Patterico's Pontifications

3/27/2010

Road to the Final Four (Updated)

Filed under: Sports — DRJ @ 9:16 pm

[Guest post by DRJ]

Today’s games:

Butler over Kansas State 63-56.

West Virginia beat Kentucky 73-66.

Sunday’s games:

Tennessee plays Michigan State at 2:20 PM EST. [EDIT: Michigan State won 70-69.]

Baylor takes on Duke at 5:05 PM EST. [EDIT: Duke won 78-71.]

– DRJ

UPDATE 3/28/2010: The Final Four will be Butler-Michigan State and West Virginia-Duke.

ObamaCare’s Impact, Week 1

Filed under: Health Care,Obama — DRJ @ 8:56 pm

[Guest post by DRJ]

Le-gal In-sur-rec-tion on “Obamacare’s Chickens Coming Home To Roost Already” (Subtitle: Why We Care About Corporate Write-downs):

“Numerous companies already have announced enormous financial write-downs related to Obamacare’s cutback of subsidies for prescription drug benefit programs for retirees.

These subsidies, while characterized by Democrats as “loopholes,” actually saved the government money because it cost less to subsidize private drug programs than for the government to provide the same benefit through Medicare: …
***
If these were just financial write-downs, the Democrats would not care.

But as explained at Powerline, the result will be the elimination of these private benefits for retirees …”

In a fair media environment, it would also mean bad press for Obama and the Democrats.

– DRJ

Maddow Wants an Apology

Filed under: Politics — DRJ @ 6:40 pm

[Guest post by DRJ]

MSNBC’s Rachel Maddow wants an apology because Senator Scott Brown is making money from talking about her.

Jules Crittenden asks: “Wait a minute! Isn’t that pretty much what Maddow does with pols?”

Heh.

– DRJ

This is Health Care Reform?

Filed under: Health Care,Obama,Politics — DRJ @ 6:22 pm

[Guest post by DRJ]

Obama just got his private Army.

Originally posted by American Daughter, who has more details.

– DRJ

Shuster vs. Jackson on Tea Party Violence (Updated x2)

Filed under: Politics,Race — DRJ @ 5:43 pm

[Guest post by DRJ]

Thanks to Dana for a link to David Shuster trying to convince Kevin Jackson that the violent imagery and rhetoric by the Tea Partiers is “getting out of hand:”


‘The BIG Black Lie’ Author Debates MSNBC’s Shuster on Tea Party

In addition, Shane in the comments notices the Washington Post’s Colbert I. King as he sounds off on a related theme — that Tea Partiers could be violent and racist:

“The angry faces at Tea Party rallies are eerily familiar. They resemble faces of protesters lining the street at the University of Alabama in 1956 as Autherine Lucy, the school’s first black student, bravely tried to walk to class.

Those same jeering faces could be seen gathered around the Arkansas National Guard troopers who blocked nine black children from entering Little Rock’s Central High School in 1957.

“They moved closer and closer,” recalled Elizabeth Eckford, one of the Little Rock Nine. “Somebody started yelling, ‘Lynch her! Lynch her!’ I tried to see a friendly face somewhere in the crowd — someone who maybe could help. I looked into the face of an old woman and it seemed a kind face, but when I looked at her again, she spat on me.”

The newest Democratic talking points: Be afraid of your neighbors, Republicans, and everyone except Obama and the Democrats.

– DRJ

UPDATE — From the Daily Caller, the Tea Party Express says its buses were egged by Harry Reid supporters in Searchlight, Nevada:

“Buses en route to a mega Tea Party event in Nevada — centered around protesting against Democratic Sen. Harry Reid — were egged by the senator’s supporters Saturday, the Tea Party Express claimed.

The Tea Party Express — known for taking bus tours across the country and holding rallies — said in a release that eggs were thrown at their iconic buses by about 35 counter demonstrators who lined on Hwy. 95 in Searchlight, Nev. Thousands of conservative grassroots activists have descended upon the tiny Western town for a rally that Sarah Palin keynoted Saturday afternoon.

But the Reid campaign denied any involvement and campaign spokesman Zac Petkanas said they don’t know who threw the eggs. “It wasn’t anyone with the Reid campaign or the supporters who were waving signs with us,” Petkanas said. “We certainly don’t condone it.”

If “We didn’t do it and don’t condone it” is good enough for Democrats, it should be good enough for Republicans, too.

UPDATE 2: Andrew Breitbart has a first person report from Searchlight, NV:

Mickey Kaus for Senate: “It’s On”

Filed under: Politics — DRJ @ 5:09 pm

[Guest post by DRJ]

Mickey Kaus is officially a candidate for the United States Senate seat currently held by Barbara Boxer, running in the Democratic primary:

“I just received the official candidates’ notice from the California Secretary of State’s office. It’s on.

