Patterico's Pontifications


Open Thread: Israel Ground Assault On Gaza Begins

Filed under: General — Dana @ 2:16 pm

[guest post by Dana]

Per a statement put out by the Prime Minister’s Office, Netanyahu and Defense Minister Moshe Ya’alon Netanyahu directed the IDF to prepare to “expand ground operations”:

The statement said that the security cabinet approved the operation after Israel agreed to the Egyptian cease-fire proposal on Tuesday, which Hamas rejected. In addition, the statement said, Hamas even fired rockets during the Thursday’s five-hour humanitarian cease-fire.

“In light of Hamas’ continuous criminal aggression, and the dangerous infiltration into Israeli territory, Israel is obligated to act in defense of its citizens,” the statement said.

The statement said that Operation Protective Edge, now in its 10th day, will continue until its goals are reached: restoring quiet for an extended period of time,and delivering a significant blow to Hamas and the other terrorist organizations in Gaza.

Let’s hope Israel will be more careful so the State Department does not have to take them to the woodshed again:

The United States on Thursday urged Israel to do more to protect civilians caught in the crossfire between the Israel and Hamas, after Palestinian Arabs claimed to international media that four children were killed during an IAF air strike.

“We ask (Israel) to redouble their efforts to prevent civilian casualties. We believe there is more that can be done,” State Department spokeswoman Jen Psaki told reporters. “We believe that certainly there is more that can be done.”

“The tragic event makes clear that Israel must take every possible step to meet its standards for protecting civilians from being killed,” Psaki added.

It is unclear what else the State Department believes can be done to prevent the civilian casualties, after the IDF has proven over and over again that Hamas has been encouraging Gazans to become human shields.

Hamas has openly boasted about the “success” of its strategy of using civilians as human shields during Operation Protective Edge, which is now ending its tenth day, and the IDF has published extensive evidence of the practice.


Open Thread: Malaysian Airlines Passenger Jet Shot Down

Filed under: General — Dana @ 11:14 am

[guest post by Dana]

According to Fox News:

A Malaysia Airlines passenger plane was shot down by a surface-to-air missile in Ukraine near the Russian border, a day after a Ukrainian military jet was downed.

Of course, it’s way too soon to know much for sure, but according to Anton Gerashenko, an adviser to Ukraine’s Interior Minister, all 280 passengers and 15 crew members were killed.

The flight manifest is said to list the names of 23 Americans, however, State Department spokeswoman Jen Psaki would not confirm, only saying “we don’t have any additional details at this point on American citizens” aboard the plane.

And not surprisingly, accusations and finger-pointing between Russian separatists and the Ukrainian government:

Eastern Ukraine separatist leader Alexander Borodai told Reuters that Ukrainian military forces shot the jet down, but Kiev denied involvement and labeled the incident a “terrorist act.”


Update: The president responds:

“Before I begin, obviously the world is watching reports of a downed passenger jet near the Russia-Ukraine border, and it looks like it may be a terrible tragedy,” he said. “Right now, we’re working to determine whether there were American citizens on board — that is our first priority — and I’ve directed my national-security team to stay in close contact with the Ukrainian government.”

“The United States will offer any assistance we can to help determine what happened and why, and as a country, our thoughts and prayers are with all the families of the passengers wherever they call home,” he added, before resuming his speech on increased infrastructure spending.

UPDATE BY PATTERICO: The death toll stands at 298, as there were three infants on board. Almost enough to spoil your burger.


Update 2: I’m adding an obligatory video clip and summary of President Obama’s statement made this morning. I notice that he took the time to put on a suit and a wear a face of appropriate seriousness, unlike yesterday. Someone must have had a word with him.

President Obama called on Russian president Vladimir Putin and the Russian government to work with the international community in investigating the downed Malaysian Airlines flight 17. The president also revealed that at least one American citizen died in the disaster, and called all deaths “an outrage of unspeakable proportions.”

“This should snap everybody’s heads to attention,” he said from the White House briefing room on Friday. “We don’t have time for propaganda, we don’t have time for games, we need to know exactly what happened.”

The president called for an “immediate cease-fire” by Russian, Ukrainian, and separatist forces in the region to allow the investigation to take place.

Reinforcing The Need For A Special Prosecutor

Filed under: General — Dana @ 9:18 am

[guest post by Dana]

It’s certainly a good thing for this administration that there is a press from which they are able to learn of critical information concerning national scandals they are directly involved in, otherwise, they might never know…

In response to Rep. Ron DeSantis’s (R-Fla.) questioning during a House Oversight and Government Reform Subcommittee hearing on the DOJ’s response to the IRS targeting of conservative groups, Deputy Attorney General James Cole explained how the Justice Department learned of two years of missing IRS emails:

Rep. DeSantis: “Mr. Cole, we learned in Congress on June 13th, 2014 that two years-worth of Lois Lerner’s emails were missing—the IRS would not produce those. When did the Justice Department learn of that fact?”

