Monthly Archives: October 2006

If……..

If the Democrats don’t win control of at least one chamber this election, I’m taking my English law license and packing up.

P.S. Where the hell was today’s John Kerry two years ago? Better question: where was today’s Al Gore six years ago? When are these fucks going to realize that you have to kick ass to win.

Rangers Get Blasted

So much for the “we’re gonna pick up some points on this road trip” theory. The Kings blasted them. Sean Avery—Sean fucking Avery–danced around the Ranger’s slot coverage like he was Mario freakin’ Lemieux scoring on Lundquist.

Is there any legitimate non-marketing reason why Jagr wears the C? He’s always whining about something. The latest is that he doesn’t have “confidence in his shot” so he’s passing. wtf?

So, what’s next on the Ranger Pravda propaganda wagon? After all, last year’s playoff appearance certainly earned them another seven years of laudatory coverage notwithstanding later results. Oh, I’ve got it. They will pick it up in the end of the season, because they play better from behind. (But we knew that already.)

Final Pre-Election Forecast

Democrats will gain control of the House of Representatives, gaining 20-30 seats in that chamber, primarily with gains in the Northeast and West, in particular Pennsylvania and New York. Some real stunning results may occur, such as a potential win in Idaho, Wyoming, or Kansas. This will create potential veto-overriding coalitions possible on tough regional issues or issues like stem cell research where there is no clear Republican position.

In the Senate, Democrats will pick up seats in Rhode Island, Pennsylvania, Ohio, Montana, and Virginia, resulting in a 50-50 (48-50-1-1) chamber narrowly controlled by the Republicans through Dick Cheney, giving the Democrats a constant talking point, and setting the chamber up for strong gains in 2008. It should be noted that the tough races in this campaign will strengthen downticket Democrats even though it looks like Harold Ford will be kkkept out of the Senate, and Claire McCaskill is losing steam as well. I do believe Liebermann will win in Connecticut, even though I think it will be a lot closer than the polls suggest (1 or 2 points) due to Lamont’s ground game and Schlesinger’s 11th hour heroics. Fortunately, if Liebermann does switch parties, it won’t change things much.

If the rumors are true that Harry Reid has offered to step aside to Hillary as minority leader, she would be wise to do so if the 50-50 split occurs, giving her 18% Cheney to use as her whipping boy, while ignoring the more photogenic Frist (who still has some chits to call in with the religious right) or his potentially nasty successor McConnell.

UPDATE: A recent poll shows a gain of 37 seats for a total of 240. I’m not that optimistic. I think especially in the South, the GOP’s ground game and institutional support will keep close races there from being lost.

Philadelphia Media Imploding Over Flyers' Stench

Look at this whining piece by Ed Moran. Moran’s basic thesis is that because the fans pay for tickets the players should play and win. And, oh, the horror of watching Snide Crosby score the hat in the F-U center (or whatever it’s called now).

You’d have to look at this in a totally different aspect if it were a Montreal writer writing in the mid 90s, coming off a dynastic high of 100 years, or even just a Detroit writer this year. At first glance, that have been a good analogy to what’s going on in Philly. The difference is, though, that the Flyers haven’t been good for years. They just fooled people into thinking they were. If hockey standings worked like the BCS, the Flyers would start the year ranked near the top every year because of all of the hype their latest free agent signing generated, but end in the middle because they don’t have the goaltending to close the deal.

Only now is the illusion finally caving in on them. And for stupid reasons. A 6,7, or 8 goal loss in the post-lockout NHL is not something that on its face means anything. Yet for some reason, that mattered in Philly. It was the image of it, not the reality that the team hasn’t been built to be anything other than a flashy showpiece for 20 years that caused the churn there.

But still, it’s sickening that these people can’t comprehend a losing season, especially since they have failed to win anything for years.

This kind of whining wouldn’t sound good to fans of most other teams in the league, who either are suffering or have in the recent past. Even the most consistent performers of late have had recent periods of joke-status, including New Jersey, Detroit, Dallas/Minnesota, and Colorado/Quebec. But apparently, no one in Philly has noticed that they’ve been a joke since at least the days of Lindros. Until now.

In some NHL cities, it’s not about stars, it’s about winning. In Philly, it’s about the appearance of, or the entitlement to, winning.

