Patterico's Pontifications


Insanity Defense Possible in Baby’s Death

Filed under: Crime — DRJ @ 8:52 pm

[Guest post by DRJ]

Another Houston mother has killed her baby:

“Attorney George Parnham described the Houston mother charged with capital murder in the death of her 2-month-old as “severely depressed,” and he confirmed Saturday that he is considering insanity as a possible legal defense for the woman with a history of mental illness.

Parnham, who represented Andrea Yates in the 2001 drownings of her five children, described his new client — 28-year-old Narjes Modarresi — as “very soft, very quiet” during their first visit. She is being held without bail at the Harris County jail’s psychiatric unit.

On Wednesday, Modarresi reported that a man took her infant son from his stroller during an afternoon walk. The next day Modarresi, an Iranian immigrant, led police to the baby’s body, which was found facedown in a shallow grave near Buffalo Bayou.

A preliminary autopsy showed that 2-month-old Masih Golabbakhsh was alive when buried — his lungs were full of mud and water.”

Parnham’s presentation suggests the mother has a history of mental illness, although maybe his experience at representing mothers who kill their children has taught him to emphasize that background. Family members, including the baby’s father, appeared with Parnham but did not speak. Rusty Yates also offered encouragement through a reporter.

Where are the fathers when these tragedies happen?


Green Shepherd Obama

Filed under: Government,Obama,Religion — DRJ @ 7:57 pm

[Guest post by DRJ]

In the run up to his Presidential campaign, Barack Obama spoke about his religious faith and affirmed it would help him govern:

“But what I am suggesting is this – secularists are wrong when they ask believers to leave their religion at the door before entering into the public square. Frederick Douglas, Abraham Lincoln, Williams Jennings Bryant, Dorothy Day, Martin Luther King – indeed, the majority of great reformers in American history – were not only motivated by faith, but repeatedly used religious language to argue for their cause. So to say that men and women should not inject their “personal morality” into public policy debates is a practical absurdity. Our law is by definition a codification of morality, much of it grounded in the Judeo-Christian tradition.

Moreover, if we progressives shed some of these biases, we might recognize some overlapping values that both religious and secular people share when it comes to the moral and material direction of our country. We might recognize that the call to sacrifice on behalf of the next generation, the need to think in terms of “thou” and not just “I,” resonates in religious congregations all across the country. And we might realize that we have the ability to reach out to the evangelical community and engage millions of religious Americans in the larger project of American renewal.”

This week’s Weekly Standard suggests that’s exactly what the Obama Administration is doing as the Advisory Council on Faith-Based and Neighborhood Partnerships plans to use America’s churches to promote Obama’s climate change legislation:

“Last month, the council spent a day at the White House briefing senior administration officials on its “final report of recommendations” for improving collaboration between the government and religious organizations. The 164-page document, entitled “A New Era of Partnerships,” takes up the “priority areas” identified by President Obama—Economic Recovery and Domestic Poverty, Fatherhood and Healthy Families, Environment and Climate Change, Global Poverty and Development, and Interreligious Cooperation.

Poverty, families, interreligious co-operation: All pretty standard. But what does an office created to help better provide social services to the needy have to do with climate change?

Apparently, the president’s council envisions the “partnership” between government and religious institutions as a means of spreading the administration’s environmental warnings, rather than just a way to help churches feed the hungry and clothe the poor. Faith-based organizations, the report notes, can take “a prominent leadership role in influencing policy, education, and action in those areas.”
The council hopes the new EPA faith office will also help churches and other nonprofits improve “access to financing,” including “establishing revolving loan programs or working with utility companies to help finance greening building projects.” The ultimate aim of all this government-supported retrofitting is clear: “Regional staff would work to engage local faith-and community-based groups to help meet Obama administration targets for greening buildings and promoting environmental quality.” [Emphasis added.]”

Obama and his Administration have already been caught using the NEA to push their partisan agenda. Now they’re using America’s churches.


The Importance of Being Lindsey Graham (Updated)

Filed under: Politics — DRJ @ 5:53 pm

[Guest post by DRJ]

How important is Republican South Carolina Senator Lindsey Graham? He’s the only reason the Obama Administration can still pretend to be bipartisan:

MEDIA QUESTION: “Does the President think that immigration or energy should be the next major thing up before Congress?”

PRESS SECRETARY ROBERT GIBBS: “Well, look, I’ll be honest with you, Jonathan, the way we’re going to get either of those things done is through bipartisan proposals. Senators Graham and Schumer are working on — among others — are working on comprehensive immigration legislation. Senators Kerry, Lieberman and Graham are working on — with others — comprehensive energy legislation. I think in order to get either of those things through we’re going to need leadership from both parties. So the President has been working with both groups in trying to help those processes along.”

