Patterico's Pontifications


Hurricane Ike

Filed under: Current Events — DRJ @ 11:11 pm

[Guest post by DRJ]

Hurricane Ike is 600 mile across, has a two-story storm surge, and is forecast to be the worst hurricane to hit Texas in 50 years. NOAA radar illustrates the size of this storm: Ike is almost as big as Texas and is reminiscent of the 1900 Galveston storm that killed 6,000 — the nation’s worst natural disaster.

Unfortunately, up to 90,000 Texans who live in mandatory evacuation areas may have decided not to leave. Officials indicate many have called for help but, as residents have been told repeatedly, at this point help won’t arrive until after the storm subsides. [EDIT: Texas Governor Rick Perry noted that anyone still on Galveston island and in the low-lying areas between Galveston and Houston is in grave danger. Said Perry, “Individuals who think they are tougher, stronger than Mother Nature — God be with them.”] Officials have asked the media not to photograph “certain things” in the aftermath.

Texas Rainmaker was blogging the storm until he lost power about an hour ago, right after noting that the storm will come ashore during high tide when forecasters believe the storm surge could reach 31 feet. A storm surge of that height would be almost double the height of the Galveston seawall.

Still, I had to laugh when I saw his neighbors’ message to Ike. It may be one of the few things about this we can laugh at.


L.A. Times Writer Botches Palin Prayer, Follows Gibson’s Example and Sends the Embarrassing Passage Down the Memory Hole

Filed under: 2008 Election,Dog Trainer,General — Patterico @ 8:41 pm

Tom Maguire quotes the L.A. Times‘s Mary McNamara as follows:

Gibson’s probing of a videotaped claim that the Iraq war is a task from God led to a rather convoluted explanation – that it was really a paraphrase of an Abraham Lincoln quote that seemed, frankly, utterly dissimilar.

“Frankly,” McNamara ought to read her own paper, which said in a news article covering the interview:

A video shows Palin asking a group to pray that the nation’s leaders were sending troops to Iraq “on a task that is from God.”

Gibson, however, mischaracterized her as simply asserting that the nation’s leaders were sending troops to Iraq on a task from God.

Wow. Pretty embarrassing for McNamara, at first glance. It sure looked like there was no “claim that the Iraq war is a task from God” on Palin’s part, as McNamara had claimed.

But I didn’t fire off an angry e-mail. A conscientious watchdog wants to see the source material before barking. So I toddled on over to the paper’s web site, to read the McNamara column that Maguire linked and see McNamara’s passage in context.

It’s the oddest thing, though. The passage is not there.

I read McNamara’s entire column three times, looking for it. I rubbed my eyes. I went back to Maguire’s post and checked the link to make sure I had it right. I went back to McNamara’s column, hit ctrl-f, and put in words from the passage Maguire had quoted, searching for them in McNamara’s column.

Nothing worked. It’s gone.

Did Maguire make up this passage out of whole cloth? Somehow, I doubt it. But I have an e-mail in to him to ask.

Or did McNamara subsequently learn that she had botched the analysis, and send that passage down the memory hole — whisking it away without even so much as a note to tell us it had been there?

At the risk of seeming hasty, I’m going with option 2. [UPDATE: And I was right. The screencap proving it is here. Thanks to Karl.]

I guess Mary McNamara figured, if sending embarrassing parts of your journalistic handiwork down the memory hole is good enough for Charlie Gibson and ABC, it’s good enough for her.

Picky postscripts tucked in the extended entry.


The Election The Media Lost

Filed under: 2008 Election — DRJ @ 7:29 pm

[Guest post by DRJ]

Former Clinton campaign adviser Mark Penn tells CBS that Obama has run a good campaign and, like all campaigns, it’s had ups-and-downs. Penn views the race as even but thinks Obama should stop talking about Palin and start talking about core issues like the economy. I think that’s good advice.

I also agree with two other Penn opinions: First, that people vote for the top of the ticket but McCain’s choice of Palin has given his supporters more confidence in McCain’s judgment and goals.

Second, that the media is the biggest loser of this election:

“ Your former colleague Howard Wolfson argued that you all unintentionally paved the way for Palin by exposing some of the unfair media coverage that Hillary Clinton received. And, therefore, a lot of the media may now be treating Sarah Palin with kid gloves. Do you agree with that?

Mark Penn: Well, no, I think the people themselves saw unfair media coverage of Senator Clinton. I think if you go back, the polls reflected very clearly what “Saturday Night Live” crystallized in one of their mock debates about what was happening with the press.

