Archive for September, 2009

9/10/9–Oakland Bound

Thursday, September 10th, 2009

I will not be covering the President’s remarks again today because in my mind, his speech became irrelevant before he even gave it. Earlier in the day, Colombian hijackers took a Mexican plane. The fact that the situation did not end in the usually tragic manner does not change the fact that preventing another 9/11 will always be significantly more important than arguing about HMOs and PPOs, especially when the leader of the free world has no interest in leveling with us.

As for me, one day after a hijacking, and one day before the anniversary of the deadliest terrorist attack in American history, there is only one thing for me to do…get on a plane.

The Tygrrrr Express is Oakland Bound. Tonight I will be speaking to the Tri-Valley Peninsula Republican Women’s Federated.

Tomorrow, on 9/11/9, I will be back in the air from my silver and black haven of Oakland to my home that is my castle in Los Angeles.

As for thoughts on 9/11, so many more are more eloquent than me. The words are mine, but without the heroes referenced, my words would be meaningless.

The terrorists hit New York, Bali, London, Madrid, and Mumbai. Yesterday terror came to Mexico.

The world will not be safe until we hit back, and hit back hard.

From Los Angeles to Oakland and back to Los Angeles, I thank almighty God for freedom and liberty.

Everything comes at a price. We must be willing to pay that price.


The First Blatherer In Chief Spaketh

Wednesday, September 9th, 2009

I am promoting our President from First Gasbag in Chief to First Blatherer in Chief.

In a speech that will last forever or a few minutes, whichever comes first, President Obama gave America another teachable moment.

(I remember a skit on Conan O’Brien when Bill Clinton had to have his State of the Union on the same night as the OJ Simpson Civil Verdict. The Clinton character claimed that he was glad his speech was interrupted. “Don’t you see Conan. I’m glad it happened. I had nothing to say.”)

The lesson…when one is known as all talk and no action, continuing to talk is not the best option.

Like health care, I prefer Obama choose the private option over the public option with regards to his speeches. He should keep his thoughts private. That is what got him elected. People like him as long as he does not try to do anything. This is what happens when one is basically likable but completely wrong.

His speech was a delicate mix of 45% platitudes, 30% bromides, 25% meanderings, and 5% fine quality blatheiring. I am aware this comes out to 105%, but this is Obamaworld, so the numbers add up because it is declared so.

Hillary Clinton smiled, and I still think that she wants to leap on the stage and explain why she would handle the issue better despite the 1994 avalanche contradicting this.

As for President Obama, I looked to see if he did his 54 degree angle head tilt to convey seriousness, as pointed out in the Onion.

For those who wonder how many times he head tilted, I am sure that some enterprising college students made a drinking game out of it already. “Hope,” and “change” are the new version of “Hey Bob (Newhart).”

He really does look and talk like Dr. Spock, except with less emotion.

“I will not let up until those Americans who seek jobs can find them.”

He took credit for pulling the economy back from the brink.

I would like to take credit for landing a man on the Moon.

“We did not come here to clean up crises. We came here to create a future.”

Now that is a platitude.

“I am not the first President to take up this cause (health care,) but I am determined to be the last.”

That means he will mess it up, and no future President will want to go near it.

He then praised John DIngell for repeatedly presenting a bill that never gets passed.

I then gave myself a gold star for trying at things regardless of the results. Hey, this liberalism stuff is not half bad sometimes.

“30 million American citizens cannot get coverage.”

Notice he did not say the 45-50 million figure. He also said “American citizens” to take into account illegal aliens.

He then went into a couple of sob stories. Yes, these stories matter, and it could be me one day. However, it is also not a solution. He pointed out that rising costs are a problem. Mosquito bites are a problem. The solution is ointment. Mr. Obama would rather restate the problem.  Maybe he just likes stating and restating.

“Our health care problem is our deficit problem. Nothing else even comes close.”

Ok, fair enough.

He then, as I predicted, turned into Bill Clinton. He began triangulating.

“Build on what works, fix what doesn’t.”

Platitude! Drink a shot!

Charles Rangel paid very close attention, thrilled that health care reform was taking headlines away from his possible indictment for financial crimes.

He used the word “details” regarding “his” plan. I listened intently.

“Nothing in this plan will require you or your employer to change the doctor you have,”

He then restated this. He really does like stating and restating, as I previously stated.

“It would be against the law for insurance companies to deny you coverage in case of a preexisting condition.”

Then what happens when insurance companies go bankrupt? He is offering us the good news, but how will he pay for this?

Maybe he will bring me a chicken in every pot.

“No one should go broke because they get sick.”

Platitude alert! Drink a shot.

I mean who could disagree with this?

He then endorsed wide reaching legal reform and tort reform.

Just kidding.

“We will create a new insurance exchange…a marketplace.”

We already have this! It is called the “marketplace.”

Next Mr. Obama will invent electricity so that Al Gore can invent the internet.

“This exchange will take place in four years, so that we have time to get it right.”

(Or so we can saddle his successor with a nightmare)

He pointed out that some young people will refuse to take coverage. He called that irresponsible behavior. He is right. Yet will he mandate them or not. He says he will. What if they don’t? Are they arrested?

Also, why does he not apply this same logic to irresponsible mortage owners?

“There are significant details to be ironed out (the crowd laughed, but significant consensus exists.”

No it doesn’t. If it did we would have a bill.

As for “death panels,” he said, “it is a lie, plain and simple.”

Everything with this guy is plain and simple except the details of his plan.

He emphatically stated that illegal immigrants will not be covered. Some people booed this in the chamber. He also stated that abortion rules would not be affected. There was stone silence.

“My guiding principle has always been that Consumers do better when there is choice and competition.”

He accused companies of “cherry picking individuals,” yet he actually admitted that they did this “because it is profitable.”

Yet this is an example of him going out of his way to acknowledge opposing views in words while completely discounting them in deeds.

“I have no interest in putting insurance companies out of business. I just want to hold them accountable.”

I do not want to fire Barack Obama (ok, I do.) I just want him held accountable.

