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Prop 54: Making a state colour-blind

California Prop 54 2003

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#1 Rov Judicata

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Posted 23 September 2003 - 05:16 PM

Lil maintains that Prop 54 is evil. I thought I'd check it out. Luckily, it's a short piece of legislation. The gist of it is that the state of California would no longer collect racial information.

Here goes:

http://voterguide.ss...2-3-4-text.html Secretary of state's website for fulltext.

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The State shall not classify any individual by race, ethnicity, color, or national origin in the operation of public education, public contracting, or public employment.

Sounds good. Race doesn't affect your ability to work.

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The State shall not classify any individual by race, ethnicity, color, or national origin in the operation of any other state operations, unless the Legislature specifically determines that said classification serves a compelling state interest and approves said classification by a two-thirds majority in both houses of the Legislature, and said classification is subsequently approved by the Governor.

I like this part too. If there's a compelling state interest, an exception should be made.

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© For purposes of this section, "classifying" by race, ethnicity, color, or national origin shall be defined as the act of separating, sorting, or organizing by race, ethnicity, color, or national origin including, but not limited to, inquiring, profiling, or collecting such data on government forms.

Why should the gov't collect data on 'race'? What does it matter? Granted, we're all influenced by culture... but I don't see how this is harmful.

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The Department of Fair Employment and Housing (DFEH) shall be exempt from this section with respect to DFEH-conducted classifications in place as of March 5, 2002.

The DFEH can keep an eye on employers and housing to make sure there's no racial discrimination. In an ideal world that wouldn't be necessary, but sounds good.

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Unless specifically extended by the Legislature, this exemption shall expire 10 years after the effective date of this measure.

<The DFEH exemption>. Fine. The legislature can extend the exception if need be.

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  (f) Otherwise lawful classification of medical research subjects and patients shall be exempt from this section.

Again, that's a good addition. The medical argument against 54 is just a lie.

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Nothing in this section shall prevent law enforcement officers, while carrying out their law enforcement duties, from describing particular persons in otherwise lawful ways.

So the police can still say, "The crime was committed by a six foot white guy". Sounds good.  

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Neither the Governor, the Legislature, nor any statewide agency shall require law enforcement officers to maintain records that track individuals on the basis of said classifications, nor shall the Governor, the Legislature, or any statewide agency withhold funding to law enforcement agencies on the basis of the failure to maintain such records.

That's trouble. If the police are racial profiling, it'll be much harder to track. It would make a blatantly racist police station much harder to implicate.

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Otherwise lawful assignment of prisoners and undercover law enforcement officers shall be exempt from this section.

Good.

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Nothing in this section shall be interpreted as prohibiting action which must be taken to comply with federal law, or establish or maintain eligibility for any federal program, where ineligibility would result in a loss of federal funds to the State.

Very savvy.

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Nothing in this section shall be interpreted as invalidating any valid consent decree or court order which is in force as of the effective date of this section.

*nods*

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For the purposes of this section, "State" shall include, but not necessarily be limited to, the State itself, any city, county, city and county, public university system, including the University of California, California State University, community college district, school district, special district, or any other political subdivision or governmental instrumentality of or within the State.

Standard legalese. It applies to the entire state infrastructure, more or less.

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This section shall become effective January 1, 2005.

That's plenty of time. No worries on that front.

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This section shall be self-executing. If any part or parts of this section are found to be in conflict with federal law or the United States Constitution, the section shall be implemented to the maximum extent that federal law and the United States Constitution permit. Any provision held invalid shall be severable from the remaining portions of this section.

Once again, standard legalese.

In sum, I find the police station clause potentially troublesome.  The rest sounds palatable from where I'm sitting....
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#2 GiGi

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Posted 23 September 2003 - 07:10 PM

I haven't read it, but I trust in the Lil, the Lil is good.  ;)

I personally feel we have too many laws, so if we don't absolutely need to add something, I usually vote against stuff like this.

I did find a link with opinions from the medical community.

OVER 40 PUBLIC HEALTH CARE EXPERTS CALL CONNERLY INITIATIVE BAD FOR OUR HEALTH
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#3 Kimmer

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Posted 23 September 2003 - 07:16 PM

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Otherwise lawful assignment of prisoners and undercover law enforcement officers shall be exempt from this section.

I need to do more research on this, but I find this of major concern.

Gigi, I'm not clear on why the health care folks are upset. The provision exempts them from the things they are complaining about.

