Posts Tagged ‘Hackenflack’

Dr. H Returns, Calbuzz Classic, Weird Holiday Dogs

Wednesday, December 15th, 2010

Despite his annual struggle against Seasonal Affect Disorder, Calbuzz staff psychiatrist Dr. P. J. Hackenflack has bravely battled his way through the stacks of mail that have piled up since the election, and graciously agreed to return today to answer our readers’ burning psycho-political questions.

Dear Dr. Hackenflack,
Now that the election’s over, is Meg Whitman feeling any regrets about the way she treated her housekeeper, Nicky Diaz?
— Gloria La Rouge, West Hollywood

Totally. She can’t find anyone to clean the kitchen or do the wash, let alone bring in  the mail.

To the Honorable P.J. Hackenflack,
I’ve noticed that Los Angeles Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa all of a sudden is traveling around the country trying to raise his profile. Wussup with that?
— Cass A. Nova, Reno

Ignore the political speculation. Just happens Tony V’s run through all the female anchors in L.A. and feels ready to move up to network news babes.

Dr. H,
Why is Dianne Feinstein running for another term at her age? I’ve seen younger faces on cash.
— Tom C. Silicon Valley

She’s determined to pass Strom Thurmond on the all-time Senate geezer list.

Yo Doc,
A friend said Jerry Brown is going to make his wife his chief of staff in the governor’s office. Do you think that’s a good idea?
— Jacques B, Paris, France

Yo Jacques – the doc is still trying to finagle invites to the big inaugural parties, so no way I’m touchin’ that one, dude.

To whom it may concern,
One of the Hollywood blogs said Arnold Schwarzenegger is in line to play the lead in a remake of “Mr. Smith Goes to Washington.” True?
—  J.M. Stewart, Indiana Pennsylvania

False. He’s actually signed to play Willy Loman in an update of “Death of a Salesman.”

I saw on the news that Senate Republican leader Bob Dutton sat in the audience instead of onstage at Jerry Brown’s first public hearing on the budget. Do you think that was an effective protest?
— Darrell S, K Street Mall

Bob who?

Hello Dr. Hackenflack,
Ana Matosantos seems like a nice, smart person, but it seems strange that Jerry’s keeping on Arnold’s finance director. Can you shed any light?
— Harry P, Sacramento

Turns out Governor Gandalf was time traveling when he met her and thinks he’s rehired Adriana Gianturco.

Hey Doc,
Now that San Francisco’s mayor’s been elected lieutenant governor, there’s a big fight to replace him. Who’s the best candidate?
— W. Brown Mineola, Tex.

Clearly Gavin Newsom. He has absolutely nothing else to do for the next four years.

Calbuzz Classic: Less than three weeks before he takes the oath of office as governor, Jerry Brown is already making moves to assume the powers of the state’s chief executive.  So we thought it was an appropriate time to start measuring Brown’s acts against his words in the campaign. Here’s a piece we ran on April 13, 2009, based on the first major interview with Krusty that focused on his bid for governor:

Reflecting on his first incarnation as California governor, Jerry Brown says he was overly concerned with the importance of new ideas and not focused enough on the practicalities of getting things done.

In the first extensive interview about his 2010 gubernatorial bid, Brown told Calbuzz that if he wins back, at the age of 72, the office he first captured when he was 36, things will be different.

“Then I emphasized new ideas, now I would emphasize management more,” he told us. “It was very exciting then, but without losing that sense of innovation, I’d be more practical-minded, very detailed, focused on follow through and consensus building . . . I’d be looking for people who are seasoned administrators.”

In a telephone interview last week, Brown said he is motivated to seek a second turn as governor by his own “unspent potential,” a notion he credited to the anthropologist Gregory Bateson: “The key to flexibility is not spending all your potential.”

Speaking in rushing streams of high-speed sentences, Brown talked of everything from how to attack Sacramento’s partisan dysfunction to the hair products used by Democratic rival Gavin Newsom. Boasting that his two terms as governor were “good years” for California, he rattled off a list of accomplishments, while uncharacteristically acknowledging some shortcomings.

“My sense of management has been refined and developed,” said the man who, as governor, was known to mock and belittle the pathways, processes and procedures of state government and those who work in it.

