Patterico's Pontifications


We Can Stand Firm on the Debt Ceiling Without Causing a Default

Filed under: General — Patterico @ 9:46 pm


GAO: Yes, We Stand By Our Prior Ruling That, To Avoid a Default, the Government May Prioritize Interest Payments on Debt Over Current Government Spending

This is what the GOP keeps saying– that if the debt ceiling is not raised, it does not mean a default, because the government will have plenty of money coming in. Just not enough to pay interest on old debt and maintain current spending.

So, if we don’t raise the debt ceiling, it just forces the government to cut spending.

Of course Obama could also choose to not cut spending, and just default. But that would be his choice. He cannot say he was forced to do that, or the GOP demanded he do that.

There’s really just no excuse to raise the debt ceiling. And if Ace is right, the deadline is upon us, as early as Monday.

Take a stand for once, Republicans.

Ah, who am I kidding?

United Airlines Officially Iffy On Bin Laden’s Death

Filed under: General — Stranahan @ 5:51 pm

[Guest post by Lee Stranahan]

I don’t think they can really win on this one. This is where PR people and customer service reps earn their money…but they aren’t earning it here. This isn’t good.

David Swanson was on an United Airlines flight when news came in that Osama Bin Laden had been killed. That’s United Airlines, as in United Airlines Flight 93.


The pilot who works for United was apparently happy that the guy behind the terror attack that killed United Airlines pilots, crew and passengers. The pilot made an announcement expressing happiness. 

David Swanson didn’t like that. Who is David Swanson? He’s the author of War Is A Lie and Daybreak: Undoing the Imperial Presidency and Forming a More Perfect Union. He blogs at and (the site formerly known as After Downing Street.)

So Swanson wrote a letter complaining. A long letter – you can read the whole thing here on the blog post he wrote his awful experience being forced to sit through a United pilot’s moment of happiness…

Dear United Airlines,

My United flight at 4:06 pm PT on May 1, 2011, landed in Washington, D.C., Sunday night, and the pilot came on the intercom to tell everyone to celebrate: our government had killed Osama bin Laden. This was better than winning the Super Bowl, he said.

I think he should apologize to those passengers who choose not to cheer for the murder of anyone, no matter how much of a murderer himself, as if it were a sporting event and an occasion for joy.

Set aside for a moment the morality of cheering for the killing of a human being — which despite the pilot’s prompting nobody on the plane did. In purely Realpolitik terms, killing foreign leaders whom we’ve previously supported has been an ongoing disaster.

Our killing of Saddam Hussein has been followed by years of war and hundreds of thousands of pointless deaths. Our attempts to kill Muammar Gadaffi have killed his children and grandchildren and will end no war if they eventually succeed. Our attempts to kill Osama bin Laden, including wars justified by that mission, have involved nearly a decade of senseless slaughter in Afghanistan and the rest of the ongoing global "generational" war that is consuming our nation.

The Taliban was willing to turn bin Laden over for trial both before and after September 11, 2001. Instead our government opted for years of bloody warfare. And in the end, it was police action (investigation, a raid, and a summary execution) and not the warfare, that reportedly tracked bin Laden down in Pakistan. After capturing him, our government’s representatives did not hold him for trial. They killed him and carried away his dead body.

You get the idea. No mention of Flight 93, either. No expression of understanding or sympathy.

So United wrote this back to him…

Dear Mr. Swanson:

Thank you for contacting us. We are currently experiencing a high volume of emails, and I offer my apology for the delayed response to your message.

I am very sorry to hear that our pilot vocalized his personal opinion with the passenger’s onboard flight 210 on May 1, 2011. It is definitely a personal opinion on the reaction or outcome of the fact that Osama bin Laden was killed. Please accept my sincere apology. I have shared your comments to the onboard flight manager so he can take appropriate action to prevent this from reoccurring.

On another note, your email was so interesting it prompted me to continue on to read your website and blog.

Thank you for choosing United, we look forward to serving you on another flight in the near future under more pleasant circumstances.

At the conclusion of this email, please fill out the survey where you can rate your experience with the Customer Care department. We value your feedback and hope that you are satisfied with our service.


Cherie Stevens
United Airlines Customer Relations

Please provide us feedback on the correspondence you have just received from the Customer Relations Contact Center. After filling out our brief survey, you will be given a chance to fill out our longer survey. If you choose to take our longer survey, your name will be entered to win a $400 certificate. Please see more details by accessing the weblink below.

