Patterico's Pontifications


How To Enjoy Your Thanksgiving (And Life) More Fully, Plus Bonus Music

Filed under: General — Patterico @ 10:30 am

Happy Thanksgiving! As I usually do on this day, I am linking my traditional Thanksgiving post, first posted on my personal blog in 2006. I won’t repost the whole thing here, but it tells a story about my daughter when she was a baby. (This time next year, she will be in college.) The short version is that I walked out of a music concert with her because she was upset. I sat in the car with her, and held her in my arms . . . and had a better time than I would have had in the concert.

Here’s the key part: the post asks you to imagine your life today — right now — as if you were an older version of yourself, sent back in time to briefly relive this moment and this day:

And then I realized: some day, years in the future, I might be asking the same question about my life today — this very minute. If you could have this moment back to live over again, what would you do?

The rest of that evening, I pictured myself as having been sent into my body from the future, to relive the moments I was experiencing. And I saw everything differently. I sat on the couch and watched television with my arm around my wife — all the while imagining myself as an old man, transported back in time to relive that moment. And all of a sudden, what otherwise might have seemed like a mundane moment seemed like a privilege. I felt like the luckiest guy in the world, just sitting there with my wife.

I’ve tried the trick all weekend, and it really changes your outlook. Just sitting around with a sleepy child in your arms is great any way you look at it. But if you picture yourself as someone whose child has grown up — if you imagine yourself as an older man, who would give the world to be back in that chair with that child in his arms — it makes you realize how important the moment is. And you appreciate it more.

This is the best Thanksgiving gift I can give you. It’s nothing more than a way of focusing your mind on the present. Of being aware of the now. This life is God’s gift to us. We honor Him by giving thanks, and by living it as acutely aware as possible of the greatness of the gift.

This advice is tougher to follow in hard times. For those having a difficult time of it right now, there is this advice: dwell on the good. At my personal site, my guest blogger Dana (for whom I am thankful, as I am thankful for my guest blogger JVW and all my readers) gives us this passage to reflect on from Phillippians 4:8:

Finally, brethren, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is of good repute, if there is any excellence and if anything worthy of praise, dwell on these things.

The bonus music today is a short and incomplete cantata written by Johann Sebastian Bach on the theme of giving thanks to God. It is BWV 192: “Nun danket alle Gott” (Now Let Everyone Thank God).

The text is here, and these are the words of the opening chorus:

Now let everyone thank God
with hearts, mouths, and hands,
Who does great things
for us and to all ends,
Who has done for us from our mother’s wombs
and childhood on
many uncountable good things
and does so still today.

Happy Thanksgiving!

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

On Giving Thanks

Filed under: General — Dana @ 5:56 am

[guest post by Dana]

I hope everyone has a lovely Thanksgiving, surrounded by family and friends that care about you. And in spite of the hardships we might currently be facing, may we all just pause, take a deep breath, and be still as we contemplate the good things in our lives. May our hearts overflow with thankfulness. Because, I know that in spite of hardship and pain and sorrow, it is still possible to find something to be thankful for. I have often found that thankfulness brings a measure of relief in the midst of tribulation, as the focus turns from ourselves to the gracious plenty in our lives. I say this primarily as an exhortation to myself as I struggle through a difficult season. But in spite of that – and because of it – I am determined to still my heart and my mind before God, and quietly follow the directive:

“Finally, brethren, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is [a]lovely, whatever is of good repute, if there is any excellence and if anything worthy of praise, dwell on these things.” Phillippians 4:8

The healing balm of thankfulness. May it be yours today.



Reporter to Trump: Is An Accused Child Molester Better Than A Democrat?

Filed under: General — Dana @ 5:01 pm

[guest post by Dana]

To which President Trump responded:

Well, he denies it. Look, if you look at what is really going on, you look at all the things that have happened over the last 48 hours, he totally denies it. He says it didn’t happen, and you know, you have to listen to him also.

The defense and “re-endorsement” of Roy Moore by the president came during a brief Q&A with reporters after having been relatively quiet about the matter for more than a week.

President Trump listed off his reasons for believing Moore is the better candidate in the race:

“We don’t need a liberal person in there, a Democrat, Jones. I’ve looked at his record. It’s terrible on crime. It’s terrible on the border. It’s terrible on military,” Trump said. “I can tell you for a fact we do not need somebody who’s going to be bad on crime, bad on borders, bad for the military, bad for the Second Amendment.”

