Patterico's Pontifications


What Iowa Means

Filed under: 2008 Election — DRJ @ 11:10 pm

[Guest post by DRJ]

For the Democrats:

Iowa helps Barack Obama, not only because he won but also because it suggests race won’t be an issue in some states.

Iowa hurt Hillary Clinton, not only because she came in third but because third place tarnishes her aura of invincibility. She billed herself as the experienced, invincible candidate but Democrats prefer change to experience, leaving her strong point as invincibility … and she’s not.

Despite his second-place finish, Iowa hurt John Edwards because he sells himself as the candidate who cares about people that can’t make it on their own. If that doesn’t sell in Iowa, it won’t sell many places. It didn’t sell.

Iowa hurt Bill Richardson because he couldn’t get anywhere near double digits. But he may have done well enough that it helped his chances to be considered as a VP.

Iowa hurt Joe Biden, Mike Gravel, Chris Dodd, and Dennis Kucinich because they lost … big. Dodd and Biden have already announced they will drop out, and Gravel and Kucinich might as well have.

For the Republicans:

Iowa was a godsend for Mike Huckabee because it anoints him as a credible candidate. He should and probably will get a campaign donation bounce from Iowa but it looks like this win was disproportionately due to evangelical turnout. It’s hard to know if he can replicate this elsewhere.

Iowa hurt Mitt Romney primarily because he had been favored to win and he put a lot of money into winning. Worse yet for Romney, this result suggests that evangelicals are motivated to vote and they won’t vote for Romney.

Iowa hurt John McCain and Fred Thompson to the extent they had to scrap for leftover votes but, overall, I think it helped them both stay in the hunt. The big question will be which one can use this result to bring in funds and endorsements.

Iowa helped Ron Paul a great deal because he finished in double digits, just a few thousand votes shy of McCain and Thompson. No matter how much Republicans try, the fringe label won’t stick to Paul as long as he polls in double digits. It may also encourage him to run as an independent.

Even though he did not campaign, Iowa hurt Rudy Giuliani because he only got 3% of the vote. It painted him as a non-issue in an entire state. Giuliani is at his best in the spotlight, not marginalized on the sidelines.

One down, 49 to go.


Ed Whelan Slams David Savage’s View of Bush’s Effect on the Judiciary

Filed under: Dog Trainer,General,Judiciary — Patterico @ 9:53 pm

Over at Bench Memos, Ed Whelan has this incisive critique of a recent David Savage article on Bush’s legacy regarding the judiciary. Ed says: “Alas, the article’s prognosis is severely flawed, and its statistics are misleading.”

For example, Savage says:

And despite the Republicans’ loss of control of the Senate, 40 of Bush’s judges won confirmation this year, more than in the previous three years when Republicans held the majority.

But Ed notes:

Of the 40 judges who were confirmed in 2007, only six were federal appellate judges. More importantly, Savage’s comparison of 2007 to previous years somehow ignores the unprecedented measures of obstruction—filibusters and return of nominees during intrasession recesses—that Senate Democrats employed when in the minority. A more instructive comparison would be between the number of federal appellate nominees confirmed during President Clinton’s second term (all with a Republican majority in the Senate)—35—and the number confirmed so far during President Bush’s second term—22, with less than a year to go.

Kind of leaves you with kind of a different impression from the one Savage seeks to convey, huh?

Read it all, and see how the L.A. Times employs lies, damned lies, and statistics in the service of a leftist view of the state of the judiciary.

P.S. That said, I agree with the part of Savage’s article that praises Bush’s work on the judiciary. It’s one of the few things he’s done consistently right — and even when he made a huge mistake (Harriet Miers), he was (eventually) willing to listen to the complaints (OK, screeching, wailing, and teeth-gnashing) of those of us who disagreed with his choice. Roberts and Alito were just excellent picks, and overall he has done a fantastic job — especially given the lack of support he has received from so many gutless Republicans in the Senate.

Fox News calls Iowa (Updated-Final)

Filed under: 2008 Election — DRJ @ 6:33 pm

[Guest post by DRJ]

Fox News says Huckabee and Obama are the winners in Iowa.

UPDATE 1 @ 6:45 PM PST – CNN agrees, as does NBC/MSNBC.

UPDATE 2 @ 6:50 PM PST – Here’s something interesting from MSNBC:

“In interviews as they entered the caucuses, more than half of all the Republicans said they were either born-again or evangelical Christians, and they liked Huckabee more than any of his rivals. Romney led handily among the balance of the Iowa Republican voters, according to the survey.

