Patterico's Pontifications


North Korea Agrees to Give Up Nuclear Weapons Program

Filed under: International — Patterico @ 10:58 pm

This is potentially very good news indeed: North Korea has agreed to give up its nuclear weapons program.

While our optimism should be cautious, let’s hope it really means something. (Via Kevin Drum.)

UPDATE: Commenters here are skeptical . . .

UPDATE x2: In the comments, AMac asks: why are the North Koreans making this concession now? One possible answer is in the linked story:

“The United States affirmed that is has no nuclear weapons on the Korean Peninsula and has no intention to attack or invade (North Korea) with nuclear or conventional weapons,” according to the statement, assurances echoed by South Korea.

That is a concession that I believe we have been unwilling to make until now. So the relevant question might be: why is the United States making this concession now?

See-Dubya: Best and Brightest

Filed under: General — See Dubya @ 8:54 pm

One of the most impressive people I know is Dr. Ann Kao. She is a brilliant doctor who recently got written up in the Wall Street Journal for having discovered a new disease (“Tsunami Lung”) in the aftermath of the Indonesian Tsunami.

Ann is also a Christian, an Ivy Leaguer, and (at least the last time I talked to her) quite sensible politically, too. She’s also cute and pleasant to talk to. Where do you go to meet women like this?

Rwanda, of course. She’s now on a fellowship doing refugee medicine there, saving babies from dysentery and staving off the onset of AIDS wherever she can. The conditions are primitive and she’s dreadfully undersupplied, but she’s doing her best. I expect they’re not paying her too well, either.

She has a blog, Letters Home, which she updates now and then from Kigali. Why not check it out, and leave some comments or send her an e-mail, and surprise her? Here’s a sample of daily life for Ann:

“The anxiety comes from the moans emanating forth from the rear of the land cruiser – the contractions are coming faster and I hear grunts starting and I say “DON’T PUSH” really loud in English which makes everyone laugh. Then in a completely surreal moment where time seems to freeze the other two women in the Land Rover start singing piercingly beautifully and clearly – “It is a hymn” says Immanuel my driver the words he struggles to translate but says are praising God and creation – and the 19 yo in labor ceases her grunting and slows her breathing to listen to the song. It’s yet another truly indescribable moment – careening down a mountain in pitch black surrounded by banana groves with 3 refugee woman – one nearing delivery and the soundtrack is this beautiful wild song being sung by 2 of them. I think if I die at this very moment going down this mountain – there wouldn’t be any other way I’d rather go.”

But we’d rather you stayed a while, Ann.

P.S. And don’t even tell her where you heard about this. I don’t want her figuring out who I am. Just tell her howdy, and let her know her work is appreciated.

Cross-posted at the Jawa Report.

Give Us the Memos!

Filed under: Judiciary — Patterico @ 1:59 pm

You might be surprised to hear me say this, but the recent confirmation hearings of Judge John Roberts to become Chief Justice of the United States were seriously hampered by the public’s inability to view certain confidential memos that were crucial to the hearings.

These memos are apparently being withheld on the grounds that they involve confidential communications that deserve protection as a matter of public policy. But this argument is clearly disingenuous, as each withheld memo is simply a reflection of the deliberative processes of someone representing the United States.

The limited information that is already publicly available strongly suggests that these memos are being withheld because they contain embarrassing revelations. That is simply unacceptable, and I call on my readers to demand that these memos be released immediately — preferably before the vote on John Roberts’s nomination.

Again, this may seem surprising, but I’m dead serious about this.


Patterico Supports the Democrat Filibuster — Biden Style

Filed under: Judiciary,Morons — Patterico @ 1:04 pm

I have a shocking announcement to make: I will support a Democrat filibuster of George W. Bush’s next nominee.

As long as it’s a “filibuster” as defined by Joe Biden.

Biden, remember, recently accused Judge John Roberts of “filibustering” in his Senate confirmation hearings. Here is a transcript of the pertinent exchange. Note that the portion of Roberts’s answer immediately before Biden accused him of “filibustering” was fifteen words long:

BIDEN: Justice Ginsburg said precisely what position she agreed on.

Did she, in fact, somehow compromise herself when she answered that question?

ROBERTS: She said no hints, no forecasts, no previews.

BIDEN: No, no. Judge, she specifically, in response to a question whether or not she agreed with the majority or minority opinion in Moore v. the City of Cleveland said explicitly: I agree with the majority, and here’s what the majority said and I agree with it.

My question to you is: Do you agree with it or not?

ROBERTS: Well, I do know, Senator, that in numerous other cases — because I read the transcript…

BIDEN: So did I.

ROBERTS: … she took the position that she should not comment.
Justice O’Connor took the same position. She was asked about a particular case.

BIDEN: Oh, Judge…


ROBERTS: She said, It’s not correct for me to comment.
Now, there’s a reason for that.

BIDEN: But you’re going from the…

SPECTER: Wait a minute, Senator Biden. He’s not finished his answer.

BIDEN: He’s filibustering, Senator.

I propose that, in the debate over President Bush’s next nominee, Democrats be allowed to “filibuster” Biden-style. Each Democrat Senator will be allowed to speak as long as they wish — with a fifteen-word limit.

Call them the Gang of Fifteen . . . Words.

(Said in the super-fast voice used for disclaimers at the end of radio commercials: Pauses between words may not exceed 20 seconds. No more than 2 breaths per syllable. Words from the movie “Mary Poppins” not permitted.)

We Can Get Transcripts Now, E.J.!

Filed under: Judiciary — Patterico @ 10:39 am

E.J. Dionne makes The Case For a ‘No’ Vote on Roberts, and says something that elicited a snicker from me:

Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.) said that some of Roberts’s potential opponents seemed to be saying that “the only way you can have a good heart is adopt my value system.” That, Graham insisted, does “a great disservice to the judiciary.”

