Tuesday, April 29, 2008

Good Cause, Bad Company

Nu├▒ez denounces ICE raids on businesses, but he did so with execs of American Apparel - a company that gets way more credit than it's due for fashion forward designs like . . . tube socks.

Nevermind the founder's highly sketchy relationships with young employees. Nevermind their alternating heroine-chic or kiddy porn-chic advertising campaign. They demand credit for not exploiting their employees - something no one should be doing to begin with, but hey, go you.

Haven't We Met Before?

The year was 2002. Then-Assembly Speaker Herb Wesson was talking about a stagering deficit of $21 billion-with-a-b. So today's news of a $20 billion budget deficit is neither surprising, nor does it seem insurmountable.

It makes me wonder why in the hell we recalled Gray Davis, but then again, most things in Sacramento make me wonder about that.

I think my favorite anecdote from the 2002 deficit was: even if the state closed the University of California (no, all of it, every campus) AND Corrections (no, all of it, every prison), that would still recoup only about $9 billion. I'm sure you'd get more now, adjusted for inflation, but you can see the problem.

What happened between 2002 and today to help us end up back where we started? Then, dot-coms had busted, now, the housing market has busted. Then, we struggled and sweated through a nasty Sacramento budget season bargaining with the almighty [voter] that if they just let us make it through this, we'd do something to change the budgeting structure and our way of handling money.

And then . . . I guess we just got busy.

(but p.s. don't worry anyway, the Governor was just speaking rhetorically. It's not so bad - yet.)

Friday, April 25, 2008

How Stimulating

Bush says rebates going out Monday will boost economy

Will they?

"The money is going to help Americans offset the high prices we're seeing at the gas pump, the grocery store, and also give our economy a boost to help us pull out of this economic slowdown," Bush said.
Let's do some math.

Most people's check: $600

If gas is $3.89/gal, that's about 154 gallons of gas.

If you have a 20 gallon tank (a high estimate for non-SUVs, a fair to low estimate for SUVs), that's 7.7 tanks of gas.

If you commute the googled-it-up American average of 16 miles, one way to work, or 32 miles round trip, that's 12.5 days of commute, per tank, if you get 20 mpg (a generous estimate for SUV drivers).

So you get about 3 months of gas out of your stimulus. That's not awful, but it doesn't stimulate the economy either. Someone check my math though . . .

I would think it wouldn't go far on groceries either, with food prices rising. And again, it won't really stimulate much if people are only spending to live. We have built this country on living to spend, dammit!

Mmm, Math And The Electoral Process. Tasty!

Doing the math, it turns out, isn't so easy. (h/t Rick Hasen)

Tuesday, April 22, 2008

Money?

One of the MSNBC commentators, Rachel? I should know her name by now, anyway, she claims the important number out of tonight won't be the margin, it will be the fundraising bounce. To which Pat Robertson said, rightly, money? What good was money to Barack Obama? He's sitting on $40 million and change - he tried to bleed HRC to death in PA and failed. So what good is all that money. To which Rachel replied she'd rather be Obama sitting on that warchest having lost PA.

To which I say - are you crazy?

The monied candidate usually loses. They can win, but they don't always.

See, eg: Checchi, Al; Harman, Jane; Romney, Mitt . . .

No?

You Look Like A Candidate From Abercrombie & Fitch

Anyone notice the 3 dudes directly behind Obama as he gave his speech were wearing A&F gear? One with a giant FITCH down his shirt. And they kept looking at each other and laughing. This is especially noticeable if you watch the speech in double time courtesy of your DVR or Tivo. ANd they keep talking. And making phone calls.

Who did his advance and why didn't they catch these dudes. 'Cause Jon Stewart will - I guarantee it.

That cannot be a coincidence, can it? If so, these dudes need to pay attention to their wardrobe choices when they go out.

Changing The Metric

Ah, swap the data set - classic.

