Archive for the ‘Power’ Category

According to Joe the Talking Head Who Smokes Cigars and Sweats Profusely, here is absolute proof that Obama is a failed President.

  1. Tiger Woods isn’t going to take questions at his public appearance tomorrow.
  2. Heidi Montag is going to bare it all for Playboy.
  3. A Utah state senator proposes to eliminate the 12th grade in Utah schools.
  4. Tim Urban replaces Chris Golightly in American Idol’s Top 24.
  5. God told Moses, “Do not lust in your heart for Hollywood bimbos, either.”
  6. A plague of grasshoppers is expected to descend on Northern Nevada this year.
  7. Joe stepped on a crack and nothing happened.
  8. The alien body in Area 51 is the real Barack Obama.
  9. Joe thinks, but he isn’t certain, Gavin Newsom (will) (will not) (who cares) run for Lieutenant Governor of San Francisco.
  10. Dick Cheney supports waterboarding.

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That’s a headline that will probably never find its way into newspepers in California, even though it’s perfectly logical when you think about it.

Gavin Newsom, the Mayor of the City and County of San Francisco, has been mulling a run for Lieutenant Governor of California. The major duty of the Lt Gov is to act as “Vice-Executive of the State of California.”

I’m sure the subtle double meaning of “vice executive” hasn’t escaped your attention.

According to Dictionary.com, the word vice has several meanings. Heading the list is “an immoral or evil habit or practice.”

Naturally, folks in the Heartland have probably already pegged the State of California in general and the City of San Francisco specificlally as the universal center for the practice of immoral and evil habits of all sorts.

Gavin Newsom came to their attention when he declared same-sex marriages legal in the City and immediately began issuing marriage licenses to same-sex couples.

In the minds of many dedicated Red Staters, homosexuality is the ultimate vice, an act voluntarily engaged in by a depraved segment of the population, most of whom reside in San Francisco.

To this segment of America, it is therefore merely stating the obvious to consider the Lieutenant Governor of Californiato be the state’s vice executive in the most evil sense of the word.

To most reasonable and erudite individuals, however, the word “vice” may evoke images of a “combining form meaning “deputy,” used in the formation of compound words, usually titles of officials who serve in the absence of the official denoted by the base word: viceroy; vice-chancellor.

In other words, the Lieutenant Governor acts as Governor when the Gov is absent for any one of a variety of reasons.  The Lt Gov acts in lieu thereof, a rather innocent interpretation.

Still a third group may use vice in an entirely different sense:  any of various devices, usually having two jaws that may be brought together or separated by means of a screw, lever, or the like, used to hold an object firmly while work is being done on it.

The members of this group, to which I belong, will probably respond, when asked to define vice, by grabbing the questioner’s thumb, sticking it between the two jaws and tightening the screws until he or shc screams.

This is exactly how I feel when think about the U.S. Senate.

Postscript. The ultimate outcome of the legality of same-sex marriage in California was settled, sort of, with a state constitutional amendment defining marriage as a union between a man and a woman.

The Amendment succeeded because conservative forces in California, with a little help from their friends outside of the state, carried the day. But Newsom gained a reputation as a champion of same-sex marriage nationwide.

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Will he or won’t he? No, wait. Won’t he or will he? No, wait. He won’t, but maybe he will.

What’s all the fuss about? The media and the blogosphere have been abuzz in recent days with speculation about whether or not The Gav will run for Lieutenant Governor.

Lieutenant Governor? Is that still a real California state elective office? What does a Lieutenant Governor do anyway?

For a more complete rendition of the Lieutenant Governor’s duties and responsibilities than I have the time and interest to repeat here, see this Wikipedia page. It’s as good as most job descriptions I’ve read, mundane as all get out, vague, ambiguous, and open to more interpretation than the U.S. Constitution.

One part did catch my eye, however. The Lieutenant Governor serves as “vice-executive of California.”

Now, that’s a job I might consider running for myself.

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This may sound heartless, but I have absolutely no sympathy for Tiger Woods or for any of his alleged mistresses. If only half of his suspected sex partners turn out to be real and not a figment of someone’s imagination, then we can safely assume that Tiger rates at the top of the Scummiest People in the History of the World.

Why am I rating Tiger Scum One? After all, he’s just doing what comes naturally or would do it if the opportunity arose. I mean, every one of the women named so far has a superstructure to die for and a bottom structure to boot, not to mention boob structure. Every inch of these women cries out, “Do it to me, baby.” How could any heterosexual male resist? Tiger is only a man.

Well, now, is the entirety of the preceding argument true? Let’s examine, starting with what comes naturally. I think we can all agree that sex is built into the human race. We can argue about whether its purpose is procreation or recreation or a combination of the two, but the act of sexual intercourse is certainly an innate part of the human makeup.

