Patterico's Pontifications

11/1/2010

Judicial Recommendations

Filed under: General — Patterico @ 8:36 pm

Several people have e-mailed me for recommendations in judicial races.

My top recommendation for Los Angeles voters: vote for Alan Schneider for Superior Court Judge in Office 117. Alan, whom I know personally, is in a runoff. He is a colleague of mine in the gang unit in the L.A. County District Attorney’s Office. If you would like to know more about him, you can read this previous post of mine or check out his web site to read about his impressive accomplishments.

Beyond that, most of the judges are in retention elections: they are appellate judges as to whom you vote “yes” or “no.” If I don’t urge a “yes” vote that doesn’t mean I dislike the judge. I’d be fine with almost all of them. In most cases I don’t particularly know the judges that well and don’t have a strong opinion — with two notable exceptions.

I have great respect for Steve Suzukawa, who has an excellent reputation and before whom I have appeared.

Also, Elizabeth Grimes is well known to longtime Patterico readers as someone who said the following about our friend Cyrus Sanai:

Plaintiff has proliferated needless, baseless pleadings that now occupy about 15 volumes of Superior Court files, not to mention the numerous briefs submitted in the course of the forays into the Court of Appeal and attempts to get before the Supreme Court, and not one pleading appears to have had substantial merit. The genesis of this lawsuit, and the unwarranted grief and expense it has spawned, are an outrage.

So she has that going for her.

So those are my three recommendations: “yes” on Suzukawa and Grimes, and a strong recommendation to vote for Alan Schneider.

Please let me know in comments if this was meaningful to you.

Tying the Hands of Employers: No on 19

Filed under: General — Patterico @ 8:12 pm

I don’t particularly care whether Californians want to smoke more pot. If the legality of marijuana in California were the only issue raised by Proposition 19, I wouldn’t bother writing this post.

But if you’re really a libertarian, you should be against it. Here’s why. The proposition has this distinctly non-libertarian provision:

No person shall be punished, fined, discriminated against, or be denied any right or privilege for lawfully engaging in any conduct permitted by this act or authorized pursuant to Section 11301. Provided, however, that the existing right of an employer to address consumption that actually impairs job performance by an employee shall not be affected.

That last bit might sound as though it takes care of any problems. But read it again. Under this law, courts may well rule that can employer has no right to take action to prevent marijuana consumption — even on the job — unless it “actually impairs” performance. This is a provision that goes beyond simply allowing people to smoke pot. It actually creates a new protected class (marijuana smokers) who may be entitled to sue if they are disciplined or fired for smoking marijuana . . . as long as the employer cannot prove that the smoking “actually impairs” job performance.

Are you a poor employee? Better start smoking marijuana! Now, if your employer wants to fire you, you have a potential lawsuit: maybe he fired you because you smoked marijuana! Because you, as a marijuana smoker, are now a protected class. That’s a great deal — one that drinkers don’t get. And really, we don’t have quite enough protected classes yet . . . don’t you agree?

As a legal analysis by the California Chamber of Commerce concluded:

Proposition 19 would allow marijuana users to claim that an employer’s actions are motivated by marijuana use. Just as with the FEHA, employers would be required to prove the employee’s poor performance, and not marijuana use, justified the personnel action. Inevitably, disgruntled employees’ claims of recreational marijuana use will draw employers into frivolous lawsuits and undermine the at-will employment relationship.

Real libertarians are against such silly restrictions on the employment relationship. Real libertarians want employers to be able to hire and fire who they want — and suffer the consequences if they choose poorly. Real libertarians should be against the new restrictions this proposition will burden employers with:

Employers would be prohibited from discriminating against marijuana users by taking marijuana use into account when deciding whether to hire an applicant. Any marijuana-smoking job applicant not hired could file a lawsuit claiming marijuana use was the reason, even if the employer had no knowledge of the use. Moreover, unlike alcohol use, which employers can prohibit entirely at work, under Proposition 19, employers could only take action for marijuana use that “actually impairs” work performance.

. . . .

Because an employer would only be permitted to act if an employee’s marijuana use “actually impairs” job performance, an employer’s hands would be tied to take any action based on the perception that an employee’s marijuana use is a potential threat in the workplace. Employers could do nothing to prevent users from smoking marijuana and operating heavy machinery or driving on company business unless such use “actually impairs job performance”, but would still have the responsibility to provide a safe workplace for employees and customers. This would impose an impossible burden on employers.

Keep in mind that DUI attorneys consistently argue that marijuana consumption does not necessarily impair driving. So now, if the employer can’t prove that it does, he may not even be allowed to prevent his employees from driving — at least, not without risking a lawsuit.

