Patterico's Pontifications


Beldar on Obama’s Smoking

Filed under: 2008 Election — DRJ @ 10:35 pm

[Guest post by DRJ]

Beldar asks “Is Obama still smoking while hiding and denying it?” and he tells us why the answer matters:

“But by far the most important thing this could tell us is about his authenticity. It’s not just whether he’s been lying to his wife or whiny reporters. It’s whether he’s still lying to the American people, who are very much trying to get to know him so they can decide whether to entrust him with the presidency.”

I thought about calling this “Beldar Hits Obama in the Butt” but that’s too corny, isn’t it?


Warren Jeffs’ Texas Compound Sealed; Children Removed

Filed under: Civil Liberties,Current Events,Law — DRJ @ 7:45 pm

[Guest post by DRJ]

In 2004, polygamist Warren Jeffs moved about 150 of his family members and followers to a remote Central Texas ranch near Eldorado, Texas. Thursday, Texas Department of Public Safety and Child Protective Services agents visited the facility, removed and interviewed 52 children, and placed 18 girls into foster care:

“A 50-year-old man is accused of marrying and fathering a child with a 16-year-old girl at the polygamist YFZ Ranch in Schleicher County, according to a search and arrest warrant released just before 5 p.m. by Tom Green County district court.

The warrant, signed Thursday afternoon by 51st District Judge Barbara Walther, led state authorities to remove 52 children from the ranch, owned and run by the Fundamentalist Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints.

“We are dealing with many victims,” Child Protective Services spokeswoman Marleigh Meisner said in a news conference in Eldorado. “There’s evidence they have been abused, or are at imminent risk or harm. It is not safe for them to remain on the compound.”

The girls’ ages range from 6 months to 17 years, Meisner said. Eighteen have been placed in the custody of CPS, she said, and case workers are interviewing the children in Eldorado’s civic center, where they have been provided food and cots.”

Jeffs is in jail in Utah Arizona and that may have made his followers more amenable to state intervention, but I’m still glad this didn’t become a stand-off.

I wonder if Texas Ranger Captain Barry Caver was involved. That’s who I’d call on.

NOTE: Related posts here, here, here, and here.


Hillary Clinton Releases Tax Returns (Updated x2)

Filed under: 2008 Election — DRJ @ 6:38 pm

[Guest post by DRJ]

UPDATE 2: TaxProf breaks it down.


Holy smokes, it pays to be an ex-President:

“Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton and former President Clinton reported $20.4 million in income for 2007 and more than $109 million since 2000 as they gave the public the most detailed look at their finances in eight years.

The campaign released tax returns from 2000 through 2006 and gave highlights from their 2007 return. The Clintons have asked for an extension for filing their 2007 tax returns, citing the dissolution of a blind trust last year.

The Democratic presidential candidate and her husband paid $33.8 million in taxes from 2000 through 2007. They listed $10.25 million in charitable contributions during that period.”

In 2000 when the Clintons last released their tax return, they had adjusted gross income of $416,039. Since then they have earned income from his book sales of $29.6M, her book “Living History” of $10.6M, and his speeches of $51.85M.

UPDATE 1: The Politico says Drudge got an early release and that $18M is unaccounted for. Drudge has a banner up (no link yet) that says all the 2006 charitable donations were to the Clinton Foundation.


Houston Clerk Owner Kills Fleeing Robber

Filed under: Crime — DRJ @ 1:01 pm

[Guest post by DRJ]

The Houston Chronicle reports another robber was shot in Houston:

“A grand jury will decide whether a Houston convenience store owner was justified when he fatally shot one of two men who tried to rob his business late Thursday night, authorities said today.

Peter Quang Dan fired at two men as they fled his store in southwest Houston, hitting one in the head, Houston Police said. The man’s name has not been released.

Police said he and another man entered the Colony Express Market at 2525 Broadway about 11 p.m. and robbed Dan, who was behind the cash register.

Dan, 50, told investigators one of the men pistol-whipped him after demanding cash, then forced him to lie on the floor of the store. As the two fled, Dan grabbed a pistol he keeps in the store and fired, police said.

