Patterico's Pontifications


Orrin Hatch (Staffer) on Judicial Filibusters

Filed under: Judiciary — Patterico @ 11:08 pm

Read this Orrin Hatch piece on judicial filibusters.

Hatch’s “gosh, golly, and gee whiz” attitude annoys me. But whatever staffer wrote this for him, did a good job.

Dan Weintraub vs. L.A. Times — Advantage: Weintraub

Filed under: Dog Trainer — Patterico @ 10:59 pm

Dan Weintraub reports:

Legislative Analyst Liz Hill is out with her quick assessment of the governor’s budget. Her bottom line:

The 2005-06 budget plan has several positive attributes. It realistically portrays the size of the problem facing the state and contains reasonable estimates for its solutions. It also contains a significant amount of ongoing savings.

However, while the budget’s proposals would address the 2005-06 shortfall, it falls well short of fully addressing the state’s ongoing structural imbalances. Moreover, its budget reform proposals would dramatically reduce the ability of future policy makers to establish budget priorities when addressing future budget shortfalls.

Read the whole thing.

Weintraub has a pretty good basis for thinking that this is the Legislative Analyst’s “bottom line.” If you look at the actual report itself, you see that its first page contains a section titled:

Our “Bottom Line”

The portion quoted by Weintraub is the entirety of the Legislative Analyst’s section titled “Our ‘Bottom Line.'” My impression is: that’s the Legislative Analyst’s bottom line.

So: according to the Legislative Analyst, the budget has positive attributes, faces up to the state’s problems, and provides significant savings. But it’s not perfect. It doesn’t fully address the state’s structural imbalances, and could tie lawmakers’ hands in the future.

Overall, this sounds like a mixed review. The overview leads with the Analyst’s positive impressions of the budget, but also demonstrates real concerns about its impact.

And how does the L.A. Times report the Analyst’s overview?

Well, it reports quite a different bottom line, in a story titled: Analyst Is Critical of Spending Controls. The sub-head reads: “Elizabeth Hill says the governor’s proposal for automatic budget cuts is unlikely to work.” The story, by Evan “a multi-billion dollar increase is a spending cut” Halper, opens like this:

Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger’s proposal for tough state spending controls is flawed and could force dramatic cuts in programs least able to sustain them while leaving others unscathed, according to the nonpartisan legislative analyst.

In a report released Wednesday, analyst Elizabeth G. Hill, whom lawmakers of both parties look to for guidance on fiscal matters, said her office has “serious concerns” with the governor’s proposal. Schwarzenegger’s plan would automatically cut spending across the board in years when the budget falls out of balance, and in the event lawmakers and the governor cannot agree on a spending plan by the July 1 deadline.

Hill suggested the proposal is too rigid and could force deep reductions to programs in dire need of funding. The proposal also may shift too much power to the governor, she said, calling it “a serious diminution of the Legislature’s authority to appropriate funds and craft budgets.”

Democrats seized on Hill’s report to continue their attack on the governor’s plan.

And it goes on like that. Deep in the story, a portion of one sentence alludes to Hill’s praise, saying that Hill called the budget a “‘reasonable starting point’ with a number of sensible, long-term solutions.” But this sentence fragment appears on page B7, in a story appearing on the first page of the California section.

When someone actually tells you what their bottom line is, in a pithy two paragraphs, it might be a nice idea to report that to your readers high in the story. That is, if accuracy is really your bottom line.

Sentencing Guidelines Decision

Filed under: Court Decisions — Patterico @ 7:28 am

The big news of the day, from my point of view, is the Supreme Court decision on the constitutionality of the federal Sentencing Guidelines. As usual, the best place to read about it is at How Appealing.

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