Wednesday, March 31, 2010

Muni is Ridiculous

Let's see if I have this straight. Muni seems incapable of getting its act together enough so that it runs somewhat on time. Note, that's not 100% on time. Its not even 95% on time. These incompetents, management and rank-and-file, more than a decade after it was mandated and being provided with every advantage have proved incapable of coming close to the voter mandated minimum for on-time of 85% of the time.

In case your wondering, currently Muni is currently only able to be on time 73% of the time during its most recent quarter. In fact, since 2005, Muni has not managed to do better than 73% (go to page 4).

Among the things that Muni has been able to increase over the past decade include how much we have to pay for their deficient, rude service. Consider this, in 2000, fares on the city's buses and trains cost $1.00. Fast passes cost $35.00. I guess, in light of the people who run the system, we should be glad that it took as long as it did (8 years) to double the fares. Not only have they doubled the charges for fares, Muni has also managed to hit its goal for each of the past 5 quarters in making sure that all parking meters are working within 48 hours of them being reported out of service.

In addition to the rising fares, we are treated to rising operator absences over the past five years. In 2008, we had operators failing to show for work when scheduled (or as Muni likes to call it "Unscheduled Absences") 11% of the time. In 2009, that rose to 14% (check out page 13). Good job Muni.

And then do I have to mention how Muni has gone and cut its service by 10%, effective May 1? (Somehow in government spending 10% cuts equals a 25% increase in fees to the citizens.)

So let's see. Double your fares. Fail to be on-time. Allow unscheduled absences to increase. Cut service.

And now, Muni's latest solution? Let's hit San Franciscans a little harder by extending parking meter hours to include Sundays and evening hours. And to what end?

Nathaniel Ford, executive director of the MTA (which Muni is a part of), says "If you look ahead to year two you have ... some light at the end of the tunnel." Based on what?

Its like the MTA and Muni people live in a fantasy land. The light at the end of the tunnel is because the Govenor has signed a new tax which will help fund local transit agencies like Muni. The problem is, this is the same as giving crack to crack addict. Muni has demonstrated that they are unable to govern their finances effectively. Every time we consent to giving them more money, they manage to waste it in new and interesting ways.

This has got to end. At what point do we admit that simply throwing money at the problem is not the solution?

The Madness Reveal Show - Yes, More DWTS Thoughts

Dear American Television viewers,

I have one question to ask you. What in the name of all that is good were you thinking this week? I mean really. Your bottom two was Shannen Doherty and Pamela Anderson. While I am prepared to give you Ms. Doherty (who really, really hurt herself with Monday's performance), what were you all thinking of when it came to Pamela Anderson.

She and her partner (whatever his name is) turned in not one, but two, solid routines. Yes, her first routine was a little on the rough side, but when you compare it to all the others, it was pretty feakin good.

This compared to say... Kate "I'm the victim" Goselin or Aiden "Whiny Baby" Turner...

And then this week, she does a foxtrot where the judges' scores were wrong. Part of this has to do with the ridiculous scoring that they gave to Nicole Scherzinger (I'm sorry, it was good but not that good people.).

People, this was a fun routine that was pretty well executed. Do you want to be left with Erin Andrews, Niecy Nash, and the boobs that pass as most of the men on the cast this season? Hell, at least Ms. Anderson doesn't whine and complain that its too hard every single second. She's kind of interesting.

Of course, you could go on supporting that shrew of a divorcee, Kate Goselin, that whiner who made Edyta cry (which in Mrs. Angrybell's book is inexcusable), Aiden Turner, or that ridiculous Jake Pavelka. Is that who you really want to watch for the second half of the season? Really?

I didn't think so. So please, while you are voting for your favorites, remember to keep Ms. Anderson in mind and throw her one, at least until she starts to not earn that vote.

Thank you,


Monday, March 29, 2010

Second Week of the Madness

And apparently I need to throw up more pictures of Edyta. It seems like people like looking at her. I wonder why. But since too much of a good thing is no good, I give you Cheryl's lovely smile tonight:
Mrs. Angrybell's initial observation: they dress Brooke Burke way sexier than Samantha Harris. I'm not complaining.

Shannen and Mark drew the lead-off spot with a jive. They drew a good song, but I don';t liek the way the band did it. Shannen looked a little off. She looks a little scared. Mrs. Angrybell thinks she is all over the place. She is also off time with her partner, whiel she is in hold. This is just not good. She has some nice hip movement... too bad this is not a cha cha cha. This is going to be a brutal review by the judges. The longer this one goes on, the more it looks like a Kenny Mayne routine. Wow, what is Len wearing? I know he is British, but ... really? Can someone tell me what dance they were watching? Did they not notice how bad it was? How off beat she was at times? The fix is in this week. This got a 20? What the frak were they thinking. This was a mess and should have been a 15, at best.

Aiden and Edyta drew the foxtrot. Mrs. Angrybell and I agree: Aiden is such a baby. Grow a pair. Edyta, I'm so sorry that they keep sticking you with such losers. And once the dance started, Edyta looks great, even though she has more than a handkerchief on. Mrs. Angrybell now refers to Aiden as a pansy scumbag. Edyta looks like she is doing her best to cover up for him. Aiden has some nice parts to the dance. He misses the foxtrot motion at times, but I';m so pisssed at him, I want him gone. You don't want to know what Mrs.Angrybell wants to have happen to him. The 19.. whatever. He deserves a 10 point deduction for being a pansy.

Evan and Anna danced the jive next. Good outfits for them. Needs to be a little more bouncier, but not much. Anna got the good draw this time. Mrs. Angrybell thinks he is the one to beat since he has no fear at being technical and being a showman. I think she is right, there just seemed like little points where routine looked flat. I'm not sure who's fault that is. I tend to think its Anna. 24 was fair score for that routine. I'd say more, but what else is there to say about it.

Now comes the woman with some Jelly and the short genius: Niecy and Louis. How sad is it that Niecy is more of a man than Aiden. Alright, she's got the funk looking ballroom dress with the frills at the end. But she rocks it. And she looks great doing it. She's got some good footwork doing on here. And she is enjoying herself out there. I was totally not expecting this routine from her after last week. Right now, this is the most improved dancer for me from last week. And Len agrees. Of course, the lift nazi reared her head. But the scores, 21, was not reflective of this. There should have been at least one 8.

