Patterico's Pontifications


Tech Bleg

Filed under: General — Patterico @ 8:15 pm

After I foolishly installed an “update,” Flash videos no longer play in Firefox. I have to grab the URL, open IE, and paste it to watch the video.

It’s been like this for weeks. I have searched the web for solutions and can’t find any that work.

Any ideas?

Jeremiah Wright, William Ayers and Obama

Filed under: 2008 Election — DRJ @ 7:37 pm

[Guest post by DRJ]

Today at RealClearPolitics, Michael Barone published an op-ed entitled “The Rules Change for Obama.” One thesis of the article was Obama’s (and Obamaites’) anger and/or surprise that his relationships with Jeremiah Wright and William Ayers have been questioned by the media:

“Barack Obama seemed puzzled. Angrily puzzled. The apostle of hope seemed flummoxed by the audacity of the question. At the April 16 Philadelphia debate, George Stephanopoulos, longtime aide to Democratic politicians, was asking about his longtime association with Weather Underground bomber William Ayers.

The Weather Underground attacked the Pentagon, the Capitol and other public buildings; Ayers was quoted in The New York Times on Sept. 11, 2001, as saying, “I don’t regret setting bombs; I feel we didn’t do enough.”

It was at Ayers’ house that Obama’s state Senate candidacy was launched in 1995; Obama continued to serve on a nonprofit board with Ayers after the Times article appeared.

Obamaites live-blogging the debate were outraged. The press is not supposed to ask such questions. They are supposed to invite the candidates to expatiate on how generous their health care plans are. Or to allow them to proclaim that “we are the change that we are seeking.” Or to once again bash George W. Bush.

There was some of that in this debate. But Obama was asked about his association with the Rev. Jeremiah Wright, his remarks about wearing an American flag lapel pin, his comment that “bitter” small town Pennsylvanians “cling to guns and religion” and his “friendly” relations — “friendly” is his campaign adviser David Axelrod’s word — with William Ayers.”

Barone concludes:

“But Obama’s choices to associate with Wright and Ayers tend to undercut his appealing message — very appealing after 15 years of Bill Clinton and George W. Bush — that we must strive to overcome the racial and cultural and ideological divisions which have dominated our politics.”

I agree with Barone’s thesis that Democrats generally believe the media should be on their side, but this is the rare instance where I don’t completely agree with his reasoning. Specifically, I don’t agree that Obama’s associations with Wright and Ayers undercut his message of overcoming divides. Instead, I think Obama’s associations reveal the scope of his message.

Obama’s powerful message is that there should be no divisions between Americans, and he is the person who can overcome any divisions that exist. His message embraces tolerance and acceptance, a message that especially resonates with young people who have been educated to accept many lifestyles and values.

Tolerance is certainly a good thing but excessive tolerance leads to a world that accepts any lifestyle and all values. Obama’s willingness to associate with Jeremiah Wright and William Ayers – people who preach and embrace values that most Americans renounce – illustrates just how far Obama’s tolerance and acceptance extends.

Ultimately, Obama’s message is that – to overcome our divisions – Americans must learn to live with values they renounce. Ultimately, I don’t think most Americans will agree.

EDIT: I’ve been hammered in the comments for what I wrote and deservedly so. I didn’t communicate what I was trying to say because I failed to draw a distinction between accepting people and accepting values, so I’ll briefly try again:

Obama ostensibly preaches the message that all people should be accepted regardless of their values. His message seems more inclusive and tolerant but ultimately it rejects conservatives who believe that all people should be accepted but not all values. Why? Because it’s impossible to accept all people regardless of their values when some values can’t be reconciled.

That leaves conservative values voters with two choices: Renounce their conservative values, or renounce Obama.


The Art of Judging

Filed under: Judiciary — DRJ @ 4:06 pm

[Guest post by DRJ]

I enjoyed this follow-up AP article on Judge Barbara Walther, the judge in the FLDS child custody case:

“Most of the cases that come across Judge Barbara Walther’s bench are quiet affairs: divorces, drunken-driving violations, the kind of small-time disputes that sprout in places where land and livestock are more plentiful than people.

