Patterico's Pontifications


The Entire L.A. City Council Needs To Be Tarred, Feathered and Ridden Out Of Town On A Rail!

Filed under: Government,Immigration,Public Policy,Scum — Justin Levine @ 7:18 pm

[posted by Justin Levine]

DRJ has already posted about the story. Michelle Malkin now supplies just a small fraction of the appropriate amount of outrage.

How can such total and complete corruption exist in our government? I continue to be astonished by what utter scumbags our so-called leaders have proven themselves to be time and time again.

– Justin Levine


Fisking Obama’s Speech Today — Didn’t See It, Just Reading The Text

Posted By WLS: 

I’m in no way enamored of Obama — neither his style nor his politics. 

So, I’m looking at his speech with a very jaundiced eye.  And there are lots of things I don’t particularly like in the text:

I chose to run for the presidency at this moment in history because I believe deeply that we cannot solve the challenges of our time unless we solve them together

 From what I’ve read over the last few days, he didn’t learn “togetherness” as a method of problem solving from Rev. Wright.

I have already condemned, in unequivocal terms, the statements of Reverend Wright that have caused such controversy. For some, nagging questions remain. Did I know him to be an occasionally fierce critic of American domestic and foreign policy? Of course. Did I ever hear him make remarks that could be considered controversial while I sat in church? Yes. Did I strongly disagree with many of his political views? Absolutely – just as I’m sure many of you have heard remarks from your pastors, priests, or rabbis with which you strongly disagreed.

Which remarks have you condemned, and why did it take until this moment for you to condenm them?  Were they not equally worthy of condemnation two weeks ago?  Two months ago?  Two years ago?  Two decades ago — because he’s been saying them as long as you have been a member of his church.  You are the one identifying — without specifying — that he has made comments in your presence that you disagreed with and considered controversial.  Tell us which of his comments you consider controvesial — so that we will know which ones you DO NOT CONSIDER CONTROVERSIAL.  That would tell the voters much more about you than you have told us in the 4 years since you hit that stage in Boston.



A Challenge to Nullification Proponents

Filed under: Crime,General,Public Policy — Patterico @ 12:16 am

Those of you who think that juries should be allowed to judge the fairness of the law as well as whether the defendant is guilty: answer me this. If you’re going to judge something, shouldn’t you be given all the facts relevant to that decision?

Because you aren’t getting them under the current jury system.

So, for example, if you’re going to take it upon yourself to decide whether to vote guilty or not based on the sentence you think the defendant will get, shouldn’t you be told exactly what the sentencing options are, and the full details of the defendant’s record — including the facts of his previous offenses and how long he spent in prison for each offense? Shouldn’t you be told about similarly situated defendants and what they received?

You aren’t getting those facts under the current jury system.

If you are going to vote based on your view that drug peddling is a victimless crime, shouldn’t the prosecution have the chance to show the way the defendant’s drug dealing has victimized the neighborhood? Shouldn’t you hear from the neighbor who constantly begs the cops to get these dealers (including this defendant) off the street because they are dealing drugs in front of schoolchildren? Shouldn’t you hear from the family of the addict whose life, and the lives around him, have been ruined by the poison the defendant has peddled? Shouldn’t you hear from the experts who have studied the likely effects of legalization and concluded that it will result in more narcotic usage in society as a whole, including more drug usage by children?

But the authors also found that any form of legal commercial sales would significantly increase the amount of drug use in society. Even if each drug user consumed fewer drugs, an increase in the total number of people using drugs could translate to more problems, overall, for society.

You aren’t getting those facts under the current jury system.

How can you make a decision if the parties aren’t even allowed to present evidence on the question you have taken it upon yourself to decide?

It seems to me that if you favor nullification, one of two things is true: either 1) you have to be confident in your ability to make decisions on these questions without evidence presented by both sides — in which case you are arrogant and overconfident of your own superior knowledge — or 2) you have to support an incredible liberalization of the rules of evidence, along the lines of the proposal I set forth in this post. Read that post, in which I (somewhat hyperbolically, but only somewhat) propose doing away with the rules of evidence and telling juries every possibly relevant fact, including the defendant’s criminal history, gang membership, etc. Then tell me whether I’m really an elitist who wants to hide evidence from juries.

If we implemented that proposal, I’d be a lot more comfortable with giving jurors the authority to decide the law as well as the facts.

Now see if you can find a single defense attorney on God’s Green Earth who would feel comfortable with that proposal. You won’t . . . because they know that jurors knowing all the facts — including the full details of the defendant’s criminal history, gang ties, and so forth — would result in more convictions, not fewer.


L.A. Murder Rate Is Lowest In Nearly Four Decades

Filed under: Crime,Music,Public Policy — Justin Levine @ 4:04 am

[posted by Justin Levine]

Here is some good news for the holidays.

Los Angeles is on track to record its lowest homicide rate since 1970, when 394 people were killed.

