Patterico's Pontifications

1/14/2009

Podcast of Kozinski/Lat Talk

Filed under: General,Kozinski,Law — Patterico @ 11:45 pm

At The Jury Talks Back, Justin Levine recently posted about a local Federalist Society lunch in which Judge Kozinski and David Lat discussed appellate advocacy and other matters. I would love to have gone, but it’s tough to make those downtown lunches from Compton — especially when you never know when you might be in trial. Anyway, there’s now a podcast available, here. I haven’t listened to it, but guess what’s going on my iPod right now?

P.S. Also available at the link is a podcast of a Gun Policy Debate after Heller, with Eugene Volokh and others, moderated by Kozinski. Alas, I’m not terribly interested in this one. It sounds great, but a friend of mine attended, and said it was not particularly interesting, because they had agreed not to discuss Heller (the title of the program notwithstanding). Accordingly it became (according to my friend) a rather formulaic “Guns are good!” “No, guns are bad!” debate.

It’s hard for me to imagine anything with Eugene Volokh being dull, so feel free to check it out, and tell me if your opinion is different from that of my friend. But don’t expect a Heller discussion.

Please Don’t Offend the Protesters

Filed under: Crime,Current Events — Jack Dunphy @ 11:26 pm

[Guest post by Jack Dunphy]

I was fortunate not to be among the LAPD officers dispatched to the Federal Building in West L.A. on Saturday, where they confronted a boisterous but mostly peaceful group of pro-Palestinian demonstrators. The senior commanding officers of the LAPD’s West Bureau, in a decision sadly typical for some in the department’s upper ranks, directed that officers not wear their helmets and face shields while manning a skirmish line and squaring off against the more provocative of the demonstrators. The helmets, officers were told, were “too intimidating.”

In this video, you can see a group of officers surrounded by protesters angered over the arrest of one of their comrades who had hung a banner from a traffic signal. You can also see one of those officers being struck with a protest sign. (I don’t know if this was the same officer who was later treated at Cedars Sinai Hospital after being struck in the head with a sign.)

I’m told that the officers ordered to wade into that crowd without the protection of their helmets and face shields were not at all happy about it. And you can bet that the senior officers who gave the order, if they were anywhere near the Federal Building at all, were in little danger of having their delicate domes creased by someone swinging a sign. It’s pathetic, but we’re getting used to it.

–Jack Dunphy

Ending “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell”

Filed under: Obama — DRJ @ 10:24 pm

[Guest post by DRJ]

Incoming Press Secretary Robert Gibbs says Obama will end “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell:”

“The startling pronouncement, which could re-open a dormant battle in the culture wars and distract from other elements of Obama’s agenda, came during a Gibbs exchange with members of the public who sent in questions that were answered on YouTube.

“Thadeus of Lansing, Mich., asks, ‘Is the new administration going to get rid of the “don’t ask, don’t tell policy?'” said Gibbs, looking into the camera. “Thadeus, you don’t hear a politician give a one-word answer much. But it’s, ‘Yes.'”

It wouldn’t surprise me if Obama wants to end “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell,” but ending it early in his Administration helps explain the choice of Rick Warren for Obama’s Inaugural Invocation. Obama likes to appear as the great mediator, and the juxtaposition of “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” with Warren leaves Obama looking like the moderate.

However, behind the scenes, I think the campaign and transition demonstrate Obama’s desire to maintain total control. His willingness to unilaterally end the “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” policy sends a message to the Pentagon and Joint Chiefs: The military may have the brass but Obama is the Commander-in-Chief. I’m sure they’ll get the message.

— DRJ

Girl Sold for Beer, Meat, AND Money

Filed under: General,Scum — Patterico @ 7:11 pm

The headline reads: Girl sold for beer, meat. But let’s be fair to the guy: he also got $16,000:

A man in California has been arrested for arranging to sell his 14-year-old daughter for 16,000 dollars, 100 crates of beer and several cases of meat, police said Tuesday.

Authorities in the rural farming community of Greenfield, 225 kilometres southeast of San Francisco, said the 36-year-old Hispanic man sold the child to an 18-year-old man who was to marry the girl.

You knew it happened in California, right. Where else?

Between this and the family naming their kid after Hitler, I’m starting to wonder whether every parent in this country has his child’s best interests at heart.

Andrew Malcolm: Geithner’s $48,000+ Honest Mistake (Updated)

Filed under: Obama — DRJ @ 6:57 pm

[Guest post by DRJ]

Andrew Malcolm at the LA Times Top of the Ticket:

“Who in this busy life would ever think of paying income taxes each April? There’s never anything about April 15 in the media. And who’s got time to read that stuff anyway when you’re busy coming up with financial rules for other people to obey?

