Patterico's Pontifications


The Perfect Health Care Storm

Filed under: Health Care,Politics — DRJ @ 10:47 pm

[Guest post by DRJ]

Why are Democrats jumping off the cliff for health care? Kimberly A. Strassel explained yesterday in the WSJ:

“So why the stubborn insistence on passing health reform? Think big. The liberal wing of the party—the Barney Franks, the David Obeys—are focused beyond November 2010, to the long-term political prize. They want a health-care program that inevitably leads to a value-added tax and a permanent welfare state. Big government then becomes fact, and another Ronald Reagan becomes impossible. See Continental Europe.

The entitlement crazes of the 1930s and 1960s also caused a backlash, but liberal Democrats know the programs of those periods survived. They are more than happy to sacrifice a few Blue Dogs, a Blanche Lincoln, a Michael Bennet, if they can expand government so that in the long run it benefits the party of government.”

Similarly, Prof. William Jacobson at Le-gal In-sur-rec-tion looks at what led to this Perfect Storm and at the rocky Road Ahead. I agree with Jacobson that it’s bad and also that we can’t give up. As Jacobson says, “this is the political fight of our lives for the future of the country.”


Not-Quite-Christmas Wishes

Filed under: Humor — DRJ @ 9:51 pm

[Guest post by DRJ]


Scotland Yard Warns of Mumbai-Style Attack

Filed under: International,Terrorism — DRJ @ 8:05 pm

[Guest post by DRJ]

Britain’s Scotland Yard is warning of a Mumbai-style attack on London in the coming year:

“In a [Scotland Yard] briefing in London 12 days ago, a senior detective from SO15, the Metropolitan police counter-terrorism command, said: “Mumbai is coming to London.”

The detective said companies should anticipate a shooting and hostage-taking raid “involving a small number of gunmen with handguns and improvised explosive devices”.

The warning — the bluntest issued by police — has underlined an assessment that a terrorist cell may be preparing an attack on London early next year.”

Authorities report an increase in chatter recently, especially during the past 2 weeks, and describe the threat as “very real.”


If They Find Any, Will They Get Health Care?

Filed under: Government — DRJ @ 7:46 pm

[Guest post by DRJ]

Residents of Denver, Colorado, can put an ordinance change on the ballot by complying with a ballot initiative process that includes submitting a proposed ordinance for review along with a petition containing verified signatures equaling 5% percent of the last mayoral vote. In 2008, 5% of the last mayoral vote was 3,973 signatures.

Since the 2008 mayoral vote was low, this resulted in at least one unusual ballot initiative — a successful petition requesting the establishment of a UFO Commission that will be on the ballot in August 2010:

“A proposal to create a Denver commission to study visitors from outer space will go before voters this summer after supporters gathered the required signatures to get it on the ballot.
The seven-member commission would be tasked with collecting evidence that extraterrestrials and their “UFO vehicles” have been visiting Earth.”

The petition is the idea of Jeff Peckman, 55, a self-described entrepreneur who previously sponsored a petition to implement “peace-inducing techniques” in schools and public buildings, an initiative that voters turned down. Peckham predicts the UFO Commission initiative will encourage UFO believers to turn out in support:

“[Peckman] predicted that the election would cause high-profile believers in extraterrestrial to come out and tell Denver voters about what they know.

“They will see there is an attentive audience, and that people are digging into this issue,” Peckman said. “They will see there is an opportunity to say something when people are paying attention.”



Nelson Gets a “Basket of Goodies” for Nebraska

Filed under: Health Care,Politics — DRJ @ 5:15 pm

[Guest post by DRJ]

Are you celebrating, Nebraska? Your Senator knows how to get the most for his vote:

“[Senator Ben] Nelson, the most determined of the Democratic holdouts on health care reform, announced this morning that he will vote for cloture on the bill, shutting down debate so that the Senate can hold an up or down vote on passage. But he only did so after securing handouts for his home state of Nebraska.

