Patterico's Pontifications

11/4/2009

FLDS Trial of Raymond Jessop

Filed under: Civil Liberties,Law — DRJ @ 11:21 pm

[Guest post by DRJ]

The Raymond Jessop trial continues but it may be over soon. On Monday the prosecution presented evidence that Jessop had one legal wife and 8 “celestial” wives:

“Walther allowed jurors to see a Washington County, Utah, marriage certificate for the union of Jessop and Mary J. Musser from Aug. 29, 1994. Prosecutors contend that Musser is Jessop’s legal wife and that he took eight “celestial” wives, including an underage bride who gave birth to his daughter.

Defense attorneys have a keen interest in keeping talk of polygamy out of the trial, as well as evidence to prove the location of the sexual assault their client is accused of.

Under Texas law the age of consent to sex is 17 — unless the underage person is legally married.”

In addition, a prosecution DNA expert witness testified there was 99 percent probability Raymond Jessop is the father of the alleged victim’s child. During cross-examination, the expert was criticized for documented lab errors in 2008 and questioned about the effect of FLDS inbreeding on the DNA results.

In an abbreviated hearing on Tuesday (shortened so jurors could go vote), Texas Rangers recounted the entry and search of the YFZ Ranch that resulted in the confiscation of “boxes and boxes” of family documents, computer equipment, photos, and other evidence. One document recounted the alleged victim’s difficult labor and the decision not to seek medical care because of her age and Warren Jeffs’ legal status.

A computer forensic examiner also testified “about the training and software he used to extract ‘deleted’ information from computers seized in April 2008 at the YFZ Ranch.” The content of the evidence was not revealed.

Finally, Wednesday’s testimony included a UT Law professor who stated Jessop and the alleged victim did not have a legally recognized marriage under Texas law. Wednesday also included an appearance by an ex-member of the FLDS sect who had been married to Warren Jeffs’ father Rulon, the former sect leader. Her testimony was apparently designed to authenticate FLDS documents recovered at the YFZ Ranch and to provide insight into the sect’s inner workings.

The Judge asked the jurors to bring their overnight bags with them Thursday since the case may go to the jury soon. This suggests the defense does not plan to present witnesses or has a limited witness list.

– DRJ

You Know What’s the Worst Part of the Stimulus?

Filed under: Government,Obama — DRJ @ 10:33 pm

[Guest post by DRJ]

Jules Crittenden does:

“Never mind the inflated job counts and pay raises counted as jobs saved. I’m still stuck on the subsidies to social service agencies counting as economic stimulus part. That’s not economic stimulus. That’s welfare. AP.”

I’m stuck on both. Crittenden’s AP link reports many of those “created or saved” jobs weren’t actually saved or created:

“About two-thirds of the 14,506 jobs claimed to be saved under one federal office, the Administration for Children and Families at Health and Human Services, actually weren’t saved at all, according to a review of the latest data by The Associated Press. Instead, that figure includes more than 9,300 existing employees in hundreds of local agencies who received pay raises and benefits and whose jobs weren’t saved.”

There are specific examples at the link, including this one from Georgia that shows the reporting scheme was intentional and systemic:

At Southwest Georgia Community Action Council in Moultrie, Ga., director Myrtis Mulkey-Ndawula said she followed the guidelines the Obama administration provided. She said she multiplied the 508 employees by 1.84 — the percentage pay raise they received — and came up with 935 jobs saved.

“I would say it’s confusing at best,” she said. “But we followed the instructions we were given.”

The White House acknowledged there may have been counting errors but defended the practice of counting raises as saving jobs:

If I give you a raise, it is going to save a portion of your job,” HHS spokesman Luis Rosero said.”

The saddest part is some people really believe this.

– DRJ

“They Are Arming Themselves With the Most Powerful Weapon Out There”

Filed under: Media Bias,Obama — DRJ @ 9:54 pm

[Guest post by DRJ]

The Jury has been talking about the new ABC show “V” since early yesterday, and now a lot of people are talking about it because “V” may be an allegory that questions America’s devotion to Barack Obama.

Here is the trailer:

The most powerful weapon out there? Devotion.

– DRJ

Gay Marriage is 0-for-31

Filed under: Civil Liberties,Obama — DRJ @ 8:56 pm

[Guest post by DRJ]

The voters of 30 states have refused to legalize gay marriage, and those states that do recognize it have done so by judicial or legislative fiat. Maine makes it 31:

“The stars seemed aligned for supporters of gay marriage. They had Maine’s governor, legislative leaders and major newspapers on their side, plus a huge edge in campaign funding. So losing a landmark referendum was a devastating blow, for activists in Maine and nationwide.

In an election that had been billed for weeks as too close to call, Maine’s often unpredictable voters repealed a state law Tuesday that would have allowed same-sex couples to wed. Gay marriage has now lost in all 31 states in which it has been put to a popular vote — a trend that the gay-rights movement had believed it could end in Maine.

“Today’s heartbreaking defeat unfortunately shows that lies and fear can still win at the ballot box,” said Rea Carey, executive director of the National Gay and Lesbian Task Force.”

Gay leaders blame Obama, who will no doubt blame Bush.

