Patterico's Pontifications


Michelle Obama analyzes the Black Vote

Filed under: 2008 Election — DRJ @ 11:26 pm

[Guest post by DRJ]

Via Newsbusters, Michelle Obama has an interesting theory about the black vote and her husband’s candidacy:

“The “Morning Joe” panelist [Mika Brzezinski] went to Iowa over the weekend and scored an in-depth interview with Michelle Obama that elicited a highly-controversial suggestion from the candidate’s wife.

According to Mrs. Obama, her husband isn’t polling better among African-Americans because in the back of their minds, many blacks think “others” are better.”

Video here.

I’m not black so I can’t speak directly to this point but I think a similar phenomenon occurs in the gender area. Specifically, there are some women who prefer male candidates to female candidates just because they are men.

In other words, she may be right.


Poor Man’s Vegetarian Moroccan Spiced Beef Dish

Filed under: General — Patterico @ 8:16 pm

Here’s what I had for dinner tonight, adapted from a recipe I found on the Internet somewhere:

Mix in a pan on the stove until warm:

2-3 tablespoons garlic-flavored olive oil
1 tablespoon paprika
1 teaspoon ground allspice
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon pepper
1/2 teaspoon lemon extract

Heat up 1 pound Morningstar Farms recipe crumbles (ground beef substitute)

Add the crumbles to the warm olive oil mixture


Serve over Trader Joe’s clay oven baked Lavash Bread

Serve with Tahini sauce

Worked out pretty well.

I’m not a cook, but if everything turned out this well, I can see becoming one.

Iranian Leader says Gays should be Tortured, Killed

Filed under: International — DRJ @ 7:50 pm

[Guest post by DRJ]

Iranian leader Mohsen Yahyavi (a member of the Iranian Parliament’s energy committee and further described here as the Majlis deputy from Boroujerd) told British MPs last May that overt homosexuals deserve to be tortured or executed:

“Homosexuals deserve to be executed or tortured and possibly both, an Iranian leader told British MPs during a private meeting at a peace conference, The Times has learnt.

Mohsen Yahyavi is the highest-ranked politician to admit that Iran believes in the death penalty for homosexuality after a spate of reports that gay youths were being hanged. President Ahmadinejad, questioned by students in New York two months ago about the executions, dodged the issue by suggesting that there were no gays in his country.
Minutes taken by an official describe a meeting between British and Iranian MPs at the Inter-Parliamentary Union, a peace body, in May. When the Britons raised the hangings of Asqari and Marhouni, the leader of the Iranian delegation, Mr Yahyavi, a member of his parliament’s energy committee, was unflinching.

He “explained that according to Islam gays and lesbianism were not permitted”, the record states. “He said that if homosexual activity is in private there is no problem, but those in overt activity should be executed [he initially said tortured but changed it to executed]. He argued that homosexuality is against human nature and that humans are here to reproduce. Homosexuals do not reproduce.”

Good thing Ahmadinejad told us Iran doesn’t have gays or they might even be waterboarded.


Why do Dogs chase Cats?

Filed under: Real Life — DRJ @ 7:24 pm

[Guest post by DRJ]

Our male English cocker spaniel pup chased his first cat tonight. The cat was bigger than he is but there was never any doubt that the dog would chase and the cat would run, even though we were on the cat’s property. (Don’t worry. The pup never had a chance to catch that wily cat, and the cat never got close enough to harm the pup.) On the other hand, our 8-year-old male cocker never made a move to chase or run, but he’s always been laid back about other animals.

It made me wonder: Why do some dogs chase cats? After all, both are predators and, in this case, the dog was the smaller animal. Why didn’t the cat chase the dog or they at least have a stand-off?


The Facts About Fred Thompson’s Prosecutorial Record that the L.A. Times Thinks You Don’t Need to Know

Filed under: Dog Trainer,General — Patterico @ 1:51 pm

Anwyn has an excellent post today from the “Facts You Don’t Need to Know” file of the Los Angeles Times.

Anwyn chose to focus on a story the paper recently ran on the prosecutorial record of Fred Thompson. I read that article and meant to comment on its flippant dismissiveness of Thompson’s stint as an AUSA. Some of the lines in the article are blatantly designed to elicit cheap snickers from leftists, like this one:

But Thompson’s charm did not work on U.S. District Judge Frank Gray Jr., who presided over nearly all of his cases. A liberal Democrat who had worked on presidential campaigns from Al Smith’s to Estes Kefauver’s, Gray had little patience for fools, and even less for Republicans.

Get it? The implication is that Republicans are worse than fools. Ha, ha! Don’t it just make you giggle?

But the main point of the article was to portray Thompson as a lightweight prosecutor, who was barely competent and mostly handled trivial cases like moonshining.

[A] review of the 88 criminal cases Thompson handled at the U.S. attorney’s office in Nashville, from 1969 to 1972, reveals a different and more human portrait — that of a young lawyer learning the ropes on routine cases involving gambling, mail theft and, in one instance, talking dirty on CB radio.

There were a few bank robbers and counterfeiters. But more than anything, Thompson took on the state’s moonshiners and a local culture, rooted in Tennessee’s hills and hollows, that celebrated the independent whiskey maker’s battle against the government’s revenue agents.

