Patterico's Pontifications

10/30/2010

Murkiness: Alaska Radio Host Off the Air and Murkowski Plays the Dyslexic Card

Filed under: 2010 Election,General — Aaron Worthing @ 8:19 am

[Guest post by Aaron Worthing; send your tips here.]

Yesterday I noted how, in a very Army of Davids sort of way, ordinary voters put a serious monkey wrench in Murkowski’s reelection bid:

An effort by Lisa Murkowski to increase her chances to win seems to have backfired.  As you know, Murky was defeated by Joe Miller in the primary but chose to run as a write in.  Of course she has one really huge barrier winning: her challenging-to-spell last name.  She previously urged the election board to accept entries like “Lisa” and “Lisa M.” as meaning her, which in the second case, I guess it is not unreasonable.  Then she convinced the Alaska Division of Elections to give out lists of write in candidates.  This approach was eventually approved by the Alaskan Supreme Court: “The lists can be shown to voters who request them, the high court ruled, but candidates’ party affiliation must be removed.”

So then some radio host says to his listeners, more or less, “Hey, why don’t a bunch of regular people, my listeners, go and register as official write in candidates?”  And they did, well over one hundred of them.  You can read the list, here.  Now there are several Lisas and at least one other “Lisa M.” (its her middle name) and a few Polish-sounding names that end in “ski.”  So this might actually have set her back.  Heh.

I wonder if calling her “Murky” would count?

Since then I have learned that Dan Reihl at Big Government also made a similar solicitation, which was promoted by Conservatives For Palin, so who knows who had the most influence.

But whoever was responsible, Murkowski is pissed.  First, that Radio Host, Dan Fagan, is off the air.  On her facebook page, Sarah Palin unloaded with both barrels:

Does all this sound heavy handed? It is. It is an interference with Dan Fagan’s constitutional right to free speech. It is also a shocking indictment against Lisa Murkowski. How low will she go to hold onto power? First, she gets the Division of Elections to change its write-in process – a process that Judge Pfiffner correctly determined had been in place without change for 50 years. She is accepting financial support from federal contractors, an act that is highly questionable and now pending before the FEC. And today, she played her last card. She made it clear that if you disagree with her and encourage others to exercise their civic rights, she’ll take you off the air.

Meanwhile via her spokemodel, Murky is complaining that how utterly unfair this all is, saying:

Murkowski campaign spokesman Steve Wackowski tells Salon that “Operation Alaska Chaos” could cause problems for people in Alaska — including native Alaskans — whose first language is not English.

“I think it shows the desperation of Miller’s supporters. Quite frankly, I think it’s pretty sad,” he said. “For someone who is dyslexic or needs assistance, it’s dissappointing [sic] … but we’re not shocked. “

The Murkowski camp is distributing wristbands, cards, and buttons with the candidate’s name to assist write-in voters.

Murky, let me tell you, I am dyslexic, and you can go to Hell for trying to invoke the serious issue of disability discrimination for your petty political ambitions.  Guess what?  Daddy can give you that Senate seat, but he can’t guarantee reelection.

Update: Minor correction.

[Posted and authored by Aaron Worthing.]

10/20/2010

Prejudice Toward Palin and O’Donnell

Filed under: 2010 Election,General — Aaron Worthing @ 7:56 am

[Guest post by Aaron Worthing]

To pre-judge a person is to literally “judge before.”  Before what?  Before it is appropriate, before you have all the facts.  Of course normally we think of prejudice as being based on specific traits.  Racial prejudice is to judge a man by his skin color, rather than getting enough facts to judge him as an individual.  But it can be based on anything.

Take for instance, Sarah Palin.  Liberals have convinced themselves that Palin is a moron.  So when Sarah Palin told a crowd of Tea Partiers that it was too soon to “party like its 1773” liberals freaked out.  OMG, she is so stupid.  Doesn’t she know the American Revolution was in 1776? As well documented by Cuffy Meigs, Markos Moulitsas, Gwen Ifil (who moderated Palin’s debate with Joe Biden) and others mocked her in that fashion.

