Sunday, August 31, 2003

Music to my ears

The recall election has created a lot of noise; celebrity candidates major and minor, who is getting what money from whom, this poll, that poll - and what about the hanging chad? Lost in this cacophony are serious, lesser-known candidates. We know we're unlikely to win, but even getting our ideas heard is impossible.

What if there was some way to build our solo voices into a chorus - not all singing the same note, but harmonizing together?

In this sense, yesterday was the first day of chorus practice. About forty of the less publicized candidates came together for a Candidates Forum aboard an old aircraft carrier, the USS Hornet. It was an amazing turnout, with people coming as far away as LA and the Central Valley. I got to meet many of them; a CPA, a student, small business owners, attorneys, homemakers, all regular folks.

We met, we spoke, we agreed and agreed again. The amount of harmony present was remarkable. It's as if people in different parts of the state had the same idea - fed up with politics as usual, they decided to create change themselves. Phrases like "constitutional convention," "history making," and "unprecedented event" were heard. After a short time, and some discussion, we came up with a general statement for the press and went out together.

Interestingly, this unity was created with citizens of different political affiliations - Democrats, Republicans, Independents, Greens, and Natural Law.

In talking to the people yesterday, it's clear the less publicized candidates have a heartfelt desire to make an impact on state policy and help fix the state's problems. We may have different affiliations, but as a political chorus, we can be united. It remains to be seen if we can cut through noise of the clanking old political machine, but if we do, it won't be music to the ears of the people in power.

"A real leader faces the music, even when he doesn't like the tune." - Anonymous

Friday, August 29, 2003

Who wants to be a campaign millionaire?

In the clouded atmosphere of professional politics, we know ideas and substance often get in the way of the ultimate objective - to win the money race. The game has just started and leading the pack is, of course, Gray with nearly $4 million. Arnie has acquired $3.1 million so far - but if he hocks that huge blue ring of his, I'm sure he could add another thousand at least. And coming up third is Cruz, with a barely perceptible $836,000. Loser....

A few of the candidates spent yesterday appearing before the Indian Gaming Board to plead their case. Sort of "Gong Show" meets "What's my Campaign Line?" Where the correct answer gets the contestant that coveted Indian gambling money. Gray was first out of the chute, with a promise to let the Gaming Board appoint members of the gambling commission. "There are no better experts in Indian gaming than Indian tribes," beamed the aptly named Jacob Coin, a tribal executive. No doubt hearing the clink of his last name in Gray's words.

Not to be outdone, Cruz offered to lift restrictions on the number of slot machines tribes can operate. It's unclear whether Mr. Coin liked this as much as Gray's offer. I guess we'll just have to wait for the next report from the Fair Political Practices Commission. Hey, maybe Cruz can offer to put some Indian leaders on that commission - think of the possibilties. "There's no better expert on political graft than the people who shell out the graft" Mr. Coin could say. And of course he'd be right.

And in other financial news, apparently the pro recall group has fallen on hard times, with a measly $12,000 in their account. "It is clear that, without their sugar daddy, the pro-recall forces cannot sustain their efforts," A Davis underling sneered, referring to the loss of support from former candidate Darrell Issa."(this) tells you the general public is not interested in supporting the recall."

The public? Was the public really shelling out millions of dollars? I'd say the sugar daddy metaphor would apply more to benefactors like the Indian Gaming Board. And of course in the end, Gray will duck out the bedroom door while the taxpayers get screwed.

So this is where we stand, with the political analysts hanging on word of every dollar raised and spent, abacuses poised, waiting to see who wins the money game. Of course it's a different story for the less publicized candidates,though not entirely bleak.

In the interest of full disclosure, I'll reveal I've raised $0 in contributions but I did receive a digital camera from Gateway with a retail value of $399. This is for an online picture project on the recall: www.candidatecamera.com. No quid pro quo - just seems like an interesting idea, even with the prominent brand name. More responsible corporate involvement than Taco Bell's efforts I'd say.

