Patterico's Pontifications


Saturday Afternoon Music

Filed under: General — Patterico @ 12:59 pm

Musical magic in a hotel room.


Beheading In Oklahoma

Filed under: General — Dana @ 4:56 pm

[guest post by Dana]


A man fired from an Oklahoma food processing plant beheaded a woman with a knife and was attacking another worker when he was shot and wounded by a company official, police said Friday.

Moore Police Sgt. Jeremy Lewis said police are waiting until Alton Nolen, 30, is conscious to arrest him in Thursday’s attack and have asked the FBI to help investigate after co-workers at Vaughan Foods in the south Oklahoma City suburb told authorities that he recently started trying to convert several employees to Islam.

Nolen severed the head of Colleen Hufford, 54, Lewis said.

Reports say that Mark Vaughan, a reserve sheriff’s deputy and the company’s chief operating officer, shot Nolen.

Nolen had a record and is currently on probation for assault and battery on a police officer. According to classmates, Nolen converted to Islam in 2011 while serving time in prison.

From a local report:

A classmate of Nolen’s, who didn’t wish to be identified, told this newspaper that he spoke to a close family member of Nolen’s today.

He told this newspaper that according to the family member, Nolen was telling coworkers Thursday of an Islamic teaching that said women should be stoned for an offense, and that an argument followed the mark, Nolen was later fired and returned later Thursday, when he beheaded Colleen Hufford, the family member said.

Earlier this month a woman in North London was also beheaded by a recent convert to Islam.


How Important Is Your Vote? The Tale of the Slave

Filed under: General — Patterico @ 7:46 am

It’s Friday and the news is stupid. Let’s have a philosophical bull session. Today let’s consider the Tale of the Slave, from Robert Nozick’s book “Anarchy, State, and Utopia” — and consider what implications it has for those who consider the vote sacred:

Consider the following sequence of cases, which we shall call the Tale of the Slave, and imagine it is about you.

1. There is a slave completely at the mercy of his brutal master’s whims. He often is cruelly beaten, called out in the middle of the night, and so on.

2. The master is kindlier and beats the slave only for stated infractions of his rules (not fulfilling the work quota, and so on). He gives the slave some free time.

3.The master has a group of slaves, and he decides how things are to be allocated among them on nice grounds, taking into account their needs, merit, and so on.

4. The master allows his slaves four days on their own and requires them to work only three days a week on his land. The rest of the time is their own.

5. The master allows his slaves to go off and work in the city (or anywhere they wish) for wages. He requires only that they send back to him three-sevenths of their wages. He also retains the power to recall them to the plantation if some emergency threatens his land; and to raise or lower the three-sevenths amount required to be turned over to him. He further retains the right to restrict the slaves from participating in certain dangerous activities that threaten his financial return, for example, mountain climbing, cigarette smoking.

6. The master allows all of his 10,000 slaves, except you, to vote, and the joint decision is made by all of them. There is open discussion, and so forth, among them, and they have the power to determine to what uses to put whatever percentage of your (and their) earnings they decide to take; what activities legitimately may be forbidden to you, and so on.

Nozick at this point pauses to reflect on what he’s saying here:

Let us pause in this sequence of cases to take stock. If the master contracts this transfer of power so that he cannot withdraw it, you have a change of master. You now have 10,000 masters instead of just one; rather you have one 10,000-headed master. Perhaps the 10,000 even will be kindlier than the benevolent master in case 2. Still, they are your master. However, still more can be done. A kindly single master (as in case 2) might allow his slave(s) to speak up and try to persuade him to make a certain decision. The 10,000-headed monster can do this also.

Nozick then takes us back to his progression:

7. Though still not having the vote, you are at liberty (and are given the right) to enter into the discussions of the 10,000, to try to persuade them to adopt various policies and to treat you and themselves in a certain way. They then go off to vote to decide upon policies covering the vast range of their powers.

