Patterico's Pontifications


Constitutional Vanguard: No, the Judge in the Arbery Murder Trial Did Not Say There Was “Intentional Discrimination” in the Selection of the Jury

Filed under: General — Patterico @ 9:05 pm

Just correcting some misinformation going on tonight.

So that’s the process. Note that a judge might move the process on to Stage Two if the court initially finds even an “inference” of purposeful discrimination . . . and yet, the judge might ultimately make a finding that the party exercising the peremptory challenge(s) did not engage in purposeful discrimination.

And that, my friends, is what happened here. Ultimately, the court found no discrimination.

Exactly the opposite of what was reported by CNN, and CBS, and NBC. And Oliver Willis!

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Joe Biden: Reports of Huge Payoffs to Illegal Immigrant Families Is “Garbage”; White House: Here’s What He Meant to Say

Filed under: General — JVW @ 3:46 pm

[guest post by JVW]

Another shining moment for “the adults in the room.” At the end of last week, reports from the Wall Street Journal and New York Times declared that the Biden Administration was considering a plan to pay up to $450,000 per child to illegal immigrant families who were detained at the border and separated from their children during the previous administration, with some families with multiple children receiving as much as one million dollars. Naturally, Republicans responded with utter dismay (Oops! I guess the word I am supposed to use is “pounced”). Luckily for the President, he had by then jetted off to Rome (4,500 mile trip) on Air Force One where he made use of an 85-vehicle motorcade en route to The Vatican to share a laugh with the Pope before then swinging up to Glasgow (1,560 mile trip) to join with 30,000 other attendees who had traveled (mostly via airplane) to Scotland to watch the U.S. President nap through a series of speeches demanding that we peons who don’t work for the almighty government drastically reduce our carbon footprint, and thus did not have to immediately answer questions about the proposed payouts to illegal immigrants scheme.

At least, that is, until he returned home yesterday (3425 mile trip). In his first press conference back, Fox News (naturally) reporter Peter Doocey asked the President if the proposed payouts might incentivize more foreigners to attempt an illegal border crossing, and was met with this reply: “If you guys keep sending that garbage out, yeah. But it’s not true.”

When Mr. Doocey followed-up by asking the President if he does believe this is a “garbage report,” the President replied, “Yeah. Four-hundred and fifty thousand dollars per person, is that what you are saying?” When Mr. Doocey responded in the affirmative, the President retorted emphatically, “That’s not gonna happen.”

The report is “garbage”? Well, not according to the ACLU who has apparently been working with members of the administration on this very issue. The original article in the WSJ quoted Lee Gelernt from the ACLU’s immigrant-rights division saying, “President Biden has agreed that the family separation policy is a historic moral stain on our nation that must be fully remedied. That remedy must include not only meaningful monetary compensation, but a pathway to remain in the country.”

And are the payouts, according to the President, really “not gonna happen”? The people whose job it apparently is to tell Joe Biden what he believes are now indicating otherwise. Today, White House Deputy Press Secretary Karine Jean-Pierre informed reporters that the President is “perfectly comfortable” with settlements if that is what his handlers tell him he needs to believe in order to appease today’s designated preferred activist group (ok, I probably made up that last part myself). Thus, yet again, President Biden displays his uncanny ability to suggest that he isn’t really the decision-maker in the Oval Office, he’s just the public face of what an unelected bureaucratic/media/academic cabal decides is good policy for holding together the increasingly-factious Democrat coalition.

By now it is a well-worn platitude to assert that Joe Biden lacks the intellect, stamina, awareness, or temperament for the job he has been given. But just because the idea is shopworn doesn’t make it any less true. The punishing defeat that Democrats suffered last night (alas and alack, incumbent New Jersey Governor Phil Murphy appears to have squeaked out a narrow win in a race everyone thought he would win going away, but on the bright side the President of the New Jersey Senate lost his race to a truck driver who spent $153 on his campaign) ought to give Democrats pause about pursuing their avowedly left-wing woke agenda, but between Nancy Pelosi’s challenge to Joe Manchin yesterday and today’s acknowledgement that Joe Biden doesn’t know what the hell he is talking about and payments to illegal immigrants is still on the table, it seems pretty clear that Democrats expect to lose the House and/or the Senate in the next year and are simply going to load up on left-wing agenda items while they still can. So much for the aging dinosaur who has spent a half-century helping to make things in Washington so awful somehow becoming a unifier and a healer of our divided nation.


David Chase: Here’s What Really Happened to Tony Soprano

Filed under: General — Patterico @ 12:01 am

[Spoiler alert: if you have not watched the show, stop reading and go watch it.]

