Patterico's Pontifications

3/13/2008

Quote of the Day

Filed under: General,Scum — Patterico @ 11:23 pm

“We wouldn’t have been there in the first place if girls weren’t getting naked in the first place.”

A Line I Never Thought I’d Hear As I Watched Saturday Night Live Growing Up

Filed under: Politics — Patterico @ 11:20 pm

Which brings us to me . . . Senator Al Franken.

Why is the simple solution to the Dimocrit Nominating Mess Not Obvious?

Filed under: 2008 Election,General — WLS @ 6:33 pm

[Posted by WLS]

How about this — the superdelegates assemble at a location, real or virtual, on July 15 and vote by secret ballot.

No one will know who sold out who, and the 795 superdelegates can vote their conscience or their calculation, whichever is dominant in their thinking.

Now this doesn’t solve the Mich/Fla problem, which must be solved in order for each candidate to know going in where they stand in the overall race.

But a secret ballot among the superdelegates would eliminate the possibility for reprisal by the winner against anyone who voted against him/her.

Each candidate would have to pledge in advance to respect the outcome of the vote, and make their best effort to see that their supporters did the same.

And the party as a whole would have the benefit of knowing going into the convention who the nominee was going to be.

Is that a radical thought to Dimos — a secret ballot?

— WLS

Update:  In response to Patterico’s inquiry, I’ve changed the word “Dimo” in the caption to “Dimocrit”.  Its a moniker that I gave the Dems online back in 2004, and raised the ire of a bunch of regulars on the old NYT Online Forum in their Editorial Section. 

But I think they’ve earned it once again this election cycle.

Candidates Vote on Tax Cuts and Earmarks

Filed under: 2008 Election — DRJ @ 2:59 pm

[Guest post by DRJ]

In what has been described as a symbolic vote, the Senate and House voted today on extending the Bush tax cuts:

“The Senate on Thursday rejected the idea of renewing many of President Bush’s tax cuts as all three major presidential candidates interrupted their campaigns to cast their votes. The House approved a budget blueprint that would raise taxes by $683 billion over the next five years. The Senate did embrace Bush reductions aimed at low-income workers, married couples and people with children.

The House budget plan would provide generous increases to domestic federal programs but still is designed to bring the government’s budget back into the black by letting all of Bush’s tax cuts expire at the end of 2010. That plan passed the House on a 212-207 vote with Republicans unanimously opposing it.

The Senate voted 99-1 to extend the cuts for some workers as well as couples and parents. Senators voted 52-47 to reject a move to extend tax cuts for middle- and higher-income taxpayers, investors and people inheriting businesses and big estates.

The votes were mostly symbolic, but they put senators in both parties on the record for when the tax cuts actually expire in three years.

Arizona GOP Sen. John McCain, Republican presidential nominee-in- waiting, voted for the full roster of Bush tax cuts. Rivals Hillary Clinton, D-N.Y., and Barack Obama, D-Ill., both voted against them.
***
Obama and Clinton both promise to reverse Bush’s tax cuts for wealthier taxpayers, but the Democratic budget they’ll be voting for would allow income tax rates to go up on individuals making as little as $31,850 and couples earning $63,700 or more.”

Tonight’s vote on earmarks is expected to bring more bad news for conservatives because “opponents of ‘pork barrel’ projects [are] expected to lose a late-night vote to ban such earmarks for a year, despite the endorsement of all three presidential candidates.”

— DRJ

Jury Judge Nullification?

Filed under: Law — DRJ @ 2:35 pm

[Guest post by DRJ]

Following up on Patterico’s nullification posts, I read this non-precedential Fifth Circuit opinion and wondered: Do judges nullify?

“At defendant Jason Dejuan Leatch’s post-Booker resentencing, Leatch sought a downward sentencing departure based on the purported unfairness of the Sentencing Guidelines (“Guidelines”) because 100 times more powder cocaine than crack cocaine was required to trigger inclusion in a given sentencing range. See United States v. Leatch, 482 F.3d 790, 790 (5th Cir. 2007), abrogated by Kimbrough v. United States, 128 S.Ct. 558. After a lengthy discussion with defense counsel how the United States Sentencing Commission’s proposed 20:1 ratio would affect Leatch’s sentence, the district court elected to make a downward departure and impose a below-Guidelines sentence based on its disagreement with the Guidelines’ disparity between crack cocaine and powder cocaine offenses. The court stated:

I’m varying in this case because I think the 100-to-1 disparity between powder cocaine and crack cocaine is inappropriate. I’ve followed with great interest the thoughtful district court decisions that address that. I am not going to attempt to restate on my own the various reasons for that. But for the reasons reflected in those decisions and also reflected in the Sentencing Commission’s determination that the 100-to-1 ratio was inappropriate. . . . [a]ccordingly, I’m going to follow what I understand to be the Sentencing Commission’s recommendation and use a 20-to-1 ratio.”