But the doubts about Roberts have nothing to do with his good heart. The issue is the power about to be put in his hands and into the hands of President Bush’s next appointee — power both will enjoy for life. The Senate and the public have a right to far more assurance about how Roberts would use that power than they have been given in these hearings. The Senate is under no obligation to give the president or Roberts the benefit of the doubt.

Did E.J. Dionne just say that “the doubts about Roberts have nothing to do with his good heart”?

I think he did!

Either Dionne didn’t listen to the hearings, or he’s trying to bamboozle you. The Democrats went on and on about Roberts’s heart. Graham simply responded to that, and made the point that it’s a lame argument.

The proof is in the transcript.


Bloomberg Opposes Roberts — Who Cares?

Filed under: Judiciary,Morons — Patterico @ 8:57 am

The L.A. Times says Michael Bloomberg opposes John Roberts for Chief Justice of the United States. “He said Roberts had not shown ‘a commitment to protect a woman’s right to choose.'”

Well, I, Patterico, Los Angeles-based blogger, oppose Michael Bloomberg to be re-elected as New York City’s mayor. He hasn’t shown a commitment to, oh, I dunno, good garbage collection policies. There.

My opposition to Bloomberg is about as meaningful as Bloomberg’s opposition to Roberts. Anyone wanna write a story about it?

Rumor: Possible Surface-to-Air Missile Attack on a U.S. Airliner? (UPDATED)

Filed under: Terrorism — Patterico @ 1:34 am

This is pure rumor, so don’t take it as anything more. This is what we bloggers do — dish the rumors without verifying them. It’s the new journalism, baby! [Make sure to read UPDATE x3: Your government says all is well.]

Still . . . something happened, whether it’s what the rumor says, or something else. So . . .

Captains Quarters, Michelle Malkin, and Little Green Footballs all have posted rumors of a possible surface-to-air missile attack on a U.S. airliner. LGF was the first with any information, writing:

I’ve just received a credible tip from an LGF reader that an America West flight out of New York was fired upon by a surface to air missile yesterday, and that the pilot and passengers witnessed it and are now being questioned by the FAA and FBI.

That’s the extent of the information I currently have, and please note: right now this is completely unverified.

Malkin followed up with the information that there was indeed some sort of incident:

I just got off the phone with Phil Gee, associate manager of media relations at America West, who promptly returned my late evening call. Here’s what he told me:

On Sept. 15 (Thursday), America West Flight 17 took off from JFK Airport at 6:05pm EDT. The captain “took the initiative,” says Gee, and reported an “irregularity” to air traffic control as the plane was ascending. The plane continued to Phoenix and landed safely at 8:55pm MST. FBI and other authorities met and interviewed all of the crew and passengers on the plane. The investigation is continuing.

Gee would not say whether the pilot or other crew or passengers reported witnessing a missile firing.

“Nothing is confirmed,” Gee said.


Although one tipster says America West has informed its pilots of the incident, Gee denied that any company bulletin has been issued. Gee mentioned that he had heard that other airline pilots had posted about the incident on an online forum. E-mail or trackback if you have seen other pilot accounts.

(Emphasis and additional links in Michelle’s post.)

Keep an eye on this tomorrow. If there’s anything to it, it will be the biggest terrorism story in years.

UPDATE: Obviously, if anyone who was on the flight happens to be reading this (quite a longshot, but stranger things have happened), I’d love to hear from you. Leave a comment or write me at patterico AT patterico DOT com.

UPDATE x2: Odd thing — the America West spokesman is apparently wrong about at least one thing: the time the plane took off. Go to this site. (Link courtesy of a Free Republic poster.) Enter September 15 at 18:49. Watch for a green plane taking off southbound from JFK at 18:49:42. That’s America West flight 17.

You can watch the beginning flight path of the flight. As another Free Republic poster describes it:

According to Passur, the flight took off about 15 seconds before 6:50PM on Runway 22R, and flew straight out over Jamaica Bay, over the Rockaways, and across the Atlantic Ocean to just south of Sandy Hook, NJ. Typical flight path for a plane going southwest out of JFK.

According to PASSUR, the aircraft that took off directly before AWE 17 was Delta flight 2029, a 757 bound for Orlando. Emirates flight 9900, a 747, followed AWE 17, bound for Gothenberg, Sweden.

According to PASSUR, AWE 17 flew within a few miles of but far below a Lear Jet 60 at (37,000 feet) and a Sun Country 737 getting ready to land at JFK (at 13,000 feet) while climbing over the Atlantic Ocean at 4000 feet.

According to Google Earth, there’s marshland at the end of 22L before a departing flight would reach the Rockaway Peninsula. The Rockaways are about 4-5 blocks wide at the point the flight overflew it at around 2000 feet and climbing.’s archives don’t have the JFK tower or Approach/Departure tapes from the 15th. I think the JFK scanner link has been down for a while.

The sun is setting around 7:00 in New York these days. The radar shows that there were some heavy showers over parts of South Jersey, upstate New York, and east of Long Island at 7PM, but nothing near JFK.

For what it’s worth.

UPDATE x3: Malkin has a new update:

Update: A government aviation official who asked me not to reveal her name says the “missile siting was [a] false alarm:”

The sighting was reported near Colt’s Neck, NJ, which is a major route south out of NY. FAA set up a small temporary flight restriction around the area while checking radar files. Turned out to be nothing more than birds, and [a] big game of “telephone.”

Nothing to see here, folks. I assume you all feel reassured, now that an anonymous spelling-challenged government official has weighed in.

Still no word on what the “irregularity” was. Perhaps the “siting” was a false alarm, but the “sighting” wasn’t? Or is See-Dubya right? Did the captain need Metamucil?

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