Patterico's Pontifications


Rambling with Joe Biden

Filed under: Politics — DRJ @ 10:30 pm

[Guest post by DRJ]

In the same Larry King Live interview where he counted Iraq as “one of the great achievements of this administration,” Vice President Joe Biden also celebrated that there’s been no wasted funds in the Stimulus program:

KING: You know, it’s the one-year anniversary of the Recovery Act next year. Did it go fast?

BIDEN: Well, it did go fast, but I’ll tell you what, I’ve spent most of my time making sure that there are no big boondoggles. If you notice, for all the criticism of the Recovery Act, no one has come up and said they wasted $50 million here, $100 million there, $90 million here. That dog never bit and so I’m very proud of the way we’ve done it … “

I guess this is true if you don’t count the chief watchdog for the Stimulus program in remarks last March:

“The chief watchdog for spending from the $787 billion stimulus package says it’s guaranteed there will be waste and fraud.

Earl Devaney, tapped by President Obama to track the giant spending plan, also said it will be at least a year before the government gets, the Web site the administration has touted as a key part of its transparency, up and running properly.”

Biden also talked about the “Two State Solution” in Washington, D.C. — I don’t know what he was talking about, but I think it involved construing Scott Brown’s election as proof Americans want the Obama Administration to have more power. Biden also said health care reform must do “three things” … and then he listed four things.

In other words, this interview was par for the Biden course.


Take Your Pick: Stupid or Crazy (Updated x2)

Filed under: Environment — DRJ @ 9:01 pm

[Guest post by DRJ]

Howard Dean implies Republicans are stupid because he says they just don’t believe in science anymore:

HOWARD DEAN: “One of the most disturbing things about the Republican Party over the last couple of decades is they just don’t believe in science anymore. That’s not likely and not an approach that’s likely to generate any kind of creative thinking or any serious thinking about the future. People who use snowstorms as an example of why global warming doesn’t exist don’t understand the science and they don’t care.”

It sounds like Dean is adopting a modified version of Al Gore’s “crazy” approach to global warming doubters:

AL GORE: “Seth, we are at a critical moment when it comes to the climate crisis. In my new book, Our Choice: A Plan to Solve the climate Crisis”, I detail the ways we can address the problem. But I also want to have a back-up plan. ***

SETH: “What is your back-up plan?”

AL GORE: “I’m going to start acting crazy. Seth, I think it’s crazy that our politicians aren’t more worried about the climate crisis, so it’s time for us to out-crazy the crazies.”

There you have it. Liberals think people who doubt global warming are either stupid or crazy. Thanks, guys!

In fairness, Gore’s approach is a lot funnier than Dean’s, including this unintentionally funny part toward the end of the Gore clip:

AL GORE: “Have you been outside today? It’s 60 degrees in late November. I mean, there’s a Christmas tree in front of this building and guys are walking around in flip flops. You can’t say this isn’t real.”

Blizzards or heat waves, liberals have all the answers when it comes to global warming … er, climate change.


UPDATE — notes the Death of the Hockey Stick:

“Did anyone else just hear the “bump-bump” of the Jones bus running right over the infamous Hockey Stick?

Dr. Phil Jones, the man at the center of the Climategate scandal, has for the first time admitted that the Medieval Warm Period could have been warmer than the present day, flying directly in the face of the stupid HockeyStick Graph that caused so much of the Climate panic in the first place.
Let this be a cautionary tale to others. Just be honest and open, and this kind of thing would be avoided.”

UDPATE 2 — America has snow in 49 states at one time. While that’s very unusual, it doesn’t prove or disprove global warming:

“A snowy winter doesn’t disprove — or prove — global warming, Petersen and Robinson said. This is weather, which is variable, not long-term climate, and there is a huge difference.

“This has nothing to do with long-term trends,” Petersen said. “This is just a several-week period.”

So much for those flip flops, Al Gore.

Taking it to the Polls

Filed under: Politics — DRJ @ 6:58 pm

[Guest post by DRJ]

My Chinese neighbors are celebrating the Chinese New Year and the Year of the Tiger. Even in my little corner of West Texas, America really is a land of diversity.

I’d also like to see more diversity in Congress — not based on race or religion, but with new faces and new ideas — which is why I agree with Glenn Reynolds in his WSJ article on the Tea Party Movement:

“If 2009 was the year of taking it to the streets, 2010 is the year of taking it to the polls. With ordinary Americans setting out to reclaim the political process, it’s likely to be a bumpy ride for incumbents of both parties. I suspect the Founding Fathers would approve.”

It’s a good article that makes me hopeful for America.


PolitiFact Rates Obama’s Terrorist Prosecution Claim as “Barely True”

Filed under: Law,Obama,Terrorism — DRJ @ 5:45 pm

[Guest post by DRJ]

Over the years, both the Bush and Obama Administrations have pointed out that the government has successfully tried terrorism cases in civilian courts. Last week during a CBS interview, President Obama used the Bush prosecutions to bolster his claim that the U.S. could successfully prosecute the Guantanamo detainees in civilian court:

“The most important thing for the public to understand is we’re not handling any of these cases any different than the Bush administration handled them all through 9/11,” Mr. Obama told CBS News on Sunday. “They prosecuted 190 folks in these Article Three courts,” he added, referring to civilian courts. “Got convictions. And those folks are in maximum security prisons right now. And there have been no escapes.”

