Patterico's Pontifications


Profiling Joe Stack

Filed under: General — DRJ @ 11:11 pm

[Guest post by DRJ]

The Austin American-Statesman profiles suicide pilot Joe Stack:

  • His father died of a heart attack when he was young, and his mother committed suicide.
  • Three of Joe’s four siblings were parceled out to relatives. The two oldest boys were raised at Pennsylvania’s famous Milton Hershey school. Joe Stack was a graduate of the Milton Hershey class of 1974.
  • After he graduated, Stack lived in Colorado, California, and finally Austin where he played in a band. His ex-wife and bandmates described him as a “good man.”
  • Stack was a loner. Many of his friends and family said they had lost contact with him, some for more than 15 years.
  • Saving money, especially taxes, became an obsession:
  • “Ducking taxes became another fixation for Stack, and he threw himself into a protracted struggle against the government over money he owed.

    According to The Associated Press, in the 1980s, Joe Stack and his former wife, Ginger, formed a branch of the Universal Life Church Inc., which the IRS declared an illegal tax shelter. The Stacks then sued the U.S. government to defend the tax-exempt status of the “home church.”

    He became further outraged by a 1986 tax code change that barred contract software engineers from certain deductions. “They could only have been more blunt if they would have came out and directly declared me a criminal and non-citizen slave,” Stack wrote in his manifesto.”

    Stack’s ultimate obsession became his suicide plot.

    — DRJ

    BCS Honorable Mention

    Filed under: Sports — DRJ @ 10:54 pm

    [Guest post by DRJ]

    As my Dad says, this is a day late and dollar short … but honorable mention goes to Roscoe for his predictions made over a month before the top BCS bowl games occurred. (For comparison purposes, a list of bowl games and their final outcomes is here.)

    Well done, Roscoe.

    — DRJ

    The Preschooler’s Two Mommies (Updated)

    Filed under: Education,Religion — DRJ @ 10:11 pm

    [Guest post by DRJ]

    A Boulder, Colorado, preschool student won’t be allowed to continue classes next year at a private Catholic preschool but it’s not the student’s fault. It’s because the student’s parents are lesbians whose relationship violates Church beliefs:

    “According to teachers at Sacred Heart of Jesus Catholic School, a meeting was held Tuesday to discuss the issue. The staff was told a student would not be allowed to re-enroll because of his or her parents’ sexual orientation. The staff members were also told not to talk to the media.

    In a statement sent to 9NEWS, the [Denver] Archdiocese said, “Homosexual couples living together as a couple are in disaccord with Catholic teaching.”

    The story apparently became public after staff members disgusted by the decision decided to speak with the media.

    — DRJ

    UPDATE 3/8/2010 — The Denver Post reports there was a protest outside the church Sunday. In addition, the report includes this background information:

    “Inside the church, the Rev. Bill Breslin addressed the issue in his sermon. He also posted his comments on his blog.

    “If a child of gay parents comes to our school, and we teach that gay marriage is against the will of God, then the child will think that we are saying their parents are bad,” Breslin said on his blog. “We don’t want to put any child in that tough position.”

    DeMelo said the schools do not ask questions about sexual orientation during enrollment, but once they found out, they had to address it according to their policy.

    “We’re not trying to weed out people,” DeMelo said. “But when they can’t agree with our Catholic philosophy, it really makes it difficult to be a strong part of the school community; it’s a difficult situation.”

    The article says the student is currently a preschooler and has been denied admission to next year’s kindergarten program.

    Chief of Staff Michael Moore

    Filed under: Politics — DRJ @ 8:17 pm

    [Guest post by DRJ]

    Michael Moore thinks he is well-equipped to replace Rahm Emanuel as President Obama’s Chief of Staff:

    “I don’t know what your team has been up to, but they haven’t served you well. And Rahm, poor Rahm, has turned into a fighter — not of Republicans, but of the left. He called those of us who want universal health care “f***ing retarded.” Look, I don’t know if Rahm is the problem or if it’s Gibbs or Axelrod or any of the other great people we owe a debt of thanks to for getting you elected. All I know is that whatever is fueling your White House it’s now running on fumes. Time to shake things up! Time to bring me in to get you pumped up every morning! Go Barack! Yay Obama! Fight, Team, Fight!

