Patterico's Pontifications


Unverified Report: Dem Senator Headed Back to Wisconsin; UPDATE: Sounds Solid To Me

Filed under: General — Patterico @ 9:50 pm

It’s on Twitter and, I repeat, it’s unverified. But it’s from Liberty Chick, whom I find very reliable:

BREAKING: Dem Senator Timothy Cullen has just returned to #WI tonight. WI-14 is now WI-13 #teaparty #wiunion #tcot

Her anonymous source, I can’t vouch for as strongly. (UPDATE: To be clear, because I don’t know who it is.)

We’ll know soon enough.

UPDATE 10:14 p.m.: I have now heard more details and this sounds pretty solid to me. I just chatted with Liberty Chick. She has spoken by phone to someone on the ground who was behind the vehicle carrying the senator. It was seen crossing the state line — by whom I can’t tell you, although I know who. The license plate has been confirmed. Liberty Chick was told that the senator was headed home.

I think it’s true.

UPDATE x2: If the Democrats are really folding, they’re going to need some better security for that Senator, if this is any indication:

More details at Malkin’s place, including screenshots of the union involvement in this unhinged scene.

UPDATE 3-2-11 12:10 p.m.: It appears that Senator Cullen is back with the other AWOL Senators in Illinois. So was the story wrong? I don’t think so. Liberty Chick tells me she stands by the claim that he went to Wisconsin last night, and I think she’s right. I also believe the proof may be revealed soon.

What it all means is anybody’s guess.

Holder: The DOJ Does Not Discriminate in Favor of My People

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

[Guest post by Aaron Worthing; if you have tips, please send them here.]

That is a paraphrase (note to Tim Rutten: this is not a quote) designed to capture the deep contradiction in Eric Holder’s testimony today (technically yesterday in my time zone).  Since we are still doing a link boycott of Politico for its bullying, the workaround comes from USA Today

First, of course Eric Holder tells us there is no racial discrimination in the Department of Justice:

“This Department of Justice does not enforce the law on the basis of race,” Holder insisted.

But that’s what he is expected to say, regardless of the truth.  Years ago when I had to go to court to protect myself from disability-based discrimination, my attorney at the time (I wasn’t a lawyer, yet) said that when it came to disability discrimination I enjoyed a perverse advantage.  “They haven’t learn to lie about it, yet,” he said, “not like with race or sex.”

But if you pay close attention, the truth just might peak out.  Here’s a far more telling encounter:

The Attorney General seemed to take personal offense at a comment Culberson read in which former Democratic activist Bartle Bull called the incident the most serious act of voter intimidation he had witnessed in his career.

Now, to remind you (and to make Beldar a happy man), this is the kind of thing Bartle Bull was telling us:

Anyway, on with Eric Holder’s reaction:

“Think about that,” Holder said. “When you compare what people endured in the South in the 60s to try to get the right to vote for African Americans, to compare what people subjected to that with what happened in Philadelphia, which was inappropriate … to describe it in those terms I think does a great disservice to people who put their lives on the line for my people,” said Holder, who is black.

(Emphasis added.)  Now you could get distracted by the merits of Holder’s response.  I don’t think either Holder or anyone else knows all that Bull witnessed in his life.  I don’t know if, in his lifetime, Mr. Bull has seen anything that brazen.  And Bull seems to be as much talking about the response of the Federal Government as the actions of the Black Pather morons.

But notice that phrasing.  His people. And the article felt it was important to note at that time that Holder was black.  Because we all knew what he meant by his people.  If you are white, Asian, Native American, you are not one of “his people.”

How many times have hacky liberals accused conservatives or republicans of trying to make Obama into an “Other.” This webpage describes the theory as follows and its pretty standard fare:

Charlie Sheen: Now on Twitter! UPDATE: Who Said It? Sheen or Qaddafi? UPDATE: Sheen’s Kids Removed from Home

Filed under: General — Patterico @ 7:23 pm

It’s about three hours old — and verified.

A fun game you can play: go to his new Twitter account. Check out how many followers he has. Then refresh. It’s going up by a few hundred every few seconds.

I’m @Patterico, but I’m having a hard time keeping up.

UPDATE: The Guardian has a hilarious quiz challenging you to distinguish between quotes from Charlie Sheen and Moammar Qaddafi. It’s harder than you think. (That’s what he said!) First quote:

I have defeated this earthworm with my words – imagine what I would have done with my fire-breathing fists.

