Patterico's Pontifications


Maureen Dowd: Obama, Waffles, etc.

Filed under: 2008 Election — DRJ @ 9:08 pm

[Guest post by DRJ]

I know it is politically incorrect for a conservative to enjoy a Maureen Dowd column but I liked this one. Here’s a taste:

“In the final days in Pennsylvania, [Obama] dutifully logged time at diners and force-fed himself waffles, pancakes, sausage and a Philly cheese steak. He split the pancakes with Michelle, left some of the waffle and sausage behind, and gave away the French fries that came with the cheese steak.

But this is clearly a man who can’t wait to get back to his organic scrambled egg whites. That was made plain with his cri de coeur at the Glider Diner in Scranton when a reporter asked him about Jimmy Carter and Hamas.

“Why” he pleaded, sounding a bit, dare we say, bitter, “can’t I just eat my waffle?”

His subtext was obvious: Why can’t I just be president? Why do I have to keep eating these gooey waffles and answering these gotcha questions and debating this gonzo woman?”

It’s funny, including when Dowd dissects Bill Clinton’s recent behavior or, as she describes it, Bill’s “honey-crusted-nut-bar meltdown.”


Mary McNamara Shows Humor and Class in Addressing George Washington Mistake

Filed under: Dog Trainer,General — Patterico @ 8:48 pm

The Los Angeles Times has this correction:

HBO: A critic’s notebook in Saturday’s Calendar section that mentioned “John Adams” and other HBO shows said that George Washington served only one term as president. He served two terms.

Good enough. But better still is that the writer, Mary McNamara, has a good sense of humor about it:

Oh, if only I could claim it was all a ploy by Calendar editors to gauge readership. But when I wrote in Saturday’s story about HBO that George Washington stepped down from the presidency after serving only one term, it was just a stupid, blind error, the sort that leaves you smiting your forehead, literally and repeatedly, the moment it is pointed out to you.

For the six or seven people living in the Los Angeles Basin who did not e-mail to correct me, he served two terms, not one. And my daddy was a history teacher! Ever since the first e-mail hit my box (on Friday afternoon, about two seconds after the story went up on the website), I have been bathed in hot shame. But I want to thank you, well, most of you, for the gentle tone you took — most clever subject line award goes to: Is a TV Critic Smarter Than a 5th Grader? — though I certainly deserved all those incredulous exclamation marks as well. And yes, I did go to college. Graduated even.

Also, for the record, we entertainment writers are held just as accountable for flubbed historical references as any other journalist. The correction runs today online and in tomorrow’s print edition, and I will try to comfort myself with the knowledge that a good, strong dose of humility is always good for the soul. Especially the soul of a critic.

Well played, Mary McNamara. It would be engaging to see more human reactions like this when the Big Faceless Newspapers correct their mistakes.

One more thing, though: it’s amazing that a mistake in an item that runs on Saturday, which is noticed by the author within two seconds, takes until Monday to correct online (and until Tuesday to correct in the paper). That means the error took two to three days to correct. That’s really even more embarrassing than the error itself.

I mean, I make mistakes all the time, but they’re far less embarrassing when you catch them quickly and correct them quickly. But then, I have full control over what I publish, even after it goes up. Apparently newspapers like the L.A. Times aren’t quite so nimble — and that’s a gross understatement.

Dinosaur Media: the term works on so many levels!

Blind Homeowner Wrestles, Detains Intruder

Filed under: Crime — DRJ @ 8:44 pm

[Guest post by DRJ]

This is an unbelievable story out of Indianapolis:

“Kieta is typically at work on Mondays but had taken the day off from his job with the federal government. So he was home when a man entered his Eastside residence in the 3100 block of Richardt Avenue about 9 a.m.

“We have a little poodle-like dog. It was barking and barking,” Kieta said. “I opened the door and just ran into him.”

Kieta, 49, who is legally blind, said he was the Kentucky high school wrestling champ for the 145-pound division in 1976. He used his skills and other self-defense tactics learned from his father to subdue the intruder.

“I had him pinned in the laundry room and just kept pummeling,” Kieta said, describing the pounding he gave the 25-year-old arrested by police.

Kieta punched, kicked and grappled until the suspect became disoriented. Kieta said he grabbed him by the belt and dragged him into the kitchen. Kieta then found a kitchen knife and held it at the man’s throat.

Kieta fumbled to dial 911 with his other hand. “Being visually impaired, I couldn’t get the buttons because I was using my left hand,” he said. “It took me about 20 tries.”

