Patterico's Pontifications


Comedy Central: The Only Thing We Have to Fear Is a Speech About Courage Itself

Filed under: General — Patterico @ 8:45 pm

Comedy Central is too scared to talk about not being scared:

Producers of “South Park” said Thursday that Comedy Central removed a speech about intimidation and fear from their show after a radical Muslim group warned that they could be killed for insulting the Prophet Muhammad.

It came during about 35 seconds of dialogue between the cartoon characters of Kyle, Jesus Christ and Santa Claus that was bleeped out.

“It wasn’t some meta-joke on our part,” producers Trey Parker and Matt Stone said. Comedy Central declined to comment.

And yet it is a meta-joke — it’s just that the joke is on those who stand for free expression.

Bleeping out a speech about intimidation and fear, because you are intimidated and fearful? Yeah, I’d say that’s pretty meta.

Quote of the Day

Filed under: Government,Obama — DRJ @ 8:39 pm

[Guest post by DRJ]

President Obama’s economic advisor Austan Goolsbee:

“The president is no fan of the old Fannie and Freddie business models,” he said. “He criticized it throughout the campaign and since he’s been in office of the ‘we’re going to privatize the profits and socialize the losses’ [approach]. That business model is over.”

The new business model is socialize everything, including profits and losses. Like GM, which repaid $6.7B (including a recent payment of $5.7B) of its $50B in loans, while the remainder was “repaid” by giving the U.S. government ownership of 60% of post-bankruptcy GM.


Opposing Alan Grayson

Filed under: 2010 Election,Politics — DRJ @ 8:19 pm

[Guest post by DRJ]

Democratic Congressman Alan Grayson has a new opponent:

“Former Florida state Sen. Daniel Webster plans to jump into the race against first-term Democratic Rep. Alan Grayson Thursday, according to several Florida Republicans familiar with his thinking, landing the GOP a popular conservative candidate and reshaping the primary field.

Webster is a widely respected former legislator whose low-key, conciliatory demeanor has won him friends on both sides of the aisle and would present a clear stylistic contrast with the bombastic Grayson. His wife sent out an email last night asking supporters to attend a press event at 5:30 p.m., Thursday, for a political announcement about the race in Grayson’s district.

Webster will also be receiving the endorsement of former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush, a source close to the former governor confirmed, a move that will lend Webster instant credibility and momentum in the Republican nomination battle. Webster worked closely with Bush when he served as Speaker of the Florida House.”

Webster joins state Rep. Kurt Kelly, radio host Todd Long, and businessman Bruce O’Donoghue in the Republican race.


The Blagojevich Subpoena

Filed under: Politics — DRJ @ 7:38 pm

[Guest post by DRJ]

Attorneys for former Illinois Governor Rod Blagojevich asked Thursday for the court to issue a trial subpoena for President Barack Obama. It was supposed to be a redacted filing but apparently the redacted parts could be revealed by copying and pasting the document to another screen. NBC Chicago reveals the redacted portions and Ace provides excerpts:

“1. Obama may have lied about conversations with convicted fraudster Tony Rezko

Blagojevich’s lawyers allege that Rezko admitted breaking the law by contributing “a large sum of cash” to a public official. Blagojevich’s attorneys say that public official is Obama. Obama said that Rezko never relayed a request from a lobbyist to hold a fundraiser in favor of favorable legislative action. But the point may be moot: regardless of Obama talking/not talking to Rezko, Blagojevich’s attorneys say that Obama refused the request regardless.

Redacted portion: However, the defense has a good faith belief that Mr. Rezko, President Obama’s former friend, fund-raiser, and neighbor told the FBI and the United States Attorneys a different story about President Obama. In a recent in camera proceeding, the government tendered a three paragraph letter indicating that Rezko “has stated in interviews with the government that he engaged in election law violations by personally contributing a large sum of cash to the campaign of a public official who is not Rod Blagojevich. … Further, the public official denies being aware of cash contributions to his campaign by Rezko or others and denies having conversations with Rezko related to cash contributions. … Rezko has also stated in interviews with the government that he believed he transmitted a quid pro quo offer from a lobbyist to the public official, whereby the lobbyist would hold a fundraiser for the official in exchange for favorable official action, but that the public official rejected the offer. The public official denies any such conversation. In addition, Rezko has stated to the government that he and the public official had certain conversations about gaming legislation and administration, which the public official denies having had.
Redacted footnote: The defense has a good faith belief that this public official is Barack Obama.

2. Obama may have overtly recommended Valerie Jarret for his Senate seat

Blagojevich’s defense team basically alleges that Obama told a certain labor union official that he (Obama) would support Valerie Jarrett’s candidacy for the Senate seat. Jarrett, referred to as “Senate Candidate B”, is now a senior advisor to the president.

