I 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).’
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 dreadful 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).
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.
Three 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 with 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.