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The war was the result of the Bush Administration's failed diplomacy. | Uh, we support the troops. | A tax cut in wartime is a risky scheme. | We could have probably brought down that statue for a lot less. | Sure it was a quick victory, but the occupation will be brutal. | What's so called "liberation" in the face of the loss of humanity's antiquities? | Why are we building schools in Baghdad when we should be building schools at home? | We’re not extreme, our ideals represent the ideals of ordinary Californians.

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contributor commentary

[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.]
more at CRO Blog

being Tom McClintock

California has a spending problem. As State Senator Tom McClintock likes to point out, population and inflation combined have grown at a rate of 21% the past four years; revenue has grown 25%. Yet California government spending has grown 40%. The result is an unprecedented state budget deficit expected to exceed $35 billion.
- Thomas Krannawitter 5/2/03
go to Shadow Governor

WEST BANK OF THE SEINE/From Weekly Standard
Decline of the Times, Part 2
The Los Angeles Times rails against its defenders and shows how bad its editorial page is, too.
by Hugh Hewitt 5/23/03
| Last week in this space I described the Los Angeles Times's slide into mediocrity and agenda journalism. Some objected. The Nation's always reliable Eric Alterman condemned the column as "nonsensical," and then quoted one of my objections--that "columnists who deal regularly with politics outside of the editorial pages come in two varieties: left and far-left." To which Alterman replied: "Oh really. My goodness. Nora [sic] Vincent is on the page as part of what I perceive to be an affirmative action program for young right-wing lesbians." | Note that Alterman cites Vincent's presence on the editorial page as evidence against my charge that outside of the editorial page, the Times employs only leftists. I suppose I shouldn't object: After all, this is close-reading for the Nation. | Mickey Kaus, on the other hand, conceded the bias on the Times's editorial page, but not at the paper in general. Kausfiles argued that "the LAT is getting better under its new owner." About the horribly skewed op-ed pages, Kaus conceded that "Hewitt's right . . . but the LAT's recently-hired Nick Goldberg is trying to diversify it." | Both pundits came to the Times's defense. The LAT actually came to my assistance on Tuesday with a nicely timed screed by Robert Scheer, long one of the paper's stars. Scheer has now been pummeled in print, on radio, and on television for his vicious and repellant essay alleging that the United States military staged the Jessica Lynch rescue. [more at Weekly Standard]

'May I?' and 'The Matrix'
Why my kids won't be seeing the latest R-rated blockbuster.
by Dale Buss 5/23/03
| Sure, when it opened last week, "The Matrix Reloaded" savaged a few box-office records as if they were so many flimsy Agent Smith replicates. But it still couldn't beat out "Spider-Man" for a record three-day opening. And that amounts to a notable failure for this movie, considering that it benefited from more advance hype and fevered anticipation than the invasion of Iraq. | One reason the movie didn't completely rewrite the box-office record book can be put in a letter: "R." The flick's restricted rating made parents wary enough that thousands of them simply declined to let their teenage boys go see "The Matrix Reloaded" at least until they'd wrestled down this little problem. Here's hoping that's what happened, anyway. | Why the R rating? Certainly the barrage of elegantly choreographed martial-arts violence is one reason; but that stuff is merely a modern, stylized version of the barroom fighting in a cowboy film, rough but understandable. Besides, without it there's no movie. The real cocklebur is a gratuitous scene near the beginning of this video game--er, movie--that intercuts a paganistic orgy with private, full-flesh sex between the hero and heroine, Neo and Trinity, complete with pulsating drums in the background. | So while teenage boys, religious syncretists and dime-store philosophers might be in love with "The Matrix Reloaded," it isn't all that popular with some parents. [more at Opinion Journal]

Entrepreneurs Find No Luster in Golden State
by Joseph Perkins 5/23/03 | “California," said Gray Davis, "is the best place in the nation for businesses to prosper." Better than New York. Better than Texas. Better than Delaware and Nevada. | The Golden State's "business-friendly policy environment," the governor added, provides "fertile ground for the best companies in the world to grow." | Well, that may be true for California's biggest businesses – such Fortune 500 companies as ChevronTexaco and Hewlett-Packard and Northrop Grumman and Walt Disney. But it certainly isn't so for the state's small businesses. | Most find it far more difficult to prosper in California than small businesses in other states. And most find the policy environment in Sacramento anything but friendly toward their businesses. [more at SD Union Tribune]

Wall Street Cons Rebuffed
by the Editors 5/23/03 | Gov. Gray Davis must be disappointed in the response that his handpicked investment bankers received at the hands of Republican Assembly members, who told the financiers in no uncertain terms on Tuesday that Republicans will not support tax increases to fill the budget hole. | Officials from Wall Street told Republicans that the plan to float debt to cover last year's deficit must be funded by a new tax. But Republicans saw them as the cat's paw for the governor. The financiers were unfamiliar with the Republican plan and provided no evidence that the borrowing couldn't be supported from existing revenues. | It was a clearly political attempt to drum up support for the governor's budget, which features a half-cent sales tax hike that would provide the revenue stream for the borrowing. |"The Wall Street team, who by the way on the tobacco securitization deal made $78 million in fees, they want the easy way out - raise taxes so we can float this debt," said Assemblyman Todd Spitzer, R-Orange. "It makes their job easier and they get all their commissions instead of putting on their thinking caps ... ." [more at OC Register]

