<$BlogRSDUrl$>

Thursday, October 30, 2003

Catching up with Arnie 

The Feinstein Report has been on a little vacation. Sort of a working vacation.

I've been neglecting this blog because of my efforts to insure quality entertainment gets to a theater near you. I've been working a lot. Yes, work - you know the activity so foreign to celebrity candidates and career politicians. Anyhow, the show must go on, even if it means my insightful and / or insulting comments get delayed in the process.

Though it's old news by this point, I have to get this off my chest. After Arnie's "grueling" campaign, the first thing he did was jet off to Idaho for a vacation. Has anyone ever told this numbskull people usually go to CALEEFORNIA for their vacation? What does this tell us about Arnie's commitment to the state? And who would pick Idaho, best known as the unofficial home of white supremacists? Strange. Then, to top that off, he shows up in Vegas at some bodybuilding contest. He's in Idaho, Vegas - the guy's allergic to California.

Oh and lookee here - Arnie is off yet again, this time to Washington DC, seeking dollars from his buddies in the White House. I guess this trip is fairly legit, fire disaster and all. But we'll see how far his personal charisma gets him when it comes to extracting greenbacks from 'W' and friends. Here's some free advice for "Octopus Hands Arnie" - I know you may be tempted, but please, please try to avoid groping Condeleeza Rice.

More old news
I enjoyed the minor palace coup in San Francisco last week when supervisor Chris Daly - temporarily in charge while Mayor Willie Brown was on a trip - snuck in a few political appointments. It was fun to see Willie, our version of Boss Tweed, sputtering about how "unfair" and "unethical" this was. Willie, of all people, should know politics is built on such sleazy, underhanded maneuvers. Good stuff. Anytime someone puts a thumb in the eye of a "professional" (corrupt) politician, I get a chuckle.

This brings up the issue of our wandering Gov and his arch nemesis, Lt. Gov Cruz. Will this same scenario play out in Sacramento? There is a precedent for this: many years back, Governor Jerry Brown was off campaigning for President and his Lt. Governor (the long forgotten Mike Curb) tried to appoint some judges. Will Cruz try a similar tactic? Doubtful, as he's a mild mannered sort not prone to such acting out. But still, one wonders....

Feinstein News Nugget
I secured yet another Feinstein Report exclusive. This time it's a transcript of the first meeting between Gray and Arnie. We all saw the photo op with the forced smiles and uncomfortable postures, but here's what went on behind the scenes. In deference to Arnie's cinematic pedigree, the transcript will be presented in movie script format:

FADE IN

INT CAPITOL BUILDNG - DAY
Capitol office entrance. GOVERNOR is prominently displayed on the door, beneath it, the name "Gray Davis" is partially visible. A WORKMAN is carefully scraping it off.

A LARGE CROWD OF SECURITY men push the workman aside and allow ARNIE - chiseled features, finely pressed suit - to enter the office. The door slams shut. GRAY DAVIS, a slight, grey haired man in a blue shirt, approaches the same door. A BEEFY SECURITY GUARD blocks him.

SECURITY GUARD
Where do you think you're going?

GRAY
I'm the Governor, this is my....

SECURITY GUARD
That's a good one (laughs). Just move along, sir.

GRAY
No, really...I'm the Governor.

SECURITY GUARD
(reaching for his baton)
Look Pops, if you want, we can do this the hard way...

Just then, the door opens and ARNIE sticks his head out.

ARNIE
Gray! Vat are you doing out there? Komm in!

GRAY squeezes by the guard and enters.

INT GOVERNOR'S OFFICE - DAY
The room is filled with SECURITY GUARDS. One grabs Gray and frisks him roughly.

GRAY
You know, I'm still Governor until all the votes
are certified...and this is still...ooof...whoa.

ARNIE
Oh, I'm sorry. I know, please have a seat in my,
uh - your - office.

Arnie leads him to a chair. His hand slips down.

GRAY
Hey! Did you just grab my ass?

ARNIE
What? Who -

GRAY
I can't believe you just groped me!

ARNIE
You sound like such a girl, get over it already.


The two sit. A GREY CAT suddenly jumps onto a nearby windowsill. He looks at Arnie with narrowed eyes.


