Patterico's Pontifications


Open Thread: Hurricanemageddon!

Filed under: General — Aaron Worthing @ 10:15 pm

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

Update: This page seems like a good way to track information about the hurricane (via Insty).

I will tell the truth, I don’t even know what to make of this Hurricane Irene.  I lived through Hurricane Hugo when it hit Charlotte, N.C.  If memory serves it was a Category 4, barely slipping out of Category 5 range.  That left us in the dark for about a week, killed a dozen or so people.  But really unless you have a massive tree within falling distance of your house, it wasn’t particularly dangerous.

And a few years ago here Isabella came through here as a Category 3.  It was like a heavy rainstorm.  At worst a few people lost power for a few days.  I don’t recall anyone dying.  I don’t even think my power went out.

And now I am reading this is going to be a Category 2?  But people seem to think it is going to be very dangerous.

So I will turn it over to the peanut gallery here.  How serious will this be and where do you get that belief from?  And what should a person do to prepare in the path?

For what it is worth, this site has some disaster prep tips, although they are obviously also trying to sell some equipment, too.

I think my working idea is this.  Have some dry goods in case you can’t heat or refrigerate anything.  I already have lots of bottled water, because I stocked up a few months ago at Costco.  Have lots of flashlights and appropriate batteries.  Have one crank flashlight/radio.  And maybe a power inverter and a full tank of gas in my car?

And of course there is this advice from IMAO’s official twitter (here and here):

I’ve lived through three major hurricanes, and my advice: Make sure your Nintendo DS is charged.

Also, make sure your car has a full tank of gas so you can use the car charger to recharge your DS.

Hey my wife has a 3DS!

But joking aside I am really open to your thoughts on this.

[Posted and authored by Aaron Worthing.]

Some Other Depictions of Rev. Martin Luther King, Jr., In Statue Form

Filed under: General — Aaron Worthing @ 1:55 pm

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

Since I seemed to spark a real discussion about the National Martin Luther King memorial yesterday, I figured maybe it would inform that debate to look at other depictions of Dr. King.

For starters, UC Davis has named its law school for Dr. King so it shouldn’t surprise you to see that they have a statue of the man.  This is the best photo I could find of it:

This is from the University of Texas:


Headline of the Day: Kentucky Jury Rules for Doctor in Penis Amputation Suit

Filed under: General — Patterico @ 1:22 pm

Two words you just don’t want to see together are “penis” and “amputation.” But uncross those legs and relax, guys — it was only partial:

A Kentucky doctor acted properly when he amputated part of a truck driver’s penis after finding cancer during what was expected to have been a routine circumcision surgery in 2007, a jury found on Wednesday.

. . . .

The jury of six men and six women ruled unanimously against a claim that Patterson failed to exercise proper care. They also ruled 10-2 against a claim that Seaton hadn’t consented to the amputation.

. . . .

A key question in the case was whether Patterson should have awakened Seaton and asked for permission to make the amputation. Doctors testifying as medical experts on both sides disagreed on whether an immediate amputation was necessary.

Next time you complain about jury service, remember this story.

Yglesias Advocates For Murder! (Or “In Which Yglesias Forces Me to Defend Ron Paul…”) (Updated to Fix a Bit of Very Bad Writing on My Part)

Filed under: General — Aaron Worthing @ 11:14 am

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

Update: In the original version I badly misstated my own understanding of the libertarian philosophy so that I accidentally implied that they were okay with harming children.  That is not what they believe, and I didn’t think that was what they believed, I just very badly misstated what I meant to say.  Indeed, the whole point of this post is to say that a person could consistently be a libertarian and still believe in protecting one particular kind of child–the unborn–from the harm of adults without any inconsistency.  I have edited the post after the fact to better capture what I was trying to say in the first place and I apologize for the error.


I try to pay as little attention to Matt Yglesias and Think Regress as much as possible.  They have proven again and again to be a completely dishonest outlet again and again, and truly you have to be willfully blind not to see the essential dishonesty involved in their analysis.

