Wednesday, December 31, 2008

Appreciation Out of Struggles

My three years in Minnesota and two years at University of Minnesota were not not my most pleasant. For those interested more details for my trials in Minnesota you can read Frost-Bite. But that doesn't mean I don't have a soft spot in my heart for the U.

Bringing in Tubby Smith was a coup for a school that hasn't had a coach on his class in decades. Now ESPN reports the 2009 recruits will be a game changer.

Great news for a hockey school. Let's just hope Tim Brewster continues to improve the football program, though I'm not sure he deserved a new contract just yet, either.
Now playing: José González - Broken Arrows

Tuesday, December 30, 2008

CA Budget Crisis Takes Next Step

We knew the day was coming. With an impending deficit of as much as $40 billion common logic could predict severe cuts and tax increases. Remember those cuts Krugman vented about yesterday?

State Controller John Chiang warned today that unless a budget solution comes to fruition shortly, the state will start issuing IOU's.
"Without immediate cash solutions or the ability to borrow billions from the strained financial markets, the state controller's office has no choice but to pursue the deferral of potentially billions of dollars in payments and/or the issuance of ... IOUs," Chiang wrote in a letter to state agencies."
Whether Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger and the Legislature figure it out is anyone's game.

WWF Style Smack Down

Joe Scarborough has needed this for some time. Leave it to Mika's dad Zbigniew Brzezinski to put the smack down:

h/t Daniel McCarthy at American Conservative

Leave It to BJKeefe to Capture Wingnutery Perfectly...

Thanks Brendan, I needed the laugh.

Quote of the Day 12/30/08

"That night, on 9/11, Rumsfeld came over and the others, and the president finally got back, and we had a meeting. And Rumsfeld said, You know, we’ve got to do Iraq, and everyone looked at him—at least I looked at him and Powell looked at him—like, What the hell are you talking about? And he said—I’ll never forget this—There just aren’t enough targets in Afghanistan. We need to bomb something else to prove that we’re, you know, big and strong and not going to be pushed around by these kind of attacks." - Richard Clarke, chief White House counterterrorism adviser. Vanity Fair Magazine.
I'm not sure why this surprises anyone, but Mika Brzezinski on MSNBC just refused to believe it. If it wasn't true, wouldn't Clarke be concerned Powell would deny it? The neocons were looking for any reason to hit Iraq. Seven years later and the World is still dealing with the consequences. That picture is just spooky. The men and woman in that room are responsible for so much destruction and have yet to face consequences themselves.

Monday, December 29, 2008

This is How We Roll

This is more like it. Sunday SFGate lightly glossed over the roles many Californians will play in the Obama administration. Today the Washington Post digs in and shows why the Chronicle is severely lacking as a paper. The WaPo covers three of the most important Californians in D.C, all of which the Chronicle left out, Speaker Nancy Pelosi, Rep Henry Waxman and Senator Barbara Boxer.
"It's unique in terms of the power of this state in modern times," said James A. Thurber, who directs the Center for Congressional and Presidential Studies at American University. To find another example of a state wielding such national influence, Thurber had to reach back to Texas in the 1950s, when Sam Rayburn was the House speaker and Lyndon B. Johnson was the Senate majority leader."
Waxman pushed out Rep. John D. Dingell earlier this year to head the House Energy and Commerce Committee. This new authority will give Waxman the ability to morph federal environmental laws that had been hindered by Dingell's loyalty to the Michigan car industry.

The money quote:
"It's not a question of passing new landmark laws," Boxer said. "It's a matter of getting these agencies back in gear. We have great tools, but they have not been functioning. For the past eight years, they've been sitting idle. The Californians coming, they don't have to rewrite the laws. They just have to enforce them. It's like the EPA has been asleep for eight years. The Californians are coming to wake the sleeping beauty."
Boxer's not telling the full truth. They know full well they want to enact policy change. The most likely coming in a cap and trade system that Obama ran on. It's sometimes difficult for Californians to forget the rest of the country doesn't have the same priorities as we do. But this is where Pelosi comes in. Dems still want to stay in power. It'll be entertaining watching it all unfold.

