Patterico's Pontifications


Pinheads Everywhere on Koran Burning and Obama Worship

Filed under: General — Aaron Worthing @ 7:15 pm

[Guest post by Aaron Worthing; if you have tips, please send them here.  Or by Twitter @AaronWorthing.]

Update: Instalink! Thanks, Mr. Reynolds. And yes, this is a long one, but stick around to the end for a clip from Blazing Saddles, and a dirty joke.

This is mostly a follow up to my post on Koran-burning, and even Obama’s official kick off to his reelection campaign.

Now to start off with a non-pinhead, I forgot to mention Chris Hitchens’ views on the subject of Koran burning.  To a certain extent his column is kind of an extended exclamation of “not this crud again…”  And he is right that it is tiresome given that those of us in the Free World should get it and we have already been through several rounds of this.  But one interesting angle he does bring to the discussion is the role Afghan President Hamid Karzai played in whipping this up:

But this narrowness pales beside the truly awful opportunism and cynicism of Afghanistan President Hamid Karzai. In previous cases of irrational violence, such as the bloody riots that occurred on the mere rumor of a Quran being desecrated in Guantanamo, he had taken quite a responsible line (pointing out, for example, that one library destroyed by the incendiaries had contained several fine old Qurans). Unlike some provincial mullahs, Karzai also knows perfectly well that the U.S. government is constitutionally prohibited from policing religious speech among its citizens. Yet, when faced with the doings of the aforementioned moronic cleric from Gainesville, he went out of his way to intensify mob feeling. This caps a long period where his behavior has come to seem like a conscious collusion with warlordism, organized crime, and even with elements of the Taliban. Already under constant pressure to make consistent comments about Syria and Libya, the Obama administration might want to express itself more directly about a man for whose fast-decomposing regime we are shedding our best blood.

As they say read the whole thing.

But let’s get to the pinheads, starting with Bill O’Reilly.  Indeed, I picked the term “pinhead” precisely because O’Reilly likes to use that term, a lot, and he definitely was one last night in his Talking Points Memo.  Much of it is good and even touches on Hitchens’ point, but then he veers off and attacks Terry Jones.  And I don’t even mind when he called Jones an idiot.  But to say he has blood on his hands?  No, Bill, he does not.

You can watch the whole thing, here, and the swipe at Jones comes around the 50 second mark:

Meanwhile, do I have to call Charles Johnson a pinhead?  Well, okay, it is shooting fish in a barrel, but let’s play compare and contrast, shall we?  Remember the Danish cartoon controversy.  Well, here Johnson writes:

Paul Ryan Proposes to Cut Over $6 Trillion

Filed under: General — Patterico @ 6:28 pm

This is our last hope for a successful country.

Beldar has the details.

Beldar and Simon from Stubborn Facts on that Weird Bill the Republicans Passed

Filed under: General — Patterico @ 6:18 pm

Simon at Stubborn Facts and Beldar have each weighed in on that bill that initially seemed to cut the Senate and president out of the lawmaking process. I initially ranted and raved that it was unconstitutional — and then changed my mind after being persuaded otherwise by one of my commenters.

Here’s Simon:

At any rate, here’s the bottom line. I am happy to agree with Patterico on the more important point: If the Senate passes 1255 and the President signs it, 1255 will be valid law, including (setting aside the wrinkle of the triggering provision) the provisions of HR1 incorporated by reference.

I will deem that success, since Simon (like me) initially had no doubts that the legislation was unconstitutional.

Beldar is more equivocal:

I agree entirely with Patterico, moreover, that nothing said by either side on the House floor can affect the constitutionality of H.R. 1255 either way. It can give clues what may have been intended, and that can be an interesting and legitimate question. What was said on the House floor, and what may be inferred from that, however, doesn’t affect constitutionality; instead, constitutionality depends on the literal language of a statute once it’s been duly enacted.

I still believe the key sentence we’ve been arguing about was horribly — and needlessly — misleading and unclear.

Jonathan Adler already updated his post, as I noted previously. No word or update from Ed Morrissey, who arguably started the blogospheric ball rolling.

