Patterico's Pontifications


Fun with the White House Press

Filed under: Obama — DRJ @ 10:20 pm

[Guest post by DRJ]

Today’s unintentional humor comes to us courtesy of White House Press Secretary Robert Gibbs:

“We are where we are today partly because of this economic downturn, but partly because for a long time we had two wars that we weren’t paying for. We had tax cuts that we weren’t paying for. And we had a prescription drug benefit that, although very worthy, we never paid for.

We have to return to some very common-sense principles that everyday Americans live by every time they go to the grocery store or want to go to the movies or cash their paycheck, and that is you can’t spend more than you have.”


CitizenTube: Ask Obama

Filed under: Obama — DRJ @ 9:02 pm

[Guest post by DRJ]

A few days ago, the White House solicited questions for President Obama to answer on YouTube aka CitizenTube. Today Obama answered viewer-selected questions, the first of which involved health care. Obama called on Republicans to help pass reform.

In answering the second question regarding why he broke his promise to make health care meetings transparent, Obama said it was a “fair criticism” but he had actually followed through on transparency in many areas, including that his Administration was the first “since the founding of the Republic to list every visitor who comes into the White House online.”

In the third question regarding small business incentives, Obama said his Administration had waived SBA guarantees and fees to get more money in the hands of small businesses. (Waiving guarantees? Yikes. Why does that remind me of Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac?)

The fourth question concerned home loan modifications and The Swamp reviewed three other questions that involved privatizing government services, reducing health care premiums, and promoting green solutions. Obama’s answers were predictable but still interesting.


Immortal Cells

Filed under: General — DRJ @ 8:41 pm

[Guest post by DRJ]

The story of Henrietta Lacks is very interesting, and apoptosis is fascinating. See if you agree.


O’Keefe Prosecutor Recuses Himself

Filed under: Crime,Law — DRJ @ 7:03 pm

[Guest post by DRJ]

Fox News reports U.S. Attorney Jim Letten of the Eastern District of Louisiana, the prosecutor in the O’Keefe criminal matter, recused himself on the same day Andrew Breitbart claimed O’Keefe was jailed without counsel for over a day:

“The same day the man who first published James O’Keefe’s explosive videos exposing wrongdoing at community organizer ACORN came to his defense Monday, claiming the conservative filmmaker “sat in jail for 28 hours without access to an attorney” while the prosecutor made his case to the media, the U.S. attorney involved stepped down.”

The article added that O’Keefe “declined to talk about Breitbart’s allegations on Fox News [presumably in his Hannity interview] Monday night” but he was “pleased with the way the U.S. attorney was handling the case.” Breitbart claimed the Justice Department was using O’Keefe to get even because of the ACORN scandal:

“Breitbart said he though the U.S. attorney’s effort was part of a payback scheme against O’Keefe, who posed as a pimp and prostitute with another citizen journalist to enter ACORN offices around the country and get advice on how to apply for federal housing grants for a brothel.

“It’s tied to the Justice Department. And we’ve been very aggressive in asking (Attorney General) Eric Holder to investigate what’s seen on these ACORN tapes and he’s ignored it,” Breitbart said of the media ploy.”

FWIW, I don’t think Letten’s recusal has anything to do with Breitbart, his claims, or even O’Keefe. Letten recused himself, not his office, and the first assistant Jan Maselli Mann will take over the prosecution. My guess is Letten’s recusal is related to the fact that one of the suspects is the son of the U.S. Attorney in Shreveport, who is likely a Letten acquaintance and the basis for his recusal.


PS — Heh. Patterico posts on this at Hot Air.

Rejected Super Bowl Ads

Filed under: Sports — DRJ @ 5:02 pm

[Guest post by DRJ]

The ads you won’t be seeing at next week’s Super Bowl. The reason? It’s probably due to content but, really, they just aren’t that entertaining.


Obama’s New Strategy

Filed under: Obama,Politics — DRJ @ 4:48 pm

[Guest post by DRJ]

An op-ed by L.A. Times’ Washington columnist Doyle McManus outlines President Obama’s new strategy — a campaign based on claims of Republican intransigence that is the opposite of hope and change:

“Obama hopes to win his popular mandate back by running against the congressional minority, putting their flaws in the spotlight instead of his own.