By using the 20-to-1 ratio, the district court imposed a sentence of 62 months less than the 100-to-1 ratio would yield. In the sentencing appeal, the Fifth Circuit vacated the sentence on the ground that “a sentencing court may not deviate from the 100:1 crack-powder ratio based solely upon its belief that the policies underpinning that sentencing regime are misguided or unfair.”

On appeal from the Fifth Circuit, the Supreme Court remanded in light of Kimbrough and Gall that held sentencing guidelines are not mandatory. In this opinion, the Fifth Circuit remanded the case for resentencing and cautioned the district court judge:

“On resentencing, the district court must take care — especially if it decides to deviate from the Guidelines — to articulate how its sentence satisfies the statutory criteria.”

There was also a slice of humor in this case. Note the defendant’s name from the caption:

“UNITED STATES OF AMERICA,
Plaintiff-Appellant,
v.
JASON DEJUAN LEATCH,
ALSO KNOWN AS CRIPTONITE
Defendant-Appellee.”

Defendant Leatch and his attorney convinced a federal district judge to sentence him to substantially less time than the sentencing guidelines required.

Maybe he does have super powers.

— DRJ

Obama’s “Spiritual Advisor”: A Real Political Liability

Filed under: 2008 Election,General — Patterico @ 11:40 am

Tom Bevan:

Brian Ross’s report for Good Morning America on Barack Obama’s pastor, Jeremiah Wright, is potentially a huge problem for Obama. In the piece, Ross has clips of Wright delivering sermons in which he says we should not say God Bless America, but God “Damn” America, in which he calls America the US of KKKA (referring to how racist the country is), and in which he says about September 11 that America’s “chickens have come home to roost.”

As if that weren’t bad enough, Mark Halperin has a Youtube of Wright in which he says Jesus was a black man killed by rich white folks and he drops the N-Word in reference to Hillary.

Jeez. This is Obama’s “spiritual advisor”?

I knew Wright had said supportive things about Louis Farrakhan, and that’s bad enough. But I had no idea it was this bad.

Unless our news media is totally in the bag for Obama, I think Bevan is right. He’s going to face increased scrutiny on this, and it could be a real problem for him.

Pelosi: “Take it from me, that won’t be the ticket.”

Filed under: 2008 Election — DRJ @ 10:38 am

[Guest post by DRJ]

CNN reports this from Nancy Pelosi on the dream ticket of Clinton-Obama or Obama-Clinton:

“The Democratic presidential ticket will be a “Dream Team,” Nancy Pelosi said Thursday, it just won’t have both Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama’s name on it.

Speaking to reporters on Capitol Hill, the House Speaker reiterated comments she made earlier in the week that the two presidential candidates will not end up sharing a ticket.

“I do think we will have a dream team, it just won’t be those two names,” She said. “Whoever our nominee is and whoever he or she is and whoever he or she chooses, will be a dream team as the Democrats go forward.”

When pressed further about the possibility of a joint ticket, Pelosi stated flatly, “Take it from me, that won’t be the ticket.”

The comments echoed remarks the Speaker made Tuesday, when she emphatically told a Boston television station that a joint ticket with Clinton and Obama is “impossible.”

I wonder if she really knows something or if this is an effort to avoid getting in the middle of today’s complex Democratic politics. I don’t know — I’m just a simple person when it comes to politics — but I hope she’s right.

— DRJ

Lawsuit Seeks Ruling on McCain’s Citizenship

Filed under: 2008 Election,General — Patterico @ 6:18 am

I guess it was bound to happen. Someone has filed suit over McCain’s citizenship:

John McCain has been called an American hero. But is he a natural born citizen?

A federal judge in California has been asked to determine if the Republican presidential candidate, who was born in the Panama Canal Zone in 1936, meets the legal test to qualify for the nation’s highest office.

The complaint is here. Looking at the roster of Central District judges, I think the case number stamp, with the initials SGL and OPx, means that the judge is Hon. Stephen G. Larson, with the magistrate judge (probably for discovery disputes and such) being Hon. Oswald Parada. Judge Larson is a fairly recent Bush appointee.

The exact membership of the Ninth Circuit panel is to be determined, with the exception of Stephen Reinhardt, who will be assuming his customary place on every politically charged case that passes through the circuit. (Yes, I am kidding — I think.)

Thanks to Howard.

Should We Allow GTMO Detainees to Phone Home?

Filed under: Terrorism — Patterico @ 12:09 am

Stashiu says we should.

His opinion carries some weight with me. Go read it now.


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