Patterico's Pontifications


Shocker: New York Times Magazine Does Profile of Charles Johnson — And Gets It Right!

Filed under: General — Patterico @ 9:42 pm

The article has one of my favorite quotes of recent weeks: “Gray, however, is not a popular shade on the Internet.”

Heh. You can say that again.

It’s actually an excellent piece and I recommend that you read the whole thing. This passage perfectly encapsulates what that place is like now:

[I]f you read L.G.F. today, you will find it hard to miss the paradox that a site whose origins, and whose greatest crisis, were rooted in opposition to totalitarianism now reads at times like a blog version of “Animal Farm.” Johnson seems obsessed with what others think of him, posting much more often than he used to about references to himself elsewhere on the Internet and breaking into comment threads (a recent one was about the relative merits of top- versus front-loaded washing machines) to call commenters’ attention to yet another attack on him that was posted at some other site. On the home page, you can click to see the Top 10 comments of the day, as voted on by registered users; typically, half of those comments will be from Johnson himself. Even longtime commenters have been disappeared for one wrong remark, or one too many, and when it comes to wondering where they went or why, a kind of fearful self-censorship obtains. He has banned readers because he has seen them commenting on other sites of which he does not approve. He is, as he reminds them, always watching.

If Comrade Charles says it, it must be right.

Here is another insightful and accurate passage:

THE QUESTIONING OF Johnson’s tactics started to come not just from without L.G.F. but also from within. Readers both casual and loyal spoke up in the comment threads to ask, sometimes diplomatically and sometimes not, whether all this casual flinging of epithets like “fascist” wasn’t maybe an overreaction. Johnson’s response, in thousands of cases, was to block their accounts and ban some of them from viewing the blog. “Get off my Web site” was a common farewell. (Johnson insists that this is not true — that no one has ever been banned from L.G.F. merely for disagreeing with him — but the anecdotal evidence to the contrary is voluminous, and the fact that the offending comments were instantly and permanently deleted makes it impossible to check others’ records against his.)

Yup. And I can testify to it.

Like many others, I was contacted by writer Jonathan Dee for the article. I gave him a lengthy set of quotes before Thanksgiving, but he wrote me last week to say they were all left on the cutting room floor. Probably just as well. I was critical of Charles in several ways, but I think I gave him the benefit of the doubt far too much. I hadn’t yet had my own experience of being banned for simply disagreeing with him.

Now I have.

You’re gonna go nuts when you see this next quote. The writer asks Johnson why he is turning on the right now. And Johnson replies:

It’s not that the war on terror has finished. It’s never going to be finished, but I think things have reached the point now where it’s not as pressing as it was.

Man. Charles Freaking Johnson saying the War on Terror isn’t that pressing.

There was a time when I would not have believed Johnson capable of saying something like that.

But what about Captain Underpants on Christmas Day?

Though our conversation took place in the fall, he told me in a subsequent e-mail message that the failed Christmas Day airplane bombing “doesn’t change my opinion about that.”

No, of course not.

Nice, nice job by writer Jonathan Dee. Go read it all.

UPDATE: I’m told that writer Jonathan Dee was just banned at LGF.

UPDATE x2: Johnson gets considerably kinder, more naive, and less accurate treatment from Barrett Brown at Vanity Fair.

UPDATE x3: Heh. Charles claims he got slammed in the New York Times due to his fearless attacks on their reporting over the years. Hahahahahahahaha.

The Lily the Bear Website

Filed under: General — DRJ @ 9:42 pm

[Guest post by DRJ]

Lily the black bear has a new cub:

“A researcher says Lily the black bear has given birth to a cub in her den in northeastern Minnesota.

Biologist Lynn Rogers says Lily gave birth just after 11:30 a.m. Central Time Friday in her den, which is equipped with a video camera. He says it was difficult to see her giving birth, so he based his conclusion on contortions the bear made, followed by “sweet grunts” that show concern for a cub.

Rogers and his North American Bear Center put a camera in Lily’s den outside Ely (EE’-lee), Minn., that streams her activity live over the Internet.”

The website is and the intro shows an adult bear with three cubs, so it’s probably not Lily. Most of the time the feed consists of the back of a sleeping Lily but it’s still addictive. In fact, a baby cub is squeaking as I write this.


Nuking the Nukers Before They Nuke Us

Filed under: General — Patterico @ 9:10 pm

The reports:

Sen. Tom Harkin (D-Iowa) intends to introduce legislation that would take away the minority’s power to filibuster legislation.

I think we should filibuster it.

FLDS Sect Member Pleads Guilty

Filed under: Crime — DRJ @ 8:29 pm

[Guest post by DRJ]

An Eldorado FLDS member set to stand trial on Monday on charges that he sexually assaulted a child has plead guilty:

“Michael Emack, 59, of Eldorado, entered the plea in district court to sexual assault of a child, said court administrator Irene Devore. Under Texas law, someone younger than 17 cannot generally consent to sex with an adult. Emack had been set to go to trial Monday. His attorney did not immediately return a Friday call from The Associated Press.

