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Archive for 2010



Right-Wing Body Snatchers Stole Carly’s Brain

Saturday, August 7th, 2010

At the 2008 Republican National Convention in Minneapolis, Carly Fiorina stood before the nation to sing the praises of GOP presidential nominee John McCain for his sponsorship of a cap and trade system of regulating greenhouse gas emissions that would “both create jobs and lower the cost of energy.”

Now that she’s running for a U.S. Senate seat from California, however, Hurricane Carly is not only bashing incumbent Barbara Boxer for embracing cap and trade, but also eagerly smooching the behind of any whack job establishment Republican who can help her, and in the process  foregoing all that boring science about climate change.

These days, she’s embracing the views of great statesman like Oklahoma GOP Senator James Inhofe, America’s best known climate change denier,  who warmly endorsed iCarly around the time she decided to throw in with the anti-evolution/magical thinking/Palin wing of the Republican party.

Trying to sort this extraordinary political contradiction, we’re delighted today to present the breakthrough scientific theory of Calbuzzer and world heavyweight champion editorial cartoonist Tom Meyer, who offers one possible explanation for how Carly’s turnaround came to be.

As seen on TV: Calbuzzers interested in purchasing a full color print of a Meyer cartoon can email Tom at tom@meyertoons.

The Aviator: Nice work by the AP’s Juliet Williams and Samantha Young in digging out details of Jerry Brown’s occasional use of the Attorney General’s state plane on official business.

The fact that Krusty legitimately flew three times on the state’s Wright Brothers-era prop plane is not exactly the scandal of the century, but it got a little traction, not only because it’s simple enough for TV airheads to understand, but also because of the way Brown constantly harps about his  frugality with taxpayer-funded perqs as a way of bragging on how cheap he is, in contrast to eMeg’s lavish tastes and lifestyle.

Team Whitman characteristically over-reached in reacting to the story, huffing and puffing with phony outrage while portraying it as a modern day Teapot Dome.

Despite this, AP’s scooplet worked as a hypocrisy gotcha, not because there was a lot of money involved, but because of the fact Brown never says anything substantive at all about the state’s budget mess, preferring to bob and weave with self-righteous talk about low-budget, symbolic issues like planes and limousines and his old bachelor apartment.

And this time, the cheesy tactic came back to bite him in the ass.

From the cutting room floor:

Unlike eMeg, we ain’t dumb enough to pick a fight with the nurses union.

Great graphic evidence of what really went wrong with Obama.

Week’s best Freudian analysis of the president, in a week filled with them.

Julian Assange call home: Terrific mashup of Wikileaks TV coverage.

In case you missed it: Big Weiner meltdown.

In case you missed it II: Weiner’s excuse – hey, I’m from New York.

Reading Calbuzz in 2009 you needn’t read the Bee in 2010.

Kagan Vote: DiFi & Babs Toe SCOTUS Party Line

Friday, August 6th, 2010

By James Kuo
California News Service
Special to Calbuzz

When California Senators Dianne Feinstein and Barbara Boxer voted Thursday to confirm Elena Kagan to the Supreme Court, they kept intact a pattern of party loyalty that increasingly defines high court nominations.

Since they arrived in the Senate more than 17 years ago, Feinstein and Boxer both have voted for all four justices nominated by Democratic presidents – and against both justices nominated by a Republican.

Both have made clear their belief that a nominee’s judicial philosophy – not merely their experience, integrity and intellect — is a perfectly valid criterion in deciding whether to support a nomination.

The Senate confirmed Kagan by a 63 to 37 vote with all but one Democrat voting in favor and all but five Republicans voting against.

In speaking to her colleagues, Feinstein said Kagan’s professional qualifications alone were not enough to win her support.

“A nominee must also show that he or she has the appropriate judicial temperament, has the commitment to follow the law, and bring a judicial philosophy that will not pull the Court outside of the mainstream. And I have confidence in her in each of these areas.

Boxer praised Kagan’s “intellect, her broad range of legal experience, her sense of fairness, and her profound respect for the law.’’

Thursday’s vote underscored the growing partisan divide on judicial confirmations.

