Patterico's Pontifications


How Likely is Another U.S. Terror Attack? (Updated)

Filed under: Terrorism — DRJ @ 9:29 pm

[Guest post by DRJ]

Time for a poll:


UPDATE — Compare our results with these Rasmussen poll results:

September 1, 2009 — “Forty-nine percent (49%) of Americans believe it is at least somewhat likely that there will be a significant terrorist attack in the United States in the next year.”

December 28, 2009 — “A new Rasmussen Reports national telephone survey finds that 79% of U.S. voters now think it is likely there will be another terrorist attack in the United States in the next year. That’s a 30-point jump from the end of August when just 49% of Americans felt that way.”

Adam James on YouTube (Updated)

Filed under: Sports — DRJ @ 9:02 pm

[Guest post by DRJ]

Adam James, the player at the center of the Mike Leach firing, has apparently posted a video on YouTube:

The description:

“This video was taken by Adam James, a player on the Texas Tech Red Raider football team on Saturday, December 19th, after being confined by Coach Mike Leach in an electrical closet off the Press Room at Jones AT&T Stadium. James was suffering from a concussion received during an earlier scrimmage game. James was ordered to stand in the darkness until released several hours later. James momentarily turned on a light to record his surroundings with his cell phone.”


UPDATE: An interview with Leach’s attorney posted on YouTube:

Rush Limbaugh in Hawaii Hospital

Filed under: General — DRJ @ 7:31 pm

[Guest post by DRJ]

Breitbart and the AP report a vacationing Rush Limbaugh is in serious condition in an Hawaii hospital. The report says he had chest pains.


Toby Harnden: 10 Reasons Obama Gets an “F”

Filed under: Obama,Terrorism — DRJ @ 7:29 pm

[Guest post by DRJ]

The UK Daily Telegraph’s U.S. Editor Toby Harnden gives President Obama and his Administration an “F” for their handling of the “events that led to Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab boarding a Detroit-bound plane in Amsterdam with a PETN bomb sewn into his underpants.” The highlights, or maybe I should say the lowlights, from Harnden’s analysis (NOTE: My summary with Harnden’s thoughts in quotes):

1. What did the CIA know? The CIA had “at least two face-to-face meetings, telephone calls and written correspondence with [Adulmutallab’s] father. If it’s true that the CIA sat on this then it beggars belief.”

2. What did the National Counter Terrorism Center, the NSC, and the White House know? “CIA spokesman George Little says here that ‘key biographical information’ and information about ‘possible extremist connections in Yemen’ was passed to NCTC. If NCTC knew about it, then did someone at the National Security Council within the White House?”

3. This wasn’t the Administration’s only intelligence failure.According to CBS, as early as August of 2009 the Central Intelligence Agency was picking up information on a person of interest dubbed ‘The Nigerian’ suspected of meeting with ‘terrorist elements’ in Yemen.”

4. Obama’s initial response did not demonstrate leadership. Obama’s delayed, legalistic and aloof response — punctuated by golf, tennis, and snorkeling — suggests he is “dangerously close to failing as a leader.”

5. Obama can’t continue to be complacent about the danger of terrorism. “There has been a pattern developing with the Obama administration trying to minimise terrorist attacks” as illustrated by its initial non-existent or tepid responses to the Arkansas recruiting center shooting, the Fort Hood shooting, and now this.

6. Obama should rethink closing Guantanamo Bay. “How many other enemies of America and the West are going to be released back to the battlefield?”

7. Janet Napolitano can’t do this job. “[Her] ‘system worked’ comment was a ‘heckuva job, Brownie’ moment. Is she up to the job?”

8. “Will Obama hold individuals accountable?” Obama has called for “accountability at the highest levels.” Will he follow through by making the right heads roll?

9. Stop blaming Bush. Obama and members of his Administration continue to blame Bush: “It’s bordering on the juvenile. Obama’s been president for a year now. It’s time for him to accept that things that happen as his responsibility …”

10. “Will there be US air attacks against targets in Yemen?” In other words, will Obama talk or will he do something?

