Patterico's Pontifications

9/14/2009

Deaths

Filed under: Current Events — DRJ @ 9:06 pm

[Guest post by DRJ]

Actor Patrick Swayze died today of pancreatic cancer. He was 57.

Also, former Carter Press Secretary Jody Powell, age 65, died of an apparent heart attack.

R.I.P.

– DRJ

Self-Defense, Revisited

Filed under: Crime — DRJ @ 8:39 pm

[Guest post by DRJ]

Recently I posted about a San Marcos, Texas, case where it was reported four teenagers attempted a home invasion and three of them were shot, two fatally. The police are apparently treating it as a clear case of self-defense even though it was later reported the home was the residence of a marijuana grower and drug dealer.

There is a similar case in Denver in which a homeowner who shot at but did not hit three robbers was nevertheless indicted and tried on criminal charges. However, in the Denver case, an innocent victim was killed — the homeowner’s 10-year-old daughter. The Denver Post filed a series of reports but here is my summary of the Denver facts:

  • A father and marijuana dealer — I’ll call him Dad — was apparently dealing drugs out of his home. The police claim and the girl’s mother (Dad’s wife) confirmed Dad used his daughter to deliver drugs.
  • Three robbers reportedly broke in to steal drugs and money. The father shot at them and his 10-year-old daughter was shot in the face and killed.
  • The police say Dad shot his daughter. The defense claims one of the robbers shot her. Apparently the investigation was inconclusive because it’s not clear who shot the daughter.
  • The police say the daughter was found with her hand on a baggie of marijuana in her pocket, suggesting she may have been delivering drugs. However, three people — the girl’s mother, a Denver police officer who was one of the first on the scene and a neighbor who helped give CPR — testified the girl’s hands were across her chest when she died and not in her pocket. Dad’s lawyer says the police planted marijuana on the girl.
  • Dad was indicted and tried for reckless child abuse in the death of his daughter. According to the Denver Post report, the jury did not “have to decide whether [Dad] was allowed to shoot at the robbers because under Colorado’s “Make My Day” law, he has a right to defend his home. The jury also does not have to decide whose bullet killed the girl.”
  • Dad was acquitted today.
  • As noted above, this is similar to the San Marcos story in which a homeowner and reported marijuana dealer shot teenagers who were reportedly trying to rob him. Like the Denver case, there was apparently a robbery in progress. Unlike the Denver case, it appears no innocent person was hurt in San Marcos. Most important, the potential criminal charges are significantly different since the Denver case focused on whether Dad was so reckless regarding his daughter’s safety that it could be considered child abuse.

    Any thoughts?

    – DRJ

    A Few Words on “Decorum”

    Filed under: General,Politics — Jack Dunphy @ 11:38 am

    [Guest post by Jack Dunphy]

    I didn’t watch the President’s speech before Congress last Wednesday. Life is short, after all, and I reasoned that in the unlikely event I should be seized by the desire to take in the man’s oratorical gifts, I need only wait a matter of hours before the next opportunity came around. (And sure enough, he’s speaking on Wall Street even as I write this.) But as one who pays attention to the news, I have been unable to escape all this talk about Congressman Joe Wilson’s little outburst, which appears to have overshadowed any discussion of the President’s own remarks. Mr. Wilson, Republican of South Carolina, took exception to the claim that illegal immigrants would not be covered under the President’s envisioned federalized health care regime. “You lie!” Mr. Wilson shouted, drawing disapproving, censorious stares from Vice President Biden, Speaker Pelosi, and the President himself, followed by disapproving, censorious commentary from observers on all sides.

    Fine. As is generally acknowledged, Mr. Wilson crossed the line with this breach of decorum. He extended an apology to the President, which was duly accepted. We move on then, don’t we?

    We do not, apparently. Maureen Dowd, for example, took up where Janeane Garofalo left off some months ago, ascribing Wilson’s fit of pique to racism. “ But, fair or not,” Dowd wrote, “what I heard was an unspoken word in the air: You lie, boy!”

    One expects such drivel from Ms. Dowd. But I would ask her, and anyone else similarly deluded, if Republicans heckling Mr. Obama can only be ascribed to racism, then Democrats heckling President Bush should have been ascribed to . . . what? I searched in vain for disapproving, censorious commentary from Ms. Dowd, or from anyone else in the New York Times’s stable of columnists, regarding the reception Democrats gave President Bush during his 2005 State of the Union address, during which he proposed changes to the still-foundering Social Security system. Recall that Mr. Bush was accorded the same level of decorum customarily extended to the visiting team at the Roller Derby, yet none of the wags at the New York Times was sufficiently perturbed by this affront to good manners as to make note of it in a column.

