Light, Religion, War, Peace, and Litigation
The first day of Congress ended. The second session was called Encountering the Light, an hour and a half of meditation and lecture. The central message that God is Light and our souls are a source of Light. By praying or meditating on the light inside, we reach our soul, which is our connection to God, the greater Light. Either an entirely revolutionary concept that opens a whole new world or a remarkably basic one, depending on whether you have discovered it before. Because it draws heavily on eastern mysticism, it was new to a fair number of the western Catholic audience.
Having studied eastern philosophies, within and without Christianity, I was not turned inside out. However, I appreciated some of the insights that were phrased in ways that were new and useful and I am always happy to spend some time in group contemplative prayer.
One thread that I was enjoying was the discussion of how negative feelings blocked our access to the internal source of light. One cannot connect with the soul when angry or jealous or afraid or anxious. A truth I have learned but need to be reminded of. I consistently fall into the trap of become fearful and then wondering why things aren't going right, assuming erroneously that I am afraid because things are going wrong when, in fact, things are going wrong because I am afraid.
Then, as I was absorbing this message, which I have to relearn regularly, the speaker said something that startled me. She said "when we are children of the light and we are connected to the light, we cannot go to war." Her logic, which made sense, was that we can't attack and kill and hate when we are focussed on the light.
Well, it made sense and I had to examine my views on the war, which I would like to avoid, but which I am prepared for because it may well be unavoidable. I do not feel any negativity or anger when I think about the war. In contrast, I see a fair amount of anger, fear and anxiety in those on the side of "peaceful". So I had to reconcile my feelings of inner peace with my outer preparedness for whatever eventuality a war would bring.
I think there's an assumption on the part of this speaker and on the part of the anti-war proponents in general that those of us ready for the war are just aggressive types who hate those people who are "different" from us. I think there's a further assumption that when we speak of a just war, we are just trying to rationalize our own evil feelings.
I probably won't change any minds, but in the interest of full discussion, I'd like to share my feelings. If, in the middle of that lecture, someone had rushed the stage and tried to kill that woman, I would not have sat there and sent beams of light. I would have intervened. (And, yes, I am the type to tackle a crazed lunatic. Fortunately, my lifestyle brings me in contact with few crazed lunatics and the ones I have encountered have been stilled by the mere fact that I look ready to take them on.) My intervention would have involved no anger or negativity towards the attacker. Instead, I would have acted out because I was moved to compassion for the victim.
I litigate very little these days. Fighting in court no longer holds much attraction and winning holds even less. Most of my practice is devoted to mediation (and most of that for free) because it is more satisfying. Yet I currently have a few cases which draw and hold my attention. When I go to court, I go without negative feelings and I don't go to fight. My willingness to enter into a dispute is motivated by compassion for my client and the desire to protect them. Shortly before the end of last year, I spent two days in court trying to stop an action that would have disrupted my client's business and the lives of the client and his employees. My feelings in that courtroom were not negative. There was a fair amount of prayer on my part and not of the "let me win" type but of the "show me what you want me to be doing here, Lord" type.
I spent one trial several years ago with a rosary in my pocket, praying for peace while I waged the necessary battle. The case settled in the middle of trial even though the opposing side had threatened to "destroy" my client.
When I think of Iraq and Saddam, I think of the tales of his treatment of his own people, which is best read elsewhere as I cannot bring myself to type the details. I cannot turn away. I think of my concern that a man who would do that is merely waiting for a chance to do that to those I know more personally. I still pray for peace. But my wish for peace does not prevent my willingness to wage the battle to protect those victims and potential victims.
[By the way, I know I am not going myself. They wouldn't want me. I'm not the raw physical specimen you'd want taking on the Republican Guard, even if they're not as elite as they believe. I don't think my views would be different if I was making the direct sacrifice.]
posted by Justene Adamec at 2/28/2003 08:13:00 PM
There are two new ADR cases this week that I will get to over the weekend. One limits arbitration and the other supports mediation. Today, I'm off to the first day of the Religious Education Congress, historically the largest gathering of Catholics in the US.
posted by Justene Adamec at 2/28/2003 07:13:00 AM
Recall Roundup 2/28
The LA Weekly, acting like the alternative paper it is, has an article with news I haven't seen elsewhere --- a poll and the current rundown of players, nonplayers, and possible players.
From the Kaloogian site: an oped written by Kaloogian to be submitted to various papers across the state. An email update says that they want 5000+ donors and they have gotten about 1500. Why 5000 would be a target number is unclear and I still don't have a clear picture of the relationship between the two major recall groups.
posted by Justene Adamec at 2/28/2003 06:59:00 AM
Color Me Skeptical
Oprah's reviving the book club. Thank goodness. Now I'll know what's too depressing to read. She's going to focus on the classics. Let's see what Oprah thinks is classic. I will be surprised if we dip into George Eliot's Middlemarch or Jules Verne's Around the World in 80 Days. Dickens is probably depressing enough. However, I think Oprah will consider Alice Walker's Color Me Purple, in which she starred, a classic. Mind you, I liked the book but it's not a classic yet.
posted by Justene Adamec at 2/28/2003 06:43:00 AM
Make money on Ebay
Items confiscated at two CA airports are being sold by the state on Ebay. So far they've "made" $16000 although it's not clear how much they're paying the employee responsible for this escapade. Not surprisingly, those from whom the goods were confiscated are none too pleased.
posted by Justene Adamec at 2/28/2003 06:36:00 AM
Wrap Your Mind Around This
50-Minute Hour has an interesting post on being a libertarian feminist. link
posted by Justene Adamec at 2/27/2003 10:00:00 PM
Dew Drop Inn
Woohoo! The new firm website is finally up. Please take a look and give me all your painfully frank comments.
posted by Justene Adamec at 2/27/2003 07:16:00 PM
We represent a startup business that we claim had no employees. One stockholder is now claiming they were an employee. That's all you really need to know to appreciate this story.
The employee filed a claim with the Labor Commissioner claiming back wages. The Labor Commissioner determined that they were not an employee and no back wages were due.
Then there was a claim for unemployment benefits. We received a call from the tax department of the EDD and at their request sent the Labor Commissioner decision. We heard nothing more for a while.
Here's what happened while we were not hearing:
The tax dept rule the claimant was not an employee and not entitled to unemployment benefits. The claimant appealed. We received no notice and the Administrative Judge, without hearing from those of us with no knowledge of what was going on, ruled claimant was an employee. Not only that, even though claimant was not paid any wages, they were entitled to unemployment insurance because they were entitled to back wages.
Now, no matter which side is right, this is, shall we say, odd. We have two departments of the state of California. If you're the employer, you can't believe you're in trouble for not paying unemployment taxes on back wages that another department says are not due. If you're the employee, you can't believe that you can't collect the back wages that another department says are due.
But it gets better.
We learn of all this when we receive notice of a second hearing to determine whether the employer is to pay for the unemployment benefits that are now due. At the second hearing, we inform the administrative judge of the history. Administrative judge continues the hearing to another day and allows us to make a motion to reopen the first decision and get a copy of the file.
We read the file before getting copies and find that the first decision was made because claimant testified personally and the employers position was only supported by hearsay. Ok, now we learn that we didn't get notice to be there and then lost because we weren't there. That should be easy enough to fix.
Two days later, we get a call from someone's assistant who says we can't reopen the first file and we can't get copies because we weren't a party to that first case. The ruling was adverse to us but we weren't a party? And the ruling was adverse because we did not testify because we had no notice because we weren't a party? Am I the only one who finds this odd? Due process, anyone?
So we sit in the middle of the mess and try to figure out the way through without spending thousands of dollars. That's why it's the "practice" of law.
posted by Justene Adamec at 2/27/2003 12:26:00 PM
Trevor Law Firm sued
I posted a mention of this earlier. The Trevor Law Firm searched public databases for code violations by small businesses and then sued them for unfair competition practices, forcing the businesses to settle rather than litigate. The firm was filing hundreds of lawsuits a day. Now, the Attorney General is suing the Trevor Law Firm for extortion.
posted by Justene Adamec at 2/27/2003 11:34:00 AM
The alert system
Maybe everyone else would still be as annoyed, but I think we should have been blue all this time and then notched up to yellow the two times we've gone to orange.
posted by Justene Adamec at 2/27/2003 10:55:00 AM
The adventure pass is $5 per day or $30 per year and it gives you the right to park your car in the Los Padres, Angeles, San Bernardino and Cleveland national forests when you go in and use the trails. The money is used for upkeep. It shifts the burden from all taxpayers to the users. I like it and I usually overpay, buying the annual and using it 1-4 times.
posted by Justene Adamec at 2/27/2003 10:53:00 AM
Prop 98 requires a specified portion of state dollars go to education. To fund the gap, Davis proposed raising certain taxes, claimed they were outside the Prop 98 reach and planned to put all the money in the general fund. Now its a no go. Suspending Prop 98 is possible but politically dangerous. Now what?
posted by Justene Adamec at 2/27/2003 10:36:00 AM
There is one big difference between the latest drive to oust Gov. Gray Davis and the routine kind of recall threats that are easily dismissed - it's the silence of the Democrats. California Journal queried four of the Democrats who seem interested in running for the office in the next election - Lt. Gov. Cruz Bustamante, Atty. Gen. Bill Lockyer, Treasurer Phil Angelides and Controller Steve Westly - and only one - Westly - would rule out a challenge to Davis if the recall reaches the ballot.
