Patterico's Pontifications


The Power of the Jump™: Pay Some Taxes, Rich People!

Filed under: Dog Trainer,Obama — Patterico @ 11:02 pm

(Note: “The Power of the Jump”™ is a semi-regular feature of this site, documenting examples of the Los Angeles Times’s use of its back pages to hide information that its editors don’t want you to see.)

Page One of today’s L.A. Times says:

From front to back and on nearly every page, President Obama’s new budget plan delivers a stark message: It’s time for the rich to lighten the load on the middle class.

That’s right, rich folks! You’ve been avoiding your fair share of the taxes for far too long! Stop putting so much of the load on the middle class!

Of course, this is nonsense. In 2006, one of the Evil Years of the Bush Administration, the top 10% of wage earners paid fully 70% of federal personal income taxes. The top 25% paid 86%. The top half paid 97%. Numbers were similar for other years.

Now turn allll the way back to Page A14. Here’s the first paragraph you see:

Some Republicans denounced the priority shift in Obama’s budget as class warfare, and the budget is sure to face several tests as it works its way through Congress. Also, some economists warned that higher taxes on the affluent could reduce their entrepreneurial energy and were unfair because upper-income Americans already pay a large share of the government’s total revenue.

Amazing how they always manage to snip the article just before the part that helps undo the false implication on the front page. And the part that sets forth the Republican point of view.

Well, I’m sure it’s a coincidence. Just like all those other times I’ve documented over the years.

Quote of the Day

Filed under: General — Patterico @ 10:05 pm

Lee Stranahan: “You’re damn right I wanted the Iraq war to fail.”

UPDATE: I should make clear that if you read his whole article, he’s actually making a very good point: you can oppose your opponent without thinking he’s evil. He says he thinks Rush wants Obama to fail because Rush loves America and thinks Obama’s policies would be bad for it. He wants the Iraq war to fail because he loves America and thinks the war is bad for it.

The premise that someone wants the Iraq war to fail bugs me because I equate failure with more soldiers dying. (Rush’s saying he wants Obama to fail also bugs me because I equate failure with more Americans being out of work and suffering due to a bad economy.) But one could argue that the failure of the Iraq war could conceivably save soldiers’ lives — if you think “success” means we’ll stay there for years and subject soldiers to more danger.

In any event, I like his overarching point:

It’s wrong to leap from “I oppose policies that I’m opposed to” to “I want people to suffer and die.”

I agree. Both sides are quick to conclude that the other side is evil. In rare cases, they’re right — on both sides. But we needn’t demonize the opposition to passionately oppose their policies as wrongheaded.

R.I.P. Paul Harvey

Filed under: General — Patterico @ 5:19 pm

News is breaking now at ABCNews. No story yet, just a banner headline.

UPDATE: AP news alert here.

Media Matters Lies About Coulter Line at CPAC

Filed under: General — Patterico @ 5:14 pm

Media Matters headline: Coulter suggests she might let three U.S. cities be bombed, depending on which cities they are.

Really? I’ve transcribed the video at the link:

My favorite Obama answer during the debates on national security was: “What would you do if, during this debate, God forbid, three U.S. cities were hit simultaneously?” And he said he’d send ambulances. And John Edwards said: “And I’d be right there chasing them.”

See, it shows you how different Obama and I are. I would have said: “Which three U.S. cities?”

She’s not suggesting that she would let three U.S. cities be bombed. She’s saying her response as President would depend on which three U.S. cities were bombed.

[Quickly dons top hat and smoking jacket] Now, I don’t happen to think that’s a particularly funny joke. And I still find it eerie that people are clapping and laughing at “jokes” like that — in essence, saying “ha, ha, I’d wouldn’t help the Democrats if they got bombed.” [Removes hat and jacket.]

But that doesn’t excuse Media Matters lying about it.

Ya Damn Blazer-Wearers!

Filed under: General — Patterico @ 3:53 pm

Jeff Goldstein is (not really) at CPAC, and he’s spotted some of you there!