– DRJ

Americans Love Clunkers

Filed under: Government,Obama — DRJ @ 8:33 pm

[Guest post by DRJ]

Many Americans responded to the recent Car Allowance Rebate System, more commonly known as the Cash-for-Clunkers program, by trading in their old inefficient pickups for new slightly-more-efficient pickups:

“The single most common swap – which occurred more than 8,200 times – involved Ford F150 pickup owners who took advantage of a government rebate to trade their old trucks for new Ford F150s. They were 17 times more likely to buy a new F150 than, say, a Toyota Prius. The fuel economy for the new trucks ranged from 15 mpg to 17 mpg based on engine size and other factors, an improvement of just 1 mpg to 3 mpg over the clunkers.

Owners of thousands more large old Chevrolet and Dodge pickups bought new Silverado and Ram trucks, also with only barely improved mileage in the middle teens, according to AP’s analysis of sales of $15.2 billion worth of vehicles at nearly 19,000 car dealerships in every state. Those deals helped the Ford F150 and Chevy Silverado – along with Ford’s Escape midsize SUV – climb into the Top 10 most-popular vehicles purchased with the government rebates. The most common truck-for-truck and truck-for-SUV deals totaled at least $911 million.”

The AP requested CARS data and conducted the first extensive outside analysis of the program. The investigation showed the program paid $562,500 in rebates for vehicles that got “worse or the same mileage as the trade-ins — in apparent violation of the program’s requirements.” Most of the CARS trade-ins were in California followed by Texas and then New York. The Honda Civic was the first choice in California but 7-in-10 Texans traded in old pickups for new ones.

– DRJ

Iranian Demonstrations Mark 30-Year Anniversary

Filed under: International,Obama — DRJ @ 8:17 pm

[Guest post by DRJ]

Iranian demonstrators marked the thirtieth anniversary of the takeover of the American Embassy in Tehran:

“Iranian protesters took to the streets today as they do every Nov. 4 to mark the 30th anniversary of the U.S. embassy takeover.”

Amid chants of “Death to America” there were also cries of “death to the dictator,” a reference to President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad and the Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei. There was another difference, too:

“Opposition supporters, meanwhile, are trying to discourage Washington from negotiating with Tehran. Some protesters today chanted, “Obama, Obama, you’re with them or you’re with us,” a rhyming verse in Persian expressing frustration at U.S. open engagement with Ahmadinejad’s government.

“People are asking him to be clear. They don’t want to see him in talks with the regime. They want to make it easier for people to get a visa, do something that could help people have better lives,” said one protester.”

Sounds familiar, doesn’t it?

– DRJ

Flying Imams Update

Filed under: Air Security,Law — DRJ @ 6:56 pm

[Guest post by DRJ]

The Minnesota case of the “flying imams” that involved a November 2006 USAirways flight has been settled. Powerline’s Scott W. Johnson tells us the facts:

“The six imams were detained as they were returning home from a convention of the North American Imams Federation in a suburb of Minneapolis. Three of the six had prayed before the passengers at the airport as they awaited the departure of the flight. A passenger had passed a note to the pilot pointing out suspicious activity:

6 suspicious Arabic men on plane, spaced out in their seats. All were together saying “  .  .  .  Allah  .  .  .  Allah” cursing U.S. involvement w/Saddam before flight–1 in front exit row, another in first row 1st class, another in 8D, another in 22D, two in 25 E&F.

Onboard USAirways personnel called MAC dispatch to advise that the six passengers would be removed and ask for officers to come to the gate. The first MAC officer on the scene was advised by a USAirways manager of the passenger’s note. He was also advised that some of the six passengers had checked no luggage, some had asked for seatbelt extensions, some had one-way tickets, and all six were of Middle Eastern descent. A USAirways flight attendant told one of the MAC officers that, in her opinion, the two seatbelt extensions requested by the imams were unnecessary given their sizes.

A MAC officer and a federal air marshal boarded the plane and interviewed the passenger who had written the note. In her decision the judge stated that after leaving the plane, the officers conferred and decided that the request for seatbelt extensions, the praying and utterances prior to boarding the plane, and the seating configuration amounted to suspicious behavior. They alerted the FBI and were requested to detain the imams for questioning.”

And the issue:

“The principal issue addressed by Montgomery’s decision is whether the law enforcement defendants were entitled to qualified immunity for their actions. This immunity protects government officials from monetary claims under circumstances where a reasonable officer would not know his conduct was illegal. Montgomery held that the flying imams were the subject of an unlawful arrest and that no reasonable law enforcement officer could have believed otherwise.”

And the decision:

“Quoting case law, [Judge] Montgomery stated that the relevant question in determining qualified immunity is whether it would be clear to a reasonable officer that his conduct was unlawful in the situation he confronted. She held that no reasonably competent law enforcement officer could have believed that his conduct was legal in the imams’ case.”

Further investigation revealed the airline had seated the imams separately and they may not have been flying on one-way tickets, which left the bulk of the complaint a concern about their behavior and speech — especially since the Judge concluded requesting a seat belt extension was not suspicious by itself. (Johnson also points out that neither were boxcutters before 9/11 or shoes before Richard Reid.)