Knowing I am far behind in the money game, I will work diligently to increase my contributions; a local bakery has said they'd "think about" contributing a loaf of day old bread to my campaign, and a friend has promised a stick of gum. I haven't gotten to an Indian casino yet, but when I do, I'll be hitting those new slot machines - it could be my only chance.

Thursday, August 28, 2003

What is my prop?

This is the question today. I was invited by the LA Times to be photographed as part of a spread on the candidates. The photographer indicated they're looking to reveal some of the candidate's personality and encouraged the use of props to help tell our story. One of the candidates is bringing a broom - kind of a "sweep the politicians out" theme. Another guy, a surfer, is bringing his board. So what should be my prop?

In a campaign with a major movie star and various lesser celebrities, it's easy for journalists covering the events to fall into the trap of a theatrical scenario with a simple plot line, major characters, minor characters, props, costumes - the whole production. For a reporter the question is: how's story going to be written? Certainly the goofy part of the recall has been told and has gotten tired. And the battle of the titans is continuing as expected, with an occasional bit of gossip here and there; past peccadillos, money from Indian tribes, what does Arnie think about...? Does Arnie even think? Boring. Same old movie script.

Well I'm pitching a new movie - not the same predictable tale. This is the story of regular folks, who've risked a lot of dough and time and decided to have a go at influencing public policy. Getting elected as Governor? Most know that's not possible, but still they continue on with the race. I think it's a pretty good premise. And as for setting, we've come up with a great location.

This Saturday, a group of the serious, but less publicized, candidates will have a "summit." The purpose will be to come up with some areas of agreement and develop strategies for getting our messages out. For those interested, it will start at 10:00 at the former Alameda Point Naval base, on the USS Hornet aircraft carrier/museum. We've invited the press and we'll see how many show up to tell our story.

And it's a great backdrop for a story about citizen candidates. This WWII era aircraft carrier reminds us of the citizen soldiers of the past - normal people who quit their civilian lives to serve a greater good. Today some of us have become citizen candidates to try and serve the greater good of fixing our great state.

So I guess the aircraft carrier is my prop. And like the ideas we're trying to get across, maybe a bit unwieldy to bring to a photo shoot.

Wednesday, August 27, 2003

I heard about a study by USC professor Richard Easterlin concluding increased income doesn't necessarily correlate to increased happiness. Now I could go off about having been through times of "decreased income" and times of greater income, to give my adm ittedly non-scientific thoughts on the subject. But this isn't about me.

Since the news is all abuzz with the topic of campaign money these days, the question should be: "does increased campaign income correlate to increased happiness in candidates?"

I could give some recent anectdotal evidence to see what conclusions may be drawn:

According to a report in the SF Chronicle, Gray met with one of his longtime backers, a Mr. Warren Hellman, who confessed to switching to Arnie's side. Upon hearing this, Gray reportedly snapped: "What, after everything I've done for you?" (I wonder what Gray did do for him? Another study there perhaps) Anyway, clearly the loss of this potential income made Gray very unhappy.

Arnie is taking a little heat for criticizing others for taking money - from special interests who'll expect pay back - then taking such money himself. "I don't promise anyone anything. There's no strings attached to anything." Says Arnie. It sounds like he's becoming unhappy about people seeing him take the money, yet seems perfectly happy actually taking it.

Then our favorite Number Two Man is getting dinged for exploiting loopholes in prop 34 - the campaign finance reform initiative - to receive a $300,000 check from Indian tribes. One of Cruz's apparatchiks responded: "We're abiding by the way they wrote it, we didn't write Proposition 34. If they want to change it, they need to change it." "They?" Who's "they?" Isn't Bustamante part of the "they" involved in changing laws, advocating for laws, using the bully pulpit to create change? So again, he's unhappy with others seeing the money change hands, but evidentally pretty pleased getting it.

In terms of the citizen candidates, we're in the same happily underfunded boat. Or is it really that happy? We're all so frustrated by our inability to buy our way in with ads, PR teams and paid spokespeople, we're having a citizen (read no money) candidate summit this weekend to discuss strategy. So for the lesser money candidates, lack of funds doesn't equal "happy days are here again."

