Patterico's Pontifications


Victory in New York City

Filed under: General — Aaron Worthing @ 10:58 pm

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

And wow, this WaPo article is full of a lot of hard truths:

Bob Turner, the winner, cast the election as a referendum on Obama’s stewardship of the economy and, in the state’s 9th Congressional District, which has a large population of Orthodox Jewish voters, the president’s position on Israel.

Turner, 70, a retired cable television executive who has never served in elective office, defeated Democratic State Assemblyman David Weprin, 55, who has two decades of public service experience, to fill the seat left vacant when Anthony Weiner (D) resigned in disgrace in June after more than 12 years in the House.

The defeat came as Republicans trounced Democrats in another special House election Tuesday, in northern Nevada, where — with almost 10 percent of the districts reporting — Republican Mark Amodei led Democrat Kate Marshall, 56 percent to 39 percent.

In both contests, the GOP pulled ahead by linking the Democratic candidate to Obama and his handling of the economy. Both Republican contenders urged voters to “send a message” to the president.

In the two weeks leading up to Tuesday’s elections, Democrats conceded that they could not win in Nevada — essentially a Republican seat reverting to form after some competitive races by Democrats, including Obama in 2008.

New York was a different story. National Democrats poured more than $500,000 into a last-ditch effort to save the seat and deployed former president Bill Clinton and Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo (D) to try to mobilize voters.

All those big guns and big money, and fake robocalls claiming that Jews for Jesus supported Turner, and the Democrats still lost.


As the song goes:

If I can make it there,

I’d make it anywhere

Come on, come through,

New York, New York.

On the other hand, if you see a liberal spinning this, trying to convince you that this is not a real sign of trouble…

Let them talk.  Seriously, let them.  Let them fool themselves.  Just like they rationalized away Scott Brown’s victory.  Let them.  I would rather they believe that this is not the bellwether that it is.

[Posted and authored by Aaron Worthing.]

Open Thread: The Special Election in New York City

Filed under: General — Aaron Worthing @ 6:42 pm

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

The fact it is even close is a victory in and of itself for Republicans.

Seriously, Democrats, if you are struggling in New York City, you have a serious popularity problem.

[Posted and authored by Aaron Worthing.]

Balko: SWAT Team Leader Wants to Throw Flashbang Grenades at Low-Level Offenders

Filed under: General — Patterico @ 7:38 am

Radley Balko quotes a SWAT team leader as saying the following:

Team commanders must raise the profile of their teams. Stay active. Yes, I mean do warrant service and drug raids even if you have to poach the work. First, your team needs the training time under true callout conditions. If all your team does is train, but seldom deploy, you will end up training just to train. You need to train to fight. You already know that.

Second, make SWAT familiar to senior police staff. Everyone fears the unknown. Don’t let SWAT be that unknown. Make deploying SWAT something that is routine, not something only done after much hand-wringing. “Oh, no! You mean we have to call SWAT? Oh, I don’t know, I just don’t know. Really? Call SWAT? Really?”

Yes, you should have clear guidelines for activating the team. But how many times has the callout of a part-time team been delayed or denied when those callout criteria were met? We really do need to explain that SWAT is less of a threat than the people in the calls we are responding to—you know, those vewy, vewy bad people.

Balko opines:

The author is actually suggesting SWAT commanders lobby to have their teams deployed in situations for which they normally wouldn’t be to ensure they’re in good practice. Put another way, he suggests they practice their door smashing, room-clearing, flash-grenade deploying, and other paramilitary tactics on less-than-violent people, so they’re in better form when a real threat arises. Never mind that there are going to be living, breathing, probably bleeding people on the receiving end of these “practice” raids. There’s officer safety and “SWAT team profile” to think about. It’s just an appalling mindset.

It’s certainly an eye-opening criticism that a SWAT team leader would suggest that his team “practice their door smashing, room-clearing, flash-grenade deploying, and other paramilitary tactics on less-than-violent people.” But did that actually happen in this article?

SWAT teams are capable of deploying without throwing grenades. And any low-level warrant requires a team of police officers to go in with weaponry. I read the article as simply saying that SWAT teams need to stay in practice — not that they need to engage in unnecessary tactics against low-level offenders.

Read the article itself and let me know whether you see anything that justifies this level of outrageous outrage. I’m not seeing it, but maybe I’m missing something?

P.S. I note that he wrote about the Jimmie Duncan case again recently. I have had some points I wanted to make about that for a couple of years, but I still can’t figure out how to take a screenshot from a DVD. Can anyone help me?

Last Night’s Debate

Filed under: General — Patterico @ 7:12 am

I didn’t see it, but the New York Times and Los Angeles Times tell me Perry got pounded. So that must be true, right?

Jefferson (Partially) Redeemed?

Filed under: General — Aaron Worthing @ 6:52 am

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

The word “partial” is there because there is no chance of erasing the sin he committed by keeping other people in bondage. But a group of historians have come forward disputing that he fathered a child with Sally Hemmings, in essence saying it was a different Jefferson.

In a book due out Thursday, eminent scholars say it’s unlikely that Thomas Jefferson fathered Sally Hemings‘ children, disputing a decade’s worth of conventional wisdom that the author of the Declaration of Independence sired offspring with one of his slaves.

The debate has ensnared historians for years, and many thought the issue was settled when DNA testing in the late 1990s confirmed that a Jefferson male fathered Hemings‘ youngest son, Eston. But, with one lone dissenter, the panel of 13 scholars doubted the claim and said the evidence points instead to Jefferson’s brother Randolph as the father.

Now of course the problem I have with the notion of Jefferson having an affair with Hemings naturally isn’t the interracial aspect of it all—I’d be quite the hypocrite if I had a problem with that—but the fact that it is hard to call sex under those circumstances consensual.  How much consent can there be when the law says the man is your owner, with the right to beat you and with it being practically easy to murder you?*

So I would be nice, I admit, to think less harshly of Jefferson, but this panel is not off to a good start.  Like take that dissenter.  The fact there is even one dissenter seems to be significant:

The commission, which worked without compensation, was formed at the behest of the Thomas Jefferson Heritage Society, an outside group that seeks to defend Jefferson’s image.

So this wasn’t a commission just gathered together to follow the evidence wherever it led.  Rather it was a group of people on a mission to prove a specific thing… and they still had a dissenter!

And some of the logic on display is less than impressive:

The scholars also disputed accounts that said Hemings‘ children received special treatment from Jefferson, which some saw as evidence of a special bond between the third president and Hemings.

“It is true that Sally’s sons Madison and Eston were freed in Jefferson’s will, but so were all but two of the sons and grandsons of Sally’s mother Betty Hemings who still belonged to Thomas Jefferson at the time of his death. Sally’s sons received by far the least favorable treatment of those freed in Thomas Jefferson’s will,” said Robert F. Turner, a former professor at the University of Virginia who served as chairman of the commission.

Um, you don’t dispel the claim that Jefferson gave her sons special treatment by pointing out that her entire extended family was treated equally well.  You do it by finding someone not related to the person he was allegedly sleeping with and showing that they got the same treatment, too.

But in the end each side will present its evidence, and the bulk of scholars will look at it neutrally and draw its own conclusions.  I do have faith that eventually the truth will win out.

And in any case, read the whole thing.


* Slave codes generally forbade the wanton murder—or rape for that matter—of slaves.  However, slave codes also generally stated that a black person could not testify against a white person, making it easy for any white to commit any crime against any black person: by making sure no white people were around to testify against them.

[Posted and authored by Aaron Worthing.]

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