Patterico's Pontifications


Sure, Larry David Would Piss On Obama

Filed under: General — Patterico @ 10:32 pm

Via Instapundit, the Anchoress asks, about the “Curb Your Enthusiasm” episode where Larry David accidentally pisses on a portrait of Christ:

But for an “artist” to make an identical satirical “joke” on Obama and his adorers? That would take great courage. . . . [I]f Larry David could see the humor in pissing on Christ and the excesses of Catholic piety, surely he must see the humor in pissing on Obama . . .

I’m sure he could, actually. Has the Anchoress ever watched the show?

I’ve never seen this show . . .

Oh. Well, then, let me explain how it would play out.

Larry David’s character is (to some degree, at least) based on himself, and I believe David is actually an Obama supporter. So he wouldn’t deliberately piss on Obama as that character. But since he is the goat in every episode, I can easily envision an episode where, say, he meets a strong Obama supporter who has a picture of Obama in their house — and then David accidentally pisses on Obama (as he accidentally pissed on Christ in the very funny episode to which the Anchoress refers but has not seen). Then the Obama supporter concludes David is an Obama hater and racist, and David is left sputtering in protest that he loves Obama, he gave him money, etc. etc.

Yeah, I can see that. It might even be pretty funny.

P.S. I know several people who say I remind them of Larry David. What do you think?

Curb Your Enthusiasm

Filed under: Current Events — DRJ @ 9:15 pm

[Guest post by DRJ]

A poll about nothing:


UPDATE: The Catholic League thinks HBO and Larry David went too far. So does CAIR:

“In a letter to HBO Chairman and CEO Bill Nelson, Nihad Awad, national executive director of the Washington-based Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR) wrote:

“It is beyond tasteless to insult the religious sensibilities of billions of people in America and around the world with such a cheap and vulgar publicity stunt. Jesus, peace be upon him, is loved and revered by both Christians and Muslims. Muslims view him as one of God’s greatest messengers to mankind.
“We understand the drive for ratings, but no one benefits from such a crude attempt to boost the network’s bottom line by manufacturing a religious controversy. HBO should apologize.”

UPDATE BY PATTERICO: Oh, my God. Get a sense of humor, Catholic League and CAIR.

My take is here. And yes, I voted “no” in the above poll. Maybe that’s because I saw the show.

Arnold Gets Noticed

Filed under: Humor — DRJ @ 8:54 pm

[Guest post by DRJ]

Check out aunursa’s post about the Governator at The Jury.


It’s Not Easy to Get Noticed

Filed under: Humor — DRJ @ 8:38 pm

[Guest post by DRJ]

What do you have to do to get noticed in today’s world?

Her first vlog was about eating oatmeal.


Living With the Taliban

Filed under: Obama,War — DRJ @ 2:38 pm

[Guest post by DRJ]

A recent report indicates President Obama may refuse Gen. McChrystal’s request for 40,000+ more troops in Afghanistan and opt for a new strategy that takes aim at al Qaeda and accepts the Taliban:

“Instead, America might seek a settlement of sorts with the Taliban, giving them some involvement in Afghan politics. An official involved in the review told Associated Press that America would “not tolerate their return to power”, but may not seek the total defeat of the Taliban. Some in Mr Obama’s team believe that only a minority of the Taliban are aligned with al-Qaeda and share its goal of attacking the West. “They’re not the same type of group,” said Robert Gibbs, the White House press secretary. “It’s certainly not backed up by any of the intelligence.”

Really? Pakistani soldiers who fought their way into a South Waziristan Taliban stronghold found two passports that may be linked to al Qaeda and 9/11:

“One of the passports is German, belonging to a man by the name of Said Bahaji. That matches the name of a man who lived in Hamburg and is believed to have fled Germany shortly before the 9/11 attacks.

Another passport, from Spain, is under the name of Raquel Burgos Garcia. A woman with the same name is reportedly married to an alleged al-Qaida member suspected in both the 9/11 attacks and the Madrid train bombings in 2004.”

Time for new talking points.


