Patterico's Pontifications

11/27/2013

Happy Thanksgiving (a day early)

Filed under: General — JD @ 6:45 am

[guest post by JD]

A wise person said that Thanksgiving is a verb, and as such, I want to do so.

I give thanks for the medical professionals at the Huntsman Cancer Institute, for keeping my little brother alive.

I give thanks for my family and friends for sticking together during such a challenging year.

I give thanks to my dermatologist for finding and removing a malignant melanoma prior to it becoming a greater problem.

I give thanks to my “e-friends” for your kind words and support, and for reading my oft flippant and insouciant posts.

I give thanks to Patterico and DRJ and Stashiu, just because they are good people.

I give thanks that I get to spend another Thanksgiving traversing the country, dragging the little angels through airports, rental car counters, and hotels in multiple States over the next 4 days. In a normal year, this might fill me with dread and be something that I would not look forward to. This year, I am thankful we have the opportunity to do so.

Have a wonderful holiday, all.

—JD

11/26/2013

Poll: 53% of Americans Think Obama Is Not Honest

Filed under: General — Patterico @ 7:13 am

It’s a majority for the first time:

And a CNN/ORC International survey released Monday morning also indicates that 53% of Americans now believe that Obama is not honest and trustworthy, the first time that a clear majority in CNN polling has felt that way.

But it makes you wonder: who are these people who think he is honest?

I’ll tell you who: the 47%: “There are 47% of the people who will vote for the president no matter what … who are dependent upon government, who believe that they are victims.”

I guess they also think Barack Obama is honest.

How to Handle Organizing for America Robots Who Harangue You at the Thanksgiving Dinner Table

Filed under: General — Patterico @ 7:08 am

Barack Obama’s Organizing for America asks its mindless robots to use the Thanksgiving holidays to proselytize family members regarding health care. Some advice from their organization:

Start by asking: “Have you thought about signing up for health insurance on the new marketplace?”

Offer to walk them through it: “Would you like to take some time with me to sign up right now?”

Ask them to make a plan, and commit to it: “When do you plan on signing up?”

Don’t forget to follow up: “Have you signed up yet?”

Mark and Mollie Hemingway have an idea on how to respond to the bolded question:

Here’s a sample response you might use. “That would be great. Except that I’m going to be washing dishes and cleaning up for a bit. How about you go into the guest room and use the computer in there to sign me up. As soon as you’re done, you can have some pie.”

The key is to get them to make a commitment not to come out until they’ve finished signing you up. Remember their conversation tip — Ask them to make a plan, and commit to it. Ask them to commit to finishing the sign-up before they come out of the room.

Since nobody can actually sign up for Obamacare, they’ll be busily trying to operate the web site for the duration of your visit. And the beauty of the disaster zone that is the Obamacare website is that whether you plan to visit for hours or days, the crazy family member will be out of your hair. For added giggles with the sane portion of the family, be sure to follow the last tip — Don’t forget to follow up: “Have you signed up yet?”

Every time you pass the room, knock on the door loudly and ask them that exact question. Once your crazy uncle is holed-up with a laptop in the guest bedroom, you and your more tolerable relatives can enjoy the rest of the holiday in peace.

Heh. Ace has some talking points of his own, to respond to any arrogant OFA robots you might find at your dinner table. I don’t particularly recommend the talking points to anyone who actually wants to get along with their relatives, but they are mighty funny. Sample:

1. Hey remember when you said that Obamacare was going to work great, and then, when people asked you how it actually worked, you sort of implied they were stupid for not knowing, and yet you never provided any evidence that you had any idea of how it was supposed to work yourself? Yeah, you were wrong to do that.

2. Remember when you called me crazy for saying Obama wanted to “spread the wealth around,” based on not a scrap of evidence except for Obama himself saying he wanted to spread the wealth around? Yeah, there’s a NYT article that says that Obamacare is fundamentally a redistributive program — which means it “spreads the wealth around.” Yeah you were wrong on that, too.

There are four more — much along the same lines.

P.S. I wonder what their talking points are for this:

Almost 80 million people with employer health plans could find their coverage canceled because they are not compliant with ObamaCare, several experts predicted.

Their losses would be in addition to the millions who found their individual coverage cancelled for the same reason.

. . . .

According to projections the administration itself issued back in July 2010, it was clear officials knew the impact of ObamaCare three years ago.

In fact, according to the Federal Register, its mid-range estimate was that by the end of 2014, 76 percent of small group plans would be cancelled, along with 55 percent of large employer plans.

The reason behind the losses is that current plans don’t meet the requirements of ObamaCare, which dictate that each plan must cover a list of essential benefits, whether people want them or not.

Now that’s some fun dinner discussion.