Chelsea and Jake go to follow up that. Jake ... is kind of a whiner. He needs to shut up and just do what the professional tells him what to do. Good song. Good outift considering the song. He was a little flat footed int eh start, but when he went to the kicks and flicks it started to look better. His footwork on the travelling in hold steps (forget the name) was a little slow and off. He definitely found the square part of the song. Of course, Len is going to dock something for that futzing around at the beginning of the routine. Carrie Ann is obsessed with the lifts and the Lift Nazi is out in force tonight. 20 was ok. I had mixed feelings so I guess I can't criticize them too much.

Buzz and Ashley doing the foxtrot. Good song for him. Too bad he is so stiff. He is trying. I can't criticize. 4's? Really? They gave that disaster from Shannen a 15 and it wasn't nearly as horrific.

Nicole and Derek danced a jive next. Oh dear, Len is not going to like the intro. This is not a good song for a jive. I now see what her concern in the opening montage was. Still she seems to be carrying off her end well. Mrs. Angrybell points out that she was pretty flat, which she was, but some of the steps in the routine called for her to not be bouncy like in most jive routines. It was an uneven dance, and I have to put it down to Derek miscalculating the routine. But this all goes back to the song for me. And that, to me, is surprising. I am with Len. I'm not sure where Bruno and Carrie Ann are coming for. This was not perfection. Are Carrie Ann and Bruno on crack? 10's? WTF?!?!?!?!?!? The 8 was closer to the right score.

Maksim and Erin followed that up with a foxtrot. Not a good dress, though it does show off her boobs. Mrs. Angrybell says "It could be worse". He has her doing the splits, which surprised her so much that she can't go right into the next combination. Fortuantley, she is in hold most of the time, which helps her a lot because this must be way out of her comfort zone. I'm not a fan of this routine, but she did it well. I love how Len called out the prima donnas this season. The 23 was a little high. I'd have given it some 7s.

Pamela Anderson and the guy whose name I cannot remember also danced a foxtrot. Good song and great costume for her. That will be worth a lot of votes. Took a little too long to get into the dance proper. She looks good, not perfect but this is not easy for new dancers. Mrs. Angrybell said "I didn't thinks she'd be this good. That sexy girl can dance." And Len said "titivating" not "titilating". Now, how did this get 22 when... argh....

Chad and Cheryl tried their hand at being elegant and graceful. At least one of them was more successful than the other. I hate this song. Mrs. Angrybell heard the opening bars and said "I hate this song so much." This dance is not good for him. He is on his toes too much. He is hesitant. He doesn't look comfortable out there in the first half. He is trying so hard to look refined that he has forgotten his feet. And for once Carrie Anne says something helpful.

Kate Gosselin and the Cougar Magnet drew the jive. Kate seems like a whiner. She managed to make Tony question himself. This woman is world-class when it comes to that it looks. Mrs. Angrybell wonders "How hard it must be to be her. Men are just always abandoning you. Boo hoo." Yeah, it was bad of Tony to do that. But still, she needs to put on her big girl panties. Mrs. Angrybell, even before the routine is done, is rooting for a double elimination: Kate and Aiden. Good son for them. Kate, however... makes Buzz looks musical. She lost the routine. She is a deer in headlights. Wow, this is a train wreck and I'm just hoping that Tony can jump off. I'm watching this and wishing I could read lips. I almost felt like Tony changed the routing on the fly to make it very basic in the second half. Bruno, that was not your nightmare: it was Tony's. Did Carrie Anne really have to pull the lift card when the routine was that much of a disaster? Len complete's the review with a little pick-me-up speech. How did they give that 5's when Buzz's routine was better than that mess.

Who should go home: Kate. She is a mess out there and it would be a mitzvah to put her and Tony out of their misery.

Who is on top: Nicole and Evan.

Who deserves to be on top: Evan and Pamela.

Nicole got the benefit of some dubious calls, mostly because I think Bruno and Carrie like to reward fluff. This is not to say that Nicole is not good. She is. With a better song, she might have actually deserved that.

Who is hearing footsteps: has to be Aiden. I can't believe that his shenanigans this week went over well with his base, especially because they were the same people who grew to love Edyta when she had Cameron Mathison as a partner.

Ahh hell, let's leave you with a better look of Edyta to cleanse the palate.

Saturday, March 27, 2010

I Know I Should Not Say This About Anyone, Even Jimmy Carter But...

Can you please contract some sort of illness which will prevent former President Carter from speaking. Ever. Again?

I mean, it's not enough that he likes to throw around labels like "apartheid state" without any idea what it means. Especially when a person like President Carter is too much of a coward to debate his ideas. But then again, what should we expect from a man who failed to protect American citizens or safeguard sovereign U.S. territory? Well, that's right, we should expect him to decry other nations for protecting their citizens from murderous, terrorist, theocratic thugs.

So what has President Carter done now? He has asked his ideological progeny, that would be President Obama, to take Hamas off the terrorist watch list. I guess the fact that Hamas supports, sponsors, and orders terror attacks on Israel is something that he overlooked when he shook hands with those murderous outlaws.

Someone should take a look at the Carter foundation books a little more carefully. If he is not being paid to shill for the terrorists, then he has joined them.