Biden Quote of the Day

Filed under: Obama — DRJ @ 2:23 pm

[Guest post by DRJ]

Time Magazine has excerpted portions of Obama campaign manager David Plouffe’s new book and it includes Joe Biden quotes. However, for once, the notable quote isn’t by Biden — it’s about him:

“The [first] meeting started with Biden launching into a nearly 20-minute monologue that ranged from the strength of our campaign in Iowa (”I literally wouldn’t have run if I knew the steamroller you guys would put together”); to his evolving views of Obama (”I wasn’t sure about him in the beginning of the campaign, but I am now”); why he didn’t want to be VP (”The last thing I should do is VP; after 36 years of being the top dog, it will be hard to be No. 2″); why he was a good choice (”But I would be a good soldier and could provide real value, domestically and internationally”); and everything else under the sun. Ax and I couldn’t get a word in edgewise. It confirmed what we suspected: this dog could not be taught new tricks. But the conversation also confirmed our positive assumptions: his firm grasp of issues, his blue collar sensibilities and the fact that while he would readily accept the VP slot if offered, he was not pining for it.”

H/T Toby Harnden, whose 5-word conclusion on this quote is also priceless.


Revising the Present

Filed under: International,Obama — DRJ @ 1:20 pm

[Guest post by DRJ]

Via Hot Air, the Chairmen of the House and Senate Foreign Relations Committees want the Library of Congress to retract the CRS finding that Honduras had the authority to remove former President Manuel Zelaya from office:

“[Senator John] Kerry and [Rep. Howard] Berman, however, said the report “contains factual errors and is based on a flawed legal analysis that has been refuted by experts from the United States, the Organization of American States and Honduras.”
A spokeswoman for the Library of Congress said the library would not comment on the letter, but that it stands by its report as delivered in August.”

I’ve heard of re-writing history but this is re-writing the present. Nevertheless, the good news is the Library now plans to post its report online.


ObamaCare: The public option and liberal fascism

Filed under: General — Karl @ 11:06 am

[Posted by Karl]

House Democrats are planning to unveil their version of ObamaCare this morning, without a “robust” government-run insurance plan, which would slash reimbursement rates to some variation on Medicare rates. This has bloggers like OpenLeft’s Chris Bowers wondering whether the House can pass any ObamaCare bill:

This is going to anger quite a few members of the Congressional Progressive Caucus. Some of them might not vote for passage now, because they consider the public option too weak.

This matters because there are around 18-25 Democrats who will vote against the bill from the right, pretty much no matter what at this point. With every Republican likely to vote against the bill, this means that opposition from 15-22 Progressives would sink the entire bill.

And maybe pigs would fly out of my butt. The House proggs will cave in the end, having to settle for a bill that requires insurers to accept all customers and charge all the same price, regulates all aspects of their marketing to make sure they aren’t discriminating, and then redistributes the profits to make sure that no company gets penalized unfairly.

On the flip side, Megan McArdle explains why the “robust” public option would be an economic and political disaster:

[T]he thing about patients whose insurance doesn’t cover the average cost of treating them is that they cannot be 100% of your patient pool. Someone has to cover the cost of that MRI machine. If the public option does manage to crowd out other insurance–as it might well do, with the ability to dictate price controls–then suddenly, the public option won’t be cheap any more. Hello, fiscal crisis.

That’s the financial problem. Here’s the political problem: if you insert a strong public option, the providers will revolt.

You’ve already lost the insurers. Try to reimburse hospitals and doctors at Medicare + 5% for any large segment of the market, and you’ll lose them too. Health care reform is likely to survive the defection of the much-hated health insurance industry. I doubt there is any way at all that it survives negative ads from coalitions of doctors, hospitals, and other assorted healthcare workers. I don’t see Obama having much success getting on the radio one Saturday morning to complain that doctors are all a bunch of lying obstructionists.

McArdle wonders why the fixation with a “robust” public option has persisted. Her commenters correctly note that it makes a nice bargaining chip and distraction from the mandate-driven government takeover of the US healthcare system. And the cheap shot answer is that the nutroots generally lack a nuanced understanding of economics or practical interest group politics.

However, all of that is only a partial answer. The Obama administration has long seen this issue as another in the long tradition of corporatism, a staple feature of what Jonah Goldberg calls liberal fascism since the days when Big Meat co-opted the Teddy Roosevelt adminstration. One of the adminsitration’s main strategies on ObamaCare has been to pay off the “stakeholders”, i.e., the special interests most affected by the bill. Big health insurers, Big Pharma, AARP, doctors, etc. — have all been promised goodies under this approach. The point of friction with the “stakeholders” has been the public option, which is opposed by the insurers and the Business Roundtable (a major player which is otherwise with the SEIU and AARP on ObamaCare). This is implicit in McArdle’s analysis (though it is not entirely clear that the Dems have lost insurers, provided the Dems can fool AHIP into believing the mandates and penalties will be stiffened and enforced).

