Patterico's Pontifications


See Dubya on Trent Lott’s Attempted Comeback

Filed under: General — Patterico @ 10:07 pm

See Dubya worries about Trent Lott’s attempted comeback.

He has more here, including this comment:

Memo to GOP leadership: I still haven’t quite received your message. Would you like to come over to my house and urinate on my shoes, just so I understand you more clearly?

I agree. We do not want you, Mr. Lott. Thank you for your service. Now go away.

UPDATE: Ack. Lott is in.

L.A. Times Acknowledges Error in Number of Punches . . . Sort Of

Filed under: Dog Trainer,General — Patterico @ 12:16 am

As promised, I wrote the Readers’ Representative about the L.A. Times‘s mistake in reporting that an LAPD officer had punched a man “at least six times,” when the true number was five. She has acknowledged my e-mail and says she is checking with the reporters. No correction yet, but it appears that they may not be as confident with their numbers as they originally seemed . . .

In a story about a new videotape, which allegedly shows a Venice LAPD officer punitively pepper-spraying a handcuffed suspect, there is this . . . revised description of the punching video:

The Venice videotape comes five days after another video showing [an] LAPD officer trying to restrain a suspect in Hollywood made its way to the internet site YouTube.

The 18-second tape shows an officer punching William Cardenas at least five times as he and his partner try to restrain and handcuff the man, a suspected gang member.

Five times, eh?

“At least six” has become “at least five.” Can a correction be far off?

I think not.

I suspect that we will soon see a quiet correction in a small box on Page A2, which will state — ever so gently — that a previous story (two, in fact) had reported that an LAPD officer had punched a suspect at least six times, when a review of the tape shows that the true number was more like five.

My latest e-mail to the Readers’ Rep says, in part:

If you are running a correction, as now appears likely, I have a suggestion. Given that the focal point of the earlier story was the exact number of punches, and given that the story insinuated that the officers were lying because they got the number wrong, I think that the paper should issue a more prominent correction than usual. While the true number is still more than what the officers’ report said, it’s closer to what the officers claimed than what the Times reported.

I’d add that if Times reporters can get the number of punches wrong after watching a video in the comfort of their offices, it might not be that ludicrous for officers to misremember the exact number of punches after a stressful struggle with a felony suspect who allegedly took several swings at them and actively resisted being taken into custody.

My idea that the paper issue a prominent correction . . . it’s a nice thought, isn’t it? Of course, we all know that, at best, we’ll be getting the small-box-on-Page-A2 correction.

But a guy can dream.

P.S. The new video described in the story (a video of an allegedly punitive pepper-spraying) sounds to me like it depicts misconduct — if the video turns out to show what the story describes. I don’t understand why The Times can’t simply post the video, if they have it. But — assuming that the story accurately describes the video — there’s no excuse for pepper-spraying a handcuffed suspect who is already sitting inside a car. And if you’re doing it because the suspect spit on you, it’s a punitive and excessive use of force.

UPDATE: I should note that the latest story was written by Patrick McGreevy, one of the authors of the previous, erroneous story. Also, this should go without saying, but: printing a different number in a subsequent story, without acknowledging the earlier error, is not a correction — and is not sufficient.

Only Dimly Aware of a Certain Unease in the Air . . .

Filed under: General — Patterico @ 12:15 am

Mrs. P. and I will be attending the Borat movie this weekend. HBO recently ran a marathon of Ali G. shows, and we TiVo’ed the entire two seasons. It’s great fun watching Ali G. interviewing Dick Thornburgh, Boutros Boutros Boutros Boutros-Ghali, and the incredibly humorless Andy Rooney. Booyahkashah!

But one of the most striking scenes of the whole series — one that manages to be funny, but is also incredibly disturbing and even makes your skin crawl — is the one you can watch here. In it, Borat sings a cheerfully anti-Semitic song to a group of idiots in a bar, who are soon clapping along and chanting: “Throw the Jew down the well!”


Here is a seemingly unrelated story that is in fact related:

The headmaster of my high school, Stephen Seleny, who grew up in Hungary, once told us a story I’ll never forget. Mr. Seleny’s father was a decent, tolerant man who was appalled by the ugly racist ideology of Hitler. So Mr. Seleny’s father went to a Nazi rally to see first-hand how crowds of people could treat such a monster with such worshipful reverence. At the end of the day, Mr. Seleny’s father returned crying. His son asked him why he was crying. Mr. Seleny’s father replied that he had gone to the Nazi rally. He had heard Hitler speak. He saw the crowd raising their arms in the Nazi salute.

And Mr. Seleny’s father had raised his hand as well, and cried: “Sieg Heil!”

The lesson is simple. Always think for yourself. Always. Humans have a built-in tendency to be sheep. Don’t fall into that trap.

UPDATE: Per See Dubya, rumor has it that the folks singing “Throw the Jew down the well” knew it was a comedy bit, and that Borat warmed up the audience with refrains of “throw your mother down the well” and “throw your sister down the well.” Whether this makes it all OK — or whether it’s the frog being boiled slowly — is for you, the reader, to decide.

UPDATE x2: Now Xrlq says in comments that boiled frog theory is wrong, too. My world is crashing down around me.

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