October 2010 Archives

The Left's deep-seated sexism for Republican women

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This is the year of the Republican woman. Sarah Palin has a Midas touch when it comes to endorsing candidates. Carly Fiorina and Meg Whitman, two former CEOs, are running for the top two jobs in California. Sharron Angle is poised to unseat a majority leader. Christine O'Donnell has electrified the Tea Party. Jan Brewer stood up to a president.

The Left reserves its most vicious attacks for these accomplished women. Take what Joy Behar, the far-left co-host of the View, said on TV about Sharron Angle


"I'd like to see her do this ad in the South Bronx. Come here, bitch, come to New York and do it," Behar said, adding, "She is going to hell, this bitch."

f a conservative said something this full of hate about a liberal, he'd be instantly fired. But there is a clear double-standard, especially when it comes to the National Organization for Women.

NOW endorsed Jerry Brown 24 hours after he plotted to call Whitman a whore for cutting a deal with a police union. After the endorsement stirred controversy, the president of the Los Angeles chapter reiterated that he believed Whitman was a whore.

And don't get me started on Sarah Palin. When she ran for Vice President in 2008, the Left, who essentially portrayed her as a dumb bimbo, speculated that she had too many children to be effective if she were elected. They even went so far as to spread rumors that one of her children wasn't even hers.

People are slowly realizing that Progressives, who are assumed to be the ideology of tolerance, is anything but.



Boxer likes the military?

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When Michelle Obama stumped for Barbara Boxer in Los Angeles Wednesday, she said that the far-left Senator supports the military. According to the Los Angeles Times:

Obama described Boxer as passionately supportive of members of the U.S. military and their families, as well as small businesses.

Yes, she is oozing with respect for the military. Here is a spoof of Boxer's infamous "Don't call me ma'am" lecture from conservative humorist David Zucker.


Discrimination in the 21st Century

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CSU Channel Islands will receive more than $6 million in federal grants to help Latino students get into college, graduate and go to graduate school.

The Camarillo university qualified for the two grants, both from the U.S. Department of Education, because it was designated an Hispanic-Serving Institution this year. That means its enrollment is at least 25 percent Latino, and it can apply for federal and other grants.



I have a dream that my four little children will one day live in a nation where they will not be judged by the color of their skin but by the content of their character. -MLK

In Stewart interview, Obama reveals plan to neutralize Republican Congressional gains

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If you can't win by the rules, change them.

That appears to be President Obama's mantra after appearing on Comedy Central's The Daily Show with John Stewart on Wednesday. His party faces historic losses at the ballot box on November 2nd, so the man that was supposed to bring hope and change to Washington politics will now simply hope to change the rules so he can continue to pursue his radical agenda, regardless of how the voters feel.

"I would love not to have a 60-vote requirement," Obama said, referring to the procedural process known as filibustering, "which is not in the Constitution, but is in the Senate rules right now, that applies to everything we do."

Look who's suddenly concerned about the Constitution!

To be fair, both parties use filibustering when they don't have a majority and threaten to use the so-called nuclear option to end filibustering when they have a majority. As of right now, it appears the Democrats will have only a slim edge in the Senate next year. Obama no doubt has more controversial policies up his sleeve, and Republicans could filibuster any one of them.

But if Obama succeeds in getting rid of the long-standing procedure, he'll need only a simple majority to pass his legislation in the Senate.

However, if Republicans succeed in regaining a majority in the House of Representatives, they can halt Obama's legislations that way.

That is unless, Obama's second way to neutralize Republican gains works--redistricting.

The president told Jon Stewart that he would pursue redistricting. Yes, this is the same president that took the unprecedented action of overseeing the Census.

"There's only one reason to have that high level of White House involvement," a career professional at the Census Bureau told John Fund of the Wall Street Journal. "And it's called politics, not science."

Anything that threatens the integrity of the Census has profound implications. Not only is it the basis for congressional redistricting, it provides the raw data by which government spending is allocated on everything from roads to schools.

So a wildly popular man who occupies the Presidency at a time when that office is the most powerful it's ever been, at the head of the federal government at the time it's at its most powerful, is now grasping for even more power to maneuver around the results of an election that isn't going to go his way?

Throw in the fact that the media won't lift a finger to challenge him, and I have to ask Democrats: would you trust George W. Bush with this amount of power?

