Patterico's Pontifications


Patterico’s Voter Guide

Filed under: 2008 Election,Crime,General — Patterico @ 10:55 pm

Here is my voter guide.

I’ll start with judicial races, since that’s the place where my input is likely most meaningful.

Office 94: C. Edward Mack v. Michael J. O’Gara

Vote for Michael O’Gara.

Office 84: Pat Connolly v. Lori-Ann C. Jones

Vote for Pat Connolly.

Office 72: Hilleri Grossman Merritt vs. Steven A. Simons

Vote for Hilleri Merritt.

Office 82: Cynthia Loo vs. Thomas Rubinson

Vote for Tom Rubinson.

Office 154: Rocky L. Crabb vs. Michael V. Jesic

Vote for Michael Jesic.

President: John McCain

I don’t have time to write a lengthy screed in favor of McCain. Suffice it to say I will be voting against Barack Obama more than I will be voting for John McCain. Obama is a good man who believes in some truly scary things — like partial-birth abortion, for example. If he is elected, he will be my President. And I will likely fight him tooth and nail on virtually everything he tries to do.

It’s not foreordained that McCain will lose. Stranger things have happened. I sure as hell am not going down without a fight — and you shouldn’t either.


Now, for the California propositions. I know a lot of you aren’t California readers, but there are some interesting issues tucked away in these various propositions, so I hope you’ll find it interesting.

In many cases, I have devoted a separate post to the proposition in question; I’ll alert you if that’s the case. If you don’t find my one-or-two line argument persuasive, check out my fuller post in every case where I have written one.

Proposition 1A: No

Proposition 1A is a $19 billion bond for high-speed rail. I basically never vote for bonds. Next!

Proposition 2: Yes

This post of mine makes the case for this proposition. In it, I have embedded a video. Please, please watch it. I feel so strongly about this, I am going to embed it again here.

As I said in that post:

The awful conditions of the hens depicted in the video will not all be solved by Proposition 2. But if you skip ahead to around 4:04, you’ll get some sense of the overcrowded conditions that this proposition is designed to outlaw.

We’re told that there are health risks from Proposition 2. It appears clear to me that there are potential health risks from eating eggs that have been covered in blood due to untreated prolapsed egg vents; or eggs crawling with mites due to the filthy conditions of these cages; or eggs laid in cages filled with the rotting corpses of hens, or filled with sick hens with untreated open infections.

Proposition 3: No

I agree with JRM: “It’s $2 billion for a children’s hospital bond. I like children. I like medical care. We don’t have $2 billion, so let’s not spend it.”

Proposition 4: Yes

Children need their parents’ permission to take aspirin at school. This proposition doesn’t even require parental permission for an abortion; it just requires notification. And it provides plenty of work-arounds when such notification is inappropriate. Only pro-abortion zealots (and those they have fooled) oppose this proposition. My post in favor of it is here.

Proposition 5: No

I had a long screed about how dangerous this proposition is, but from this point forward, about an hour’s worth of work on this post got eaten, and I don’t have time to recreate it. From this point forward I’m linking and being very brief. Please vote no.

Proposition 6: Yes

This post increases public safety in many ways, including making bail more difficult for violent illegal aliens. My post in support of this proposition is here.

Proposition 7: No

Everybody hates this thing, including organizations that are in favor of renewable sources of energy. Vote no.

Proposition 8: No

There is no good reason to discriminate against gays. Allowing them to marry will stabilize their relationships like it stabilizes ours. Vote no.

Proposition 9: No

This proposition has too many potential unintended consequences that can’t easily be reversed if it is passed by initiative.

Proposition 10: No

This is a T. Boone Pickens boondoggle.

Proposition 11: Yes

We could leave Democrats in control of redistricting, or we could do this. I say we do this.

Proposition 12: No

Another bond. I don’t like bonds.

Political Family Matters

Filed under: 2008 Election — DRJ @ 10:31 pm

[Guest post by DRJ]

There was family news from both campaigns today.

