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August 30, 2008

The Democrats trying to clear the streets of the homeless for their convention got a fair amount of ink.  The Republicans are using their corporate influence to deny billboard space to photography by Suzanne Opton, whose pictures have appeared on billboards in Syracuse and this week in Denver.

While this is going on, Hurricane Gusav has been raised to category 4 and is scheduled to hit New Orleans on Monday, the first day of the Republican convention.  No doubt the impact will be felt in Minnesota.  Compare McCain’s readiness to delay the convention with the Bush administration’s response to identical news three years ago.

On second thought, the two responses do bear quite a bit of similarity.  McCain calls the coming storm a “near tragedy,” apparently anticipating nearly the worst.  He says that he is praying for himself, as this “near tragedy” could spoil his party.

We though know that he is made of stronger stuff.  He did not let the New Orleans disaster spoil his birthday party three years ago, why should he let this spoil and even more important party?  If Bush brings cake again for his speech on Monday it will be just like old times.

Three years ago we read that Pat Robertson and his ilk thought that Katrina was God’s vengeance on New Orleans.  I wonder what he thinks God is saying this time?


“The Bounce” is a Sign of Transient Impression, not Support

August 30, 2008

Gallup polls report that, after the Democratic convention and the Republican announcement of McCain’s v.p. choice, there has been and 8% bounce in Obama’s popularity among voters.  This is fun to speculate about but it is an unimportant matter, as 67% of the time the biggest “bounces” lead to defeat, according to Gallup.


Alaska Scratches its Head: “Really?”

August 30, 2008

Here’s a discussion of the selection of Palin in the Anchorage Daily News with interviews from both sides of the aisle. Here’s commentary from Fairbanks’ Daily News-Miner, which celebrates the recognition and harshly questions McCain’s judgment.

Here’s a funny blog by an Alaskan.

I’m looking for Alaskan praise of Palin as a vice presidential candidate. Can anyone point me to it?  There doesn’t seem to be much on this exhaustive compilation.

The best analysis I’ve seen of this pick is at Politico.


Wife’s Liability for Husband’s Sex Crimes

August 30, 2008

Should a wife be liable to a child for sexual abuse suffered at the hands of the husband? The Washington Court of Appeals just handed down a fascinating case which discusses a spouse’s liability under Washington law for the tortious conduct of the other spouse. The rule is that the wife’s separate property is immune but community property is vulnerable if the wrongful conduct

“either (1) results or is intended to result in a benefit to the community or (2) is committed in the prosecution of the business of the community.”

In this case the fact that the boy did lawn work for the couple before the assaults was critical to finding community liability. The standard is awfully vague, which makes liability something that can often be argued.

But what if the community was in no way involved? The husband just went off on his own and sexually abused someone (or committed some other tort) far from home? The victim could go after the husband’s separate property but typically there is none. Most couples own community property without much separate property. Is the victim left empty handed? The rule is Washington is that, if there is no separate property, then the victim can get half the community property.

What if the wife files for divorce and enters into a property agreement that gives her the property? This will not work unless the division between the husband and wife is deemed fair.

This is certainly a messy area of law but I agree with the notion, particularly with respect to sexual predators, that there is some duty on the part of the wife, or non-offending spouse, to share some of the financial responsibility, rather than depriving the victim entirely.

This is a very tough call as both the non-offending spouse and the victim are innocent in a very important sense and both suffer mightily in the situation. All things being equal my scales tip a little more toward the victim.