Friday, December 31, 2010


You run a company. You make your business by evicting low income tenants so that you can sell off the units in the buildings you have purchased for prices between $400,000 and $600,000 each.

What would you call your company?

Well for at least one company that does engage in this practice, they call themselves:  SF Affordable Housing LLC.

Not wanting to get the esteemed author angry at me, but does this not count as irony? 

What's more disgusting is that one of the members who was interviewed had the audacity to state, "Basically, I cannot afford to keep the tenants who on average paying $300 a month in rent[.]" Let's be clear about something, this individual, and any partners he may have, is not the least bit interested in becoming a landlord. His company, based on the report I have seen, buys properties to sell them as individual units, either condos or TICs. 

If you are going to be a bastard and kick people out of their homes, at least be honest about it. You had no interest in being a landlord. You wanted to divide up the property into ever small portions to sell off at inflated prices to line your wallet with more money.

You are, I believe the technical term, a greedy bastard who wants to be liked. If you are going to be a greedy bastard, then be one. Don't try and fool people with statements such as, "If those people need assistance, I’m in a 100 percent agreement that they should be helped, but it shouldn’t be the burden on a landlord." Its insulting because you have no intention of being a landlord.

At least be as honest as the guy who was begging for money down on Kearny and Bush yesterday. He had the decency to hold up a sign saying "Need money for beer."

End of Another Year

Interesting year. Frustrating year. In some ways a surprising year.

And yet, as of now, looks like I've had 5,427 hits this year according to Sitemeter. Blogger tells me I've had 5,934 since March. Whatever.

They both seem to agree about what my top visited articles this year are. They are, in order:
  1. From Mrs. Angrybell to the Hon. Sofie Allsopp
  2. The Worst Landlords Ever Just Hit A New Low
  3. Ashkon's Giant's Anthem
  4. What were the people in Oslo thinking?
  5. GW Law... Skills... Donations?????
Have a Happy and Safe New Years.

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Scary and coming soon to California

A Moment of Geekiness - What D&D Character I would be

I Am A: Neutral Good Human Ranger/Sorcerer (3rd/3rd Level)

Ability Scores:







Neutral Good A neutral good character does the best that a good person can do. He is devoted to helping others. He works with kings and magistrates but does not feel beholden to them. Neutral good is the best alignment you can be because it means doing what is good without bias for or against order. However, neutral good can be a dangerous alignment because it advances mediocrity by limiting the actions of the truly capable.

Humans are the most adaptable of the common races. Short generations and a penchant for migration and conquest have made them physically diverse as well. Humans are often unorthodox in their dress, sporting unusual hairstyles, fanciful clothes, tattoos, and the like.

Primary Class:
Rangers are skilled stalkers and hunters who make their home in the woods. Their martial skill is nearly the equal of the fighter, but they lack the latter's dedication to the craft of fighting. Instead, the ranger focuses his skills and training on a specific enemy a type of creature he bears a vengeful grudge against and hunts above all others. Rangers often accept the role of protector, aiding those who live in or travel through the woods. His skills allow him to move quietly and stick to the shadows, especially in natural settings, and he also has special knowledge of certain types of creatures. Finally, an experienced ranger has such a tie to nature that he can actually draw on natural power to cast divine spells, much as a druid does, and like a druid he is often accompanied by animal companions. A ranger's Wisdom score should be high, as this determines the maximum spell level that he can cast.

Secondary Class:
Sorcerers are arcane spellcasters who manipulate magic energy with imagination and talent rather than studious discipline. They have no books, no mentors, no theories just raw power that they direct at will. Sorcerers know fewer spells than wizards do and acquire them more slowly, but they can cast individual spells more often and have no need to prepare their incantations ahead of time. Also unlike wizards, sorcerers cannot specialize in a school of magic. Since sorcerers gain their powers without undergoing the years of rigorous study that wizards go through, they have more time to learn fighting skills and are proficient with simple weapons. Charisma is very important for sorcerers; the higher their value in this ability, the higher the spell level they can cast.

Find out What Kind of Dungeons and Dragons Character Would You Be?, courtesy of Easydamus (e-mail)

Sunday, December 19, 2010

Shame on Google and YouTube

As an organization, Google seems to have trouble deciding which values it wants to uphold. on its corporate website, Google states that there are 10 things that they know to be true. Number six on this list states that, "you can make money without doing evil." Google except that it is a business, and that it does need to make money in order to survive. Letting their position, they offer three bullet points explaining how they can make money without doing evil to the user. Apparently, the only view it is evil when it's advertising done in the way which may be considered offensive to the user, such as pop-up ads or ads that don't clearly identify themselves as such.

It's interesting that they limit themselves in such a way. Why?

Other than Google's flagship search engine, perhaps the most used and liked of Google's products is YouTube. Google has had to navigate a careful course in operating you to, making sure they keep itself firmly within the safe harbor provisions of the law while the same time allowing users to put up content that they like. Because Google can't simply allow anything to be put up on YouTube, because let's face it if they allow people to be put up on YouTube that would cause a huge problem both legally and financially for the company, their terms of service which govern what types of videos can be uploaded to YouTube. in section 6 of the terms of service, subpart E, states that "You further agree that you will not submit to the Service any Content or material is contrary to the YouTube community guidelines, currently found at, which may be updated from time to time, or contrary to applicable local, national, and international laws regulations."

Among the things that YouTube states are not allowed by the community guidelines include:

  • pornography
  • "bad stuff" (i.e. animal abuse, drug abuse, underage drinking and smoking, or bomb making)
  • graphic or gratuitous violence
  • copyrighted material that the poster does not hold the copyright to
  • Spam
  • videos of the predatory nature, which YouTube defines as stalking, threats, intimidation, invading privacy, revealing other people's personal information, and inciting others to commit violence or to violate the terms of use.

So now we've established what YouTube is not supposed to allow to be posted on its site.

That's why it's kind of curious about some of Google/YouTube latest enforcement of its terms of service. On December 18, 2010, YouTube closed down the account belonging to Palestinian Media Watch (PMW). According to Google, this was done because PMW's postings constituted "hate speech".  At some point over the weekend, the order was changed ordering taking down, seemingly, all videos posted by PMW in the past five months (i.e. around July 2010 to date). PMW's videos are taken, in most cases, directly from Arab media or from other postings on YouTube itself and used to show divide between the lip service that the terrorist organizations, such as Hamas and the PLO, give to the West and the actual words they say to their followers and allies. 

While PMW is under threat of being shut down,  mainly due complaints it appears from the Arab/Muslim groups, it is interesting to note that it is relatively easy to find videos supporting terrorist organizations and celebrating terrorist victories (i.e. war porn) on YouTube. Yet YouTube seems to do little to root them out.

Consider this, YouTube makes money off these videos. All of them carry advertising. And they get a lot of hits world wide from supporters.

Google says that you can make money without doing evil. Well, isn't it evil to shut down those that shine a light on to evil, while allowing the actual evil doers to continue spreading their message of hate and destruction?

So far, Google has sided with Communist China and supporters of Islamic terror organizations.  In the former case, Google only stopped siding with the Communist Chinese when the PRC began hacking Google's servers. Perhaps there is hope for Google. Although, if history is a guide, it will probably take a suicide bomber at a Google facility to get them to recognize the difference between opposing evil and being a fellow traveller.

But on can hope that Google will remember that there is more to evil than pop ups and unidentified ads.

Sunday, December 12, 2010

Looks Like Local 250 A Didn't Get the Mesage.

It seems that the leadership and the rank and file of the Local 250 A did not get the message. Apparently not content to have theirheadshanded to them at the ballot box, they seem to be hankering to be reminded again that they are not the only people in the City and County of San Francisco.

What's going on, you ask?

MUNI drivers typically get a bonus of a few thousand dollars every December. The money cones from a trust fund that the SFMTA funds. There's only one problem: SFMTA is broke, hence all the cutbacks.

You would think that with the City in crisis, the SFMTA with no money, and the riders not getting rides, that the vastly overpaid membership of Local 250 A would forgo their bonus.

Well, they won't.

Standing on the provisions of the City Charter, the leadership of Local 250 A is demanding the bonus.

Something comes to mind about pigs and troughs whenever I think of Local 250 A. Another charter amendment looks to be necessary. How about something simple like no bonus if the city agency is in the red.

Wednesday, December 08, 2010

You'd think that there was going to be a little time off to allow Jennifer Grey to bask in the glory in the glow of the fabulous mirror Ball trophy before rumors start popping up about who will try and follow in her footsteps. Anyways that's what I thought. I guess I was wrong.

It was reported today that Porsche de Rossi has declined an offer to appear on dancing with the stars. Apparently, the producers over at dancing with the stars heard her talking with Ryan Seacrest where she said that she consider taking part in a same-sex couple on the show. I wonder who would've been her partner? If only Lucy Liu was a professional ballroom dancer, slash-fic  from the day would've resurfaced.

No longer content with getting free publicity by having its "stars" crash White House functions, the Real Housewives franchise looks to be getting its first test on dancing with the stars. according to people magazine, Nene Leakes, of the Atlanta Housewives, is apparently trying to get on is one of the contestants for next season.

