Patterico's Pontifications

2/28/2011

Some Linky Fun Regarding the Now-Beastly Sully

Filed under: General — Aaron Worthing @ 11:31 am

[Guest post by Aaron Worthing; if you have tips, please send them here.]

(The beast “Sully” from Monsters Inc.)

So last night Patterico told you that Andrew Sullivan was jumping ship from the Atlantic, and bringing his Daily Dish blog over to the Daily Beast.

My first thought was, what would Howard Kurtz think of the chief Trig Truther joining his site?  But a quick search through our own archives reminds us that Karl pointed out that at one time Kurtz pushed the Trig Truther theory himself.  But then later, via Patterico, he pretended that Sullivan and his nuttiness didn’t even exist.

And of course, the Daily Beast now owns Newsweek (which has to be one of the saddest lines ever written in journalistic history), which is reportedly exactly why Sullivan wanted to work for the Beast: because he is hoping for a platform for columns and essays.  So, it would be interesting to see what Sully said and felt about Newsweek.  And we find over at the Atlantic, he wrote:

But there has been no press scrutiny [of Palin’s icky girl parts]. In fact, there has been enormous pressure from the press not to investigate the story and to mock anyone who does so. No MSM interviewer of Palin has ever asked a single question about the bizarre stories that Palin has told about her political prop – not Oprah, not Couric, not Gibson, not anyone. Newsweek has reprinted minute details of Palin’s story as fact with no independent confirmation but Palin’s own words. No MSM newspaper has asked for or demanded easily available proof of the pregnancy and birth – except the Anchorage Daily News, after the election, which prompted Palin not to quietly offer proof to an editor keen to put the entire controversy to rest, but to explode in rage.

Well, now “he will become a Newsweek contributor,” I am sure he will have the opportunity to correct that.  And dig the photograph he attaches to that post:

Isn’t that the perfect metaphor for all of this?  Assuming the child is Trig, the child’s face disappears, figuratively erasing the child’s humanity, as Sullivan proceeds to use the child as a means to attack the mother.  It’s a window into a disturbed mind.  My gosh, what a wonderful addition to the Daily Beast/Newsweek family!

Of course this all leaves two more questions.  First, the PJ Tatler asks what will be the fate of Sully’s ghost bloggers?  And meanwhile American Power is looking for a statement from Sarah Palin’s uterus.

And of course I asked a much more basic question last June (warning: coarse language at the link).

Bluntly, no respectable publication should have any interest in him, no matter how many nutballs he counts as his readers.  And if you eliminated all the people who went to his site wondering what crazy #$&! he would say next, how many actual followers that respect him did he have?

[Posted and authored by Aaron Worthing.]

The Day History Died… (Update: Video Added)

Filed under: General — Aaron Worthing @ 7:43 am

[Guest post by Aaron Worthing; if you have tips, please send them here.]

Update: We have video, below the fold.

The last living World War I veteran from the United States has died:

Frank W. Buckles died early Sunday, sadly yet not unexpectedly at age 110, having achieved a singular feat of longevity that left him proud and a bit bemused.

In 1917 and 1918, close to 5 million Americans served in World War I, and Mr. Buckles, a cordial fellow of gentle humor, was the last known survivor. “I knew there’d be only one someday,” he said a few years back. “I didn’t think it would be me.”

His daughter, Susannah Buckles Flanagan, said Mr. Buckles, a widower, died of natural causes on his West Virginia farm, where she had been caring for him.

Buckles’ distant generation was the first to witness the awful toll of modern, mechanized warfare. As time thinned the ranks of those long-ago U.S. veterans, the nation hardly noticed them vanishing, until the roster dwindled to one ex-soldier, embraced in his final years by an appreciative public.

“Frank was a history book in and of himself, the kind you can’t get at the library,” said his friend, Muriel Sue Kerr. Having lived from the dawn of the 20th century, he seemed to never tire of sharing his and the country’s old memories – of the First World War, of roaring prosperity and epic depression, and of a second, far more cataclysmic global conflict, which he barely survived.

Read the whole thing.  In the march of time, we constantly lose one of our most precious resources: the men and women who were eyewitnesses to the events most us only read in schoolbooks.  Although the family rightfully mourns him just as a man, and we as a nation give him our thanks for his service, we also mourn that now there is no one alive today, who can tell us what it was like to fight for America in the so-called “War to End All Wars.”