I got 3 out of 10.

UPDATE x2: This is breaking news: Sheen’s kids have been taken away by the cops. Quotable:

My fangs are dripping tiger blood.

(That’s Sheen, not Qaddafi.)

Funny: he seemed like he would be good with the kids.

UPDATE x3: Stacy McCain says we are witnessing mental illness and that it is no laughing matter. Maybe he’s right but I still can’t help but be entertained.

Noted Partisan Hack Leaves New York Times

Filed under: General — Patterico @ 6:28 pm

There are far too many possibilities, aren’t there?

Say goodbye to Frank Rich.

Libya Kicked Off the UN Human Rights Council

Filed under: General — Aaron Worthing @ 6:26 pm

[Guest post by Aaron Worthing; if you have tips, please send them here.]

The other day I linked to a CNS article that says that Libya was unlikely to lose its membership in the UN Human Rights Council.  Well, on this I am very pleased to be wrong.  From the UN’s News Centre:

The General Assembly today suspended Libya from the United Nations Human Rights Council for “gross and systematic” human rights violations because of President Muammar Al-Qadhafi’s violent repression of peaceful protesters demanding his ouster.

The vote by the 192-member Assembly, for which a two-thirds majority was required, followed a request last Friday from the Geneva-based Council itself that it suspend the North African country – one of the top UN right’s body’s 47 elected members – and was passed by acclamation.

In a related story, they also condemned the human rights violations in the suppression of dissent in China, Iran, Pakistan (they kill blasphemers there), Yemen, Saudi Arabia…

Ah, who are we kidding?  That would require consistency.  Still it’s something.

At the same time, James Taranto points out that they are well on their way to ratifying a report praising Libya for its human rights record, at least prior to the rebellion, highlighting

the words of praise from the council’s member nations, a rogue’s gallery of tyrannies:

Sudan noted the country’s positive experience in achieving a high school enrolment rate and improvements in the education of women. The Syrian Arab Republic praised the Libyan Arab Jamahiriya for its serious commitment to and interaction with the Human Rights Council and its mechanisms. . . . North Korea praised the Libyan Arab Jamahiriya for its achievements in the protection of human rights. . . . Palestine [sic] commended the Libyan Arab Jamahiriya for the consultations held with civil society in the preparation of the national report. . . . Saudi Arabia commended the Libyan Arab Jamahiriya’s achievements in its constitutional, legislative and institutional frameworks. . . . Venezuela acknowledged the efforts of the Libyan Arab Jamahiriya to promote economic, social and cultural rights, especially those of children. . . .Cuba commended the Libyan Arab Jamahiriya for the progress made. . . .Myanmar commended the Libyan Arab Jamahiriya for its economic and social progress.

…The council is a joke, and its actions should be judged by the same standard as any other joke. It ought to approve the report because that would be funnier than rejecting it.

In other words, he hopes they fail. It is frankly much more useful to those of us who don’t like the U.N. if they do ridiculous things like this.  But even a few good acts does not suddenly make the body an appropriate sovereign for a free people.  The fact is my reasoning in the last post still rings true:

There is an old, snide comment that democracy is like two foxes and a chicken voting on what is for dinner.  That is perhaps too harsh in many contexts, but seems exactly right when the U.N. is involved….  To get a little philosophical, this is exactly why the American Constitution has what is known as the guarantee clause—a clause requiring that every state has a “republican” form of government.  Because you can’t mix republics with dictatorships in the same “representative” body.  And this is precisely why the U.N. has no legitimate say over American affairs.

So for once the U.N. was embarrassed into not doing the most ridiculous and shameful thing possible.  And maybe they will recognize that praising Libya’s human rights record is every bit as embarrassing and shameful as their continued membership on the Human Rights Council was.  But we rightfully have higher aspirations than to be ruled by an international body that avoids extreme embarrassment.  They vaulted a very, very low bar, but they are still illegitimate as proposed rulers.

[Posted and authored by Aaron Worthing.]

Tim Rutten Needs to Learn How to Quote Accurately, 2

Filed under: Dog Trainer,General — Patterico @ 6:17 pm

It was just three days ago that we had the post titled Tim Rutten Needs to Learn How to Quote Accurately. How ironic.

