Patterico's Pontifications


The Most Frivolous Lawsuit Ever?

Filed under: General — Patterico @ 6:20 pm


In a bizarre case, a Colorado man is suing the newlywed couple he kidnapped for breach of contract, claiming they agreed to hide him for money after he crashed a stolen vehicle into their yard, then held them at knifepoint.

Above: what a maroon.

Really? Really.

In his lawsuit, 25-year-old Jessie Dimmick of Aurora, contends that after breaking into Jared and Lindsay Rowley’s Topeka-area home while fleeing police, he and the couple reached a legally binding, oral contract that they would hide him for an unspecified amount of money. Dimmick, who is representing himself, is seeking $235,000.

He complains that he ended up getting shot by police as a result.

I can only think of one lawsuit more frivolous than this in recent memory.

Oh — and I plan to have a lot more to say about that one.

My hint to you: at least Dimmick didn’t perjure himself.

Hat tip to . . . you know who you are.

Obama Tanking Historically

Filed under: 2012 Election — Karl @ 6:15 pm

[Posted by Karl]

“Unprecedented,” just the way The One likes it!  Paul Bedard (via JWF) and Conn Carroll mine the depths of Pres. Obama’s job approval numbers at Gallup.  First, Bedard:

President Obama’s slow ride down Gallup’s daily presidential job approval index has finally passed below Jimmy Carter, earning Obama the worst job approval rating of any president at this stage of his term in modern political history.

Since March, Obama’s job approval rating has hovered above Carter’s, considered among the 20th century’s worst presidents, but today Obama’s punctured Carter’s dismal job approval line. On their comparison chart, Gallup put Obama’s job approval rating at 43 percent compared to Carter’s 51 percent.

Indeed, that 43% edges out the postwar record low 44% Lyndon B. Johnson had at this point in his full term… before deciding against standing for re-election.  Carroll notes the biggest drop this year has been among pure independents and moderate/liberal Republicans — the two demos Obama needs most to eke out a second term.

Obama really needs an approval rating closer to 48% to stand a chance.  There’s plenty of time for him to get there.  But attacking the eventual GOP nominee or a do-nothing Congress likely won’t do it for him.  Absent unforeseen circumstances, he has to hope the economy recovers more than current forecasts suggest, or that voters suddenly decide that the current malaise is the new normal.

Update: Ace notes that Carter was technically lower earlier and perked up to 51% at this point due to the Iranian hostage crisis… but we all know well that played out for Jimmah.


Is Terra Nova Eco-Fascist? (And Is It Boring?)

Filed under: General — Aaron Worthing @ 10:50 am

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

Sorry for the light blogging, but in the last few days I have been dealing with a plumbing emergency.  You ever hear the term “sh*t happens”?  Yeah, it’s been happening.  Oy vey.

But in between breaks from dealing with that, I have been catching up on watching the new show Terra Nova.  Probably the fact I fell behind is a bad sign for the show, because I could find myself barely caring from week-to-week what happened on it.  I continue watching because frankly I could see how the show could suddenly become good, maybe even compelling, and I am hoping it does.  (I remember, for instance, it took Star Trek: The Next Generation years before it got good.)  But right now I am thinking that there aren’t nearly enough dinosaurs for a good “Jurassic Park: the Series” suggested by early promotions, and the human drama is just playing it a little too safe to create good human drama.  If you go over to the great cutting edge dramas found on basic cable these days, you get a sense of the kinds of things that Terra Nova could be doing, but isn’t.

The premise of the show is actually kind of interesting.  It starts in the future, when the whole Earth is screwed up with pollution (thus a little eco-propaganda slipped in), but someone has discovered a one-way time portal that leads people back to the age of dinosaurs on an alternate earth (avoiding time paradoxes).  So people get the idea of starting a colony there to give humanity a fresh start on a new world.  With velociraptors.  The story centers on a policeman and his family who broke the law by having more than two children who breaks out of prison and sneaks back into the time portal to this new world.  (It’s probably a bad sign that I can’t remember any of their names as I write this.)  Which sounds like it could be really cool, with evocative language in the promos saying humans would be back in the food chain, etc.  It suggests that they would be leading a meager existence struggling for their very lives against dinosaurs big and small and if we are lucky some human drama, too.  But the show so far has never lived up to that potential and I think its failure can be summed up in one image:

Don’t bother with the characters and what they are doing, I want you to look at that house they are living in.  This family goes 85 million years into the past to a colony that is around 8 years old, and then the moment they get through the wormhole they are given a home, completely free of charge, with the only deprivation being that two of the kids have to sleep in the same room because typically people expect families to have only two children (because of that two child law mentioned above).  That’s it.

