Patterico's Pontifications


L.A. Times Ad Designed to Look Like News . . . Is That Really So Novel?

Filed under: Dog Trainer,General — Patterico @ 10:30 pm

Via Winds of Change, Marc Danziger comments on an ad designed to look like a full-page ad for a movie on the front page of the L.A. Times:

The LA Times ran an ad that wrapped the front page for the film Alice In Wonderland; that was controversial, but what made it deeply controversial is that the ad was designed with copy and font to look like the Times’ front page…with an ad layered on top of it.


Less deeply controversial in the newsroom: actual front-page advertisements for Barack Obama.

The Preschooler’s Two Mommies Speak

Filed under: Education,Religion — DRJ @ 9:59 pm

[Guest post by DRJ]

The mothers of the Catholic School preschooler denied enrollment in next year’s kindergarten class are speaking out. It turns out they have two children enrolled at the school and, like most things in life, there’s more to this story:

“The lesbian parents of two children rejected from re-enrollment at a Boulder Catholic school say they won’t give up their faith despite their shock and anger at the church.

In a written statement, the women, who asked that their names not be used, said they enrolled their children at Sacred Heart of Jesus parish school because they’re Catholics who regularly attended services at Sacred Heart and baptized their children there.

“When we were allowed to have our children baptized, we made a promise to raise our children in the Catholic faith,” they said. “We now feel like our attempts at fulfilling this promise are being undermined by the church itself.”

A prior post on this story is here. The mothers dispute many of the church’s claims:

“The lesbian couple said in their statement that the decision was a shock because their children had been attending Sacred Heart’s preschool for three years — and they had been open with the school about their sexual orientation.

They said they will continue to attend Catholic services and raise their children as Catholics, though they don’t know if they will go back to Sacred Heart Church. They haven’t been there for two weeks to avoid being the center of attention.

In their statement, the lesbian couple said they’ve never sought approval from the church for their relationship and don’t expect the school to “modify its teachings to accommodate our family.”

“It is wrong to punish a child for who the child’s parents are,” they said in the statement. “We do not think this reflects what Jesus would have done.”

The Archbishop announced his support for the Church’s decision. Meanwhile, local protests continued over the weekend.


Eating Out In Jail

Filed under: Crime — DRJ @ 8:50 pm

[Guest post by DRJ]

The Bexar County (San Antonio) Jail has a new idea for jail food:

“To cultivate better inmate behavior, and make some money, San Antonio jail officials are allowing friends and loved ones to special order hot meals for delivery to prisoners.

In allowing food services contractor Aramark to initiate its “iCare” online ordering system, officials expect to bring in $15,000 yearly in new revenue for operations at the chronically overcrowded jail, the biggest expense in Bexar County Sheriff Amadeo Ortiz’s $100 million-plus budget.

The novel service offers a limited menu, but it’s gaining popularity “as word has spread among families,” said Darrell Wagner, who oversees the for-profit operation for the Bexar County sheriff’s office.

The county keeps 29 percent of every sale.”

The favorites are the “jumbo cheeseburger with fries, at $8.99, which is cooked on-site and delivered hot to the inmate,” and the $7.99 Italian meatball grinder. The beef and cheese nachos are a good fit in San Antonio, but there’s also a “pizza and wings party pack.” Invite your friends over!


Telling the Truth About Health Care

Filed under: Health Care,Obama — DRJ @ 6:14 pm

[Guest post by DRJ]

Today in Ohio, President Obama decried the false and insidious claims about health care.

Was he talking about his false suggestion that cancer survivor Natoma Canfield is a victim of America’s heartless health care system? Or the New York Times’ manipulation of his photo to suggest the image of a Messiah in an article about health care reform? No, nor was he talking about his own over-the-top claim that employer health care premiums could “fall by as much as 3000% which means they could give you a raise.” (One guess who Obama wants to get the blame if employees don’t get raises in the coming years.)

So what does Obama think is false and insidious? Republican criticisms that health care reform would make dangerous cuts in Medicare.

