Patterico's Pontifications

1/3/2011

The Debt Passes 14 Trillion (Update: Old Barack Speaks!)

Filed under: General — Aaron Worthing @ 8:54 pm

[Guest post by Aaron Worthing; if you have tips, please send them here.]

Look at this chart and see if you don’t feel like shooting yourself, or tarring and feathering someone else:

In related news the Washington Examiner points out a slight contradiction between Goolsbee’s position today, and his boss’ several years ago:

Obama in 2006, while serving as an Illinois senator. Obama joined all Senate Democrats to oppose the 2006 debt limit increase.

“Washington is shifting the burden of bad choices today onto the backs of our children and grandchildren,” Obama said in 2006. “America has a debt problem and a failure of leadership.”

Obama later missed two votes in 2007 and 2008 while campaigning for president. Many Democrats who opposed the 2006 increase flipped their position once they took control of the Senate.

Mmm, so the need to raise the debt ceiling is a sign of a failure of leadership?  Funny, I agree.

Update: Thanks to Dustin, we see Senator Obama’s full comments when voting against an increase of the debt:

I rise today to talk about America’s debt problem.

The fact that we are here today to debate raising America’s debt limit is a sign of leadership failure. It is a sign that the U.S. Government can’t pay its own bills. It is a sign that we now depend on ongoing financial assistance from foreign countries to finance our Government’s reckless fiscal policies.

Over the past 5 years, our federal debt has increased by $3.5 trillion to $8.6 trillion. That is “trillion” with a “T.” That is money that we have borrowed from the Social Security trust fund, borrowed from China and Japan, borrowed from American taxpayers. And over the next 5 years, between now and 2011, the President’s budget will increase the debt by almost another $3.5 trillion.

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Site Notes

Filed under: General — Patterico @ 7:48 pm

As many of you have noticed, I have been rather absent from the site as of late. This is primarily due to a crushing load of work. I have been in a new assignment for about a year and a half now, and it is extraordinarily busy all the time, and some times are worse than others. I had to cut my annual Christmas trip short a couple of days to fly back from Texas and finish my second trial in a row; this has made my contributions to the site negligible for the past several weeks.

I want y’all to know that I don’t consider this to be a permanent state of affairs, but it will happen from time to time when I get so busy that I have time for nothing else.

The workload has made this the first year since the blog began that I didn’t put up a Year in Review post chronicling the L.A. Times‘s errors and distortions right around New Year’s Eve. I haven’t given up on the idea, but I can’t guarantee it either. We’ll see how things go in the coming days. It wasn’t as widely linked last year (last year being the first year that Instapundit passed up the Year in Review post, for example) and it’s hard to get motivated for such a big project when linkage is not guaranteed and work is heavy. Still, it’s a tradition, and I hope to get up something soon.

I would be remiss if I did not issue a few messages of thanks.

First, to Aaron Worthing, who has kept the site alive in recent weeks. I have received a lot of positive feedback regarding his posts, and I deeply appreciate his continual contributions (as well as the rarer but always very anticipated posts from Karl and Jack Dunphy).

I would like to thank Matt Collins of SunAnt, who helped me get through the early part of last year by providing free hosting and innumerable hours of site tweaking and the like. Matt, who goes by the Internet name Enoch Root, is Dan Collins’s brother, and was truly a lifesaver at a time when the site was going through some very rough times. I will never be able to pay him back for all he did. I have been able to recommend his services to others who have been pleased, but I always told him I wanted to issue a public and prominent thanks, and here it is.

His company, SunAnt, does web development (including graphics and programming) as well as Search Engine Marketing (including pay per click, search engine optimization, and inbound link building). Their model includes “direct to client” and also “white label” services — wherein they handle small and large projects for traditional agencies and consultants and marketing companies. The idea is that Matt and Co. do the work, but the client gets the credit and works directly with the end client. Pretty good deal for the client.

Anyway, thanks very much to Matt and his team for everything they did for me last year.

