Saturday, April 29, 2006

A Real Commitment . . .



I read this article yesterday at www.washingtonpost.com, and it reminded me of why I voted for mayoral candidate Bob Foster in April, and will do so again on June 6, when the City of Long Beach holds run-off elections.

The Washington Post reported that after a Republican press event held at a gas station, at which they touted themselves as being committed to alternative energy sources, House Speaker, Dennis J. Hastert, who appeared to have walked to the station, left in a fuel-efficient vehicle, apparently headed for his office. But he went only a block or so before he got out and stepped into his pre-positioned gas-guzzling armored SUV to take him back to his office.

Mr. Hastert claimed that he rose in the armored SUV for security reasons. I’ll go ahead and give him the benefit of the doubt, but either way, when Bob Foster drives his fuel-efficient vehicle he’s gonna drive to where he actually intends to go, and not just around the corner.

Now, don’t confuse what I’m saying here. I’m not voting for Mr. Foster because he drives an fuel-efficient vehicle. I’m voting for him because he really drives it. Mr. Foster seems like a real person to me. He’s let us know where he stands on the issues, and he’s let us know who he is as a person. At this point, I have every reason to believe him, and plenty of reasons as to why I like what I hear. Bob Foster is for real.

I’m not saying that Frank Colonna is fake, but even the Press-Telegram couldn’t help but raise an eye-brow when he listed himself as an environmental specialist, a position he has not held since 1976. And, of course, who could forget Mr. Colonna’s use of public funds to pay for a bullet-proof window at his realty office.

I guess when it comes down to it, I see Bob Foster as the guy who will actually drive his energy efficient vehicle, and not get out get into an gas guzzling SUV when he’s out of public sight.

Like I said, I think he’s the real deal.

Kosher Ham

Wednesday, April 19, 2006

Who’s Watching Our City . . .

Maybe Long Beach needs a website like www.watchourcity.com. I’m not saying things are corrupt here, but a website like this would sure serve as one hell of a check. The website concentrates on the political corruption in Huntington Park, but also seems to cover political corruption from across the spectrum, but mainly focusing on East Los Angeles County.

I’m sure it’s no secret that in small cities, Compton comes to mind, corruption can run amuck. But we should also be reminded, especially in light of the Dan Baker resignation, that corruption can occur in large cities as well. That’s why open government is so important.

Anyway, you should keep tabs on what’s going on in your local community. Who knows? Maybe you have a miniature version of Tom Delay running around your own neighborhood.

I posted a link to www.watchourcity.com on the left, check it when you can.

Kosher Ham

Friday, April 14, 2006

What You Need To Believe To Be A Republican . . .


I don't know where this came from, but I'm glad it came my way . . . hat tip to the wife.

* Jesus loves you, and shares your hatred of homosexuals and Hillary Clinton.

* Saddam was a good guy when Reagan armed him, a bad guy when Bush's daddy made war on him, a good guy when Cheney did business with him, and a bad guy when Bush needed a "we can't find Bin Laden" diversion.

* Trade with
Cuba is wrong because the country is Communist, but trade with China and Vietnam is vital to a spirit of international harmony.

* The
United States should get out of the United Nations, and our highest national priority is enforcing U.N. resolutions against Iraq.

* A woman can't be trusted with decisions about her own body, but multi-national corporations can make decisions affecting all mankind without regulation.

* The best way to improve military morale is to praise the troops in speeches, while slashing veterans' benefits and combat pay.

* If condoms are kept out of schools, adolescents won't have sex.

* A good way to fight terrorism is to belittle our long-time allies, then demand their cooperation and money.

* Providing health care to all Iraqis is sound policy, but providing health care to all Americans is socialism. HMOs and insurance companies have the best interests of the public at heart.

* Global warming and tobacco's link to cancer are junk science, but creationism should be taught in schools.

* A president lying about an extramarital affair is an impeachable offense, but a president lying to enlist support for a war in which thousands die is solid defense policy.

* Government should limit itself to the powers named in the Constitution, which include banning gay marriages and censoring the Internet.

* The public has a right to know about Hillary's cattle trades, but George Bush's driving record is none of our business.

* Being a drug addict is a moral failing and a crime, unless you're a conservative radio host. Then it's an illness and you need our prayers for your recovery.

