Patterico's Pontifications


Wait for It . . .

Filed under: Blogging Matters,Judiciary — Patterico @ 11:01 pm

It’s late, and I’m tired. So the post I promised you about Priscilla Owen will have to wait until tomorrow morning.

Nothing to See Here

Filed under: Terrorism — Patterico @ 10:49 pm

It’s just a drug-running Al-Qaeda supporter with his own airline. Don’t worry your pretty little head about it.

Dunphy on Gil Cedillo’s Plan to Exempt Illegals from Certain State Laws

Filed under: Dog Trainer,Immigration,Morons — Patterico @ 9:10 pm

Jack Dunphy, whom I had the pleasure of meeting at the recent L.A. Press Club event, has an eye-opening column on National Review Online titled No License? No Insurance? ¡No Problemo!

Dunphy reports that California State Senator Gil Cedillo is sponsoring legislation to exempt illegal immigrants — and only illegal immigrants — from state laws that punish unlicensed and uninsured drivers.


Oh — and naturally, the L.A. Times has not breathed a word of this. I had to read it in Dunphy’s column.

Here’s Dunphy:

Let’s imagine Officer Dunphy is on patrol one night and happens to observe, as he does from time to time, a driver going too fast or otherwise driving so as to make himself a hazard to navigation. Let’s further imagine that Officer Dunphy pulls the offending driver over with the aim of issuing him a citation, the receipt of which will encourage said driver to be more careful in the future, thus enhancing not only his own safety but that of the entire motoring public. Now suppose this driver has not gone to the trouble of obtaining a driver’s license, either in California or anyplace else, and that he also has failed to obtain the liability insurance required under California law. Not only would Officer Dunphy issue the man a citation for the moving violation that precipitated the stop, but also for having no driver’s license and no insurance. And, to make sure this person does not immediately resume driving and flouting the lawfully enacted statutes, Officer Dunphy summons a tow truck and impounds the man’s car for 30 days.

Senator Cedillo’s proposed legislation would exempt illegal immigrants, and only illegal immigrants, from having their cars impounded, and would lower the fines levied against them for failing to purchase car insurance. Cedillo’s reasoning, as best I can summarize it, is that because illegal immigrants are prohibited by law from obtaining driver’s licenses, and therefore cannot purchase insurance, it is unfair to treat them in the same manner as those citizens who, through their own indolence, fail to obtain one or the other or both.

So, in the world envisioned by Senator Cedillo, an American citizen found driving without a license and insurance gets his ticket and loses his car for a month, then gets fined $100-$200 for having no insurance. But the illegal immigrant stopped for the exact same offenses gets a ticket, but drives off with a friendly Buenos dias, amigo from Officer Dunphy, followed by a slap on the wrist from the judge in traffic court.

Simply unbelievable. And yet these outrageous bills have not been mentioned in the L.A. Times all year long. I checked.

But, you might object, isn’t this just fair? If we’re not going to allow them to get driver’s licenses, how can we punish them for failing to have them — or failing to get insurance, which requires a driver’s license?

It sounds like a good argument — until you carry it to its logical conclusion:

How dare we prosecute illegals for theft! After all, we don’t allow them to earn money in this country lawfully! How can we blame them for accepting necessary goods and services, and not paying the money that we won’t allow them to earn? We should amend theft laws to exempt illegals!

How dare we prosecute illegals for possessing guns! (See 18 U.S.C. section 922(g)(5)(A).) After all, they’re not allowed to pass a Brady background check. We should amend the Brady law to exempt illegals from prosecution for gun possession without a Brady background check!

Need I go on?

These are compelling arguments — but don’t repeat them too loudly. I don’t want to give Gil Cedillo any ideas . . .

P.S. If you think Dunphy is kidding or exaggerating, think again. In the extended entry, I provide links to — and relevant text from — the proposed legislation.


Another L.A. Shooting — This One Hits Home

Filed under: Crime,Real Life — Patterico @ 8:05 pm

This story hits close to home. There was another shooting on the streets of Los Angeles today. When I heard the initial report on the radio, it was thought to be another freeway shooting, but it wasn’t. It happened near a freeway onramp, on a block that I travel on every day:

A motorist was killed and another was wounded in what police suspect was a shooting from one car to another in downtown Los Angeles this afternoon as rush hour started.

The man who died was struck in the head and died at a hospital, said Officer April Harding, a spokeswoman for the Los Angeles Police Department. The other victim, who was shot in the arm, also was taken to a hospital and was expected to survive.

Police said the victims were struck while driving on Bixel Street between 7th and 8th streets. The car then continued on Bixel to an onramp to the southbound Harbor Freeway, where it came to rest.

“It didn’t happen on the freeway,” said LAPD Lt. Paul Vernon, the department’s spokesman.

