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Posts Tagged ‘Twitter’



Meg Chair Pete Wilson Trashed ‘Whores’ in Congress

Sunday, October 10th, 2010

After their candidate hid out for more than a week after the illegal housekeeper story broke wide open, the Armies of eMeg opened fire on Twitter Saturday, wondering where Jerry Brown was in the wake of the revelation that someone in his campaign office suggested calling Whitman a “whore” for selling out to the LA cops union.

“Still in hiding, @JerryBrown2010 skips his own “Day of Action” & refuses to take accountability. http://bit.ly/9bsDsM #cagov about 3 hours ago via web” tweeted sarapompei.

“@JerryBrown2010 last seen entering witness relocation program under new name Monsieur “Rayon de Lune” Details: http://bit.ly/9bsDsM #cagov about 3 hours ago via Seesmic twhirl,” said Murphy4MegNews and murphymike.

Rob Stutzman and Tucker Bounds chimed in, too. The hunt was on. And Team Krusty, after issuing an apology to Whitman and anyone in the known universe who might have been offended, was saying absolutely nothing in response to eMeg’s Wash-Your-Mouth-Out Campaign for Clean Speech.

But then, one of our faithful Calbuzzers – someone not tied to either governor’s campaign — sent us a Feb. 3, 1995 story from the San Francisco Examiner, recounting former Gov. Pete Wilson’s buoyant return to Sacramento after a five-day visit to Washington as he geared up to run for president.

Wilson, who as every schoolboy knows, is now Whitman’s campaign chairman, back then made national headlines with his critique of Congress, where he had served as a senator. Wrote Brand Ex-man Tupper Hull:

After learning that a federal judge had ruled California might be liable for up to $500 million in damages over its issuance of IOUs during a budget crisis in 1992, Wilson lashed out at Congress for having approved the Depression-era Fair Labor Practices Act.

“I don’t blame the judge; he is interpreting the law,” Wilson said during a speech before the National Association of Wholesalers Wednesday. “I blame the Congress for being such whores to public employees unions that they would pass that kind of legislation.”

Even in 1995, best we can recall, Congress included both men and women. We’re just sayin’.

More on whores: To offer a bit more context on the subject, we can report exclusively that a Google search of “political whore” yields 13,400 results, including links to sites called politicalwhore.com and politicalwhores.org , plus recent stories in which liberal Florida Rep. Alan Grayson called a top ranking federal reserve official a “K Street whore,” and conservative talk show host Jim Quinn termed the National Organization for Women (which endorsed Brown in the wake of his campaign’s slander about eMeg) the “National Organization of  Whores.” Let’s not forget P.J. O’Rourke’s classic political study, “A Parliament of Whores.”

As Sensitive New Age Digital Era guys, however, we cannot presume to opine one way or the other on the soundness of the views expressed in our own comments column by Calbuzzer Adelaides Lament, who self-describes as “a female and feminist” and who raises an interesting point:

…I’m offended by Meg’s vapors over the “can we call her a whore?” remark.

She can’t have it both ways. If she’s going to pass out every time somebody utters a bad word – or god forbid a sexist one – she’d spend all her time in Sacramento on the fainting couch.

Yes, selling out to the police officers union in a back room deal could well be referred to as “being in bed with” or even “whoring yourself out to” the union in trade for an endorsement.

If Meg really wants to be governor she’d be better off growing a pair and throwing away the smelling salts. Those boys in Sacto play rough.

Indeed they do, and a Calbuzz investigation suggests that they’ve been doing so at least since the days of Ronald Reagan’s governorship.

