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CRO Blog

a running commentary by our trusted contributors...

5/30/03 [Friday]

[Hugh Hewitt] 8:10 am
TimesGrinder: John Carroll is the editor at the Los Angeles Times, and his now famous memo may mark a real turning point at the paper. We have to wait and see. Will the paper support Gray Davis through the recall campaign ahead, or will it trumpet the need for leadership and thus the booting from public life of GD? The paper's Sacramento columnist, Slumberin' George Skelton, is firmly in the waffles-and-Davis camp, so let's see if Carroll really means what he says. If so, Skelton will finally report the facts --Davis is widely regarded by both left and right as the worst gov in California's history. He's a thumb-sucker under the desk as the crises grow, and Skelton is lecturing the GOP on the need to raise taxes. The recall campaign will be a great test of Carroll's newfound resolve, as will be the coverage of the "roadmap" process. Carroll's paper is relentlessly anti-Israel. We wait for the real coverage of the toll of suicide bombings. [more at Hewitt]

[Streetsweeper 8:05 am]
Di-Fi No Recall But Vote For Me: The Bee reports that in an op-ed the Senator says that Gray should stay ["I believe a recall election can be appropriate when serious malfeasance and corruption is found," Feinstein wrote in an opinion piece distributed Thursday to newspapers throughout the state. "But I don't believe it is right to overturn the results of an election simply because of political differences."] Hey, doesn’t incompetence count? | A Take: Daniel Weintraub’s take on Di-Fi’s recall op-ed in his Weblog […at this point, I can only speculate that the piece was designed to let Feinstein take the high road while keeping her name in the mix as a possible successor to his Grayness.] | Hardball: The Chief gives payback to the LA City Council. In the Times [Los Angeles Police Chief William J. Bratton pulled back Thursday from his promise to reduce homicides in the city by 25% this year, saying the City Council's budget tightening makes it unrealistic.] | Campbell Recalls: The Progressives don’t like the fact that Campbell has signed onto the recall. In the Times [Assemblyman John Campbell of Irvine, vice chairman of the Assembly Budget Committee, signed a letter urging voters to sign recall petitions, and gave $10,000 to the recall campaign, according to a filing made public Thursday. State Sen. Rico Oller (R-San Andreas) gave $7,200, pushing the total amount raised so far to almost $600,000.] It’s getting bumpy.

5/29/03 [Thursday]

[Streetsweeper] 8:10 am
Hulk vs. Scheer: The Times columnist defends himself against the “$400-billion- a-year juggernaut” Pentagon and “hysterical belch of outrage from the right-wing media, led by Rupert Murdoch's Fox empire.” Hey, he didn't specifically mention right-wing media flogger Hugh Hewitt. Hugh must be ego-bruised.

[Charles McVey] 8:10 am
TimesGrinder: Following was pulled from The National Review Online (May 28). Assuming this is as it purports, John Carroll has used one of the lesser incidences of Liberal bias at the Los Angeles Times.
HELL FREEZES OVER [Rod Dreher] "I'm trying to pick my jaw up off the floor," says an L.A. journalist friend who passes along this May 22 memo that Times editor John Carroll sent to some staffers:
To: SectionEds
Subject: Credibility/abortion
I'm concerned about the perception---and the occasional reality---that the Times is a liberal, "politically correct" newspaper. Generally speaking, this is an inaccurate view, but occasionally we prove our critics right. We did so today with the front-page story on the bill in Texas that would require abortion doctors to counsel patients that they may be risking breast cancer. | The apparent bias of the writer and/or the desk reveals itself in the third paragraph, which characterizes such bills in Texas and elsewhere as requiring "so-called counseling of patients." I don't think people on the anti-abortion side would consider it "so-called," a phrase that is loaded with derision. [more at NRO The Corner]

5/28/03 [Wednesday]

[Streetsweeper] 7:50 am
Save Gray: The Bee reports that the hardcore Progressive usual suspects are trickling out to support our embattled governor. [A consortium of organized labor, firefighters, teachers, environmentalists and religious leaders will meet today at a Sacramento fire station to announce the formation of Taxpayers Against the Recall. The anti-recall forces -- longtime campaign contributors with hundreds of thousands of members and the ability to quickly raise millions of dollars -- expect to raise perhaps $3 million, organizers said.] Scheering: Hewitt continues his junkyard squabble with LA Times columnist Robert Scheer today at WorldNetDaily.