Tuesday’s public support of Moore comes on the heels of White House spokesperson Sarah Huckabee Sanders confirming to reporters that the president still believed Moore should step down if the allegations were true:

The president believes that these allegations are very troubling and should be taken seriously, and he thinks that the people of Alabama should make the decision on who their next senator should be.

The president said in his statement earlier this week that if the allegations are true then Roy Moore should step aside. He still firmly believes that.

So what caused Trump to no longer be troubled by the allegations, and not only defend Moore but embrace him as well? Possibly something personal:

President Donald Trump’s near-endorsement of Alabama Republican Roy Moore followed days of behind-the-scenes talks in which he vented about Moore’s accusers and expressed skepticism about their accounts.

During animated conversations with senior Republicans and White House aides, the president said he doubted the stories presented by Moore’s accusers and questioned why they were emerging now, just weeks before the election, according to two White House advisers and two other people familiar with the talks.

The White House advisers said the president drew parallels between Moore’s predicament and the one he faced just over a year ago when, during the final weeks of the 2016 campaign, Trump confronted a long line of women who accused him of harassment. He adamantly denied the claims.

The president’s private sentiments broke into the open Tuesday when Trump all but declared he believed Moore’s denials.

While the report suggests that President Trump viewed the Moore allegations through a personal lens when making his decision to defend the candidate, there is also another factor. And a troubling one at that:

President Donald Trump’s decision to embrace Roy Moore on Tuesday was rooted in several factors, but one of the biggest: the noise and confusion from a recent tidal wave of sexual harassment and misconduct allegations from Hollywood to media to politics.

“(It) made it easier and easier to stick with Moore,” a Republican source close to the White House said.

So, the justification for sticking with Moore was made easier because of the non-stop barrage of sexual misconduct allegations being made? So many allegations, in fact, that there is a desensitization happening as the behavior becomes normalized, thus making it easier to look the other way and cut loose of any principles. Because everybody is doing it.

But there is also this nugget of justification for sticking with Moore:

In the end, the officials said, Trump decided to do something familiar: Accept Moore’s denials — just as he delivered his own denials during the 2016 campaign.

“It’s the general consensus that Moore and his policies are better than a Democrat. This makes it about policy and not the sexual abuse allegations. The White House knows they cannot afford to lose an ‘R’ vote in the Senate,” a White House source familiar with the current thinking told CNN.

Just because they say it, does that make it so? Simply claiming that it’s only politics eliminates any question of morality? I don’t think so. As far as this White House is concerned, however, the moral question has been easily sidelined, and nothing of real value has been sacrificed to get to this point. Because a win in this election is so important, the support of Moore must be justified in any way possible.

So ultimately, in answer to the reporter’s question to President Trump of whether an accused child molester is better than a Democrat, the answer from this White House is a resounding yes.

(Note: I also believe that basic tribalism contributed to the decision to support Moore.)

As of today, the president has not committed to campaigning for Moore. He said he will announce his decision regarding that next week. Also as of today, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell and House Speaker Paul Ryan, along with more than a dozen Senate Republicans have publicly called on Moore to drop out of the race. The campaign arm for Senate Republicans and the RNC have also cut ties with Moore.

(Cross-posted at The Jury Talks Back.)


Hyper-Partisanship Is More Dangerous Than “The Left”

Filed under: General — Patterico @ 9:00 am

I am a conservative — at least, what we used to call a conservative. I don’t think I’ve ever voted for a Democrat in my life. I’m probably as hard-core in favor of limited government, the Constitution, and the free market as anyone you’ll find on this site. I oppose government intervention in the economy in all forms, whether it’s ObamaCare distorting the health insurance market or the Fed distorting the nature of capital formation by setting interest rates. I promote the appointment of judges who adhere to constitutional principles and oppose the made-up “right” to abortion. I seek the slashing of our federal government, the wholesale elimination of most federal “departments,” and the gradual reform of entitlements to protect our children from the punishing taxation and likely economic collapse that follows a long period of fiscal irresponsibility.

But there is a growing force that endangers most of the principles I believe in. No, it’s not “the left.” It’s tribalism.

The real danger to our country is hyper-partisanship.

