Tuesday, September 27, 2005

Righting a Wrong - Sonoma County Democrats Vote to Recommend Rescision of Resolution

Meeting at the Bakers Square restaurant in Santa Rosa tonight, the executive committee of the Sonoma County Democratic Central Committee (SCDCC) voted 7-4 to recommend to the full 30 member central committee that it rescind its controversial resolution on Sponsorship Lists and Democratic Party Officeholders. Under the resolution, adopted on a 12-11 vote in June, local Democratic elected officials in non-partisan offices, such as city council, faced sanctions from the Central Committee should they appoint non-Democrats to "important" commissions, agencies, committees, and other groups if qualified Democrats were available.

Under the resolution, all Democrats are encouraged to bring to the attention of the SCDCC "instances of improper conduct," that is, examples of local Democratic office holders appointing non-Democrats to local boards and committees. A list will be maintained of the violators, who would in the future not receive the support of the SCDCC.

After members of the executive committee spoke out in turn, about equally divided for and against rescinding the resolution, about 8 or 9 guests stood and spoke unanimously against the resolution. Aside from a couple Republicans there speaking against the measure, and one Democrat who just seemed to have some beef with Lynn Woolsey, who was neither there nor otherwise being discussed, all the guests who spoke up were "life-long Democrats" speaking in opposition to the resolution. The recurring themes were that the measure was anti-democratic, non-inclusive, contrary to the spirit of the California Constitution, which establishes that municipal politics shall be conducted on a non-partisan basis, and immitative of the cronyism of the Bush Administration at a minor league level. When the roll call vote for recommending the resolution's rescision passed, the guests, none of whom seemed to know each other and had been motivated to come by the black eye this measure and its attendant publicity had given to local Democrats, exchanged goodbyes and dispersed, leaving the committee to delve into the other items on its agenda.

Here is the text of the resolution, in full:

Part I. - Premise and Resolution
A Resolution on SCDCC Sponsorship Lists and Democratic Party Officeholders
Whereas, elected officeholders who are registered Democrats have endorsed and supported Republican incumbents and candidates for elective office, in opposition to Democratic Party incumbents and candidates who were endorsed by the Sonoma County Democratic Central Committee; and

Whereas, Democratic Party officeholders have supported the appointment of Republicans to important commissions, agencies, committees and other groups, in opposition to qualified Democrats who were contesting for these same appointments; and

Whereas, it is generally accepted that commissions, agencies, and committees are critical incubators for future Democratic officeholders to obtain essential political experience; and

Whereas, it is recognized that having one’s name on a Sponsorship List of an activity supported by the Democratic Central Committee of Sonoma County confers a favored political status upon listed Democrats, by giving the impression that these are persons who are dedicated to the values of the Democratic Party; and

Whereas, it is recognized that the support of non-Democrats by Democratic Party officeholders,as enumerated above, is harmful to the Democratic Party, and that such behavior should not be rewarded; and

Whereas, potential financial supporters, who are sensitive to their names being associated with known Republican supporters on any Sponsorship List, may withhold their financial support, causing a monetary loss to the Democratic Party activity,

Therefore be it resolved that:
(a) The name of any Democratic Party officeholder, who has publicly endorsed or supported non-Democratic Party candidates or incumbents for an elective office, including non-partisan offices, shall not appear on any Sponsorship List of an activity supported by the Democratic Central Committee of Sonoma County; and

(b) The name of any Democratic Party officeholder, who has supported the appointment of a non-Democrat to any commission, agency, committee, or other group, when qualified Democrats contested for those same appointments, shall not appear on any Sponsorship List of an activity supported by the Democratic Central Committee of Sonoma County.

Part 2. - Implementation
A Resolution on SCDCC Sponsorship Lists and Democratic Party Officeholders
Be it Resolved that:
(a) The Candidate Search and Development Committee shall maintain a list of the reported incidents of misconduct by Democrat officeholders, together with full, verifiable documentation.

All Democrats are encouraged to bring instances of improper conduct, as identified by this Resolution, to the attention of the Candidate Search and Development Committee of the SCDCC. It is not suggested that the Candidate Search and Development Committee initiate any investigations, absent the receipt of a specific complaint with verifiable documentation.

