Patterico's Pontifications


ABC’s Jake Tapper bans “Obamacare” from his blog

Filed under: General — Karl @ 8:25 pm

[Posted by Karl]

For a guy from Salon, Jake Tapper has struck me as someone who has been very conscientious as the White House correspondent for ABC News. He usually is trying to be a watchdog, even when his colleagues are content to be lapdogs. That does not make the story coming from his Twitter feed tonight any less odd. That story starts here:

Oklahoma Legislature Passes Abortion Questionnaire Law

Filed under: Government,Health Care — DRJ @ 8:24 pm

[Guest post by DRJ]

The Oklahoma Legislature has passed an abortion questionnaire law over the veto of its Democratic Governor:

“The Oklahoma Legislature overrode Gov. Brad Henry’s veto of an abortion bill that will require women seeking abortions to complete lengthy questionnaires beforehand about their finances, education and relationships.

The Senate voted 33-15 on Tuesday to override the Democratic governor’s veto. The House easily voted to override the veto on Monday.

Of the eight abortion-related bills the Republican-controlled Legislature has passed this session, Henry vetoed two others. One, which would require women to undergo an ultrasound and listen to a detailed description of the fetus before receiving an abortion, is on hold because of a legal challenge.

“It’s disappointing because every veto override just triggers more lawsuits and legal bills for taxpayers,” said Henry spokesman Paul Sund. “Similar abortion laws passed by the Legislature were challenged and thrown out by the courts last year, and the latest versions are probably headed for the same fate.”

The litigation issue doesn’t concern me since few laws emerge without some legal challenge, but I’m still concerned about this law. Supporters claim it will generate information that makes it easier to understand why women seek abortions:

“The most recent bill mandates women complete a 38-question form, which includes multiple subsections, answering questions about their race, education, income, relationships and reasons for seeking an abortion.

Doctors will be required to fill out an 11-question form about any complications that arise during the procedure. Those who fail to comply could face fines or the loss of their licenses.

The information from the questionnaires will be compiled by the Oklahoma State Department of Health and posted on the agency’s website, but must not include the woman’s name, address, hometown or other identifying information.

Supporters say the information will help lawmakers understand why women get abortions and craft policies to prevent more of them from occurring.

“This is to stop future abortions from happening,” said Sen. Clark Jolley, R-Edmond, who sponsored the bill in the Senate. “This is about gathering data to prevent the need for women to make this choice.”

However, concerns expressed by one GOP Senator make sense to me:

“But Republican Sen. Jim Reynolds of Oklahoma City, who opposes abortion, voted against the bill and said he found it “appalling” that information from a personal questionnaire regarding a medical procedure would be provided to a government entity.”

I don’t want the government prying into my health decisions, and I agree that laws like this open the door to more and more official data-gathering.


North Korea Cuts Ties with South

Filed under: International — DRJ @ 8:15 pm

[Guest post by DRJ]

North Korea has cut all ties with South Korea, renounced its cease fire agreement, and threatened military action:

“North Korea said on Tuesday it was cutting all ties with the South and threatened its wealthy neighbor with military action over alleged violations of its waters off the west coast.

The comments marked a new high in tensions on the divided peninsula after the March sinking of a South Korean warship, which Seoul blames on a torpedo fired by the communist North.

The increasingly war-like rhetoric hit Seoul’s financial markets, prompting policymakers to call an emergency meeting on Wednesday to look for ways to calm investors.

“The Committee for the Peaceful Reunification of Korea …. formally declares that from now on it will put into force the resolute measures to totally freeze the inter-Korean relations, totally abrogate the agreement on non-aggression between the north and the south and completely halt the inter-Korean cooperation,” the North’s KCNA news agency reported.

North Korea will also expel personnel from the Kaesong industrial park, a joint North-South venture just inside its border. It was not immediately clear what impact that would have on factories there.”

The action follows South Korea’s announcement of sanctions and UN action in response to North Korea’s apparent torpedo attack on a South Korean warship.

North Korea’s decision raises serious regional and Korean security issues and jeopardizes the economies of both Koreas. For example, North Korea Economy Watch blog links a report that South Korean firms have invested as much as $1T in the Kaesong complex that will close as a result of this decision, but they are insured for less than half that amount.