He insisted that taxpayers not be subsidizing the public option. He actually claimed that there would be less bureaucracy with the public option.

I really need to start drinking so that the pink elephants I am seeing make more sense.

“The public option is only one part of my plan.”

What is his plan?

“We should remain open to other ideas that accomplish our goal.”

Platitude alert!

“Republicans, work together so we may address any legitimate concerns you may have.”

Platitude alert!

“These are all constructive ideas that we should consider.”

Before being discarded.

If I was playing the platitude alert drinking game I would be blitzed right now.

40 minutes into the speech, he discussed that he was going to discuss how to pay for it.

“I will not sign a plan that adds one dime to our deficit now or in the future.”

He then spoke about a part of the plan that enacts spending cuts if savings don’t materialize it. These spending cuts never ever happen. It is called Congressional budgeting. Give breaks now, ignore spending cuts.

He then bashed George W. Bush for the “Iraq War and tax cuts for the wealthy.”

This is the man who wants to work with Republicans. Child, please (I saw that on a sitcom.).

He will not touch the Medicare trust fund.

He will eliminate waste and fraud.

Just because I can tell you that sugar is not in a diet soda does not mean I can tell you exactly what is in a diet soda.

Mythical savings from combatting waste and fraud will fill the gaps. That is like releasing a 300 pound linebacker and replacing him with a 150 pound backup.

“I will protect Medicare.”

(Grabbing a bullhorn:) “What is your plan?”

Maybe he does not even know.

This would be laughable if it were not so sad. I could have been watching sitcoms where the laughter is intentional.

He will charge insurance companies for their most expensive policies.

“This modest change could help…”

He alluded to Republican support for tort reform.

“I don’t believe that malpractice reform is a silver bullet.”

“I do believe that defensive medicine takes place.”

He then stated that he would direct his HHS person to begin an “initiative.” That was not the same thing as actually endorsing tort reform.

He then mentioned Iraq and Afghanistan and tax cuts for the wealthy.

This guy can’t stop campaigning.

His plan reduces the deficit by 400 trillion dollars in the long term. Of course, he is the one that is creating this ridiculous deficit.

He again created the straw man argument that his opponents want to “kill the plan rather than improve it.”

“If you misrepresent what is in this plan, wewill call you out. I will not accept the status quo as the solution.”

Call yourself out Mr. President. The issue is not doing nothing. It is saying nothing, which is what you do.

“We cannot fail because too many Americans are counting on us to succeed.”

Platitude alert!

Then came the obligatory story about Ted Kennedy.

Is the President so crass as to use Ted Kennedy to get a plan passed? No way, that would be like using children as props. Oh wait, never mind. He does that too.

“At stake are not just the details of policy, but the fundamental policies of social justice and the character of our country.”

Those words from Ted Kennedy are exactly why this plan must be killed. Social justice is code word for destroying productive people.

Mr. Obama then acknowledged Ted Kennedy’s critics before discounting their opinions in his typical polite but dismissive way.

Ted Kennedy was “concerned about the plight of others.”

Except when he was driving them over a bridge. That should never be forgotten.

He then went into the beauty of how government can get things right, such as Social Security and Medicare. He left out that they are both going bankrupt.

“Government could not and should not solve every problem, are not worth the adding constraints on our freedoms.”

Platitude alert!

He bemoaned the lack of civility in politics, forgetting that he blames his predecessor for his own personal failings on the political front.

“We did not come here to fear the future. We came here to shape it.”

Platitude alert!

“I still believe we can replace acrimony with civility.”

Start with yourself and Professor Gates, Mr. President, then work on Van Jones.

I have only one question about his plan.

What is it?

We still have no idea. The details need to be worked out.

If it was mathematically possible, had his speech been twice as long he would have said half of less than nothing.

All hail the First Blatherer in Chief. If he promises to stop talking and actually do something, I will demote him back to First Gasbag in Chief.

Louisiana Representative Charles Boustany delivered the Republican Rebuttal. He is a heart surgeon, which means he actually has something to say. He began by citing the Congressional Budget Office. He pointed out that he actually read the bill that creates “53 new bureaucracies.” This is what we call specifics.

“I performed surgeries on many people who could have been healthier had they made better choices earlier in life.”

He pointed out that real reform must include tort reform.

Mr. Boustany said more in five minutes than the president did in an hour.

Short, sweet, and to the point.

Mr. Obama can’t do it.

Let’s end this on a positive note.

His necktie is still perfect, and if it comes undone, it will be his predecessor’s fault due to Iraq and tax cuts.


9/9/9–A beautiful day for a Congressional Coverup

Wednesday, September 9th, 2009

Today is 9/9/9.

In mathematical terms, today is 27.

For those speaking German, a voice yelling “no, no, no” can be heard.

Yesterday the President spoke to children. Tonight he will be speaking to the rest of us as if we were children.

Yet given the number of serious issues and events occurring throughout the political, religious, and athletic landscapes, today will be dedicated to the ongoing Congressional coverup regarding my being accosted on August 27th, 2009. New information has emerged.

Recap: Congressman Henry Waxman gave a speech at the Luxe Hotel that was put on by the West LA Chamber of Commerce. As I sat down to eat, I was accosted by Seth Horowitz, an employee of the Luxe Hotel. He threatened to have me removed as an agitator despite my not being one. He implied that he was given instructions to do so by the Waxman campaign, although he stated that Congressman Waxman did not give the order himself.

Today I particpated on a conference call with Congressman Waxman’s LA communications person, Lisa Pinto, and her Washington, DC, counterpart, Karen Lightfoot. Her name of Lightfoot is highly appropriate given how nimble she is.

A communications director’s job is to appear cooperative while being politely confrontational. Ms. Lightfoot does her job well.Ms. Pinto explained that she was only following procedure, which is fine.

After stating how delighted they were that I attended the event, I knew that this was not going to be a sincere conversation.

Mr. Howowitz did not act in a vacuum. I wanted to know who gave him the order to harass me.

Ms. Lightfoot claimed that the event was put on by the West LA Chamber of Commerce, and that the Waxman team had nothing to do with the event except for graciously showing up and attending.

