Patterico's Pontifications


Yes, It’s Another Media Quiz

Filed under: Dog Trainer,General — Patterico @ 11:36 pm

It’s time for another round of “Spot the L.A. Times Article!” Which one of these articles about L.A.’s phone tax is from the L.A. Weekly — and which is from the L.A. Times?

Article One:

If you ask the voters to reinstate a tax after it’s been thrown out by the courts, it’s a new tax. But if you beat the courts to it — by convincing voters to approve a slightly lower tax before the higher one is invalidated — is it a tax “reduction”?

Yes, says Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa, who is pitching a ballot initiative that would ask voters to approve a 9 percent tax on cell-phone and land-line calls. That’s slightly lower than the 10 percent residents currently pay — an illegal tax on Los Angeles residents that Villaraigosa and the City Council never should have collected because voters did not approve it, according to recent court rulings.

Article Two:

Hoping to keep up with changing telephone technology while salvaging the city’s budget, the Los Angeles City Council voted unanimously Tuesday to put a $243-million telephone utility users tax on the Feb. 15 presidential primary ballot.

Worried that a pending court ruling could eliminate the 40-year-old tax, the council agreed to ask voters to preserve it and, to ward off future lawsuits, grant the city the power to tax telephone services that have not yet been invented.

One article tells you straight out that the tax is illegal and that the effort to portray it as a reduction is a sham.

The other mentions the need to “salvag[e] the city’s budget” in the very first sentence, and portrays the tax as a venerable, longstanding tradition (“the 40-year-old tax”) that is the hapless victim of new technology.

I respect all my readers here. There’s no such thing as a stupid question. Etc.

But if you can’t tell which is the L.A. Times article without clicking on the links, then my God, how do you dress yourself in the morning?

I don’t mean to offend you by saying that, of course. On second thought, yes, I do. Get the hell off of my blog.

Congratulations to Patrick Range McDonald

Filed under: General — Patterico @ 9:52 pm

Patrick Range McDonald — who did the best piece of journalism to date on the Stephen Yagman trial, anywhere — has been hired on as a staff writer for the L.A. Weekly, sources say. (I love saying “sources say.” It’s something I picked up from the Hot Property section of the L.A. Times, as read by Harry Shearer on his radio program.)

McDonald officially started this past Monday, according to sources.

Congratulations to Mr. McDonald.

Stu707’s Letter

Filed under: General — Patterico @ 9:29 pm

Stu707, aka Stuart Makagon, wrote a letter to the Whittier Daily News (reprinted here in the Pasadena Star News), which reads as follows:

When the New York Times lifted the Times Select curtain, it returned columnist Maureen Dowd to the light of day.

The angry left’s maiden aunt displayed her work in a tasteless caricature of Justice Clarence Thomas (Oct. 10). She even flayed fellow journalists, ABC’s Jan Crawford Greenburg and Steve Kroft of “60 Minutes,” for daring to depart from leftist media orthodoxy on Justice Thomas.

Maureen Dowd revisited another of the left’s cherished notions – Al Gore’s “true claim” that the Supreme Court “carjacked” the presidency from him in Bush v. Gore. Leaving aside the question of how anything other than a car can be carjacked, Dowd ignores the rulings in Bush’s favor by every Florida and federal court – save the ultra-liberal Florida Supreme Court – that heard any aspect of the case.

After the election, a consortium of media outlets including the New York Times conducted an extensive review of Florida ballots in the 2000 election. They concluded that Florida’s election officials got it right. Bush won Florida.

They even considered the hypothetical results had Florida used any of several alternative counting methods. Bush would have won under any of these save one.

Ironically, Gore’s attorneys had argued in court against that method claiming it would have been unfair.

Stuart Makagon

“Leaving aside the question of how anything other than a car can be carjacked . . .” Classic! I love it!

I actually stumbled across this e-mail on my own, and asked Stu707 if I could reprint it here, and reveal his identity to all of you. I saw Dowd’s column and merely sighed. But it’s nice to see someone willing and able to make her look even stupider than she makes herself look.

UPDATE: Some commenters say Stu707 is wrong. They want to refight the 2000 election yet yet yet again. Count me out. But that doesn’t mean I have never discussed it. I have — at length. I wrote a whole lot of words on this topic a long time ago, here, so that I would never have to write about it again.

