Patterico's Pontifications

8/17/2009

Choosing the Next LAPD Chief: What You Didn’t Read in the L.A. Times

Filed under: Current Events,Dog Trainer — Jack Dunphy @ 10:04 pm

[Guest post by Jack Dunphy]

On Sunday, the Los Angeles Times ran an opinion piece under the headline “What Los Angeles needs in its next police chief . . .Times editorial writer Marjorie Miller spoke with “some of the LAPD’s chief critics, supporters and stakeholders” and solicited their views on the qualities they hoped to see in the chief who will succeed William Bratton when he steps down on October 31. Ms. Miller e-mailed me and asked for my input for the piece, which I provided as follows:

I’ve known nearly all of the people named as potential candidates to replace Chief Bratton for more than twenty years. In that time I’ve seen how they’ve changed – or haven’t – as they’ve risen through the ranks. I’m wary of offering an endorsement for fear of burdening any of them with the Mark Kroeker curse. Recall that in 1997, rank-and-file-officers favored Kroeker over Bernard Parks by a wide margin only to see then-Mayor Richard Riordan select Parks. The five years that followed were marked by scandal, declining morale and, most significantly, rising crime. Whoever our next chief may be, he or she should remember one lesson of the Parks years: that the morale of the cop on the street can be subordinated to politics only up to a point, beyond which the cop turns from thoughts of fighting crime to those of preserving his own career.

A few days later, I received the following e-mail from Ms. Miller:

My editors have decided not to use your comments. I apologize for wasting your time–and for free, yet. I did not realize when I asked you to contribute that they are uncomfortable publishing someone under a pseudonym when they don’t know the real name. I thought we had used your
stuff before and wasn’t aware of prior decisions on this. My mistake. Thank you anyway.

Best, Marjorie

I’ve long since stopped keeping track of which names have come and gone from the ever-shrinking masthead at the Times, but there was a time when my identity was known and safeguarded by a number of editors there, during which I contributed on a semi-regular basis to the Sunday Opinion section. I suppose those editors are gone now.

Our host is far better informed than I am on the goings-on at the Times, and he’s written previously on my on-again, off-again relationship with the paper. Perhaps he’ll have more to say on it later.

–Jack Dunphy

A Public Service Message

Filed under: Obama — DRJ @ 8:49 pm

[Guest post by DRJ]

The White House has disabled the flag@whitehouse.gov email account that it established on August 4 to take reports of “fishy” claims about ObamaCare. Texas Senator John Cornyn, chairman of the National Republican Senatorial Committee, had objected to the program as an “Obama monitoring program” that was “inevitably” violating American’s privacy by collecting names and addresses of any emails reported to the White House.

As evidence of its deep regret over implementing this program, the White House is now “accepting your feedback about health insurance reform at http://www.whitehouse.gov/realitycheck.”

PS — Despite past denials, the White House has now admitted that some Americans have received unsolicited White House emails that were sent by outside political groups.

– DRJ

John Hughes (1950-2009)

Filed under: General — DRJ @ 5:36 pm

[Guest post by DRJ]

Filmmaker John Hughes died August 6, 2009, in New York City. He was 59.

Hughes’ filmography is well-known to pop culture fans of the past 30 years. In this PJTV obituary, Lionel Chetwynd explains why Hughes is more than just Ferris Bueller’s Day Off and Home Alone:

“Part of a popular culture’s job, presumably, and part of an artist’s job, is to help a civilization and a society strengthen its immune system against the opportunistic diseases that would destroy it. Part of a civilization’s job is to pass on real values about who they are and what they should be.

And I think consistently Hughes looked at that, looked at those things, and presented in the most wonderfully entertaining way, in the most clever way, and in a light-hearted and whimsical way, but at the same time, by the time he was done, he had communicated values, ideas and thoughts. Of the directors of this generation, there are very few who can make that claim and so he is a loss.

Hughes was also a great storyteller. My condolences to his family.

H/T Instapundit.

– DRJ

Barack Obama, the College Years (Updated)

Filed under: Obama — DRJ @ 4:13 pm

[Guest post by DRJ]

The L.A. Times interviews Roger Boesche, one of Barack Obama’s professors at California’s Occidental College, who gives us a very brief glimpse of Obama’s early college years:

“Over the years, Obama has cited Boesche as one of his most influential teachers, but the two had had only sporadic contact via e-mail.

Thursday they met again at the president’s invitation. Boesche, back in his Eagle Rock home Saturday, said Obama jokingly recalled that pesky “B” Boesche had given him on a paper on European political thought. The president, Boesche said, also reminded him that he had turned down his appeal for an “A.”

“He still didn’t agree about that grade,” said Boesche, laughing.”

What did Prof. Boesche think about his student’s potential?

“Asked if he had seen the makings of a president in his young student nearly 30 years ago, Boesche said he could not claim he had. He urged other professors and teachers to “realize that in any class you could have a child, a young man or woman, who could do incredibly great things in the world. So teach as well as you can.”

Now about releasing those transcripts, Mr. President …

H/T Eric Blair.

UPDATE: JVW alerts us to this follow-up at the Top of the Ticket. Here’s JVW’s comment:

“So you’re saying that even in his college days the 44th President believed that his every thought and word was a pearl of wisdom that could not possibly be evaluated as anything other than perfect in form and scope?”

I love days like this when you guys do my work for me.

