Patterico's Pontifications


Escort: Menendez Paid Me For Sex

Filed under: General — Patterico @ 9:23 pm

Another unsubstantiated claim we should all just ignore:

A professional escort who travels the East Coast seeing clients in cities from Miami to Boston has identified a photo of Senator Bob Menendez as a man who paid her for sex. The woman, in her late 30s, told The Daily Caller prior to seeing Menendez’s photo that she had been paid to provide sexual favors to several U.S. senators, including a New Jersey Democrat and other politicians who are no longer living.

I keep hearing that the FBI is closing in. For what it’s worth.

Michelle Obama Surprise Appearance at the Oscars

Filed under: General — Patterico @ 9:19 pm

Ace says it best:

Dan Riehl pointed out that Reagan addressed the Oscars while President.* So it’s not like this sort of thing is unprecedented.

But the thing is, I liked him. And, more relevant to Ace’s point: they didn’t.

So you’ll permit me to be totally disgusted.

*Well, he was scheduled to address the audience on March 30, 1981, in a pre-taped segment. John Hinckley tried to kill him on that day, and it’s not clear to me whether the taped segment was actually shown or not.

UPDATE: Apparently the ceremony was postponed for a day, which only seems appropriate.

Oscars Open Thread

Filed under: General — Patterico @ 6:45 pm

As usual, I am sitting at the breakfast table working, while the rest of the family watches the show in the next room. But there is a difference between this year and previous years: this year, I am not proud that I’m not watching. I have become more aware how our culture affects politics and law, and while I am still annoyed by the Hollywood culture, I can’t continue to ignore the effect that it has on our electorate.

That said, I’m still here in the breakfast room, working — not because I’m too proud (this year) . . . but because I have work to do. And the memo that’s due tomorrow morning takes precedence over any desire I might have to watch television.

My children know this (it’s a common occurrence) and it’s my hope they’ll learn something from it. If I have any contribution to make to our culture, that’s probably it right there.

I can hear the show in the other room, and my family will keep me apprised. Help me keep up to speed in the comments.

UPDATE: Let’s be honest: I probably couldn’t stomach it even if I had time. These people really do annoy me.

UPDATE x2: Hooray, it’s . . . Michelle Obama.

Glenn Reynolds on Russ Roberts’s “EconTalk” Podcast — Plus, An “Army of Davids” Idea for Changing the Culture

Filed under: General — Patterico @ 3:11 pm

On this deadly newsless Sunday, allow me to put in another plug for Russ Roberts’s “EconTalk” podcast. This time there’s a twist: Russ has interviewed someone you’re all familiar with . . . Glenn Reynolds of Instapundit fame. Listen here.

Glenn is in his element here, talking with a friendly like-minded libertarian about the ways that we can promote freedom in this country. The conversation hits points such as: how intrusive government has become; the fact that it will come to an end due to budgetary reasons, because “something that can’t go on forever won’t”; how a Constitutional Convention might restructure our polity; the idea of a third House of Congress designed to repeal bad laws; the Louis Seidman piece about giving up on the Constitution (Glenn’s reaction to this is priceless and worth the time to listen to); and Glenn’s music career. It’s far reaching and interesting. A great way to spend an hour of your time.

One thought that is occasioned by this comment Glenn made in the podcast:

Culture comes before politics. And politics come before law. So, I think that the culture has to change first.

This is a subject on many people’s minds lately: how can conservatives fight the tide of leftist thought that seems to be washing over the electorate? Prof. Reynolds has written a piece encouraging conservative billionaires to invest in things like women’s magazines, with the thought in mind that we could include the same articles that all the other women’s magazines publish, but instead of every tenth article being about how awesome Barack Obama is, that article could be about, say, how the tax system punishes women — or whether Obama’s White House is giving women equal pay.

Subtle stuff — but it’s pervasive.

A commenter writes to say they like the idea but they are concerned that conservatives will not invest in ventures that are clearly going to lose money (other than throwing money at losers like John McCain or Mitt Romney, of course). The commenter suggests, instead, an “Army of Davids” approach.

Are there folks out there who would be willing to contribute money to buy and operate ladies’ magazines and pop culture websites? My commenter suggests that the kids at College Insurrection could staff it, and could be tasked with coming up with ideas to appeal to young people. Folks like Prof. Jacobson and/or Prof. Reynolds could serve as consultants, and/or sit on a board of directors. My commenter adds: “it might be a place where young conservatives can intern, thus gaining experience in the media and someday increasing the number of conservatives in the media.”

Not a bad idea, huh? I think the key insight is this: we can’t sit around hoping for rich guys with wads of cash to swoop in and fix things for us. If we think the culture is a big issue, let’s do something about it.

I’m going to send this post to Profs. Reynolds and Jacobson and see what they think.

Obama Tells Falsehoods About the Origin of the Sequester, Says Noted Right-Wing Hack Bob Woodward

Filed under: General — Patterico @ 2:45 pm

Obama, moving the goal posts? Say it isn’t so, Bob Woodward!

The finger-pointing began during the third presidential debate last fall, on Oct. 22, when President Obama blamed Congress. “The sequester is not something that I’ve proposed,” Obama said. “It is something that Congress has proposed.”

The White House chief of staff at the time, Jack Lew, who had been budget director during the negotiations that set up the sequester in 2011, backed up the president two days later.

“There was an insistence on the part of Republicans in Congress for there to be some automatic trigger,” Lew said while campaigning in Florida. It “was very much rooted in the Republican congressional insistence that there be an automatic measure.”

The president and Lew had this wrong. My extensive reporting for my book “The Price of Politics” shows that the automatic spending cuts were initiated by the White House and were the brainchild of Lew and White House congressional relations chief Rob Nabors — probably the foremost experts on budget issues in the senior ranks of the federal government.

If Woodward is right, I could actually give Obama credit for something good: proposing some form of limiting spending. But it looks like he doesn’t want it. Surprise, surprise.

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