Patterico's Pontifications

4/20/2008 Revises History

Filed under: General — DRJ @ 9:47 pm

[Guest post by DRJ]

Recently, Hillary Clinton criticized for its anti-war position on Afghanistan. Subsequently, in a statement to the Huffington Post,’s Executive Director claimed that “MoveOn never opposed the war in Afghanistan.”

Now Tom Maguire at Just One Minute provides some evidence that was against the war in Afghanistan before it was for it.

Good times.


UPDATE BY PATTERICO: Beldar weighs in, in this very well-written and compelling post.

Hoping Al-Sadr Will Fade Away

Filed under: War — DRJ @ 9:23 pm

[Guest post by DRJ]

Wretchard at The Belmont Club has a round-up of encouraging al-Sadr news. First, from the AP:

“Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice mocked anti-American cleric Muqtada al-Sadr as a coward on Sunday, hours after the radical leader threatened to declare war unless U.S. and Iraqi forces end a military crackdown on his followers. …

“I know he’s sitting in Iran,” Rice said dismissively, when asked about al-Sadr’s latest threat to lift a self-imposed cease-fire with government and U.S. forces. “I guess it’s all-out war for anybody but him,” Rice said. “I guess that’s the message; his followers can go to their deaths and he’s in Iran.”

There’s more at the link from Bill Roggio and the New York Times, as well as thoughts on how these developments may affect the next President.

Also, there’s a notice that the Belmont Club will be moving to a new site so keep a watch for the new address.


Immigration Sweep Nets Identity Thieves

Filed under: Immigration — DRJ @ 8:31 pm

[Guest post by DRJ]

Stashiu is covering immigration stories so I don’t have to:

“A sweep covering five states netted almost 300 arrests of illegal aliens on charges of identity theft, document fraud, and being in the country illegally.”

The details are at the link.


Obama Linked to Gun Control Efforts

Filed under: 2008 Election,Second Amendment — DRJ @ 8:09 pm

[Guest post by DRJ]

Now Obama says he supports gun ownership as an individual right under the Second Amendment. Then he authorized grants that supported the opposite position:

“Barack Obama’s presidential campaign has worked to assure uneasy gun owners that he believes the Constitution protects their rights and that he doesn’t want to take away their guns.

But before he became a national political figure, he sat on the board of a Chicago-based foundation that doled out at least nine grants totaling nearly $2.7 million to groups that advocated the opposite positions.

The [Joyce F]oundation funded legal scholarship advancing the theory that the Second Amendment does not protect individual gun owners’ rights, as well as two groups that advocated handgun bans. And it paid to support a book called “Every Handgun Is Aimed at You: The Case for Banning Handguns.”

The Obama campaign responded that the Joyce Foundation issued grants to fuel debate about guns:

“Obama’s eight years on the board of the Joyce Foundation, which paid him more than $70,000 in directors fees, do not in any way conflict with his campaign-trail support for the rights of gun owners, Ben LaBolt, a spokesman for Obama’s presidential campaign, asserted in a statement issued to Politico this week.

LaBolt stressed that the foundation, which has assets of about $935 million, doesn’t take “detailed policy positions,” but rather uses its grants to “fuel a dialogue about how to address public policy issues like reducing gun violence.”

As with most foundations, Joyce did not record how individual board members voted on grants, but former Joyce officials told Politico that funding was typically approved unanimously.”

However, the Obama campaign’s claim that the grants were made solely to spur dialogue is contradicted by the details of a few of the grants:

“During Obama’s time on the Joyce board, though, the foundation gave seven grants totaling more than $2.5 million to a group that wants Congress to take much more proactive action: the Violence Policy Center.

The D.C.-based nonprofit, which calls itself “the most aggressive group in the gun control movement,” for years has argued for a national handgun ban.

n a 2000 study called “Unsafe in Any Hands: Why America Needs to Ban Handguns,” the group concluded that Congress could and should ban handguns nationwide “soon” and allocate $16.25 billion to buy back the 65 million handguns it estimated were then owned by civilians.

The study dismissed as “pure myth” the theory that the Second Amendment bars such strict gun control laws.”