It's Time To Reform California

You might be surprised to learn just how difficult it can be to be a California Democrat. Our party seems to produce nothing but uncharismatic checklist pols who only seem to win due to institutional support or spoils, instead of any real popularity. We have some rising stars outside of the standard state officeholder ladder like Gavin Newsom and Antonio Villaraigosa (who for some reason makes me feel leery, but for no specific reason).

On the federal level, we have a pretty good stable of folks, but most of them aren’t interested in purely state matters at a state level.

As passionate and involved as I might feel with federal elections, within our state, I feel completely unmotivated. Just about every legislative district is safe for the incumbent party. As I noted, Democrats never produce a candidate for governor that I feel will move the ball, and our Proposition system has made it clear that the word “byzantine” will soon be an archaic use because “Californian” will be more modish.

It’s a weird landscape. Each election is basically a fight between a few big unions and the chamber of commerce. Social conservatives play almost no role. Environmentalism is superficially important, but doesn’t drive the agenda as much as people think. Real environmentalism, anyway. Excluding Arnold’s global warming bill, California is the champion of NIMBY exclusionism instead of progressive environmental policy. (Witness the myopic fight over wind power and birds — what habitat will the birds have if the climate is destroyed?)

While the unions and their employers squabble over their issues, very little is done for the average person. Making sustainable yet affordable housing available is virtually ignored. Sprawl and traffic congestion, the two horsemen of the California apocalypse, are derided but permitted.

And why not? If you can get elected to the legislature, you are safe until term limits move you to a different chamber, or to the executive branch. If a tough issue comes up, punt it to the initiative process.

Here’s what we need:

(1) Proportional representation in the lower house.
(2) No term limits
(3) No propositions, recalls, or referenda.
(4) No Lieutenant Governor

Janssens

Incredible. The man has singlehandedly been able to associate the name “Cam” with badass. In his most recent exploit he took out the head down and whiny D-Man Mike Van Ryn with a clean open ice check that disconnected Van Ryn from his stick and sent him scuttling to the hospital without retrieving it. Next he plastered the aging goon Gary Roberts (and got a bogus charging call after the fact). For an encore he turned Steve Matador into Tomato Face in a mutual fair fight. Janssens should have been the second or third star of the game.

Given his role, Janssens has been the Devils’ best player this season. Every game he makes at least one memorable hit. He has taken few penalties. If his line could begin to establish a bit more of a cycle and perhaps get a few ugly goals it would be a real boon because they would be on the ice more often.

Update: Another painful hit in last night’s 1-0 win.

Versus's Coverage Embarrasses Me

Mike Emrick is one of the better play by play announcers in the NHL. On regular Devils broadcasts, he plays the kindly, innocent Mr. Rogers to the Forrest Gumpish Chico Resch. On OLN/Versus, he’s had John Davidson (who along with Sam Rosen, perfected reverse-psychological homerism) and a few others, most recently John VanBiesbrouck, whose reputation appears to have been rehabilitated.

Emrick is well suited to the US audience because he’s good at asking questions of his sidekick that might be on the average viewer’s mind (but that you know he damn well knows the answer to) without sounding condescending. He even helps the room-temperature IQed Resch articulate the answers.

And this is the toll you pay for watching hockey in the US. You have to put up with pedantic explanations, especially on the national broadcasts. It’s almost as if Joe Buck and Tim McGarver (the Forrest Gump of baseball) spend a significant portion of their time explaining the difference between fair and foul balls, and what exactly a “fastball” was.

But the Versus coverage has gone one step further, and it’s embarrassing. Last night, during the Penguins/Devils game, there were clearly orders (for the sake of promoting the game) to make everything Sidney Crosby did–every whine, every bitch, every stupid, simian sounding utterance–and everything Evgeni Malkin did sound like Superman had laced up some skates. They didn’t even pucker up this hard for Gretzky.

My wife, who comes from US hockey royalty, the Christian family, understands the game but isn’t much of a fan anymore. She was pounding away on her laptop when Sergei Brylin scored on a pretty neat play. This followed a lame, routing shot by Evgeni Malkin that never would have scored, and was probably done just to get a face off. This heroic Malkinism earned several replays and excited VanBiesbrouck to the point that it made me wonder if he was auditioning for the role of the gorilla in a remake of 2001. So, Brylin scores, and they show one lame replay. No dancing around the monolith. I say, “What, Brylin wasn’t a high enough draft pick for you to praise his play?” All he has is three Stanley Cup rings, something neither Malkin or Crosby are likely to achieve in this climate. My wife laughed, and laughed hard.

