Patterico's Pontifications


Kristen’s Friend Speaks (Updated)

Filed under: Politics — DRJ @ 9:19 pm

[Guest post by DRJ]

Kristen’s childhood friend says Kristen/Ashley did not have the difficult and abusive upbringing she suggested in her MySpace page:

“I live next door to her. Obviously her parents have a lot of money. I feel like growing up you know, she got what she wanted,” said [former best friend Lauren] del Valle.

Lauren says Ashley lived a charmed life in a sprawling, million dollar home; a total contradiction to the abuse, drugs and poverty she writes about on her ‘MySpace’ page. “I never witnessed or knew of any abuse. Or heard of any abuse here,” said del Valle.”

Kristen’s family said she left home at 17 to be a singer. Del Valle recalled that Kristen wanted to become famous.

She did, but her 15 minutes of fame may only have about 10 minutes left.

A video interview link is here. Don’t miss it. Really.

UPDATE: Dad speaks, too. Kristen initially told her Dad she was “in a little bit of trouble.”


Obama Adds More Delegates (Updated)

Filed under: 2008 Election — DRJ @ 8:31 pm

[Guest post by DRJ]

The Associated Press reports that Barack Obama’s delegate lead over Hillary Clinton slightly increased today as Democrats in Iowa and California finalized their delegate counts.

After the Iowa caucuses, Obama originally claimed 16 delegates, Clinton 15, and Edwards 14. However, 9 Iowa delegates that were originally allocated to John Edwards switched to Obama during Saturday’s delegate selection process giving Obama a total of 25 delegates, Clinton 15, and Edwards 6.

California also finalized its delegate process. Clinton added 2 pledged delegates for a total of 204 delegates, while Obama added 5 for a total of 166.

Including the Iowa and California results, the AP showed Obama with 1,617 delegates and Clinton with 1,498.

UPDATE: Hillary Clinton won the Texas popular vote with 51% to Obama’s 47% but she trailed after the caucus when Obama received 23,918 delegates and Clinton 18,620. Now, the Clinton campaign has written a letter complaining about numerous caucus violations, and some are concerned that Hillary is trying to disenfranchise Democratic voters in Texas.


Jack Dunphy on Nullification and the Drug War

Filed under: Crime,General — Patterico @ 7:43 pm

Jack Dunphy in Pajamas Media, writing about The Wire, jury nullification, and the drug war:

Some addicts can and do clean up, but will legalization make honest citizens out of drug dealers willing to kill over control of a street corner?

The argument for drug legalization is a rational one, but it is not one that I, after more than twenty years as a cop in Los Angeles, can endorse. Watching Bubbles [an addict on the series The Wire] struggle with his demons over these last five years, I was often reminded of a heroin addict I arrested years ago. As I was about to close the cell door on him, I asked him if he thought heroin should be legalized.

“No way,” he said.

I asked him why not.

“If you legalize it,” he said, “pretty soon everybody will be like me.”

The piece gives away the ending of The Wire, a show I haven’t seen, so I admit I let my eyes run over the piece, trying to overlook any passage that looked like it might give anything away. Be warned.

Yagman to Finally Be Incarcerated?

Filed under: General,Scum — Patterico @ 6:45 pm

Regular readers know I have been following the saga of Stephen Yagman’s bid to avoid incarceration for months. It looks like he may be finally going in on St. Patty’s Day:

According to the U. S. Attorney’s spokesman Thom Mrozek, Federal Judge Stephen V. Wilson is being asked to order the incarceration of convicted Civil Rights Attorney Stephen Yagman who has been free on Appeal following his conviction earlier this year of 19 felony counts, including tax evasion, bankruptcy fraud and money laundering. The hearing in Los Angeles Federal Court is scheduled for Monday, March 17, 2007 at 11 a.m. Judge Wilson had acquitted Yagman on six counts, after the jury conviction on all counts and now is being asked to order incarceration following the denial of Yagman’s appeal.

