Sunday, April 30, 2006

Your Bar Fees In Action

Note, if you will, the last sentence in the first paragraph. Technically, I didn't notice that my badge did not contain my registration number because it did, in fact, contain my registration number. There was no file number.

So I hate to question the powers that be, but, well, should I be concerned? This is the kind of detailed letter that doesn't inspire confidence. Plus, combined with the last letter I received - which reminded me that my moral character application needs to pass muster before I could actually get sworn in, and that I had submitted the application, rendering the reminder, uh, pointless - makes me wonder what trees have ever done to the State Bar of California that they must send so many damn repetitive, inapplicable questions.

But really, file numbers? I was pretty attentive to detail during that exam and I had no file number, just a registration number.

Fun With Reporting Laws

A Phoblog Favorite: a scare-article about the scourge of lobbyist money in Sacramento.

Yawn.

Keep in mind while reading the article that the only reason it could be written is that current law requires extensive reporting on lobbyist spending when it comes to legislators and staff.

My favorite part is when the Chron says that law "allows" staffs to file separately. Doesn't it make them? And having been a staffer, those forms are no picnic. Oh, and don't get married while you're working in the Capitol either - you'll have to report ALL your gifts. Those are fun phone calls ("Thanks for that coffee pot Aunt Mae, how much was it again?").

I have met few staffers or legislators who have much trouble taking a groups money and voting against them later that same day. Not to mention the "perks" that remain available to legislators pale in comparison to private sector bonuses and fringe benefits.

And then there's the public policy prof spouting the old chestnut about our overpaid legislators - they shouldn't take a thing at $110k/year. If you want to clamp down on per diem gaming, fine, but for most areas of California, $110k is about what you need to be a citizen legislator (maintaining two households, hell, affording ONE household, etc).

There are, of course, many legislators that don't take gifts - or at least don't take most bigger ticket gifts. Staffers, of course, hate zero-gift tolerance offices because it means no goody-boxes from the chocolate lobby or whatever (and hey, those food treats keep us at our desks longer so we can work for you, the taxpayer).

At any rate - unethical behavior should not be tolerated. But dollar figures aren't conclusive proof of inappropriate action by elected officials.

An Alternative View Of Monday's Planned Protests

From the SF Chron's conservative columnist Debra Saunders, who is angry about the in-your-faceness of some illegal alien protesters.

'Schadenfreude' Still A Very Harvard-y Feeling

Poor Kaavya Viswanathan - she's lost her book deal, her book's been yanked from boostores and the best-seller list, and her classmates are clapping with glee because of allegations that she plagerized bits of her first book.

If you read the side-by-side comparisons, they are pretty damn similar.

Except that I can understand the author's alternative explanation of unintentionally incorporating someone else's turns of phrase into one's own work.

Think about it: I'm guessing this girl is an avid reader, right? She probably puts away a lot of books in her spare time. (Or not. Hell, once I got to college, even the assigned reading seemed a bit much.) She's writing her own book from the swirl of thoughs and imagination in her head. Nearly all books are drawn from influential sources - plot points, ideas. She writes herself into a situation and writes her way out - not realizing those thoughts are coming a little too much from what she read and forgot about.

When I was in high school, I wrote a piece during a summer writing conference about a summer camp experience when I was much younger - specifically about a dance and the way my more mature cabinmates tried to make me over for the big event. The event absolutely happened and it absolutely happened in the detailed way that I described it.

So imagine how far my jaw dropped when, during an evening of I'd-do-anything-but-study-now-ness over a weekend at home from college, I re-read an old Babysitter's Club book and discovered nearly the exact situation described. Had I read the book when I was younger, years before I wrote that piece? Yeah, numerous times. Had I consciously thought about that book when I wrote the piece? Not at all (and since we had to "process write" - that is, write about how we wrote after everything, I know it wasn't the case). Did one influence the other? I'm sure it did since it was there in my mind all along.

I was horrified to re-read that book and see the basic structure (even a similar tone) of a piece I had long been so proud of having produced entirely on my own. I can't say for sure right now - being several thousand miles from either story - how closely they would compare if laid side-by-side, but the similarities would be obvious.