“How Ronald Reagan Governed California” an article in the January 17, 1975 edition of the National Review, no less a conservative publication, even suggests that the Gipper on occasion found some amusement in such matters. Recounting tense, high-level negotiations in 1971 over welfare reform between Reagan and then-Speaker Bob Moretti, the piece reports what happened when the talks at one point broke down:

An impasse was reached and one of the legislators, whose self-appointed role was to maintain an atmosphere that would encourage compromise, called for a recess and sent for food and drink. Warmed by his own hospitality and trying to put the situation in perspective, he commented: “It’s too bad the people elect an ideologue like Reagan. They should stick with political whores, like me.” His candor broke the ice and negotiations were resumed…

As journalists, of course, we long have been accustomed to being smeared and assailed in a whorish manner for, as the ironist Pierce Thorne has noted:

Journalists are like whores; as high as their ideals may be, they still have to resort to tricks to make money.

All of which goes to show that context is everything in political speech. And as Ronald Reagan knew, a sense of humor never hurts either.

LA Cops Flog a Bad Transcript: One more note on the “whore” incident. Calbuzz has in its hot hands a “certified copy” of the transcript of the  conversation that was taped by the answering machine at the offices of the Los Angeles Police Protective League, dated Sept. 21. It was transcribed by Lori Odell Kennedy of Kennedy Court Reporters Inc. We’re not sure how Ms Kennedy and the LAPPL (which has endorsed Whitman) came to the conclusion they did, but in this allegedly “certified” transcript, the person who speaks the words “What about saying she’s a whore,” is said to be J.B. (Jerry Brown). But anyone who listens to the recording can plainly hear that the speaker was NOT Brown.

One other problem: on the tape (and in the transcript), Brown says, “My first ad goes up tonight.” That would place the conversation on Sept. 6 or 7, not Sept. 21. Which would mean the cops had the tape for nearly a month before it was released. Wonder what they did with it?

BTW, we hear the LA Times wasn’t the only media outlet it was given to. Apparently Fox News also had the tape and passed on the story. But the real question Calbuzz has is this: Would the LA cops union intentionally put out a bad transcript trying to finger Brown for the comment? Hmmm.

How the FPPC Should (and Shouldn’t) Meddle Online

Monday, August 16th, 2010

Calbuzz is generally not too keen on any regulatory movement, cause or organization, especially not one that’s intent on regulating us. But we have to say there are good reasons to extend – carefully — to the online world some of the disclosure requirements on political campaigns that now apply in the old media world of broadcast and print.

The trick is for California’s Fair Political Practices Commission to use a light touch so as not to kill the baby in the crib. Internet political communications still are in their infancy. You Tube, for example, by which so much of today’s online political messaging is conveyed, wasn’t even created until February 2005 and it didn’t really catch on in the political world until the 2008 cycle.

When the FPPC considers rule-making this fall, the fundamental principle should be this:

Keep the burden of disclosure on the candidates, campaigns and advocates without creating undue burdens on the media through which they choose to communicate. (Especially us.)

We agree with the FPPC report on this issue that:

When a committee or candidate engages in campaigning, the public should know that the communication is being paid for, regardless of the form that communication takes. In the current networked world, political communication by a regulated committee or candidate that occurs over the Internet is the functional equivalent of a broadcast ad, and an email is the functional equivalent of a mailer.

Fortunately, the FPPC and its staff have been cautious, open and deliberate as they approach the issue. They recognize, for example “that it is difficult to regulate a moving target. Innovation is not predictable and could be stifled by moving too quickly and regulating too strictly.”

Who’s paying for what: The FPPC report recognizes that you can’t require the same disclosure for a postage-stamp-sized web ad, a tweet or a Facebook message that you demand in a TV commercial. But you could require that a web ad or even the name of a tweeter or Facebooker  who’s pushing campaign communications should link to a page on which it’s disclosed who is behind the message so that an online reader understands where the message is coming from and who’s paying for it.

As the report noted:

Some paid advertising does not allow adequate room for disclaimers required by current law (e.g., some forms of electronic advertisements, twitter communication, etc.). In those cases, candidates and committees must provide information in ways that are practicable given the limitations of the medium (e.g., on the website that is accessed when one clicks on an ad; on pages providing information about the source of tweets; on appropriate places in social networking sites; through information that pops up when the mouse is rolled over word or phrase).

