Becky Fenger Fenger PointingSEPTEMBER 29, 2010

Judges, jerks and a flake


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Voters will be asked in the general election on Nov. 2 whether to retain or jettison seventy county and state judges. How to judge the judges? To aid us in our decisions, the Arizona Judicial Performance Review Commission has posted its evaluations of these individuals online at

Attorneys, litigants, witnesses and jurors are asked to rate the judges on their legal ability, integrity, communication skills, judicial temperament, administrative performance, and settlement activities. The Judicial Performance Commission then votes "Yes" or No" on whether a judge meets their standards.

That effort is all well and good, except that the electorate has never tossed a judge off the bench, even when some have been exposed doing some rather nasty things. If the public saw fit to retain the fibbing, pot-smoking and smuggling Superior Court Judge Philip Marquardt, I don't know what it would take to anger them enough to fire someone.

This year, it appears that the reviewers gave a green light to all of the judges. The one that came closest to falling short is a civil judge for the Superior Court in Maricopa County: the Honorable Bethany G. Hicks. Just 56 percent felt that Judge Hicks meets their standards. There you have it.

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Billionaire investor Warren Buffett told taxpayers that they should get over their anger against President Barack Obama and Congress. He thinks it's counterproductive for them to stay angry at policy makers since, as he put it, they took measures including deficit spending to stimulate the economy. I disagree. This anger should carry over until at least Nov. 2. That's what it will take to put a lid on this outrageous spending. The pain of watching the economic illiterates in this White House is only slightly less than listening to Whitney Houston try to sing these days. I think I'll get a tattoo of a pitchfork where it shows.

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Over the years there has been talk of giving statehood to Puerto Rico. Nothing new here. But I was disappointed to read in Howard Phillips' Issues and Strategies bulletin of April 30 (I'm behind in my reading) that 39 Republicans voted for House Bill 2499. The list included our own Jeff Flake, Indiana's Mike Pence and rising star Eric Cantor of Virginia! Are they daft? If fully implemented, HB 2499 could add 2 left-wing U.S. senators and 6 to 8 U.S. Representatives (probably all Democrats) to Congress. Worse, the bill doesn't require English to be the official language of Puerto Rico. Have we learned nothing from the French Canadians?

"Throw in voting representation for D.C., amnesty for illegals and voting for felons, all items on the Democrats' agenda, and in their cookbook you have a recipe for Democratic majorities as far as the eye can see," write Phillips. He also tells us that under this bill, non-resident Puerto Ricans living in the 50 states could vote in this new referendum to decide their fate. Ouch. There are more eligible Puerto Ricans living outside the country than in it. Just in case it fails, the bill requires a new referendum every 8 years until it passes (sort of like the light rail transit scheme). And if you think this won't swell our welfare rolls, you're dreaming.

Investor's Business Daily notes that Puerto Rico the state would have a larger delegation than 25 of our current 50 states (make that 57 if you're Obama).

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I know that my life must lack something when I find myself each week reading the results of restaurant inspections by Maricopa County Environmental Services. When I saw that one establishment had 12 "critical" violations (ones that could cause contamination or a food-borne illness), I thought it must be a misprint. But lo and behold, last week A Touch of Thai in Scottsdale racked up 10. Now, the Maricopa County Environmental Department is eminently capable of nit picking, but double digit "criticals" might give the term "dining adventure" a new meaning.

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"To kill an error is as good a service as, and sometimes better than, the establishing of a new truth or fact." ~ Charles Darwin

"The Portland case centers on whether the Boy Scouts of America did enough to protect boys from Dykes." ~ From a newspaper article about a lawsuit claiming that the Boy Scouts covered up sex abuse by a Mr. Dykes.