His candidacy still formally undeclared, Brown only occasionally used the phrase “if I run,” in portraying himself as a master politician whose experience in elected office at every level – mayor, attorney general, state party chairman, to name a few – affords him unmatched understanding of government organization and operations which he would wield at California’s intractable problems.

“I have a greater sense of how things get done and don’t get done,” he said. “I have a much better, hands-on understanding of how (government) functions . . . a sense of how things work . . . a much better sense of sizing people up and how you go about building an administration.”

We wanted to interview Brown to ask his views on seven key questions we posed to all the candidates in one of our first posts. In his own fashion, he addressed most of them. However, Brown staunchly refused to specify what combination of cuts and tax hikes he would support to deal with chronic deficits, beyond stressing his view that California is a “very high tax” state and dismissing as politically impractical the proposal to amend Proposition 13 by taxing commercial and industrial property at higher rates than residential property.

“Anyone who answers that (tax and cuts question) will never have a chance to be governor,” he said. “It’s very hard to discuss with particularity anything that can be turned into (campaign) fodder.”

Moreover, he added, “dictating from the corner office does not work . . . If eliminating the structural problems in the California budget were easy, Wilson, Davis and Schwarzenegger would have done it.”

How would he deal with fiercely ideological legislators on the left and the right?

“I’m going to become an apostle of common sense,” he said. “I will disabuse them of their ill-conceived predilections.”

“There’s an embedded partisanship that has to become disembedded,” he said. “In my bones, I’m not that partisan. I’m an independent thinker. That’s my tradition. I’ve been wary of ideology since I left the Sacred Heart Novitiate (in 1960).”

(Nostalgia footnote: Brown’s reference to “common sense” reminded us that when we covered his 1992 “Winter Soldier” campaign for president, he signed copies of Thomas Paine’s “Common Sense” at a bookstore in Nashua, New Hampshire.)

[Only later did we discover that there had been a TV series about one of Brown’s intellectual inspirations, hosted by Dale Ahlquist, President of the American Chesterton Society, titled ” G.K. Chesterton: The Apostle of Common Sense.”]

We asked Brown this key question: What do you want to do as governor?

He quickly ticked off four key concerns with specific ideas in each area: Renewable energy; prison reform; education reform; water policy (we’ll report details on these in future posts).

He acknowledged that pushing through innovative solutions on these issues would be difficult in the polarized atmosphere of Sacramento. He labeled as “a type of anarchy” the view of some GOP lawmakers that sending the state into bankruptcy is preferable to voting for a budget that includes tax increases.

“That kind of subversive attitude is unacceptable,” Brown said.

Asked about structural reforms, Brown said he doesn’t “think term limits have been helpful” because they create a revolving door mentality, with lawmakers constantly running for the next office.

“People being around 20 years is a problem. But people being around for just six years is a bigger problem,” he said. “They become more dependent on interest groups because they don’t have time to develop loyalty in their districts.”

While not a fan of the two-thirds majority vote needed to pass budgets, Brown said he doesn’t think there is a “mechanical” cure to structural financial problems.

Sounding most unlike an old-school Jerry Brown Democrat, he argued repeatedly that regulations making California less competitive than surrounding states must be challenged. “We have to make sure that regulation does not curtail business,” he said, echoing the Chamber of Commerce more than the Sierra Club.

On the issue of his age, about which Newsom and others (including Calbuzz) have needled him – Brown said the question was “meaningless.”

“Is their premise that my opponents think faster than me? Do they want to challenge me to a timed multiple-choice test?”

Informed that he’s older than the ballpoint pen, Brown laughed. “I remember the ballpoint pen,” he said, recalling that when the instrument came out, it was available to students only in blue ink (and it leaked).

The age attack “has no meaning . . . If Feinstein is so old, how come she’s 20 points ahead (in polls listing her as a candidate)?”

“It’s all about creativity . . . The fact that they’re attacking me is a plus, not a minus . . . I don’t know that it’s bad to be associated with Linda Ronstadt and the Beatles.”

As for those behind the line of attack on his septuagenarian status, Brown personally chided Newsom and his strategist Garry South:

“I don’t know whether he’s sniffing his hairspray or what,” the buzz-cut Brown said of South. “Between the hairspray and the gel (favored by Newsom) I think they’re getting a little intoxicated.”