The Maryland Board of Elections recently passed new electronic media rules to provide just such flexibility. The Maryland regulations provide that if electronic media advertisements are too small (e.g., a micro bar, a button ad, a paid text advertisement that is 200 characters or less in length, or a small paid graphic or picture link) to contain an “authority line,” the ads will comply with the required disclosure of the political committee authorizing the message if the ad allows the viewer to click on the electronic media advertisement and the user is taken to a landing or home page that prominently displays the authority line information.

That makes sense to us.

Sock puppets and web whores: There’s one place where we’re not sure the FPPC goes far enough: requiring online communicators like bloggers to disclose if they are being paid by a campaign or political committee for more than the standard value of their advertising.

The rationale for not requiring disclosure by sock-puppet bloggers is this: 1) the FPPC does not want to dampen robust free speech on the internet and 2) payments to bloggers will be disclosed in the campaign or political committee’s expenditure reports.

We heartily agree with the principle of doing nothing to dampen free speech on the Internet,or anywhere else. But there is a big difference between Steve Poizner placing an ad on Calbuzz at the same rate that ad space is sold to anyone else, compared to Meg Whitman paying $15,000 a month to Green Faucet, the parent of the Red County blog, in order to secure a steady stream of favorable coverage and support masquerading as news coverage.

One is just a business transaction in which the web site selling advertising is not a paid mouthpiece for a campaign but instead a free agent on the Internet.

The other is little more than paid campaign communications. Blogs that are subsidized by a political committee – and who have thereby crossed the line into paid advocacy — ought to be required to make that clear to their readers.

Voluntary disclosure is not good enough. There are too many unscrupulous cheats out there and too many web whores. Moreover, it’s nothing for a campaign with big resources to set up a web site that looks like a neutral observer but which is, in reality, just an extension of the campaign.

At the very least, expenditure reports should be modified to specify  “internet communications,” and “online advertising.” Something along the lines in the FPPC report, which calls for:

…requiring that expenditure reports contain more detail of payments for activity on the Internet, including payments to bloggers, so that these payments can be more easily discerned. The brief description on the expenditure report would include the name of the recipient of payment for electronic communication, the purpose of the payment, and the name of website or other similar address where the communication (blog, tweet, Facebook page, etc.) appears.

For now, the report says:

We do not recommend requiring disclosure in blogs at this time because of our concern about stifling this robust and growing source of political discourse. We considered an alternative that would require bloggers compensated by a campaign committee to disclose on their blogs that they have material connections to a campaign. This was based, in part, on a recent Federal Trade Commission guideline requiring bloggers endorsing products to disclose their financial connections to the manufacturers of the product. Requiring disclosure of paid bloggers would also be analogous to Section 84511 of the PRA mandating disclosure of paid spokespersons in ballot measure ads.

We recommend instead that the Commission continue to monitor the development of activity on weblogs and assess whether disclosure through expenditure reports is sufficient to ensure voters know when a blogger is part of a political campaign and when she is acting as an interested citizen expressing her political views. If the Commission determines that the failure to require more disclosure of compensated political bloggers has undermined the right of the public to be informed about the course of political communication, the issue of appropriate regulation should be revisited.

Calbuzz prediction: unless the FPPC requires disclosure, plenty of unethical bloggers, tweeters and Facebookers will fail to tell readers who’s buying their loyalty.

In search of a bright line: There are some other issues still to be fleshed out. For example, who is to be considered “news media” and who is not.

The report says the Political Reform Act’s media exemption (on advocacy) “should be interpreted to include online media sources, whether or not they also participate in print or broadcast media.”

Importantly, however, blogging should not automatically be considered to trigger the media exemption unless the blog meets the standards for being considered part of the media. It is not necessary to expand the media exemption to include uncompensated bloggers who are unaffiliated with campaigns because they are protected by the exemption recommended above for volunteer uncompensated political communication.

This gets really tricky.

Relevant passages in the Political Reform Act define news media as “a regularly published newspaper, magazine or other periodical of general circulation which routinely carries news, articles and commentary of general interest” or “a federally regulated broadcast outlet” or certain kinds of newsletters or regularly published periodicals.

