Patterico's Pontifications


Ruling: Fetus Not a Person for the Carpool Lane

Filed under: Judiciary — Patterico @ 6:21 am

Democrats missed a golden opportunity to ask Alito about this: does a fetus count as a second “person” for purposes of the carpool lane?

I am a fairly strong critic of abortion on demand, but: get out of my carpool lane, lady.

(H/t Allah.)


Opening Carpool Lanes to Hybrids: Not a Good Idea

Filed under: Public Policy — Patterico @ 12:12 pm

The L.A. Times reports:

Motorists who drive solo in fuel-efficient hybrid vehicles will gain access to carpool lanes in California under a massive transportation bill approved by Congress on Friday that includes billions of dollars for projects statewide.

This change is not likely to have the impact that its proponents expect.



Kavanaugh: Family Man and All-Around Nice Guy

Filed under: General — Patterico @ 7:41 am

Well, the attacks have begun. The #FAKENEWSBEZOSAMAZONPOST has a hit piece on Brett Kavanaugh titled: “I don’t know Kavanaugh the judge. But Kavanaugh the carpool dad is one great guy.” Oh, wait. It’s not a hit piece. It’s actually very kind:

Brett’s older daughter and mine have been classmates at Blessed Sacrament School, a small Catholic school in the District, for the past seven years. On evenings and weekends, you’re likely to find Brett at a local gym or athletic field, encouraging his players or watching games with his daughters and their friends. He coaches not one but two girls’ basketball teams. His positive attitude and calm demeanor make the game fun and allow each player to shine. The results have been good: This past season, he led the Blessed Sacrament School’s sixth-grade girls team to an undefeated season and a citywide championship in the local Catholic youth league. To the parents with players on the squad, it’s no surprise that the team photograph with the trophy is displayed prominently in his chambers.

Brett’s contribution to our school’s community extends beyond the sidelines. He and his wife, Ashley, support their two daughters and other children at countless school and church functions throughout the year. In the summer, Brett is the “carpool dad,” often shuttling students to and from practices, games and activities. And in a city where professional obligations can often take priority over personal ones, Brett is a steady presence at his daughters’ events, even if it means racing across town just to catch the last 15 minutes of a game or program.

Brett’s friendship and mentorship have touched my family in an especially personal way. A few years ago, my husband died. One of the many difficult aspects of that loss was that my daughter had no one to accompany her to the school’s annual father-daughter dance. That first year — and every year since my husband’s passing — Brett has stepped forward to take my daughter to the dance alongside his own.

Although a judge’s intellect, judicial philosophy, clarity of writing, fidelity to constitutional principle, and temperament are more important to his position on the Supreme Court than stories like this, it’s good to know that Kavanaugh seems like a nice guy. Clarence Thomas is another example of a person who is very decent on a personal level, who knows staffers at the Court by name and respects everyone. Just because you are a horrible conservative who rules in horrible conservative ways doesn’t mean you have to be a horrible person too. (This is tongue in cheek; I feel certain I will love the horrible conservative decisions Justice Kavanaugh will write, just as I love Thomas’s decisions.)

The personal tale is also useful to rebut the inevitable attacks on Kavanaugh from the left as Evil Incarnate. Jim Treacher anticipated these in a brilliantly funny piece he wrote before the selection, mocking the press releases that lefty groups release at times like these:

It should go without saying that [FILL IN THE BLANK] is a completely unacceptable nominee, but we’ll say it anyway. This cannot be allowed to happen. It’s not hyperbole or exaggeration to say that [FILL IN THE BLANK] will destroy America and kill us all, and here are just a few good reasons why:

Did you know that [FILL IN THE BLANK] believes women should be treated as second-class citizens by denying them access to [LIBERAL AGENDA ITEM]? Did you know that [HE/SHE] doesn’t agree that [OPINION ALL MY FRIENDS EXPRESS, WHICH I HAVEN’T REALLY THOUGHT ABOUT, BUT I’D BETTER GO ALONG WITH IT OR THEY MIGHT NOT LIKE ME ANYMORE]? I mean… really? It makes you nostalgic for the good old days of [PREVIOUS REPUBLICAN PRESIDENT, WHO I ALSO CALLED “HITLER” ALL THE TIME], doesn’t it?

Did you know that [FILL IN THE BLANK] wants to take away your right to [THING THAT ISN’T ACTUALLY A RIGHT, BUT IT DOESN’T MATTER BECAUSE NOBODY KNOWS WHAT “RIGHTS” ARE ANYMORE]? Um, hello? I literally can’t even.