"I support the recall," Sundheim said. "He's the most incompetent administrator in history. I really don't think he understands the budget, much less has a solution. During the campaign he lied to us about the size of the deficit. He made fraudulent representations.
"That's my opinion as a Californian. As chairman of the CRP, the question is how high a priority we're going to make (the recall) and what kind of resources we're going to allocate to it."
posted by Justene Adamec at 2/27/2003 08:10:00 AM
Orange Soda Update
After yesterday's debacle over the "last" orange soda can, I walked into the pantry today and tripped over a full 12-pack. Both daughters knew it was there too.
posted by Justene Adamec at 2/26/2003 11:23:00 AM
Recall Roundup 2/26
Short roundup today. I have other things on my mind and haven't done the run through all the papers. But the Sacramento Bee is usually the most interesting source:
Morning Over La Canada
The Calblog husband had an early meeting this morning so I was charged with the task of getting the Calblog twins to school. While I am generally pretty good at this parenting thing, morning is a time when I like to think and write. First things first though and there were these girls.
They say that twins develop their own language. My twins just dispose of it altogether. About 20 minutes before it was time to leave, a noise arose from the kitchen. It can only be described as keening and caterwauling. It took several requests, delivered in a variety of tones ranging from pleading to ordering to exasperation, to have the noise translated into words that the uninitiated could understand.
As it turns out, my daughters, who are not allowed to take soda to school (by fiat of the school), were wailing loudly and wordlessly over who could take the last can of orange soda to school. Apparently, school rules are taken with a grain of salt. I tried reason. They reverted to age 3 when "share" meant "she gives me hers." Then it was back to the keening and caterwauling.
After futile attempts at reason, I did what any self-respecting mother who only wanted peace and quiet would do. I found another can of soda. This was easy because, despite the pressing need to have cans of soda, my children seem to have little need for drinking soda. I have not figured that one out. I do know that I rarely, if ever, find an empty can of soda, and most that I dispose of are nearly full. I don't care if we throw out a dozen full cans of soda a week. It doesn't cost less if they drink it and weaken their bones.
Finding a second can of soda was as simple as recalling what recent activity required the packing of food and the obligatory cans of orange soda into a backpack. A perusal of said backpack did indeed find an unopened (yet essential to have packed and carried) can of orange soda.
I then issued punishments. One child was banned from the Internet for two days. The other child was not punished (she was the lesser offender) but I am certain that by afternoon, the unpunished child will feel sorry for her twin and will be pleading with me to please let her sister off. Two punishments for the price of one. It works so well that I'm sure it's banned by the Mothers' Version of the Geneva Convention.
Good thing the Calblog husband doesn't have too many early morning meetings.
posted by Justene Adamec at 2/25/2003 09:04:00 AM
My New Favorite Blog
The Gleeful Extremist. It'll hit the links on the side soon.
posted by Justene Adamec at 2/25/2003 08:27:00 AM
The official site has added a cartoon that might get them some blogosphere mention.
posted by Justene Adamec at 2/25/2003 07:59:00 AM
The Rhode Island Fire
The band says they had permission. The club says they didn't have permission and the owners/managers had no idea pyrotechnics were being used. Four other club owners come out and say the band played at their clubs and never asked permission (and, unsaid, is that none of them stopped the pyrotechnics). Now, this morning, another band says they had played at the RI club with pyrotechnics and it was no problem.
What do we conclude from these apparently contradictory statements? No one thought about it. It never crossed anyone's mind that these were dangerous. Surprised? Don't be. Many of the survivors reported that, when the backdrop went up in flames, there were cheers as the audience members thought it was part of the show. Danger crossed very few minds. Even those who were quick to realize what was happening did not look at the pyrotechnics near the curtain and backdrop and expect danger until the flames started.
When was the last time fire safety crossed your mind? Now that we're alerted to the hazards of nightclubs, are you doing a quick survey of your surroundings when you walk in the grocery store? If fire broke out from one of those electric frypans used to hand out samples, would you know any exit other than the front door?
When you check in a hotel, do you check for sprinklers? What about when you go to the movies?
In our office building, the smokers often prop open the fire doors when they leave to smoke so they can enter easily. The Calblog husband consistently closes them, earning him an unsavory reputation. Fire safety is an inconvenience.
97 dead is a horrible outcome but I would have great difficulty sending anyone to jail when few of us pay any attention. Do you think the reporter who owned the club would have let a fellow reporter in to do a story on club safety if he thought he was cutting corners?
posted by Justene Adamec at 2/24/2003 05:24:00 AM
LA blogosphere panel or the Weekend Party
Updates are here and here, with plenty of links to other posts. Like Calpundit, I avoid crowds so I'm unlikely to be at a blog panel. My number's probably 8, but only if all 8 are involved in the same discussion.
posted by Justene Adamec at 2/24/2003 04:57:00 AM
Recall Roundup 2/24
The "unofficial" site, which is the site with the rally and the info, but not the site owned by the people putting together the petition, has rally coverage including video from the local ABC station. You can also get bumper stickers.
A tidbit: Meanwhile, at the National Governors Association Winter Conference in Washington, the Democratic Governors' Association released a statement opposing the recall effort. Hold your surprise.
posted by Justene Adamec at 2/24/2003 04:45:00 AM
I am not happy
Rachel Lucas is shutting down for a while. Who the hell is going to be piquant and sassy now?
posted by Justene Adamec at 2/23/2003 08:33:00 AM
I had expected to be at a seminar the last three days but some viral thing kept me home and near the computer in between many, many naps. Today's commitment is non-negotiable so I'm packing a bag of meds and juice and heading out for the day in an hour or so.
The Recall Roundup has lasted longer and requires more time every day than I expected. I started it because no one else was doing it and I wanted to read it myself. So I will keep at it until the recall campaign plays out one way or another.
That said, it seems to me the developing long-play political story will be the efforts by the state GOP to dump Boxer. One article I read today called her the new Wellstone. For about a millisecond, I toyed with the idea of doing a daily dump Boxer roundup. Forget it. Two daily roundups sounds too much like work. I am going to figure out a way to do a weekly (probably Sunday night) "Boxer Watch", trying to pull together what's going on without doing the comprehensive links.
I'd also like to figure out a way to categorize the posts so you can jump to or away from posts like the Recall Roundup, depending on why you visit. The sites I have found that do that are not on blogspot, so I'm not sure it's possible in my current home.
posted by Justene Adamec at 2/23/2003 08:18:00 AM
Recall Roundup 2/23
A rally and the state GOP convention lead to a lot of headlines but we're still waiting for the signature drive to get off the ground.
UPDATE: From the Bee: The recall was endorsed at the state convention by a vote with no discussion.
posted by Justene Adamec at 2/23/2003 07:44:00 AM
What My Father Taught Me
I recall standing waiting for the elevator (in the World Trade Center, where he worked at the time) about 30 years ago. He showed us the fire escape route posted in all office buildings. "See," he said, pointing at the red-lined escape route, "everyone will be following this route here. So, if there's fire, we'll go the other way to this OTHER door over here." We learned how right he was in the recent nightclub fire. Not everyone could get out the front door they rushed towards but three other doors stood unlocked and largely unused.
posted by Justene Adamec at 2/22/2003 01:59:00 PM
LA is officially anti-war
Lonewacko (who is really not so wacko) has the scoop. Don't look at me; I live in the suburbs.
posted by Justene Adamec at 2/22/2003 01:49:00 PM
A couple of months ago, I was musing about the Assembly Veterans' Affairs Committee. After all, California doesn't have its own army (the possibility makes me shudder). From the OC Register:
Q: Veterans of World War II are dying faster than new veterans are being created. How about decreasing the staff of the Department of Veterans Affairs correspondingly?
- Wilbur Bolton, Los Alamitos
A: With roughly 2.6 million veterans living in California, don't look for the state Department of Veterans Affairs to stand down anytime soon.
No cuts are proposed to the staff of 1,959. In fact, the department soon will build five new veterans' homes using at least $100 million of state money - about half from Proposition 16 in 2000.
"The fact is, the World War II veterans are dying at a high rate," said Andy Kotch, a spokesman for the department. "But we also have the Korean, the Vietnam, the Desert Storm and all of the other veterans along the way. The numbers are still there."
The budget proposed by Davis for the department in the next fiscal year is $328 million. Of that, the state general fund will provide about $62 million, or $900,000 less than this year. link
posted by Justene Adamec at 2/22/2003 11:49:00 AM
Recall Roundup 2/22
Yeah, the daily post needed a better name.
