Patterico's Pontifications

12/31/2014

Happy New Year’s Eve!

Filed under: General — Dana @ 7:37 pm

[guest post by Dana]

Here’s wishing everyone a Happy New Year’s Eve tonight! And a safe one – especially if you’re on the road or indulging in adult beverages. A number of time zones represented at Patterico’s, so I’m not sure who will greet the new year first (perhaps Sammy Finkleman and Millhouse). Regardless, it’s been a real pleasure being a hostess here this past almost-a-year. If you need anything, just holler.

…yes, daley, I’m getting that beer for you right now. Gimme a break!

–Dana

All Lives *Should* Matter

Filed under: General — Dana @ 1:33 pm

[guest post by Dana]

(Trigger warning: lifeydoodle post)

Last week, Milwaukee Sheriff David Clarke sent a tweet to Mitch Smith, a journalist in the Chicago bureau of The New York Times, which read:

“If only these faux protesters were asked by media about all the black on black killing or black babies aborted in US every year.“

Later, when asked about the tweet, Clarke explained:

“When I hear these things that Black lives matter, the only people who really believe that statement are American police officers who go into American ghettos every day to keep people from killing each other. Alright, so, yes I did say that and I meant it. Look, the abortions? If Black lives – if they really mattered, that’s where the outrage would be that’s where we’d see protests…”

According to Life News, the black community is impacted more greatly than other minorities when it comes to abortion:

36.2% of the total number of abortions recorded for race or ethnicity were reported on Black women.

Mississippi, which currently has only one abortion clinic in the state, had the highest number of abortions reported on Black women coming in at 63.4%.

Alabama, reported that 58.7% of their abortions were on Blacks while in Georgia they reported 52.1% abortions on Black.

Tennessee performed 49.9% of their abortions on Black women and Virginia performed 43.9% on Black women, while Michigan’s Black abortion percentage was 47.9%.

New York City alone performed 46.1% of their abortions on Black women and 41.1% of Black abortions was reported in Missouri.

With that, Planned Parenthood just released its yearly numbers:

Planned Parenthood clinics did 327,653 abortions in its fiscal year 2014 (which ran from July 1, 2013 to June 30, 2014), according to Planned Parenthood Federation of America’s newly released annual report.

That works out to an average of 37 abortions per hour or nearly 1 every 90 seconds.

2014 number of abortions exceed the previous year’s number by 487.

Also, according to the report, as the increase in abortions took place, a simultaneous decrease in contraception also occurred: 3,577,348 patients in fiscal 2014 compared to 3,724,558 in fiscal 2013.

All lives should matter. Sadly, not all do.

–Dana

Chief Of Police Responds To Resident’s Letter Asking Why Protesters Are Being Allowed To Disrupt Their City (And Being Served Hot Chocolate And Coffee)

Filed under: General — Dana @ 9:13 am

[guest post by Dana]

In what is being lauded as a remarkable letter, chief of police Steve Anderson of Nashville responds to a concerned resident’s letter inquiring why protesters are being continually allowed to disrupt the city:

I wanted to send you this email to express my frustration and outrage at how the situation of these protesters is being handled in Nashville. The first night protesters marched here after the incidents in Ferguson they never should have been allowed to shut down the interstate. Instead of at least threatening to arrest them, they were served coffee and hot chocolate. I don’t feel that is an appropriate use of taxpayer dollars. It sends a message that they can do whatever they want and will be rewarded. Then, this past week, more protesters march around downtown for 3 or more hours and once again, no arrests, and it took THP to keep them from getting on the interstate again. Saturday night, marching and “die ins” at Opry Mills mall. How long are we going to allow these people to disrupt our city?

I have a son who I have raised to respect police officers and other authority figures, but if he comes to me today and asks “Why are the police allowing this?” I wouldn’t have a good answer. If any other group of people wanted to march around the streets they would have to get a permit weeks or months in advance, and I know it’s not possible to get a permit to obstruct traffic and walk on the interstate.

The writer also urges the chief to ask himself: “Am I following or giving orders that help or hurt the community?” .

I am highlighting portions of the chief’s response:

Has consideration been given as to whether the response of the police department “help or hurt the community.”