ARNIE
I don't like the Vay that animal looks at me.

GRAY
Oh, that's just Capitol Kitty. He lives around here.

ARNIE
Vatever. Let's get down to business.

GRAY
Yes. Good. Well first of all, the Unemployment
Insurance program will be bankrupt soon and you'll
probably want to ask your "friend" George for some
emergency funds. Also, through no fault of my own,
that whole debt bond thing isn't really working out....

Gray notices Arnie is staring off into space.

GRAY
Arnold. Arnold...

ARNIE
Oh, I'm sorry, vere you talking?

GRAY
I was explaining some urgent matters you
might want to....

ARNIE
You know Gray, I've been thinking...

GRAY
Yes?

ARNIE
I've been thinking...there's a lot of wood paneling
on the walls here.

GRAY
Uh...

ARNIE
It really won't work with my furniture. How about
brushed aluminum? Sort of retro-modern. What do you think?

GRAY
You know, that's not…my thing. Back to the matter at hand,
you'll have about a ten billion shortfall if the debt bond
gets killed in the courts – not my fault of course. Add that
to the...

CAPITOL KITTY
He's lying.


Both men look at the cat, startled.

ARNIE
What the...?


CAPITOL KITTY
He's a liar, that Gray.

GRAY
Listen you! You'll be eating nothing but dry kibble
if you keep this up!

ARNIE
Never mind him. Vat is he lying about Kitty?

CAPITOL KITTY
That debt bond thing, he knew it'd never go
through. His financial guy - the one with the
glasses - told him so. It was a ruse for the
fake budget bill.

GRAY
Traitor! And after all I've done for you!

CAPITOL KITTY
Your wife was the one who fed me. You did nothing.
I hate you.

The cat lies down and begins to clean itself, purring.

ARNIE
Good Kitty!

Arnie walks to the door.

ARNIE
Time for our photo op Gray. Vee smile, make nice talk
you know the drill. (laughs) Don't Vorry, it'll all be over
real soon. At least for you.


Arnie swings the door open and we see CRUZ BUSTAMANTE crouched down, hand to ear - obviously he's been listening in.

CRUZ
Ooops! Oh, ahem...hi.


ARNIE
Who IS dis guy?


CAPITOL KITTY
Oh, don't mind him, he's just the guy who'll be house sitting
when you're off spending quality time in Idaho.

FADE OUT



THE END (?)









Monday, October 13, 2003

I'm Back 

Here I am again. The Feinstein Campaign Report has been renamed and revamped. So what will be different? Well for one thing, no more Mr. Nice Guy. Now that I'm a certified Ex-Candidate, I'm free to spew as much invective and vitriol as required for the situation. So to my legion of fans - all right fan - stay tuned for semi regular commentary on the news and current events. Thank you.

So it appears it's business as usual in Sacramento.

With Arnie poised to enter office as the first "Governor of the People," the public finally has a chance to pluck the bloated ticks from the emaciated carcass of state government. I'm talking about appointees to the endless state commissions, agencies and boards set to leave once Arnie takes his throne. So I was shocked - shocked - to discover that instead of cutting these useless positions, the Governor of the People is replacing each and every one of them. He's even seeking applications on his website, JoinArnold.com. Go apply now! You too could have a chance to be part of the "Off-Highway Motor Vehicle Recreation Commission," "Race Track Leasing Commission" or the highly influential, "Home Furnishing Bureau."

Join Arnold in making sure big, overgrown, unresponsive state government stays that way. Way to go, Arnie, you're off to a great start! Not one to miss an opportunity for political theater, I'll put my personal philosophy aside and apply for one these juicy ripe plums of state employment. Stay tuned as I detail the process in upcoming blogs.

Recall Election "Fun" facts:
21 million Californians are eligible to vote, but only about 15 million chose to register. And in this last election - with its "huge" voter turnout - only 9 million voters pulled themselves away from the TV long enough to cast a ballot. Just think what those 6 million voters could have done to change the outcome of the election.

Arnie's father was a Nazi, 6 million voters missing on election day...uh, wait a minute....


