Patterico's Pontifications


Pelosi: Republicans “Like the War” . . . L.A. Times: Huh?

Filed under: Dog Trainer,General,War — Patterico @ 10:16 pm

Yesterday there were plenty of stories about Nancy Pelosi’s absurd comment that Republicans “like” the war in Iraq. For example, this AP story said:

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi lashed out at Republicans on Thursday, saying they want the Iraq war to drag on and are ignoring the public’s priorities.

“They like this war. They want this war to continue,” Pelosi, D-Calif., told reporters. She expressed frustration over Republicans’ ability to force majority Democrats to yield ground on taxes, spending, energy, war spending and other matters.

Now that’s a story, right? The Speaker of the House of Representatives says that Republicans like the war.

Not that Republicans think it’s necessary. Republicans like it.

Not that Republicans want to win. Republicans want it to continue.

It was an obvious gaffe, and she apparently realized it:

Asked to clarify her remarks, Pelosi backed off a bit.

“I shouldn’t say they like the war,” she said. “They support the war, the course of action that the president is on.”

“And that was a revelation to me,” she said, “because I thought the American people’s voices were so — and still are — so strong in this regard.”

I’m sure you’ll be surprised that I can’t find a word in the Los Angeles Times about it.


Turning Another Corner in Iraq

Filed under: War — DRJ @ 8:41 pm

[Guest post by DRJ]

It’s easy to oversimplify important issues but if I could pick one development I want to see in Iraq, it would be this:

“Iraqi oil output has risen in a ‘dramatic’ way in recent months, hitting its highest monthly level in about 3 1/2 years in November, the International Energy Agency said Friday.

The Paris-based agency, in its monthly oil market report, cited improving security as it reported that Iraqi production rose to 2.32 million barrels per month in November, a slight increase from October and up from 1.9 million barrels per month in January.

The increase in output resulted largely from “more regular” pipeline crude shipments from fields around the northern city of Kirkuk to Ceyhan in Turkey, the IEA said.
Iraqi output increased by 330,000 barrels per day from August to November alone, the agency said.

Since the 2003 U.S.-led invasion that removed Saddam from power, Iraqi production has mostly hovered between 1.7 million and 2 million barrels per day, the IEA said. “

This is like winning the trifecta: More security, more money, and (with time) more jobs. And more oil is as good for the rest of the world as it is for Iraq.


Another Houston Area Homeowner Shoots and Kills a Suspected Burglar (Updated)

Filed under: Crime — DRJ @ 8:10 pm

[Guest post by DRJ]

Another Houston-area homeowner shot and killed a suspected burglar, although this case seems straightforward compared to the Joe Horn case:

A southwest Harris County homeowner shot and killed a man he discovered climbing into a window of his house at about 2:15 a.m. today, investigators said. Steven Dunbar, who apparently lived several blocks away, died in the window of the home in the 3400 block of Cascadia, Harris County sheriff’s homicide Det. Rolf Nelson said.

The 33-year-old homeowner, Damon Barone, was asleep in the house with his wife, a son, 6, and an infant daughter when he heard a loud noise, Nelson said. “The homeowner says he heard a loud noise, possibly a gunshot, that startled him out of bed,” Nelson said. “As he got up, he said he heard another loud noise and he said the house was shaking.”

Carrying a pistol, Barone was on his way to investigate the noises when he heard glass breaking in a bedroom. “When he entered that bedroom, he said he saw a burglar coming through a broken window,” Nelson said. “He shot several times and struck the burglar several times, killing him at the scene.”

Deputies found a screen door on the back of the house torn from its metal frame, Nelson said.

“He’s got a pretty extensive criminal record of felonies over the last 13 years,” Nelson said of Dunbar, 44. “He has at least 12 arrests for felonies and a half-dozen convictions. We don’t know if he was intent on some other crime or if it was a burglary for something he could turn into money.”
Nelson declined to say exactly how many times Dunbar was shot and where the bullets hit him.

The case is expected to be referred to a Harris County grand jury without charges, Nelson said.”

People in Harris County (and on the internet) are learning a lot about Chapter 9 of the Texas Penal Code.