Now playing: Erykah Badu - The Healer

Getting in the Way of History

Nate Silver at makes a dutiful attempt at Republican groupthink in the upcoming stimulus debate:
"Better to let the Democrats be careful what they wish for, and make sure that they get it."
I think Nate's exactly right. Getting in the way of the Obama train right now would be political suicide for moderate Republican Senators, ie. Snowe, Collins, and Specter, and with Franken's win in MN (more on this later), the Dems will only need one of the three.

Patrick Ruffini at the Next Right sees this as an oppportunity.

And this morning Minority Leader Mitch McConnell attempted to flex some muscle.

All the while the RNC debates the tone deafness of "Barack the Magic Negro."
Now playing: Erykah Badu - Telephone

Jim Webb is a Baaaaad Man

It'll take a person afraid of none and beholden to few in D.C to take on the prison system.

Jim Webb appears to be that man.

A Talking Points Memo reader has some thoughts on this.
Now playing: Doomtree - Knives On Fire

Bush Sent to Timeout For Doing the Wrong Assignment

Sometimes Bushies just make it too easy, as Coates points out, with Karl Rove's recent WSJ piece:
"It all started on New Year's Eve in 2005. President Bush asked what my New Year's resolutions were. I told him that as a regular reader who'd gotten out of the habit, my goal was to read a book a week in 2006. Three days later, we were in the Oval Office when he fixed me in his sights and said, "I'm on my second. Where are you?" Mr. Bush had turned my resolution into a contest.

By coincidence, we were both reading Doris Kearns Goodwin's "Team of Rivals." The president jumped to a slim early lead and remained ahead until March, when I moved decisively in front. The competition soon spun out of control. We kept track not just of books read, but also the number of pages and later the combined size of each book's pages -- its "Total Lateral Area."

We recommended volumes to each other (for example, he encouraged me to read a Mao biography; I suggested a book on Reconstruction's unhappy end). We discussed the books and wrote thank-you notes to some authors.

At year's end, I defeated the president, 110 books to 95. My trophy looks suspiciously like those given out at junior bowling finals. The president lamely insisted he'd lost because he'd been busy as Leader of the Free World."

I mean, seriously? Bush has time to read 95 books in a year. For some reason this makes complete sense with where the Iraq War was in 2005 and the beginnings of the economic trembles. But Rove reminds me of Washington Post reporter Bob Woodward's comments on the Chris Matthews Show [h/t Think Progress]:
MATTHEWS: Bob, he obviously relies a lot on instinct and is proud of that fact. Is that why he shows little intellectual curiosity about other people’s thinking?

WOODWARD: I think he’s impatient. I think, my summation: He doesn’t like homework. And homework means reading or getting briefed or having a debate. And part of the presidency, part of governing, particularly in this area, is homework, homework, homework.

MATTHEWS: And Obama?

WOODWARD: Obama is the opposite. He mainlines homework. He does, you know, where is extra credit.

Between the two items, you can see exactly how we got to where we are today. Bush has been too busy reading fluff to put any effort into doing his homework.
Now playing: Joy Division - Transmission

Krugman Misses Again

Rarely do I find fault in Nobel Prize winning economist Paul Krugman, but first his silly Hawaii comment and now today he lays out what could be a well thought out argument for deficit spending during a recession minus the most important caveat: most state constitutions require a balanced budget each year, and those that don't cannot get the loans necessary to continue deficit spending.

Krugman does raise several important questions:

"And once the crisis is behind us, we should rethink the way we pay for key public services.

As a nation, we don’t believe that our fellow citizens should go without essential health care. Why, then, does a large share of funding for Medicaid come from state governments, which are forced to cut the program precisely when it’s needed most?

An educated population is a national resource. Why, then, is basic education mainly paid for by local governments, which are forced to neglect the next generation every time the economy hits a rough patch?

