February 5, 2009

Snips 'n Snails 'n Media Tales

Hatched by Dafydd

Dogpatch, Alaska

From the Associated Press, quoting Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin:

"If I were giving advice to myself back on the day my candidacy was announced, I'd say, 'Tell the campaign that you'll be callin' some of the shots. Don't just assume that they know you well enough to make all your decisions for ya," Palin said....

"I don't know if you can get it [mooseburger chilli] commercially in New York," Palin said. "Come up here to my home, and I'll prepare it for ya."

So AP is reduced to transcribing Palin's accent in the attempt to make her sound like an Alaskan hillbilly.

Now imagine they began doing that for Rep. Charles Rangel, Jesse Jackson, Jeremiah Wright, or even, God forbid, Barack Obama, transcribing their accents -- but making them read like dialog from Gone With the Wind. What exactly would the rest of the elite media say?

Interrogations without straw

The Obama administration will not conduct the kind of "extraordinary rendition" that the Bush administration allowed, CIA Director nominee Leon Panetta assured senators on Thursday.

Panetta told the Senate Intelligence Committee that President Barack Obama forbids what Panetta called "that kind of extraordinary rendition -- when we send someone for the purpose of torture or actions by another country that violate our human values."

Ah. More maunderings from the most ethical administration in the entire history of the United States of America: Our "human values" (?) are so refined, so principled, so cosmically just, that we refuse to send terrorist detainees to any country -- even their own! -- that might interrogate them more harshly than do we. But of course, we'll be similarly schoolmarmish with our own interrogations:

"Having said that, if we capture a high-value prisoner, I believe we have the right to hold that individual temporarily, to debrief that individual, and to make sure that individual is properly incarcerated so we can maintain control over that individual," he said....

Panetta is not expected to face major opposition in the Senate. If confirmed, he would assume control of the CIA just weeks after Obama made dramatic changes in the agency's interrogation and detention program, directing that secret prisons be closed and interrogations held to methods approved by the military.

Panetta is a strong supporter of Obama's rules.

"We either believe in the dignity of the individual, the rule of law, and the prohibition of cruel and unusual punishment, or we don't. There is no middle ground," he wrote last year.

Lyin' Joe Wilson was "debriefed" by the CIA when he returned from drinking sweet mint tea in Niger; I suppose that's about as harsh as we're going to get with current and future (if any) detainees in the war against the Iran/al-Qaeda axis. (We note in passing that Panetta evidently does not understand the difference between a prison sentence, which is punishment for a crime and subject to the "cruel and unusual" clause of the Constitution, and enemy interrogation, which, whatever else one may say of it, is not intended to punish but to elicit information and intelligence vital to preserving the national security.)

But just as President Barack H. Obama is going to "create or save" four million jobs -- just ask him! -- Director Leon Panetta will still get all the intelligence we need:

Panetta said he would come to the job with a list a questions he wants the CIA to be able to answer, including the location of Osama bin Laden, and when and where al-Qaida will next try to attack the United States.

"Our first responsibility is to prevent surprise," he said.

Of course, the only way to determine "when and where al-Qaida will next try to attack the United States" (as well as "the location of Osama bin Laden") is to extract intelligence; that intelligence resides inside the heads of captured terrorists; and captured terrorists have every incentive to withhold such intelligence from infidel interrogators. So we will very likely have to use something a bit stronger than a "debriefing" to get at it. Surprise!

So how can Mr. Panetta reconcile the urgent need for information to protect American lives and our freedom, democracy, and our national character with his and his boss's fastidiousness about the methods used to gather that information? Very simple:

The former White House chief of staff under President Clinton and ex-congressman from California has much experience in government but little in intelligence gathering or analysis.

What's that expression about somebody or other rushing in where angels fear to tread?

First chance for second thoughts

President Obama has nominated nominally Republican Sen. Judd Gregg (NH, 72%) to be Secretary of Commerce. Today we learn:

The director of the Census Bureau will report directly to the White House and not the secretary of Commerce, according to a senior White House official.

The decision came after black and Hispanic leaders raised questions about Commerce Secretary nominee Judd Gregg ’s commitment to funding the census....

The selection of the Republican Gregg for Commerce -- a plum often given out to a big fundraiser or personal friend in the president’s own party -- left many Democrats scratching their heads and others fearful that Gregg might not defend favored agencies and programs with the department....

It was not immediately clear whether the White House plan to circumvent Gregg on Census Bureau matters would assuage lawmakers who raised questions about his nomination.

If it doesn't, the president can always snip off a few more responsibilities from the Commerce Secretary. Then a few more, and a few more. More Obamic "post-partisanship" in action!

I wonder what Sen. Judd Gregg thinks about his decision to join Team Obama now?

Al Franken's impractical joke: count every vote -- on the Minnesota Supreme Court

Lawyers for Democrat Al Franken told Minnesota's highest court Thursday that he should be certified as the winner of his tight Senate race with Republican Norm Coleman without waiting for the outcome of his rival's legal challenge.

Given that a three-judge panel (appointed by Justice Alan Page, the football guy, of the Minnesota Supreme Court) is at this very moment hearing that "legal challenge," called an election contest, how can Franken hope to prevail? He has a cunning plan:

Chief Justice Eric Magnuson and Justice G. Barry Anderson recused themselves. Both men sat on the State Canvassing Board that ruled on disputed ballots and certified the recount numbers.

Both justices are Republicans appointed by Republican Governor Tim Pawlenty (ordinarily, justices run for election to the state supreme court, but the governor can appoint a justice if a vacancy occurs during the term). Both would likely be skeptical of Franken's demand that he be seated whether or not he really got the most votes. With them sitting out the hearing, the odds shift slightly towards Franken... though it appears the remaining justices are likewise skeptical.

So it appears that Al Franken can count every vote after all.

Hatched by Dafydd on this day, February 5, 2009, at the time of 3:24 PM

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The following hissed in response by: Dick E


So AP is reduced to transcribing Palin's accent in the attempt to make her sound like an Alaskan hillbilly.

Now imagine they began doing that for Rep. Charles Rangel, Jesse Jackson, Jeremiah Wright, or even, God forbid, Barack Obama…

Or Nancy Pelosi or Harry Reid or just about any speaker of standard American English.

Actually, I think I recall first noting this kind of reportage fairly early in the presidential campaign -- and the subject was actually Obama! No, they didn’t record every dropped terminal g, schwa pronunciation of a vowel, or colloquial contraction (you betcha), but they interspersed his locutions with ellipses and “uh’s” reflecting his, er, hesitant speaking style. For some reason, the practice seems to have disappeared, at least for our anointed President.

The above hissed in response by: Dick E [TypeKey Profile Page] at February 5, 2009 8:56 PM

The following hissed in response by: Geoman

I always giggle a little when I hear Penetta lacks "intelligence experience". Yes, well, he never seemed all that bright to me either.

Anyone notice that Obama's appointments seem....all over the map? Republicans, tax evaders, weird mixes and matches. Up, down, left right, supercompetant, and oddly inappropriate? What in the world is driving this guy? It's almost like...I dunno...he doesn't really know what the hell he's doing. Maybe he values personality over experience and competence. It explains his own election, so why should it not drive his cabinet selections?

I can't wait till he appoints a supreme. Right now he could nominate Bork and it wouldn't surprise me.

The above hissed in response by: Geoman [TypeKey Profile Page] at February 6, 2009 12:15 PM

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