Patterico's Pontifications


Taking Risks With Census Takers

Filed under: Government — DRJ @ 9:15 pm

[Guest post by DRJ]

Alabama Senator Richard Shelby is unhappy because the Census Bureau apparently hired criminals to collect personal information:

After two cases of alleged criminals going door-to-door to take surveys, Alabama Sen. Richard Shelby said Monday that the U.S. Census Bureau must do more to prevent hiring census takers with a criminal background.

In a letter to Commerce Secretary Gary Locke sent Monday, Shelby wrote that when he asked Locke during a Senate hearing last year about guidelines to disqualify applicants, including sex offenders and people who’ve committed crimes against children, he was told the measures would ensure “each applicant is an acceptable risk to collect census information from residents of a community as a representative of our government.”

“It is inconceivable that the Census Bureau could be so poorly managed as to hire a convicted sex offender to go door-to-door to collect personal information,” Shelby said. “Clearly, Mr. Secretary, your guidelines are not working.”

Census officials claim the system is working, albeit a little slowly:

Frank Kuni reportedly had used fake documents under the name Jamie Shephard to pass an initial name check and receive four days of training.

But an alert resident recognized the 47-year-old from the state’s Internet sex offender registry.

Kuni, who was charged with using a fraudulent document to get government ID, was fingerprinted during his first day of training but when Census officials learned on the last day of training that Kuni had been flagged for a previous arrest, he was already out the door with his assignment, Fernando E. Armstrong, director of the U.S. Census Bureau’s Philadelphia region, told the Courier News.

He was arrested four days later.

“From our perspective, the process that was put in place and has been used across the country worked in this case,” Armstrong told the newspaper, acknowledging that an earlier return of the background check would’ve prevented Kuni from reaching the street.”

They must think we’re idiots because that makes no sense.


Dumbest Daley Quotes

Filed under: Politics — DRJ @ 9:00 pm

[Guest post by DRJ]

Chicago Tribune columnist John Kass is conducting a reader poll on Mayor Daley’s dumbest quotes:

On the gun ban:

“If I put this up your butt, you’ll find out how effective it is. Let me put a round up your, you know.”

After a health crackdown on restaurants in 1994:

“If a rat is on your sandwich, you hope to know it before. If a mouse is on your salad, it’s common sense.”

Asked about the casual look:

“If somebody takes their tie off, I’m not going to take my tie off. If somebody takes their pants off, I’m not going to take my pants off.”

After Democratic gubernatorial nominee Neil Hartigan lost in 1990:

“I supported him. I raised money for him. What else do you want me to do? Take my pants off?”

After his brother Bill dropped his gubernatorial bid in 2001 and the mayor was asked if he would have faced increased scrutiny had Bill stayed in:

“Scrutiny? What else do you want? Do you want to take my shorts? Give me a break. … Go scrutinize yourself! I get scrootened every day, don’t worry, from each and every one of you. It doesn’t bother me.”

Responding to a reporter who asked about the mayor’s friendships with principals of three companies that won big city contracts:

“Wha! Wha! Wha! Wha! Wha! Wha!”

Complaining about state funding in 2009 but misspelling a key word:

“The state of Illinois funds those centers. We did not cut. They have cut state mental health facilities all over the state. That is state money. Underline that. S-A-T-E money. It’s called state money. …”

Complaining in 2003 that Disney World had a no-fly zone but Chicago didn’t:

“Now, think of that: Mickey and Minnie have it. I mean, I can’t believe that. They get it first before we get it?”

In 1997, when civil libertarians complained about police harassment of political dissenters:

“It’s just a group of people, yuppies and yippies and hoppies or whatever they call them, I don’t know. Who are they? Are they worried about the moon coming out or something? The sun is changing, and I don’t know. This is unbelievable.”

Addressing whether railroads have an obligation to make crossings safer:

“They have a responsibility, they can’t get away with it. I mean, they stole the land from the Indians. They took all that land. They got it free from us.”

Those are some tough choices. Not many city mayors can measure up to Mayor Daley … or his pants.

Vote for your favorite here.


Lost About Lost

Filed under: General — DRJ @ 7:49 pm

[Guest post by DRJ]

I have a confession: I have never seen the TV show Lost. Not once, not even a minute. But like Allahpundit, it won’t stop me from posting on it:

“My question for the people who are disappointed: Given the sheer volume and inscrutability of the show’s subplots, didn’t you already know that you weren’t going to get answers? It sounds like it would have taken a full season to wrap up the loose ends. And from what little I know of the individual gimmicks, I’m not sure any satisfying account was possible. How do you elegantly explain something as goofy as the “smoke monster,” for instance? Answer: You don’t, and luckily, you don’t really need to. It’s simply part of the ride.”

Any fans out there want to educate me?


Federalizing the Oil Spill

Filed under: Environment,Obama — DRJ @ 6:00 pm

[Guest post by DRJ]

Last Friday, Press Secretary Robert Gibbs bluntly told reporters the federal government does not have the authority to take over the BP oil spill:

PRESS QUESTION: If BP is not accomplishing the task, why doesn’t the federal government come in and take over and get the job done?