One guy, Steve Paulo showed enough introspection to wonder “WTF happened in 1773?!”  Well, hey, I was a history major, but I couldn’t rattle off every event of any year, 1773 or otherwise.  But I can google.  As of this moment the first link I get is this.  You only have to page down once to discover that in December of that year was the original Boston Tea Party.  You know, the event that the Tea Party is self-consciously invoking with its very name?  Yeah, that one.

And then there is Christine O’Donnell’s whole exchange with Chris Coons about the first amendment. I was going to write a long break down, but Ann Althouse beat me to the punch.  I suggest you read the whole thing but I think this paragraph sums it all up:

The [two] were talking past each other, trying to look good and make the other look bad. It is a disagreement about law between [two] individuals who are not running for judge. It’s not detailed legal analysis. It’s a political debate and this is a political disagreement. An important one, no doubt. But it can’t be resolved by laughing at one person and calling her an idiot, something I find quite repellent.

And a commenter adds an important nuance to that analysis:

I don’t think they were talking past each other so much as O’Donnell was trying to get Coons to speak precisely whereas Coons wanted to speak in more general colloquial terms.

The real problem is the ignorance of the reporters and the people in the audience who couldn’t understand the point O’Donnell was trying to make and so just assumed she was being stupid. The irony being that she was right (and, on this point at least, smarter than them).

I think that is exactly right.  And Althouse captures well what I am trying to say, here:

It’s a bit annoying to me, because I cannot stand when people jump to the conclusion that someone they want to believe is stupid is being stupid when they say something that seems wrong. Think first. Is it wrong?

I think in truth she isn’t stupid.  What she is, is a chirpy wear-your-faith-on-your sleeve Christian.  You know the kind of person who will knock on your door unsolicited and tell you they are there to save you.  I find her faintly irritating for that reason, but she isn’t dumb.

Here’s the truth of the matter when it comes to the law.  Thomas Jefferson was the originator of the phrase “separation of church and state” in a letter written to Danbury Baptists.  It’s not actually in the constitution, and he didn’t write a single word of the first amendment—or indeed, any part of the constitution.  And while some cases have said that this is how the Court will interpret the First Amendment, that is less than clear in practice.  A wall of separation suggests a distinct segregation that does not exist in our modern case law.  For instance, the state is allowed to supply religious schools with textbooks and free busing for its children, and deaf people have been allowed to receive free sign interpreters as they go to divinity school.  What the courts have said in fact is that there isn’t separation of church and state so much as neutrality between the secular and the religious and among all religions.

Oh, and if you are a liberal longing for an anti-blasphemy law, please don’t talk to me about separation of church and state; you don’t even believe in separation of mosque and state.

Now I don’t expect Chris Coons or his campaign to be charitable toward his opponent; but I do expect everyone else there to be.  So watch this video, and listen not just to the candidates, but to the smug morons in the law school who cannot even conceive of a different point of view.  I mean, these people are preparing to be lawyers.  Let me tell you, as a lawyer, if you can’t see where the other side is coming from, and anticipate their arguments, you are not going to be very good at your job.  In argument, you will be constantly blindsided.  And writing contracts is a process of constantly trying to think of how someone else might come along and deliberately twist your words.  Being only able to see your own point of view is positively a handicap in this profession.

And the irony of all of this is that O’Donnell got something much, much bigger wrong in the discussion and I am not hearing much discussion of that.  She said that if a local school district wanted to teach creationism, it was up to the school district.  As a point of fact, that is not true.  I don’t think a school district has to teach evolution necessarily, but creationism is religion and teaching that in class is teaching religion.  I mean that is not just my opinon: there is supreme court case law directly on point.  And yeah, I am sure that is true even if you call it Intelligent Design.

Meanwhile, Gwen Ifil tries to walk back her comment about Palin.  And Iowahawk and Duane Lester have fun with the whole thing.

[Posted and authored by Aaron Worthing.]