According the Washington Post:

Nelson secured full federal funding for his state to expand Medicaid coverage to all individuals below 133 percent of the federal poverty level. Other states must pay a small portion of the additional cost. He won concessions for qualifying nonprofit insurers and for Medigap providers from a new insurance tax. He also was able to roll back cuts to health savings accounts.

Vermont, which is represented by potential liberal holdout Sen. Bernie Sanders, got a similar deal.”

Meanwhile, polls show “We, the People” oppose health care legislation in ever-increasing numbers.


Stupak’s Office Responds to Nelson Agreement

Filed under: Health Care,Politics — DRJ @ 4:31 pm

[Guest post by DRJ]

Politico reports an aide to Democratic Rep. Bart Stupak was coordinating with Republicans to respond to today’s announcement that Sen. Ben Nelson resolved his concerns about abortion and agreed to support ObamaCare:

“An aide to Rep. Bart Stupak (D-Mich.) coordinated opposition to the Senate health bill’s abortion compromise this morning with the Republican Senate leadership, according to a chain of frantic emails obtained this morning by POLITICO.

Stupak, in an interview with POLITICO, called the Senate bill’s abortion position “unacceptable” – but disavowed his staffer’s collaboration with Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell.”

Politico describes the emails as a “previously unseen degree of coordination between the offices of Stupak and McConnell,” suggesting these may not be the first communications between Stupak’s office and McConnell. The emails were also sent to pro-life advocates and urged them to oppose the Senate plan:

“Guys – when will we see your letters of opposition to the managers amendment?? We need them ASAP!” wrote Erika Smith, the Stupak aide, at 9:23 this morning, less than an hour after the amendment had become available.

The email’s recipients included key staffers for the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops, National Right to Life, the Family Research Council, as well as Autumn Fredericks Christensen, aide to top pro-life Republican Chris Smith, and Lanier Swann, a McConnell aide.

A minute after Smith sent out her plea, Lanier reiterated it to the list.

“Nelson is telling people in the building he will vote yes. If there was any time to weigh in against this deal —- THIS IS IT,” Swann wrote at 9:24 a.m.”

It doesn’t surprise me that there might be backroom communications going on. What does surprise me is how they all managed to get to work in this snowstorm.



Lindsey Graham for Climate Change

Filed under: Environment — DRJ @ 3:39 pm

[Guest post by DRJ]

South Carolina’s Republican Senator Lindsey Graham isn’t sure if man is responsible for global warming but he nevertheless supports climate change policies despite the questions raised by the East Anglia CRU email scandal:

ASSOCIATED PRESS: “What are your thoughts on the scandal over the hacked e-mails from some prominent climate scientists, which many Republicans have claimed discredits the science showing that pollution is causing climate change?”

GRAHAM: “Well, I never embraced this from that point of view. You will never convince me all these cars, and all these trucks, and all these power plants spewing out carbon, fossil fuels, day in and day out for 60 or 70 years is a good thing. It makes perfect sense to me that this amount of carbon pollution over a long period of time has had a detrimental effect on the environment. I don’t get wrapped up into how much is caused by man, or how much is caused by nature. I do believe pursuing clean air and clean water is a good thing for my generation to do.”

Graham admits he doesn’t know if climate issues are manmade or if they can be corrected by man. However, in order promote energy independence, he willingly embraces green energy policies without requiring comparable concessions by climate change advocates on the need to develop nuclear and other energy sources. He also suggests he supports a carbon tax to reach energy independence, although his position on that is not clear.

As he has done on so many issues, Graham seems to be trying to find a middle ground with people who don’t believe there is a middle ground.


Full Service Oil Change, Texas Style

Filed under: Obama — DRJ @ 3:11 pm

[Guest post by DRJ]

An auto center in Rockwall, Texas, in the Dallas Metroplex is offering a Nobel Peace Prize with every oil change:


In addition to an oil change, customers get stickers with a picture of the Nobel Peace Prize.


ObamaCare: Will Nelson buckle? Yes, he will!

