DAVIS DOESN'T DESERVE RECALL
I know a lot of people who are taking great pleasure in trashing Gov. Gray Davis during his current spate of trouble. "He's too much this or not enough that…he dithered too long before the energy crisis...he's in the back pocket of the prison guards and the casinos."
I'm telling them to get over it and vote no on the recall. We saw what happened in 2000 when we took solid leadership for granted. Too many people figured that since Clinton made governing look easy, it must actually be easy. Far too many people - almost a majority - voted to entrusted the common good to folks who we now know weren't up to the job.
We should never take for granted having an ally in Sacramento who is supportive of social justice.
Gray Davis has signed some of the most progressive laws in the country on a range of issues from choice, to workers protections to health insurance for poor children. On September 19, he signed a comprehensive grant of benefits and responsibilities to domestic partnerships. Only the institution of civil unions in Vermont affords same-gender families more protections.
In the spirit of ugliness that the recall has dredged up in California politics, signs that read "recall Gay Davis" follow the governor wherever he goes. Make no mistake: The animosity towards Gov. Davis from the radical right is no small part due to his support for the LGBT community. Keeping his promise to support AB205 even with a recall vote looming in less than three weeks speaks volumes about the commitment of Gray Davis to civil rights.
It may be amusing to wonder how someone with no governing experience might run the state. The reality, though, is it would only enhance the power of lobbyists and special interests in Sacramento. Worse yet, rumor has it that if the recall vote produces a Governor Schwarzenegger, the radical right will use his celebrity to attempt to recall dozens of Democratic legislators in marginal districts.
Has Gray Davis been perfect? Hardly. We won't get anything close to perfect to replace him if he's recalled.
Sticking by Davis because of the good he's done for Californians should be reason enough, but if it isn't, remember we could do much, much worse.
Some changes are in the works here at Points West! First, "we" (me) is actually becoming "we!" (we!) as Dean National (and Santa Barbarian) Wayne Martin and San Francisco for Dean's Paul Hogan join the PW team over the next couple of weeks. You can expect the same irreverent and timely edge more frequently, and with a broader range. More of it, more perspectives, more debate, and a dash of disagreement to boot. Why argue in person when we can do it here for your enjoy-o-rama? We may have one or two guest bloggers from time to time as we extend to a full-court-press Web presence -- negotiations are in progress. We've already expanded our links section -- check out Talkin' Head Transcripts, among others -- and we are planning to add comments and do a major launch of the new site.
Finally, we (yes, we!) are also in the process of doing a full redesign of PW that is sure to please. If you'd like to join our Points West updates list, please e-mail us and we'll make sure to stay in touch!
Now, for a taste of what you can expect from Wayne on a regular basis:
News Item (9/11/01): "Only 2 to 5 percent of cargo containers coming into U.S. seaports are inspected."
News Item (9/11/02): "Only 2 to 5 percent of cargo containers coming into U.S. seaports are inspected."
News Item (9/11/03): "Only 2 to 5 percent of cargo containers coming into U.S. seaports are inspected."
[Wayne]: But hey! at least we have Baghdad, right?
News Item: "IBM CEO Samuel J. Plamisano receives $4.5 million bonus."
News Item: "IBM announces the firing of 600 workers and a payless work week for thousands more in order to reduce costs."
[Wayne]: We'll all remember the Bush years fondly, I believe.
News Item: 'Panel of economists warns that the Bush administration's tax cuts and economic policies will add over $6 trillion to the national debt in the next 8 to 10 years."
[Wayne]: To those of you with children or grandchildren: Gather them around you. Apologize to them.
Supermarket Headline of the Week: "France Surrenders to North Korea!"
Heads Up: Playboy magazine announced it is doing a photo spread on "The Women of Wal-Mart."
No, the OTHER Arnold: Gary Coleman of "Different Strokes" fame is a candidate for California governor on the recall ballot.
[Wayne]: "Whatchoo talkin' bout Davis!"
News Item: The bride at a wedding reception in South Windsor, Connecticut throws vases upon learning that the bar is closing, tries to bite a police officer sent to calm her down, and kicks in the police car window as she is arrested.
[Wayne]: The memories of the little things that go wrong at a wedding are often the most treasured.
"Yoko Ono to go naked for peace."
[Wayne]: For those who thought the grim toll of war couldn't get any worse.
News Item: Australian scientists find "dipping CDs in beer gives them a different sound."
[Wayne]: Australian scientists are at their most interesting when they are constructing hypotheses.
Multi-tasking Maven: Martha Stewart will appear at a deposition meeting with her attorneys tomorrow, which just also happens to be the day in which she will steam clean her draperies.
Dumb Crook of the Week Award: Goes to the man in Phnom Penh, Cambodia, who pulled the pin on a hand grenade and demanded amphetamines from a dealer, was given the amphetamines, quickly put the grenade in his pocket, headed outside, and never quite made it to his motorcycle.
How have you been celebrating?: This is the 17th day of International Gay Square Dance Month.
Operation Kettle One: My! Time is flying!! Only 16 days, 8 hours, 46 minutes, and 7 seconds from the time I type this until National Vodka Appreciation Day.
And finally, your Bush-ism of the Week: Mr. Bush, visiting a school in Jacksonville, Florida, where the system is run by a retired Air Force general:
"I can see here that you got you a Air Force General running this here school system."
[Wayne]: And they probably got them some English teachers who about spit when..., uh, wait. Let's try this another way. Just one small request: I understand ol' Dubya wants to convey a folksy image as he enters the 2004 campaign. But could he please put a hold on the Texan Ebonics while speaking in front of school children!!?