10/19/2010

Devil 30%, Daniel Webster 46%

Filed under: 2010 Election — Aaron Worthing @ 9:14 am

[Guest post by Aaron Worthing]

According to Jim Geraghty, Webster is stomping Dick Alan Grayson, by a spread of 16%.  Of course they are commissioned by the republicans so take that with a grain of salt, but still, it couldn’t have happened to a bigger jerk.

But as Insty says all the time, don’t get cocky.  Make sure you vote.  I mean even if it is for the guy I don’t like, show up and vote.

[Posted and authored by Aaron Worthing.]

10/16/2010

A Double Shot of Grayson

Filed under: 2010 Election,General — Aaron Worthing @ 9:06 am

[Guest post by Aaron Worthing]

IMAO once said that Alan Grayson (D-unce) “really is what would happen if you grabbed a random internet troll and made him a Congressman.”  To prove that theory, we are going to hit you with both barrels here, two clips of Alan Grayson.

The first one, honestly, I struggled to watch it all.  I had to stop several times in order to keep from throwing something at my screen.  And I was watching it on a laptop.  Grayson is interviewed by Ed Schultz.  Yes, Ed Schultz.  Fast Eddie recently demonstrated his lack of credibility by lying through his teeth about the size of his rally.

So it is a lying liberal love fest.  I mean it is really proof of the complete lack of integrity that Fast Eddie and Grayson have, and its frankly an embarrassment that this aired on MSNBC.  Some tidbits you learn:

  • Grayson will just keep telling the truth.
  • Bush was a Tea Party President, because he looked like one of them.  Yes, really.
  • The Tea Party is trying to destroy America.

Mmm, I just threw up in my mouth a little just reading all that.

And as an antidote, at Big Journalism we have Anderson Cooper interviewing Grayson and pwning him. No wonder Grayson went on Schultz’s show—he is the only person unscrupulous enough not to go after Grayson for his lies  I even liked the way Cooper slammed Grayson for his first ad attacking Daniel Webster’s patriotism.  (Yes, his opponent is named Daniel Webster.)  My only critique is I wish Cooper talked about how unfair the chargers in the first ad were. But still nice going and thank you for that palate clenser.

[Posted and authored by Aaron Worthing.]

10/15/2010

Well, I think McGovern is Wrong

Filed under: 2010 Election,General — Aaron Worthing @ 12:55 pm

[Guest post by Aaron Worthing; adapted from a post here]

In other debate news, Rep. Jim McGovern said this little gem in his debate last Wednesday (against Mary Lamb), when asked about Citizen’s United (a decision I talked about previously, here, and many other places):

We have a lousy Supreme Court decision that has opened the floodgates, and so we have to deal within the realm of constitutionality. And a lot of the campaign finance bills that we have passed have been declared unconstitutional by the Supreme Court. I think the Constitution is wrong. I don’t think that money is the same thing as human beings[.]

(emphasis added.)  In the video, you can also hear him say after that he doesn’t believe that money is speech, and that corporations should not have the same right to speak as people.  To be fair to him, he says he misspoke and meant to say the Supreme Court is wrong and not the Constitution.  Its an interesting Freudian slip, but okay.  And even if he meant to say the “Constitution is wrong,” Jim Geraghty is absolutely right to say it is not as per se bad as Phil Hare saying famously he doesn’t care about the constitution.  This is because congresspersons take an oath to uphold the constitution, even if they disagree with it.  So when Hare says he doesn’t care about it, he is saying he doesn’t care about keeping that oath.  By comparison even if McGovern really disagreed with the constitution on this point it doesn’t mean he can’t honestly swear to uphold this document, while perhaps working to amend it to correct any errors he sees in it.

But however you interpret what McGovern said, it is was still pretty bad, because he is not merely disagreeing in general with the Supreme Court or the Constituion, but specifically about the freedom of expression.  Freedom of expression goes directly to the heart of whether this is a republic or not.  A nation that has no freedom of expression is not a republic or a democracy, even if you have the right to vote.  I mean the syllogism is pretty direct.  The right to make a choice implies the right to make an informed choice.  The right to make an informed choice requires me to hear lots of information regarding that choice.  That means in terms of speech, that people and yes, even corporations, must feel free to express themselves so that you can get the maximum amount of information about that choice, so you can make an informed choice.  Thus the right to choose between two candidates is meaningless without the right to speak freely about them.