    I’m packed and ready to come to D.C. tomorrow. If it helps, you won’t really be losing Rahm entirely because I’ll be bringing his brother with me — my agent, Ari Emanuel. Man, you should see HIM negotiate a deal! Have you ever wanted to see Mitch McConnell walking around Capitol Hill carrying his own head in his hands after it’s just been handed to him by the infamous Ari? Oh, baby, it won’t be pretty — but boy will it be sweet!

    What say you, Barack? Me and you against the world! Yes we can! It’ll be fun — and we may just get something done. Whaddaya got to lose? Hope?”

    Moore believes Obama’s 2008 election was a mandate proving Americans want universal health care and “oppose the Afghanistan and Iraq wars and want the bankers punished.” Moore seems to have forgotten Obama supported the war in Afghanistan, and I guess he believes Obama’s Presidential waffling is a result of bad advice from his Chief of Staff. Moore has also forgotten he trumpeted progressives’ 57-million person “mandate to to be as radical and liberal and steadfast as we need to be” after President Bush was re-elected in 2004 with 62 million votes.

    Shorter Michael Moore: Democrats rule and Republicans drool.

    — DRJ

    Scandal of the Day

    Filed under: Politics — DRJ @ 5:59 pm

    [Guest post by DRJ]

    The Scandal-of-the-Day is this Tennessee story about an email that compares Michelle Obama to a chimpanzee. The author of the linked Nashville Scene column says there’s nothing funny about this story, and the email’s author has reportedly lost his contract with the Nashville Convention Bureau as a result.

    Free speech has consequences although it would be nice if those consequences were bi-partisan, e.g., CNBC’s Erin Burnett, the Eagles’ Don Henley, and other media sources.

    — DRJ

    Lefties Portray Democrat, 9/11 Truther, and Bush-Hating Lunatic John Patrick Bedell as a “Right-Wing Extremist”

    Filed under: General — Patterico @ 4:07 pm

    On the day of the Pentagon shooting, I posted evidence that shooter John Patrick Bedell was a 9/11 Truther and Bush-hater. Bedell, a registered Democrat, described the Bush Administration as a “collection of gangsters” that initiated the war in Iraq “in order to divert attention from their misconduct and criminality.” I posted this, not to blame left-wing rhetoric for the shooting, but to forestall the inevitable portrayal of Bedell as a right-wing extremist.

    Nevertheless, left-wing bloggers and at least one media outlet rushed to describe the attack as an example of “right-wing” extremism. James Joyner collects several examples here. For example, at the left-wing blog “Crooks and Liars,” David Neiwert wrote:

    Yesterday we had another act of violence by a right-wing extremist intent on attacking and harming the government, inflamed by far-right conspiracy theories about 9/11 and other supposed instances of government “tyranny.”

    Neiwert made no effort to explain how a registered Democrat and avowed enemy of George W. Bush is an example of a “right-wing extremist.” But Neiwert has made a career of claiming that conservative rhetoric is to blame for the actions of isolated lunatics who commit acts of violence. Sometimes his arguments require him to bend the space-time continuum to lay undeserved blame for violent acts at the feet of conservatives.

    And when confronted with evidence of a violent left-winger, Neiwert resolves the cognitive dissonance by simply relabeling the lunatic as a right-wing extremist. Once that sleight of hand is accomplished, he may safely return to the intellectually dishonest business of claiming that violent rhetoric and action is a phenomenon unique to conservatives.

    Of course, it is anything but. Violent political rhetoric is hardly limited to fringe right-wingers. Many leftists, including some fairly prominent ones, have engaged in all sorts of violent rhetoric.

    National Public Radio legal affairs correspondent Nina Totenberg once said: “[I]f there is retributive justice [Sen. Jesse Helms] will get AIDS from a transfusion, or one of his grandchildren will get it.” USA Today syndicated columnist Julianne Malveaux once wrote of Justice Clarence Thomas: “I hope his wife feeds him lots of eggs and butter and he dies early like many black men do, of heart disease.” Washington Post syndicated columnist Richard Cohen once wrote: “For hypocrisy, for sheer gall, [Newt] Gingrich should be hanged.”

    I’m not done.

