Patterico's Pontifications


Oregon Man Sentenced to Jail for Collecting Rainwater on His Own Property?

Filed under: General — Patterico @ 8:00 am

I include the question mark just because it’s one of those stories that sounds too outrageous to be true. But I have to admit, it seems like it’s true:

A rural Oregon man was sentenced Wednesday to 30 days in jail and over $1,500 in fines because he had three reservoirs on his property to collect and use rainwater.

Gary Harrington of Eagle Point, Ore., says he plans to appeal his conviction in Jackson County (Ore.) Circuit Court on nine misdemeanor charges under a 1925 law for having what state water managers called “three illegal reservoirs” on his property – and for filling the reservoirs with rainwater and snow runoff.

. . . .

According to Oregon water laws, all water is publicly owned. Therefore, anyone who wants to store any type of water on their property must first obtain a permit from state water managers.

Harrington got his permits, but then the issuance was revoked. So now he can’t store the water that God rains down on his own property without the government’s permission.

America: Land of the Free.

Breaking: Obama’s Economy Still Sucks

Filed under: 2012 Election,Economics,Obama — Patterico @ 7:31 am

When the L.A. Times can’t spin it for you, man, it’s time to hang it up:

U.S. economic growth slowed further in the second quarter as consumers cut back on spending and businesses curbed their investments, the government reported Friday.

The economy expanded at a sluggish annual rate of 1.5% in the April-June quarter, down from an upwardly revised 2% growth pace in the first quarter and a 4.1% increase in the final quarter of 2011.

The latest reading of the nation’s gross domestic product — the total value of goods and services produced — was slightly better than analysts’ expectations of a 1.3% gain.

Still, the deceleration confirmed that the economy has slipped into another spring stall. The loss of momentum raises the risks of more trouble ahead as Europe’s economic problems hurt American exports and manufacturing, and growing angst about the so-called fiscal cliff — looming tax increases and government spending cuts — threatens to further weaken consumption and hiring by businesses.

An economy growing at a 1.5% pace is consistent with a monthly growth of less than 100,000 new jobs, said Sung Won Sohn, an economist at Cal State Channel Islands. “That’s not enough to take care of new workers coming into the labor force, let alone rescue the unemployed,” he said.

Better than expected; worse than it’s been.

I can’t figure out why massive government spending hasn’t done the trick!

Glenn Greenwald, L.A. Times Not Too Keen on Mayors Wanting to Punish Chick-Fil-A Speech

Filed under: General — Patterico @ 7:22 am

Say what you like about Glenn Greenwald, but he tends to be pretty good about sticking with his issues regardless of personality. I’m a little more surprised by the L.A. Times.

I assume about everyone is familiar with the way that Chik-Fil-A has been opposed by Boston and Chicago mayors for taking a stand against gay marriage. Here’s Greenwald taking a whack at Rahm Emanuel:

Should government officials be able to block businesses from opening or expanding due to disagreement with the political views of the business’ executives? Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel evidently believes he should have this power . . . .

. . . .

Obviously, it’s perfectly legitimate for private citizens to decide not to patronize a business with executives who have such views (I’d likely refrain from doing so in this case). Beyond that, if a business is engaging in discriminatory hiring or service practices in violation of the law — refusing to hire gay employees or serve gay patrons in cities which have made sexual orientation discrimination illegal — then it is perfectly legitimate to take action against them.

But that is not the case here; the actions are purely in retribution against the views of the business’ top executive on the desirability of same-sex marriage . . . .

. . . .

It’s always easy to get people to condemn threats to free speech when the speech being threatened is speech that they like. It’s much more difficult to induce support for free speech rights when the speech being punished is speech they find repellent. But having Mayors and other officials punish businesses for the political and social views of their executives — regardless of what those views are — is as pure a violation of the First Amendment’s guarantee of free speech as it gets, and beyond that, is genuinely dangerous.

Indeed. And now, here are the editors of the Los Angeles Times going after the Boston mayor:

As both a private citizen and a prominent public figure, Menino is welcome to abstain from fried chicken sandwiches and urge others to do likewise.

It’s a different matter if he attempts to trample the free-speech rights of others by using the power of his office to fight against a business license for Chick-fil-A. Menino suggested that it would be appropriate to block the chain from opening in Boston because Cathy’s views amount to discrimination. That would rightly apply if Chick-fil-A were to refuse service to gay customers; the city has a right and an obligation to prevent discriminatory actions against its residents and visitors. But there’s no evidence that any such thing has occurred.