Think of all the stuff that “the left” does that you oppose. Maybe it’s pushing for open border policies or sanctuary cities. Maybe it’s advocating an unlimited right to kill babies at any time during (or even after!) a pregnancy. Maybe it’s advocating ruinous regulation and taxation, disastrous foreign policy, or any number of other things.

Are the people who advocate these policies hyper-partisans? Yes, they are.

Is hyper-partisanship a problem only on the left? Um, no.

Many writers at RedState have written pieces recently I admire, that either focus on or touch on the corrosive nature of increased tribalism on both sides in the era of Donald Trump and now Roy Moore. Kimberly Ross wrote New Poll About Sexual Harassment Shows How Infected The GOP Is With Tribalism in which she said: “to some, politics is all that matters. Principles need not apply.” Kimberly also wrote Isn’t It Time That We Start Policing Our Own Side? in which she encouraged readers to “[t]ake a blowtorch to the ideas that lead us down the paths of rationalization.” Jim Jamitis had a brilliant piece titled Anti-Anti-Trump Obsessives Are Every Bit As Harebrained As The Loony Left, in which he said: “If you’re employing double standards to defend your tribe, you don’t deserve my trust either—or my attention.” Joe Cunningham has warned us: “The tribalism of the Left and Right is more about gaining power than it is about doing what we feel is right.”

I could go on and on. Ben Howe has written extensively about the dangers of hyper-partisanship. Susan Wright regularly ridicules “Branch Trumpidians” — people who don’t just support Donald Trump as a distasteful but preferable alternative to Hillary Clinton, but who actively defend every aspect of his buffoonish bullying and lying. Caleb Howe has written about how Trumpism provides its adherents with “a sort of checklist of things one is supposed to think” that blinds them to an objective analysis of something like the Roy Moore allegations. I know I am leaving out others.

I couldn’t say it any better than these folks. And while Donald Trump started the ball rolling, the dangers all these writers warned about have reached peak insanity with the special election in Alabama involving Roy Moore. As Caleb Howe put it in his epic post on Roy Moore: “I’m sorry to say, it seems a great number of people in Alabama aren’t all that concerned about the accusations, even should they prove true.” And indeed, according to the Boston Globe, pastor Earl Wise “said he would support Moore even if the allegations were true and the candidate was proved to have sexually molested teenage girls and women.” Holy hyper-partisanship, Batman! A direct quote from the pastor: “there are some 14-year-olds, who, the way they look, could pass for 20.” The governor of Alabama said she had no reason to disbelieve the women who have accused Roy Moore — but hey, vote for the Republican anyway because he is a Republican. And David Horowitz agrees, saying: “In my view Moore is guilty as accused” but vote for him anyway because Democrats.

This is sick. When we’ve reached the point where we are willing to say that, even if a man sexually molested a 14-year-old, that’s cool because we need 52 votes for feckless Republicanism and not 51, we are lost. A friend who sent an email with the pastor’s comment about 14-year-olds looking like 20-year-olds cited Mark 8:36: “For what shall it profit a man, if he shall gain the whole world, and lose his own soul?” Indeed.

And of course the partisanship occurs on both sides. In a particularly shameful tweet, a woman named Kate Harding wrote that Democrats should excuse Al Franken and others who abuse women, saying: “I am sincerely arguing that we should not force a Democrat to resign for sexually abusing a woman.” Why? Because Republicans wouldn’t — and because defending them promotes the policies we like:

If you oppose tribalism of the type shown by Kate Harding, you are appalled by sentiments like this no matter whose side they appear on. But if you’re a hyper-partisan yourself, you might slam her as disgusting while ignoring similar behavior from your own side. If you’re especially fond of moral relativism and chucking over principles for naked political gain, you might even go so far as to praise her for her clear-eyed hardheadedness. (!)

Such sentiments are, in my view, repulsive, and exactly what is wrong with this country. Again, if you held your nose to select Donald Trump over Hillary, I am not talking about you. But if you’re praising the attitudes of the pastor, or David Horowitz, or Kate Harding — if you’re saying that we have to vote for the child molester FOR THE CHILDREN! — then yes, I am talking about you. You and your attitudes are the problem with society today.