If she noticed how hard they were fellating Malkin and Crosby, then so did everyone.

The marketing geeks at the NHL don’t get it. You don’t make every broadcast Ice Hockey 101. You make it cool to be in the know. You make it look like the in crowd knows what’s up. You make people want to be in that in crowd. It’s the same reason we aren’t told how many yards you need for a first down on Monday night, and we’re not told what an RBI is during the World Series. If you don’t know, you find out, because everyone knows that.

This is, more or less, the same mentality that brought us FoxTrax. How often do you really see the ball in baseball? After a while, you take in much more information that that. Same in hockey.

So, even while hockey’s ratings get worse, the arenas still do pretty good. It’s better live, and it’s only decent in HD. On regular TV, it’s tolerable if the camera man can get the white-point correct (something not all of them appear to know how to do). Also, at the arena, you don’t have Chode Bendanatti pretending to know where Red Deer, Alberta is.

Mirtle: A Contrarian View on the Flyers

James Mirtle mentions that many of us in analyzing the Flyers have missed their lack of scoring. Certainly that has been a problem of late, but I’m not sure why this exonerates Clarke, or Hitchcock especially. Hitchcock’s system and demands on the players have scared the poop out of some of the younger kids and certainly kept down goal scoring, but, purportedly with the net effect of decreasing goals against. That isn’t working, which means his system isn’t working. His fault.

As for Clarke, he has provided the Flyers with all the scoring bang a team could ask for over the years, and they have some players that are no slouches, to be sure. Just because they aren’t scoring this year or last year doesn’t mean they lack the depth, necessarily.

I don’t think there is much difference between scoring a goal and preventing one against you. There is some, but not much. The Flyers were unsuccessful at both, partly because their GM failed to stock them with good defenseman and elite goaltending, and their coach played a defensive system. It’s a bad recipe.

Mirtle is probably correct to the extent that he’s diagnosing the problem right now. But long term, the problems were deeper.

Coaching Deadpool 10/23

With the demise of Hitchcock, I’m going to restart the list.

(1) Tortorella. Personally, I think this team isn’t doing much worse than you’d expect with their situation in net, on the blue line, and with their supposed superstar forwards looking like flashes in the pan. But, once you give people a taste of winning, they don’t like to go back. Plus, Tortorella is a hothead.

(2) Trotz. I don’t have any specific information on this, but he’s way past the average tenure.

(3) Stevens. No, this isn’t a joke. Anyone who works for the Flyers should be on this list, but if Stevens doesn’t kick ass, someone else will be brought in.

Bonus picks: Gretzky (they do protest too much!) and Babcock.

Welcome SportsBlogs Readers

I’d like to welcome everyone reading this through SportsBlogs, on RSS or otherwise. This is blog is not limited to hockey, though a majority of our posts relate to that on here lately. We cover the New Jersey Devils and the Anaheim Ducks the most closely, but we also comment on American politics and world soccer from time to time, or whatever else comes up.

I know of at least one other blogger on SportsBlogs that also doubles as a quasi-political blog as well, but if any of you are offended, you can (a) ignore us, (b) write trollish comments, or (c) none of the above. If this breaks some rule of SportsBlog, then we will withdraw.

Life in the Big Tribe

The intersection of the Internet with socializing and entertainment is the democratization of representation. Previously, only the famous, rich, important political, and somehow notorious had an image that is meaningful to project. Now, anyone can present themselves via their myspace page, facebook, or other Internet creation to anonymous others anywhere.

This net culture has only ginned up a few minor “celebrities.” True notoriety isn’t the point. The net allows anyone to have what I call “Big Tribe” moments. The Big Tribe is the greater collection of humanity that recognizes you, but does not know you personally. Big Tribe actions are things that you do that these recognizable strangers will know you for. Myspace pictures of drunken reveling, perfect ski turns, and other experiential exclamation points are efforts to show the Big Tribe how fun and able one is.

In the future, more of life for most people will consist of grokking to the Big Tribe: selecting clothes and bumper stickers, blaring music with the car window down, posting film shorts, blog entries, clever nicknames….

Of course, the paramount Big Tribe moments are dating and sex. These are the things that people always talk about amongst their true friends. Going out with someone or saying something memorable at the bar is to be a player in another’s Big Tribe moment.

