Wednesday, September 29, 2004

The countdown to the first debate has begun, and I'm afraid nobody really cares. Much has already been made of the 32-page Memorandum of Understanding between the campaigns that has made sure that the debates will be as un-spontaneous as possible, but I plan to watch anyway.

True, the three events planned can hardly be called "debates," but they are our only chances as a nation to see the two major candidates side-by-side - even if they are only repeating their canned and rehearsed statements. There will be no surprise curve-ball questions, and absolutely no interplay between the two, but we will see them on their feet for 90 minutes, each having to answer the same basic questions on where they will take this nation over the next four years.

Of course, each side is already doing damage control. Each will claim a victory by simply doing better than the expectations that they are working hard now to lower. Kerry's campaign reminds us that Bush's strength is debating (?!) and that his folksy way of talkin' to folks virtually guarantees a Bush win. Bush's operatives remind us that debating is all Senators do ("Presidents act, Senators debate") while Dubya can barely say his name without stuttering.

This strategy has worked for W before. In 2000 the expectations on him were so low that all he had to do was string together three sentences, and only screw two of them up, to be hailed as the winner. Of course, Gore's famous sighing didn't help. Or the lockbox thing.

Oops, am I talking about Gore? Last night on Hardball Chris Matthews slipped a couple of times in calling Kerry by the G-name. Freudian slip or subtle campaign message? I like Chris Matthews, but his partisanship has been obscenely on display lately - something more fitting to somebody on FoxNews, not MSNBC.

Oh, and a comment about yesterday's posting. I may have sounded a bit flippant and disrespectful in my discussion of becoming an ordained member of the clergy. While I am not taking my online ordination as being as meaningful as somebody whose earned theirs through years of seminary study, I'm not taking it completely as a joke either.

The truth is that it partly came out of my frustration with organized religion in general, and my lack of spiritual connections as of late. But more of that later. Right now, I have a message for my followers: Though shalt watch the debates with an open mind and try not to scream when the other guy talks. Go forth and vote.

Tuesday, September 28, 2004

Yesterday I had an interesting horoscope: "You're a visionary and will be drawn to bring ethereal concepts into the real world. Inspiring impossibilities spur you to create your own unfeasible outcomes. To get to your goal, you need the help of others."

To me it meant only one thing: Start my own cult. I've always wanted to be a cult leader, but have never made it a high priority on my to-do list. But that whole thing about bringing visionary concepts in the real world touched something spiritual inside me. And that bit about needing others, well, it pointed out that I need to start recruiting members.

So, this morning I went and got myself ordained. I visited the Church of Spiritual Humanism and clicked the "Ordain Me" button, and now I'm a member of the clergy.

I chose to be a Spiritual Humanist because it is "based on the ability of human beings to solve the problems of society using logic and science." Also, after a few web searches I found that most of the folks who'll ordain you online (and free) are specifically Christian sects, and although some will allow you the title of "Rabbi", nobody (not even Jews for Jesus) will ordain you as a specifically Jewish Rabbi.

So, now that I'm ordained in the Church of Spiritual Humansim, I need to decide what title I want to be known by. I'm thinking of are "Inspirational Leader," "Universal Rabbi," "Lama," " Peace Counselor," or "Guru."

Since I'm going to be needing some followers, why don't you email me with your choice of my title, and some ideas of what you'd like from this new congregation? Also, if you'd like me to perform any weddings, baby namings, or other ceremonies, just let me know. I'm here to serve you, my devoted followers. Oh, and donations are always welcome...

Thursday, September 23, 2004

"The expansive agenda President Bush laid out at the Republican National Convention was missing a price tag, but administration figures show the total is likely to be well in excess of $3 trillon over a decade.

"A staple of Bush's stump speech is his claim that his Democratic challenger, John F. Kerry, has proposed $2 trillion in longterm spending, a figure the Massachusetts senator's campaign calls exaggerated. But the cost of the new tax breaks and spending outlined by Bush at the GOP convention far eclipses that of the Kerry plan. ..."


Meanwhile, the ashes of the late Marlon Brando were scattered yesterday in Tahiti and Death Valley. At the Death Valley ceremony for a man many (including myself) consider one of the greatest actors of the 20th century, they also scattered the ashes of Brando's good friend and former roommate, Wally Cox, who died in 1973.

According to the media, "[H]ow Cox's ashes were in the possession of Brando's family was unknown." Personally, I find it fitting that the actors who gave us Jor-El and Underdog were put to rest together.

More on this story...

Wednesday, September 22, 2004

"Millions of U.S. citizens, including a disproportionate number of black voters, will be blocked from voting in the Nov. 2 presidential election because of legal barriers, faulty procedures or dirty tricks, according to civil rights and legal experts....

"There are individuals and officials who are actively trying to stop people from voting who they think will vote against their party and that nearly always means stopping black people from voting Democratic," said Mary Frances Berry, head of the U.S. Commission on Human Rights.