California Hits Up Wall Street for More Cash
by the Editors 5/23/03 | California's protracted budget imbroglio is intensifying as the constitutional deadline of June 15 looms for the Legislature to send Gov. Gray Davis a spending plan. | State Controller Steve Westly and Finance Director Steve Peace are in New York City trying to secure $11 billion in short-term loans so that California can pay for its daily operations through the summer. If there is no budget in place by September, Westly says, the state will shut down because it won't be able to obtain additional loans. [more at SD Union Tribune]

Leftists Fume at Second UCLA Affirmative Action Bake Sale
by Adam Foxman 5/23/03 | Several Bruin Republicans parodied affirmative action by selling Oreos, Twinkies and crackers for race-based prices on Bruin Walk on Wednesday, but they never meant it to end in chaos. | The "Affirmative Action Bake Sale, Reloaded," was a follow-up to a February sale put on by the same students, this time with emphasis on offensive stereotypes applied to minorities who oppose affirmative action. | Although the sale was obscured by a cement mixer for much of the morning, by early afternoon the table was surrounded by students – some of them approving, many of them angry. | The debate grew heated as Bruin Walk filled at lunchtime, and ended abruptly as an angry student grabbed boxes of Oreos and crackers, spilled them on the ground, and tore down the banner cursing what he called "white privilege.” [more at FrontPage]

Workers' Comp: Reform or Collapse
by the Editors 5/23/03 | Workers' compensation reform is something the Legislature and Gov. Gray Davis had better get right. That was the warning Wednesday from California Insurance Commissioner John Garamendi to the Register editorial board. |"The bottom line on all this is the workers' compensation system is going to collapse," he said. He called for "serious reform passed by the Legislature." | The problem: Costs have doubled the last three years and that is "projected to continue," he said. It is not related to the number of cases, "but to the intensity and quantity of medical services provided." There is no fee schedule on which to base treatments, which means "charges that are out of thin air." [more at OC Register]

FABULOUS BUDGET/From Sacramento Bee
Can Legislators Probe College Computer Mess with Authority?
by Dan Walters 5/23/03 | As California grapples with an immense budget deficit, it's wholly appropriate -- even praiseworthy -- that the Legislature should turn a critical eye on wasteful spending by state agencies. | That's what Assemblywoman Rebecca Cohn, who chairs the Legislature's audit committee, said she was doing this week when she summoned California State University systems officials to a Capitol hearing room to explain why their $662 million centralized computer system doesn't work. [more at Sacramento Bee]

FABULOUS BUDGET/ From California Insider Weblog
As the Deficit Turns
at Daniel Weintraub’s Blog 5/22/03 [posting 5/21/03] | The gov was here last night for an editorial board meeting. Margaret Talev of the Bee’s capitol bureau did the news story. But her straight account can’t of course reflect the real spirit of the meeting, which I found depressing and frustrating. Davis began the meeting with a cheap shot at yours truly, pulling out a quote from a January column in which I said his revenue numbers might have been too pessimistic. As it turned out, his numbers were a tad high. But the real point of that column is as valid today as it was then, that Davis is overstating “projected spending” in order to take credit for budget cuts that don’t really exist. His feeble attempt to make me look bad in front of my colleagues left me wondering if that’s how he handles his negotiations with legislators. I know if he had asked for my vote after that petty display, I wouldn’t have given him the time of day. | Davis seems totally impotent at this point. He implored us to join him in beating up legislators of both parties to vote for his budget, which would borrow $17 billion and still not close the structural gap between revenues and spending. We asked him why he gave up on his January plan, which for all its faults at least was balanced. Because, he said, nobody liked it. [more at Sacramento Bee]

Why NotWin?
by Debra J. Saunders 5/22/03 | Here’s my question for the political team at the White House: How many elections do California Republicans have to lose because the White House is afraid that certain candidates and issues will cost the GOP wins elsewhere in the country or in the future? | As Chuck Todd reported in the National Journal, "Republicans this side of the White House lawn" are opposed to efforts by Californians to push former Gov. Pete Wilson to run against Sen. Barbara Boxer. | It doesn't matter that Wilson has won four statewide runs for office. Or that Republicans lost bids for every statewide office in November. The Bushies fear that Wilson will alienate Latino voters. | Forget Wilson for a second: It's the attitude that really bites. | The Bushies are free to write off California as impossible to win in 2004 -- if they choose to ignore the Field poll that found 61 percent of California voters approve of Bush's job performance. | But it's not their place to discourage the one Republican most likely to win in California. | Especially when their objection is that Wilson supported a 1994 initiative - - Proposition 187, which sought to deny benefits to illegal immigrants -- that 59 percent of state voters supported. | Note to Karl Rove: Popularity wins elections. [more at SF Chronicle]

Open Government on the Chopping Block
by the Editors 5/22/03 | Open government is essential to democracy. The people and the media must have full access to all essential deliberations of government bodies: Congress, state legislatures, county boards, school boards, city councils, etc. | In California, the Open Meeting Act guarantees "that actions of state agencies be taken openly and that their deliberation be conducted openly." This includes timely postings of the agendas of meetings. | That's why we strongly oppose a section in Gov. Gray Davis' May revision of the budget that supposedly would save $9 million by repealing the part of the act that, in the revision's words, "requires local entities to post agendas regarding items to be considered at meetings, as well as the time and location of the meetings." The state currently has the obligation to pay the cost. | If enacted, the $9 million savings would reduce the estimated $38 billion budget deficit for the next 13 months by just 0.02 percent. That's penny-wise and pound-foolish. The accountability costs of government are the last that ought to be cut. [more at OC Register]

