Patterico's Pontifications

8/31/2003

 
LITTLE SKIM MILK BUT LOTS OF SHOPLIFTERS: A Dog Trainer editorial complains that there are no quality grocery stores in South L.A. The editorial begins: "Rent-by-the-hour motel rooms are easier to find in South Los Angeles than a quart of skim milk." It goes on to compare the variety of foods sold in South L.A. groceries unfavorably with the variety sold in West L.A.

Fair enough. But the editorial praises a South Los Angeles activist who is "working to block the construction of new motels and to bring in grocery stores, or at least get the ones already there to carry healthier food." And I just can't help but think that this same activist is probably dead set against any significant punishment for criminals such as repeat shoplifters, burglars, and robbers -- who, you have to believe, are a principal reason you don't see entrepreneurs rushing to establish businesses in South L.A.


8/30/2003

 
BLOGGING LIGHT: Blogging will probably be light during this Labor Day weekend.


8/29/2003

 
HILLARY NOT RUNNING: "I am absolutely ruling it out," Hillary says.

So did Mr. N-Word.


 
HOWARD DEAN, CANDIDATE OF GRAFFITI: While the rest of the world works to get rid of graffiti, the Howard Dean campaign commissions it.


 
OVERSEER FAULTS LAPD ON CITIZEN COMPLAINTS: The Dog Trainer reports: "Undercover LAPD officers posing as citizens trying to report police misconduct were routinely dismissed or stonewalled by fellow officers in a series of stings, according to the federal monitor overseeing reforms after the Rampart corruption scandal."

Once I called LAPD's Southeast Division and asked the guy at the front desk for the number for Internal Affairs. I wrote down the number he gave me, but it didn't work. When I later learned the correct number, I looked again at the number the desk officer had given me. He had transposed two of the digits.

Whoops!


 
CRUZ OR JOE?: It has already been noted that Mr. N-Word Cruz Bustamante looks just like character actor Jon Polito. But has anyone else noticed that he sounds like Joe Mantegna?


 
JUSTICE VS. WINNING: The New York Times runs a story titled Prosecutors Fight DNA Use for Exoneration. How embarrassing. It is true, as the prosecutors point out, that there may be cases where a defendant can obtain DNA results favorable to him, and still not be "exonerated" due to independent evidence of the defendant's guilt. But to oppose the testing just doesn't sit well. Prosecutors should allow any statutorily authorized testing to go forward without challenge. Fighting it just looks bad.


8/28/2003

 
MAYBE "UN" STOOD FOR THE "UNITED NATIONS": The Washington Post has today a requiem for the "road map" titled All Sides Failed to Follow 'Road Map'. The story contains this quote:

A mutual cease-fire was one of the first steps called for in the road map, and persuading the militants to unilaterally declare a truce was considered by the Abbas government to be a major achievement and goodwill gesture toward Israel. But Israel rejected the cease-fire as a ruse and never matched it.
The Post does not say whether Israel was right to see the so-called cease-fire as a ruse. Even assuming that the Post takes the position that it should not take sides, newspapers have a duty at least to report the relevant facts, so that readers can make up their own minds. Let's look at some facts regarding whether the "acceptance" of the "cease-fire" was indeed a ruse -- all facts that the Post does not bother to mention.

First, let's look at what the "road map" requires. The text of the road map provides: "In Phase I, the Palestinians immediately undertake an unconditional cessation of violence according to the steps outlined below."

Now here is a link to the text of the "acceptance" of the cease fire by Hamas and Islamic Jihad. The statement says, in relevant part, that these groups offer the "[s]uspension of the military operations against the Zionist enemy for three months, effective today, in return for the following conditions."

"Conditions"?? Yes, "conditions."

Several conditions are then set forth. One of the most obviously absurd and objectionable: "The release of all prisoners and detainees, Palestinian and Arab, from occupation prisons without condition or restriction. . . ." (Imagine if Al Queda offered us a three-month cease-fire, with numerous conditions that included releasing all incarcerated Al Queda terrorists.)

What part of "unconditional" does the Post not understand? I'll tell you: the "un" part.

You should not be too surprised to learn that the rest of the article is little more than criticism of Israel and the United States, with only pro forma acknowledgments of Palestinian culpability.


 
NEW YORK TIMES TRUMPS DOG TRAINER FOR HONESTY IN EDITORIALS: It is nice to see the New York Times, discussing the Roy Moore flap in an editorial, acknowledge that "Alabama's attorney general, William Pryor Jr., also argued for the monument's removal."

Of course, the Times is quick to ascribe a nasty motive:

Some of Chief Justice Moore's supporters charge that Mr. Pryor, who had been a strong defender of the monument, switched sides to curry favor with Senate Democrats in Washington, who have filibustered his nomination to the United States Court of Appeals for the 11th Circuit, based in Atlanta, the same court that ordered that the monument be removed.
This is not completely honest. After all, the Times can point to no actual switching of sides, acknowledging that even today, "Mr. Pryor says that he believes the monument is legal, but that the 11th Circuit's order must be obeyed." But at least the editorial tells you that Pryor favors obeying the court's order.

That's more than you can say for the perennially dishonest people on the editorial board of the Los Angeles Times, who (as I mentioned the other day) stated in their editorial that "Alabama Atty. Gen. William H. Pryor, nominated to the circuit court that ordered the monument removed, opposes the order" -- without ever once noting Pryor's consistent position that court orders must be obeyed.


 
ARNOLD ON THE ISSUES: Arnold went on the radio yesterday and gave his opinion on the issues. The linked story describes an interview done by Sean Hannity; I heard a similar one done by Larry Elder, described briefly here.

In the interview with Hannity, Arnold dodged a question about Prop. 187, saying: "That is an issue with the federal government because the governor has nothing, [not] really much power over those things." He said much the same thing on the Larry Elder show.

I was disappointed to see this dodge, though I understand why he's doing it (to avoid pissing off the Latinos). You never know how the issue might pop up. The driver's license bill is just one example -- and I was glad to hear him opposing that. But I mentioned the other day a bill -- passed in California and signed by Gray Davis -- to give in-state tuition at California universities to illegal immigrants (while out-of-state residents who are U.S. citizens must on average pay $11,000 extra annually). The bill clearly defies federal law, but the feds are doing nothing about it (just like they are essentially doing nothing to deport the illegals). What about that, Arnold?

You can't just say "Prop. 187 was declared unconstitutional" and leave it at that. The pro-illegal immigrant lobby is constantly coming up with new ways to treat illegals as if they were really just regular citizens. Californians are entitled to know whether Arnold will be on board when the next such travesty arises.


8/27/2003

 
WIPE THAT GRIN OFF YOUR FACE, EH?: Apparently Canadians aren't allowed to smile for their passport pictures. It is a requirement that "[t]he face must be square to the camera with a neutral expression and with the mouth closed."

(Via The Corner.)


 
GOOD ONE: Forgive the rest of Steve Lopez's dumb column today, because he still managed to come up with this line about Arnold: "We know he's strong, but can he bench press Cruz Bustamante?"


8/26/2003

 
SOLVING MURDERS VS. BEING POLITICALLY CORRECT: Imagine this scenario: a close friend or relative of yours is murdered in the course of a carjacking. The police obtain a surveillance photo of the murderer. Unfortunately, from the photo, they can give no better description of the killer than "a Hispanic male, between 20 and 30 years of age, medium build and medium height." The police propose to call a news conference asking for the public's assistance in finding the killer. What do you say?

The correct answer is, of course, that you should say: "Please don't say that the murderer is Hispanic." When the police say: "But he appears to be Hispanic," you should reply: "You need to demonstrate sensitivity and thoughtfulness in using race and ethnicity to describe crime suspects. Is his ethnicity really an important detail? Besides, 'Hispanic' is a vague term that should be retired as a term of physical description. Why, it's no more helpful than saying that the killer was a Californian."

Well, that's what you would say if you were the idiot who wrote this moronic op-ed in the Los Angeles Times.

Apparently, bowing to the hypersensitivity of ethnic victicrats like this guy is more important than solving murders. And when such nonsense is spouted, rather than pointing and laughing in derision, we should furrow our brows with understanding and concern, and print the garbage on the pages of a major metropolitan newspaper.

You know what? If you want to know what's wrong with this country, this mentality ain't a bad place to start.


 
BREAKING PLEDGES: Contrary to an early campaign promise, Arnold is accepting campaign contributions. The Dog Trainer headline screams: Former Davis Donors Give to Rivals; Schwarzenegger Breaks Money Vow.

