Patterico's Pontifications


New Orleans Elects New Mayor

Filed under: Politics — DRJ @ 10:56 pm

[Guest post by DRJ]

New Orleans’ voters have elected a new Mayor, Mitch Landrieu, in a landslide:

“Lt. Gov. Mitch Landrieu, son of a former mayor and brother of a U.S. senator, routed five major challengers in Saturday’s mayoral primary, riding a sense of regret among voters who rejected him four years ago and extraordinary biracial support to claim an unprecedented first-round landslide victory.

When he takes office May 6, Landrieu will become the city’s first white chief executive since his father, Moon Landrieu, left the job in 1978. Early analysis shows that Mitch Landrieu’s victory owed to widespread crossover voting by African-Americans, who make up two-thirds of the city’s residents.”

Landrieu captured 66% of the vote. Second-place finisher Troy Henry had 14% of the vote. Henry, who is black, “showed up at Landrieu’s victory party to congratulate the mayor-elect.” That’s a welcome gesture in these polarized times.


Tea Party Know-Nothings

Filed under: Media Bias,Politics — DRJ @ 10:09 pm

[Guest post by DRJ]

Time’s Joe Klein says there are a lot of Tea Party nuts and they’re Know-Nothings, too:

The Know-Nothing Party Redux

The Tea Party movement, as we know, is mostly comprised of patriotic Americans who are concerned about the drift of the country away from prosperity and, they believe, freedom. It is also has more nuts than a forest of almond trees.”

That’s Klein’s entire report on the Tea Party Nation convention, so far. I guess Time isn’t paying him by the word.


Ann Althouse on Palin

Filed under: Media Bias,Politics — DRJ @ 9:51 pm

[Guest post by DRJ]

Like commenter Dana in the Tea Party Nation post below, the equally clever Ann Althouse notices a shift in the way the New York Times looks at Sarah Palin:

“Sarah Palin was a blithering idiot until she became a devious genius.”

Althouse concludes Palin’s political career is “so not toast.”


Super Bowl Preview: Colts vs Saints

Filed under: Sports — DRJ @ 8:51 pm

[Guest post by DRJ]

The Super Bowl is tomorrow night and while I don’t have a favorite team this year, anticipating the Super Bowl is always exciting.

I ran across this clever religious-themed tribute to the New Orleans Saints, but the Saints aren’t the only ones with religion in their corner. The Super Bowl Sister has picked the Indianapolis Colts to win 31-22.

Feel free to cheer on your favorite or add your predictions here.


Covering the Tea Party Nation Convention (Updated x2)

Filed under: Media Bias,Politics — DRJ @ 7:27 pm

[Guest post by DRJ]

How do you get the media’s goat if you’re a Tea Partier? Apart from just being a Tea Partier, deny them credentials:

“Organizers of the National Tea Party Convention here were not happy about the media coverage leading up to their event – the stories about how convention sponsors and participants were pulling out and accusing the convention of “profiteering,” and about one organizer’s past bankruptcy.

So it was perhaps not surprising that despite saying they wanted to run a “transparent” operation, they turned down many of the 120 requests they said they received from news organizations seeking to send journalists here. Even the local paper, The Tennessean, said it was refused a credential.”

Credentials were issued to foreign journalists:

“But the convention organizers did extend permission to cover the event to several international journalists, from, according to their list, Spain, France ,Germany, Switzerland, Italy, Croatia and Japan. For those reporters, it is not easy translating the sentiments of the tea partiers to their audiences back home.
Europe in particular swooned for President Obama, and journalists said it was hard to explain to people back home why not everyone in the United States did too – convention participants, in particular.”

The New York Times didn’t have a problem “translating the sentiments” for their audience:

“We are,” [Tea Party Nation organizer Mark Skoda] said, repeating the vague but determined refrain of many tea partiers, “taking our government back.”

This might be a counterproductive decision by the Tea Party Nation but it’s also humorous. For months, the media wasn’t interested in covering Tea Party stories until now, when they’ve been denied access.


