Patterico's Pontifications


Newt Gingrich and the Work Ethic

Filed under: 2012 Election — Karl @ 10:34 am

[Posted by Karl]

Newt Gingrich is currently having a good run, getting kind words from sources as far apart as New Hampshire’s Union Leader and fmr. Pres. Bill Clinton.  Accordingly, he probably won’t notice if I offer a few words of criticism on the way to discussing an issue he clearly finds important.

Given that Clinton wanted to run for reelection in 1996 against the Dole-Gingrich ticket — and spent a fair amount of money linking Dole to Gingrich — the former Speaker and his supporters might consider that Clinton’s latest praise may have a tinge of mischief.  Clitnon may well hope that Obama gets the chance to actually run against Newt, while Clinton had to make do with the illusion.

And why not? TIME and Newsweek made sure to introduce the last generation of voters to Newt as The Gingrich Who Stole Christmas and Uncle Scrooge for his positive comments about orphanages.  After all these years out of power, Newt still has a habit of making comments easily caricatured as Dickensian. (more…)


Obama’s not-so-secret weapon

Filed under: 2012 Election — Karl @ 9:59 am

[Posted by Karl]

According to the AP’s Julie Pace, it might just be the Sheriff:

A year from Election Day, Democrats are crafting a campaign strategy for Vice President Joe Biden that targets the big three political battlegrounds: Ohio, Pennsylvania, and Florida, states where Biden might be more of an asset to President Barack Obama’s re-election campaign than the president himself.

Doug Powers goes right to the Biden Blooper Reel; I’ll simply note that last month, the AP’s Julie Pace was reporting that Michelle Obama might be her husband’s not-so-secret weapon.   I don’t mean to pick on Ms. Pace in particular.  After all, the Tribune Co. and New York Times were writing similar pieces before the 2010 midterms — and we know how well that turned out.  TIME did the Michelle O story in 2010; NBC’s Andrea Mitchell joined Pace for 2011.

The obvious cheap shot would be that Obama’s not-so-secret weapon is the esatblishment media.  But it’s not just bias, it’s laziness, as evidenced by all the stories written about Laura Bush as a secret weapon, despite a similar lack of evidence.

It may be more useful to read the Biden spin is light of the larger debate on the left between analysts like William Galston, who thinks Obama’s path to victory still runs through the Rust Belt, and those like Ruy Teixeira, who argues that demographics make Virginia, Colorado and North Carolina more appealing targets for Obama. Alec MacGillis thinks Obama is adopting the latter strategy, but sees it as a false choice.  But maybe it just looks like Obama is focusing on the latter group of states because the best Obama can do in the Rust Belt right now is to send Joe Biden.



Sockpuppet Black Friday, Friday, Friday…

Filed under: General — Aaron Worthing @ 10:00 pm

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

Yes, we already had a sock puppet thread, on the theory that Wednesday is sort of the “Friday” of Thanksgiving Week.  But some of us still have to work on Friday, myself included, so Friday is still the last day before the proper weekend and all that, so… here’s another Sockpuppet thread.

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, witness my friends the horror of Kohl’s Black Friday ad:

Click on the picture to watch, or go to this link.

And don’t hate me too much for it.

[Posted and authored by Aaron Worthing.]

Happy Thanksgiving to Greg Packer

Filed under: General — Patterico @ 6:58 pm

And congratulations on punking CBS:

Greg Packer, meanwhile, got to see the Macy’s Day Parade and eat dinner at a Salvation Army. He said it was only natural to catch the next tradition.

“On the American shopping holiday, you pretty much try to find what you’re looking for and when you find what you’re looking for, you grab it while you can,” he said.

On this Thanksgiving, I give thanks for the existence of a man who must be quoted.

Happy Thanksgiving

Filed under: General — Patterico @ 11:22 am

[I am reprinting the post below from 2006, about a mental exercise I sometimes employ to help me appreciate the good things in my life. Many people have written me to say that they have given their loved ones an extra hug after reading the post.

Even if you’re going through a rough time, there are no doubt positive aspects of your life that you won’t be able to count on forever. Hopefully this post will help you not to take those things for granted. Happy Thanksgiving.]

I’ve discovered a way to bring a new perspective to your life.

To explain it, I have to tell a little story.

Driving home Friday night, I was remembering a time years ago, when my daughter Lauren (now six years old) was in her first year. An old friend of mine was coming to town, and we went with my wife to see a Glen Phillips solo acoustic concert down near San Diego.