The shooting was reported about 3:30 p.m., Harding said. Two other people in the vehicle that was fired upon were unharmed.

LAPD investigators were attempting to determine where the shots originated.

I travel on Bixel Street between 7th and 8th streets every afternoon, after picking up my children from their day care. It is a downhill block at which cars line up to get on the onramp to the southbound Harbor Freeway. I have even written about this particular block before, and the street vendors and beggars who frequent the block due to the rush hour line-up of cars.

It won’t surprise me if this turns out to have been a road-rage incident. The left and center lanes of traffic proceed straight through a traffic light and onto the freeway onramp. These two lanes pile up with cars, and the backup extends for two blocks. Meanwhile, the right lane is (in theory) a right-turn-only lane onto westbound 8th Street, and is always clear of traffic. For this reason, unscrupulous drivers invariably use the right lane to cheat, nosing into the center lane at the last moment, at or before the onramp. This behavior often angers the law-abiding drivers in the center lane, and can lead to arguments. (For this reason, I always stay in the left lane.)

I wouldn’t be surprised to learn that such an argument precipitated this shooting. Lending credence to the theory is the fact that, although the story doesn’t explicitly say so, it is written in a way that suggests that the driver was the one who was killed (“The car then continued on Bixel to an onramp to the southbound Harbor Freeway, where it came to rest.“). [UPDATE: Apparently this is wrong; both of the people who were shot, including the person who died, were also passengers.]

We don’t know what caused the shooting, but this is good advice regardless: if you are someone who gets upset at others on the road, don’t. Let it go. I am talking to myself here as well. It isn’t worth it.

Important Facts About Priscilla Owen

Filed under: Abortion,Judiciary,Media Bias — Patterico @ 7:16 am

The Washington Times has reported that Priscilla Owen’s nomination is likely to be the one that will trigger the nuclear option. (Via Captain Ed.)

The most important post you will read all year about Priscilla Owen is here, at Power Line. The post debunks the most commonly repeated canard about Owen: that Alberto Gonzales accused her of an “unconscionable act of judicial activism” in a Texas abortion case.

This is not true.
But it has been repeated in the media again and again. And don’t kid yourself: that will continue. It’s a great line. Journalists aren’t going to pass up a chance to repeat it just because it’s false.

So arm yourself with the facts. Read the Power Line post. Once you have, come back here and read the relevant opinions, which Power Line does not link.

Majority opinion

Gonzales’s concurrence

Owen’s dissent

Abbott’s dissent

Hecht’s dissent

UPDATE: The most appalling thing in any of these opinions is a statement made by the majority regarding the alternative of adoption. I believe this is so important that I plan to devote a separate post to it tonight. Republicans would do well to focus on this aspect of the case when they press Owen’s nomination.

UPDATE x2: I should also note that the links to the opinions were inaccurate for the first couple of hours that this post was up. I accidentally linked to another Texas abortion case (in which Gonzales and Owen agreed, by the way). If you read this post and consulted the links early this morning, check them again. My apologies for any confusion.

UPDATE x3: For those carefully reading the opinions, I should say that I think the majority has a pretty good argument regarding the lower court’s lack of a finding on the “maturity” prong, although I think Justice Owen has a pretty good rebuttal. That one is a closer question. But I tend to agree with her that the Court had no basis to overturn the lower court’s finding on the issue of whether Doe was sufficiently well-informed — especially on the issue of adoption as an alternative. More on this in my promised post tonight.

Simple Math, or, Why Democrats Have Better Discipline Than Republicans

Filed under: Judiciary — Patterico @ 7:02 am

I have sometimes heard Democrats complain that Republicans have better party discipline than Democrats. This complaint is wrong, and the showdown over judicial filibusters is a perfect example of why.

Consider this simple mathematical truism: 55 is closer to 60 than it is to 49.

Say that out loud, and think for a second about what it means.

It would take just 5 Democrats to vote for cloture to break any given filibuster of a judicial nominee. But 6 Republicans would have to break ranks to kill the “nuclear option.” (Vice President Cheney could and would break a 50-50 tie in Republicans’ favor.)

Voting for cloture is a way out of this controversy, and it wouldn’t require any Senate rules to be changed. If just 5 Democrats would break ranks, we wouldn’t be having this discussion.

So why are we always hearing about the 6-7 squishy Republicans who may balk at the nuclear option? Why are they constantly being interviewed and asked how they would vote? Where are the squishy Democrats? Why aren’t they being asked why they won’t vote for cloture?

I think the answer is simple. There aren’t any squishy Democrats. Or, if there are, it doesn’t matter. Their party’s leadership has them in line.

If only Republicans could find leadership like that . . .

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