I pointed out that it was Ms. Pinto herself who stated that my being a blogger was the reason for the incident. I made it clear that Ms. Pinto told me this, and I wanted to know how they even knew I was a blogger.

Their version of events is that two days before the event, on August 25th, I published the upcoming event as a “Healthcare Townhall.” Therefore, I misrepresented the event because it was a luncheon, not a townhall, and that climate change would be discussed and not just healthcare.

A concerned citizen came to them (Are you kidding me?) and let them know that a blog described the event incorrectly. They would not say the name of the person.

Ms. Lightfoot repeatedly passed the buck and claimed that the West LA Chamber of Commerce was responsible for the event, and that Paul Resnick was the main point person. Mr. Resnick, who to my recollection I have never met, is the President of the WLACC.

Ms. Lightfoot stated that Mr. Resnick handled every aspect of the event, and that it was communicated to him to make sure that the event was “represented properly.”

At this point Ms. Lightfoot got very testy when I asked her a simple question.

What specific instructions were given to Mr. Resnick regarding me? What exact words were spoken to him regarding any actions to be taken?

Ms. Lightfoot resorted to claiming that she already answered me, we had gone around in circles, she understood my frustration, but that there was nothing else to be said. She then started repeatedly talking over me, and raising her voice. She “understood” my desire to get to the truth, but she already told me everything.

No, she did not.

Somebody on Waxman’s staff communicated to Paul Resnick. He then either directly, or through somebody else, went to Seth Horowitz.

I obviously hit a nerve with Ms. Lightfoot especially since she said that she “wants all of us to put this behind us and move forward.” This is what people who wish to obfuscate the truth do. They delay something long enough until it becomes old news, and boredom sets in.

She hung up the phone on me in a rude manner, specifically because I had the nerve to want a simple and truthful answer to a question lacking in any complexity.

This is now officially a congressional coverup. I am still not claiming that Congressman Waxman himself had anything to do with this.

However, I suspected that he has overzealous staffers.

This can now be declared a certainty.

Ms. Lightfoot simply spent the conversation explaining how cooperative she was while being combative.

As I said, she does her job well. It is just a shame that she has to sacrifice her integrity to protect her staff.

This is why so many people have so little faith in their government, and why so many capable people eschew public service.

Ms. Pinto and Ms. Lightfoot can try to deflect onto Mr. Lightfoot, but he has no motive.

I was willing to hold back, as long as I was being dealt with honestly.

At this point I have no choice but to go forward.

I will get to the truth about Mr. Horowitz, despite Ms. Lightfoot’s best efforts to suppress the truth under the phony guise of cooperation and transparency.


Chabad Telethon 2009–L’Chaim to Life

Tuesday, September 8th, 2009

On September 19th and 20th of 2009, the Jewish people begin their new year with Rosh Hashanah. On September 28th, we atone for our sins, and vow to be better people as we observe Yom Kippur.

Yet Sunday, September 13th is a day of pure joy.

Now I know what some of you are thinking. Sunday the 13th is the kickoff of the 2009 National Football League opening Sunday. While this is true, the day brings us even more blessings than that. The games end at 4pm PST, giving people enough time to prepare for the main event at 5pm–The 2009 Chabad Telethon.

In California the telethon will be on KTLA Channel 5.

While Chabad is an organization run by religious Jews, its mission, which remains incredibly successful, is to help heal people in every corner of the world. It is impossible to overstate the good that the organization of Chabad does for people of all races and creeds.

(Full disclosure: I am not an employee of Chabad, nor is their any business relationship. I do consider many people with official affiliations with Chabad to be among my friends. I am not being compensated for this report, but if there is a slice of hot kosher pizza and a diet soda around, I am going to grab them.)

The annual Chabad telethon finances the organization’s operations for the entire year. For six hours, there is singing, dancing, celebrity appearances, and of course, fundraising.

If a still picture in this case truly is worth a thousand words, then I hope that some fabulous live images are worth much more than that.

With that, I present to the world the very best clips from the very best religious organization I know.

For those of you who watch morning shows while drinking your morning beverage, most of those morning shows have missed the activity that gets people out of their seats and off to work with enthusiasm. Yes, I am of course referring to dancing Rabbis.

CNN talk show host Larry King is a fan of Chabad.

Bob Saget visited the Chabad Friendship Circle.

Many celebrities offer enthusiastic endorsements of Chabad.

Regis Philbin: “The dancing Rabbis provide hope and assistance to those in need regardless of race or religion.”

Jennifer Aniston: “If you need a friend, Chabad is the one to go to.”

Jon Voight: “Chabad works tirelessly in our community, helping those in desperate need.”

Adam Sandler: “It is an honor for me to be here, and I know my mother is watching, and I know she’s saying, ‘You had to wear that shirt?'”

Tony Danza: “I hope you’ll in and support what is really a terrific cause.”

Howie Mandel: “Give as generously as you can, then sit back and watch the Rabbis dance.”

Jackie Mason: “When humanity needs help, Chabad is the first one there.”

Michael Douglas: “It feels good to give, especially for such a noble cause.”

Lisa Kudrow: “This is what the Chabad Telethon is all about: People helping people.”

Kareem Abdul Jabbar: “Chabad’s crisis center is there to restore hope and to help people move forward when times are tough.”

Craig Ferguson: “Chabad cannot do any of their important work without your help.”

Bob Dylan: “Chabad is a worthy organization helping people in need.”

Larry King: Chabad feeds the homeless, helps young people battle drug addiction, and provides hope to those in desperate need.”

Jimmy Kimmel: “Chabad is a worthy cause that does so much good work here and around the world.”

Senator Joseph Lieberman: “I urge everyone who’s watching this telethon to give generously.”

So now that it is apparent that many people love Chabad for what it does, the basic question must be asked. What does Chabad actually do?

A better question would be to ask, “What don’t they do?”

Chabad has programs to assist people in every stage of life.

For young people, they have everything from youth programs to educational facilities to Summer camp.