Don't get me wrong. I think it's relevant that Arnold broke this pledge. But when Mr. N-Word Cruz Bustamante entered the race, wasn't it relevant that he had pledged to stay out? Where were the screaming headlines then?


 
ANOTHER LETTER WRITER FOOLED BY DOG TRAINER COVERAGE: Here is a letter in today's local Dog Trainer:

Re 'Car Chases Way Down, Police Say,' Aug. 20: How wonderful that the LAPD has a new policy regarding car chases. Perhaps Police Chief William J. Bratton can teach the California Highway Patrol a lesson. On Aug. 15, a young man named Aaron Keller was killed as a result of the CHP chasing a stolen car. Besides all the usual reasons for mourning his death, Aaron was one of the brightest and best teachers at Fairfax High School.

Those of us in education know how valuable good teachers are. Aaron's enthusiasm and love for his profession and students will never be replaced. What car is worth this price?
Such accidents are truly tragedies. However:

As I pointed out the other day, the new LAPD policy would not have prevented this sort of tragedy. LAPD still chases suspected car thieves.

But (as I also pointed out) the Dog Trainer did its best to make it sound otherwise.


 
MORE AGAINST MOORE: I am proud to note that most conservatives have joined me in denouncing the crazy right-wing silliness of the Fox News suit against Al Franken, and the Roy Moore Ten Commandments deal. Today the WSJ weighs in on the latter with an editorial (registration required) that says Moore's "defiance of U.S. District Court Judge Myron Thompson's order to remove the monument has resulted, appropriately, in his suspension from the bench." The editorial goes on to say: "If Justice Moore wants to become a professional protester and ignore federal court orders, he'll need to hang up his robe first."

Amen.


 
FUND ON THE POLLS: John Fund (the alleged wife-beater at the Wall Street Journal with the Cheshire cat smile) has an excellent analysis of the latest Dog Trainer poll showing Bustamante so far ahead. Fund makes every point that Patterico would wish to make and then some. (What the heck -- they're paying him to do this.)

Two points stand out to me. First, Simon got 6% in the poll, but dropped out before it was published. Second: "The Los Angeles Times poll also was taken over a six-day period. The first four days of the survey Mr. Schwarzenegger was being relentlessly attacked for hiding from voters. On Wednesday of last week he emerged to hold a successful news conference and start his TV ad campaign. Susan Pinkus, director of the Los Angeles Times poll, told me she noticed a clear uptick in Schwarzenegger's numbers in the days following that conference, although she doesn't have any hard numbers to demonstrate that trend."

The bottom line is: Bustamante is ahead, but not by as much as the Times poll suggested. (I have long since predicted that Mr. N-Word will become Governor, so I am not surprised by Bustamante's lead, and expect it to remain.) Also, Davis is in worse trouble than the poll shows.


8/25/2003

 
FOX DROPS FRANKENSUIT: "Fox News dropped its lawsuit against Al Franken on Monday, three days after a federal judge refused to block the liberal humorist from using the Fox slogan 'Fair and Balanced' on the cover of his book."

Didn't I recommend this just the other day? (Okay, I wasn't the only one to do so. But still.)

UPDATE: Drudge's link to this story has the same heading as mine: "Fox Drops Frankensuit." Coincidence? Or is it just that obvious a headline?


 
SCOTT RITTER -- SOMETIMES THE NUT IS RIGHT: Scott Ritter's op-ed in today's New York Times is titled A Weapons Cache We'll Never See. He asks why the U.S. allowed the looting of the building housing the Iraqi National Monitoring Directorate, which was "the repository for every Iraqi government record relating to its weapons programs." I do believe I have pontificated on the general issue of similar looting before (check out this post and this post for complaints from May and related links).

He's a nut, but when you're right, you're right.


 
POSTER BOY FOR THE DEATH PENALTY: It has always seemed to me that a guy serving a life sentence for murder, who murders someone in prison, provides a pretty good argument for the death penalty. Take, for example, Joseph L. Druce, the guy who murdered pedophile ex-priest John J. Geoghan. The Washington Post reports: "Druce, 37, was immediately isolated and will be charged with murder, investigators said. Massachusetts does not have a death penalty, so it is unclear what additional punishment he could receive since he is serving a life sentence for strangling a man in 1988. He also was convicted while in prison of attempting an anthrax scare by sending envelopes filled with white powder and covered in Swastikas to about 30 Jewish lawyers nationwide in 2001."

Since Druce obviously knew that murdering Geoghan would result in no real punishment, it appears that starry-eyed Massachusetts liberalism may have cost Geoghan his life. Of course, those of you who believe in rough-and-ready prison justice -- the more people raped and murdered on the inside, the better -- will applaud this result. Those of us who believe in due process are appalled at the image of a murderer grinning from ear to ear with the knowledge that he can murder people repeatedly and get nothing worse than a few weeks in isolation, or perhaps a temporary suspension of his rec yard privileges.


 
MOORE NUTTINESS: Judge Roy Bean, er, Moore explains in a Wall Street Journal op-ed why he felt compelled to disobey the clear and unambiguous order of federal judge Myron Thompson: "By telling the state of Alabama that it may not acknowledge God, Judge Thompson effectively dismantled the justice system of the state."

No hyperbole there. To see what a nut case this guy is, read the whole thing. (Registration required.)


8/24/2003

 
Over at The Corner, Rod Dreher, a member of the Dallas Morning News editorial staff, says the editors have started a blog in which readers can see which people hold which opinions.

Dreher says: "No matter which side you're on, it's useful for readers to see the kind of thinking, and the kind of people doing the thinking, that goes into the creation of the editorial positions of a major American daily newspaper. This kind of transparency serves the reader, who can see the ed board's biases plainly. This might sound self-serving, but I bet newspaper readers elsewhere in the country would benefit if their daily's editorial board did the same thing."

I completely agree. It would be very interesting to know who writes the various editorials for the major papers, including:

* the dishonest ones, like the ones I discussed here, here, and here;

* the annoyingly cutesy ones, like the ones I discussed here, here, here, and here;

* the ones with boneheaded factual errors, like the ones I discussed here, here, and here;

* the ones that discuss Supreme Court decisions (generally criticizing Antonin Scalia) without reading the opinions, like these, or this, or this;

* the condescending ones about Ward Connerly, like the one discussed here;

* the cop-hating ones, like the ones I discussed here and here;

and even:

* the occasional one that makes sense, like these, or the ones I discussed here and here.

Wouldn't it be great if these guys at the Los Angeles Times or New York Times or Washington Post came out from behind the curtain and took responsibility? If they would tell us, for example: "Yeah, I'm the cop-hater" or "I'm the liar" or "I'm the guy who can't get his facts right"?

Don't hold your breath.


8/23/2003

 
ACCEPTED WISDOM: It is Accepted Wisdom that:

The initiative process in California shows the dangers inherent in rule by the majority. Our Founding Fathers wisely set up a representative democracy because they feared government policy being dictated by the masses.

And at the same time:

Al Gore won the popular vote, and should be President. It is high time we did away with the Electoral College, which is a clumsy relic of the era of the Founding Fathers, who were unduly suspicious of rule by the majority.


 
ANOTHER BRILLIANT ANALYSIS IN THE DOG TRAINER: Today's nonsense is a ridiculous piece by Tim Rutten titled: Left-leaning Hollywood: A myth dies. The opening sentence: "If Arnold Schwarzenegger's gubernatorial campaign does nothing else, it ought to excise the mythology of liberal Hollywood from our popular consciousness once and for all."

Uh-huh. Yeah.

The article presents the compelling evidence that Hollywood Republicans include, not just Arnold, but also Tom Selleck, Bruce Willis, and Mel Gibson. Can you believe it?! (I'll help Rutten out and give him one he didn't think of: Chuck Heston.) Since Hollywood has about ten stars total, this demonstrates beyond all doubt that about half of Hollywood is Republican. And so the myth of liberal Hollywood is exposed.

In unrelated news, this article reports that the powers behind the powerful Hollywood organization "Creative Artists Agency" are furious at the suggestion that the agency might help Arnold in his bid for governor. After the article appeared, "CAA, whose 570 employees are overwhelmingly Democrats, quickly distanced itself from Schwarzenegger's campaign."

