Monthly Archives: August 2012

Best Tweets About Clint Eastwood’s Strange RNC Speech

Click on photo for best tweets about Eastwood speech (Photo gdcgraphics/Flickr)

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Last night at the Republican National Convention, movie star, director and cultural icon Clint Eastwood gave an address that might politely be called awkward. Eastwood started out fine, attempting to debunk the notion that all of Hollywood is liberal. “There’s a lot of conservative people, a lot of moderate people — Republicans, Democrats — in Hollywood. It’s just that conservative people, by the nature of the word itself, play it a little more close to the vest and they don’t go around hotdoggin’ it.”

It’s at that juncture that the 82-year-old Eastwood seemed to belie that very point by engaging in a flamboyant performance piece that might put some Democrats in mind of a first-year acting exercise, others of a breakthrough Gestalt therapy session, and to the truly uncharitable a temporary psychotic break. What Eastwood did was put an imaginary Barack Obama in a real chair he had toted on stage, then engage the president in a rather one-sided conversation.

Even — or especially — the Romney camp was not digging the act. From the New York Times today:

Clint Eastwood’s rambling and off-color endorsement of Mitt Romney on Thursday seemed to startle and unsettle even the candidate’s own top aides, several of whom made a point of distancing themselves from the decision to put him onstage without a polished script.

“Not me,” said an exasperated-looking senior adviser, when asked who was responsible for Mr. Eastwood’s speech. In late-night interviews, aides variously called the speech “strange” and “weird.” One described it as “theater of the absurd.”

Finger-pointing quickly ensued, suggesting real displeasure and even confusion over the handling of Mr. Eastwood’s performance, which was kept secret until the last minute. Full article

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Video: Jerry Brown Challenges Chris Christie to Athletic Contest

Here’s an item from the Sacramento Bee on Jerry Brown’s appearance before United Food and Commercial Workers Local 770 in LA today. Brown took the opportunity to respond to New Jersey Governor Chris Christie’s ” you’re so old” riff about Brown at the Republican National Convention a few days ago with an “oh yeah well you’re so fat” taunt of his own.

Referring to Christie’s comment that California had elected an “old retread” in Brown, California’s 74-year-old governor said…

There’s nothing wrong with being a little retread. Not as much hair, I’m slowed down a little bit. But I have to tell you, I ran three miles in 29 minutes two nights ago … and I hereby challenge Gov. Christie to a three-mile race, a pushup contest and a chin-up contest. And whatever he wants to bet, I have no doubt of the outcome.”

This of course is a backhanded reference to Christie’s physique, which is of the portly variety. Here’s video of Brown’s remarks…

So the election of ideas continues… Continue reading

How Clint Eastwood Went from Legalizing Ice Cream to the RNC Stage

Clint Eastwood, 2011

Clint Eastwood in 2011. Photo by gdcgraphics/Flickr

Take a moment and Google “Carmel Mayor Clint Eastwood.” A handful of links down, you’ll find this 2009 query:

“Is Clint Eastwood still the mayor of Carmel, California?”

The answer is no, not for more than 20 years. But for politicos and news outlets, it might as well have been yesterday.

Eastwood’s bona fides as the Republican-leaning mayor of Carmel, a small well-to-do town south of Monterey popular with tourists, are all over news coverage of the former actor’s speech Thursday night at the Republican National Convention (a performance being widely described this morning as bizarre, by the way). A search for “Carmel mayor” in Google News this morning returned 967 mentions of the address, with his term as mayor characterized as his ticket to the RNC stage.

For the record, Eastwood served one term as Carmel mayor, from 1986-1988. Articles and coverage of his term as mayor refer to him as non-partisan and Republican-leaning, although many posts about the RNC speech describe him as a Republican mayor. (ABC News reported last year that President George H.W. Bush considered Eastwood as a possible V.P.). Here’s how the BBC described Eastwood’s election:

He polled 2,166 against the 799 votes cast for current mayor Charlotte Townsend, a former librarian.

Two of Clint Eastwood’s supporters were also elected on to Carmel’s local council, giving him control of the five-member body.

Mr Eastwood, a resident of Carmel for 14 years, decided to run for mayor after a series of clashes with the council.