So disagreeing with the Supreme Court, or even the Constitution is not per se bad, but disagreeing with free expression is.  Put simply, the right to debate should not be up for debate.

Now part of the problem, I think, is the fact that we talk about this in terms of speech.  I have long said that when we talk about advertising, making movies, etc. that speech is the wrong word.  One can easily understand why people think of a movie, or an ad in terms of speech.  After all, they generally involve someone, well… speaking.

(more…)

Dog Whistling in New Mexico: “No Tejana Susana.”

Filed under: 2010 Election,General,Media Bias,Race — Aaron Worthing @ 10:34 am

[Guest post by Aaron Worthing (a.k.a. “Aaronico”).  This is adapted from a post at my blog.]

If there is one thing I am truly sick of in the last two years is the constant accusations of racism and other forms of bigotry against people who merely disagree on policies—indeed, often on policies having nothing to do with race.  I have speculated in the past that some of this is based on honest misunderstandings.  But then other times it is clear that they are using it for political reasons, and almost always against Republicans or conservatives.  Especially pernicious is the claim that the right uses code words and racist “dog whistles.”

So it’s interesting that in New Mexico we have a pretty clear example of a “dog whistle,” and yet it’s done by a Democrat, so I guess it is alright to everyone (with one partial exception).  Democrat Diane Denish is running against Republican Susana Martinez in the race for governor.  And now suddenly they are all saying “No Tejana Susana.”  A Tejana (pronounced like “TAY-han-ah”) is literally a “Texan woman” in Spanish.  See the truth is that in Spanish, the X in Texas is supposed to be pronounced more like an H.  As I joke (with affection), Texans don’t even pronounce the name of their state correctly.  And if you are calling her that in Spanish, then that is all it means: Texas woman.

But if you are otherwise speaking in English, such as, “You should not vote for that Tejana,” then there is a secondary meaning.  A Tejano/Tejana also means a Hispanic Texan.  Now its lame enough that they are resorting to this silly regionalism (she has lived in New Mexico since the mid-80’s).  But what possible relevance is it to highlight that she is Hispanic, too?  And a quick google search reveals that this phrase is getting very common on the left.

I mean imagine if during the 2008 campaign, McCain said, “Do not vote for the black man, Obama.”  Everyone would rightly denounce that as racist, because it was unnecessarily dragging his race into the issue.

And mind you this is not a subtle code that a lot of people might miss and innocently invoke.  I have said we have a whole generation of children who don’t understand why it is racially offensive to depict Obama as a monkey, or eating fried chicken and watermelons; they are so beyond race, they don’t even understand these stereotypes.  So you might imagine a young child drawing Obama as a monkey and having no idea of the ugly history he or she is invoking.  But although I probably have to explain it to people outside of that region, I think it is safe to say that everyone in that region knows what Tejano/Tejana means.

And if you don’t agree with me, then clearly you are a disabilityphobe.  (With apologies to Greg Gutfeld for borrowing his joke.)

Oh, and on a related point, the WaPo recently published a story saying that it turns out that most Tea Party signs are not even arguably racist anyway.  I mean there is that.  And given reports of “Moby” ringers who infiltrate the protests to discredit the Tea Party, that study might mean even less than you think.

On the other hand, the WaPo offered no opinion on the propriety of this Tea Party video.

[Posted and authored by Aaron Worthing.]

Is Charlie Wilson a Wife Beater?

Filed under: 2010 Election,General,Media Bias — Aaron Worthing @ 8:50 am

[Guest post by Aaron Worthing; this is adapted from a couple posts at The Blog that Cannot Be Named (aka Allergic to Bull****)]

Now, first, this is not the man made famous with the movie Charlie Wilson’s War, but a Congressman running for reelection in Ohio.  And so far it does not look good.  A few days ago, Big Government produced a copy of the trial brief filed in his divorce and it states that Wilson actually admitted to beating his wife in depositions.  Now you might say, “well, yeah, that is the word of a lawyer.”  And while lawyers are not typically more honest (or more dishonest, for that matter) than anyone else, the thing is most bar associations would seriously discipline any lawyer who made such a claim without factual basis, and it might even justify sanctions before the court.  If a lawyer says that a person admitted to unlawful conduct, and cites a specific page in a transcript, it had better be true.  So it gains credibility if only because he could get in trouble if he is lying.  But you can decide for yourself and hopefully Wilson will be asked about it very soon.

