September 20, 2003

As a follow-up to yesterday's post on Jill Stewart, I thought I would post links to the actual legislation the left-coast version of Ann Coulter refers to in her article. The bills are: AB 1245, AB 1309, AB 587, AB 1742, SB 796, SB 892, and AB 231. Since fact-checking and due dilligence seem to be rare commodities in blogtopia, I thought I would at least try to make a difference.

September 19, 2003

The Ninth Circuit has agreed to rehear this week's decision on the recall. My guess is that the panel will overturn the decision but still require the District Court to set a new date for the election (poss. the first week of November) so that the appeals can be properly heard.

UPDATE: Eight of the eleven judges on the en banc panel were originally nominated by Democratic Presidents, but none of the three who made the original ruling made it.

UPDATE [2]: The oral arguments before the Court of Appeals will be televised !!
He's not just your run-of-the-mill slimy politician, he's eeeeevvvvvviiilllllll:

Jill Stewart, on Gray Davis:
If the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals delays the recall, pity the voters who will be subjected to months of Gray Davis faking he likes church...and faking he's a good man.
The rest of her article is even better, if you like mendacious summaries of legislation (which she doesn't link to) with your breakfast. She even attacks a law that would punish schools if they don't keep sanitary bathrooms after getting 30 days notice to clean up !!

September 18, 2003

Anyone who saw Oscar de la Hoya kick the ass of Shane Mosley last Saturday must have been as baffled by the media reaction after the fight as the ridiculous decision by the three judges that created the fiasco. Sports contrarian Allan Barra explains why the viewers at home have a much better seat, and a more legitimate position, in determining who won the fight than the judges and reporters at ringside. One of the reforms he'd like to see for title fights is to allow judges to have access to the same TV angles of the fighters, and the same PunchStat numbers, that the TV audience has. [link via Off-Wing Opinion] It won't stop a crooked judge from overlooking the fact that one fighter landed over a hundred more punches than his opponent, but at least it's a start.
You know it's mid-September when the evenings start to get a little cooler, the kids are back in school, and Bill Plaschke has a column blaming the Dodgers' annual collapse on a non-white player. This time it's Odalis Perez, the team's most consistent (and hardest-working) pitcher, who gets attacked because he asked for (and received) a day off because one of the cuticles on his pitching hand broke off. Seems like a minor injury, sure, for those of us who don't have to put extreme pressure on that area of our body 100 times a night. Earlier this year, he attacked Kevin Brown for trying to pitch through injuries; now he rips a player for needing a day off because of an injury. Of course, the guy who replaced him in the rotation pitched brilliantly, and the team got shut out again, a problem that wouldn't have happened had Plaschke not driven Gary Sheffield out of town two years ago.

September 17, 2003

Ever since such stories became fashionable, nothing has been more boring to me than accounts of "political correctness" at schools and universities. I usually end up sympathizing with the person or group that has been attacked for taking offense at some alleged act of bigotry, due as much to my skepticism about the truthfulness of the account, rather than any political connection I might feel. Invariably, closer scrutiny of the story will reveal that either the Wall Street Journal editorial has once again taken the incident out of context, or that the frat boy really did use the "n-word", and the entire story will be revealed as a sham created out of thin air to attack some mythical stereotype of feminism, or to minimize the reality of bigotry by drawing a false moral equivalence between institutional racism and the misguided antics of some student groups.

Therefore, I think it is incumbent on me to comment on this little bit of outrage, which as far as I know has not been commented on by the usual suspects on the right. Here, you have an attempt to boycott the L.A. Daily News being organized by the Simi Valley teachers' union, to protest the newspapers criticisms of educational policy that the union finds unacceptable. The Daily News has a policy of providing free newspapers to local schools, and the United Association of Conejo is upset that the paper's policy of using often-hysterical headlines to publicize the editorial opinion on its news pages is giving short-shrift to their positions on teacher pay and the like.