Unfortunately for President Obama, PolitiFact concluded the point he was trying to make is Barely True because most prosecutions involved minor charges compared to the claims against the Guantanamo detainees:

Terrorism-related can be a broad definition, though, and can include immigration violations, giving false statements and other relatively minor charges. And so the [New York University’s Center on Law and Security] report breaks out cases in which defendants are charged under core terrorism or national security statutes. Those are bona fide, serious charges. Now you’re talking about 174 people convicted under those statutes; plus another 24 charged with those statutes, but convicted on lesser crimes. That also gets to the president’s figure.

But it’s misleading for Obama to cite that 190 number as if the cases are equivalent to those faced by Guantanamo detainees, said Greenberg, editor of the report. For one, most of those cases do not involve people affiliated with a radical Islamist organization, but rather with such groups as the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia, or FARC, a group of Marxist guerillas.

There are probably less than a dozen cases against people in the Islamic jihadist framework who have been convicted in federal court of serious terrorism-related crimes comparable to many of the Guantanamo detainees, Greenberg said.”

There have been successful terror prosecutions of Islamic terrorists:

“Nonetheless, there are some, she said, including Richard Reid, the “shoe bomber”; Bryant Neal Vinas, an American convicted of supporting al-Qaida plots in Afghanistan and the United States; Mohammed Jabarah, a Canadian who was active in al-Qaida and convicted of terrorism-related offenses; Shahawar Matin Siraj, a Pakistani-American who plotted to bomb Herald Square in New York; and Mohammed Junaid Babar, a Pakistani-American convicted of terrorist-related offenses in New York, and who testified in 2006 against a group of men accused of plotting bomb attacks in London.”

Maybe President Obama didn’t use the actual number because he and his staff prefer to read liberal websites that endorse their worldview, or maybe it’s because “less than a dozen” isn’t as impressive as 190. It could also be because those who have been convicted seem to be lower in the terror hierarchy than the remaining Guantanamo detainees.

Whatever the reason, “less than a dozen” makes it easier for reporters to check the details of the terror prosecutions to date — how difficult the prosecutions may have been, how long they took, and what trade-offs were made to get a plea or a sentence — and that’s something I doubt the Administration wants reporters to do.


Still Bowing After All These Years

Filed under: Obama — DRJ @ 5:10 pm

[Guest post by DRJ]


“[Senator] Obama greeting Ukrainian President Viktor Yushchenko during a visit with Republican Senator Dick Lugar.”


Living the Dream

Filed under: Crime — DRJ @ 3:44 pm

[Guest post by DRJ]

On Thursday, Chris Bartkowicz was living the dream as he ran a “large and profitable medical-marijuana-growing operation in his basement” in a Denver suburb:

“On Thursday night, 9News promoted a story about Bartkowicz’s operation, and on Friday morning, Bartkowicz was featured in a 9News story posted to its website and published in The Denver Post. The story was to air on television Friday night. He told the station he serves as a caregiver to a number of medical-marijuana patients and hoped to turn a profit this year in the hundreds of thousands of dollars.

“I’m definitely living the dream now,” Bartkowicz told 9News.”

On Friday, Bartkowicz was arrested by federal authorities on drug charges:

“Along with the raid, Jeffrey Sweetin, the Drug Enforcement Administration’s special agent in charge of the Denver office, sent a message to anyone involved in Colorado’s increasingly profitable medical-marijuana industry.

“It’s still a violation of federal law,” Sweetin said. “It’s not medicine. We’re still going to continue to investigate and arrest people.”

Bartkowicz will be spending the long President’s Day weekend in jail awaiting arraignment, although he may get to see himself on the local news reports.


The Shooting at UAH

Filed under: Crime,Education — DRJ @ 3:20 pm

[Guest post by DRJ]

Dr. Amy Bishop, a Harvard-educated research scientist teaching at the University of Alabama at Huntsville, has been charged with capital murder in the shooting deaths yesterday of three colleagues and the wounding of three others. Bishop reportedly had been denied tenure.

Today, Boston area newspapers report Bishop shot and killed her 18-year-old brother two decades ago, but was released in what may have been a bungled or questionable investigation:

“Braintree Police Chief Paul Frazier is now offering a different account of the shooting to The Globe: “Bishop had shot her brother during an argument and was being booked by police when the police chief at the time ordered the booking process stopped and Bishop released to her mother,” the paper reports on its Web site. Records from the case have been missing since 1987.

“I don’t want to use the word ‘coverup,’ but this does not look good,” Frazier said.

Another newspaper, The Boston Herald, is reporting that Bishop also pointed the gun at a passing car after her brother’s shooting.”

Police reportedly found the gun used in yesterday’s shooting in a second floor bathroom. They say Bishop called her husband for a ride and was arrested in the parking lot.


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