Posts Tagged ‘John Myers’



Little Pulitzers: Myers, York, Collins, Skelton . . .

Saturday, January 16th, 2010

john-myers-158x225Hiding in Plain Sight: This week’s I.F. Stone all-I-did-was-read-the-documents award goes to the steady John Myers over at Capital Notes, for his report that Gerry Parsky’s famous Business Net Receipts Tax would result in a $10 billion decrease in state revenues. We probably missed other takes on this, but Myers for sure got the full import of the Assembly Rev and Tax hearing Wednesday, when he noted that the Leg Analyst’s take on the fiscal impact of the pet project of Arnold’s guy “may be the final nail in the coffin” for the Parsky hustle.

The report uses 2007 tax data in finding that the commission plan would lower personal income taxes by $13 billion and completely wipe out $28 billion in sales taxes and $8.7 billion in corporate taxes. The BNRT, says the LAO report, would bring in $39.2 billion… thus, a loss of $10. 2 billion.

High time someone put this dog with fleas out of its misery.

Hiding in Plain Sight II: Sameway kudos to Anthony York at Capitol Weekly and to Beekeeper Dan Walters, who both wrote in plain English what everbody in the world already knows – that the well-pleased-with-himself  “Collectanator’s” brilliant strategy of shaking his fist at Washington has absolutely no chance of shaking the feds down for the imaginary billions of dollars he phonied up to skate through his budget presentation last week.

How many more times will the bookers on “Meet the Press” fall for this guy’s act before they catch on to what a total blowhard he is?

chestertonEnough already: Tom Campbell’s endless farewell-to-the-governor’s race tour, which feels like it dragged on since he last ran for Senate, put us in mind of G.K. Chesterton, author of our all-time favorite quote about journalism:

Journalism largely consists of saying ‘Lord Jones is Dead’ to people who never knew that Lord Jones was alive.

And speaking of whatever happened to what’s his name, we greatly enjoyed Capitol Weekly’s where-are-they-now feature on former Insurance Commissioner and GOP Golden Boy Chuck Quackenbush, hounded out of office by scandal just one step ahead of the posse and, it appears, was scared straight by the experience:

After his resignation, Quackenbush left California – he had lived in Rio Linda north of Sacramento – and moved to Hawaii. He also lived briefly in Ohio. In 2005, he moved to Lee County, Florida, which includes Fort Myers and Bonita Springs, and became a sheriff’s deputy –quackenbush first as a reserve deputy, then as a full-time law enforcement officer. Quackenbush also planned to become a helicopter pilot for the Lee County Sheriff’s Department.

The 55-year-old Quackenbush had largely avoided the public eye until 2008, when he shot and critically wounded a suspect in a domestic disturbance who allegedly was resisting arrest. Quackenbush was cleared of any wrongdoing.

At least he was in Florida.

All right-thinking people agree with us: Rant of the week honors to NYT’s Gail Collins, who let loose on the spectacle of a gaggle of comb-over U.S. Senators representing states with more pumas than people setting policy for the U.S., regardless of that whole pesky election thing, a Calbuzz pet peeve made manifest by the terminally annoying Kent Conrad.

People, think about what we went through to elect a new president — a year and a half of campaigning, three dozen debates, $1.6 billion in donations. Then the voters sent a clear, unmistakable message. Which can be totally ignored because of a parliamentary rule that allows the representatives of slightly more than 10 percent of the population to call the shots.

Why isn’t 90 percent of the country marching on the Capitol with teapots and funny hats, waving signs about the filibuster?

Sign us up.

You can’tnone_skelton_ be serious: Investigative punditry award yet again goes to the ever-reliable George Skelton, whose tone of pure bafflement about the views of Prop. 8 backers, regarding the shaky institution of marriage, was delightful:

The idea that marriages are first and foremost about baby-making-and-rearing was expressed by (pro-Prop 8 lawyer Charles) Cooper in October in an unsuccessful attempt to dismiss the suit filed by two same-sex couples against Prop. 8.

‘We say that the central and defining purpose of marriage is to channel naturally procreative sexual activity between men and women into stable, enduring unions for the sake of begetting, nurturing and raising the next generation,’ Cooper told U.S. Chief District Judge Vaughn R. Walker in San Francisco.

‘Well,’ the judge replied, ‘ the last marriage that I performed, Mr. Cooper, involved a groom who was 95 and the bride was 83. I did not demand that they prove that they intended to engage in procreative activity. Now, was I missing something?’

‘No, your honor.’

Uhh, so what are we doing in court, exactly?

jerryhandsMust-listen of the week: Mega-kudos to KGO radio’s Ed Baxter and Jennifer Jones for scoring a splendid sandbagging interview with Jerry Brown, in which Crusty let loose with all manner of truth-telling.

Brown, who was on the phone to talk about Prop. 8, went on a real tear when the morning news anchors slipped in some “as long as we have you” questions about the campaign for governor, opposition search and his planting of a negative story about S.F. Mayor Gavin Newsom.

“Some people pretend they don’t do that. But they hire their henchmen….and they whisper, whisper into the ear of the various reporters. And you find out that most of these reporters’ stories derive from the opposition campaign. That’s kind of the dirty little secret of the news media,” he told KGO.

