Posted 6/30/2003 06:33:00 AM by Patrick
SUPREME COURT: I obviously don't have time to respond to all the Supreme Court decisions in one morning. I haven't read the decisions in question and therefore have little basis on which to discuss them (though that doesn't stop 99.99999% of the country). Warning: if you base your opinion on news coverage you are making a mistake.
I will eagerly read Justice O'Connor's decision to see where she found the Constitutional provision that racial preferences are okay until the year 2028, when they might not be.
Posted 6/30/2003 06:25:00 AM by Patrick
CHUCKIE S. GETS A PASS: New York Republicans are throwing in the towel in the 2004 Senate race against Chuck Schumer, one of the most noxious politicians out there. Why? They figure it might help Bush by keeping Democrats from getting riled up. Good strategy, boys!
Posted 6/30/2003 06:19:00 AM by Patrick
I'M BACK: What a week to be gone: the week the Supreme Court issues its blockbuster decisions. I was relieved to see, however, that we need no longer worry about the Supreme Court if Dick Gephardt becomes President. We have his word that he will, and I quote, "do executive orders to overcome any wrong thing the Supreme Court does." See here for details.
I breathlessly await my liberal readers' fierce denunciation of this ridiculous statement, just as they would do if Bush had said it.
Posted 6/20/2003 12:56:00 AM by Patrick
MICHAEL MOORE'S LIES: Here is a nice summary of the lies in Michael Moore's Oscar-winning piece of dung "Bowling for Columbine." Even the Brits are on to him.
Posted 6/19/2003 11:31:00 PM by Patrick
IMPEACH BOYCE MARTIN: Who? Read this opinion piece and find out. Or, if you're too damn lazy to click on the link (likely), I'll just tell you: he's the judge who fixed the Michigan affirmative action case. As the piece demonstrates, he manipulated the system in many different ways to get a result favoring affirmative action. For example, he circumvented the random appointment process to get himself put on the case (something that observers often suspect Stephen Reinhardt of doing). Also, he waited five months to notify the rest of the court of a petition for en banc rehearing -- just long enough for two conservative judges to take senior status and make themselves ineligible to sit on the rehearing panel, which made all the difference.
"Martin insists that he has been falsely accused. 'I'm royally shafted,' he told The Associated Press. 'It's like poor Sammy Sosa. I never had a corked bat before, and I don't think I had one here.'"
Uh, Sammy Sosa definitely had a corked bat, dude. I think it's definitely like Sammy Sosa. And I think your bat just broke.
Posted 6/19/2003 11:26:00 PM by Patrick
SUPREME COURT SECRECY: It always seems like there are a million leaks from places like the White House and the Pentagon. Maybe these folks should take a cue from the Supreme Court. OK, sure, books like The Brethren have featured insider looks at the Court. But consider this: there are still ten decisions yet to be announced at the Court, including the Michigan affirmative action case and the homosexual sodomy case. But these cases have long since been decided -- and even if you don't count the Justices themselves, there are dozens of people who know not only the outcomes, but who voted which way. Yet this sort of thing never seems to be leaked. Not even the Bush v. Gore decision was leaked ahead of time. Given the significance of these cases, I think that's pretty amazing.
Posted 6/19/2003 07:20:00 PM by Patrick
BLOGGING HIATUS: Prepare yourself for a long blogging hiatus -- perhaps a week or more. The reason must remain a mystery. (Wait -- I already said it earlier: I am going on vacation.) Anyway, I am not so dedicated that I will be doing remote blogging from a mountain cabin. I leave that to the InstaPundits of the world. Those of us who have maybe two regular readers just gotta relax sometimes.
My advice to those who can't do without their Patterico fix: explore my extensive archives -- especially if you haven't been a regular reader from the beginning. You should find the occasional take on something you won't see anywhere else, and plenty to infuriate people on both sides of the political spectrum (though, to be sure, more to infuriate the left). Enjoy, and I'll see you at the end of the month.
Posted 6/19/2003 07:27:00 AM by Patrick
MICHIGAN RIOTS: Interesting story in our local Dog Trainer this morning. Somewhere in Michigan, a white cop chased a black kid who was on a motorcycle. The kid crashed the motorcycle and died. That was sufficient for two days of rioting. Five buildings have been burned to the ground, including "one home belonging to a single father of five." Police cars have been torched. Rocks and bricks were thrown at firefighters. A dozen people were stabbed or beaten. Another dozen were arrested. "Police and rioters exchanged gunfire, with one passerby wounded in the shoulder by a shot from the crowd."
Lacking in the Dog Trainer story is any context. The story says the police chief will review the department's pursuit policy, but the story never says why police were chasing the kid. The story implies that it was an expired license or registration issue, quoting a City Commissioner as saying: "We don't believe that a person who doesn't have a driver's license, or tags not up to date, should die for that."
Patterico is on the job. This story explains the pursuit as follows:
"The chase started in Berrien County's Royalton Township, where a sheriff's deputy spotted two high-performance motorcycles traveling north toward Benton Harbor on Michigan 139 at speeds surpassing 100 mph.
"The deputy briefly pursued the pair but stopped because of the motorcycles' high speed. A short time later, Benton Township Patrolman Wes Koza witnessed one of the motorcyclists speeding and running stop signs, police said.
"Koza pursued the motorcycle into Benton Harbor, where it drove through yards, came back onto the street and ran more stop signs. The officer was several blocks back when Shurn's motorcycle hit the building.
"Shurn's speed in the residential neighborhood approached 70 mph at times. He was pronounced dead at the scene."
According to this AP wire story: "Police said they did not know why Shurn fled from the officers, although his operator's license had been suspended and officers found a small amount of marijuana on him, state police Lt. Joseph Zangaro said."
This CNN story says: "Shurn's uncle, Ralph Crenshaw, said the officers knew who they were chasing and could have picked up his nephew later without risking lives in a high-speed chase."
Posted 6/19/2003 06:24:00 AM by Patrick
BUSH SAYS NO: Bush has rejected the presumptuous request by Democratic Senators to have a hand in selecting the next Supreme Court nominee. Good for him. Under the Constitution, this is his job, not theirs. Plus, I don't want those guys helping select the next Justice.
So they might filibuster. Let 'em. Let's see what the public thinks about this obstructionism when it is finally in their face.
Posted 6/19/2003 06:15:00 AM by Patrick
I HAVE HATCHED A PLAN: Orrin Hatch recently said that he favors investigating the idea of remotely damaging the computers of illegal music downloaders. He said this "may be the only way you can teach somebody about copyrights."
I wonder how many hackers are working right now on a virus to destroy Sen. Hatch's computer. It may be the only way you can teach him about due process.
Posted 6/18/2003 08:37:00 PM by Patrick
DOG TRAINER IGNORES ROE ISSUE: Yesterday I noted that the plaintiff from Roe v. Wade has filed a motion to overturn the case. I wondered if there would be any mainstream coverage. So far, nothing in the Dog Trainer.
Posted 6/18/2003 07:27:00 AM by Patrick
WELCOME TO ANY NEW VIEWERS: Patterico wishes to extend a hearty welcome to any new viewers of the page. Thanks for visiting. Stay a while, poke around the archives, tell your friends about it, e-mail me, and come back!
