Archive for the ‘Politics’ Category

Rage On

Yesterday I was doing a bike ride out on the roads west of Sacramento. It’s
intensely personal time: no radio, no iPod, just time for focus on
what it feels like to be working hard, engaged with my Felt 75,
keeping the cadence up above 90, feeling the road, the wind, and
engaged with my own internal dialog. It’s a hallowed time for me in
which the disparate parts of my consciousness get their say.

I couldn’t get Virginia Tech out of my mind.

It seems to me that we live in a culture on the edge of rage. A poorly
chosen word, a brief angry gesture on the freeway, a thoughtless
profanity and the next minute events can take a leap to the wild side
in a way that’s simply not sane.

Age inequity in the baby bucks bill?

Darrell Steinberg of Sacramento has good intentions (or so I think) in proposing the baby $$ bill, but really, I don’t think it’s the way to go.

California lawmakers are considering giving $500 to every single baby born in the state. The bipartisan bill aims to give babies a financial head start with a savings account.

As a parent of a “not so newborn,” I question why newborns only, and why not any kid in CA under 18? Where do you draw the line? Sounds like propagating inequity based on the year you were born.

The bill would encourage population growth, as well as people traveling over our border just to have the baby–and I mean coming down from Oregon or motoring over from Nevada, not to mention the expectant mothers who are already braving the U.S.-Mexico border for the “gift” of U.S. citizenship. Hey, $500 is a lot of money for some folks.

State of disunion

Did you watch it? You know, the State of the Union speech our president gave the other night. I watched–actually, not because I wanted to hear the speech, but because I wanted to see “Madame Speaker” up there behind the prez. It was a moment for the history books. Yes, 2007, the first time a woman has held that high an office in this country, and it’s not even the highest. Or the second highest. Yeah, it’s the land of opportunity, all right.

But I truly enjoyed watching. The contrast between the Veep and the Speaker was sharp. He was like a pale, motionless frog on a lily pad, and she was all color and movement, working her jaw in TMJ fashion during the most worrisome remarks. I wonder how much more interesting it would have been if Cheney was relegated to frosting his hair, wearing baby blue, and choosing a flattering lipstick?

But what really struck me were the comments made on a local morning radio show (no, not “The End” ) the next morning. References were made to her “doing her nails” and “writing her grocery list” during parts of the speech. That has nothing to do with her as a political figure. Or the fact that she does her job well. No one made snide comments like that about any of the other political figures. The ones made about Pelosi weren’t even funny. They didn’t say much, but they did say a lot about the way woman are viewed as public figures. And they said volumes about the real state of the Union.

Spank this! It’s a free country.

I cannot believe the legislators meeting in Sacramento have nothing better to do than write bills outlawing spanking. Don’t we have child abuse laws? That should cover spanking if it is excessive and more than a “scare tactic” for a small child. Sometimes the mere threat of a spanking is enough to stop a child from misbehaving, but will that be legislated too? Where will it end? I’m not against good parenting–but I’m certainly against being told that if I choose to discipline my child with a spanking (and who would determine the levels of severity–“love tap” vs. beating) I will be guilty of a misdemeanor. That’s why we have Child Protective Services–to remove children from parents who are extreme in abuse or neglect. And they don’t always succeed. With an anti-spanking law, who would enforce this? Would you get a ticket? Would the ticket “rank” the spanking? I mean, once you sit down and think about actual implementation of a ridiculous law like this one, you find so many ludicrous examples and puzzling questions–does law enforcement have time for this? Or could I make a citizen’s arrest? HA! Since as Californians we’re devoted to keeping lawyers employed, here are just a few more ideas for ludicrous legislation. Read carefully, Sacramento:

  • If you cough in public is should be a misdemeanor because you are polluting the air with your germs.
  • If you use improper English in conversation, you should be fined. Fines should go to support the crumbling education system.
  • If you speak loudly in your cell phone in a public place, you will be forced to spend a week in monastery taking a vow of silence.
  • If you eat cake and you’re overweight, the food police will arrest you and you will be forced to grow broccoli on a commune in Salinas.
  • If you blog, you should be spanked. Isn’t that going to be illegal? Oh wait, that’s perfectly fine, because I’m over the age of 3.

