Patterico's Pontifications


Report of Shots Fired at Census Worker

Filed under: Crime,Government — DRJ @ 11:10 pm

[Guest post by DRJ]

The Austin American-Statesman reports five shots were fired at a federal Census worker, allegedly by a Texas attorney:

“Williamson County sheriff’s officials have charged an attorney with aggravated assault with a deadly weapon, saying she fired five shots when a U.S. Census Bureau worker visited her home Saturday, court records show.

Carolyn M. Barnes , 53 , could face up to 20 years if convicted of the second-degree felony. She was being held in the Williamson County Jail on Wednesday afternoon with bail set at $50,000 .

Williamson County sheriff’s office Sgt. John Foster said the census employee, Kathleen Gittel , went to Barnes’ home on Indian Trail, just north of Leander, about 5:40 p.m. to collect information.

After Gittel identified herself as a census worker, Foster said, Barnes came outside with a handgun and told Gittel to get off the property.

Gittel “was apparently not getting off of her property fast enough, and Ms. Barnes decided to shoot five rounds in her direction,” Foster said. He said Gittel was not injured.”

More at the link.


WSJ/NBC Poll Released

Filed under: Immigration,Politics — DRJ @ 11:09 pm

[Guest post by DRJ]

A Wall Street Journal/NBC News poll reveals discontent among Americans that favors Republicans:

“The findings suggest that public opinion has hardened in advance of the 2010 elections, making it tougher for Democrats to translate their legislative successes, or a tentatively improving U.S. economy, into gains among voters.

Republicans have reassembled their coalition by reconnecting with independents, seniors, blue-collar voters, suburban women and small town and rural voters—all of whom had moved away from the party in the 2006 elections, in which Republicans lost control of the House. Those voter groups now favor GOP control of Congress.

“This data is what it looks like when Republicans assemble what for them is a winning coalition,” said GOP pollster Bill McInturff, who conducts the survey with Democratic pollster Peter Hart.

He said the Republican alliance appeared to be “firmer and more substantial” than earlier in the year.”

Here are the complete poll results. Incumbents of both Parties also have reason for concern since only 20% of respondents approve of the job Congress is doing. One-third say they “almost never” trust Washington to do what’s right — “about triple the number who felt that way when the question was asked in October.”

Americans are evenly split between these two options, with each garnering 47%:

  • Statement A: America needs more sense of community and people helping one another.
  • Statement B: America needs more self-reliance and personal responsibility.
  • Similarly, 47% agree and 47% disagree with this statement: “The economic and political systems in the country are stacked against people like me.”

    The results show more support for the Arizona immigration law:

    “Among all adults, support is high for the new Arizona law that makes it a state crime to be in the country illegally and requires law enforcement officers to question people if they have reasonable suspicions about their immigration status.

    Some 64% said they strongly or somewhat supported the law, compared with 34% who strongly or somewhat opposed it.

    Divisions were even sharper between whites and Hispanics. Among Hispanic respondents, 70% opposed the law, while 69% of whites in the survey supported it.

    The survey oversampled Hispanics to increase accuracy.”

    I assume they oversampled Hispanics to get a lower margin of error for that subgroup.

    The one issue virtually everyone agrees on? 81% are somewhat dissatisfied or very dissatisfied with state of the economy.

    — DRJ

    Jeff Goldstein’s Latest Attack on Textualism

    Filed under: General — Patterico @ 8:47 pm

    In his latest post on intentionalism and legal interpretation, Jeff Goldstein attacks textualism with arguments that (I think) talk past the arguments I have made in recent weeks.

    I have explained my position on this: “sometimes the speaker’s intent is irrelevant to the practical problem of what to do with his words.” I argue that, without pretending to say that the speaker meant something different than he meant, a judge is sometimes entitled to enforce a speaker’s words in a manner consistent with the original understanding of the words (what Goldstein calls “convention”), rather than the speaker’s intent. Thus:

    I have also argued that this need not be restricted to legalisms. Using Goldstein’s own example of a bookshelf assembler armed with assembly instructions that work when conventionally interpreted, but that are actually intended ironically, I argued:

    • The bookshelf assembler should follow the instructions as written, if he knows that they will work if interpreted conventionally — even if he knows that they are not intended to be followed conventionally.