For adults, there are drug and alcohol treatment centers as well as counseling services. For those just in need of answers to questions about Judaism, the website “Ask Moses” is a Jewish version of Wikipedia.

Senior citizens can experience everything from fun programs at retirement centers to counseling on everything from health issues to safety. The Sunshine Club matches seniors with volunteers.

Chabad also helps provide a free Jewish burial service for those not able to provide one for their loved ones. Chabad has helped with 1000 burials.

From birth until the afterlife, Chabad is there with outstretched hands.

It is for this and so many other reasons that I ask people everywhere to offer their outstretched hands this week. Please help those who help the rest of us.


Labor Day Musings

Monday, September 7th, 2009

While not everybody agreed with Samuel Gompers (if you do not know who he is, you go to public school), there is no question about his relevance to American history.

Today is a day where we celebrate the dignity of the American worker.

Happy Labor Day all.

The title of the holiday is ironic given that today is a day where we do no labor at all, unless we are hopefully earning some sweet overtime. Remember, decades ago workers were not paid overtime.

Some women around the country will be taking this holiday literally, as newborns are brought into the world.

One of my favorite quotes is taken from one of the toughest bosses around, football coaching legend Bill Parcells. While this remark specifically relates to football, it is hilarious when taken out of context.

“Don’t tell me about the pain, just deliver the d@mn baby.”

For many, today is a day of sadness. Even though Summer officially continues for another couple of weeks, the jails that are known as public schools will be back in the business of destroying our children tomorrow. Smart kids that once had hope will be lumped in with reprobates as drugs and guns take more innocent lives.

For women, today is a day of controversy. Some fashionistas say that it is a faux pas, which is French for a screwup, to wear white after Labor Day. Others say that it is now acceptable to do so. I would elaborate further on this debate but I have no idea what I am talking about.

In calendar news, this year Labor Day is held as late as it can possibly be held. Next year if my calculations are right (and they most likely are wrong), Labor Day will be held on the earliest day possible. This is an example of a fact whose truthfulness is matched only by its uselessness.

Jewish holidays also do not always appear on the same calendar date. Therefore, everybody celebrating Labor Day has something in common with the Jewish people. In another bizarre coincidence, a child in Boise, Idaho is most likely eating a hamburger at the very same time that another man in Tallahassee, Florida is washing his car. Adding to the intrigue is that these two people have never met, either in real life, or on the internet.

Labor Day should be a Jewish holiday. We built the d@mn pyramids for crying out loud. We should get something for it.

Labor Day is also the official conclusion of the “silly season” in politics. this offseason has had less mirth than usual, but I have kept my tradition of ignoring stories that others have covered ad nauseum.

In Van news, Van Jones lost his job, I drove a van that seats 12 by myself this week because the rental car place had nothing else, and Van Wilder remains a hilarious movie. The Rise of Taj was not bad either, even though Kal Penn is now an advisor to the Obama administration. So even though Van (Jones) is out, Van’s (Wilder) associate is in.

Speaking of Kal Penn, can Guantanmo Bay be that dangerous if Harold and Kumar were able to escape from it? The Obama administration must improve national security procedures immediately.

In weenie news, many liberals are eating tofu hot dogs today at imitation barbecues. Before leftists start protesting, hot dogs are referred to as weenies. Then again, in many political battles, liberals do eat their own.

As for Kal Penn, I do not know if he is eating hot dogs today, but if he is eating hamburgers, they are most likely White Castles.

If Jews are eating hot dogs today, they are most likely Nathans or Hebrew Nationals.

Labor Day is the two month anniversary of Independence Day, where Joey Chestnut brought home the Yellow Belt by winning the Coney Island Nathans Hot Dog Eating Contest in Brooklyn.

In political news, America is the only major country where the political party of losers is not referred to as Labor.

In finance news, I am less concerned with Labor than I am with LIBOR.

Speaking of dogs, which I was a couple of sentences ago,  if this column had any less substance, it would be on NBC Nightly News.

Labor is hard work, and so is writing a column about…whatever this column is about.

My labor here is done.


Raiders Recap–Preseason 2009 Week 4

Sunday, September 6th, 2009

The Oakland Raiders played at the Seattle Seahawks in the final 2009 preseason game for the Silver and Black.

For more coverage on the Raiders, go to Just Blog Baby.

Trying to erase the debacle that was the New Orleans thrashing, the Raiders faced a Seahawks team that was benching most of its starters except for quarterback Matt Hasselbeck. Running back Edgerrin James, who was supposed to be washed up, began by running for gains of 4 and 7 yards. The defense held after that, and in a  game where starters on both sides were only supposed to play one series each on offense and defense, the Raiders took over inside their own 10.

JaMarcus Russell was sacked, McFadden gained the five yards back, and a pointless West Coast pass on 3rd and 10 was complete for a 4th down punt. The Seahawks took over near midfield.

Hasselbeck was done for the night. Backup quarterback Mike Teel quickly came in and fired a 23 yard completion. Nahmdi Asomugha was not playing in this game, but this is still sad. Tell fired a crossing route to Butler for an easy touchdown. Seattle led 7-0, and any compelling reason to watch this game went out the window.

I had nothing better to do, so I watched. Nick Miller returned the kickoff 52 yards, and Jeff Garcia came in at quarterback. Apparently JaMarcus accomplished everything in the three and out series. The Raiders even picked up a first down when Seattle jumped offsides. One bright spot of the Raiders is the running game. They are ridiculously deep. Louis Rankin burst up the middle for a 44 yard touchdown run to tie the game 7-7. Rankin can play, but Darren McFadden, Michael Bush, and Justin Fargas remain ahead of him. I hope the team keeps all four of them.

The rest of the opening quarter was forgettable, and the Raiders began the second quarter by finding a creative way to not make a first down. On 3rd and 1, Garcia threw a completed pass that lost a yard. Once again, I hate the West Coast offense. Enough Yards After Catch garbage. Throw past the bloody marker.