8. In appreciation of your useful contributions to discussion, the 10,000 allow you to vote if they are deadlocked; they commit themselves to this procedure. After the discussion you mark your vote on a slip of paper, and they go off and vote. In the eventuality that they divide evenly on some issue, 5,000 for and 5,000 against, they look at your ballot and count it in. This has never yet happened; they have never yet had occasion to open your ballot. (A single master also might commit himself to letting his slave decide any issue concerning him about which he, the master, was absolutely indifferent.)

9. They throw your vote in with theirs. If they are exactly tied your vote carries the issue. Otherwise it makes no difference to the electoral outcome.

The question is: which transition from case 1 to case 9 made it no longer the tale of a slave?

The point, I think, is clear: we all have a vote on various issues of the day — and our vote is all but guaranteed to have no effect on the outcome. Yet the government arrogates to itself the right to tax us for absurd ends, whether it’s taking our money to pay people who are unwilling to work, or arming Syrian rebels who are likely to use those arms against us one day. In essence, aren’t we being forced to work to pay for things we disagree with? And how is that different from slavery?

I know there are many here who believe the vote is very important. I offer this tale as a polite and friendly challenge. Discuss it in that spirit. I wouldn’t bring it up if I weren’t particularly interested in what those folks have to say.

BONUS DEBATE POINT: Feel free to raise and discuss the issue of the consent of the governed. I plan to address that in a future post or posts.

UPDATE: Thanks to Instapundit and Hot Air for the links. I have a related follow-up post about whether we truly consent to be governed by this government, here.

GOP to Obama: Do Not Try to Confirm New AG in Lame Duck Session

Filed under: General — Patterico @ 6:41 am

Looks like the GOP thinks it’s winning the Senate in November — because they’re warning Obama not to replace Eric Holder in the lame-duck session:

Conservatives are warning President Obama against using a lame-duck session of Congress to push through Attorney General Eric Holder’s replacement, even as the White House signals its intention to fill the post quickly.

. . . .

But even if, as many predict, Republicans reclaim control of the Senate in the approaching midterm elections, they would be largely powerless to block Democrats from using their current majority to confirm an attorney general before the new Congress is gaveled into session in January.

“Rather than rush a nominee through the Senate in a lame-duck session, I hope the president will now take his time to nominate a qualified individual who can start fresh relationships with Congress so that we can solve the problems facing our country,” said Iowa Sen. Chuck Grassley, ranking Republican on the Senate Judiciary Committee.

Hope all you like, sir. He’ll do it anyway, and you’ll sit there and take it.


Holder Resigns

Filed under: General — Patterico @ 5:20 pm

Good riddance. I wonder if it was forced.

“Bo Snerdley” Speaks To The Black Community

Filed under: General — Dana @ 7:05 am

[guest post by Dana]

Rush Limbaugh’s call screener and right-hand man James Golden (“Bo Snerdley”) was interviewed by Ginny Thomas (wife of Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas) and discussed the black commmunity in America. Golden, who himself is black, made the following interesting and provocative points:

“What liberalism has done to the black communities, it’s not a monolithic community, is horrific.”

“Most black people live their lives as conservatives; a lot of them vote liberal because that’s the way their families vote, that’s what they grew up voting. And because they believe the press hype, and by the way Republicans haven’t helped. The last batch of Republicans in DC haven’t help with the branding.”

“The progress for black people is not going to be found politically it’s going to be found inside. This hope and change thing has translated into the same old BS: let’s blame the Republicans for everything.”

“Message to Black America: there are no Republicans in your neighborhood. They left years ago. They are not there. They are not to blame for your problems. The problems in your neighborhood are the problems of those people in your neighborhood. The reason why black people have problems in black neighborhoods is not due to Republicans.”

“By the way, Obama was never in your neighborhood either. And he’s not coming. Unless you’re up in Martha’s Vineyard and you’ve got a golf course.”

And speaking of Rush Limbaugh, a Texas waitress-turned-writer who received two $1,000 tips from Limbaugh, claimed that because the tips felt “like blood money”, she was compelled to give it all to an abortion charity:

“It felt like laundering the money in a good way,” she says. “He’s such an obvious target for any feminist or sane person. It was really bizarre to me that he gave me $2,000, and he’s evil incarnate in some ways.”



A New Anti-Obama Political Ad… Fun Follows!

