Patterico's Pontifications


The Party Line on Israel

Filed under: International,Obama,Politics — DRJ @ 10:36 pm

[Guest post by DRJ]

Via the Instapundit, Commentary’s Jennifer Rubin recounts California Democratic Congressman Brad Sherman’s recent town hall meeting with Jewish constituents, including his response to their questions about President Obama’s questionable support for Israel:

“Nearly all the questions dealt with the controversy. The meeting hall of this large congregation was packed, and the temple’s parking lot was entirely full, forcing people to park on the street nearby. Nearly all questions and audience feedback were negative, with virtually no applause for Sherman’s answers. There was lots of clapping for hostile questions, lots of hostile rumblings as he tried to answer charges, and some answers were booed. Even the moderator at the end basically accused Sherman of not actually answering a lot of the questions. The audience was not sold on Obama being pro-Israel, nor on Sherman’s excuses for the current situation.

Sherman portrayed himself [sic] as more pro-Israel and more concerned about Iran than any U.S. president during his Congressional service. He shrugged off the current controversy as something we will have forgotten in a few years, arguing that the U.S. relationship with Israel is fine because the foreign aid package remains and we haven’t yet stopped vetoing anti-Israel UN resolutions. While he promised action on his part concerning sanctions on Iran, he expressed skepticism that anything would really be done (at one point “joking” that the rabbi would be more useful than he, as if divine intervention would be required), and kept emphasizing that any military option would spike gas prices. These statements did not go over well.”

Sometimes it stands out when politicians are very careful with their rhetoric, and Sherman’s response is a good example. Notice how he says “we haven’t yet stopped vetoing anti-Israel UN resolutions” as evidence of the Obama Administration’s continuing support for Israel. Now compare that with this BBC report dated March 28, 2010:

The US is considering abstaining from a possible UN Security Council resolution against Israeli settlements in East Jerusalem, sources suggest to the BBC. The possibility surfaced at talks in Paris last week between a senior US official and Qatar’s foreign minister. The official said the US would “seriously consider abstaining” if the issue of Israeli settlements was put to the vote, a diplomat told the BBC.

US officials in Washington have not confirmed the report. There are no concrete plans at present to table such a resolution at the UN by any state. But it is likely that the US is considering how to maintain pressure says BBC state department correspondent Kim Ghattas.

The US usually blocks Security Council resolutions criticising Israel. But relations between the allies have been severely strained by the announcement of plans to build 1,600 homes in an East Jerusalem settlement during a recent visit to Israel by US Vice-President Joe Biden.”

So the Obama Administration may abstain on UN votes regarding Israel … or as Senator Obama might say, the U.S. may vote “Present” on Israel. Thus, for now, it’s true “we haven’t yet stopped vetoing anti-Israel UN resolutions.” But it appears Congressman Sherman’s constituents know that’s just spin. It also appears Congressman Sherman has been briefed on the Party line.


States Borrow to Fund Unemployment Benefits

Filed under: Economics,Government — DRJ @ 10:30 pm

[Guest post by DRJ]

CNN reports 33 states have borrowed from the federal government, and 4 more will likely have to borrow, in order to fund unemployment benefits:

“With unemployment still at a severe high, a majority of states have drained their jobless benefit funds, forcing them to borrow billions from the federal government to help out-of-work Americans.

A total of 33 states and the Virgin Islands have depleted their funds and borrowed more than $38.7 billion to provide a safety net, according to a report released Thursday by the National Employment Law Project. Four others are at the brink of insolvency.”

The 33 states are listed at the link, led by California’s borrowings of $8.40B and 7 other states including Texas with $2-3B in loans each. Only 13 states may be able to weather the storm without borrowing:

“Instead, they adopted a “pay as you go” approach, keeping taxes and fund levels low during good times and raising taxes and cutting benefits when strapped for cash. That left many states with insufficient jobless funds to weather the recession.

Of the 13 states that will likely be able to fund jobless benefits without borrowing from the feds, 10 of them followed the recommended financing tactic. That readied them for the recession, the National Employment Law Project concluded in its study.”

Texas’ loans and apparently all loans are interest free until January 2011 — thus encouraging States to avoid raising employers’ taxes or issuing bonds to restore adequate funding for jobless benefits while the recession continues. California is expected to borrow as much as $15 billion:

“The runaway “winner” [for worst shape] is California, which has borrowed $8 billion. There was a stretch of time last year when they were borrowing $30 million a day to pay unemployment benefits. By the end of the recession, it’s projected they will have borrowed $15 billion.

