A Fool in the Forest

A fool, a fool! I met a fool i' the forest,
A motley fool; a miserable world!
As I do live by food, I met a fool
Who laid him down and bask'd him in the sun,
And rail'd on Lady Fortune in good terms,
In good set terms and yet a motley fool.

As You Like It, Act II, Scene 7

L'homme y passe à travers des forêts de symboles
Qui l'observent avec des regards familiers.

Les Fleurs du Mal, “Correspondances”

Saturday, August 23, 2003
A Peripatetic Fool

There will be no fresh posting here until Wednesday. I am getting away with my indispensable other to celebrate, a week early, our wedding anniversary. The coming Labor Day weekend will also mark the 2-monthiversary of this blog.

If you have been reading here regularly, you have my thanks. Whether you are a regular frequenter of this site or have just stumbled on it for the first time, there may be items in the archives that you have missed and that you might find worthwhile. For example:

♣ The first post of any substance here mainly served as an excuse to quote Paul Bowles, who in 1955 was aptly describing a frame of mind that still dominates the news from Cradle of Civilization.

♣ Education has been a recurring theme, as you can see here and here.

♣ Musical subjects have included PJ Harvey, the Sex Pistols, and several involving Bob Dylan.

♣ Subjects on which I have been a bit longwinded have included children's books, animation and, as also evidenced immediately below, poetry.

There is plenty more in the archives. And if you are inclined to an interest in legal topics, you might view my other blog, Declarations and Exclusions, where I have recently been discussing the delicate subject of The Pros and Cons of Insulting Judges.

And so, until Wednesday . . . .
On Jack Gilbert and The Great Fires

Fair warning: not only will this be one of my Lengthy posts, it will be on the subject of poetry.

Now that I have cleared the room, we can begin.

Back in the mid-1990's NPR’s All Things Considered (I think it was) had a poetry correspondent, whose name I no longer recall, who would turn up once a week to discuss a new volume of contemporary poetry. Because this was radio, it was necessary to read aloud excerpts from the collection in question on the air, so the poetry could actually be appreciated in its most potentially effective form.

It was through one such report that I first became aware of The Great Fires by Jack Gilbert. I tracked down a copy (unlike most poetry, it has remained in print) and it has been ever since on the short list of books to which I return on at least an annual basis.

In those long ago days when serious poetry coverage was something that was done even by a mass market outlet such as Esquire magazine, Jack Gilbert was a Name Poet at least briefly, but he has preferred (or been obliged, I can’t be sure) to keep a low public profile. He won the Yale Younger Poets prize in 1962 for his first collection, Views of Jeopardy and was nominated for the Pulitzer that year. In the intervening four decades, he has published only two other collections, Monolithos (1982) and The Great Fires (1995). He has spent a good deal of time overseas, particularly in Japan and on one or more remote Greek islands. His wife, Michiko Nogami, died of cancer in 1982; her dying, his grief and the love out of which that grief springs are the most consistent threads running through The Great Fires, which also alludes among many other things to Gilbert’s youth in Pittsburgh, to long periods of solitude (mostly on that Greek island), and to a passionate love affair at an unspecified time in Denmark. The poems collected here were written from 1982 to 1992. Each seems to interlace or bind with others in the book such that the collection as a collection has an impressive structural integrity and cumulative strength. Being in danger of telling you only how I am affected by these poems, I need to try to explain how they work and why I feel so strongly about them.