But what could be the most interesting possibility for a train wreck next season is news that Lindsay Lohan is trying to get on the show.if you does make an appearance as a contestant this season, it may be that she ends taking the Josh Hamilton approach (meaning that you can have a mind her everywhere she goes to make sure she doesn't fall off the wagon). of course, if you follow baseball, you know that Josh Hamilton's sobriety Minder was so successful in keeping his player on the straight and narrow that he had to be pulled out of Arizona bar during spring training last year.

The evil SOB and he wants to put Lindsay with Maksim. Because putting someone who is barely hanging on sobriety, and possibly their sanity, with a control freak prima donna like Maksim is good television. At least, it would be better than seeing another Palin show up and try and dance.

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Monday, November 22, 2010

Dancing With The Stars Finals Madness Part I

Bristol, Jennifer, and Kyle remain. Who'da thunk this would be the final three?

Kyle and Lacey have a foxtrot to lead off. They got a great song for it. Technique is much improved in the early parts. He has heel leads going. After the break, he is no as close as he should be but then starts to get back with her. The worst thing about this routine was the outfit. What hell was Lacey thinking putting him in a gold plaid jacket? Otherwise, a great make up foxtrot for Kyle. What dance was Carrie Ann watching? She must be smokin something because that was a great foxtrot with only, for someone with Kyle's experience, some small problems. This may be a first for me, but I think that the 27 was low. It should have been a 29 or a 30.

Bristol and Mark are looking for redemption in the jive. I like the opening where she throws out the costumes. Mrs. Angrybell wants to know why she is wearing godawful hospital shoes, she looks like she escaped from surgery. This dance is not going well for her. She is off the beat. Her kicks are not going very well. its better in the verve department than last time. And her character in the dance is better. It got better as it went along, but it was kind of a mess. It felt like she off for a large part of it. Seriously, is Carrie Ann on something? She's praising this as something it so was not. It was an improvement, but it was not a perfect routine. Well, it is the finals, so they can't dock her too much. The 27 was a gift.

Jennifer and Derek step onto the floor looking for redemption in the paso doble. The start was very nice, very in control, which was her major problem last time. With the tempo change, she still looks in control. Nice drop at the end. Huge improvement over last time. And with her daughter to cheer her on, the question is whether this is another set of 10s. Tom hit the nail on the head when he said that Bruno was frightening the children. Angrybabybelle snuggling in close now because of Bruno. And don't you know it, when Len gives a standing applause, its a perfect set of 10s.

But now its freestyle time. Will we see another Save a Horse Ride a Cowboy or another Doll Disaster.

Kyle and Lacey lead off with theirs to Tootsie Roll. Very literally right now. I get the feeling that this dance is Lacey's attempt to relive something she never got to do in the 80s or early 90s. And the problem with that is, its kind of boring. Everything was clean. They were in sync with each other. But in the end, it feels a lot like Tony's Saturday Night Fever homage with Stacy Keibler. The fans did not reward it then. Len and his boogaloo dancing. Surprisingly, Len gave a 9. They end up with a 29.

Bristol and Mark's freestyle is going with a more dressy than Kyle and Lacey. Jailhouse Tango from Chicago. Interesting, especially with her ex. Starts off very much a tango. Mrs. Angrybell feels like some switch just flipped with Bristol. The pelvic thrusts had Mrs. Angrybell stunned. Not your typical finals. She danced ti very well. On the one hand, it was not hip hop (thank you!!!!) but on the other hand it was more controlled.  This dance, more than anything else showed how far she come. She still is not the best dancer, but she pulled it off. The 25 was a little unfair. I think it reflected more a lack of razzle dazzel than her dancing.

Jennifer and Derek doing their freestyle with a watermelon to Do You Love Me. It was clean. It traded shamelessly on the fact that it was Baby doing a dance to the song she first shared with Johnny Castle. The lifts were fun, especially with that spin lift at the end. 30.

None of the freestyles tonight delivered that knockout. Jennifer though should win. Bristol should take third.

Thursday, November 18, 2010

Allow Me Now To Say What A Joke Congressional Ethics Are

Say what you will about Charlie Rangel, the disgraceful representative from New York, but he has shown the light on something that needs to be fixed.

Back in elementary school, if you manage to pay any attention at all to what they're teaching you in the eighth grade, there was a little blurb in your American history books about Tammany Hall and the political machines of the 19th and early 20th century. We like to think that our politicians are the product of a better system these days, but how else to explain the how Congressman Rangel has managed to stay in office despite flaunting the law which is supposed to help craft and create. Back in the day, the graft and corruption of those political machines undermined our republic.

When President Obama ran for office, one of his promises was that he and the Democrats were going to restore ethics to our government. In fact, he was made, while senator, the Democratic point man for ethics in the Senate. Congresswoman Pelosi, back when she was Speaker of the House, also promised that the Congress would be a more ethical place.

So how has that worked out? Well, Charlie Rangel with the test case and the Democrats failed miserably.

Its always easy to point out the faults in the opposition. as a matter of fact, in politics that's exactly which are supposed to do. Your commitment to values that you say are ones you hold dear, however, are tested the most when they are tested against those whom you like and respect. Congressman Rangel is one of the longer serving representatives in the House of Representatives. He's one of the most liberal. He was a political ally, and may still be, but Congresswoman Pelosi.

But he's also corrupt. He's abused his office. He's abused the public trust. He has violated the law.

So what did the House Ethics committee do about this? And how will the House Ethics committee going to do about this?

Well, they ensured that any investigation into Rangel's ethical violations was prolonged and extraordinarily slow. Despite the fact that the media has been publishing reports of Congressman Rangel's failure to abide by the law since 2008, Congress seemed unable to convene a hearing on his actions. The first reports that I know of, were published in August of 2008. Coincidentally, the Democrats were in control of the House of Representatives at that point.

It was not until July of this year, two years later, that charges were finally submitted to the House Ethics committee. Why they take so long? That's simple. Ethical violations are only good when you swing them at the other side. And for some reason, we keep letting the politicians get away with this mentality.

So what will the ethics committee do about Congressman Rangel's transgressions? His fellow Congressmen are going to, most likely, go to impose the quote dreaded" and humiliating censure against Rangel. What is a censure? Essentially, it is, when applied to a member of the House of Representatives, stern lecture given in public to the guilty by the Speaker of the House.

Where I went to school, I received a stern penalty for failing to turn my homework on time.

Unfortunately we have the Congress that we as a people, collectively, deserve. For the most part, it seems that Americans are content to allow corrupt politicians to continue to serve. The politicians of both parties cannot be trusted to police themselves.

This man violated the laws that he swore an oath to uphold and protect and defend. He has shown no remorse about his actions, instead maintaining that not only was he innocent but that he was unable to present a defense. The acts are more heinous because of his position as a representative of the people in the government that is supposed to help, to send, and empower the people. Not so that Mr. Rangel can maintain his power, his income, and his legacy.

If our representatives in Washington had any sense of honor or decency, they would expel this man and turned him over for prosecution. Unfortunately, a large majority of those serving in the Congress are loath to do so, most likely because they have committed the same acts as Mr. Rangel.

Congressman Rangel's censure is a meaningless and hollow act because it does not carry with it any real punishment, nor does it act as a deterrent to anyone else who would do wrong and abuse the public trust. This should and needs to change.

The House Democrats were tested. They failed.

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Where Money, Citizenship and the Law Collide

Yesterday, the California Supreme Court handed down a decision in the case of Martinez v. Regents of the University of California. At issue was whether an illegal alien, who has lived in California for the requisite amount of time, could receive the benefits of lower, in-state tuition, just like a person who is a U.S. citizen who lives in California.

The California Supremes came down with a yes, in fact an illegal alien could receive in-state tuition.

At first, I was outraged. Then I started to think as I read the case.

Let's talk about the case first. The case was brought on behalf of some students who are U.S. citizens, but do not meet certain requirements for residency laid out in Education Code § 68130.5. They argue that it is unfair to make them pay higher rates than in-state, illegal aliens.

Essentially, the plaintiffs argued on appeal that this was a case of federal superseding state law. That the California law should have been invalidated by various Federal statutes pertaining to illegal immigration. The defendants argued that this not a question of Federal preemption, since, they argue, there is no clear preemption of this issue.

What ends up happening is that the California Supreme do a very intricate dance. On the one hand, they absolutely did not want to give the Federal government more say than absolutely necessary in a California matter, namely who gets in-state tuition breaks. On the other hand, what the court very carefully does not do is find that there is anything in the California constitution which gives them this right. Instead, the right is only statutory and can be changed by the legislature.

And this goes to one of my favorite questions: why is the Legislature not doing its job? Why is the California Legislature approving, as it did in 2002, laws that devalue citizenship. And that, I think, is the real problem here. Why should someone follow all the rules, get a green card, obtain citizenship, and pay taxes if someone can just get around all that, not pay taxes, and still receive the same benefits of citizenship.