There’s more clever sarcasm at the link. In addition, the Instapundit and JustOneMinute provide more details about Geithner’s “honest mistakes.”

I’ve worked for a company with a home office in another jurisdiction. The company accountants frequently advised me about tax issues raised by those circumstances. I can’t believe the IMF wasn’t aware its U.S. employees had to pay self-employment taxes and I suspect the employees were told that repeatedly.

UPDATE — From Byron York at NRO:

“IMF employees were expected to pay their taxes out of their own money. But the IMF then gave them an extra allowance, known as a “gross-up,” to cover those tax payments. This was done in the Annual Tax Allowance Request, in which the employee filled out some basic information — marital status, dependent children, etc. — and the IMF then estimated the amount of taxes the employee would owe and gave the employee a corresponding allowance.

At the end of the tax allowance form were the words, “I hereby certify that all the information contained herein is true to the best of my knowledge and belief and that I will pay the taxes for which I have received tax allowance payments from the Fund.” Geithner signed the form. He accepted the allowance payment. He didn’t pay the tax. For several years in a row.

According to an analysis released by the Senate Finance Committee, Geithner “wrote contemporaneous checks to the IRS and the State of Maryland for estimated [income] tax payments” that jibed exactly with his IMF statements. But he didn’t write checks for the self-employment tax allowance. Then, according to the committee analysis, “he filled out, signed and submitted an annual tax allowance request worksheet with the IMF that states, ‘I wish to apply for tax allowance of U.S. Federal and State income taxes and the difference between the “self-employed” and “employed” obligation of the U.S. Social Security tax which I will pay on my Fund income.”

If this is true, I think it’s very bad for Geithner and Obama.

H/T NavyVet.

— DRJ

Obama, Biden and Lindsey Graham

Filed under: Obama,War — DRJ @ 5:19 pm

[Guest post by DRJ]

I watched most of today’s brief press availability with Barack Obama, Joe Biden and Lindsey Graham. The headlines have focused on Obama’s support for Timothy Geithner, but I was interested in their comments on Afghanistan:

“Freshly returned from a tour of war zones and global hotspots, Vice President-elect Joe Biden told President-elect Barack Obama on Wednesday that “things are going to get tougher” in Afghanistan.

GOP Sen. Lindsey Graham, Biden’s partner in the five-day, bipartisan fact-finding mission to Kuwait, Pakistan, Afghanistan and Iraq, predicted that “casualties are likely to increase” in Afghanistan as the number of U.S. troops there goes up this year.”

Obama again emphasized he would not talk about foreign matters while President Bush is still in office, and then he proceeded to talk about them. Nor did Obama object when Biden repeatedly called him Mr. President.

I can’t find a transcript online but I was most struck by Obama’s comment that America, its military and people would do what it takes to stop nations that support terrorism. I especially noticed what he didn’t say: That America needs the assistance of other nations. I hope he meant it. If so, I like it … but I’m not overly confident. Obama has a history of changing his mind on subjects, such as his recent change-of-heart on the importance of capturing or killing Osama bin Laden.

Otherwise, here are my very subjective impressions from today’s press availability:

  • Joe Biden likes to talk (we knew that) but today he had several complimentary things to say about the military commanders and troops in Afghanistan. He apparently supports the current Administration’s surge of troops in that region.
  • Lindsey Graham is annoying.
  • I’m tired of hearing Barack Obama say “Uh” every 5 seconds when he speaks extemporaneously. I can just imagine how tired I’ll be in 2 or 3 years.
  • — DRJ

    What’s in a Name? (Updated)

    Filed under: Civil Liberties,Law — DRJ @ 3:31 pm

    [Guest post by DRJ]

    Last month, New Jersey residents Heath and Deborah Campbell made headlines when a local supermarket refused to sell them a birthday cake with a swastika and their 3-year-old son’s full name, Adolph Hitler Campbell. The Campbells later expressed surprise at the angry responses they received from comments on the internet:

    “I think people need to take their heads out of the cloud they’ve been in and start focusing on the future and not on the past,” Heath Campbell said Tuesday in an interview conducted in Easton, on the other side of the Delaware River from where the family lives in Hunterdon County, N.J.

    There’s a new president and he says it’s time for a change; well, then it’s time for a change,” the 35-year-old continued. “They need to accept a name. A name’s a name. The kid isn’t going to grow up and do what (Hitler) did.”