After being refused planning permission to renovate his restaurant, the movie star took legal action and had the decision overturned.

His campaign centred on relaxing the strict controls on business in the town of 4,000 residents.

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California GOP Delegates Dig Paul Ryan

GOP candidate for Congress Ricky Gill, from Calif's 9th district, speaks at convention. (Mark Wilson/Getty)

KQED’s Rachael Myrow spoke with KPCC’s Frank Stoltze, who’s in Tampa covering the 2012 Republican National Convention. Stoltze got a read on some California delegates and their hopes for the California Republican Party.

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Edited transcript…

KQED’S RACHAEL MYROW: Republicans from California, the ones who haven’t been trapped in Sacramento voting on bills this week, have been having a grand ol’ time in Tampa Bay at the GOP convention. The Golden State may not be in play this presidential election, but our Republicans still manage to attract a lot of attention and generate a lot of discussion. KPCC’s Frank Stoltze is there. Can you set the scene for us?

KPCC’s FRANK STOLTZE: The convention itself is in the city of Tampa. The California delegation is staying in St. Pete Beach, across Tampa Bay. It’s a beautiful resort area – big wide, white beaches. In fact, I caught up with one of the delegates on the beach – Gina Gleason from Chino Hills.

STOLTZE: It’s nice out here.

CALIF. GOP DELEGATE GINA GLEASON: Nice and warm and sunny. And the breeze is fantastic, and the water’s warm.

MYROW: Paul Ryan’s speech was last night. What was the California delegation’s reaction to it?

STOLTZE: They were just as excited as all the other delegates. I talked to a number of them afterwards, and here’s a couple of the California delegates who listened in on Paul Ryan last night.

DELEGATE GWEN DYRUD: Gwen Dyrud of Santa Ana, California. His confidence: “We can do this.” Oh, I loved that. I loved the straightforward talk. He didn’t talk like a high-falutin’ Congressman. He talked like your neighbor. Continue reading

Analysis: Gov. Brown’s ‘Gun to the Head’ Campaign For Higher Taxes

Last week, Gov. Jerry Brown hopscotched around the state, making sure at each stop to make a pitch for Proposition 30 and threatening multibillion dollar cuts to education if voters don’t approve the initiative’s temporary taxes this November. I interviewed longtime state-government observer John Myers, political editor at KXTV in Sacramento, about Brown’s campaign.

Edited transcript:

RACHAEL MYROW: You recently blogged that the governor’s campaign reminds you of the infamous January 1973 cover of National Lampoon: “If you don’t buy this magazine, we’ll kill this dog.”

JOHN MYERS: Yeah, and I also wrote that it may be a little over the top to make the comparison. But the point is that when you look at the way the governor has rolled out this campaign in the early stages — and he’s now had an event in Sacramento, San Diego, San Francisco — it’s very much a campaign geared towards what happens if Proposition 30 fails. He hasn’t talked a lot about all the great things that will happen if it passes. And that’s typically what you have in a ballot measure campaign. People say “Vote for us, because great things will happen.” This has been a campaign of saying, “If you don’t vote for us, doomsday comes.” And doomsday in this case, is the $5 billion to $6 billion in automatic spending cuts to schools that were written into the state budget if Prop 30 fails. That’s a very different kind of political campaign.

MYROW: This week USC released a poll that offers a couple of interesting insights. First, and this is probably the part Gov. Brown likes, a majority of those polled would vote for Proposition 30.

MYERS: They would. If you look at this poll, and if you look at all of the polls that we’ve seen in the last few weeks, the governor’s measure, which, again, would temporarily raise income taxes on the wealthiest and sales taxes on everyone, it has always polled in the low 50s, which of course is a majority of those being polled. But historically in California, if you’ve got a measure that polls below the 60 percent threshold in the early going, they don’t fare too well on election day, and so this is actually a low number.

MYROW: I was quite taken by another interesting tidbit from this poll: people ranked school funding fifth as a spending priority. This is after the economy, after jobs, after the state budget deficit and wasteful government spending.

Historically in California, if you’ve got a measure that polls below the 60 percent threshold in the early going, they don’t fare too well on election day.

