Patterico's Pontifications


The Other Tragedy Of Hurricane Harvey

Filed under: General — Dana @ 12:53 pm

[guest post by Dana]

The floods in Texas continue to ravage the land and its residents:

Beaumont police say a woman has died after she and her young daughter were swept into a rain-swollen drainage canal while trying to escape their stalled vehicle.

A police statement said the woman pulled her vehicle into a theater parking lot about 3:35 p.m. Tuesday, where it became stalled by high water. The woman then took her daughter, exited the car and was swept about a half-mile away.

Two Beaumont police officers and two fire-rescue divers in a rubber boat spotted the mother floating with the child, who was holding onto her mother. Officers pulled the child and the mother into the boat.

The little girl was suffering from hypothermia, and efforts to revive her mother failed.

This tragedy is just one of many that have occurred since Harvey made landfall. At least 37 deaths related to Hurricane Harvey have been reported.

But in the midst of the tragedies, lives have been saved through some incredible acts of kindness, generosity, goodwill, and heroism from ordinary people compelled by an extraordinary sense of duty to help their neighbors. The people of Texas (and Louisiana), have evidenced a strength and determination that is nothing less than inspiring.




And yet, members of the mainstream media just don’t seem to get it. They can’t. They are unable to comprehend the selfless, do-for-your neighbor nature of Texas. This willingness to lay down one’s life for a fellow man is unfamiliar and foreign. To them, Texas, and places like it, remain little more than mock-worthy Hicksvilles, populated by the unwashed, the uneducated, the uncouth, Confederates, God-nutters, crazy cowboys and yokels. Politico aptly summed up this narrow-minded bigotry:


The cartoon was removed by Politico right after it went up. Responding to the backlash, cartoonist Matt Wuerker tweeted:



Look, here’s what I think: It is a pathetic people that choose to use their media platforms to politicize a natural disaster while people are still fighting for their lives, and fighting to save the lives of their neighbors. It is a self-consumed, small and petty people who exploit a natural disaster just to squawk like imbeciles about the shoes the First Lady wore to visit ravaged Texas. And it is an even more pathetic people that make the decisions to publish articles and cartoons like these during such a harrowing time. And here’s what I say to that collective of emotionally stunted ghouls: There are 37 families reeling from shock as the full weight of Hurricane Harvey falls upon them and they realize that their lives will never, ever be the same again. This particular flood of sorrow will never leave them, even though time will eventually smooth its raw edges. And it is those precious neighbors, those Texans, that will keep them from drowning.

(Cross-posted at The Jury Talks Back.)


ADDED: Commenter Beldar, who lives in Houston, points us to his own heartfelt post about the many heroes coming to the aid of their neighbors – whether they know them or not, whether they even live in the same town or not. Because to this breed of people, matters like inconvenience and uphill climbs aren’t that important. It may, in fact, compel them even more because someone, somewhere is counting on them and those like them. Counting on heroes like Beldar’s niece’s husband, David:


Beldar writes:

David (white shirt & reversed ball cap) looks like a Navy SEAL, but he’s actually a broker and financial advisor in his day job, a devoted husband & family man, and a leader in his hometown community and his church. He and a friend hitched up their boat and drove down from Palestine to help in the rescue efforts. No one told them to, or asked them to. They aren’t being paid or reimbursed. They don’t have FEMA name tags or a Coast Guard helicopter. But they just couldn’t not do it — like so many of the others who’re volunteering in these relief efforts.

In this photo, they’re using their boat to transport a flooded-out family to safety, but part of that process requires negotiating some shallow standing water by foot — a scene repeated hundreds of times in dozens of places all over the Houston area today. And they’re not just grimly toiling, but rather, they’re deliberately doing their very best to lighten the mood, to find some humor, and to celebrate these kiddos’ “first-ever boat rides! Whee!” so that perhaps these kids can someday remember the Hurricane Harvey rescue they needed as something that was noble and redeeming, instead of something unrelievedly sad and tragic.