Ho, ho, ho: Just because we can’t resist pictures of dogs in goofy costumes.

Swap Meet: Dr. H & eMeg Conquer Time & Space

Saturday, March 6th, 2010

We regret the whole thing: It’s hard to believe, but your Calbuzzards were just a couple years too young to cover the dramatic political events that unfolded in California in January 1860. As a result, we missed our chance to interview Lt. Gov. John Downey, or we would have known that he, not Jerry Brown, is the youngest governor in state history.

Here’s a full report from our Dr. P.J. Hackenflack who was on the scene:

Born June 24, 1827 in Rosscommon County, Ireland, , the late Gov. John Gately Downey constitutionally ascended to the governorship just five days after the inauguration of Gov. Milton Latham.

Milt, it turned out, coveted the chief executive post primarily so he could appoint himself to a seat in the U.S. Senate. It became open when incumbent David C. Broderick was  shot and killed in a duel by state Supreme Court Chief Justice David Terry, a month before in San Francisco. Their dispute was either over slavery or a bunch of trash-talking,  depending on who you ask.

In any case, Downey was just 32 when he stepped up, as Latham split for Washington less than a week after being sworn in. Downey not only captures youngest governor honors, but also owns the historic distinction of being the first foreign-born chief executive of the state; move over Arnold Schwarzenegger. (It seems likely that members of the Legislature were greatly relieved when Latham left town: his inaugural address droned on for 4947 words, while the youngster Downey brought his in at a crisp 206 words. But we digress).

The claim that Brown was the state’s youngest governor when he was first elected at the age of 36 in 1974 has been widely disseminated and a standard part of the journalistic narrative about him for years. But wrong.

With a big HT to alert L.A. Times reader Henry Fuhrmann, we apologize for the confusion.

Make way, make way for Her Megness: Meg Whitman did a round of live feed interviews from a studio on the Stanford campus with TV stations around the state this week, one more weapon in the carpet bomb strategy she’s using to fight a two-front war against Brown and Commish Steve Poizner, along with her ubiquitous broadcast ads, web attacks and staged meeting with voters.

With eMeg sitting for a one-shot in front of a “Meg Whitman 2010” backdrop, she uplinked to local newsers around the state, some of whom preceded mysteriously to pretend she’d come by the studio for an excloo.

“Meg Whitman stopped by today,” one interviewer began.

“I’m happy to be here,” responded our Meg, a moment later.

At one point Wednesday,  she did a 9:07 stretch with KNBC’s “Raw News” in which she not only covered all her tiresome talking points but also dropped this bombshell:

“You have to veto everything that isn’t on the focused agenda,” Whitman said, vowing twice not to sign any bills passed by the Legislature that don’t conform to her agenda of creating jobs, improving schools and cutting spending.

Really? Veto everything?

As we may have mentioned once or twice, eMeg’s major downside is that she appears not to understand that politics is a give-and-take, give-some-to-get-some business, that legislators are also elected by the people, and that the Capitol is a teeming cacophony of conflicting interests, not the site of an Imperial Governorship. In the KNBC interview, she made quite clear that she sees the role of lawmakers as secondary, when she graciously said they’d be welcome to serve on her “jobs team” or her “schools team.”

“Where do I sign up?” Senate leader Darrell Steinberg is no doubt asking.

If Her Megness does manage to get elected, it’ll be interesting to see how  smoothly the confirmation process goes for her nominees – “the appointment process is incredibly important,” she noted duhhly in the interview – when she swaggers into the Capitol and announces her game plan to “veto everything.”

And thank you for that.

Press Clips: Most interesting take on Roy Ashburn, the Republican state Senator who was outed after getting busted for drunk driving the other night, comes from his hometown Bakersfield California. Seems the Californian interviewed Ashburn previously about his sexuality but didn’t print anything because the editors decided it wasn’t relevant.

They outed their own well-considered, if overly cautious, decision in their follow-up story on Ashburn’s arrest for drunk, a very complete piece with lots of background, context and detail, as the paper hustled to focus what became a national, and then a viral, story through a local news lens for their readers…For more on the subject, check this smart post by Brian Leubitz over at Calitics…Worth a look: a one-minute history of the world of media – including What It All Means – from Columbia J-School chrome dome  Richard Wald.

