Patterico's Pontifications

5/4/2010

Let’s Dance

Filed under: General — DRJ @ 11:03 pm

[Guest post by DRJ]

Pamela Anderson was voted off Dancing With the Stars but she danced off gracefully:

“This has been one of the best experiences of my life—and that says a lot. I’ve had a lot of good experiences,” Anderson said after learning her fate.

She thanked her partner and said she wishes her fellow dancers well.

“I love everybody here,” she said.

Anderson said that learning to dance allowed her to focus in a way she hadn’t before.

“I’m really proud of the effort I’ve put into it,” she said. “I’ve never been able to apply myself in this kind of way. This is a dream come true.”

Meanwhile, Janie and Woody Cardenaz just like to dance.

— DRJ

Ohio, NC and Indiana Senate Primaries

Filed under: 2010 Election,Politics — DRJ @ 10:27 pm

[Guest post by DRJ]

Indiana, Ohio and North Carolina held primaries in three Senate races today. In Ohio’s Democratic primary:

“Ohio Lt. Gov. Lee Fisher has won his state’s Democratic Senate primary, though it wasn’t quite resounding.

Despite polls that showed him leading by between 17 and 20 points in the final days of the campaign, Fisher led Secretary of State Jennifer Brunner 55.5-44.5 with 53 percent of precincts reporting. Fisher vastly outspent Brunner, but he comes away from the primary with only a modest win.”

Fisher will face Republican Rob Portman. Polls show them in a dead heat in the race to replace retiring GOP Senator George Voinovich.

Meanwhile, in North Carolina, GOP Senator Richard Burr easily won his primary but his Democratic opponents face a runoff:

“With 100 percent of the vote counted, [Elaine] Marshall won 36 percent of the vote, short of the 40 percent needed to avoid a runoff. [Cal] Cunningham, the candidate backed by much of the party’s leadership, had 27 percent, and Lewis got 17 percent.

In a speech to supporters in Lexington about 10:30 p.m., Cunningham said he believed he would defeat Marshall in a runoff vote.”

Finally, former Senator Dan Coats won Indiana’s GOP primary:

“This fall, Coats — who was recruited by the National Republican Senatorial Committee — will face Democrat Brad Ellsworth, whose nomination is assured. The candidates are seeking the seat held by retiring Democratic Sen. Evan Bayh.

Coats, 66, retired from the Senate in 1998, has worked as a lobbyist and was U.S. ambassador to Germany under President George W. Bush. He overcame spirited challenges from four, including state Sen. Marlin Stutzman, a tea party favorite who was endorsed by South Carolina Sen. Jim DeMint, and former Rep. John Hostettler, who had the support of one-time presidential candidate Rep. Ron Paul, R-Texas.

Democrats quickly piled on, calling Coats a “deeply flawed candidate” and casting him as a Washington insider beholden to special interests.”

Turnout was reportedly “exceptionally light in [the] Ohio and North Carolina” Democratic primaries, but the “Republican turnout in the [Indiana] Senate primary was the highest this decade, including presidential election years.” Nevertheless, AP reporters Liz Sidoti and Deanna Martin aren’t sure what to make of this, noting “it’s difficult to draw concrete conclusions …”

Let me try, AP: Incumbents weren’t punished as much as Tea Partiers and others hoped. And GOP turnout is promising but Democratic turnout looks bleak for November.

— DRJ

Tomorrow’s Headlines

Filed under: Government,Humor — DRJ @ 8:59 pm

[Guest post by DRJ]

Doug Ross posts tomorrow’s national headlines today. (Although I doubt this financial data will be mentioned.)

— DRJ

Privileged Terrorists

Filed under: Terrorism — DRJ @ 7:29 pm

[Guest post by DRJ]

A report says that Fasial Shahzad, the New York car bomber, is from a wealthy family and “the son of a former high-ranking air force officer.”

Another privileged terrorist, like the underwear bomber Abdulmutallub. This is one more strike against the liberal meme that terrorism results from poverty, famine and despair.

H/T ian cormac.

— DRJ

How Did the Bomb Suspect Board Airliner? (Updated)

Filed under: Air Security,Terrorism — DRJ @ 4:56 pm

[Guest post by DRJ]

AP asks How did the bomb suspect board airliner?