My last post about this ongoing saga was on January 31, when I noted that Yagman’s surrender was once again being delayed, while a federal motions panel ruled on his appeal of Judge Wilson’s denial of his motion for bail pending appeal. At the time, it appeared that Yagman’s appeal would only buy him a couple of weeks, but it has bought him about a month and a half. I nevertheless observed:

You can’t stay out forever, Yagman. The day will come when you have to surrender and head off to the pokey.

I’ll be here to gloat about it.

I’m still here, Yagman. And when you get taken into custody on Monday, I’ll be wearing green as I pop the cap on a bottle of beer to celebrate.

Do they have beer in prison, Yagman? I don’t think they do.

Mark Steyn on Obama

Filed under: 2008 Election — DRJ @ 2:37 pm

[Guest post by DRJ]

Writing at NRO, Mark Steyn has joined the chorus of people who deplore the anti-American statements made by Rev. Jeremiah Wright and are hard-pressed to believe Barack Obama was unaware of those statements.

Steyn first recounts the anti-American and racist rhetoric Wright has employed over the past 20 years and then moves on to Barack Obama’s response, with some input from Michelle Obama. Steyn’s points may be similar to others but with his keen political insight and his knowledge of music and its history, nobody says it better:

“The song the Reverend Wright won’t sing is by Irving Berlin, a contemporary of Cole Porter, Ira Gershwin and Lorenz Hart, all the sophisticated rhymesters. But only Berlin could have written without embarrassment “God Bless America.” He said it directly, unaffectedly, unashamedly — in seven words:

God Bless America
Land that I love.

Berlin was a Jew and he suffered slights: He grew up in the poverty of New York’s Lower East Side. When he made his name and fortune, his marriage to a Park Avenue heiress resulted in her expulsion from the Social Register. In the Thirties, her sister moved in with a Nazi diplomat and proudly flaunted her diamond swastika to Irving. But Berlin spent his infancy in Temun, Siberia (until the Cossacks rode in and razed his village) and he understood the great gift he’d been given:

God Bless America
Land that I love.

The Reverend Wright can’t say those words. His shtick is:

God damn America
Land that I loathe.

I understand the Ellis Island experience of Russian Jews was denied to blacks. But not to Obama. His experience surely isn’t so different to Berlin’s — except that Barack got to go to Harvard. Obama’s father was a Kenyan, he spent his childhood in Indonesia, and he ought to thank his lucky stars that he’s running for office in Washington rather than Nairobi or Jakarta. Instead, his whiney wife Michelle says that her husband’s election as president would be the first reason to have “pride” in America, and complains that this country is “downright mean” and that she’s having difficulty finding money for their daughters’ piano lessons and summer camp. Between them, Mr. and Mrs. Obama earn $480,000 a year (not including book royalties from The Audacity of Hype), but they’re whining about how tough they have it to couples who earn 48 grand — or less. Yes, we can. But not on a lousy half-million bucks a year.

God has blessed America, and blessed the Obamas in America, and even blessed the Reverend Jeremiah Wright, whose bashing of his own country would be far less lucrative anywhere else on the planet. The “racist” here is not Geraldine Ferraro but the Reverend Wright, whose appeals to racial bitterness are supposed to be everything President Obama will transcend. Right now, it sounds more like the same-old same-old.”

There’s far more gold in Steyn’s essay at the link. Read it all.

According to Rasmussen’s daily Presidential tracking poll, Obama’s support fell 7 points overnight. He is viewed favorably by 50% of likely voters nationwide, unfavorably by 49%.


AP Threatens Blogger for Unauthorized Reproduction of Photos . . . Then Reproduces Photos Without Authorization

Filed under: General — Patterico @ 2:31 pm

So let me get this straight.

Brian Ledbetter republishes AP photos to criticize the AP, without making money, and he gets threatened with a copyright lawsuit.

Meanwhile, Ashley Alexandra Dupre has equally copyrighted photos of herself on her website — photos that no doubt would have netted her considerable cash had she been paid for reproduction rights — and those photos are taken and reproduced without permission by (among many others) . . . the AP. Which (unlike Ledbetter) no doubt made significant money from the photos’ redistribution, as they were clearly in high demand.

