Patterico's Pontifications


Good Posts on Judicial Filibusters

Filed under: Judiciary — Patterico @ 9:53 pm

The Volokh Conspiracy has had a couple of excellent posts about judicial filibusters in recent days.

Juan Non-Volokh says that, contrary to recent claims by Democrats and their shills, President Bush has the lowest appellate nominee confirmation rate of the last three Presidents. And that’s even before he has hit lame duck status!

Meanwhile, Todd Zywicki analyzes the history of the filibuster, and says that (contrary to Harry Reid) it has traditionally been thought of as a tool to ensure full debate, rather than as a minority veto:

I can’t find anything in the Senate history that suggests that it has ever been thought an appropriate use of the filibuster to kill legislative action even after all debate and deliberation is effectively complete.

Good posts, both of them.

Al Jazeera: Fairer Than the L.A. Times

Filed under: Dog Trainer,International — Patterico @ 9:27 pm

Earlier, I reported that the L.A. Times edited out information about a satellite recording which proved that the car bearing Giuliana Sgrena was speeding towards a U.S. checkpoint, just as the U.S. had always maintained.

It turns out that even Al Jazeera has reported about the satellite footage:

The CBS television network reported yesterday that satellite data had shown the car had been travelling at about 60mph.

When Al Jazeera is giving you a more complete picture than your own hometown paper, you know you’re in trouble.

UPDATE: Eugene Volokh notes that the Islamic Republic News Agency (the official news agency of Iran) has also reported on the satellite recording.

Vik Rubenfeld Tears Apart the L.A. Times

Filed under: Dog Trainer — Patterico @ 5:08 pm

Vik Rubenfeld has an excellent critique of an L.A. Times sub-headline that reads:

Thirty years after the fall of Saigon, the firmly Communist nation has a flourishing economy, social freedom and deep ties with the U.S.

Vik shows how the article itself shows that Vietnam’s economy is anything but communistic. As Vik notes:

The subhead could just as well have been: “Capitalism Brings Vietnam Out of a Communist Dark Age.”

An excellent post. Read it all.

Los Angeles Times Editors Edit Reuters Story to Remove Critical Facts Supporting U.S. Position

Filed under: Dog Trainer,International — Patterico @ 4:40 pm

Los Angeles Times editors have edited a Reuters story to remove critical facts supporting the U.S. position on an important international issue.

This morning’s L.A. Times publishes an article about the March 4 shooting by U.S. soldiers of a car bearing Italian journalist Giuliana Sgrena. The shooting killed Italian intelligence officer Nicola Calipari, and created an international controversy, which strained U.S.-Italian relations.

An important contested issue in the controversy was the speed of the car as it approached a U.S. checkpoint. Sgrena has maintained that the car was traveling at a “regular speed” — no more than 25-30 mph. Americans have said that the car was traveling at least 50 mph.

The L.A. Times story today portrays that critical issue as a still-unresolved queston:

WASHINGTON — The United States and Italy disagreed Friday in the conclusions of a joint investigation into the slaying of an Italian agent by U.S. troops in Iraq, further straining ties between the two allies.

. . . .

A U.S. Army official said this week that Italy was disputing two issues in the report: the car’s speed as it approached the checkpoint and the nature of communications between the Italians and American forces before the shooting.

Italy’s government has said the Italians were driving slowly, received no warning, and advised U.S. authorities of their mission to evacuate Sgrena from Iraq.

The Army says the car was speeding toward the checkpoint and that U.S. soldiers tried to get it to stop by using hand and arm signals, flashing white lights and firing warning shots, and then shot into its engine block when it did not stop.

As presented in the L.A. Times, the question of the car’s speed is a “he said, she said” issue, with no definitive evidence that would resolve the disagreement.

Here’s where it gets interesting.

The L.A. Times story is actually an edited version of a Reuters story that appeared on the news service yesterday afternoon. The Reuters story reported that investigators using satellite footage of the incident have conclusively determined that the car was speeding, just as the U.S. has always maintained. On page two of the story, the Reuters news service reported:

CBS news has reported that a U.S. satellite had filmed the shooting and that it had been established the car carrying Calipari was traveling at more than 60 mph per hour [sic] as it approached the U.S. checkpoint in Baghdad.

Thus, the Reuters story reported that there is definitive proof that the car was speeding towards the checkpoint — critical information that tends to justify U.S. soldiers’ decision to fire on the car. But in the version appearing in the L.A. Times, editors cut out the passage reporting that proof.

