Patterico's Pontifications

1/17/2010

Mom and Her Protest Sign

Filed under: Politics — DRJ @ 7:32 pm

[Guest post by DRJ]

Are the liberal protesters from my youth nostalgic and maybe even jealous of today’s Moms and their protest signs?

H/T Instapundit.

— DRJ

Bob Kerrey: Scott Brown Doesn’t Believe in Evolution (Updated)

Filed under: Politics — DRJ @ 7:03 pm

[Guest post by DRJ]

Bob Kerrey thinks Massachusetts Senate candidate Scott Brown doesn’t believe in evolution:

“If he’s running against 60 votes and wins, that is not good,” said Bob Kerrey, a former Democratic senator from Nebraska. “It says that in Massachusetts, they are willing to elect a guy who doesn’t believe in evolution just to keep the Democrats from having 60 votes.”

The Kerrey “evolution” quote was originally published in a New York Times article but it seems to have disappeared, although several papers and bloggers still show it in their reprints and blogs. Here’s the current quote in the New York Times article:

“If he’s running against 60 votes and wins, that is not good,” said Bob Kerrey, a former Democratic senator from Nebraska.

Maybe the New York Times had second thoughts about printing the quote but, if so, it should share its reason with the Austin American-Statesman, the Cleveland Plain Dealer, the Minneapolis Star-Tribune, and the other papers and bloggers who are still running the original article with the extended Kerrey quote. [EDIT: But see Update 3 below.]

Like Jonah Goldberg at the first link, I can’t find anything regarding Brown’s view of evolution, creationism, or related subjects. So does Brown believe in evolution or is this Bob Kerrey’s last minute scare tactic, and why did the New York Times pull the quote? Because Kerrey never said it? [EDIT: … or because he did?]

— DRJ

UPDATE: Ever-vigilant commenter and blogger Bradley J. Fikes, C.O.R., notes the Brown campaign’s clever response:

Brown spokesman Eric Fehrnstrom comments to NRO: “Scott Brown believes in evolution but in the case of Bob Kerrey he’s willing to make an exception.”

UPDATE 2: An Instapundit link — Thanks!

UPDATE 3: Commenter Gringo notes the Statesman and Star-Tribune links no longer work, although the Plain Dealer link still shows the full Kerrey quote. When I posted this, the evolution quote was only excised from the New York Times article and all three of the other newspaper links worked. More airbrushing?

UPDATE x4 BY PATTERICO: The Seattle Times is still running the original quote. Since a lot of the other organizations are airbrushing the quote, time to get out the screenshot:

Brown Believes in Evolution

And here’s a shot from Google proving that it appeared at the New York Times:

Brown Believes in Evolution in NYT

What are they trying to hide?

Pantex Plant on Brief Lockdown

Filed under: Terrorism — DRJ @ 6:38 pm

[Guest post by DRJ]

The Pantex nuclear weapons facility near Amarillo, Texas, was shut down briefly Friday morning due to a security incident:

“Reports of armed men near the Pantex Plant sparked a plantwide lockdown Friday morning before law enforcement officials determined the men were doing nothing more than hunting geese.

Pantex Site Office Manager Steve Erhart said he could not confirm the presence of hunters prompted the clampdown, but he said the plant resumed normal operations by 11:30 a.m.

However, Carson County Sheriff Tam Terry said his office responded at 7:30 a.m. to a report of armed gunmen in the vicinity of the Pantex Plant. Law enforcement located two men hunting geese on private property along Farm-to-Market Road 2373.”

One of the hunters makes an appearance in the comments at the linked article, while another commenter (not one of the hunters) blames the incident on “Yankees and Californians [who] come in here to work there and they never saw a gun in their lives except on stupid TV shows.”

I don’t know who’s to blame but it’s good for guys to hunt and it’s good for Pantex to investigate armed men near its plant.

H/T WF.

