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posted by Justene Adamec at 6/08/2003 03:14:00 PM


Recall Fun
Yesterday's editorial cartoon in the Bee.
posted by Justene Adamec at 6/07/2003 10:05:00 AM

Revisiting Freud
Sometimes dreams can be so telling. Last night I had a dream that I went on a trip with Calpundit (whom I have never met) to a foreign land (Zimbabwe and Argentina bordered on it) and ended up getting lost and running into snakes, elephants, gorillas, bears and mountain lions. I was in a whole heap of trouble.

I woke up and wondered what this meant. I rarely have nightmares, thank heavens, and I never remember wild animals in my dreams (although travel in a common theme) and what the heck was Calpundit doing there?

Well then I started my Saturday morning task. Suddenly, it was most obvious dream in the world. Several weeks ago, Calpundit spent a Saturday moving from blogspot to movable type. I wandered onto his new site when it was just a single test post. I emailed him and he said he was in the process of finishing it. So while I surfed, I checked back every few minutes. A short time later, in one fell swoop, all of his posts were there looking oh so . . . normal. Plus he had categories, an index, a search feature, an internal comment program. It looked really cool. And easy. And I wanted movable type.

Recently, Dean Esmay offered to move blogspotters to movable type for free. I was hesitant. There's a lot on my plate and moving websites didn't sound fun. But I remembered how easily Calpundit's new site went from test post to looking like the same old blog with more features. So I signed on.

I have a site. (Don't look). It has a test post. Last night and this morning, I have been plugging away trying to get this blog there. Frankly, it has been like navigating a foreign land with snakes, elephants, gorillas, bears and mountain lions. I am in a whole heap of trouble. Sound familiar?
posted by Justene Adamec at 6/07/2003 09:56:00 AM

Gratitude, Schmatitude
A few years ago, gratitude journals were the hot new thing. You were supposed to spend some time each night writing down the list of things you were grateful for -- the kids, the sunset, chocolate, clean laundry -- and this was supposed to lift your spirits and change your life. Turn pessimists into optimists.

I suppose it works. For me, though, it was like taking painkiller when you didn't have a headache. I'm generally an optimist. I'm regularly amazed at how great life is. My biggest dispute with my husband is that I'm too much of a Pollyanna in his mind. The only time I'll recognize a problem is when it looks like fun to solve it or fun to complain about. Well, some problems get to me. Death of a loved one is hard for even me to whistle through but generally everyday annoyances slide by me.

So when I get bummed out, the gratitude thing doesn't work. I already notice and appreciate that stuff.

At some point, I realized what does turn me around. Surprise. I love the unexpected. New places, new things, learning some trivial fact I didn't know. Much to the annoyance of some people that I share a home and business with, I'd get more excited about an unexpected $10 check from a client than the $1000 check that we knew was coming.

So I have a new journal. It's my journal of the unexpected -- to remind me that every day holds some surprise and when I get up in the morning, there's no reason to dread the day because I don't really know what's going to happen. And I track the good and the bad, the big and the small. The surprise doctor's visit today. The day I went off to a CLE seminar and discovered it was at a Catholic retreat center and I found an unusual rosary in the gift shop.

So if the attitude of gratitude doesn't work for you, think about this. Especially when life is feeling a little mundane.
posted by Justene Adamec at 6/07/2003 09:45:00 AM


The Power of Prop 13
Yesterday, I was blogging about the unelected politicos in CA who hold power through the initiative, proposition and now, recall, campaigns. They reached a height of power when Prop 13, limiting property taxes and requiring voter approval of property tax increases, passed. (Prop stands for Proposition not Property).

As it turns out, today is the 25th anniversary of the passage of Prop 13. At the time, I was a recent HS graduate in NYC working for the summer before college at the busiest Burger King in the world, pouring drinks during the lunch shift. So Prop 13 escaped my notice at the time. By the time I rolled into CA, Prop 13 was part of the landscape.

Fortunately, astute blogger Bill Hobbs from Tennessee has caught the significance. Read his not-to-miss post, and pass it around our Nook and Cranny of the blogosphere.
posted by Justene Adamec at 6/06/2003 09:19:00 AM

Campus Life
OK, easily offended and sensitive types, move on. This is a sad story. A pet is a pet. When my goldfish goes, I will be sad. And the story of fraternity members who captured a campus Koi fish and grilled it is just horrible. That said, I was distracted by some of the writing.

First this: On a campus renowned for vegetarian devotion and counterculture values, anger over the slaying of the gentle, 15-year-old giant gold carp named Goldie

Can we spin it anymore? If this were an agricultural college in the Midwest, studying beef cattle, would they lose their right to be offended and saddened by their loss? Is it more horrible because the fish was "gentle"?