I could strip my FB feed for probably twenty other photos like this of Texans I personally know and love, ordinary people, who’re doing exactly this kind of thing, but whom you won’t see on TV. But this one magnificent photo will suffice to make my point, I think.

I agree.

“I Want to Thank These Guys for Saving My Life”

Filed under: General — Patterico @ 7:57 am

[Cross-posted at The Jury Talks Back.]



Filed under: General — Patterico @ 8:01 am


Nobody cares about anything else.

[Cross-posted at The Jury Talks Back.]


Trump Organization Exec Emailed Putin’s Spokesman for Help on a Deal

Filed under: General — Patterico @ 7:44 am

New reports raise further questions about Donald Trump’s businesses and Russia:

A top executive from Donald Trump’s real estate company emailed Russian President Vladi­mir Putin’s personal spokesman during the U.S. presidential campaign last year to ask for help advancing a stalled Trump Tower development project in Moscow, according to documents submitted to Congress on Monday.

The request came in a mid-January 2016 email from Michael Cohen, one of Trump’s closest business advisers, who asked longtime Putin lieutenant Dmitry Peskov for assistance in reviving a deal that Cohen suggested was languishing.

. . . .

Cohen’s email to Peskov provides an example of a Trump business official directly seeking Kremlin assistance in advancing Trump’s business interests.

The project appears to have gone nowhere. It does not look like evidence of “collusion” between Trump and Putin. It just causes any reasonable person to wonder whether the prospect of financial gain played or plays any part in Trump’s unrelenting praise for Vladimir Putin, a ruthless Soviet-style dictator who imprisons, tortures, and kills his political opponents.

I recently read Red Notice: A True Story of High Finance, Murder, and One Man’s Fight for Justice. It’s a compelling read about the imprisonment, torture, and murder of Sergei Magnitsky, whose death led to the U.S. passage of the Magnitsky Act to retaliate against those involved. (That’s the same law that a Kremlin-connected lawyer talked to Manafort and Jr. about getting repealed. Repeal of the Magnitsky Act is one of Putin’s top priorities.) I’ll have a review when I get a chance. In the meantime, watch the first 20 minutes of this. (Keep watching if you’re hooked.)

This is what we’re dealing with in Putin. It’s no joke. The fact that we have a President who praises this man is a continual source of astonishment to me.

[Cross-posted at The Jury Talks Back.]

Berkeley Mayor: We Need To Shut Down Free Speech Week Because Conservatives Provoke Criminal Thugs

Filed under: General — Dana @ 6:57 am

[guest post by Dana]

Berkeley, no longer a bastion of free speech:

In the aftermath of a right-wing rally Sunday that ended with anarchists chasing attendees from a downtown park, Berkeley Mayor Jesse Arreguin urged UC Berkeley on Monday to cancel conservatives’ plans for a Free Speech Week next month to avoid making the city the center of more violent unrest.

“I don’t want Berkeley being used as a punching bag,” said Arreguin, whose city has been the site of several showdowns this year between, on the one hand, the left and its fringe anarchist wing, and on the other, supporters of President Trump who at times have included white nationalists.

“I am concerned about these groups using large protests to create mayhem,” Arreguin said. “It’s something we have seen in Oakland and in Berkeley.”

Believing that the presence of “right-wing” speakers would cause left-wing, militant thug extremists to become violent and out of control, the mayor believes the only workable solution is to cancel events involving “right-wing” speakers. You know, as opposed to increasing the presence of law enforcement and arresting those who break the law:

I’m very concerned about Milo Yiannopoulos and Ann Coulter and some of these other right-wing speakers coming to the Berkeley campus, because it’s just a target for black bloc to come out and commit mayhem on the Berkeley campus and have that potentially spill out on the street.