Do I still get a bit of schadenfreude over Kaavya's literary smack-down? Probably - c'mon, she's a Harvard student. It's hard to excuse the similarities of the work. But it is possible that her explanation - as goofy as it sounds - is truth.

. . . Which, as we all know, is always stranger than fiction.

Saturday, April 29, 2006

To My Friends And Readers On The Eve Of Finals

It may make you feel better or worse to know that, despite having made it my whole life without dreaming such things, since graduating from law school and taking the bar, I have had numerous "Oh my god, finals are next week and I haven't been to class, I haven't studied!" nightmares. And not just bits of dreams either - those kinds of dreams from which you struggle to wake and even then have to spend a good 5 minutes or so actively thinking back and making sure you did, indeed, graduate from law school and that you are not, in fact, supposed to be in class right now, nor in exams next week.

So while some of my blogger and non-blogger law student friends are heading into finals now, I offer them the best of luck and a reminder that I earned my best grades when I completely stopped caring about law school. The moral: don't let the man get you down.

And goddam, I'm glad I'm not in the trenches with you anymore. But I'll be glad to see you on the other side.

Friday, April 28, 2006

Watch Your Language

A British music producer who has lived in the US for 16 years (I really must write to ask him how) is releasing spanish-language version of the national anthem.

Sung by an all-star cast, natch.

When I started reading the article, I thought, great idea, afterall, America has no national language. Crazy, I know - my English mates find it unbelievable as well.

But then I came to the part about the accompanying remix that includes lines about US immigration policy, they lost me a little bit:

Among them: "These kids have no parents, cause all of these mean laws ... let's not start a war with all these hard workers, they can't help where they were born."
Even if I agree with that, isn't the alternative language enough to make your point? The extra lines seem inelegant and give people, perhaps, a more legitimate grounds on which to base criticisms of the new interpretation. Just having it in a different language, however, isn't something to take too much of an issue with yet. I think it better makes the point those waving Mexican flags at American rallies are trying to make.

Cue Fox News Reax in 5 . . .4 . . .3 . . .

In Other Political Race News: Go Fiona

Seems things in San Francisco's 12th Assembly District race are getting a bit testy. There's the usual late-act filing of ethics violation charges (yawn - Angelides and Westly are doing the same, once again proving the only purpose of the laws, still largely completely indecipherable to most Californians, including attorney-types, is to give people fodder for mailers), and something a bit more interesting.

I'm guessing the fruits of a quick net search for Fiona Ma's name in on various campaign websites yielded a rather incredible result: that she had served as the campaign treasurer for the Republican South Dakota Governor who recently signed that state's abortion ban.

Now, while I'll understand any campaign aide smacking his lips with delight over that succulent bit of oppo, I'd hope any campaign manager might pause long enough to consider how likely it was that San Franciscan, liberal, former Burton staffer, Democrat Fiona Ma worked for some Reep in South Dakota . . . .

Or not. Why not just send out a bunch of press releases and see what happens?

Honestly, kids, that kind of gotcha over-reach only works if it has some kind of tenable connection to reality. This was, as it turns out, a governmental typo, for which the government says “whoops, we goofed, sorry.” Still, that’s a bit too much of a leap before looking, no?

Not that I wouldn’t already vote for Fiona Ma. She’s been a tireless supporter of Emerge and a graceful, energetic, smart, witty, wonderful woman each time I’ve met her. Plus I agree with 99% of her Supes votes – she’s frequently allies with Stag Sean Elsbernd – so if he likes her, you know I’ll like her even more.

Go Fiona.

Dear Federal Government

Not everyone wants to be an American or stay in America forever, you self-centered, blindly bureaucratic bastards.

Yours truly . . . .

Thursday, April 27, 2006

I am the government

Editor's note: I removed this post as soon as I posted it. Some will know where to find it. For the rest of you, trust me, I did you a favor.

Wednesday, April 26, 2006

Vote For Crystal

For the first time in nearly a decade, I'm missing the California Democratic Party State Convention, which convenes this weekend in Sacramento. Little comes before politics in my life - but the opportunity at extended travel, to really live in and of the world - had to win this time. Anyone who has set foot outside the U.S. (for longer than it takes to party on a Wednesday night in a Mexican or Canadian border town) knows what our President really doesn't: you can't really get being American until you leave America. This has been a exceedingly educational experience for me, and I'll serve my party better for it.

