Patterico's Pontifications

1/3/2010

UnderwearGate, etc.

Filed under: Obama,Terrorism — DRJ @ 9:32 pm

[Guest post by DRJ]

The headline of Toby Harnden’s most recent article on the Christmas Day terrorism by Nigerian Uma Farouk Abdulmutallab onboard Northwest Flight 253:

“Barack Obama is vulnerable on terror –
and he knows it”

Harnden criticizes Obama and his Administration for, among other things, deciding to “play things down and take pot shots at the Bush administration” and for its pattern “of dismissing Islamist terrorist attacks as regrettable random acts.”

Harnden’s thoughts are very good, as are his very British assortment of names for Abdulmutallab’s attack: UnderwearGate, UnderpantsGate, and my personal favorite — the Nigerian Knicker Bomber.

– DRJ

“Denver May Be Pot Capital, U.S.A.”

Filed under: Government — DRJ @ 7:40 pm

[Guest post by DRJ]

In 2000, Colorado legalized medical marijuana and provided for a Medical Marijuana Registry of dispensaries, but the law did not specify how dispensaries would be regulated. However, recent actions by state and local officials suggest more regulation is on the way:

  • Colorado Attorney General John Suthers issued an opinion that the state can collect sales tax on medical marijuana.
  • The Denver City Council recently gave notice that it intends to regulate medical marijuana dispensaries and restrict where they can be located.
  • These actions apparently prompted over 170 dispensaries to register for a sales-tax license in December 2009, bringing the total number of Denver-area medical marijuana dispensaries with sales-tax licenses to over 300:

    “As of last week, Denver had issued more than 300 sales-tax licenses for dispensaries. That number slightly exceeds the number of Starbucks coffee shops in Denver and surrounding areas, calculated within a 50-mile radius. It is roughly twice the number of the city’s public schools. It exceeds the number of retail liquor stores in Denver by about a third.”

    While this means Denver currently has more medical marijuana dispensaries than “liquor stores, Starbucks coffee shops or public schools,” one City Council member thinks it won’t last:

    “[Councilman Charlie] Brown said he thinks the marketplace will end up thinning out many of those rushing to get into the dispensary business anyway and will bring the number of dispensaries down to a lower level. He adds that new criminal background checks that the council probably will require also probably will shut down some operators.”

    – DRJ

    Kristol: “This last week has been a victory for Al Qaeda”

    Filed under: Obama,Terrorism — DRJ @ 7:11 pm

    [Guest post by DRJ]

    Kristol:

    Mr. Brennan said to you that “We are very worried that there are other Abdulmutallabs out there.” This Abdulmutallab was there for 4 months. He might know who the others are. He might know their names. We let him lawyer up and right now he’s probably thinking “Gee, maybe I could use that information to bargain with to get a reduced sentence. That what Brennan seemed to indicate when he kept talking about how well we’re going to work with his lawyers and we have some incentives to offer him. But this is operational intelligence in real time. We are not treating it as a war.”

    More at the video.

    – DRJ

    Obama Effigy in Plains GA

    Filed under: Obama,Race — DRJ @ 6:42 pm

    [Guest post by DRJ]

    Plains, Georgia, the hometown of former President Jimmy Carter, was the scene of a racially-charged and highly inappropriate image of President Obama this weekend:

    “Secret Service spokesman Ed Donovan told The Associated Press that the large black doll was found Saturday morning along Main Street in the small town of Plains.

    According to footage from WALB-TV, the doll was hanging by a noose in front of a red, white and blue sign that says “Plains, Georgia. Home of Jimmy Carter, our 39th President.” A witness told the television station that the doll wore a sign with Obama’s name on it.”

    The Secret Service is investigating.

    – DRJ

    UPDATE: Plains is in Sumter County, Georgia, that has an estimated population of just under 33,000 but there are only “637 people, 215 households, and 136 families residing in the city.” In the November 2008 Presidential election, Sumter County residents cast 6,454 votes for Barack Obama, 5,717 votes for John McCain, and 64 votes for Bob Barr.

    US, UK Close Yemen Embassies (Updated)

    Filed under: Air Security,Government,Obama — DRJ @ 4:58 pm

    [Guest post by DRJ]

    The United States and Britain closed its embassies in Yemen today because of security threats from Al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula:

    “President Barack Obama’s top counterterrorism adviser, John Brennan, cited “indications al-Qaida is planning to carry out an attack against a target” in the capital, possibly the embassy, and estimated the group had several hundred members in Yemen. Security reasons led Britain to act, too; it was not known when the embassies would reopen.”

    The government also announced a plan to target people traveling from predominantly Muslim countries for special screening:

    “The Transportation Security Administration announced Sunday that, starting Monday, passengers flying into the United States from Nigeria, Yemen and other “countries of interest” will be subject to enhanced screening techniques, such as body scans and pat-downs.