Johnson reasonably concludes Judge Montgomery effectively holds that authorities should have “release[d] the imams after a brief investigatory stop to go on their way and catch their flight or board another.” Thus, the Judge apparently expects air security officers to immediately ascertain facts that will exonerate suspects, even though it’s difficult to see how that’s realistic even in today’s computer world.

I have no doubt law enforcement officers will learn from this decision, and I agree with Johnson that citizens should learn from it, too: “The next time around, it will be the imams who fly and the other passengers who stay behind.”

– DRJ

World Series 2009, Game 6 (Yankees Win)

Filed under: Sports — DRJ @ 5:44 pm

[Guest post by DRJ]

N.Y.’s Andy Pettitte vs. Philly’s Pedro Martinez. The Yankees are up 2-0 in the top of the third and are one win away from their 27th Series title.

– DRJ

UPDATE: The Yankees won 7-3 and win the Series in 6.

Israel Captures Ship Containing Iranian Weapons

Filed under: International — DRJ @ 5:18 pm

[Guest post by DRJ]

The Israeli Navy has captured a ship in the waters off Cyprus carrying Iranian weapons:

“[Rear Admiral Roni Ben-Yehuda, the deputy Israeli navy commander] told a briefing that “hundreds of tons” of weapons were found on the ship, giving a much higher estimate than an earlier one of more than 60 tons.

Containers had Iranian shipping codes in English — “IRISL” on one side and “I.R. Iranian Shipping Lines Group” on the other. Some of the hundreds of crates lined up on the dock were open, revealing dark green missiles with English-language designations painted in black.”

Israels says the arms were intended by Lebanon’s Hezbollah guerrillas. Syria’s Foreign Minister Walid al-Moallem, who is apparently in Tehran, denies the ship was even carrying weapons:

“Unfortunately, some pirates sometimes take action in the name of inspection and prevent the saling of commercial ships,” he was quoted as saying by the state IRNA news agency during a visit Wednesday. “This ship was carrying goods from Syria heading to Iran and was not carrying weapons making materials.”

It was unclear why al-Moallem said the ship was headed in the opposite direction of that claimed by Israel. Syrian officials were not immediately available for comment in Damascus.

Iran and Syria are close allies and Hezbollah’s principle backers. Israel accuses Syria and Iran of supplying Hezbollah with weapons using air, sea and land routes — including through the port of Latakia.

If true, Israel’s claim would bolster allegations that Syria has been complicit in getting weapons to Hezbollah.”

Ya think?

– DRJ

2009 election post-mortem

Filed under: General — Karl @ 10:35 am

[Posted by Karl]

In the Internet Age, there is no shortage of punditry on the off-year election results, which makes my task here much easier.

Ed Morrissey nicely addresses the Democratic talking point this was “anti-incumbent” fervor, by pointing out that such disproportionately hurts the majority party, i.e., Democrats. I would add that the new Democrat talking points about how predictable the GOP wins in Virginia and New Jersey were ought to put the rest the old Democrat instant talking points that the 2008 elections marked a political realignment likely to last 40 years. Instead, the results looked like 1993, where a GOP blowout in Virginia and a win in NJ were part of the prelude to a GOP tsunami in 1994.

I always saw the NY-23 race as a sui generis clusterfark, so Hoffman coming up short did not exactly shock me. The “GOP civil war” narrative of the establishment media remains unimpressive, particularly given that ignores the intra-party strife among the Dems. It is even less impressive when the establishment media reports that NY-23 has been Republican since the 1872, which is patently false. Must be all those layers of fact-checking and editing.

Also, while most righties aren’t mentioning the CA-10 House race, I was told by aphrael, who lives in the general vicinity, that no GOPer had broken 35% there since redistricting and that “if the Republican candidate manages to break 40%, everyone will be shocked.” Harmer won 43%.

Any number of pundits noted the shift of Independents to the GOP last night, but Michael Barone (crediting Pat Caddell) notes that affluent suburban voters (a key Obama demo) moved sharply toward Republicans in New Jersey, New York state, Philadelphia, and Virginia. Barone notes that there are probably four House Democrats from Virginia who are more nervous today about marching in lockstep with their party. I would add career pol and Corzine ally Rep. John Adler, who carried NJ-3 by only 51.7% of the vote in 2008, because NJ-3 is looking pretty red right now.

Independents and affluent suburbanites are significant because they are blocs of the Obama coalition that have moved rightward. Other blocs, like young adults and minorities, who simply did not show up. The former are worse for the Dems than the latter, as 2010 is likely to have higher turnout than 2009.

More broadly, the 2009 results were in one sense unremarkable. The greater intensity on the right, the rightward shift of Independents, the dissatisfaction with the way Pres. Obama has handling most major domestic issues — these were all things easily seen in the past few months of public opinion polling. However, their confirmation at the ballot box, the concession speeches, and the headlines even the establishment media cannot avoid reporting, may make the shift in public opinion tangible to the center-left in Congress and the media in a way that dry numbers on a screen did not.

–Karl

Next Page »

Powered by WordPress.

Page loaded in: 0.4040 secs.