Of course we could create another study looking at how increased campaign funds relates to voter happiness. But, no - that's not really an important variable. What was I thinking?

In conclusion, I would like to ask Prof essor Easterlin - strictly in the interest of vigorous scientific study - to consider giving up some of his non-happiness producing income (which, as a tenured USC professor, I'm sure unhappily large),and give said money to my campaign. My hypothesis: non-happiness producing income can be converted into happiness producing campaign funds. Socio-political alchemy of sorts.

It may not be good science, but it might be good citizenship.


Tuesday, August 26, 2003

Topic one: The gloves come off

"Gray Davis with a receding hairline and a moustache,"
Is how Arnie describes our favorite Number Two Man. I have a problem with this. Sure, I've made Cruz the butt of my jokes, calling him "a rotund little man with a big title" or "a cherubic man with no discernable job duties." But when I write such things, it's coming from a lower tier, never heard of before candidate railing against the entrenched power structure. And I'm writing it on a blog with maybe 6 or 7 readers (on a good day). But when superstar Arnie talks, it's coming from a leading contender - and everything he says gets picked up and repeated by the media.

So I say bad move Arnie, stick with your magic blue ring to hypnotize the voters. Quit with the personal attacks, or at least make them funnier. In the coming weeks, expect the level of discourse to decline even further:

Budget? What does Bustamante know about the budget - he can't even budget his food.

Budget? It's what Bustamante can't do to his belt after he eats meal. Budge it...

It's a good thing Davis is being recalled, Bustamante was running out of things to eat.

Face it, he's just fat and I have big muscles. And more hair. Did I mention the hair?

Vote for me dammit! Or I will destroy you all!

Topic two: That old Bell magic

I was going to leave this topic alone, since I've covered it already. Then I got the big brown envelope in the mail...

A little background: since becoming a certified candidate, I've received a deluge of mail - companies selling campaign signs and election knick knacks, media outlets offering ad space, questionnaires from every conceivable group - even a company offering to fly my message off the end of a plane (!). But lingering in this pile, I see the big brown envelope, with Taco Bell emblazoned on it, all proud and happy.

Enclosed was a chirpy little letter announcing the "Taco Poll." The letter went something like this:

Dear joke candidate,

Since you're obviously a loser, we'd like to rub this fact in your face by showing our total lack of respect for both you and elections in general. Yesterday, we launched the Taco Poll, asking Californians (the normal ones, not the nut jobs like you) to "put their vote where their mouth is," simply by coming into California Taco Bell restaurants and selecting menu items.

We'd describe the menu items here, but frankly we don't eat the stuff ourselves and just writing about it, well, makes us ill. But we'd like to thank you for being part of our little project. If this works out, we have an idea for a TV spot where all the "lesser" candidates (this means you) climb out of a clown car - all dressed in colorful attire, waving oversized ballots. A perfect opportunity to get your message out to an even wider audience!

As a corporation with outlets all over the world, we have no official stance on elections or democracy - so we figured, heck, why not make a funny joke out of it? Truthfully, we only believe in money. Lots and lots and lots of money. Join us in our quest to make even more money and to "Think Outside The Bun."

Best regards,

You Friends at Taco Bell

At least this is how I remember it - or maybe I was just reading between the lines...

Monday, August 25, 2003

Due to numerous complaints from "sensitive" people, todays blog entry has been deleted.

Tune in tomorrow for the more bland inoffensive thoughts.

Thank you,

The Management

Sunday, August 24, 2003

The Tragedy of the Unrealized Hero

It has all the hallmarks of a great story - the hard working, young man from simple beginnings toils in the sun-baked, dusty valley of California. Hearing about a promising future, our hero drives across the country in a beat up pickup to take a low-level political job in DC.

The job fires something in the man as realizes he can help people like himself. Moving up slowly, the unassuming man cut from cheap cloth never stands out - except in that he doesn't stand out. The brilliant sons and daughters of privilege ignore the hard working, dull man as they buy and sell people's futures.