Posted 6/17/2003 08:03:00 PM by Patrick
IDIOTIC OP-ED MEETS WAYBACK MACHINE: The title of the Dog Trainer op-ed is Can Hamas Cut a Deal for Peace?. The answer is: No.
That was easy. Next question!
Read the piece, though, as it is really quite amazing. After noting the view that Hamas is a terrorist organization that must be opposed, the piece continues: "But there is a second point of view. This view draws on repeated statements of Hamas leaders, including Sheik Ahmed Yassin, the group's spiritual leader, to conclude that Hamas would halt attacks on Israeli civilians if Israel halted its operations against Palestinian civilians and that it would even be willing to coexist with Israel if it were to withdraw entirely from the occupied territories." The op-ed goes on to say that the truth probably lies somewhere in between these two views.
Hmmmm. Even in that characterization of Hamas's views, I didn't see anything about halting attacks on Jewish settlers or Israeli soldiers. As for Hamas's desire to coexist with Israel: I will address that when I can control my bitter laughter.
Okay, Mr. Op-ed Writer: time for a history lesson. Hamas used to have a web site that was very instructive. It was located at http://www.palestine-info.com/hamas/about/index.htm. Interestingly, since I first visited it in December 2001, it has been taken down. If my Google searches are accurate, the site does not seem to have reappeared on the web using a different address. It's just gone.
Or is it? Enter a miraculous device called the Wayback Machine! This incredible web page has catalogued billions of web pages archived from across the internet since 1996. Using the Wayback Machine, you can see how a web page looked five years ago. You can also see web pages that have been otherwise removed from the internet.
Thanks to the Wayback Machine, you can see the former official web site of Hamas, even though it has since been taken down. A very interesting part of the former site is the group's statement of ideological principles, found here. The writings on this page include an illuminating piece called The conflict with Zionism in Hamas ideology.
Here, Hamas expresses its desire to coexist peacefully with Israel in the very first sentence: "The Hamas movement believes that the conflict with the Zionists in Palestine is a conflict of survival. It is a conflict of civilization and determination that can not be brought to an end unless its cause-the Zionist settlement in Palestine, usurpation of its land, and the displacement of its people-is removed." (My emphasis. By the way -- in case you were unaware -- the area that Hamas calls "Palestine" includes every square inch of what the rest of the world calls "Israel.") The call for peaceful coexistence continues with language like this: "Hamas believes that no part of Palestine should be compromised, that the Zionist occupation of Palestine should not be recognized and that it is imperative for the people of Palestine, as well as all Arabs and Muslims, to prepare themselves to fight the Zionists until they leave Palestine the way they migrated to it." (My emphasis again.)
Translation (to quote a popular Arab chant): Death to Israel.
Hamas can take this page down, but thanks to the Wayback Machine, I can bring it back up.
Another very interesting page on the former Hamas website, available only on the Wayback Machine, is called The Glory Record. It is a proud description of kidnappings, murders, and the like carried out by Hamas. It is full of pleasant boasts like these:
"He was able to kill 2 and injure 21"
"Three militants stabbed two Israelis. . .The Hamas members wrote some slogans and considered this operation as a gift for Yitzhak Rabin on the occasion of winning the Israeli elections."
"The group disarmed the sergeant and took all his papers. He was then exterminated and disposed of."
So to the author of the idiotic op-ed in the Times this morning, I say: meet the Wayback Machine, sir. Now shut up.
Posted 6/17/2003 07:22:00 PM by Patrick
ROE SEEKS TO OVERTURN ROE: The plaintiff from Roe v. Wade, now a born-again Christian, has filed a motion with the Supreme Court seeking to overturn the case. Read about it here. The link is to Fox News. I breathlessly await the coverage of this issue in the mainstream media.
Posted 6/17/2003 06:22:00 AM by Patrick
MORE JESSICA LYNCH: For those who care, here is a detailed revisionist report about Jessica Lynch in the Washington Post -- the same paper most responsible for screwing up the story initially. I could never bring myself to care about this story even when she was considered a big hero, and I don't care about it now. But maybe some of you do.
Posted 6/15/2003 10:05:00 PM by Patrick
GO AP! GO AP!: I like this story for many reasons.
First, it's about an airplane toilet waste lawsuit.
Second, the story calls out for so many uses of the word [sic] in such a tight space, I think it makes history. I count three grammatical errors or typos in a total of just six short paragraphs. The quotables start with the opening sentence: "A Santa Cruz man won a suit against American Airlines alleging that one of the company's planes released two chunks of toilet waste, known euphemistically as 'blue ice,' onto the skylight his boat. [sic]" Prepositions, schmepositions. Creative use of apostrophes is shown here: "He receive'd [sic] the court's ruling in the mail Friday." The story ends with this: "Airline officials could not be reached to comment [sic] Saturday." In other words, if I'm going to use a preposition, I'm going to use the one I want to use.
Third, I just love this actual quote from Mike Fergus, spokeman for the Federal Aviation Administration, reacting to the judgment: "I'll be darned."
I will too, Mike. I will too.
Posted 6/15/2003 09:34:00 PM by Patrick
EKE IT OUT, BABY: Senator Patrick J. (for "Jackass") Leahy has written President Bush to implore him to consult with Leahy before nominating a Supreme Court Justice. (Looks like Leahy thinks someone is retiring.) Says Leahy: "I would hope your objective will not be to send the Senate nominees so polarizing that their confirmations are eked out in narrow margins."
Bush, my friend, if your nominee does not eke out his or her confirmation by the narrowest of all possible margins, you ain't doing your job. And if you consult with Leahy -- if he even votes for your nominee -- you and me, we got a problem.
"Mr. Leahy said his two letters urging a bipartisan process, the one on Wednesday and one sent on May 14, had not been answered." That's a good sign.
Posted 6/15/2003 01:49:00 PM by Patrick
READER RESPONSE: A reader responds to my post BLINDED BY POLITICS as follows:
"The question is not whether or not the war was justified. The question is whether or not Bush intentionally misrepresented the threat to America. The existence of WMD or mass graves doesn't answer this question. I think there is enough evidence of wrongdoing that an investigation is warranted."
The question is whatever question you choose to focus on. I suggest that the more pressing question is: given the likelihood that Saddam had WMD (or the means to immediately constitute them) just before the war, where are they now? The consequences of postponing an answer to that question are dire: terrorists could obtain chemical, biological, or even nuclear weapons. Or they could obtain material and/or information that might facilitate their obtaining such weapons.
The consequences of postponing an answer to my reader's question: delay in getting momentum on a campaign issue.
It does not surprise me that hacks like Tom Daschle or Henry Waxman pursue the "Bush lied" issue, without a second thought about the possibility that Islamic terrorists have been swarming over weapons sites left unprotected by Bush. I am pleased to see there are Democrats (like Harman) focusing on the serious questions. Harman is not giving the administration a pass, and neither am I. We are just focusing on the issue that poses the gravest potential consequences.
Posted 6/15/2003 12:28:00 PM by Patrick
IMPRISONING NEMO: I can sure see where Finding Nemo would inspire an increase in the sales of clown fish. After all, the movie is about a clown fish looking for his son, who was taken from him and imprisoned in a dentist's aquarium. What better way to celebrate this movie than to sell a bunch of clown fish to people, so they can imprison them in aquariums?