And now, Everything I Ever Needed to Know I Learned as a Recall Candidate,
or
The Awful Truth:

Thing One:
There's publicity and then there's publicity.

Of course the the holy trinity of recall publicity freaks, Mary, Gary and Larry garnered the lions share of the "minor" candidate vote. But what surprised me was the relatively poor showing of people like Garrett Gruener, who spent a pretty penny on advertising, received good press and had a reasonable message. Of course he bailed at the end to support Cruz, but you'd think he'd have done better, especially with all those banner ads in every online newspaper. And Georgy, with all the media interest she gained and an appealing campaign, showed low numbers as well. To be honest, I couldn't care less about "Ask Jeeves" Gruener, but I was sad for Ms. Russell - a regular person, showed a lot of spunk, passionate about her issues. I guess the voting public identifies more with a smut peddler or a washed up child star.

Thing Two:
It's all in a name - or at least a partial name.

Schwarzenegger meet Schwartzman - he has your missing 11,257 votes. Are some voters really that stupid? Yes.

Thing Three:
Jay Leno is a major league asshole.

The big chinned jokester connived with Arnie for the initial "surprise" announcement, then tried to cast the "other" candidates in a bad light with his hilarious little Tonight Show ambush. And lastly, the evil jester boldly shows up at Arnie's election night gig. Sure, a celebrity can support a particular candidate, but at least be out front about it, don't sneak around and use your dumb show to help a buddy. I'm sure NBC wouldn't want to be known as a patsy for sleazy politicians and their helpers. Or would they....?

Thing Four:
Reporters are like other people; they range from total slimebags to pretty decent folks.

I know, some may question my use of the term 'people' and 'reporters' in the same sentence, but I'm sticking to my guns. Only a few of the journalists I met showed any reptilian morphology. They do, with a few notable exceptions, belong in the species Homo Sapiens. It's not pleasant to be misquoted or be interviewed in a serious way and then show up in some wacky recall clown article, but I understand they're just doing their jobs. And sometimes their job is to make people look foolish. And all their hard work denigrating the little candidates and hurling muck at the big guys helped keep a lot of voters out of the voting booths on election day. So who says the press can't make a difference?

I did meet some reporters I considered intelligent and responsible. Maybe I'll write about them one day, but I'd hate to blow their cover.






Tuesday, October 07, 2003

Parting Words 

Dear Reader,

This is it, the long-awaited day of reckoning. What began as outrage towards crummy, arrogant politicians, and led to my unlikely campaign for Governor now ends this election day. Will I get 100 votes, or just 32? Who the hell cares? My candidacy was about getting some ideas out there and with the help of my clever campaign manager, I managed to meet that goal. So I win.

I was prepared to make my final Feinstein Campaign Report entry a slam piece on the big candidates. It was all written and ready to send. And it was pretty good too - real evil and nasty. Then I thought, what's the point? The major media have already done a great job knocking the big guys, what more could I add?

Instead, I'll take a different approach. I'm going to recognize some of the best Californians - and I'm not talking about candidates. I'm talking about regular people who haven't run for anything, regular people who have improved the state in their own, quiet way. These people go about setting things straight, righting the small wrongs, and generally doing good things. They may not get noticed much, but they keep plugging away.

Way back in my college days, I met a guy named Scott who worked with homeless people. I don't mean occasionally ladling out food during the holidays, this guy knew and worked with homeless folks on a daily basis. Yeah I know, everyone talks about the issue and plenty have worked on it, but this guy was on a single-minded crusade. He organized the usual protests, but also spoke eloquently before the local city council and worked with leaders for concrete solutions. And all this as a student. As a member of another student group, I worked with this guy and found him to be uniquely dedicated to his cause. Years later, after we'd all graduated, I learned Scott had become an ordained minister and continued with his mission, his flock now the homeless, unwanted people of the streets.

Raised in a lousy environment, Hana learned the hard way about interviewing and other practical skills to get jobs. After attending a respected private university on a hard won scholarship, she decided to help others from rough backgrounds get practical skills. She used her expertise to help soon to be released women inmates find and keep jobs - providing a service few think about. Everyone wants ex-cons to go straight, but they don't always think about concrete ways to make this happen. Hana also worked as a mediator and now sits on the Grand Jury. And she's raising two kids. In her spare time, she even helped me in my campaign.

