Patterico's Pontifications


“Negrohead Mountain” Is Renamed

Filed under: General — Patterico @ 10:33 pm

The L.A. Times reports that a peak in the Santa Monica mountains named “Negrohead Mountain” has been renamed as “Ballard Mountain.”

Harry Reid could not be reached for comment.

Toyota: Obama Administration is “Not Industry Friendly”

Filed under: Government,Obama — DRJ @ 9:48 pm

[Guest post by DRJ]

Toyota is working to reshape its image following the recall of 8 million vehicles, but a July 2009 internal slideshow recently turned over to Congress is making waves in the days before the company’s top executives are scheduled to testify on the Hill:

“The slideshow is titled “Toyota Washington, DC” and the cover sheet is labeled “Yoshi Inaba” – the president of Toyota North America, who is slated to testify.

It is a peek into how Toyota executives view the American political environment.

The “Activist Administration & Congress – increasing laws & regulations” is listed as one of “Toyota Challenges,” as is “Massive government support for Detroit automakers.”

The July 2009 presentation also says the Department of Transportation and National Highway Transportation Safety Administration “under Obama administration” is “not industry friendly,” and anticipates a “more challenging regulatory and enforcement environment.”

It says the NHTSA “new team has less understanding of engineering issues and are primarily focused on legal issues.”

The House Oversight Committee has also subpoenaed internal documents held by Dimitrios Biller, a former Toyota lawyer who has a pending lawsuit against the company for wrongful termination and other claims. Biller claims Toyota “routinely concealed evidence from the courts and federal regulators”:

“He has said that the four cartons of documents support his claims that the company systematically hid or destroyed evidence of safety problems that would have led to costly trials in the United States.

“They think they are untouchable. They think our laws don’t apply for them,” Mr Biller said of Toyota in an interview with Reuters earlier this month. “The documents I have prove that.”

The hearings are scheduled for later this week, and the indications are they may be eventful.


Casualties and the Austin Plane Attack

Filed under: Terrorism — DRJ @ 6:29 pm

[Guest post by DRJ]

Are you as curious as I was why there weren’t more people killed or injured in Joe Stack’s plane attack on the Austin IRS office? Depending on how you look at it, it was sheer luck or by the grace of God:

“On Thursday morning, just minutes before a single-engine plane would plunge into the Echelon I building, the Travis County Hazardous Materials Team gathered in the parking lot of Dave and Buster’s at the intersection of U.S. 183 and MoPac Boulevard (Loop 1).

It was the first time the team, made up of firefighters from the Lake Travis, Pflugerville, Westlake, Oak Hill and other fire departments, had decided to hold its monthly training exercise there. Someone had heard that the big, empty lot was available, and it was a central location for team members coming from the four corners of Travis County.

The parking lot just happened to be across the highway from the Echelon I building.”

The HazMat team was able to respond several minutes earlier than the Austin fire department, many of whom were already battling a fire at Stack’s home. But their presence wasn’t the only good news:

“Equally lucky was the fact that Lake Travis firefighters had brought their fire engine. Typically, the team doesn’t use fire engines, but Lake Travis Fire and Rescue had just received some new trucks and wanted to show one off to the other departments, said Lake Travis Lt. Ben Sanders. “By the grace of God, we had this apparatus with us,” he said.

Three firefighters drove to the crash site and initiated a “blitz attack,” blasting the gaping hole left by the plane with their deck gun. Those efforts helped squelch the fire around the crash area.

“They were able to knock that fireball down and give people extra time to evacuate,” Warren said.”

According to the report, the building’s first floor was almost vacant and most people were working on the second floor — where they were trapped by burning fabrics and papers. Their guardian angel was a local window installer who helped many of them escape even before the search and rescue team deployed:

“Several were saved by a window installer, Robin De Haven, who had been driving down the highway when he saw the crash and quickly used his ladder to free employees from a window on the second floor.

After the crews cleared the first two floors, Warren stopped them from going up to the third. At that point, he said, the steel floor beams were beginning to sag. “They wanted to go to the third floor, but I wouldn’t let them until I knew that the building wasn’t going to collapse,” he said.”

Fire officials also credited the building’s sprinkler system and broken windows that allowed the smoke to escape.