Godspeed, Mr. Buckles.

Update: Via Hot Air, we get two moving videos.  One is a news feature on him:

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Nightmare: Tow Truck Driver Dragged to his Death

Filed under: General — Aaron Worthing @ 7:24 am

[Guest post by Aaron Worthing; if you have tips, please send them here.]

Update: See below for a major update on the story.

In Colorado Springs, a tow truck driver named Alan Rose was trying to tow an SUV when something went horribly wrong:

Hundreds of people gathered together Thursday night to remember a man who was dragged to his death in Colorado Springs.

35-year-old Allen Rose was trying to tow an SUV from the Hill Park Apartments Wednesday when a woman jumped inside the car and drove off.

Rose’s leg got tangled up in a cable that broke away from his the tow truck as the SUV drove away.

The woman drove for more than a mile with Rose dragging behind her vehicle before he became disentangled….

“This man, he served in Iraq twice for us. This man was a good citizen. This is not right,” says Shelton.

Police have spoken with the woman who dragged Rose, but they have not yet arrested her.

People at the vigil said she is a juvenile.

A memorial fund has been set up for Rose’s wife and two children at any Key Bank.

This recalls the dragging murder of James Byrd, although obviously there are two significant differences.  First, so far there is no suggestion of a racial issue, here, while it was exceedingly obvious that Bryd was killed because he was black.  Second, it’s not 100% clear it was intentional.  In the video one man says the person was screaming, but I am not sure that was anything but speculation.  A stupid, clueless teenager, with the music turned way up…  is it possible to do this entirely by accident?  It’s possible, but I am not sure how plausible that is.

But it seems that if at any point she was aware she was dragging him, it would have to be first degree murder.  Initially catching the man’s leg as she drove was almost certainly an accident, but if she became aware he was back there at any point, then from that moment onward, she was intentionally dragging him.  In other words, it started as an accident, but if she knew it was happening, it continued intentionally.  And contrary to what a thousand courtroom dramas have told you, the element of premeditation doesn’t require some elaborate plan far in advance (although prosecutors are always happy to be able to have that).  In most jurisdictions, it just requires the slightest second to consider what you are doing.  If the police decide not to charge her, then, I think this driver’s family deserves to hear an explanation as to why.

Anyone who knows me knows I have a very real hate-hate relationship with the towing companies.  Having a company tow your car—illegally—on the night before your wedding will do that to you.  I believe, frankly, that the arrangement most communities have with towing companies are a violation of the Due Process Clause.  They are empowered by the state to commit legalized theft—that is to deprive you of your property without the slightest due process.  And of course every time they take a car—legally or not—they can hold it until you pay a fine, and then you are forced to go to court and try to get the difference back.  Very often the money you lose just by the act of going to court—in terms of missed work—exceeds any potential reimbursement, creating a powerful incentive for ordinary people not to fight it.  Thus this system actually gives an incentive to violate of your rights.  Of course the police have an incentive to give you more tickets, but at least that is counter-balanced by the fact that the police department ultimately answers to the people.  Towing companies answer only to state regulators, which clearly doesn’t provide much of an incentive for good behavior.

But none of that ever justifies just plain violence, let alone first degree murder.  I am sincerely sad for his family and if you are inclined, you might consider donating to that memorial fund mentioned in the article.

Update: Thanks to SarahW who gives us this link to a more timely discussion of the story. Apparently we learn the name of the driver, Detra Farries. She is thirty two years old, thus not a juvenile as previously believed and she maintains it was all an accident. She has also been arrested and charged with manslaughter.

[Posted and authored by Aaron Worthing.]

2/27/2011

Sully to the Beast

Filed under: General — Patterico @ 9:50 pm

Joining powerhouse Meghan McCain. Can failed TV personality Kathleen Parker be far behind?

Worst Oscars Ever

Filed under: General — Patterico @ 7:52 pm

I never watch them, but I have been in the room at times tonight while the wife watches, and I can’t imagine any show being worse than this.

It used to be that Billy Crystal was at least halfway funny sometimes.