MISEDUCATION/From Sacramento Bee
Exit Exam is Crucial for Disadvantaged Students
by Daniel Weintraub 5/22/03 | Education reform has been one of the few success stories in California public policy in recent years. With bipartisan support from two governors and the Legislature, the state has developed a coherent set of academic standards, adopted curriculum and textbooks to match, and created tests to assess whether children are learning. After decades of drift, schools are being held accountable for the performance of their students. | But a crucial piece of that reform movement is now in danger, and the next few months will decide whether California presses ahead or flinches in the face of a vocal minority that opposes every effort to measure how well our schools are teaching and how well our kids are learning. | At issue is the future of the state's High School Exit Exam -- and with it the future of education for the state's most disadvantaged students. | This test, approved in 1999 and first administered two years later, is the linchpin of the accountability program because it is the only exam that carries real consequences for students. [more at Sacramento Bee]

WEST BANK OF THE SEINE/From FrontPage Magazine
Civil Rights Media Hounds Ignore Black Plight
by Michael Reagan 5/22/03 | Last Friday the Los Angeles City Council voted to require companies that do business with the city to report whether they ever profited from slavery. "It's important symbolically," said Councilman Nate Holden, who sponsored the motion. "If companies did in fact benefit from slave labor, we need to know it." | Despite frantic last-minute appeals by the mayor and the police chief, the Los Angeles City Council voted to delay spending for additional police officers. Incredibly, the city refuses to give Police Chief William J. Bratton - a tough cop who cleaned up New York City who they hired to do the same job in L.A. - the money he needs to hire more policemen to do the job they say they want done. | All across the nation the story is the same. So-called black leaders ignore the plight of young blacks while they climb over each other to pose in the publicity spotlight. They’re worried about slavery, they’re worried about reparations, about making Martin Luther King Day a paid holiday, all this meaningless symbolism, and in the meantime their own people are dying because they refuse to talk about substance. [more at FrontPage]

RECALL FOLLIES/From Weekly Standard
Wild and Wooly in California
The prospect of a recall vote on Governor Gray Davis has the state's political establishment in an uproar.
by Hugh Hewitt 5/21/03
| The strangest season in California's long, strange political trip has begun with a declaration of candidacy for a governorship that isn't vacant, a withdrawal from a Senate campaign that hasn't really begun, and a rumor mill spinning out of control. | The declaration of candidacy came from Congressman Darrell Issa, who has injected cash and leadership into the campaign to place a recall election before the voters in early fall. The target is Governor Gray Davis, whose approval ratings make Nixon's in August of 1974 look pretty good. Issa's commitment has energized the effort and there is little doubt now that Davis will be fighting for his political life come September. Orange County's powerful Lincoln Club stepped up with a $100,000 in recall cash last Friday and pledged to lay out another $150,000 soon. The Club doesn't waste money on symbolism. The recall will qualify, and Davis will face a straight up-or-down vote. If 50 percent (plus 1) of the voters say throw Governor Clouseau out, he will be gone, and eyes turn to the second question on the ballot--who should replace him? [more at Weekly Standard]

Tale of Two Cities -- One Drifting to Starboard, the Other to Port
by Dan Walters 5/21/03 | San Francisco may be seen as a bastion of left-of-center politics today, but just a couple of generations ago, it was often electing Republicans to office. | Republican George Christopher was mayor of the city during the 1960s (and ran unsuccessfully for governor); Republican Milton Marks held the city's seat in the state Senate; and Caspar Weinberger, who became Ronald Reagan's defense secretary, was a local state assemblyman. | The rise of the counterculture in the late 1960s altered the city's social ambience. With that evolution, its politics shifted to the left, personified by late Congressman Phil Burton, assassinated Mayor George Moscone and Willie Brown, who presided over the state Assembly as speaker for 14 years and is now the city's mayor. | Politics is nothing if not cyclical, however, and although San Francisco certainly won't become Bush country anytime soon, its politics appear to have edged a few notches to the right in recent years. As mayor, Brown has been anything but the liberal firebrand that he had been in the 1960s and 1970s. He's been staunchly pro-development, much to the chagrin of liberal activists, and is considered to be, at least by local standards, something of a conservative. [more at Sacramento Bee]

TIMESTRACK/From WorldNet Daily
Slandering the Military?
More Sheer lunacy at the Los Angeles Times
by Hugh Hewitt 5/30/03
| 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. He rushed into print even as the BBC was walking backward on its own story, as detailed in many links found at | Scheer is throwing around very 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? [more at WorldNetDaily]

The Fourth Estate’s Failure: Who Really Loses When The Los Angeles Times Distorts The News

by Charles McVey 5/21/03 | In our civilization the press is so powerful that in the late Eighteenth Century it was first called the Fourth Estate; more powerful than the Church, the State, and the People. By any objective measure, the press is now so imprinted with a Leftist orientation, a Leftist agenda, that they feel fully justified in not only slanting articles but in changing the news. | While the recent Jayson Blair affair at the New York Times may simply have been the disclosed factual fabrications of an unscrupulous reporter it is – however - emblematic of the ideological dishonesty of the majority of the Fourth Estate. | I need not look any further than the slab of newsprint sitting in my own driveway to see this dishonesty on the pages of the West Coast’s newspaper of record, the Los Angeles Times. [more inside]