UPDATE: Daleyrocks notes in the comments that the limit on credentials was short-lived, according to imdw favorite Dave Weigel:

“The National Tea Party Convention’s early reluctance to give credentials to reporters — a decision that came after some negative commentary on the event’s cost and critics — was short-lived. Reporters are swarming the Gaylord Opryland Hotel and, with little exception, getting press passes. When I checked it around 11 a.m., more than 150 reporters had been credentialed. While there are around 600 paying attendees, the scene in the hall outside of the banquet and meeting rooms is basically one-to-one reporter-to-attendee. Inside the breakout sessions, at least three cameras are filming at any one time.”

At the link, Weigel also notes credentials were issued to one of the Landrieu defendants.

UPDATE 2: Also in the comments, Dana adds a link to the New York Times’ recap of Palin’s speech. Dana calls it “even-handed” and I agree, plus it’s good to know the Times’ reporter managed to get in.

Federal Judge Questions Immigration Prosecutions

Filed under: Immigration,Law — DRJ @ 6:49 pm

[Guest post by DRJ]

U.S. District Judge Sam Sparks has entered an order questioning why federal prosecutors in Austin, Texas, are prosecuting immigration offenders:

“On Friday, [Judge Sam] Sparks wrote in the order that “like many of the defendants prosecuted under the (federal illegal re-entry law) in the last six months” the men “have no significant criminal history.”

Sparks wrote that it has cost more than $13,350 to jail the three men and noted that charging them criminally means additional costs and work for prosecutors, defense lawyers, court personnel and others.

“The expenses of prosecuting illegal entry and re-entry cases (rather than deportation) on aliens without any significant criminal history is simply mind-boggling,” Sparks wrote.

He said the assistant U.S. attorney who prosecuted the case could not state “a reason that these three defendants were prosecuted rather than simply removing them from the United States.”

Sparks sentenced the defendants to time served and ordered them deported. The reporter was unable to determine the criminal history of two of the defendants, but a lawyer for the third maintained his client “is not a criminal:”

“A lawyer for the third, Victor Arana, said his client, Angel Hernandez-Garcia, was arrested on Halloween on a charge of driving while intoxicated.

Arana said his client, who has since pleaded guilty to the DWI charge, had been living in Austin with his wife and two children and working in construction.

His client, he said, is not a criminal.

“These are tough cases because there are families involved,” Arana said.

“The only difference is he was born on one side and we were born on the other side,” he said.”

Immigration lawyer Daniel Kowalski noted the Bush Administration had implemented Operation Streamline designed to increase prosecutions in order to deter illegal immigration. Since then, “there has been a steady flow of cases in Austin charging some immigrants who have minor or no criminal histories with illegal re-entry.”

It sounds like Judge Sparks is unhappy with spending this money … and also with his docket.


Labeling Obama

Filed under: Obama — DRJ @ 6:37 pm

[Guest post by DRJ]

President Obama seems to have an affinity for personalized status symbols and labels, both during his campaign:

  • “Barack Obama’s presidential campaign raised eyebrows and elicited snickers Friday when it unveiled the Obamamania version of the presidential seal.”
  • “[Obama’s campaign] chair has his name and campaign logo embroidered on the back top — “Obama ‘08” on one line and “President” underneath.”
  • And now that he’s President:

  • President Obama meets with members of his Cabinet in the Cabinet Room of the White House. The President’s chair is marked with a plaque engraved with [“The President” and] the date of his inauguration.”
  • NOTE: In the comments, Dave in Reno points out that previous Presidents including George W. Bush had nameplates on the Cabinet Room chairs.

  • Even Obama’s basketball goal is labeled “The White House.”
  • Maybe he can get GM to make an Obama-mobile.

    — DRJ

    The Garrido “Family”

    Filed under: Crime — DRJ @ 4:14 pm

    [Guest post by DRJ]

    Phillip and Nancy Garrido are charged in connection with the kidnapping, rape and confinement of Jaycee Dugard, who was abducted at the age of 11 and released last year when she was 29. Dugard allegedly gave birth to two daughters by Garrido, now aged 15 and 12, both of whom were reportedly told that Nancy Garrido was their mother and Jaycee was their sister.

    Now the Garridos want visitation with Dugard and her daughters because their defense attorney describes the Garridos as “parental figures in a close, caring family who deserve in-jail visits with each other.” Defense counsel have also filed pleadings “to force prosecutors to tell them where Dugard is living and if she has a lawyer” so they can prepare a defense, although Nancy Garrido’s attorney admits “She can tell us to pound sand.”

    Hopefully she will.

