The Bright Coast

Progressive Thoughts from San Diego Alums on Law, Politics, and Culture

Archive for November, 2009

More on the Marijuana Tax

Posted by brightcoast on November 30, 2009

I’ve posted about the idea in California before, see e.g., but here’s a post (from Tax Prof blog) about the projected revenues according to the top 20 states. If it’s highly regulated and taxed, then I suppose conceptually it differs little from alcohol. My concern, however, is that this is a slippery slope. What is the difference between legalizing marijuana and cocaine or heroin, which are also both “naturally occurring?” My other concern is that this is just a quick fix, like the whole lottery system, which was supposed to “save our schools.” Yet how many years later are we still running into the same budget problems?


Posted in California, California ABs | Tagged: , , , | Leave a Comment »

Corruption in CA CCs

Posted by brightcoast on November 24, 2009

I can’t say I’m surprised about this person’s alleged misconduct. My past impression was that something shady was going on, especially when I was politely told that I was no longer welcome at the budget meetings, despite being the only student representative. This was of course among other seemingly suspect courses of action, such as paying I believe it was $10,000-$15,000 for a one day meeting facilitator, while in the same year making drastic personnel cuts.

I can say that my experiences in the CC system make me think that this is not uncommon, and budget cuts made at the local level are often motivated by personal pet projects or in the name of nepotism rather than absolute necessity or even on the basis of what is best for the Community College (or district) itself. Case in point, drastic cuts were made to the athletic department of a certain CC, eventhough it was one of the most profitable departments in that the student athletes had the highest transfer rate of any other extra-curricular department. Meaning they transferred out quicker than others, not hanging around and staying in the general ed classes. Hopefully if the courts do get involved, similar past actions of this person will be looked into and investigated thoroughly.

I sincerely hope this mess gets sorted out, and quick.


ETA: In the sense of fairness, I would like to say that while I do believe some or perhaps many of these “expenses” could be justified, although they stretch the limits of the function of the position in question, IMO, they are not appropriate a) for a small regional CC district; and b) are entirely inappropriate in the face of the drastic cuts facing CCs and educational institutions in general. If you were a chancellor at Stanford, for example, then I wouldn’t have as much of a problem with international trips and expensive capital, since it is probably more necessary to maintain the image of the internationally known university with its extravagant  tuition & endowment funding to match.

Posted in California, Politics | Tagged: , | Leave a Comment »

I Tried to Check Bar Results…

Posted by demkid on November 23, 2009

…and this came up!  I think I did something wrong. 

I hope the Playgirl shoot was reported on his moral character application!

I’m sure his baby’s grandmother is so proud!

Posted in Uncategorized | Tagged: , , , | Leave a Comment »

Congrats to CA’s New Lawyers!

Posted by demkid on November 20, 2009

All 4,888 of them (give or take a few), according to

San Francisco, November 20, 2009 — The State Bar of California’s Committee of Bar Examiners reported today that 56.4 percent of the applicants passed the July 2009 General Bar Examination (GBX). If the 4,888 people who passed the July 2009 exam satisfy other requirements for admission, they will become members of the State Bar.

Preliminary statistical analyses show that of the 8,667 applicants who took the GBX, 71.0 percent were first-time takers. The passing rate for 6,152 first-time applicants was 70.0 percent overall. The passing rate for the 2,515 applicants repeating the examination was 22.0 percent overall.

These numbers are down from July 2008, when 61.7% of all takers passed, along with 74.8% of first-timers.  On a personal note, I’m proud to say that Mr. Brightcoast (our esteemed author’s significant other), and yours truly, are among the 4,888.  Hopefully a high percentage of our fellow University of San Diego School of Law alums are also included in the passing ranks, and that we again hold our own as compared to other CA schools.  I guess we’ll find out more detailed statistics soon enough!

Note: The above info can be found more directly on the State Bar’s website.  More detailed information (school breakdowns) is released in 4-6 weeks.

Posted in California, USD Law | Tagged: , , , , | 1 Comment »

What? I Missed Palin on Oprah?