5/27/03 [Tuesday]

[Streetsweeper] 7:45 am
Cap It: Round and round they go. The Bee says that eventually the conservatives in Sacramento are going to vote to increase taxes somewhere. Oh, and what about a spending cap? ["If we had a spending cap that worked, we wouldn't be struggling right now to fix a budget hole that is larger than the budgets of 47 other states," Senate Republican leader Jim Brulte said.] Progressives tie the purse strings? Never!

5/26/03 [Monday]

[Streetsweeper] 5:15 am
Issa Backroom Moves: The Bee has some deep background on the recall planning which Darryl Issa started at the California GOP convention in February. ["What's happened has been almost exactly what he outlined that day in the hotel room, what he walked me through in February," said state Assemblyman Ray Haynes, R-Murrieta. Issa had taken Haynes into his confidence during the convention, calling him to a private meeting at the Hyatt Regency Sacramento. / "He said ... it's not smart to do anything before the war," Haynes recalled. "He just walked through how it needed to go. The only thing that delayed it was the war started two weeks later than he thought it would."] | Sorta Conservatives: In Sunday’s Register Steven Greenhut penned an op-ed called “Sacramento’s Profiles in Cowardice” which contains an unkind observation about so-called “fiscal” conservatives [Then there are the millionaire Republicans who, instead of spending their money helping Republicans beat Democrats, are using their resources to defeat conservatives in the GOP primary. They are what Shawn Steel, former California GOP party chairman, calls "confused, apolitical moderates who are embarrassed at cocktail parties when the CEO's third wife says she is in favor of abortion."]


[Streetsweeper] 7:37 am
Campbell Soup: On Hugh Hewitt's radio program yesterday Assemblyman John Campbell was being pressured to abandon his run for the State Senate and run for the U.S. Senate instead. After all, he already has a website - a few tweaks and he's ready to run for Federal office - and the field is wide open... | Recall Follies Get Serious: At his weblog Daniel Weintraub reports that Darryl Issa will have invested about $500,000 in the recall campaign. And Weintraub also passes along a rumor that Southern California Indian tribes might get behind the recall too...[Brace yourselves. This one is not going to be for the weak of heart.- Weintraub]


[Streetsweeper] 8:10 am
Hewitt Scheering: Radio pundit still pounding at columnist. At Hewitt’s site [The Scheer column has been slammed for four days in a variety of highly regarded sources. No respectable journalist has stepped forward to defend its allegations. It has, in short, been thoroughly exposed as a big and slanderous lie.] and at Weekly Standard [Rather than spike the preposterous column, the Times has not backed up an inch at this writing, proving that nothing is out of bounds at the Los Angeles Times, so long as the attack is directed against either Israel or America.] | After Le Boxer: Huntington Beach ex-mayor and now ex-U.S. Treasurer Rosario Marin is going after our up-for-reelection Senator. In the Bee ["I think she offers an interesting twist in the primary. On the other hand, she suffers from some disadvantages," said Bill Whalen, a former top Wilson aide and currently a research fellow at Stanford's Hoover Institution. / Whalen cited as potential advantages Marin's being a "new face" in the GOP field, where women and Latino voters have become more alluring then ever, as well as the possibility that she could enjoy an inside track to crucial White House support.]