Jeffrey Goldberg has the scoop, and you should read it all. Here is the key paragraph:

In other words, it seems as if Rutten lifted phrases from an obvious parody of O that was published on an English newspaper’s website, and then he attributed these lines to the author of the actual book. Then he excoriates the author not only for writing these “biased” lines, but for general ethical failure.

I notice Rutten’s last misquote has not been corrected. And there is another old outstanding error I pointed out that they never corrected.

Time for a lengthy e-mail to the Readers’ Rep.

Thanks to numerous readers.

Black History Month Celebration… Fail!

Filed under: General — Aaron Worthing @ 12:24 pm

[Guest post by Aaron Worthing; if you have tips, please send them here.]

So the LA Clippers, the Ted Kennedy to the Lakers’ JFK, decided to celebrate Black History Month and announce it as follows:

This calls for a very cute facepalm:

So, they figure that the way to celebrate black history month is to have a special event for…  underprivileged kids.  You know because all black people are “underprivileged.”  I mean if Barack Obama’s kids showed up, would they be considered “underprivileged?”

And then as if that all wasn’t fun enough, they got the, um, month wrong.  Black History month just ended yesterday.

As The Blaze wryly notes: “This does not help accusations that the owner of the NBA’s Los Angeles Clippers, Donald Sterling, is racist.”  But I concur that mostly this just looks incompetent.

H/t: Amir Shaw.

[Posted and authored by Aaron Worthing.]

Dunphy on Cops Showing Solidarity with the SEIU and on Public Unions Generally

Filed under: General — Patterico @ 7:10 am

Jack Dunphy talks about an e-mail from his police union urging solidarity with the SEIU and He first quotes the letter as describing Scott Walker’s plan as “shocking” and responds:

I must point out there is nothing particularly shocking about what Gov. Walker and the Republican majority in the Wisconsin legislature seek to accomplish, especially given that they campaigned and won election largely on their vow to curb state spending and close a looming deficit. They are merely trying to do as officeholders what they promised to do as candidates (which, on reflection, is shocking enough in itself). And it is troubling that we as police officers were being asked to endorse the lawless actions of the 14 Wisconsin state Senate Democrats who bugged out like a bunch of crooks with the cops at the door rather than allow the democratic process to unfold. Elections have consequences, I suppose, unless you can take it on the lam and prevent them.

He then continues:

There then came this paragraph:

At noon local time on Saturday, February 26, will hold rallies in front of every statehouse and in every major city to stand in solidarity with the people of Wisconsin. Find a Rally to Save the American Dream near you by visiting the website and entering your zip code. You can also show your support by sending words of encouragement to Wisconsin’s workers via a special website created by the SEIU.

What? The SEIU? And they were asking cops to march in this parade? Surely this had to be some kind of elaborate Internet hoax.

And it got worse. If you dared to click on the link to find a rally, you learned that in addition to and the SEIU, the events were to be sponsored by National People’s Action, the Progressive Change Campaign Committee, USAction, the Daily Kos, Media Matters, and every other leftist fringe cabal this side of the Socialist Workers Party. The post concluded with a stirring exhortation: “Our brothers and sisters in Wisconsin are under attack. They need and deserve our support. The time to pull together is NOW.” They might have gone with something a bit punchier, like “Workers of the world, unite!”

It was no hoax. Would that it had been.

Read it all. One interesting part of Dunphy’s article is his support for the idea of unions for public employees:

But while I refuse to link arms with, I also disagree with conservatives such as Jonah Goldberg (to whom I am indebted for opening the door to me over at National Review Online) who advocate for the elimination of public employee unions. Writing in the Los Angeles Times last Tuesday, Goldberg described private sector unions as having arisen out of the struggle between business owners and the workers from whose sweat they derived their riches and whom they exploited in the pursuit of greater profits. “It’s been said,” wrote Goldberg, “that during World War I, U.S. soldiers had better odds of surviving on the front lines than miners did in West Virginia coal mines.” Public sector workers, he says, have no similar history of oppression by their employers.

Which is true, as far as it goes, but it ignores the adversarial relationship rank-and-file police officers often have with both their own management and the city governments that employ them. True, on a typical work day we’re at little risk of a mine shaft cave-in, but we live with the fairly constant peril of getting the shaft from our bosses. Only the protections we have gained through collective bargaining prevent those bosses from making our working conditions intolerable.

And then there is the more basic, even conservative principle that labor is at bottom a commodity, one that is traded at prices determined by the market. Police officers, firefighters, teachers, and what have you should have the right to choose those who will negotiate a fair price for their labor on their behalf.