By comparison our sixteenth president was born in a building somewhat like this:

Seriously, look at that Terra Nova home again!  Look at how ridiculously nice it is.  It is nicer than my home.  They are supposed to be living out in a new wilderness, and this place could be literally anywhere in suburbia (indeed, probably is on a sound stage in some Hollywood studio lot).  When you watch people talking in a place like that you get absolutely no sense that nature is outside ready to crash in and kill them all.  Everything feels a little too safe, even outside this home.  In this sense it all reminds me of another Spielberg-produced TV show “Sea Quest” which had all the ingredients that should have made a great show, beautiful sets and excellent special effects and bored its audience to death in part because you never felt like anyone was in danger.

But the title of the post tells you that I don’t want to review the show generally as I just have, but instead I want to talk about a specific issue: whether Terra Nova is eco-fascist.  It was watching last week’s episode “Vs” that really drove home this issue to me, so there will be a lot of spoilers concerning episodes over a week old. So we’ll continue below the break.


Cain “Reassessing” Candidacy (You Know Who This Benefits?)

Filed under: 2012 Election — Karl @ 9:33 am

[Posted by Karl]

News broken by National Review’s Robert Costa:

In a conference call this morning, Herman Cain told his senior staff that he is “reassessing” whether to remain in the race. He will make his final decision “over the next several days.”

Cain Smokingman Mark Block confirmed the story to ABC News, although deputy campaign manager Linda Hansen tried to downplay it. [update: And Cain spox J.D. Gordon is trying to walk it back.]

As GOP media guy Rick Wilson quipped:

Just so y’all know “reassessing” is code for “packing office boxes with stolen laptops” and calling friend[s] in other campaigns.

At the WaPo, Chris Cillizza and Aaron Blake  previewed the question, “You know who this benefits?” without the usual punchline:

The latest allegation swirling around businessman Herman Cain — that he conducted a 13-year long extramarital affair with a woman named Ginger White — could well amount to a political death blow for his already-reeling presidential campaign. And that’s bad news for former Massachusetts governor Mitt Romney.


The latest allegations regarding Cain, when coupled with the dead-in-the-water candidacies (at least for the moment) of one-time conservative alternatives Perry and Bachmann, make it increasingly likely that Republicans looking for a Romney alternative will view Gingrich as the only viable option.

One problem with that analysis: a recent poll — by the WaPo, no less — showed that  if Cain dropped out, Romney was likely to benefit as much as or more than Newt Gingrich.  That poll was taken when Cain’s standing was just starting to erode and Gingrich was just starting to rise.  Thus, it’s possible Newt has already reaped most of the benefit of Cain’s decline and that a Cain dropout would now benefit… Mitt Romney.

Update: PPP pegs Newt as the likely beneficiary of a Cain pullout.


Occupy Nursing Homes

Filed under: General — Karl @ 8:59 am

[Posted by Karl]

Remember that CBO study that helped fuel the issue of income inequality?  Michael Barone reports that House Budget Chairman Paul Ryan has highlighted some of its more inconvenient findings:

Many may find the results of the CBO study surprising. It turns out, Ryan reports, that federal income taxes (including the refundable Earned Income Tax Credit) actually decreased income inequality slightly between 1979 and 2007, while the federal payroll taxes that supposedly fund Social Security and Medicare slightly increased income inequality. That’s despite the fact that income tax rates are lower than in 1979 and payroll taxes higher.

Perhaps even more surprising, federal transfer payments have done much more to increase income inequality than federal taxes. That’s because, in Ryan’s words, “The distribution of government transfers has moved away from households in the lower part of the income scale. For instance, in 1979, households in the lowest income quintile received 54 percent of all transfer payments. In 2007, those households received just 36 percent of transfers.”

The income tax side is probably more surprising; conservatives have noted that “the rich” paid more under the Reagan-Bush tax cuts, but few have connected to the point that the tax cuts decreased income inequality.  We probably did not need a CBO study to remind us — or maybe we did — that the entitlement state is largely in the business of transferring wealth from unwealthy youngsters to seniors comprising the most wealthy generation in the nation’s history.

The left has tended to rationalize their own engine of income inequality based on the continuing nature of programs like Social Security and Medicare; today’s youngsters supposedly benefit when they become tomorrow’s seniors.  However, the days of seniors reaping a windfall is likely drawing to a close as the unsustainability of the national debt becomes ever clearer.  Future generations will suffer over the course of a lifetime without that pot of gold at the end of the rainbow.  But don’t expect the unwashed hipsters of the Occupy movement to stake out their local nursing homes or direct their venom at the 13 Percenters, because their protests really are not about income inequality.  The Occupiers really just want their bailout (without the expectation of repayment, unlike the Big Banks) from the higher education bubble and their Blue Model jobs.


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