Patterico's Pontifications


Blogger Mickey Kaus Plans to Challenge Boxer

Filed under: General — Patterico @ 11:10 pm

The L.A. Weekly has reported:

Pioneering political blogger Mickey Kaus took out papers to run for U.S. Senate in California, he told LA Weekly. The Venice resident said he’ll run this year against Barbara Boxer for her seat. He said he took out papers at the Los Angeles County Registrar of Voters.

The Democrat has been centrist and even conservative on some of the issues on which Boxer has taken a more left-leaning stand, including immigration: He does not favor amnesty and favors a more restrictive national policy.

The journalist’s Wiki entry says he’s also “skeptical of affirmative action, labor unions (particularly automotive workers’ unions and teachers’ unions), and gerrymandering of congressional districts.”

Not a bad set of positions for a Democrat, huh?

I got his slogan already written:

“Mickey Kaus: Better Than Boxer!”

No charge, Mickey!

I don’t know if Mickey can win, but I’d vote for him. I’d register as a Democrat to do it, if I had too. (I don’t know whether Democrats plan to close their primary to outside parties or not.) He would be the first Democrat I voted for in years.

P.S. I’m planning to go to his signature-gathering party . . . even though my signature does him no good.

Alan Frumin, the Man Who May Decide Health Care

Filed under: Health Care — DRJ @ 1:24 pm

[Guest post by DRJ]

Alan Frumin is the Senate Parliamentarian. In that role, he decides which provisions of the health care bill are and are not allowed under reconciliation. Thus, in a sense, Alan Frumin may end up deciding health care:

“The central figure in Congress’s struggle to craft health-care legislation may be someone who’s neither a Democratic nor Republican lawmaker, or an elected official of any kind. He’s Alan Frumin, Senate parliamentarian.

It’s a role the obscure official could assume if the Senate fails to reach a bipartisan deal on a health-care bill. Democratic leaders and President Barack Obama say they would prefer such an accord. If they can’t get it, they have signaled they will turn to the so-called reconciliation procedure to short-circuit Republican opposition.

That move would enable Senate Democrats to pass a bill with 51 votes, rather than the 60 typically needed for contentious legislation. Under Senate rules, it also would give Frumin, 62, broad authority to decide which portions of the Democrats’ bill are relevant to the budget and empower him to delete provisions he considers unrelated.

“You’d end up with the parliamentarian of the United States Senate writing a health-care bill,” said Senator Lamar Alexander, a Tennessee Republican.”

Republicans aren’t enthusiastic about Frumin:

“I think clearly the majority leader has his ear, and I’ve got concerns,” said Sen. Jim DeMint (R-S.C.). “I think if he does not look at that very careful — reconciliation is supposed to be very narrowly defined, large legislative things don’t seem to fit in those parameters — I would think that reconciliation would make or break the perception of his objectivity.”

To back up their claims against Frumin, Republicans point to a decision he made last year when Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) introduced an amendment that would have created a single-payer health care system. Sen. Tom Coburn (R-Okla.) tried to force clerks to read the entire 767-page amendment on the floor, but Frumin allowed Sanders to withdraw the amendment without the extended reading.”


National Enquirer: John Edwards to be Indicted

Filed under: Crime,Politics — DRJ @ 1:11 pm

[Guest post by DRJ]

The National Enquirer reports a North Carolina grand jury is preparing to indict John Edwards for campaign violations.

H/T red.


Obama Turns to Reconciliation

Filed under: Health Care,Obama — DRJ @ 12:39 pm

[Guest post by DRJ]

President Obama urged Congress to vote now on health care reform:

I believe the United States Congress owes the American people a final vote on health care reform,” Mr. Obama said in a brief 15-minute speech in the East Room of the White House. He called on Democratic leaders of both chambers to schedule a vote in the next few weeks, adding, “From now until then, I will do everything in my power to make the case for reform.
“This has been a long and wrenching debate,” Mr. Obama said, adding that while health care “easily lends itself to demagoguery and political gamesmanship,” that is no reason “for those of us who were sent here to lead to just walk away.”

