Patterico's Pontifications


Hard Times

Filed under: Economics,Obama — DRJ @ 8:12 pm

[Guest post by DRJ]

The New York Times reports one in every eight Americans, and one in every four children, is being fed with assistance from food stamps. This interactive map shows food stamp usage and changes by county.

Food stamps, now known as the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program or SNAP, are made available by the States on an ATM-like electonic card accepted at most grocery stores. The SNAP website says the program helps feed 35 million people each month. According to the New York Times article linked above, the number of people using food stamps has risen by approximately 10 million people over the last 2 years and is expanding at a rate of 20,000 per day.

Here is a link to current SNAP data released as of November 2, 2009. Food stamp usage was basically constant at 11.5M households (26M persons) in 2006, but increased to 12.3M households (27.3M persons) by December 2007 and 14.2M households (31.7M persons) by December 2008. The increase was especially noticeable from August 2008 to December 2008, although the footnotes indicate October 2008 included a substantial outlay for SNAP disaster assistance. I assume this was due to the impact of Hurricane Ike on Texas and resulting flooding in the Midwest.

What the New York Times article doesn’t do is show how dramatically the number of SNAP recipients increased since January 2009:

  • January 2009 — 14.5M households; 32.2M persons.
  • February 2009 — 14.6M households; 32.5M persons.
  • March 2009 — 14.9M households; 33.1M persons.
  • April 2009 — 15.2M households; 33.7M persons.
  • May 2009 — 15.5M households; 34.4M persons.
  • June 2009 — 15.9M households; 35.1M persons.
  • July 2009 — 16.2M households; 35.8M persons.
  • August 2009 — 16.5M households; 36.4M persons.
  • Numbers aren’t yet available for September 2009 and October 2009 but the trend is clear.

    Politics aside, this is very bad news for all Americans. I’m glad America provides food stamps to help hungry people but I’d much rather have American jobs so they can feed themselves. People need work, not giveaways, and jobs won’t come back if government’s answer is more regulations and taxes.

    — DRJ

    Obama Should Visit Guantanamo

    Filed under: Obama,Terrorism — DRJ @ 5:01 pm

    [Guest post by DRJ]

    Stephen Crowder says President Obama should visit Guantanamo instead of condemning it and the American heroes who work there to protect us all:

    H/T Frugal Cafe Blog Zone.

    — DRJ

    “This is Your Brain on Political Correctness”

    Filed under: Political Correctness,Terrorism — DRJ @ 3:00 pm

    [Guest post by DRJ]

    Mark Steyn is my favorite political columnist. Today he writes about how political correctness enabled the mass murders by Major Nidal Hasan:

    “Major Hasan couldn’t have been more straightforward about who and what he was. An army psychiatrist, he put “SoA”—i.e., “Soldier of Allah”—on his business card. At the Uniformed Services University of Health Sciences, he was reprimanded for trying to persuade patients to convert to Islam and fellow pupils objected to his constant “anti-American propaganda,” but, as the Associated Press reported, “a fear of appearing discriminatory against a Muslim student kept officers from filing a formal written complaint.”

    This is your brain on political correctness.

    As the writer Barry Rubin pointed out, Major Hasan was the first mass murderer in U.S. history to give a PowerPoint presentation outlining the rationale for the crime he was about to commit. And he gave the presentation to a roomful of fellow army psychiatrists and doctors. Some of whom glanced queasily at their colleagues, but none of whom actually spoke up. And, when the question of whether then-Captain Hasan was, in fact, “psychotic,” the policy committee at Walter Reed Army Medical Center worried “how would it look if we kick out one of the few Muslim residents.

    This is your brain on political correctness.”

    There’s more, of course. It seems today’s political correctness is unlimited.

    — DRJ

    Obama’s Associates: Dr. Quentin Young

    Filed under: Health Care,Obama — DRJ @ 2:46 pm

    [Guest post by DRJ]

    GatewayPundit and New Zealand blogger New Zeal report that, as a novice Chicago politician, Barack Obama was influenced by his neighbor, confidante, and physician Dr. Quentin Young — described as a committed Marxist who favors a single-payer health care system. I’ll leave it up to you to review the links and evaluate the allegations that Dr. Young is a Marxist, but below the fold is a recent interview that clearly shows Dr. Young is a strong proponent of single-payer health care.

    It’s also interesting to recall that Dr. Young was one of a select group of people invited to the Chicago home of William Ayers and Bernadine Dohrn where, in 1995, Barack Obama was introduced as Senator Alice Palmer’s political heir apparent:

    “In 1995, State Senator Alice Palmer introduced her chosen successor, Barack Obama, to a few of the district’s influential liberals at the home of two well known figures on the local left: William Ayers and Bernardine Dohrn.