Eventually the modest man gets a big job, an important job, but he spends his time dedicating buildings and announcing new coloring books. Then, unexpectedly, the arrogant man at top is about to be replaced. The people are looking for someone better, maybe the unassuming man. But here's where the tale goes wrong. Our man may not be exactly as we've seen.

If we go back to our story and look closer, we see the furtive glance, the handshake in a shadowy corner. We see the cold influence of big money contributions. The privileged types have compromised the good man from the hot, dusty valley.

So the man walks onto the stage, at what should have been his moment of triumph. Instead of presenting a vision of change and reform, we get a tepid speech by a tepid man. His ideas are lukewarm, protecting special interests and neglecting the people. We see our potential hero is no hero at all.

And so I return to the questions of this campaign. Where do we find the leaders not owned by big money or special interests, And do we need heroes or do we need regular people with honesty and common sense?

(To honor the memory of unrealized dreams everywhere, the "All the News That's Fit For Cruz" feature has been retired)

Saturday, August 23, 2003

Victus Populi

The election is still weeks away, but the voting has already started if you look at the tabloid media. It seems Taco Bell is offering California voters the chance to cast their votes early in the form of selective "food" purchases. To vote for Arnie, you get some ersatz beef thingee, to vote for Gray, you choose the limp chicken taco and to vote for any of the other 135 candidates - you buy some godawful crap called the "stufft grilled doyoureallywantoeatthis." I may have gotten the names wrong, but you get the idea.

Legal disclaimer:
Now let me just say (don't sue me) I'm certain the material Taco Bell offers (don't sue me) is wholesome and entirely safe to eat (don't sue me). Yum! What is said here is simply the personal opinion of the author and hopefully protected by some pesky amendment to the constitution. Thank you.

Now I like debasing our election system while consuming fast food as much as the next guy, but what troubles me is something deeper. Call it the Taco Bell-ization of the recall election. It's already been decided the race is between Arnie and Gray. Hell, they've even lumped Bustamante in with the rest of the rabble - and heaven knows he's earned some level of respect - just see today's "All the News That's Fit For Cruz". Taco Bell is only reflecting what is reported in the major newspapers, said by the professional opinion makers, shown on TV. The trend is to provide a fast, tasty, easily consumable election story.

Where I used to work, most Fridays I'd go with co-workers to a place called the Food Court. This place was bedlam - crowded with people, competing signs and food booths everywhere - but you could get a falafel, Vietnamese, Greek, Thai, an American hamburger, Afghani, Cajun, even (real) Mexican food. Anything, everything. Sure it wasn't all great, but some was quite good and you definitely had a choice.

Fast food joints by their nature need to limit their selection. I get it. There's no way to have every possible choice. So pick 1, 2, or 3 - make your choice, hurry up, there's a hungry fat guy behind you. But what if you don't want the limp Gray Chicken or the greasy Arnie beef? What if the lumped together third choice doesn't quite satisfy you? Well it's almost lunch time. I say go to the food court and have a walk around.

Todays "All the News That's Fit For Cruz" (the Dreaded Life of a Lt. Governor)
A rerun of my favorite headllines:

July 13, 2003
"Lt. Gov. Unveils Coloring Book Promoting Diversity"

February 19, 1999
"Lt. Governor Bustamante Visits Salinas; Declares Friday 'Freeze Assistance Awareness Day'"

November 19, 2002
"Lt. Governor Cruz Bustamante expands 'Operation Gobble'"

Friday, August 22, 2003

On Wednesday, Governor in waiting Arnie convened nineteen of his closest financial advisors for a summit on the California economy. The attendees included billionaire investor Warren Buffet, eighty three year-old former Secretary of State George Schultz, and a group of financially savvy extras from central casting.