Finally, thanks to all of you for your patience during the times when the site is difficult to maintain. I have always said this site has the greatest group of readers and commenters anywhere, and you continue to prove that true time and time again.

Ahhnold Reduces Sentence of Fabian Nunez’s Son

Filed under: Crime,General,Morons — Patterico @ 6:49 pm

Without even consulting the D.A.:

San Diego County District Atty. Bonnie Dumanis said Monday she was shocked to learn that then-Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger had reduced the prison sentence of the son of former Assembly Speaker Fabian Nuñez.

The decision “greatly diminishes justice for victim Luis Santos and re-victimizes his family and friends,” Dumanis said in a prepared statement. “The district attorney’s office was not consulted, and the decision comes as the appeals process was continuing.”

I am currently preparing an opposition to a clemency request. It is standard procedure to consult the District Attorney’s Office before considering such a request. I have heard a top trial lawyer in our office talk about presenting the case against Tookie Williams’s commutation to Ahhnold, and guess what? he told the Governator a few things he hadn’t known.

But apparently close analysis of the case was not an important part of this particular process:

Like Dumanis, Fred Santos [the victim’s father] said he had no warning that the decision was imminent or even under discussion at the governor’s office. “We’re just little people,” he said. “I guess we don’t count.”

Charles Sevilla, the San Diego attorney who prepared the commutation request for Esteban Nuñez, said he is “surprised and gratified” that it was accepted by the governor.

. . . .

Sevilla said his role was limited to filling out the paperwork — “sort of a fill in the blanks.” He said he was never quizzed by the governor or his staff, never asked to be part of an oral presentation and never asked for additional documentation.

Gee. If it wasn’t a close look at the facts of the case that persuaded Ahhnold, what could it possibly have been? An L.A. Times editorial has a hint:

Nuñez, who is now a business partner with Schwarzenegger’s chief political advisor, worked closely with the governor during his term as speaker.

Ah, I see now.

Ahhnold’s decision mocks the justice system. His handling of the clemency process in this case reeks of disinterest for the facts, and concern for a crony. Even the L.A. Times editorial writer — who is a sucker for the pathetic claims of innocence of a Death Row inmate who is guilty as sin (more in an upcoming post) — is skeptical of Ahhnold’s decision:

The younger Nuñez is no prince. He and his friends went looking for a fight after being kicked out of a campus frat party, and according to prosecutors, Nuñez stabbed two other victims, who survived. He also allegedly destroyed evidence by burning clothing worn on the night of the fight and throwing knives into the Sacramento River.

When you can’t even convince the editors of the L.A. Times to be lenient with a violent criminal, you’ve really gone off the rails. Ahhnold.

Thanks to Bradley J. Fikes.

Good News: Environmentalists to Sell Global Warming with Sex, Messianism… and… Shut up and Listen to Them!

Filed under: General — Aaron Worthing @ 12:22 pm

[Guest post by Aaron Worthing; if you have tips, please send them here.]

Via Speigel (warning, a nsfw pic is involved) we learn that the environmentalists are concerned that we are no longer convinced of the threat of global warming Manbearpig:

World leaders recently negotiated a new climate agreement at the United Nations Climate Change Conference in Cancun, Mexico, but public interest in the issue was limited. It was a marked contrast to the UN climate conference in Copenhagen in December 2009, which had been declared of historic importance in the runup to the meeting, only to then fail spectacularly. The theft of e-mails from the University of East Anglia had badly damaged the image of climate research shortly before the summit.

Environmentalists and scientists are concerned about the massive drop in public interest in the topic over the last year.

So to deal with this, they are going to appeals to science—not in the fake way they have for years.  No, instead, they will take in data in a transparent manner, make predictions and if those predictions turn out wrong, admit they were wrong and drop the subject.  They will prove their assertions rather than just screaming repeatedly “the science is settled!”

Ah, who are we kidding?  They can’t do that, because their predictions prove to be spectacularly wrong and not just once.  And as I have said over and over again, the damning thing isn’t that one guy got it wrong, but that no one said he was wrong except the people they are tarring as “deniers.”  If denying the existence of Manbearpig is so wrong, why do these guys keep being right?