Deputy Attorney General James Cole: “I think we learned about it after that from the press accounts that were in the paper following the IRS’ notification to the Congress.”


Federal Government Admits Overwhelmed By Unaccompanied Minors And Unable To Medically Screen All Of Them

Filed under: General — Dana @ 8:29 am

[gust post by Dana]

As we have been informed, when unaccompanied minors are processed at the border, a medical screening is supposed to take place to make sure they carry no communicable diseases which might put other unaccompanied minors at risk or put any workers at the nationwide shelters they are being transported to at risk, either. ABC News has learned via an obtained HHS memo, that the influx of migrant children has so overwhelmed the system, that as a result, not all children are being medically screened before transporting them. This is being referred to as a breakdown of the medical screening process. Is anyone surprised? Has this concern not been voiced since Day One?

The director of refugee health in the federal Health and Human Services Department “has identified a breakdown of the medical screening processes at the Nogales, Arizona, facility,” according to an internal Department of Defense memo reviewed by ABC News. The “breakdown” a systemic failure of the handoff of these children between CBP and HHS.

Inside the government, officials are sounding alarms, fearing that they and their teams who come in contact with the sick children face potential exposure to infectious diseases from chicken pox to influenza, including rare cases of H1N1, more commonly called swine flu.

Two unaccompanied children were flown from Nogales to California despite having 101-degree fevers and flu-like symptoms, according to the Department of Defense memo. Those children had to be hospitalized.

The memo said pointedly that officials in charge of moving the immigrants from Border Patrol processing centers to Health and Human Services facilities are “putting sick [fevers and coughing] unaccompanied children on airplanes inbound for [Naval Base Ventura County] in addition to the chicken pox and coxsackie virus cases.”

The document said three other kids were in the ICU at local hospitals in California, and two of them were diagnosed with strep pneumonia.

Less than a week later, that same Ventura Naval Base suffered an outbreak of pneumonia and influenza among the unaccompanied minors inside the shelter.

“Preliminary reports indicate that several unaccompanied minors in the shelter had become ill with what appears to be pneumonia and influenza,” according to a statement from the Administration for Children and Families at Health and Human Services.

HHS told ABC News the children were supposed to be screened for sickness before leaving the Border Patrol screening centers.

“When the children arrive at U.S. border stations,” the ACF statement read, “they are screened for health problems and given medical treatment if needed.”

But, according to the memo ABC News reviewed, “Curi Kim [the HHS director of the Division of Refugee Health] has identified a breakdown of the medical screening processes at the Nogales, Arizona, facility. The [unaccompanied children] were initially screened and cleared upon entry into that facility with no fever or significant symptoms. They were not however re-screened and cleared for travel and placement at a temporary shelter.”

While confirming to ABC News the outbreak occurred, HHS would not respond to inquiries about the DOD memo showing sick children were knowingly sent to Naval Base Ventura prior to the outbreak.


Court: U.T. Austin May Discriminate on the Basis of Race

Filed under: General — Patterico @ 6:27 am

I’ve been meaning to get to this, but work and other demands have interfered. Two judges say it’s perfectly OK for the University of Texas at Austin to discriminate on the basis of race:

Ruling that the Supreme Court has not barred all use of race in choosing the entering class of students at state universities and colleges, a federal appeals court on Tuesday upheld — for a second time — the admissions policies at the University of Texas in Austin. The two-to-one decision by the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit followed the Supreme Court’s return of the case of rejected white applicant Abigail Fisher for a focused new look at the need for a race factor.

The Dog Trainer tells us:

“To deny UT Austin its limited use of race in its search for holistic diversity would hobble the richness of the educational experience,” Higginbotham said in the 2-1 opinion for the U.S. 5th Circuit Court of Appeals in New Orleans.

“Universities may use race as part of a holistic admissions program where it cannot otherwise achieve diversity,” Higginbotham wrote. “This interest is compelled by the reality that university education is more the shaping of lives than the filling of heads with facts – the classic assertion of the humanities.”

The decision is here (.pdf). It’s 2-1, with two reasonably conservative judges in the majority: Patrick Higginbotham and Carolyn King. It’s not entirely their fault. Anthony Kennedy made this possible. But they could have gone another way. Dissenting is Judge Emilio Garza, who was once in the running for a Supreme Court spot himself. Judge Garza says, referencing a Texas law that calls for automatic admission of the top ten percent of students in the state’s high schools:

By accepting the University’s standing presumption that minority students admitted under the Top Ten Percent Law do not possess the characteristics necessary to achieve a campus environment defined by “qualitative diversity,” the majority engages in the very stereotyping that the Equal Protection Clause abhors.”

Once again, thank you Anthony Kennedy.

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