Patterico's Pontifications


I’m On That Kind of Integrity Kick

Filed under: General — Patterico @ 10:23 pm

That’s just the fucking way it is.

If you don’t know what I’m talking about, then a) you’ve never read Ace, and b) you need to hear this.

Don’t make a fucking maniac out of me.

P.S. The guys get shirts.

“Words Mean Things” Vs. “My Intent Governs” — Which Concept Should Win?

Filed under: General — Patterico @ 10:01 pm

A lot of people have theories about language and meaning. It’s fashionable to reject anything lawyers have to say — and yet I think that people interested in theories of meaning and communication and language should pay attention to the law.

Let me make the case.


What? No Sex Clause?

Filed under: General — Patterico @ 8:41 pm

How much is it worth to a man for his wife to “be a dutiful wife in showing up with him at social events and in public as if they were still the perfect couple, and sign a nondisclosure form that will prevent her from ever telling her story”?

Depends on the man. For Tiger Woods, that amount could be as much as $55 million for two years.

Why the Kerfuffle Over SEK Matters

Filed under: General — Patterico @ 8:01 pm

So here’s the larger issue relating to my recent discussion with SEK. First, let’s recap: SEK writes a title that clearly declares that Ed Morrissey is a knowing race-baiter. Conservatives reasonably interpret that as an accusation that Ed Morrissey is a race-baiter — that is, after all, what he wrote — and criticize SEK accordingly. So far, so good.

Then SEK defends himself by saying that he really didn’t intend to say that Ed Morrissey was intentionally baiting racist comments. The plain language of his title be damned; our reasonable interpretation of it be damned; his intent wasn’t to call Ed Morrissey a deliberate race-baiter.

Here’s the question: if you assume for the sake of argument that he’s telling the truth, is there anything wrong with what he said?

9 out of 10 comments will say: “but I don’t want to make that assumption, because SEK is a liar.”* You’re free to write that, but I will ignore you because you are not responding to my question. Again, I ask you to assume even if only for the sake of argument that SEK is telling the truth about his declaration of intent.

Does that mean that SEK gets to avoid criticism for writing that Ed Morrissey is a race-baiter — even if he doesn’t mean it? Even if there is no reasonable way for him to explain why he wrote it that way? Even if his plain language contradicts his intent?

This is where I say: Words Mean Things. If your plain meaning is obvious to any reasonable observer, it doesn’t matter how stridently you claim to have meant something different. You Have Failed. It is time to try again.

Because your pure intent can’t always serve as a defense when your actual words plainly suggest something very different. Isn’t that clear?

*Incidentally, this is how the “intentionalism nose on/intentionalism nose off” crowd deals with this very easily: SEK is a leftist, therefore a liar, therefore he is lying about his intent. We give charitable readings to our friends and almost always accept their declarations of intent; meanwhile, we read the words of our enemies the way we want to read them — and simply declare their contrary interpretations of their own words to be lies. This approach gives you license to twist the words of your enemies; I find it intellectually dishonest and reject it. If you think you can’t be the victim of this sort of dishonest “interpretation” then think again.

Sarah Palin: Obama Should Boycott Copenhagen

Filed under: Environment,Obama,Politics — DRJ @ 7:47 pm

[Guest post by DRJ]

I’d rank the chances of Obama boycotting Copenhagen as less likely than a snowball’s chance in hell, but that isn’t stopping Sarah Palin:

Sarah Palin on Facebook: “Mr. President: Boycott Copenhagen; Investigate Your Climate Change “Experts”

Sarah Palin has a knack for making people talk about her and what she wants to talk about.


Parents Object to Santa Barbara School Program

Filed under: Education — DRJ @ 7:22 pm

[Guest post by DRJ]

A Santa Barbara CA school administrator, principal and teacher have apologized to parents after a middle school class was provided controversial sexual content without following school district screening protocols:

“The controversial workshop was presented by “Just Communities Central Coast” in three, 45-minute sessions over three days. It included handouts defining homosexual terminology, including queer and transgender, and listed “heterosexism” as “oppression that ‘pushes down’ people who are LGBTQ (lesbian, gay, bi-sexual, transgender and questioning) and ‘pushes up’ people who are straight.”

The program was treated as a health curriculum for which no screening was required, rather than a sex ed class that requires pre-screening. The article suggests a teacher unilaterally scheduled the program and sent out a vague notice to parents, and the principal and administration were unaware of the content. There were also political overtones:

“[A parent] said it was ironic that an organization that was billed as teaching tolerance uses what she described as “intimidation” in the workshop, including criticizing parents who voted for Proposition 8, a ballot initiative that passed in California in November 2008 that read: “Only marriage between a man and a woman is valid or recognized in California.”

“One kid asked this authority figure from Just Communities, what about Proposition 8?” Cleary said. “And apparently it was asked, well, whose parents voted for yes or no? And those who voted yes, [they are] prejudiced and discriminatory.”

