Patterico's Pontifications

9/23/2009

Bleg: Best Case for iPhone

Filed under: General — Patterico @ 9:13 pm

I just got the phone in the mail but don’t have a case. Here’s what I want:

  • An open-faced design so I never have to take it out of the case
  • Something not too bulky
  • Protection for when (not if) I drop it

Your thoughts?

IRS Severs Ties with ACORN (Updated)

Filed under: Government — DRJ @ 7:57 pm

[Guest post by DRJ]

The Internal Revenue Service has severed ties with ACORN, saying it “would no longer include ACORN in its volunteer tax assistance program” that offered “free tax advice to about 3 million low- and moderate-income tax filers” this past spring.

The IRS may have a spotty record on accuracy but it called this one right.

— DRJ

UPDATE 9/24/2009: The Treasury Department’s IG announced a “review of community organizer ACORN and IRS oversight of nonprofit organizations as a whole.”

The Safe Schools Czar

Filed under: Government,Obama — DRJ @ 7:29 pm

[Guest post by DRJ]

President Obama’s Assistant Deputy Secretary for Safe and Drug-Free Schools is Kevin Jennings who was reportedly appointed because of his efforts to discourage school bullying by establishing gay awareness chapters in schools. Some conservatives object to Jennings’ interesting qualifications:

“Jennings was obviously chosen for this job because of the safe schools aspect… defining ‘safe schools’ narrowly in terms of ‘safe for homosexuality’,” Peter Sprigg, a senior fellow at the Family Research Council, told FOXNews.com.

“But at least half of the job involves creating drug-free schools, and we’ve not been offered any evidence about what qualifications Jennings has for promoting drug-free schools.”

Jennings’ detractors note that he made four references to his personal drug abuse in his 2007 autobiography, “Mama’s Boy, Preacher’s Son: A Memoir.” On page 103, discussing his high school years in Hawaii in the early 1980s, Jennings wrote:

“I got stoned more often and went out to the beach at Bellows, overlooking Honolulu Harbor and the lights of the city, to drink with my buddies on Friday and Saturday nights, spending hours watching the planes take off and land at the airport, which is actually quite fascinating when you are drunk and stoned.”

In addition, Jennings reportedly expressed contempt for religion and “detailed an incident in which he did not report an underage student who told him he was having sex with older men.”

And in an apparently successful effort to offend conservatives with the trifecta of religion, drugs and sex, Jennings defended a presentation at an “educational seminar for kids that graphically described some unorthodox sex techniques” including fisting. Jennings’ chief concern seemed to be that the presentation had been taped. I wonder if he knows ACORN’s Bertha Lewis?

— DRJ

ACORN Sues Breitbart, O’Keefe and Giles (Updated)

Filed under: Law,Politics — DRJ @ 5:47 pm

[Guest post by DRJ]

ACORN and two former Baltimore office employees have filed a multimillion dollar lawsuit against Andrew Breitbart, James O’Keefe and Hannah Giles:

“The liberal activist group contends that the audio portion of the video was obtained illegally because Maryland law requires the consent of both parties to record private conversations.

The employees seen in the video, Tonja Thompson and Shera Williams, were fired after it was posted online. Thompson and Williams are plaintiffs in the lawsuit, which says they suffered “extreme emotional distress with attendant physical symptoms and injury to their reputations.”
***
The lawsuit claims the video damaged ACORN’s reputation and asks for injunctions barring its further broadcast or distribution. It seeks $2 million in compensatory damages — $1 million for ACORN and $500,000 for each of the two former employees — as well as $1 million in punitive damages from each of the three defendants.”

I’m sure he didn’t mean it this way, but it sounds like the plaintiff’s lawyer asserts the secret video violated his clients’ right to be dumb:

“Andrew D. Freeman — an attorney for ACORN, Thompson and Williams — said the former employees did not wish to comment but that the emotional distress claim “is not an exaggeration.”

“They’re doing their best not to watch television. They’ve sort of been prisoners in their own homes,” Freeman said. “While everyone, including them, agrees that some of the things they said were dumb, in Maryland we have a right to say dumb things in the privacy of our homes and offices without fear of being taped and without fear of being splashed all over the Internet.”

Is there a right to be dumb while using federal funds (excluding Congress, of course — that’s a given)?

I can’t believe ACORN filed this lawsuit. It could be as riveting as the O.J. case except, unlike a criminal case, a civil case has discovery. ACORN will undoubtedly do everything it can to have discovery sealed and request a gag order on the parties and attorneys, and that may partially explain why the lawsuit is framed as a privacy issue.

H/T Audacity.

— DRJ

UPDATE: Ken at Popehat looks at some of the legal and political issues of ACORN’s lawsuit and concludes: “What was ACORN thinking?”

