Patterico's Pontifications


The TOTUS Has Been Abducted! (Maybe!) And a Contest!

Filed under: General — Aaron Worthing @ 7:57 pm

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

TOTUS, as you might know, means Teleprompter of the United States, meaning the President’s teleprompter, an acronym that has gotten a lot more use since Obama became president, because of his downright embarrassing dependency on it.  Why we don’t call it TOPOTUS (Teleprompter of the President of the United States), I don’t know.  Anyway, so earlier today it was stolen and maybe we recovered it:

A truck filled with President Obama’s podiums and audio equipment was stolen in Henrico just days before his visit to Chesterfield.

We confirmed an investigation with the U.S. Defense Department.  There are still a lot of questions.  The biggest one being did the thieves intentionally target the President’s truck or did they take advantage of a crime of opportunity and give a big “uh-oh” when they saw what was inside.

When you see President Obama speak, there is a pretty typical setup including the presidential seal on a podium, the see-thru Teleprompter and a portable sound system.

Thieves saw the truck carrying that equipment and couldn’t resist the target.

We’re told the truck was parked at the Virginia Center Commons Courtyard Marriott in advance on Wednesday’s presidential visit to Chesterfield.

Sources said inside that vehicle was about $200,000 worth of sound equipment, several podiums and presidential seals, behind which only the President himself can stand.

They told NBC12 around 12:30 Monday afternoon that truck was recovered in the parking lot of the Holiday Inn Express near the airport and hotel staff confirm police activity.  One guest we spoke with said he saw various law enforcement agencies examining a white box truck parked there.

Which of course doesn’t answer the question: did they recover the POTOTUS?

And in my mischievous mind I thought, “Hey, this calls for a little fun.”

So starting today I am announcing a contest.  The prize?  Respect.  And maybe as it develops we can get you something more tangible.

So this is what I want you to do.  Create a picture related to the idea of the POTOTUS being abducted.  You could show it with a gun pointed at it, or maybe with the current issue of a news paper, whatever works for you.  Just make it something suggesting the POTOTUS has been kidnapped.  And then I want you to caption your picture with what you would demand if you were going to ransom it.

Like here’s one I created:

Yeah, probably not very funny and not even particularly well done, but that’s where you come in!  Send me your best pictures that fit that template to  If we get enough, I will even give you guys a chance to vote on your favorite.

And let’s say that the deadline for this contest is Monday, so you have a whole weekend to come up with something better than mine.

And once again, the first prize is…  respect!  And like I said, maybe I will think of something more tangible I can give you.  But hey, at least you can have some fun with it, right?

[Posted and authored by Aaron Worthing.]

This is a CNN debate thread

Filed under: 2012 Election — Karl @ 4:09 pm

[Posted by Karl]

So, um, yeah… another gathering of GOP hopefuls.  Presumably, CNN will skip the infamous “this or that” segment this time.  Rick Perry may be more pushy.  The surging Herman Cain may get more scrutiny, or be asked to sing.

While you wait on pins and needles, take a look at Roger Ebert’s compilation of J-school students’ mock stories about the last debate.  Old and Busted: biased journos. The New Hotness? Illiterate journos!


Obama Fundraising Redux: Campaign Stimulus?

Filed under: 2012 Election — Karl @ 11:03 am

[Posted by Karl]

After writing about Obama’s fundraising overhype, at least one commenter noted that at least Obama can direct his money straight to efforts to help him in the general election, while the GOP candidates will burn through much of their funds in the primaries.  Although I addressed that point directly, the comment raises the question of how Obama is spending his money so far:

President Obama is exploiting his early lead in campaign fund-raising to bankroll a sprawling grass-roots organization and information technology apparatus in critical general election battlegrounds. He is doing so even as the Republican candidates conserve cash and jockey for position in what could become a drawn-out nominating battle.


The president is already paying staff employees in at least 38 states, including Wisconsin, Virginia, Pennsylvania, Ohio, New Mexico and North Carolina. His Chicago campaign headquarters hums with more than 200 paid aides.

And Mr. Obama has spent millions of dollars investing in social media and information technology, applying both savvy and brute technological force to raising small-dollar donations, firing up volunteers and building a technical infrastructure to sustain his re-election campaign for the next year.

