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Thursday, November 30, 2006

Maps of War 


This is a sample of the information available at Maps of War (although personally, I classify the Vietnam War as a bipartisan effort, not a Democratic-only effort).



From the Ontario Empoblog (Latest OVVA news here)

(1) comments links to this post

I'd like to buy a room for $250, Pat 


The latest from David Allen:


Naming the Ontario Library children's room after writer Beverly Cleary, the most famous person to ever live in Ontario, was an idea floated in this space earlier this year.
Cleary worked at the library for a year in the 1930s and decided to become a writer based on success at Chaffey Junior College, in the days when it shared an Ontario campus with Chaffey High. So why not honor her?

Two residents with a connection to Cleary proposed the renaming to the Library Board, which posted a notice so anyone with an objection could object. When no one did, the change was recommended to the City Council.

On Tuesday, the matter was placed on the council's consent calendar, reserved for items believed to be a slam-dunk.

Well, the idea of a Beverly Cleary Children's Room certainly did get a unanimous vote.

In opposition.

"While I certainly agree with all the great things that were said about Miss Cleary," Councilman Alan Wapner began, he felt that "before we start naming rooms, that we have a policy on naming rooms."

He asked city officials to research options for how to name facilities, "including the options for" - uh-oh - "maybe having naming rights purchased by companies or individuals."...

By the way, it's been two years to the month that the council deservedly named the library's history room after former mayor Bob Ellingwood - with no policy discussed before or since....

I approached Wapner for conversation.

"I'm not a Cleary basher!" Wapner announced with a smile. "I read her books. I'm just all about policy."

He added: "The only reason this came up is because you wrote about it in your column."

He says that like it's a bad thing.

I asked for his thoughts on naming the children's room for Cleary.

"To be honest, I don't think she made enough of a contribution to the city of Ontario compared to other people," Wapner said.

"My understanding is she lived in the city a short time and worked at the library," he said. "That in itself doesn't merit having a room named for her."...

Maybe next year Ontario can take a fresh look at honoring Cleary. April 12 will be the Carmel resident's 91st birthday, which could be a nice tie-in.

But based on Tuesday's mention of naming rights, I do have one worry.

What if the City Council agrees to a Beverly Cleary Children's Room - but asks her to pay for the privilege?



We have to face the fact that, even though Paul Vincent Avila is not on the City Countil, said Council is not always blessed with brains. So they may go the naming route.

Look forward to the Coca Cola Room, or the Nike Room, or the Terminator IV Room, in your local library some time soon.

From the Ontario Empoblog (Latest OVVA news here)

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A new definition of "speed bump" 


No, I didn't vote for Paul Vincent Availa. Whoops, excuse me - the fighting Red Lion:


A spate of bizarre e-mail messages from one failed City Council candidate to another has led to ruffled feathers in the aftermath of this city's recent elections.
The messages from Paul Vincent Avila, who is a member of the Ontario-Montclair School District's board of education, went to Gabe Chavez, a former planning commissioner who finished third out of seven council candidates in the Nov. 7 election.

In an e-mail sent to Chavez on Nov. 12, Avila basked in winning roughly 3,500 votes for council after spending only a few thousand dollars on his campaign, and noted Chavez's total was around 6,000, despite spending nearly $100,000 on his campaign.

"If you are considering running again with larger amount of monies to spend, tell your developers/benefactors that I will be there again to make sure your kind defective character does not represent this precious city," Avila wrote. In the same message, he also referred to Chavez as "specially challenged" and a "snake."...

The messages Avila sent to Chavez are in keeping with a series of e-mails he wrote in the weeks leading up to the election, many of which were also sent to Daily Bulletin reporters.

His messages are typically riddled with grammatical errors, grandiose statements and mystifying allusions, and are signed by "the fighting Red Lion."...

San Bernardino County Supervisor Gary Ovitt said he was "appalled" by Avila's e-mails because Avila is a school board member responsible for overseeing the education of thousands of students.

"I feel it's important that the public know who is representing them as their school board member," Ovitt said. "I feel it's a travesty. We expect better from our elected officials."



Great. We have our own Steve Rocco. Not a good time for OMSD to have a board member who is missing marbles. Someone needs to tell the fighting Red Lion that enrollment is declining:


Concerns about declining enrollment have prompted one school board member to urge parents to attend a public forum tonight.
Ontario-Montclair School District has seen its enrollment dip by more than 2,000 students in the past three years, dropping below 25,000 for the current school year.

District administrators aren't sure of all the reasons for the drop, but some may be related to skyrocketing home prices in the area that have driven families to move elsewhere, Superintendent Sharon McGehee said.

Board member Debra Dorst-Porada said she believes there may be other reasons why students are leaving the district which will come out at the forum, a part of the district's strategic plan update process.

"Maybe people are putting their kids in private schools," she said. "If they are, I'd like to know, why are they? And what can we do as a school district to get them back?"



Oh, I don't know. Perhaps the cities in the OMSD area should make sure that residents have places to shop, and don't end up with car damage because of the speed bumps all over the place.

IMHO.

From the Ontario Empoblog (Latest OVVA news here)

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Tuesday, November 28, 2006

Pry These YouTube Videos From My Cold Dead Fingers 


If you're sitting at a computer in an office at the Laugh Factory (or in Gloria Allred's offices), do NOT click on the two links below.

This one features Chevy Chase and Richard Pryor, and was written by Paul Mooney.

This one features John Lennon and Yoko Ono.

From the Ontario Empoblog (Latest OVVA news here)

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Monday, November 27, 2006

When Marketing and Legal Types Don't Mix 


For the recent Children's Theatre Experience production of "Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat," I had to buy some black hi-top Converse sneakers. (And I did...but that's another story.) There was a tag attached to the Converse sneakers that included a whole bunch of mixed case writing, plus a little bit of writing in all caps.

First, the mixed case text:


An American original. Converse created the first basketball shoe - the grandfather of all athletic shoes to follow. In 1923, Chuck Taylor, an all-star professional, worked with Converse to improve their shoe and the game. For the rest of his life, Chuck served as the Ambassador of Basketball for Converse, traveling across America inspriring youth, coaching clinics, and spreading his love for the game.


So after that pleasant talk about the American shoe, developed for the American game, and perfected by the American player, we run into the upper case text:


TAG PRINTED IN CHINA


From the Ontario Empoblog (Latest OVVA news here)

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Thursday, November 23, 2006

Michael Richards and the Racism of Paul Rodriguez 


OK, now I know what happened. But this incident is telling (emphasis mine):


Comedian Paul Rodriguez, who was at the Laugh Factory on Friday during Richards' performance, said he was shocked.

“Once the word comes out of your mouth and you don't happen to be African-American, then you have a whole lot of explaining,” Rodriguez told CNN. “Freedom of speech has its limitations and I think Michael Richards found those limitations.”



If those are the rules, then this honky cracker will verbally denigrate anyone who isn't a honky cracker who refers to honky crackers.

But I digress. If you were living under a rock like me, here's what happened:


Michael Richards said Monday he spewed racial epithets during a stand-up comedy routine because he lost his cool while being heckled and not because he's a bigot.

“For me to be at a comedy club and flip out and say this crap, I'm deeply, deeply sorry,” the former Seinfeld co-star said during a satellite appearance for David Letterman's Late Show in New York.

“I'm not a racist. That's what's so insane about this,” Richards said, his tone becoming angry and frustrated as he defended himself....

Richards described himself as going into “a rage” over the two audience members who interrupted his act Friday at the Laugh Factory in West Hollywood. Richards responded to the black hecklers with repeated use of the “n word” and profanities.

His Laugh Factory tirade began after the two club-goers shouted at him that he wasn't funny. A videotape of the incident was posted on TMZ.com.

Richards retorted: “Shut up! Fifty years ago we'd have you upside down with a [expletive] fork up your ass.”

He then paced across the stage taunting the men for interrupting his show, peppering his speech with racial slurs and profanities.

“You can talk, you can talk, you're brave now [expletive]. Throw his ass out. He's a nigger!” Richards shouted before repeating the racial epithet over and over again.

Moderating his tone at one point, Richards tells the audience, “It shocks you, it shocks you” and refers to “what lays buried.”

While there is some chuckling in the audience throughout the outburst, someone can be heard gasping “Oh my God” and people respond with “ooh” after Richards uses the n-word.

Eventually someone calls out: “It's not funny. That's why you're a reject, never had no shows, never had no movies. Seinfeld, that's it.”



So Richards went on Letterman to address the issue.


At one point, however, Richards expressed second thoughts about appearing on the Late Show when his use of the term “Afro-American” proved funny to some audience members.

“I'm hearing your audience laugh, and I'm not even sure that this is where I should be addressing the situation.”



Well, Mikey you honky cracker, you couldn't address this on Ted Koppel because he's retired. And, by the way, someone other than Koppel has been "retired":


Comedian Paul Rodriguez appeared at a press conference at the LA comedy venue The Laugh Factory Monday to say that the actor who played Kramer on Seinfeld, Michael Richards, would no longer be welcome on their stage.


