Patterico's Pontifications


Dallas Morning News 2007 “Texan of the Year” (Updated)

Filed under: Immigration,Media Bias — DRJ @ 9:35 pm

[Guest post by DRJ]

Following the example set last year when Time Magazine named *YOU* as its 2006 Person of the Year, the Dallas Morning News has named The Illegal Immigrant its 2007 Texan of the Year:

“He breaks the law by his very presence. He hustles to do hard work many Americans won’t, at least not at the low wages he accepts. The American consumer economy depends on him. America as we have known it for generations may not survive him.

We can’t seem to live with him and his family, and if we can live without him, nobody’s figured out how. He’s the Illegal Immigrant, and he’s the 2007 Dallas Morning News Texan of the Year – for better or for worse. Given the public mood, there seems to be little middle ground in debate over illegal immigrants. Spectacular fights over their presence broke out across Texas this year, adding to the national pressure cooker as only Texas can.

To their champions, illegal immigrants are decent, hardworking people who, like generations of European immigrants before them, just want to do better for their families and who contribute to America’s prosperity. They must endure hatred and abuse by those of us who want the benefits of cheap labor but not the presence of illegal immigrants.

Especially here in Texas, his strong back and willing heart help form the cornerstone of our daily lives, in ways that many of us do not, or will not, see. The illegal immigrant is the waiter serving margaritas at our restaurant table, the cook preparing our enchiladas. He works grueling hours at a meatpacking plant, carving up carcasses of cattle for our barbecue (he also picks the lettuce for our burgers). He builds our houses and cuts our grass. She cleans our homes and takes care of our children.

Yet to those who want them sent home, illegal immigrants are essentially lawbreakers who violate the nation’s borders. They use public resources – schools, hospitals – to which they aren’t entitled and expect to be served in a foreign language. They’re rapidly changing Texas neighborhoods, cities and culture, and not always for the better. Those who object get tagged as racists.”

The linked Dallas Morning News article has a lengthy discussion of immigration … but we’ve batted that around so many times, I’ll pass this time. However, this trend in naming everyday people as “person of the year” is lame.

UPDATE 12/30/2007 – Whether you agree or disagree with the selection, at least the UK Telegraph understands that the “Person of the Year” really should be a person who did something this year:

“The critics said it couldn’t be done, but the vision and determination of General David Petraeus have brought greater security and cause for optimism to the people of Iraq. He is The Sunday Telegraph’s Person of the Year.”



Filed under: General — Patterico @ 6:13 pm

Imagine this scenario: a woman is killed in a wreck with a UPS truck. Witnesses establish that the driver had ample warning of the impending crash, including honking horns, screeching tires, etc. But the driver didn’t hear any of the warning signs — because he is deaf. The company is sued for hiring a driver more prone to accidents than most drivers because of his deafness.

Is it a defense for UPS to argue that a federal judge made the company hire a deaf driver?

UPDATE: The post was posted in a draft form by accident. I fleshed it out a bit.

Dirty Tricks in the South Carolina GOP Race

Filed under: 2008 Election — DRJ @ 5:57 pm

[Guest post by DRJ]

Mitt Romney is the target of a political dirty trick in South Carolina:

Many South Carolina Republicans got a bogus holiday greeting card this week, purported to be from White House hopeful Mitt Romney, that cites some controversial passages of the Book of Mormon. “We wish you and your family a happy holiday season and a joyful New Year. The Romney family,” the card says. The last page features a photograph of a temple above a box that says “Paid For By The Boston Massachusetts Temple.”

Romney’s campaign said it had nothing to do with the cards, postmarked Thursday from Columbia with 41-cent stamp, and Boston Temple President Ken Hutchins said Saturday he first heard about the mailing Friday from a woman in Charleston. Hutchins said the temple had nothing to do with sending mail to South Carolina Republicans, who go to the polls on Jan. 19 in a key early primary. “It is sad and unfortunate that this kind of deception and trickery has been employed,” said Will Holley, Romney’s South Carolina spokesman. “There is absolutely no place for it in American politics.”

South Carolina Republican Party Chairman Katon Dawson said he intends to “contact the Federal Bureau of Investigation’s Elections Fraud Division and other appropriate authorities, provide them the copy of the mail piece delivered to South Carolina Republicans and ask for a thorough investigation into this matter.”

The Boston Temple President also objected to this as an effort to politicize his church, when it specifically avoids involvement in politics.

The passages in the card highlighted issues about polygamy and race:

“The card contains passages that underscore some differences between the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints and those of denominations that are prevalent in South Carolina.

We have now clearly shown that God the Father had a plurality of wives, one or more being in eternity by whom He begat our spirits as well as the spirit of Jesus His first born, and another being upon the earth by whom he begat the tabernacle of Jesus, as his only begotten in this world,” reads one passage from Orson Pratt, cited on the card as an “original member of the Quorum of Twelve Apostles.”

The card also cites a passage on Mary’s virgin birth that underscores her race. “And it came to pass that I looked and beheld the great city of Jerusalem, and also other cities. And I beheld the city of Nazareth; and in the city of Nazareth I beheld a virgin, and she was exceedingly fair and white.” On the card, “fair and white” are in a bolder, larger font and on a separate line.

I’m not a Romney supporter but my position toward his candidacy has nothing to do with his religion. Huckabee is probably the most openly Christian candidate and I’m not a Huckabee supporter either. I like the separation of religious and government issues.

But a dirty trick like this, based on race and religion, is especially bad and I hope it is investigated with more resources than are typically devoted to the average political dirty trick. Most of all, I hope it backfires on whoever did it.