Posted by demkid on November 16, 2009

Well, I guess I can always watch it on YouTube.  Or not.  I hear that she didn’t mention her daughter’s babydaddy in her book, but during her interview with Oprah, she did call what Levi was doing “porn,” and said she’d continue to pray for him.  Sweet.  Incidentally, TMZ reports that Levi had his nudie pics shot for Playgirl today as well…excellent timing!  My favorite related quote comes from his manager: “Everything’s gonna hang out.  We’re talking full johnson.”  Back to our Alaska beauty queen, Eugene Robinson compares her to Eva Peron in today’s Washington Post.  He goes onto say that she’ll never become commander-in-chief, but that other Republicans shouldn’t underestimate her. 

What matters is “Going Rogue” — not the cleverly titled book itself, but Palin’s willingness to thumb her nose at political and social convention.

So what if she displayed no real grasp of the issues in interviews during last year’s campaign? Those reporters were being beastly, trying to show her up. So what if the inside-the-Beltway crowd thinks she’s an airhead? The state of mind called “Washington” is the problem, and she’s the solution. So what if she quit as governor of Alaska with a year and a half left in her term? “Only dead fish go with the flow,” she explained, demonstrating once more her sassy roguishness.

True believers will not mind. Palin’s unconventional trajectory and unkempt mind are seen as authentic, in the sense that we all know people who’ve had ups and downs in their lives and who couldn’t point to Kazakhstan on a map. Her success to date represents a triumph of authenticity over accomplishment. In the final analysis, I believe, that’s not enough to make her president. But others seeking the 2012 Republican nomination underestimate her at their peril.

I think the other candidates will be just fine.

Posted in Politics | Tagged: , , , , | Leave a Comment »

Good Week to Turn Off Your TVs

Posted by demkid on November 16, 2009

Why?  Because it’s going to be non-stop Sarah Palin coverage for at least the next several days!  Her spiffy new book comes out on Tuesday, and she’ll be on with both Oprah and Barbara Walters tomorrow.  I have no idea how many total shows she’ll be on after those interviews, but one can bet at least a couple are scheduled on FNC.  Speaking of her book, I found this article somewhat entertaining, but the content isn’t so surprising:

Sarah Palin’s new book reprises familiar claims from the 2008 presidential campaign that haven’t become any truer over time.

Ignoring substantial parts of her record if not the facts, she depicts herself as a frugal traveler on the taxpayer’s dime, a reformer without ties to powerful interests and a politician roguishly indifferent to high ambition.

Palin goes adrift, at times, on more contemporary issues, too. She criticizes President Barack Obama for pushing through a bailout package that actually was achieved by his Republican predecessor George W. Bush — a package she seemed to support at the time.

Oh, Sarah.  You’re so much fun.  I’m sure that if someone brings up inaccuracies or exaggerations during an interview, she’ll just claim it’s the left picking on her and trying to bring her down.  One thing I don’t understand is, what did she go rogue from?  Well, her governorship, naturally, but she’s assuming that she was a relevant figure in American (or even Republican) politics.  She was a net negative on the McCain campaign and she demonstrated that she was completely uninformed and totally unprepared for the national spotlight.  I hope she enjoys her book tour, because it’s the last time people will pay her any significant level of attention.

Posted in Politics | Tagged: , , , , | Leave a Comment »

Palin v. San Carlos

Posted by brightcoast on November 15, 2009

how exciting for such a small town. Definitely surprising to hear that Republicans are only 1/5 registered voters. ETA: The article states that San Mateo County that has this registration ratio–which I think does not accurately reflect San Carlos’s demographic. There has either been a shake up on the City Council, or the case really isn’t about the usual party politics, or even necessarily Palin herself, but rather “the City of Good Living.” (If I remember the motto correctly). Shall be interesting to see if this fight makes its way through federal court. However, if they haven’t allowed billboards for the past 10 years, it seems unlikely some commercial interest can force them to make an exception to erect a new one.

Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a Comment »

The Weather Report

Posted by brightcoast on November 12, 2009

obama weather

Check it out: Obama weather

Posted in Uncategorized | 1 Comment »

Less Humorous than “to my cat Mat,”

Posted by brightcoast on November 10, 2009

but interesting nonetheless–substantial bequest “to birds and opera,” sort of. Large amounts like this sound so exciting and glamorous until you get to the end of the article and it mentions the 40% estate tax rate in Britain, ouch.

Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a Comment »

Sad News

Posted by brightcoast on November 9, 2009

Just received an email from USD that professor Fred Zacharias passed away last night. He was widely recognized for his scholarship in the area of Professional Responsibility & Legal Ethics. His presence will truly be missed. Our condolences to his family.

Info from his USD faculty listing:

Professor Zacharias clerked on the U.S. District Court in Philadelphia and practiced public interest law in Washington, D.C. He taught at Cornell University and George Washington University before coming to USD in 1990. He teaches and writes in the areas of constitutional law, professional responsibility and criminal procedure. Among his many articles are “The Uniqueness of Federal Prosecutors,” Georgetown Law Journal; “Waiving Conflicts of Interest,” Yale Law Journal; “Structuring the Ethics of Prosecutorial Trial Practice,” Vanderbilt Law Review; “Flowcharting the First Amendment,” Cornell Law Review; “Federalizing Legal Ethics,” Texas Law Review; and “The Politics of Torts,” Yale Law Journal. He is a member of the American Law Institute.

Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a Comment »


Posted by brightcoast on November 8, 2009

Historic vote in the House today, in case you hadn’t heard. Credit being given to Ms. Pelosi, who just so happens to be from the Bay.  I wouldn’t mind seeing her put her 2016 bid in…

Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a Comment »

Statisticians Reject Global Cooling

Posted by demkid on November 3, 2009

I’ve been meaning to post this story for a little while.  The public seems to be so fickle on the global warming issue and environmental topics in general, so it’s nice to see somewhat lengthy articles like this one that tend to dismiss the nonsense coming from a select few.

Global warming skeptics base their claims on an unusually hot year in 1998. Since then, they say, temperatures have dropped — thus, a cooling trend. But it’s not that simple.

Since 1998, temperatures have dipped, soared, fallen again and are now rising once more. Records kept by the British meteorological office and satellite data used by climate skeptics still show 1998 as the hottest year. However, data from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration and NASA show 2005 has topped 1998. Published peer-reviewed scientific research generally cites temperatures measured by ground sensors, which are from NOAA, NASA and the British, more than the satellite data.

The recent Internet chatter about cooling led NOAA’s climate data center to re-examine its temperature data. It found no cooling trend.

“The last 10 years are the warmest 10-year period of the modern record,” said NOAA climate monitoring chief Deke Arndt. “Even if you analyze the trend during that 10 years, the trend is actually positive, which means warming.”

“To talk about global cooling at the end of the hottest decade the planet has experienced in many thousands of years is ridiculous,” said Ken Caldeira, a climate scientist at the Carnegie Institution at Stanford.

Yet, as long as there’s nonsense floating around out there, a certain section of the public will always believe it.

Posted in Environment | Tagged: , , , | Leave a Comment »

I knew it!

Posted by brightcoast on November 2, 2009

craigslist SCAM ALERT

SCAM ALERTaffiliate scammers are posting bogus ads promising (nonexistent!) employment, paid research trials, or other compensation, but then notifying repliers that they’ll need to jump through a hoop first, directing them to:

  • background checking services
  • credit checking or reporting sites
  • sites where you are instructed to enter your resume or other personal information
  • sites where you are asked to sign up for a “free” trial offer
  • sites offering training or education
  • sites offering a “system” for making money
  • survey or focus group sites
  • sites designed to deliver malware or misuse your identifying information

all in hopes of earning affiliate marketing commissions or otherwise profiting at the expense of persons seeking employment.

Lots of variations on this scam, but each generally involves dangling (nonexistent!) compensation, and then directing you to a website where you are asked to sign up for something, use your credit card, or input personal information such as your email address.

Continue to legal / paralegal job postings

FUN FACT: If you are able to determine a scammer’s “affiliate ID” and report it to their affiliate marketing program, this will often result in termination of the scammer, and confiscation of the scammer’s ill-gotten gains by the affiliate program.

Posted in Uncategorized | 2 Comments »