Among the possibilities Simon could pursue would be running against Davis again if a recall effort aimed at the governor makes it to the ballot, Russo said. But he said Simon will not take an active role in the recall . . . .
There's also continuing speculation at the convention about the newly hatched effort to recall Democratic Gov. Gray Davis, which the party's executive committee endorsed Friday.
The first acknowledged potential Davis challenger, former Secretary of State Bill Jones, warned that the partisan endorsement could undermine the recall effort.
"I don't think the party should be out in front pushing for a recall," Jones said. Nonetheless, Jones said he would put his name forward to replace Davis if the recall qualified for the ballot. Russo, who is involved in the recall campaign, said Simon was "not taking anything off the table" with regard to the recall, either.
California GOP executive committee backs Davis recall despite some warnings
From the Sacramento Bee: GOP rift in recall drive Shawn Steel outgoing CA GOP chair, basically tells Assemblyman Cox exactly what Xrlq said in his comments to the roundup two days ago. The article says the publication of the notice to recall will be "this weekend" in the Bee. Publication is required before the signature collecting can start.
UPDATE: KTKZ, a sacramento radio station, has a poll to express your view of the recall along with a couple of articles.
I do this roundup daily. Click on the February archives to read the previous day's posts. I have tried to catch every link there is, although I am aware that I have not looked through the news sections of all of CA's TV and radio stations.
posted by Justene Adamec at 2/22/2003 11:44:00 AM
If you have time
Take a look at my daughters' site: The Twins Tell The Truth. One of them does most of the writing and there's a lot there (from an eleven year old's perspective). She just installed a site meter and would love some traffic.
UPDATE: Oops, had the url wrong. Add it to my bad mother list. Here's a sample post: Are you pro-war or anti-war? I'm pro-war. When war is necessary, war is necessary. Irac could bomb us, and what would you rather have? Them bombing us, or we bombing them?
Like mother, like daughter. Except I spell better.
posted by Justene Adamec at 2/22/2003 11:01:00 AM
I Know How to Pronounce Xrlq
Xrlq has a link to and a rebuttal of an anti-recall op-ed in the Chronicle. You'll also be relieved to know that Xrlq is heading to SF this weekend instead of Iraq.
posted by Justene Adamec at 2/21/2003 03:39:00 PM
Gee, I Didn't Know That
With the threat of war looming, the State Department urged all Americans Wednesday "to avoid travel to Iraq" and advised Americans there to leave. -- CNN link
posted by Justene Adamec at 2/21/2003 03:01:00 AM
Why I Still Watch Survivor
Actually, I don't still watch it. I put it on and then I fall asleep which really annoys me because I miss CSI and Without A Trace and then I wake up in the middle of the night and start typing on my blog and that's where you find me now. I do, however, try to watch enough to know who these people are so I can enjoy the well-written and much-better-than-the-show summaries the next day like this one from Reality News Online.
posted by Justene Adamec at 2/21/2003 02:17:00 AM
Davis recall 2/21
Fox 11 news in LA has a piece but there's no direct link. The highlight:
Republican activists gathering for the state GOP convention this weekend in Sacramento will try to raise support for a longshot drive to recall Democratic Gov. Gray Davis.
A rally to support the recall is planned for Saturday at the Capitol and convention delegates are expected to vote Sunday to endorse it.
But prominent party members including the GOP leaders in Sacramento and President Bush's top adviser in the state have shown little interest in the recall. Some Republicans say they want to focus on other priorities, including registering voters, re-electing Bush and ousting Democratic Sen. Barbara Boxer in 2004.
That pretty much sums up the current state of affairs. The La Canada Republican Club has endorsed the drive but that seems to be the extent of official support these days.
UPDATE: None of my news sites were updated in the middle of the night. Imagine that. Here's the morning roundup.
OC Register has the same Associated Press article that I quoted from Fox 11 above and no new information but mention of the recall in this article in the Sacramento Bee.
posted by Justene Adamec at 2/21/2003 01:57:00 AM
I couldn't have said it better myself
Overlawyered takes a law firm to task for their ad that says "In litigation, getting what you want is everything."
posted by Justene Adamec at 2/21/2003 01:29:00 AM
In the comments to the last post, Bobby asks for some mediation tips. First, let me note that I'm not sure that what I find successful will be of any use in a mock mediation as Bobby is doing. A lot of what I try to do is to get people to drop their guard and step out of their roles as lawyer or litigant or insurance adjuster. Once I get them talking to me as if we're friends meeting over a cup of coffee, I make a lot of progress. In a mock mediation, all the participants have is their role so my methods could backfire. For some basic strategies, I have to recommend the links on the right.
That said, my biggest tool is humor and the element of surprise. A lot of the people I see do a lot of mediations. Almost every civil case in the court system is sent to mediation now. I often do away with the formal joint session at the beginning. I admit that the impetus for doing so was the last joint session in a routine auto accident when the lawyers got into a fight and I had to separate them. However, it has been very successful. I rarely got good information until I went into private session and to start in a joint session made everyone a little uncomfortable. People seem to like telling me their side right away in private. If the case is one where they need to exchange specifics, I can get them together later. The unexpected surprise of skipping that joint session usually relaxes most people. (I will always do a session though to lay down the ground rules if I have any sense that I am not dealing with mediation "veterans" but usually I limit the session to ground rules.)
Once I get people talking, I keep them talking. I smile a lot. Don't underestimate the importance of a good smile. My talking is designed to let them know 1. I'm familiar with the process and they can feel confident in me and 2. I'm interested in their case and they should feel free to tell me all about it. A lot of mediators use war stories and I do, too. I share past cases to let them know that I remember them and I'm involved and I care about these cases even if they are "routine." Even if it's your first mock mediation, you can do that. It's kind of like developing a friendship. Tell a story that shows some familiarity with what they're going through.
I have a dry sense of humor and I let it out during mediation. When the defense starts telling me how unreasonable plaintiff's demand is, I'll widen my eyes and say "Really? Gee, all the other plaintiffs have been so reasonable." Insurance adjusters will laugh because they realize that of course the first demand is unreasonable and why the heck are they pontificating at me?
I let them tell me what the case is worth. I remember one mock mediation in which I was a party. The mock mediator heard the other side first and started the negotiations with me at a number that was so far from where I was that we made no progress. Deliver the offer or demand, then listen. I also tell them that studies have shown that I have to walk back and forth at least three times between the sides before I can strike a deal. Any sooner and someone will feel like they went too low or too high. 1. It's true and 2. it inspires patience. I can't tell you how many times I'm at round two and someone says "we're getting nowhere" and I remind them of the three round rule and, sure enough, there's movement the next go-round. Often I won't talk offeres until I have been back and forth once or twice.
One of the best tips I got in mediation training was this: When you get stuck, don't go into either room. Stop and think about what is causing the case to stick. Ask yourself "Why won't this case settle?" Side 1 is too angry? They're too far apart? Someone (the lawyer) wants to go to trial because he or she wants some trial experience? Then work on that point.
posted by Justene Adamec at 2/21/2003 01:12:00 AM
Resistance is Futile 2
The Kolkata Libertarian used to be a Democrat. Read the tale of his conversion.
posted by Justene Adamec at 2/20/2003 07:20:00 PM
The Coastal Commission
The Legislature has fixed the problem rather quickly, reconstituting the CCC to meet the law and give the governor more control. Oh, and the governor may get more appointments on other boards too. The appellate case is still going up to the Supreme Court to answer some questions, such as:
In addition, the state's highest court was asked to resolve any question about the more than 100,000 building permits the commission has granted -- or denied -- since its inception. Do these decisions stand as legally valid, or are they subject to legal challenges because they were made by a commission that was declared in violation of the Constitution?
Isn't that an advisory opinion, which is not allowed?
posted by Justene Adamec at 2/20/2003 07:19:00 PM
Resistance is futile
Ernie the Attorney on lawyers and the blogosphere.
posted by Justene Adamec at 2/20/2003 01:54:00 PM
Davis Recall 2/20
SF Chronicle: Davis recall puts GOP in disarray. I wish I had not already booked the whole weekend. I would have loved to drive up to the convention in Sacramento and watched the fireworks live.
Carnival of the Vanities
Carnival #22 is up here. Next week's Carnival is at Kesher Talk, which deserves a look before then.
posted by Justene Adamec at 2/20/2003 06:39:00 AM
It's Thursday in Indiana and I'm guestblogging over at Joshua Claybourn's page. Stop by.
posted by Justene Adamec at 2/19/2003 10:13:00 PM
Bloggy Opinions has stopped posting regular reviews. I was the last for a while. I'm sorry to see it go. After a while, your blogroll and the blogrolls of the pages on your blogroll start to intersect. Bloggy Opinions was a way to take a flyover and get an idea about blogs that might not otherwise hit your radar screen. I hope it comes back some day.
Side note: Lynn Sislo originally introduced me to the page.
posted by Justene Adamec at 2/19/2003 10:11:00 PM
Havel and appeasement
I know I'm over my self-rationed war posts for the week, but I could not resist. Bennett posts a letter from Vaclav Havel to the New Yorker:
The Czech experience with Munich, with appeasement, with yielding to evil, with demanding more and more evidence that Hitler was truly evil -- that may be one reason that we look at things differently than some others.
