Thursday, February 26, 2004

There were two things that got me angry yesterday. Well, at least two. Let's say two things that might be of interest to others who may also be thinking about these things.

First; Alan Greenspan. What an ass****. Is it just me, or is he overstepping his authority as Chairman of the Federal Reserve by dictating public policy to Congress and the President? What amazes me even more than Greenspan's unilateral decision that Social Security benefits need to be cut is the number of "journalists" who took that as a legislative fiat; Greenspan said it, therefore it will be so.

This man is appointed, not elected, and is accountable to none. Social Security policy is outside of his job responsibilities, and that he thinks he can get away with this is just another demonstration of the over-blown power he has been handed. Anybody else angry yet?

The second item is only of interest to those in California; the anti-proposition 56 TV ads. Several of them contain an outright lie. In their zeal to emphasize the "blank check" they claim the proposition gives to the legislature they list all the taxes that they'll be raising once it passes, including "property tax." Remember proposition 13? Nobody's messing with your property tax. This is a point blank lie. So, think you can believe anything else these idiots say?

Let me ask you a couple of questions: Do you believe in democracy? Do you believe in majority rule? Or, do you think it's fair that 34% of the state legislature can (and does) hold 66% of the legislature hostage each and every year? I hope you said "yes" to the first two questions. The third question describes the situation as it currently is. The state legislature has missed its Constitutional deadline for passing a budget 18 years in a row thanks to the super-majority requirement. This is a part of why the state is in the drastic financial shape it's currently in.

We have an opportunity here to fix that, and still require a bit more than a simple majority to pass fiscal matters. We're one of a handful of states that requires 66% to pass a budget. It's not a "blank check"; it's smart government. And, it builds in penalties for not making the budget deadline. I've been waiting for a proposition like this for years.

Sunday, February 22, 2004

It's official, Ralph Nader has announced his independent candidacy for President. An announcement that will be met with more groans than cheers, I'm afraid, this year.

He will not be running again as a Green, so Greens will be mad at him for trying to siphon off their supporters. Democrats are still unfairly scapegoating him for their 2000 loss, and so will be mad at him. And, with such a late start as an independent, he'll have a heck of a time just qualifying for the ballot in most states, shutting him out of many independent supporters.

(BTW, if you still think Nader cost Gore the election, you need to read this).

I have voted for Nader in the past, in post primary and general elections, but will likely not be supporting him this year. I am a registered Green, and will probably vote for Peter Camejo in the March 2 primary, but my November vote is still up for grabs. I honestly hope that I'll be able to support the Democratic ticket and help push Bush out of office, but they'll have to work to hold my support.

One good thing about not being registered as a Democrat at this time is that I can be happy for John Kerry's apparent ascension without having to go through the embarrassment of voting for Dennis Kucinich first.

Friday, February 13, 2004

San Francisco's new mayor, Gavin Newsom, has defied the state in approving the issuing of same-sex marriage licenses in the city. Yesterday, the first of these marriages took place. To me, the only question is, why did it take so long for SF to make that decision?

Years ago, when I first met Gavin Newsom at a community meeting, I really liked him. Then, over the years of his political rise, I started to think less of him personally, and put him more into the category of political weasel, something I was convinced of during the recent mayoral campaign. But with this move, I'm back in Gavin's corner.

The "defense of marriage" people have been making a big stink about how marriage is supposed to be about a man and a woman because the whole point of marriage is the creation and raising of children. I find this argument to be both culturally wrong and personally insulting.

According to these folks, my marriage doesn't qualify as "valid" because after nearly eight years, Leslie and I have still not chosen to have children. By today's standard of quickie divorces, ours is already considered a "long-term" marriage, but (according to these culture guardians) we're destroying the institution by remaining childless.

Meanwhile, I know of many same-sex couples who, without the benefit of a legal marriage certificate, are raising healthy, happy children in loving households. While Britney Spears defends marriage with a 48-hour "mistake", these honest people who are committed to their families are refused basic rights that others can take for granted.

