Friday, August 19, 2005

Political careerism shows no party lines

A bipartisan group of congressmen in California, led by Reps. Howard L. Berman (D-Valley Village) and John T. Doolittle (R-Roseville), worried that they might actually stand for election. The FEC has allowed them to raise unlimited soft money to combat Gov. Schwartzengger's redistricting ballot initiative.

California's congressional and state legislative districts are perfect example of what is wrong with the current system. There are ZERO competitive races in California except those that are state-wide races. Every single district that was carved out by the state legislature-- either for themselves or their congressional delegation-- are hopelessly partisan such that the only campaigns occur when the incumbent dies/retires/resigns in scandal and there is a pitched primary fight. Otherwise, voters can and do mostly stay home. This is why our democracy is in danger, because of greedy folks like Congressmen Berman and Doolittle (aptly named if you ask me).

I don't know if I support the specifics of Prop. 77, or the way in which signatures were gathered, but I do approve of removing redistricting duties from state legislators or other partisan and/or elected officials.

The only good thing I can say about Gerrymandering is that one Rep. way back felt the need to come up with the Bill of Rights to win in his Federalist district. But back then, redistricting was a brute alchemy. Today, with decades of computerized voting totals and computer projections based on race, income, marital status, church attendance, etc. these hacks can virtually guarantee a 10 year term for a 2 year office in the House of "Representatives"

Thursday, August 18, 2005

The nutjob that never was

With the release of the pre-screened John Roberts files of the Reagan Administration, the Salt Lake Tribune noticed a familiar name was in the running for what became O'Connor's seat: Dallin Oaks, a then-Utah Supreme Court Justice and soon thereafter a member of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles for The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (which, like the U.S. Supreme Court, is a lifetime appointment).

"Bruce Fein, then an associate deputy attorney general, said people like Oaks and future nominee Robert Bork were researched, but they were second-tier prospects because of their gender." And remember how the GOP got all over Clinton for seeking out only women for certain appointments-- like AG, Supreme Court, etc.? Sound like another case of "you're OK if you're a Republican" or otherwise known as hypocrisy. "There weren't anybody but women considered virtually from the start," said Fein, "It wasn't any discredit to Dallin. Bork and [now-Justice Antonin] Scalia weren't in the running either because they weren't women." Bork, Scalia and Oaks in the same breath, you get the idea.

"All this prognostication that this would make Reagan a hero in the female community was absurd, and we ended up with a moderate, then a liberal" in O'Connor, whines Fein. "All those kind of wobbly, non-constitutional or extra-constitutional standards never would have seen the light of day, because she was a vital vote in those cases." I guess he is still bitter they let O'Connor get the nod over those "Constitution in Exile" folks who want to turn the clock back to 1937. O'Connor was a smart pick, there was no real way for Democrats to oppose her and she became the Defacto Chief Justice because of her political savviness. Any liberal progress in the O'Connor court has been lurching yet gradual. I have a hard time crediting or blaming her for launching a new era of Warren Court like liberalism. However, without her, Roe might have been overturned in 1992 with Casey and although she didn't author Lawrence v. Texas or Atkins v. Virginia, they wouldn't have happened without her. Padilla v. Bush also might not have happened.

I am doing a Lexis Nexis search (thanks law school) on his opinions pre-1984 and really focusing on the pre-1981 period, when he was under consideration. Then we can see why folks like Fein liked him.

Monday, August 15, 2005

another dissipointing weekend

So on Friday, we put in an offer above list price, and STILL lost the house by Saturday. I wonder how much more the other buyer offered, but I am sure they are overpaying. Still, in a way I am happy because I want to be able to get a place on my own without so much financial dependance on our parents to make up the difference between what the bank will finance us for and what we have to offer to get the place.

Even worse was the places we looked at on Saturday, a tiny condo facing a busy highway that leads to I-80/215, a small house on 1st Ave that looks like it was 1950 since anyone stepped inside it. I guess I need to come face to face with my poverty and general craziness of the housing market, but still. Every day that goes by without sucess makes me sadder and sadder since that means I will have to live at my parents for that much longer.

Not that they are terrible, but once you hit a certain age, living with your parents becomes an incredibly annoying and stressful experience, particularly when you have experienced living without them and then have to move back home.