Patterico's Pontifications

4/29/2014

Schmucko’s Approval Rating at New Low (for ABC News Poll)

Filed under: General — Patterico @ 7:38 am

Heckuva job, Barry:

Democrats face serious obstacles as they look to the November elections, with President Obama’s approval rating at a new low and a majority of voters saying they prefer a Congress in Republican hands to check the president’s agenda, according to a new Washington Post-ABC News poll.

Obama’s approval rating fell to 41 percent, down from 46 percent through the first three months of the year and the lowest of his presidency in Post-ABC News polls. Just 42 percent approve of his handling of the economy, 37 percent approve of how he is handling the implementation of the Affordable Care Act and 34 percent approve of his handling of the situation involving Ukraine and Russia.

Other surveys have put Obumbler’s approval rating even lower in the past, but it’s nice to see a trend with this one. Keep up the good work, pal.

John Kerry Apologizes for Israel “Apartheid” Remark

Filed under: General — Patterico @ 7:32 am

John Kerry is now apologizing for the following remarks:

A two-state solution will be clearly underscored as the only real alternative. Because a unitary state winds up either being an apartheid state with second-class citizens — or it ends up being a state that destroys the capacity of Israel to be a Jewish state.

So: is he right, or is he wrong?

Look: I love jumping on John Kerry as much as the next guy. But for some on the right, the topic of Israel is treated the way race is treated by the left: there is a very narrow category of allowable discussion, and Heaven help you if you make a remark that falls outside that range.

He didn’t say Israel is an apartheid state. (And, clearly, it’s not. It’s a democracy in which the same laws apply to all.) He said what he said.

I’m not saying he’s right. In fact, I tend to think he’s not.

I’m saying: can we have a discussion about whether he’s right — and, if not, why not? — without the sort of hissing and finger-pointing that the left does on race issues?

4/28/2014

Palin Making News Again

Filed under: General — Dana @ 10:35 pm

[guest post by Dana]

At this weekend’s annual NRA convention, Sarah Palin made waves with her speech. In typical Palin fashion, she captivated her audience and was met with cheers and applause.

One expects the left to be in a tizzy of course, because guns. However, there are a surprising number on the right who have taken her to task for her joke invoking Christianity’s sacrament of baptism with regard to water boarding (beginning at the 6:40 mark). Focusing on the United State’s current counter-terrorism policies, Palin described what she would do if she were in charge,

“Come on. Enemies, who would utterly annihilate America, they who’d obviously have information on plots, to carry out Jihad. Oh, but you can’t offend them, can’t make them feel uncomfortable, not even a smidgen. Well, if I were in charge, they would know that waterboarding is how we’d baptize terrorists.”

Critics scolded that baptism isn’t a good punchline for a terrorist joke; disliked her uniting government with religion and making herself both judge and arbiter; while yet others accused her of sacrilegious jibe and invoking baptism to celebrate torture.

I have excerpted a portion of one writer’s take that caught my eye,

In our attempts to dehumanize our enemy we end up becoming less than human ourselves. It would be a Pyrrhic victory to save civilization and lose our humanity.

We must never hesitate to defend our culture, our future, and our lives against those who seek to destroy us. The liberal cosmopolitan elite appeal to tolerance and understanding in the face of such an enemy is suicidal. However, the right-wing populist position, which is willing to face up to and address the evil of terrorism, fails to understand the ramifications of becoming like the enemy by dehumanizing them.

The entirety focuses on the spiritual implications of Palin’s statement, water boarding, and the Christian. However, along with Palin’s controversial comments and the historical treatment of her by the left/MSM, consider the excerpt in a more broad brush generic way as it relates to politics: Becoming like the enemy. In light of that, what are the limits of how far the right can – and should – go when calling out the hypocrisy, smear tactics and campaigns to destroy by the left? At what point do we start resembling the very people we are attempting to expose? When does it end up becoming self-destructive, thus giving an unintended victory to our opponents? In other words, do we play just as dirty as our opponents and is the risk worth it?

Post script: Palin is not backing down from her comments. When asked if she thought she would make the remark again, she replied,

“Would I make it again?” Palin said. “Why wouldn’t I, yeah, absolutely. Terrorists who want to annihilate Americans, innocent Americans, our children — whatever it takes to stop them. If I were in charge, I’d be stoppin’ em.”

Politicians should take note: Stand by what you say. No backing down, no back pedaling, no “What I really meant to say…” shtick.