Obama's appearance on Stewart's show was calculated to motivate young people to vote (and to vote Democrat). But he revealed a glimpse of how he is going to govern with a hostile Congress, and instead of triangulating like Bill Clinton, it appears he will double-down on his far-left agenda.

The PSL outs socialism again

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Now, let me say at the start that I'm not trying to offend anyone. There are people I love very dearly that are on the far Left and that support socialism.

"I hate it when people say I'm a commie," one such person told me once, about a conversation they had had with a Republican. "There's a big difference between socialism and communism."

I guess, in the way that a Quarter-Pounder differs than a Big Mac. They are called different things, and are priced separately. One has special sauce, but c'mon, they both have a beef patty, cheese, a bun and they both come from one place. Sure, the Big Mac has more patties and 50 percent more buns, but they are both burgers, right?

And don't give me a hamburger and tell me I'm eating a taco. For example, the latest thing now is to call Marxism "state capitalism."

That's like saying, "meet Whiskers, he's my feline dog."

Um, that looks like a cat. It just meowed.

"No, I just told you, it's a feline dog."

Fortunately, we have organizations like the Party for Socialism and Liberation that are so rabid they don't care about hiding the truth. That's the party for Socialism, and Liberation, ok?

What sort of ideas are mulling through the socialists' heads over there?

On Tuesday, maybe I should head down to Los Angeles and stop by the first of a three-part series of classes on "myths and facts and socialism."

There, the Party for Socialism and Liberation will correct the myth that socialism and communism are related, right?

"Living in the world capital of anti-communism, there are a wide variety of misconceptions and distortions about what socialists believe, and the world we fight to build," a PSL ad for the class reads.

Did they just use communism and socialism interchangeably? Maybe I hallucinated that.

Or maybe not--if the description of the second class is any guide.

Nov. 2: The Communist Manifesto--a guide to changing the world: The Communist Manifesto stands as one of the most well-read books of all time. Printed more than 160 years ago, it has been republished in almost every language, and has been a guide to action in the hands of workers and poor people on all over the world. What is it about the Communist Manifesto that has captured the minds of generations of people, and lead them in struggle? Find out why the Manifesto has been studied by workers in China, farmers in Cuba, soldiers in Russia and autoworkers in Detroit--and what we can learn from it today as we struggle for a better world.

Hmm, autoworkers in Detroit? Certainly American unions wouldn't get mixed up in this. You don't think Andy Stern read the manifesto, do you? (Even the MediaMatters rebuttal of the Stern video refers to "communist and socialist dictators"--but aren't they two entirely different things?)

But certainly we wouldn't confuse socialism, communism, AND Marxism, three, totally separate, unrelated ideas.

Unless you go to the PSL's third class, "Making a revolution--the role of a Marxist party."

No, PSL! You are the Socialist Party, not the Marxist party! Get with the program! S stands for socialism, not Marxism or communism. Can't you see they are three completely, separate, wholly independent ideas, with absolutely nothing to do with each other?

What's next, are you going to tell me that "liberal" is just a happy sounding word for the same idea, that liberals are all about sociali, uh...um...<pause>...er...would be about...<pause>...basically...taking over...and the government running everything?

I'm confident that many liberals/socialist/progressive big government types don't want collectivism, or communism or Marxism in the United States. But I don't think that they see that the uninterrupted growth of government eventually leads there. And it's not me saying it; I wish they'd ask themselves why the Socialist Party seems to be saying it.

Mayor receives nasty emails over parking meter flap

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Email is a wonderful tool to use to sound off to your elected representatives. Almost all public officials can be contacted in this method, and almost all of their email addresses can easily be found online, providing unprecedented access to public officials.

Obviously, the President of the United States isn't as likely to return an email as a councilperson or a mayor, but when a public official takes the time to read an email, it's more likely to register with them if it contains reasoned, cogent arguments in lieu of rants and profanity.

The angrier a message is, the more it risks being dismissed as the ravings of a lunatic. The problem is that it is so easy to dispatch an email in anger that people often don't take the time to think about what they've written.

Now, I've often said that anger is the most useful emotion. Sadness rarely inspires people to take action to fix problems; despair is an internal emotion. Fear can get you to take action, but in a defensive way. Anger is the most productive--it spurs you to act.

However, uncontrolled anger is counterproductive. It's the equivalent of a wildfire--it has no direction and it harms everything in its path. Harnessed fire, like harnessed anger, can be extremely productive. It can power homes, automobiles, and cities.

