Patterico's Pontifications


Re Cops, Unions, and Politics

Filed under: General — Jack Dunphy @ 8:32 pm

[Guest post by Jack Dunphy]

Yesterday in this post our host took notice of my most recent column at Pajamas Media, in which I expressed dismay that my labor union, the Los Angeles Police Protective League, had encouraged its members to join in pro-labor protests organized by, the SEIU, the Daily Kos, and a host of other far-left organizations. He wanted to know how police unions flex their political muscles, specifically asking about work stoppages or slowdowns.

I’m working on a follow-up piece for Pajamas Media in which I’ll amplify further, but I should say here that I do not believe police officers should strike under any circumstances. Absent that tactic, police unions are still vested with clout to the extent that their candidate endorsements can sway voters. Here in Los Angeles, for example, there are still some conservative-leaning districts where voters pay attention to endorsements from the Protective League. Crime is still a hot local issue, and the League can buoy some candidates and torpedo others based on a decision to offer an endorsement or to withhold one.

The League also donates money to some candidates, and even conducts independent expenditure campaigns, as they currently are in the race for the seat in the L.A. city council’s 8th District. The incumbent is Bernard Parks, former chief of the LAPD and a longtime nemesis to the League and to most LAPD officers who recall his tenure with the department. The League has endorsed Forescee Hogan-Rowles in the race and is running radio ads touting her candidacy and slamming Parks.

If Parks survives the challenge he’ll be even more obnoxious in his dealings with LAPD than before, if such a thing is possible.

Again, I’ll have more to say on the issue of cops and unions in an upcoming piece for Pajamas Media. Look for it next week.

iowahawk Destroys Krugman and The Economist … No Joke

Filed under: General — Patterico @ 7:56 pm


Please pardon this brief departure from my normal folderol, but every so often a member of the chattering class issues a nugget of stupidity so egregious that no amount of mockery will suffice. Particularly when the issuer of said stupidity holds a Nobel Prize.

Case in point: Paul Krugman. The Times’ staff economics blowhard recently typed, re the state of education in Texas:

And in low-tax, low-spending Texas, the kids are not all right. The high school graduation rate, at just 61.3 percent, puts Texas 43rd out of 50 in state rankings. Nationally, the state ranks fifth in child poverty; it leads in the percentage of children without health insurance. And only 78 percent of Texas children are in excellent or very good health, significantly below the national average.

Similarly, The Economist passes on what appears to be the cut-‘n’-paste lefty factoid du jour:

Only 5 states do not have collective bargaining for educators and have deemed it illegal. Those states and their ranking on ACT/SAT scores are as follows:

South Carolina – 50th
North Carolina – 49th
Georgia – 48th
Texas – 47th
Virginia – 44th

If you are wondering, Wisconsin, with its collective bargaining for teachers, is ranked 2nd in the country.

The point being, I suppose, is that unionized teachers stand as a thin chalk-stained line keeping Wisconsin from descending into the dystopian non-union educational hellscape of Texas. Interesting, if it wasn’t complete bullshit.

Why so? Because Krugman completely fails to control for a variable that, when controlled for, not only eliminates the disparity, but makes Texas a bi-winner — winning over here, and winning over there. What happens when the relevant variable, which I dare not name, is controlled for?

So how does brokeass, dumbass, redneck Texas stack up against progressive unionized Wisconsin? … [W]hite students in Texas perform better than white students in Wisconsin, black students in Texas perform better than black students in Wisconsin, Hispanic students in Texas perform better than Hispanic students in Wisconsin … [I]nstead of chanting slogans in Madison, maybe it’s time for Wisconsin teachers to take refresher lessons from their non-union counterparts in the Lone Star State.

As I say:


Poll: American Still Want Lots of Stuff for Free, and Not to Have It Taken Away

Filed under: General — Patterico @ 7:42 pm

A new Wall Street Journal poll finds that a majority of the public does not want steep entitlement cuts.

Well, of course not! That’s why they aren’t happening.

Look: our system is fundamentally flawed. It’s time we realized it. The flaw is structural. We have voters voting for what they want, coupled with endless borrowing so that there is no mechanism to make them pay for it — either through spending cuts, taxes, or whatever it takes.

It’s as if you put the children in charge of what happens in a household, by declaring that the children get to vote for which parent they like best — with the understanding that no goodies or leniency ever carries any cost. So the parents compete to see who can give the kids the most candy, let them stay up the latest, etc.

