Patterico's Pontifications


Monica Goodling I Can’t Defend

Filed under: General — WLS @ 7:05 pm

I can defend her exercise of her Fifth Amendment rights.  McNulty threw her under the bus by telling Schumer that his (McNulty’s) inaccurate statement to the Committee was caused by Goodling’s incomplete brief of him on the issues.  So, I wouldn’t wander into a Senate Comm. meeting not knowing all of what McNulty has said, and I wouldn’t go back to DOJ to work for McNulty under similar circumstances.  McNulty spent more than a decade working for Dick Armey on the Hill, so she’d be fighting on his turf if it came down to a swearing contest between the two of them.

But, what I can’t defend about Monical Goodling is the not inconsequential fact that she even had a job on the Staff of the AG to begin with.  As I said in a post earlier, “Who the heck is Monica Goodling”

 Well, I googled around and found answers that I can’t believe — except, given some of my own experiences, I do believe them.

Goodling, 33, is a 1995 graduate Messiah College in Grantham, Pa., an institution that describes itself as “committed to an embracing evangelical spirit.”

She received her law degree at Regent University in Virginia Beach, Va. Regent, founded by Christian broadcaster Pat Robertson, says its mission is “to produce Christian leaders who will make a difference, who will change the world.”

Ok — lets break this down. 

Goodling is 33.  She graduated from a small evangelical Christian  college in Pennsylvania in 1995 — at the age of 22.

She then attended a law school that is part of Regent University, created by Pat Robertson.  Presumably she enrolled in 1995 and graduated in 1998.  But when she resigned today from the Justice Dept., it ended her five year stint there.  That means she began working there no later than 2002 — only 4 years after graduating from law school — when she was only 28.  I haven’t found any info on what employment she had been 1998 and 2001 — although I did find a reference to her working for the GOP National Committee leading up to the 2000 election.

  This year the incoming class at Regent was only 161 students.  I imagine it was somewhat smaller a decade ago when she enrolled.   That’s pretty small.

 More troubling is the fact that the 156 of the 161 students in this year’s class scored between the 25th and 75th percentile on the LSAT — hardly the cream of the crop.

 Goodling didn’t start at Regent Law School — she spent one year at American University Law School in DC, but while American is an OK school, its certainly not a top tier school.   

And, in looking briefly through the faculty of Regent, I’d estimate that one in five are Regent Law School grads, so there is not a lot of intellectual diversity.  You also see a lot of faculty members with theological backgrounds, and you see a lot of small Christian undergrad schools listed among the undergraduate institutions attended by the current law school attendees.  So, its an institution that caters to a particular pool of applicants, not simply the best possible candidates for admission.

It appears that Goodling rode into the Dept. as part of AG Ashcroft’s “staff of faith”, starting in the Public Affairs unit, and then moving up until she landed on the AG Ashcroft’s staff, where she remained after Gonzales took over. 

Frankly, the description of her involvement in assisting in the selection of US Attorneys who should go/stay (reports have her involved in looking into Iglesias’ shortcomings, while defending the US Attorney for the WDNC, saying “there are others who should go first”) really trouble me.  She’s just not someone who I think by background or experience should be making any judgments about the performance of US Attorneys around the country.  She has no experience as a prosecutor — or any litigating job in DOJ.  She is the embodiment of the term “political hack”, and she was given the opportunity to have substantive input on the job performance of prosecutors who would run her over in court.

 Its also curious that she has retained John Dowd of Akin Gump to represent her.  He only costs about a million dollars an hour.  I don’t expect that Goodling was making much more than $100,000 a year, so someone else is picking up Dowd’s fees.

Update on 4/10 — A reader has communicated that Goodling worked for 2 years as a federal prosecutor in the Eastern District of Virginia in Alexandria, though he can’t provide an independent confirmation.  He met Goodling in the past, and says she told him that.

While I’m happy to post this information, it appears that it overstates her employment there somewhat.  There is a WaPo profile of her — which she declined to provide info for — saying  she received her JD from Regent in 1999,  and went to work for the RNC after graduating.  She later moved to the DOJ Press Office.  Dan Corrallo, the head of the Press Office under Ashcroft confirmed this in another article I read.   This article also says she spent 6 months in the US Attorney’s Office for the EDVA as a Special Assistant US Attorney.  That would be a temporary position, and could be for any number of tasks.  It appears that she was in the Executive Office of US Attorneys for at time before that, which is the administrative arm of the US Attorneys, so I don’t suspect she went to the EDVA as a prosecutor.