    Yemen is a poor, decentralized and predominantly Muslim country on the Arabian Peninsula. It is the ancestral homeland of al-Qaida leader Osama bin Laden, and the site of the 2000 bombing of the USS Cole, which killed 17 U.S. sailors. A 2008 attack on the U.S. Embassy killed one American.

    Given the active threat from al-Qaida, “we’re not going to take any chances,” Brennan said from Washington during appearances on four Sunday talk shows.”

    The Presidential candidate who vowed to meet with America’s enemies is now effectively profiling people from Muslim and other countries.

    Good.

    – DRJ

    PS — A U.S. embassy is closed but not a word from Secretary of State Hillary Clinton? So much for working together.

    UPDATE — Yemen will be even more dangerous in the coming weeks and months since the White House still plans to release the Yemenis at Guantanamo back to Yemen:

    “Appearing on NBC’s “Meet the Press,” Brennan explained that, “Of the recent batch that we sent back, about six, many of them are in custody within the Yemeni system right now.” He did not elaborate on the meaning of “many.” “We will decide and determine when, when we should send additional people back,” Brennan continued. “But we’re going to do it in the right way, because Guantanamo should be closed. It was used as a propaganda tool by al-Qaeda, and the president is still committed to it.” The message was clear: Guantanamo inmates are going back to Yemen.”

    This would almost be funny if it weren’t so serious.

    Brennan Talks About the Underwear Bomb

    Filed under: Government,Obama — DRJ @ 4:43 pm

    [Guest post by DRJ]

    Today on CNN and other networks, President Obama’s top counterterrorism and homeland security adviser John Brennan reassured America about what he learned from the Saudis about underwear bombs and how the government disseminated that information:

    “And on CNN he said, “within a week of that attack, I was out in Saudi Arabia. I met with Prince Mohammed bin Nayef. I went to the room where the attack took place. We worked very closely with the Saudis to get that information. We shared it completely throughout the government. PETN was the substance that was used in that attack. We were looking very carefully at that. There was no indication at the time that there was going to be an attempt against an aircraft. What we need to do is to try to stay ahead of it.”

    Brennan reiterated the government’s greatest concern was a possible assassination attempt, not an attack on an airline:

    “Asked if the FAA was put on alert, Brennan said, “there was nothing in that assassination attempt against Prince Mohammed bin Nayef that indicated aviation was a target…The suicide bomber came in next to him. We were very concerned about the possible assassination attempts.”

    Now we know that by early October, the government was on high alert for a possible assassination attempt against a government leader by a suicide bomber wearing an underwear bomb. How prepared was the government to deal with the information shared “completely throughout the government”?

    We’re fortunate the Secret Service probably uses screening machines and sniffer dogs that can identify PETN. Very fortunate:

    Gatecrashers Meet the President

    Gatecrashers Meet the President

    – DRJ

    Obama, Bush and the CIA

    Filed under: Obama,Politics,War — DRJ @ 4:07 pm

    [Guest post by DRJ]

    Erick Erickson at Red State claims President Obama’s mishandling of the recent CIA deaths in Afghanistan has damaged America’s intelligence mission in Afghanistan and elsewhere:

    “It appears Barack Obama inexperience and amateurishness has just started bonfires on the bridges connecting him to the American intelligence community and delivered a huge, HUGE psychological win to Al Qaeda.

    People tell me the President’s rush to acknowledge the attack on the CIA in Afghanistan and mourn the deaths openly, publicly, and via press release is a huge no no. The CIA and greater intelligence community would prefer not to have the attention put on them. Additionally, because the President took the time to draft a blanket statement focused on the CIA in general instead of individually and more privately focusing on the families of the victims, it acknowledges the CIA’s work in Afghanistan, acknowledges that the attack has an impact on the CIA, and gives the terrorists a new recruiting tool — “you too can cause America to publicly mourn the loss of their spies.”

    Erickson also notes the White House is “subtly blaming the intelligence community for the failure to deduce the Delta/Northwest attack.”

    I don’t want America to fail whether we have a Republican or a Democratic government, and I especially don’t want Americans to die because of intelligence or wartime failures. But if Democratic mishandling of the War on Terror wakes up politicized members of the intelligence community who declared war on the Bush Administration, it may be worth it in the long run.

    – DRJ

    An in-depth look at Rasmussen and vintage Democratic whine

    Filed under: General — Karl @ 1:53 pm

    [Posted by Karl]

    Ed Morrissey and DRJ have both covered the Politico’s indulgence of lefty whining about inconvenient polling:

    Democrats are turning their fire on Scott Rasmussen, the prolific independent pollster whose surveys on elections, President Obama’s popularity and a host of other issues are surfacing in the media with increasing frequency.

