The Right Coast

Editor: Thomas A. Smith
University of San Diego
School of Law

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Tuesday, August 19, 2014

How air conditioning remade modern America -

Its effect on American urban culture is now taken for granted, to the point of being nearly invisible. We can conjure Arthur Miller’s world only as a jittery 16-millimeter newsreel. But in the mid-century decades, a number of American intellectuals greeted the new climate with cynicism. It was, they felt, a technology that flattened not just temperature differentials but the nuances of American life as well.

Henry Miller, returning to the States in 1941 for a road trip, recounted his caustic appraisal in a book he titled “The Air-Conditioned Nightmare.” “Nowhere else in the world is the divorce between man and nature so complete,” Miller wrote, “Nowhere have I encountered such a dull, monotonous fabric of life as here in America.”

In 1970, four years after Texas became the first state in which more than half the population used air conditioning at home, the New York Times editorial board echoed his sentiments. “Because the air conditioner, the airplane and television have smoothed out harsh differences in climate, nearly abolished distance and homogenized popular taste, Americans are become much less regionally diverse.”

The historian Raymond Arsenault, in a famous 1984 essay, threw the book at air conditioning for its culturally deleterious effects on the American South. ”Air conditioning has changed the southern way of life,” he wrote,

…influencing everything from architecture to sleeping habits. Most important, it has contributed to the erosion of several regional traditions: cultural isolation, agrarianism, poverty, romanticism, historical consciousness, an orientation towards non-technological folk culture, a preoccupation with kinship, neighborliness, a strong sense of place, and a relatively slow pace of life.


It a great thing that has absolutely no ill consequences, I suppose. I remember when we first got air conditioning in our modest three bedroom house in Boise, Idaho. I followed the men who installed it around. I remember their snaking what seemed like miles of copper tubing into the ducts and hooking up a monstrous thing in the back yard. Amazingly, the house became cool, which was fine, especially at night. No more sleeping in the living room with all the windows open. We still slept outside sometimes, but that was just for fun. But life became a little harder for the intellectuals,I guess. Air conditioning is less of thing in East County San Diego, as SDG&E prices everyone out of the market.

August 19, 2014 | Permalink | Comments (1)

EDITORIAL: The president’s inverted logic | Las Vegas Review-Journal

President Barack Obama says it’s “not fair” and “not right” for U.S. companies to set up overseas to avoid taxes. Except when it benefits him politically.



August 19, 2014 | Permalink | Comments (0)

Why Rick Perry May Be Out of Luck - The New Yorker

So Perry may have a point, but he also has a problem. Prosecutors have wide, almost unlimited, latitude to decide which cases to bring. The reason is obvious: there is simply no way that the government could prosecute every violation of law it sees. Think about tax evasion, marijuana use, speeding, jay-walking—we’d live in a police state if the government went after every one of these cases. (Indeed, virtually all plea bargaining, which is an ubiquitous practice, amounts to an exercise of prosecutorial discretion.) As a result, courts give prosecutors virtual carte blanche to bring some cases and ignore others. But, once they do bring them, courts respond to the argument that “everyone does it” more or less the same way that your mother did. It’s no excuse. So if Perry’s behavior fits within the technical definition of the two statutes under which he’s charged, which it well might, he’s probably out of luck.


This is lame. I thought maybe Jeffrey had something, but no. Has he always been this political?

If prosecutorial discretion includes the power to prosecute every veto you don't like, it swallows up the constitutional value of checks and balances. I doubt that is possible, even in Texas. It might have to get to the Texas Supreme Court if the Democrats want to push it that far. It's a dumb indictment.

August 19, 2014 | Permalink | Comments (0)

CNN Source: Story Corroborating Officer's Account Is Accurate | Video | RealClearPolitics

And then he says all the sudden he just started to bum rush him. He just started coming at him full speed, and so he just started shooting, and he just kept coming. So he really thinks he was on something, because he just kept coming. It was unbelievable. And then so he finally ended up, the final shot was in the forehead, and then he fell about two to three feet in front of the officer.