Horrors! CNN video of two-year-old handling rifle

Filed under: General — See Dubya @ 3:16 pm

CNN is hyperventilating over this clip, and it’s a little creepy. Not the idea of letting the kid handle an unloaded rifle–that’s a bad idea, and bad parenting, but hardly national news. The dad’s statements that “you’re gonna be a soldier, because daddy’s gonna buy you this chopper, and you can kill everyone out in front of you” is unnerving.

I remember very well the first time my dad let me handle one of his guns. It was a single action Colt revolver, and I still remember the sound of him turning the cylinder again and again, with a well-oiled tick at each engagement of the cam, verifying again and again it was unloaded before he handed it to me–with appropriate warnings not to point it at anyone and never to even touch it unless he handed it to me and said it was okay. The unusual degree of caution and seriousness from my usually laid-back dad made a powerful impression on me that lingers to this day.

I was about four.

He did not say, “this is a Peacemaker, and you can blow anybody’s head off with it”. The issue here is not the youth, it’s the attitude.

And since we’re speaking of the attitude: If CNN is so exercised about this, perhaps they would want to search for “Palestinian Child Abuse” on Little Green Footballs and start clicking a few of those links. If kids with guns is really such a big deal to them, this is gonna blow their mind.

Cross-posted at Junkyard Blog.

Tommy Franks Speaks in West Texas

Filed under: General,War — Patterico @ 2:48 pm

Typing with one finger and a broken collarbone, DRJ sends along this story of Tommy Franks giving a speech in Midland, Texas:

Deploying a larger invasion force during the first stage of the Iraq War could have been a mistake that cost thousands of American lives, retired Army Gen. Tommy Franks, told an audience at the Petroleum Club on Thursday.
During a question and answer session at the end of a benefit for Texas Special Olympics, Franks, who was the commanding general of the U.S. Central Command from 2000 to 2003, indicated in his response to an audience member that it would have taken up to six months to deploy a substantially larger force to Iraq than what was sent March 20, 2003. During this time Saddam Hussein’s regime would have had more time to prepare for the invasion and could potentially have mounted a much fiercer and deadlier resistance to U.S. forces and their allies.

“I believe as many as 50,000 Americans would have lost their lives as a result of a better dug-in enemy,” Franks said.

Additionally, he said Hussein may have used the six-month period to initiate the mass-murder of Iraqi Shiites and to destroy critical oil field and water infrastructure.
Franks also said now that there are troops on the ground it likely would be beneficial to increase the amount of troops on the ground. He said commanders in Iraq believe an addition of 21,000 additional troops will help make a difference and he trusts their judgment.

Is he right? I don’t know. But maybe his words will pierce the smug self-righteousness of the Monday-morning quarterbacks who know just where Bush mismanaged the beginning of the war — and who assure us that they never would made the same mistake. They would have double-bagged it.

Yeah, you can just see the arrogance dissolving from their expressions.

A Closer Look At The Appointment of Rachel Paulose To Be US Attorney in Minnesota

Filed under: General — WLS @ 1:15 pm

Paulose’s appointment isn’t that unusual in the third year of a second Presidential term.  Its clearly an act of “resume building” for someone who is highly thought of in DOJ.  To call her a “political hack” is simply a statement of ignorance, and anyone who thinks that could have found out a little more about her simply by Googling.   

I suspect the most important factors in selecting her for the post were the “firsts” she represented:

First woman to be US Attorney in Minnesota.

First woman of Indian (Asian) heritage to be US Attorney.

As the list of accomplishments below makes clear, she has spent almost NO TIME AT ALL serving in what one would call a “political” position.

While she is certainly lightly qualified, she is not unqualified.  Her resume, while somewhat light in experience, certainly shows an attorney of exceptional acumen, who is likely to have a long and prosperous career either in the practice of law, politics, or the judiciary:

— BA, Univ. Minn. (summa cum laude), Phi Beta Kappa
— JD, Yale Law School
   Coker Fellow
   Editor, Yale Journal of Law & Feminism
— Law Clerk for Cheif Judge, 8th Cir. Court of Appeals
— DOJ Honors Program (Trial Attorney – Civil Rights Division (in the Clinton Justice Department) though this is a lofty title for a position that really is for flunkies, as lawyers right out of law school are not DOJ Trial Attorneys)
— Assistant US Attorney, D.Minn. ’99-02.
— Private Practice 2002-05 (Dorsey & Whitney in Minneaoplis)

— Private Practice 2005-06 (Williams & Connelly in DC)
— “Senior Counsel” to Dep.AG McNulty for only 2 months prior to appointment as interim US Attorney in Feb. 2006. 

These “Special Counsel” appointments are generally “holding positions” for interim appointments, because an interim appointee usually is a DOJ employee.  If someone is going to be named interim US Attorney, for purposes of securing the necessary background checks and security clearances, there is a process they must go through before they can be named.  Its generally not possible to time the completion of that process with the resignation of the sitting US Attorney, so the person who is to be the interim is first “hired” into DOJ as a “Special Counsel” to somebody’s office while securing the necessary clearances, and then transferred to the position of interim US Attorney once the position is opened. 