[Streetsweeper] 9:40 am
Here’s a Hankie: The Chronicle carries a touching description of Bill Thomas, Bakersfield’s humble member of Congress. [Thomas, chairman of the powerful House Ways and Means Committee, "combines a certain smarmy charm with snot-flinging meltdowns to get his way," said a GOP official explaining Thomas' victory over a popular president and the Senate Republican leadership. "There's no question he took the administration and the chairman of the Senate Finance Committee to school on this bill."] | Like This is Good: With Tuesday’s election, the out of control LA City Council is now deadheading down a Progressive road. The Times ["I'm totally psyched," Councilman Eric Garcetti said. "There will be a progressive bloc of council members an even more activist council." / On the agenda: affordable housing, economic development and improved transportation. Public safety will also continue to be a major issue, council members said. / "I think it's a net plus for progressives, no question about that," said Ridley-Thomas, who left the council in November.] | Hewitt TimesGrinder: The radio pundit (and sometime CRO contributor) is still on a tear with the LA Times. Today at his website he goes after John Hendren’s reporting of “nuclear looting” versus the Washington Times coverage of same… And he’s still on Robert Scheer’s case. Hewitt is turning into a junkyard dog on the Times. | On Tour: Lord Gray has launched a series of statewide events including a Sacramento town hall hosted by ABC’s Peter Jennings to drum up support for his, uh, plans. In the Times ["Davis has been running around the state asking where the Republican budget proposals are," said Peter DeMarco, spokesman for Assembly Republican Leader Dave Cox of Fair Oaks. "His memory must have slipped away from him, since there are two viable budget proposals out there from Senate and Assembly Republicans. It's political grandstanding."]


[Streetsweeper] posted 9:45 am
More Scheer: Hugh Hewitt is on a tear... he's going after Robert Sheer with a vengeance. On his radio show yesterday Hewitt's exact estimation of Mr. Scheer was "He's a sick human being..." Sheer Lunacy Amok: Still on Scheer team, Hugh Hewitt goes after the columnist today in a WorldNetDaily piece. [Another piece on Scheer by Charles McVey can be found inside CRO.] Hewitt also points to a table compiled by Stefan Sharkansky called “Robert Scheer’s Canard-o-matic” that proves Scheer columns are actually written by random application of his favorite canards. And to think that we thought Mr. Scheer actually wrote his columns instead of leaving them to chance.

[Streetsweeper] posted 9:45 am
Lord Gray Disses the Recall
: In the Bee ["A recall is supposed to be for some abuse of office -- 'Something outrageous has happened and we have to recall him,' " Davis said. "It shouldn't just be, 'Oh I want to be governor, here's a cheap way for me to go in the back door rather than to go in the front door like everyone else.' "] Isn’t “negligence” an enough of an abuse of office? | Wall Street Raspberry: As reported in the Times, Conservatives in the Legislature were not impressed with Wall Street bankers’ recommendations ["If we were all opposed to taxes going in, we're more opposed to taxes going out," said Assemblyman Todd Spitzer (R-Orange). "It was a shoddy, pre-determined presentation. There was a total unwillingness to consider any other perspective other than raising taxes."] Spitzer for Governor!

[Streetsweeper] posted 9:00 am
Scheer Lunacy Part 2: Radio pundit Hugh Hewitt is whacking Robert Scheer again. From Tuesday's Hewitt Blog [Hard-left Los Angeles Times' columnist Robert Scheer's Tuesday column should not be missed. In "Saving Private Lynch: Take 2" Scheer asserts that the rescue of Jessica Lynch was a "fabrication" and a "caper." Scheer argues that the "manipulation of this saga really gets ugly" because of the "premeditated manufacture of the rescue itself, which stains those who have performed real acts of bravery, whether in war or peacetime." Scheer cites a BBC report, and ignores a Pentagon denial of the report. - These are serious charges, because they implicate every member of the special forces team involved in the rescue of Private Lynch. Are they liars and actors as Scheer asserts, or brave, selfless heroes as I and most other Americans believe? - Did the editors at the Los Angeles Times reach a conclusion on the objectivity of Scheer's incendiary charges before they ran them, or like Jayson Blair, was Robert Scheer simply allowed to file and smile as he left the electronic newsroom?] Launch all rockets!


