Patterico's Pontifications

1/14/2010

Texas Governor: GOP Primary Debate

Filed under: Politics — DRJ @ 7:57 pm

[Guest post by DRJ]

For those interested in Texas politics, the GOP candidates for Governor debated tonight and the debate is archived here.

— DRJ

“It’s a Brown-Out”

Filed under: Politics — DRJ @ 7:47 pm

[Guest post by DRJ]

The Instapundit is all over the Scott Brown-Martha Coakley Senate race, including new poll results that show Brown leading Coakley 50-46:

Although Brown’s 4-point lead over Democrat Martha Coakley is within the Suffolk University/7News survey’s margin of error, the underdog’s position at the top of the results stunned even pollster David Paleologos.

“It’s a Brown-out,” said Paleologos, director of Suffolk’s Political Research Center. “It’s a massive change in the political landscape.”

Brown has also raised an incredible $1M every day this week.

Democrats learned the power of internet fundraising in the Presidential race last year and, to a certain extent, Republicans should have learned it from Ron Paul’s campaign. But the Brown-Coakley race shows how internet fundraising can potentially turn state or local races into national races. That strikes me as a very big deal. It’s also a big deal that, like the last election, the motivating factor seems to be Obama — only this time it may be Obama’s opponents who show up at the polls.

— DRJ

Pat Robertson: Haiti’s Curse

Filed under: Current Events,Politics — DRJ @ 2:12 pm

[Guest post by DRJ]

TV evangelist Pat Robertson has a flair for saying controversial things: He once suggested that Ariel Sharon’s stroke was divine punishment for “dividing God’s land” and giving away Gaza to the Palestinians. He also wondered if America’s abortion rate could have provoked Hurricane Katrina and the terrorist attacks on the United States. And now, following the earthquake in Haiti, Robertson has once again suggested a disaster might be due to more than bad luck:

“The Haitians “were under the heel of the French. You know, Napoleon III and whatever,” Robertson said on his broadcast Wednesday. “And they got together and swore a pact to the devil. They said, ‘We will serve you if you will get us free from the French.’ True story. And so, the devil said, ‘OK, it’s a deal.'”

Native Haitians defeated French colonists in 1804 and declared independence.

“You know, the Haitians revolted and got themselves free. But ever since, they have been cursed by one thing after the other.”

White House Press Secretary Robert Gibbs commented it was “utterly stupid” to think a nation’s actions could cause it to be cursed.

Apparently Jeremiah Wright (“God Damn America” and the United States brought on the 9/11 attacks with its own “terrorism”) could not be reached for comment.

— DRJ

Scott Ritter Again Nabbed in Child Internet Sex Sting

Filed under: General — Patterico @ 7:17 am

Last time he claimed it was a trumped-up political charge, to retaliate for his criticism of U.S. Middle East policy.

This time, it’s also an invalid charge, because . . . HEY LOOK OVER THERE!

Officer Ryan Venneman was posing as 15-year-old “Emily” in an online chat room when he was contacted by someone using the name “Delmarm4fun.” This person, later identified as Ritter, told “Emily” he was a 44-year-old male from Albany, N.Y.

“Emily” told Ritter she was a 15-year-old girl from the Poconos, at which point Ritter asked for a picture other than the one “Emily” had posted on her account. Ritter then sent her a link to his Web camera and began to masturbate on camera.

“Emily” asked Ritter for his cell phone number, which he provided.

Ritter again asked “Emily” how old she was. Told she was 15, Ritter said he didn’t realize she was 15 and turned off his webcam, saying he didn’t want to get in trouble.

Ritter told “Emily” he had been fantasizing about having sex with her, to which she replied: “Guess you turned it off …”

Ritter then said: “You want to see it finish,” reactivated his webcam and continued masturbating and ejaculated on camera.

Here’s the affidavit.

Yecch.