Dan was not seriously injured in this attack.”

People in the area were surprised by the incident and concerned for the store owner:

“Customer Angela Bradley, who works across busy Broadway at James S. Deady Middle School and has known Dan for 15 years, said she was shocked to hear about the incident but thinks Dan did the right thing. “It’s sad but he’s got to protect his business,” Bradley said.

Joanna Tamez works at a tax preparation service her father runs in the same strip-mall that houses Dan’s business. Other neighboring stores include a nail salon, a hair salon and a laundromat. “They are really nice people,” Tamez said of Dan and his wife. “I really was completely shocked when I heard about it this morning. I really got goose bumps.”

Dan is a kind man who keeps an eye on the area, she said. “He looks out for us,” said Tamez.”

Since the Joe Horn case, Houston-area prosecutors, defense counsel, and grand juries have spent a lot of time thinking about Chapter 9 of the Texas Penal Code — self-defense and defense of property and other persons.


Captain Ed: Obama Adviser Says Keep Troops in Iraq

Filed under: 2008 Election — DRJ @ 11:49 am

[Guest post by DRJ]

Thanks to cfbleachers for the heads up on this Captain Ed post at Hot Air:

“Barack Obama’s adviser on Iraq has written a confidential paper arguing that the US needs to remain robustly engaged in Iraq in order to build on the successes of the past year. The New York Sun’s Eli Lake reports on the confidential paper by Colin Kahl, the coordinator for Obama’s advisory group on Iraq, which foresees the same kind of long-term presence that John McCain has advocated. It calls for a gradual reduction through 2010 to a baseline presence of as many as 80,000 American troops.”

As Captain Ed explains at the link, Obama has a dilemma. Read his post and consider what you think Obama will do to resolve it.


Two Hundred Years After America’s First Foreign War

Filed under: International,Terrorism,War — DRJ @ 11:32 am

[Guest post by DRJ]

America’s first foreign war, as well as its first unconventional war as a nation, was initiated in 1801 by President Thomas Jefferson because he refused to accede to decades of demands for tribute by the Muslim pirates of North Africa’s Barbary Coast:

“In 1795 alone the United States was forced to pay nearly a million dollars in cash, naval stores, and a frigate to ransom 115 sailors from the dey of Algiers. Annual gifts were settled by treaty on Algiers, Morocco, Tunis, and Tripoli.

When Jefferson became president in 1801 he refused to accede to Tripoli’s demands for an immediate payment of $225,000 and an annual payment of $25,000. The pasha of Tripoli then declared war on the United States. Although as secretary of state and vice president he had opposed developing an American navy capable of anything more than coastal defense, President Jefferson dispatched a squadron of naval vessels to the Mediterranean. As he declared in his first annual message to Congress: “To this state of general peace with which we have been blessed, one only exception exists. Tripoli, the least considerable of the Barbary States, had come forward with demands unfounded either in right or in compact, and had permitted itself to denounce war, on our failure to comply before a given day. The style of the demand admitted but one answer. I sent a small squadron of frigates into the Mediterranean. . . .”

This week’s hijacking of the French luxury yacht small cruise ship Le Ponant is the most recent evidence that pirates remain a threat off the coast of Africa. In fact, more than two hundred years after seeing action on the shores of Tripoli, the U.S. Navy is still fighting pirates in the region:

“Pirates seized more than two dozen ships off the Somali coast last year.

The U.S. Navy has led international patrols to try to combat piracy in the region. Last year, the guided missile destroyer USS Porter opened fire to destroy pirate skiffs tied to a Japanese tanker.

Wracked by more than a decade of violence and anarchy, Somalia does not have its own navy, and a transitional government formed in 2004 with U.N. help has struggled to assert control.”

The world is not always a civilized place and the people of the world sometimes fail to respond to the soft words and well-intentioned rhetoric of diplomacy. It’s a good policy to offer diplomacy but America must also be ready to act militarily. In the words of President Theodore Roosevelt, “Speak softly and carry a big stick; you will go far.”


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