[Streetsweeper] posted 8:58 am
Hard Choices:
In the Bee [Gov. Gray Davis has offered a "precariously balanced" revised spending plan that will strap lawmakers with formidable budget holes in future years, Legislative Analyst Elizabeth Hill said Monday. | The $100 billion plan, built around borrowing, fails to bring California's spending into line with its revenues, according to the initial review by the Legislature's nonpartisan budget adviser.] This ain’t new. | Now, What’s the Bad Part? In the Times [California Controller Steve Westly warned Monday that state government is likely to shut down if lawmakers take as long as they did last year to agree on a budget. | Westly wrote to lawmakers that the state would run out of cash in September and would not be able to get loans to continue operations into the fall.]



Bad, Bad Law: Friday’s edition of CRO featured an editorial [The Litigation Lottery] by Carol Platt Liebau on runaway trial lawyering. In today’s Bee, Dan Walters describes more on the reckless backroom shuffle that led to even worse legislation.

[Nicholas X. Winter]
Judging San Diego: In a recent email Shawn Steel reminded us to pass along notice that President Bush has nominated a prosecutor and four sitting judges to federal judgeships in San Diego. As reported in the SD Union Tribune [The positions, created last year, are San Diego's first new federal district judgeships to be funded in more than a decade. | The nominees, whose selection had been rumored for weeks, include three of San Diego's eight federal magistrate judges: John A. Houston, Roger T. Benitez and Larry Burns. | The other finalists are Bill Hayes, a veteran federal prosecutor, and Dana M. Sabraw, a San Diego Superior Court judge.]

For the Love of the Game: The San Quentin Giants prison team has a 35 game baseball season. It’s a little rough for the visiting teams. NY Times [To begin with, the announcer reminds you, San Quentin has no hostage policy. | "We will not bargain for your safety for the freedom of an inmate," he says. "They will do everything they can, however, to get you out safe and sound. | "Welcome to San Quentin." | Second, the hecklers are brutal, composed of felons and gang members with colorful jailhouse humor. While you're in the batter's box, for instance, they talk about your weight, your height, your socks, your age, your wife, asking why you look so tired and fat and slow.] Fi for Guv: At Daniel Weintraub’s Weblog he suggests that DiFi putting her “hat in the ring” [Republican leaders and potential funders might want to think twice about helping to qualify the recall if it would mean dumping one Democrat only to elect a stronger one. Not only that, if Feinstein became governor, she could appoint her successor in the Senate, potentially locking up that seat for a younger Democrat for years to come.]


Police Brutality: Pity the LA City Council. That oh-so blunt police chief is just too pushy. In the Times [Mayor James K. Hahn and his New York import, Police Chief William J. Bratton, charged the City Council with leaving citizens vulnerable to thugs, terrorists and gangsters. The council's threatened rejection of the mayor's budget — which includes money to hire 320 additional officers and reorganize the department — would be like turning back Gen. Dwight D. Eisenhower on D-day, Bratton said this week.] The Council members are very testy that the Chief said they were “missing in action.” Welcome to Progressive LA, Chief. | Ose No-Go: The congressman has decided he won’t run for the U.S. Senate and he won’t break his term-limit pledge for the House. In the Bee ["While I may pursue public office again in the future, I have come to the conclusion that this is not my time to seek higher office," Ose said. "I did not make any decision due to a lack of support or financial commitments, but because of my strong desire to be a good husband and father."] | OC Recall Cash: Jean O. Pasco reports in the Times that more fuel is coming to the recall [The Lincoln Club of Orange County threw added heft behind a struggling effort to ask voters in November to recall Gov. Gray Davis, approving a $100,000 donation Friday and promising an additional $150,000 from its members.]