–Dana

Jonathan Adler: Don’t Criticize Democrat Candidate for Having Been a Criminal Defense Lawyer

Filed under: General — Patterico @ 9:54 pm

Jonathan Adler:

I don’t know South Carolina state Sen. Vincent Sheheen, and I doubt I’d support him for governor if I were a resident of the Palmetto State. I do know, however, that the Republican Governors Association’s latest ad attacking Sheheen for having worked as a criminal defense attorney is contemptible.

The ad (below) attacks “trial lawyer” Sheheen because he ”made money off criminals” and represented those “charged with violent acts,” child and sex abuse. I assume the accusations are true, but they are irrelevant. Even those accused of the most heinous crimes deserve a defense, and our legal system depends upon the willingness of capable attorneys to defend even the most unpopular or unpalatable defendants.

I agree with Adler. I understand that the job of criminal defense attorney is not popular with the public, but defending criminals is what they do — and it’s necessary. Making money for such actions is fine. Getting good results, if done in an ethical manner, is fine. It’s their job.

Don’t criticize a guy for doing a necessary job.

P.S. I don’t 100% agree with Adler here:

The RGA is not the first to attack lawyers for having agreed to represent unpopular clients or causes, but that hardly makes the ad any more defensible. Others on the right wrongly went after attorneys who agreed to represent Gitmo detainees. Folks on the left assailed Bush nominees who represented corporations or defended administration policies and attacked King & Spalding and Paul Clement for agreeing to defend DOMA. Some members of Congress are also currently attacking district court nominee Mark Cohen because he helped defend Georgia’s voter ID law. All such attacks are misguided.

If you are attacking a Gitmo lawyer simply because he or she is a Gitmo lawyer, I don’t agree with your attack. BUT…as See Dubya once pointed out, a lot of big firms flocked to give pro bono counsel to Gitmo detainees, but somehow a U.S. soldier who was going to be prosecuted by Italy for murder in a clear friendly fire accident couldn’t get anyone to be pro bono counsel. (The prosecution never went through.) I think that it’s fair to wonder why — and situations like this crop up all the time, where helping someone in a lefty cause brings bevies and covens of lawyers while other worthy causes do not.

But getting back to the main point: Republicans, don’t get on someone’s case for being a criminal defense lawyer. Please.

Boehner Committed to Immigration Reform Vote

Filed under: General — Patterico @ 7:43 am

I’ve not commented yet on John Boehner’s “oooh, it’s too hard” comments mocking Republicans for not passing immigration reform. But I think it’s time I opened a thread for y’all on it. In the mad rush to end the GOP, this is a fairly significant step.

Toyota Moving from California to Texas

Filed under: General — Patterico @ 7:37 am

This is a real blow to the local economy:

Toyota Motor Corp. plans to move large numbers of jobs from its sales and marketing headquarters in Torrance to suburban Dallas, according to a person familiar with the automaker’s plans.

. . . .

Occidental Petroleum Corp. said in February that it was relocating from Los Angeles to Houston, making it one of around 60 companies that have moved to Texas since July 2012, according to Texas Gov. Rick Perry.

Perry last month visited California to recruit companies. The group Americans for Economic Freedom also recently launched a $300,000 advertising campaign in which Perry contends 50 California companies have plans to expand or relocate in Texas because it offers a better business climate.

Like these other companies, Toyota could also save money in an environment of lower business taxes, real estate prices and cost of living.

Frank Scotto, Torrance’s mayor, said he had no warning of Toyota’s decision. He said he did know that the automaker planned a corporate announcement for Monday.

“When any major corporation is courted by another state, it’s very difficult to combat that,” Scotto said. “We don’t have the tools we need to keep major corporations here.”

The mayor said businesses bear higher costs in California for workers’ compensation and liability insurance, among other expenses.

This marks the second departure of a major auto company in a decade:

Toyota isn’t the first automaker to leave Southern California. In late 2005, Nissan announced it was moving its North American headquarters from Gardena to Franklin, Tenn., just outside of Nashville. About 550 employees left for Tennessee; an additional 750 left jobs at Nissan to stay in Southern California.

“The costs of doing business in Southern California are much higher than the costs of doing business in Tennessee,” Nissan Chief Executive Carlos Ghosn said at the time. He cited cheaper real estate and lower business taxes as key reasons for the move.

