Patterico's Pontifications


Extra! NARAL Runs Sleazy, Deceptive Commercial

Filed under: Abortion,Scum — Patterico @ 10:01 pm

If you still have the capacity to be shocked by NARAL, read Power Line’s post on the group’s smear of John Roberts.

Honestly, I’m glad someone can muster outrage. Just because something like this is utterly predictable doesn’t mean it’s not also sickeningly wrong.

L.A. Times Publishes Deceptive (and Whiny) Op-Ed About the TSA’s Watch List

Filed under: Dog Trainer,Terrorism — Patterico @ 7:08 pm

The federal government maintains a Watch List for airline passengers. It’s inevitable that some people are going to share a name with an actual “person of interest.” And it couldn’t happen to a nicer guy than the whiny, self-absorbed, deceitful putz who wrote this op-ed in today’s L.A. Times.

The op-ed is by a guy named John Johnson (aka Fenton Johnson). Why is he on the Watch List? I have no idea. Is there an actual potential terrorist named John Johnson? Or does the federal government just think that some moron foreign terrorist is likely to use a generic name like that? Mr. Johnson has a darker theory:

Why am I on the TSA list? Because I have a common first and last name? Because I snapped at a security screener who confiscated my nail clippers? Because I write critically of the administration? Because I vote Democratic?

News flash, John Johnson aka Fenton Johnson: you’re not that important. I never heard of you and I bet President Bush hasn’t either. And no, there are not 55 million people on the Watch List.

What terrible indignities has our hero had to face as a result of his sharing a name with a person of interest? Get out your hankies, because this is a tragic tale:

In the months since I learned I am on the list I have flown several times, and — so far — my greatest inconvenience consists of being denied use of the machines that dispense automatic boarding passes. Instead, I must wait in line for a clerk.

Comparing this inconvenience to the inconvenience of people flying airliners into skyscrapers, my conclusion is that John aka Fenton Johnson should shut the hell up.

Read on — if you can stand to:

By now I anticipate the situation, obediently line up, and watch for the clerk to react as I’m fingered by the list. After an ID check, I’ve been allowed to proceed, although some make clear their feeling that if the law has turned its spotlight on me then I must have done something wrong, and the sooner I’m sent to Guantanamo Bay the better.

It’s not long before our boy shifts from Whiny Mode to Deceptive Mode, with this dishonest paragraph:

I have visited the TSA website, where I was informed that on submission of notarized copies of my birth certificate, my passport and my driver’s license, I might find it easier to proceed through airport security — but that I will not be removed from the list.

I have to admit that when I read the article, that was the one part that bothered me. If this fellow can prove that he doesn’t belong on the list, then (whiny as he may be) they should take him off. But a little voice in my head said: “Don’t trust him. Check it out.” So I did.

Here is what the TSA’s web site actually says about removing yourself from the Watch List:

Please understand that the TSA clearance process will not remove a name from the Watch Lists. Instead this process distinguishes passengers from persons who are in fact on the Watch Lists by placing their names and identifying information in a cleared portion of the Lists. Airline personnel can then more quickly determine when implementing TSA-required identity verification procedures that these passengers are not the person of interest whose name is actually on the Watch Lists.

Clearance by TSA may not eliminate the need to go to the ticket counter in order to check-in. While TSA cannot ensure that this procedure will relieve all delays, we hope it will facilitate a more efficient check-in process for you.

In other words, if there is a person of interest whose name is contained on the Watch List, the government isn’t going to just take it off just because the person of interest happens to share a common name with a non-suspicious citizen. Instead, the government is going to do the only thing we could reasonably expect it to — take the Clean Citizen’s information so that they can be quickly distinguished from the actual person of interest.

That is not what I thought ol’ John aka Fenton meant when he said “I will not be removed from the list.”

I have no doubt that the Watch List is bureaucratic and nowhere near as effective as it could be. I wish I could read a good op-ed about those deficiencies, which identifies the real issues and suggests viable solutions. Instead, the editors give us this whiny, Bush-bashing, deceptive claptrap.

I’ve said this before about L.A. Times editors and it applies today: I am not surprised, but I am disappointed.

L.A. Times Determined to Beat Into Its Readers’ Heads the Idea that Hillary Is a Centrist

Filed under: Dog Trainer,Politics — Patterico @ 7:18 am

The L.A. Times reports on its front page this morning: Clinton Is Cultivating an Image as a Centrist.

Anyone else getting that feeling of déjà vu? There’s a reason for that: it hasn’t even been two weeks since the paper’s last front-page story on Hillary-as-centrist: Clinton’s New Job: Defining the Center.

Are we going to have one of these articles on the front page every two weeks until the 2008 election?

My comments on the earlier story apply today. You can read through the almost 1700 words of today’s story and find precious little evidence that Hillary has had a true conversion to genuine centrism. This is about as close as the article comes:

She has taken up causes such as economic development and military overhaul that are nonpartisan or more centrist than her work in championing a national healthcare plan while her husband was president. She is teaming with local Republican officials and with some of the Senate’s most conservative members.

This is The Times‘s definition of centrism — anything “more centrist” than nationalized health care?

That’s pretty much it for policy in the story, with one exception we’ll discuss later. The rest is image: how her newfound “centrism” is playing. The Times finds someone willing to give them a good quote: John Perri of Long Island:

“I hated her with a passion,” said John Perri, a Long Island businessman who heard Clinton speak last week at a country club in Woodbury, N.Y. “But I’ve come to respect her. She’s a lot more moderate now.”

That may be, but apparently he didn’t hate her enough to donate anything to the opposition. No John Perri from New York made a donation to Rudy Giuliani or Rick Lazio in the 2000 election. (A John Perri from the Long Island town of Huntington, N.Y. did make a donation of $250 to John McCain.)

Today’s article treats us to by-now-familiar images of Hillary as martyr:

Conservatives demonized her for her role in promoting her husband’s failed healthcare plan. . . . Clinton denies she has changed her views, but she seems resigned to being a punching bag for conservatives. “You have no control over that,” she said. “I know I still have the same beliefs and values I always had.”

One belief she apparently always had: health care should be reserved to the private sector — as we learn in a later passage (in which the former Hillary-hater Mr. Perri makes a second appearance):

She received ovations from senior citizens in Rockville Centre, where she conducted a spirited attack on President Bush’s plans to overhaul Social Security.

Speaking to businesspeople in Woodbury, Clinton took a more measured tack. She told the audience that her father had supported Richard Nixon for president in 1960. She let drop that she had cosponsored a healthcare initiative with former House Speaker Newt Gingrich (R-Ga.), the conservative firebrand who led the 1998-99 effort to impeach her husband. And her views on healthcare were hardly the socialism her critics claimed she espoused.

“We need a consensus, and it needs to be led by the private sector,” she said.

Yup, she’s always had those same beliefs and values. Mr. Perri is buying it:

That tone appeals to independents such as Perri, who said he used to view Clinton as an “aggressive, ambitious woman who would do anything to get into power.” After the program, he delighted Clinton by introducing himself as a “reformed Hillary hater” who now is a supporter.

Watch your front page for more boosterism in a couple of weeks.

UPDATE: The guys at Independent Sources do something crazy that apparently never occurred to L.A. Times editors — they look at Hillary’s voting record. Guess what? It’s leftist.

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