In the short 15-minute speech, the president avoided using the word “reconciliation,” the name for the parliamentary tactic that Democrats must now use to avoid a Republican filibuster of the bill. But senior advisers to the president made clear that is his plan.”

The New York Times says it could prove difficult to produce the legislative language and get a CBO analysis of how much it will cost in the short timetable Obama outlined. However, the article also notes reconciliation legislation may already be finalized:

“On Tuesday, in a letter to Congressional leaders, Mr. Obama said he was open to pursuing four specific ideas raised by Republicans during the Blair House forum, including establishing “health courts” to resolve medical malpractice claims and encouraging the use by individuals of medical savings accounts that get favorable tax treatment.

But even as Mr. Obama sent the letter, his chief of staff, Rahm Emanuel, and top health policy adviser, Nancy Ann DeParle, went to Capitol Hill to meet with House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and Senate Democratic leader Harry Reid and prepare a final legislative package that they would be able to pass with simple majorities in each house. The leaders are still working on the details of that package. “We’re getting closer,” Jim Manley, Mr. Reid’s spokesman, said shortly before the president’s remarks. He did not elaborate.”

Reconciliation remains a three-step process with at least two drawbacks — GOP amendments in the Senate and problems rounding up votes in the House:

“Under their tentative plan, the House would first approve the bill that was adopted by the Senate on Christmas Eve. Mr. Reid and Ms. Pelosi would also draft a package of changes to be approved by both chambers in a separate reconciliation bill. The reconciliation package would effectively smooth out some of the differences between the House and Senate versions.

The whole bundle would be sent to Mr. Obama to sign into law.

But while that sounds feasible, carrying out the strategy could yet prove tricky. Senate Republicans could try offering countless amendments as a delaying tactic. And Ms. Pelosi could have difficulty rounding up the necessary votes to pass the reconciliation package in the House, because it will strip out anti-abortion language that some Democrats favor.”


More Debunking of Liberal Myths on ACORN

Filed under: General — Patterico @ 7:46 am

I spent some time last night in the comments at Brad Friedman’s blog, where false statements and insinuations are the coin of the realm. In my comments, I set forth some of the facts I included in my post debunking liberal ACORN myths. One of the commenters wanted to discuss New York — possibly because the Brooklyn D.A. recently refused to prosecute ACORN, and because an anonymous source there falsely described the tapes as deceptively edited.

Well, I hadn’t quoted from the New York transcript in my previous post. But I did so to respond to the commenter, so I might as well set that forth here.

In New York, there was some back and forth about whether O’Keefe was going to live in the house of prostitution that he was setting up for Hannah and the girls. He expressed a desire to distance himself from the house of prostitution, and at times discussed having her be at the house with the girls and without him, but he also said, “I have to live there” and “well she is going to live with me but we are using the house so that she can do her work.”

Now comes the part that will be distressing to the “he didn’t pretend to be a pimp at ACORN” crowd:

James: Yea well she is gonna have this business in the house with a bunch of girls coming and doing these things, performing tricks and she is going to give me the money so that I can pay the mortgage that is how we want to work it potentially.

Volda (loan counselor): but your name is going to be on the mortgage your name is going to be
on the deed

James: but no one has to know where the money is coming from

They discuss using a third party as a passthrough, to hold the mortgage to keep O’Keefe distanced from the house, and O’Keefe says he still might want the money for his political campaign after the mortgage is paid:

James: what if I when I run for campaign in a couple of years and this third party is gonna give me the money to pay for the house. Pay for the mortgages. Can he continue giving me the money after I am done paying for the house you know cause she

Volda (loan counselor): But you don’t need it

James: yea but she is going to be bringing the money in so if I run for political office maybe that’s a good idea for continuing to give me the money while I am running for campaign so I can raise money giving money to this third party even after I am done paying the mortgage

So to the liberals who claim that he didn’t pretend to be a pimp: he talked about setting up a house for Giles and some girls to turn tricks and give him the money, which he would eventually use to finance his political campaign.