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

One of the most famous speeches in American History

And I will bet you that most of you have never read this (though I had to recite it). Patrick Henry's speech to the House of Burgesses:

No man thinks more highly than I do of the patriotism, as well as abilities, of the very worthy gentlemen who have just addressed the house. But different men often see the same subject in different lights; and, therefore, I hope it will not be thought disrespectful to those gentlemen if, entertaining as I do opinions of a character very opposite to theirs, I shall speak forth my sentiments freely and without reserve. This is no time for ceremony. The question before the house is one of awful moment to this country. For my own part, I consider it as nothing less than a question of freedom or slavery; and in proportion to the magnitude of the subject ought to be the freedom of the debate. It is only in this way that we can hope to arrive at the truth, and fulfill the great responsibility which we hold to God and our country. Should I keep back my opinions at such a time, through fear of giving offense, I should consider myself as guilty of treason towards my country, and of an act of disloyalty toward the Majesty of Heaven, which I revere above all earthly kings.
Mr. President, it is natural to man to indulge in the illusions of hope. We are apt to shut our eyes against a painful truth, and listen to the song of that siren till she transforms us into beasts. Is this the part of wise men, engaged in a great and arduous struggle for liberty? Are we disposed to be of the numbers of those who, having eyes, see not, and, having ears, hear not, the things which so nearly concern their temporal salvation? For my part, whatever anguish of spirit it may cost, I am willing to know the whole truth, to know the worst, and to provide for it.
I have but one lamp by which my feet are guided, and that is the lamp of experience. I know of no way of judging of the future but by the past. And judging by the past, I wish to know what there has been in the conduct of the British ministry for the last ten years to justify those hopes with which gentlemen have been pleased to solace themselves and the House. Is it that insidious smile with which our petition has been lately received?
Trust it not, sir; it will prove a snare to your feet. Suffer not yourselves to be betrayed with a kiss. Ask yourselves how this gracious reception of our petition comports with those warlike preparations which cover our waters and darken our land. Are fleets and armies necessary to a work of love and reconciliation? Have we shown ourselves so unwilling to be reconciled that force must be called in to win back our love? Let us not deceive ourselves, sir. These are the implements of war and subjugation; the last arguments to which kings resort. I ask gentlemen, sir, what means this martial array, if its purpose be not to force us to submission? Can gentlement assign any other possible motive for it? Has Great Britain any enemy, in this quarter of the world, to call for all this accumulation of navies and armies? No, sir, she has none. They are meant for us: they can be meant for no other. They are sent over to bind and rivet upon us those chains which the British ministry have been so long forging. And what have we to oppose to them? Shall we try argument? Sir, we have been trying that for the last ten years. Have we anything new to offer upon the subject? Nothing. We have held the subject up in every light of which it is capable; but it has been all in vain. Shall we resort to entreaty and humble supplication? What terms shall we find which have not been already exhausted? Let us not, I beseech you, sir, deceive ourselves. Sir, we have done everything that could be done to avert the storm which is now coming on. We have petitioned; we have remonstrated; we have supplicated; we have prostrated ourselves before the throne, and have implored its interposition to arrest the tyrannical hands of the ministry and Parliament. Our petitions have been slighted; our remonstrances have produced additional violence and insult; our supplications have been disregarded; and we have been spurned, with contempt, from the foot of the throne! In vain, after these things, may we indulge the fond hope of peace and reconciliation.
There is no longer any room for hope. If we wish to be free--if we mean to preserve inviolate those inestimable privileges for which we have been so long contending--if we mean not basely to abandon the noble struggle in which we have been so long engaged, and which we have pledged ourselves never to abandon until the glorious object of our contest shall be obtained--we must fight! I repeat it, sir, we must fight! An appeal to arms and to the God of hosts is all that is left us! They tell us, sir, that we are weak; unable to cope with so formidable an adversary. But when shall we be stronger? Will it be the next week, or the next year? Will it be when we are totally disarmed, and when a British guard shall be stationed in every house? Shall we gather strength but irresolution and inaction? Shall we acquire the means of effectual resistance by lying supinely on our backs and hugging the delusive phantom of hope, until our enemies shall have bound us hand and foot? Sir, we are not weak if we make a proper use of those means which the God of nature hath placed in our power. The millions of people, armed in the holy cause of liberty, and in such a country as that which we possess, are invincible by any force which our enemy can send against us. Besides, sir, we shall not fight our battles alone. There is a just God who presides over the destinies of nations, and who will raise up friends to fight our battles for us. The battle, sir, is not to the strong alone; it is to the vigilant, the active, the brave. Besides, sir, we have no election. If we were base enough to desire it, it is now too late to retire from the contest. There is no retreat but in submission and slavery! Our chains are forged! Their clanking may be heard on the plains of Boston! The war is inevitable--and let it come! I repeat it, sir, let it come.
It is in vain, sir, to extentuate the matter. Gentlemen may cry, Peace, Peace--but there is no peace. The war is actually begun! The next gale that sweeps from the north will bring to our ears the clash of resounding arms! Our brethren are already in the field! Why stand we here idle? What is it that gentlemen wish? What would they have? Is life so dear, or peace so sweet, as to be purchased at the price of chains and slavery? Forbid it, Almighty God! I know not what course others may take; but as for me, give me liberty or give me death!

Patrick Henry gave this speech this day in 1775.

Monday, March 22, 2010

The Madness Begins - Opening Night

I don't like this new area in the back of the ballroom for the contestants. It looks ridiculous. And who cares. The cameras are never going to more than flash at them so that they can focus on the dancers. Besides, how many times can we really get a shot of them clapping while secretly hoping that their compatriots trip and fall.

Chad Ochocinco and lead off the competition with a cha cha cha. Some hip movement, but he needs to learn to take smaller steps. Mrs. Angrybell thinks he has natural rhythm, much more so than any of the football players. He has charisma, but in Mrs. Angrybell's saying "not like the kind that would rufie a girl". There might be a dancer in there, but Cheryl is going to have to chip away to reveal it. And then Len agrees with me. Whats going on? And what is up with that graphic.. .it looks stupid. 18.

Shannen Doherty and Mark Ballas pulled a Viennese Waltz for their first dance. Not the easy way to start the season. And whoever is in wardrobe really hates her. They were just mean to her. Her footwork is hit and miss so far. She is hitting sometimes and just missing at others. When she swirled by the band it got better. Her posture is not bad, she needs to shoulders down a little but I love how her head is lock on looking away. Oops and I type that she looks around. In the open little bit she looked like a lost duck. The death spiral thing looked good. As Mrs. Angrybell says "Its not bad, and we had to watch Macy Gray danced stoned out there." Bruno is being a little harsh, especially since the dance is not easy to begin with. Looks like 6 is the new 7.