— DRJ

In Which I Declare Radley Balko to Be Correct About Something

Filed under: General — Patterico @ 4:27 pm

A leftist at “Bitch, PhD.” writes to defend Martha Coakley for her crusade to keep Gerald Amirault in prison:

Nevertheless, being a prosecutor who is stalwart when presented with evidence of innocence or prosecutorial misconduct is so common as to be banal. Which is why I think her lobbying for Amirault’s continued incarceration isn’t, in itself, enough to make her a morally suspect choice for senator…

Radley Balko responds that the leftist is

conceding that the Amirault case was a travesty of justice, and that Coakley was wrong for her extraordinary efforts to keep Gerald Amiralut in prison. But she’s then arguing that Coakley deserves a pass specifically for her actions in the Amirault case, anyway, because all prosecutors do it, and because it’s what Coakley had to do to accumulate political power and move on to higher office.

That is one hellaciously disturbing statement of values.

It sure is.

Now, I don’t know enough about the Amirault case to render a useful opinion about the defendant’s guilt. I won’t simply take Dorothy Rabinowitz’s word for it. (More on that here.) As a friend wrote me today, the case “has been discussed with far more smoke than fire.”

But let’s assume for the sake of argument (as it appears many do) that the prosecution was bogus and that the Amiraults were innocent. Do we just shrug our shoulders at a prosecutor who argues to keep someone innocent in prison?

Of course not. Balko is right.

Prosecutors are not charged with obtaining as many convictions as possible. We are charged with seeking justice. I have dismissed cases before where I had concerns that the defendant was innocent. That’s what we’re supposed to do.

If the Amirault prosecution was bad, and if Martha Coakley knew that but crusaded for him to remain in prison anyway, that is a travesty.

I disagree on Balko on only one point:

There’s a broader point here, too. Even the left—even the far left—seems to find it difficult to hold bad prosecutors accountable, at least when they happen to be Democrats.

Balko suggests that this is bulletproof evidence that nobody will hold prosecutors accountable if the “far left” won’t. I say this is just more evidence that politics blinds people to truths they otherwise have an easy time seeing. The far left will make any old argument that supports its candidate. Here’s a secret: so will the far right. Politics makes people stupid and impervious to logic.

That is the real lesson here.

But that’s a minor point. The takeaway here is that prosecutors should always seek justice, and Balko is right to be appalled at the suggestion that it’s no big deal for prosecutors to shrug their shoulders at injustice. On the contrary, that’s a very big deal.

If Brown Wins, Can Democrats Stop a Filibuster By Delaying His Appointment?

Filed under: General — Patterico @ 3:27 pm

Surprisingly, the answer may well be “no.”

Simon at Stubborn Facts explains:

[I]t’s incredibly important that we understand something: the GOP doesn’t need a 41st vote to stop Obamacare. Got that? We don’t need to seat [Scott] Brown to stop Obamacare. We need to deny the Democrats the 60th vote needed to invoke cloture.

Why is this important? Because after Tuesday, but before the newly elected Senator is seated, Democrats will have 59 votes — not counting Paul Kirk, the person occupying the Senate seat in Massachusetts formerly occupied by Ted Kennedy. And there is a decent legal argumnt that Kirk cannot legally cast a vote to invoke cloture after Tuesday.

Ed Morrissey quotes Fred Barnes:

[I]n the days after the election, it is Kirk’s status that matters, not Brown’s. Massachusetts law says that an appointed senator remains in office “until election and qualification of the person duly elected to fill the vacancy.” . . .

Democrats in Massachusetts have talked about delaying Brown’s “certification,” should he defeat Democrat Martha Coakley on Tuesday. Their aim would be to allow Kirk to remain in the Senate and vote the health care bill.

But based on Massachusetts law, Senate precedent, and the U.S. Constitution, Republican attorneys said Kirk will no longer be a senator after election day, period. Brown meets the age, citizenship, and residency requirements in the Constitution to qualify for the Senate. “Qualification” does not require state “certification,” the lawyers said.

Morrissey and Barnes look at past precedents regarding when the terms begin for senators elected in a special election. Simon at Stubborn Facts gives an in-depth look at the legal issues — and how they might realistically play out — here and here.