Posted 6/15/2003 10:55:00 AM by Patrick
MCCAIN OP-ED: One other point about that McCain op-ed that I discussed below. In it, McCain says something I found interesting: "While war was never inevitable, it was, in retrospect, the most telegraphed military confrontation in history. Hussein had plenty of time to destroy or disperse weapons stocks and to further conceal weapons programs, which often rely more on human knowledge than physical infrastructure." (My emphasis.)
"In retrospect"? Why, I could almost believe that I said on February 25 that "I have never seen a war telegraphed like this one." Of course, my concern at the time was that Saddam would use his knowledge of the impending attack to use his WMD, not to destroy them.
Posted 6/15/2003 10:29:00 AM by Patrick
HARMAN ON THE RECALL: Jane Harman also said on Fox News Sunday that she believes that Governor Gray Davis should not be recalled, because it would set a bad precedent. She said there should not be a recall absent fraud or other serious conduct.
After much reflection, I have decided that I do not support the recall. The People of the State of California, in their infinite lack of wisdom, elected this clown. Not only do I think it's bad politics for the Republicans to take over in the middle of this mess, I also agree with Harman that the recall attempt sets a bad precedent.
However, there is a better case for a recall than we generally hear expressed. As I discussed here in February, Gray Davis did indeed commit a fraud on the people: he fudged budget numbers just before the election for California governor. According to the local Dog Trainer: "During the budget negotiations, Davis' administration changed how it portrayed the state of the economy. Rather than use figures that compared one calendar year to the next, the administration, without fanfare, shifted to presenting results that compared the fourth quarter of 2002 to the same period a year earlier. The effect was to make the economy look significantly better than it otherwise would have just as Davis was seeking reelection." (My emphasis, as usual.) Given that the overwhelming problem currently facing California is our $38 billion dollar deficit, this transgression of Davis's is far from insignificant.
Of course, this is garden-variety political fraud, of the sort practiced every day by politicians everywhere. That is the primary reason I don't support the recall.
Posted 6/15/2003 08:37:00 AM by Patrick
BLINDED BY POLITICS: It is a common human trait to be so blinded by your distaste for the guy on the other side that you criticize whatever he does, whether he is right or not. Just to show that I too am human, I will admit that I have myself fallen victim to this tendency. Back when Clinton was lobbing the cruise missiles at Iraq and at the pharmaceutical plant in the Sudan, I bought the right-wing spin that these actions were "Wag the Dog" style distractions from Clinton's extramarital issues. While I still believe that the timing of these actions raised legitimate questions, I now think the actions themselves were not only correct, but too tepid.
I think some of my Democratic friends are now being taken in by the same tendency, with the "rush to judgment" on WMD. There is plenty of time to carp about whether the President knew about concerns regarding the certainty of the intelligence about Iraq WMD, and if so, whether those concerns were adequately communicated. Right now, there are two points I'd like to make.
First, it is becoming quite clear that the war was justified for humanitarian reasons. Children were buried alive while they were still holding dolls. It was a good thing to stop it. I think there is a parallel here with WWII. We didn't go to war with Hitler to stop the extermination of the Jews. (We didn't even go to war to him because he was taking over most of Europe. We went to war with him because the idiot declared war on us.) But, after the fact, stopping the Holocaust is universally thought of as the clearest reason that waging war on Hitler was the right thing to do. I think we have a similar situation with Iraq: the stated reason for the war may turn out not to be the most compelling reason. But it doesn't mean we shouldn't have gone to war.
Second, the vast weight of evidence suggests that Saddam had WMD and didn't destroy them. Accordingly, we have to find them before the terrorists do. This is a real problem. On this issue, I would like to agree with my Congresswoman Jane Harman, who discussed WMD on Fox News Sunday this morning. I didn't vote for her and never will, but I have to say that she presents well. She comes across as reasonable and level-headed.
Harman said on FNS that she agrees with this morning's Washington Post op-ed by John McCain, in which he states: "Critics today seem to imply that after seven years of elaborately deceiving the United Nations, Hussein precipitated the withdrawal of U.N. inspectors from his country in 1998, then decided to change course and disarmed himself over the next four years, but refused to provide any realistic proof that this disarmament occurred. . . . I am not convinced."
Harman, who is the Ranking Member on the House Intelligence Committee, recently wrote this Washington Post op-ed about the issue. In it, she says: "The first and most urgent task is to figure out why we have not yet found weapons of mass destruction in Iraq and redouble our efforts to find them." (Emphasis mine.) Harman also says: "It appears that the initial war strategy in Iraq did not adequately map out a plan for locating, seizing, securing and examining suspected WMD-related sites." (I agree with Harman on this issue, especially with respect to the nuclear sites -- an issue I have discussed on this site many times. To see my previous pontifications on this issue, see this post and the links contained within, as well as the bottom of this lengthy post.) Harman's fundamental point was this: wouldn't it be terribly ironic if we fought this war to prevent the proliferation of WMD, and in the process accelerated the spread of these weapons to terrorists?
I have respect for someone like Harman voicing these very rational and important concerns. I have less respect for the theatrics of people like Henry Waxman, who ignore the potential danger inherent in the dispersal of WMD in favor of immediately trying to make political hay out of the issue.
Posted 6/14/2003 10:05:00 PM by Patrick
LIMIT: Wow. The month is half over and I have already used 54% of my 100K posting limit for the month. Good job I'm going on vacation at the end of the month!
Posted 6/14/2003 01:25:00 PM by Patrick
MORE DOG TRAINER: Today's Dog Trainer has this sad story about the senseless slaying of a man who was about to donate a kidney to a friend of his. Both men are/were immigrants from El Salvador. Due to a miscommunication, the exact nature of which is not described, the victim's mother was not able to communicate to the doctor her son's wishes to donate the kidney, and it is apparently now too late.
The reason this caught my attention was that the paper printed a police artist's sketch of the killer, because the victim's family is pleading for the public's help in catching him. If you know the Times, then you may have already guessed: if they published the sketch, that means the suspect is white. (The sketch is not on the internet version of the story.)
Maybe you have to know the history of this newspaper to appreciate this. The folks at the Times are big on the concept of not reinforcing stereotypes -- and they will skew their coverage as much as they need to in order to uphold that all-important principle. In the past, when police have sought the public's help in finding black killers, the Times has not only refused to print a police artist's sketch, but they have failed even to give a description of the suspect. You would have to listen to the radio coverage to learn that the suspect is black.
All I can say is: the next time you see a sketch of a black suspect in a violent crime in the Los Angeles Times, you let me know.
Posted 6/14/2003 01:02:00 PM by Patrick
THE POWER OF THE JUMP: The power of the jump rears its ugly head again today in our local Dog Trainer. As I have discussed recently, the Times has had a steady drumbeat over the past few days about how the California budget crisis is the Republicans' fault. That drumbeat continues today, with a little help from the power of the jump.
The headline of today's article is Brulte's Hard Line Sharpens Budget Divide, and the subhead reads: "GOP leader strengthens his party's hand with a vow to punish colleagues who back a tax hike." Brulte, the head of the GOP in the state Senate, did indeed announce that he would oppose the re-elections of Republicans who voted for tax increases. But he did so several days ago. It is hardly news today that he did this -- except that the Times wishes to keep this issue on the front pages every single morning.
