Patterico's Pontifications

6/29/2009

Madoff Sentenced to 150 Years

Filed under: Crime — DRJ @ 12:40 pm

[Guest post by DRJ]

Bernard Madoff was sentenced to the maximum 150 years today in connection with his conviction for financial fraud:

“Judge Denny Chin said the sentence was a symbolic one for a crime that showed “extraordinary evil” and “took a staggering human toll.”

The courtroom “broke into applause” when the sentence was read.

In a brief statement before he was sentenced, Madoff claimed he alone was responsible for the scheme. Afterward, Madoff’s wife Ruth released a statement that “The man who committed this horrible fraud is not the man whom I have known for all these years.”

— DRJ

Ed Morrissey vs. Ezra Klein: A larger lesson of Obamacare

Filed under: General — Karl @ 10:36 am

[Posted by Karl]

Blogger spats are often a bit “inside baseball,” but occasionally, such spats may shed light on a bigger issue.

Verum Serum reports on such a spat between HotAir’s Ed Morrissey and the Washington Post’s Ezra Klein, ostensibly over whether Klein believes the “public plan” Pres. Obama would like to see as part of healthcare reform is a “sneaky” Leftist strategy for moving the US towards single-payer health care. It seems to me that Verum Serum has the videos (of both Klein and his fellow travelers), as well as the American Prospect article in which Klein referred to the public plan strategy as “single payer by stealth,” to show that Ed was not out of line in drawing the inference he did, especially given the nature of Klein’s continuing support for a public plan:

This would be like Medicare for the rest of us. It could throw the federal government’s weight around. It could negotiate deep discounts with providers. It could muscle its way into networks. Outside groups like the Commonwealth Fund estimate that it would save the average consumer 20 percent to 30 percent. That would give it a massive competitive advantage over private insurers, and would probably result in tens of millions of Americans dropping their current coverage and entering the public plan to save money. A variant of this was in the draft of Ted Kennedy’s bill that was leaked last week.

As someone who thinks cost control and efficiency are important in health reform, I’m most interested in the strong public plan. Folks who are more interested in preserving something that looks like the current private insurance market tend to fall behind the trigger public plan, largely under the theory that it would be pretty much the same as no public plan at all.

Given the extent to which Medicare dominates its market, Klein’s support for “Medicare for the rest of us” is rather telling.

Moreover, it is not difficult to figure out why Klein would have his backpedal in motion. Pres. Obama has declared, “[W]hen you hear the naysayers claim that I’m trying to bring about government-run health care, know this: They’re not telling the truth.” Pres. Obama has always been at war with Eastasia, just as he has always supported the protesters in Iran, and so people like Klein take up the party line.

The dispute is of larger interest because, even as Klein denies that a public plan is a sneaky Leftist strategy, he is blogging the sneaky Leftist strategy to get the public plan into the final version of Obamacare. Klein believes that as long as the Senate passes some healthcare reform bill, it will return from the House-Senate conference with a public plan, at which point moderate Democrats will be strongarmed into allowing a vote. Klein may overestimate the degree to which Senators will be willing to cross their voters and donors for the sake of party unity, but maybe not. Either way, everyone right of center owes Klein a debt for flagging sneaky Leftist strategies on healthcare before they are a fait accompli.

–Karl

6/28/2009

Patterico on Facebook?!

Filed under: General — Patterico @ 9:06 pm

Many of you already know about this, but for those of you who don’t, Patterico is now on Facebook. I was reluctant to make an announcement until I had successfully registered “Patterico” as my username, which I just did. You can visit my page at http://facebook.com/patterico.

I am happy to add any recognized reader as a friend, but I want you to send something along with your friend request that proves to me that you are who you claim to be. Be creative. I have access to all your comments, so the best way is to provide me with the secret e-mail address that you use to comment.

I am also on Twitter at http://twitter.com/patterico. Follow me there! It’s social media MADNESS!

HuffPo Blogger: My Boyfriend Is Poorly Endowed

Filed under: General — Patterico @ 6:24 pm

Man, I’d hate to be Jill Rachel Jacobs’s boyfriend:

As someone of the female persuasion, I have spent a lifetime supporting the adage that size doesn’t really matter. Now I am relegated to role of poker-faced cheerleader since my not so well-endowed boyfriend’s attempts to satisfy in the boudoir have fallen short due to the severe emotional trauma he has suffered resulting from this latest attempt at envelope-pushing programming by cable TV producers.

