Patterico's Pontifications


There’s the NYT’s Truth — and Then There’s the Actual Truth

Filed under: General — Patterico @ 11:21 pm

The New York Times editorial board:

Mr. Siegelman’s lawyer, Doug Jones, said the investigation of the former governor was very limited until it turned around “180 degrees” in late 2004, after Washington officials told local prosecutors “to go back and look at the case, review the case top to bottom.” That is consistent with the account of Dana Jill Simpson, a Republican lawyer who says she was on a phone call in which Republican operatives said Karl Rove was involved in the prosecution.

Jill Simpson actually doesn’t say that:

Jill Simpson, the Republican Rainsville lawyer who wrote the affidavit, said in an interview that she is not responsible for how others interpret her sworn statement. She said she tried to accurately represent a conference call she heard in which Rove’s name came up, and she said no one definitively said in that call that Rove arranged for Siegelman’s investigation.

It’s not clear if Rove was being identified in the call as the person behind the investigation or as someone who heard Siegelman already was under investigation, Simpson said.

To paraphrase Larry Elder, facts are like Kryptonite to a New York Times editorial writer.

More details on this in my previous post.

Balko Dragged Against His Will Into Whining About Me Some More

Filed under: Buffoons,General — Patterico @ 11:08 pm

About two weeks after Radley Balko wrote me an e-mail accusing me of being obsessed with him, he tells Politico that the “biggest blunder” and “biggest dustup” of his entire life revolve around . . . me.


Washington Post Runs Story on Redactions of Material Embarrassing to Government

Filed under: General — Patterico @ 10:13 pm

The Washington Post has a story on the Higazy ruling, which I previously discussed here and here.

I think the story could have been much more dramatic and revealing. For example, Howard Bashman’s central role is not even mentioned.

Second Circuit’s Failed Redaction: A Big Story That Appears Ready to Break

Filed under: General — Patterico @ 7:49 pm

Remember that story about the Second Circuit’s attempts to redact material embarrassing to the FBI? In a previous post, I cited to the few blogs that had discussed the matter and said:

Am I the only person surprised that this hasn’t gotten much, much wider attention than that?

It looks like it’s about to. The Columbia Journalism Review reports:

The full story seems primed to break—Bashman says that that he spoke with a Washington Post reporter about the story on Wednesday afternoon.

Keep your eyes peeled. I’ll let you know when I see anything.

It takes Big Media a few days to catch up to the blogs.

P.S. CJR says:

[W]e’re five days out, and no one’s really explained what happened.

“No one”? You mean no one in Big Media.

The New York Times’ and the AP’s initial pieces, both published on Saturday, barely mention the interrogator’s threats—the part that Bashman says “many people feel is the most relevant.” And in those write-ups, where’s any mention about the mistaken release, the redaction, or the clumsy—and legally groundless—attempt to suppress information that should be an embarrassment to the FBI?


True dat. Those details, however, have been clearly explained by posts like my previous post.

The New Republic’s Great Fall Has Arrived

Filed under: General — Patterico @ 6:25 pm

Many of y’all doubted me when, on October 12, I wrote a post titled The New Republic Is Headed for a Great Fall. In it, I said:

One senses that, while the editors have publicly maintained a posture of defending Beauchamp, they have desperately scrambled internally — all the while wondering: just how in the hell is this happening?

. . . .

After weeks and weeks and weeks of stonewalling, it’s going to be hard to spin this as a tale of “he lied to us.” They should know that by now. And by not responding, they are lying to us, the public.

And if, as Power Line suggests, the content of their conversation with Beauchamp becomes public, and it suggests that what I have said above is true — that despite a public face of confidence in their story, they were actually trembling with fear over their reputations — then the fallout will be very ugly indeed.

