Patterico's Pontifications

5/29/2009

Phil Spector Sentenced: 19 Years to Life

Filed under: Crime — DRJ @ 1:58 pm

[Guest post by DRJ]

Phil Spector has been sentenced in the Lana Clarkson murder:

— 15 years to life for second-degree murder, plus

— 4 years for personal use of a gun, plus

— $16,811 in funeral expenses, $9,740 to a state victims’ restitution fund and other fees.

H/T and thanks to Stashiu3.

— DRJ

Politics at the Department of Justice

Filed under: Obama — DRJ @ 1:28 pm

[Guest post by DRJ]

Remember these videos from Philadelphia on Election Day 2008? Some people were bothered by them:

Apparently the political appointees at the Obama DOJ aren’t too bothered:

Justice Department political appointees overruled career lawyers and ended a civil complaint accusing three members of the New Black Panther Party for Self-Defense of wielding a nightstick and intimidating voters at a Philadelphia polling place last Election Day, according to documents and interviews.
***
A Justice Department spokesman on Thursday confirmed that the agency had dropped the case, dismissing two of the men from the lawsuit with no penalty and winning an order against the third man that simply prohibits him from bringing a weapon to a polling place in future elections.”

More at the link, including that one man was credentialed as a Democratic poll watcher and that the career lawyers were “ordered to reverse course” by their superiors.

— DRJ

Police as Prosecutors

Filed under: Law — DRJ @ 12:27 pm

[Guest post by DRJ]

Does a prosecutor have to be an attorney? Maybe not in New Mexico misdemeanor cases.

In February, a southeastern New Mexico District Attorney issued a new policy that transfers the duty to prosecute misdemeanor cases from the DA to the police department. Now two local police unions have sued, claiming the DA should prosecute cases:

“The unions representing the Carlsbad and Hobbs [New Mexico] police departments have filed a lawsuit against Fifth Judicial District Attorney Janetta Hicks, seeking to force her to change a policy that requires arresting police officers to try misdemeanor cases in magistrate court.
***
In February, Hicks sent an e-mail to all Fifth District sheriff’s and police departments announcing that the district attorney’s office would no longer prosecute all misdemeanor cases in magistrate court. The Fifth Judicial District includes Eddy, Chaves and Lea counties. Prosecutions would be limited to drunk driving and domestic violence cases involving intimate partners and which showed a “potential for escalation.”

The DA attributes the change in policy to budget and personnel limitations.

Until I read this article, I assumed the rules of every State required prosecutors to be licensed attorneys. But even if court and bar rules allow laymen to act as prosecutors, I’m leery of authorizing the police – and especially the arresting officer – to act as prosecutor. First, it eliminates the DA from any oversight role and in some cases will force the prosecutor to wear two hats, first as attorney for the State and second as its primary witness. (If the arresting officer is the prosecutor, he will either have to question himself or testify by narrative. That can happen with pro se litigants and defendants but it’s procedurally and ethically awkward.)

Second, in the long run there will likely be reduced misdemeanor arrests (because more police will be in court instead of on the street) and fewer successful misdemeanor prosecutions. IMO neither will have a positive effect on community safety.

— DRJ

My Letter to the Readers’ Rep Regarding that Hiltzik Error

Filed under: Dog Trainer — Patterico @ 7:07 am

I have sent the following e-mail to L.A. Times Readers’ Representative Jamie Gold:

Jamie,

In his May 28 column, Michael Hiltzik writes that, between 1998 and today, California’s population has increased 30%.

Hiltzik’s math is wildly off. California’s population in 1998 was 33.3 million (.pdf). Given a current population of roughly 38 million, the increase has been between 13% and 15% (depending on the precise numbers used). It has been nowhere near 30%.

The incorrect statistic is a central underpinning of Hiltzik’s argument. Certainly, a correction is warranted — but I think a new column explaining the mistake would be more appropriate.

Yours truly,

Patrick Frey
http://patterico.com

Background here.

As always, I’ll let you know what I hear back.

UPDATE: The column has been corrected. The correction is wrong. And the column still reeks. Details here.

Mikekoshi Screws the Pooch

Filed under: Dog Trainer,General — Patterico @ 12:20 am

Nofanofcablecos is now Nofanofaccuratestatistics. In his latest silly rant about how California doesn’t spend too much, Michael Hiltzik claims:

Indeed, the idea that California’s budget has been out of control as measured against inflation and population growth is a deeply cherished talking point in the debate over the state’s fiscal deficit.

Unfortunately, it turns out to be yet another infectious myth. The truth is that over the last 10 years, California’s spending has tracked population growth and price increases almost to the penny.

. . . .