Strict meter and rhyme have virtually no place in Gilbert’s methods. Nor is this purely “free” verse, as each poem tends to be consistent in line length on the page and in the ear. Only two poems in the book are divided into stanzas, and only a handful run longer than a page. There is little in the way of showy vocabulary: most of the poems have the feeling of having been turned and adjusted by careful degrees to their sparest elements, using the most direct words that will serve Gilbert’s purposes. In the poem “Ruins and Wabi,” he begins with a contrast between the harshness of the life and the beauty of the photographs that came out of the Storyville district of New Orleans, before shifting to a consideration of the essential, describing as he does so much of what strikes me as best in his poetry.
* * * It takes a long time to get
the ruins right. The Japanese think it strange we paint
our old wooden houses when it takes so long to find
the wabi in them. They prefer the bonsai tree after
the valiant blossoming is over, the leaves fallen. When
bareness reveals a merit born in the vegetable struggling.
That reduction to essence is a recurring theme, and there are repeated considerations, and embraces, of what remains when one has been winnowed down by time, by tragedy and by the other business of living. In “Dante Dances,” Gilbert offers vignettes of the poet’s love for Beatrice -- a subject that has a strong emblematic place in my own view of the world, so perhaps I am biased toward this poem -- each described in terms of a dance. In the concluding stanza, Beatrice is long dead, Dante is old, with his great work behind him.
We see Dante as an old man. He is a dancer who can
manage only the simple steps of the beginning.
He dances the romance lost, the love that never was,
and the great love missed because of dreaming.
First position, entrechat, and the smallest jumps.
The passionate quiet. The quieter and strongest.
The special sorrow of a happy, imperfect heart
that finally knows well how to dance. But does not.
That image of dancing without movement recurs in the conclusion of “To See If Something Comes Next,” which begins with the silence and the “dry smell/ of heavy sunlight on the stone everywhere” on that Greek island and “he” -- apparently Gilbert (these poems come with none of the coy denials that, for instance, John Berryman attached to his Deam Songs) -- seemingly wondering whether the stillness and isolation mean he will not produce any more poetry. Then,
Maybe, he thinks, it is like the Noh: whenever
the script says dances, whatever the actor does next
is a dance. If he stands still, he is dancing.
Much of Gilbert’s poetry works in straightforward ways, with their effects being dependent on the care with which he has positioned a phrase or chosen an image. In “Finding Something,” for example, he sits outside the house in which Michiko is dying, listening in case she needs him and anticipating the next time he must help her to the chamber pot.
She will lean against my leg as she sits
so as not to fall over in her weakness.
How strange and fine to get so near to it.
The arches of her feet are like voices
of children calling in the grove of lemon trees,
where my heart is as helpless as crushed birds.
[There was a quotation from an essay by Auden (“The Vision of Eros”) that I was going to insert here, as being a good assessment of Gilbert’s approach to love, but the book containing it has gone temporarily missing; perhaps another time.]

I would not want to give the impression that Gilbert’s poetry is consistently downbeat or that it is in any way "depressing." In fact, a small number of these poems (though not the strongest in the collection) seem to have been intended to raise a chuckle, or at least a wry grin. The portentously titled “Prospero Dreams of Daniel Arnaut Inventing love in the Twelfth Century,” for example, gives an almost rube-goldbergian history of the origins of perfume in the course of its nine lines, involving deer, flutes and helicopters [in the 12th Century?]; “Lovers” is made up almost entirely of a joke involving peasant women, a man in need of the loo, and architecture; and "The Lives of Famous Men" finds Gilbert on his Greek isle reminding himself that he must cook the mackerel that night because if he does not "it will kill me tomorrow/ in the vegetable stew. Which is twice/ wasteful." As a group, though, the poems of The Great Fires are full of the tragic sense that life is short, that everything ultimately goes wrong, but that the living of that life -- and perhaps the making of art, on which Gilbert is not often explicit -- makes all the difference, as in the concluding lines of “Tearing it Down:”.
* * * Love is not
enough. We die and are put into the earth forever.
We should insist while there is still time. We must
eat through the wildness of her sweet body already
in our bed to reach the body within that body.
I conclude with my favorite Jack Gilbert poem, “The Forgotten Dialect of the Heart”, a meditation on language in which virtually all of the ideas are right on the surface. It is not a “difficult” poem, but it and the other strong poems in this volume are no less admirable, in my view, for their directness. You should read this book, you really should, early and often.

How astonishing it is that language can almost mean,
and frightening that it does not quite. Love, we say,
God, we say, Rome and Michiko, we write, and the words
get it all wrong. We say bread and it means according
to which nation. French has no word for home,
and we have no word for strict pleasure. A people
in northern India is dying out because their ancient
tongue has no words for endearment. I dream of lost
vocabularies that might express some of what
we no longer can. Maybe the Etruscan texts would
finally explain why the couples on their tombs
are smiling. And maybe not. When the thousands
of mysterious Sumerian tablets were translated,
they seemed to be business records. But what if they
are poems or psalms? My joy is the same as twelve
Ethiopian goats standing silent in the morning light.
O Lord, thou art slabs of salt and ingots of copper,
as grand as ripe barley lithe under the wind's labor.
Her breasts are six white oxen loaded with bolts
of long-fibered Egyptian cotton. My love is a hundred
pitchers of honey. Shiploads of thuya are what
my body wants to say to your body. Giraffes are this
desire in the dark. Perhaps the spiral Minoan script
is not language but a map. What we feel most has
no name but amber, archers, cinnamon, horses, and birds.

