Patterico's Pontifications


Westboro Baptist Church Members Praise Student Deaths

Filed under: Civil Liberties — DRJ @ 9:52 pm

[Guest post by DRJ]

What is wrong with the people?

“Nearly 1,000 UW-Stout students gathered Thursday morning outside the Memorial Student Center to protest picketing by members of a Kansas-based church.

Four people from Westboro Baptist Church thanked God for a tragic fire Saturday that took the life of three UW-Stout students in an off-campus house fire.

“They died for Wisconsin and Minnesota’s sins,” according to a news release issued by the church. Church members held signs saying “God’s Wrath is Revealed” and “America is Doomed.”

The church’s Web site didn’t say what those sins were or why church members were at UW-Stout. University officials also did not know the reason for the picketing.”

I believe in free speech but I wish the Westboro Baptist Church would find better things for its members to do.


Update on Pirated French Ship

Filed under: International,Terrorism,War — DRJ @ 9:25 pm

[Guest post by DRJ]

In another thread, Kishnevi linked a France24 report on the French yacht/cruise ship that was captured by pirates last week (covered in this post). Today’s report states that French commandos seized six Somali pirates in a helicopter raid launched after the pirates had released the captive crew. As detailed in the article:

>> The yacht owners paid a ransom for the crew, and after the crew was safely released the French commandos tracked down the pirates (believed to be Somali fishermen) as they made their escape to cars waiting on land.

>> The raid was conducted in daylight. Local officials said there were 5 deaths but the French military denied killing anyone.

>> Apparently some of the ransom, referred to by authorities as “interesting bags,” was recovered in the raid.

My favorite image from the article:

“The French navy sent 2 boats to the area, with 4 or 5 helicopters on board and around 50 commandos. A French admiral was also parachuted into the sea and picked up by the task force to help lead the operation.

The best part of the article:

“A sniper in one helicopter shot out the car engine while another helicopter dropped off three elite French soldiers who captured the six pirates and hauled them off to French navy helicopter carrier waiting off the Somali coast.

“It is the first time an act of piracy in this area has been resolved so quickly … and it is also the first time that some of the pirates have been apprehended,” Admiral Edouard Guillard told a news conference in Paris.

French officials said the pirates, believed to be Somali fishermen, would be tried in France. They said Paris would also seek much tougher United Nations action against maritime piracy.”

There’s more … France identifies the problem and offers a military and diplomatic solution:

“France said it would present new anti-piracy measures to fellow members of the United Nations Security Council next week aimed at toughening the war against sea banditry.

“This phenomenon is increasing, with the pirates becoming ever better equipped and organised,” said Jean-David Levitte, Sarkozy’s chief diplomatic advisor.

“We are confronted by a real, real threat,” he said, adding that over the last 10 years 3,200 sailors had been kidnapped by pirates, 500 injured and 160 killed.

He said countries like Somalia that had a problem with piracy needed to open their seas to international naval patrols and countries with strong navies, like France and Britain, needed to set up counter-piracy units.”

I don’t think pirates will enjoy French justice but it’s nice to see France and Europe take the lead in solving an international problem.

H/T Kishnevi.


Michael Yon Wants ‘More Surge’

Filed under: War — DRJ @ 7:59 pm

[Guest post by DRJ]

Michael Yon has an article in the Wall Street Journal that begins with his take on the success of the surge:

“It is said that generals always fight the last war. But when David Petraeus came to town it was senators – on both sides of the aisle – who battled over the Iraq war of 2004-2006. That war has little in common with the war we are fighting today.

I may well have spent more time embedded with combat units in Iraq than any other journalist alive. I have seen this war – and our part in it – at its brutal worst. And I say the transformation over the last 14 months is little short of miraculous.”

Yon concludes with a plea for more troops and more surge:

“We know now that we can pull off a successful counterinsurgency in Iraq. We know that we are working with an increasingly willing citizenry. But counterinsurgency, like community policing, requires lots of boots on the ground. You can’t do it from inside a jet or a tank.

Over the past 15 months, we have proved that we can win this war. We stand now at the moment of truth. Victory – and a democracy in the Arab world – is within our grasp. But it could yet slip away if our leaders remain transfixed by the war we almost lost, rather than focusing on the war we are winning today.”

Click the link and read the rest, written by the best reporter the Iraq War has seen.


Obama on Small-Town Americans (Updated)

Filed under: 2008 Election — DRJ @ 6:30 pm

[Guest post by DRJ]

At a weekend a fund-raising event with wealthy San Francisco donors, Barack Obama reportedly singled out small-town Americans who “cling to guns or religion or antipathy to people who aren’t like them” (audio and full transcript at the link):

“But — so the questions you’re most likely to get about me, ‘Well, what is this guy going to do for me? What’s the concrete thing?’ What they wanna hear is — so, we’ll give you talking points about what we’re proposing — close tax loopholes, roll back, you know, the tax cuts for the top 1 percent. Obama’s gonna give tax breaks to middle-class folks and we’re gonna provide health care for every American. So we’ll go down a series of talking points.