I met Patricia in college, a young woman who came from modest beginnings; the daughter of an immigrant farm worker, she grew up in a ramshackle "house" in a labor camp. After attending university and working for various causes, she got into immigration law. While she worked for a time in the corporate realm, she turned down highly paid job offers to help out in non-profits. She excelled in helping lost causes; at one point assisting an African refugee who faced death at the hands of Hutus if he returned to his country. Every attorneys said couldn't be helped and wouldn't take his case, but Patricia found a way to save this man. She now works helping abused women immigrants gain status. She is one of the most dedicated people I know, finding ways of helping those who have nowhere else to turn.

The way I see it, politics is really about creating a better place for people, making some kind of change, fixing what's broken. And these selfless folks are doing just that without having to win a fancy political title. When the election results come in tonight and the winner struts on the stage before the flashing cameras, give a silent thanks to those invisible people sitting offstage, the faceless "do gooders" accomplishing things big shot politicos only talk about. And then ask yourself, who really belongs on that stage?

So here's to the real leaders of California: Scott, Hana, Patty and all the others like them. This campaign of ideas is dedicated to them, the ones who didn't just talk about change, they actually went out and did something.

Thanks to all those who've supported me and thanks for reading.

Dan

End of the Line 

Hundreds of people with brooms descended on the state Capitol Sunday, hell bent on sweeping out the old guard to make way for their pure leader. These Arnie followers, apparently prompted by automated calls to show up with cleaning implements, exhibited their intense loyalty and did just that.

I found myself walking through this crowd of bellowing, broom equipped supporters, armed only with my Dan Feinstein for Governor sign. A heavy set man with a shaved head caught a glimpse of my sign and hollered, "You're a girlie man!" Others just turned away in disgust. One older lady looked puzzled and asked, "Dianne Feinstein?"

So what brought me to this point? You might ask.

After my short, but notable visit to Pleasanton the day before, I boarded the rebel candidates bus and started my journey to Sacramento. This would be the end of the line for the bus and my campaign. The number of candidates on the bus had dwindled to seven; Cheryl Bly-Chester, Robert Cullenbine, Warren Farrell, Diana Foss, Dick Lane, Chris Sproul and yours truly. There was also a news photographer, Pauline Lubens. It was an interesting time on the bus and later at dinner getting to know candidates I hadn't met before. The next day there was a breakfast picnic of sorts in a local park with about twenty candidates showing up for pancakes.

Cheryl Bly-Chester, the go-getter of the group, had secured a permit for the north side of the Capitol steps - opposite of where Arnie and his followers were set to rally. By the time we were ready to march to the Capitol, our twenty candidates had dissolved to maybe twelve. So we marched with our signs through the gauntlet of Arnie devotees, around to the vacant north side. And there we stayed, campaigning to an empty lawn.

One of the candidates, Gerold Gorman, brought his PA gear and a few candidates took the opportunity to practice making speeches and debating to no one in particular. At one point, a homeless gentleman seem interested, but I think he was more attracted by the "candidate candy" I was passing out.

A few renegade candidates went to the south side where all the action was, but the CHP tried to prevent them from displaying their signs. Even in this, the most public of public spaces, some signs were apparently more equal than others. The sea of Arnold signs could not be sullied. Darin Price and Dick Lane managed to sneak in and exercise their first amendment rights despite this edict.

During a lull in this non activity, I checked my messages. I had one - great. "This is former Vice President Al Gore..." It began. "Vote NO on the recall... and for insurance...vote for Lt. Governor Bustamante, who is located on your ballot under the letter B." Thanks, Al.

The Arnie machine rolled in, did its usual act - with the new broom gimmick, "give me the broom, give it to me NOW!" - then quickly rolled back out. There wasn't much going on after that. Cheryl and Jon Zellhoefer still gamely tried to campaign to the stragglers coming by the north side, but the show was pretty much over. Earlier, William Vaughn and I helped take the candidate signs off the rebel bus before it took off. The bus was heading home and had to be put back in order. A documentary cameraman caught us pulling the signs off for a few minutes, then put his camera down. "That's kind of sad." He said.