And why should investments in infrastructure, which will serve the nation for decades, be at the mercy of short-run fluctuations in local budgets?"
These questions should be the focus of his article. Rewriting state constitutions to allow for balanced budgets to be put off in rough economic times. The exceptions should be spelled out, ie, recessions, but this change would allow for fewer provincial Herbert Hoovers.
Now playing: Jay-Z - Change Clothes

"Slick" Willie Bombs as a Columnist

For someone who rarely has a boring thing to say, "Slick" Willie Brown sure writes a boring column. Willie was the keynote speaker at the Boys State I attended. Prior to Obama's keynote at the 2004 convention, then CA State Assembly Speaker, Willie's speech was the best I'd heard. This was long before he became "Da Mayor." He had the boys standing and cheering. I'd like to think the column is the the fault of over editing. Let's us just hope so.
Now playing: Arcade Fire - Keep The Car Running

Sunday, December 28, 2008

Tubbs Jones: A friend Till the End

Stephanie Tubbs Jones first came into my periphery during her hilarious appearance on the Colbert Report back in 2005. But it was her fierce defense of Hilary Clinton during the long primary season that I begrudgingly grew to respect her. I can't pretend that she didn't drive me up wall, but privately I just wished Obama had his own Tubbs Jones to defend him.

Obama never had surrogates at well-honed as Clinton did. This was the dreaded "Clinton Machine" most people feared. The NY Times has a great obituary in this weeks magazine. Her death prior the DNC convention was a shock. I'd been looking forward to her steadfast support of Obama in the coming months. It's a shame America didn't get to see her work her magic.
Now playing: Broken Social Scene - Stomach Song

California Love

Obama loves California, and California loves Obama. That's the gist of "Obama taps California's political talent" in today's SF Chronicle. One thing that confused me, though, was that the reporter some how left Speaker Pelosi, the most powerful Californian in Washington, DC, out of the article completely.

Bay Area residents have grown to take for granted Pelosi. If anything, many continue to be frustrated with her for not at least attempting to impeach Bush. Comment sections on most political articles usually end up with anti-Pelosi tirades. Whatever the reason for her exclusion from the article, nothing on President-elect docket will get through Congress without the help of Speaker Pelosi.
Now playing: Amanda Palmer - Guitar Hero

WaPo: Politics Is No Longer Local. It's Viral.

The Apple mash up didn't introduce me to Obama. It did, however, open me up to him as a candidate. The Washington Post has an interesting piece by their Internet/political reporter in today's paper.
"That video was viewed about 400,000 times before it made it onto CNN and became an even bigger viral hit. Last spring, at [Phil] de Vellis's Columbia Heights apartment, where he spent a few hours on a lazy Sunday afternoon editing the mash-up, de Vellis told me: "As an Obama supporter, I just wanted to put something out there. Look, most if not all of the talking heads on cable news didn't think Obama had a chance early on. It was all about Clinton -- how strong her machine was, how inevitable her nomination was. But online, you saw that more people were gravitating toward Obama."'
While this is very true, I think the reporter only glosses over the generational reasons behind the change. Many millennials were sending our parents youtube clips. Both the WaPo and the NY Times had earlier pieces here and here on millennial involvement in the Obama campaign. This participatory democracy allowed in the Internet age is being harnessed by millennials.

We came up with the Internet and AOL in our homes and the outreach by the Obama campaign tapped into a need for "WE Politics" and not "I Politics." Online social networking was not a foreign concept and provided fertile fround for viral politics.
Now playing: Death From Above 1979 - Romantic Rights (The Phone Lovers Remix)

Coliseum Facilities Cost A's Free Agents

Many of favorite professional sports memories occurred at the Oakland Coliseum. Most of them date back over a decade prior to the Raiders return from Los Angeles. The facilities have continued to deteriorate and after Al Davis' fleecing of the city of Oakland, there's just not the support to improve them or build a new stadium.

