Patterico's Pontifications


Barack Obama Is Late

Filed under: 2008 Election — Patterico @ 11:37 pm

Via Michelle comes a YouTube video showing us the intense dedication of Barack Obama.

Yes, it is criticism of Barack Obama and therefore racist. I understand.

Notes From A Proud Global Warming Skeptic – Part 12

Filed under: Environment — Justin Levine @ 8:52 pm

[Posted by Justin Levine]

Joanne Nova provides a PDF of one of the best primers of the global warming argument from the skeptic’s point of view.  Her dismissal of ‘argument by authority’ as opposed to argument by evidence is particularly important to absorb.

Must reading.  [H/T:  Climate Debate Daily]

— Justin Levine

UPDATE BY PATTERICO: Justin doesn’t like allowing comments on his posts. I enjoy his contributions enough that I tolerate this idiosyncracy (even if I don’t think I agree with him on this particular issue). But I’m not looking to squelch debate. If you have a well thought out rebuttal to anything Justin ever posts, feel free to blog it, or send me an e-mail. I’m not promising to publish link your response, but there’s a good chance I will.

Obama’s Boston Family

Filed under: 2008 Election — DRJ @ 7:55 pm

[Guest post by DRJ]

In his best-selling memoir Dreams from My Father, Barack Obama described his Kenyan Aunt Zeituni Onyango and Uncle Omar Onyango, the half-sister and half-brother to Obama’s father. It turns out both have lived in Boston at various times in the past 20-odd years, often in hardship:

“Zeituni Onyango, the aunt so affectionately described in Mr Obama’s best-selling memoir Dreams from My Father, lives in a disabled-access flat on a rundown public housing estate in South Boston.

A second relative believed to be the long-lost “Uncle Omar” described in the book was beaten [in 1994] by armed robbers with a “sawed-off rifle” while working in a corner shop in the Dorchester area of the city. He was later [in 2000] evicted from his one-bedroom flat for failing to pay $2,324.20 (£1,488) arrears, according to the Boston Housing Court.”

Obama’s aunt supports his candidacy but won’t answer questions about him until after the election:

“In his book Mr Obama writes that “Uncle Omar” had gone missing after moving to Boston in the 1960s – a quarter-century before Mr Obama first visited his family in Kenya. Aunt Zeituni is now also living in Boston, and recently made a $260 campaign contribution to her nephew’s presidential bid from a work address in the city.

Speaking outside her home in Flaherty Way, South Boston, on Tuesday, Ms Onyango, 56, confirmed she was the “Auntie Zeituni” in Mr Obama’s memoir. She declined to answer most other questions about her relationship with the presidential contender until after the November 4 election. “I can’t talk about it, I just pray for him, that’s all,” she said, adding: “After the 4th, I can talk to anyone.”

Zeituni’s contribution to Obama’s campaign suggests she is an American citizen but the article states there is no indication she is either a citizen or registered to vote.

CNN found and published about Obama’s brother living in a Nairobi slum but it’s interesting it took a British newspaper to track this Boston story down.

UPDATE: Gateway Pundit also noticed that the foreign media seem to have done more to investigate Obama, and he adds more examples.


Andrew Sullivan Ecstatic About New Blog That Calls Sarah Palin a “Bitch”

Filed under: General — Patterico @ 7:26 pm

It seems like it should be a Treacher or iowahawk parody, but I really saw this on Memeorandum today:

P.S. Sullivan today calls Palin’s pregnancy her “pregnancy.” Using quotation marks.

Evan Maxwell on the Khalidi Tape Controversy

Filed under: 2008 Election,Dog Trainer,General — Patterico @ 6:18 pm

Former L.A. Times reporter Evan Maxwell wrote the following e-mail to Readers’ Representative Jamie Gold, regarding the Khalidi tape controversy. He copied me on the e-mail and authorized me to publish it:

As a former Times staff writer, I am dismayed by the Times’ decision to betray a basic tenet of journalism: make the best evidence available to the readers and let the readers form their own conclusion.