But now and then it is useful to emphasize that point, so in today’s example, Yglesias says he is just so confused that Ron Paul is a pro-life libertarian:

After looking at [Ron Paul’s] positions and statements, the most remarkable thing is that if it weren’t for his loud fanbase of self-proclaimed libertarians you wouldn’t really think this is the platform of a libertarian. He’s loudly trumpeting his plan to impose criminal penalties on women who terminate their pregnancies[.]

Now, first, Althouse is right to say that the last sentence is flat out false.  All Paul has advocated for is that the Federal Government gets the hell out of the abortion question entirely.

But let’s pretend that Paul actually wanted laws imprisoning women for unnecessary abortions. Is that unlibertarian?

Not by my understanding of the term.  The libertarian philosophy, as I understand it, goes something like this: we should have the freedom to do whatever we want as long as it does not harm another person(unless that person is an adult who consents to that alleged “harm”).  Mind you, I am not libertarian myself, but I have enough exposure to the philosophy that I know that is a decent restatement of it.

But the key issue, just as it was in Roe v. Wade, is what counts as a person.  Let me quote from this key passage from that decision:

The appellee and certain amici argue that the fetus is a “person” within the language and meaning of the Fourteenth Amendment. In support of this, they outline at length and in detail the well-known facts of fetal development. If this suggestion of personhood is established, the appellant’s case, of course, collapses, for the fetus’ right to life would then be guaranteed specifically by the Amendment. The appellant conceded as much on reargument.

Then in that case, the Supreme Court decided that a fetus was not a person within the meaning of the Fourteenth Amendment, meaning that not only did they not have any rights that any human being was bound to respect, but the states could not grant them any rights.  (Of course by that logic our animal cruelty laws are unconstitutional, but I digress…)

And likewise, if a fetus is a person, then the libertarian case for “choice” falls apart as well, for then you can limit that conduct because you are harming another person.

But not according to Yglesias.  No, according to him, Ron Paul should stand up for what he himself considers to be murder (hence my tongue-in-cheek title for this post).  I would ask Yglesias, if libertarianism requires tolerance of murder, exactly which classes of people should be allowed to freely murder the others?

But in the end Yglesias is either 1) honest but dumb, or 2) dishonest, and prone to tell dumb lies.  Those are the only two options.  And shame on any liberal who fails to see through it.  You have to be uniquely cocooned not to see the fallacy in claiming that a libertarian should allow what he or she considers to be murder.

And don’t even get me started with his silly claim that libertarians cannot support border control.

[Posted and authored by Aaron Worthing.]

Why Conservatives Get Paranoid About Obama (Update: Instalink!)

Filed under: General — Aaron Worthing @ 7:31 am

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

Update: Instalink!  Sweet!

So Hot Air got a lot of attention yesterday by playing an old video of Barack Obama declaring that it was actually unpatriotic of Bush to have added $4 Trillion to the Debt in about eight years (remembering that Obama has already added that much to the debt in less than four).  Go ahead, click on the image and take a gander:

(Link.)  Now my first reaction was snark—to think this would make a funny “Before Black Presidents” swipe.  Something like, “#BeforeBlackPresidents Barack Obama thought it was unpatriotic to add $4 T to the debt.”  (Okay, maybe not funny, but oh well…)

But then I thought to myself, what more perfect example could there possibly be about why many conservatives get paranoid about Obama?  I mean since Obama has become president conservatives have often wondered: is he really this bad at his job, or is he some kind of evil genius trying to intentionally frak up this country?

Now, consider this syllogism.

1. An unpatriotic act is one that unjustifiably harms this country.

2. Obama has declared that adding $4 Trillion to the debt was an unpatriotic act.

3. As President, Obama has added $4 Trillion to the debt.

4. Therefore Obama is knowingly, intentionally, and unjustifiably engaging in conduct that harms this country.

Now, tell the truth liberals, is there anything at all unreasonable about that syllogism?  No.