On the Democratic side, Barack Obama’s grandmother Madelyn Payne Dunham died today in Hawaii of complications from cancer. She was 86. There’s no good time for a death but the day before the election seems especially poignant. I’m glad Obama was able to visit her last week and that her mental health was such that they could have a meaningful visit. My condolences to Barack Obama and his sister.

On the GOP side, the McCain-Palin campaign released a statement from Sarah Palin’s personal family physician who confirmed that she is in “very good health” and is the mother of 5 children, including Trig born last Spring.

Life and death trump politics, even the day before an election. Please remember that if you decide to comment.


Yes on Proposition 6: Gang Intimidation of Witnesses Is a Big Problem

Filed under: 2008 Election,Crime,General — Patterico @ 9:30 pm

Tomorrow I will cast a vote for Proposition 6, a measure that would significantly enhance public safety. The Yes on 6 folks have a summary of the changes here, but here are some of the ones that I particularly favor:

  • Illegal immigrants arrested for violent felonies or gang crimes will not be released on bail or on their own recognizance without a judicial hearing.
  • People lose public housing benefits if they buy or sell drugs, become involved in gang activity, or illegally possess firearms. Housing benefits are conditioned on an annual criminal background check.
  • Strengthens the 10-20-Life law to penalize not only offenders who personally use firearms in the commission of certain felonies but their accomplices as well.
  • Authorizes admission of statements by witnesses to crimes who die or are unavailable to testify at the time of prosecution because of flight or intimidation.

Some oppose the measure because it mandates spending on public safety. This doesn’t bother me, because I believe the primary function of government is to protect its citizens. (Full disclosure: as a Deputy D.A., I benefit from spending on public safety. But while I am a fiscal conservative, I would be voting for the proposition even if I were not a Deputy D.A. — because, again, a government’s number one job is public safety.)

My experience as a Deputy D.A. does allow me to add some insight that might be valuable to voters, beyond what you’ll read in the various arguments available on the Internet. Specifically, several weeks ago, a reader wrote me asking about the final provision included in the bullet-points above. He wanted to know: “is there a serious problem right now with witnesses refusing to testify because they have been intimidated by criminal suspects?”

The rest of this post is adapted from my answer to him. The answer is a resounding yes. The details are in the extended entry.


Breaking: Palin Cleared in Tasergate

Filed under: General — Patterico @ 7:12 pm

Details here:

A report has cleared Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin of ethics violations in the firing of her public safety commissioner.

Released Monday, the report says there is no probable cause to believe Palin or any other state official violated the Alaska Executive Ethics Act in connection with the firing. The report was prepared by Timothy Petumenos, an independent counsel for the Alaska Personnel Board.

The only remaining scandal is how a state trooper didn’t get fired for tasering his ten-year-old stepson.

Two Excellent Pieces from John Fund and Stanley Kurtz About What We Face From The Corrupt Machinations Of The Left

Filed under: General — WLS @ 2:05 pm

[Posted by WLS Shipwrecked]

I’m not going to add much to what is said by the authors in their pieces.  If you’ve been paying attention for the past 6 months, what they say here won’t surprise you.  Nevertheless, the simplicity and cogency of their points are disheartening. 

From John Fund’s article in Politico:

[S]upporters of stricter safeguards to protect voter integrity recognize there are two civil rights in play here. One is the right to cast a ballot without fear or intimidation or artificial barriers. We fought a great struggle in the 1960s to eliminate poll taxes, literacy tests and pass a Voting Rights Act to protect the right to vote. But all Americans have another civil right — the right not to have their ballot canceled out by someone who shouldn’t be voting, is voting twice or may not even exist. You can be just as surely disenfranchised by someone canceling out your vote as if someone blocked your entry into a courthouse door where a polling place was located.


Pro-Conservative, Anti-Tribalism

Filed under: Politics,Principled Pragmatism — Justin Levine @ 1:50 pm

[posted by Justin Levine]

Austin Bramwell has some great food for thought.

His essay manages to capture many thoughts that have been crystallizing in my head in recent months, but for which I haven’t been able to adequately express in words.

