Patterico's Pontifications


John McCain on Jimmy Carter

Filed under: Politics — DRJ @ 9:10 pm

[Guest post by DRJ]

The Straight Talk Express is back. We might have had President McCain if he had been this convincing and blunt during the campaign:

McCain: “I’m deeply disturbed by those accusations because it’s an unfair and untrue commentary on the American people and them exercising their God-given rights to disagree with the Administration. It seems to me that President Carter has earned his place as, if not the worst President in history, certainly the worst President of the Twentieth Century.”


Terror Suspect Interrogated in Denver

Filed under: Terrorism — DRJ @ 8:08 pm

[Guest post by DRJ]

Multiple news agencies report an Afghan-born Denver-area resident has admitted ties to al Queda and is negotiating a guilty plea on terror charges:

“Afghan-born Najibullah Zazi, 24, has repeatedly proclaimed his innocence and denied having terrorist ties.

The New York Daily News, ABC news, FOX news, CBS News, NBC News and CNN, all citing anonymous sources, reported this afternoon that Afghani-born Zazi confessed to having al-Qaeda ties during three days of interviews with federal officials in Denver.”

The various reports include that the plot involves “peroxide-based bombs concealed in backpacks” with as many as 5 Coloradans involved. Zazi reportedly talked to an al Qaeda member in Pakistan about a “wedding” which U.S. law enforcement believes is a code word for an attack. Reports say he also made a recent and sudden trip to New York City and “told at least one person not to tell anyone he was going.” After Zazi was detained, the formula for the explosive TATP was reportedly found in his computer.

This is suspicious information but the Denver Post notes it has been unable to confirm it, and the Post’s source says the report is premature. The fact the authorities have not taken Zazi into custody suggests this story has more chapters to be written.


CNN’s Rick Sanchez is Mad at Fox News (Updated)

Filed under: Blogging Matters,Media Bias — DRJ @ 7:37 pm

[Guest post by DRJ]

Really, really mad:

I haven’t read the Fox News ad but it sounds like Sanchez has a good point. If so, I hope Fox News admits it is wrong.

People say they’re sorry at the drop of a hat in today’s world but they rarely admit — up front and unequivocally — when they’re wrong. I think that’s a problem. We don’t need a world full of people saying “I’m sorry” but when it’s appropriate, everyone should say “I’m wrong.” And if people really mean it when they admit they’re wrong, they also change the attitudes and preconceptions that led them there. That’s a lot harder than saying “I’m sorry.”

As for Rick Sanchez: I hope you and Fox News work this out. I also hope you can chill out … but if I’m wrong about that, I’m sorry.


UPDATE: PS, Rick — Even if CNN covers stories, that doesn’t make the coverage unbiased. So while you’re bashing Fox News over its journalistic standards, take a closer look at CNN’s coverage of the ACORN story:

Breitbart: “But, predictably, and why we rolled the videos out one by one by one by one, we set traps for ACORN to lie; each and every time they lied. They went to the mainstream media, continued to tell those lies. The next day, the previous day’s lies were exposed. And CNN in particular has kept going back to ACORN and taking their line.”

Obama and Massachusetts’ Next Senator

Filed under: Obama,Politics — DRJ @ 5:20 pm

[Guest post by DRJ]

When Ted Kennedy died, President Obama’s spokesman said replacing him was a State matter. Today Massachusetts Governor Deval Patrick acknowledged Obama and the White House have repeatedly pushed to speed up Kennedy’s replacement:

“A month after a White House spokesman labeled the issue a state matter, Patrick said he and Obama spoke about changing the law as they both attended Kennedy’s funeral in Boston last month. He also said White House aides have been in contact frequently ever since and pushing for the change so they can regain their filibuster-proof majority in the U.S. Senate.
Democrats changed the succession law in 2004 to create a five-month special election campaign and block then-Gov. Mitt Romney, a Republican, from naming a temporary replacement if Sen. John Kerry had won his presidential bid.”

The special election primary is scheduled for Dec. 8 and the general election is set for Jan. 19. Nevertheless, the Massachusetts House passed a bill yesterday that would allow Patrick to appoint a temporary replacement. Senate debate on the bill has been postponed until Monday because of a procedural delay by Republicans.

Who knew a vote for “Hope and Change” was really a vote to change the Senate succession laws of Massachusetts?