11/25/2013

Debunking the Idea That Race Attitudes Explain the Famous Katrina Captions Showing a White Person “Finding” Items and a Black Person “Looting” Them

Filed under: General — Patterico @ 7:52 am

Ken from Popehat, who has helped me greatly in my life and whom I respect deeply, recently posted the following tweet:

Somewhere in the back of my head, I had a memory that this example of racism was not all it was cracked up to be. Turns out my memory was right: there is a race-neutral explanation for the differing captions. I don’t think I ever posted on this before, and since the perception obviously persists that the difference in the captions is due to attitudes on race, I thought I would do a post about it — even though it is eight years later.

It’s never too late to help debunk a persistent misperception.

Surprisingly, I found the source materials I needed at Snopes.com. Even more surprisingly, the debunking of this episode as racism comes in part from an article at Salon.com. (The other half of the debunking is from an online forum for sports photographers.)

Regarding the caption that accused someone of “looting,” we learn that the photographer saw the person take the goods from the shop:

Jack Stokes, AP’s director of media relations, confirmed today that Martin says he witnessed the people in his images looting a grocery store. “He saw the person go into the shop and take the goods,” Stokes said, “and that’s why he wrote ‘looting’ in the caption.”

Regarding the photo by Chris Graythen whose caption said someone had “found” the items they were carrying, the photographer did not see the person take the goods from the shop. Here is the photographer, Chris Graythen, talking about his observations on a photographers’ forum:

I wrote the caption about the two people who ‘found’ the items. I believed in my opinion, that they did simply find them, and not ‘looted’ them in the definition of the word. The people were swimming in chest deep water, and there were other people in the water, both white and black. I looked for the best picture. there were a million items floating in the water – we were right near a grocery store that had 5+ feet of water in it. it had no doors. the water was moving, and the stuff was floating away. These people were not ducking into a store and busting down windows to get electronics. They picked up bread and cokes that were floating in the water. They would have floated away anyhow. I wouldn’t have taken in, because I wouldn’t eat anything that’s been in that water. But I’m not homeless. (well, technically I am right now.)

I’m not trying to be politically correct. I’m don’t care if you are white or black. I spent 4 hours on a boat in my parent’s neighborhood shooting [he means “taking photos of” — Ed.], and rescuing people, both black and white, dog and cat. I am a journalist, and a human being – and I see all as such. If you don’t belive me, you can look on Getty today and see the images I shot of real looting today, and you will see white and black people, and they were DEFINATELY looting. And I put that in the caption.

According to the Salon article, the AP had a policy that action was described as looting only if a reporter or photographer saw people taking the goods from a business:

Santiago Lyon, AP’s director of photography, told Salon that all captions are vetted by editors and are the result of a dialogue between editor and photographer. Lyon said AP’s policy is that each photographer can describe only what he or she actually sees. He added, “When we see people go into businesses and come out with goods, we call it ‘looting.’” On the other hand, he said, “When we just see them carrying things down the road, we call it ‘carrying items.’”

And the AFP had the same policy:

Regarding the AFP/Getty “finding” photo by Graythen, Getty spokeswoman Bridget Russel said, “This is obviously a big tragedy down there, so we’re being careful with how we credit these photos.” Russel said that Graythen had discussed the image in question with his editor and that if Graythen didn’t witness the two people in the image in the act of looting, then he couldn’t say they were looting.

So there is really no reason to attribute racism to the people who took these pictures. They were following the similar policies of their news organizations, and observed different things.

Racism is a touchy issue in this country. It certainly exists — more than some people think, and less than other people think. Nothing about this debunking is intended to imply that racism is not a problem. It’s simply intended to show that there was a race-neutral explanation for the differences in these captions . . . and that people who use the captions as an example of racism (or race attitudes) may be unfairly attributing bad motives to photographers and caption writers who were just doing their job.

It’s a useful reminder in an era when any criticism of a black president is considered by some to be racism, no matter how much he lies or takes actions that harm the country.

Video: Cancer Patient Loses Coverage Thanks to ObamaCare

Filed under: General — Patterico @ 7:28 am

She liked her plan, but she can’t keep it:

This is not an isolated story, folks. I absolutely guarantee it.

Thanks to Hot Air.

11/24/2013

Glenn Reynolds on the ObamaCare Rollout

Filed under: General — Patterico @ 4:43 pm

Not listening to the people actually doing the work — it causes problems in all areas of life, not just ObamaCare.

11/23/2013

Open Thread: Deal Reached with Iran on Nukes

Filed under: General — Patterico @ 10:20 pm

No idea what to make of it. Israel hates it, but what do they know?

Saturday Night (Weird) Music

Filed under: General — Patterico @ 6:53 pm

Some odd tracks: some at weird speeds, some mashed up, and others changing minor keys to major, or vice versa.

Dolly Parton’s “Jolene” about 25% slower, sounds like a cool song by a male artist:

Whereas Bruuuuuuuce speeded up sounds like Dolly Parton:

Band on the Run mashed up with Imagine:

Hey Jude in a minor key:

Metallica’s “Nothing Else Matters” in a major key:

Major Scaled #1 : Metallica – “Nothing Else Majeur” from major scaled on Vimeo.