But in the past two weeks, the no-nonsense state district judge has found herself at the center of one of the most convoluted, unruly custody cases in U.S. history, herding hundreds of lawyers while dozens of reporters camp out on the lawn of the historic columned courthouse that sits in the center of San Angelo.

Those who know her say Walther did what she always does. She needled yammering lawyers, refocused wandering questions and then ruled. No drawn-out testimony, no taking the case under advisement, no lengthy written ruling later.

After 21 hours of testimony over two days, Walther took a short break, then ruled Friday night. The 416 children taken from a polygamist sect and placed in state custody will stay there, she said. Walther also ordered all the children and parents involved to take DNA tests.

“She will rule, and that is something in a judge’s personality that lawyers really appreciate,” said Guy Choate, a longtime San Angelo attorney. Her attitude is, “I may be right or may be wrong, but I’m not uncertain.”

Other lawyers may disagree but I love judges that have the courage to make a decision. For whatever reason, many judges won’t do it and it’s the worst part of trying a case. Judge Walther took this case and made it happen. Kudos to her.

NOTE: The article indicates Judge Walther intends that future hearings in the FLDS child custody cases will be individualized hearings.


Hamas Attacks Israel during Jimmy Carter Visit

Filed under: International,Terrorism — DRJ @ 2:10 pm

[Guest post by DRJ]

Jimmy Carter is meeting with representatives of the Hamas terrorist organization and, at the same time, Hamas is sending homicide bombers to attack Israeli troops:

“Hamas bombers attacked an Israeli-Gaza border crossing under the cover of fog Saturday, detonating two jeeps made to look like Israeli military vehicles and packed with hundreds of pounds of explosives.

The twin blasts, just hours before the Jewish Passover holiday, wounded 13 Israeli soldiers in what Hamas said was an attempt to break the nearly yearlong blockade of the territory. Four Hamas assailants died, Israeli officials said.

Meanwhile, former U.S. President Jimmy Carter met with senior Hamas leaders in Damascus, Syria, for a second day to hear their views, defying U.S. and Israeli warnings that doing so would grant the group legitimacy. The U.S. and Israel have labeled Hamas a terrorist organization.

An Israeli army commander said the Hamas operation was the most ambitious since Israel withdrew from Gaza in 2005, even though another planned attempt at the border was averted Saturday. The attack was the fifth on a crossing by Gaza militants since last week, and Hamas threatened to target the passages again.”

I can’t believe I need to say this but some people have no common sense: President Carter – It’s hard to keep clean when you negotiate with people who spit at you.


Alton Logan Freed (UPDATE: But Facing Possible Retrial)

Filed under: General — Patterico @ 1:03 pm

Jan Crawford Greenburg reports:

Alton Logan became a free man Friday after an attorney, who knew all along that someone else gunned down a guard on the south side of Chicago, finally broke his silence after 26 years.

. . . .

A month after Logan was arrested, Dale Coventry, a Chicago public defender, stumbled on the real killer, Andrew Wilson, who was one of his clients. . . . Under the rules of attorney-client privilege, Coventry had to keep Wilson’s confession secret.

I wrote about Logan on March 9, in this post.

By the way, I recently discussed the case with a defense attorney I know (but whom I won’t name). He said, without a moment’s hesitation: “Oh, I would have found a way to get the word out.” He said there had to be some back-channel way of letting the cops know who really did it.

It would be interesting to know if Alton Logan’s fate would have been different if Andrew Wilson had been represented by a defense attorney willing to let the cops know what he’d been told. The thing is, armed with nothing more than a rumor of an inadmissible and privileged confession, Logan’s attorney might not have been able to do anything for him after the conviction.

I’m not entirely sure it would have changed a thing.

I’m glad to see Mr. Logan has gotten some of his life back. It’s a tragedy that he was deprived of any of it.