[FILL IN THE BLANK] is also a kind person who loves his family. Take that, lefties.

[Cross-posted at The Jury Talks Back.]


SNL Takes On Fire And Fury

Filed under: General — Dana @ 1:05 pm

[guest post by Dana]

Last night’s SNL cold open was pretty funny as it centered on Michael Wolff’s Fire and Fury and Steve Bannon’s ejection from Trumpland:

When the veracity of the book is questioned by “Mika” and “Joe,” Armisen’s “Wolff” responds:

You read it, right? And you liked it? You had fun? What’s the problem. You got the gist, so shut up. Even the stuff that’s not true was true.

Who knows how much of the book is fact and how much is fiction, but some skepticism seems to be in order:

Twenty years ago, the now-defunct Brill’s Content took a hard look at Wolff’s book Burn Rate, a memoir of his time as a dot-com hustler, and charged that one of his characters was actually a composite of three people. Likewise, seven of Wolff’s main characters and six others who were either portrayed in or familiar with events in his book claimed he “invented or changed quotes,” and none remembered him taking notes on or taping their discussions…

Personally, I’ve enjoyed reading Wolff over the years. You can call him many things (see the preceding paragraph), but never dull. I do not know Wolff nor can I vouch for his credibility. Though I should add that a mutual acquaintance of ours, after spotting an anecdote he’d casually tossed off to Wolff turn up in Fire and Fury, reported this to me of Wolff’s seemingly slack methodology: “[He got it] from me, which I got from a woman on the beach in Florida, who heard it in a carpool line. Literally. I had no idea he was including it. That guy is a serious bullshit artist. Wow.”

With this, though, it’s good to bear in mind that Trump continually provides plenty of fodder for his critics as he continues to shoot himself in the foot on a regular basis, whether through outrageous lies, petty, self-serving attacks which end up foolishly distracting the public from any positive accomplishments, or his latest comments made about “shitholes”. And although you may defend him and attack his critics with silly accusations of TDS, I say let the adult, who holds the highest office in the land assume responsibility for the words that come out of his own undisciplined mouth. Because in this latest kerfuffle, Trump likely said precisely what he intended to say and has been accused of saying:


(Preemptive strike: It seems ridiculous to have to say this, but attempting to simply reduce this issue to be one of a president using profanity – which Erickson is not doing – is as dumb as trying to make the issue not be about a sitting president announcing his preference for a certain kind of people at the expense of another people. The president’s juvenile take on immigrants, race and class: White people from prosperous nations obviously make the best immigrants because prosperous and white. Poor black and brown people from third-world countries don’t make the best immigrants because poor and not white. Ergo, good citizens come only from rich, white nations, and bad citizens come only from poor, non-white nations. )


[Cross-posted at The Jury Talks Back.]


What Is the Craziest Coincidence You Ever Experienced?

Filed under: General — Patterico @ 7:49 am

Lurkers, I want to hear from you as well as from all the regulars. This is the kind of thread that works best when everyone participates. Think of the craziest, weirdest coincidence that ever happened to you, or someone close to you, and tell us about it in the comments.

As regular readers know, I’m a fan of the “This American Life” show on Public Radio International. Last night I listened to one of the most delightful episodes I’ve ever heard, which is saying a lot. It was an episode about coincidences. They asked listeners for examples of their crazy coincidences, checked out the stories, and reported them for an hour.

I think my favorite was a guy who was getting ready to ask a girl out, and earlier that day just happened to find a dollar bill with her name written on it. He framed it and showed it to her just after she said yes. She seemed to have a strong reaction but said nothing, saying only that he should ask her about it later. Years later, after they were married, she told him that years earlier, she had written her name on a dollar bill and put it into circulation, telling herself that whoever found it would be the man she married. When the guy found it and told her, she didn’t want to say anything, for fear of scaring him off.

The show was full of stories like that: stories that make you grin and exclaim out loud: “No way!”

After hearing the show, I started trying to think of my own examples. What is frustrating is that I know there are several, but very few spring readily to mind. Still, I fell asleep last night thinking about them, which is a pleasant pasttime that in a strange way forces you to review your entire life.

One example I came up with involved a trip Mrs. P. and I took to Hawaii. A friend of ours from the D.A.’s office named Frank was getting married in Maui and invited us to the wedding. Most of the guests stayed at the Four Seasons, which was the site of the wedding, but to save money we stayed in a condo about a mile away, up a hill. One morning, Mrs. P. and I were walking down the hill alongside a side road when a car pulled up next to us. A man sitting in the passenger seat rolled down the window and asked us for directions to some landmark. I looked at him and said: “Franco??” It took him a second to recognize me. It was another D.A. named Franco who was the man asking for directions.

