January 11, 2003

The David Broder of SoCal bloggers, Matt Welch, has returned after a lengthy hiatus (if he's the broder of LA blogs, then I guess Kevin Drum is the EJ Dionne; I guess I'd be one of the Post's lame-o sportswriters, like Tony Kornheiser)

January 10, 2003

This is inappropriate on so many levels, I wouldn't know where to begin. "Justice" Thomas is still on the Supreme Court, and there's always the off-chance that one of the companies involved in the publication of his memoirs might have an issue or two that may one day be decided by the Court. Obviously, as hard as this might be to fathom, he might write something that is false, or even defamatory; in fact, since he probably won't admit he perjured himself back in 1991, I think it's a safe bet that he will do so. As pleasing as the thought of this bum being sued in a civil action while on the Court, especially in light of what he did to the previous President, such a suit would further damage the prestige and credibility of the judicial branch. More telling is just the fact that this is so classless.

January 09, 2003

The election is still some three weeks off, but if recent polls are to be believed, Ariel Sharon may be in some serious trouble. This was supposed to be a contest that would solidify the Likud Party's position in the Knesset, while discrediting the dovish wing of the Labor Party. It's not turning out that way, though.
The Fox Network lacks courage for not picking up Joe President; it would have been a perfect lead-in for 24.
He's not in my Humor section, since most of his posts are straight political takes, but every now and then, Jesse Taylor of Pandagon channels Peggy Noonan sooooo perfectly, I pee in my pants. We're barely two weeks into the new year, and he's already clinched a '03 Koufax Award for this brilliant parody.
Today's bankruptcy filing by the Ottawa Senators, the third such filing in the past eight years, is probably a good indication that the NHL may be the first of the major sports leagues in this country to seriously retrench. As much as I love the sport, ice hockey is a terrible TV draw (for example, two of the USA matches in the last World Cup got higher ratings on ESPN than all but one of the games of last season's Stanley Cup Final, even though the hockey games were on in prime time, while the soccer games started in the wee hours of the morning). Attendance around the league is wildly inconsistent. It draws talent from such a narrow base in North America that the star players in the sport are disproportionately from Scandinavia and Eastern Europe. Yet the NHL continues to play out the fiction that it is one of the major sports leagues in America, and maintains an assortment of franchises in the Sun Belt that are prime candidates to follow the Senators, Kings, and Penguins into bankruptcy protection.

January 08, 2003

Joshua Marshall has finally given Bush's Korean policy the doctrine it deserves: Strategic Ridiculousness.
It appears blogger John Ellis has lost one pound in the past week. Wow !!
The problem with hyping the "five men from Canada" into some elite team of international fugitives comes the next time the Administration wishes for us to take a threat seriously.
Big Brother once again punishes a man for freely exercising his Second Amendment rights. Or maybe it was because Tennessee State ran a poor transition game. Whatever.

January 07, 2003

I've always been partial to athletes who were absolutely hated by the beat writers covering them. Well done, Eddie Murray, for a memorable career, and for having the dignity and grace not to stick a bat down the throats of the scumbags of the fourth estate. Especially when you were with the Mets.
This might actually be a fun two years, if liberals are so willing. Bush's economic proposals are as tone-deaf as his father's; he actually believes that the reason the country is hurting is that Wall Street has to pay taxes on dividends !! He's just renominated Owen and Pickering to the federal circuit courts, only three weeks after the resignation of Trent Lott put an ugly spotlight on the piss-poor civil rights record of modern conservatism. The Administration "policy" about handling North Korea is almost deliberately incompetent, unable to distinguish between negotiations and "appeasement"; ironically, the reemergence of the PROK likely means that even if Bush starts a war with Iraq, the intended boost to his polling numbers will be as short-lived as they were for his dad. His reelect numbers are starting to plummet. And for the first time since 9/11, the Democrats are starting to fight back. Class Warfare, indeed. To the Barricades !!!!
Memo to Giants' fans: QUIT WHINING !!! Bad calls are a part of life, so get over it. Your whole raison d'etre seems to be based on the assumption that the refs would have called pass interference, then your kicking team would have made a field goal that it had botched on two separate occasions in the previous four minutes. Well, ask yourself this: how were the Giants' robbed if they couldn't hold a 24-point second half lead? Jeez, you guys are worse than those Cardinals' fans who still moan about Don Denkinger costing them the '85 Series.

January 06, 2003

The campaign to make Mother Theresa a saint hits a roadblock, in this well-reasoned piece by Jeanne d'Arc that peels away the hype, and suggests a more-deserving candidate, Archbishop Romero.
Rough day at work. I haven't been able to shake whatever sickness I have, and feel depleted and lethargic. I took on an appearance today at a confirmation hearing for a Chapter 13 debtor, but was not given a complete file, so I had to live through the embarassment of finding out the facts of my case in open court, in front of the judge, trustee, and opposing counsel. Still, I got the plan confirmed. Then I went to work on preparing another case for trial, but had repeated arguments with the chief trial lawyer, who was second-guessing everything I was doing. Finally, I just had enough, and went home. If it were up to me, I'd just tell her to go to hell, and let her handle the case the rest of the way, but it's my principal source of income right now.
I can gripe about this Administration's policy concerning North Korea 'til the proverbial cows come home, but Joshua Marshall has provided an encyclopedic analysis of the crisis. It's the reason blogs exist.

January 05, 2003

Interesting post by labor lawyer Sam Heldman on unjudicial behaviour by a certain Ninth Circuit judge, Alex Kozinski. I'm sure many of you have received links to various opinions by a certain Texas District Court judge, Samuel B. Kent. His opinions are often hilarious, nasty and cutting, very well written, and contemptuous of the fools who appear before him in his court. He is, in my opinion, the worst person on the Federal Bench. Similarly, Kozinsky is a rabid ideologue and bigot, whose opinions are in the same tradition (btw, his wife, Marci Tiffany, was the former US Trustee for the Central District of California, a political appointee by the first Bush, and a diletante whose obnoxiousness was tempered only by her aversion to hard work. For that, all local bankruptcy lawyers should feel some debt of gratitude). He is also very funny, which, unfortunately, is not his job.

In Los Angeles County, if you don't like the judge you've been assigned, you have at least one opportunity to recuse the judge, and you may do so for any reason, however petty. Although there are supposedly standards by which a Federal judge is supposed to recuse himself, it is an exceedingly rare process, and it's entirely up to the judge to decide whether he has a financial interest that may be affected (the appeals court might ultimately have a differing view, but such oversight is worthless when the parties have limited financial resources to challenge a bad ruling). At a time when the Federal Judiciary has become another political branch, and its judges have lifetime appointments, as well as unlimited power to settle scores and impose their beliefs on the parties that appear before them, such a policy invites the sort of judicial corruption exemplified by Alex Kozinski, Manuel Real, Lawrence Silberman, Clarence Thomas, and Antonin Scalia.

If a party to a Federal suit could recuse a judge at the beginning of a lawsuit, whether it's at trial or on appeal, it might discourage a judge from abusing his power in that matter. I have the impression that most judges, at least, aren't doing it for the paycheck. They love holding court, and gaining a reputation for being a local a-hole that parties either do not want to appear before, or wish to appear before them only because their views are so predictable, is one no judge truly wants.