Patterico's Pontifications


Joe Stack Was a Terrorist

Filed under: General — Patterico @ 9:49 pm

It’s one of those odd instances when I find myself in agreement with Brad Friedman:

Say what? McClatchy reports that WH Press Secretary Robert Gibbs told reporters the incident does not appear to be terrorism. Huh? Are you kidding? Would it be terrorism if the pilot’s name had been Abdullah instead of Stack? Wouldn’t Fox “News” be going wall-to-wall with coverage at this point if that had been the case? Had Gibbs read Stack’s note (as posted below) which reads “violence not only is the answer, it is the only answer,” before making that assessment? What the hell is he talking about? Or perhaps I should ask, what the hell is “terrorism”? Only the stuff that’s done by tan or darker guys with names like Abdullah? Or did McClatchy misreport Gibbs comments, and he was trying to say it doesn’t appear to be Muslim extremist terrorism?!

That is precisely what I thought when I heard the news today, with one exception: I didn’t even pretend to give Gibbs the benefit of the doubt.

I don’t even see how this is a political issue. Sure, if I were Scott Eric Kaufman, and therefore prone to making cheap political points about the effect of strong political rhetoric on unstable people, I would note Stack’s criticism of Bush:

As government agencies go, the FAA is often justifiably referred to as a tombstone agency, though they are hardly alone. The recent presidential puppet GW Bush and his cronies in their eight years certainly reinforced for all of us that this criticism rings equally true for all of the government. Nothing changes unless there is a body count (unless it is in the interest of the wealthy sows at the government trough). In a government full of hypocrites from top to bottom, life is as cheap as their lies and their self-serving laws.

And his ranting about health care:

Yet, the political “representatives” (thieves, liars, and self-serving scumbags is far more accurate) have endless time to sit around for year after year and debate the state of the “terrible health care problem”. It’s clear they see no crisis as long as the dead people don’t get in the way of their corporate profits rolling in.

And his other expressions of opposition to capitalism:

I saw it written once that the definition of insanity is repeating the same process over and over and expecting the outcome to suddenly be different. I am finally ready to stop this insanity. Well, Mr. Big Brother IRS man, let’s try something different; take my pound of flesh and sleep well.

The communist creed: From each according to his ability, to each according to his need.

The capitalist creed: From each according to his gullibility, to each according to his greed.

Joe Stack (1956-2010)

But while it’s good to note how Big Media tries to pretend these facts out of existence, it makes no sense to politicize this as a left-right thing. Any more than it makes sense to blame Rush Limbaugh or any rational conservative for the murder of George Tiller, as SEK does.

But it certainly does make sense to call today’s act “terrorism.”

If there’s anything clear about Stack’s political views, it’s that he hated the IRS. That’s why he flew a plane into their building. To commit suicidal violence to make a political point.

That’s terrorism, folks. Whether he was brown or black or white. Whether he was Christian or Muslim or atheist. It’s terrorism.

Gibbs should know that. The feds should know that.

Call it what it is.

Don’t Mess With Mayor Goldman Goodman

Filed under: Government,Obama — DRJ @ 8:49 pm

[Guest post by DRJ]

President Obama is in Las Vegas at a Democratic Party fundraiser in the home of Palms owner George Maloof. Obama will probably meet many of Vegas’ movers and shakers but one of them won’t be Las Vegas Mayor Oscar Goodman:

“Mayor Oscar Goodman has refused an invitation to meet with President Obama when he arrives in town on Thursday. Mayor Goodman called President Obama a slow learner after he told Americans not to blow money on a weekend in Las Vegas if they were saving to put their kids through college.

“I’ve got other things to do quite frankly for my constituents here in Las Vegas who rely on me to do the right thing as a mayor,” explained Mayor Goodman.”

Goodman is angry that Obama has repeatedly singled out Las Vegas as a place people shouldn’t go if they are trying to save money:

“They say time heals all wounds but not this time. Mayor Goodman is not backing down after the president used Las Vegas the example of where not to go if you’re saving money.

This is strike two for the mayor.