The evidence is conclusive that this cut was made by L.A. Times editors. We know this because the version of the Reuters story that was printed by the L.A. Times is unique to the L.A. Times. This can be seen by a simple comparison of the first sentences of the respective stories. The Reuters version opens with this sentence:

The United States and Italy on Friday disagreed on the conclusions of a joint investigation into the killing of an Italian agent by U.S. troops in Iraq, further straining ties between the two allies.

A Google search of that sentence reveals 58 hits, all of which are reprints of the story, using the same sentence worded in the same way.

The L.A. Times slightly alters that first sentence to read as follows:

The United States and Italy disagreed Friday in the conclusions of a joint investigation into the slaying of an Italian agent by U.S. troops in Iraq, further straining ties between the two allies.

In this edited version of the sentence, Times editors moved the word “Friday,” changed the word “killing” to “slaying,” and replaced the word “in” with “on,” making the sentence grammatically awkward. [UPDATE: In the comments, Dafydd ab Hugh notes that the use of the word “slaying” tells you something about where L.A. Times editors are coming from.]

As of the time of this post, a Google search of the first sentence of the Times version of the piece reveals only one hit — in the L.A. Times.

The evidence is incontrovertible: this edited version of the Reuters story is unique to the Los Angeles Times. Times editors removed the fact that there is proof, in the form of satellite footage, supporting the U.S. version of the event.

There is no excuse for the L.A. Times story not reporting this information.

P.S. Following up on that last point, I did a review of the The Times‘s past reporting on the issue of the speeding car. The paper repeatedly trumpeted Sgrena’s contention that the Americans had no reason to shoot at the car, because it was only going 25-30 miles per hour. In the extended entry, I provide a detailed history of the paper’s reporting on this issue.

Extended entry:



From the Dog Bites Man Category: L.A. Times Misquotes Source

Filed under: Dog Trainer — Patterico @ 6:08 pm

Ernest Miller catches the L.A. Times misquoting a source.

Tell Us What You Really Think, Times Editors

Filed under: Dog Trainer — Patterico @ 6:06 pm

I’m not entirely sure, but I’m starting to suspect that the L.A. Times wants readers to believe that there have been some recent missteps by Arnold Schwarzenegger:

From an April 28 news story:

Since his speech in January, the governor has watched his political fortunes fall amid a series of missteps and miscalculations.

From an April 27 editorial:

Buoyed by such missteps, Democrats went on the attack.

From an April 26 news story:

During an appearance in Chatsworth, Shriver dismissed reports that she was worried about recent political missteps by her husband and his aides.

From an April 26 letter to the editor:

After reading how Maria Shriver felt compelled to “step in” to help her husband correct his missteps, the phrase “girlie governor” came to mind.

From an April 22 news story:

Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger is facing infighting among his senior staff and campaign team, which has contributed to a series of political missteps that threaten the once soaring governor’s ambitious agenda, more than a dozen aides and lawmakers said Thursday.

But the folks at The Times don’t have a one-dimensional view of Schwarzenegger. They chronicle his missteps, to be sure . . . but, on the other hand, they also tell readers about his miscalculations:

From the April 28 news story mentioned above:

Since his speech in January, the governor has watched his political fortunes fall amid a series of missteps and miscalculations.

From an April 25 news story:

Although outside forces played an important part in Schwarzenegger’s slump, even those sympathetic to the governor say many of his problems are self-inflicted, a result of overreaching, hubris, poor staff work and serious miscalculations.

. . . .

Above all, Schwarzenegger’s friends and enemies agree, the governor miscalculated by trying to accomplish too much in too short a time, without laying the necessary groundwork.

Not surprisingly, Democrats agree. From an April 10 Steve Lopez column:

But that’s the governor’s fault, said Democratic consultant Darry Sragow, who helped promote the governor’s borrowing and budget-balancing propositions last year.

“I think he made an incredible set of miscalculations,” Sragow said.

I’m sure Democrats are pleased to see their point of view so faithfully represented in the L.A. Times — time and time and time again.

