Patterico's Pontifications

7/31/2009

That Teachable Moment

Filed under: Obama,Politics — DRJ @ 11:23 pm

[Guest post by DRJ]

Lesson #1 in That Teachable Moment is brought to you by Jesse Washington, the AP’s “Race and Ethnicity” reporter (emphasis supplied):

“Mostly, racial conflicts fade out without any consultation, let alone resolution. Imagine the widow of Sean Bell meeting with the New York police officers who shot her husband, or the black teens in Jena, La., talking to the white schoolmate they attacked.

That made the White House meeting even more remarkable — “revolutionary and potentially healing, a peace pipe for modern times,” wrote the right-leaning columnist Kathleen Parker.

“When future archaeologists excavate our history, they will doubtless marvel at the symbolism of that simple gesture,” she wrote.

It probably never would have happened had Obama not criticized Crowley, a mistake that demanded damage control.

To some in the media, even Obama’s mistakes turn to gold. The reporter seems to view Obama bringing people together as the best path to racial healing, but I give more credit to this afterthought:

“Earlier, Crowley and Gates talked after they crossed paths while separately touring the White House with their relatives.

They continued their tour as one large group.”

– DRJ

Politicians: Watch Out For Those Outside Internet Experts

Filed under: Blogging Matters,Politics — DRJ @ 10:40 pm

[Guest post by DRJ]

These internet tubes can be confusing for politicians. Take, for example, the case of the Minnesota Democrats who linked to a video of a cursing Chinese woman instead of Tim Pawlenty:

“The party on Thursday recalled a statement criticizing Republican Gov. Tim Pawlenty because it mistakenly linked to a profane YouTube video of an elderly Chinese woman repeating obscenities.

Andrew O’Leary, executive director of the Democratic-Farmer-Labor Party, as the Democratic Party is known in Minnesota, says the link was provided by an outside researcher.”

There’s also Kay Bailey Hutchison, a candidate against Rick Perry in the Texas Governor GOP primary, who has cut ties with an outside firm that placed over 2,200 “hidden phrases” on her campaign website:

“On Thursday, after the American-Statesman asked about the phrases, viewable only by unearthing the site’s source code, Hutchison’s campaign removed one phrase—”rick perry gay”— which had appeared twice.

Aides said all the phrases were computer-generated based on terms that computer users searched for who also searched under Rick Perry, Kay Bailey Hutchison or Texas or a combination of the phrases. They said the many phrases were appropriately intended to help target online banner advertising for Hutchison.

Several Internet experts said the placement of hidden text amounted to black-hat tactics generally looked down upon and in violation of Google’s quality guidelines for sites.”

The article reports that Google and Yahoo blocked Hutchison’s website, www.standbykay.com, because the hidden phrases are considered webspam.

– DRJ

Jill and Kevin, Revisited

Filed under: Humor — DRJ @ 10:07 pm

[Guest post by DRJ]

Remember Jill and Kevin’s wedding?

Now imagine their divorce

H/T Instapundit.

– DRJ

What We Don’t Know About Obama: A Lot

Filed under: Media Bias,Obama — DRJ @ 8:24 pm

[Guest post by DRJ]

A don’t-miss article by Andrew McCarthy on why Obama’s birth certificate matters (it’s not because he was born in Kenya), in which McCarthy concludes:

“There’s speculation out there from the former CIA officer Larry Johnson — who is no right-winger and is convinced the president was born in Hawaii — that the full state records would probably show Obama was adopted by the Indonesian Muslim Lolo Soetoro and became formally known as “Barry Soetoro.” Obama may have wanted that suppressed for a host of reasons: issues about his citizenship, questions about his name (it’s been claimed that Obama represented in his application to the Illinois bar that he had never been known by any name other than Barack Obama), and the undermining of his (false) claim of remoteness from Islam. Is that true? I don’t know and neither do you.

But we should know. The point has little to do with whether Obama was born in Hawaii. I’m quite confident that he was. The issue is: What is the true personal history of the man who has been sold to us based on nothing but his personal history? On that issue, Obama has demonstrated himself to be an unreliable source and, sadly, we can’t trust the media to get to the bottom of it. What’s wrong with saying, to a president who promised unprecedented “transparency”: Give us all the raw data and we’ll figure it out for ourselves?”

He also discusses how the media views its job as covering for Obama instead of covering Obama.

– DRJ

UPDATE BY PATTERICO: I don’t think I’d cite Scary Larry Johnson for anything.