In addition, Obama’s claim that he supports gun rights is not substantiated by his legislative record:

“In his appeal to gun owners, Obama has not emphasized his own legislative record, which includes supporting a ban on semiautomatic weapons and concealed weapons, and a limit on handgun purchases to one a month. He has blamed his staff for indicating on a questionnaire filled out during his 1996 state Senate bid under his name that he supports banning “the manufacture, sale and possession of handguns.”

Obama is trying to be all things to all people. As a general rule, that’s not a winning formula for Presidential candidates.


L.A. Times Interviews Jack Dunphy on Special Order 40

Filed under: Dog Trainer,General,Immigration — Patterico @ 5:38 pm

The L.A. Times expands today’s examination of Special Order 40 with an interview with Jack Dunphy. A taste:

Special Order 40 is hobbling police. That’s the view of an LAPD officer who writes about the department for National Review Online and other publications under the pseudonym “Jack Dunphy.”

Although the order states only that officers can’t stop people solely to inquire about their immigration status, “the policy and the reality are quite different,” he said in an interview with The Times. The officer asked that his real name not be used.

Worried about running afoul of department policy, Dunphy said, some officers are reluctant to take action against illegal immigrants, even known criminals.

As a result, he said, people who have been deported for crimes often return and live in full view of the Los Angeles Police Department.

Jack points out that LAPD officers have absolutely zero interest in alerting authorities to the illegal status of illegal immigrants who are crime victims, and I second that. As a prosecutor, I could not care less whether my victim is illegal or not.

But illegal aliens who commit crimes should not be here.

Read the interview here.

Chicago Tribune: “How Broke Were Obamas?”

Filed under: 2008 Election — DRJ @ 1:28 pm

[Guest post by DRJ]

The Chicago Tribune has a brief article that provides more questions than answers about the Obamas student loans:

“The Obamas often say they would still be in debt if not for his best-selling books, which began to swell the couple’s bank account in 2005. In fact, for some period of time, Michelle Obama tells audiences, the couple’s college loan payments cost them more than their monthly mortgage.

As young lawyers, the Obamas pursued non-profit or public service during much of the 1990s. Obama once said he was so broke when he arrived in Los Angeles for the Democratic National Convention in 2000 that his credit card was rejected when he tried to rent a car.

Still, it’s hard to tell just how broke they were, when and for how long.

Public records paint only part of the financial picture. In 1993 they bought a condominium in Hyde Park for $277,500, paying about $111,000 as a down payment, according to county real estate records.

As for income, they earned a combined household total of slightly more than $240,000 in 2000, according to tax records they have since made public. (Their income fluctuated in that range until 2005, when they reported earning $1.6 million.)

But it’s unclear how much their college loan debts were, and aides to the Obama campaign said last week that they could not immediately provide records to clarify.

However, Michelle Obama graduated from Harvard Law School in 1988 and her husband graduated in 1991, around the time when the school’s dean estimated the cost of a Harvard law degree at $62,200. They both also earned undergraduate degrees from Ivy League schools.”

This is interesting to me because our oldest son considered and/or is considering Ivy League schools for college and law school, so I’m familiar with the costs. As the Chicago Tribune notes, however, it’s difficult to guess about their loans without more information.

Was the law school price tag of $62,200 for tuition only or did it include books, room and board? I suspect it included all items and, if so, the Obamas’ law school debt would be in the neighborhood of $375,000. (I’m not counting income they earned during any summer clerkships because those funds were probably used to pay for summer food, housing, transportation, clothing, and for discretionary expenses.)

In addition, did the Obamas have undergraduate loans? Given the humble backgrounds both Obamas have described, I would be surprised if they didn’t receive some or even significant financial assistance at the undergraduate level. Other than National Merit scholarships, need-based financial assistance was the norm even back in my college years 10 years before the Obamas went to college.

Other questions include whether either Obama received financial assistance in law school that defrayed their costs, and what were the interest rates on the student loans and when did the interest start to accrue.

If the Obamas were able to get Ivy League undergraduate and law school educations for under $200K each, that seems like a bargain to me – even at 1983 rates. If they release more information, it will be interesting to see what the actual numbers were.