Most of the second quarter was forgettable as well, but the key play of the game came with 2:30 remaining in the half. Third string quarterback Bruce Gradkowski went back to pass on 3rd and 6 from the Oakland 45. He was hit and fumbled, and Seattle took over at the Oakalnd 38. On the first play after the turnover, Teel went deep for the touchdown pass to put the Sehawks up 14-7. On the next series Gradkowski went back tp pass and was hit as he threw. Although the call was questionable, it was ruled a fumble. Tom Brady must have been laughing somewhere. The turnover led to a field goal and a 17-7 Seahawks lead at halftime.

In the third quarter the Raiders had a chance to close the gap, but on 3rd and 3 from the Seattle 38, 4th string quarterback Charlie Frye had his pass batted down. Given that this was preseason, it was inexplicable that the Raiders punted rather than go for it or try a 55 yard field goal. Seattle took over on their own 8 yard line and moved 92 yards to go up 24-7. With 4 minutes left in the quarter, Teel went deep again. The receiver made a sliding catch, got up before being touched, and waltzed in for the 44 yard touchdown to put the game out of reach at 31-7.

The Raiders did manage to finally score again with under 5 minutes remaining, and even added a garbage touchdown in the final seconds to make the score look respectable.

The Raiders finished the preseason 1-3. I have deep concerns about this team, but I am throwing out this entire preseason and withholding judgment until Monday, September 14th. The Raiders host the Chargers on Monday Night Football.

For now, there is nothing to do but begin the countdown.

Seahawks 31, Raiders 21


Unartistic Tehachapi Indian Wells Saturday

Saturday, September 5th, 2009

Before getting to today’s links, today is unartistic Saturday.

Men are encouraged to dressed in ripped jeans and beat up sneakers. They are to only eat foods that require the use of hands, and finger foods do not count. Watch as much football as possible, whether it be the opening of college football (Go USC Trojans) or preseason NFL coverage.

The Tygrrrr Express is Tehachapi bound. Tehachapi is near Indian Wells, which is somewhere in the middle of nowhere in California. I am speaking to the Tehachapi Republican Women’s Federated at 4pm. I am the opening act for Chuck DeVore, who will helping Barbara Boxer with her mandatory retirement plan.

Assuming I actually find my way back to Los Angeles (I will have a rental car. My jalopy would never make it.), a Los Angeles Sunday will be followed by a Monday Labor Day trip to Stockton, which is also somewhere in California. I will be speaking at the South San Joaquin Republican meeting.

Yet today I am thinking about some time I spent with the Sacramento Queen at the Palo Alto Arts Festival. I am not an arts festival type of guy. I do not have an artistic bone in my body, nor do I want one.

I am a hard charging, corporate, Type A Wall Street guy. Yet I saw something at an arts festival that forced me to take notes. One painting exhibit had words from the author.

“Imagination is stronger than knowledge.”

“Myths are more important than history.”

“Dreams are more powerful than facts.”

“Hope always triumphs over experience.”

“Laughter is the only cure for grief.”

“Love is stronger than death.”

These were described as the “Storyteller’s Creed.”

It was at this moment that an initially held belief of mine was reinforced.

I am now certain that I really detest artists.

The entire culture makes me ill.

“Imagination is stronger than knowledge.”

Yes, if one is five years old. If one is an adult, I don’t care what somebody thinks. I care what they know and what they do. Corporate America has been destroyed by everything from diversity to multiculturalism to sensitivity training to “new 21st century management.”

Corporate America should be about delivering the d@mn profits. We are slowly producing a nation of creative imbeciles. We have children that ace Arts and Crafts and Music but can’t do multiplication tables.

“Myths are more important than history.”

No, no, no, no, no.

Camelot is a myth. The entire Kennedy family is one big phony myth. Barack Obama is a myth. Myths are stories. I care about actual results.

The favorite myth in leftist circles are that Americans are a bunch of sexist, racist, homophobic pigs that oppress the rest of the world in pursuit of greed. The truth in conservative circles is that America is a nation of good people that feed, clothe, protect, and defend the world.

Only a leftist could prefer words to deeds. Only a leftist could prefer intentions to results.

“Hope always triumphs over experience.”

This particular artist most likely bathes in “Eau D’Obama Anus” Cologne.

In the 1960s the left said, “If it feels good, do it.” This brought us a generation of rambling drug addicts, and sexually transmitted diseases that have no cure.

Now, as conservatives are trying to save the world from terrorists who hijack planes and turn them into guns, the left responds with silly blather about “hope,” “change,” and “Yes we can.” These vacuous slogans accomplish nothing, mean nothing, and inspire people that find insipid rhetoric inspiring.

When Ronald Reagan ordered Mikhail Gorbachev to “Tear Down This Wall,” it meant something only because the wall actually did fall. Abraham Lincoln’s Emancipation Proclamation was followed by actions. Slaves don’t get freed by burning incense and chanting “Yes, we can.”

The entire image of an artist makes me sick, especially the glorification of the “starving artist.”

Memo to startving artists: There is nthing noble about being poor. There is nothing romantic about being broke. Owning a private jet is more rewardeding than making art out of literal garbage that the poorest of the artists call dinner.

I will leave artists alone when they shut up and stop criticizing corporate America.

Yes, beauty can be found in individual works of art, and I am sure there are museums and art galleries that offer value. As a kid I liked the Dinosaur Exhibit at the Museum of Natural History.

What I can’t stand is the preachiness and pretentiousness of the art world.

Business is a necessity. Art is a luxury. Artists rail about the rich, all the while begging business people to sponsor them.

Forget the storyteller’s creed. I have my own creed.

“Go to school. Learn reading, writing and math. Learn about business. Get a job. Pay taxes. Balance a checkbook. Seek prosperity.”

Ben Affleck in “Boiler Room” put it brilliantly when he said that “People who say that money is the root of all evil don’t have any.”

Sure, there are some artists that do not inflict their entire world view and philosophy on society, but the majority of art festivals I have attended have been left wing drivel.

In the same way that the movie “History of the World Part I” had a depiction of the French Revolution where there were “beggars, begging from beggars,” too many art festivals have artists railing against the wealthy while pleading with those same wealthy people to buy their works of art. If it was not for guilty white liberals, I truly believe artists would be forced to apply for government aid.

