Patterico's Pontifications


July 14, 2011: Andrew Breitbart Receives Menacing Phone Call from Someone Pretending to Be (But Almost Certainly Not) from Media Matters

Filed under: General — Patterico @ 8:35 pm

It occurs to me that I never talked publicly about the menacing phone call Andrew Breitbart received on July 14, 2011 — two weeks after I was SWATted. The following is an email Andrew sent me at 3:21 p.m. that day, 11 minutes after the call came in:

Threatening Phone Call:

At 3:10pm PDT July 14 got cell phone call from computer altered male sounding voice:

‘We’re coming after you. (Pause) This is Eric. (Pause) Are you scared?’

They then hung up.

Just searched for the number as it came up on my cell phone (202-756-4100):

Media Matters for America
1625 Massachusetts Ave Nw Ste 300
Washington, DC 20036
(202) 756-4100

I spoke to Andrew on the phone shortly after he received the phone call, and told him that I believed the phone number was almost certainly spoofed. The caller could not possibly have been Eric Boehlert, I said. He agreed. We decided someone was trying to punk him, and cause him to make a public claim that he had been somehow threatened by Media Matters.

I suspected it could be connected with the SWATtings, and advised him to contact his local police if he hadn’t already — not to report the phone call, necessarily, but to warn them that he was a potential future SWATting victim. Whether he ever told police he might get SWATted, I have no idea. He didn’t seem interested in reporting the phone call to police and I don’t think he ever did. He did authorize me to pass along word of the incident to the FBI agent working up my SWATting case, which I did.

I thought about this tonight for the first time in a while — I’m not sure why — and decided there was no harm in making it public. Not sure what it means, but there you have it.

UPDATE: The headline initially read “claiming to be,” but I changed it to “pretending to be” — which is, I think, slightly more accurate. The caller did not explicitly claim to be from Media Matters; rather, he was posing as Eric Boehlert.

R.I.P. Sherman Hemsley

Filed under: General — Patterico @ 6:59 pm

George Jefferson moved on up to that de-luxe apartment in the sky today. He will be missed.

Obama: Al Gore Didn’t Invent the Internet, Government Did!

Filed under: General — Patterico @ 7:31 am

Except, according to our old friend Michael Hiltzik, government didn’t. Here’s Gordon Crovitz (quoted by Instapundit):

A telling moment in the presidential race came recently when Barack Obama said: “If you’ve got a business, you didn’t build that. Somebody else made that happen.” He justified elevating bureaucrats over entrepreneurs by referring to bridges and roads, adding: “The Internet didn’t get invented on its own. Government research created the Internet so that all companies could make money off the Internet.”

It’s an urban legend that the government launched the Internet. The myth is that the Pentagon created the Internet to keep its communications lines up even in a nuclear strike. The truth is a more interesting story about how innovation happens—and about how hard it is to build successful technology companies even once the government gets out of the way. . . .

If the government didn’t invent the Internet, who did? Vinton Cerf developed the TCP/IP protocol, the Internet’s backbone, and Tim Berners-Lee gets credit for hyperlinks. But full credit goes to the company where Mr. Taylor worked after leaving ARPA: Xerox. It was at the Xerox PARC labs in Silicon Valley in the 1970s that the Ethernet was developed to link different computer networks. Researchers there also developed the first personal computer (the Xerox Alto) and the graphical user interface that still drives computer usage today.

According to a book about Xerox PARC, “Dealers of Lightning” (by Michael Hiltzik), its top researchers realized they couldn’t wait for the government to connect different networks, so would have to do it themselves.

I rushed to read Hiltzik’s column attacking Obama for his false assertion, and . . . yeah, I couldn’t find one.

UPDATE: Hiltzik says Crovitz got it wrong. Something about “an” Internet vs. “the” Internet.

I had a hard time visualizing Hiltzik disputing a pro-government claim by Obama. Now everything seems right with the world again!

14 Killed in Immigrant Smuggling Crash

Filed under: Immigration — Patterico @ 7:16 am

Illegal immigrant smuggling just killed more people in a single incident than James Holmes killed at the Aurora movie theater:

With little more than photographs and fingerprints, authorities were trying to identify 14 suspected illegal immigrants who were killed when a pickup truck packed with nearly two dozen people crashed in South Texas in one of the nation’s deadliest immigrant smuggling accidents.

The victims — men, women and children — were carrying toothbrushes, toothpaste and changes of socks and underwear but no identification. Authorities said the white Ford F250 was carrying 23 immigrants from Mexico, Honduras and Guatemala when it veered off a highway and crashed into trees Sunday night.

“It’s the worst single-vehicle wreck I’ve worked in my 40 years in the funeral business,” said Adrian Fulton, a local funeral home director who picked up the 11 people who died at the scene. Fulton estimated their ages from 8 to 30, and he said Homeland Security Investigations agents came Monday to photograph and fingerprint the dead.

All the dead were coming here to make better lives for themselves, and none of them did. What’s more, this is hardly an isolated incident.

As with Holmes, what should be done (if anything) in response is open to lively debate. But 23 people in a pickup is not a situation you strive for, is it?

Meanwhile, Janet Napolitano tells us not to pay attention to what President Obama says about immigration:

Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano accused her boss President Barack Obama of making an inaccurate statement on immigration law enforcement during testimony before the House Judiciary Committee on Thursday.

A hot topic during the hearing was the Obama administration’s decision to selectively enforce immigration laws. The administration decided in mid-June – via an announcement from Napolitano and a subsequent Rose Garden speech from Obama – that it would not deport illegal immigrants brought to the U.S. as “young children.”

The president’s decision to selectively enforce immigration laws directly contradicts a public statement he made in March 2011. Back then, Obama said he thought “[t]here are enough laws on the books by Congress that are very clear in terms of how we have to enforce our immigration system that for me to simply through executive order ignore those congressional mandates would not conform with my appropriate role as president.”

Correct, sir — and yet, that’s what you’re doing.

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