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06 February 2008 @ 10:26 am
Well, the dust has just barely settled here in the great state of Kahhhlifoahnia, and despite weeks of nearly nonstop kerfluffle, we're basically right where we started - two strong Democratic candidates continue to vie for the party nomination this August. 

According to the San Francisco Chronicle, Sonoma County's registrar of voters believes we've seen the highest turnout in primary history (projected to be 72%). At the county level, we went with Obama by a little over 4,000 votes. It was also likely a record-breaking event at the state level - expected to total 8.9 million - and as a whole, the popular vote fell to the junior senator from New Yawk.

There were a number of snafus along the way, including long lines and a shortage of ballots in several Bay Area precincts. "Decline to state" voters (those folks not specifically registered with a political party) in the Southland were unpleasantly surprised to learn that a new, specially designed ballot may have inadvertently screwed them out of their vote. (Thankfully, our Secretary of State is both very proactive and very responsive to anything smacking of voter fraud/disenfranchisement, and some other good folks are on the ball as well, so we should see some satisfactory resolution. Although DTS voters comprise a relatively small percentage of all CA voters - we're still talking about +700,000 people, every one of whom deserve a chance to be heard.)

My personal favourite "voting snafu" story is coming out of Senator Obama's homestate of Illinois, where voters in one ward were handed touchscreen styluses to use on paper ballots - and when the "pens" left no mark of any kind, were told by precinct officials that this was because they used invisible ink.

No, I'm not making this up.

CNN is reporting that the delegate split in CA is 42 for Hillary, 23 for Barack - bringing the projected current totals to 823 and 741 respectively - although local news organizations aren't prepared to crunch numbers as of yet. In any event, both frontrunners are still a long way from the 2025 required for the nomination. My guess is that it will be a long, bumpy ride till August and one helluva battle at the Denver convention.

A wee update about AB1x
: died in the Senate. Thank gawd.

New Zealand update
(because you had to have one. people): Waitangi Day passed peacefully, with celebrations at Te Tii marae and a 3000 strong hikoi led by Tuhoe. The TR flag didn't so much fly over as traverse the Auckland Bridge this year, Mel created t-shirts, the other Bonnie puttered in her garden, and my Bonnie had to sit and listen to me bitch about my job for a couple of hours.

And my inside sources, whom are entirely imaginary, inform me that beyond this - several Kiwis drank beverages and ate food items. But don't quote me on that. ;)


 
 
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28 January 2008 @ 07:49 pm


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dagcentral
A big fat high five to the voters of South Carolina, who turned out in record numbers to hand the South Carolina Democratic primary (and 25 delegates) to Senator Barack Obama. After weeks of media speculation about whether or not the Neeeegroes of the Palmetto State would vote for a black candidate, or whether the older white battleaxes would vote for an older white battleaxe - the everyday folks of the state responded with a resounding:

DUH.

Honestly - such is my irritation with the pundits-that-be that I'm actually guffawing (that is, when I'm not chortling) (and on one occasion, even braying, but there was a *lot* of alcohol involved, and it's not a story for the tender ears of my morally upright readership of 10) at their inability to grasp the most elementary truths of this campaign. I don't *care* how many time the candidates opine that gender and race "don't" or "shouldn't" matter - they matter plenty. People want to dialog about it - and this is A Good Thing (tm). For all that the news coverage has been predictably shallow and annoying - I can't remember the last time the MSM was this awash in gender/race analysis  - or the last time the Big National News Stories of the day - day after day -  have been about anything other than neocon white males. Though I won't vote for either of them, I do salute the Democratic frontrunners for the opportunity to haul out our ugly biases once again, and pick away at them for the poorly constructed pieces of crap they've always been.

Speaking of piles of poorly constructed pieces of crap: Gloria Steinem's op-ed piece in the New York Times (yes, I realize I'm really late on the uptake about this, but oddly enough, I have a life beyond blogging, and right now, it's more than a bit chaotic). There was an avalanche of response, mostly negative, to her premise that teh womenz have a harder go of it than teh black menz. Oh, G-l-o-r-i-a - how can it be that the first feminist voice to punch through the weapons-grade misogny of my adolescent years could be talking all out her damn head now?