And, to bring us full circle, this hyper-partisanship also causes Republicans to define their issues, not in terms of liberty, limited government, the free market, and the Constitution, but instead by whatever causes “the left” to cry those yummy yummy leftist tears. This means that a cynical campaign of incessantly starting public feuds with unlikable people can serve, in the eyes of mindless partisans, as an adequate substitute for spending cuts in an era of $20 trillion deficits. Yammering about football players taking a knee is the new hotness, while repealing ObamaCare is not worth the hard work it takes to twist arms in the U.S. Senate. We’re sacrificing more and more of the issues we claimed to care about on the altar of “fighting the left” on issues that are trivial but entertaining.

We have become a reality show culture led by a reality show president. And our kids are going to pay dearly for it.

And the reason for that isn’t “the left.” It’s the hyper-partisan forces of “the left” combined with the hyper-partisan forces of the right, joyously slinging mud and engaging in stupid pointless battles for clicks and applause and poll numbers, while the country goes to hell and our children’s future is a set of upside-down cards in a Monopoly game. (Google it, millenials.)

I, for one, am proud to join forces with my colleagues at RedState who oppose this dangerous trend. I’d like it if you stood with us as well.

UPDATE: Stand also with my colleague and wonderful guest blogger Dana, who addressed this same issue in a post that reflects my own thoughts perfectly: When Party Loyalty Begets a Collective Moral Bankruptcy. I hope to partially make up for my inexcusable failure to link that post above, by making it central to further reflections that I hope to post along these lines in the next couple of days.

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


NEWSWEEK: You Know, Charles Manson Kinda Reminds Us of That Donald Trump Fella

Filed under: General — Patterico @ 9:30 am

When a mass murderer dies, what is the first thing Big Media does? Of course: figure out how they can write a click-baity headline that ties the news to Donald Trump. And so, we have NEWSWEEK with the following actual not-from-the-Onion headline:

That is . . . that is special, isn’t it?

Please note, the author of the piece hastens to say, that the hook of the piece is not that Trump and Manson are similar. Heavens, no! NEWSWEEK never meant to imply anything like that at all! No, what NEWSWEEK is saying, you understand, is that both Trump and Manson use psychological techniques to appeal to the marginalized in society:

According to psychoanalyst Mark Smaller, past president of the American Psychoanalytic Association, part of Manson’s power lay in the type of language he used. Notably, Manson was able to speak in a way that engaged those who felt marginalized or alienated.

“A charismatic leader knows how to speak to people in a way that will emotionally engage those people,” Smaller told Newsweek.

Smaller is clear that he does not believe President Donald Trump is similar to the convicted killer, or that their followers have any shared beliefs or characteristics, but he did say we can look to the current president to see how language is used to form a bond with followers.

“Our current president speaks in an emotional or affective way to large numbers of people in our country who feel a kind of alienation or disconnection from the government,” he said. “They feel very responded to and become his political base.”

Fact: politicians everywhere use psychological techniques to appeal to the disaffected. You could have said the same thing about Barack Obama. But somehow I feel certain that it never would have occurred to the editors of NEWSWEEK to compare Obama’s rhetorical techniques to those of Charlie Manson. Maybe NEWSMAX might have done that. But not a “respectable” (are they really?) news organization like NEWSWEEK.

WARNING: ABRUPT SHIFT IN TONE THAT DIEHARD TRUMPERS WILL NOT LIKE: Yes, it’s silly to compare Donald Trump to Charlie Manson.

And yet . . .

And yet there is one valid comparison you could make between the followers of Charlie Manson and the most extremely devoted followers of Donald Trump: they would both vote for Charlie Manson over Hillary Clinton.

Some of you are getting mad that I just said that, but some of you are nodding your head and saying: “You bet I would!” In September 2016, I ran a poll, which was admittedly somewhat tongue in cheek, asking people whether they would vote for the worst mass murderer in history (Chairman Mao) or Hillary Clinton, given that binary choice. The small response size (compared to polls I usually run) reflected the poll’s lack of seriousness, but it was still remarkable to me at the time that Chairman Mao won a solid majority of votes, 61% to 39%.

And hey, Charlie Manson was convicted of only nine murders!

And we are in the middle of the Roy Moore scandal right now, and plenty of Moore supporters — from David Horowitz to the governor of Alabama to pastors — are saying that even if the allegations are true, you gotta vote for Moore. Meaning that even if Roy Moore is a child molester, the only moral thing to do is to vote for him.

