Patterico's Pontifications


Qatari Diplomat Headed Back to DC (Updated)

Filed under: Air Security — DRJ @ 8:09 pm

[Guest post by DRJ]

The Qatari diplomat caught smoking on a United Airlines DC-to-Denver flight — and then joked he was lighting a shoe bomb — will have to find another way back to Washington, D.C. United Airlines has banned him from its flights:

“A Qatari diplomat who created a bomb scare mid-flight earlier this week tried boarding the same airline for his return flight to Washington. United Airlines said, “No.”

United spokesman Mike Trevino says they banned Mohammed Al-Madadi (Al-Mah-DAH-dee) from a United flight Thursday because he violated airline and Federal Aviation Administration policies when he tried smoking on a flight from Washington to Denver Wednesday.”

Unless another airline lets him board, the government of Qatar may have to pay for a private flight to D.C. Reports indicate he will soon be headed home to Qatar.


UPDATE: The reports were correct. The Qatari diplomat left the United States Friday night.

Did the media or the embassy ever say whether he went through with his consular visit to the convicted Qatari terrorist al Marri while he was in Denver?

Dawn Johnsen Withdraws

Filed under: Government,Obama,Politics — DRJ @ 8:03 pm

[Guest post by DRJ]

Another Obama nominee has decided to withdraw:

“President Obama’s pick to head the Justice Department’s Office of Legal Counsel is withdrawing her nomination amid Republican protests over past statements she made on abortion and national security.

Dawn Johnsen said she was dropping out of the process because her “nomination has met with lengthy delays and political opposition that threaten” her objective to restore the office to its “best nonpartisan traditions” and “prevent OLC from functioning at full strength.”

“I hope that the withdrawal of my nomination will allow this important office to be filled promptly,” she said.

A White House spokesman said the president accepted Johnsen’s request.”

NRO’s Kathryn Lopez posted this comment from a DC insider:

“From a D.C.-er intimately familiar with DOJ/judicial fights in the Senate:

1) there is no connection with the timing of the Stevens announcement – the Johnsen thing was probably planned weeks ago to get “buried” with a Friday afternoon release.

2) Personally, I think Johnsen has done a disservice to the President by not withdrawing before this – they NEED to fill that important slot and she has been nothing but a political albatross.

3) This will dishearten already disheartened lib groups – unlike their conservative counterparts during Republican White Houses, liberal legal interest groups do not have a seat at the table regarding judicial selection – Johnsen was really a big coup for them – gone.

4) The Johnsen “journey” is the only way we stop extreme appointments – not with impotent threats of filibusters, but by raising the political stakes for Dem Senators in purple states. They don’t want to have to cast bad votes – make the vote go away. Johnsen was not beaten by a floor filibuster.”

This makes sense to me, especially the bolded portions of points 3 and 4.


The Creepy Nike-Tiger Woods Ad

Filed under: Sports — DRJ @ 7:01 pm

[Guest post by DRJ]

Nike’s new Tiger Woods’ ad is getting a reaction:

“The ad aired Wednesday and Thursday on ESPN and the Golf Channel and is not scheduled to air again — at least in its current form. Woods stands expressionless, his only movement a few blinks. The ad is in black and white, adding to the sense of starkness.

Then comes the voice of Earl Woods, who died in 2006. (Nike confirmed to The Associated Press on Friday that the audio was from a 2004 documentary. In that documentary, the elder Woods compared his parenting style with that of his wife.)

“Tiger, I am more prone to be inquisitive, to promote discussion,” the father says. “I want to find out what your thinking was. I want to find out what your feelings are, and did you learn anything.” It ends with the trademark Nike swoosh.

“Well, that’ll make you wanna buy shoes, won’t it?” quipped ABC’s Jimmy Kimmel Wednesday night. He followed with a parody in which Tiger was clobbered with a newspaper while his mother, voiced by an actress, berated him mercilessly.

Also mining the comic potential was Stephen Colbert, who remarked that Woods had proved he was “still the best at bringing his steely focus to the thing he loves: endorsing products.”

Some of the parodies (so far) are available here.


A Poll: Obama vs Limbaugh & Palin

Filed under: Obama,Politics — DRJ @ 6:34 pm

[Guest post by DRJ]

Why do you think President Obama attacks Rush Limbaugh and Sarah Palin?