Today’s sign the end of civilization is near: When in Rome…

God, Man & Jerry Brown’s Ignatian Indifference

Tuesday, February 16th, 2010

Our friend Dan Balz did a nice job after he scored a sit-down interview with Jerry Brown, in advance of Crusty’s formal annunciation that he’s running for governor. We were especially intrigued when we read this:

If she wins the GOP nomination, Whitman will have a sizable financial advantage over Brown. She has already put $39 million of her money into the race and could spend $150 million or more by the election in November. Brown can’t compete with that kind of money, but he said of Whitman, “Her money is not kryptonite.”

Asked how he will prepare for that, he offered a lesson from St. Ignatius. He would summon all the “Ignatian indifference” that he could. That is, he added, the idea of eschewing attachments to wealth or glory and preparing “to do the will of God, however it manifests.”

“Here we have the will of the people,” Brown said, “and how it turns out will be fine for me.”

Huh? Wussup with that ?

Was Jerry really saying he’s preparing “to do the will of God?” And if so, how come Balz didn’t make that the lede of his piece? Because if that’s what Jerry is saying – that he is bracing for Meg’s onslaught by preparing “to do the will of God” — then by golly, he’s right in there with Pat Robertson and Rick Warren, isn’t he?

So we called Jerry’s office for some clarification. Brown wouldn’t come to the phone for a quick theological discussion, but spokesman, Sterling Clifford (who sat in on the Balz interview but who was raised Mormon, not Catholic and certainly not Jesuit) said Jerry was trying to explain “Ignatian indifference” as an acceptance of God’s will, which he distinguished from the election, which is a matter of the peoples’ will.

We weren’t convinced.

Wasn’t Jerry saying that in preparing to accept eMeg’s multi-million-dollar attacks, he would be doing God’s will? “Jerry was not saying that,” Clifford said. “He was saying he’s making an effort not to take the personal attacks too seriously.”

When we checked with Balz, he agreed that Brown wasn’t saying he’s preparing to do the will of God but, “That the will of the people is in this case like the will of God — that is, whatever the voters decide he will accept.”

OK, but flashback to 1998. We were there when former Attorney General Dan Lungren got in some trouble talking about the role of God in public life as he launched his campaign for governor.

Is Brown on the verge of doing the same thing? It’s a fair question because Brown’s theology is deeply embedded. He took vows of poverty, chastity and obedience at the Sacred Heart Novitiate in Los Gatos in 1958 where, according to biographer Roger Rapoport, “It seemed to Jerry there was no limit to what you might accomplish if you let go of your personal ambitions and committed your life to the greater glory of God, as his instrument.”

Of course, Brown was released from those vows two years later, when he left the seminary. By then, however, he was ingrained with the Spiritual Exercises of St. Ignatius, which were designed by the Society of Jesus (the Jesuits) to help “conquer oneself and regulate one’s life and avoid coming to a determination through any inordinate affection.”

Though not a Jesuit priest, as he might have become, Brown has never cast off the doctrine of contemplatio ad amorem — with its belief that the spirit of God can be found everywhere – in chaos and order, intelligence and ignorance, fame and obscurity — and that contemplation and action go hand in hand because being is active.

The same clash of concepts, unity of opposites, battling dualities (think: against Prop 13 and for it, for example) has been a hallmark of Brown’s theology, ontology – not to mention politics — throughout his life, as suggested in his comment to Balz that he would do the will of God and the will of the people at the same time.

It was no accident that the young Jerry was fascinated by Pierre Teilhard de Chardin, a French Jesuit paleontologist and phenomenologist. About the time Brown was in the seminary, Teilhard was silenced by the Jesuit hierarchy for his attempts to synthesize theology and evolutionary biology. As Brown biographer Richard Rappoport described Teilhard’s theories, he sought “to reconcile humanism and grace, nature and the Cross, prudence and heroism, freedom and obedience.”

It’s not hard to understand why Brown would – then and now — be attracted to a priest who wrote: “Our duty, as men and women, is to proceed as if limits to our ability did not exist. We are collaborators in creation.”

In Jerry time, it was a mere nanosecond from the study of Teilhard to the Tassajara Hot Springs, the Carmel Valley Zen retreat that Brown and his one-time aide de camp Jacques Barzaghi used to visit; to E.F. Schumacher’s “Small is Beautiful” and onward to C.K. Chesterton, who was labeled “The Apostle of Common Sense,” in a book by Dale Ahlquist, published by (drum roll here) Ignatius Press.

