Patterico's Pontifications

2/10/2009

The F-22: Cheaper Jobs Than the Stimulus, and Military Improvement to Boot

Filed under: Crime,General,Obama — Patterico @ 11:51 pm

So we have a stimulus bill that will cost over $800 billion, and will allegedly save up to 4 million jobs. As others have already observed, simple division reveals that this means each job will cost at least $200,000 in government spending. As Swen Swenson put it (in a comment at the link):

Whoo Hoo!! Send me my $200,000 and I’ll go fishing. That’ll free up a job for someone else!

I’m right there with you, Swen. And I don’t even like fishing.

Anyway, this is necessary context for reading the L.A. Times‘s story about Obama’s upcoming decision whether to keep the F-22 alive. As the Orlando Sentinel tells us, Air Force officials say the F-22 “is needed for aerial combat and would be used for potential threats in the future from major powers such as China and Russia.” (The counter-argument, apparently, is “what threat from China and Russia?” Personally, I don’t find that counter-argument compelling, but then, I’ve never looked into the eyes of Vladimir Putin or Hu Jintao. Then again, I’m biased in favor of the F-22 because my brother works at Lockheed in Fort Worth.)

But forget the military necessity! These days, we spend money for jobs! Lots of money. So let’s look at the F-22 from that perspective.

Lockheed claims there are 95,000 U.S. jobs at stake. (I’m willing to bet there are plenty more overseas.) If the going rate is $200,000 per job, then it would presumably be worth $19 billion to save these jobs.

How much would it cost to continue the F-22? That depends on who you ask. The boring number-crunching is done here; suffice it to say that Obama is deciding on March 1 whether to order 20 more planes, at a cost of $523 million according to one paper, or $2.8 billion according to numbers provided by another paper.

Either way, it’s a damn sight cheaper than $19 billion, which is what we would be spending if we spent $200,000 per job, as we’re doing with the stimulus. And the F-22 helps us prepare to deal with threats from Russia or China. That preparedness, in turn, helps prevent such threats from materializing to begin with.

It’s a relative bargain, jobs-wise. Will Obama deem it to be too “Republican” a priority, remind us that he won, and kill the program?

Time will tell. But as I say here, buying another 20 planes might keep almost 100,000 Americans from losing work — and it would strengthen our military capacity. Sounds at least as good as a new overpass in Elkhart, Indiana.

If Allahpundit Wrote a Headline for This Story, It Would Be: “Blogger Crosses Legs and Winces”

Filed under: Dog Trainer — Patterico @ 9:44 pm

Or perhaps just . . .

Dude.

The story is full of phrases like “excessive torque on the penis” and: “It is usually accompanied by a popping sound.”

I also learned the meaning of the word “taqaandan.” Now I’m trying as hard as I can to forget it.

Thank God they found room in this tiny newspaper for this lengthy story.

UPDATE: A knowledgeable source tells me the story was online only.

When Timothy Geithner Talks, People Listen . . .

Filed under: Economics,General,Obama — Patterico @ 9:24 pm

. . . and then, they panic:

A lack of details in the financial rescue plan unveiled today by the Obama administration sent the stock market down sharply. The Dow Jones industrial average tumbled almost 400 points.

Yeah, but how do they know that was because of Geithner’s speech?

The Dow, which was down only about 70 points before Geithner’s speech, fell sharply as soon as he began talking.

Oh.

The story says financial stocks took a beating due to displeasure over “the dearth of specifics” in Geithner’s speech, which was “billed as a major policy prescriptive” but “gave little more than the broad contours of the plan, many of which already had leaked out in recent days.”

That raised not only the specter of a substantial delay in the long-awaited recovery of the banking sector but also doubt about the ability of President Obama’s economic team to deal with the challenges posed by the deteriorating economy and faltering markets.

You’re in good hands, folks. Don’t worry about a thing.

Just Call It a “Baker’s Jury,” Have Good Laugh, and Go Home

Filed under: Crime — Patterico @ 8:30 pm

You don’t see this every day:

The Harris County jury returned a guilty verdict after deliberating 45 minutes in a murder case, but the judge realized he had a real problem. Sitting in the jury box were 13 citizens.

Instead of sentencing Charles Mapps to prison in the shooting death of his girlfriend, state District Judge Mark Kent Ellis on Tuesday declared a mistrial. . . . Ellis said a criminal jury must have 12 people on it and can’t have any outside influences. He said the 13th juror would be considered an outside influence, despite the fact that she sat through all of the testimony.

My off the cuff opinion is that this is a textbook case of harmless error. But that’s probably just the prosecutor in me talking . . .

Obama Administration Position on State Secret Issue: Exactly the Same as the Bush Administration Position

Filed under: Civil Liberties,Obama,Terrorism — Patterico @ 8:25 pm

Jake Tapper reports that the Obama administration has advanced the same position as the Bush administration on an issue of state secrets:

The Obama Administration today announced that it would keep the same position as the Bush Administration in the lawsuit Mohamed et al v Jeppesen Dataplan, Inc.

The case involves five men who claim to have been victims of extraordinary rendition — including current Guantanamo detainee Binyam Mohamed, another plaintiff in jail in Egypt, one in jail in Morocco, and two now free. They sued a San Jose Boeing subsidiary, Jeppesen Dataplan, accusing the flight-planning company of aiding the CIA in flying them to other countries and secret CIA camps where they were tortured.

