November 12, 2005
I got to Chinatown from Sherman Oaks using "high speed" public transportation, a novelty in the city of Los Angeles, which extended what would normally be a half-hour to forty-five minute drive into an hour-and-ten minute commute. The Valley leg was spent on the brand-spanking-new Orange Line, a dedicated bus line that they're still working out the kinks. Last week a septuagenarian driver, allegedly talking on a cell phone, ran a couple of red lights and collided with an oncoming bus, injuring about a dozen people, and as a result the buses have to travel at ridiculously slow speeds at intersections until the locals can figure out the rudimentary elements of defensive driving.
More time gets wasted transfering to the subway (Red Line) and train (Gold Line) legs of the trip. Since the beginning of each line is also the end of the other, it would seem logical that the transit system would have it timed so that you could disembark from one and embark on the other within minutes, but that would require a level of competence heretofore not found in local government. At each stop, I waited a minimum of ten minutes for the next train to leave the station, reducing whatever time-saving benefits that would accrue if I were to use the system during rush hour.
In short, the MetroRail is going to have to elevate its game if it is going to achieve its goal of getting significant numbers of commuters out of their cars and off the freeways. Until then, the people who are going to use this system will be either residents who don't own cars, those who have time on their hands, or those who, like myself, would rather do the sudoku puzzle in the morning than sit in traffic for an hour.
1) an even more unpopular Governor; andWilson, of course, came back the following year and won a landslide over Brown, who, besides being a scion of California's great political dynasty, was also a well-known public figure in her own right.
2) trailed the likely Democratic nominee, the State Treasurer (Kathleen Brown), by a significant margin.
The big difference, however, is that Wilson had no career outside of politics. As such, he was pretty much defined by whether he could win public office, and once successful at that, whether he could win reelection. Other than his adoption of xenophobia as an electoral ideology, it would be hard to state what he stood for.
Ahnold, of course, has a life that doesn't revolve around winning the next election. He can always go back to Hollywood if things don't work out in Sacramento, or smoke cigars at his restaurant in Venice. He ran as a "reformer", and staked much of his political capital on the recent initiatives that the voters decisively defeated. With the defeat of Proposition 77, which sought to re-reapportion the districts legislators run in, the Democrats will continue to maintain their large majorities in both houses. California will remain a state of the deepest Blue variety until at least 2012.
He must now realize that even if he wins reelection next year, he will be little more than a figurehead, no different than the governor of Texas, with the ability only to veto and to occasionally make speeches. The agenda will be set by the Democrats in the state legislature, no matter how decisively he wins his own election next November. He knows that, and I suspect that's not why he got into politics.
I predict he won't run in 2006.
California!This evening, the
On our rugged eastern foothills
Stands our symbol, clear and bold.
"Big C" means to fight and strive
And win for Blue and Gold.
Golden Bear is ever watching.
Day by day he prowls.
And when he hears the tread of lowly
From his lair he fiercely growls!
UPDATE: U.S.C. 35, CAL 10: Never talk smack about an opponent when your QB's last name rhymes with "A Boob"....
November 11, 2005
November 10, 2005
Juan Cole, who actually thinks for a living (Go Blue !!), flushes the Canadian Kleagle back down his hole with this post, about this week's uprising in France.
November 09, 2005
With half the vote counted, but almost all of Los Angeles County still to be heard from, it's going to be a very bad morning for Ahnolt Ziffel. He came into office two years ago as a "reformer" who claimed to stand above politics, but now the people have rejected his proposals, in an off-year special election that he called, and which was timed to reduce the turnout of those most likely to oppose him. Even if he wins reelection, he goes into 2006 knowing that is certain that an overwhelmingly liberal, Democratic legislature will also be elected means he would spend the next four years as a figurehead.
The magic is gone. Don't be surprised if Variety publishes a production listing for the shooting of Terminator 4 in 2007.