Yes, the argument is that there are talented, bright illegal aliens who would find it nearly impossible to afford education if this law were not upheld or amended by the Legislature. And yes, there is the whole question of whether it is proper to visit the sins of the parents (for crossing over illegally into the United States) on the children. The illegal alien, irrespective of whether they have been contributors or detractors individually to our society, is here illegally. Therefore, it is questionable whether they have any right to claim that they are legally domiciled in the United States or California. If that is the case, then why continue to extend to them the privileges which the citizens of the U.S., and California, enjoy?

As it stands right now, the law in question, section 68130.5, states

In the case of a person without lawful immigration status, the filing of an affidavit with the institution of higher education stating that the student has filed an application to legalize his or her immigration status, or will file an application as soon as he or she is eligible to do so.

Well, if that is the case, then why are we not demanding proof that they have complied with this part of the law? If that is the case, why does the State of California not puruse those who do not pursue legalization for the back money owed. Remember, its only an exemption contingent upon the illegal alien doing the lawful thing.

One of the insane, in my opinion, justifications, for allowing illegal aliens to get the in-state tuition rate comes in the article in today's Chronicle. Apparently, in a survey of 2,000 students which benefited from the law allowing entrance to a UC or CSU school based on California residency and high school achievement, approximately 20 percent of the students were illegals. One of them, Uriel Rivera, was reported by the Chronicle writer as stating that the taxpayers lose nothing by Mr. Rivera attending a UC because they have so much trouble paying their tuition anyways. Huh? Mr. Rivera, it is reported, is so far behind in his tuition that he cannot check books out of the library. Great. So we subsidize him, with the in-state tuition break, he can't pay that amount anyways. How is that a break for either the UC system or California tax payers?

The difference between in-state tuition and regular tuition is $22,700, notwithstanding the rate hikes which will probably happen next year. So for just the 200 illegals we know of from the study, that means $4,540,000 in lost fees per year. Would all of the 200 slots given to illegal aliens been filled by out of state residents, probably not. But say even 50 of those slots went to out of state. Think that's crazy? Well, the UC system is trying to get more out of state tuition money coming  by aggressively recruiting. So maybe not so crazy?

But, if you went by the current stats, which states that 89% of the student body (undergrad and grad) are in-state tuition, then you still see an increase over almost half a million in fees to the UC system. But more importantly, all of those students, assuming that the illegal aliens are replaced by legal residents, would be eligible for Federal student assistance programs.

Although I've just done some, very rudimentary, numbers crunching, I come back to what I think is the real problem. The real problem is whether we are going to continue incentivize law breaking, and the devaluation of citizenship by not changing this law. Is it cold and elitist? Not if you think of it as the way you've been taught since kindergarten: everyone has to follow the same set of rules.

The plaintiffs in this case are planning to seek a writ to appeal to the U.S. Supreme Court. It may take the case, if only to talk about preemption and then remand it down for further findings. That's my guess.

Monday, November 15, 2010

Dancing With Stars Semi-Final Madness

Opening thoughts for this week: Bristol Palin needs to go. Sure, she's the plucky underdog, but really, she does not belong in the final three. Let's stop voting for values or politics and start voting based on performance.

Mrs. Angrybell is of the opinion that this is one of the weakest as far competitors go. And I have to agree. Other than Brandy and Jennifer Grey, I doubt that the other two would still be standing at this point.

So let's see how the couples handle a two dance night.

Brandy and Maksim lead off with a Paso. Interesting routine. Very heavy on the story and not as much, at least at the beginning on the dance. But I think Len should let it go. Brandy is having a bit of a problem. The look is there in her face, but her steps are not... powerful. She's stomping but it almost looks like she is afraid as opposed to being powerful and flowing. The 27 seemed a little high for that dance. It was good, but it wasn't that close to perfection.

Jennifer Grey and Derek Hough are coming in off last weeks perfect score and doing their first one with a cha cha cha. Bruno is getting a little too excited with Jennifer's gyrations. It was a little off in the beginning, but by the time they crossed the floor it looked sharp and with good hip action coming out of her. I kind of feel like she was a little over amped. The Judges may give her a perfect score, but I think there was just a little something off in the beginning because it felt almost like Derek had to slow her down. Now this is not to say it wasn't a great dance. It just had some problems. And of course, with it so close to the end, the judges throw up a row of perfect 10s.

Bristol and Mark doing a Paso. Starts off strong. Mrs. Angrybell is stunned by Bristol's technique at the start (which is good) and by Mark's shirtlessness (which is bad). As the dance goes on, it gets a little more uneven. But there are some parts where she is fully committed to the dance. However, when she has to lift the cape/skirt, she drops out of the zone. Good lord, Carrie Ann... please. Len is right. She has hung in there and this was probably her best dance. But is it good enough to hand in there for the finals? I'm still saying no. She got a 27. Not sure it was that good. But we shall see. And I have to say, someone must have shown Bristol the scene out of Bull Durham for her answers to Brooke Burke's questions.

Kyle Massey and Lacey Schwimmer doing a Samba. Mrs. Angrybell likes him ("Such a joi de vive"). Mrs. Angrybell has noticed that Lacey is very into her partners smacking her bum whenever possible. I'm just not able to focus on this dance. The song was terrible and distracting. It was nice. No real mistakes I guess. But that song just drove me to distraction. And Len has that look that says he is going to give a 10. I guess it was good, since they gave it a 29.

Brandy and Maksim return for an Argentine Tango. And Maks choose to have them play on the steps for a while. Her steps are a little tentative for what I think we should see at this point. But that's just a shading quibble. Otherwise, very nicely done. It was better than her last dance. Which is why they gave her a perfect 30.

Jennifer and Derek return for their Waltz. Nice pirouette to start things off. The dress makes it hard to watch her feet. However, from the way things are flowing for most of the dance, it looks like she is getting the nice rise and fall. However, there was a little problem when they danced into the corner and did those arm behind the head things. She got out of the moment for just a second. But she recovered and got back into the flow. Another perfect score for the couple.

Bristol and Mark return for their Waltz. Mrs. Angrybell wonders if this is the Muslim version. I think they are just going for the very intense, very dramatic look. Her frame is nice. Head in the right spot. Going into the spins, there was a weird weight change. She also needs to be a little tighter on his hip until she moves into the next combination. Mrs. Angrybell just said "wow, she is in a character. Who replaced Bristol Palin with someone else?" Was her best week. Good dance. I just don't think she has what it takes to go to the next round. Of course, America will just want to prove me wrong. And the 26 was probably the most honest score of the night.

This brings us to the last Kyle and Lacey doing their Argentine Tango. They got hosed with the song. Its so up tempo for this dance, that it is forcing him to be quick as opposed to powerful with his feet. The other thing, and Mrs. Angrybell said this before I could type it was "What about Kyle? Isn't he supposed to be dancing too?" There were long periods where Lacey was showing. I almost get the feeling that he was having trouble with the dance and she covered for him by extending her bits where she could allow him to stay hidden as the center. That being said, he had to be an effective center. Mrs. Angrybell agrees with Carrie Ann about the Emmit Smith comparison. Both had that twinkle that could get you to over look their technical faults. The 29 was generous. Probably should be have 27. But then, it is the semi-finals.

If we are being honest, the best entertainers are Jennifer, Brandy, and Kyle. The underdog is clearly Bristol. She has shown improvement. She may even be peaking. The problem is this: her peak for dancing, at least right now, is not as high as Jennifer, Brandy, or Kyle.

Bristol needs to go home. Her held high. But she needs to go home.

But then I've been saying that for a while.

Thursday, November 11, 2010

To the Veterans, Thank You

And it just always seems so inadequate to say Thank You. But Thank You.

Monday, November 08, 2010

Instant Madness With Dancing With The Stars

So last week I was a little preoccupied and missed DWTS. Let me just take a moment to bitch. It was the World Freakin Series ABC. I understand that Fox is a competitor, but did you have to go head to head with my beloved Giants on the night that they won their first World Series since 1954? C'mon, let's rethink things a little.

And while I was away, what did you do America? Apparently, you've kept both Lacey and Bristol around. Keeping one would have been ok. Keeping both... I have to ask you, just what the frack did you think you were doing? Bristol is nice and cute, but this nonsense of voting for her because she is related to a political candidate needs to stop. I saw the reveal show.

At least there is a reason that Bristol is still around. Lacey and Kyle, well they seem to be regressing, at least from the bits I was able to catch while still in my post-World Series-glow (did I mention that the Giants won it?). For love all that is decent and pure kick her to the curb. Which will be bad for Kyle, but she needs to go.

And you got rid of Rick Fox? What?

Tonight, it will be a round of ballroom and then the dreaded "instant" surprise dance.

Kyle and Lacey, fresh from escaping the red light of last week, drew the lead-off slot. Dancing the Viennese Waltz. Posture is nice but not dead on. He is hunching just a little and its causing him to put his bum out. He is on his toes too much, not going through the rise ad fall. His arms are nice, but the flow in this dance is not working so well for him. Len had a better view of his footwork than I so I defer to him. I think its my hatred of Lacey that colors my view. Mrs. Angrybell is worried for Carrie Ann, this crush is getting out of control. This 9 business is crazy. It was nice but not that good. And they drew, for the instant dance is "Good Golly Miss Molly".