#4 GiGi

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Posted 23 September 2003 - 07:33 PM

Kimmer,

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Let us be clear: the exemption covers only Ďmedical research subjects and patients.í The initiative would eliminate statistical information on health care providers need to provide quality care to Californians, prevent disease and save lives.Ē
                       

Why do we need a law like this anyway?  What benefits do you see it bringing to Californians?

I stayed up until 4am last night reinitalizing one of my partitions and reinstalling Jaguar (it had a bad block) and I got up early anyway, so there is no way I can comprehend a legal document in this state.  Lil has, she knows the language and she is a straight shooter that I agree with a lot and disagree with too.  So if she says it sucks, I believe it sucks!!
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#5 HubcapDave

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Posted 23 September 2003 - 07:37 PM

I hadn't read the Prop. before, so I'm glad to see ths breakdown.

I really don't see what the big deal is, and I hardly see it as "evil".


Would really like to hear why it is "evil".

#6 Uncle Sid

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Posted 23 September 2003 - 08:59 PM

Incidentially, the medical phrasing looks a little confusing, but I don't read it to mean only research subjects.  It would probably read in better English:

"medical research subjects and medical patients"

I really don't think the idea is to remove it from medical record keeping, the language is just a little confusing is all.  I doubt that this will become a real issue if it is passed.  I don't think anyone is actually suggesting that doctors cannot track the race of their patients, especially since it is known that there are things like sickle-cell anemia and other conditions that are linked to race.

In general, the measure is an excellent idea, however, I do wonder about the inability to track police incidents.  I'm all for getting rid of unnecessary tracking and preferential programs based on race, but I am totally against anything that would make it over-difficult to check out real issues of racial discrimination.  Luckily for me, I can sit on the sidelines for this, not having to vote on it.  Other than that provision, this is a proposition that would have 100% support from me, but with it, it might be enough to make me think hard whether the risk of having it fail and therefore become much more impossible to get a better proposition passed is enough for me to support it over a rather serious issue.  When a proposition tends to fail for on small clause, it tends to get a bad rap even if all of the rest of the clauses were good and proper.
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#7 Bad Wolf

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Posted 24 September 2003 - 12:59 AM

I promise a phrase by phrase analysis tomorrow.

But here is how it works.

No one, including the Department of Fair Employment and Housing (and exempting certain health care people) is allowed to use racial classifications.

Unless, on a case by case basis

the LEGISLATURE

by a TWO THIRDS MAJORITY

finds that a significant state interest is involved.

So, this law, which PURPORTS to only include the "public" sector

actually DEPRIVES the administrative agency responsible for enforcing laws against racial discriminination of the power to RECOGNIZE classifications based on race

it ALSO takes the  power to enforce laws forbidding discrimination based on race or ethnicity from the courts, where it has traditionally resided and instead institutes a DRACONIAN system whereby on a CASE BY CASE basis the legislature can recognize a classification based on race or national origin IF it can do so by a 2/3 majority.

This would all be well and good IF IN THE REAL WORLD THERE WERE NO MORE DISCRIMINATION BASED ON RACE OR NATIONAL ORIGIN.

Any of you who really belives that is full of sh*t and I mean that QUITE literally.

Lil
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#8 Uncle Sid

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Posted 24 September 2003 - 04:47 AM

Well the DFEH exemption is there, and so is the mandate that Federal laws must be maintained.  So, even if the exemption was not extended, federal mandates would likely maintain recordkeeping and other measures of racial classifications.  So, I don't see anyone putting DFEH out of business with this proposition.

It would, potentially, limit state initiatives, but does anyone actually see a real measure against true discrimination not passing the legislature, even by 2/3rds vote?  

I still see the major problem with it being the failure of being able to track law enforcement statistics.  

However, the fact is that if we want a color-blind government and society, we really have to put an end to coloring everything that we come into contact with.  If we didn't go hog-wild with programs based on racial preferences, such a proposition probably wouldn't be necessary.  As it is, unless things get expressly forbidden, politicians grab as much as they can to satisfy special interests, get federal money and please constituencies who don't understand the long term damage such things cause to both government and their own positions in society.

I may end up against this Prop. in particular, but something like it in principle is sorely needed.
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#9 Bad Wolf

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Posted 24 September 2003 - 12:45 PM

I actually came *this* close to voting yes on Prop 209 but voted against it because I thought it was so poorly written.

In principle I agree at least that reverse discrimination (affirmative action) is wrong.  Quotas are wrong.  