The argument for Moore is presented as a Flight 93 imperative: they’re killing our babies! They’re taking our guns! And you want to worry about a little thing like character? In the face of that, what are a few allegations of child molestation from 40 years ago?

Or, the case of Charlie Manson, a few convictions of murder from 50 years ago? After all, once you head down that road that says past crimes are irrelevant when it comes to keeping our majorities, where is the logical ending point?

And so, it amuses me to envision Charlie Manson declaring himself to be a Republican and running against Hillary Clinton. Wouldn’t it be fun to hear the political debate that would ensue?

In that vein, I present to you the Top Ten Reasons Manson Followers Would Have Voted for Charlie Manson Instead of Hillary Clinton:

  • 10. True, Manson said he wants a national race war, but if you want to repeal ObamaCare, you gotta break a few eggs.
  • 9. What, you think Hillary never murdered anyone?
  • 8. Let’s keep in mind that the so-called “victims” here were Hollywood degenerates.
  • 7. Justice Tex Watson will vote to repeal Roe v. Wade.
  • 6. I like people who don’t get brutally murdered.
  • 5. Manson could order a pregnant woman to be gutted like a fish on Fifth Avenue and I’d still vote for him over Hillary Clinton.
  • 4. Manson’s “murders” (most of which he didn’t even commit himself) happened 50 years ago. Hillary’s criminality is happening now.
  • 3. I don’t support Manson’s plan to release all convicted murderers in the United States, but it will make more room in prison for the DREAMers.
  • 2. He’s not my favorite, but he’s surrounded himself with some pretty good people.

And the Number One Reason Manson Followers Would Have Voted for Charlie Manson Instead of Hillary Clinton is:

  • 1. Look, the guy with the swastika in his forehead wasn’t my preference. I wanted Ted Cruz. But it’s a binary choice.

[Cross-posted at RedState.]

Rep. John Conyers Settled Wrongful Dismissal Complaint Involving Sexual Misconduct

Filed under: General — Dana @ 8:17 am

[guest post by Dana]

Yesterday, the longest-serving House member, Democratic Rep. John Conyers of Michigan, made the news when it was revealed that a former female employee claimed she was fired for refusing his sexual advances, including being told to touch his genitals, share a hotel room with him while on business trips, as well as Conyers also suggesting she could potentially receive financial compensation or a promotion if she provided him with requested sexual favors. Conyers is 88 years old.

Michigan Rep. John Conyers, a Democrat and the longest-serving member of the House of Representatives, settled a wrongful dismissal complaint in 2015 with a former employee who alleged she was fired because she would not “succumb to [his] sexual advances.”

Documents from the complaint obtained by BuzzFeed News include four signed affidavits, three of which are notarized, from former staff members who allege that Conyers, the ranking Democrat on the powerful House Judiciary Committee, repeatedly made sexual advances to female staff that included requests for sexual favors, contacting and transporting other women with whom they believed Conyers was having affairs, caressing their hands sexually, and rubbing their legs and backs in public. Four people involved with the case verified the documents are authentic.

The report also exposes the complicated procedure used to protect members of Congress who are involved in harassment complaints and payouts. As described, it is “a grinding, closely held process,” and one which left victims feeling as if they have no choice but to take the payout:

“I was basically blackballed. There was nowhere I could go,” she said in a phone interview. BuzzFeed News is withholding the woman’s name at her request because she said she fears retribution.

The woman who settled with Conyers launched the complaint with the Office of Compliance in 2014, alleging she was fired for refusing his sexual advances, and ended up facing a daunting process that ended with a confidentiality agreement in exchange for a settlement of more than $27,000. Her settlement, however, came from Conyers’ office budget rather than the designated fund for settlements.

Here is how the “system” worked in Conyer’s case:

In this case, one of Conyers’ former employees was offered a settlement, in exchange for her silence, that would be paid out of Conyers’ taxpayer-funded office budget. His office would “rehire” the woman as a “temporary employee” despite her being directed not to come into the office or do any actual work, according to the document. The complainant would receive a total payment of $27,111.75 over the three months, after which point she would be removed from the payroll, according to the document.

Matthew Peterson, a law clerk who represented the complainant and was a signatory to some of the documents, described the process as “disgusting”:

“It is a designed cover-up,” said Peterson, who declined to discuss details of the case but agreed to characterize it in general terms. “You feel like they were betrayed by their government just for coming forward. It’s like being abused twice.”

