Patterico's Pontifications


Perez Hilton: Michael Jackson Was Faking It!!!

Filed under: General — Patterico @ 11:35 pm

Enjoy what Perez Hilton originally wrote about Michael Jackson’s heart attack.

Supposedly, the singer went into cardiac arrest and the paramedics had to administer CPR!!!

. . . .

We are dubious!!

. . . .

Either he’s lying or making himself sick, but we’re curious to see if he’s able to go on!!!


Should Sanford Resign?

Filed under: Politics — DRJ @ 11:10 pm

[Guest post by DRJ]

Should South Carolina Governor Mark Sanford resign?

I hadn’t given this much thought because I believe it’s a matter for the citizens of South Carolina to decide, but Toby Harnden offers 10 good reasons why Sanford must resign as Governor.

Read the link and then vote here:


Celebrity Deaths: Michael Jackson and Farrah Fawcett Die

Filed under: Miscellaneous — DRJ @ 1:54 pm

[Guest post by DRJ]

Farrah Fawcett.

And Michael Jackson.

UPDATE BY PATTERICO: Please do not run down the recently dead in the comments.

Obamacare Infomercial: What Were They Thinking?

Filed under: General — Karl @ 10:14 am

[Posted by Karl]

Seriously. What were they thinking?

The health care “town hall” event at the White House staged by ABCNews was clearly intended as part of Pres. Obama’s week-long PR blitz to bolster the case for health care reform, to be followed today with rallies funded and organized by the Usual Suspects.

ABCNews denied that it was actively assisting this effort, despite running graphics in a font remarkably similar to the Gotham font Obama used throughout the 2008 campaign. But despite the presence of a couple of challenging questioners, the pre-selected questions and general lack of follow-up made for an experience similar to the lame press conference format lefty bloggers like Ezra Klein were decrying yesterday morning, but probably enjoying in primetime. (Even ABC’s online fact-checking was lame, verging on the left-leaning. In contrast, Cato managed to savage Obama’s talking points in real time.)

The upside for Obama in this format is that he was generally able to bob and weave away from the real issues. For example, he talked about increasing the number of primary care doctors without acknowledging this could inflate the health care costs he claims he is trying to contain.

He could deliver his standard talking points about preventative care, even the vast majority of preventative measures reviewed in the health economics literature do not save money.

He could simply assert that “often times we know what makes sense and what doesn’t,” in pushing comparative effectiveness research, despite the fact that it is already killing cancer patients in Britain, to name but one example. (Indeed, no one followed up on his semi-oblique suggestion that America generally needs to move to a culture that disfavors heroic end-of-life care.)

Obama could talk about a proposed government-run plan without addressing the arguments that such a plan would almost inevitably engage in unfair competition. Obama was not asked whether a public plan would be allowed to fail. He was not asked about the Senate bill that would allow a public plan to avoid state regulation. He was not asked about the Lewin Group estimate that as many as 119 million people could be dumped from their current coverage into to the public plan until the Nightline segment, which was likely watched by far fewer people. Obama should doubly thank ABCNews for burying that exchange because — despite the fact that he had to know it was probably coming — it was Aetna CEO Ron Williams, not the Orator-in-Chief, who had the soundbite: “It’s difficult to compete against a player who’s also the person refereeing the game.” (At that link, Jake Tapper also notes that the latest ABC News/Washington Post poll shows that support for a public plan plummets to 37 percent if it would crowd out private insurers. But I digress.)

He got to complain about the Congressional Budget Office’s stubborn refusal to score his imaginary game-changers as actual savings, while refusing to commit to any method of paying for a plan that Obama admitted might cost as much as $2 trillion. As CBS News correspondent Mark Knoller noted again and again and again, throughout the primetime special — and the Nightline addendum — Obama would pretend he was going to address a “challenging question,” or would say that an issue required a “difficult decision,” while avoiding an answer.

But what did Obama really get for all of his dodging? He didn’t take many punches, but he didn’t land any, either. Drew Weston might say that it is smart to avoid wonkery and focus on his three basic principles (however dishonest they may be) — lower costs, freedom to choose and coverage for all Americans. But even if the audience will not remember the details, they will remember (even if subconsciously) whether there were details. Platitudes alone will not address the public skepticism of about the types of fixes being proposed by Obama and the Democrats.

Weston also believes in the power of stories over policy (and there is some merit to that argument). On that front, Obama got to talks about his late grandmother again. But he was also exposed as a rank hypocrite on the issue of seeking extraordinary care for his own family before making it clear that he thinks other people’s families should hurry up and die already:

Jane Sturm told the story of her nearly 100-year-old mother, who was originally denied a pacemaker because of her age. She eventually got one, but only after seeking out another doctor.

“Outside the medical criteria,” Sturm asked, “is there a consideration that can be given for a certain spirit … and quality of life?”

“I don’t think that we can make judgments based on peoples’ spirit,” Obama said.

Obama came off sounding more like one of the evil insurance company execs he wants to drive out of business than the sort of empathetic person he wants to appoint to the federal judiciary.

