Patterico's Pontifications


How to Make an Internet Disaster 10 Times Worse

Filed under: Media Bias — DRJ @ 9:47 pm

[Guest post by DRJ]

Remember Bobby Caina Calvan, the Sacramento Bee reporter who bragged on his internet blog about antagonizing an American Green Zone border guard?

Meet Armando Acuna, the Public Editor for Calvan’s employer. Here’s how Acuna describes Calvan’s run-in with the American soldier:

“What we’re talking about here is an escalating, ahem, urination competition between two men in a stressful situation. Just two guys making each other mad – doesn’t matter if you’re right-wing, left-wing, up or down.”

As they say, there’s much more at the link (free registration may be required).

Acuna surely must realize he’s stirred a hornet’s nest with this statement. Perhaps he believes every word but I’d like to think this is his ploy to increase the Sacramento Bee’s online traffic. That he might actually view this as just another “urination competition” is, well, Bee-zarre.

H/T Michelle Malkin.


Remember Veterans Day

Filed under: Current Events — DRJ @ 7:51 pm

[Guest post by DRJ]

Veterans Day is today and will also be observed tomorrow by the government and many businesses. Veterans Day occurs November 11 because it replaced Armistice Day, the anniversary of the signing of the Armistice that ended World War I.

As stated in the President’s Veterans Day proclamation, it is a day “dedicated to the extraordinary Americans who protected our freedom in years past, and to those who protect it today.” In my community, many homes and businesses fly flags to honor our veterans and there are several memorial services, banquets, and other events scheduled to remember the vets. In addition, a local judge established a special memorial honoring area veterans who died in Afghanistan and Iraq.

Tomorrow, a Viet Nam veteran will be laid to rest in Fort Worth, Texas:

“In the late summer of 2002, a team of Defense Department MIA hunters in Ho Chi Minh City got a call from their counterparts in the Vietnamese government. Some Vietnamese fishermen had discovered human bones and airplane wreckage off an Phu Quoc island in the Gulf of Thailand. They wanted to turn over the remains and believed that it would guarantee them an opportunity to immigrate.

The Americans took the remains and wreckage given to them and attempted — unsuccessfully — to get to the underwater site a few miles offshore. Some months later, the bones were flown to the Joint POW/MIA Accounting Command in Hawaii, where they stayed in a laboratory for five years.

On Monday, those remains come home, to a hallowed ground that overlooks the old Naval Air Station Dallas, where a young Fort Worth man took the naval officer’s oath in 1964. That was before Lt.j.g. Frank E. Hand III left for the war in Vietnam, before he and 11 other young men went down trying to find Viet Cong gun-running boats.”

Lt. Hand was raised in Fort Worth with his younger brother Bruce. He enlisted in the Navy after he was declared eligible for the draft. By all accounts, he was an officer and gentleman:

“He was an outgoing boy at Carter-Riverside High School, an Eagle Scout, an accomplished swimmer. He, and later his brother, worked summers as lifeguards at the Ridglea Country Club. “He made enough money to buy a nice car,” his brother said. “He was mechanically inclined, so he could work on it. It was a black, two-door Pontiac Bonneville, a ’58, if I remember. Talk about a cool car.”

After graduation in 1960, Frank started at what was then Arlington State College to study architecture. He did that for three years but decided to take a break and work for an architecture firm to earn money. The draft board noticed the change and reclassified him as eligible. So Frank Hand, presumably unwilling to chance the Army or the infantry, went to NAS Dallas to compete for a spot in officer candidate school and a shot at naval aviation.

Linda Merriman, a local girl in Pensacola, Fla., thought she had met the most gorgeous man in the world. A Texas boy, a Navy officer candidate and pilot in training. He drove a new Corvette. He was, without a doubt, living the high life. “It was like Officer and a Gentleman,” Bruce said of his brother’s relationship.

After a year of dating, Linda and Frank Hand wed on a warm August day in 1966 in the First Baptist Church in Pensacola, an arch of crossed swords over their heads when they left the sanctuary.”

Frank and Linda had been married 15 months when he was deployed to Southeast Asia:

“He wrote Linda a letter every day he was gone, beginning in November 1967. “He just wanted me to stay busy and pass the time because I had so much free time on my hands,” she said. “He would tell me all was going well and ‘I wish I could be with you.’ They were great love letters. I kept all of them.

“He called me at Christmastime. I believe that’s the last time we were able to speak.”

Frank and his crewmates were all lost when their plane went down on a routine mission scouting for Viet Cong off the Vietnamese coast. Searchers recovered one of Frank’s boots but his body was not recovered. His funeral was held in the same church he had been married in 20 months before.

This past summer, the Navy notified Bruce Hand that his brother’s remains had been positively identified. Bruce requested burial in a national cemetery, something that normally would not be allowed since Frank already had one national cemetery burial plot. However, the regulation was waived and Lt.j.g. Frank E. Hand III will be buried tomorrow at the Dallas-Fort Worth National Cemetery:

“The Navy agreed to provide four F/A-18 Hornets to perform the “missing man” formation over the cemetery on Monday, a particularly special gesture for Bruce. The executive officer of Patrol Squadron 26 is coming to Texas for the service. “This has all been good,” Bruce said. “Everything has just come together beautifully.”

