Patterico's Pontifications

12/18/2003

LIGHT POSTING WARNING

Filed under: Blogging Matters — Patterico @ 8:35 pm

Expect light posting December 19-29.

Patterico will come roaring back in the New Year.

DISBURSEMENTS BY FIAT

Filed under: Politics — Patterico @ 7:53 pm

In spite of the correct observation made by BoiFromTroy (and picked up by me here) that the executive branch does not have the power to raise revenue by fiat, apparently the Governor does have the power (as described by Dan Weintraub here) to disburse it by fiat.

Hey — whatever it takes to keep the money flowing to the local governments.

A TALE OF TWO POST COLUMNISTS

Filed under: Law,Media Bias,War — Patterico @ 6:43 pm

Today provides a good example of how good, and how bad, columns can be at the Washington Post.

For the good, read Robert Samuelson’s brilliant column on the Supreme Court’s campaign finance reform decision. See if Samuelson sounds like anyone else you’ve read lately:

Naturally, two custodians of respectable opinion — the editorial pages of the New York Times and The Washington Post — hailed the court’s decision. The Times called it a “triumph.” What’s being applauded is the repeal of the First Amendment as it applies to political campaigns, a process that started with Buckley.

That phrase I highlighted: “the repeal of the First Amendment” — where have I heard that before? Oh, right — on this blog. I should note that I have praised Samuelson on this issue before (here), and noted the similarity of his views to mine.

Now for the bad: this moronic column by Richard Cohen, titled “Let Saddam Live.” This column is so ridiculous, it mocks itself. It doesn’t really need my help.

It begins pathetically:

This column may be the most futile of my long career. I am about to plead for Saddam Hussein’s life.

What follows is a predictable rant against the death penalty, full of contradictory logic, distortion, moral preening, and self-righteous dismissal of the opposite point of view.

Along with such pariah nations as Sudan, the United States still executes children (under 18) and the mentally feeble — and, inevitably, the innocent.

Actually, it has been declared unconstitutional to execute the mentally retarded, so the last phrase must refer to “mentally feeble” murderers who are not mentally retarded. I don’t honestly know what the hell that means. Whoever falls within that strange definition, I don’t think I feel bad about killing them.

Cohen calls Bush “a primitive in such matters” because Bush believes Saddam should be eligible for execution. Luckily we have that advanced specimen of the race, Richard Cohen, to tell us how to avoid being so primitive as to want to mete out severe justice to a notorious mass murderer.

And then Cohen gets really incoherent.

First he argues that countries who have lived under brutal dictators are appropriately reluctant to impose the death penalty:

In the United States the right of the government to take life is almost universally accepted — if not applauded. In Europe there is no such consensus. That’s because in the past century, much of the continent suffered under fascist or communist governments that routinely murdered their own citizens, often “legally.”

So when you live under an authoritarian, murderous regime, it makes you leery of killing. Got it. Let’s go on.

In many ways Iraq was the equivalent of a European totalitarian country. Call it Baathist if you will [I will — ed.], but Iraq under Saddam Hussein was essentially fascist, with the death penalty meted out willy-nilly, sometimes for serious crimes, sometimes for trivial infractions such as possession of a cell phone.

Ergo, there will be no consensus in Iraq for capital punishment — right?

Wrong. Cohen now argues that Iraq, as a country that lived under a brutal dictator, will not show the necessary reluctance to impose the death penalty: “The Iraqis no doubt expect to treat Hussein as he treated them.”

Huh? But . . . didn’t you just . . . say . . .

And it goes on like that.

My suggestion to the Post: fire Cohen and use the money to get yourself another Samuelson.

THERE ARE SOME TUBAL LAWYERS IN AUSTIN WHO ARE PRETTY UPSET

Filed under: Dog Trainer — Patterico @ 6:14 am

Today’s Dog Trainer correction watch includes this fun item:

Abortion clinic — An article in Section A on Sunday about a boycott that halted construction of an abortion clinic in Austin, Texas, included a description of services planned for the clinic. It should have said tubal ligation, not tubal litigation.

Meanwhile, if you overcooked your tenderloin recently, here’s the reason:

Cooking time — In a recipe for pistachio-crusted beef tenderloin in Wednesday’s Food section, the cooking time was given as about 35 minutes. The correct time is about 20 minutes.

Ouch. People with burned tenderloin are urged to resolve their differences with the Times food editors out of court. Please don’t rush into ligation.


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