– Justin Levine

Criss Angel’s: “Believe” [The Reviews Are In]

Filed under: Miscellaneous — Justin Levine @ 1:16 pm

[posted by Justin Levine]

Initial reactions to magician Criss Angel’s new show in Vegas would seem to indicate that it is the Ishtar of magic shows.

Richard Abowitz –

The responses talking to people afterward fell into two camps: the horrified and the bored. The bored seemed to be folks who, like me, had free review tickets; the horrified seemed to be those who paid.

Doug Elfman –

Creatively, “Believe” is a possibly unsalvageable “waste of time” and a “dead end” that literally bored some audience members to sleep.

On Saturday night, reaction was even worse.

“Everyone in the bathroom was chanting ‘bull—-‘” from the urinals, Damon Ranger of Chicago told me Saturday. “It was absolutely awful. You can ‘Believe’ how bad it is — because it’s terrible!”

People streamed out of the theater on Saturday screaming about how poor it was. A group of six women was led by a woman yelling furiously, demanding their money back.

“Dude, it’s a train wreck,” Ranger said. On a scale of 1 to 10, he declared “Believe” a zero.

John and Gail Michalak came from Los Angeles to see “Believe” with Karla Delemos. On the 1-to-10 scale, John gave it a 1; Gail a 3; and Delemos didn’t rate it — she fell asleep.

“I just got screwed,” John said. “He pulled three doves out of his hat. Go to the Magic Castle in L.A. if you want to see magic. But don’t come here.”

And Ranger was glad about one thing. After spending $55 for cheap seats — tickets are discounted by 25 percent during these first run of “ticketed previews” — he was given a free drink coupon.

“The best thing was getting this free drink coupon – the worst $55 Bud Light I’ll ever have.”


– Justin Levine

Obama’s Emerging Pattern?

Filed under: 2008 Election — DRJ @ 12:10 pm

[Guest post by DRJ]

During an April 2008 speech, Barack Obama made a controversial one-fingered gesture as he talked about his then primary opponent, Hillary Clinton:

Now compare it with today’s gesture in Jacksonville FL as Obama comments on his current opponent, John McCain:

If it’s true that “Once is happenstance, twice is coincidence, and three times is a pattern,” then Barack Obama is one step away from a pattern. Some might even say he’s already there.


Obama: Taking “Chump Change” from the Rich

Filed under: 2008 Election — DRJ @ 11:00 am

[Guest post by DRJ]

Barack Obama sat down Saturday for an MTV interview that covered a wide range of topics, including how he will spread the wealth to lower-income Americans by taking “chump change” from the rich:

[MTV News staffer] Sway: Our next question is from Matt from Iowa: “If your desire is to spread the wealth around, what incentive is there for me to try to work hard? If I am only going to get more taken away from me, the more money I make, why wouldn’t I just slide into a life of relaxation and let rich people take care of me? And a lot of people are asking similar questions, and I wanted you to specify. What does this mean exactly?”

Obama: What is amazing to me is this whole notion that somehow everybody is just looking out for themselves. I mean, the fact is, we just talked about student loans. When young people who have the drive and the skill to go to college can’t afford to go to college, how do you think we pay for scholarships or loan programs? That money doesn’t grow on trees. It’s got to come from somewhere, and the attitude that I have is that, if we want to grow our economy, the way it grows is from the bottom up. You don’t just give tax breaks to millionaires and billionaires. What you do is make sure the tax code is fair. I want to give a tax cut to 95 percent of working Americans, but in order to pay for that, I’m going to take the tax rates back to what they were in the 1990s for people who are making more than a quarter of a million dollars a year. Now for people who are making more than a quarter of a million dollars a year, if they are paying 2 or 3 percent higher in taxes, the notion that they’re somehow going to stop working, or that this young man is going to not want to be successful, that just doesn’t make any sense. Back in the 1990s, we created more millionaires, more billionaires, because the economy was growing, everything was strong, at every income bracket, people were doing well. So this idea, that somehow everybody is just on their own and shouldn’t be concerned about other people who are coming up behind them, that’s the kind of attitude that I want to end when I am president.

Sway: Just out of curiosity, for those that are being taxed that are making more than $250,000 a year, how much difference would it be from how they are being taxed today?

