Patterico's Pontifications



Filed under: General — Patterico @ 9:23 pm

SOUTH L.A. KILLINGS GET LESS POLICE ATTENTION THAN OTHERS: That is the report in today’s Dog Trainer. The story, which is quite interesting, is based on a comprehensive study by the newspaper of LAPD statistics.

But it’s not really “news.” After reading the Dog Trainer article, I went to my bookshelf and pulled down my copy of The Killing Season, by Miles Corwin. I quickly confirmed my memory that what I read in the paper this morning had been reported by Corwin in his book, published over five years ago.

In the book, Corwin says: “Homicide detectives in South-Central investigate two to three times more cases than homicide detectives in most other LAPD divisions.” Corwin quotes an expert who states that this is “totally inappropriate and unacceptable,” and says that the ideal case load is six to eight homicides a year. South-Central detectives may get as many as twenty.

So the Dog Trainer story, while interesting, is old news. The Dog Trainer reporters didn’t have have to do a study. All they had to do was ask Miles Corwin. This wouldn’t have been so hard, incidentally. Mr. Corwin is not only a gifted author, but also a former Los Angeles Times reporter.

TOUR DE FRANCE: Here’s what

Filed under: General — Patterico @ 8:35 pm

TOUR DE FRANCE: Here’s what I don’t get. Okay, Lance Armstrong has won. He beat the runner-up, Jan Ullrich, by one minute and one second. Ullrich, “who won this race in 1997, didn’t succumb until Saturday’s final time trial when, racing all-out in a blowing rain, he skidded off his bike.”

But, see, Armstrong fell off his bike earlier, too — and Ullrich waited for him. So then I thought, well, apparently they only wait for you if you’re in the lead.

But reading the same article about when Ullrich waited for Armstrong, you learn that Ullrich fell two years ago. And back then, when Ullrich fell, “Armstrong, in the lead, stopped and waited.”

So how did Armstrong find out about Ullrich’s fall then? And why didn’t he find out this time? Or did he find out this time, but just refuse to stop? And why isn’t anyone talking about this?

I don’t really care about the Tour de France, you understand. I just noticed this apparent discrepancy and wondered what the deal was. If any reader knows, write me by clicking on the link to the left. Any answer that has the ring of authority will be reprinted here.

RECALL: It just occurred to

Filed under: General — Patterico @ 7:09 am

RECALL: It just occurred to me what is odd about this whole recall process. If you count a vote against the recall as a vote “for” Davis, Davis could get more votes than anyone else — multiples more, even — and still lose. As I understand it, if he doesn’t get 51% of the vote, he’s outta there. But the winner could win with, say, 10% — as long as he gets more votes than any other replacement candidate. So you could have a situation where Davis gets 49% of voters (voting “no” on the recall), and the next candidate gets 10% — and Davis loses to the 10% guy.

Now that’s just weird.

Even if the numbers are not that stark, it is nevertheless almost certain that if the recall succeeds, the “winner” will have received fewer votes than Davis — if you look at votes against the recall as votes for Davis. (Of course, this is a function of game theory: Democrats are necessarily aligned behind one person, whereas the mechanics of the recall, with no primary, result in Republicans’ fielding several candidates.) This will allow Democrats to continue their mythology of the “stolen” election. Perhaps this is what Terry McAuliffe had in mind all along.


A LOGICAL STEP: Perhaps emboldened

Filed under: General — Patterico @ 12:10 pm

A LOGICAL STEP: Perhaps emboldened by the behavior of the Justices on the United States Supreme Court, judges are starting to do some truly outrageous things across the country.

First, as described here by Eugene Volokh, the Nevada Supreme Court ordered the Legislature to enact a budget, and suspended the operation of a two-thirds majority requirement for increasing taxes that is in the Nevada Constitution. That’s right — the state supreme court ordered violation of the state constitution.

The reasoning was that the state constitution also mandates the legislature to create and fund public schools. Even though the constitution doesn’t say what the level of funding must be — and therefore the two provisions are not necessarily in conflict — the court just decided that the provision about schools was more important. So out the window with the two-thirds requirement.