But there is a reason why that syllogism fails, because there is a hidden premise in it.  Let’s call it step 2.5 and insert it back into my syllogism:

1. An unpatriotic act is one that unjustifiably harms this country.

2. Obama has declared that adding $4 Trillion to the debt was an unpatriotic act.

2.5 Obama actually means what he said.

3. As President, Obama has added $4 Trillion to the debt.

4. Therefore Obama is knowingly, intentionally, and unjustifiably engaging in conduct that harms this country.

And as far as I can see, that is the only logical defense to the charge that the President is knowingly and willfully harming this country: that he is a cheeseball politician willing to say one thing to be elected and to do another once he actually has power.

But when he behaves this shamelessly and other people conclude that he is harming this country on purpose, he has no one to blame for it but himself.  Which, if he was less shameless, he would recognize.

[Posted and authored by Aaron Worthing.]

A Third-Party Candidate in 2012?

Filed under: 2012 Election — Karl @ 4:00 am

[Posted by Karl]

Pollsters Pat Caddell and Doug Schoen are exactly the sort to claim to “see evidence on the ground that from the discontent coursing through the electorate there may emerge a third or even fourth political party that would be competitive in next year’s presidential election.”  Their WSJ op-ed raises a number of questions, not the least of which is who might be paying them to poll and focus group the issue. 

For those nascent third and fourth parties, Caddell and Schoen point to the ostensibly “centrist, bipartisan, Americans Elect” and the Tea Party movement.  Aside from the fact that Americans Elect currently has ballot access in only four states, the group so far appears to becoming a haven for the left.  On one hand, I find myself agreeing with lefty David Sirota that “centrist” third-party groups fizzle because the center-left already has a grip on the establishment.  On the other hand, Sirota offers up the Working Families Party as an alternative; I tend to doubt the unholy trinity of Big Labor, ACORN remnants and Naderites can build much of a power base outside the deepest Blue states.

The Tea Party would be a more viable foundation for a third party in the rest of the country.  However, the movement took as large a beating as anyone in the wake of the recent debt ceiling deal.  Schoen’s own polling showed a tea party presidential candidate could get 15%-25% of the vote, “depending on the precise alignment of the candidates.”  Presumably, the maximal alignment would be if Mitt Romney won the GOP nomination and Sarah Palin ran independently.  However, as Palin recently stated she could support someone like Romney and “anyone but Obama,” this scenario seems unlikely.

Caddell and Schoen note “rumblings” about a Donald Trump candidacy.  However, while third-party candidates tend to arise in times of greater tumult, such candidates tend to represent either an issue going unaddressed by the two established parties or a schism within one of the established parties.  Trump’s own toe-dipping in GOP waters helped make him a bad fit for either category.  Rather than emulate the H. Ross Perot example of can-do business tycoon crusading against the debt bomb, he chose to be a one-month wonder on the fringe issue of Birtherism.  Thus, he is damaged goods on the right and unsuitable to the center or left.

Caddell and Schoen further note the historical examples of Perot and John Anderson.  Their claim that both garnered high levels of support is dubious. Anderson topped out at 25% and ended with 7% (the sixth-best showing for a third-party candidate in the 20th century).  Perot briefly led the 1992 campaign, but withdrew in a fit of paranoia, only to re-enter and finish with 19%.  However, Perot ascended in 1992 by addressing an issue (the deficit/debt) a large segment of the public felt was not being addressed adequately by the establishment parties; it became symbolic of a general failure of government (Carter-era malaise played a similar role in 1980, along with the intra-GOP struggle Reagan won).  However, the Perot-esque voter in 2012 will likely have a GOP nominee with plenty to say about the debt bomb.  Most of the field would at least seem outsider-ish; even Romney can try to use his private-sector background to his advantage.

Moreover, as someone on the right, the prospect of a third-party candidacy does not particularly bother me.  The recent history of such candidacies — e.g., Wallace, Anderson, Perot ’92, Nader — were all indicators of a loss for the party holding the White House.  The chief counter-example would be Perot ’96, where Bill Clinton rode an improving economy to a less-than-50% victory.  As of yet, there is little sign of an improving economy or a person with the media savvy and money of a Perot with an unaddressed issue to ride.


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