Patterico's Pontifications


Marcy Tiffany’s E-Mail Reported in L.A. Times

Filed under: Dog Trainer,Kozinski — Patterico @ 10:10 pm

Yeah, it’s day-old news, but I’m posting about it just in case you hadn’t seen it.

Marcy Tiffany’s e-mail to me made it into the L.A. Times yesterday:

On Monday, the judge’s wife, Marcy Tiffany, assailed The Times’ coverage of the judge’s site.

The Times articles were “riddled with half-truths, gross mis-characterizations and outright lies,” she said in a statement posted on the blog

“Alex is not into porn — he is into funny — and sometimes funny has a sexual character,” she wrote. “The tiny percentage of the material that was sexual in nature was all of a humorous character.”

The Times was unable to reach Tiffany, but she authenticated her e-mail to the website to the Associated Press.

Times California Editor David Lauter said in a statement that the articles were “fair and accurate” and “speak for themselves.”

The stories “raised important issues on a matter of significant public concern,” Lauter wrote. “The judge was presented with the facts once the matter became newsworthy and was given a full opportunity to respond. We took his responses into account before publication and included what he said in our stories.”

I realized tonight that I hadn’t posted about it — and some of you count on me to read this paper, so you don’t have to.

They’re also giving a different description of the donkey video: “There was also a video of an encounter between a half-dressed man and a sexually aroused farm animal.” No more “cavorting.”


UPDATE: Actually, not good. A commenter points out that “an encounter” is hardly more descriptive of the actual video. If you haven’t seen the video, it still leaves open the possibility that the video depicts bestiality.

Why can’t they just say that the man is attempting to get away from the sexually aroused animal??

Quote of the Day

Filed under: General — Patterico @ 8:26 pm

From an Obama aide: “Winnie the Pooh seems to me to be a fundamental text on national security.”

Oh, bother.

P.S. As DRJ notes in the comments, this is not just any Obama aide, but rather one who “is tipped to become National Security Adviser in an Obama White House.”

Tut, tut. It looks like rain.

UPDATE: Instapundit has more links.

Your Daily Kozinski Links

Filed under: Dog Trainer,General,Kozinski — Patterico @ 8:18 pm

Susan Estrich has a long opinion piece about the Kozinski controversy, and comes out firmly on the judge’s side. She criticizes the L.A. Times for misdescribing the material on the judge’s website/server, and for omitting the role of Cyrus Sanai in tipping the newspaper.

Judge Kozinski’s “sin,” in the eyes of the man who attacked him, was not his taste in humor but his willingness to speak out publicly about legal issues, in this case, the lawsuit brought by Mr. Sanai, and the abuse of process it involved.

That willingness is precisely what makes Judge Kozinski a unique treasure in the federal judiciary. Instead of encouraging others to do the same, which is what the so-called liberal media should be doing it, the sloppy if not vicious reporting of the Los Angeles Times is sure to encourage just the opposite. The first amendment is not well served.

Meanwhile, an article in ComputerWorld asks: Federal judge a victim of privacy breach or poor judgment? I am quoted on the second page.

Meanwhile, The Onion asks people on the street:

A Los Angeles pornography trial was suspended when it came to light that the judge had bestiality-tinged photos on his personal website. What do you think?”

The best answer comes from Katla Braidwood, Financial Adviser: “Well, good luck finding a judge that doesn’t run a bestiality site.”

On a serious note, where in the world did The Onion get the idea that Judge Kozinski had “bestiality-tinged photos” on his web site? Wasn’t it just yesterday that Scott Glover was telling us that his description of the material on Judge Kozinski’s server/website wasn’t misleading? I believe it was.

So how did The Onion (and the San Francisco Chronicle) get misled??

Finally, Seth Finkelstein, who has done much good work on this controversy at his blog, has this op-ed in the Guardian.

UPDATE: As long as we’re collecting links, here’s another one, from yesterday’s New York Sun.

By the way, my CD from Cyrus Sanai hasn’t arrived yet. He’s putting another one in the mail, which, we both agree, undoubtedly means I’ll receive the first one tomorrow.

UPDATE x2: See this post.

L.A. Times Now Properly Describing Statistics in Article About DNA, Cold Hits, and Databases

Filed under: Dog Trainer,General — Patterico @ 7:41 pm

The L.A. Times never did correct that misleading statement of theirs in an article about DNA, databases, and cold hits.

But we’ve achieved a partial victory: they are now describing the statistics properly.

Remember the original passage that so distressed me:

Jurors were not told, however, the statistic that leading scientists consider the most significant: the probability that the database search had hit upon an innocent person.

In Puckett’s case, it was 1 in 3.