Sources are, perhaps, entitled to some protection, though I no longer think blind sourcing was the good idea I thought it was as a reporter. But this situation presents a real breakdown of editorial judgement. Journalists can’t withhold the best evidence of any news event from the reader and at the same time characterize the contents and draw conclusions and impressions. That kind of gate-keeping arrogance, in the present climate, is unacceptable.

Look at the matter with a different fact set: If the Times obtained a videotape of a nasty, bloody murder, reported on its impressions of the contents, drew inferences as to guilt or innocence and then withheld the tape from the public and the police, readers would be outraged and the law would intervene. This is a political event, not a murder. The stakes may or may not be greater, but principles are the same. You either show your whole hand, report your story as fully as you possibly can, or you leave a terrible taste in the mouths of people you say you pride yourself by serving.

I am not inured to the nuance of the practice of journalism. But even in the good old days of the last century, reporters who came into possession of confidential material from a source usually were smart enough not to admit in print that they possess the material. The moment a journalist says he is using a secret report to validate his work, and then refuses to reveal the full contents of the report, he is guilty of the kind of conduct that deservedly brought Sen. Joseph McCarthy to disgrace.

You let the cat’s tail out of the bag and you admitted you still possess that bag. Now I think you have no choice but to show us the rest of the animal so we can see it for ourselves. We are, after all, big boys and girls out here now. Hell, they even let us cast our votes. So help us to do that.

Evan Maxwell
Sedona, AZ

I sent Evan an e-mail asking his response to the argument that a promise was made to the source not to release the tape. After all, I can easily envision a situation where the act of releasing the tape would necessarily amount to disclosing the identity of the source. If the tape was made using a handheld camera, taking footage from a particular table, that might give away who made the tape. This would be especially true if, for example, the source was making comments throughout the taping process, in an identifiable voice. Evan responded:


The Obama Campaign’s Fundraising Operations Are Akin To Illegal Money Laundering

Filed under: 2008 Election,Government — WLS @ 4:18 pm

[Posted by WLS Shipwrecked]

For several months I have tried to closely follow the campaign fundraising being done by the Obama campaign, commenting several times that their contributions over the summer did not seem high enough to reach a level at which it would have been worth the time and effort it would take to raise sufficient funds to have made it worth opting out of the public financing system. Previous posts on this subject are here, here, and here.


Game 5 of the World Series (Updated)

Filed under: Sports — DRJ @ 2:15 pm

[Guest post by DRJ]

Game 5 of the World Series will continue tonight with the Phillies leading the Rays 3-1. A Phillie win would end the Series but if the Rays win, then Game 6 will be Thursday night in Florida.

Any thoughts, predictions, or favorites among the folks here at Patterico’s?

UPDATE: The Phillies win. Congratulations to all Philllies’ fans.


Confidential Thoughts

Filed under: 2008 Election — DRJ @ 1:55 pm

[Guest post by DRJ]

I’m intrigued by the story regarding a videotape of an event where Barack Obama reportedly pays tribute to Rashid Khalidi. Of course, I’m curious what the videotape shows but what intrigues me is the recent justification given by the LA Times for withholding it: A promise to a confidential source.

The main concern of a confidential source is the desire to protect his or her identity and withholding the videotape makes sense to the extent it actually reveals the source’s identity. Perhaps the source was the videographer and something about the videotape’s perspective and/or audio reveals the source’s identity. However, there are a number of ways a videotape could make its way into a reporter’s hands other than from the original videographer. Thus, releasing a copy of a videotape would not necessarily reveal the source.

So let’s assume the LA Times agreed not only to protect the source but also the videotape itself – i.e., the existence of the videotape. If so, hasn’t the LA Times waived confidentiality with regard to the videotape by writing about the event and acknowledging the report was based in whole or in part on a videotape?

The LA Times could have written about the event and based it on anonymous sources but instead it bolstered the authenticity of its story by referencing a videotape. Thus, it seems to me that the LA Times is using the videotape as a sword and a shield: The videotape was originally used as a sword when it added credibility to the original LA Times’ article about the Khalidi event, but now the shield of confidentiality is being used to prevent the videotape’s release and thereby prevent the public from having more information.