Unbelievably, Congress does not have a Human Resources department for employees to go to in these situations. Further, what process is in place is so arduous and drawn out that it almost seems as if the goal is to completely exhaust any employee attempting to make a complaint and compel them to give up and quietly go away:

Congress has no human resources department. Instead, congressional employees have 180 days to report a sexual harassment incident to the Office of Compliance, which then leads to a lengthy process that involves counseling and mediation, and requires the signing of a confidentiality agreement before a complaint can go forward.

After this an employee can choose to take the matter to federal district court, but another avenue is available: an administrative hearing, after which a negotiation and settlement may follow.

The process also contains a mandatory cooling off period for the victim.

Per a report in the Washington Post, “Congress’s Office of Compliance paid out $17 million for 264 settlements with federal employees over 20 years for various violations, including sexual harassment.”

No call from Democrats for Rep. Conyers to step down yet. Ironically, just last month Maxine Waters lauded Conyers as a champion of women:

“You know, there is a member of Congress who has been supportive of women for many, many, many years,” said said in a keynote address to the Women’s Convention Sojourner Truth Luncheon in Detroit.

“He is quiet, he is confident, he is powerful, but he has impeccable integrity on all of our issues. Give John Conyers a big round of applause.”

“I just want to take time to focus on something that I think we need to focus on right now. It is very fortuitous that we are gathered here this afternoon in Detroit as we continue to recognize a record number of women who are boldly coming forward to reveal disturbing and grotesque acts of sexual harassment, assault and rape, often times at the hands of men who believed they were too rich and too powerful to ever be confronted or held accountable.”

(Cross-posted at The Jury Talks Back.)



Offended POTUS: American Citizens Should Have Remained In Custody In Communist Country

Filed under: General — Dana @ 11:55 am

[guest post by Dana]

While there has been much debate about President Trump’s use of Twitter since he took office, his “shoot from the hip” style is less likely to meet with approval from an increasing number of supporters. Here at Patterico’s Pontifications, there have been numerous posts about the president’s Twitter habit and the unintended consequences of such an immensely powerful, yet self-indulgent president who lacks self-control but has (now) 280 characters at his disposal. I have maintained that the President does himself no favors tweeting, as he inevitably steps on any positive achievements by his administration because he cannot resist lashing out at individuals whom he feels slighted by, or is determined to have the last word about some petty issue, or worse, uses Twitter to provoke notoriously unstable and dangerous world leaders. His defenders will say this is a unique strategery on his part. Others will say that his tweets are simply a way to distract from the more troubling and consequential events taking place in his administration that he would prefer not be in the headlines.

Case in point: Two days before President Trump was due to meet with Chinese President Xi Jinping on his 10-day trip to Asia, three UCLA men’s basketball players were arrested for shoplifting in China. President Trump brought up the issue with the Chinese president during a meeting with him. As a result, the players were released and allowed to return to the U.S.

On Wednesday, President Trump appeared to publicly challenge the young men to acknowledge his role in their release:


I don’t know whether Trump’s tweet made this happen, or whether the young men were sincerely appreciative and had planned to express their thanks from the get-go, but all three players thanked Trump for his help:

“To President Trump and the United States government, thank you for taking the time to intervene on our behalf. We really appreciate you helping us out,” Cody Riley, one of the three UCLA players, said at a press conference in Los Angeles on Wednesday.

LiAngelo Ball, another of the players, said he “would also like to thank President Trump and the United States government for the help that they provided,” and Jalen Hill, the third involved player, said, “Thank you to the United States government and President Trump for your efforts to bring us home.”

Following the press conference, LiAngelo Ball’s father, Lavar Ball, was asked about President Trump’s involvement in helping his son. He response was less than gracious or grateful a few days ago, and continues to be today:

“Who?” LaVar Ball told ESPN on Friday, when asked about Trump’s involvement in the matter. “What was he over there for? Don’t tell me nothing. Everybody wants to make it seem like he helped me out.”

As long as my boy’s back here, I’m fine,” LaVar Ball told ESPN. “I’m happy with how things were handled. A lot of people like to say a lot of things that they thought happened over there. Like I told him, ‘They try to make a big deal out of nothing sometimes.’ I’m from L.A. I’ve seen a lot worse things happen than a guy taking some glasses. My son has built up enough character that one bad decision doesn’t define him. Now if you can go back and say when he was 12 years old he was shoplifting and stealing cars and going wild, then that’s a different thing.