Moreover, Brulte's position does not seem to me to be that remarkable. Brulte stated his position in a letter to the Times last week: "I find it interesting that The Times . . . takes offense that I use my position to do what it and other newspapers across the state do on a regular basis: endorse or oppose candidates for public office based upon their positions and views -- in my case, tax increases."
Today's article is interesting for several reasons. First, as I said, the story is not news, but it is on the front page. Second, the article acknowledges the obvious truth that Brulte's position "represents one half of the budget standoff in Sacramento . . . On the other side of the debate, Democrats continue to resist any efforts to cut more deeply into social programs, preferring tax hikes to further spending cuts." But -- this acknowledgement, like virtually every other mention of the Democrats' intransigence this past week, comes after the "jump" -- meaning it is on the back pages that hardly anyone ever reads. (I have discussed the issue of the "jump" on these pages many times, including here, here, and here.) Today, in order to hide the quote about the Democrats' obstinacy on the back pages, the paper has to place the jump absurdly high in the story: after the seventh word in the fifth short paragraph of the story.
Third, the article repeats the theme that, despite Democratic stubborness, "it was Brulte's remarks that have caused the greatest stir in recent days." One wonders: among whom? And why hasn't the greatest stir been caused by the Democrats' decision (discussed in my post from yesterday) to take $2.4 billion of federal money and use it to restore spending cuts, rather than reduce the deficit?
I think you know the answer, Gentle Reader.
Posted 6/14/2003 11:24:00 AM by Patrick
YET ANOTHER LESSON IN FALLIBILITY: You live in Washington D.C. You buy a lottery ticket. The next day, you open up your crisp new edition of the Washington Post to see whether you won. YOU DID!!!!
Whoops! You didn't. Because it turns out that the Post printed the wrong winning numbers.
This is just another object lesson in a basic principle of humanity: people make mistakes. This principle has application to newspapers, because newspapers are put out by people. Accordingly, newspapers make mistakes. As it turns out, they make an awful lot of them. (In fairness to the Post, it blames the wrong information on the D.C. Lottery.)
Yesterday I had lunch with a friend of mine and we were discussing how, every time we had seen anything in the media that covered something we had personal knowledge of, the media got it wrong. My friend said: "It's gotten to the point where the only stuff I believe is the stuff I don't know anything about." (I believe that my friend, who is very bright, recognized the irony inherent in this statement -- that really, he shouldn't believe anything.)
So next time you go around spouting off an opinion that is based on something you read in a newspaper (something we all do several times each day), try to keep in mind that the story you based your opinion on is probably wrong, somehow.
Posted 6/13/2003 08:46:00 PM by Patrick
MORE ON SUPREME COURT RETIREMENTS: Here is a nice article by the always interesting Howard Bashman, on possible Supreme Court retirements. I like the article because it seems to agree with my point made in this post below, in which I said that it is a "questionable assumption" that the Supreme Court's agreement to hear the campaign finance case in September means that no justices are retiring.
Posted 6/13/2003 06:49:00 PM by Patrick
THE DOG TRAINER AND THE CALIFORNIA BUDGET CRISIS: Another installment in our ongoing series exposing the bias of our local Dog Trainer (aka Los Angeles Times). For those of you who don't live in California, we have a looming budget crisis. Here are the undisputed facts: Democrats, who control the Legislature and the Governor's Office, have prevailed on budget arguments for the last three years. The state currently has a budget shortfall of $38 billion, which occurred largely during the last three years. Enough facts. Now to the Dog Trainer's spin:
My favorite example is this story from June 9. The story blames Republicans from the get-go: "Republicans have firmly locked themselves into an antitax position that has thrown talks into disarray. Democrats, meanwhile, say they refuse to cut more deeply into social programs." Note which side has thrown talks into disarray. Later, the story asks: "But the larger question in Sacramento is this: Are Republicans trying to force a government shutdown, do they believe Democrats will cave on spending or are they holding fast on taxes because they believe Democrats can find a way to sneak around them to raise an unpopular source of revenue?" Again, the assumption is that Republicans are the ones causing the deadlock; the only issue is why.
Far, far down in the article, the idea that maybe Democrats are being stubborn too is gently broached: "Although the breakdown last week was largely attributed [editor's note: by whom?] to Brulte's remarks [Brulte is the Republican leader], Democrats have been resistant to compromise as well -- and occasionally have angered Republicans by their willingness to spend money rather than make tough cuts. . . .Most recently, they used $2.4 billion in federal funds given to the state -- money they had not expected until the Bush administration approved it -- not to patch up the budget hole, but rather to immediately restore spending to programs on the chopping block." (Emphasis mine, of course -- the article could not have de-emphasized this fact more unless it had omitted it entirely.)
When I read that, my eyes bugged out. Here we are in the middle of a $38 billion budget shortfall, and $2.4 billion just drops into the Legislature's lap. And what do the majority Democrats do -- use it to reduce the shortfall? Nah. They immediately increase spending again! And what does our local Dog Trainer do? Bury this fact on the back pages, well after the "jump" that I talk about from time to time (see my posts here and here).
Former Dog Trainer reporter (and Democrat) Jill Stewart has a slightly different take on the issue, in this article in the venerable Pasadena Weekly. (By "venerable" I mean "tiny publication with no circulation.") Anyone with any interest in the California budget crisis should read this piece. Stewart was there when the Appropriations Committee announced that the state was receiving the federal money. She reports that "upon hearing news of the inbound $2.4 billion, a member of the Appropriations Committee declared, 'Well, maybe now we’ll be able to fund some of these programs we are talking about!'" Stewart asks in amazement: "Could this be right? Gray Davis and the majority Democrats are asking taxpayers to cough up $8 billion in new taxes -- including $4 billion in tripled car registration fees, making ours by far the highest in the nation -- and Sacramento isn't going to use the $2.4 billion relief to pay down the deficit?"
Stewart, who is (I repeat) a Democrat, goes on: "Although it's hard to glean from the staggeringly slanted newspaper coverage of Sacramento, the majority Democrats have clung to huge spending programs and made only the barest in real cuts so far -- $3 billion or so -- from a budget of about $78 billion. Up nearly $20 billion from four years ago, California spends almost twice per capita what Arizona spends to deliver state services. . . . In months of hand-wringing histrionics, Democrats have persuaded the flatline media to focus on the anti-tax obsession of the Republicans."
Here is a nice quote Stewart got from Al Checchi, a Democrat who ran against Gray Davis in the last election: "'To blame this on the GOP’s opposition to taxes is absurd. . . . The California Legislature is very, very far left, and they are oblivious to what creates jobs and they are destroying the economic base of California. The California media are so consistently myopic -- consistently! -- that you have to look to national publications to see how bad Sacramento is doing in comparison to other states and how much trouble California is in relation to other states.'"
Read the whole article. It's a pretty different spin from the one you'll get from the Dog Trainer.
Posted 6/12/2003 11:02:00 PM by Patrick
"GOOGLISM": Find out what the internet thinks of you here. Pretty funny stuff.
Posted 6/12/2003 10:36:00 PM by Patrick
PRYOR AND GAY DAY: Byron York has this essay at National Review Online, titled "The Nominee Who Won't Back Down." It's a very entertaining account of the stunned reactions of Senators listening to a guy saying what he actually believes.