I have written about how much I hate appeasement here and how much I like Havel here. So I particularly liked this quote.
posted by Justene Adamec at 2/19/2003 08:19:00 AM
Davis Recall 2/19
Assemblyman Cox, top Republican in the Assembly, will not support the recall, according to Talev in the Sacramento Bee. According to the story, [s]ome Republicans believe their chances of recapturing the Governor's Office in 2006 are better if they allow Davis' second term to run its course. Does that mean the recall is good for Dems? Does this avoid the view of partisanship?
Free Republic has the text of a press release stating that Libertarians and American Independents are supporting the recall. There's also a list of radio and TV appearances scheduled for this week featuring the Kaloogian group. In the comments section is the Libertarian press release.
UPDATE: I do this roundup daily. Click on the February archives to read the previous day's posts. I have tried to catch every link there is, although I am aware that I have not looked through the news sections of all of CA's TV and radio stations.
posted by Justene Adamec at 2/19/2003 07:28:00 AM
Scared into Suing
See the article here. Did anyone ever sue Candid Camera?
posted by Justene Adamec at 2/19/2003 07:17:00 AM
Calpundit has an interesting piece about the memory and how fallible it is. Apparently, it's relatively easy to convince someone that they remember something that never happened.
I have often wondered about childhood memories. I have a very clear memory of getting a zero on a test in first grade. It was an easy counting test and we had to count objects that amounted to one. It's unclear to me how this was useful to anyone at the first grade level, but since I knew how to tell time and add and subtract, it was particularly meaningless. So instead of making the straight line " | " that we were taught, I experimented and wrote the fancy " 1 ". The nun was not amused and gave me a zero, marking them all wrong. I was mortified but my family was amused. When a number came up in conversation, they would ask me if it was the regular or the fancy kind.
Years later, no one else remembered this incident, which was so traumatic and memorable to me. So I chalked it up to a dream that somehow seemed real in hindsight.
Then another memory came under challenge. I was visiting my godmother and her daughter said "don't you remember Janine choking?" Of course I did. Janine was ten years our junior and at one Christmas celebration, she had choked on a bracelet while getting her diaper changed. All the girl cousins were in the room as Janine's mother panicked and Janine stopped breathing. The other adults came running and one uncle who was a fireman turned her upside down and shook that bracelet out. It was the most exciting thing that happened to us as kids.
My godmother had absolutely no memory of this incident and was convinced it had not happened. Her daughter was going to write it off as a memory that not happened until I came along to verify it.
The memory is a tricky thing.
posted by Justene Adamec at 2/18/2003 08:21:00 PM
Clue Me In
The site counter went wild in the last two hours and I don't know what caused it. Where are you all coming from? From the reaction, I clearly need to write more about the Calblog husband and the joys of working with your spouse. I guess I struck a nerve.
posted by Justene Adamec at 2/18/2003 07:52:00 PM
Paypal makes the cashless society so easy, it's scary. I use it to shop ebay and hit the tipjars but I found a site where I can buy math books using paypal. It's easier than punching in your credit card and I have yet to read of stolen paypal accounts. (How is that? Has no one thought of it? Is the verified address that effective?)
Maybe later I'll rant about why I have to buy math books to teach my children math when we're in one of the best school districts in the state. (Hint: I'm not the only parent to do so nor am I even one of the few.)
posted by Justene Adamec at 2/18/2003 07:07:00 PM
Mandrake, do you know there are plans to flouridate the water?
The Metropolitan Water District plans to do just that in Los Angeles.
posted by Justene Adamec at 2/18/2003 06:43:00 PM
Davis Recall 2/18
Ted Costa was on O'Reilly Factor last night. O'Reilly was his usual contrarian self, hanging his hat on the fact that there just was an election and that 900,000 signatures was a lot. O'Reilly "How do you think you can do that?" Costa "We've done it 12 times before." referring to ballot propositions, not a recall, though that fact was not mentioned.
LA Times:Struggling to recover from its losses in November, the California Republican Party is preparing to embrace a recall campaign against Gov. Gray Davis as part of its agenda for a comeback. A very detailed article with much speculation as to who may sign on and the LA Democratic Party hiring people to follow petition advocates around and discourage people from signing.
SF Chronicle has an article on the cost of a recall election, including a provision that Davis can be reimbursed for his expenses if he defeats the recall.
Like it or not, he's our guy for the next four years, so let's just suck it up, get over it and get busy trying to piece this train wreck of a state back together.
The site for Costa's group, which filed the notice, has been changed so it is only a signup form for the petitions "when" they are available. The other site, which did not file the notice has the actual notice and the Davis response here. There's also a list of speakers available for Saturday's rally.
UPDATE: Howard Owens has joined the blogosphere discussion of the recall and Xrlq is hoping that the movement will filter up to the more-read blogs.
UPDATE: Another squibb on the LA Examiner site. The articles they link to are here already but the comments are always worth checking out.
Calpundit also posts about the recall.
posted by Justene Adamec at 2/18/2003 07:28:00 AM
Call for help
I did something and now the links are at the bottom instead of on the right. I've fiddled but can't get it fixed. If anyone can let me know the right code, please do!
UPDATE: I got the links on the right above the box. Not my favorite place, but I can live with it.
posted by Justene Adamec at 2/17/2003 10:03:00 AM
On Thursday, I'm guestblogging over at Joshua Claybourn's site. Stop by and discover the distant family relationship between me and Joshua. (Very distant!)
Then I have a 4-day commitment. I'm attending a three-day seminar put on by a client, followed by a full-day board summit. So posting will be light. I'll keep the recall updates going and I'll try to draft some non-time sensitive posts ahead of time.
posted by Justene Adamec at 2/17/2003 08:46:00 AM
Davis Recall 2/17
The O'Reilly Factor will be featuring the recall effort tonight. (5 pm and 8 pm Pacific Time on Fox News). I don't have a link. It flashes up in the ads on Fox News but there's no permanent link that I have found. He usually covers the same topic on the Radio Factor which plays from 9-11 am Pacific.
The San Diego Union Tribune has an article today. It's a good basic primer. Some new quotes and the tidbit that Shawn Steel is asking for GOP endorsement at the state convention next week. A very dangerous move, if you ask me. Steel does not have much pull and if the GOP fails to endorse it, it gives Davis a huge talking point. If the GOP does endorse it, then it can be pigeonholed as partisan sour grapes.
One quote had me shaking my head. The head of the Center for California Studies at Sacramento State University says the recall shows "disdain for democracy" because we just had an election and Davis was elected for 4 years. How can it be a "disdain for democracy" when it is part of the law for the California Democratic process? The law also provides a waiting period of 6 months for every official except the governor. So clearly, the law intended the people to democratically be able to vote the governor out just after voting him in. It's not like anyone is planning a military coup.
Two days ago, I said that I thought the recall had a chance because it met three conditions:
1. An unpopular governor
2. Real problems in the state
3. Well-financed opposition
In the last two days, I have learned that 3. may not exist yet. In addition, if the war takes longer than a month, the deficit is not going to look like a real problem and 2. may dissipate.
UPDATE: FoxNews did a news report on the recall during Special Report with Brit Hume. Pro-recall, they had clips with Dan Walters of the Sacramento Bee and Shawn Steel, head of the CA GOPs. They showed the two websites and reported that People's Advocate has qualified 12 initiatives for the ballot. Anti-recall, they had Davis himself saying that we just had an election and the people elected him for 4 more years and that a new election would cost $25 million.
posted by Justene Adamec at 2/17/2003 08:36:00 AM
Andrew Sullivan points out that Al Gore's book is rated 606,620 on Amazon. My sister-in-law's book, Bach's Big Adventure, is rated 236,040. It's a great book, too, so it deserves the ranking over Gore.
posted by Justene Adamec at 2/16/2003 03:53:00 PM
I live and work with my husband. I am within 100 feet of him about 22 out of every 24 hours a day. I assume that we generally have the same life experiences. I read him this bit from Lileks:
Imagine if the Segway had caught on by now, and there was an attack in a major urban area - the sidewalks would be clogged with hordes of people on Segways, leaning forward, hastening their steeds to give all they had. It would be the dorkiest evacuation known to mankind.
He did not find it funny. In fact he didn't get it. I read it again, slower, then again with a different emphasis. It turned out that my husband had never heard of my most lusted-after, unneeded possession -- a Segway.
posted by Justene Adamec at 2/16/2003 02:08:00 PM
Cleaning Out the Closet, So to Speak
Back in my younger days, when I explored a fair number of other philosophies, I learned a lot about what is loosely termed "New Age philosophy." Most of it I have now discarded. I don't think crystals channel energy and I don't think burning a green candle in the house will have any different effect than burning a brown candle. I don't sleep north-south as one healer told me to, even though I am tempted to try it when my headaches get bad. However, I still believe in a couple of karmic sayings. "Be careful what you wish for, you'll get it when it's no longer expected" and "if you want something new, you have to clear out the old."