10,000,000 Visits

Filed under: General — Patterico @ 5:19 pm

Sometime last night, this blog passed 10,000,000 visits since SiteMeter started measuring the count back in December 2003.

If you’re having deja vu, that’s because we reached 10 million page views last July. Every time a page is accessed or refreshed, that’s a page view. A visit (as I understand the term) is when a user accesses one or more pages during the course of a single half hour. If you visit 12 times over one hour, that’s 12 page views and 2 visits.

Anyway, it’s a neat little milestone. As always, thanks for reading.

We’re going out to dinner tonight. My response to Radley Balko’s latest mendacious attack on me will have to wait until tomorrow. For now, suffice it to say that his commitment to accuracy is now more in doubt than ever.

House Votes $2B More for Clunkers (Updated)

Filed under: Government,Obama — DRJ @ 4:23 pm

[Guest post by DRJ]

Just a day after the one-week-old Cash-for-Clunkers program was suspended, the House approved $2 billion more in funding to be paid from economic stimulus monies approved earlier this year. In order to gain the support of House Republicans, the Democrats reportedly agreed to “provisions for government auditors to make sure the money was being spent as intended.”

Everything needs to be done yesterday with this Congress and the Obama Administration. Even the better programs seem to be managed in an impulsive, haphazard and chaotic fashion. Worst of all, every solution involves spending millions, billions or trillions of taxpayers’ current (and future) dollars.

UPDATE: More on this government-created chaos.

– DRJ

Obama stumped by dumb Americans opposing ObamaCare

Filed under: General — Karl @ 1:40 pm

[Posted by Karl]

President Obama suggests the bitter clingers in middle America are so dense that even the greatest orator in world history cannot educate them:

“I don’t spend a lot of time looking at my polls. I do look at the polling on health care, partly because I think that there is a terrific case to be made to the American public. But it is — this is complicated, it’s difficult,” the president said. “And I will say that this has been the most difficult test for me so far in public life, trying to describe in clear, simple terms how important it is that we reform this system. The case is so clear to me.”

The establishment media has already started blaming the American people, so it is not a shock that The Politico is now pushing this line from Capitol Hill:

Olympia Snowe, it seems safe to assume, is following the health care debate a bit more closely than the average American.

So it is saying something that the Maine senator — a key figure in health care negotiations — admits she is stumped by the task of crafting a simple explanation for legislation of mind-numbing complexity.

“If anybody can give me an easy, 30-second solution to this multitrillion-dollar problem, be my guest,” said Snowe, a moderate Republican.

A Democratic lawmaker, Rep. Collin Peterson of Minnesota, agrees. “The members don’t even understand what’s in it,” he confessed of the legislation. As for his constituents? They are “not exactly sure what this is about, and they’re not really sure whether they like it or not.”

Of course, it is hard for members of Congress to understand a bill they will not read. And it would be nice if Pres. Obama bothered to read it.

Complexity is an inherent problem with attempting comprehensive reform, so it is difficult to muster much sympathy for the politicians whining about it now. It is much easier to be glad that Pres. Obama has not tried the incremental approach, which is more difficult to fight.

Moreover, Pres. Obama’s rhetoric is part of his problem. For example, he complains about doctors and hospitals performing unnecessary medical tests, while claiming that we can save substantial money by promoting preventive care and refusing to tag his trial lawyer pals as part of the problem of defensive medicine. On a larger scale, Pres. Obama tries to assure everyone that he is not proposing a European or Japanese-style healthcare system, even as he claims that these countries do a better job than the US. And he is selling healthcare reform as a cost-containment measure when unbiased estimates show the opposite — not to mention that states like Tennessee, Maine and Massachusetts have all failed with similar schemes.

In short, it is no wonder Pres. Obama is having trouble selling his healthcare reforms. Not only is it a complex issue, but Pres. Obama insists on talking out of both sides of his mouth about the issue. It is not surprising that voters suspect this is because they would not want what is being sold if he was being honest.

–Karl

Balko Tries to Prevent Patterico from Reading Him

Filed under: General — Patterico @ 7:42 am

On Twitter, that is:

Balko Blocks Me

Was it something I said?

P.S. I suspect it was. I suspect Balko is annoyed at me because I have a habit of documenting when he omits or distorts critical information (as he did when reporting the facts of the Jimmie Duncan case), or when he makes a flat-out factual error (as he did in his recent response to me and Jack Dunphy).