Might I gently point out, though, that it seems a bit strange to observe the outrage about Gloria's dismissiveness towards race, in a year when a righteous black woman is, in fact, running for President - and there is depressingly little chatter about her, either in the media (of any stripe) or in the blogosphere (of any stripe) - despite her impeccably progressive voting record and her many years of political experience?

Might we all spare a byte or two for Ms.Cynthia McKinney? (She for whom I will be "throwing away" my vote in November?) Thank you.

Am I done ranting at this point? I believe I am. Will endeavour not to whinge and moan for at least a week or so, but all bets are off in the Whinge Dept. as we slouch towards Tsunami Tuesday. Would like to point out, though, that the Totally! Kiwi! Kid! recently applied for her residency, and has set a weddin' date: 9 November. Yay!

Ergo - and this is by far the most important factoid imparted here this evening, when any number of important factoids are falling like ripe fruit at your very feet: I'll be hauling the immediate whanau to New Zealand (hubby and Number One Son for the second time, second daughter for the first visit) long about Nov. 4 of this year. That's right, we'll vote and vamoose, on the premise that:

a. If another Republican is voted into office, we'll be far, far away, consoling ourselves with the solemn majesty of the Palmerston North clock tower, plus fush and chups and decent beer; or
b. If anybody else, including certain forms of slime mold, is voted into office, we'll be far, far away, careening joyfully around the solemn majesty of the Palmerston North clock tower, full of fush and chups and decent beer.

And that is all. Now run get your earplugs or show me whatcha workin' with. And if you don't like Missy - well then, there's really not any sort of hope for you, is there? >;)
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21 January 2008 @ 05:53 am
 
 
21 January 2008 @ 05:03 am
...for your service and example: happy birthday, Dr. King! :)

 
 
 
dagcentral
...srsly. As long as politicians torment me unceasingly in the privacy of my own home - *you* will have to "suffer" along with me.

(Although you can't really count Delinquent Habits as a form of torment, can you? The only acceptable answer here being: "No. You cannot." :)

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dagcentral
Holy crap, dude - I know you're trolling for votes in Nevada but what is this about?



Honest to pete.
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So, couple of interesting tidbits to report, although technically, neither is exactly a tidbit, and I guess *you* will be the judge as to whether or not they're interesting.

Choose wisely, Grasshopper.

The Big Mook unveiled his solution to our state's "fiscal emergency" recently. (Yes: we're having a "fiscal emergency." It's sort of a permanent fixture of life in the Golden State at this point, much like breast implants and earthquakes and voting in B movie actors to high political office.) His solution: We need to be more like Arkansas.

No. Rly.

Quoth the San Jose Mercury News: "California should follow Arkansas, Schwarzenegger said, with a budget process that hordes money in good times to cover shortfalls in bad ones, and triggers automatic spending cuts when the economy turns south. Unlike California, Schwarzenegger said, Arkansas only taps its savings to cover deficits.

"The governor proposed a constitutional spending limit this week that his administration said originated, at least in part, with a conversation between Schwarzenegger and former President Bill Clinton about finances in Clinton's native state."

(And I can just about imagine the wide-eyed look he gave when he delivered that coupe de bitchslap - troubled about the Ahhnold's budget proposal? But it's what Bill Clinton would do *coughandHillarytooprobablycough.* Just sayin', is all...)

