Patterico's Pontifications


L.A. Times Manages to Portray McConnell as Following Obama’s Lead on Earmarks

Filed under: Dog Trainer,Obama — Patterico @ 11:04 pm

It’s quite a sleight of hand, to be sure. But for a paper that shills for Democrats on a daily basis, turning reality upside down is second nature:

In a surprise shift, Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell announced Monday he would support a proposal put forward by conservative Republicans to ban so-called earmark spending in the new Congress.

. . . .

. . . President Obama used his weekly address this weekend to support an earmark ban as well. He also issued a statement Monday afternoon praising McConnell’s “decision to join me and members of both parties who support cracking down on wasteful earmark spending.”

Join President Obama in fighting earmarks! He has fought them ever since, well, never. This is a guy who sought millions and millions in earmarks when he was a Senator — including, famously, “a request for $1 million in federal funding in 2006 for a new pavilion at the University of Chicago Hospitals, where his wife, Michelle Obama, was a vice president at the time.”

Oddly enough, “Mrs. Obama’s compensation at the University of Chicago Hospital, where she is a vice president for community affairs, jumped from $121,910 in 2004, just before her husband was elected to the Senate, to $316,962 in 2005, just after he took office.” Almost as if the administrators had an inkling that having her there might help them cash in!

It didn’t work, by the way, despite Barry’s best efforts. The earmark didn’t go through, and her salary was promptly reduced back to $273,618. And that, I suppose, must be when he suddenly decided he hated earmarks? If my wife can’t cash in, then screw everything.

This story somehow doesn’t make it into the L.A. Times article. Which then goes on to quote Obama as follows:

“I look forward to working with Democrats and Republicans to not only end earmark spending, but to find other ways to bring down our deficits for our children,” he said.

I have an idea for how to bring down our deficits, Mr. President. Stop spending money like it’s going out of style. Stop passing stimulus packages costing hundreds of billions of dollars that aren’t needed. Stop passing huge socialist reforms that cost a mint.

None of which is mentioned in the article either.

Oh, and just one last thing: senior White House advisor David Axelrod said on Sunday morning that Obama probably has no choice but to sign a slew of earmarks into law. Because, you know, “one of the problems is that these things come embedded in bills that have to be signed.” “Have” to be signed, he said.

That didn’t make it in the article either! Wow.

The message: a reluctant Mitch McConnell is dragged kicking and screaming into opposing earmarks by a principled Barack Obama: reformer, and deficit foe.

Makes you want to re-subscribe, doesn’t it? So you can get a fresh point of view like this every day.

The NYT’s Laughably Biased Budget Simulator

Filed under: General — Aaron Worthing @ 5:58 pm

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

Go here, look for yourself.  The NYT has offered a Budget Simulator that is propaganda masking itself as a computer program.  For instance consider some of the options they give you:

  • Cut foreign aid in half.
  • Cut pay of civilian federal workers by 5 percent.
  • Reduce the federal workforce by 10 percent.

Really, that is the best we can do?  I bet if we really, really tried, we could cut our federal workforce by 25% at least.  In fact, if we really wanted to radically reduce the federal government, 50% is a very doable goal.  I mean not all by itself, but in conjunction with radical reductions in the amount of work and regulation going on, it could be done.  And I bet their pay could stand to be cut a tad more than just 5%.  Likewise it assumes that we can only cut aid to states by 5%.  I refuse to be so pessimistic.

But more egregiously, it assumes that raising taxes will raise government income.  Now they are free to have that opinion, but there is plenty of data suggesting that if you raise taxes you will kill the economy and income will fall.  For instance, they suggest a millionaire’s tax which sounds great in a “soak the rich” sort of way, but they tried that in Maryland, and revenues fell.  Gee, who would think that if you taxed the most mobile segment of the population that they might up and leave?  Who could have predicted that?

What this is, is the latest example of liberals worshipping false “science”—science that hasn’t been established nearly enough to call it anything more than a hypothesis, dressed up as a cold, hard certainty.  Don’t be fooled by their cheap tricks.

Hat tip: James Pethokoukis.

[Posted and authored by Aaron Worthing.]

Palin’s Critics Have Been Refudiated (Updated: Ratings Smash!)

Filed under: General — Aaron Worthing @ 1:08 pm

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

Actually not really, but I had to work the word of the year into the headline, right?  Read on:

“Refudiate,” Sarah Palin’s widely ridiculed mashup of “repudiate” and “refute” — though she was far from the first to use the word — has been named 2010 Word of the Year by the staff of the New Oxford American Dictionary.

This is a direct link to the Oxford Press blog on the subject.  So between this and Paul Krugman recommending the use of death panels, she is having a very good week so far.