“Most of the political news is dug up by the oppositon research teams and then handed over to the media, and then put out as though the journalist found it and it’s news. When it’s really just part of the ongoing war between the candidates,” he said. “If you’re not prepared for it, you gotta get out of it.”jennifer-love-hewitt-3

That’s what makes Brown so much fun as a candidate. Like he did in his irreverent interview with CNBC back in October – he’s unafraid to get caught up by conventional political and media bullshit. You can hear the whole thing at Thursday’s 8-9 am hour on KGO.

Today’s sign the end of civilization is near: Is that a disco ball in your pocket or are you just happy to see me?

Press Clips: James Brown Meets Big Lebowski

Friday, January 8th, 2010

carlaI feel good: Mega-kudos to Chronicler Carla Marinucci, who came roaring back from the holidays to win the James Brown Hardest Working Person in Show Business award for her stellar performance at Arnold’s SOS speech Wednesday.

Following the paper’s long tradition of dispatching its political editor to Sacto for first week of session, Ms. M. did everything but cut the grass in Capitol Park: in the space of 3 hours and 58 minutes, she filed four strong web pieces offering different angles on the speech, including the role of former Reagan speechwriter Landon Parvin, before heading off to write her print edition analysis for the next day’s paper.

Most significantly, she appears to have been the only MSM political writer with the wit to file a separate on Jerry Brown. Her piece included a series of comments relevant to his soon-to-be-campaign for governor on key budget issues he’s been trying to avoid discussing with his shadow candidacy.

“I would never approve of a tax increase unless the voters themselves called for it and voted on it,” he said, adding some thoughts about lessons learned from the Prop. 13 tax revolt in his first stint as governor:

There’s a big difference. The last crisis, we had a $6 million billion surplus. Now the trouble is, we’ve been spending it. And now, we have the same crisis, but we have no surplus….there is no easy answer. The main point is, don’t hide the ball. Level with the people and tell them, ‘This where we are. We didn’t get here overnight, and we’re not going to get out of it (overnight).’nap time

Pillow and teddy bear in hand, Calbuzz padded off for a nappie, exhausted from just watching her.

Footnote: The Oracle of Cruickshank over at Calitics, took a whack at Carla and Crusty the General for not observing, as he did, that Jerry is “Trapped in 1978.” So there was at least one other full-scale political commentary about Brown posted on Wednesday.

Cliches for the ages: The best New Year’s piece we saw came from the venerable Ron Rosenbaum over at Slate, who captured the coveted  William Safire Memorial Linguistics Usage award for his piece on over-used catch phrases that should be banned from the language.

Noting the dThe_Big_Lebowski___Jeff_Bridgesreadful excess of “15 minutes of fame” that swept through Google during the flap over the Salahis crashing Obama’s State Dinner, Rosenbaum put a few other phrases on the chopping block:

Among those I wanted thrown off the island and under the bus: it is what it is (in the “tough-luck” sense), the optics, drill down, under the bus, not so much, and the take-away. Oh, yes, and dude—at least when it’s a Big Lebowski reference.

Speaking of clichés, shame on Politico for using the most hackneyed possible lede for its mini-profile of Brown in its tired “25 politicians to watch” New Year’s feature:

Yes, it’s that Jerry Brown—the former California governor who served two terms beginning in the mid-1970s and made three failed bids for the White House.

Yes it’s that kind of unimaginative boilerplate that’s a reliable cure for insomnia (Sleep theme today ? –ed).

hoffmanasrainman

What’s your margin of error, pal? In a fine piece over at Capitol Notes, the otherwise prudent John Myers asserted  that Arnold’s speech contained 3,507 words, a number shockingly at odds — by 560 words! — with the total reported by the Calbuzz Department of Mathematical Advancement and Spilled Toothpicks Counting (of course, I’m an excellent driver).

Unlike Myers, who acknowledged his number was merely “by my count” Calbuzz, as always, used the most complex, up-to-date and rigorous statistical methodology to gather our findings, and we’re nothing if not transparent in disclosing it: Starting with the speech transcript posted on Capitol Alert, we 1) clicked to the print version 2) painstakingly selected all and copied it 3) carefully pasted it into Word 4) used “word count” to complete our in-depth study. The margin of error is plus or minus zero. Thank you Bill Gates.

belvadavis-200x300Three Dot Lounge:* Nice work by Lisa Vorderbrueggen of the Coco Times on a good appreciation profile of the one and only Belva Davis, who put up with your Calbuzzers  many Friday nights a long time ago, in a galaxy far, far away…In the latest Triumph of the Old Guys, Peter Schrag reaffirms his standing as California’s top substance-of-state-government reporter, with a smart yarn offering a practical 10-point plan to fix the budget . . . Speaking of old guys, if you read only one piece on national politics this week, make it Tom Edsall’s analysis of why 2010 will be the biggest year ever for negative campaigning . . . The New York Times showed unusual nimbleness in rushing Peter Baker’s terrific 8,000 word takeout about Obama’s national security operation onto its web site, two weeks before it was to be published in the Sunday magazine, because of the Christmas Day bomber story ( HT to Politico’s Peter Calderone) . . . The Ross Douthat Fan Club was stricken with20061213mcdonalds awe yet again, when the Great Man released his own plan for Fixing Everything, using the phrase  “tour d’horizon” to boot.

Today’s sign the end of civilization is near: You want fries with that?

*With homage HT to Chron sports columnist Bruce Jenkins, who belongs in the Hall of Fame.