Patterico's Pontifications

4/2/2010

A New Era In U.S.-Afghan Relations

Filed under: International,Obama — DRJ @ 10:11 pm

[Guest post by DRJ]

Barack Obama took a firmer approach with Afghanistan President Hamid Karzai during his surprise visit to Afghanistan last week:

“In his first visit to Afghanistan since taking office, Obama firmly prodded Karzai to take more decisive steps to reform his corruption-tainted government so both leaders can capitalize on the surge of 30,000 American troops into the war zone.
***
The Obama administration has struggled to find the right mix of pressure and praise to persuade Karzai to crack down on government corruption.”

It’s been a rocky road for Obama and Karzai but after their meeting, representatives put a positive spin on their relationship:

“Aides to Karzai and Obama both described the meeting as friendly and businesslike.

The Obama administration said Karzai would visit Washington on May 12, about a week after he is scheduled to wrap up the peace jirga.

“Relations now are stronger than they’ve been in the last eight years,” Karzai spokesman Waheed Omar told McClatchy after the talks.”

This week’s news suggests the relationship has gotten rockier:

The White House expressed unhappiness Friday with President Hamid Karzai of Afghanistan after a harsh anti-Western speech in which he accused foreigners of manipulating last year’s election and warned that American and NATO troops risked being seen as invaders.

Mr. Karzai’s speech, coming just days after President Obama visited him in Kabul, underscored the deep mistrust between the two leaders and their governments even as the United States is tripling its troop commitment since the beginning of the Obama presidency to fight the Taliban and Al Qaeda.

The White House called Mr. Karzai’s speech “troubling” and said it would seek clarification through the State Department, which is diplomatic code for expressing annoyance and even anger. Mr. Obama used his visit to press Mr. Karzai to do more to battle pervasive corruption that has undermined the credibility of the Kabul government and fed the increasingly lethal insurgency, but the Afghan leader bristled at the lecture.”

Asked whether Karzai is still invited to Washington, Press Secretary Robert Gibbs replied “As of right now, yes.”

But don’t expect dinner.

– DRJ

Hints on the Next Supreme Court Justice

Filed under: Judiciary,Obama — DRJ @ 9:28 pm

[Guest post by DRJ]

Bloomberg News quotes an Administration official regarding who might be nominated in the event Justice John Paul Stevens retires:

“The group includes U.S. Solicitor General Elena Kagan and federal appellate judges Diane Wood and Merrick Garland, the person said, speaking on condition of anonymity.

Stevens, who will turn 90 on April 20, told the New Yorker magazine in March that he will decide soon whether he will step down. He hasn’t communicated his intentions to the White House one way or another, the person said.

President Barack Obama hasn’t begun discussing particular candidates with aides, and the list of leading candidates could change in the coming weeks, the person said.”

I don’t consider this a final list, primarily because I think the final list will include at least one black candidate. Nevertheless, many consider the current Solicitor General and former Dean of the Harvard Law School Elena Kagan a favorite. Like Kagan, Judge Diane Wood was also mentioned as a finalist when Sotomayor was selected. Wood sits on the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 7th Circuit, which includes Chicago. Finally, Judge Merrick Garland serves on the U. S. Court of Appeals for District of Columbia Circuit, a position from which many Supreme Court Justices have been drawn.

None of these would be in my top 10 but I think I speak for many UT Law alums when I say: Go Judge Wood.

– DRJ

Michael Ramirez

Filed under: General — DRJ @ 8:08 pm

[Guest post by DRJ]

Michael Ramirez considers the plight of the Easter bunny.

– DRJ

Steyn on the Decline of the West, Part 427

Filed under: International,Political Correctness — DRJ @ 8:04 pm

[Guest post by DRJ]

Mark Steyn is noted for his wry and informed take on many topics, especially the decline of Western civilization. Today’s installment looks at Canadian support of Islamic hate speech:

“The Jewish Defence League held a demonstration today in Toronto at Palestine House, one of the many jihadist front organizations without which no sophisticated multicultural western city is complete. Tomorrow night, for example, they’re hosting the editor of the London newspaper Al-Quds Al-Arabi, Abd al-Bari Atwan. Mr Atwan is a celebrity eliminationist who declared on TV that “if the Iranian missiles strike Israel, by Allah, I will go to Trafalgar Square and dance with delight.” Because Palestine House is government-funded, Mr Atwan’s appearance to share this and other insights is effectively being underwritten by Canadian taxpayers.”

Steyn concludes:

“Lenin famously said the west would “sell us the rope by which we will hang them. He was underestimating our suicidal stupidity: We’re happy to give it away.”

No one can sum up and skewer in the same sentence quite like Steyn.

