Patterico's Pontifications


Obama: My Grandma Who Utters Racial and Ethnic Stereotypes Is a “Typical White Person”

Filed under: 2008 Election,General,Race — Patterico @ 8:50 pm

Obama clarifies about Grandma: it’s not that she’s a racist, per se — it’s that white people are typically racist. Think I’m making it up? Audio is here, and here is the relevant quote:

The point I was making was not that my grandmother harbors any racial animosity. She doesn’t. But she is a typical white person who, uh, you know, if she sees somebody on the street that she doesn’t know there’s a reaction that’s been been bred into, uh, our experiences that don’t go away and that sometimes come out in the wrong way and that’s just the nature of race in our society. We have to break through it.

Let me remind you what Obama considers to be a typical white person:

I can no more disown him than I can my white grandmother – a woman who helped raise me, a woman who sacrificed again and again for me, a woman who loves me as much as she loves anything in this world, but a woman who once confessed her fear of black men who passed by her on the street, and who on more than one occasion has uttered racial or ethnic stereotypes that made me cringe.

Thanks to Rick and James D.

LAPD Assistant Chief Told SWAT Wife That Standards Were Not Being Lowered

Filed under: General — Patterico @ 8:12 pm

You’ve heard that LAPD is lowering the standards for its SWAT team. In this post, I reveal that an LAPD Assistant Chief denied this — just days before the news broke.

Recently, the wife of an LAPD SWAT team member heard that affirmative action was coming to SWAT. On March 10, she wrote LAPD Assistant Chief Sharon Papa, expressing concern that “there are actions being taken to lower the hiring standard for getting into SWAT.” Assistant Chief Papa replied: “I am not aware of any actions being taken to lower the standards for getting into SWAT.”

But such actions were being taken — as Assistant Chief Papa had to have known.

Contrary to Assistant Chief Papa’s e-mail, it has since been reported that a panel of “experts” appointed by LAPD did indeed secretly call for changing the SWAT’s rigorous entrance requirements. The standards have already been changed to eliminate much of the testing for proficiency in shooting and negotiating obstacle courses. These changes were reportedly a response to recommendations made by the panel of “experts,” who sought to make SWAT more open to women.

Even more interesting: the panel’s work was overseen by Assistant Chief Papa — the very person who denied to the SWAT member’s wife that SWAT’s standards were being lowered.

In this post, you will read the e-mails themselves.

Today I received the e-mails to and from Assistant Chief Papa, from a source who wishes to remain anonymous. That source was not the SWAT team member’s wife, although I confirmed the contents of the e-mails with her this evening. She told me that she sent the e-mail to Assistant Chief Papa out of a genuine concern that SWAT’s standards were being lowered, and forwarded the Assistant Chief’s response to people in her address book (not including me) for the same reason. She told me that her one and only concern is to ensure that SWAT maintains its high standards, for the safety of her husband and of the other members of SWAT.

Here is the full text of the e-mail the SWAT team member’s wife sent to Assistant Chief Papa:

Recently a group of LAPD SWAT wives gathered to learn how to support our husbands and deal with our redefined roles after the death of the first SWAT officer. This has had an enormous ripple effect through the SWAT families. The reality of how easily that could have been our husband. And although it wasn’t we have been consumed with guilt and grief for the family that was affected.

Now we have heard there are actions being taken to lower the hiring standard for getting into SWAT. Although I can’t speak for everyone the majority of us are offended that at this time of grieving that anyone would do this to these officers. We are concerned with the safety of our husbands, the father of our children if they are expected to go into these highly dangerous situations with someone who got in under a compromised standard. Of the 60 men on SWAT 52 are married.

It is widely believed this is an attempt to be politically correct and allow a female officer on the team. We do not begrudge a female making it on the team. And from what I understand neither do the men of SWAT. However, she needs to meet the same criteria. The motto of the SWAT team is “Uncompromised Duty Honor and Valor” this is compromising all those. You do not see the NFL, NHL, MLB lowering their standard to allow females to get to play. And those are entertainment organizations for profit. It defies common sense that a life saving organization would be willing to.

The SWAT selection certification process has been tried and tested. It has been in place for 20 years and it was approved by the city. If you watched Randy Simmons funeral or if you know any of the members of this elite division of law enforcement you would know it is working. Their record proves it. It doesn’t require change. Change is only good when something is not working.

We will not sit quietly by and allow you to compromise our husbands safety.

Assistant Chief Papa responded:

I am not aware of any actions being taken to lower the standards for getting into SWAT. I do know that the LASD [Los Angeles Sheriff’s Department] recently did a validation study of their requirements and our Chief wanted to have ours looked at as well to make sure our standards are still legally valid. I will forward your inquiry to Chief Paysinger and Chief Roupoli since they would be involved in any review that may currently be underway.

I appreciate your e-mail and certainly understand your concerns. Once I have more information, I will get back in touch with you.

(My emphasis.)