We were very excited to see the show. But for some reason, we couldn’t get a babysitter. So we decided to take Lauren. Since it was just an acoustic show, we hoped that she’d sleep peacefully on my lap. If, during the show, she got upset, I would take her out to the car. Thereafter, my wife and I would take turns watching her in the car.

Lauren was asleep when the concert began — but she awoke, crying, five seconds into the first song. It was louder than we had thought it would be. I hurriedly took her to the car, which was parked on the street about half a block away.

Once I had her out there, I never brought her back inside the club. Although part of me wanted to be back inside watching the concert, I was also having fun being with my daughter — at times talking to her when she was awake, and at times watching her sleep. Plus, I wanted to let my wife see the whole concert. I figured there was no reason to interrupt her enjoyment if I was having a perfectly good time.

It wasn’t so much that I preferred to be with my daughter than to watch a concert. I just didn’t mind staying out with her in the car.

Thinking about this the other night, I asked myself: Patrick, if you could go back to that night, right now, and either stay out in the car with Lauren, or be inside and watch the concert — which would you do?

And of course the answer was obvious.

The night it happened, I didn’t mind being in the car with my daughter. But if I could go back now, there’s no question that I would want to be there.

Not only would I stay in the car with her — I would make the most of the experience, realizing that I had a precious chance to see her at that age again. I would try to commit every moment to memory.

And then I realized: some day, years in the future, I might be asking the same question about my life today — this very minute. If you could have this moment back to live over again, what would you do?

The rest of that evening, I pictured myself as having been sent into my body from the future, to relive the moments I was experiencing. And I saw everything differently. I sat on the couch and watched television with my arm around my wife — all the while imagining myself as an old man, transported back in time to relive that moment. And all of a sudden, what otherwise might have seemed like a mundane moment seemed like a privilege. I felt like the luckiest guy in the world, just sitting there with my wife.

I’ve tried the trick all weekend, and it really changes your outlook. Just sitting around with a sleepy child in your arms is great any way you look at it. But if you picture yourself as someone whose child has grown up — if you imagine yourself as an older man, who would give the world to be back in that chair with that child in his arms — it makes you realize how important the moment is. And you appreciate it more.

Like any epiphany, I know that this will pass, to be remembered only from time to time. I hope I remember it often, when routine is wearing on me.

But there are times I actively need to forget it, because this outlook promotes a sort of hedonism. For example, right now, I need to clean the house — but that’s not really what I would choose to do if I were sent here from the future.

Oh, well. I’m going to clean up anyway. I think the guy from the future would understand — sometimes, you just gotta do what you gotta do. I can hear my future self in my head right now. He says to make a nice cup of coffee and put on some music while I do it, and take some breaks to play with the kids. Enjoy the chores as well as the easy and fun moments, I hear him saying. Some day, you’ll miss even the chores. Some day, you’ll miss almost everything about your life the way it is right now.

Open Thread: What Are You Thankful For?

Filed under: General — Aaron Worthing @ 10:29 am

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

Nothing complicated, just a thread to say happy Thanksgiving and offering you a chance to share what you are thankful for this year.

And at the very real risk of being called a kiss up, I will say that besides family and friends, and having a job in this rough economy, I am thankful to Patrick for letting me borrow his blog for well over a year now.  This continues to be one of the coolest experiences in my life, thanks in no small part to the commenters.

Well, besides the trolls and stalkers, that is.  But they are not nearly bad enough to harsh my buzz.

So have a good day, and try not to kill anyone when the stores open at midnight.  :-)

[Posted and authored by Aaron Worthing.]

A Trifecta of Stupid Dishonesty From Ken Ashford

Filed under: General — Aaron Worthing @ 9:36 am

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

Hey, to celebrate this day, let’s carve up a liberal turkey and give thanks to him for providing us someone to laugh at.  Ken Ashford writes at the little blog known as the Seventh Sense and I have clashed with him before for his dishonesty. But I had ignored the blog for a few months and apparently when the cat was away the mouse played.

First up we have a post attacking me called: Pig (And Stupid Lawyer) of the Day. In the post he alleges that I said here that if Hermain Cain approached an employee with a sexual quid pro quo (i.e. “sleep with me or you’re fired/won’t get that promotion”) that it was not sexual harassment.  Then he spends the remainder of the post citing things like the EEOC to prove that in fact saying “sleep with me or your fired” is indeed classic sexual harassment.