I have enjoyed the debate.

Happy Birthday to My Mom

Filed under: General — Patterico @ 5:54 pm

I wish we could be together today, Mom. We will see you soon.

Happy Birthday.

Is Media Matters Uninformed About Pigford Coverage Or Just Lying?

Filed under: General — Stranahan @ 2:56 pm

[Guest Post by Lee Stranahan]

Eric Boehlert from Media Matters  somehow manages to combine factual inaccuracy with a double fact twist in his latest attack on black farmers. Boehlert’s piece is a riff from the article I wrote this morning about the lack of a conservative equivalent of Media Matters or MoveOn.

My piece wasn’t a complaint about the general lack of coverage on Pigford but Boehlert chooses to twist it that way – so let’s address that accusation. Boehlert says….

I’m hard-pressed to think of another instance in which a media entity like Breitbart’s has invested so much time and energy promoting a single story (his sites have posted more than 100 Pigford-related items in the last year), yet only to see the story receive virtually no pick-up. Anywhere.

No pickup… Not Hot Air. Not Red State. Not Atlas Shrugs. Not Moonbattery. Not a 4000 word piece in National Review. Not Stossel’s segment on Fox News. Not a Fox News segment. (Last one came before Breitbart was on the story.)

So that’s the factual issue. It has gotten pickup, due to our efforts. Has Pigford gotten as much as I’d like? No and I’ve written about that – although the coverage DID pick up after I asked if the right-wing blogosphere was afraid of Pigford. Boehlert tries to make hay from the fact that O’Reilly, Beck, Hannity or Van Sustern have not run with it yet but as we pointed out countless times this is not a soundbite story. It’s not ready made-for-TV. I believe the documentary will have some impact on this. I should also point out that the stories been covered a number of times on radio, and that’s a better format for it.

It’s also important for the Pigford coverage in context. This is a story that is over a decade old. Anyone close to the story will tell you that it has received less coverage than it should have. I believe part of this lack of coverage is a systemic racism that has ignored this issue largely because of it’s a black issue. When I attended a press conference in Washington DC couple of months ago about Pigford and almost none of the press covering the event was white.

After 10 years of story, we came late to the game. So the press that we’ve gotten in the past five months I’ve been on the story is actually pretty significant in the overall scheme of things – and that’s before we’ve released any actual segments from the Pigford Blues documentary I’m working. (The first segment sneak peak is coming later this week.)

I’m proud that the coverage of the story — including at Andrew Breitbart’s sites — has emphasized over and over again tht there was discrimination the USDA and that the farmers who were discriminated against deserve justice.

Read the Media Matters article and you’ll find that this struggle by black farmers isn’t something that Eric Boehlert finds "compelling".

– Lee Stranahan

Your Tuesday Morning Schadenfried*

Filed under: General — Aaron Worthing @ 10:47 am

[Guest post by Aaron Worthing; if you have tips, please send them here.  Or by Twitter @AaronWorthing.]

For some time now, New York City has served as a cautionary tale on the rise of nanny-statism, so its more than a little funny to read this item yesterday:

No overbearing perfume. No obscene pictures. And definitely no French fries for work lunches.

That’s the new edict for employees of the same city Health Department that brought you calorie-counting menus and snuffed out smoking on beaches and in parks.

The updated rules – which range from what workers can serve at agency powwows to how loud they can talk in the office – come as the Health Department begins to move into its new Queens digs today.

A set of guidelines for “Life in the Cubicle Village” sent to employees asks them to avoid wearing products with “noticeable odors” or posting “any displays, photos, cartoons, or other personal items that may be offensive.”

They also should avoid eavesdropping.

If they can’t – “at least resist the urge to add your comments,” the cubicle rules recommend.

There is no word on whether they also plan to regulate talking back to the screen in movie theaters.

Read the whole thing–it both gets worse and funnier.


*Yes, that spelling is intentional.

[Posted and authored by Aaron Worthing.]

