Patterico's Pontifications


MSGT Brendan O’Connor Awarded DSC

Filed under: War — DRJ @ 8:59 pm

[Guest post by DRJ]

Master SGT Brendan O’Connor, a 7th Special Forces Group (Airborne) Soldier, was awarded the Distinguished Service Cross in a ceremony at Fort Bragg Wednesday. He was only the second American to be awarded the DSC for valor in Afghanistan.

MSGT O’Connor’s bravery is recounted in this official release:

“O’Connor was instrumental in keeping his team alive during an intense battle with over 250 Taliban fighters in southern Afghanistan on June 22, 2006. While making a temporary stop during a patrol, his team and their attached Afghan National Army soldiers were attacked from all sides with small arms fire, heavy machine guns, rocket propelled grenades, recoilless rifles and mortars.

During the 17 1/2 hours of sustained combat that followed, O’Connor and his team fought of wave after wave of Taliban attackers from a group of small compounds, fighting for their lives against insurgents who were intent on killing or capturing the beleaguered defenders. Much of the combat was so close that the defenders of the compounds could hear cursing and taunting from the enemies who swarmed the perimeter.

After hearing two Soldiers were wounded at another location, O’Connor removed his body armor and low-crawled under heavy machine gun fire to treat and extract his wounded comrades. O’Connor then carried a wounded Soldier back to a safer area, again passing through intense fire. One teammate commented that as he was crawling, machine gun fire “mowed the grass” around him.

His story was also covered by 60 Minutes, including this tribute from a fellow soldier: “He’s an absolute hero. He’s what people want to be.”

Patterico commenter Driver blogged the ceremony and provides an inside view of the military as it honored its finest. In addition, Master SGT O’Connor was the star in this Day-by-Day cartoon, a special internet accolade.

I’d like to add my thanks and congratulations, Master SGT O’Connor.

H/T Badgers Forward.


Evangelicals Say Religion has Become Too Political

Filed under: Politics — DRJ @ 7:41 pm

[Guest post by DRJ]

The AP reports that 80 as-yet unidentified conservative Christian leaders have signed a statement that will be released Wednesday saying the evangelical movement has become too politicized and has diminished the Gospel:

“The statement, called “An Evangelical Manifesto,” condemns Christians on the right and left for “using faith” to express political views without regard to the truth of the Bible, according to a draft of the document obtained Friday by The Associated Press.

“That way faith loses its independence, Christians become `useful idiots’ for one political party or another, and the Christian faith becomes an ideology,” according to the draft.”

Well, duh. And whose fault is this?


High School Romance Meets the Law

Filed under: Law — DRJ @ 7:14 pm

[Guest post by DRJ]

NK has an interesting post at his website that deals with student privacy issues: Are High School Romances Protected By The Constitution?

“The ACLU claims that a Memphis, Tennessee high school principal, who posted the names of dating student couples in her school, opposite-sex and same-sex, violated the students’ constitutional rights to equal protection, freedom of expression and association, due process and privacy. She even went so far as to call and tell the mother of one of the same-sex dating boys.”

Click the link for NK’s answer.

This seems pretty gossipy — have principals always been this nosy? The high school is interesting, though. Hollis F. Price Middle College High School is a collaborative effort with LeMoyne Owen College where students can earn a high school diploma and two years of college credit.


UK’s Telegraph Picks Top US Pundits

Filed under: Politics — DRJ @ 6:46 pm

[Guest post by DRJ]

It seems a tad strange for a UK newspaper to pick the most influential American political pundits, but the Telegraph picked the Top 50 in today’s edition. Here are the top 10:

1. Karl Rove, Fox News commentator and contributor to Newsweek and the Wall Street Journal.
2. MSNBC’s Chris Matthews.
3. Sean Hannity of Fox News’ Hannity & Colmes.
4. Rush Limbaugh.
5. John Harris & Jim VandeHei, founders of
6. Matt Drudge of the Drudge Report.
7. Tim Russert of NBC.
8. Comedy Central’s Jon Stewart.
9. New York Times’ columnist David Brooks.
10. Mark Halperin, founder of ABC’s The Note and currently at Time’s “The Page.”

Here’s a link to the page where you can access numbers 11-50 if you wish.

Some of these selections seem a bit odd to me. What do you think?


“The Empire Strikes Barack”

Filed under: 2008 Election — WLS @ 1:49 pm

Posted by WLS 

A tremendous YouTube mash-up.  About 5 minutes long but worth every minute.

Obama’s Numbers or Clinton’s Electability?

Filed under: 2008 Election — DRJ @ 1:25 pm

[Guest post by DRJ]

Democratic superdelegates have a difficult decision to make: Do they choose their nominee based on Obama’s numbers – his lead in pledged delegates and raw votes, excluding Michigan and Florida – or do they accept Clinton’s argument that she is more electable in November?

Both arguments have appeal and neither candidate is giving ground, suggesting the competition may continue for a few months.

Nevertheless, the Obama campaign has done the math and the Clinton campaign acknowledges her nomination is a numerical long-shot. Still, Hillary isn’t giving up and her advisers even claim her chances are improving. Clinton strategists say her path to the nomination requires a strong showing in Indiana and the remaining primary states, a DNC decision to seat Michigan and Florida delegates, and an intangible:

“One of Clinton’s chief strategists, Geoff Garin, said the campaign hoped to end the primary season on June 3 lifted by a series of victories, and by coming close in the pledged delegate totals and the popular vote — though he declined to say what close would be.

“We’ll know it when we see it,” Garin said.”

Sounds like a formula that would keep Hillary in until July or even the convention in August, and that could be good news for the GOP.


A Battle in Indiana

Filed under: 2008 Election — DRJ @ 11:36 am

[Guest post by DRJ]

The Indiana Democratic primary is May 6, 2008, and it sounds like dirty tricks are afoot.

Yesterday Jake Tapper at ABC’s blog posted a YouTube clip of a 1992 War Room interview with Mickey Kantor, former Clinton trade representative and current Hillary supporter/adviser, saying bad things about Hoosiers and George Stephanopolous. I can’t provide a link because Tapper’s post has been taken down but Tapper reposted here with additional information.

The Politico’s Ben Smith followed up with the War Room director, D. A. Pennebaker, who said the subtitles had been doctored to show Kantor “referring to Indiana residents with an expletive and to his colleague George Stephanopolous with a racial slur.” Smith also talked to the audio editor who apparently claims the clip wasn’t doctored, although it’s not clear to me if the editor was referring to the expletive, the racial slur or both.

I dont’ know what really happened but it’s not surprising how much of a battle the Democratic primary has become. What is surprising is that the news media blogs are responding like citizen blogs. One guy with a laptop breaks stories as they happen and sometimes has to take them down with an explanation. Other bloggers read the stories and follow up.

I suspect political reporters have always shared stories and compared notes and they probably still do outside public view, but I think it’s better for everyone if the stories succeed or fail where the public can see them.


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