Vicky Beasley, a field officer for People for the American Way, listed some of the ways voters have been "discouraged" from voting. "In elections in Baltimore in 2002 and in Georgia last year, black voters were sent fliers saying anyone who hadn't paid utility bills or had outstanding parking tickets or were behind on their rent would be arrested at polling stations. It happens in every election cycle."

Read the full story on Yahoo! News

Monday, September 20, 2004

CBS says, "OOOPS!"

Look out now for the media feeding frenzy now that CBS news has made an official statement saying they were misled about the authenticity of memos regarding W's National Guard service. Dan Rather's apology will be used to discredit the entire story, which is actually a shame.

Yes, some of the documents were shown to be fakes. But, the bigger issue is whether or not young W received assistance avoiding the draft with a guard post, and whether or not he managed to shirk some of his duties once in the guard. Nobody is disputing those assertions; only the method used to prove them.

To me, the most interesting interview was with General Killian's secretary. She said that the she thought the documents were fakes, but that whoever created them had access to Killian and knew his opinion of W. She verified the information contained in the memos, even while disputing their authenticity.

Okay, CBS was duped. But not by Democratic operatives making up lies. They were duped by somebody close to the President who wanted the true information leaked, but wanted to maintain their own secrecy. This is bigger than a faked memo; this is somebody high up who is scared of his own boss.

And, by the way, it does matter.

Friday, September 17, 2004

I've just posted a new article at Suite 101; "Republicans Not Evil and Other Astounding Facts!" I hope you like it.

Meanwhile - If you're interested in moving to Silicon Valley, here's a listing for a house in Los Gatos for only $100,000. If I describe it to you, it won't do it justice - Just click and enjoy...

Wednesday, September 15, 2004

Get 'em while they last! Official Kerry-Edwards shot glasses.

I know I'll be needing this a lot between now and November 2. Although, depending on what happens that day, I may just start drinking my whiskey straight from the bottle...
With G.W. Bush in the lead in all current polls, there's very little incentive for him to face John Kerry face-to-face. And so his campaign is being as weasily as possible when it comes to confirming if/when any debates will be held.

The bi-partisan commission on debates (and they can be a problem too) has proposed three 90-minute sessions, to which Kerry has agreed. Bush has not answered yet, and insiders are now indicating that he may only appear for two 60-minute sessions.

Obviously the Bush camp agrees with me that Kerry will whip his ass in man-to-man confrontation. Of course, it's not just Kerry that loses out, but the American people. But since when has W ever cared about them?

Read full article in the SF Chronicle

Monday, September 13, 2004

Now that Leslie's back to work teaching, I'm realizing how much time I've got on my hands between the little bit of client work that I've got right now. So, I've been getting into promotional mode the last couple of days.

On Friday, I updated my consulting web site and posted a little ad on craigslist. This morning I sent out this email to about 115 people I know professionally:
Dear Friends and Colleagues,

It has been nearly a year since my departure from CompassPoint, so I thought I would fill you all in on what I've been doing since "going solo" as a consultant.

In Gilroy I am working with the Glen View Alliance: a collaborative of Go Kids, MACSA, Rebekah Children's Services, School-Linked Services, and GUSD. I have facilitated a few of their retreats and have now written grants of approximately $2.3 million for their five-year project.

I have also been serving as Interim Executive Director for ARIS. This assignment started with an organizational assessment that led to my recommending the shutdown of the agency. I've remained IED during the filing of bankruptcy and have managed the sale of all the assets, including a house.

Along with those major projects I've also done some grant writing for Peace-it-Together and the Peninsula Symphony Association and have taught workshops in fundraising and supervision for Montalvo, the Shasta Regional Community Foundation, and (of course) CompassPoint.

As we head into Fall I am ready to pick up a few more projects or interim assignments. If you have any leads or ideas please feel free to pass on my contact information (see below) or give me a call just to catch up!

It's kind of nice to see what I've accomplished over this last odd year. It would be nicer if I had a positive bank balance to go along with it. We'll see if these efforts are able to scare up any business.

Saturday, September 11, 2004

Say No to assault weapons on our streets

Here's something positive you can do to commemorate the third anniversary of 9/11: Help keep assault weapons off our streets.

Friday, September 03, 2004

As I'm sure you've heard by now, last night George W. Bush gave the best speech of his life. It was moderate, yet resolute, demonstrated a commitment to a being strong force internationally, yet held out compassion for those struggling at home, firmly criticized his opponent, yet good-naturedly mocked his own short-comings. In other words, it was full of shit.

The first twenty minutes or so W laid out a domestic agenda of some forty items he would pursue to make life better at home, if he were elected President. It was mighty impressive, with some "compassionate conservative" spins on items right out of the Democratic party platform. My main trouble with it was that it was a great speech for somebody accepting the nomination for the first time. But where have these ideas been the last 3-1/2 years? Why it taken him his entire first term to put together a domestic agenda that can only be accomplished in a second term? Because it's all BS. It's smoke and mirrors designed to appeal to the swing voters who are scared of Bush, but unsure of Kerry.