Ouch.

Well, nobody reads the Huffington Post, do they?

P.S. How long has she been dating Keith Olbermann anyway?

P.P.S. Half the commenters over there are saying her piece is satire. The other half are asking why she’s telling the world her boyfriend has a small wiener. If it’s satire, I’m sure the boyfriend is OK with only half of HuffPo’s readers thinking he has a Vienna sausage in his pants.

Supreme Court Voting Lineups

Filed under: Judiciary — DRJ @ 4:55 pm

[Guest post by DRJ]

ScotusBlog has a neat visual representation of the 2008 Term Supreme Court decisions sorted by case. Among other things, it illustrates how often Justice Kennedy is the crucial 5th vote in the majority — and some might even say the heart — of the Court.

— DRJ

Honduras President Ousted (Updated x2)

Filed under: International,Obama — DRJ @ 1:25 pm

[Guest post by DRJ]

Honduran President Manuel Zelaya, a close ally of Venezuela’s Hugo Chavez, has been removed by the Honduran military with the support of the country’s Supreme Court. The Honduran Congress claims Zelaya submitted his letter of resignation and it was accepted, but Zelaya disputes that the letter was his.

The action occurred hours before a scheduled constitutional referendum designed to extend Presidential term limits. Zelaya’s term as President ends in January and he wanted to extend it. The Supreme Court had ruled the proposed changes illegal and the referendum was opposed by Congress and members of Zelaya’s own party. Zelaya’s legal successor, the Congressional President, will be sworn in as President:

“The Supreme Court said it was supporting the military in what it called a defense of democracy, and the Honduran ambassador to the Organization of American States said the military was planning to swear in Congressional President Roberto Micheletti — who is next in line to the presidency — to replace Zelaya.”

Nevertheless, Zelaya plans to attend a meeting of Central American leaders on Monday. He said his friend Hugo will give him a ride.

Meanwhile, Barack Obama promptly responded with deep concern:

“President Barack Obama said he was “deeply concerned” by Zelaya’s expulsion and U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton said the arrest should be condemned. [Note from DRJ: Other reports indicate Zelaya was released and may be in Costa Rica.]

“I call on all political and social actors in Honduras to respect democratic norms, the rule of law and the tenets of the Inter-American Democratic Charter,” Obama’s statement read.”

Or, as Dan Collins aptly sums up Obama’s position: “Obama calls on everyone in Honduras except Zelaya to respect the law.

UPDATE 1: According to Hondura’s La Prensa news translated by Fausta’s blog, this was not a coup but action taken pursuant to court order:

“An official statement of the Supreme Court of Justice explained that the Armed Forces acted under lawful grounds when detaining the President of the Republic, and by decommissioning the materials to be used on the illegal poll which aimed to bring forth Executive Power against a judicial order.

Other sources verified that the president of the Congress, Roberto Micheletti, will assume the presidency of the republic in a few hours.

Honduran president Manuel Zelaya was detained this morning by the military in compliance with an order of the courts of law.

UPDATE 2: The Obama Administration tried to stop the Honduran government from ousting President Zelaya.

— DRJ

California State Assembly Speaker: Republicans Have Been Subjected to “Terrorism” by Voters

Filed under: General — Patterico @ 10:58 am

California Assembly Speaker Karen Bass (a Democrat) (of course), replying to a question by L.A. Times interviewer Pattt* Morrison:

Q: How do you think conservative talk radio has affected the Legislature’s work?

A: The Republicans were essentially threatened and terrorized against voting for revenue. Now [some] are facing recalls. They operate under a terrorist threat: “You vote for revenue and your career is over.” I don’t know why we allow that kind of terrorism to exist. I guess it’s about free speech, but it’s extremely unfair.

Excuse me? The Republicans signed a pledge not to raise taxes. There is no justification for going back on that pledge, because California has a spending problem and not a revenue problem.

So it’s “terrorism” to hold elected officials to their word??

She “guesses” it’s about free speech, but it’s “extremely unfair”?