The gap in spending underscores facts easily lost amid the president’s low approval ratings, his challenges in winning over independent voters and the gridlock he faces in Washington: Mr. Obama brings unmatched financial resources to the campaign trail, and a team with a well-honed sense of where and how to deploy money, people and technology.

Longtime readers of mine will know I am an enthusiast on such matters.  In 2008, I regularly wrote about Obama’s social media organizing and less well-known elements like Catalist, the for-profit voter databank run by Democratic fixer Harold Ickes.  So when the NYT tries to impress me with the 2012 effort, my first thought is that this is largely the story of how Team Obama failed to sustain and improve Organizing For America after folding it into the DNC.

My second thought is about the other side of the aisle.  The NYT notes:

That gap explains, in part, why Republican-oriented independent groups like American Crossroads and Americans for Prosperity are devising plans to spend millions of dollars this year on social media and voter-identification efforts, with a major focus on helping the eventual Republican candidate win the White House.

Indeed, groups affiliated with Karl Rove and the Koch brothers are mounting competing efforts, including projects aimed at Latino voters.  The Rovians are partnered with the RNC, which is not surprising in light of their history of working with the RNC in this area.  And the RNC will end up controlled by the eventual GOP nominee.  The advantage touted by the NYT is undercut by the graf buried mid-story.

That Team Obama is having to reinvent the wheel to this degree is also a reflection of his larger and more basic problems.  The enthusiasm gap between Republican and Democratic voters continues to expand.  The Obama campaign wants to keep the Great Lakes from the GOP’s grasp, but it is increasingly clear that they are looking away from states like Florida and Ohio and trying to eke out an electoral win from North Carolina, Virginia, Colorado, Nevada and New Mexico (all on Obama’s current tour itinerary):

As Democrats, we can never go back to the 2000/2004 map,” said Jim Messina, manager of Mr. Obama’s re-election campaign. “All the data I’ve seen says we’re not doing that.”

However, despite more favorable demographics, Obama is not faring any better in his new target states than he is in Florida or Ohio.  Indeed, “as Obama arrives in Virginia Tuesday for a two-day swing to promote parts of his jobs plan, some Democrats are distancing themselves from him — even in supposedly blue Northern Virginia.”  And enthusiasm is also an issue in North Carolina, which Obama barely won in 2008.  Indeed, it’s an issue overall with the key demographics Obama is targeting in picking his states, including Latinos (despite Obama’s announced non-enforcement of most illegal immigration cases) and even African-Americans (despite overt racial appeals).  Obama will still win these demos handily, but getting them to vote in the first instance is what requires rebuilding his massive ground game.  The effort may turn out like the stimulus — a ton of spending with not much to show for it.


Anti-Semitism in the “Occupy” Movement

Filed under: General — Aaron Worthing @ 8:20 am

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

Gee, who would have thought that if you blame all your problems on a small number of rich urbanites, that this might turn to Anti-Semitism?  Via JWF:

Last week, we reported on a lone protestor at the Wall Street sit-in who insisted that America’s economic woes could all be traced back to “the Jews.”

Since then that message has been picked up by others at “Occupy Wall St.” demontrations around the country.

In Los Angeles, California, protestor Patricia McAllister, who identified herself as an employee of the Los Angeles Unified School District (we can only hope she is not an educator), had this to say:

“I think that the Zionist Jews, who are running these big banks and our Federal Reserve, which is not run by the federal government… they need to be run out of this country.”

On the American Nazi Party website, leader Rocky Suhayda voiced support for “Occupy Wall St.” and asked, “Who hold the wealth and power in this country? The Judeo-Capitalists. Who is therefore the #1 enemy who makes this filth happen? The Judeo-Capitalists.”

Read the whole thing.  It’s a bit much, as one person does later, to argue that this is similar to the beginnings of Nazi Germany.  But on the other hand, it made more sense than it did when they said that about Tea Partiers.  The concept of a basically libertarian “Nazi movement” is a contradiction in terms.  But arguing that big government liberalism is the road to that kind of thing makes a lot more sense, although both represent an egregious violation of Godwin’s law.

On the other hand, the Israelis have a right to be a bit jumpy about this sort of thing.

Also, it’s a funny thing how often it seems that the Isreali press and the British press tell us truths that the American media does not.  I suppose it is the ultimate proof that Jews don’t control the media, given that the media in that Jewish country is so different.

As if you needed that proof in the first place.

[Posted and authored by Aaron Worthing.]

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