Our paranoid, race-baiting media

Filed under: General — Karl @ 3:48 pm

[Posted by Karl]

 The Obama presidency is running into growing opposition — as presidencies tend to do. However, for some reason, the Washington Post’s Anne Kornblut was interested in a racial hypothesis:

[White House communications director Anita] Dunn played down the role that race could have in fueling the rancor. “I think that is less a part of it than some other people might think,” she said.

It may be true, as Allahpundit suggests, that the White House refuses to accuse its opponents of racism directly because “every last halfwit in big media is happily willing to do it for them.” But these statements are not mutually exclusive. When Dunn speaks of “some other people,” she may well be thinking of the legacy media.

She may be thinking of New York Times columnist Maureen Dowd, who hears racist voices in her head. She may be thinking of the Washington Post coulmists Eugene Robinson and E.J. Dionne — or the paper’s media critic, Howard Kurtz. She may be thinking of TIME’s Joe Klein, as big a hypocrite as he may be on the subject. She may have read a McClatchy newspaper story about it. She may be thinking of the Atlantic’s Marc Ambinder, who confesses to hearing an inner Maureen Dowd voice. She may be thinking of The New Yorker’s Hendrik Hertzberg. She may be thinking of MSNBC’s Chris Matthews, or NBC’s Today show, which featured more imaginary voices in the head. She may be thinking of ABC News, or possibly CNN.

She may be thinking of the White House press corps, a sizeable portion of which wanted to drag Pres. Obama into their delusion after ex-Pres. Carter claimed that the “overwhelming” portion of animosity towards Obama is racist. Obama flack Robert Gibbs — despite saying that Pres. Obama did not think race was a factor — was badgered about it:

“Are you saying that the President is not concerned about the climate of hate in this country today?”

“You don’t think it’s race-based?”

“Robert, did the President see President Carter’s remarks and read them, in full?”

“Robert, just to put a fine point on it, speaking for the President, do you believe he disagrees with what Jimmy Carter said last night, fundamentally?”

“Would the President regard statements from such a prominent American, a former President, a son of the South, as he described himself, helpful in the whole country’s understanding or comprehensive or conversation about this subject, of his presidency, race, and criticism of his policy?”

“There’s obviously the President. Why is he or why are you so reluctant to talk about it? I mean, you were reluctant to talk about the House vote on Joe Wilson. You’re reluctant to talk about — I guess my question really is that he gave this big speech during the campaign on race. There’s now a conversation that’s risen to the level of a former President about race. Can we expect him to talk about that, to address it in any way, or is your hope to keep him away from this conversation and focused on other things?”

“If the incident in Cambridge was viewed in the President’s eyes as a teachable moment for the country, why is this not a teachable moment, in terms of the role that race is playing in society?”

“What impact does it have when a former President of the United States, someone who came from the South, someone who worked against discrimination all of his career, says that the — what was it — an overwhelming portion of the intensely demonstrated animosity is because he’s black? What effect does that have on the country when a former President says that?”

And so on.

On this topic, the legacy media have turned from investigatory journalism to hallucinatory journalism. To assist those still hearing voices in their heads, let’s use a visual aid:

For Carter to be correct, we would have to assume that a large portion of the population was unaware in late 2008 and early 2009 that Barack Obama is a person of color, or that an increasing portion of the public is turning racist. Occam’s Razor suggests the correct answer is that Carter is an unhinged, race-baiting demagogue.

And contrary to some White House correspondent, there is not “a national conversation going on about race and the role it has or hasn’t played in some of the hostility” toward the president. Only 12% of likely voters hold Carter’s view, most of whom are Democrats. Only 20% of registered voters hold Carter’s view, 34% of Democrats. Those figures are comparable to the 35% of Democrats who believed in 2007 that George Bush knew in advance about the 9/11 attacks. It is a view held by a minority of a minority. The legacy media’s seeming obsession with the notion says far more about them than the president’s critics.

Of course, establishment journalism’s delusions about the Right extend beyond the casual imputation of racism. The legacy media has also been obsessed with the idea that the Right is thisclose to boiling over into violent revolution. Reason’s Jesse Walker has a must-read essay detailing the paranoid style in center-left politics and the history of past “brown scares” waged against the Right. In the current debate over ObamaCare, if the Obama=Hitler signs are actually the work of Lyndon LaRouche nuts who support Canadian-style medicine, the legacy media will not notice. If furthering the narrative of the “angry white man” opposition to ObamaCare requires MSNBC to lop off the head of an African-American man holding a rifle with a video editor, so be it. These acts and omissions further a “larger truth,” which is to say a narrative not tethered to reported fact.