You might think “business writer” Michael Hiltzik would be writing about the departure of a local business headquarters employing thousands of workers. But the clear solutions — lower business taxes, lower workers’ compensation costs, and the like — don’t fit his ultra-left world view. So today, his “business” column focuses on racist comments made by Clippers’ owner Donald Sterling, giving us a glimpse of the “dirty laundry” in this woefully undercovered story.

Sometimes it’s hard to tell what’s the worst thing about California: the ridiculous regulation, or the crappy media. My conclusion: they’re both the worst.

Claim: Women’s Only Self-Defense Class Discriminatory

Filed under: General — Patterico @ 7:26 am

Discrimination rears its ugly head again:

Five government-sponsored self-defense classes to be held in the San Fernando Valley next month are being challenged as discriminatory to men and boys.

The women-only classes are advertised as free and are being hosted by California State Assemblyman Adrin Nazarian as well as the California Highway Patrol, the Los Angeles Police Department (Mission Hills division), Bright Star ATA Martial Arts and the North Hollywood Recreation Center.

The classes are for any female 12 and older and will highlight common strikes, important methods of disabling your attacker and some hands-on training techniques.

But, Harry A. Crouch believes the classes are discriminatory.

Crouch is “president of the National Coalition for Men, a nonprofit group based in San Diego, which ‘raises awareness about how sex discrimination adversely affects women and men.’” Quotes from Crouch’s letter are at the link. Crouch argues: “Men and boys are especially prone to violent attacks” and notes that men are not necessarily born martial artists.

I can see people being divided about this, which makes it a fun topic. Discuss away.

4/27/2014

The President Picks and Chooses

Filed under: General — Dana @ 8:01 am

[guest post by Dana]

All the way from Kuala Lumpur, President Obama has weighed in on the “incredibly offensive statements” made by the owner of the L.A. Clippers, Donald Sterling.

When questioned by the press about the comments, the president remarked,

When ignorant folks want to advertise their ignorance, you don’t really have to do anything, you just let them talk.

The president appeared more than willing to expound on racism in our country,

“[W]e constantly have to be on guard on racial attitudes that divide us rather than embracing our diversity as a strength.

The United States continues to wrestle with the legacy of race and slavery and segregation, that’s still there, the vestiges of discrimination.

We’ve made enormous strides, but you’re going to continue to see this percolate up every so often. And I think that we just have to be clear and steady in denouncing it, teaching our children differently, but also remaining hopeful that part of why statements like this stand out some much is because there has been this shift in how we view ourselves.

Still no comment from President Obama, in spite of the public outcry, about the noted black female scholar and American citizen whose invitation from a prestigious American university to have an honorary degree bestowed upon her was later reneged by said university.

–Dana

4/26/2014

Illiterate USA Today Writer Expounds on Possible Racism by Clippers Owner Donald Sterling

Filed under: General — Patterico @ 3:16 pm

TMZ has a clip of possibly racist comments by a person who most people appear to assume is Clippers owner Donald Sterling. I’ll leave it to the rest of the world to furiously debate whether the comments are actually racist, or taken out of context, or worse than things said by Spike Lee or Al Sharpton or Jesse Jackson, or whatever. Sorry, I have just gotten bored by that kind of thing. This post is only tangentially about that (although I expect the discussion in the comments will be all about that, which is fine). What I want to know is this: if you’re hired as a sports writer for USA Today, do they not require that you be fluent in the English language? Here is their story about the incident:

In an audio obtained by TMZ and posted on its web site, the person said it bothers him that she posted photos of herself with black people on her Instagram account. After a recent Clippers game, the woman took a picture with Johnson.

“Don’t put him on an Instagram for the world to have to see so they have to call me. … And don’t bring him to my games, OK?” the person said on the audio recording.

“Yeah, it bothers me a lot that you want to promo, broadcast that you’re associating with black people. Do you have to?” person also said.

Here’s more about whether “person” made these remarks “in an audio” obtained by TMZ:

Johnson responded on twitter Saturday: “LA Clippers owner Donald Sterling’s comments about African Americans are a black eye for the NBA.”

If I logged onto Twitter (yes, it’s capitalized, USA Today editors), I might ask Magic Johnson why it has to be a black eye. Seems kind of racist to me. But there I go, getting distracted from my main point: the illiteracy of the writer and his editors. Let’s get back to that, shall we?

Civil Rights Leader Jesse Jackson has called for the Clippers to boycott, while other prominent African Americans have taken strong stances against Sterling’s comments as well. Well-known rap artist Snoop Dogg posted a profanity-laced video on his Instagram account condemning Sterling.

