Wednesday, August 01, 2001

Well, I'm one step closer to rejoining the computerized world. After about two-and-a-half weeks the repair shop finally called back yesterday with the diagnosis I told them to begin with: My hard drive was fried.

They offered to sell me a new one for about $400 (plus labor), which I declined. I went to Fry's and bought one for $109, which I dropped off this morning at the shop for them to install. That should only take a week or two...

Meanwhile, while I realized I neglected to comment on the latest stupidity from California Senator Dianne Feinstein. She has sent letters to each of the major airlines asking them to set a two drink maximum on domestic flights. Her letters also included a threat to introduce legislation that would put the two drink limit into law, should the airlines fail to voluntarily comply.

The impetus for this bit of legislation is her desire to look like she's doing something important. You know the drill: Politician wants to do something "big" on a hot issue of the day, but can't afford to choose anything controversial because it might backfire as a publicity ploy, so they choose something easy like taking a stand in favor of children and ice cream, or against the evils of murder and mayhem.

In this case, Feinstein has taken a stand on an issue that's terrifying all Americans: Air Rage. It turns out she's against it. First, let's just ignore the fact that "air rage" is just another new nonexistent condition dreamed up by news editors who have given up on covering real news that might offend their advertisers. Let's pretend, just for a minute, that "air rage" wasn't simply a new way to describe passengers who are pissed off at being treated like cattle by greedy airlines and squeezed into ever-tighter seats with less legroom every year.

Let's consider the possibility that "air rage" is real. What makes Feinstein assume that A) it requires federal legislation, or B) all incidents are related to alcohol consumption, or C) that anybody with three drinks in them becomes a problem? To me it's another example of putting a bandage on a symptom of a larger problem, and calling it a solution. It's feel good legislation, and simply busy work for a Congress that's afraid to tackle any real issues.

Well, I may have missed commenting on this, but Libertarian Party national director Steve Dasbach didn't. In a recent press release he proposed a new drink called the Feinstein. "Mix one part jet fuel, one part Absolut arrogance, and one part California whine. Shake vigorously until some common sense emerges. Garnish with a wedge of media limelight."

I admit, I rarely agree with the Libertarians (the party with a capital "L", not the philosophy with a little "l") but this time they hit the nail right on the head. I've never particularly liked Dianne Feinstein, and saw her as a political opportunist from the start. She owes her career to the double assassination of San Francisco Supervisor Harvey Milk and Mayor George Moscone (who preceded Feinstein to that office). She made it to the Senate by waving their bloody shirts on a series of TV ads that made her out to be the hero of that tragedy.

Since her election to the Senate, it seems she's only become more and more conservative, and quite a bit nastier, with only a few token nods to her Democratic base. Each time she's been on my ballot I've been reminded of the words of Harry Truman: "When a Republican runs against a Republican, the Republican will win every time."

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