Police arrived minutes after dispatchers received the call at 9:47 a.m.

Alvaro Castro, 25, was arrested on an initial charge of residential entry, Sgt. Matthew Mount said. Police say Castro denied trying to burglarize the home. He said he was the ex-boyfriend of Kieta’s 18-year-old daughter and said he was trying to visit her when he ran into her father, Mount said.

Kieta said Castro also told him he was looking for his cat. “I go, ’Your cat? You’re in my house!”’ Kieta recalled.

Castro was held at Wishard Memorial Hospital’s secure detention facility, then transferred to the Marion County Jail late Monday night.

Kieta said he suffered swollen hands and a sore back, but no serious injuries. “When my wife was cleaning the blood off, she said ‘I think it’s all his.” Kieta said.”

I’m surprised Castro didn’t offer to call 911 himself.


Obama Site Redirected to the Clinton Campaign

Filed under: 2008 Election,General — Patterico @ 7:44 pm

The Washington Post reports:

On the eve of the presidential primary in Pennsylvania, an online prankster leveraged a security vulnerability on Sen. Barack Obama’s campaign Web site to redirect visitors to Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton’s campaign site.

According to Symantec, someone embedded computer code into a posting on the Obama blog. The content in this case targeted cross-site scripting flaw (XSS), an exceedingly common type of vulnerability that can be used to automatically redirect Web browsers viewing the affected page to another site.

The redirect was posted shortly after the Obama site was listed at, a collaborative online archive of cross-site scripting vulnerabilities present in thousands of Web sites.

The Post apparently doesn’t assign any political meaning to this; it breaks the news in a column about security fixes.

To me, it’s just one more dirty trick among dozens that can’t be traced back to Hillary.

Pennsylvania Election Returns – Democratic

Filed under: 2008 Election — DRJ @ 6:03 pm

[Guest post by DRJ]

95% Reporting:
Clinton – 1,181,047 (55%)
Obama – 972,236 (45%)

90% Reporting:
Clinton – 1,108,477 (55%)
Obama – 902,937 (45%)

Note the election returns Map. Right now, it shows 7 counties for Obama and 60 for Clinton. Pittsburgh is going for Clinton 55-45.

85% Reporting:
Clinton – 1,041,442 (55%)
Obama – 850,195 (45%)

83% Reporting:
Clinton – 1,014,769 (55%)
Obama – 825,562 (45%)

Hillary passes the 1M voter mark, she’s almost 200K votes ahead of Obama, and yet the current PA delegate count is Clinton-40 delegates; Obama-37.

82% Reporting:
Clinton – 996,869 (55%)
Obama – 811,900 (45%)

78% Reporting:
Clinton – 920,002 (55%)
Obama – 766,492 (45%)

A double digit lead. Good times for Hillary.


Pennsylvania Exit Polls

Filed under: 2008 Election — DRJ @ 3:14 pm

[Guest post by DRJ]

The exit polls reveal that most voters decided on a candidate more than a week ago. Voters also said the negative campaigning has primarily tarnished Clinton but also hurt Obama:

“Despite all the down-to-the-wire campaigning, preliminary exit poll results indicate that nearly eight in 10 Pennsylvania voters made up their minds at least a week ago, and six in 10 decided on their candidate more than a month ago — a higher number of early deciders than the norm in Democratic primaries to date.

As far as campaigning, many discern a negative tone — and more blame it on Sen. Hillary Clinton, D-N.Y., than on Barack Obama, D-Ill. Two-thirds of Pennsylvania voters in preliminary exit poll results say Clinton attacked Obama unfairly; fewer, but still about half, also say Obama unfairly attacked Clinton.”

Early reports show turnout is high for women (6 of every 10 voters) and lower than in other states for African Americans, but the ultimate numbers may change.

We’ll see if the actual results match the exit polls. They don’t always seem to match up this year.


Bill Clinton is Easy

Filed under: 2008 Election — DRJ @ 2:29 pm

[Guest post by DRJ]

Not the way you’re thinking. Apparently it’s easy to get Bill Clinton off-message:

“Former President Bill Clinton had a testy encounter Tuesday with reporters who questioned his remarks in a radio interview in which he accused Barack Obama’s campaign of unfairly playing the race card on him.

“You always follow me around and play these little games,” Clinton shot back at an ABC News reporter who questioned him about a phone interview with Philadelphia public radio station WHYY.