This is crazy — and it’s anything but libertarian.

If you want to empower the civil attorneys out there with a new weapon they can use to terrorize employers with, then by all means, vote yes. But if you’re sick of creating new protected classes — if you don’t think employees should be encouraged to toke on the job, to give them a new right to sue if disciplined or canned for bad or lazy work — then vote No on 19.

UPDATE: I should add that, contrary to what you might hear, there is no problem with jails or prisons in California being clogged with people who possess pot. You can’t go to jail in California for having under an ounce of pot; the maximum penalty is a $100 fine, and it’s nothing but an infraction. Defendants go to jail or prison only for dealing.

And with pot, unlike most other drugs, there are no extra penalties for dealing in quantity. This means that in the California state system, you can deal huge quantities (tons) and still get the minimum time available for any low-level felony: 3 years in prison maximum (not counting enhancements for priors, which can always increase any prison sentence). Of that three years, defendants serve only half. And most pot dealers are sentenced to the low term of 16 months, of which they serve only half: eight months.

So, there is no huge incarceration problem that needs to be fixed by screwing up employment law further.

Salman Rushdie Responds to the Inclusion of Yusuf Islam in Stewart’s Rally to Restore Sanity

Filed under: General — Aaron Worthing @ 1:25 pm

[Guest post by Aaron Worthing; send your tips here.]

As regular readers of this blog know, at the Rally to Restore Sanity, Jon Stewart welcomed noted islamofascist Yusuf Islam on stage to perform.  Islam, who used to be known as Cat Stevens before his conversion to radical Islam, had endorsed the fatwah against Salman Rushdie, and as late as 2007 stated that he supported making blasphemy a capital offense.  I mean by then he had “evolved” to the point that he said he preferred that such persons received a fair trial before having their heads hacked off with a rusty scimitar.  So there is that.

Anyway, so Nick Cohen at Standpoint Magazine passes along Salman Rushdie’s opinion on the subject of including Islam at a rally to restore sanity.

I’ve always liked Stewart and Colbert but what on earth was Cat Yusuf Stevens Islam [sic] doing on that stage? If he’s a “good Muslim” like Kareem Abdul-Jabbar then I’m the Great Pumpkin. Happy Halloween.

And since this was a late update to my post on the subject, I thought I would reprint what Islam said in 2007:

I never called for the death of Salman Rushdie; nor backed the Fatwa issued by the Ayatollah Khomeini – and still don’t. The book itself destroyed the harmony between peoples and created an unnecessary international crisis.

When asked about my opinion regarding blasphemy, I could not tell a lie and confirmed that – like both the Torah and the Gospel – the Qur’an considers it, without repentance, as a capital offense. The Bible is full of similar harsh laws if you’re looking for them.  However, the application of such Biblical and Qur’anic injunctions is not to be outside of due process of law, in a place or land where such law is accepted and applied by the society as a whole.

So he wants to give you a full and fair trial, before being murdered for blaspheming Mohammed (pedophilia be upon him).  Meanwhile, Charles Johnson has said the following about Islam’s appearance at the Restoring Sanity Rally: “”

Yep, that is right, he has said nothing.  “Move along, nothing to see here.”  Mind you, this was the guy who only last April wrote:

So here we go again with a very touchy Islamic group threatening “South Park” creators Matt Stone and Trey Parker with death because the cartoon show dared to have a cartoon character version of Mohammed, the revered prophet of Islam, revered so much that if you don’t revere him some of his followers will kill you, even for a freaking cartoon….  And the threats will continue until a stiffer spine shows up somewhere in the media.

But apparently he can’t be bothered to denounce the presence of an actual death-for-blasphemy Islamofascist on stage at a “Rally to Restore Sanity.”  Why?  The answer is obvious: because he can’t let anything contradict “teh narrative.”  So he pretends that Beck’s rally was smaller to the point of holding up CBS news as being more trustworthy than what you can see with your own two eyes, and he ignores the islamofascist Stewart welcomed on stage.  The important thing is to prove that this rally showed that liberals were strong, sane and enthused.

Mind you, I am sure Stewart is opposed to such fatwahs.  My best guess is that either he wasn’t aware of the controversy surrounding Yusuf Islam (which suggests he is in a deep liberal cocoon) or he thinks the fact the man once wrote “Peace Train” is a reason to overlook that.  Hey, I like “Peace Train,” too, but principles are principles.  Until and unless the man apologizes and denounces islamofascism, at the very least he should be shunned from polite society.