It’s no way to run a household and no way to run a country.

If we don’t pass something structural to address the issue, like a strong balanced budget amendment, we’re doomed.

As Ross Perot used to say: it’s that simple, folks.

Mexican Cartel Beheads Man in United States

Filed under: General — Patterico @ 6:32 pm

This stuff will never cross the border. Whoops …

A man who was stabbed and beheaded in a suburban Phoenix apartment was killed for stealing drugs from a Mexican cartel, according to a police report released Wednesday.

Martin Alejandro Cota-Monroy stole 400 pounds of marijuana from the cartel, which sent men to kidnap and kill him, according to the Chandler police report.

. . . .

Cota-Monroy’s body was found Oct. 10 in a Chandler apartment — his severed head a couple of feet away.

“It was a very gruesome scene,” Chandler police Detective David Ramer said Wednesday. “Anytime you see a headless body stabbed multiple times, obviously that’s gruesome. And this is a message being sent — not only are they going to kill you but they’re going to dismember your body, and ‘If you cross us, this is what happens.'”

This happened back on October 10. And we’re just hearing about it.

UPDATE: To be clear, what we are just now hearing about is the definitive connection to a Mexican cartel. DRJ writes to note that the beheading was reported back when it happened, and a cartel connection was suspected. It is now clear.

Mobbed Senator: Protestors Are Nice People

Filed under: General — Patterico @ 8:02 am

That Senator who was mobbed by protestors yesterday says they’re nice people who maybe just need to grow up:

Oh, yaaa, hey.

Is this good politics or not? I think it is. Never show fear; never overstate.

Video via Jim Hoft, who also has details on a reported meeting between fleeing Dem Senator Cullen and Republicans. Still no official confirmation of the report, which I told you about here last night, that Cullen crossed the border into Wisconsin tonight. But stay tuned.

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.

Breaking: Westboro Baptist Wins at Supreme Court

Filed under: General — Patterico @ 7:35 am

An 8-1 decision:

The Supreme Court has ruled 8-1 that members of the fundamentalist Westboro church can picket military funerals to protest homosexuality, the Associated Press reports.

The opinion is here (.pdf). Don’t misunderstand what the ruling says. It does not involve a criminal statute and it does not rule that time, place, and manner restrictions on such picketing are unlawful — in fact, it reinforces the time-honored principle that such restrictions can be lawfully imposed. All the Court is saying is that when the protestors stay within legal strictures and are speaking on a public matter, they cannot be sued for a tort like intentional infliction of emotional distress.

While the Westboro people are ghouls, this does not appear to be a bad decision.

“I Know What is the Meaning of Cross:” A Martyr Speaks From Beyond the Grave

Filed under: General — Aaron Worthing @ 6:08 am

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

I want to introduce you to a very brave man.  His name was Shahbaz Bhatti.  He was murdered today in Pakistan.  He was the only Christian member of Pakistan’s Federal Cabinet and was a vocal opponent of that nation’s anti-blasphemy laws.  The AP and The Blaze has the details:

Assailants purportedly sent by al-Qaida and the Taliban killed the only Christian member of Pakistan’s federal Cabinet Wednesday, spraying his car with bullets outside his mother’s driveway. It was the second assassination in two months of a high-profile opponent of blasphemy laws that impose the death penalty for insulting Islam.

The killing of Shahbaz Bhatti, a 42-year-old Roman Catholic, further undermines Pakistan’s shaky image as a moderate Islamic state and could deepen the political turmoil in this nuclear-armed, U.S.-allied state where militants frequently stage suicide attacks.

Before he died, he was well aware of the danger he was in and “left a video-taped message with the British Broadcasting Corp. and the Al-Jazeera satellite TV station to be broadcast in the event of his death.”  This is that message:

There is much more at the linked article and I suggest you read it all.  But Farahnaz Ispahani, an aide to President Asif Ali Zardari, got it right when he said this:

The time has come for the federal government and provincial governments to speak out and to take a strong stand against these murderers to save the very essence of Pakistan.

This crime can be correctly laid at the feet of the government of Pakistan. With their blasphemy laws they have given state endorsement to the idea that it is appropriate to murder a man for expressing an opinion. We can hope that this might shock their consciences into rescinding this evil law.

Shahbaz Bhatti lived in the valley of the shadow of death, but he feared no evil.  Godspeed.

[Posted and authored by Aaron Worthing.]

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