Oil Spill? Blame Bush

Filed under: Environment,Obama — DRJ @ 7:20 pm

[Guest post by DRJ]

Today on Imus in the Morning, Senator Chris Dodd blamed President Bush for the BP oil spill:

Here is a portion of the transcript:

DODD: How many of these wells, uh, rigs out there don’t have the kind of protection that would have stopped, uh, this, uh, gushing to occur. I’m just sort of stunned that we’re … just overwhelmed by this. This is beyond a disaster of an oil spill. It’s a … Bob Herbert, I think, wrote a piece in the New York Times and said this is really just a failure of a system to accommodate this kind of a disaster. So I’m literally overwhelmed by it, as most Americans are, and find it stunning. The economies of Florida, Louisiana, Alabama, Mississippi, and possibly Texas — the coastline — are going to be devastated by this for years to come.

IMUS: Well, it’s specifically a failure of leadership of the President, Obama, and the Administration, wouldn’t you agree?

DODD: Well, you know, they come into office a year ago with all of this. And so, after the last eight years …

IMUS: Come on.

DODD: It was ‘drill, drill, drill.’ I think you were quoting ‘Drill, drill, drill’ a few months ago, weren’t you, with Sarah Palin, the two of you?

IMUS: No. I wasn’t saying … and don’t try to lump me with Sarah Palin. And don’t use that lame excuse with me about the Bush administration. Have you lost your mind?

DODD: No, not at all.

IMUS: The President has been in office for a year-and-a-half, and they’ve been dragging their feet, and even people like James Carville said that his behavior has been, at the very best, lackadaisical and naive. And you’re still going to try to blame Bush?

DODD: Calm down, now. [Crosstalk.]

IMUS: Come on, you’ve got to do better than that, Senator.

DODD: Well, … lookit, it’s new and this goes out over a long period of time and to lay it at Obama’s doorstep in light of years and years of regulatory permissiveness when it comes to these kinds of operations occurring. It didn’t occur in the last year-and-a-half. You can’t lay this at Obama’s doorstep. [Crosstalk.]

IMUS: I’m laying the blame for the response to this BP oil spill disaster at the feet of the present Administration. He’s in office. He’s the President. Who’s responsible?

DODD: Well, all right, he’s certainly trying to do something but I’ve yet to hear anyone come up with the answer “What do you do about it?” Obviously they never should have been given permission to have a rig down there without the kind of a cap or whatever you call it that closes off these lines when a disaster like this occurs. Now that goes back years. That rig wasn’t built in the last year-and-a-half. That rig was built years ago. Who gave them the permission to put that kind of a mile under the water and then thousands of feet beyond that, and allow them to do that without having any emergency protection should there be a disaster? That occurred, what, 10 years ago, 20 years ago.

IMUS: I understand that but when the President took office, he knew, and particularly when he authorized this new offshore drilling off the coast of Virginia or wherever the hell it is, he knew that all of these permits and all of these stipulations were in place and he could have changed that, couldn’t he?

Dodd’s response was that carbon fuels aren’t the answer and we need to “shift gears” to other forms of energy.


Super Bowl 2014

Filed under: Sports — DRJ @ 3:44 pm

[Guest post by DRJ]

Brilliant … or Brrrr?

“The NFL’s Big One is coming to the Big Apple.

League owners awarded the 2014 Super Bowl to New York/New Jersey on Tuesday, pegging the new $1.6 billion stadium to be shared by the Giants and Jets in East Rutherford, N.J., as the first outdoor, cold-weather site in the game’s storied history.

The result, which surprisingly went into a fourth round of voting, was expected to be a virtual fait accompli, with NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell firmly behind the push to put Super Bowl XLVIII across the river from the league’s Manhattan office in the dead of winter.

New York’s bid committee addressed concerns about the potential for brutal weather with talk of returning the game to its “old school” roots and with the motto “Let’s Make History.”

Maybe they could play without helmets to make it really old school.


Unflappable, Vol. 2

Filed under: Obama — DRJ @ 3:30 pm

[Guest post by DRJ]

Senate Republicans have punctured the myth of President Obama as cool, calm, and in control:

“President Barack Obama battled with Senate Republicans in a tense closed-door meeting Tuesday, facing tough criticism from his GOP adversaries — including John McCain — on issues ranging from health care to border security.