Ken Rosenthal at Fox Sports has an interesting note in his recent column [ht:SFGate]:
"The A's rarely are major players in free agency, but the agent said that the poor working conditions and occasionally unruly crowd behavior at McAfee Coliseum are turnoffs for his clients.

"Many players are uncertain about the atmosphere," the agent said. "They're not as comfortable going to work there or having their families attend games there on a regular basis."

In 2012, the A's are scheduled to move into Cisco Field, which will be located approximately 20 miles south of McAfee in Fremont, Calif.

"That will help them recruit players," the agent said. "Billy and David are as good as anyone in the business. The new park will level the playing field for them and allow them to excel."'

I'm not so sure the stadium will be ready for 2012, as chronicled here. But I also don't think it's fair to link A's fans to notoriously rowdy Raider fans. There have been few incidences at A's games over the years, and while attendance has been low, the fans are getting a bum rap. AT&T Park has spoiled Bay Area sports fans. Hopefully A's fans will get the stadium they deserve. It's a shame it can't be in Oakland.

Now playing: Aesop Rock - Super Fluke

Saturday, December 27, 2008

Cal Bears Luck Out Against Depleted Miami Hurricanes

Cal Coach Jeff Tedford played senior QB Nate Longshore the entire game despite playing horribly. Can you believe just last year he was projected as a first or second round NFL draft pick?

Cal still barely won, 24-17, over a team with five starters suspended. Senior LB Zack Follett saved the day and the dominating rushing of Javid Best kept Miami at bay throughout.

But what was going on with Tedford's decision to keep Longshore in the game? Was sophomore Kevin Riley hurt? Is Riley really transfrring as is rumored? I'm not sure, but this win sure was embarrassing.
Now playing: Iron & Wine - Lovesong of the Buzzard

Breaking News: Glenn Greenwald Takes Himself Too Seriously

You see, it's not even that I disagree with Greenwald's article on today. It's that I don't take anywhere near as seriously as he does. Politico is a gossip rag. They don't even pretend to be anything but a rag, and it's journalists like Greenwald and Chris Matthews, who often invites Politico reporters, if you can call them that, on Hardball, that give Politico respect.

Greenwald is right; Politico's media reporter Michael Calderone's article, Top 10 political scoops of 2008, is an example of what's wrong with journalism. But Politico is a low hanging fruit. I mean, come on. Greenwald might as well be taking Huffington Post to task for hosting the link and himself for the same.

Politico's articles are written to be linked to by the Drudge Report, Mark Halperin's The Page, and other blogs. If you're going to take someone in the traditional media to task, why not go after Time Magazine for giving Mark Halperin and his asine reporting a place on the Web?
Now playing: Justice - Phantom Part 2

Senate Republicans Continue to Choose Wrong

I'm not the biggest fan of David Broder at the Washington Post. He often misses the forest for the tree. This week he's too busy giving the run down of the demise of the Republican party as they make become dominated by the Southern caucus. Broder sees the decisions as poor political decisions that will most likely cost them seats in 2010 in PA and OH. Again he struggles to understand how they can choose ideolgy over politically wise choices.
"Will congressional Republicans again sacrifice their political interest to satisfy their Southern-baked ideological imperatives?"
The thing is, Southern Republicans are choosing ideolgy over country. They're hellbent on breaking the unions and the Big Three, while ignoring the fact the foreign owned auto industry in their districts continues to receive subsidies to remain profitable and stay in TN and KY. The economy is in a horrible place and if they don't join the group trying to fix it, they are going to get run over on their continued trip to irrelevance.

With Franken winning in MN, Arlen Specter up for reelection in PA, a moderate Olympia Snowe in ME, Senate Dems won't need anyone for cloture and the Southern Caucus will put itself in the history books with Herbert Hoover. You know you've got a problem when Dick Cheney is warning Senate Republicans it's "Herbert Hoover time."