    The pointed attacks reflect a hardening conventional wisdom among prominent liberal bloggers and many Democrats that Rasmussen Reports polls are, at best, the result of a flawed polling model and, at worst, designed to undermine Democratic politicians and the party’s national agenda.

    Notably, the weakest quotes in the piece are from actual pollsters. The Politico’s Alex Isenstadt talked to Pollster.com’s Mark Blumenthal and Charles Franklin, both of whom observed only that Rasmussen’s polling is less favorable for Democrats and is used frequently by Republicans. This is not surprising, as both have addressed the topic at length in the face of the ongoing lefty whining about Rasmussen.

    In December 2009, Mark Blumenthal charted the “house effects” of the pollsters charted by Pollster.com in a post about Rasmussen’s results. Blumenthal identified at least three possible reasons why Rasmussen tends to show Obama with lower approval and higher disapproval than most (but not all) pollsters: (1) sampling likely voters; (2) giving them four possible answers (strongly approve, somewhat approve, somewhat disapprove, or strongly disapprove); and (3) the robo-calling method. While Blumenthal thinks the robo-calling is a minor factor, Democratic polling firm PPP uses the same method to reach registered voters and also tends to show lower approval for Pres. Obama. Thus, this part of the Politico story is not surprising, either:

    “The way he does polls is that he’s more likely to get high-energy voters,” said Tom Jensen, a pollster for the North Carolina-based Democratic firm Public Policy Polling. “I think Rasmussen favors Republicans this year, but I don’t think he inherently favors Republicans.”

    Blumenthal’s charts show similarly large “house effects” that inflate Obama’s approval number (CBS/NYT, Ispos/McClatchy, CNN and ABC/WaPo) and deflate his disapproval (CBS/NYT, Pew). His colleague Charles Franklin produced charts for each pollster that make the same point in a slightly different way.

    These charts demonstrate one of the common righty responses to the Politico story — that the establishment media never does stories about the Right’s complaints against polls like CBS/NYT, ABC/WaPo and CNN. The charts also underscore the degree to which the Politico story appears to have been written simply to advance a lefty narrative. After all, this story could easily have been written to advance the narrative that “lefty bloggers complain about Rasmussen, but pollsters the Politico interviewed do not back their complaints.”

    Note: I previously addressed lefty complaints about Rasmussen’s polling on ObamaCare, finding them wanting.

    Update: Lefty blogger Nate Silver (because he knows better) adds a new spin — Rasmussen may not be biased, but news outlets that cite Rasmussen too much may be biased. Yet during the 2008 campaign, Silver rated Rasmussen one of the most accurate pollsters.

    –Karl

    Patterico Banned at Villainous Company!!

    Filed under: General — Patterico @ 11:10 am

    The round of blackballing continues at Villainous Company, where Cassandra has assembled The Official 2010 Villainous Company Banned Bloggers List:

    Patterico. We are not sure how he manages to maintain street cred as a Crypto Lefty Racist Accuser type whilst simultaneously sporting a righteous Crypto Reich Wingnut Racist Appeaser persona, but one thing is certain.

    Any blogger who has been accused of so many mutually exclusive offenses by so many important bloggers is Not To Be Trusted.

    Banned, sucka. And don’t go bringing your tricksy ways around here neither. We see how you are. Oh yes, we see.

    Given Villainous Company’s sordid and notorious contributions to the slow demise of classical liberalism, I will wear the banning as a badge of honor.

    Read the whole post; Cassandra takes another sledgehammer or two to classical liberalism by humorously suggesting that the Internet sometimes paints with a bit of a broad brush:

    [T]he Transitive Property of Internet Idiocy allows us to impute the utterances of one blogger to every other blogger of his acquaintance, to anyone who shares the same political persuasion or who dares to agree with him. This is entirely justified because, unlike Them, We are always fair and reasonable. Thinking people realize that “They” (yes, every durned one of them!) all think alike. “We” would never do anything like that, though. We think for Ourselves. You see, unlike some folks we could name (you know the type – smug, morally superior, blind to their own faults) we’re just better than they are. We’re tolerant and open minded folk: above the sort of wildly exaggerated, broad brush generalizations They employ with profligate abandon in lieu of, oh, I don’t know, logic, actual arguments, or other irrelevant/boring fare.

    Making a related point is my pal Marc Danziger, who complains about the tendency of some to whitewash facts that conflict with their Big Story:

    I don’t like Big Story thinking. It suggests that people who are uncomfortable with the ambiguity of reality. I like thinking that can take a position and embrace the facts that challenge it.

    I sometimes get annoyed with the blogosphere because issues so often get reduced to an overly simplistic formulation that excludes inconvenient facts and drives everyone to the extremes. People like Marc and Cassandra — and many readers here — make it easier to keep going.


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