Patterico's Pontifications

10/28/2009

L.A. Times Circulation: A Picture Is Worth A Thousand Blog Posts

Filed under: Dog Trainer — Patterico @ 9:35 pm

The chart says it all:

L.A. Times Plunging Circulation

[UPDATE: View the original chart here. The time period is from 1990-2009.]

Complete the sentence: the L.A. Times‘s circulation is plummeting faster than . . .

Who Cares About Corruption?

Filed under: Government,War — DRJ @ 8:49 pm

[Guest post by DRJ]

Today’s Department of State press briefing by spokesman Ian Kelly dealt with several subjects, including allegations of corruption involving Afghan President Hamid Karzai’s brother and claims the CIA may be paying him. It’s a lengthy exchange so click “More” to read the whole thing. It reminds me of Abbott & Costello’s “Who’s on First?” only with a different punchline:

QUESTION: “So you’re concerned about corruption — you’re concerned about corruption, but you have no views on corruption related to President Karzai’s brother?

MR. KELLY: At this moment, no, I don’t.”

— DRJ

(more…)

Michigan Imam Killed in FBI Shootout

Filed under: Crime — DRJ @ 5:12 pm

[Guest post by DRJ]

The FBI conducted a series of raids in Detroit and Dearborn today that resulted in federal charges against 12 members of a fundamentalist Islamic group. The leader of the group was killed in a shoot-out with the FBI:

“Luqman Ameen Abdullah, 53, also known as Christopher Thomas, was gunned down after refusing to surrender and opening fire when the FBI raided a Dearborn warehouse, according to the U.S. Attorney’s Office.

“The eleven defendants are members of a group that is alleged to have engaged in violent activity over a period of many years and known to be armed,” according to a joint statement from the FBI and U.S. Attorney’s Office.

An FBI dog was also killed during one of the raids.”

The group’s spiritual leader, H. Rap Brown, is a familiar name to older folk like me:

“Abdullah was the leader of a group which calls itself “Ummah, a group of mostly African-American converts to Islam, which seeks to establish a separate Sharia-law governed state within the United States,” the press release states.

“The Ummah is ruled by Jamil Abdullah Al-Amin, formerly known as H. Rap Brown, who is serving a state sentence… for the murder of two police officers in Georgia.”

The group reportedly espouses anti-government and anti-law enforcement rhetoric, but the charges involve smuggling and fraud and are not terror-related. A CAIR representative described Abdullah [Luqman Ameen Abdullah, who was killed in the shootout] as a respected imam in the community.

— DRJ

2010: The polling Carville & Greenberg only whisper about

Filed under: General — Karl @ 3:55 pm

[Posted by Karl]

Last week, I took a look at the Left’s wishful hypothesis that a tarnished GOP brand was going to save the Dems in the 2010 midterm Congressional elections. I missed the most recent Congressional Battleground survey from Democracy Corps (.pdf) — an outfit led by James Carville and pollster Stanley Greenberg — mostly because they made little effort to promote it. The money and effort put into this survey — which covered 1500 likely voters in 40 Democratic-held and 20 Republican-held target House districts — makes it the sort of project you generally would not like to put under a bushel.

Glen Bolger of Public Opinion Strategies has several blog posts explaining why the Dems might have wanted to keep this survey on the downlow. In the first post, Bolger notes that those awful Republicans have not budged from about 43 on the “feeling thermometer,” while Dems have dropped from 49 to 44.2 since April. As in other polling, the generic Congressional ballot has deteriorated for Dems. And the more significant re-elect question was not any better:

Democracy Corps also tested two key measures of ballot standing. In seats with an incumbent, they asked a two way re-elect (which is really the best wording of the myriad of re-elects out there). In April, Dem incumbents (and they gave the actual incumbent name) had a 39% re-elect/37% new person score. That’s down to 40% re-elect/45% new person now — a seven point shift against the Dem incumbents.

GOP incumbents have not had the same shift. In April they had a 39% re-elect/40% new person score, while in October it’s 40% re-elect/40% new person. These data show that Republican incumbents in swing seats are not out of the woods — but also that Dem incumbents in a similar situation are going deeper into the woods.

Bolger’s second post highlights that in the Dem districts, plurailities see their Representative as as “too liberal,” “will raise my taxes,” and “puts (his/her) party in Washington ahead of the people here,” with a majority saying their Dem “supports too much government spending.” Meanwhile, Democracy Corps got disappointing results on the negative characteristics tested aginst GOP incumbents. Bolger contends:

These data put a dent in the conventional wisdom that individual Republican incumbents are not getting some bounce off the Democratic Party’s problems. This is NOT a pox on both your houses of incumbents — instead, there are very real concerns with the Democratic party.

Democracy Corps disagrees (natch):

It is true that in this survey, the Republican incumbents have stronger numbers on some attributes than their Democratic counterparts. But that is expected, considering that nearly all of these Democrats are freshmen or sophomores while most of the Republican incumbents have long served their districts.

