Patterico's Pontifications

7/8/2009

Detective Susan Clemmer, R.I.P.

Filed under: General — Jack Dunphy @ 11:19 pm

[Guest post by Jack Dunphy]

I’ve yet to come across a news report on the suicide of Detective Susan Clemmer that failed to mention her role as a defense witness in the trials of the four LAPD officers accused of beating Rodney King. And I’ve also yet to come across a news report that accurately described her experiences during that time, to wit, the disgraceful manner in which she was treated by LAPD internal affairs investigators and FBI agents.

Clemmer was still a probationary, i.e. a rookie, police officer in March 1991when King was subdued at the end of high-speed pursuit. She did not participate in the arrest itself but rode in an ambulance with King as he was taken to a hospital. She later testified that King appeared to be under the influence of drugs, possibly PCP, and that her fellow officers were genuinely frightened of King during their encounter with him. She testified to these facts despite repeated threats of dire consequences if she refused to provide incriminating testimony against the defendant officers. LAPD investigators and FBI agents took advantage of her youth and inexperience, violating her rights by interviewing her without a lawyer or employee representative, and threatening her with being fired at least and imprisoned at worst if she did not change her story.

She did not change her story. She conducted herself honorably and testified truthfully, but those who knew her at the time saw how the ordeal changed her. She began to experience a series of health problems that continued to trouble her until the very day she took her own life.

Susan Clemmer was a good and honest cop, but more than that she was a dear, sweet soul. She deserved so much more in this life than came her way. May she find it in the next. Rest in peace.

–Jack Dunphy

Update: The comments to this post appear to have gone off the rails, at times to a distasteful degree. The petty, back-and-forth bickering is best left to other topics. The comments are now closed.

–Jack Dunphy

Andrew Sullivan aka “Milky Loads”: Sarah Palin Hurt Her Own Family

Filed under: General — Patterico @ 9:00 pm

Yes, that is according to Andrew Sullivan (link not safe for work, but posted to remind readers of Sullivan’s hypocrisy). He says:

I sure hope [Sarah Palin’s] family recovers from what she has done to them.

So quoth the man who has been responsible for more misery to Sarah Palin’s family than anyone else I can think of.

Quiz: which woman-hating gay man has done more to set back the cause of gay rights, by engaging in unreasoned and unhinged attacks against popular and attractive women in the public eye?

a) Perez Hilton
b) Andrew Sullivan (again, link is not safe for work)

Me, I have trouble deciding. But if gay marriage doesn’t catch on in Andrew Sullivan’s lifetime, the blame will lie in no small part on people like Sullivan, who have reinforced negative stereotypes of gay men as women-hating queens (and promiscuous, immoral sex addicts — click the not-safe-for-work link if you have any doubt about that).

Well done, Andy. Well done indeed.

P.S. I sure hope gays recover from what Sullivan has done to them.

Quote of the Day

Filed under: General — Patterico @ 8:34 pm

From Dean Baquet:

“You’re acting like a jerk,” he explained, but “I’ll look into it.”

Stealing stuff from blogs without attribution, of course, is not “acting like a jerk.” At the New York Times, it’s known as “Standard Operating Procedure.”

12:34:56 7/8/9

Filed under: Current Events — DRJ @ 7:04 pm

[Guest post by DRJ]

Jules Crittenden points out that today at 12:34 PM and 56 seconds it was 12:34:56 7/8/9 … and I missed it. Actually, I was there but I didn’t realize it.

Darn.

But it’s still pretty neat.

— DRJ

Ward Churchill Update

Filed under: Civil Liberties,Education — DRJ @ 5:21 pm

[Guest post by DRJ]

As a professor at the University of Colorado following 9/11, Ward Churchill penned a shocking essay about the 9/11 terror attacks and the deaths of the 9/11 victims:

“In a rambling, acidic commentary he says he dashed off within hours of the attacks, the 57-year-old professor of ethnic studies described the bankers and stock traders who died in the World Trade Center as “little Eichmanns.” He called their deaths a “penalty befitting their participation in . . . the ‘mighty engine of profit’ to which the military dimension of U.S. policy has always been enslaved.”