Issa Explores: The congressman starts the clock ticking. In the Bee ["Five years of Gray Davis and one-party government has given us the worst fiscal crisis in our state's 153-year history, record deficits, higher taxes, rising energy costs and lost jobs," Issa said in a prepared statement. "As a businessman and public servant, I know that Californians deserve better."] | Contracting Chaos: The Wall Street Journal takes Lord Gray to task for his Progressive view of contracts. [Telling companies that legal contracts are worth as much in California as they are in Cuba isn't exactly the way to lure new investment and jumpstart an economy. But then again, this isn't about fixing California's budget and energy woes so much as it is about fixing the Governor's poll numbers. With a 24% approval rating and a recall effort under way, Mr. Davis is desperate to wiggle out of an energy mess that was largely of his own making.] WSJ (subscription required)


[Nicholas X. Winter]
Budget Fallout: By email we received Tom McClintock’s reaction to the Governor’s budget ["The first installment is now due for the Governor's four year spending binge. He promises to triple the car tax - while calling it a spending cut. He unconstitutionally borrows nearly $11 billion, which will cost Californians twice as much to repay in principal and interest. He increases proposed spending by $2.2 billion beyond his January budget and calls it frugality. | "There are two ways to balance the budget. You either cut state spending, which has ballooned 40 percent in four years, or you cut family budgets by raising their taxes. Families have already cut their budgets - the state now spends a larger portion of their earnings than at any time in our history. | "I renew my pledge: within an hour of the Controller acting to increase the car tax, I will file the initiative to abolish that tax completely."] In the Chronicle GOP Assembly Leader Dave Cox ["The governor clearly today in his release of the May revise has moved to his left to try to shore up his base. He has got both eyes focused on this recall.”]

Oreo Transfatus Liberatis: OC Register [It was with mixed emotions we read that San Francisco lawyer Stephen Joseph dropped the Oreo cookie suit yesterday. The suit, filed May 1 in Marin County Superior Court, sought to ban Oreo sales in California, alleging that the transfats in the creamy filling and cookie were dangerous to children who ate them. We would have enjoyed the anti-cookie arguments from Mr. Joseph, and, better yet, refuting them. But in the end, the right thing happened, and we're left with one observation: The only transfats in this ridiculous case resided mostly in the lawyer's head.] | Elder Evolution: Larry Elder moves to a higher principle. Town Hall [So, after much soul-searching, on Friday, May 9, 2003, I filed to change my voter registration to the Republican Party. Not because I find the party pure -- indeed, many Republicans like Sens. John McCain, R-Ariz., George Voinovich, R-Ohio, and Olympia Snowe, R-Maine, talk the talk but fail to walk the walk. Yet, because of my Republican friends such as Congressman David Dreier, R-Calif., writer-director-producer Lionel Chetwynd, and many others, I have a greater understanding of the day-to-day difficulty of moving intransigent Democrats, and some Republicans, in the right direction. I can exercise greater effectiveness cajoling, pushing and advocating on the inside, than nagging as an independent from the outside. | So, to my fellow Republicans: Fight the good fight, explain to the American people the importance of limited government, low taxation, strong self-defense, and trust them to have the maturity and common sense to govern their own personal and financial lives. | Make no mistake: My libertarian principles remain unchanged. But as writer Midge Decter once said, "There comes a time to join the side you're on."] SD City Hall Raid: It’s chaos in San Diego’s government corridors. Union Tribune [Dozens of FBI agents and San Diego police detectives searched the City Hall offices of Councilmen Ralph Inzunza, Charles Lewis and Michael Zucchet yesterday, while other investigators raided strip clubs here and in Las Vegas owned by a man who contributed to council campaigns. | Some bewildered and anxious city employees were ushered out of 10th-floor council offices after about 35 agents in business suits flashed badges in the lobby shortly before 1 p.m. Then, working with San Diego police, the agents swarmed the 10th floor, downloading computer files and seizing other items.] Yikes!



