Patterico's Pontifications

5/21/2010

Chris Christie, GOP Rock Star

Filed under: Politics — DRJ @ 8:51 pm

[Guest post by DRJ]

Is New Jersey Governor Chris Christie the GOP’s new leading man?

“He’s on the precipice of bona fide folk hero status.

It took about two minutes from the time Senate President Steve Sweeney certified the passage of the millionaires tax package for Gov. Chris Christie to veto the bills at his desk…

“What took you so long ?” asked Christie spokesman Michael Drewniak.

Christie sat at a wooden desk emblazoned with the seal of the state of New Jersey and swiftly signed vetoes.

“We’ll be back, governor,” said Sweeney.

“Alright, we’ll see,” said Christie.

The WSJ says Christie was Born to Veto. I’ll take that over Springsteen any day.

— DRJ

Bennett Says No to Write-In Run

Filed under: 2010 Election — DRJ @ 8:23 pm

[Guest post by DRJ]

Utah Senator Robert Bennett has decided not to run as a write-in candidate because he doesn’t want to divide the GOP:

“Bennett had left the door open to an independent run for several weeks, telling USA TODAY and others that, “Once I make my decision, you’ll be the second to know.” Speaking at the headquarters of the National Republican Senatorial Committee, Bennett said that a write-in run would only divide his party further.”

Perhaps he’s found other post-Senate employment.

— DRJ

Not Much to Work With

Filed under: Crime — DRJ @ 8:14 pm

[Guest post by DRJ]

The Lubbock Avalanche-Journal reports a sad tale that has a classic defense counsel quote:

“A Lubbock County jury on Friday sentenced Isaac Jones Jr. to four 15 year sentences for having sex with a teen girl in 2008 — 15 years for each count the same jury convicted Jones on Friday morning. Judge Brad Underwood ordered that two of the sentences run consecutively for an effective total of 30 years.

Jones must serve at least half of his sentence before he is eligible for parole.

“The jury’s conviction of sexual assault and their sentencing the defendant to 15 years on four counts, and also the judge’s decision to stack two of those counts, is representative of the commitment within our justice system to protecting children from sexual exploitation,” prosecutor Barron Slack said.

The jury convicted Jones in about 20 minutes but spent more than three hours determining his punishment.

“I honestly think the jury rendered a fair verdict given what they had to work with,” said Fred Stangl, Jones’ attorney. “I respect them for that.”

Jones didn’t give his attorney much to work with, either.

— DRJ

The Bankruptcy Option

Filed under: Economics,Government — DRJ @ 6:03 pm

[Guest post by DRJ]

In my view, there are two ways for local, state and federal governments to resolve their fiscal problems and deal with their underfunded pensions and entitlements. One way is to limit benefits and get serious about budgeting. The other is to file for federal bankruptcy relief or state receivership.

The City of Central Falls, Rhode Island, has chosen the receivership option:

“As I posted two days ago, the City of Central Falls (whose slogan is “A City With a Bright Future”) filed for receivership, the state equivalent of bankruptcy. Rhode Island law does not allow a municipality to file for federal bankruptcy protection, but provides the state receivership alternative.

A temporary receiver was appointed by Rhode Island Superior Court Justice Michael Silverstein, an experienced business lawyer and well-regarded judge.

The Petition (embedded below) for appointment of a receiver details the financial problems, and highlights two items, pensions and union contracts.

First, Central Falls’ “actuarial accrued liability” for pensions exceeds $35 million, but there are only $4 million in assets. The annual contribution required by the actuaries for 2009 was $2.7 million, of which the City actually contributed $0. No funds are available for 2010 contributions.

Second, of the $18 million budget, $6.5 million is for employees with collective bargaining agreements. According to The Providence Journal, “City Solicitor John T. Gannon said the city is in the middle of all its municipal employee union contracts. Mayor Charles D. Moreau has been trying to negotiate concessions, he said, but without success.”

The implications of the Central Falls receivership are enormous. Under receivership, the receiver has the power to modify all contracts, including union contracts.”

Central Falls may become a legal battleground because unions, in particular, fear the domino effect if governments choose to abrogate their contracts via bankruptcy or receivership. If that happens, maybe these courts will have stiffer legal spines than those in the GM and Chrysler cases.

— DRJ

Controlling the Money

Filed under: Economics — DRJ @ 3:47 pm

[Guest post by DRJ]

Why are these men happy? They aren’t headed to Disneyland but they did pass an overhaul of America’s financial regulations:

“An exuberant Sen. Chris Dodd is flanked by Sens. Harry Reid and Dick Durbin, with Sens. Blanche Lincoln and Mark Warner in the background, after the Senate passed a sweeping regulatory overhaul bill Thursday night. (Getty/Mark Wilson)”

Meanwhile, the FDIC reports there are 775 problem banks in America.

— DRJ

DC Police Escort Protesters to Banker’s Home

Filed under: Civil Liberties — DRJ @ 3:41 pm

[Guest post by DRJ]

Big Journalism has the full story. Here’s the summary:

“So, let’s sum this up: A caravan of SEIU buses receive a Metropolitan (D.C.) Police Department escort to a private home in Maryland where the protesters, from all appearances, violate Montgomery County law by engaging in a stationary protest. The Montgomery County police were not informed by their cross-jurisdictional colleagues of the impending, unusually large protest pending in their jurisdiction.