About half the Democratic caucus-goers said a candidate’s ability to bring about needed change was the most important factor as they made up their minds, according to voters surveyed by The Associated Press and the television networks as they entered the caucuses. Change was Obama’s calling card in the arduous campaign for Iowa’s backing. Fewer voters cited experience, which Clinton said was her strong suit, or a candidate’s chance of capturing the White House or ability to care about people like the voters themselves.”

UPDATE 3 @ 7:00 PST – The Des Moines Register reports high turnout delayed some Republican and Democratic caucuses.

UPDATE 4 @ 7:30 PM PST – From the Des Moines Register:

Democrats (1,688 of 1,781 precincts – 95 percent)

Barack Obama – 37 percent
John Edwards – 30 percent
Hillary Clinton – 29 percent
Bill Richardson – 2 percent

GOP (1,361 of 1,781 precincts – 76 percent)

Mike Huckabee 30,852 – 34 percent
Mitt Romney 22,973 – 25 percent
Fred Thompson 12,289 – 14 percent
John McCain 12,109 – 13 percent

UPDATE 5 @ 7:45 PM PST – [I wonder why the Des Moines Register gives raw numbers on its summary page for Republicans but not for Democrats? — DRJ]

Democrats (1,688 of 1,781 precincts – 97 percent)

Barack Obama – 38 percent
John Edwards – 30 percent
Hillary Clinton – 29 percent
Bill Richardson – 2 percent

GOP (1,393 of 1,781 precincts – 78 percent)

Mike Huckabee 31,508 – 34 percent
Mitt Romney 23,682 – 25 percent
John McCain 12,520 – 13 percent
Fred Thompson 12,484 – 13 percent

UPDATE 6 @ 8:00 PM PST – The Des Moines Register posts these updated Republican numbers:

“GOP (1,522 of 1,781 precincts – 85 percent)

Mike Huckabee 35,257 – 34 percent
Mitt Romney 25,995 – 25 percent
Fred Thompson 13,786 – 13 percent
John McCain 13,473 – 13 percent”

UPDATE 7 @ 8:15 PM PST – Fox News is running a banner with an *unconfirmed* report that Democrat Chris Dodd is dropping out of the Presidential race. *** Dodd has officially dropped out.

UPDATE 8 @ 8:17 PM PST – More from the Des Moines Register:

“Democrats (1,745 of 1,781 precincts – 98 percent)

Barack Obama – 38 percent
John Edwards – 30 percent
Hillary Clinton – 29 percent
Bill Richardson – 2 percent

GOP (1,525 of 1,781 precincts – 86 percent)

Mike Huckabee 35,342 – 34 percent
Mitt Romney 26,067 – 25 percent
Fred Thompson 13,805 – 13 percent
John McCain 13,509 – 13 percent”

UPDATE 9 @ 9:10 PM PST – This GOP update from the Des Moines Register shows third place is still up-for-grabs:

“GOP (1,546 of 1,781 precincts – 87 percent)

Mike Huckabee 35,621 – 34 percent
Mitt Romney 26,524 – 25 percent
Fred Thompson 13,932 – 13 percent
John McCain 13,693 – 13 percent”

UPDATE 10 @ 9:15 PM PST – Final Democratic numbers [I’ve added the raw numbers in brackets. — DRJ]:

“Democrats (1,781 of 1,781 precincts – 100 percent)

Barack Obama [93,951] – 38 percent
John Edwards [74,377] – 30 percent
Hillary Clinton [73,666] – 29 percent
Bill Richardson [5,278] – 2 percent
Joe Biden [2,329] – 1 percent
Uncommitted [345] – 0 percent
Chris Dodd [58] – 0 percent
Mike Gravel [0] – 0 percent
Dennis Kucinich [0] – 0 percent”

UPDATE 11 @ 9:30 PM PST – One more GOP update:

“GOP (1,661 of 1,781 precincts – 93 percent)

Mike Huckabee 38,605 – 34 percent
Mitt Romney 28,367 – 25 percent
Fred Thompson 15,044 – 13 percent
John McCain 14,749 – 13 percent”

UPDATE 12 @ 10:20 PM PST – The most recent GOP numbers:

“GOP (1,661 of 1,781 precincts – 93 percent)

Mike Huckabee 38,605 – 34 percent
Mitt Romney 28,367 – 25 percent
Fred Thompson 15,044 – 13 percent
John McCain 14,749 – 13 percent
Ron Paul 11,232 – 10 percent
Rudy Giuliani 3,853 – 3 percent
Duncan Hunter 499 – 0 percent
Tom Tancredo 5 – 0 percent”

UPDATE @ 10:35 PM PST – Biden is out.

