Patterico's Pontifications


“They Gave Every Single One of Their Tomorrows”

Filed under: General — Aaron Worthing @ 8:25 pm

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

That quote is from Sgt. Salvatore Giunta, who earlier today became the only living person given the Medal of Honor since Vietnam, speaking about his fallen colleagues Sgt. Joshua Brenan and Specialist Hugo Mendoza.  Both men died in the very same firefight for which Giunta earned his medal.  He tells us they are the real heroes in this video, that they deserve this honor.

Maybe they do, Sergeant, but so do you.  I won’t say congratulations.  I will just say thank you for your service.

You can read more here.

[Posted and authored by Aaron Worthing.]

John Tyner: The Nail That Sticks Up Will Be Hammered Down (Update: Penn’s Justice)

Filed under: General — Aaron Worthing @ 1:21 pm

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

Update: Iowahawk goofs on the whole controversy with a song: Comply with Me.

Update (II): New post here on what happened when Penn Jillette did call the cops.

So recently there has been a lot of rebellion against the TSA’s frankly invasive scanning and pat downs.  I haven’t written on it, because frankly I wasn’t sure how I felt about the core issue.  I mean the fact is we do have people putting bombs in their shoes and underwear.  That is the reality we live with.  And complaining that we are patting down a three year old girl and so on, forgets that if we give them a free pass the terrorists are given an incentive to use three year old girls.  Our enemies are that big a bunch of @$$holes.  But on the other hand, I can completely understand where people are coming from when they say, “this is too far, whatever the justification.”

And certainly the award for the most ridiculous complaint has to go to CAIR which seems to think that Muslim women, and only Muslim women, should be exempt from the full body pat-down.  The amazing thing in this press release is that this comes on the heels of instructing Muslim women to be ready to accuse TSA officials of profiling:

If you are selected for secondary screening after you go through the metal detector and it does not go off, and “sss” is not written on your boarding pass, ask the TSA officer if the reason you are being selected is because of your head scarf.

So rather than profile Muslim women, single them out for especially nice treatment, I guess.  What a dhimwitted thing to say.

Still, while I am not sure how I feel about the full body scans, I can agree with this simple proposition.  You should be allowed to refuse to fly, rather than be subjected to any of this.  And that is where John Tyner comes in.  John Tyner is the famous “if you touch my junk, I’ll have you arrested” guy.  He wrote an absolutely famous blog post where he described his encounter with the TSA, where basically he said, pat me down, but hands off the jewels.  The TSA said, “if you don’t submit to this, you can’t fly” in which case he told them he was not willing to fly under those circumstances.  Really read the whole thing, but he was perfectly reasonable and as far as I know not at all disruptive.  He just objected to being felt up.  And while I am of two minds on the issue of whether they can make that a requirement of flying, certainly he should be able to refuse to fly as an option.

And so naturally, they are investigating him.  That’s right, because supposedly it’s a crime to leave the security area without permission once you have entered.  Which is funny, because they not only gave him permission to leave the security area, but actually escorted him out.  So depending on the wording of the statute (I have not found the actual statute), their official explanation for the investigation doesn’t seem to make sense.  Further, if you look at the guidance they give for fines, the one that corresponds with refusing the pat downs maxes at $3,000, not the $11,000 amount they keep bandying around.

No, I am sorry, but this looks like payback for a man who embarrassed them nationally.  And it’s wrong.  The TSA should back down and leave this man alone.

Of course the real problem with this scan-or-molest approach is that it is playing defense.  Which means you are inevitably going to annoy a lot of innocent people (even if you do profile), and we still won’t be safe.  The correct response from a national security standpoint isn’t to play defense like this.  It’s to go on offense, to kill the bad guys where they live.  Kill them over there, so we don’t have to face them over here.

But then again, with our current president that will never happen.  So its scan or grope, for now.

[Posted and authored by Aaron Worthing.]

Breaking: Rangel, Wrangled

Filed under: General — Aaron Worthing @ 9:56 am

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

Breaking news, Charlie Rangel has been convicted by the ethics panel:

A House ethics panel has convicted Rep. Charlie Rangel (D-N.Y.) on 11 of 13 counts of violating House ethics rules.

