Patterico's Pontifications


L.A. Times Spams Readers with E-Mails About Foreclosures

Filed under: Dog Trainer,General — Patterico @ 10:19 pm

James Surowiecki:

I got an e-mail last night from the L.A. Times with the subject line: “New Home Foreclosures—Northern California,” which contained a solicitation from something called Zetabid, which is running a Northern California foreclosed home auction on November 20th, 22nd, and 23rd. (Zetabid appears to be part-owned by the L.A. Times.) Spamming for foreclosure sales: now that’s a sign of the times (and, yes, of the Times, too).

He’s mostly right about Zetabid. The Times web site describes it as a “venture of the Los Angeles Times Media Group, GoIndustry-DoveBid and CataList Homes.”

Well, they have to cover Sam Zell’s debt service somehow. They’re sure not doing it with their ever-declining circulation.

P.S. When this venture launched, the editor claimed the paper was not connected to Zetabid:

The Los Angeles Times is part of Times Media Group but has no connection to the new venture, said Times Editor Russ Stanton.

“We will treat ZetaBid like any other real estate entity from a coverage standpoint,” Stanton said.

So far, the paper appears to be living up to the pledge of objective coverage; an October 5 story was pointedly critical of such online services.

But if the paper is really clogging readers’ inboxes with junk mail solicitations about foreclosures, it would see that there is some connection there, Mr. Stanton’s claim to the contrary notwithstanding.

“The Jury Talks Back”

Filed under: General — Patterico @ 9:51 pm

A while back I floated the idea of a subdomain of this site on which selected commenters would be allowed to post. Now that the hubbub of the election has subsided, I have asked tech wizard Evariste to move to implement such a site.

I plan to call it “The Jury Talks Back” and host it at I have no idea how long it will take to set up — a day? a week? — but I’d like to ask anyone who is interested send me an e-mail saying so.

Make sure to include your preferred password.

DRJ e-mailed me earlier and said that for the foreseeable future she will be posting much less — perhaps nothing. She will be maintaining her account — and as time, circumstances, and inclination permit, she may put up a post from time to time. But it may be a bit quieter around here. It was that news more than anything that spurred me to get this idea moving, because I’d like to have content that fills the silences that occur on this site during my workday.

As I recall, the right-leaning volunteers from before included Scott Jacobs, aunursa, Apogee, and JD. The left-leaning volunteers included Psyberian, Aplomb, aphrael, and Leviticus.

I’m open to any further volunteers. No commitment; you post when you feel like it, and you don’t when you don’t. If you’re interested, my e-mail address is on the sidebar.

UPDATE: I should make it clear that it’s going to be very restricted at first. I plan to take only established commenters with a track record of good writing and some level of civility. (UPDATE: At first I wrote “and minimal civility,” but that seemed to imply that the level of civility should be minimal. That would make for an interesting site in some ways, but it’s not what I meant.)

Couric Took Advice on How to Interview Palin from Obama Supporter Sam Nunn

Filed under: General,Media Bias — Patterico @ 9:40 pm

So it looks like Katie Couric took advice from Sam Nunn in preparing to interview Sarah Palin.

Sam Nunn, who had endorsed Obama in April, was mentioned as a possible Obama VP pick, and now serves on Obama’s transition team. (Via WeaselZippers via Hot Air Headlines.)

I can easily imagine Katie Couric taking advice on how to interview Barack Obama from, oh, Tim Pawlenty. Can’t you?

I’m sure this will generate outrage among journalists, for whom professional ethics trump partisan or personal interests.

I’ll be over here in the corner, holding my breath, waiting for said outrage.

To 60, By Hook or By Crook

Filed under: General — Patterico @ 7:37 pm

Are Democrats on the verge of stealing an election the way Al Gore tried to in 2000? Judge for yourself:

Secretary of State Mark Ritchie has announced the canvassing board that will determine whether Republican Norm Coleman or Democrat Al Franken won Minnesota’s Senate race.

The board will be the final word on disputed ballots in the recount. The members include Ritchie, two state Supreme Court justices appointed by Republican Gov. Tim Pawlenty and two Ramsey County judges.

And who is Ritchie? The guy who is in charge of the process, and will be one of five members of the canvassing board?

Why, he’s this guy:

I’m reassured. How about you?

Don’t you hate people who ramp up political rhetoric? Unlike his calm rhetoric, accusing Republicans of wanting to win at any price. That’s the kind of ramped-down rhetoric that says: you can trust me to count the votes fairly.

Meanwhile, Ted Stevens is behind by three votes. No, really. Three votes.

Now, no rational person wants him to be Senator. But if he wins and gets tossed out, there would be a special election. What would you say to Senator Sarah Palin?

Why John Edwards Can’t Make A Political Comeback

Filed under: Politics,Scum — Justin Levine @ 5:18 pm

[posted by Justin Levine]

After he made a public speech at Indiana University, CNN asks ‘Can John Edwards make a comeback’?

The simple answer: No. Not until he comes clean.

CNN quotes James Spellman as saying “Americans are very forgiving, and their memory is often short. He can come back if he does it right.”

This may be true, but Edwards is most definitely NOT doing it right.

Why is that? Simple – He is still lying about fathering a child out of wedlock.

That girl is going to grow up eventually and start asking questions about who her father is. When Edwards makes this supposed ‘comeback’, will the media continue to ignore this kid’s very existence? They will no doubt try to. But then we will be subjected to the same farce all over again where outlets such as the National Enquirer report on the kid’s life while CNN and the rest of the gang stick their collective heads in the sand (among other places).