I can’t tell if Lindsey Graham is principled or badly wants to be relevant.


UPDATE: Graham has withdrawn his support for a climate change measure that was to be announced Monday:

“Sen. Lindsey Graham’s (R-S.C.) decision to walk away from Senate talks on climate change and energy legislation – at least for now – has prompted the measure’s remaining architects to scuttle Monday’s planned unveiling of the bill.

Sen. John Kerry (D-Mass.), who is crafting the bill with Graham and Sen. Joe Lieberman (I-Conn.), announced what he called a temporary postponement and said he remained committed to action this year on a sweeping climate and energy measure.
Graham is upset over Democratic plans to take up immigration legislation this year – he accuses Democratic leaders of pushing forward immigration “haphazardly” and calls it an election-year political gambit.”

Is this the end of bipartisan climate change? Perhaps, but I’m so jaded about Graham that I wouldn’t be surprised if he did a Stupak.

UPDATE 2: Graham walked away because Senator Harry Reid moved immigration ahead of cap-and-trade. Clearly Reid is more worried about getting re-elected than keeping Graham on board.

Mississippi Tornadoes Kill 9

Filed under: General — DRJ @ 5:26 pm

[Guest post by DRJ]

Tornadoes swept through 17 Mississippi counties today, killing 9 and injuring dozens more:

“Nine people are reported dead so far in the wake of today’s severe storms and tornadoes that swept across Mississippi.
“We still have people trapped in houses and cars,” [Governor Haley] Barbour said from in front of Ribeye Steakhouse off U.S. 49. The governor became teary describing the damage to Yazoo City.

“It reminds me of (Hurricane) Katrina,” he said.

The tornado’s path of destruction appears to be several miles wide and stretches from the Eagle Lake community north of Vicksburg to Yazoo City and into Holmes County.”

Forecasters said it would be a bad storm but fortunately Mississippians showed the same preparation and fortitude that got them through Katrina:

“The Mississippi Highway Patrol has closed all roads into the Delta city, Sgt. James Walker said, stressing that power is out and power lines are down.

Pollard said injuries ranged from minor to severe. AMR has 11 ambulances transporting patients and have called on AMR operations in Natchez and Gulfport for help. They have also set up operation of its 24-foot disaster supply trailer to aid patients.

“We knew this was going to be a bad storm. Everybody was ready to come in. We always get a massive response when we issue an all-call.”

Best wishes.


Once Again, Obama Follows Bush

Filed under: International,Obama — DRJ @ 3:13 pm

[Guest post by DRJ]

Barack Obama campaigned as the man who would reject the international and war policies of President George W. Bush. Then he promptly adopted most of Bush’s policies on the War on Terror and in Afghanistan. And despite his explicit campaign promise to recognize the Armenian genocide, today was more of the same:


In a statement marking Armenian Remembrance Day, President Obama calls it “one of the worst atrocities of the 20th century,” while avoiding the word “genocide.”

But he adds that “I have consistently stated my own view of what occurred in 1915, and my view of that history has not changed” – seeming to suggest he stands behind his past use of the word “genocide,” a designation fiercely opposed by the Turkish government, as a Senator and presidential candidate.

The House Foreign Affairs committee voted 23-22 last month, over White House objections, on a non-binding resolution calling on Obama to label the event a “genocide” in his statement. Turkey condemned “this resolution which accuses the Turkish nation of a crime it has not committed,” and recalled its ambassador to the U.S. for consultations in response.”

President Bush issued a similar statement in 2007 out of concern for U.S.-Turkish relations:

“Ties between the United States and Turkey could be harmed for decades to come, according to Turkey’s Speaker of Parliament, if Congress passes a bill declaring the killings of Armenians between 1915 and 1917 a genocide. Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan expressed strong opposition to the bill in a letter to Nancy Pelosi.

CBS News is reporting the Bush Administration is trying to kill the bill.

From AFP:

“The President has described the events of 1915 as ‘one of the greatest tragedies of the 20th century’, but believes the determination of whether or not the events constitute a genocide should be a matter for historical inquiry, not legislation,” said White House spokesman Gordon Johndroe.”



Rubbish, or When Good Intentions Fail Miserably

Filed under: Environment,International — DRJ @ 2:24 pm

[Guest post by DRJ]

Some British residents are plagued by onerous recycling rules designed to reduce community landfill taxes:

“Families are facing a nightmare future of recycling confusion. In a regime set to spread across the country, residents are being forced to juggle an astonishing nine separate bins.