Friday, December 26, 2008

Images Aren't Everything

"And surely I wasn’t the only person who winced at reports about the luxurious beach house the Obamas have rented, not because there’s anything wrong with the first family-elect having a nice vacation, but because symbolism matters, and these weren’t the images we should be seeing when millions of Americans are terrified about their finances." - Paul Krugman, NY Times, 12/25/2008
Statements by progressive commentators like these drive me crazy. Obama grew up in Hawaii and Indonesia. He's lived an exotic life and despite this, he was elected to be the 44th President of the United States. On some level, Hawaii needs to be demystified. And despite attempts by Townhall's Matt Lewis to claim otherwise, Hawaii has been a state since 1959. Obama's annual Christmas vacation should not be questioned. In fact, from what I've gathered, it's been a very personal experience.

Krugman is right: images matter, but so does context and without context or nuance we'll continue to be stuck in the mentality of the last eight years.
Now playing: Iron & Wine - Freedom Hangs Like Heaven

SF Giants: Where Great Players Get Put to Pasture

For years every attempt to sign or trade for Randy Johnson was rebuffed. Johnson simply refused to play with Barry Bonds. Johnson has a bit too much Jeff Kent in him to put up with Bonds' prima donna act. I guess we can now officially say the Bonds' years have come to close. is reporting that Johnson has signed a one year contract to come "home" to the Bay Area. Johnson was a two-sport star, basketball and baseball, at Walnut Creek High. He's sitting at 295 wins, so it's hard to imagine him missing out on 300, not that he needed it to be considered an all-time great. I hope the final contract at least includes a mutual option for a second year.

Wednesday, December 24, 2008

As Only David Bowie and Bing Crosby Could Do

Thanks to Andrew Sullivan, I've caught the Christmas Hathos bug. Looks like I'll be heading south for a few days, so I'll leave you with this:

Happy holidays and merry Christmas!

Trying to Make a Dollar Out of 15 cents.

Amanda Palmer of Dresden Dolls fame is pissed. As the NY Times noted Sunday, Warner Bros. has yanked all of their music videos from Youtube:
"Unable to reach new licensing terms, the Warner Music Group has demanded that thousands of its videos be removed from YouTube, which is owned by Google. Warner Music’s videos, the source of a billion views on YouTube, gradually began disappearing from the site on Saturday, although many remained online Sunday evening."
This announcement set Amanda off:
"in other words, roadrunner is a subsidiary of warner and i’m stuck in hell with madonna and the other poor bastards, because warner wants more money. even worse, warner has almost no bargaining power…they’re not even in the top ten of labels who have huge artists with material streaming on youtube. they’re just starving for cash right now and they’re doing anything they can think of to come up with cash. it’s abSURD. they are looking for money in a totally backwards way.

money that, i should point out, i would NEVER see as an artist. if they got their way and youtube decided to give them a larger revenue share of the videos, it;s very unlikely it would ever make it’s way into the artists’ bank accounts.

damn, man. this shit is fucked UP."
The MOST thing about this is that the music industry is stuck in the 20th century. Even before Warner Bros. yanked the videos they blocked the videos from being embedded. Music industry executives have no clue how to navigate web 2.0 and instead of adapting heavy handed responses such as this draw anger from their artists and push customers farther away.

Obama Changing MTV Programming Already

Variety has a fascinating piece up on the 16 new reality shows in the upcoming season.

"While MTV pioneered reality series with 1992's "The Real World," that genre has become ubiquitous, so the network is offering a slate that avoids the backbiting and bitchery of most nonfiction fare.

"Our new shows will feature themes of affirmation and accomplishment," says Brian Graden, prez of entertainment at MTV Networks music channels and president of Logo. "Our shows are going to focus less on loud and silly hooks and more on young people proving themselves. These are themes that are consistent with the Obama generation."'

Obama hasn't even taken office yet and TV executives have already decided the next niche is a positive, forward looking perspective on programming. I wonder how long this will last.
MTV's hardly a bastion for high-brow discussions.