* Supporting "Executive Privilege" for every Republican ever born, who will be born or who might be born( in perpetuity.)

* What Bill Clinton did in the 1960s is of vital national interest, but what Bush did in the '80s is irrelevant.

* Support for hunters who shoot their friends and blame them for wearing orange vests similar to those worn by the quail.

Kosher Ham

Thursday, April 13, 2006

Governmental Rhinoplasty (Part 1) . . .

The basic gist of this Press-Telegram editorial is that the Long Beach City Council is more concerned about banal ‘in-district’ issues, as opposed to important policy issues that affect the entire city. That’s not entirely new thought, and there are many instances that would cause me to agree with that basic gist, but I find their gist just a little oversimplified (well, maybe a lot oversimplified). But, what I don’t agree with is the other gist of the editorial: That a restructuring of City Hall would change the focus of the City Council.

Supposedly, a ‘dozen or so’ people are organizing a campaign to supposedly create a governmental structure that will supposedly restore leadership, and vision back to Long Beach. Also, supposedly changing the structure of government will put more focus on a city wide agenda, as opposed the aforementioned ‘in-district’ vision. I always find it interesting, and a bad idea, when ‘a dozen or so’ people decide to change the structure of government. Probably, if a governmental system is going to change, more than a dozen people should be involved in developing the options.

The group of ‘a dozen or so’ is calling themselves, “Citizens for a Better Long Beach”. I guess that’s the Orwellian name Long Beach’s business interests have chosen for themselves in attempt to get the public to more easily and readily digest their plan. I think they all should step back, and let the new Mayor (it will be Bob Foster, it’s just a matter of time) put his signature on the Office before we start blowing it up.

Like I said, when ‘a dozen or so’ people conspire to change a governmental body, I respond to that with a great deal of concern, and so should you. After all, don’t you at least wonder what this group thinks a ‘better’ Long Beach would look like?

Kosher Ham

Tuesday, April 11, 2006

What About Bob . . .


It’s Election Day in Long Beach. A glorious day when less than 20% of Long Beach residents exercise their civic duty, and vote. I already voted via an absentee ballot.

I voted for Bob Foster. To borrow his campaign slogan, he is the better choice for Long Beach. I’m not pinning my hopes and dreams on Mr. Foster. I’m not sure the Office of the Mayor will oblige him the political power to fulfill his goals. But I am confident he will throw his opinion around a lot more, and that should make things interesting.

He’s also a Democrat. Now, being a Democrat means more than just disliking President Bush, as some people seem to think. I hope Mr. foster carries the values and principles of the Democratic Party to his office.

I also think of the major candidates, that Mr. Foster is most likely to give voice to those Long Beach residents who have none.

No doubt, I’ll be watching and reporting. After all, I want to see how far my $50 donation and my ‘Bob Foster’ yard sign go politically.

Good Luck, Bob.

Kosher Ham

PS - Bring back the moustache after you're elected.

Saturday, April 08, 2006

The Leak Starts Here . . .

When his father was President, the Oval Office was infamously know as the place where “the buck stops”. Now that George W. Bush is President, the Oval Office has famously become the place where “the leaks start.”

I think I’ve fucking heard it all from the Bush Administration.

Yesterday, in response to the President’s apparent involvement in leaking the name of a CIA agent (Valerie Plame) in attempt to destroy her husband, Ambassador Joe Wilson, for speaking out against the war, White House Press Secretary, Scott McClellan, said, “we will vigorously set the record straight when people are putting out misinformation or trying to suggest things that simply are not true.”

I think my eyes popped out of my head, like a cartoon character, when I heard that.

First, I can think of no other group of people who have spread misinformation, or suggested things that simply are not true, than the Bush Administration. The letters W-M-D come to mind, as do repeated suggestions of mushroom clouds, as well as . . . well the list could go on, but I’ll let the history books take care of that. Needless to say, I think the words, “bull shit” might have escaped my lips the moment I heard Mr. McClellan utter those words.

Second, those words beg the question: what does the Bush Administration considers ‘misinformation’ or things that ‘are not true’? I mean, after all, we’re talking about a group of people that doesn’t believe in global warming, or even dinosaurs. This is Administration that is in full support of intelligent design, and spies on its own citizens without warrant or reason. This is an Administration that even lied to our nation’s older people about the cost of Medicare.

But there’s one thing that this Administration that still gnaws at me the most.