It is our view that every decision made within the police department should be made with the community in mind. Obviously, there are some matters in which we have no discretion. On matters in which we do have discretion, careful consideration is given as to the best course of action, always with the welfare of the general public in mind.

That has been the consideration on this issue. Certainly, in comparing the outcome here in Nashville with what has occurred in some other cities, the results speak for themselves. I stand on the decisions that have been made.

“These actions are putting the department at disharmony from the majority of the citizens.”

While I don’t doubt that you sincerely believe that your thoughts represent the majority of citizens, I would ask you to consider the following before you chisel those thoughts in stone.

As imperfect humans, we have a tendency to limit our association with other persons to those persons who are most like us. Unfortunately, there is even more of a human tendency to stay within our comfort zone by further narrowing those associations to those persons who share our thoughts and opinions. By doing this we can avoid giving consideration to thoughts and ideas different than our own. This would make us uncomfortable. By considering only the thoughts and ideas we are in agreement with, we stay in our comfort zone. Our own biases get reinforced and reflected back at us leaving no room for any opinion but our own. By doing this, we often convince ourselves that the majority of the world shares opinion and that anyone with another opinion is, obviously, wrong.

It is only when we go outside that comfort zone, and subject ourselves to the discomfort of considering thoughts we don’t agree with, that we can make an informed judgment on any matter. We can still disagree and maintain our opinions, but we can now do so knowing that the issue has been given consideration from all four sides. Or, if we truly give fair consideration to all points of view, we may need to swallow our pride and amend our original thoughts.

And, it is only by giving consideration to the thoughts of all persons, even those that disagree with us, that we can have an understanding as to what constitutes a majority.

“I just want myself and my family to feel that our city is safe, and right now we don’t feel that way.”

I have to admit, I am somewhat puzzled by this announcement. None of the demonstrators in this city have in any way exhibited any propensity for violence or indicated, even verbally, that they would harm anyone. I can understand how you may feel that your ideologies have been questioned but I am not aware of any occurrence that would give reason for someone to feel physically threatened.

“I have a son who I have raised to respect police officers and other authority figures, but if he comes to me today and asks “Why are the police allowing this?” I wouldn’t have a good answer.”

It is somewhat perplexing when children are injected into the conversation as an attempt to bolster a position or as an attempt to thwart the position of another. While this is not the type of conversation I ordinarily engage in, here are some thoughts you may find useful as you talk with your son.

First, it is laudable that you are teaching your son respect for the police and other authority figures. However, a better lesson might be that it is the government the police serve that should be respected. The police are merely a representative of a government formed by the people for the people—for all people. Being respectful of the government would mean being respectful of all persons, no matter what their views.

Later, it might be good to point out that the government needs to be, and is, somewhat flexible, especially in situations where there are minor violations of law. A government that had zero tolerance for even minor infractions would prove unworkable in short order.

Although this is unlikely, given your zero tolerance stance, suppose that, by accident or perhaps inattention, you found yourself going 40 miles per hour in a 30 miles per hour zone and that you were stopped by a police officer. Then, after making assurances that licenses were in order and that there were no outstanding warrants, the officer asked you not to speed again and did not issue a citation, but merely sent you on your way.

As you have suggested, a question may come to you from the back seat, “How can I respect the police if they will not enforce the law?” In the event this does occur, here are some facts that might help you answer that question.

H/T Weasel Zippers

–Dana

12/30/2014

New York Times On The NYPD

Filed under: General — Dana @ 10:14 am

[guest post by Dana]

The New York Times Editorial Board takes the NYPD to task citing officers’ acts of “passive-aggressive contempt”. The editorial condemns these acts, which include the two back-turning episodes, the heckling of the mayor while he spoke at an academy graduation Monday and the “Our backs have turned to you” banner that flew over the city:

Mr. de Blasio isn’t going to say it, but somebody has to: With these acts of passive-aggressive contempt and self-pity, many New York police officers, led by their union, are squandering the department’s credibility, defacing its reputation, shredding its hard-earned respect. They have taken the most grave and solemn of civic moments — a funeral of a fallen colleague — and hijacked it for their own petty look-at-us gesture. In doing so, they also turned their backs on Mr. Ramos’s widow and her two young sons, and others in that grief-struck family.

These are disgraceful acts, which will be compounded if anyone repeats the stunt at Officer Liu’s funeral on Sunday.