Keith Olbermann Owes James O’Keefe a Correction

Filed under: General — Patterico @ 4:39 pm

Olbermann recently claimed that O’Keefe needed permission from his “parole officer” to come to CPAC — language that implies O’Keefe has already been convicted. This is false and Olbermann owes O’Keefe a retraction.

The first passage occurs at the beginning of this video, 43 seconds in:

Here Olbermann says:

O’Keefe accepting an award there, I kid you not, with permission from his parole officer, according to Politico. Trust the law and order party to check in with its parole officers.

Later, at 4:01, talking to Dave Weigel, Olbermann says with a smarmy little smirk:

We’ll start with the law and order party, honoring the guy who needs to get his parole officer’s permission to attend.

Weigel did not correct Olbermann; I suspect he didn’t know any better.

Note that, in the second passage, Olbermann does not attribute the claim to Politico, but makes it outright. Meaning he owns this falsehood and has an independent duty to retract it.

Because the problem is, O’Keefe didn’t get permission from a “parole officer.” Politico has been forced to issue a correction on this by Retracto, the indefatigable alpaca at Big Journalism:

First, Mr. O’Keefe did not need “permission from his parole office to attend CPAC,” as he has never been paroled. We’re not sure Mr. Vogel meant “parole office” or “parole officer” (the latter makes more sense since O’Keefe does not own or operate a New Jersey parole office), but the claim is factually inaccurate either way. The lead entry for the word “parole” at is, “the conditional release of a person from prison prior to the end of the maximum sentence imposed.” In other words, in order to be paroled, one must first be convicted and sentenced. Mr. O’Keefe, of course, is still pending trial. In a statement to, Mr. O’Keefe said he was granted permission to attend CPAC from a “pretrial services officer” from the New Jersey Pre-Trial Services Agency. The role of the officer assigned to him is to “investigate defendants who are charged with federal crimes and awaiting a court hearing.” The operative word being “charged.” Politico’s characterization of Mr. O’Keefe implies a conviction.

Politico has now issued a correction:

CORRECTION: This story was altered to reflect that O’Keefe and Basel are on pre-trial release, not probation or parole, as was stated in an earlier version.

Olbermann owes James O’Keefe a retraction.

Malkin’s Farewell to Hot Air

Filed under: General — Patterico @ 3:14 pm

She has a very nice tribute to Ed and Allah. I like what she says about my favorite blogger, Allahpundit:

From the time he burst onto the Internet scene in 2003, Allah has understood the value of creating community. His willingness to absorb the slings and arrows of commenters piqued over his atheism or his Palin coverage or whatever other positions he took that were deemed unorthodox or “candy-ass;” his intensely personal and elegiac memories of how 9/11 changed his life; his resistance to cult politics of any kind; his intellectual honesty; healthy skepticism; and self-deprecating humor combined with the sharpest, fastest, one-man synthesis of breaking news you will find on the Internet– all of these have been hallmarks of his Hot Air blogging from day one.


Ed is also a hell of a blogger whose coverage of Canadian politics still stands out in my mind as a classic example of how blogging — free expression unfiltered by government restriction — can truly change the world. Ed was named CPAC Blogger of the Year and got a shout-out from Rush Limbaugh. Not bad.

I think some kudos are also due to Bryan Preston, who helped start Hot Air with Michelle and Allah.

Nice piece.

Can the Democrats Push Through Health Care Using Reconciliation?

Filed under: Health Care,Obama,Politics — DRJ @ 2:44 pm

[Guest post by DRJ]

Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid announced yesterday that Democrats will pass health care legislation by reconciliation in the next 60 days:

“I’ve had many conversations this week with the president, his chief of staff, and Speaker Pelosi,” Reid said during an appearance Friday evening on “Face to Face with Jon Ralston” in Nevada. “And we’re really trying to move forward on this.”

The majority leader said that while Democrats have a number of options, they would likely use the budget reconciliation process to pass a series of fixes to the first healthcare bill passed by the Senate in November. These changes are needed to secure votes for passage of that original Senate bill in the House.

“We’ll do a relatively small bill to take care of what we’ve already done,” Reid said, affirming that Democrats would use the reconciliation process. “We’re going to have that done in the next 60 days.”

