Patterico's Pontifications


I Think You Meant to Say Justice “Hamburglar”

Filed under: Dog Trainer,Humor,Judiciary — Patterico @ 9:06 pm

In an L.A. Times review of a PBS documentary on the Supreme Court, Times Staff Writer Robert Lloyd fills us in on some little-known “facts” from the history of the Supreme Court. Here is perhaps the littlest-known of those little-known facts:

There was a justice named Hamburger and a justice named Frankfurter.

There was a justice named Hamburger?

As Howard Bashman notes:

Chief Justice Warren E. Burger was not widely known by the nickname “Ham” as best as I can tell.

I don’t know, though, Howard. That’s a pretty bold statement for a mere Internet blogger like you to make, knowing that this review was carefully scrutinized by those “four experienced Times editors” that the late David Shaw so famously told us about.

Oh hey — by the way, I looked over the list of Supreme Court Justices and found some other meaty selections that Robert Lloyd (and his four layers of editors) apparently overlooked, including:

  • Fred M. Venison
  • Potroast Stewart

and my personal favorite:

  • “Sloppy” Joe Story

Add your own in the comments, while we await the correction. I’m thinking it will be funny no matter how they word it.

Bloggers Can Protect Sources

Filed under: General — Patterico @ 6:13 pm

A Santa Clara, California court has reportedly ruled that bloggers have the same right as traditional journalists to protect their sources.

I caution that it’s hard to know what to make of the ruling without reading it. But it certainly does sound like an important development, based on the linked article’s coverage.

Baquet Leaves L.A. for New York Times

Filed under: Dog Trainer,General — Patterico @ 5:48 pm

The New York Times reports:

Dean Baquet, the editor of The Los Angeles Times who was fired in November for refusing to cut jobs from his newsroom, is returning to The New York Times as chief of its Washington bureau and an assistant managing editor, effective March 5.

The L.A. Times begs to differ, claiming that Baquet wasn’t fired — he quit! The story is titled Editor who quit over staffing cuts hired by N.Y. Times.

I think the New York Times‘s version is a little closer to the truth.

I wish Mr. Baquet well. I think his paper demonstrated clear leftist bias during his tenure, but he wasn’t the first editor to preside over a leftist Los Angeles Times and he won’t be the last. It’s true that I cancelled the paper over a decision he made to reveal classified counterterror secrets — a decision that was also made, ironically enough, by Bill Keller at the New York Times — Baquet’s new boss. But while I think that was a terrible decision, I have nothing personal against Baquet, and hope that he has the best of luck at his new job.

Thanks to readers Stacy M., Marty M., and numerous commenters.

Important Story Reported

Filed under: Dog Trainer,General — Patterico @ 6:57 am

The L.A. Times has an entire article about Bush having dropped the “ic” from the end of “Democratic” to describe the Democrat(ic) party in the State of the Union.

Understand, this is not just a passing reference by The Times. It’s a whole article, complete with consultation with “experts on political locution.”

Save this for the next time some fan of the paper tells you that we need newspapers — for the substance.

David Bell Says We’re Overreacting to 9/11 — But Is He As Wrong As Larry Johnson Was?

Filed under: Dog Trainer,General,Terrorism — Patterico @ 12:01 am

A fellow named David Bell, writing in the L.A. Times, asks: Was 9/11 really that bad?

His answer appears to be “no.” Bell’s thesis is that we are overreacting to a terrorism threat that poses no mortal danger to this country:

The people who attacked us in 2001 are indeed hate-filled fanatics who would like nothing better than to destroy this country. But desire is not the same thing as capacity, and although Islamist extremists can certainly do huge amounts of harm around the world, it is quite different to suggest that they can threaten the existence of the United States.

He goes on to suggest that the terrorists don’t pose an “apocalyptic threat”:

[D]espite the even more nightmarish fantasies of the post-9/11 era (e.g. the TV show “24’s” nuclear attack on Los Angeles), Islamist terrorists have not come close to deploying weapons other than knives, guns and conventional explosives. A war it may be, but does it really deserve comparison to World War II and its 50 million dead? Not every adversary is an apocalyptic threat.

So why has there been such an overreaction?

This is reminiscent of a similar statement made a few years back:

Judging from news reports and the portrayal of villains in our popular entertainment, Americans are bedeviled by fantasies about terrorism. They seem to believe that terrorism is the greatest threat to the United States and that it is becoming more widespread and lethal. They are likely to think that the United States is the most popular target of terrorists. And they almost certainly have the impression that extremist Islamic groups cause most terrorism.

None of these beliefs are based in fact. … While terrorism is not vanquished, in a world where thousands of nuclear warheads are still aimed across the continents, terrorism is not the biggest security challenge confronting the United States, and it should not be portrayed that way.

That statement was made by “Larry Johnson, a retired CIA and State Department counter-terrorism expert” . . . in July 2001. (Hat tip Mike K.)


Shortly after 9/11, Tim Noah called Johnson’s analysis “bold, persuasive, and 100 percent wrong.”

I sure hope David Bell is not similarly wrong.

But I’m afraid he may be. And I’m not willing to risk my family’s safety on Bell’s complacent analysis.

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