Patterico's Pontifications

4/30/2004

Chuckie S.: ‘Hat Extraordinaire

Filed under: Judiciary — Patterico @ 8:53 pm

Nat Hentoff on Charles Pickering, here.

Hey, Chuckie S. — you ever send your children to a racially diverse public school, like Judge Pickering did?

Yeah, I didn’t think so.

Justin Levine on the Right of Publicity

Filed under: Law — Patterico @ 6:40 pm

Justin Levine, writing at the SoCalLawBlog, has this thought-provoking post arguing that California’s right of publicity is unconstitutional. He makes a good argument.

UPDATE: Eugene Volokh has more.

Torturers of Iraqi Prisoners

Filed under: War — Patterico @ 6:38 pm

Most people who have commented on the torture of Iraqi prisoners have opined that those responsible for the torture should be prosecuted by American authorities and forced to serve long prison sentences.

Let me toss out a different idea for discussion: let the Iraqis prosecute them, and impose whatever punishment they deem appropriate.

Just Keep Distorting the Truth — It’s For a Good Cause

Filed under: Crime,Dog Trainer,No on 66 — Patterico @ 5:52 pm

Our local Dog Trainer reports here that Bill Lockyer will not appeal the Ninth Circuit’s recent decision holding a Three Strikes sentence unconstitutional.

As I have discussed in a previous post, the first time the Dog Trainer reported on the Ninth Circuit decision, the paper buried on the back pages the fact that the man’s priors were actually robberies. Worse, the paper never described the force used in those robberies (shoving a security guard and driving over another security guard’s foot).

In this latest story, the paper doesn’t even mention that the previous crimes were robberies. The priors are described simply as “two nonviolent shoplifting offenses.” The word “robberies” (or “robbery”) does not even appear in the article.

And so the facts of the case are further fictionalized, so that reasonable citizens (who are foolish enough to rely on the Dog Trainer for their news) get the impression that one can be sentenced to 25-to-life for three petty thefts — an impossibility under California law.

But this distortion of facts is all for a good cause: promoting passage of the initiative to gut the Three Strikes law in November. I’m sure the folks at the Dog Trainer feel that the need to promote this initiative outweighs the responsibility to accurately report the news. Hence the repeated and increasingly misleading distortion of the facts of the Ninth Circuit case.

UPDATE: Re-reading the story, I see I was too kind. Here is the full quote describing the defendant’s past offenses:

In 1991, Ramirez pleaded guilty to two nonviolent shoplifting offenses iand served just over six months under a plea agreement.

(By the way, it looks like the Dog Trainer‘s spell checker is still broken.)

If they had said he had “committed” two nonviolent shoplifting offenses, that would have been inaccurate and a distortion. Saying that he pled guilty to shoplifting offenses is a lie. It was stated that way in their first news story as well, and it’s a patent falsehood.

4/29/2004

Stuffing the Good News

Filed under: Dog Trainer — Patterico @ 6:31 am

Via Armed Liberal, who really should be writing for Oh, That Liberal Media, comes the following observation regarding yesterday’s Los Angeles Times.

On the front page was a story titled From Allied to Alienated. The story is about a disillusioned Shiite cleric who says that U.S. forces — initially welcomed as liberators — have worn out their welcome by (as the Times puts it) “failing to fulfill their promises for democracy, political empowerment and reconstruction.”

The Times also ran a story titled What A Bomb Can’t Do, which has a rare story of good news from Iraq: a tale of Marines sitting down for tea with a sheik near Fallouja. The story shows the efforts Marines are making to win hearts and minds to the idea that Americans are really trying to make things better:

The sheik had some concerns and asked for a meeting.

The Marines were eager to curry the sheik’s favor.

Waging war is a wholesale business: whole cities, whole armies are subdued at once with speed and fearful weaponry.

But winning hearts and minds is retail, done one heart and one mind at a time.

And so the lieutenant, the major, the Marine lawyer, the Marine lawyer’s assistant, two translators and 15 combat troops who were needed in case of an ambush loaded into a convoy of Humvees.

Convincing someone of your good intentions is labor intensive. During war, the saying is that you should never send a squad of Marines to do what a 500-pound bomb can do; during the struggle for a lasting peace, bombs can be useless, even counterproductive.

The meeting in the farmhouse in this village outside Fallouja was only one of dozens of such meetings, in tiny homes, in government offices, along roadsides, in tumble-down rural villages, anywhere and everywhere, as the Marines try to convince a leery and war-weary Iraqi populace that the United States is their friend.

Nice story. You should read it all.

So what’s our beef?