Redacted portion: Yet, despite President Obama stating that no representatives of his had any part of any deals, labor union president told the FBI and the United States Attorneys that he spoke to labor union official on November 3, 2008 who received a phone message from Obama that evening. After labor union official listened to the message labor union official told labor union president “I’m the one”. Labor union president took that to mean that labor union official was to be the one to deliver the message on behalf of Obama that Senate Candidate B was his pick. (Labor union president 302, February 2, 2009, p. 7).
Labor union official told the FBI and the United States Attorneys “Obama expressed his belief that [Senate Candidate B] would be a good Senator for the people of Illinois and would be a candidate who could win re-election. [Labor union official] advised Obama that [labor union official] would reach out to Governor Blagojevich and advocate for [Senate Candidate B].. . . [Labor union official] called [labor union president] and told [labor union president] that Obama was aware that [labor union official] would be reaching out to Blagojevich.” (Labor union official 302, February 3, 2009 p. 3).

3. A supporter of President Obama may have offered quid pro quo on a Jarrett senate appointment

Redacted portion: Supporter of Presidential Candidate Obama is mentioned in a phone call on November 3, 2008, having offered “fundraising” in exchange for Senate Candidate B for senator (Blagojevich Home Phone Call # 149).”

Why does this matter? Also from Ace:

“As to why the defense lawyers are bringing this up, it’s to discredit Rezko, who is apparently the star witness. It may not be relevant to the issues of the case, but whether or not he lied about what Obama said/did is extremely relevant to his credibility as a witness.”

The defense motion reportedly requests to call President Obama as a corroborating witness because Obama could verify Blagojevich didn’t try to sell his seat.


UPDATE: John Kass at the Chicago Tribune has the Cliff’s Notes version of Blagojevich vs Rezko and Obama.

LA Courts Face Budget Crisis

Filed under: Judiciary — DRJ @ 7:21 pm

[Guest post by DRJ]

The LA court system faces a budget crisis that is affecting services:

“The Los Angeles court system has already closed 17 courtrooms and another 50 will be shut down come September unless something is done to find more money. The judge who presides over the system predicts chaos and an unprecedented logjam of civil and family law cases in the worst-case scenario.

The crisis results from the financially troubled state’s decision to slash $393 million from state trial courts in the budget this year. The state also decided to close all California courthouses on the third Wednesday of every month.

What has emerged is a hobbled court system that is struggling to serve the public.”

The budget decisions impact the municipal, civil and family law courts, but not the criminal court system. In addition, layoffs are expected:

“The Los Angeles system has already laid off 329 workers — about 6 percent of its 5,400-person work force. About 500 more jobs are at risk later this year.”

The article reports officials are squabbling over the need for cuts amid hopes that California’s budget will rebound.


Navy SEAL Not Guilty in Iraqi Abuse Case

Filed under: Law,Terrorism,War — DRJ @ 7:15 pm

[Guest post by DRJ]

One of three Navy SEALS charged in connection with the alleged beating of an Iraqi prisoner was found not guilty today by a Navy jury:

“On Thursday, a six-man Navy jury found Petty Officer 1st Class Julio Huertas not guilty of dereliction of duty and impeding the investigation. The jury heard too many differences between the testimony of a sailor who claimed he witnessed the Sept. 1 assault at a U.S. base outside Fallujah and statements from a half-dozen others who denied his account.

Smiling and composed as he left the courthouse at the U.S. military’s Camp Victory on Baghdad’s western outskirts, Huertas said he felt vindicated.

“It’s a big weight off my shoulders,” said Huertas, 29, of Blue Island, Illinois. “Compared to all the physical activity we go through, this has been mentally more challenging.”

The AP report quotes Iraqis who claim the verdict was a whitewash and the military prosecutor who argued for a guilty verdict to show “why we’re better than the terrorists.” However, the jury was apparently convinced by the defense argument that there was no proof anything wrong happened:

“Huertas’ lawyers, however, cast strong doubt that Abed was ever beaten in the first place. Photographs of Abed’s face and body taken in the days immediately after the alleged attack show a visible cut inside his lip but no obvious signs of bruising or injuries anywhere else.

“There was no abuse,” Monica Lombardi, Huertas’ civilian attorney, told the jury. She said Abed could have bit his lip on purpose to cast blame on U.S. troops, calling it “classic terrorist training.”

A second SEAL will be tried in Baghdad on similar charges starting Friday, while the third SEAL charged with hitting Abed will go on trial May 3 in Virginia.


Obama Urges Wall Street to Join In

Filed under: Government,Obama — DRJ @ 1:51 pm

[Guest post by DRJ]

President Obama spoke about Wall Street today in New York:

“Noting that there should be no dividing line between Wall Street and Main Street, the president today painted an American face on the effects of the financial downturn and urged the financial industry to join with him to pass financial reforms, for the good of the country.

“I’m here today specifically, when I speak to the titans of industry here, because I want to urge you to join us instead of fighting us in this effort,” President Obama said today. “Because ultimately, there is no dividing line between Main Street and Wall Street. We will rise or we will fall together as one nation. And that is why I urge all of you to join me.”

It’s Obama’s Join-The-Club message: Why shouldn’t Wall Street be subject to the same boundless government regulations that he burdened Main Street with?


Letter to the Editor

Filed under: Obama — DRJ @ 1:37 am

[Guest post by DRJ]

I got an email about this last week but I wasn’t sure if it was real or not. Apparently it’s real:


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