I think here the media is on very dangerous ground. I think that when you see them going through every single expense report that Governor Palin ever filed, if they don’t do that for all four of the candidates, they’re on very dangerous ground. I think the media so far has been the biggest loser in this race. And they continue to have growing credibility problems.

And I think that that’s a real problem growing out of this election. The media now, all of the media — not just Fox News, that was perceived as highly partisan — but all of the media is now being viewed as partisan in one way or another. And that is an unfortunate development. So you think the media is being uniquely tough on Palin now?

Mark Penn: Well, I think that the media is doing the kinds of stories on Palin that they’re not doing on the other candidates. And that’s going to subject them to people concluding that they’re giving her a tougher time. Now, the media defense would be, “Yeah, we looked at these other candidates who have been in public life at an earlier time.”

What happened here very clearly is that the controversy over Palin led to 37 million Americans tuning into a vice-presidential speech, something that is unprecedented, because they wanted to see for themselves. This is an election in which the voters are going to decide for themselves. The media has lost credibility with them.”

Let the voters decide. And no matter who wins or loses this election, I think the biggest loser should be the media.


Sometimes I Wonder If Jack Shafer Lives in Bizarro-Land

Filed under: 2008 Election,General — Patterico @ 6:50 pm

Jack Shafer:

Without being smarmy about it or unfurling gotcha questions, ABC News anchor Charles Gibson demonstrated that he knows volumes more about national security and foreign policy than does Republican vice-presidential candidate Sarah Palin.

If you say so, Jack.

I frankly expressed my opinion of Gibson to my wife, not realizing that my children were within earshot. I found out they were, when my daughter Lauren asked my wife: “Mommy, what’s a ‘horse’s ass’?”

Obama Campaign Starts Over (Updated x2)

Filed under: 2008 Election — DRJ @ 5:31 pm

[Guest post by DRJ]

Obama campaign manager David Plouffe released a strategy memo stating that “today is the first day of the rest of the campaign.” He might want a do-over.

The Obama campaign’s newest ad mocks John McCain as a computer illiterate who doesn’t use email:

“1982, John McCain goes to Washington,” an announcer says over chirpy elevator music. “Things have changed in the last 26 years, but McCain hasn’t.

“He admits he still doesn’t know how to use a computer, can’t send an e-mail, still doesn’t understand the economy, and favors two hundred billion in new tax cuts for corporations, but almost nothing for the middle class.”

McCain sounds pretty out-of-touch but NRO’s Jonah Goldberg says a little Googling would have told the Obama campaign there’s more to this story. From a 2000 Boston Globe story:

“McCain gets emotional at the mention of military families needing food stamps or veterans lacking health care. The outrage comes from inside: McCain’s severe war injuries prevent him from combing his hair, typing on a keyboard, or tying his shoes. Friends marvel at McCain’s encyclopedic knowledge of sports. He’s an avid fan – Ted Williams is his hero – but he can’t raise his arm above his shoulder to throw a baseball.”

Goldberg also notes this 2000 Jacob Weisberg article:

“Six months ago, no one would have pegged McCain as the most cybersavvy of this year’s crop of candidates. At 63, he is the oldest of the bunch and because of his war injuries, he is limited in his ability to wield a keyboard.

Maybe David Plouffe should send out a new memo that tomorrow is the first day of the rest of this campaign.

UPDATE 1: Steven Den Beste points to an Ace post that includes this from Forbes Magazine:

“In certain ways, McCain was a natural Web candidate. Chairman of the Senate Telecommunications Subcommittee and regarded as the U.S. Senate’s savviest technologist, McCain is an inveterate devotee of email. His nightly ritual is to read his email together with his wife, Cindy. The injuries he incurred as a Vietnam POW make it painful for McCain to type. Instead, he dictates responses that his wife types on a laptop. “She’s a whiz on the keyboard, and I’m so laborious,” McCain admits.”

Obama might have known this about McCain if he had spent more time working in the Senate instead of campaigning for the Presidency.

UPDATE 2: The Instapundit has more links and comments emailed by readers.


Jury Seated in OJ Simpson’s Las Vegas Trial

Filed under: Crime — DRJ @ 3:06 pm

[Guest post by DRJ]

Three men, nine women.

The article also details two unsuccessful defense challenges under Batson to the prosecution’s use of peremptory challenges to exclude two black panel members.


