Friday Fishwrap: Jerry’s Secret Eyebrow Makeover


When Calbuzz speaks: Back in August, our Division of Superficial Issues and Cosmetology made a strongly worded and brilliantly insightful argument that Jerry Brown needed to do something about his Sam Ervin-style eyebrows before voters started mistaking him for the 2000 Year Old Man.

Then, when we caught Crusty the General’s webcentric announcement of candidacy Tuesday, along with his later appearance on Larry King Live —  Voila! –- it was clear he had joined the ranks of candidates who understand the overweening importance of heeding the sage political advice of Calbuzz.

Trimmed, thinned and apparently lightly colored, Brown’s former albino porcupine look had been altered in a way that took 20 years off his face.  While Crusty was at pains to tell us he’d been “eating my veggies,” and later demonstrated his physical fitness for a parade of visitors to his Oakland headquarters , we think the single smartest cosmetic fix he could have made before jumping into the race was following the process  outlined in this You Tube video.

That’s change we can believe in.

Enough to make a hog puke: Nice scooplet by Flash Fleischman beating Team Whitman to the punch on “The Steve Shuffle,” their latest web hit on Poizner, a minor gem, Despite our admiration for the design, production and messaging prowess that went into making it, however, eMeg’s cheap shot at The Commish on Prop 13 is revolting.

Let’s recap: In 2000, Poizner joined a horde of good government pols – led by former Gov. Pete Wilson, who now happens to be Whitman’s campaign chairman – and virtually every CEO and big name in tech in backing Prop. 39, which lowered the vote threshold, from two-thirds to 55 percent, for approval of school bonds. The 53 percent majority of Californians who passed the thing also appeared to agree it was a damned fine idea.

And where was Whitman on the matter? Courageously staking out the position against that she now purports to defend? No, while her Silicon Valley colleagues were taking a stand on behalf of school kids and parents, eMeg was just too damn busy and oh-so-important to even vote on it –  no, more, to even register to be eligible to vote on it, that’s where.

It’s one thing to whack a foe when you have an honest disagreement with them on an issue; it’s quite another to totally cheap shot a rival for making a principled stand, when you were completely clueless and couldn’t be bothered, to get engaged on the policy issue at hand.

UPDATE: No sooner had we posted this when Poizner, acting like a chickenlivered weenie, backed away from his support of the measure to which he’d given $200,000. Sheesh.

And another thing: While eMeg’s eagerness to fork out zillions  to every media consultant, buyer and TV station in the universe automatically makes her formidable in the campaign for governor, it also puts her at risk for being ju-jitsued on the issue of how she spends her money.

The rationale for Whitman’s candidacy is that she’s not a politician, and what supposedly makes her shiny and special is that she brings a new perspective to bad old politics-as-usual. But  since she launched her first ad, eMeg has acted exactly like every candidate in history. By the time she’s burned through her $150 million or whatever she plans to spend, and voters’ eyeballs are seared by her endless sun storm of TV spots, it’s easy to imagine that she’ll be perceived as  just another political hack.

Our national Anthem: While the story of Blue Cross/Anthem’s notorious 39 percent rate increases on Californians who buy their own health insurance has reached critical mass as a national scandal, the one guy in the state you’d figure would have plenty to say about it has been oddly reticent.

Insurance Commissioner Poizner, who – as his title may suggest – actually has some jurisdiction over insurance, has been all but AWOL in the furor over the greed head rate increases. Sure the Commish quietly initiated a small-bore investigation of Anthem’s delays in paying claims, process violations that preceded the current high-end controversy, and earlier wrote a lame-o op-ed for USA Today on health reform in which one of his big beefs was that taxes on insurance companies might be increased. Poor them.

Unlike campaign subjects like the debate over debates, on which Team Poizner has expended endless words, health insurance is actually something people care about in the real world, and it’s an abiding mystery why he isn’t out there pounding on this issue day after day after day.