It won’t be transformational. It won’t change the way Washington works. It won’t be pretty. But it’s a strategy.”

This strategy hearkens back to the beginning of his term when Obama’s message to the GOP was “I won.” But there are at least two problems with this strategy: First, it’s not the “hope and change” mantra that Obama was elected on. Second, Republicans have done well by opposing Obama’s plans. In fact, recent GOP victories in Virginia, New Jersey, and Massachusetts suggest it’s the Republicans, not Obama, who should be saying “we won.”


Deficit Reduction Assumes Health Care Reform

Filed under: Economics,Health Care,Obama — DRJ @ 3:36 pm

[Guest post by DRJ]

President Obama’s $3.8T budget claims to be consistent with a long-term deficit reduction goal of $1.2T over the next decade. However, ABC News’ Jake Tapper reports those reductions assume Congress will pass health care reform:

“We took a very simple approach,” said Office of Management and Budget director Peter Orszag. “Since both the House and Senate had passed legislation, we took the average of the two” using numbers from the Congressional Budget Office.

That means the administration is counting on $150 billion in deficit reduction from a health care reform bill that is — for now — stalled in Congress with no clear path forward.”

Robert Gibbs explained the Democrats are only one vote away from having the votes to complete health care reform, so it doesn’t make “much sense to not assume that it should be in the budget.”


Hot Air Guestblogging

Filed under: Blogging Matters — DRJ @ 3:24 pm

[Guest post by DRJ]

I notice that Patterico and Karl are guestblogging at Hot Air until Wednesday. Congratulations to P and K, and kudos to Hot Air for making such good choices in guestbloggers.

I’ll leave the light on.


Releasing al Megrahi

Filed under: International — DRJ @ 1:59 pm

[Guest post by DRJ]

Yesterday was the 9th anniversary of the murder conviction of Abdel Basset Ali al-Megrahi in the Lockerbie Pan Am 103 bombing. As then Acting Deputy Attorney General Robert S. Mueller III said at the time:

“The evidence presented at the Scottish trial in The Netherlands established that Megrahi was a member of intelligence services within the Libyan government. The guilty verdict serves to establish beyond a reasonable doubt that as set forth in the charge an which the conviction was rendered the defendant destroyed Pan Am flight 103 and murdered its occupants and residents of Lockerbie “in furtherance of the purpose of Libyan Intelligence Services.”

Megrahi was released from a Scottish prison on compassionate grounds on August 20, 2009, reportedly because he was dying of incurable prostate cancer. At last report (mid-December 2009), he was alive and living in his family’s Libyan villa.

There was speculation at the time of Megrahi’s release that it was part of a British government effort to smooth trade relations between Libya and British Petroleum, although the British government denied the claim. Now, however, the Independent reports that discussions between Secretary of State for Justice Jack Straw and a BP consultant may have paved the way for Megrahi’s release:

“Mr Straw has admitted having two conversations with Sir Mark Allen, a former MI6 agent turned BP consultant, in the autumn of 2007. But he has insisted that “at no stage was any undertaking promised, hinted, given to the Libyans, that in return for an overall bilateral arrangement Mr Megrahi would be released”.

At the time of the conversations, the Government’s position was to exclude Megrahi from the PTA [Prisoner Transfer Agreement with Libya] deal. But that December, Mr Straw announced a change of policy, writing to the Scottish Justice Minister, Kenny MacAskill, to say he could not guarantee Megrahi would be excluded from the deal – effectively paving the way for his release.”

Straw has reportedly blocked an FOIA request seeking more information about the discussions.

H/T Eric PW Johnson.


PS — British officials previously said the Obama Administration knew in advance about Britain’s “prisoner transfer agreement with Libya and they knew that the Scots were considering Megrahi’s case.”

James O’Keefe, Ellie Light, and Poll Thugs

Filed under: General — Patterico @ 8:27 am

My post is at Hot Air:

Steward was peddling lies. The Black Panthers were spreading fear. James O’Keefe was searching for the truth.

Only one of these cases is being prosecuted.


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