When pressed, the LA Times essentially wants to treat the videotape itself as the confidential source but if that’s the case, it should be willing to provide more information about how it acquired the videotape so readers can properly evaluate its authenticity and reliability.

In a way, this reminds me of the TANG documents provided by Bill Burkett to CBS. The LA Times’ refusal to release the videotape would be the equivalent of Dan Rather and CBS writing about the Burkett documents but refusing to provide copies of the documents themselves. Could CBS refuse to reveal its source, Bill Burkett? Absolutely, but I don’t see how CBS could also refuse to reveal the source’s documentary evidence once it published the fact of its existence.

I know there are journalists who read this blog. Please tell me why I’m wrong because I’d like to understand this from a reporter’s perspective.


L.A. Times on That Tape of Obama at a Dinner for Radical Palestinians’ Rights Supporter Khalidi

Filed under: 2008 Election,Dog Trainer,General — Patterico @ 6:27 am

I haven’t yet blogged about the L.A. Times‘s refusal to release a videotape of Obama’s tribute to Rashid Khalidi, a radical advocate for Palestinian rights, at a dinner held in Khalidi’s honor.

Reporter Peter Wallsten’s April 2008 story described some disturbing anti-Israel sentiments expressed at the dinner:

“During the dinner a young Palestinian American recited a poem accusing the Israeli government of terrorism in its treatment of Palestinians and sharply criticizing U.S. support of Israel. If Palestinians cannot secure their own land, she said, “then you will never see a day of peace.”

One speaker likened “Zionist settlers on the West Bank” to Osama bin Laden, saying both had been “blinded by ideology.”

The tape has gained new relevance lately, in part due to a request for the release of the video (which was denied), and in part due to revelations of close ties between Bill Ayers and Khalidi. Some people wondered whether Ayers and his wife Bernadine Dohrn were at the dinner and appeared in the video. In addition, Gateway Pundit contacted reporter Peter Wallsten about whether the tape would be released, and Wallsten said no, and added that he didn’t know if Ayers had been at the dinner.

Conservative critics say that a videotape of Obama at such a radical event would harm his candidacy, and if the paper won’t release the tape, it must be political.

When I first saw this story, I immediately thought two things:

  • The L.A. Times is the paper that broke this story. If they were intent on burying the story, why publish it?
  • Maybe there are issues relating to the confidentiality of a source.

The thing that made me more and more suspicious, however, is that the paper wouldn’t explain what was going on. The newspaper seemed to take the Arrogant Big Media Position that it simply wasn’t going to release the tape, and that’s the end of it, and they didn’t need to explain why.

It hasn’t worked out that way, and the controversy has grown larger and larger. The McCain camp is now demanding the release of the tape.

Today the newspaper is publishing an article on the controversy. The article doesn’t say word one about Bill Ayers, but it does finally give us an explanation for the decision, straight from editor Russ Stanton:

“The Los Angeles Times did not publish the videotape because it was provided to us by a confidential source who did so on the condition that we not release it,” said the newspaper’s editor, Russ Stanton. “The Times keeps its promises to sources.”

That seems reasonable. So why didn’t the paper just say this up front?

Instead, up until today, the paper has given various other responses. Ben Smith of Politico reported yesterday:

L.A. Times spokeswoman Nancy Sullivan wouldn’t discuss the decision not to release the tape in detail.

“When we reported on the tape six months ago, that was our full report,” she said, and asked, “Does Politico release unpublished information?”

Smith says the answer is yes. Meanwhile, according to Charles Johnson yesterday:

Brit Hume opened his Fox News show with this story today, and reported that the Times is now saying “No comment.”

The Los Angeles Times is supposed to be an organization whose mission is to disseminate relevant truths. Why was it ever saying “no comment” in response to legitimate questions about its refusal to disseminate a seemingly relevant videotape?

I think that, with Stanton’s response, we’re at the end of the story. Journalists do need to keep promises to sources. Am I wrong? I don’t think I am.

They really ought to pull it out again, however, and tell us if Ayers and Dohrn were there.

Y’all didn’t promise the source not to do that, did you?

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