Patterico's Pontifications


More Evidence of a Paucity of Reportable News on the Gonzalez Front

Filed under: General — WLS @ 11:34 pm

 TPMmuckraker has to go down in the weeds of a USA Today story to pull from it a call by another Republican for Gonzalez to resign:

Now the calls for Alberto Gonzales’ resignation are coming from veterans of Bush’s own Justice Department. Here it’s Mark Corallo, the Justice Department’s chief spokesman from 2002 through 2005.

In a piece on Bush’s loyalty to Gonzales, USA Today reports that Corallo thinks Gonzales should step down over “mismanagement” of the U.S. attorneys firings. As he put it, “Alberto Gonzales’ loyalty to George Bush has got to trump George Bush’s loyalty to Alberto Gonzales.”

The USA Today article focuses on the committment to loyalty in and amongst members of the Bush Administration. 

But, when I read the quoted passage taken out by Muckraker, my first thought was “Who the heck is Mark Corallo?”

Well, this is Mark Corallo  

Mark is a veteran Washington communicator with extensive experience on Capitol Hill, in the Executive branch, on the campaign trail and in working with grass roots organizations to implement public policy initiatives….

From 2002 – 2005, Mark was the Public Affairs Director for the U.S. Department of Justice. In this capacity he served as the chief spokesman for the Attorney General and the Department of Justice on all matters including the Global War on Terrorism.

From 1999-2002, Mark was the Communications Director for the U.S. House of Representatives Committee on Government Reform. From 1996-1999, he served as Press Secretary to U.S. Representative and Chairman of the Appropriations Committee, Bob Livingston (R-LA).

During the 2000 Presidential Campaign, Mark took a leave of absence from Congress to serve as Press Secretary for Victory 2000, the Republican National Committee’s official campaign effort.

 Forgive me if I don’t place much importance on the opinions of a life long press flak aboub “mismanagement” of the Justice Department.  What he knows about managing the Justice Department someone else told him. 

What’s that old saying “When I want your opinion…” ????

Notes From A Proud Global Warming Skeptic (part 5)

Filed under: Accepted Wisdom,Environment — Justin Levine @ 11:19 pm

[posted by Justin Levine] 

I am admittedly confused about one thing: Why is ‘compromise‘ over language necessary when there is supposedly ‘consensus’? That’s ok. Whatever the ultimate outcome is – we can rest assured knowing that it is ‘science’. They just apparently need to meet behind closed doors and warn their people ‘not to divulge details of the negotiations’ in order to determine what the ‘science’ is.  Obviously. Doesn’t seem political at all.

More global warming ‘science’ being reported here.

Hundreds of scientists struggled to find compromise wording Thursday on a landmark report set to declare that climate change is already discernible and could wreak devastation to human settlement and wildlife this century.

Grouped in national delegations, the climate specialists remained huddled in a European Commission conference room late into the night, hammering out the document’s all-important summary for policy makers — a guideline for government action — only hours before its scheduled release Friday morning.

Several sharp disagreements impeded progress, one Western delegate said.

Whereas Europeans sought to include stronger language and hard numbers warning about the dangers of global warming, the United States favored general statements about trends, he said.

“The Europeans want to send a strong signal. The US does not want as much quantification,” he said during a break in the negotiations, which have been underway since Monday.

China and Russia, he continued, have sought to excise some passages from the summary asserting that climate change had already had negative effects around the globe, arguing that the data in the 1,400 word main study is not solid enough to be included in the key policy document.

Now that sounds exactly like the kind of science I learned about in school – free from political considerations and biases…Can’t wait to read this ‘scientific’ report.

As the AP noted in the first link above –


Well, Can The Left Decide What Exactly They Think Gonzalez Did Wrong?

Filed under: General — WLS @ 11:00 pm

It doesn’t seem as though they can. 

This story seems to have gone into a little bit of a stall this week, with the best that the WaPo crew of Eggen and Kane can come up with today is a cheap shot dig at Gonzalez about “spending hours practicing testimony … seriously as if it were a confirmation proceeding for a Supreme Court or a Cabinet appointment.”

Now the second part of that quote, the part following those ellipses (yes, they can be a dangerous thing) is actually attributed to “Gonzalez and his aides” — “according to administration officials.”  There article is here.