Besides slashing roughly 10% from the state's education budget and closing several dozen state parks (including both Austin State Creek and Armstrong Woods - the latter in which the Totally! Kiwi! Daughter! and her most excellent Pakeha boy got engaged - *bastard!*) - the real kicker for me, here, is that he also wants to cut healthcare funding:

  • A $1.1 billion reduction in Medi-Cal spending (including cutting reimbursement by 10%. Fantastic! Now the entire three healthcare providers who still accept Medi-Cal will finally stop, eh?). Also included: total elimination of dental care, podiatry, and vision and hearing services for the poor.
  • An $11 million cut to HIV/AIDs services, including elimination of coverage of some medications.
  • A $4.7 million cut to the Community Care Licensing Division - which monitors long-term care for the elderly (in a state with one of the most abominable records for neglect/abuse in skilled nursing facilities)
  • A $6.6 million reduction in public health services, including communicable disease surveillance and vaccinations programs
  • A $3.5 million cut in funding to diagnose and treat chronic diseases
  • Closing one state Occupational Safety and Health Standards Board hearing office, which handles approximately 1000 claims a year. (Currently, with exisiting offices in full swing, there's a backlog of 3000 claims a year)

What really brings teh stoopid about all this, though, is that the Guv has been toiling away all year, cobbling together bipartisan support for his weak-as counterproposal to Sheila Kuehl's SB 840, ABx 11 - which will cost an additional $14 million a year. (Add the numbers above and you'll get a piercingly clear notion of just how much "help" this bill provides to Californians.)

Arggh.

At any rate, if you're in (or plan to be in) the Los Angeles area the weekend of Feb.23-24, Health Care for All and its allies plan a two day strategy meeting at Good Samaritan Hospital. Go here, find your local chapter and email for details if you're interested in attending!
 
 
11 January 2008 @ 07:13 am

(Shamelessly swiped from Stuff; pic via The Age)

Flag flies at half-mast over a sad Scott Base

The New Zealand flag is flying at half-mast at Scott Base in Antarctica and there is a "very subdued" atmosphere on the base Sir Edmund Hillary started 51 years ago.

Antarctica New Zealand chief executive Lou Sanson, who learned of Sir Edmund's death at around 10am today, said it was a sad day for New Zealand and everyone at Scott Base was affected.

Sir Edmund went to Antarctica last year for the 50th anniversary of Scott Base.

At the time, Prime Minister Helen Clark invited him to go back to the ice this summer to celebrate the 50th anniversary of Sir Edmund's arrival at the South Pole.

But Mr Sanson today said that about six months ago Sir Edmund had telephoned him to say he wouldn't make it.

"He said he just couldn't do it. He just didn't feel he had the energy to do it."

It was just "so sad" that his death had come barely days after the 50th anniversary of him reaching the South Pole.

Sir Edmund had famously beat Sir Vivian "Bunny" Fuchs to the South Pole, after leading the support team that was laying fuel and food for Fuchs' overland crossing of Antarctica.

Mr Sanson said he saw Sir Edmund shortly before Christmas "and I could see that he had certainly aged" since the trip last year.

Mr Sanson had shown Sir Edmund photographs of the lounge area at Scott Base where ice axes and primus stoves he had signed had been placed.

"What was neat about his visit at Scott Base was that every day he seemed to get younger and he just seemed to be energised by just being at Scott Base and the night in the A-frame (hut), and just totally loving the experience.

"We're just going to sorely miss a guy who was just a pillar of New Zealand's national identify in Antarctica.

"It's a sad day for New Zealand and it was just such a privilege to be able to share that 50th anniversary with him and I know what it meant to him to be there for that."

A special memory was that after the prime minister's contingent had left Scott Base last January, Sir Edmund stayed on a few days. An Air Force Orion had arrived and Sir Edmund, who had been in number five squadron in the Air Force, spent his last night in the bar sharing stories with the pilots until his doctor told him it was bedtime.

"I think he does epitomise that sense of adventure for New Zealanders," Mr Sanson said.

"He was such a pillar of the whole New Zealand Antarctica programme and everything we represent down there.

"He's going to be sadly missed.

"We've got the flag flying at half-mast at Scott Base now. . . and there's a very subdued atmosphere at Scott Base today."

Mr Sanson said a memorial to Sir Edmund would be made at the A-frame hut, which Sir Edmund had so enjoyed staying in on his last two visits to the ice.

- NZPA

 
 
dagcentral
Oh, you poor unfortunate bastid - you thought I was kidding about the Chicano rap, didn't you?

Bwahahahahah! &etc:



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