– DRJ

FBI Issues Warnings About Anti-Government Groups

Filed under: Civil Liberties,Terrorism — DRJ @ 7:50 pm

[Guest post by DRJ]

An anti-government group has written letters to most and possibly all State Governors asking them to resign in three days. In response, the federal government is warning about the dangers of extremism, although there are no warnings about this group:

“This week, dozens of governors across the country received letters saying if they don’t leave office within three days they would be removed, according to federal documents obtained by The Associated Press. The FBI is warning local police that the anti-government group’s call to remove governors from office could provoke violence, although investigators said they do not see threats of violence in the group’s message.

The group on its Web site advertises a “Restore America Plan” that it says “is a bold achievable strategy for behind-the-scenes peaceful reconstruction of … government without controversy, violence or civil war.”

The FBI said it expects all 50 governors to eventually receive the group’s letters.”

Sometimes it feels like the only people who have First Amendment rights are abortion advocates, environmental crusaders, and anti-war activists. In fairness, though, Homeland Security should immediately issue a warning about Democrats since the recent arrest of Michigan militia members included at least one member who was a registered Democrat.

– DRJ

McClatchy Author Makes News, or is That Makes Up News?

Filed under: Media Bias,Politics — DRJ @ 7:34 pm

[Guest post by DRJ]

Jack Cashill at the American Thinker looks at the timeline regarding the racial smear of the Tea Party protesters at the Capitol on March 20th:

“I checked with my source on the scene, Greg Farrell, to get a timeline on the passage of the Black Caucus members from the Cannon Building to the Capitol and back. According to Farrell, they left the Cannon Building about 2:30 PM on March 20th and returned about 3:15 PM. He had no reason to exaggerate.

I asked because at 4:51 that same day, McClatchy reporter William Douglas posted an article on the McClatchy website with the inflammatory headline, “Tea party protesters scream ‘nigger’ at black congressman.”

In other words, Douglas, with an attributed assist from James Rosen, managed to interview representatives John Lewis, Emanuel Cleaver, and Barney Frank, compose an 800-word article, and have it edited and formatted for posting within a 90-minute window.

During that same 90 minutes, Douglas would have received and incorporated a press release from Emanuel Cleaver, making the easily disproved claim that he had “been spat upon and that Capitol Police had arrested his assailant.”

Cashill concludes that Douglas either started writing the article in advance or he made it up, and thinks “heads should roll” at McClatchy. Given recent events, McClatchy will probably respond by decrying Cashill’s violent rhetoric.

– DRJ

Nonfarm Employment Up 162,000

Filed under: Economics,Obama — DRJ @ 12:24 pm

[Guest post by DRJ]

The Bureau of Labor Statistics reports nonfarm employment increased 162,000 in March:

“Nonfarm payroll employment increased by 162,000 in March, and the unemployment rate held at 9.7 percent, the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics reported today. Temporary help services and health care continued to add jobs over the month. Employment in federal government also rose, reflecting the hiring of temporary workers for Census 2010. Employment continued to decline in financial activities and in information.”

Most of the 162,000 were government and temporary workers:

  • 48,000 were temporary government Census workers;
  • 40,000 were employed in other temporary help services;
  • 27,000 were long-term care and nursing health care workers;
  • 17,000 in manufacturing and 8,000 in mining.
  • I’m glad some people are able to find jobs but these aren’t good numbers unless most Americans want careers as nurses, care providers, and temporary workers. As for those Census jobs, Hot Air notes that hundreds of Virginia Census workers were laid off April 1st. As I recall, the BLS counts one day’s employment as “employed” during a reporting period. Mission accomplished.

    But this is the really bad news:

    “The number of long-term unemployed (those jobless for 27 weeks and over) increased by 414,000 over the month to 6.5 million. In March, 44.1 percent of unemployed persons were jobless for 27 weeks or more.”

    These people are among the ones who are hurting the most, and their numbers are rising dramatically.

    – DRJ

    MORE BAD NEWS: Some of the increase is simply an adjustment adding back in the job decreases from the February snows on the East Coast.

    White House Astroturfing

    Filed under: Obama,Politics — DRJ @ 12:23 am

    [Guest post by DRJ]

    The Instapundit links to the Knoxville News-Sentinel, where they have uncovered some White House Astroturfing:

    “We just received this Letter to the Editor submitted by a Tennessee resident. It’s deadwood spam; turf mail. Google various parts of it and you’ll get the White House Web site, AARP, the American Chronicle, Democratic Women of Clifton and my.barackobama.com. Oh, and you’ll also get marketingofcampaignemails.blogspot.com.”

    The owner of MarketingOfCampaignEmails appears to be a big fan of Organizing for America, health care reform, Democrats, Barack Obama … and video games.

    – DRJ


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