It Is Ordered That Relief Be Granted and That Complainant Receive One Bullet to the Head

Filed under: General — Patterico @ 9:03 pm

With all due respect, any judge who says it’s cruel and unusual punishment to keep a guy on Death Row for 30 years is a moron.

I said “due.”

Seriously. This reminds me of the “wrongful life” tort lawsuits I studied in first-year law school. (These are lawsuits where a plaintiff complains that his mom would have aborted him if only she had been told the truth about his disability — therefore, someone should give the plaintiff money.) I have an easy solution to a plaintiff complaining that he’s alive, and it ain’t giving him money. It’s the same solution I would offer to a criminal defendant complaining that he has lived on Death Row too long.

Heartless? Nah. Just practical.

UPDATE: I have another practical suggestion. Let the assisted suicide nut-cases draft the protocol for how to put Death Row prisoners to death. If it’s good enough for a patient desiring assisted suicide, it’s good enough for a murderer.

Deposition of the Year

Filed under: 2008 Election,Politics — DRJ @ 5:41 pm

[Guest post by DRJ]

Without even knowing whether or when it will happen, I nominate the deposition of Hillary Clinton for the Deposition of the Year.


I Think I’ll Stay Hidden, Thank You

Filed under: General — Jack Dunphy @ 2:24 pm

[Guest Post by Jack Dunphy]

I have been criticized in some quarters for hiding behind a pseudonym when writing my columns for National Review Online. And it was my continued use of the pseudonym that prompted the Los Angles Times to drop me as an occasional contributor to their op-ed pages. But whenever I’m tempted to unmask myself I stop to consider the consequences to my police career that would surely follow. As if to remind me to stay hidden comes this story from San Francisco, where John Lewis, a veteran sergeant with the SFPD, is under investigation for writing a letter to the editor of the San Francisco Chronicle. In the letter, Lewis criticized the city’s handling of the homeless in Golden Gate Park. He now faces administrative charges and the possibility of a suspension or an admonishment on the grounds that his letter “undermines the efficiency of the department.”

I have little faith that I would be treated any differently by the LAPD if my identity were to become known.

–Jack Dunphy

Sanctuary Cities Survive for Now

Filed under: Immigration — DRJ @ 2:23 pm

[Guest post by DRJ]

We’ve previously discussed sanctuary cities that prohibit local government employees from notifying Federal immigration officials of the presence of illegal aliens. There’s good news for those who support sanctuary cities.


Some Things Never Change

Filed under: International — DRJ @ 1:10 pm

[Guest post by DRJ]

With the last months of the Bush Administration just around the corner, President Bush is making another effort to address the troublesome issues of Iran, Russia, and China.


Giuliani Moves to the Right

Filed under: 2008 Election — DRJ @ 10:59 am

[Guest post by DRJ]

Earlier today, Rudy Giuliani announced new positions in two areas that should please conservative voters.


I’ll See Your 12 2005 Former Army Captains and Raise You a 2007 Marine Corps Major

Filed under: General — WLS @ 10:59 am

Since we’ve heard from the 12 former Army Captains who haven’t been in Iraq since 2005 (with one or two exceptions), it seems appropriate to hear the thoughts of a Marine Corps Major Omar Sanchez, 1st Battalion, 12 Marine Regiment, who returned from a 7 months tour in Iraq — including Falluja and Ramadi — YESTERDAY.  Note that he was also in Iraq in 2003.

 Maj. Omar Sanchez, executive officer for the unit’s Task Force Military Police, which included several hundred Marines from outside Hawai’i, said the task force operated out of Al Asad Air Base, Fallujah, Ramadi and two locations in far western Iraq, Waleed and Trebil. 

Sanchez said four members of the task force were killed by roadside bombs. Among the losses was Lance Cpl. Robert A. Lynch, 20, from Kentucky, who was killed July 24 in Diyala province. Lynch was part of a convoy security team that was attacked.

But Sanchez, who also was in Iraq in 2003, said an alliance of sheiks that rejected al-Qaida in western Iraq has led to a safer environment for U.S. Marines.

“Ramadi used to be the wild, wild west,” Sanchez said. “Fallujah, Ramadi — you hardly hear of any significant incidents there anymore.”

I don’t know why his thoughts wouldn’t be just as significant as the WaPo 12 — after all, he has the benefit of having just been there.

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