Patterico's Pontifications


Turns Out I Did Predict This Election Result After All

Filed under: General,Judiciary — Patterico @ 8:47 pm

I was thinking it, of course — and I gently hinted at it — but I didn’t want to say it out loud. But it turns out I already had . . . five months ago.

In May, complaining about the Gang of 14 deal, I said:

There is no guarantee that Republicans will have as many Senators in late 2006 as we have today. I personally believe it will be a bloodbath on Election Night 2006. We might not even control the Senate when it’s all over.

Too bad we didn’t confirm more judges while we still had the chance.

Today, we see evidence that Kennedy is still a weasel — meaning we don’t have firm control of the Supreme Court. And, we just lost the Senate.

Bush has confirmed his last decent judge.

For those of you who care.

P.S. Spoons did pretty well on the predictions too.

AP Says Webb Won (Democrats Take Senate)

Filed under: General,Politics — Patterico @ 6:40 pm

Get set for Majority Leader Harry Reid.

Kennedy Set to Sell Us Out — Again

Filed under: Abortion,General,Scum — Patterico @ 6:02 pm

SCOTUSBlog says that Justice Kennedy’s vote is in play on the partial-birth abortion cases:

Justice Anthony M. Kennedy, proceeding calmly, cautiously and analytically, left the clear impression on Wednesday that his vote may be available to strike down Congress’ first attempt to impose a nationwide ban on an abortion procedure — even though the procedure at issue is one that Kennedy has suggested is morally repugnant.

. . . .

[A]t least during oral argument, Kennedy seemed unpersuaded that Congress either had succeeded in making its ban narrow enough to be upheld without disturbing the core right to abortion, or that, if upheld as written, it could ever be challenged at a time when such a ban would genuinely threaten the health of pregnant women seeking abortions.

Perhaps it will be an occasion for another sanctimonious opinion from Kennedy in which he expounds upon how repugnant he finds the procedure — but that he must strike down the ban because that’s what the New York Times editorial board wants legal principles require him to do so.

It is no wonder that, whenever I am asked who is my least favorite Justice, I reply without hesitation: “Anthony Kennedy.”

The transcripts of today’s oral argument are available here and here. Here is the audio. [UPDATE: That is the audio for the first argument; the link to audio for the second argument is here.] I’ll try to listen to it tonight (or sometime soon) and report back.

Nina Totenberg Gets It Wrong on Partial-Birth Abortion

Filed under: General — Patterico @ 5:53 pm

Nina Totenberg (at 1:49 at this link):

The procedure that abortion opponents call “partial-birth” is done almost always in the second trimester of pregnancy, when the fetus is not yet viable, and most are done this late because of the mother’s serious health conditions, or grave fetal anomalies.

Nonsense. Let’s hear from leftist Franklin Foer:

Last fall, both the Washington Post and the Bergen Record ran front-page stories asserting that pro-choice groups underestimate the number of “intact dilation and extraction” (IDE) [partial-birth abortion] procedures, to use the medical term, that are performed. . . . [T]he Bergen Record’s Ruth Padawer showed that one clinic in Englewood, N.J., had performed 1,500 IDEs in 1994. That is 1,000 more than pro-choice groups claimed had been performed in the entire country. After interviewing doctors who perform the procedure, both papers concluded that only in very few instances was the IDE actually necessary to protect the woman’s health. Most of them were performed on poor women who could not muster the money to pay for abortions earlier in their pregnancies.

What Foer calls “IDE” is “intact dilation and extraction” — the same procedure that others call “IDX,” that the Supreme Court calls “D&X” — and that rest of us call “partial-birth abortion.”

Now read the following quote from leftist David Savage of the L.A. Times:

Only 1% to 2% of abortions take place after the 20th week of pregnancy.

Of these, about 3,000 to 5,000 per year are done with D&X [partial-birth abortion]. Doctors say only a small percentage of those are done because of medical complications or fetal deformity.

In the above quotes, Franklin Foer and David Savage (both leftists) have no motive to lie to hurt the argument for partial-birth abortion. But Nina Totenberg, a leftist, has every reason to distort the facts to help that argument.

Don’t be fooled.

See-Dubya on Rumsfeld

Filed under: General — See Dubya @ 2:03 pm

(A guest post by See-Dubya, not Patterico.)

Patterico implored me to post something on Rumsfeld’s resignation. I think the real place to look will be Garfield Ridge this evening, but I’ll take a crack at it:

Rumsfeld arrived with a mission of transforming America’s military into a technologically superior, fast, mobile force and undoing the malign “swords into plowshares” neglect of the Clinton years. How much of that mission he was able to accomplish, I can’t really say, but I do know he was “overtaken by events” on 9/11 and needed to focus on fighting a war in the Middle East with the transitional army we have.