At this point, I should take a moment to concede that some of Pres. Obama’s critics may well be racists, and may hold extreme views. On the other hand, I can find Hispanics in New Jersey (most of whom are likely not members of Radical Right) who think that Obama is the Anti-Christ, or are “birthers” or “truthers.” Indeed, the same poll has half of the African-Americans surveyed as truthers.

We could also look at the 2005 study which showed that a majority of blacks believed that a cure for AIDS was being withheld from the poor; that nearly half believed that AIDS was man-made, with a quarter believing that it was created in a US government laboratory and 12 percent naming the CIA as its source. Such fringe conspiracy theories were peddled by the Rev. Jeremiah Wright, whom Pres. Obama counted as his spiritual adviser until Wright’s comments before the National Press Club made his extremism politically impossible to dismiss. Extremism is not difficult to find in any large demographic, but the legacy media only sees it selectively.

Many on the Right presume the legacy media acts as it does to marginalize the president’s critics and to cover up the extremism to be found on the Left. However, that is a fairly charitable hypothesis. In discussing the (forced) resignation of Obama’s “green jobs czar” Van Jones, lefty blogger-activist Jane Hamsher not only noted that 35% of Democrats were truthers, but suggested that such extreme views were broadly held by the liberal institutional elite, who are presumably better informed and educated on politics than the general public. Thus, the question presents itself as to whether the legacy media covers extremism as it does due to extremism within the legacy media.

Continuing with the Van Jones case, consider that the New York Times failed to cover the story until he was forced out, and then with this lede: “In a victory for Republicans and the Obama administration’s conservative critics, Van Jones resigned as the White House’s environmental jobs “czar” on Saturday.” The news was not — and never was to the NYT — that Van Jones had been a communist Truther; the news was that conservatives had somehow won a victory. No wonder that Tom Brokaw and Tom Friedman took to NBC’s Meet The Press to blame the messenger.

Similarly, in covering the ongoing scandals plaguing Pres. Obama’s old friends at ACORN, the first headline from the NYT did not address the substance of the scandals, but proclaimed: “Conservatives Draw Blood From Acorn.” Other outlets, including the L.A. Times, had the same take on the story. It might be argued that the NYT and the LAT are covering the story up, but ABC World News Tonight anchor Charlie Gibson was unaware there even was an ACORN story. Moreover, some of the questions from the White House presser quoted above were lobbed by Helen Thomas, and few can doubt that she is so fully marinated in her left-wing extremism that she sees no manipulation or dishonesty in what she is doing.

The picture that emerges may not be that of clever, biased journalists highlighting extremism on the Right and whitewashing it on the Left. The picture may be of intellectually lazy, incurious, knee-jerk liberal journalists for whom the extremism of the Left does not register as all that extreme, and for whom the concerns of half the population do not even register as legitimate subjects of news coverage.

In short, we may be looking at a case for Hanlon’s Razor: “Never attribute to malice that which can be adequately explained by stupidity.” Of course, I would not want to engage in the same sort of gross generalizations discussed above. Life is just too complex for that. Accordingly, we could also employ Heinlein’s Razor: “Never attribute to malice that which can be adequately explained by stupidity, but don’t rule out malice.”


L.A. Times: Imagine That Government Money Appears Magically Out of Nowhere

Filed under: Dog Trainer — Patterico @ 6:08 am

At the L.A. Times, Noam N. Levey has this analogy for health care:

Imagine the debate over healthcare legislation on Capitol Hill as a tussle among three friends out for dinner.

All three have been struggling to pay their bills lately. When the check arrives, they try to figure out how to divide it. The problem is no one can really afford the meal. And if one manages to pay less, the other two will go home even deeper in the hole.

Interesting. And who are the three friends?

Think of our three friends as consumers, businesses and government, the three major groups that pay for healthcare in America. The check is the nation’s healthcare tab, which now tops $2.5 trillion a year.

Ah. I see. So the more that our friend government pays, the less business and consumers have to pay.

Great! I’m convinced: let’s have government pick up the whole check! I always like paying less of the check. Don’t you?

Except that, of course, every penny paid by “government” is actually paid by taxpayers. Did you forget that, Noam N. Levey?

So really, it’s not very much like three friends. It’s more like you and your brother are eating lunch with your disreputable cousin Paulie, who has no job and stays alive by mooching off you and your brother. Paulie might play Mr. Magnanimous and pick up the check — but it’s hard to feel too grateful, because you and your brother both know that the money is coming out of your pocket anyway.

Other than that, great analogy.

Thanks to a reader.

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