Thursday, October 30, 2003
I realize now that I didn't make it clear what I thought re: gas tax. A gasoline tax by itself unfairly hurts poor people, and I don't like that. However, if the revenue obtained via the gas tax is used to reduce the burden of other taxes - a reduction which will help *only* poor people (and not oil companies or other large corporations), then a gas tax is perhaps interesting.
How cute is google all dressed up for the holidays!?
Jonesin' for Oil
opinion piece from the Economist discusses what we all know - we're addicted to oil, and the way to thwart this is to look to alternative technologies - technologies which already EXIST (though I'm not sure bioethanol is the right one). The way to cultivate use of them, the author suggests, is with a slowly increasing gas tax, the profits from which should be used to lower other taxes. Interesting thought.
Props to Vietnam, here is an article about the Minstry's efforts to popularize open source software. They are blatant about their desire to rid the country of Microsoft.
Wednesday, October 29, 2003
"Dean declared himself a "metrosexual," the buzz phrase for straight men in touch with their feminine sides, as he touted his accomplishments in "equal justice" for gay and lesbian couple."
At first I thought maybe he's been reading my blog - the entry about the Democratic Party needing sex appeal, but his waffling on the metrosexual matter shows he missed the point about not being a wimp.
He also said he likes Wyclef Jean, did someone tell him to say that? I mean is Wyclef not like the safest rapper to say you like? Come on, take a risk and tell the people you like fifty cent!
You Are My Friend
A friend just sent this to me.
Tuesday, October 28, 2003
Being the recall obsessed Californian I am, I thought that the cast of characters in this year's recall election might make a fun group costume. Gary Coleman would be hard to do, but Mary Carey, Angelyne, Gray Davis, Arnold, Arianna, Cruz Bustamante could all be done relatively easily. In light of the LA Times story, I'm wondering how many jokers in the Castro will dress up as Arnold & one of his victims. The Bill Clinton, Monica Lewinsky pair was certainly popular in past years. As for me, I'm not sure what I'll go as. Last year was a Drama Queen :)
Wednesday, October 22, 2003
ho ho ho and a bottle of rum
' "Is our current situation such that 'the harder we work, the behinder we get'? " he wrote.'
Is "behinder" a word? No. He got the saying wrong, google tells me.
"The hurrier I go, the behinder I get"
Can the Governor, or more importantly/seriously, his staff, collect unemployment?
According to EDD, it looks like Davis cannot. Most of his staff may not be eligible either.
Tuesday, October 21, 2003
For anyone who'd like to view the Glamour Germany magazine, I've scanned it, and it can be viewed here: 1 2 3 4 5
Apparently, in Germany the race was between me and Arnold, exclusively.
Monday, October 20, 2003
Hey Ladiez! (sorry, not talking about the beastie boys song here)
During Lockyer's speech he expressed overwhelming joy with his newborn baby, and new wife, both of whom came with him to the conference. He mentioned how incredible it is to have a baby so late in life - he's 61 or 62 I think. Lockyer went on to tie the birth of his son to why he voted for Arnold (reasons like Diego needing healthcare and education). He then said something to the effect of, "I'm sorry ladies, you are not also able to have such an experience."
God bless Bob Mulholland, who was the only one to bring up the victims of Arnold's aggressive acts of groping and demand justice.
On Saturday, at the close of the conference, Mark Barabak took questions from the audience, and eventually called on Mr. Mulholland.
"Sixteen women," he said dramatically.
John Feliz, McClintock campaign manager, on the panel, responded with a shout of "Bill Clinton."
Mulholland continuted, "When 16 women independently pick Schwarzenegger out of a lineup for sexual abuse and the campaign even today, it's all politics, this strategy, those tactics! If somebody did that to my wife, I'd want to kill the bastard. Will we ever get an answer from your candidate?"
Sean Walsh replied that they were looking for witnesses, at which point one audience member yelled "ALL MEN!" Another responded with, "Not true!" Mr. Walsh continued, saying there would be no investigation.
Garry South then asked if Arnold was lying when he said he'd look into the charges, and George Gorton shouted, to both Mr. South and Mr. Mulholland, "YOU LOST! IT'S OVER!"
Sunday, October 19, 2003
More info on Massachusetts effort to bring free software into the government.
Apart from Lockyer's confession (below), there were some great soundbites from yesterday's meeting of the minds.
"We knew that if it became a charisma fest we had a problem."
- Larry Grislano, Davis campaign
"This was a textbook case of mixed message. And it was disingenuous (on Cruz's part)."
- Garry South, Davis campaign, on Cruz's entrance into the race.
"Did the FPPC kill Cruz, or did he kill himself?"