Look for the Big Tribe. You’ll see it everywhere. Hidden in plain panorama. You are participating.

Me and Brad.

Holy Repenting Neolibs, Batman!

Brad DeLong, one of the blogosphere’s founding fathers, is starting to rethink NAFTA. I started wondering about it years ago, but I, like Brad, in my not-important-in-the-world way, used to think it was a good idea.

If you read DeLong, he’s saying that after the fact, there existed some factors in Mexico that prevented the clean-room mechanics of market forces working as they did in the Neo-Liberal thought experiments. You see, so much of the neoliberal project was without empirical evidence. And those who suggested built-in protections for some of the more obvious factors not controlled for in these thought experiments were called whackos.

Generating more wealth for a country does not mean more wealth for each member of that society. You need protections to insure that the increased wealth doesn’t just go to some elite. Of course, to do that, all you need to do is put a minimum wage in the deal, like NAFTA. How Condi Rice “no one could have anticipated” can you get?

Is it too soon to remind folks that not everything Democrats have supported is right? Yes, it’s too soon. (=

Coaching Deadpool

(1) Ken Hitchcock – You heard it here first: the Flyers will fail to make the playoffs this year and finally pay the price for not just playing hockey that’s obsolete in 2005, but hockey that’s obsolete in 1980. Bob Clarke’s mule-like stubborness to adapt to the new world has put together a top heavy team with Sequoia-tree defenseman suited for 10 years ago, a goalie whose promise has already been destroyed by their system and another one who is on the way to being the next in a long string of young Flyer goalies to suffer that fate. Compound all of that with the locker room revolt captained by Robert Esche, and Hitchcock is on his way out.

(2) John Tortorella – Someone will have to take the blame for Tampa’s attempt to keep only the flashy stars from its Cup year and none of the men behind the scenes who really made it happen. The players don’t listen to this guy, who seriously looks like a Yuppie ass hole that should be living in Agrestic and played by Kevin Nealon.

Bonus picks: Just hunches, but the tea leaves aren’t looking great for Trotz, and if Wayne Gretzky weren’t his boss’s boss, you’d wonder wtf.

WWDD?

What will the Democrats do?

Via Kevin Drum, conservative Bruce Bartlett says not much. And “liberal” Harold Meyerson agrees.

There are a few actual errors in their points on the one hand, and the points are misleading on the other.

First, Republicans and Clinton were able to do quite a bit in the 90s when the Republicans had only a thin majoirty. Surely, Gingrich didn’t govern on his own, but his influence was unmistakable, even if it backfired more than it succeeded.

Second, the whole “do” thing implies affirmative, forward progress. The reason for the Democratic resurgence in the polls has less to do with their affirmative agenda, which hasn’t changed much in six years except for handling terrorism issues, and more with the failure of congress to serve as a check and balance.

So, it’s more about what the Dems won’t do or what they won’t allow or won’t allow to continue that what they will do.

Darcy Tucker

I knew there was a reason I hated him:

Amber: You’ve said that if you could meet one person, it would be President Bush. Why him?

Tucker: I would like to pick his brain. I think his political views are on the same line as my own. I think the wave of the future is someone who doesn’t back down to terrorism. When I saw those planes go into the buildings in New York that day, that was the turning point, not only in the United States, but throughout North America. So I really back what he is trying to do.

The Iraqi Holocaust

655,000 dead Iraqis since the US invasion? That’s two-thirds of a million, or, just a little under 200,000 per year. We’re probably going to be there until Bush is out, and the fallout is on us too. We, the US, could easily be liable for the deaths of over 1M people. Is that a significant enough fraction of the oft-cited 6M murdered by Hitler to count as a holocaust of our own?

Shame on us. Shame on us for all time.

UPDATE: I’m relieved. The President says he doesn’t accept those figures. I mean, the methodology is so bad, it could be like only 100,000 or so. Whew! What a relief, I mean that’s not a crime against humanity or anything. Nope.

Meta-science wars

In my former life as an academic, I studied and taught the philosophy of science. It was a seemingly useless pursuit, but it is suddenly topical in 2006.

There is a war going on about string theory, and it’s getting nasty.

Physicists are regarded as the high-priests of science. They deal with the kind of foundational issues that make even things like evolution and the Oedipus complex seem trivial and very, very earthly and material. And they have deserved this high regard. For several hundred years, they have had a constant stream of wondrous discovery. But now, in the last 25 years or so, things have dried up, and only the most technical of discoveries have been made.