President Obama at the UN (Updated)

Filed under: International,Obama — DRJ @ 4:13 pm

[Guest post by DRJ]

President Obama spoke today at the United Nations — because why should diplomats and world leaders miss out on what Americans get to hear every week?

“Following a president criticized for making my-way-or-the-highway “requests” of allies, Obama didn’t demand so much as he chided and cajoled. It’s now an inextricably interconnected world, he said, so that each country’s problems become the others’ and hardly anything can be solved in one place without participation from elsewhere.

In the year 2009 — more than at any point in human history — the interests of nations and peoples are shared,” Obama said.”

Really? It seems like a typically polarized world to me. And I’m not sure even Obama believes his rhetoric since he followed that with a litany of chronic international challenges: to stand against nuclear proliferation in North Korea and Iran, to fulfill the promise of international law, and to get serious about peace the Middle East.

Obama also acknowledged America’s failures on global warming, one of the admissions Fidel Castro praised as “brave”:

“That admission of America’s past errors “was without a doubt a brave gesture,” Castro wrote in comments published by Cuban state-media Wednesday.

“It would only be fair to recognize that no other United States president would have had the courage to say what he said,” the former Cuban leader continued.”

But tomorrow’s headlines won’t all go to Obama in light of the speech by Libya’s Gaddafi. Gaddafi was marginalized during the Bush years but he is resurfacing during the reign of “our son Obama”:

“As it happens the UN General Assembly is currently being chaired by a Libyan diplomat, Ali Treki. He had insisted that all heads of state speak for no longer than 15 minutes. But he did not apply this to Gaddafi, who he introduced in neutral style as “king of kings and leader of the revolution.” The Libyan leader rambled on for some 96 minutes, reading off scraps of paper, and throwing the UN schedule into chaos.

Now clearly Gaddafi is going to get bad reviews in the morning papers here in the US. But I have to say that some of what he had to say made perfect sense. It is entirely true that the structure of the UN Security Council is anomalous and outdated (although it was perhaps a bit harsh to call it “the terror council”). Gaddafi’s analysis of why it is so hard to reform the council was also bang on the money – each time you suggest one country, you trigger a demand from the next one in the queue. (So if you suggest Germany, Italy jumps up and down.) And his proposed solution – a Security Council of regional organisations such as the EU, Asean, the African Union – sounded like an elegant way out. Gaddafi was even quite witty. I liked his comparison of the UN General Assembly to Speakers Corner in London; you can speak as much as you like, it is just that you will be ignored. It must be admitted that there were also some pretty eccentric statements. Obama could probably have done without being called “our son Obama” by the colonel. (Is he still a colonel?) It was an odd forum in which to call for a fresh inquiry into the Kennedy assassination. And I’m not sure how many people will agree that the H1N1 flu virus is a military weapon.

But that’s the thing. Many of Gaddafi’s statements, which will be scorned in the West, actually probably resonate in the developing world. His views on the Security Council are widely shared. President Lula of Brazil said something not too dissimilair [sic].”

The author of the last link sees Gaddafi’s speech as more evidence of the UN’s irrelevance, and even left-leaning organizations like the Brookings Institute recognize the United Nations is adrift and toothless when it comes to serious issues. International organizations should focus on common interests rather than engage in the fiction that member nations will act against their self-interests. Let liberals keep their UN as no more than a social club but, for real progress, an alliance of democratic nations or regional coalitions of democracies makes more sense in today’s world.

— DRJ

UPDATE: John Bolton said Obama “put Israel on the chopping block” when he declared “America does not accept the legitimacy of continued Israeli settlements.”

More ACORN Stings

Filed under: Humor — DRJ @ 3:28 pm

[Guest post by DRJ]

Frank J. writing at PJ Media reports the previously untold stories. Here’s a sample:

“It was quite surprising to see how O’Keefe and Giles — dressed in ridiculous outfits that shouldn’t have fooled anyone and having such over-the-top horrible intentions like underage prostitution — were able to get so much friendly help from so many different ACORN offices. But after that success they kept trying again with even more ridiculous costumes and evil intentions to see if there was anything that ACORN would not approve.

Here are their results:
***
The Sting: O’Keefe and Giles dressed up as hardened drug dealers and contacted an ACORN office for help finding a place to set up a meth lab. They also specified that they wanted it to be near an elementary school so they wouldn’t have to travel far for sales.

The Result: They were turned away, and the ACORN employee told them ACORN had already helped set up numerous meth labs near the elementary schools and the community just couldn’t support any more competition in that area.”

He’s kidding … but it’s getting harder and harder to tell these days.

— DRJ

ObamaCare: Is the GOP finally turning on the mandate?

