Patterico's Pontifications


Senator Ted Kennedy Dead at 77

Filed under: Politics — DRJ @ 10:34 pm

[Guest post by DRJ]

Several news sources report Senator Ted Kennedy has died of brain cancer. My condolences to his family.

Please note that comments will be moderated.



UPDATE BY PATTERICO: Growing up, my dad hated three people more than any other: Ted Kennedy, Jane Fonda, and Andy Granatelli. (Don’t ask.) I was not a fan either. I doubt readers of my site are much different, and I don’t expect commenters here to say anything nice about the guy. Yes, he caused a woman’s death. Yes, he should have been prosecuted.

Just follow the adage your mom told you: if you can’t say anything nice, don’t say anything at all.

Moderators are free to delete comments as necessary.

GM’s ‘Mark of Excellence’ Gets Dinged

Filed under: General — DRJ @ 8:58 pm

[Guest post by DRJ]

GM will not include its “Mark of Excellence” (the silver square GM logo) on future new cars:

“The final decision to remove the silver square logo was made earlier this month, although executives had mentioned the possibility of such a move months ago. The company found that consumers had a greater affinity for GM’s individual brands than the corporate name.

“What we’re seeing is the GM brand gets dinged big time in terms of considering a GM vehicle,” said Mike DiGiovanni, GM’s executive director of global market and industry analysis, during a monthly sales conference call in April. “But when you look at Chevrolet, Cadillac and our other brands, they haven’t changed.”

Hmmm. I wonder what happened in the last few months that would ding the GM brand?


Procotologists on ObamaCare

Filed under: Humor — DRJ @ 8:42 pm

[Guest post by DRJ]

Procotologists on ObamaCare … and other decidedly-not-serious medical views.


Liberal Allegedly Vandalizes Denver Democratic HQ

Filed under: Politics — DRJ @ 8:27 pm

[Guest post by DRJ]

A 24-year-old liberal has been arrested for vandalizing the Denver Democratic Party headquarters:

“Apparently the eleven broken windows had posters promoting Obama’s heathcare reform. Democratic State Party Chair Pat Waak also noted that an anti-Obamacare poster was glued to an outside wall, presumably at the time the window vandalism took place. The obvious diagnosis is that this is a clear case of conservative town-hall fury run amok. Only, in his mug shot, [Maurice] Schewenkler looks more Sonic Youth than Reagan-youth. Plus, it turns out that someone bearing his exact name — a fairly rare one, to say the least — was once an employee of a progressive political action committee based in Colorado.

What the…?”

H/T to the Instapundit, who has a multitude of links, and Michelle Malkin.


How to Ruin the U.S. Economy in 7 Months …

Filed under: Economics,Obama — DRJ @ 7:23 pm

[Guest post by DRJ]

by Barack Obama:

  • A 10-year federal deficit of $9 trillion — more than the sum of all previous deficits since America’s founding.
  • By the next decade’s end the national debt will equal three-quarters of the entire U.S. economy.
  • Unemployment estimated to be at least 10 percent.
  • The American economy will “shrink by 2.5 to 2.8 percent this year even as it begins to climb out of the recession.”
  • In mid-July, Obama taunted Republicans that he owns the economy now:

    “I love these folks who helped get us in this mess and then suddenly say, ‘Well, this is Obama’s economy,'” the president said, pointedly deviating from his prepared text. “That’s fine. Give it to me!

    It was a defiant moment, reminiscent of Bush’s own “Bring ’em on!” taunt in 2003 to militants in Iraq.

    Like Bush’s brash challenge, Obama’s could haunt him, too. It’s a calculated risk that confronts his critics head-on and casts him as an activist, on-the-job president.”

    Obama took a $1.3T deficit and is turning it into a $9T deficit [in 10 years], all while his economic experts moan that the recession was much worse than they realized. Obama’s policies are to blame for much of the bad news but if the economy really was worse than Obama’s experts realized, why should we trust them to fix it?