Fast forward to today’s Drudge Report:

The DRUDGE REPORT has since obtained the transcript of a September 7 call between TNR editor Frank Foer, TNR executive editor Peter Scoblic, and Private Beauchamp. During the call, Beauchamp declines to stand by his stories, telling his editors that “I just want it to end. I’m not going to talk to anyone about anything really.” The editors respond that “we just can’t, in good conscience, continue to defend the piece” without an explanation, but Beauchamp responds only that he “doesn’t care what the public thinks.” The editors then ask Beauchamp to cancel scheduled interviews with the WASHINGTON POST and NEWSWEEK.

Please don’t doubt me again.

UPDATE: Not all of you “get” the playful gloating tone I’m using here, consistent with the title and motto of my site. But, undeterred, I will continue to speak in that voice, and note what I consider one of the key passages from the conversation:

Now, remember what I said on October 12:

Where I suspect this is headed is simple: the editors can’t hide forever. Sooner or later they are going to have to address this. And if they can’t get something solid from Beauchamp, then they are going to have to retract the story.

If they do that, they will throw him overboard. Count on it. The story line will be: it was a guy lying to his editors. How could they have known?

When this happens, I’ll remind you that I told you so.

Consider yourself reminded.

UPDATE x2: You probably already know this, but Michelle Malkin has links to the documents that Drudge has since taken down.

You can’t keep a lid on stuff like this once it goes up, Drudge — as the recent Howard Bashman episode showed — so why take them down?

UPDATE x3: Ace is asking the same question I am asking:

Why did the editors decide not to report on Beauchamp’s September 7 phone call, in which he steadfastly refused to re-affirm his stories, despite TNR’s pressure that without such re-affirmation they would be forced to retract?

Why one California Development escaped the Fires

Filed under: Real Life — DRJ @ 6:15 pm

[Guest post by DRJ]

This LA Times article describes LA’s Stevenson Ranch subdivision that escaped the 2003 and 2007 fires, in large part because it was designed to do just that.

Similarly enhanced building code and planned development standards will go into effect for California in 2008. One fire safety expert describes it as the principle of “defensible space.” In addition, fire prevention techniques must be implemented by communities, not just individual homeowners.

The key seems to be a good line of defense and learning from past mistakes.


“Communitarianism” — Is It Just Me, Or Did Hillary’s Handlers Choke On Their Danish When She Said This

Filed under: 2008 Election,Politics,Public Policy — WLS @ 6:11 pm

Jake Tapper has a piece up on a speech given by Hillary in Iowa that included this little nugget:  

“I think Iowa poses a special burden, or a special obstacle to me because when you look at the numbers, how can Iowa be ranked with Mississippi? That’s not what I see. That’s not the quality. That’s not the communitarianism, that’s not the openness I see in Iowa.”

Tapper and others have put a spotlight on this statement as a slam on Mississippi, which it is. 

But I was struck by the fact that she would mix in a word like “communitarianism.”

I must admit that when I read it my first thought was “That sounds a lot like “strategery” to me, I think I better look it up to make sure she’s not making up her own language.”  It was fairly obvious what it meant though, whether it was a word or not.

But, it also just strikes me as NOT the kind of word she wants to be employing on the campaign trail — way too wonkish, and frankly reminds one too much of Central Planning and the Politburo.

So, what is “communitarianism”?  Well, George Washington University has an “Institute for Communitarian Policy Studies”, and its website defines it as follows:

“Communitarianism springs from the recognition that the human being is by nature a social animal as well as an individual with a desire for autonomy. Communitarians recognize that a healthy society must have a correct balance between individual autonomy and social cohesion. Much recent thinking has focused on an assumed conflict between the rights of the individual and the responsibilities of the government. When you put “community” back into the equation, you find that the apparent conflict between the individual and the government can be resolved by public policies that are consistent with core American values and work to the benefit of all members of our society.”

I think Trotsky explained it much the same way.