    If I were a member of Congress, as unlikely a contingency as can be imagined, I would propose we abandon this pretense of civility and give the viewing audience the rollicking good show it desires, one that would rival if not surpass even American Idol in viewership. If representatives and senators are to be rounded up and forced to listen to a speech at eight in the evening, an hour at which most of them would ordinarily be swilling cocktails, chasing interns, or scurrying about K Street picking up the envelopes, we ought to make it worth their while. When gathered for such a speech, each of them should have at his feet a small bin of fruits and vegetables, sufficiently ripened so as to cause insult but not injury, with which he would attempt to bean the speaker every time he told a whopper. Given Mr. Obama’s casual relationship with the facts on health care, as pointed out by the Wall Street Journal, Charles Krauthammer, and others, if such an arrangement had been in place last Wednesday evening, we would have seen one well-beaned President.

    That, I would have watched.

    –Jack Dunphy

    We Need Big Government

    Filed under: Government,Politics — DRJ @ 11:16 am

    [Guest post by DRJ]

    BigGovernment.com, that is, as it single-handedly takes on ACORN.

    Today’s highlights are videos documenting James and Hannah’s visit to ACORN’s Brooklyn office as they continue to seek housing assistance for their brothel:

    Big Government says it will continue to do the job the mainstream media won’t:

    “In fact, in the coming days, you’ll learn a lot about the full ACORN story. It is an amazing story, in its own way. After waiting years for the mainstream media to finally peel back the ACORN layers, Big Government will have to take it upon itself to do so.

    To start this, we are publishing an internal quasi-employee manual Big Government has obtained. Given to all ACORN employees, it isn’t your normal manual. It doesn’t discuss things like sick leave or vacation time, but, rather, as the title states, the “Principles and Foundations of ACORN.” How an organization communicates with the public is important. How it communicates to its own employees, however, provides a richer understanding of an organization’s nature.

    The whole thing is worth a read. I draw your attention to just one sentence (ACORN emphasizes it with italics):

    ACORN’s lifeblood is conflicts with targets outside the organization.

    Think about that. ACORN’s lifeblood isn’t empowering disadvantaged communities nor lifting people out of poverty. It isn’t concerned about increasing economic growth to improve the lives of its members. It’s lifeblood is conflict. Conflict with targets. It actually thinks of the world outside itself as targets.

    It explains a lot:”

    Today, Senator Mike Johanns (R-NE) filed an amendment to HR3288 that blocks ACORN from receiving federal funds for housing programs. UPDATE: It passed 83-7 with 9 not voting.

    – DRJ

    Night of the Living Public Option

    Filed under: General — Karl @ 9:50 am

    [Posted by Karl]

    ObamaCare got a boost in friendly weekend polling from Rasmussen and the Washington Post/ABC News (weekend polls usually favor Democrats), but the latter observes:

    The public… divides about evenly — 51 percent in favor, 47 percent against — on the question of whether people should be required to have health insurance, a central element of the plans under consideration.

    But it is the public option that has become the major point of contention, with support for the government creation of an insurance plan that would compete with private insurers stabilizing in the survey after dipping last month. Now, 55 percent say they like the idea, but the notion continues to attract intense objection: If that single provision were removed, opposition to the overall package drops by six percentage points, according to the poll.

    Without the public option, 50 percent back the rest of the proposed changes; a still sizable 42 percent are opposed. Independents divide 45-45 on a package without the government-sponsored insurance option, while they are largely negative on the entire set of proposals (40 percent support and 52 percent oppose). Republican opposition also fades 20 points under this scenario.

    The decision to back away from the provision might hurt Obama among his base, but not dramatically so, as 88 percent of liberal Democrats support the reform plan as is, 81 percent without the public option.

    This is why even the New York Times has started breaking the bad news for a government-run insurance plan to its readership. Of course, people like Pres. Obama and Sen. Tom Harkin have to keep pumping hot air into their leaky balloon, even as the mushy middle from Maine (Sens. Olympia Snowe and Susan Collins) backs away from it. After all, that loss of lefty support not only made the poll numbers look terrible at the end of August, but also encompasses the nutroots demographic they need to keep energized on the healthcare issue and beyond.

    Perhaps more important, re-animating the Left’s pet proposal is a continuation of the public option – individual mandate two-step. The numbers from the WaPo poll show how thin support for an individual mandate is (with more at the link just provided) — and the mandate is necessary to a government takeover of the US healthcare system. If the focus was on the mandate — which would likely increase waiting times and insurance costs (backed with hefty fines administered by the IRS) — it would not be surprising for the poll numbers to slide back to where they were in 2008, when a majority of Democratic primary voters were opposed to a mandate to buy health care.

    The new development may be that the two-step in motion here is designed as a bait-and-switch job against the Left as well as the Right. The latest Obama strategy seems to be to lead the Left on with talk of the public option, and present them with a fait accompli of health insurance reform without a public plan.

    –Karl


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