Showing posts from September, 2021

Reform California's Undemocratic Recall

 The ability to recall elected officials was supposed to make California’s political system more democratic. Those paying attention have become aware of how truly dysfunctional the California recall process is, now with Gavin Newsom fixed in its sites. The California recall has a combination of features that gives a minority party, in this case the Republicans, a good chance of grabbing power without majority support.   In order to appreciate California’s uniquely undemocratic recall process, it’s useful to contrast that process with those of other states. According to the website of the National Conference of State Legislatures, and some additional research, almost all the 19 states that permit recall of state officers can be divided into three groups: (1) five states have a single, simultaneous recall and replacement election, in which the officer subject to the recall appears on the ballot alongside the candidates seeking to replace him or her, and the recall will fail if the off

On Mask Mandate Bans

 Permitting mask mandates in places where the spread of Covid 19 is high seems like a no brainer. Yet it has become a subject of great controversy, with some Republican governors mandating a ban on mask mandates, overriding the judgments of local government and school officials that requiring mask wearing in indoor spaces is the best way to protect the public health. What’s going on here? One way to think about the current dispute is in terms of two different ideas of freedom, one derived from our Constitution, the other coming from our Culture Wars.   First, some background. The evidence is clear that masks can both significantly protect the wearer against the virus, depending on the mask, and, even more, can significantly impede the mask wearer’s ability to transmit the virus. Hence the reported case in Springfield, Missouri where two hairstylists infected by Covid but wearing masks did not infect the 139 customers with whom they came in contact. Because those infected with Covid a