That sort of eases my guilt.

The guilt that remains stems from my impending absence from the CYD elections - which are gearing up to be just as ugly and petty as you could ever want them to be. Considering the wealth of talent, drive, and imagination in the group, it's unfortunate that a few bad pennies keep turning up. For a few more precious hours, I'm the Parliamentarian of the group - and it's a job I've loved and taken quite seriously (despite my many bar-induced absences over the last few months). I know this group, it's rules, customs, and history. I'm one of the few on the board who's really been around for a long time. No really, kids, a LONG time.

Which is why when people try to poo on the family, I get a little upset.

Regular readers will note that I don't often discuss CYD here. But on the eve of a contentious election, I gotta speak up.

Vote for Crystal.

It's funny how the same complaints about a leadership post - not the person in it, but any person in it - stay the same, even as the officeholders come and go. Have things run perfectly in the past year? No. Will they magically gel in the next two months if Crystal is re-elected, as she should be? Probably not. But we'll never get much done if we keep fight personal battles instead of political ones. If we get so worried about people stepping on our toes or stepping on the toes of others that we don't do the work we were elected to do.

There are those in the organization who feel slighted by . . .well, any number of things. Those people need to get over it, grow up, get up, and move on. Seriously.

If you're scratching your head at this post right now, don't worry. A few will know exactly what I'm talking about.

So I won't be in Sacramento to referee the celebrity death match. I won't be there to vote against the full credentialing of the few chapters that lied, cheated, and stole their way to pretend-legitimacy. I won't be there to point out how the same people are involved in the suspect charters and gee, ain't that interesting. Others will be, and they will speak out, and I trust them to do so. I just wish there were 50%+1 of them. I doubt there will be.

So, CYD member, if you're reading this: Stop the Madness, Vote for Crystal, and please, read and respect the bylaws.

Monday, April 24, 2006

Late, Breaking News: Longtime Fellows Mentor Acquires New Protege

Blame the time difference, or the fact that he arrived a bit earlier than planned, but I totally missed the biggest Building event of the year.

Here is the much belated birth announcement for Sean William Campbell, son of my Fellowship Mentor, Greg Campbell and his wife Janell. This is the longer, uncut version of what appeared in the Morning Report right after the big event. A big congratulations to Greg and Janell - Sean is one lucky kid to have two such fabulous 'rents. And look, the little guy is already busting a move, he's so happy to be here:

Greg Campbell, Director of Special Projects for Speaker Fabian Nunez and his wife Janell, a kindergarten teacher (and active CTA member) are proud to announce the birth of their son Sean William Campbell. Sean was born on March 12, 2006 at 12:15 a.m. Many theories have surfaced as to why he was named Sean William. Some speculate he was named after Shaun Alexander, star running back of his father’s beloved Seattle Seahawks and William Wallace, his father’s all-time favorite movie character (Braveheart). Others speculate that his debonair looks (so says his mother and his nurses) and use of the element of surprise (completely shocking his parents by arriving 6 weeks early) were reminiscent of James Bond and therefore he was named after the true Bond (Sean Connery). It has also been hinted that his small stature (only 4lbs 9ozs and 16 ½ inches at birth) reminded his parents of Lord of the Rings star Sean Astin. But the theory that seems most probable is the belief that he may be destined to be a future leader of the Democratic Party and will be the next S. Willie to dominate the capitol building.

Sean has already displayed some undeniable Democratic credentials. His favorite color is blue. He has become a strong advocate for proper nurse staffing ratios (during his 3+ weeks in the intensive care unit). He also witnessed and became an instant proponent of the various government assistance programs that allowed some of the families of his suitemates at the UC Davis Medical Center to have access to the quality of care he believes should be available to all Californians. On his car trip home from the hospital he started crying when an excerpt of a speech by President Bush was playing on NPR and was unable to stop until dad slipped in the U2 CD, and seemed to favor left turns over right ones. While his parents swear he will be able to make his own political choices, if his first 3 weeks are any indication it seems he will help maintain the registration numbers in the state.