Choosing Gimmicks Over Leadership
by the Editors 5/21/03 | Big surprise. Another crisis has unfolded on Gov. Gray Davis' watch, and instead of leading, he once again punted the ball down the field. His latest "solution" to a budget deficit projected to be as high as $38 billion is to cobble together a May budget revision, released last week, that avoids the hard decisions, and leaves others to work things out. | The governor's revision includes the worst of all worlds - $8 billion in four different tax increases, nearly $20 billion in total borrowing to plug a deficit hole, and a continued structural deficit of about $8 billion, with no serious structural reforms planned to assure that this sort of problem doesn't happen again. The governor's plan even increases spending $2.2 billion from his January budget. | It's typical Gray Davis-style - wait until a looming crisis, then react with a plan that splits the difference, with a strong emphasis on placating political supporters by protecting their programs. No wonder the once-floundering campaign to recall the governor is gaining new life. [more at OC Register]

Wall Street Isn't Saying, 'Raise taxes'
Once again, Davis blames others for fallout from his mismanagement.
by John Campbell
| Last week, Gov. Davis unveiled his "May revise," the final 2003-04 budget proposal that he will make for the year. Even if he had another revision, it is difficult to imagine how it could be worse. Among the proposal's lowlights: •Increases in taxes on personal income, sales, cars and tobacco of more than $8 billion per year. •Borrowing of nearly $20 billion. •More spending in many areas, including adding more state employees in areas such as Caltrans and human services. | It also leaves a deficit of at least $8 billion for next year, so that we can do this all over again then. [more at OC Register]

All for One
City leaders quibble over details, but agree on their target
by the Editors 5/20/03
| For all their overhyped acrimony and squabbling, Mayor James Hahn and the Los Angeles City Council are in perfect agreement. | They all want to rip off the city's homeowners. | That's the upshot of ongoing city budget negotiations. The council has rejected Hahn's plan to add 320 cops to the Los Angeles Police Department, but it's heartily endorsed his proposal to jack up homeowners' garbage fees by 66 percent. | Homeowners alone are singled out for the tax hike -- not businesses and not renters, except in the smallest units, because they are allowed to buy garbage pickup on the free market and don't have to recycle. | Just homeowners, in the city's never-ending assault on the middle class. [more at LA Daily News]

Illegal Immigration
Surely, the House isn't serious about the issue
by the Editors 5/21/03 | Once again Congress is proving its irresponsibility when it comes to the issue of illegal immigration. Rival amendments introduced in the House committee dealing with immigration compete with each other in their wrongheadedness. | We've said this many times before: Congress has the power to solve America's growing immigration problems. The American public states in poll after poll that it wants illegal immigration ended and legal immigration reduced. | Yet Congress, in thrall of immigration lobbies, does nothing. | The House amendments are examples of how far out of step Congress is with public opinion. A Democratic amendment would have legalized all Mexicans in the United States illegally. We cannot think of a more perfect incentive to attract more illegal immigrants than legalizing the 5 million Mexicans living here illegally. [more at SD Union Tribune]

WEST BANK OF THE SEINE/From National Review
End of the Line
You can’t go much beyond San Fran.
by John Derbyshire 5/20/03
| So there I was in downtown San Francisco, right after a very successful book-signing event at Stacey's on Market Street, making my way between these grand heroic buildings under the bright California sun. It wasn't the afterglow of promotional success, or the magnificence of the buildings, or the sunlight and the wonderful, warm California air that I was noticing, though. What was mostly presenting itself to my eyes, ears, and nose were the street people — platoons, companies, battalions of them. I have never seen so many street people. Here a ragged, emaciated woman mumbling to herself and making complicated hand gestures like a Buddhist priest; there a huge black-bearded Rasputin of a man in a floor-length heavy overcoat, pushing a shopping cart piled high with filthy bundles; across the way a little knot of florid winos arguing loudly and ferociously about something; sitting on the sidewalk where I passed, a youngish black woman, gaunt and nearly bald, with some sort of skin disease all over her face and scalp, croaking something at me I couldn't understand. | Half the lunatics, drunks, and drug addicts in America — in the world, I wouldn't be surprised — are right here in the center of their city. [more at National Review]

WEST BANK OF THE SEINE/From American Spectator
Racial Head Counters
by George Neumayr 5/20/03 | The advocates of affirmative action sabotage principled standards and call that justice. But is it just to create new wrongs in place of old ones? Is it just to turn vital institutions into centers of special-interest social engineering? | The price tag for affirmative action is a society of fresh injustices and low standards. And the costs of affirmative action are piling up -- in, among other things, lawsuits, scandals, institutional erosion, and new cycles of grievance. | But its defenders remain unfazed. If anything, they are eager to ratchet up the pressure. Take University of California head Richard Atkinson. He is going all out to oppose a racial privacy initiative slated for California ballots that would end the practice of racial categorization on state and local government forms. He is urging UC Regents to oppose the initiative because its passage could "adversely affect the university's ability to carry out its core mission." | What does this say about the UC's core mission? It suggests that its mission is not academic but political, not intellectual excellence but racial and social engineering. [more at American Spectator]

FABULOUS BUDGET/From Sacramento Bee
Real Budget Crisis is the $8 Billion Annual Income-Outgo Gap
by Dan Walters 5/20/03 | Numerology is the pseudoscience that seeks occult meanings in numbers, but one needn't be an adherent to find significance in the recurring appearance of $8 billion in the state's budget crisis. | That was how much, more or less, Gov. Gray Davis and the Legislature foolishly spent out of a one-time windfall of income taxes three years ago. And that's roughly how much out of balance the state budget has been every year since. | Davis and legislators ignored or papered over this "structural deficit" for two years, and the Democratic governor wants to borrow nearly $11 billion, on top of the $6 billion in outstanding budget-related debt, to cover those two years of deficits. Then he wants to impose $8 billion in new taxes -- there's that number again -- to balance the 2003-04 budget. | But even if Davis' much-revised budget is enacted -- and that's very uncertain, given seemingly implacable Republican opposition to the new taxes -- the state would, by his own numbers, have another $8 billion shortfall in 2004-05, because so many of the budgetary gimmicks adopted in the last two years would expire and the state would have to begin repaying its many loans. [more at Sacramento Bee]

