Patterico's Pontifications

10/24/2011

My Interview with a Twitter User Who Told Andrew Breitbart: “Please Die”

Filed under: General — Patterico @ 6:13 am

The other day, someone tweeted:

@AndrewBreitbart you’re an idiot. Please die and let the rest of us live in peace. Kisses :)

A lot of people say a lot of nasty things about Andrew Breitbart. But, for some reason, I decided to try to talk to this person. I examined her Twitter timeline and saw her talking to people about the tweet. I invited her to talk to me, and she agreed.

So this is my interview with someone who said she wanted Andrew Breitbart to die.

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10/23/2011

Two cheers for Joe Nocera

Filed under: General — Karl @ 9:16 am

[Posted by Karl]

The New York Times — and Joe Nocera’s column specifically — is not a place you would expect to mark the 24th anniversary of the Senate’s rejection of Robert Bork’s nomination to the Supreme Court as a bad thing.  Nocera writes that Bork’s views “cannot be fairly characterized as extreme” and that “[t]he Bork fight, in some ways, was the beginning of the end of civil discourse in politics.”  He describes the left’s approach to the fight:

There was tremendous fear that if Bork were confirmed, he would swing the court to the conservatives and important liberal victories would be overturned — starting with Roe v. Wade.

But liberals couldn’t just come out and say that. “If this were carried out as an internal Senate debate,” Ann Lewis, the Democratic activist, would later acknowledge, “we would have deep and thoughtful discussions about the Constitution, and then we would lose.” So, instead, the Democrats sought to portray Bork as “a right-wing loony,” to use a phrase in a memo written by the Advocacy Institute, a liberal lobby group.

The character assassination began the day Bork was nominated, when Ted Kennedy gave a fiery speech describing “Robert Bork’s America” as a place “in which women would be forced into back-alley abortions, blacks would sit at segregated lunch counters,” and so on. It continued until the day the nomination was voted down; one ad, for instance, claimed, absurdly, that Bork wanted to give “women workers the choice between sterilization and their job.”

Conservatives were stunned by the relentlessness — and the essential unfairness — of the attacks. But the truth is that many of the liberals fighting the nomination also knew they were unfair. That same Advocacy Institute memo noted that, “Like it or not, Bork falls (perhaps barely) at the borderline of respectability.” It didn’t matter. He had to be portrayed “as an extreme ideological activist.” The ends were used to justify some truly despicable means.

Unsurprisingly, Nocera’s column is itself under attack in the leftosphere from hacks like Steve Benen, who implicitly concedes in his relativism that he is incapable of evaluating Bork’s jurisprudence, but argues that the characterization of Bork as “extreme”  is justified based on his policy disagreement with Bork’s positions.  Benen either does not know or does not care that Bork sometimes did not personally hold the positions Democrats ascribed to him, or that Bork’s legal positions were shared by Justices Hugo Black, Felix Frankfurter, John Marshall Harlan II, Louis Brandeis, and Benjamin Cardozo, among others.  There are principled objections to be made to Bork’s jurisprudence — I recall making some myself at the time — but the attacks on Nocera’s column stem from the same “ends justify the means” philosophy at the core of the attacks on Bork himself.  (Perhaps Nocera ought to consider that such distortions are a natural outgrowth of a philosophy that treats a constitution of limited powers as elastic enough to justify ordering people to buy certain products or services by virtue of living. But I digress.)

So why only two cheers for Nocera?  After all, today’s column seems t0 reflect that Nocera has learned something from the criticism he got after comparing Tea Party Republicans to terrorists.  The answer is that Obama’s re-elect strategy will almost certainly depend on demonizing the GOP’s eventual nominee as “extreme.”  If Nocera is willing to criticize the politics of personal destruction in real time, as opposed to 24 years later, he will deserve that third cheer.

–Karl

10/22/2011

Obama’s Two Playbooks

Filed under: 2012 Election — Karl @ 9:53 am

[Posted by Karl]

Pres. Obama does not have an election strategy; he has two.  That is a matter of necessity, as the GOP decides whether to run Romney or NotRomney against him.

