Patterico's Pontifications


Megan McClung News

Filed under: General,War — Patterico @ 11:12 pm

ABC News recently had this article about Megan McClung. (H/t Michael McClung.)

And Eric Coulson recently blogged about the opening of the Major Megan McClung Press Center.

By the way, Capt. Coulson has some very good news. I’m waiting to see if it’s OK to share. I can’t imagine why not, but I’ll await permission just the same. [UPDATE: He says it’s OK. So click here and search for the name Eric Coulson. Congratulations, Eric!]

Capt. Coulson notes it was a year ago December 6 that Maj. McClung was killed. How could I forget? It was the first anniversary of my father’s death.

This past December 6, on the second anniversary, I tried to make a special point of phoning everyone in my immediate family — not easy, because of time differences. I imagine Maj. McClung’s family was doing much the same thing.

Led Zeppelin Reunion

Filed under: Music — Patterico @ 10:51 pm

Details here. Any DVDs available on eBay yet? It’s been hours already!

The Weekly Standard Has a Post Up on The Campaign Standard Blog Dealing With an Interesting Paradox for GOP Candidates on the Subject of Immigration

Posted by WLS

There  Campaign Standard blog links to an New Yorker article by Ryan Lizza which concerns the idea that the illegal immigration issue is, to some degree, being driven by a few small states that have suffered an unusually high level of illegal hispanic immigration, and that fact has created a political environment on that subject which is out of proportion to the way the large majority of American’s view the problem.  Here’s a passage taken from the article by the blog post:

Anti-immigrant passion also owes much to the disproportionate influence of a few small states in the nominating process. National polls show that, as an issue, immigration is far behind the Iraq war, terrorism, the economy, and health care as a concern to most Americans; a recent Pew poll shows that, nationally, only six per cent of voters offer immigration as the most important issue facing the country. But in Iowa and South Carolina, two of the three most important early states, it is a top concern for the Republicans who are most likely to vote. “It’s the influx of illegals into places where they’ve never seen a Hispanic influence before,” McCain told me. “You probably see more emotion in Iowa than you do in Arizona on this issue. I was in a town in Iowa, and twenty years ago there were no Hispanics in the town. Then a meatpacking facility was opened up. Now twenty per cent of their population is Hispanic. There were senior citizens there who were—‘concerned’ is not the word. They see this as an assault on their culture, what they view as an impact on what have been their traditions in Iowa, in the small towns in Iowa. So you get questions like ‘Why do I have to punch 1 for English?’ ‘Why can’t they speak English?’ It’s become larger than just the fact that we need to enforce our borders.”


Michael Vick Sentenced to 23 Months

Filed under: Crime,Sports — DRJ @ 4:45 pm

[Guest post by DRJ]

Michael Vick was sentenced to a 23 month prison term today, which was less than half his potential sentence of 5 years and slightly longer than the sentences assessed against his co-defendants:

“National Football League superstar Michael Vick was sentenced to 23 months in prison here on Monday for his role in a dogfighting ring. US District Judge Henry Hudson imposed the sentence, which exceeded that recommended by prosecutors under the agreement they reached when Vick pleaded guilty to conspiracy to operate a dogfighting enterprise across state lines.

The charge had carried a maximum of five years. Vick, 27, surrendered to authorities on November 19 and was already in jail. He has been indefinitely suspended by the NFL.

Vick, wearing a black and white prison jumpsuit, showed little emotion as Hudson pronounced the sentence, which also includes three years’ probation.

The explosively talented quarterback of the Atlanta Falcons sparked outrage across the United States when he admitted sharing responsibility in the slayings of six to eight dogs who had performed poorly in fights, including deaths by hanging, drowning and beating. Prosecutors said Vick bankrolled the operation.

Hudson had already sentenced two of Vick’s co-defendants, Purnell Peace and Quanis Phillips, to 18 and 21 months for conspiracy in the ring, and Vick still faces trial on Virgina state charges in the case.”

Earlier reports indicated the prosecutors offered to recommend a sentence of 18-36 months but Vick turned it down hoping for a sentence of less than one year.

Vick’s attorney hopes for an early release, which might mean he would be available to play football after missing the current season and next year – assuming the NFL lets him return.


The Security Guard/Parishioner Who Stopped the Colorado Church Shooter (Updated x4)

Filed under: Crime,Second Amendment — DRJ @ 3:20 pm

[Guest post by DRJ]

UPDATE 4: After seeing Assam interviewed on Fox News, I can’t tell what she was. She discussed her law enforcement background and that she was part of a “professional security team.” It’s possible she was hired to work security or that she volunteered to be part of a security team. So I reinserted the term “Security Guard” in the title.

