Patterico's Pontifications

10/5/2009

Tasered Granny Takes $40K Settlement

Filed under: Crime,Government — DRJ @ 6:57 pm

[Guest post by DRJ]

Kathryn Winkfein, the 72-year-old Texas grandmother who was tasered by a Texas constable, has accepted the $40,000 settlement offered by the Travis County commissioners. Her resisting arrest charge is still pending but I suspect it will be dismissed.

Some of the taxpaying commenters at the second link seem unhappy with this result. But one commenter, Derek, said he would “gladly get tazed for far less than 40k….”

— DRJ

Comedy News Network FAIL

Filed under: General — Karl @ 5:47 pm

[Posted by Karl]

CNN ran a segment fact-checking last weekend’s SNL cold opening mocking Pres. Obama’s lack of accomplishment (Allahpundit’s subhead: “Yes, really”). So at least some of the president’s media enablers have the concerns about it I raised this morning.

CNN ought to concern itself with CNN’s problems.  Fox News Channel’s Red Eye is now drawing higher ratings in the key demo at 3 a.m. than CNN’s Campbell Brown gets at 8 p.m.  Red Eye is also beating MSNBC’s Morning Joe, CNN’s American Morning and HLN’s Morning Express.

If CNN wants to mix comedy and news, they should learn to do it on purpose, like Red Eye.  Otherwise, the joke is on them.

–Karl

Keep Austin Weird

Filed under: Humor — DRJ @ 4:36 pm

[Guest post by DRJ]

Ever wonder about the Austin, Texas, motto “Keep Austin Weird”? I think it exists in part because Austinites enjoy their reputation as being slightly off-beat.

Here’s an Austin American-Statesman link that has a Woodstock-style photo of a recent Austin City Limits festival. It shows an unplanned mud pit with barely-dressed revelers and this caption:

“Heavy rains Saturday led to mud pits Sunday in some parts of Zilker Park during the final day of the Austin City Limits Music Festival. The mud seemed to be mostly Dillo Dirt, a compost made from yard trimmings and treated sewage sludge, which was used in recent lawn improvements.”

That gives new meaning to grunge, and they had to close a portion of Zilker Park because the rain and revelers ruined the newly-installed sod.

I love Austin and Austinites but some of them are quite eccentric.

— DRJ

ACORN Embezzlement May Have Been $5 Million (Updated)

Filed under: Crime,Government — DRJ @ 4:22 pm

[Guest post by DRJ]

The ACORN hits just keep coming:

“An internal review by the board of directors of the community organization ACORN determined that the amount allegedly embezzled from the community organization was $5 million, well more than the previously reported amount of nearly $1 million, according to a new subpoena in an investigation by Louisiana Attorney General Buddy Caldwell.

The subpoena, released this afternoon, says, “It is still unclear if some of the monies embezzled are from state, federal or private funds.”

ACORN CEO Bertha Lewis labeled the accusation “completely false.”

I posted earlier on the Louisiana investigation here.

— DRJ

UPDATE 10/6/2009: More problems for ACORN. Pam Geller at Atlas Shrugs has an exclusive interview with a Jacksonville FL woman who says the local ACORN office threw out Republican voter registrations.

Obama Angry at McChrystal?

Filed under: Obama,War — DRJ @ 3:44 pm

[Guest post by DRJ]

President Obama’s 25-minute meeting in Copenhagen with General McChrystal may have been more about Obama dressing down McChrystal than a discussion of military strategy:

“According to sources close to the administration, Gen McChrystal shocked and angered presidential advisers with the bluntness of a speech given in London last week.

The next day he was summoned to an awkward 25-minute face-to-face meeting on board Air Force One on the tarmac in Copenhagen, where the president had arrived to tout Chicago’s unsuccessful Olympic bid.

In an apparent rebuke to the commander, Robert Gates, the Defence Secretary, said: “It is imperative that all of us taking part in these deliberations, civilians and military alike, provide our best advice to the president, candidly but privately.”