Then again, Hollywood types have never had trouble arguing that we should ignore the most horrific acts because a person is a great artist.  So we shouldn’t be surprised.

[Posted and authored by Aaron Worthing.]

GOP Establishment Scrambling for Alternatives to Palin in 2012

Filed under: General — Patterico @ 6:57 am

Forgive me for a bit of looking ahead past tomorrow’s GOP romp, but at Hot Air Headlines (Politico story; no links for bullies!) this story seems to have generated some interest:

“There is a determined, focused establishment effort … to find a candidate we can coalesce around who can beat Sarah Palin,” said one prominent and longtime Washington Republican. “We believe she could get the nomination, but Barack Obama would crush her.”

. . . .

Few, if any, Republican officials want to challenge Palin’s credentials in public, but most speak dismissively and condescendingly about her in private. They think she would kill Republican chances with independents and conservative Democrats frustrated with Obama’s expansive agenda.

Just because they’re the establishment doesn’t mean they’re wrong about this.

My prediction is that we have a devastating victory tomorrow; that Palin runs for the nomination; that she wins it; and that she loses to Obama in 2012.

There, I said it.

Sarah Palin stands for the right things, for the most part. She is weak on immigration, but seems to have a genuine concern for the principles on which the country was founded. She isn’t ready to be President, in my view, but she would certainly be far better than Barack Obama, who also was not ready (and it shows).

But could she get elected? I doubt it. Americans understand that the media is biased, but they also expect candidates to be able to rise above that bias, and handle an opposition media with a Reaganesque spirit that uses humor to deflect criticism. I have not seen evidence that Palin has that facility. Mainly for this reason — and because she quit the governorship in Alaska — I think she would indeed lose badly against Obama.

Supporting the “idea” of a candidate, as some have, ignores the fact that we have to go to bat with real people. This is the same sort of thinking that is willing to accept losses in ten consecutive elections, even though that would turn over control of the Supreme Court for generations and shred our Constitution in the process.

The Christine O’Donnell campaign was so hotly debated because it was a proxy for the Sarah Palin candidacy. When Sarah Palin watched O’Donnell on YouTube saying “I’m you,” it probably hit home more than with most.

Tomorrow will be interesting. We will see where we win — and where we don’t. Moving forward, the issues will be: will this new group be the same yahoos as we have always had — and do we have a prospect in 2012 of changing this dynamic and finally getting people in office who are responsible about spending and limiting the extraordinary size and reach of government?

The key thing is not the individuals, but the policies — recapturing our government from a cycle of two sides that are both too content to maintain a big-spending, future-mortgaging status quo. Unfortunately, we need individuals to implement our vision. I don’t think Sarah Palin is that person.

Then again, I don’t see anyone else who is.

P.S. But we will crush them tomorrow. So at least we have that!

More (Mostly Stupid) News About the Election (Update: Hill Retracts Boxer Expose)

Filed under: General — Aaron Worthing @ 5:27 am

[Guest post by Aaron Worthing; send your tips here.]

I considered just updating my last post about election news, but I figured instead I would start a new post.

Let’s start with the big news in Alaska.  A CBS affiliate called Joe Miller’s campaign and left a voicemail.  But then they failed to hang up the phone properly and the result was golden as they were caught cooking up ways to embarrass Joe Miller.  They did send a “sorry we got caught” apology blaming iphone.  Then later they released a statement claiming it wasn’t what it sounded like.  And this might be quote of the day material.  Palin both tweeted and said on Chris Wallace’s show (at about the 2:40 mark) that the persons in the recording were “corrupt bastards.”  That tape is worth watching, too, because Palin is asked about her endorsement of O’Donnell.

Now, to welcome Patterico back, we move to California.  First we get Barbara Boxer telling us that the greatest threat to national security is war driven by carbon.  Not demand of oil, mind you, but apparently over fear regarding global warming.  And Manbearpig.

[Major Update: There was originally in this spot a story exposing potential corruption with Barbara Boxer.  The Hill, which published it, has withdrawn the story declaring that it had factual inaccuracies.  So bluntly this entire item is defunct.  I will preserve the original item at the end of this post, rather than pretend I never wrote it (like some people), but it would be completely unfair at this point to credit the Hill story at all.  And with that PSA, we now resume our original mocking roundup.]

Next, one thing I forgot to include, but knew of before the last post was the story about video of Jerry Brown admitting that the last time he ran for governor he pretended to have a clue but didn’t.  Well, Whitman turned that sound bite into a very harsh ad.

Another harsh ad is really an update of an item in the last post.  I wrote:

(more…)


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