Erin and Maksim followed. I have to say, she knew who she wanted (Tony). Too bad she isn't old enough for him. So they threw her to Maksim. Which, as history tell us, And she drew the cha cha cha for the first dance. Good song. She looks good for. Ok, she is a tall legy blonde, and I think her feet are going where they should. And there is even a little hip action. Now she needs to work on her arms and hands. She looks lost in the open. Mrs. Angrybell points out she is inconsistent. Its like she knows what she is doing, but then she tries to show off how hot she is and gets nervous and then there is a little flub. She's not Stacy Keibler, but she has something there. For a gay dude, Bruno loves leggy blondes. And they apparently liked it to the tune of 21.

Jake Pavelka and Chelsie Hightower followed. They drew the Viennese Waltz. He's a whiner. I hate whiners. Mrs. Angrybell is calling him "the new Lance Bass... he needs to be paired with Lacey Schwimmer so they can both cry." This is a bad rendition of a good song. I'm not blown away here with his footwork. He is either flat footed or on his toes, no in between. There is a lack of smoothness going on here. Where Chad Ochocinco had a natural rhythm with average footwork, Pavelka has no natural rhythm here. And then there was the posture problem. Mrs. Angrybell is aghast at Chelsea's costume, "they look like my grandma's satin beadsheets." Len was surprisingly upbeat with him. Is he on something? Mrs.Angrybell thinks Carrie Anne wants to be next contestant on the Bachelor. He did not deserve Erin level marks. Mrs. Angrybell thinks ABC has put the fix in. 20 was a bogus score.

Niecy Nash and Louis Van Amstel. Louis looked a little shocked, stunned, and amazed. And I'm not sure thats a good thing. I hope she is just mugging for the camera in the montage bit. Fortunately for her, she starts with a cha cha cha. Nice song. Not bouncey enough in her foot work, a little too flat footed. Mrs. Angrybell is concerned that Louis is not going to be able to do a lift with her without some help if she goes far. As it goes on, her footwork gets better. Mrs. Angrybell thinks her legs make her look like Ms. Piggy. I did not follow a word that Bruno said, but I think he didn't like it. I agree with Carrie Ann that it was sassy, but I didn't think it was clean clear or precise. Len, I split with on her. The 18 was fair. But Carrie Ann's 7... really? For real? Are you that scared that

Evan Lysacek and Anna were up next. Anna must feel like she has a shot with this gold medalist. Unfortunately, he drew the Viennese Waltz, which ain't easy for a new dancer. They drew a good song. His posture and extension are great. He is trying to do the rise and fall. He was tucked in there with Anna on the first spin along the floor. He got back in close, which I applaud. Its hard for a new dancer to feel comfortable enough to be in close with someone who is a stranger effectively. Some little mistakes when he came out of the corner and the pirouette was a little shaky. Overall, good dance. Lets see what the judges say. Mrs. Angrybell and I split on this. She says 8. I say 7. 23 was the final score.

Buzz Aldrin and Ashley Costa (apparently not Del Grosso-Costa). He is an 80 year old dude doing the cha cha cha. Wow. This is going to be a Jerry Springer-like dancing I see. He looks a little lost out there. However, I think he is going to get the cute vote to keep him on the floor for a few weeks. The 4 was mean Len. Really. 14 was ... let's not say it.

Nicole Scherzinger and Derek Hough were the palate cleanser (hopefully) for that. Shocker, she wanted Derek. Pop star doing the Viennese Waltz. This could be interesting. She starts off with some nice lines. Lets see if she can keep it up. Apparently, the wardrobe people like her. Posture could use a little work but is not bad. She looks a little nervous in the open, and got a little off but not too bad. The pirouette was nice, but went on too long. It was ok. There just want not a lot of content I thought in the dance. Was Carrie Ann watching the same dance? Len was right looking at it again. Nicole went from smiles to looking shell shocked. I hate to say this (actually, not really) but put on your big girl panties. The 7 was closer to the truth. The 9s were... absurd. 25. This is weird.

Aiden Turner and Edyta cha cha chaed next. Mrs. Angrybell thinks he looks like an underwear model. I hear his voice and I think Mick Brumby. Too bad she drew him. She needs to catch a break. Good song. And Edyta is back wearing a hankie and some tassels. He is lead footed. Mr. Turner, Edyta can only distract the fans for so long. Mrs. Angrybell thinks "he is only a step above Buzz Aldrin... and that's sad." Wow, Carrie Ann is struggling to say something not mean. Len is brutally honest. And then Bruno throws in a Kenny Mayne comparison. In DWTS parlance, thats like saying his mother breeds out of season. The 5's were brutal but

Alright, next is the woman I am most predisposed to hate this season: Kate Goselin. Tony, the cougar magnet, drew her. I'm sorry. I can't stand this woman on a good day. And they burned a Bill Joel song for this one. Tony is definitely hiding her. Which is good because she looks awkward right before that leg lift. She looks scared out there. Buzz looked bad, but he didn't look scared.It took almost 3/4rds of the song for her to start smiling. Mrs. Angrybell thinks she is wearing falsies and wonders why? Bruno was mean right there. The 16 was generous. This should have been 5's or less.

Where's the red swimsuit? Its Pamela Anderson and Damien. A mystery solved: who taught Pamela to use eyeshadow. Mrs. Angrybell thinks that being sexy is not going to be a problem for her. She has hip movement, bu the footwork is hit or mess. She got lucky with the song. Nice leg kick, throwing down the gauntlet to Edyta maybe? She has picked up some stuff. She has some nice footwork at times. There was definitely hairography going on there. The 8 and 7? Really? Alright, 21 is close to right.

And now the new co-host: Brooke Burke. Easy on the eyes. Voice was a little easier on the ears. But she flubbed at the end. Whats up with that? She gets a 7 for the night.

Points-wise, Nicole Scherzinger is on top. However, she doesn't really deserve to be. For my money, the best of the women tonight was Erin Andrews. She just needs to keep in the moment and not get nervous. Right now, Evan is on top for the men. Though I like Chad's potential. He is interesting.

Who should go home? I'd love to see Kate go. But I think Niecy Nash is in more trouble because she might have an iffy fan base for this show. Shannen Dougherty better get it together or she will not be long for this competition. For the men, Pavelka needs to go, but won't. Ditto for Aiden Turner. Which means Buzz's trip might be ending soon. Which is a bit of a bummer.

But let's see what happens next week.

