Patterico's Pontifications


Should Schools Paddle?

Filed under: Education — DRJ @ 10:55 pm

[Guest post by DRJ]

The Washington Post profiles a Texas town where the parents and the school district have brought back paddling:

“In an era when students talk back to teachers, skip class and wear ever-more-risque clothing to school, one central Texas city has hit upon a deceptively simple solution: Bring back the paddle.

Most school districts across the country banned paddling of students long ago. Texas sat that trend out. Nearly a quarter of the estimated 225,000 students who received corporal punishment nationwide in 2006, the latest figures available, were from the Lone Star State.

But even by Texas standards, Temple is unusual. The city, a compact railroad hub of 60,000 people, banned the practice and then revived it at the demand of parents who longed for the orderly schools of yesteryear. Without paddling, “there were no consequences for kids,” said Steve Wright, who runs a construction business and is Temple’s school board president.
Since the policy was changed in May, the school system has paddled only one student, and that was at the request of his parent, [John Hancock, assistant superintendent of administration for the Temple schools] said.

Many districts, including Temple, which is nearly evenly divided among white, black and Hispanic students, require parental consent before the punishment is given. Temple also requires the student’s consent, Hancock said, and the punishment is considered equivalent to an out-of-school suspension.

Residents said restoring paddling is less about the punishment and more about the threat.

“It’s like speeding,” said Bill Woodward, a graphic designer. “Are they going to give you a speeding ticket, or . . . a warning? I’d speed all day if I knew it was going to be a warning.”

However, Temple’s new discipline policy may end if Congress passes legislation that abolishes paddling:

“A House subcommittee held a hearing on the practice Thursday, and its chairman, Rep. Carolyn McCarthy (D-N.Y.), is gearing up for a push to end the practice once and for all. She plans to introduce legislation within weeks.”

The Washington Post is taking a poll on whether paddling should be allowed in schools.


Bill Ayers vs the University of Wyoming (Updated)

Filed under: Education — DRJ @ 9:45 pm

[Guest post by DRJ]

Last month, Bill Ayers was invited to speak at the University of Wyoming but the invitation was withdrawn after the school received hundreds of protests. Now Ayers, a University student, and a Denver lawyer are trying to force the University to let Ayers speak:

“Bill Ayers, a 1960s radical turned academic, is scheduled to visit the University of Wyoming later this month despite the school’s ban on allowing him to speak on campus.

Bill Ayers will be on campus April 28 at the invitation of UW student Meg Lanker. Lanker has hired Denver lawyer David Lane, who has threatened to sue unless university officials allow Ayers to speak. The lawyer gave the school until noon Wednesday to respond.

School officials last month withdrew an invitation for Ayers to speak on educational issues after receiving hundreds of phone calls and e-mails protesting the invitation.”

Ayers is concerned about the students’ free speech rights:

“Ayers said Monday several colleges and universities have stopped him from speaking in the past. However, he said he’s always eventually been invited to speak on or near those schools by student or private groups.

“I don’t want to impose myself on some group that doesn’t want me, but I do think that in this instance the injustice that happened was not against me,” Ayers said. “It was the people who wanted to invite me that had their, kind of, right to speak trampled.”


UPDATE 4/17/2010: Ayers and the student have sued the University of Wyoming. They asked a Wyoming federal judge to issue an injunction and allow Ayers’ lecture.

Tea Partier Denounces Swastika-Wearing Attendee

Filed under: General — Patterico @ 5:37 pm

Apparently he doesn’t want outsiders thinking that Mr. Swastika Dude represents the Tea Party:

Is this a “ritual distancing”? — an attempt by someone to squelch free speech and rewrite/airbrush history? Or an appropriate pushback against someone smearing the Tea Party movement?

Government Disclosures Up

Filed under: Government,Health Care — DRJ @ 5:11 pm

[Guest post by DRJ]

TaxProf Blog via Instapundit:

“The report reveals that the IRS made 7.6 billion disclosures of tax return information to federal and state agencies (up from 5.3 billion in 2008 and 4.5 billion in 2007). Here are the Top 5 recipients of taxpayer information:

1. States: 4,846,131,877 disclosures
2. Bureau of Census: 1,349,028,710 disclosures
3. Congressional Committees: 1,326,054,627 disclosures
4. Medicare Premium Subsidy Adjustment: 39,031,057 disclosures
5. Child Support Enforcement Agencies: 16,418,936 disclosures”

Imagine how many disclosures there will be after ObamaCare takes effect, especially if the IRS is overseer.