Not so odd, right? He was there for the wedding, too, right? Here’s the weird part: no, he wasn’t. When I asked Franco if he was there for Frank’s wedding, he seemed to have no idea what I was talking about.

I saw Frank later and asked him if he had invited Franco to the wedding. No. Had he talked to Franco about coming to Maui? No. Did he know Franco was coming to Maui? No.

No, we just randomly ran into someone we knew in Maui. And if his wife had been the passenger, and Franco had been driving, we wouldn’t even have known.

Another fun one is my wife’s affiliation with the number 444. At some point a few years ago, she started noticing that number cropping up in her life virtually everywhere she looked. It started when she started waking up in the middle of the night at 4:44 a.m., night after night. After this happened several nights in a row, she read a police report about embezzlement, in which the thief would steal $400 at a time, as a cash advance, which charged 11%. The spreadsheet was filled with the number 444. The next day, she reviewed another police report where a 911 call came in at 4:44. That night our son was playing Wii bowling, and got a new high score. (He did not yet know about the 444 coincidences.) He came running in to tell Mrs. P. about his score, and kept saying: “Isn’t that weird?!” It was, of course, 444.

It started happening all the time. I tell her she should write down the examples. When you’re looking for it, the number comes up so often that it is comical, and indeed it is a running joke in our household. Any time we notice the clock at 4:44, we cry out: “444!!!” and Mrs. P. professes shock. There’s that number again!

There are other coincidences that are less jaw-dropping, but are the sort of thing that become part of the story of your life. Mrs. P. grew up in Frankfurt, KY, and I grew up in Fort Worth, TX. We met in Austin. Yet her grandparents lived on the same street in southwest Fort Worth as my parents. As a young child she would visit her grandparents and go often to the Southwest Public Library, the same library I frequented as a child. We’ll never know if we were there at the same time, but somehow it seems inevitable that we were. In any event, it is fun to imagine the closest we ever came to each other as seven-year-olds in Fort Worth, before we met as adults at law school in Austin, TX.

Of course, to rationalists, it’s perhaps even more fun to debunk coincidences, and I am open to those stories as well. Perhaps the guy who found the dollar bill never “found” it — he heard about the story from a friend of his romantic target, and wrote her name on it himself. Maybe my D.A. friend Franco heard someone talking about Frank’s wedding in Maui and thought, hey, that sounds like a good idea — and then forgot where he had heard it. My wife and I both have roots in Fort Worth — she was born there — and that contributed in some way to our getting to know each other. For one thing, we would carpool up to Fort Worth during breaks, me to see my parents, and she to see her grandparents, uncles, and aunts.

Some people say: there are no coincidences.

On “This American Life” they put it differently. They quote a Chinese saying: “No Coincidence, No Story.”

So tell us your stories about your own coincidences in the comments.


DRJ Pores Through the Border Patrol Trial Transcripts — Arturo Vasquez (Vasquez Transcript)

Filed under: Crime,General,Immigration — DRJ @ 2:24 am

The El Paso Times recently published an article reporting that Agent Juarez resigned from the Border Patrol and that Agents Vasquez and Jacquez are fighting termination. [Update: Hat tip to Tracy for the article.]

Here is a summary of the testimony of Arturo Vasquez:



Hybrid Owners = Whiners

Filed under: Morons,Public Policy — Patterico @ 12:01 am

The L.A. Times reports:

They’re big. They’re ugly. They’re offensive. So say owners of the hybrid Toyota Prius — not about larger gas-guzzlers that hog the road but about the decals the state is handing out that allow hybrid owners to drive solo in carpool lanes.

Here is a typical clueless statement:

“All the HOV lanes are on the left-hand side of the roadways,” said Veronica Bach, a comedy cabaret performer who lives in Hollywood and has owned her burgundy Prius for three weeks. “Why should there even be any stickers on the left-hand side of the car?”

That would be so CHP officers camped out on the left shoulder can tell whether you’re violating the carpool lane rules, Ms. Bach. I see these officers every day on the 110. Just because you don’t understand the rule doesn’t mean there isn’t a good reason for it.

Or, you can fight the program and let every schmo on the road share the carpool lane with you — because the CHP won’t be able to enforce anything.

This is a bad idea to begin with. But if they’re going to implement it, this is the way they have to do it.

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