- Karen Getman, former FPPC Chairwoman, and moderator
"A lot of us were members of organizations in the 60's. We had funny hair, funny clothes. Well I say a lot of us, but I don't mean Republicans"
- Richie Ross. Bustamante's Campaign , regarding Cruz's decision not to address MECHA membership
"Arnold made his way to the top of two of the most competitive industries - Bodybuilding and Hollywood"
- Don Sipple, Schwarzenegger Campaign
"What's his name? What's his name? I forget his name."
- Sal Russo, RecallGrayDavis.com , trying to remember Ted Costa's name
Saturday, October 18, 2003
I attended a recall recap or "post-mortem," as they called it, at my alma mater, Berkeley, today where Attorney General Bill Lockyer gave the keynote speech, labeled early on in the address as the "Why I voted for Arnold" speech.
The answer, according to Bill, in the form of a quote from Arnold was, "Bill, you listened to my heart and not my party." And yes, this cheesy commentary brought to us by Bill Lockyer of "puke politics" fame.
Lockyer said that it was an otherwise crappy list of candidates (no offense taken, Bill).
Thursday, October 16, 2003
Sign My Billz
As well all know, Gray Davis signed several bills early this week, against AS's will (but what Arnie failed to point out was that had Gray not selectively signed/vetoed bills, all would have automatically become law).
The new legislation includes a bill which increases the redemption fee for recyclable containers. 2.5 cents goes to 4 cents, 5 cents goes to 8 cents. We're finally on par with Oregon, I was always envious of Oregon's 5 cent recycle rate. The intention of this bill has been described as one to "encourage recycling." I don't know about you, but I never directly see any of this recycling money, since I dump recyclables in a bin for the city to pick up. It will clearly increase revenue for curbside recyclers, and other states with higher refunds have higher recycling rates, but how exactly do we motivate middle class people to recycle more in California if they're not clear where the money ends up? And yes, these are less than environmentally minded individuals, the ones who aren't currently recycling.
The upside of this bill, which has gone unreported as far as I know, is that all those diligent freelance and homeless recyclers have just increased their income by over 60%! It is for these pioneers of the urban wasteland I celebrate AB 82!
Another interesting bill is the Clean Bathrooms Bill - "Every public and private K-12 school must keep bathrooms stocked with toilet paper, soap and paper towels or hand dryers. Restrooms must be cleaned regularly and remain unlocked when students need them."
I fully support clean bathrooms at schools, but I can't believe we have to use our state legislative power to ensure such things. In any case, I don't know why they didn't add to the bill (found here mandatory hot water, and functional drinking fountains. These things were lacking at my high school. We also had severe problems in our junior high and high school lockerooms, couldn't they have legislated cleanliness there as well?
Tuesday, October 14, 2003
Away From Home
Despite the letter writing campaign, all is not well in peaceful Iraq.
I also find it interesting that the Bush/Cheney website has a better formula for letter writing than they used in Iraq, where all the letters appear to be the same. Their site has a place where you can write a letter to the editor, composing it using their app, which allows you to select and arrange pre-authored paragraphs any way you'd like. Check it out here.
Saturday, October 11, 2003
The Democratic Party - Ain't no Party
With Republicans controlling Washington and now California, one has to wonder what the Dems are doing wrong. While I care more about California, America, and our future than the Democratic party, I feel at this point the latter is critical to acheiving my agenda.
Gray Davis didn't just lose the election on October 7, he was FIRED. It took a celebrity rino to beat him but if this isn't a wake up call to the Demcratic Party, I don't know what is.
There are many things they did wrong in this campaign, but the overarching problem I saw was an entirely defensive campaign - too many Davis players shouting "It's not fair!" This is not attractive in a leader - we want to see strength and resolve.
A perfect example of this attitude is found in the campaign's response to an email showing that AS's camp was trying to stack the town hall meeting "with shills for their campaign, Republicans who would disrupt and attack the governor." "We find that deeply troubling and deeply disrespectful to the process," Davis's spokesperson said, terming the tactic "dirty tricks."
Dirty tricks? Give me a break. This is child's play. Politicians, especially Governors, are supposed to be able to handle this kind of stuff. I can only imagine this response is part of the "we aren't dirty politicians" makeover Davis was trying to win with. They picked the wrong makeover. (As I've said, the appropriate makeover would have been Queer Eye for the Political Guy. That would have won the gov some serious points, and been a superb comeback to the Groprah Winfrey appearance.)
The thing is, it's not just Gray Davis who's on the defensive, it's the party in general. What happened in California is reflective of problems we see at the national level.
- Lack of party unity - Bustamante made this clear when he frayed. 10, now 9, Democratic presidential candidates.