FINAL UPDATE @ 11:59 PM PST – Updated but not complete GOP numbers:

“GOP (1,702 of 1,781 precincts – 96 percent)

Mike Huckabee 39,814 – 34 percent
Mitt Romney 29,405 – 25 percent
Fred Thompson 15,521 – 13 percent
John McCain 15,248 – 13 percent”

Ironically, it looks like the story for Republicans and Democrats isn’t about who won but who came in third.


Justice is for the Swift

Filed under: Law — DRJ @ 5:53 pm

[Guest post by DRJ]

Yesterday, a bus traveling its regular route from Monterrey, Mexico to Houston, Texas, overturned outside Victoria, Texas, killing one and injuring 50. The cause of the accident is still under investigation:

“The bus was traveling from Monterrey to Houston when it toppled onto its side on U.S. 59 about 4:15 a.m. Wednesday. Department of Public Safety officials said the driver apparently overcorrected after the bus veered off the road. A small pickup truck rammed the bus after it overturned, but the driver of the truck was uninjured.

Tom Vinger, a DPS spokesman, said the crash investigation continued and that a report on the accident would be released within 10 days. Vinger said Wednesday that driver fatigue was one of the factors in the investigation, including how long the driver was behind the wheel and whether state or federal restrictions on driving hours were violated. The bus company identified the driver as 42-year-old Roberto Cruz. He wasn’t seriously injured, and Vinger said Thursday he had not been charged with anything.”

Twenty people remain hospitalized in Victoria, San Antonio and Houston. Among the injured was Houston resident Bernarda Pena, whose right arm had to be amputated as a result of the accident. She’s currently listed in fair condition in a Victoria hospital.

Today, Pena sued the bus company in Harris County:

“A woman whose right arm had to be amputated after the deadly crash of a bus traveling from Mexico to Houston sued the bus company and a charter service Thursday. Bernarda Pena’s lawsuit came one day after a bus carrying nearly 50 people overturned on a highway near Victoria, killing one. Pena, 51, was among 20 passengers still hospitalized Thursday.

The lawsuit, filed in Harris County, alleges negligence on the part of Houston-based owner Capricorn Bus Lines Inc. and International Charter Services, which was operating the bus. The suit seeks unspecified compensation for Pena’s injuries, coverage of her medical costs and damages for mental anguish, physical disfigurement and impairment, according to her attorney, Terry Bryant.

Pena, a fast-food worker who lives in Houston, was visiting her husband in Monterrey, Mexico, Bryant said.”

I feel very sorry for Ms. Pena, who clearly suffered serious injuries. I don’t know anything about this case other than what I’ve read in the papers and maybe there is a good reason to file this lawsuit quickly. However, to file a lawsuit after just one day while the plaintiff is still hospitalized suggests we’ve become an over-lawyered and overly-litigious society.


Who’s Your Candidate?

Filed under: 2008 Election — Patterico @ 5:25 pm

If you were voting for President today, for whom would you vote?

Feel free (but not obligated) to explain why.

Predictions, College Football Version

Filed under: Sports — DRJ @ 5:13 pm

[Guest post by DRJ]

Now for the really important predictions:

Kansas over Virginia Tech.

LSU over Ohio State.


Just for Fun

Filed under: Humor — DRJ @ 4:02 pm

[Guest post by DRJ]

As the official political season gets underway, here’s something just for fun:

From The Telegraph:

“Senior Aircraftman Dean Tabreham, 28, has become a YouTube star after footage of his unorthodox methods was posted on the Internet.

The clip shows SAC Tabreham dancing in a series of exuberent styles while directing Tornado jets during an international exercise in Belgium, before donning the running outfit made famous in the 118 118 television adverts. But far from facing discliplinary action, SAC Tabreham has been praised by Ministry of Defence chiefs for his “great enterprise”. The prank was staged to raise money for Cancer Resarch UK.

“The video has become cult viewing and shows great enterprise and a sense of humour”, a senior officer told The Sun newspaper. “There was no danger at all to any RAF personnel”.

