Friday, October 27, 2006


In which M2 gets riled over the Idyllwild wildfire

The San Jacinto Mountains area stands among my favorite places in Southern California. It’s a mountain region on the edge of the great desert that sweeps into Arizona. “Palms to pines,” it is a brilliant study in geographical contrasts.

And now, because of some damned arsonist’s malice the mountain is on fire.

Thus far, three people—all heroically courageous firefighters—have been killed in a blaze that has already consumed tens of thousands of acres. Hundreds of houses are in danger. Hundreds have had to evacuate. It will be put out, but the scars of it will last a century.

I don’t know if the crime of arson makes one liable for the death penalty, but I tell you what: if I catch the son-of-a-bitch that did this... well, I won't tell you what...

Sunday, October 22, 2006

How to Vote and Why

In which M2 arrogantly schools you on how to behave in the November mid-terms

Governor: Arnold Schwarzenegger
What? But, M2, we thought you were a Democrat?

I am. But so is Arnold, more or less. He just plays a Republican for the cameras. He’s made some gaffs, such as his misguided and expensive ballot initiative fiasco. But he’s got the right balance of social liberalism and fiscal conservatism. He’s also developed great relationships across party lines in the legislature, such as with Jackie Speier (see below). Schwarzenegger may illicit snickers from the East Coast establishment and from your friends in Europe but the fact is he and his wife Maria Shriver lend Ka-lee-for-nee-ah star cachet – as evidenced by the fact that those same snobs always brighten up when you tell them you’ve met him, asking, breathlessly, “what’s he like?” (For the record, I haven’t met him, but I know people who have and they all tell the same story.) And he’s right about Latinas being hot.

Lieutenant Governor: John Garamendi
Jackie Speier would have been my first choice. Any woman who can take as many slugs as she did down at Jonestown in Guyana gets my vote. But the fact is she’s out, making Garamendi the viable choice. The Republican, McClintock, is a Scrooge who only knows how to vote “no,” especially with regard to renewable fuels legislation and anything remotely conservationist. Money for schools? No. Infrastructure? Fuhgeddaboutit!

Secretary of State: Debra Bowen
Not thrilling, but she’s right on all the basic issues.

Controller: John Chiang
See above. What’s the controller do, anyway?

Treasurer: Marian Smithson
Often I wish careerists like Bill Lockyear, who is the state’s current attorney general and is the Democrat now running for treasurer, would step aside and give someone else a chance for a change, instead of just serially shifting from one title to another, but that’s only a small part of the reason I’m ducking the democratic vote here. Libertarian Marian Smithson’s the only experienced accountant and treasurer (City of West Covina) in the running. Why is the chief officer of the treasury an elected position anyway?

Insurance Commissioner: Steve Poizner
Again with the Republicans! What gives, M2?

Democrat Cruz Bustamante is a fat, corrupt bureaucrat with the ethics of Bucky the Siamese cat in the Get Fuzzy comic strip. Blind party loyalty's for chumps. Poizner’s a smart entrepreneur who, I think, is more likely to protect Californians’ pocket books. Were he running for another office, one that dealt directly with social issues, it would be different.

Attorney General: Jerry Brown
Although I like Libertarian Kenneth Weissman’s positions on many issues—abortion, victimless crimes and so forth—I feel it is the duty of the attorney general to enforce the law as it was enacted whether he likes the law or not. Weissman would be too tempted to legislate from his office, which is beyond his office’s purview. Also, looking at Weissman’s website, with its cornball patriotic sound track, I also think he might be kind of a nutter. The Republican, Poochigian, is too gung-ho about putting people on death row and going after high-profile non-issues like the supposed meth epidemic. So, in the tradition of the California Office Title Shuffle, I cast a reluctant party-line vote for Jerry Brown, Oakland’s mayor and the former “Governor Moonbeam.”

U.S. Senator: Dianne Feinstein
Dianne’s the perfect moderate. I don’t agree with her on every little thing, but she’s a canny political operator, has always been a great defender of the interests of the state, is respected on both sides of the aisle and understands the importance of the war in which we find ourselves currently engaged against radical Islamist terrorists and the Middle Eastern tyrannies who support them, without being blindly loyal to the administration. Besides, like Margaret Thatcher and Lady Bird Johnson, Dianne’s got hair you can trust.

Ballot Measures
Ballot measures are stupid. I don’t trust them. Half the time they’re written by businesses seeking to fill their coffers or get tax breaks or by special interest groups who have anything but the general welfare in mind. But here they are and here’s how to vote.

