Patterico's Pontifications


Steven Mikulan Errs on Characterization of Polanski Plea Agreement

Filed under: General — Patterico @ 8:38 pm

Steven Mikulan:

This Friday the 13th won’t be just another day in a Swiss jail for Roman Polanski. By then the director will have sat behind bars, awaiting extradition to Los Angeles, for 48 full days — a significant figure for legal numerologists.

Not only is it a longer period of incarceration than Polanski spent in Chino State Prison for psychiatric observation in 1978, but, when added to those 42 days in Chino, it adds up to the magic number of 90.

That’s his proposed sentence reached under the plea deal 32 years ago.

Wrong. As I have explained previously: “At the time of his plea, he was made no promises whatsoever regarding the length of his sentence.”

I don’t know this because I have some secret knowledge as the result of working in the D.A.’s office — I have no such knowledge. Nor do I purport to speak for my office — my Polanski posts are most definitely made in my private capacity.

I say it because the publicly available evidence is overwhelming, as I have shown before.

Yes, at some point after the plea, the judge indicated an intent to (effectively) sentence him to 90 days in prison. But the judge’s off the record indication came after the plea. It was not part of the plea, and the 90-day sentence was not “his proposed sentence reached under the plea deal 32 years ago.”

I’m going to correct this error every time I see it.

Balloon Boy Parents to Enter Guilty Pleas

Filed under: Crime — DRJ @ 7:32 pm

[Guest post by DRJ]

According to the Denver Post, the balloon boy’s parents will enter guilty pleas tomorrow morning:

“Heene will plead guilty to attempting to influence a public servant, and Larimer County prosecutors have “stipulated to a sentence of probation,” attorney David Lane said in a media release.

Heene and his wife, Mayumi, are scheduled to appear in District Court in Larimer County at 8:30 a.m. Friday.

Mayumi will plead guilty of false reporting to authorities, a misdemeanor, Lane said.

The plea agreement does “carry the possibility of up to 90 days in jail for Richard and 60 days for Mayumi,” Lane said.”

In a media statement released by one of the defense attorneys, Mayumi’s plea to a misdemeanor makes it possible for her to avoid deportation to her native Japan, despite the fact that she made “incriminating statements” that could be used to obtain a felony conviction. Richard Heene, however, “would have to fall on his sword and take a felony plea despite the fact that he made no incriminating statements to law enforcement.”


Breitbart to Release Videos on Acorn in L.A.

Filed under: Dog Trainer,General — Patterico @ 7:19 pm

Big news, folks. Breitbart confronted some ACORN protestors and came back with a post that closes with this tease:

As we headed back to our cars, Gary H. was shaking. I asked if he was OK. He said he had to play me the audio of one of the protesters that he recorded before we got there. We decided to go to a restaurant to have lunch to listen to the interview.

We did. And it’s amazing. The woman on the tape proudly confesses to things that are unethical, illegal or both. You’ll hear it tomorrow.

In short, the ACORN story is far from over. There are more videos to come next week. You’ve seen the Baltimore story, the Philadelphia story, the New York story.

Now you will know about the LA story.

You know, I think now would be an excellent time to remind you of a few facts:

  • L.A. Times columnist James Rainey wrote a column strongly suggesting that nothing happened in L.A. He quoted ACORN worker Lavelle Stewart saying that Giles’s behavior had “raised a red flag.”
  • I said:

    Someone is going to end up with egg on their face. Who do you think it will be? Breitbart? Or the L.A. Times columnist?

    If I were a betting man, I know which way I’d bet.

  • I later noted that Rainey hadn’t bothered to contact Breitbart — or Giles or O’Keefe — and I asked Breitbart what he would have told Rainey about Lavelle Stewart’s denials. Breitbart used the opportunity to answer my egg-on-the-face question. Breitbart said he would have told Rainey:

    As an empathetic being, I urge you to think twice before accepting the word of an ACORN employee for anything. Because every journalist who has done so has ended up with egg on his or her face.

Are you reading this, James Rainey? Because come next week, I have a feeling you’re going to have a hard time reading (or seeing) anything . . . what with all that egg that I predict is going to end up on your face.

Especially if Lavelle Stewart ends up being busted on these tapes.

The Politics of Emergency Preparedness

Filed under: Government — DRJ @ 5:34 pm

[Guest post by DRJ]

President George W. Bush was the butt of endless criticism after Hurricane Katrina because he did not take charge of the disaster and travel to Louisiana, opting instead for a flyover on his return to Washington. So I’m sure Democrats will appreciate the irony of Virginia Governor Tim Kaine’s response to Tropical Storm Ida. Faced with record rains and flooding from Ida, Kaine declared an emergency Wednesday night and promptly left for a private Democratic fundraiser in Arkansas:

“With his state under an emergency declaration because of heavy rain and floods Thursday, Virginia Gov. Tim Kaine was in Arkansas for a Democratic fundraiser.

