Before they eliminate humans for being a cancer on the world, robots offer the promise of making our lives better, whether it be by cleaning our houses, eliminating our assembly-line jobs or taking university classes for our bedridden students.
The latter recently happened to a pregnant first-year law student at UC Irvine. When Tess Messiha was prescribed bed rest by her physician in late December, it put her spring semester in doubt. But she gave it a shot, working with administrators and UCI’s Disability Service Center (DSC) to come up with a solution.
Messiha attended all her classes while at home. How? Virtually. The DSC sent into her lecture halls a 4-foot robot that she controlled remotely. That allowed her to hear all of her instructors and fellow students, as well as speak so she could still participate in discussions. “Using the robot really was a lifesaver while I was on bed rest,” Messiha says. “I was able to participate in all of the regular lectures and keep up with the regular class materials. My friends were eager to help get me from class to class, and I rarely had any technical difficulties.”
Wish I could say the same. Do you know how many 8 a.m. classes I missed—even when my dorm was across the lawn from my classroom?
“It was surprisingly natural to have Tess in the classroom via the mounted tablet,” said Rick Hasen, Messiha’s professor for her torts class. “I could make eye contact with her, call on her and have the class hear her responses. For someone unable to attend class physically, this was definitely the next best thing.”
Besides completing her classes on schedule, Messiha delivered a healthy baby boy. Talk about multitasking. Of course, if she plans to keep sleeping through the night, she’s really going to need that robot now.
INSTANT REACTION TO LAST ITEM FOR OC WEEKLY MANAGEMENT
When the robots fully take over as students, will that translate to fewer hits for our undie-run slideshows?
HATING ON THE HATE MAP
“Huntington Beach Goes Low with Newest Hate Group: Rise Above Movement (RAM),” a Feb. 23 story on ocweekly.com about the Southern Poverty Law Center’s (SPLC) “The Year in Hate” intelligence report, includes a reference to a “hate map” that now counts 954 hate groups in the U.S., with 75 of them in California.
Well, the Orlando, Florida-based Liberty Counsel is calling the nonprofit SPLC’s hate map “a farce” for listing it as well as other “nonviolent” nonprofits such as Alliance Defending Freedom and American Family Association while leaving off the Revolutionary Communist Party USA, which supposedly advocates the violent overthrow of the United States. “The SPLC appears completely incompetent at monitoring the very thing it claims to track,” says Mat Staver, founder and chairman of Liberty Counsel, an international anti-abortion, litigation, education and policy organization. “The SPLC’s hate map is a farce. For the most part, it is just a list of groups that do not agree with the SPLC. Hateful violence should be categorized, not by left and right political or social views, but by actual advocacy of violence. . . . The SPLC has lost all credibility.”
SPEAKING OF CONTROLLING WOMEN’S BODIES . . .
A federal judge in San Francisco on March 5 refused to order the Trump administration to pay California $1 million in delayed law-enforcement funding it withheld to punish it for becoming a sanctuary state.
United States District Judge William Orrick ruled that it was too soon to tell which party’s interpretation of laws governing cooperation between state employees and federal immigration authorities would prevail. Because “the amount of money at stake is small compared to the state’s budget,” he concluded, California hadn’t shown it would suffer irreparable harm without the $1 million while the case is adjudicated.
This is the same federal judge who is being accused of bias by lawyers for David Daleiden of the Irvine-based Center for Medical Progress (CMP). He has claimed to be a citizen journalist who has made undercover recordings that prove Planned Parenthood is illegally trafficking in body parts from aborted fetuses. Daleiden and a CMP colleague have been accused of misrepresenting themselves and doctoring video and audio recordings to cast the family-planning association in a negative light.
Orrick, who is presiding over two related lawsuits, issued a gag order that Daleiden is asking the U.S. Supreme Court to strike down as prior restraint. Meanwhile, the CMP founder’s lawyers filed a motion to get Orrick dismissed because of an alleged conflict of interest. They claim the judge was a founder, director and longtime officer with the Good Samaritan Family Resource Center, which is claimed to house a Planned Parenthood affiliate. A three-judge federal appeals panel recently ruled that the allegations Daleiden’s lawyers raised merit an answer.
But that, coupled with the sanctuary-state ruling, must leave Mike Pence so conflicted. (Though not as conflicted as the other thing that has him conflicted.)
ADD ANOTHER PIN TO THE HATE MAP
A 57-year-old has been charged with hate crimes for yelling racial slurs and using a metal cane to attack a 19-year-old Latino selling flowers in Anaheim.
Daniel Owen Kelley faces a felony count each of assault with a deadly weapon and hate crime (assault), with sentencing enhancements for hate crime and a prior strike conviction for—three guesses, and the first two don’t count!—committing a hate crime in Orange County in 2015.
Kelley could go bye-bye to state prison for 16 years if he is convicted, according to the Orange County district attorney’s office, which supplied this account: Just after 3:25 p.m. on Feb. 25, 2018, Kelley approached the teen, who was selling flowers on a sidewalk near Lincoln Avenue and Beach Boulevard. Kelley allegedly kicked over a bucket of flowers, hit the young man on the head and back multiple times with a 4-foot metal cane, and yelled racial slurs at the Latino.
It caused such a commotion that a passerby called 9-1-1, which brought out the Anaheim cops, who arrested Kelley at the scene. Talk about a cane mutiny.
Matt Coker has been engaging, enraging and entertaining readers of newspapers, magazines and websites for decades. He spent the first 13 years of his career in journalism at daily newspapers before “graduating” to OC Weekly in 1995 as the paper’s first calendar editor. He went on to be managing editor, executive editor and is now senior staff writer.