When asked on CNN about the commander’s public lobbying for more troops, Gen Jim Jones, national security adviser, said:

“Ideally, it’s better for military advice to come up through the chain of command.”

McChrystal’s sin? He advocated for more troops and described Vice President Biden’s Afghanistan strategy to use more drones and less troops as “Chaos-istan.” An Obama adviser explained why McChrystal was wrong to say this:

“People aren’t sure whether McChrystal is being naïve or an upstart. To my mind he doesn’t seem ready for this Washington hard-ball and is just speaking his mind too plainly.”

Candidate Obama wanted generals to speak freely before the election and he promised to listen to them if he was elected:

“Obama said that while President Bush has said that he follows the advice of his generals regarding Iraq, when they give the president advice he doesn’t like — cautioning against the War in Iraq, for example — Bush doesn’t listen to them.

“There were generals at the beginning of the conflict that said this is going to require many more troops, will cost us much more … those generals were pushed aside,” Obama said.”

I support President Obama’s right to make this decision and I hope he keeps his campaign promise to try to win the war in Afghanistan. I also understand a concern that military strategy decisions should be made in the Pentagon and the White House, and not in the court of public opinion.

But McChrystal’s report and request for troops was dated August 30 and troops are dying in record numbers in Afghanistan. This is as much about Obama’s procrastination in making a decision as it is about McChrystal, and my hope is Obama will make a decision soon.

— DRJ

Obama Rejects Dalai Lama

Filed under: International,Obama — DRJ @ 3:18 pm

[Guest post by DRJ]

In October 2007, President Bush honored the Dalai Lama with the Congressional Gold Medal:

“Though Bush said the ceremony was not meant to antagonize the Chinese, he made repeated references to religious oppression.

“Americans cannot look to the plight of the religiously oppressed and close our eyes or turn away,” Bush said.

Calling the Dalai Lama a “universal symbol of peace and tolerance, a shepherd to the faithful and a keeper of the flame for his people,” Bush presented the medallion to the Dalai Lama.”

Bipartisan leaders lauded the Dalai Lama for promoting peace. President Bush noted that, as a boy, the Dalai Lama had kept a “model of the Statue of Liberty by his bedside.”

Two years later, the Dalai Lama isn’t welcome in Obama’s White House because it might upset the Chinese:

“President Barack Obama has refused to meet the Dalai Lama in Washington this week in a move to curry favour with the Chinese.

The decision came after China stepped up a campaign urging nations to shun the Tibetan spiritual leader.

It means Mr Obama will become the first president not to welcome the Nobel peace prize winner to the White House since the Dalai Lama began visiting Washington in 1991.

The Buddhist monk arrived in Washington on Monday for a week of meetings with Congressional leaders, celebrity supporters and interest groups, but the president will not see him until after he has made his first visit to China next month.”

This is just another example of Obama’s willingness to make unilateral concessions to placate the world’s most dangerous regimes. It’s also an example of Obama’s hypocrisy as a candidate, President and man:

“Mr Obama has changed his position on Tibet since his election campaign.

In April 2008, he was joined by Hillary Clinton, then his rival for the Democratic nomination and now his Secretary of State, in calling on George W Bush to boycott the Beijing Olympics opening ceremony in protest at the bloody repression of a popular uprising in Tibet.

“If the Chinese do not take steps to help stop the genocide in Darfur and to respect the dignity, security, and human rights of the Tibetan people, then the President should boycott the opening ceremonies,” they said.”

This is not what a man of principle would do and it’s not what the President of the United States of America should do.

— DRJ

First Monday in October

Filed under: Crime,Law — DRJ @ 2:55 pm

[Guest post by DRJ]

What happens on the first Monday in October? A new Supreme Court term has begun, and this term has an interesting criminal law case:

“Michael Shatzer was imprisoned at the Maryland Correctional Institution in Hagerstown for child sexual abuse in 2003 when police questioned him about allegations that he sexually abused his 3-year-old young son. When Shatzer refused to talk to a police officer and asked for a lawyer, the questioning ended and the case was dropped.