Friday, August 22, 2003
Two Landmarks Named Bradbury

Hit & Run wishes a Happy 83rd Birthday to Ray Bradbury. The ironies inherent in the sub rosa censorship of Bradbury's own anti-censorship novel, Farenheit 451, are duly noted, as they are in Diane Ravitch's The Language Police. (Now I've twice broken my resolution not to blog that book.)

This birthday is excuse enough for me to offer a pair of gratuitous links to that unrelated, but coincidentally named, Los Angeles icon, the Bradbury Building.
A Congratulatory Note/A Judicial Reminiscence

Via Howard Bashman's How Appealing I learn that Sasha Volokh of The Volokh Conspiracy has accepted a clerkship for next summer with the Honorable Alex Kozinski of the 9th Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals (located within easy reach of my law offices here in Pasadena).

I am a great fan of Judge Kozinski, as much for his witty and pointed writing style as for the intelligence he brings to bear. I have only appeared before him once, arguing an insurance coverage dispute about ten years ago. I have never worked so hard in a courtroom as I did in fielding Judge Kozinski's questioning that day -- and he was inclining to favor my position. Not a judicial mind to be trifled with.

Congratulations, Sasha.
Thursday, August 21, 2003
Artificial Paradise

Friedrich Blowhard dives in deep on the subject of Disney Dads, and works his way around to a smart take on several of the things that are so good about Disney's Lilo & Stitch (not the least of which is the clouds).

If you missed it before, you might want to cross-refer to my own Longish Post About Animation from earlier in the month.
On the Balls of Their Feet

This Fool is not any sort of devout football fan, but I am definitely partial to Gregg Easterbrook's Tuesday Morning Quarterback ("TMQ"), now in process of resuming its weekly broadcast at ESPN.com.

[Insert gratuitous dig at Microsoft here: The decision by the brainy lads in Redmond to let Easterbrook migrate his column away from Slate after the 2001-2002 season is second in folly only to their seeming refusal to get Mickey Kaus some permalinks. But I digress.]

I will leave it to those more knowledgeable than I to tell you whether Easterbrook has any idea what he is talking about when it comes to the ol' pigskin. I keep reading him -- scrolling steadily through each week's seemingly endless entry -- for the incidentals having nothing to do with football with which he so liberally sprinkles his commentary.

This week's highlights include this opening tribute to our Neighbors to the North:
"It's about time Canada became America's universal scapegoat, as the United States is already and has been for decades the scapegoat for anything Canada doesn't like.

Canada is a threat to all we hold dear. Consider that millions of Americans cannot subscribe to NFL Sunday Ticket -- the product TMQ desires more than anything in life -- because they cannot or do not get the satellite signal of the Rupert Murdoch-owned DirecTV, which holds a monopoly over Sunday Ticket. Yet in Canada, anyone may subscribe to NFL Sunday Ticket over cable. That's right, Canadians have much better access to the viewing of NFL games than Americans do.

Plus in Canada, marijuana is close to legal. Same-gender marriage is recognized. So all these gay married Canadians are sitting around smoking pot and watching NFL Sunday Ticket -- enjoying total access to games made possible by the tax dollars of Americans! -- while in the United States, you can only drink beer, marry someone of the opposite sex and watch whatever awful woofer game your local network affiliate has chosen for you.

How long are Americans going to stand for this? If I were you, Canada, I'd drop the smug routine. The Army has to come home from Iraq someday, and it's going to be looking for something to do.
Elsewhere, we learn of the dangers of changing your team colors from "the single most successful color scheme in world history" to "a color that appears to be Nineteenth Century Rusting Russian Dreadnaught Aft Bulkhead Cyanic;" the benefits of low level radiation; an apparent gap Harvard's "Particle Physics for Athletes" curriculum; digitally pasted lingual units; the benefits of annuities to reality show contestants and lottery winners; still more on Canada; and foxes of various descriptions. Also, praise for Canadian cheerpersons, which caught the attention of the redoubtable Colby Cosh (who identifies a gap in the Brookings Institution's "Introduction to the Names of Indigenous Peoples for Sportswriters" curriculum).
Wednesday, August 20, 2003
Your Mother Would Know . . . About the Language Police