The Clinton camp, according to Harold Ford, Jr. (who would have been a great candidate, btw and must be, like Bill Richardson, looking around and going, wait, how did I end up not-there?), has changed the metric tonight from delegate counts to popular vote count. Of course - either camp would do that. Play to the ignorance of the public on the issue of how we really select candidates - it isn't really important - and look at the electability question as you attempt to campaign at national level (rather than the party level).

Both candidates certainly DO need to start campaigning against McCain rather than each other. It would work on both levels anyway. They won't though. I kinda see HRC as the most guilty party on that front.

(I like Harold Ford, Jr. Always have. As the youngest elected MOC, he spoke to a group I was with in DC way-back-when. He was great. Memorable.)

The Upside Of Continued Indecision

If - duh - PA doesn't give us The Answer, at least we'll have a chance to talk about West Virginia. And you know I'm all over that. I bet I can get guest bloggers on that one. Rad.

What Happened To Tim?

Anyone watching MSNBC this evening? Tim Russert's hair is all mussed. He looks like a pundit on fire - like he's finally be driven 'round the bend after being called upon to comment on the race after each additional percentage worth of precincts report. It's driving me crazy, and I'm not on television.

Poor barst is spun out.

Whom Do Superdelegates Represent?

I'd say themselves. It's not my understanding that they achieve their posts to represent a given population. They may be representative OF, but they may not be representativeS of. Does that make sense?

Are they supposed to look at their district or demographics and go that way?

I may have turned in my thesis nearly - egads - seven years ago, but the inquiry never ends.

1% to 3% - Shouldn't We Wait?

As just admitted on MSNBC, the margin is the story here, so why does MSNBC call it for Hillary now? With 1%, we had a 60/40 split and 2 seconds later, at 3%, we had a 55/45 split.

Chill, kids. And tell me which parts of the state are reporting.

Because Probable Cause Is For Suckers

Laptops fair game for airport customs searches

Awesome.

Falls under the border searches exception - but does it apply at any airport? Just international airports? In all terminals? Or just international terminals?

Monday, April 21, 2008

Stupid News Article Quotations

From an article about Native American remains found under a Marin landmark:

"I think they really should have disclosed what they found," said Shawn McGhie, who lives about a half-mile from the Fireside.
Really? Who are you? Why is your input important? I mean, you're probably a great person, but this is what I don't get about 9/10 of reporting these days. Disclosure of such finds aren't required under law. And things went down the way they should have. No one is really mad it seems. But let's find someone to represent the opposing view, not that it's very opposing.

Playing The Expectations Game In PA, And, The Importance Of GOTV

Obama predicts Clinton win in Pa. but says it will be close

Oh, does he? How Clintonian.

If tracking is true, Obama leads in vote-rich Philly, while Clinton leads pretty much everywhere else - from Pittsburgh through the red center.

GOTV is key. And I know Philly GOTV. With the right operation, you can win PA based on Philadelphia turn-out alone. The question is, does Obama have the field program to turn it out? I haven't heard much about either camp's field program since the very early days of the Iowa caucuses. My prediction: regardless of the outcome tomorrow, Wednesday's papers will contain analyses galore on who got whom to show up for whom.

This morning I had to rub the sleep from my eyes as I saw MSNBC/McClatchy's numbers on the margin for PA bowlers and beer drinkers. No really. We have cross-tabs for EVERYTHING these days. The guess was that, while Clinton leads in the redder ends of the state, Obama may succeed in keeping her people home by giving them enough negative information about her trustworthiness to make her less worth the effort.

Who has the most union support? Despite the demise of manufacturing in Pennsylvania, labor is still damn powerful in the Keystone State. Don't you question it and don't you forget it, my friends. With the unions seemingly split (there's a whole 'nother post there about the future of labor - but you probably won't see that post here), I'm not sure who I'd look to next for an indication of the group with the most organized program to devote to GOTV for either candidate on Tuesday. Ummm . . . yeah, no, I'm sorry - my head's too full of union boss anecdotes to recall who the next strongest walkers and callers were with. Well, MoveOn.org, but that's not really helpful in this context.