1A Transportation Funding Protection: Yes
This closes a loophole in a 2002 law that allows legislators to siphon off gas tax money earmarked to repair roadway infrastructure.

1B Highway Safety… Port Security, etc.: Yes
Securing the ports against terrorist attack is priority one.

1C Housing and Emergency Shelter Trust Act: No
We’re at war and $2.8 billion’s too much to spend on this right now. People will just have to tighten up and make better decisions with their own finances and their life choices. This is a hand-out.

1D Kindergarten-University Public Education Bond Act: Yes
Bond measure of $10.4 billion for school improvements. Better educated citizens will be better able to make crucial decisions, find meaningful and productive work, and innovate, making the country stronger. And since Prop 13 gutted our schools, bond measures are, sadly, among our schools’ major sources of funding.

1E Disaster Preparedness and Flood Prevention Bond: Yes
No California Katrina disasters, please.

83 Sex Offenders… Punishment, Residence, Restrictions, and Monitoring Initiative: Yes
Sex offenders are icky and we’ve been too lenient on them in the past. Rape is murder in my mind.

84 Water Quality, Safety and Supply…etc.: No
This is just shifting the burden from property owners to everyone. Property owners need to be responsible for their property.

85 Parental Notification of Abortion: No
Women’s right to choose and all that. I know it’s surgery and girls can’t even get their ears pierced without parental consent. But can you imagine being a 16-year-old having to make the hardest decision of her life knowing that her parents might force her to carry the fetus to term?

86 Tax on Cigarettes: Yes
Cigarettes are for chumps and chumps ought to be made to pay for what they cost the public in hospital bills and health insurance payments. Ha! Bet this anti-smoking image got your attention >>

87 Alternative Energy: Yes
Reducing our dependence on oil from the Middle Eastern tyrannies ought to be a vital tactic in the war against radical Islamism. Alternative, renewable, domestic energy will make us stronger and safer and stimulate the economy.

88 Education Funding, Real Estate Tax: Yes
It’s only $50 a parcel and will provide $450 annually for education.

89 Political Campaigns, Public Funding: Yes
Reforms around campaign financing are much needed and won’t cost much.

90 Eminent Domain: Yes
Prevents the state from seizing private property willy-nilly and for commercial or other purposes. Private property is the cornerstone of our prosperity. Let's keep it intact.

Later I'll school you on the local issues for Los Angeles and the Valley. Stay tuned.

Friday, October 20, 2006

Almost All Better Now

Managed to restore my sidebar, but at the cost of all the customization I'd done on it.

Regularly scheduled posting will resume shortly.

I am still unhappy about AdSense not offering a simple "op-out" button. Very bad form, Google. Very bad form.

Until you get your act together, here's a little present for you. You bastards.

Tuesday, October 10, 2006

AdSense Help!

I went and put AdSense ads on this blog as an experiement and now it's ruined! My entire sidebar has been shoved down below my content and nothing I do in the Template seems to be able to get it back.

Can anyone help?

There seems to be no way to turn off AdSense in this interface. That's just plain WRONG! A publisher should be able to opt in and opt out at will.

Please help if you can.

Friday, October 06, 2006

Valley Oddities

In which we explore the strange, the peculiar & the slightly off-kilter

Okay. I'm stumped. I ran across this... shoe-car thing... this morning on my way to the office. I have no idea what it's about. It was parked next to a shoe repair shop, but I wouldn't think such a small venture would support so grandiose an automobile.

It seems the epitome of "only in L.A." Then again, maybe an old lady with a lot of children lives inside.

Thursday, October 05, 2006


In which we witness the near perfect, weather-wise anyway

Picture perfect. It’s about all I can say.

Today was the best day in terms of weather and climate that I have seen since moving into the mighty San Fernando. It’s cool, crisp even. The air feels good. There is no smog. The clouds above the desert hills and mountain tops are more promising than threatening. It was a beautiful, beautiful day.

Tuesday, October 03, 2006

Yahoo! Hack Day

In which we travel up to Sunnyvale to see Yahoo! get its mojo back

Last friday Yahoo! held its first ever public Hack Day, in which hackers from around the nation and the world were invited the Yahoo! campus for an all-night hack-a-thon. About 400 super geeks showed up for the confab and party, which featured the suprise musical guest, Beck.

But the highlight for yours truly was the Beck puppet video, above.

For the full skinny on Hack Day, see the post on my day job blog, YPN Blog.