Holy Land Foundation Retrial

Filed under: Law — DRJ @ 1:36 pm

[Guest post by DRJ]

This Investor’s Business Daily editorial seems like a good analysis of the Holy Land Foundation terror trial. It concludes with this advice for the prosecutors:

“The evidence is clear. Now it’s up to the PC-plagued Justice Department to present it to jurors in a way that doesn’t make their eyes glaze over. Retry the case. Only this time, don’t try their patience.”

Read the whole thing, especially if you’re interested in why the IBD editor thinks a new judge might make a difference.

Normally, retrials are better for defendants than prosecutors but the reverse may be true in complex cases like this. The prosecutors should streamline their case and focus on specific, compelling evidence. There won’t be 197 counts, either. Whether the defendants should be convicted or not, this was too much information for any jury to swallow, let alone digest.


Independent Sources confirm possible Syrian Nuclear Site

Filed under: International — DRJ @ 11:48 am

[Guest post by DRJ]

According to the Washington Post, independent experts have located the suspected Syrian nuclear reactor site bombed by the Israelis earlier this month and identified the structures as similar to North Korean-designed reactors. A former UN inspector, whose work for ISIS involves tracking nuclear weapons and stockpiles around the world, acknowledged it was difficult to know for sure what the site was but he was “pretty convinced that Syria was trying to build a nuclear reactor.”

The IAEA is also investigating but its director Mohammed El Baradei expressed anger at the Israelis’ decision to use force to deal with the Syrian installation. Frankly, I’m curious why El Baradei and the UN inspectors apparently didn’t have a clue what the Syrians were up to. In any event, I think the root of the problem is rogue states who want nuclear programs. The use of force is one of several tools, including inspections and diplomacy, that the world should use to deal with this problem.

Earlier posts on this topic can be found here, here, here, and here.


The Senate is having a Busy Day (Updated)

Filed under: Politics — DRJ @ 9:52 am

[Guest post by DRJ]

Testing the fragile agreement of the Gang of 14, today the Senate confirmed Judge Leslie Southwick to the Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals by a 59-38 vote:

The Senate today confirmed Judge Leslie Southwick to the federal appeals court in Mississippi despite complaints by some Democrats that decisions he supported were racially insensitive and inappropriate for a region still shadowed by civil rights struggles. The 59-38 vote on confirmation was sealed after the nomination survived its main obstacle, a test tally moments earlier. Majority Democrats pressured by labor unions and other constituencies did not have the votes to filibuster, or block, Southwick’s confirmation.

The Congressional Black Caucus warned that there would be consequences for Democrats at the ballot box. “We regard this as a test,” said District of Columbia Delegate Eleanor Holmes Norton.

Supporters of Southwick’s nomination said the vote should only have been about his qualifications, not the history of the 5th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals, which includes Mississippi, Louisiana and Texas. “If he was up for any other circuit, there would be no hesitancy,” said Pennsylvania Sen. Arlen Specter, the ranking Republican on the Judiciary Committee.

The nomination tested a fragile agreement in the Senate to block President Bush’s judicial nominations only in “extraordinary” circumstances. Some Democratic opponents said Southwick’s writings, combined with the troubled racial history of the circuit, met this amorphous standard. But Democrats did not have the votes to sustain a filibuster.”

Apparently the Senate has raised the bar for Southern conservative judicial nominees. Not only must they be competent, intelligent and ethical, they also have to shoulder the burdens of the “troubled racist history” of the South since the Civil War.

Finally, Senator Reid’s website notes the DREAM Act is up next:

“Upon conclusion of the Senate’s action on the Southwick nomination, the Senate will resume legislative session. There will be up to 20 minutes of debate equally divided between the two Leaders or their designees prior to a cloture vote on the motion to proceed to S. 2205, the DREAM Act.”

I don’t think the Senate likes Southerners today.

Update: Cloture vote on the DREAM Act failed. Michelle Malkin has the whole story. Thanks to chaos and Lord Nazh for the update in the comments here and on another thread.


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