Patterico's Pontifications


BoiFromTroy in LAT

Filed under: General — Patterico @ 9:26 pm

Our own BoiFromTroy got a nice mention in the local rag.

That Cuban Health Care System

Filed under: International — Patterico @ 9:23 pm

Captain Ed has a great post on Cuba’s wonderful system of medical care, complete with pictures.

Filling in the Potholes of Falsehood

Filed under: Dog Trainer — Patterico @ 8:54 pm

Catching up on my reading from my weekend away, I see that Steve Lopez mocked Jim Hahn’s pledge to fix potholes within 24 hours. I don’t buy that pledge any more than Lopez does — but was anyone else struck by the way Lopez went about reporting the potholes? He found ten and called them in to a pothole hotline, giving the same transparently phony name each time:

I reported the potholes and she asked my name.

Voter, I said. Joseph.

If she thought the name Joe Voter was odd, she kept it to herself, as did other 311 operators I chatted with over the next few hours.

Yeah, she probably didn’t confront you with the fact that you appeared to be using a phony name. She probably just tore up or de-prioritized your complaint.

Steve, if I call my local pizza place and ask them to deliver a pizza to a Mr. Freely, first initials I.P., I’m not gonna write a column about it if they don’t deliver.

But I have a deeper question, Steve: what are the “potholes” at a newspaper like the L.A. Times?

The answer is obvious. Uncorrected errors.

The editor of the L.A. Times, John Carroll, once used a similar metaphor:

Like a factory on a river, daily journalism is an industry that produces pollution. Our pollution comes in the form of errors. America’s river of public discourse — if I may extend this figure of speech — is polluted by our mistakes. A good newspaper cleans up after itself.

Potholes, a polluted river . . . tomato, tomahto.

Problem is, there’s still some potholes left to fill in. I’m wondering if Steve Lopez wants to help me fill them.

Like, for example, the errors the paper recently made in calculating the cost of the death penalty. That’s a big pothole, bound to bend the axles of any vehicle trying to travel the road of truth.

I tried correcting the errors in a letter to the editor. The newspaper didn’t print my letter, though it printed plenty of other letters on the topic — including one that falsely stated that the article had “accurately described the financial cost of pursuing the death penalty in California.” Undeterred, I wrote the reporter responsible for the article, one Rone Tempest, and copied his editors. I have received nothing in response.

Next stop will be the “Readers’ Representative” — but, in truth, I don’t think I’m going to get very far with her, either.

So how about it, Steve? You’re for truth, right? Want to help me fill this pothole?

If so, e-mail me. I can be reached at

The Art of Lying by Omission

Filed under: Dog Trainer,General — Patterico @ 6:23 am

Hugh Hewitt has a great catch: an article by the L.A. Times discussing the puzzing question of why Moammar Kadafi gave up his WMD. The heart of the article says:

Officials still disagree about exactly why Kadafi gave up the programs. Some information supports President Bush’s contention that the overthrow of Saddam Hussein and the broader U.S. doctrine of pre-emptive strikes forced the Libyan leader to act.

But several British and U.S. officials said Kadafi had been trying for years to surrender the weapons to end the international sanctions crippling the Libyan economy and smooth the way for his eldest son’s eventual assumption of power.

The article leaves little doubt that editors subscribe to the latter theory. Kadafi’s son is quoted as saying Iraq had nothing to do with it:

Seif Islam Kadafi told CBS News last year that U.S. pressure was not behind his father’s decision.

“First of all, we started negotiating before the beginning of the war,” he said. “And it’s not because we are afraid or under American pressure or blackmail.”

But the article does not mention that Kadafi himself reportedly admitted to Silvio Berlusconi that the Iraq war was the proximate cause of the decision to disarm:

Libyan leader Moammar Gadhafi made it clear that his decision to disarm was prompted by Operation Iraqi Freedom.

“I will do whatever the Americans want because I saw what happened in Iraq, and I was afraid,” Mr. Gadhafi told Italian Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi, according to a Berlusconi spokesman who was quoted in yesterday’s Telegraph of London.

What do you think? Is that slightly relevant to the article?

P.S. Can we get a final ruling on how to spell this dude’s name? I’ve seen “Khadafy,” “Qaddafi,” “Kadafi,” “Gadhafi,” and even “Xrlq.” None of these is right, exactly — so just pick one and stick with it.

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