In March, Sterling’s wife, Rochelle, filed a lawsuit alleging the woman, identified as V. Stiviano, had an affair with her husband, according to Los Angeles’ CBS affiliate reported in March.

I think it’s wonderful that Jesse Jackson now has a capitalized title: Civil Rights Leader. Is this perhaps some new “race czar” position that was announced by Obama while I was hibernating? Anyway, editors, could y’all re-read that last paragraph, slowly and out loud? And after you do that, read this one:

The league might have to consider that Sterling was speaking privately and quite likely did not know was being recorded.

Well, if you insert an unnecessary word or two in one sentence, you just have to take out a necessary word in another, and that way it all balances out.

Sorry, I know this post is silly and trivial, but as I read this article I just noticed one goof-up after another, and I couldn’t help myself. Anyway, y’all need a post to discuss the all-important Latest Racial Outrage (capital letters intentional!). So here you go!

P.S. It probably is worth pointing out, in light of pieces like this one that suggest that all public racists are Republicans, that Sterling has a record of monetarily supporting Democrat candidates like Gray Davis and Bill Bradley.

Birthing “Art”

Filed under: General — Dana @ 11:14 am

[guest post by Dana]

Last night while at a small dinner party, I was introduced to an art history professor who is also the director of a center on campus devoted to art and faith and the intersection therein. He was an unpretentious and charming conversationalist, and we had a lively discussion about the relationship of artist and viewer, and the unique form of communication art is. Whether the intended thought or message is actually received by the viewer, or whether they give a dismissive glance and move on, a response has been elicited. Mission accomplished, I guess.

So, it was a bit coincidental that upon getting home last night, I found that performance art is in the news this week. Not being a fan of that particular brand of art, I was nonetheless drawn in by the introductory statement, which was bizarrely compelling in its insufferable arrogance and delusions of relevance. It took crazy to a whole new level. A mesmerizing train wreck: I just couldn’t look away. And then I had to watch the performance, if only to have my reaction confirmed. First the statement: A Milo Moiré Performance @ The Opening of Art Cologne.

An upright standing nude on a loft… One with ink and acrylic fueled egg… A preserved canvas…

What the spectators are about to expect, is the compressed birth of a piece of art.
Slowly the egg leaves the natal canal of the artist and smashes on the canvas, red colour flows out. The next egg contains another colour and so bit by bit, accompanied only by loud “Plops”, an abstract art work originates — archaically, uncontrollably and intuitively. At the end of this almost meditative art birth performance the stained canvas is folded up, smoothed and unfolded to a symmetrically reflected picture, astonishingly coloured and full of strong because universal symbolism.

The “PlopEgg Painting” itself releases a loose chain of thoughts — about the creation fear, the symbolic strength of the casual and the creative power of the femininity. A comparison to wild associations arises and by the intensity of the seen and experienced, one becomes clear: the art needs like so often the corporeity to be able to manifest itself.

Milo Moire’s performances start with daydreaming, with (every)daily, personal physical experiences which condense by wild associations to an internal whole piece of art about to mature and enter the world. The corporeity becomes the need for her artistic expression to make the happened – also for the spectator – experienceable. Milo Moire describes her art, as an „art led by intuition. To create art, I use THE original source of the femininity — my vagina”.

Milo Moire opens her performance cycle “The PlopEgg Painting Performance # 1 – A Birth of a Picture” on the famous art fair Art Cologne — a place at which the art gets involved in the flirtation with big figures. The hashtag 1 stands for the first Art-Birth-Picture. Other performances should follow worldwide.

Within the context of art (performance), commerce (art fair) and opinion creation (media) a deliberate-accidental creation act happens, which instantly provokes ambivalent interpretations. “In my art i try to create mental doors”, the artist says. And there is always at least one door left to pass through a mirror.

With that, I can only say as I typically do when confronted by something so mind-bogglng, my gender and our modern culture is in worse shape than I thought.

The Guardian puts it in its place,

And yet it’s not a strong statement at all. It is absurd, gratuitous, trite and desperate. Anywhere but an art gathering, this would be regarded as a satire on modern cultural emptiness.

So once again, in an insatiable quest for relevance, women are compelled to confirm the desperation of the gender. It’s all become boringly pedestrian. And I’m not sure if that is a good thing or not.

–Dana

Video below. NSFW.

UPDATE BY PATTERICO: I think maybe we’ll just give you the link instead. Now, if you want to watch it after the above description, that’s on you.

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