By the way, there is a fellow over there at Friedman’s cesspool who started quoting me dictionary definitions of “pimp” and saying that, because O’Keefe didn’t say he was recruiting the johns, he wasn’t pretending to be a pimp. (You gotta love the zeal with which these folks defend ACORN’s behavior.) So I took a look at the law in California (the only jurisdiction whose criminal penal code structure I am familiar with). It turns out that, at least here, O’Keefe’s character rather neatly fits the definition:

[A]ny person who, knowing another person is a prostitute, lives or derives support or maintenance in whole or in part from the earnings or proceeds of the person’s prostitution, or from money loaned or advanced to or charged against that person . . . is guilty of pimping.

That’s from California Penal Code section 266h(a). Another commenter demanded to know if I would prosecute O’Keefe for pimping based on the transcript, and I had to explain that, you know, he was just pretending to be a pimp.


Anyway, getting back to the transcript, let me set up perhaps my favorite quote:

Volda (loan counselor): because they might wants to ask about it I don’t think that they would go to that length but ya know you outta say where the monies come from where they don’t want to see that money record its illegal. Because it’s not legal in NY.

James: so we gotta we gotta make

Milagros (counselor): You can’t say what you do for a living because the law

Volda (loan counselor): so you say that you doing freelancing you gotta start thinking

James: okay

Volda (loan counselor): if you want it to work

Milagros (counselor): you are young you’re both and make assumptions

James: well she is very honest

Milagros (counselor): Honest is not going to get you a house that is why you probably been denied . . .

“Honest is not going to get you a house.”

That’s certainly not all that is in the transcript or the unedited audio. Just a couple of quotes to toss on the pile.

Anyway, Friedman is now moderating me over there. I don’t think he likes the facts I’m putting out.

Supreme Court Almost Certain to Extend Second Amendment Rights to the States

Filed under: General — Patterico @ 12:46 am

The transcript is here.

It didn’t take a genius to see this coming. Justice Scalia has accepted the basic doctrine of substantive due process (with which he disagrees) for some time, because of a respect for precedent.

I knew that from law school. Which was a long, long time ago. Longer than I care to acknowledge.

If you didn’t already know that, it should nevertheless be pretty damn obvious from the transcript of the oral argument. Your only necessary background: the Slaughterhouse Cases essentially wrote the Privileges or Immunities Clause out of the 14th Amendment. You and I need not agree with that to recognize that it happened.

OK. Now for the relevant passage:

JUSTICE SCALIA: Mr. Gura, do you think it is at all easier to bring the Second Amendment under the Privileges and Immunities Clause than it is to bring it under our established law of substantive due —

MR. GURA: It’s —

JUSTICE SCALIA: Is it easier to do it under privileges and immunities than it is under substantive due process?

MR. GURA: It is easier in terms, perhaps, of — of the text and history of the original public understanding of —

JUSTICE SCALIA: No, no. I’m not talking about whether — whether the Slaughter-House Cases were right or wrong. I’m saying, assuming we give, you know, the Privileges and Immunities Clause your definition, does that make it any easier to get the Second Amendment adopted with respect to the States?

MR. GURA: Justice Scalia, I suppose the answer to that would be no, because —

JUSTICE SCALIA: Then if the answer is no, why are you asking us to overrule 150, 140 years of prior law, when — when you can reach your result under substantive due — I mean, you know, unless you are bucking for a — a place on some law school faculty.


MR. GURA: No. No. I have left law school some time ago and this is not an attempt to — to return.

JUSTICE SCALIA: What you argue is the darling of the professoriate, for sure, but it’s also contrary to 140 years of our jurisprudence. Why do you want to undertake that burden instead of just arguing substantive due process, which as much as I think it’s wrong, I have — even I have acquiesced in it?

Translation: “Moron. Argue substantive due process.”

That’s how the case will be decided. Heller will apply to the states. It’s a lock.

UPDATE: I originally used the phrase “Privileges and Immunities Clause” above (as did the Justices in the argument) but commenter “Benson” notes that the phrase in the Fourteenth Amendment is actually the “Privileges or Immunities Clause.” I have corrected my usage above.

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