Then there's this unintentionally funny juxtaposition:

"Why would they take a fish that's been here for years just to do something crazy," said Crystal Doyal, a senior psychology major. "I'm just so mad."

Sounds to me like the senior psychology major needs a few more courses.

And finally this line brings back personal memories:

University of Buffalo frat currently on the show drew a district attorney's investigation in March after on-camera frat pledges broke into the local zoo and pondered aloud about stealing an animal as a mascot before leaving empty-handed, according to the Associated Press.

I attended UB from 78-81 (yes, I graduated -- officially in 1/82). In the decade or so previous to my attendnce, UB was known (not so affectionately in the City of Buffalo) as the "Berkeley of the East". As part of that liberal tilt, fraternities and sororities had been banned. I never got the official story but the rumors were "too elitist" or the stupid pranks.

Things had calmed down by 78 and a group of young men had wanted a fraternity. The University allowed it and my vague recollection was that there were some alcohol restrictions. So in a University of 25,000, there was a fraternity of 20-30 young men. They kept a low-profile and those of us who shared the dorms with them thought it a bit odd that they'd want to do such a thing.

I wonder how it got from there to an appearance on MTV and trying to steal an animal from the zoo.
posted by Justene Adamec at 6/06/2003 08:31:00 AM


Recall: Who Benefits?
Right now, the Republicans look like they are jumping all over the recall. I think that's misleading. The Republican politicians who are coming to the fore are small-profile types trying to move up. The top of the CA party is looking at the Boxer seat and you know that's where Rove is looking.

On Monday, the Green party, which had been playing hard to get, said they'd run a candidate if there's a recall.

If the recall hits the ballot, expect one or more high profile Democratic candidates "just in case". Get a stronger Democrat in there than Davis and the Republicans lose a lot of traction that getting a recall on the ballot might have given them. Davis beats the recall and the Republicans may as well close up shop.

So who benefits? There's another group in California. A long time ago they passed Prop 13 and changed the political landscape of California. Kaloogian was part of that original Prop 13 group. Ted Costa runs People's Advocate that has put a dozen propositions on the ballot. Although not a formal party, the group of politicos that operate through the initiative and proposition law will gain a lot of power if the recall goes through. The message they send is that it doesn't matter if you're elected, they can not only make law, they can pull you out of office. Their positions will have to be reckoned with.
posted by Justene Adamec at 6/05/2003 04:05:00 PM

Even though she's only 11, here's proof that Maddy is a teenager. I asked her to do a priority load of laundry. You know, when you're behind, you do the towels, some underwear, etc. Good idea. Off she went. Later I took the "priority" load out of the dryer. Three pairs of jeans and 2 red T-shirts with glitter. Yeah, she got the important stuff.
posted by Justene Adamec at 6/05/2003 02:44:00 PM

Resistance is Futile
After months of letting me languish in my dark corner of the blogosphere, Calpundit has blogged about the recall. I suspect his post will reach a whole new audience and I will be over there in the comments thread answering the questions, which I am sure were supposed to be rhetorical.

UPDATE: The LA Times article could have be written by, well, me. I've asked most of those questions here and "Be careful what you wish for" is my main motto, mostly because I ignore it so darn often. The Hoover Institution is a conservative think tank, btw, and was once featured on this blog too. So you can read the article and avoid the lengthy trip through my archives, unless you really prefer my chatty writing style or want the links to the early news to see how this developed.

posted by Justene Adamec at 6/05/2003 11:12:00 AM

I'll Be Moving
Dean Esmay is assisting those of us resistant to change off of BlogSpot. BlogSpot is free but I pay for BlogSpot Pro and BlogSpot Plus and my page is still down more than I like. Political State Report and Josh Claybourn are both on MT and I've posted on both with ease. It was just the move I was dreading.
posted by Justene Adamec at 6/05/2003 08:45:00 AM

Unidentified Swimming Objects
I wonder if these fish tell each other stories of alien abduction?
posted by Justene Adamec at 6/05/2003 08:40:00 AM

The California Recession
Here's the article in today's LA Times:

Statewide job growth is anticipated to be a mere 0.4% in 2003, down from the anemic 0.7% predicted earlier this year, translating to roughly 45,000 fewer new jobs than had been projected, according to the quarterly UCLA Anderson Forecast. Taxable sales and personal income, critical revenue sources for the state, also are estimated to come in lower than had been expected this year as well as in 2004.

Though the downward revisions aren't radical, they underscore a nagging weakness in the economy that has surprised many analysts, including those at UCLA, whose recent state and national forecasts have been among the most pessimistic and accurate. The revisions also highlight the challenges facing state lawmakers, who are banking on a rebound to help close a huge budget gap

First, understand one thing. The federal government defines recession as three quarters of no growth in the Gross Domestic Product. California defines it as "successive months of declines in nonfarm employment, which California has experienced so far in 2003."