Therefore, if a citizen wants a productive exchange with politicians after they do something upsetting, as they often do, harnessed anger should be expressed to them, not irrational, wild anger.

When popular talk-radio hosts John and Ken criticized Mayor Bill Fulton of Ventura for 20 minutes last week over concerns that the city's parking meters are hurting businesses, they gave out his email address several times and posted it on their website. Consequently, Mayor Fulton received about 25 emails (admittedly, that was lighter than I thought it was going to be), some of which were profane.

How productive does the sender of a profane email think it's going to be?

One email read, "Why don't you get a f___ing clue?" (I've removed some letters for obvious reasons).

Do you think Mayor Fulton will run out and try to "get a clue"? Do you think he'll spend more than one second thinking about the email? No, he'll dismiss the author as someone who is upset at the world and taking it out on him, as most people would. [continue reading]

Are there more Shoupista's in Ventura City Hall?

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Yesterday, popular talk-radio hosts John and Ken slammed Mayor Bill Fulton and the City Council for installing parking meters in downtown Ventura.

A downtown store owner who says his business is being ruined by the meters was interviewed by the duo, who specifically targeted Fulton because he is a devotee of Donald Shoup, the "prophet of parking." Shoup advocates that automobile use should be discouraged through "smart growth" urban planning policies--for example, penalizing drivers with parking fees.

It seems Fulton may not be alone in Ventura. In 2007, City Manager Rick Cole wrote a blog that said Shoup gave a presentation to city officials. The next day, the City Council approved parking meters downtown.

Cole described the benefits of Shoup's parking fee idea, but nowhere in his post does it describe the (what should have been obvious) impact on local businesses. Here is the full post:

It's been tried before. Has the time come again for parking meters in Downtown Ventura?

That's the plan adopted by the City Council when it approved the Downtown Specific Plan earlier this year. Last night, UCLA Professor Don Shoup presented his findings on the advantages of paid parking at Ventura City Hall.

Shoup, the author of "The High Cost of Free Parking," has earned renown as "a parking rock star," according to the Wall Street Journal. "Cars are parked 95% of the time, but 95% of the academic research studies when they are moving," he told the Ventura audience last night. As a result of his research into this neglected realm of transportation policy, Shoup says charging for street parking will:
    • Reduce wasted vehicle travel, cutting congestion, air pollution, gas consumption and greenhouse gase emissions
    • Improve public services by providing new funding for added police protection, streetscape amenities and routine cleaning and maintenance of our Downtown

Shoup advocates pricing at a price high enough to ensure that there is always at least one space open on each side of a block. That eliminates the circling of the block that research shows averages about three minutes per car over the course of the day (eight minutes during peak parking usage.) While that may seem like a small improvement, Shoup's study of Westwood showed that 45% of the cars during peak hour traffic had already arrived and were looking for a convenient place to park. Over the course of a year, that consumed a million miles of excess vehicle travel, which is the distance of four trips to the moon.

Shoup detailed case studies in Redwood City and Pasadena where paid parking strategies have been successfully implemented. Pasadena, for example, now generates more than a million dollars of paid parking revenue per year to fund added public services in their downtown.

Shoup concluded that cities face a choice. Which would you rather have -- a million miles a year of wasted travel or a million dollars a year to improve Downtown?



Is John and Ken's "head on a stick" campaign coming to Ventura?

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kfi fulton email.png


If you're a politician in California the last thing you want is to be mentioned on The John and Ken Show, let alone have them dedicate a full segment to you.

Yet that's what happened to Ventura Mayor Bill Fulton Thursday afternoon, when the outspoken hosts--infamous for their anti-incumbent "heads on a stick" campaign--spent twenty minutes lambasting him for hurting downtown businesses with the installation of parking meters.

John Kobylt and Ken Chiampou, who daily reach a million listeners on KFI (AM 640), said they were angered after reading a Ventura County Star article about the emotional meeting between businesses owners and city officials over the unpopular parking meters in front of their stores.

The article quoted Gary Parker, a Tea Party activist who owns American Flags and Cutlery, as saying, "I'm telling you, if my business goes down, I am going to dedicate my retirement to bringing those (meters) down."