    In these examples, the receiver of the communication acknowledges that he understands the speaker’s intent — and then proceeds to ignore it, not in his “interpretation” of the language but in its implementation.

    In his latest post, Goldstein says:

    When a textualist[] asks “does a failure on the part of the utterer to signal intent allow the judge to interpret the text as a reasonable man, without consideration of intent, might?” and goes by that standard, the flaw is in the question as phrased. Were he to ask “can a reasonable man be expected to know the author’s intent from what’s been signaled?” he is asking a different question, and basing his reasoning for ruling a particular way on a different standard: to wit, he isn’t ruling that because intent is unknowable, we can dismiss intent and rule on the basis of convention; instead he is ruling that because intent wasn’t signaled, a reasonable man couldn’t possibly reconstruct the intent.

    A distinction with a big difference.

    Yes, but in all the above examples, I am talking about a third scenario. Namely, the intent can be reconstructed — but a receiver simply chooses to enforce or implement the language in a manner inconsistent with that intent. Which does not mean he is pretending that the intent is different than it was. It means he understands the intent, and has decided to ignore it when it comes to the practical question of how the speaker’s language should be enforced or implemented.

    Whether such a course of action is justifiable is a question I have posed in several posts. For the life of me, I can’t tell whether Goldstein agrees with me that such an approach is justifiable.

    If anyone can point me to somewhere he has addressed this issue in a clear, understandable fashion, I’d be much obliged. And I invite him to answer the question in comments.

    If he does agree, the upshot is this: even if a speaker means one thing, an audience may be entitled to understand his intent, and yet act on his words as if he meant something different. I’m not sure that this is something the intentionalists want to acknowledge — but if they don’t, how do they get around the aforementioned examples??

    P.S. As with any post about intentionalism, I’m going to apply my strict no-personal-attacks rule in this thread. Argue issues and not personalities, period. Given my restrictive rules, I will accept comments from banned commenters, as long as they follow the rules I have set forth.

    Who’s Afraid of the Police in Arizona?

    Filed under: General,Immigration — Jack Dunphy @ 8:40 pm

    [Guest post by Jack Dunphy]

    My police officer’s perspective on the Arizona law on illegal immigrants is up today on NRO. A sample:

    First of all, as any police officer knows, it’s difficult to discern the ethnicity of a car’s occupants while following it down the street. This is all the more true at night or, as is very often the case in Arizona, if the car has tinted windows. You might be driving down the street and see a police car in your rear-view mirror and assume the officer is looking for a reason to pull you over. In truth that officer very likely isn’t paying any attention to you at all. Instead he is probably thinking about where he’s going to have lunch, what he’s going to do after work, or what a jerk his lieutenant is. Only when a driver commits some violation of the traffic laws is an officer’s attention drawn to a car, and the occupants’ ethnicity becomes apparent only when the officer pulls the car over and asks the driver to produce his driver’s license, registration, and proof of insurance. When a driver has none of these documents, as most illegal immigrants do not, it seems only reasonable that the officer be allowed make inquiries as to the driver’s immigration status.

    And as DRJ reports below, the Los Angeles city council has voted to boycott Arizona over this bill. I greet this news with sadness but not surprise. I know where I’ll be taking my next vacation.

    –Jack Dunphy

    Jerry the Kid

    Filed under: Crime,Sports — DRJ @ 5:25 pm

    [Guest post by DRJ]

    Some people dream of reliving their childhood. A few just do it:

    “A lot of guys dream about going back to high school and recapturing their athletic glory days. A man who went by the name of Jerry Joseph did it, police say, and now he’s in big trouble.

    Authorities say the boyish-looking 22-year-old posed as a 16-year-old sophomore phenom to lead the [Odessa] Permian High School basketball team to the state playoffs. He was jailed on fraud charges, and the rabidly competitive West Texas high school that inspired the movie “Friday Night Lights” may have to forfeit its season.

    “Everyone just thought he was a big guy,” said Permian senior football player Steven Pipes. “He played the part good, skipping down the hallways acting goofy like a 16-year-old.”