A quarter century ago, Justice Antonin Scalia was confirmed by a 98-0 vote; the only Republicans to support Kagan were Lindsey Graham of North South Carolina, Richard Lugar of Indiana, Judd Gregg of New Hampshire and Olympia Snowe and Susan Collins of Maine.

Graham’s support for Kagan, which angered many of his fellow conservatives, illustrates the divide over how the Senate exercises its responsibility to provide “Advice and Consent’’ as put forth in the Constitution.

Unlike Feinstein, he said that a nominee’s ability to serve, not judicial philosophy, should be the deciding factor in confirming a justice.

“She is not someone I would have chosen,’’ Graham said of Kagan on the Senate floor. “But it’s not my job to choose. It’s President Obama’s job and he earned that right.”

Feinstein and Boxer’s perfect record of supporting the choices of their own party’s presidents and rejecting those of the opposition is increasingly common among newcomers to the Senate. However, among the 32 senators who have served as long as Feinstein and Boxer, only eight – all Democrats – have voted so consistently along party lines.

Feinstein, a member of the Senate Judiciary Committee which conducts hearings on the nominees, has spoken bluntly on the role of judicial philosophy in the confirmation process.

“Mine is a vote that is made with the belief that a person’s legal reasoning and judicial philosophy, especially at a time of crisis, at times of conflict, and at times of controversy, do mean a great deal,’’ Feinstein said on the Senate floor in 2006 before she voted against Justice Samuel Alito.

Feinstein listed twelve cases throughout history in which legal views and philosophy – not competence – were the rationale for rejecting Supreme Court nominees.

“It is my belief that (Alito’s) legal philosophy and views will essentially swing the Court far out of the mainstream, toward legal philosophy and views that do not reflect the majority views of this country.’’

A year earlier, Feinstein praised John Roberts’ “brilliant legal mind’’ and his “love and abiding respect for the law.’’ Yet she voted against his confirmation after expressing concern about him “staying in touch with people who have different life experiences,’’ and his failure to clearly articulate his judicial philosophy.

The partisan divide has been more pronounced over the past five years.

Each of the sitting justices who preceded Roberts received overwhelming bipartisan support. Both of President Reagan’s nominees, Scalia and Anthony Kennedy, were confirmed unanimously.  Clarence Thomas, President H. W. Bush’s nominee was confirmed by a close 52 to 48 vote after a former employee accused him of sexual harassment. Justices Ruth Bader Ginsburg and Stephen Breyer, both Clinton appointees, received large bipartisan approval.

California’s senators have not been as partisan on other federal judgeships. Feinstein voted against only eight of the 323 federal judges nominated by President Bush. Boxer voted against 12. Both senators voted in favor of every judge nominated by President Clinton.

California News Service reporter James Kuo is a senior at the University of California Irvine. CNS, a project of UC’s Washington Center and the UC Berkeley Graduate School of Journalism, may be reached at cns@ucdc.edu

SUPREME COURT CONFIRMATION VOTES

Antonin Scalia (Reagan)               1986     98-0

Anthony Kennedy (Reagan)       1988    97-0

Clarence Thomas (Bush)               1991     52-48

Ruth Bader Ginsburg (Clinton)   1993  96-3

Stephen Breyer (Clinton)              1994     87-9

John Roberts (Bush)                       2005    78-22

Samuel Alito (Bush)                        2006    58-42

Sonia Sotomayor (Obama)           2009    68-31

Elana Kagan (Obama)                      2010   63-37

Carly does some deep thinking: Going all somber and Senatorial on us, Hurricane Carly Fiorina announced with great solemnity Thursday that she decided she would vote against Kagan’s nomination.

If she had a vote. Or if anybody asked her.

“I closely followed the Senate’s confirmation hearings and have taken time to carefully consider how I would vote on Elena Kagan’s nomination were I a member of the Senate today,” she said,  suspense building unbearably.

Scene: Night at Monticello. Carly Fiorina sits at an old oak campaign desk, gazing out into the dark, face lit only by the reflection in the window glass of a single flickering candle.

Brow deeply furrowed, she swiftly scratches a few sentences with a quill pen on parchment. As she dips the writing instrument back into a small bottle of blue ink , the camera zooms in for a tight shot from behind,  revealing what she has just written: “Memo to self: Get Fred Davis in here to brainstorm a new spot – me talking to Jefferson. Or is it Hamilton? I always get those two mixed up.”