Don’t believe the Republicans? Then try Bloomberg, the Wall Street Journal, MSNBC, the LA Times, and CNN, to name just a few, because all have reported the possibility of Medicare cuts. And last September, CBO Director Douglas Elmendorf testified that, under a version of the health care plan, current Medicare Advantage subscribers would receive about half the benefits they receive today.

Finally, according to, Obama has a history of telling falsehoods about Medicare cuts. So why should we trust him this time?


ObamaCare: Don’t call it a whip count

Filed under: General — Karl @ 3:53 pm

[Posted by Karl]

Given the good analyses from Jay Cost and David Dayen (and the inferior efforts of the establishment media), I have not seen a need to do a “whip count” on the ObamaCare vote the Democrats want to have on Friday or Saturday. Moreover — as Jay notes — the public statements of Congressmen almost always leave wiggle room to be bought off or sufficiently threatened by the top Democrats.

However, these informal analyses are useful as a frame for looking at the actual whipping. Dayen sharply noted that Maj. Whip James Clyburn said yesterday that they have “been working this thing all weekend,” and even named names of those he hopes to flip: Reps. Jason Altmire of Pennsylvania, Brian Baird of Washington state, John Boccieri of Ohio and Bart Gordon of Tennessee. With the exception of Altmire, both Cost and Dayen classed these members in the most persuadable category. So that weekend of work by Clyburn and his deputies made little to no progress. But with the most likely “yes” to “no” flips coming from the core of the Stupak pro-life bloc — perhaps as few as six — Clyburn may not have much work to do.

As a keystone Stater, Cost probably knows Altmire’s district better than Dayen. The fact that the NRCC has stopped targeting Altmire’s vote is troubling, but the NRCC’s assessment of others — e.g., Luis Gutierrez as a “no” — suggests their assessments are imperfect). [Correction: Contra Dayen, the NRCC is still targeting Altmire. Thanks to Jay for making me double-check that.] Baird and Gordon are retiring (As is Bart Tanner, who at last report intended to remain a “no” vote.) Also (fwiw) Nate Silver is skeptical about Boccieri flipping. If Altmire and Boccieri are not already silently onboard with Clyburn, it might be tough for the leadership to get traction on the final, crucial votes.

I tend to agree with Silver on the state of play today:

It seems to me that there are sort of two equilbiria: either essentially all of the non-Stupak yes votes hold, in which case health care passes very narrowly (perhaps with exactly 216 votes) — or the floodgates open, there are a few key defections about half-way into the roll call, and anybody with a grievance deserts the bill, in which case all of the sudden it might struggle to get 200 votes. (Of course, Pelosi doesn’t have to hold a vote, and would probably want to avoid such an embarrassing outcome — but it’s not out of the question that she could push the measure to the floor not knowing the result, and that things could totally unravel during the roll call.)

If I was forced to bet, I would bet on Pelosi. If she can get within two or three votes, she and Pres. Obama can wield the “you don’t want to be the Democrat who killed ObamaCare” club, because members will not know as much as the leadership about the whip count. And she may be able to get that close with the backroom deals that will get inserted when the bill goes to the Rules Committee without adequate time for discovery by the public. Then again, Rep. David Dreier, ranking Republican on the House Rules Committee, says the Dems are still 10 votes short, and that number might be growing, so what do I know?

Bonus coverage:  Not even Dayen noticed this from Clyburn:

Clyburn expressed doubt that the House would vote by Thursday. He said lawmakers might have to stay in Washington right up to Easter Sunday, wrangling over their differences, and he wasn’t certain the showdown vote would take place by then.

“The chances are good, but I wouldn’t bet on it,” he said.

That is out of step with Pelosi, who told reporters and bloggers today:

“Time is important for us here, because this city is the city of the perishable and every special interest group out there who doesn’t want this to pass–including the entire Republican party–benefits from any delay,” Pelosi told those in attendance. “Delay is our enemy.”

And it’s out of step with Pres. Obama.  The White House originally floated a March 18 deadline for the House vote on the Senate bill.  After House leaders essentially dismissed that deadline, Pres. Obama delayed his overseas trip to impose an artificial deadline.  My working assumption has been that Pres. Obama — and now Pelosi — very much want to pass the bill before members get a chance to go home and take heat from their constituents.  Clyburn, the guy tasked with rounding up the votes, seems to suggest they might delay the Easter recess to keep members in town — which (even as a threat) might also suggest where the Democrats are on their whip count.