    Comedian and (former) talk show host Craig Kilborn once ran the following caption under footage of George W. Bush: “Snipers Wanted.” Members of the St. Petersburg Democratic Club said this of Donald Rumsfeld:

    And then there’s Rumsfeld who said of Iraq “We have our good days and our bad days.” We should put this S.O.B. up against a wall and say “This is one of our bad days” and pull the trigger.

    Who can forget the lovable Alec Baldwin, who unleashed the following rant regarding Henry Hyde:

    [I]f we were in other countries, we would all right now, all of us together, all of us together would go down to Washington and we would stone Henry Hyde to death! We would stone him to death! [crowd cheers] Wait! Shut up! Shut up! No shut up! I’m not finished. We would stone Henry Hyde to death and we would go to their homes and we’d kill their wives and their children. We would kill their families.

    Spike Lee said of Charlton Heston: “Shoot him with a .44 caliber Bulldog.”

    When Tony Snow died, a moderated comments thread at the L.A. Times website approved these comments and many like them:

    There is special place in hell for Mr. Snow. As a co-conspirator of the Bush administration, I have no special sympathy for him. I only wish his suffering were more prolonged.

    . . . .

    I hope he suffered at the end. Just a terrible person.

    . . . .

    Thank you G*d.
    Only 99 more of them to go.

    . . . .


    I have collected many more examples here.

    Moreover, leftists regularly engage in violence for political reasons. Gay rights activists have engaged in mob violence against gay marriage opponents. Recall the example of the man who almost ran a woman and her children off the road because she had a Bush bumper sticker. Or the man who tried to run down Katherine Harris in a car, and claimed it was “political expression.”

    And while we don’t know whether mass murderer Amy Bishop was motivated by politics, we do know that the Boston Herald, citing a family member’s comments, described her as “a far-left political extremist who was ‘obsessed’ with President Obama to the point of being off-putting.”

    Speaking for myself, I don’t subscribe to the view that the actions of lunatics can be blamed on political rhetoric. As I have written in the past, “mentally disturbed people can be set off by anything. Blame the mental illness, not the random person or event that triggered the disturbed person’s actions.” Blaming the actions of crazy people on political rhetoric is a cheap tactic best left to the David Neiwerts and Scott Eric Kaufmans of the world.

    But given the inevitable certainty that leftists would try to paint Bedell as a Tea Party right-wing sort, it was necessary to expose the fact that he was a Democrat, 9/11 Truther, and Bush-hater. The facts are beginning to have an effect. For example, the Christian Science Monitor ran a story titled John Patrick Bedell: Did right-wing extremism lead to shooting? A deck headline read: “Authorities have identified John Patrick Bedell as the gunman in the Pentagon shooting. He appears to have been a right-wing extremist with virulent antigovernment feelings.”

    But if you click the link to that story, it now begins with an update: “As more information emerges about Mr. Bedell, the less it appears that any coherent ideology was behind his actions, except that he was deeply antigovernment.”

    I would have liked to have seen a more detailed description of what that “information” was — such as his status as a registered Democrat and his numerous examples of hatred for George W. Bush. But the update is better than nothing.

    It’s more than we’ll get from the likes of Neiwert, who will no doubt continue to maintain the amazing Big Lie that a Democrat Truther who hated Bush was really a “right-wing extremist.” It takes a special sort of dishonesty to maintain such a fiction.

    Axelrod the First to Go?

    Filed under: Obama — DRJ @ 3:43 pm

    [Guest post by DRJ]

    The New York Times profiles how hard it is to be David Axelrod:

    “David Axelrod was sitting at his desk on a recent afternoon — tie crooked, eyes droopy and looking more burdened than usual. He had just been watching some genius on MSNBC insist that he and President Obama’s other top aides were failing miserably and should be replaced.

    “Typical Washington junk we have to deal with,” Mr. Axelrod said in an interview. The president is deft at blocking out such noise, he added, suddenly brightening. “I love the guy,” he said, and in the space of five minutes, repeated the sentiment twice.”