It wasn’t coincidence that in his first interview heading toward this election – with Calbuzz back in April of last year — Brown said he is planning to be an “apostle of common sense.” We saw then, an echo of his 1992 Winter Soldier presidential campaign in which he autographed copies of Thomas Paine’s “Common Sense.”

But the phrase – actually the title of Ahlquist’s 2003 book — pays homage to Gilbert Keith Chesterton (1874-1936), the 300-pound, cigar-smoking English writer, journalist and Catholic convert who labeled common sense “that extinct branch of psychology” and who wrote: “The Bible tells us to love our neighbors and also to love our enemies, probably because they are generally the same people.”

Chesterton, who attacked both socialism and capitalism, who defended the Catholic faith and the common man is just another in the line of thinkers whose ideas seem woven into Brown’s  rhetoric.

His thinking seems little changed from the window into his psyche he offered in the 1975 commencement at the University of Santa Clara – the Jesuit school he had attended for a year before joining the seminary. In part of that speech, Brown reached back to the Father Teilhard de Chardin who, he said:

“…saw that there was an evolution of the mind as well as the body. The evolution of the spirit was bringing the divergence of this planet together, not only the nuclear problems, the problem of learning to live with people who are very different, the problem of one generation accepting the different lifestyle, of accepting one another. I think we can very well think of the philosophy that all diversity is being converged toward a greater unit. That’s the way I see things and it won’t be done unless each one of us can do this for ourselves so that together we can do what none of us can do separately.”

His spokespeople can deny it, but Jerry Brown has always seemed to see himself as an instrument of God’s will and an instrument of the people’s will, simultaneously. He has never had any interest in imposing his religious beliefs on others but to assert that he is not shaped and driven by his Jesuitical ontology is to deny the obvious.

Brown’s first guru was not Baba Ram Dass, who published “Be Here Now” in 1971, but his forerunner — Ignatius — who told Jerry and all the other would-be keepers of the flame and sword from the 16th Century onward: “Age quod agis” – “Do what you are doing.”

Happy Presidents (Presidents’) Day Sale

Monday, February 15th, 2010

Calbuzz staff psychiatrist Dr. P.J Hackenflack today returns from special assignment in Sacramento, where he’s been working night and day to plumb the depths of Abel Maldonado’s identity crisis.

An esteemed graduate of the Sigmund Freud University of Priapus Studies, Special Occasion and Holiday Celebrations, Dr. H is uniquely qualified to untangle for our readers the twisted political history of Presidents Day, an American holiday unlike any other in its confusing complexity and entropic randomness. Here is a text of remarks he has prepared for delivery at a P-Day celebration in the appliance department of Sears near Chloride City. Plenty of free parking.

Good morning.

On behalf of my colleagues at Calbuzz, a very merry,
healthful and prosperous President’s Day to one and all.
Or is it Presidents’ Day? Or maybe Presidents Day? Whatever.

Today we celebrate with kith and kin the Uniform Monday Holiday Act.  As every school child knows, the Act, also known as Public Law 90-363, established in 1971 a national holiday to observe George Washington’s birthday annually on the third Monday of February. Even though he was born on Feb. 22, a date that never falls on the third Monday of February. Whatever.

Actually George was born on Feb. 11, 1732. But, as every school child knows, the 11th got switched to the 22nd when our brave, still nascent nation changed from the Julian to the Gregorian Calendar in 1752, 20 years after he was born.

History tells us that George appears to have been all right with the change, even though Feb. 11 never falls on the third Monday in February either. Whatever.

This solemn and joyous national celebration that we mark today was designed for two noble reasons:

Because federal employee unions wanted more three-day weekends for their members. And retailers were looking for another big sales window to shove consumer products that people didn’t really need down their throats with loads of hysterical advertising featuring pictures of Washington and Abraham Lincoln wearing funny hats and making funny faces.

Or as President Lyndon Johnson put it in his signing statement:

THE BILL that we sign today will help Americans to enjoy more fully the country that is their magnificent heritage. It will also aid the work of Government and bring new efficiency to our economy… Americans will be able to participate in a wider range of recreational and cultural activities.