After receiving amazing assistance in the intensive care unit S. Willie., mom and dad are glad to finally be at home.

Property And Contracts Law: A Super Fun Post

This is a fun muni/property/contract law hypo playing itself out in Alameda County involving a few rail lines, a city government, and a 1924 contract.

Love it.

Innuendo, Or When Is A Story Not A Story

I have good friends in both camps: Angelides's and Westly's.

I went after one of my Westly friends once
with that whole "so how come your guy went all 'we are the world' with Arnie right after the recall? Wasn't that a bit of an, oh, I dunno, anti-CDP gaffe?"

While I never got back an actual answer to my question, what I did get back was an argument that Westly had contributed boat-loads of cash to the anti-recall campaigns and Angelides had given absolutely no money at all. Look it up, he challenged.

My commitment to in-depth political coverage remains strong, but since I was in Switzerland at the time, I never followed up on it.

I have not yet, however, seen much of a story made out of this. Though, again, Switzerland, etc.

My guess: party bigwigs who had favored and felt the wind in Angelides direction sat on such things and discouraged such talk. Now that the Angelides barometer might be indicating signs of change, the party is just going to remain hushed and act later. Like maybe at the convention. Or not.

Which is why a story in the Capitol Weekly caught my eye this morning: Fiscal official in new committee backing Angelides had role in Davis recall.

Ah, finally, the Westly committee is going to fight the "We Love Arnie" bumper sticker still fixed to their collective bumper by accusing Angelides of the same sort of divided loyalty.

You know, like, -ish.

Because if you read the story - or if you know anything at all about campaign finance management - you know that there are many skilled, professional bookkeepers who take care of the tangle of reporting requirements and get paid well to do it. Nine times out of ten, they don't give a rats ass whose books they're tending to.

So what if the Angelides ministerial staffer had a job with creepy, crier Darrell Issa in the past.

It hardly helps draw a parallel between Angelides and Steve "Look At Me, I Love Arnold!" Westly.

(I'll remind all, I still am not tied to either candidate - I just keep calling it like I see it. And if my Westly friends would like to leave comments with cites and links to the documents showing Angelides made no anti-recall contributions, fine. But I better not find on via a different committee. Because if you can show that Angelides sat on his extensive funds, then that would be a story.)

Friday, April 21, 2006

Thank Goodness We Can Pick Trees Now

Though it's a far cry from the kind of forward movement San Pedro so badly needs, a tiny bit of development was finally approved. It's hard not to get misty-eyed at the courage and vision, isn't it.

No One Stays Masked For Long

The number one reason I never tried to run a completely anonymous blog: you always get nabbed, especially if you aren't up on the tech.

As LAT's Hiltzik just learned the hard way - there are too many net fingerprints that point back at you.

As with the Apple case below - this story brings up the tension inherent in blogging: is it journalism or not. Hiltzik is employed as a journalist and the guys paying his wage don't go for the anon-smear commenting. Elsewhere in the 'sphere, of course, the practice is practically de rigueur.

When worlds collide . . . .

Apple Gets A Little Wormy

This case was the subject of my last ever (I hope) academic paper.

The case is frequently shorthanded as a battle for establishing that bloggers enjoy the same rights as more traditional journalists - but that's not really the core issue since the bloggers themselves aren't Apple's primary target. Instead, Apple has gone after the blogger's ISPs to obtain emails revealing their sources. Kinda makes those shiny white stores a bit more ominous, doesn't it.

The lower court punted on the blogger/journalist issue, calling the blogged secrets about Apple program "GarageBand" (oh, the supreme nerdiness of it all - and yet, when the nerds get lawyers, it's harder to make fun of them, isn't it?) trade secrets and applying another set of laws and analyses.

It's an interesting issue and, for law students, an interesting study in civil procedure and jurisprudencec generally.

The bloggers' counsel at the Electronic Frontier Foundation maintain a great site full of information and court documents, if you're interested.

More Tinkering At The Schoolhouse Door

More 9th Circuit antics: Public schools can ban anti-minority messages.