Appalling. As Volokh says, it’s a “flat judicial nullification of an entirely explicit command of the Nevada people.”

Now, justices of the Illinois State Supreme Court have taken the notion of raw judicial power a step further, and ordered the state Comptroller to increase their salaries. The Court did this after the Governor had vetoed these same increases — before any lawsuit had been filed! Apparently, there was no notice and no hearing — just an order. (At least in Nevada the Justices were deciding an actual lawsuit.)

Under their order, the Justices’ salaries will be boosted from $158,103 a year to $162,530 a year, and judicial salaries across the state will increase by about $4,000 a year. The Justices said that denial of cost-of-living adjustments violated a state constitutional provision against “diminishing” judicial salaries.

You folks who supported all the liberal U.S. Supreme Court decisions have no right to be appalled by any of this. Those decisions and these decisions are all based on a common principle: We Know Better Than You.

UPDATE: I told the story about the Illinois Supreme Court to my wife. I thought her comment, paraphrasing Mel Brooks, was better than anything I said about it:

“It’s good to be the judge.”


Filed under: General — Patterico @ 11:39 am

NOW THAT TAKES NERVE: “Three motorists who decided to drive home Friday from a court hearing in Long Beach in which their driver’s licenses were suspended were re-arrested and their vehicles impounded, a sergeant said.” The story is here.

Why don’t police do this more often?


Filed under: General — Patterico @ 11:35 am


Now, although I oppose the recall of Governor Davis on principle (it sets a bad precedent), I have to admit it would be nice if we could get him out of office before he gets a chance to replace her. I also think that is realistic — she may not be confirmed by October.


Filed under: General — Patterico @ 11:30 am

MAN FREED AMID COURT BACKLOG IS MURDER SUSPECT: The murder happened June 26, but the Dog Trainer is finally catching up.



Filed under: General — Patterico @ 7:29 am

IS CHARLIE RANGEL RIGHT? Charlie Rangel has for months publicly supported reinstating the military draft. I read a letter to the editor this morning (first letter at this link), by one Robert Lentz of Sylmar, that may have me in agreement with Rangel. The letter reads, in its entirety:

“Re ‘ “A True Soldier” — but a Statistic Too,’ July 22: U.S. Army Capt. Steven Barry referred to the ‘scum who continue to attack us’ in Iraq. He also refers to an American soldier ‘who lost his life fighting cowardly Iraqis.’ It is amazing that our military leadership still has not learned to avoid demonizing and dehumanizing the ‘enemy.’ Naively, I thought this lesson was learned after the disastrous results of characterizing the Vietnamese as ‘gooks’ during the Vietnam War.

“And as far as cowardice is concerned, I believe the most powerful military in the history of the world annihilating a Third World, rag-tag army is the ultimate in cowardice.”

I hereby propose a new military draft, of one guy: Robert Lentz of Sylmar. Let’s send him to Iraq to show us what real bravery is.



Filed under: General — Patterico @ 5:29 am

LETTER TO THE EDITOR: I think this letter in yesterday’s Dog Trainer, written by Eric Dykeman of Long Beach, is worth reproducing in full. It is the third letter down at this link:

“I am going to disagree with the White House. I think those 16 words about Iraq seeking uranium should have been in his State of the Union address. I want all the intelligence information I can legally possess before deciding if I will support a decision for war.

“I’m astounded that so many people would rather have important intelligence hidden from them simply because the CIA was unable to confirm it — the same CIA that completely missed 9/11 and still cannot find Osama bin Laden and Saddam Hussein.”


Filed under: General — Patterico @ 5:16 am

ANNOYING EDITORIAL WRITER HARD AT WORK: The annoying guy who writes the cutesy editorials in the third spot for the Dog Trainer is at it again. This one is titled “Déjà Vu All Over Again.” Never mind what it’s about. The writer thinks the editorial is funny for some reason because he uses a lot of French words. The first line: “OK, mes amis, this is guerre.” What a crack-up!

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