There’s only one problem.  I never said it wasn’t sexual harassment.  In fact, I said the opposite.  And for extra hilarity, Mr. Ashford actually quoted the passage where I said that such behavior was sexual harassment but failed to understand that I had said it.  Here’s the passage he quoted, just as Kenny-boy quoted it:

Or did [Cain] do the full quid pro quo (“something for something”) and say, “sleep with me or you are fired/won’t get that promotion, etc.?” Now I want to be careful to say that we are not nearly there, yet, but if that is what it was, then it’s not just “sexual harassment.” Seriously what do you call it when you give something of value in exchange for sex? In most states, that’s prostitution.

And then he goes on in self-righteous fashion, thinking that he as Ahab finally has the opportunity to kill his white whale, writing:

No, Aaron.  An employer saying to an employee[] “sleep with me or else you are fired/won’t get that promotion” is the textbook definition[*] of sexual harassment.  It is a violation of Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964.  Go back to law school (or alternatively, get a job and read the company employee manual).

And all because apparently he doesn’t know what the word “just” means in this context.  Read that passage again.  I said it was not just sexual harassment. If you go to Webster’s Dictionary and look it up as the adverb, definition 3 a will inform you that the term “just” can mean “only, simply <just last year> <just be yourself>.”  So in context I was saying nothing more than that such conduct is not merely sexual harassment but also solicitation of prostitution as well.  I was saying it was both.

Pro-tip, Kenny boy.  Before you accuse someone of being stupid, double check and make sure you aren’t the one being stupid.  Or else that person might make you look stupid.



PSA: Michelle Malkin’s Cousin is Still Missing

Filed under: General — Aaron Worthing @ 3:52 pm

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

So take a moment, remind yourself of what she looks like and keep your eyes and ears open.  At this point in time she could theoretically be anywhere.

From Malkin’s site:

We have posted Marizela’s missing persons flyer, photos, videos and updates at The tip line number for citizens who may have any information that might aid in the search is 1-855-MARIZEL. Thank you.

And perhaps as you thank your god (by whatever name you call him) tomorrow for the bounty that he has given you, you might also spare a prayer for her safe return.

[Posted and authored by Aaron Worthing.]

The Pictures Bring This One to Life

Filed under: General — Aaron Worthing @ 12:04 pm

[Guest post by Aaron Worthing. Follow me by Twitter @AaronWorthing.]

Update: Egg on my face, as I named the wrong judge as the author.  Thanks to rfy for pointing that out.  But I could legitimately say literally the same exact things about Posner as Easterbrook, so its all good.

Update (II): For some reason the link broke.  Fixed now, but if it happens again, go to the Volokh link.  Its worth it.

Via Volokh we get to witness a pretty thorough spanking of a pair of lawyers by Judge Posner Easterbrook of the Seventh Circuit (who is one of the giants of the legal profession generally).  You see, lawyers are required to inform the court as a matter of ethics of any adverse precedent, and in practice there are several things you can do, but the one thing you absolutely shouldn’t do is just ignore the precedent.  Which is what happened in Gonzalez-Servin v. Ford,

In Pastor v. Bridgestone/Firestone North American Tire, LLC (decided with and under the name Abad v. Bayer Corp., 563 F.3d 663 (7th Cir. 2009)), we affirmed Judge Barker’s transfer of a similar case to the courts of Argentina under the doctrine of forum non conveniens. The appellants in No. 11-1665 (the plaintiffs in the district court ), the accident case, do not cite Abad in their opening brief, though the district court’s decision in their case was issued in 2011—long after Abad. In their response the defendants cite Abad repeatedly and state accurately that its circumstances were “nearly identical” to those of the present case. Yet in their reply brief the appellants still don’t mention Abad—le t alone try to distinguish it—and we take this to be an implicit concession that the circumstances of that case are indeed “nearly identical” to those of the present case…

When there is apparently dispositive precedent, an appellant may urge its overruling or distinguishing or reserve a challenge to it for a petition for certiorari but may not simply ignore it . We don’t know the thinking that led the appellants’ counsel in these two cases to do that . But we do know that the two sets of cases out of which the appeals arise, involving the blood-products and Bridges tone/Fire stone tire litigations, generated many transfers under the doctrine of forum non conveniens, three of which we affirmed in the two ignored precedents. There are likely to be additional such appeals; maybe appellants think that if they ignore our precedents their appeals will not be assigned to the same panel as decided the cases that established the precedents. Whatever the reason, such advocacy is unacceptable.

