Patterico's Pontifications

4/12/2008

L.A. Times Article on Prisons Once Again Fails to Mention Cost of Housing Illegal Alien Criminals

Filed under: Crime,Dog Trainer — Patterico @ 11:05 pm

The L.A. Times has a front-page, above-the-fold article that reports:

In a proposal that would nearly double the state’s prison construction program, Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger’s administration asked lawmakers Friday to approve $7 billion in new spending to bring medical and mental healthcare in California prisons up to constitutional standards.

Naturally, the article does not say one word about illegal aliens in our prisons — even though, as I have told you before, the Washington Post says that “[m]ore than 10 percent of California’s prison population is in the United States illegally.

If we’re spending $7 billion on new health care, that means more than $700 million could be saved if we didn’t have illegal aliens to house.

A savings of $700 million. Is that worth one sentence in this front-page article?

Colorado College Sanctions Students for Parody Newspaper

Filed under: Civil Liberties,Constitutional Law — DRJ @ 8:32 pm

[Guest post by DRJ]

The Denver Post reports on a controversy at Colorado College that involves a feminist newsletter The Monthly Rag. Two male students were sanctioned after they published a response they called The Monthly Bag:

“A satirical response to a feminist publication at Colorado College has landed the college and two of its students in the middle of a fierce debate over freedom of speech.

Chris Robinson and another student at the Colorado Springs institution decided to print “The Monthly Bag” after seeing copies of a feminist and gender studies newsletter, “The Monthly Rag,” in restrooms around campus.

The edition of “The Monthly Rag” that prompted action included an announcement for a talk on feminist pornography, information on gender-bending practices, and a tidbit about a myth involving male castration. According to Robinson, it was representative of what appears every month.

In response, Robinson and a friend created their flier, which provided tips on chainsaw etiquette, detailed a sexual position from Men’s Health magazine and provided trivia about a sniper rifle — what Robinson called information for the stereotypical macho man. Staff members removed The Bag within hours of receiving complaints that the publication was threatening.

“It was a serious concern that this thing was posted anonymously and included in bold print the performance characteristics of a sniper rifle,” president Richard Celeste said. “I had to take that as a threat.

The authors appeared before a conduct committee in March and were found guilty of violating the campus conduct code. In lieu of punishment, they were ordered to host a public forum on the issues raised in the incident.”

The students filed a complaint with FIRE, the Foundation for Individual Rights in Education, whose director called this “one of the worst cases of the year”:

“It’s such an obvious double standard. The fact that ‘The Monthly Rag’ mentions male castration alongside an announcement for a feminist porn activist provides the same juxtaposition they’re claiming for Robinson of violence and sexuality.”

The feminist group’s response:

“Tomi-Ann Roberts, director of the feminist and gender studies program that publishes “The Monthly Rag,” said participants in her program were surprised when this situation arose.

“We were like ‘whoa … wow … wait.’ Obviously, there are some men here on this campus who are very angry at our flier,” Roberts said. The feminist and gender studies program has been publishing The Monthly Rag for about three years.

At the conduct hearing in March, Robinson and other students raised concerns about the offensiveness of The Monthly Rag. Roberts dismissed those complaints. “There’s a difference between material that is ‘offensive’ … versus material that demonizes or threatens or belittles groups of people.”

So males shouldn’t feel threatened or belittled by articles on castration?

— DRJ

ABC & AP: Top Bush Officials approved Enhanced Interrogation Techniques (Updated)

Filed under: Terrorism,War — DRJ @ 6:11 pm

[Guest post by DRJ]

ABC (Jan Crawford Greenburg and others) reported earlier this week that top Bush Administration officials approved the enhanced interrogation techniques authorized for use on high-value al Qaeda detainees.

In a follow-up story, the AP confirmed ABC’s report and claims enhanced techniques were approved by Vice President Cheney in order to insulate President Bush:

“Bush administration officials from Vice President Dick Cheney on down signed off on using harsh interrogation techniques against suspected terrorists after asking the Justice Department to endorse their legality, The Associated Press has learned.

The officials also took care to insulate President Bush from a series of meetings where CIA interrogation methods, including waterboarding, which simulates drowning, were discussed and ultimately approved.”

Sen. Ted Kennedy issued a swift response:

“Sen. Edward M. Kennedy, D-Mass., lambasted what he described as “yet another astonishing disclosure about the Bush administration and its use of torture.”

“Who would have thought that in the United States of America in the 21st century, the top officials of the executive branch would routinely gather in the White House to approve torture?” Kennedy said in a statement. “Long after President Bush has left office, our country will continue to pay the price for his administration’s renegade repudiation of the rule of law and fundamental human rights.”

If this is true, I think it was a mistake to try to insulate President Bush from this decision. In addition, Attorney General John Ashcroft was prescient:

“Not all of the principals who attended were fully comfortable with the White House meetings. The ABC News report portrayed Ashcroft as troubled by the discussions, despite agreeing that the interrogations methods were legal.

“Why are we talking about this in the White House?” the network quoted Ashcroft as saying during one meeting. “History will not judge this kindly.”

UPDATE: Kishnevi points out a Washington Post articlea in which President Bush states he was aware of the interrogation discussions. By my reading, Bush delegated discussion of the details of interrogation techniques to high-level members of his Administration and was not insulated from those decisions.

Thanks, Kishnevi.

— DRJ

Warren Jeffs’ Texas Compound: Children Detained Until Custody Hearing (Updated x2)

Filed under: Civil Liberties,Current Events,Law — DRJ @ 12:38 pm

[Guest post by DRJ]

Friday, Texas state Judge Barbara Walther ordered that all children will remain in San Angelo until Thursday’s custody hearing. The hearing is expected to last 14 days. Only the mothers who left with their children will be permitted to visit them. The State of Texas is currently providing for 555 people in shelters, including 139 women.

The court also released an 80-page search warrant that provides insight into their lives:

“Items removed from the ranch include boxes of photo albums, family trees, multiple laptop computers, shredder contents, cell phones and digital electronic equipment.

Many of the inventory items refer to the name of the girl who called in the original complaint, including 18 receipts from Shannon Medical Center laboratory.

However, the inventory notes that several girls with the same name lived at the compound and the receipts pertain to a number of people, not just one.

Also on the list are items indicating the children on the ranch went through some home schooling: four textbook exercises, one teacher notebook, 19 report cards with names and a mobile video of both floors at the schoolhouse.

The officials also seized an item described as a video of the birthing room.

More items included photographs, multiple journals as well as father-child identifying information and what are described in the inventory as “pedigree documents.”

Officials worry that the Texas FDLS case will be hard to prosecute because the Texas members were selected based on their obedience and are unlikely to cooperate with officials:

“Polygamist sect members who were moved to a Texas compound from their longtime homes along the Utah-Arizona line were hand-picked for their fierce loyalty to leader Warren Jeffs, and that allegiance may be a stumbling block for law enforcement, authorities say.

Jeffs, the imprisoned leader of the Fundamentalist Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints, transferred people to Eldorado, Texas, to escape growing government scrutiny on the sect’s base in Colorado City, Ariz., and Hildale, Utah, Arizona Attorney General Terry Goddard said.

“This was Warren Jeff’s all-star cast,” said Goddard, who has been investigating the sect since 2004. “They had the strongest sense of obedience.”

As a result, their extreme devotion could make it hard on Texas authorities as they push for prosecutions, said Utah Attorney General Mark Shurtleff.

“All these girls are taught from the cradle not to trust anybody from the outside,” Shurtleff said. “Especially the government. We’re the beast. We’re the devil.”

There are also more details about the raid led by Texas Ranger Capt. Barry Caver: “When officials asked to enter the massive temple, for example, about 57 men who live on the ranch formed a line around the huge white building to offer, for the most part, superficial resistance.”

Approximately sixty people (men and elderly women) remain at the compound and have resumed their normal lives. There was also more on the original call for help:

“Also Thursday, officials from NewBridge Family Shelter in San Angelo and the National Domestic Violence Hotline said their agencies will work with similar domestic abuse groups in Utah to get training to help victims from plural families such as those from the YFZ Ranch.

Tammy Harris, NewBridge executive director, said her agency contacted CPS once it took calls from a girl at the FLDS compound and determined she is 16. On a separate day, NewBridge contacted law enforcement.

Phone operators are not allowed to get help for a caller unless the caller asks for assistance, said Sheryl Cates, chief executive officer of the National Domestic Violence Hotline and the leader of the Texas Council on Family Violence.

“When we go to the phones, we have to believe that call,” Cates said in response to a question about the authenticity of the FLDS calls. “Our job is to assess that situation.”

NewBridge does not record phone conversations, but phone operators take notes, Harris said.”

Apparently Child Protective Services were contacted after the first call, but it sounds like Texas law enforcement agencies weren’t called until after the girl’s second phone call. If so, the search warrant and investigation were mobilized in less than one day. I imagine law enforcement had plans in place to respond to this but that’s still impressive.

Related posts here, here, here, and here.

UPDATE 1 – The parents have been served notice by publication in the Eldorado Success newspaper. The children’s names are listed in the notice. Their last names (where known) are mostly Jeffs, Jessop, Steed, and Barlow.

UPDATE 2: Saturday, Texas law enforcement talked with Dale Barlow in Utah.

— DRJ

Background on the “Who Killed Tupac Shakur?” Story — From YouTube

Filed under: Dog Trainer,General — Patterico @ 12:02 am

For those of who whose eyes glaze over reading prose about the Tupac Shakur murder, but are willing to watch videos about it, here are three videos in order from a 2002 VH-1 special. You get to see footage of the major players: Tupac, Biggie, Chuck Philips, Suge Knight, Orlando Anderson, and Russell Poole (with whom I have been speaking recently). There is footage of the beating of Orlando Anderson at the MGM Grand; the last known picture of Tupac alive; and much more.

If you’re fascinated by this controversy, as I am, these videos are a must-see.

The same holds true if you’re fascinated by biased reporting at the L.A. Times.

As I said, I’m working on posts that will raise some significant questions about Chuck Philips’s reporting on the 1990s hip-hop era, including the murders of Tupac and Biggie. The content of these videos is necessary background information for the upcoming Philips-related posts I am planning. I specifically plan to address his “Who Killed Tupac Shakur?” story as well, so watch these videos closely. If you can watch only one, watch the third, although they’re all worth watching.


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