Some Hollywood Democrats who are named in the article as opposing Schwarzenegger include: Tom Hanks, Woody Harrelson, Martin Sheen, Carrie Fisher, Debbie Reynolds, Cybill Shepherd, Barbra Streisand, Steven Spielberg, Warren Beatty, Susan Sarandon, Al Franken, Ed Asner, Mike Farrell, and Rob Reiner. (Apparently, nobody asked Tim Robbins, Alec Baldwin, Kim Basinger, Julia Roberts, Michael Moore, Rosie O'Donnell, Robert Altman, Danny Glover, Jessica Lange, Joanne Woodward, Jane Fonda, Janeane Garofalo, Cher, Sheryl Crow, Bono, Sean Penn, Anjelica Huston, Harry Belafonte, George Clooney, Sharon Stone, Jennifer Aniston, Oprah, John Cusack, Madonna, Ed Harris, Kate Hudson, Richard Gere, Ed Norton, Dustin Hoffman, Larry Hagman, Matt Damon, Robert Redford, Woody Allen, Whoopi Goldberg, David Clennon, James Cromwell, Kevin Costner, or Johnny Depp.)

Oh -- and the "liberal media" is a myth too.

(Thanks to FAMOUSIDIOT.COM (Slogan: "The Art of Confusing Fame with Wisdom") and Hollywood Halfwits for many of the links.)


 
SIMON DROPS OUT: "Republican Bill Simon dropped out of the California recall race today, boosting the position of GOP front-runner Arnold Schwarzenegger amid calls from party leaders to consolidate behind fewer candidates."

Next target: McClintock. "McClintock campaign spokesman Joe Giardiello insisted today that McClintock would stay in the race and said he was not under pressure to exit." Of course, I heard Simon saying the exact same thing on the radio not one week ago.


 
QUOTE OF THE DAY: A nice illustration of the Democrats' conflicted stance on the California recall can be found in your local Dog Trainer:"San Francisco Mayor Willie Brown, speaking with a Times reporter after the Davis fund-raiser, said, 'I'll probably vote for Cruz, but I'm not interested in anyone knowing that.'"

Yeah, Willie. That's why you said it to a reporter for the Los Angeles Times.


8/22/2003

 
FRANKEN WINS: "A federal judge on Friday denied Fox News Channel's request for an injunction to block humorist Al Franken's new book, whose title mocks the Fox slogan 'fair and balanced.' . . . U.S. District Judge Denny Chin said the book — 'Lies and the Lying Liars Who Tell Them: A Fair and Balanced Look at the Right' — is a parody protected by the First Amendment. . . . 'There are hard cases and there are easy cases,' the judge said. 'This is an easy case. This case is wholly without merit, both factually and legally.'"

Absolutely -- as I said a week ago. But the denial of the injunction does not technically end the suit. Isn't it time Fox News cut its losses and just dismissed this dog?


 
MOORE SUSPENDED: "Chief Justice Roy Moore was suspended by a judicial ethics panel Friday for his refusal to obey a federal court order to remove his Ten Commandments monument from the Alabama Judicial Building rotunda."

As I said this morning, this guy shouldn't be a judge.


 
PREDICTABLE OUTRAGE: The latest "illegal immigrant exception" to the law is described in the Dog Trainer here: "Maywood has agreed to a four-month moratorium on police checkpoints, criticized by some for mainly ensnaring illegal immigrants who can't get driver's licenses."

Yup. You didn't read that wrong. Maywood was doing checkpoints to catch unlicensed drivers, but stopped because too many of the unlicensed drivers they were catching were illegal immigrants. Apparently their status as illegal immigrants makes it wrong to punish them for disobeying the law. As the Hispanic Mayor Pro-Tem explained: "I honestly believe that the community basically said, 'Look, city of Maywood, your checkpoints not only get unlicensed drivers, but they also get unlicensed drivers who can't get driver licenses.'"

Gotta look out for the illegal immigrant exception.

But what do you expect from a state that charges out-of-state tuition rates to U.S. citizens from other states, but in-state tuition to illegal aliens?


 
LISTEN TO FEINSTEIN: "Sen. Dianne Feinstein, one of the state's most popular elected Democrats, said during a campaign appearance in L.A. with Davis that 'I am not going to vote on the second part of the ballot.' . . . . Feinstein, who has scolded Bustamante for running after originally saying he wouldn't, added that 'I'm going to vote on the first part of the ballot, and my vote is going to be to vote no on the recall.'"

Given that the first part of the ballot is completely unaffected by whether or how you vote on the second part, this is a completely boneheaded thing to say. I strongly urge all Democrats voting "no" on the recall to follow Feinstein's advice.


 
ROY MOORE: You know, I haven't really followed this whole Ten Commandments bunch of nonsense in Alabama. And longtime Patterico readers know I don't trust the press to give you the straight poop. But, if the facts are as reported (a big "if"), and this guy is really violating a clear judicial order -- well, he just has no business being the Chief Justice of their Supreme Court. I don't care what the issue is.

Kudos to Bill Pryor for taking the position that the judicial orders must be followed. And shame on the habitually dishonest editorial staff of the Dog Trainer, which printed the following misrepresentation: "Alabama Atty. Gen. William H. Pryor, nominated to the circuit court that ordered the monument removed, opposes the order" -- without explaining to readers that Pryor has also consistently maintained that state officials have a "legal duty to obey the federal injunction."


8/21/2003

 
QUIZ FOR THE READER: The quiz is simple. Why am I laughing bitterly at the following story? It is titled Hamas, Islamic Jihad Scrap Israel Truce. Here is the first paragraph: "Palestinian militants called off a tattered two-month-old truce on Thursday after an Israeli helicopter killed a senior Hamas political leader with a volley of missiles. Tens of thousands of Hamas supporters marched in protest through the streets of Gaza, vowing revenge."

Did you guess that a "truce" is not much of a truce when it encompasses one of the deadliest bus bombings in Israel's history? If so, you win the grand prize. (Grand prize to be named later.)


 
ANOTHER MISLEADING DOG TRAINER STORY ON POLICE PURSUITS: The Dog Trainer worked for years to deprive LAPD officers of their ability to chase people who flee. The paper's M.O. was to loudly trumpet any bad incident that happened as a result of a police pursuit, and to falsely imply that a different policy would have prevented the bad incident. Largely in response to this unremitting campaign by the Times, LAPD finally changed its policy in January. Yesterday's Dog Trainer story was a glowing testimonial to what the paper obviously considers the smashing success of the new LAPD policy on police chases.

The article explains the genesis of the new policy by recounting, for the umpteenth time, three bad incidents that occurred over the last couple of years. What the story doesn't tell you is that the new policy would not have prevented any of the bad incidents that gave rise to the policy:

"As the collateral damage from chases piled up, so did the bad publicity. An elderly couple who survived the holocaust were severely injured near the Beverly Center in March 2002 by a driver who fled after he was stopped for a traffic infraction. . . . A 4-year-old girl was killed two months later when a suspected car thief pursued by Los Angeles police ran a red light on a busy downtown street, causing a chain-reaction accident. . . . On Dec. 3, 2002, a 2 1/2-week-old boy lost an arm after his parents' sport-utility vehicle was broadsided by a car carrying four men involved in a high-speed pursuit in Sylmar.

"Shaken by those incidents, the Los Angeles Police Commission adopted the new policy in January that banned the use of infractions — including minor offenses such as broken taillights — to justify a pursuit. . . . The guidelines also called for the LAPD to use helicopters as the favored means of tracking suspects."

Let me summarize. Under the wonderful new policy, there are 1) no chases for minor infractions, and 2) LAPD tries to let patrol cars back off and let helicopters do the monitoring. And that, we are led to believe, would have prevented the three awful incidents mentioned above.

Sounds great, until you look at the facts of the three incidents.

In the first incident, where the holocaust survivors were injured, LAPD had handled the pursuit by turning over the chase to a helicopter -- just as the new policy prescribes. As this article says: "Tremine Tillman, 23, of Van Nuys was later arrested and charged with evading arrest and hit-and-run driving. The LAPD says the police cruiser was no longer chasing Tillman--initially noticed because of a questionable registration--when the accident occurred." This pursuit would have been handled the same way today -- by helicopter. Evidently chasing helicopters can still cause fleeing motorists to drive dangerously.

In the second incident, a four-year old girl was killed when police were chasing -- not someone who had committed an infraction -- but rather a suspected car thief: "Two months after the Polivoda incident, on June 1, a chain reaction accident caused by a car-theft suspect fleeing from Los Angeles Police Department in downtown L.A., killed four-year-old Evelyn Vargas, who was on her way to visit an uncle with her mom and her three siblings." I got news for you: car theft is not an infraction. So this pursuit would have happened anyway under the new policy.