Kaine is chairman of the Democratic National Committee. He appeared Thursday with Arkansas Gov. Mike Beebe at a closed $250-per-ticket luncheon at a home in Little Rock.”

It’s okay because Kaine is in phone contact and plans statewide visits on Friday … er, make that Saturday:

“Aides say the governor is in constant phone contact with the Emergency Operations Center and his chief of staff in Richmond. He returns to Virginia late Thursday and plans to visit flood-damaged areas across the state Saturday.”

I’m not a big fan of government leaders as comforters-in-chief so if Virginia doesn’t need Kaine’s on-the-ground leadership, I have no problem with his decision … just like I didn’t have a problem with Bush’s decision to initially defer to state and local emergency response systems during Katrina.


Things That Don’t Mix (Updated)

Filed under: General — DRJ @ 2:37 pm

[Guest post by DRJ]

Salt water, a pelican, a cell phone, and a $2M Bugatti Veyron:

“The Veyron’s powerful engine gurgled like an outboard motor for about 15 minutes before it died.”


EDIT: Gazzer has video.

UPDATED — Two years later and this story isn’t over yet: Insurer calls crash of $1.2 million car fraud.

Hasan Charged with 13 Counts of Murder

Filed under: Obama,Terrorism — DRJ @ 2:24 pm

[Guest post by DRJ]

An Army CID spokesman announced today that murder charges have been filed against Maj. Nidal Malik Hasan:

“Maj. Nidal Malik Hasan has been charged with 13 counts of premeditated murder in connection with last week’s shootings at Fort Hood, Chris Grey, a spokesman with the Army’s Criminal Investigation Division, said at a news conference today.

Grey said more charges are possible against Hasan, the suspect in the shootings that killed 13 people and wounded at least 29 others. Grey said that the charges are the first step in the court martial process, and that the investigation continues, he said.

“Let me reassure the American public we are doing everything possible and we are looking at every reason for this shooting,” Grey said. “We are aggressively following every possible lead. We are collecting, analyzing and disseminating every piece of critical information pertaining to this case.”

The charges are death penalty offenses. The AP reports it has not been decided whether a 14th charge will be filed for the murder of the unborn son of Francheska Velez. Presumably charges will also be filed in connection with the wounded victims. Twelve of the wounded are still hospitalized, and one remains in intensive care.

President Obama has also “ordered a review of all intelligence related to Maj. Nidal Malik Hasan and whether it was properly shared and acted upon within individual government agencies.” Good decision, and I hope it will help us avoid tragedies like this in the future. I also hope the Army investigators and any federal reviewers will keep an open mind, especially since the FBI has already ruled out “terrorist activities or planning.”


More Questions About Hasan, Including Possible Money Ties to Pakistan

Filed under: Terrorism — DRJ @ 1:30 pm

[Guest post by DRJ]

The Dallas Morning News reports authorities are looking into whether Nidal Malik Hasan recently wired money to Pakistan, although the source of the report is unclear:

“Authorities have been examining whether Fort Hood massacre suspect Nidal Malik Hasan wired money to Pakistan in recent months, an action that one senior lawmaker said would raise serious questions about Hasan’s possible connections to militant Islamic groups.

Rep. Pete Hoekstra, R-Mich., said sources “outside of the [intelligence] community” learned about Hasan’s possible connections to the Asian country, which faces a massive Islamist insurgency and is widely believed to be Osama bin Laden’s hiding place.”

Hasan’s reportedly made $90K a year but spent very little, including just $300 a month on an apartment. Fox News reports a search of Hasan’s apartment also revealed HIV prescriptions and drugs:

“Among the items reportedly found in his upstairs apartment: bottles of vitamins and medications stuffed in a shoebox for which Hasan had obtained prescriptions or, in some cases, that he had prescribed for himself.

Combivir, a drug used to treat HIV, was in the stash with about a dozen pills left in the bottle, the Dallas Morning News reported. It had been given to Hasan in 2001 at Lackland Air Force Base in San Antonio, the newspaper said.

It wasn’t known why Hasan had the HIV medication or whether he was taking it. Combivir also has been prescribed to medical workers to prevent exposure to HIV in needles.”


2010: More bad numbers for Dems

Filed under: General — Karl @ 10:11 am

[Posted by Karl]

Allahpundit neatly wrapped the latest 2010-centric polling from Gallup and Pew yesterday, but it’s worth adding a few notes.

Gallup has the GOP with a four-point lead among Registered Voters on the generic congressional ballot for the 2010 House elections — 48% to 44% — after trailing by six points in July and two points last month. The lead among Independents has gone from a virtual tie to a 52% to 30% GOP advantage over the period. Last week, Gallup noted:

Given the usual Democratic advantages in party identification among the general public, it is rare for Republicans to lead on the generic ballot among registered voters. This was the case even when Republicans were the majority congressional party from the mid-1990s to the mid-2000s.