Fabulous Budget:
Here we go, Lord Gray’s budget comes out today and the key points are outlined in the Bee [Gov. Gray Davis will release a state budget revision today that would push more than $10 billion of the deficit into the future, raise taxes for smokers, shoppers and high earners, and all but guarantee a tripling of the vehicle license fee, sources said Tuesday.] | Fear and Trembling: In the LA Times a mention that Lord Gray is… uh, concerned [He's scared," said Wayne Johnson, president of the 330,000-member California Teachers Assn. "He sees this recall movement as having some potential, and he needs education and labor." | Johnson said Davis has begun meeting with the union's officers every other week in his Capitol office to talk about the budget and other issues. Such meetings, Johnson said, used to occur about twice a year. | "Now when he's in trouble, he's moving back to talking with his core constituencies again and doing something [for] them," Johnson said. "It's so obvious that it's almost insulting."] | Weak Case: The Chronicle makes a simplistic case against a recall – so simplistic it makes you want to vote to recall Lord Gray. A more reasoned case against a recall appeared here in CRO in a piece by Carol Liebau. | Ballot Follies: What a relief. In the Chronicle [Democratic Secretary of State Kevin Shelley said he'll sponsor a bill allowing Republicans to place President Bush's name on the state's November 2004 ballot -- despite the GOP decision to schedule its national presidential nominating convention after California's legal filing deadline for candidates.]



Lungren for Congress
? Dan Walters in the Bee tells us the former AG is considering going back to the House. [A clue to how strongly Lungren is leaning toward a run, however, is that he's put his Roseville home -- which is in Doolittle's district and a few blocks outside the Ose district -- on the market and is looking for a new residence in the rural portion of the 3rd District. "Based on what I've heard so far, it's a pretty good fit," Lungren said.] | Gray Days: Fox smells the story. ["The governor, with the help of his staff, cooked the books," Issa said, referring to what many opponents say is Davis' failure to protect a $10 billion surplus he inherited and then squandered in his first term.] Like that "squandered" part. | UnProgressive: California Democrat Tom Lantos is not Progressive. In the Chronicle [Legislation proposed by Rep. Tom Lantos, D-San Mateo, instructs the president to try to form a "democracy caucus" at the United Nations to stand up for free nations and prevent "rogue regimes" from gaining leadership positions in U.N. agencies. Another bill would put the U.S. government behind efforts to establish free media in countries that ban or limit free speech and put $15 million into a journalists' training program.] Danny Glover can’t like this sort of thing.



Recall Sputters:
In the Bee Daniel Weintraub calls the recall movement the “crazy aunt” of state politics. And suppose somebody unseats Lord Gray… [The prize? Nominal leadership of a troubled state of 35 million, with a struggling economy, a crumbling health care system, an electricity industry in disarray, schools unsure of their future, and ethnic and racial diversity that could make it a model for the world or an American Yugoslavia. The state's budget will either be seriously out of balance or so mortgaged that it will take years before any chief executive can find the money to launch a new initiative. | Gee. Where do I sign up?] | Progressive Disarray: Somebody turned on the lights and they’re scampering all over the floor. In the Chronicle [With the help of the military and the full weight of his office, President George W. Bush has unleashed a "shock and awe" re-election campaign that is astounding and confounding his political rivals everywhere, even in Democratic-leaning California.] | It’s Tough Being Gray: It’s lonely being so disliked. In the Times [Friends often approach First Lady Sharon Davis these days with a demeanor that suggests there's been a death in the family. In hushed tones, they ask how she and her unpopular husband are doing.]



Recall Momentum:
Darryl Issa has put up cash and is signaling that he thinks he can do a better job than Lord Gray. In the Chronicle ["This has changed everything," said a Republican strategist who spoke on the condition of anonymity about Issa's moves in the recall effort. "What was always needed was money and leadership. And Issa may be providing the jet fuel."] The new recall campaign can be found at



Kuhl Round 1:
The judge has made it out of the Senate’s Judiciary Committee. But there’s still a rocky road reported in the NY Times [All 10 of the committee's Republicans voted in her favor today while all 9 Democrats voted no. But Senator Arlen Specter, Republican of Pennsylvania, said he had not decided whether he would vote for Judge Kuhl's confirmation when her nomination comes to the floor because he was troubled by her record.] Thanks a lot. Ain’t he up for reelection? | Miller Time: The Washington Times profiles comedian Dennis Miller ["I am portrayed as the big anomaly in the community. But if you can't get behind your country at a time like this, what are you thinking? War in Iraq has only increased my patriotism," Mr. Miller said in an interview yesterday.] So weird that practical patriotism is virtually invisible within the ranks of the Celebrity Brigade.


