Officer Davis

Raising caning: Bites remembers the moment like it was yesterday, even three years later. The shock and horror of hearing a Democrat actually say that he wanted to pattern California’s criminal justice system on that of Singapore stabbed like a dagger into Bites’ bleeding heart.

But that’s the country that then-gubernatorial candidate Gray Davis held up as his model for dealing with criminals, Singapore, a country with the death penalty for 30 different crimes, where a vandalism conviction gets you beaten bloody with a cane, a country singled out year after year for human rights abuses by police.

When Davis uttered that comparison during his first broadcast debate against neo-fascist opponent Dan Lungren, our governor revealed himself to be a soulless political animal willing to say or do anything to further his ambitions.

At the time, Bites got the opportunity to directly confront Davis about the statement during a campaign stop. While admitting Singapore might be a little rough on non-violent offenders, Davis stood by his controversial statement, saying he thought they were “right on” when it came to dealing with violent offenders.

And since taking office, Davis has only escalated his barbaric tough-on-crime position by illegally denying parole to murderers who have paid their debt to society, vetoing a variety of bills to address the root social causes of crime, escalating the war on drugs and generally giving cops anything they want.

So when members of the Alliance of California Law Enforcement, during a “legislative day” program at the Sacramento Convention Center last week, proclaimed Davis to be the best friend that cops have ever had in the governor’s office, this was no idle praise. No, when Davis and the cops get together to slobber all over each other, they really mean it.

“Governor Gray Davis is really one of us,” El Dorado County Sheriff Hal Barker proclaimed to the assembled group as he awarded Davis an honorary badge.

Davis grinned widely at the statement, because he really does see himself as one of them, California’s top cop, the man in charge of keeping all the brown people and rabble-rousers in their place and away from the bulging pockets of the powerful.

Despite the fact that California has one of the highest incarceration rates in the world, Davis has repeatedly equated the interests of police with those of the average citizen, rather than seeing law enforcement for what it really is: a necessary evil.

“Thank you for keeping us safe. Thank you for allowing our dreams to come true,” Davis told the group, although it seems clear that what he really meant was, “Thank you for allowing my dreams to come true.”

Hat in hand: One man whose dreams might not be coming true is Joe Farah, the editor who went down with the Sacramento Union after taking the paper on a hard starboard turn in its dying days, and has now been reduced to begging to save his latest endeavor.

Farah is the editor and CEO of, one of those gazillion Internet start-ups that sprang up before anyone knew or cared how they would actually make money—and which lately have been crashing under the illogic of that genesis.

Farah last week penned a column titled “Support,” which began with the claim of being “the world’s most successful, independent, English-language news service on the Internet.”

He carries such hyperbolic optimism throughout the column, talking about how they are “so close” to becoming “the first news site to become profitable” before hitting readers with the kicker: the Voluntary Subscription Payment program.

It’s simple, Farah says. Just send us money and soon we’ll be rolling in dough. Like a child with a new calculator, he even noodles with some numbers, figuring that if 60 percent of his claimed two million readers sent in a dollar a month, why, that would be $14.4 million!

“What do you suppose could and would do with $14.4 million? Do you think we could do some awesome reporting?” he gleefully asks.

Of course, Farah’s chipper plea never discusses what would happen if visitors to the site don’t start cutting checks, but that seems writ large between the lines: Farah could be at the helm of another sinking ship.