And so it ended. This first experiment in true citizen democracy may not have ignited the popular sentiment like automated calls to broom wielders, but I guess it did showcase a few capable regular folks out there willing to run. I caught a ride out of town with Chris and Diana, and as we passed the north side of the capitol - I looked out the window. I swear I saw Cheryl and Jon - still shaking hands, still campaigning.






Monday, October 06, 2003

Goon Squads and Button Police 

The last hectic days of campaigning - or more aptly - campaign observing, have kept me from my true task, the fine art of blogging. This is one of the last entries of the Feinstein Campaign Report and I have much to write about in the time left. All the churning recall activity of the past weeks has culminated in a few days of high emotion and low politics. So there's plenty to report.

On Saturday, I managed to reconnoiter with the Candidate Coalition bus at the Pleansanton Fairgrounds, where it had followed Arnie's caravan of doom. The "minor" candidate's bus had a good run of media attention throughout the trip and this was the next to last stop. I planned to join the other candidates on the final leg of their journey to Sacramento.

It took me some time to find the bus. As I drove around seeing the familiar "Arnold" signs plastered on every available fence, a media filled "Predator" bus lumbered by, so I knew I was close. After a phone call to fellow candidate Diana Foss on the rebel bus, I zeroed in on the target. The parking lot was nearly full as people streamed into the fairgrounds. Happy, freshly scrubbed kids and beefy guys in T-Shirts walked in briskly to see their new leader. I tried to blend into the crowd.

As I approached the entrance to the venue, I saw a few of my fellow candidates stopped at the checkpoint. Someone asked if it was true they couldn't bring their signs in. "Wow, you're the smartest man here" The grinning gatekeeper said mockingly. Other questions were met with the same "Wow, you're the smartest man here" line. This scruffy security goon, who was perhaps a high school graduate - didn't understand the irony of the situation. He was talking to an ex-CIA operative turned University professor, an MIT graduate and successful entrepreneur and a college instructor. Eventually the candidates tossed their signs and went in. Only candidate Dick Lane remained outside, holding his sign aloft.

I was wearing my Feinstein for Governor button and got turned away. As I walked back to my car to stash the offending button, I saw candidate William Vaughn. He laughed when he saw me walking by. "I told you so." He said. The soft-spoken engineer candidate stood outside with his signs and buttons, also denied entry. He's all about criticizing state government for bad structural engineering policy; his campaign the most apolitical of the bunch. He was relegated to the area near the Arnie hucksters selling "Hasta La Vista, Davis" Hats and "Govinator" T-Shirts.

When I returned for another attempt at entry, I saw members of "Code Pink" just outside, protesting Arnie's purported groping and assaultive behavior. They wore their trademark pink apparel. One had pink handprints on the rear of her jeans.

Now button free and ideologically pure, I made it past the grinning goon, through the metal detector and by the final round of flinty-eyed political police. About the same time, a couple of women came through the security perimeter, one wearing a pink blouse. "Did you just happen to wear that color today, ma'am?" Asked the suspicious rent-a-cop. The woman was puzzled by the question. Another, more senior, security man approached for a more in depth interview - perhaps a full body search. I moved on.

I made my way to the mass of Arnold signs and ardent sign holders. It was a mountain of bodies stacked around the main event. I kept to the periphery, hearing, though not seeing, the Governor-in-waiting himself. Soon after he began his performance, "Vee will terminate Gray Davis!" I saw some Code Pink women shouting about Arnie's groping behavior. I couldn't make out exactly what they were saying, because nearby Arnie fans began to shout: "Arnold, Arnold! Arnold!" to drown them out.

Teams of security, uniformed and undercover, rushed to quell the minor rebellion. I saw one pink woman yanked from her spot in the crowd and shoved into an area out of view. More security arrived, mumbling into walkie-talkies. A few TV cameras atop the media platform swung around to catch the action as energetic Arnie supporters got into women's faces with the ever present Arnold signs.

After a bit, I made my way outside the venue and lingered near the designated Code Pink area. People were already leaving the event, passing by the colorfully attired protestors. One Arnie fan, a woman in her forties, yelled, "You stupid bitches - I'd let Arnold grope me any day! He can grope me any time he wants!"