    While Ayers and Dohrn may be thought of in Hyde Park as local activists, they’re better known nationally as two of the most notorious — and unrepentant — figures from the violent fringe of the 1960s anti-war movement.

    Now, as Obama runs for president, what two guests recall as an unremarkable gathering on the road to a minor elected office stands as a symbol of how swiftly he has risen from a man in the Hyde Park left to one closing in fast on the Democratic nomination for president.

    “I can remember being one of a small group of people who came to Bill Ayers’ house to learn that Alice Palmer was stepping down from the senate and running for Congress,” said Dr. Quentin Young, a prominent Chicago physician and advocate for single-payer health care, of the informal gathering at the home of Ayers and his wife, Dohrn. “[Palmer] identified [Obama] as her successor.”

    Obama and Palmer “were both there,” he said.”

    Dr. Young is not happy with Obama’s failure to implement his single-payer health care promise. For space reasons, I’ve included excerpts from Dr. Young’s March 2009 interview below the “More” link.

    — DRJ


    IRS Files Tax Lien Against Schwarzenegger (Updated)

    Filed under: General — DRJ @ 1:19 pm

    [Guest post by DRJ]

    The LA Times reports has obtained a copy of an IRS tax lien filed for $79,064 against California Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger for unpaid 2004-2005 tax penalties:

    “Public records show the lien was filed May 11 at the Los Angeles County recorder’s office for $79,064, according to a record in an electronic database that includes lien filings. The record lists the debtor as Arnold Schwarzenegger and the address as the governor’s home address in Brentwood.

    The lien was reported Friday by, which posted a copy of a lien document that says it is from the county recorder’s office. That document shows that Schwarzenegger owes $39,047.20 from 2004 and $40,016.80 from 2005.

    The document also lists a section of the IRS code that suggests the debt may be penalties for a failure to report certain business transactions.”

    The Governor’s spokesman says it’s a “a minor paperwork tracking discrepancy” that will be quickly cleared up with no penalty. He also claimed it is “completely unrelated to the payment of taxes, which the governor has paid in full and on time.”

    Really? The tax lien was reportedly filed in May 2009, so that’s not quick in my book. It appears to cover unpaid 2004-2005 penalties levied pursuant to IRS Code Section 6721 (“a payor may be subject to a penalty for failure to file a complete and correct information return with the Internal Revenue Service”). The last time I looked, tax penalties were still part of the tax system.

    Granted, this may not be a big deal to the Governor but it would be to most people.

    — DRJ

    UPDATE 11/30/2009 — The Governor’s business manager explains:

    “Schwarzenegger’s tax returns used his Social Security Number. The payroll forms used an employer identification number. For some reason, in 2004 and 2005 only, the two federal agencies that received those documents were unable to recognize that the forms were filed by the same taxpayer. *** The amounts the IRS said Schwarzenegger owed were penalties for his supposed failure to file those forms.

    In another odd twist, [business manager] Wachter said, IRS warning notices were sent to the governor’s home instead of to his business office or to his accountants, where his mail normally goes. But the post office is under instructions not to deliver mail to the governor’s home. So the notices went back to the IRS.”

    I’m still not sure why the tax preparer/business manager would file employee withholding and related forms under Schwarzenegger’s personal SS# instead of the Employer ID#.

    Rainey: O’Keefe Made That Statement . . . It Just Never Got Published. So You’ll Have to Trust Us on This One.; Update: Reporter Backs Rainey But Says She’s Not Sure If She Can Release Her Notes

    Filed under: Dog Trainer — Patterico @ 11:07 am

    James Rainey is now claiming that his quote from James O’Keefe — the one that there appears to be no record of — was never published, but was nevertheless made to an L.A. Times reporter. I posted about this yesterday in an update to the James Rainey post, but I think it deserves a new post with further elaboration.

    As you will recall, Rainey’s column made this assertion:

    So what sort of creature does this make O’Keefe? I don’t disagree with his observation in a previous interview with The Times that he follows the mold of filmmaker Michael Moore, using confrontation to get at his version of the truth.

    O’Keefe told me this was a “complete fabrication.” Before publishing my post, I wrote Rainey asking for the source of the quote. He has not responded. But in a Twitter message sent to O’Keefe, Rainey has claimed that O’Keefe made the statement to L.A. Times reporter Robin Abcarian:

    I’m sure you recall telling that to robin abcarian in your interview w her. She has a record of it.