Jennifer and Derek followed up with a Quick Step to "Lets Face the Music and Dance". She started off too far away from him but as the dance went on, she got back on his side when she supposed to be. Mrs. Angrybell said "the dress is one part heinous, but I really like it. Little miscue at the end on the final beat, but otherwise pretty good. I got the feeling she was really worried about her knee and it caused her to be holding back just a little. Now, the 9s that were awarded here were correct. The dance flowed much better than the drek that Kyle and Lacey passed off on to us.  She drew "Waiting for A Girl Like You" by Foreigner.

Mrs. Angrybell thinks that Brooke Burke looks like a gold Barbie-doll tonight. I think thats a good thing.

Kurt and Anna came up next to do a waltz. Take It To The Limit, not a favorite of the Angrybell family. Kurt is not quite locked in with his frame because he feels so tall with Anna. He is getting the rise and fall off his steps. Its not always there but its better than the alleged rise and fall of Kyle. It was a good dance. And apparently, Carrie Ann has been listening to us and comes up calling Kurt a Ken doll. Kurt just got robbed! The 8s were wrong. Especially with the way they gushed over the Kurt and Lacey routine. Hella Good by No Doubt is the song and neither of them have heard it. How is that? This should be interesting.

ABC... was it necessary to have 2 commercial breaks where I got to see Steve-O naked?

Bristol and Mark come stumbling in to do the Argentine Tango. Bristol is starting to become a bit of a whiner. She already looks nervous doing this opening bit. Song is Buttons, never would think of it as a tango but it works. She is not .... I don't know but after doing so well she lost it for a few bars. And it looked awful. She snaps back into the dance and it gets better in time for Mark to lift her a few times. Mrs. Angrybell calls a lack of verve. I agree. I think she gets so nervous she starts over-thinking. And thinking while dancing is not her strong suit. Len's comments were dead on. The 8s were dead on in this case. Why? There were a lot of little problems with the performance, even though the steps were right. Mas Que Nada is the song they drew.

Maks and Brandy were up next with a waltz. After last week, I suppose they aren't a train wreck. But you know that Maks is always a session away from being Maks. I can't really find anything wrong with it. Mrs. Angrybell wanted to know if this was the dance of people in pain. I predicted a perfect score, but Carrie Ann went and mucked that up. Apparently she is a nit picker who cares about the angle of her neck. But Len and Bruno came through with a pair of 10s. They drew Teenage Dream by Katy Perry.

Instant dance time and Kyle and Lacey are back on the floor doing their jive. This dance suits him much more than the ballroom style he danced earlier. However, he needs to keep himself in check just a little to prevent him going out of the jive. It was a good, fun routine. Mrs. Angrybell liked it a lot. Len was right, there were some small errors. The 29 was right.

Jennifer Grey and Derek, after loading up on breath mints, came out to dance the Rumba. It looks like she has now raided Edyta's closet. Too bad she took the sheet instead of the pillow case. Wow, some of this is really good. The split on his shoulder was particularly impressive. Her hip action is there but not as good as it should be. That 30 was impressive, especially with that tendon coming apart.

Bristol and Mark came back out for the in progress update. Mrs. Angrybell gasped when she saw Bristol's outfit. I have to say, whoever put her in it is a Democrat.

Kurt and Anna were up next with a cha cha cha. Mrs. Anrybell felt as though Anna had thrown on some holiday tinsel but gave kudos for the crazy assed lime green that Kurt is wearing. This is not as good for him as it has been for the others. Mrs. Angrybell feels like she is watching her dad dance... its embarrassing her every time he does a hip trust. This was ok. It was not as good as their earlier dance and it did not work for them as well as instant dance did for the first two. No matter what Carrie Ann says, he did not nail everything in this dance. He hung on to get it done on the beat, but didn't "nail it". 8's across the board for them.

Bristol and Mark finally got to come out and do their samba. Mrs. Angrybell thinks this could be the train wreck the judges were hoping for. Starts off ok. She seems to like the Samba, either that or the terror is masked as happiness. And then she gets off beat. Then she has gone horrible off  and Mark gets her on the floor to bring her back. The 23 was generous.

Maks and Brandy doing the Cha Cha Cha. The song does not work for this type of dance. I didn't like this. Felt too much like ... not a cha cha cha. Maks and Carrie Ann going at it. I'm waiting to see the hair pulling. I have to say Carrie Ann was right on. After all that, they still got two 9s and a 10? WTF?

So who goes home? Honestly, it should be Bristol. Kyle overcame his burden of Lacey to earn another week on the show.

Monday, November 01, 2010

56 YEARS OF WAITING AS THE GIANTS WIN!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

56 years since the last one.

25 years since I finally learned what it meant to be a fan.

First game was June 5, 1985. Giants lost 6 - 0 to Montreal, Mike Krukow took the loss. My Dad took the day off and told me he had a surprise. We were going to go to the game. It was a Wednesday afternoon game. He showed me how to score. Even though we missed the top of the 1st, I made him stay to the end because somewhere in the game I got hooked on them.

I was at that game where Brenly made four errors in an inning playing third only to come back and hit a grandslam (upper deck on the first base side). Oddly enough, we weren't sitting in our season tickets, which were back in section 16 where I sat almost every Friday night home game eating malts to the dismay of the occasional tourist who'd wander into a section full of hardbitten season ticket holders. And in the eight years we had the tickets, I only got one croix de candlestick (I never left early.).

I watched them lose in the NLCS in 1987.

I saw them get demolished by the Bash Brothers in the 1989 World Series.

I missed watching them in person in the late 90s when I was in grad school, but got back to see them make the runs in 2002 and 2003.

And I never thought this team would win the World Series this year. I thought they'd be good. I thought maybe a wild card slot. But they just kept surprising me. Sometime in June, things started to feel different about these bums (and this team is a collection of bums in the best sense).

Thank you San Francisco Giants!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Voting Matters - San Francisco Judicial Election

Now, in California, we have a weird little system. Some states do it all by appointment. Some do it all by election. We combine the worst of both and have judges come up for rentention elections, but sometimes they get opposed. That is what is going on here.

Normally, this is not a big deal. But the San Francisco Superior Court judges have been acting in a particularly arrogant fashion this year. First, there was Judge Ernest Goldsmith comments from earlier this year that put a chill on people challenging his seat. Then, when a challenger did appear, but to Judge Richard Ulmer, the other judges started to organize to support Ulmer. And they apparently were not being shy about it. Judge Campos decided he would sent out endorsements supporting Ulmer on Superior Court letterhead to members of the DCCC.

Now I have some problems with Nava. He is playing the race and sex card. He says he is trying to downplay it in interviews, but he is running as the gay latino. And that is just as bad as what the Superior Court judges are doing in opposing him. Last year, it was Mellon being targeted in a similar case of race politics. Unfortunately, we got Sandoval on the bench.

Ulmer is a bit on the conservative side. Reports from the tenants' attorneys seem to say he is pro-landlord. But is this enough to vote against him? Objectively, you cannot say that Judge Ulmer has done anything wrong.

So what to do here? I think the Judges need to be reminded that they need to focus more on doing their jobs than banding together to protect their jobs. Yeah, I'm a bit about punishing incumbents this year, but in reality, I do not think that Nava will be much different from Ulmer. He will just have different prejudices. This is really about whether the judges should weigh in on judicial retention elections. Vote Nava. I'm sure litigants will regret it just as much as if we keep Ullmer.

Voting Matters - San Francisco Proposition Voting

Proposition AA - Increasing the San Francisco registration fee for automobiles. Basically, the City wants you to approve an increase in the vehicle registration fee which was authorized by the Sacramento. On the up side, the money is supposed to only be used for "capital projects" and not just for administration of other transportation programs. Furthermore, it specifically states that the money is not supposed to be used outside of San Francisco. That's all well and good. The City believes that it is going raise $5 million. Fine. But you know what, I still do not approve of this measure. Why? The City has a lot of money troubles. And the temptation is going to be there to "borrow" or "borrow against" this money. The City needs to start making some hard decisions. Feeding it more money is not the answer, especially with all the Muni cutbacks. Vote No on AA.

Proposition A - Bonds to retrofit buildings leased for low income people. I'm generally against the City expending any money or taking on any other debts. This time, I think its a good idea. We live in earthquake country. We're going to have one. Might as well do what we can to make sure that the damage is minimized. Vote yes on A.

Proposition B -  Reforming San Francisco's Benefits and Pension System. This needs to happen. The current system is unsustainable. Basically, the way it is now, if you work for San Francisco, you do not have to contribute to your own healthcare and you don't have to contribute towards your own pension. Pretty sweet deal for everyone but the people who aren't on the City's payroll. As it stands right now, out of every $ 8 you pay in taxes and fees to the City, $1 goes directly to the pensions and benefits for the city workers. That's 12.5% of the entire budget of San Francisco. It will save the City $120 million. The only people lined up to oppose this are the unions, who think that they need to be special and not have to contribute to their own pensions or health care. They're not. They need to contribute, just like everyone else. Everyone needs to contribute or we're going to have bigger problems. Vote yes on B.