A producer contacted Parker, and shortly after 2 p.m. he was speaking to John and Ken on the air about the mayor, who Kobylt called "Mayor full-of-it Fulton."

Fulton caught the attention of John and Ken over the weekend, when he was quoted in a Los Angeles Times profile of UCLA professor Donald Shoup, the "prophet of parking."

 "It's really remarkable how he has become the godfather of this parking idea," said Ventura Mayor Bill Fulton, who as a UCLA planning student in 1982 took Shoup's class on public resource economics.

"Don has been saying the exact same thing for 40 years, and finally the world is listening to him."

Fulton, in fact, said he recently became a full-fledged Shoupista when Ventura implemented a Shoup-style parking management program and quickly saw the intended results. By charging for 400 of the 2,900 public parking spaces downtown, the city has spurred employees of local businesses to park at free city lots and walk to work rather than use curb spaces needed by customers.

Business owners, led by Parker, say that they are seeing far fewer customers since the parking meters became operational in September.

"You got to fight the stupid people, and Donald Shoup is an educated fool and Mayor Bill Fulton is an idiot for being a Shoupista. It's a cult," Kobylt ranted. [continue reading]

BREAKING: John and Ken lambaste Ventura city officials

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I wouldn't want to be on the Ventura City Council right now.

Sources tell me that the council's decision to install parking meters in downtown Ventura--the implementation of which triggered an emotional meeting yesterday as store owners' plead for a moratorium--took center stage on John and Ken's popular talk radio show on KFI 640.

The hosts are well known for going after public officials they disagree with, as shown by their popular "heads on a stick" campaign.

Mayor Fulton apparently took the brunt of John and Ken's criticism when the duo read what the City Council did, and invited a downtown Ventura business owner on the show.

I emailed Fulton for comment, expecting his email inbox to be full already, but he says only about 10 emails came in on this subject in the last couple of hours.

The pummeling will likely embolden the business owners in their quest for a moratorium--if not an outright termination--of the parking meters that they say are severely damaging their business.

I'll post the audio as it becomes available.

Downtown merchants lash out against Ventura City Council

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The million-dollar parking meters are driving away customers, downtown Ventura merchants told city officials Wednesday. 

In an emotional two-hour meeting led by Mayor Bill Fulton, a dozen downtown business owners shared personal woes of double-digit sales declines since the meters were turned on Sept. 14. Customers don't like the meters, have struggled to use them and complain they change the welcoming character of downtown, the owners said.

Some suggested a moratorium on the meters that would last well past the Christmas shopping season, but Mayor Fulton indicated that was unlikely.

Tea Party people also attended the meeting as a part of a nascent program to act as watchdogs at the city and county government level. Organizers are recruiting Tea Party Observers, as they are called, to regularly attend all manner of public meetings to document any policies local governments might enact that are deemed undesirable.

I hope Tea Party groups in other states and counties follow suit, as this is exactly what they should be doing. Until now, Tea Parties consist of local people attempting to change federal policy, which they did with flying colors. Now, they are beginning to focus that energy on the local level, which previously flew underneath their radar. They have the capability to greatly impact public policy in a positive way with this new plan.

Video: Michael Reagan endorses Jeff Gorell

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Michael Reagan is endorsing Jeff Gorell for State Assembly. The son of Ronald Reagan, Michael said he is proud to have someone of Gorell's caliber representing the district that contains his father's presidential library.


New PPIC poll: Sacramento is an embarrassment

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At what point can we pronounce the state legislature an utter failure? A new PPIC poll shows that California voters give Sacramento an abysmal 10 percent approval rating.

To put that into perspective, more people think that the sun revolves around the earth than think that state legislators are doing a good job.

Congress fares slightly better, with a 26 percent approval rating, according to the poll, which indicates increased voter pessimism around the country.

President Obama's approval rating is down 17 points from its high in May 2009; it now stands at 49 percent approve and 47 percent disapprove. He's more popular in California--55 percent of Golden State likely voters approve of his job performance.

Almost all Californians think the country is in a recession, and about two-thirds are worried about making their next rent or mortgage payment.

Although Democrats outnumber Republicans in California, only 45 percent of likely voters think Congress should remain in Democratic hands; 43 percent want to see control shifted to the Republicans.

Overall, it's still shaping up to be a historic election for Republicans, but they aren't there yet.  While Fiorina is gaining on Boxer, the PPIC poll shows that Whitman is falling behind Brown. A conflicting poll by the Republican Governor's Association shows a dead heat.

