Patterico's Pontifications

6/13/2003

MORE ON SUPREME COURT RETIREMENTS:

Filed under: General — Patterico @ 8:46 pm

MORE ON SUPREME COURT RETIREMENTS: Here is a nice article by the always interesting Howard Bashman, on possible Supreme Court retirements. I like the article because it seems to agree with my point made in this post below, in which I said that it is a “questionable assumption” that the Supreme Court’s agreement to hear the campaign finance case in September means that no justices are retiring.

THE DOG TRAINER AND THE CALIFORNIA BUDGET CRISIS

Filed under: Dog Trainer — Patterico @ 6:49 pm

Another installment in our ongoing series exposing the bias of our local Dog Trainer (aka Los Angeles Times). For those of you who don’t live in California, we have a looming budget crisis. Here are the undisputed facts: Democrats, who control the Legislature and the Governor’s Office, have prevailed on budget arguments for the last three years. The state currently has a budget shortfall of $38 billion, which occurred largely during the last three years. Enough facts. Now to the Dog Trainer‘s spin:

My favorite example is this story from June 9. The story blames Republicans from the get-go: “Republicans have firmly locked themselves into an antitax position that has thrown talks into disarray. Democrats, meanwhile, say they refuse to cut more deeply into social programs.” Note which side has thrown talks into disarray. Later, the story asks: “But the larger question in Sacramento is this: Are Republicans trying to force a government shutdown, do they believe Democrats will cave on spending or are they holding fast on taxes because they believe Democrats can find a way to sneak around them to raise an unpopular source of revenue?” Again, the assumption is that Republicans are the ones causing the deadlock; the only issue is why.

Far, far down in the article, the idea that maybe Democrats are being stubborn too is gently broached: “Although the breakdown last week was largely attributed [editor’s note: by whom?] to Brulte’s remarks [Brulte is the Republican leader], Democrats have been resistant to compromise as well — and occasionally have angered Republicans by their willingness to spend money rather than make tough cuts. . . .Most recently, they used $2.4 billion in federal funds given to the state — money they had not expected until the Bush administration approved it — not to patch up the budget hole, but rather to immediately restore spending to programs on the chopping block.” (Emphasis mine, of course — the article could not have de-emphasized this fact more unless it had omitted it entirely.)

When I read that, my eyes bugged out. Here we are in the middle of a $38 billion budget shortfall, and $2.4 billion just drops into the Legislature’s lap. And what do the majority Democrats do — use it to reduce the shortfall? Nah. They immediately increase spending again! And what does our local Dog Trainer do? Bury this fact on the back pages, well after the “jump” that I talk about from time to time (see my posts here and here).

Former Dog Trainer reporter (and Democrat) Jill Stewart has a slightly different take on the issue, in this article in the venerable Pasadena Weekly. (By “venerable” I mean “tiny publication with no circulation.”) Anyone with any interest in the California budget crisis should read this piece. Stewart was there when the Appropriations Committee announced that the state was receiving the federal money. She reports that “upon hearing news of the inbound $2.4 billion, a member of the Appropriations Committee declared, ‘Well, maybe now we’ll be able to fund some of these programs we are talking about!'” Stewart asks in amazement: “Could this be right? Gray Davis and the majority Democrats are asking taxpayers to cough up $8 billion in new taxes — including $4 billion in tripled car registration fees, making ours by far the highest in the nation — and Sacramento isn’t going to use the $2.4 billion relief to pay down the deficit?”

Stewart, who is (I repeat) a Democrat, goes on: “Although it’s hard to glean from the staggeringly slanted newspaper coverage of Sacramento, the majority Democrats have clung to huge spending programs and made only the barest in real cuts so far — $3 billion or so — from a budget of about $78 billion. Up nearly $20 billion from four years ago, California spends almost twice per capita what Arizona spends to deliver state services. . . . In months of hand-wringing histrionics, Democrats have persuaded the flatline media to focus on the anti-tax obsession of the Republicans.”

Here is a nice quote Stewart got from Al Checchi, a Democrat who ran against Gray Davis in the last election: “‘To blame this on the GOP’s opposition to taxes is absurd. . . . The California Legislature is very, very far left, and they are oblivious to what creates jobs and they are destroying the economic base of California. The California media are so consistently myopic — consistently! — that you have to look to national publications to see how bad Sacramento is doing in comparison to other states and how much trouble California is in relation to other states.'”

Read the whole article. It’s a pretty different spin from the one you’ll get from the Dog Trainer.


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