The New York Police Department is going through a terrible time, and the assassinations of those officers only underscore the dreadful dangers that rank-and-file cops face every day. And, in truth, there is some thanklessness to being a cop. Officers often feel beleaguered, jerked around by supervisors and politicians, obligated to follow rules and policies that can be misguided, held responsible for their mistakes in ways that the public is not, exposed to frequent ridicule and hostility from the people they are sworn to serve. It has always been that way with cops.

But none of those grievances can justify the snarling sense of victimhood that seems to be motivating the anti-de Blasio campaign — the belief that the department is never wrong, that it never needs redirection or reform, only reverence. This is the view peddled by union officials like Patrick Lynch, the president of the Patrolmen’s Benevolent Association — that cops are an ethically impeccable force with their own priorities and codes of behavior, accountable only to themselves, and whose reflexive defiance in the face of valid criticism is somehow normal.

In the meantime, fallout from both the assassination of Liu and Ramos and what is regarded as the mayor’s betrayal can now be seen as NYPD traffic tickets and summonses for minor offenses have dropped off by a staggering 94 percent:

[O]verall arrests down 66 percent for the week starting Dec. 22 compared with the same period in 2013, stats show.

Citations for traffic violations fell by 94 percent, from 10,069 to 587, during that time frame.

Summonses for low-level offenses like public drinking and urination also plunged 94 percent — from 4,831 to 300.

Even parking violations are way down, dropping by 92 percent, from 14,699 to 1,241.
Drug arrests by cops assigned to the NYPD’s Organized Crime Control Bureau — which are part of the overall number — dropped by 84 percent, from 382 to 63.

Officers explain:

“I’m not writing any summonses. Do you think I’m going to stand there so someone can shoot me or hit me in the head with an ax?” One cop said Sunday, referring to the Dec. 20 slayings and another recent attack on the NYPD.

“I’m concerned about my safety,” the cop added. “I want to go to home to my wife and kids.”

An NYPD supervisor noted, “My guys are writing almost no summonses, and probably only making arrests when they have to — like when a store catches a shoplifter.”

The NYT believes that healing can be found in the words spoken by de Blasio supporter Commissioner William Bratton at the funeral of Officer Ramos:

“The police, the people who are angry at the police, the people who support us but want us to be better, even a madman who assassinated two men because all he could see was two uniforms, even though they were so much more. We don’t see each other. If we can learn to see each other, to see that our cops are people like Officer Ramos and Officer Liu, to see that our communities are filled with people just like them, too. If we can learn to see each other, then when we see each other, we’ll heal. We’ll heal as a department. We’ll heal as a city. We’ll heal as a country.”

No mention from the NYT about the seeming open season on police officers across the country since the deaths of Liu and Ramos.

Mayor de Blasio is scheduled to meet with police union heads today in an effort to work on closing the rift.

–Dana

Update: Mayor de Blasio met with the heads of NYPD’s five unions today for two hours. According to PBA president Pat Lynch:

There were a number of discussions, especially about the safety issues members face. There was no resolve.

And our thought here today is that actions speak louder than words and time will tell.

Mayor de Blasio, who arrived late to the meeting, said in a statement:

Today’s meeting focused on building a productive dialogue and identifying ways to move forward together. The Mayor and Police Commissioner remain committed to keeping crime in New York City at historically low levels, supporting the brave men and women in uniform who protect us every day, and finding ways to bring police and the community closer together.

No specifics were given.

12/29/2014

Dave Barry: There’s Just No Explaining 2014

Filed under: General — Dana @ 3:43 pm

[guest post by Dana]

Some funny stuff from a funny guy:

On the domestic front, U.S. Secretary of Health and Human Services Kathleen Sebelius, who oversaw the rollout of Obamacare, resigns from the Cabinet to take a position overseeing e-mail storage for the Internal Revenue Service.

In Washington scandal news, the Internal Revenue Service, responding to a subpoena, tells congressional investigators that it cannot produce 28 months of Lois Lerner’s e-mails because the hard drive they were stored on failed, and the hard drive was thrown away, and the backup tapes were erased, and no printed copies were saved — contrary to the IRS’s own record-keeping policy, which was eaten by the IRS’s dog. “It was just one crazy thing after another,” states the IRS, “and it got us to thinking: All these years we’ve been subjecting taxpayers to everything short of rectal probes if they can’t produce EVERY SINGLE DOCUMENT WE WANT, and here we lose YEARS’ worth of official records! So from now on, if taxpayers tell us they lost something, or just plain forgot to make a tax payment, we’ll be like, ‘Hey, whatever! Stuff happens!’ Because who are we to judge?”