Mayor apologizes for using Tea Party epithet

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The life of political commentators is comprised of complaining about things, usually because most things in politics are ugly and bad. However, occasionally we come across something that is good, just, right or fair, and it's important that we don't let the bad news overshadow the good news.

On September 20th, Ventura Mayor Bill Fulton used the term "teabaggers" to describe Tea Party activists who attended that night's city council meeting to protest a proposed ban on single-use plastic bags.

Unbeknownst to many people, "teabagger" is a derisive term for a certain kinky sex act. For a description of the act, as well as some nasty remarks on Tea Partiers and Fox News Channel, check out the Urban Dictionary.

Some tea partiers complained, and Mayor Fulton did a classy thing. I've received reports that he responded to individual complaints (even perusing my blog and addressing specific commenters that were critical of him) and apologized if he used that word but admitting he could not remember. When he was made aware of the video where he used it, he issued a public apology on his blog.

"I was unaware that Tea Party members dislike the term and did not know that it had a sexual connotation that the Tea Party, understandably, finds offensive," Fulton wrote. "I am sorry that I used this term in public and I certainly won't use it again."

It's certainly believable that a middle-aged gentleman like Fulton did not know what the slang word meant. Some Tea Partiers don't even know what it means, and many in the general public haven't heard the term before the Tea Party sprang onto the national scene in 2009. One baffled acquaintance asked me in a public setting what other meanings the word has. "Why don't people like being called that? What does teabagging mean?" I was asked, to my dismay.

Some people on the left--and I'm glad that Fulton is not one of these--know exactly what the term means and use it to humiliate conservatives.

But since the mayor offered an apology and a plausible explanation, we can hopefully put this issue to rest, and credit Fulton with handling this particular issue with courtesy and class.

California NOW at odds with parent group over "whore" remark

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The National Organization for Women, the premier organization for gender equality in the United States, is at odds with itself over the Whitman/Brown "whore" saga.  While the national organization condemned the insult from the Brown campaign as "hate speech", the president of the California chapter seems to disagree and reasserted Thursday that Whitman is a "political whore."

California NOW President [Patty] Bellasalma told the TPM blog on Thursday that the description of the Republican candidate for governor of California is accurate.

"Meg Whitman could be described as 'a political whore.' Yes, that's an accurate statement," Bellasalma said after a TPM blogger called to ask her about a story that appeared on the Daily Caller website.

In response to the voicemail where Brown and a female aide are heard discussing calling Whitman a "whore", the national NOW group, which endorsed Brown's campaign a day after the scandal erupted, called his apology "overdue" and called on him to "fire any member of his staff who used this word or any hate speech against women." [continue reading]

Obama and religion

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While reading Dr. Beverly Kelley's column on rebranding in the Ventura County Star (she's a former professor of mine, incidentally), I was inspired to comment on Barack Obama and religion.

First things first--when discussing Obama and religion you have to address the Muslim question, considering nearly a quarter of Americans thinks he's more comfortable in a mosque than a church.

For the record, he's a Christian--a very, very unusual Christian, but a Christian nonetheless.

In fact, he's such an unorthodox Christian, that I think it confuses many people into assuming he's a Muslim because he believes things that few mainstream Christians believe.

If you asked your friends and neighbors if they've ever been in a church where the pastor railed against Jews and America on a regular basis, they'll probably say no. Obama? He went to a church like that for 20 years and was married by just such a pastor, a pastor who describes his doctrine as Liberation Theology.

If you asked them what they think about the Ground Zero mosque, chances are they don't think it's a good idea that it be built. Obama is more open minded.

If you ask them if they should bow to leaders of Muslim countries, I think most people would disagree with that. But that's exactly what it appeared that Obama was doing.

Throw in the fact that his father was Muslim and he grew up in Indonesia, and it becomes understandable why many Americans are mistaken about his religion, apart from the insulting explanation that they are just stupid, ignorant white people.

Even Obama confuses the matter more when he discusses his faith:

I am a Christian. So, I have a deep faith. So I draw from the Christian faith. On the other hand, I was born in Hawaii where obviously there are a lot of Eastern influences. I lived in Indonesia, the largest Muslim country in the world, between the ages of six and 10. My father was from Kenya, and although he was probably most accurately labeled an agnostic, his father was Muslim. And I'd say, probably, intellectually I've drawn as much from Judaism as any other faith.