    — DRJ

    Thanks for nothing, Victoria Toensing

    Filed under: General — Karl @ 5:16 pm

    [Posted by Karl]

    Victoria Toensing, former chief counsel for the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence, former deputy assistant attorney general, criminal division, and cable news fixture, seems outrageously outraged about Attorney General Eric Holder’s decision to to investigate possible abuses by CIA interrogators in using harsh tactics on terror detainees:

    “All volunteers step forward. We have a person in custody who is high-ranking al-Qaeda. He taunts that an attack on United States soil is imminent but laughs mockingly when we ask for specifics. We need interrogators.” Such was the threat in the summer of 2002 when the CIA asked the Justice Department for guidance on what its personnel could do to get such information from captured al-Qaeda lieutenant Abu Zubdayah.

    Since then, the lawyers who stepped forward to provide carefully structured counsel have been criminally investigated and told that, even if they are not prosecuted, their conduct will be turned over to their state bars. The interrogators who stepped forward were promised in early spring by President Obama that, even if they erred in judgment while protecting our country, the president would rather “move forward.” However, in late summer, they are under criminal scrutiny.

    Even though an earlier investigation by career prosecutors reviewed the same conduct and refused prosecution of all but one contract employee who was brought to trial in 2007. Even though congressional leaders had knowledge of the interrogation techniques and made no attempt to stop them. Even though the conduct is more than six years old. Even though the CIA has taken administrative action against some of the personnel involved in the interrogations. Even though being just a target of a criminal investigation costs thousands of dollars in legal fees. Even though being just a target of a criminal investigation takes a horrendous mental toll. Even though the morale of the CIA will plunge to the depths it did in the wake of the Church Committee attacks. Even though the release of the names of those being scrutinized will make them terrorist targets for the rest of their lives. Even if they are cleared.

    The next time our government employees are asked to step forward to get information of a possible, even probable, imminent attack, no one will. Even though…

    Of course, what is missing from Toensing’s venting is any mention of Attorney General Eric Holder. The reason for the glaring omission might just be that, as Byron York reported at the time, Toensing backed Holder:

    I just got off the phone with Joe DiGenova, the former U.S. Attorney for the District of Columbia who, along with his wife and fellow lawyer Victoria Toensing, signed a letter in support of Eric Holder’s nomination to be attorney general. DiGenova told me he and Toensing were approached by Republican lawyer Mike Madigan about signing the letter, but they were in favor of Holder’s nomination much earlier than that. “Victoria and I signed the letter, but we were supporting him before that,” DiGenova told me. “Our support comes from the fact that we have known Eric for many years, that we respect him as a lawyer, and, more importantly, we are very concerned about the Justice Department. There have been too many AG’s who don’t understand the place. Eric is very qualified to fix it, because it is a mess. It isn’t just the politicization of it, it’s the career people who need supervision…We know Eric personally, and we believe him to be a superbly qualified candidate to fix the place.” DiGenova added that he and Toensing also went to Capitol Hill to speak in support of Holder with Judiciary Committee chairman Sen. Pat Leahy (this also happened well before the letter was sent).

    Toensing does not even have the wafer-thin fig leaf of “private assurances” from Holder that the most clueless GOP Senators are modeling today. If Toensing wants to vent at someone, she could start with a mirror, then move on to her husband and the rest of the chummy “go along to get along” Beltway Republicans.


    ObamaCare gets dire prognosis from Sen. Russ Feingold

    Filed under: General — Karl @ 10:43 am

    [Posted by Karl]

    At the very least, one of the Senate’s leading progressives knows what his constituents want to hear:

    U.S. Sen. Russ Feingold told a large crowd gathered for a listening session in Iron County last week there would likely be no health care bill before the end of the year – and perhaps not at all.

    It was an assessment Feingold said he didn’t like, but the prospect of no health care legislation brought a burst of applause from a packed house of nearly 150 citizens at the Mercer Community Center.

    “Nobody is going to bring a bill before Christmas, and maybe not even then, if this ever happens,” Feingold said. “The divisions are so deep. I never seen anything like that.” (Emphasis aded.)

    In reality, Feingold’s assessment may be as disingenous as his misleading assurances that ObamaCare would not fund abortions.  But he probably would not be floating the notion of healthcare reform pilot programs in five states if he was not a bit worried about the fate of ObamaCare.

    The other big topic at this Feingold town hall was the federal deficit.   Concern over the deficit was already shaping the healthcare debate on Capitol Hill.  And the Obama administration’s latest forecast has deficits rising to a level that Office of Management and Budget director Peter Orszag called unsustainable in March.