In this period, string theory has minted more PhDs than anything else, and in the exclusive club of particle physics, it’s the only road to full professorship most places. But, its critics say in two recent powerful books, that it is not science at all, because it fails to produce and falsifiable predictions.

This is an allusion to the metascience of Karl Popper, who defined science thusly. Of course, science existed a long time before Popper. I think his definition is not useless, but not the last word. Consider for a second Fermat’s last theorem. This went unproven for hundreds of years. But at the same time, it was never falsified. In the meantime, you could have called it Fermat’s law. Epistemically, the failure to falsify Fermat’s theorem was not a proof. (To be fair, empirical matters are not subject to apriori affirmative proof this way–it’s just an illustration.)

In other words, science is not the set of those propositions that remained unfalsified, even if the test is possible. That universe of propositions is infinite, and much of it is tautological. Science exists on the edge of that universe, somewhere in the space of that universe. Given that these propositions, to the extent we encounter them, have some language component too.

Newton’s explanation of method remains, in my researches, the most subtle and effective in all of philosophy for creating knowledge that is epistemically reliable. Newton’s idea is that you build and test theories, and, once proven, you stick with them even in the face of countervailing evidence, until it can’t stand anymore.

So, by this method, adding epicycles to correct for the orbit of Mars in the Ptolemaic system is ok, but when the predictive power of that model completely falls apart, it’s time to move on. This is vastly oversimplified, but I think it’s enough to distinguish from Popper.

No one doubts the predictive power of quantum theory. It has been held together with very little tweaking for a long time. But, let’s face it. The standard model of quantum theory looks a lot like Ptolemy’s universe. The empirical constants that are required to make it work lack any explanatory value, and are almost epicycle like kludges. On top of that, we have to accept that these particles have certain essences and innate urges to do things, just like Aristotelian physics.

Ptolemy could tell you where Mars would be, but not why, at least not without invoking the supernatural. Quantum mechanics can tell you a lot, but it leaves you with “just is” a lot of the time.

String theory may not have produced any falsifiable propositions, but I don’t think it’s empty research. Even if it does end being a dead-end, a dead-end which might cause a rethinking of over 100 years of physics, that alone will provide value.

One empirical fact I might note as a former historian and philospher of science: scientists spend little time discussing method or meta-science when things are going well.

Kim Jong Il Saves Hastert

Without North Korea’s comic book sabre rattling, I’m pretty sure we’d be set for a short-tenured Speaker Boehner. Fortunately for Hastert, this is going to dominate the news because it’s the kind of thing that, well, matters, whereas NAMBLA action in Congress is the indulgence of a relatively stable world–stable in its current disasters at least. Iraq is still a mess, Afghanistan is still a mess, and New Orleans is entirely rebuilt, but…those things are just the same.

The only question is is if this happened soon enough to save the Rapepublicans from a serious disaster.

Devils

. . . look real good in Game 1. Sometimes you win 4-0 because the other team is having an off night, more than you having an on one. Not the case here. While Carolina had basically quit after the 4th goal, the Devils played with poise throughout.

Marketing the New NHL

So, it’s finally happened. This year none of Detroit, Colorado, Dallas, Rangers, or Philadelphia are serious Cup contenders. It’s probably a good thing then that ESPN is out of the picture, because those are the only teams they knew how to market.

The NHL is in popularity decline for many reasons, but among them is the atrophy of some of the franchises in popular hockey cities. The Blackhawks and Bruins suffer under two of the worst owners not on Long Island. When I lived in Chicago, the Blackhawks were almost a memory, not a current reality.

The NHL has spent the last 15 years expanding. Maybe now, with the finances back under control, it should consider attending to its base. Bring back at least two teams to Canada, and make efforts to reinvigorate former great hockey cities. The Rangers are the only team on that list that command a lead hockey market as well as a top media market. LA proved in the 80s that it too could be a great hockey city. Bringing hockey back into people’s minds in New York, Chicago, and LA would go a long way towards increasing popularity, but could also leverage the pop-culture appearances that fads in these cities tend to create.

Meanwhile, the Cup has been hanging out in strange places like North Carolina, Central Florida, and Dallas. Which are the 29th, 12th, and 7th largest media markets overall, but have yet to prove that people’s appetite for Friends parallels their appetite for hockey.