Friday, March 19, 2010

Not That The Overlords In Congress Care About My Opinion On Healthcare Reform

So the Democrats finally unveiled Pres. Obama's vision for healthcare. If this is reform we can believe in, we obviously believe in some really bad things.

Apparently, if you believe everything the Pres. Obama said in the interview he gave to Fox news earlier this week, you must leave a lot of special deals are necessary to protect this only certain parts of the American population. The rest of us, just get the tax portion of that, along with maybe some healthcare but that's questionable he also. Why? That would have to be because there is nothing in this bill which does anything to solve the basic problem of the healthcare crisis: cost.

As you may recall, a couple months ago when this debacle began, a couple of states managed to eke out exceptions the reform package. Most notably, this included Nebraska (which got to keep 100% of its Medicare money unlike the rest of the country) in Florida (where seniors bear got a special deal as well). later, Louisiana got in on the act matched its own bit of graft, claiming that it still had all those problems left over from Hurricane Katrina. And let's not forget that the unions got their own little special deal where they are healthcare would not get taxed because, well,... their unions and they give money to Democrats and Pres. Obama.

Now, can anyone remember what the point of reforming health care in this country was about? Oh yeah, that's right, without making healthcare more affordable for everyone. So we now have a plan, which pretty much everyone agrees is going to allow rates to go up at on all love spending to our budget (and in the process creating a new sacred cow of American politics, because what politician is in a while take a stand and say I want to disestablish the national healthcare system in this country?)

Oh yeah, and with this health care bill which makes health care more expensive, they have still left in the provision they will be financially penalized or not having healthcare insurance. Is below sees people been talking to the Blue Shield people?

Speaker Pelosi, President Obama's point woman in this whole fiasco, has been trumpeting this bill, even though it doesn't seem like she's actually read it as a panacea for healthcare and for the economy in general. She claims, that this proposal will not only solve all the healthcare problem but it will also reduce the federal deficit. As support for this, she points to the CBO's report which was recently issued. According to the Congressional Budget Office, under the proposed healthcare plan the deficit will be cut by $138 billion in the first decade and $1.2 trillion over the next decade. the Democrats also claim that the bill will decrease Medicare expenditures by little more than 1% each year (meaning that instead of going bankrupt in a couple of years Medicare will go bankrupt around 2020). Sounds pretty good, right?

the problem is, the CBO isn't forced to operate under certain rules. This means that if you track your bill correctly and present the input correctly to CBO you're going to get the kind of numbers back from CBO that you want. Now I am not a numbers guy, a more process type guy with, so I would suggest you go over and read this article at the Weekly Standard and read their analysis of the budget. In short, although the numbers look good, like $2 trillion not good, they look good because the time period which the CBO is allowed to analyze does not include the period of time when the real costs of this legislation start to be felt by the system. However, I think this paragraph pretty much sums up this legislation:
And what would we get for all of this? The CBO says that health insurance premiums would rise by 10 to 13 percent in the individual market, in relation to current law. The Medicare Chief Actuary says that the percentage of the gross domestic product spent on health care would also rise in relation to current law, increasing from 17 percent today to 21 percent in 2019. And, as the CBO reports in its latest scoring, as of 2019 there would still be 23 million people in America lacking health insurance.
So what do we get for almost a billion dollars? Apparently 23 million people without insurance. As a point of reference, there are currently approximately 36 million uninsured American citizens and another 9 million or so who are illegal aliens. Apparently, a billion dollars and uncontrolled increases in premiums will get you an additional 13 million people with health insurance. Hardly seems cost-effective.

One thing that this proposal shows, is that this president is impotent. He has promised time and again to deliver a package that will meet the needs of the American people. However, he is unable even within his own party to get legislation drafted that meet those promises which he puts out and proclaimed the American people. It shows that, when it comes to the Democrats in the House of Representatives and Senate, he really has very limited power to get what he believes done. even at this late date, after months of negotiation, Pres. Obama is still the position where he is having to essentially sell the bill to his own party. This has included such things as suddenly putting forth the name of one Representative's brother for a federal judgeship. it just so happens that that representative was one of the 10 who was against the health-care package back in November. How convenient.

Another very coincidental decision by the administration was announced earlier by the Department of the Interior, which suddenly open the floodgates despite the fact that there is an endangered species, the delta smelt, which the Department of the Interior and the EPA has been protecting from San Joaquin Valley farmers for years. It's just coincidental, that the two representatives for that part of the state of California are both Democrats who were on the fence with regards to Obama's health care reform proposal.

But perhaps my favorite part of this whole fiasco, is that Pres. Obama wasn't content just to screw up one section of the economy while he was trying to reform. He decided he would be better, is that the bitter pill to us by wrapping it in another thing which no politician ever likes voting at. What's the impact? That would be funding for higher education. Knowing that he's got a lousy bill, crafted by the kleptocrats of the Democratic side( the Republicans would've joined in too, but they were invited to this drafting party), is ranked in the sugary goodness of Pell grants and student loans. How nice of him.

Weren't we all up in arms when Bush fired a couple of US attorneys? Weren't we all enraged when VP Cheney held meetings with the energy lobby, excluding environmental groups, and refused to turn over the notes one sunshine requests were made? So why are we letting the present act this way at this time? Or is it because he has a "D" after his name rather than an "R", that we let him have a pass at being responsible representative of the people?

Then there is the administration and speaker policies have it a scheduling significant and important votes for odd hours. This time, it looks like they want to do the vote on Sunday. Kind of convenient, since the day that most major media outlets are covering Capitol Hill or the White House, be quite frankly most of America is probably watching March Madness basketball games on CBS.a reasonable administration tried to do something secret, they did behind closed doors and didn't announce it for all to know. It seems like this administration, which wants to proclaim itself as the most ethical administration in the last hundred years, wants to use the form but not the substance of open government.

But in a way, this all goes back to the basic problem with the Obama administration. What is a problem you may ask? That problem is a lack of realistic goals and proposals. Pres. Obama administration is good for talking about lofty goals and aspirations,but when the rubber hits the road president Obama is always a day behind the rest of the of his party when it comes to outlining concrete and specific or proposals for what you want to see done.

I'd write my congressman and tell them to vote against this debacle. However, my congressman is Speaker Pelosi. So I think she is a pretty firm "yes" on this mess.

