Patterico's Pontifications



Filed under: General — Patterico @ 10:35 pm

SHOCKING NEWS: PROP. 209 BEING VIOLATED: In shocking news, the Oakland Tribune reports that the overwhelming majority of students admitted to the elite UC schools with SAT scores under 1000 were minorities. (Via Weintraub.)

Please save your nasty, knee-jerk e-mails. The point is not that minorities are stupid or inferior. I know many of you would love to conclude that this is my point, so that you can feel all self-righteous and write me e-mails saying I’m bigoted. But save it. There are plenty of applicants of all races with substandard qualifications. But you wouldn’t expect such underqualified applicants to get into prestigious universities — unless they were minorities.

When the Los Angeles Times first broke the news that thousands of applicants to the elite UC schools with SAT scores over 1400 were getting turned down, while hundreds of others with below-average scores were getting in, it didn’t take a rocket scientist to surmise that Proposition 209 was being blatantly violated. All that remained was for someone to dig up the proof. Now someone has.

That’s the point.


Filed under: General — Patterico @ 10:13 pm

MORE PRAISE FOR JANICE ROGERS BROWN: From Clint Bolick and Larry Solum.


Filed under: General — Patterico @ 7:46 pm

SCHIAVO ON LARRY KING: I just finished watching Michael Schiavo on Larry King. It is difficult to imagine a more sympathetic interview. King asked one or two tough questions, but left scores more unasked.

King was, as usual, completely unprepared. For example, he expressed surprise when he learned that Schiavo has had a child by his current girlfriend.

King asked nothing about the allegations, made in an affidavit under penalty of perjury by a registered nurse named Carla Iyer, that Michael Schiavo said: “When is that bitch going to die?” and exulted in how rich he was going to be when Terri was dead. There were no questions about whether (and why) Schiavo allegedly ordered Terri’s television and radio to be left on the same station at all times.

Other aspects of that nurse’s affidavit were discussed, however: namely, descriptions of Terri’s responsiveness. The explanation given: Mr. Schiavo yelled at the staff a lot, because he was very concerned that Terri receive good care. Apparently the staff got mad at him as a result. So, they made these things up.

So, we are to believe that a registered nurse and two nurses’ aides swore out declarations under penalty of perjury, accusing a relative of things like mental torture, denying rehabilitative care, and wanting to kill his wife for money — because a concerned relative had yelled at them?

Does this pass the smell test? A caller seemed sufficiently doubtful that she asked Schiavo whether he would take a lie detector test. His lawyer stepped in and said that the best lie detector was the fact that “20” judges looked at the case (earlier in the program it had been only 19, so I guess a 20th judge reviewed the case during the first half hour of the program). To his credit, King pressed Schiavo on this a little, noting that he still could take a lie detector test. Schiavo, looking quite uncomfortable, said he would decline to answer the question.

Concerning the videos, Schiavo said that there is other film that shows Terri to be unresponsive. When King asked if CNN could go in to film her independently, Schiavo and his lawyer declined, arguing her right to privacy.

Schiavo maintained that he hasn’t abandoned Terri; if anything, the family has. He didn’t explain why the parents keep trying to visit her, and why he keeps preventing or restricting those visits — and how this is all consistent with his assertion that the family has abandoned her.

King asked Schiavo why he didn’t just walk away and let the parents take care of her. After some talk about how he loved her and owed it to her to kill her, Schiavo said that, anyway, he would never turn over Terri to her parents because of what her dad testified to at the trial. According to Mr. Schiavo, her dad had testified that he would cut off all her limbs, to satisfy his own personal desire that she stay alive. Wow — that’s pretty odd, huh?

Schiavo’s attorney, George Feiger Felos, stepped in at that point to explain what had really happened at the trial. Felos said that he had asked the father at trial: if Terri had a medical condition that required you to authorize amputation of a limb to save her life, would you? Answer: yes. Question: a second limb? A third? A fourth? Mr. Schindler apparently testified that he would authorize amputation of all her limbs if it were necessary to save her life.

This testimony is hardly shocking, coming from a parent. But Mr. Schiavo had made it sound ghoulish, as if the father had testified to some sadistic urge to take a chainsaw and personally cut off all of his daughter’s limbs. This was a clear example of Mr. Schiavo twisting the words of another to suit his own purposes — and we are supposed to trust him that he didn’t do the same with Terri’s words.

But, Mr. Schiavo said, he was not the only one who had heard Terri say she didn’t want to be kept alive by tubes. “Two other people” said this. However, Mr. Schiavo didn’t volunteer that those people were his own brother and sister-in-law.