But that's not what prop 54 is about.  It's mandate to eliminate all reference to race or national origin assumes a fact that is simply not true:  that there no longer exists any race or national origin based discrimination in California.  And, while there is supposedly a "dfeh" exemption in there, the proposition provides that notwithstanding that exemption, the dfeh is itself prohibited from using racial classifications.

I'll try and get to that line by line thing in the early afternoon.:)

Lil
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#10 Bad Wolf

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Posted 24 September 2003 - 05:23 PM

Okay, Proposition 54 and some....comments.  (note that I have very strong opinions about this;))

Quote

PROPOSED AMENDMENT OF ARTICLE I
Prohibition Against Classifying by Race by State and Other Public Entities
      SECTION 1. Section 32 is added to Article I of the California Constitution, to read:
      SEC. 32. (a) The State shall not classify any individual by race, ethnicity, color, or national origin in the operation of public education, public contracting, or public employment.

This prohibition is absolute.  
      

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(b) The State shall not classify any individual by race, ethnicity, color, or national origin in the operation of any other state operations, unless the Legislature specifically determines that said classification serves a compelling state interest and approves said classification by a two-thirds majority in both houses of the Legislature, and said classification is subsequently approved by the Governor.

So, rather than have this stuff determined by the court, which is where it has traditionally been determined, now itís not only the legislature but itís not a simple majority.  Anyone familiar with this Stateís legislature can appreciate the problem.

      

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© For purposes of this section, "classifying" by race, ethnicity, color, or national origin shall be defined as the act of separating, sorting, or organizing by race, ethnicity, color, or national origin including, but not limited to, inquiring, profiling, or collecting such data on government forms.

d) For purposes of subdivision (a), "individual" refers to current or prospective students, contractors, or employees. For purposes of subdivision (b), "individual" refers to persons subject to the state operations referred to in subdivision (b). 

Well letís see now.  You canít say that this is designed to prevent segregation because um, thatís already illegal.  You canít say itís designed to prevent race discrimination because thatís already illegal.  So what IS it for?  Itís to wipe out the notion that there exists any discrimination in this state based on ethnicity, race, national origin, or color.  Well news flash.  Itís not true.

Hey, I donít necessarily think that the lines should be drawn on this basis (see my comments in the ďCaucasian groupĒ thread, but so long as it IS a protected class, then thatís what it is.  What this law tries to do is say that for purposes of public education, public contracting, or public employment, and (with exceptions on a case by case basis if there is a 2/3 majority vote in the legislature) in the operation of any other state operations there is no protected class based on race, ethnicity, color, or national origin.   The word unrealistic does not begin to cover it.

      

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(e) The Department of Fair Employment and Housing (DFEH) shall be exempt from this section with respect to DFEH-conducted classifications in place as of March 5, 2002.

yeah yeahÖ.but letís look at the real kickers shall we?

      

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(1) Unless specifically extended by the Legislature, this exemption shall expire 10 years after the effective date of this measure.

So letís hang a sword of Damocles over the Department of Fair Employment and Housing.  Why again?  As stated, itís not like segregation and discrimination on these bases isnít already prohibited.  So why do this.  Oh yeah thatís right, the DFEH is the State agency charged with enforcing anti discrimination laws in this state.

    

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(2) Notwithstanding DFEH's exemption from this section, DFEH shall not impute a race, color, ethnicity, or national origin to any individual.

LOL!  So much for the exemption.  Sure theyíre exempt except that theyíre NOT exempt.  Tell me, how in the hell are they supposed to investigate and prosecute claims involving race, ethnicity, national origin or color based discrimination if theyíre NOT ALLOWED TO IMPUTE THESE THINGS TO ANYBODY??????  
Un f*cking believable.  
      

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(f) Otherwise lawful classification of medical research subjects and patients shall be exempt from this section.

I have to just chime in here with an agreement with kimmer about how SLEAZY it is for Cruz Bustamente to be saying that prop 54 prevents healthcare providers from collecting data given this rather clear exemption.  Gah.  I donít see how I can now vote for him.

    

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(g) Nothing in this section shall prevent law enforcement officers, while carrying out their law enforcement duties, from describing particular persons in otherwise lawful ways.

Right.  So a cop can still hold to whatever prejudices they have based on ethnicity, race, color or national origin.  Color blind MY ASS.

Quote

Neither the Governor, the Legislature, nor any statewide agency shall require law enforcement officers to maintain records that track individuals on the basis of said classifications, nor shall the Governor, the Legislature, or any statewide agency withhold funding to law enforcement agencies on the basis of the failure to maintain such records.