“We are hurting, we have people in foreclosures, we have people having a hard time feeding their families and we can’t stand to have a flippant statement made,” said Mayor Goodman.

“I haven’t heard an apology, I haven’t heard a response, all I do is get invitations,” Goodman went on to say.”

Obama may have met his match in Goodman, a former Mob lawyer who was profiled by CNN during a 1999 election campaign:

“Goodman is a well-known Las Vegas figure, having won cases for such notorious mobsters as Tony “The Ant” Spilotro and Meyer Lansky. He played himself in Martin Scorsese’s “Casino,” a movie about organized crime in Las Vegas.

His clients have included Spilotro, the gangster who, legend has it, put a rival’s head in a vise and squeezed his eyeballs out.

Goodman says his past is a plus with the voters and he is just defending the underdog: “The people love the people that I’ve represented as far as bringing intrigue into the area here.”

Although Goodman doesn’t want to advertise some of his more unsavory clients, refusing to allow CNN’s cameras into his inner office stuffed with mobster memorabilia, he is also blitzing the airwaves with his new Mr. Nice Guy image.”

No more Mr. Nice Guy.


Big Brother or New Technology?

Filed under: Education,Government — DRJ @ 8:04 pm

[Guest post by DRJ]

A Philadelphia plaintiff alleges a Pennsylvania school district used a school-provided laptop with webcam to remotely activate and take pictures of the student’s home without the knowledge or consent of the student or his parents. Reportedly the school district believed the laptop was stolen or missing.

It sounds very Big Brother-ish but it’s also a novel use of technology. What might a court decide? Orin Kerr starts the discussion.


IAEA Report Warns of Iran Nuclear Weapon

Filed under: International,Obama — DRJ @ 4:35 pm

[Guest post by DRJ]

A leaked International Atomic Energy Agency report warns that Iran has begun enriching uranium and may be trying to develop a nuclear warhead:

“The UN nuclear watchdog has expressed concern that Iran may currently be trying to develop a nuclear payload for a missile.
The report also confirmed Iran had produced a small batch of uranium enriched to the higher 20% level.

Until now, Iran has produced uranium enriched to 3.5% for power stations.

It says it needs the more highly enriched uranium for a reactor producing medical isotopes.

Western powers fear Iran is heading towards enriching uranium to 90% – to produce a nuclear weapon.”

Press Secretary Robert Gibbs termed the report evidence of “the failure of the Iranian government to live up to its international obligations.” Gibbs continued that “we’ve always said that if Iran failed to live up to those international obligations, that there would be consequences.”


Eric Cantor Responds to the Stimulus

Filed under: Economics,Politics — DRJ @ 4:20 pm

[Guest post by DRJ]

Yesterday, on the one-year anniversary of the Stimulus, the Office of House Republican Whip Eric Cantor responded to President Obama and the Democratic Congress:

“After all the rhetoric and an $800 billion economic stimulus plan, here are the results of one-party control of the government by the Democrats: 4,022,000 total jobs lost with unemployment reaching its highest point in 25 years.”


Duke Accuser Faces Charges

Filed under: Crime — DRJ @ 3:57 pm

[Guest post by DRJ]

The accuser in the Duke Lacrosse case is now the focus of criminal charges:

“Mangum was arrested by Durham police officers after they responded to a 911 call late Wednesday night about a domestic dispute, according to a Durham Police Department news release. Police said Mangum was fighting with her boyfriend, Milton Walker, and threatened to stab him. She also set his clothes on fire in a bathtub, WRAL reported.

Mangum said, “I’m gonna stab you [expletive]!!!” to Walker, according to court documents.

Mangum resisted and gave officers a fake name when they arrested her, court documents state.

Mangum was charged with attempted first degree murder, five counts of first degree arson, assault and battery, identification theft, communicating a threat, injury to personal property, resisting a public officer and three counts of misdemeanor child abuse.