Contrary to Assistant Chief Papa’s e-mail, the LAPD is indeed lowering SWAT’s standards — as Assistant Chief Papa surely must have known.

According to a March 18 article in the L.A. Times:

A panel of law enforcement experts convened by Los Angeles Police Chief William J. Bratton to examine the department’s elite SWAT unit concluded in an undisclosed report that the rigorous testing to get into the unit should be changed to make it more open to women, called for tighter supervision and criticized officers for relying too heavily on force over negotiations.

According to the article, the standards have already changed:

Department officials recently imposed a shorter, less rigorous set of tests, according to several sources, including SWAT officers who said they were briefed on the changes.

An article published today adds new details, reporting that the new testing regime

does away with much of the shooting simulations and arduous obstacle courses used for the last decade, according to several officers briefed on the changes.

I confirmed this today with Robert C.J. Parry, who broke this story in an L.A. Times op-ed piece. In response to my request, Robert sent me a detailed e-mail with a list of the previous and current testing requirements — information he compiled by speaking with “multiple current and former SWAT officers.” Consistent with what the L.A. Times has reported, almost all of the even modestly demanding aspects of the old testing regime have been eliminated, including numerous obstacle courses and shooting simulation tests. Ironically, given the event that generated the recommendations, the test that evaluated whether a SWAT candidate would shoot a suspect or a hostage in a simulated raid has been eliminated. Robert said in his e-mail: “Clearly, the standards are far less challenging.”

All of this was still a secret when Assistant Chief Papa sent her March 10 e-mail to the wife of the LAPD SWAT officer. The contents of the panel’s report were first disclosed on March 16, when the L.A. Times published Robert’s op-ed.

Here’s the kicker: according to The Times‘s March 18 article, Assistant Chief Papa “oversaw the panel’s work.” It is almost impossible to imagine that she did not know the standards were being changed.

There seems to be little question that standards have been lowered — and that Assistant Chief Papa knew it.

P.S. Jack Dunphy has a piece about this in National Review Online tomorrow. I’ll let you know when it’s up.

UPDATE: I have e-mailed Assistant Chief Papa a link to this post, together with a polite inquiry as to whether she can reconcile her statements in the e-mail quoted above with the recent reporting about the lowering of standards for admittance into SWAT. I have told her that I will be happy to reproduce in full any response she might give me.

The Clinton-Wright Photo and the “Truth about Trinity Church” Blog

Filed under: 2008 Election — DRJ @ 6:18 pm

[Guest post by DRJ]

Someone has started a blog in support of Jeremiah Wright and Trinity Church of Chicago. Entries include posts on John McCain’s pastor, Jeremiah Wright’s Presidential commendation during LBJ’s tenure, and why the UN agrees with Wright that America is racist.

In addition, the New York Times has published a photo of Bill Clinton with Jeremiah Wright taken at Clinton’s “I Repent” breakfast on 9/11/98 attended by religious leaders. The breakfast was held after Bill admitted he lied about Monica Lewinsky. The Times’ article states that the photo was provided by the Obama campaign.

However, Ben Smith at the Politico reported that the photo was originally posted at the “Truth about Trinity Church” blog but was taken down. (Smith: “Curious thing, these anonymous blogs.”)

The Clinton campaign had this terse response:

“The Obama campaign put this photo out? How pathetic.”

That about sums up the whole thing.


MI State-Run Re-Vote a No-Go

Filed under: 2008 Election — DRJ @ 4:48 pm

[Guest post by DRJ]

ABC reports that the Michigan Legislature has adjourned without approving a state-run, privately-funded Democratic re-vote:

“What I can tell you is that the idea of a state-run, privately funded primary is dead,” said Liz Boyd, a spokeswoman for Michigan Gov. Jennifer Granholm who is supporting Clinton.”

This is viewed as a blow for Senator Hillary Clinton’s campaign.

A Democratic spokesperson indicated that a party-run mail-in vote was still possible, but the logistics involved coupled with the Obama campaign’s reluctance makes that unlikely.


March Madness Begins (Updated)

Filed under: 2008 Election,Sports — DRJ @ 4:05 pm

[Guest post by DRJ]

It’s game time and CBS Sports is offering the games for free online, so you don’t have to choose between basketball and Patterico. Here are some early results from Round 1:

Xavier beat Georgia.
Kansas beat Portland State.
Michigan St over Temple.
Marquette beat Kentucky.
Pittsburgh beat Oral Roberts.
UNLV over Kent St.
Purdue beat Baylor.
Stanford walloped Cornell.

There are several games in progress. The only surprise I see is that USC trails Kansas ST 37-27 at the half.

UPDATE: ABC reports that Obama picked the brackets but he picked relatively few upsets:

“For a man who purports to know his basketball, it is surprisingly free of unconventional picks. And he may have handed Sen. Hillary Clinton, D-N.Y., a potent electability argument: Can America trust a man who, when he picks up that phone at 3 am, does not select a single 5-12 upset?

Bottom line: This is the bracket of a cautious politician who is not immune to political pandering.”