I am in the middle of finally reading The Language Police by Diane Ravitch, all about the absurd lengths to which school texts now go to avoid anything that might ripple the consciousness of even the most easily offended. I was not planning to blog about it, because it has been done to death elsewhere. Most of the favorable write-ups I have seen (have there been any other kind?) seem to emanate from sources at least somewhat associated with the right hand, or at least libertarian, side of the aisle. But if you want to satisfy yourself that Ravitch's critique is an even-handed one, you can examine this favorable notice in, of all places, Mother Jones:
The Language Police is a fascinating and often infuriating account of the utter incoherence that the principle of fairness creates in American education. Ravitch's book is also a penetrating study of the strange symbiosis of extremist politics on both ends of the spectrum. The left, for instance, wants to ensure proportional representation of minorities in textbooks and guarantee a non-Eurocentric narrative of American history. The right, meanwhile, wants to expunge any mention of evolution, while implanting in the student's mind respectful notions of church and family. Both sides have worked to remove Huckleberry Finn and a long list of other books from school reading lists.
(Link via Arts & Letters Daily.)
The Futurist-Fool Mutual Admiration Society

My longtime chum Rick at Futurballa Blog is always kindly tossing links my way, so it's time again to return the favor. Read him here for a discussion on the relative merits of Nick Nolte, Spencer Tracy and Tom Hanks, with an Anglophilic take on scenery chewing.

Or, if you feel like something a little more down to earth, you can read this post on the challenges of throwing things away. Checking his link Cosmos at Technorati, I discover that Rick drew a link to that particular post from Snooze Button Dreams, in which he (Rick) is compared favorably to blogospheric demigod James Lileks. If their politics were a bit better aligned, that sort of thing might go to Rick's head. Click through and encourage him whilst I stew in my envious juices.
ANWR Were You When the Lights Went Out?

The New York Times, fresh from the Big Blackout, looks back to early 2001 to remind us of the Ambitious Bush Plan Undone by Energy Politics:
President Bush stood at a gasoline station near his ranch in Texas today and said he had been calling for an energy bill to modernize the nation's electricity grid 'for a long time.'

Mr. Bush is quite right. A comprehensive energy policy was part of his platform as a candidate for president and seemed prescient from his very first week in office, when he was forced to ensure there was enough power in California to ease the state's rolling blackouts. By May 2001, largely because of the California crisis, Mr. Bush had released his energy plan.

But the president's ambitious policy quickly became a casualty of energy politics and, notably, harsh criticism from Democrats enraged by the way the White House had created the plan. Although the policy included recommendations to improve the nation's electric grid that everyone agreed on, they were lost in the shouting and have been dormant in Congress for the past two years.
The culprits? Two key Democratic constituencies: environmental activists opposed above all to Arctic drilling -- as well as, to be fair, their Republican opponents who dug in their own heels on the ANWR proposal -- and those who insist that form always trumps substance and that an idea is only as good or bad as the Process by which it was arrived at:
The issue was considered so important that Vice President Dick Cheney was put in charge of a task force to draft the plan.

Four months later, the task force produced the National Energy Policy Report, which in large part mirrored Mr. Bush's energy plan when he was a candidate.

Although one of the driving forces for the report was by then gone — California's blackouts had eased — Chapter 7 called for improvements to the nation's power grid, and specifically recommended federal standards for electricity reliability on the nation's utilities. But as before, most of the attention was focused on the criticism over Mr. Bush's call for new drilling.

Democrats also criticized the methods of the task force itself. In a move that is still being fought in court today, Mr. Cheney, a former chief executive of Halliburton Inc., an oil services company, consulted privately as the task force went about its work with people from his old industry. One of them was Kenneth L. Lay, chairman of Enron.

Democrats and environmentalists vigorously attacked the meetings as evidence that the administration was relying too heavily on advice from people in the energy industry. And although administration officials just as vigorously responded that the task force did not give in to the wish lists of the industry, they also acknowledged that the criticism had a political impact and turned the energy debate into one about the methods of the task force, not its findings.
(Emphasis added. Link via ABCNEWS' The Note.)

There is more, with plenty of evenhanded analysis to make it worth your while, if you have the energy for it.
Tuesday, August 19, 2003
A Flight of Fine Judicial Writing

I have no particular comment on this case, which falls somewhat outside my field, for purposes of my legal blog. I could not, however, deprive my readers of the fine opening paragraph from the opinion of the California Court of Appeal issued today in the case of Lee v. Yang, in which the court summarizes the parties' interpersonal dramas and washes its hands of the lot of them:
While the legal issues in this case are all about the money, the heart of the matter is a romantic relationship and engagement turned sour upon the prospective bride’s discovery of her betrothed’s prior undisclosed homosexual liaisons. With that the parties’ mutual trust and expectations for a life together came to an end. Promises had been made, funds had been commingled, a residence had been purchased and the bride-to-be had left her lucrative Hong Kong job and relocated to San Francisco. Both parties sued after the wedding was cancelled. Many issues were decided on summary judgment. Cutting through the evasive, self-serving testimony that followed in the court trial, the court concentrated on documentary evidence. In the end, neither party prevailed on their claims for damages, although plaintiff and appellant Holden H. Lee was awarded the diamond engagement ring. We affirm the judgment in its entirety.