Overspending a Plague Not Just at State Level
by the Editors 5/20/03 | Most Californians are well aware of the state's looming fiscal crisis, as a deficit estimated to be as high as $38 billion - larger than the annual budget of each state excluding New York - threatens to result in crushing new tax burdens for state residents. But it's not just Sacramento where legislators are spending taxpayer dollars with little thought of the future. | City and county governments, including Orange County's, are out of control in spending, despite warnings from groups such as the League of Cities about tough fiscal times. [more at OC Register]

ELECTIONEERING/From American Spectator
by the Prowler 5/20/03 | It appears, with the announcement last week that Republican California Rep. Doug Ose is retiring and will not challenge Democrat Barbara Boxer in the 2004 Senate race, the path is cleared for U.S. treasurer Rosario Marin. A moderate Republican, with extensive ties to the Mexican-American community in California, Marin was considered a top tier choice by the White House. The only other name that has been floated seriously as a potential challenger to Boxer is former Gov. Pete Wilson. But those rumors have seemingly dried up of late. | One other name being floated now is Rep. George Radanovich, who has been campaigning up and down the state for several months but who would probably not run if it appeared the White House was trying to clear the way for Marin. | As it stands for Boxer, she has made the decision to very publicly disagree with her senior senator from the state, Dianne Feinstein. Boxer is said by some of her staffers to be frustrated that she is still considered a lightweight, both politically and intellectually, by the national and California press. | "Part of that perception is from Feinstein's people just badmouthing her," says a Boxer staffer in California. "But she also realizes that to dispel those perceptions she has to be proactive." | One other byproduct of Ose's retirement is talk that former California attorney general and gubernatorial candidate Dan Lungren is mulling a run for Ose's congressional seat. [more at American Spectator]

WEST BANK OF THE SEINE/From Sacramento Bee
Even Hard-Bitten Lobbyists Roll Eyes at Capitol's Dysfunction
by Dan Walters 5/19/03 | The more than 1,000 men and women who lobby Capitol politicians on behalf of thousands of clients don't approach their jobs with high levels of expectations for procedural purity. | They know that the California Legislature is more a bazaar than a deliberative body. They know that legislators have ideological biases, often tilt toward their big campaign supporters and are prone to other exterior influences. They expect to see a certain quota of grandstanding. They often watch procedural rules bent, or even violated, in pursuit of certain predetermined ends. | That said, even the most blasé Capitol lobbyists are shaking their heads these days at what they regard as a complete breakdown of the process, a semianarchy in which complex measures are zipped through committees with not even a pretense of dialogue with those affected by their provisions. [more at Sacramento Bee]

Betrayal in Sacramento
Small-business owners denied promised reform of Unfair Competition Law
By Maryann Maloney 5/19/03
| The push for reform of California's Unfair Competition Law all started in Orange County with greedy lawyers spurring public outrage. Now, it appears to have ended in Sacramento, with a back-room deal between personal-injury lawyers and the legislators they keep in their pockets. The purpose behind the law, also known as Business and Professions Code Section 17200, may have been noble, but the law has been little more than an extortion tool for greedy personal-injury lawyers looking to reap financial rewards. | To believe the rhetoric of many state politicians, this was the year that extortion tool was going to be retired. [more at OC Register]

WEST BANK OF THE SEINE/From Sacramento Bee
Liberals in State Capitol are Looking to Wield an Even Bigger Cudgel
by Tony Quinn 5/19/03 | In Washington, California's Democratic senators support gridlock. They are engaged in a filibuster preventing a vote on President Bush's judicial picks they claim are right-wing ideologues. They want to force the Republican president to compromise with Senate Democrats on judges. | In Sacramento, however, the same liberal activists who cheer the minority's use of its power in Washington want to take that power away from the minority party. In the state Capitol, these legislators are promoting a ballot measure for the March primary that concentrates all the power over taxes and spending in the hands of the legislative majority, with no restraint on that power. [more in Sacramento Bee]

Senseless Spending
Democrats' anti-business, anti-taxpayer agenda will push California even deeper into economic crisis
by Steven Greenhut 5/18/03
| During his conference call with editorial writers on Wednesday, Gov. Gray Davis urged support for his newly announced budget revision, which attempts to plug a gaping budget hole largely with deficit financing and new taxes. No matter one's political perspective, he said, California media need to pull together because the state's future is at stake. | Given the size of the budget gap, and the state's battered image in the financial markets, the governor's characterization may not be much of an exaggeration. The future is at stake. But it will take more than any number of editorials to fix it. | The problem isn't just the budget deficit, which has soared from estimates of $35 billion in January to $38 billion today. It is the state's increasingly hostile climate toward businesses, taxpayers and freedom. [more at OC Register]