    “Jerry” is actually Guerdwich Montimere, a Florida high school graduate who was recognized by some Florida high school coaches at a tournament:

    “Joseph was a starter and played center and forward. But suspicions about the player’s identity first arose when three Florida basketball coaches familiar with a former player named Guerdwich Montimere recognized him last month at an amateur tournament in Little Rock, Ark. Montimere, a naturalized U.S. citizen from Haiti, graduated from Dillard High School in Fort Lauderdale in 2007.

    School officials and immigration authorities initially believed Joseph when he denied the allegations and let him remain enrolled. But school police and immigration agents confirmed Montimere’s identity Tuesday. When confronted, he confessed, said school district spokesman Mike Adkins.”

    Joseph was arrested but is free on bail. The local newspaper is mystified how he managed to enroll in public schools, but he enrolled as homeless and with a Haitian birth certificate. Jerry’s church is praying for him and will welcome him back, although the minister may just call him Jerry. His other name is too hard to pronounce.

    — DRJ

    Limbaugh Can Go Play With Himself

    Filed under: Obama — DRJ @ 5:05 pm

    [Guest post by DRJ]

    This New York Post report has one of the most talked-about stories of the day:

    “When President Obama was asked if he would play a round of golf with his talk-radio nemesis Rush Limbaugh, the response, relayed by a top Democrat, was: “Limbaugh can play with himself.”

    This is according to Zev Chafets in his new book, “Rush Limbaugh: An Army of One,” due May 25 from Sentinel.

    The caustic comeback is another example of the verbal venom between the White House and the conservative radio star. In an interview with CBS News last month, Obama called the views spelled out by Limbaugh and Fox News Channel’s Glenn Beck “troublesome.”

    So now we have this incident, Obama’s use of the term “teabagger,” the Rahm Emanuel-Eric Massa confrontation in the shower, and speculation about Kagan’s sexual orientation. Is this the White House or an episode of Mean Girls?

    — DRJ

    A New Era in U.S.-Afghan Relations, Take 2

    Filed under: International,Obama — DRJ @ 3:33 pm

    [Guest post by DRJ]

    Just over a month ago, President Obama and members of his Administration expressed unhappiness with Aghanistan President Hamid Karzai, using words the media described as ” diplomatic code for expressing annoyance and even anger.” Obama was especially concerned about Afghan corruption. After a month of public and presumably private U.S. pressure, nothing seems to have changed in Afghanistan but the Obama Administration has reversed course:

    “The relationship between President Obama and Afghan President Karzai has had its difficulties — most recently exacerbated by Karzai saying continued pressure from the west to reform might lead him to join the Taliban. As evidenced by the red-carpet roll-out to Karzai this week, administration officials have clearly decided to change their attitude towards Karzai and are focusing more on carrot than stick.

    Just one month ago, White House officials were responding with anger to Afghan president Karzai’s remarks blaming the US and other Western powers for election fraud.

    “The remarks are genuinely troubling,” White House press secretary Robert Gibbs said. “The substance of the remarks, as had been looked at by many are obviously not true.”

    Asked if Karzai’s comments could erode American public support for the war, Gibbs indicated as such.
    But tensions between the two countries in April did nothing to improve matters and the administration is now trying a more positive approach.”

    Someday President Obama may figure out how to successfully conduct foreign relations with our allies.

    — DRJ

    Arizona Law Targets Ethnic Studies

    Filed under: Education — DRJ @ 3:15 pm

    [Guest post by DRJ]

    Arizona Governor Jan Brewer has signed a law that targets divisive ethnic studies programs in schools:

    ” Arizona Gov. Jan Brewer has signed a bill targeting a school district’s ethnic studies program, hours after a report by United Nations human rights experts condemned the measure.

    State schools chief Tom Horne, who has pushed the bill for years, said he believes the Tucson school district’s Mexican-American studies program teaches Latino students that they are oppressed by white people.

    Public schools should not be encouraging students to resent a particular race, he said.

    “It’s just like the old South, and it’s long past time that we prohibited it,” Horne said.”

    Here’s how the article describes the impact of the new law:

    “The measure signed Tuesday prohibits classes that advocate ethnic solidarity, that are designed primarily for students of a particular race or that promote resentment toward a certain ethnic group.
    The measure doesn’t prohibit classes that teach about the history of a particular ethnic group, as long as the course is open to all students and doesn’t promote ethnic solidarity or resentment.”