But does it follow that we are biologically programmed to engage in sex 24-hours a day? We might wish for that state of affairs, but in reality, humans need time to take care of other matters. They need to eat, shop, bathe, earn money, get drunker than skunks, and perform a host of other biologically and culturally driven activities.  Moreover, most cultures do not tolerate naked humans fornicating in the street like dogs, although Hollywood comes close.

So, there are constraints on the time and place for fornicating. We are, after all, humans and rank at the apex of the living hierarchy of things with brains. We think; therefore we screw when the time is right and under socially and legally acceptable circumstances. At least, most of us do.

Tiger had the poor judgment to screw the wrong women at the wrong time in the wrong place. He violated one of the more important cultural and moral constraints, the prohibition against sex with a partner other than the one we are legally married to. Although a lot of people violate this principle, more do not than do. Therefore, it is a stretch to maintain that everyone does it.

Okay, we’ve demonstrated that, contrary to one of the most commonly presented and accepted arguments, not everyone does it. What about “To err is human?” That’s pretty much a restatement of the ‘everyone does it” argument. It’s true that “to err is human” is correct because “to err” requires a thinking brain to define err. Lower forms of life lack the essential element of reason necessary to include sex in the category of things classified as errors and thus ripe for atonement and remorse.

But that begs the real question. We all err, but we don’t make that error. Adultery may be on the rise, but, still, only about 24 percent of men and 14 percent of women act out their fantasies. That leaves 76 percent of men and 86 percent of women who don’t. Tiger is thus definitely a member of a minority class when it comes to this particular peccadillo.

If none of the second grade arguments suffice to place Tiger at the top of the World’s Scummiest People Pile, what’s left? Here’s the overlooked reasoning factor.

Tiger allegedly has 14—count ‘em—14 mistresses and a wife. This is greed of the first order. Even in a capitalist economic system where greed is good, this is absolute overkill. Tiger is monopolizing the market. Until he agrees to share his supply of women, he will remain at the top of the scum heap.

In other words, Tiger ranks as the World’s Scumiest Human not for his sexual escapades but for his damned greed.

p.s. I apologize for suggesting that women are commodities on the open market. But somehow, Tiger seems to believe they are.

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The world has ended several times in my life. Each time, I usually awakened the following morning, automatically checking for functioning body parts and mental faculties just in case my room wasn’t a replica created by some extraterrestrial force the way things often happen in The Twilight Zone or on a Hollywood movie set ala moon landings.

So far things have always checked out, although I admit the possibility of delusions implanted in my mind by those same unknown forces. Nevertheless, I went about my business as if the world remained unchanged. My life quickly returned to normal as I settled down and waited patiently for the next end of the world.

Now, the next one is rapidly approaching. If the mammography guidelines recently proposed by a federal task force are implemented, we’ll have breast cancer panels and God knows what else. The end of the United States is near. And we all know the U.S. is the world.

But there’s a discordant note in the current state of hysteria around us. As an occasional flash of clarity strikes, reason tells us this one just doesn’t track. We wonder, what does the word “guidelines” denote and connote?

Is a guideline a matter of law? Has Congress passed and the President signed a law mandating breast examinations based on some arbitrary number picked out of a hat? Has the President issued an Executive Order directing the establishment of a Breast Examination Panel tasked to decide who can and who cannot have an examination?

To the best of my knowledge, none of these has taken place. In fact, these same guidelines were recommended 12 years ago. No one to the best of my knowledge panicked then and nothing occurred to change the guidelines. So, what accounts for the current hysteria?

Perhaps this is just one more example of the politics of the slippery slope. We’re all intelligent people here. We understand that a slippery slope kicks in when a specified action is considered to be the first step that automatically and irrevocable leads to the complete and total destruction of mankind.

In politics, the slippery slope is a common political tactic employed by both major power-holding political parties to scare the crap out of the public. The purpose of a slippery slope accusation is to arouse public emotions and stir some sort of rebellion against the programs of the other party.

It’s a very effective tactic. We Americans are quite susceptible to fear-mongering for a couple of reasons. We are distinctly uneasy about the domestic economy and its direction. We fear a loss of our hard-earned gains and for the future of our children.

Compounding our domestic fears, America’s perceived fading influence on the international stage fuels fears of a takeover by unspecified enemies somewhere out there. Recently, there has been a reactivation of out fright response engendered by talk of a murky New World Order and the Illuminati. And United Nations forces are rumored to be secretly patrolling remote roads in the United States.

Taken together, domestic and international factors create a sort of free-floating anxiety that hovers over us like the proverbial raincloud hanging over Joe Blitzfit In this environment, nerves are on edge and any change from the comfortable and known is bound to be met with panic.