UPDATE 8/13/2008: The Houston Chronicle reports that a Harris County grand jury declined to indict the homeowner, Damone Baron.


Travis County DA Announces Retirement

Filed under: Politics — DRJ @ 5:47 pm

[Guest post by DRJ]

Ronnie Earle, the District Attorney of Travis County (Austin, Texas) for the past thirty-plus years, announced his retirement today. Earle is a familiar figure to many Texans but others may know him better as the hero of the left for his prosecution of Tom DeLay:

“Travis County District Attorney Ronnie Earle said Friday he won’t seek re-election next year, bringing an end to a three-decade reign in which he battled some of the biggest names in Texas politics.

The 65-year-old Earle, who’s led a criminal investigation of former U.S. House Majority Leader Tom DeLay and his associates, told his staff of his decision then announced it to the public. “I want to thank the people of Travis County for entrusting me with the responsibility of this office to see that justice is done. At the end of my term we will have had a 32-year partnership, because doing justice is the job of the community itself,” Earle said.

One year remains in his current term.

The Democrat has been criticized by DeLay and other Republicans who say his prosecutions of elected leaders are politically motivated. Earle points out that he prosecutes Democrats as well as Republicans.

Earle had to decide whether to run again before Jan. 2, the end of the candidate filing period for the March 4 state primaries. Earle considered not running for re-election in 2004, but the DeLay investigation centering on campaign spending in 2002 legislative races took off. He said the case was one of the most important of his career and he couldn’t abandon it.”

DeLay’s spokeswoman had a pithy and uncomplimentary response:

“DeLay spokeswoman Shannon Flaherty said Earle “never had any intention of finishing off his revenge on Tom DeLay” and is afraid of being disgraced while in office.

“This is a no-brainer for him,” she said. “Good riddance to another corrupt DA.”

Earle’s entry into politics as a political outsider fit with the 1970’s hippie culture of Austin, including a full beard and long hair in his younger years. (Picture here.) Legendary Texas Lieutenant Governor Bob Bullock, a Democrat like Earle, famously stated that “the bearded Earle never bathed or shaved except in election years,” to which Earle responded: “Unbathed, unshaved, unopposed.”

The Austin American-Statesman speculates that Earle may be considering a gubernatorial bid. Perhaps in an effort to assist in that effort, recent Austin American-Statesman articles have portrayed Earle in a non-partisan light … but that dog won’t hunt.


On a lighter note — The Supervisors Were Promoted …

Filed under: General — WLS @ 3:30 pm

… after Christmas Card sent in 1914 is finally delivered 97 93 years late (that’ll teach me to add in my head).

It was cited as an indication of their dogged determination to see that all the mail get delivered.


More and More Uncomfortable With the Campaign of Mike Huckabee and The Influence of Evangelical Christians In Iowa

Filed under: General — WLS @ 2:41 pm

Posted By WLS:

Two disclaimers:

1. I don’t consider myself an Evangelical Christian, though some in my family are. My wife is Catholic, and I have no strong affinity towards any demonination. That said, I am a social conservative, but not a one issue voter, and at this time and place in history, national security is my over-riding concern.

2. My preferences at this point in the GOP race are 1) Giuliani 2) Thompson 3) Romney 4) McCain.

It has been reported in a variety of places that up to 40% of GOP caucus goers in Iowa will be Evangelical Christians. And over the last 3 months we have witnessed the rapid ascent in the fortunes of Mike Huckabee in Iowa, the former Southern Baptist Pastor.

It has been reported (under-reported in my view) that one reason for Huckabee’s rise in the polls in Iowa from 3% in August, to where he is today, somewhere around 40% – a period during which he lacked money, resources, and paid staff in the state — has been the use by his campaign of mass e-mails to pastors of various Evangelical churches in Iowa, who have then distributed those emails as well as emails supporting Huckabee to their congregations.

Here’s an example of one such email that went out a few months ago when Huckabee was battling with Brownback to be the standard-bearer of the Evangelical right:


Fighting the War on Terror Here at Home

Filed under: Crime,War — DRJ @ 1:02 pm

[Guest post by DRJ]

The war on terror is a multi-front war and this California case illustrates the importance of law enforcement in identifying home-grown threats:

“One of four men accused of plotting attacks on Southern California military sites and Jewish targets pleaded guilty Friday to terrorism conspiracy charges.