“The no-fly list failed to keep the Times Square suspect off the plane. Faisal Shahzad had boarded a jetliner bound for the United Arab Emirates Monday night before federal authorities pulled him back.

The night’s events, gradually coming to light, underscored the flaws in the nation’s aviation security system, which despite its technologies, lists and information sharing, often comes down to someone making a right call.

As federal agents closed in, Faisal Shahzad was aboard Emirates Flight 202. He reserved a ticket on the way to John F. Kennedy International Airport, paid cash on arrival and walked through security without being stopped. By the time Customs and Border Protection officials spotted Shahzad’s name on the passenger list and recognized him as the bombing suspect they were looking for, he was in his seat and the plane was preparing to leave the gate.

But it didn’t. At the last minute, the pilot was notified, the jetliner’s door was opened and Shahzad was taken into custody.”

It sounds like agents manually checked the names after the plane departed the gate, but was his name on the No-Fly List or not?

— DRJ

UPDATE: The AP provides more detail on how Shahzad almost slipped through security:

“The reliance on airlines to check government lists has been a known problem for years. The government has long planned to take over the responsibility for matching passengers to watch lists, but the transition has taken longer than expected. The new program is still in the test phase for domestic airlines and is still months away from beginning with international carriers.”

The article also recounts how the Obama Administration tried to minimize the slip up.

Media Responds to Car Bomber

Filed under: Media Bias,Terrorism — DRJ @ 4:54 pm

[Guest post by DRJ]

Mary Katharine Ham posts the “Dumbest Theories about the Times Square Bomber,” including such luminaries as Mayor Michael Bloomberg, an uncredited appearance by Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano, CNN’s morning anchors, and MSNBC’s Contessa Brewer:

“And, finally, we have Contessa Brewer of MSNBC taking the silly crown so early in the game and with an enthusiasm which will be hard to top:

“I get frustrated…There was part of me that was hoping this was not going to be anybody with ties to any kind of Islamic country.” [Audio available here.]”

Brewer and I are both frustrated, although not for the same reason. And here’s Brewer’s Facebook response to criticism for her statement above: She’s worried “ppl will use this to justify racism & religious bigotry.”

Is she most worried about bitter, clingy people?

— DRJ

Mirandizing the Car Bomber

Filed under: Crime,Obama,Terrorism — DRJ @ 4:33 pm

[Guest post by DRJ]

Time’s Swampland reports New York City car bomber Faisal Shahzad was questioned before being given his Miranda warnings under the Public Safety Exception to Miranda:

“At a press conference Tuesday afternoon, Attorney General Eric Holder, DHS Secretary Janet Napolitano, FBI Deputy Director John Pistole and New York Police Commissioner Ray Kelly updated reporters on the ongoing investigation into the attempted bombing in Times Square.

They said the suspect, Faisal Shahzad, was interviewed by the FBI under the Public Safety Exception rule before being read his rights. Pistole said Shahzad, a naturalized American citizen, cooperated with investigators both before and after being Mirandized, and Holder said the interviews provided “useful information.” Pistole declined to say how long Shahzad was questioned before he was read Miranda rights.

From the 1984 Supreme Court ruling on New York v. Quarles:

The doctrinal underpinnings of Miranda do not require that it be applied in all its rigor to a situation in which police officers ask questions reasonably prompted by a concern for the public safety.”

Swampland’s brief summary of the Quarles exception to the Miranda warning requirement is hard to argue with — obviously terrorism like leaving a car bomb in a public place is a matter of public safety. But what were the facts in Quarles and what did the Court hold? Let’s start with the facts:

“On September 11, 1980, at approximately 12:30 a. m., Officer Frank Kraft and Officer Sal Scarring were on road patrol in Queens, N.Y. when a young woman approached their car. She told them that she had just been raped by a black male, approximately six feet tall, who was wearing a black jacket with the name “Big Ben” printed in yellow letters on the back. She told the officers that the man had just entered an A & P supermarket located nearby, and that the man was carrying a gun.

