Patterico's Pontifications


Did Lawrence O’Donnell Take a Mixture of Heroin and Cocaine Recently?

Filed under: Buffoons,General — Patterico @ 9:18 pm

Was Lawrence O’Donnell high on a mixture of heroin and cocaine when he asked whether Cheney was drunk during that hunting accident (as discussed in this interesting interview with Hugh Hewitt)?

Just askin’.

Don’t get me wrong: I have no way of knowing whether or not O’Donnell was actually high on a mixture of heroin and cocaine when he made this ludicrous suggestion. It’s true that mixing heroin and cocaine has been known to make you say really stupid things, but don’t try to claim that I said O’Donnell really did take heroin and cocaine. I don’t know that.

A bunch of lawyers I just talked to but won’t name suspect that O’Donnell probably did take a mixture of heroin and cocaine before shooting off his mouth. But I have no idea. I don’t know that John Belushi took heroin and cocaine together either, after all. I didn’t do an autopsy on him. Did you?

By the way, “Did O’Donnell Take a Mixture of Heroin and Cocaine?” — I get credit for that. Gotta go — I have to put that on HuffPo right away.

P.S. Read the linked interview and it will all make sense — unless you’ve taken a mixture of heroin and cocaine, in which case it won’t. I bet it makes no sense to Lawrence O’Donnell . . .

Conservative Oratory

Filed under: Government,Politics — Angry Clam @ 1:08 pm

[Posted by The Angry Clam]

Many conservatives, myself included, are angry that the GOP has lost its way and become in danger of being nearly as wasteful and idiotic with money as Democrats have been since the election of FDR.

I have been waiting for a political speech that speaks to me on a basic level for a long time. The last time I felt as truly excited about on was watching Pat Buchanan’s 1992 Republican National Convention speech, where he urged us onward with the declaration that “we must take back our cities, and take back our culture, and take back our country.”

It is nice enough to hear George W. Bush speak about the United States and American greatness after 9/11, but those were not (at least, should not have been) partisan, urging the faithful onward to victory over the opposition. Zell Miller’s 2004 Convention Speech might come close, but it doesn’t speak to the principles of conservatism as much as catalog the vast litany of the failures of the American left.

What is truly astounding, though, is that the opposition to conservatism is, increasingly, our supposed allies- the Republican Party. There has been plenty of grumbling and disquiet in the ranks, to be sure, but only recently have party officials begun to step forward and declare that the leftward direction the GOP is heading is wrong.

And, finally, I think that they’ve found their voice.


A Discussion of Abortion — Part Five: When Does a Fetus Resemble a Baby?

Filed under: Abortion,General — Patterico @ 7:15 am

We left off last night asking: when does a fetus begin to command moral respect, such that we should view it as something other than a mere clump of cells appended to a woman’s body?

I have repeatedly noted AMac’s comment:

Sometime in the 2 to 4 month time frame, an embryo becomes recognizable as a pre-human, sharing many of the features that a human exhibits as a born baby.

I have argued why many Americans may reasonably decide that the moment of conception is too early to treat an embryo as a full human, and why the moment of viability is too late to treat a fetus as a mere clump of cells. I think most people can understand these arguments.

But in their quest for a bright line, some may be frustrated by the lack of specificity in the “2 to 4 month time frame.” Still, a bright line is not always necessary. In his essay which inspired this series of posts, James Q. Wilson makes an excellent point:

[L]ife in general is filled with circumstances in which the alternatives are not clearly defined. I cannot define twilight, but that does not mean that I cannot tell the difference between night and day. Our inability to draw a line should no more disable us from making moral judgments about a fetus than it prevents us from making such judgments about children or adults.

Though no line can be drawn, we can identify, I think, the rough stage in embryonic development when, if we are made unmistakably aware of it, our moral sentiments begin to be most powerfully engaged. People treat as human that which appears to be human; people treat as quasi-human that which appears quasi-human. Imagine a room on the walls of which are arrayed, in chronological order, exact color photographs of the human embryo, suitably enlarged, from first fertilization, through early cell divisions and implantation, through the emergence of various human, or humanlike, features, and on to the complete fetus the day before normal delivery. There would be 266 photographs in all, one for each day of embryonic or fetal development. Suppose we then ask a variety of people, but perhaps especially women, to examine these photographs and to tell us in which one, or in which small cluster of them, they first see what appears to be “a baby.” Having examined such pictures, most people, I speculate, would select those that represent life at around 7 to 9 weeks after conception.

Wilson suggests that motion pictures would be even more enlightening.

It would also be more powerful to actually see the fetuses. We did this last year, at the Prenatal Exhibit at the Chicago Museum of Science and Industry. But failing that, looking at photographs is better than nothing.

So let’s do it. Let’s look at actual pictures of babies in different phases of fetal development. They are in the extended entry. Then answer these questions:

1) When do you think a fetus begins to resemble a baby?

2) Do you think the answer to Question #1 is morally important?

By the way, these are not the jarring pictures of aborted fetuses that activists feature on their web sites, but rather (in my opinion) beautiful pictures of fetuses in the womb in various stages of development.

Most of the photos featured below were taken by a famous photographer named Lennart Nilsson, who is world-renowned for his pictures of fetuses in the womb. I have done my best to verify that the photos correspond to the correct stage of development; in most cases I saw the same photos appearing on multiple sites, not all of which were pro-life sites.

Of course, it would be good to know something about the actual development that is going on inside the fetus, in addition to simply looking at pictures. So I have chosen to include descriptions of fetal development taken from Feel free to skim this information if you are short on time.

Don’t feel limited by my pictures. If you are curious, surf the Web, check out books, and think about the question yourself. It’s an important one.

The pictures are in the extended entry:


How Not to Begin Your Legal Career

Filed under: Buffoons,Humor,Law — Angry Clam @ 7:08 am

[Posted by The Angry Clam]

There exists a grand tradition in the legal world that outsiders only rarely get to see. From voicemails to emails to sushi memoranda, all manner of tidbits get passed around. It shouldn’t be surprising, either, in such a document heavy profession.

Accordingly, I pass on to you what is, to my knowledge, the first great career-destroying email of 2006:

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