(For example, clean out your closet and give your extra to the poor and good things will come your way.)
It is the latter saying that came to mind this morning. I share my computer and thus, my favorites list, with my children. I find it annoying to have the favorites list too long. So last week, I reviewed all my blog favorites and either deleted them or put them on the links list so I could link to them from this page. Now, there's room on the favorites page and, not surprisingly, I have quickly found plenty of new blogs to add to them. The favorites menu is filling up. You will see more on the side in the next few days. Sooner, if I didn't find editting the links section a bother.
posted by Justene Adamec at 2/16/2003 02:00:00 PM
Tommy Fulcher, a 60-year-old black man, has a very well-written piece on the N-word in the Mercury News. Link via Joanne Jacobs. You'll have to read it as I cannot do it justice.
As good as it is, I don't get it. I'm over 40. I'm not of Fulcher's generation, but I'm of an older generation than many today. I grew up in an area where whites were the majority and whites and blacks generally kept themselves separate. I learned never to use the N-word or any other racial slur. I never did. On occasion, I recall my brothers using the word -- on each other, never on someone of that racial category -- and getting the full measure of my mother's wrath for it. To ths day, I cannot recall being around someone who has used the word as a racial slur. Even when discussing it academically, as when discussing its use in Mark Twain, we use the euphemistic N-word.
Apparently, there are segments of the population where this is not true. Fulcher doesn't think a law will correct it. Well, he's probably right. I'll tell you what can correct it though. Mothers bringing down the full measure of their wrath.
posted by Justene Adamec at 2/16/2003 11:06:00 AM
Take Action 2
Dean Esmay has started a campaign for democracy in Iraq. In a couple of years, I want to see the people on stilts at rallies in Iraq. Really. I disagree but I'll defend to the death your right to say it.
posted by Justene Adamec at 2/16/2003 08:19:00 AM
The Calblog husband wants a campaign to boycott French wine. California wine is just as good and some is even better.
posted by Justene Adamec at 2/16/2003 08:16:00 AM
Davis Recall 2/16
Dan Walters in the Sacramento Bee today -- With his low voter approval, Davis worries about a recall
California voters are notoriously fickle. And if only one in three voters likes the job Davis is doing, it means that if the newly minted recall drive could muster enough money and momentum to reach the ballot, he would be in grave danger of being dumped.
Walters also indicated that the recall campaign doesn't have the financial backing yet.
Organizations that might lend credence to this campaign should consider the damage it could do. Yes, Davis did fudge the severity of the budget problem until after his reelection. Yes, he continues to work poorly with the Legislature. But the complaints do not add up to the malfeasance for which a recall should be reserved. The ugly partisanship at the root of this campaign threatens the state far more than Davis. link
posted by Justene Adamec at 2/16/2003 07:26:00 AM
I'm not really pro-war. I'm just anti-appeasement. In fact, I don't think we're going to war; I think Saddam will fold late. Little Green Footballs has a marvelous post about appeasement and those who blindly ignore the history. Read it before you tell me we shouldn't go to war. That's my self-rationed war post for the week.
posted by Justene Adamec at 2/15/2003 02:20:00 PM
The revamped firm website is due up Monday. To my disappointment, it will be a brochure site with a way to email us. It's a long story how it turned out this way at a time when my knowledge of the cutting edge of the web tools is better than usual. The short version is that, instead of doing it myself, because my design skills are way behind my tech skills, I paid someone else to do it. It needs to get up though and I will have to attack it later.
Speaking of Links
Links back and the list of sites linking to this site on the right are misleading. I know Dean Esmay reads once in a while -- he is kind enough to comment -- and I'm on his links but he never shows up. Even if you link through his page, I don't think it registers because his links open in a new window.
posted by Justene Adamec at 2/15/2003 10:26:00 AM
A New Web Toy
A Blogging Ecosystem has links out from your page and links back from your page and then, based on your links, shows other sites that you might like and you might not be reading. On my list, I read half of them.. I can't wait to read the other half.
BTW, the recommended reading list changes frequently and now I have to go searching for the intriguing-sounding "unbillable hours" that was there five minutes ago but has disappeared.
posted by Justene Adamec at 2/15/2003 10:11:00 AM
The last secret of one of the greatest historical hoaxes in the history of the West has finally been revealed --
. . .
It involves the mysterious "Plate of Brasse" supposedly left by Sir Francis Drake in Marin County 424 years ago when he claimed what he called New Albion for England.
. . .
The plate was accepted as genuine until 1977 when new tests showed it to be a forgery
. . .
There was one last mystery: No one knew who was behind the hoax or why.
Many, many thanks to Rough & Tumble for the link.
posted by Justene Adamec at 2/15/2003 09:51:00 AM
Apparently, some visitors to the Cathedral of Our Lady of the Angels have mistaken the baptismal font inside for a wishing well. Thus the sign that has been posted, in English and Spanish there: "Holy Water/No Coins."
posted by Justene Adamec at 2/15/2003 09:02:00 AM
Davis Recall 2/15
I think the recall will get on the ballot. Yes, recall efforts usually fail and die before even reaching the ballot. In order for a recall to work, you need the perfect storm:
1. An unpopular governor
2. Real problems in the state
3. Well-financed opposition
I think we have that here. Media coverage is also important but I think 3. takes care of that.
I don't know if the recall will succeed. I'm not even sure it's a good idea, as much as I dislike Davis. (I think kicking him out at election time would have been a marvelous idea.) I have never been through a recall and cannot predict what the campaign will do to the state, so it may turn out disastrous, for all I know. I'm not even posting on the reasons why Davis is a poor governor.
I think there will be a recall on the ballot. I think you should pay attention. That's why I put this post together every morning.
The Washington Times had its second piece on the recall a couple of days ago. It's the first I've linked to because the Washington Times had not hit my radar screen. This link is from the Free Republic message boards.
No news today so far. The petition is not up on the official site. In fact, the site does not appear to have been updated since the 8th.
UPDATE: A short piece at kxtv.
posted by Justene Adamec at 2/15/2003 08:25:00 AM
My age is showing
Oh, I feel so old. My secretary regularly uses the expression "Oh, I'm tripping" to mean she's confused. My partner told her that expression had a different meaning when we were her age. She asked what and we told her it meant being on LSD. She was surprised because she had never heard of such a meaning. link
posted by Justene Adamec at 2/14/2003 03:12:00 PM
Solar System Ambassadors
From the NASA press release:
NASA has selected a diverse network of volunteers nationwide to organize community programs that teach the public about solar system exploration.
Engineer, real-estate broker, orthodontist, teacher, pastor: They're all among the space enthusiasts in 50 states, Puerto Rico and Okinawa chosen for the 2003 Solar System Ambassador Program coordinated by NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory, Pasadena, Calif.
posted by Justene Adamec at 2/14/2003 03:09:00 PM
The Fine Art of Goofing Off
I have never understood workaholics. When do they find time to think? This afternoon, with only a little pressing business, and in no mood to grind out more paper, (That's what lawyers do -- grind out paper and talk and grinding out paper is what I do when I'm in no mood to talk so if I don't feel like grinding out paper . . . .) I was reading the Bar Journal and then in the middle of it, something in an article gave me an idea that I think will solve a problem that I had been wrestling with for at least a month now. I need ruminating time like that and the shower and the car ride are just insufficient -- especially now that cel phones have cut into the car ride.
posted by Justene Adamec at 2/14/2003 01:41:00 PM
In a move that could bolster Latino representation on the nation's largest federal appeals court, President George W. Bush today nominated a Latina state appeals court justice to the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals.
Consuelo Maria Callahan, who currently serves on the Sacramento-based Third District Court of Appeal, would become the second Latino judge on the 28-member 9th Circuit if she is confirmed by the U.S. Senate. Bush nominated Callahan to fill one of four vacancies on the San Francisco-based appeals court, which interprets law for California and eight other western states.
posted by Justene Adamec at 2/14/2003 10:55:00 AM
I don't understand
A block from my office is a large old Pasadena house. (The old Pasadena houses are mansions. This is where the rich lived and drove into LA. The Pasadena freeway, the first freeway, was built without exits along the way so it was a straight shot from Pasadena to LA. Most of the mansions along Orange Grove are now used as offices. The Tournament of Roses is in one; the Red Cross is in another.) In front of the house near the office is this sign:
Home for the
I'll can't tell if this is a piece of historic note or a joke.
posted by Justene Adamec at 2/14/2003 10:49:00 AM
The law and the Internet
Bag and Baggage reports on legislation to let people collect damages for spam and the legislation to tax the internet.
posted by Justene Adamec at 2/14/2003 08:44:00 AM
Davis Recall 2/14
Rough & Tumble links to two stories today, both reporting on Davis dismissing the effort as "partisan mischief." Don't believe it. I'm nosing around and the recall people and the usual Republican suspects are not the same. The endorsement of the head of the CA party gave Davis that talking point but its nothing more than a talking point. Here are the articles:
LA Times: Davis Labels Recall 'Sour Grapes' The highlights: 1. Davis used the words "partisan mischief" in his official response to notice filed by Costa and Steel (head of the CA Republican party). 2. Kaloogian's group, which has the recallgraydaivs.com website, is a separate group.