The Downfall of Journalism

OK, so you decide: Imagine you are the San Francisco Chronicle sports page editor. You have a limited budget, but you have the funds to send a reporter to one of two games on a Tuesday night. Either you send someone to cover the bottom dweller Golden State Warriors or first place San Jose Sharks. The Sharks may not bring you the most hits, but in the long run with adequate coverage hockey could bring you in balance and turn both sports profitable.

If you hadn't guessed which one the Chronicle chose to cover. You can read the AP Sharks article here and Warrior beat reporter Janny Hu here.

I bet you can't guess who won?

Mom, I'm sorry. I'll be better. I promise.

Rich Bucher at has a great profile of Stephen Jackson today. Most sports fans will always remember him for brawling and shooting his way out of Indianapolis. Once Jackson arrived here in Oakland he's been on his best behavior. Jackson along with his mother are helping out families back home in Port Arthur, TX.

It's worth a read just to know redemption is possible and even grown men can turn their lives around.

WaPo Has it Just About Right

For those of you that are unaware, California is about to be flat broke. Yes, if the Governator and the Dems don't find a compromise on the 18 billion dollar impasse, Calif., will be out of money in two months.

Yesterday the Huffington Post headlined the front page "CA Bankrupt." The AP article that followed had a tamer headline "CALIFORNIA BROKE? State Could Run Out Of Money In Two Months, Says Official." While alarmist that doesn't make it untrue. The AP has been busy concern trolling recently so it's hard to take much of what they do seriously.

The Huff Post article gives a run down of the soap opera unfolding in Sacramento. Revenue needs to be increased, Republicans refuse ot raise taxes, Dems want to find a tricky work around that at may or may not be legal and Republicans refuse to meet to work it out.

The money quote:

"I prefer having my Republican friends at the table, and I prefer to get a two-thirds vote. But we do need revenue increases," he said. "To save California, I'm forced to negotiate just with the Democrats. This is the situation I am forced in because of lack of participation by the Republicans."
The Washington Post takes a more even keel and less brash look at the same issue by exploring the structural issues at hand and the reason for repeated drama in Sacramento.

Again with the money quote:

Yet students of California politics say both sides are prisoners of a system that constrains decision-makers while encouraging short-term conflict. Every state is required to balance its budget, but California is one of three that require a two-thirds majority for any tax increase.

If the parties got along, this would not be an insurmountable challenge. But state law encourages political polarization by allowing lawmakers to draw their own districts, which results in few competitive races except in primaries, in which strict adherence to partisan ideology is most likely to be rewarded. In the budget negotiations, for instance, GOP lawmakers are sidelined by their vow as a group never to raise taxes.

Much could be done if all parties would get involved. But then again, this is California and we're bound to repeat ourselves over and over again.

Monday, December 22, 2008

Center for American... Progress, Really?

Matt Yglesias is one of my favorite bloggers. Earlier this year he left the Atlantic Monthly for the think tank Center for American Progress. CAP's CEO John Podesta is leading President-elect Obama's transition team so CAP has been in the news a lot this year. Melody Barnes, Executive Vice President for Policy at CAP, is one of the most progressive members of Obama's team will direct the White House Domestic Policy Council. On the opposite end from CAP is Third Way, a slightly left of center think tank that became well known through the Clinton's.

On the 19th, Yglesias posted this entry:
I’m getting sort of tired of the endless discussion of whether Barack Obama is a wholesome liberal or an evil centrist, but I have to say something about one aspect of this story:
“Barack Obama has never made any bones about it: He is a moderate,” said Matt Bennett, co-founder of Third Way, a moderate public policy think tank. “People who ignored that did so at their peril.”