Oh, and us, dispatching the union volunteers, others, etc. So who from our group might still be there? There weren't that many native Pennsylvanians so I'm not sure. But there were many avowed Clinton supporters on post-election days in 2004. That was before Obama's rise.

I'll be interested to see the data on Wednesday . . . .

Friday, April 18, 2008

Seatbelts!

Am I a total killjoy?

Check out this clip of fun, backstage interviewage from The Office:



Note the problem?

I'm pretty sure the gals are in the back of a limo (at least a towncar) heading South on the 405. Maybe north - but it looks like the Mullholland pass, either way.

Why isn't the pregnant lady wearing a seatbelt? Why aren't either of them.

And people give Brit sh*t.

Sigh: Art Students

So, there's this Yalie who said she did some nasty stuff for her art project. Then the school says no, she didn't. Then she says, basically, well, I did stuff, but who knows if I did the stuff that would make people mad. Get the whole story here and make sure you read the linked Yale Daily News articles, especially the second, updated one. The Chron has the hoax part of the story up - but not the student's subsequent de-un-hoaxing talk.

Basically, this student is full of sh*t, but probably was never full of fetus.

I hate too-cool-for-school-ness.

Throwback Topic: Time For A Little Voting Rights Coverage

It's been awhile since we've had a post on voting rights or VRA litigation. Via Rick Hasen's site, this post on 'The Trivialization of Voting Rights?'

I think the facts of the case in Prawfsblawg post support the contention that knee-jerk opposition to modifying the VRA is misplaced and ignorant. Here, the VRA's Section 5 preclearance process is clearly not being used for its intended purpose, but rather for partisan obstacle course construction and obstruction generally. That's not cool. And, as Rick Hills says, this trivializes voting rights and voting rights litigation. An adverse ruling could kick out legs that might have been useful in cases of actual voting rights violations.

Thursday, April 17, 2008

Sometimes I Wonder Why I Don't Get Paid To Do This

Gibson, Stephanopoulos criticized for debate moderation

See, like I was saying as it was happening last night . . . .

Okay, the point of the article is that A LOT of people agree - so maybe I'm not so special.

... the first three issues raised concerned comments made by Obama's former pastor, the Rev. Jeremiah Wright; comments that Obama made about the draw of guns and religion to some rural Americans; and Clinton's false claim that she had been under sniper fire in Bosnia while first lady.

Obama was asked about why he hasn't worn an American flag pin on his lapel, and his relationship with a former member of the Weather Underground.

All of these issues were raised before Iraq and the economy came up.

Will Bunch, a Philadelphia Daily News writer, posted an open letter to Gibson and Stephanopoulos on his blog. He wrote that he was so angry that "it's hard to even type accurately because my hands are shaking." He said the ABC newsmen spent too much time on trivial matters that didn't concern most voters.

"By so badly botching arguably the most critical debate of such an important election, in a time of both war and economic misery, you disgraced the American voters, and in fact even disgraced democracy itself," Bunch wrote.
Pretty much, yeah.

Wednesday, April 16, 2008

Meet My Friend Steve. Vote For Him

Wait, different Steve, different race - but thanks for that last vote for Steve, he won. Now I mean this Steve:



I'm asking you to support Steve Ngo for Community College Board in San Francisco. I went to law school with Steve and got to know him because we shared a common background as Unruh Assembly Fellows and Young Democrats. It's Steve's fault I ran for Secretary of the California Young Democrats and ended up on that board for 3 years.

Yet I still like him.

So read his site and then donate some money to his campaign. He's a great guy - smart, motivated, politically savvy, and at the start of what is likely going to be a long, pretigious career in public service - and office.

Dodging Bullets, Gun Issues

Do you support gun bans? Handgun bans? Want licensing? Want anything? Have an opinion.