[Frank’s wife] Linda Shoemaker will be there, too, with the friend that introduced her to Frank 42 years ago. “I never, ever dreamed of something like this,” she said. “I’ve shed many tears since we got the information. I am thrilled to bring him home. But it opens up a lot of hurt, and a lot of happiness, too.”

God bless Frank Hand and his family. Please take a moment to remember and honor all current and former veterans.


A Hypothetical that (Some) Liberal Opponents of Waterboarding Will Not Answer

Filed under: General,Terrorism — Patterico @ 3:38 pm

I have asked this question before, but it’s a partially new crew here now, so I’m reviving it:

Let’s assume the following hypothetical facts are true. U.S. officials have KSM in custody. They know he planned 9/11 and therefore have a solid basis to believe he has other deadly plots in the works. They try various noncoercive techniques to learn the details of those plots. Nothing works.

They then waterboard him for two and one half minutes.

During this session KSM feels panicky and unable to breathe. Even though he can breathe, he has the sensation that he is drowning. So he gives up information — reliable information — that stops a plot involving people flying planes into buildings.

My simple question is this: based on these hypothetical facts, was the waterboarding session worth it?

Conservatives, your mission in this thread is simple: try to keep the liberals on point.

It’s a question of morality, and it is a relevant question. My answer is clear: an unequivocal “yes, it was worth it.” I might add that I wonder how realistic the hypothetical is. It was reported as fact, and I tend to believe it — but part of me is slightly skeptical.

But the reality isn’t the issue. We are exploring our moral differences here, in a hypothetical. Arguing against the hypothetical by saying that the assumptions aren’t realistic is dodging the moral question. It makes you look like Hillary Clinton doing the two-step on licenses for illegals — you’re refusing to answer a direct question and everyone can see that.

Oh, dodging the question is what every liberal opponent of waterboarding will do. Because, as I said in a recent thread on this issue, “[a]dmitting any ambiguity kills the sweet, sweet high of self-righteousness.”

P.S. Fritz is the only waterboarding opponent who is off the hook. He has given an answer.

Here is the question again in case you missed it, liberals: based on the above hypothetical facts, was the waterboarding session worth it?

The liberals will dodge the question. They do every time.

Every time.

UPDATE: My admiration for my commenters has increased. Despite my confident assertion that liberals always avoid this question, many liberal waterboarding opponents actually take the question head-on in the comments below. I have changed the title to add the word “some” in parentheses.

A couple of commenters haven’t been heard from, though, as of about 10:50 a.m. on November 12. Itsme pointedly evaded answering. And I’d like to see an appearance from Oregonian in the thread.

UPDATE x2: When I say that I am asking a purely moral question, I mean for you to assume that waterboarding is legal — so that questions of violating the law need not enter into your analysis.

Help Wanted: Alaska Porkbusters!

Filed under: Politics — DRJ @ 2:46 pm

[Guest post by DRJ]

Glenn Reynolds likes the Georgia Porkbusters! but I think Alaska needs them more:


$183 MILLION FOR ALASKA: Appropriations bill heading for the president’s pen.

WASHINGTON — U.S. Sen. Ted Stevens may no longer be the Senate’s top appropriator or a member of the party in power, but he still draws many millions of dollars in earmarks to Alaska.

The $471 billion defense spending bill that Stevens helped usher through the Senate this year includes more than $183 million in earmarked projects for Alaska. Most of the spending will go to projects on the state’s military bases, including nearly $87 million for training facilities.”

Happy days.

Update: Not to be outdone by his colleagues, Rep. Don Young weighs in with more pork.


“That’s Very Odd”

Filed under: Constitutional Law,Court Decisions,Education — DRJ @ 2:27 pm

[Guest post by DRJ]

Recent Supreme Court opinions have made it clear that public schools shouldn’t consider race and yet, in an ironic twist, many school districts still struggle under decades-old federal desegregation orders that require just that:

“Officials in Shelby County, Tenn., complain they’ll have to spend millions to satisfy a federal judge’s “arbitrary” desegregation order. It’ll mean busing minority students up to an hour away and replacing hundreds of white teachers with black ones, they say.

In Huntsville, Ala., under a similar court order, students can transfer from a school where they’re in the racial majority, but not the other way around.

And in the Tucson, Ariz., Unified School District, students could move from one school to another only if the change improved “the ethnic balance of the receiving school and (did) not further imbalance the ethnic makeup of the home school.”

But wait: Hasn’t the U.S. Supreme Court consistently moved away from using race as a factor in deciding where kids should go to school? Didn’t the high court recently put an exclamation point on that trend, ruling that two districts’ heavy reliance on race in student assignment policies violated the Constitution’s guarantee of equal protection?

