Patterico's Pontifications


George W. Bush: Damn Right I Approved of Waterboarding

Filed under: General — Aaron Worthing @ 4:20 pm

[Guest post by Aaron Worthing; send your tips here.]

Today’s comment bait is brought to you by the Washington Post which says (for now at least):

In his book, titled “Decision Points,” Bush recounts being asked by the CIA whether it could proceed with waterboarding Mohammed, who Bush said was suspected of knowing about still-pending terrorist plots against the United States. Bush writes that his reply was “Damn right” and states that he would make the same decision again to save lives, according to a someone close to Bush who has read the book.

The WaPo presented this as an example of it being a revelation.  Personally I thought to myself “what else is new?”  And the WAPO insinuates that “human rights experts say could one day have legal consequences for him. “  As for whether it is torture or not, I think you have to divide it between the legal question and the moral question, although you will see some interaction between the two.  Morally, I would say that wherever the line between torture and tough interrogation is, waterboarding is very close to that line.  I think it is on the right side of the line, as something unpleasant but not actually torturous.  But I respect people who disagree.  Still those who do disagree need to get off their high horse and recognize the issue is a little more subjective than they are generally pretending it is.

As for whether it is legally torture, well, here is the current wording of the U.S. Code:


WTF?! CBS/AP Creates a Picture of Obama with one Side of his Face Darker Than the Other?

Filed under: General — Aaron Worthing @ 1:23 pm

[Guest post by Aaron Worthing; send your tips here.]

I am writing this with a complete sense of disbelief.  This is a picture credited to “CBS/AP” and, well… look at it:

Yeah, that’s really creepy.  They chose to divide the president’s face in half and then make one side darker than the other.  And of course the darker side is the one with the Democrats on it; and the lighter side is the one with the Republicans on it.

Creative Minority Report takes it apart nicely:

Are they saying that Obama will have to act white with Republicans?

How could anyone think that changing the President’s skin tone like this would be a good idea? This has got to be either one of the most racially insensitive and just plain ol’ stupid photoshops a major news organization has done since Time Magazine blackened OJ Simpson’s face. The idiocy of this is only heightened by the fact that Obama’s heritage is mixed.

So after months of specious accusations of racism, CBS and the AP appear to be delivering the real thing.

Well, either that or they are trying to say Obama is really Bele:

Ironically, I think our president is enough of a nerd to have gotten that joke without the photographic aid.

(And I call him a “nerd” affectionately.)

Hat tip:  The Blaze.

Update: And for more actual racism, check out this page at the daily kos.

[Posted and authored by Aaron Worthing.]

California Conservatives: Whither Shall We Flee?

Filed under: General — Jack Dunphy @ 11:31 am

[Guest post by Jack Dunphy]

Apropos the question posed by our host below, i.e., why do conservatives choose to remain in California, I put to the readers a corollary: To where should the conservative California family flee?

I’m eligible to retire from the LAPD any time I choose, and Mrs. Dunphy and I often ask ourselves why we’re still here in Los Angeles. The question is all the more apt in view of the election that returned Jerry Brown to the governor’s office and Barbara Boxer to the Senate. These are not hopeful signs for the Golden State, which is already on the brink of bankruptcy.

So I ask: Where would an ex-cop and his family find happiness? Your suggestions are welcome.

–Jack Dunphy

Liberals grope to explain 2010 for 2012

Filed under: General — Karl @ 10:16 am

[Posted by Karl]

Pres. Obama’s post-election presser makes clear that he blames the shellacking of his party on the economy and not much at all on his policy agenda.  Other lefties are trying to be more realistic, but failing. Take Ezra Klein (please):

Most of the losses were predicted by structural factors, but not all of them. Democrats lost at least 15 more seats than the basic model would’ve predicted, and though you can try and explain that away (they were holding seats because of a demographically unique election in 2008, or the model doesn’t account for extreme economic conditions), it’s not really worth doing: Democrats lost a lot of seats. Even more than the economic conditions would’ve predicted [Link added].

Klein attributes this to the dropoff in the youth vote and increase in the senior vote, relative to the last election.  Kos goes further, promoting this analysis from The Guardian’s Michael Tomasky:

1. The 2008 electorate was 74% white, plus 13% black and 9% Latino. The 2010 numbers were 78, 10 and 8. So it was a considerably whiter electorate.

2. In 2008, 18-to-29-year-olds made up 18% and those 65-plus made up 16%. Young people actually outvoted old people. This year, the young cohort was down to 11%, and the seniors were up to a whopping 23% of the electorate. That’s a 24-point flip.