Rep. Zoe Lofgren (D-Calif.), the chairwoman of the adjudicatory subcommittee and the full House ethics committee, announced the decision late Tuesday morning following an abbreviated public trial of the 20-term lawmaker and less than a day of closed-door deliberations.

“We have tried to act with fairness, led only by the facts and the law,” Lofgren said. “We believe we have accomplished that mission.”

The panel will recommend a punishment, then the full ethics panel will have to convene a sanctions hearing to decide whether to agree to the recommended punishment or determine another one. Serious sanctions — including formal reprimand, censure or expulsion — require a vote on the House floor. Expulsion requires a two-thirds vote, while a reprimand, which Rangel refused to agree to in July, or a censure would need just a simple majority.

As they say, read the whole thing.


Joking aside, the most egregious fact in all of this is what he is pleading ignorance of tax violations, but he once headed the Ways and Means Committee, which writes tax laws.  Hey, Rangel, we’ll make a deal with you.  I think my fellow Americans will agree to this.  We will let you plead ignorance of our over-fraking-complicated tax code, if you guys let us do the same.


[Posted and authored by Aaron Worthing.]

Calling Bull on “Taxing the Rich”

Filed under: General — Aaron Worthing @ 9:45 am

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

Riffing off of an item last night, let’s talk about the generalized bull____ that’s been going around talking about taxing “the rich.”  How many times do you hear it?  “The Republicans want tax cuts for the rich.”  “Hey, let’s have a millionaire’s tax.”  Or just google the phrase tax cuts for the rich. Too many people act in this country like as if we tax a person’s wealth.  But when you are talking about the Federal Government, at least, its bull.

We do not tax the rich.  We do not tax wealth, at least not on the federal level.  We tax income.  And the difference is significant.

So when we talk about taxing the “richest” what we really mean is that we tax the people making the most money.  It’s a euphemism, or to put it more bluntly, it’s bull____. And this bull____ harms our ability to talk seriously about taxes.

I mean obviously if you make a lot of money, you are very likely to be wealthy if you have enough intelligence to hold on to it.  But that doesn’t make income a perfect proxy for wealth, and indeed, it often has little to do with wealth.

For instance, imagine two scenarios.


An Honest Question About Pork — Or, Why Pork Matters

Filed under: General — Patterico @ 7:05 am

Before he was dragged kicking and screaming into supporting an earmark ban, Mitch McConnell and a lot of the Smart People were arguing that a ban on earmarks does not reduce spending by a single penny.

Why wouldn’t it?

Can one of the Smart People explain this logic to me?

The argument I have seen is that eliminating earmarks simply turns over spending power to the executive. But I don’t understand why this must be the case.

Let’s take a standard example of an earmark from the post below. Barack Obama, Fearless Champion of Responsible Spending and Opponent of Earmarks, is the junior Senator from Illinois. In that capacity, he requests $1 million in an earmark intended for a local hospital at which, coincidentally, his wife works — at a $316,962 per year job in the position of executive administrator, which is hospital terminology for “Wife Of Guy Who Might Give Us Money.”

The earmark is rejected by lawmakers. Why does this mean that the President now gets to decide how to spend that $1 million? Why can’t lawmakers decide to simply remove that spending from the appropriations bill?

You know: cutting spending! What a concept!

The idea that this approach is rejected out of hand — that any dollar not directed by Congress becomes a dollar directed by the President — seems to miss the entire point. Why can’t a dollar (or a million, or millions or billions) not directed by Congress be returned to the taxpayer? Or, even more shockingly, used to reduce our crushing debt?

As for the size of earmarks, it’s true that they are a small part of the budget. But it’s symptomatic of the mindset.

If you are missing your mortgage payment every month, it’s probably not because you’re subscribing to People Magazine. But if you’re missing your mortgage payment every month, you should not be subscribing to People Magazine. If you are, it’s a good indication that you just don’t seem to understand the problem.

We have to change the mindset, Mitch. So embrace this change with the right attitude. It’s time to return some dollars to the taxpayer.

If we take the lawmakers’ small entitlements, maybe they’ll get in the right frame of mind to take on our big entitlements.

All we can do is try.

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