Patterico's Pontifications


Ed McBain

Filed under: Books — Patterico @ 10:03 pm

I had no idea that mystery writer Ed McBain died a couple of weeks ago until I read this item in Slate.

I read McBain’s books for years. They’re the kind of books that you can easily put away in a day if you have the time. I sort of thought he’d always be around writing more.

Rest in Peace.

Dahlia Lithwick: Dishonest or Utterly Useless

Filed under: Dog Trainer,Judiciary,Scum — Patterico @ 7:59 pm

Beldar catches Dahlia Lithwick in a snide misrepresentation about Supreme Court nominee John Roberts:

[Judge John Roberts] doesn’t appear to be crusading for a wholesale national retreat to the good old days of executing miscreant ‘tweens (although he seemingly finds arresting them for French-fry possession to be a cornerstone in good parent-child relations).

I criticized an L.A. Times article yesterday for making it sound like Roberts approved of arresting a 12-year-old girl for eating a French Fry. I noted that anyone who actually bothers to read the opinion will plainly see that Roberts was unhappy that police arrested the girl.

Beldar says that “one could at least defend the LAT’s writers and editors as being merely stupid instead of dishonest. Perhaps they never actually read the opinion, or lacked the training to understand it.” I’d say they might have been “lazy” rather than “stupid.” It takes no particular training to read the passages of the opinion in which Roberts expresses his disapproval of the police actions in that case. It just requires a reporter who cares about getting it right — at least enough to read the opinion.

But, as Beldar also observes, it’s very hard to believe that Dahlia Lithwick, who is supposedly knowledgeable about the law, has not read the opinion. And if she hasn’t, what the hell good is she anyway?

And don’t try to tell me that this is simply exaggeration, like her ridiculous comment about the United States executing “‘tweens” (typically used to refer to 9 to 12-year-olds) for being “miscreant,” when execution is possible only for murder. (“Mabel! Them kids done raped and murdered another young girl! Dang miscreants!”) That comment is simply the usual Lithwick nonsense: cheap shots and gross exaggeration. But the “French Fry” comment is either a lie (as Beldar believes) or an inexcusably sloppy misrepresentation from someone in Lithwick’s position.

Folks, this is an important issue. The “John Roberts wants to arrest 12-year-olds for eating french fries” lie has to be nipped in the bud. It’s disturbing that someone as widely-read as Dahlia Lithwick believes that she can make a misrepresentation like this and get away with it. I am encouraging everyone with a blog who cares about a good judiciary to link Beldar’s post, and ask your readers to link it too. I also encourage each and every reader of mine to write Slate and demand a correction. The e-mail address is

Let’s show Lithwick that she can’t get away with something like this.

UPDATE: Dahlia Lithwick has responded to Beldar. He sets forth her defense, and then utterly demolishes it, in this post.

Daylight Saving Time Likely to be Extended

Filed under: Current Events — Patterico @ 7:02 pm

House and Senate negotiators have reached a compromise on the extension of Daylight Saving Time by four weeks.

I am a big fan of Daylight Saving Time, and wish that they’d make it the default time year-round. It allows me to ride my bike in the evenings, or take the kids for a walk on the beach at sunset. Having an extra four weeks will be nice.

David Savage Gets It Wrong — Again

Filed under: Dog Trainer,Judiciary — Patterico @ 6:00 pm

The L.A. Times yesterday (my emphasis):

[Supreme Court nominee John G.] Roberts is a popular figure in Republican legal circles in Washington and is a member of the conservative Federalist Society.

The Washington Post today:

Everyone knows that, like all good Republican lawyers, John G. Roberts Jr. is a member of the Federalist Society, the conservative law and public policy organization where right-of-center types meet to denounce liberalism and angle for jobs in the Bush administration.

And practically everyone — CNN, the Los Angeles Times, Legal Times and, just yesterday, The Washington Post — has reported Roberts’s membership as a fact. One liberal group opposed to Roberts’s nomination, the Alliance for Justice, has noted it on its Web site.

But they are wrong. John Roberts is not, in fact, a member of the Federalist Society, and he says he never has been.

(My emphasis throughout.)

And the author of the erroneous L.A. Times piece? It is co-written by our friend David Savage. (Henry Weinstein and Richard B. Schmitt also contributed to the piece. But Savage’s name comes first in the byline.)