Hold the Applause: Lord Gray brings down the house in front of business leaders. In the Bee [Drawing such a cool reception that he had to ask the crowd for applause, Gov. Gray Davis on Wednesday told hundreds of California business leaders he understands the strains they face during the state's fiscal crisis… Executives didn't applaud, though, and they skipped most other cues during Davis' remarks. Critical of a Legislature they see as bent on overregulating and overtaxing them to appease liberal constituencies, some business leaders say Davis turned his back on them during last year's re-election campaign to shore up his Democratic base.]


Rude Rules: Palo Alto’s city council was surprised to become the laughingstock of the country. The NY Times reports that they’ve [retreated tonight in great haste] off their proposal to ban rude behavior and facial gestures in city council meetings. | PowerLess: So we had an energy crisis… It’s fixed, right? Nope. Bee ["The thing that scared us the most about all this whole mess of the energy crisis is remarkably little has been done to deal with the underlying problems," said Michael Shames, head of the Utility Consumers' Action Network.]


[Hugh Hewitt]
Trying Times: Agenda journalism is alive and well at the Lost Angeles Times. This story is a parody of a serious report from Iraq: "U.S. Struggles in Quicksand of Iraq." Of course there are problems, but there is also breathtaking success and, crucially, an incredibly warm welcome for the troops in an overwhelming majority of their encounters with Iraqis. The Times is working overtime to redeem their embarrassing pre-war and wartime pessimism by changing the subject to another round of doom mongering. When do the suits in Chicago notice that their "flagship" is an embarrassment? Visit Hewitt

Panther Scheer: FrontPage is running an excerpt from the official Black Panther newspaper from 1970. The Panthers sent a delegation to North Korea with a statement of solidarity signed by LA Times columnist Robert Scheer [Since the peoples of the world have a common enemy, we must begin to think of revolution as an international struggle against U.S. imperialism. Our struggle in the U.S. is a genuine part of the total revolutionary assault on this enemy. Understanding the Korean people’s struggle, and communicating this to the American movement is a crucial step in developing this internationalist perspective.] Well, we guess Mr. Scheer is slightly more Progressive than we had previously assumed.

[Nicholas X. Winter]
Fidel’s Pitchmen: Glover and Belafonte. It is astounding that Danny Glover can be a mainstream celebrity. Harry Belafonte is just a marginalized sideshow for the insufferable intellectuals, but Glover appears in real movies and pitches phone service on the TV. One more astounding feat from the dynamic duo in today’s Wall Street Journal [Many people know Danny Glover as the genial salesman on evening television pushing MCI long distance telephone services. It's less well known that Mr. Glover is a big fan of Fidel Castro. To prove it, he and Harry Belafonte and another 160 or so "artists and intellectuals" have just signed a declaration of support for the Cuban regime. | Published on May 1 in Cuba's government newspaper Granma, the statement says: "Today there is a tough campaign against a Latin American nation. The harassment of Cuba could serve as an excuse for an invasion." The document supported Fidel's May Day warning to the Cuban people against President Bush's "Nazi" aggression.]

Recall Momentum: It got serious all of a sudden. LA Times [Rep. Darrell Issa, a Republican multimillionaire from Vista, plans to provide a six-figure donation as "seed money" for the new recall effort called Rescue California, his political aides said. "The funding is substantial and more than enough to do what needs to be done," said Sacramento political consultant Dave Gilliard, who will manage the new effort and represents Issa and half a dozen other Republicans in the California congressional delegation.]

Filibuster Kuhl? Progressives don’t like LA Judge Sheila Kuhl and want the Senate to filibuster her nomination if it gets out of committee. In the Chronicle [Senate opposition to Kuhl has been led by Sen. Barbara Boxer, D-Calif., but the state's other senator, Democrat Dianne Feinstein, may hold the key to the nomination. Feinstein, a Judiciary Committee member, effectively halted filibuster plans against another controversial appellate nominee, Jeffrey Sutton, by voting for him. Spokesman Howard Gantman said Monday that Feinstein hadn't made up her mind on Kuhl.]