In the third incident, where the boy lost his arm, the paper does not mention that police were chasing four men in connection in connection with a felony stabbing call. Here's how the paper described the incident in an earlier story: "On Dec. 3, a 2 1/2-week-old boy lost an arm after his parents' sport utility vehicle was broadsided by a car occupied by four men fleeing police during a short, high-speed pursuit in Sylmar. In that case, police were responding to a felony stabbing call." Stabbing someone is not an infraction either, thank goodness. So this chase would still happen under the new policy too.

Not one of these incidents would have been prevented by the new policy. And unless you want police to stop chasing suspected car thieves and people who stab people, such tragic incidents are going to happen again. Meanwhile, literally countless (since they cannot be counted) criminals will evade arrest. People run from police for a reason. Murder suspects are often arrested because they flee after a routine traffic infraction. This cost of the policy is not addressed in the story.

Let me end with this quote from a cherry-picked expert on police pursuits: "Los Angeles has had the reputation as a department that would chase at the drop of a hat and until the wheels fell off."

Let me translate that for you. Los Angeles has had the reputation as a department that would chase people when police tried to stop them -- and they fled. Worse, police would keep chasing fleeing suspects until they caught them!

Pretty awful, huh? Thank goodness that's not the policy anymore.


8/20/2003

 
FURTHER RESPONSE ON OLIVERIO MARTINEZ: I told you recently about a response I had gotten from the "Reader's Representative" at the Los Angeles Times on the Oliverio Martinez case, which I have discussed extensively on these pages. As before, I warn you: this is long. Read it only if you have been following the issue, or you are otherwise interested. To get acquainted with the issue, read my last post on the topic. Background and links to earlier posts are all provided there.

Here is the latest missive from the Reader's Representative, which I received (and replied to) today:

We're not always this slow in responding, I'm sorry. It's been particularly busy lately.

The reporter did get back to me on this. He read and listened to the taped recorded statement to which you refer. He says that toward the end of the tape, after Sgt. Chavez asks Martinez repeatedly to admit he grabbed the officer's gun, Martinez says "yes", meaning he grabbed the officer's gun. However, the reporter made the judgment that he thought no one "put a lot of stock in that admission."

Here, according to the reporter, is paragraph 2 of Justice Thomas's opinion siding with the Oxnard police:

"There is some dispute about what occurred during the altercation. The officers claim that Martinez drew (Ofc) Salinas' gun from its holster and pointed it at them. Martinez denies this. Both sides agree, however, that Salinas yelled, 'He's got my gun!' Pena (the other officer) then drew her gun and shot Martinez several times, causing severe injuries that left Martinez permanently blinded and paralyzed from the waist down."

Added the reporter in his note to me, "In reporting this incident--a shooting at night when no one can see well--I thought it best to use the officer's shout--'he's got my gun'--followed by the shooting."

The reporter's role is often to make judgments like this -- to report the story based on his assessment of the facts. As readers, we hope and trust that the reporters are fair and intelligent. But editing is a subjective thing. You said you thought the information belonged in the article so readers could decide for themselves; other editors might have agreed with you. I would guess that, were an editor to have told Savage to include in his story information about the tape, Savage would have insisted on reporting that his judgment was that the "admission" was forced and that the justices implied they thought the same. That would have, of course, taken up more space, which is probably part of why it wasn't part of the story.

In any case, the reporter knows that you thought that information belonged in the piece.

If you have time to respond, please feel free. Thank you again for your interest.

Jamie Gold
Readers' Representative


I responded to the Reader's Representative as follows:

Thank you for your reply. I expect this is the last message I will send you on the topic.

I still think your analysis entirely ignores the context of my complaint, which was addressed to the entirety of the coverage your paper provided that day -- not just Savage's story. Readers who followed Savage's piece to the back pages had their eyes drawn to a companion piece on the facing page: a portrait of Martinez (the plaintiff in the case) which positively flowed over with sympathy for his plight. Let me give you the flavor of this piece, in case you have not read it. The piece was titled: "'It's 'Just Wrong,' Says the Plaintiff." The sub-head read: "Oliverio Martinez is blind and paralyzed, and lives in a cramped trailer. He attributes his problems to his shooting by Oxnard police." Here are some representative quotes from this piece:

"Oliverio Martinez hadn't yet heard the news about his case, but that was no surprise. . . . He lives a world away from the marble chambers of the U.S. Supreme Court. He doesn't have a phone, or even a bathroom. With his father, Oliverio Sr., he resides in a dark, cramped trailer about the size of a suburban walk-in closet, a dilapidated tin box outside Camarillo beside the strawberry fields he had worked for the better part of 20 years. . . . Martinez, 35, is blind and paralyzed. His prospects shrank dramatically one November night in 1997 when he was shot five times by Oxnard police. . . . Celebrating his father's birthday, Martinez planned to go out with [his girlfriend] tonight, perhaps for seafood. . . . She will give Martinez's father a shirt and a pair of pants. Martinez will give him the only gift he said he could afford — a hug."

You can almost hear the studio audience saying: "Awwwwwwww."

If you think I am cherry-picking quotes favorable to Martinez, then please, by all means, go to your archives and read the whole thing. Look at the picture of Martinez in his wheelchair. See if you can honestly say you don't think the paper was taking sides with this piece.

In addition, as I have mentioned, an editorial that day (titled "Justice Takes a Beating") made the blatant misrepresentation: "In the end, the officers got nothing useful from Martinez and never charged him with a crime." We have agreed that the editorial writer likely got his facts from Savage's story.

This is the context within which I find it so outrageous that your paper never once told its readers that (to quote the Supreme Court opinion at paragraph 4): "Later in the interview, Martinez admitted that he took the gun from the officer's holster and pointed it at police." (By the way, the opinion does not imply that the admission was coerced; rather, at page 13, the opinion rejects the contention that Sgt. Chavez acted egregiously, noting that there was no evidence that the questioning was intended to, or had the effect of, interfering with Martinez's medical treatment.)

I have a friend who read your coverage that day -- including the puff piece on the plaintiff -- and decided that he felt so sorry for Martinez, he was actually going to send him some money. I pointed my friend to the passage in the Supreme Court opinion which states that Martinez had admitted pulling the gun. My friend found this admission tremendously more significant than the predictable fact (which was reported in both news stories) that police had disputed Martinez' current version of events. I think many of your readers might agree -- if the paper had only bothered to tell them.

I do indeed believe that your readers had a right to know about this admission, and to decide for themselves whether to "put stock" in the admission. I have to tell you, I don't think this is a close call -- at all. I can also tell you that my friend felt betrayed by your newspaper's decision to omit this information. Everyone to whom I have told this story has shaken their heads in disbelief that your paper could make such an egregious omission.

However, I can see that I have failed to persuade anyone that the Times's treatment of this story is problematic. To me, this is but further evidence of the problem you have over there.

Nevertheless, I admire the fact that you are making an effort to address questions such as these, however long it takes. And -- although it does not appear that I will be hearing from the author of the puff piece or the editorial -- I nevertheless appreciate the fact that you posed my questions to at least one of the reporters.

Sincerely,

Patrick Frey


 
WHY I AM VOTING TO RECALL DAVIS: I have opposed holding a recall election as a bad precedent, and I refused to sign the petition. Nevertheless, I am voting to recall the jerk.

(Do I contradict myself?
Very well then I contradict myself.
)

I could never actually cast a vote against the recall, because that would feel too much like voting for Davis. Ick. Even if I were inclined to do that, how could I now that he is signing onto the "Republicans steal elections" mythology? Yesterday he said: "This recall is bigger than California. What's happening here is part of an ongoing national effort to steal elections that Republicans cannot win."

Yup, Democrats are planning to add this recall to the "Republicans steal elections" book of myths. It all began with the "Republicans stole the election in Florida" myth (long since debunked by the media, which said Bush would win virtually any recount -- but what do Democrats care about facts?). Sorry, I can never vote for anything/anyone that embraces that pack of lies.

Well, guess what, Gray? The next time you want to shove, shake, scream obscenities at, or hurl objects at your employees, it's gonna have to be employees you hired with your own money, 'cause you are outta here!


8/19/2003

 
LOVE THIS: Paul Newman mocks the ridiculous Fox News suit against Al Franken in a New York Times op-ed called Paul Newman Is Still HUD. Newman says: "Unreliable sources report that the Fox suit has inspired Paul Newman, the actor, to file a similar suit in federal court against the Department of Housing and Urban Development, commonly called HUD. Mr. Newman claims piracy of personality and copycat infringement."