So appeals to logic won’t work, so they are going to try to appeal to us by cheap Peta-style crap.  You know, because we hold Peta in such esteem.

More successful was a Greenpeace advertising spot that targeted the multinational food company Nestlé. Greenpeace wanted the video, in which a bar of chocolate turns out to be a gorilla’s bleeding finger, to be understood as a symbol of endangered rainforests, where harvesting palm oil for chocolate production encroaches on great apes’ habitats. After the video caused a considerable stir, Nestlé promised to stop using products that damaged rainforests.

And of course more appeals to logic:

Perhaps advertising’s most potent weapon can be harnessed for climate protection campaigns as well. One initial experiment showed an attractive female researcher posing in a bathing suit in front of Arctic ice. “Climate change is sexy,” was also the motto of several working groups at the Global Media Forum in Bonn.

So, um, is that anti-warming, or pro?  Because if it got cold up there, wouldn’t she have to put more clothes on?

And of course if that doesn’t work, well just hope for an environmental Jesus figure:

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Malkin on Issa Investigations

Filed under: General — Patterico @ 8:21 am

Good reading.

Now is a good time to congratulate a reader of mine on his new job on Issa’s staff. He is a colleague and a friend and he will do a great job.

I have not yet asked him what happened to the Sleestak investigation. Obama offering a job to a green glassy-eyed rasping lizard sounds like a felony to me. I’ll see if I can get the inside scoop on why that investigation is bring dropped.

Goolsbee’s Reduction to Absurdity (Updated)

Filed under: General — Aaron Worthing @ 7:55 am

[Guest post by Aaron Worthing; if you have tips, please send them here.]

Try this sometime.  Go to your local bank.  Tell them that you need a loan.  They will ask why, in one way or another.  When they ask why, explain to them that you already have a massive loan to someone else that you will not be able to repay unless you get this loan from them.  When they ask how you got that loan in the first place, then explain to them that this loan was taken out because otherwise you couldn’t have paid a previous loan.

And when they ask how you plan to pay off this loan, explain to them that surely someone else will loan you that money.

Then, let me know in the comments when they stop laughing at you.

But what is reductio ad absurdum (reduction to absurdity) in the real world, is considered responsible policy for chairman of the White House Council of Economic Advisers.  On ABC’s This Week, he explained that we have to raise the debt ceiling and allow us to go into more debt, or else we will default on other debts.

Yes, really.

Top White House economic advisor Austan Goolsbee warned Sunday that a congressional failure to rise the nation’s debt limit early this year would be “catastrophic.”

“It pains me that we would even be talking about this,” Goolsbee told ABC’s “This Week.”

“This is not a game. You know, the debt ceiling is not something to toy with. … If we hit the debt ceiling, that’s essentially defaulting on our obligations, which is totally unprecedented in American history. The impact on the economy would be catastrophic. I mean, that would be a worse financial economic crisis than anything we saw in 2008.”

The current debt limit is $14.3 trillion, which Washington is expected to hit in February. A failure to raise the ceiling would prevent Congress from borrowing funds to pay the country’s obligations. Some conservatives — notably many in the incoming class of Tea Party-backed Republicans — are threatening to vote against raising the cap, arguing that the U.S. simply can’t afford to rely so heavily on borrowing.

So the only way to meet our obligations and thus to make timely payments on our national debt…  is to go further into debt?  Does Goolsbee have a plan for finally, actually, paying off this debt out of our own funds?

It’s coming up in February and no, you can’t turn the ship of state around on a dime.  So I say give them enough for three months of reprieve.  And then the day of reckoning.

Either we will finally as a nation figure out how to live within our means.  Or we will eventually default.  And if a default is in our future, its better to come now than later when it would be even worse.

Anyway you can watch Goolsbee and Congressman Weiner acting like, well, wieners, here:

You can read more at The Blaze.

Also in other news, George Will apparently doesn’t understand that private industry is the primary mover in useful science.  He starts off his column yesterday with this:

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