The stimulus bill extended the interest-free grace period for states to borrow money – they have until the beginning of 2011 to start paying this money back – but there is no way California can pay that back by then. And the federal government will charge interest – probably between 4 and 5 percent. So that’s hundreds of millions of dollars a year just on interest. And the way the rules work is you cannot pay interest from unemployment insurance taxes – it has to come out of state budgets.”

Add to that the cost of funding ObamaCare for uninsureds — or as Democratic Governor Phil Bredesen calls it, the Mother of All Unfunded Mandates — and the States face a gigantic fiscal crisis. Is it any wonder Obama doesn’t mind a Republican Congress in 2010? He wants someone to blame in 2012.


“Crash the Tea Party” — Leftists Seek to Pose As Tea Party Activists and Say Stupid Things, to Smear the Tea Party Movement; Big Media Says It’s Evidence of How Stupid Tea Partiers Are

Filed under: General — Patterico @ 8:40 pm

There is a site out there that calls itself “Crash the Tea Party.” It claims to be a coalition of anti-Tea Party activists who are so disgusted by the “racists, homophobes, and morons” in the Tea Party that it seeks to expose them by . . . pretending to be Tea Partiers who are racist, homophobic morons.

In other words, they want to lie:

Whenever possible, we will act on behalf of the tea party in ways which exaggerate their least-appealing qualities (misspelled protest signs, wild claims in TV interviews, etc.) to further distance them from mainstream America and damage the public’s opinion of them.

The media is all over this, of course, warning that bizarre behavior by people claiming to be Tea Partiers might actually be a false flag operation, right?

Hahahahahahaha. No, wrong. Of course.

The Boston Globe does have an article about this site today — and manages to spin it into a negative for . . . the Tea Party movement.

The paper reports that this site is genuine; its creator actually does hate the Tea Party movement. However, in addition to proposing that members of his group lie to the public about who they are, the founder also is lying about the size of the movement. How is this a negative for the movement? Because some of them are stupid enough to believe him!

The site says it is the project of a nationwide network of Democrats, Republicans, and independents who are sick of the tea party movement. But its creator, Jason Levin, says he is just a 36-year-old technology educator from Portland, Ore. He is thrilled that his idea went viral, thanks to Hannity.

“I think words are often more powerful than actions and if you can just get the idea out there that there is this great unwashed monolithic group of people prepared to invade the tea party, the people in the tea party — who are so ready for that message — will just take it and run with it,’’ Levin said in an interview.

Tea party members wouldn’t really do that, would they?

Well, conservative blogs and websites were immediately abuzz with warnings to keep their eyes peeled for crashers. Warned one post: “Next tea party you go to be on the lookout for trouble makers. Chances are they could be agents of these idiots.’’

Stupid Tea Partiers!

So we should have a story about how you can’t always take crazy behavior from a purported “Tea Partier” at face value — but instead, we have a story about how the gullible Tea Partiers are falling for the lovable and scampish shenanigans of one of their opponents.

Sometimes it takes real skill to turn a story into a negative for conservatives. But Big Media always displays an amazing resourcefulness in this area.

R.I.P. Texas Stadium

Filed under: General — Patterico @ 8:12 pm

Texas Stadium was destroyed today.

I was a huge Cowboys fan when I was a boy; I knew all the players’ jersey numbers and positions during the heyday of Tom Landry and Roger Staubach. But I’m pretty sure I went to only two or three games in Texas Stadium. I went to at least one as a boy; maybe two. I don’t remember who we played, but I seem to remember that it was cold and we lost. The last one I went to was unforgettable. I was on the sidelines at the November 23, 2000 Thanksgiving game, courtesy of my brother in law, who was a sportscaster for the local Fox News station at the time. I was standing just in front of the Dallas Cowboy Cheerleaders the entire game, but somehow managed to pay attention to the play on the field anyway. At halftime I got to go to the locker rooms, and marched down the long tunnel just behind Randy Moss, who was instrumental in trouncing the Cowboys in the second half that day.

Just minutes before the stadium came down, that same brother-in-law interviewed Jerry Jones. This video shows the interview and the amazing implosion:

I’ll never be in Texas Stadium again. I didn’t know that the last time I was there.

It’s the end of an era, and makes a person wonder: how many other things have I already done for the last time, without even knowing it?

The 2010 Masters (Updated)

Filed under: Sports — DRJ @ 2:20 pm

[Guest post by DRJ]

Who will prevail in the last 9 holes at Augusta? Choi, Mickelson, Westwood … or a struggling Tiger Woods.


UPDATE: Did you “Win with Phil”? You did if you bought a qualifying Callaway driver between March 12 and April 7. Golfsmith promised to refund the price of purchase if Mickelson won the Masters. The Austin American-Statesman reports Austin-based Golfsmith purchased an insurance policy to cover the cost of the promotion, which is estimated to cost about $1 million.

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