Haspel on "Bean"

I have complained (feebly) in the past of the number of hits to this site generated by the combinations of search engines and poor spelling. Now, Aaron Haspel has succumbed to the temptation to write about a certain popular young athlete who has been the subject of those scriveners' errors. Aaron draws a comparison between contemporary athletics and a bygone, imperial era that I enjoyed too much not to share. I have expurgated his subject's name, lest you should think I am just looking for more hits:
I have avoided writing about K--- B----- until now, and promise to do so forevermore, because I find it hard to understand how anyone, except a deeply interested party like a Laker fan, could possibly have a dog in this fight. In one corner is the superstar modern athlete, the closest thing one finds today to a Roman Emperor, except without the responsibilities or risk of assassination. Tens of thousands cheer him at mass rallies. Children adorn their clothing with his name. (Hey, where's my 'CALIGULA 44' Starter jersey?) Like Nero, he foists his art on an unsuspecting and indifferent public. He devotes his leisure to sexual excesses at which Tiberius would have blushed.

The superstar athlete has been surrounded since early adolescence with sycophants, handlers, agents, and coaches, all imparting the single message that, so long as he performs on the field, everything else will be taken care of. K--- was playing in the NBA at an age when most of us are staggering home, retching, from our first kegger. As with the emperors, being protected from all of the consequences of one's decisions is a bad character factory, turning ordinary people into brutes and marginal ones into criminals. A creditable federal cell block could be assembled from the early-90s Dallas Cowboys or the current Portland Trailblazers.
(Italics in original.) Thus endeth the fair use excerpt. Those who are wise will go forth and read the remainder.
Mass Transit: Gloria Mundi?

Meetings in downtown Los Angeles today gave me the opportunity to ride the new Metro Gold Line light rail link from Pasadena. Altogether my initial review would be positive. herewith, some incidental intelligence and snap judgments:

1. The fresh new rail cars feature seats upholstered in a plush fabric with a festive "streamers and confetti" pattern resembling nothing so much as the casino carpeting at Bally's Las Vegas. Definitely more appealing than the drab scarlet upholstery on the older Metro lines.

2. Ridership levels appeared to be high, even at midday. Some of that is no doubt attributable to the line being only three weeks old, with the appeal of all things new. But the level of enthusiasm suggested the line should be able to maintain those levels in to the future. Despite the high passenger count, the trains were running within 2 minutes of their officially posted schedule.

3. Another way in which Las Vegas can be invoked: The L.A. Metro lines run on something of an honor system or an "are you feeling lucky" basis. While you are obliged to buy a ticket, you do not have to deposit a token or run a card through an electronic reader (a la San Francisco's BART system or the D.C. subway) in order to step on to the platform or board a train. Passengers are checked randomly for proof of picket purchase, with hefty fines imposed for those caught free-riding. (No doubt, there are L.A. citizens who pride themselves on having ridden repeatedly at no cost to themselves.) I have ridden the system here and there sporadically for several years, and today was the first time I actually witnessed Fare Checkers checking fares. It made me wonder just how much fare income actually evaporates when no one is looking.

4. No more than two ticket dispensers appear to have been installed at each station. This proved problematic on my return from the Union Station terminus. Because the system is still new, there were extra long waits as both of the available machines were tied up by people trying to fathom how they worked. Extra machines at each end of the line -- or perhaps helpful staffers -- would have alleviated this pinch point (which caused several patient passengers farther back in line to miss a departing train they would otherwise have caught).

Overall, a promising system to the extent that you want to go where it goes (as I did today).
Make Up!