Must reads of the week: Patrick McGreevy and Jack Dolan of the By God L.A. Times produced a helluva fine piece of American journalism in probing the history of newly anointed Speaker John Perez doing the bidding of rich folks and special interests, a timely investigation that offers a different perspective on Mr. Speaker’s favored up-by-his-bootstraps narrative . . . Amid the ongoing Oprah-driven canonization of Roger Ebert, Will Leitch at Dead Spin offered a wonderfully moving piece on why the guy actually deserves it . . . The Chronicle’s recent over-the-top reprise of  Crusty’s Moonbeam Factor strike us as the Bright Idea of some Yuppie-era editor who never got over missing out on the 60’s, but Editorial Page High Sheriff John Diaz meanwhile did a nice bit of work with his long view take on Brown getting into the race, which hands down wins the Kicker of the Week award: It appears that voters will have a choice in November between a Democrat they know all too well and a Republican they hardly know at all. . . . Ever wonder who’s putting up the dough to try to take out AB 32, California’s pioneering greenhouse gas emissions law? Check out this post by RL Miller at Daily Kos.

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There are 3 comments for this post

  1. avatar Andy says:

    We’ve all been waiting for Poizner to show us what he’s got and this is it? These two truly deserve each other…I thought she wanted to spare education and he was the candidate who cared eough to go teach at a school? Now I see arguing over who gives a s#$t less.

    I predict a Jerry Brown cakewalk to November…

  2. avatar Cicero says:

    It is sad to see the Commish back away from his support of something hat he thought was a good enough idea that he contributed $200,000 to it. It also seems like questionable politics–now he’s not just in favor of letting voters raising taxes for schools (Heaven forbid!), but he’s a flip-flopped as well.

    On health care, the curious thing is that he actually has taken action against Anthem. Here’s the press release from the CDI website:

    For Release: February 13, 2010
    Media Calls Only: 916-492-3566
    Commissioner Poizner Announces Anthem Blue Cross Agrees To Delay Health Insurance Increase
    California Insurance Commissioner Steve Poizner today announced that Anthem Blue Cross has agreed to a Feb. 8 request by Commissioner Poizner to delay their individual health insurance rate increase until May 1 to allow an independent actuary to review their rates.

    “I’m pleased by Anthem Blue Cross’s decision to delay their rate increases for two months to allow independent actuaries hired by the California Department of Insurance (CDI) to closely scrutinize their 2010 rates,” said Commissioner Poizner. “We have instructed the actuaries to review the rates with a fine tooth comb to ensure they comply with state law that requires that 70 cents of every dollar in premiums is spent on medical benefits. Should they find that these rate increases were unwarranted, I will immediately take action to get Anthem Blue Cross to follow the law and lower their rates.”

    Yesterday, CDI retained David Axene and John Fritz of the actuarial firm Axene Health Partners, LLC in Southern California to provide the independent analysis. The review is expected to be completed by mid-April.

    Last Monday, Commissioner Poizner sent a letter to WellPoint Anthem President and CEO Angela F. Braly and Chairman of the Board Larry C. Glasscock asking them to delay their California affiliate Anthem Blue Cross’s rate increases until May 1. They complied with the request today.

    Commissioner Poizner has worked aggressively to protect consumers. His strong actions have led to insurance companies paying millions of dollars in fines and reimbursements for improperly rescinding nearly 4,000 individual health insurance policies. He has also introduced regulations to prevent future improper rescissions.

    CDI is also currently undertaking an enforcement action against PacifiCare for thousands of alleged violations of the California Insurance Code based on PacifiCare’s failure to properly process claims from physicians, failure to meet its payment obligations on a timely basis, and a host of other improper claims paying practices. The alleged violations came on the heels of PacifiCare’s acquisition by United Health Group, now one of the two largest health insurance companies in the United States. Since filing the Accusation, the Department of Insurance has continued to receive complaints from patients and providers about PacifiCare. A copy of the Accusation can be found by selecting this link.

    The fact that he doesn’t talk about this, it seems to me, indicates that he is hoping that primary voters won’t realize that he holds statewide office, for fear that they will see him as part of the problem, rather than as an outsider. He has steadfastly failed to emphasize his experience in elected office, one of the few things he has to distinguish himself from Ms Whitman.

  3. avatar winston says:

    excellent observation on Crusty’s eyebrows. Looks like he’s had done something to tighten up his jowls and bleach out the brown spots too.

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