Read the whole thing.

H/T The Drudge Report.


The 15 bloggiest stories of 2009

Filed under: General — Karl @ 5:36 pm

[Posted by Karl]

On Tuesday, the Pew Research Center posted an analysis comparing the annual results from its weekly News Interest Index and the News Coverage Index compiled by Pew’s Project for Excellence in Journalism (PEJ):

This year, the media’s top stories generally reflected the public’s top interests: the economic crisis, the new administration and the health care debate were the most covered news stories. But there were number of occasions when news coverage exceeded the public’s interest and vice versa.

For example, the media was more interested than the public in the death of Sen. Ted Kennedy, Sonia Sotomayor’s nomination to the Supreme Court, Sen. Arlen Specter’s switch to the Democratic Party and the release of Sarah Palin’s book.

While Pew compiled the establishment media’s top 15 stories from PEJ’s News Coverage Index, it failed to compile a similar list from PEJ’s New Media Index, which used services including Icerocket and Technorati to track interest in stories by the percentage of news links appearing in blog posts.

Had they done so, the list of the 15 bloggiest stories of 2009 would have looked like this:

1. Economic crisis/AIG bonuses (Mar 16-20) 65%
2. Obama Inauguration (Jan 19-23) 63%
3. Iran post-election unrest (Jun 15-19) 63%
4. Economy/Financial bailouts (Mar 23-27) 62%
5. ClimateGate (Dec 7-11) 52%
6. “What Happened to Global Warming?” (Oct 12-16) 50%
7. Stimulus passes (Feb 9-13) 50%
8. E-mail Phishing Scam (Oct 5-9) 45%
9. Senate passes health insurance bill (Dec 21-25) 44%
10. Navy SEALS charged with punching terrorist (Nov 23-27) 40%
11. Stimulus contents (Feb 2-6) 39%
12. Ted Kennedy dies (Aug 24-28) 38.7%
13. Obama slips in polls (Jul 20-24) 36%
14. Interrogation memos released (Apr 20-24) 36%
15. Prop 8 upheld (May 25-29) 35%

Initially, I should note that the blogosphere cannot be expected to be more than roughly compared with the establishment media. The traditional media can be limited in the time and space they devote to a topic, and feel much more of a responsibility to serve a spectrum of topics within those limits. Conversely, blogs still tend to be a niche media, and position themselves as an alternative to editorial judgments of the establishment.

Thus, it is not surprising that the list tends to reinforce the general image of the blogosphere as more focused on hot-button issues like global warming, enhanced interrogation and same-sex marriage than the establishment media. In some cases, the blogosphere mirrored establishment media interest in stories that did not engage the public (Iran, Ted Kennedy’s death). In other cases, the blogosphere shared the public’s relative lack of interest (the Sotomayor nomination, the death of Michael Jackson). And in the case of healthcare reform, the blogosphere tended to lag behind both the public and establishment media.

Of course, neither the blogosphere nor the establishment media are charged with simply mirroring the public’s interests of the moment, so the import of these differences is debatable. However, it is worth noting that neither the blogosphere nor the establishment media matched the sustained public interest in the economy (and to a lesser degree, public interest in Iraq and Afghanistan). Given the centrality of peace and prosperity to American life and politics, perhaps the new media should join the old in taking a look in the mirror.


Texas Tech Fires Mike Leach

Filed under: Sports — DRJ @ 12:24 pm

[Guest post by DRJ]

Texas Tech University has fired head football coach Mike Leach. The announcement was made by Leach’s attorney, who read a letter he received this morning at a scheduled hearing on Leach’s TRO motion:

“Before the hearing this morning, Mike Leach’s personal attorney, Ted Liggett, received a letter from Texas Tech signed by President Guy Bailey terminating Leach’s employment effective immediately.