Levar Haley Washington, 28, admitted committing seditious conspiracy and using a firearm to further that conspiracy. He faces up to 25 years in prison when he is sentenced in April. Another man, Kevin James, was expected to plead guilty to a terrorism charge later Friday. He faces up to 20 years in prison.
Washington faces a sentence of five years to life in prison, and James could be sentenced to as much as 20 years, according to their plea agreements. Also indicted in the case were Gregory Vernon Patterson and Hammad Riaz Samana. Samana is a Pakistani national, while the others are U.S.-born Muslim converts.
All four were charged with conspiracy to levy war against the U.S. government through terrorism and conspiracy to possess and discharge firearms in a violent crime. Washington, Patterson and Samana each face a count of conspiracy to kill members of the U.S. government uniformed services and a count of conspiracy to kill foreign officials. Washington and Patterson are charged with robbery and using a firearm in a violent crime.”

This case also illustrates how our prison systems are being used by terrorists and how they use crime to fund their plots:

“Authorities claimed that the plot was hatched in prison and that James, Washington and two others were a cell of radical Muslims planning attacks on military facilities, synagogues and other sites in the Los Angeles area.

Prosecutors assert that James even prepared a press release that the men planned to send out after an attack. “This incident is the first in a series of incidents to come in a plight to defend and propagate traditional Islam in its purity,” James allegedly wrote. “We are not extremists, radicals or terrorists. We are only servants of Allah.”

Police uncovered the plot in July 2005 while investigating gas station robberies that authorities say were committed to finance the attacks.
The plot was orchestrated by Washington, Patterson and Samana at the behest of James, a California State Prison, Sacramento, inmate who founded the radical group Jamiyyat Ul-Islam Is-Saheeh, or JIS, authorities said. Washington converted to Islam while imprisoned with James, then looked to recruit other members for the group, authorities said.”

The group targeted US government and Jewish people and facilities and was based on Shariah law:

“Washington, Patterson and Samana—who attended the same Inglewood mosque—allegedly conducted surveillance of military sites, synagogues, the Israeli Consulate and El Al airline facilities in the region as well as Internet research on Jewish holidays, prosecutors said in 2005.

James preached that JIS members should target for violent attack any enemies of Islam or “infidels,” including the U.S. government and any supporters of Israel, according to court documents. He also created a document he called the “JIS Protocol,” which advocated the establishment of an Islamic caliphate in the U.S. that followed Shariah law, or Islamic law. “Sit back, build and attack!” prosecutors say James wrote in his document. “Our obvious targets being the Western forces of the U.S. and their … society.”

James spelled out in a separate document that JIS members must learn Arabic, acquire two pistols with silencers, learn bomb-making and become “legitimate.” “Acquire identification, drivers license … keep regular contact with your parole agent,” prosecutors say James wrote. “Your dress code must not bring attention. … We have work to do.”

Our enemies are serious about their work and Americans should be serious about this war, too. In fact, Americans should be very reasonably afraid.


Linda Greenhouse Busted for Failure to Disclose Conflict

Filed under: General — Patterico @ 12:20 am

This should be a major embarrassment for Linda Greenhouse and the New York Times. Her husband submits an amicus brief on behalf of GTMO detainees, and when they win, she gushes that the opinion “shredded each of the administration’s arguments” and was a “sweeping and categorical defeat for the administration” that

left human rights lawyers who have pressed this and other cases on behalf of Guantánamo detainees almost speechless with surprise and delight, using words like “fantastic,” “amazing” and “remarkable.”

Why, my husband used all those words to me just last night . . . in bed!

(Sorry for the image.)

It’s a niiiiice catch by Ed Whelan. He says he has seen no evidence that Greenhouse ever disclosed the potential conflict. I haven’t seen any such evidence either.

This should be a big story. Will it be?

It depends. Will the bright light of publicity be shined on this story?

I’m doing my part. How about you?

Pass it on.

UPDATE: The timing is ironic given this attack on the ethics of citizen journalists.

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