After much deliberation and chin stroking, Carly duly informed us in her statement, that while Kagan has many good qualities:

“…the process also underscored her lack of experience as a jurist, which in my mind is a key element in determining whether or not a nominee is qualified to serve as a member of the Supreme Court…

“Unfortunately, her complete lack of judicial experience coupled with a public record that sheds minimal light on how she would execute these duties gives me great pause about her qualifications to serve on the highest court in the land.  It is for that reason that I have decided not to support her nomination to this position.”

Calbuzz fun at home for the kids: See what happens when you replace the word “jurist” with “legislator,”  “Supreme Court” with “Senate” and “the highest court in the land” with “the world’s greatest deliberative body.”  You’ll be amazed!

Hurricane history lesson: What does Elena Kagan have in common with Louis Brandeis, Felix Frankfurter, John Marshall, William Rehnquist, Earl Warren and 36 percent of all the Supreme Court justices ever confirmed? Hint: The answer is not that they all single-handedly trashed world-class tech companies.

Meg Hit on Radio; Gay Marriage No Big in Gov Race

Thursday, August 5th, 2010

You gotta give Meg Whitman credit for sitting down in the studio Wednesday with Calbuzz’s favorite Neanderthal radio yakkers – John Kobylt  and Ken Chiampou of KFI-AM in LA – and trying to explain all the contradictions in her positions on immigration and climate change. She couldn’t of course, and J&K – whose web site screamed “Nutmeg in Studio”– were down her throat, in her face and on her case for 30 sizzling minutes.

What they did that few have been able to do is push Meg into answering some simple questions like: Are you for a path to citizenship for illegal immigrants?

Why is this much of a question? Well, first you have to go back to October 28, 2009, when Meg was filmed at the Mexican border – a visit she often brags about – saying “Can we get a fair program where people stand at the back of the line, they pay a fine?” (According to the San Diego Union Tribune Whitman’s sentence concluded “. . .  they pay a fine, they do some things that would ultimately allow a path to legalization?”)

But on the radio Wednesday, her answer was: “I am not for a path to citizenship.”  When J&K argued (wrongly we believe) that millions of jobs held by illegal aliens should go to Americans, Meg’s response: “I agree with that.”  And she flatly agreed with the notion that no one should get citizenship unless they leave the country and apply through the process.

If there was ANY question about her position in her Spanish-language advertising or op-eds, it should now be clear. Meg Whitman is flatly opposed to allowing immigrants here without proper documentation to become U.S. citizens.

She said she’d use the eVerify system to hold employers accountable for hiring illegal immigrants, but only after eVerify is working better than its current 90% accuracy rate. Which caused J&K to go batshit!

Over and over again, Meg would start a sentence: So, here’s what I would do . . . So, this is what I think, So what I have said . . . So, So, So, So . . . AARRGGHHHHHH! Of course J&K cut her off about 90% of the time, confronting her from the right – getting her to agree, for example, that she would “make sure” Americans get those jobs that illegal immigrants are taking away from our out-of-work citizens. (As if those unemployed citizens would EVER take those vital service jobs that undocumented workers do for our society. See “A Day Without a Mexican.” )

J&K also jammed Meg for saying she’s opposed to the Arizona stop-for-papers immigration law but that she’d let it stand for Arizona. Why shouldn’t California have a law just like Arizona’s?, they wanted to know. What’s wrong with it? (Something about different geography was all they could get.)

How could she be saying she wants Latino children to have the opportunity to become doctors and lawyers when she doesn’t want them all – i.e. including illegals – to be able to go to state schools?

And then they came to Prop. 23 – the measure that would suspend California’s pioneering climate chance change law. As Calbuzz predicted, Whitman suggested that she will likely vote ‘No” on Prop. 23, even though she has called the measure it would suspend a “job killer.”

Whitman is trying to say she would suspend the law for a year, but when pressed by J&K about the one-year suspension, she was quick to note that it could be suspended for three years. And in an interview earlier this year with the Ventura County Star, Whitman suggested she would jettison the law altogether. The Brown campaign was on this like stink on a skunk.