When an A01 story has to go for that cheap shot in the second paragraph, you know the pickings from which to choose were pretty slim. 

And it also seems a little snarky to criticize Gonzalez now for doing the one thing that he and everyone around him failed to do and which led them to stumble into the mess in the first place — gaining an understanding of all the facts before beginning to answer questions in the first instance.

And Ruben Navarette comes to Gonzalez’s defense in a column today, pointing out that the Gonzalez critics — on both the left and the right — can’t seem to settle on a narrative about what it is he has done wrong.   Navarette

And yet Gonzales’ critics on both the left and the right are in no position to lecture him on communicating clearly. They haven’t been able to settle on one narrative of what he supposedly did wrong since this thing started. First, they said that Gonzales didn’t understand the difference between being the president’s lawyer and being the people’s lawyer. Then, they said he had led a political purge. Then, they claimed that Gonzales lied to Congress when he testified on Jan. 18. Then, they said he lied to the media at a news conference in March 13. Then, they said he had shown poor leadership. Then, they said he mishandled the whole thing. And finally, the conservative National Review said last week, Gonzales had lost his effectiveness and should resign because the Justice Department needed a fresh start.

So, Gonzalez is criticized for being unprepared and providing misleading answers, and now he’s sniped at for taking his preparation seriously.   I wouldn’t blame him for doing a “Johnny Paycheck” on the Senators on his way out of the committee room on April 17. 

 (Google it if it doesn’t make sense.)

Greg Packer Is Back — Yet Yet Again!

Filed under: General — Patterico @ 10:38 pm

The Norwood News is the latest media outlet to get taken in by media hound Greg Packer:

Standing on the fringes of the crowd, sporting a mustache and a look that can only be described as glowing, was a middle-aged white man from Long Island named Greg Packer. He found out about J-Lo’s Bronx appearance from the F.Y.E. Myspace page (who knew?) and made the trek to the northwest Bronx the day before to buy the album and get a wristband. He returned the next morning at 7 a.m. and proudly became the first person to receive Lopez’s autograph.

“I’m a big J-Lo fan,” Packer said. “She’s from the city and she knows how to represent and put out a sweet, beautiful album.”

Case closed.

Heh. Yes, it certainly is.

The Greg Packer phenomenon is explained here, along with links to previous sightings.

P.S. The Norwood News?? Greg, you can do so much better than that!

Study Shows Low-Skilled Workers Are a Drain on Taxpayer Money

Filed under: Immigration — Patterico @ 8:49 pm

The Washington Times reports:

Immigration reforms that increase the number of low-skilled workers entering the United States threaten to impose a high cost on taxpayers, says a study being released today.

The Heritage Foundation report calculates that for every $1 unskilled workers pay in taxes they receive about $3 in government benefits, including Medicaid, food stamps, public housing and other welfare programs.

. . . .

The report on low-skilled workers, who are defined as those without a high school diploma, did not focus on immigrants, but its authors say 25 percent of legal immigrants and 50 percent of illegal aliens fall into the category.

Like the news that a illegal immigrant driving under the influence of alcohol killed the director of the movie “Christmas Story,” this report sheds light on the negative aspects of illegal immigration. If we are going to discuss this topic intelligently, we need to be aware of the drawbacks of an open borders policy, not just the benefits, such as cheaper fruit and vegetables.

One wonders whether a fully informed citizenry would pay more for produce, nannies, gardeners, and housecleaners if we could unclog our freeways, reduce the terrific strain on emergency rooms, reduce the crime rate, and lessen the strain on our budget caused by the net outlay in tax money that illegal immigrants cause.

It would be fascinating to see whether the L.A. Times has reported or will report the results of this study. However, because they have blocked most of their web site from mobile phone users, I can’t check. Any guest bloggers want to follow up on this? Justin? See Dubya?

Illegal Immigration And Drunk Driving

Filed under: Crime,Immigration — Justin Levine @ 5:12 pm

[posted by Justin Levine] 

I have never seen Bill O’Reilly yell so loudly.

He is referring to this case.

