damnum absque injuria

February 8, 2007

One Less Moron?

Filed under:   by Xrlq @ 7:53 am

If you live in Los Angeles County and are as disgusted as I am by Judge Gibson Lee’s non-sentencing of nine racist gangbangers who beat three innocent white women senseless – and damn near killed two of them – simply for being white, there isn’t a damned thing you can do about the sentence itself, but there is something you can do about the idiot judge who rendered him. Recall the bastard now, before he turns even more vicious criminals free like he’s been doing for decades.

September 20, 2006

Splitter!

Filed under:   by Xrlq @ 6:29 pm

A discussion over at Virginia “Centrist” got me to thinking. Am I the only person in the world who would (and did) vote yes on this:

Only marriage between a man and a woman is valid or recognized in [this State / Commonwealth].

… but would (and will) vote no on this:

That only a union between one man and one woman may be a marriage valid in or recognized by this [State / Commonwealth] and its political subdivisions.

This [State / Commonwealth] and its political subdivisions shall not create or recognize a legal status for relationships of unmarried individuals that intends to approximate the design, qualities, significance, or effects of marriage. Nor shall this [State / Commonwealth] or its political subdivisions create or recognize another union, partnership, or other legal status to which is assigned the rights, benefits, obligations, qualities, or effects of marriage.

Just call me Mr. Nuance.

September 9, 2006

Labor Day’s Gone, Gaffe Season Begins

Filed under:   by Xrlq @ 9:28 pm

Apparently, California gubernatorial candidate Phil Angelides takes exception to the idea that Latinas are hot:

But Democrat Phil Angelides, who is fighting an uphill battle to unseat Schwarzenegger in the November election, seized on the comments.

“Once again, Gov. Schwarzenegger has used language that is deeply offensive to all Californians and embarrassed our state,” Angelides said. “His comments reflect a disturbing pattern of behavior. The Governor has a responsibility to conduct himself with dignity. How dare he compliment that chick on her looks? She’s not ‘hot,’ dammit, she’s a Republican.”

For her part, Bonnie Garcia, the subject of Schwarzenegger’s verbal groping, appears somewhat less offended by the remark:

“I am not mad that he recognizes that I am passionate about the issues,” she said. “And I am not mad that he allows me to tell him exactly what I think and what’s on the minds of people in my community. Besides, have you ever seen me in a bikini? I am hot, and California deserves a governor who can appreciate that! Philsy, are you queer?

Meanwhile, here on the right coast, this should finally give Virginia Senator George Allen something to talk about besides his own excrement, which had been the sole campaign issue for almost a month. It seems Nancy Reagan has stolen a page from the King family’s playbook and claimed ownership of her husband’s Presidency, and is demanding that Allen’s challenger, Jim Webb, stop telling voters who he used to work for. Apparently the ad also contains an endorsement by a Reagan sound-alike. Watch for a new ad from Allen claiming endorsements from other guys who aren’t ex-Presidents but play them on TV.

June 4, 2006

Extra! Extra! Read All About It! Congressional Candidate Allows Non-Registered Voters to Assist With Campaign!

Filed under:   by Xrlq @ 11:51 pm

Powerline, Michelle Malkin, Ian Schwartz and too many other to count are in a tizzy over Congressional candidate Francine Busby’s statement that “Everybody can help, yeah, absolutely, you can all help. You don’t need papers for voting, you don’t need to be a registered voter to help.”

Read in context, it is clear what Busby is saying: you don’t to have to have “papers for voting,” i.e., a voter registration card, to assist with her campaign. But in their overzealous desire to “gotcha” a Democrat, many of my fellow conservatives are all too eagerly reading the phrase “you don’t need papers for voting” in a vacuum, as if to suggest Busby was answering a question about who can vote rather than who can help with her campaign. Granted, the guy whose question she answered had pretty much admitted to being an illegal alien, not the kind she ought to have been recruiting for her campaign. Still, failing to police the legality of volunteers’ status is a pretty minor offense compared to encouraging voter fraud.

Patterico has more.

UPDATE: Et tu, FoxNews. Today Carl Cameron told viewers Busby had said “you don’t need papers to vote.” Ugh.

June 2, 2006

Ms. Tookie for Guv?

Filed under:   by Xrlq @ 7:01 pm

For once, Peter PendejoCamejo won’t be the biggest ass on the California ballot. Crappy children’s book author / Tookie Williams groupie Barbara Becnel is running for governor in next week’s primary. Lordy.

