Patterico's Pontifications

6/13/2019

Just Another Day in Los Angeles: Dog Trainer Publishes Weird Column with Sad Click-Bait Headline

Filed under: General — JVW @ 6:34 pm



[guest post by JVW]

Today brings yet another head-scratcher from the mushminds downtown on Spring Street — uh, scratch that — Imperial Highway in El Segundo that should read. Columnist George Skelton, who I believe has been with the paper since about 1934, pens a rather odd column, which the paper figured should be salvaged by a click-bait headline: Don’t like Newsom’s state budget? Blame California Republicans:

Anyone with a beef about Sacramento politics should blame Republicans. That’s because they’ve allowed themselves to become so weak they’re irrelevant on any issue not requiring a two-thirds supermajority vote, such as a tax increase. They only become players when a bill — perhaps a tax hike — is so liberal Assembly moderates can’t stomach it and lean Republican.

From here one would expect the familiar catechism of California progressives: Republicans destroyed themselves by supporting Proposition 187 which attempted to deny public services to illegal aliens (uh, “undocumented immigrants” I guess we’re all supposed to say now), they haven’t been serious about the environmental degradation which is going to cause all of us to die 20 years before our time, and they have permanently driven away minority voters with Proposition 209 which outlawed affirmative action in the state (though this doesn’t explain why Asian-Americans, the primary victims of affirmative action, have become staunch Democrat voters since Prop. 209’s passage 22 years ago). If another hack such as Tom Elias or Pattt Morrison were writing this column, we would expect a stern admonishment that Republicans need to ditch primitive ideas such as equality under the law, the efficacy of the two-parent home, the primacy of parents over government functionaries, individual initiative and accomplishment contributing to the commonweal rather than authoritarian collectivism directed by state bureaucrats, and so on, and embrace all of the trendy new progressive ideas such as hierarchies of privilege based upon historic grievances while empowering the government elite and their public employee union bosses to determine how the rest of us will be permitted to live our lives.

But no, Mr. Skelton doesn’t go there. Instead, we get several paragraphs on the Democrats’ plan to expand health insurance to young illegal immigrants up to age 26, and to provide more subsidies to middle-class families who have been harmed by the inability of the Affordable Care Act to keep premiums under control, despite that being one of the major aims of the legislation according to President Obama. Mr. Skelton then sketches an outline of efforts to raise income taxes on the top earners, uncritically adopting the Newsom Administration’s claim that this is merely an effort to align California tax policy with the federal tax policy changes passed in 2017. He concludes with a very brief recounting of Gov. Newsom’s attempt to impose a 95-cent monthly fee on water bills in order to help bring potable water to areas in the Central Valley that are currently in need, but tells us that since even leftist Democrats balked at raising taxes on everyone in a year where a $20 billion budget surplus is expected, the funds will be stolen from cap-and-trade fees instead (hey, not like we have a high-speed train to nowhere to suck up that money any longer).

And that’s it. After baiting the reader with yet another Dog Trainer anti-GOP jeremiad, Mr. Skelton settles in for an utterly banal column that may have taken him all of 20 minutes to write. I can’t imagine there is anybody who bothers to read George Skelton’s column who wasn’t already following the progress of Gov. Newsom’s latest budget and knew what was in the works. There are a couple of quotes from various operatives in the column, but neither one strikes me as being anything other than the general talking points handed out to all inquiring journalists, and Heaven forbid that Mr. Skelton clutter up his column with a quote from anyone who might object to any of the provisions of the budget as proposed.

This lazy and weak effort is a great metaphor for what has gone on both at the Los Angeles Times in particular and with print journalism in general. I confess that I got suckered in by the click-bait headline, and that I originally had planned to write a blog post about the audacity of progressives to blame the last handful of California Republicans for the mess that the Democrats are creating. Then I read the actual column, in complete astonishment that something so useless and uninformative would be published. If the Dog Trainer is wondering why they are considered such a joke these days, look no further than this column.

UPDATE:

Yes, a pre-publication update. Since I began drafting this post, the paper has changed its click-bait headline. Here’s what was up this morning:

LAT GOP

And here is how they replaced it this afternoon:

LAT Liberals

What a wretched excuse for journalism. I don’t wish anyone loses their job, but when the Dog Trainer at last closes its doors, the world won’t be missing anything of real value.

