Tuesday, May 13, 2008

Warning! This Post May Have Been Censored

Most people get invited to come to Yale because of their brains. Not me. The only reason I'm here at Yale right now is solely because of my strong back.

My son just completed his freshman year here and is returning to Santa Barbara for the summer. That means moving his belongings out of the dorm and putting some of them into storage. He decided to call in an expert in "relocation management." That would be me.

With his dorm room on the fourth floor and no elevator in the building I wouldn't exactly call the student housing here "parent friendly." I literally went into training to prepare for this trip, having made it a point to climb the stairs down to the beach at the end of Mesa Lane pretty much every day for the two weeks before leaving for here.

Once all the heavy lifting was behind us we went to dinner last night at the dining club on campus that my son belongs to. I can't remember the last time I put on a jacket and tie to go out to dinner but that's the custom in this club. When we entered the dining room sure enough there were plenty of college students also dressed in jackets and ties to have dinner on a Monday evening. Try to picture that at UCSB.

The meal was excellent and when the bill came I offered to pay. My son said I couldn't because he had to sign for it. "Don't worry," he told me, "I'll pay the monthly tab off on that credit card you gave me." Why would I have ever worried?

Being three hours ahead of Santa Barbara time, instead of writing and posting each day's blog in the evening just before I go to bed, I've been getting up and writing it in the morning, which I know is bad news for those of you who are insomniacs and have gotten into the habit of reading this blog after midnight.

Yesterday, I had such a hard time finding a WiFi hotspot from which to send off my post I ended up going to my son's dorm room and sending it off using the Internet connection there. When he figured out what I was doing, he insisted on reading what I had written. "You're not writing about me are you?" he asked.

Not only is it harder to send off a post from Yale than it is from Beijing, anything I write is more heavily censored.

With my work here at Yale done, it's off to New York City for a couple of days.

* * *

How slowly do the wheels of justice turn? When the California Supreme Court ruled yesterday that Deputy DA Ron Zonen should not have been removed as the prosecutor on the Jesse James Hollywood murder trial, it was a full three years after the accused murder mastermind had been captured in South America and returned to Santa Barbara. And it was nearly two years after the Court of Appeal in Ventura, which ruled that Zonen should be taken off the case, had heard oral arguments on the issue. That took place in July of 2006. And yes, I blogged about it back then.

Bottom line, it took three years to figure out that Santa Barbara Superior Court judge Brian Hill got it right the first time when he ruled in 2005 that there was no reason to remove Zonen from the case. A lot of people could have told you that in about three minutes.

An article on the Hollywood ruling made today's L.A. Times. There's also a story on it in the Daily Sound.

* * *

Of course no one knows better about the slow wheels of justice than the eight reporters of the News-Press whom an administrative law judge determined were unlawfully fired. With Wendy McCaw appealing the decision (as she has with virtually every other ruling in this labor dispute) the final written arguments from the NLRB, the Union and McCaw on that appeal were only filed within the last two weeks.

Now the case is in the hands of the full National Labor Relations Board. However the NLRB currently has three vacancies leaving only two board members to decide the case. If those two members agree on a decision, then they can rule on the appeal. However, if they don't agree the case will have to wait until the appointment a third member to the Board is approved by Congress. The word is that Congress won't be approving any presidential appointments to the Board until Bush is out of office. So there's the possibility there won't be a ruling on McCaw's appeal until sometime in 2009.

In the meantime, judge Steven Wilson of the federal court in Los Angeles could rule at any time on the request to have the former reporters immediately reinstated to their jobs. Even if he decides against reinstatement the reporters could still get their jobs back, but their fate will be in the hands of what is now a short-handed board.

* * *

Heard recently on one of the cable news networks: "The greatest lies are told before the marriage, after the hunt and during the election."