Also no mention of Flight 93. Bad PR. Totally tone deaf. Bad move, Cherie Stevens. Here’s hoping Mr. Swanson doesn’t win the $400.

– Lee Stranahan

Romney Live on Health Care Reform

Filed under: General — Aaron Worthing @ 12:01 pm

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

Here’s a link to video that will allow you to watch it.  His speech is going on right now, apparently.

I tried to embed it, but msnbc’s site screwed up the embed redirecting me instead to a different story. So follow the link instead.

Bluntly, I think he has some ‘splaining to do.  Republicans, at the very least, have to trust he will tear down Obamacare as President.  I will update in a bit and add some to all of this, particularly some questionable remarks he made on the subject.  For now, watch and discuss.

Update: Here’s what I think will hobble his campaign.  Here’s Romney in late 2007 on Romneycare:

ROMNEY: I’m a federalist. I don’t believe in applying what works in one state to all states if different states have different circumstances…Now, I happen to like what we did. I think it’s a good model for other states. Maybe not every state but most, and so what I’d do at the federal level is give every state the same kind of flexibility we got from the federal government as well as some carrots and sticks to actually get all their citizens insured. And I think a lot of states will choose what we did. I wouldn’t tell them they have to do our plan…

MR. RUSSERT: So if a state chose a mandate, it wouldn’t bother you?

MR. ROMNEY: I’d think it’s a terrific idea. I think you’re going to find when it’s all said and done, after all these states that are the laboratories of democracy, get their chance to try their own plans, but those who follow the path that we pursued will find it’s the best path, and we’ll end up with a nation that’s taken a mandate approach.

So what Romney is saying is that 1) he doesn’t want federally controlled healthcare but 2) he really, really likes it when states impose mandates.  Now that is easier to defend constitutionally, and it certainly allows Romney to say with a straight face that he would take apart Obamacare.  The problem is that things might be, well, pretty much as Greg Sargent said:

But conservatives don’t care about this distinction — they hate the mandate on the state or federal level — and this now shows that Romney hoped the idea would spread to “most” states, and across the country.

So…  do you care about this distinction?  Are you willing to accept him liking mandates, but only on the state level?

Honestly, I am not satisfied.

[Posted and authored by Aaron Worthing.]

Prejudice Towards the Florida Legislature; Or: “OMG! Florida has Just Banned All Sex! (And Genocide is Funny!)”

Filed under: General — Aaron Worthing @ 7:28 am

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

Southern Fried Scientist (SFS) thought he had a funny scoop yesterday when he made a little discovery.  Here’s what he wrote:

Florida Senate fails basic biology, accidentally outlaws sex.

By Southern Fried Scientist, on May 11th, 2011

Question: If your elected officials fail basic taxonomy, promote anti-science curriculum, and consistently attempt to undermine the fundamental unpinning of all biology, what happens when they start trying to legislate from this flawed view of reality?

The answer is this poorly-worded miasma of a law recently passed in Florida, which presumably was designed to prevent bestiality and promote animal welfare, but which has actually made it illegal, effective October 1, 2011, for anyone to have sex in Florida.

Why?   Well, he bases it on a statute that says things like:

A person may not… [k]nowingly engage in any sexual conduct or sexual contact with an animal

And you see technically humans are animals, too, so… therefore they have banned all sex, although there are exceptions:

This section does not apply to accepted animal husbandry practices, conformation judging practices, or accepted veterinary medical practices.

So there is that.

Now, I joined in the mirth for about two seconds because I have trouble resisting a good laugh, but for all his mockery of the ignorance of the Florida legislature, what is actually on display is SFS’ aggressive ignorance of the law, seen through a prism of apparent prejudice aimed at the Florida legislature.  Now ignorance of the law is forgivable.  But the beginning of wisdom is “I don’t know. ”  And arrogant, aggressive ignorance of the law that condemns a person for doing something correctly because you are too ignorant to understand they have done it correctly is a violation of that principle of humility that deserves to be condemned.  That it also seems to be driven by animus deepens my contempt.

For instance, SFS might have considered cracking open a legal dictionary.  Here’s what my copy of Black’s Law Dictionary says:


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