Q So that they can —

Q Federalize it — can you just federalize it?


Three days later, with ABC, NBC and CBS focusing on the oil washing ashore in Louisiana, the government suddenly has the authority:

“Legally, President Obama can effectively fire BP and have the federal government take over efforts to stop the Gulf of Mexico oil spill. The question is whether that would help the situation.

No one argues that the Oil Pollution Act of 1990 gives Obama the authority to take over all efforts to plug the well gushing 5,000 feet beneath the surface.

However, officials of oil giant BP, while acknowledging their failure so far to stop the leak, say no one — not even the U.S. government — can match their company’s know-how and technology in such a crisis.”

What a difference a weekend and national news coverage makes. Either that or someone in the Obama Administration finally read the law.


What advice could Sen. Bennett have given Tea Partiers?

Filed under: General — Karl @ 3:09 pm

[Posted by Karl]

I come to neither praise nor bury Sen. Robert Bennett. He was a fairly conservative senator who overstayed his welcome, became unpopular, and the very conservative GOP base in Utah thinks it can do better this year. However, it is clear that Bennett is still smarting from his party convention loss. Going into that convention, he claimed that the message of a loss would be: “No more legislating. Just stand there and shout slogans.” Weeks later, the same idea pops up in his Washington Post op-ed, which improbably compares Tea Partiers to those who supported Jimmy Carter. It’s an awful analogy that displays a denial of the history that the 76-year-old Bennett lived through.

Sen. Bennett seems to think that Jimmy Carter was a one-term president because all he had was “good slogans.” In reality, Carter was a one-term president because he had plenty of bad liberal policies behind those slogans — a dynamic with an obvious parallel today. Missing this point demonstrates that Bennett is as out of touch as his constituents thought or that anger now clouds his vision.


Don’t Get Cocky

Filed under: 2010 Election — DRJ @ 12:53 pm

[Guest post by DRJ]

Voters wearing chicken costumes will be banned from Nevada polls as an “inappropriate and obvious” advocacy message:

“Voters dressed in chicken costumes won’t be allowed inside Nevada polling places this year.

State election officials on Friday added chicken suits to the list of banned items after weeks of ridicule directed at Republican Senate candidate Sue Lowden.

The millionaire casino executive and former beauty queen recently suggested that people barter with doctors for medical care, like when “our grandparents would bring a chicken to the doctor.”

Democrats responded by setting up a website, “Chickens for Checkups,” and by sending volunteers in chicken suits to her campaign events.”

Sounds like a pretty fowl race.


Don’t Mess in Texas

Filed under: Government — DRJ @ 12:44 pm

[Guest post by DRJ]

Limestone County, Texas, has a defecation problem and Judge Daniel Burkeen has the answer.


Polls, Polls

Filed under: Government,Obama — DRJ @ 11:39 am

[Guest post by DRJ]

New Rasmussen polls show shrinking support for Congress, President Obama, and their policies.

The Congressional polls show little support for Democrats or Republicans, while a record high of 63% favor the repeal of ObamaCare. The worst poll for Congress may be that 72% of likely voters are not confident Congress knows what it’s doing on the economy.

Meanwhile, Obama’s favorability rating has fallen to 44%-55%, and -18% on the Passion Index.

Polls don’t tell the entire story, especially when elections are months or years away, but Americans need some good news and there isn’t much in sight.


Obama Wants to Cut Spending

Filed under: Obama — DRJ @ 11:24 am

[Guest post by DRJ]

President Obama wants Congress to give him power similar to a line-item veto so he can slash spending:

“The White House called for a new presidential power Monday to slash spending that would be similar to a line-item veto.

The “expedited rescission authority” that President Barack Obama is sending to Congress this week would allow the president to propose a package of cuts to recently signed spending measures and then force Congress to take up-or-down votes on it. Those cuts would become law if they received a majority of votes in both chambers.”

Congressional response was positive regarding fiscal restraint but some Republicans questioned Obama’s commitment:

“House Minority Leader John Boehner (R-Ohio) said GOP members were “pleased” the president was trying to show fiscal discipline, but Boehner noted that Obama has yet to use his ability to propose rescissions under the current budget rules, as House GOP leaders have asked him to do.

“Instead, President Obama continues to put off this important work, missing critical opportunities to stop the out-of-control spending spree that economists say is hurting our economy and slowing the creation of new jobs,” Boehner said in a statement.”

My guess for No. 1 on Obama’s targeted cuts? The military.


Juarez Homicides Hit 1,000

Filed under: Immigration,International — DRJ @ 11:01 am

[Guest post by DRJ]

Juarez, Mexico’s drug violence has claimed its 1,000th victim of the year, and “more than 5,260 people have been killed in the Juárez area since a drug cartel war began in 2008.”

Seems like another world, doesn’t it? But the Mexican drug cartels that are fighting in Juarez maintain drug distribution centers in 230 American cities, up from 100 cities just three years ago. And in Texas, they bring their guns and violence into our neighborhoods.


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