    — DRJ

    L.A. Times Reports on “Mudlside”

    Filed under: Dog Trainer — Jack Dunphy @ 1:32 pm

    [Guest post by Jack Dunphy]

    It’s good to know that even in times of natural disaster, those vaunted, ever-alert editors we’re always being lectured about are on duty at the Times. See headline in below screen shot.


    ObamaCare: What Went Wrong?

    Filed under: General — Karl @ 8:32 am

    [Posted by Karl]

    ObamaCare remains Undead. Sen. Maj. Ldr. Harry Reid reportedly hopes to decide next week whether he can wrangle 51 votes for a reconciliation bill — and whether he should. ObamaCare cannot be pronounced dead until the Democrats start picking it apart for spending cuts, rolling out small-bore, face-saving measures (e.g., drug re-importation, repealing the antitrust exemption for insurers), or the budget reconciliation clock runs out.

    Nevertheless, Pres. Obama’s recognition that failure is an option, and the Senatorial grumbling about his lack of leadership on the issue has some — on the Left, tellingly — writing pre-mortems on the effort. Of course, the Left is unwilling to consider that the primary problem is that most Americans do not want the government to take over the healthcare system, that most Americans have health insurance and are (relatively) satisfied with it, and do not trust the Democrats when they promise greater coverage at less cost without rationing (contrary to all real-world examples). Accordingly, these pre-mortems from TPM and the WaPo’s Ezra Klein blame the process.

    Klein’s piece is (unintentionally) hilarious. He asserts:

    People don’t know very much about policy. *** [P]eople do know quite a bit about process, or feel they do, and in contrast to their weak policy preferences, they have very strong process preferences. The strongest among them is the belief that the people sent to do the people’s work shouldn’t be working on behalf of special interests, which explains the fury over the Nelson deal. Similarly strong is the aversion to partisan conflict, as most people think that these problems have common-sense solutions, and too much conflict suggests the two parties are deviating from that middle path.

    Yet the conclusion Klein draws is that the Democrats’ problem was that they did not cut their backroom deals up front, and then ram the bills through without attempting to gain Republican support. (TPM adds other items, but largely agrees with Klein.) The only way this argument works is if one assumes that being even more blatantly corrupt and nakedly partisan would have secured final passage before the Massachusetts special election for the Senate. It assumes that this approach would not have brought the public reaction against the bill to a quicker and even greater boil, that the House would have been able to still squeak their bill through in that environment, that the Senate GOP would not have taken a truly obstructionist approach on the floor, etc. — all fairly dubious assumptions.

    What the pre-mortems leave out is that the Senate Finance Committee bill — which lacked the so-called “public option” — did get a vote from Sen. Olympia Snowe. Yet super-genius Harry Reid stuck the controversial provision into the version of the bill he sent to the Senate floor. A bill with Snowe’s backing would have opened the door to the Dems picking off Sen. Susan Collins. The lack of a public option would have avoided the episode in which Sen. Joe Lieberman brought the process to a halt until the public option was removed. And a bill with Snowe’s support would have given far less leverage for Senators like Mary Landrieu and Ben Nelson to demand those offensive payoffs. Instead, Reid chose to pander to his base, nationally and in Nevada, where he was already in electoral danger.

    Another aspect the Lefty pre-mortems ignore is that throughout the process, the primary to sole imperative of Democrats was to “keep the process moving.” The general situation was always the Democrats’ ideological fervor trumping not only the public opposition to the effort, but also the fact that the Dems did not have a consensus bill that could pass both houses of Congress. The leadership twisted arms on the promise that the differences in the bills could somehow be worked out.

    Sen. Tom Harkin has claimed that negotiators from the White House, Senate and House reached a final deal on healthcare reform days before Scott Brown’s victory in Massachusetts. But has there ever been any supporting evidence for that claim? If there was a solid deal, why is Harry Reid still trying to figure out if they have the votes for it — and whether they should proceed in any event?

    Reid may decide to push this again next week. But if the Left wants to be honest about what went wrong so far, they will have to do better than blame the process. They need to face the problems raised by the substance of their efforts, their supposed leaders, and the lack of planning for an endgame.


    (Self-links to honor Patterico’s bycott of the Politico. But you may also want to check there for my answer to a comment from Steven Den Beste, whose U.S.S. Clueless blog was among the first to make me think there was a value to blogs.)

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