This mirrors recent trends in New York. As the NY Times pointed out in November –

But within the citys official crime statistics is a figure that may be even more striking: so far, with roughly half the killings analyzed, only 35 were found to be committed by strangers, a microscopic statistic in a city of more than 8.2 million.

As for L.A., “Police attribute the decline to a variety of factors, including more focused policing — and chance.”

Reporters might not be considering the classical music factor, which some California judges are taking notice of. More Mozart. Less Snoop.

[PDF link alert] Broken Windows theory is becoming more and more prescient as the years go by.

— Justin Levine


E. J. Dionne is a Lying Gasbag

Filed under: 2008 Election,Buffoons,Media Bias,Politics,Public Policy — WLS @ 12:10 pm

Poste By WLS:

I fully understand and expect there to be partisanship in opinion columns written by advocates on both sides of the political arena.  And while I find E.J. Dionne consistently wrong, I don’t generally find his writing to be wilfully deceptive.  His column today is an exception.

He finds little to cheer in the GOP candidates responses to the debate “questions” Wednesday night — though he has a few kind words for Huckabee and McCain.  But he makes a point of scolding Romney and Giuliani for “pandering”, while at the same time tarring the entire GOP with having a “growing anti-immigrant feeling.”  

But it was on immigration that Giuliani and Romney demonstrated for all to see that winning matters more to them than anything else.

Giuliani in particular had been warmly inclined toward immigrants, including undocumented immigrants, when he was mayor of liberal and diverse New York…. 

But on Wednesday, Giuliani played right into the feelings he once condemned and played down his past — even if he couldn’t fully deny it. After Romney assailed Giuliani for turning New York into a “sanctuary city,” Giuliani said that Romney had employed illegal immigrants to do work on his Massachusetts home, transforming it into a “sanctuary mansion.”

Romney, in turn, asked Giuliani if he was saying that a person who hired a company for home improvement work should be expected to ask someone in the work crew who had “a funny accent” to prove he was here legally. The exchange made both men look very small.

These paraphrases are as close as Dionne gets to actually quoting what either one of them said during the debate that he regarded a “anti-immigrant”  — remember, its their debate performance he is criticizing.  Near the end of his piece he encapsulates Romney and Giuliani’s comments on the immigration questions as leaving

“the odor of nativist compost being spread around the stage”  

using that line as part of a passage in such a way that an careless reader might attribute that phrase to John McCain when speaking about his GOP rivals.

So, what did Giuliani and Romney say that was so “nativist” during the debate?  Don’t bother looking for it in Dionne’s column, because there’s nothing there. 

After the jump, I’ve posted nearly all the passages from the debate transcript by Romney and Giuliani concerning immigration. 

After reading through them, I went back to re-read Dionne’s column again, just to verify that the column he typed had used the following letters from the alphabet:

a, b, c, d, e, f, g, h, i, l, m, n, o, p, r, s, t, v,  and y.

I did so because I thought maybe had had been typing on a defective keyboard, one which was missing the letters necessary to include this sentence in his column:

 “Hillary Clinton pandered to the nativist tendencies of the Democrat party by reversing her position on issuing drivers’ licenses to illegal aliens after being blasted on the subject following the MSNBC debate.”

But, I found that he had used all those letters on his keyboard in his column, so I’m at a loss to explain his failure to mention Hillary’s odor — of nativist compost I mean.  I’ve never been close enough to her to know if she has any other. 



“Communitarianism” — Is It Just Me, Or Did Hillary’s Handlers Choke On Their Danish When She Said This

Filed under: 2008 Election,Politics,Public Policy — WLS @ 6:11 pm

Jake Tapper has a piece up on a speech given by Hillary in Iowa that included this little nugget:  

“I think Iowa poses a special burden, or a special obstacle to me because when you look at the numbers, how can Iowa be ranked with Mississippi? That’s not what I see. That’s not the quality. That’s not the communitarianism, that’s not the openness I see in Iowa.”

Tapper and others have put a spotlight on this statement as a slam on Mississippi, which it is. 

But I was struck by the fact that she would mix in a word like “communitarianism.”

I must admit that when I read it my first thought was “That sounds a lot like “strategery” to me, I think I better look it up to make sure she’s not making up her own language.”  It was fairly obvious what it meant though, whether it was a word or not.

But, it also just strikes me as NOT the kind of word she wants to be employing on the campaign trail — way too wonkish, and frankly reminds one too much of Central Planning and the Politburo.

So, what is “communitarianism”?  Well, George Washington University has an “Institute for Communitarian Policy Studies”, and its website defines it as follows:

“Communitarianism springs from the recognition that the human being is by nature a social animal as well as an individual with a desire for autonomy. Communitarians recognize that a healthy society must have a correct balance between individual autonomy and social cohesion. Much recent thinking has focused on an assumed conflict between the rights of the individual and the responsibilities of the government. When you put “community” back into the equation, you find that the apparent conflict between the individual and the government can be resolved by public policies that are consistent with core American values and work to the benefit of all members of our society.”