Yet despite this advantage, these Republican incumbents have lost significant standing since our last survey in July (much like everyone else in Washington), and show serious weakness on a number of important measures where you would expect a better performance from long-time incumbents. For example, just 40 percent of voters in the Republican districts say they will vote to reelect their member, the same result as in the Democratic seats. When we phrase this question differently, a 50-percent majority now say that they “CAN’T vote to reelect (their incumbent by name) because we need new people that will fix Washington” versus just 39 percent who say they “WILL vote to reelect (their incumbent) because he or she is doing a good job.” This represents a large drop since July and is a much worse showing than the Democratic incumbents. Finally, the Republican incumbents are only able to manage 48 percent of the vote in a named matchup with generic challengers – exactly the same level of support that the Democratic incumbents receive. And while the percentage supporting the generic challenger is lower in the Republican-held seats, our Voter Choice Scale[1] identifies 19 percent of voters as “winnable” for the Democratic challengers (against just 10 percent for the Republican incumbents), suggesting that the challengers have much more room to grow in these seats. Clearly, these Republican incumbents are very much at risk.

Note that in all of that spin, the primary piece of data is that “CAN’T vote to reelect” question on which Democracy Corps claims GOP has “a much worse showing than the Democratic incumbents.” The number for the GOP was 50%, which is bad. The number for the Dems was… 48%, which looks like margin of error. Moreover, the saliency of the “CAN’T” question compared to the standard re-elect question is (ahem) debatable. Perhaps the surest sign that not even Democracy Corps buys this spin is that they ran back out into the field to similarly poll 15 long-term Democratic incumbents in mostly very Republican seats that the NRCC may target — their vote averages only 50%.

Bolger’s third post starts by replying to Democracy Corps, but goes on to look at their numbers on the issues. In the Dem districts, the GOP not only had advantages on the economy, taxes, the budget deficit, and government spending, but were within the margin of error on healthcare and Medicare. Indeed, the GOP had a bigger advantage on the economy and Medicare in Dem districts than in GOP districts.

Bolger’s final post of the series looks at Democracy Corps’ economic message testing for the two parties:

It’s a very interesting and well-done series. The good news for Republicans is that the intensity of support for the GOP messages on the economy is stronger than the intensity of support for the Dem messages.

***

They tested a series of messages about what both the Dems and the GOPers “might say about the economy” and then asked how convincing respondents found each statement. The results of the six Dem messages point to some that have credibility with a majority of voters in these 60 districts, but those messages lack intensity. In comparison, they tested four GOP messages on the economy, and all four have higher intensity than any of the six Dem messages. Three of the four GOP messages have significantly more pop (a quick shout out of thanks to the folks at Democracy Corps for writing such well-crafted GOP messages for us to steal).

Unsurprisingly, the GOP message with the most intensity links the stimulus, the bailouts, the budgets, and rising unemployment.

Intensity in messaging matters, but intensity also matters for voter turnout, particularly in midterm elections. Democracy Corps recently conducted focus groups on that sort of intensity, which Charlie Cook summarized as follows:

Democrats would have to set up machine-gun nests to keep these people from voting, while the lethargy among Democratic voters is palpable.

No wonder the normally talkative Carville would want to stay away from this subject.

–Karl

Hannah Giles Challenges the Media

Filed under: Crime,Government — DRJ @ 3:53 pm

[Guest post by DRJ]

Hannah Giles notices what the media won’t:

  • Baltimore
    “Why no mention of the toddlers that were in the room while James and I were being counseled on how to manage our underage prostitution ring?”
  • San Bernardino – “The content of this video was largely ignored except for the part where Tresa Kaelke mentions she shot her husband. What about when she told us not to educate our sex-slaves because they won’t want to work for us? Or when we talked about making more money off clients who are permitted to physically abuse the girls? What about the whole transport-the-girls-in-a-school-bus-to-avoid-suspicion discussion?”
  • Washington, DC – “Why were we counseled by ACORN during a first time homebuyer’s seminar, while 30-40 other first time homebuyers sat crammed in a hot room?”
  • Giles has more questions at the link, along with her challenge to the press corp to investigate these stories.

    — DRJ

    Obama-Fox News Truce (Updated)

    Filed under: Obama — DRJ @ 2:44 pm

    [Guest post by DRJ]

    The White House and Fox News have reportedly called a truce. Allahpundit at Hot Air has the details.

    At best, I see this as a Christmas truce that came a little early.

    — DRJ

    UPDATE — I guess the White House wasn’t kidding about the battlefield terminology:

    “White House strategists say they have no second thoughts about taking on Fox News in the biggest media feud of President Obama’s administration. A senior Obama adviser says that, even though the West Wing has been roundly criticized by both adversaries and some allies for blasting Fox as an arm of the Republican Party and not a real news organization, administration insiders are pleased with how things stand.
    ***
    One drawback, which even Obama aides concede, is that Fox is using the quarrel with the White House as a public-relations tool to stir up its own support among conservatives and to boost ratings. “They’re still at it,” says a senior Obama aide, who adds that White House officials don’t expect to fire another shot in the battle unless Fox strikes first.”