Billy Joe Shaver: Not Guilty

Filed under: Crime — DRJ @ 4:38 pm

[Guest post by DRJ]

After less than 2 hours of deliberations, a Waco, Texas, jury found Billy Joe Shaver not guilty of aggravated assault. The case went to the jury around 4:30 PM CST:

“The jury in Billy Joe Shaver’s aggravated assault trial began deliberating at 4:30 p.m. today after prosecutor Beth Toben told them that the country music singer and songwriter acted like a bully in shooting a man in the face in 2007.

“He may be a honky tonk hero,” Toben said, referring to the title of Shaver’s autobiography, “and he may have written a lot of wonderful songs… but on that day, he was a honky tonk bully.”

Shaver’s lawyer Dick DeGuerin told the jury that Shaver, 70, acted in self-defense in shooting Billy Coker, 53, with a .22 on the bar’s back patio on March 31, 2007.

“The defense to aggravated assault is self defense. It’s a God given right that is recognized by our law since time began,” said DeGuerin, of Houston.”

Emotions were high during the trial, especially when Shaver was on the stand:

“Toben suggested that Shaver had many opportunities to leave Papa Joe’s Texas Saloon on March 31, 2007, if he felt threatened by Billy Coker, the man Shaver shot that night.

Shaver said his wife was still in the bar, and he didn’t want to leave her there.

“If I was chicken (expletive), I would have left, yes,” Shaver said, adding that people need to be tough in entertainment business.

Toben asked Shaver to restate what he said before the shooting.

“I actually asked him ‘Why do you want to do this.’ For one reason or another someone turned it into ‘Where do you want it,’ ” he said.

“You’re still gonna write the song but,” with different lyrics, Toben asked.

That comment caused an objection by Shaver and his lawyer and verbal outbursts by some of those in state District Judge Matt Johnson’s courtroom. One man was escorted from court for yelling “come on, woman.”

Celebrities also offered Shaver support yesterday:

“The forensic evidence and police report testimonies of witnesses called by the prosecution made the wooden seats of the McLennan County Courthouse grow harder by the hour Thursday. But it was the courtroom gallery, not the witness stand, that drew the most attention on the third day of songwriter Billy Joe Shaver’s aggravated assault trial.

“Look, it’s Gus McCall,” exclaimed witness Gloria Tambling, who owns Papa Joe’s, the bar where Shaver shot a man in March 2007. Her eyes widened when she was guided past actor Robert Duvall (whose “Lonesome Dove” character was actually named Gus McCrae ), sitting in the front row of the spectators section. Willie Nelson was directly behind him.

But not everyone in the packed courtroom was a fan. Prosecutor Mark Parker tried to subpoena Nelson, which defense attorney Dick DeGuerin protested.

“It was just a ploy to kick Willie out of the courtroom,” DeGuerin said after court recessed for the day. Called witnesses are not allowed to hear the testimony of others. “They didn’t want the jury to see Willie and be swayed.” But DeGuerin won the battle, and Nelson, Duvall and their wives stayed for the entire 9-1/2-hour session.”

I bet someone will write a song.


Justice Stevens to Retire

Filed under: General — Patterico @ 12:38 pm

Not a surprise and only mildly depressing. Losing the most liberal justice for a younger version is what the voters bargained for in 2008. The real bad news comes when we lose someone like Scalia. Hopefully that will be several years down the road.

Figure out which is the next minority group Obama owes, and you’ll have your pick.

This Week’s Smearing of Conservatives

Filed under: General — Patterico @ 7:43 am

I’ve been busy at work and didn’t get a chance to flag this week’s major example of how the left-wing media and the White House smear conservatives as violent: the brouhaha over Erick Erickson’s remarks in which he supposedly threatened census workers with a shotgun. For example, a HuffPo headline read Erick Erickson Threatens To ‘Pull Out Shotgun’ At Census Worker:

CNN’s new contributor Erick Erickson claims to be toning down his incendiary rhetoric now that he’s more in the spotlight. But on the radio last week, Erickson said he would “pull out [his] wife’s shotgun” if a census worker came to try to jail him for not filling out his census form.

That’s a combination of a lie and a fatal omission of context.

The lie: Erickson wasn’t talking about the constitutionally mandated census form. In fact, he actually mocked people who declined to fill out their census form. (“It’s in the frickin’ Constitution!”)

The missing context: Erickson was talking about the harassment that a Weekly Standard writer had received after filling out a separate, more intrusive, non-Constitutionally required form and sending it in. Government workers failed to look for this form, and start showing up at the writer’s home unannounced — insisting on coming inside and asking intrusive questions that the writer had already answered. He refused, whereupon they began leaving threatening notes suggesting that they were going to toss him in jail if he did not admit the government worker in his home to answer these questions — which, again, were not the constitutionally required census questions, and which he had already answered.

