Patterico's Pontifications


Debunking Lefty Myths: Todd Beamer Did Indeed Say “Let’s Roll” Before Storming the Cockpit

Filed under: General — Patterico @ 9:40 pm

There is a myth out there that Todd Beamer did not say “let’s roll” before passengers stormed the cockpit of United Flight 93 on September 11, 2001. He did. He said it at the end of a conversation with GTE supervisor Lisa D. Jefferson, who also recited the 23rd Psalm with him.

The myth that he didn’t is apparently based on the fact that, according to the 9/11 Commission, the cockpit voice recorder captured one of the passengers (some think it was Beamer) yelling “Roll it!” — possibly referring to a cart used to ram the cockpit door. That is a separate statement from “Let’s roll,” which Beamer said to other passengers at the end of his conversation with Ms. Jefferson.

The myth conflating the two (along with numerous other myths) appears to have gained wide circulation because of the Loose Change video, which — based on an array of misstated facts like this — makes the vile, disgusting, and appallingly ignorant charge that the Bush Administration was behind the 9/11 attacks.

Memo to rational people: just because some idiot who made the Loose Change video said something doesn’t mean it’s true. Actually, I’d consider that prima facie evidence that it’s false.

That is all.

UPDATE: Post edited to clarify that he said the phrase to other passengers “at the end of his conversation with” Ms. Jefferson, and not, of course, directly “to Ms. Jefferson.” Thanks to Don.

New York Times Performs Sleight of Hand on “Judicial Activism”

Filed under: General — Patterico @ 6:38 pm

The New York Times ran an editorial yesterday titled Activism Is in the Eye of the Ideologist. (H/t Howard Bashman.) Here is its nonsensical thesis:

Anyone who follows the courts knows that conservative judges are as activist as liberal judges —just for different causes. A new study of Supreme Court voting patterns confirms this and suggests that the conservative Justices Antonin Scalia and Clarence Thomas are actually more activist than their liberal colleagues.

Lori Ringhand, a professor at the University of Kentucky College of Law, examined the voting records of the Supreme Court justices from 1994 to 2005. Because judicial activism is a vague concept, she applied a reasonable, objective standard. In the study, which is forthcoming in Constitutional Commentary, justices were considered to have voted in an activist way when they voted to overturn a federal or state law, or one of the court’s own precedents.

This standard is not “reasonable” — it is ridiculous. The standard labels “activist” any judicial decision that overturns a law or previously decided case, no matter how unconstitutional the law or case might be.

If California passed the “Imprison All Arabs Law of 2006” tomorrow, and a court were to strike it down, this study would label such a ruling an “activist” decision.

Applying this strained definition of “judicial activism,” Plessy v. Ferguson would not be considered an “activist” decision, but Brown v. Board of Education would — simply because Brown overturned Plessy. [UPDATE: Actually, it didn’t — which strengthens my argument further. See below.]

Why would anyone adopt such a counterintuitive, silly standard as that?

Oh — because doing so allows them to call conservative judges “judicial activists”:

The conservative justices were far more willing than the liberals to strike down federal laws — clearly an activist stance, since they were substituting their own judgment for that of the people’s elected representatives in Congress.

Wrong. Simply striking down a law does not make you a judicial activist. If a judge strikes down a law because the law is clearly unconstitutional, that action is not “judicial activism” — it is “judging.” That’s quite simply what good judges do.

In order to call conservatives judicial activists, the study (and the editors of the New York Times) have to radically redefine the term “judicial activism.” As it is commonly used, the term has a negative connotation, and is used when a judge substitutes his own personal policy preferences for the law. The study and Times editors redefine it to mean something entirely different: simply overturning a law (however unconstitutional) or judicial decision (however wrongheaded and dangerous). This new definition of “judicial activism” describes some of the finest decisions the Supreme Court has ever rendered.

Redefining terms this way reflects unadulterated cynicism. At its core, it constitutes an effort to render the term meaningless — thus depriving conservatives of a potent rhetorical tool.

An analogy will illustrate how this redefinition twists logic into a pretzel.