I share Dunphy’s view that public employees sometimes need protection from their bosses. But here is the problem I have with unions for public employees charged with public safety: how do you flex your muscles when the bosses ignore you? With work stoppages or slowdowns?

To be simplistic, while there are naturally advantages to any group banding together to show solidarity, I have always believed that a union’s trump card is the threat of a work stoppage. And that is the reason I don’t feel comfortable joining a union. I can’t imagine myself refusing to come to work over some labor dispute. And absent that, what leverage do I have?

I have heard of police engaging in the “blue flu” and have never respected that. It’s dishonest, and it poses threats to public safety when law enforcement is not properly staffed.

I’ll see if I can get Jack to explain here how his union gets its muscle. In the meantime, I’m pleased to have found an issue where I may be more “conservative” than he. I didn’t think it would ever happen!

Iran: About the Arrest of Opposition Leaders… Squirrel!

Filed under: General — Aaron Worthing @ 7:08 am

[Guest post by Aaron Worthing; if you have tips, please send them here.]

That is my take on this sequence of events.  First, yesterday we learned that Iran had arrested two of the leaders of the opposition, who are trying to get an Egyptian/Libyan/Tunisian type revolt going in Iran:

Iran’s government put the two prominent reformists under house arrest after they called for opposition rallies on February 14 in solidarity with anti-government uprisings in the Arab world.  Iran’s government banned the rallies and ordered security forces to disperse them, triggering violence that killed two people.

Iran’s semi-official Fars news agency says a judicial official denied the opposition’s claim that Mousavi and Karroubi were moved to Tehran’s Heshmatieh prison.  The official said Monday authorities have kept the two men under house arrest and restricted their contacts with the outside world.

Iranian opposition activists have called for protests to be held every Tuesday to demand the release of the leading reformists.

And in the same article you see some criticism from outside of Iran for the arrests.  And surely many in Iran would be outraged, so they responded by essentially shouting “Squirrel”—that is, trying to distract people—by claiming that the logo of the London 2012 games was part of an Israeli conspiracy:

Iran is threatening to boycott the 2012 Olympic Games in London because of the Games’ logo.

According to an Iranian official, the logo, with its blocky, abstract rendering of “2012,” is racist because it appears to spell the word “Zion,” a biblical term for Jerusalem, rather than 2012. Bahram Afsharzadeh, the secretary-general of Iran’s National Olympic Committee, said via the official IRNA news agency that he sent a letter of complaint to International Olympic Committee President Jacques Rogge.

And here is the offending logo.

I myself am reminded of how a few weeks ago Gaddafi asked why the Palestinians weren’t rising up and more than a few people took that as a sign that Gaddafi was worried.  I suspect this stupid logo controversy is designed to serve a similar purpose.

And regime in Yemen seems to be playing that, “quick, look at the jews!” game, too.

[Posted and authored by Aaron Worthing.]

Great News About That New Government Motors Car, The Volt…

Filed under: General — Aaron Worthing @ 5:39 am

[Guest post by Aaron Worthing; if you have tips, please send them here.]

According to Consumer Reports, it doesn’t make very much sense:

“When you are looking at purely dollars and cents, it doesn’t really make a lot of sense. The Volt isn’t particularly efficient as an electric vehicle and it’s not particularly good as a gas vehicle either in terms of fuel economy,” said David Champion, the senior director of Consumer Reports auto testing center at a meeting with reporters here. “This is going to be a tough sell to the average consumer.”

The magazine said in its testing in Connecticut during a harsh winter, its Volt is getting 25 to 27 miles on electric power alone.

GM spokesman Greg Martin noted that it’s been an extremely harsh winter — and as a Volt driver he said he’s getting 29-33 miles on electric range. But he noted that in more moderate recent weather, the range jumped to 40 miles on electric range or higher.

Champion believes a hybrid, such as the Toyota Prius, may make more sense for some trips.

Oh, and as if that didn’t make you want to run out and buy it enough, there is also this.

Champion noted the Volt is about twice as expensive as a Prius.

So it’s not very good, but it is very expensive.  Okay, show of hands, who was surprised by this?  This is what happens when government tries to get involved in business.  You get business decisions driven by politics rather than good business.

And when this car fails, will GM need a bailout to pay for this boondoggle?

[Posted and authored by Aaron Worthing.]

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