Patterico's Pontifications

2/27/2015

R.I.P. Leonard Nimoy

Filed under: General — Patterico @ 1:04 pm

LLAP.

On Differing Perspectives: An Essay

Filed under: General — Patterico @ 7:45 am

As I make this great journey through life, one thing I have learned is that different people really do have different perspectives. For example, my honestly held belief that government is unnecessary to address a particular issue will always be balanced by someone who says we need oversight in that area. And, to address more artistic matters: my belief that say, a piece of music is truly sublime (or wretched) will inevitably be countered by somebody who — with equal honesty and and sincerity — believes the same music is wretched (or sublime).

It’s easy to discount other points of view as being the product of inferior or dishonest minds. Your love for that rap song shows that your mind is not as cultured as mine, which appreciates Beethoven; on the other hand, your love of Proust must be feigned, because nobody really reads such garbage — while my love of Michael Connelly is at least genuine.

But that sort of “my way is the only way” attitude — discounting other viewpoints as wrong– is both callow and lazy. True maturity lies in realizing and accepting that people can honestly hold perspectives that are, quite simply, different from yours. Indeed, if this country can be said to be founded on a single unifying message, it is acceptance of different frames of reference. Our strength lies in understanding that other ways of looking at things are not wrong; they are just unfamiliar.

The fact that someone sees a political issue, or a work of art, in a different manner than you happen to see it, does not make that person inferior, or dishonest, or wrong. They are simply different. That’s all. Once you have fully accepted this concept and put it into practice in your own life, you will have achieved a level of wisdom that will serve you well.

. . .

. . .

. . .

That said . . . those of you who say the dress is blue and black are out of your fucking minds.

(more…)

2/26/2015

Reader Poll: What Color Is This Dress?

Filed under: General — Patterico @ 9:20 pm

My daughter showed me this image today (taken from this Tumblr post) and asked me what two colors the dress was. Before you go any further, look at the image and answer the poll. Then click on “more” for the rest of the post.

Screen Shot 2015-02-26 at 9.12.24 PM

What color is this dress?
Gold and white
Black and blue
Something else

Poll Maker

(more…)

Scott Walker Wows At CPAC, Complaints That He Compared Protesters To ISIS Follow

Filed under: General — Dana @ 7:13 pm

[guest post by Dana]

Scott Walker gave one barn-burner of a speech today at CPAC. One portion of his speech, however, is causing quite a stir:

At one point, he was asked about how he would handle the threat posed by the Islamic State group were he president. He responded by saying that the country needs a commander in chief who will do anything in their power to stop “radical Islamic terrorists.”

He wrapped up by saying: “If I can take on 100,000 protesters, I can do the same across the world.”

Further:

The likely 2016 presidential candidate said the nation needs “someone who leads” and who will “send a message, not only that we’ll protect American soil, but do not take this upon freedom-loving people anywhere else in the world. We need a leader with that kind of confidence.”

Not just the left groaned at his comments:

Walker clarified his statement later:

“Let me be perfectly clear, I’m just pointing out the closest thing I have to handling this difficult situation is the 100,000 protesters I had to deal with,” Walker said.

The governor said he did not regret the comment.

“You all will misconstrue things the way you see fit,” he said. “That’s the closest thing I have in terms of handling a difficult situation, not that there’s any parallel between the two.”

If Walker sought to present himself as a commander-in-chief who would be up to the challenge of the evil that is ISIS as well as show his determination and intention as a leader not to shrink in the face of radical Islamist terrorism, then he did just that.

And, as has been pointed out, just how offended were these same people when Wisconsin protesters were busy comparing Walker to Hitler? But none of this is a surprise, of course. It’s to be expected.

Walker’s speech is well worth watching in its entirety. He addresses everything from Israel, to ISIS, to net neutrality and everything in between. The Q&A session that follows his speech provides a little more insight into the politician as he elaborates on his views. What Walker lacks in charisma, he more than makes up for with his solid conservative principles. He strikes me as a genuine, straightforward man whose hope is to see America remain the greatest nation on earth. There is no loftiness about him, no airs, no soaring rhetoric, and most certainly he doesn’t walk on water, can’t slow the rise of the oceans or heal the planet, but instead, what you get is a very smart and shrewd politician who has no illusions about Washington and its abuse of power, and is compelled to serve this country he loves so much. And if that means by leading it, then he’s all in. It’s early in the game, but he’s got my attention.