A Blow to Obama’s Credibility

Filed under: Judiciary — Patterico @ 6:53 am

Barack Obama presented himself well at the Democratic convention last year, and came across as a good guy in subsequent interviews. But he undermines his image for credibility today. Quoted in the L.A. Times about the filibuster controversy, Obama makes this silly statement:

Sen. Barack Obama (D-Ill.) denounced [Senate Majority Leader Bill] Frist’s offer as insincere, saying that if it were a serious compromise, conservative activists would be unhappy. He said [Senate Minority Leader Harry] Reid “took a hit” when he made his own compromise offer to Frist on Monday.

Oh, please. If the Democrats accepted just three of the current disputed appellate court nominees, in return for an assured veto over any future disputed judicial nominations, Democrats would be dancing in the streets. And Barack Obama is smart enough to know that.


Confrontation on Filibusters: Once Again the Republicans’ Fault

Filed under: Dog Trainer,Judiciary — Patterico @ 7:33 pm

According to the L.A. Times, when Republicans reject Democrat offers to compromise on the filibuster, that shows an eagerness for confrontation on the part of Republicans. And when Democrats reject Republican offers to compromise, that shows an eagerness for confrontation on the part of . . . Republicans.

Yesterday, the paper ran an article about the Republican rejection of the Democrats’ silly non-starter of a compromise offer, which contemplated confirming three judges in return for an unlimited Democrat veto over all future Bush appointees. That laughable “offer” was portrayed yesterday as a genuine effort to compromise and avoid confrontation:

Senate Republicans on Tuesday rebuffed a Democratic overture aimed at ending a confrontation over federal judges, saying that any agreement must include a pledge not to filibuster future nominees — especially Supreme Court nominees.

(More on yesterday’s article in my post from yesterday.)

Today Bill Frist has made his own offer. It is an effective response to the left’s nonsensical claims that efforts to shut down the filibuster are an effort to shut down “debate.” To demonstrate the insincerity of that Democrat argument, Frist has offered Democrats 100 hours to debate judicial nominees, on condition that the nominees get an up-or-down vote at the end of the debate.

If the filibuster controversy were truly about debate, this compromise offer would be accepted.

Naturally, it was rejected.

The rejection shows clearly that this controversy isn’t about preserving the right to debate — it’s about blocking nominees, pure and simple. If this is a non-starter of an offer, that’s because one the Democrats’ prime arguments in favor of the filibuster — the need for robust debate in the Senate — is completely disingenuous.

So how is Frist’s compromise offer portrayed in the L.A. Times? Simple: Frist is choreographing a confrontation:

In a piece of parliamentary choreography that moves the Senate closer to confrontation, Senate Majority Leader Bill Frist (R-Tenn.) offered today to give Democrats 100 hours to debate judicial nominees on the condition that they permit a vote on each nominee at the end of the debate.

So: Republicans reject a Democrat compromise offer — that’s Republicans seeking confrontation. Democrats reject a Republican compromise offer — that’s still Republicans seeking confrontation.

To the L.A. Times, it doesn’t matter which side makes a compromise offer, which side rejects it, or what the actual merits of each offer might be. In each case, the theme is always the same: any confrontation is the Republicans’ fault.

P.S. Today’s Times story looks like a first draft. The extended entry will memorialize the content in case it changes.


Democrat Hypocrisy on Judicial Filibusters, Catalogued

Filed under: Judiciary — Patterico @ 7:07 pm

Michelle Malkin has a good roundup of past statements, both from Democrats and the New York Times editorial page (but I repeat myself), supporting the idea of an up-or-down vote for judicial nominees — or just opposing the idea of filibusters altogether.

The hypocrisy is breathtaking.

However . . .

I just have to wonder whether there is a similar collection of quotes from Republicans of that era, justifying blocking judicial nominations. If anyone knows where a good, succinct collection of such quotes can be found, send me the link. I am reluctant to go trolling through a bunch of nasty leftist sites to find them myself.

L.A. Times Gives Cartoonish Portrait of Janice Rogers Brown Speech

Filed under: Dog Trainer,Judiciary — Patterico @ 7:14 am

The L.A. Times recently ran an article about a talk given by Janice Rogers Brown. The L.A. Times reporter didn’t attend the talk, but this fellow did. His conclusion:

In the end, what is most annoying about the Times article is the way it brings what was really a profound presentation down to the level of a partisan political spitball fight.

Read the whole thing. The blogger is obviously a fan of Justice Brown’s, as am I. Still, his post contains many specifics that support his conclusion that the Times article was a cartoonish view of a powerful and intellectual speech.

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