Patterico's Pontifications


CBO Reconciliation Score Delayed

Filed under: Government,Health Care — DRJ @ 8:07 pm

[Guest post by DRJ]

The CBO score of the Reconciliation Bill has been delayed at least a day for an interesting reason:

“House Democratic leaders on Wednesday night said the long-awaited Congressional Budget Office score of the reconciliation bill will not come out until Thursday, forcing an acknowledgement that a Saturday healthcare vote is likely off the table.
Rep. Robert Andrews (D-N.J.), leaving that same meeting, said that the delay is the result of numerous technical issues involved, and stressed that, despite any rumors to the contrary, the delays are not the result of policy problems.

“My understanding is this has been much more technical than substantive,” Andrews said. “It’s not like what tax has to go or what spending has to go.”

Andrews did say, though, that the CBO is also taking extra time to protect the legislation from invariable legal challenges to the reconciliation process, if not the eventual law itself.

“The reason it’s taking so long, in part, is that we want to be sure that we have a score that’s solid as a rock for procedural purposes and potentially litigation purposes down the road,” Andrews said. “We all assume that the same forces that fought this so vociferously in the Congress will fight it in the courts, and we want to be prepared for that.”

Protecting bills from legal attack isn’t the CBO’s job. From the CBO’s website:

“CBO’s mandate is to provide the Congress with:

* Objective, nonpartisan, and timely analyses to aid in economic and budgetary decisions on the wide array of programs covered by the federal budget and

* The information and estimates required for the Congressional budget process.”

So much for that non-partisan CBO budget analysis.


Somali Pirate Attack Thwarted by Dutch

Filed under: International — DRJ @ 7:37 pm

[Guest post by DRJ]

Somali pirates have mistakenly attacked a Dutch warship. The AP report and the Dutch captain make the encounter sound almost comical:

“These Somali pirates picked the wrong ship to hijack.

Troops aboard the Dutch warship HNLMS Tromp fired warning shots Wednesday off the coast of East Africa as suspected Somali pirates in two small skiffs raced toward their warship, the EU Naval Force said.

After the pirates realized they had made what spokesman Cmdr. John Harbour called a “rather silly mistake,” they turned around and fled. EU Naval Force personnel tracked down the two skiffs and a third suspected mothership, finding ammunition and rocket-propelled grenades on board, said Harbour, a spokesman for the EU Naval Force.”

However, these details aren’t so funny:

“The two skiffs were destroyed and the pirates were set free on the mothership after it had been cleared of weapons.”

It’s bad enough that the pirates were set free, presumably to plunder again, but why were they set free with the means to return to piracy — their mothership?


PS — After I wrote this, I noticed Dave in Texas had a similar idea. Must be a Texas thing.


Filed under: Obama — DRJ @ 7:17 pm

[Guest post by DRJ]

After asking for God’s blessing on the soul of visiting Irish Prime Minister Brian Cowen’s very-much-alive mother, Vice President Joe Biden recited the “Irish proverb that ‘a silent mouth is sweet to hear’ and yielded the podium to the president.”

I bet there are days President Obama wishes Biden would tattoo that proverb on his palm.


Jury Finds Merril Jessop Guilty

Filed under: Crime — DRJ @ 7:10 pm

[Guest post by DRJ]

Merril Leroy Jessop was found guilty of child sexual assault today by a San Angelo jury. The prosecution focused on the DNA testimony as proof Jessop fathered a child by a 15-year-old FLDS bride. The defense focused on the religious aspects:

“Lead defense attorney Dan Hurley began his closing arguments with a reference to the book “To Kill a Mockingbird,” specifically a time when the main character is told to “walk a mile in their shoes” before judging someone.

Hurley said all the sect members, not just women, were raised to believe that the FLDS prophet is “God’s mouthpiece on earth.”

Hurley noted that, according to documents with cover sheets saying they were “incomplete and unapproved,” Merril Leroy Jessop had been called to marry the alleged victim with half an hour of notice.

“Was he intentionally and knowingly violating the law, or was he following the directive of the prophet?” Hurley asked.”

The jury began deliberations at 11:30 AM and returned its verdict at 12:30 PM. The sentencing phase began this afternoon and will continue tomorrow. Jessop faces the possibility of life in prison.


The Shamrock Bow Tie

Filed under: General — Patterico @ 4:52 pm

On Wednesday nights my ten year-old daughter Lauren has a writing class that is attended by the child and one parent. Perhaps 100 people, about eight to a table, listen to a teacher talk about aspects of good writing, with references to examples from well-known authors. Then the teacher provides a very general topic and everyone is given perhaps ten minutes to write a short piece. Everyone at the table reads their piece aloud to everyone else at their table, and then a small number of volunteers read their piece to the larger assembled group.