    I’m curious how the law will apply in practice.

    — DRJ

    LA City Council Authorizes Arizona Boycott (Updated)

    Filed under: Immigration — DRJ @ 2:53 pm

    [Guest post by DRJ]

    Los Angeles won’t balance its budget and both Fitch and Moody’s have downgraded LA’s debt, so what does the City Council do? Vote to boycott Arizona:

    “Los Angeles on Wednesday became the largest city yet to boycott Arizona over its tough new law targeting illegal immigration in a move that likely will affect some $8 million in contracts with the state.

    The City Council voted 13-1 to bar Los Angeles from conducting business with Arizona unless the law is repealed. The vote followed an emotional council discussion during which many members noted that their ancestors were U.S. immigrants.

    Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa already has said he would approve the boycott.

    The proposal could affect investments and contracts worth as much as $52 million, including contracts for airport, harbor and trucking services, according to a report from the city’s chief legislative analyst. That report recommends the council consider suspending travel, cutting contracts and refraining from making any new ones with Arizona-based companies.”

    However, the boycott may be selective:

    “But Councilwoman Janice Hahn, who co-authored the resolution, said it would be impractical to cancel most of those deals and only about $7 million to $8 million in city contracts probably would be affected.

    “US Airways is based in Arizona and they certainly fly in and out (of Los Angeles)” and it would hardly be feasible to end those flights, Hahn said before the council vote.

    Hahn said the Los Angeles boycott also won’t affect the city’s Department of Water and Power, which has wind farm and nuclear energy contracts in Arizona. Among the contracts with Arizona companies that conceivably could be terminated include those for helicopter services, Taser guns, waste management, engineering and surveillance equipment.

    Hahn said “the best scenario” would be to turn around and give those contracts to California suppliers.”

    This boycott sends a message that illegal immigrants are welcome in LA, and I bet they get the message.

    — DRJ

    UPDATE — A Highland Park, Illinois, high school girls basketball team has joined the boycott, although some parents and players aren’t happy about it:

    “The Highland Park High girls varsity basketball team won’t be making their way to Arizona for a tournament as originally planned in a move that’s thrust the school into the middle of the debate over that state’s new controversial immigration law. While school officials are citing safety concerns as one reason to cancel the trip, team members and their parents say that it’s a political play, one that has no place in high school athletics. The team is coming off a championship season and had been raising funds for the trip. But District 113 Assistant Superintendent Suzan Hebson gave the Tribune some fishy statements.

    Hebson said Arizona is off-limits because of uncertainty about how the new law will be enforced. Signed by Arizona Gov. Jan Brewer last month, it makes it a crime to be in the country illegally and requires police to check suspects for immigration paperwork. Hebson said the turmoil is no place for students of Highland Park High School, which also draws from Highwood.

    “We would want to ensure that all of our students had the opportunity to be included and be safe and be able to enjoy the experience,” Hebson said of the tournament, which will be played in December. “We wouldn’t necessarily be able to guarantee that.”

    Asked if there are undocumented players on the team, or if anyone associated with the team is in the country illegally, Hebson said she did not know.”

    Eliot Spitzer: Kagan Not Gay

    Filed under: General — Patterico @ 6:52 am


    Another friend, former New York Governor Eliot Spitzer, a member of Kagan’s social circle at Princeton University, wanted to make the same point as Walzer. “I did not go out with her, but other guys did,” he said in an email Tuesday night. “I don’t think it is my place to say more.”

    Your punchlines below.

    P.S. This part also made me chuckle — but slightly more sardonically:

    The rumors that Kagan is gay, Walzer said, were current before she became a public figure, and a source of frustration to Kagan and her friends – who were frustrated by their persistence, but worried that denying them could imply some anti-gay prejudice.

    A heterosexual can’t say she is a heterosexual for fear of offending the gays? What a country!

    I’ll have to ask my wife how she feels about this. Oh, sorry — my partner, who (forgive me for saying this) just happens to be a woman. Not there’s anything wrong with that necessarily right about that.

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