While it was a closed door session, my undercover reporter Milton Mietbol managed to conceal a microphone in the room. In an exclusive to the Feinstein Campaign Report, here's a transcript of that meeting:

Arnie: Velcome. Vee are heir to discuss how to fix CalEEfornia's economy and...
Buffet: I bid one million dollars!
Arnie: No Varren! I'm not selling CalEEfornia - vee are hier to...
Buffet: I'm talking cash, you dumb kraut!
Schultz: Who? Are we on break- where's the bar?
Arnie: Listen, vee need to find a vay to raise...
Buffet: Okay knucklehead, I'll give you a mil five, but I ain't taking the La Brea tar pits.
Arnie: Varren, listen, even if I were selling - and I'm not saying I am - you vould have to take the La Brea tar pits, it's part of the deal.
Buffet: No go, you Hun bastard! The pits are right out, that place gives me the creeps. Two mil - final offer...
Schultz: Waiter!
Arnie: Please George, dis isn't a restaurant, dis is dee economic...
Extra1: Excuse me, if we're ordering, I'd like to mention I'm a vegan and...
Buffet: Who let that freak in?
Extra2: Can I get a pastrami on rye?
Arnie: (bangs on desk) Quiet! Everybody get down! Please - vee have to be serious! Vee need to find a vay to increase revenue without raising taxes and keep education safe so the people of CalEEfornia vill enjoy a prosperous, bright future!

(long pause)

Buffet: Oh, please.

(raucous laughter)
Arnie: I had you there for a minute!
Schultz: Waiter? Oh waiter!

Here's a good discussion of the budget from Daniel Weintraub at the Sac Bee (go to the Aug. 21 entry)

And my message extends down under, in an interview with an Aussie journalist Greg Tingle

Now today's: "All the News That's Fit For Cruz"
(or - the Dreaded Life of a Lt. Governor)

May 2, 2001
"Lt. Governor Cruz Bustamante Invests In Founders Bank, Opens New Bank Account"

November 16, 2001
"Lt. Governor Cruz M. Bustamante Brings 'Operation Gobble' to San Diego"

February 19, 1999
"Lt. Governor Bustamante Visits Salinas; Declares Friday 'Freeze Assistance Awareness Day'"

Thursday, August 21, 2003

The Myth of the Expert Politician

I was invited to be part of a PBS program interviewing the candidates. They provide the questions in advance and as I was going through the list, I was struck by the amount of specific detail it covered. While I understand the desire to deal with substantive issues, I wonder if their approach is influenced to a degree by the myth of the Expert Politician.

The myth goes something like this: somewhere there exists a person, akin to a wizard or shaman, with all the knowledge and all the answers. This Expert can rattle off facts and figures, then magically cure our ailments, financial or social. People are always looking for this Expert, but the Expert is never found. Politicians in power often claim to be the Expert and scoff at others vying for their job, because they lack this special knowledge.

Bill Clinton had elements of the mythical Expert; he is known to have an incredible memory for the minutiae of policy and numbers. He used these skills to good effect in the various debates. Arnie recently surrounded himself with 23 minor shamans to imbue himself with their expertness, though he himself is clearly not the Expert. "The public doesn't care about figures." He says.Of course he's wrong."CalEEfornians" may not care to know the numbers, but they want their Expert to know.

We're searching for the Expert, when the real experts are all around us. These are the people who've gained by experience the knowledge of funding their education, running a small business, teaching our kids, being without health insurance, being unemployed - the expert knowledge of everyday life.

Amateur politicians and citizen leaders built this nation. Sure, now all we see are the boys with the haircuts and the suits, delivering polished lines like Experts. But don't be fooled, the only ones able to solve the problems are regular people with common sense. We have found our expert leader and that leader is us.

Due to illness, the "All the News That's Fit For Cruz" feature is on hiatus. Tune in tomorrow for more scintillating headlines about our favorite Number Two Man.

Wednesday, August 20, 2003

I'd like to talk today about child rearing.

Now I know what you're thinking, what does raising kids have to do with the recall campaign? Two words: tough love. Our favorite number two man in Sacramento titled his economic "plan," "Tough Love for California."