Seen at the New York Times

Filed under: General — Patterico @ 2:03 am

Maureen Dowd’s latest column, about the Conan/Leno flap, is titled: “The Biggest Loser.” But in their list of most popular items, it appears that the real “biggest loser” may be . . . Maureen Dowd:

Maureen Down Loser

Heh.

Supreme Court Stays Broadcast of Gay Marriage Case

Filed under: General — Patterico @ 1:39 am

The Supreme Court, by a 5-4 vote, has stayed the broadcast of the big gay marriage trial taking place in San Francisco. The Court’s opinion starkly sets forth the thuggery that advocates of the proposition have faced in public, like:

Proposition 8 was passed by California voters in November 2008. It was a ballot proposition designed to overturn a ruling by the California Supreme Court that had given same-sex couples a right to marry. Proposition 8 was and is the subject of public debate throughout the State and, indeed, nationwide. Its advocates claim that they have been subject to harassment as a result of public disclosure of their support. . . . For example, donors to groups supporting Proposition 8 “have received death threats and envelopes containing a powdery white substance.” Stone, Prop 8 Donor Web Site Shows Disclosure is a 2-Edged Sword, N.Y. Times, Feb. 8, 2009. Some advocates claim that they have received confrontational phone calls and e-mail messages from opponents of Proposition 8, ibid., and others have been forced to resign their jobs after it became public that they had donated to groups supporting the amendment . . . Opponents of Proposition 8 also are alleged to have compiled “Internet blacklists” of pro-Proposition 8 businesses and urged others to boycott those businesses in retaliation for supporting the ballot measure. Carlton, Gay Activists Boycott Backers of Prop 8, Wall Street Journal, Dec. 27, 2008. And numerous instances of vandalism and physical violence have been reported against those who have been identified as Proposition 8 supporters.

This is disgusting.

Ultimately, the Court issued the stay based on a very technical issue: the rules were changed without an adequate period for public comment. Yet the split of Justices (the conservatives plus Kennedy voting for the stay, and the four liberals dissenting) indicates that there is something more going on than a mere technical issue of procedure. My guess is that Scalia & Co. think the case is nonsense, and don’t want the defendants to be harassed as described above.

I understand their thinking. I’m a Proposition 8 opponent, but I agree that this case is nonsense. Laws like this should not be invalidated by judges. And the law’s supporters should not be intimidated. When televised broadcasts lead to campaigns of intimidation, that’s not good for the process.

Yet I still tend to think the trial should be public.

I think Judge Kozinski’s letter to the Judicial Conference of the United States makes a nice case for the concept of opening up the process to public scrutiny.

Kozinski argues: “While the Judicial Conference has not formally considered this matter [since 1996], a great deal has happened in the world since then, notably the advent of affordable video systems and the proliferation of the internet. Technology has changed the way trials are conducted and reported. The public, too, demands far more transparency from its public institutions today than it did in 1996.” Kozinski notes that his Ninth Circuit makes digital audio recordings of oral arguments available, and video records and broadcasts a substantial number of arguments. “Even the Supreme Court is now releasing audio recordings — sometimes in near-realtime.”

I still remember watching the oral argument regarding the timing of the recall election in California, and I think broadcasting that proceeding contributed to the public’s understanding of the Ninth Circuit’s role in the process (in one of the few cases they got right). Broadcasting there was the right thing to do.

And my concerns go deeper than Kozinski’s general enthusiasm for openness. If a federal court is potentially going to invalidate laws against gay marriage based on a trial, don’t you think the trial should be open to public scrutiny? I felt the same way about an obscure trial in Nebraska that led to a ban on laws against partial-birth abortion. The sweeping powers that the federal judiciary have arrogated to itself demand scrutiny — and in the Internet age, we’re not content for the scrutiny to be filtered though the lens of a liberal media.

On balance, I vote for openness — and for coming down hard on those who use intimidation as a weapon. Which I guess sets me against my favorite Justices, and Justice Kennedy.

But it’s not an easy question to answer. I’m willing to be persuaded otherwise, if someone can make a compelling argument.


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