What does that make an online political news site like Calbuzz? Or partisan sites like Calitics or FlashReport? Or an aggregator like Rough & Tumble? All of which have or would gladly accept, advertising from candidates and political committees. What would you call Red County? Or California Majority Report? Do they “meet certain standards for being considered part of the media?” Or are they advocates for causes and candidates?

Click on the “eBay: Don’t Buy It Now” ad on this page and you get taken to California Working Families which tells you the page is “Paid for by California Working Families for Jerry Brown for Governor 2010, a Coalition of Public Employees, Firefighters, and Building Trades Organizations. I.D. # 1324632.  Not authorized by a candidate or a committee controlled by a candidate.” That’s the way it should work.

Likewise, if you click on “It’s Time for a New California” on the FlashReport home page, you get taken to Meg Whitman’s campaign home page which tells you at the bottom “Paid for by Meg Whitman For Governor 2010.” They probably ought to include their FPPC identification, but that’s a quibble.

But if you click on erichogue on Twitter, there’s no way to know that the screeching right-wing tweets from the conservative radio commentator just might be influenced by that $1,000 payment he got in the last reporting period from the Whitman campaign.

So what’s his Hogue News?  He’d like us to believe his site is “news media.” But he’s already proved he’s a for-rent mouth breather. Trouble is, the only people who know are those who’ve followed the arcane news about campaign finance or those who’ve read through Whitman’s expenditure reports and stumbled across the payment to him.

It won’t do for the FPPC to define “news media” in a way that includes only the dead and dying old media, as the current regulations do. But it also won’t do to ignore the fact that some online practitioners feel no compunction to level with the public about their status as paid advocates.

Plenty of free parking: Calbuzz would be happy to participate in further discussions with the FPPC on these issues. And if the FPPC would like to buy an ad on our site, they can find the rate card right here.

Calbuzz Snubbed in GOP Debate; Payback Looms

Wednesday, April 21st, 2010

This just in: Calbuzz was not chosen to be on the panel of reporters in the Great Debate between Republican candidates for governor Meg Whitman and Steve Poizner. We’re shocked – shocked! -  outraged and distraught. Cold revenge is on the menu.

For now, the debate is scheduled for 2 pm Sunday, May 2 at the Tech Museum of Innovation in San Jose, with KQED’s John Myers as moderator and panelists Carla Marinucci of the San Francisco Chronicle, Josh Richman of the Oakland Tribune, Jack Chang of the Sacramento Bee, Michael Blood of the Associated Press and Santiago Lucero of Univision. A solid enough lineup except for, well, you know . . .

Now Poizner is tweaking Whitman by arguing that she’s trying to limit exposure, and the California Accountability Project, sourcing a KTVU-TV report, is suggesting eMeg is lying about who picked the time. According to Sam Rodriguez at Comcast, the actual start time is still being discussed – by the campaigns.

Not that it’ll make much difference. Comcast is going to make the coordinates available to any TV station that wants them and they can broadcast it whenever they want to; Comcast will air it live on its Hometown Network, where it will be replayed many times; the California Channel is scheduled to air it live, as will others. Whether it’s at 2 pm or 5 pm on a Sunday makes little difference. More people will see it in the clips and the re-broadcast than will see it live no matter when it airs.

Why? Because it’s a “debate” between Steve Poizner and Meg Whitman ferheavensakes!

Which is why, for the entertainment value alone, Calbuzz is rooting for Jerry Brown’s drive – with a petition campaign started about 5 pm Sunday – to get eMeg to agree to join him and Steve in a series of three-way debates. Now that could be fun to watch.

So far, Meg’s not budging. (And why should she, really?) Even though Brown had racked up 4,500 signatures in the first 24 hours. “We’re hoping eventually to get 100 signatures for every million Meg Whitman has spent on her campaign,” said Brown flack Sterling Clifford. “We have 1,400 to go.”