The AMA admits that, despite ethical and legal obligations that require health information be kept confidential, “access to confidential patient information has become more prevalent.” Add universal mandates and increased government regulation under ObamaCare and it’s easy to see how the privacy of medical information could be jeopardized, lending support to the Mississippi lawsuit that challenges ObamaCare based in part on privacy right violations.


French Quarter Attack on Jindal Aide (Updated)

Filed under: General — DRJ @ 1:50 pm

[Guest post by DRJ]

Have you heard about last week’s French Quarter attack on Bobby Jindal campaign director Allee Bautsch and her boyfriend, Joe Brown? From the New Orleans Times-Picayune:

“The three to five men who attacked Gov. Bobby Jindal’s campaign finance director and her boyfriend after a Louisiana Republican Party fund-raiser in the French Quarter last Friday shouted obscenities at the couple and made reference to the fact they were nicely dressed, but made no political comments or other statements, according to a report released today by the New Orleans Police Department.

Allee Bautsch suffered a broken leg and her boyfriend, Joe Brown, got a concussion and a fractured nose and a fractured jaw in the incident.”

[EDIT: The police report is here.]

However, some bloggers and friends of the victims think there is more to the story. Early reports claimed the couple were attacked because they were wearing Palin pins or for other political reasons. Yahoo News also surveyed the conflicting reports.

The Hayride seems to have the most comprehensive look at this story, including reports of demonstrations and “overheated rhetoric” by left-wing Communist-anarchists in the area prior to this incident. Read the whole thing and, like me, I bet you’ll want to know more about francisnblake and the Iron Rail Book Collective.


UPDATE — Via an update at The Hayride, Bautsch and Brown weren’t the only ones threatened last Friday:

“In an interview this afternoon, Louisiana GOP Chair Roger Villere, Jr. told Lincoln Parish News Online he and several others were pursued by protesters last Friday night after a political fundraiser, but managed to get into a cab and avoid the mob. “We started to leave out the front door after the event, but the protesters had us blocked – there were six of us in our group – so we went out through the kitchen,” Villere said. Once they got outside, the protesters spotted them and began to pursue them, but they managed to get into a cab and avoid confrontation.

Later in the evening Allee Bautsch and Joe Brown were brutally beaten on the sidewalk outside the Louisiana State Supreme Court building, mere steps away from where protests had taken place.

Villere hosted the fund-raising event last Friday night in a French Quarter restaurant that was attended by Louisiana Governor Bobby Jindal, Mississippi Governor Haley Barbour and Texas Governor Rick Perry.”

UPDATE 2: Fox News reports that Bautsch was stomped on and her leg was broken in 4 places. Also from the interview of Bautsch’s mother:

“KELLY: When you say that derogatory statements were made to them, what do you mean?

BURNING: I don’t want to… it’s easy to mislead the investigation… but I don’t want to get into the political ramifications of them but things were said to my daughter and to her boyfriend that basically everything was about money. From the time they were walking out of the restaurant things were being said to them.

KELLY: Was your daughter robbed? Was she and her boyfriend robbed?

BURNING: No. They were not robbed. She was robbed after, actually, after whoever did this to her, when she was screaming on the ground and the men who did this to her ran off, her purse was stolen.”

SEC Accuses Goldman Sachs of Civil Fraud (Updated)

Filed under: Economics,Law,Politics — DRJ @ 1:05 pm

[Guest post by DRJ]

… for helping a client sell mortgage derivatives while betting against them:

“Goldman told investors that a third party, ACA Management LLC, had selected the pools of subprime mortgages it used to create what are known as synthetic collateralized debt obligations. But, the SEC alleges, Goldman misled investors by failing to disclose that Paulson & Co. also played a role in selecting the mortgage pools and stood to profit from their decline in value.

“Goldman wrongly permitted a client that was betting against the mortgage market to heavily influence which mortgage securities to include in an investment portfolio, while telling other investors that the securities were selected by an independent, objective third party,” Khuzami said in a statement.”