So ended my Pleasanton experience. Next stop, Sacramento....


.

Thursday, October 02, 2003

The Shape of Things To Come 

Governor in waiting Arnie has already begun planning his grand coronation for fuhr - ah, I mean Governor - of CalEEfornia. In a Feinstein Campaign Report exclusive, my covert sources have leaked the transcript of a meeting between Arnie and his closest advisors: billionaire and tax advocate Varren Banquet, aging ex Secretary of State George Schlitz, and via the Spirit phone, the ghost of Joe Kennedy, king maker and patriarch of the Kennedy clan.

Arnie: Step one of my plan: I get Leni Riefenstahl to film the inauguration.

Varren: First of all, she's dead. Second of all, we save that kind of nonsense for the next term. No need to scare the voters right away.

Arnie: But I like her strong visual style.

Ghost of Joe: She's dead! Believe me, I know dead.

Arnie: If she's stiff, maybe she'll hold the camera more steady.

Varren: I think she was cremated - just like... well, you know.

Arnie: Okay, scratch that one. First step I cut the car tax, right?

Varren: Yeah good, then you just let the local counties reimpose it. The idiot voters will love you and direct their anger to local politicians. What could be better?

Arnie: Step two, tings will change - vee start the reign of terror!

Varren: Whoa, you're moving too fast...

Arnie: Vee arrest and execute Gray Davis?

Varren: No, knucklehead, you freeze spending.

Ghost of Joe: Isn't it already frozen?

Arnie: Vee freeze it even more. I played "Mr. Freeze" in zee Batman movie, I know about freezing.

Varren: He's right - it can always be more frozen. Hard as ice frozen.

Arnie: I'm shivering already, it's so frozen.

Schlitz: (waking up) What! Huh? Give me my blanket.

Varren: Good. Next, we get rid of prop 13 and really start to sock it to the evil middle class. They've been holding out on us.

Ghost of Joe: Don't Californians like prop 13?

Varren: Who cares, what are they gonna do, recall us?

(all laugh)



Tuesday, September 30, 2003

Another One Bites the Dust 

So Arianna is finally getting out of the race. About time, I say. What about her original plan to throw her support to Camejo if she polled lower than him? I guess that pesky ego of hers got in the way. I hear she's throwing her support to Davis. What a fraud. I knew it all along, the millionaire turned progressive is actually a shill for the corrupt career politician. Thanks for the memories, Arianna - time to drive off into the sunset in your gold plated Hybrid.

The election is just down the road, but for the non-millionaire candidates running behind the pack, we get to go the last few miles in style. We're taking the bus. The brainchild of candidate Jim Weir - the candidate bus will wind its way from San Diego to Sacramento, by way of the central valley and the Bay Area. It's supposed to shadow Arnie's bus route, or at least come close. And Jim will be following along in his Cessna, doing aerial reconnaissance.

It's not clear when or if I'll get on the bus, still working on logistics. But one thing's clear - the democracy ride will give the "minor" candidates a chance to meet the people in the small towns of the state and demonstrate the cooperation present in this disparate group of citizen candidates.

Recall Corporate Watch update:
In an earlier blog, I spoke about the online photo project set up by a company trying to sell digital cameras. The Candidate Camera site is now posting "the best" of these pictures for people to vote on. So out of all the one hundred plus candidates, the best pictures turned out to be from the "major" and wacky candidates. How interesting. You get to vote for Gary Coleman, Mary Carey, Arnie and few others. Like I figured, in the end, the corporate mischief makers will always turn the election into something silly. Hey, wasn't some famous photographer involved in this thing? I wonder what his cut was....

In the interest of good consumer reporting, here's my experience with the camera: it's a cute little thing, which makes pleasant chirping and whirring noises. In terms of functionality, it has some serious auto focus problems and no manual focus. And the anti-red eye feature is sort of hit and miss. An interesting anecdote, I submitted an image showing the red eye problem and even wrote about it in the picture's description. Oddly enough, when the picture appeared on the site, the red eyes were magically fixed! And there was no explanation about the picture being altered. Hmmmm. I guess they really are trying to sell cameras. Nice try, Gateway. By the way, I'll be sending the camera back.





