Patterico's Pontifications

2/14/2023

Stop, Stop, the L.A. Times Is Already Dead!

Filed under: General — Patterico @ 6:35 pm



Simpsons fans will recognize the reference:

The beatdown to which I refer here was administered by one Jack Dunphy, once a contributor to this blog, in an absolutely brutal takedown of some lazy woke “reporting” by Los Angeles’s Dog Trainer of Record:

Gentle readers, today I present the latest, incandescently glaring example, brought to you by that seemingly endless font of such rubbish, the Los Angeles Times. The story, by staff writer Jeong Park, appears on page B-4 of the paper’s Sunday print edition, but was posted Friday evening under the provocative headline, “They say sheriff’s helicopters buzz lowest over Black homes, and they’re out to prove it.”

“Aha,” the reader is expected to say, “those dirty, racist cops are even harassing black people from the sky!”

Park begins the story thus: “Law enforcement helicopters routinely buzz around Greater Los Angeles. But in certain neighborhoods, they swoop in — low and loud. So say two community groups that are studying the effects of helicopters on the health of county residents.”

I’m tempted to quote the whole thing, it’s so good . . . but I want to send you over so you can read it for yourself. I was expecting a fairly standard “helicopters fly where the crime is” sort of analysis, supported by some statistics that the paper had conveniently omitted. There’s some of that, but this is oh so much more. First, Dunphy addresses this paragraph from the story:

Shapiro said the groups had found that in every census block of L.A. County that is more than 40% Black, the median elevation of helicopters was below 1,000 feet, the “minimum safe altitude” for congested areas as set by the Federal Aviation Administration.

Well! If the FAA says 1,000 feet is the minimum safe altitude, and the cops are routinely flying below that, ipso facto we have a problem, don’t we? Except, as Columbo used to say: there’s just one more thing. Here’s Dunphy:

The online version of the story links to the FAA’s Guide to Low-Flying Aircraft, which indeed says that aircraft operating over a “congested area” maintain “an altitude of 1,000 feet above the highest obstacle within a horizontal radius of 2,000 feet of the aircraft.”

Alas for Times writer Park and the Oxford and Bard College-educated Shapiro, they failed to thoroughly read the very document they present as proof that police helicopters are operating in a racist manner over Los Angeles. If they had, they would know the 1,000-foot minimum altitude rule applies to fixed-wing aircraft. Had they bothered to read a mere two paragraphs beyond the point where the 1,000-foot rule is mentioned, they would have learned that helicopters are explicitly exempted from this rule, and that helicopter pilots are directed to “comply with routes or altitudes specifically prescribed by the [FAA] Administrator.”

Go ahead and read the document yourself. He’s right.

But it gets worse. The “reporter” forgot about a little thing called . . . LAX:

The journalistic face-plant doesn’t end there. Had Park bestirred himself to do any actual reporting beyond Googling up the FAA document he believed supported his premise, had he done more than speak with the people making the specious accusations he wants his readers to believe, had he bothered to pick up a telephone and speak with someone at the FAA, or even a pilot working for one of the local television stations, he would have learned the following:

A few miles to the west of South Los Angeles, where one finds the highest concentration of black residents said to be so disturbed by low-flying helicopters, there is a place called Los Angeles International Airport, one of the nation’s busiest. (Perhaps Mr. Park has noticed it when looking out the window of the L.A. Times’s offices in El Segundo.) Because of its proximity to LAX, the FAA designates the sky above South L.A. as Class B airspace, the most highly restricted. All aircraft entering the area must first receive clearance from the LAX control tower, and though clearance is routinely granted it is only under certain conditions, among which are that helicopters remain below 900 feet between the Santa Monica Freeway and Florence Avenue, and below 500 feet between Florence Avenue and the Century Freeway — the very neighborhoods where the concentration of black residents is highest. This is done so as to avoid interfering with aircraft approaching LAX (and under certain weather conditions, departing from it).

That’s my bold type.

Oh my. That’s quite the oversight.

Also, that’s where the crime is. Dunphy notes that the paper’s own Homicide Report online database documents where the murders happen, and used to have a map with dots on it to represent where those murders happened . . . until the dots were removed for reasons that are, we all agree, a total and complete mystery. Dunphy:

The Los Angeles Times can make the dots disappear on their map, but they can’t do anything about the murders. That’s why the police are in — and above — those neighborhoods.