UPDATE 3: I’ve changed the title to strike through “Security Guard” because it’s unlikely this was a paid security guard. Instead, it was probably a parishioner with a CCW permit. However, at least one blogger notes the media is uniformly portraying her as a security guard instead of as an armed individual. Maybe this is because, in the rush to get the story out, the “security guard” terminology became set in stone. On the other hand, maybe not.

UPDATE 2: Powerline quotes a report that the gunman “hated Christians” and notes that “the toll in Sunday’s shootings exceeded the combined total in all ‘hate crimes’ against Muslims in the six years since September 11.”

UPDATE 1: CNS News reports the volunteer security guard was a church member “dressed in plain clothes” who used her own gun and “probably saved 100 lives.” It also quotes a KUSA report that the gunman, 24-year-old Matthew Murray, “was wearing a “tactical helmet and body armor.”

Also from JayHub, here’s a Denver Post article on the courageous actions by a male Vietnam Vet and a female volunteer security guard who stopped the Colorado church shooter:

“[Vietnam War Vet Larry] Bourbonnais, 59, had just finished up a hamburger in the cafeteria on the sprawling church campus when he heard gunfire, he recalled. Bourbonnais headed in the direction of the shots as frightened people ran past him looking to escape to safety. “Where’s the shooter? Where’s the shooter?” Bourbonnais kept yelling, he recalled.

Near an entryway in the church, Bourbonnais came upon the gunman and an armed male church security guard who was there with his gun drawn but not firing, he said. Bourbonnais said he pleaded with the armed guard to give him his weapon.

“Give me your handgun. I’ve been in combat, and I’m going to take this guy out,” Bourbonnais recalled telling the guard. “He kept yelling, ‘Get behind me! Get behind me!’ He wouldn’t hand me his weapon, but he wouldn’t do anything.” There was an additional armed security guard there, another man, who also didn’t fire, Bourbonnais said.

Bourbonnais yelled at the gunman to draw his attention, he said. “First, I called him ‘Coward’ then I called him ‘S—head’ ” Bourbonnais said. “I probably shouldn’t have been saying that in church.”

That’s when the shooter pointed one of his guns at Bourbonnais and fired, he said. Bourbonnais ducked behind a hollow, decorative pillar and was hit in the arm by a bullet and fragments of the pillar.

At about that moment, a female guard with a drawn handgun turned a corner and walked toward the gunman and yelled “Surrender!” Bourbonnais said.

The gunman pointed a handgun at the woman and fired three shots, Bourbonnais said. She returned fire and just kept walking toward the gunman pressing off round after round. The female guard fired off about a dozen shots.

After the gunman went down, Bourbonnais asked the woman, who has only been identified as a volunteer security guard with the church, how she remained so calm and focused. Bourbonnais said she replied: “I was asking the Holy Spirit to guide me the entire time.”

This is an amazing story.

An earlier post on the shootings is here.


NY Film Critics Say “No Country” Best of The Year — If Only The Movie Had A Point To Make

Filed under: General — WLS @ 12:50 pm

Posted by WLS —

I saw this movie recently, and not being a big reader of fiction, I had never read the book. I certainly won’t now since the reviews of the film seem to confirm that the movie is a fairly close adaption to the book.

Now, the movie is captivating in the sense that it pulls the viewer relentlessly from scene to scene, and the construction of the narrative is impressive.

I’m trying to not give away the ending here, but if you don’t want to know more, don’t go to the jump.


Al Gore Accepts Nobel Peace Prize: “It is Time to Make Peace with the Planet”

Filed under: International — DRJ @ 12:30 pm

[Guest post by DRJ]

Al Gore was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize today in Norway and he immediately directed dire awarnings about climate change at the United States and China:

“Al Gore received his Nobel Peace Prize on Monday and urged the United States and China to make the boldest moves on climate change or “stand accountable before history for their failure to act.” In accepting the prize he shared with the U.N. climate panel, the former vice president said humanity risks sliding down a path of “mutually assured destruction.”

“It is time to make peace with the planet,” Gore said in his acceptance speech that quoted Churchill, Gandhi and the Bible. “We must quickly mobilize our civilization with the urgency and resolve that has previously been seen only when nations mobilized for war.”

Gore’s warnings of the planet’s destruction came amid a “gala” event before royalty, world leaders, and other guests:

“We, the human species, are confronting a planetary emergency – a threat to the survival of our civilization that is gathering ominous and destructive potential even as we gather here,” Gore said at the gala ceremony in Oslo’s city hall, in front of Norway’s royalty, leaders and invited guests.”

Gore plans to leave Norway and fly to Bali to join climate talks designed to reduce climate-damaging carbon dioxide emissions (e.g., things that result from jetting from Norway to Bali):

“His remarks came as governments met in Bali, Indonesia, to start work on a new international treaty to reduce climate-damaging carbon dioxide emissions. Gore and Pachauri plan to fly there Wednesday to join the climate talks.”