Plane Crashes Into Austin Building (Updated x4)

Filed under: Crime,Terrorism — DRJ @ 11:51 am

[Guest post by DRJ]

A small airplane crashed today into a Northwest Austin, Texas, office building — home to offices of the Internal Revenue Service and other federal agencies — in what appears to be a deliberate act:

“A Federal Aviation Administration spokesman said the crash, at the Echelon 1 building in the 9400 block of Research Boulevard, was “apparently a criminal act” and that in such a case the FBI would be the lead investigating agency rather than the National Transportation Safety Administration.

“The NTSB investigates accidents,” said Paul Turk, assistant director of public affairs for the FAA.”

An IRS worker is missing and at least two persons were injured. Reports indicate the pilot was 53-year-old software engineer Joseph Andrew Stack:

“A federal official confirmed for the Statesman that the tail number of the Piper Cherokee plane is registered to a plane owned by Joseph Andrew Stack, the private plane pilot whose nearby home was on fire at roughly the same time.”

Fox News reports the Austin fire department responded to a fire at Stack’s home today:

“ reported earlier Thursday that Austin firefighters responded to a house fire at a home believed to be Stack’s. Firefighters reported that the entire house was engulfed in flames, including the fence, when they arrived on the scene.

Neighbors said they heard a loud explosion in the house Thursday morning and allegedly pulled two females, believed to be Stack’s wife and daughter, out of the house, according to MyFoxAustin.”

The Austin American-Statesman reports Stack, who listed addresses in San Marcos and Austin, may have left a lengthy internet note (reprinted in part at the link). The note rails against corruption, financial schemes, government, and IRS Tax Code Section 1706 and concludes:

“I saw it written once that the definition of insanity is repeating the same process over and over and expecting the outcome to suddenly be different. I am finally ready to stop this insanity. Well, Mr. Big Brother IRS man, let’s try something different; take my pound of flesh and sleep well.

The communist creed: From each according to his ability, to each according to his need.

The capitalist creed: From each according to his gullibility, to each according to his greed.

Joe Stack (1956-2010)


President Obama was briefed on the incident as he flew from Washington, D.C., to Colorado to attend a fundraising event. White House press secretary Robert Gibbs has assured Americans “the crash does not appear to be terrorism.”


UPDATE: The Austin Fire Department recoveredand identified two bodies in the building. One of them was the pilot and presumably the other was the missing federal employee.

UPDATE 2 — A later report indicates Stack’s wife and daughter [EDIT: Apparently she is his step-daughter; See Update 3] were not home when their home burned:

“Neighbors said they heard a loud noise that sounded like a car crash at about 9:15 a.m. and soon saw flames coming from house.

Neighbor Elbert Hutchins said he ran to the house while calling 911 and saw flames coming out of an upstairs window. Soon he saw a woman and a girl drive up in a car.

Neighbors believe that was Stack’s wife and daughter, who is about 12 years old.

The two are now believed to be in a neighbor’s house being assisted by the Red Cross. When reporters went to the door, an FBI agent answered.

A Red Cross spokewoman would only say they are assisting two people who are “remarkably calm, clearly distraught.” She said they are “physically fine.”

If the early facts are as reported, what a sad and cruel heritage to bequeath to your own child.

UPDATE 3: An Austin American-Statesman reporter knew and played in a band with Stack and knew his wife and step-daughter.

UPDATE 4: The missing IRS worker is Vernon Hunter. Stack’s wife expresses her sorrow and sympathy.

The Houston Chronicle adds more on Stack’s tax problems.

No one expects rising unemployment!

Filed under: General — Karl @ 11:20 am

[Posted by Karl]

When it comes to the establishment media — and the economists in their address books — their chief weapon is surprise (and a fanatical devotion to The One):

The number of U.S. workers filing new applications for unemployment insurance unexpectedly surged last week, while producer prices increased sharply in January, raising potential hurdles for the economy’s recovery.


The rise in jobless insurance claims dealt a setback to hopes the economy was on the verge of job growth and could increase political pressure on President Barack Obama, who has made tackling unemployment his number one priority.