Sacramento Bee:Davis Lashes Out at Recall Drive Here's the subheading: But some analysts say his formal response could lend credibility to a fringe campaign. When I read the LA Weekly article yesterday and it said he was not required to file a response, I assumed he wouldn't. That would have been my advice to him. His response spawned two articles, causing the LA Times to print an actual news article. (The previous piece I linked to was a part of Patt Morrison's column). You know what they say about publicity. (It doesn't matter if it's bad, just spell my name right.)
The Recall Gray Davis group is holding a rally on February 22nd. Huh? I guess I have never understood or appreciated the usefulness of a rally. If it floats your boat, it's on the north steps (L Street side) of the California State Capitol building in Sacramento. I don't have a time but you can RSVP to firstname.lastname@example.org.
UPDATE: There is a fair amount of discussion about this at Free Republic. The two most recent threads are here and here.
Here is the website for the Costa group -- the one that has filed the recall petition. Pardon my irritation, but I have been tracking the recall closely and this website has not been easy to find. The formal petition is due up today.
UPDATE: More info at ChronWatch, including who is supporting it.
posted by Justene Adamec at 2/14/2003 07:58:00 AM
The anti-war ordinance?
I saw a piece this morning that LA had introduced an anti-war ordinance but I can't find it anywhere. That'll teach me to go to work instead of blogging.
UPDATE: Here it is on Lonewacko's site. Silly me looking in the newspapers.
posted by Justene Adamec at 2/13/2003 07:46:00 PM
LA Weekly and the Recall
Big enough to warrant its own blog entry. Check out the article here. It could happen before you know it!
In the arcane recall process, Davis has until the end of this week to issue a formal statement responding to the notice-of-intent-to-recall petition filed by Costa and Steel, though he need not do so. Secretary of State Kevin Shelley, a San Francisco Democrat, then must determine whether there are 65 valid signatures on the petition and whether its language is in accordance with state law. Once that is done, which could be as soon as the end of the month, the gathering of 897,000 valid signatures can begin in earnest. Proponents will have 160 days to get them. If they take the full 160 days allowed by law, the recall election would occur at the same time as the March 2004 primary elections, because state law requires that recalls only occur as special elections if they are certified more than six months before a regularly scheduled election. If the recall qualifies faster than that, then it would be a special election taking place within three months of the recall drive’s signature certification. In either case, candidates can file in the simultaneous election to replace Davis anytime until two months before the election. Which gives Schwarzenegger and potential Democratic candidates months in which to figure out their moves.
posted by Justene Adamec at 2/13/2003 07:40:00 PM
The Los Angeles City Council unanimously approved an expansion Wednesday of the city's equal benefits ordinance, requiring that city contractors provide employees' domestic partners with the same benefits as spouses.
I have mixed feelings about this. My first concern is: will contractors just cut everyone's health insurance? My second reaction is: well, I wouldn't oppose discriminating against any group for that reason. Mixed into that is wondering whether, as a group, domestic partners need benerfits as much as spouses. Face it, we still have more one-earner households among marrieds than among domestic partners due to the presence of more kids in married households. Still, when I balance it all, I like this law. I like it more now that we have domestic partner registration. I had a lot of concerns when we had trouble figuring out who had a domestic partner and who didn't.
posted by Justene Adamec at 2/13/2003 07:28:00 PM
Coming later today -- LA's ordinances: domestic partner benefits and anti-war.
posted by Justene Adamec at 2/13/2003 01:04:00 PM
Davis takes the recall effort seriously, said Roger Salazar, a spokesman for the governor's re-election campaign. Davis is lining up a campaign team and has contacted Garry South, the architect of last year's victory.
There's also some analysis in the piece about the effect of the recall on Davis' ability to run the government even if the effort is unsuccessful.
The head of the state Democratic Party said Wednesday he not only believes opponents will force Gov. Gray Davis into a recall election, but they will find behind-the-scenes help from the Bush White House.
The White House denied that.
The same column includes this, too:
Allan Hoffenblum, a political strategist and publisher of the campaign digest, "Target Book," agreed Davis is vulnerable.
"He has disapproval ratings in the '70s," he said. "That's Nixonian."
Qualifying for the ballot should be easy.
"You only need 900,000 signatures. That's only 6 percent of the electorate. You can get that just in Orange County."
The recall effort is destined to fail as long as it is primarily driven by ideologues from the right. If they were to broaden the tent in an act of political anarchy -- after all, many Democrats loathe Davis for his haughtiness and pay-to-play tactics -- then the governor had better watch out.
Lonewacko posted about the recall last week and has shown up in the comments section of the LA Examiner piece, but doesn't have anything new. (Hint, hint, Lonewacko!)
I'm putting all the recall news in one post a day, so watch this space for updates if I find more in the day.
posted by Justene Adamec at 2/13/2003 08:08:00 AM
The bill to fix it has passed committee and gone to the full Assembly.
posted by Justene Adamec at 2/12/2003 07:23:00 PM
More on the Rain
Yeah, we know we shouldn't complain. It rains what? six weeks of the year? and it was 50 degrees. You folks in Minnesota would be walking in it. Rain takes a toll here, though. The rest of the country just doesn't understand. Here's a bit of the NBC report:
The four southbound lanes of Interstate 5 in Tejon Pass north of Los Angeles were covered by a mile-long mudslide up to 4 feet deep, California Highway Patrol Sgt. Travis Mitchell said in Bakersfield. Cleanup of the lanes on the north side of the mountain pass was expected to last into the night.
Mud doesn't melt, you know.
posted by Justene Adamec at 2/12/2003 06:35:00 PM
LA has apparently introduced an ordinance to encourage recycling computers (it was on radio but I see nothing on the city website). It would require computer sellers to accept old computers and transport them to recyclers. It would be the first such law in the country. The purpose is to keep computers out of the dumps where they can allegedly become hazardous waste.
A noble idea but what protection will there be for the data on the hard drives of those recycled computers?
posted by Justene Adamec at 2/12/2003 06:24:00 PM
It never rains in California, but it pours
I put about 60 miles on the car at lunch in one of the worst rainstorms I can recall. We had no rain at all in January, an unusual occurrence, but today it was coming down at a rate of a half inch an hour.
posted by Justene Adamec at 2/12/2003 03:09:00 PM
Suspicious truck on the Whitestone Bridge
The pictures are live now and it looks serious. If it turns out to be serious, does it make NY more nervous because it was targeted again or do they feel better because it was caught?
UPDATE: False alarm. No explosives and the bridge is reopened.
posted by Justene Adamec at 2/12/2003 07:34:00 AM
Davis Recall 2/12
The SF Chronicle calls it a "longshot" but the article has some interesting bits of info:
There have been 31 attempts to recall a California governor, but none made it to the ballot.
Johnson estimates it will take between $1 million and $1.5 million to gather the signatures, assuming professionals are hired. But he believes the buzz will cause many Californians to print their own petition, sign it and send it in.
Costa said he had appeared on a Sacramento radio show and later had 500 people show up at his office to try to sign the petition.
I have not listened to talk radio much lately and my listening is usually to the national shows but I'll check into the local conservative boys, John and Ken, today to see if they're on this.
Talev has a second article today with Connell denying she will be involved at all with the recall effort (Talev reported yesterday on rumors Connell would back the effort).
UPDATE: Richard Bennett has a post up on Political State Report but nothing on his own blog. (It hit Bennett's blog at 12:30 pm)
UPDATE: The Chronicle has another article about how worried Davis is.
UPDATE: Jeff has picked up the baton at Xrlq's Blog.
posted by Justene Adamec at 2/12/2003 07:30:00 AM
The Sacramento Bee has a couple of articles on the recall effort today. Margaret Talev checks in with Davis Recall is Gaining Traction. She suggests that Kathleen Connell, Richard Riordan and the CTA may all get behind it. Color me surprised. Happy, but surprised. Dan Walters of the Bee is intrigued.
I am not seeing much discussion in the blogosphere. I've been linking every article I have found. If anyone is blogging about it, give me a pointer.
UPDATE: The LA Times has a short dismissive piece.
posted by Justene Adamec at 2/11/2003 07:31:00 PM
Trial Lawyers That Would Be Useful
California Business & Professions Code section 17538.4 has prohibitions against unsolicited emails unless they meet a bunch of requirements. Most of the ones I get don't. There must be some trial lawyer who can make some money using this law and, meanwhile, scare off some of the abusers.
posted by Justene Adamec at 2/11/2003 05:20:00 PM
CompassPoint has a wealth of information for nonprofits. If you work with nonprofit boards, their email newsletter, Board Cafe is wonderful. Plus there's no disclaimer necessary, I have no affiliation with them. I just appreciate the information I get.
posted by Justene Adamec at 2/11/2003 04:49:00 PM
Oh How They Lie
I was going to post some concern over the economy. I have some questions. Then I ran smack into another lie and distortion from the far left that I got so furious I couldn't even get to my piddling little concerns. Bob Herbert in the New York Times (he has taken away the most hated liberal title from Robert Scheer:
The first arrivals showed up well before dawn. By 7 a.m. more than 2,000 people had lined up outside Truman College, and the hopefuls kept coming throughout the morning. They shivered, and tears from the cold ran down some of their faces. It was like a scene out of the Depression.