Filed under: General — Dana @ 6:14 pm

[guest post by Dana]

Conservative advocacy group Americans for Prosperity has released a new anti-Obama ad aimed at reaching women. Although it brings up some valid concerns, it’s sappy and has a silly premise with President Obama cast as a bad boyfriend. Unfortunately, for me the messaging is lost in the girly-girl nonsense and diminishes points being made. Personally, I wish both sides of the aisle would just stop making campaign ads as they typically miss the mark, and whether by a mile or a hair they usually end up nearly unbearable to watch.

Anyway, the ad opens with a pretty woman wearing pink and pearls talking straight to the camera:

“In 2008 I fell in love. His online profile made him seem so perfect. Handsome, smart, charming, articulate. All the right values. I trusted him,” a woman in a soft living room setting says to the camera in what looks like a commercial for an online dating site.

“By 2012 our relationship was in trouble, but I stuck with him because he promised he’d be better,” she says, as the pleasant feel of the commercial quickly gets more ominous.

“He told me we’d be safe,” she says. “Have you looked at the news? He’s in my emails and text messages, spying on me but ignoring real threats.

“He said that we’d finally get on our feet financially. I’ll never pay down what he’s spent,” she continues. “He thinks the only thing I care about is free birth control, but he won’t even let me keep my own doctor.”

By this time her computer screen has shown the man she is talking about is Obama.

“I know I’m stuck with Barack for two more years … but I’m not stuck with his friends,” she says, a reference to the November midterm elections in which Republicans hope to retain control of the House of Representatives and take over the Senate.

“I’m looking for someone who gets that this isn’t about him,” the woman says. “It’s about us.”

In reading about the ad, I stumbled across a bit of huff-puffery from a described “active feminist and LGBTQI advocate” who slammed the ad as designed to convince women to abandon the Democrats for Republicans by playing on one of the most loathsome stereotypes about female voters—that we vote for male politicians we want to fuck.”

Which reminded me of something:

The writer continues her assault:

This is what conservatives think of (straight/bi?) women: That we vote based on who we think is the cutest boy; that we view our (male) political representatives as our boyfriends; that we are not offended by categorizing disappointment in a politician as an abusive relationship; that we think it’s totally appropriate to suggest the President is stalking us like an intimate partner; that we don’t hear or care about racist dog whistles like referring to the black President as “articulate”; that we don’t find it wildly disrespectful to refer to the President as “Barack,” especially to maintain the reprehensible illusion that he’s our mean boyfriend; that we think caring about free birth control is frivolous; that we are stupid. Very, very stupid.

It’s funny because throughout Obama’s presidency, female supporters (we certainly can assume they were Democrats) regularly swooned over him, even crushing on him. Further, I believe it was a female Democrat whose disappointment in a politician manifested itself in a violent imagery involving abuse of women. And I don’t know about this chick, but I sure heard and cared about the racist dog whistles from certain Democrats.

As to who is stupid, readers can decide for themselves.


Architect of ObamaCare Hopes to Die at 75

Filed under: General — Patterico @ 7:48 am

The story is a few days old, but I just ran across something that seemed apropos to the story. And anyway: the issue here is the government taking over health care in service to a twisted ideology — and isn’t that issue timeless?

So, a week ago, Ezekiel Emanuel had an essay in the Atlantic titled Why I Hope to Die at 75. The deck headline reads: “An argument that society and families—and you—will be better off if nature takes its course swiftly and promptly.”

If Ezekiel Emanuel wants to die at 75, that is his choice. More power to him. But I don’t give a rat’s ass what he thinks about whether others should be living past 75. He has no business deciding the point for others. Perhaps I am a little sensitive to this, as my own mom is . . . 76 years old.

Of course, he disclaims any such intent. He claims he does not mean to disparage people who want to live past 75. But he has a very lengthy piece in a prominent publication that basically says most people are worthless after 75. He’s not just talking about himself. Even though he denies it’s so, he is trying to persuade you to agree with him.