Personally I never understood the screeching over the whole “refudiate” thing.  Words are made up in our language all the time.  I mean when Mary J. Blige sang that we “[d]on’t need no hateration, holleratin’/In this dancery” I don’t think anyone called her stupid.  She was just making up words.  Not to mention that often words get their meanings changed drastically in our culture.  The word funk existed before George Clinton and James Brown sang a note, but it only (relatively) recently became attached to a form of music.  And the idea that it could be a good thing to be “bad” didn’t start with Michael Jackson, but he was reflecting a fairly recently emerging slang use of that familiar word.

So picking on her over this amounted to prejudice toward Palin.  They were convinced that she was a moron, so when she used a word that wasn’t formally a word in the English language, the assumption was “here!  We have found it!  Proof she is a moron!”  And when she pointed out that all kinds of people make up words, including Shakespeare, they only mocked her more.  It was pure prejudice.

So enjoy your vindication, Sarah.  I mean, I still don’t want you to be the Republicans nominee for president in 2012, but it’s nice to see the underdog win a few.

Update: And it gets even better for her.  Her show was a ratings smash.  I mean it wasn’t quite “Jon is cheating on Kate and leaving her with Eight” ratings, but five million viewers is fairly respectable for, ugh, reality TV.

[Posted and authored by Aaron Worthing.]

Continuing Fallout From Olberman’s Suspension

Filed under: General — Aaron Worthing @ 10:44 am

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

Via Howard Kurtz, now writing at the Daily Beast, we learn that a lot of infighting had broken out behind the scenes at NBC/MSNBC, over Olbermann’s political donations:

The crisis erupted without warning. On the evening of Nov. 4, when Politico was first working on the story of Olbermann’s donations, Griffin told Price that he hoped MSNBC wouldn’t have to suspend his client. Together with MSNBC spokesman Jeremy Gaines, they went over an Olbermann statement confirming—and defending—the contributions, with Griffin suggesting several deletions.

Early the next morning, Griffin sharpened his stance. He was hearing from everyone at the network. Zucker was irritated. Capus was quite upset. Brokaw had weighed in. This was now about NBC News. Griffin told Price he would have to take Olbermann off the air indefinitely. Olbermann’s team balked, insisting on a definite return date….

In a flurry of weekend calls among Griffin, Price, and Kahn, the sticking point remained Olbermann’s statement of apology. There were even discussions about Olbermann’s plans for a Twitter message as his liberal base rallied to his side. The tweet said: “Greetings From Exile! A quick, overwhelmed, stunned THANK YOU for support that feels like a global hug.”

On Monday, Nov. 8, MSNBC still hadn’t approved the apology statement, but Olbermann’s team gave it to The New York Times and other outlets anyway. Olbermann said he was sorry for the “unnecessary drama” and “for having mistakenly violated an inconsistently applied rule” in making the $7,200 in donations.

He offered a similar on-air apology at the end of Tuesday’s program. The lack of a bow toward his colleagues rubbed salt in some very raw wounds, with some executives saying that Olbermann was trying to tarnish NBC and others saying the commentator had made it all about him.

After the show, Olbermann called an hourlong staff meeting to try to clear the air. Some members of his own team confronted him, saying that his actions had hurt the network.

Hmmm, how do you hurt a corpse, anyway?  Still, as they say, read the whole thing.

Now I agree that it is more than farce to pretend that Olbermann is not invested in the success of the far left causes.  The only suspense in the question of whom he supports is whether he goes with the Democrat or the relevant Green Party candidate.  And it’s not the dumbest payment ever made in political history, either.  But at the same time, let’s remember what he has said about his own conduct and the conduct of his colleagues…


Rangel Goes Pro Per

Filed under: General — Patterico @ 7:16 am

Easy enough when the trial is rigged:

Rep. Charles Rangel (D-N.Y.) plans to defend himself before a jury of his Congressional peers Monday without the assistance of an attorney in a fight for his personal reputation and possibly his career.

Few believe Rangel’s job is on the line because expelling him would require a two-thirds vote in the lame-duck session where Democrats still hold the majority despite their election losses and Rangel is still beloved by many of his colleagues.

I think that’s the legal standard, isn’t it? “Is the accused beloved by colleagues?”

Obama Administration: How About We Hold KSM Indefinitely Without Trial?

Filed under: General — Patterico @ 7:01 am

Here is a little news that Obama tried to bury with a Friday afternoon leak, that I think it appropriate to discuss on a Monday morning when more people are paying attention.

Over the weekend, Hot Air noted that the Obama administration floated a trial balloon by leaking word that the administration may hold Khalid Sheikh Muhammed indefinitely without trial. The reason? Politics:

Khalid Sheik Mohammed, the self-proclaimed mastermind of the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks, will probably remain in military detention without trial for the foreseeable future, according to Obama administration officials.

The administration has concluded that it cannot put Mohammed on trial in federal court because of the opposition of lawmakers in Congress and in New York. There is also little internal support for resurrecting a military prosecution at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba. The latter option would alienate liberal supporters.