Just a devastating post, delivered with Dunphy’s usual humor and wry understatement. Kudos.

Dianne Feinstein Calls It a Day

Filed under: General — JVW @ 1:29 pm



[guest post by JVW]

The headline isn’t technically true, actually, because the good Senator promises to rattle around Washington for the next twenty-two months until her term ends.

California Democratic senator Dianne Feinstein announced Tuesday that she will retire at the end of her term.

“I am announcing today I will not run for reelection in 2024, but intend to accomplish as much for California as I can through the end of next year when my term ends,” Feinstein said in her announcement.

At 89, Feinstein is the oldest senator. She said she plans to spend the remainder of her tenure working on a few legislative priority projects for her state.

“I campaigned in 2018 on several priorities for California and the nation: preventing and combating wildfires, mitigating the effects of record-setting drought, responding to the homelessness crisis and ensuring all Americans have access to affordable, high-quality healthcare,” she said in her statement.

As longtime readers of my dyspeptic blather know, I hold no affection for Senator Feinstein, a stereotypical San Francisco Liberal with all of the requisite social positions yet who at the same time can be counted on to protect the interests of the very wealthy; a swamp chiseler who had no problem with her husband increasing the family fortune through lucrative government contracts; a stalwart in the naïve (or cynical) belief that passing federal legislation magically cures social problems; a hardball political operative who hides behind a facade of grandmotherly decorum; a shameless hypocrite when it suits her purposes; an unwitting stooge for China; and various other sins of commission and omission. Sure, once in a while she has the good sense to ask difficult questions of her own allies, but oftentimes that strikes friend and foe alike as empty posturing, trying to enhance her brand as a centrist who dwells above petty partisan interests. The only truly endearing thing about her is that she eventually became a pariah among her own party’s activists, but to the degree that they grew tired of her because of her selfish politics, feather-nesting, and grandiose sense of entitlement, well, count me on their side.

Anyway, California Democrats had already been lining up to replace her. Thus far we have the execrable Katie Porter — she of the really slick taxpayer-supported housing deal — who strikes me as being Elizabeth Warren without the awesomely ridiculous far-fetched biographical stories; Adam Schiff, destined to see how far Trump hatred can take you in an avocado republic like California; and almost certainly Barbara Lee, for whom the year will forever be 1968 and the place will forever be the East Bay. Left to be determined is if any other Democrats (you aren’t going to ever get that Ambassador to India job, Eric Garcetti, and Ted Lieu, this might be your last chance to move beyond being a piddly back-bench Twitter warrior) think they have a pathway to the election.

Whomever wins and finds themselves side-by-side with Schmuck Schumer and Cocaine Mitch next year, let’s hope they see the office as a place to accomplish important things for the people of California and the United States for the next six to twelve years, not as a cozy sinecure in which to grow decrepit and somnolent over the next one-third of a century.

– JVW

Nikki Haley Makes It Official

Filed under: General — Dana @ 8:03 am



[guest post by Dana]

She’s in:

She concludes her announcement with what could easily be seen as a shot across Donald Trump’s bow, given how well he deals with women who challenge him:

You should know this about me: I don’t put up with bullies. And when you kick back, it hurts them more if you’re wearing heels.

Since Haley is the only other Republican who has made an official announcement, it stands to reason that Trump will focus his attention on her. But I don’t think he sees her as any great threat, not like he would Ron DeSantis if he runs.

Anyway, a few interesting observations over at FiveThirtyEight:

Haley’s presidential bid isn’t just significant because she’s the first candidate to openly challenge Trump. As a child of Indian immigrants, she’s also the first woman of color — and the fifth woman ever — to run for the Republican presidential nomination. Haley’s race and gender are particularly noteworthy because Republican women of color are rare in elected office, although their numbers did grow after the 2020 election. The fact that she’s going up against Trump will sharpen the contrast, particularly if he uses the racist and sexist attacks he’s employed against past challengers. Haley’s candidacy will be a high-profile test of how a woman of color is received by Republican primary voters…As we’ve written for the site, the dearth of women among Republican politicians’ ranks is due to two self-reinforcing problems: They’re less likely to run for office, and when they do run, they face significant barriers in the form of voter stereotypes and a lack of institutional support.

The chair of the DNC responded to Haley’s announcement:

–Dana


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