Patterico's Pontifications


Quote of the Day

Filed under: Obama,Politics — DRJ @ 11:53 pm

[Guest post by DRJ]

Decipher this:

“[A]ppointing Gupta now, although it’s a small thing, is just another example of the lack of accountability that always seems to be the rule when you get things wrong in a socially acceptable way.”

Paul Krugman, explaining why he opposes Obama’s appointment of Sanjay Gupta as Surgeon General because Gupta once claimed Michael Moore “fudged his facts” in the film SiCKO.

The linked article also details Congressman John Conyers’ opposition to Gupta.


Nice Fisking of a New York Times Piece About Poor Roman Polanski

Filed under: General — Patterico @ 10:39 pm

It’s a nice job by Bill Wyman.

More Widely Divergent Reports of the Percentage of Palestinians Killed in Gaza Who Are Civilians

Filed under: General — Patterico @ 8:15 pm

A story today in the L.A. Times:

Israel was under increasing international pressure over a military campaign that has killed more than 780 Palestinians, at least one-third of them civilians, according to Gaza medical workers.


By Friday evening, more than 20 Palestinians had been reported killed during the day, pushing the death toll for the two-week conflict to around 780, according to Gaza health officials who said at least half of those killed were civilians.

The National:

Al Haq, a Palestinian legal rights group, warned that 80 per cent of the 700 Palestinians killed in the fighting so far have been civilians. According to figures cited by the World Health Organisation, at least 40 per cent have been children. Another 3,000 Gazans have been wounded.

Nothing inconsistent about any of this, of course. If 110% of the casualties were infants, it would still be true that “at least one-third” or “at least half” were civilians. You know . . . technically.

Still, don’t the huge discrepancies indicate some level of uncertainty . . . and some responsibility on the part of news organizations to flag that uncertainty — beyond simply identifying the source?

Not that doctors would ever lie about such things . . .

Illinois Secretary of State ‘Certifies’ Affirms Burris Appointment

Filed under: Government,Politics — DRJ @ 7:18 pm

[Guest post by DRJ]

The Politico reports the Illinois Secretary of State signed a statement affirming the appointment of Roland Burris as Senator replacing Barack Obama. The action followed today’s decision by the Illinois Supreme Court holding that no further action (other than the registration of the appointment by the Secretary of State, an act that occurred December 31, 2008) was required to validate Blagojevich’s appointment of Burris:

“Under the Secretary of State Act, the Secretary’s sole
responsibility was to register the appointment (15 ILCS 305/5(2)
(West 2006)), which he did. No further action is required by the
Secretary of State or any other official to make the Governor’s
appointment of Roland Burris to the United States Senate valid under Illinois law.”

Thus, the Illinois Supreme Court denied Burris’ request for mandamus — that is, Burris’ request for an order directing the Secretary of State to certify his appointment — but Burris will likely prevail anyway because the Court held certification isn’t required to make the appointment valid.

Bottom line: The Senate may still claim certification is required under its rules but I doubt it will. If so, Burris could be seated next week.

UPDATE: I’ve changed the title to make it clear that, in accordance with the Illinois Supreme Court’s decision, the Secretary of State “affirmed” Burris’ appointment but did not certify it.


Democrats Rescind Congressional Chair Term Limits

Filed under: Government,Politics — DRJ @ 4:33 pm

[Guest post by DRJ]

There’s a new Congress in town and MSNBC’s First Read notices the rules are already changing:

“Democrats released a new “rules package,” intended as “Common-sense Reforms to Keep Congress Working for America, Continue to Restore Integrity to Institution,” the press releases subhead reads. But one of those changes rescinds term limits from committee chairs. Is this really a reform? Is this a healthy thing for the Democratic Party? There are just six chairs who were elected with or after Clinton, while the other 16 came to Congress before Bill Clinton was even a twinkle in James Carville’s eye, and six came to Congress before Jimmy Carter was elected! Is this change Democrats can believe in? Shouldn’t the House Democrats want new blood running Congress not just serving in it?”

LA Times’ Top of the Ticket maestro Andrew Malcolm says this means Charlie Rangel can “hold the gavel as long as he wants.”

