Patterico's Pontifications


Californians Appear Likely to Turn Down a Chance to Soak the Rich to Subsidize My Kid’s Preschool

Filed under: General,Politics — Patterico @ 9:33 pm

Our child is about to turn four. If Proposition 82 passes, it’s free preschool for him. Whoopee!

Never mind that we’d pay for it anyway. Why do that, when we could soak the rich?!

What a stupid idea. Luckily, it probably isn’t going to pass.

UPDATE: The wife tells me she thinks it would have been phased in over several years anyway, so our kid wouldn’t have gotten the benefit in any event.

That takes care of what tiny bit of appeal it might have had.

Over 2,000,000 Served

Filed under: Blogging Matters,General — Patterico @ 5:14 pm

According to SiteMeter, this blog had its two millionth unique visitor today.

At the beginning of the year, I had projected that this would happen in July. But here we are barely into June and we’re already there.

My millionth visitor came less than a year ago, on July 11, 2005. Which means I’m averaging over a million unique visits a year. That’s paltry by some standards, of course. But I think it’s pretty cool.

I also bypassed 3,000,000 page views recently, but didn’t commemorate the occasion.

Thanks for reading. And please tell a friend.

Can I Get Fired for Blogging About . . .?

Filed under: Civil Liberties,Constitutional Law,General — Patterico @ 6:00 am

I’d like to set forth hypothetical examples of speech by a government employee — me, on a blog. (I stress that these are purely hypothetical.)

Assume in every case that I blog on my own time, using my own computer resources, on a site that says:

The statements made on this web site reflect the personal opinions of the author. They are not made in any official capacity, and do not represent the opinions of the author’s employer.

(This part is not hypothetical; that’s what I do, and I use the disclaimer.)

Now, say that I praise George W. Bush on my blog.

Now imagine that my boss is a regular reader of Kos, and thinks that my conservative opinions reveal me to be (in his eyes) a harebrained lunatic. He fires me. It’s not because of my opinions, he says — rather, I should be precluded from holding a responsible public position like that of Deputy District Attorney, because no clear-thinking person would ever support George W. Bush.

Don’t laugh. I’ve seen almost this exact argument made about me in comments on various sites. Here’s one such example from Hiltzik’s old site.

So, if that’s my boss’s view, can he fire me consistent with the First Amendment?

I have more hypos below. As an intellectual exercise, tell me if you think my employer is prohibited by the First Amendment from punishing me in the following purely hypothetical situations.

Some of these, I think, would clearly be protected speech under the First Amendment. Some of them clearly would not be — even if they weren’t made pursuant to my job duties — because they would be so disruptive to my employment.

And some, in my opinion, fall into a gray area.

Do you agree that some of these are acceptable and some aren’t? And how would you separate the acceptable actions from the unacceptable ones? Would you (gasp!) employ a balancing test? Or would you just allow me to be fired for any of these?

Here are the hypotheticals:


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