Isn't it ironic, don't you think?


Late funnyman RICHARD PRYOR was sent off with a few laughs last night (11DEC05) when stars including CHRIS ROCK, DAMON WAYANS and EDDIE MURPHY joined a comedy tribute to the comedian.

The stars came out for the Chocolate Sundae show at Hollywood's Laugh Factory, where Pryor's manager paid tribute to the comedy legend, who died of a heart attack on Saturday (10DEC05).



The Laugh Factory's blogspot blog is silent on the Richards issue - it hasn't been updated in months. They've shifted to MySpace:


For 28 years the Laugh Factory has prided itself on being the only club that guaranteed laughter. On Friday night the club exercised that pledge and refunded money to its patrons for the first time. We are truly sorry for what happened. This is a comedy club and while we have always supported the comics¹ first amendment rights, we have done so with the understanding that they were exercising that right in an effort to be funny.

We do not support or condone the inappropriate, hurtful and offensive comments that Mr. Richards made on Friday night at the Laugh Factory.

Mr. Richards was scheduled to appear on Saturday night and had informed management of his intention to apologize for his hurtful and unprofessional outburst from the previous night. He failed to do so and disappointed us.

We have made it clear that Mr. Richards is no longer welcomed here. The Laugh Factory is a comedy club, not a forum for personal attacks.



Or is this just a case of political correctness gone haywire? There's a ton of speculation on that front. Rev. Jesse Lee Peterson's take on the discussion is interesting:


The Rev. Jesse Lee Peterson, founder of the Brotherhood Organization of A New Destiny, issued a statement Wednesday calling for an end to racial double standards.

"If the word 'nigger' is so offensive and shocking to blacks, then why do black people themselves continue to use this word?" asked Peterson. "The word is kept alive by black comedians and rappers, and is a part of the everyday language and fabric of the pseudo 'black culture.' Yet, whites are forbidden from uttering this word."...

[Richards'] apology was not enough for Pentecostal minister the Rev. Al Sharpton and other blacks, according to a news release. Peterson, however, explained the difficult circumstances that whites face when addressing blacks.

"A growing number of white Americans feel as though they are forced to wear a politically correct muzzle when it comes to discussing race issues," he said. "Whites are growing increasingly frustrated about being labeled 'racist' whenever they disagree with blacks."

"Black people cannot continue using this word, yet label others as 'racists' when they do the same in a fit of anger, as Michael Richards did," he added. "By not allowing whites to express themselves, it only drives the problem underground and forces people to keep these emotions bottled up-in essence, the politically correct culture is helping to create people like Michael Richards!"



And there's a bit of a Paul Rodriguez backlash:


You know what's worst than going onstage and shouting horrifying racial slurs? Trying to squeeze a little much-needed pub out of it. During his completely unnecessary press conference (not this one, but the second one) outside of The Laugh Factory in the wake of this weekend's Kramergate fiasco, outraged comedian in a Hawaiian Shirt Paul Rodriguez simply could not resist the opportunity to pepper a few "Rodriguezingers" into his empassioned...condemnation of racism in stand-up comedy. In a dazzling display of comedic economy, P-Rod packs in references to Jews, Mel Gibson and (never failing to be timely) racist mid-90's police office Mark Fuhrman (hey, OJ's back!) in a funny-flurry lasting just under 30 seconds, desperately trying to prove that he was the authority on racial stereotype humor long before the very first lazy "lazy beaner" hilarity-nugget trickled into the Mind of Mencia. This is, of course, the most press attention Paul Rodriguez has ever enjoyed....


From the Ontario Empoblog (Latest OVVA news here)

(2) comments links to this post

Traveling and Ignorance 


When you are traveling, you are often cut off from your usual news sources.

I believe that it was Monday around noon when I was driving through Las Vegas, listening to Dan Patrick on ESPN Radio 920. He was talking about his upcoming appearance on David Letterman, comparing Letterman to Carson, talking with his guests about Letterman, and so forth.

Then Tuesday morning I was listening to Colin Cowherd, who was remarking that unusual things happen on Letterman whenever Dan Patrick appears. The last time Patrick was on Letterman, Farrah Fawcett was acting strangely.

Still don't know what happened, other than the fact that Michael Richards was somehow involved.

For the moment, it's nice to be alone in my ignorance, but it's time that I educate myself.

From the Ontario Empoblog (Latest OVVA news here)

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Wednesday, November 15, 2006

The Theatrical Event 


As I noted elsewhere, this is production week for the Children's Theatre Experience production of "Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat," with a public performance in Claremont, California on Saturday, November 18.

As part of my role, I am required at one point to wear a wifebeater, some boxers, and a starry loincloth.

While holding a long pole.

From the Ontario Empoblog (Latest OVVA news here)

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Followup on Military Transformation 


Followup to this post, which discussed (among other things) General Eric Shinseki.

Well, it turns out that Shinseki, along with retired Admiral Vern Clark, will receive the Business Executives for National Security (BENS) Eisenhower Award. According to BENS' events calendar:


The Eisenhower Award is given to individuals who help safeguard American liberty. Past recipients include Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice and Gen. Abizaid.


And apparently a lot of people help safeguard American liberty. Admiral William J. Fallon received the award in San Francisco on October 17. And there are many other winners:


May 2005 honoring Fred Smith, founder, chairman and CEO of FedEx

November 2004 honoring Supreme Allied Commander Gen. Jim Jones, USMC

June 2004 honoring Gen. Tommy Franks

March 2004 honoring H. Ross Perot

November 2003 honoring Maurice Greenberg and General Richard Myers

May 2003 honoring Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld

November 2002 honoring Lawrence T. Babbio, Jr., Vice Chairman & President of Verizon Communications, Inc.

May 2002 honoring National Security Advisor Condoleezza Rice



As to why military and industrial people would receive awards from a man famous for warning about the military-industrial complex, BENS prefers to remember another part of Eisenhower's farewell address:


The BENS Eisenhower Award is presented to outstanding individuals whose contributions to our nation's security reflect the spirit of President Eisenhower's farewell address and exemplify the “alert and knowledgeable citizenry” that President Eisenhower saw as essential so that “liberty and security can prosper together.”


Regarding both topics, this is what he said. This is what Dwight D. Eisenhower said (emphasis mine):


A vital element in keeping the peace is our military establishment. Our arms must be mighty, ready for instant action, so that no potential aggressor may be tempted to risk his own destruction....

Until the latest of our world conflicts, the United States had no armaments industry. American makers of plowshares could, with time and as required, make swords as well. But now we can no longer risk emergency improvisation of national defense; we have been compelled to create a permanent armaments industry of vast proportions. Added to this, three and a half million men and women are directly engaged in the defense establishment. We annually spend on military security more than the net income of all United States corporations.

This conjunction of an immense military establishment and a large arms industry is new in the American experience. The total influence-economic, political, even spiritual-is felt in every city, every state house, every office of the Federal government. We recognize the imperative need for this development. Yet we must not fail to comprehend its grave implications. Our toil, resources and livelihood are all involved; so is the very structure of our society.

In the councils of government, we must guard against the acquisition of unwarranted influence, whether sought or unsought, by the military-industrial complex. The potential for the disastrous rise of misplaced power exists and will persist.

We must never let the weight of this combination endanger our liberties or democratic processes. We should take nothing for granted only an alert and knowledgeable citizenry can compel the proper meshing of huge industrial and military machinery of defense with our peaceful methods and goals, so that security and liberty may prosper together.

Akin to, and largely responsible for the sweeping changes in our industrial-military posture, has been the technological revolution during recent decades.

In this revolution, research has become central....

[T]he free university, historically the fountainhead of free ideas and scientific discovery, has experienced a revolution in the conduct of research. Partly because of the huge costs involved, a government contract becomes virtually a substitute for intellectual curiosity. For every old blackboard there are now hundreds of new electronic computers.

The prospect of domination of the nation's scholars by Federal employment, project allocations, and the power of money is ever present and is gravely to be regarded.

Yet, in holding scientific research and discovery in respect, as we should, we must also be alert to the equal and opposite danger that public policy could itself become the captive of a scientific-technological elite.

It is the task of statesmanship to mold, to balance, and to integrate these and other forces, new and old, within the principles of our democratic system-ever aiming toward the supreme goals of our free society.



Which leads us to a question - why did BENS honor both Rumsfeld and one of his generals? Did BENS honor Rumsfeld for bucking his generals, and the general for bucking Rumsfeld? Mold and balance, indeed.

From the Ontario Empoblog (Latest OVVA news here)

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Thursday, November 09, 2006

November 11 


In two days it will be November 11. The significance of this date extends nearly a century:


The Allied powers a signed a cease-fire agreement with Germany at Rethondes, France on November 11, 1918, bringing World War I to a close. Between the wars, November 11 was commemorated as Armistice Day in the United States, Great Britain, and France. After World War II, the holiday was recognized as a day of tribute to veterans of both world wars. Beginning in 1954, the United States designated November 11 as Veterans Day to honor veterans of all U.S. wars.