The difference seems important to me because recession is such a highly charged word. Even though we fit the definition, there will still be some growth in jobs over the year, just not as much as we'd hoped. And it's "slightly better than the growth projections for the nation".

What the article really shows is that Northern California is still in trouble after the dotcom bubble burst and while the rest of the state is growing, it is not growing enough to make up for that problem.

posted by Justene Adamec at 6/05/2003 08:15:00 AM


Hey, Xrlq, we're a nook and cranny.
posted by Justene Adamec at 6/04/2003 10:41:00 PM

Anti-recall group
According to this LA Times article, Taxpayers Against the Recall has rased $344,000, mostly from unions, whose stated opposition to the recall is the fact that the mere holding of the election will cost $25 million which could be used to hire teachers or firefighters.
posted by Justene Adamec at 6/04/2003 04:54:00 PM

WMD or Human Rights
As we continue to discuss whether there are WMD in Iraq, the discussion also turns to whether it matters. It doesn't to me. Here's Lileks today:

I read today of another mass grave discovered in Iraq. This one was reserved for children.

I repeat: this was a special mass grave for children.

The article said that dolls were found among the bodies. Which meant that the little girls were clutching their dolls when they died.

Or they dropped them in terror at the edge of a grave. The soldiers kicked them in.

I don’t even know if the story will make the papers.

Now, some say that finding WMD is important because it'll justify the march into Iran. Bah. One mass grave of children in Iran is enough for me. If they've got them, ttey're not even hiding them well. Everybody hides the weapons.

But why aren't we in Sudan? I've read of the horrors in Sudan for years. When we went into Bosnia (or was it Kosovo) after the pictures of concentration camos, some said, why are we saving the Europeans and ignoring Sudan? I said let's fix this one and head to Sudan next. (No blogging then. You'll have to trust me.) We didn't go. Here's the latest story from Sudan:

Military forces led by Sudan's militant Islamist regime burned to death a Christian pastor and his family in a massacre of 59 unarmed villagers, a relief group working in the area reported.

The simultaneous attack on 10 villages in Eastern Upper Nile took place as Secretary of State Colin Powell met with Sudanese Foreign Minister Mustafa Osman Ismail to discuss Sudan's removal from the U.S. list of state sponsors of terrorism.

Don' t like stories from Worldnet Daily? Here's one from CNN:

A research group said on Wednesday it had compiled a detailed list of more than 11,000 people abducted by militia and probably forced into slavery in southern Sudan, site of Africa's longest-running war.

. . .

About 2 million people have been killed since the civil war began in Sudan in 1983. The conflict pits the government in the north which is predominantly Muslim, against rebels seeking more autonomy for the mainly Christian or animist south.

Even the Guardian, politically worlds apart from Worldnet Daily refers to it as "Sudan, another country where human rights are regularly abused."

Time to go in.
posted by Justene Adamec at 6/04/2003 04:29:00 PM

Bias revisited
Here's a rare example of how not to be biased and it comes from Fox News' Brit Hume. Referring to Palestine and Israel, he mentions the "so-called occupied or disputed" territories. That's the way to do it. Don't pick between the description of either side; throw them both out there.
posted by Justene Adamec at 6/04/2003 04:05:00 PM

Hilary Clinton's book
The Washington Post has a story about the possible lawsuits around the early release of details from her new book. Here's the part I find interesting:

On Wednesday Clinton told local news station NY1 that the book is about more than the Lewinsky debacle.

"This is a story about an extraordinary time in my life and the life of our country," she said. "I touch on the good times, the not-so-good times and try to explain what that experience was like for me."

Is the attention to that portion to the exclusion of the rest a sign that the Lewinsky affair is still all we care about? Or is it just because that's the part that's leaked? I suspect that it's the former, which brings to mind the question of how seriously we take Hilary. Of course, I had the same question in NY and she won. Politics is a funny thing and I can't claim to understand it although I find it interesting.
posted by Justene Adamec at 6/04/2003 04:01:00 PM


Recall Update
There's tons of news now. If you want news, head over to Rough & Tumble (scroll down to the 6/2 news) or Political State Report, where other CA team members are reporting on it now. I continue to predict it will get on the ballot but then Davis will go into campaign mode. It may ruin Davis' career but will it help the state or even the Republicans? What if:

a stronger Democrat wins?

Issa wins?

Davis defeats it?