Cultural activities like buying cars and big screen TVs and Nikes, which is why those of you who work at Fry’s and Foot Locker don’t have the day off.

Speaking of which: what about that whole Abe Lincoln thing?

His birthday is Feb. 12, which never falls on the third Monday of the month, either. But everybody thinks that they stuck Presidents’ Day between the two birthdays for a combined celebration of the Father of Our Country and the Great Emancipator. Duhh: everybody’s wrong – there’s no national holiday called Presidents’ Day. Whatever.

Back in the day, there was a bill introduced to make it a combined holiday. But it didn’t have the votes to get out of the Senate Judiciary Committee. So the feds officially call Presidents’ Day Washington’s Birthday.

Nobody’s quite sure why the other thing didn’t fly- maybe George’s relatives greased up committee members with campaign contributions, or sweetheart deals on big-ass cabinet color TVs or something. Whatever.

The Senate be damned, a bunch of states, including California, decided to have their own presidents days anyway. After that: all marketing and advertising all the time.

Only problem was, they couldn’t agree on how to spell it;. Some states call it
Presidents’ Day, which the Chicago Manual of Style thinks is all right. But the AP, which thinks using nouns as adjectives is a great idea, uses Presidents Day.

One thing’s for sure: President’s Day is widely frowned upon by grammar disciplinarians, even though everybody seems fine  putting the apostrophe in the same place when they spell Washington’s Birthday. Whatever.

Anyway, I’m off to Best Buy to get myself a 60″ Class AQUOS LC-60E77UN  large-screen flat-panel, with full HD 1080p resolution. Is this a great country or what? So Happy Birthday George and Abe. Or whatever.

Meyer Debuts, Dr. H Returns, Jerry Time Travels

Thursday, January 21st, 2010

meyer cartoon 1.1-18colorToday we present the latest, irrefutable evidence that America’s most talented journalists are free flowing to the web (emphasis on “free”), with the Calbuzz debut of award-winning editorial cartoonist Tom Meyer.

Meyer, who says he aimed to “entertain and exasperate readers” during a 28-year stint at the SF Chronicle, has also been published in the NYT, the WashPost, New Republic and National Journal, plus a whole bushel full of other places through United Features Syndicate.

Recipient of a Fischetti Award, the big-deal editorial cartoon competition named after the late, Pulitzer Prize-winning cartoonist John Fischetti, Meyer also has been honored with a James Madison Freedom of Information Act Award – not to mention a couple of particle board plaques from the Peninsula Press Club. In his spare time, he likes to bet on dachshund races.

He’s quite simply one of the best in the business, a point we think is sharply underscored by today’s take on televising the Prop. 8 trial. Please join us in welcoming Meyer to the Calbuzz ranks.

meyer cartoon 1-18color


The Return of Dr. Hackenflack:

Dear Dr. Hdr-hackenflack
In analyzing the Massachusetts Senate race, do you think Scott Brown’s nude centerfold photos in Cosmo were a really big factor?
— Lady Gaga, Poker Face, Tex.

Dear Gaga,
There was a MASSI
VE gender gap on this issue: Men thought it a huge positive by +10, but women said it wasn’t that big a deal, only +4. Final length of victory = +5.

Herr Doktor,
I just heard Meg Whitman’s new statewide radio ad attacking people on welfare. Isn’t she a zillionaire or something – is this really the greatest good for the greatest number?
— Karl, Marxville

Dear Karl,
Please remember, the filthy rich are people, too. I’m sure she’s more than willing to give one of those welfare folks a good job grooming her horse or cleaning up behind it.

To Dr. P.J. Hackenflack
From Ellen from Malcolmsburg
Re: Women and Whitman

I just stumbled across Meg Whitman’s campaign video with testimonials about her from prominent women in politics, like Jillian Hasner, Amisha Patel, Jessica Patterson, Sara Myers and Sarah Pompei. She sounds like such a generous person!

Dear Ellen,
Yes, since everyone in the video is on her payroll, we think of it as eMeg’s very own welfare queen program.

Jerry smashemike-curbs time-space continuum: Plenty of Calbuzzers, not yet eligible to pull money out of their 401(k)s, were scratching their heads  when California’s Acting Governor, Attorney General Jerry Brown, joked in Wednesday’s “Quicktake” that he planned to suspend AB32  and compared himself in the process to former Lite Gov. Mike Curb.