Testy, Testy
by Debra J. Saunders 5/18/03 | It’s no mystery why teachers' unions and school boards oppose standardized achievement tests and exit exams. When they're falling short, they're not eager to announce it. | It's no mystery why students don't like tests. Some fail. Some struggle. Others aren't challenged. There's no instant gratification. Some students have such a strong sense of entitlement that they've come to believe they're supposed to enjoy most everything they do in school. | The mystery is why so many parents -- especially affluent parents -- would oppose testing. You'd think parents would be embarrassed to voice this opinion in public, because it's so anti-education -- except they are so uninformed as to not even understand what they're against. [more at SF Chronicle]

WEST BANK OF THE SEINE/From Sacramento Bee
Forecasts of 2-tier California Have Become Harsh Reality
by Dan Walters 5/18/03 | Nearly 20 years ago, two academic researchers examined California's rapidly changing cultural and economic landscape and suggested that a harshly segmented future could be in store for the state. | Leon Bouvier and Philip Martin noted that the state was shifting from an industrial economy to one primarily rooted in trade and services just as it was seeing a wave of immigration and offered this scenario: "the possible emerging of a two-tier economy with Asians and non-Hispanic whites competing for high-status positions while Hispanics and blacks struggle to get the low-paying service jobs. ..." | This month, two other academicians revisited the California socioeconomic structure and, not surprisingly, found that what Bouvier and Martin predicted had come true. [more at Sacramento Bee]

Inquiry Casts Shadow Over City Hall
FBI raid suggests a void in leadership
by Philip J. LaVelle 5/18/03
| FBI agents raid City Hall and strip clubs, collecting evidence in a racketeering case centered on kingpins of the Las Vegas flesh industry. | Federal wiretaps. Politicians swarmed by TV crews. Vegas, and all that it implies. Sounds like a pretty good movie script, or a "Sopranos" episode. | But this was no movie. It was the news coming out of San Diego City Hall last week. [more at SD Union Tribune]

WEST BANK OF THE SEINE/From Sacramento Bee
Battered Public Pension Funds -- Everyone Pays
by Daniel Weintraub 5/18/03 | I usually hate making predictions. But here is one that's based on sound evidence and which, I believe, is too important not to put on the record: Public employee pensions are going to be the government story of the decade in California. | Recent benefit increases are combining with huge investment losses and under-payments by government agencies to turn the state's once-flush pension funds into debtors. As these effects ripple outward from their source, payments to the pension funds are going to take an increasing share of money that would otherwise be going to public services, from law enforcement to health care and education. [more at Sacramento Bee]

WEST BANK OF THE SEINE/From Sacramento Bee
Dripping with Excess
Water districts act as if no one is watching
by the Editors 5/18/03
| If you set out to design a government in which elected officials felt free to do as they liked with the public's money, it would look like this: It would be one of hundreds of similar governments scattered across a large area. Nobody would be assigned to watch it or the others like it. It would have the power to generate income without oversight or interference, and to account for that money in only the most rudimentary manner. Its officials would be chosen in low-turnout elections, frequently without opposition. | In short, that government would look a whole lot like many of the 450-some water districts across California. [more at Sacramento Bee]

Block the Biggest Disaster Since OC Bankruptcy
by Larry Gilbert 5/18/03 | In defending CenterLine, Irvine City Council Members Beth Krom and Mike Ward quote the same one-sided rhetoric as the Orange County Transportation Authority ("Cities, public wisely support CenterLine," Reader Rebuttal, May 11). | Given that transportation is a vital challenge to every city, why do council members from Anaheim, Garden Grove and Mission Viejo oppose this project? Because they realize the master-planned 87-mile rail system would be the county's biggest disaster since the bankruptcy. [more at OC Register]

Tax Deceits
Budget-speak is budget deceit.
by Ray Haynes 5/16/03 | I have to admit it took me five years on the budget committee to really understand the budget process. One of the key reasons for this extended learning period was budget language. It was a little like going to see a foreign movie that doesn’t have subtitles. You think you know what’s going on but you miss some major plot lines along the way. You see, those in government responsible for formulating the budget don’t speak English. Yes, I agree that the noises that come out of their mouth sound like English, but the true meanings do not coincide with words found in any dictionary. The purpose of budget-speak is budget deceit. They want you to think they mean one thing, when they really mean another. | For instance—when a normal person says they “cut something” out of their budget, they mean they reduced or eliminated it. In budget-speak, it means they didn’t get what they wanted. Gray Davis recently announced he “cut” 10,000 jobs out of state government last year. But if you look at the numbers, the state had 322,227 approved state positions last year, and 327,554 this year. Next year, they anticipate having 325,134. Now—I’m no math genius, but 3000 more jobs is not equal to 10,000 fewer jobs, even in the new, new, new math. They are equal, however, in budget-speak. It works like this, they wanted 13,000 more jobs, they only got 3,000, so they “cut” 10,000 jobs. [more inside]

FABULOUS BUDGET/From Sacramento Bee
The 400-Pound Gorilla
CalPERS can't cope with health care costs
by the Editors 5/17/03
| State employees and retirees have financial reason to be concerned about what is happening inside their giant pension and health system. But the political paralysis of the system's leadership should have everybody who buys health care worried. That's all of us, in one way or another. | The 1.3-million member California Public Employees Retirement System, with its enormous purchasing clout, can end up shaping the entire marketplace. Although in the past it has been a force for positive change -- squeezing fat out of a bloated system and promoting measurements of quality -- at the moment it seems incapable of dealing with rising costs. That means higher costs within CalPERS, which is ominous for the private sector as well. | The worrisome incident of immediate concern has to do with a no-brainer of a decision that the Cal-PERS board recently botched. [more at Sacramento Bee]