UPDATE: As of 1 a.m., Prop. 75 is pretty much done, trailing by 5%, with about half of L.A. County and a quarter of Alameda County (two of the biggest liberal counties in the state) to be counted. Prop. 73 is hanging in there; it is perhaps the only initiative that hasn't lost significant ground since the absentee ballots were counted, but it's still going to lose after all the ballots are counted. Good night.
November 08, 2005
November 07, 2005
--Cenk Uygur, HuffPost
Bush isn’t going to make a comeback. He’s fallen and he can’t get up.
A comeback presupposes substance and ability. A worthy character who has suffered some setbacks, bad luck or simple human mistakes can make a comeback because he has it in him. Tom Brady of the New England Patriots, Michael Jordan, the Boston Red Sox can mount comebacks. The Arizona Cardinals are not making a comeback this season. They don’t have the team and the ability to straighten out what has gone wrong. They will continue to lose until the end of the season.
George Bush is the Arizona Cardinals. His team is terrible and he refuses to change any of his players. He doesn’t have the personality suited for making necessary changes. Quickly adjusting to changing circumstances is not his forte, stubbornness is. Even if he had the inclination to make a change, he doesn’t have the ability. He simply doesn’t know what the hell he is doing.
He is lazy, uninterested and incompetent. He views the presidency as homework. He seems to enjoy politics (at least while he’s up), but he doesn’t enjoy policy. He is detached from decision making and his decision makers have led him dangerously astray. Finally and most importantly, he doesn’t care to get it right.
George W. Bush will never put in the long hours to make sure we have the right policy in Iraq, in the war on terror, in the budget or anything else that concerns actual governing. He finds these things to be tedious. In reality, they are essential to the job of being President. He is overmatched.
And when you’re overmatched, you don’t put together second half comebacks. You get crushed.
November 06, 2005
But it beats the status quo. The current lines were redrawn in 2001 with the intention of protecting incumbents of both parties (the large Democratic majorities in both houses of the State Legislature and in the Congressional delegation were inherited from the previous lines, which were also drawn by a judicial panel), with two underlying goals: defend the seat held by Democrat Gary Condit (remember him?); and save Representative Howard Berman from a primary challenge by a Latino opponent. The net result was a one-seat pick-up for the party in 2002, while the partisan margin in both state houses was essentially unchanged.
Berman has been a terrific Congressman, and I certainly do not wish him any misfortune in his future political career, but the result has been a disaster for the Party. In the 2004 election, Barbara Boxer, arguably the most liberal member of the Senate, won reelection by 20 percentage points, over a moderate-conservative Republican who had won several previous statewide elections. In terms of vote count, it may well have been the largest margin of victory in any contested Federal statewide election in American history. And as I've mentioned before, she lost by very small margins in the districts of two Republican congressmen of note, Duke Cunningham and Christopher Cox. John Kerry, of course, kicked the President's ass here as well, winning by ten points.
Any fairly-drawn set of districts that are designed to produce competitive races should be able to give Democrats at least 3-4 more Representatives. Of course, in a year when the Republican tide is running strong in this state, it will also benefit that party as well. Those should be the breaks in a democracy.
UPDATE [9/7]: Kash (of Angry Bear) and Kos also support 77, while Prof. Kleiman is an emphatic no. Kevin Drum is also opposed, but is not unsympathetic to the reformist argument. Of all the reasons to vote against Prop. 77, the possibility that it will create "compact" districts that will favor Republicans (besides being untrue in California, which has become a decidedly lopsided Blue State in the past fifteen years) is the least persuasive. Partisan gerrymandering should be no more acceptable if it's done to benefit Democrats then when it's done in states like Florida, Ohio, Pennsylvania and Texas to benefit the GOP. And personally, I don't give a flying santorum if California's Democratic incumbents actually have to campaign in competitive districts in 2006, or even have to figure how to appeal to suburban and exurban voters in the O.C. and San Berdoo to win a swing district. This is a democracy, not the freaking Politburo.