Read the whole thing. It's short and funny.


 
ACCEPTED WISDOM: It is Accepted Wisdom that:

The sorry state of the California economy is not due to government mismanagement, but rather circumstance -- in particular the bursting of the dot-com bubble.

And at the same time:

The sorry state of the national economy is due entirely to the mismanagement of one George W. Bush.


 
ACCEPTED WISDOM: Introducing "Accepted Wisdom": a new semi-regular feature of this blog, highlighting contradictory viewpoints held by the elite. When I say something is "accepted wisdom," I don't mean it is accepted by you, the common-sense reader -- but rather by the elites (like the nitwits on the editorial pages of the major newspapers) who think their opinion is the only one that matters.

It is Accepted Wisdom that:

We must have illegal immigrants because they do certain jobs (like picking fruit) dirt-cheap. When that happens, the savings are passed onto you, the consumer.

And at the same time:

Companies must pay a higher "living wage." When companies pay less than that, the beneficiary is the company and its stockholders -- not you, the consumer.


 
TOTAL DELAY?: The New York Times reports: Ruling Expected on Effort to Delay California Recall Election. The judge hearing the case, Stephen V. Wilson, said: "It seems to me that when issues of this seriousness are raised, they deserve a response." (The issue he means is that some counties in California will still be using outdated punch-card machines.)

If Wilson delays the election, look for recall proponents to denounce him, and for the Dog Trainer to lionize him.

Thing is, the Dog Trainer would be right for once. Wilson is a sober, common-sense judge who will not delay this election just because he can. If he does it, he will be doing it for the right reasons. I trust him to do the right thing -- even if it means that he gets praised by the Dog Trainer.


 
HELP ME NAME MY BOOK: In case I write a book, I want to have a title ready. I was thinking about calling it "Michael Moore is a Big Fat Idiot," but I don't want to get sued by Al Franken for violating his trademark on calling fat guys "fat."

My backup title is: "Al Franken is a Four-Eyed Nerd."

If you have any suggestions, Gentle Reader, let me know.


8/18/2003

 
AN IGNORANT OP-ED? IN THE L.A. TIMES??: This ignorant op-ed recounts the history of the Soviet invasion of Czechoslovakia, to make the point that a superpower that becomes too arrogant runs into trouble.

"It was the end of heroic Russia. A country widely admired because it had dared to stand alone and build a socialist society, because it protected other socialist countries, because its citizens had been sacrificed by the millions to rid Europe of fascism had become, simply, a bully that crushed small countries. A superpower that no longer stands for anything, that no one believes in anymore, that is seen only as a bully, will fall despite its military might. If the Bush administration ever wanted to reflect on history, it might think about this."

Get it? Our invasion of Iraq was just like the Soviets invading Czechoslovakia.

I'd comment, but this stuff just makes fun of itself.


 
NEW SNIGLET: Remember "sniglets"? While I was looking at a typo in my last post, I invented a new one:

PROPAGANJA: Material that promotes the use or legalization of marijuana. "Did you see the latest NORML brochure? Yeah, that was some great propaganja."


 
THE FAIRNESS DOCTRINE IS UNFAIR: The other day the Washington Post had this story about how broadcasters will likely shy away from showing Arnold Schwarzenegger movies during the election, because doing so "would allow rival candidates to demand equal time."

The story provides a precedent: "In 1972, NBC aired a Doris Day movie in which comedian Pat Paulsen appeared for 30 seconds. Because Paulsen had launched a satiric presidential campaign, he was ruled a legitimate candidate. Two Republican candidates requested and got 30 seconds in the same time slot as a result."

My question is this: how can this be considered equal time for Paulsen? And how is an Arnold movie equal time for Arnold?

For simplicity's sake, let's take a hypothetical scenario where we're dealing with a Republican primary between Arnold and Tom McClintock (my current favorite candidate), rather than an election with 135 people. Now let's say I, a McClintock supporter, own a broadcast station. Are you telling me that I can run an Arnold movie every night, and let McClintock "demand" a free two-hour commerical to "respond," and be in compliance with "equal time" laws?

What this all illustrates is how wise the Reagan Administration was to use deregulation to sweep the "Fairness Doctrine" into the dustbin of history. Federal law had for years required broadcasters to provide equal time for legally qualified candidates. The "Fairness Doctrine" drastically expanded this concept to mandate equal time for discussion of contrasting points of view on issues. Since discussion of issues is much more common than use of a broadcast station by a candidate, broadcasters had to be very careful not to spend too much time discussing one side of a political issue, lest the heavy hand of government come down and tell the broadcasters that they had to provide free time to the other side. (Anyone see a First Amendment problem here?)

The Fairness Doctrine was often called the "Hush Rush" doctrine. This is because, strictly implemented, it would have forced any station choosing to run three hours of the wildly popular Rush Limbaugh show to slit its throat by sacrificing yet another three hours to the ratings wasteland of "liberal talk radio" (e.g. three hours of Al Franken calling Rush "fat").

"Equal time" is a very questionable concept that, as the Arnold example shows, is subject to abuse and ridiculous interpretation. You can thank Ronald Reagan for the fact that it is limited to equal time for legally qualified political candidates, as opposed to equal time for discussion of issues in general.

But don't get too complacent. Once the liberals figure out that there is no market for liberal talk radio, watch for them to push the "Fairness Doctrine" again. This is how liberals operate: when they lose in the marketplace of ideas, they respond with laws and lawsuits. And remember: now that Arnold is a political figure, the liberals will argue for two free hours of propaganda every time a TV station shows a "Terminator" movie.


8/17/2003

 
ARNOLD'S POSITION ON THE BUDGET: The Dog Trainer headline reads Major Candidates Vague on Solving State's Fiscal Woes. But none is vaguer than Arnold. "In response to a Los Angeles Times questionnaire asking how they would confront the budget, Davis and six of the seven leading contenders to replace him laid out at least some of their positions Friday. Only Arnold Schwarzenegger declined to respond." (Emphasis mine.)

Arnold's refusal to answer looks most stark when viewed on the chart that is included in the print version of the paper (alas, I cannot find the chart online). The chart lists the candidates' positions on each of a number of different issues. All the major candidates state positions on all the listed issues, except Arnold, whose boxes all read: "Declined to respond."

Folks, your next Governor is Mr. N-Word, Cruz Bustamante.


8/16/2003

 
MAYBE O.J. REALLY DIDN'T DO IT: This is pretty cool. It is a page with a bunch of pictures that are retouched images. Click on a picture to pull up a larger image. Then place your cursor over the image, to see what the picture looked like before it was retouched. It is amazing to see what retouching can do. (Maybe they even put the Bruno Magli's on O.J!) (Just kidding.)

I think that the most striking pictures are the ones of the women. It was really frightening the first time I rolled the mouse over this image of a blonde woman. After you get over your initial horror, you realize that the woman in the unretouched picture is actually fairly attractive. She just looks so different from the airbrushed image you just saw that you will find it disconcerting at first.

(Via Tacitus.)


 
THE L.A. TIMES EDITORIAL WRITER WHO DOES THOSE POINTLESS CUTESY PIECES IS AT IT AGAIN: This time with a pointless editorial about on-line dating.

I like to point these out occasionally, just to remind you folks what a serious, influential paper we have in our local Dog Trainer.


8/15/2003

 
MARY CAREY OFFICIAL SITE: I never thought I'd be providing a link on my blog to a porn star's web site. But this particular porn star is running for Governor, so it's politics! Plus, her platform is more detailed than the one on Arnold's web site. Her platform can be found here.

I have to say that, while I was intrigued by her positions like, say, making lap dances tax deductible, I am a little unnerved by this platform plank:

"I will coordinate the state’s unemployment and jury systems, so that anyone who applies for unemployment will instantly be called for jury duty. This will save California state and local governments millions of dollars, because we won’t have to pay for jury duty. It will also relieve those with jobs from the stress of serving on lengthy juries."

This will also save us millions in prison costs, since 12 unemployed guys aren't gonna convict anybody of anything.


 
SCHWARZENEGGER TAPS SCHULTZ: "Arnold Schwarzenegger announced Thursday that former Secretary of State George Schultz will serve on an economic recovery council aimed at developing a plan to rebuild California's economy. "

I think Arnold just likes Schultz because Schultz has a tattoo of a tiger on his butt.