What he and Geraldo don’t know (yet) is that film director Bob Clark and his son were also killed by an illegal alien in a DUI accident. Few media outlets have reported the immigration aspect of the story yet. KFI’s Eric Leonard was the first to break this angle.

Was this factoid unknown to the rest of the media? If so, why did they not think to check? If it was known by others, why wasn’t it reported? It is sad to think that the only logical explanations seem to be either incompetence or bias.

Will DUI become a new focal point in the immigration debate? Stay tuned… 

UPDATE BY PATTERICO: I can’t monitor the L.A. Times from my Treo, as the paper insists on shifting all Internet traffic from mobile phones (like my Treo) to a special version of the Web site that blocks most stories.

Justin, I commend you for reporting this angle promptly on my site. I’m officially putting you in charge of monitoring the L.A. Times to see if the local paper of record has even a peep about this critical aspect of the story. Please keep us all up to date on this.

The pay will be the usual [insert smiley face emoticon here].

UPDATE x2 BY PATTERICO: The mobile version of the story does not report the suspect’s illegal status. Big shock there.

[Update x3 by Justin Levine – 9:05pm PST]:  The AP has finally gotten its act together after riding Eric Leonard’s coattails in breaking this story. The L.A. Times?….Nope. Still no mention.

[Update x4 by Justin Levine]:  Unlike others, the L.A. Times has chosen not to feature the illegal immigration angle in its headline. However, as of 9:54 PM PST, the L.A. Times has finally acknowledged the fact in its coverage. I myself would have played up the issue in the headline – but that is a difference that editors can reasonably disagree on (as long as the issue is at least mentioned in the overall coverage). Still, this episode does nothing to soothe fears that the L.A. Times is choosing to ignore vital elements to news stories due to their own political viewpoints.

ABC NEWS Smears Swift Boat Veterans for Truth with Slanderous News Article

Filed under: Media Bias — Patterico @ 3:10 pm

Amazing. The canard that the Swift Boat Veterans for Truth was a “smear campaign” is so well accepted by Big Media that ABC NEWS feels comfortable in portraying the Swifties’ ad campaign as “slanderous” and “smear ads.” These characterizations appear in a “straight” news story about the recess appointment of an ambassador who gave money to the group, and had his nomination nixed by a petty group of Retaliacrats bent on extracting some pathetic, small revenge.

(The first link above is to National Review’s Media Blog. The headline on the actual story has been changed, but the word “slanderous” remains in the body of the article.)

Meanwhile, I have yet to see anyone meet Beldar’s challenge to name a single specific and material statement of fact by the Swift Boaters that has been fully debunked, or shown to be fully unsubstantiated.

Wouldn’t stating material falsehoods be a critical component of a “slanderous” campaign of “smear ads”?

In fact, as I have previously observed, the media often has a worse track record of inaccuracies on this issue than do the Swifties.

By the way, if you are disqualified from government service because you once gave money to an organization that has engaged in slander and smears, that lets out anyone who ever subscribed to the Los Angeles Times.

Tie Fighters

Filed under: General — See Dubya @ 3:06 pm

(A post by See-Dubya).

I watched the footage of the captured British sailors being released over at Hot Air and let me say: that is truly, madly, deeply weird. Sur-real. The cameras and smiles, the shiny suits, the matching gift bags (?!)…it looks less like a Repatriation of Prisoners than it does a game show or an Oscar party. (Did those bags contain some carbon offsets?)

They should have been allowed to keep their military uniforms. Discharging them as civilians was humiliating.

Which reminds me, notice anything missing from their Mahmoud’s Menswear ensembles?

Lovely Parting Gifts

If you don’t, check out my Dictator Photo Quiz. There’s a reason for that omission.

Which is strange. If these sailors were the tools of western imperialists, and neckties are the attire of western imperialists, why not cast them in that light? Don’t tell me there’s some kind of tie shortage there, either. I’m always hearing about how Iran is importing Chinese Silkworms.

Anyway, I’m pretty sure we’ll never know the whole story on this, which is probably just as well. Even if there is something a little “Bridge on the River Kwai” about all this, I am thrilled that these guys are now free to take this sort of symbolic revenge upon their captors:

Revenge best served cold, unless you’re in England where they like it more tepid.

