Tag Archives: Budget Cuts

Jeffrey Epstein Shows That Conspiracies Just Aren’t What They Used To Be

Whether you believe them in or not, government conspiracy theories involving fiendishly diabolical plots by brilliant evildoers just aren’t what they used to be. Consider, for example, the convenient death of Jeffrey Epstein. It was almost like they weren’t even trying.

LOS ANGELES TIMES CARTOON: CaliCourts.com

CaliCourt.com

Equal justice under the law. That’s the promise American courts make to plaintiffs and defendants alike. But year after year of budget austerity has forced California’s court system to slash its services so deeply that it has made a mockery of that sacred pledge.

Maura Dolan reports that “recession-driven cutbacks in California’s huge court system have produced long lines and short tempers at courthouses throughout the state. Civil cases are facing growing delays in getting to trial, and court closures have forced residents in some counties to drive several hours for an appearance.”

Backups in the courts are affecting Californians’ love lives: “Clerks in Contra Costa County said they have received complaints from people who divorced and wanted to remarry but couldn’t because clerks had not yet processed the paperwork for judges’ signatures.”

Every cloud has a silver lining. Because so many courthouses have closed, some Californians are automatically getting exempted from jury duty: “In San Bernardino County, the Superior Court has stopped summoning jurors from Needles, making the guarantee of a jury of one’s peers elusive. Because of court closures in the High Desert, a trip to court from Needles can take some residents 3-1/2 hours.”

But it’s still a damned dark cloud.

“We are really on the borderline of a constitutional crisis,” Marsha Slough, San Bernardino County’s presiding judge says. “We have victims who want to give up because they don’t want to testify in criminal trials because of the driving distances and costs.”

Whether you’re fighting a traffic ticket, fending off a neighbor over a property dispute or waiting for a divorce, everyone winds up in court sooner rather than later. And contrary to what conservatives keep saying, starving government institutions of cash doesn’t make them leaner and meaner — it makes them broken and, well, mean, but not in a good way (viz, court employees report that fistfights among frustrated citizens waiting in long lines are a common occurrence…and the extra assaults just cause even more backups in the courts!).

We need a better way. Not a bigger budget — that would solve the problem and reduce unemployment.

No, what we need is to automate the court system! There are, after all, algorithm-based lie detectors that determine whether you’re telling the truth by analyzing a scan of your face. Since California’s courts handle millions of cases each year, a huge database of precedents can be uploaded and used as a basis to help determine the outcome of new and future matters. And we already know from last year’s trouble-free launch of Obamacare that the Internet is the perfect tool for replacing old-fashioned human-based bureaucracies.

What could go wrong?

LOS ANGELES TIMES CARTOON: Earthquake Maps

If God Existed

I draw cartoons for The Los Angeles Times about issues related to California and the Southland (metro Los Angeles).

This week: After the 1971 Sylmar earthquake, California began an ambitious effort to map faults across the state. Over the next two decades, officials published 534 maps of active earthquake faults. New construction was prohibited on top of these fissures because previous quakes showed that buildings could be torn apart during violent shaking. But the mapping campaign has slowed to a crawl — with many dangerous faults still undocumented. Since 1991, only 23 have been drawn. Because of budget cuts, none were completed between 2004 and 2011, according to records reviewed by The Times. State officials said there are still about 300 maps to draw and even more to revise — including some in heavily populated areas of Southern California. That represents about 2,000 miles of faults statewide.

LOS ANGELES TIMES CARTOON: What to Do About Delays at LAX

LAXATCCuts

I draw cartoons for The Los Angeles Times about issues related to California and the Southland (metro Los Angeles).

This week: Sequester-related budget cuts to air traffic control could cause big delays at Los Angeles International Airport.

LOS ANGELES TIMES CARTOON: A New Logo for the U.C. System

I draw cartoons for The Los Angeles Times about issues related to California and the Southland (metro Los Angeles).

This week: University of California officials said they were trying to project a “forward-looking spirit” when they replaced the university system’s ornate, tradition-clad logo with a sleek, modern one. What they got was an online revolt complete with mocking memes, Twitter insults and a petition to restore the old logo. Students and alumni have taken to Facebook and Photoshop to express their displeasure, showing the new symbol ready to be flushed down a toilet and as a permanently stalled computer operating system. One critic suggested the controversial image be tattooed on its creators’ foreheads as punishment.

President Romney’s First 100 Days

Highlights of President Mitt Romney’s First 100 Days are expected to include more tax cuts for the rich, voucherizing Medicaid, defunding Obamacare, and slashing all federal spending except the Pentagon. Maybe it would be easier to blow up the government using the nuclear football (launch codes).

LOS ANGELES TIMES CARTOON: Fingerprint Rationing

I draw cartoons for The Los Angeles Times about issues related to California and the Southland (metro Los Angeles).

This week: The LAPD has notified cash-strapped police precincts that they may only apply for 10 fingerprint analyses from the crime lab every month. Cases are backing up due to budget cuts. What next in budget-cutting?

Los Angeles Times Cartoon: Jerry Mans Up

I draw cartoons for The Los Angeles Times about issues related to California and the Southland (metro Los Angeles).

This week: Governor Jerry Brown wants California lawmakers to “man up” and make billions in cuts to state services.

Los Angeles Times Cartoon: Cal State Presidents Cash In

I draw cartoons for The Los Angeles Times. This week’s offering: Cal State trustees have voted to hire two new presidents at high salaries, 10% more than their predecessors. Meanwhile, students face class cancellations and budget cuts.