[T]he occasional Patterico reader marches by with a big sign reading “NOT IN MY NAME,” a kind of surreal sight, given that they’re all wearing smoking jackets and top hats and wagging their fingers indiscriminately at anyone who looks like s/he might listen to Rush Limbaugh without the requisite sense of sophisticated coastal irony.

In addition to your smoking jackets and top hats, you wear blazers. And sip tea.

I don’t even know you people.

Ron Paul Comes Out Ahead of Sarah Palin in CPAC Straw Poll (UPDATE: Politico Now Says They Tied)

Filed under: General — Patterico @ 2:40 pm

Of course, Romney won first place. But that’s not as surprising as third and fourth place:

Romney took 20 percent of the vote, followed by Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal with 14 percent, Texas Rep. Ron Paul with 13 percent, Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin with 10 percent, former House Speaker Newt Gingrich with 10 percent and former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee with 7 percent.

I didn’t see that coming

UPDATE: Now Politico is saying Paul and Palin tied:

Romney took 20 percent of the vote, followed by Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal with 14 percent, Texas Rep. Ron Paul with 13 percent, Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin with 13 percent, former House Speaker Newt Gingrich with 10 percent and former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee with 7 percent.

There is no indication that they changed the post. Oh well . . . aren’t the Politico folks from Big Media? Well, there you go — that means their standards are higher (i.e. they make corrections without telling you).

Here is the proof that I correctly quoted what they initially said.

Words It Is Not OK to Say

Filed under: General — Patterico @ 2:32 pm

Via Rob Long comes this list of words it is NOT ok to ever say..

I disagree with “meh” (a good Simpsons word) and “blog” (for obvious reasons). “Blogosphere” . . . well, I use it but don’t like it. If anyone has a better one for the concept, suggest it.

Are there any you disagree with? And what would you add to the list?

I would add “tweet” and any size on the Starbucks menu.

Lee Woodruff: Stop the Twitter Madness!

Filed under: General — Patterico @ 2:15 pm

Lee Woodruff says we must Stop the Twitter Madness. But I find this part of his argument somewhat less than compelling:

And while I do love you, David Gregory, honestly—announcing that your wife is off skiing with a kid and you are home watching Dumbo on the couch with your twins is like an open invitation to a stalker or pedophile to come on over (after they Google the address) hit you over the head with a fitted pipe and drag one of your youngin’s into their lair.

It is?

Thanks to Allahpundit . . . on Twitter, of course.

P.S. If you think Lee Woodruff is a stick in the mud and you want to keep the Twitter madness going, you can follow me here.


Filed under: General — Patterico @ 2:10 pm

Warren Buffett has said: “A simple rule dictates my buying: Be fearful when others are greedy, and be greedy when others are fearful.”

So what do you do when Warren Buffett is fearful?

Balko’s Article on the Jimmie Duncan Case

Filed under: Crime,General — Patterico @ 12:21 am

This Radley Balko article claims that a medical examiner and a bite mark specialist manufactured evidence used to put a man on Death Row. Maybe that happened, and maybe it didn’t. I still have a few questions.

Balko summarizes the article at his blog:

As with most cases, Dr. Steven Hayne performed the initial examination on [victim] Oliveaux, claimed to have seen bite marks no other doctors saw, then called in West to perform his quackery bite mark analysis. West claimed to have traced the bite marks to Jimmie Duncan, the boyfriend of Oliveaux’s mother, and the man police suspected of murdering the girl. Duncan was convicted of capital murder, and has spent the last 10 years on death row.

The smoking gun video damns West and Hayne in two ways. First, as it opens, West is performing his initial examination. The video clearly shows that when the body of Haley Oliveaux was handed over to West and Hayne, her face was free of any abrasions or bite marks. Her cheek is clean.

The second portion of the video, taken the following day, then shows a striking abrasion. That abrasion could only have been inflicted by someone in Hayne’s office. The video also shows that Hayne must have been lying when he testified at trial that he found bite marks on the Oliveaux’s cheek, then called West in to do an analysis. The first portion of the video, taken after Hayne’s initial exam, shows no such bite marks.