The video begins with clips of the more reserved signalling of American, Spanish, German, Italian and Dutch ground crews. “This is how the Brits do it” then flashes on screen, and SAC Tabreham – wearing oversize gloves – is shown doing the movements to the Village People classic YMCA while directing pilots.”

Those Brits are known for humor. Enjoy.



Filed under: 2008 Election — Patterico @ 1:29 pm

Get your Iowa predictions on record now.

L.A. Times Has Nothing on Hillary’s Idiotic Pakistan Comments

Filed under: Dog Trainer — Patterico @ 12:13 am

I said I’d check the paper today to see if they covered this story.

They didn’t.

UPDATE: I’ve sent a letter to the Readers’ Rep asking why not:

Recently, Hillary Clinton stated twice that Pervez Musharraf was going to be on the ballot in the upcoming Pakistan elections. (He will not, since he was recently re-elected, and the upcoming elections are for parliamentary seats.)

She said to Wolf Blitzer [.pdf link]: “If President Musharraf wishes to stand for election, then he should abide by the same rules that every other candidate will have to follow.”

And, referring to Musharraf, she told George Stephanopoulos: “He could be the only person on the ballot. I don’t think that’s a real election.”

Journalist Ben Smith wrote about her gaffe at the Politico web site.

Moreover, in the appearance with Stephanopoulos, she indicated that she thought Nawaz Sharif [leader of the PML-N] was eligible to run for office in Pakistan:

“I think it will be very difficult to have a real election. You know, Nawaz Sharif has said he’s not going to compete.”

Pakistan analyst Thomas Houlihan, who first noted the error regarding her claims about Musharraf, also says Sharif is not eligible:

“Nawaz Sharif isn’t allowed to run for office in Pakistan because of a felony conviction.”

Please correct me if I’m wrong, but I haven’t seen a word about any of this in the L.A. Times. And I can’t understand why I haven’t. Hillary Clinton is running largely on the strength of her alleged foreign policy expertise. Yet, as Mr. Houlihan notes, she doesn’t seem to understand even the most fundamental basics about Pakistan’s political situation.

Are L.A. Times editors aware of these statements? If so, I can’t understand why somebody wouldn’t be writing about this. Back in 1999, when candidate George W. Bush failed a journalist’s pop quiz asking the names of four world leaders, the L.A. Times ran four separate pieces mentioning Bush’s poor performance. This seems at least as significant.

If the editors aren’t aware of these statements, could you please pass along these facts to them? I think they would make an interesting story.


I’ll let you know what I hear back. Meanwhile, she has passed along to editors my complaint about that quiz saying Bush erroneously said Mandela was dead.

Homicide Blog Changing Hands and Getting Scaled Back

Filed under: Crime,Dog Trainer,General — Patterico @ 12:08 am

In my year-end review of the L.A. Times, I had very little praise for the paper — but I made a point of praising Jill Leovy’s Homicide Blog.

The same day I published my post, it was revealed that the blog is getting turned over to someone else and scaled back:

The Homicide Report will change, but will continue in some form in 2008. The Times aims to maintain the tone, conventions and style of this report, although the reporting job will change hands after January and entries may be scaled back somewhat.

This is especially distressing because it means the paper isn’t willing to commit the resources to track every murder in L.A. Leovy recently acknowledged that she was unable to keep track of every single homicide in Los Angeles as she had originally intended:

The Homicide Report endeavored to cover every homicide in Los Angeles County in 2007. It has failed to do so.

. . . .

And finally, the relentless demands of this beat have at times exceeded the abilities of this reporter, and names have gone missing because HR is guilty of lapses in vigilance.

No, names have gone missing because the L.A. Times assigned only one reporter to cover every homicide in L.A. It’s a ridiculous demand to make of one person, on a very important topic. Yet Leovy rose to the task, and showed she really cared about murders in L.A.

Even if the blog hasn’t been perfect, I respect Leovy’s valiant effort to try to meet the impossible challenge put to her. It’s been one of the few positive things happening at the L.A. Times.

But instead of pushing to commit more resources to the blog, to make sure all homicides are tracked, the paper is seemingly giving up on trying. I guess keeping track of all homicides in Los Angeles is just too big a job for the hometown newspaper. They can’t assign more people to it; how could they do all the Paris Hilton stories they need to do?

P.S. For a sample of what this blog has been like, check out this interview with LAPD Det. Sal LaBarbera.

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