In an interview with David Chase, the Hollywood Reporter reveals the truth of what happened to Tony Soprano in that much-derided (but excellent) series finale. As you will see, the revelation smells to me like sweet, sweet vindication:

The 2018 book The Sopranos Sessions was written by guys who wrote, at the time of the show, for the New Jersey Star-Ledger, the paper Tony always read, Matt Zoller Seitz and Alan Sepinwall. They interviewed you and asked you to talk about the June 10, 2007, series finale with of course, “Don’t Stop Believin’” and the famous cut to black. You said, “Well, I had that death scene in mind for years before.” A) Do you remember specifically when the ending first came to you? And, B) Was that a slip of the tongue?

Right. Was it?

I’m asking you.



Because the scene I had in my mind was not that scene. Nor did I think of cutting to black. I had a scene in which Tony comes back from a meeting in New York in his car. At the beginning of every show, he came from New York into New Jersey, and the last scene could be him coming from New Jersey back into New York for a meeting at which he was going to be killed.

And when did the alternative ending first occur to you? I’ve spoken with showrunners who said, “I knew at the beginning exactly how my show was going to end.” Or by season three or whatever. It sounds like when you were writing, you liked to stay six scripts ahead of where you were in the action.

Yeah. But I think I had this notion — I was driving on Ocean Park Boulevard near the airport and I saw a little restaurant. It was kind of like a shack that served breakfast. And for some reason I thought, “Tony should get it in a place like that.” Why? I don’t know. That was, like, two years before.

What did you make of the reaction to the finale? The whole episode was great, but people sort of fixated on …

Yeah, nobody said anything about the episode. No, it was all about the ending.

And was that annoying?

I had no idea it would cause that much — I mean, I forget what was going on in Iraq or someplace; London had been bombed! Nobody was talking about that; they were talking about The Sopranos. It was kind of incredible to me. But I had no idea it would be that much of an uproar. And was it annoying? What was annoying was how many people wanted to see Tony killed. That bothered me.

They wanted to see it. They wanted confirmation.

They wanted to know that Tony was killed. They wanted to see him go face-down in linguini, you know? And I just thought, “God, you watched this guy for seven years and I know he’s a criminal. But don’t tell me you don’t love him in some way, don’t tell me you’re not on his side in some way. And now you want to see him killed? You want justice done? You’re a criminal after watching this shit for seven years.” That bothered me, yeah.

In June 2007, I published a post titled The Sopranos Ending Was Good. This was not a very popular opinion on the Internet at the time. But if you know me, you know that I often reject the popular opinion in favor of things like being right, being vindicated by history . . . you know, that sort of thing. I noted at the time a character had talked about being murdered by saying: “You probably don’t even hear it when it happens.” And indeed, Tony heard nothing when he got whacked. Everything just went black.

But, as I explained at the time, this interpretation was derided as too . . . subtle for TV:

Finke’s rant has another angle, which I reject — that the interpretation can’t be right because it’s subtle, and according to Finke, TV producers are not allowed to do subtlety:

Nielsen TV-viewing data tell us that we don’t watch the tube raptly anymore, much less remember what goes on from week to week. Both are needed for such a subtle ending, if indeed subtlety was the intention, to resonate. Besides, The Sopranos was not a show that went on inside your head. It was a richly visual series whose most memorable moments were graphic and in your face and damn proud of it. Like Tony, it was defiant. This end was whimpering.

Even Ed Morrissey, whom I respect, appears to agree:

This shows clearly why the ending to the Sopranos finale was so unsatisfying. When telling a story, people expect a fairly clear conclusion. Giving them a series of teases, and very obvious teases, without supplying any kind of payoff at all not only wastes the time of the reader/viewer, it also insults them for caring about what happens.

Finke and her fellow complainers seem to have wanted to see a graphic, simple-to-understand ending — Tony’s brains splattered across the onion rings. I think that would have been a horrible, mundane ending. I think Chase should be allowed to do subtle foreshadowing on TV, and if Nikki Finke and the majority of people who watched the show don’t like it, that’s fine; some of us do.

I could be wrong about the details of the particular interpretation, but I’m more concerned with the bigger picture: is Finke right that the TV-viewing public can’t handle subtlety? It just wants simple, in-your-face storylines that everyone can understand — and if expectations are denied, we’re entitled to throw a fit?

That’s a recipe for crappy television (and movies). The best shows (and movies and books) make you think. They are subtle. If we go into a rage every time a show has an ending that isn’t immediately obvious, we’ll get easily digestible pap the next time around. And there’s already plenty of that.

When I read Chase saying of his viewers that “[t]hey wanted to see him go face-down in linguini” I could not help but think of my line: “Finke and her fellow complainers seem to have wanted to see a graphic, simple-to-understand ending — Tony’s brains splattered across the onion rings.” So you think I’m going to notice that and say nothing? Dream on.

Do I ever get tired of being right? If I do, I’ll be sure to let you know.

And by the way? In case being right about that wasn’t good enough? My conviction that viewers were able to handle nuance and subtlety and sophistication in their television shows? Well, guess what show premiered the very next year?

Breaking Bad.

OK then.

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