Patterico's Pontifications

11/2/2007

Re those NeoCon GOP Senators from New York and California — Schumer and Feinstein

Filed under: General — WLS @ 7:16 pm

Posted By WLS 

The comments are simply precious.

LMAO.

Ex-Astronaut Lisa Nowak gets a “Big Break” (Updated x3)

Filed under: Crime,Law — DRJ @ 4:03 pm

[Guest post by DRJ]

Lisa Nowak, the ex-astronaut who drove from Texas to Florida to confront a second female astronaut in a NASA love triangle, faces attempted kidnapping and other charges in a Florida court. Today, the Judge in her case ruled inadmissible a statement she gave police and suppressed incriminating evidence found in her car:

“A judge agreed today to suppress Lisa Nowak’s police statement and evidence against her, an apparent big break for the former astronaut accused of pepper spraying her rival in a love triangle involving another astronaut.

The evidence ordered suppressed by Circuit Court Judge Mark Lubet included a wig and trench coat Nowak wore, along with a knife, BB gun, trash bags, plastic gloves and green tubing found in her car at the time of her arrest in an airport parking lot.

There was no immediate word from prosecutors about whether they would appeal.

During her interview with an arresting officer, according to police, Nowak said she only wanted to talk to Naval officer Colleen Shipman about her relationship with astronaut Bill Oefelein, the other two involved in the love triangle, and that she never planned to hurt Shipman.

Her defense lawyer argued that Nowak never was properly advised of her Miranda rights to an attorney and to remain silent and also of her right to decline a search of her car without a warrant.”

Well, duh. Miranda v Arizona was decided in 1966, 41 year ago, and yet we still see cases like this. Sometimes it seems like criminals know their Miranda rights better than police.

— DRJ

Update 1: See comment 9 for some details on the Judge’s ruling.

Update 2: The Houston Chronicle article linked above has been updated, and the last sentence says Nowak has “returned to the Navy, where she is a captain assigned to the Naval Air Station in Corpus Christi.”

Update 3: Here’s the Judge’s order.

Given the News About Schumer and Feinstein, My Idea Probably Isn’t Necessary Any Longer

Filed under: General — WLS @ 3:25 pm

I was thinking this morning about the predicament the AG nominee finds himself in with respect to “defining” waterboarding as “torture”.

Then, I had an epiphany while listening to the Dennis Miller show while driving to work — well, maybe not an epiphany, it was really just a Miller caller who had an idea that I liked.

A spa should be built at Gitmo to go along with the various other lifestyle accoutrements afforded to the guests.  

A CIA directive could require that any waterboarding be done only using Gatorade.

Then, by Executive Order, “waterboarding” could be defined as “Fluid Replacement Therapy” or “Electorlyte Balancing Therapy” since its very humid in Cuba throughout most of the year.

As Miller noted after the caller hung up, maybe the CIA could get Keith Jackson to narrate the demostration video. 

Another Policy The LAT Apparently Doesn’t Have — Making Sure Their Columnists Aren’t Ripping Off the Column Ideas of Others

Filed under: Buffoons,Dog Trainer — WLS @ 3:13 pm

[Posted by WLS]

In his column today, Joel Stein has a humorous column take on the writings of one Ann Coulter, and why she so easily infuriates left wingers like Stein. Titled “Ann Coulter Mad Libs”, he writes a mock column under Coulter’s name in which he throws in a bunch of non-sequitur blasts a democrats in another otherwise Coulteresque conservative diatribe.

Curiously, just two days ago, Mark Heminway at National Review Online did a curiously similar” mad-lib” “mash-up” of Maureen Dowd by extracting singles sentences from a few dozen of her columns that were hidden behind the NYT subscription wall for the last year, assembling them all into a single column under her name and concluding that he hadn’t missed anything in the year she had been gone.

Now its not that both columns are exactly the same, but it seems more than simply curious that Stein came up with his “mad-lib” sendup of Coulter only two days after Hemingway trashed Dowd in the same fashion.

So, I’m wondering, is this another policy that the LAT editors do not see the need to have or enforce?

— WLS

UPDATE BY PATTERICO: I’m not buying that Stein stole his idea from NRO.

But he might have stolen it from this guy.