ABC also claims that Ben Smith caught Obama doing a flip-flop when he picked Pittsburgh over Stanford in the brackets, but he told a radio station he was picking Stanford:

“UPDATE: Politico’s Ben Smith e-mails to point out that choosing Pittsburgh was a flip-flop: Obama told a North Carolina radio station Thursday morning that he would be choosing Stanford OVER Pittsburgh to get to the Final Four. So he was against Pittsburgh before he was for it?”

So much for change …


Feminism in a Small Town (Updated)

Filed under: Books — DRJ @ 1:53 pm

[Guest post by DRJ]

I can’t imagine putting a bumper sticker on a new car but I saw one today that caught my attention:

Brand new black SUV.

Driven by a young, very pretty (female) brunette.

Bumper sticker: “Well-behaved women rarely make history.”

I wonder if this driver is a devotee of Laurel Thatcher Ulrich? Ulrich first wrote a similar statement in 1976 as a graduate student and now she teaches at Harvard. Amazon summarizes Ulrich’s quote this way (from a Washington Post review):

“At the beginning of her career as a historian of early America, Laurel Thatcher Ulrich published an article entitled “Virtuous Women Found: New England Ministerial Literature, 1668-1735.” Could anything sound more narrowly academic than that — a scholarly examination of a small subset of Puritan funeral sermons? But Ulrich’s paper was destined to have a long history. It opened this way:

“Cotton Mather called them ‘the hidden ones.’ They never preached or sat in a deacon’s bench. Nor did they vote or attend Harvard. Neither, because they were virtuous women, did they question God or the magistrates. They prayed secretly, read the Bible through at least once a year, and went to hear the minister preach even when it snowed. Hoping for an eternal crown, they never asked to be remembered on earth. And they haven’t been. Well-behaved women seldom make history.”

Great quote. Is it true?

UPDATE: What about men: Do well-behaved men seldom make history?


Wright’s Stance on Israel Could Cost Obama Jewish Votes

Filed under: General — Patterico @ 12:10 am

One aspect of Jeremiah Wright’s comments that hasn’t gotten enough scrutiny, in my opinion, is his anti-Israel stance. I’d heard this bit from one of his sermons:

But I think that, in the repeated showings of “God damn America” and “the chickens have come home to roost,” we’ve underemphasized the full extent of Wright’s anti-Israel sentiment — something that could have a serious effect on Jewish Democrats, if they saw Obama’s denunciations of these statements as inadequate.

Wright is, after all, a fellow who wrote in July 2005:

The Israelis have illegally occupied Palestinian territories for almost 40 years now. It took a divestment campaign to wake the business community up concerning the South Africa issue. Divestment has now hit the table again as a strategy to wake the business community up and to wake Americans up concerning the injustice and the racism under which the Palestinians have lived because of Zionism.

The Divestment issue will hit the floor during this month’s General Synod. Divesting dollars from businesses and banks that do business with Israel is the new strategy being proposed to wake the world up concerning the racism of Zionism. That Divestment issue won’t make the press either, however.

Recently, while I was analyzing some of the content of the Trinity Church’s bulletins, one thing jumped out at me, from a July 8, 2007 bulletin:


Another bulletin turned over a couple of pages to someone from Hamas (reprinted, of course, from the L.A. Times)!

Poking around the web to see if anyone else had been written about this, I ran across this excellent post by Tom Blumer, which notes these items and more. I suggest you read it all.

Did Wright discuss these issues consistently enough that he believed it might be a problem for Obama? Yes. Wright seemed to think so when asked about it in a February 2007 interview (though, to be fair, he said he had not talked to Obama about it):

I just shared with, I was trying to remember who it is, somebody in public life was asking me about Barack, and I said listen, Barack might be forced by the media and/or by supporters to be very absent from this church and to put distance between our church and himself. As a politician, he might be forced into that. I have not talked to him about that at all. It’s just that my read just of the blogs and what the right-Christian-wing leaders have said about him being a part of our church over past three months says this is — you think it’s ugly now, it’s going to get worse, it’s going to get much worse. For survival’s sake, as a politician he just might have to not — not that I love you less, I love me more. I’ll never get elected as long as they keep harping on this. And that’s — again, I haven’t talked to him about that at all.

Q: How do you feel about that?

A: I would understand. I really would. I would understand. For instance … he can’t afford the Jewish support to wane or start questioning his allegiance to the state of Israel because I’m saying the position we’ve taken in terms of Palestinians is wrong, and I think we need to revisit that. Just that kind of statement would cause negative repercussions in some quarters in terms of some supporters, in terms of some people he needs to support his election campaign.

Yeah, better to distance yourself from that.

But you know, Barack’s crazy old grandma probably said some bad stuff about Israel too — and he can’t disown her!

UPDATE: Don’t forget this quote:

“When his enemies find out that in 1984 I went to Tripoli to visit Moammar Gadhafi — with [Louis] Farrakhan — a lot of his Jewish support will dry up quicker than a snowball in hell.”

As well it should.

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