Holy Cow! We cried, when we read in the Times of London that Jerry Brown “said that he will retreat to a monastery over the next few weeks to ‘consider my options and what it would mean for me, my family and the state of California.’”
While we knew, of course, that Jerry took vows of poverty, chastity and obedience while he was at the Sacred Heart Novitiate from 1956-1960, it was news to us that he was still hanging with the monks.
As it turns out, however, Brown spends a day or two every now and then at the Abbey of New Clairveaux, a Trappist-Cistercian Monastery in Vina which offers accommodations for visitors. The Abby’s website explains:
“A guest, whether he or she remains but for a few hours or makes a private retreat of several days, can expect to experience a degree of silence and solitude, separation from the world’s busyness [sic] and distractions, and the daily monastic rhythm between communal and personal prayer, and work. This often makes possible a more effective movement into the interior of one’s heart.”
Hmmm. You don’t imagine a British paper, wanting to make Brown sound quirky and odd, oversold the whole “retreat” deal, do you? So we asked Crusty about it ourselves.
“It’s a place I’ve been to many times,” Brown said, noting that he’ll likely go for a day or two. “I’m not ready to make a decision (about running for governor) until I’ve thought this through and all the consequences that flow from it.”
Calbuzz is outraged –- outraged we say! – that a political figure would spend time “thinking” about whether he wants to run for office. What next? Reading the bills? Active listening? The mind boggles.
Retreat Update: We are informed by the SF Chronicle’s Carla “Whirling Dervish” Marinucci that it was she, not the Sunday Times, which first reported Jerry Brown’s planned foray to a monastery.
A not-so-great American: Since his long-ago days in the Assembly, Rep. Wally Herger has been a genial, no-account cipher who represents more cows than people and whose greatest political value is as an argument for term limits. So it’s hard to imagine a less likely figure to ignite a national controversy over terrorism and the limits of the First Amendment.
But as the whole world now knows, Herger did exactly that during one of those annoyingly titled “town hall meetings” about health care in his district. In his 15 minutes of You Tube fame, Herger responded “Amen, God bless you, there’s a great American,” after a constituent named Bert Stead had delivered an anti-government screed including the statement that he – Stead – is a “proud right-wing terrorist.” (On Monday, he said he meant to say “extremist,” not “terrorist.”)
At which point the hysterical left, led by the increasingly over-bearing Keith Olbermann, went nuts, accusing Herger and the Republican party of aiding and abetting enemies of America while also managing to turn the whole thing into a political fundraising bonanza.
As all erudite Calbuzzers know, Webster defines “unctuous” as “characterized by affected, exaggerated or insincere earnestness,” and the D’s reaction to the Herger video must be judged as a case of extreme unction.
They knew, or should have known, that Stead’s comment — intended or not — was a vamp on a recent statement by Indiana congressman Baron Hill – a Democrat – who was the first to throw around the T word, when he told the Post’s Peter Slevin why he wouldn’t hold a public meeting about health care: “What I don’t want to do is create an opportunity for the people who are political terrorists to blow up the meeting and not try to answer thoughtful questions.”
But when has context ever mattered in the politics of unctuousness?
That said, the Dems do have a legitimate beef in complaining about the massive double standard with which the O’Reilly-Limbaugh-Hannity right-wing sleaze machine deals with such matters: One can only imagine the phony outrage with which they would greet such a comment by a liberal Democrat – let alone what they would have done with footage of guys carrying guns, fercrineoutloud, to an event featuring President W.
Remember this name: With the latest projections of state deficits far, far into the future it seems clear that regardless of the issue du jour in Sacramento – Early release of felons! Water! Offshore oil! – the core issue of the 2010 campaign for governor must surely be the sorry-ass state of the state’s finances.
Woe to the political consultants working on the race, who make more money than Calbuzz, if you can imagine that. Where in the world are they to find vivid symbols and sound bites to package into powerful emotional messages that sum up the demagoguery of their candidates in such a complicated, confusing and boring policy issue?
No worries – that’s why God made Bruce Malkenhorst.
Malkenhorst is the former administrator of Vernon, Ca, the smallest city in Southern California, who has a pension of $499,674.84, ranking him number one on the list of nearly 5,000 CalPERS retirees who get more than $100,000 a year. (He’s also been indicted for embezzling city funds, but that’s a story for another day).
With reporters and anti-tax groups around the state filing blizzards of public records requests to divulge the names of those cashing in on the pension Big Casino – look here, here and here for a few examples – the issue of sweetheart retirement packages represents pure gold for campaign message mongers trying to harness free-floating voter outrage at government.
Dr. H predicts: 2010’s most popular drinking game – man up every time you hear the name “Malkenhorst.”
Oh, never mind: It was just a few weeks ago that parched Central Valley denizens and wildfire weary Southern Californians were cheered by predictions that meteorologists were projecting a drenching El Nino fall and winter. Now comes weather egghead Bill Patzert to call the whole thing off.
Never ones to pass up un cliché juste, Calbuzz at this point in the item was prepared to chuckle warmly and recall that Mark Twain said, “Everyone talks about the weather but no one does anything about it.” Unfortunately, as with many famous things Mark Twain said, he didn’t say it. So we’re calling that off too.