So trying him in federal court is a critical necessity to maintain our credibility in the world (Obama’s former position) . . . unless there is political opposition. Meanwhile, the option that makes sense (a military tribunal) can’t be done because . . . we can’t upset the liberals.

Prosecution decisions based on politics. What could go wrong?

I Know This is Wrong, But I am Really Having a Hard Time Not Enjoying it Anyway

Filed under: General — Aaron Worthing @ 5:59 am

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

First, let’s start with the serious stuff first.  Earlier this month, Army Sgt. Jason James McCluskey died for his country in AfghanistanFreedom Remembered tells us that “[h]e died at age 26 at Zarghun Shahr, Mohammed Agha district, Afghanistan, of wounds suffered when insurgents attacked his unit with small arms fire.  He was posthumously awarded the Purple Heart and Bronze Star Medal.”  May God bless and keep you, Sgt. McCluskey.

So his funeral was apparently last Saturyday, and the Westboro Baptist @$$holes went to protest this soldier’s funeral.  They apparently think that if you serve with a gay person you get their gay cooties and therefore go to hell.  But when they went back to their minivan, they discovered that someone had slashed two of their tires:

Yes, yes, I know, it is wrong to feel schadenfruede about this whole thing.  But if you want to feel more of it anyway, then this should bring a smile to your face:

To make matters worse, as their minivan slowly hobbled away on two flat tires, with a McAlester police car following behind, the protesters were unable to find anyone in town who would repair their vehicle, according to police.

The minivan finally pulled over several blocks away in a shopping center parking lot, where AAA was called. A flatbed service truck arrived and loaded up the minivan. Assistant Police Chief Darrell Miller said the minivan was taken to Walmart for repairs.

Of course it is always wrong to do violence or property damage to anyone over a mere disagreement, however big a bunch of @$$holes they are, but really it couldn’t have happened to a nicer bunch, right?  *SEG*

That being said, this raucous but apparently otherwise peaceful counter-protest is not only the correct response, but it is a tribute to their fallen son that they were willing to go out there and protect the family this way:

Even before the protesters discovered their damaged tires, they faced off with a massive crowd of jeering and taunting counterprotesters at Third Street and Washington Avenue, two blocks from the First Baptist Church, where the soldier’s funeral was held.

Miller estimated that crowd to number nearly 1,000 people, and they not only drowned out the Westboro protesters with jeers, but with raucous chants of “USA, USA.”

A few motorcyclists interspersed among the crowd also revved up their engines to muffle the protests.

That’s the correct response, not slashing tires, however much I can’t help but enjoy the latter.

And let me spit ball another idea.  When one of those Westboro Baptist protesters dies, maybe we should show up at their funeral and give them a taste of their own medicine.  I mean make it very specifically targeted toward one of the protesters.  Maybe we could teach them about respecting a person’s right to bury their loved ones in peace and quiet.

Update: On a tangentially related point, Eric Turkewitz, Esq. catches a funeral home network reaching out to him for some kind of unspecified marketing opportunity.  This would be a rare case of the ambulance chasing the lawyer.

Update (II): On the main story, we get Doug Powers at Malkin’s site, saying:

I’d have had somebody fix their tires and after they were back on the highway told them that person was gay.

Maybe they tell them ahead of time for extra comedy purposes.  “Sure we will fix that flat.   But you know our tire specialist, Bob, he’s into men.  Are you okay with that or do you think you will endanger your mortal soul with his gay cooties?  And no, we don’t have anyone else available to help.”

Update (III by Aaron Worthing): David Freddroso writes on a better response:

This morning in La Plata, Md., the hate group’s parade of absurdity received quite a response: More than a thousand counter-demonstrators showed up early, established themselves on the rights-of-way around the church, and prevented the “God Hates Fags” crowd from getting anywhere near the funeral of Marine Lance Cpl. Terry Honeycutt.

A few minutes ago, I called Holly Smith, one of the organizers of the counter-demonstration. I was surprised to hear no shouting or noise in the background. “American flags as far as the eye can see,” she told me. And the Westboro crowd? “They are up at a gas station probably a mile up the road, because they couldn’t get any closer,” she said. “We’re in the shoulder for probably ten deep for at least 300 yards.”

Much better than destruction of property, and a template for helping the grieving families of deceased servicemen in the future.

Agreed.  Like Patterico below I do oppose the criminal act, so I am really glad to see people coming up with peaceful alternatives.

Update (IV): Ain’t unity a beautiful thing?  We learn that Charles Johnson pretty much agrees: slashing tires is wrong, but he seems to be enjoying this, too.  And My Pet Jawa, who does all that anti-terrorism stuff that Johnson used to do, gives us a musical interlude from Nirvana.  Its a really early tape recording, with a different drummer, and someone else doing guitar for Cobain, but Cobain’s light comes shining through on this song nonetheless.

[Posted and authored by Aaron Worthing.]

UPDATE/DISCLAIMER BY PATTERICO: I do not approve of criminal acts in response to speech acts, no matter how heinous the speech act in question.

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