- A party devoid of an overall vision - Davis signed legislation all over the map at the last minute in a desperate attempt to get votes. It backfired.
- Reactionary politics - This stems from a lack of vision, it can be seen with the unending George Bush attacks, and presidential platforms based on what he's done wrong. No Child Left Behind is great in theory but it doesn't work. Propose something new.
- No sex appeal - This may sound silly, but sexy, which has really come to mean something other than "sex appeal" is in, perhaps too much so. I don't find Arnold attractive at all, but apparently people do. (The grope me anytime quotes are a testament to that). Davis and Bustamante on the other hand - rating pretty low on the sex appeal factor. (polaroid cameras? not sexy!)
Friday, October 10, 2003
Davis haters insist on pointing out that Arnold got more votes than Davis did in 2002 (as well as 2003 of course). What they neglect to point out is that Davis got more votes than he himself did in 2002.
Duh - more people voted in 2003, like more than a million more.
Now if Davis had gotten LESS votes in 2003 than 2002, that might be worth mentioning. But gloating that his opponent this year got more votes than he did last year is well, pointless as an attack against Davis.
Perhaps Simon is the one we should mock re: 2002 vs 2003 numbers.
Is Simon that much of a dud that he wasn't able to defeat abhorrent Gray Davis? A real Republican like Simon couldn't do it, so they had to bring in a movie star to finish off the job.
Thursday, October 09, 2003
The company we keep
Don Sipple worked on AS's campaign. He also worked for both Bushies, and Wilson. He was accused of beating two of his wives, detailed in Mother Jones .
darn, i lost. we lost.
one funny story from the campaign trail involves my encounter with cruz bustamante. during the campaign finale, cruz came up with the brilliant idea of doing "polaroid photostops" around town. the idea was that cruz would cruise around, pop into shops and ask random people if they wanted to pose for a polaroid with him, because he is just so, well, dashing!
(i mean really, at least use a camera phone. polaroids are super 80's.)
i just happened to be in the castro campaigning the day before the election, and cruz just happened to be there, photostopping.
when i saw a small crowd making it's way down the street i realized what was going on. i made my way up to what turned out to be cruz, 10 or so reporters, and 2 guys holding Bustamante signs (one was homemade, the other printed). I pinned the passers by with the Georgy buttons I had stuffed in my handbag. As one (planted?) guy yelled from across the street yelled "Cruz I voted for ya!" another guy on a vespa yelled out "I didn't!" I ran to him and handed him a button too - he hates the Death Penalty and hates Cruz. That's my kinda guy. Having been left alone without my campaign staff, I quickly ran out of buttons, and called to Sean & Rich, who were at the car, to bring more.
As the phone rang, I somehow sezied an opportunity to walk side by side with the Lt. Governor. I introduced myself to him with a handshake and the words "Hi, I'm Georgy Russell," all the while, with Cruz on my left, the phone was ringing on my right ear. As we made our way down Castro, shoulder to shoulder, cameramen and photojournalists walked backwards down the street filming and photographing us. Sean finally answered, "Can you bring more buttons?" I said.
Cruz, is his characteristic deep sing songy voice said, "Why yes, I can do that."
Guess he thought I wanted him to bring more buttons. I can't beleive the guy was so out of it - not sure why I'm baffled by it, I mean, he was after all, Polaroid Photostopping.
I subsequently mentioned to him that my mom lives near Casino San Pablo, and we were very worried it would turn into Las Vegas style casino.
"Tell your mom to call me at the office, and we can discuss this. What's your name again?" "Georgy Russell."
I gave a few more guys buttons, and they wore them in their polaroids with Cruz.
He stopped into a Mexican restaurant, at which point some guy asked "Cruz, cruz, what do you think of Gay Marriage?" I jumped right up and told the guy I was a candidate who supported it. Gave him a button. Cruz answered next, and as he did, I considered pinning a button on him. Having had my personal space invaded only a few days ago by Arnold's morons, I decided not to do it. Chicken. Held it up to the lapel for a nice photo op though. It's unfortunate that this all took place on October 6. Had it been earlier, the photos might have made front page.
Clearly, the guy didn't know his competition. Even Arnold's guys had a clue about that.
Wednesday, October 08, 2003
Monday, October 06, 2003
If nothing else, vote against Arnold because:
1) he had a secret meeting with Ken Lay
2) once he's governor, he can put an end to the $9 billion private lawsuit the state has against power companies.
Enron memos state plans to undercut Davis - remove the legal threat - recall Davis!
Here is a link to a story explaining it in more detail.
Sunday, October 05, 2003
I went to a Davis rally yesterday at an Oakland Union in the morning, and Arnold's Pleasanton rally in the afternoon.