    The Campbells also have two younger daughters: JoyceLynn Aryan Nation Campbell and Honszlynn Hinler Jeannie Campbell. At least, they did until last week when New Jersey’s Division of Youth and Family Services removed all three children from their parents’ care:

    “State authorities have removed Adolf Hilter Campbell and his two sisters from their parents’ home in Holland Township, township police Chief David Van Gilson said today.
    ***
    The chief didn’t know why the children were taken but said his department received no reports of abuse or negligence.

    Campbell, reached at home this evening, declined comment.”

    Other reports indicate this week’s removal hearing was postponed until next Tuesday so the Campbells could get counsel.

    I’m very interested in what the grounds were for this removal, and I’m sure everyone who was concerned about the Texas FLDS case will be interested, too.

    UPDATE: Why the kids were taken is still not clear but Hot Air has more.

    — DRJ

    Hillary Clinton Skating on Potential Conflicts Posed by Donations to Clinton Foundation

    Filed under: Dog Trainer,General,Obama — Patterico @ 7:18 am

    Hillary is sailing through her confirmation hearings. In a suck-up session on Tuesday, Senators heaped praise on Clinton. Jim DeMint assured her that he would have no tough questions for her about the Clinton Foundation.

    The foundation’s list of donors was released just before Christmas, and has not received proper attention from the media or Senators. One exception is this column by Diana West of the Washington Times. West explains that the Clinton Foundation received between $10 million and $25 million from Saudi Arabia; $5 million from the Zayed family, which has donated to “a family think tank for anti-Semites, Holocaust deniers and jihadists,” $1 million to $5 million from the Dubai Foundation, owners of a company that wanted to run security for America’s ports, $1 million to $5 million from Hezbollah fan Issam Fares; and money from Chinese censorship collaboraror alibaba.com. But my favorite is the Alavi Foundation.

    Writing at Forbes.com, Rachel Ehrenfeld recently reported that this group, which supports Iranian causes, gave the Clinton foundation between $25,000 and $50,000 on Dec. 19 – the very day Alavi Foundation President Farshid Jahedi was indicted on federal charges related to an investigation of the foundation’s relationship with Iran’s Bank Melli. (The donation, according to Ehrenfeld’s report, also came two days after the U.S. Department of the Treasury designated Alavi’s partner, the New York-based ASSA Corp., as a terrorist entity.) Both the Alavi Foundation and Bank Melli, Ehrenfeld reported, have been “recognized as procurement fronts for Iran’s nuclear program,” with Bank Melli being designated in 2007 as a terrorist entity.

    I can’t imagine how any of this might complicate Hillary’s role as Secretary of State. Can you?

    Yesterday, Clinton finally faced a few tepid questions about the Clinton Foundation, and the L.A. Times fails to tell us the extent of the problem.

    The L.A. Times story today mentions virtually none of the rather stunning details I discuss above. The paper tells us only that Senators have a generalized concern that foreign contributions “could pose potential conflicts of interest.” The story quotes Dick Lugar as encouraging Clinton to exclude foreign donations. This is followed by a quote from Hillary, dripping with that classic Clinton self pity: “No matter what we do, there will be those that [claim] conflicts,” she said.

    Then we are told how transparent Hillary and Bill have been:

    Under an agreement with the Obama transition team, the Clinton foundation made public a list of its past donors and promised to publish annually the names of its donors and to submit future foreign donations to a State Department ethics review.

    Clinton’s foundation has worked to provide healthcare, particularly for people with AIDS in underdeveloped countries. It also promotes economic growth in Africa and Latin America, combats global climate change and works to solve such problems as childhood obesity in the U.S.

    Matt McKenna, communications director for the former president, said by e-mail that the Clintons were “by far the most financially transparent former first couple in American history.”

    Yippee.

    L.A. Times editors do a somewhat better job in an editorial, which accurately says that the Clinton Foundation

    has a history of accepting donations from tyrants and corrupt businessmen. Foreign governments, including Saudi Arabia, Australia, the Dominican Republic and Kuwait, have given millions to the Clinton Foundation . . . Then there are highly questionable donations, such as the $500,000 he was paid by a Japanese American business for a speech he never gave, and that he later donated to the foundation

    This last fact, editors note, was reported by the L.A. Times on Tuesday, and huzzah for that.

    But even that article failed to document the extent of the questionable donations received by the Clinton Foundation. Maybe there has been another past article that did a better job; if so, none of it appeared in today’s article about the confirmation hearings.

    The fact that this is not all being more widely reported is a disgrace. And the fact that Senators aren’t questioning her about it more closely is as well.


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