Press clips – rant of the week: When we launched Calbuzz a little over a year ago, our Department of Churning It Out and Doing It Daily wrote that our role models were “Boys on the Bus” Hall of Fame partners Jules Witcover and Jack Germond (as noted at the time, we had little choice but to view ourselves as “the fat man in the middle seat,” the title of one of Germond’s campaign memoirs).

So we were delighted to find an online version of a dead-trees-and-ink column by Witcover, bringing his famed analytic powers  to the task of dissecting, um, online journalism.

Taking as his point of departure the recent announcement that the Library of Congress intends to start archiving hundreds of million of Twitter tweets, Witcover thundered against the evils of modernity, weaving into his screed the disgraceful case of CBSNews.com fronting a blog post that contained a quickly discredited assertion that Solicitor General and possible Supreme Court nominee Elena Kagan is a lesbian:

The tweet, which seems too often to be an unedited burp from the mouth of a diner overfed with trivia, strikes me as a poor cousin of the blog, that unlimited and too often also unedited vomiting of opinion, diatribe, rumor or just plain bigotry and hate.

The magazine Wired quoted one Matt Raymond, identified as the Library of Congress’ blogger, saying: “I’m no Ph.D., but it boggles my mind to think what we might be able to learn about ourselves and the world around us from this wealth of data.” One also can only wonder, however, what we might be able to learn from more fully expressed ideas, particularly when submitted to responsible, professional editing…

When rumor, prospective slander, libel or just plain inaccuracy gets through, the credibility of all journalism suffers.

We have no argument with our hero on that point. Despite Witcover’s lament that it was otherwise, however, the plain fact is that in the Wild West world of new media, it’s the content consumer who’s running the show, not the content provider. So the bottom line is: let the buyer beware, while the market sorts it all out.

Three reasons we love newspapers: Margot Roosevelt’s report detailing the big bucks efforts of oil giants Valero, Tesoro and Occidental Petroleum to qualify an initiative rolling back AB 32;  fellow LATimeser George Skelton’s takedown of PG&E over Proposition 16, its outrageously phony rip-off measure that would enshrine a monopoly for the utility under the guise of the “taxpayer’s right to vote act”;  the SacBee’s Kevin Yamamura’s smart takeout on eMeg Whitman’s proposal to eliminate the capital gains tax, likely to become a campaign issue.

Three reasons we love the Internets: The Oracle of Cruickshank’s trenchant, from-the-left post-game analysis of the Democratic convention over at Calitics;  Steve Malanga’s from-the-right indictment of the role of public employee unions in California’s budget mess, at the Manhattan Institute’s City Journal;  Danielle Crittendon’s ordinary folks look at what a shameful dog-and-pony wheeze Sarah Palin performs for big bucks in the hinterlands

We wish we’d said that: Better late than never kudos to Chronicler Debra Saunders for a clear-eyed look at the dust-up at San Jose’s Mt. Pleasant High School over Steve Poizner’s memoir of the year he spent teaching there.

Today’s sign the end of civilization is near: Jamie Jungers and Bombshell McGree, together again.

Should the FPPC Regulate Tweeters, Facebookers?

Tuesday, March 23rd, 2010

By Steve Maviglio
Special to Calbuzz

In the Age of the Internet, when campaigns, advocates, consultants and engaged citizens are using all forms of social media — Twitter, Facebook, YouTube, Gmail Buzz, etc. — to communicate about politics, the Fair Political Practices Commission is struggling to figure out what in all that constitutes political communication that ought to be regulated — like paid advertising — and what is purely a function of free speech.

It’s a fair question.

Last week, I testified (and Tweeted) before the FPPC’s Subcommittee examining electronic communication in political campaigns as part of a panel of political consultants (also at the table was Julia Rosen, the Courage Campaign’s Online Political Directorm and Bryan Merica from ID Media and Fox & Hounds Daily). We were followed by Kim Alexander of the California Voter Foundation, Derek Cressman of Common Cause, Tiffany Mok of the ACLU and Professor Barbara O’Connor, Sacramento State University.