(If you can stand to read all of this drivel, free registration is required.)
Have I mentioned that I used to be a liberal, but I stopped when it became stupid, stupid, stupid (all of my liberal friends excepted because they never act this stupid when they talk to me). Consider it mentioned.
Let's review. The current unemployment rate is 5.7%. In 1933, it was well over 20%, close to 30% and for the rest of the decade it stayed in the 15% range. Herbert deals with this little factual challenge to his theory by noting that things are worse than the official numbers show since it does not count the "permanently discouraged" or the underemployed. Did we not have those in 1933? Were they counted then? I'll give Herbert and those who agree with him their opening. Find me one study that suggests we're anywhere close to the Depression numbers by whatever standard he wants to count.
Granted, Herbert only said it looked like a scene out of the Depression. Yeah, well, the line for the American Idol tryouts looked like a scene out of the Depression too. Anecdotal evidence counts for nothing.
Let's review a little more for the economics illiterates. We had three quarters that qualified as a recession. Those quaters occurred mostly during Clinton. Because we review in hindsight, we were able to identify that recession in Bush's regime. (Doesn't everybody know this?) We have not had a depression. We are growing. The growth is slower than it was in the dot-com bubble but we are growing. That's defined as a recovery. There's been concern about a "jobless recovery" but the Jan drop in unemployment suggests we may be able to avoid that. Maybe not. As I said, I have some concerns but they are not that people will be on the streets living an 1933-style life.
posted by Justene Adamec at 2/11/2003 01:49:00 PM
What was that noise?
The Calblog twins are both sick with a cold or the flu or some such thing that produces a fever and requires much sleeping and lounging. In addition, one has a broken arm. The good news is that we have confirmed that they have reached the age where they can stay home sick without my constant presence.
That noise? The sound of my life returning to normal.
posted by Justene Adamec at 2/11/2003 10:01:00 AM
I ws a huge fan and user of Home Grocer. They did a good job for a good price and they were reliable and friendly. It was a sad day in the Calblog house when Home Grocer went under. A very sad day. Very sad. But I digress.
Another website tried to convince me they would solve my problems. We tried their first delivery free offer. It was shortly before we were to leave on vacation and they brought the wrong cat litter. If you don't have cats, let me explain. 4 cats + vacation + a litter brand they despise = 50% reduction in the value of your house upon return. The delivery guy got quite upset when I had to send the litter back. I did not even ask him to bring the right one. He had to call the store, then complain about what a bad company he worked for, and then it took ten minutes to figure out how to adjust the bill.
Did I mention Home Grocer was wonderful? If there was a problem, they'd take the offending item to the truck, cross it off the bill (someone at the warehouse would correct it later) and the correct item would magically appear on my doorstep a couple of hours later. Yes, I know they lost money but I would have paid extra for that service.
Vons tried to convince me that they could do it. We finally gave it a whirl. It'll do in a pinch but its no Home Grocer. I'm struggling to understand the substitution policy. I ordered baked (read LOW-FAT) sour cream & cheddar potato chips. When they were unavailable, we got regular sour cream and cheddar chips. Wouldn't you substitute with another flavor of baked? We ordered 20 pounds of Meow Mix. It wasn't available. We got no substitute. Wouldn't you have shown up with a smaller bag? What were they thinking? 20 pounds of cat food -- well, they can wait a week for that. It's not like the cats need to eat.
I really miss Home Grocer.
posted by Justene Adamec at 2/11/2003 08:12:00 AM
NASA said Friday that the piece was found near Fort Worth. On Monday, Kostelnik corrected that location to much farther east, "closer to Lufkin," 180 miles southeast of Fort Worth. The discrepancy was not explained.
It matters to us why?
posted by Justene Adamec at 2/11/2003 07:54:00 AM
The end of the Internet
Have you seen those commercials (for some DSL service) where the man clicks on a page only to hear a voice say "you have reached the end of the internet. Please go back"? Well, here it is.
posted by Justene Adamec at 2/10/2003 11:34:00 PM
Summary Judgment Has to Take a Long Time
First, the legislature required 75 days notice for a summary judgment motion with lax standards for continuances and the right to introduce new evidence even on appeal. Now the Court of Appeal has ruled that the trial court has no ability to shorten that time. We'll never get rid of cases that have no business going forward.
posted by Justene Adamec at 2/10/2003 11:23:00 PM
I am no fan of the LA Times, but even I was surprised at Calpundit's comparison of an LA Times article and the Washington Post article on the same topic.
I was also surprised at the LA Times headline yesterday Many Desire U.N. Backing for War on Iraq. The poll the Times comissioned and reported on showed only 7% were desiring UN backing and support for both the war and Bush were up.
posted by Justene Adamec at 2/10/2003 11:18:00 PM
Recall Davis Update
According to the site owners, 10,000 people registered to "help" in the first 96 hours. I wonder how many registered to help and how many registered to keep abreast of things. And it's a long way from the 900,000 signatures that will be needed.
posted by Justene Adamec at 2/10/2003 11:09:00 PM
The things I notice!
I caught the beginning of a Bush speech this am before I left the house. His suit jacket looked remarkably tight -- both in the buttons and the shoulders. I wondered if he had put on a few pounds or if he was wearing a bulletproof vest. I'm guessing the latter.
posted by Justene Adamec at 2/10/2003 01:39:00 PM
I wrote earlier about underfunded mandates. Another area of concern is the use of federal money. If the feds give us money for special ed programs, which the feds mandate, the intention (and the hope of the districts) is that the money gets added to state money. If, however, the state uses the federal money and then takes its money back into the general fund (as has been done), then special ed program mandates have increased but funding has not.
posted by Justene Adamec at 2/10/2003 08:41:00 AM
From Cal SC to US SC?
Newsweek is reporting that Bush may pick California Supreme Court Justice Janice Brown for appointment to the United States Supreme Court if (when) Rehnquist or O'Connor retires.
posted by Justene Adamec at 2/10/2003 08:00:00 AM
Segway LLC announced today that it is beginning a community study to observe the impact and benefits resulting from a concentrated number of people using Segway™ Human Transporters (HTs). During the yearlong study, which begins on February 1, 2003 in Celebration, Florida, Segway will observe how and when people use their Segway HTs to commute to work, improve their mobility and how riders interact with their community and neighbors.
Don't forget the fine print:
The community study is open to qualified individuals who live or work in Celebration, Fla. Once selected, participants have the opportunity to purchase a Segway HT i167 model, complete rider orientation and receive immediate delivery of their Segway HTs. Participants are required to complete written questionnaires and one-on-one interviews about their experiences throughout the yearlong study. Those who complete the full study requirements will earn a partial refund on the $4,950 retail price of a Segway HT i167 model.
If you visit the website for Celebration, FL, you'll find that it's a Disney "model community" outside of WDW. Although it was established in 1994, it's unclear how many people, if any, live there. There's a hospital and a town center with entertainment facilities. The commercial center is described in future terms and the school serves all of Osceola County.
Disney always promised us a bright furture, which never materialized (although other versions of the bright future have.) The monorail was the vision of future transportation, yet LA is still building a subway and rail system in 2003.
posted by Justene Adamec at 2/09/2003 08:39:00 PM
The OC Register has an article with a little history of recall elections:
In a recall, voters decide whether to throw out an elected official. It's been tried 118 times in 90 years against state officials. It has succeeded exactly four times - two of them in the 1990s in Orange County, when Assembly members Paul Horcher and Doris Allen were tossed from office in the wake of a fight over the speakership.
There's more. Take a look.
posted by Justene Adamec at 2/09/2003 08:11:00 PM
Water in the Desert
The Christian Science Monitor has a good article on the efforts to turn the LA River into, well, a river.
posted by Justene Adamec at 2/09/2003 07:59:00 PM
Well, I have fiddled with the color and the links and I'm ok with it. I'll probably add a few things but the major part's done.
posted by Justene Adamec at 2/09/2003 07:48:00 PM
Lyn Nofziger talks as if the Davis recall push has a high chance of success. Scroll down to 02/05/03. There's no direct link.
posted by Justene Adamec at 2/09/2003 05:35:00 PM
Another New Addition
If you like the posts about the kids and you're not related to me, check out Paper Bent.
posted by Justene Adamec at 2/09/2003 05:24:00 PM
Judges and ADR
As I posted earlier, there are many retired judges doing ADR and reducing the demand for other private, paid mediators. This trend is also adversely affecting the court system. To handle the civil load, retired judges can be paid to sit on individual cases. With the number of judges choosing ADR, the number of judges available to hear cases has decreased. the Metropolitan News has a good report on this trend.
posted by Justene Adamec at 2/09/2003 03:23:00 PM
Worth a look
Take a look at net.law.tools, which I found through Ernie the Attorney and Bag and Baggage. A lot of information about law sites and the use of new tools for those sites. It either tickles your fancy or you'll never visit again. It's not likely there will be a middle ground.
posted by Justene Adamec at 2/09/2003 02:55:00 PM
The State of Mediation
I was jarred by the beauty consultant yesterday and today I was jarred by a survey of mediators I received in my email. I won't mention the name of the group but they purport to be gathering this survey in honor or as part of California Mediation Week. The three questions were:
Would you like to get paid for mediation?
