Patterico's Pontifications


Well, Well, Well — As John McClane would say: “Welcome to the Party Andrew”

Filed under: General — WLS @ 4:13 pm

Posted by WLS:

After spending months on his sactimonious soapbox lecturing the press and electorate in general, and conservatives and Republicans in particular, about why Barack Obama is simply the most transcendental political figure ever, and any attack on Obama’s “associations” is simply an effort to derail the campaign of a man with “popular policies and a brilliant speaking style” with meaningless distractions — it seems as if Andrew Sullivan has, as of about 5:55 p.m. eastern time, finally seen the light on Wright.

First, a couple things Andrew wrote yesterday and earlier today

4/27/08 at  8:29 pm 

The transcript is here. I found it moving in parts, and certainly a helpful counter to the notion that Wright is some insane anti-American demagogue. He has some views I don’t hold, but he seems a genuine Christian witness to me.  

To be able to see how some of the more toxic events in this campaign can be turned into opportunities for dialogue and mutual understanding is an authentically Christian achievement. And not easy. Bitter is easy.

4/28 — 10:15 am.

The face of the GOP:  And why so many of us find it a toxic place to be:

An entire election and an entire political season may be reduced by one party to three words uttered by a black pastor without context and conflated with the Democratic nominee. And it works in Mississippi primarily because the pastor is black and the candidate is black. Pure Rove….

The question, of course, is whether this kind of crude, content-free racial and ideological demagoguery will backfire outside places such as Mississippi. I don’t know. But if Republicans want to know why so many of us cannot stomach their politics any more, they don’t have far to look.

4/28 at 11:03 am.

Fifteen posts at the Corner this morning on the same subject. If only Jeremiah Wright was running for something … the GOP would have a chance this year.

4/28 at 1:41 pm.

That Crazy Corner [at NRO]:   A reader writes:

The best part of the Corner’s coverage of Wright is that half of it is under the guise of “defending” African-Americans against Wright’s stereotyping of them. The chutzpah never stops, does it?

4/28 at 2:22 pm.

Isn’t it a relief, by the way, for the MSM to have a presidential campaign in which no issues are actually discussed? This Wright-stuff is amazing to me. It’s all the MSM seems to care about. Even coverage of McCain is now about his attitude toward an unhinged black pastor from Chicago. Hey: it beats discussing war, debt, the economy, torture, and terrorism. Because it enables America to return to the classic boomer racial-cultural wars that are all the MSM truly knows how to cover. There’s nothing to be done right now but to duck and cover. And emerge when actual questions of actual salience emerge.

But, sometime in the three hours that followed this last post earlier today, Andrew managed to actually consider just what it is that Obama’s spiritual guide and father figure has been really saying over the last 48 hours — rather than simply derisively dismiss the firestorm in the blogosphere today — and now he’s suddenly singing from a different transcendental hymnal:

I guess I am late to the party, am I not? I didn’t watch Jeremiah Wright’s National Press Club performance live this morning, as every other blogger seemed to. Wright is not on the ticket of any major party, he is not Barack Obama, and I’m not going to be baited into making this campaign about him, or the boomer cultural racial obsessions that so many want this vital election to be about.

But then I actually read what he said.

I knew he was an exhibitionist; many of his sermons at Trinity, read in their entirety, do fall within the tradition of some prophetic teaching; I can forgive occasional outbursts from fiery preachers; he has done much good in his own neighborhood and his interview with Bill Moyers struck me as defensible; parts of his address at the Press Club were completely uncontroversial and even contained some important truths.

But what he said today, the way in which he said it, the unrepentant manner in which he reiterated some of his most absurd and offensive views, his attempt to equate everything he believes with the black church as a whole, and his open public embrace of Farrakhan and hostility to the existence of Israel Zionism, make any further defense of him impossible.

Maybe Andrew will dignify his former political fellow travelers with a little more judiciousness in considering their political views of the transcendental candidate whose one true promise to Andrew is to bestow upon him the holy grail of the “right” to homosexual marriage.

Update:  In response to a couple of different comments, I have changed the spelling of the name of Bruce Willis’ “Die Hard” character in the caption.  But come on — who looks up the spelling of movie character names???

Supreme Court Upholds Indiana Photo ID Requirement

Filed under: Constitutional Law,Court Decisions — DRJ @ 4:00 pm

[Guest post by DRJ]

The New York Times notes today’s U.S. Supreme Court decision upholding an Indiana law that requires voters to present photo IDs before they can vote:

“The Supreme Court upheld Indiana’s voter-identification law on Monday, declaring that a requirement to produce photo identification is not unconstitutional and that the state has a “valid interest” in improving election procedures as well as deterring fraud.