    Now, before we proceed, let’s just recall Rainey’s pronouncements about Giles and O’Keefe’s video sting at the Los Angeles office — the one that so badly embarrassed Rainey, who had naively swallowed the denials of the very woman featured on the video. Rainey defended himself by suggesting that, unless the full unedited video is made public, we just can’t know what transpired:

    Who knows what we might find — either damaging or benefiting ACORN’s image — if we could see the unedited video of these encounters? The raw material could be posted on YouTube for all to see.

    In e-mails to O’Keefe, Rainey has pressed the issue of releasing the full source documentation:

    I don’t know what the full, unedited video would show, but I do know that it would help give a more thorough account of what happened. It’s unfortunate if you don’t intend to produce an unedited version.

    Rainey repeated the theme in e-mails to Andrew Breitbart:

    f you claim some fear of unfair treatment, why not release the full, unedited video more broadly–perhaps via YouTube–so that anyone who takes an interest in the matter can. Greater transparency would be a plus.

    Keep in mind that commitment to full transparency and release of all source documentation.

    Getting back to Rainey’s claim that O’Keefe compared himself to Michael Moore in a conversation with Robin Abcarian, I note that Abcarian’s story has no trace of it — so Rainey must be talking about something she didn’t publish. Since Rainey is demanding O’Keefe’s unedited video, I think we need to see Abcarian’s unedited notes. Yesterday, I first sent Rainey a Twitter message requesting that. No response. I then sent the following e-mail to Abcarian:

    Ms. Abcarian,

    I see James Rainey is claiming you as the source of the comment James O’Keefe allegedly made comparing himself to Michael Moore. I note that the quote did not appear in your article, so Rainey must be referring to rough notes of your interview.

    Can you verify Rainey’s claim, and would you be willing to release your unedited notes of the conversation — as Rainey has demanded O’Keefe release unedited video of his ACORN visits?

    Yours truly,

    Patrick Frey

    So far, no response. Also, I have just written Rainey with this request:

    Mr. Rainey,

    Since I know you are a fan of transparency, and of the concept of releasing all source documentation underlying a piece of journalism, I am writing to request that you release all of your notes of your conversations with Lavelle Stewart.

    Also, I am writing to request a correction of your claim that James O’Keefe compared himself to Michael Moore. I can find no public record of that. If you have some private record of it — or if you claim to know someone who has a private record of it — then I am requesting the public disclosure of the full documentation of that as well. Greater transparency would be a plus, as I’m sure you would agree.

    Patrick Frey

    Next stop, the Reader’s Representative.

    If they think I’m going to let this simply drop, they don’t know me. And if they try to get by with a mere assertion that O’Keefe made the statement — when they’re demanding full unedited video from Breitbart and Giles and O’Keefe — then they’re utter hypocrites.

    I’ll keep you fully informed of any responses I get.

    P.S. While I support the concept of making the full unedited video public, Rainey is dreaming if he thinks it would provide any context that would justify this:

    It’s plenty clear that she is offering help to the would-be operators of a child prostitution ring. In other words, there is proof that Lavelle Stewart offered to help Giles and O’Keefe, thus making James Rainey look like a fool. So far, there is absolutely no proof that O’Keefe ever compared himself to Michael Moore — just an implication in a Twitter message penned by someone whose track record for fairness is checkered, to say the least.

    P.P.S. I’m not yet done with Rainey’s latest column. It has other elements of dishonesty — so many they won’t all fit in one post.

    UPDATE: Abcarian writes to say that Rainey is correct — but that she is not sure if she can release her notes. I just replied:

    When can you give me a definitive answer as to whether you can publicly release your notes of the conversation? Mr. Rainey seems to think that when two sides dispute whether a statement was made, and in what context, the best way to resolve the issue is to release the source documentation. That would seem to apply here, no?

    By the way, I wonder how it is that Rainey is looking at Abcarian’s notes on O’Keefe — yet he’s unable to contact O’Keefe in the same manner that she did (contact him through Facebook). Rainey seems more intent on investigating O’Keefe than on getting his side, doesn’t he?

    TMZ: Tiger’s Wife Caused Those Facial Lacerations

    Filed under: General — Patterico @ 12:06 am

    If this is true, it would explain what was meant by that cryptic phrase in earlier reports about charges still pending:

    Tiger Woods did not suffer facial lacerations from a car accident. They were inflicted by his wife, Elin Nordegren — according to a conversation Woods had Friday after the accident. . . .

    We’re told he said his wife had confronted him about reports that he was seeing another woman. The argument got heated and, according to our source, she scratched his face up. We’re told it was then Woods beat a hasty retreat for his SUV — but according to our source, Woods says his wife followed behind with a golf club. As Tiger drove away, she struck the vehicle several times with the club.


    UPDATE: For a totally unsubstantiated possible reason that Tiger might have gotten whacked with a club by his wife (picture here), read this (background pictures here).

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