Queue the President of the United States who, being unable to resist lashing out at being dismissed in such a manner, upped the ante with those 280 characters at his disposal:


Several hours later, he tweeted this:


Now. I’m hard-pressed to see how anyone would defend a sitting President of the United States who says publicly that it would be better for American citizens to be locked up by the brutal Communist regime of China rather than be back home free on American soil because his feelings were hurt by an ungrateful dad. We are not talking about a private citizen reacting this way. We are talking about the man holding the most powerful position in the world. And yet the President of the United States couldn’t resist lashing out at the senior Ball because he took a shot at him. The President has yet again taken the focus off of his own good work by making outlandish comments. To excuse him with a wave of the hand,it’s just Trump being Trump is similar to the classic it’s just Joe being Joe. Unfortunately, Trump’s lack of self-control on Twitter almost guarantees that this is what Sarah Sanders Huckabee will be confronted with at today’s scheduled press conference and will once again awkwardly struggle to put a positive spin on a self-imposed injury by the President. Further, because support for President Trump is already dismally low in the black community, it wouldn’t be surprising if the senior Ball comes out the winner in this kerfuffle by seeing an uptick in sales at his his company, Big Baller Brand. After all, free publicity. You would think a man who touts his business acumen and success as much as President Trump has, would have at least thought about this unintended consequence.

Additionally, it has been suggested that President Trump picking a fight with Lavar Ball had racist overtures:

“The black man was not appreciative of what the white man did for him and it’s a dog whistle to say the least.”

This doesn’t seem like the President Trump we’ve come to know on Twitter. Instead, as we’ve seen throughout his presidential run and time in office, the President is an equal-opportunity, thin-skinned reactionary when feeling publicly challenged, dismissed or criticized. Every race, gender and religion is a potential target for him, no holds barred. However, these specific comments may have also been red meat for those in his base who are indeed racist.

(For those of you annoyed that I am posting about Trump’s Twitter habits again, I guess be glad I didn’t post about President Trump calling out Al Franken for his sexual misconduct. I would have titled that post “Pot Meet Kettle”.)

(Cross-posted at The Jury Talks Back.)


Charles Manson’s Death Reminds Us Why We Need the Death Penalty

Filed under: General — Patterico @ 8:30 am

Andrea Ruth had a post earlier today about the death of Charles Manson. Andrea’s post extensively covered Manson’s crimes and said good riddance to this evil man. In this post, in addition to agreeing with Andrea’s sentiments about Manson, I want to take a moment to remind us all that we need the death penalty.

Prosecutors who have a former defendant on death row know that there is always a chance that the murderer will outlive us, no matter how young we were when the penalty was imposed. Vincent Bugliosi was not quite 35 years old when he convicted Manson of the Tate-LaBianca killings. Bugliosi lived to the age of 80 — yet Manson still outlived him.

This is particularly outrageous in the case of Manson. Here is the roll call of the dead — the people Charles Manson was convicted of murdering: Abigail Ann Folger, Wojciech Frykowski, Steven Earl Parent, Sharon Tate, Jay Sebring, Leno La Bianca, Rosemary La Bianca, Gary Hinman, and Donald Jerome “Shorty” Shea. Manson was indeed sentenced to death, but the sentence was overturned (along with that of Sirhan Sirhan and 103 others) in 1972, when the California Supreme Court declared the state’s death penalty unconstitutional. Since the imposition of the death penalty, only 13 executions have been carried out in California. The last was in 2006, and as of August, 747 inmates remained on Death Row.

Most people don’t realize how difficult it is to get to the point where someone is subject to execution. The death penalty in California requires that a jury convict the defendant of at least one murder in the first degree, and at least one special circumstance. Examples of special circumstances include murder for financial gain, murder in the course of rapes, robberies, and other specified felonies, poisoning, and infliction of torture, to name a few. Most cases in which special circumstances are charged are even not tried as death penalty cases. The penalty is typically reserved for “the worst of the worst” — people who have zero chance of rehabilitation. The jury has the opportunity to consider a wide range of possible mitigation as well as aggravation, and twelve people must unanimously agree that death is appropriate after taking all of those factors into consideration.