8/14/2003

 
GERMANS HAVE ENOUGH BEER: You can rest easy. "German brewers are reassuring thirsty consumers there is no imminent danger of beer running out . . . ."

If you doubt this controversial assertion, you should read this story, which reports: "A pair of flying underpants caused a major crash on a German motorway." A police spokesman explained: "The underpants landed on the driver's face, causing him to ram the truck ahead from behind." Apparently unfamiliar with the fact that Germany is still awash in beer, the author of the story states: "It is not known why the men were naked."


 
WHAT ABOUT THIN CATS?: Arianna Huffington paid "no individual state income tax and just $771 in federal taxes during the last two years," according to an article appearing today in the local Dog Trainer. "In announcing her candidacy last week, Huffington blamed California's fiscal crisis, in part, on the corrupting influence of special interest groups that have helped 'corporate fat cats get away with not paying their fair share of taxes.'"

If paying lots of money in taxes is what we are looking for in our Governor, look no further than Arnold, who paid $20 million in taxes in 2000 and 2001. "'Arnold likes paying taxes,' said Paul Wachter, Schwarzenegger's investment manager."


8/13/2003

 
THE RIDICULOUS FOX NEWS SUIT AGAINST AL FRANKEN IS O'REILLY'S FAULT: Drudge is reporting that "FOX NEWS star Bill O'Reilly lobbied his network to file suit against author Al Franken and his upcoming book 'Lies and the Lying Liars Who Tell Them: A Fair and Balanced Look at the Right,' top sources tell the DRUDGE REPORT."

This ridiculous lawsuit is making Al Franken look like some kind of First Amendment hero. Leave it to humorless and self-absorbed blowhard Bill O'Reilly to make Al Franken look good. Up until now, Al Franken's claim to fame was calling Rush Limbaugh fat. Now that's humor.


 
SOMEONE TELL DANA MILBANK THAT SARCASM AND STUPIDITY DON'T MIX: The Washington Post's Dana Milbank is the master of the comment that is simultaneously smart-alecky and utterly clueless. Since Milbank evidently ain't too bright, perhaps the proper term for him is "dumb-alecky." Or, instead of "sarcastic," Milbank is "dumb-asstic." I have previously given you a good example of a dumb-aleck comment by Milbank, here.

Well, Milbank is at it again. Today, in an exceptionally silly story about John Kerry eating cheesesteak, Milbank makes the following dumb-asstic statement: "Appearing out of touch with the common man can be deadly for a candidate. Recall George H.W. Bush's wonderment in the 1992 campaign upon coming across a supermarket scanner."

What I recall is that the "Bush was amazed by a supermarket scanner" story has long been known to be an urban legend. As snopes.com explains: "Andrew Rosenthal of The New York Times hadn't even been present at the grocers' convention. [A New York Times reporter filing a story about an event he didn't even witness? Say it ain't so! -- ed.] He based his article on a two-paragraph report filed by the lone pool newspaperman allowed to cover the event, Gregg McDonald of the Houston Chronicle, who merely wrote that Bush had a 'look of wonder' on his face and didn't find the event significant enough to mention in his own story. Moreover, Bush had good reason to express wonder: He wasn't being shown then-standard scanner technology, but a new type of scanner that could weigh groceries and read mangled and torn bar codes."

So, in the fine tradition of the New York Times, a reporter files a story he knows nothing about. And in the fine tradition of Dana Milbank, the long-discredited canard is repeated more than a decade after the story was first revealed to be bogus.

Another fine job by Dana Milbank.



8/12/2003

 
HEADLINES AND SUICIDE BOMBERS, REVISITED TOO SOON: Yesterday I discussed the issue of how newspaper headlines count the number of deaths caused by a suicide bomber. I would have preferred not to have a real-life example occur so soon. However, this being the real world, an example has come down one day later.

The headline in today's Dog Trainer reads Suicide Blast Kills at Least 1 in Israel. The first sentence begins: "A suicide bombing at an Israeli supermarket a short distance from the West Bank killed the bomber and at least one other person this morning."

In other words, the paper did not include the bomber's death in the toll in the headline; "Kills 1" meant "Kills 1 Other Person." As I said yesterday, I think this is the right way to do it. When most people read "Suicide Blast Kills 1," they take it to mean someone other than the bomber.

The Dog Trainer story describes only one of the two bombings that occurred in Israel today. Each bombing killed at least one innocent Israeli, as well as the suicide bomber. An Associated Press story which discusses both bombings follows the same protocol as the Dog Trainer, with the headline "Suicide Bombings Kill Two Israelis." I am seeing an emerging consensus not to include the death of the bomber in the headline's death toll.

Let us hope we have few opportunities to reexamine this issue.


8/11/2003

 
ARNOLD'S POSITION ON THE PAID FAMILY LEAVE LAW: "'I -- I will have to get into that. I mean, because, as you know, I'm very much for families, I'm very much for children and children's issues and all that stuff.'"

And you thought Arnold was devoid of substance.


 
THE CALM DEMEANOR OF GRAY DAVIS: The Dog Trainer describes Gray Davis's recent appearance on the "Today" show. "Answering questions about his calm demeanor, Davis said he 'learned a long time ago that it doesn't help for me to rant and rave and pound the walls.'"

Yup, that's just not Gray Davis's style. Instead, as described here, his style includes his signature "hurling of phones and ashtrays at quaking government employees and his incidents of personally shoving and shaking horrified workers."

Why pound the walls when you can pound the secretaries?


 
ARNOLD'S OFFICIAL WEB SITE: Click on the link and check it out. But I should warn you: it's still under construction. You know, like his positions on the issues.


 
STOP THE PRESSES: "Sean Walsh, a spokesman for the Schwarzenegger campaign, released tax statements this afternoon showing that Mr. Schwarzenegger is a rich man."


 
BIDEN WILL NOT RUN: Joe Biden will not run for President, Biden announced today in a prepared statement. This is not much of a surprise. What is a surprise is that Biden's prepared statement did not plagiarize a speech by Neil Kinnock.


 
RETIRE THE TERM "HOMICIDE BOMBER": That is the argument of James Taranto in today's Wall Street Journal, and it's something I have been saying for months. I fully understand the desire to avoid glorifying the act of suicide bombing, but journalism is about conveying the facts, and to me, "homicide bomber" is a step down in descriptive power from "suicide bomber" or "suicide terrorist." (I believe Brit Hume, the Managing Editor of Fox News, uses some variant of the latter on his broadcast.)

Everyone knows when they hear the term "suicide bomber" that we are talking about a terrorist who is generally out to kill others; what's more, whether he succeeded is generally conveyed in the headline anyway ("Suicide Bomber Kills 11"). I think most of us view your average "suicide bombing" as a more despicable act than your standard "homicide" as well -- since the former act generally kills more people.

I have a related question. When you read the headline, "Suicide Bomber Kills 11," does that say to you: (a) "11 other people, not counting the bomber" or (b) "11 people including the bomber"? I realize that technically the bomber kills himself, so from a strict standpoint the number should include the bomber. But I believe that it is more accurate to exclude the bomber. If I read that 11 were killed, my first impulse is to think that the bomber killed 11 other people. If the term "suicide" appears in the headline, the death of the bomber is (to me) already conveyed. It seems almost like double-counting to include him again in the number "killed."

I am wondering: am I the only one who reacts this way? Has anyone done a survey of headlines to see how news organizations handle this issue? Obviously, the ideal solution would be to include clarifying language ("Suicide Bomber Kills Self, 11 Others"), but headlines are given limited space, and headline writers often do not have the luxury of extra words.

I'd be interested in opinions on this issue. If you have any, please e-mail me at the link to the left.


8/10/2003

 
OUTRAGEOUS STORY: Here is a wonderful illustration of how far out of control "separation of church and state" has gotten. The story describes a Michigan college student who had been promised $2750 in state scholarship money -- until she declared her major: theology. Shortly thereafter, she received a letter from state officials that said in part: "Students enrolled in a course of study leading to a degree in theology, divinity or religious education are not eligible to receive an award. . . . Your award has changed from $2,750.00 to $0.00."

The president of this student's university says that theology "is an academic discipline like philosophy, English literature or the classics." No matter. It has to do with God, and therefore is treated differently. This is my problem with "separation of church and state" -- so often, it seems to amount to nothing more or less than pure discrimination against religion.


8/09/2003

 
GARAMENDI IS OUT: The Dog Trainer reports that John Garamendi has dropped out of the recall race, which "leaves Lt. Gov. Cruz Bustamante as Democrat's [sic] highest-profile candidate."