Shame in Wisconsin

Filed under: General — Aaron Worthing @ 4:39 pm

[Guest post by Aaron Worthing; if you have tips, please send them here.]

That’s the link between these two stories.  First, I meant to post this on Friday, but when Wisconsin Assembly passed the bill they have all been arguing about, the reaction was childish.  You can read about the controversy itself, here.

And here is video of the tantrum (thanks to Madawaskan):

And more, via Althouse:

But in my opinion, far more damning is this second issue.  Ann Althouse (and for those of you who have been living under a rock or, ahem, vacationing in Mexico, Ann has been all over this story) visits the protests in the capital building and finds them treating a war memorial with disrespect.  Her and her relatively newlywed husband Meade confront the protesters and really just can’t get over it.  It certainly makes my blood boil:

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Video: Decapitated Bodies on Display One Mile from U.S. Border

Filed under: General — Patterico @ 3:45 pm

The AP reports:

A Mexican official says police found the decapitated bodies and heads of four men in downtown Nuevo Laredo, a city across Laredo, Texas.

Yawn. Another report of decapitated bodies in Mexico, right?

Let me make two points that should explain the importance of this to you.

First, The Fulano Files — a great blog I just discovered which provided me several of the links for my post about the headless body dumped in Mazatlan — explains one aspect that should get your attention:

Here is an event that happened yesterday evening around 9PM in Neuvo Laredo, Tamaulipas. This scene is at the intersection of Paseo Colón and Leandro Valle, in Nuevo Laredo. This is one-mile from the United States. One mile. This is not some isolated event. This is happening every single day all over Mexico.

A group of heavily armed men arrived at the site where, according to witnesses, they took their own sweet time positioning the bodies and staging the scene.

The four men, who were decapitated and with their pants pulled down to their ankles, were seen by hundreds of people passing through the area before authorities arrived on the scene.

Second: I suspect it brings it home a little more to see such things, rather than merely read about them. So, below the fold, courtesy of The Fulano Files, I present to you a video of the four bodies. I warn you that it is not for the squeamish, for several reasons. Most obviously, the video is extremely gory. There are severed heads, at least two of which have fingers sticking out of their mouths. Moreover, the bodies are completely unclothed. I am hiding the video beneath the fold and warn you not to click on “more” (or, if you came to this post via a link, to watch the video) unless you are sure you can handle it.

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The Winners of the Big, Important Movie Awards Are In!

Filed under: General — Aaron Worthing @ 11:49 am

[Guest post by Aaron Worthing; if you have tips, please send them here.]

No, not the Oscars, which I haven’t cared about for years.  The Razzies!

Not quite sweeping the ceremony, but still handily leading the pack among this year’s RAZZIE choices is RAZZIE Repeat Offender M. Night Shyamalan’s “re-imagining” of the faux-anime’ TV series THE LAST AIRBENDER into a jumbled, jump-cut mess of a movie that fans of the TV show hated even more than critics did (if that’s even possible!). In addition to Worst Director and Worst Picture, AIRBENDER also “won” Worst Screenplay, a brand-new RAZZIE category for 2010, Worst Eye-Gouging Mis-Use of 3-D, and Worst Supporting Actor Jackson Rathbone (who had the misfortune to appear in both AIRBENDER and 2010’s other most-RAZZIE-nominated title, TWILIGHT SAGA: ECLIPSE).

Actually, my wife dragged me to that one.  It wasn’t great but it wasn’t nearly as horrible as they said.  It was just “meh.”

On the other hand, I literally couldn’t finish the Russell Crowe version of Robin Hood when I got that recently on Netflix.  Ugh, that couldn’t have been more utterly ill-conceived.  For starters, Crowe was a terrible choice for the character.  Crowe just doesn’t have the grace, charm or agility of a proper Robin Hood.  He is a good actor, but he was all wrong for this role.  And there is a coincidence in the story that made me unable to take it anymore.

So do you think the Razzies got it right?  Well, check out their press release and site and then sound off on the comments.  The person who does the best job insulting a bad movie will get a very special prize…  respect.

H/t: Ign.

[Posted and authored by Aaron Worthing.]