    Axelrod’s job is to craft the Obama Administration’s big themes and he’s having a bad day when the White House loses the support of MSNBC. “Hope” and “Change” worked for the campaign but not for day-to-day governing. Maybe that’s why the tone of the New York Times article suggests Axelrod could be the first of President Obama’s inner circle to leave the fold:

    “Mr. Axelrod is tired, but he says that is nothing new. “I have dealt with a lot of ‘real stuff’ in my life,” he said, referring to his daughter’s long struggle with epilepsy, his father’s suicide and his wife’s bout with breast cancer. “The disapprobation of some folks in Washington doesn’t seem very meaningful.”

    His friends still worry. “I think he’s getting close to a burnout kind of thing,” said Sam Smith, a former Chicago Tribune sports writer.

    As Mr. Obama began his term, Mr. Axelrod told him he would stay at the White House for a finite period — believed to be about two years — and that time frame remains unchanged. “I’ve learned more things in the last year than I will ever learn in my life,” he said. “It’s just something you can’t do forever, or it will kill you.”

    — DRJ

    Iran and the Big Lie

    Filed under: International,Obama — DRJ @ 3:21 pm

    [Guest post by DRJ]

    Iran’s Ahmadinejad on State TV:

    “September 11 was a big lie and a pretext for the war on terror and a prelude to invading Afghanistan,” Ahmadinejad was quoted as saying by state TV. He called the attacks a “complicated intelligence scenario and act.”

    The Iranian president has questioned the official U.S. version of the Sept. 11 attacks before, but this is the first time he ventured to label it a “big lie.”

    As a Presidential candidate, Barack Obama was willing to meet with Ahmadinejad to prove America isn’t a bully and pave the way to stronger international sanctions:

    “My whole goal, in terms of having tough, serious direct diplomacy, is not because I’m naive about the nature of any of these regimes. I’m not,” Obama said. “It is because if we show ourselves willing to talk and to offer carrots and sticks in order to deal with these pressing problems, and if Iran then rejects any overtures of that sort, it puts us in a stronger position to mobilize the international community to ratchet up the pressure on Iran.

    “Our unwillingness to talk or the perception that we are trying to bully our way through negotiations — that’s eliminated as an excuse for them not dealing with these issues in an appropriate way.”

    Obama set the stage for this as a Presidential candidate and now he should deliver on his campaign promise. As President, it’s time for him to significantly “ratchet up” the international pressure on Iran.

    — DRJ

    GM Offers to Renew 661 Dealers

    Filed under: Government — DRJ @ 1:41 am

    [Guest post by DRJ]

    Prior to its bankruptcy, the Obama Administration pressured GM officials to make “faster and deeper cuts” in closing over 2,000 of its franchise dealers. However, Congress established an arbitration process to review the terminations after a “firestorm” erupted over the dealer closures.

    Approximately 1,100 dealers met the deadline to file for arbitration and, having reviewed the initial filings, GM is offering to renew 661 dealers:

    “In May, as the Detroit giant worked its way through bankruptcy, GM notified 2,000 dealers that they would lose their franchise license in October 2010. But Congress demanded that the company give dealers an appeal process, and 1,100 of those targeted for shutdown met last month’s deadline to file for arbitration in an attempt to regain their license.

    The arbitration hearings will take place over the next three months, but GM’s initial review of the applications convinced it to go ahead and offer more than 600 dealers their franchise back, the company said. Those affected have been sent a “letter of intent” and will be allowed to resume normal operations if they comply with the letter’s terms.”

    Auto dealer groups claim the GM and Chrysler terminations cost as many as 169,000 workers their jobs. Reinstating these dealers means some of those jobs will come back, although almost a year later.

    Who says government is inefficient?

    — DRJ

    Paterson Won’t Resign

    Filed under: Politics — DRJ @ 12:04 am

    [Guest post by DRJ]

    The Los Angeles Times reports New York State Governor David Paterson has decided not to resign:

    “New York Gov. David Paterson, his confidence apparently buoyed by a show of support from influential black leaders, said Friday that he would not resign despite facing two scandals, withering support from the public, and a shaken staff.

    Paterson spoke briefly outside his Manhattan office, a day after the Rev. Al Sharpton convened a meeting of black political and civic leaders to decide whether they should urge Paterson, New York’s first black governor, to quit. They decided Paterson should remain in office.”

    Paterson gained support from the black leaders as well as a recent Marist poll that 66% of registered voters want Paterson to finish out his term in office. Nevertheless, 62% say Paterson will not be effective if he stays in office.

    — DRJ

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