To me, the most revealing moments were when Schiavo was asked what the parents’ motives are. He responded right away that Terri’s father just wanted her money — not for her, but for himself.

But Schiavo also claimed that most of the money is gone. (He said about $50,000 is left. That’s not much if you are Terri’s parents and plan to spend it on rehab — but it’s plenty enough to give Schiavo and his girlfriend a nice vacation in Europe. That’s one of the things that Mr. Schiavo allegedly told RN Carla Iyer that he wanted to do with the money he hoped to inherit.)

So, King asked, if most of the money is gone, why are the parents still pursuing this?

King asked the question twice, and Schiavo gave different answers. The first time, Schiavo seemed dumbfounded by the question. He then argued that the parents know very well that Terri has no hope of improvement. In the next breath he said that the parents are getting fooled by their lawyers and the right-wing right-to-lifers. (Damn right-wingers! I knew they were behind this!) In the next breath he asserted again that the parents know perfectly well she won’t get better.

Later in the program (perhaps having forgotten that he asked it before), King asked the question again. Why are the parents trying to keep her alive? Schiavo replied that he guessed the parents were just trying to make his life a living hell.

That was very revealing. When you strip away the veil, and his attorney doesn’t step in quick enough to answer the question for him, the truth comes out. It’s all about him.

UPDATE: Here is the preliminary transcript of the interview.

DISNEY HALL: Last night I

Filed under: General — Patterico @ 6:38 am

DISNEY HALL: Last night I saw pianist Evgeny Kissin give the first recital at the new Walt Disney Concert Hall here in Los Angeles. I came away very impressed with Kissin and the Disney Hall.

Disney Hall is a remarkably intimate space. Virtually everything inside is made of wood. Many of the seats are crowded right around the stage, with large groups of seats above the stage to the left, right, and rear. I sat in a $15 “bench” seat (padded and very comfortable) behind the stage. I was in the front row of this section of seats, which is called “orchestra view.” I felt it was one of the best seats in the house, and the people sitting next to me said the same.

In a choral concert or vocal recital, audience members in these seats will be looking at the back of the singer(s) head(s), but in a piano recital, you are simply on the left side of the piano instead of the right. Although the lid of the piano is swung open to send the sound in the opposite direction, the acoustics are so good that you can’t tell the difference. Visually, it felt almost as though you were sitting in a living room watching someone play the piano. From my vantage point, I could not see Kissin’s hands working their magic, but from about 30-40 feet away I had a clear view of his face (below the wild hairdo) making interesting expressions indicating intense concentration. Every so often as he played, he would shoot a glance our way as if he were thinking: “Hmm. I’m not used to seeing people sitting to my left.”

Part of the phenomenon of good acoustics is that, not only you can hear the music very well, but you (and presumably the performer) can also hear the annoying audience noises better than ever. You almost felt as though you needed to hold your breath so as not to disturb the performer. Every cough from any section in the hall was like a gunshot. I was certain that everyone in the hall (including Kissin) could hear, for example, the idiot next to me undoing the velcro on his binoculars case, as well as the inconsiderate woman behind me noisily turning the pages in her program. It is unfortunate that the audience members did not all treat the hall, the music, and the performer with the respect they deserved.

Kissin started with the beautiful Schubert Bb sonata. He took the first two movements slowly, with feeling. The slow pace worked very nicely for the first movement, but was a bit too slow for my taste in the second movement. Some of the more lyrical passages lacked a flowing legato. After a chorus of coughs in the space after the first movement, Kissin dove right into the subsequent movements. The third movement was bouncy and fun, and the last well-executed. After an intermission, Kissin had a chance to show off his chops with some Liszt. He played four transcriptions of Schubert songs, as well as a couple of original (and naturally showy) Liszt pieces. He received several enthusiastic standing ovations, and played four encores. The concert ended up lasting almost 2 1/2 wonderful hours.

I have a slew of tickets for various Disney Hall concerts in the upcoming season, and I have to say I am excited. If the sound of a piano can fill this hall the way it did last night, it is almost impossible to imagine what a full orchestra will sound like. I had read that the members of the L.A. Philharmonic are learning that the acoustics of the hall are changing the way they play, increasing the subtlety and nuance. The orchestra can finally really hear itself play. I feel confident that the various visiting orchestras (including the Berlin Philharmonic in November) will respond with equal enthusiasm to the hall. Now the main obstacle to making this hall the perfect place to see a concert is making sure the experience is not spoiled by inattentive, noisy audiences.

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