But it's not called Veterans Day in other countries:


Remembrance Day (Australia, Canada, Colombia, UK and Ireland), also known as Poppy Day (South Africa and Malta), and Armistice Day (UK, New Zealand and many other Commonwealth countries; and the original name of the holiday internationally) is a day to commemorate the sacrifice of veterans and civilians in World War I and other wars. It is observed on November 11 to recall the end of World War I on that date in 1918....

Common British, Canadian, South African and ANZAC traditions include two minutes of silence at the eleventh hour of the eleventh day of the eleventh month because that was the time (in Britain and France) when the armistice became effective. The two minutes recall World War I and World War II. Before 1945 the silence was for one minute, and today some ceremonies still only have one minute of silence despite this.

Memorials outside London's Westminster Abbey for Remembrance Day, 2002In the United Kingdom, although two minutes' silence is observed on November 11 itself, the main observance is on the second Sunday of November, Remembrance Sunday. Ceremonies are held at local communities' War Memorials, usually organized by local branches of the Royal British Legion – an association for ex-servicemen. Typically, poppy wreaths are laid by local organisations including the Royal British Legion, ex-servicemen organisations, cadet forces, the Scouts, Guides, Boys' Brigade, St John Ambulance and the Salvation Army. "The Last Post" is played by a trumpeter or bugler, two minutes' silence is observed and broken by a trumpeter playing "Reveille". A minute's or two minutes' silence is also frequently incorporated into church services on that day. The main commemoration is held in Whitehall in central London, where the Queen, Prime Minister, and other senior political and military figures join with veterans to lay wreaths at the Cenotaph.

In Canada the day is a holiday for federal government employees. However, for private business, provincial governments, and schools, its status varies by province. In Western and Atlantic Canada it is a general holiday. In Ontario and Quebec, it is not a general holiday, although corporations that are federally registered may make the day a full holiday, or instead designate a provincially-recognized holiday on a different day. Schools usually hold assemblies for the first half of the day or on the school day prior with various presentations concerning the remembrance of the war dead. Thousands of people gather near the National War Memorial in Ottawa. Among the crowd, war veterans pay their respects to fallen sailors, soldiers, and airmen. The Act of Remembrance includes the playing of the Last Post, recitation of the Ode of Remembrance, which is a verse of the poem "For the Fallen" by Laurence Binyon, followed by Reveille.

In South Africa, the day is not a public holiday. Commemoration ceremonies are usually held on the following Sunday, at which, as with Australia and Britain, the "Last Post" is played by a bugler followed by the observation of a two-minute silence. The two biggest commemoration ceremonies to mark the event in South Africa are held in Johannesburg, at the Cenotaph (where it has been held for 84 consecutive years), and at the War Memorial at the Union Buildings in Pretoria.

In Australia Remembrance Day is always observed on November 11, although the day is not a public holiday. Services are held at 11am at war memorials in suburbs and towns across the country, at which the "Last Post" is played by a bugler and a one-minute silence is observed. In recent decades, however, Remembrance Day has been partly eclipsed by ANZAC Day (April 25) as the national day of war commemoration.



But for some people, the significance extends well before 1918:


For Anglican and Roman Catholic Christians, there is a coincidental but appropriate overlap of Remembrance Day with the feast of St. Martin of Tours, a saint famous for putting aside his life as a soldier and turning to the peace-filled life of a monk. Statues or images associated with St. Martin are for this reason sometimes used as symbols of Remembrance Day in religious contexts (e.g., the Anglican Cathedral of Montreal).


More on Martin of Tours, the French peacenik:


Joined the Roman imperial army at age 15, serving in a ceremonial unit that acted as the emperor's bodyguard, rarely exposed to combat. Cavalry officer, and assigned to garrison duty in Gaul.

Trying to live his faith, he refused to let his servant to wait on him. Once, while on horseback in Amiens in Gaul (modern France), he encountered a beggar. Having nothing to give but the clothes on his back, he cut his heavy officer's cloak in half, and gave it to the beggar. Later he had a vision of Christ wearing the cloak.

Baptised into the Church at age 18. Just before a battle, Martin announced that his faith prohibited him from fighting. Charged with cowardice, he was jailed, and his superiors planned to put him in the front of the battle. However, the invaders sued for peace, the battle never occurred, and Martin was released from military service at Worms....

On a visit to Lombardy to see his parents, he was robbed in the mountains - but managed to convert one of the thieves. At home he found that his mother had converted, but his father had not. The area was strongly Arian, and openly hostile to Catholics. Martin was badly abused by the heretics, at one point even by the order of the Arian bishop....

Preached and evangelized through the Gallic countryside. Many locals held strongly to the old beliefs, and tried to intimidate Martin by dressing as the old Roman gods, and appearing to him at night; Martin continued to win converts. He destroyed old temples, and built churches on the land....

Born
c.316 at Upper Pannonia (in modern Hungary)
Died

8 November 397 at Candes, Tours, France of natural causes; by his request, he was buried in the Cemetery of the Poor on 11 November 397; his relics rested in the basilica of Tours, a scene of pilgrimages and miracles, until 1562 when the catheral and relics were destroyed by militant Protestants; some small fragments on his tomb were found during construction excavation in 1860

Patronage
against impoverishment; against poverty; alcoholism; beggars; Beli Manastir, Croatia; Buenos Aires, Argentina; Burgenland; cavalry; Dieburg, Germany; Edingen, Germany; equestrians; Foiano della Chiana, Italy; France; geese; horse men; horses; hotel-keepers; innkeepers; Kortijk-Dutsel, Belgium; diocese of Mainz, Germany; Olpe, Germany; Pietrasanta, Italy; Pontifical Swiss Guards; quartermasters; reformed alcoholics; riders; diocese of Rottenburg-Stuttgart, Germany; soldiers; tailors; vintners; Virje, Croatia; wine growers; wine makers; Wissmannsdorf, Germany



But, most importantly...November 11 is my cousin's birthday!

From the Ontario Empoblog (Latest OVVA news here)

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Wednesday, November 08, 2006

Donald Rumsfeld Resignation and the Doctrine(s) of Military Transformation 


And with everything else going on, this happened:


After years of defending his secretary of defense, President Bush on Wednesday announced Donald H. Rumfeld's resignation within hours of the Democrats' triumph in congressional elections....

The Iraq war was the central issue of Rumsfeld's nearly six-year tenure, and unhappiness with the war was a major element of voter dissatisfaction Tuesday — and the main impetus for his departure. Even some GOP lawmakers in Congress became critical of the war's management, and growing numbers of politicians were urging Bush to replace Rumsfeld....

With his often-combative defense of the war in Iraq, Rumsfeld had been the administration's face of the conflict. He became more of a target — and more politically vulnerable — as the war grew increasingly unpopular at home amid rising violence and with no end in sight....

Numerous Democrats in Congress had been calling for Rumsfeld's resignation for many months, asserting that his management of the war and of the military had been a resounding failure. Critics also accused Rumsfeld of not fully considering the advice of his generals and of refusing to consider alternative courses of action.



Let's look at the Rumsfeld disagreement with his generals. The following was written in March 2003:


This has been a terrible week at the Pentagon: the worst since the building itself was attacked more than 18 months ago. But as his limo drew up to fetch him last night, one of the most senior figures in the building might just have permitted himself the thin smile of a vindicated man.

His name in General Eric Shinseki. And at a time when generals - whether on active or pundit duty - are the hottest showbiz properties in the world, hardly anyone knows who he is....

[F]or the past two years [2001-2003] Gen Shinseki has been in total eclipse after what appears to have been the most spectacular bust-up with his civilian bosses, in particular Donald Rumsfeld, the defence secretary.

Hardly any of this the reached public domain until last month when Gen Shinseki told a congressional committee that he thought an occupying force in the hundreds of thousands would be required to police postwar Iraq. Mr Rumsfeld publicly repudiated him, saying he was "far off the mark".

In semi-private, the Pentagon's civilian leadership was far more scathing. A "senior administration official" told the Village Voice newspaper that Gen Shinseki's remark was "bullshit from a Clintonite enamoured of using the army for peacekeeping and not winning wars".

Then the general said it again. "It could be as high as several hundred thousand," he told another committee. "We all hope it is something less." Most of the media were too distracted by the build-up to war to notice. Serious analysts, however, were staggered by the insubordination.

This appears to have been round two of another, more immediately relevant, dispute about how many troops are needed to win this war. In this case, the military prevailed over the original civilian notion that fewer than 100,000 could do it. As even more soldiers rush to the Gulf to bring the number closer to 300,000, the original Rumsfeld plan looks in hindsight to be what the army said at the time: a recipe for possible catastrophe....

[Gen Shinseki] came into office in June 1999 with a clear vision for "transformation" and talked passionately about the army's need to adjust from thinking about traditional enemies to what he called "complicators", including both terrorists and the then little-known phrase "weapons of mass destruction". Gen Shinseki might thus have relished the arrival of a Republican team equally committed to change.