And about that pesky issue of free speech:

“I obviously believe in freedom of speech, but there is a line between freedom of speech and then posing a risk to public safety,” the mayor said. “That is where we have to really be very careful — that while protecting people’s free-speech rights, we are not putting our citizens in a potentially dangerous situation and costing the city hundreds of thousands of dollars fixing the windows of businesses.”

Because more speech that challenges the status quo could never be a solution, or something…

On a side note, Ben Shapiro is scheduled to speak at UC Berkeley on Sept. 14. And UC Berkeley is charging the organizers $15,000 to exercise their First Amendment rights.

(Cross-posted at The Jury Talks Back.)



President Trump: Once A Reality Star, Always A Reality Star

Filed under: General — Dana @ 7:38 pm

[guest post by Dana]

Earlier this month, an article looked at how “ratings” drive President Trump:

“Wow, the ratings are in and Arnold Schwarzenegger got ‘swamped’ (or destroyed) by comparison to the ratings machine, DJT. So much for . . .”

It was quickly followed by this: “being a movie star-and that was season 1 compared to season 14. Now compare him to my season 1. But who cares, he supported Kasich and Hillary.”

The reaction was utterly predictable. Democrats — and even some Republicans — wondered why Trump was fixated on the ratings for “The Celebrity Apprentice” on the day that he was set to receive a briefing from intelligence officials about the depth and breadth of Russian hacking during the 2016 election.

Adding to the evidence of him being consumed by ratings and numbers, one really only has to consider Trump’s obsession with the size of crowds – whether at campaign rallies or at the Inauguration. It makes sense for a reality star and showman. And to this day, even while seated in the Oval Office, Trump remains the reality star and showman.

However, understanding that about the president does not make his decision to announce the pardon of Joe Arpaio on Friday night when Hurricane Harvey made land fall any less disturbing:

Addressing the specific timing of his pardon — which seemed to embody a classic “news dump,” coming as the nation focused on the impending storm — the president said he actually imagined the controversial pardon would have attracted even more media attention, because of the Harvey coverage.

Upon facing criticism about the timing of his announcement, the president admitted that he intentionally made the announcement then because lots of people would be watching the news:

“I assumed the ratings would be far higher than normal with the hurricane just starting,” Trump said.

(Cross-posted at The Jury Talks Back.)



Catastrophic Flooding In Texas

Filed under: General — Dana @ 8:29 am

[guest post by Dana]

Catastrophic flooding in southeastern Texas now, particularly in the Galveston/Houston area, as the storm is reportedly stalled inland. There are also tornado watches in place, along with rain falling at a rate of 4-6 inches per hour. NOAA projections:

Surface observations of winds 30-35 kt within a band of convection over the western Gulf of Mexico and along the coast of Texas support an initial intensity of 35 kt. The latest track guidance show Harvey moving slowly southeastward for the next 24 to 36 hours and the center is likely to move very close to the coast, or even offshore, between 24-48 hours. After that time, Harvey is expected to begin a northward motion which should take it inland over eastern Texas later in the period.

Ongoing catastrophic and life-threatening flooding will continue across southeastern Texas. Additional rainfall accumulations of 15 to 25 inches are expected, with isolated storm totals as high as 50 inches, through Friday.

If you want to help, Gov. Abbott of Texas is recommending that you make a contribution to the American Red Cross. You can contact them at 1-800-RED CROSS or text HARVEY to 90999 to make a donation. You can also go here for on-the-spot coverage in Houston, as well as here, here and here.

May there be countless numbers of residents like the one below, doing whatever they can to help their neighbor:


To readers in the impacted areas, please stay safe.

(Cross-posted at The Jury Talks Back.)



BREAKING: Trump Pardons Joe Arpaio

Filed under: General — Patterico @ 6:00 pm

Like everything else Trump does, this is highly irregular. Here is the announcement:


Arpaio did not go through the usual DoJ process and has shown no remorse for blatantly violating a court order. But, the pardon will stir up Trump’s base. So, there you have it.

The typo in the last sentence (“he is worthy candidate”) is your Trumpy guarantee that this was well thought through.