But all kidding aside, you can bet that before this thing is over there will be a strongly worded report.

… when the Ebola virus takes center stage as a parade of medical authorities appear on cable news to assure the American public that there is absolutely no reason to panic about Ebola so we should just stay calm regarding Ebola because given what we know about Ebola there is probably no danger that you will get Ebola so just stop worrying about Ebola Ebola Ebola OMIGOD EBOLA! After a solid week of being reassured 24/7 about Ebola, the public has been soothed into a state of panic, which is not improved when the director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention does an interview for CNN from inside a bubble.

President Obama, responding decisively to the mounting crisis, appoints as his “Ebola Czar” Ron Klain, a lawyer who is never heard from again.

In politics, the big story is the looming midterm elections, which have President Obama crisscrossing the nation at a hectic pace in a last-ditch effort to find a Democratic candidate willing to appear in public with him. The president is finally able to schedule an event with 94-year-old R. Nordstrom Fleemer, who is running for his 17th term as road commissioner of Carwankle County, Tennessee. Fleemer appears pleased by the endorsement, although he refers to the president repeatedly as “Mr. Truman.”

–Dana

President Obama: Putting Our Military Men And Women First

Filed under: General — Dana @ 12:53 pm

[guest post by Dana]

self·ish[ sélfish ]
looking after own desires: concerned with your own interests, needs, and wishes while ignoring those of others
demonstrating selfishness: showing that personal needs and wishes are thought to be more important than those of other people.


Natalie Heimel and her fiancé, Edward Mallue Jr., a pair of captains in the Army, were walking from their wedding rehearsal on Saturday at the 16th tee box at Kaneohe Klipper Golf Course in Hawaii when they were informed they’d have to move their wedding, scheduled for the next day.

President Barack Obama wanted to play through.

It was the second time that day that the couple heard from the nation’s commander in chief, whose affinity for golf has, at times, caused political headaches for the White House. Stationed in Hawaii and knowing the president spends his Christmas holiday on the islands, they invited him to their ceremony on a lark. They had received a letter earlier on Saturday saying Obama regretted he couldn’t come and wishing them happiness on their wedding day.

“It was kind of ironic they got the letter from them and then, within hours, they were told they had to be moved due to him,” Jamie McCarthy, Mallue’s sister, said in an interview. “It was emotional, especially for her—she’s the bride and in less than 24 hours they had to change everything they had planned.”

The wedding ended up being re-located to a lovely spot with an ocean view. The article states that it was unclear if the White House knew in advance of the wedding arrangements. Given that securing a venue for a wedding is the first thing anyone planning a wedding does, this had to have been on the books for some time. And while it’s possible that the White House may not have known about it in advance, would that have even mattered? The obvious fact of the matter is, the president could have postponed his golf game. He also could have used the opportunity to generate some good P.R. “Look, how could I have insisted on keeping to my plans in light of two people not only committed to selflessly serving their country, but also wanting to make their public commitment to one another. What could be more important than that?” Instead, what the president showed us is, if the president wants to golf, then by god, the president is going to golf.

–Dana

Update: Per elissa:

These “little people” were both West Point grads. The presidential golfing foresome [sic] included White House staffers Mike Brush and Joe Paulsen and friend Bobby Titcomb. Brush and Paulsen are responsible for planning and coordinating the president’s travel itinerary. Heck of a job, guys.

Here.

President Obama: Race Relations Have Improved, Except When They Haven’t

Filed under: General — Dana @ 9:15 am

[guest post by Dana]

In an interview with NPR, the president answered questions regarding current race relations in the US:

Is the United States more racially divided than it was when you took office six years ago, Mr. President?

No, I actually think that it’s probably in its day-to-day interactions less racially divided. But I actually think that the issue has surfaced in a way that probably is healthy.