– JVW

32 Responses to “Just Another Day in Los Angeles: Dog Trainer Publishes Weird Column with Sad Click-Bait Headline”

  1. Yes friends, I really did write a 108-word sentence in this post. My sainted 10th and 11th grade English teacher, Mrs. Ballard, is looking down upon me from Heaven with complete disgust.

    JVW (54fd0b)

  2. As much as I (in my opinion deservedly) criticize George Skelton here, I acknowledge that he almost certainly doesn’t write his own headlines, especially for the online edition.

    JVW (54fd0b)

  3. The crime of run-on sentence is a juvenile status offense (like underage smoking or drinking), and only if committed on school property. See e.g., Faulkner v. Hemingway; Runyon v. Hammett.

    nk (dbc370)

  4. Classic take-down, JVW. Even when you’re shooting a fish in a barrel, one can still appreciate good marksmanship and style like yours. Bravo!

    Beldar (fa637a)

  5. I don’t know, Beldar. I would have put a semi-colon instead of a comma here:

    bureaucrats, and so on; and embrace

    nk (dbc370)

  6. Great post, JVW.

    And just to show how stupid, stupid, stupid the Democrat super-majority is:

    Lawmakers will vote to spend $3 milllon on a dog park in Rancho Cucamonga and $2.5 million on a new elevator at the California Science Center in Los Angeles. The budget also gives $2 million to the Latino Theater Company, $1.1 million to San Francisco for construction on two LGBTQ spaces and $950,000 to a pair of senior centers.

    Do you think the dog park will allow the homeless to sleep in it?

    Dana (779465)

  7. I also thought it weird that alt-news LA Weekly and Curbed LA were a ton more conservative than the daily of record.

    urbanleftbehind (03583d)

  8. Correction: stupid, stupid, stupid the Democrat super-majority is state Republicans are…

    Dana (779465)

  9. See e.g., Faulkner v. Hemingway; Runyon v. Hammett.

    God bless you, nk: Damon Runyon is perhaps my favorite writer. He grew up in my hometown.

    JVW (54fd0b)

  10. nk (dbc370) — 6/13/2019 @ 7:10 pm
    No!
    Then it would be a truly grammatically incorrect run-on sentence. The actual sentence may be long, but not ungrammatical. Henry James could write a sentence longer than the page, but it was grammatically and syntactically correct.

    Kishnevi (c5cd7d)

  11. Thanks for the praise, Beldar. I consider it a personal favor that readers put up with my idiosyncratic writing style.

    JVW (54fd0b)

  12. but it was grammatically and syntactically correct.

    I confess that I did go over it a few times to figure out if I would do better separating my list with semi-colons, but in the end I just decided to let it stand as is. When someone does the audiobook version of Patterico’s Pontifications I want to hear them read this sentence.

    The Bible has some ridiculously long sentences too, especially the Old Testament, so I blame it on my religious upbringing.

    JVW (54fd0b)

  13. The longest sentence ever published in the English language was, up until recently, to be found in James Joyce’s Ulysses. In the “Molly’s Monologue” section of the work, you can find the sentence which runs 4,391 words long. However, Jonathan Coe’s The Rotter’s Club currently holds the record with a single sentence that is 13,955 words long.

    And yes, that sentence in Coe’s book is grammatically correct, loosely speaking.

    https://www.bkconnection.com/bkblog/jeevan-sivasubramaniam/crazy-literary-fact-of-the-day-the-longest-sentence-ever-published-in-english

    The link includes a link to Amazon’s listing of Rotter’s Club, including the audiobook. So someone really did read those 13,955 words aloud.

    Kishnevi (c5cd7d)

  14. Damon Runyon is perhaps my favorite writer.

    He did the best he could, which is all anybody could do those days.

    nk (dbc370)

  15. The longest sentence ever published in the English language was, up until recently, to be found in James Joyce’s Ulysses. In the “Molly’s Monologue” section of the work, you can find the sentence which runs 4,391 words long.

    Is it the very last sentence in the book? He does not use any commas even. Just the one period.

    nk (dbc370)

  16. Don’t like kids killing their parents? Blame Mr and Mrs Menendez, who gave their kids enough money to buy the weapons that killed them. If not for their lax parenting, their sons wouldn’t be rotting in jail today!

    Kevin M (21ca15)

  17. efforts to raise income taxes on the top earners, uncritically adopting the Newsom Administration’s claim that this is merely an effort to align California tax policy with the federal tax policy changes passed in 2017.