(b) Prior to SCDCC announcing any activity that involves a Sponsorship List, the SCDCC shall obtain from the Candidate Search and Development Committee the reference List described in

(c) All future SCDCC solicitations for which Sponsorship Lists are a part, will show a disclaimer.

The disclaimer shall read:

"Note: Democratic Party officeholders on this Sponsorship List support only Democratic Party candidates and incumbents for elective office, including non-partisan offices. Further, these Democratic Party officeholders support the seating of only Democratic appointees to commissions, agencies, committees and other groups, when qualified Democrats contest for those appointments."

(d) Should a contribution be received that would require a listing on a Sponsorship List, but for the exception of the accompanying Resolution, such contribution will be retained by SCDCC. If the contributor protests because his/her name was not shown on the Sponsorship List, he/she shall be referred to the disclaimer in (c).

Upon specific request for a refund from a sponsor who is ineligible for the Sponsorship List, a refund shall be made of all funds in excess of the basic cost of the activity, i.e., basic ticket cost to the Crab Feed.

(e) The offending Democratic officeholder's record shall be cleared of the misconduct charges, after that officeholder's next election cycle, counting from the date of the offense.

Of a Fine Cat and Current Events

If you don't read the offerings of our most benevolent leader, Simbaud, at King of Zembla daily, you must start. Everything he serves up is relevant and tasty. My only objection is the site takes so long to load. Can't have everything, I suppose.

Oh, and Hodge, who shall not be shot, was Samuel Johnson's cat, a fine cat, it is said. Why it should be necessary to declare that he will not be shot, I cannot say.

Shunning the Sham

It appears that Nancy Pelosi is taking some heat from other Dems in the House over her refusal to seat Dem caucus members on the Republican's sham "bi-partisan" committee to investigate what went wrong in response to Hurrican Katrina. Among those opposing her is Henry Waxman.

I have the utmost respect for Representative Waxman. I can think of nobody, in or out of government, who has worked harder or more consistently over the last five years to expose the corruption and lying of the Bush Administration. And yet the fact that all of his efforts over this time have done virtually nothing to change the Administration's perfidious ways or to compel the mainstream media to cover these shenanigans is ample evidence that it's time to try something new. Pelosi's strategy may not work, either, but it's an attempt to change the accepted way that things are done

Monday, September 26, 2005

Where do our Oreos Go?


It's Gonna be a Hot One

I'm looking forward to spending eternity in the sixth level of hell - the city of Dis, reserved for the heretics.

"You approach Satan's wretched city where you behold a wide plain surrounded by iron walls. Before you are fields full of distress and torment terrible. Burning tombs are littered about the landscape. Inside these flaming sepulchers suffer the heretics, failing to believe in God and the afterlife, who make themselves audible by doleful sighs. You will join the wicked that lie here, and will be offered no respite. The three infernal Furies stained with blood, with limbs of women and hair of serpents, dwell in this circle of Hell."

Where are you going?

With No Apparent Irony

"The Bible is true. No doubt about it! Paul explains God's authoritative Word, and everyone who rejects His history-including six-day creation and Noah's Flood-is ‘willfully’ ignorant."

From The Creation Museum.

Sunday, September 25, 2005

What Would You Do?

I was sent this email the other day. It's perhaps a bit maudlin and I suspect it's apocryphal, but I liked it. You've been warned.

My question to all of you is: Would you have made the same choice?

At a fundraising dinner for a school that serves learning disabled children, the father of one of the students delivered a speech that would never be forgotten by all who attended.

After extolling the school and its dedicated staff, he offered a question.

"When not interfered with by outside influences, everything nature does is done with perfection. Yet my son, Shay, cannot learn things as other children do. He cannot understand things as other children do. Where is the natural order of things in my son?"

The audience was stilled by the query.

The father continued. "I believe, that when a child like Shay comes into the world, an opportunity to realize true human nature presents itself, and it comes, in the way other people treat that child."