Anytime you have a big reform project like he had, you’re going to make enemies. Compounding this effect was his blunt personality–probably a prerequisite for the sort of sweeping changes he had planned–which people either loved or hated. I loved the guy, but a lot of people didn’t. In fact a Navy officer told me back in 2003 or so that the opinion among his seniors was that this guy hates the military.

There is a lot to dislike about military bureaucracy and inefficiency, and Rumsfeld’s dislike for it was returned in spades, but I think that was just another one of the many political attacks levelled against him. Every setback on every front was greeted with the same strident calls for his resignation, from the same people. The cries of Wolf turned me off at a point in early 2004, when I realized how trumped up the Abu Ghraib stories really were and how little they had to do with U.S. warfighting policy. Whatever Rumsfeld’s quirks, I decided then, his critics were simply not acting in good faith and had squandered any credibility they might have had. And when Ashcroft left, Rumsfeld was left out as the sole lightning rod to soak up their bolts.

But more and more critics piled on, some of them who I respected and who articulated more substantive complaints. The combined weight of these criticisms hamstrung Rumsfeld’s effectiveness more and more. Do we need to send more troops? For Rumsfeld to give such an order would set off a politically crippling shockwave that would have opened him up to attacks that we were ignoring other trouble spots and overextending ourselves by putting so many troops in Iraq–and, well, would have caused us to lose the House and Senate.

So, I wish he had given that order, and a few more, like neutralizing Al-Sadr back when it could have prevented a lot of trouble we’ve faced since then. And, as the American Spectator’s Andrew Cline memorably memo’d to Rumsfeld about the timing of his resignation: You’re supposed to leap in front of the bullet, not behind it. But he has presided over two amazing military victories, in Afghanistan and Iraq, and overseen the rebuilding of our military as the most capable and fearsome fighting force in the entire world–capable of overrunning any nation in the world, provided we have the will to win.

Which we don’t, but that’s not Rumsfeld’s fault. As for the more strident complaints against him, I challenge you to present to me this modern-day Sun Tzu who would have done his job better and pacified and unified Iraq without any American casualties. That man is a construct of hindsight, wishful thinking, and political bluster. Rumsfeld served his country well and, while he made mistakes, suffered a great degree of scorn he did not deserve. I am sorry to see such a dedicated public servant leave under these circumstances, and I do not envy his replacement.

See-Dub, over and out. Cross-posted at Junkyard Blog.

UPDATE by Seedub: Dave@GR’s take, which I mentioned above, is now up and worth your time.

UPDATE BY PATTERICO: I don’t share See-Dub’s love for Rummy. He has been a charming answerer of question at press conferences, but there’s a growing body of evidence that he didn’t have a decent post-war plan for Iraq, that he knew he didn’t, and that he didn’t care. In my view, his arrogance towards the military and cavalier attitude towards planning for a post-war Iraq makes this step long overdue.

Prediction on Partial-Birth Abortion Argument

Filed under: Abortion,General — Patterico @ 6:33 am

I wasn’t willing to predict the outcome of the election further than observing that I thought Allahpundit had the right idea when he said he’d be drinking to ease the pain. Indeed, the election looks to be shaping up as a disaster, although how big a disaster still remains to be seen.

Since my predictions (such as they are) are doing well, I’ll try another — about this morning’s oral argument in the partial-birth abortion cases. I predict that coverage of the argument will express surprise that the Justices were discussing obscure topics like federalism and deference to Congressional findings. “I thought this was supposed to be about partial-birth abortion!” the stories will say.

Dahlia Lithwick recently bristled at Justice Scalia’s suggestion that legal reporting brushes aside discussion of critical legal issues in favor of reportage on “which side wins.” We’ll see how her lot does with this story.

The Stylebook Always Wins

Filed under: Dog Trainer,General — Patterico @ 6:19 am

Today’s L.A. Times story about Dean Baquet’s forced resignation describes Baquet as an “African American”:

Baquet, the first African American to lead one of the top U.S. newspapers, stirred a national debate about the future of the struggling industry in September when he publicly defied attempts by Chicago-based Tribune Co. to reduce The Times’ editorial staff of 940.

This is interesting because Baquet reportedly doesn’t like the label. As Kevin Roderick blogged in July 2005:

Several people emailed me after Baquet’s promotion to point out that he has been known to bristle at the African American label, preferring that when his ethnicity comes up he be called Creole.

Sorry, Mr. Baquet. The paper has rules, and you can’t fight the system.

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