If the Republicans nominate NotRomney, he will pull the 2010 playbook off the shelf, as can be inferred from Ronald Brownstein:

[D]uring a public panel that I moderated here sponsored by Project New West, a Democratic research organization, leading party strategists expressed unruffled, almost blithe, optimism about Obama’s ability to hold the three Mountain states he carried in 2008. Partly that was because they expect more young people and minorities to vote in 2012 than did in 2010. But it was primarily because they think Obama will benefit from the contrast with the eventual Republican nominee. The Democratic hope is that those twin dynamics will allow Obama to reassemble the coalition of minorities and suburban whites that reelected Democratic Sen. Michael Bennet last year in Colorado.

Brownstein sees this strategy playing out as jobs vs. the environment, but cultural wedge issues are also in the mix, as Jay Cost explains after using Nevada 2010 as an example of the “frontlash” approach:

Any time you hear the Democrats squawking about how the Republicans are “anti-science,” that’s the frontlash in action. The goal is to tag the GOP as a bunch of flat earth throwbacks who are too extreme for the independent swing voters to support.

Will it work? Well, that depends. On the Republicans.

Democrats (and Republicans, for that matter) always try running some version of frontlash every year, throwing out charges about how the opponent is too extreme on this item or that. In an evenly divided electorate, such as the national one, it only works when the candidate under attack is weak. Is he given to foolish or outlandish statements? Does he needlessly antagonize certain classes of voters? Does he appear to lose his cool? These are the sorts of questions that, if answered in the affirmative, facilitate the frontlash. And in certain conditions – such as Nevada last year – it is sufficient for electoral victory.

This is sober advice for Republican primary voters as they begin to evaluate the potential GOP nominees. Yes, it is critically important that the choice of the party reflects and respects the views of most Republicans. But it is of equal importance that he or she does not commit unforced errors that facilitate Obama’s frontlash campaign.

Jay’s basic subtext is correct, but he may be overselling the viability of this strategy.   (more…)

10/21/2011

The Romney Rule: Declaration of Class War

Filed under: 2012 Election — Karl @ 11:22 am

[Posted by Karl]

An attention-getter from the left-wingers at PrioritiesUSA:

Even unhinged Obama groupie Andrew Sullivan is “a little taken aback.” Odds that Andy will find it refreshingly aggressive and confident if Team Obama decides to go this over-the-top? 100%.

The response from the RNC or Romney’s Super-PAC ought to point out that Obama has raised more money so far from those evil banksters than all of his GOP challengers combined. Indeed, Obama has raised more from Romney’s old firm, Bain Capital, than Romney has. They ought to respond now because they may not be able to make that strong a claim next year. However, it’s entirely possible that Romney will simply allow himself to be pounded; he’s caught “guilty Republican syndrome.”

–Karl

Sockpuppet Friday—The Indy and Nate Edition!

Filed under: General — Aaron Worthing @ 10:11 am

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

As usual, you are positively encouraged to engaged in sockpuppetry on this thread. The usual rules apply.

Please be sure to switch back to your regular handle when commenting on other threads. I have made that mistake myself.

And remember, the worst sin you can commit on this thread is not being funny.

———————————–

And for this week’s Friday frivolity, Playstation and Naughty Dog is getting the hype machine warmed up for Uncharted 3: Drake’s Deception.  If you are unaware of the series, it is one of the finest on the platform and the simplest, pithiest description is “it’s Indiana Jones mixed with a cover-based shooting mechanic.”

Which is a bit too pithy.  What makes the game special is the snappy writing, a very cinematic style, and eye-popping set pieces.  My wife, for instance, just likes watching me play it, enjoying it much like watching any other show or movie.  The first game ranked #12 on IGN’s list of the best Playstation games, and the second ranked #1, and it sounds like everyone concurred.

Still, plot-wise, it is the Indiana template: a roguish archeologist/tomb raider, searching for an item that is rumored to have supernatural powers and/or a curse, trying to get the item before an evil bad guy gets it.