A Calbuzz stroll through the dustbin of history (mixed metaphor? –ed) brought back vivid memories of Curb, the cherubic-faced record* executive-turned-future-hope-of-the-Republican party. In 1979, his first year in office, Curb carried on a campaign of political performance art, purporting to seize control of the levers of power every time Brown left California to promote his nascent bid for president, which was pretty damned often.

Curb’s dumbass guerrilla effort crashed on the evening of Wednesday, May 16, when he tried once again to assert his disputed powers as acting governor, this time suspending state standards for the content of gasoline, and pretty much making a fool of himself to boot.

With Brown in D.C. , Curb with great ceremony signed a proclamation in San Francisco, rolling back tougher-than-national standards on lead and vapor pressure in gas. Not long after, an aide discovered that the word “consistent” had been substituted for the word “inconsistent” in the signed executive order, which would have given it exactly the opposite effect Curb intended.

So he made a mad, 90-mile dash to Sacramento, for a very informal meeting with then-Deputy Secretary of State Michael S. Gagan, a favorite of Sacramento’s crowded, after-work saloon crowd, who happened to live one floor below Brown’s famous “mattress on the floor” digs in an apartment near the Capitol.

Curb was met at the curb by a trio of tipped-off reporters when he pulled up to the apartment. The group included a future Calbuzzer, who provided this chronology for S.F.’s morning paper the following day:

6:59:30 – Curb hustles into the apartment house elevator accompanied by an aide and several reporters who showed up to greet him.

As the elevator door closes, a building security guard throws it open and asks, “Who let you in?’”

“You’re holding up state business,” says the aide, explaining that the deputy secretary of state is expecting the lieutenant governor.

7:00 – As the governor’s plane approaches California’s skies, the elevator slowly creaks up to the fifth floor and Curb mumbles, “There’s got to be an easier way to make a living…This is the last thing I needed this week.”

7:02:10 – Deputy Secretary of State Gagan calls the telephone recording that gives the time, as Curb signs his corrected executive order, sitting on a leather couch below a leaded glass lamp with the word “Budweiser” embossed on it.

7:03 – As Gagan, drinking a beer, completes the legal necessities of accepting the proclamation…Curb paces in the living room of the neatly furnished apartment and answers questions from reporters.

“Some people may not understand why we did this, but I think it’s a key issue,” Curb says. “I don’t think anyone with a brain doubts this is going to produce more gas.”

For the record, SF Chronicle night city editor Michael Taylor was told by the Federal Aviation Administration later that night that Brown’s plane entered California air space at the Colorado River on Jet Airway J-10 at 7:06 pm, PST. You could look it up.

* A disk designed to be played on a phonograph (an electronic device that reproduces sound by means of a stylus in contact with a grooved rotating disk).

iCarly dcarlyrightefies laws of arithmetic: In the wake of the Massachusetts Senate race, there are plenty of things a Republican Senate wannabe like Carly Fiorina could whack an incumbent Democrat like Barbara Boxer over – but one of them is not campaign fundraising, especially one larded with numbers that are backasswards.

“Barbara Boxer should be a very worried incumbent senator today,” sez a new press release from Hurricane Carly HQ. “Not only did Carly out-raise Boxer in just 60 days to the tune of 2 to 1, but the polls” etc. etc.

Well, not really. In fact, iCarly’s “2-to-1” claim about out raising Boxer turns out to be what Poor George W would call your fuzzy math.

In her latest campaign finance filing, Fiorina in the 4th quarter of 2009 did, in fact, report receipts of $3.58 million, compared to $1.8 million for Boxer. Problem is, $2.5 million of the total – 70 per cent – came in the form of $2.5 million loan from Carly to herself.

In contributions, it was Boxer who out-raised Fiorina almost 2-to-1 – $1.8 million to $1.08 million.

More importantly, Babs has $7.2 million in the bank, compared to the iCarly’s $2.75 million – including the self-loan. Which helps explain how the Hurricane messed up the finances at HP so effectively during her tenure there.

Today’s sign the end of civilization is near: TMZ sez Mo’Nique’s got a leg up on the competition.  (You wanna see it, you gotta follow the link.)