Here’s the reality. There is little if any chance the proposed guidelines will negatively affect women’s health. When it comes right down to it, women are going to ignore the guidelines and continue their self-examination followed by a mammogram if their examination finds something.

Further, no doctor in his or her right mind is going to refuse the request of a health-conscious woman who wishes a mammogram. It’s insanity to think so. Obstructive medicine is a sure road to professional death. A few doctors in the past have hung up their practices because of the cost of liability insurance or a plethora of government regulations. And some have refused to perform certain medical procedures, primarily abortions, because of a moral conviction, but in my judgment there is no similar moral bar to a mammogram.

Will insurance companies refuse to pay for a mammogram beyond the limits suggested in the guidelines? That’s highly doubtful. The trend lately has swung toward a strong belief that medical treatment is a matter between a patient and his or her doctor. The era of a remote figure that may or may not be a physician sitting in an antiseptic office somewhere and automatically disapproving certain claims immediately is slowly fading.

True, insurance companies make a little money by denying claims. But I would almost be willing to bet that the amount of money collected on premiums far exceeds the amount of money paid out in claims.

Insurance companies aren’t going to jeopardize those premiums by adopting highly unpopular practices that might drive away institutions such as the federal and state governments, which pump enormous amounts of money into the coffers of insurers through government-offered group health coverage plans. The insurance companies are greedy but they aren’t fiscally dumb.

I know it’s easy for a man to be blasé about this matter. Men have breast cancer, too, but compared to the rates for women, the numbers are few. We thus tend to downplay the problems of women. That’s wrong on the faced of it.

It’s equally wrong for the federal task force to base its recommendations solely on statistics. Ignoring the human factor is a surefire road to irrelevance. As well, it calls into question the validity of the panel’s findings. Governments, all governments in the U.S., federal, state, and local, do not possess a great deal of credibility as it is. The feds insensitive treatment of this matter has lowered its credit score immensely.

In the final analysis, the anxiety and hysteria over the panel’s recommendations constitute nothing more than wasted energy. For once in our lives, we ought to ignore the slippery slope. Let’s send a signal to fear-mongering politicians. Let’s resolve that the end of the world is not at hand.

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I wouldn’t exactly characterize it as rife, but speculation about Gavin Newsom is in the air. It started this past Friday when he announced his withdrawal from the governor’s race. In the beginning, everyone seemed inert, hardly grasping what had just occurred. But the talking pointy heads are beginning to emerge and as time passes, we can expect the underwhelming story to gain a little staying power.

Newsom’s expressed reason for his withdrawal was a desire to spend more time with his new baby daughter. That’s understandable. First time parents always seem a little overwhelmed at the 24/7 tasks of caring for a newborn infant. Some have wondered, however, if a couple as rich as the Newsoms hasn’t already employed a baby sitter or whatever they’re called by rich people, nannies or something European chic such as Au pair.

Naturally, as soon as Newsom ended his press conference Friday, the questions began. Everyone, and I mean everyone, wanted to know the real reason he decided to drop out. The thinking class figured, based on its experience with politicians, that a simple explanation could not possibly be the right one. The want-to-be-with-my-family excuse has been used by virtually every politician in the country at one time or another. Political analysts have a difficult time with both simplicity and repetition.

In the case of Newsom’s real motives, a couple of explanations hit the media waves almost immediately. The first one posited that Gavin was far behind Jerry Brown and falling further in soliciting money for his campaign. In modern American politics, so the theory goes, money equals success. No one aspiring to a political office can approach electability without the monetary resources needed to get his or her message out to the voting public. Gavin came up short in this area.

The second reason Gavin withdraw, according to the pundits, was his standing in the polls. Since the beginning of his efforts to become the Democratic nominee for governor, he has lagged in the polls. In the latest, he was a full 20 points behind Jerry. Overcoming a deficit like this is a challenge to say the least.

Those are the motives proffered by the punditry class. And both of them are valid and logical. But are they the primary motivating forces behind Newsom’s withdrawal? Some have suggested other reasons.

At the top of the list is a hint, never directly articulated, that someone lined up against Newsom was prepared to cover every inch of Newsom’s personal life, or at least enough to brand Newsom as an untrustworthy individual. Does this one hold water? Perhaps. But most likely, given Brown’s commanding lead in money and polls, the nuclear option would never have been needed.

Another possible motive plays on Newsom’s expressed desires in the past to achieve political office beyond San Francisco. This one suggests implicitly that Gavin may be looking for something at the federal level, a congressional seat or something like that. His failure in the Democratic primary would definitely put a damper on further political aspirations. By withdrawing now and using the usual reasons, Gavin leaves open the possibility of revisiting the issue at a more propitious time.