Unfortunately, the two sides had very different ideas about what the words meant. The general wanted a new kind of army, one that could combine the adaptability of light infantry and the power of heavily mechanised forces. His new bosses had other ideas. "They had pre-decided what transformation meant," said one Pentagon source. "It meant more from space, more from air and it didn't involve the army much. That was the essence of the conflict."

This erupted over the Crusader mobile artillery system, which Mr Rumsfeld has scrapped. Gen Shinseki told Congress a year ago it would have saved lives during Operation Anaconda in Afghanistan. By then he had already been turned into a lame duck ("castrated", according to the same Pentagon source) by the apparently unprecedented Rumsfeld decision to announce his successor 18 months in advance.

He seems to have been caught in a classic bind: distrusted by his subordinates for being too radical and by his bosses for being too conservative.



Rumsfeld's proposed transformation was discussed in Slate in February 2006:


Consider the Quadrennial Defense Review, a 90-page document that the Pentagon issued today. Rumsfeld has lived for this moment these last two years. Amid the scandal of Abu Ghraib and the disastrous lack of planning for the war in Iraq, he has resisted calls for his resignation in order to solidify what he sees as his "legacy"—the "transformation" of the U.S. military, which he hoped the QDR would embody and galvanize. And yet the document, in its finished form, is a muddle at best, an assortment of interesting ideas with no scheme for translating them into reality....

The document envisions a world where the U.S. military's main missions are homeland defense, the war on terrorism, and "irregular" or "asymmetric" warfare (i.e., wars against enemies that are not nation-states or that use weapons and strategies, such as roadside bombs, that make the most of their relative weaknesses). Much ink is spilled in discussing these new kinds of wars and the new kinds of soldier and command structures that they require. But look at what the Pentagon is really doing, how it's spending its vast sums of money (close to $500 billion next year, not including the cost of the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan). With a few notable exceptions (most of them inexpensive), you'd think that we were still fighting the Soviet Union and that the Cold War were still raging on.

Rumsfeld intended to make lots of changes. Back in 2001, when he wrote his first (far more ambitious) QDR, he observed that military transformation required major changes in the budget; that new technologies couldn't be developed, built, or maintained unless many of the weapons geared to old-style warfare were dropped. In preparation for this new QDR, one of his chief aides—Andrew Marshall, the Pentagon's longtime director of net assessment, who coined the term "military transformation"—recommended cutting the budget for tactical fighter planes by one-third. The newsletter InsideDefense.com recently quoted one senior official as saying, "Some people went into the QDR thinking that 'tac air' was going to be the piggy bank to pay for a lot of things."

But it was not to be. The fiscal year 2007 military budget—which Rumsfeld will present next week—imposes no cuts on the Air Force and Navy's Joint Strike Fighter program (a total of 2,443 planes over the next several years). It slightly boosts the number of F-22 stealth fighter planes to be built by 2010 from 178 to 183. And even the QDR touts a plan to deploy an additional aircraft carrier and to resume building two nuclear-powered submarines each year. What these (and many other) big-ticket items have to do with the new kinds of threats, or new kinds of warfare, is unclear.



But one can't say that military transformation is solely a Rumsfeld creation. There are other hands in the pie, as this 2003 article (at the Democratic Leadership Council website) notes:


The swift three-week victory in Iraq was a vindication of a vision of military transformation that began with pioneers like former vice chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff William Owens, was picked up and championed by Sen. Joseph Lieberman (D-Conn.) and former Sen. Dan Coats (R-Ind.), and is now being taken up by Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld. What we witnessed was a new kind of warfare based on lightning speed, precise targeting, total information dominance and the adaptability and flexibility to react quickly to changing realities on the ground.


This was written in 2003, when (as Slate notes in a 2004 article) a certain optimism about military transformation prevailed:


Given the quagmire that Iraq has become in the 18 months after the genuinely stunning battlefield victory, is Rumsfeld's brand of transformation—even if it were put in place—the sort of transformation that the U.S. armed forces really need?

"Military transformation"—remember the phrase? It was all the rage in the spring of '03. It's a theory of warfare that envisioned lighter, faster, more agile, yet also more lethal combat forces. And it seemed vindicated by the back-to-back toppling of the Taliban in Afghanistan and then of Saddam in Iraq....

At the start of the Bush presidency, Rumsfeld seemed clear on what had to be done. In his "quadrennial defense review" of 2001, he wrote that without such a transformation in management, mission priorities, and weapons procurement, "the current defense program will only become more expensive to maintain over time," and we will "forfeit many of the opportunities" that the new technologies have made possible.

Three years later, that's exactly what has happened. The military establishment has become more expensive to maintain—its budget has risen from $362 billion to $420 billion (not including the cost of the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan)—but the extra money has purchased little in the way of "transformational" combat power....

[I]n the words of a report from the Center for Strategic and Budgetary Assessments—a Washington think tank directed by Andrew Krepinevich, a former Pentagon official who invented the phrase "military transformation"—Rumsfeld's programs "fairly closely resemble those of previous years and the plan … inherited from the Clinton administration."



Slate goes on to identify the reasons why the military never transformed itself:


Military operations are now run through joint commands—i.e., as interservice endeavors. (U.S. Central Command, or Centcomm, which ran the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, is one of these joint enterprises.) But military budgets are still devised, weapons are still purchased, and priorities are still set by the individual services—Army, Air Force, and Navy. (The Marines are part of the Navy, but they've been allowed increasing autonomy on these matters.) Overall military budgets have gone up and down, at varying rates, over the past 20 years—but none of the services has had its apple cart toppled.

For instance, look at the three services' allocations in the FY 2005 military budget that Congress just passed. The Army received $114 billion, the Navy $123 billion, and the Air Force $124 billion. (The total sum, $361 billion, does not include money for other Defense Department agencies or for the Department of Energy's nuclear weapons divisions.) This amounts to 32 percent for the Army, 34 percent for the Navy, 34 percent for the Air Force.

Now look at the Pentagon's archive for fiscal year 1994, the Clinton administration's first military budget. The relative shares are nearly identical: 30 percent for the Army, 36 percent for the Navy, 34 percent for the Air Force.

In fact, go back to fiscal year 1984. It's 29 percent for the Army, 35 percent for the Navy, 36 percent for the Air Force. Go back to nearly any year in the past quarter-century, and you'll see the same pattern. This is no coincidence. This reflects an informal accord among the service chiefs on how to divvy up the budget, and anyone who disturbs this arrangement can count on unleashing a storm of backbiting dissent and bureaucratic warfare.

In short, partly for reasons beyond the control of all but the most tenacious defense secretaries (and it looks as though Rumsfeld, for all his bluster, will not join those ranks), "military transformation" has not begun to gain a grip on the bowels of the Pentagon.



In short, Rumsfeld wasn't done in by the Democrats. Rumsfeld was done in by the bureaucrats. And the new Secretary of Defense, or President Obama's Secretary of Defense, is going to have the same problem.

From the Ontario Empoblog (Latest OVVA news here)

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21st Century Schizoid Man 


This strikes me as contradictory:


From Paris to Pakistan, politicians, analysts and ordinary citizens said they hoped the Democratic takeover of the House of Representatives would force President Bush to adopt a more conciliatory approach to the globe's laundry list of crises, and teach a president many see as a "cowboy" a lesson in humility....

Bush is deeply unpopular in many countries around the globe, with particularly intense opposition to the U.S.-led war in Iraq, the U.S. terror detention center at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, and allegations of Washington sanctioned interrogation methods that some equate with torture.

Many said they thought the big gains by Democrats signaled the beginning of the end of Bush's reign....

In Sri Lanka, some said they hoped the rebuke would force Bush to abandon a unilateral approach to global issues.

"The Americans have made it clear that current American policy should change in dealing with the world, from a confrontational approach, to a more consensus-based and bridge-building approach," said Jehan Perera, a political analyst. The Democratic win means "there will be more control and restraint" over U.S. foreign policy.



Yet


But while the result clearly produced more jubilation than jitters around the world, there also were some deep concerns.

Danish Prime Minister Anders Fogh Rasmussen told broadcaster TV2 he hoped that the president and the new Congress would find "common ground on questions about Iraq and Afghanistan."

"The world needs a vigorous U.S.A.," Fogh Rasmussen said.

Some also worried that Democrats, who have a reputation for being more protective of U.S. jobs going overseas, will make it harder to achieve a global free trade accord.



In other words, the message from the world seems to be, "We want the United States to be a leader - provided they do things our way."

Of course, this feeling is not universal. Some publicly state that they want the U.S. out of the picture:


Today is a particularly symbolic day. Cuba is a founding member of the Human Rights Council and the United States is not. Cuba was elected with the overwhelming support of 135 countries, more than two-thirds of the United Nations General Assembly, while the United States did not even dare to run as a candidate....