Would you be willing you go with other volunter mediators to your organization to explore sources of funding?
And then the kicker:
Would you be willing to boycott your organization for a week to raise awareness of the need to pay mediators?
Ack! What are they thinking? What if there's a boycott and nobody misses you? Let's face it, there's not a huge contingent of people that think mediation is a necessity.
The current state of mediation is this: There are more mediators than there are people to pay for mediation. Some people are making a lot of money in mediation. Mostly, they are retired judges and attorneys who have been doing it a long time and marketed quite a bit. Then there are people making a little money and doing some volunteer work who may move up some day to making a fulltime career out of it. (I have hit that category.) Then there are the volunteer mediators who only volunteer and make no money. Some are very good but are just starting out. Some are very good but haven't marketed. Some aren't very good.
No one is looking for a mediator and complaining that they can't find one. The closest we have to that situation is there are some mediators who have a following and must be booked way in advance. However, there are plenty of good mediators with capacity and the skill and experience to handle the demand.
At worst, there is difficulty finding one mediator both sides can agree on since each side often has their own list of favorites. It's often tricky to trying to find one that overlaps or that one that one side is not convinced will favor the other.
Those doing a lot of free mediations are best advised to developing a distinguishing style and try to build their own following rather than hope for a sudden increase in funding for mediation.
It will only be worth funding all mediations when mediation starts having an effect on those cases determined not to settle. Otherwise, there will be a lot of institutional money down the drain.
posted by Justene Adamec at 2/09/2003 02:15:00 PM
The Secret safari and a Rant
We arrived at the high school at 8:15 am for the Secret Safari. 100 Girl Scouts. I had five of them. The theme turned out to be My Favorite Things. We spent the morning in a rotation of dance-yoga-beauty. I got five sets of raised eyebrows, presumably because we were not anywhere close to their favorite things.
I enjoyed watching them dance but they proclaimed it stupid. The yoga instructor was particularly good. I have a lot of experience and background in yoga and have seen many a teacher. She was gentle, encouraging and knew her audience. Still, three of my five dropped out halfway through. No one else's troop had any dropouts. I think it was because they knew I'd let them. I had made it clear as we started that they did not have to do anything they didn't want to.
Then we got to the beauty segment. My troop age is 11 and 12. That was the average age of the whole group. Yes, this is an age when beauty questions start to enter their radar. So it seemed like a good time to address it. We got off to a good start. The instructor talked about making your own choices, being your own expert, learning your own skin and hair and learning what worked for you. Then we got to how important it was to be beautiful. "Everyone's first question" the instructor told them "is how to be beautiful?" Really? The only questions I get from these girls is how to get along with each other and do better in school. My usual question in life is how to I be a better person. I can't recall the last time I heard any woman really think about how to be beautiful.
Then we got to the eyebrow tweezing section, with detailed explanations. The instructor did say check with your mother because this is her biggest dispute with parents. Two sets of eyes from the twin daughters looked to me. "No tweezing" I mouthed from across the room. After more instructions than I had ever heard on the subject, the woman sighed and said "I could do an hour on this but we don't have enough time." She sounded truly disappointed. By now, I was slumped on the floor wondering whether there was damage control to be done.
Quick rant: When teaching pre-teens about any beauty, body or image issues, a simple rule of thumb is to find out what their concerns are and address them. Do not, ever, under any circumstances, introduce new issues. There was no reason to discuss eyebrow tweezing. Nor did we have to delve into whether their lips were thin, medium, or full, balanced or imbalanced, too short or too long. Isn't puberty tough enough without adding eyebrows and lips to the mix? Argh!
And yes, there was damage control. I reassured five girls that they did not need to tweeze and they were beautiful. The most vocal of the group gave into her anger 5 hours later on the bus ride home when she told me that the woman made her feel ugly and she knew she wasn't ugly. One of the Calblog twins also felt "nagged". The other Calblog twin was quite excited. Here was the secret she craved. She broke open the makeup samples immediately upon arrival at home and carefully chose the right lipstick color and applied it flawlessly. Her momentary joy came crashing to earth when she looked in the mirror and discovered that, surprise, she looked like the same person with lipstick on.
The afternoon was better. We drove to Paramount Ranch, an active film set on a national park in the Santa Monica Mountains, where they got to do a skit with special effects props -- fake snow and fake blood. That was a lot of fun.
posted by Justene Adamec at 2/09/2003 08:49:00 AM
The planned next step
I'll be working on the links today. I'll divide the blogs into general blogs, law blog (or blawgs, as Ernie the Attorney christened them) and CA blogs. There will be more of them, too. Then I want to add some research links to California law, California politics, and mediation. Give me a couple of days to get them in there and then, email me any additional ones.
posted by Justene Adamec at 2/09/2003 08:15:00 AM
There's a theme to today's posts, which will come out throughout the day. Service. Like everyone else, I have days (many days) where I get caught up in the minutiae of life. I take the traffic jam personally and can't think of anything else but how soon will I get out of it. Other days, I remember that I feel best when I am doing what I believe to be my highest purpose, serving others.
I'm not perfect, though, even when I am following that higher purpose and serving others. In those moments, the lack of service elsewhere is jarring.
posted by Justene Adamec at 2/09/2003 08:07:00 AM
The Recall Gray Davis effort has a website. I signed up for the email list. Let's hope it's less cryptic than Assemblyman Cox's.
posted by Justene Adamec at 2/08/2003 07:08:00 PM
Followup on the "backroom deal"
I posted Assemblyman Cox's take on the car tax bill (now vetoed) with a complaint about not having the details. Daniel Wiener does a good job of explaining.
posted by Justene Adamec at 2/08/2003 07:10:00 AM
the best laid plans
It was a long workweek. Some types of work are relatively easy. I can research for hours. I find it very relaxing. Negotiations are the toughest, followed closely by depositions. Both require a lot of attention and quick reaction. When I started mediating, I used to set aside days and do more than one. The quality of the second was never as good as the first. It's not the number of hours. I can do a ten hour mediation. It's switching between the cases and trying to absorb the second one while forgetting the first.
This week, I was switching between my cases and cases I was mediating. It was unscheduled. Two of my cases which has resisted resolution were suddenly "ready." Both sides were motivated and meetings and phone calls suddenly became productive. Unfortunately, I had already scheduled mediations for other people and a deposition in a case that is not at the resolution stage. So I bounced from one set of negotiations to another, switching and maintaining focus.
Yesterday I had planned to tie it all together. There were administrative things to handle. We have replaced two of the office computers and the billing program had to be transferred. We also have to replace two others and my IT guy was suggesting a different configuration that I had to review. Then a new client came in and at 3, though there was a pile of work left, nothing was pressing.
I had a marvelous plan. The girls were in acting class. I could head home, grab a quick nap, and then do some blogging. I had notes scribbled on scraps of paper.
My celphone rang while I was exiting the freeway. One of the girls had fallen. The neighbor who was with them assured me he had checked her arm and it looked fine but she would not calm down. Alas, there's nothing like experience. Last year, the other daughter had fallen and it was three days before we discovered it was broken because it looked "fine." I could hear her cries in the background and they were pain cries, not the usual "it's been a long week and I'm tired" cries. So we spent the rest of the day in the ER, which was unusually backed up.
Today we spend all day on the Girl Scout Secret Safari. A senior troop plans it. We get on a bus and have no idea where we are headed. Then an open house for friends of ours. So dust will continue to collect here. Sigh.
posted by Justene Adamec at 2/08/2003 06:37:00 AM
The Free State Project is an Internet-based society using its web site to organize 20,000 believers to "move to a single state of the U.S., where they may work within the political system to reduce the size and scope of government."
Only 20,000? Glenn Reynolds should be able to reorganize Tennessee in a week.
posted by Justene Adamec at 2/06/2003 08:12:00 AM
Initiative pipe dreams
Now is as good a time as any to report some stats on initiatives from the Legislative Analyst's Office. Between 1914 and 2001, 1142 initiatives were titled and summarized for circulation. 97 made it into law.
posted by Justene Adamec at 2/06/2003 08:02:00 AM
Comments on So California news, law, and politics by Justene Adamec. There are occasional forays into other topics because, after all, it is a blog. Offline, I am a lawyer and mediator. Email justenea -at- yahoo.com.