 
ARNOLD'S POSITION ON GAY MARRIAGE: "I don't want to get into that right now."

Now who can argue with that?


 
RALLYING AROUND MR. N-WORD: The Dog Trainer reports: Top Democrats Rally Around Bustamante.

I have two observations. First, didn't I just tell you in the post immediately below that Democrats (or Retaliacrats, as I call them) will try to recall any Republican who unseats Davis? You, Gentle Reader, no doubt dismissed that as the wild ravings of Willie Brown. Well, take a look at what Gray Davis said to Bill Maher yesterday in an interview for Maher's HBO show:

"People don't want constant campaigning, and I guarantee you, Bill, if this recall hypothetically were to succeed, you'd have another recall: you'd have constant campaigns," Davis said.

Second point: I reminded you just yesterday that Mr. N-Word Cruz Bustamante said back in June: "I will not participate in any way other than to urge voters to reject this expensive perversion of the recall process. I will not attempt to advance my career at the expense of the people I was elected to serve. I do not intend to put my name on that ballot."

I searched the Dog Trainer article today for any hint of this pledge. It certainly would have been a logical observation, since there is fairly extensive discussion of Mr. N-Word's decision to enter the race. The story says, for example: "The lieutenant governor decided to run despite efforts by national Democratic leaders to convince him to stay out, said a senior Democratic official who spoke on condition of anonymity. The national party strategists felt that if he got in, others would follow, the official said." Wouldn't this be a logical place to state that Mr. N-Word had indeed pledged in June not to run? Read the story yourself -- that fact is nowhere mentioned.

I think the Dog Trainer has joined the folks rallying around Bustamante. Look for an editorial in the next few days denouncing the recall, but acknowledging that maybe there should be a single Democrat on the replacement ballot: Bustamante.


 
THE RETALIACRATS: Here is a little-reported fact that speaks volumes about the Democratic Party. An ABC News story from July 30 contains this passage:

"In an interview today with ABCNEWS' Jake Tapper, San Francisco Mayor Willie Brown said that if Davis is recalled and someone whom Brown considers to be an unqualified is elected, then Brown would consider it 'his duty' to participate in a recall effort of that individual.

"Brown said he considers Simon and Issa to be unqualified."

It is obvious that Brown would consider any Republican to be "unqualified." (Arnold Schwarzenegger had not yet entered the race when Brown made these comments -- otherwise Brown would undoubtedly have included Arnold among the list of "unqualified" candidates.) In essence, Willie Brown has pledged to start a recall against any Republican who replaces Gray Davis in the recall election.

This is not an outlandish scenario. While most voters are fed up with Davis, don't forget that the state is packed to the gills with partisan Democrats. If just one million voters are upset enough about the recall to sign a petition, Brown's proposed recall effort would move forward.

What's more, I believe that if such an effort appeared to have a real chance of success, the Democratic Party would leap to support it. Never mind that such an effort would be cynical in the extreme. Never mind that it would fly in the face of the Democrats' sanctimonious rhetoric about the current recall being an unprincipled power grab and a waste of millions of taxpayer dollars. Does anyone really think that the party of Terry McAuliffe and Tom Daschle would forego a chance at naked political retaliation for reasons of principle?? Anyone who believes that has not been following the Democrats' filibusters of highly qualified judicial nominees like Miguel Estrada.

The judicial filibusters have shown that the Democratic Party is willing to base an entire legislative strategy on the principle of pure retaliation. The Democratic Party has become the Party of Retaliation, and in recognition of that fact, I hereby bestow upon their members the descriptive title "Retaliacrats." When I use that term in the future, you'll know what I mean.


8/08/2003

 
WHO SAID THIS?: Name the person who said the following about the California recall election: "I will not participate in any way other than to urge voters to reject this expensive perversion of the recall process. I will not attempt to advance my career at the expense of the people I was elected to serve. I do not intend to put my name on that ballot."

Yup. Mr. N-Word -- Cruz Bustamante.


 
WELCOME TO BEST OF THE WEB READERS: And a hearty thanks to James Taranto for linking to my site.

This is the site to read for regular critiques of the liberal bias of the local Dog Trainer (otherwise known as the Los Angeles Times). I also comment on current issues of significance, including legal issues that interest the general public. There's some fun stuff, too (what other site gives you a permanent link to a web site that teaches you how to curse in Swedish?).

I hope first-time readers enjoy the site, give me feedback, and keep reading!


 
ARNOLD'S POSITION ON THE ENVIRONMENT: "I will fight for the environment. Nothing to worry about."

Now shut up and vote for him.


8/07/2003

 
CAREFUL THERE, BUDDY: Cruz Bustamante earns the name Mr. N-Word for having uttered said N-Word in a speech he delivered to some 400 black people at a Black History Month event. It was a slip of the tongue, he said afterwards.

He'd better be careful how he pronounces the name "Schwarzenegger."


 
THIS IS ME: Back in June, the folks at The Onion ran a story about a guy who sounded like me. Well, they've done it again:

Half-Asleep Man Pauses 20 Minutes Between Socks

SANDPOINT, ID—Seated on the edge of his bed, Carl Thompson, 38, paused for 20 minutes with one sock on his foot and the other in his hand Tuesday. "Ugh, tired," said Thompson, who was otherwise silent from 6:30 to 6:50 a.m. During that period, Thompson stared at the wall and teetered perilously close to a reclining position six times.


 
NO, NO, NO, NO. . . WELL, YES: Our local judiciary has some explaining to do. A story in this morning's Dog Trainer follows up on a recent event that has gotten some attention here in Los Angeles. The story takes a while to tell, but here is the bottom line: someone was murdered because three judges decided that they weren't going to keep court open past 4:30 p.m.

The background: after Memorial Day weekend this year, there was a large group of defendants who needed to be arraigned (a common situation after a three-day weekend). It was important that the arraignments take place that day, because under the Constitution, an in-custody defendant must be released within 48 hours of his arrest. (This is common knowledge among criminal practitioners.) Virtually all of the in-custody defendants were coming up on their 48-hour time limit.

Despite the fact that some dangerous folks were among the group waiting to be arraigned, three presiding judges downtown decided that court proceedings were ending at 4:30 -- come hell or high water. If any defendants weren't arraigned by 4:30, they would be ordered to come back the next day.

These judges knew that not everyone could be arraigned by 4:30. They also knew that those not arraigned that day would have to be released. This didn't stop them. The presiding judges sent word to the court commissioner in the arraignment court downtown: close court at 4:30 sharp.

The D.A. had a list of the 15 or so defendants that appeared to be the most dangerous, and implored the commissioner to prioritize their arraignments. His efforts were unsuccessful. The 15 (and dozens of others) were simply told to come back the next day. Deputy district attorneys and law enforcement officials worked into the night to hold people on unrelated warrants. But they couldn't hold everyone.

Many of those ordered to return, didn't. (Surprise, surprise.) One of those defendants is now a suspect in a murder, committed after his release.

Not surprisingly, there is a lot of finger-pointing going on. An association of deputy district attorneys (of which I am a member) has filed a complaint against the judges. The judges blame the D.A.'s office for bringing cases in late. I am not interested in the blame game in this post. What I want to report to you are the conflicting statements offered in defense of the judges -- and the failure of the Dog Trainer to point that out in today's story. I report, you decide.

As reported in the Pasadena Star-News, a spokesman for the Superior Court, Allan Parachini, defended the judges. "Parachini said there is no statutory requirement that those suspects who were released could not have been kept in custody and returned the next morning for arraignment. [Correct in a Clintonian sense, since the authority is based on case law and the Constitution, rather than a statute. -- Patterico] 'In other words, all of those people could have been brought into court the next morning, still in custody, not released and been arraigned,' Parachini said. 'We did not order anybody released. We did not do anything that should have compelled their release.'"

It is flatly untrue that the judges didn't cause these defendants to be released -- but don't take my word for it. Jump forward to today's Dog Trainer story, which reports greater detail based on transcripts of the court proceedings that day:

"Prosecutors were concerned that some defendants — no one knew which ones — were close to their 48-hour limit and would be released; public defenders feared that their clients would remain in custody in violation of their rights. Harkavy [the commissioner handling the arraignments] assured the public defenders that those defendants would be released, according to the transcripts."