Appeals of death penalty cases are notoriously long. As absurd as it seems (and is), some inmates have even claimed in recent years that the length of the appeals process is itself cruel and unusual punishment — even though appealing the case is their own choice, and many appeals are frivolous and designed for the express purpose of delay. Frustration with this regime has led California voters to recently pass an initiative to speed up the process.

Manson had his day in court, was convicted of nine murders, was sentenced to death, and given a reprieve by the courts. He spent the rest of his life making a mockery of the system that spared him, carving a swastika into his forehead, and generally showing that he did not deserve to live.

His life was spared, and some of his confederates could even be paroled.

Manson prosecutors used to attend parole hearings to oppose parole for Manson family members convicted of murder. But they can’t do that when they themselves are already dead.

Whether you agree with the death penalty or not, surely we can all agree that the remaining Manson family members should not be paroled. At Hot Air, Ed Morrissey (a death penalty opponent for religious reasons) says:

Manson died where he belonged. Let the parole board and Governor Brown take that as a victory, and apply that lesson to the other Manson “family” convicts.

I would argue that Manson belonged in a gas chamber when he died, but the courts took that option away. Given that reality, prison is where they should all die. It will still be a far more merciful death than those suffered by the Manson family’s victims.

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

Al Frankenstien, Serial Groper

Filed under: General — Patterico @ 7:58 am

Details here. For extra partisan points, treat these allegations in a completely different manner from the way you treated those against Roy Moore. Hint: lame, easily refuted distinctions are the best way to paper over your tribalist double standard.

UPDATE: Link fixed. There is a new accuser.

[Cross-posted at The Jury Talks Back.]


Sunday Music: Bach Cantata BWV 45

Filed under: Bach Cantatas,General,Music — Patterico @ 7:00 am

The title of the cantata is “Es ist dir gesagt, Mensch, was gut ist” (It has been told to you, man, what is good).

Today’s Gospel reading is Matthew 25:14-30, the parable of the bags of gold:

“Again, it will be like a man going on a journey, who called his servants and entrusted his wealth to them. To one he gave five bags of gold, to another two bags, and to another one bag, each according to his ability. Then he went on his journey. The man who had received five bags of gold went at once and put his money to work and gained five bags more. So also, the one with two bags of gold gained two more. But the man who had received one bag went off, dug a hole in the ground and hid his master’s money.

“After a long time the master of those servants returned and settled accounts with them. The man who had received five bags of gold brought the other five. ‘Master,’ he said, ‘you entrusted me with five bags of gold. See, I have gained five more.’

“His master replied, ‘Well done, good and faithful servant! You have been faithful with a few things; I will put you in charge of many things. Come and share your master’s happiness!’

“The man with two bags of gold also came. ‘Master,’ he said, ‘you entrusted me with two bags of gold; see, I have gained two more.’

“His master replied, ‘Well done, good and faithful servant! You have been faithful with a few things; I will put you in charge of many things. Come and share your master’s happiness!’

“Then the man who had received one bag of gold came. ‘Master,’ he said, ‘I knew that you are a hard man, harvesting where you have not sown and gathering where you have not scattered seed. So I was afraid and went out and hid your gold in the ground. See, here is what belongs to you.’

“His master replied, ‘You wicked, lazy servant! So you knew that I harvest where I have not sown and gather where I have not scattered seed? Well then, you should have put my money on deposit with the bankers, so that when I returned I would have received it back with interest.

“‘So take the bag of gold from him and give it to the one who has ten bags. For whoever has will be given more, and they will have an abundance. Whoever does not have, even what they have will be taken from them. And throw that worthless servant outside, into the darkness, where there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth.’”

It sounds pretty harsh at first blush. But the message, I think, is that God has entrusted you with certain wealth — talents, skills, and resources — and you should use them fruitfully, rather than be resentful of the one who entrusted you with these gifts, and do nothing with them. While Bach did not write a cantata that relates directly to this Gospel passage, the text of today’s cantata (available here) has passages that sound the same theme, such as this, the text that accompanies the final chorale melody:

Grant that I do diligently
what you have set for me to do,

which Your command directs
for me in my condition!
Grant that I do it quickly,
at the time that I should;
and when I do it, then grant
that it succeed!

The chorale used in the cantata is based on a melody by Ahasverus Fritsch: O Gott, du Frommer Gott, played on the piano here:

Happy listening!

[Cross-posted at The Jury Talks Back.]

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