Gallup has developed a statistical model to attempt to estimate the House seat distribution based on the national vote, and a 44% share of the two-party vote would spell disaster for the Dems in 2010, likely leaving them with fewer than 186 seats.

Gallup includes the caveat that turnout is “crucial” in the outcome of midterm elections, though the data from 2009 suggests disenchantment with the Democrats was a bigger factor recently.

Nevertheless, specific polling on whether people will vote to re-elect their Representative is generally more predictive than the generic congressional ballot. Yesterday’s Pew poll was loaded with bad news for Dems on that front also, including this:

About half (52%) of registered voters would like to see their own representative re-elected next year, while 34% say that most members of Congress should be re-elected. Both measures are among the most negative in two decades of Pew Research surveys. Other low points were during the 1994 and 2006 election cycles, when the party in power suffered large losses in midterm elections.

Support for congressional incumbents is particularly low among political independents. Only 42% of independent voters want to see their own representative re-elected and just 25% would like to see most members of Congress re-elected. Both measures are near all-time lows in Pew Research surveys.


[V]oters who plan to support Republicans next year are more enthusiastic than those who plan to vote for a Democrat. Fully 58% of those who plan to vote for a Republican next year say they are very enthusiastic about voting, compared with 42% of those who plan to vote for a Democrat. More than half (56%) of independent voters who support a Republican in their district are very enthusiastic about voting; by contrast, just 32% of independents who plan to vote for a Democrat express high levels of enthusiasm.

Allahpundit noted that Greg Sargent (among other lefties) thinks that enthusiasm gap could be closed by passing ObamaCare.  Sean Trende’s regression analysis of the 1994 midterm election suggests the opposite is true. There are those hoping that these bad numbers are all about the economy, and that unemployment will turn around in time to save the Dems in time for the 2010 election.  However, Gluskin Sheff economist David Rosenberg, formerly of Merrill Lynch, now thinks the unemployment rate is going to at least 12%, maybe even 13%. Even if the recession has ended, unemployment may not peak until a year from now, as happened in the 1991 and 2001 recessions. If that scenario plays out, David Axelrod’s suggestion that next year’s congressional elections will be “nationalized” sounds like a recipe for disaster.


Thish Ish Your Captain Shpeaking

Filed under: General — Patterico @ 7:13 am

Another drunk pilot:

The arrest of a United Airlines pilot this week for allegedly drinking too much before entering the cockpit is the latest in a series of incidents involving airline pilots and alcohol.

The United pilot, Erwin Vermont Washington, was about to take off from London’s Heathrow Airport for Chicago with 124 passengers on board. Instead, he was removed from the aircraft, suspended by his airline and now faces up to two years in a U.K. prison if convicted on criminal charges. He is the third U.S. pilot arrested in 13 months on alcohol-related charges.

Would it be crazy to suggest that maybe these pilots should be forced to take a breathalyzer before boarding a plane? Or would that just drive them to take drugs that can’t be detected without a urine or blood test?

The “shitmydadsays” Guy Gets a TV Deal

Filed under: General,Humor — Patterico @ 7:06 am

As I have told you before, my favorite thing on Twitter is the “shitmydadsays” feed. The site is run by a 29-year-old fellow named Justin who writes down funny things his dad says. Samples:

“Son, no one gives a shit about all the things your cell phone does. You didn’t invent it, you just bought it. Anybody can do that.

“You worry too much. Eat some bacon… What? No, I got no idea if it’ll make you feel better, I just made too much bacon.”

“The baby will talk when he talks, relax. It ain’t like he knows the cure for cancer and he just ain’t spitting it out.”

“You sure do like to tailgate people… Right, because it’s real important you show up to the nothing you have to do on time.”

“Just pay the parking ticket. Don’t be so outraged. You’re not a freedom fighter in the civil rights movement. You double parked.”

I love this guy. As you can see, his specialty is pricking people’s sense of grandeur. Now his son Justin, who runs the Twitter feed, has gotten a TV deal:

Twitter sensation Shit My Dad Says is headed to television.

CBS has picked up a comedy project based on the Twitter account, which has enlisted more than 700,000 followers since launching in August and has made its creator, Justin Halpern, an Internet star.

“Will & Grace” creators David Kohan and Max Mutchnick are on board to executive produce and supervise the writing for the multicamera family comedy, which Halpern will co-pen with Patrick Schumacker. Halpern and Schumacker will also co-exec produce the Warner Bros. TV-produced project, which has received a script commitment.

Justin’s dad, as usual, is keeping Justin down to earth:

“Remember this: you’re just a lucky fucking guy. If people start telling you your dick looks bigger, remember that it’s not.”

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