There are serious issues to be raised, and I will do my best to raise them.”

Michael Barone describes Kaus (or maybe Kaus describes himself) as a strong but idiosyncratic Democrat:

“Mickey insists he is a strong Democrat, but he’s an idiosyncratic one: he supports current Democratic health care legislation, but opposes comprehensive immigration legislation that includes legalization of illegal immigrants, and he strongly supported welfare reform in the 1990s.”

I like to see more competition, in business and in politics, so the more the merrier. Plus it’s fun to see a blogger take the plunge.

The Democratic primary is June 8.

– DRJ

Obama Makes Recess Appointments, Including Craig Becker

Filed under: Government,Obama,Politics — DRJ @ 3:41 pm

[Guest post by DRJ]

The White House announced 15 recess appointments to be made while the Senate is on its Easter vacation:

“I simply cannot allow partisan politics to stand in the way of the basic functioning of government,” Obama said in a statement.

The 15 appointees to boards and agencies include the contentious choice of union lawyer Craig Becker to the National Labor Relations Board. Republicans had blocked his nomination on grounds he would bring a radical pro-union agenda to the job, and they called on Obama not to appoint Becker over the recess.
***
The White House dropped the news in a press release on a quiet Saturday, with Obama at Camp David and lawmakers home in their districts.

The recess appointments mean the 15 people could serve in their jobs through the end of 2011, when the next Senate finishes its term. A recess appointment ends at the completion of the next Senate session or when a person is nominated and confirmed to the job, whichever comes first.”

Becker was counsel to both the SEIU and the AFL-CIO and is a proponent of card check, but his views are extreme even among liberals:

“For example, in a 1993 Minnesota Law Review article he explained that “traditional” democracy should not apply in union elections. He believes that employers should be barred from attending NLRB hearings regarding elections, and from challenging election results even when there are allegations of union misconduct. He wrote: “The law leaves the Board discretion to determine the appropriate parties to hearings in representation cases. It should exercise this discretion by specifying that the only parties to both pre- and post-election hearings are employees and the unions seeking to represent them.”

Becker also believes that union elections should be removed from the work site and held on “neutral grounds,” or via mail ballots. Employers should also be barred from “placing observers at the polls to challenge ballots.”

Furthermore, Becker favors a new “body of campaign rules” that would severely limit the ability of employers to argue against unionization. Becker wrote that any “captive audience” meeting a company holds in which it states its anti-union positions ought to be grounds for overturning an election. He also contends that a company that distributes anti-union material should be forced to allow union access to its private property to distribute pro-union material.

And Becker goes even further — he’s even suggested that unions should be mandatory, whether employees want them or not. As reported by the National Right to Work newsletter, Becker stated, “Just as U.S. citizens cannot opt against having a congressman, workers should not be able to choose against having a union as their monopoly-bargaining agent.”

The U.S. Chamber of Commerce also expressed concerns in a July 2009 letter to the Senate Committee on Health, Education, Labor and Pensions when Becker was nominated. The letter questions Becker’s neutrality and ability to fairly administer and enforce labor laws given his radical beliefs on employer rights and how labor law changes can be implemented.

The AFL-CIO’s Stewart Acuff explained how labor plans to get card check:

“We are very close to the 60 votes we need. It we aren’t able to pass the Employee Free Choice Act, we will work with President Obama and Vice President Biden and their appointees to the National Labor Relations Board to change the rules governing forming a union through administrative action to once again allow workers in America access to one of the most basic freedoms in a democracy–the freedom of speech and assembly and association so that workers can build the collective power to challenge the Financial Elite and Get America Back to Work.”

After health care, we know Obama is a partisan who supports a radical agenda for America. Craig Becker is part of that agenda and that doesn’t bode well for businesses.

– DRJ

Profiling the Tea Party People

Filed under: Politics — DRJ @ 3:39 pm

[Guest post by DRJ]

Dr. Helen considers Tea Party people and separates the ordinary from the extraordinary:

“The ordinary are the elite politicians who think that they know what is best and try to foster their will on these independent citizens. The ordinary are those who demand that government give us cradle to grave entitlements that lead to a loss of freedom and an increasing debt to be carried for years to come. The ordinary are the media who are so biased in favor of the Obama administration that they do what they can to smear these extraordinary citizens for daring to voice their opinions.

The extraordinary are the citizens who are refusing to be ordinary and go along with the program down The Road to Serfdom.”