Menino referred derisively to Chick-fil-A’s possible plans to open a restaurant along the city’s Freedom Trail, considering Cathy’s stand on marriage freedom. That too misreads law and history. It was the freedom to express politically unpopular views and to oppose such views that the Founding Fathers fought to establish. Boston used to be known as the prudish place most likely to ban anything outside of a set of strait-laced moral beliefs. Without freedom to express once unpopular viewpoints — in this case, full civil rights for gay and lesbian couples — Massachusetts wouldn’t have become the first state to recognize same-sex marriage.

Menino sent a letter to a landlord saying the city wouldn’t much like it if Chik-Fil-A was located there. But it’s not like local government has any ability to hassle businesses or landlords. There’s no pressure!

All I can do is say: good going, folks. It’s nice to see support for free speech even when you don’t like the content.

UPDATE: SteveMG makes an excellent point in comments:

The key and largely unlooked point in this matter, it seems to me, is that if corporations don’t have any rights – as many on the left believe – then the government could indeed forbid Chick-fil-A from building in their cities because of the views of the owner. Or for any other reason.



Thursday Night Music: The Sighs, Super Deluxe, Flying Burrito Brothers

Filed under: General,Music — Patterico @ 8:20 pm

Situations, by The Sighs:

Great song, horrible video. The same could be said of:

Famous, by Super Deluxe:

But perhaps the visuals are more pleasing at times.

And for a change of pace:

Sin City, by the Flying Burrito Brothers:

Obama Deports the Criminals First — Unless the Illegal Says He Went to High School

Filed under: 2012 Election,General,Immigration,Obama — Patterico @ 6:39 pm

Because if he went to high school, Obama says let him go:

In a startling allegation, the president of the union representing Immigration and Customs Enforcement officers claimed illegal immigrants are “taking advantage” of a new directive allowing some undocumented residents who came to the U.S. as children to stay in the country. Union boss Chris Crane said the policy ends up allowing illegal immigrants to avoid detention without any proof — particularly so-called “dreamers,” or those illegal immigrants who would benefit under the “DREAM Act” proposal, which Congress has not passed but the administration has partially implemented.

“Prosecutorial discretion for dreamers is solely based on the individual’s claims. Our orders are if an alien says they went to high school, then let them go,” he said at a press conference with GOP senators. “Officers have been told that there is no burden for the alien to prove anything. … At this point we don’t even know why DHS has criteria at all, as there is no requirement or burden to prove anything on the part of the alien.

“We believe that significant numbers of people who are not dreamers are taking advantage of this practice to avoid arrest,” he said.

Crane cited one case in which, he said, an immigrant facing criminal charges was let go under the policy. Further, he complained that officers are “under threat of losing their jobs” if they defy the policy.

Illegals: don’t forget to vote for Obama! And remember: you don’t need ID!

Obama Proposes No New Gun Control, But Pretends To

Filed under: 2012 Election,Dog Trainer,General,Obama — Patterico @ 7:48 am

Having just pointed out that Obama didn’t seem to propose new gun control legislation after Aurora, it’s incumbent on me to point that, well, he’s still not. But he’s trying to sound like he is:

Acknowledging sensitivity of the issue, he said Wednesday he believed that even gun owners would agree “that AK-47s belong in the hands of soldiers, not in the hands of children.”

Very clever, Mr. President. You just made it sound like a situation that a) isn’t happening and b) will never happen is somehow a live issue. That’s like the NRA saying: “even gun control advocates would agree that guns should not be confiscated wholesale from every U.S. citizen, including members of the police and military.” Uh, yeah, we’d agree with that — but so what? Do we have laws allowing children to walk around with AK-47s that I’m unaware of somehow?

Maybe he’s talking about 24-year-old adults with AR-15s, like James Holmes. If so, that’s what he should say.

So what is Obama proposing, specifically?

He offered no specific proposals but referred to background checks to keep guns out of the hands of criminals, fugitives and the mentally unbalanced. . Previous efforts to do the same have been thwarted by political opposition and the reluctance of elected officials who endorse the idea to take on the National Rifle Assn., among the nation’s most potent lobbying forces.

(That’s their extra period, by the way.)