In a 6-to-3 ruling in one of the most awaited election-law cases in years, the court rejected arguments that Indiana’s law imposes unjustified burdens on people who are old, poor or members of minority groups and less likely to have driver’s licenses or other acceptable forms of identification. Because Indiana’s law is considered the strictest in the country, similar laws in the other 20 or so states that have photo-identification rules would appear to have a good chance of surviving scrutiny.

The ruling, coming just eight days before the Indiana primary and at the height of a presidential election campaign, upheld rulings by a Federal District Court and the United States Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit, which had thrown out challenges to the 2005 law.”

Justice Stevens, joined by Chief Justice Roberts and Justice Kennedy, ruled that the petitioners failed to meet the heavy burden of showing the law was unconstitutional on its face, leaving open the door to a future complaint by a voter who could show his rights were violated by the law.

The opinion “brushed aside” complaints that the law benefits Republicans, noting that the law “should not be disregarded” even though it may be motivated by partisan interests. In addition, Justice Stevens’ opinion reportedly acknowledged notorious instances of voter fraud in American history.

Justices Scalia, Thomas and Alito concurred in the opinion but went even further:

“Justices Antonin Scalia, Clarence Thomas and Samuel A. Alito Jr. concurred in the judgment of the court, but went further in rejecting the plaintiffs’ challenge. In an opinion by Justice Scalia, the three justices said, “The law should be upheld because its overall burden is minimal and justified.”

Justices David H. Souter, Ruth Bader Ginsburg and Stephen G. Breyer dissented on the basis that the law “threatens to impose nontrivial burdens on the voting rights of tens of thousands of the state’s citizens.”

I hope Texas and other states adopt similar laws post haste.


The North Carolina Democratic Primary

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

[Guest post by DRJ]

Polls have consistently shown Obama leading Clinton by double digits in North Carolina but the lead may be narrowing. Today Democratic superdelegate and NC Governor Mike Easley will endorse Clinton:

“Gov. Mike Easley will endorse Hillary Rodham Clinton for president, The Associated Press has learned.

Easley was expected to announce the endorsement Tuesday morning in Raleigh, the state capital, one week before North Carolina’s primary on May 6, according to persons close to the governor and to Clinton. The individuals spoke on condition of anonymity because a formal announcement had not yet been made.

Easley is a Democratic superdelegate who has served two terms as governor. His decision comes despite several recent polls showing Clinton trailing rival Barack Obama ahead of the state’s May 6 primary.”

Six of 17 NC superdelegates have already endorsed Obama and Easley is only the second NC superdelegate to support Clinton, but the timing couldn’t be better for her campaign.


Are Smiley Face Killers Targeting Young Men?

Filed under: Crime — DRJ @ 3:00 pm

[Guest post by DRJ]

Fox News reports that a task force of retired police officers believe mysterious drownings of at least 40 young men may actually be the work of a gang of serial killers:

“At least 40 young men who drowned may have died by far more sinister means — serial killings at the hands of a national gang that revels in murdering young men and leaving smiley-face markings at the scene, a team of retired New York City police detectives and criminal justice investigators said Monday.

They believe the victims, including University of Minnesota student Chris Jenkins and Fordham University student Patrick McNeill, didn’t accidentally drown but were actually killed by members of the so-called “Smiley Face Gang.”

A smiley-face symbol was found painted at some of the drowning locations — in Ohio, Pennsylvania, Indiana, Wisconsin and Iowa, they said.

“They’re telling you here that they’re into evil, they’re very happy as most serial killers are,” said retired NYPD Det. Kevin Gannon. “They’re content with their work and what they’re doing and the fact that they’re thwarting the police.”
The task force that formed to solve the crimes believes a national crime network has killed at least 40 men — mostly white college students and 20-somethings, often with high grades and impressive athletic records — in about 10 different states.

The team investigated 89 separate cases dating back a decade and said it had connected 40 of them through a variety of evidence — including matching sets of gang graffiti.”

The FBI and local authorities don’t agree that the killings may be related but many families of the murdered victims agree the deaths were suspicious.