Huh? And Americans aren't supposed to be confused?

I've concluded that Americans suspect he's not a mainstream Christian, and many of them assume that because he's something "else" it must be that he's a Muslim.

What they don't realize is that Obama is a Liberation Theology Christian--and if they knew what that was, they would be horrified.

Woman who witnessed the rise of Hitler to speak to Tea Party group

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Kitty Werthmann lived in Austria and was an eyewitness to the rise of totalitarianism in the 30's. She saw that freedom wasn't taken away suddenly, but gradually, bit by bit over time.

he 84-year-old woman will travel from South Dakota to Newbury Park to speak on her experiences to only a few groups, including the Thousand Oaks Tea Party. The following is an excerpt from an e-mail advertising the event [continue reading]

Democrats urge Yes on Prop 19 to reduce "racially biased arrests"

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Prop 19, the marijuana legalization initiative, isn't something I feel strongly about one way or the other. Yes, I am a social conservative, but I'm small-l libertarian-minded enough to not want to criminalize acts done in the privacy of one's own home. Whether it passes or not, my life isn't going to be affected much.

But my passions are inflamed when I read why the Ventura County Democratic Party supports Prop 19. Tops on their list of reasons

"Reduce racially biased arrests."

Why does everything have to be race-based with Democrats?

LA Weekly reported that the ACLU supports the proposition because [continue reading]

Capps' opponent reacts to her "rare moment of political candor"

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Earlier I wrote about Rep. Lois Capps' surprising caught-on-tape admission that Obamacare isn't all that it's cracked up to be. Last year, the former nurse-turned-politician enthusiastically supported it, telling town hall audiences that support for it can be found in the Constitution.

Now, she's whistling a different tune, calling it a "big gamble." I wonder what changed?

Her Republican challenger in the 23rd Congressional District, former Top-Gun pilot Tom Watson, told me that her "rare moment of political candor" was "pretty shocking."

"This bill is doing the exact opposite of what they told us it was going to do," Watson said. "We had a cost problem, and they have just made it worse. It is causing rates to increase dramatically."

He said his company's premiums increased by 30 percent this year.

"Bottom line on this new law is we are all going to pay more and get less," Watson added. [continue reading]

Why is NOW endorsing Brown?

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Within a day of the revelation that gubernatorial candidate Jerry Brown discussed calling opponent Meg Whitman a "whore" with an aide, he received the endorsement of the National Organization of Women.

In case that didn't register with some readers: a powerful man referred to a woman who he is in competition with as a "whore" and he then received an endorsement from the country's premier feminist organizations.

What's going on here?

Whitman is an accomplished businesswoman, something that feminists everywhere should love, and NOW is OK with a guy that called her a "sexist" name?

Brown supposedly used the word because he was upset that she was endorsed by a law enforcement union with whom he claimed she cut a deal. If that makes it OK to call her names, what name should Brown call a women's organization that sells out to a man just because he's a Democrat?

Simply put, the NOW is nothing more than a front organization for Progressive and Democratic causes. It no longer should have any credibility when it comes to women's issues.



Larry Elder returns to KABC

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Elder.jpgConservative talk radio personality Larry Elder is back on 790 KABC.

The "Sage from South Central" returned to the airwaves September 27th--replacing the Frosty, Heidi and Frank Show--almost two years after he and KABC parted ways.

After the show's cancellation, Elder--a self-described "small l" libertarian Republican--considered running for U.S. Senate against Barbara Boxer if Carly Fiorina backed out.

Citadel Broadcasting Corp, the owner of KABC and the third largest radio broadcaster in the country, filed for bankruptcy in December 2009 and emerged from reorganization in May. It's reorganized its lineup, leading to the cancellation of the Frosty, Heidi and Frank experiment.

That show was more suitable to FM radio, with its sophomoric humor, debauchery and drinking shows. For KABC, the trio tried to tone it down and discuss more political news but the format did not succeed. 
790kabc.jpg

I've listened to them off and on since about 1996--they really have a great show and it's too bad it didn't work out.

But at least Elder is back--his show features first-class commentary. I hope he sticks around on radio for a long time (unless he decides to run for public office...)