In 2006, Shatzer’s son was old enough to offer details. When a different police officer approached Shatzer in prison about the allegations two years and seven months later, Shatzer waived his Miranda rights, made incriminating statements, failed a polygraph test and was eventually convicted.

Lower courts threw out his confession because he asked for an attorney when he was first questioned in 2003.

Justice Samuel Alito asked Shatzer’s lawyer, public defender Celia Davis, if her interpretation of the law meant police can’t talk to a suspect who asked for a lawyer when being questioned about joyriding in 1999, but is arrested for murder in 2009.

“Yes, it does,” she replied.

“You don’t think that’s a ridiculous application of the rule?” Alito said.

Davis said the request for a lawyer should apply even if 40 years later the person is a suspect in a civil rights violation that related to the murder.

“You’re saying for 40 years, he’s immunized from being approached by police?” said Sotomayor, who was sitting in on her first regular argument as a Supreme Court justice.”

Sotomayor reportedly “peppered the arguing lawyers with as many questions as her eight more experienced colleagues,” which either means she asked a similar number of questions as each individual Justice … or that she asked as many questions as all 8 put together.

More importantly, the Justices discussed possible solutions to this problem that can be found at the link. It’s an important issue for the police, prosecutors, attorneys, and citizens.

— DRJ

Doctors for Obama

Filed under: Health Care,Obama — DRJ @ 1:34 pm

[Guest post by DRJ]

President Obama appeared in the Rose Garden today at a health insurance reform event with doctors from across the country. It was an impressive event, in part because the doctors all wore their white coats. But despite the united front presented at this Presidential photo op, many doctors don’t agree with President Obama’s health care agenda … possibly including some who appeared with the President today:

The video is posted at TakeBackMedicine.com, a website sponsored by the Association of American Physicians and Surgeons (AAPS). Here is a portion of the description included with the video:

Dr. Eric Novack was one of the 50 doctors invited to the White House photo op today. But he turned down the invitation, because he has lead the fight to pass state legislation and constitutional amendments to prohibit individual insurance mandates.

They had 16 hours to Google me, but I guess no one bothered,” Dr. Novack told Kathryn Serkes, Director of Policy and Public Affairs for the Association of American Physicians and Surgeons (AAPS) in a video interview available at www.TakeBackMedicine.com.

Dr. Novack says that it was very tempting to accept the “once-in-a-lifetime” invitation, but in the end, he had to say no. But it also makes him question whether the doctors who will be there today actually support the President, or even understand all of the details of the bills.

“Are these doctors just star-struck, or do they have real knowledge about what they are supporting?” asked Serkes. “It’s looking like another dog-and-pony-show, and doctors should not be used in this shameful manner. First the President vilifies them, now he wants their help.”

“And at the very least, it makes the White House look like it does some very sloppy work,” added Serkes.”

AAPS’s TakeBackMedicine.com has answers to several health care myths. The organization also sued the Obama Administration regarding the existence of and data from the “fishy emails” program.

— DRJ

UPDATE BY PATTERICO: More on those spiffy white coats here.

Associate Producer of Polanski Documentary Admits Anonymous Attacks on Me and Apologizes

Filed under: General — Patterico @ 6:25 am

I have added the following update to my post about the anonymous attacks on me from an associate producer of the Polanski documentary:

Ms. Sullivan has identified herself as the author of the post and apologized personally to me. She stresses that she was writing in a private capacity — without the knowledge of her former production team. She has also apologized to the producers for any embarrassment or misunderstanding caused. I ask my commenters to refrain from posting her picture, insulting her, or other similar behavior.

SNL and the Obamalypics: Only the beginning?