It’s understandable the polls might say, you know, that race relations have gotten worse — because when it’s in the news and you see something like Ferguson or the Garner case in New York, then it attracts attention. But I assure you, from the perspective of African-Americans or Latinos in poor communities who have been dealing with this all their lives, they wouldn’t suggest somehow that it’s worse now than it was 10, 15 or 20 years ago.

For the president, it’s better to focus on perceived improved race relations rather than focusing on the economic conditions of the black community under his tenure:

The unemployment rate for African-Americans has fallen by 1 percent per year, down from 16 percent in February 2010 to 11 percent in November 2014. That rate is double the national average, and it matches the high unemployment rate among low-skilled people who did not graduate from high-school, and who are now losing jobs to machinery and low-wage immigrants.

But Obama has made the employment situation worse for African-Americans by ending enforcement of immigration laws and by offering work-permits to roughly 6 million illegals, guest-workers and future immigrants. Overall, almost half of the jobs added since January 2010 have gone to migrant workers, not to Americans. In fact, fewer Americans held jobs in December 2014 than held jobs in 2007.

Obama dodged the uncomfortable fact that African-Americans’ wages have drifted down amid the surplus of low-skill labor. The median weekly wage for blacks was $601 in 2009, and $644 in the fall of 2014. That’s a $15 decline, once inflation is considered.

On one hand, the president will tout that race relations under his watch have improved, yet when considering the economic condition of black America under the same watch, those relations really haven’t improved all that much:

“I’ve been consistent in saying that this is a legacy of a troubled racial past of Jim Crow and slavery. That’s not an excuse for black folks… they’re starting behind, oftentimes, in the race.”

–Dana

12/28/2014

What Drove the Giant Increase in the Phony and Meaningless GDP Number?

Filed under: General — Patterico @ 12:11 am

ObamaCare!

Yay economy!

The linked post doesn’t say, but I bet most of that is subsidies. I.e. federal government spending. Which, I have been at pains to explain before, factors into GDP, making that number meaningless as a statement about consumers’ standard of living.

Put that together with the Fed’s New Bubble (this one is in asset prices like stocks and real estate) and you have all the makings of a phony recovery. If you are falling for it, I’m afraid you’re the sucker.

12/27/2014

Good Riddance 2014

Filed under: General — JD @ 7:21 am

[guest post by JD]

I can’t say that I will miss 2014. It was a challenging and crappy year on many levels. I am taking my girls to Mexico, welcoming in 2015 from a beach.

Thanks to all of you for making life more interesting.

—JD

12/26/2014

The Day After Christmas

Filed under: General — Dana @ 11:07 am

[guest post by Dana]

It’s the day after Christmas, also known as recovery day for the millions of Americans whose gastronomic indulgences are causing them to pop Pepto-Bismol tablets like, well, like candy! And if you’re one of the recovering, it’s lucky you don’t live in the UK where doctors are now being told they must report patients who are gaining weight. This comes on the heels of a ruling by the EU that “obesity can be considered a disability” and that employers must treat overweight employees as disabled and provide them with whatever is necessary to perform their jobs.

Also in the news, the daughter of Eric Garner doxxed one of the police officers who was present when her father died:

Erica Garner tweeted that cop Justin D’Amico was “another officer that helped killed [sic] my dad,” and directed her 5,000-plus Twitter followers to a Web page that lists ­addresses for D’Amico and five possible relatives.

The information was viewed about 500 times before Garner’s stunning tweet was deleted following inquiries by The Post.

Jonathan Moore, attorney for the Garner family claims that Erica Garner “did not have any knowledge of what was in those links.”

Garner’s denial:

Anything for a story ..i cant say anything else but this is a very sad attempt to assassinate my character..srry guys my last post 4awhile

This tweet was followed by:

That tweet was retweeted to me ..it was a link i never opened all i seen was the officer name didnt think twice but ppl changed my words

Finally, ask yourself this, if North Korea was not behind the Sony hacking, what would that say about the FBI and this administration?

Kurt Stammberger from the Norse cybersecuirty firm, told CBS News that his team believes a woman identified only as “Lena” was heavily involved in the hack – not North Korea.

“We are very confident that this was not an attack master-minded by North Korea and that insiders were key to the implementation of one of the most devastating attacks in history,” he told the news outlet.

“Sony was not just hacked, this is a company that was essentially nuked from the inside,” Stammberger added.

–Dana

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