Proposition C - Requiring the Mayor to attend at least one Board of Supervisors meeting a month. You know, as much as I dislike Chris Daly, I think he has a point on this one here. Its irrelevant if the mayor and Board of Supervisors hate each other's guts. Part of the job is showing up and our mayor has been, well, a little preoccupied to show up a lot lately (unless of course there is a Giants game involved). The Prime Minister of the United Kingdom has to show up once a week, the President of the United States has to show up at least one day a year (although, G-d knows President Obama will try and claim a golf conflict should let him out in 2011), so I don't see why the mayor can't be required to show up for a Board of Supervisors meeting. Let's get our disagreements out in the open and where people can be pressed to explain their position instead of the insanity that is the war of press releases that we get here. Vote YES on C.

Proposition D - Noncitizen Voting In School Board Elections. Didn't we vote this down a few years ago? Oh, that's right, we did. And the reason remains the same: voting is a right of citizenship. The point of being a citizen is you get to have a say in your government. Not letting other people have a say in your government. Vote NO on D.

Proposition E - Election Day Registration. If it weren't for the fact that it would cost so damn much, I'd say yes. But changing things when the economy and the budget is this mucked up is just asking for trouble. Vote NO on Prop E.

Proposition F -  Health Service Board election reform. I cannot say it any better than the Chronicle, so here is what they say
This may not be the most riveting issue on the ballot, or even result in much of a savings, but it's an example of one of the little efficiencies that can add up. 
 Vote YES on Prop F.

Proposition G - Reforming the MUNI Pay System. Umm... how to put this? Vote yes. Vote Yes! VOTE YES! Muni reform needs to start with this. End the free ride for the Muni workers. Start putting the priority of Muni back to the citizens of this city and not with the operators union. Vote YES on G!

Proposition H - Prohibiting elected officials from sitting on political party committiees. Huh? So we're trying to take the politicians out of the elected officials? Puh-lease. This one is needless regulation. And I almost think its a violation of a politicos rights (I think I could make the argument, have to look at a few cases). So anyways. Vote NO on Prop H.

Proposition I - Saturday Voting. On the one hand, it won't cost any money, so it says. And it will allegedly make it easier to vote. Or it will just confuse people as to when election day is. If you can't be bothered to vote on the day you are supposed to, who says that an alternate extra day is going to help? Vote NO on Prop I.

Proposition J - Hotel Tax Increase. Bad economy, people have less money to spend. We want to make it more expensive to visit here than anywhere else in the country? At least whoever comes up with these schemes is consistent. They want to make it more expensive for the locals and the tourists. Who do they want to live and visit here? Ummm.... let's shoot this one down.  Vote NO on Prop J.

Proposition K - Hotel Tax Reform. Did you know that there is a different tax paid on a room when it is booked direct as opposed to through a third party? Neither did I. Problem is, this is a thorny question that is being litigated. It would probably be better to figure out what the law actually means before we go about changing it. Vote NO on Prop K.

Proposition L - Civil Sidewalks. Vote Yes on this. Its a law that has been tested and used effectively in other cities. Is there a problem? Some say no. But I'll tell you, I see a bunch of people when I go out in parts of the city. Is it going to penalize the homeless. It could. But at the same time, there is a problem and there is no effective solution other than this at this time. Vote YES on Prop L.

Proposition M - Community Foot Patrols. How it got this name, I am not sure. The intent of this proposition is nothing more than to kill Prop L. All it really does is require a "written community policing policy." Whooped-di-doo. Its real intent is found later in the proposition where it specifically nullifies Prop L if it passes. Vote NO on Prop L. 

Proposition N - Real Property Transfer Tax. It increases the real property transfer tax for property in San Francisco that is worth $5 million or more. Once again, I know that the city is broke. And it wants to raise money. The problem is, this will work to kill development deals. Those put people to work. This is not just about Sea Cliff houses. Its going to affect everyone. Its going to affect the rents that get charged to both residents and small businesses. Vote NO on Prop N. 

Voting Matters - Governor of California (Could We Have A Worse Set of Choices?)

so it's that time of the year again. Ballots have been printed, debates have been had,and now tomorrow all you have to do is go on down to your polling station hold your nose and make some choices.

I'm really not kidding about that last part. This year in California we've been offered probably the weakest selection of candidates that it has been my misfortune to ever have to vote on. Think I'm making this up? We've managed to outdo the absurd removal of Gray Davis, where among the slate of candidates we had a porn star and former child actor, by  the two parties giving us a retread and a dilettante.

Going with the theory that it's age before beauty, will start off with Jerry Brown. What can we say that hasn't been said about Jerry Brown? He's been governor once before. He's run unsuccessfully for president of the United States. He was the mayor of Oakland, more on that later. And now he's the Attorney General of California. We know an awful lot about Mr. Brown.he has an awful long record, which is something that is unusual in this election cycle where everyone seems to want to not have a record.

With the state that California is in right now a priority for any voter has to be how is this person going to handle the economy and more specifically, whether they can do to help create jobs. Over Mr. Brown's website, he states that his plan is going to include a number of things. First, he wants to stimulate clean energy jobs. How did he want to do this? he wants to increase California's electrical generation capacity by at least 12,000 MW, in addition to that he wants to build 8000 MW worth of large-scale renewable and necessary transmission warnings. Furthermore he wants to reduce peak energy demand to develop energy storage systems along with those who want to increase the efficiency of buildings and appliances while at the same time developing more combined heating and power projects. And of course to ensure all this goes smoothly, he wants to appoint a "Clean Energy Jobs Czar".

Along with his proposed clean energy initiatives, Mr. Brown wants to encourage business startups. (Where have I heard that before?) To do this, essentially he wants to embark on a massive infrastructure upgrade. he also wants to create what he calls "strike teams" which will focus on job retention and creation. we hope that these teams will do is coordinate between worker training program tax incentives and other programs to help, I suppose match entrepreneurs and job seekers with each other as well as applicable incentives which may help them create new jobs in the state. he also promises to make a priority and increased manufacturing jobs also delivering quote targeted workforce training programs". Finally, like any good candidate, he promises to invest in education.

Now the question really is, how is in the pay for office? He is talking about a lot of money to be invested in "green jobs". when president Obama proposed the same thing, people started looking at this. Some studies have shown that to create one green job, you need to spend $30,000 of taxpayer money. in Spain, where they've done a similar plan of subsidizing renewable energy sources, they found that the cost of exit significantly higher end effects the economy number of ways. First, it costs hundreds of thousands of dollars. Second, not only do the citizens have to pay for it as part of their taxes, they also end up paying higher energy costs because it's more expensive to generate.great, so not only is it going to cost us a lot of money or each new job that Mr. Brown wants to create with his renewable energy incentives, but were also pay more for the electricity that were already using. Already, this sounds like a great plan.

While Mr. Brown says that he wants to cut down on the bureaucratic red tape that businesses have to go through California, at the same time he proposes creating a new bureaucratic position, "Clean Energy Jobs Czar". how many government positions in the executive that report directly to the governor do you think come without a staff? If you can name one you get the no prize.

In what passes for his plan to deal with the budget, Mr. Brown said 11 same things that we heard from Gov. Schwarzenegger when he took office. This includes cracking down on those who aren't paying their taxes, making sure that we get all the federal money that's available, adopting a pay-as-you-go type of financing for state projects, and tearing up the "credit cards", while creating a rainy day fund. Tom, history Brown watched any of his own political ads? Play something about insanity being defined as doing the same thing over and over?

The major problem with Brown, if you're talking in very broad terms. He's talking in idealistic ways about how he wants to help California. Make no doubt about it, I truly believe this is a man who sees himself as being the one to help the state at this time. The problem I have with them is his inability to articulate his position on certain issues. First and foremost, what is he going to do about taxation and how does he view that when it comes to dealing with jobs in growing the economy California. The reason I ask this question first, is that he wants to spend a lot of money to make his vision of the future happened. Right now renewable energy costs a lot to get started. When you've got more than 10% (its actually 12.4%) of Californians out of work or underemployed, you have to start at the base and the basics in this case is job creation.

Second, what is he going to do to make sure that people are actually able to live in this state. The state has one of the highest standards of living, and because no one seems to be willing to allow the market to fail and readjust downward, we're stuck with the high cost of living. One of the ways that we alleviate this  is Proposition 13. Position 13 passed during jury Brown's first term as governor of the state of California, and he fought against its passage. Once passed, he later professed to be "born again supporter" of Prop 13. now the unions, and some educational advocates, claimed the Prop 13  harmed our state schools. Why? Simple proposition 13 limited the amount that real property taxes could be increased in the state. The way that while schools in the public school system are financed is through the collection of property taxes. Without the ability for the local city and municipal governments to raise the taxes at their whim, and to whatever level they wanted, it hurt the school's ability to get new funds. on the right, Prop 13 is seen as a bulwark against out-of-control government taxation that is essentially unaccountable to the electorate. Now in San Francisco, Proposition 13 is unpopular. Why? Because were very liberal and a majority of the people within the city are renters, and renters don't pay property tax. but in other parts of the state the majority of the people are property owners in the 1970s property tax rates skyrocketed making homeownership almost unaffordable. It's something to consider. Backspace, especially in light of the fact that Mr. Brown is heavily dependent on the union's, including the SEIU and the teachers union, or very hostile to Proposition 13.