Then came the meat and potatoes of the speech, and the message of the week; G.W. must be re-elected because 9/11 proved that there are bad guys out there who want to hurt us, and G.W. doesn't care who he has to kill to get at them. Oh, yeah, and he'll protect the rights of the un-born against militant homosexual judges.

I was scared, I tell ya. Not because of what he said, but because of how well he said it. Speaking for over an hour, he barely sweated at all and only had a few minor mispronunciations. If people actually believed 60% of what they heard, he could actually be re-elected.

Then came the Kerry speech in Ohio. Not many stations covered it, and none that I could find had it in its entirety, but those who did see it saw what a real statesman looks and sounds like. It's more than simply pronouncing the words right; it's feeling them too. Yes, he started at the lectern looking at his cards, but then he pulled the microphone out of the stand and wandered around the podium speaking directly to the people, without his notes, and you knew that this was a man who understood what's going in America today, and what to do about it. He wasn't being fed focus group tested catch phrases by his handlers; he was explaining what could be done to get this country back on the right track. I felt much better.

Looking at those two performances, back-to-back like that, I could see how important the debates will be. Yes, Bush has grown as President, and handles himself much better in public speaking situations, but he doesn't hold a candle to Kerry. As long Kerry stays away from the word "lockbox" he should do just fine.

Thursday, September 02, 2004

I'll be honest here; I haven't watched very much of the Republican Convention. It's not that I haven't tried. It's just that keep getting disgusted and tuning it out. I've been turning to Chris Mathews and the gang at MSNBC to keep me up on the latest happenings, but I keep missing what I'm told are the highlights.

Here's some of what I've seen so far:
  • Laura Bush talking about the great progress that has been made in achieving America's vision of equality, from Lincoln freeing the slaves in the 1860's, to women getting the right to vote early in the last century, but leaving out the Voting Rights Act of 1964. She had to leave that out, because then she'd have to admit that the "party of Lincoln" opposed guaranteeing African-Americans access to the ballot box far more recently than when they did anything positive for blacks.

  • The Bush Twins joking about having joined Dad's campaign because they were looking around for something to do, now that they've graduated college. Hmmm... could they be having trouble finding something to do because THERE'S NO F***ING JOBS?!?!

  • Dick Cheney trying to come across as a nice guy. I couldn't hear what he was saying, however, as Leslie kept shouting obscenities at the screen. Or maybe it was me doing the shouting?

  • Zell Miller giving a tirade on why he's the token turn-coat Democrat to be speaking at the RNC. I think it was something like, "I introduced Bill Clinton at the 1992 Democratic Convention, and what did I get? Nothing. Not a cabinet post, not an invitation to spend the night in the Lincoln bedroom. As recently as 2001 I was giving speeches praising John Kerry's leadership, and did he pick me to be his VP? Heck no! So I'll show them! W's promised to take me fishing in Crawford if I give this little rant here..."

  • Rudy Giuliani telling a story about 9/11; "I remember at a couple of times during the day, turning to my chief of police, holding his arm, and saying, 'Thank God that George Bush is our president.'" Right. And the chief turned to him and said, "Can you let go of my damn arm? I've got f***ing city on fire I've got to tend to!" Another thing I noticed while Rudy was talking; the audience looked completely bored out of their minds.

  • Stephen Baldwin being interviewed about being the "non-Democrat" (and non-famous actor) in a family of famous liberals. Steve said that he was the RNC, not for political reasons, but for a religious one. He's concerned about how this country has turned away from God in the past 20 years, and he's there to support the candidate who he perceives to "have more faith." Steve claimed that there's no friction in the family because of his stance. An hour later I saw brother Alec being interviewed (on a real network), saying basically the same thing; "There's no friction in the family YET."

  • Speaking of actors being interviewed for no apparent reason, Ron Silver was on a panel on MSNBC and gave one of the few bits of true insight into how W might actually be re-elected. Silver is your basic stereotype New York Jew turned Hollywood Actor; liberal and progressive all the way. But he's supporting Bush. He's not proud of it, but he's doing it because he's scared, and he feels just a little bit safer with a crazy cowboy in the White House. His point was that he feels there are many more Democrats like him, who when talking to friends (or answering to pollsters) say, "Anybody but Bush," but when they get into the voting booth will feel the fear and re-elect the guy they hate.

  • Patrick Guerriero, head of the Log Cabin Republicans (the Gay Republican group) expressing his dissatisfaction with a party platform that has several anti-gay planks in it. He, of course, was not invited to speak from the platform, this interview was only for late-night cable TV viewers. I'd recommend visiting and reading Patrick's statement about the platform.

  • John McCain being interviewed everywhere, steadfastly refusing to say anything nasty about his friend, John Kerry, or distance himself from his President, George W. Bush. Is it too late for him to get the nomination?
I accidentally, and thankfully, missed Ahnold's speech. Tonight is W's big one. Ooh. I can hardly wait...

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