Nov 2006
Happy Thanksgiving!
Turkey, cornbread stuffing, cranberry sauce, sweet potatoes, and pumpkin pie. That's all I have to say.
Get On An Airplane, Give Up Your Rights
Having flown recently, I was reminded of the humiliation we now must submit to if we wish to travel somewhere on an airplane: remove your shoes, throw away all liquids, submit your personal belongings to idiots who barely made it out of high school. Based on an article I just read on ABCNews.com, it can get even worse once you get on the plane. You risk being arrested if you do any of the following: pray (if you're Muslim or an orthodox Jew), go to the restroom less than thirty minutes before the plane lands, ask if the pilots are drunk, put your head in your girlfriend's lap, or breast feed your child. Apparently, the renewed Patriot Act makes it a crime, punishable by up to 20 years in prison, for threatening a flight attendant, i.e., arguing. So I guess the lesson is, treat those flight attendants with the care you would give to a pit bull. They might not bite you, but they can destroy your life at their whim.
California’s Top Politicians Spurred to Action
Today, the San Francisco Chronicle reported that San Francisco will likely receive more federal money once Representative Nancy Pelosi becomes Speaker of the House. The same paper gave an example of the type of issue that merits her personal involvement, as well as that of California’s senior Senator, Diane Feinstein. The great issue of national import that merited their personal attention was the possibility of the 49ers leaving San Francisco. Yes, the threat of an N.F.L. team moving 30 miles, from San Francisco to Santa Clara, prompted these two powerful politicians to turn away from relatively minor concerns such as the war in Iraq. Representative Pelosi even personally called 49er co-owner John York to tell him that it was “unacceptable for the 49ers to leave San Francisco.” Never mind the fact that in the same week, the Oakland A’s announced plans to move from Oakland to Fremont, and neither made a peep. We’re talking San Francisco, not Oakland.

Yes, we can all feel confident that a Democratic-controlled Congress, with California leadership, will focus on the most important issues facing our country.
Rumsfeld Resigns. So What?
Although the big news today was the Democrats taking both houses of Congress, the bigger surprise was the resignation of Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld. For some time, Democrats in Congress have been calling for Rumsfeld's resignation. Inexplicably, they chose to hold Rumsfeld primarily responsible for the failed Iraq war, rather than President Bush. Of course, that just played into Bush's hand, enabling him to avoid taking responsibility for the war himself, and to now say that his nominee to replace Rumsfeld, Robert Gates, will offer a "fresh perspective." The Democrats appear to have bought into this. "I think it will give a fresh start to finding a solution to Iraq rather than staying the course," said Representative Nancy Pelosi.

Wrong. Anyone who believes the replacement of Donald Rumsfeld with Robert Gates will mean any kind of change is likely to be disappointed. One Bush-family confidante is being replaced by another, nothing more. Further, it ignores the fact that Vice President Cheney was just as much of an advocate and architect of the war as Rumsfeld.

A new Secretary of Defense will change nothing. The only change will come from the conclusion of the presidency of George W. Bush, whenever and however that occurs.
Livermore Valley Wine
No politics on this entry. The Livermore Valley, 30 miles east of San Francisco, is one of California's oldest wine growing regions. Although not as widely-known as Napa, the first American wine to win an international competition came from Livermore. A Wetmore Cresta Blanca took the gold medal at the 1889 Paris Exposition. Today, there are many great wineries in Livermore. A particularly good one that I recommend is the Rodrigue-Molyneaux Winery. Their 2003 Sangiovese was amazing, although probably now sold out. Their tasting room is open from noon until 5:00 p.m., Saturday and Sunday. Call ahead to see what wines are available. It's very small, and a friendly family dog will greet you when you visit (to me, a good thing). They are located at 3053 Marina Avenue, Livermore, CA 94550. 925-447-4280. For more information on Livermore wines, visit LivermoreWine.com.
Two Parties, Out of Touch
In the United States, we are on the verge of midterm Congressional elections. Many believe that the Democratic Party will take control of one or both houses of the U.S. Congress. The Democrats are elated by the polls which predict this, and the Republicans dread it, especially President George W. Bush, who will lose all power to push through the legislation he wants if the Democrats take control. In a few days, we'll see if the polls were right. Whatever the result, however, nothing will change, much less improve. The problem is, both political parties are beholden to the same large multi-national corporations (pharmaceuticals, oil, insurance), whose interests have nothing to do with the average American. Likewise, neither party is willing to confront the problems that threaten to destroy this county: rising health care costs, rising foreign debt, dependence on foreign oil, loss of American jobs to exploited foreign workers, the poisoning of our air and water, and more than anything else, the constant erosion of our civil liberties. I believe more and more people are coming to realize that neither political party in the United States has their best, long-term interests at heart, and neither is equiped to insure that there will still be a United States of America by the end of this new century. One of my goals in creating this blog is to get the message out there that neither party has anything to offer, and one of them needs to change. The United States is in desperate need of a realignment of its political parties.