Patterico's Pontifications


Inspiring Anita (Now UPDATED with More Leftist Lies!)

Filed under: Obama — DRJ @ 9:50 pm

[Guest post by DRJ]

Earlier this week, White House Communications Director Anita Dunn criticized Fox News as an arm of the Republican Party, so it’s not surprising the opinion hosts at Fox News are returning the scrutiny. Tonight Glenn Beck highlighted a Dunn speech (reportedly to high school students) in which she discussed “two of her favorite political philosophers” — Mother Teresa and Chinese dictator Mao Tse-Tung:

Dunn described Mother Teresa and Mao Tse-Tung as “the two people she turns to most” to make the point that every person must find their own path. In my youth, Henry David Thoreau was the hero of liberals seeking their own paths but I guess Obama and his followers are too sophisticated for the comparatively mild-mannered Thoreau. What a shame.


UPDATE BY PATTERICO: Jake Tapper says Dunn is shrugging this off as a joke — but she quite obviously is quoting Mao seriously and favorably. When leftists are caught saying something outrageous or untrue, they often later claim it was a joke.

Oh, speaking of which: meanwhile, on Twitter, TBogg sez of this clip:

Glenn Beck admits that his favorite political philosopher is Adolf Hitler (at 3:55) also endorses Mein Kampf.

Which is, of course, a lie.

To see what a shameless lie this is, let’s back up to 3:25. I’ll tell you when we get to 3:55, where TBogg wants you to start watching:

The most important political philosopher for her is Mao Tse-Tung. (Oh, and Mother Teresa.) The guy responsible for more deaths than any other 20th century leader is her favorite philosopher?! How can that man be your favorite anything? He killed 70 mil people. That would be like me saying to you [and now we reach 3:55, where TBogg wants you to start watching] “You know who my favorite political philosopher is? Adolf Hitler! Have you read Mein Kampf?”

TBogg will tell you this was a joke. As I said, when leftists are caught saying something outrageous or untrue, they often later claim it was a joke.

But let’s call it what it is: a straight lie.

Garth Brooks

Filed under: Music — DRJ @ 8:13 pm

[Guest post by DRJ]

Garth Brooks retired 9 years ago from his country music career but he’s returning for a series of weekend concerts in Las Vegas:

“Brooks has three daughters — 17, 15 and 13 — to whom he’s devoted, and he told [Las Vegas hotel-owner Steve] Wynn he wanted to make sure he was home in Oklahoma to be with his children until the last one graduates from high school. So Wynn got Brooks a plane; the singer will work one show Fridays, two shows on Saturdays and one Sundays, and be back home for Monday morning.

“Did I tell you about the plane?” Brooks asked, more than once, when reporters inquired how he would pull things off.

The Vegas engagement is not a kickoff to a tour, according to spokeswoman Nancy Seltzer.

“If he tours again, it still won’t be until his youngest goes to college,” Seltzer told CNN via text message.

Brooks stressed that situation at the press conference. He won’t be recording new albums or touring, he said: “The only place you’ll see me is here.”

I like Garth but I hope he leaves Chris at home in Oklahoma.


Preliminary Stimulus Jobs Report

Filed under: Economics,Obama — DRJ @ 7:04 pm

[Guest post by DRJ]

The preliminary Stimulus numbers are in and the folks in the Obama Administration say it exceeded their expectations:

  • Of the $787B stimulus package, $339B has been awarded and the first $16B reportedly created 30,083 jobs.
  • Calling all math majors: I think that comes out to more than $530,000 per job. If so, we know from earlier reports that most of the jobs saved were government jobs, particularly schoolteachers. How many schoolteacher’s jobs should we be able to save for every $530,000 spent?

  • $16B of $339B is 4.7% — the Administration apparently rounds it to 5% — and the White House recovery office projects the remaining funds will create jobs at the same rate.
  • Really? Okay.

  • “According to the White House recovery office’s rough calculations, the 30,083 jobs number projects out to a total of 1.2 million jobs saved or created by the stimulus through September.”
  • Let’s see if we can duplicate that calculation:

    16B/339B = 30,083 jobs/? jobs

    ? jobs = 30,083 x 339B/16B = 637,383 jobs

    I guess that was a rough calculation.

    Of course, if all $787B is disbursed it would theoretically yield 1.2M jobs … although there’s no way the jobs could be saved or created by September even if all the job creation numbers look like these. Hopefully other jurisdictions used their funds more efficiently so $530,000 will save 2 or 3 jobs. Then again, maybe this is as good as it gets.