Update for the original:

The CBO recently responded to a request for clarification about the total costs of the legislation made by Representative Paul Ryan (R-WI). The CBO confirmed that the bill, if passed along with other legislation that is necessary to make the reform work, will not decrease the deficit. In fact, it will increase the deficit by nearly $59 billion.

These are the types of conversations I have

So this morning, I was talking with co-counsel in case. Now, Co-Counsel has another case and was asking me a question about a type of motion. So I sent Co-Counsel an example, one that I had filed in another case a few years ago. This is what followed:

Co-Counsel: Great, now that I have this I can finally lose my demurrer virginity.

Angrybell: Your demurrer virginity?

Co-Counsel: I've never done one before. As a matter of fact, when I do this one, I think there isn't a type of motion I haven't done before.

Angrybell: Really? Have you done a motion seeking quo warranto?

Co-Counsel: Nope.

Angrybell: Then you haven't lived.

Thursday, March 18, 2010

Congrats to some tenants lawyers.

So one of my loyal readers wanted to know if I heard anything about landlord-tenant victories in San Francisco lately. Well after looking around a little bit I am happy to announce that two tenants were able to get some justice in the courts.

Mary Williams and Michael McGuinness, who were represented by the Law Offices of Mary Catherine Wiederhold and the Law Offices of William E. Shapiro, recently forced the settlement on the day of trial. Williams and McGuinness alleged constructive eviction against their landlord after having to suffer for more than two years because of their downstairs neighbor. This neighbor was, allegedly, a methamphetamine dealer. The landlord denied all knowledge. The defendants agreed to a robust six figure settlement. The case was before the San Francisco Superior Court in February.”

Thoughts on Health Care Reform After President Obama's Interview on Fox

So I'm sitting here watching the interview of Pres. Obama by the anchor from Fox news, and a couple of thoughts. First, from the beginning of the interview wanted to be anywhere else but where he was. As a matter of fact, he looked angry and upset that he had to take the time out of his day to explain something to anyone, and in particular to someone from a network that he really really does not like. There is an almost arrogant look about this man eddies across from Fox news person, as if to say I shouldn't have to answer to anyone what I want to do and what I want to implement as my policy as president of the United States.

Second, I understand that to the extent the president has to be loyal to his party. However, at what point does present have to be loyal to his party at the expense of telling people, the people he was elected by, what he truly thinks about something. The first part of the interview, the Fox news reporter asked about the so-called "Slaughterer rule" which the House of Representatives seems determined to use in this situation. Although Pres. Obama said he wanted the vote to happen, he would not say that this parliamentary rule which Speaker of the House Pelosi is enamored with is the wrong way to go about business.

Parliamentary rules exist to allow things to get done, but they are not there to avoid people having to take responsibility for the ultimate votes. The people that we elected to the Congress whether they be Democrat or Republican are ultimately responsible to us and therefore they are unwilling or unable to execute their duty by either voting yes or no on what ever bill there is in front of them, then they need to resign or we need to replace them.

At the end of the day, this is a Republic in which our representatives democratically elected. for one party to hijack the process, by allowing bill to be passed and sent to the president for his signature, is a betrayal of our form of government. If this were to happen, whether it be this week next week we're six months ago, I should hope someone would bring case in the federal courts that even the most liberal activist or the most strictly constructionistic conservative judge would be able to look at this and realized that this was not what the Constitution says or means. Because failing that, we would no longer live in a democratic republic but in some sort of weird dictatorship where party leaders act as were the arbiters of what is right for the people and the people have no say in the final outcome, whomever they choose to elect.

when pressed by a reporter, argued back that the raid/conservatives in this country were focused too much on process and not enough on the substance of the bill. However when he was asked about the substance of the bill, he flipped and talked about the process and said how ugly it all was when it came to making laws in this country. What he was either unwilling to a knowledge, or unwilling to say, a double arm court and in our government if the process is corrupt, then no matter what Bill is produced no matter what law is inactive the system is corrupt and loses legitimacy. The fact that our representatives feel that such rule is ever allowable or that such a process can ever be permitted is wrong and if either party had courage there would be not only a rule, a law prohibiting it.

I don't know what is in the bill that speaker policy wants to get past. As a matter of fact, I'm not sure anyone in this country knows the entire contents of the proposed legislation. It's been promised the proposed health care bill will be posted for everyone to read it online. The question is, whether anyone in Congress will read it, or if they're just too desperate to serve their own agendas that one side or the other must win and the other must lose irrespective of what will happen to the American people.

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

My Name Is Inigo Montoya

I should be working right now, I took a quick break and saw this. So if anyone might want to possibly make a little donation to the Angrybell family, this would make a lovely piece for our new home.

So now I'm off to storm the castle. What I wouldn't give for a holocaust cloak.

Saturday, March 13, 2010

I hate mediation

Last week I had a mediation in a case that had been dragging on for the better part of two years. Things in the case had spun wildly out of control since I had entered the case. No sooner had we cut the head off one party, two others sprung into existence. And they were all filing cross-complaints. And this was as the discovery cut-off was passing.

However, I have to say this, I hate mediation. I mean, I really, really, really despise the process. It's not that I don't like mediators (well all of them anyways). Its not like I don't want settle the case. Its the fact that, in my experience, defendants use the lack, or the pending, mediation to refuse to seriously discuss settlement. Its as if defense counsel has lost the ability to meaningfully discuss ways to resolve a case without having a $875.00 per hour sitting with them.

Its pathetic.

But yet it is the way the game gets played.

Added on to that, there is the bonus that defense will invariably start with low ball offers and contesting everything so that the first few hours are a waste. And this is in cases where there is clear liability. By the time you get to serious settlement discussions, you've already wasted $2200.00.

In this case, we'd already been through the mediation process. 4 glorious hours sitting in a conference room while the co-defendants (back when there was a manageable number) rejected our initial demand and refused to send over a counter until we had dropped our demand. And then screamed we were negotiating in bad faith for failing to do so. And then there was the whole bit where apparently the neutrals were so neutral that they lied to both sides.

Well, I suppose its better than a judge twisting my arm.