This Administration sent our troops, our brave men and women, into combat wearing chemical weapons suits in over 100 degree weather, while all the while knowing, that Saddam Hussein did not possess any chemical weapons. That’s just sick.

But on top of the fact that this Administration wouldn’t know the truth if they got hit up-side the head with it, this Administration flouts the law to say the least. And, when you have a group of people with all the power, who are willing to flout the law to achieve their goals, and have a pretty liberal definition for misinformation . . . you should be afraid.

One day, you’ll wake up to find that you are the one being accused of spreading misinformation . . . and apparently . . . if the President considers you to being doing so . . . well . . . be prepared to face personal attacks, and have your career destroyed.

Only in America . . .

Kosher Ham

Friday, April 07, 2006

El Submarino Amarillo . . .

You may be following the little competition between me and my barber? If not, when the ‘knock-out’ stages of the UEFA Champions League began, we each pegged 4 teams (out of a total of 16) that we thought would reach the semi-finals (the final four) of the competition.

My barber, Alonzo, had all four of the teams he picked eliminated in the first round (Liverpool, Real Madrid, Bayern Munich, and Chelsea). I had 3 of my teams advance past the first round, and now two of those three have advanced to the ‘final four’: Barcelona, and Villarreal.

Villarreal is the real story here. The club is located in Vila-real, a town of 48,000 people. The stadium, El Madrigal, holds 23,000 people. It is said, when the team is playing, the town is deserted, as half the city is at El Madrigal watching the game.

Needless to say, the residents are exuberant at the thought of their beloved Yellow Submarine reaching the finals of the most illustrious club football competition in the world. If Villarreal should reach the finals in Paris, at Stade de France, they would be only the second debutant to enter the competition to do so.

Such is the excitement for a team that has only been in the Spanish Fist Division (La Liga) since the 2000, that Father Guillermo, the priest of the Santa Sofia church, said he would ask for a celebratory mass at Notre Dame followed by a procession to the Stade de France - if the club reached the final. The 78-year-old, who attends matches wearing the club's bright yellow shirt and his dog collar, has the Champions League theme music as the ring tone on his mobile phone.

Maybe I’ll get into Sanctuary for another clip before the semi-finals and offer my barber a reprieve, and give him another chance to pick a couple of teams to reach the finals (and rub it in of course).

My picks . . . I’ll get back to you on that . . . but one of them is Villarreal!

Kosher Ham

Wednesday, April 05, 2006

One Step Closer To Sacramento . . .

No, I’m not running for State Office. Last night my wife was watching American Idol, and she saw a commercial saying that jetBlue was going to start flying from Long Beach to Sacramento. I checked the website, and low and behold . . . it’s true!

This is great news for me. I have to fly to Sacramento with a bit of frequency. I always have to go to LAX, and for a day trip, that’s a real pain in the ass. Now, I can drive about 7 minutes from my home to the Long Beach Airport.

This also means that now Long Beach can host more things. I always have to go to Sacramento, Los Angeles, Oakland, or Orange County for statewide meetings, events, and conferences. This isn’t because these are wonderful cities for hosting events, it’s because these are places that you can fly to from Sacramento (there are a lot of organizations in Sacramento that have members throughout the state, Housing California, and the California Foundation for Independent Living Centers are just a couple*). If Long Beach hosted something in the past, this meant a lot of people had to fly into LAX, and travel down to Long Beach. Hardly as convenient as flying into the same city you are going to do business in.

This does of course, raise some another issue . . .

The Long Beach Airport needs a serious upgrade. In reality, we should be quite grateful that Jetblue operates out of Long Beach Airport. Of course, their here, because demand exists, so I’m sure they are grateful to us as well. Nonetheless, upgrading the ‘terminal’ would be of benefit to all involved. One of the ‘gates’ is actually a bungalow . . . like a big version of the one you went to school in. A nicer, more modern facility would make Long Beach look better in the eyes of all who travel to our city, and the airport would be a more suitable and professional environment for the carriers, and passengers alike.

The first time I went to the Long Beach Airport was sometime in the mid-90’s. I went to pick up my roommate at the time. The terminal was so small I drove past it twice because I didn’t think a building that small could possibly be an airport terminal.

I mean, I appreciate the airport’s quaintness and all, but something can be modern, and still quaint.

Kosher Ham