If local law professor Marjorie Cohn had her way, George W. Bush and Dick Cheney would be on trial. And not just them.

Cohn wants to see some of the Bush Administration’s attorneys face justice too. After all, she says, they helped the president to break the law.

It’s a tough stand, and one that’s helped her become one of the nation’s leading leftist voices on war crimes and torture.

In this weekend’s Q&A, Cohn talks about the nation’s two “unlawful” wars, her work defending members of the military who seek to avoid service, and the value of international diplomacy.

In other news:

  • To educators, it doesn’t add up: Black students in San Diego schools are more likely to be labeled emotionally disturbed, and English learners are more likely to be shunted off to special education classes.

    A consultant says local schools are making a number of mistakes, such as diverting kids to special education too early and focusing too much on discipline at the expense of teaching children how to behave.

    San Diego schools are receptive to the criticism and will put the consultant’s suggestions into place.

  • Reporter Adrian Florido took your assignments Friday and came back with updates on these topics: the search for a new San Diego fire chief, the trolley system expansion, and an unreleased survey of city employees about ethical standards and violations.
  • Columnist Rich Toscano tracks housing prices instead of sales and finds similar trends.

    The Coffee Collection:

  • The Park That’s Stuck in Park A Carmel Valley neighborhood paid for a park. So why won’t the city build it?
  • Guess Who’s Coming to ‘Gifted’? At a handful of San Diego schools, the gifted program isn’t an exclusive club anymore.
  • Sure, it’ll be hot today. But old-timers will tell you that this Sept. 26 can’t compare to the one in 1963, when San Diego recorded its highest-ever temperature: 111 degrees.

    An Old Town gift shop’s taper candles melted on that scorching Thursday, slumping over counters like they belonged in a Salvador Dali painting. Local schools took a “heat day” for the first time since 1939. More than 30,000 chickens died, workplaces closed for the day, and an overworked downtown thermometer went berserk and reached 134 degrees.

    That reading was most likely wrong, but the mercury did reach 122 in Logan Heights, 113 in Pacific Beach and 118 in North Park.

    Domestic disputes broke out around 5 p.m., police reported. And why not, a cop told a reporter. After all, cranky men came home to wives who didn’t have dinner ready because it was hot to cook: “There’s often an argument, which is followed by a fight.”

    My dad, Ralph Dotinga, remembers that day: he was a teacher at Chula Vista’s Rice Elementary School and had to go to work even though the kids got to stay home.

    “Another teacher and I found a storeroom that was really nice and cool,” he said. “So we spent the whole day there, but we didn’t invite anyone else in because they only had two chairs.”

    The other teachers, already steamed by the heat, were hot under the collar when they found out.

    Kevin Montgomery, a technical writer for Qualcomm who lives in Allied Gardens, hasn’t forgotten the heat that day either:

    I was a third-grader at Scripps Elementary in La Jolla Shores. The school shut down that day, and my folks took my two brothers and me to the beach,” he said. “We set up folding chairs in ankle-deep water and played all afternoon. When I returned to the classroom, all my crayons were melted and all the spiders I had collected in a little plastic box were cooked.

    Now that’s hot.

    Quote of the Week: “There’s nothing sexier to me than a newly paved street.” — San Diego Councilman Todd Gloria, providing a bit too much information.


Dagny Salas was web editor at Voice of San Diego from 2010 to 2013. She was an investigative fellow at VOSD from 2009 to 2010.

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