Today Minority Leader Mitch McConnell says Reid’s plan may succeed:

“There’ll be a lot of Democrats who will vote against it,” McConnell said during an appearance on “Fox News Sunday” about the controversial budget reconciliation process. “Whether there will be 11 Democrats who will vote against it is not clear.”

At issue is the the process Senate Democratic leaders have indicated they will use to finish healthcare reform legislation. That process, called budget reconciliation, would allow senators to pass final changes to the original health bill they’d passed in December using only a simple majority of votes, instead of the 60 normally needed to end a filibuster.”

McConnell also said he would attend the President’s health care summit Thursday, but he “castigated the White House and congressional Democrats for appearing to go ahead with crafting their own bill ahead of the summit, giving the appearance that any real, bipartisan input may be foreclosed at the meeting.”


What Do These URLs Have in Common?

Filed under: General — Patterico @ 1:06 pm

Go ahead: click them. Don’t be frightened.

Via Balko.

UPDATE: Maybe I should explain the joke. These are generated by a site called The above links all come to this blog, but I plan to start using it to link lefty sites that annoy me. Media Matters becomes:

and Max Blumenthal’s site becomes

Heh. Good stuff.

Bennett vs. Beck

Filed under: General — Karl @ 11:07 am

[Posted by Karl]

Bill Bennett was not a fan of Glenn Beck’s speech at CPAC last night. He has three criticisms — all worthy of discussion — but the second one is probably the most important:

[F]or him to continue to say that he does not hear the Republican party admit its failings or problems is to ignore some of the loudest and brightest lights in the party. From Jim DeMint to Tom Coburn to Mike Pence to Paul Ryan, any number of Republicans have admitted the excesses of the party and done constructive and serious work to correct them and find and promote solutions. Even John McCain has said again and again that “the Republican party lost its way.” These leaders, and many others, have been offering real proposals, not ill-informed muttering diatribes that can’t distinguish between conservative and liberal, free enterprise and controlled markets, or night and day. Does Glenn truly believe there is no difference between a Tom Coburn, for example, and a Harry Reid or a Charles Schumer or a Barbara Boxer? Between a Paul Ryan or Michele Bachmann and a Nancy Pelosi or Barney Frank?


To say the GOP and the Democrats are no different, to say the GOP needs to hit a recovery-program-type bottom and hang its head in remorse, is to delay our own country’s recovery from the problems the Democratic left is inflicting. The stakes are too important to go through that kind of exercise, which will ultimately go nowhere anyway — because it’s already happened.

I doubt Beck would deny that there is a difference between Michelle Bachman and Barney Frank. However, the Congressional Republican party’s record on spending and growing government during the G. W. Bush administration looks good only by comparison to the Obama administration’s plans. So Bennett ought to forgive those who are skeptical of the GOP’s current contrition. The party has not been led by the Coburns, Bachmans or Ryans.

On the other hand, Beck should acknowledge that it is not clear that the GOP would fare better if it took a couple of electoral victories as a mandate to implement a Tea Party agenda, either. Buried in a Pew poll (on science, of all things) from last summer (starting on pp. 15 of the questionnaire), you will find an overwhelming disinclination to cut spending on most any part of the federal budget. Only 2% support cuts in Social Security. Only 18% support cuts in the military (small comfort for most Republicans). Only 15% support cutting unemployment (and that number is likely lower today). Only 6% support cutting Medicare. Only 10% support cutting Medicaid and other HHS spending. Those categories make up over 75% of the federal budget. And in most categories, the number who want increased spending exceeds those who want cuts.

Of course, Republicans would be more prone to propose freezes, or reductions in the rate of growth for various programs. However, anyone who saw the Republican Congress get derailed in over the government shutdown in 1995 knows how the establishment media will play it. Indeed, these days, Democrats are looking to turn Rep. Ryan’s “roadmap” into a budget for similar reasons. Should Republicans regain power over the next couple of elections, they will face the same temptation of over-reading their mandate that they faced in 1995 — and the Democrats have faced this year. Shrinking the size and influence of the State requires an ongoing effort to educate the public before a fiscal crisis forces truly painful choices on everyone. That will take the efforts of all of the Bennetts and Becks we can find.


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