Go.”

– DRJ

Terror Suspect Indicted in New York (Updated)

Filed under: Terrorism — DRJ @ 12:57 pm

[Guest post by DRJ]

Najibullah Zazi, the Denver-based Afghan detained last week in a terror investigation, has been indicted in New York and charged with conspiracy to use WMDs:

“The two-page indictment of Zazi — who appeared in a Denver court on Thursday — offers few details, but a separate document — a government motion seeking to deny bail — lays out evidence gathered by investigators.

The airport shuttle driver began plotting to “use one or more weapons of mass destruction” between Aug. 1, 2008, and September 2009 against the United States, the papers say.

The document says that on Sept. 6 and 7, Zazi tried to communicate with another individual “seeking to correct mixtures of ingredients to make explosives.”

“Each communication,” the papers say, was “more urgent than the last.”

On those days, Zazi rented a suite at a hotel in his hometown of Aurora, Colo., authorities charge. The room had a kitchen, and subsequent FBI testing for explosives and residue in the suite found the presence of residue in the vent above the stove.

In July and August, Zazi bought unusually large amounts of hydrogen peroxide and acetone — a solvent commonly found in nail polish remover — from beauty supply stores in the Denver metropolitan area, the document says. He searched the Internet for home improvement stores in Queens before driving a rental car for a two-day trip to the city, the document says.”

Zazi’s father and the imam of a New York City mosque also appeared in court on charges of lying to investigators about the terror plot. Counterterrorism experts say the plot may have been an effort to detonate homemade bombs in New York-area mass transit.

– DRJ

UPDATE: At NRO, Andy McCarthy discusses whether a turf war between the FBI and the NYPD “prematurely blew the investigation” so authorities had to arrest some suspects before all the participants were identified. If so, compare that to this Dallas report:

“Federal authorities arrested a 19-year-old Jordanian citizen whom they said placed an inactive car bomb today at Fountain Place, a 60-story skyscraper in downtown Dallas.
***
Authorities said that Smadi was under continuous FBI surveillance. Federal agents posed as members of an al-Qa’ida sleeper cell. Smadi, who was in the U.S. illegally, allegedly told them that he came to the country specifically to commit “Jihad for the sake of God.”

According to authorities, Smadi identified potential Dallas targets in June and allegedly scoped out Fountain Place in July. Authorities said that Smadi lived and worked in Italy, about 45 miles south of Dallas.

Dallas Mayor Tom Leppert said city officials were notified of the impending arrest beforehand.

“We were clearly communicated to that there was not going to be a danger to anybody,” Leppert said. “There’s a good working relationship between the police and the FBI. This is an example of that.”

Lessons from the NBC/WSJ poll: The blame frame

Filed under: General — Karl @ 8:40 am

[Posted by Karl]

Public opinion polls are a surefire way for the establishment media to manufacture news — if not consent. The media, pundits, bloggers, etc., love polls because they seem to introduce a level of scientific precision into political analysis. While the underlying scientific theory of polling is generally sound, the practice is as much art as science. It is useful to occasionally look at a poll from that perspective.

For example, consider the latest NBC/Wall Street Journal poll. A post on the poll by Allahpundit focused my attention on question 35:

If health care reform legislation does not get passed this year, who do you feel would be most to blame –– President Obama, the Democrats in Congress, or the Republicans in Congress?

The first notable aspect of the question is the use of the word “blame.” This poll is put together by a Democrat and a Republican, but the use of the word “blame” speaks volumes about how pervasive the Beltway mindset is. Had someone suggested the word “credit,” the problem would have been obvious to them.

I suspect that the attempted justification for using “blame” in this context would be that other polls show that people want healthcare reform in the abstract. But that merely raises a secondary question, i.e., how relevant are the poll questions that ask about the desirability of healthcare reform in the abstract. There are any number of issues where polling shows widespread opinion that there is a problem and no consensus regarding a solution, e.g., the federal deficit. Abstract questions on healthcare reform serve as a talking point for Democrats, but reveal nothing about public opinion in particular. Nor do they address the other polling that consistently shows widespread satisfaction with the status quo. In 1993-94, the latter sentiment defeated ClintonCare. As attitudes were slightly more anti-reform from the outset this year, why should anyone have taken the abstract question seriously?

The second notable aspect of the “blame” frame is that (ironically) it is not useful to Democrats. The Left has been busy for weeks and weeks trying to convince moderate Democrats that the failure of ObamaCare would be disastrous for the party in the 2010 midetrm elections. The math does not support their argument. Putting that inconvenient truth aside, if only 16% of adults will “blame” Democrats for ObamaCare’s failure, there is little incentive for moderates to vote for a scheme that may well be unpopular in their district or state.

On a related point, the WaPo’s Ezra Klein cherry-picked question 15 from this poll — showing the approval ratings for Pres. Obama versus Congressional Republicans on handling healthcare — to argue that the GOP strategy is “something of a kamikaze mission” that will ultimately make it impossible for any party to govern. Klein overlooks that question 15 does not bother to ask for an approval of Congressional Democrats on the issue, despite the fact that the legislation at issue is being drafted by them.

Klein also overlooks question 7, which asked respondents whether they would prefer to see next year’s elections result in a Congress controlled by Democrats or a Congress controlled by Republicans. The 48%-45% Democrat lead (among adults, not registered or likely voters) is the smallest lead in five years of this poll.

Klein further overlooks question 8, which asks people whether their representative deserves to be reelected, or whether it is time to give a new person a chance. That response — 40% reelect, 49% new person — is almost identical to the numbers the NBC/WSJ poll recorded in September 1994, just before the GOP tsunami swept Democrats from control of the House of Representatives for the first time in 40 years. Then, as now, the GOP opposed the Democrats, and then governed Congress for a dozen years. They passed a lot of legislation that Klein probably opposed (not to mention some I opposed). Neither history nor the NBC/WSJ poll’s “blame” frame suggest anything suicidal in opposing the Obama agenda now.

The purpose here is not so much to beat up on Klein. Rather, it is to show that the establishment media to which he now belongs is often incapable of extracting itself from the left-leaning frames the media creates. They never resolve the cognitive dissonance created from their belief that the GOP will be “blamed” and suffer for opposing the Democrats’ nanny state agenda with the topline result of poll after poll showing the GOP being the (generally undeserving) beneficiary of increasing public opposition to that agenda.

–Karl


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