Do. You. Know. What. A. Gun. Is?

Really - why can't either candidate answer this question like a Democrat and not like a person scared they might actually get the nomination and find themself saddled with a, like, position and stuff.

And Don't Leave The Originals In The Copier

Dude, guys . . . . when someone asks "are you going to make a read-my-lips promise not to raise middle class taxes" and calls it a pledge - you say "no." Respond to Bush I notion with a Nancy Reagan answer. Please. You're killing me.

I Miss Philly

I know Philadelphia politics. Not well - just well enough. It's a fantastic, vibrant, screen-play ready atmosphere that feels ripped-from-the-history-book classic and yet amazingly current.

I suggest the candidate who wants to win most contact Sam Buffone and see if he's busy. 'Cause that kid wins elections.

I don't know that anyone reading understands that. Doesn't matter. Needs to be said. Three people delivered Philadelphia in 2004 and Philadelphia delivered Pennsylvania. Brian, Melanie, and Sam - I remember. Everyone should.

Do You Believe In The Flag?

Seriously? It's a potentially damaging character trait that Barack Obama doesn't wear the flag? Like a lapel pin? Really? Really. Really?!

What a fucking joke. Yeah, I f-bombed, and I don't mind.

Cops and servicemen wear the flag, but you don't, Senator Obama. How can we really believe that you love this country if you don't WEAR A TWO-CENT PIECE OF ENAMEL OR METAL ON YOUR LAPEL?

I wish he hadn't taken the bait on that question and answered it with the same dismissive spirit he's used on other pointless questions so far.

Okay, at least he's calling it now a manufactured issue that distracts us from actual work. And yet Georgie Stephanopoulos says, with a straight face, "and if you get the nomination, you'll have to beat back that distraction."

NO HE DOESN'T. Only if you treat it like a legitimate issue, which you are because you're asking about it like it's a question that matters.

At this exact moment - with the Tom Coburn example - I like Obama. I want to believe him.

And Hillary's bullshit answer to the question takes her WAY down. Catherine - you better rehab me quick! HRC is seeming like an amazingly small person right now. Petty, small, and foolish. Chomping at the bait. It's ugly.

The Battle Of Who I Like Least

So far this week I've been pissed at HRC, continually annoyed with Obama, and right now, I hate Charles Gibson for trying to make a "what did you know and when did you know it" question relevant by asking it during a debate. Seems Obama disinvited his former pastor to some speech in the past because he can get kinda rough in his sermons. So if he disinvited him, how could he say he was unaware of what the pastor said.

Who gives a shit.

Seriously. Who gives a shit.

And the follow up question to Hillary isn't much better. She'd leave the church had it been her pastor.

And Barack would've voted against the war had he been in office to do so.

Great, we can all answer a hypothetical.

Sadly, no guarantee anyone can improve our position as a country within the world, or our position as citizens within our own country.

'It’s Not Racism, But Culture'

Is Cuisine Still Italian Even if the Chef Isn’t? asks the New York Times.

Is pasta still Italian, even if it came from China?

I have to say, I find this discussion nearly baffling. It's not surprising, of course, but it baffles me nonetheless. I suppose you'd have to embrace a Like-Water-For-Chocolate type belief that some of the creator's soul ends up in the dish to believe that the ethnic or racial or cultural background of someone preparing a dish fundamentally changes the dish's nature - or has any appreciable effect at all.

Yes, a chef could incorporate flavors from his/her experience and upbrining - but that's different than asking whether a non-Italian making a strictly Italian dish with Italian ingrediants and flavors can somehow not do it because he's not Italian.

All in all, the linked article is really just more NYT fluff that sounds more insightful (inciteful?) than it really is, since the answer seems to be, uh, yeah, lots of people in kitchens are recent immigrants, to whatever country, from whatever country.

In my mind, though, because I'm a nerd like this, it gets back to the question of who can represent whom. Or what. Our notions of authenticity come out in the strangest ways.