Indeed, the minute-long video shows a dead young girl lying on a table, the right side of her face seemingly free of any obvious wounds. Then, in a portion allegedly filmed the next day, a plaster bite mold is pressed against a red abrasion on her right cheek.

At Reason, at Balko’s site, and throughout the blogosphere, the jury has rendered its verdict: Hayne and West are guilty of evidence tampering. Seemingly, everyone reading this article believes that Hayne and West took a dead little girl with no bite marks on her, lied about seeing those bite marks in order to obtain a search warrant for a dental mold of the defendant’s teeth, took that mold and manufactured bite marks on her face, and thereby framed Jimmie Duncan for murder. Some of Balko’s fans are ready to throw these doctors in prison or even execute them.

If that’s really what happened, the consequences should certainly be serious. As I’ve said before, if Dr. Steven Hayne is incompetent, I don’t want him doing autopsies. If, as Balko alleges, he has committed perjury in a death penalty case, that could arguably lead to criminal charges against Hayne as serious as attempted murder. If Hayne and West actually created the bite marks out of whole cloth, then Hayne and West are scum who are willing to lie when they think someone is guilty.

Is that what happened here? I don’t know for sure. There’s a lot more I’d like to know.

In this post, I’ll discuss some unanswered questions I have about the article. This post does not purport to be a “refutation” of Balko’s article. It simply raises some questions — questions that may be answered by Balko’s upcoming lengthier article on the Duncan case — and fleshes out some context. My questions include the following:

  • How is Duncan’s innocence consistent with other evidence and facts not mentioned in the article — including evidence of recent and severe anal sexual abuse, indications of previous suspicious injuries the girl suffered while in the defendant’s care, and a babysitter’s suspicions that Duncan had been abusing the girl?
  • Why did numerous witnesses other than Hayne and West describe injuries to the girl that don’t appear in the video — and do those injuries appear in the full 24-minute video?
  • Will Reason provide access to the entire video, as well as other supporting documents such as court transcripts, police reports, the autopsy report, etc.?
  • Did Balko contact Hayne, West, the D.A., the prosecution’s expert, or anyone else who might provide the prosecution’s explanation for what we see in the video?
  • How disinterested are the experts whom Balko did contact?

Balko’s article raises several related but nevertheless analytically distinct issues, not limited to these: 1) Did West create the bite marks where none previously existed? 2) Did West perform the examination in a proper manner? 3) Is West’s opinion worth anything? 4) Is Hayne’s testimony worth anything? 5) Was the opinion of the prosecution witness tainted by West’s actions? 6) Is Duncan guilty? 7) Does Balko’s article present all sides of the controversy — and if not, to what extent does that impede our ability to evaluate the answers to the first six questions?

Although the issues are related, answering one question doesn’t automatically answer another.

As a non-expert in these areas, my tentative sense is that West likely was performing this examination in an improper manner. As you’ll read below, even the prosecution’s expert says so. But I’m not sure I know whether West created the bite marks out of nothing — and until we have access to more of the underlying evidence, I’m not willing to form a conclusive opinion on that issue.

Also, for reasons I detail at greater length below, I’m not convinced that Duncan is innocent (nor, I believe, does Balko argue that he is). There’s too much evidence that Duncan abused this child, sexually and otherwise, both on the day of the drowning and the weeks leading up to it. Read on for more discussion of these points.

Despite my past battles with Radley Balko, I recognize that, to the extent that he legitimately casts a spotlight on questionable characters in the criminal justice system, he’s doing God’s work — and we should applaud him. Keeping the system honest benefits everyone, and that includes prosecutors. But if Balko’s article and all its ugly implications are true, then the article ought to stand up to scrutiny, including (but certainly not limited to) the questions I raise in this post.

We are told that a much more comprehensive article, covering all aspects of the case, is coming out very soon. That article may answer many, most, or all of these issues I’m about to discuss.

I should add that things are about to get ugly. We’re talking about the sexual abuse and murder of a 23-month old child. Images, videos, and descriptions — both in this post and at the linked posts — are unpleasant to view and think about . . . and that’s an understatement. That’s your warning; if you can’t handle it, bail out now.


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