Last week we were told to bring items of clothing that had a special meaning. The teacher asked everyone to write down on an index card what the item was, whose it was, and when it is (or was) worn. She gave the entire group time to go around the room and look at the items of clothing. There were items of jewelry or fragile articles of clothing handed down through several generations. There was an old Russian soldier’s hat from World War I. There was a Girl Scout sash from the younger days of one of the mothers. And so on. The writing and the readings aside, this was an unforgettable experience.

Lauren brought a shoe she wore when she was a baby.

I brought my dad’s shamrock bow tie.

We were asked to write a short piece about our article of clothing. Because of the time taken to look at the items of clothing, there was little time to share readings with the entire audience.

Afterwards Lauren insisted that I read mine to the teacher, individually. So I did. This is what I had written:

The child’s name was Patrick.

It almost wasn’t, but his dad rescued the name. His mother had wanted to name him “John” — and she believed she had won the battle when she had secured her husband’s agreement to name the child “John Patrick.” But her husband mounted a counterattack. In flagrant violation of the usual conventions relating to names, he insisted on calling the child by his middle name: “Patrick.” The child’s mother resisted for a brief period of time — until the final betrayal. Her own mother joined forces with the child’s father, and began also to call the child by the name “Patrick.” Not wishing to inflict psychological harm upon the child by calling him by two different names, the child’s mother surrendered.

“Patrick” it was.

The child’s father had been born on St. Patrick’s Day — a fact that the child’s mother suspected was the explanation for her husband’s fierce attachment to the name.

Like all children, Patrick realized that he had been placed at the center of the universe. When his father’s birthday arrived every year, Patrick was clever enough to realize that the day was his special day as much as his father’s. After all, his name was right there in the name of the day. Luckily, his parents were also perceptive enough to understand that the world did indeed revolve around their son (although, unlike Patrick, they also believed that it revolved around their other children as well). They agreed, therefore, that St. Patrick’s Day was Patrick’s day as much as — or really more than — his father’s.

Patrick reaped the benefits in the form of presents.

When the child became a man, his father became an old man. In the meantime, Patrick’s father had developed an affinity for bow ties. He was especially proud of one such bow tie: a green shamrock bow tie. Patrick’s father wore that shamrock bow tie every St. Patrick’s Day.

One March 17, Patrick’s father was no longer around to wear the bow tie. And so Patrick received another present.

He wears it every year, on the day that he and his father shared.

The teacher asked me if I would be willing to read the piece to open the next session. I thought about it and realized that would be today: St. Patrick’s Day.

How could I pass up the chance to share my father’s memory with a large group of people on his birthday?

And so, Lauren and I will go to the class tonight. I will wear the green tie, and hold the yellow piece of paper, and try to read with a strong voice. I think he really would have liked that.

Obama: All States Eligible for Louisiana Purchase

Filed under: Health Care,Obama — DRJ @ 3:54 pm

[Guest post by DRJ]

Gateway Pundit highlights President Obama’s claim that all states that experience a natural disaster will benefit from the Louisiana Purchase perk in the health care bill:

You Lie!… Obama Approves of “Louisiana Purchase” In Obamacare; Says It Applies to All States (Video)

Barack Obama told Bret Baier that he approved of the Louisiana Purchase. He also said it applied to all states that experienced a natural disaster.
Not true.

We may have to take Obama’s word for this since no one outside the Democratic leadership has seen the text. However, it’s hard to believe all states qualify since Mississippi was hit by the same Hurricane Katrina that hit Louisiana, and it didn’t get similar special treatment under the original Senate bill.


Losing the House Over Health Care

Filed under: Health Care,Obama — DRJ @ 3:22 pm

[Guest post by DRJ]

It’s always harder for Presidents to accomplish big goals after the initial sweetheart period of the first year or two passes. Thus, if I were in the White House, I would be willing to risk losing the House in November over a signature issue like health care. Not only would it allow me to claim the mantle of a leader who accomplished big things, it would also relieve me of having to satisfy my liberal base as they claim failure isn’t an option when you control the Presidency and Congress.

Maybe the President and his advisers don’t think this way. Or maybe they do.


ObamaCare: Lazy WaPo bloggers relay bogus Dem talking point

Filed under: General — Karl @ 9:53 am

[Posted by Karl]

Fisking is so some other year, but the latest hackery from Ezra Klein contains a larger point:

For some time, I’ve been trying to find good polling from the passage of Medicare. According to Greg Sargent, though, the Democrats beat me to it…

Per Sargent, the Dem PR contains polling numbers from the 1960s that underscore how controversial Medicare was in the months leading up to its historic passage. But the numbers are mostly from JFK’s failed effort in 1962, with one Harris poll from “after Lyndon Johnson was elected” showing minority support.