Another “Boiler room line” applies here. “You think money won’t make you happy? Look at the f*cking smile on my face.”

In the same way not all poor struggling artists are anything more than a stereotype of misery, not all rich people are tormented. Most of them are happy. The more money I make, the happier I am. I am also significantly more handsome when making more money. At the peak of my earning power I am downright gorgeous.

The secret to life is so simple. It is not about wailing about inequities, and using pastels and paint brushes to convey suffering.

The secret to life is to find rich and powerful people and get them to like you. That’s it.

So to all the artists trying to feed themselves on hope and myths and dreams…learn about busines. Take a marketing class. Be a lemming. Conform. Be like everybody else.

You may not be happy, but you probably were not going to be happy anyway. At least my way puts food on the table.


From Henry Waxman’s Office to Dianne Feinstein’s Office

Friday, September 4th, 2009

For those who have deluged me with support over my unfortunate experience at a Henry Waxman Luncheon last week, I am thankful for that support.

I will be covering the story with less frequency as time goes by simply because without new information, a one note blog can become very boring. This does not in any way mean I am letting the matter drop. Far from it. However, political blogging should be about important current events, not the every day minutiae that the cast of Seinfeld discusses.

(I wonder how many spambots are going to try to link to this column thinking it is related to Seinfeld.)

I also don’t want to be the focal point of this blog. This is not an online diary.

Yet in the last 24 hours I have been thinking a lot more about politics from an analytical sense than I usually do. Most of blogging is descriptive. “X” happened. Yet very rarely is the “Y,” also known as “why” something matters discussed indepth. Sometimes the why is self evident.

I know that I was accosted last Thursday by Seth Horowitz, who is an employee at the Luxe Hotel. This happened at a function for Henry Waxman that required registration in advance. Mr. Horowitz told me that he “knew all about me,” and that “if I was planning to cause any trouble or be disruptive,” I would be arrested.

What I am trying to find out is why this happened. I have said over and over to myself that I am not an “activist.”

This is when I began what some would describe as deep thinking and others would describe as navel gazing. I will split the difference and declare it deep gazing.

I have come to the conclusion that I have a negative perception of what an activist is.

This is the second time I can think of where a mental block over a word affected me. I was terrible as a salesman because I had a negative view of what a salesman is. Salespeople bother other people and try to talk them into buying things. No matter how many times I was told that “everybody sells,” it was still tough.

When selling my book, I prefer it when I give a speech and people voluntarily come up to me and offer to buy it. This happens frequently enough, but many people have bought my book because they liked my two to three minute presentation. Yet I still hate selling.

Being an activist is a label that would bother me. I associate activists, especially liberal ones, with grungers. I picture unshaven, foaming at the mouth lunatics, also known as the great unwashed.

In fact, Barbara Boxer even complained that certain Republican activists could not be true because they were dressed too neatly. This only feeds into the stereotype. I personally have viewed activists as the people in the town square rambling about stuff with little more coherence than most homeless people and drug addicts.

I was wrong. While these people do exist, I have met many conservative activists lately. They are not crazy. They really are concerned citizens that do not like where their country is headed.

I have often said that I do not have time to protest because I have a job. That was arrogance on my part. Many of these senior citizens are worried that if things go to heck in a handbasket, I will not have a job. They are trying to help me. They deserve my appreciation, not scorn.

I still believe that what I have seen from liberal activists is much closer to lunacy and further away from civility than the actions I witnessed from conservative activists. I am willing to take a closer look.

Yet even though I attend many political functions, I still do not see myself as an activist.

To me, activists are people that hold up signs.

I am definitely a football fanatic. I go to games, hold up signs, yell, and scream. I just have never done that with politics. I did go to one tea party, but the sign I held up was to make people laugh. It read “I dislike taxes, but I really hate tea. Death to Mint Medley. Death to Earl Gray. Death to Tetley.”

I go to lectures to hear speakers, but that is so I have stuff to write about on my blog.

This is not to imply that I am indifferent to issues. I am just not angry.

Also, there is nothing wrong with being angry if it is justified, but I cannot fake anger. I am not politically enraged. I am quietly concerned. Others are more vocal than me.

This is why the situation involving Henry Waxman and Seth Horowitz bothers me so much. I really was a quiet concerned citizen minding his own business. I was drawn into a battle I do not want. I am being sucked into the world of activism, which is not me. Yet activism is better than passivism, which means rolling over and letting bullies hurt me. So I am a reluctant warrior.

I went to Henry Waxman’s office a couple of days ago. I was not looking for a fight. I also did not even expect to see Congressman Waxman. I figured he was in Washington, DC, not Los Angeles. I wanted to speak to his Los Angeles Director Lisa Pinto. She was at the Luxe Hotel, and can answer my questions about who targeted me and why I was targeted.

Congressman Waxman’s Los Angeles office is 8436 West 3rd St in Beverly Hills.

(I do not give out private information.. This is public.)

I called Ms. Pinto three times since Thursday, and the call was not returned. So I drove to the office yesterday, which was five minutes from my home.

Given that Beverly Hills is a wealthy area, I was surprised at how ordinary the building was. It was actually unimpressive. This is not a criticism. If anything, it deflects the charge that Congressman Waxman spends lavishly. Having a modest office is smart on his part. Now perhaps his personal office is fit for a king, but the building was nothing extravagant.

One sad aspect is that when one walks in, the receptionist sits behind bullet proof glass.

I am also not going to criticize Congressman Waxman for this. It is a reflection of the world we live in. To find a balance between personal safety and not being isolated from the voters is difficult.

I asked the receptionist, a very pleasant and polite individual, to see Ms. Pinto. She was on a conference call and unavailable. The receptionist asked me to email her to make an appointment. I explained that I had already called her, but he explicitly stated that she scheduled her appointments through email. I sent her a polite email requesting a meeting with her. We shall see.

Now I am sure I will probably now be labeled a danger to the Congressman, and be put on some sort of watch list. This may sound paranoid, but if minding my own business got me accosted, I can only imagine what actually showing up to his office will do.