Yes, and yes. But there are still hundreds of districts across the country, from the Northeast to the Southwest, that operate under federal court desegregation orders—some more than four decades old.”

Not only does Ruth Bader Ginsburg realize there are inconsistencies in the Supreme Court’s recent opinions on race and its prior desegregation rulings, but (perhaps for the first and only time) I agree with her conclusion:

“The question of these districts came up this past year as the Supreme Court heard arguments involving voluntary diversity plans in Seattle and Louisville, Ky. In June, the court ruled that student assignment policies in those two districts relied too heavily on individual students’ races and, so, were unconstitutional. But in those two districts there were no orders to remedy past state-sponsored segregation.

On the other hand, districts operating under integration orders may set policies that explicitly consider race. Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg acknowledged the “anomaly” of demanding that such districts work diligently toward racial integration, but once it’s achieved mandating that race be ignored.

“What’s constitutionally required one day gets constitutionally prohibited the next day,” she said. “That’s very odd.”

My town’s schools were put under a desegregation plan over 40 years ago and it was just released from that order in recent years. We successfully desegregated in one generation and that’s a good thing, but courts shouldn’t be in the business of running school districts for decades.

At this point, if desegregation hasn’t worked in some communities then it’s time to try something else.


Some Things Don’t Go Together

Filed under: Environment — DRJ @ 1:16 pm

[Guest post by DRJ]

Here’s a good example:

“A bizarre incident happened at the Pittsburgh Zoo and PPG Aquarium on Friday, involving a wild deer and two polar bears.

The polar bears were playing in the water when the deer decided to jump in, too. Zoo administrators said the deer entered the zoo and then jumped 20 feet off the top of the high rock formation into the polar bear pool. Polar bear Nuka explored the deer under the water before polar bear Koda joined in.

“The deer actually attacked the polar bears with its head, with its antlers and also it’s front feet,” said zoo director Barbara Baker. The zoo said the bears never killed the deer, but the deer did suffer injuries.

“Sadly, the deer had to be euthanized,” said Baker. “It was not injured by the polar bears themselves.”

Video link.


The Real Da Vinci Code

Filed under: Miscellaneous — DRJ @ 12:28 pm

[Guest post by DRJ]

This AP article has the ring of truth to me:

“It’s a new Da Vinci code, but this time it could be for real. An Italian musician and computer technician claims to have uncovered musical notes encoded in Leonardo Da Vinci’s “Last Supper,” raising the possibility that the Renaissance genius might have left behind a somber composition to accompany the scene depicted in the 15th-century wall painting.

“It sounds like a requiem,” Giovanni Maria Pala said. “It’s like a soundtrack that emphasizes the passion of Jesus.”

Pala began studying the painting in 2003 after hearing a news report that “researchers believed the artist and inventor had hidden a musical composition in the work.” Pala’s theory seems almost simple:

“In a book released Friday in Italy, Pala explains how he took elements of the painting that have symbolic value in Christian theology and interpreted them as musical clues.

Pala first saw that by drawing the five lines of a musical staff across the painting, the loaves of bread on the table as well as the hands of Jesus and the Apostles could each represent a musical note. This fit the relation in Christian symbolism between the bread, representing the body of Christ, and the hands, which are used to bless the food, he said.

But the notes made no sense musically until Pala realized that the score had to be read from right to left, following Leonardo’s particular writing style.

In his book – “La Musica Celata” (“The Hidden Music”) – Pala also describes how he found what he says are other clues in the painting that reveal the slow rhythm of the composition and the duration of each note. The result is a 40-second “hymn to God” that Pala said sounds best on a pipe organ, the instrument most commonly used in Leonardo’s time for spiritual music.”

One expert agrees that the spaces in the painting are divided harmonically, noting that “Where you have harmonic proportions, you can find music.” In addition, we know Da Vinci was not only a painter, sculptor, and inventor, he was also a musician.

Pala believes his theory supports that Da Vinci as a religious man, not an heretic:

“Pala stressed that his discovery does not reveal any supposed dark secrets of the Catholic Church or of Leonardo, but instead shows the artist in a light far removed from the conspiratorial descriptions found in fiction.

“A new figure emerges – he wasn’t a heretic like some believe,” Pala said. “What emerges is a man who believes, a man who really believes in God.”

There’s a picture that illustrates Pala’s theory at this link and you can listen to the music here.


How Not to Market a CD

Filed under: General,Music — Patterico @ 9:31 am

I went looking for the new Eagles album at the local Borders yesterday — the second time I had tried to buy it. I was informed it is a “Wal Mart exclusive.” Now that’s good marketing!

It’s at at this link.

I can’t imagine many of the songs are as good as the one you can see in this video, which can’t be embedded. It’s a laid-back Timothy B. Schmidt song with plenty of trademark Eagles harmonies. It doesn’t sound like 2007.

If you just aren’t the type to click on links, I’ll embed this video for you to give you your Sunday morning Eagles fix. It’s the Doolin’ Dalton/Desperado reprise, performed live, with some hokey video to go along with it.

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