Considering "tough love" is a philosophy for raising out of control kids, I feel slightly confused. I mean, are the people of California unruly kids needing papa Bustamante to set us straight? What did we do to deserve this "tough love?" Aren't the unruly ones the juvenile thinkers in Sacramento who increased spending while tax revenues went down? Weren't these the same ones wringing their hands helplessly, while the energy bandits ran off with our money?

Bustamante almost got it right. The idea we're all in this together is a good concept, but let's work as adults to find a solution. I think people are willing to help out in a crisis, but they don't like being dictated to - or treated like kids. Try again Cruz.

Gray took a different approach. His "mea culpa" speech sounded more like a kid trying to wriggle out of bad spot by pointing the finger at everyone else. A more adult approach would have been to take responsibility and then describe how he was going to fix the problem. Hey Gray, just admit you broke the damn window and tell us how you're going to pay for it.

I don't have kids, but my sister does and she uses "time outs" for bad behavior. Come Oct 7, I think we'll find who the adults are in this equation, when the voters give Gray a long, long "time out."

And now today's "All the News That's Fit for Cruz"
(or - the dreaded life of a Lt. Governor)

Before his epiphany about Tough Love, Mr. Number Two was working on other compelling issues:

December 21, 1999
"Lt. Governor Cruz M. Bustamante to Kick-Off Vons Holiday Food Convoy"

April 19, 2000
"Lt. Gov. Cruz M. Bustamante Praises California Census Response Rate"

July 11, 2001
"Lt. Governor Cruz M. Bustamante Donates Blood At Children's Hospital"

and significantly....

January 28, 2002
"Lt. Governor Cruz Bustamante Appoints New Press Secretary"

Tuesday, August 19, 2003

Today I'm thinking about the news.

Up to this point, most people's opinions about the candidates have been formed by news coverage. Through this coverage, we saw Arnold start his campaign to address California's problems by traveling to New York to have his picture taken.

Then we saw Gray in front of a gas station saying something profoundly uninteresting about nothing related to what people are concerned about. And today we'll hear Gray's long awaited "mea culpa" speech, after which we're supposed to give him a big group hug and let him screw up for another three years.

I have my own mea culpa. I feel I may have been a tad harsh when, in a previous entry, I referred to Lt. Governor Cruz Bustamante as a "rotund little man with a big title." Such personal invective has no place in any campaign, and I'm sorry I characterized the number two man in Sacramento as such. I should have called him a "cherubic man with no discernable job duties."

Now I'm sure Mr. Bustamante is a fine fellow with many sterling qualities. It's just I can't figure out what he's been doing to earn his $131,000 a year. To that end, I've decided to create a new feature called:

All The News That's Fit For Cruz
(or - the dreaded life of a Lt.Governor):

Today's offering:

July 13, 2003
"Lt. Gov. Unveils Coloring Book Promoting Diversity"

November 19, 2002
"Lt. Governor Cruz Bustamante expands 'Operation Gobble'"

August 22, 2001
"Cruz M. Bustamante Building Opens in Visalia School District"

To give myself equal time, here are some links to stories featuring me. From the good folks at KRON TV:

KRON story

And from a brilliant, incisive reporter at the Sacramento Bee, Daniel Weintraub, there's this:

SacBee Insider

(scroll down to the Aug 18 entry)

Monday, August 18, 2003

The Circus and Beyond

I hear a lot of talk about the recall election being a "circus." Let's remember the real circus has been going on in Sacramento for the past five years - featuring one especially scary clown. But let's look beyond the circus metaphor a bit.

Back in the day when the circus came into small towns to entertain, there was another type of show also passing through. It was called a "Chautauqua" (shE taw kwE). One source says Chatauquas could be thought of as a "rural 19th century American's Public Broadcasting System." These travelling shows provided education, a little entertainment - and sometimes religion - to people hungry for knowledge.

The concept was not just to entertain, but to edify. It was where "our ancestors went to recharge their intellectual batteries."