I bet Balko wishes he could prevent me from reading his blog too.

P.P.S. Speaking of that recent factual error: is Balko ever going to correct it?

Recall the error: in a post that he put up both on Reason and his personal blog, Balko suggested that I wasn’t being straight with my readers, contending that I “neglected to include in [my] post” a phrase that (Balko claimed) undercut my argument. Only thing was, I didn’t neglect to include it at all — as I proved in this post, complete with a screenshot. The passage that Balko claimed I had omitted is right there, smack dab in the middle of my post. Let’s see that screenshot again:

Balko Wrong Yet Again

I have no idea where Balko got the idea that I had omitted that passage. But by saying that I had, Balko was able to use two separate web sites to suggest that I was being a little bit slippery and hiding information that supposedly undercut my argument.

I documented Balko’s error in a post at this blog published at 6:43 p.m. Pacific time Wednesday night. I rather suspect Balko has read my post, but just in case he didn’t, I left a comment about it on his blog at 10:10 p.m. Pacific that same evening.

The next morning, I left another comment concerning the error on his personal site, as well as a comment about it on the equally erroneous Reason post.

It’s not like Balko hasn’t been on the Internet since I pointed out the error. He has put up three posts since Wednesday night.

In fact, he has since participated in the same comment thread where I told him about the mistake. The morning after I left the original comment notifying Balko of his error, Balko posted a comment in the same thread.

In that comment, Balko responded to two commenters, Brad and Alex, who had expressed their belief that Balko had distorted Jack Dunphy’s recent post on the Henry Louis Gates matter. One of those commenters (Alex) also dinged Balko for credulously reporting certain stories that later proved to be false. In a five-paragraph comment, Balko defended his honor, and told those to go fuck themselves. (In a previous comment, commenter fluffy had said: “Brad and Alex, Go fuck yourselves.” Balko echoed the sentiment: “Brad, Alex: what fluffy said.”).

I’m sure Balko will claim that he didn’t have time to fix the error. But honestly: how long does it take to put a strike tag around an erroneous phrase in a post? Answer: a lot less time than it takes to write a five-paragraph comment telling your critics to go fuck themselves.

Is he waiting until nobody is reading the posts any more?

P.P.P.S. Blocking me doesn’t work, Balko. I can still see your Twitter feed on Google Reader.

UPDATE: Alex is the one who dinged Balko for his inaccurate stories, not Brad. The post has been corrected. Thanks to Brad for noting the error.

7/30/2009

Imagine What a Tax Cut Would Do (Updated)

Filed under: Government,Obama — DRJ @ 8:13 pm

[Guest post by DRJ]

The Obama Administration’s Transportation Department has announced it will suspend the Car Allowance Rebate System (cars.gov) aka the Cash-for-Clunkers program because too many people are using it.

The program started July 1 but it did not officially launch until July 24, 2009, after the rules were released. Initial estimates were that it would result in 220,000 car sales:

“The government estimates the program will help finance up to 220,000 new car purchases, or about 12 per dealer in the United States. The program is not expected to boost manufacturing output unless it is extended beyond $1 billion.”

Perhaps Congress will increase funding and the program can be re-started but, for now, this program officially lasted one week. That may be a record for a government program but promising Hope and Change is a lot easier than delivering it.

UPDATE: Is it suspended or not?

“Transportation Department officials called lawmakers’ offices earlier Thursday to alert them of plans to suspend the program as early as Friday. But a White House official said later the program had not been suspended and officials there were assessing their options.

“We are working tonight to assess the situation facing what is obviously an incredibly popular program,” White House press secretary Robert Gibbs said of the Car Allowance Rebate System. “Auto dealers and consumers should have confidence that all valid CARS transactions that have taken place to date will be honored.””

The link indicates there may have been an average of 13 cash-for-clunker sales per dealership in the first week of the program, or one more per dealer than the Administration estimated for the term of the program.

I sure hope these aren’t the same people who will be allocating funds and resources for America’s health care program.

– DRJ

No Apologies at Beer Summit

Filed under: Race — Patterico @ 5:36 pm

Sgt. Crowley met today with a guy who accused him of falsifying a police report and racially profiling him. Also present was another guy who told the world that he didn’t know the facts, but said that Crowley had acted stupidly.

Oh, and Slow Joe Biden attended as well.

Apparently there were no apologies.

Obama has said the controversy should become a “teachable moment” for Americans. But the meeting was closed to the press.

How can we learn if you keep the lesson a secret?

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