As often happens with these right-wing guys, I gather that he has a position against homosexuality, which I don't share. However, the specific questioning on this issue appears to have centered on Pryor's decision to reschedule a trip to Disney World with his six- and four- year old daughters, because he didn't want to take them to the park on "Gay Day." I'm sorry, but I can't get too upset about this. Here's why. Although I have no problem with homosexuality in general, the people who are going to attend something like this are likely to be the activists. And when you get the activists together, things can get pretty extreme.
My wife and I (before we were married) were in Washington D.C. during one of the largest gay rights marches in history. We walked around during the march to see the spectacle, and I can tell you it was pretty weird. Virtually everybody was in these outlandish costumes -- leather and spikes and paint and such, everywhere. Naturally, men were french-kissing men and women were french-kissing women as far as the eye could see. Some people were partially nude. At one point, gay people singled us out on the subway as the "straight people" and taunted us (fairly good-naturedly): "Look at the straight people! Goodbye, straight people! Have a good day, straight people!" You could sense their joy in finally being the majority, and they fell right into the predictable role of minorities who suddenly find themselves in the majority: they singled out the minority (albeit cheerfully).
The media won't tell you this any of this, of course. One of the first times I had personal insight into the dishonest nature of the media was when I returned home from that march, and saw the television and newspaper coverage back home. The common theme was: "These people are no different from you or me. They are your next-door neighbors. They just happen to be gay." I remember thinking: if these people were my next-door neighbors, I'd move immediately. But no hint of their outlandishness appeared in the media. The visual images were all either long-distance shots of the entire gathering with no individuals visible, or close-ups of the maybe dozen normal-looking people there.
Again, I am not saying that there aren't plenty of normal gay people in the country. But for the most part, they weren't at this march.
So would I want to take my young children to Disney World, and spend the day explaining to my children why that man was kissing that man, and why everyone looks so scary and acts so weird? Or would I want to wait for a day when I could just go and have fun? It's a pretty easy decision. I can't blame the guy.
Anyway, read the essay about Pryor. It's just good fun to read about a completely candid guy talking to these Senators, who are the least candid people on the planet.
Posted 6/12/2003 10:15:00 PM by Patrick
GOOD OL' HANS BLIX: There is a fun profile of your favorite Swedish diplomat in London's liberal rag The Guardian. My favorite part is at the end, where they detail his curriculum vitae.
"High point: Getting UN weapons inspectors back into Iraq last year.
"Low point: As director of the IAEA claiming Iraq had no nuclear programme, only to be proved wrong after the first Gulf War."
Has it occurred to anyone that maybe GW Bush didn't want to recreate Blix's "low point"?
Posted 6/12/2003 06:48:00 AM by Patrick
PRYOR: I love this guy. "Pryor did not try to obscure his views on abortion at his Judiciary Committee hearing. He was asked several times about his past assertions that Roe v. Wade 'is an abominable decision' and 'the worst abomination of the history of constitutional law.' Pryor, who noted his Catholic faith, said he still believes that.
"'I believe that not only is the case unsupported by the text and structure of the Constitution, but it has led to a morally wrong result,' he said. 'It has led to the slaughter of millions of innocent unborn children. That's my personal belief.'"
I like this because it's completely straightforward and honest. Also, he makes Bush's other supposedly extreme nominees seem pretty moderate. Also, I think he's right. (Whoops -- there went my chances to be a judge.)
Posted 6/11/2003 05:43:00 PM by Patrick
GOOGLE TRICKS: Since Google is indispensible to Internet searching, check out this article that has tips on how to use it more effectively. And check out the name of the dude who wrote it: Simson Garfinkel.
Posted 6/11/2003 08:11:00 AM by Patrick
LOVE THAT LILEKS: And I love his recent column on the failure to find WMD so far. "Weapons of mass destruction, car keys -- they're always in the last place you look." The bottom line for Lileks is this:
"No more mass executions. No new prisons for children. No bonus checks for the families of Palestinian suicide bombers. No Terrorism 101 classes at Salman Pak. No electrodes applied to the daughter of a man who talked to CNN. No daily potshots at allied aircraft. No sudden sluice of fear in the hearts of the Kurds when the government trucks appear on the horizon. No miserable thuggish satrapy in the middle of the Middle East, thumbing its nose at the United Nations and the United States.
"Come election time 2004, the Iraqi oil proceeds will not be going to secret Swiss accounts named Chick Daney and Ronald Dumsfeld. They'll be going to the people of Iraq. We won't be arguing about losing the peace in Iraq.
"We'll be arguing about losing the peace in Iran. But that's another story. For another presidential term."
Posted 6/10/2003 11:41:00 PM by Patrick
HEH: The guy in this Onion article sounds a lot like me. I think I actually have referred to 'N Sync as "one of those New Kids on the Block bands."
Posted 6/10/2003 11:02:00 PM by Patrick
AH, STATISTICS: This article predicts no Supreme Court retirements, based on the questionable assumption that the Court's agreement to hear the campaign finance case in September signals that there will be no retirement. But that's not the point of this post. This is: some idiot named Artemus Ward is cited by the article as agreeing that maybe nobody will retire, because of the following compelling logic: "Mr. Ward estimated that the life expectancy for today's Supreme Court justices is 87, about 15 years longer than the average for white men in America. 'To remain a Supreme Court justice keeps you alive, to some extent,' Mr. Ward said."
Another round of remedial statistics classes for the whole crowd, please.
Posted 6/10/2003 07:56:00 PM by Patrick
THE SPECTER OF JUSTICE SPECTER: If Bush were to take Chuckie S.'s advice and nominate Arlen Specter for the Supreme Court, I would not vote for Bush.
Luckily, Bush will never, ever do this.
Posted 6/10/2003 06:39:00 AM by Patrick
THE PERSISTENT READER REPLIES: And makes the point that his "wrongful imprisonment" comments were directed towards the Guantanamo detainees, not the people detained on immigration violations. In the barrage of issues, I had overlooked the fact that the cartoon the reader was commenting on did indeed discuss the Guantanamo detainees. (Hey, I spent the weekend feeding bottles at 3 a.m. to my niece and nephew. I was tired.) Now that I understand the complaint, let me address it.
My reader says: "These two groups of detainees [the Guantanamo detainees and those detained on immigration violations] have very little to do with each other." I disagree. I think the fundamental problem is the same: when you have someone in custody who you have reason to believe might want to kill literally thousands of your citizens, don't you need to eliminate that possibility before you release that person? Can you imagine the outcry if one of the detainees was released and committed a terrorist act in our country, killing thousands? As the report on the immigration detainees observes, September 11 was an unprecedented event that left us unprepared with the necessary personnel to make all these determinations in the speediest manner possible. (It also impressed upon us the importance of care in making these determinations.) I think there is a clear parallel.
Of course, as you do this investigation, you must proceed in a proper fashion, both legally and morally. As far as the legalities, the Bush administration's designation of the people in Guantanamo as "enemy combatants" (which my reader disagrees with) has been challenged and so far the courts have upheld the designation. In the case that made it to the appellate court, the guy was on the battlefield with a weapon in his hand when detained. His lawyers had argued that maybe he had stumbled onto the battlefield and randomly picked up a weapon out of curiosity -- at least he was entitled to a jury trial with a reasonable doubt standard on the issue. Well, that's not the way it's ever been done in battle, for reasons obvious to rational people. And so the courts have held.