P.S. Y’all heard this cricket deal, right? I figure it’s a hoax. Any official word on that?

“Fact-Checking” Gone Wrong: Glenn Kessler Gives Two Pinocchios to a Correct Statement About Mary Landrieu’s Vote for ObamaCare

Filed under: General — Patterico @ 5:28 pm

This ad says Mary Landrieu cast “the deciding vote” for ObamaCare:

Enter Glenn Kessler, Fact-Checker Extraordinaire, who gives this entirely true statement “Two Pinocchios.” Here is his reasoning:

As always with bills in the Senate, there are critical procedure votes. Because of GOP objection, Democrats needed to win a supermajority of 60 votes in order to end debate and advance the Senate’s version of the legislation. (This is known as a cloture vote.) On Christmas Eve in 2009, the bill was passed in the Senate by a vote of 60 to 39.

Every Democrat in the Senate, including Landrieu, voted for that bill. But it was never officially reconciled with a House version because the Democrats lost the Massachusetts Senate seat in a special election. So an amendment of the Senate bill, crafted in the House, was finally passed on March 25 under a procedure that avoided the 60-vote requirement. That bill only needed 50 votes, and it passed 56 to 43, with Landrieu again voting with the majority.

It was certainly a messy ending but Obama’s health-care effort did not become law until the second bill was passed.

Levi Russell, an AFP spokesman, said the first vote backs up the ad’s statement. “In order to achieve cloture and pass President Obama’s health care law out of the Senate, the bill needed 60 votes,” he said. “The bill passed 60-39 out of the Senate. As Landrieu voted yes, her vote provided the critical margin for passage. If she had voted no, the bill would not have passed.”

Sounds right to me. But Kessler comes up with his own definition of the “deciding vote”:

Okay, but is that what really happened? The deciding vote is really that last vote reached—and that wasn’t Landrieu. Instead it was then Sen. Ben Nelson of Nebraska (who, by the way, voted against the second bill.)

. . . .

Given that Landrieu was one of the last holdouts on the law, a reasonable case could be made that her vote was important for the outcome, at least for the first vote. But calling her the “deciding vote” is going too far, as it invites a slippery slope in which attack ads could be made against every Senate Democrat, saying each cast the deciding vote.

In the case of the cloture vote, there was only one deciding vote — Ben Nelson. And he’s no longer in the Senate.

But every single Democrat did cast the deciding vote. Her vote was not just “important” to the outcome — it was critical. It was indispensable — in the sense that without it, there would be no ObamaCare. There would be no second bill and no signed law. Landrieu’s vote was absolutely essential to the passage of the law — as was the vote of every other Democrat.

Now, maybe you disagree with my argument. But the issue is at least debatable, isn’t it? My position is at least arguably correct. It’s a matter of opinion. Yet Kessler, the “fact checker,” gives the ad “two Pinocchios” — which under the paper’s rating system means:

Significant omissions and/or exaggerations. Some factual error may be involved but not necessarily. A politician can create a false, misleading impression by playing with words and using legalistic language that means little to ordinary people.

What is “significant” about whether Landrieu’s vote was the first, one of the middle ones, or the last? It is clear that the point of this ad was to say: if Mary Landrieu had not voted this way, we would have not have gotten ObamaCare. That is 100% correct. Who cares whether it was the final vote or not? That’s not the point of the ad. The point of the ad was that her vote was absolutely critical to the outcome.

But it’s worse than Kessler’s assessment of this one ad — because his pronouncement has far-reaching implications. Now, any time Mary Landrieu’s opponent argues that she cast the deciding vote for ObamaCare, who is absolutely correct, she will be able to say: “The Washington Post has ruled that exact claim to be misleading and gave it two Pinocchios.” And that (unlike her opponent’s claim) will be entirely misleading.

Fact checkers need to stay out of areas where a statement is arguably entirely true. Unfortunately, they haven’t, they don’t, and they never will.

UPDATE: A bit more analysis here.

UPDATE x2: The hacks at PolitiFact have done essentially the same thing here.

“Any one of those 60 Democrats who voted for it in the U.S. Senate, had they voted no, it would not have passed,” Rubens said in an interview. “So any one of those 60 would have been the deciding vote.”

However, PolitiFact has been unsympathetic to that argument in the past, since calling someone “the deciding vote” implies he or she played a pivotal role, such as withholding support until the last moment.

Your vote plays a pivotal role if, without it, the bill would fail. As the kids say: duh. (Do the kids still say that? I am confident they would say it to PolitiFact.)

Our “Narcissist In Chief” Yesterday

Filed under: General — Patterico @ 2:06 pm

Ekdahl asked for a painting of Obama staring at the Kennedy painting, and a wiseacre obliged. Here is one of his pictures:

The rest are collected at Twitchy. Via Ace.

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