There has already been a storm of protest with warnings that the scheme is too complex and homes simply don’t have the space to deal with the myriad bins, bags and boxes.”

Credit: UK Mail Online

“The containers include a silver slopbucket for food waste, which is then tipped in to a larger, green outdoor food bin, a pink bag for plastic bottles, a green bag for cardboard, and a white bag for clothing and textiles.

Paper and magazines go in blue bags, garden waste in a wheelie bin with a brown lid, while glass, foil, tins and empty aerosols should go in a blue box, with a grey wheelie bin for non-recyclable waste.”

The new rules and less frequent pickups have resulted in more expense, hassle, trash and pollution:

“It means only food waste is now taken each week. All other rubbish has to be stored for a fortnight before it is collected.

Mrs Butler said that whereas previously, only one wagon would collect their recycling, now up to three different lorries and crews do the job.

Samantha Dudley, 34, an office administrator from Newcastle, said recycling bags and their contents blowing in the street were a ‘constant problem’.

She said: ‘This scheme is supposed to increase recycling but the irony is it is creating more rubbish.

‘We are on high ground and although you can tie the plastic bags up, the ones full of plastic bottles simply blow away up the street – even when they are full – if they are not weighed down.’
A report for the Environment Department last week revealed that the burning of household rubbish by those trying to evade recycling rules has now become the greatest source of highly poisonous and cancer-causing dioxins in the environment.

Binmen also frequently refuse to take rubbish containers they view as contaminated. Last week in Andover in Hampshire dustmen refused to take away a bin they said was contaminated with a handful of fruit pips.”

Britain has been reduced to bin bullies.


Is There Hope for California?

Filed under: General — DRJ @ 1:59 pm

[Guest post by DRJ]

Victor Davis Hanson thinks about what California was and what it has become. Can California be saved?

“All of which raises the question: how would we return to sanity in California, a state as naturally beautiful and endowed and developed by our ancestors as it has been sucked dry by our parasitic generation? The medicine would be harder than the malady, and I just cannot see it happening, as much as I love the state, admire many of its citizens, and see glimmers of hope in the most unlikely places every day.

After all, in no particular order, we would have to close the borders; adopt English immersion in our schools; give up on the salad bowl and return to the melting pot; assimilate, intermarry, and integrate legal immigrants; curb entitlements and use the money to fix infrastructure like roads, bridges, airports, trains, etc.; build 4-5 new damns to store water in wet years; update the canal system; return to old policies barring public employee unions; redo pension contracts; cut about 50,000 from the public employee roles; lower income taxes from 10% to 5% to attract businesses back; cut sales taxes to 7%; curb regulations to allow firms to stay; override court orders now curbing cost-saving options in our prisons by systematic legislation; start creating material wealth from our forests; tap more oil, timber, natural gas, and minerals that we have in abundance; deliver water to the farmland we have; build 3-4 nuclear power plants on the coast; adopt a traditional curriculum in our schools; insist on merit pay for teachers; abolish tenure; encourage not oppose more charter schools, vouchers, and home schooling; give tax breaks to private trade and business schools; reinstitute admission requirements and selectivity at the state university system; take unregistered cars off the road; make UC professors teach a class or two more each year; abolish all racial quotas and preferences in reality rather than in name; build a new all weather east-west state freeway over the Sierra; and on and on.

In other words, we would have to seance someone born around 1900 and just ask them to float back for a day, walk around, and give us some advice.”

New Jersey seems to have seen the light but I’m not optimistic about California. There’s a War on Reality in California that is not unlike this NRO parody of a Robert Gibbs’ press conference.


What closing of the conservative mind?

Filed under: General — Karl @ 12:38 pm

[Posted by Karl]

Libertarian-ish blogger Julian Sanchez recently wrote a post about the supposed closing of the conservative mind that got a lot of blog buzz. The ensuing back-and-forth discussed the conservative base, conservative policy wonks, and conservative political leaders. However, the most quoted part of Sanchez’s piece was holistic:

One of the more striking features of the contemporary conservative movement is the extent to which it has been moving toward epistemic closure. Reality is defined by a multimedia array of interconnected and cross promoting conservative blogs, radio programs, magazines, and of course, Fox News. Whatever conflicts with that reality can be dismissed out of hand because it comes from the liberal media, and is therefore ipso facto not to be trusted. (How do you know they’re liberal? Well, they disagree with the conservative media!) This epistemic closure can be a source of solidarity and energy, but it also renders the conservative media ecosystem fragile.

As Power Line’s Scott Johnson notes, in this discussion, the claim is assumed and the focus is on explaining it. But what evidence is there to support it?


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