So, lets track Paulose’s movement since law school:

Graduate Yale Law School — 1997

8th Cir. Appeals Court Clerk in Minneapolis — 1997-98

DOJ Honors in DC — 1998-99.

AUSA in Minneapolis — 1999-02

Dorsey & Whitney in Minneapolis — 2002-05

Williams & Connelly in DC — 2005-06

DOJ Dep.AG Office — 2006

Interim US Attorney Minneapolis — Feb. 28, 2006

 So, she’s not a “political hack” aide of Gonzales who is rewarded for her political activites by being appointed to a job to which she had no connection.  Heck, she only worked in a “political job” in the DAG’s office for 2 months, so I really question the reporting that she is “best pals” with Monica Goodling.

What she has is a “Gold Plated” resume.  If you think being a Yale Grad and Federalist Society member who worked for a year at Williams & Connelly in DC doesn’t open door for you at DOJ, then you don’t know anything about Washington, law schools,  politics, and DOJ.

 And, the same exact thing happened in the Clinton Admin. if you were a Yale Grad, ACLU/Alliance for Justice/People for the American Way/NOW member, who worked for Williams & Connelly, or Fried Frank, or Akin Gump, or Gibson Dunn, or a dozen other big DC Firms.  There are former senior Justice Dept. officials at all those firms from Administrations stretching back to Carter and Nixon.  Its an invaluable resource to draw upon for anyone that wants to seek an Administration appointment in DOJ or some other department.

Apparently members of the US Attorney’s Office in Minneapolis think she didn’t have the experience to be US Attorney.  I might feel the same way if I worked there and had worked with her.  But, they aren’t responsible for making the appointment, and they don’t have to work for her if they don’t want to.  Office politics always come into play in a US Attorney’s Office when a current member or former member of the office is given the top job.  In my office, when the US Attorney was named in 2001 (he was a AUSA in the office), the four most senior managers in the office either left or were demoted by him.   He appointed four other members of the office that he was close with to take over those jobs.  That happens in almost every changeover at the top of a US Attorney’s Office.

DOJ obviously anticipated some discord in Minneapolis office as a result of her inexperience.  I found it interesting that the following paragraph was included in the press release which announced her appointment as Interim US Attorney:

 The Justice Department also selected James E. Lackner to serve as the First Assistant United States Attorney. Mr. Lackner has worked as federal prosecutor for more than 22 years in the District of Minnesota, and has more than 17 years of experience in criminal prosecution. Mr. Lackner currently serves as the Chief of the Criminal Division, and previously held the position of Senior Litigation Counsel.

Normally the US Attorney is left to select their own First Assistant — its not “selected” by the Justice Department.  Here, DOJ took the unusual step of confirming that an  Assistant US Attorney with 22 years experience in Minnesota — then the Criminal Chief (usually the No.3 or 4 slot in an office, depending on organization) would become the First Assistant (the No.2 slot). 

 Lackner stayed in the job until last December, when Paulose named a new First Assistant, and Lackner went back to being Criminal Chief.  Lackner was one of the three managers to resign their management positions.

But, Paulose named another Assistant US Attorney with 18 years experience to be her new First Assistant.

Frankly, given my 15 years in DOJ, none of this is too unusual or troubling.  It would be more troubling if the most experienced prosecutors were leaving the office.  That’s not happening.  They are simply chosing to not be part of her management team.


Stephen at Politburo Diktat Accuses Me of Dishonorably Telling Only One Side of the Story, While Telling Only One Side of the Story About What I Have Said

Filed under: General — Patterico @ 8:16 am

Stephen at Politburo Diktat says of my posts on the U.S. Attorney controversy: “There’s nothing honorable about what you’re doing.”

Wow. Why so harsh? Well, Stephen says that my argument has been completely one-sided for the Administration. Except that he forgets to note the points I have made against the Administration, such as:

  • Sampson planned to lie to Congress about Cummins.
  • A U.S. Attorney investigating Jack Abramoff was dismissed in 2002.
  • The timing on the dismissal of Iglesias looks suspicious.
  • I considered Kyle Sampson’s admission that he proposed Patrick Fitzgerald for the firing list to be the top news of the day.
  • Charlton was right about taping confessions.

And those are just off the top of my head. And of course, I famously defended Scooter Libby, because I’m such a blind Administration defender!

Stephen writes:

Your only response to the NM radio ads was “can’t prove they aren’t so.”

Oh really?