Then he told the following story: Shay and his father had walked past a park where some boys Shay knew were playing baseball.

Shay asked, "Do you think they'll let me play?"

Shay's father knew that most of the boys would not want someone like Shay on their team, but the father also understood that if his son were allowed to play, it would give him a much-needed sense of belonging.

Shay's father approached one of the boys on the field and asked if Shay could play.

The boy looked around for guidance and, getting none, he took matters into his own hands and said, "We're losing by six runs and the game is in the eighth inning.. I guess he can be on our team and we'll try to put him in to bat in the ninth inning."

In the bottom of the eighth inning, Shay's team scored a few runs but was still behind by three.

In the top of the ninth inning, Shay put on a glove and played in the outfield.

Even though no hits came his way, he was obviously ecstatic just to be in the game and on the field, grinning from ear to ear as his father waved to him from the stands.

In the bottom of the ninth inning, Shay's team scored again. Now, with two outs and the bases loaded, the potential winning run was on base and Shay was scheduled to be next at bat.

At this juncture, let Shay bat and give away their chance to win the game?

Surprisingly, Shay was given the bat. Everyone knew that a hit was all but impossible 'cause Shay didn't even know how to hold the bat properly, much less connect with the ball.

However, as Shay stepped up to the plate, the pitcher moved in a few steps to lob the ball in softly so Shay could at least be able to make contact.

The first pitch came and Shay swung clumsily and missed. The pitcher again took a few steps forward to toss the ball softly towards Shay.

As the pitch came in, Shay swung at the ball and hit a slow ground ball right back to the pitcher.

The pitcher picked up the soft grounder and could have easily thrown the ball to the first baseman. Shay would have been out and that would have been the end of the game.

Instead, the pitcher took the ball and turned and threw the ball on a high arc to right field, far beyond the reach of the first baseman.

Everyone started yelling, "Shay, run to first! Run to first!"

Never in his life had Shay ever made it to first base. He scampered down
the baseline, wide-eyed and startled.

Everyone yelled, "Run to second, run to second!"

By the time Shay rounded first base, the right fielder had the ball.

He could have thrown the ball to the second-baseman for the tag, but he understood the pitcher's intentions and intentionally threw the ball high and far over the second-baseman's head.

Shay ran toward second base as the runners ahead of him deliriously circled the bases toward home.

Shay reached second base, the opposing shortstop ran to him, turned him in the direction of third base, and shouted, "Run to third!"

As Shay rounded third, the boys from both teams were screaming, "Shay, run home!"

Shay ran to home, stepped on the plate, and was cheered as the hero who hit the "grand slam" and won the game for his team.

"That day," said the father softly with tears now rolling down his face, "the boys from both teams helped bring a piece of true love and humanity into this world."

Okay, so it's not too deep and the answer to what you should do seems obvious in a story like this. Mostly in our lives, though, things are not that clear. During the early days of the hurricane Katrina debacle, lower level FEMA managers and employees were presented with opportunities to act to provide assistance or materiel, but didn't because the agency had centralized decision making and they lacked the authority. Looking back, how many of them do you suppose wish they had bucked authority and done what they had been hired and trained to do, what they knew to be the right thing? In a similar situation, the kid who comandeered the bus and drove it to Houston. Do you suppose he has any regrets now, that he'll lose any sleep?

Maybe it was a Missile

I was emailed this link to a video posted at a website called freedom underground. The link is to a video that discusses that it was something other than American Airlines Flight 77 that crashed into the Pentagon on 9/11. I make no claims for its accuracy. However, 4 years after 9/11, we have to ask ourselves how many things, large and small, has our government lied to us about. Is this a preposterous notion?

Watch the video.

Friday, September 23, 2005

Who's The Idiot?

Atrios links to this piece by Chris Crain at WashingtonBlade.com and suggests that Mr. Crain is quite possibly the stupidest man in America, without any further elaboration, implying that Mr. Crain's stupidity should be evident by his piece. I don't get it, though. What Mr. Crain writes about is the need for the gay community to listen to the voices of the minorities within it, specifically gay conservatives, more specifically Jeff Gannon. Mr. Crain states that you don't have to agree with what these people say to respect their right to say these things, and that it might be useful to listen to them explain why, for instance, a gay man would support a Republican President. He goes on to state that it's antithetical for the 4% to 10% of gay Americans to demand acceptance and equality from straight America if they won't even give a hearing to the 1/4 of them who voted for the President.