February 13, 2006

Competitiveness, or Compactness? The Choice is Ours

Filed under:   by aphrael @ 11:48 am

The Institute of Governmental Studies has released its report on redistricting in California (the one which was originally scheduled to be released in October but which was postponed at the last minute). They summarize their findings thusly:

1. Plans that balance all the criteria (population equality, congituity, compactness, minimizing county splits, preserving the VRA seats and enhancing competitiveness) would create between 12-14 Congressional seats (13 on average) in the range between a 3 percent Republican registration advantage and a 10 point Democratic registration advantage.

2. Districts in that range will be contested more heavily but small registration margins do not necessarily predict turnover since other factors matter significantly such as incumbency, money advantages, national tides and candidate quality. In the redistricting plan drawn by the Court in 1991, only 14 of the 260 California Congressional races (ie 5%) between 1992 and 2000 resulted in party turnover.

3. Plans that maximized competitiveness and ignored city/county lines and the integrity of the VRA districts create on average as many as 18 to 25 districts in the potentially competitive range, but they would be subject to serious legal challenges and much controversy in the affected local communities.

4. Political geography and the VRA give the Democrats a big edge in safe seats over the Republicans. No plan, no matter who draws it, can change that. Barring a heavily biased Republican plan, the Democrats are unlikely to drop below 26 seats in Congress and the Republicans could fall to 14.

5, Out of eighty Assembly districts, plans that aim to maximize the number of potentially competitive seats could produce between 21 to 30 seats in the 3 point Republican and 10 point Democratic registration range.

6. Among plans that balance other redistricting criteria, between 12 to 17 seats (15 on average) would fall in that range.

7. Similar to the Congressional races, due to incumbency advantage and other factors, a slim party registration difference does not necessarily translate into a narrow vote margin. Among the 400 Assembly races that took place between 1992 and 2000, only 22 (6%) resulted in party turnover. Ten of those races occurred in districts with a party registration difference in the 3 point Republican and 10 point Democratic range. Contrary to conventional expectation, none of these party turnover races happened in districts with a party registration difference within 3 percentage points. In fact, several Republican candidates were able to win in districts with high concentration of Democratic voters.

8. The conventional belief that majority minority districts tend to be non-competitive and dominated by the Democratic Party still holds. Yet with changing demographic composition and partisan alignment, it is now feasible to draw one or two minority districts that might be potentially competitive.

9. Plans that placed a heavy emphasis on compactness and minimizing city/county splits made it hard to achieve the political goals of more competitive seats and preserving majority minority representation.

The summary goes to great length to convince readers that “competitive districts” aren’t actually important and won’t necessarily produce greater turnover , and implies that the entire effort is somewhat misguided. As one of the few liberals who endorsed Proposition 77, I’m annoyed by that; it seems off-topic and somewhat irrelevant for the study to be making that point.

But that doesn’t obscure the big finding in the report: there is a strong tension between increasing competitiveness (on the one hand) and preserving compactness and minimizing city/county splits (on the other). The two are not entirely compatible goals.

So which of these goals is more important? If a new ballot measure comes down the pike, which course should that measure enshrine as paramount? I tend to favor preserving communtiies of interest and minimizing city/county splits; minimizing city/county splits makes the entire process less confusing to the voter, and preserving communities of interest makes it more likely that the representative will represent the community; it’s hard to do that when there is, so to speak, no community.

But competitiveness was the rallying call of many who supported Proposition 77. Will they be happy with a solution that reduces competitiveness in the name of increasing compactness?

(Hat Tip: California Insider.)

February 12, 2006

I wouldn’t have thought this was legal.

Filed under:   by aphrael @ 1:46 pm

Center-left professional blogger Kevin Drum linked this morning to a disturbing article in today’s Los Angeles Times about political shenanigans in the City of Vernon.

Vernon, it seems, has a total population of 91, consisting of 25 households. According to the LA Times, everyone who lives within the city limits is a city employee of some sort, and most live in city-subsidized housing. The city hasn’t held a contested election in twenty-six years. The most recent attempt to hold one failed:

Twenty-five years after its elected officials last had a contested ballot, eight strangers took up residence in the tiny city four miles south of downtown Los Angeles. Last month, after just a few days in town, three of the newcomers filed petitions to run for City Council in the April 11 election.

Within days, city utility trucks had turned off their power. The building they shared was slapped with red tags by inspectors who said the property was “unsafe and dangerous” as a residence. Strobe lights flashed through their windows. They and some of their relatives were placed under surveillance. Shortly, city police and other officials drilled holes in the locks and evicted the would-be office-seekers.

Having deprived the interlopers of city residence, Vernon officials on Jan. 27 disqualified them from the ballot.