Health Care 101

Filed under: Health Care,Media Bias — DRJ @ 10:56 am

[Guest post by DRJ]

Now that passage of government health care seems possible, the AP has decided to point out some minor problems:

“It took lawmakers a year to shape President Barack Obama’s health care bill. If it finally passes Congress, it’ll take the better part of a decade to write the user manual for consumers and doctors, employers and insurance companies.

Some health insurance consumer protections would go into place immediately, significant but limited in scope. The big expansion in coverage comes in four years. More than 30 million people would sign up, with most getting tax credits to help pay premiums. Ripple effects continue well after Obama has to leave office in 2017, if he’s re-elected.

But even if the 2,700-plus-page bill passes, it’s only the end of the beginning. The Obama blueprint will be carried out under less-than-ideal circumstances. Rising medical costs and an aging population will keep squeezing the federal budget. Lawmakers will have to revisit hard choices they sidestepped.

“This is going to play out over a generation,” said Andrew Hyman, who oversees health insurance research for the nonpartisan Robert Wood Johnson Foundation. “It will address how people get coverage, how health care is delivered, and how health care is paid for.”

It’s like a really expensive health care supermarket for middle class American workers:

“Starting in 2014, self-employed people and those whose employers don’t offer coverage would be able to pick a plan through a health insurance exchange, like a supermarket. It’s modeled on the federal employee health program available to members of Congress, with a range of private plans. Small businesses could also join.

More than 30 million people would buy coverage through state exchanges, and nearly 6 in 10 would be eligible for help with their premiums. The new tax credits would be computed according to income and other household characteristics. The money would go straight to the insurer. To consumers it would look like a discount — generous for lower-income families, less so for those solidly in the middle class.

For example, a family of four making $44,000 would pay $2,763 in premiums _about 6 percent of its income_ for a policy worth $9,435.

But a similar family making $66,000 would have to pay $6,257 in premiums, close to 10 percent of its income. That may be less than a mortgage, but it’s more than a car payment.

Once the exchanges open, most Americans would be required to carry health insurance or pay a fine. Medicaid would be expanded to cover childless adults living near poverty.”

It’s the Obama campaign all over again. The media only does its job after the decision is made.


The Constitutionality of the Slaughter Solution

Filed under: Health Care,Law — DRJ @ 10:53 am

[Guest post by DRJ]

Via Jonathan Adler at Volokh, “It May Be Clever, but It Is Not Constitutional.”


Generalissimo Francisco Franco Still Dead; Lockerbie Bomber Still Alive

Filed under: General — Patterico @ 5:52 am

He was supposed to live only three more months, hence his release on compassionate grounds. Seven months later, we learn he could live for another five years:

THE Lockerbie bomber is at the center of a fresh row after it emerged he is taking a cancer drug that could keep him alive for five more years.

Terminally ill Abdelbaset Ali al-Megrahi was prescribed chemotherapy treatment Taxotere after returning to Libya, The Sun reports.

But on Sunday it was reported he wasn’t given the drug while he was in Greenock prison in Scotland – amid claims he could have been kept behind bars if he had taken the medication.

Meanwhile, the Sunday Mirror reports that he is penning his memoirs in an adoring country where babies are being named after him:

The freed Lockerbie bomber is having babies named after him by hero-worshipping countrymen, the Sunday Mirror can reveal.

And Abdul-Basset Al-Megrahi – released last summer when said to be near death – is now in such good health that he is penning his life story in the plush home where he has been visited by an astonishing 30,000 well-wishers.

The Sunday Mirror has also learned that the 57-year-old is receiving a substantial income from the Libyan government. . . . [I]n remarks which will boost suspicions that he was freed to re-start UK-Libya trade, Al-Megrahi’s brother Mohammed Ali said: “My brother sacrificed 10 years of his life to assist in the lifting of the economic blockade against Libya.”

It’s terrible, the way the poor man made all those sacrifices, isn’t it?

UNRELATED REMINDER: 270 people died in the bombing: 259 on the plane and 11 on the ground.

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