Treasurer candidate discusses county finances

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Steven Hintz is a retired judge running for Ventura County Treasurer/Tax Collector. He's a fiscal conservative that is endorsed by a wide spectrum of groups including the Ventura County GOP, SEIU, and the Ventura County Deputy Sheriffs' Association. The Ventura County Star also endorsed Hintz (again) earlier this month, writing:

We believe his decision-making experience and financial know-how position him to properly serve the best interests of Ventura County taxpayers.

If elected, Mr. Hintz will be charged with the responsibility of working with the county's chief investment officer to wisely invest the county's existing $2 billion portfolio. We also view Mr. Hintz as being a strong advocate for taxpayers.

Impressively, Hintz has vowed to turn down the use of a county car, cell phone, and $10,000 of his salary if he is elected.

Hintz touched on his economic philosophy in my last interview with him--in this post there's a little more detail about how this potential treasurer will protect our public funds.

One way to figure out where someone thinks the economy is headed is to see where they put their money. It's not perfect--an individual is going to have a different investment strategy than a multi-billion dollar organization, but it provides a little perspective.

Three-quarters of Hintz' personal money is invested in money market and bond funds, mostly tax exempt. The remaining quarter is in a broad American fund, a fund south of our border, and energy funds. A very small portion is invested in precious metals.

"My personal goal is capital preservation, not capital gain," Hintz said.

Me, I'm worried about the long-term value of the dollar and am scared to death to be in anything American, but a thirty-year-old, a retiree, and a county aren't going to have the same concerns.

Hintz listed these facts about Ventura County's investment portfolio:

  • 85 percent: federal bonds issued by Ginnie Mae, Fannie Mae, etc. with a maturity rate of three years or less, and an average maturity of no longer than one year.
  • 15 percent: 270-day commercial paper issued by Chevron and General Electric
  • Between $2 million and $10 million is re-invested every workday
  • Rate of return is about 1.5 percent
  • Managed completely in house

That's not going to knock anyone's socks off, but a lot of people will take comfort with this conventional and conservative portfolio that is managed according to an investment policy established by the Board of Supervisors.

"If I am elected, the Chief Investment Officer and I will review all the allowable investment options, but it would be inappropriate for this fund to chase yield at the cost of incurring additional risk," Hintz said.

He's right; while I wouldn't have my money invested in Fannie Mae, it's good for large public funds to exercise a large abundance of caution and follow the herd--risky investments don't just have the potential of screwing over thousands of people, it could land the treasurer in jail.

Hintz couldn't comment on the retirement fund, saying he doesn't have enough information on it and that it is managed with the assistance of outside investors.

The candidate, if elected, would assume a seat on the county Employee's Retirement Association board of directors, which runs the county pension fund.

Tea Partiers plan to keep close eye on local government, too

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The Tea Party movement is primarily a grassroots response to federal government encroachment. It began with the bailout and stimulus packages and caught fire with Obamacare.

As Tea Partiers wade deeper into politics, they are growing more concerned that progressivism infects not only the top of the political food chain but exists even at the lowest levels of government.

The Ventura County Tea Party Patriots are concerned enough about their local officials to initiate a new program to send members to various city and county government meetings to see what they're up to. They're even working with groups in other regions and states to keep an eye on their respective localities.

The new Tea Party Observers program is a response to Leftist political groups such as the Center for Community Change, which operate on the local level to push a national agenda by thinking locally and acting nationally.

It's the next place the Tea Party Movement will evolve to. Although it is the ideological opposite of progressivism, it is nevertheless borrowing the tactics of the Left. Picketing public places, marching in the street, rallying at the National Mall--Tea Partiers are becoming very successful at giving the Left a taste of its own medicine. And now, forming into local Acorn-type groups (without the fraud and socialist agenda) and focusing their power on the local level is the next step they need to take to save the country.

Volunteers are actively being recruited to take notes at every City Council and Board of Supervisor meeting, and the group is gathering Thursday night in Ventura for final preparations.

Whitman housekeeper scandal is "Jerry-rigged"

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Are we really supposed to believe that Gloria Allred coincidentally dropped the accusation that Meg Whitman knowingly employed an illegal alien right before the first gubernatorial debate on Univision in Spanish?

"It looks like a political stunt," said Sen. Tony Strickland, R-Moorpark, who attended the debate as a co-chairman of the Whitman campaign. "It's no accident that they do a big press conference with Gloria Allred a month before the election."