To what purpose is this?  There are federal EEO tracking requirements.
      

Quote

(h) Otherwise lawful assignment of prisoners and undercover law enforcement officers shall be exempt from this section.

Ah so they recognize that when infiltrating a predominantly black drug cartel it might be useful to send in someone black.  But no, of course weíre not using any classifications here.  Weíre color blind, remember????


      

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(i) Nothing in this section shall be interpreted as prohibiting action which must be taken to comply with federal law, or establish or maintain eligibility for any federal program, where ineligibility would result in a loss of federal funds to the State.

And here is another sticky one.  This law is quite arguably at odds with federal EEO and other anti discrimination laws which do recognize the classifications proposed to be eliminated.  The potential legal morass in court (with all its attendant costs and delays) is staggering.


OKAY the rest is fairly mundane procedural stuff.

There my initial take.

Iím sure I can think of more.

Also, consider the potential precedent.

Next weíll have a law not recognizing gender as a classification.  Or perhaps disability.  And letís not even talk about sexual orientation.
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#11 HubcapDave

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Posted 24 September 2003 - 07:00 PM

Quote

So, rather than have this stuff determined by the court, which is where it has traditionally been determined, now it?s not only the legislature but it?s not a simple majority. Anyone familiar with this State?s legislature can appreciate the problem.

Why exactly is that a problem, and why do you think it should remain under the purview of the judiciary?

Quote

LOL! So much for the exemption. Sure they?re exempt except that they?re NOT exempt. Tell me, how in the hell are they supposed to investigate and prosecute claims involving race, ethnicity, national origin or color based discrimination if they?re NOT ALLOWED TO IMPUTE THESE THINGS TO ANYBODY??????
Un f*cking believable.

Actually, the way I read it is that they can classify by any means they had in place before 3/5/02, but cannot add any other classifications. Either that, or they're saying that while they could collect general information, they could say, "Well, Joe Blow over there is a Hispanic."


Quote

Right. So a cop can still hold to whatever prejudices they have based on ethnicity, race, color or national origin. Color blind MY ASS.

Methinks you put a little too much of your personal opinion into that response! Like Javert said, it makes it so the cops can still say, "The suspect is a 6 foot tall (insert skin color here) man". that makes sense to me.



Quote

And here is another sticky one. This law is quite arguably at odds with federal EEO and other anti discrimination laws which do recognize the classifications proposed to be eliminated. The potential legal morass in court (with all its attendant costs and delays) is staggering.

Remember, though, this law is is self executing, and says that any part of it found to be in violation of federal law will immediately be removed from that law.

Personally, I think this law does far more good than harm. The only consideration for hiring and contracting should be ability, and nothing else.

#12 shambalayogi

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Posted 01 October 2003 - 10:49 AM

Now that I've read through this and looked up some stuff on the net about this prop, I tend to agree with Lil. btw, I can't vote on it though cause I don't live in California.
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#13 AnneZo

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Posted 02 October 2003 - 10:41 AM

A good reason to be against California's Proposition 54 is the man behind it. *

This is a man who wasn't "convinced ethnic studies reflected "a sound academic curriculum rather than the political correctness mindset' " but who, as a member of the California Board of Regents, apparently failed to, I don't know, do something productive like having the course of study objectively reviewed and accepting suggestions for improvement.

Add that to his symbiotic relationship with former governor Wilson and his attachment to Ronald Reagan and you have someone steeped in ultra-conservativism, the exact part of our society most opposed to levelling the playing field for women and minorities.  

I'm just saying, okay?  If you want to know how "equally" we're learning to treat each other, then you have to measure.  You can't just announce that we've had affirmative action for decades now and everything is hunky-dory and we're tired of it.  

While the majority of our prison population is minority citizens, while a disproportionate number of minority black men choose the armed forces as their only access to a better future, and while the overwhelming majority of people in posts of power in this country are still old, white guys, you can't say the playing field is level.

Not everyone of minority background is going to find wealthy Republican mentors to give them a leg up in the world.  I applaud this guy's personal success but I don't see why he should use it to block the ability of others to achieve the same thing.

(* Always check who's funding an initiative if you want to know the real intent of the proposed legislation.)

#14 Drew

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Posted 02 October 2003 - 10:56 AM

AnneZo, on Oct 2 2003, 10:41 AM, said:

Add that to his symbiotic relationship with former governor Wilson and his attachment to Ronald Reagan and you have someone steeped in ultra-conservativism, the exact part of our society most opposed to levelling the playing field for women and minorities.
Hmmm. So it's "guilt by association."