And for Allah’s Sake Keep Shopping

Filed under: War — DRJ @ 2:59 pm

[Guest post by DRJ]

The Instapundit brings more good news from Iraq: American and Iraqi deaths continue to decline, Iran is curtailing its activities in Iraq, … yada, yada, yada. Who cares? Apparently not the Washington Post because, as Don Surber notes, the WaPo buried these stories on pages 14 and 18. But it does make me wonder what other good news may have been buried in the news from Iraq.

After 9/11, President Bush asked for “our continued participation and confidence in the American economy,” a phrase that Time Magazine construed to mean “And for God’s sake keep shopping.” It wasn’t bad advice and I wonder if some Iraqis might be having a similar Come to Capitalism moment:

“As if sensing a possible shift in the capital, Iraqis in mainly Shiite eastern Baghdad have returned to the streets in numbers not seen in months.

Firas Rahim, who owns a shop selling clothing for men and children in the Karradah neighborhood, said the number of customers in the store has risen 75 percent in recent days. He now stays open from 9 a.m. to 9 p.m. Before the chaos diminished he was open only from 5 p.m. to 7 p.m.

“I was afraid to stay open longer because of the bombings and violence. Things are looking better now. My business is booming,” Rahim said. “I have whole families coming in again. It’s a positive sign. I hope it lasts. Baghdadis love to live at night. I used to close after midnight and hope, someday, I can again.”

Taxis and minibuses, scarce even on recent Fridays, were plentiful. In the mainly Shiite district of New Baghdad, in the east of the capital, a small amusement park was under repair, workmen rejuvenating the rides. The park was closed when the United States invaded in March 2003.

Shops were under repair for reopening. And in the neighborhood market, there were women present, able to enter without searches for the first time in months. Residents said hundreds of shops that had been closed on recent Fridays were now open.”

The report notes that tensions are still high in some areas, particularly in west Baghdad, but the trend in violence and deaths appears to be heading steadily down. Getting people back to everyday events like work and shopping is a sign that conditions may continue to improve.

— DRJ

Will 3 Instances of CIA Waterboarding sink AG-nominee Mukasey?

Filed under: Terrorism,War — DRJ @ 1:35 pm

[Guest post by DRJ]

Via the Instapundit, ABC reports that only three detainees – all members of al Qaeda – have been waterboarded by the CIA and no one has been waterboarded since 2003:

“For all the debate over waterboarding, it has been used on only three al Qaeda figures, according to current and former U.S. intelligence officials. As ABC News first reported in September, waterboarding has not been used since 2003 and has been specifically prohibited since Gen. Michael Hayden took over as CIA director.

Officials told ABC News on Sept. 14 that the controversial interrogation technique, in which a suspect has water poured over his mouth and nose to stimulate a drowning reflex as shown in the above demonstration, had been banned by the CIA director at the recommendation of his deputy, Steve Kappes.”

Waterboarding helped break Khalid Sheikh Mohammed so now we don’t use it at all? This is insanity.

Today’s reports indicate Senators Feinstein and Schumer will support AG-nominee Mukasey. I hope the remaining Senators get over their fear of water(boarding) and approve Mukasey’s nomination.

— DRJ

Fake Military Hero sentenced to Prison

Filed under: Crime,War — DRJ @ 11:42 am

[Guest post by DRJ]

The Stolen Valor Act of 2005 establishes criminal penalties for distributors of phony medals and those who fraudulently claim to be decorated veterans. As a result of this legislation, one fake hero has gotten a real penalty:

“His resume read like a military awards manual. The Purple Heart is given to soldiers wounded or killed in battle. Richard David McClanahan claimed to have three of them. Then there were the Silver Stars. He boasted to have three of those too, more than military legend Audie Murphy. But it was all a lie.

Now, McClanahan will have to spend 34 months in federal prison. McClanahan, 29, of Fort Worth, is one in a small-but-growing list of fake military heroes prosecuted nationally under the Stolen Valor Act of 2005. The measure seeks to penalize people who either distribute phony medals or fraudulently claim to be decorated veterans.