Of course, Thursday evenings, which was when the press conference was held, are the primo times to drop a bombshell on your opponent so they are kept on the defensive all weekend.

"Don't run for governor if you can't stand on your own two feet and say, 'I made a mistake,'" Jerry Brown said.

Is Jerry Brown going to make any admissions about his ally Allred's timing? Doubt it. [continue reading]

Union, candidate give conflicting views of endorsement interview

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This one is coming down to a he-said-she-said, so make of it whatever you will.

Josie Hirsch is running for the Simi Valley school board and two weeks ago I reported on her outspoken criticism of teachers unions. She said she planned to reject any endorsement of the Simi Educators Association, whose parent organization is the powerful California Teachers Association. An endorsement would have been unlikely anyway, if this really did happen at Hirsch's interview with the SEA in August:

"They were wise not to endorse me," Hirsch said, "as I told them during the interview that unions are outdated, and that the job of the union is to represent the teachers in negotiations--not to lead the board in them."

Hirsch said she only interviewed with them to sharpen her interview skills and to find out what the union's interests were.

A representative from the SEA, who is on the interview committee, disagreed with Hirsch's account of the interview.

Mark Sheinberg told me that Hirsch said in the interview that she was seeking the union's endorsement to improve the area's schools. He also said it was clear that Hirsch was a political novice making her first foray into politics.

She didn't even know what "CTA" stood for or that it was related to the SEA, according to Sheinberg.

He believes that Hirsch's campaign theme suddenly became anti-union when the union found her opponents to be more qualified and therefore more worthy of its endorsement.

Hirsch said she attempted to retrieve the interviewers' notes from SEA President Dayle Gillick to back up her story. According to Hirsch, Gillick told her that the interviewers did not keep notes, "nor did they remember any specifics from the original interview."

I asked Hirsch for comment on Sheinberg's recollections and she neither confirmed nor denied them for me. Instead, she said recalled what Gillick told her.

"[Gillick] said the impressions she received from the committee were that I was gracious, excited to be running and very concerned for the teachers and students of the district," Hirsch wrote to me in an e-mail, recalling that Gillick also said "that I really wanted to help improve the schools and education of the students."

The SEA also told me that no audio or video of the interview was recorded, so there's no proof to back up either Hirsch's or Sheinberg's conflicting claims.

Treasurer candidate Hintz discusses his economic philosophy

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Steven Hintz is probably the hardest working candidate in any local race. If you're in a community group, chances are that he's dropped by one of your meetings--he goes to about three of them a day, every day. I half expect him to show up to my kid's first birthday party to shake hands with the parents and listen to their concerns, and inform them of his candidacy for Ventura County Treasurer Tax Collector.


I like that strong work ethic in a candidate; the people-driven approach that shows he cares about every single vote. It helped him advance past the June primary election as one of the two finalists in the election, the other candidate being former tax association president Don Facciano.

Hintz (pronounced like "hints") himself is a retired judge with a no-nonsense reputation. If jittery defense lawyers gave him a nickname, it was probably "Hang 'Em High Hintz." While that sounds intimidating, he's approachable enough, especially if you are willing to discuss one of his favorite hobbies--model trains.

He likes them so much he oversaw a $2.8 million budget as the CFO of the California State Railroad Museum Foundation in Old Town Sacramento. He cites this experience as one of his qualifications to run for Treasurer,  but loopy new rules enacted by the Ventura County Board of Supervisors puts a greater emphasis on his business classes from his college days. However, those rules paved the way for Hintz to run; he didn't throw his hat into the ring until well-organized and well-funded Audra Strickland was deemed to be ineligible.

As the man who may have a big say in the economic well-being of the county, I wanted to learn more about his economic philosophy. Hintz may look like a trim Barney Frank, but his approach to finances is quite the opposite. [continue reading]

IngeMusings
Topic
This blog attempts to add perspective and context to local and national politics, through a variety of disciplines, such as history, economics, and philosophy--all tempered with common sense. About the author

Eric Ingemunson's commentary has been featured on Hannity, CNN, NBC, Inside Edition, and KFI's The John and Ken Show. Eric was born and raised in Ventura County and currently resides in Moorpark. He earned a master's degree in Public Policy and Administration from California Lutheran University. As a conservative, Eric supports smaller government, less taxation, more individual freedom, the rule of law, and a strict adherence to the Constitution.
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