Political News Chum, Bad Judgment Edition

You know, I was sitting at my desk at home, after a busy day, trying to think what I would write about. I really didn’t want to do another political post, as I’m planning to do my ballot summary over the weekend. But then I opened CNN, and it just led to a political post. I apologize in advance…

Let’s all hope that, in a few weeks, the voters will show some good judgment…


People In The News

Today’s news chum is about people in the news. So, without further fanfare, some items noted whilst perusing the news over lunch…

  • From the “Walt Disney” File: The Los Angeles Times is reporting on the updated plans for Disney’s California Adventure. As they say, “This time, for sure”. The general approach is to theme the area and entrance to reflect Walt Disney in 1920’s Los Angeles, just as the entrance to Disneyland reflects Walt’s boyhood in Missouri. The equivalent of the castle will be a recreation of the Carthay Circle theatre where Snow White premiered. The Red Car trolley that recalls the old Pacific Electric Railway will rumble and clang along Buena Vista Street, conjuring up the bygone era and winking at Walt’s love of trains. Paradise Pier will take on a nostalgic seaside amusement park vibe, with glittering lights and new boardwalk games incorporating a mix of such classic and contemporary Disney characters. There will be a World of Color nighttime display of water effects, lighting and music to bring new energy to the pier, together with a new Little Mermaid ride, and of course, a Cars-themed area. You can see an updated map here.
  • From the “Thomas Kinkade” File: Of course, the “World of Color” brings to mind Thomas Kinkade, the self-titled “Painter of Shite”. According to the LA Times, Kinkade has made ArtReview’s List of the Power 100. True, he’s number 100 out of 100, but if being 844 out of 899 in his Naval Academy class is good enough for John McCain, being 100 out of 100 should be good enough for Kinkade.
  • From the “Carmen Rocha” File: The LA Times is also bringing news of the death of long-time El Cholo waitress Carmen Rocha. El Cholo is one of the oldest Mexican restaurants in Los Angeles (started in 1923), and Rocha is responsible for the introduction of that signature dish we all know and love: Nachos.
  • From the “Joe the Plumber” File: The SF Chronicle brings us some more information about that debate favorite, Joe the Plumber. However, it seems that Joe is really Sam; he isn’t a licensed plumber; he wouldn’t be seeing a tax increase for his plumbing business; he actually owes back taxes and has tax liens; and he’s a registered Republican, having lived in both Arizona and Alaska.
  • From the “Barack Obama” File: Alright, I can’t resist. There are a number of significant endorsements of Barack Obama out there: Los Angeles Times, Washington Post, St. Louis Post Dispatch.

Gay Marriage: A View from a Respected Religious Leader

[Yes, I’m just getting my lunch break. Long day.]

Last week, I wrote about the wonderful sermon that Rabbi Brown give regarding Proposition 8, which would constitutionally define marriage as being between a man and a woman. The sermon is now online, and I urge all of you to read it and share it. It is one of the most cogent arguments I’ve seen as to why someone should vote “No on 8”.


Tuesday News Chum

As the fire recedes into the Simi Hills (hopefully), here are some select items of news chum for your dining pleasure:

  • From the “Da Da Da Da Da Da Da” Department: The LA Times is reporting that Neal Hefti has died. Many of you are probably going “who?”, but Neal Hefti was the author of the Batman Theme for the 1960s campy TV show, as well as the composer for the theme of “The Odd Couple”. Click here for the Batman Theme, and here for the Odd Couple Theme.
  • From the “But Do You Believe Her?” Department: And speaking of odd couples, the Washington Post is reporting that Hilary Clinton has indicated she will not run for president again. Neither is she interested in being a Supreme Court Justice (which she would likely be good at). Nope. She just wants to be Senator from New York. Personally, I think that’s a great solution, especially as the Senate will soon be losing its liberal firebrand, Ted Kennedy. We really need someone to be in the Senate, fighting that fight.
  • From the “A Backhand Endorsement” Department: And speaking of fighting the fight: The Los Angeles Times has an official policy (or they did–who knows what their policies are under the current publisher) of not endorsing in partisan races. Still, an editorial in the paper today comes awfully close: It is a telling argument on why one shouldn’t vote for John McCain:

    On the question of who will best bind up this torn nation, we are far more troubled by what we know about McCain than what we don’t know about Obama. It is proper to admire McCain’s service to his nation — as a military man and as a senator — and he deserves our respect. On the question of who best can reunite us, however, we cannot put our faith in a man who has done so much to drive us apart.

  • From the “It’s a Gamble” Department: And speaking of where to place your bets, how about a one-day casino? The LA Times has an article on the Queen of Hearts in Las Vegas, a one-day casino set up so the property can retain its gaming license. They roll in the 10-year old poker machines, fire up the generator, open the door, and see if anyone walks in. One year they did it in a parking lot owned by Station Gaming, and the trailer with the games was dubbed the “Trailer Station”. What I found fascinating, however, was this:

    Similarly, the Queen of Hearts must open its bar for one day each year; a bartender is hired and given a bottle to pour. During the last-go-round, the drink of choice was Jim Beam.