The Right’s Missing Organizational Machinery

Filed under: General — Stranahan @ 4:32 am

[Welcome to new readers. Lee Stranahan has agreed to guest post here regularly, so please come back here to — and visit him at his own site. — Patterico]

[Guest Post by Lee Stranahan. Crossposted at]

If you want to preserve the political status quo, feel free to ignore this post.

Ken Vogel has a piece over at Politico that conservatives, libertarians and independent political activists would do well to listen to. It has a somewhat misleading title — Right Seeks Edge in Opposition Warsbut the main thrust of the piece is that liberal organizations like Media Matters for America, Center for American Progress and Talking Points Memo are outflanking their political opponents and that currently there is simply no equivalent on the other side. The article mentions right-wing watchdog groups like Media Research Center, Accuracy in Media and Judicial Watch but sums them all up with this money quote….

“They’re not terribly effective. At all,” said a conservative activist who has worked with research groups.

Reading Ken Vogel’s piece gave me an affirmation of something I’ve noticed ever since I began to cautiously step out from the liberal world a few months ago – there are a few significant structural flaws on the right that allow the left to run roughshod with the truth. The reason I called Ken Vogel’s title somewhat misleading is that I don’t see the issue as being so much about "digging up dirt" on the opposition as it is about efficient objection handling.

There are two parts to the Democratic new-media machinery; information gathering and reporting from groups like Media Matters followed with rapid action from groups like And it should be noted both parts of this machine are in eternal fundraising mode, without apology.

It starts with the reporting. What’s significant about organizations like Media Matters for America and the news site Talking Points Memo is that they are effectively able to render what I’ve described in the past as "the optics of objectivity." In other words, without close examination they appear to be making factual arguments and a solid rational case against policy positions. They provide the grist for the mill that goes out to DailyKos diarists, left-wing bloggers and ultimately the mainstream media.

This is quickly followed up by some sort of action – the petition, boycott, letter writing campaign, protest, houseparty, meet-up, caller banks or other method of getting people involved. The purpose of this section is twofold. First, there’s the practical benefit of a congressman getting 1000 emails in his inbox, for instance. But beyond that, this sort of involvement has a psychological effect of making the participant feel like they’re involved in something bigger which in turn makes it easier to get other actions from them in the future, such as voting.

When I began talking to and working with people on the right, I was really surprised to find out that there was no equivalent of these groups group like, for example. Forget ideology for a second and just look at the structure of what MoveOn does.. is very good at organizing people, getting messaging out that penetrates the mainstream media, and doing the sort of fundraising that is necessary to keep its operation going. Additionally, a group like is a very modern organization that doesn’t have significant overhead or an overly complex org chart. I produced and directed a number of videos for MoveOn and I can tell you firsthand that they are thrifty. For example, none of videos I worked on them with used (more expensive) union voice over talent.

Here’s a quick example of why this matters. The absence of a "nonliberal" came up as a practical issue with me while working on the Pigford “black farmers’ story. While working on my documentary, I shot interviews with farmers who met with Georgia Democratic Congressman Sanford Bishop and told him about corruption in the Pigford settlement, only to have him respond that they should keep quiet about the corruption because if Pigford were investigated "they’ll shut this thing down." Bishop has admitted to this conversation on the record and said that is not his job to monitor corruption.

If we had this sort of solid evidence of a Republican congressman knowingly allowing fraud to continue and it had broken in someplace like Talking Points Memo, it would have quickly turned into an action item by group like MoveOn then made national headlines and that politician likely would’ve been run out of town on a rail.

As it was we broke this information and released videos. We are able to get some press in Georgia and to get any number of people who read the story on the right to grumble about what a crook Sanford Bishop was – but with no real organizational machinery to get the story out and most importantly to get people to take action, the significant story withered on the vine.

How many stories get lost this way?

It’s not enough to complain all day that the mainstream media has a liberal bias. Okay, they do. But guess what? All you’re doing there is defining the problem. That’s an important first step but it’s not enough.

What you’re missing is a solution.

– Lee Stranahan

UPDATE BY PATTERICO: Thanks to Instapundit for the link. Prof. Reynolds may be the closest thing we have to organizational machinery — and he’s (allegedly) just one man.

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