The complete truth is that I was in the office for less than five minutes. I was completely polite and friendly. I accepted the business card of Ms. Pinto, wished the receptionist a pleasant day, and left.

If the Congressman sees anybody questioning anything he ever does as being a threat to democracy, then the fault is with him, not me.

Besides, until last week, I did not even know that his office was five minutes from my home. I had no reason to interact with him. My entire behavior toward him was voting against him every two years and then seeing him reelected. I have never gone to any other forum he has ever held, although given his reluctance to be around the voters, perhaps he has not done them.

(Update: Ms. Pinto did call later in the day, as I described in great detail yesterday. She did a football move that I refer to as the “Pinto Punt.” Because I am a blogger, correspondence must go through the Washington, DC, communications director. They actually tried to call me on a conference call, and I accidentally left the phone off. I was sitting right there and missed the call. So in all fairness to the Waxman campaign, his staff is being very professional about this matter. We shall see how the conversation goes when we speak in the coming days.)

Yet a couple of days ago, for a man detached from activism, I also ended up at Senator Dianne Feinstein’s office. was arranging a protest outside her office. Friends of mine were arranging a counter protest.

Apparently her office is around the block from my home. I did not even know this. At the risk of being redundant, nobody this oblivious could be a problem to anybody.

I attended the event, but in typical fashion I just stood quietly and observed. I took notes. Those select few holding up signs comparing anybody to Hitler led to me explaining to them why this is wrong. Yet I certainly did not burn Dianne Feinstein or anybody else in effigy.

(I did once burn John Elway in effigy, but I have already conceded to being insane when it comes to football.)

I guess what it comes down to is that I have spent my life obsessed with national politics. Tip O’Neill has said that all politics is local, but I always found local politics to be boring.

Yet I am forcing myself to learn more.

I am forcing myself to get more involved.

I have never written my politicians a letter, and certainly never gone to their office before. I only email members of Congress to get interviews for my blog, but I have never contacted a politician for anything else.

Dianne Feinstein was around the block from me in plain sight. Even had I known, I probably would not have gone there. I cannot imagine why I would.

Yet despite the hilarious movie PCU (Politically Correct University), where the students start chanting, “We’re not gonna protest” over and over, I am going to try and be more tolerant of protesters. This is provided that they act civilized.

I will respect their right to be upset.

I just hope they respect my right to voice my opinion in a calmer manner from behind a keyboard. This is less confrontational for me.

When the dust settles, and the evidence reflects my non-controversial existence, I hope that I still get the answers I am searching for.

Seth Horowitz accosted me, and he implied that Congressman Waxman’s staff put him up to it.

If this is how private citizens minding their own business get treated, I can only begin to imagine what happens to activists.


Henry Waxman–Getting much closer to the truth

Thursday, September 3rd, 2009

One week ago I was accosted at the Luxe Hotel by Seth Horowitz, an employee of the hotel. This occurred at a function for Henry Waxman. Mr. Horowitz stated that he was not ordered to harass me on direct orders from the Congressman, but tacitly admitted that his staff was not so innocent.

It has taken a week, but the truth is slowly coming out.

I dropped by the office yesterday after three phone calls last week went unanswered. I was there less than five minutes.

Later on that day, Henry Waxman’s District Director Lisa Pinto did call me back. She apologized for not being able to see me since she was on a conference call. I wanted the conversation to be cordial, so I immediately responded positively.

“Ms. Pinto, no need to apologize. I dropped by uninvited, I had every right to expect you to be busy doing your job. No harm done at all.”

She responded pleasantly enough before proving most unhelpful. Yet what little she blurted out inadvertently helped me connect several dots, before dumb luck helped me really tie this together.

She explained to me that she could not speak to me about the matter because I was a member of the media. All media inquiries or issues had to go through the communications director in Washington, DC.

I explained that I was not a member of the media, and that I had no idea where she got that. I told her that I was a stockbrokerage professional and private citizen that knew nothing about the entertainment industry.

She said that perhaps there was a mistake, and that she had given wrong information. However she was sure I was a professional blogger who blogged on other people’s sites.

At this point the light went off. I was not willing to lie, because getting to the truth through lying does not work for me. I explained that I was a professional finance guy, but not a professional journalist. I did blog on other sites from time to time, but mostly I only blogged on my own site with no compensation.

She stated that any blogging makes me a member of the media, which means that only the communications director can talk to me with regards to a meeting.

I told her that if she could discuss the issue with me on the telephone for 3-5 minutes, that would save us all some time of having to set up a meeting. She said she could not speak about the situation.

I then asked her if she could just listen and not say anything. She said she could not do that, and that everything had to flow through DC.

I call this football move the “Pinto Punt.”

I told her that even though I disagreed with the Congressman on issues, I wanted to handle this matter quickly and quietly. I was not interested in getting him in trouble, especially if he was innocent. Some conservatives want me to push this issue and try to make it a 2010 campaign issue.

That is not who I am or what I am about. I just want the truth. I offered to make any conversation off the record. Anybody who knows me knows that if somebody asks me to go off the record, I honor that.

All I asked is that I not be lied to or jerked around.

Seth Horowitz initially told me that he “knew all about me.” I had no idea what he meant.

Yet one week later, Lisa Pinto expressed her concern at my being a blogger.

I never told her I was one. How did she know this?

Since the event required registration, a background check could be run on each attendee.

Yet I do not blog under my real name. I go by the Tygrrrr Express.

I also pointed out to people that if my name was typed in on Yahoo or Google, I would not turn up for pages and pages. A jazz musician with the same name based out of San Francisco comes up first. He is probably pretty well known. So a search of turns up a saxophonist.

Or so I thought.

In the past, a Google search of me turned up nothing on the first few pages.

Yet somebody yesterday suggested I Google myself again, since I had not done so recently. To my astonishment, I came up before the saxophone player.

My stint writing for Andrew Breitbart on his site Big Hollywood was under my real name. Mr. Breitbart required this.

Another peson at the event that was harassed was Ari David. Ari David is actually running against Henry Waxman, but most likely Henry Waxman would not know this. He has a safe seat, and ignores potential opponents. However, Ari David does write for Big Hollywood as well.