And if the disappearance of the United States as a superpower is to be followed by the emergence of a new superpower, the initial idea for one superpower candidate came from, of all people, Winston Churchill. Details:


Winston Churchill's call in 1945 for a "United States of Europe," a federation of European states to promote harmonious relations between nations, economic cooperation, and a sense of European identity, has caused him to be regarded as the father of European unity. While in opposition, Churchill argued forcefully at home and abroad that a united Europe was the best means to heal residual hatred from the Second World War. Yet Churchill's rhetoric is sometimes difficult to reconcile with his ambivalence regarding Britain's role in his proposed federation, particularly after he returned to power in October 1951....

Churchill coined the term "United States of Europe" in a Saturday Evening Post article in February 1930. He believed that "obsolete hatreds" could be appeased by the American federalist model, but that Britain would not belong. "We have our own dreams. We are with Europe but not of it. We are linked but not compromised."

The threat of Nazi Germany caused him to put the issue away until he proposed an Anglo-French Union as France was falling to the Germans in June 1940. In December of that year he spoke of a postwar Europe of five Great Powers (United Kingdom, France, Italy, Spain and Prussia) and four confederations operating in a Council of Europe to include a "supreme judiciary and a Supreme Economic Council to settle currency questions." Privately he was still determined to maintain close links with the United States and the British Commonwealth, and to maintain Britain as a world power in its own right....

In the postwar years, his advocacy of European unification served as a forum for reestablishing his status in his own party, in Britain, and on the international scene. Only months after the war ended he advocated a "United States of Europe" to unify the continent "in a manner unknown since the fall of the Roman Empire." The federation would be one of several regional units in the new United Nations. He did not believe the United Nations could prevent a future European war without a united Europe. He gave his most famous speech on this topic in Zurich on 19 September 1946. He now visualized the United States of Europe as one of four U.N. pillars, along with the British Empire and Commonwealth, a U.S.-led Western Hemisphere, and a Soviet sphere. The first step would be an alliance between France and Germany. He asked General de Gaulle to "take Germany by the hand and rally her to the West and European civilization", but the French President insisted on British participation at the beginning stage....

Whatever his intentions, Churchill's words inspired and energized continental sentiment for a solution to Europe's postwar weakness and lack of recovery. Providing legitimacy with his prestige, Churchill gave continental proponents of a united Europe political cover and helped them create forums to convert public sentiment into governmental policy.



From the Ontario Empoblog (Latest OVVA news here)

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And on the state level... 


From the Secretary of State:


Governor
99.5% ( 24972 of 25090 ) precincts reporting as of Nov 8, 2006 at 6:03 am

Statewide Results County Returns | Other Contests
View Map
Candidate Votes Percent
Phil Angelides (Dem) 2,642,880 39.2 %
* Arnold Schwarzenegger (Rep) 3,773,277 56.0 %
Edward C. Noonan (AI) 48,241 0.7 %
Peter Camejo (Grn) 142,744 2.1 %
Art Olivier (Lib) 89,571 1.3 %
Janice Jordan (PF) 53,134 0.7 %
Lieutenant Governor
99.5% ( 24972 of 25090 ) precincts reporting as of Nov 8, 2006 at 6:03 am

Statewide Results County Returns | Other Contests
View Map
Candidate Votes Percent
John Garamendi (Dem) 3,280,228 49.4 %
Tom McClintock (Rep) 2,985,333 45.0 %
James D. King (AI) 54,417 0.8 %
Donna J. Warren (Grn) 180,964 2.7 %
Lynnette Marie Shaw (Lib) 110,243 1.6 %
Stewart A. Alexander (PF) 34,190 0.5 %
Attorney General
99.5% ( 24972 of 25090 ) precincts reporting as of Nov 8, 2006 at 6:03 am

Statewide Results County Returns | Other Contests
View Map
Candidate Votes Percent
Jerry Brown (Dem) 3,725,949 56.6 %
Chuck Poochigian (Rep) 2,499,813 38.0 %
Michael Sutton Wyman (Grn) 145,524 2.2 %
Kenneth A. Weissman (Lib) 138,856 2.1 %
Jack Harrison (PF) 77,651 1.1 %
U.S. Congress District 43
100.0% ( 287 of 287 ) precincts reporting as of Nov 8, 2006 at 6:13 am

District 43 Results County Returns | Other Contests
Previous District Select District Next District

Candidate Votes Percent
* Joe Baca (Dem) 43,571 65.1 %
Scott Folkens (Rep) 23,432 34.9 %
Board of Equalization District 2
100.0% ( 7113 of 7113 ) precincts reporting as of Nov 8, 2006 at 6:13 am

District 2 Results County Returns | Other Contests

Candidate Votes Percent
Tim Raboy (Dem) 610,617 38.1 %
* Bill Leonard (Rep) 888,677 55.5 %
Willard Del Michlin (Lib) 45,548 2.8 %
Richard R. Perry (PF) 59,094 3.6 %



From the Ontario Empoblog (Latest OVVA news here)

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Selected San Bernardino County election results 


From the San Bernardino County Registrar of Voters:


GOVERNOR
Vote For 1 975 of 975 Precincts Reporting (View Map)
CANDIDATE VOTES PERCENT
REP - ARNOLD SCHWARZENEGGER 167358 61.31%
DEM - PHIL ANGELIDES 91595 33.56%
LIB - ART OLIVIER 4919 1.80%
GRN - PETER MIGUEL CAMEJO 3337 1.22%
P-F - JANICE JORDAN 2720 1.00%
AIP - EDWARD C. NOONAN 2570 0.94%
Write-In 459 0.17%

LIEUTENANT GOVERNOR
Vote For 1 975 of 975 Precincts Reporting (View Map)
CANDIDATE VOTES PERCENT
REP - TOM MCCLINTOCK 141518 52.79%
DEM - JOHN GARAMENDI 110610 41.26%
GRN - DONNA J. WARREN 6197 2.31%
LIB - LYNNETTE SHAW 4855 1.81%
AIP - JIM KING 2967 1.11%
P-F - STEWART A. ALEXANDER 1697 0.63%
Write-In 217 0.08%

ATTORNEY GENERAL
Vote For 1 975 of 975 Precincts Reporting (View Map)
CANDIDATE VOTES PERCENT
DEM - JERRY BROWN 134255 50.31%
REP - CHUCK POOCHIGIAN 117613 44.07%
LIB - KENNETH A. WEISSMAN 6666 2.50%
GRN - MICHAEL S. WYMAN 4579 1.72%
P-F - JACK HARRISON 3564 1.34%
Write-In 193 0.07%

BOARD OF EQUALIZATION MEMBER - DISTRICT 2
Vote For 1 353 of 353 Precincts Reporting (View Map)
CANDIDATE VOTES PERCENT
DEM - TIM RABOY 43967 48.96%
REP - BILL LEONARD 39935 44.47%
P-F - RICHARD R. PERRY 3571 3.98%
LIB - WILLARD DEL MICHLIN 2176 2.42%
Write-In 152 0.17%

STATE SENATOR DISTRICT 32
Vote For 1 318 of 318 Precincts Reporting (View Map)
CANDIDATE VOTES PERCENT
DEM - GLORIA NEGRETE MCLEOD 57888 97.00%
Write-In 1792 3.00%

STATE ASSEMBLY DISTRICT 32
Vote For 1 1 of 1 Precincts Reporting (View Map)
CANDIDATE VOTES PERCENT
REP - JEAN FULLER 221 61.73%
DEM - MARIBEL VEGA 137 38.27%
Write-In 0 0.00%

STATE ASSEMBLY DISTRICT 34
Vote For 1 44 of 44 Precincts Reporting (View Map)
CANDIDATE VOTES PERCENT
REP - BILL MAZE 4585 57.07%
DEM - DESMOND FARRELLY 3023 37.63%
GRN - DAVID MINTON SILVA 416 5.18%
Write-In 10 0.12%

STATE ASSEMBLY DISTRICT 36
Vote For 1 94 of 94 Precincts Reporting (View Map)
CANDIDATE VOTES PERCENT
REP - SHARON RUNNER 15289 64.80%
DEM - ROBERT ''BO'' BYNUM 8265 35.03%
Write-In 40 0.17%

STATE ASSEMBLY DISTRICT 59
Vote For 1 151 of 151 Precincts Reporting (View Map)
CANDIDATE VOTES PERCENT
REP - ANTHONY ADAMS 25486 58.56%
DEM - ELLIOTT ROBERT BARKAN 14930 34.31%
LIB - JILL STONE 3048 7.00%
Write-In 56 0.13%

STATE ASSEMBLY DISTRICT 60
Vote For 1 38 of 38 Precincts Reporting (View Map)
CANDIDATE VOTES PERCENT
REP - ROBERT ''BOB'' HUFF 8198 68.48%
DEM - VAN TAMOM 3752 31.34%
Write-In 22 0.18%

STATE ASSEMBLY DISTRICT 61
Vote For 1 111 of 111 Precincts Reporting (View Map)
CANDIDATE VOTES PERCENT
DEM - NELL SOTO 18278 58.57%
REP - BENJAMIN LOPEZ 12838 41.14%
Write-In 89 0.29%

