Patterico's Pontifications


Clarence Thomas in 2008 on Harry Reid’s Insults: “Who Were the Real Bigots? It’s Obvious”

Filed under: Judiciary,Race — Patterico @ 7:33 pm

Remember when Jan Crawford interviewed Clarence Thomas in 2008? She asked him about Harry Reid’s comment — which, as I reminded readers over the weekend, was based on falsehoods — that Thomas

has been an embarrassment to the Supreme Court. I think that his opinions are poorly written. I don’t — I just don’t think that he’s done a good job as a Supreme Court justice.

Crawford today recalled Thomas’s response:

In an interview in 2008, I asked Thomas why people continue to embrace this grossly false storyline — why they sell him short, understate his intellect — and why they persistently believe he merely has “followed” Scalia, when in fact there’s absolutely no basis for that.

“Give me a break. I mean this is part of the — you know, the black guy is supposed to follow somebody white. We know that,” Thomas told me. “Come on, we know the story behind that. I mean there’s no need to sort of tip-toe around that … The story line was that, well I couldn’t be doing this myself, he must be doing it for me because I’m black. That’s obvious. Again, I go back to my point. Who were the real bigots? It’s obvious.

But why no uproar, I asked. Why no outcry?

“People feel free to say about me what they think about lots of blacks,” Thomas told me. “Because of the heterodox views I’ve taken, they have license to say it about me with impunity.”

Or put another way: In Harry Reid’s worldview, Clarence Thomas isn’t the “right” kind of black guy.

Well, he did speak that Geechee dialect as a child.

And he does have that dark, dark skin.

No, he’s really not Harry’s Reid’s type at all, is he?

P.S. ‘Course, he did use that fancy white word “heterodox.” I bet Harry Reid doesn’t even know what that means.

P.P.S. Read Jan’s entire post here.

Stimulus: Goodbye “Saved or Created” Jobs

Filed under: Economics,Obama — DRJ @ 5:05 pm

[Guest post by DRJ]

President Obama’s American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009, more commonly known as the Stimulus, had three goals:

  • Create new jobs as well as save existing ones.
  • Spur economic activity and invest in long-term economic growth.
  • Foster unprecedented levels of accountability and transparency in government spending.
  • As of October 30, 2009, showed 640,329 jobs “created or saved” by stimulus funds. However, the jobs listing has been shown to be inflated, highly suspect, and with no effect on unemployment:

    “A federal spending surge of more than $20 billion for roads and bridges in President Barack Obama’s first stimulus has had no effect on local unemployment rates, raising questions about his argument for billions more to address an “urgent need to accelerate job growth.”

    An Associated Press analysis of stimulus spending found that it didn’t matter if a lot of money was spent on highways or none at all: Local unemployment rates rose and fell regardless. And the stimulus spending only barely helped the beleaguered construction industry, the analysis showed.

    With the nation’s unemployment rate at 10 percent and expected to rise, Obama wants a second stimulus bill from Congress including billions of additional dollars for roads and bridges — projects the president says are “at the heart of our effort to accelerate job growth.”

    The government’s response? Change the goals so they no longer count jobs “created or saved”:

    “In a little-noticed December 18, 2009 memo from Office of Management and Budget director Peter Orszag the Obama administration is changing the way stimulus jobs are counted.

    The memo, first noted by ProPublica, says that those receiving stimulus funds no longer have to say whether a job has been saved or created.

    “Instead, recipients will more easily and objectively report on jobs funded with Recovery Act dollars,” Orszag wrote.

    In other words, if the project is being funded with stimulus dollars – even if the person worked at that company or organization before and will work the same place afterwards – that’s a stimulus job.”

    At this rate, every job in America will be a Stimulus job by 2013.

    — DRJ

    Fox News Signs Sarah Palin (Updated)

    Filed under: General — DRJ @ 12:40 pm

    [Guest post by DRJ]

    Sarah Palin has joined Fox News as a contributor:

    “The network confirmed that Ms. Palin would appear on the network’s programming on a regular basis as part of a multiyear deal. Financial terms were not disclosed.