Anwyn digs much deeper — searching for the actual facts surrounding Thompson’s actual record. She asks: what were the actual statistics on his cases? What other cases did he prosecute? What was his win-loss record?

After searching through several official channels, she got the information she was looking for . . . from the reporter! You see, he had that information. He just didn’t think it was relevant to include in an article about Thompson’s record as a prosecutor.

I’m going to make you go to Anwyn’s post for the statistics themselves. But I will say that they seem pretty standard for someone of his experience level. Thompson did plenty more serious cases, like bank robberies, and he won most of them.

The statistics are not overwhelmingly impressive. They don’t make you think Thompson was any kind of star. I agree with Anwyn’s characterization of the stats: “These numbers suggest that Thompson was a completely solid, if not shining, prosecutor.”

At the very least, the numbers tend to undercut the article’s portrayal of Thompson as a bumbler who botched many of his cases, most of which were minor anyway.

Why didn’t the reporter include the numbers? The reporter explained in an e-mail to Anwyn that the numbers “don’t tell you much” because most federal prosecutors win most of their cases. In other words, it’s not relevant to report Thompson’s success rate, because it is typical of those in his profession.

But what about Thompson’s errors? Are they typical of other prosecutors at the time? What about the fact that his case load consisted largely of low-level cases? Is that fact also typical of other federal prosecutors in the same office at the same time?

The article doesn’t say. The only hint we get is that some judge — who sounds like a real prick, by the way — thought that Thompson’s entire office was incompetent. That tells me more about the judge than it tells me about Thompson or his colleagues.

You see, according to the mindset at the L.A. Times, Thompson’s successes don’t have to be reported, because they are typical of those in similar circumstances. But his failures should be reported — even though they are also probably typical.

Again, Thompson’s conviction rate, and the fact that he prosecuted 17 bank robbers over his relatively short stint in the office, comes under the category of Facts You Don’t Need to Know. Especially when the facts might undercut The Narrative — and as we know, in Big Media generally (and the L.A. Times especially), The Narrative trumps everything else.

Kudos to Anwyn for getting those facts out in the public eye. Because, no matter what the folks at the L.A. Times think, these facts are things that the public really should be told, to present the full picture.

You should know these facts — even if the L.A. Times thinks you shouldn’t be told about them.

If you haven’t read Anwyn’s post, please do so now, by clicking here.

UPDATE: Thanks to Instapundit for the link.

Another reason to avoid the L.A. Times can be found here.

Pakistan Expels British Journalists for Offensive Words

Filed under: International — DRJ @ 1:28 pm

[Guest post by DRJ]

Pakistan expelled three British journalists for writing offensive words about President Pervez Musharraf. Specifically, for writing one long word twice:

“The offending word is “sonofabitch.”

Pakistan has expelled three British reporters after a UK daily twice referred the country’s military dictator Pervez Musharraf as a “sonofabitch,” sparking off a yet another fervent debate about language, stylebook and the limits of editorial expression. The comment, deemed offensive by the Pakistani government, appeared in a November 9 editorial in the Daily Telegraph innocuously headlined “Bankrupt Relationship.”

“In the old parlance, General Pervez Musharraf is “our sonofabitch,” the paper wrote. “He has failed to stamp out extremist groups and close the madrassas that inspire them. He has allowed the tribal areas bordering Afghanistan to fall into the hands of assorted jihadis.” It then went on to add: “An alternative… seems neither imminent nor especially enticing. But that should not blind Britain and America to the fact that their “sonofabitch” in Pakistan is a spent force.”

The “old parlance” the paper referred to appears to be an oft quoted remark attributed to various American leaders about their preference for some dictators — “He’s a bastard, but he’s our bastard.”

Even though this wasn’t one of his seven dirty words, I doubt George Carlin would be popular in Pakistan – especially if he talked about Musharraf.


The Teen Who Can’t Go Home, Goes Home

Filed under: Crime,Immigration — DRJ @ 1:15 pm

[Guest post by DRJ]

I posted last week on the 13-year-old boy who ran away to Mexico with his teacher but was unable to re-enter the US and go home to Nebraska because he is an illegal immigrant.

The US government announced the boy may be eligible for a new U Visa that lets victims of sex crimes and their families start a path to citizenship:

“A 13-year-old illegal immigrant who fled to his native Mexico amid a sex scandal with his schoolteacher could be eligible to return to the United States under a new visa the U.S. government started granting the week before he disappeared.

The visa helps illegal immigrants who are victims of sex crimes. If the boy, who spent most of his life in Nebraska, qualifies, he could stay legally in the United States for four years and eventually apply for permanent residency. It also would extend temporary residency to his parents and his unmarried siblings under 18, if they applied for it.

“It’s a win-win,” U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services spokeswoman Marilu Cabrera said of the so-called “U” visa. “It helps us and law enforcement be able to solve a crime, and it certainly helps the individual who is a victim of a crime.”

The boy has said he is willing to return to the US to testify against Peterson. That should make an interesting cross-examination: What did you and your family gain from your testimony against my client?


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