Patterico's Pontifications


Conor Friedersdorf’s shallow defense of the Ground Zero mosque

Filed under: General — Karl @ 5:04 pm

[Posted by Karl]

Although I have recently spent far too much time reading and examining the work of Conor Friedersdorf, his Forbes defense of the planned mosque at Ground Zero is so shallow — and so emblematic of his approach — that it warrants further effort on my part.

Friedersdorf starts with a stunningly inapt analogy:


Visual ObamaCare

Filed under: Health Care — DRJ @ 12:01 pm

[Guest post by DRJ]

America’s Bewildering New Health Care System

Visual ObamaCare:

“In addition to capturing the massive expansion of government and the overwhelming complexity of new regulations and taxes, the chart portrays:

* $569 billion in higher taxes;

* $529 billion in cuts to Medicare;

* swelling of the ranks of Medicaid by 16 million;

* 17 major insurance mandates; and

* the creation of two new bureaucracies with powers to impose future rationing: the Patient-Centered Outcomes Research Institute and the Independent Payments Advisory Board.

[Texas Rep. Kevin] Brady admits committee analysts could not fit the entire health care bill on one chart. “This portrays only about one-third of the complexity of the final bill. It’s actually worse than this.”

A larger version and a .pdf version of the chart can be found at the GOP Joint Economic Committee website.


Judge Enjoins Arizona Immigration Provisions

Filed under: Immigration,Law — DRJ @ 11:08 am

[Guest post by DRJ]

U.S. District Judge Susan Bolton has issued a preliminary injunction blocking the four most controversial provisions of Arizona’s new immigration law:

“A federal judge on Wednesday blocked some of the toughest provisions in the Arizona immigration law, putting on hold the state’s attempt to enforce federal immigration policy.

Though the rest of the law is still set to go into effect Thursday, the partial injunction on SB 1070 means Arizona, for the time being, will not be able to require police officers to determine the immigration status of anyone they stop or arrests.”

Fox News has posted the court’s opinion.

I haven’t read the opinion so I can’t speak to its legal impact, but this strikes me as a decision that will politically energize conservatives between now and November. In addition, because this decision defangs the Arizona law, it makes it less likely there will be incidents that will give the Obama Administration grounds to sue Arizona for racial discrimination. Bottom line: Liberals won today but at what cost?

MORE: I’m adding the 4 provisions the Judge enjoined below the prompt.


New Hot Russian Spy

Filed under: General — Patterico @ 7:16 am

Via Jammie Wearing Fool comes this story of another suspected spy for Russia.

Above: This woman was accused of doing something spy-related

I didn’t quite follow what she is accused of having done; it had to do with night vision goggles or something. What amazed me is how she flew under the radar after having had a lead role on “Friends” for so many years.

Blago Lawyer Threatens to Defy Judge’s Order (Then Fails to Follow Through on Threat)

Filed under: General — Patterico @ 6:41 am

The crazy thing is, he may be right:

Closing arguments at the corruption trial of Rod Blagojevich took a sharp detour Monday as one of the former governor’s lawyers all but vowed to defy an order barring him from calling out the prosecution for failing to summon key witnesses to testify.


“I’m willing to go to jail for this, your honor,” declared Adam, a lawyer known for courtroom bombast. “I cannot follow your order on this.”

Adam was challenging a ruling by Zagel on Friday that forbid the defense from making what is known as a “missing witness” argument. Blagojevich’s team wants to point out to jurors that government lawyers originally suggested they would call up to 35 witnesses but ended up questioning only 27.

Among those omitted was convicted fundraiser Antoin “Tony” Rezko, who the government claims is at the heart of many of the conspiracies for which Blagojevich is charged. Prosecutors also chose not to call to the stand alleged victims of attempted extortions by the former governor, most significantly former U.S. Rep. Rahm Emanuel, who is now the White House chief of staff.

What Adam hoped to do was telegraph to jurors that prosecutors may have pared down their witness list to keep people off the stand who might have undermined the government’s case.

On Friday, Zagel told the defense he wouldn’t allow the “missing witness” argument because Blagojevich’s lawyers enjoyed subpoena powers and could have called any of the same people to the stand but didn’t do so. Indeed, after months of vowing to mount a vigorous defense, Blagojevich’s lawyers chose at the last minute not to put their client on the stand or present any other witnesses.

It is difficult to assess lawyers’ and judge’s actions in a trial based on media reports, as reporting does not always capture the reality of what is happening in a courtroom. I’m not sure how the prosecution “suggested” they were going to call more witnesses. If the “suggestion” is the appearance of names on a witness list, that is a weak defense argument, as witness lists are always overinclusive. And neither side is required to call all witnesses who might have relevant evidence.

But if the prosecution promised these witnesses, as for example in an opening statement, it is fair comment by the defense, and I can’t imagine a justification for preventing the defense from commenting on the witnesses’ absence.

I have not followed the trial closely enough to know which situation we’re talking about, though I suspect it’s the former. Any input?

P.S. I meant to post this yesterday but ran out of time. Since then, Blago’s attorney has made his final argument, apparently with some flamboyance, and it appears that he did not violate the order. He may have himself an appeal point, though.

Yet Another Woman Accuses Polanski of Rape

Filed under: General — Patterico @ 6:37 am

I have been dilatory in passing this along:

Another woman has come forward charging that Roman Polanski raped her in 1974, has exclusively learned.

The woman, who was 21 at the time, reported the alleged sexual assault to the Los Angeles District Attorney in May and was interviewed by authorities.

Edith Michelle Vogelhut, a former model also known as Shelli Paul, told authorities Polanski “handcuffed” her at actor Jack Nicholson’s Hollywood house where he was staying, then sodomized her repeatedly, before he passed out, has learned exclusively.

Recall that Charlotte Lewis made a similar accusation some time back.

Well done, Swiss authorities. It’s a fine artiste you protected with your transparently ridiculous decision not to extradite. Well done indeed.

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