UPDATE: Commenter nk notes that Logan still faces a potential retrial. Hmm. It’s hard to imagine that a retrial would result in a conviction, under the circumstances . . .

L.A. Times: George Washington Served One Term

Filed under: Dog Trainer,General — Patterico @ 12:52 pm

The L.A. Times once again gets a basic fact wrong:

“John Adams,” which comes to a close Sunday night, has devoted seven beautifully shot hours to defying the often overly patriotic legends of our past with a toothache-and-all portrait of a man who helped define modern democracy, albeit grumbling every step of the way.

In his portrayal of our second president, Paul Giamatti creates a man perpetually dissatisfied, disgusted by the preening ambition of politics even as he is infected by it. If his relentless crankiness was a bit hard for some of us to take in early episodes, in the second half of the series it makes much more sense. While exhorting angry men to throw off the shackles of tyranny offers many opportunities for rhetorical fabulousness, setting up a new government is a bureaucratic nightmare, with oversized personalities disagreeing over things both petty and fundamental. George Washington (David Morse) so quickly tired of the infighting among his Cabinet and vagaries of public opinion that he stepped down from the presidency after a single term. “I know now what it is like to be disliked,” he says to Adams, his perpetually disliked vice president.

Of course, George Washington served two terms, not one.

Straining to give them the benefit of the doubt, I wonder: does the miniseries somehow portray Washington as having served only one term? I haven’t seen it, but I doubt it. [UPDATE: Make that “seriously doubt it.” See the UPDATE below.]

Lefty blogger Steve Smith, who tipped me to this, is beside himself with amazement at how they could get such a basic fact wrong. Go his post for his amusing cries of disgust, which conclude with this:

It’s enough to make a lefty sympathetic to Patterico. Does the fact-checker at the Times have to regularly drink water out of the toilet or lose their back teeth from subsisting on a diet of rocks to get that job?

I don’t know, Steve. But I hear they use the paper to housebreak him.

UPDATE: Steve also provides evidence that the miniseries got it right.

UPDATE x2: Dafydd ab Hugh has watched the miniseries and says the miniseries got it right. But he has a theory as to why the L.A. Times got it wrong.

Posting Convergence

Filed under: Crime,Law — DRJ @ 11:22 am

[Guest post by DRJ]

It’s not often that two unrelated posts come together but I think I’ve found an example.

Last week I posted on an Austin case in which “Austin defense lawyer Adam Reposa tarnished the dignity of the judicial process by making a lewd gesture in court.” As a result a judge sentenced Reposa to 90 days in jail for contempt of court.

In late March 2008 I posted on a Fifth Circuit case from Austin in which “the family of a teenage girl who says she was sexually assaulted by a 19-year-old man she met on asked a federal appeals court … to revive their lawsuit against the social networking Web site.”

Friday the Austin-area man in the MySpace case was sentenced to jail for injury to a child in connection with his sexual assault of the 14-year-old girl he met at the internet site:

“A Buda man accused of sexually assaulting a then-14-year-old Bowie High School student after meeting her on MySpace pleaded guilty Friday to injury to a child under a plea bargain that calls for him to spend 90 days in jail.

Pete Ignacio Solis was 19 in 2006 when he met the girl on the popular online social networking site. His lawyer contends that Solis did not force the girl, younger than the legal age of consent in Texas, to have sex. “

In addition to the Austin nexus, there’s another link between the two cases:

“With the deal, Solis avoided mandatory sex offender registration for the rest of his life.

“I am frustrated that consensual teenage sex winds up with a sex offender registration” for seven years, said Solis’ lawyer, Adam Reposa.”

Oh, and one more interesting convergence: Both Solis and Reposa were sentenced to 90 days in jail.


Faces of Meth

Filed under: Crime — DRJ @ 11:05 am

[Guest post by DRJ]

There ‘s a terrific video at commenter EW1’s place on what happens to people who abuse methamphetamine.

H/T commenter Stashiu.


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