It's not a simplistic piece that he's written and it deserves more than the simplistic brush off Atrios gave it. One of the problems with Atrios is his willingness, perhaps eagerness to paint so many things as black or white. When he's in this mode he's not much different from those he most vehemently attacks.

Thursday, September 22, 2005

What the hell...?

Every once in awhile I feel that I'm out of touch with something that is obviously very important. Now is one of those times. Maybe you all can help me.

Who the hell is Kate Moss and why do we care if she uses cocaine?

Tuesday, September 20, 2005

Set the Cup Down and Slowly Walk Away

A Starbucks at Baylor University has stopped using cups bearing a quote from gay author Armistead Maupin. The quote reads, "My only regret about being gay is that I repressed it for so long. I surrendered my youth to the people I feared when I could have been out there loving someone. Don't make that mistake yourself. Life's too damn short."

Baylor spokesman Larry Brumley explained the removal this way, "I think they were trying to be sensitive. Obviously, Baylor is a Baptist-affiliated institution, and Baptists as a denomination have been pretty outspoken on the record about the denomination's views about the homosexual lifestyle." In other words, the bigoted Baylor Baptists don't tolerate even talking about homosexuality, at least not in a manner that condemns its practioners to eternal hellfire.

I guess that the people at Baylor have time to worry about small things like what it says on coffee cups is a sign that they've resolved that other unpleasantness that had beset the campus.

Sunday, September 18, 2005


Oh my goodness, I almost forgot! This Thursday, September 22, there will be another in a series of godless BARBARian drink-and-yackathons, from six pm or so until the bar runs dry. This time we're returning to the scene of our first triumphant get together, Ben & Nick's Bar & Grill in Oakland. Scaramouche and Generick and other legendary bay area bloggers will be there to regale you with their tales of derring...um...blogging. Or something.

What the Find?

The Big Lebowski was on Comedy Central yesterday, which, though being a cable channel, feels compelled to tone down the language. Hence, Walter's warning to Larry, the young boy, comes out "this is what happens when you find a stranger in the Alps." Well yes, of course it is.

10 Second Movie Review

Last night I saw Just Like Heaven with my daughter and her friend. It was a sweet movie, with both Reese Witherspoon and Mark Ruffalo in very appealing performances. The best reason to see the movie, though, I can sum up in two words, Ivana Milisevic.

California's Parental Notification Proposition

Whatever the merits of the provision in Proposition 73, scheduled to be on California's November ballot, that doctors must notify parents and guardians in writing 48 hours before performing an abortion on a girl under 18 (and that's a debate worth having), the provision in the measure that defines abortion as "causing the death of the unborn child, a child conceived but not yet born," strikes me as a deal breaker. As much as proponents of the measure will push the parental notification provision as the key to the measure, and as appealing as that sounds to many parents, it's the provision defining abortion, which will get the camel's nose that is outlawing abortion into the tent, that is their true goal.

It Could Have Been Worse

In my newspaper this morning, this story appeared under the headline, "Baby Mistakenly Cremated." As traumatic as it was for this Maryland family to have it's baby's body mistakenly cremated, it wasn't as bad as the Press Democrat's headline implied.

So Close...

I was briefly excited this morning when I saw the headline, "Spartans tip Irish in OT," thinking my alma mater, San Jose State had pulled off a memorable upset. Alas, it was the wrong Spartans.

What could I have been thinking? San Jose State was idle this week, otherwise we may have seen more of this.

Saturday, September 17, 2005

Whatever You Do, Don't Joke About Having Sex with Yogi Berra

Yogi Berra has settled a lawsuit with Turner Broadcasting, which has agreed to pay him a "substantial" sum for unauthorized use of his name in ads for "Sex in the City." In the ads, which ran in the spring of summer of 2004, one of the answers to a multiple choice question, "what is a yogasm?," was "having sex with Yogi Berra."