When asked about Proposition 13 and other tax raises Mr. Brown has been very evasive about this. His answer seems to revolve around the evolving the power to tax and local levels. And how is he going to convince the state legislature to give up the power to tax or in the alternative to not tax is much. one thing that will grant him, is that he does have a history of frugality. The problem is is that enough especially in light of his performance as mayor of Oakland?

On the flipside, we've got Meg Whitman. Her first strike against her, in the state, is that she's a Republican. Say what you want about California this is a blue state. Her background, as you probably have heard by now if you've watched any television show in the state, is that she was one of the people who helped get eBay to where it is today. She made a lot of money doing it such creative lot of jobs at the company by helping guide from small startup to the behemoth that is now. For a time, she also sat on the Board of Directors for Goldman Sachs.

Let's talk about the Goldman Sachs connection per minute, because that kind of important in choosing who you want to lead your state. Another bit allegations that she did some pretty illegal things there. according to California Watch,

Whitman's relationship with the giant Wall Street firm -- an investor, corporate director and recipient of old insider stock deals and campaign donations -- could pose conflicts of interest if the Republican front runner is elected governor of California, critics say.
Whitman left the board [of Goldman Sachs] in 2002 after she was targeted in a congressional probe of bond underwriters and "spinning" -- a financial maneuver, now banned, in which Goldman and other firms allegedly traded access to hot IPOs for bond business. Whitman later settled a shareholder lawsuit related to the prophets she and other execs made from buying the IPOs.
With golden active on so many state issues, Whitman could face "a pile of potential conflicts of interest" if elected governor, said Doug Heller, spokesman for consumer watchdog of Santa Monica.
Whitman's campaign attorney said it was "plainly ridiculous" to hold Whitman responsible for problems Wall Street because she spent 15 months Goldman's board.

Basically, Whitman took advantage of the system as it existed at that time. The system did not make illegal the things that she knew about or participated in with Goldman Sachs, and it appears that no insider trading was ever proven. When ever there is money and where ever there is access, there is always going to be the implication that improper things are going on but the rest of the public does not have access to. yes, she did apparently settle a shareholders suit. However, that the civil litigation matter does not necessarily make her criminal nor make what she did wrong. It simply represents the fact that she chose to settle rather than go to costly litigation. (Yeah, it's a little inside baseball, but there it is.)

Now, let's look at what Ms. Whitman wants to do as governor. Just like with Jerry Brown, let's look at what she wants to do about the economy and in particular about jobs. According to her website, her plan had a number of components. First she wants to eliminate the small business start up tax, including apparently, eliminating the LLC filing fee. this she believes will make it easier to start new businesses in California. Second, she wants to eliminate the factory tax. third two wants to increase the research and development tax credit. Fourth she wants to eliminate the estate tax and capital gains. Fifth she wants to promote investments that are cultural industry. Apparently she wants to do this by providing a tax credit to encourage investment in our conservation technology so that we can reduce the consumption of water.

Wow, she really is noticed. Compared to Jerry Brown checks the list out what she wants to do what she wants to eliminate.

Next up, we have what she wants to do about the budget. Like Mr. Brown, Ms. Whitman wants to do something about the spending going on in Sacramento. Ms. Whitman's plan appears to be threefold. First she wants a strict spending cap. The spending cap is going to be based on the state's gross domestic product. All happened, according to her plan is that spending can't increase unless the state's economy is growing. Second, she wants to uphold the two thirds majority rule when it comes to passing the budget for the state. There she wants to turn the legislature into a part-time legislature, similar to what they do in Texas. This would take a constitutional amendment and could not be done something to passing a bill. It would require a vote by the citizens of the state of California.

In looking at what she wants to do, it appears that she has some laudable goals. Imposing some sort of fiscal discipline on the state is needed. However the question arises as to how he'd deal with expenditures that are going to be necessary when the unexpected happens. adopting the spending cap that she wants to use, unless certain safeguards are built in, it's going to make it very hard for the state to do things especially if the economy suddenly goes south again (of course, that'll require the economy to go up and grow instead of getting worse).

California has very difficult choice. Our economy sucks. Were losing jobs. We have a lot of projects that need to be done. Jerry Brown offers experience. Meg Whitman offers an outsiders perspective. Both of these have their advantages and disadvantages.

Some argue, that electing Whitman would merely be a continuation of Schwarzenegger's policies towards California. While some of what Gov. Schwarzenegger has done has not worked out, and his many campaign promises that were unfulfilled, this might not be a bad thing. The problem we have right now in the state is that we have been unable because of our unwillingness to effect change tour budget in the way that we do things. When I look at Jerry Brown, when I listen to what he says, I see a man who wants to to continue along the same path he is gone before. I respect Mr. Brown but I think given the results of his tenure in Oakland that his solutions are not necessarily the ones that we need nor can we afford at this time.

On the flip side, when I look at Meg Whitman, I see a business woman who has engaged in sharp practices as shown a willingness to initiate attacks on her opposition. While this sounds bad, I'm not necessarily sure that it is.while there are some questions as to whether or not she would have an actual conflict of interest with Wall Street, in particular Goldman Sachs, this is not the same as the type of baggage that Mr. Brown carries with him marked with tags from the SEIU.

If I could, I would send these two choices back and tell the respective parties to put up serious candidates. To me a serious candidate would be someone who has both ideals and is willing to lay out the plan what he wants to do going forward. Both Ms. Whitman and Mr. Brown only to fill half of my requirements as a voter. Because Mr. Brown is so dependent in what he does tell me he wants to do on things, such as green jobs, which studies have shown have the opposite effect of the helping create jobs, but I have to say that we should give Meg Whitman the vote.

You have no idea how much it hurts me to say vote for a Republican here.

Monday, October 25, 2010

Rock 'n Roll DWTS Edition Recap... Madness I Tell You!

The top 10 dance routines are being show-cased tonight. So far, Mrs. Angrybell and I are not digging them. More on that later.

Audrina and Tony started the dance portion off with a Paso Doble. This is not a dance suited to her personality of a the girl next door. Let's see how this goes. Another One Rides the Bus, by Queen, was the song. Mrs. Angrybell never thinks of this as a rock song. She has the face down but is not being forcefully flowy in her movements, if that makes sense. Mrs. Angrybell thinks she took the serious part too to heart and had no passion coming through, no verve. Len was a little overly harsh, but he was right. She hits the steps, but is not getting the character of the dance. Bruno even agrees. Carrie Ann feels she has to coddle her. The score was 24. I would have given it a 7. But at this stage in the competition, score inflation is on the rise. Could we see a perfect?

Kyle Massey and Lacey Schwimmer followed that up looking for little redemption in the tango. It was interesting watching Kyle dance with his brother, since originally the tango was danced by men not male/female partners. Where Audrian wasn't getting the character of the dance, Kyle totally is. I have to wonder Lacey was thinking with this costume. There are times his frame is off because his bum is sticking out more than it should. Clean. Not many mistakes, there was one midway through the dance after they did a nice series of spins down the floor, but overall really good. Who choreographed it? It didn't bear the marking of any of a Lacey Schwimmer let's-piss-off-the-judges-by-deviating-from-the-syllabus routine. How does Len give Kyle a 7 when he gave Audrina Partridge an 8? The 23 was wrong.

Jennifer Grey and Derek Hough is also looking to bounce back from last week's foxtrot. This week they're doing a paso doble to a Pink song "So What". Mrs. Angrybell didn't recognize her with the hair extensions. This is not an easy song. There is a change in tempo. And they are handling it really well. Mrs. Angrybell thinks that pyrotechnics always help. She lost it for a second at the end and it threw off Derek as well. And it was heading towards a good score. Carrie Ann hated the dance. I'm surprised she found it so out of control. The 20 is brutal. I have to watch this again, but I defer to Len.

Rick Fox and Cheryl Burke drew the tango this week. Angrybabybelle, who wouldn't go to sleep, was waving at the screen. Girl you really got me going was the song. His frame is not locked. Mrs. Angrybell thinks he is doing the Audrina Partridge thing, which I agree with. Angrybabybelle clapped along to the routine. Not sure if she likes the song or the dance. Sure its clean, but there's not passion in it. Mrs. Angrybell thinks he looks ticked through it. And yet they got straight 8s? What are they thinking tonight?

Bristol Palin and Mark Ballas are wondering why they are still on this show. Alright, not really but I am. I think Mark wants off. He is listening seriously to Bristol's suggestions about choreography. Either that or he feels like he is playing with house money after surviving last week. They do the tango to . This routine is not bad. She is locked in, she is on his hip when she should be. She is lacking emotion for much of the dance, but she has it in flashes. This was her best dance. They got robbed with that 23. That dance and routine was superior to those 24s that have been given out.