At a sentencing hearing Thursday in Amarillo, McClanahan conceded he made “terrible choices” and acknowledged that he “disrespected this nation and the uniform I wore. I take full responsibility. It was wrong, and I knew it was wrong when I did it,” he told U.S. District Judge Mary Lou Robinson. “I have no right to ask for forgiveness. I tainted this country with my irresponsible actions and for that I’m sorry.”

He was later led out of the courtroom and placed in immediate custody.”

The Judge noted at sentencing that McClanahan’s life revealed a pattern of lying (his sentence also covered a charge for fraud in connection with a car loan) that impacted his punishment:

“Military records show McClanahan served nearly 2½ years in the Navy, and nearly four years in the Army. His service ended in April 2005. After that, McClanahan began taking license with his service record, prosecutors argued.

McClanahan made false claims that he received the Medal of Honor, three Silver Stars, three Purple Hearts and the Legion of Merit, court records show. He boasted to have collected more honors than Murphy, the son of Celeste sharecroppers who received 33 medals during World War II. An investigation determined McClanahan, a 1997 graduate of Cal Farley’s Boys Ranch High School, did not receive any of those medals. He bought medals and certificates on eBay and passed them off as his own.

McClanahan also was given five years’ probation on each count. [Judge] Robinson admonished McClanahan for “a consistent pattern of lying. You lived a completely fictitious life for this period of time,” she said. “You have a long course of behavior that has hurt other people.”

McClanahan faced a maximum of up to 31 years in prison and $1.1 million in fines.”

McClanahan made terrible choices and it’s a shame, especially since he’s a Cal Farley boy. But choices have consequences – in this case, 34 months of consequences.

— DRJ

Pipe Bomb found at Phoenix Nuclear Plant

Filed under: Terrorism — DRJ @ 11:12 am

[Guest post by DRJ]

Phoenix’s Palo Verde Nuclear Generating Station, the largest power plant in the US, was locked down today after a pipe bomb was found in the truck of a contract worker:

“A suspicious item seized Friday morning from the truck of a contract worker at Palo Verde Nuclear Generating Station turned out to be an apparent pipe bomb, plant operator Arizona Public Service Co. said. The plant declared an “unusual event” and locked down the facility in response. The plant has several hundred contract workers on site working on upgrades.

APS said in a press release that the vehicle was removed from the security checkpoint, which is at least a quarter of a mile from the parking lot. APS security, who check identification and search vehicles at the checkpoint, did not detect explosive material on the small, capped pipe, the company said. But the bomb squad from Maricopa County Sheriffs Office confirmed it was a “credible explosive device,” APS said.

Two elementary schools and a high school in the area were locked down briefly when a plant employee notified the district, Superintendent Robin Berry said.

“This is not a threat to the public,” said Jim McDonald, a spokesman for plant operator Arizona Public Service Co. earlier Friday. “If it had the potential to be, the security guards stopped it.”

The plant has returned to normal operations and the worker is being questioned by law enforcement. The odds are it’s an explainable, low-threat event but it’s good news the facility handled things well.

There’s no harm in good news every now and then.

— DRJ

Court Orders $28,000 a Month Child Support

Filed under: Law — DRJ @ 7:51 am

[Guest post by DRJ]

The Georgia Court of Appeals recently reinstated an order that Florida attorney Willie Gary pay $28,000 a month in child support to his former lover for their twin children:

“When Atlanta resident Diana Gowins gave birth to twins fathered by a married multimillionaire, she felt her children deserved the finer things in life.

The father, high-profile Florida-based attorney Willie Gary, gave his former lover money for the twins, but when he felt she was misusing the child support, he took her to court in November 2005. Gary convinced Fulton County Superior Court Judge Cynthia Wright to reduce his payments from $28,000 a month to $5,000.

However, the Georgia Court of Appeals issued a decision Friday siding with the mother, tossing out the judge’s order to reduce the father’s payments.”

Gary had initially agreed to pay $28,000 a month in child support and he can afford the increased payments – his income is $13M a year. However, Gary’s attorney Kenny Schatten said they may appeal because of the way the child support has been spent:

“Schatten said Gary only challenged how much he pays for his 6-year-old daughter and son after he discovered that Gowins stopped putting money into a college fund and spent much of the cash on herself. Gary’s attorneys have accused Gowins, who lives in a $600,000 home in south Atlanta, of splurging on designer clothes, a Steinway piano, cruises without the kids and a tummy tuck. She also spent thousands on private school tuition and diamonds for her oldest child, a teenage daughter from a previous relationship, Gary argued in court documents.