To be fair, Vernon city officials claim that the evicted candidates were part of a plan by a notorious corrupt outsider to, in essence, mount a hostile takeover of the city. That’s a plausible claim; a city with five dozen voters in which the municipal officials are effectively lifetime office-holders and have more or less unchecked authority to dispense the city’s tax revenue to themselves is a very good candidate for a hostile takeover.

But surely that misses the point: it’s not clear to me that there should be, in the United States, cities with unelected “governments” that are accountable to nobody, in which every voter who could hold them accountable are in some fashion dependant upon them for their livelihood, their home, or both. If the situation in Vernon is remotely as the LA Times has described it, the City is a farce: a Potemkin democracy in which the legal forms are being observed in order to frustrate their intent.

Surely there must be something California can do to shut them down.

January 11, 2006

Yet Another Phony Three Strikes “Reform”

Filed under:   by Xrlq @ 12:55 pm

The Other Xrlq links to the latest “reform” of one of the few good laws left in California, the Three Strikes Law. The good news is that the new “reform,” unlike the completely insane one they tried to pass in 2004, limits the scope of its re-sentencing provisions to third strikers only. The bad news is that due to careless drafting, its impact on third strikers could be a wee bit broader than its proponents claim (or, at least in Steve Cooley’s case, likely believe). Get a load of the re-sentencing provisions in Sections 8(a) and (b):

(a) Subject to the exclusions and limitations set forth below in subdivisions (b), (c) and (d),* any person serving an indeterminate term of life imprisonment imposed pursuant to Penal Code Section 667(e)(2) for [sic] conviction of a felony that is not classified as a “violent felony” by Penal Code Section 667.5(c) as amended by this Act [sic, the Act doesn't amend § 667.5], and any person serving an indeterminate term of life imprisonment imposed pursuant to Penal Code Section 1170.12(c)(2) for [sic] conviction of a felony that is not classified as a a “serious felony” by Penal Code Section 1192.7(c) as amended by this Act, shall be re-sentenced within 180 days of the effective date of this Act to a determinate term that is twice the term otherwise provided as punishment for the current felony conviction.

(b) Subject to the exclusions and limitations set forth below in subdivision [sic] (c) and (d) any person who has a prior conviction for any of the offenses set forth in [sic] (i) through (iii) of this subdivision,** and is presently serving an indeterminate term of life imprisonment imposed pursuant to Penal Code Section 667(e)(2) for a conviction of a felony that is not defined as a “violent felony” by Penal Code Section 667.5(c) as amended by this Act, or is serving an indeterminate term of life imprisonment imposed pursuant to Penal Code Section 1170.1212(c)(2), for a conviction of a felony that is not classified as a “serious felony” by Penal Code Section 1192.7(c) as amended by this Act, shall, within 180 days of the effective date of this Act, have the minimum term of his or her sentence modified to twice the term otherwise provided as punishment for the current felony conviction, so that after service of the minimum term as modified, such persons shall not be immediately released, but shall be eligible for parole. The Board of Prison Terms shall, in considering parole for persons with a prior conviction for any of the offenses set forth below,consider all statements and recommendations submitted by the judge, district attorney, and sheriff, pursuant to Section 1203.01, and shall provide notices under Section 3042, and recommendations of other persons ionterested in the granting or denying of the parole. The Board shall enter on its order granting or denying parole to these prisoners, the fact that the statements and recommendations have been considered by it.

Note the parallel language in both sections: “any person serving an indeterminate term of life imprisonment … for conviction of a felony that is not classified as a ‘violent felony’ … and any person serving an indeterminate term of life imprisonment …. for conviction of a felony that is not classified as a a ‘serious felony’…shall” be eligible for re-sentencing under subdivision (b) or (c) as applicable. That means every third striker will be eligible for resentencing if he can show that he is either a person serving 25 to life for an offense that is not “violent,” or he is a person serving 25 to life for an offense that is not “serious.” That’s not a problem if the third strike happens to be murder, attempted murder, voluntary manslaughter, mayhem, rape, forcible sodomy, lewd acts on a child, kidnapping or arson, all of which are defined both as “violent” offenses under Section 667.5 and as “serious” ones under Section 1192.7. Ditto for first degree “hot” burglary, which is only considered “violent” under existing law, but would become “serious” if the current initiative were enacted. However, felonies involving using a gun or inflicting great bodily injuries are only “serious” if the defendant personally uses the gun or personally inflicts such injury, so any third striker serving 25 to life for doing so non-personally might be able to score a Get Out Of Jail Free card on that basis, along with anyone in for assault with intent to commit burglarly, assault with a deadly weapon, assault by a life prisoner on a non-inmate, exploding a destructive device causing injury or with intent to cause injury, holding a hostage while confined in a state prison, personally using a deadly or dangerous weapon other than a fireamr in the commission of a felony, making criminal threats other than to victims or witnesses, selling drugs to minors, attempting to commit any crime other than murder, or conspiring to commit any crime whatsoever, all of which are considered “serious” under Section 1192.7 but not as “violent” under Section 667.5. Similarly, anyone doing 25 to life for extortion gets a pass because his crime was “violent” but not “serious.”