UNITED STATES REPRESENTATIVE - DISTRICT 43
Vote For 1 287 of 287 Precincts Reporting (View Map)
CANDIDATE VOTES PERCENT
DEM - JOE BACA 43571 64.90%
REP - SCOTT FOLKENS 23432 34.90%
Write-In 130 0.19%

MAYOR - CITY OF ONTARIO
Vote For 1 59 of 59 Precincts Reporting (View Map)
CANDIDATE VOTES PERCENT
PAUL S. LEON 11745 71.01%
PAUL A. TREADWAY 4766 28.81%
Write-In 30 0.18%

COUNCIL MEMBER - CITY OF ONTARIO
Vote For 2 59 of 59 Precincts Reporting (View Map)
CANDIDATE VOTES PERCENT
ALAN WAPNER 5694 19.33%
JIM W. BOWMAN 5681 19.28%
GABE CHAVEZ 5123 17.39%
SAMUEL CROWE 4259 14.46%
JOSIE S. ESTRADA 3851 13.07%
PAUL VINCENT AVILA 3034 10.30%
TONY BALLARDO 1775 6.02%
Write-In 45 0.15%

MAYOR - CITY OF RANCHO CUCAMONGA
Vote For 1 74 of 74 Precincts Reporting (View Map)
CANDIDATE VOTES PERCENT
DON KURTH 13053 49.11%
WILLIAM J. ALEXANDER 12271 46.17%
JOHN KERA 1208 4.55%
Write-In 46 0.17%

COUNCIL MEMBER - CITY OF RANCHO CUCAMONGA
Vote For 2 74 of 74 Precincts Reporting (View Map)
CANDIDATE VOTES PERCENT
REX GUTIERREZ 14122 29.31%
DIANE WILLIAMS 12037 24.98%
DIETER CARLOS DAMMEIER 7583 15.74%
JOSEPH J. MCCAFFREY 3499 7.26%
JIM MOFFATT 3037 6.30%
NICOLE MYERCHIN 2685 5.57%
LUELLA G. HAIRSTON 2622 5.44%
JOHN R. LYONS 2552 5.30%
Write-In 51 0.11%

COUNCIL MEMBER - CITY OF RIALTO
Vote For 2 38 of 38 Precincts Reporting (View Map)
CANDIDATE VOTES PERCENT
DEBORAH ROBERTSON 4719 27.51%
JOE BACA JR. 4504 26.26%
JOSEPH H. ''JOE'' SAMPSON 3802 22.17%
JOHN SANCHEZ 1990 11.60%
BIG MARK FERRETIZ 1194 6.96%
CLIFFORD FRIEDECK 920 5.36%
Write-In 22 0.13%

COUNCIL MEMBER - CITY OF SAN BERNARDINO WARD 3
Vote For 1 16 of 16 Precincts Reporting (View Map)
CANDIDATE VOTES PERCENT
TOBIN BRINKER 1034 51.01%
GWEN TERRY 670 33.05%
RANDY LALLY 309 15.24%
Write-In 14 0.69%

COUNCIL MEMBER - CITY OF TWENTYNINE PALMS
Vote For 3 6 of 6 Precincts Reporting (View Map)
CANDIDATE VOTES PERCENT
KEVIN COLE 980 18.06%
STEVE SPEAR 838 15.45%
JIM HARRIS 761 14.03%
STEVE FLOCK 756 13.94%
DAWN BENTON Jr. 723 13.33%
SHERRIE GIBSON 662 12.20%
MARK W. CLEMONS 472 8.70%
CHRISTOPHER J. CURTIN 223 4.11%
Write-In 10 0.18%

COUNCIL MEMBER - CITY OF UPLAND
Vote For 3 38 of 38 Precincts Reporting (View Map)
CANDIDATE VOTES PERCENT
RAY MUSSER 8241 23.84%
BRENDAN BRANDT 7668 22.19%
TOM THOMAS 7551 21.85%
GARRY D. GARCIA 4043 11.70%
MARJORIE MUSSER MIKELS 3912 11.32%
JOHN DAVID PATINO, JR. 1869 5.41%
ARMAN KHODAEI 1223 3.54%
Write-In 54 0.16%

COUNCIL MEMBER - CITY OF YUCAIPA
Vote For 2 25 of 25 Precincts Reporting (View Map)
CANDIDATE VOTES PERCENT
ALLAN DRUSYS 4615 33.87%
TOM MASNER 4602 33.78%
KEN SMITH 4361 32.01%
Write-In 46 0.34%

COUNCIL MEMBER - TOWN OF YUCCA VALLEY
Vote For 3 9 of 9 Precincts Reporting (View Map)
CANDIDATE VOTES PERCENT
CHAD MAYES 1955 19.82%
BILL NEEB 1551 15.73%
LORI HERBEL 1400 14.20%
BILL SOUDER 1209 12.26%
ANN M. MISTAL 1160 11.76%
DAVID T. MUNRO 979 9.93%
ROBERT J. BUHRLE 822 8.34%
REGGIE G. MCATEE 421 4.27%
CHARLES MC HENRY 356 3.61%
Write-In 9 0.09%

DIRECTOR - RUBIDOUX COMMUNITY SERVICES DISTRICT
Vote For 2 1 of 1 Precincts Reporting (View Map)
CANDIDATE VOTES PERCENT
F. FOREST TROWBRIDGE 3 60.00%
RUTH ANDERSON WILSON 1 20.00%
JOHN SKERBELIS 1 20.00%
Write-In 0 0.00%

DIRECTOR - CHINO VALLEY INDEPENDENT FIRE PROT DIST
Vote For 3 72 of 72 Precincts Reporting (View Map)
CANDIDATE VOTES PERCENT
RAY M. MARQUEZ 8402 17.45%
JOHN DEMONACO 7487 15.55%
TINA MORENO REVANE 6637 13.78%
DAVID VOIGT 6604 13.71%
JAMES S. ESPINOSA 6561 13.62%
DENNIS STANGELAND 6415 13.32%
WINN WILLIAMS 4060 8.43%
JOSEPHINE BLINK 1940 4.03%
Write-In 55 0.11%

DIRECTOR - BIG BEAR MUNICIPAL WATER DISTRICT DIV 1
Vote For 1 7 of 7 Precincts Reporting (View Map)
CANDIDATE VOTES PERCENT
TODD MURPHY 466 61.56%
JAN STOLL 289 38.18%
Write-In 2 0.26%

DIRECTOR - BIG BEAR MUNICIPAL WATER DISTRICT DIV 2
Vote For 1 3 of 3 Precincts Reporting (View Map)
CANDIDATE VOTES PERCENT
PAULA FASHEMPOUR 476 64.59%
RALPH WALKER 259 35.14%
Write-In 2 0.27%

DIRECTOR - INLAND EMPIRE UTIL AGENCY DIV 2
Vote For 1 56 of 56 Precincts Reporting (View Map)
CANDIDATE VOTES PERCENT
GENE KOOPMAN 4697 33.57%
PATRICK KING 4597 32.85%
RICHARD R. GALVEZ 3585 25.62%
JACK L. ALLINGHAM 1060 7.58%
Write-In 53 0.38%

DIRECTOR - INLAND EMPIRE UTIL AGENCY DIV 3
Vote For 1 68 of 68 Precincts Reporting (View Map)
CANDIDATE VOTES PERCENT
JOHN L. ANDERSON 7906 48.05%
EDWARD RENDON 5330 32.40%
MARYANNE MARGARET AVILA 3180 19.33%
Write-In 36 0.22%

DIRECTOR - HESPERIA RECREATION AND PARK DISTRICT
Vote For 3 40 of 40 Precincts Reporting (View Map)
CANDIDATE VOTES PERCENT
REBEKAH SWANSON 5402 22.24%
MICHAEL LIMBAUGH 5192 21.38%
RICHARD G LUPTON 5038 20.74%
BILL SMITH 4992 20.56%
MICHAEL J. LAMPIGNANO 3625 14.93%
Write-In 37 0.15%

DIRECTOR - BALDY MESA WATER DISTRICT
Vote For 3 11 of 11 Precincts Reporting (View Map)
CANDIDATE VOTES PERCENT
NORMAN W. NICHOLS 1415 24.49%
ROBERT C ALMOND 1099 19.02%
NORMAN MILLER 1072 18.55%
JAN O'NEIL 980 16.96%
MARLENE E. EAST 971 16.81%
Write-In 241 4.17%

DIRECTOR - BEAUMONT-CHERRY VALLEY WATER DIV 5
Vote For 1 1 of 1 Precincts Reporting (View Map)
CANDIDATE VOTES PERCENT
W. DAVE ANDREWS 2 100.00%
BLAIR M. BALL 0 0.00%
Write-In 0 0.00%

DIRECTOR - INDIAN WELLS VALLEY WATER DISTRICT
Vote For 2 2 of 2 Precincts Reporting (View Map)
CANDIDATE VOTES PERCENT
JOSEPH MALLORY 2 50.00%
PETER E. BROWN 1 25.00%
HAROLD W. MANNING 1 25.00%
Write-In 0 0.00%

