Patterico's Pontifications


Obama’s History of Being “Angry” About Screw-Ups in His Executive Branch

Filed under: General — Patterico @ 12:11 pm

We saw recently that Obama is mad about how the feds are handling Ebola:

“It’s not tight,” a visibly angry Mr. Obama said of the response, according to people briefed on the meeting. He told aides they needed to get ahead of events and demanded a more hands-on approach, particularly from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. “He was not satisfied with the response,” a senior official said.

I thought I would review some other stuff he’s been mad about.

He was mad about the IRS Scandal:

“Americans have a right to be angry about it, and I’m angry about it,” Obama said.

“It should not matter what political stripe you’re from. The fact of the matter is, the IRS has to operate with absolute integrity,” the president said.

He was mad about the ObamaCare rollout:

“Nobody’s madder than me that the website isn’t working as it should , which means it’s going to get fixed,” he said.

He was mad about the VA scandal:

President Barack Obama is “madder than hell” about the problems facing the Department of Veterans Affairs but still supports its embattled chief, Secretary Eric Shinseki, according to the president’s chief of staff.

“Nobody is more outraged about this problem right now” than the president, said White House Chief of Staff Denis McDonough in a Friday interview that aired Sunday on CBS’s “Face the Nation.”

He was mad about the Secret Service fumbling on security:

The first lady was still upset when her husband arrived home five days later from Australia. The president was fuming, too, former aides said. Not only had their aides failed to immediately alert the first lady, but the Secret Service had stumbled in its response.

“When the president came back . . . then the s— really hit the fan,” said one former aide.

All these examples share one characteristic: they are screw-ups in the executive branch — for which Obama is responsible. If he wants to get mad, he should start with himself.

Instead, he tries to show how he is really on top of all this, by leaking stories about how mad he is. Big Media never seems to pick up on the pattern.

Here, we do.

Maybe you have some other examples of your own.

Federally Funded Study to Examine Your Dangerous Free Speech

Filed under: General — Patterico @ 11:27 am

There appears to be one sane person on the FCC, and he is raising alarms about the way the federal government is using your taxpayer money to study the alarming ways in which you are using your so-called right to free speech:

If you take to Twitter to express your views on a hot-button issue, does the government have an interest in deciding whether you are spreading “misinformation’’? If you tweet your support for a candidate in the November elections, should taxpayer money be used to monitor your speech and evaluate your “partisanship’’?

My guess is that most Americans would answer those questions with a resounding no. But the federal government seems to disagree. The National Science Foundation, a federal agency whose mission is to “promote the progress of science; to advance the national health, prosperity and welfare; and to secure the national defense,” is funding a project to collect and analyze your Twitter data.

The project is being developed by researchers at Indiana University, and its purported aim is to detect what they deem “social pollution” and to study what they call “social epidemics,” including how memes — ideas that spread throughout pop culture — propagate. What types of social pollution are they targeting? “Political smears,” so-called “astroturfing” and other forms of “misinformation.”

Named “Truthy,” after a term coined by TV host Stephen Colbert, the project claims to use a “sophisticated combination of text and data mining, social network analysis, and complex network models” to distinguish between memes that arise in an “organic manner” and those that are manipulated into being.

But there’s much more to the story. Focusing in particular on political speech, Truthy keeps track of which Twitter accounts are using hashtags such as #teaparty and #dems. It estimates users’ “partisanship.” It invites feedback on whether specific Twitter users, such as the Drudge Report, are “truthy” or “spamming.” And it evaluates whether accounts are expressing “positive” or “negative” sentiments toward other users or memes.

A federally funded study of online political discourse that owes its name to a term used by a leftist? What could go wrong?

The Truthy team says this research could be used to “mitigate the diffusion of false and misleading ideas, detect hate speech and subversive propaganda, and assist in the preservation of open debate.”

Hmm. A government-funded initiative is going to “assist in the preservation of open debate” by monitoring social media for “subversive propaganda” and combating what it considers to be “the diffusion of false and misleading ideas”? The concept seems to have come straight out of a George Orwell novel.