One thing is for certain: the practical problems regarding standing, the identity of the plaintiff and defendant, and other issues identified by Simon need to be worked out now. I know that Brown recently issued a call for legal help, and I assume they are working on these issues. They need to.

As Simon says, “we must be prepared to press the point.” Let’s hope Brown is preparing to.

150-200K Deaths in Haiti

Filed under: Current Events — DRJ @ 3:27 pm

[Guest post by DRJ]

The man in charge of America’s military relief efforts in Haiti, Lt.Gen. P.K. Keen, commented on how many people have died as a result of the Haitian earthquake:

“As the numbers of dead and injured in Haiti continue to climb, Lt. General P.K. Keen, the man charge of military relief efforts there says, “we are going to have to be prepared for the worst”. When I asked General Keen about death toll estimates ranging between 150,000 and 200,000 people, Keen said, “I think the international community is looking at those figures, and I think that’s a start point.”

President Obama has named former Presidents Bill Clinton and George W. Bush to raise funds for Haitian relief. The former Presidents have established a website to collect donations for this cause.

— DRJ

Obama-Coakley Rally Doesn’t Fill the Hall

Filed under: Obama,Politics — DRJ @ 1:38 pm

[Guest post by DRJ]

Today’s Obama-Coakley rally in Boston didn’t fill the hall:

“It holds 3,000 and frankly only 2,000 to 2,500 showed up.”

Ones of Barack Obama’s last events in Boston was February 4, 2008 — the eve of the Massachusetts Democratic primary — where he spoke to a capacity crowd of 9,000. People waited outside for hours to see him.

How things have changed.

— DRJ

The “Whole World” is Watching Massachusetts; UPDATE WITH VIDEO: White House Thinks Coakley Will Lose?

Filed under: Dog Trainer,Obama,Politics — DRJ @ 12:54 pm

[Guest post by DRJ]

I don’t know if the whole world is watching but much of America is, and I’m sure Washington is … and what they see are crowds like the ones in these Instapundit reader’s photos taken at a Scott Brown event in Worcester, Massachusetts. Here’s one person’s description of the event:

“It’s an absolute mob scene. The police have closed off the streets. It’s mind blowing. The hall is already full, and it holds 3,000 people. There may be another 1,000 people outside.”

Obama is traveling to Massachusetts today to rescue Coakley’s campaign. Maybe he can turn out his followers for Coakley but even if he can, will they be enough? After all, 51% of Massachusetts voters say they are independents and of the 37% who say they are Democrats, most of them voted for Hillary Clinton. Clinton beat Barack Obama 56-41, a margin of 15 points, in the Massachusetts’ Democratic primary in February 2008.

— DRJ

UPDATE BY PATTERICO: Via The Corner, it appears that the White House may think Coakley is going to lose:

As Henry admits, that may be hyperbole to get the base out.

Then again, it may not.

UPDATE x2 BY PATTERICO: Decent L.A. Times story on the reasons for Brown’s surge here. To be sure, there’s no mention of Coakley’s numerous gaffes, or the numerous recent polls showing Brown ahead. That would be asking too much of this paper. But the newspaper is waking up to the larger significance of Brown’s recent success with voters:

[I]nterviews with potential voters also revealed a persistent feeling that Obama and his allies in Congress have misread the public mood and have failed to concentrate on priorities such as the economy.

Ya think?

Plus, Sissy Willis is quoted. Which is cool.

Can Intrade Be Gamed?

Filed under: General — Patterico @ 11:52 am

Brown and Coakley are currently at a dead heat again on Intrade.

I wonder whether we should care.

I have fallen into the trap of treating Intrade as a serious measurement of an election’s outcome. But I have been thinking: what’s to stop some committed partisan from pouring money into Intrade shares to distort the market, and create the perception that someone is ahead (or, here, not as far behind as she actually is)?

Couldn’t George Soros be betting big on Coakley on Intrade? Not because he thinks she’ll win — but because he wants to create the perception that she can?

Feedback is welcome.


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