    Ms. Palin will not have her own regular program, one person with knowledge of the deal said, though she will host a series that will run on the network from time to time.”

    The formal announcement could come as early as this afternoon.

    — DRJ

    UPDATE: In an update, the LA Times Show Tracker reports Palin will debut on the O’Reilly show Tuesday night.

    Mark McGwire Admits Using Steroids

    Filed under: Sports — DRJ @ 12:40 pm

    [Guest post by DRJ]

    Former St. Louis Cardinals baseball player Mark McGwire admits he used steroids on and off for years, including during his record home run year:

    “McGwire said in a statement sent to The Associated Press on Monday that he used steroids on and off for nearly a decade.
    McGwire’s decision to admit using steroids was prompted by his decision to become hitting coach of the St. Louis Cardinals, his final big league team. La Russa, McGwire’s manager in Oakland and St. Louis, has been among McGwire’s biggest supporters and thinks returning to the field can restore the former slugger’s reputation.”

    The report states a source also claims McGwire used human growth hormone.

    — DRJ

    Jim Treacher Has Moved

    Filed under: General — Patterico @ 7:40 am

    Check out his new digs, and congrats to him on his gig with Tucker Carlson.

    L.A. Times Treats Reid as Victim, Treated Lott as Racist

    Filed under: Dog Trainer,General,Race — Patterico @ 12:48 am

    Time for another classic example of liberal bias in newspapers — this one involving Harry Reid.

    I decided to compare the L.A. Times‘s coverage of Harry Reid’s racially insensitive remarks to the paper’s 2002 coverage of Trent Lott’s racially insensitive remarks.

    The contrast is striking.

    But first let me explain how this paper handles criticism it likes, and criticism it doesn’t like.

    In 2004 I wrote of the L.A. Times:

    When the paper disagrees with criticism of a [politician], it is portrayed as an attack by political opponents. When the paper agrees with the criticism, the criticism becomes a mysterious and disembodied (but ever-growing) entity. Doubts grow. Criticism emerges.

    Sure enough, the L.A. Times spin on the Harry Reid story portrays the controversy as the GOP opening fire on Reid:

    LAT on Reid

    The story repeatedly discusses the controversy as an attack by the Republicans:

    The Nevada Democrat — who, over the years, has called Alan Greenspan a hack, Washington tourists smelly and President George W. Bush a liar — was pummeled by Republicans on Sunday for impolitic comments about President Obama’s potential for winning the White House.

    . . . .

    Republican National Committee Chairman Michael Steele, who is black, led the charge.

    . . . .

    With Sen. Christopher J. Dodd (D-Conn.) choosing not to run again, Reid is the largest target in [Republicans’] cross hairs.

    (The paper has sent the original version of the story down the memory hole, along with that last quote — replacing the story with a new version at the same Web address. But the first two quotes remain in the current version. I figured they would do this, so I saved the original version of the story here.)

    By portraying Republicans as attackers, the editors take the focus off Reid’s remarks, and allow him to play the victim. What’s more, the paper emphasizes that Obama has accepted Reid’s apology:

    Although Reid apologized to Obama on Saturday for his “poor choice of words” — and the president accepted because “I know what’s in his heart” — his remarks dominated the Sunday talk shows, where Republicans called for the senator’s head.

    Note again the stark image of Republicans as violent attackers.

    Well, in 2002, after Trent Lott praised former segregationist Strom Thurmond, he too apologized. But that didn’t keep the editors of the L.A. Times from spinning that story in a very different way.

    Lott was never portrayed as the victim of Democrat attacks. Editors didn’t describe Democrats as “opening fire” or “pummeling” Lott. They didn’t describe Tom Daschle as “leading the charge.” Nobody said Democrats were “calling for Lott’s head” or that they had Lott “in their cross hairs.”