We suppose eMeg’s people sent her onto J&K to try to do some damage control with their right-wing audience, but judging from the listeners we heard right after her appearance, we’re not sure it worked. She was called a “two-faced lying weasel,” “wishy-washy . . . bought her way into the election,” and an “absolute two-faced liar.”

So, what we have to say about that is . . .The reason these issues matter is because: 1) Whitman is desperate to win a third or more of Latino voters but her stand today seriously endangers that effort IF Latino voters hear what she said today — which will depend on whether Jerry Brown and/or his allies drive that message home and 2) Whitman is trying to wiggle her way away from her strategic blunder in the GOP primary where she ripped AB 32 when she didn’t have to and on this issue Brown seems intent on making sure that moderate and independent voters know that Whitman is not on their side on the environment.

Gay blades not out on Prop. 8 ruling: Even though Brown and  Whitman are on opposite sides of the gay marriage debate, don’t look for the issue to gain much traction in the campaign for governor.

As a legal matter, Judge Vaughn Walker’s opinion declaring the Proposition 8 ban on same sex marriage unconstitutional re-ignites the controversy in California, and across the nation. At first glance, with the decision headed for a likely long appeals process, there is no immediate political venue for the controversy to play out in a major way in the 2010 state campaigns.

If there is any advantage to be gained, it would be modest, and likely accrue to Brown’s benefit. As Attorney General, he refused to defend Prop. 8, both before the state Supreme Court and before U.S. District Judge Walker, and might get a small boost from the Democratic base among liberals and gay rights advocates in an election in which turnout will be crucial.

Whitman has consistently said she is opposed to gay marriage, and has quietly expressed support for Prop. 8, but is unlikely to gin up much excitement among evangelicals and other Republican social conservatives for her understated views, particularly given her pro-choice position on abortion, and her effort to run hard to the center in the general election.

It was clear from the bland statements issued by both candidates after Wednesday’s ruling that neither side sees vast political opportunity, at least for now.

Brown’s campaign flack referred questions about his reaction to the attorney general’s office, which released this brief comment from the AG:

In striking down Proposition 8, Judge Walker came to the same conclusion I did when I declined to defend it: Proposition 8 violates the equal protection guarantee of the Fourteenth Amendment of the United States Constitution by taking away the right of same-sex couples to marry, without a sufficient governmental interest.

Candidate Krusty was somewhat livelier on Twitter:

It’s official! Great News for California! California gay marriage ban overturned!

Then wife Anne tweeted:

I’m proud my husband worked so hard to protect marriage for others, even though it took him 15 years to pop the question to me :-)

eMeg’s comment, made by Darrel Ng, Team Whitman’s Third Mate Under Assistant Vice President Deputy Flack for Issues the Volcanic Sarah Pompei Doesn’t Want to Deal With:

Meg supported Proposition 8 and believes marriage is between a man and a woman. Meg also strongly supports California’s civil union laws. Today’s ruling is the first step in a process that will continue.

“The first step in a process that will continue?”

Sort of like ordering breakfast, or brushing your teeth, or driving on the freeway or . . . everything… How cosmic of you, Darrel!

P.S. Over in the Senate race, where the issue might prove more salient, Babs and Hurricane Carly are also split.

Within eMeg’s $110 Million: Payoffs to Sock Puppets

Wednesday, August 4th, 2010

After one day off, we just couldn’t help ourselves:

Spend a little time reading through Meg Whitman’s 691-page campaign finance doorstop report and you understand why Jerry Brown is, as one of his friends put it Monday, “completely freaked out” about how much money is being spent against him. And why he has tried to get every Democratic consultant in the western hemisphere (and a couple of Republicans, too) to work for him for free.

Whitman has now reported spending nearly $100 million, including $14.7 million just between June 8, when primary season ended and June 30, the end of the reporting period. That doesn’t event count July, when she upped her ad buy. Which means that when you count her monthly expenses and her TV and radio time, she’s likely spent about $110 million to date.

Meanwhile, Brown spent about $633,000 in the reporting period and has somewhere around $24 million in cash on hand – enough to cover his campaign and maybe eight to 10 weeks of advertising.