Analyzing the 2008-09 budget bill last year, the legislative analyst determined that since 1998-99, spending in the general fund and state special funds — the latter comes from special levies like gasoline and tobacco taxes — had risen to $128.8 billion from $72.6 billion, or 77%.

During this time frame, which embraced two booms (dot-com and housing) and two busts (ditto), the state’s population grew about 30% to about 38 million, and inflation charged ahead by 50%.

Uh, no.

Chris Reed has the scoop:

According to official state government statistics, the population in 1999 was 33.4 million.

Yo, Michael, guess you’re another one of those journos who not only can’t do math, you can’t work a calculator. Just go to Google. Enter 38,000,000/33,400,000. You’ll see the actual percentage increase: 13.772455 percent.

Reed is right. His math is accurate. California’s population in 1998 was 33.3 million (.pdf). We’re now at 38.3 million. Using these numbers, we’re looking at an increase of 15% at the most. Not 30%. Hiltzik has doubled the increase.

Time for a letter to the Readers’ Rep. I’m too tired right now; you can reach her at ReadersRep@latimes.com.

Matt Welch takes a few more swipes at Hiltzik’s substance here.

UPDATE: Here is my letter to the Readers’ Rep.

5/28/2009

Bill O’Reilly Blog Posting: “No Marriage for Homos”

Filed under: General — Patterico @ 11:21 pm

The latest “Bill O’Reilly blog posting”:


Above: Bill O’Reilly.com blog posting

Here’s the text of the “blog posting”:

NO HOMOS NO HOMOS now will the League arrest me for my right wing statement, perhaps i will be taken off the New Yuk slimes CHRISTMAS card list. what you do or dont do in your bed room is none of my business just dont tell me I am wrong if i say NO MARRIAGE FOR HOMOS NO MARRIAGE FOR HOMOS. Hay maybe you can have a vote and lose and have the courts overturn your vote. Well that cant happen in AMERICA now can it.

to any one whos name begins with an R REMEMBER NO MARRIAGE FOR HOMOS. Awaits to knock on the door from the lack of free speech AG. AND janet baby

The poster, “peter/IMPEACHOBAMA,” has 1960 posts on billoreilly.com. This comment has been up since May 23.

Thank God Bill O’Reilly edits the comments on his site.

Protecting and Serving, but for Whom?

Filed under: General,Judiciary — Jack Dunphy @ 9:16 pm

[Guest post by Jack Dunphy]

The L.A. Unified School District has proposed laying off 2,300 teachers in an effort to close a $400 million budget shortfall. At some high schools in Los Angeles, students have engaged in impromptu walkouts and demonstrations at the District’s downtown headquarters. A watch commander at one LAPD station proposed to deal with the problem by citing the demonstrating students for truancy, as is ordinarily done when officers encounter students who have skipped school without authorization. The watch commander sought guidance from his captain, who in turn sought guidance from his deputy chief. The answer handed down should be no surprise to anyone who follows the LAPD: No enforcement action is to be taken against students who take it upon themselves to leave school and engage in the protests.

This reluctance to enforce the law fits neatly into the pattern displayed as recently as Tuesday night, when hundreds of LAPD officers were dispatched to Hollywood, where supporters of homosexual marriage were demonstrating against the California Supreme Court’s decision upholding Proposition 8. But what did those hundreds of officers do when they got to Hollywood? Did they enforce the law by ushering the illegal marchers out of the streets and allowing the thousands of inconvenienced commuters to proceed on their way? Of course not. That might have led to bad press, which we must avoid at all costs. Better to let the law be flouted than to enforce it at the risk of someone being offended. It was essentially a repeat performance of what occurred last November, when Proposition 8 was approved by the voters, and LAPD officers stood by while protesters clogged the streets. (I discussed it here, on Pajamas Media.) I would conjecture that if the protesters were instead speaking out against illegal immigration, abortion, or any the Left’s other sacred cows, the LAPD’s stance would be quite different.

By the way, if the police won’t be allowed to order students back to school, perhaps someone should encourage the student pictured above to spend more time studying and less time demonstrating. At least he spelled “students” correctly.

–Jack Dunphy

Bill O’Reilly Blog Posting: Regarding Mary Cheney Marrying a Goat

Filed under: General — Patterico @ 8:52 pm

Tonight’s “Bill O’Reilly blog posting” has to do with Mary Cheney marrying a goat:


Above: Bill O’Reilly.com blog posting

How does Mary Cheney getting married hurt anyone?

How does Mary Cheney getting married to a goat hurt anyone?

Just an example here Chase, don’t get all bent out of shape just because it’s against your morality to marry a goat…………….