Pres. Obama’s approach of leaving all of those “difficult decisions” to Congress and refusing to commit to any specifics that might turn out to be unpopular places him in the role of professor, not president. It’s hard to be a leader with no direction. It’s hard to sell a plan when you don’t have a plan. It’s hard to be given hours of ABCNews time and not make any news, but Obama seems to have managed it. ABCNews gave Obama a gift, and he squandered it. The town hall was billed as a “Prescription for America,” but viewers were left with little idea as to what might end up in the bottle.

As Obamacare started running into trouble in Congress, some on the Left — like Stanley Greenberg and Nate Silver — started begging Pres. Obama to get out and sell, sell, sell a government takeover. Ezra Klein argued that Obama should have sat back and waited until Congress pushed as far as it could. Yesterday’s installment of O!TV seems to have accomplished the worst of both worlds, burning some political capital to no concrete purpose.

Update: Is it good news or bad news for Obamacare that the “town hall” got crushed in the overnight ratings?


More on the Arrested “Reformed” Gang Member Alex Sanchez

Filed under: Crime,Dog Trainer,General — Patterico @ 7:20 am

Yesterday Jack Dunphy noted the arrest of yet another “former” gang member who may not be quite so “former” as advertised:

Alex Sanchez, described by the Los Angeles Times as a “nationally recognized anti-gang leader,” was arrested today by the FBI. Among the charges against him is conspiracy to commit murder.

I’m always very skeptical of anyone who claims to be a “former gang member.” This is just the latest justification for my skepticism.

Along those lines, I thought I would resurrect the words of noted sucker Tom Hayden from 2000, published in (of course) the Los Angeles Times. The title? We Need Peacemakers Like Alex Sanchez:

[I]t appears that the anti-gang war is directed even against former gang members working for peace on the streets.

Last Friday, Rampart CRASH officers arrested Alex Sanchez, 27, as he was getting into his car in the mid-Wilshire area of Los Angeles. Sanchez is a respected leader of Homies Unidos, an anti-violence organization formed in L.A. and El Salvador by former gang members who have turned their lives around. . . The U.S. government already pays for illegal aliens to stay in the country when they are undercover informants of use to law enforcement. Why not grant the same to a peacemaker in the hope of reducing gang violence?

You read that right. Hayden wanted to pay Sanchez to stay in this country.

The rumor I hear is that he very nearly got his wish. According to that rumor, Sanchez was on the verge of receiving $100,000 from the City of Los Angeles for gang prevention when he was arrested. (I can’t confirm the rumor, and neither can my very reliable source. Take it for what it’s worth, which isn’t much unless it’s confirmed.) He would hardly be the only such person; this blog has previously discussed how Hector Marroquin was illegally selling guns as he ran a city-funded gang intervention program called “No Guns.” (As I wrote at the time, this story was pushed by the L.A. Weekly, which ate the L.A. Times‘s lunch on the story.)

Back in the days when Marc Cooper liked the L.A. Weekly, it published a naive piece about Sanchez which contained this gem of a quote:

[A]lthough Sanchez remains in INS custody, he also remains in the U.S. while supporters appeal to federal authorities for leniency.

Those supporters, including state Senator Tom Hayden, contend that Sanchez is just the sort of person the community needs — a reformed gang member who turned his life around and has dedicated himself to leading a new generation of street-wise youth away from gang violence.

The current version of the L.A. Weekly that Marc Cooper and James Rainey despise so much reminds us of some of the embarrassing connections Sanchez had with local politicians:

Sanchez has ties to powerful, local politicians who range from L.A. City Council President Eric Garcetti to Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa.

“Homies Unidos is exactly the kind of community-based violence prevention and intervention program Los Angeles needs to help eliminate its gang problem,” reads a glowing statement from Garcetti, which has been posted on the Homies Unidos Web site. (Note: The Web site has now been taken down.)

Also on the non-profit’s Web site, a recent “Letter from the Executive Director” thanks Los Angeles City Councilmen Ed Reyes and Tony Cardenas for attending a November, 2008, banquet celebrating the 10th anniversary of Homies Unidos.

Sanchez also commends staff members who work for Reyes, Cardenas, and Villaraigosa. The city of Los Angeles, with the help of the mayor’s office, officially recognized Sanchez’s work with a resolution that was passed by the L.A. City Council.

“Silvia Beltran and George Magallanes from Councilman Ed Reyes office, Michael DelaRocha and Eduardo Hewitt from Councilman Tony Cardenas and Rafael Gonzales from the Mayor’s Office were instrumental in helping Los Angeles City Council pass a resolution for Homies Unidos 10 years of work in the city of Los Angeles,” Sanchez writes.

Nice work by Patrick Range McDonald, as always.

The public needs to wake up to the fact that there is a liberal cabal, consisting of folks like Tom Hayden and Eric Garcetti and the editors of the Los Angeles Times, who think it’s a good idea to give large sums of money to “former” gang members, who use that money to fund criminal activities.

Taxpayers are paying for crime. When will we demand that it stop?

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