    Instead, the editors emphasized the bipartisan nature of the criticism of Lott. (To be fair, the criticism of Lott was more bipartisan, because Democrats circle the wagons in these situations and Republicans don’t.) In an effort to portray Lott’s remarks as a major gaffe, editors portrayed the controversy as a disembodied, ghostly entity that grew daily.

    Thus, a December 10, 2002 story was titled Lott Tries to Quell Furor Over Remark. A December 14, 2002 story was titled Lott Decries Segregation, Struggles to Keep Post. A deck headline read: “Senator apologizes again for his remarks as GOP rumblings about his leadership role grow.” The story opened:

    Scrambling to salvage his hold on power, besieged Sen. Trent Lott (R-Miss.) on Friday offered his most extensive apology yet for comments that seemed to endorse segregation and spurred criticism from across the political spectrum, including from President Bush.

    Despite Lott’s latest bid to defuse the controversy, Republicans say it remains uncertain that he will survive a growing clamor — from conservative GOP activists as well as from Democrats — for him to resign his leadership post.

    Reporter Janet Hook wrote: “The spiraling controversy has caused trouble for Republicans in the aftermath of their triumph in the November elections, in which they seized control of the Senate and expanded their House majority.”

    Phrases like “spiraling controversy” and “growing clamor” came straight from the playbook I described in my 2004 post, in which I said that criticism supported by the paper’s editors “becomes a mysterious and disembodied (but ever-growing) entity. Doubts grow. Criticism emerges.”

    This pattern was repeated in story after story. Democrats were never portrayed as attackers. The controversy was always portrayed as ever-growing.

    Keep an eye on this newspaper in coming days. See how many articles editors run about Reid’s remarks. And watch closely to see whether the controversy comes to be portrayed as a “growing” entity all on its own — or whether, as I expect, it will instead be portrayed as fueled by attacks from those damn Republicans.

    Steve Oney Packs Up Half of His Life

    Filed under: Books,General — Patterico @ 12:01 am

    Steve Oney is an acquaintance of mine and the author of one of the best true crime books I have ever read: And the Dead Shall Rise: The Murder of Mary Phagan and the Lynching of Leo Frank.

    Steve Oney
    Steve Oney

    I once planned to write a full review of the book, but a search of my archives reveals this to be another one of my projects that never got off the ground. I can tell you only that I avidly read it over a vacation 2-3 years ago, after meeting Oney at a Dodger game that Scott Kaufer had invited us to, and spending most of the game transfixed by Oney’s story of writing the book.

    Oney gives a taste of this in this piece at the L.A. Times (h/t Kevin Roderick).

    With emotions wavering between relief and regret, I remove a battered spiral notebook from a metal file cabinet and place it in an acid-free cardboard box open on my office floor. The notebook contains an interview I conducted in December 1984 at a VA hospital in Johnson City, Tenn., with 85-year-old Alonzo Mann. Some seven decades earlier, he told me, he’d seen a murderer carrying a girl’s body through the lobby of an Atlanta factory, but he was only 14 and too scared to call the police. As a result, an innocent industrialist was convicted of the crime and later lynched.

    Mann’s assertion goes to the heart of an enduring debate about a great historical mystery. To me, however, the notebook possesses more than just documentary value. It contains the first research I conducted on a project that consumed nearly half my life.

    The intense research that Oney did for the book leaps off the page. But the book is more than a well-researched story of bigotry and injustice. It is a period piece that brings to life Atlanta, Georgia in the years just before World War I. An important part of Oney’s book recounts the amazing story of how Tom Watson helped railroad Mr. Frank, even as Watson advocated the revival of the Ku Klux Klan in Georgia. I believe that Watson’s statue still stands proudly in a place of prominence in front of the Georgia state capitol building.

    Tom Watson Statue

    I can’t recommend Oney’s book enough. Go read his piece, and then buy his book.

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