As far as the morality of the detentions, I have on these pages expressed some concern about the reports that emerged when the first Guantanamo prisoners were released. Many right-wingers exulted in the fact that nearly all those released had praised their conditions of confinement. Sample quote: "The conditions were even better than our homes. We were given three meals a day -- eggs in the morning and meat twice a day; facilities to wash, and if we didn't wash, they'd wash us; and there was even entertainment with video games.'' In my post on the matter, I noted that these right-wingers ignored the reports (in the same articles) of beatings and gassings. I noted that these latter claims might not be true, but were a matter of concern and should not be ignored.
I still feel the same way. We should keep a close eye on the issue, and not ignore anything we hear. And just as the right-wingers should not ignore reports of abuse, my reader should not ignore reports of video games, free Korans, and good food. I am inclined to give the benefit of the doubt as to the length of the detentions, given that most of these folks were taken prisoner while fighting us in Afghanistan (a very real and meaningful distinction between them and the folks detained on immigration violations). But obviously the government should move as quickly as possible. The people are watching.
Posted 6/09/2003 08:43:00 PM by Patrick
READER RESPONSE: A leftist reader with a penchant for tweaking me has peppered me with a number of issues. I thought I might air a few of them for fun.
CONCENTRATION CAMPS: My reader ridicules the June 6 cartoon strip of Day by Day, which argued that we had not mistreated our detained suspected terrorists. My reader comments: "I like the notion that wrongful imprisonment is OK if you feed your prisoners well, give 'em a pair of pants, and a $10 book. No, it's not as bad as the Nazi concentration camps, but I'd like to think we hold ourselves to a higher moral standard." My reaction was to wonder whether it was truly "wrongful imprisonment" -- weren't these guys guilty of immigration violations? Well, I looked up the report to see. It states at page 5: "nearly all of the 762 aliens we examined violated immigration laws, either by overstaying their visas, by entering the country illegally, or some other immigration violation." I wish I knew what constitutes "nearly all" but the report doesn't say. For more analysis of the issue, check out this WSJ op-ed.
JESSICA LYNCH: My reader wanted my opinion on the Jessica Lynch story. I responded by e-mail that I didn't care much about it, but I gave the reader this link at which I had briefly mentioned it before. My reader asked: "You don't care if the Jessica Lynch rescue was pure propaganda manufactured by the Pentagon?" I think the link (to an InstaPundit entry which itself has several links) establishes pretty clearly that the rescue was not "pure propaganda manufactured by the Pentagon." People who buy the BBC canard that U.S. Special Forces were shooting blanks, for example, have clearly been sold a bill of goods. If you are curious, check the links for yourself.
WMD: My correspondent also complains about Bush's supposed lying about WMD. Here is a nice column by Robert Kagan on the issue, in that organ of the vast right-wing conspiracy, the Washington Post. I have blogged about this issue before, making the point that people put too much faith in the omniscience of the government. I will add only this: can anyone come up with a single example of countries getting further along with their nuke programs than much-vaunted "intelligence" had suspected? No -- because they can come up with multiple ones. North Korea and Iraq pre-Gulf War I leap to mind.
JOHN DEAN: Next my correspondent sends me that piece of junk by John Dean -- you know, the piece all your liberal friends and relatives are sending you about how Bush lied. (My reader is relentless, huh?) (He also sends junk from Jim Jeffords, but that is easily ignored. It's Jim Jeffords! Enough said.) The Dean piece has the following set of lies and distortions:
"Recent statements by one of the high-level officials privy to the decision making process that lead to the Iraqi war also strongly suggest manipulation, if not misuse of the intelligence agencies. Deputy Secretary of Defense Paul Wolfowitz, during an interview with Sam Tannenhaus [sic] of Vanity Fair magazine, said: 'The truth is that for reasons that have a lot to do with the U.S. government bureaucracy we settled on the one issue that everyone could agree on which was weapons of mass destruction as the core reason.' More recently, Wolfowitz added what most have believed all along, that the reason we went after Iraq is that '[t]he country swims on a sea of oil.'"
This paragraph is a pack of lies and distortion. The line about settling on WMD for bureaucratic reasons ignores what Wolfowitz said immediately afterwards, according to the transcript: "There have always been three fundamental concerns. One is weapons of mass destruction, the second is support for terrorism, the third is the criminal treatment of the Iraqi people. Actually I guess you could say there's a fourth overriding one which is the connection between the first two." Kind of blows the implication that WMD was a phony excuse settled on purely for reasons of convenience.
The line about oil is an even bigger lie. Wolfowitz was explaining why there were no effective ways to punish Iraq economically -- because they had a lot of oil. Here's what he actually said: "The...difference between North Korea and Iraq is that we had virtually no economic options with Iraq because the country floats on a sea of oil." That line was distorted to make it sound like the U.S. went to war over oil. This canard appeared most famously in London's The Guardian. Here is the link where they had to 'fess up that it was a complete distortion. (They blamed it on having translated the story from a German paper without checking the original.)
So much for Honest John Dean.
WMD AGAIN: My persistent reader with the WMD obsession also asks, "why has the liberal media set the stage to let Bush off the hook if WMD are found in Iraq? The question is not: 'Are there WMD's in Iraq?' The question is: 'Did the Bush administration misrepresent intelligence for the purpose of shifting domestic and foreign beliefs on Iraq's threat?'"
As regular readers know, I consider "intelligence" overrated -- it's some guy in another country tellin' you stuff. Your guess is as good as mine as to how reliable it is. Certainly, the fact that some intelligence officials may be skeptical about information x does not prove that it is not true. Failing to footnote every concern some intelligence guy may have had -- sorry, that is hardly a scandal. As I have repeatedly said (see this post for the latest plus links to previous posts), the real scandal has been the crappy way Bush has safeguarded the Iraqi nuke sites (i.e. not at all). You Democrats want a scandal, that's it. Why does nobody talk about it??
Posted 6/06/2003 07:20:00 AM by Patrick
BLOGGING LIGHT UNTIL MONDAY: Visiting my niece and nephew.
UPDATE: I'm back, and they are cute!!!
Posted 6/05/2003 07:21:00 PM by Patrick
TIGER AND THE TIMES: Does the departure of Gerald Boyd mean the New York Times will finally shut up about it being Tiger Woods's responsibility to make Augusta National Golf Club allow women as members?
Posted 6/05/2003 07:16:00 PM by Patrick
WHEN IT RAINES: Looks like affirmative action has cost yet another white man his job -- and that man is Howell Raines.
Posted 6/05/2003 07:44:00 AM by Patrick
NAZI CARTOONS OR CHICAGO TRIBUNE CARTOONS? YOU BE THE JUDGE: Here is a little comparison for you. Check out the cartoons on the left side of this page. Note the six-pointed star, the hooked noses of the Jews, and the references to Jews loving money. Here is another example. And here is another.
Quiz: which cartoons were printed in Nazi newspapers during the 1930s and 1940s, and which were recently printed in the Chicago Tribune?