Did you get that? As to the violent defendants who were released, Parachini said that the judges "did not do anything that should have compelled their release." But transcripts show that when public defenders stated concerns about their clients being held past 48 hours, the commissioner (who was following orders from the presiding judges) "assured the public defenders that those defendants would be released."

Pretty blatant contradiction, I'd say.

I wonder why the Dog Trainer did not mention Parachini's previous comments, which had been widely reported (including in the Times).

This story is not gonna die, folks. I promise to keep you updated on any developments.


 
MORE ARNOLD HEADLINES: Below, we tried out "Total Recall." There's now also: "The Running Man" (Slate) and "End of [Davis's] Days" (WSJ). But come on! There have to be more! Submit your entries to me by clicking on the "E-mail me" link to the left.



 
ARNOLD'S CHANCES: This article analyzing Arnold's prospects seemed like a flight of fancy a few days ago when it was published, but seems worth passing along to you now.


 
ARNOLD ON LENO: Well, I stayed up way later than I normally do to watch Arnold on Leno.

Arnold's appearance was annoying, with a canned speech and irritating references to his movies and persona. It's "Hasta la vista" for Gray Davis, and he's going to "pump up" Sacramento. Please.

But Leno got off a couple of good lines in his monologue. After mentioning that Larry Flynt is running, he asked whether you really want guys voting for Larry Flynt going ahead of you into an enclosed booth. He also pointed out that the whole country is laughing at us, and noted that it's really bad when even the people in Florida are laughing at you.


8/06/2003

 
NEW FAVORITE CANDIDATE: Forget Arnold, Gary Coleman, Angelyne, Larry Flynt, Arianna, and the rest -- porn star Mary Carey is the candidate to beat. "The 22-year-old blonde said her electoral platform would include taxing breast implants to generate revenue and hiring porn stars to help negotiate better wholesale electricity prices in the energy-strapped state."

Her new ideas don't end there. "She also wants to create a Porno for Pistols programme under which gun owners would be urged to swap their weapons for X-rated movies in a bid to reduce violence in the free-wheeling golden state. . . . 'If more guys had orgasms, they'd be less violent,' she said. . . . She also came up with a novel solution to a key global problem, global warming: 'Wear less clothes.'"

Perhaps most provocative to many is her proposal to make lap dances tax-deductible.

Her slogan is pretty catchy, too: ''We've had Brown, we've tried Gray. Now it is time for some blonde.''

(Initial link courtesy of the Hindustan Times -- a reminder that the whole world is watching this race. You think the war in Iraq created terrorists? Ha! A fraction of the number generated by the California recall election!)


 
WHAT YOU TALKING ABOUT?: Arnold is in! No, not Schwarzenegger. I mean "Arnold" from "Diff'rent Strokes." That's right, Gary Coleman is on the ballot. But he says he's not going to campaign -- and he's going to vote for Schwarzenegger.

I need to create a keystroke that will automatically type out the phrase: "You think I'm kidding, but I'm not."

Hey, rest of the country: if you weren't laughing at us before, how about now?


 
TOTAL RECALL (SORRY, CAN'T RESIST): Arnold is in, Feinstein is out.

That Top Ten List I reprinted below just became obsolete.

Isn't this great? I guess if I took the California Governorship that seriously, I'd be appalled. But I don't, so I'm not. Arnold will probably give us decent judges -- better than Gray Davis. That's all that counts, in my book.


 
NEW YORK TIMES MAKES . . . SENSE?: It is rare that I agree with a New York Times editorial, but this one, titled Shortchanging Security, makes sense. It criticizes the Bush administration for not devoting enough resources to internal security against terrorism. For example, the Bushies had floated the idea of cutting the air marshal program. Now, it is simply outrageous that there are not multiple air marshals on every major commercial flight in this country. Talk about forgetting Sept. 11. But the Bushies were talking about reducing the pitiful program we had! Unbelievable.


 
KRISTOF SUPPORTS OUR USE OF THE A-BOMB: In a link sent by a reader, Nicholas Kristof examines "one of the most morally contentious events of the 20th century, the atomic bombing" -- and concludes that it was justified. Given Kristof's record of reflexive liberalism, this view is surprising -- and interesting.


 
YET ANOTHER DANGEROUS NINTH CIRCUIT DECISION: You can read about it here, at How Appealing. In a nutshell, the court held that "officers may not use deadly force against an otherwise nondangerous felony suspect simply because a chase of that suspect, high-speed or otherwise, would become or does become dangerous."

Wow.

How does Stephen Reinhardt become involved in all these decisions??

Nevertheless, his involvement is a good thing, because it means the decision will get extra attention from the U.S. Supreme Court. In the past, when the Supremes were generally rational, I would have confidently predicted that this case would get overturned. Nowadays, I am not so sure. You'll have to ask Empress O'Connor.


 
GREAT MINDS THINK ALIKE: I was struck by this piece by a couple of law professors, titled Why An Important Part of the California Recall Process Is Unconstitutional, According to U.S. Supreme Court Precedent. The piece posits the following scenario:

"For example, suppose that 49% of the voters favor keeping Davis, but he is recalled because more than 50% vote against him. Suppose further that there are successor candidates on the ballot, and that the leading vote getter among them - call him candidate A (for Arnold?) - gets only 10% of the successor vote. Can it be that a candidate with 10% support will oust a governor with 49% support?"

(I thought this sounded eerily familar, right down to the percentages. I checked my archive and found my entry on the topic. Turns out I use the same exact example with the same exact percentages. The professors' article was published two days before my entry, but this is no Jayson Blair situation. I had never seen the article or anything else citing it. I guess the percentages just leap to mind as the obvious way to communicate the hypo. Still, that's weird.)

Anyway, the article is interesting because the professors point out that this could actually render the recall unconstitutional under Bush v. Gore. If everyone's ballot is supposed to be treated equally, how can the 10% defeat the 49%? (The professors say this challenge will likely fail, though.)

While we are on the topic of recall challenges, Rick Hasen, the election law expert whom I linked to yesterday in the post immediately below, says another Bush v. Gore challenge may have some merit. A lawsuit says it is unconstitutional for some counties in California to use punch cards, and others to use some other voting method, because of the differing error rates. Apparently a federal judge in Illinois has bought off on a similar argument. Hasen discusses this and other equal protection challenges here.


8/05/2003

 
THE ACHILLES HEEL OF THE RECALL?: The Dog Trainer today prints an op-ed titled A Successor to Davis Is Already in Place. The author is Joseph R. Grodin, a professor of law at UC's Hastings College of the Law, and a former justice of the California Supreme Court.

Grodin makes a facially excellent case that, under the California Constitution, a successful recall will result in the installation of the Lieutenant Governor, rather than an election for the replacement. (Our current Lieutenant Governor is, of course, racist Cruz Bustamante -- or "Mr. N-Word", as he shall henceforth be known on these pages.)

Grodin's argument goes like this: in a recall situation (which, remember, could happen to any elected official -- not just a Governor), an election for a replacement is held only when "appropriate." But it is not "appropriate" when the Governor is the one being recalled, because there is already a general provision that operates to replace the Governor. Article X, Section 9 of the state Constitution states that the Lieutenant Governor "shall become Governor when a vacancy occurs in the office of Governor."

In other words, according to this argument, if Davis goes, the office becomes vacant, and we get Mr. N-Word.

This argument is currently being raised in petitions pending before the California Supreme Court. Grodin makes the point that the author of the "as appropriate" language, Barry Keene, filed one of the petitions that advocates the argument set forth in Grodin's op-ed. One might think that the author should know better than anyone else what the language means.

At first blush, Grodin's argument sounds pretty compelling. You might think Mr. Issa and friends may have bought a pig in a poke. However, don't get too excited. A non-partisan law professor and election law expert, Rick Hasen, says there is no merit to this argument. He says that the "as appropriate" language is most naturally read in conjunction with a provision that specifically excludes elections to replace recalled judges. Thus, it is not "appropriate" to list replacement candidates when a judge is being recalled.

Hasen also explains here that the opinion of Keene (the drafter of the "as appropriate" language) does not necessarily have any persuasive value. Until recently, Keene did not "remember" why he had written the "as appropriate" language. He only recently claimed to recall that it is designed to harmonize with the provision calling for the Lieutenant Governor to replace the Governor. Together with the fact that Keene is a plaintiff in the lawsuit and therefore an interested party, his suspiciously recent memory will likely be viewed as self-serving, and of little value.

So: between Grodin and Hasen, who's right? You'll have to ask the California Supreme Court. State courts are doing wacky things nowadays, so anything could happen.


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