This surge in claims puts a damper on the last report, in which the unemployment rate dropped unexpectedly. However, it is consistent with the recent trend of unemployment news being “unexpectedly” bad again and again and again and again and again and well, you get the picture:

“Initial claims have been flat over the last three months. That means the improvement in the labor market is much slower than suggested by the headline GDP figure,” said Harm Bandholz an economist at Unicredit Research in New York.

“That shows GDP growth is artificially inflated by government stimulus and the inventory cycle rather than driven by final demand, which usually goes hand in hand with an improvement in the labor market.”

Indeed, the jobs purportedly “saved” by the government were largely in the government, not the private sector. And the 5.7% annualized growth in GDP for the fourth quarter of 2009 was mostly the result of a slowdown in liquidation of inventories; actual growth was much lower.

Reuters notes a number of reasons, including the recent snowpocalypse that hit broad sections of the country, as reasons to expect a weak report. Yet somehow, the bad news on unemployment continues to be unexpected. Go figure.


Help Amy Alkon Beat the Scum at Sadly, No

Filed under: Books,Scum — Patterico @ 7:42 am

The cretins at Sadly, No are trying to hurt the sales of Amy Alkon’s latest book, and harm her ability to make a living — just because they personally don’t like her.

You can help fight this.

At Sadly, No, “Tintin” writes:

Amy’s clear goal here is to try to intimidate anyone from posting negative reviews of her chef-d’oeuvre. And I think I’m safe in saying that this intimidation shouldn’t succeed. So, folks, if you’ve read the book, not liked it, and want to stand up for freedom of speech, tell Amy Arnold what you think of the book. Comedy points will be awarded (but only to people who’ve actually read the book) for 3, 4, and 5 star reviews (harder to get removed than 1 star reviews) with what my grandmother used to call “back-handed” compliments — for example, a statement that for a book written by someone who’s mother tongue is Serbian, the book has a surprisingly small number of grammatical errors. Or a statement that even though Amy’s advice got you banned from Safeway, it was worth having to do your shopping in another store just to be able to scream your head off at the woman with a crying baby in the Safeway. Etc., etc., etc.

Amy’s sin is revealing the identity of someone who is leaving phony reviews of her book to harm her. Tintin’s proposed solution: leave even more phony reviews!

Of course, he claims he is not doing this. Tintin says all the right things to avoid a lawsuit: make sure you’ve read the book first; only give it a poor review if you really didn’t like it; etc.

But his post is really a roadmap on how to write bad reviews on Amy’s book. He knows damn well that he is giving his audience a wink and a nod and saying: go trash her book.

And it’s working.

For example, a Sadly, No commenter boasts of having left this one-star review:

If you want to learn how to be really rude and obnoxious and yet keep some weird semblance of self-esteem with a large dollop of ego on top, this book is for you! Arnold Alkon has many lessons on how to set straight innocent people who might have the misfortune of crossing her path and pissing her off. A must read for anyone who lives in the same town as Mr Alkon!

Sadly, No commenters have gone en masse and voted this review as “helpful.” As of this writing, almost 80 people have voted this review helpful — meaning it is now the first review people see when people look up Amy’s book.

If you look at all the reviews, you will see three near the top that were all written on February 17, 2010 — the same day Tintin wrote his post. All are getting voted up and are being promoted to the top as “helpful” reviews. This cretin follows Tintin’s advice and gives it three stars (to keep the review from being deleted) and even admits he hasn’t read the book.

More negative reviews may well be added — all by scum who haven’t actually read the book, but just want to hurt Amy because they don’t like her and what she does.

What can you do?

For one, buy Amy’s book! I have already favorably reviewed it here. It is very funny and worth your money. And if you liked it, leave a favorable review of your own.

But if nothing else, vote down the Sadly, No reviews down as unhelpful. Report them as abusive. And leave a comment on the review explaining why the review is not honest and genuine.

If you have time, do this with any negative reviews left on February 17 or February 18. They are all dishonest and generated by the haters at Sadly, No.

If you’re short on time, make sure to vote down the review quoted above. It is currently the top negative review of her book.

To do this, click the link and vote that the review is not helpful. Report it as abusive. Leave a comment explaining why.

Don’t let these scumbags hurt Amy’s livelihood.

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