Filed under: General — Karl @ 6:24 am

[Posted by Karl]

This weekend’s SNL cold opening, in which Pres. Obama (impersonated badly by Fred Armisen) riffs over his list of non-accomplishments, may be a blip — or the beginning of something larger. Allahpundit notes the omissions from that list, e.g., doing anything about Iran’s nuclear program, but that is no surprise. Even including the infamous bailout sketch, the number of SNL sketches written with any sort of conservative viewpoint over the show’s decades on-air can probably be counted on one hand.

More broadly, while SNL always tries to cultivate an “edgy” image, the reality is that its treatment of the presidency has never had much of a sharp, satiric edge. Nor has it been based much on policy. Writing at Big Hollywood earlier this year, Chris Stigall accurately describes what the show really does:

Pick your high-profile candidate or president of the last 30 years and Saturday Night Live created a lasting and often crippling parody of their character and leadership flaws. Chevy Chase’s Ford was a bumbling klutz and Dan Aykroyd’s Carter, a smooth and smiling empty suit. Dana Carvey’s elder Bush was stilted with scripted throwaway lines. Phil Hartman’s Regan [sic!] was gentile on the outside but a calculating power-broker on the inside. Every year, every election they kept them coming.

Bill Clinton was a McDonald’s-starved sex fiend. George W. Bush was a cocky moron led by the cold, sinister Dick Cheney. Remember Ross Perot and his charts, Admiral Stockdale’s loony rants, and Al Gore’s petulant, haughty sighs? Michael Dukakis had bushy eyebrows and a losing attitude. Hillary Clinton was a woman desperate for power at all costs and Joe Biden is a slick-talking, loud, brash, phony everyman with a Cheshire Cat grin. All classic SNL created characters still sold on collector DVDs to this day.

Stigall had already covered the show’s treatment of Sarah Palin, which was much in the same vein.

That SNL treated Pres. Obama essentially the way it treated Carter, after months of sketches where wacky things happened around the cool, collected Pres. Obama, is not a good development for the White House. It may be, in itself, a small thing, but it is potentially a telling one. The sketch included a reference to Chicago’s failed Olympic bid, and — as an e-mailer to Jonah Goldberg noted:

Unlike much of the political and economic arcana that has illustrated Obama’s failures, this one comes in an area that tens of millions of largely apolitical Americans are very emotionally invested in, sports. This is the lead story on ESPN right now. Lots of people who to this day have never heard of ACORN or Tim Geithner or TARP are being exposed to a major Obama failure. So I don’t at all see this as just an “inside the Beltway” failure; it’s more outside the Beltway than anything that’s ever been laid at his feet before.

Similarly, it is a fair guess that much of the SNL audience is not glued to C-SPAN the rest of the week.

The fact that Obama has yet to accomplish much of his agenda, even with a Democratic Congress (a fact the sketch pointedly mentions) is bad for the administration on several levels. It encourages his critics, depresses his supporters, and suggests to the apolitical middle that Obama is not competent. The last is significant because competence is perceived as a non-partisan issue. Whatever someone thinks of the Obama agenda, his failure on so much of it to date reflects badly on him.

Competence may not be a voting issue per se (In 1988, Dukakis tried to run on competence to run away from ideology), but it can be a accelerant to pre-existing discontent as he makes further missteps, much as Pres. Bush’s perceived failure in response to Hurricane Katrina further fueled his waning popularity over Iraq. It is the sort of thing likely to leave a mark, subconsciously or otherwise, on the weekend when unemployment reached its highest point since 1983. It is not a narrative Obama wants to take hold in the popular culture.

Such jokes carry more political sting than than jokes about Bill Clinton not being able to keep his fly closed, as some could dismiss that as a private matter. Indeed, Clinton survived the Lewinsky scandal in large part because he could always talk about working hard for the American people. He also survived in part because the economy was in good shape. Here, Obama is being mocked as ineffectual in the midst of economic misery.

Of course, if Obama can muscle a government takeover of the US healthcare system through Congress, folks on the staff of SNL will go back to honeymoon mode. But if he falters, he can look forward to being the butt of incompetency jokes for years.

–Karl


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