Obama: Well, right now, they are getting taxed at 36 percent. Under Bill Clinton in the 1990s, they were being taxed at 39.6 percent. You are talking about a 3.6 percent difference, and for the average person who is making half a million, a million dollars, now people like you Sway, that’s chump change, that’s nothing. But it could make a big difference for that young person who is trying to figure out whether they can go to college or not, if we could give them more of a break or more scholarships or grants to go to college.”

Obviously money doesn’t grow on trees but Obama’s answer is to force people to share their money. In other words, it’s fine to take another person’s property as long as you don’t take too much.

The college tuition issue is also interesting. I wonder if Obama thinks college tuition should be paid by loans or scholarships, as if it’s impossible for average Americans to save for college costs. I doubt there are many Americans who can afford Columbia and Harvard, but there are many other choices that people can afford if they work and save and are allowed to keep their money.

Ed Morrissey at Hot Air points out that Obama’s “chump change” tax increase works out to $9,000 more in taxes for a family making $250,000. That’s $9,000 a year those families won’t be able to save for their children’s college education. It’s not small change but it shows Obama thinks Americans are chumps.


In An Obama Administration, How Much Larger Will The Welfare — Errr Tax Rebate Checks Be In 2010 Than They Were In 2009?

Filed under: General — WLS @ 2:52 am

Question for anyone who has studied the Obama tax “refund” plan for 95% of all Americans:

From various pieces I have read, it seems certain that Obama plans to issue US Treasury checks to nearly all workers who have an adjusted gross income of less than $50,000 if married and filing a joint return. Such taxpayers already have their entire withheld income taxes refunded to them through the Earned Income Tax Credit, but they also pay into the SS and Medicare programs through their FICA withholding and that is not currently returned to them.

The estimates I have read are that the average such worker(s) would receive under Obama’s plan is a check for around $750.

Now we’re talking about a group of citizens whose income is roughly $4,000 or less a month, before costs associated with employer-provided health care, SS, Medicare, etc., are taken out of their check. Obama’s plan would refund to them the equivalent of approximately $60 per month.

Never let it be said that I’d look a $60 a month gift horse in the mouth, but we’re talking about a monthly movie for a family of four with popcorn and candy all around. Some might pay a month’s rent with it, and use the savings on the rent to buy a ’42 inch plasma. Nothing wrong with that but it’s the same as using the refund to buy a ’42 inch plasma. Korean manufacturers will be very happy.

But what people chose to do with their money is not my interest here. My interest is the following:

Let’s say the advocacy groups for the constituents that might be putting Obama into office say to the WH in 2009:

“You know, the $750 was nice but the people who received it didn’t really live an appreciably better life in 2009 because of it. They worked the same jobs, struggled with the same gas prices, worried about the same coughs and colds of their children, and they got passed over for that promotion at work because their boss cut back on his workforce and didn’t need as many supervisors as he planned.

But you know what would really help them — let’s make the checks this year $1,500, not $750. It’s still not going to change their lives but it’ll be twice as good for them as $750 was. Who can argue with that?”

So year two of the Obama welfare — errr “Tax Rebate” plan will unfold with $1,500 checks for every taxpayer making less than $50,000 a year.

Those rich people? Well, they paid in 2009 because McCain lost — who is to say they can’t pay twice as much in 2010? — they’re rich.

For every “rich” person writing a check, there will be around 50 “poor” people receiving a check. So, the “rich” guy’s check, on average, is going to be $37,500. Many will be less and a few will be much, much more.

If it’s $1,500 the second year, double those checks — all except for those people who decided to fold up their businesses, take their money that they’ve already made and put it away in some nice tax deferred investment vehicles, and bounce back and forth among their 2-3 houses that are already paid off.

They aren’t writing any more checks without knowing the end-game.

So, Obamaniacs and Obamacons out there, what’s the end game on this Ponzi scheme? How much wealth is “enough” when you start spreading it around?

Uncle Karl didn’t provide an answer. The nice thing about “from each according to his ability, to each according to his needs” is that it has no threshold or ceiling.

Is that the way Obama plans to play it?

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