So if I understand the L.A. Times, there are currently no “background checks to keep guns out of the hands of criminals, fugitives and the mentally unbalanced” because “efforts to do the same have been thwarted” by the NRA and other gun nuts. I could have sworn we had such background checks already (18 U.S.C. 922(g)) but I’m not an expert on the matter and welcome comment from such experts. Is Obama talking about “gun show loopholes” even though Holmes didn’t buy his guns at a gun show?

How about a little clarity on this, L.A. Times? Maybe Obama isn’t specific because there is no law he could propose that would both a) prevent shootings like this and b) be popular and constitutional.

A country where adults can order AR-15s and there are background checks is different from a country with no background checks where children have “AK-47s.” Obama seems to be implying that we live in the latter country, and the L.A. Times is letting him get away with it.


More Deception from the L.A. Times on Global Warming

Filed under: Dog Trainer,Environment,General — Patterico @ 6:48 pm


During a four-day period earlier this month, 47% of the surface of the Greenland ice sheet melted, bringing the total melted area to 97% of the surface, according to NASA.

The melting is the worst that has been observed since researchers have been monitoring the ice sheet, the agency said in a statement posted on its website. According to records from ice cores, it is the worst melt since 1889.

Holy crap! And there’s this SCARY picture to go with it:

It’s MELTING!!!!!!!!

So what’s the source for this? Well, the good folks at the L.A. Times, where this fine article appears, have placed the useful link to the NASA statement right there in the article! See there, where it says “website“? Look how convenient that is! Just click on that!

. . . and you get:

. . . the NASA website. Yup, that’s it all right.

Is there a reason they didn’t provide the direct link to the press release? Well, the cynic in me says: yeah there is. And here’s the reason: if you went and found the actual link to the actual press release (hint: I did and it’s here), you might see this:

“Ice cores from Summit show that melting events of this type occur about once every 150 years on average. With the last one happening in 1889, this event is right on time,” says Lora Koenig, a Goddard glaciologist and a member of the research team analyzing the satellite data.

So: it’s the worst melt since 150 years ago . . . but what they don’t tell you is, a really bad melt happens every 150 years or so.

Does that mean we’re totally in the clear? Not necessarily. She goes on to say: “But if we continue to observe melting events like this in upcoming years, it will be worrisome.”

Well, yeah. If Halley’s Comet returned one year after its next appearance, I guess that would be worrisome. But it would be kind of irresponsible for journalists around 2060 to suggest that we needed to be SUPER WORRIED ABOUT THIS BIG BALL OF FIRE IN THE SKY because nothing like this had appeared in the sky for 75 years . . . without telling you that this particular ball of fire in the sky appears every 75 years or so — and thus, is “right on time.”

If anyone knows how the editors of this rag could possibly justify such rank deception, let me know.

Thanks to Gary H.

Government Motors Costs Taxpayers $35 Billion

Filed under: General — Patterico @ 7:29 am

Tell me more about Mitt Romney’s failures in the private sector again, Mr. President?

General Motors (GM) shares closed down 1.5% to 19.02 on Monday, hitting 18.85 intraday. That’s the lowest since the U.S. auto giant came public again in November 2010 at 33 a share. Update: GM shares early Tuesday fell 1.4% to 18.76, hitting a new low.)

That raises the taxpayer loss on the GM bailout to just shy of $35 billion. Here’s the math:

GM doesn’t have to pay back anything else, but taxpayers are still out $26.4 billion in direct aid. The Treasury still owns 26.5% of GM — 500 million shares. The stock would have to rise to about 53 to break-even on that direct aid. At the current price, the Treasury’s stake is worth just $9.51 billion. (Taxpayers lose $5 million for each penny that GM stock falls).

That would leave taxpayers out $16.9 billion. But the true cost is much higher.

President Obama let GM keep $45 billion worth in past losses to write off future earnings. These carry-forwards are typically wiped out or severely cut along with debts as part of bankruptcy. But in this case, the administration gifted huge tax breaks with an $18 billion book value. (That’s how GM avoided taxes last year despite a bumper $7.6 billion profit.)

Including those tax write-offs, taxpayers are sitting on a bailout loss of $35 billion.

When the government buys stock in private industry, everybody wins!

Did Obama Publicly Thank A Gay Pr0n Kingpin?

Filed under: General — Patterico @ 7:19 am

The Weekly Standard says yes — and it’s almost too good to check:

“I want to thank someone who put so much work into this event, Terry Bean,” President Obama said as the crowd began to cheer. “Give Terry a big round of applause.”

Terry Bean is, according to the New York Post, a “gay-porn kingpin.”