The subcommittee wanted to hear from us if it should develop, in the words of Chairman Ross Johnson, “appropriate responses to new political realities.”

My advice was straightforward: do no harm. Don’t regulate independent bloggers. Don’t do anything that will stunt the growth of the Internet to attract and involve voters. But do provide clear guidelines for disclosure if there’s campaign money involved. And while you’re at it, provide clarity on the advice campaigns are getting from the commission, and conform to Federal Election Commission requirements.

Halfway through my testimony — where I was trying to detail the multiple changes on Facebook that would make it difficult for the FPPC to mandate where disclosure requirements might be posted — I looked up and saw all three commissioner’s with “what the hell are you talking about” faces. They were clearly baffled by technology they’d never dealt with personally (indeed, there was no wifi in the room, the hearing wasn’t webcast and the three commissioners admitted to never having used Twitter). That wasn’t encouraging.

But while three commissioners were dazed and confused by comments about pixels and Google Adwords, they seemed get what all the panelists were saying: proceed with caution. As  commissioner Tim Hodson told me afterward, the hearing “underscored both the perils of addressing such wide open and ever changing area and the need to ensure minimal disclosure.”

Hodson and his fellow commissioners are picking up on FPPC’s decade-long review of political campaign activity on the web. Back in the stone age of internet campaigning, Assemblyman Keith Olberg penned AB 2720, which created a Bipartisan Commission on Internet Political Practices. The Commission’s job was to determine if and how web-based communication could confirm to the mother of California’s campaign law, the oft-amended Political Reform Act, which was authored in 1974, well before Al Gore invented the Internet.

After toiling for a year, the Internet Commission reported “we do not think it would be wise or necessary to adopt new laws or a new administrative vehicle specifically aimed at  limiting or regulating the use of the Internet by political actor.”

The December 2003 report also presciently warned of regulating ever-changing web campaign technology:

When government attempts to regulate the use of technology, what we do not know can indeed hurt us. The speed of technological change and the ability of practitioners to adapt to new rules make regulatory efforts in these areas difficult. Swift changes can make old rules inoperable or inappropriate.

Technological changes that affect how hyperlinks are generated, how content from one Web site is framed by another, how online advertising is delivered to users, and how lists for unsolicited email campaigns are constructed, for example, could all change the meaning and the impact of regulations written prior to these innovations.

And things did change. Twitter, Facebook, viral YouTube videos, and Google email blasts all have become de rigueur elements of modern campaigning. First Democrats Howard Dean and then Barack Obama, set the pace for developing innovative electronic communications. In January, Scott Brown dumped more than 10 percent of his advertising budget in online advertising, and credited it, in part, for his win.

This may be just the tip of the iceberg, as campaigns get smarter about microtargeting on the  web. A recent study by Tulchin Research found that 57 percent of Californians access political news and information via Facebook, MySpace, and Twitter. Some 40 percent of social media users are following or supporting candidates for office via Facebook and Twitter. One in five voters use their smart phones to get political news and information.

FPPC Chairman Ross Johnson seems to be hinting that he’s not inclined to do anything to hamper this rapid growth electronic communication. And that’ s good.

“The Commission is not interested in requiring individuals to report as committees when they are merely exercising their First Amendment rights, but if this is paid political speech, then perhaps tighter regulation requiring greater disclosure and transparency is in order,” he said in a press release before the hearing

That’s the path I’d expect the FPPC to go: requiring greater disclosure, somewhere, somehow on all campaign-paid electronic communication. That’s not as easy as it sounds, though, and the commission has its work cut out for it to make that regulation work.

Later this year the subcommittee will present its findings to the full Commission for consideration of whether new rules are necessary to require the disclosure of who is behind electronic messages advocating for or against the election of California’s state and local candidates or ballot measures.

These changes could require the adoption of regulations by the Commission, or entirely new state laws, which must be adopted as a bill by the Legislature, or as a proposition by a vote of the people.

The Commission is right to investigate this new landscape as long as it first does no damage.

