Patterico's Pontifications

12/7/2008

Obama Will Remake Federal Bench, Plus, the WaPo’s Distortion of a Case

Filed under: Crime,General,Judiciary,Media Bias — Patterico @ 11:36 pm

The Washington Post has a pair of front-page articles coming out tomorrow on the judiciary: one that shows why federal judges are important, and another that shows why Obama will likely remake the federal bench to Democrats’ liking.

Although Republican control will probably persist on a majority of appellate courts for at least several years, some experts say that by the end of Obama’s term, he and the Democratic Congress will flip the 56 percent majority Republican nominees now exert over those highly influential bodies.

“Obama has a huge opportunity,” said Arthur Hellman, a University of Pittsburgh law professor who is an authority on federal courts. “In a very short time, significant segments of the appellate courts, which are the final authority in all but a tiny handful of cases, will be dominated by Democratic nominees.”

I think they’re deliberately trying to depress me.

The extended entry shows how the Post distorts the facts of a case used to bolster its argument about the significance of judges.

(more…)

Should Republicans Filibuster an Auto Industry Bailout?

Filed under: Economics — Patterico @ 7:22 pm

Sen. Richard Shelby hinted this morning that such a filibuster could happen.

What say you?

Jeremiah Wright Returns to Trinity Church

Filed under: Obama — DRJ @ 7:12 pm

[Guest post by DRJ]

Jeremiah Wright returned to the pulpit of Trinity Church for a guest appearance in the new pastor’s absence. Wright complained about the Gates of Hell (aka Sean Hannity, Bill O’Reilly, and others in the media), the “dizzy blond” on The View, and “baby milk believers [who] suffer a delusion that politics don’t belong in the pulpit.”

But he thanked the employee at Fox News — “a saint in Caesar’s household” — who “advised him to cancel his October speaking engagements because the network had an advance copy of his schedule.”

Thanks a lot.

H/T Hot Air.

– DRJ

Final BCS Standings: #1 OU vs #2 Florida

Filed under: Sports — DRJ @ 6:43 pm

[Guest post by DRJ]

The complete BCS standings are here and the bowl pairings are here.

It looks like 19 days of good football.

– DRJ

L.A. Times Parent Company to File for Bankruptcy?

Filed under: Dog Trainer — Patterico @ 6:35 pm

MediaMemo reports:

One of the country’s biggest newspapers may be headed for bankruptcy court.

Tribune Co., which owns the Los Angeles Times, the Chicago Tribune and host of other media properties, has hired the Lazard investment bank and law firm Sidley Austin to try to stave off a Chapter 11 financing, both the Wall Street Journal and the New York Times report. But that may not be enough: The WSJ says owner Sam Zell, who took on some $8 billion in debt to buy the company last year, is preparing for a possible bankruptcy filing “as soon as this week”.

As the article says, there’s more at the Wall Street Journal and the New York Times.

Thanks to Huey and redc1c4. And Tom Hynes. And others.

UPDATE: The L.A. Times confirms at this link that bankruptcy is a possibility.

UPDATE x2: Still more, again from the New York Times.

UPDATE x3: The Washington Post plans to run this article on the front page tomorrow.

Legalization in Amsterdam

Filed under: Crime,International — DRJ @ 4:34 pm

[Guest post by DRJ]

It’s not hard to find people who favor legalizing drugs or prostitution as a way to avoid crime and I agree it’s a legitimate issue for debate, but let’s see how it’s working out in the birthplace of decriminalization — Amsterdam:

“Amsterdam unveiled plans Saturday to close brothels, sex shops and marijuana cafes in its ancient city center as part of a major effort to drive organized crime out of the tourist haven.

The city is targeting businesses that “generate criminality,” including gambling parlors, and the so-called “coffee shops” where marijuana is sold openly. Also targeted are peep shows, massage parlors and souvenir shops used by drug dealers for money-laundering.”