The officers drove the woman to the supermarket, and Officer Kraft entered the store while Officer Scarring radioed for assistance. Officer Kraft quickly spotted respondent, who matched the description given by the woman, approaching a checkout counter. Apparently upon seeing the officer, respondent turned and ran toward the rear of the store, and Officer Kraft pursued him with a drawn gun. When respondent turned the corner at the end of an aisle, Officer Kraft lost sight of him for several seconds, and upon regaining sight of respondent, ordered him to stop and put his hands over his head.

Although more than three other officers had arrived on the scene by that time, Officer Kraft was the first to reach respondent. He frisked him and discovered that he was wearing a shoulder holster which was then empty. After handcuffing him, Officer Kraft asked him where the gun was. Respondent nodded in the direction of some empty cartons and responded, “the gun is over there.” Officer Kraft thereafter retrieved a loaded .38-caliber revolver from one of the cartons, formally placed respondent under arrest, and read him his Miranda rights from a printed card.”

The Supreme Court held that the detainee’s answer to where his gun was, as well as the existence and location of the gun, were admissible even though he was in police custody when he made his statements and he had not been given any Miranda warnings. Instead, the Court introduced a narrow “public safety” exception to the Miranda warning requirement that allowed the suspect’s pre-Miranda warning answers to nevertheless be admissible in court.

Similarly, in U.S. vs King, a 2006 case that cited Quarles, the Third Circuit allowed incriminating statements made by a suspect who had not been given his Miranda warnings because “the primary object of [the] questions was to obtain safety information from Defendant before law enforcement personnel entered the potentially dangerous clandestine methamphetamine laboratory [and the] questions asked Defendant were consistent with this goal.”

What these cases have in common is the imminent nature of the threat. Was there an imminent threat in the Shahzad case? After all, Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano initially described this as a lone wolf event, and 53 hours had elapsed from the time the bomb was discovered until Shahzad was detained. Is 53 hours still imminent?

I submit there was not an imminent threat and the Obama Administration is treating the fact that Shahzad may be an affiliate or follower of a terror group — and further that the group may have future terror plans — as an imminent threat that meets the Miranda Public Safety Exception. However much sense that makes, I’m not sure it’s the law.

Which leaves us with a suspect that has been detained and questioned without being given his Miranda rights. Generally, absent a court-approved exception, law enforcement agents can question a suspect provided they don’t use the resulting statements or evidence in court (unless the evidence can be acquired independently). Hopefully it won’t matter in Shahzad’s case or in the underwear bombers case, but someday it may. Still, it’s interesting that Attorney General Eric Holder has apparently used Shahzad’s non-Mirandized statements to condemn him in the court of public opinion, even though we don’t know whether the statements can be used in court:

“[Shahzad] has been and continues to be questioned by federal agents. As a result of those communications, Shahzad has provided useful information to authorities,” said [Attorney General Eric] Holder.

When asked if Shahzad had confessed to participating in the attack, Holder said, “He has, he has done that.”

I wonder if the Obama Administration and Attorney General Holder are using Quarles to convert a narrow Public Safety Exception to Miranda law into a more expansive Terrorism Exception? Maybe the courts will agree. Perhaps Obama and Holder could ask Justice Stevens — now that he’s retiring and won’t hear any future cases — but I doubt they will. Stevens dissented in Quarles.

— DRJ

President Civility

Filed under: Obama,Politics — DRJ @ 11:24 am

[Guest post by DRJ]

President Obama hates the way people talk about each other … except if they’re tea-baggers:

“Three days after he decried the lack of civility in American politics, President Obama is quoted in a new book about his presidency referring to the Tea Party movement using a derogatory term with sexual connotations.

In Jonathan Alter’s “The Promise: President Obama, Year One,” President Obama is quoted in an interview saying that the unanimous vote of House Republicans vote against the stimulus bills “set the tenor for the whole year … That helped to create the tea-baggers and empowered that whole wing of the Republican Party to where it now controls the agenda for the Republicans.”

Tea Party activists loath the term “tea baggers,” which has emerged in liberal media outlets and elsewhere as a method of mocking the activists and their concerns. “

The book also says senior White House advisers begged Obama not to pursue health care reform in his first year, because of the recession.

H/T Mrs. JD.

— DRJ


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