Erickson responded to this with the above-mentioned remarks — not about killing government workers, but about scaring them off his property if they illegally came to arrest him. These are remarks that I wouldn’t have made — but which sound a lot different when placed in the above context.

Next thing you know, Bill Press is misrepresenting the remarks to Robert Gibbs, who begins talking about how the remarks “should concern CNN” (the remarks were made on a local radio show in Georgia) and should also concern Erickson’s wife (so now the White House is bringing his wife into it).


I can do no better than to point you to the work of Larry O’Connor at Big Journalism, who showed how Erickson’s remarks were distorted by Bill Press and Robert Gibbs.

But to get the full flavor of how the White House and the leftist media lied about Erickson’s comments, you need to listen to O’Connor’s Stage Right Show from Tuesday. O’Connor uses several audio clips to systematically pull apart the lies told about Erickson.

O’Connor’s Stage Right Show on Blog Talk Radio has become a regular stop for me. In busy times where I don’t have time to read the blogs, it’s an entertaining way to keep up with the major stories of the day, with a style that emphasizes the facts that Big Media won’t tell you.

Breaking: Stupak to Spend More Time With His Family

Filed under: General — Patterico @ 6:32 am

In other words, he’s retiring.

Let’s not call it a retirement, Bart. You’re fired!

Michigan Democratic Rep. Bart Stupak will not seek reelection this fall, a decision that comes hard on his front-and-center (and controversial) role in the recent passage of President Barack Obama’s health-care legislation.

Stupak is expected to formalize it at a press conference at 12:30 pm in Marquette, Mich.

Sources familiar with Stupak’s thinking describe him as exhausted and burned out from the long fight over health care in which he emerged as the leading voice of pro-life Democrats wary about the possibility that the legislation would allow federal funds to be spent on abortions.

ObamaCare is going to do wonders for the Democrats in 2010, isn’t it?

Netanyahu Will Skip Obama Nuclear Summit

Filed under: International,Obama — DRJ @ 2:48 am

[Guest post by DRJ]

Israeli Prime Minister Netanyahu will not attend President Obama’s 47-nation nuclear summit next week in Washington:

“Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has cancelled a planned trip to Washington next week for President Barack Obama’s 47-country nuclear security conference.

He made the decision after learning Egypt and Turkey intended to raise the issue of Israel’s assumed atomic arsenal at the meeting, a senior government official said on Friday.

Israel is believed to be the only nuclear-armed power in the Middle East, but has never confirmed or denied it. It has not signed the nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT).
Like India and Pakistan — both also slated to attend the NSS — Israel is outside the NPT and thus avoids mandatory international inspections of its nuclear facilities. Unlike them, it has not openly tested or deployed atomic weapons.”

In recent days, President Obama announced his new Nuclear Posture Review policy that commits not to use nuclear weapons against nonnuclear parties to the NPT, “even if they attacked the United States with biological or chemical weapons or launched a crippling cyberattack.” (A new Rasmussen poll shows most Americans are concerned about Obama’s policy: 55% oppose it, 25% approve, and 20% are undecided.) Perhaps Netanyahu is similarly concerned about the pressure Obama and other summit participants will exert on Israel to acknowledge its nuclear capabilities, recognize the NPT, and/or abide by Obama’s new policy.

The Obama Administration also announced it will not push India to sign the NPT or the Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty (CTBT). But for that, I wonder if Prime Minister Singh might have been the next head of state to opt out … or if he still might.


Good Enough for Government Work

Filed under: Crime,Government — DRJ @ 12:14 am

[Guest post by DRJ]

Can a person claim to be competent enough to run a $6 million government budget, while also claiming he is not competent to handle his personal affairs? Yes, he can:

“District Clerk Gilbert Sanchez’s mental competency hearing will be Friday, according to court records.

The hearing will be before U.S. District Judge Frank Montalvo. He ordered Sanchez to undergo a psychiatric examination after Sanchez asked for a postponement of his criminal trial because he is unable to properly assist his lawyers.

Sanchez, 42, said in a previous interview that he is mentally and physically exhausted because of the stress of his re-election campaign and his upcoming trial on conspiracy charges. Election Day is Tuesday and Sanchez is scheduled to stand trial May 3.
Sanchez, though saying he is not competent for a trial, said he is ready and able to continue as a top administrator of the court system. As district clerk, Sanchez supervises 110 employees and oversees an office with a $6 million annual budget.”

Sanchez and his co-defendant, a former county judge, are charged with conspiring to fix a court contract.


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