Sunday, November 20, 2011

Why Chancellor Katehi Must Resign - UPDATE

Linda P.B. Katehi, 2010
UC Davis Chancellor Linda Katehi is quoted as saying she takes "full responsibility for the incident" this past Friday where dozens of students were injured, requiring hospitalization in some cases, as a result of excessive force by the campus' private police force.

Either she knew what was going on or she didn't.  If she knew, that means she approved of the tactics.  Any school administrator that knowingly places her students in physical jeopardy has no business in a position of authority.  If she didn't know, that means she simply is not in control of her employees - men and women who wear a badge and uniform and police the campus under her jurisdiction.

In either case, she should resign.

Ms. Katehi vows to set up a task force to investigate what happened. We pretty much know what happened already - the recounts are numerous, consistent, and on video all over the Internet. Allowing the Chancellor to 'investigate' makes as much sense as asking Dick Cheney to investigate who authorized Scooter Libby to release the identity of a covert CIA agent.

Perhaps Katehi should take note of the law in California and rethink what she has condoned or at least sanctioned in ignorance:

However, the state of California does have a few rules and regulations regarding the use of pepper spray. It is absolutely legal to carry pepper spray and use it to protect your personal safety without having any special state or federal permits. CA laws do regulate the size and/or weight of the defense spray products you can carry and buy. The legal container size must be equal to or below 2.5 ounces of active product. There are many pepper spray items and models that comply with this state set standard.

The pepper spray carried, shipped, sold or used in California should also be labeled with a warning stating that the product is only intended for self-defense. In general, most state laws (California included) enforce that pepper spray should only be used in self defense situations where you fear your life or safety is in danger. Illegal use of pepper spray products (perhaps dispensing them out of anger or as non self defense violence against another person) can bring fines of $1000 and up and/or three years in prison.

California: Weight restricted to 2.5 ounces (about 70 grams).

Granted, the UC Davis paramilitary force may have obtained special permits, but given the restrictions on its normal commercial use, I seriously doubt what we witnessed (video) constitutes lawful use in California.

Prior to being sprayed three times over with a canister containing a lot more than 2.5 ounces of OC,
students sit with arms linked and heads bowed, never threatening the campus police.
If the victims of the pepper spraying go to court, they should revisit the precedent set by protesters who won their case against Northern California police, charging that the pepper spray applied directly to their eyes with a cotton swab did not meet the 'reasonable force under the circumstances' requirement.  I venture the same could definitely be said about the repeated, point-blank pepper spraying of students who were simply seated on the ground with arms linked.

UPDATE: According to, several of the students who were injured in the pepper-spray incident are planning to file lawsuits and have already been in contact with civil rights attorneys.  (h/t Zane1, comment at Politicalgates)

Monday, November 14, 2011

Is it Time for Champagne?

Champagne-Ardenne Pictures
This photo of Champagne-Ardenne is courtesy of TripAdvisor

Ever since I concluded who and what Sarah Palin is, somewhere around September-October 2008, I tried to make sure that I shared that information with anyone who might listen.  I became an avid consumer of the former half-term governor's public history and an anthropologist digging through her not-so-public life, blogging about what I discovered.  No Alaska paper or news outlet escaped being scoured, or quoted when relevant.  Many people across the US and the world explored the mystery and mystique of the "hottest governor of the coldest state." I absorbed what they had to say and learned all I could from them. Pro- and anti-Palin sites alike did not escape my scrutiny.  I came to know, with a certainty that grew daily, that the superficial second-place beauty queen should never, ever get elected to a national political office.

My computer's hard disk holds nearly a thousand images, hundreds of documents and stored Web pages, and several dozen video clips that record my passage through the Palin family's grifting trail out of Wasilla and back again. I have no intention of deleting any of it, at least not yet. But with Mrs. Todd Palin's announcement that she would not seek the Republican nomination for US President, and the abrupt media silence surrounding her subsequent travels and events, can we finally put her behind us? Is it over, is it time to break out the champagne?

You know those scenes at the end of scary movies, when the monster lays defeated? Just when you think you can celebrate, up rises a gnarled, bloody claw-like hand making a final attempt to claim one more victim. I keep looking over my shoulder, hardly willing to believe that it is truly and well over. Perhaps it's because the nasty and indisputable truth about her fake pregnancy has yet to be laid bare. As a woman and mother, this to me was her most egregious deception. I was and still am convinced that should this hoax be exposed, she would never again have a shot at any office of power in government.  Finis. The end.

I would like to uncork a bottle of bubbly and share the spirit with all of you—I'm just afraid of calling it too soon.  Besides, it would feel better to toast her going out with a bang rather than a whimper.