Patterico's Pontifications


Obama Deliberately Withholding Military Pay as Political Maneuver Against GOP?

Filed under: General — Patterico @ 6:53 pm

So says Ace:

Summing up: In 1995, in a time of peace, Clinton signed a bill ensuring troops’ pay.

In 2011, fighting three wars, one of which he claimed to enthusiastically support and another he started, Obama is threatening to not pay troops in the field.

But don’t you dare defund Planned Parenthood!!

Dewey Defeats Prosser: The Wisconsin Jinx

Filed under: General — Stranahan @ 5:26 pm

[Guest post by Lee Stranahan]

There’s some seriously jinx-y mojo going on with the poor Democrats in Wisconsin.

In the contentious Wisconsin Supreme Court election, it looks like incumbent Justice David Prosser has defeated JoAnne Kloppenburg — the Kloppenburg who declared victory yesterday.


And my mailbox was full of fundraising stuff like this today….

Dear MoveOn member,

In Wisconsin, we’ve just won a major victory in the fight between Republicans and working folks!

In a huge upset, progressive JoAnne Kloppenburg beat incumbent conservative Supreme Court Justice David Prosser, a close ally of Governor Scott Walker.

or this one, also from MoveOn…

I’m writing to you from Wisconsin, ground zero in the fight between Republicans and the middle class, where we just had a HUGE win!

I’m literally breathless. I’m witnessing history. Incumbent candidates for the WisconsinSupreme Court generally get re-elected in a landslide. But in the general election on Tuesday, progressive JoAnne Kloppenburg closed the gap and won by a razor thin margin against conservative justice David Prosser!

It reminds me of Rachel Maddow crowing about how Walker had caved and Wisconsin won!!! This happened on March 8th, right before Walker proved he didn’t cave.


Visit for breaking news, world news, and news about the economy

– Lee Stranahan

AP Caught Revising Another Story Without Issuing a Correction, This Time One That Makes Obama Look Callous to High Gas Prices (Update: the Streisand Effect)

Filed under: General — Aaron Worthing @ 8:53 am

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

Update: Instalink! Thanks! And I noticed that although the AP seemed to hope to bury an embarrassing gaffe, this seems to be in fact throwing a massive spotlight on it. We call that the Streisand Effect.

Update (II): Treachalanche! And a Powers/Malkinalanche! Thanks!


Gas prices have been killing us for a while now.  Besides the simple fact that I still remember when $1 a gallon gas was considered high…

(I think I am going to cry)

…gas prices have really jumped in the last few months.  Now, to be fair, the recent rise in prices is much more related to unrest in places like Libya.  Of course putting an illegal moratorium on deep water drilling doesn’t help, nor does closing off ANWR. But even those who defend the President have to admit that this is a political problem for the President.

So the President was dealing with this issue when he said this callous thing:

Obama needled one questioner who asked about gas prices, now averaging close to $3.70 a gallon nationwide, and suggested that the gentleman consider getting rid of his gas-guzzling vehicle.

“If you’re complaining about the price of gas and you’re only getting 8 miles a gallon, you know,” Obama said laughingly. “You might want to think about a trade-in.”

Yeah, its pretty schmucky, and condescending.  It seems too often Obama thinks that people need his wisdom in their day-to-day decision-making, as though he was the life-coach-in-chief.  Yes, Obama, we have long ago understood that one way to reduce how much we pay for gas is to reduce how much gas we use.  Thank you, Captain Obvious.

It’s like as if he is telling us that we are not living up to his expectations, so we better shape up.

Not to mention the even more obvious point that if you are having trouble affording gas, you might have trouble affording a new car, too.  I mean, there is that.

But truthfully, I wouldn’t find that interesting enough to justify a whole post until a funny thing happened: that whole passage in the original AP article disappeared.

Yeah, they did that again.  Instapundit caught them at it and is getting more attention than usual because of that.  As regular readers know, I have caught them doing this sort of thing before, here and here.  And it seems to go against the AP’s official policy on the subject:

When we make a correction in the current cycle, we point out the error and its fix in the editor’s note. A correction must always be labeled a correction in the editor’s note. We do not use euphemisms such as “recasts,” “fixes,” “clarifies” or “changes” when correcting a factual error.

A corrective corrects a mistake from a previous cycle. The AP asks papers or broadcasters that used the erroneous information to use the corrective, too.

So when they make a correction, they are supposed to note it.  The only exception is this:

For corrections on live, online stories, we overwrite the previous version. We send separate corrective stories online as warranted.

Now in one version I found that contained the forbidden text, at Business Week, they attempt to claim it is a “breaking news story” with those exact words:

THIS IS A BREAKING NEWS UPDATE. Check back soon for further information. AP’s earlier story is below.

But the problem was that it is really stretching the concept of “breaking news.”  Check the time stamp on that story: 6:27 p.m.  And the completely revised version Instapundit linked to was stamped 7:33 p.m.  Now look at Instapundit’s screen cap of the original:

That version was written at 3:26 p.m.  So the event this reporter was reporting on was over for at least four hours when suddenly it became breaking news that Obama no longer said that callous thing.

And in fact we know he said it, so really there was nothing to “correct.”  We have video:

Now one might argue that this isn’t a correction but a revision, and therefore this is okay, but then you are left trying to argue that if you eliminate a factual error in a story you should acknowledge the correction, but if you just decide to just remove accurate information, you shouldn’t have to note that change.  And that raises the question, “why the hell not?”

[Posted and authored by Aaron Worthing.]