Arnold Schwarzenegger's official campaign Web site is minimal at best just now: opportunities to contribute or volunteer, a link to Arnold's "get thee behind me, Warren" statement on Proposition 13, and little else. The great mystery posed by the site though, is this: How could the candidate and his staff possibly have selected such a dreadful photo of Maria Shriver? It makes her look like one of the aliens from Close Encounters, for heaven's sake. Let's launch a bipartisan effort to clear that up, shall we?
Monday, August 18, 2003
Monday Miscellany -- A Good Book and a Powerful Bibliotechnocrat

Thanks to Henry at Crooked Timber, and particularly to his post on the subject of Philosophical Romances, I was led to, and have just finished reading, The Arabian Nightmare by Robert Irwin. The book is ostensibly the tale of Balian, an Englishman who arrives in 15th century Cairo while on pilgrimage to Mount Sinai, only to become involved with an alchemist, assorted denizens of the streets, a storyteller who may or may not be composing the Thousand Nights and a Night, an order of leper-knights, and the sinister Father of Cats, an expert in the ailments of sleepers. Needless to say, his efforts to leave Cairo are unavailing. Tales unwind within tales, the border between dream and reality becomes invisible, illusory or meaningless, logic and proportion fall slowly dead, and the reader is both entertained and bewildered. Comparisons with Borges are a dime a dozen, but The Arabian Nightmare is more deserving of them than most, and will be just your cup of tea if that is the sort of tea you like to drink.

The copy of the book that I read came from my local library, which is all the excuse I need to refer you to the new indispensable accessory for booklovers, the Librarian Action Figure. (Initial link via ArtsJournal, but since the Baltimore Sun story to which they linked had no photo attached, I undertook my own supplemental research.)

5 Easy Fixes, or, What If They Gave a Recall and Everybody Came?

Via Howard Bashman's appellate blog, How Appealing (which must be a regular stop for every attorney in the blogosphere), comes a link to an article published today by Election Law guru, Loyola Law School Professor Rick Hasen, offering five practical suggestions on how to improve future recalls in California. Professor Hasen strikes a good balance between encouraging the electorate to exercise its voice at the ballot box and having a process that is more sane and credible than the imperfect version through which we are going now.
The House of Escher

From the funhouse miscellanium that is American Digest comes a report on reproducing the illusory visual work of M.C. Escher, in Lego. You can click through to find out How They Did It -- point of view is everything on this project -- which in turn may lead you eventually to the jam-packed M.C.Escher Official Web Site (which includes downloadable video from a motion simulator ride traveling through some of Escher's best known works.) Oooh, my head.
Putting Out Fires With Gasoline

Quite apart from whatever view you hold of the Supreme Court’s actions in the 2000 Florida vote count dispute, there is really only one reason that Al Gore is not President of the United States right now: the fact that we elect presidents through the Electoral College, rather than directly. (No one disputes that, nationwide, Gore drew more individual votes than did President Bush; the precise numbers in Florida would have made no difference but for Florida’s electors being the deciding group in the College.)

At the time, there was some grumbling (which never gathered much momentum toward an actual constitutional change) that this indirect election procedure ran counter to the American Way, which is to make “every vote count” and to have direct election by the voters to as many public offices as possible. Elections are Good (a proposition with which I agree), so more elections ought to be better, right?

Not so, at least if you are Cruz Bustamante, the presumed Democratic candidate to replace Gray Davis as Governor of California in the event he is recalled. Lt. Gov. Bustamante has been getting in the habit of making incendiary statements in which the very idea of Californians acting by direct democracy to alter the status quo in Sacramento is to be regarded as a horror. Back on July 25, when he was one of innumerable Democratic officials assuring the voters that they would never dream of actually running to replace Davis, Bustamante launched this flight of rhetoric:
'Where does it stop?' he said. 'I think we have enough elections....'
(Emphasis added.) The idea that there might be such a thing as “enough” elections if the citizens of California choose to have more -- which they have done using a procedure established long before any current officeholder had ever been heard of -- seems seriously undemocratic [with a small “d”].

Not content to groan about the current recall, Bustamante apparently would also like to see to it that there will never be another. The local news here in Los Angeles last night ran this bite, from Bustamante’s appearance earlier in the day on Meet the Press, over and over and over:
'People are already talking about recalling the NEXT governor. When does this stop?'
Quite apart from that strange and unsubstantiated accusation -- can anyone actually cite us to someone who wants to recall the as-yet unidentified “next Governor”? -- this is another sign of Bustamante’s distaste for letting voters have their say, at least if it threatens the comfortable position of those in Sacramento.

The Lieutenant Governor seems to be in the running for the title of “Most Suspicious/Paranoid Major Candidate” as well: in addition to his expressed distrust of the voters, he leveled accusations in the same interview at certain unidentified “minions” of Gray Davis who stand accused of “working to undercut” Bustamante’s efforts. If he wants to succeed in keeping Governor Davis in office, or in being selected as the next Governor, wethinks Bustamante needs to change his tone, and soon.