Tuesday, April 15, 2008

USCIS Now Does Weekends

Good for them. I think it's because they are self-funded. If they operated on appropriations, maybe there'd be less motivation. The article briefly mentions the only part I think we care about right now:

The agency announced plans this month to work with the FBI in speeding up background checks, which can slow down an application by years. Officials hope to complete all checks that have been pending for more than three years by next month and those waiting for more than a year by November. According to an agency statement, 98% of all name checks will be completed within 30 days starting in June 2009.
So, green card by August 2009 for sure then. Rad!

JetBlue Good. New Planes? Eh, Not So Sure

Those who know me, know that I don't praise any aspect of airtravel often, but I will say that, if I hafta fly, I do like JetBlue. So if they are expanding service, great! Except they're adding new planes. Little planes:
The Embraer 190 is a "good plane but you have to be careful" about where you use it because of its size, said Richard Aboulafia, an aerospace analyst with aviation consulting firm Teal Group Corp.
What the F does that mean?

Forget it, I'll stick to their Airbus routes.

(Oh, newer readers or the uninitiated should know: I joke about everything. Except flying. I don't. You shouldn't. I'll edit comments. I never edit comments. But I will if need be. Thanks.)

Monday, April 14, 2008

You Give BlogLove A Bad Name

Another urban blog legend is born as a simple blogger makes it big by breaking into the MSM.

Never forget that we're all one NYT feature away from fulfilling our dreams (regardless of how much we HATE the NYT).

And so a blogger in SF has Made It by recording Obama's comments and then totally missing the point of the candidate she supposedly has long supported:
Fowler posted Obama's vice presidential musings on April 7. She also talked to "Off the Bus" project director Amanda Michel about Obama's provocative response when a supporter asked him what to expect in Pennsylvania.

Obama attempted to account for the many disappointments Midwesterners have experienced from the government. "You go into some of these small towns in Pennsylvania, and like a lot of small towns in the Midwest, the jobs have been gone now for 25 years and nothing's replaced them," he said, in just part of his lengthy response.

"And they fell through the Clinton administration, and the Bush administration, and each successive administration has said that somehow these communities are gonna regenerate and they have not. And it's not surprising then they get bitter, they cling to guns or religion or antipathy to people who aren't like them or anti-immigrant sentiment or anti-trade sentiment as a way to explain their frustrations."

Fowler said she thought the comment was condescending, even elitist.

"I was thinking to myself, 'Oh my God, he is confirming to my fellow Californians the worst stereotypes they have of small-town America.' I was just dismayed."

But Fowler was not sure she would report the statements because she said she was not sure she could capture their proper context. Then she said Michel told her: "If you are going to be a journalist, you can't favor one candidate over another."
I already posted why I think flack over this story is stupid. Read that.

Let me say this: it's easy for insulated Californians - and/or the truly elite - to cover themselves in faux shock steeped in a politically correct tradition. But if you got off your bums and went to work in PA or, god help you, WV, you'd get the hell out of what he said. You'd think of Aaron Sorkin's President Shepherd as well. And you wouldn't think it was condescending.

You'd think it was true.

And you would shed more than a tear for the death of a dangerous amount of the American heart.

Obama's comments may not describe all residents of PA. They may not even describe a majority of them. Nor a plurality of them. But they describe enough of them - a significant amount. Or maybe the results of the last few presidential election cycles and many midterm elections have been lost on you. People vote for a reason. Don't deny people their reasons.

Where Does Carly's Husband Fit Into The Culture?

Tatts have meaning - in some cultures more than others. Well, maybe. Maybe not. Just don't co-opt:

"I think what you see in the barrios of L.A. -- the imagery, the sacredness, the assertion of identity and pride -- is actually no different from us," she said. "Just as in the Maori world, they have recurrent symbols that have particular messages for the wearer, the viewer and the family member."

Like most other Maori, she wishes tourists and the trendy would respect what the tattoos are saying and not try to warp them into fashion statements.