I haven't read the decision, but based on the (surely grossly simplified) article, my reaction is "how's that?"

Allowing a day of silence (and probably the shirts and printed materials that goes with it) but disallowing the response doesn't really sound viewpoint neutral to me - but hey, I don't know if I passed the bar yet, so I probably shouldn't talk.

Blip

I was just thinking about China this morning while I was at the gym. Normally, of course, I spend my treadmil time cursing the nice folks at Apple for making the video iPod so poorly. Today, though a poster caught my eye and got me thinking about American foreign policy (ah, the nerdiness of it all).

The poster advertised a charity bike race . . . in Cuba.

Cuba!

It still catches me off guard. Like when I saw an ad on a taxi for Sandals beach resorts and among the listed locations was Cuba. Who knew?

Which made me get kinda angry that I can't go to Cuba. I don't even know if I want to go to Cuba. But you know what happens when someone says you can't do something.

And thinking of Cuba - damn communists - makes naturally leads to thoughts of China - damn communists but helluva trading partner. (Gross simplification, yeah, but you try explaining it to your British host family and see how far you get).

Which is why when I got home and read this highly amusing article about the many protocol disasters during the Chinese President's recent White House visit. Again with the questionable issuing of press credentials? Some intern needs to get sacked.

Thursday, April 20, 2006

Aww, Not Scottie

Nothing says "confident American leadership" like a mini exodus of key staff. The headlines focus on Rove taking a step away from his White House duties - but anyone who thinks he'll really cease his Darth Vader like control on the empire (or is he the emperor and Bush is Vader? I can never remember how it works) is stoopid.

But the really sad news: Scott McClellan, intrepid press secretary and master of "I'm not going to get into the details of an on-going investigation"-ness is out like cold trout. He tearfully said he was ready to move on. Uh-huh.

And here's the requisite WaPo analysis.

Tuesday, April 18, 2006

Phoblog Fashion Report: The Kill Me Now Edition

Skinny jeans are back.

(h/t)

The Magic of the Internet

I wouldn't trade this trip for anything. However, if I could just pop back to California briefly, I would pop back to San Francisco right now to join the city in commemorating the 100th Anniversary of the Great Quake.

I doubt most of my readers are awake right now, but if you are reading this, click here now to watch live video from the ceremony going on right now at the fountain errected in memory of quake victims.

Right now, it is 5:04am in San Francisco. At 5:14am (or 5:12 or 5:13, depending on who you listen to), the City will mark the moment when so many lives and so much of the city was lost 100 years ago in a quake that lasted nearly a minute at an estimated magnitude of 7.9. The Mayor has asked all churches and sirens in the city to mark the moment with bells and sound.

For more coverage - check out Metroblogging San Francisco.

And: Not one to miss a chance to drum up pan-MB readership, here's some London action on SF events (that would be me bending the rules).

The best quote of the ceremony at Lotta fountain - when a speaker told citizens to go out and enjoy the city, "the bars open at 6." God bless San Francisco.

Monday, April 17, 2006

Click, You've Been Surreptitiously Photographed

And by a really bad res camera too.

The Chron looks at the risks posed to privacy by cell phone cameras.

Over here in Europe, cell phone photography seems even more pervasive than back home. They're most often seen in action in museums and galleries that, at least half the time, don't permit photography anyway. At the Louvre, for example, you've got to battle your way through a sea of upraised hands to catch a glimpse of the Mona Lisa (a sea of upraised hands and huddled tourists clutching tatterd Dan Brown tomes, that is). Security guards don't flinch unless your image recorder is camera-shaped.

The article discusses the legal aspects of camera phones. Most anti-invasion of privacy laws won't reach "fetish" shots or many kinds of less-desireable camera phone images. The solutions may be need to be social, not legal.

That seems highly likely in our completely non-litigious society.

From Our 'Write Your Own Jokes' Department:

This article may be the funniest thing I've read in . . . a really, really long time. For your entertainment, I've highlighted the especially amusing bits and trust you to insert your own appropriate jokes and expressions of disbelief:

A principal trying to prevent walkouts during immigration rallies inadvertently introduced a lockdown so strict that children weren't allowed to go to the bathroom, and instead had to use buckets in the classroom, an official said.