Jim Geraghty wonders why there is so little coverage of the story so far.  Frankly, one purpose in writing this post is to hopefully raise the story’s profile so we can get to the bottom of things.  As of this writing, a google news search gets a pitiful number of hits, and most of them involve the more famous Charlie Wilson.  But there is a defensible reason for the media being reluctant to report it.  If they are doing their job (I know, big “if”), then they might want to verify the account.  This might especially be the case if these non-lawyers do not realize that the allegation is credible, because the lawyer would get in such trouble if it was false.  So they might be trying to get old records to verify, and given that the case is around two decades old, you have to assume it is in off-site storage.  So I would excuse up to one week of delay.  But anything beyond that, and they are clearly not pursuing the story.

Of course that begs the question of whether it should be pursued.  Is this relevant?  Well, here I have to confess potential bias.  I have had someone close in my life whom I helped to escape an abusive marriage.  I won’t name this woman out of a respect for her privacy, but I will tell you she and her daughter had a basically happy ending.  So you might think this means I have a biased hatred toward wife beaters.  Or you might say I have an appropriate sense of outrage on the subject.  It’s all a matter of perspective.  I believe it’s the latter, but that is your call, not mine.  Myself, I think there is no place for such a man in Congress unless there is powerful evidence of reform and redemption.  Besides the fact that we are depending on this man, Wilson, not to discriminate based on sex, I believe that people who hit their wives also have poor impulse control making them generally unfit for offices of high trust.  But as Dennis Miller says, that is just my opinion, I could be wrong.

And if I learn more, I will keep you posted.

[Posted and authored by Aaron Worthing.]

10/6/2010

L.A. Sheriff Lee Baca Endorses Jerry Brown for Governor

Filed under: 2010 Election,Politics — Jack Dunphy @ 10:53 pm

[Guest post by Jack Dunphy]

The L.A. Times reports on the endorsement.

“Jerry Brown has championed the rights of crime victims, toughened criminal penalties and developed innovative crime-fighting technologies,” Baca said in the statement. “Jerry Brown has always stood with me and my deputies and I am proud to stand with him in his campaign for governor.”

Sheriff Baca, don’t look for too many of your deputies, or for any other cops for that matter, to be standing anywhere near you and Jerry Brown. Some of us remember that Brown, during his previous stint as governor, inflicted Rose Bird on us. Recall that Bird, as chief justice of the California Supreme Court, voted to overturn every single death penalty case that came before her, including some involving cop killers. Thus did she become the first chief justice to be tossed out of office by the voters, who did so by a 2-1 margin. What kind of judicial appointments might we expect from a new incarnation of Governor Brown?

–Jack Dunphy

7/17/2010

A Time for Choosing

Filed under: 2010 Election,Politics — DRJ @ 6:56 pm

[Guest post by DRJ]

The Washington Post PostPolitics columnists Karen Tumulty and Paul Kane consider how the Republican Party will approach the November elections. Some consultants argue the best path is to make Democrats the issue. Others, like Newt Gingrich, say the consultants are wrong and ideas win elections. I’m with Newt, although I don’t see why the election can’t be about GOP ideas and wrong-headed Democratic policies.

What say you?

– DRJ

7/9/2010

Obama’s Voting Rights Priorities

Filed under: 2010 Election,2012 Election,Obama — DRJ @ 12:58 pm

[Guest post by DRJ]

Voting Section Told Not To Enforce Purging the Dead or Ineligible from Voting Rolls:

“It’s not just the New Black Panther case: in November 2009, political appointee Julie Fernandes told a packed room of Voting Section employees to simply ignore this provision of the “Motor Voter” law.”

– DRJ

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