    — DRJ

    Reprogramming America

    Filed under: Obama — DRJ @ 1:37 pm

    [Guest post by DRJ]

    John Nolte at Big Hollywood says Obama now controls our television sets:

    “On September 10th of this year the Entertainment Industry Foundation (EIF) posted a press release informing the world that “from October 19-25, more than 60 network TV shows [will] spotlight the power and personal benefits of service,” and that this “unprecedented block of TV programming is the first wave of a multi-year ‘I Participate’ campaign.”

    On its face this all sounds rather benign in that silly, liberal do-gooder kind of way. The networks have launched these kinds of campaigns before and other than some clunky exposition awkwardly inserted into your favorite show to meet the mandate — no harm, no foul.”

    What’s wrong with this? Nolte sees a pattern. Click the link to read why.

    — DRJ

    Missing Boy Not in Balloon (UPDATE x3: In House)

    Filed under: Current Events — DRJ @ 1:21 pm

    [Guest post by DRJ]

    For the past 2 hours, the news has followed a Colorado story in which a 6-year-old boy was thought to have released the tethers and climbed into his father’s homemade flying-saucer-like balloon. The balloon drifted south toward Denver at varying heights, at one point estimated to be up to 6,000 feet high. Law enforcement, news station helicopters, and FAA sources tracked the balloon until it fell into a Colorado field — empty.

    Fort Collins police are continuing their search for the boy in his hometown.

    — DRJ

    Looks like he was found in his house. In the garage attic. Where he had been all along. As Allahpundit says:

    Dear police: Please search *every* room on the property before kicking off an int’l media feeding frenzy. Thanks, AP

    The benefits of working all day: you get to find out that the boy was in the house all along before you even learn he went missing.

    UPDATE 2 by DRJ — Reports in stories like this are unreliable but initially it was said the family called the media and it was media helicopters that were tailing the balloon. The incident forced disruptions and a brief shutdown at Denver’s airport. However, the authorities had some good ideas for how to get the balloon down:

    “While the balloon was airborne, Colorado Army National Guard sent a UH-58 Kiowa helicopter and was preparing to send a Black Hawk UH-60 to try to rescue the boy, possibly by lowering someone to the balloon. They also were working with pilots of ultralight aircraft on the possibility of putting weights on the homemade craft to weigh it down.

    It wasn’t immediately clear how much the search operation cost. Capt. Troy Brown said the Black Hawk helicopter was in the air for nearly three hours, and the Kiowa helicopter was airborne for about one hour. The Black Hawk costs about $4,600 an hour to fly, and the Kiowa is $700 an hour, Brown said.”

    So should the parents have to pay for the “rescue”?

    UPDATE 3: He did it for a show?

    ObamaCare: The Back Room

    Filed under: General — Karl @ 9:36 am

    [Posted by Karl]

    The Democrats pushing a government takeover of the US healthcare system are now about where they thought they would be in July. It does not get easier from here. Sen. Maj. Ldr. Harry Reid is stuck having to come up with a bill merging the Finance Committee’s vapor bill and the Kennedy-Dodd HELP bill to bring to the floor under Rule XIV. He faces pressure from his Left, from which we can learn a bit about the state of play in the Democrats’ backroom.

    Sen. Chuck Schumer is pressuring Reid to have the bill include the so-called “public option”:

    “If he puts it in the final bill, in the combined bill, then you would need 60 votes to remove it. And there clearly are not 60 votes against the public option. And so we’re urging him to do that, and he’s seriously considering it.”

    A source close to Reid e-mailed this response to ABC News:

    “Perhaps Sen. Reid should consider giving Schumer the assignment to get 60 votes on the public plan of his choosing, since he says there is a groundswell of support for this idea.”

    The Progressive Change Campaign Committee is calling on Reid to strip Senate Dems of their committee slots if they won’t agree to vote against a filibuster — and Reid’s spokesman, Jim Manley offered another snippy retort:

    “Senator Reid is focused on crafting a health care bill that will overcome a Republican filibuster. Stripping Democratic Senators of their leadership titles is a decision that would be left up to the Caucus, not Senator Reid. In light of this reality it’s unlikely that the Caucus would ever go along with this idea.”

    Liberals correctly note that GOP Senators cannot sustain a filibuster by themselves, which tells you that the Senate Dems have failed so far to reach unity on framework for the bill, especially on the “public option.” The statements also tend to confirm that every amendment to the merged bill will require a 60-vote threshold under whatever unanimous consent agreement brings the merged bill to the floor. So if the “public option” is left out of the merged bill, it will likely stay out — and vice versa.