You might think that Ledbetter has noticed the irony — and indeed, he has.

I think Ledbetter and other bloggers have a much better fair use argument for repoducing AP photos when relevant to a story than the AP has for this use of Dupre’s photos. Who do you think has the better argument that their use does not diminish the market for the image? Yeah, me too.

But in reality, it seems the limits of fair use are determined, not by concepts like permission, market diminishment, and newsworthiness, but rather by who has the highest-priced lawyers.

I guess that makes fair use like a lot of other things in our society.

UPDATE: I see that Jules Crittenden has similar thoughts. And Instapundit agrees with me that Ledbetter has a better fair use argument than does the AP.

UPDATE x2: Mark Steyn on the possibility of a Dupre lawsuit: “It’s not often you get a case where there’s someone in the room with a higher hourly rate than the lawyers.” Good one.

L.A. Times Article on Obama-Wright Controversy Downplays the Most Damning Details

Filed under: 2008 Election,Dog Trainer,General — Patterico @ 1:06 pm

The L.A. Times reports on the Obama/Wright firestorm, giving Obama cover by failing to report the facts that should most concern Americans. The story, titled “Obama renounces his pastor’s remarks,” downplays the 20-year relationship Obama has had with the pastor, and fails to report or accurately describe the most incendiary things Wright has said. For example, the article doesn’t even bother to tell readers that Wright screamed “God damn America!” in a sermon, or that Wright suggested America deserved to get attacked on September 11. Nor does the article tell readers any details regarding the intimacy of the relationship between Wright and Obama.

A reader unfamiliar with the facts will come away with exactly the impression that Obama wants to convey: that 1) Wright is nothing more than the pastor of Obama’s church; 2) Wright has merely spoken forcefully about racism in this country; and 3) McCain has had a similar problem in being linked to a religious figure with objectionable views.

Well, gee then, what’s the big deal??

The paper describes Wright’s remarks as little more than rather strident complaints about the very real phenomenon of racism in this country:

“Hillary was not a black boy raised in a single-parent home — Barack was,” Wright said in the Christmas sermon, delivered from the pulpit at Chicago’s Trinity United Church of Christ.

“Barack knows what it means to be a black man living in a country and a culture that is controlled by rich white people. Hillary! Hillary can never know that. Hillary ain’t never been called a nigger! Hillary has never had her people defined as non-person.”

In another recently aired video, Wright referred to the United States as the “U.S. of K.K.K.A.” He also drew parallels between the tragedy of the Sept. 11 attacks and the suffering of blacks through years of American history.

He did more than that, L.A. Times editors.

One of the most incendiary and unacceptable comments Rev. Wright has made was his repeatedly screaming “God damn America!” in a sermon. (You can see video here.) Obama is particularly vulnerable on this because of the comments previously made by his wife suggesting that she had a lack of pride in this country until her husband ran for President. If you examine Obama’s statements about Wright over the past couple of days, you will see that he knows that the “God damn America” comment is one of the biggest issues in the Wright controversy. In his blog post about Wright at the Huffington Post, Obama said: “I categorically denounce any statement that disparages our great country or serves to divide us from our allies.”

The editors of the L.A. Times know Wright said this. They know that it’s one of the most inflammatory statements at issue here. Yet they don’t mention it in this story.

The article also significantly downplays Rev. Wright’s expressed attitude about September 11 when it says merely that Wright “drew parallels between the tragedy of the Sept. 11 attacks and the suffering of blacks through years of American history.” Wright did much more than that; he suggested that this country deserved to be attacked on September 11. In his first sermon after September 11, he mocked the idea that we would be “indignant” about the attacks, screaming out: “America’s chickens are coming home to roost.” You can view the footage in Brian Ross’s report on Rev. Wright here.

The editors know that this statement by Wright is poisonous to Obama’s campaign — but somehow, they don’t get around to mentioning it.