Filed under: General — Karl @ 7:44 am

[Posted by Karl]

Normally, I would not post anything so close in time to one of Patterico’s own posts… or something on a Saturday morning… but:

Sen. Ben Nelson (Neb.), the final Democratic holdout on health care, was prepared to announce to his caucus Saturday morning that he would support the Senate reform bill, clearing the way for final passage by Christmas.


Democratic leaders spent days trying to hammer out a deal with Nelson, and worked late Friday night with Nelson on abortion coverage language that had proved the major stumbling block. But Nelson also secured other favors for his home state.

Asked if he was prepared to support the bill, Nelson said, “Yeah.”

Ed Morrissey has the text of the Manager’s Amendment filed this morning, and observes that Nelson got basically nothing on abortion and help on federal Medicaid subsidies.

In last night’s comments, I noted that at the time he rejected the Casey language, I feared Nelson would buckle.  This was in large part because the abortion debate always seemed largely like an exercise in CYA (and scorecard politics), both as to the Nelson amendment and the Stupak amendment in the House.

Moments ago, Nelson claimed he reserved the right to vote against the next cloture vote if there are “material changes” made in conference, but that seeks unlikely.  The GOP’s best shot at defeating ObamaCare was on the respective floors of each chamber.  The House GOP might have been able to upset the apple cart by voting “present” on the Stupak amendment (or at least exposed the faux-life Dems who can now stab pro-lifers in the back on final passage without warning).  The Senate GOP might have been able to derail the bill, had they been willing to be the obstructionists they were nevertheless accused of being, rather than go with their amendment strategy.  But now ObamaCare seems headed for a conference committee.  That won’t be easy, as none of the steps to date have been.  But it will mostly be haggling over prices, and figuring out how to exempt Big Labor from the “Cadillac” tax in the Reid bill.  A quick skim of the Manager’s Amendment — particularly Subtitle H — shows Reid is already headed that way.

Addendum: Recall that in 2006, Nebraska Right to Life refused endorse the GOP nominee or issue a dual endorsement. How did that work out for them?


Mother Who Murders Newborn Can’t Be Prosecuted

Filed under: General — Patterico @ 6:45 am

It was just a matter of time until we saw a story like this:

A woman in Campbell County, Virginia smothered her newborn infant, and police are powerless to do anything about it . . .

From WSLS in Roanoake, Virginia:

The caller said a woman in her early 20s was in labor. When deputies arrived, they discovered the baby had actually been born around 1:00a.m., about ten hours earlier. Investigators say the baby was already dead when deputies got there.

Investigators tell WSLS the baby’s airway was still blocked. They say the baby was under bedding and had been suffocated by her mother. Investigators say because the mother and baby were still connected by the umbilical cord and placenta, state law does not consider the baby to be a separate life. Therefore, the mother cannot be charged.

“In the state of Virginia as long as the umbilical cord is attached and the placenta is still in the mother, if the baby comes out alive the mother can do whatever she wants to with that baby to kill it.“, says Investigator Tracy Emerson. “She could shoot the baby, stab the baby. As long as it’s still attached to her in some form by umbilical cord or something it’s no crime in the state of Virginia.“

This is the end result of the attitude that allows abortions right up until the moment of birth: now you can “abort” a “fetus” that has been born, simply by failing to cut the umbilical cord. Assuming local officials are correctly interpreting the law (which criminalizes killing the fetus “of another”), the state of Virginia allows infanticide. Until they change the law.

Someone should ask Barack Obama about this. Didn’t he vote against laws protecting children born alive, on the grounds that nobody would allow the killing of a child already born?

I know that was Illinois and this is Virginia, but this case illustrates that the law isn’t always as clear as you might think.

Just horrible.

UPDATE: In comments, carlitos quotes at length a statute that (based on a quick scan, which is all I have time for) may apply here. I have no idea what the punishment is.

UPDATE x2: A second quick scan suggests it probably doesn’t apply, since the baby was fully extracted from the mother.

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