Winners of the Nobel Prize receive “a gold medal, a diploma and a $1.6 million cash award.”

— DRJ Petitions Democratic Candidates to Filibuster War Spending Bills

Filed under: Politics,War — DRJ @ 12:16 pm

[Guest post by DRJ]

This week, plans to pressure four Democratic Presidential candidates, Senators Clinton, Obama, Biden, and Dodd, to filibuster any spending bill that does not include a timetable to bring the troops home from Iraq:

“Liberal group is seeking this week to pressure the Senate Democrats running for president to oppose and block a war spending bill that does not include a plan for withdrawal from Iraq. Not satisfied with reports that a massive omnibus spending bill currently in the works will include some funding for the wars but no commitment to bring soldiers home, the group wants to get the Democratic candidates to stop the effort.

MoveOn plans to deliver petitions with the signatures of 15,000 veterans and military families to the congressional offices of Sens. Hillary Rodham Clinton (N.Y.), Barack Obama (Ill.), Joseph Biden (Del.) and Chris Dodd (Conn.) on Monday. “The senators who are running for president have talked a lot about their leadership on Iraq — now is the time for them to show it by blocking this bad deal,” said MoveOn Executive Director Eli Pariser.

MoveOn wants the senators to lead a filibuster of legislation that does not include a timetable for troop withdrawal. The group’s initiative puts the Democratic senators in a bind. On the one hand, they will not want to upset the liberal base, but on the other, especially with an eye toward the general election, they will likely be hesitant to be seen as blocking funds for troops in the war zones.”

This seems like a particularly bad development for candidates like Hillary who are trying to please people on both sides of this issue, especially since recent improvements in Iraq are pushing this issue down on the list of concerns for most Americans. Politically, anti-war rhetoric may mobilize the Democratic left but it doesn’t do much to help Democrats with moderate voters.


Ventura County Star Deletes Comment Because It Disagrees with the Editorial It Is Commenting On

Filed under: General — Patterico @ 7:27 am

The Ventura County Star deleted a comment yesterday, apparently for the offense of taking issue with the facts in an editorial.

Mike Lief has the details.

The basic premise of the editorial is that the D.A. has been attacking a judge for giving lenient dispositions on misdemeanors, but that this is unfair because the judge was trying to clear out a backlog. The basic premise of the comment is to say that the editorial omits several pertinent facts.

Here is a sample passage from the editorial in question:

It is significant that the DA’s Office waited until Gutierrez had mostly completed his mission before registering a complaint.

And a sample passage from the comment that was deleted:

When you say “It is significant that the DA’s Office waited until Gutierrez had mostly completed his mission before registering a complaint” you are ignoring the fact that DA’s have been objecting to the judge decriminalizing misdemeanors in this county for quite some time – on the record!

Yeah, you’d better delete that, Mr. Editor.

It’s also interesting to note that the editorial relies on anonymous sources:

According to most sources, Gutierrez has been an excellent judge. He is not considered a lenient or soft-on-criminals judge. As one source said, “If you look at some of his sentencings, he’s hammered people.” In fact, around the courthouse, he has a nickname: “Maximo,” indicating his tough sentencing.

We’re not even told what the profession of the “source” is. Just as bob100 is likely a Deputy D.A., I’m guessing that the “source” is a defense attorney.

Go to Mike Lief’s post for all the details. Then you might consider going to the editorial and leaving your own comment asking just what the hell is going on here.

People Magazine Picks Joel Osteen

Filed under: General — DRJ @ 6:40 am

[Guest post by DRJ]

People Magazine put Jennifer Love Hewitt in a bikini on its December 17th cover (on sale now!) … except in Texas, where the cover features Houston Pastor Joel Osteen and his wife:

“It would seem that penning a Christian best-seller can’t compete with a flap about how an actress looks in a bikini.

Except in Texas.

Readers of People magazine in Texas will find a big picture of Lakewood Church pastor Joel Osteen and his wife, Victoria, on the cover of the Dec. 17 issue that lands at the nearest grocery store checkout line today. The rest of the country gets a photo of Jennifer Love Hewitt creating a stir about whether she looks chubby on the beach. Osteen’s photo will have a smaller spot on the national cover.

It is clear Osteen is a household name beyond Houston because of his television ministry and books, said People’s managing editor Larry Hackett. But body image, weight-loss and television stardom remain People’s bread and butter, he said.”

The cover is shown at the link and if you look closely, there are also two small photos of Jessica Simpson and Dallas Cowboy Tony Romo. I don’t think People Magazine knows Texans as well as they think because if Simpson and Romo were featured on the Texas cover, that issue would sell like hotcakes.


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