This is a reference to a radio ad (I believe it was only one) in New Mexico that attacked the record of David Iglesias. Stephen e-mailed me about it. I asked if the ad was untrue. A bit later I sent another e-mail:

First, is the ad true? I asked you that question, and you didn’t answer.

Second, even if it is true, isn’t it a shame that we are in a situation where the Administration and its allies are slamming former USAs? And the answer is: yes. Yes, it is. And whose fault is that? Why, the Administration’s — by waving a red flag in front of the USAs by referring to “performance issues.” I would ultimately ascribe
blame to Kyle Sampson, Paul McNulty, and to Alberto Gonzales for poor leadership.

I would appreciate not having my honor questioned by someone who can’t even be bothered to accurately represent what I say.

Battling it out on the Home Front

Filed under: General — Badger 6 @ 7:28 am

Assume if you will for the duration of this post that everything Bush Administration said in 2002 and 2003 in the run up to the Iraq War turned out to be true and more. What would have happened differently here in Iraq? Well maybe the President might have felt he had more political capital to spend and might have sent more troops sooner. That would have been nice, but it would really have depended on the number of troops. To put the number of troops GEN Shinseki suggested back in 2002 would have required most of the US Armed Forces and/or a much larger coalition commitment.

In any event it would have required the large commitment of Reserve and National Guard personnel we have seen. The Armed Forces bank on a relatively large group of readily available personnel that do not need to draw a full time paycheck unless they deploy. This has many consequences, far too many for one blog post, but what interests me most is the family members, particularly spouses (and some prospective spouse) and children that are left at home to deal with this separation.

This contrasts with the active duty experience. Sometimes an active duty spouse will return home to be with parents and family during the time of separation, but that is not the norm. The families remain at the service members permanent station. In doing so they are bonded together in a community that is having a common experience, the separation, the communications challenges, the day to day problems that cannot get resolved 7,000 miles away, and yes when injury and death come to a unit they are there to support each other. In the reserve community it is much more problematic. Sometimes they go through this alone, and almost always with people that do not really understand the struggle.

My Army Reserve unit is Headquartered in Boise, Idaho. I estimate 60% of the company is actually from that area. I have large numbers of Soldiers from the Seattle, Washington and Ogden, Utah areas. I have the odd Pennsylvanian, New Yorker, and Ohioan. I myself am from St. Louis, Missouri. Many of not most of us are out right volunteers for this specific deployment, but as you can see that has left a large number of people in Communities across the land trying to figure out how to deal with this.

ArmyWifeToddlerMom has quickly become a classic in the genre of blogs by Spouses. Her husband has already done one tour here and probably anticipates another.

The Life and Times of a Butterfly Wife document the travails, life challenges, and victories of the spouse of a deployed Soldier from “Middleville.”

Cool, Calm and Collected is the blog of the finace’ of one of my Soldiers, SGT James Holtom. Unfortunately SGT Holtom was killed on February 8, 2007.

Regardless of the rightness or wrongness of the War in Iraq, for the foreseeable future, the template of conflicts will require extensive use of the Guard and Reserve. We will continue to have these stories and it is something I believe to consider as we look at how our armed forces are structured.

There are more mi-spouse blogs (and a few parents) listed on my blogroll at Badgers Forward.

The Debunking Fallacies Series, Vol. 1: Hitler Didn’t Kill 600 Million Jews

Filed under: General — Patterico @ 12:00 am

The more you blog, the more you find yourself needing to make the same arguments over and over, to respond to fallacies raised time and time again by commenters and bloggers.

Today’s fallacy is one I will call the “Hitler Killed 600 Million Jews” fallacy. Some of my political opponents seem to think that they are entitled to say inaccurate things about anyone who has done something wrong. Then, if you dare to point out their inaccurate statement, they simply accuse you of “defending” the bad person. Let’s watch this fallacy in action:

Commenter: Hitler killed 600 million Jews.

Patterico: No, he didn’t.

Commenter: Defending Hitler again, are we?

The point is so obvious it should not have to be stated. But this post is for the logic-challenged, so I’ll spell out the obvious: just because I point out an inaccuracy in your argument about x, doesn’t mean that I am defending x, or that I support x in any way.

All it means is that you were wrong in what you said about x. No more, and no less.

I find myself having to make this point repetitively nowadays. If, for example, I point out that a Big Media organization has misstated President Bush’s “16 words” claim, some logic-challenged leftist cretin will crawl out of the woodwork and tell me that my defense of the war is getting desperate. If I note a distortion in Big Media about the U.S. Attorney firings, someone will ask me why I’m defending an Administration that declared its intent to lie to Congress.

I’m tired of responding to these ridiculous arguments anew every time they’re made.

In the future, my response to such arguments will be simple. I will say: “Hitler didn’t kill 600 million Jews” — hyperlinked to this post.

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