Simple. Whereas the first story was Column One on the front page, the second story — the good news — ran in the Calendar section, where they run the comic strips and advice columns.

And we wonder why polls show that Americans don’t think things are going well in Iraq.

UPDATE: For more on how the media is burying the good news from Iraq, go here and here.

4/28/2004

Trials

Filed under: Law — Patterico @ 8:37 pm

Did I say that the only thing better than doing a trial was finishing a trial?

I was wrong.

It is even better to finish a trial — and obtain a just verdict.

Noted Leftist to Join Los Angeles Dog Trainer as Opinion Editor

Filed under: Dog Trainer — Patterico @ 5:54 pm

MSNBC reports that Michael Kinsley, a noted leftist who served as Crossfire’s voice from the left for several years, has accepted a post as the new opinion editor at the Los Angeles Dog Trainer (aka L.A. Times).

Somehow I think he’ll fit in at the Times better than, say, Robert Novak would.

Thanks to alert reader Jim D. for the tip and the headline. He double-dog dared me to use his headline (actually, a slightly less derisive version), and you don’t turn down a double-dog dare.

UPDATE: In a rather startling admission, Times editor John Carroll says of the leftist Kinsley:

One of the things that appealed to me about Mike is that his political philosophy is more or less in keeping with our editorial page.

This frank admission comes in an announcement that describes Kinsley as “left-leaning” — an accurate if somewhat understated description.

At least the Times is owning up to its leftist editorial bias.

UPDATE: The commenters at L.A. Observed are licking their chops, hoping that Kinsley will fire conservative cartoonist Michael Ramirez.

UPDATE x2: Meanwhile, Hugh Hewitt has a sensible suggestion that will never happen: dump crazy old Bob Scheer.

Quoting Scalia

Filed under: Dog Trainer — Patterico @ 6:33 am

Today’s Los Angeles Dog Trainer has a story about the oral argument in the Cheney task force secrecy case. The story reminds readers of Justice Scalia’s recusal controversy, and says that Scalia clearly sided with the Bush Administration in the oral argument. The story then says:

“I think executive privilege means whenever the president feels that he is threatened, he can simply refuse to comply with a court order,” Scalia told [Sierra Club lawyer Alan] Morrison in one exchange. “He has the power to say, ‘No, this intrudes too much upon my powers. I will not do it.’ ” The justice added that the president should not even be forced to fight the issue before a judge.

“If you view executive privilege that way, forcing [Bush] to assert executive privilege is really pushing things to an extreme that should not very often occur in this republic,” Scalia said.

Does this sound odd to anyone else? It makes me wonder whether this is a misquotation, or perhaps an accurate quotation taken out of context. I couldn’t find the quote in the Washington Post or New York Times stories on the argument, or in Slate.com’s coverage. I don’t have a transcript yet, and I haven’t had a chance to listen to any of the available recordings, but I’ll get back to you when I have.

Not that the press would ever misquote Scalia.

UPDATE: I have heard the quote but haven’t had a chance to digest the argument to come to an opinion as to the context. The portions within the quotation marks are indeed accurate.

UPDATE x2: Having listened to the recording a little more, I believe that Scalia may have been quoted out of context. I hear Scalia saying that the concept of executive privilege is not a limited evidentiary sort of privilege, of the type commonly asserted in judicial proceedings, but rather a categorical privilege which implicates separation of powers issues — the invocation of which creates a potential constitutional crisis. Therefore, it should be taken seriously, and the President should not be forced to invoke it often.

I don’t think that the Times‘s quotation was ridiculously unfair; I just think it missed a little of the subtlety.

I am happy to have anyone who disagrees with me explain their disagreement in the comments or an e-mail.

4/27/2004

Trials

Filed under: Law — Patterico @ 9:29 pm

The only thing better than doing a trial is — finishing a trial.

Lou, if you’re reading this, thanks for your help. Leave me a comment!

What Should I Make Dean Write About?

Filed under: War — Patterico @ 9:26 pm

I have paid the $30 freight to make Dean Esmay write me an essay.

I was thinking about making him write me an essay about Mendelssohn and Wagner. But then Croche (aka Clod Debussy) wrote me one — for free.

So I am taking suggestions.

What should I make Dean Esmay write about?

P.S. If you want to make Dean Esmay write about something, just donate $30 to Spirit of America in the name of the Liberty Alliance. You can get Rosemary’s opinion instead if you want — or get both Dean’s and Rosemary’s opinions for one low, low price of $50.

Seriously, this is a worthy cause. Go to the site and check it out — you’re doing something positive for Iraq.

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