But you know that. You also know that in 2007, CU fired Churchill for “engaging in a pattern of academic misconduct, including plagiarism, fabrication and falsification in his scholarship.” Churchill claimed he was fired for the political beliefs expressed in his 9/11 essay, and a Colorado jury agreed but awarded him just $1 in damages. On Tuesday, the judge ruled the CU Regents had absolute immunity and that Churchill was not entitled to get his job back.

Churchill also asked for lost front (future) pay of $1M and legal fees if he was not reinstated but the judge “refused to order CU to provide front pay, saying there were no actual damages that the money would remedy” and because Churchill did not mitigate his damages by seeking another job:

“Professor Churchill’s own statements during the trial established that he has not seriously pursued any efforts to gain comparable employment but has, instead, chosen to give lectures and other presentations as a means of supplementing his income. Reportedly, he even ‘received a few job offers’ that he declined to pursue,” [Judge Larry] Naves said. “Under these circumstances, I do not believe an award of front pay is appropriate.”

But what you may not know is that the University of Colorado plans to bill Churchill “for more than $10,000 in out-of-pocket costs the school incurred while defending against his wrongful termination suit.” CU will likely have to win on appeal to collect these funds, and if Churchill prevails he can seek reimbursement of his legal fees that currently total $1.2M. (The law does not allow CU to recover its legal fees.)

The good news for Churchill is that his lawyer will only be paid if Churchill wins on appeal, in which case CU will have to pay his $1.2M-plus in legal fees. Ironically, if Churchill loses on appeal, the biggest loser may be his lawyer.

— DRJ

Obamacare’s “public plan” is built on a Medicare myth

Filed under: General — Karl @ 1:22 pm

[Posted by Karl]

When Pres. Obama did his hour-long pitch for a government takeover of the US healthcare system on ABCNews, he offered a standard defense of a government-run insurance plan:

The concern, [Charlie] Gibson articulated, is that such a plan wouldn’t be offered on a level playing field.

The president rebuffed that, arguing that “we can set up a public option where they’re collecting premiums just like any private insurer and doctors can collect rates,” but because the public plan will have lower administrative costs “we can keep them [private insurance companies] honest.”

However, the same day Pres. Obama said that, the Heritage Foundation issued a report by Robert A. Book, Ph.D., showing that:

[O]n a per-person basis Medicare’s administrative costs are actually higher than those of private insurance–this despite the fact that private insurance companies do incur several categories of costs that do not apply to Medicare.

Pointing this out is sufficiently dangerous to the Left that New York Times columnist Paul Krugman attacked Book’s study — or, more accurately, attacked the Heritage Foundation, as ad hominem is twice as good coming from someone who used to advise Enron. Unfortunately for Krugman, the NYT allows comments, thus allowing Book to embarrass Krugman on his own site.

Moreover, Krugman’s attempted attack did not even address the point Book made in passing, but which Merrill Matthews notes with a bit more detail:

Public figures for Medicare’s administrative costs count only what it takes to print reimbursement checks. Normal operating costs — rent, management, health insurance, taxes, capital to start a business and new equipment — which private insurers must include in their administrative costs, are counted elsewhere in the federal budget.

Official Medicare administrative costs simply exclude what most companies must include. No administrative cost savings exist in the public plan, and the true costs will never be counted because they’ll be hidden in the federal budget.

For that matter, as Shikha Dalmia recently pointed out:

[L]ower administrative costs do not necessarily mean greater efficiency. Indeed, the Congressional Budget Office analysis last year chastised Medicare’s lax attitude on this front. “The traditional fee-for-service Medicare program does relatively little to manage benefits, which tends to reduce its administrative costs but may raise its overall spending relative to a more tightly managed approach,” it noted on page 93.

In short, Medicare — our already-existing government-run health insurer — does not have lower adminsitrative costs. That myth is based on fuzzy math, the program’s own laxity, and the fact that it gets to hide its costs elsewhere in the federal budget. Indeed, that last factor is the sort of unfair competition that is essential to the government-run plan envisioned by the Left. Pres. Obama claims he wants to keep private insurers honest, but he’s not being honest himself.

(Thanks to Craig Newmark via Mary Katharine Ham.)

–Karl


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