Although I really, really, really hate mediations, my co-counsel and I was finally induced to recommend it to the client when the offered to pay the entire bill for the mediation. So we get there, and waited for 2 hours before we were able to even give a demand in the case. Apparently there multiple defendants, instead of trying to settle the case with us, were trying to establish dominance over each other in the room in which they had been sequestered in.

My co-counsel managed to finish reading the entire Mother Jones (cover to cover) before getting half-way through The New Yorker before that nonsense was sorted out. I ran out of my regular blogs to read on my handheld and had to start trying new stuff out.

Eventually we got down to sending offers to the other side. At which point another melt-down occurred in the other room. They were shocked the know that after the last mediation (which happened before a lot of evidence had come to light) that our settlement number had gone up. Shocker, I know. But what to do when new witnesses are found to testify about how bad the defendants were.

After a series of this nonsense, we managed to settle out one client (who from what I can tell just gave up and said paying us was better than having to be in the same room as the rest of the defendants).

And the fun went on from there. What was supposed to be a three hour mediation turned into an all-day ordeal. The case settled, but I'm going to have to wait just a little while to tell you the rest of the story.

Wednesday, March 10, 2010

Some More Pre-Season Madness News - DWTS

As you probably know by now, Brooke Burke has been named as the new co-host for Dancing With The Stars. However, just as soon as that announcement came out, Samantha Harris piped up with an "I'm not dead yet".

Tom Bergeron must be having a rough life. People lining up and fighting to stay his partner.

Something I Should Have Posted Earlier

But instead am just going to ask that you reflect on what the image means.

Mr. Daly: Shut The Hell Up

Mr. Daly,

Please don't take this the wrong way. I love the fact that you have stood up for tenants rights in this city. But by and large, your actions, your policies (other than the aforementioned one), and your means make me think you are nothing more than, and I use a technical term, Douche Bag.

You clearly have no interest left in serving this city of ours. It seems that as you count the days until you are termed out of office, that you are more interested in making it harder, if not impossible for the San Francisco Police Department to evolve as it tries to police this city. It seems that you want to applaud people who assaulted an off-duty guard and handcuffed him to a flagpole, rather than letting the investigative process take place to determine who did what, and if any laws were broken.

Basically, like most days, you are speaking out of your ass. Please shut up and let the grown-ups do their jobs.

I know this will be hard. I mean in just a few months, you will be termed out and no one, except your wife and your kids, will have to pay attention to your antics anymore. And then they can listen to your poor vocabulary, which you cover for by using expletives on a regular basis.

If you had any honor left in you, which I doubt after the sheer number of vitriolic, baseless attacks that you have lobbed during your years in San Francisco government, you would resign and go live in the suburbs. There, you can alternatively ignore the problems of San Franciscans and propose unworkable/unfeasible solutions while pontificating on human rights, without my taxes going to pay for your pied-à-terre. And you could let us try and elect someone interested in solving the problems the city faces, rather than advancing himself.



Tuesday, March 09, 2010

Here's Half the Solution...

Or at least a start.

With the Muni drivers refusing to compromise it looks like the only to change the situation is to change the rules. The rules, in this case the City Charter, has a provisions which makes the Muni operators salaries determined by a formula. The formula is to take the two highest paid agenecies in the country, average them, and that is the salary for the Muni employees.

It does not take into account anything else. Just what other employees, in the two highest paid systems are being paid.

This is like paying Eguenio Velez the same as Manny Ramirez-type money. And quite frankly, calling the Muni drivers Velez does a disservice to that goof of a ball-player.

So with it in mind that Muni employees won't forgo an increase at the trough, Supervisor Sean Elsbernd is proposing to abolish that provision (it would also eliminate a trust fund that pays operators an additional benefit of $3,000.00 per year) with a ballot measure.

Now, I have not seen the final proposed ballot measure. Hopefully, Supervisor Elsbernd's proposal is going to have the effect he is trumpeting, and not some ineffective piece of political propoganda for someone who wants to get a ticket punch on his political CV as he tries to move up in the Democratic ranks. However, if it is what it says it is, I would urge people to sign the peittion to get it on the ballott and voted on by the people. Its the electorate's fault that its on the City's Charter in the first place, we should do the right thing and get it off.

Otherwise, we can just continue to watch the drivers get paid more and more to run few and fewer lines and see our fares go higher and higher.

Next target: the MTA board and Muni execs. Getting the employees costs under control is only half the problem.

Friday, March 05, 2010

This Is What They Talk About At Big Firms?

So my wife, Mrs. Angrybell, works at a rather large firm in the city. Today, she forwarded me the following exchange between her and her cohorts on one of the teams that she works on that defends, what she terms, a Great Corporation Accused of Great Wrongs.

From: Mrs.Angrybell
To: Waldo; PassiveAgressiveIrishman
Re: This Just In

Our FearlessLeader is going to be out of the office Monday thru Wednesday next week.



From: PassiveAgressiveIrishman
To: Mrs.Angrybell; Waldo
Re: This Just In

Where's he going? He only shares his intimate secrets with you, Mrs.Angrybell, because you are special.... :-) [of course, maybe you just heard this tidbit from FailedStandupGirl [ed. note, she's the secretary for Mrs.Angrybell]



From: Mrs.Angrybell
To: PassiveAgressiveIrishman; Waldo
Re: This Just In

As I have told you I am the last Airbender - special, unique, telepathic with powers to save humanity. :) I have divined that he's headed to Boston for a science primer with SuperNerdGeekLawyer.


From: PassiveAgressiveIrishman
To: Mrs.Angrybell;Waldo
Re: This Just In

Why does Han Solo need to travel to see Yoda when he has Obi-Wan in the adjoining office?



From: Mrs.Angrybell
To: PassiveAgressiveIrishman; Waldo
Re: This Just In

Dude, Han Solo is some rogue pilot. He is not a jedi. Somewhere in the universe a science fiction fan just died.

And its more than likely that someone billed around $300 per hour to one of the Great Corporations Accused of Great Wrongs for this. Sigh.

The MUNI Drivers Need A Dose of Reality


I'm very serious.

These drivers are pampered failures.

