Patterico's Pontifications



Filed under: General — Patterico @ 11:02 pm

Marquee -- good quality picture
April 26, 2001: Barrie, Ontario

Bob Kerrey’s Afghanistan Op-Ed

Filed under: Obama,War — DRJ @ 9:31 pm

[Guest post by DRJ]

On the Op-Ed pages of the Wall Street Journal, Bob Kerrey hopes President Obama does not waver on Afghanistan:

“There is surely a strong temptation to conform his better judgment to popular opinion. If he chooses this politically safe route and does not give his military commander on the ground the resources needed to win, history will judge him harshly. Great American leaders of our past have ignored popular sentiment and pressed on during the darkest hours, even when setbacks give rhetorical ammunition to the skeptics.”

Kerrey notes the Taliban is not popular in Afghanistan so this isn’t another Vietnam, nor are Afghan leaders asking America to leave as happened in some parts of Iraq. Instead:

“[W]e are being asked to withdraw by American leaders who begin their analysis with the presumption that victory is not possible. They seem to want to ensure defeat by leaving at the very moment when our military leader on the ground has laid out a coherent and compelling strategy for victory.”

Kerrey concludes this is a test of Obama’s moral leadership and whether he will keep his word and commitments. I hope he will.

H/T Instapundit and Ann Althouse.


A Poll: Sarah Palin’s Book

Filed under: Politics — DRJ @ 8:51 pm

[Guest post by DRJ]

Full Disclosure: I pre-ordered a copy but this isn’t about selling books for Sarah Palin. I’m just curious how it’s selling among internet folks.


L.A. Times’s Tim Rutten: Yeah, Obama Deserves the Nobel Peace Prize

Filed under: Dog Trainer,General,Obama — Patterico @ 6:32 pm

Tim Rutten at times manages to take the most extraordinarily dunderheaded positions. Today is no exception, as he defies his own editorial board and the entire rightwing and leftwing blogosphere to argue that, yeah, Obama really does deserve the Nobel Peace Prize. One of Rutten’s central points is the seriousness of the politicians who bestowed the award:

Within hours of Friday’s announcement that President Obama had won the Nobel Peace Prize, commentators and politicians all over the map were denouncing the award as “absurd.”

At first blush, that seems the only reasonable response, because the president has yet to bring peace anywhere, and given the Nobel committee’s deadlines, his nomination for the prize must have occurred within 11 days of his inauguration. On the other hand, under the terms of Alfred Nobel’s will, the peace prize is awarded by five lawmakers selected from the Norwegian Storting, or parliament. The committee’s current president is Norway’s former prime minister, Thorbjorn Jagland, now president of the Storting.

In other words, the prize was conferred by experienced politicians who seem to know exactly what they were doing.

Enjoy this picture of experienced politician Thorbjørn Jagland:

Jagland og Svabø
Above: according to Tim Rutten, experienced politician Thorbjørn Jagland knows exactly what he’s doing.

He’s the guy on the left.

P.S. I say Rutten wrote the piece — but, given the non-ironic use of phrases like “hope and change” and “post-racial society,” are we sure it wasn’t ghostwritten by David Axelrod?

Obama remains a powerful voice of hope and change for many Europeans, not only because of his eloquence and his reassertion of America’s role as a leader of international diplomacy, but also because he physically embodies change as progress. In this country, most people have taken their cue from a president determined to govern as chief executive of a post-racial society.

Yeah, we’re real post-racial. Evidence, you say? Let’s start with the open wounds of the Henry Louis Gates incident, into which Obama himself poured a heaping cup of acid, by taking Gates’s side before the evidence was in. From there, let’s move on to the peanut farmer’s comment that “an overwhelming portion of the intensely demonstrated animosity toward President Barack Obama is based on the fact that he is a black man.” Are you feeling the post-racial glow?

A Time to Play and a Time to Lead

Filed under: Obama,War — DRJ @ 5:47 pm

[Guest post by DRJ]

Life’s good in Washington if you’re President Obama, who had a few spare hours and plenty of takers for a pick-up basketball game at the White House. But Obama had a good day — progress on health care reform is promising and he just won the Nobel Peace Prize. He probably felt like celebrating.

Life’s not so good in Afghanistan where, in a move that’s been planned for some time, the U.S. military vacated the base where 8 Americans were killed in last week’s Taliban attack:

“Speaking by telephone from an undisclosed location, Taliban spokesman Zabiullah Mujahid said the U.S. bombarded the outpost with airstrikes after leaving, as well as the local police headquarters.

“This means they are not coming back,” Mujahid said. “This is another victory for Taliban. We have control of another district in eastern Afghanistan.”

“Right now Kamdesh is under our control, and the white flag of the Taliban is raised above Kamdesh,” Mujahid said.”

Don’t you have some Afghanistan decisions to make, Mr. President?


Polanski Lawyer and Eric Holder BFF Lobbies DOJ to Drop Extradition

Filed under: General — Patterico @ 5:09 pm

I don’t like this, not one little bit:

Lawyers for Roman Polanski met with U.S. Department of Justice officials to make their case against extraditing the 76-year-old fugitive film director from Switzerland to the U.S., according to court documents released Friday.

Why do I find it ominous that Polanski’s lawyer is talking to the DOJ? The reason can be found in this September 29 New York Times article:

While a backlash emerged Tuesday among French politicians of all stripes about whether their government and others should have rushed to embrace the cause of the jailed film director Roman Polanski, his American legal team picked up an influential new member: the lawyer Reid Weingarten, a well-known Washington power player and close friend and associate of Attorney General Eric H. Holder Jr.