President Gerald Ford Passes Away – Sacramento Connection Remembered

Tonight the nation mourns the loss of President Gerald Ford. Ford ascended to the presidency after the resignation of Richard Nixon, in 1974. Despite being from Michigan, Ford’s got a Sacramento connection too. In 1975, while walking from his downtown hotel to the State Capitol, a hand with a gun emerged from the crowd. That hand and gun belonged to Lynette “Squeaky” Alice Fromme, a member of the Charles Manson Family.

Ford of course wasn’t hurt and actually even gave remarks almost immediately afterwards from the Senator Hotel. He’s seen in the photo above at McClellan Air Force Base, waiting to board Air Force One. (Notice his Chief of Staff Donald Rumsfeld in the photo, descending the stairs to the plane). Gerald Ford, 1913-2006.

Governator II: Inauguration Day

For those of you who haven’t gotten an invite to Governor Schwarzenegger’s inauguration on January 5, don’t wait up. Sacramento’s most famous transient is inviting the well-connected and well-funded to his first and only inauguration the first Friday in January at 11 a.m. at Memorial Auditorium. Today the Inaugural Committee announced former SF Mayor Willie Brown will emcee. If that motivates you in any way, ambition and $22,300 might just get you in the door.

On a related note, mark January 5 as bring your lunch to work day if you live anywhere near downtown.

More red tape: Don’t you feel secure?

Did you know we have our very “arm” of Homeland Security here in Sacramento? In dealing with Customs last week here at SMF, I noticed the DHS patch on the men in blue.

The office at SMF is a little tiny hotbox where you talk to the officials through thick, darkened glass reminiscent of the old KFC on Alhambra/Broadway about 15 years ago. The window is better than those in any modern-day bank. It looks impenetrable.

As with any government entity, Homeland Security requires paperwork. Since 9-11, the usual process now contains extra paperwork, signatures, stamps and more. It brings to mind the argument often made about gun waiting periods: criminals won’t wait to get a gun–they’ll do it illegally. It’s the average joe who will be inconvenienced.

I see a similar application to Homeland Security. The average joe or juan or ivan or however you want to call him will be inconvenienced and forced to pay extra, but the criminal/real terrorist will always have an expedient way around the red tape.

Give the gift of life: Bone Marrow

Some may say it was a political move that the Governor got swabbed for the Bone Marrow registry, but if it gets the word out, it is a political move I highly endorse.

Fifteen years ago, I worked in a hospital in the finance department where we helped patients and their families locate funding for Bone Marrow Transplants. Many of the patients were children. The biggest problem was not the actual procedure, but finding someone whose tissue would match. A majority of the patients never lived long enough for the procedure, because a match couldn’t be found.

It is an even more difficult task to find a match in “historically underrepresented” groups, such as the African American and Asian communities.

Four more years of transient living?

By now just about everyone’s heard that Arnold will be continuing on as our governor, but has there been any further talk about his living arrangement? To bring everyone up to speed, he’s been shacking up at the Hyatt across from the Capitol for the past three years. I’m sure it’s nice and comfy there, but is there nowhere in Sacramento good enough for the Governator?

If they’re built on schedule, he could still snag a place in The Towers on Capitol Mall before his term ends. Their billboard says they’re “Where Donald Would Live”–is that as big of an if for Schwarzenegger?

Voterific moments

I was glad that we voted in a garage on Tuesday and not in the hall of a local church as we did a few years ago, in 2004. Picture this…a first time voter (naturalized citizen) comes from a mostly atheist country and gets to vote in a church. Not only was the voting in a church, it was in the main hall where they have services, and Jesus was staring down at us from the wall wearing a bloody crown of thorns. We’re talking a two foot tall face of Jesus. It was the presidential election….and Jesus wept. Then the African American female registrar thought I would be “influencing” my husband’s vote and so basically told us not to talk or share information during the process. Well, we’d made only one list after discussing each topic and of course we had to pass it back and forth. (Any other married folks out there discuss or “influence” your spouses in an election–come on, people!) My husband came out of the Jesus hall pissed.

This time voting went much better, although

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