A year ago the case was thrown out on the basis of national security, but today the Ninth U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals heard the appeal, brought by the ACLU.

A source inside of the Ninth U.S. District Court tells ABC News that a representative of the Justice Department stood up to say that its position hasn’t changed, that new administration stands behind arguments that previous administration made, with no ambiguity at all. The DOJ lawyer said the entire subject matter remains a state secret.

Glenn Greenwald is livid:

This was an active, conscious decision made by the Obama DOJ to retain the same abusive, expansive view of “state secrets” as Bush adopted, and to do so for exactly the same purpose: to prevent any judicial accountability of any kind, to keep government behavior outside of and above the rule of law.

He also approvingly cites this comment:

The worst is yet to come. By that I mean that the Obama DOJ’s embrace of Bush’s use of the state secrets privilege to shield these crimes from public view will (probably already has) trigger a tidal wave of finger-wagging from the right that this, of course, means civil libertarians have been deeply Unserious about national security all this time.

That is, once Obama “got a chance to sit in the President’s chair in the Oval Office” and hear about all the top-secret scary threats to America, he realized that the Bush administration was right to commit all these crimes and egregious uses of secrecy. This will, in turn, serve to “prove” quite usefully that the entire panoply of complaints about rampant Bush lawlessness in the sphere of anything arguably related to national security can be dismissed as fringe and – I dare to say – dangerous.

Bravo.

Aw, y’all aren’t going to make that argument, are you? [Ed: please insert smiley-face emoticon here. — P]

P.S. I’ll admit the ugly truth: in addition to being a tree-hugging animal lover, I’m not a big fan of the state secrets doctrine. Which is to say, I understand the need for such a doctrine, but I also worry about its abuse.

But do I also think the left has been deeply unserious about terrorism? Yup — many of them. For example, Glenn Greenwald is rather fond of referring to the terror threat in terms that are often sarcastically capitalized.

In other words: yes, the right may well may the point that Greenwald’s commenter fears the right will make. And the right may also have a point.

Obama: Going $800 Billion Further in Debt Is Part of What This Election Was All About!

Filed under: General,Obama — Patterico @ 7:14 am

Obama yesterday:

So there’s going to be a whole range of approaches that we have to take for dealing with the economy. My bottom line is to make sure that we are saving or creating 4 million jobs, we are making sure that the financial system is working again, that homeowners are getting some relief.

And I’m happy to get good ideas from across the political spectrum, from Democrats and Republicans.

What I won’t do is return to the failed theories of the last eight years that got us into this fix in the first place, because those theories have been tested and they have failed. And that’s part of what the election in November was all about.

The election was about incurring $800 billion dollars of government debt? Allow me to remind you of your previous position — the one suckers believed when they voted for you. Under a headline titled “Restore Fiscal Discipline to Washington” you said:

Obama and Biden believe that a critical step in restoring fiscal discipline is enforcing pay-as-you-go (PAYGO) budgeting rules which require new spending commitments or tax changes to be paid for by cuts to other programs or new revenue.

Another promise under the bus.

L.A. Times: Judges Say California May Have to Reduce the Prison Population by Up to 57,000 Prison Inmates . . . But We at the L.A. Times Can’t Seem to Remember Who Appointed These Judges

Filed under: Crime,Economics,General,Humor — Patterico @ 12:03 am

The L.A. Times reports:

A panel of three federal judges, saying overcrowding in state prisons has deprived inmates of their right to adequate healthcare, tentatively ruled Monday that the state must reduce the population in those lockups by as many as 57,000 people.

The judges issued the decision after a trial in two long-running cases brought by inmates to protest the state of medical and mental healthcare in the prisons.

Although their order is not final, U.S. District Court Judges Thelton Henderson and Lawrence Karlton and 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals Judge Stephen Reinhardt effectively told the state that it had lost the trial and would have to make dramatic changes in its prisons unless it could reach a settlement with inmates’ lawyers.

Wow. 57,000 fewer criminals in state prison. Now how could that possibly be a bad idea?

(Of course, the judges and newspaper editors hasten to tell you that prison officials need not release 57,000 inmates in order to reduce the prison population by 57,000 people. Instead of releasing 57,000 inmates, you could also reduce the number of people sent to prison — i.e. take people who would normally go to prison, and just not send them there. There! Aren’t you comforted?)

So these judges — Henderson, Karlton, and Reinhardt — who appointed them? Anyone know?

Not L.A. Times readers. They are never told.

And when I say never, man, I mean never.

As I said in December about a previous article on the same general topic:

For example, you’d never know by reading the article that all three judges were appointed by President Jimmy Carter.

Or that Lawrence Karlton is the same judge who ruled the Pledge of Allegiance unconstitutional — a decision that legal experts across the land derided as absurd. Or that Thelton Henderson is the judge who blocked Proposition 209, California’s anti-affirmative action proposition — a decision that was later reversed by the Ninth Circuit in a unanimous ruling. Or that Stephen Reinhardt is so pro-defense that (like Rose Bird) he has never met a death penalty case where he didn’t reverse the death verdict — in over 25 years as a federal judge.

Shocker, I know.

Brace yourselves, Californians.


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