[Cross-posted at RedState and The Jury Talks Back.]


Legal Genius Kamala Harris: Trump Should Not Pardon Joe Arpaio Because . . . He Committed A Crime

Filed under: General — Patterico @ 5:00 pm

Joe Arpaio stands convicted of a misdemeanor count of criminal contempt of court, for carrying out “targeted patrols aiming to catch illegal aliens in his Arizona jurisdiction.” Reports say that President Trump’s administration has filled out the paperwork for Arpaio to be pardoned. Arpaio is unrepentant and has not gone through the usual DoJ process for seeking a pardon. There are many reasons why pardoning Arpaio would be questionable.

This is . . . not one of them:

Pardons, how do they work?

Yes, while it is possible to pardon someone not yet convicted of a crime, that is decidedly not the norm. Arguing that someone should not be pardoned because they have been convicted is kind of like arguing that someone should not be allowed to seek absolution through the Sacrament of Penance because they have sinned. That’s sort of the whole reason the thing exists.

A note about Senator Harris: she’s physically and demographically attractive, she’s a first-term Senator of no particular distinction, she’s from a large state, she’s a partisan Democrat trying to make a name for herself by criticizing the current administration, and she’s young. (Democrats have not elected someone President in their 60s or older since Truman.)

Does any of this sound familiar?

Say hello to the likely next Democrat presidential candidate.

Fortunately, at least we know she won’t be pardoning anyone who was convicted of a crime! So we got that going for us. Which is nice.

[Cross-posted at RedState and The Jury Talks Back.]

Legal Genius Nancy Pelosi: You Can’t Yell “Wolf” In A Crowded Theater

Filed under: General — Patterico @ 3:30 pm

This is possibly the most entertaining political mangling of a famous quote since Dubya’s “won’t get fooled again” gaffe. Watch bubblehead Nancy give her vacant stare as she tries to defend denying a permit to organizers of an alt-right rally at Crissy Field in San Francisco. In the clip, which is from an interview done yesterday, Pelosi says that she is going to encourage the Park Service to deny a permit to the organizers. The permit has since been approved, and the rally will take place on Saturday. Enjoy some true Pelosi brilliance as Pelosi is asked how the Park Service could deny the permit, given the barrier of First Amendment:

INTERVIEWER: How could the Park Service justify denying that organization their free speech rights?

PELOSI: Because the Constitution does not say that a person can shout, yell wolf in a crowded theater. You are endangering people, then you don’t have a constitutional right to do that.

This clip came to me via Ken White at Popehat, who has spent a lot of time exposing the fundamental dishonesty of the actual phrase Pelosi was struggling to articulate: that you can’t yell fire in a crowded theater. In this post, for example, Ken describes the famous statement by Oliver Wendell Holmes as “the most famous and pervasive lazy cheat in American dialogue about free speech.”

The argument Pelosi is trying (and failing) to make is that violence will result from the alt-right rally. But the mere possibility that people on either side of an issue might get passionate at a rally, and that those passions could spill over into to violence, is not a valid reason to deny a permit.

Pelosi is, um, crying wolf here.

P.S. My constitutional law professor at U.T. Austin, Jack Balkin (now at Yale) once told our class that he had, in fact, yelled “fire” in an actual crowded theater. Nothing came of it.

UPDATE: On Twitter, someone pointed out to me that the group in question denies it is alt-right. The Mercury News article linked in this post says:

Previous events organized by the same Portland-based group, Patriot Prayer, have attracted white nationalist contingents and devolved into violence.

The leader of the group is a Trump supporter. I called the group “alt-right” because to me, groups led by Trump supporters whose rallies attract white nationalists tend to be alt-right. But given that the leader of the group has actually denounced Neo-Nazis and white supremacists, even according to the usually quick-to-label-everyone-hateful SPLC, calling the group “alt-right” might be a case of guilt by association.

[Cross-posted at RedState and The Jury Talks Back.]

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