The history of the 20th century shows that progressives have generally been content to pursue corporatism clothed as “reform.” So why are liberals not content to let health insurance companies become the premium collectors for the welfare state?

Two possible answers leap immediately to mind. The first possibility is that healthcare is different. Socialized medicine has been the Holy Grail for the Left for the better part of a century because they see it as the cornerstone of a proper, Euro-style welfare state. Control over the healthcare system gives the government influence and control over many life-and-death decisions (except abortion, though that issue may be a monkey wrench in the House yet). In this context, corporatism leaves open the possibility that non-state actors would remain dominant, which is simply unacceptable to the true believers of the Left. This is why the Left freely admits they view the public option as a Trojan Horse for socialized medicine when talking among themselves.

The second possibility is that the 21st century Left is different. It may be that last year’s meltdown on Wall Street has actually convinced them that capitalism is a failure. They look at the bailouts, TARP, etc. and see most of the same flaws the Right sees — but concludes that the financial sector should have been nationalized instead. In this view, a version of ObamaCare that is merely corporatist simply does not take enough steps down the road to serfdom.

Of course, those possibilities are not mutually exclusive. I’ll be interested to hear if there are other possibilities I missed. In the meantime, a couple more ObamaCare tidbits. Yuval Levin notes that it looks like Pelosi may again be forcing her vulnerable Dem colleagues to vote before the Senate, which may be bad strategy in the short- and long-term. Sen. Evan Bayh may not be able to support a motion to proceed with the health care debate on the Senate floor, and he is practically daring his Dem colleagues to try getting the public option through budget reconciliation. (A reminder: Bayh’s wife is a director at Indianapolis-based health insurer WellPoint Inc.).


L.A. Times Columnists: Duuuuuuuuuuude, I Bought Some Pot, Dude

Filed under: Dog Trainer — Patterico @ 7:05 am

Nice catch by Sara Libby, who notes that three separate L.A. Times columnists have purchased medical marijuana over the past 18 months. First it was Sandy Banks (here and here):

[W]hy did I feel vaguely criminal as I stuffed my cannabis card — resembling a tiny passport, embossed with a marijuana leaf — in my wallet?

Because I’m from a generation in which marijuana was plainly illegal and thus the province of the young — clandestinely purchased with a wad of singles, smoked with a rowdy crowd of buddies, accompanied by laughter and loud music.

And because I’ve heard from friends — and my own teenage daughters — that getting a cannabis card at 18 has become a rite of passage in some quarters.

Why bother trying to find a dope dealer when you can shop for weed at a place as familiar as a mini-mart?

and then classic narcissist Joel Stein:

[T]he doctor wore a Hawaiian shirt.

He took my blood pressure and asked what I was suffering from. “Anxiety,” I said. And then “occasional insomnia.” And even though he seemed to be moving on, I blurted something about headaches. The only malady that would have made me more similar to every human being throughout history would have been “these painful little pieces of skin that peel up next to my fingernails.”

And now Steve Lopez:

The doctor told me there were many options for treating back pain, and I told him I didn’t want to risk surgery or take conventional painkillers. He wanted to know how I’m affected when back pain keeps me awake.

I’m fuzzy and have trouble focusing the next day, I told him.

He seemed to be looking for a different answer. If I’m a writer, he said, did that mean I had trouble doing my job?

Definitely, doctor.

I stood to show him where my back hurts. He asked me to bend down, and I demonstrated that I couldn’t touch my toes, but I don’t think he could see that. He hadn’t moved from his seat.

I pointed again to my lower back and asked if there were a disc that low.

He said he knew nothing about back problems.

“I’m a gynecologist,” he said.

I see.

Lopez, like Banks before him, is apparently going to milk this for at least two columns. Stein apparently only got one. But then, Banks said she flushed her marijuana down the toilet; as far as we know, Stein smoked his. And you know how pot robs people of their initiative.

Libby says it may also be affecting the editors’ memory:

So what gives? Is the Times really this hard up for story ideas that they need multiple columnists writing about their adventures getting pot? If so, they might be better off hiring a group of randomly picked teenagers from my hometown – I’m sure they’d charge much less. Or perhaps it’s the editors who are doing most of the smoking, and simply can’t remember that they’ve run the same piece over and over again.

Harsh, dude.

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