Wednesday, September 17, 2003

More surprises than you can possibly imagine

Quotes you cannot make up: Issa says the 9th Circuit decision to postpone the recall he paid for is a "judicial hijacking of the electoral process." Also, a lawyer for a pro-recall group protests that “The voters deserve finality.” (Possibly he means that rather than face another 6 months, we deserve to be put out of our misery.) Also something I missed, the Republican federal judge whose decision the 9th overturned said the recall election “reflects the will of the people.”

Some tiny technical problems with postponing: first, some people have already voted absentee, and those ballots would have to be destroyed, second, the new voting machines won’t actually be able to handle primaries plus initiatives plus a 135-candidate goober race.

Also, no one’s said anything yet, but I have to think a new deadline means that new candidates should be allowed to qualify. (I asked the Sacramento Bee’s political columnist, but no reply yet).

I don’t have any particular opinion about the 9th Circuit panel’s decision’s legal basis, which puts me at odds with an LA Times writer’s observation that most of the commentary on the decision was unexamined gut reaction; “Hence our edification at rulings that reinforce our beliefs and our impatience with contradiction. Call it faith-based irritation.”

I suspect you could use the argument about not using vote-counting devices which have widely differing rates of accuracy to invalidate every previous state-wide race, including Gray Davis’s election in 1998 and re-election in 2002. But the state had signed a consent agreement not to use punch-cards again, which should be enforced. Looked at pragmatically, though, the truncated campaign was a travesty, another 6 months of this nonsense would be ridiculous, shifting gears in the middle is unfair to candidates who planned their campaigns and spending based on the election being when it was called for, so this could be a combination of the worst of all worlds. Or the best. Davis and the Lege have pushed through some good legislation and I wouldn’t mind some more of that.

Davis, with his usual ability to find the inapt metaphor, said “This recall has been like a rollercoaster; there are more surprises than you can possibly imagine.” (Inapt because a rollercoaster at Disneyland designed to simulate a runaway train went off the rails a week ago, killing somebody).

The Senate voted to force more people on welfare into work and for more hours, but voted down helping them with childcare. Rick Santorum’s comment on that: “Making people struggle a little bit is not necessarily the worst thing.” Cool, someone toss that man into some quicksand. There was, of course, $1.5b the R’s are willing to use from the welfare budget to promote marriage.

The Canadians, as previously reported, have started selling cannabis for medical use. The first customers want their money back. Evidently the phrase “good enough for government work” doesn’t apply to reefer. Oh, and I promised a link to the governmental user’s guide. Here it is. Evidently, it can be prescribed for the cause of tremor I don’t have, but not the one I do. Chris, on the other hand.... Actually, ignore that link, here’s the one for the general public (PDF format, 2 pages).

The Senate votes to overturn Michael Powell’s media monopoly rules. Shockingly, the NYT says that this is only the second time the Senate has vetoed rules issued by a regulator. Do they know the meaning of oversight? House Republican leaders will refuse a vote, Bush is threatening a veto. And Powell said that the Senate resolution was “bordering on the absurd.” That sort of contempt by a lowly FCC head for the United States Senate should be grounds for a serious dressing down, if not dismissal. Who does he think he is, Rumsfeld talking about Powell’s father?

Terrible NYT headline: “US Uses Its Veto to Block Anti-Israel Measure in UN.” Let’s see, it called for an end to all violence and terrorism, supported the US’s “road map”, and asked Israel not to assassinate or exile Yassir Arafat. Where is it “anti-Israel” except in Israel’s mind? The US exercised its veto because the resolution did not include a condemnation of litterbugs. The US really doesn’t like litterbugs.

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