What’s up with that? Had the mob decided to torch the house, the D.C. police would not have been authorized to intervene. Not their jurisdiction. They’re just escorts. Meanwhile, a teenage boy is home alone, frightened by what’s happening outside his front door.

There’s something very wrong with this picture.”

DC Police escort 500 protesters to a Maryland citizen’s home? That’s not right.

— DRJ

Bagram is No Guantanamo

Filed under: Obama,Terrorism,War — DRJ @ 3:24 pm

[Guest post by DRJ]

The DC Circuit court today upheld the Obama Administration’s argument that, unlike Guantanamo detainees, foreign nationals being held by the American military in Bagram, Afghanistan, cannot assert habeas rights in U.S. courts:

“In a major victory for the Obama Administration’s detention policy, the D.C. Circuit Court ruled on Friday that foreign nationals held at a U.S. military prison at Bagram airbase outside of Kabul, Afghanistan, do not have a right to challenge in U.S. courts their continued imprisonment. The ruling overturned a federal judge’s decision that the Supreme Court’s ruling two years ago allowing habeas challenges by prisoners at Guantanamo Bay extends to Bagram, at least for non-Afghan foreign nationals captured outside of Afghanistan and taken there for detention. The three-judge panel was unanimous in Maqaleh, et al., v. Gates (Circuit docket 09-5265). The issue is likely to be taken to the Supreme Court by detainees’ lawyers, but review there is no certainty.

The case, involving two Yemenis and a Tunisian, poses a broadly significant test of how far beyond U.S. shores a constitutional right to challenge U.S. military detention extends — an issue that potentially affects U.S. bases virtually around the globe. Chief Circuit Judge David B. Sentelle wrote the 26-page decision Friday, joined in full by Circuit Judge David S. Tatel and Senior Circuit Judge Harry T. Edwards. Sentelle is a conservative jurist; the other two are liberals. Their ruling overturned a decision by a judicial moderate, District Judge John D. Bates.”

The Court introduced a three-prong test to decide when habeas rights attach outside United States territory: “[T]he process for deciding who is to be detained, the nature of the site where detention occurs, and practical problems of having courts decide the validity of detention.” The link discusses how each prong is analyzed and applied in this case.

The Court also explicitly recognized that civilian court trials and rules “hamper the war effort and bring aid and comfort to the enemy,” and that future U.S. governments may decide to put detainees in foreign places to keep them outside the reach of American courts.

When questioned about this today, Press Secretary Robert Gibbs said the Administration’s lawyers are working on a response. Any chance the lawyers will mention the irony of seeing a Bush policy hailed as an Obama Administration victory?

— DRJ

ICE Chief: We May Not Do Our Job (Updated)

Filed under: Immigration,Obama — DRJ @ 2:59 pm

[Guest post by DRJ]

From the Chicago Tribune via Allahpundit, ICE may not do the job Americans want them to do:

“Echoing comments by President Barack Obama and others in the administration, Morton said that Arizona’s new law targeting illegal immigration is not “good government.” The law makes it a crime to be in the state illegally and requires police to check suspects for immigration paperwork.

Morton said his agency will not necessarily process illegal immigrants referred to them by Arizona officials. The best way to reduce illegal immigration is through a comprehensive federal approach, not a patchwork of state laws, he said.

“I don’t think the Arizona law, or laws like it, are the solution,” Morton said.”

President Obama has put Cartman in charge of immigration.

— DRJ

UPDATE — Charles Krauthammer calls the Obama Administration lawless and compares them to the Southern States during the Civil Rights era:

Why iowahawk Opted Out of Draw Mohammed Day

Filed under: Humor — Patterico @ 7:01 am

Here are just a couple of the reasons:

Why I have opted out of this event? It depresses me that our culture has reached such a level of debasement that I feel compelled to list the reasons. Firstly, it is a well known codicil of Islamic law that visual depictions of their holy prophet (Peace Be Upon Him) are strictly prohibited. Like all religions we should respect their views, and the cartoons (which incidentally I have proudly refused to even glance at) seem only to cause hurt. Yes, they hurt the feeling of millions of Muslims. But, ultimately, they also hurt the misguided cartoonists who produce them. Because let’s face it: having a rusty scimitar hack through your neck can’t be a walk in the park.

Second, it violates my American sense of fair play. I firmly believe all religions deserve my respect — depending on how they respect me. Yes, it is true that in the past I have sometimes made fun of various world religious faiths: Christianity, Judaism, Hinduism, Buddism, Rastafari, Wicca, Scientology, Global Warmingism, that filthy cult of Wisconsin Synod Lutherans. Equally, without malice, and without issue. But trust me, once any of them starts emailing me credible violent death threats, I guarantee they’re gonna start challenging Islam for top spot in Dave’s weekly religion respect rankings.

Heh. I should note that there are people who did have valid and principled reasons not to participate, and so I don’t agree with any implicit message that people didn’t participate out of cowardice. But the guy is so funny, the way he words things, that I couldn’t pass up the chance to link it.


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