“ONE of the ‘bundlers’ who has raised $50,000 to $100,000 for the Barack Obama presidential campaign is Terrence Bean, who once controlled the biggest producer of gay porn in America,” the Post reported in 2008, during the president’s first run the office. “Bean, the first gay on Sen. Obama’s National Finance Committee, is the sole trustee of the Charles M. Holmes Foundation, which owned Falcon Studios, Jock Studios and Mustang Studios, the producers of about $10 million worth of all-male pornography a year.”

“Once controlled”? Hmm. We’ll get back to that part in a second.

The Weekly Standard says the Terry Bean whom Obama praised is the same dude as the foundation trustee. I have not independently verified that, and I wish they’d provide some clear basis for independently reaching that conclusion. But Bean the trustee is from Oregon, and is also an Obama bundler — and so it very may well be the same guy.

Problem is, according to my reading of the New York Post article linked by the Standard, Bean is a former kingpin and not a current one. And Obama is not his only donee:

Bean, a real-estate developer based in Oregon, was the CEO of Conwest Resources, the holding company that owned Falcon, before Holmes died. The company was sold in 2004 but, now called 3 Media, continues to pay off a note to the foundation.

In 2002, Oregon Gov. Ted Kulongowski returned a $15,000 contribution from Conwest to avoid the “taint” of the porn connection. Bean told Page Six yesterday, “I asked the company to donate, and they did. To avoid the appearance of anything, he [Kulongowski] returned it.”

Bean also said, “I never had anything to do with running the company . . . Chuck became a friend of mine, and I got him interested in philanthropy.”

An Obama spokesman told Page Six: “Mr. Bean does not own the company [Falcon]. He is a regular contributor to state and federal candidates, including Republican Senator Gordon Smith and Arizona Congressman Jim Kolbe, and has even donated to the Log Cabin Republicans – who endorsed John McCain.”

Almost too good to check, but when the checking involves clicking a single link, I guess I can fit that in. Seems like this story might be kind of a swing and a miss by the Standard. Which sucks, because I really wanted to write a “Obama praises gay porn kingpin” post.

Obama may have dodged this bullet.

Give Barry a big round of applause.

UPDATE: Well, now, that’s very embarrassing. Somehow, I got the idea that it was the Daily Caller that had published the piece I mildly criticized in this post, and it just isn’t. At all. I have had to go back and put “Weekly Standard” everywhere I had originally written “Daily Caller.”

I’m flummoxed. I don’t even know why I thought it was the Caller. I really don’t. Weird. Just a total brain misfire. My apologies to the folks at the Caller.

Give Patterico a big round of applause!


July 14, 2011: Andrew Breitbart Receives Menacing Phone Call from Someone Pretending to Be (But Almost Certainly Not) from Media Matters

Filed under: General — Patterico @ 8:35 pm

It occurs to me that I never talked publicly about the menacing phone call Andrew Breitbart received on July 14, 2011 — two weeks after I was SWATted. The following is an email Andrew sent me at 3:21 p.m. that day, 11 minutes after the call came in:

Threatening Phone Call:

At 3:10pm PDT July 14 got cell phone call from computer altered male sounding voice:

‘We’re coming after you. (Pause) This is Eric. (Pause) Are you scared?’

They then hung up.

Just searched for the number as it came up on my cell phone (202-756-4100):

Media Matters for America
1625 Massachusetts Ave Nw Ste 300
Washington, DC 20036
(202) 756-4100

I spoke to Andrew on the phone shortly after he received the phone call, and told him that I believed the phone number was almost certainly spoofed. The caller could not possibly have been Eric Boehlert, I said. He agreed. We decided someone was trying to punk him, and cause him to make a public claim that he had been somehow threatened by Media Matters.

I suspected it could be connected with the SWATtings, and advised him to contact his local police if he hadn’t already — not to report the phone call, necessarily, but to warn them that he was a potential future SWATting victim. Whether he ever told police he might get SWATted, I have no idea. He didn’t seem interested in reporting the phone call to police and I don’t think he ever did. He did authorize me to pass along word of the incident to the FBI agent working up my SWATting case, which I did.

I thought about this tonight for the first time in a while — I’m not sure why — and decided there was no harm in making it public. Not sure what it means, but there you have it.

UPDATE: The headline initially read “claiming to be,” but I changed it to “pretending to be” — which is, I think, slightly more accurate. The caller did not explicitly claim to be from Media Matters; rather, he was posing as Eric Boehlert.

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