Boycotting a newspaper is a reasonable political tactic, one that can be embraced as a worthy expression of free speech by those who do not have the funds, or the megaphone, that come from publishing a newspaper. I have defended the right of college students to toss student papers in the trash as an expression of that right, and oppose the efforts of people like Nat Hentoff to criminalize or punish such conduct. And, of course, conservatives themselves have used much the same tactics, when it comes to trying to censor the BBC or CNN because they were insufficiently supportive of both U.S. foreign and Israeli domestic policy.

But the teachers union has adopted an indefensible position on this issue, one that redounds to their discredit. Rather than using the paper's position as a starting point for the discussion of education issues in the classroom, or as a way of "teaching against the text" in better educating their students, and thereby using the paper to illustrate to impressionable children that simply because someone speaks from a position of authority doesn't mean that the person or institution is correct, instead the union is using its position to censure a contrary opinion, an opinion against their pecuniary interests.

Not surprisingly, as with any banned publication, that only makes the contents more alluring to their students. It is as unconstructive an educational policy as banning Huckleberry Finn or Catcher in the Rye because of objectionable language, and it only leads to making the rather banal political positions of a newspaper seem like forbidden fruit. [link via L.A. Observed]
Good summary of the political ramifications if the Supreme Court decides to get involved in the recall fracas. I'm still waiting for Volokh Conspiracy to weigh in on this; to date, the conservative reaction has spanned the range from ad hominem attacks on the three justices (here, here, here, and here) to strained efforts (here and here) at distinguishing Bush v. Gore, none of which has redounded to their credit, either politically or intellectually. I happen to believe that the Ninth Circuit's decision was a reasonable one from a legal standpoint (in any event, I have always thought that being the "most overturned appellate court" in the era of Rehnquist, Thomas and Scalia was the highest honor that could be given to a federal circuit; no one has any problems today with the dissents of either of the Harlans, for example), but may be questionable from a factual standpoint (are the methods of counting ballots to be used in March really that more accurate than the punch card system, so much that there is no "rational basis" to hold the quickie election?) I'm no law-review rat, so I'd be happy to read more learned opinions on this issue.

September 16, 2003

WHY I'M PROUDLY PALEO: This has to be the most clueless blog posting since the recall was scheduled, from Kausfiles:

Here's an anecdote from the Recorder's account that pretty much captures the seemingly condescending, museum-quality paleoliberal mindset of at least one of the three judges on the appelate panel:
[Judge Harry] Pregerson then playfully pointed out that education [in how to avoid punch card errors] might not work on tired workers, or workers harried by trying to find their polling place. Then he said those problems might be more of a concern to minority candidates (sic) who may have more reason to be tired at the end of the day than whites.

"In L.A., if you look around, see who's working and who isn't," Pregerson said, drawing laughter from the near-capacity courtroom.
I guess the definition of a neo-liberal is someone who believes non-whites don't work.

In a not-unexpected development, a justice on the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals has requested that the full circuit hear the appeal of yesterday's ruling on the recall circus. They will decide sometime tomorrow or Thursday whether to hear the appeal.

September 15, 2003

As you probably know already, the Ninth Circuit postponed the recall election until such time as each of the counties has done away with the archaic punch-card voting system. There isn't really a good argument for having the election in October, anyway, other than the fact that the arbitrary deadline for scheduling it was written into state law ninety years ago. It is generally a good thing in any democracy to allow voter passions to cool, which is why the recall proponents wanted (and needed) a quickie election.

If the Court's ruling stands, the election will likely be held in March, 2004, on the same date as the Presidential primary; that should improve Davis' chances of beating the recall (more Democrats will be voting then), but diminish the hopes of Bustamante (more time until the election allows the GOP to consolidate behind one candidate, who can spend Cruz into the ground over the next seven months). Since both Bustamante and A.S. have apparently stalled in the polls, any delay only serves to help the other candidates get their campaigns off the ground, or in the case of McClintock, to continue his momentum.

BTW, what a clever touch to base their decision on Bush v. Gore !!