“We celebrate our independence from government, not our dependence on it…”

–Dana

Attention Marie Harf: Notorious ISIS Beheader “Jihadi John” Comes From Well-to-Do Family

Filed under: General — Patterico @ 7:25 am

Shocker:

The world knows him as “Jihadi John,” the masked man with a British accent who has beheaded several hostages held by the Islamic State and who taunts audiences in videos circulated widely online.

But his real name, according to friends and others familiar with his case, is Mohammed Emwazi, a Briton from a well-to-do family who grew up in West London and graduated from college with a degree in computer programming. He is believed to have traveled to Syria around 2012 and to have later joined the Islamic State, the group whose barbarity he has come to symbolize.

This is no surprise to anyone who has been paying attention. Osama bin Laden and Mohammed Atta were among many “well-to-do” Muslims who became attracted to terrorism, not through lack of opportunity, but as a result of a fundamentalist interpretation of Islam.

Marie Harf, please explain how using government to get this “well-to-do” fellow a job would prevent him from being a jihadi.

Oh, never mind.

P.S. For that matter, Marie Harf, please explain how government creates jobs.

Hint: with the exception of government jobs, it doesn’t. And government jobs are a waste of money unless they protect the country from external or internal dangers.

And you’re doing nothing to protect the country, Marie Harf — meaning your job is a waste of money.

If you really think jobs are the answer to everything (and they aren’t), your solution is to get government out of the way.

2/25/2015

Yates Decision: A Harbinger for Halbig/King or Not?

Filed under: General — Patterico @ 8:10 pm

The lefties are crowing that today’s decision in Yates v. United States is a Harbinger of Things to Come re: the King v. Burwell ObamaCare case (oral arguments one week away!). Are they right? I’m not sure . . . but it is more than a little distressing to see two conservative justices sign onto opinions that twist language into a pretzel to keep it from meaning what it says.

The opinion is here (.pdf). Basically, the federal government has some absurd regulations that govern the all-important size of grouper that one can catch (and keep) in federal waters. Mr. Yates, a fisherman, had run afoul of these regulations, and a federal inspector was On the Case. The inspector told Yates to keep the too-small fish segregated from the rest until he got to port — but when he got to port, it turned out that he had ordered his crew to defy the agent’s orders, and toss the fish overboard.

You’re not supposed to do that.

The government chose to charge him with a violation of 18 U. S. C. § 1519, which criminalizes the concealment or destruction of “any record, document, or tangible object” with the purpose of impeding a federal investigation. Yates argued that a fish is not a “tangible object” because something something context and blah blah statutory construction.

In essence, the main argument was that the provision was in Sarbanes-Oxley, which was “intended to prohibit, in particular, corporate document-shredding to hide evidence of financial wrongdoing.” But there is some other junk in there, including canons of construction with Latin names and references to things like the title and the location of the provision within the statute.

The Court accepted this mumbo jumbo and held that “tangible object” somehow means that the tangible object must be “one used to record or preserve information.” Having grafted this non-existent qualification onto the statute, the Court found that the fish did not qualify under their new definition, and reversed the conviction.

Justice Kagan rips apart the majority’s arguments (and those of Alito’s concurrence) quite deftly in her dissent.

Are the justices deciding this case with King v. Burwell in mind? Perhaps — some more so than others, I suspect. But the fact is that context is always relevant to statutory language. As Kagan says, nobody really disagrees with that. It’s just that, as applied here, the context and all the other legalistic yapping do not undercut the conclusion that, well, a fish is a tangible object.

End of story.

P.S. If this case frightens you regarding King, be of good cheer. Winning or losing that case won’t matter, it now appears — because, as Orrin Hatch recently made clear, Republicans are going to cave immediately if we win the case:

Hatch said that while Obamacare has hurt millions of people and needs to be ultimately repealed and replaced, Congress should do something in the meantime to mitigate the effects if the high court decides to invalidate that financial aid.

“I don’t think we can stand by and simply let the shortcomings of the law hurt people more,” he said during a speech at the Heritage Foundation in Washington, D.C.

“In the coming days, I will release details of a short-term solution for Americans who may be affected,” Hatch said. “That solution will address immediate concerns and set the stage for a permanent solution in the future.”

Of course. You can’t take the goodies away, so you have to give people “short-term, temporary” subsidies until such time as you develop the political courage to . . . make those subsidies long-term and permanent.

Did anyone really expect anything different?

P.P.S. A limited solution to caving: The Freedom Option.