Structural Reforms for State are a Must
by the Editors 5/17/03 | When Gov. Gray Davis unveiled his revised budget proposal this week, many local government and school officials expressed relief that the dreaded spending cuts were not as deep as expected. They would do well to remember that the governor's spending blueprint will undergo plenty of changes by a Legislature that is none to happy with him or his fiscal vision. | In short, this deal is far from being sealed. | State Finance Director Steve Peace's belief that this budget can get done on time next month may represent the triumph of hope over experience. [more at SD Union Tribune]

Hollywood's Propaganda Awards
Brent Bozell 5/16/03 | How would Hollywood respond if a group were formed called Christians United for Repentance and Education (CURE), with a mission to hand out awards for those TV programs doing the best job of promoting a religious or socially conservative viewpoint on homosexuality? Yes, yes: We know that finding programs to honor would be nearly impossible. We also know that virtually no one in the industry would rush to accept these awards. | With that idea in mind, now consider the opposite. Consider the libertine lobby that suggests that traditional religion and social conservatism are poisonous to enlightened thinking, ideologies of "defamation" and hate, spurs to hurtful slurs and violent beatings. One of their media-educating projects is called the "Gay and Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation" (GLAAD). When spring rolls around, the GLAAD Media Awards are held in New York, Los Angeles and San Francisco. Hollywood moguls and stars not only flock to the events, they pay for them. [more at Town Hall]

Front Page Index
The Week: 5/11/03 – 5/17/03

The Litigation Lottery California's Unfair Competition Act and the Depradations of Unscrupulous Trial Lawyers by Carol Liebau 5/16/03 | Bad Times at the Other Times The spotlight is on the New York Times today, but things aren't going so well at the Los Angeles Times, either. by Hugh Hewitt 5/16/03 | In Full Retreat Davis waves white flag on budget realism by the Editors 5/16/03 | Will Davis Ever Learn Why He's the Most Unpopular Governor? by Dan Walters 5/16/03 | Scandal May Paralyze City Hall for Months by the Editors 5/15/03 | BOO-TOX Miramax Moore by The Prowler 5/16/03 | 'Smart Growth' Types' Dumb Rhetoric Linking suburbs to obesity just another silly attempt at social engineering by Chris Fiscelli 5/16/03 | Budget Revision a Huge Disappointment by the Editors 5/15/03 | Davis Budget Pushes Problems into the Future by Daniel Weintraub 5/15/03 | Governor No by Debra J. Saunders 5/15/03 | An Initiative with a Silver Lining Race-privacy measure would challenge scientists' obsession with skin color by M. Royce Van Tassell 5/15/03 | California's Problem by the Editors 5/15/03 | Liberating Schools The school board backs real reform by committing to charters by the Editors 5/15/03 | How Ford Funds the Left by William Bacon 5/15/03 | You're Suing Los Angeles by Terence Jeffrey 5/14/03 | Tinkering Won't Solve a Deficit This Massive by the Editors 5/14/03 | A Sober Era in Sacramento? Hardly Vast deficit hasn't chastened the state's reckless and feckless lawmakers by K. Llyoyd Billingsley 5/14/03 | They Fail; We Pay City Hall bungling produced and perpetuates the LAPD consent decree by the Editors 5/13/03 | Oil for Illegals? Mexico, and the Democrats, have a fit over House vote. by Mark Krikorian 5/13/03 | My Week at Stanford by Dennis Prager 5/13/03 | Do-Nothing City by Debra J. Saunders 5/13/03 | Jerry Brown Battles the Unions He Once Nurtured by Daniel Weintraub 5/13/03 | Why California's Gov. Davis May be Facing Historic Recall by Eric Hogue 5/13/03 | Make 'Balanced Budget' Myth a Reality for State by Fred Silva 5/13/03 | Paying More for Less Hahn's budget slugs taxpayers to fatten City Hall paychecks by the Editors 5/13/03 | X2 Marks the Spot by Andrew Coffin [posted 5/13/03] 5/17 issue | You Can't Judge These Books by Their Covers Many school texts distort history, slamming the U.S. and glorifying despotic regimes. by Diane Ravitch 5/12/03 | A See-No-Evil Parole System by Jonathan Turley 5/12/03 | Rabble-Rousing: Will We Ever Be Free of the Chaos? by the Editors [posted 5/12/03] 5/8/03 | State Budget Deficit: Is It Getting Larger? by the Editors 5/12/03 | California National Guard Still a Mess by Dan Walters 5/12/03 | Exit Ignorant by Debra Saunders 5/11/03 |
[go to Front Page Archive Index]


And some
Lingering Observations

The Litigation Lottery

California's Unfair Competition Act and the Depredations of Unscrupulous Trial Lawyers
by Carol Platt Liebau 5/16/03 | Anyone who truly wants to understand the legal concerns of everyday Americans can take a few minutes to tune into a Saturday morning Los Angeles radio program, where weekday morning drive time host and attorney Bill Handel offers what he flippantly characterizes as "marginal legal advice." Sometimes, of course, the callers are defendants -- but the really instructive calls are the ones seeking advice about whether to sue. | Last week, Handel took a call from a would-be plaintiff who had visited a 99-cent store and saw a lovely rug there . . . costing $24! He intended to sue. The call drove home a point: For too many Americans, undertaking a lawsuit has become tantamount to buying a lottery ticket . . . just another way to hope for a windfall. | Most sadly of all, if the caller really does decide to file suit, there will surely be a lawyer to help him. Over the past several decades, law school attendance has risen, and we are now confronted with a glut of lawyers who simply need a way to make a living. | Unfortunately, many of them have made their homes in California. And donated generous sums to the Democrat-controlled legislature. That's why there are laws like the California Unfair Competition Act (UCA). [more inside]