As a parent, I know how hard it is to stay on top of everything our children are taught in school. There isn’t time to hear everything that happens during the day, and not all children are comfortable sharing stories about topics like this. Parents have a role to play but so do teachers and school administrators. Based on this article, the school — and possibly just the teacher — was the problem here.


Obama Hosts Jobs Summit

Filed under: Economics,Obama — DRJ @ 12:28 pm

[Guest post by DRJ]

President Obama is hosting a jobs summit today at the White House:

“President Barack Obama kicked off a White House jobs forum on Thursday by saying he’s “open to every demonstrably good idea” to reverse the worst job losses in decades. But Obama said the government’s resources are limited and that growth ultimately must come from the private sector.

“So we can’t make any ill considered decisions right now even with the best of intentions,” he said. “We have to be surgical and we’re going to have to be creative.” Obama appealed to his audience of academics, business and union leaders and local officials to help him find “the biggest bang for the buck.”
Obama said the leading question of the day is “how do we get businesses to start hiring again” and asked his guests to “bring their A-game.”

He spoke a day ahead of the release of government figures on unemployment. The jobless rate now is 10.2 percent, the highest since the early 1980s, and most economists believe Friday’s report will show it still above 10 percent, perhaps still rising.”

Even I know the answer to this problem: Cut taxes and reduce spending. But the White House clearly doesn’t want those ideas because, according to John Stossel, it won’t invite anyone who supports them.


Sports Open Thread

Filed under: Sports — DRJ @ 12:10 pm

[Guest post by DRJ]

Not in the mood for politics or government? Let’s try a Sports post. Today’s news includes Jesper Parnevik’s rant against Tiger Woods. (Parnevik introduced Woods to his wife Elin.)

There’s also college football, including the video of the Florida State lineman who remained in place while the play unfolded around him. But the real football news starts tonight with Oregon vs Oregon State followed by other big matchups this Saturday. It should be a fun weekend.


New York Senate Rejects Gay Marriage

Filed under: General — DRJ @ 12:01 pm

[Guest post by DRJ]

The New York Senate refused to legalize gay marriage by a 38-24 vote:

“In a major blow to the gay rights movement, the state Senate on Wednesday overwhelmingly killed a bill to legalize same-sex marriage.

After two hours of emotional and often deeply personal debate, the Senate voted down the measure 38-24, effectively killing its chances before next year’s elections.”

I guess this makes New York state #32 to reject gay marriage.


ObamaCare: The sound of gridlock

Filed under: General — Karl @ 11:16 am

[Posted by Karl]

The Hill is alive with the sound of gridlock:

On the third day of a divisive debate, Democrats threatened to keep the Senate in session through the Christmas holiday if necessary to pass a healthcare reform bill that President Barack Obama has made his top domestic priority.

Republicans refused to agree to the timing of votes on either of the first two amendments — a Democratic plan to ease access to preventive health screenings for women and a Republican effort to restore more than $400 billion in cuts in Medicare, the government health program for the elderly and disabled.

While Dick Durbin huffed, “We’re not going to let them run this bill into the ground into next year,” there are potentially dozens of amendments to debate. And there have been any number of news reports in which top Dems (including Durbin) have expressed doubts that they would be done by Christmas. So why the early foot-stamping (of which the establishment media’s feigned shock that the GOP actually has a memo outlining their rights as a minority is a part)?

You might think that the Democratic tantrum stems from the realization that ObamaCare continues to lose public support. Senate Dems actually think they get some benefit from painting the GOP as obstructionist. But that may be an attempt to paper over the fact that Senate Democrats cannot do much to speed up the debate:

The main possibility being considered is that Reid could move to table irrelevant Republican amendments.


That could set off a dangerous dynamic, wherein Republicans table Democratic amendments, too, including some amendments (on issues like abortion and the public option) that are key to the rounding up the 60 votes Democrats need to overcome a filibuster and pass the bill.


Without a prefigured agreement, amendments that aren’t tabled can be filibustered, which can slow the debate down by days at a time.

Reid has other options at his disposal–he can file cloture on the bill itself, or “fill the amendment tree”–if the status quo breaks down entirely, but these prerogatives are typically saved, to be used as a last resort.

In fact, at this juncture, Reid does not have those options as a practical matter. The Democrats are not likely to have a “moderate” proposal on the so-called “public option” before next week (and you may have noticed that these timetables have a way of slipping). Reid cannot have the slightest hope of invoking cloture on the bill until the Dems have found some sort of consensus alternative to the “public option” Reid insisted in sticking into his merged proposal. Similarly, the Senate will burn time debating and voting on pro-life language from the House bill that Reid kept out of his bill. If only the GOP was doing as much as the Democratic leadership to drag out the debate on ObamaCare…


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