Welcoming Somalis To America

Filed under: General,Immigration — Justin Levine @ 6:12 pm

[posted by Justin Levine]

I am hesitant to admit on Patterico’s site that I found an L.A. Dog Trainer article to actually be engrossing. But that was the case with their front page article on hopeful immigrants from Somalia who take a 3-day crash course on American culture.

Key quotes from Somalis (who apparently say this with all seriousness and without a trace of irony):

“How do I save my family from this … snow?”

“I know all about America. I’ve seen the Hallmark Channel.”

“So if anyone bothers me, I just call 911 and the police come and beat them? Life must be very easy.”

“If I can’t beat my wife, how will she know that I love her?” (This question was asked while the person was sitting next to his silent teenage bride.)

The article also deals with the emotional stress that all immigrants must feel to some extent (regardless of their originating country or backgrounds). Worth a read.

[posted by Justin Levine]

Ellensburg/Ellers Mangles the Facts Again

Filed under: General — Patterico @ 6:55 am

Glenn Greenwald still can’t get over the tremendously important issue of who got a “Path to 9/11” screener. Yesterday, on the fifth anniversary of the 9/11 attacks, while the rest of us were remembering the people who died that day and our own experiences, Greenwald devoted another post to this critical issue. And distorted the facts yet again, which is the only reason I mention it. He said:

Even Bill Handel, a local radio host (who coincidentally happens to be a worshipful supporter of the Bush “war on terror” at a neoconservative radio station) who did not even request a copy and evinced no interest in viewing it, nonetheless recieved a screener.

In his comments, lefty radio host Johnny Wendell said:

Glenn: Not to parse words, but I believe that at this point, Bill Handel opposes the war in Iraq (as do his afternoon counterparts, John and Ken) at KFI. Maybe that isn’t a “war on terror” oppponent, but compared to Hugh Hewitt, Bill Handel is Randi Rhodes.

I know that isn’t exactly what you posted, but do remember that Handel is the #1 morning talker in the #1 radio revenue market in America. He has an enormous audience.

My guest blogger Justin Levine says that Wendell “used to be a KFI weekend host and now has a show on the L.A. Air America affilliate. Nice guy. Leftist who doesn’t hit below the belt. He has total respect for Handel and knows that he is a class act.”

Wait . . . Wendell, a leftist, was on the “neoconservative” KFI?

Yup. Justin gave me the rundown of who is on at neoconservative KFI and their views on the war. He said that John and Ken are “outright critics of Bush & the Iraq war at this point” — which confused me, because Greenwald told us the other day that John and Ken are a “rough version of a talk radio Michelle Malkin.”

Yet, coincidentally, I had the radio on KFI as I drove home yesterday and listened as one of them spouted about how angry he is at Bush, how disgusted he was at the fact that Bush was about to speak on 9/11, and how Bush has screwed up the fight against terrorism by starting the war in Iraq and mismanaging the domestic fight against terror.

Doesn’t sound much like Michelle Malkin to me. I wonder if he got a screener, but you know, at this point I really don’t care.

Greenwald also has an update finding great significance in the fact that liberal bloggers were unable to obtain a copy. Apparently he missed my post that Instapundit, John Hinderaker, Charles Johnson, and Captain Ed didn’t get copies either.

Greenwald responded to Wendell that he was referencing Handel’s non-Iraq views. As if he knows anything about them. Handel hates Islamic fascism, which is probably all Greenwald knows about him. Does Greenwald like it?

It’s really a stupid issue. But since Justin has an “in” with Handel, I’ve asked Justin to tell Handel that someone says he is a “worshipful supporter of the Bush ‘war on terror’ at a neoconservative radio station” and see if Handel says anything interesting. It may be later in the week before we hear anything back.

9/11 – The West Coast Perspective

Filed under: General,Terrorism,War — Justin Levine @ 12:23 am

[posted by Justin Levine] 

Los Angeles radio station KFI has made available MP3’s of the broadcast from 9/11 and 9/12 for those of you who wish to mine that history.

Keep in mind that for the first few hours of the event, this was the broadcast that much of the nation was listening to if they didn’t have access to a television at the time. When the World Trade Center collapsed, it managed to knock out Rush Limbaugh’s station that day. KFI (and host Bill Handel) got tapped by Clear Channel to fill in for Limbaugh’s syndicated show for all of his affiliates that morning.

[posted by Justin Levine]

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