Goldman Sachs denies the charges:

“Our short positions were not a ‘bet against our clients,'” Goldman said in the letter. “Rather, they served to offset our long positions. Our goal was, and is, to be in a position to make markets for our clients while managing our risk within prescribed limits.”

This MIT professor had the best and perhaps most accurate quote:

“It undermines their brand,” said Simon Johnson, a professor at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and a Goldman critic. “It undermines their political clout. I don’t think anybody really values being connected to Goldman at this point.”

He continued: “There are many people who — until this morning — thought Goldman Sachs was well-run.”

According to Open Secrets, Goldman Sachs gives primarily to Democrats. Could that be why this is a civil case and not criminal fraud? Either way, Politico says the Goldman Sachs’ charges are good news for the Obama Administration’s hopes for more financial regulation of the derivatives market.


UPDATE 4/20/2010 — The GOP questions the timing:

“Rep. Darrell Issa, the top Republican on the House Oversight committee, is demanding a slew of documents from the Securities and Exchange Commission, asserting that the timing of civil charges against Goldman Sachs raises “serious questions about the commission’s independence and impartiality.”

Issa’s letter, addressed to SEC Chairwoman Mary Schapiro and signed by eight other House Republicans, asks whether the commission had any contact about the case, prior to its public release, with White House aides, Democratic Party committee officials, or members of Congress or their staff.

“[W]e are concerned that politics have unduly influenced the decision and timing of the commission’s controversial enforcement action against Goldman,” Issa writes.”

Obama “Amused” by Tea Party Rallies, Says Tea Partiers Should Be Thanking Him for Tax Cuts

Filed under: General — Patterico @ 7:42 am

Our famously humble president is “amused” by the Tea Party rallies:

President Barack Obama struck a hyperpartisan note Thursday, telling Democrats that he was “amused” by the Tax Day Tea Party rallies.

Funny how? You mean funny like I’m a clown? I amuse you? I make you laugh? I’m here to fuckin’ amuse you?

To paraphrase Joe Pesci in the above clip: What the fuck is so funny about us?

But it gets better:

Obama, addressing a Democratic National Committee (DNC) fundraiser in Miami, did little to endear himself to the Tea Party groups protesting around the country, saying “they should be saying thank you” because of the tax cuts he has signed into law.

Oh, I’ll be happy to say “thank you,” Mr. President — as soon as we redefine the word as I have used it here before.

You motherthanker.

Where the thank do you get the nerve to say that taxpayers should be thanking grateful to you? A guy who is adding trillions and trillions of dollars to our national debt, on a scale never before seen in a single presidential administration? A guy who is crippling our children’s ability to have a sound financial future? And you expect tea partiers to be appreciative? You have to admit, that’s pretty thanked up, you stupid thank.

So yeah, Mr. Humble. Thank you. Thank you very much, you thanking stupid motherthanker.

Leaker Prosecuted As Other Worse Leakers Go Unpunished

Filed under: General — Patterico @ 7:09 am

The New York Times reports:

In a rare legal action against a government employee accused of leaking secrets, a grand jury has indicted a former senior National Security Agency official on charges of providing classified information to a newspaper reporter in hundreds of e-mail messages in 2006 and 2007.

The official, Thomas A. Drake, 52, was also accused of obstructing justice by shredding documents, deleting computer records and lying to investigators who were looking into the reporter’s sources.

So what did this fellow leak? Apparently the articles based on his leaks

examined in detail the failings of several major N.S.A. programs, costing billions of dollars, using computers to collect and sort electronic intelligence. The efforts were plagued with technical flaws and cost overruns.

. . . .

The articles, though, did not focus on the most highly protected N.S.A. secrets — whose communications it collects, exactly how it collects them and what countries’ codes it has broken.

Right. For prosecutions of leaks like that — like the leaks of the NSA secret surveillance program, or the Swift terrorist finance tracking program — we’re going to have to wait until approximately never.

Alan Schneider for Judge

Filed under: General — Patterico @ 7:00 am

I’ll be making all my endorsements for judicial races at the appropriate time, but I already know I will be endorsing Alan Schneider for judge. I know Alan personally and work with him in the Hardcore Gang Unit, and there is no doubt that he will be an excellent judge.

His web site is here. Check out his credentials, tell your friends, and send him some money.

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