The lawsuit pointed out that Berra, 80, is "a married man and has children and grandchildren. He is a deeply religious man who has maintained and continues to maintain a moral lifestyle, and has a spotless reputation for integrity, decency and moral character."

He's apparently also a controlling humorless prick.

A Dry Home Run

Questions the press should have asked Barry Bonds last night.

How does it feel to hit a home run when you're not juiced?

Do you remember the last time you hit a non-steroid-assisted home run?

Thursday, September 15, 2005

Is it Because of Something I did?


Roberts Nomination

Senate Democrats, and apparently Arlen Specter, too, are frustrated by John Roberts's refusal to reveal his views on key issues that may come before him on the court. Big Joe Biden (D-MBNA), put it this way, "We are rolling the dice with you, Judge. It's kind of interesting, this Kabuki dance we have in these hearings here, as if the public doesn't have a right to know what you think about fundamental issues facing them."

So, my question to Joey, and his D brethren, is "what are you gonna do about it?" Is this just some Kabuki and when the time to vote the nomination out of committee comes are you going to run to the center and cast your vote for the man who won't answer your question? If that's all you're going to do, then shut up and get on with it. If you're doing more than grandstanding at this point, though, if you will refuse to vote for a man who by your actions you believe is obliged to answer the questions put to him by the committee, then carry on. Hold his feet to the fire until he answers your questions. If he doesn't and you end up voting against him, even though his nomination will succeed, for once in your sorry opportunistic career you will have finally made a principaled stand.

Wednesday, September 14, 2005

The Daily Show

We got quotes. Go. Waste some time.

Newdow Redux

Here we go again. Michael Newdow, this time acting as an attorney, not a self-represented plaintiff, has convinced US District Judge Lawrence Karlton that the inclusion of "under God" in the pledge of allegiance is unconsitutional. In making his decision, Karlton referred to the precedent of the Ninth Circuit Court's earlier Newdow decision.

The Supremes ducked this one the last time Newdow dumped it on their doorstep, ruling that as the non-custodial parent he had no standing to bring the case before them, but apparently leaving standing the 9th Court's ruling in Newdow's favor. Though this will surely be appealed, it's hard to envision the 9th ruling differently than they did before, so this could well end up before the Supremes again. I imagine they're practicing their bobbing and weaving. From a constitutional interpretation perspective, this one's a no-brainer; Congress's inclusion of "under God" into the pledge clearly violates the 1st Amendment. How a conservative majority on the court can find a way sidestep that will be interesting. In what will be a spectacular display of judicial activism, though, they almost surely will.

Monday, September 12, 2005

There's Nothing There You Really Want to see, Anyway

According to Press Democrat news services (sorry, I can't find a link), although many members of the Mississippi Naitonal Guard's 155th Brigade Combat Team, including "virtually all of the roughly 300 soldiers" in B and C companies, posted in the "Triangle of Death," have had their homes either destroyed or severely damaged by Hurricane Katrina, only about 80 members of the Mississippi guard have been granted emergency leave. The others have to stay in Iraq, because there are "too few U.S. troops in Iraq to spare them."

There's a nice overall assessment of the way Bush Administration policies have left the US prepared to deal with crises.

Pre-emptive Nuclear Strikes

Oh yeah, this has "great idea" written all over it. According to Walter Pincus in the Washington Post,
"The Pentagon has drafted a revised doctrine for the use of nuclear weapons that envisions commanders requesting presidential approval to use them to preempt an attack by a nation or a terrorist group using weapons of mass destruction. The draft also includes the option of using nuclear arms to destroy known enemy stockpiles of nuclear, biological or chemical weapons."
The "we don't want the smoking gun to be a mushroom cloud" crowd, who were completely wrong in everything they told us about Iraq's threat to us and its neighbors with their fact-free rantings about advanced chemical and weaponons development and delivery programs, now wants to be able to nuke such countries.

Will you sleep better now?

Sunday, September 11, 2005

Four Years Later

So, here we are, four years later. How's that hunt for bin Laden going?

