Saturday, 23 August 2003

Rush and the recall

James Joyner at OTB* is getting rather tired of Rush Limbaugh’s anti-Ahnold schtick. As James points out, the state is mostly left-of-center these days (certainly relative to the rest of the country); at best, all the Republicans can hope for is someone who combines some semblance of fiscal conservatism with moderate social views. Someone channeling Roy Moore isn’t going to fly. Hence James concludes:

So, the question for California Republicans (aside from whether the recall was a good idea to begin with) is which of two plausible alternatives they prefer: Bustamonte or Schwarzenegger.

California isn’t Alabama. For some odd reason, a number of people in the state don’t seem to be capable of recognizing that.

In more recall news, Bill Simon has quit the race, essentially turning the contest into a three-way race between Davis Lite (Cruz Bustamante), Schwarzenegger, and right-wing darling Tom McClintock, as the left-wing gadflies like Arianna Huffington and Larry Flynt have failed to make any dent in the polls.

* For some reason, every time I abbreviate Outside the Beltway I have images of perps and skells. I guess that’s my fault for watching too much NYPD Blue (where “OTB” stands for “off-track betting,” a typical hangout for lowlife suspects on the show, typically those involved in illegal gambling as well as wagering on the ponies).

More on "Amber's Army"

Last month, I made some snarky remarks about Amber’s Army, an activist group started by the Commercial Appeal after the tragic death of Amber Cox-Cody, who was left in a day care van in the blazing heat of the Memphis summer.

Veronica Coleman-Davis, former U.S. Attorney for the Western District of Tennnessee, has written an excellent editorial on Amber’s Army. Coleman-Davis questions whether it is appropriate for the media to be engaged in this kind of activist organization. She writes, "Calling for community action under the heading of Amber’s Army is a risky entrance into the realm of shaping, not reporting, the news."

In other news, the day care workers whose negligence resulted in Amber Cox-Cody’s death, have been charged with first-degree murder. This surprised a lot of people in the community, including me, who thought that first-degree murder required premeditation. But according to Tennessee State Code 39-15-202 (2), first-degree murder includes any “the killing of another committed in the perpetration of … any first-degree murder, act of terrorism, arson, rape, robbery, burglary, theft, kidnapping, aggravated child abuse, aggravated child neglect or aircraft piracy.” (Note the interesting recursion in the definition. The recursion bottoms out in paragraph (1), which gives the usual “premeditated or intentional” definition.)

When you look at the definitions of “child abuse” and “aggravated child abuse” in 39-13-401 and 39-13-402, however, it seems that almost any action that results in the death of a minor may well fall under the classification of first-degree murder. Shouldn’t we be drawing some distinctions?

Back from San Antonio

I’m back from a trip to San Antonio, where I spent a week with hightly-filtered net access where I was training. I quickly discovered that of my two favorite blogs (the Volokh Conspiracy and Calpundit), one of them, Calpundit, was blocked, as it was considered a “personal site” by the filtering software.

I saw no evidence of any systematic bias against “liberal” or “conservative” blogs. But the decisions about which blogs were “personal sites” seemed so arbitrary. When I go back in September for more training, I'll try a more systematic study of what blogs are blocked.

Oh, and I couldn’t get to my email either, since “external email sites” were blocked as well. When I returned, I was pleasantly surprised to find that I only had 29 copies of the Sobig worm waiting in my mailbox.

Downtown San Antonio itself is quite lovely. If you’re ever there, I highly recommend dropping by Jim Cullum’s Landing for half-price margaritas and live jazz.

I would, however, like to strangle whoever came up with the stupid marketing slogan “Don’t Mess with Texas”, which appeared plastered all over T-shirts and shot glasses in every souvenir boutique I saw.