Photos adapted from AFP. Cross-posted at Junkyard Blog.

Beldar: Is Daniel Schorr Dishonest, or Just Senile?

Filed under: General — Patterico @ 8:45 am

Beldar can tell the difference between “bought” and “sought.” He wonders why Daniel Schorr and the Washington Post can’t.

As I already said (if at first a joke doesn’t go over, repeat it!), the inability of reporters to distinguish between “b” and “s” may explain why they’re so bad at sniffing out B.S.

Skeikhs Tattle and Roll Al Qaeda in Al-Anbar

Filed under: General — See Dubya @ 1:28 am

(A post by See-Dubya)

There’s a long piece by a father and son team at Opinionjournal about the implementation of the Patriquin Plan (they don’t call it that) in Anbar province, Iraq. That’s the plan, of course, where the sheiks get involved on behalf of the US against the insurgents, leveraging one of the few solid civil-society networks still functioning there. The sheiks provide information about al-Qaeda infiltrators, and the U.S. scoops ’em up. Patterico’s been pushing this plan quite a while, as has Teflon Don.

I’m not sure whether this is the story of same sheik and the same incidents being told yet again, but even if it is, his success is ongoing and it’s a cause for optimism. It’s hard, for example, to argue with an endorsement like this:

In recent weeks, al Qaeda has struck back with suicide bombers, blowing up a Sunni mosque in the young sheik’s area, killing 40 worshipers, and then detonating a series of chlorine truck bombs in residential neighborhoods outside Fallujah. They hope that if they murder random groups of women and children, the tribes will fall back in line. These tactics have locked AQI in a fight to the death against the tribal leaders. It reflects an enemy who has lost popular support for his jihad, clinging to fear alone. Had any American analyst predicted AQI would attack local Sunnis with weaponized chemicals nine months ago, he would have been laughed at.

If that’s an accurate assessment, it explains a lot about those mysterious chlorine attacks. Why would AQI risk alienating the populace it seeks shelter and support from by such hideous attacks?

If I’m reading this article right, it’s like two big puzzle pieces clicking together. Answer, according to West and West, is that the Patriquin plan is working too well and united the people against AQI already. Al Qaeda had no goodwill left to lose, so they are trying intimidation instead.

I hope this continues to work, but I’m going to say something in the CPA’s defense. Major Patriquin said that initially, they were banned from working with the sheikhs in this way due to CPA orders, written by “25 year olds from Texas, and Paul Bremer”, and it insisted on working with elected officials only.

I completely understand their caution. From a military and counterinsurgency standpoint, relying on the sheikhs makes all kindsa sense. From a long-term political standpoint it’s dicey. Not all Arab sheikhs are so accommodating to US interests as this fine fellow in Al-Anbar. What’s more, sheikhdom is an anti-democratic force. Sheikhs aren’t elected, they aren’t accountable, and their power is based on tradition and not on merit or loyalty to the country. They are, in effect, a hereditary aristocracy…which is something meritocratic democracy is opposed to. (I can imagine Christopher Hitchens pitching a real hissy-fit about this sort of thing.)

If we are trying to make Iraq a democracy, the CPA was right to be concerned about political involvement by sheikhs, and giving them real permanent political and quasi-military powers seemed like a dangerous gamble. In 2004, it made sense not to do this and their reticence was prudent.

Now things have changed. The security situation is paramount; for any decent government to succeed there the bombs need to stop going off and the heads need to stay on shoulders. While I don’t go so far as the James Baker/ Iraq Study Group contention that we need to run blubbering to Iran and Syria crying make it stop! make it stop!, it is way past time to cut deals with anyone who can help us get the insurgency under control.

And the political situation might benefit as well. These aristocratic sheikhs may frustrate populist and sectarian putschs and machinations of Sadr and the like. Whereas before the thinking was, “oh no, the sheiks will act as a counterweight to Iraqi democracy!”, perhaps now the proper reaction is “hooray! the sheikhs will act as a counterweight to Iraqi democracy!”

It sounds like they could use a few checks and balances over there; while a politically empowered nobility of sheikhs is certainly not what I had in mind for Iraq, it’s pretty obvious that we could do much, much worse.

Cross-posted at Junkyard Blog.

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