On Monday, an audibly irritated Clinton railed against the Obama campaign for what he described as an effort to twist comments made in South Carolina on Jan. 26, the Palmetto State’s presidential primary election day.

In the remarks that sparked the furor, Clinton compared Obama’s campaign to that of civil rights activist Jesse Jackson.

“Jesse Jackson won in South Carolina twice in ‘84 and’88, and he ran a good campaign, and Senator Obama has run a good campaign. He has run a good campaign everywhere. He’s got a good — He is a good candidate with a good organization,” Clinton said.

Obama supporters said the remarks were meant to belittle Obama by comparing him with a black candidate whose appeal was more narrow. Obama called the remarks hallmarks of the politics of racism.

Asked Monday if he regretted the comment, Clinton responded: “No, I think that they played the race card on me, and we now know from memos in the campaign and everything that they planned to do it all along.

“Do I regret saying it? No. Do I regret that it was used that way? I certainly do. But you’ve really got to go some (distance) to portray me as a racist,” Clinton said, adding that he has an office in Harlem, and Jackson told him personally he was not offended.

“I called him and asked him if he found anything offensive. And he just laughed and he said, ‘Of course I don’t. We all know what’s going on,’ ” Clinton said.”

Tad Devine, a Democratic consultant not involved in either campaign, agrees it’s easy to get Bill off-message because ex-Presidents are more uninhibited than candidates and their spouses:

“When you’re president and particularly when you’re ex-president, you feel very uninhibited saying things,” said Devine. “People listen to you and your words are really taken seriously.”

“[Bill Clinton] is just not constrained like most people in campaigns are,” said Devine. “And when the attention is at a fever pitch any little thing that you say will be amplified.”

Ed Rollins thinks Bill should go to Little Rock and be quiet until the race is over but I disagree. I think Bill should talk and talk and talk.


Al Qaeda Motivates its Base

Filed under: Terrorism,War — DRJ @ 1:27 pm

[Guest post by DRJ]

American news is focused on today’s Pennsylvania Democratic primary but the Democratic candidates aren’t the only ones who want to motivate their base. Al Qaeda does, too:

“Al-Qaeda number two Ayman al-Zawahiri criticised Muslims for failing to support Islamist insurgencies in Iraq and elsewhere in a new audiotape posted Tuesday on the Internet.

Osama bin Laden’s top lieutenant also blasted Palestinian Islamist movement Hamas over their reported readiness to consider a peace deal with Israel.

“I call upon the Muslim nation to fear Allah’s question (at judgement day) about its failure to support its brothers of the Mujahedeen (holy Warriors), and (urge it) not to withhold men and money, which is the mainstay of a war,” he said.

He also used the two-and-a-half hour message to urge Muslims to join militant groups, mainly in Iraq, where he claimed that the insurgency against the Iraqi government and the US-led coalition forces is bearing fruit.
In his message, Zawahiri also called on the various jihadist groups operating in the country to unite behind the “more advanced” Al-Qaeda-backed “Islamic State of Iraq”.”

Two-plus hours of nagging doesn’t seem like a promising recruiting tactic but I’m not an expert on inducements that work well for aspiring jihadists.

As mentioned above, Jimmy Carter’s meeting with Hamas was used by al-Zawahiri to criticize Hamas:

“Turning his ire on Hamas, [al-Zawahiri] said the Palestinian group’s reported willingness to hold a referendum on any peace deal with Israel flew in the face of Sharia, or Islamic, law.

“How can they put a matter that violates Sharia to a referendum?” he added.”

This isn’t the first time al Qaeda leaders have criticized Hamas for putting its national interests above the interests of jihad:

“An al-Qaeda commander who escaped from a U.S. prison in Afghanistan appeared in a new videotape Sunday criticizing Hamas and other Islamic groups that he said prioritized nationalism and electoral politics over jihad, or holy war.

Hamas is focused on the creation of an independent Palestinian state rather than al-Qaeda’s vision of a worldwide Muslim community ruled by Islamic law. Like al-Qaeda, the Palestinian movement advocates violence to achieve its goal, but has also participated in elections alongside the moderate Palestinian Fatah group.”

It must be especially discouraging for al Qaeda leaders to watch people choose elections over jihad.



Filed under: 2008 Election — Patterico @ 7:59 am

(1) Your predictions for today’s election?

(2) What are the proper criteria for either camp to declare victory?

(3) Shouldn’t the definition of “winning” be getting more votes and/or delegates than the other candidate?

(4) Kettle corn? Cheesy popcorn? Or traditional popcorn?

So many choices.

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