Sounds plausible. Could also be made up.

August 19, 2014 | Permalink | Comments (0)

Monday, August 18, 2014

Why Michael Brown’s robbery would be admissible at a federal criminal trial - The Washington Post

As Jonathan recently noted, Ken White at Popehat has a post covering some of the ways in which Michael Brown’s robbery does and does not matter legally.  While White’s analysis is interesting, I think he is far too skeptical about whether the evidence would ultimately be admitted in federal civil rights prosecution.  In my view, the evidence almost surely would come in, along with any additional evidence about Michael Brown’s bad character (should such evidence exist).


Paul Cassell, known mainly as famous blogger yours truly's brother in law, is a former assistant US attorney and federal district court judge, and is now a professor at the University of Utah.

August 18, 2014 | Permalink | Comments (0)

Ferguson Missouri Prosecutor: Does He Have Too Much Power? | New Republic

Police officers investigate cases and make arrests, but the decision to charge a person with a crime is totally within the discretion of the prosecutor. A prosecutor is never required to file criminal charges against a person, even if she is firmly convinced that she can prove the case beyond a reasonable doubt (the legal standard for proving guilt in a criminal trial). Prosecutors frequently decline to bring charges, even when they are convinced of the person’s guilt. Perhaps it’s a minor offense and the suspect is a first offender. Maybe the victim is not interested in prosecution. Or maybe the prosecutor doesn’t believe she can secure a conviction. But the bottom line is that prosecutors are not required to justify their charging decisions to anyone, and there is much potential for abuse. Prosecutors have almost limitless discretion in making these decisions, and a series of Supreme Court decisions has made it almost impossible for anyone to challenge them. Some states have a grand jury process, but the grand jury is controlled entirely by the prosecutor. Neither the defendant nor his attorney is allowed to be present during grand jury hearings, and prosecutors almost always decide which witnesses to present. 


Angela Davis (the authoress) is kind of an expert on murder.

August 18, 2014 | Permalink | Comments (0)

Obama squeezes in another round of golf | TheHill

According to pool reporter traveling with the president, Obama golfed at the Farm Neck Golf Club with former NBA star Alonzo Mourning and Marvin Nicholson and Joe Paulsen, who are members of the White House trip planning team.


Well, is all this golf making the Prez any better? What is his handicap anyway? Inquiring minds want to know. God knows little else is getting done, though I guess that's a good thing.

August 18, 2014 | Permalink | Comments (1)

Hillary speaking-circuit demands include private jet and … cone of silence? « Hot Air

Hillary Clinton has come under fire this summer for her speaking fees, including some charged for events at universities and colleges where many students put themselves deep in debt to get their education. Clinton and her defenders insist that those fees get paid out by donors, not the schools themselves, and that some of those fees get donated to the Clintons’ charitable foundation rather than into her pocket. Those pockets get a pretty cushy ride back and forth to these events, though, as the contract for her UNLV speech uncovered by the Las Vegas Review-Journal details


God won't permit Hillary to become President. At least I hope not.

August 18, 2014 | Permalink | Comments (0)

Police tell Detroiters to buy guns in city riven by race issues and crime | Money |

Detroit police chief James Craig – nicknamed “Hollywood” for his years spent in the LAPD and his seeming love of being in front of the camera – has repeatedly called on “good” and “law-abiding” Detroiters to arm themselves against criminals in the city.


I lived in Detroit, I'd own more guns. Now I just have the Springfield XD Tactical .40. I like it, but it's lonely. It needs a semi-auto 12 gauge to keep it company. Someday.

August 18, 2014 | Permalink | Comments (0)

The human screwfly solution: Column

So you may or may not like the new world of sex robots, but at least they probably won't wipe out humanity. And we can have robot nannies to raise the kids, too. But if we combine the two roles in one machine, would that be creepy? Or just "Mom"? Welcome to the 21st century.


Glenn goes out on a limb.

August 18, 2014 | Permalink | Comments (0)