(The FPPC will hold another subcommittee hearing from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. , March 24  at the University of Southern California Law School, Ackerman Courtroom, Room 107, located at 699 Exposition Boulevard, Los Angeles. Full information can be found here.)

Dr. Hackenflack Returns: Special Carly Edition

Wednesday, August 26th, 2009

dr-hackenflackCalbuzz staff psychiatrist Dr. P.J. Hackenflack has been on a leave of absence, serving as a special consultant on health care reform to Sen. Kent Conrad, D-N.D. He returns today to catch up on the Old Mailbag and answer reader questions on some recent political developments.

Dear Dr. Hackenflack,
I see that former Hewlett-Packard CEO Carly Fiorina is running for the U.S. Senate and wondered why she’s known as “Hurricane Carly”?
– M. Whitman, Silicon Valley
Wherever she goes, she leaves destruction in her wake.

Attention: Dr. P.J. Hackenflack,
I thought the Calbuzz reference to Senator Kent Conrad as “a four-eyed, hose-nosed twit” very nearly almost came close to bordering on incivility. How do you respond?
– Earnest Bill, Superior, Wisc.
You should have seen it before the copy desk toned it down.

My Dearest Dr. Hackenflack,
I’ve enjoyed Senator Abel Maldonado’s fascinating tweets about what he eats during late-night legislative sessions but would like some information about what Assemblyman Chuck Devore does for snacks?
– Julia C., Montecito
Generally, he just chews on Carly Fiorina’s ankle.

Yo Hack!
Garry South said that Jerry Brown has had “more positions than the Kama Sutra.” What’s his favorite one?
– Ms. Cosmo, N.Y. N.Y.
Loosely translated it ‘s “Old Gray Stallion Trots to the Left Then Gallops to the Right,” according to Calbuzz’s Department of Sanskrit Documentation.

Dear Colleague: Is it true Steve Poizner recently had surgery?
– B. Casey, M.D., Hollywood
Yes. I’m happy to report he’s recovering nicely from a charisma bypass.

Dr. H,
I understand that as S.F. mayor, Gavin Newsom ignores and blows off the Board of Supervisors. What does that portend for how he’ll deal with the Legislature as Governor?
– Aaron P., Civic Center
How he’ll deal with the WHAT?

Mein Lieber Herr Hackenflack,
A friend of mine compared Carly Fiorina to Marie Antoinette. What in the world could these two have in common?
– Deborah B., Sacramento
Neither of them ever voted. Zut alors!

Doc,
I heard on the street that Meg Whitman is running her own campaign,  modeled on Lincoln’s 1858 Senate race. What’s her expert opinion on how Abe managed his election operation?
– Fleischman Flash, Gettsyburg, Pa.
She’s sure he blundered by agreeing to all those pesky debates with that guy Douglas.

Dear Mr. Big Shot Shrink,
So Tom Campbell says he should be governor cuz he’s a big brain Chicago School economist who trained with Milton Friedman. Big deal – I wonder how many of those guys it takes to change a light bulb.
– A. Bunker, Queens
None. If the light bulb needed changing the market would have already done it.

To whom it may concern,
I can’t thank you enough for publishing that short sample of Barbara Boxer’s new novel, which I greatly admired for its literary quality. Do you perchance have an excerpt of the roman a clef Carly Fiorina is supposedly writing?
– Bulwer Lytton, Knobworth House
Sure: “Cara Sneed caught an approving glimpse of herself in the glass reflection of the post office window. “Yum, you look good, girl,” she chuckled with amusement to herself.

Entering through the entrance door, she caught the admiring glimpse that the shabby tech geek standing on line gave her, and imagined to herself a little thought balloon bouncing in the air above his head – “Whoa, she looks good – I bet that woman can move some digital printers.” Then she softly tee-heed once again to herself.

She gently slipped her absentee ballot into the yawing maw of the patriotically colored mail box, and pivoted gracefully on her strappy Manolos to saunter out through the door, when a sudden flash of dread struck her in the tummy.

“Oh no,” she thought, “I forgot to put a stamp on it again.”