DIRECTOR - YUCAIPA VALLEY WATER DISTRICT DIV 3
Vote For 1 13 of 13 Precincts Reporting (View Map)
CANDIDATE VOTES PERCENT
JAY S BOGH 1424 65.93%
W. RICK NICHOL 730 33.80%
Write-In 6 0.28%

DIRECTOR - MOHAVE WATER AGENCY DIV 2
Vote For 1 36 of 36 Precincts Reporting (View Map)
CANDIDATE VOTES PERCENT
JIM VENTURA 5378 58.42%
JERRY HANSON 3790 41.17%
Write-In 38 0.41%

DIRECTOR - MOHAVE WATER AGENCY DIV 4
Vote For 1 33 of 33 Precincts Reporting (View Map)
CANDIDATE VOTES PERCENT
MICHAEL ''MIKE'' PAGE 4185 54.91%
SCOTT L. DUNCAN 3412 44.77%
Write-In 25 0.33%

DIRECTOR - MOHAVE WATER AGENCY DIV 6
Vote For 1 43 of 43 Precincts Reporting (View Map)
CANDIDATE VOTES PERCENT
BEVERLY J. LOWRY 4222 73.64%
JOHN A. BASCOM 1481 25.83%
Write-In 30 0.52%

DIRECTOR - BEAR VALLEY COMMUNITY HEALTH CARE DIST
Vote For 2 16 of 16 Precincts Reporting (View Map)
CANDIDATE VOTES PERCENT
KATHARINE BAUCH 2071 30.24%
BILL SPEYERS 1959 28.60%
JERRY LEMKE 1355 19.78%
OTTO J. LACAYO 1034 15.10%
ROGER J. MANNEX 420 6.13%
Write-In 10 0.15%

DIRECTOR - EAST KERN HEALTH CARE DISTRICT
Vote For 2 1 of 1 Precincts Reporting (View Map)
CANDIDATE VOTES PERCENT
W. E. (BILL) SEIBERT 4 57.14%
LOREN W. BURCH 2 28.57%
PATRICIA A. MARQUEZ 1 14.29%
Write-In 0 0.00%

DIRECTOR - SAN BERNARDINO MTNS COMM HEALTH CARE
Vote For 3 14 of 14 Precincts Reporting (View Map)
CANDIDATE VOTES PERCENT
KIETH J. BURKART 2676 29.17%
DAVID M. STERN 2347 25.59%
JOYCE WELTON 2299 25.06%
BRUCE FIELD 1843 20.09%
Write-In 8 0.09%

PROP 1A - TRANSPORTATION FUNDING PROTECTION
Vote For 1 975 of 975 Precincts Reporting (View Map)
VOTES PERCENT
YES 210804 78.69%
NO 57093 21.31%

PROP 1B - HWY SAFETY/TRAFFIC REDUCE/PORT SECURITY
Vote For 1 975 of 975 Precincts Reporting (View Map)
VOTES PERCENT
YES 159462 59.52%
NO 108456 40.48%

PROP 1C - HOUSING & EMERGENCY SHELTER TRUST ACT
Vote For 1 975 of 975 Precincts Reporting (View Map)
VOTES PERCENT
YES 144284 53.99%
NO 122935 46.01%

PROP 1D - PUBLIC EDUCATION FACILITIES BOND
Vote For 1 975 of 975 Precincts Reporting (View Map)
VOTES PERCENT
YES 140852 52.70%
NO 126412 47.30%

PROP 1E - DISASTER PREPAREDNESS/FLOOD PREVENTION
Vote For 1 975 of 975 Precincts Reporting (View Map)
VOTES PERCENT
YES 154767 58.25%
NO 110934 41.75%

PROP 83 - SEX OFFENDERS/RESIDENCE RESTRICTIONS
Vote For 1 975 of 975 Precincts Reporting (View Map)
VOTES PERCENT
YES 209325 77.27%
NO 61573 22.73%

PROP 84 - WATER, FLOOD CONTROL, PARK BOND
Vote For 1 975 of 975 Precincts Reporting (View Map)
VOTES PERCENT
NO 138247 51.98%
YES 127720 48.02%

PROP 85 - WAITING PERIOD/PARENTAL NOTIFICATION
Vote For 1 975 of 975 Precincts Reporting (View Map)
VOTES PERCENT
YES 151623 56.22%
NO 118080 43.78%

PROP 86 - CIGARETTES TAX INITIATIVE
Vote For 1 975 of 975 Precincts Reporting (View Map)
VOTES PERCENT
NO 160322 58.87%
YES 112003 41.13%

PROP 87 - ALTERNATIVE ENERGY, OIL PRODUCER TAX
Vote For 1 975 of 975 Precincts Reporting (View Map)
VOTES PERCENT
NO 171729 63.22%
YES 99919 36.78%

PROP 88 - EDUCATION FUNDING, PROPERTY TAX
Vote For 1 975 of 975 Precincts Reporting (View Map)
VOTES PERCENT
NO 214447 80.11%
YES 53232 19.89%

PROP 89 - POLITICAL CAMPAIGNS INITIATIVE
Vote For 1 975 of 975 Precincts Reporting (View Map)
VOTES PERCENT
NO 218544 82.06%
YES 47786 17.94%

PROP 90 - GOVT ACQUISITION/REGULATION OF PROPERTY
Vote For 1 975 of 975 Precincts Reporting (View Map)
VOTES PERCENT
YES 139803 52.64%
NO 125789 47.36%

MEASURE X - VICTOR VALLEY COMMUNITY COLLEGE BOND
Vote For 1 177 of 177 Precincts Reporting (View Map)
DECISION VOTES PERCENT
BONDS YES 25972 52.48%
BONDS NO 23522 47.52%

MEASURE L - CENTRAL SCHOOL DISTRICT BOND
Vote For 1 19 of 19 Precincts Reporting (View Map)
DECISION VOTES PERCENT
BONDS YES 3974 64.90%
BONDS NO 2149 35.10%

MEASURE O - EMINENT DOMAIN
Vote For 1 975 of 975 Precincts Reporting (View Map)
DECISION VOTES PERCENT
YES 175961 67.69%
NO 83995 32.31%

MEASURE P - TERM LIMITS
Vote For 1 975 of 975 Precincts Reporting (View Map)
DECISION VOTES PERCENT
YES 145048 56.35%
NO 112338 43.65%



From the Ontario Empoblog (Latest OVVA news here)

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Tuesday, November 07, 2006

Why I didn't vote for Paul Vincent Avila for Ontario (California) City Council, Part Two 


"Flush away Super Wal-Mart's proposal near 5th and Mountain Avenue's site. Recognize the neighborhood's exclamations of No means No!"

From the Ontario Empoblog (Latest OVVA news here)

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Hablaba Voting, and My Voting 


From the Hablaba blog:


I did the whole touchscreen voting thing today, which makes me a bit nervous. Sure, the paper printout that I didn't get to keep matched what I pressed, but I don't know what was transmitted where.

Like it matters around here, anyway. I wonder if Vegas puts odds on California election results. If so, I'm going out there next year and betting since I know how it's going to turn out.



For the record, my paper matched my electronic. Coolness.

Regarding my actual votes, I will note that I voted for two people that have been characterized as "too extreme" for California. The two? Lieutenant Governor candidate Tom McClintock and Attorney General candidate Jerry Brown.

And yes, I voted for Tony Ballardo.

From the Ontario Empoblog (Latest OVVA news here)

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Preparing for 2006 Election Results 


My del.icio.us tag for 2006 election results is election+results+200611.

The weirdest story so far is from Kentucky:


A poll worker was arrested Tuesday and charged with assault and interfering with an election for allegedly choking a voter and pushing him out the door, officials said.

It apparently started as a dispute between the two over marking the ballot....

The voter told poll worker Jeffery Steitz that he didn't want to vote in a judicial election because he didn't know enough about the candidates, but Steitz told him he had to vote in the race anyway, Yates said.



Huh?

From the Ontario Empoblog (Latest OVVA news here)

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Monday, November 06, 2006

Like the F B I and the C I A and the B B C B B King and Doris Day Matt Busby 


Yes, the title is relevant (sortt off).

ggwfung links to a blog post by Muhammad Saleem that labels Digg's revised front page appearance system as socialist.


The Digg economy is the reward system for the users who contribute to the website by submitting content. This ultimate reward is the glory by way of user rankings, calculated as a function of total stories submitted by a user that made it to the front-page.

Keeping this economy in mind, you could say that the recent algorithm ‘upgrade’ at Digg is actually a shift from a capitalist free market state, to a socialist state of equality.

Prior to this change, the Digg economy was a capitalistic one. One that emphasized fairness and allowed each individual user to create his own fate. Under this system, each user was rewarded appropriately, based on their level of contribution to the system. This economy has now become a socialistic one (not to be confused with communistic economies), which emphasizes equality over fairness....