"Even though it's expressed through art on the skin, it's very much about belonging," she said. "And if you don't belong, you shouldn't wear it."
Could this be sort of chicken-and-egg. Tattoos are more en vogue than ever. So everyone gets a "tribal arm band" from some tribe somewhere, not knowing or caring what tribe the designs might be from. So the culture or tribe from which they come start to notice, and re-embrace, reclaim, their designs. So they get more righteously popular again. And the rightful owners want exclusivity. Everyone else is a poser. Which of course, everyone else was to begin with.

None more so than the tramp-stamped among us. I digress.

But what about this notion of exclusivity? You shouldn't do something if you don't know what it means, I suppose. But we're an increasingly ornamental society, aren't we? Form with no function. Form with no context.

Or, if you prefer, you can just label to whole subject "barbaric." I know at least two readers who will do that. (Love you guys.)

Maybe the problem is our American cultural need to insist we don't have a culture and thus to celebrate "culture" - someone else's, anyone else's - because it is the only legitimate way to live. We have a culture. We just don't notice it because we live it and we've, mostly, not taken an anthropology class or looked up the definition of culture. But nevermind. It's getting to circular, isn't it.

Random Comedy Post: Genius in .3 Seconds

Having spent last week getting beat by a nasty flu bug - so beat that I couldn't even watch the return of new episodic television. I'm catching up tonight.

And through the magic of Hulu - bless it - I can link to the episode and direct you to about 03:40 in the action to John Krasinski's wordless reaction to Jan's room of candles - to the smell of the room, specifically - that proves to me, beyond a shadow of a doubt, that they guy is f-ing genius. Seriously. His face expressed more in that fraction of a section than, like, those super multi-syllabic German words that demonstrate the limitations of English. It's that good.

Saturday, April 12, 2008

Steve 4 Delegate

If you're like me, you're thinking it's been too long since the California primary and it'll be too long until the November general. Sometimes, a girl's just gotta vote.

Never fear, there's always something to vote for, like this weekend you can attend a caucus meeting for the candidate of your choice and help choose who gets to go to Denver for the DNC Convention this summer.

If you live in the 5th CD, take some time on Sunday to visit the Tsakopoulous Library Galleria (828 I Street, downtown) and help elect Karen Skelton and Steve Maviglio to the single delegate positions apportioned to this district. They're their own slate. Traditionally, I'm not a slate fan, but I'm a Steve Maviglio fan, so they get a pass.

Best of luck!

Truth: Gets You Nailed Every Time

Obama is in trouble for making the following true statement:
"It's not surprising, then, [working class voters] get bitter, they cling to guns or religion or antipathy to people who aren't like them or anti-immigrant sentiment or anti-trade sentiment as a way to explain their frustrations."
Yeah, that about covers it.

In fact, it's kinda like this speech, isn't it:
He is interested in two things and two things only: making you afraid of it and telling you who's to blame for it. That, ladies and gentlemen, is how you win elections. You gather a group of middle-aged, middle-class, middle-income voters who remember with longing an easier time, and you talk to them about family and American values and character. And wave an old photo of the President's girlfriend and you scream about patriotism and you tell them, she's to blame for their lot in life . . .
And that's a flippin' 13 year old movie kids.

I take a handful of points away from Hillary Clinton for her bobble-head-of-condemnation response in yapping about how this just highlights Obama's elitism.

I'll call it: Shenanigans!

Sorry, Hill, let's be a bit honest, shall we. You are probably more elite than he is, if we judge according to pedigree. Stop looking at good breeding and a fine education as an Achilles heel to go after. Sheesh.

Today, I'm back to disliking both again. Hillary for taking a stupid swipe at Obama and Obama for thinking that he needed to make anything approaching an apology for his statements.

Wednesday, April 09, 2008

Or You Can Go With This Guy's Angry View

I guess it isn't just San Franciscans who hate on the Olympics.

I wish they weren't in China either.