I think Trotsky explained it much the same way.



Mike Davis – The Malibu Fire Prophet

Filed under: Books,Current Events,Environment,Public Policy — Justin Levine @ 3:23 pm

[guest post by Justin Levine] 

In terms of radical leftwing academics, I can think of very few who are both good writers and have ideas that should be taken seriously.

However, one such person that comes to mind is Mike Davis, a Southern California historian and author of the bestselling book The Ecology of Fear: Los Angeles and the Imagination of Disaster.

One provocative chapter in that book is entitled “Let Malibu Burn: A political history of the Fire Coast.”

An excerpt of that chapter can be found here. [Recommended reading in light of the fires we’ve had in the area the past few days.]

Naturally, you can challenge Davis on a number of levels, but one of his underlying points seems to be beyond debate at this juncture – wildfires in Malibu are a naturally reoccurring phenomenon that are guaranteed to return to haunt us every few years. So unless we radically rethink how that area is to be zoned and constructed, people will be indirectly subsidizing the Hollywood limousine-liberal millionaires of the area who use a disproportionate amount of state firefighting resources and disaster relief in order to keep rebuilding the area the same way and maintain their lifestyle.

Davis’s own take –

A perverse law of Pyne’s new fire regime was that fire stimulates development as well as upward social succession. By declaring Malibu a federal disaster area and offering blaze victims tax relief as well as preferential low-interest loans, the Eisenhower administration established the precedent for the public subsidization of firebelt suburbs. Each conflagration, moreover, was punctually followed by rebuilding on a larger and more exclusive scale as land-use regulations and sometimes even the fire code were relaxed to accommodate fire “victims.” As a result, renters and modest homeowners were displaced from areas like Broad Beach, Paradise Cove and Point Dume by wealthy pyrophiles encouraged by cheap fire insurance, socialized disaster relief and an expansive public commitment to “defend Malibu.”

Food for thought.

Taking a page from (Malibu resident) Rob Reiner’s own playbook, I would propose a new California proposition amending the state constitution to increase real estate taxes on Malibu homeowners with such funds being dedicated to firefighting resources in L.A. County. We need to do it for the children you understand….


Civil Disobedience and the Vote (Updated)

Filed under: Public Policy — DRJ @ 6:37 am

[Guest post by DRJ]

Is Jane Balogh the Rosa Parks of voter registration?

“Jane Balogh had a pretty good idea who was calling when the phone rang and the caller asked for Duncan M. MacDonald. Duncan is the dog Balogh registered as a voter seven months before the November 2006 election. Duncan’s absentee-ballot envelope was signed with a picture of a paw print.
Balogh, who lives with Duncan, an Australian shepherd-terrier mix, and four other dogs and four cats, registered her dog as a protest of a 2005 state voter-registration statute that she says makes it too easy for noncitizens to vote.”

Balogh, a 66-year-old grandmother and Army veteran, made her point: It’s easy for a voter to register illegally. She was also “… arraigned in King County Superior Court on Tuesday [June 19, 2007] on a misdemeanor charge of making a false statement to a public official.”



Affirmative Action in Law Schools

Filed under: Law,Public Policy,Race — DRJ @ 7:20 pm

[Guest post by DRJ]

Via Instapundit and Professor Bainbridge, the U.S. Civil Rights Commission issued a press release today warning that affirmative action harms minority law students:

“Chairman Gerald A. Reynolds commented, ‘Race-based admissions have been found to harm minority law students by setting them up for failure. Law schools that continue to use racial preferences despite this evidence should at least disclose the risks of academic mismatch to minority student applicants.’ Continuing, Chairman Reynolds said, ‘A true civil rights strategy would focus on these students much earlier in their educational development, rather than providing them with inadequate training and then using preferential treatment to admit them into schools at which they are likely to fail.”

As noted by Professor Bainbridge, this report follows earlier research by UCLA’s Richard Sander addressed recently by Gail Heriot, a US Civil Rights Commission member, in a WSJ article (h/t Driver).

Thomas Sowell was right. Affirmative action can hurt minorities.


A Fascinating Read for any Political Junkie

Filed under: Books,Government,Media Bias,Politics,Public Policy — WLS @ 12:28 pm

[Posted by WLS]

I’m referring to Robert Novak’s recently published memoir of his 50 years reporting on politics, “The Prince of Darkness.”  I highly recommend it to anyone who likes politics — especially politics from an era before you were old enough to understand.

I’ve been reading or watching Novak since the mid-1980’s when I came of age politically while living in Wash. DC., and was fond of watching him as a member of the original cast of The McLaughlin Group.

I haven’t sat down to read his book in big chunks, so my progress through it has been slow — but that has only extended what has been a very pleasant exercise.  

I’ll post some of the anecdotes from the book as I find them over the next few days — not ordinary stuff, but some of the really significant events he describes. 

But, here’s just a little background for those of you who aren’t familiar with the journey Novak has made over the course of a half-century in Washington:


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