Liggett shocked the courtroom full of spectators with the news. No hearing took place as scheduled.

According to the letter, Leach is in violation of Article Four of his contract. The article reads in part, “Coach shall assure the fair and responsible treatment of student athletes in relation to their health, welfare and discipline.” The contract goes on to say the breach of those guidelines can result in penalties ranging from fines to termination.

Leach’s suspension and subsequent firing comes after a complaint filed by wide receiver Adam James and his family.”

Leach’s attorney promised a lawsuit would be filed “soon.”


Earthquake Near Mexicali

Filed under: Current Events — DRJ @ 12:15 pm

[Guest post by DRJ]

The USGS confirms there was a 5.8 magnitude earthquake south of Mexicali, Mexico, which is on the California-Mexico border just east of San Diego.

This Fox News report has more on the quake. Any readers feel it?


Dave Barry’s Year in Review

Filed under: General — Patterico @ 5:00 am


It was also a year of Change, especially in Washington, where the tired old hacks of yesteryear finally yielded the reins of power to a group of fresh, young, idealistic, new-idea outsiders such as Nancy Pelosi. As a result Washington, rejecting “business as usual,” finally stopped trying to solve every problem by throwing billions of taxpayer dollars at it and instead started trying to solve every problem by throwing trillions of taxpayer dollars at it.

. . . .

The annual observance of Earth Hour is observed with one hour of symbolic energy conservation as hundreds of millions of non-essential lights and appliances are turned off. And that’s just in Al Gore’s house.

Lots more like that. Good stuff.


Berkeley Levels the Educational Playing Field

Filed under: Education — DRJ @ 10:14 pm

[Guest post by DRJ]

Berkeley High School will consider a proposal to eliminate science labs and teachers in order to free up funds for minorities. Why? Because the labs primarily benefit white students and eliminating them will free up resources to help more struggling minority students:

“The proposal to put the science-lab cuts on the table was approved recently by Berkeley High’s School Governance Council, a body of teachers, parents, and students who oversee a plan to change the structure of the high school to address Berkeley’s dismal racial achievement gap, where white students are doing far better than the state average while black and Latino students are doing worse.

Paul Gibson, an alternate parent representative on the School Governance Council, said that information presented at council meetings suggests that the science labs were largely classes for white students. He said the decision to consider cutting the labs in order to redirect resources to underperforming students was virtually unanimous.”

Joanne Jacobs explains the targeted science labs are scheduled before and after the regular science classes. Eliminating them would “cut science instruction time by 21 percent in most science classes, 30 percent in AP classes.” In an update, Jacobs notes an education group’s argument that “extra lab time is most important for struggling students.”

Apparently this is part of Berkeley High School’s answer to reduce a performance gap between white and minority students. It seems to me struggling students of every race would be better served by more science labs, not fewer ones, but this will be especially hard on any minority student currently benefiting from a science lab. I guess they and their white counterparts must sacrifice so more Berkeley High students score the same.

In other words, Berkeley may be leveling the educational playing field down.


Vermont Judge Grants Custody to Birth Mother’s Former Lesbian Partner

Filed under: Law — DRJ @ 8:56 pm

[Guest post by DRJ]

I predict this Vermont child custody case will stir controversy:

“[Lisa] Miller and [Janet] Jenkins were joined in a Vermont civil union in 2000. Isabella was born to Miller through artificial insemination in 2002. The couple broke up in 2003, and Miller moved to Virginia, renounced homosexuality and became an evangelical Christian.

[Vermont Judge] Cohen awarded custody of the girl to Jenkins on Nov. 20 after finding Miller in contempt of court for denying Jenkins access to the girl.

The judge said the only way to ensure equal access to the child was to switch custody. He also said the benefits to the child of having access to both parents would be worth the difficulties of the change.”

Miller’s lawyers don’t know where she and Isabella are, suggesting she does not intend to comply with the court’s custody decision.


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