I wish China wasn't a big trade partner.

I wish I could go to Cuba.

Anyway, the torch isn't coming through Sacramento this time around which is enough to make this guy throw his own parade.

I saw the torch go past in 2002. It went right down past the end of my street in East Sac. SK and CK were with me - remember guys? You know what I thought? Cool! Look, there goes the torch. It made me think back to my much, much younger days when my Dad got me up before sunrise so we could go see the torch come through for the LA Olympics. It was so early, we came home and it was just time for breakfast. I watched the Flintstones. I had met Sam the Eagle.

So in 2002, I thought of all the games I could remember watching, of my visit to see the torch in 1984 and how neat it was that there, in the dead, cold winter night, someone in a track suit was running literally steps down from my front door and that eventually that torch would pass a flame to a really big torch that would glow for 16 days over the only thing that really ever brings the world together.

The Olympics doesn't fix everything. Maybe it doesn't fix anything. But it doesn't really hurt much either.

Hell, if it makes you feel better, think about the economic reality that most cities suffer from years' long deficits after breaking themselves to upgrade infrastructure and ready themselves for the Olympics to begin with.

'Olympic boycotts are exercises in futility'

I agree with this.

There's nothing SF loves more than getting its panties in a bunch in a way that makes a lot of noise and absorbs a lot of city and county resources but serves to change little. Don't get me wrong, over the course of a long and tumultuous affair, I did come to love my home of four years, but that doesn't get it a pass.

From Critical Mass to this kind of crap, SF misses the point. The editor linked above gets it, but no one noticed.

Tuesday, April 08, 2008

Looks Like I Picked The Wrong Week to Quit Sniffing Glue

And I swear if someone takes that post title out of context in 10 years . . . .

Anyway - I've missed the Daily Show for a really long time, but I caught it tonight.

Wrong day. If you know me, you know why.

Though I did get a good chuckle out of the JetBlue joke.

Monday, April 07, 2008

Man Survives Odds To Become Comfortable With Own Wealth, Self

Wow, what a moving story. This guy in Oakland has struggled for years with being independently wealthy. And then, despite a turn of events that left him having to support himself halfway through college, he tragically married an independently wealthy woman.

After years of not knowing how to handle this comfort, he finally has allowed himself to relax and just take that luxurious vacation, have a birthday party. It isn't about deserving it, it's about accepting yourself.

They have chosen to buy a smaller home and even to finance it - for the tax benefits - despite being able to buy it out-right. They have chosen to work as public school teachers. Awww, that's precious.

There isn't a paragraph in this article that doesn't make me want to vomit. It illustrates the worst of the Bay Area stereotype.

Perhaps someone should send this guy - who is so comfortable he's not described by his real name - a book on Catholic Saints. There are many who came from wealthy families but adopted vows of poverty to better serve God and the community. He doesn't even need to serve God, if he believes in God anyway. But he could live even more simply and donate all of his proceeds from any job or anything past living expenses to charity.

I couldn't - or at least - at this time, I'm not willing to do the same. But I certainly would never sit for an interview that shows me to be an intellectually fraudulent, self-centered pig.

Loathsome.

Wednesday, April 02, 2008

I've Never Seen Rocky

I know, I know, I should. It's unamerican not to see it. I even spent some time in Philadelphia and joked about doing the whole running-up-the-stairs thing. As with most iconic American film moments, however, the pop-cultural reference is so strong that seeing the film itself is a bit of an afterthought. To speak movie, you have to get the reference at all times, even if you haven't seen the source yet.

Anyway - in the grand tradition of presidential campaigns, here's the obligatory Bad Song Choice Story. This cycle, we're looking at Hillary's use of Rocky's theme song "Gonna Fly Now."

Reading the article, it is clear that the divide between Rocky-as-cultural-touchstone and Rocky-the-movie is wide. By not watching the movie - or not watching it more closely - Clinton has set herself up for all kinds of colorful, derivative metaphors.