This is the sort of attitude we’re seeing in Sacramento. They want to do what they want to do (raise taxes ad infinitum) — and they’re so very irritated at having to deal with petty annoyances like their signed pledges, and the voters’ wishes.

Thanks to Pat C.

6/27/2009

Priorities

Filed under: Dog Trainer,General — Patterico @ 4:29 pm

Take a look at this screenshot from the L.A. Times web page today. We have a news story titled Ex-wife Debbie Rowe expected to get custody of Jackson kids. Another titled Michael Jackson’s last rehearsal: ‘just beaming with gladness’. Another titled Fans worldwide grieve for Michael Jackson. Column One has a piece by music critic Robert Hilburn titled Michael Jackson: the wounds, the broken heart:

I’ll always regret that my last conversation with Michael Jackson ended with him angrily hanging up the phone — at least I’ve long thought of Michael’s mood that day more than a decade ago as angry. I realize now that a more accurate description would be “wounded.”

Michael was among the sweetest and most talented people I met during 35 years covering pop music for the Los Angeles Times.

Awww. Like many of the pieces, the fact that Jackson was a pedophile is relegated to a passing mention of accusations of child molestation — four words and move on. Some pieces don’t even have that much.

One of the few fairly legitimate stories: Jackson probe turns to prescription drugs.

Then the fluff and rubbernecking returns with a blog entry at L.A. Now titled Michael Jackson’s body released to family as funeral planning begins. We get to hear the 911 call.

There is a 104-picture photo gallery titled Fans Mourn Michael Jackson. A 10-picture photo gallery titled Hollywood Headlines: A crazy (and sad) week in review. A 14-picture photo gallery titled Michael Jackson and friends. A 10-photo picture gallery titled Michael Jackson discography: Major works from the King of Pop.

We have video titled Celebrating Michael Jackson’s legacy. A blog entry titled For Corey Feldman, the show — and music — goes on. [Corey Feldman? He was Michael Jackson’s friend. It’s about how he will deal with Jackson’s death. — Ed. Oh.]

That’s just the stuff listed on the front page. If that’s not enough for you, there’s this page collecting links on the site to Jackson-related items. I count no fewer than 15 articles and 15 blog posts related to Jackson. And you can leave your comments regarding your feelings on the Comments Blog.

And . . . oh yeah. If you look at the bottom of the image above, there’s something about the cap-and-trade bill, and something about Iran. Nothing important, really.

P.S. Oh, oh, oh — and my very favorite of all: Tim Rutten complaining about how Big Media is paying too much attention to Michael Jackson. His piece is titled Too much Michael Jackson?:

No reasonable editor or producer should ignore the kind of public interest we’re seeing. But surrendering utterly to it ultimately undercuts what’s genuinely valuable about serious news media.

Lucky thing your paper isn’t doing that, Tim!

The Michael Jackson Estate

Filed under: General — DRJ @ 3:47 pm

[Guest post by DRJ]

The word of the day is Massive: The Jackson estate faces massive legal issues including an unknown cause of death, questions about the physician who was apparently present at Jackson’s death, child custody matters, multiple kinds and numbers of assets, and reports of massive debt.

Los Angeles’ police also anticipate a massive turnout for Jackson’s memorial service. The fan response to Jackson’s death has been intense so it’s not hard to imagine the significant security issues a public memorial service would present.

It occurs to me, can Los Angeles and/or California really afford this?

— DRJ

Who Rules Government Motors?

Filed under: Government,Obama — DRJ @ 9:58 am

[Guest post by DRJ]

Last month, GM announced it will shut down its Spring Hill, Tennessee plant until November 2009, idling over 2,600 workers. Last week, GM disappointed the Spring Hill workers and others when it confirmed it will build its new small car at a Michigan plant.

Mickey Kaus says this is the UAW’s “punishment to those auto workers who dared move to Spring Hill, Tennessee.” I agree, but deferring to what the UAW leadership wants is business as usual for GM. As this UAW worker said in 2007:

“No one wants to see GM go down the tubes,” said picketing Jim Brown. “But we have to keep our standard of living, and GM is going to have to cooperate.”

Thanks to Barack Obama, Jim Brown was right.

— DRJ

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