MYERS: Yeah, it’s interesting, one of the folks from USC who were talking to reporters about this poll made the comment that they really feel as though voters are in a triage mode. The economy has been tough, unemployment has remained high, and voters’ historic priorities about spending and government may be shifting somewhat, or at least temporarily shifting. And clearly there’s an issue of wasteful government spending — they asked these folks in this poll about things like high-speed rail, the ongoing controversy about the hidden money in the state parks bank accounts, and the governor has tried to insist that these things have nothing to do with Proposition 30. But this poll does raise some questions about whether voters feel as though government is mismanaging the money it has, and maybe they don’t want to give any more money to government.

MYROW: This week the governor argued a state as big as California should be able to pursue more than one funding priority at the same time. “We have to be able to jump rope, chew gum and do five other things. Otherwise, we’re not going to make it,” Brown said.

Audio: Jerry Brown defends Prop 30 in a minute-and-a-half flat

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Now it appears that he sees himself in a fight to the political death with Pasadena attorney Molly Munger, who has spent millions pushing Proposition 38, which would raise taxes to fund K-12 and makes a point of saying, “This money doesn’t go to Sacramento. It goes to your local schools.” But I wonder, is this really an either-or situation, the way the governor seems to be presenting it. Why not presume voters could approve both propositions?

MYERS: People who I’ve talked to, election law experts, say, “Yes, the voters can approve both of these measures.” But, whichever one would get the most “yes” votes would probably be the only one that would go into effect. And, if in fact, Ms. Munger — the wealthy civil rights attorney — her measure went into effect, with tax revenues only for schools, then those schools could still suffer a $5 billion to $6 billion automatic trigger cut, because that’s what was drawn out in the budget if Prop. 30 fails. So, there’s a legal problem there.

But but there’s a political argument, too, that’s difficult. Which [is] if you’re the governor, are you telling people to vote for both? They don’t like taxes, but hey, here’s double taxes, in a way. And we should point out the polling is that Prop. 38, this Munger K-12 tax measure, does not have majority support in any poll I’ve seen. It is below the 50 percent threshold, and at this point it could just be a political argument. The voters really may not say ‘yes’ to that.

In San Jose, Once a Class Project, Now a Major Political Battle

by Peter Jon Shuler

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What was once just a class project has taken on a life of its own, with business and labor lining up against each other in campaigns run by seasoned professionals.

As we reported Tuesday, San Jose voters will decide in November on a minimum wage measure that  started as a student class project at San Jose State University. Measure D would raise wages from $8.00 an hour to $10.00 and is gaining support from a growing coalition that includes labor unions and non-profit organizations like Catholic Charities and United Way.  Business groups, on the other hand, have said they plan to spend more than a million dollars in opposition.

Albert Perez, Diana Crumedy and Saul Gomez, students who started San Jose minimum wage measure. (Peter Jon Shuler/KQED)

Last January, San Jose State students taking a class on social action kicked off the petition drive for the measure, after being the first to sign. They had just spent nearly a year fundraising, conducting public opinion polls and going out into the community to gather support. And within just five weeks, they collected more than enough valid signatures to qualify the measure for San Jose’s November ballot.

Sociology professor Scott-Myers Lipton designed the class to help students make the leap from merely thinking and talking about issues to engaging in the political process.

“Our culture doesn’t do a great job in asking our students much more than this idea of voting,” he says. “And so how do we impact social policy? That’s not a question they’re familiar with or I think that the students feel they can actually have a say in.”

Myers-Lipton says instead of feeling helpless or railing against social problems, his students identify the issues that concern them then learn concrete ways to take action. This class developed the minimum wage measure based on their own struggles to get by on $8.00 an hour. Continue reading

PBS NewsHour, NPR and KQED Cover the 2012 Republican Convention

The 2012 Republican National Convention to officially nominate Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney as the GOP’s presidential candidate and Wisconsin Representative Paul Ryan as his running mate is now under way in Tampa, Florida.

PBS NewsHour has full online coverage and analysis of the event.

[View the story “RNC Live Blog” on Storify]

NPR has a full rundown of upcoming convention highlights including a schedule of speakers, and will have live radio coverage and analysis beginning Tuesday, Aug. 28 at 8 p.m. ET.