Andrew Breitbart has been a fierce critic of Henry Waxman. It does tie together.

Yet I was never a passionate critic of the Congressman. I voted against him every two years, but never blogged about him. I was focused on the Presidential race.

I told Lisa Pinto that I wanted this resolved peacably, but it had to be resolved. She offered to put me in touch with the DC communications director, or she could contact him directly.

I told her that if she gave me her word she would follow up, I would be fine with that. After all, she did call me herself, even if it took a visit to the office to see some movement. Besides, if she lies, I can just call back. She gave me her word that he would contact me within a short amount of time.

I told her that I am Jewish, and that I know Congressman Waxman is Jewish as well. I wanted this resolved by Rosh Hashanah (September 19th) so that we could both start the year fresh. She laughed, and said that this was an interesting deadline. I told her that I did not want a quarrel with a fellow Jew, even one I disagreed with. My beef with the Congressman has always been political, never personal.

She promised that I would be contacted well before then.

Seth Horowitz did not act in a vacuum. As soon as the owner of the Luxe Hotel gets back in town, I will have a polite conversation with him. I have already emailed him. I will also be writing a letter to the West LA Chamber of Commerce, who hosted the event and has Mr. Horowitz as a member.

Yet Mr. Horowitz did not act on his own. He has no reason to do so. Harassing hotel patrons is bad for business. Yet he “knew about me.” He all but overtly admitted that Henry Waxman’s staff started this chain of events. Lisa Pinto knew I was a blogger. The event required registration.

In legal terms, this is a case with strong circumstantial evidence.

What did Henry Waxman know, and when did he know it? Did he give the order?

If not, who on his staff needs to be reined in or fired for convincing a hotel thug to violate my civil rights and civil liberties?

Drip by drip, droplet by droplet, the levee of lies is slowly starting to collapse.

I will get to the truth. Count on it.


Celebrate Freedom America

Wednesday, September 2nd, 2009

I had the pleasure this past weekend of attending a phenomenal tea party in the South Bay of Los Angeles, Redondo Beach.

The tea party was put forth by the group Celebrate Freedom America.

This was more than a political get together. It was a celebration of the best aspects of America.

The theme for the event was “Don’t tell me it can’t be done.”

Patriotic music was on display with singer Steve Emerson.

The emcee for the event was Kevin James of KRLA 870AM.

The Beach Cities Republican Club took part in the event.

The South Bay Tea Party group also played a role.

On the political front, the crowd was pumped up by Ari David, John Stammreich, and Chuck DeVore.

Ari David is running in California’s 30th Congressional District against Henry Waxman, who has been in Congress since the Civl War.

John Stammreich is running in the 28th State Senate Seat in California, which covers the South Bay.

Chuck DeVore is running for the California Senate seat currently being held hostage by Barbara Boxer, whose main skill seems to be advancing wacked out legislation that never becomes law.

One of the things I learned very recently is that a rally is better than a protest, and both of them are better than counter protests.

While this may seem like semantics, the distinctions are the difference between persuading people toward the intended point of view and pushing them in the opposite direction.

This gets to the heart of the problem with the GOP. The ideas are right, but the marketing is awful. Worse, in recent years the implementation has not always been true to the conservative ideology.

Yelling and screaming in anger does not sell. Yelling “Where’s the outrage?” will not produce outrage.

This is why the South Bay Tea Party was so important and so successful.

For one thing, it was indoors in an air-conditioned amphitheatre. Heatstroke is not good for any movement.

Many people paid to attend the event, although some did have free tickets. Like Hannity’s Freedom Concerts, the politics contained a healthy amount of music, justifying the cost.

Turnout is everything, and people who are committed will always be stronger than paid mercenaries. Nancy Pelosi may see 80 year olds in wheelchairs as “Astroturf,” but saying it does not make it so.

A good example of this came at a recent protest and counter protest outside Senator Dianne Feinstein’s office. Three pepole showed up an hour early to help set up for when others arrived. Senator Feinstein released 150 workers to go downstairs and flood the street to create the appearance of a successful counter protest. 150 against three is not a fair fight. However, by the time the rally was supposed to start, the two sides were even in numbers.

Then a very interesting thing occurred that should provide a lesson to everybody. The clock struck 5:00pm, and Senator Feinstein’s “counter protesters” did what paid mercenaries do. They left. They clocked out and went home. They were not willing to work without being paid overtime. Now nobody is suggesting they should, but remember why Marc Antony was able to defeat Brutus and Cassius after the death of Caesar. People fighting for a cause are going to be more passionate than paid hired guns.

The more liberals try to attack the people rallying against Obamacare, the weaker their hand will become. This is because it is the pro-Obama forces that contain many paid agitators.

This is not to imply that true believers only exist on one side. It is just that the anti-HR 3200 forces keep coming back again and again, day after day. They are awfully committed for astroturf.

This brings everything full circle to Celebrate Freedom America.

The crowd was energized, mobilized…and optimistic.

Unlike “hope,” “change,” and “Yes we can,” “Don’t tell me it can’t be done” is more than a vacuous slogan. There is substance behind the rhetoric in the form of people demanding action while maintaining a civilized decorum.

The title “Celebrate Freedom America” begins with the word celebrate. Celebrations are positive.

Today there will be another get together outside Senator Feinstein’s office. is planning a protest. If anybody thinks that these people will be peaceful and polite, think again. is hate speech.

So the important thing for those opposed to HR 3200 that will be assembling outside Senator Feinstein’s office should behave like they are at a rally, not a counter protest.

The media loves to portray conservatives as an angry mob. Conservatives need to come across as the wonderful people that attended the South Bay rally. The people are incapable of faking civility. They can’t do it. The rage will flow. Once the public sees enraged leftists vs reasonable conservatives, we will be on the right track to defeating a bad bill.

After all, this is not about hurting others for sport like the left does. It will be about celebrating freedom and the right to assemble peaceably.

Don’t tell me it can’t be done.

Celebrate Freedom America.