    We can get more clues about what may come out of the back room by looking at who will be in the back room. Reid will be there, as will Finance Committee Chairman Max Baucus (who does not think there are enough votes for the “public option.” They will be joined by Sen. Chris Dodd from the HELP Committee — which is interesting. The HELP Committee chairman is Sen. Tom Harkin, who replaced the late Ted Kennedy, and has been a vocal advocate for the “public option.” There will be White House players, including Chief of Staff Rahm Emanuel, Office of Health Reform Director Nancy-Ann DeParle, Office of Management and Budget Director Peter Orszag, Director of Legislative Affairs Phil Schiliro and White House-Senate liaison Shawn Maher.

    And there will be… Sen. Olympia Snowe, who will bring her own agenda and tilt the negotiations in ways likely to give liberal Democrats heartburn. The decision to include her further signals the intentions of Reid (and likely the White House) about the shape of the merged bill, because now they have a Republican to blame for the compromises the moderate Democrats have probably sought behind the scenes. Indeed, Sens. Ben Nelson and Mark Pryor have adopted Snowe’s “wait and see” attitude toward any final bill, while Sen. Joe Lieberman says other centrist Democrats beyond the committee may also oppose a bill like the Baucus vapor bill. The moderate Dems likely will be with their party on most procedural votes but could hold out on the last one — to end debate and cut off a filibuster.

    Snowe’s presence in the back room makes it more likely that the merged bill will drop the “public option” — or neuter it with a “trigger.” This will alienate roughly 30 Senate Democrats, the House Progressive Caucus (which claims a bill cannot pass the House without a strong “public option”), and their masters at Big Labor.

    Snowe co-authored the amendment to the Baucus vapor bill reducing the threshold for the individual mandate penalty. Weakening the mandate is the issue that set the health insurer’s lobby on their multi-state, multi-million dollar campaign against ObamaCare. Yesterday, the Blue Cross Blue Shield Association dropped its own study claiming that premiums will rise up to 50% for individual policies and 19% for small group plans if ObamaCare passes.

    In short, the inclusion of Snowe in the back room may offer Reid & Co. some cover to try to attract moderate Democrats. But that tactic did not visibly move those centrist Dems — and Snowe’s positions will alienate everyone from Big Labor to the health insurance lobby.

    Reid’s headaches do not stop there. There is the small question of money to pay for the bill. The Baucus plan to raise $201 billion from a tax on high-premium insurance plans is a non-starter with House progressivesand Big Labor, and opposed by Sen. Jay Rockefeller (and Sen. Robert Byrd, in all probability), Sen. John Kerry, Sen. Lieberman and perhaps others — dependng on whether blue states get cut a special deal on the tax. Of course, the more special deals that get cut, the more money that will have to be extracted in other ways. As it stands now, about 87 percent of the revenue in the original Baucus proposal to finance ObamaCare would come from individuals with incomes of less than $200,000. Yet even moderate House Dems oppose Rep. Charlie Rangel’s (D-NY) supposed “millionaires surtax” because they know it would hit small businesses in their districts.

    In sum, as Reid tries to bring a merged bill to the floor, the Baucus-esque proposal most likely to meet Pres. Obama’s demand that healthcare reform not increase the deficit runs smack into opposition from an array of interest groups, Senate liberals and the House in general, both on the “public option” and on how to finance the scheme. There will probably be plenty of smoke in that back room, mostly coming from the ears of the people trying to square circles in it.


    Health Care Burdens

    Filed under: Health Care,Obama — DRJ @ 12:04 am

    [Guest post by DRJ]

    Via TaxProf Blog, Douglas Holtz-Eakin writes in the Wall Street Journal that the Baucus bill will impose a 23% marginal tax rate on the middle class. This follows N. Gregory Mankiw’s analysis that marginal tax rates could go as high as 80%.

    Less than one million Americans file bankruptcy each year, which is far less than 1% of Americans. Some undoubtedly file because of medical bills. Under every version of ObamaCare I’ve seen, an expanded class of Americans will face financial difficulty because of increased taxes that will almost certainly be non-dischargeable in bankruptcy. They may (or may not) have health care but more Americans will have fewer options when it comes to dealing with their debts — and a liquidation bankruptcy probably won’t be one of those options.

    So we may discard a health care system that provides care to all Americans and results in far less than 1% filing bankruptcy because of health care debts. We’re doing this to adopt a health care system that provides not-necessarily-better care to all Americans with more financial hardship that can’t be discharged in bankruptcy.

    Does this make sense?

    — DRJ

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