Third Way is a neat organization — I used to work across the hall from them. And they do a lot of clever messaging stuff that a lot of candidates find very useful. But their domestic policy agenda is hyper-timid incrementalist bullshit. There are a variety of issues that they have nothing whatsoever to say on, and what policy ideas they do have are laughable in comparison to the scale of the problems they allegedly address. Which is fine, because Third Way isn’t really a “public policy think tank” at all, it’s a messaging and political tactics outfit. But Barack Obama’s policy proposals aren’t like that. At all. Nor do personnel on his policy teams — including the more ideologically moderate members — stand for anything that’s remotely as weak a brew as the stuff Third Way puts out. And yet, Third Way loves Barack Obama and says he’s a moderate just like them. Which is great. But everyone needs to see that these things are moving in two directions simultaneously. At the very same time Obama is disappointing progressive supporters on a number of fronts, he’s also bringing moderates on board for things that are way more ambitious than anything they were endorsing two or three years ago.

The entry was forgetable to most. I mean, it wasn't even as snarky as Yglesias could be, and then this evening, Jennifer Palmieri hijacked Yglesias blog and posted this entry:

This is Jennifer Palmieri, acting CEO of the Center for American Progess Action Fund.

Most readers know that the views expressed on Matt’s blog are his own and don’t always reflect the views of the Center for American Progress Action Fund. Such is the case with regard to Matt’s comments about Third Way. Our institution has partnered with Third Way on a number of important projects - including a homeland security transition project - and have a great deal of respect for their critical thinking and excellent work product. They are key leaders in the progressive movement and we look forward to working with them in the future.

What's interesting here is now that the Dems are in power there is a power struggle for control of the party. Will Clinton's triangulated poll driven Dem policies win out or will a pragmatic formation of a new center be allowed to form? Yglesias was obviously given a spanking to, but it's unclear what steps led to Palmieri's entry. Check out the comments to her entry for more on this battle.

Friday, December 19, 2008

A Snow Storm Triggered by One Man

I can't believe I almost forgot to mention the passing of W. Mark "Deep Throat" Felt. He more than almost any one person is responsible for my interest in journalism and politics. Late one night in eighth grade I watched All the President's Men. From that day forward, I was a news junkie, sneaking my father's Newseek before he had an opportunity to read it. I was following the Bosnian War as it was unfolding before any of my peers had heard of it.

Geeky, yes, but impossible without the impact of "Deep Throat." Had he not worked to undermine the Nixon administration, my interest in politics and journalism may have never blossomed, and if it had it would have developed much differently.

R.I.P W. Mark Felt.

California Dreamin'

Attorney General Jerry Brown was a horrible mayor of Oakland. Not that the current Mayor Ron Dellums has been any better. But I've always been under the impression that both men were not successful for the same reason.

The minutiae of running the mayors office was just too small time for them. They both are visionaries, of their own right, and see big picture issues. Dealing the day-to-day responsibilities, along with their own over sized egos, was never going to be easy for either men.

This became even more evident with today's news that Brown asked the CA Supreme Court to over turn Prop 8. Brown understands that it was never the intention of the state constitution's author to allow right to be taken away from the minority group by a simple majority vote.

Money quotes below from SFgate:

"'We have a conflict between the amendment power (through voter initiatives) and the duty of the Supreme Court to protect minorities and safeguard liberty," Brown said...

Fundamental rights in the state Constitution, including the right to marry that the state's high court has recognized, "become a dead letter if they can just be amended" by popular vote, Brown said."

And for those that remember Kenneth Starr of Whitewater and Lewinsky fame, he's heading the yes on Prop 8 legal team. Would this guy please just go away?

Thursday, December 18, 2008

Overplayed Hand

I'm as big a supporter of gay rights and Barack Obama as you'll find. I've previously written here, here, here and here displaying my support for both.

However, Equality California Executive Director Geoffrey Kors decision to boycott the inauguration is disappointing. The decision to invite Rev. Rick Warren to give the invocation has drawn understandable anger by gay rights group. Warren is a bigot. I get that. But everything Obama has said over the last two years has pointed towards the invitation.

Kors decision is childish. Kors won't be Obama's friend as long as Obama is friends with Warren. Obama is the most pro-gay rights president EVER elected. The overreaction by gay rights activist only helps Obama demonstrate his inclusiveness and further showcases the pettiness of the activists.