So it is kind of treat (and excellent publicity) that the people who created the Uncharted games convicted “Indiana Solo” himself, Harrison Ford, to play a little of the new (as of yet unreleased) game in the series. You can watch the whole thing, here, but either Ford is a better actor than I thought he was, or he was really like a little kid loving the hell out of it.  Seriously, he seemed genuinely blown away.

So there you go kids.  Not are these games universally acclaimed, but they have the Indiana Jones seal of approval.  :-)

But, um, am I correct in thinking he is playing the Japanese version of it?  So bluntly, I have to think he is getting the inferior experience if only because he doesn’t have the benefit of Nolan North’s superb voice acting (unless North speaks Japanese…) as hero Nathan Drake.

[Posted and authored by Aaron Worthing.]

10/20/2011

Hi There!

Filed under: General — Patterico @ 11:57 pm

It’s me, the proprietor of this here blog site.

I’m still alive! Really.

I have been very busy lately. It (virtually) all revolves around work. One phase of my busy-ness will be over Saturday. The second phase will be over by the end of the year. The third phase — the only one I can discuss with you now, which is my very busy assignment — will continue for a few years.

Then there is the part that doesn’t revolve around work. That is probably the most interesting story of all. I will tell it one day. But right now there are reasons I cannot.

I would tell you more, but I have become circumspect about my private life lately. Why, just this morning, someone on the Internet told me he wants to punch me in the face repeatedly and “shit” on my wife. So I think it would be a mistake to be open with you about precisely what is keeping me busy. There are too many cretins eager to take advantage of such information.

The Internet, it kind of sucks, really. You should get off it.

Anyway, I just wanted to reassure you that I haven’t died. And I have a post planned for early next week, about the coarseness of Internet speech, featuring an interview with someone who wished for Andrew Breitbart to “die.” I don’t plan to reveal personal information about her or embarrass her. I just want to discuss the attitudes that lead people to do things like wish for other people’s death on the Internet. Or to proclaim that they want to punch people and “shit” on their wives.

Anyway. This is just me saying: I’m still around. I haven’t abandoned you or the blog entirely. I just have a lot going on right now.

Hang in there. And thank Karl and Aaron daily, will you?

Qaddafi Dead?

Filed under: General — Patterico @ 7:11 am

Seeing buzz on Twitter and an alleged death photo.

UPDATE: Another photo.

UPDATE x2: The death has been confirmed.

Al Gore Fakes a CO2 Demonstration

Filed under: General — Aaron Worthing @ 7:01 am

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

One of the key elements of a proper scientific experiment is that it can be replicated.  So when the crazed sex poodle Al Gore put out a video claiming that global cooling global warming climate change could be proven by a simple high school experiment, Anthony Watts of “Watts Up With That?” decided to replicate Gore’s experiment and his results are interesting.  Read/watch the whole thing.  And if you don’t believe Mr. Watts, replicate it for yourself.

All of which raises the question: if it’s all good science, why do they have to fake it?  Certainly it is hard to justify screwing up our economy for these idiots.

[Posted and authored by Aaron Worthing.]

10/19/2011

“Dad Stopped Breathing but I Couldn’t Figure Out What was Going on Because the Heart Monitor was Still Going”

Filed under: General — Aaron Worthing @ 4:52 pm

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

That is a startling line from the story of a married couple of 72 years who died while holding hands.  Read or watch the whole thing, here.  You’ll thank yourself for it.

[Posted and authored by Aaron Worthing.]

Outright Racism In the Election

Filed under: General — Aaron Worthing @ 7:41 am

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

I am sad to tell you that this primary has been tainted by race.  I actually read a commentator who said that the reason to prefer Rick Perry over Herman Cain was because Perry is white.  He wrote:

Let’s not even deal with the facts right now. Let’s deal with just our whiteness and pride – and loyalty.  We have the chance to remove the first African-American president, and you want to replace him with another black man?  And I’m not afraid or ashamed to say that as white people, we should choose Perry because he’s a white man.

And who was this knuckle-dragging racist who wrote those words.  Well, you can follow the link, or read below the fold…

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