So who is this guy anyway, and why do we care what he has to say? His bio at the end of the piece says:

Ezekiel Emanuel is director of the Clinical Bioethics Department at the U.S. National Institutes of Health and heads the Department of Medical Ethics & Health Policy at the University of Pennsylvania.

What the bio does not mention is that Emanuel is one of the architects of ObamaCare. Here is a piece by Emanuel in the Wall Street Journal talking about his extensive role in the crafting of that law.

When you get government involved in health care, you are headed for rationing. You are no longer free to make decisions with your doctor; those decisions will — mark my words — I say those decisions will eventually be made by people in government. I don’t care how many fact-checkers declare this to be a “lie” — when government controls something, you lose freedom. Period.

And one of the first places rationing will take place? In the care of older people. Emanuel is trying to make the case — posing as a disinterested observer — that this is a good thing. But in reality, this is propaganda for the Brave New World of the federal government deciding how long you should live, along with all the other things it is (and will be) deciding for you.

This morning I ran across a piece written by a 76-year-old, talking about how excited she was to have begun taking online courses. The piece begins:

On the eve of my 76th birthday in May, I felt a rare excitement. With people living to be 100, I wondered about the long years that lay ahead of me. Would my life be more of the same, or could a new passage possibly begin?

I looked to Grandma Moses (1860-1961), the celebrated American artist, who started a new career at… 76! All her life, she lived and worked on a farm, embroidering fabrics until she developed arthritis and found needlework too painful.

It was then that she taught herself to paint, although she was more proud of her preserves than her paintings, which she gave her many friends, including the postman!

Here, by the way, is an image from a Grandma Moses painting that is shown in the article:

Screen Shot 2014-09-24 at 7.35.26 AM

The article comes via Barbara Oakley on Twitter.

Ezekiel Emanuel would be quick to tell you that Grandma Moses was an exception, and that creativity generally evaporates far earlier in life.

So what, Mr. Emanuel? Tell you what. You and your loved ones can all die at 75 for all I care. Leave me and my loved ones the hell alone.

“Stabat Mater” means “the mother stood.” In honor of my 76-year-old mom, who still stands, I’ll leave you with Verdi’s Stabat Mater . . . composed at the age of 84.

Thanks to Ag80.

When In Texas…

Filed under: General — Dana @ 6:50 am

[guest post by Dana]

In an interesting turn of events, a California same-sex couple relocated to Texas. The problem began when one of the spouses went to get a Texas drivers license:

Connie Wilson and her partner Aimee relocated to the Houston area with their three kids. Connie took on Aimee’s last name when they were legally married in California more than a year ago.

However, Connie Wilson said she is now being told that name doesn’t legally belong to her in the Lone Star State.

“It’s really hard to accept that someone is telling me I can’t have my name,” she said. “I was denied based on a marriage license.”

After presenting several legal documents, including her California marriage license, to an official at a Texas Department of Public Safety office in Pasadena, Wilson was told that because same-sex marriage is not legal in Texas, her married last name cannot appear on her Texas driver’s license.

“I’m being prohibited from having the last name of my children. I think that’s a violation of me as a person,” Wilson said. “I may as well pick another name out a hat.”

The Texas Department of Public Safety released a statement:

To receive a Texas Driver License or Identification Card reflecting a name change from a same-sex marriage, a court order is required. DPS does not track the statistics related to your inquiry.

Wilson sought help, and as a result State Sen. Sylvia Garcia is looking into the matter. No word whether Wilson has petitioned the court yet for a name change. And no word of a lawsuit filed. Yet.



The Commander in Chief Spoke Volumes Today

Filed under: General — Dana @ 8:02 pm

[guest post by Dana]


The Commander in Chief disembarked from a U.S. Marine Corps helicopter in New York today and couldn’t be bothered to hand off his coffee cup to offer a proper salute.

The salute is “the most important of all military courtesies,” says a manual for Marine Corps officer candidates.

“In some situations, the salute is not appropriate,” says the manual. “In general, do not salute when… carrying articles with both hands or being otherwise so occupied as to make saluting impractical,” says the manual, titled “Customs and Courtesies.”

Either in ignorance or with similar disrespect for our military, White House aides posted a video of the salute.


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