Rather than rewarding good contributors based on monitorable past actions, Digg actually penalizes them. The more front-page stories you get, the harder it is to make it to the front-page. This is the equivalent of saying that if one farmer consistently puts in more effort, rather than letting him keep his fair share of more produce, we should create a mechanism which makes sure that the harder the farmer works, the harder it should be for him to produce better results (poisoning the land?).



So, on November 6, 2006 at 12:37 pm, I visited the Digg community, and after this visit, I now doubt that we can survive as a free society under our current networking model. Um...not really. This is that Digg said:


Once a story is submitted by a user it is instantly posted in the Upcoming stories section. This is a temporary holding place where stories wait to be promoted to the homepage. To help promote stories to the homepage, simply visit the Upcoming stories section and digg stories you think are cool. Once a story has received enough diggs, it is instantly promoted. Should the story not receive enough diggs, surpass 24 hours, or is reported, it eventually falls out of the Upcoming stories section. Digg works because a large group of people actively digg (promote) good stories and report (remove bad stories). Since digg's content is user-driven, it is up to YOU to contribute.


For the record, Digg's top users are here.

Next, we reveal the Google ranking algorithm...not.

From the Ontario Empoblog (Latest OVVA news here)

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Ethnic music for gamblers, or ethnic cleaning for infidels? A belated update on the Annie Jacobsen story 


You may remember the Annie Jacobsen story - how a Womens Wall Street reporter boarded a plane, was convinced that she was surrounded by terrorists. The introduction to the article will cause you to hide under your plastic bag:


On June 29, 2004, at 12:28 p.m., I flew on Northwest Airlines flight #327 from Detroit to Los Angeles with my husband and our young son. Also on our flight were 14 Middle Eastern men between the ages of approximately 20 and 50 years old. What I experienced during that flight has caused me to question whether the United States of America can realistically uphold the civil liberties of every individual, even non-citizens, and protect its citizens from terrorist threats.


Then, subsequent reports indicated that the "terrorists" were Nour Mehana and his band, on their way to play at a California casino. In the meantime, however, Jacobsen wrote a whole series, complete with escalating tension, fear, and danger. Here's a sample from part four in the series:


On Monday night I appeared on MSNBC's Scarborough Country, discussing flight 327 alongside Bob Flamm, Executive Director of the Federal Air Marshals Association (FAMA), and Steven Emerson, who is considered one of America's leading authorities on terrorism. Here's what Emerson had to say to host Joe Scarborough about the flight and the ensuing investigation:

"Look, Joe, the fact of the matter is that this is a major embarrassment. These are Syrian nationals, who are on a country, one of the seven countries that officially supports terrorism. They were out of status.

"And then when they landed at the airport in Los Angeles, nobody interrogated them. They were allowed to leave as if they were just American citizens or they were foreigners coming from Europe. The reality is, this is a scandal that really needs to be investigated. And I can tell you, having spoken to FBI agents in the field, they are telling me, go get them. Because, Joe, this needs to be exposed. Because headquarters is trying to basically pretend it wasn't a scandal." (Clarification: Emerson uses the word "interrogated." Keep in mind there's a difference between being questioned and being interrogated. The men were stopped and they were questioned, but they were not interrogated).



I even wrote a parody of the whole affair.


As we sat waiting for the waitress to take our drink order, we noticed another large group of Finnish men entering. The first man wore a dark suit and sunglasses. He sat at table 1. The other seven men were seated at other tables. As "aware" Americans, my wife and I exchanged glances, and then continued to get comfortable. I noticed some of the other diners paying attention to the situation as well. As seating continued, we watched as, one by one, most of the Finnish men made eye contact with each other. They continued to look at each other and nod, as if they were all in agreement about something. I could tell that my wife was beginning to feel "anxious."

Once we ordered our iced teas and club sodas, the unusual activity began. I overheard someone asking for a tuna fish pizza....



Well, I haven't kept up with this story, but it turns out that Annie Jacobsen wrote a book on the whole affair - Terror in the Skies: Why 9/11 Could Happen Again.

The book clearly addressed the needs of its audience - according to the statistics displayed at the amazon.com web page, a whopping 89% of the people who view the page end up buying the book.

Reactions to the book are...um...mixed:


it never happened, April 28, 2006

Reviewer: Decius (oakland, ca United States) - See all my reviews

This event never happened. It is just a gimmick to sell books. Don't waste your money.



Either Decius chose poor wording, or he really believes that Jacobsen never boarded a plane in the first place.

On the other end of the spectrum:


Take a stand of your own, August 30, 2006

Reviewer: Mrs. BJ Day "AndesOwl" (Glendale, AZ USA) - See all my reviews

An eye-opener and in view of recent events in the UK, what Annie Jacobsen has to say is fair warning to all air travellers, despite the dismissive accounts of some readers (who, I feel, could well be trying to defend their own lack of common sense).

It may be politically incorrect to stigmatise a cast or creed, but in view of the radical Islamic jehadists stance against the west and what they have already done, it seems only common sense to avoid any flights that might carry such personages.

Personally, I won't take the risk in future and will be eyeing my fellow passengers very carefully. If I suspect anything might be wrong, I'll ask to be put on another flight. Maybe, if others do the same, the Airlines might begin to do something to protect their passengers, such as recommending "some" people fly Arab Airways instead.

Thank you for your courage and writing this book Annie. It's a book that everyone should read.



This one is interesting - it even uses my favorite F-word:


More than just vanity... poor logic from a paranoid mind, December 16, 2005

Reviewer: S. Koterbay "Professor of Art History" (Johnson City, TN USA) - See all my reviews

I keep hoping for the day when people of little brain but vast imaginations are told that their over-excited fantasies are just that, fantasies. Anyone who has followed the shrill and stupid rantings of this woman after her "discovery" of a plot to blow up her plane, and all the "secret" information that she feels she can "confide" with us, needs to begin to take a stand: either you truly are against terrorism, and can think clearly about it (as do many other people who write much better books), or you are with idiots like this, who write something that shouldn't even be in the science fiction section of Wal-Mart. Let's hope most people begin to think intelligence wins over deranged illusions.

And, on a recent note, I thought that I'd add to this review (August 12, 2006) by stating that a number of people have emailed me asking me to rescind this review, or telling me what they think of it. Yeah, like I'm going to give in to you Republican fascists.



Meanwhile, what of Nour Mehana? He's apparently released a new album in 2005, with the title Layaly Hobak.

And the Sycuan Resort isn't bothering to update its events calendar.

And snopes.com has stated the following about expired visas, for what it's worth:


Much has been made of the discovery that the Syrian musicians were supposedly traveling on "expired visas." This claim stems from a misunderstanding of what the expiry date on a U.S. visa signifies.

The expiry date indicates the date after which that visa may no longer be used to travel to the U.S. A valid visa does not in itself grant the holder the right to enter the U.S., but merely authorizes the holder to seek permission to enter the country from a U.S. immigration officer. Only that officer can approve or deny entry, and it is that officer who will inscribe on that visitor's I-94 Arrival-Departure Record the date by which the traveler must leave the country. The same visa can be used by its rightful holder on multiple occasions (as in the case of someone who travels frequently), but each entry has to be approved by an immigration officer who will on each occasion make a determination as to when that visitor must leave.

Once the foreign traveler is in the U.S., the expiry date of his visa becomes unimportant — all that matters is the exit date listed on that person's I-94, a card he carries with his passport while in the U.S. While it is true that an expired visa cannot be used to re-enter the U.S. (its holder must reapply or seek an extension), there is nothing wrong in and of itself with being in the U.S. past the expiry date listed on one's visa.



From the Ontario Empoblog (Latest OVVA news here)

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Friday, November 03, 2006

Presidential Medal of Freedom 


I now have a del.icio.us account. So far, it's been better than other shared bookmarking methods that I've used, and it also lets me get familiar with tagging (without having to report to the police station afterwards).

So what do I use it for? Whatever.

But it's educational. I knew that the Presidential Medal of Freedom had been given to Henry Kissinger (by Gerald Ford), but I did not know that Ford himself had subsequently received the Presidential Medal of Freedom (from Bill Clinton).

Other recipients are diverse, including Johnny Carson, Fred Rogers (Mister Rogers), and Robert Kahn and Vint Cerf.

More:


The Presidential Medal of Freedom is one of the two highest civilian awards in the United States, considered the equivalent of the Congressional Gold Medal of Honor. It is designed to recognize individuals who have made "an especially meritorious contribution to the security or national interests of the United States, world peace, cultural or other significant public or private endeavors."

It was established by President Harry Truman in 1945 to honor service during World War II. President John F. Kennedy revived the medal in 1963 through Executive Order 11085, and expanded its purpose....

Recipients are selected by the President, either on his/her initiative or based on recommendations. The order reviving the medal also expanded the size and the responsibilities of the Distinguished Civilian Service Awards Board so it would serve as a major source of such recommendations.

The medal can be awarded to an individual more than once (for example John Kenneth Galbraith and after him, Colin Powell), and may also be awarded posthumously (for example John F. Kennedy himself).



From the Ontario Empoblog (Latest OVVA news here)

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