Patterico's Pontifications


About The Confederate Flag

Filed under: General — Dana @ 6:57 pm

[guest post by Dana]

This afternoon, Gov. Nikki Haley of South Carolina called for the Confederate flag to be removed from the grounds of the state capitol:

“The time has come,” Haley said. “That flag, while an integral part of the past, does not represent the future of our great state.”

“We are not going to allow this symbol to divide us any longer,” she said. “The fact that people are choosing to use it a sign of hate is something that we cannot stand. The fact that it causes pain to so many is enough to move it from the capital grounds. It is after all a capitol that belongs to all of us.”

Haley, however, defends the rights of private citizens to fly the flag on their own property.

Of course, not everyone is on board with the governor:

The Sons of Confederate Veterans said it plans to vigorously fight any effort to remove the Confederate flag from the grounds of South Carolina’s Statehouse.

The group said it was horrified at last week’s shooting but there is “absolutely no link” between the massacre and the flag.

Leland Summers, South Carolina commander of the group, says the group is about heritage and history, not hate. He offered condolences to the Emanuel African Methodist Episcopal Church, and said now is not the time to make political points.

Summers said the Sons of Confederate Veterans have 30,000 members nationwide that will fight any attempt to move the flag.

A number of the 2016 Republican and Democratic candidates (and candidates-yet-to-announce) have weighed in on the Confederate flag debate. Their views can be found here.

And in further Confederate flag news:


Just last week, in the case of Walker v. Texas Division, Sons of Confederate Veterans, the Supreme Court ruled in a 5-4 vote, that Texas has the right to reject a specialty license plate application from the Sons of Confederate Veterans because the plate bears the Confederate flag:

The Supreme Court ruled on Thursday that Texas did not violate the First Amendment when it refused to allow specialty license plates bearing the Confederate battle flag. Such plates, Justice Stephen G. Breyer wrote for the majority, are the government’s speech and are thus immune from First Amendment attacks.

“As a general matter,” Justice Breyer wrote, “when the government speaks it is entitled to promote a program, to espouse a policy or to take a position.” Were this not so, he said, the government would be powerless to encourage vaccinations or promote recycling.

People use specialty license plates to suggest that the government endorses the messages they bear, he wrote. Otherwise, he said, people “could simply display the message in question in larger letters on a bumper sticker right next to the plate.”

In dissent, Justice Samuel A. Alito Jr. said:

[T]he majority opinion “establishes a precedent that threatens private speech that the government finds displeasing.”

Texas has hundreds of specialty plates. Many are for college alumni, sports fans, businesses and service organizations. Others send messages like “Choose Life,” “God Bless Texas” and “Fight Terrorism.” The license plates are, Justice Alito wrote, “little mobile billboards on which motorists can display their own messages.”

He mocked the notion that, say, plates saying “Rather Be Golfing” or celebrating the University of Oklahoma conveyed a government message. The first, he said, cannot represent state policy. The second, in Texas at least, bordered on treason during college football season, he wrote.

*Joining the four liberal justices with the deciding vote was Justice Clarence Thomas.

As a result of the Supreme Court’s decision in Walker v. Sons of Confederate Veterans, No. 14-144, any states which currently allow the Confederate flag specialty-plates can now ban them. States include Alabama, Georgia, Louisiana, Maryland, Mississippi, North Carolina, South Carolina, Tennessee and Virginia.

*Over at the Atlantic, you can read an opinion as to why Justice Thomas joined the liberal justices in this case. Examining Justice Thomas’s comments made during Virginia v. Black, No. 01-1107, writer and constitutional law professor Garrett Epps believes Justice Thomas joined the liberal justices, because, as he puts it:

Thomas is the Court’s only African American. Much has been made of his rejection of contemporary civil-rights orthodoxy. But it is equally clear that Thomas retains vivid and bitter memories of his poverty-stricken childhood in the Jim Crow South—and that he retains a particular hatred for the symbols of Southern white supremacy


Maryland Governor Hogan Announces He Is Battling “Advanced” Cancer

Filed under: General — JVW @ 1:38 pm

[guest post by JVW]

Breaking news right now: Governor Larry Hogan of Maryland has announced that he is battling advanced lymphoma which is spreading towards his spine and will immediately begin chemotherapy sessions. Hogan is in his first year in office, having won an upset victory in the past November’s elections. Hogan has been absent several days the past couple of weeks and has announced that Lt. Gov. Boyd Rutherford would be serving a more prominent role while he is in treatment.

Our best wishes to Gov. Hogan and his family.


Associated Press: Don’t Be Stupid, Republicans, We Didn’t Mean Anything By Publishing A Photo Of Sen. Ted Cruz With A Gun Pointed At His Head

Filed under: General — Dana @ 9:00 am

[guest post by Dana]

Sen. Ted Cruz campaigned this weekend at a rally in support of the Second Amendment at CrossRoads Shooting Sports in Johnston, Iowa. Out of 14 photographs to select from, the AP chose to publish this cropped photo of Cruz taken by AP photographer Charlie Neibergall:


The AP defended their publication of the photo:

“Presidential candidate Ted Cruz,” Paul Colford, vice president & director of media relations, said, “was shown in a series of 14 photos taken by an Associated Press photographer at a ‘Celebrate the 2nd Amendment’ event Saturday afternoon, held at a shooting range in Johnston, Iowa. Five of the photos published by AP included images of guns seen on a wall in the background so that it appeared a pistol was pointed at Sen. Cruz’s head.

“The images were not intended to portray Sen. Cruz in a negative light,” Colford said.

Here are several other images taken by the same photographer at the same event:




(You can see more photos of Cruz taken at the event here.)

Of course this is not to suggest that the AP would ever promote their own biases and political leanings, especially on hot button issues. Nor is it to suggest that the AP would attempt to influence voters by presenting Republicans in an unfavorable light, yet present Democrats in a favorable light. Of course not…



Emails Show Gruber Had More Involvement in ObamaCare Than Obama Previously Admitted

Filed under: General — Patterico @ 6:49 am

You don’t say:

Jonathan Gruber, the Massachusetts Institute of Technology economist whose comments about the health-care law touched off a political furor, worked more closely than previously known with the White House and top federal officials to shape the law, previously unreleased emails show.

The emails, provided by the House Oversight Committee to The Wall Street Journal, cover messages Mr. Gruber sent from January 2009 through March 2010. Committee staffers said they worked with MIT to obtain the 20,000 pages of emails.

The committee released the information in the days before the U.S. Supreme Court rules on a lawsuit that could strike down subsidies on the federal health-care insurance exchange.

The emails show frequent consultations between Mr. Gruber and top Obama administration staffers and advisers in the White House and the Department of Health and Human Services on the Affordable Care Act. They show he informed HHS about interviews with reporters and discussions with lawmakers, and he consulted with HHS about how to publicly describe his role.

The administration has sought to distance itself from the economist in the wake of his controversial statements in a 2013 video, where he said the health law passed because of the “huge political advantage” of the legislation’s lacking transparency. He also referred to the “stupidity of the American voter.”

Republicans seized on the comments as evidence that supporters of the law purposely misled the public about its costs. Mr. Gruber received nearly $400,000 from HHS for his work focusing on health-policy computer models, according to public records.

How about that.

P.S. I like this comment from a commenter at the article:

“Republicans seized on the comments as evidence that supporters of the law purposely misled the public about its costs.”

The WSJ reporters know how to do their job. When Republicans do it, Democrats have “growing concerns.” But Republicans “seize on” an issue.

It’s almost as if the commenter was reading Patterico circa 2004.

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