Monday, September 29, 2003

Media Fair Play and The Dreaded Taco 

As we enter the final days of this nightmarish exercise in ego and hype, it's time to examine some lessons provided by the recall, from the perspective of the "minor" candidate. In a previous blog, (Sept 16), I looked at how the internet helped amplify the voices of us underfunded "tilting at windmill" types. Today let's look at role of the media and corporations in helping - or hindering - these same folks.

I've already sounded off about the Jay Leno ambush - dancing blue faced jesters and cheap insults designed to put the clown label on us little candidates. But not all in the media have been as devious as the man with the big chin and the small scruples. Some have actually shown fairness.

One of the first out of the chute was local TV station KRON - which offered a slot on their live morning show. My segment went smoothly, with a respectful interview of decent length, about 3-4 minutes. I saw a number a number of other candidates take advantage of this offer. It provided a good public service and proved a cool way to shock your co-workers, "Yeah, I was brushing my teeth watching and suddenly there you were on TV ...."

The next one to step up to the plate was the "California Channel," some kind of state government access operation. Usually their programming consists of state legislative proceedings - real snoozfests. But producer / host, John Hancock decided to try something unique: offer every candidate - big ones and little ones - a chance to answer very specific, very tough questions about state issues. It was a horrendous experience for me, but despite my poor performance, it was a fair deal - everyone got the same questions, in the same setting. And the crew was very pleasant. I did, however, have to travel to Sacramento - where I've never seen so many guys wearing bow ties on the street. That part was a bit chilling.

Infinity broadcasting, which owns radio stations all over the state, gave us all a one minute radio spot - to be played on some of their radio stations at non-specific odd hours. Not ideal, but hey, it's better than a poke in the eye with a sharp stick. And the Clear Channel stations gave us squat. So three cheers for Infinity. And I know mine played at least once, because some co-workers heard it and even repeated my slogan (I guess advertising does work).

Then a local television station, KTVU channel 2, allowed us all to tape a two minute spot. Of course, the "major" candidates got four minutes. This included Huffington - who's polling some pretty scant numbers these days, barely qualifying as "major." I would bet some of the more visible "minor" candidates would get the same numbers, if the poll takers ever bothered to ask about them. My spot plays at 11:00 pm on a Sunday - right when everyone is watching! Well, again, better than a poke in the eye....

So the responsible media types have done the right thing and in the process modeled how the media can participate in future clean elections. Surely, the minor inconveniences to these media outlets - who, by the way are using public airwaves - didn't put them out much. Such free access for candidates would go a long way towards making elections more about ideas, and less about big money. And it wouldn't cost taxpayers a cent. Something to think about.

Now onto the less responsible corporate entities:

Like a bad cold, the Taco Bell virus won't go away. I've gone into some detail about the "Taco Poll" before, now these corporate creepies have conjured another scheme to raise my hackles. This time it's an "online debate" to be presented on their trashy website. So they send me notification by express mail (with campaign style button included - oh joy), then, some overgrown cheerleader type named "Ashley" calls and leaves a perky message about the merits of the plan. She left her number and I, of course, phoned her back, wanting to get to the heart of the beast.

She was just as bubbly on the phone. Evil disguised with a smiling voice. After cutting through the crap, I finally determined the "online debate" is really a "guestbook" style presentation, where people leave comments and the candidate responds. Anyone who's seen such things on websites knows guestbooks = cranks. Every nut job with access to a keyboard will now be empowered to spew poorly worded hate missives. So some double digit job in Michigan makes a dumb comment and I'm supposed to spend my valuable time responding? Like I got nothing better to do. Sure, I'm only working 50 + hours a week and working on my campaign in my off hours - I got nothing but time.

It's bound to be yet another sinister corporate trick to make fools of us, but since since I've already debased myself on Leno, I got nothing to lose. Except maybe my marbles. Where do I get me one of them Burrito Stuffed Grilled thingees? Then I'll need my Official Chewy Recall mints afterwards. Wait, I'll take a picture of the whole thing with my Candidate Camera....



This page is powered by Blogger. Isn't yours?