Debating the Democratic Debates

Filed under: 2008 Election — DRJ @ 12:31 pm

[Guest post by DRJ]

Former Clinton adviser and current ABC analyst George Stephanopoulos asked surprisingly hard questions of Obama in the Philadelphia Democratic debate and, not surprisingly, media sources like the Washington Post’s Tom Shales objected.

According to Ben Smith at the Politico, the Clinton campaign’s Jay Carson sent the following email to Tom Shales:

From: Jay Carson
To: [Tom Shales]
Sent: Thu Apr 17 17:59:49 2008
Subject: debates


I hope this finds you doing well.

I read your piece with great curiosity this morning especially because I didn’t recall you ever having the same negative reaction to any of the multiple debates where the moderators were extremely tough on senator Clinton (much much tougher than either Stephanopoulos or Gibson were on either candidate last night). I did a lexis search to make sure I hadn’t missed you crying foul about any of these debates and my memory proved me correct. Msnbc was so tough on senator Clinton (including devoting over well over the first hour of two debates to tough questions to senator Clinton) that they were mocked and criticized by many for the imbalance of their coverage, though notably not you. In fact, you found their most recent debate to be “too tame and tepid.”

To be clear, I don’t think it is a bad thing for the press to be tough on presidential candidates (or their staff for that matter). These people are running for president after all, and if you cant handle a tv anchor how should the American people expect you to handle a hostile world leader? My only complaint is when a different standard exists for each candidate, which is the glaring issue with your piece. It is troubling to me that tough on one candidate is deserving of your outrage, and tough on another candidate is fair game, even “too tame.” I would posit that if one is going to be playing referee with media coverage it is all the more important not to have a double standard.

When you get a chance I would appreciate an explanation of how the various debates differed.



I’m interested in how Tom Shales explains how the debates differed, too.

In the meantime, I’m in favor of tough questions for all Presidential candidates and some reporters are asking candidates probing questions about their beliefs. The best thing about the competitive Democratic race is how it has fragmented the media. The worst thing is that it probably won’t last once the Democratic nominee is selected.


Greg Packer Sees the Pope

Filed under: General — Patterico @ 10:49 am

The Pope delivered a mass at St. Patrick’s Cathedral in New York City yesterday. And Greg Packer was there!

Suzanne Struglinski of Salt Lake City’s Deseret News reports:

Greg Packer, 44, of Huntington, N.Y., traveled to Washington earlier last week for the Mass at the new Nationals Stadium and was on Fifth Avenue Saturday.

While he does not have tickets to the Yankee Stadium Mass, he does have a T-shirt ready asking for “one Mass ticket please.”

Packer, who is Jewish, said he still enjoys the Masses.

“The homilies bring me out and the togetherness of everybody,” Packer said. “It was really beautiful. It was worth going to Washington, but this is home. I feel like he is coming over to visit me.”

Packer added that he liked the fact that Pope Benedict has mentioned the Jewish holiday of Passover.

Kinda weird that he’s so into the Pope even though he’s Jewish, huh, Suzanne Struglinski?

Who wants to be the one to explain it to her?

39 on 40, Plus Me

Filed under: Crime,Deport the Criminals First,Dog Trainer,General,Immigration — Patterico @ 12:00 am

The L.A. Times‘s Sunday Opinion section has a special feature titled 40 on 40. The title refers to 40 people discussing Special Order 40, which restricts LAPD’s ability to enforce federal immigration laws. Or, as the deck headline explains: “Forty prominent Angelenos and Southern Californians sound off about policing, illegal immigrants and the LAPD.”

Make that 39 prominent Angelenos and Southern Californians . . . and me.

I was asked to keep my contribution to 40 words. Stick out your index finger and start poking the computer screen as you count the words to see how close I came:

Patrick “Patterico” Frey, blogger at Patterico’s Pontifications

Jamiel Shaw would be alive today if we deported every illegal immigrant in County Jail. Instead, immigration authorities screen only 6% of L.A. jail inmates. The best “Jamiel’s Law” would prioritize deporting criminals, by assigning more immigration agents to jails.

(Remember: L.A. counts as only one word!)

Read it all. It’s an interesting set of viewpoints. It’s good that people are paying attention to the issue.

Too bad for Jamiel Shaw that we weren’t paying more attention before.

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