Imagine what that said before Bill O’Reilly edited it!

Bill O’Reilly: Hypocrite

Filed under: General — Patterico @ 8:27 pm

Tonight Bill O’Reilly addressed his recent smear of HotAir.com, claiming that Hot Air has the responsibility to police its comments. Pronouncing that “it’s not enough to say, ‘I didn’t do it,'” O’Reilly sanctimoniously told his viewers that he polices comments on his own web site:

Here’s the money quote:

Miss Malkin is upset because I didn’t identify the “Hussein” comment was made by a civilian — not her or her staff. And that’s true. I should have been more precise. But we often cite hateful civilian comments on blogs and say they should be edited, as we do on billoreilly.com.

Oh really?

Tonight I went ahead and paid $4.95 to join billoreilly.com, and lookee here at what I was asked to agree to:


(Click to enlarge)

BillOReilly.com does not control or pre-screen the files, information, or messages (referred to collectively as “Information”) delivered to or displayed in the Message Boards, unless otherwise noted therein, and BillOReilly.com assumes no duty to, and does not monitor or endorse Information within the Message Boards.

You’re not just an “elite gasbag,” O’Reilly. You’re a rank hypocrite.

P.S. I plan to feature some “Bill O’Reilly blog postings” over the coming days. I may make it a daily feature. This is going to be the most painful 5 bucks Bill O’Reilly ever received.

P.P.S. Instapundit calls O’Reilly’s response “totally inadequate.” Damn straight.

UPDATE: Tonight’s “Bill O’Reilly blog posting” has to do with Mary Cheney marrying a goat.

UPDATE x2: Another Bill O’Reilly blog posting here. Representative quote: “NO MARRIAGE FOR HOMOS.”

Sotomayor or Healthcare “reform”?

Filed under: General — Karl @ 8:16 am

[Posted by Karl]

Senate Republicans plan no scorched-earth opposition to Judge Sotomayor’s confirmation to the Supreme Court. This dismays conservatives so predictably that Democrats like James Carville would like to fuel it. To date, commentary on the issue tends to be rather narrow, considering how forcefully Republicans (or conservatives, which is a different calculation) should oppose Sotomayor as a single issue in a vacuum.

However, earlier this week, Richard Wolffe reported at The Daily Beast that “[b]y drawing fire to its Supreme Court nominee, Obama’s aides believe that health-care and environmental politics may face less-intense opposition.” The next day, Jan Crawford Greenburg reported for ABCNews:

There also was a slightly different political argument. Advisers calculated she would be the savviest move for the President to avoid an all-out battle over his Court nominee, according to sources close to the process.

With the president hoping to achieve a crowning accomplishment in his first year with health care reform, advisers pointedly warned against another big fight elsewhere, sources said.

Those two accounts might seem contardictory at first blush, but both reveal a White House that wants to conserve its resources for building a Left-center coalition around a government takeover of the healthcare sector, while hoping to distract conservatives with a fight over Sotomayor (fighting among themselves as well as with Democrats). Wolffe’s fight scenario is the more plausible, as it fits with Pres. Obama’s general “too much, too soon” approach. He does not want a perceived crisis to go to waste, and likely has calculated that his best strategy is to mount a multi-front war that divides and overwhelms his opponents.

The Senate remains the real obstacle on all of these fronts. The difference among these fronts is that stopping Sotomayor currently appears to be the least promising for the GOP. Indeed, even if the GOP managed to derail Sotomayor, Obama would simply turn to the next left-wing judge on his list.

In contrast, there is a much greater likelihood of getting a few key Democratic defections on the more controversial elements of whatever healthcare proposal emerges from Sen. Baucus’s sausage factory, or on any cap-and-trade proposal to wreck the economy in pursuit of insignificant reductions in projected global warming. Moreover, a defeat on these agenda items could take them off the table for years.

Senate Republicans institutionally have less staff and fewer resources to mount each fight than the Democrats in the majority, let alone the bureaucracies that can be mobilized by the Obama White House. (There is also the related issue of whether the Senate GOP can walk and chew gum at the same time.) Accordingly, it makes more sense for GOP Senators to fight harder on the issues they stand a better chance of winning, particularly given the weight Obama has put on those issues.

That does not mean that Sotomayor should get a free pass. She is a deeply political pick who engages in racial stereotyping and doubts whether she can rise above her own biases in most cases. Senate Republicans can make the debate on her nomination a teachable moment, making the case that the philosophy she and Obama espouse runs directly contrary to the oath federal judges take. But given the marginal benefit of actually derailing Sotomayor, Senate Republicans should probably save the scorched earth tactics for fighting a government takeover of healthcare.

–Karl

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