Worthington Elementary School Principal Angie Marquez imposed the lockdown March 27 as nearly 40,000 students across Southern California left classes that morning to attend immigrants' rights demonstrations. The lockdown continued into the following morning.

Marquez apparently misread the district handbook and ordered a lockdown designed for nuclear attacks.

Tim Brown, the district's director of operations, confirmed some students used buckets but said the principal's order to impose the most severe type of lockdown was an "honest mistake."

"When there's a nuclear attack, that's when buckets are used," Brown told the Los Angeles Times. The principal "followed procedure. She made a decision to follow the handbook. She just misread it."

In some cases teachers escorted classmates to regular restroom facilities, students said.

Telephones rang unanswered Monday at Worthington Elementary School because of spring break and messages left for Marquez and Brown at school district headquarters were not returned.

Appalled parents have complained to the school board. Brown said the school district planned to update its emergency preparedness instructions to give more explicit directions.
Oh, where to start . . .

Sunday, April 16, 2006

On Rumsfeld, Civilian Leadership, and Military Loyalty

A pair of interesting articles on the criticism of Rumsfeld from former and current uniformed officers. One from the SF Chron and one from the NYT.

Each misses a bit of what the other catches and both miss some connections altogether that I'd have liked to read more about. But they're useful military history lessons at any rate.

Wikipedia Answers All

There are many things of which the English know nothing.

Top among them today: there are no Peeps here that I can find. I don't even like them that much. But there should be Peeps at Easter.

To explain Peeps? Simply check the Wikipedia Peep entry. They make everything sound legit.

Best part - "Peeps are usually eaten in one of five ways:

-plain, out of the box
-dried (sometimes for years) and hardened.
-microwaved (which makes the marshmallows softball-sized)
-frozen
-roasted over a flame, like a regular marshmallow."

That last way is just cruel.

Saturday, April 15, 2006

Monday, April 10, 2006

Did Anyone Go After The Publius Printer?

Interesting article about the legal side of unmasking bloggers. (h/t)

Just Add The Word 'Discuss' To The End Of This Story

This whole fast cars and homeland security story is just nuts.

Plus, if you tack the word "Discuss" on the end, it makes one helluva bar exam question. Crim law, pro, civ pro, corporations, probably some con law - fabulous.

I'd also bet that there are at least 8345 LA-based screenwriters feverishly working on turning this into a film. About something.

Friday, April 07, 2006

Running For Cause

Earlier this year, a friend of mine lost her father-in-law to Multiple Myeloma, a rare, incurable form of cancer. To honor his memory, she and her husband have formed a team for the upcoming MMRF 5k Race for Research.

If you're in SF and want to run a Sunday morning 5k for a reason, click here to register for the event.

If you aren't in SF, but you're in a giving mood, click here to make a donation.

Thanks.

Wednesday, April 05, 2006

Boo!

Couric Says She's Leaving 'Today' for CBS

The article mentions Meredith Vieira as a leading candidate to team with Matt Lauer on the Today Show. If that happens, I will never watch it again. She's crap. Anyone listing "The View" on her resume shouldn't be taken seriously.

Including Barbara Walters. Doubly so since she started it.

On Representation: Neighborhood Councils

A few years back, in the dark times, Mayor Richard Riordan set about to reform the LA City Charter. In the grand Republican, limited government tradition, he removed from the representative branch of municipal government some of its troubling autonomy and power and re-centralized it in the Mayor's office.

The bit of bait he tossed back to the city: neighborhood councils.

Anecdotally, I overheard a group of women at Pacific Diner, the morning before I left for England, chatting about how they no longer attend neighborhood council meetings. Originally, said one woman, they were interesting and really grass-roots, they way they were meant to be, she believed. Now, however, the powers that be had really felt their power as it were, she no longer felt free to express her views, and the whole thing felt very top heavy and non-inclusive.

