Patterico's Pontifications


USC Annenberg Journalism School’s Marc Cooper Responds to Handcuffing of John Ziegler

Filed under: General — Patterico @ 11:32 pm

Yesterday I asked Marc Cooper, the Director of Annenberg Digital News at USC’s Annenberg School For Communication, for his reaction to the John Ziegler handcuffing incident I blogged here yesterday.

Cooper is a liberal who recently compared the attendees at Tax Day’s tea parties to glue sniffers. (He also once called the commenters here bitter, angry, and delusional — so the tea party-goers should not feel uniquely attacked.) He’s not eager to say anything in praise of a conservative like John Ziegler. However, I debated Cooper at the L.A. Times web site last year and I know that, despite his politics (and his absurd view of the tea party-goers), he is more willing than most on the left to concede points that he can’t validly fight.

Cooper’s entire response is set forth below. It contains predictable huffing and puffing about how Ziegler was pulling a Michael Moore-style stunt. But I knew that was coming and I’m not particularly interested in that.

Instead, I want to focus the reader’s attention on what Cooper says about whether USC campus police should have asked Ziegler to leave, assuming that all he was trying to do was ask questions.

The answer, albeit buried within a leftist rant, is a clear no.

Cooper says: “If the only thing Ziegler or anyone else, wanted to do was to stand outside of the Davidson Conference Center on the USC campus and ask people questions as they came and went, he should absolutely have been allowed to do so and I would absolutely defend his right to do so. I see no reason to obstruct him.” He adds that based on the video, “the USC police could have made a more strenuous effort to remove Ziegler without going through the drama of handcuffing him.”

Cooper concludes that “The crux of the issue, to come full circle, is whether or not he was merely standing there trying to do interviews. If that’s all it was, then USC is in the wrong.”

I agree, and I appreciate Marc’s honesty in saying so.

Further, I believe I can tell from the video that, once Ziegler was denied admission, asking questions is all he intended to do.

Cooper’s entire response is below.


Our Useful Idiot President

Filed under: General — Patterico @ 8:40 pm

Q. What’s the difference between Barack Obama and Hugo Chavez?
A. One is grinning as he shakes the hand of a socialist. The other one is Barack Obama.

Government Motors Follies: Chrysler Fiat Edition

Filed under: General — Karl @ 12:36 pm

[Posted by Karl]

It’s not just General Motors, kids:

At a meeting with executives from four of the nation’s largest banks earlier this month, the chief of the government’s auto task force, Steven Rattner, delivered a message that shocked some in the room.

To save Chrysler, he told them, the four banks and several other financial firms would have to surrender their claims to most of the $7 billion the automaker owed them. And what would the banks get in return for this sacrifice? Nothing.

“People’s jaws just dropped,” said a person familiar with the discussions.

Rattner is looking for some kickbacks?  Who’da thunkit?  But why the strongarm tactics? Round up the usual suspects:

Fiat S.p.A. CEO Sergio Marchionne said he is ready to abandon plans to form a partnership with Chrysler LLC unless the U.S. carmaker’s unions accept substantial labor cost reductions by the end of the month.

In fact, this case is doubly dire, as one of the few things worse for a business than the United Auto Workers is the Canadian Auto Workers.  This is a job for Super-Kabuki!

Update: Meanwhile, the Obama Administration’s surgical taxpayer-soaking scheme for GM seems to be running smack into reality:

The transaction could have very real implications, though, for creditors and unionized workers. If union contracts on pensions, employment and benefits remain tied to the old G.M., employees and retirees could be devastated financially.

If the contracts move to the new, good company, the surviving business would look considerably weaker. That creates a political problem that would make a rapid, clean bankruptcy unlikely.

“It’s going to be about the union and the pensions,” said Ms. Mayerson, the bankruptcy lawyer. “And I don’t see any way that this is a quickie bankruptcy. After all, it took them 30 years to get into this mess.”

Reality bites again.

Update x2: “Upon successful completion of the alliance, a board of directors for Chrysler will be appointed by the U.S. government and Fiat…”


Test Your News IQ

Filed under: General — Jack Dunphy @ 8:55 am

[Guest post by Jack Dunphy]

Patterico readers are of course a well-informed group. But you may be surprised at how clueless your fellow citizens are. The Pew Research Center has a simple, 12-question online quiz to test your knowledge of current events. None of the questions is at all tricky. Take the quiz and report back with a comment. And no cheating!