However, the Dems cribbed this data from Jennifer Agiesta at the Washington Post — the same company that directly employs Klein and owns the site where Sargent blogs. Indeed, Sargent links to Agiesta’s post. You will be shocked to discover that the Dems — and Klein and Sargent — left out what Agiesta ultimately reported from the same Harris poll:

Asked another way, 62 percent said they favored “President Johnson’s program of medical care for the aged under Social Security.” A smaller majority, 56 percent, backed the American Medical Association’s alternative plan, which would have “everyone who could afford it covered by private health insurance” and “those who couldn’t afford it …covered under a government health plan.”

In short, about as many people wanted Medicare then as oppose ObamaCare now. The Dems’ talking point is a joke. And while Klein claims he was looking for this data for some time, it took me less than a minute to find the earlier WaPo piece on Google.

Ezra Klein: Disingenuous partisan hack or incompetent researcher — you be the judge!

Update: Megan McArdle looks at the Gallup data on Medicare to conclude that “it wasn’t passed despite terrible polling, with a controversial process, by a political party that was tanking in popularity thanks to a grinding recession.” I just think it’s worse that Klein and Sargent didn’t bother to note that the Democrats’ own source — and their own colleague — made the same basic point.


Happy Birthday to My Dad

Filed under: General — Patterico @ 6:12 am

As I have done every March 17 since I started this blog, I am wishing my Dad a Happy Birthday.

He would have been 85 today. I have a special post planned for tonight about him and his shamrock bow tie.

In the meantime, enjoy a Happy St. Patrick’s Day!

Denying Felons the Right to Vote: Raaaaaaacist

Filed under: General — Patterico @ 6:08 am

So says some civil rights attorney:

Today Congress is listening to 4 million silenced Americans. Leaders of the House Judiciary Committee are holding a hearing on the Democracy Restoration Act, legislation that seeks to restore the right to vote to people with a criminal records who are out of prison, living in the community. This bill would eliminate the last blanket barrier to the franchise, and reverse decade of discrimination create by laws firmly rooted in our country’s Jim Crow history.

Today 5.3 million American citizens are denied the right to vote because of a criminal conviction in their past. Four million are people who are out of prison, living in the community. States vary on whether, when and how they restore voting rights to people with criminal conviction, but all told 35 states continue to disenfranchise people who are out of prison, often for decades and sometimes for life.

Criminal disenfranchisement laws trace directly back to Jim Crow and were part of a concerted effort to maintain white control over access to the polls. Enacted alongside poll taxes and literacy tests, criminal disenfranchisement laws were part of a larger backlash against the adoption of the Reconstruction Amendments. At the same time states enacted these disenfranchisement provisions, they began to expand the criminal codes to punish offense they believed freed slaves were most likely to commit. The result: suppressed African-American political power for decades. Today, 13% of African-American men in our country have lost the right to vote.

It wouldn’t shock me to find support among Americans for restoring the right to vote to people whose only felony is simple possession of narcotics with no intent to sell. We could have that debate, and if the side favoring voting rights for felons were to win, I could easily live with that.

But the suggestion that it is raaaaaaacist to deny voting rights to all felons strikes me as quite a reach. The underlying principle is laudable: once you have “paid your debt to society” you should not be treated differently. And yet, you are — and in many contexts this is necessary and proper.

It’s obviously absurd to label as “racist” anyone who treats felons differently. For example, many employers want to know whether potential employees have felony records. If you are hiring someone who handles large sums of money and/or is in a position of trust with respect to finances, you will want to know whether that person has a history of theft. If you are hiring a police officer, you would want to know whether that person has a felony record. Prosecutors considering a current felony will want to know the person’s criminal history to see if the new offense is isolated or part of a pattern.

None of this is racist.

As for voting, it is certainly rational for a state to take the position that convicted felons do not have the same interests in a stable, law-abiding society as the rest of us do. There may be exceptions, as there are with any generalization, but this particular generalization is quite rational and not racist.

To the extent that laws and attitudes regarding felons have a differential impact on particular races or ethnicities, that results from societal problems that affect the rates at which those races and/or ethnicities commit crimes. We can debate what those problems are all day long; the problems can include a history of discrimination and its afteraffects, cultural issues regarding the raising of children and the absent father syndrome, differential economic opportunities, the negative effects of government welfare programs, and countless others.

It would be better to identify and attack those problems, rather than pretending that they do not exist, and simply treating criminals the same as everyone else. They are not.

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