Here's a glimpse at the emails coming from the campaigns. The official campaign, headed by Ted Costa, and deemed official because they submitted the petition, said:

This week we will pass the 500,000 signature mark, but we cannot afford to rest just yet: We have just five weeks until July 4th and that means that we MUST maintain the incredible pace of over 100,000 signatures per week. We have done that for the past two weeks and there is no reason that we cannot continue for the next five IF we keep our eye on the ball!

Please make sure that you return whatever signatures you have gathered on a regular basis to our office. It will be critical in the coming weeks that we know just how many signatures have been gathered. Our legal deadline is September 2nd, but we have set a goal of July 4th to ensure that the recall election is held this fall to remove our failed Governor as soon as possible.

The unofficial campaign, headed by Howard Kaloogian, is starting radio ads:

This advertising campaign is an important step for us to increase the number of signatures we collect for the Recall Gray Davis effort so that we can qualify the recall for a special election ballot later in the year.

In order to do this we need to collect the approximate 898,000 valid signatures by the second week in July. We can only do this if we reach out to millions of Californians, and that is precisely why we will be advertising on radio stations in every corner of the state.

So far we've raised enough to pay for a few days of advertising throughout the state but our goal is to raise enough additional funds this week to pay for a much longer advertising run.

posted by Justene Adamec at 6/03/2003 12:07:00 PM


Don't bother me with Facts
Can I rant about an article without reading the article? Sure I can -- it's my blog. Here's the summary of the article on Rough & Tumble.

Budget battle unique -- Almost six months after Democratic Gov. Gray Davis defined the magnitude of the budget gap, Republicans remain steadfast in their opposition to higher taxes, which they say will hurt the economy. Democrats, meanwhile, have just as stoutly resisted deep cuts to social programs, which they say will hurt the poor. And so the red ink continues to grow.

Unique? You call this UNIQUE?

That's all the politics I can stomach today. You'll have to get the recall update tomorrow.

posted by Justene Adamec at 6/02/2003 06:55:00 PM

Card casinos
Poker clubs are legal in California. They've been legal long enough that they draw a lot of players and have a reputation for some of the best poker play in the world. Indian casinos are cutting into the action. Contra Costa times has this article with the numbers and the quotes from both sides.
posted by Justene Adamec at 6/02/2003 06:52:00 PM

Internet on the Road
I don't have a laptop. I've purchased three in my life and none has lasted a month. I drop them and the screen goes. I have a client that makes military laptops that'll survive anything, even a bullet. We were discussing getting me one, maybe in exchange for fees. Then I learned that it weighed 25 lbs and was the size of a small suitcase. Can you see me getting that through airport security? "No,really, it's a laptop. It's designed for the military. No I'm not in the military, I'm just a klutz."

So I travel with my handydandy cel phone. I get all my email, including office email on it. I read it on a two-inch screen and have become quite adept at typing responses on a phone keyboard with my thumb. I can even read attachments.

Blogs are a little harder. Sometimes I can read them fine. Other times, I punch in the blog address and I get a version of the blog that's outdated by months. I never get comments. So I make use of hotel internet services.

At the Marriott in San Francisco, there was a business center, which was two computers and a printer in a well-lit closet. The flyer in the room said there was a charge of $5 every 15 minutes but when I got there, there was no charge. Unfortunately, since there are so many guests, you can't spend oodles of time online.

At the Embassy Suites in Monterey, there was internet access on the TV -- 24 hours for $10.99. Not bad for my one night stay but that could add up. There were some problems getting on and using it. The engineer had to come to the room and do whatever had to be done. After that, there were two problems. First, I had a keyboard but no mouse. It was usable but navigating without a mouse is a little irritating. Second, when I tried to send outgoing emails from my office email, they failed, losing the text twice. So I didn't try to blog. I was able to read and comment on blogs though.
posted by Justene Adamec at 6/02/2003 06:44:00 PM

Infotel Update
This was an interesting little foray. I explained the problem here. Our letter telling them to stop calling (which they are required to do after notification under the Fair Debt Collection Act) seemed to do no good. They continued to call. I got good comments and an interesting email from a Canadian reporter who has been following them.

My complaint to the Attorney General's office got me a form letter and an FCC handout on phone scams. The handout told me that, if it was a scam, I didn't have to pay but not how to stop the calls.

Finally, the NH Better Business Bureau did the trick. Someone form the company called and resolved it right away. Interestingly, they took it off because the person they had down as making the purchase was my receptionist, who does not have authority to purchase such things. No telling how far we would have gotten if they had the name of someone who did have authority.
posted by Justene Adamec at 6/02/2003 06:22:00 PM

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Comments on So California news, law, and politics by Justene Adamec. There are occasional forays into other topics because, after all, it is a blog. Offline, I am a lawyer and mediator. Email justenea -at-

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