That eMeg is swamping Krusty in spending is not even a story any more. The fun is in the details. Here’s how Steve Harmon of the Contra Costa Times broke it down:

– $64.3 million on TV, radio, and the Web;
– $9.7 million on campaign consultants (including $861,474 on her chief strategist, Mike Murphy, a total that engulfs the $83,000 that Jerry Brown has spent on his campaign manager, Steven Glazer);
– $7.6 million on campaign literature and mailings;
– $4.3 million on campaign workers’ salaries and health insurance (including $196,000 to communications director Tucker Bounds, plus $7,349 for meetings and appearances; — – $125,311 for spokeswoman Sarah Pompei, plus $29,481 on travel and lodging; and $101,288 plus $3,968 on travel and lodging for top oppo-research aficianado, Dan Comstock; and, not to be overlooked, $125,480 to the former San Jose Mercury News political reporter, Mary Anne Ostrom);
– $2.8 million on information technology;
– $1.7 million on office expenses (AT&T should be very thankful for the business);
– $1.2 million on polling and research;
– $1.9 million on Whitman’s travel, lodging, meetings and appearances;
– $953,726 on staff/spouse travel/lodging;
– $847,155 on fundraising events;
– $703,869 for legal and accounting services;
– $521,067 on phone banks;
– $462,030 on postage, deliver and messenger services;
– $230,000 to the California GOP;
– $120,910 on print ads (the true tell on Whitman’s feelings about the importance of newspapers).

Some of those categories, by the way, actually understate how much was spent because the coding on the finance report isn’t entirely consistent. For example, there’s another $1,755,610 to Tokoni – the online company run by Meg’s former retainers at eBay – that’s not included in the above mentioned $2.8 million.

And there are a few items that ought to set some eyebrows on fire. There’s the $1,000 payment on June 30 to Eric Hogue, the conservative commentator who presents himself as a journalist but who, in fact, is nothing more than an underpaid flack for Whitman’s campaign. (LA radio stars John and Ken of KFI-AM are pretty pissed off about that. “There’s nothing lower than a paid whore who runs a radio show supported by a political candidate,” said John.)

And for those of you who remember our report back in February when we noticed “a $20,000 disbursement to Green Faucet LLC, which is an investment firm owned by Chip Hanlon and also the parent company of his Red County web sites.” The payment was made about a week after Hanlon fired Aaron Park, the erstwhile, paid sock puppet for Meg rival Steve Poizner.

Hanlon told us the $20k was nothing more than payment for advertising on his web sites, but we found another Red County advertiser who was paying about $300 a month for the same size ad, suggesting the subsidy was something more than it was supposed to appear.

No shit. Since then, Meg has paid Hanlon’s Green Faucet $15,000 a month for a total now of $110,000! Which means everything you read on Red County and from Hanlon is nothing more than sock puppetry of the first water.

A cursory glance through our email in-basket finds at least 10 times when eMeg’s flacks have sent out missives to reporters telling them to be sure to catch a piece by Hanlon or Red County. As if it were some sort of commentary by a neutral party. NOT!

BTW, our friend Jon Fleischman over at FlashReport – the most closely read conservative aggregator and platform – has pulled in a mere $18,765 in ad revenue. Which, World Headquarters for High Finance, Arbitrage and Bake Sales reminded us in a memo, IS $18,765 MORE THAN MEG (OR JERRY) HAS PAID FOR CALBUZZ ADS!!!

Why, we wonder, has Meg paid $3.8 million Arena Communications for campaign literature when the company is based in Salt Lake City, Utah? What’s that $60,000 to Arthur Laffer and his company all about? How do you rack up a $222,000 phone bill? Why send $3.7 million for direct mail to Majority Strategies in Pointe Vedra, Florida?

We’re just asking.

Calbuzz Summer Break; Back Soon With Sexy Items

Tuesday, August 3rd, 2010

As You can see, the Calbuzz Department of Recreation and Exhaustion has mandated a break in the action until the Calbuzzers can come up with something worth inflicting on its readers. Until then, we leave you with these Googlejuicy keywords: secret sex and drugs; weight loss miracle; Mitch Miller; Weimar Republic; Bill Cosby dead; Lady Gaga naked; Maxine in hot Waters.

Don’t Look Back: Our friend Jack Kavanagh (he of the ever popular and essential Rough & Tumble sent us a photo the other day accompanied only by a note that said: “You saw it here first.” So without comment, we pass along this chilling bumper sticker: