Thursday, April 1, 2010

San Francisco Diary--Journal Of An Exile

Well, the weather has turned gloomy again, but that's normal for spring in San Francisco. Our spring tends to break out in sunshine and blue skies a bit later than in the rest of the state. The birds are already beginning to gather, though. But mostly it's crows and sparrows. Later, we'll get the blue jays and hummingbirds, along with the nesting doves. Of course only about one in four nesting doves succeed, because they're attacked by the local pigeons. Somewhat appropriately, the most common dove in San Francisco is the mourning dove.

NOTE: You may be surprised to find out that not all San Francisco Chronicle writers are leftists. Debra J. Saunders is not only a conservative, but she's a tough cookie as well. Needless to say, as a conservative in San Francisco, she gets more than her share of nasty e-mails, letters, insults, and threats. So on Monday, she wrote a column on the leftist hysteria over some alleged insults and low-level "threats" received or suffered by the poor, sensitive, beleaguered Democrats. "When activists break the law protesting Republican policies, it is because lefties care so much. But when conservatives act likewise, it's because they are loudmouths and louts," says Ms. Saunders.

She was particularly amused by the gasping over Sarah Palin's "don't retreat, instead--reload." And then, in the most violent act of all, Palin added "a map highlighting weak Democratic districts that conservatives should target with a crosshair symbol." Of course, "target" and "battleground" have been used for years by both ends of the political spectrum, but only now has the left discovered that Republicans actually intend to kill them. Hell, there's even a song with the words "love is a battlefield." Next, the Democrats will want to eliminate "love" from the lexicon lest some enraged conservative love a lefty to death.

For the locals, Ms. Saunders points out that Obama and the cowering Democrats are far more horrified by an occasional harsh (and perhaps even profane) criticism of Obamacare "than, say, students who have vandalized UC Berkeley property, including the chancellor's home, or by violent anti-Bush protests." And she adds that "being a victim is great for business, too. As Pelosi said Monday, the GOP 'really helps with my fundraising'."

"On Saturday, authorities arrested a Philadelphia man for threatening House Minority Whip Eric Cantor (R-Virginia). Apparently Norman Leboon videotaped his threat to kill Cantor and his 'cupcake evil wife' and children, and was so impressed with himself that he posted his threat on the Internet." She concludes: "Yet somehow, threats made against Democrats are supposed to reflect on the right. Democrats have a story line, and they'll make the facts fit it. When the facts don't fit, there is no story." Selective rage is used to serve offended Democrats by the MSM and Demogogues, but when a true left-winger makes a criminal death threat, or bites off the finger of an Obamacare opponent, or beats down an elderly black man who opposed Obamacare, move on, nothing to see here.

NOTE: Oh, the violence. Why are all these horrible right-wing nutjobs threatening those kind and gentle Democrats? For instance, Karl Rove was attempting to make a brief speech at a Beverly Hills book-signing, and was shouted down and physically threatened by antiwar protesters and Code Pink. Code Pink co-founder approached Rove with a pair of handcuffs, threatening to arrest him as a war criminal. The hecklers became so loud and unruly that he could not finish speaking, so he finally left in disgust.

Oh, wait. Rove isn't a gentle Democrat. Never mind, the threats of violence were OK after all. On the other hand, Rove received a fairly warm reception (of the good kind) here in the Bay Area suburb of Lafayette. Rove made an appearance there this week, and was well-received even by Republicans who were attentive when he went off on the Republican National Committee and its recent reimbursement for a $2,000 expense at a Hollywood strip club. The attendees were largely holding their copies of Rove's new book Courage and Consequences waiting for his signature on the same book he got flak for in Beverly Hills. In case you haven't read about that scandal, Orange County (California) political operative Erik Brown received reimbursement from the RNC for a fundraiser at Voyeurs, a West Hollywood S&M topless dancing and simulated lesbian sex joint.

Rove was critical of the expenditure, but more critical of the way the RNC continues to throw money around carelessly and without carefully determining where the expenditures are going. "The chairman of the Republican National Committee (Michael Steele), for good or ill, is the steward of the party's money" said Rove, "and whenever you have whatever lax controls are down in the bowels of the buiding so that somebody can submit a $2,000 voucher for entertainment at Voyeurs, somebody ought to go check the thesaurus and find out what that means." The staffer who authorized the reimbursement to Brown was fired Monday, so I guess Steele is listening.

The usual suspects gathered outside the Lafayette Veterans Memorial Hall, but the locals and the police were able to keep them outside where they couldn't interrupt the proceedings. Over 400 people attended the meeting, and when he entered the hall, he was greeted with a standing ovation. He also got cheers and applause whenever he mentioned the difficult decisions made by his boss, George Bush. Rove spoke mostly about the war on terror, and the crowd was less enthusiastic when Rove spoke of some of the big government programs that Bush allowed to slip past him when he misplaced his veto pen for most of his administration.

NOTE: The Chronicle has discovered to its horror that as national death sentence statistics have decreased, California's have risen. In 2009, death sentences rose to 29, the highest in over a decade. Amazing--the state with the highest population and a statewide violent crime rate increase, is among the states imposing more death sentences than, say, Colorado. Most of the death sentences were imposed in Los Angeles, Orange and Riverside counties according to the ACLU. Those counties have extremely high numbers of illegal immigrants, so you can guess where their indignation is heading.

Only two death penalties were handed down in the Bay Area, and since both are white males, the ACLU doesn't seem to be particularly concerned beyond its basic opposition to the death penalty. The Chronicle seems to agree that the decline in other states is due largely to public concerns about wrongful convictions and the "high costs of capital punishment." The ACLU has somehow determined that capital punishment is costing California $137 million annually, plus another $95 million a year if it is going to cut appeals times to the national average.

Well, capital punishment costs nothing if the execution is never (or rarely) carried out. The California appellate courts accept nearly any nonsensical procedural appeal sent their way, resulting in multiple relitigations of cases which finally, after years and millions of dollars finally make it to the state supreme court where they're routinely reversed. But the ACLU has outside help as well. The Ninth Circuit federal judges decided in 2006 that lethal injection caused inmates "prolonged and excruciating pain" and halted all California executions. That alone is probably worth another twenty years of appeals.

The left, including some misguided religionists, think that life sentences without possibility of parole are the answer. Apparently, nobody has informed them that in California, there is no such thing, at least until the state constitution is amended to remove the governor's plenary power to commute, reprieve, and grant clemency. If the death penalty is applied at all, it takes place years or even decades after the original trial and sentencing. Justice delayed is justice denied, and that applies to the people of the state and the families of the victims, not just to the defendant.

The ACLU has concentrated on the alleged increase in the number of blacks and Latinos on Death Row. It's a false statistic, but it serves their racial profiling agenda. Per capita, the number of blacks has not increased statistically. The number of Latinos had indeed increased, in direct proportion to the increase in illegal immigration and the growth of violent Mexican and Central American gang members. Both of these demographics have a higher violent crime rate, so it should come as no surprise that they suffer more death penalties. But if racial prejudice were the measure, why are almost all such death penalties imposed in black-on-black, Latino-on-Latino, and gang-on-gang related murders?

NOTE: Californians are slowly awakening to the real costs of Obamacare, even here in the Bay Area--Nancy Pelosi's home base. Conservative estimates are that Medicaid (called Medi-Cal in California) will add between 1.5 million and 1.6 million new beneficiaries under the federal plan. That undoubtedly is a very low estimate. There are already 7 million official Medi-Cal recipients, not including the estimated numbers of illegals using the services. By adding "other persons" who are at 133% or lower in relation to the federal poverty level (a discussion all by itself), Obamacare will cost Californians billions.

Governor Schwarzenegger went to D.C. to beg the feds to make certain exceptions for California's financial mess. That takes nerve. He helped create the huge California deficits, and keeps piling on. And he fails to mention that California already permits Medi-Cal benefits at 106% of the federal poverty level. But nothing stops the relentless statist/socialist drumbeat in California. Anthony Wright, executive director for Health Access California, says: "What concerns me about how the governor has approached this is he sees Medicaid as a burden rather than a huge opportunity to bring in federal funds for our health system and our economy." Apparently he thinks that bringing in "huge federal funds" doesn't involve huge surrender to federal authority and huge surrender of state sovereignty. Alternatively, he probably just doesn't care. Bring on leviathan!

Despite all this, Nancy Pelosi had a big party with her lefty friends in the Bay Area to celebrate the dismantling of the Constitution and the impoverishment of all but the elite. RNC Michael Steele responded by saying that "it's time to start getting Nancy ready for the firing line this November." There go those violent Republicans again.


Writer X said...

Wow. Debra Saunders no doubt can leave the Chronicle building without a couple of bodyguards. So much for the peace-loving Democrats and Code Pink. Rove's book is second on the NY Times bestseller list, so I've no doubt he's not lost too much sleep over the hypocritical Code Pink and their dorky pink hats.

LawHawk, my yard is full of mourning doves. They're everywhere, especially this time of year. I need a big hungry cat.

AndrewPrice said...

Writer X, I suspect she puts on a hippie disguise before she leaves.

Lawhawk, I think this RNC strip club thing is a great way to expose the opportunists in the party. Was it a mistake to reimburse this? Absolutely. It showed very poor judgment. But they fired the guy. Now make sure it doesn't happen again and then let's move on -- that's how its done in politics, in business, and in everywhere else. But some people (particularly radio personalities and people with books) are trying to exploit this for publicity. Why is Karl Rove (and others) attacking the RNC over this minor issue when he should be fighting the real problem -- Obama? This is like attacking Eisenhower because the uniforms he gave the troops had smudges on them.

Unknown said...

WriterX: I have just the cat for you. She thinks she's a writer, and keeps trying to take over my office. It would clear up all that space on my computer desk. And she could certainly use the exercise. LOL

Unknown said...

Andrew: I think Rove was offering a valid criticism (this is not the first profligate expenditure that Steele has let slip past him). But it's not exactly the end of the world either, and the fact that Republicans go to strip clubs probably picks us up votes in the other party.

Actually, the person who approved the expenditure and got fired was a woman. I think Rove temporarily forgot the Eleventh Commandment, and he does indeed need to concentrate on Obama, not Steele. Still, it won't cost the Republicans any votes, and I'm sure expenditures now have Steele's attention.

HamiltonsGhost said...

Lawhawk-- That's the second time I've been surprised by large gatherings near San Francisco that are not leftist hatefests (the other was the Tea Party in Marin County). Maybe there is hope for California to move at least to the center.

Unknown said...

HamiltonsGhost: I publicize them because I'm glad, the Chronicle reports them because they're shocked. Either way, things are looking up. I really don't expect California ever to be a conservative state again (at least until we get government handouts and illegal immigration under control), but a move to the center would be an immense improvement.

Unknown said...

Lawhawk. Like so many other things the left slowly injects into our society, they want the felons voting, and if they're dead, they can't vote (except in Chicago). Support for the death penalty still runs high in this state, but it is slipping slightly. I think part of that is because "if we don't use it, we lose it." They tie up death penalty cases for decades, blunting the whole point of the penalty.

Unknown said...

CalFed: Very true. And at the same time they regale us with the nonsensical "the death penalty is more expensive than life without parole" leftist accounting method. All the while, they continue to insist there even is such a thing as life without parole in California. One compelling argument for capital punishment is that when it's carried out, the seemingly-interminable appellate process is over. We're still only about halfway through the appellate process for the serial-killer who murdered and dismembered at least twenty-five young women from San Francisco to Calaveras County. He was convicted in 1998.

AndrewPrice said...

Lawhawk, I agree it's a valid criticism, but there's just so much -- "this is the most evil thing ever" attached to so much criticism from conservatives of conservatives these days. Now is the time to come together, not the time to blow mole hills into mountains.

Unknown said...

Andrew: I agree, and that criticism could have been kept within the party without assisting the MSM in attacking Republicans. Rove is not exactly without influence inside the party structure. We can do our public mea culpas after we win the next two elections.

Unknown said...

StanH: Aw, c'mon. I'm too old to change my school cheers from "Grrrr-ah" to "Squeak, squeak."

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