Game. Set. Match.

I’m calling it right now. The Foley scandal has the Conservatrons sunk. Democrats win back the House.

Even as events looked good in the summer I felt that the Conservatrons could win enough news cycles to create enough of a false choice to barely hang on to a House and Senate majority.

No more. They cannot concoct anything more interesting to turn the page, so to speak. It would not matter quite as much if the Gay Old Party were not flush with santimonious scolds. A creepy child molester is the exact bogeyman that the Conservatrons have been fnording against for decades. Having to go through the whole damage control song and dance over this one effortlessly reveals them to be the manipulative plutocrats that they are. Big Man Pig Men that mouth words about “morals” while sheilding a pervert.

Ha ha, charade you are!

I’ve long loathed the Republicans of the Conservative Ascent. The loathing was mixed with a healthy respect – sort of like how one feels about throat cancer. Now they are just absurdities.

As I’ve written before: it is the fate of all conservative movements to lapse into self-parody before they collapse.

GM Croc Tears Over Lou Magic

So, anonymous GMs are going on the record at TSN.ca lamenting the fact that the NHL let the Devils out of some cap problems? After waging a 5+ year slander campaign against the Devils due to their “trapping” play (including one year where they were the highest scoring team in the leage), and the recent anti-Brodeur rules, you have to wonder what on earth Lou did to the rest of hockey.

Obviously, the player agents hate him because he doesn’t take their shit, but the other GMs? They must simply be jealous. Just when it looked like ol’ Lou was fucked, he pulled it out again. If they ever catch Lou with underage pages equipment boys, the vultures will circle faster than they are over Dennis Hastert’s political grave right now. The problem is, despite everything, Lou has always acted with 100% integrity, loyalty, and skill. That’s why they hate him: he shows how it should be done, and they can’t or won’t do it.

So Bob Clarke and the rest of the no-talent GM crew can grouse all they want. They know damn well when the time comes, they’ll be looking for their own Lou-pe holes.

NHL Predictions

So, I can’t resist.

Without getting all analytical, here are my picks.

Final Four: Anaheim, San Jose, New Jersey, Buffalo

Playoffs:
Calgary, Edmonton, Vancouver, Anaheim, San Jose, Los Angeles, Detroit, Nashville.
New Jersey, New York Rangers, Montreal, Buffalo, Ottawa, Atlanta, Carolina, Tampa.

Coaching Deadpool:
If anything goes wrong: Wilson, Renney, Babcock. Probably already fucked: Tippett, Tortorella, Hitchcock.

Big Chummy Tradebait for this season:
Lecavalier, Modano, Gomez (always on the list!), Sundin.

Dark Horse Teams:
Atlanta, Los Angeles. (Nashville isn’t a darkhorse anymore.)

Anti-dark horse Teams (ie. overhyped):
Phoenix, Pittsburgh, Toronto, Carolina.

Biggest improvements:
Columbus, Atlanta

Biggest downturns:
Dallas, Colorado, Toronto, Ottawa, Edmonton, Tampa

"Direct Democracy"

The political philosophies of the ancients are dismissed with the same reflexive knee-jerk as their natural science theories are. The problem is, while they were not close to understanding the basic rules of physics, they had at least as much insight as we do into the basic rules of politics.

So when Aristotle reasoned that direct democracies degrade into oligarchies, no modern political theorist would take him seriously. And the people who wrote the California direct democracy rules certainly ignored it.

Yet we have this:

Our analysis of thousands of interviews from the PPIC Statewide Surveys shows that likely voters in California are disproportionately white (72 percent), U.S. born (88 percent), homeowners (77 percent), age 45 and older (62 percent) and college graduates (53 percent) with incomes of $60,000 or more (56 percent). By comparison, nonvoters are more likely to be young, renters, Latinos, immigrants and have less money and education.

The reality is that an “exclusive” electorate has taken root in California, a state where no racial or ethnic group constitutes a majority of the overall population. The gaps between voters and nonvoters in race, immigrant status, age and affluence are expected to persist — and perhaps even widen — in the decades to come.

California’s direct democracy has evolved into a WASP oligarchy. It’s time for at the very least a quorum requirement (a 50% turnout at least) on these coupled with some reform of the way the legislature is elected. Let them do their job.

Personally, I think this entire system should be done away with.