Saturday, September 10, 2005

Growing Land Bulge in Oregon

I like stories like this. There's a growing bulge in the land in central Oregon, covering about a 100 square mile area. The bulge, which scientists surmise is caused be either magma or water filling an underground cavern, is rising by about an inch and a half a year. It's located about 3 miles from South Sister, one of the Three Sisters volcanoes located west of Bend. South Sister last erupted about 2000 years ago and isn't considered likely to erupt any time soon. Scientists don't think the bulge is an imminent threat either.

I drove through the Three Sisters area about 9 or 10 years ago and found it to be one of the neatest and most desolate places I've ever seen. There's miles and miles of hardened black lava and little else and just off the highway (sorry, I don't recall which highway; I'm guessing it's 20 or 242) is an observation castle made out of lava rock with windows cut into the walls through which you can see half a dozen or so volcanoes. Pretty cool.

Sunday, September 04, 2005

Bay Area Hot Music

I was gonna put in a plug here for the scheduled subdudes show at Rancho Nicasio (northwest of Novato) this afternoon, but the dudes, from New Orleans, have been hard hit by Katrina. Instead, Paul Thorn, the scheduled headliner for Monday's show, will be doing a benefit for the band at the venue today. Starts at 4:00, $25.00 admission.

Tuesday night at Cafe du Nord check out the Redwalls. I saw them open for Rooney there a few months back and they stole the crowd. Though all only around twenty, these guys have the spirit of the Rolling Stones, from 40 years back. At $10 this is definitely worth checking out.

Saturday, September 03, 2005

In the Doghouse

Doghouse Riley (yeah, I know, that's a funny kind of name) at Bats Left, Throws Right is at his best when he's angry. For the last week or so he's had a lot to be angry about. Check him out.

No Red Cross in New Orleans

I don't know what to make of this. Along with millions of others, I donated to the Red Cross Hurrican Relief fund, thinking and hoping to aid the people of New Orleans. Now I read the Red Cross is banned from entering New Orleans. The thinking is if there is relief available in the city, then people won't be inclined to leave. Apparently the water and poison and smell and bodies wouldn't be enough incentive.

Friday, September 02, 2005

Pictures Say it Best


He Must Make His Travel Arrangements Through Delta

So the President's on vacation in Crawford, Texas, a gulf state, one that ,as it happens, is right next door to Louisiana. A catastrophe strikes the largest city in that next door state and the President, though we've been told he can do anything from the estate in Crawford, flies back to Washington, where he can appear with Diane Sawyer and reveal himself once again to be the empty headed idiot we all suspected he was anyway. From there, he will fly back to New Orleans, that city in the state next door to the one he started out in.

I'm not one to suggest the President is one to run away from danger and "hard work," but isn't this kind of travel oddly reminiscent of his aimlessly flying around the country on 9/11?

Thursday, September 01, 2005

Too Cynical?

I hope I'm not being too cynical by believing that with the price of crude reaching record levels and the shutdown of refineries in the gulf, I'll be able to repeat this post in a month or so.

I'm sure it won't happen. What kind of scumbags would capitalize on others' misery?

Are They Stupid or do They Just Think We Are?

At least they're consistent...

George Bush, September 1, 2005: "I don't think anyone anticipated the breach of the levees."

Condi Rice: "Nobody could have predicted that hijackers would fly those planes into buildings."

As for the question in the heading of this entry, they have 59,000,000 reasons to believe that we are that stupid.

Read Generick for a more lengthy and thoughtful post on this subject.

Another update:
I just watched the clip and I'm left wondering why, when Bush opened up his skull and revealed it to be empty, why didn't Diane Sawyer call him on that? Is she as ignorant as the President? How can she not say, "hold on there, cowboy, did you just say 'nobody anticipated the breech of the levees?' Are you joking?"

Also, four years ago, Dick Cheney condescendingly derided gasoline conservation as a nice personal virtue but dismissed it as viable strategy for approaching and staving off the coming energy crisis. Now, when the crisis is here, Bushie thinks conservation is a good idea.

Good god, but I hate these people.
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