Now, you might say “Oh, c’mon, Xrlq, so what if they were a little sloppy with the wording; everyone knows the spirit of this reform is to release only those whose third strike was neither serious nor violent, not to open the gates to all whose third strike was either serious or violent, but just not both.” You could say that, and you may well be right about the spirit. However, to the best of my knowledge, no one has ever gone to prison for violating the “spirit” of a law. Particularly in a criminal context, under the rule of lenity, any ambiguously drafted sentencing provision will be construed in the defendant’s favor, and this wording isn’t even ambiguous.

*Subsections (c) and (d) exclude from re-sentencing any third strikers who have one prior conviction for first degree murder or child molestation, or two or more priors for certain other sex crimes.
**Paragraphs (i)-(iii) of subsection (c) make third strikers with prior convictions of sexually violent offenses, second degree murder and felony murder eligible for parole rather than release.

December 31, 2005

California’s laws in the New Year!

Filed under:   by Cardinal Martini @ 12:53 pm

Here are just some of California’s new laws taking effect tomorrow (followed by my witty ripostes).

  • Performing body piercing on a minor can be punishable by a $250 fine, unless the minor’s parent gives approval.
  • What about minors’ rights to privacy?! Luckily performing an invasive, dangerous medical procedure that involves killing a fetus inside a minor requires no such parental approval.

  • Law enforcement officers can impound vehicles of drunken driving suspects if the person has a blood-alcohol level of .10 percent or higher and has one or more previous convictions within the past seven years.
  • I think if said DUIer has had previous convictions within the past seven years, the cop should be allowed shoot him on the spot.

  • Pharmacists are barred from refusing to fill a prescription on moral, ethical or religious grounds, unless they have previously notified their employer of their objection and the employer can reasonably accommodate it.
  • I think two things about this; one, if a person thinks he will be unable to fill prescriptions because of his moral objections to doing so, then I think he should choose, without government coercion, a profession other than Pharmacy; two, should the government really be meddling in this? Or is this more the proper role of the market to sort out? Pharmacy A hires people who refuse to fill certain prescriptions, so people who want those prescrips go to Pharmacy B.

  • Some entertainment venues will be required to announce the availability of emergency exits at the start of performances.
  • If you can’t find emergency exits on your own, tough luck. It’s called survival of the fittest.

  • Homeowners associations must use secret ballots for elections in common-interest developments.
  • Does passing this law really fall within the proper scope of government action?

  • Lenders who offer cash advances to consumers whose inheritance is tied up in probate will have to disclose all fees and get court approval for the transactions.
  • Again, should government pass this type of law? If you are stupid enough to take a cash advance when your means of repaying it are tied up in probate, tough luck. It’s called survival of the awarest.

  • Extends the ban on the sale of soda on public school campuses to high schools. Previously, the law only applied to middle and elementary schools. The law also sets nutrition standards for food served and sold in K-12 public schools.
  • More asinine nannying. Scapegoating soft-drink companies for childhood obesity is wrong and dumb.

    And finally:

  • High-risk sex offenders cannot live within a half mile of public or private K-12 schools. Previously, the boundary was one-quarter mile from K-8 schools.
  • This law is moronic; these types of offenders shouldn’t be allowed to live amongst us at all, regardless of their proximity to schools. Instead, they should be locked up for life, and/or executed. Generally speaking, in California a “high-risk” sex offender is a person convicted of multiple violent crimes, at least one of which was a violent sex crime.

Merry New Year!

December 28, 2005

Al who?

Filed under:   by Cardinal Martini @ 12:30 am

Daily Pundits San Francisco Real-Estate Blog notes that Al Gore is moving to the City. Here’s some real-estate guy’s press release on the subject:

“Ever since people learned that Al and Tipper Gore were moving into the St. Regis, I’ve had three times as many inquiries about the place,” says Damion Matthews, a realtor specializing in San Francisco’s luxury condo market.

“There’s something about living near a person so powerful and important that really excites folks,” he says.

Maybe there is something about living near powerful and important folks, but what does that have to do with Al Gore?

 

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