Amsterdam doesn’t plan to ban prostitution, which has been legal since 2000, or the sale of soft drugs like marijuana that are technically illegal but have been officially tolerated since 1976. The article suggests the new plan is a response to a recent law by the Netherlands government that “would close marijuana cafes near schools citywide.” City officials will use zoning laws and regulations to close almost half of the brothels and marijuana cafes while letting Amsterdam “remain true to its freewheeling reputation.”

So Amsterdam has legalized prostitution and condones soft drug use but the city still has problems with criminality in connection with those businesses. Surely it’s not just conservatives that saw that coming.

In fairness, I think it’s good for governments to experiment with laws to see what works, and a libertarian approach to social issues is appealing. But common sense tells me that drug use and prostitution aren’t the best life choices to trust people to make wisely, and criminal elements will always be tempted to prey on those businesses and the people who use them.

The law typically allows greater regulation of inherently risky activities — things like running a zoo with wild animals or operating an explosives business — and it does that because experience has taught us that greater regulation is necessary to protect the public. In my view, drug use and prostitution fall into a high-risk category so it’s not surprising that Amsterdam — with its freewheeling approach to soft drugs and prostitution — was described 10 years ago by Theodore Dalrymple as “among the most violent and squalid cities in Europe.” Meanwhile, today’s tour guides and tourists charitably describe its Red Light District as seedy.

– DRJ

Perdigao Drops Lawsuit

Filed under: General — Patterico @ 2:48 pm

That would appear to end that particular saga.

Eric Holder Should Defend the Marc Rich Pardon?!?!

Filed under: General — Patterico @ 2:12 pm

In an absurd op-ed in the New York Times, Seth Lipsky argues that Eric Holder should defend the Marc Rich pardon.

Lipsky’s op-ed never mentions the fact that Denise Rich made significant contributions to Hillary, as well as to Bill Clinton’s presidential library fund and other Democrat causes. Lipsky derides the use of RICO in the prosecution of the case, but never explains why an alleged overreach with RICO means that a tax evader shouldn’t be prosecuted for tax evasion. Rich was charged with evading $48 million in taxes; isn’t that worth prosecuting? Finally, Lipsky seems to find some significance in the fact that he “came to like” Rich in discussions with him about a possible interview. So what?

Lipsky spends a lot of time expounding on the fact that the pardon power is held by the President alone. Well, that may be true — but that doesn’t prevent the citizenry from questioning and criticizing an unwise and/or possibly corrupt use of that power. Lipsky also defends Clinton’s decision not to consult the U.S. Attorney in New York in assessing the pardon application, by saying that the DoJ shouldn’t get to be the judge of its own behavior. That’s a strawman. Nobody is saying that DoJ should have exclusive say over pardons — but DoJ obviously has useful input that should be taken into account. Failing to ask the local U.S. Attorney about a case is reckless.

How can someone expect to make a persuasive case when they fail to address the central arguments of the opposition? The bottom line is that Lipsky likes the pardon, so he’s willing to shunt aside the most compelling arguments against the pardon. And the New York Times, just as it did with Bill Ayers, is willing to allow him to ignore compelling counterarguments.

Remind me again why people consider this to be a great paper?

Mexico: No Death Penalty When U.S. Citizens Are Killed, But If Our Citizens Start Dying . . .

Filed under: Crime,General,International — Patterico @ 1:46 pm

The L.A. Times reports: Some in Mexico want the death penalty reinstated. Michelle Malkin wryly observes:

That’s right. Members of the same foreign government that took America to court over our death penalty laws– and tried to block the state of Texas from executing illegal alien Death Row murderers — are now open to the idea of imposing the death penalty on the thugs on their own soil.

Isn’t it ironic? Don’t you think?

Uh, yeah. Also keep in mind that they refuse to extradite criminals to the United States if we are seeking the death penalty. When Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Deputy David March was killed by an illegal immigrant who fled to Mexico, Mexico refused to extradite him until Steve Cooley promised not to seek the death penalty.

But now that Mexican cops are getting killed by the drug cartels, many in Mexico are singing a different tune.

David Gregory Pick Made Official

Filed under: General — Patterico @ 12:01 pm

He will host Meet the Press, NBC has now officially announced.

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