Emack’s plea marked the third sexual assault of a child conviction for a resident of the Yearning for Zion Ranch in Eldorado, said Jerry Strickland, a spokesman for the Texas attorney general’s office. Nine other suspects, including sect leader Warren Jeffs, are awaiting trial on charges including sexual assault of a child and bigamy, Strickland said.”

Emack acknowledged that in August 2004, he “‘spiritually’ married a 16-year-old girl, who then got pregnant with his child that October when she still was 16.” At the time, Emack was already legally married in Utah and had two other spiritual marriages.

An FLDS spokesman said Emack wants to “move his case into what he believed would be a neutral court, the court of appeals.” It appears Emack admits the factual allegations underlying the charges but plans to contest on appeal the lawfulness of the search warrant (because it was based on a hoax call) and the grand jury composition (because he claims it underrepresents Hispanics).

Following his plea, the Judge sentenced Emack to 7 years in prison. In addition, the State and Emack’s attorneys have already agreed to a 7-year sentence on pending bigamy charges, to be served concurrently.


Maybe Obama Isn’t The One

Filed under: Obama — DRJ @ 7:58 pm

[Guest post by DRJ]

Following Scott Brown’s win in Massachusetts, Kevin Drum convinces himself that smart liberals never thought of Barack Obama as The One or a Miracle Worker, let alone a Messiah. According to Drum, it was conservatives, not liberals, who talked this way:

“Did a lot of people really think Obama would be a miracle worker? I don’t personally know of a single person who felt that way, and the fact that he got huge crowds for his speeches means only that he was a charismatic guy, lots of people liked what he had to say, and liberals were stoked at the prospect of dumping Bush and Cheney. Sure, maybe a few thought he was the salvation of American politics, but there’s really not much evidence that this was a very widespread belief — and no evidence at all that Obama himself ever believed it.

In fact, this is mostly the triumph of a conservative narrative. It was conservatives who spent months during the 2008 campaign taunting Obama for his alleged messiah status and it was conservatives who were constantly misquoting him about being “The One” or griping about how he thought his silver tongue could save the world and induce vicious dictators to swoon.”

It wasn’t The Weekly Standard or the National Review idolizing Obama, was it? It was left-leaning publications like Time, the New York Magazine, and this cover at The New Republic:

There are more Obama-as-Messiah illustrations recorded at the ObamaMessiah blog that originate from the left, not the right, as well as these Obama descriptions:

“A Lightworker — An Attuned Being with Powerful Luminosity and High-Vibration Integrity who will actually help usher in a New Way of Being”

Mark Morford

“What Barack Obama has accomplished is the single most extraordinary event that has occurred in the 232 years of the nation’s political history … The event itself is so extraordinary that another chapter could be added to the Bible to chronicle its significance”

Jesse Jackson, Jr.

“This was the moment when the rise of the oceans began to slow and our planet began to heal.”

Barack Obama

“Does it not feel as if some special hand is guiding Obama on his journey, I mean, as he has said, the utter improbability of it all?”

Daily Kos

“This is bigger than Kennedy. … This is the New Testament.” … “I felt this thrill going up my leg. I mean, I don’t have that too often. No, seriously. It’s a dramatic event.”

Chris Matthews

“In a way Obama is standing above the country, above the world. He’s sort of GOD. He’s going to bring all different sides together.”

– Newsweek editor Evan Thomas

Too many liberals thought Obama was The One. It must be twice as hard for them to accept he’s not only not The One, he’s not a very good leader either.


Video: Scott Brown Related Humor

Filed under: Humor — Patterico @ 6:38 pm

Two clips, both a little late, but fun cappers for the week.

Jon Stewart goofs on Keith Olbermann for his over-the-top rant on Scott Brown. Some of this is silly but some of it is gold — including the bit in which Stewart quasi-defends Michelle Malkin:

The Daily Show With Jon Stewart Mon – Thurs 11p / 10c
Special Comment – Keith Olbermann’s Name-Calling
Daily Show
Full Episodes
Political Humor Health Care Crisis

Via Hot Air.

And the inevitable Downfall parody:

Again, not perfect . . . but some good lines there.

Via Flopping Aces.

Judge: Polanski Must Be Present for His Sentence

Filed under: General — Patterico @ 6:21 pm

Absent a successful appeal, Roman Polanski will not be sentenced in absentia.

A judge has rejected director Roman Polanski’s bid to be sentenced in absentia in a three-decade-old child-sex case.

Judge Peter Espinoza ruled that Polanski, 76, will have to come back Los Angeles to be sentenced.