But the truth is, is that, our challenge is to get people persuaded that we can make progress when there’s not evidence of that in their daily lives. You go into some of these small towns in Pennsylvania, and like a lot of small towns in the Midwest, the jobs have been gone now for 25 years and nothing’s replaced them. And they fell through the Clinton administration, and the Bush administration, and each successive administration has said that somehow these communities are gonna regenerate and they have not. So it’s not surprising then that they get bitter, they cling to guns or religion or antipathy to people who aren’t like them or anti-immigrant sentiment or anti-trade sentiment as a way to explain their frustrations.

For an intellectual who has spent his entire adult life in a professional career, Obama (and his wife, for that matter) are pretty good at digging holes.

H/T cfbleachers.

UPDATE 4/12/2008Obama doubles down:

“But before a raucous crowd in Terre Haute, Ind., Friday night, Obama not only repeated many of the same lines, he expanded on them. “When I go around and talk to people, there is frustration and there is anger and there is bitterness. And what’s worse is when people are expressing their anger, and politicians try to say, ‘What are you angry about?'”

“Of course they’re bitter. Of course they’re frustrated. You would be, too — in fact, many of you are,” Obama said.

Obama also returned fire on both his critics.

“Here’s what’s rich: Senator Clinton says, ‘I don’t think people are bitter in Pennsylvania. I think Barack’s being condescending.’ John McCain says, ‘He’s obviously out of touch with people.’ Out of touch? John McCain, it took him three tries to figure out the home foreclosure crisis was a problem and to come up with a plan for it, and he’s saying I’m out of touch? Senator Clinton voted for a credit card-sponsored bankruptcy bill that made it harder for people to get out of debt — after taking money from the financial services companies — and she says I’m out of touch?

“No, I’m in touch. I know exactly what’s going on. … People are fed up. They’re angry and they’re frustrated and they’re bitter, and they want to see a change in Washington.”


A Tale of Two Recanters — Part Two [Posted by Guest Blogger WLS]

Filed under: General — WLS @ 5:22 pm

[Posted by WLS]

In case you missed it in the title and the first line above, this post is written by guest blogger WLS, and not by Patterico.

Returning to the story of the sordid history of Chuck Philips and his reporting on the murders of Tupac Shakur and Christopher Wallace, aka “Biggie Smalls”, I mentioned at the end of this post that the recantation by Waymond Anderson was only the most recent episode where a witness recanted after having previously implicated Suge Knight and David Mack — and by implication the LAPD, Mack’s employer at the time.

A few more facts to make the background of this post more understandable. Most of this is drawn from a lengthy Rolling Stone article by Randall Sullivan from 2005, which explains the full background for anyone interested.


Hillary’s Trademark Laugh

Filed under: 2008 Election — DRJ @ 2:22 pm

[Guest post by DRJ]

Today in Pittsburgh, Hillary Clinton laughed off questions about Colombia, free trade, and husband Bill’s finances:

“Hillary Clinton used her trademark laugh Thursday to deflect a question about the $800,000 her husband earned in 2005 giving speeches for a Bogota-based group that supports the Colombia free trade agreement — the same trade deal she currently opposes.

Asked by CNN if those earnings represented a conflict of interest given that she has dipped into her family’s pocketbook to pay campaign bills, Clinton threw up her hands and laughed loudly for several seconds.

“How many angels dance on the head of the pin?,” she responded, continuing to giggle. “I have really, uh, nothing to … I mean, how do you answer that?”

She went on to explain that she is and was against the Colombia free trade deal.

It would be interesting to play poker with Hillary. She has a tell.


Bill Clinton on Hillary’s Trip to Bosnia

Filed under: 2008 Election — DRJ @ 12:32 pm

[Guest post by DRJ]

Hillary to Bill: Be Quiet, Dear:

“Former President Clinton has added to the falsehoods surrounding his wife’s tale of her trip to Bosnia 12 years ago.

In Indiana on Thursday, Bill Clinton defended his wife’s mistake in claiming that she landed under sniper fire in Bosnia, accusing the media of treating her like “she’d robbed a bank” for confusing the facts.
Clinton campaign spokesman Phil Singer responded to the former president’s remarks Friday by saying, “Senator Clinton appreciates her husband standing up for her, but this was her mistake and she takes responsibility for it.”

She’s also told her husband to quit talking about it.

“Hillary called me and said ‘You don’t remember this. You weren’t there, let me handle it.’ I said, ‘Yes ma’am,'” Bill Clinton, who was in Indiana campaigning for his wife Friday, told reporters.”