    Update: Feingold’s rep has his backpedal in motion — but Feingold is still talking about Christmas.  That is far too long for an effort continuing to lose popularity.


    Can’t We Just Deduct the Cost of Illegal Immigration from Mexico’s Foreign Aid?

    Filed under: Immigration — Patterico @ 7:14 am

    The answer is: yes and no. Yes, because it’s eminently logical. No, because a) politicians will never do it, and b) there isn’t enough foreign aid to Mexico to come even close.

    I thought about the question recently when I saw a comment somewhere suggesting that we address the cost of treating illegal immigrants at emergency rooms by sending Mexico a bill. Well, obviously we can’t do that, I thought, but why not deduct it from their foreign aid?

    After all, I think someone mentioned recently that California might have a small budget problem. Running in the tens of billions of dollars. So why not determine how much money California spends on illegal immigrants, deduct that from Mexico’s foreign aid, and send the money to California instead? (And of course we could do the same for other border states like Arizona, whose budgets are also weighed down with spending for illegals.) So I ran some numbers this morning.

    How much are we giving Mexico? We’re proposing around a billion:

    The Obama administration is freeing up $85.4 million to help Mexico fight drug cartels, settling a debate over whether to withhold the money because of allegations the Mexican military is carrying out murders and other crimes.

    . . . .

    Calling Mexico’s military justice system “manifestly ineffective,” Leahy said that neither Mexico nor the State Department “has treated human rights abuses by the military, which is engaging in an internal police function it is ill- suited for, as a priority.”

    Still, Leahy said he has backed more than $1 billion in aid for Mexico since June 2008 and will support more in the future to help solve its “complex” challenges.

    What do illegal immigrants cost California? FAIR had a study estimating about $10 billion a year.

    That’s ten times what we’re talking about giving Mexico. And that’s just the cost to California alone.

    Guess we can’t deduct all our costs.

    Still, even though it is politically impossible, and would make only a dent in the cost of illegals to this country, it would perfect sense to cut off all aid to Mexico while our states are running deficits in part to care for Mexican citizens.

    Maybe that would give Mexico an incentive to do something about the problem.

    Nah, that makes too much sense.

    Is This a “Conservative” Lesson?

    Filed under: Race — Patterico @ 7:12 am

    A black woman warned her son that he needed to be respectful to the police, but she feared he wasn’t getting the message. So she decided to drive it home a different way:

    To put my words into application, I once asked a recent graduate from the police academy to help my eldest son understand that my worries were valid. He assured me he would teach him an unforgettable lesson. Several evenings later, my unsuspecting man-child was stopped by the graduate and was asked a slew of unimportant questions.

    Where are you going tonight? Is this your car? Why are you out so late? What do your parents do?

    The list was endless. The barrage of inquiries was intended to irritate and distract. As my son started to lose his composure and show his annoyance, the officer became more “aggressive” my son said later.

    Consequently, he ended up on the hood of his SUV faced down and was told to address the officer as “Mr. Officer, sir”. After being given a fictional ticket and the fright of his life, he came home shaking with rage. As he tried to explain his terrorizing encounter he experienced, I continued the interrogation by asking about his actions that provoked the officer. I could hear the disbelief in his voice as he tried to repeat the sequence of events. I was not interested in the cop’s behavior but his responses to the cop. I saw the white hot anger on his face. I remind him that his exasperation was what others experienced daily.

    A.C. Kleinheider sees the mother’s lesson as conservative:

    Now, I’m not naive or obtuse. One of the reasons Holmes taught her son this lesson was because as a black male, police may be on “higher alert” around him. This is taken as given, a fact of life.

    Holmes is not taking away anything from the injustice of the fact, but she is not crippled by it either. She moves forward.

    This is the essence of conservatism. Certain things are intractable.

    Kleinheider notes disagreement from conservatives, however, such as Bill Hobbs, who stated:

    “[Holmes] deliberately set up a fake situation designed to teach her son to not trust police and to encourage her son to view police through the lens of race and to view himself as a target and a victim,”

    What’s your view? Was the mother’s lesson “conservative”?

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