I object to the idea that conservatives are by nature "most opposed to levelling the playing field for women and minorities." Though I agree that people have been taught to believe this.
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#15 Drew

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Posted 02 October 2003 - 11:11 AM

GiGi, on Sep 23 2003, 07:33 PM, said:

. . . there is no way I can comprehend a legal document in this state.  Lil has, she knows the language and she is a straight shooter that I agree with a lot and disagree with too.  So if she says it sucks, I believe it sucks!!
You're putting an awful lot of pressure on Lil. :cool:

(If Lil told you to jump off Hoover Dam, would you?)
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#16 Rhea

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Posted 02 October 2003 - 12:24 PM

Drew, on Oct 2 2003, 09:11 AM, said:

GiGi, on Sep 23 2003, 07:33 PM, said:

. . . there is no way I can comprehend a legal document in this state.  Lil has, she knows the language and she is a straight shooter that I agree with a lot and disagree with too.  So if she says it sucks, I believe it sucks!!
You're putting an awful lot of pressure on Lil. :cool:

(If Lil told you to jump off Hoover Dam, would you?)
Waitaminute! NOBODY has time to read all the exact legalese of all the propositions you end up voting on. Most people rely on SOMEBODY'S advice - the League of Women Voters, their party, whoever - and I'd be willing to bet that  99% of voters simply look to see who endorses it and who opposes it and vote according to whether the somebody/group they like says yea or nay.

Lil, on the other hand, has the ability to comprehend this crap, and the smarts to analyze it. I'd go with Lil over the League of Women Voters any day. So there.  :p
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#17 HubcapDave

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Posted 02 October 2003 - 02:32 PM

Quote

Add that to his symbiotic relationship with former governor Wilson and his attachment to Ronald Reagan and you have someone steeped in ultra-conservativism, the exact part of our society most opposed to levelling the playing field for women and minorities.

:rolleyes:

Quite frankly, as a conservative, I find myself offended by this remark. It shows a decided lack of actual knowledge on the part of the person making the statement on what the basis of conservatism is. I'm not saying you have to agree with it, but you should have some understanding of the other side before you can intelligently comment on their motives.

You see, I was a liberal when I was a younger man. Therefore, I get much of the reasoning I see liberals use in their arguments. I get what they're trying to say, and I know that they are trying to do what they think is right. That's why you don't generally see me making blanket statements about liberals, particularly ones that are not true!


P.S.: Pete Wilson is generally considered to be a moderate. Ronald Reagan was once a Democrat. Not what I would consider ultra-conservative. Now, Pat Buchannon, ont he other hand........... :D

#18 GiGi

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Posted 02 October 2003 - 02:54 PM

Drew, on Oct 2 2003, 08:11 AM, said:

GiGi, on Sep 23 2003, 07:33 PM, said:

. . . there is no way I can comprehend a legal document in this state.  Lil has, she knows the language and she is a straight shooter that I agree with a lot and disagree with too.  So if she says it sucks, I believe it sucks!!
You're putting an awful lot of pressure on Lil. :cool:

(If Lil told you to jump off Hoover Dam, would you?)
Whoa, missed this one!

Yes Drew, if Lil told me to jump off the Hoover Dam I would without question.  Having met Lil in RL several times, she is a dear friend to me and I know she would have my best interest at heart.

Add to the fact that she is a LAWYER and can read the language of the law I trust her to know that language and interpret it for me.  And I would do the same for her regarding web programming language. I would interpret for her what it was she needed to know without her having to learn the language.

Now, I am glad to see you practicing all of those Parental phrases like the "jumping off the Hoover Dam" one.  You will need to use those when your kid starts wanting to do the insane things that all kids want to do.  (Like downloading "free" music etc, etc, etc!!!)
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#19 Drew

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Posted 02 October 2003 - 03:20 PM

GiGi, on Oct 2 2003, 02:54 PM, said:

Now, I am glad to see you practicing all of those Parental phrases like the "jumping off the Hoover Dam" one.
Yep. Just trying to get into the groove of it.  :cool:
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#20 Bad Wolf

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Posted 02 October 2003 - 05:27 PM

:wacko:  :unsure:  :wacko:

Um, I am not trying to pass myself of as the end all and be all on this issue.

Yeah I think that it's fun to analyze law (sue me) but I'm just offering one opinion and I'm certainly NOT suggesting that people have to follow what I say just because *I* say it.

Lil (a little sensitive to this kind of thing right now)
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