    Jury Seated in 1st FLDS Trial

    Filed under: Crime — DRJ @ 1:38 pm

    [Guest post by DRJ]

    A jury has been seated in Raymond Jessop’s sexual assault trial in Eldorado, Texas. The AP reports it consists of 8 men and 4 women while the local San Angelo Standard Times says it has 7 men and 5 women.
    There are no FLDS members on the jury (a fact that will likely give rise to a defense point of error if there is an appeal):

    “At least five of the jurors have Hispanic surnames, and none appeared to be members of the Fundamentalist Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints, a religious community with a stronghold in Schleicher County.”

    I suspect the reports of the jurors’ gender are based on the jurors’ names, and the discrepancy occurred because one juror has a first name that could be male or female.

    The jurors have not been sequestered, and opening arguments are scheduled to begin at 3:30 PM CST today — just a few minutes ago because I’m posting this at 3:38 PM CST.

    — DRJ

    PepsiCo Hit With $1.26B Default Judgment

    Filed under: Law — DRJ @ 1:31 pm

    [Guest post by DRJ]

    On September 30, a Wisconsin court entered a $1.26B default judgment against PepsiCo after it failed to respond to a lawsuit alleging misappropriated trade secrets:

    “In court papers, PepsiCo claims it first received a legal document related to the case from the North Carolina agent on Sept. 15 when a copy of a co-defendant’s letter was forwarded to Deputy General Counsel Tom Tamoney in PepsiCo’s law department. Tamoney’s secretary, Kathy Henry, put the letter aside and didn’t tell anyone about it because she was “so busy preparing for a board meeting,” PepsiCo said in its Oct. 13 motion to vacate.

    When Henry received a forwarded copy of the plaintiff’s motion for default judgment on Oct. 5, she sent that to Yvonne Mazza, a legal assistant for Aquafina matters. Remembering that she still had the other document, Henry passed it to Mazza too. The next day Mazza sent the documents to David Wexler, a department attorney, and he “immediately” called the agent to get a copy of the complaint.”

    PepsiCo’s attorneys say they first learned of the case on October 6 and filed a motion to vacate the judgment on October 13. A hearing on the motion is scheduled for November 6. PepsiCo has also asked that the case be dismissed:

    “In seeking to dismiss the case, PepsiCo argues that the statute of limitations should preclude the lawsuit, brought 15 years after the company started selling Aquafina and more than two decades after the alleged confidential talks. Moreover, “the $1.26 billion judgment that has been entered is unprecedented in size and justice requires that PepsiCo have a chance to defend itself,” the company said.

    The lead plaintiffs lawyer, David Van Dyke of Chicago-based Cassiday Schade, said Wisconsin courts have been “pretty clear that they don’t like” vacating default judgments. “There is a possibly that a judge may say we’re going to litigate the damages aspect of it,” Van Dyke said.”

    I don’t know what Wisconsin law provides but, in general, the standard to set aside a default judgment on these grounds is excusable neglect. Excusable neglect can be a difficult standard to meet, but I think courts will sometimes consider how onerous or unjust it would be to let the judgment stand.

    — DRJ

    Gore Vidal Calls Polanski Victim a “Hooker”

    Filed under: General — Patterico @ 1:01 pm

    Gore Vidal on the Roman Polanski matter:

    I really don’t give a fuck. Look, am I going to sit and weep every time a young hooker feels as though she’s been taken advantage of?

    Stay classy!

    HuffPo Writer Spreads Another Polanski Falsehood . . . and Calls Polanski Case a “Lynching”

    Filed under: General — Patterico @ 7:24 am

    At the Huffington Post, Bernard-Henri Lévy doubles down on support for Roman Polanski — and, as is the custom of Polanski defenders, misstates the facts in the process:

    It is shameful to throw a 76-year-old man into prison for unlawful sex — the only crime charged, today like at the time of the incident, by California justice — committed 32 years ago.

    False. Several crimes were charged in the indictment, including (but not limited to) rape by use of drugs, furnishing a controlled substance to a minor, lewd or lascivious act upon a child under fourteen, and sodomy.

    The rest of Lévy’s post is the usual idiotic claptrap we have come to expect from Polanski apologists: why did it take so long to arrest him, he survived the Holocaust, he’s only suffering because he’s famous, etc. Why, he’s even being lynched — were you aware of that?

    I hardly know Roman Polanski. But I know that all those who, from close and from afar, join in this lynching will soon wake up, horrified by what they have done, ashamed.

    I don’t really feel like responding to such nonsense — nor, frankly, do I think it’s necessary.

    But I want a correction on the error. Anyone know how you get a correction at HuffPo? Do they even do corrections?

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