Most. Ethical. Congress. Ever.


Palestinian Fakery: Should Big Media Investigate Whether It’s Happening?

Filed under: General — Patterico @ 1:07 pm

Yes, it’s a rhetorical question.

Many bloggers claim to have caught Palestinians faking death and mistreatment. For example, look at the links collected here, or the story told here (not originating with the blogger, but with an Israeli newspaper).

I haven’t independently investigated these claims and can’t vouch for their authenticity. But these posts raise enough questions that Big Media should be looking into this angle, no?

And, at the very least, shouldn’t their reporting on atrocities against Palestinians be tinged with elements of caution — given the very real history of fabrications in similar situations?

UPDATE: Bob Owens has more here.

Blagojevich Impeached

Filed under: Politics — DRJ @ 1:05 pm

[Guest post by DRJ]

The Illinois House impeached Governor Rod Blagojevich today. Any impeachment trial will be conducted by the Illinois Senate. Blagojevich says he isn’t surprised by his impeachment, not because of the pending federal corruption investigation but because he’s been at odds with Illinois lawmakers since 2006:

“Blagojevich says his efforts to improve health care and cut property taxes for Illinois residents are related to his impeachment because members of the House resisted those moves.”

Politicians have a unique ability to create their own reality. The problem comes when they start to believe it.

Scott Jacobs has more on the impeachment at The Jury Talks Back.


Holder Pushed FALN Clemency

Filed under: Obama,Terrorism — Patterico @ 1:50 am

The L.A. Times reports:

Attorney general nominee Eric H. Holder Jr. repeatedly pushed some of his subordinates at the Clinton Justice Department to drop their opposition to a controversial 1999 grant of clemency to 16 members of two violent Puerto Rican nationalist organizations, according to interviews and documents.

Details of the role played by Holder, who was deputy attorney general at the time, had not been publicly known until now. The new details are of particular interest because Republican senators have vowed to revisit Holder’s role during his confirmation hearings next week.

Well, that should be interesting.

Matt Welch on Newspaper Bailouts

Filed under: Dog Trainer,General — Patterico @ 1:36 am

Matt Welch says newspaper bailouts will continue to be on journalists’ minds:

Here’s a new holiday cocktail for you: Combine one part bailout seasoning with another part perennial journalistic self-pity, pour it out over the Christmas/New Year’s publishing interregnum and presto!—it’s time for patriotic men and women to get behind a government rescue of what was until very recently one of the most profitable sectors in the United States: The newspaper industry.

. . . .

Mark my words: This will not be the last time you hear about newspaper bailouts. Not if journalists have anything to say about it.

If newspapers are bailed out, any remaining watchdogs will become lapdogs.

Maybe they’re not worried about that because they know they already are lapdogs for the upcoming Obama administration. But what happens when, in the future, newspapers must depend on Republican largesse for their survival? Aha . . . maybe then they’ll see the problem.

This isn’t hard. Any journalist that would take a government handout forfeits any claim to being a journalist. Period.

If they can’t maintain basic independence from the government, what the hell good are they anyway?

P.S. Matt’s piece is filled with fun facts about his former employer, the L.A. Times;

Blaming the customer is the second-to-last refuge of any crappy industry, business, or organization (the last refuge being asking for a handout on Capitol Hill). As my ex-L.A. Times colleague and current Reason magazine Contributing Editor Tim Cavanaugh has noted in our pages, the paper we both short-timed for was filled with people making jokes about whether we could just “fire our readers.”

Arrogance? What arrogance? I also love this:

In an era where there are no journalists left who don’t have an e-mail address, newspapers still employ strange woodland creatures known as ombudsmen to “interface” with readers. On their first beer, newspaper hacks will talk bitterly about Jeff Jarvis and Mickey Kaus and Jay Rosen, all those ivory tower types who think newspapers could somehow be better with less staffing…and by the third they’re talking smack about the writer across the hall who hasn’t filed a thing in four months (and who never took any of the voluntary buyouts, for obvious reasons).

Sounds like someone was complaining about Chuck Philips, doesn’t it?

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