Follow the link to Dr. Helen’s post for more on a Quinnipiac poll that breaks down the Tea Party demographics.

– DRJ

The Back Story: Obama and Israel

Filed under: International,Obama — DRJ @ 12:53 am

[Guest post by DRJ]

The Instapundit speculates about what’s behind Obama’s recent treatment of Netanyahu:

“But it’s also possible — I’d say likely — that there’s something else going on. I think Obama expects Israel to strike Iran, and wants to put distance between the United States and Israel in advance of that happening. (Perhaps he even thinks that treating Israel rudely will provoke such a response, saving him the trouble of doing anything about Iran himself, and avoiding the risk that things might go wrong if he does). On the most optimistic level, maybe this whole thing is a sham, and the U.S. is really helping Israel strike Iran, with this as distraction. The question for readers is which of these — not necessarily mutually exclusive — explanations is most plausible.”

I think there is something more going on but I’m not sure it’s solely, or even mainly, about Iran. On March 13, Mark Perry writing at Foreign Policy made some surprising claims:

“On Jan. 16, two days after a killer earthquake hit Haiti, a team of senior military officers from the U.S. Central Command (responsible for overseeing American security interests in the Middle East), arrived at the Pentagon to brief Joint Chiefs of Staff Chairman Adm. Michael Mullen on the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. The team had been dispatched by CENTCOM commander Gen. David Petraeus to underline his growing worries at the lack of progress in resolving the issue. The 33-slide, 45-minute PowerPoint briefing stunned Mullen. The briefers reported that there was a growing perception among Arab leaders that the U.S. was incapable of standing up to Israel, that CENTCOM’s mostly Arab constituency was losing faith in American promises, that Israeli intransigence on the Israeli-Palestinian conflict was jeopardizing U.S. standing in the region, and that Mitchell himself was (as a senior Pentagon officer later bluntly described it) “too old, too slow … and too late.”

The January Mullen briefing was unprecedented. No previous CENTCOM commander had ever expressed himself on what is essentially a political issue; which is why the briefers were careful to tell Mullen that their conclusions followed from a December 2009 tour of the region where, on Petraeus’s instructions, they spoke to senior Arab leaders. “Everywhere they went, the message was pretty humbling,” a Pentagon officer familiar with the briefing says. “America was not only viewed as weak, but its military posture in the region was eroding.” But Petraeus wasn’t finished: two days after the Mullen briefing, Petraeus sent a paper to the White House requesting that the West Bank and Gaza (which, with Israel, is a part of the European Command — or EUCOM), be made a part of his area of operations. Petraeus’s reason was straightforward: with U.S. troops deployed in Iraq and Afghanistan, the U.S. military had to be perceived by Arab leaders as engaged in the region’s most troublesome conflict.”

Perry later updated his post to say Petraeus communicated with Admiral Mullen, not the White House, and that Petraeus only asked for authority over Palestinian territories and not Israel. But his bottom line remained unchanged:

“There are important and powerful lobbies in America: the NRA, the American Medical Association, the lawyers — and the Israeli lobby. But no lobby is as important, or as powerful, as the U.S. military. While commentators and pundits might reflect that Joe Biden’s trip to Israel has forever shifted America’s relationship with its erstwhile ally in the region, the real break came in January, when David Petraeus sent a briefing team to the Pentagon with a stark warning: America’s relationship with Israel is important, but not as important as the lives of America’s soldiers. Maybe Israel gets the message now.”

Yesterday, ABC News reported Petraeus’ response:

“Army General David Petraeus, the commander of Central Command, says comments attributed to him on the Foreign Policy blog on March 13th—that “Israeli intransigence…was jeopardizing U.S. standing in the region”—were simply inaccurate.
***
As for the accuracy of the statements attributed to Petraeus or the alleged CENTCOM briefing? They’re “flat wrong,” Petraeus says. Responding to a question from the American Spectator while speaking at St. Anselm College in New Hampshire, the General said there was never any “mention of [America] lives” in any of his statements. So what did he say? Petraeus explained that he had submitted a document in which he described the “various factors that influence the strategic context in which” American troops operate in CENTCOM.

And the Middle East peace process, he said, is one such factor that influences the environment—but is one of many, also including “a whole bunch of extremist organizations” as well as “a country that has a nuclear program”—meaning Iran. “We have all the factors in there,” he said, and the Middle East peace process “is just one.”

Petraeus further stated that he never asked for the West Bank and Gaza Strip to be transferred from EUCOM to CENTCOM—and he certainly didn’t make any direct request of the White House.”

So what is the real story? I don’t know, but I hope the Obama Administration’s policy decisions aren’t as muddled as this story suggests.

– DRJ


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