Thankyouverymuch --- and Happy National Apple Dumpling Day!
as submitted by Wayne Martin
MoveOn.org has just launched a new site, MISLeader.org that serves as an ongoing knowledge base and clearing house for the distortions and outright lies of Bush-Rove-Cheney Inc. They've also taken out a full page ad in The New York Times titled Mis-State of the Union. The ad reveals how the President mislead the nation in his State of the Union speech -- not just on Iraq, but on the economy, the environment, and other important issues. A few juicy tidbits:
ON TAX CUTS:
George Bush: "The tax relief is for everyone who pays income taxes...Americans will keep, this year, an average of almost $1,000 more of their own money."
The Truth: Nearly half of all taxpayers get less than $100. And 31% of all taxpayers get nothing at all.
George Bush: "Our first goal is...an economy that grows fast enough to employ every man and woman who seeks a job."
The Truth: Bush is the first President since Hoover to preside over an economy that has lost jobs, not created them - more than 2.9 million since 2001.
ON THE ENVIRONMENT:
George Bush: "[My] Clear Skies legislation...mandates a 70% cut in air pollution from power plants over the next 15 years."
The Truth: The Bush plan will allow more than 100,000 additional premature deaths by 2020 than alternative legislation developed by the Environmental Protection Agency. The plan does not regulate carbon emissions and allows far more sulfur and mercury emissions.
George Bush: "[W]e achieved historic education reform - which must now be carried out in every school and in every classroom."
The Truth: Bush cut $8 billion from the promised funds for education.
When Bush was running for President, he said, "I believe everyone should be held responsible for their own personal behavior." We agree. The President has repeatedly mislead the country. Now it's time for Americans and the press to hold him responsible.
At the new site you can also register to receive daily e-mails and browse through other special features. Check it out, save it as a fave, and send it to a friend!
From a late August strip by The Seattle Post-Intelligencer's David Horsey:
Smoke and Mirrors
Maureen Dowd's Op-Ed from Sunday's New York Times:
UP IN SMOKE
This is how bad things are for George W. Bush: He's back in a dead heat with Al Gore.
(And this is how bad things are for Al Gore: He's back in a dead heat with George W. Bush.)
One terrorist attack, two wars, three tax cuts, four months of guerrilla mayhem in Iraq, five silly colors on a terror alert chart, nine nattering Democratic candidates, 10 Iraqi cops killed by Americans, $87 billion in Pentagon illusions, a gazillion boastful Osama tapes, zero Saddam and zilch W.M.D. have left America split evenly between the president and former vice president.
"More than two and a half years after the 2000 election and we are back where we started," marveled John Zogby, who conducted the poll.
It's plus ça change all over again. We are learning once more, as we did on 9/11, that all the fantastic technology in the world will not save us. The undigitalized human will is able to frustrate our most elaborate schemes and lofty policies.
What unleashed Shock and Awe and the most extravagant display of American military prowess ever was a bunch of theologically deranged Arabs with box cutters.
The Bush administration thought it could use scientific superiority to impose its will on alien tribal cultures. But we're spending hundreds of billions subduing two backward countries without subduing them.
After the president celebrated victory in our high-tech war in Iraq, our enemies came back to rattle us with a diabolically ingenious low-tech war, a homemade bomb in a truck obliterating the U.N. offices, and improvised explosive devices hidden in soda cans, plastic bags and dead animals blowing up our soldiers. Afghanistan has mirror chaos, with reconstruction sabotaged by Taliban assaults on American forces, the Afghan police and aid workers.
The Pentagon blithely says that we have 56,000 Iraqi police and security officers and that we will soon have more. But it may be hard to keep and recruit Iraqi cops; the job pays O.K. but it might end very suddenly, given the rate at which Americans and guerrillas are mowing them down.
"This shows the Americans are completely out of control," First Lt. Mazen Hamid, an Iraqi policeman, said Friday after angry demonstrators gathered in Falluja to demand the victims' bodies.
Secretary Pangloss at Defense and Wolfie the Naif are terminally enchanted by their own descriptions of the world. They know how to use their minds, but it's not clear they know how to use their eyes.
"They are like people in Plato's cave," observed one military analyst. "They've been staring at the shadows on the wall for so long, they think they're forms."
Our high-tech impotence is making our low-tech colony sullen.
"It's 125 degrees there and they have no electricity and no water and it doesn't make for a very happy population," said Senator John McCain, who recently toured Iraq. "We're in a race to provide the services and security for people so the Iraqis will support us rather than turn against us. It's up for grabs."
Senator McCain says that "the bad guys" are reminding Iraqis that America "propped up Saddam Hussein in the 80's, sided with Iraq in the Iraq-Iran war, told the people in Basra in '91 we'd help them get rid of Saddam and didn't, and put economic sanctions on them in the 90's."
He says we have to woo them, even though we are pouring $87 billion — double the amount designated for homeland security — into the Iraqi infrastructure when our own electrical grid, and port and airport security, need upgrading.
"If anyone thinks the French and Germans are going to help us readily and rapidly," he says, "they're smoking something very strong."
Mocking all our high-priced, know-nothing intelligence, Osama is back in the studio making his rock videos.
The cadaverous caveman has gone more primitive to avoid electronic detection, operating via notes passed by couriers.
We haven't forgotten all Mr. Bush's bullhorn, dead-or-alive pledges.
But he's like a kid singing with fingers in his ears, avoiding mentioning Saddam or bin Laden, or pressing the Pakistanis who must be protecting Osama up in no man's land and letting the Taliban reconstitute (even though we bribed Pakistan with a billion in aid). He doesn't dwell on nailing Saddam either.
His gunsmoke has gone up in smoke.