And he goes on, and it gets pretty ugly for the counsel involved. But bluntly, nothing really captures the fun of reading it and seeing the pictures that the court chose to attach to the opinion. So please, just go there and read the whole thing.  It’s only 6 pages, and there are pictures.  Glorious, hilarious pictures that must have made the lawyers involved sink in their chairs as they saw them.

Also, let’s give bonus points to Easterbrook Posner for knowing that ostriches didn’t really bury their heads in the sand, even if it is an evocative metaphor.

[Posted and authored by Aaron Worthing.]

Supporting Voter Fraud is Raaaaacist!

Filed under: General — Aaron Worthing @ 6:15 am

[Guest post by Aaron Worthing.  Follow me by Twitter @AaronWorthing.]

For years combating voter fraud has been a strangely partisan issue.  For instance, in the recent case of Crawford v. Marion County Election Board (2008) the court noted that “all of the Republicans in the General Assembly voted in favor of [a voter ID law] and the Democrats were unanimous in opposing it.”  In that particular case, Republicans supported the common sense measure of, you know, actually having to produce a photo ID proving you are who you say you are, and Democrats responded by claiming that this was the resurrection of Jim Crow and poll taxes—claims expressed in that case and rejected by the majority.  I always thought myself that if I was a minority I would find these claims fairly insulting.  For instance, take the law in the Crawford decision.  Justice Stevens (who voted to uphold it) summed it up as follows:

Referred to as either the “Voter ID Law” or “SEA 483,” the statute applies to in-person voting at both primary and general elections. The requirement does not apply to absentee ballots submitted by mail, and the statute contains an exception for persons living and voting in a state-licensed facility such as a nursing home…. A voter who is indigent or has a religious objection to being photographed may cast a provisional ballot that will be counted only if she executes an appropriate affidavit before the circuit court clerk within 10 days following the election…. A voter who has photo identification but is unable to present that identification on election day may file a provisional ballot that will be counted if she brings her photo identification to the circuit county clerk’s office within 10 days…. No photo identification is required in order to register to vote, and the State offers free photo identification to qualified voters able to establish their residence and identity.

(Citations omitted.)  Still, despite the state fairly bending over backwards to accommodate people, the official Democrat position was that black people and other minorities were uniquely incapable of complying with these simple requirements.  There was no word on whether Democrats officially thought minorities had more trouble tying their own shoes or using common eating utensils without stabbing themselves in the eyes, but given how insultingly low their estimation was of minorities’ basic functionality as reflected by their challenge to these laws, I wouldn’t put it past them.  Really, these challenges rely on assumptions that frankly sound a little racist to my ears.

And so these same Democrats oppose such measures, believing we should go on the honor system, apparently.  The obvious trade off, when we don’t have such measures, is a greater opportunity for fraud.  And any student of history would be skeptical of the claim that protecting fraud generally is good for minorities.  For instance, the practice of using secret ballots was adopted in the South precisely so that they could cover up the fact that they were throwing out black votes—unless perhaps they voted the “right” way.   After all, the person engaging in voter fraud is not subject to requirements like the equal protection clause or the Twenty Fourth Amendment, so the danger of invidious discrimination entering into the process would seem to be increased, not decreased, when voter fraud occurs.  And, well, if you trust the word of former Alabama Democratic Rep. Artur Davis, that is precisely what has happened:

“What I have seen in my state, in my region, is the the most aggressive practitioners of voter-fraud are local machines who are tied lock, stock and barrel to the special interests in their communities — the landfills, the casino operators — and they’re cooking the [ballot] boxes on election day, they’re manufacturing absentee ballots, they’re voting [in the names of] people named Donald Duck, because they want to control politics and thwart progress,” he told TheDC.

“People who are progressives have no business defending those individuals.”

So there you have it, liberals.  If you support voter fraud, you are a raaaaaaacist!

Yes, of course I am being tongue-in-cheek about it, but here’s the brutal truth.  If you are such a sad sack that you can’t comply with this generous voter ID law, then tough on you.  The rest of us should not have to face even the risk of having our right to vote trampled on because of your inability to comply with such simple requirements.  I believe in being very accommodating to a person’s right to vote, but when it infringes on my rights as a voter, my tolerance ends.

[Posted and authored by Aaron Worthing.]

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