The city is in a budget crisis, just like everyone else. We have MUNI that is bloated and ineffecient. An organization that seems incapable of EVER meeting its own goals. Listening to the malarkey from the MUNI employees' union, and I feel the same way about them that I do the Marjor League Baseball Players Association: that I want them busted like the air-traffic controllers were back in the early 1980's.

Today in SFGate, the drivers were quoted as stating that they are unwilling to make any sacrifices in their earnings or hours. What got me the most was the quote, "More and more people are understanding that it's not our fault." Oh really?
At this point, all they were being asked to do was to forgo a pay hike. They would still be among the most highly paid employees of their type in the country. However, the greedy, inefficient union members rejected the proposal, arguing that their sacrifice was not going to completely solve the problem.

Guess what? There is no single solution to the problem. However, their salaries are a major part of the problem. The city, in its infinite wisdom, decided to award them with a pay scale that ensures that they will be paid no less than the average of the top two transit systems in the country. That by itself is not the entire problem. Part of the problem is that they have to be scheduled for full eight hour shifts... even if they are only needed to fill in for a few hours. Furthermore, as Melissa Griffin in the examiner pointed out, there are other built in boondoggles in the MUNI contract. This includes, among other things, :
-Drivers who work after 6 p.m. and before 6 a.m. earn 8 percent more for night duty. (Art.4(4)) Whose Peepaw decided 6 p.m. is nighttime?
- Drivers don’t contribute to their own retirement fund. The San Francisco Municipal Transportation Agency pays the mandatory contribution, to the tune of $9 million a year. (Art 8(4))(The deal drivers just rejected included a provision that they make their own payment for one year.)
- There are severe restrictions on the use of part-time workers. They can’t work on cable cars, they can’t fill in for regular operators [...].
So the MUNI drivers have a sweetheart deal and do not want to give an inch. And what do we get for this sweetheart deal? It looks like an on-time average of less than 70% most years (but thanks to a stellar 77% in 2004, their three year average was 72%). And the trend is to be less on time (i.e. late). As an added bonus, we also get fewer lines and increased fares all around.


Guess what! There is a chance to start making some changes. First, we need to sack MUNI's management, because to be honest, this is a systemic problem. And when I say sack, I mean fire and give no severance to, whoever has a hand in this fiasco. Second, the city needs to tell the union that this is no longer acceptable. It needs to shred that provision in the city charter that allows for this nonsense of not negotiating with the unions and simply giving them an automatic pay raise.

Finally, the city needs to tell the union that the gravy train is over and needs to completely re-negotiate the entire contract. It needs to end the sweetheart deals that the operators get, because we simply cannot afford their inefficiencies any more. If they choose to strike, this city needs to take it and hire scabs until the union wakes up and smells the roses.

Of course, that would mean that Mr. Mayor would have to have some cojones and do something hard, instead of something popular. Too bad he isn't showing much of that lately.

Thursday, March 04, 2010

Edyta Gets Hosed Again - Preseason DWTS Madness

So the pairings have been announced while I was not working. They are:

Buzz Aldrin with Ashly DelGrosso-Costa
Pamela Anderson with Damian Whitewood
Erin Andrews with Maksim Chmerkovskiy
Shannen Doherty with Mark Ballas
Kate Gosselin with Tony Dovolani
Evan Lysacek with Anna Trebunskaya
Niecy Nash with Louis van Amstel
Chad OChocinco with Cheryl Burke
Jake Pavelka with Chelsie Hightower
Nicole Sherzinger with Derek Hough
Aiden Turner with Edyta Sliwinska

Basically, I think Edyta gets hosed. She is tantalized with a soap star who should have a built in fan base. However, the soap stars never have the ability to really train because their schedules are so insane when it comes to shooting. So unless his character has some "time off", I think Edyta is once again going to be an also-ran.

The star who drew the worst, in my opinion, has to be Erin Andrews. To me, she comes in sort of a unique situation. She is a woman who brings in NFL dads because she's the sex appeal who knows sports on ESPN. However, she gets Maksim. Maksim has shown a singular genius for showing himself off, while not adequately calibrating routines to his partners ability. This has lead to his partners coming up short.

The favorite has to be Evan Lysacek. Two things. One, he may be in post-success let down mode. The man is reputed to be a beast when it comes to training for his event. When other Olympians have participated, it has been after a signifcant amount of time has passed. Still, I think he has to be the favored guy in this situation.

The favored woman here is Nicole Sherzinger. She has Derek. He has shown he can take people, match their abilities to their routines and get them to go far. As long as Sherzinger is willing to listen and work, she should go far.

I have to say, I am really curious to see what happens with Louis and Niecy Nash.

Tuesday, March 02, 2010

So Nice To See We Remember Who Our Friends Are

Apparently, the Obama Administration has dispatched Secretary of State Hillary Clinton to Argentina. Originally, she was supposed to do a 10 minute meeting. That got expanded when the Argies decided to start laying the ground work for another attempt to grab the Falklands.

One would think that a country that has been our closest ally for the past century would get our support.* The one that backed us, even when everyone else refused.

Oh wait. I forgot who was president.

Yeah, Secretary Clinton stated,
We’re not interested and have no real role in determining what they decide between the two of them. But we do want them talking and we want them trying to resolve the outstanding issues between them. We recognise that these are contentious matters that have to be resolved and we hope that they will do so.
What a ringing endorsement in support of our ally. With friends like us, who needs enemies trying infringe on their sovereignty.

*For those who are historically impaired, that would be the United Kingdom.

Monday, March 01, 2010

Ahh its starting again,... pre-season Dacing with the Stars

According to the news the following are the latest batch of stars for Dancing with the Stars:

Evan Lysacek (Gold Medalist)
Erin Andrews (Sportscaster)
Nicole Scherzinger (Singer, Eden's Crush and Pussycat Dolls)
Chad Ochocinco (WR for the Cincinnati Bengals)
Shannen Doherty (Actress)
Aiden Turner (Soap Actor on All My Children)
Niecy Nash (Comic Actress)
Pamela Anderson (Baywatch Babe and Playboy Playmate)
Buzz Aldrin (Astronaut)
Kate Gosselin (If you don't know, you've been living under a rock)
Jake Pavelka (One of the poor schmucks who was on the Bachelor)

No announcement yet on who they are paired with.