Hillary Clinton’s Campaign Sock-Puppets (Updated)

Filed under: 2008 Election,Blogging Matters — DRJ @ 12:31 pm

[Guest post by DRJ]

UPDATE: Oops. Old News. Sorry about that.

Via Ann Althouse, it seems Hillary Clinton’s campaign is learning the good and bad sides of sock-puppets at a website called Blue Hampshire:

“Recently, we admins noticed this comment thread on a recommended diary, and the oddities it posed made us look a little deeper than we normally would.

As the comment thread revealed, users pinballwizard, elf, shley24, MTAY all registered in succession to recommend the diary. A further look by us revealed that:

* they had registered within minutes of each other, including another user a bit later, janbaby, who was not among the recommenders,

* the same IP address was used by all of them, and is registered to the Clinton campaign,

* two other recommenders, blues and kmeisje, also registered from the same IP address.

To be clear, and to reiterate what’s stated in our Getting Started page: paid campaign staff are welcome in this community, but are asked to disclose their affiliation to a campaign, either through their signature line, a disclosure statement on a diary, or even in the choosing of a username. The fact that all the users mentioned above came from a Clinton campaign IP, but did not register with campaign email addresses, and avoided making comments or diaries, instead only recommending pro-Clinton diaries, strikes us as gaming the system and a form of “recommend astroturf.” As a result, we have banned those accounts, and will do so again for undisclosed paid staffers of any campaign if need be.”

Here’s a link to the Blue Hampshire blog entry that enthusiastically supported Hillary Clinton, along with a link to the list of people (and sock-puppets) that recommended the post.

The internet seems anonymous and it’s tempting to use that anonymity to influence a discussion. However, even on the internet, reputation is unimportant until you lose it.

H/T Instapundit.


Iraqi Interior Ministry Claims 75% Reduction in Al Qaeda Network

Filed under: War — DRJ @ 11:51 am

[Guest post by DRJ]

An Interior Ministry spokesman claims the Al Qaeda network in Iraq has been reduced by 75% and, in equally good news, the criminal networks that support it are being broken up:

“The Iraqi interior ministry lauded its achievements over the past year on Saturday, saying that 75 percent of Al-Qaeda’s networks in the country had been destroyed in 12 months.

Ministry spokesman Abdul Karim Khalaf also outlined sharp falls in the numbers of assassinations, kidnappings and death squad murders. He told a news conference that increased patrols along the borders with Saudi Arabia and Syria had slowed infiltration by militants and played a key role in Iraq’s improved security situation.

“We have destroyed 75 percent of Al-Qaeda hide-outs, and we broke up major criminal networks that supported Al-Qaeda in Baghdad,” he said.

“After eliminating safe houses in Anbar province, which used to be Al-Qaeda’s base, we moved into areas surrounding Baghdad and into Diyala province. Al-Qaeda headed north and we are pursuing them,” he said.”

The spokesman added that Iraqi security personnel with criminal or militant ties were also being “weeded out.”

I’m sure there will be good days and bad days in Iraq’s future but I’m encouraged by reports like this that suggest Iraq is becoming more of a law enforcement problem than a military problem.

EDIT: Come to think of it, I’m also encouraged that the US military deferred to the Interior Ministry to announce this news. I have no doubt that the American military, in partnership with the Iraqi security forces, had a lot to do with decimating Al Qaeda in Iraq. Letting the Iraqis announce and implicitly take credit for this is a smart move.


Times of India: Bhutto Killed by the “Monster She Created”

Filed under: International,Terrorism — DRJ @ 9:52 am

[Guest post by DRJ]

In a fascinating article, the Times of India claims Benazir Bhutto was responsible for empowering the persons who ultimately engineered her death:

Monster she created came back to take her life

It was the year 1996. Benazir Bhutto as prime minister of Pakistan had asked Pervez Musharraf, then her Director General of Military Operations, to rehabilitate Al-Qaida chief Osama bin Laden in Jalalabad from Sudan. Bin Laden, who had shifted base to the African country after the Afghan war, had been thrown out by Khartoum after intense American pressure. Musharraf brought the Al-Qaida mastermind to Jalalabad, a city in eastern Afghanistan, and rehabilitated him.

That, a decade later, Al-Qaida should claim responsibility for Bhutto’s assassination marks not just a cruel irony, it also underlines once again the risk of Frankenstein’s monster turning upon the master.

Bhutto’s return to Pakistan this year may have been marked with her claim to wipe out terrorism, but the fact remains that it was her interior minister, Major General (retd) Naseerullah Babar, who played a key role in raising the Taliban and consolidating Al-Qaida in Afghanistan. The reason: a desire to secure strategic depth by controlling Pakistan’s western border, and to have a say in future Afghanistan affairs. The present day terrorism in India, and now turning on Pakistan, can, to an important extent, be traced to that fateful decision taken by the Bhutto government.

Taliban soon became host to a menacing jihadi conglomerate — the Qaida-led International Islamic Front (IIF) — the components of which included anti-India gangs like Lashkar-e-Toiba, Harkat-ul-Mujahideen, which later became Jaish-e-Mohhamed, HuJI and others. The objective of the group was to establish Sharia rule in this important region of Asia, and it was determined to go to any length, even acquire weapons of mass destruction, to realise it.”

It’s tempting to view international relations, politics, and government as a kind of crossword puzzle where events happen in a predictable, interconnected, and manageable way. In reality, events are often unpredictable and chaotic, and lead to unmanageable consequences. And, in this case, sad and dangerous consequences.


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