3. The liberal-moderate-conservative numbers in 2008 were 22%, 44% and 34%. Those numbers for yesterday were 20%, 39% and 41%. A big conservative jump, but in all likelihood because liberals didn’t vote in big numbers.

Add to these figures the fact that overall turnout was down by about a third, or more, from nearly 130 million to about 82.5 million. That’s at least 45 million no-shows, and the exits tell us the bulk of them were liberal, young, black, Latino. If 25 million of these no-shows had voted, Democratic losses would pretty obviously have been in the normal range, and they’d still control the House.

Of course, what a Brit like Tomasky might not get — but Klein and Kos certainly should — is that presidential elections historically have higher turnout, with different demographics, than midterms.  The comparison is apples and oranges.  A glance at the 2006 exit poll — marking a pretty darned good year for Dems — shows the racial makeup of the electorate was almost identical to 2010, and that the youth vote was almost the same.  Overall turnout increased in 2010 over 2006.  At TNR, William Galston (a New Dem even before the Clinton era) lays it out: (more…)

Althouse Confused by Coming Ninth Circuit Smackdown

Filed under: General — Aaron Worthing @ 9:03 am

Regular readers know by now that if a decision is appealed to the Supreme Court from the Ninth Circuit, especially if Judge Reinhardt voted with the majority below, you can assume 90% of the time that the Supreme Court is hearing the case because the Ninth Circuit got something wrong and Supreme Court needs to correct it.  For some reason, however,Ann Althouse thinks that Arizona Christian School Tuition Organization v. Winn is a tough question.  In that case, taxpayers were allowed to get a tax credit of up to $500 if they donate to a School Tuition Organization (STO).  The STO was then free to spend the money however it sees fit, with the limitation that it must go to scholarships for students.

(Look close at the word "public.")

Ann Althouse thinks “this case has a substantive Establishment Clause issue — whether government is subsidizing religion — and a threshold issue about standing” asking in the headline to her post, “[i]f the government gives tax credits for donations that may go to religion, is that essentially the same as government spending on religion?”

Well, I respect Professor Althouse a lot, but this case is not even close.  Even if you pretend that receiving a tax credit for a donation to a religious institution is the same as the government handing money directly to a religious institution, the Supreme Court has pretty much already decided the issue.

I mean more than a few of you probably already noticed that this sounds a lot like vouchers.  And the Supreme Court has declared that a voucher scheme is constitutional, in Zelman v. Simmons-Harris (2002), saying:


L.A. Times: Poor Nancy Pelosi Just Doesn’t Get Any Credit

Filed under: Dog Trainer,General — Patterico @ 6:47 am

Their headline actually reads as follows: “Pelosi’s Effectiveness Is Not Rewarded.” No, I am not making that up:

Note that one of the authors is Official Gusher Faye Fiore, the same person who assured us in 2007 that Pelosi was a “conciliator” who “embraced a centrist agenda and built relationships with rivals.”


Today Fiore & Co. are a bit more realistic about Pelosi’s partisan legacy as Speaker, now taking the tack that she is indeed partisan . . . but was effectively partisan:

Historians predict she will go down with the likes of Sam Rayburn and Thomas P. “Tip” O’Neill as one of the country’s most effective, albeit partisan, speakers. . . . . Congress could hardly be called do-nothing on Pelosi’s watch. She pushed to passage the most far-reaching healthcare overhaul since the creation of Medicare, an economic stimulus program and the revamping of financial regulations, often with little or no Republican support.

. . . .

If Pelosi was one of the country’s most effective House speakers, she was also one of its most polarizing. Despite promises of red and blue working together, signaled by the purple suit she wore at her swearing in, the age-old Washington tradition of the majority ignoring the minority prevailed with her in charge.

“The speaker might as well have posted a ‘Do Not Enter’ sign on the front of the Capitol,” Republican members of the House Rules Committee groused [Damn grousing Republicans! — Ed.] in a recent report.

Sounds a bit nonconciliatory. Sounds rather uncentrist.

At the risk of belaboring the obvious: looks like you were wrong in 2007, huh, Faye?

Now, as for the rest of the article . . . did Faye Fiore et al. ever consider that perhaps Pelosi’s effectiveness is being rewarded? That perhaps the loss of 60+ seats in the House was directly connected to the things that she and her pal Barry “accomplished”?

For the common-sense spin that the L.A. Times always seems to miss, I’m always here.

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