David Brooks: More People Own Ferrets Than Watch Fox News

Filed under: General — Patterico @ 11:22 am

As we will see, Brooks is wrong. It’s more like: more people own ferrets than read David Brooks.

The takeaway line:

[H]ere’s a fact from Morris Fiorina, Stanford political scientist: More people own ferrets than watch Fox News.

The thing is, he’s wrong. Not only does he feel compelled to use Fox News to make his smart-ass little point, but in the process he shows he can’t read a simple piece. Because that’s not what Morris Fiorina said. Fiorina actually compared ferret ownership to the number of people on Howard Dean’s mailing list:

To leave you with some perspective on activists, there are, in the last election, if you take out the non-citizens and felons and institutionalized people, there were 200 million eligible voters. About 80 million of these people weren’t even interested enough to vote. A survey released in the summer of 2004 caused a lot of flack because it reported that only 17-18 million people saw “Fahrenheit 9/11,” which was a surprise to many in the media. Now, if you assume that every single one of them was an eligible voter, agreed with Michael Moore, and voted for Kerry, that’s about 30% of his vote. If every single one of the people who listen to Rush Limbaugh was an eligible voter who agreed with him and voted for Bush, that’s about a quarter of Bush’s vote. Democrats and liberals are very paranoid about Fox TV. On a good day, Fox News gets about 3.5 million people tuning into the news. If every single one of them is an eligible, conservative voter who voted for Bush, that’s about 5% of his vote.

Finally, there’s the issue of Howard Dean’s vaunted e-mail list. Remember, the internet was going to revolutionize politics. The New York Times had a big article about how Joe Trippi was the guru of the new age of politics. But, in every campaign, there’s some dawn of a new age occurring. There were roughly ½ million people on this e-mail list. Now in absolute numbers, that’s a big number — 560,000 people. That happens to be the same number of Americans who own ferrets. And since ferrets are illegal in California and in New York City that number is clearly an underestimate. So, in other words, if you go out and pick out a random American voter, the odds are higher that that person owns a ferret than that that person was on Howard Dean’s e-mail list.

Now, I’m no math whiz . . . but last time I checked, 3.5 million was more than 560,000. (I’m not going to get into the weeds on ferret ownership; I’m content to go with Fiorina’s numbers. If you wish to dig deeper into the relevant statistics on ferret ownership — and why wouldn’t you?! — they are available here.)

In any event, I think we can all agree on one thing. The real question is: how do ferret ownership numbers compare to the readership of David Brooks?

In October, the New York Times had an average weekday circulation of 877,000. You think all those people read David Brooks? He’s lucky if 10% of them actually read his column. We’ll say 25% if we’re being really generous. That’s fewer than a quarter million people.

Which is less than half the number who own ferrets. Which means Brooks would have been more accurate to say: “twice as many Americans own ferrets as read me.”

Why do I bother writing about this? Because this is the kind of stupid soundbite that liberals will pick up on, and repeat ad nauseum. So it’s fun to have the facts at the ready to slap them down.

By the way, many of the above links were provided by commenters at Hot Air, who did an amazing job slapping around Brooks.

2/26/2011

Headless Body Dumped in Front of Restaurant in Mazatlan; Patterico Denies Responsibility

Filed under: General — Patterico @ 11:48 pm

This past Tuesday, two people were executed in front of a hotel in the Golden Zone in Mazatlan, a touristed area. As it happens, the Patterico clan was in Mazatlan that day. I swear I had nothing to do with it.

Nor did I have anything to do with the headless body tossed in front of a restaurant the same day.

The story of the double murder at the hotel barely merited a couple of lines in the Associated Press:

Farther north, in the Pacific coast resort of Mazatlan, two men were shot to death in the parking lot of a hotel frequented by foreign tourists. Neither of the victims were tourists, but guests reported hearing the gunshots.

A travel site adds these details:

Also, a travel agent told TravelPulse.com he received an email from a client on the Norwegian Star who said other passengers in the vicinity reported hearing about 40 shots being fired.

That was our cruise ship, and there was indeed a lot of talk about it, although it was mostly in the form of fourth-hand rumors that botched the details, as you would expect. As for us, we hadn’t gone into town, as we had opted for a boat ride around some estuaries that would keep us out of the town. I sort of wanted to see the cathedral afterwards, but I was the only one — and with all the previous reports of muggings and such in the city, I didn’t force the issue. I’m now glad I didn’t.