Whether or not any or all of these are the real motive, one fact remains clear. Gavin has withdrawn from contention. At this point in time, motives are irrelevant. Some recognize this and concentrate on the matter of his future. What will Gavin do now?

Again, several ideas have been floated. For the time being, he will finish his second term as mayor, putting his energies into the changes he wishes for San Francisco.

After his second term ends in 2012, the possibilities are open. He may return to his business interests, of which he has several in the pleasure and entertainment business, successful enterprises such as a winery, resorts, restaurants and wine bars.

Some, such as former San Francisco Mayor Willie Brown, believe Newsom will return to politics at some time in the future when the political environment is more receptive.

Regardless of the political tack Newsom may eventually take, he will continue to be a polarizing figure. His stand on gay marriage has illuminated the nascent strength of California’s conservative majority in certain areas of the state such as the interior valleys where conservatives, along with many of California’s statewide population of Black voters, were instrumental in killing state-wide gay marriages.

Of course, outside forces were a strong factor in the passage of Proposition 8, an Amendment to the State Constitution that restricts marriage to one man and one woman. But the point is that conservative strength is there and can be mobilized easily against Newsom.

Perhaps the biggest mystery surrounding Newsom’s sudden withdrawal from the primary against Jerry Brown is the question of who predicted Newsom’s decision to hang it up, at least for the time being, as far back as September 15, 2009.

On that date, an anonymous item appeared in the blog  I Love You Gavin Newsom. The post predicted with uncanny accuracy not only Newsom’s withdrawal but also the exact reason given by Newsom in his public statement on Friday, October 31, a month and a half after the blog post.

Someday, the identity or identities of the author(s) will be known. In the meantime, speculation about the conundrum that is Gavin will continue. Our speculation is that Gavin’s absence from the political arena will be temporary. He is an ambitious individual with a taste for the power political office brings. Power once experienced is difficult to forget.

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A major recurring theme in the expected gubernatorial primary between Democratic contestants Gavin Newsom and Jerry Brown will be the new versus the old. The lines are already forming, as evidenced by the following statement to Politico by Newsom’s political strategist, Garry South.

The contrast [between Newsom and Brown] is obvious. If you want new leadership and you want a fresh face, Jerry Brown is not your guy,” said Garry South, a Newsom strategist. “Will that argument be effective with every voter? Of course not. But will it be enough for us to win? Yes.

Most observers agree that the strategy will be effective in some limited sense. However, Newsom hasn’t been tested beyond the boundaries of San Francisco. Thus, whether the strategy will carry Newsom to statewide victory remains to be seen.

Moreover, Newsom trails Brown in the all-important electoral category of money. Dollars win elections, and no one knows the reality of that better than Garry South. In fact, he has managed to snare one of the Democratic Party’s top fund raisers, former President Bill Clinton, who remains highly popular on the national and world stages. If Clinton performs as expected, he will undoubtedly pump some funds into Newsom’s coffers.

But the South strategy contains within it an inherent contradiction. On the one hand, South holds Newsom up as the bright and shining beacon of a New California. On the other hand, he calls in a shining example of old-time Southern and East Coast politics.

Clinton has been around a long time. He was elected Arkansas Attorney General in 1976 and Governor of Arkansas in 1978, a post he held until 1981. He became President in 1993, holding that office until 2001.

Since then, largely behind the scenes, he has helped advance the career of his wife, Hillary Clinton, assisting her in her campaign to win a Senate seat from the State of New York and more recently an appointment as Obama’s Secretary of State. This is hardly the record of a new generation.

Clinton also brings with him a record of marital infidelity, which will undoubtedly become a matter of discussion during the primary election campaign. The most notable example of his moral lapses is the Monica Lewinsky incident, leading to his impeachment and, as far as I know, the publication and worldwide distribution of the only pornographic report by a Special Prosecutor in the history of this country. Kenneth Starr’s report has undoubtedly been scrutinized by the Brown camp for usable ammunition should the need arise.

Despite his old-establishment power structure ties and his unsavory personal history, Clinton seems highly popular among some segments of California’s voting population, notably Latinos, and his presence as a Newsom supporter will carry a good deal of weight in the Hispanic community.

Clinton is also a classic political carpetbagger. Aside from a few forays into California to raise funds, he knows little if anything of California’s people, customs, habits, politics, or economics. That fact will also produce some ripe areas for exploitation by the Brown camp.

On balance, Clinton’s presence on Newsom’s side may yield some positive results. But the overall effects will probably be less than expected. An alert Newsom strategist would develop a script to explain how Newsom campaigns as a new-age King Arthur while at the same time calling on the help of the most seasoned and old-time politician around today. And a carpetbagger at that.

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