UPDATE BY PATTERICO: Aaron and I have hears from a newsman who wishes to remain anonymous who claims that the version without the gaffe was the earlier version. He includes what he claims is a later version that not only includes the gaffe but also includes Obama haughtily lecturing his questioner, who has ten children, that he needs a “hybrid van.”

I don’t know how the newsman’s version explains what Glenn Reynolds documented: the gaffe appearing and then being removed. What did they do? First use a later version and replace it with an earlier version??

We have written back for clarification and receive nothing in response.

Breaking: Tsunami Warning In Japan (Update: Damage Mimimal?)

Filed under: General — Aaron Worthing @ 8:06 am

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

I am mainly seeing this only on Twitter, but there has been a 7.4 magnitude earthquake along with a Tsunami warning.

Now I will note that something like 5 out of 6 of these I have seen have turned out to be nothing.  Which means you should still take it seriously if you are in the zone, but if not, maybe shouldn’t worry too much.

But then if you are the praying type, you might consider doing it…  like now.

And yes Miyagi and Fukushima are in the zone.

Update: Here’s a news report.  It’s pretty sparse.

Update (II): Although the earthquake that spawned this was off the coast, its bad enough that Steve Herman of the Voice of America tweeted: “NISA: Onagawa nuke plant in Miyagi-ken loses 2 of 3 external power grids after M7.4 quake.”

Another problem with the nuke plants? I think Will Smith speaks for all of us:

Update: This post at NPR suggests it all blew over with minimum damage. No wave appeared and there was some Earthquake damage, but it wasn’t too awful. Thank God (literally?).

[Posted and authored by Aaron Worthing.]

Of Sheep & Men: Don’t Spin Yourself

Filed under: General — Stranahan @ 7:29 am

[Guest post by Lee Stranahan]

I was gratified to see a lot of excellent discussion on my recent piece about the lack of certain types of organizations on the right. I want to highlight a couple of examples of a fallacy I’ll call “But – we’re not the sheep!” I’m not trying to pick on any commenter individually; these are examples of what is a pretty common argument.

Here’s a commenter from the right….

A number of comments have touched on the notion that Lefties are different from conservatives. It’s true. Socialists need the group communication and interaction on a constant basis. It reinforces their belief system. Like a psychological fix. Conservatives tend to have stronger, more stable personalities.

And here’s one from the left….

The right can’t counter (Media Matter for America) for the same reason left can’t beat Fox: righties want easy answers on TV, left reads for nuance. Lefties can’t soundbite and righties have zero attention span. Whizzing graphics and loud noises vs thinking and shades of grey


Got that?

People on the right view people on the left as mindless sheep. And people on the left? They view people on the right as mindless sheep.

That’s because calling “the other side” – your adversaries in any endeavor – a bunch of mindless sheep is in itself a persuasion technique. It poisons the well against the opposition by denigrating them and it also has the psychological effect of making you feel that "our team" is the superior one.

This isn’t about ideology, really. Yes, ideas do have consequences but ideas aren’t things that act in the universe. Ideas get filtered through human beings. Neither the left nor the right views itself as mindless sheep. They both views themselves as holding philosophies that support people acting as individuals.

Here’s a cliché but an inescapable conclusion; were all human beings. As such, we have much more in common in our psychologies than most of us would like to admit. All of us have an inner drive towards the things that make us unique but also a pull towards community and a sense of commonality.

If you want a clear example of how holding an individualist philosophy does not equate in any way too individualistic behavior one need look no further than Ayn Rand’s objectivist movement. One would be hard-pressed to find an ideology that is more focused on the idea of individuality and a corollary philosophy of individual rights. One would also be hard-pressed to find a secular example of more cultlike behavior from a philosophy’s. I know people who were part of the objectivist movement in the 1960s and they described as a "herd of mavericks"; some literally using cigarette holders and wearing capes because that’s what Ayn Rand did.

Longshoreman philosopher Eric Hoffer’s classic book The True Believer talked about the interchangeability of mass movements — that the pull of being part of such a movement is more important than the actual content of the movement. Hoffer’s book was written after the horrible mass movement that created the Holocaust but before the Madison Avenue techniques of advertising were perfected and before focus group research and other scientific methods were able to create ad hoc mass movements whose purposes were more commercial than ideological.

Modern political strategy owes as much to Madison Avenue is a does Machiavelli. The persuasive techniques are designed to push buttons in voters. Like advertising, sometimes this is done effectively and sometimes it isn’t. At the end of the day people do have free will. Because human beings have volition there is no technique that absolutely guarantees an outcome.

But as the amazing book Influence : The Psychology of Persuasion show, the most effective persuasion techniques don’t count on subverting free will explicitly; they actually play to it. If you can convince someone that they’ve come to a conclusion on their own, it’s the most powerful thing in the world because you’ve been able to influence someone and they will swear up and down that they have not been influenced by anyone. Meanwhile, the men in suits sitting behind a two-way mirror smile.

To pretend that persuasive techniques don’t apply to you and whatever group you identify with is a risky conceit for anyone knocking elbows in the marketplace of ideas. Smart people learn to be aware of the tricks of the persuasion trade. Wise people admit they can be tricked, as well.

(photo creidt : mouton.rebelle)

– Lee Stranahan

In Which Another Football Player Does Sick Trick Shots…

Filed under: General — Aaron Worthing @ 5:38 am

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

The twist this time, is that it is metric football, a.k.a. soccer.  No, I don’t pay much attention to the sport and as usual you have to wonder how many times he missed that you didn’t see, but…

Yeah, that is pretty good. (The good stuff starts after the slow “baseball” intro.)

Hat tip: Hot Air.

[Posted and authored by Aaron Worthing.]

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