“I have made it clear he needs to surrender,” the judge said.

Polanski’s attorneys said they would appeal.

The court also rejected an appeal by the victim:

Lawrence Silver, who represents Ms. Geimer, admonished the judge that officers of the court were obligated by a new victims’ rights provision in the California Constitution to honor her request for an examination of official corruption in the case. The judge said he did not “believe anyone anticipated” the victims’ rights provision, called Marcy’s Law, would be used in support of a defendant like Mr. Polanski, and turned down the request.


ObamaCare: The president’s “hurry up and wait” plan

Filed under: General — Karl @ 4:32 pm

[Posted by Karl]

 At Friday’s Ohio town hall, Pres. Obama seemed awfully dismissive of the “tizzy” over the Massachusetts Senate election, and the effect it has had on final passage of ObamaCare.

Even TPM cannot help but show their mostly left-wing readers that Obama has spent almost a year demanding that Congress pass ObamaCare:

Pres. Obama assured everyone today:

“I want you to understand — this is not about me. This is not about me. This is about you.”

Yeah, right. The president spent a year demanding immediate action on a bill which, if passed, would not go into effect for years. And now that he is starting to realize that ObamaCare is an enormous political liability, he is content to let “the dust settle” on it. But it is not all about him. It is about you, and how much less you like his bill now.


Change: Obama to Continue Indefinite Detention

Filed under: Obama,Terrorism,War — DRJ @ 1:55 pm

[Guest post by DRJ]

The Obama Administration has determined that some detainees really are too dangerous to be released:

“Administration officials tell ABC News that the Guantanamo Detainee Review Task Force has determined that about 50 Guantanamo detainees should be held indefinitely for prolonged detention and that 35 detainees should be prosecuted under military or civilian trials. The indefinite detention of the 50 detainees was first reported by the Washington Post.

The task force has determined that there are too many difficulties in prosecuting their cases but determined that the men are too dangerous to be released. Many in this category allegedly spent time at al Qaeda training camps in Afghanistan prior to the 9/11 attacks or were linked to the Taliban and continued to fight with the groups during the U.S. offensive in 2001.”

Here is the Washington Post article that originally reported this story.

At some point, the Obama Administration may realize America is at war.


Democrats in Disarray

Filed under: Obama,Politics — DRJ @ 1:19 pm

[Guest post by DRJ]

Yesterday President Obama explained what he learned from Scott Brown’s win in Massachusetts: The public is angry and frustrated with American politics and he didn’t communicate enough. Today we learn Obama wasn’t just talking about the American public. House Democrats are angry and frustrated because the Obama White House weren’t talking to them at all:

“On the day after Brown’s win, panicky House Democrats convened in the Capitol to discuss post-Massachusetts strategy, with some in attendance complaining about what they believed to be continued White House disengagement.

“We all pretty much knew for sure we were going to lose Massachusetts,” one person in attendance told POLITICO on Wednesday. “And yet, last night and this morning, we had absolutely no message guidance from the White House, [the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee] or [the Democratic National Committee]. There was no leadership. … So all of the members today are just opining about what they think it means and whether we should move forward on health care.”

I guess Obama and his advisers were up all night formulating their “angry and frustrated” response so they didn’t have time to share it with other Democrats. Either that or they knew it was such a ludicrous argument that even Democrats wouldn’t buy it.

However, it seems the White House was talking to the New York Times. The message? That the White House is above the fray and it’s up to Congress to make the tough calls:

“Despite the criticism, White House press secretary Robert Gibbs seemed determined to stay the hands-off course. Gibbs told reporters Thursday that, after Massachusetts, the president wants to let “the dust settle” and look “for the best path forward.”

But House Democrats, already terrified by the wholesale defection of independents to the GOP in Massachusetts, were infuriated when a New York Times article, apparently citing an administration source, suggested Speaker Nancy Pelosi could pass an unamended version of the Senate’s health reform bill.

“The sense was that the Obama folks were trying to say it was inevitable when it wasn’t,” said New York Rep. Anthony Weiner, a supporter of the public option who has clashed with the White House repeatedly about the issue.

“It wasn’t that they were bullying us, but it reinforced the idea that they were a little tone-deaf to what the reality inside the House and Senate really were,” Weiner added.”

President Obama may want Americans to believe he has a communication problem but Congressional Democrats realize they have a leadership problem. The White House is willing to sacrifice other Democrats when it suits its purposes, and that’s not usually a winning political strategy. It reminds me of President George Bush’s decision to keep Donald Rumsfeld as Secretary of Defense before the 2006 midterm elections, only to accept his resignation shortly after the election. Republicans in Congress felt betrayed and rightly so.

This proves once again there’s nothing new in politics … which is why Republicans shouldn’t take too much solace in this week’s political developments. What goes around comes around, especially when it comes to politics.


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