I'm on the board of a nonprofit agency that finds adoptive and foster homes for hard-to-place children. These aren't cute babies; these are older kids and teens who have severe emotional, mental, or physical problems. They've been removed from abusive situations by the courts, and then we find them a new home. I've seen how the proper foster or adoptive parents can turn around a troubled kid who previously had no future to look forward to, and I've seen that it works with same-sex couples, as well as single parent situations.

How dare these self-appointed guardians of the moral order tell us that gays and lesbians are the reason why marriage is in danger when fewer than 50% of heterosexual marriages continue "'till death do we part." "Family" and "home" can mean many things to different people. It's not up to the state to define those terms, only to grant equal rights to all, however they chose to define commitment.

Monday, February 09, 2004

So you thought we were done talking about California's gubernatorial recall election? You thought the hundreds of candidates had all magically vanished and that their newfound excitement about politics wouldn't bubble up from time to time? Well, my friend, you thought wrong.

Several of the would-be has-beens are in upcoming primary races for everything from State Assembly to U.S. Congress. San Jose's Jon Zellhoefer (126th place) is running for state Senate. Los Angeles' Heather Peters (116th place) is making a bid for state Assembly. Fresno's Gino Martorana (108th place) is aiming for a seat in Congress. And the ever-cute George Russell (35th place) is pondering a bid for Mountain View City Council (if she doesn't decide to re-locate to go for her MBA).

With a look ahead at the race for President, and the choices we're likely to have, it's nice to look at this as a reason to be hopeful about politics and our citizenry. Anytime people are energized to speak up, step up, and do what they can to make a positive difference in our community, it's a good thing. Good luck to them all.

Recall candidates rekindle dreams (Mercury News)

Tuesday, February 03, 2004

Everybody's talking about Janet Jackson's bare breast during the SuperBowl half-time show. First were the demands from outraged Texans that she be arrested for indecency, followed by CBS' distancing themselves from the MTV produced segment, and topped off with an FCC investigation.

Well, I'll tell you - The whole damn incident happened so quick that I, and the other dozen or so people in the bar where we watched the game, all missed the breast live. I remember paying attention to Janet ("that's Miss Jackson to you")'s first number, but must have gotten more interested in my rum & coke when Timberlake showed up.

Monday morning, after the initial denials that it was planned, I decided to find out if it all was "just an accident", did a little search, and downloaded the clip. I watched it again and again, frame by frame, (and again and again), and I came to the conclusion, long before the afternoon's confessions, that yes, it was all a publicity stunt.

I really don't give a crap about the near nudity. I've always thought that Janet should show a lot more flesh, a lot more often. I was disappointed in her because of the violence of the act. Playing out the rape fantasy is the type of thing I expect from a lot of talentless performers trying to extend their 15 minutes (like Justin Timberlake), but not from a (usually) class act like Janet.

So I'm disappointed with a popular performer. Does that mean I think she should she be arrested for indecency? Should CBS be fined for allowing this to happen? Should I rush right out and buy her new CD? Should anybody continue to care now, 48 hours after the show? Hell no.

A handful of insightful people have assessed that it's all a smoke screen to get people off of the real scandal, which is CBS' refusal to air the advertisement. (an organization I'm not always a fan of, to be quite honest) held a "Bush in 30 Seconds" ad contest, and had tried to pay full-price to air the ad last Sunday. The winning ad showed children laboring to pay off Bush's trillion dollar deficit. CBS refused their money and the their advertisement. (go to to read more and see the ad.)

How is CBS going to handle the upcoming election season? Will they refuse 90% of the ads of (John Kerry? Howard Dean? Whomever the Democrats nominate) because they might question the President's policies or decisions? Is the deficit off limits for the opposition? What about the war in Iraq? What will the Democrats (or anybody else) be allowed to say when on "the Tiffany network"?

These are the questions that the FCC should be demanding an answer to. This is why we should be questioning CBS' continued use of the public airwaves.

Twitter Feed