Patterico's Pontifications

10/31/2008

Happy Halloween!

Filed under: Real Life — DRJ @ 7:55 pm

[Guest post by DRJ]

I like this holiday. I especially like seeing little kids in their costumes but it’s fun to see young and old enjoying themselves.

We didn’t have as many trick-or-treaters this evening as we typically have. I think more people are attending parties and festivities that are easier to schedule on a weekend night than during the week. Fortunately there is lots of fun here at Patterico.com, with plenty of treats and only a few tricks.

Happy Halloween, everyone.

– DRJ

Obama Campaign Kicks Media Off the Plane

Filed under: 2008 Election — DRJ @ 6:44 pm

[Guest post by DRJ]

Mark Tapscott thinks the Obama campaign is flirting with Hugo Chavez-style censorship as it previews Caracas on the Potomoc:

“Democratic presidential nominee Barack Obama gave us another preview this week of how he will deal with critics if he is elected to the White House when he kicked three newspapers that endorsed John McCain off of his press plane. Merely terminating access, however, is likely to look tame compared to what Obama has in store for his critics after he takes the oath of office.

Tapscott lists more examples at the link. Read the whole thing.

– DRJ

N.Y. Times: Hey, Guess Who We Found to Be a “Man on the Street”? Some Guy Named Greg Packer!

Filed under: General — Patterico @ 5:24 pm

Incredible. The New York Times again cites Greg Packer as a typical man on the street, as if he hadn’t been cited as such in dozens of other stories. Writing about a Philadelphia parade celebrating the Phillies’ World Series victory, the Paper of Record says:

The parade drew fans from beyond the region, too.

Greg Packer, 44, of Huntington, N.Y., drove in for Game 5 of the World Series and stayed for the celebration. He arrived on Broad Street near City Hall at 5 a.m. to secure what he considered the best spot.

“In New York right now, we have no Mets, no Yankees, no stadiums,” he said. “I came here to represent and cheer our neighbors.”

No wonder this is the most admired paper in the country.

Stock Market Losses Affect Virtually Everyone

Filed under: Economics — DRJ @ 4:38 pm

[Guest post by DRJ]

The Instapundit links to posts summarizing pension fund losses that signal big problems to come but it’s not just pension funds that are in trouble. It’s also hitting academia:

“The University of Texas at Austin endowment has declined by nearly $1 billion this year as a result of the turmoil in worldwide financial markets.
***
The Permanent University Fund, of which two-thirds is earmarked for UT System campuses and one-third for Texas A&M University System institutions, was worth $13.8 billion at the start of the year. Its value dropped nearly 14 percent to $11.9 billion by the end of September, according to the investment company.”

The financial turmoil is expected to impact construction projects, faculty salaries and scholarships at all UT and Texas A&M campuses.

– DRJ

Obama: Selfish Americans

Filed under: 2008 Election — DRJ @ 3:39 pm

[Guest post by DRJ]

Gateway Pundit: “Obama Blasts “Selfish” Americans For Not Wanting to Pay Higher Taxes.”

Obama views middle class and wealthy people as selfish if they put material needs first, but Obama-Claus’s “astoundingly lengthy list of promises” to lower-income voters suggests he expects these voters to *selfishly* vote based on their wallets.

I file this under Class Warfare.

– DRJ

Lowering Expectations (Updated)

Filed under: 2008 Election,Media Bias — DRJ @ 12:04 pm

[Guest post by DRJ]

So many Americans have bought into Obama’s rhetoric that he is The One who can bring Hope and Change that even the Obama campaign sees a need to lower expectations — after the election, of course.

But it’s too late for one El Paso, Texas, man who apparently committed suicide this morning by jumping off an elevated highway interchange. Police confirmed he left a note in his car that read, “Obama take care of my family.”

Sad.

– DRJ

UPDATE 1 — More expectations from an Obama supporter:

“I never thought this day would happen. I won’t have to [work/worry] on puttin’ gas in my car. I won’t have to [work/worry] at payin’ my mortgage.

You know. If I help him [Obama], he’s gonna help me.”

UPDATE 2: Thanks for the Hot Air link and welcome Hot Air patrons.

UPDATE BY PATTERICO: Here’s what I hear:

I never thought this day would ever happen. I won’t have to worry about putting gas in my car. I won’t have to worry about paying my mortgage.

You know. If I help him, he’s gonna help me.

There are a lot of ways to interpret that.

Sitting Out an Obama Term

Filed under: 2008 Election,Economics — DRJ @ 11:25 am

[Guest post by DRJ]

This morning I heard two men talking about a large employer in my area who plans to scale back his business if Obama wins. He can afford to do this because he is wealthy and isn’t interested in putting in extra time to maintain or expand his business if it means he will pay more taxes as Obama has promised. People will lose their jobs if this happens.

If this occurs, it won’t be based on pettiness or pique. The business owner has reached a point in his life where he doesn’t want to work for less money or a marginal amount of additional money. Of course, I doubt his employees agree with this perspective but ultimately it’s the business owner’s decision when he reaches the point where the effort isn’t worth the return.

This anecdote illustrates yesterday’s Chicago Boyz post on why the wealthy tolerate socialism:

The ugly truth is that the really wealthy can manipulate the political system to their own ends better than ordinary people. They can lobby for specific tax breaks that only they can take advantage of. They can get government trade protection for their companies. They can get bailouts. If all else fails, the truly wealthy can simply relocate their wealth into whatever area the government policies du jour make the most profitable.

In the extremes, they can simple [sic] sit on their wealth and wait for the political winds to change.

Maybe this business owner will reconsider or maybe another business will step in to take his place, but either way I think times will get harder for some people who can least afford it after November 4.

H/T Instapundit.