From Weekly Standard

Bad Times at the Other Times
The spotlight is on the New York Times today, but things aren't going so well at the Los Angeles Times, either.
by Hugh Hewitt 5/16/03
| Those professing surprise at the public collapse of credibility at the New York Times haven't been paying attention to Mickey Kaus or Andrew Sullivan. They haven't been reading the descent into fevers of Paul Krugman or the bitter stridency of Maureen Dowd. The deep sickness at the Times had many symptoms. Believers in the "mission" of the paper just chose to ignore those symptoms. | The very same symptoms are evident at the Los Angeles Times. The ideology of the newsroom is reflexively left. The reporters, as a group, are anti-Israel, anti-Evangelical, anti-free enterprise, and virulently anti-Bush. The editorial page boasts regular contributors Robert Scheer, Arianna Huffington, and John Balzar, reliable voices of the left, though lately Balzar has retreated into the pose of hand-wringer about the direction of society. | The columnists who deal regularly with politics outside of the editorial pages come in two varieties: left and farther-left. There is more diversity at a militia meeting than at a party of Los Angeles Times columnists. What happens when a newspaper becomes an echo chamber? Obvious errors and over-the-top biases go undetected. That's what happened in New York. It is happening in Los Angeles as well. [more at Weekly Standard]

Recalling Our Principles

Why the Davis Recall is Worth Reconsidering
by Carol Platt Liebau 5/9/03 | It’s hard to like Governor Gray Davis. Like the stereotype of a bad politician, he is self-righteous, cynical, manipulative and grasping – without possessing any of the typical politician’s compensating traits of charm, humor or even sheer entertainment value (think Rev. Al Sharpton). | So it’s no wonder that the movement to recall Davis has caught on like wildfire. For the first time in memory, it seems at least possible that a sitting California governor could actually be removed from office. In fact, as of April 30, recall supporters reported that more than 100,000 of the roughly 897,000 signatures needed to place a recall on the ballot had been collected. | The success of the “Recall Davis” movement is thanks largely to the grassroots. Over 400,000 recall petitions are currently in circulation, with tens of thousands having been sent out in response to citizen requests, and the “Recall Gray Davis” web site estimates that it has logged over 8 million hits since it went online on February 4, 2003. The California Republican Party has endorsed the effort only cautiously, and no single big donor has yet stepped forward to bankroll the campaign entirely, although Rep. Darrell Issa recently indicated that he would offer a six-figure contribution to the recall. | But in an era when recall petitions can be downloaded on the internet, and given the governor’s 56% disapproval rate even within his own party (according to a recent Field poll), a grassroots effort may be enough. Even in the San Jose area, a stronghold of support for Davis (he defeated Bill Simon there last November, 55% to 32%), a full 36% would support recall, with 46% opposing, according to Democratic pollster David Binder. Statewide, a recent Field poll reveals that if a recall initiative were actually placed on the ballot, 46% of voters would dump Davis, with only 43% being willing to retain him in office. | The thought of handing Davis his walking papers is, frankly, an intoxicating one. [more inside]

A Holy Mess

Why Do Catholic Politicians Get Away With Ignoring Church Teachings?
by Carol Platt Liebau 5/2/03
| The great American humorist Will Rogers once observed that there were a hundred things that single one out for recognition in party politics besides ability. For Congressmen Loretta (D-CA) and Linda Sanchez (D-CA), perhaps it’s because they are the first sisters to serve in the U.S. House of Representatives. | And now, they have been invited – together – to deliver the graduation address at Mount St. Mary’s College in Los Angeles, a school that defines itself as a “Catholic college primarily for women.” According to Mount St. Mary’s own statistics, the student body is indeed overwhelmingly female, and also predominantly Latina – so from a gender and ethnic standpoint, the Sanchez sisters would seem to be an excellent choice to address the new graduates. | But the “fit” is less perfect when it comes to religion. The Sanchez sisters consider themselves to be “Catholics.” But that view is difficult to support, in light of the Catholic stand on abortion – one of the topics about which the Catholic Church speaks unequivocally. A “Doctrinal Note on Some Questions Regarding the Participation of Catholics in Political Life,” approved by Pope John Paul II on November 21, 2002, states very plainly that laws concerning abortion “must defend the basic right to life from conception to natural death.” | Yet the Sanchez sisters are openly, vocally and proudly pro-choice. [inside]




Kuehl-Care is wrong Rx for Californians
Sally C. Pipes
Pacific Research Institute

Boycott Jim Hahn's L.A.
by Arnold Steinberg
The Washington Times

Feds Shouldn't Bail Out State
Aid from D.C. would only prompt lawmakers to overspend even more
by Richard Vedder
OC Register


Why Hollywood Hates Conservatives III
by Steve Feinberg
more at FrontPage Magazine

Saving Democracy in California
by Ken Masugi

A Boy Catches a Terroist Gang
SLA brought to justice
by Adam Sparks SF Gate

Eight Ways To Solve The Budget Crisis
by Adam Sparks SF Gate

Why Simon Lost
From the beginning, and in the end.
By Arnold Steinberg National Review

The Authoritative Guide to Why Bill Simon Lost
What Really Happened in California
By Arnold Steinberg Human Events

Simon Should Have Won
The state GOP has lost track of its responsibility to voters, letting extraneous concerns crowd out attending to political basics.
by John Kurzweil
California Political Review


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