NYT Confuses Scott Walker’s Skill And Dexterity With ‘Struggling’

Filed under: General — Dana @ 7:02 pm

[guest post by Dana]

In the media’s continuing efforts to break Scott Walker and put him in his place, today’s New York Times opened their article titled For Scott Walker, a Consistent Approach to Tough Questioning by informing readers – as if it were a fact – that Walker is struggling with questions posed by the media:

As Gov. Scott Walker of Wisconsin struggled to respond to questions about the president’s patriotism and religion last week, some saw an unprepared presidential hopeful in the national glare — not ready for “the N.F.L.,” as one participant in a Sunday morning talk show put it.

As the NYT cited those two vexing questions that the existence of civilization apparently hinges upon, I thought surely I must have missed something in Walker’s responses. Something like a struggle, and an undeniable one at that.

Asked whether he thought Obama was a Christian, Walker answered:

I don’t know.

And when reminded that the president has publicly spoken about his faith:

I’ve actually never talked about it or I haven’t read about that. I’ve never asked him that. You’ve asked me to make statements about people that I haven’t had a conversation with about that. How [could] I say if I know either of you are a Christian?

Asked whether he thought Obama loved America, Walker answered:

You should ask the president what he thinks about America,” Walker told The Associated Press while in Washington for a weekend meeting of the National Governors Association. “I’ve never asked him so I don’t know.”

Struggle? What I see is a politician walking through a minefield with skill and dexterity and deftly taking control of the conversation. And I definitely see a man who is infuriatingly smarter than those who seek to trip him up.

Of course none of this has anything to do with Walker “struggling” to answer gotcha questions or what he really thinks of Obama, and it certainly has nothing to do with an indignant media defending the president’s honor, this in spite of Dana Milbank’s hysterical efforts to appear as such. It is simply further evidence of a smug and partisan press continuing their hit job on Walker and most amusingly being unable to grasp that their very actions are having the opposite effect they hoped for: instead of branding Walker as a president-hating presidential-hopeful who pandered to the “Obama is a Muslim from Kenya who hates America” crowd and displayed a cowardice and insidiousness by his responses, they have instead helped shoot Walker right to the top of the polls. When a group is so smugly enamored by their own cleverness they are rendered without self-awareness, and the painfully obvious goes unseen.

–Dana

The Patterico Music Project: The Original Version of “The Same Mistake”

Filed under: General,Music,Music by Patterico — Patterico @ 6:18 pm

Tonight I am sharing the original version of “The Same Mistake,” which I debuted here Monday evening as sung by Northern Pikes front man Jay Semko, one of my favorite singers Of All Time. (Lyrics are here.)

As in the past, I ask you to bear in mind that these are primitive recordings done on primitive equipment — namely, a cassette-based TASCAM recorder, operated around 1992 or so. Details about how I did these recordings are here.

As with the others, you will note some differences between this version and Jay’s. I have two guitar parts and a faux-bass line, accomplished by playing the top string on my little nylon-string acoustic guitar, and turning up the bass on my TASCAM all the way for that track. This version has harmonies and background vocals that Jay could not replicate in a “live off the floor” performance.

Oh — and then there is the most salient difference: on my version the singing is poor, while Jay’s singing is completely awesome.

Without further ado, here is my version:

And as a reminder, here is the version Jay Semko did for me:

P.S. This will be the last entry in the “Patterico Music Project” series for a while. Today I received an update from one of the other musicians performing one of my other songs. It’s in process, but I don’t expect a final recording any time soon. Quality takes time. I am, therefore, in no hurry. So, look for entry #4 at some unspecified future date.

Net Neutrality Vote Tomorrow

Filed under: General — Patterico @ 5:35 pm

Enjoy your last few hours of freedom before Barack Obama gets his hands on your information pipeline.

Obama Vetoes Keystone Pipeline

Filed under: General — Patterico @ 7:43 am

He didn’t want to do it. He felt he . . . owed it to us:

President Obama vetoed a bill Tuesday that would have approved the Keystone XL pipeline, making good on a threat to reject a proposal embraced by Republicans as a jobs measure but opposed by environmentalists as contributing to climate change.

“The presidential power to veto legislation is one I take seriously,” Obama said in his veto message to the Senate. “But I also take seriously my responsibility to the American people. And because this act of Congress conflicts with established executive branch procedures and cuts short thorough consideration of issues that could bear on our national interest — including our security, safety, and environment — it has earned my veto.”

Well, we wouldn’t want to interfere with the powers of another branch now, would we?

January 20, 2017 can’t come quick enough. 694 days, but who’s counting?

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