For some real fun, open the first link above in one browser, and scroll down to the first cartoons you see. Then open up the last link in a different browser. Now switch quickly back and forth between the two. Fascinating, eh?
Posted 6/05/2003 12:14:00 AM by Patrick
JUSTICE IS OKAY: Yesterday's lead Los Angeles Times editorial was titled Justice Crosses a Line. I don't care about whatever this editorial says; I bring it up because the Times's lead editorial the other day was titled Justice Takes a Beating. I am glad to see that justice has recovered from the beating, and is healthy enough to perform activities like crossing a line.
Posted 6/05/2003 12:13:00 AM by Patrick
LEFT, LEFTER, AND LEFTIST: Arianna Huffington asked yesterday: "Has there ever been a clearer, more irrefutable example of our political leaders' lack of a moral compass than the clandestine, eleventh-hour elimination of a promised child tax credit for almost 12 million of the nation's poorest children?" I don't care about what she says in this column. I bring up this ridiculous, predictably leftist quote to make two points, one about the L.A. Dog Trainer, and one about NPR:
1) Remember when Arianna was married to the Republican (or so we thought) guy running against Dianne Feinstein for the Senate? Back then, she was portrayed by the Times as a complete and total nut case -- someone who regularly consulted astrologers as part of her frightening influence over her husband. It now appears she is indeed a nut case: a left-wing nut case -- and now the Times regularly prints her column.
2) Our local NPR station has a program called "Left, Right, and Center." It is a political debate program purporting to feature people from every spectrum of political thought. For a while there were three people on the program. Leftist Robert Scheer was "Left," liberal Matt Miller was "Center," and guess who was "Right"? That's right! Arianna, of the leftist quote above. (The program now also features a genuine representative of the right: David Frum. So now it's: "Extremely Left, Also Extremely Left, Right, and Another Leftist.")
Posted 6/04/2003 06:42:00 AM by Patrick
EVEN BETTER CARTOON: Check out this daily comic strip. It's kind of like Doonesbury in Bizarro-land: right-wing instead of left-wing, and extremely funny instead of awful. I'd never seen it before today, but I am going to become a regular reader.
The name of the strip is "Day by Day." I like it so much that I have added a link to it on my blogroll on the left margin.
Posted 6/04/2003 06:32:00 AM by Patrick
GREAT CARTOON: On Monday I told you about a lousy, unfunny cartoon. Today I tell you about a funny one. It's about the New York Times.
Posted 6/03/2003 08:21:00 PM by Patrick
SEARCH ENGINE WATCH, OR GREAT MINDS THINK ALIKE: Eugene Volokh has taken up a practice I started back in May: noting interesting searches that people used to get to a blog. (For an example of my past entries on this topic, look here and here.)
I don't currently have any funny new searches to report, but I am pleased to say that a couple of people accessed my page while looking for information about Oliverio Martinez, whose case I have discussed extensively on this site (here, here, and most recently here.) I hope I have set one or two people straight on what really happened in that case. Only a few hundred thousand to go.
Posted 6/03/2003 07:57:00 PM by Patrick
"DIVERSITY CANDIDATES": Jonah Goldberg from National Review Online's The Corner has this post concerning this job listing on Monster.com. The job listing seeks a "diversity candidate," and Goldberg wonders whether this might possibly mean "white men need not apply." Sure sounds like it.
Well, Patterico doesn't get paid the big blog bucks to sit on his behind and wonder about the answers to the important questions. (Well, he doesn't get paid to do this at all, but he nevertheless decided to investigate a little further.) After a little research, I found some stuff that is obviously the tip of the iceberg.
Example: first, I signed up for a "Monster.com" account so I could see if there were other listings for "diversity candidates." I found only four more on Monster. All of them appear to be from the same recruiting company: BrilliantPeople.com. But the entries were for different types of jobs, such as: Private Banking Credit Officer, Microbiologist, and Quality Assurance Manager. The listing for the position of Private Banking Credit Officer states that "diversity candidate" is a characteristic that the candidate "must possess" whereas the other entries say it is one that is "nice to have."
Example: plug the phrase "diversity candidate" into Google and you get this result -- over 300 entries when I did the search. I saw several listings on other job search engines like this one with phrases like this: "There is a STRONG preference to fill this position with a Diversity Candidate. Females and Minorities are ENCOURAGED to Apply." I think it's fair to read that as: "There is a STRONG prejudice against filling this job with a White Male. White Guys can TAKE A FLYING LEAP as they have A SNOWMAN'S CHANCE IN HELL of getting this job."
Example: here is the "Featured Candidates" page of a headhunting firm which lists profiles of some of the "candidates" the firm represents. "Profiles with asterisk denote diversity candidates" -- so you don't have to waste your time with the other schlubs when you have that quota to fill.
I could go on, but you get the idea. Those of us who haven't looked for a job in years have not confronted this reality, but it is obviously a reality with which many are all too familiar. Anyone with stories or examples to share, please e-mail me at the link on the left margin.
Posted 6/03/2003 06:35:00 AM by Patrick
SCHEER STUPIDITY: Another entry in our continuing "Make Fun of Bob Scheer" series. Today Scheer just makes fun of himself. In fact, he usually does . . . maybe I should rename this ongoing series "I Read Bob Scheer So You Don't Have To." The money quote from today's ridiculous entry: "For [Paul] Wolfowitz and friends, the 9/11 attacks were almost a gift, an opportunity to play God."
You know, I bet Bob Scheer and his readers would all collapse in uproarious laughter at that cartoon I mentioned depicting Ariel Sharon as a greedy hook-nosed Jew. Anyone who reads Scheer on a regular basis knows he is a self-loathing Jew who regularly takes the side of the Palestinian murderers.
Anyway, it's hard to disagree with the Shark Blog (which has made itself the principal authority on Scheer in the Blogosphere with the Robert Scheer Canard-o-Matic), which argues that Scheer can't really be taken seriously, as he is simply a windbag who "panders to an audience of close-minded and intolerant jerks, of which there is no dearth in Los Angeles."
Posted 6/03/2003 06:16:00 AM by Patrick
UPDATE ON DEATH SENTENCE VOIDED DUE TO BIBLE-READING: This WSJ op-ed has more on that brutal murderer (is there any other kind?) whose death sentence was voided because jurors had read the Bibles in their hotel rooms. (I reported this story to you here on Saturday.)
Posted 6/02/2003 10:18:00 PM by Patrick
CHICAGO TRIBUNE JUMPS ON THE ANTI-SEMITIC BANDWAGON: The guy who drew this cartoon and the KKK agree on one thing: nothing says "funny" like a depiction of a hook-nosed Jew drooling over money. My advice to the cartoonist: just round out the week with some cartoons of black men with thick lips doing Stepin Fetchit accents. What a hoot that would be! (Via InstaPundit.)
I'm cancelling my subscription to the Tribune! Oh, that's right -- I don't have one. Well, I'm going to stop reading it online! Oh, wait -- I never do. Okay, how's this: I'm going to keep ignoring it like everyone else does! There. I feel better.
