Wednesday, August 07, 2013

Sequester Guts Judicial System

The forced cuts in federal spending means federal public defenders must cut staff by as much as 50%, but the law demands far more expensive private attorneys must be hired to replace them.

"While these cuts have strained the system, the anticipated cuts for next year will be much worse. Because nearly 90 percent of a Federal Defender office’s budget is dedicated to pay salaries and rent, no amount of cost shifting can avoid the layoffs required in the face of the impending shortfall. As a result, federal defenders will be forced to continue laying off between 30 percent and 50 percent of their staff and closing branch offices as early as next month.

" If federal public defenders are not available, courts must pay private lawyers who cost more to do the job."

More details on the judicial impact here.

Monday, August 05, 2013

Drew Johnson's Self Destruction

It was no real surprise Chattanooga's Times-Free Press fired Drew Johnson.

More surprising was his hiring in the first place. As noted by Roy Exum's essay this weekend, Johnson's tendency to fabricate and self-promote was a liability on Day One:

"This week his ego and arrogance leapt from his Twitter account again when he wrote, “I just became the first person in the history of newspapers to be fired for writing a paper's most-read article." That is hardly the truth, no matter how much mileage he was able to squeeze from it. Drew Johnson was fired because he regularly and increasingly antagonized his employer. It is that simple.

To assume it was due to disrespect for the president or even a vulgar innuendo makes for good TV fodder but censorship and politics had nothing whatsoever to do with it – it was a case where Drew Johnson finally gathered enough of his own rope to hang himself. It had been coming for months, I am telling you."

Sunday, August 04, 2013

Southern Style Running of the Bulls

After a few months off, I'm easing back into writing about politics and cultural trends, and the notion of an Americanized "running of the bulls" seems appropriate.

In truth, New Orleans has hosted their own version for some years, though the "bulls" are members of an all-girl roller derby team who whack runners with wiffle bats.