As I said in this post:

I believe the article meant to say this: if the database had consisted only of innocent people, there was a 1 in 3 chance that the search would hit on an innocent person. Phrased that way, the statement would be accurate, and would shed light on the question of how surprised we should be by a database hit.

But that’s not what the paper said. Instead, the article indicated the odds that the search “had hit” on an innocent person — in other words, the odds that Puckett himself was innocent.

The italics are in the original.

Note that I emphasized two problems with the passage:

1) The article said “had hit” when it should have said “would hit.”

The actual search resulted in only one hit: to the defendant. The article said there was a 1 in 3 chance that the search “had hit” on an innocent person. That was the same as saying there was a 1 in 3 chance that the defendant was innocent — which is wrong.

2) The article omitted a key assumption: that the database consisted entirely of innocent people.

By leaving out this assumption, the article further created the impression that the odds referred to the odds that the particular defendant on trial was innocent.

Yesterday, the L.A. Times reported on a related California Supreme Court decision that refused to require the database adjustment touted by the original L.A. Times article. This time around, reporters Maura Dolan and Jason Felch do a much better job explaining the 1 in 3 statistic:

The Times reported in May that a San Francisco judge presiding over a murder trial allowed jurors to hear the rarity statistic of 1 in 1.1 million. But the judge refused to permit the defense to reveal that there would be a 1 in 3 chance of finding a DNA match in the database, even if the actual perpetrator was not among the profiles.

The two errors I complained about before are now gone.

Proper use of forward-looking “would be” verb tense? Check.

Inclusion of key assumption that the perpetrator was not in the database? Check.

No, the paper never issued a correction. But I’m going to count this as a victory.

Not for me. For accuracy.

Bloggers, If You Really Want to Punish the AP . . .

Filed under: Blogging Matters — Patterico @ 6:33 am

Don’t refuse to quote them.

Just don’t link them.

There’s no law that says you have to link what you quote. Just use a quote that fits within fair use, do your commentary, and deny them the link.

Me, I’m going to keep on doing what I’ve been doing. I think it’s good to give people the chance to read quotes in context. So I’m pretty much just going to ignore this little campaign on the part of the AP to frighten bloggers out of relying on the concept of fair use.

But if you’re bound and determined to punish them, just don’t send any traffic their way. That’s all.

Riding the Coattails of the Kozinski Non-Controversy Controversy

Filed under: Buffoons,Current Events,General,Humor,Judiciary,Kozinski — Justin Levine @ 3:49 am

[posted by Justin Levine]

This post is by guest blogger Justin Levine, and not by Patterico.

Due to the nature of my job, I get bombarded by various phone call inquiries and e-mails from PR firms trying to pitch guests for the show. I just got a notable pitch request that came across my in-box that I felt I had to share with you dear readers. I am omitting the name, phone number and e-mail of the contact person in order to protect the guilty (and to ensure that PR people can still feel comfortable pitching me submissions in the future – no matter what their perspective might be).

Text of e-mail [all links contained therein were provided in the original message that was sent to me]:

Subject: Story Idea Federal Judge Thinks Porn is Funny

Good Morning,

I was writing to let you know of an immediate media guest availability. Michael Leahy is an author and leading vocal critic of the porn industry and its effect on our country. Last week, a federal appellate judge was found to have uploaded explicit content on his website. He reportedly considers the content to be “funny.” A Nashville based action group is calling for Alex Kozinski’s resignation or impeachment. Michael Leahy weighs in on the controversy.

If you would like more information (more…)

Has Judge Kozinski’s View of Blogs Changed?

Filed under: General,Kozinski — Patterico @ 12:02 am

In a recent blog post, I recalled when, a couple of years ago, Alex Kozinski had derided blogs as “grandiloquent” and “self-indulgent.”

Now, a significant audience has had the chance to see for themselves a number of the items described by the L.A. Times from Judge Kozinski’s website/server, because a blog published them. That way, readers could make up their own minds, and not be dependent on the descriptions offered by the paper — descriptions that, as it turned out, were in some cases substantially misleading.

And Kozinski’s wife was able to give her side of the story, and have it reach tens of thousands of readers within hours — making its way to the mainstream media the same day — because her statements were published on a blog.

And Kozinski was staunchly defended by a couple of well-respected professors who didn’t need to beg for space in newspapers to make their case — because they had blogs.

In light of all that, I asked the question:

I wonder: has [Kozinski’s] opinion of blogs changed?

I received an e-mail yesterday from Kozinski’s wife Marcy Tiffany which says in part:

The following is for publication, in response to your question:

I wonder: has his opinion of blogs changed?

The answer is “Yes.”

Nice to hear.

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