Posted 6/02/2003 08:19:00 PM by Patrick
DOUBLE STANDARD: Ouch. Alberto Gonzales makes a heck of a case today in the Washington Post for the proposition that the Democrats are applying a double standard to Miguel Estrada. Read the whole thing to see for yourself how convincing it truly is. Gonzales effectively shows that John Roberts -- just confirmed to the D.C. Court of Appeals -- has a background almost identical to Estrada's. All of the objections currently being raised with respect to Estrada could have been raised with respect to Roberts. But they weren't. Estrada is a Hispanic; Roberts is not.
Posted 6/02/2003 06:27:00 PM by Patrick
MORE ON THE UNREPORTED DOG TRAINER SCANDAL: Regular readers know that I have been reporting about the distorted coverage by the Los Angeles Dog Trainer (aka Los Angeles Times) of the recent U.S. Supreme Court decision addressing the scope of citizens' Miranda rights. (If you have missed any of it, read this and this. The bottom line is that the plaintiff in that case, who was shot by police, admitted on tape that he had pulled a gun on police -- and the Times never once mentioned that admission.)
The current news: yesterday the Dog Trainer/Times printed a letter to the editor which shows that the newspaper's fictional account of the incident is taking root in the public consciousness. (It's the second letter down when you click on the link.) The opening quote of the letter repeats the false story that the Times has been telling people: "An Oxnard police officer shoots an innocent bystander, paralyzing and blinding him and then mercilessly interrogates him in the ambulance and at the hospital."
There are at least two major factual errors in that sentence alone. Both errors come straight from the news stories and editorial in the Times (in particular the incredibly dishonest editorial titled -- I am not making this up -- Justice Takes a Beating.)
First, Martinez was not "innocent" in the sense that he did nothing to precipitate the shooting -- given that the Supreme Court itself said that Martinez had admitted to pulling one of the officers' guns and pointing it at police. As I mentioned last week, the L.A. Times news stories said nothing about this admission, and the Times editorial actually asserted (perhaps based on the false implications of the news stories) that police "got nothing useful" from Martinez -- a misleading assertion at best.
Second, the officer who interrogated Martinez was not the officer who had shot him, or even one of the officers who had been present when Martinez was shot. Where did the letter writer get the idea that the interrogator was the shooter? Answer: from the Times editorial, which stated that "the officers discovered [Martinez] was carrying a knife and Martinez was shot" -- and then states that at the hospital "the officers" pressured Martinez to confess. (My emphasis.) The clear implication is that the "officers" in each case were the same. In fact, only one officer -- a supervising officer not present at the shooting -- questioned Martinez at the hospital. This is important because it sounds much worse if the interrogator is the same officer (or "officers") who did the shooting (especially when the shooting is portrayed as clearly unjustified).
This letter is further evidence that the readership of the Times, which is over a million people, has been gravely misled about what really happened in this case. (For example, a friend of mine had read the articles and was actually thinking about sending this plaintiff money, until I told him about the plaintiff's admission that he had pulled a gun on police.) The Dog Trainer's phony version also helps keep alive the canard that wild-eyed conservative judges are running rampant. This, incidentally, is the point made by the letter writer I quote above, who argues in support of the Democrats' filibuster of judicial nominees. You can see how pernicious the Times's lies are.
Finally, this letter raises an interesting journalistic ethics question: is it proper to print a letter that asserts facts the paper knows (or should know) are not true? I think not. As I mentioned the other day, I wrote Times editor John Carroll about this issue on Thursday morning. If he and his staff couldn't figure out what the Supreme Court had said actually happened, he was on notice of it as of Thursday morning when he received my letter. Not only did I receive no response, but now Carroll has printed the misleading letter I describe in this post. Alas, my faith in Carroll is diminishing rapidly.
Posted 6/02/2003 06:32:00 AM by Patrick
TONGUES WITH EYES: Tim Rutten, media critic for the L.A. Times, creates an interesting metaphorical image with his latest piece on Jayson Blair:
"Earlier this week, some of the sharper tongues bearing witness to events inside the New York Times were calling the drama convulsing their newsroom 'The Blair Witch Hunt.'"
(Emphasis mine.) Rutten has a metaphor addiction. His next sentence is: "Either way, it was a lousy week for the Times, whose self-inflicted wounds continue to bleed onto American journalism as a whole."
Ick. That stain on your fingers isn't just ink.
Posted 6/01/2003 09:41:00 AM by Patrick
WEEKLY WORLD NEWS: Speaking of the Weekly World News, as I was here, their top story this week is: Huge Oil Reserves Found on Moon. According to "respected astronomer Gary Wiltts," this discovery will have a positive effect on U.S. policy in the Middle East: "In a short time, the Mideast will no longer be of any real strategic importance to the United States -- we won't have to put our servicemen and women in harm's way every time some tinhorn dictator in the region acts up. . . . In the past, whenever we had a conflict with Iraq, we had to worry about harming their oil supply. That's no longer an issue. Now we can just nuke them back to the Stone Age."
Posted 6/01/2003 09:34:00 AM by Patrick
100K LIMIT: Well, yesterday I ran up against the 100K per month limit for this blog. (Any more than that and you have to pay.) Two of my posts did not make it up, and one was cut off in the middle. The offending posts were deleted and simply posted today. No harm, no foul. Proof that Patterico is as prolific as he can afford to be!
Posted 6/01/2003 08:09:00 AM by Patrick
PROFESSIONAL JOURNALIST QUESTIONS ACCURACY OF WEEKLY WORLD NEWS: In this story in the "Breaking News" section of the Kansas City Star, a professional journalist has debunked a story about an alien baby -- a story first broken in the Weekly World News. Apparently the New York Times is not the only major media publication out there with credibility problems! (Thanks to Dave Barry for this story, as well as the one reported immediately below.)
Posted 6/01/2003 08:09:00 AM by Patrick
WOW: Here is a weird story. Some guy shot himself dead, sitting in his car. Hours later, as rigor mortis set in, "his foot either fell off the brake or hit the accelerator" and his car then crashed into the wall of a mini-mart.
Posted 6/01/2003 08:08:00 AM by Patrick
REUTERS LIES TO YOU AGAIN: This article in the Washington Post, by way of the Reuters News Service, says: "Blair has recently raised fresh justifications for toppling Saddam, pointing to his oppressive regime and its documented atrocities. But his political opponents will continue to hound him over the original reason he gave for war." (Emphasis mine.)
Interesting. I could swear that one of the first entries in this blog was a link to Tony Blair's speech, quoted in the Wall Street Journal, making the case for action against Saddam in February of this year. It almost seems like that speech might have pointed to Saddam's "oppressive regime and its documented atrocities." If I didn't know better from reading Reuters News Service, I would think that the link to that speech (dated February 17, 2003, well before the war actually started) is still active, and can be accessed here. Here is a quote from what that speech might have said, if I didn't know from Reuters that it is a figment of my imagination:
"If I am honest about it, there is another reason why I feel so strongly about this issue. It is a reason less to do with my being prime minister than being a member of the Labour Party, to do with the progressive politics in which we believe. The moral case against war has a moral answer: It is the moral case for removing Saddam."
Blair (so I thought) went on to make the humanitarian case for removing Saddam. Referring to a peace march, he said: "If there are 500,000 on that march, that is still less than the number of people whose deaths Saddam has been responsible for. If there are one million, that is still less than the number of people who died in the wars he started."
How, Reuters, is this a "fresh" justification?