Then of course there is the regrettable and sad possibility that his wife’s cancer might take a turn for the worse just around the time that he is making progress towards this supposed big ‘comeback’ of his. This will remind voters of Edwards’ inherent sleaziness – even if they have “short memories” in the first instance.

[This doesn’t even address the issue of why Edwards even feels the need to make a comeback except as a way to once again stroke his own over-sized ego. What exactly can he bring to the table at this point?? Is he really going to accuse President-elect Obama of ignoring the poor and caving in to the ‘evil neo-cons’? That seems to be Edwards’ worn-out schitck these days. If he has anything else to offer, I haven’t seen it.]

American’s are indeed forgiving – but I’m laying odds against a comeback in this instance because Edwards still thinks that we are all stupid.

– Justin Levine

L.A. Times on Obama and Race

Filed under: Dog Trainer,General,Race — Patterico @ 6:47 am

The L.A. Times has an article about blacks worrying that people will think racism is dead just because Barack Obama was elected President.

Hakeem Holloway may be a classically trained musician who has played with orchestras around the world, but when he crosses an L.A. city street wearing his typical uniform of jeans and a hoodie, white women have been known to eye him, a black man, and clutch their purses more tightly to their sides.

Frank Gilliam, the dean of UCLA’s School of Public Affairs, sometimes flies first class. When he does, white passengers often ask Gilliam, who is black, if he’s a record producer — if they talk to him at all.

“If they talk to him at all.” So am I now a racist if I don’t talk to someone on a plane?

I can’t afford to pay for first class and I don’t like talking to people on planes. But the next time I’m flying coach, I’ll remember that Frank Gilliam may be up in first class, seething that nobody is talking to him. Maybe I’ll go try to talk to him myself — that is, until the stewardess tells me to go to the back of the plane where I belong.

Do people really “often” ask him if he’s a record producer? Often? Really?

And this guy who wears the hoodies around and watches white women to see how tightly they clutch their purses? I don’t know. Maybe it’s true that white women clutch their purses more tightly. But it’s maybe also true that he is looking very carefully for that sort of thing. I would think how tightly women are clutching their purses is sort of a tough thing to gauge. Do women clutch their purses when I’m around? I don’t know; I don’t look. Would they if I were wearing a hoodie with the hood up? I don’t know; I don’t own a hoodie.

But I do handle a lot of cases where people are robbed by folks in hoodies.

There’s plenty of racism in this country and we’d be fools to deny it. But as this article makes clear, there are also plenty of perceptions of racism that may go beyond the reality.

Holloway, a 31-year-old double bassist with a master’s in music performance from USC, says one problem for African Americans is that success often blinds people to color — in the wrong way.

“We have plenty of black comedians, actors, athletes,” Holloway said. “And plenty of time, everybody regards those people as not black. Michael Jordan? ‘He’s not black. He’s Michael Jordan.’ Barack Obama? ‘He’s not black. He’s Barack Obama.’ “

Again, I don’t know how many people actually think Michael Jordan or Barack Obama aren’t black. Maybe they’re just thinking of Jordan and Obama as people first, instead of as black people first. If so, I’m not so sure that’s the “wrong way” of being colorblind.

The rest of the article similarly accepts at face value every story or perception of racism.

The election of Barack Obama is indeed a transformative moment in some ways. It shows that a black person can achieve the highest office in the land — meaning that if you have enough merit and try hard enough, any person can succeed.

Of course, it’s not going to wipe away racism, which still exists in this country. What this article makes clear is that even if racism were wiped away, the perception of racism would remain — and the L.A. Times would be there to accept that perception uncritically.

If Frank Gilliam should be so unfortunate as to sit in coach some day, he might end up next to me. If he’s going to determine that I’m a racist because I’m more interested in the latest Michael Connelly book than in talking to him, then I can’t see how the election of Barack Obama is going to fix that.

P.S. Can you imagine the L.A. Times uncritically repeating conservatives’ subjective perceptions that the media is biased against them — without a word of skepticism? Neither can I. Why do subjective perceptions of racism merit such unquestioning treatment?

Obama: Lobbyists Won’t Find a Job in My White House . . . But They Certainly Are Welcome to Work on My Transition!

Filed under: Dog Trainer,General,Obama — Patterico @ 5:42 am

Barack Obama, November 3, 2007:

One year from now, we have the chance to tell all those corporate lobbyists that the days of them setting the agenda in Washington are over. I have done more to take on lobbyists than any other candidate in this race – and I’ve won. I don’t take a dime of their money, and when I am President, they won’t find a job in my White House.

The L.A. Times today:

To burnish Obama’s reformist credentials, Podesta on Tuesday rolled out what he billed as a tough set of ethics rules targeting professional lobbyists. But there was a loophole: Lobbyists could work on the transition as long as they stayed away from the policy areas that their lobbying involved.

So, will these folks be working on the transition from outside the White House? Just curious.

This is reported under the headline: “Despite campaign promise, Obama turns to lobbyists.” Ha ha! Just kidding! The actual headline is: “Barack Obama is looking more like a realist.”

The line about lobbyists I quote above is in the article, prominently featured in the very last line.

P.S. There won’t be any FEC audit of Obama, by the way. But there will be one of McCain.

Mmmm, the change. I can smell it.

UPDATE: More change we can believe in documented here.

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