    Right now the top marginal tax rates, federal + CA, on earned income are 50% almost exactly. A those levels the amount you can still deduct on Schedule A is paltry, so you pay 50% on every additional dollar. If Democrats actual intend to raise the top federal marginal rate to 70%, it will be 83% (plus whatever Newsome has in mind).

    I’m going to bet* that no one in Sacramento will be talking about aligning CA’s tax rates down in such a case.

    ——–
    * predictive supposition

    Kevin M (21ca15)

  18. He does not use any commas even. Just the one period.

    I have a new goal. Look out Patterico readers.

    JVW (54fd0b)

  19. Trump, however, never uses long complicated sentences. If he did he’d be denying he said the first part before he was finished.

    Kevin M (21ca15)

  20. The budget also gives $2 million to the Latino Theater Company, $1.1 million to San Francisco for construction on two LGBTQ spaces and $950,000 to a pair of senior centers.

    Well thank Heaven for that, Dana. I mean, there is a clear lack of wealthy LGBTQ folks in San Francisco who otherwise would have funded that particular space.

    JVW (54fd0b)

  21. The GOP did not kill themselves by supporting Prop 187. The national party killed them by not backing their play. At the time there was some hope of saving California. Now the tipping point is past and CA will be a majority Spanish-speaking state in my lifetime. And I’m fairly old.

    Kevin M (21ca15)

  22. Do you think the dogs will allow the homeless to sleep in the dog park?

    Kevin M (21ca15)

  23. Considering the unofficial state dog of California is the Pit Bull, there’s a good chance they won’t.

    urbanleftbehind (03583d)

  24. There aren’t enough sharks in CA for the Legislature to jump. Just when you thought they could not be more crazy:

    California moves to let felons serve on juries

    https://www.ocregister.com/2019/06/13/california-moves-to-let-felons-serve-on-juries/

    The state of California has made no secret that it wants to let as many people out of prison as possible.

    From the early release of inmates through AB 109, to filling parole boards with felon friendly commissioners, to decriminalizing a litany of felonies and drug offenses with Props 47 and 57, Sacramento lawmakers are bending over backwards to dramatically reduce the state’s inmate population.

    Despite all of these efforts, the number of inmates hasn’t dropped dramatically enough to satisfy the state’s ruling Democrats, so they’re kicking tires on a new approach — rigging the jury system so no one gets convicted in the first place.

    This most recent push is Senate Bill 310, authored by state Sen. Nancy Skinner, D-Berkeley, and would allow Californians who have prior felony convictions to serve on juries.

    In a press release promoting the proposal, Skinner wrote, “SB310 will help ensure that California juries represent a fair cross-section of our communities…People with felony records have the right to vote in California. There is no legitimate reason why they should be barred from serving on a jury.”

    Talk about slippery slopes. Why not let felons be police officers? Or, since even sex offenders can vote, why not let them teach school? Why all the h8 against felons?

    Kevin M (21ca15)

  25. Or maybe the idea is to solve the lack of housing by having as many people as possible run screaming from the state.

    Kevin M (21ca15)

  26. There aren’t enough sharks in CA for the Legislature to jump.

    I hear you, brother. We can do a “today in dumb ideas propagated by California progressives” post every single day and never run out of material.

    JVW (54fd0b)

  27. Yes, great post. And thank you for reading that *^%#*# newspaper so I don’t have to.

    I wonder what end-stage California will look like….*shudder*…we’re almost there, I fear.

    Patricia (3363ec)

  28. Patricia,

    We’ll be there when there’s no one left to tax. I laughed when Bernie Sanders said today that there are alot of Americans who would be delighted to pay more taxes for stuff. California better hope that they all move to the Golden State.

    Dana (779465)

  29. Bernie has the notion that Hollywood celebrities and big, activist Democratic donors — Bernie fans, in other words — are representative of wealthy people generally. Classic selection bias problem.

    Beldar (fa637a)

  30. I wonder why they changed the headline — complaints, a smarter layer of editors, dare I hope for a conscience?

    DRJ (15874d)

  31. “Party that took over state and has run it into the ground blames those who warned about it for letting it happen”

    Fixed it.

    harkin (470cbb)

  32. Oh Dana, have we set fatally upon a difficult path that is burning behind us?

    Can we ever get back the beautiful, generous California we once knew?

    Patricia (3363ec)


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