“Figures a cocker spaniel-pampering, double-latte-drinking, brie-sniffin’ liberal like you would say that about the judge.” Desdemona Valdez laughed heartily.
“Can you see the middle finger I’m holding up?” Congresswoman Cynthia Kang responded, settling into her chair in her office in the Rayburn Building.
“I have another idea of what you can do with that finger when you’re back in town,” Valdez whispered.
“See how easy it is to get in trouble when it comes to sex, Des?”
Valdez said throatily, “People lose their minds.”
“Exactly my point,” Kang countered. “Besides, the judge is big on the First Amendment. According to the paper, one time he found out about certain filters blocking sites on courthouse computers, and he led a campaign to have those filters removed. Plus, he argued that he wasn’t even sure what he had on his site was prurient.” They both chuckled at that absurdity.
They’d been discussing a recent incident in Los Angeles involving an obscenity case involving a porn-maker before conservative Judge Alex Kozinski, chief judge of the US 9th Circuit Court of Appeals. The LA Times reported that on the judge’s personal website he had, among other images, degrading photos of nude women on all fours painted like cows, and a video of a half-naked man prancing around with an aroused farm animal. When this came out the judge did a dog-ate-my-homework defense and blamed the content on his adult son. Nonetheless, he was forced to grant a forty-eight-hour stay as the political firestorm against him grew.
They talked some more, then Valdez said, “Hey, I better go, just caught a shooting on the edge of the Larchmont area outside a Catholic high school. Can you believe that?”
“Damn,” was the best Kang could muster. For her, like a lot of residents of the greater Los Angeles area, the gang situation and the fatal blowback on the innocent was getting to be too much of a usual occurrence–like rising gas prices. And as a legislator, she felt impotent. Society can’t arrest its way out of the gang crisis, but all the youth programs and job-training initiatives seemed insignificant, since those efforts didn’t command headlines and rally tax dollars. People wanted crack-downs and not what was perceived as hand-holding and commiserating with pants-saggers and dope-slangers..
“Yeah,” Valdez said glumly, and added, “Didn’t mean to end on such a downer.”
“Real life always gets in the way. Miss you.”
“Same. See you when you’re back. Maybe we can catch the George Clinton concert at Crash Mansion.”
“I do loves me some Funkadelic,” Kang retorted.
They severed the call as Lettie Cortez, Kang’s office manager, came in to see her, placing a largish FedEx envelope on her desk. “Brian called, said he was trying to find Chet and wondered if you knew where he was.” She was referring to Brian Betters in her Monterey Park field office in California.