Filed under: General — Karl @ 10:12 am

[Posted by Karl]

Sen. Chuck Grassley had already shifted his position to oppose forcing Americans to buy health insurance. Now it seems that Sen. GOP Whip Jon Kyl is calling the individual mandate a “stunning assault on liberty,” which suggests it may become a party position:

The attacks have confounded Democrats in and out of government, who noted quickly that mandating coverage was, until recently, a relative given when it came to health care reform.

“It’s f–ing ludicrous,” said one health care reform activist, who noted that when Finance Committee Chairman Max Baucus (D-Mont.) asked committee members to air their disagreements with an individual mandate during a meeting on May 5, no one chimed in.

May was months ago. Talk Left’s Big Tent Democrat and AMERICAblog’s John Avarosis are much less surprised, though mostly out of cynicism. The fact is that the GOP followed the same pattern in 1993-94 — initially backing mandates, then backing off as big government healthcare schemes proved unpopular with voters.

A new Zogby poll has more bad news for mandates:

Less popular with 2010 voters is a key provision in Sen. Max Baucus’, D-Mont., recently unveiled health care bill that would require all Americans to purchase health insurance or face a hefty fine. A clear majority of voters in competitive Senate races (68 percent) oppose such a provision, as do 70 percent of voters in competitive House races.

Also unpopular is the so-called “employer mandate,” which would require large and small businesses to provide health insurance to their employees or face a fine. Fifty-nine percent of voters in competitive Senate races oppose the “employer mandate,” as do 60 percent of voters in competitive House races.

I generally take a Zogby poll with a grain of salt. However, the new NBC/WSJ poll has 59% of adults against the individual mandate, and there are currently more McCainocrat districts than Obamacan districts, so the Zogby numbers have a certain logic.

And while the mandate is an assault on liberty, the GOP would be well advised to start telling the public that a mandate-based system will likely result in soaring premiums and soaring healthcare costs, and from there to rationing. Sometimes, voters in the middle need to be reminded what the blessings of liberty are in practical terms.

–Karl

The Left Only Pretended to Be for the War in Afghanistan

Filed under: General — Patterico @ 7:18 am

Now they tell us:

Escalation is a bad idea. The Democrats backed themselves into defending the idea of Afghanistan being The Good War because they felt they needed to prove their macho bonafides when they called for withdrawal from Iraq. Nobody asked too many questions sat [sic] the time, including me. But none of us should forget that it was a political strategy, not a serious foreign policy.

There have been many campaign promises “adjusted” since the election. There is no reason that the administration should feel any more bound to what they said about this than all the other committments [sic] it has blithely turned aside in the interest of “pragmatism.”

In an update published after NRO linked her post, well-respected leftist blogger “digby” defends the honor of Democrats by explaining:

They weren’t pacifists. They were just liars and political opportunists.

Ah.

L.A. Times: Whoops, They Were Explorers and Not Cops

Filed under: Dog Trainer — Patterico @ 7:14 am

The L.A. Times ran this correction yesterday (thanks to Bradley J. Fikes):

Boyle Heights police station: A caption in Sunday’s California section, accompanying a photo and article about the opening of a Boyle Heights police station, misidentified Explorer Scouts in the photo as L.A. police officers.

That’s one error corrected, and only two more to go.

Apparently they still believe that the area covered by the new Hollenbeck station is a circle with a diameter of over 30 miles, because they didn’t correct that part.

Nor do I see a correction of the story where they claimed water weighs less than half of what it actually does.

Hey, 1 for 3 ain’t bad, I guess would be the editors’ logic. In the major leagues, .333 gets you a nice contract.

Of course, this paper really isn’t in the major leagues any more.

P.S. Someone contacted me privately and complained that I was nitpicking when I pointed out this error. Perhaps, but I think the editors of the local paper need to know what the local police agency’s uniform looks like. Seriously: they do.

Tijuana-San Diego Port Temporarily Closed

Filed under: Immigration — DRJ @ 12:09 am

[Guest post by DRJ]

The San Ysidro border crossing was closed for several hours Tuesday after three vans holding 70 illegal immigrants tried to evade the heavy security and cross into the United States:

“Three vans attempted to run the port through one of the northbound vehicle lanes to avoid inspection,” De Cima said, adding that two agents fired their weapons. “I cannot confirm that fire was returned,” she added.
***
The brazen attempt was unprecedented at the heavily guarded crossing where helicopters circle overhead and armed agents with dogs keep watch at a series of staggered checkpoints.

All the illegal immigrants were arrested and taken into custody. The crossing, a major smuggling corridor for narcotics and illegal immigrants, was shut while police conducted the investigation.”

Border agents fired on the vehicles, wounding three occupants and a motorist.

— DRJ


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