– DRJ

Obama’s House of Cards

Filed under: Economics,Obama — DRJ @ 3:25 pm

[Guest post by DRJ]

In an interview today with Stuart Varney of Fox Business, Doug Schoen, a Democratic pollster for President Bill Clinton, says the economic news looks grim and Americans are starting to blame President Obama:

SCHOEN: It’s fair to say that the stimulus is not working. There’s a good 50-55% that oppose health care reform now as it’s been proposed, though we clearly don’t know the final details. And there’s a sense that the Obama administration is responsible for more and more of the economic uncertainty we’re facing than has ever been attributed to them before.
***
“I’m a moderate Democrat, Stuart, a blue dog. I worked for Bill Clinton but I believe that you find consensus in the middle of the road. The left passionately disagrees with that and believes there’s a moral obligation to have the public option or even single-payer. So the Party is hopelessly divided, the President is trying to keep it together. All the while, the economic news that you’re describing is so very bad, the American people are saying this is hurting us and they’re blaming the President and the Democrats.
***
“… [T]he president wants to get to a point where he can maintain consensus but with the fighting inside the Party and the stridency inside the Democratic left, he has to literally change positions day-to-day to keep his house of cards from falling down.”

Schoen concludes Obama is a great politician and an extraordinary communicator but he is not a decisive leader.

— DRJ

Shameless Plug Alert

Filed under: General — Karl @ 12:51 pm

[Posted by Karl]

It appears I will be doing a segment on BreitbartTV’s B-Cast today at 5:00 EDT, talking about ObamaCare, co-ops, etc.

–Karl

The Hannity Clip

Filed under: General — Patterico @ 7:12 am

Here’s that Hannity clip mentioning this blog, that DRJ told us about the other night:

Cool. Although I have to say, the best part is the persistent stickiness of the graphic in the top left corner.

And courtesy of Stashiu, here is a screenshot of our SiteMeter from near the end of the day on August 13, the day the post went up about Roxana Mayer:

Over 100,000 Served
Over 100,000 Served

For some bloggers, over 100,000 page views is a good hour. But that’s more than double the record around here for one day. If the server hadn’t melted it might have been more.

It was a fun week. As always, thanks for reading. And if there are any new readers who came here because of the fake doctor story, I hope you stick around.

The Public Option – Individual Mandate Two-step

Filed under: General — Karl @ 7:04 am

[Posted by Karl]

Michelle Malkin thinks that the Obama administration’s softening on its proposed government-run health insurance plan is more a trial balloon than a white flag. Indeed, this weekend’s statements were not all that newsworthy. As Marc Ambinder correctly notes, Rahm Emanuel has known for months that even a neutered public plan with a trigger mechanism did not have the votes to pass. The administration will likely be forced to sneak in public insurance under the rubric of co-ops.

However, the latest “trial balloon” here was likely an unintentional blunder. The public opinion polling on ObamaCare — particularly its more high-profile elements — now generally takes the form of “Democrats support it, but not Republicans or unaffiliated voters.” Many on the Left equate healthcare reform with the “public option” trojan horse (and are suspicious of the co-op trojan horse), so to ditch it now would cause support for their campaign to crater. The Democrats simply cannot afford to abandon the government-run plan so soon.

The other big reason the Democrats cannot ditch the “public option” yet is precisely because it would allow ObamaCare critics to concentrate their fire on other key elements of their plan. That includes the co-op idea, though it should be fairly easy to discredit as the “public option in sheep’s clothing.” In the medium-term, it may be more significant that the “public option” helps the Democrats deflect fire from the individual mandate.

Killing the public plan is essential, but not enough to prevent government-run health care. Ramesh Ponnuru makes the case for focusing on the individual mandate:

First, the basic outline of Obamacare can survive ditching the public option. It can’t survive ditching the individual mandate. You can’t, for example, have a ban on insurers’ taking account of pre-existing conditions without such a mandate.

Second, the polling on an individual mandate suggests that it’s less popular than the public option — and just plain unpopular. I keep pointing out that Obama was able to win the Democratic presidential primaries without embracing a mandate, which ought to tell us something about the politics of the issue.

Third, my impression from talking to Republican congressmen about the issue is that to the extent they support this idea, that support is an inch deep. It rests on misunderstandings that are easy to clear up (notably the notion that a mandate would reduce insurance premiums by making the uninsured pay their fair share).

Fourth, we have already made our case on the public option, and we haven’t made it on the mandate.

Fifth, there are interest groups willing to keep making the case on the public option — but most of these interest groups are for the mandate since it would improve their bottom lines (at least in the short term).

Ponnuru is not entirely correct on all of those points. The Right needs to keep the heat on the “public option” — as toppling it would greatly demoralize the Democrats — but the Right also needs to start attacking the individual mandate. Though you can find polls like Quinnipiac that show opposition, you can find recent polls (e.g., Gallup and Pew) supporting the individual mandate. However, as with the politicians, that support is about an inch deep. The individual mandate gets very bad numbers if people are told there will be fines for those who do not buy insurance (EBRI and NBC/WSJ) or that some could be required to buy insurance they cannot afford or do not want (KFF). And there is a real-world example of these problems with the individual mandate:

Massachusetts has a mandate right now. They have exempted 20 percent of the uninsured because they have concluded that that 20 percent can’t afford it.

In some cases, there are people who are paying fines and still can’t afford it, so now they’re worse off than they were. They don’t have health insurance and they’re paying a fine.

That was candidate Barack Obama’s opinion. The Right needs to remind the public of this early and often.

–Karl


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