Digging Through the Archive

As I was doing a bit of weeding this weekend, I stumbled across this entry in the archives, which made me stop and stare a bit:

Have just come from completing civic duty, which is increasingly difficult to imagine has any beneficial effect in the world, given the awful lesser-of-two-evils [note: Bill Simon link no longer functional] choice before us here today. Thank goodness for the phone calls this weekend from my favorite president advising me in the casting of this vote.

The most important race on the ballot, however, is not this year’s gubernatorial election, but that of 2006, the primary for which is being held today. Proposition 49 — aimed at creating after-school programs for “at-risk” kids (good), but funded in a loaves-and-fishes style, in which no new taxes are raised and no existing programs are cut (puzzling at best) — is the brainchild of this candidate, who everyone openly acknowledges is testing the waters for a gubernatorial run.

And I thought the Gipper was frightening.

What optimism I felt a mere eleven months ago, assuming that there were years between us and the ascendance of the Governator.

I Am Appalled

With two p’s.*

*(Incidentally, does anybody remember what that’s a quote from? Is it L.A. Story? The straight-line is something like “Hi, I’m Sandee, with two e’s.”)**

**Yes, this diversion into Hollywood-based lightheartedness is an attempt to deny the fact that I’m living in a state presumably led by the Governator. Or the Gropenator. Depending upon which pundit you favor.

Don’t Vote.  No, Do.  But Don’t.

An update to last week’s petard-hoisting news: the 9th Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals reversed itself yesterday, ruling that the gubernatorial recall election should go forward as scheduled on October 7.

Perhaps more strikingly, though, Representative Darrell Issa, the mastermind behind this political debacle, likewise reversed himself yesterday, saying to his supporters, “When you vote, if there are still two major Republicans on the ballot, Arnold Schwarzenegger and Tom McClintock, then I advise you to vote no on the recall.” His reasoning is, of course, that if Schwarzenegger and McClintock split the Republican vote, the election will go to Lieutenant Governor Cruz Bustamante — and Gray Davis will certainly make a better whipping-boy, come the 2004 election season.

Supreme Court Hoisted By Own Petard; Film at 11

The big news around these parts today is the potential delay in the Election of the Century (TM), resulting from a ruling released today by the Ninth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals. The judges argue that the October 7 election date does not provide enough time for a number of counties (counties with a high percentage of minority voters) to move from error-prone punch-card ballots to high-tech voting machines, ordering that the election be delayed until such machines are in place.

But that’s not the good news. The good news is that the rationale used by the judges in their finding stems in part from the Supreme Court’s ruling in the 2000 Bush v. Gore case. As Richard L. Hasen of the Loyola Law School in L.A. argues, “The holding of Bush v. Gore is that you cannot in an arbitrary manner value one person’s vote above another’s. This is an easy case under that rule.”

Of course, the Ninth Circuit’s decision is being appealed. But there’s a further downside to all this, one which all right-thinking Californians must weigh with great seriousness: this ruling sets the stage for another six months of campaigning.

Look Out, Phillip Morris

Via MetaFilter comes news that won’t really shock anybody, at this point, but ought to horrify all of us: the USA PATRIOT Act and a slew of related state legislation are being used to investigate and prosecute a whole range of domestic, non-terror-related crimes, including drug dealing, bookmaking, and confidence schemes. Most notably, a North Carolina prosecutor has charged the alleged operator of a methamphetamine lab with manufacturing chemical weapons. This is possible in part because the law “defines chemical weapons of mass destruction as ‘any substance that is designed or has the capability to cause death or serious injury’ and contains toxic chemicals.”

The MeFi discussion contains a series of links to useful sites, including Howard Dean’s Stop Ashcroft petition, and a Daily Trojan article that reports a recent anti-Ashcroft protest that I really hope achieves meme-status. The discussion also highlights all the too-apparent reasons to be afraid of this alarming and unabated expansion of the Justice Department’s powers of surveillance, seizure of assets, and indefinite detainment of suspects without attorneys.

But I’m thinking… has North Carolina inadvertently created a way to do in the tobacco industry once and for all? Surely the state’s attorney general will begin wholesale prosecutions against the executives of these companies, right? After all, I’d be hard-pressed to come up with another substance that more perfectly meets the criteria of “‘any substance that is designed or has the capability to cause death or serious injury’ and contains toxic chemicals.” I mean, these laws are being applied even-handedly and without regard to lobbying power and campaign contributions, right?

Right?

Hurray for the “So-Called Homosexual Agenda”!

And hurray for the Supreme Court.

According to the New York Times (subscription required), the crotchety ones have briefly emerged from the 1950s to strike down, by a 6-to-3 margin, anti-sodomy laws across the country. Writing for the majority, Justice Kennedy argued that gay people “are entitled to respect for their private lives,” and that “the state cannot demean their existence or control their destiny by making their private sexual conduct a crime.”

Now, here’s a sentence you’d never have expected to see attached to this story: “Joining Justice Scalia’s dissent were Chief Justice William H. Rehnquist and Justice Clarence Thomas.” Boy, I just never saw that one coming.

Scalia is, however, always good for a chuckle; taking the unusual step of reading his dissent from the bench, he made a point of noting that “the court has largely signed on to the so-called homosexual agenda,” before adding that he has nothing personal against homosexuals.

Now, I hadn’t realized that those homosexual types had an actual agenda, but I figure any agenda that keeps Scalia, Rehnquist, and Thomas out of my bedroom is okay by me. Where do I sign up?

None of the Above

Have just come from completing civic duty, which is increasingly difficult to imagine has any beneficial effect in the world, given the awful lesser-of-two-evils choice before us here today. Thank goodness for the phone calls this weekend from my favorite president advising me in the casting of this vote.

The most important race on the ballot, however, is not this year’s gubernatorial election, but that of 2006, the primary for which is being held today. Proposition 49 — aimed at creating after-school programs for “at-risk” kids (good), but funded in a loaves-and-fishes style, in which no new taxes are raised and no existing programs are cut (puzzling at best) — is the brainchild of this candidate, who everyone openly acknowledges is testing the waters for a gubernatorial run.

And I thought the Gipper was frightening.