. . . .

Mr. Weingarten is expected to mount a legal effort to block Mr. Polanski’s extradition before the issue works its way through the Swiss legal system, according to people who were briefed on Mr. Weingarten’s involvement . . . . A former government lawyer who once worked in the Justice Department’s public integrity division, Mr. Weingarten is described as one of Mr. Holder’s closest friends, and joined him in founding the See Forever Foundation, which helps disadvantaged children.

A backlash? Oh, you want a backlash?

Then picture the backlash if Roman Polanski manages to avoid being sentenced for drugging and raping a 13-year-old — because his lawyer managed to use his friendship with Eric Holder to put an end to the extradition.

Now that would be a mother[expletive deleted]ing backlash.

P.S. According to the first linked article, a letter that Polanski’s attorneys wrote the DOJ says: “Mr. Polanski stands little chance of receiving a fair hearing or disposition in California should he be returned, particularly in light of the world wide press attention on this case.” In other words, treat him differently because he’s famous.

Which would bring us full circle, because Polanski’s fame is why he got the deal in the first place: my employer (the L.A. County D.A., for whom I do not speak) dismissed the most serious charges because of the potential harm to the victim, stemming from the international publicity surrounding the case.

Fast-Tracking Health Care Reform

Filed under: Health Care,Politics — DRJ @ 5:07 pm

[Guest post by DRJ]

CNS News reports there may be a plan to fast-track approval of health care legislation that would bypass the House-Senate conference committee:

“Under the plan, as previously reported by, Reid would attach a final Senate health reform plan to H.R. 1586, a bill that currently taxes bonuses paid to bailed-out bank executives. If the effort survived a filibuster, Reid would then send it to the House, which could vote on it directly and then send to President Obama, bypassing the conference-negotiating process and the public scrutiny that comes with it.”

It sounds like the ball is in Harry Reid’s court. How many GOP Senators will vote to limit taxes on bailed-out bankers’ bonuses in order to stop health care from passing? My guess is not enough.


Iran Objects to Israeli Threat

Filed under: International — DRJ @ 4:46 pm

[Guest post by DRJ]

Iran’s Ambassador to the UN has sent a letter of protest regarding recent comments by an Israeli Deputy Defense Minister:

“Iran’s ambassador to the UN, Mohammad Khazaee, sent a letter of protest to UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moonin which he wrote that “there is no explanation for Israel’s continuing threats against Tehran”.

He was referring to an interview given by former Deputy Defense Minister Ephraim Sneh to the Sunday Times in which he said that if Iran were not further sanctioned by this Christmas Israel would attack the country.

Sneh told the paper that if Israel were forced to attack the Islamic Republic on its own it would do so, remarks the Iranian ambassador deemed “irresponsible”.

Iran will no doubt find a sympathetic ear at the UN but its complaint is ironic given President Ahmadinejad’s repeated threats to destroy Israel.


Dylan Klebold’s Mother Speaks

Filed under: Crime — DRJ @ 3:14 pm

[Guest post by DRJ]

Susan Klebold, the mother of Columbine murderer Dylan Klebold, has written an article for The Oprah Magazine. Her focus is on Dylan’s suicidal thoughts and her belief that they led to his acts:

From the writings Dylan left behind, criminal psychologists have concluded that he was depressed and suicidal,” Susan Klebold wrote in one passage. “When I first saw copied pages of these writings, they broke my heart. I’d had no inkling of the battle Dylan was waging in his mind.”

She added: “Dylan’s participation in the massacre was impossible for me to accept until I began to connect it to his own death. Once I saw his journals, it was clear to me that Dylan entered the school with the intention of dying there. And so in order to understand what he might have been thinking, I started to learn all I could about suicide.”

It would be easy to dislike Klebold for what her son did but I can’t because of this part:

“For the rest of my life, I will be haunted by the horror and anguish Dylan caused,” she wrote. “I cannot look at a child in a grocery store or on the street without thinking about how my son’s schoolmates spent the last moments of their lives. Dylan changed everything I believed about myself, about God, about family, and about love.”

Suicide is a cruel act for those left behind. It’s even worse if you take innocents with you.


Sen. DeMint’s Trip to Honduras

Filed under: International,Obama — DRJ @ 2:53 pm

[Guest post by DRJ]

Sen. Jim DeMint traveled to Honduras last week and reports Hondurans want to move past the Zelaya story:

“In a day packed with meetings, we met only one person in Honduras who opposed Mr. Zelaya’s ouster, who wishes his return, and who mystifyingly rejects the legitimacy of the November elections: U.S. Ambassador Hugo Llorens.

When I asked Ambassador Llorens why the U.S. government insists on labeling what appears to the entire country to be the constitutional removal of Mr. Zelaya a “coup,” he urged me to read the legal opinion drafted by the State Department’s top lawyer, Harold Koh. As it happens, I have asked to see Mr. Koh’s report before and since my trip, but all requests to publicly disclose it have been denied.

On the other hand, the only thorough examination of the facts to date—conducted by a senior analyst at the Law Library of Congress—confirms the legality and constitutionality of Mr. Zelaya’s ouster. (It’s on the Internet here.)”

DeMint concludes that Hondurans understand why Hugo Chavez, the Castro brothers, and Daniel Ortega support Zelaya … but why does Barack Obama?


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