So in this recall we do have the circus candidates: the strong man, the two-faced politician, the dolled up pretty ladies, the small man, the half millionaire, half socialist - but we also have the Chautauqua candidates. These aren't sideshow entertainers, but regular people presenting ideas to educate voters about the real issues facing our state.

So you might see a small businessman trying to get the message out about lowering workers comp insurance, you could have a young high tech worker with a plan to clean up the corrupted political process, a teacher with a vision for improving education with technology. And you might even have a guy with a famous sounding name offering specific solutions for fixing the budget mess and improving the state over the long run.

Teddy Roosevelt said, "Chautauqua is the most American thing in America!" And if Mr. Roosevelt were alive today, I believe he'd be proud of our citizen candidates - travelling apart from the circus, in a virtual Chautauqua circuit on the internet.

Sunday, August 17, 2003

Topic: Too much democracy?

On "Meet the Press" this morning, the California recall was discussed. One of the guests was columnist Joe Klein, who said the recall represented an "excess of democracy." My first reaction was outrage. But perhaps this topic deserves further discussion. Is there such a thing as too much democracy?

Let's look at some examples in history; before women got the right to vote in this country, elections were more orderly. Restricting voting rights to men kept democracy under control. But after women got the vote, democracy increased to the point where now every politician must address women's issues. And we even have women candidates - making ballots longer and more complex.

Years ago in the south, the white establishment kept democracy from becoming too excessive by limiting the vote to white folks. Mr. Klein says democracy is really meant for an "informed citizenry." Well back in those days, African Americans were given special tests to determine if they were indeed "informed citizens," of course few passed these arcane tests. And with the addition of the poll tax, the whites were able to effectively keep democracy from running amok.

The "excess democracy" created by the recall may result in an election with some joke candidates. It may mean a long ballot. And yes, maybe every voter isn't as learned or "informed" as Mr. Klein. But given the alternatives, I'll choose a little extra democracy anytime.

Saturday, August 16, 2003

Headline: Bustamante surges ahead of Arnold in the Polls

First thoughts: Busta-who? Come on, does anyone really know the rotund little man with the big title? So he's occupied the office next to Davis for five years, what has he done? We've never seen this guy in public. Oh wait, he did give a speech once, to a group of African American labor activists and used the "N" word. He claims it just "slipped out." Huh?

So after five years of Bustamante hiding in his office, bending paper clips and sharpening pencils, he's now the savior of the Democratic party. Because some puppet master at the DNC has given him the thumbs up, we're supposed to rally around the new leader. Well, we don't have to take who they give us. For the first time ever, the closed political system has opened just a little and a few regular people have squeezed in. Here's just a few who've caught my eye (all more qualified than Bustamante):

Bob "Butch" Dole (a Republican, but an okay guy)
Dan Feinstein (my personal favorite)
Garrett Gruener
Johnathan Miller
Georgy Russell

Friday, August 15, 2003

The massive blackouts back east got me to thinking about some other blackouts. Remember when the lights were going out all over California? Remember how it disrupted people's lives and hurt business throughout the state?

In our case, it wasn't a technical glitch, it was a scheme by shakedown outfits like Enron to steal more money from taxpayers. Blackout blackmail, pure and simple. Am I bringing this up to bash Davis? No, that's too easy - instead, I want people to think about their favorite movie star candidate. It was reported today (LA Times) that in the midst of this blackmail scheme against the state, Arnold and his political pals met with none other than Enron's Ken Lay who proposed even more deregulation to solve the problem. What are Arnold's thoughts about deregulation? Does he still support Ken Lay - seen by many as head of the energy crime syndicate?

Will the media ask Arnold about this? Or will there be now be an information blackout?

Thursday, August 14, 2003

Headline: Schwarzanegger picks Warren Buffet as his "financial advisor."

First thoughts: the billionaire will help the millionaire shaft the little guy in California. And If Warren Buffet really had some ideas about helping California, why the hell didn't he come forward before this? What's his secret plan? Just a PR ploy from the candidate who is all name and no substance.

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