The article also downplays the relationship between Wright and Obama, omitting several details that I told you about in a recent post on the controversy.

Nowhere does the article tell us that Obama considers Wright to be, in the words of the Chicago Tribune, “a spiritual mentor and a role model.” The article does not tell readers that (again according to the Chicago Tribune) “Obama says that . . . Wright helps keep his priorities straight and his moral compass calibrated.” The article does not tell readers that Wright is the man who inspired the keynote speech that launched Obama’s national profile. The article does not tell readers that Obama consults with Wright before making major political decisions. The article does not tell readers that Wright had an honorary position on the Obama campaign with the the African American Religious Leadership Committee — a position that Wright was forced to surrender only after this controversy emerged.

Omitting these details makes it much easier to draw a parallel between the Wright controversy and the controversy over McCain’s acceptance of an endorsement by John Hagee, whose connection to McCain doesn’t even begin to approach the connection between Obama and Wright.

Obama’s campaign must be thrilled with the “scrutiny” of this L.A. Times article.

This is simply more evidence that citizens seeking the whole truth would be foolish to rely on news organs like the Los Angeles Times for all their information. Because there are plenty of things they know — but they just aren’t going to tell you.

UPDATE: In comments, James Fulton notes that the tidbits omitted from the news article were disclosed in Tim Rutten’s surprisingly fair column on the controversy.

“We Are Already at War with Iran”

Filed under: War — Patterico @ 11:42 am

A U.S. Military Officer in Iraq who does not wish to be identified writes about Iranian involvement in attacks on U.S. troops:

You may have recently seen in the news where Admiral “Fox” Fallon, the Commander-in-Chief of Central Command, resigned his position and retired from the Service. Ostensibly this has to do with the disagreement that he and the President have had on how to handle Iran. He, the military man, preemptively taking military action off the table, while in the media’s view an overly aggressive President is trying to start a war with Iran.

I am not going to delve into the complex history the United States and Iran have with each other; if you want to do that, read the Persian Puzzle by Kenneth Pollock.

I will tell you that activity is increasing here in southern Iraq, and we have captured several key planners. They have all been ethnic Iranians and members of the IRGC’s Qods Force.

Admiral Fallon could not possibly prevent a war with Iran. Why?

Because we are already at war with Iran.

He told me, making clear that he was speaking for himself and not the military: “I think you will see the South escalate this summer, while other areas quiet down.” He added that the military is evaluating whether there is a new level of sophistication at play in the use of indirect fire — a level beyond that previously seen from the Iraq-based insurgents, suggesting possible Iranian involvement in those types of attacks.

He also shared some disturbing details that he didn’t want me to repeat, even given his cloak of anonymity.

I came away from the exchange convinced that there’s more bad news from Iraq on the horizon, mainly in the south. President Bush needs to take what we learned from our success in Anbar — especially the engagement with local leadership — and apply it to the south, particularly in Al-Basrah and Maysan provinces. Because we have some rough going ahead there.

A Video of All the Sermons Barack Obama Never Ever Saw

Filed under: 2008 Election,General — Patterico @ 10:07 am

Here’s Barack Obama denouncing Rev. Wright for those very few snippets of sermonizing that Obama never personally heard and was surprised to learn about:

And, courtesy of Hot Air, here is a highlight reel of Rev. Wright. Allahpundit says: “[M]y favorite part is his Truther version of Pearl Harbor. Some of it’s leftist boilerplate (fighting for peace is like raping for virginity, blabbity blah) but other parts, like the full-bore moral equivalence between the U.S. and Al Qaeda … actually, I guess that’s pretty much leftist boilerplate too.”

Allahpundit wryly observes:

This must be the sort of thing Obama had in mind when he described the sermons as “kind of rough.” Or rather, that he would have had in mind had he ever heard Wright say anything like this. Which, of course, he never, ever did.

Of course not!

UPDATE: Video and transcript of Obama’s interview with Major Garrett of FOX News here.

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