The Fulton judge told Gowins, a former nurse, to go to work and watch her lavish spending, but she refused, saying she has a right to be a stay-at-home mom.”

Moral: Never get between a mother and her children child support.

— DRJ

What Else is the Los Angeles Times Lying to You About?

Filed under: Dog Trainer,General — Patterico @ 6:17 am

I’m not through discussing Tim Rutten’s numerous errors in his Beauchamp column. One of them raises a very important question: what does it mean to the credibility of the paper when Rutten says Drudge didn’t provide a particular document — and it turns out Drudge did, but the paper won’t acknowledge that?

To make the point clear, let’s recall exactly what Rutten said.

The Drudge writer, whoever that may be, then went on to list four documents he or she had obtained. [Description follows of the first three.] The fourth document, according to Drudge, was “a signed ‘Memorandum for Record’ in which Beauchamp recants his stories and concedes the facts of the Army’s investigation — that his stories contained ‘gross exaggerations and inaccurate allegations of misconduct’ by his fellow soldiers.”

It was interesting to note that Drudge provided links to the transcripts and report but not to the purported “Memorandum for Record.”

In the documents Drudge posted was a document labeled:

memorandum-for-record.JPG

Click here and scroll to the last two pages to read it. The Memorandum of Concern is the second to last page. The Memorandum for Record, acknowledging receipt of the Memorandum of Concern, is the last page.

Rutten said that Drudge didn’t post the document, but Drudge did.

So Michael Goldfarb and I brought this clear error to the paper’s attention. Here was the defense offered:

Rutten’s assessment is that it was not clear that the memo at the end of the military officer’s report/summary is the same one to which Drudge’s original post referred. The columnist’s thinking: Drudge lists it apart from the final document, but — as Rutten wrote — Drudge provides no link, nor does he say it can be found at the end of the report, seeming to indicate possession of another document, but providing no link. I don’t believe that Rutten’s column warrants correction on that point.

That defense — if you can even understand it — fails for one simple reason. An image is worth a thousand words:

memorandum-for-record.JPG

I have just shown you all the links and proof you need to conclude that Tim Rutten and his paper aren’t telling you the truth about this. What’s more, when confronted with the facts, they refuse to acknowledge and correct them.

Who are you going to believe? Tim Rutten, or your lying eyes?

The document exists, he knows it, and he and his paper are lying to you about it. Pure and simple.

Here’s my question, and I think it’s a very important one: if the paper is willing to lie about this, what else are they lying to you about? And: what if the evidence to show they are lying weren’t in the public domain?

What else is this newspaper telling you doesn’t exist, that actually does?

P.S. I can prove to you that Tim Rutten never saw this document before he wrote his column. Because it confirms Rutten’s claim about what it would say. The Memorandum of Record is not, as the Drudge item mistakenly claimed, a retraction. Rutten is correct to say that the Memorandum is merely an acknowledgement that he has seen a document the Army showed him.

That’s how we know that Rutten didn’t bother to read all the documents. No reporter runs across documentary proof of his claim and fails to note its existence. If Ruttten had seen the document, he wouldn’t have said:

(In fact, signing such a document — if it exists — is not an admission of guilt, but merely an acknowledgment that the person under investigation has been shown the contents.)

And he wouldn’t have said:

Since there was no link to the purported memorandum, we must take its existence on faith.

He would have said something like this:

In fact, Drudge completely mischaracterizes the document titled “Memorandum for Record.” Although Drudge claims the Memorandum is an admission of guilt, it is actually nothing more than a mere acknowledgment that Beauchamp had been shown the Memorandum of Concern.

The fact of the matter is that Tim Rutten skimmed the documents and didn’t notice the Memorandum for Record. So he mistakenly said it didn’t exist.

That mistake has been brought to his attention, and he and his paper are trying to sweep it under the rug.

UPDATE: Thanks to Mickey for the link. The other aspects of Rutten’s weaselly defense are detailed here. Also more here.


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