Patterico's Pontifications


The Perfect Christmas Gift

Filed under: Abortion — DRJ @ 9:03 pm

[Guest post by DRJ]

Gift certificates are good gifts when you aren’t sure what to buy that special woman in your life who puts everyone else first:

“Why not buy a loved one a gift this holiday season that they really need,” [Planned Parenthood of Indiana president and CEO Betty] Cockrum says in a press release obtained. “The gift certificates are also a wonderful idea for that person in your life who puts everyone else first.”

“Please join Planned Parenthood of Indiana and give the gift of health this holiday season,” she adds.

According to Chrystal Struben-Hall, PPIN’s vice president, buyers of gift certificates can give the gift of death, too.

She confirmed to WISH-TV that they can be used for abortions, even though that’s not the intended purpose.

“They really are intended for preventative healthcare. We decided not to put restrictions on the gift certificates so it’s for whatever people feel they need the services for most,” she said.”

After all, what better way to celebrate the birth of a babe than to give the gift of an abortion?


Is LifeNews like The Onion? This must be a joke.


“Blogger Given Yet Another Excuse to Drink”

Filed under: General — Patterico @ 7:28 pm

That’s the headline on a recent Hot Air Headlines item:

The link goes to a New York Times article about the health benefits of alcohol.

But it got me thinking: wouldn’t this headline apply to 90% of the posts I write around here?

I mean, I could easily make this a daily feature.

New Ethics Complaint Filed Against Kozinski

Filed under: General,Kozinski — Patterico @ 7:06 pm

But it relates to an old allegation:

A retired federal court executive alleged Alex Kozinski, chief judge of the U.S. Court of Appeals in San Francisco, broke into a judicial computer security system to restore access to pornographic Web sites, according to a filed complaint.

Ralph Mecham, who headed the Administrative Office of the U.S. Courts in Washington for 21 years until retiring in 2006, made the allegations in a complaint yesterday to the U.S. Court of Appeals in Philadelphia. . . . Mecham said U.S. Supreme Court Chief Justice William Rehnquist became “enraged” because a committee of federal judges disobeyed his recommendation to discipline Kozinski after he disabled computer filter software meant to block sexually explicit Web sites in 2001, according to the complaint.

“Tell Kozinski to watch pornography at home and not in his own court,” Rehnquist told Mecham, according to his complaint. Mecham said he wants Kozinski to resign or be impeached by Congress because he allegedly destroyed government property and bragged about it.

I have been fascinated by this complaint since June, when I first read Mecham’s letter regarding the incident. To me, the issue comes down to this: was Kozinski merely disabling a filtering system? or the court’s security system?

If he was merely disabling a filter that prevented judges and court employees from downloading porn, as Kozinski has claimed, then he’s a libertarian hero. Judges and their employees need to be able to access all kinds of material to do their jobs.

Analogously, my office flirted with blocking MySpace access, but ultimately reversed its decision — and that’s a good thing. I don’t screw around on MySpace for fun at work, but I have used MySpace to pull pictures of gang member defendants throwing gang signs — thus strengthening gang allegations in shooting cases.

If court employees are abusing their access to porn or other inappropriate materials, that’s a problem and should be dealt with — but filtering is not the answer.

If, by contrast, Kozinski was disabling the security firewall, as Mecham claims, then Kozinski’s actions were incredibly reckless and merit discipline. Courts deal with some of the most sensitive national security secrets that the government possesses. It is paramount to have unbreachable security for court computers.

I’ve never been able to figure out which is true. Did he disable a filtering system, or the security firewall?

I know it’s an old allegation, but I still hope it gets investigated and resolved. It’s that important.

Law and the Internet

Filed under: Crime,Law — DRJ @ 3:37 pm

[Guest post by DRJ]

Allahpundit at Hot Air calls her the most hated woman on the internet and says she got off with a wrist slap.

What to do?

We could consider new laws, wait for the law and/or juries to catch up with modern technology, leave cases like this to civil law remedies, or be satisfied with this result.

I’m not sure there is an optimal solution but the fact that this defendant may have avoided serious criminal penalties is not a free pass. Criminal charges and legal proceedings are onerous to deal with and take their toll in time, money and stress. Further, the fact of an acquittal doesn’t mean a defendant will be considered innocent by society (for example: O. J. Simpson).

I don’t advocate the use of criminal charges to punish people who do immoral but legal acts. It’s important that prosecutors allege and prove a crime occurred, that juries believe a crime has been committed, and that the punishment fits the crime … but sometimes the effort alone has benefits.


Terror Attacks in India

Filed under: General — DRJ @ 2:08 pm

[Guest post by DRJ]

More on this breaking story over at The Jury Talks Back.

Scott Jacobs is updating with the most recent news.


Cheerleaders Arraigned for Hazing

Filed under: Crime — DRJ @ 12:46 pm

[Guest post by DRJ]

Texas seems to have a monopoly on cheerleader stories that result in criminal charges:

“Six former cheerleaders and the former mascot from Katy’s Morton Ranch High School made their first court appearances today on hazing charges based on allegations that they pushed junior varsity cheerleaders, bound and blindfolded, into a swimming pool.”

Earlier reports indicate the charges were filed after a complaint by the parent(s) of one of the JV cheerleaders. Two defense counsel apparently concede the incident occurred but argue it happened because of poor judgment by good, sweet kids:

“None of the girls or their parents commented afterward, but attorneys for two of the girls said their clients are caught in a tough situation and have the full support of their families.

“Do teens sometimes use bad judgment?” asked defense attorney Robert Fickman, who represents Garner, the varsity squad’s former mascot. “Sure they do. We all did. But sometimes bad judgment does not equate to a crime.

“This is probably a case where teenagers used poor judgment. There’s no evidence anyone was harmed or endangered,” Fickman said outside the courtroom.

Attorney Jed Silverman, who represents Hayley Davis, said his client just wants to get on with her education and her life.

“It’s just very unfortunate for anyone to have to go through this during the holidays,” Silverman said outside the courtroom. “She has a good family behind her 100 percent.”

The school district suspended the high school’s varsity cheerleading activities for the remainder of the school year.


Obama’s Responsibility to His Shareholders

Filed under: Obama — DRJ @ 10:39 am

[Guest post by DRJ]

Barack Obama told Barbara Walters yesterday that business leaders like the CEOs of GM, Ford and Chrysler make too much money and should do more to help people:

“That if you’re placed in a position of power, then you’ve got responsibilities to your workers. You’ve got a responsibility to your community. Your share holders. That if — there’s got to be a point where you say, ‘You know what, I have enough, and now I’m in this position of responsibility, let me make sure that I’m doing right by people, and, and acting in a way that is responsible.’ And that’s true, by the way, for members of Congress, that’s true for the president, that’s true for Cabinet members, that’s true for parents. I want all of us to start thinking a little bit more, not just about what’s good for me, but let’s start thinking about what’s good for our children, what’s good for our country. The more we do that, the better off we’re going to be.”

Obama told Walters the auto company CEOs are captains of failing companies and thus they should not take payments like bonuses. I sympathize with this view. It’s tempting to want to punish corporate leaders for being greedy – and I’m sure some of them are – instead of promoting corporate transparency and market solutions.

Obama’s response is consistent with his campaign call for people to “spread the wealth” and, as we should all know by now, he isn’t willing to trust transparency or market solutions. So be it.

Financial reports suggest the Obamas have a net worth in excess of $7M. That’s a lot more than most of us have so I think Barack Obama should give up his salary as President and recognize his responsibility to us, his citizen shareholders.

After all, times are tough and it’s for the good of the country.


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