–Jack Dunphy

Obama polarizes, while the media whitewashes

Filed under: General — Karl @ 8:29 am

[Posted by Karl]

This month’s Pew poll, finding that Pres. Obama has the most polarized early job approval ratings of any president in the past 40 years, is really bothering the Left.  So much so that weeks later, Ronald Brownstein is following in the footsteps of The Root’s Terence Samuel and Excitable Andy Sullivan in trying to debunk it.

Their common argument is that the number of self-identifying Republicans has shrunk, so that Independents should be the true measure of how polarizing Obama is.  The problem with this argument is that Obama’s support among Independents dropped 10% last month, while their disapproval doubled, from 14% to 28%.  Sullivan is acutely moronic on this point, as he actually posted a graph of polls showing that Independent disapproval has increased from about 10% on Inauguration Day to 30% today.

But the funniest part of Brownstein’s analysis is his attempt to equate Pres.  Obama with former Pres. Bush:

Bush wasn’t a uniquely polarizing figure at the dawn of his presidency. But after receiving that relatively broad opening from the public in his first months, Bush over the next seven plus years proceeded to govern in a manner that solidified his support within the Republican coalition, but fiercely antagonized Democrats and increasingly alienated independents. (Emphasis added.)

Pres. Bush — so often called “selected, not elected” by Leftists deluded into thinking that Al Gore won Florida — was not a uniquely polarizing figure at the dawn of his presidency, Ron?  Let’s set the Wayback Machine for November 2000:

For years, political scientists have been writing about the decline of partisanship, as a more educated and affluent electorate slips the surly bonds of party loyalty, yada, yada. Here’s a news flash: As they say in Brooklyn, fuhgeddaboutit.

This was a deeply partisan election that stirred great emotions (particularly on the GOP side) and inspired great party loyalty in both camps. More than nine in 10 Republicans voted for George W. Bush, according to a Los Angeles Times national exit poll of voters. Nearly nine in 10 Democrats voted for Al Gore. The interest groups allied with each party lined up loyally and fiercely behind their man; in states like Michigan and Pennsylvania, you could almost hear bone crunching bone as groups such as the National Rifle Assn. (for Texas Gov. Bush) and organized labor (for Vice President Gore) slammed into each other.


In a society so closely divided, any president would have a tough time building a consensus for his agenda. That becomes an even more imposing challenge after an election that, however it turns out, will leave half the country feeling it was robbed.

Who wrote that? Ron Brownstein, of course.

Despite the Left’s bitterness after the 2000 election, Pres. Bush made the effort to be a uniter, not a divider.  Peter Wehner notes this, and I recently noted the bipartisan support Pres. Bush got on many of his major initiatives.  Moreover, as Wehner notes, Pres. Bush actually gained 5 points in approval among Democrats (from 32 percent to 37 percent) between his Inauguration and early April, while Pres. Obama has lost 16 points of support among Republicans so far. 

The media whitewash crew deludes itself at its own peril.  Several polls show Republicans gaining against Democrats on the generic Congressional ballot.  The CNN poll of adults has the Democrats’ lead shrinking from 25% to 15% in less than three months.  The Diageo/Hotline poll of registered voters has the lead shrinking from 24% to 5%.  The most recent NPR poll of likely voters has the parties at parity.  As the GOP’s poll ratings are still awful (and rightly so, given the lack of leadership from the party), the numbers are more easily explained as a backlash against the polarizing partisanship of Obama and the Democratic Congress.


A Rallying Cry for Our Time

Filed under: Current Events,General — Jack Dunphy @ 12:55 am

[Guest post by Jack Dunphy]

Critics of Wednesday’s Tea Parties are fond of distinguishing the grievances that inspired them from those that engendered the 1773 Boston Tea Party. The familiar colonial rallying cry was “No taxation without representation,” prompting some to point out that those who participated in Wednesday’s rallies are indeed represented in government, they just don’t like the results.

Fair enough. But given the staggering debt the Obama budget passes on to generations of Americans yet unborn, perhaps a new slogan is called for. My suggestion:

“No taxation without gestation!”

–Jack Dunphy

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