Kurt Warner and Ana Trebunskya are looking to build on last week's score with their paso doble. I love the Brett Michael's suggestion of "Don't break eye contact, that's when they go crazy on you." The Final Countdown is the song. Started it out nice and intense, but then when they went to open, he looked a little agraid, but then he started to show that intensity again. The problem in this dance for him is not the steps, but the attitude and showmanship. He is not consistent in keeping in character. Len doesn't look happy with this. For once, both Mr and Mrs. Angrybell disagree with the judges. There may be something about the lines that Bruno mentioned, but ... that's what makes a horserace. The 18 seemed harsh.

The Maksim and Brandy train wreck is still rumbling down the tracks. Mrs. Angrybell feels bad for Maks because he keeps getting crazy partners that he has to be a therapist for in order to get them on the floor. Mrs. Angrybell wants to know what Brandy is wearing for this paso. Holding out for Hero is the song.  Mrs. Angrybell however thinks that Maks is doing an homage to Han Solo. The funny thing about this, it seemed like the mistakes that happened were made by Maks, especially when they did that dip and he almost lost it. I didn't love this dance. They got a 26. I guess. It was good. I just felt like something was wrong with it.

Then there was the group jive. Derek and his partner have won this that last few seasons. And this time he comes in second, with Brandy and Maks hanging on to get the final 10 point bump.

So who is to go? Kurt had a bad week. Jennifer looked fully mortal this week. And Bristol unleashed an impressive dance. Sad to say, I think that this week, Kurt Warner goes home. If Jennifer Grey does, I'd be very surprised. 

Sunday, October 24, 2010

Does The ILWU 10 Know This Isn't France?


This is the second work stoppage that I've heard of recently by the International Longshore Workers Union local 10 this year that I know of that have nothing to do with labor conditions at the port. ILWU 10 apparently has decided that days off are called for to protest things that they really have no business weighing in on in this way. That's something you expect from a French union, who love to strike at the drop of a hat.

Yesterday, the Longshoremen refused to handle cargo to protest the killing of Oscar Grant and the trial of Johannes Meserle. Did someone not tell them that a jury has decided this case? That 12 the case is still going on?

ILWU 10 needs to stop worrying about politics and worry about its membership more. Let the system work in that case. It does not need to be inflamed by some yahoos who think they can substitute their judgment for that of the jury who heard the case.

Friday, October 22, 2010

It's Been An Interesting Week For People With Any Sort Of Phobia

I'm going to start this off and lay out some of my phobias. I'm not talking arachnophobia type stuff. I'm talking about fears of certain groups. Two that I have are fears of Islam and fears of Prius' drivers. So I guess that gives me Islamophobia and Priusphobia. In my opinion, both could be the death of me (I have been hit by Prius drivers and have had more near misses with drivers of those damned cars than any other type).

While I have  a fear of Prius drivers, and Muslims, that does not mean that I discriminate against them. Both are groups that I find pose a threat to my safety. The Prius drivers because they can't seem to drive while keeping their eyes on the road instead of that infernal readout that shows how fuel efficient their being (making them also, in my opinion, narcissists). The Muslims, well... because they demonstrably want to see me and my children and my relatives dead (yes, if you have not figured out, I'm Jewish, supporter of Israel and have family who live there).

That does beg the question of, is it a phobia if in fact they are out to get you?

But that is no matter.

Why am I confessing to this? Because apparently certain groups want to prevent people from admitting to their fears. Confess publically that seeing a Muslim person in religious garb on a plane makes you nervous, then you CAIR wants to make sure you do not get to keep your job. Think this is my imagination? Then check with NPR to see when Juan Williams will be on the air again.

He was fired last night for stating in an interview that
“I mean, look, Bill, I’m not a bigot. You know the kind of books I’ve written about the civil rights movement in this country. But when I get on the plane, I got to tell you, if I see people who are in Muslim garb and I think, you know, they are identifying themselves first and foremost as Muslims, I get worried. I get nervous.
In case you do not listen to NPR, Juan Williams is a long time reporter for NPR. He has also written for years for The Atlantic Monthly as well as contributing to other magazines. Outside of his journalism work, he is also author of several books on the Civil Rights Movement and African American issues. In short, this guy has a track record of being serious when it comes to what he writes and reports about.

Apparently, this experience and track record of being a respect journalist is not sufficient when it comes to stating the simple fact that in light of his life experiences, he has a fear. He did not say he advocated stripping them of their civil rights. He did not say that we should go out and hurt them for being Muslim. He expressed some fear.

According to CAIR and NPR, that's not acceptable in a journalist. Never one to let someone have an opinion that Islam isn't perfect, CAIR stated
CAIR is calling on American Muslims and other people of conscience to ask National Public Radio (NPR) to address analyst Juan Williams' statement that airline passengers in "Muslim garb" make him "nervous."

"NPR should address the fact that one of its news analysts seems to believe that all airline passengers who are perceived to be Muslim can legitimately be viewed as security threats," said CAIR National Executive Director Nihad Awad. "Such irresponsible and inflammatory comments would not be tolerated if they targeted any other racial, ethnic or religious minority, and they should not pass without action by NPR."...

He noted that media commentators who launch rhetorical attacks on Islam and Muslims normally do not suffer the professional consequences of those who similarly target other racial, ethnic or religious groups.

Ignoring the falsity of the statement that Muslims are a particularly targeted and aggrieved group by the media, lets look at what they are attacking. They are attacking his expression of fear of a group. Is it regrettable. You bet. Is it natural considering what has happen over the past decade, or longer depending on how historically minded you are, between the US and the Muslim world. Of course. Would it be nice if people didn't have to fear other groups for rational reasons? Absolutely.

But apparently, we are supposed to live in a world where even our feelings must be politically correct, otherwise, apparently, we lose the ability to do our jobs in a non-discriminatory manner. At least, thats what NPR believes. NPR fired Mr. Williams last night, stating,
His remarks on The O'Reilly Factor this past Monday were inconsistent with our editorial standards and practices, and undermined his credibility as a news analyst with NPR
How? He expressed a fear, a personal fear that he holds. He did not tell a lie. He did not simply accept propaganda, governmental or otherwise,and pass it off as news. He expressed his feeling of fear.

What he did do is apparently verboten among right thinking people. He stated that he has identified the current threat to himself as anAmerican as militant Muslims. However, almost as if this was something the Bush Administration fought against it, it has to be opposed e left while it's in power. From Obama Administration down, we are told that we are not dealing terrorism caused by militant Islam. To suggest that the terrorism we are facing most frequently as a threat to us comes from Islamic worshippers is a heresy it seems.

There's also the suggestion that the conservative views of Mr. Williams were not liked by his bosses at NPR and that this was the real cause of his firing. Previously, because of his criticisms of the First Lady, he had been forbidden from using identifying himself as an NPR analyst when appearing on The O'Reilly Factor.

I wonder what NPR would have done if he had expressed a concern about his children going to a Catholic school?

But that's not the only bit of punishment for expressing one's opinion. As Mr. Williams was getting his pink slip from NPR, author Elizabeth Moon was being de-invited (should I say booted) from appearing at WISCON where she was supposed to be a Guest of Honor. WISCON bills itself as "The World's Leading Feminist Science Fiction Convention."

Apparently they only want feminists who do not utter words outside of the pages of science fiction books that could be deemed controversial. In this case, Ms. Moon voiced her opposition to the planned mosque near the World Trade Center site. In her blog, where the objectionable comment seems to come from, Ms. Moon writes,

The point here is that in order to accept large numbers of immigrants, and maintain any social cohesion, acceptance by the receiving population is not the only requirement: immigrants must be willing and able to change, to merge with the receiving population.   The new place isn't the old place; the new customs aren't the old customs.   "Acceptance" is a multi-directional communications grid.  Groups that self-isolate, that determinedly distinguish themselves by location, by language, by dress, will not be accepted as readily as those that plunge into the mainstream.  This is not just an American problem--this is human nature, the tribalism that underlies all societies and must be constantly curtailed if larger groups are to co-exist.  It is natural to want to be around those who talk like you, eat the familiar foods, wear the familiar clothes, have the familiar cultural references.   But in a multicultural society like ours--and it has been multi-cultural from its inception--citizens need to go beyond nature.  That includes those who by their history find it least comfortable.

Whether a group changes its core behaviors and values after immigration or not, it must--to be assimilated later--come to understand the culture into which it has moved.   To get along, it must try not to do those things which will, sure as eggs is eggs, create friction, distrust, and dislike.    Is this a limitation on its freedom?  Yes.  It is also a limitation on the freedom of the existing culture into which it's a compromise.   A compromise isn't entirely comfortable to either side, and either side may misjudge how uncomfortable a compromise is to the other side--it is wise to grant that what you're asking the other guy to do may be quite uncomfortable to him/her.   A group must grasp that if its non-immigrant members somewhere else are causing people a lot of grief (hijacking planes and cruise ships,  blowing up embassies, etc.) it is going to have a harder row to hoe for awhile, and it would be prudent (another citizenly virtue) to a) speak out against such things without making excuses for them and b) otherwise avoid doing those things likely to cause offence.