It seems like yesterday that I was talking about how David Savage often seems to get things wrong on the law and the judiciary — to the detriment of conservatives, naturally — when the Washington Post gets them right. (To be fair, the WaPo got this one wrong initially as well.)

Of course, it wasn’t just yesterday that I made that complaint. It was three days ago.

P.S. Amusingly, as has happened before, the editorial page got snookered by Savage’s reporting and embroidered it a bit, turning Roberts into a “fixture” (you hear that? Not just a member — a fixture!) at the Federalist Society:

Roberts has long been a member of the Washington establishment, and a fixture in the Federalist Society.

P.P.S. Clearly, a note to the Readers’ Representative is in order. And, of course, one has been sent.

Naturally, I have asked where Savage got his information. One wonders whether it was from the web site of the liberal group Alliance for Justice . . .

UPDATE 8-5-05: I have a post about the New York Times‘s decision to seek the adoption records of John Roberts’s children, here.

More London Bombings

Filed under: General,Terrorism — Patterico @ 8:01 am

NPR is reporting that three Underground stations and a bus were bombed this morning in London. Early reports are that nobody was killed and only one person injured.

It’s two weeks to the day since the 7/7 bombings.

Annotated Story on Roberts

Filed under: Dog Trainer,Judiciary — Patterico @ 6:44 am

The L.A. Times runs a story this morning titled Democrats Forgo Discord on Court Pick, at Least for Now. As I read through it, I noticed a couple of things that were missing.

First, the entire theme of the story, as indicated by the headline, is that Senate Democrats have not been critical of Roberts. But the story does not quote Dick Durbin, who sounded a bit critical in this Fox News story:

“The president had an opportunity to unite the country with his Supreme Court nomination, to nominate an individual in the image of Justice Sandra Day O’Connor. Instead, by putting forward John Roberts’ name, President Bush has chosen a more controversial nominee and guaranteed a more controversial confirmation process,” said Illinois Sen. Dick Durbin, D-Ill., who was one of three Democrats who voted against Roberts in 2003.

I guess not all Democrats have chosen to “forgo discord.”

Also, I love the way that O’Connor’s reaction to Roberts’ nomination is doctored by the L.A. Times:

Some women’s groups said they were disappointed Bush had not named a woman to replace O’Connor.

Even O’Connor, the first woman to serve on the Supreme Court, expressed some discontent on that point.

On a fishing trip in Idaho, she told the Spokane, Wash., Spokesman-Review: “He’s good in every way, except he’s not a woman.”

Sounds positive, but a tad lukewarm. Except that you didn’t get the whole quote:

Her first words were unequivocal: “That’s fabulous!” she said. She immediately described John G. Roberts as a “brilliant legal mind, a straight shooter, articulate, and he should not have trouble being confirmed by October. He’s good in every way, except he’s not a woman.”

Conveys a slightly different flavor to read the whole thing, wouldn’t you say?

The Phony “Give Us the Documents” Strategy

Filed under: Judiciary — Patterico @ 6:44 am

An article in this morning’s L.A. Times hints at what Democrats’ strategy will be on Roberts. It’s the same phony strategy they used against Miguel Estrada, i.e., demand privileged government documents that no self-respecting Administration would ever give up:

Several Democrats complained that Roberts had served as a judge on the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit for only two years, and therefore had a limited judicial record. As a result, they were considering requesting copies of material he wrote when he served as deputy solicitor general in the Justice Department under President George H.W. Bush.

“Given that his record of his own views is rather sparse … those kinds of documents should be available to us,” Sen. Charles E. Schumer (D-N.Y.) said.

Keep in mind that, when Democrats requested Miguel Estrada’s Solicitor General memoranda, it was a wholly unprecedented request, which had never been made of any of 67 nominees to the Circuit Courts of Appeals since 1977 who had worked at DoJ. That includes seven nominees who had worked in the Solicitor General’s office. Also, the request was opposed by all seven living former or current Solicitors General — including four Democrats — who stated that turning over such documents would seriously compromise the ability of people in the Justice Department to be frank and open in rendering advice in internal memoranda.

But why not do it? You can hardly blame Chuckie S. for trying it with Roberts. After all, the documents strategy worked with Estrada, and seems to have worked with John Bolton.

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