The linked article details Bill’s spin and the facts. Click on Patterico’s contemporaneous post here for a refresher on how Bill Clinton spins, and leave your comments there.


Bill Clinton Shamelessly Lies About Hillary Clinton’s Shameless Bosnia Lies

Filed under: 2008 Election,Morons — Patterico @ 12:31 pm

Allahpundit has the astounding details. Five lies in all.

What a maroon.

Global Warming and Hurricanes

Filed under: Environment — DRJ @ 12:03 pm

[Guest post by DRJ]

MIT hurricane expert and global warming proponent Kerry Emanuel wants a do-over:

“One of the most influential scientists behind the theory that global warming has intensified recent hurricane activity says he will reconsider his stand.

The hurricane expert, Kerry Emanuel of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, this week unveiled a novel technique for predicting hurricane activity. The new work suggests that, even in a dramatically warming world, hurricane frequency and intensity may not substantially rise during the next two centuries.

The research, appearing in the March issue of Bulletin of the American Meteorological Society, is all the more remarkable coming from Emanuel, a highly visible leader in his field and long an ardent proponent of a link between global warming and much stronger hurricanes.

His changing views could influence other scientists.

“The results surprised me,” Emanuel said of his work, adding that global warming may still play a role in raising the intensity of hurricanes but what that role is remains far from certain.”

Emanuel had originally concluded global warming would cause more powerful hurricanes or more active hurricane seasons, and his work may have contributed to the image of a hurricane in advertising for Al Gore’s An Inconvenient Truth:

“Among the first to publish was Emanuel, who, just three weeks before Hurricane Katrina’s landfall, published a paper in Nature that concluded a key measurement of the power dissipated by a storm during its lifetime had risen dramatically since the mid-1970s.

In the future, he argued, incredibly active hurricane years such as 2005 would become the norm rather than flukes.

This view, amplified by environmentalists and others concerned about global warming, helped establish in the public’s mind that “super” hurricanes were one of climate change’s most critical threats. A satellite image of a hurricane emanating from a smokestack featured prominently in promotions for Al Gore’s An Inconvenient Truth.”

The articles notes that, after Hurricane Katrina, scientific articles that showed hurricanes were becoming more frequent and intense were highlighted while contrary papers were not:

“After the 2005 hurricane season, a series of other papers were published that appeared to show, among other things, that the most intense hurricanes were becoming more frequent.

What has not been as broadly disseminated, say Pielke and some hurricane scientists, is that other research papers have emerged that suggest global warming has yet to leave an imprint on hurricane activity. One of them, published late last year in Nature, found that warming seas may not increase hurricane intensity.”

Emanuel’s bottom line is “We’ve got a lot of work to do.”

It’s good that Emanuel is willing to revisit this issue – a true idealogue wouldn’t – but instances like this reinforce the perception that some scientists let emotion overrule facts when it comes to global warming.


iowahawk Finds First Draft of LAT Op-Ed Criticizing Petraeus’s Decorations

Filed under: Dog Trainer,General,Humor — Patterico @ 7:04 am

In an L.A. Times op-ed, Matthew DeBord has sartorial advice for General Petraeus:

Gen. David H. Petraeus may be as impressive a military professional as the United States has developed in recent years, but he could use some strategic advice on how to manage his sartorial PR. Witness his congressional testimony on the state of the war in Iraq. There he sits in elaborate Army regalia, four stars glistening on each shoulder, nine rows of colorful ribbons on his left breast, and various other medallions, brooches and patches scattered across the rest of the available real estate on his uniform. He even wears his name tag, a lone and incongruous hunk of cheap plastic in a region of pristine gilt, just in case the politicians aren’t sure who he is.

That’s a lot of martial bling, especially for an officer who hadn’t seen combat until five years ago. Unfortunately, brazen preening and “ribbon creep” among the Army’s modern-day upper crust have trumped the time-honored military virtues of humility, duty and personal reserve.

iowahawk found the first draft of DeBord’s op-ed in a dumpster behind a West Hollywood antique shop. A taste:

Gen. David H. Petraeus may be as fabulous a military professional as the United States has developed in recent years, but let’s face it, girlfriend – when it comes to the Fashion Theater, this showy soldier needs to call in the Makeover Marines. Oh snap!

Witness his congressional testimony on the state of the war in Iraq. There he sits in gaudy Army regalia, four stars glistening and glittering on each shoulder, nine camp rows of chintzy ribbons on his left breast, and various other brooches, patches and appliques scattered across the rest of the available real estate on his uniform. Talk about ‘fruit salad!’ Hel-loooo, General Garanimals: the 1950s called and they want their uniform back! To top it all off, the DC paparazzi photos show our dowdy doughboy sporting a name tag, a lone and incongruous hunk of cheap plastic in a region of pristine gilt. Looks like this ostentatious officer was playing hooky during West Point’s Accessorizing 101!

Heh. Read it all.

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