NY Times Blog: Ignore Post-Convention Polling

Filed under: 2008 Election — DRJ @ 3:00 pm

[Guest post by DRJ]

In a recent post entitled Bouncing the Bounce, the New York Times’ Political Blog The Caucus declares it’s time to “take a deep breath” because we are “saturated with public opinion polls.” It’s far better to ignore all those “fluid” post-convention polls and wait a while to evaluate how people feel about the candidates. In other words, The Caucus thinks we should ignore current polling:

“The opinions may change and change again, with the passage of time. Or they may not. But what the polls that will be taken in the weeks ahead will be helpful in telling us, which the current polls do not, is what kind of real, meaningful and sustained impact the conventions have had on this election, if any at all.”

That’s interesting, especially since The Caucus willingly reported a CBS poll that showed Obama led McCain by 6 points following Obama’s European tour.

Anyone want to speculate what makes a post-convention bounce meaningless while a European tour bounce [or non-bounce] is so worthwhile?


It’s Official — Andrew Sullivan is a Religious Bigot, and He Doesn’t Even Care To Hide It

Filed under: General — WLS @ 2:34 pm

[Posted by WLS]

In responding to blogger johnschwenkler for challenging him on quoting Gibson’s having taken Palin’s comments about “praying” out of context, Sullivan defends himself and Gibson thusly:

She is a long-time member of the Assemblies Of God. That’s all you need to know.

I thought we didn’t have religious tests for elected office in this country. I thought that was settled by JFK in 1960?

Lets revisit Randy Andy’s Views on whether Obama should have suffered from any over-splash from the bile one Rev. Jeremiah Wright after sitting in his pews for 20 years:

How about this:

God knows there is plenty in Wright’s theology I find repugnant — although my knowledge of the tradition from which he springs is limited. But the same could be said for the Southern Baptist Convention, for example, or the eccentric but obviously sincere former hippie, Arthur Blessit, who brought our current president to Christ. Or my own church, for that matter. What they have all said about gay people is horrifying to me, and I do not share all the political views of my spiritual leaders. The key – it seems to me – is the candidate’s public positions on these issues – not what his pastor has said and says in the pulpit. I remain in a church which describes gay people as “intrinsically disordered.” But my own record in the secular world is obviously radically different. Exactly the same standard should apply to Romney or Obama or McCain. No one should get a pass; but they also all deserve a chance to say what they think in the secular world on the relevant issues.

Everyone except those who once belonged to an Assembly of God church.


Great Preview Of Tonight’s Segment Over at Treacher

Filed under: General — WLS @ 1:51 pm

[Posted by WLS]

Stole this from the Weekly Standard blog, who got it from Treacher:

Gibson:  What do you think of the Constitution?

Palin:  … Could you be more specific?

Gibson:  [Stares over glasses]  The one passed in 1776.

Palin:  Well I think the Founding Fathers were geniuses.

Sullivan:  OH MY GOD — SHE DOESN’T KNOW WHAT THE CONSTITUTION IS!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

I took a couple liberties in making the joke my own.



Charity Begins at Home

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

[Guest post by DRJ]

Obama-Biden advocates universal voluntary public service. I interpret that to mean Obama-Biden wants all Americans to voluntarily give their time and treasure to others.

Via Paul L. Caron of TaxProf Blog, here’s how the Bidens chose to share their treasure:

“[T]he returns show that the Bidens have been amazingly tight-fisted when it comes to their charitable giving. Despite income ranging from $210,432 – $321,379 over the ten-year period, the Bidens have given only $120 – $995 per year to charity, which amounts to 0.06% – 0.31% of their income. [Biden charitable gift chart omitted but can be seen at the link. — DRJ]

It is jarring that a couple earning over $200,000 per year would give as little as $2 per week to charity. This giving compares very unfavorably to John McCain, whose tax returns show that he gave 27.3% – 28.6% of his income to charity in 2006-2007. During the same period, the Obamas’ tax returns show that they gave 5.8% – 6.1% of their income to charity.

Perhaps the Obama-Biden campaign needs a new slogan: “Change You Can Believe In (As Long As Someone Else Pays For It)”

An update to the TaxProf post indicates average Americans contribute 3.1% of their income to charity and taxpayers with AGI over $200,000 give over $20,000.

Frankly, I don’t care how much the Bidens or anyone gives to charity but if they are going to make service a top issue in their campaign, maybe Obama-Biden should have a special platform for voluntary charity and service by politicians.


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