When an Islamic group decided to build a memorial center at/near the site of the 9/11 attack, they should have been able to predict that this would upset a lot of people.  Not only were the attackers Islamic--and not only did the Islamic world in general show indecent glee about the attack, but this was only the last of many attacks on citizens and installations of this country which Islamic groups proudly claimed credit for.  That some Muslims died in the attacks is immaterial--does not wipe out the long, long chain of Islamic hostility.   It would have been one thing to have the Muslim victims' names placed with the others, and identified there as Muslims--but to use that site to proselytize for the religion that lies behind so many attacks on the innocent (I cannot forget the Jewish man in a wheelchair pushed over the side of the ship to drown, or Maj. Nadal's attack on soldiers at Fort Hood) was bound to raise a stink.   It is hard to believe that those making the application did not know that--did not anticipate it--and were not, in a way, probing to see if they could start a controversy.  If they did not know, then they did not know enough about the culture into which they had moved.  Though I am not angry about it, and have not spoken out in opposition, I do think it was a rude and tactless thing to propose (and, if carried out, to do.)

I know--I do not dispute--that many Muslims had nothing to do with the attacks, did not approve of them, would have stopped them if they could.  I do not dispute that there are moderate, even liberal, Muslims, that many Muslims have all the virtues of civilized persons and are admirable in all those ways.  I am totally, 100%, appalled at those who want to burn the Koran (which, by the way, I have read in English translation, with the same attention I've given to other holy books) or throw paint on mosques or beat up Muslims.  But Muslims fail to recognize how much forbearance they've had.  Schools in my area held consciousness-raising sessions for kids about not teasing children in Muslim-defined clothing...but not about not teasing Jewish children or racial minorities.  More law enforcement was dedicated to protecting mosques than synagogues--and synagogues are still targeted for vandalism.  What I heard, in my area, after 9/11, was not condemnation by local mosques of the attack--but an immediate cry for protection even before anything happened.   Our church, and many others (not, obviously all) already had in place a "peace and reconciliation" program that urged us to understand, forgive, pray for, not just innocent Muslims but the attackers themselves.   It sponsored a talk by a Muslim from a local mosque--but the talk was all about how wonderful Islam was--totally ignoring the historical roots of Islamic violence.

Now apparently for having the audacity of suggesting that 1) immigrants have to do somethings to adapt to their new home and 2) that it was unreasonable for Muslims to believe that building a mosque at the site of the most destructive act of Islamic terrorism on American soil and not expect controversy.

Now some have argued that what is happening to these people is no different than the punishmnent meted out to Rick Sanchez for calling Jon Stewart a bigot andconplaining tha the "Jews" have too much control over CNN. But it's not. First, what Sanchez said is untrue, and could have been deemed slander by Stewart. Second, regarding his comment that Jews control the media industry, that is a repetition of the old anti-semitic Elder of Zion conspiracy charge that originated with the Tsarist secret police. Here, we have two people who are not trying to smear an ethnic or religious group. One is saying a personal fear he holds. Another is urging immigrants be incorporated into the American system like every other group who has come over.

If we are going to penalize people from stating their opinions, how are we gping to have a free exchange of ideas? How are we going to know when there are people who are living in fear? If the Muslim community is upset by this, maybe it's because the truth stated by these two hurts. Instead of trying to penalize these two for their opinions maybe they need to look at what they are doing, whom they are supporting and ask whether these are people and groups that they should be supporting.

Monday, October 18, 2010

Its Madness Time Again During a Lull in the NLCS (DWTS Recap)

Alright, the Baseball G-ds were looking kindly upon me tonight and decided not to schedule the Giants-Phillies game for tonight. Go Giants!

Tonight is TV Theme Night. Whatever will we do without The Situation?

The judges gave their review of the remaining contestants. Carrie Ann and Tony were very high on Kyle and Brandy. Why? I'm not sure. They seem to see greatness in them, but I see tenativeness with Brandy (odd considering she has a long history of performing live) and sloppiness from Kyle. Both of them, however, share a huge disadvantage: their professional partners. Both Maksim and Lacey have a history of sabotaging their partners by choreographing to what they want rather than the abilities of their partners.

Mrs. Angrybell would like to give kudos to Brooke Burke's team (Manager and Attorney). For the most part, they have managed to keep her from suffering from some of the outfits (not to mention hair styles) foisted on Samantha Harris.

Maksim and Brandy drew leadoff this week and the theme song to the show Friends. It will be a quickstep. Yay! But with Maksim choreographing... yah. Len is going to go nuts with all screwing around. And then they spend a long time in open before getting into hold. Little problem after the first circuit for Brnady in the corner. Her frame is nice. Good kicks and flicks. She is on her toes too much. She never really gets the good heel toe movement. It was good. According to the Len scale of last week, it should not get above a 7. Of course, Len's critique makes a liar out me. Len how could you? So the scores were surprising to me. A 27. I suppose it was high energy and all that, but still ... a 27?

In the two hole, its FloCork dancing to the "Brady Bunch" theme. Seeing Mrs. Brady and Barry and Corky... just wrong. Funny but just wrong. Doing a tango. Never thought of this song as a tango. She is right in on his hip. Good for her. Nice turns, but she got a little dizzy at the end. She keeps looking down which is not going to sit well with Len. Was a clean dance. Not spectacular, but done pretty well. This can't be good, Carrie Ann and I agree on things. Not sure she is right about the timing problem. Then again, the camera angle prevented me from seeing her footwork. Given the scores for Maks and Brandy, the 21 seems fair.

Kurt and Anna followed up that routine. They drww the theme song to Bewitched for their quickstep. Should be interesting since apparently the reruns did not make it to the Ukraine for Anna to see. The mucking around worked, I like how she did the nose twitch and he started dancing... well... better. His frame is not great, he is hunching occasionally. They're really using the nose thing to good effect. Not too much,  and its almost like when he makes a mistake, he gets a nose twinkle. Of course, thats not the case, it just works with the music. But nonetheless it covered up a little flub there on the second one. Good routine. Not as good as some of his other stuff, but an improvement over last week. Maybe I'm just too hard. Carrie Ann just called the dance the reincarnation of Gene Kelly. I suppose the 24 was a fair score. I guess we've hit that point in the season where they inflate their scores.

Tony and Audrina were trying to discover how to dance with onion breath. The rumba tonight is to some song that I guess  . Mrs. Angrybell says only an Italian man would wear a powder pink shirt. Audrina has tried to raid Edyta's wardrobe. Once again, she grabbed the full body sheet and not the wash cloth that Edyta would've worn. There were some nice bits. The problem is that there was almost no hip action. Otherwise it was good. But with a lack of hip action, its not a good rumba. I really wonder what dances Len is watching tonight. Where was the hip action? Really? Bruno hits the nail on the head this time. Where was the smoldering sex? Damn, Carrie Ann is picking up on what I couldn't get out. And then the lift police rears its angry head. For the record, no lift. Mrs. Angrybell thinks that Audrina should get her money back on her boob job because there is a dent in her implant. The 23 was generous. I really think this was a 7 dance.

Kyle and Lacey showed up trying to get back up towards the top with a Foxtrot to the theme from "Charlie's Angels". Mrs. Angrybell wants to know if Kyle is supposed to be super pimp Bosely or someone from the Jeffersons or perhaps Isaac Washington on the Love Boat. Better technique. I dunno. I think I am just so anti-Lacey that I can't say much nice about it. Bruno was right, there was not enough foxtrot. They broke into disco too many times. Len hated it. Maybe I just was compensating for my hatred of Lacey and was trying to be nice. The 20 was right, but the spread was a little nuts.  Len's score broke his own standard from last week. Oh well.

Rick and Cheryl. Doing a rumba. To Hill Street Blues. What does it say when a basketball player with multiple injuries still nagging him from his career has better hip action than any of the female contestants so far? He is not repeating his mistakes from last week and his not trying to be small, just stepping small. Very well executed. I liked it. Now the 24 is what I would have expected from the Maksim and Brandy routine. What to think of this? I dunno. It was better than that.

Bristol needs a good routine. If she doesn't show anything this week, she's going home. Its a jive this week to the theme from "The Monkeys". And dancing it in a monkey suit is not necessarily what I would think is the way to show she has personality. She got lost on the time. She stopped. I feel bad for her, she knows she blew this dance. And its just getting worse. It was paining Len to not say what he wanted to say. Somehow, she salvaged an 18.

In as the clean up routine: Jennifer and Derek. And from the montage, it looks like Ms. Grey's temper and difficultness (always rumoured so Mrs. Angrybell tells me) is starting to come to the surface. Hopefully Baby pulls it together for the foxtrot. The song is Love and Marriage (married with Children). Little bit of mucking about. I think they missed a chance to make this funnier by going more towards "Married With Children" and not Ozzie and Harriet. Not their best routine. There were a couple of little missteps, tiny, but just enough to keep them being perfect. Should keep them near the top of the leaderboard.Well, if Carrie Ann threw the lift police card, you had to expect Len to say something was "too theatrical". The 25 was fair. It was not good enough to be higher, but it should not have gotten lower.

Alright, so who should come back? Everyone except Bristol. She tried. She got further than I thought she would get. Her problem is that she cannot get off the plateau she reached. And because of that, its time to vote her off. If you are looking to get rid of a guy... do us all a favor and vote Kyle off. Lacey's instincts are showing again. She's deviating a little more each week from the syllabus.