Money Monkey:
The Times runs a “confessional” from Lord Gray [Is it my turn? OK. Hello. My name is Gray, and I'm a fundraise-aholic. There, I said it. I used to think I could quit any time. And I did after my November reelection. Six months without a drop in the campaign bucket. Not that I thought fund-raising 24/7 was a problem at the time, no. But there was talk. OK, criticism of the $78 million I raised to get reelected, of the time I spent kissing up for casino cash, palling around with prison guards and tickling the teachers unions while ambulances gridlocked outside emergency rooms and schoolkids did without books. So I promised my handlers I'd lay off until we got the state budget under control. And then I'd hold myself to $2.5 million a year. Chump change. After all, now that term limits have kicked in, I can't run again anyway. Then this recall thing came up. My approval ratings are in the basement and the Republicans think I'm vulnerable. So what if they need 797,158 more signatures to get on the ballot. My demons were hissing: "Be ready!" It was back to dialing for dollars, begging for bucks, palming for pennies.]


Loan Sharking: On top of all those Progressive bond measures that voters are routinely passing the state needs about $11 billion more in loans. "Hocked to the hilt" about covers Lord Gray’s governance. In the Bee we see that the Republicans plan to borrow too, but at least they’re worried about doing it. ["We think the borrowing actually is a bad idea, but it is better than tax increases," said Assembly budget vice chairman John Campbell, R-Irvine. "We are not doing the borrowing because we want to, we are offering it as a compromise."] | Save Fidel: The Celebrity Brigade is relentlessly obtuse. In the Washington Times [Singer Harry Belafonte, who recently called Secretary of State Colin L. Powell a "house slave," has joined actor Danny Glover and more than 160 artists and intellectuals to defend Fidel Castro's government against criticism over its recent crackdown on dissent.] | No Kidding: In the Times [About 10% of Americans say they have no religion, and compared with other Americans, they tend to be younger, more liberal and more likely to live on the West Coast, according to the Gallup Organization.]



Minimum Wage State: The Bee reports that with no budget the state’s Supreme Court says that some state workers can only be paid $5.15 an hour and others nothing after July 1. Controller Steve Westly can’t figure out how to sort it out. ["There is a cure to the problem, and that's an on-time budget," said Assemblyman Darrell Steinberg, D-Sacramento.] | Sorkin Out: LA Times reports that the creator of “West Wing” is leaving [The declining ratings wore on Sorkin, according to the sources. Nielsen data show that viewing is down 22% this season, to 13.5 million viewers per week, ranking 22nd among prime-time programs. It finished in the top 10 last year.] | Pledge: Reuters reports that even though her dad hates the Pledge of Allegiance – along with certain judges on the 9th Circuit - his daughter says it every day.



Ah, the Recall: The Wall Street Journal opines on Lord Gray’s situation and wins today’s award for best analogy [If the government of California were a company, it'd be American Airlines. It's nearly broke, and everyone is mad at the CEO. American decided to let its chief go, and soon California voters may be able to do the political equivalent and recall Governor Gray Davis.] Clever as the observation is… the Journal sort of dismisses the recall thing in favor of Bush carrying the state, LeBoxer losing and putting a spending cap provision in the state constitution like Colorado. | Minor Abrasions and Minimal Cuts? The Legislature has taken a paring knife to the budget just when they need a chainsaw. Register ["We solved $3.7 billion. The bad news is we have another $29 billion to go," Senate Republican Leader Jim Brulte said Wednesday evening.] | Dog Pile: The headline at the Times is more than sufficient [Workers' Comp Heading for 'Collapse,' Garamendi Warns] | Finally! Lord Gray is thrilled to be back to the business of fundraising. A swell golf tournament at the end of the month to build up his campaign war chest. Times [The governor plans to join donors on the golf course at the height of state budget negotiations as lobbyists are scrambling for favorable treatment from him and the Legislature. Hundreds of lobbying clients are trying to ward off billions of dollars in cutbacks brought on by the state fiscal crisis.]

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