Senators and other sources inside the meeting described the gathering as “testy” and “direct” — and Sen. Bob Corker (R-Tenn.) accused Obama of acting two-faced by asking for GOP support on regulatory reform only to push forward with a bill supported mainly by Democrats. Others felt that the meeting may have made already tense relations between the two parties even worse.

“The more he talked, the more he got upset,” Sen. Pat Roberts (R-Kan.) said. “He needs to take a valium before he comes in and talks to Republicans and just calm down, and don’t take anything so seriously. If you disagree with someone, it doesn’t mean you’re attacking their motives — and he takes it that way and tends then to lecture and then gets upset.”

Read the whole thing, as the Senators show they aren’t hesitant to confront the President about his policies.

H/T TimesDisliker.


More Boots on the Border

Filed under: Immigration,Obama — DRJ @ 2:58 pm

[Guest post by DRJ]

President Obama will reportedly order more boots and bucks for the border:

“President Barack Obama will send 1,200 National Guard troops to boost security along the U.S.-Mexico border, officials said Tuesday, pre-empting Republican plans to try to force votes on such a deployment.

Obama will also request $500 million for border protection and law enforcement activities, according to lawmakers and administration officials. The moves come as chances for action on comprehensive immigration reform, Obama’s long-stated goal, look increasingly small in this election year. But Obama is under pressure to do something with the issue front and center after Arizona’s passage of a tough crackdown law.

The National Guard troops will work on intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance support, analysis and training, and support efforts to block drug trafficking. They will temporarily supplement border patrol agents until Customs and Border Protection can recruit and train additional officers and agents to serve on the border, an administration official said.”

Will this include drones, too?

By the way, President Bush ordered National Guard troops to assist on the border in 2006 but Senator Biden objected:

“Sen. Joe Biden, D-Del., said there may be a need for troops to fill in while the Border Patrol is bolstered. But he did not seem confident that the National Guard could take on the extra duty.

“We have stretched these men and women so thin, so thin, because of the bad mistakes done by the civilians in the military here, that I wonder how they’re going to be able to do it,” Biden said, also on ABC.”

Prior reports suggest the Pentagon is concerned about the deployment of troops on the border. Perhaps the cost and deployment issues have been resolved since 2006.


Obama and the Press

Filed under: Media Bias,Obama — DRJ @ 2:49 pm

[Guest post by DRJ]

President Obama hasn’t held a full press conference in 307 days — since July 22, 2009, when he remarked that the Cambridge police “acted stupidly” after arresting Henry Louis Gates, Jr. — and even the White House media realizes it’s being shut out:

“More troubling is that Obama makes no secret of his disdain for the press. Just look at the scene in the Oval Office May 18, when Obama invited a few journalists to watch him sign a new bill — it just happened to be the Daniel Pearl Freedom of the Press Act.

“Speaking of press freedom, could you answer a couple of questions on BP?” CBS’s Chip Reid asked Obama after the signing.

“You’re certainly free to ask them, Chip,” Obama said.

“Will you answer them?” Reid continued. “How about a question on Iran?”

“We won’t be answering — I’m not doing a press conference today,” Obama said. “But we’ll be seeing you guys during the course of this week. OK?”

And that was that. In the spirit of the day, Obama conceded that the press had the freedom to ask questions — he just didn’t have to answer them. (By the way, Obama aides edited the exchange with Reid out of the video of the signing posted on the White House Web site.)

When the president hinted he would answer questions “during the course of this week,” he was referring to his meeting with Mexican President Felipe Calderon a few days later. After the leaders made joint statements, Obama allowed questions from just two reporters, both from Spanish-language news outlets. Obama took more than 11 minutes to respond to the questions, then said their time was up, leaving reporters frustrated yet again.”

It must be painful to be jilted by your true love.



Filed under: Obama — DRJ @ 2:28 pm

[Guest post by DRJ]

The Washington Post has punctured the myth of Obama as calm, cool, and in control:

“Since the oil rig exploded, the White House has tried to project a posture that is unflappable and in command.

But to those tasked with keeping the president apprised of the disaster, Obama’s clenched jaw is becoming an increasingly familiar sight. During one of those sessions in the Oval Office the first week after the spill, a president who rarely vents his frustration cut his aides short, according to one who was there.

“Plug the damn hole,” Obama told them.”

The well blew out 35 days ago, so either someone didn’t get his message or he isn’t in control.


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