I'm not sure what the final count was on Davis's rally was, I estimate max 100 non-press, non-elected officials were there. Pretty much everyone was white (Oakland?), and about half of them wore Wesley Clark shirts. Di Fi, Nancy Pelosi, Jerry Brown, Jesse Jackson, Barbara Lee and dozens of local pols were there. The event was, well, unimpressive, and though this was perhaps by design, it left me feeling like the Democrats aren't really trying anymore. Are they too busy packing?
A huge "NO ON RECALL" sign hung behind the risers on which officials stood. It seemed to be strategically placed for press photographs, but in what one photographer pointed out was true Democrat fashion, the officials jumped right up on the platforms, and completely blocked the sign. "I'm a Democrat," he said. "Republicans would never do that."
Davis showed up in his traditional garb. As I've said already, the man needs a makeover (Queer Eye for the Political Guy). The first step in the No on Recall campagin should have been to get Davis a new shirt - ANYTHING but white or shiny blue, preferrably with button down collar. He looks overdressed, and his look is not at all endearing. I won't rehash everything I said before on the subject, but one point to stress - GRAY please roll up the sleeves, take off the jacket.
It's clear that the Dems are running a fight the recall campaign, not an elect Davis campaign. Barely winning last year, you'd think they might try the latter.
The approach the Davis camp is taking communicates one thing - "We are on the defensive, and we are scared of AS." They are trying to scare voters into voting no, "If they get rid of the governor, what do you think they'll get rid of next." While I'm also scared, I want my team to look a little stronger. Davis's line "I will focus like a laser" sounds like it was written for AS, and doesn't work for Gray.
I spoke to a few people working on the campaign, and my disappointment with it. The response was that they were running a "complex" campaign (does complex ever translate well with the electorate!??!?), and that they weren't trying to get any "new" supporters, but instead to solidify the union base. What happens if a lot of people turn out to vote who have never voted before? Oops.
Oh yeah, and and one guy defended Cruz's committee to accept Indian Gaming contributions - "That's just what you have to do, you have to set up committees like that."
So, on the other side of the fence, we have Arnold's mostly white rally in Pleasanton. I hear the final count was 3,500 people. On first glance it seemed to be a much better party than the Oakland rally, complete with live music. Metal detectors were located at the entrance, and no signs were allowed in. Once we got inside, they passed out hand made signs! Too funny. They said things like "Dad's for Arnold," "Hasta la vista Davis," and "Don't Busta my Taxes." (pun on cruz, but don't you want to bust taxes - like arnold suggested with the wrecking ball on the car - bust the car tax?)
Many people were happy to see me there - "This is better than meeting Arnold!" One guy stopped traffic to get autographs for his vanpool. This is all evidence that people are looking for a personality in their candidate, something to counter the "Gray" years.
Others, like security, were threatened. They took note of me on the sidelines, and as I made my way deep into the crowd, the guards freaked out - asking my friends and the people who were surrounding me where I went. I watched security try to follow me - they lost me almost immediately. I made my way up to the front, close to the podium and waited.
Arnold's arrival was surreal. His "Running Man" bus pulled up behind the podium very, very slowly. The bus has his face painted huge on the side of it, and as the doors opened, the crowd, of course, goes wild.
Arnold fans resort to violence
Friday, October 03, 2003
Arnold kicks off his bus tour:
"At that instant, a 3,600-pound wrecking ball was dropped 50 feet, crushing an older-model Oldsmobile on which the words ``Davis Car Tax'' had been spray-painted." -- chron
And they made fun of Gallagher for smashing watermelons.
Elaine Stockton, groped by Arnold, appeared on the Today Show this mornning. She was interviewed by "Lester," Matt Lauer's substitute. They went over what happened, and in closing, he said, (and I am paraphrasing here) "I have to ask you, are you a Democrat?" "I would rather not answer that." Good Answer.
Thursday, October 02, 2003
Finally, the LA Times gives us what we all knew existed ... GROPINATOR
Wednesday, October 01, 2003
Schwarzenegger borrows 4.5 million for his campaign, just another example of Republicans (Issa) of buying their way into leadership.
"California's new campaign finance law, Proposition 34, sought to limit such loans, barring candidates from loaning their own campaigns more than $100,000. But the Schwarzenegger campaign maintains that the initiative allows candidates to obtain a bank loan of any amount."
Also, more evidence that Prop 34 was designed for a plutocracy - only wealthy people can borrow millions of dollars overnight. The article suggests that Arnold will be more beholden to his contributors now, hmmm. Campaign on "no special interests," borrow money, get elected, and then solicit special interest to repay his loan.