Bill Clinton Talks About Bill Clinton

Filed under: 2008 Election — DRJ @ 2:30 pm

[Guest post by DRJ]

The conventional wisdom is that Hillary Clinton is a long-shot to win the Democratic nomination but I still hope she stays in and muddies the waters for awhile. I also hope Bill Clinton keeps talking because he’s downright entertaining:

“On the stump, the former President dispensed idiosyncratic political analysis. “One of the reasons that she won Ohio that nobody wrote about,” he said, without explanation, “is that Ohio has a plant that produces the largest number of solar reflectors in America.” He offered commentary about his wife’s earlier limitations as a candidate: “I think Hillary’s become a much better speaker.” But, most of all, Bill Clinton talked about Bill Clinton:

‘The headquarters of my foundation is in Harlem. . . . My Presidential library and school of public service are in Arkansas. . . . I try to save this generation of children from the epidemic of childhood obesity. . . . I am working on rebuilding the Katrina area in New Orleans. . . . I have major global-warming projects in cities all around America. . . . Most of the time I am out in America on the streets. . . . I once gave a speech to a million people in Ghana.’

When Hillary Clinton’s Presidential campaign was launched, in January, 2007, her supporters feared that Bill would overshadow her, as he had when they both spoke at the funeral of Coretta Scott King, a year earlier. Now the constant fear is that he will embarrass her. When he makes news, it is rarely a good day for his spouse.”

The article notes that, even with his bad days, Clinton is an excellent campaigner and he connects with the voters. He’s also put his heart and his reputation on the line:

“I think this campaign has enraged him,” the adviser told me. “He doesn’t like Obama.” In private conversations, he has been dismissive of his wife’s rival. James Clyburn, an African-American congressman from South Carolina, told me that Clinton called him in the middle of the night after Obama won that state’s primary and raged at him for fifty minutes. “It’s pretty widespread now that African-Americans have lost a whole lot of respect for Bill Clinton,” Clyburn said.”

What’s more, Bill Clinton is offended by Obama’s efforts to paint his Administration as partially responsible for America’s problems:

“In much quoted remarks to a private group in San Francisco, Obama said that some Pennsylvanians were “bitter” and would “cling” to guns and religion, because jobs “fell through the Clinton Administration and the Bush Administration.”

That is what offended Bill Clinton. “Hillary’s opponent, in his entire campaign, every two or three weeks has said for months and months and months, beginning in Nevada, that really there wasn’t much difference in how America did when I was President and how America’s done under President Bush,” he said in Lock Haven. “Now, if you believe that, you should probably vote for him, but you get a very bad grade in history.”

It’s fascinating to watch someone who thrives on drama the way Bill Clinton does.


FLDS Case: 31 of 53 Girls Pregnant (Updated)

Filed under: Civil Liberties,Law — DRJ @ 2:28 pm

[Guest post by DRJ]

The Houston Chronicle reports today that, according to the Texas Department of Health and Human Services, more than half of the 14- to 17-year-old FLDS girls are pregnant or are already mothers:

“More than half the teenage girls seized from a West Texas polygamist sect were either pregnant or have children, state officials said today.

Thirty-one of the 53 girls between the ages of 14 and 17 were either mothers or expectant mothers, Stephanie Goodman, a spokeswoman for the state’s Health and Human Services, said this afternoon.”

In court news, the Austin appeals court hearing scheduled for Tuesday has been canceled now that all the children have been relocated. The hearing was scheduled to consider an emergency motion filed on behalf of FLDS mothers asking the court to prevent the removal of the children from the San Angelo facilities. The attorney for the mothers conceded that the motion is now moot.

UPDATE 4/29/2008: The Houston Chronicle reports that one girl is in labor and has been taken to the hospital has been taken to a nearby hospital. The FLDS spokesman claims the girl is an 18-year-old adult but State officials believe she is a minor.

EDIT: She had a baby boy and it sounds like a female FLDS relative was present.

The Deseret News reports that 26 of the 53 girls classified as between the ages of 14-17 claim they are 18 or older but state officials don’t believe they are.


Jeremiah Wright Speaks at the National Press Club

Filed under: 2008 Election — DRJ @ 8:18 am

[Guest post by DRJ]

Jeremiah Wright spoke and answered questions for about an hour at the National Press Club this morning. Michelle Malkin live-blogged and I’ll probably post more later because I did watch the speech and Q&A.

For now, though, I wouldn’t be surprised if senior members of Senator Obama’s campaign staff considered hari kari this morning.


Bill Kristol Praises Hillary

Filed under: General — Patterico @ 6:05 am

And Allahpundit.

Filed under: General — Patterico @ 12:00 am

SCOTT ERIC KAUFMAN has a post titled Post Like Glenn Reynolds Day. In it he purports to encapsulate the essence of Glenn’s posting style.

Double heh.

P.S. To clarify, I don’t share Scott’s evident disdain for Glenn’s posting style. I just wanted to link to his post in Glenn’s style.

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