The article itself makes a compelling case, though the author would've done well to stop before he last, dramatically weaker paragraph. It all made me think though.

Did you know - spoiler alert . . . .

Rocky loses?

I didn't.

HRC, you know how much we still love irony, even though we sang its eulogy on September 12, 2001. Look a few moves - movies? - ahead before you embrace an American institution as your model.

Tuesday, April 01, 2008

Happy Belated Birthday

At hotel bar in New Hampshire in the politcally dead winter of 2004, I decided, during a conversation with this pioneer blogger* that I would, upon my return to California, figure out what the hell this blogging stuff was.

Four years and nearly 2400 posts later, and probably a few hundred, or a thousand, readers down from my glory days, I'm still here. And so are you.

Thanks.

(*You really only need like 30 seconds of that way too-long clip. Bloggers shouldn't do blooper reels, apparently. But thanks for making me curious enough to navigate to Blogger in the first place, Josh.)

And While We're Posting Videos: A Post For Law Students, Former Law Students, And Related Nerds

H/T and a thousand thanks to Amber for posting the link to a trove of inside joke treasure from the fine, brilliant students at GW Law in DC.

Because the other students aren't going to depress themselves:



And because, hell, weren't we all talk, no action as well?



I recommend nearly the entire 2008 colleciton of videos found here - especially the Law & Order clip, as well as most of the 2007 clips - like this truly inspired plea from Sally Struthers. There are videos (not produced for YouTube like viewing) from 2006 of which this is one of the few worthy uses of time - but pretty worthy at that. Voice-over can be a brilliant comedic device.

Stephens in the hizzouse!

Hulu Is My New BFF





and perhaps, the greatest of all - give it on up for Homelessville . . . Soup, there it is. Everyone seems to recall D*ck in a Box most vividly from JT's last SNL appearance. But for me, it doesn't get better than this:

Immigration Post: Another One Of Those Uncomfortable Stories

Oh, the chances we take in pursuit of a better life. Part noble, part foolish. Here, the story starts with the tragic death of a newborn infant and her mother just after delivery. And it grows with the uncomfortable question of where to bury the bodies. The mother wasn't here legally, but the Mexican government will, if there's no other way, pay to have the bodies shipped home.

But aside from the cost, there's the high chance that those who would like to do so can't travel home to Mexico with the bodies, attend the funeral, or grieve with family there.

But that's the choice made and the chance taken, right?

And then there's this:
"My sister always fought to have a better life here," said Elizabeth Trujillo, who lives in Los Angeles. "But we are Mexicans and we want to return to where we were born."
No, here's the thing, it's easy to jump to a very negative conclusion on first read. But we all want to go home when we, well, go home, right?

But what do we take from this story? What are we meant to take?
Garcia and four of Trujillo's siblings in the U.S. are undocumented. Returning to Mexico with the body would mean a costly and dangerous journey back across the border to their jobs and U.S.-born children. They decided the bodies of Trujillo and her baby should be shipped to Mexico, and reluctantly, they would stay behind.
Yes, this is a hardship. And it is awful. But my sympathy is well-tempered by . . . well, something.

Chicken, Egg, Or Public Employee Salary

Ah yes, bang the drum, dear columnist.

For years, the argument in government circles has been that pay for top managers is high in order for the public sector to compete with private companies - but it has clearly been taken way too far. The quality of city services certainly isn't worth what residents pay in tax dollars.
Lets pay less and see if services improve.

This article doesn't imply to me that the author has had a fire at his home by which to evaluate the performance of fire personnel - the people with whom he takes the greatest issue. Why does a battalion chief who gets $150k salary deserve overtime for anything.

Possibly because a) he worked overtime and b) it's in their contract (I don't know if there is one, but I'm guessing there is). So where was the ire when the contract was signed?

Why are people so pissed about public employee salaries? Jealousy? Anger over paying any taxes at all?

Get over it. Don't go after the employees.