  • From the “Make Mine Lean” Department: And speaking of one day wonders (sense a pattern here): From noon to 6pm today (so you missed it), Cantors Deli in the Fairfax District celebrated its 60th anniversary by offering 60c corned beef sandwiches for all, including a side of potato salad and a pickle. After all, if it worked for Phillipes
  • From the “I Got Plenty O’ Nothin’” Department: And speaking of French Dips… OK, I’ve got nothing. Oh, wait, I got something. A French paper has apologized to President Nicolas Sarcozy for mixing up the name of his third wife, Carla Bruni, with his second, Cecilia.

Are You Registered To Vote?

[Snarfed from ef2p]

While sitting down for a minute before I get dressed for services, I saw this post. Great thing to remind people of, especially if voter registration is still open in your area. Add your local registrars.

If you’ve moved since you last voted, you need to re-register.
If you haven’t voted since the last presidential election, check your registration. You may have been purged or moved to inactive.
If you haven’t yet received any voting materials from your state, you may need to reregister.
If you’re not sure, you only lose a couple minutes of your time by re-registering.
In California the last day to register is Monday, October 20. The form must be in to your county’s register of voters by the end of that day. A POST MARK DOES NOT COUNT.
If you think that you are ineligible to vote, call your county and double check. For example if you have been convicted of a felony and have finish your parole, you are eligible.

Here are some resources. If you live in the SF Bay Area, chances are good you can check your registration status online (see links below, all the counties I list allow you to check online). If I don’t list your county, you should be able to find it by typing “ registrar of voters” into google.

California Secretary of State Voter Registration Page


Los Angeles County (562) 466-1310

Ventura County (805) 654-2781

Orange County (714) 567-7600

Riverside County (951) 486-7200

San Bernadino County (909) 387-8300

San Diego County (800) 696-0136

Imperial County (760) 482-4226

Bay Area:

Alameda County (510) 267-8683

Santa Clara County (408) 299-VOTE

Contra Costa County (925) 335-7800

San Francisco County (415) 554-4375

San Mateo County (650) 312-5222

If you’re still confused there are many sites that will help you find the information you need. For example http://www.maps.google.com/vote

There are also a lot of rumors going around that the police will be checking for outstanding tickets/warrants at the polls. These are completely untrue. If by some chance you do encounter something like that, call the news and the ACLU immediately. Do not wait for the next day/hour/minute.

If you have any question about voting in California, please ask me. If I don’t know the answer, I will find it for you.

Please copy, link, share…….


On My Political Soapbox

While driving the van home today, I saw something that got me real disturbed: lots of “Yes on 8” yard signs, and only one “No on 8” sign. I just wonder what part of “Separation of Church and State” they don’t understand. I can understand if your church teaches you that a marriage is only between a man and a woman. I have no problem if you don’t want to permit such marriages in your church. I do have a problem if you want to legislate it, and impose your religious will upon others who do not hold those beliefs.

I guess it is a further example of how our populace, including the courts, misunderstand the separation of church and state. The Supreme Court has refused to hear two cases that are clearly separation of church and state issues, according to CNN. In the first, an anti-abortion group has won its long legal fight to force Arizona to issue “choose life” license plates, after the Supreme Court declined to take the case as it opened its new term. The justices, without comment Monday, left in place an appeals court ruling in favor of the Arizona Life Coalition, which has sought the special plates for six years. The 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals, based in San Francisco, said the state commission on license plates violated the group’s constitutional right to free speech by turning down its application. My opinion: putting “Choose Life” on a plate issued by the state creates the appearance of the state endorsing that particular religious view, which I feel is inappropriate. Folks are welcome to choose it as their personalization, but it shouldn’t be on the frame. In another case, the court refused to consider a murder case in which a jury foreman read passages of the Bible to hold-out jurors who subsequently voted to impose the death penalty. Since when did the Bible become the law of the land — I was always taught that only the law as instructed by the judge applies when you are a juror.


In other political news, the McCain campaign has started to attack Barack Obama’s character, with Sarah Palin going so far as to attack Obama for his association with Ayers (which the NYT and CNN stated to be nothing), and the Jeremiah Wright fiasco (thus going against John McCain who didn’t want to use that issue, and the fact that Obama has condemned what Rev. Wright said).

Of course, all this may be happening to disguise some real character flaws. Palin (whose taxes were done by H&R Block) seems to have some tax problems. It appears she didn’t report as income the $43,490 that the state gave the family to cover travel expenses for Mr. Palin and the Palin children. That’s taxable income, unless they were employees of the state. The Palin’s also deducted $9,000 in business losses from snowmobiling. This tax-loss would not be allowed if the activity is a hobby. The I.R.S. rule is that if an activity produces a profit in three of the past five years, is a businesses and not a hobby. But the Palins released tax returns for only two years, so it is impossible to tell. One year showed a $9,000 loss, the other year a slight profit. Another I.R.S. test is whether making a profit — and not just having fun in the snow — was the “predominate, primary or principal objective” of Mr. Palin’s snowmobiling. As for McCain, the LA Times has an interesting article about McCain’s experience as a naval aviator. He had lots of problems with judgement and being impulsive (a similar comment on poor judgement was the result of the Keating 5 investigations). Nothing was prosecuted in either case, although the record did reveal a pilot who early in his career was cocky, occasionally cavalier and prone to testing limits. There was also an interesting article in the Washington Post about John McCain and his first wife, Carol, including how he started become engaged to Carol before he had even divorced… or moved out… on his first wife.

Now, I know some of my readers support both Prop. 8 and McCain/Palin. I respect your right to draw your own conclusions and your positions. I’ve drawn mine.