. . . .

Some possible hints as to Truthy’s real motives emerge in a 2012 paper by the project’s leaders, in which they wrote ominously of a “highly-active, densely-interconnected constituency of right-leaning users using [Twitter] to further their political views.”

And there we have it. They’re spending your money to warn the world about the way you are expressing your political opinions. In this way, they can keep false and misleading ideas from being spread — you know, like those “false” claims that ObamaCare could lead to government rationing and death panels, or that Ebola exposure could result from being three feet away from someone for a prolonged period of time.

We must keep such lies from spreading and infecting the public. And we must use taxpayer money to do it.

It is for the greater good, citizen.

Debbie Wasserman Schultz: Rand Paul Is Politicizing Ebola By Accurately Citing the CDC

Filed under: General — Patterico @ 10:57 am

Debbie Wasserman Schultz appeared on Fox News Sunday today and furthered the “Rand Paul got Ebola transmission wrong” canard. (H/t Colonel Haiku.) The video is at The Daily Caller; I initially embedded it, but it’s one of those annoying auto-start videos. At 8:41, Schultz says:

When you have Republican Senators like Rand Paul, who’s a doctor, who should know better, who are saying that you can be three feet from someone who has Ebola and actually get it, I mean, that’s an example of how Republicans are politicizing this.

As I showed in this post, Rand Paul simply repeated what the CDC says. It is a fact, beyond any rational dispute, that the CDC defines a “low-risk exposure” to include being within “three feet” of an Ebola patient for a “prolonged period of time.” To attack Rand Paul over this, when he is simply accurately citing the CDC, is the height of ignorance.

Unfortunately, host Chris Wallace didn’t seem to know this — or, if he did, he allowed this misinformation to go unchallenged. But, as Patterico readers, you know it — even if Sunday talk show hosts don’t.

Bill Maher: Nurses Got Ebola Because Stupid Texans Ignored Federal Government

Filed under: General — Patterico @ 9:51 am

Bill Maher sneeringly blames the rubes in Texas for the nurses catching Ebola. Apparently the federal government gave them perfect advice, but the Texas idiots didn’t follow it because (affect exaggerated Texas accent) they hate them some revenooers and federal government types, yee haw!

At around 2:00 you get to hear Maher saying this:

Then one guy comes here from Liberia. One guy. And we couldn’t keep that contained because those morons in that fuckin’ hospital in Dallas — sorry. Excuse me. I said I wouldn’t get this upset, but I did. Because they you know love their freedom down in Texas. [Said in hick accent:] They don’t like rules and regulations and tellin’ us what to do and revenuers and the federal government. What could go wrong? This.

There is, of course, not a shred of evidence that people in Dallas were ignoring federal regulations because they were hicks who wanted to show their independence from the feds. But it’s a chance to use the event of a deadly disease to make a factually distorted attack on hicks and get a few laughs in the process — and how can you pass that up?

Meanwhile, a doctor who worked with the nurses says they followed the federal protocol, but that the federal guidelines were inadequate:

Speaking to WFAA-TV, Dr Weinstein insisted the two nurses – along with the rest of the team – had followed CDC guidelines, which, at the time, did not include the use of a full respiratory mask.

When asked why Miss Pham and Miss Vinson caught Ebola, he said: ‘I think that these two nurses took care of a critically-ill patient at a time when he was not in control of his body fluids.

‘And at a time when the recommendations from the CDC (Centers of Disease Control and Prevention) that we were following did not include the full respiratory mask.’

That’s just what a Texan would say, eh, Bill? I bet he even used a funny accent when he said it, too.

P.S. It ought to go without saying, but I’ll say it anyway: the hospital would have been better off if they had exactly the sort of skeptical attitude towards the federal government that Maher mocks, and had instituted more guidelines more stringent than the CDC’s. Hospitals across the nation are now doing exactly that — even in places where they don’t talk funny.

UPDATE: Incorrect information on the CDC web site about protective measures has been quietly whitewashed — but the evidence has been preserved.

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