Anyway, there are a few who believe so passionately in the power of neighborhood councils, they get themselves elected to more than one. Yes, nothing says true representation than unification through common leadership. Never mind that San Pedro has, I can only assume, 3 neighborhood councils for a reason (what that reason is, I won't pretend to know, but we do). Never mind that I would think at higher levels of government, the people of one represented body might reasonably cry "conflict of interest" were their city councilmember also a member of the council in the city next door. No, neighborhood councils are IT. They will save us from ourselves, from Target, and from housing - especially for seniors, a scourge on every community.

And so we come to this More San Pedro column in which the author says the only way to get San Pedrans out of their racially and ethnically isolated groups is through neighborhood councils. The only way to express our voices to developers is through neighborhood councils. And fortunately for us, the author is herself, on the board of two neighborhood councils, so she can speak especially loudly. "Every San Pedro adult has voting rights in at least one council," she writes. At least one? How many can I get? If I pull a trifecta, is there a special badge? And why limit ourselves. As far as I know, there's not much stopping me from joining all the neighborhood councils in the city - after all, I drove through the Valley once - they must have some up there.

Representative government depends on the active participation of the people. Neighborhood councils purport to be branches of representative government at the grassroots level. But for meaningful representation, the representatives should really pick a turf and represent. Consolidate the councils if you wish, but duplicating leadership makes a mockery of the process.

"Regardless of the opinions you may hold of the councils today, they have a mandate to represent everyone who lives, works or owns property within the council boundaries," writes the author. Too bad the sentence doesn't also include who does the representing.

Tuesday, April 04, 2006

Frank Monkeys

Having to do with nothing at all - here's an article on Paul Frank's legal woes. That'd be Paul Frank the man and Paul Frank the company. Guess the dude who banked off a smiley monkey graphic got ousted from his own company and is now wrangling for his fair share and his monkey:

"I'm concerned about the integrity of that character — and all my characters, frankly," said Sunich, who first sketched Julius in an art class in 1995, inspired by a sock puppet made by his grandmother (and named, in part, after a favorite childhood treat, an Orange Julius drink). "I would like more control of how he is represented."
I suppose to mock concern over the integrity of a sock-puppet inspired notebook sketch would go against honoring my legal studies . . .

I like the monkey. I like the giraffe. Not enough to pay ridiculous sums of money for that crap, mind you. I did spend too much on Paul Frank sunglasses once. Not because they were Paul Frank, just because they looked good. They're way too heavy for sunglasses though and routinely fall off my face when I look downward at things.

I have a good male friend who loves the dude and his work - knows him personally, I guess. He wears a lot of Paul Frank which I still maintain is the proper attire for 13 year old girls not licensed attorneys, but whatever.

Skelton On Flags And Messages

From today's column:

Problem is, pictures convey the message. . . .

They crowd out the intended message and blur the purpose of the demonstrations (besides serving as organizing tools for Latino, labor and Democratic groups): protesting legislation that deserves to be protested.

But those Mexican flags, the human traffic barricades, the school boycotts complicate the building of public support — and politically could hurt supportive Democrats among moderate voters.

"Marchers who carried American flags got it right," says Republican consultant Wayne Johnson. "They were saying, 'We embrace the American dream.' That was really smart. Marchers who carried Mexican flags, that was really dumb."

Democrat consultant Darry Sragow puts it this way: "The Mexican flag visually says, 'I'm not one of you. I'm from there.' If you wave the American flag, you're saying, 'I'm one of you' or 'I aspire to be one of you. Please help me.' The other message says, 'I'm getting in your face.' "

Sunday, April 02, 2006

Student Rights And Wrongs

I seem to recall reading something about a school's ability to Tinker with students' free speech rights . . . .

Check out this bit of coverage of a Colorado school's imposition of a "no flag" rule:

Dozens of high school students protested a temporary school policy forbidding students from displaying the U.S. flag — as well as flags from other countries — amid racial tensions following immigration rallies.

Skyline High School Principal Tom Stumpf said American flags were brazenly waved in the faces of Hispanic students and in one case a Mexican flag was thrown into the face of another student.

"When it involves the American flag and its abuse in vilifying other people, we simply will not tolerate it," Stumpf said. "They were using the symbol derisively as misguided patriotism."
I'm not sure whether I get stuck longest on "brazenly" or "misguided patriotism."