– DRJ

Obama and Biden’s Charitable Giving: They Don’t Want to Spread Their Own Wealth Around

Filed under: 2008 Election,General — Patterico @ 7:37 am

They’re happy to spread yours around, mind you. Just not their own:

Looking at Obama’s charitable giving in since 2000 based on his tax returns, we find that Obama consistently refused to follow his own advice to “spread the wealth” when he had the opportunity to do so. This is especially true in years when he made nearly $250,000 or more. . . . [F]rom 2000-2004, Obama’s charitable giving was less than 1 percent.

His contributions increased after his book deal, to a maximum of 6.1% of income in 2006.

Obama’s running mate, Joe Biden, was even stingier about spreading his wealth. When his tax records were released in September, they revealed that over the past decade he had only donated an average of $369 each year. In 2007, his charitable giving was only $995, or 0.3 percent of income in a year when his tax returns reported $319,853 in income.

By comparison, John McCain gave more than one-quarter of his income in 2006 and 2007 (28.6 and 27.3 percent respectively). And according to the New York Observer, since 1998, he has donated royalties on his books totaling more than $1.8 million.

Read it all.

IRONIC UPDATE: Obama today says of McCain and Palin: “I don’t know when they decided that they wanted to make a virtue out of selfishness.”

The Ugly Side Effect of Obama’s Huge Fundraising: He Would Owe More Political Favors Than Any Other President in History

Filed under: 2008 Election,General — Patterico @ 7:00 am

Obama’s success as the biggest fundraiser in history means that he would owe his donors more than anyone in history if he were to take office. (That is, if you believe that big donors to political campaigns expect something in return. How cynical of you to think that!)

But wait! I thought Barack Obama’s amazing fundraising success stems primarily from donations under $200. Right?

Wrong. That’s another myth you’ve been sold, sucker.

In fact, George W. Bush in 2004 had a higher percentage of contributions of $200 or less than Barack Obama has had in this campaign. Last week, the Washington Post published an article titled Big Donors Drive Obama’s Money Edge:

Lost in the attention given to Obama’s Internet surge is that only a quarter of the $600 million he has raised has come from donors who made contributions of $200 or less, according to a review of his FEC reports. That is actually slightly less, as a percentage, than President Bush raised in small donations during his 2004 race . . .

In fact, in 2004, 31 percent of Bush’s donations came from people giving $200 or less. For John Kerry, the percentage was even higher: 37 percent.

All of this is necessary background for an excellent article by Patrick Range MacDonald in the latest L.A. Weekly, about Obama’s big donors, and the influence those donors are likely to wield in an Obama administration.

While Obama says he does not accept contributions from Washington lobbyists, that’s not much of a distinction these days. He has been accepting huge amounts from corporations, unions and endless special-interest groups. The influence of big-money donors in a possible Obama administration could create a political backlash if he doesn’t find a way to resist the enormous pressure that will be brought to bear.

MacDonald explains how Obama has raked in the bucks from big-money donors, many in the enterainment industry:

In July, a few weeks before the Democratic National Convention, Obama and his handlers formed joint fund-raising committees through a loophole (ironically created by the McCain-Feingold Act) that allows individual donors to write checks far surpassing federal limits of $2,300 — if the money was shared between a candidate and his party’s national and state committees. As a result of the loophole, “[The party committees] are avenues for individuals and others to legally donate tens of thousands of dollars,” says Boyle of Common Cause. John McCain created a similar committee, using the very loophole he had authored.

Individual donors promptly began writing checks of $25,000 or more to Obama’s and McCain’s committees. Even as the world of high finance began its stunning Wall Street meltdown, the biggest check-writers to both men were executives from securities and investment companies, according to The New York Times. The entertainment industry was also a top contributor, vastly preferring Obama.

So-called bundlers also contributed heavily to both. These ultimate political insiders, who collect donations from wealthy friends, business associates and other contacts, locally included Hollywood moguls David Geffen and Jeffrey Katzenberg, both of whom have raised at least $500,000 for Obama, according to the Center for Responsive Politics.

Basically, when you went to the movies over the last couple of years, you were making a donation to Barack Obama.

MacDonald’s article explores the question whether Obama is going to be the first guy in history to take scads of money from people and not let it affect the way he governs.

Now there is a proposition that I’m willing to put big money on.

No on Proposition 5: It Doesn’t Just Apply to Drug Crimes

Filed under: Crime,General — Patterico @ 12:25 am

A smart (but misguided) friend of mine voted for California’s Proposition 5, a terrible proposition that all but mandates “drug treatment” for all sorts of crimes. It turns out that my friend thought the proposition covers only drug crimes. No! Here’s my boss to explain:

What sorts of criminals would qualify for this preferential “get out of jail free” treatment? The list is long and frightening. It includes those who commit certain arsons and burglaries, identity theft, child pornography, domestic violence, auto theft, mortgage fraud, lewd acts on teenagers, illegal weapons possession, drug sales, grand theft (in any amount), all kinds of fraud, drunk driving (even when causing bodily injury) and many other crimes.

California already mandates drug treatment for simple drug possession. For nonviolent offenders whose problems result from drugs, judges and D.A.’s already have discretion to give offenders drug programs instead of jail or prison.

But many criminals aren’t suffering primarily from a drug problem. Many are suffering from a “committing crimes” problem.

The way to address someone with a severe case of “committing crimes” is to lock up that person. Period.

You can be against the drug war, and favor treatment for drug offenders, and still vote against this proposition — which essentially tosses the criminal justice system aside in favor of drug treatment for car thieves, wife beaters, identity thieves, etc.

I heard my office’s Chief Deputy saying on the radio that we file 75,000 felony cases per year in Los Angeles County, and 50,000 would be eligible for “treatment” programs under this initiative.

Insanity.

No on 5.

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