As for the headless body, well, that didn’t even merit a single mention in any English-language Big Media source I could find. It took an exploration of Mexican newspapers to learn about the beheaded body. . . and the head, in a separate bag . . . and the body of the pig:

Una persona fue decapitada y su cuerpo dejado en el acceso principal de un restaurante en la zona Dorada, en la cual se encuentran la mayoría de los hoteles, restaurantes y discotecas turísticas del puerto de Mazatlán.

Junto al cuerpo que estaba envuelto en una bolsa de plástico negro, estaba la cabeza en otra bolsa negra. A menos dos metros dejaron un puerco muerto, al cual le dispararon en la cabeza los sicarios.

El reporte de la Policía Municipal señala que la víctima no ha sido identificada, aunque autoridades presumieron que se trata de una persona secuestrada.

El restaurante de la zona dorada, donde dejaron el cuerpo es El Habaleño, el cual a la hora en que dejaron el cuerpo decapitado y el cerdo, ya estaba cerrado. En este inmueble también ejecutaron a dos personas identificadas como Guadalupe Núñez el domingo pasado por la tarde.

I include the Spanish for the benefit of readers who can read it, as I have no reliable translation. A horrible Google translation is available here, but I would ignore that. I’ll do my best at a rough translation, and then you smarty-pantses who know better can correct me:

A person was decapitated and his corpse was left in the main entrance of a restaurant in the Golden Zone, where the majority of the hotels, restaurants, and nightclubs of the port of Mazatlan can be found.

With the corpse, which was wrapped in a black plastic bag, was the head in a separate black bag. Less than two meters away the killers left a dead pig, which they had shot in the head.

The report of the Municipal Police indicated that the victim had not been identified, although authorities presumed that it was a kidnapping victim.

The Golden Zone restaurant where the body was dumped is El Habaleño, which was already closed at the time that the decapitated corpse and the pig were left. The previous Sunday afternoon, at the same location, two people were executed who went by the name of Guadalupe Núñez.

Another story here (horrible Google translation here) adds the charming detail that the killers, after dumping the headless body, carjacked a woman in a Lincoln to make their getaway.

Again, the headless body dump and the double murder all occurred Tuesday, oddly enough, the same day we were there.

I suppose the silence in English-language papers about the beheaded body in Mazatlan is no surprise. After all, in the very same AP story I quote above, it was reported that police had found seven hacked and mutilated corpses in the seaside tourist town of Acapulco the very same day. Three were found “dumped in a highway tunnel that leads into Acapulco’s tourist zone” with pieces of the bodies missing. Three more “bullet-ridden bodies” were found in the streets, and police “discovered a fourth body half-buried and lacking its head.”

Heck, even that wasn’t the lede of the story, which was primarily concerned with the discovery of a rural camp suspected to be operated by one of the cartels, containing “72 sticks of commercial synthetic explosives . . . 14 rifles, eight grenades,” and “more than 4,000 bullets.”

So I guess a single headless body with accompanying head is no big deal.

Except that it is. Because the violence continues, even after we tourists depart. And it has ripple effects.

The day after we left, gunmen sprayed a different tourist restaurant in Mazatlan with gunfire. That restaurant and three namesake restaurants were all closed. (Story here, horrible translation here.)

Although none of the victims of these crimes were tourists, the cruise lines have had enough. After the double murder, Carnival Cruise Lines immediately canceled a planned stop in Mazatlan, and Norwegian Cruise Lines canceled its Mazatlan stop for the season. And that was, ostensibly, only because of the murders at the hotel. Never mind the headless body or the restaurant shooting the next day.

This means that the nice fellow with the easy sense of humor who ran our little boat outing in the estuaries is going to have a much harder time finding guests for his excursion, with fewer cruise ships coming into town. And he, his son, and the other good people of this little city will continue to live in an atmosphere of increasing and constant violence.

And all this is a picnic compared to Juarez.

Mexico is a great place, huh?

UPDATE: I should note that I obtained several links from a very interesting blog called The Fulano Files. The proprietor appears to keep a close watch on Mexican violence. I will likely be citing this blog again.

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