KQED’s Forum held an hour-long discussion about the Republican convention with journalists, analysts and California delegates on Aug. 28. Host Michael Krasny spoke with:

  • Belva Davis, host of KQED Public Television’s “This Week in Northern California”
  • Bill Whalen, research fellow at the Hoover Institution
  • Carla Marinucci, political writer for The San Francisco Chronicle
  • Ricky Gill, Republican candidate in California’s 9th Congressional District
  • Sally Zelikovsky, California delegate (San Rafael) to the 2012 RNC

Listen to the audio here.

Quick Read: Chris Christie calls Jerry Brown an ‘old retread’ and ‘bad choice’


ST. PETE BEACH, Fla. – New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie called California Gov. Jerry Brown an “old retread” this morning, ripping into the Democratic governor in a speech to California’s delegation to the Republican National Convention…California made the bad choice by going with an old retread,” Christie said. “Jerry Brown. Jerry Brown? I mean, he won the New Jersey presidential primary over Jimmy Carter when I was 14 years old. And now I’ve got to sit at the National Governor’s Association with this guy and have him come up to me and say, ‘Gov. Christie, stop telling people that I want to raise taxes. I’m not trying to raise taxes.’

Read more at: blogs.sacbee.com

San Jose’s Measure D Would Raise City’s Minimum Wage 25%

By Peter Jon Shuler/KQED News

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In November, San Jose residents will vote on whether or not to become one of the few cities in the nation to raise its minimum wage above the state level. If approved, Measure D would raise the city’s minimum wage from the state floor of $8.00 an hour to $10.00. San Francisco has a similar ordinance on the books, currently mandating hourly pay of at least $10.24.

The roots of the initiative go back to San Jose State University students, who were struggling to make ends meet. Elisha St. Laurent is a behavioral science major and the single mom of a 5-year-old boy. She expects to graduate next June.

Alisha St. Laurent(left) signs a petition from Leila McCab (right) to raise San Jose's minimum wage at San Jose State. Photo by Peter Jon Shuler/KQED News

“I work at an electronics store and we make minimum wage there. So it’s definitely not an easy thing being a part-time employee and then a full-time student,” she says.

But many businesses have lined up against the measure, and opponents say they’re ready to spend more than a million dollars to defeat it.

That campaign has brought together some surprising allies. John Hogan is CEO of TeenForce, a non-profit group that helps foster-youth and other minors acquire work experience. So you might think he’d be in favor of raising their pay.

“Yeah, it’s probably ironic that I’m running a youth jobs program and I might be against this — which I am,” he says.

Hogan calls Measure D the wrong solution to a real problem. Although he thinks the minimum wage should be higher, he doesn’t believe it should be a a city-by-city decision. And he says it will create more obstacles for the kids his organization helps. Continue reading

Lots of Calif. Voters Still Saying No to Republican ‘Party of Yes’

The California Republican Party is trying to re-brand itself as the “Party of Yes,” a phrase that sits right at the top of the GOP web page. To non-party members, the claim may seem a little like Fox News’ omnipresent contention that the network is “fair and balanced”: if you have to affix it to your logo, that perhaps raises the very question you’re trying to avoid in the first place.

Protestations of affirmativeness notwithstanding, California Republicans would say they’re at least pretty clear on what they’re against: taxes. At the GOP state convention this weekend, the party officially staked out its “no thanks” position on the two November ballot initiatives that propose to raise new tax revenue: Proposition 30 and Proposition 38. (Here’s a list of GOP recommendations on all the propositions.)

Other news to come out of the convention: the delegates dig Paul Ryan. Plus one event of real note. From the Sacramento Bee today:

(T)he California Republican Party Board of Directors has approved a structural shake-up some insiders say is meant to limit Chairman Tom Del Beccaro’s involvement in the party’s strategic planning and fundraising efforts. The actions, outlined in a draft resolution provided to The Bee, included creating a new 2012 campaign fund that will be controlled by the vice chairman and the treasurer. The board also replaced all members of the Strategic Planning Committee, which it assigned to oversee “Victory 2012 activities to support the election of Republican candidates,” including voter turnout and outreach programs and media relations…

The changes were approved during a closed meeting Sunday after the general session of the party’s fall convention in Burbank concluded. Full story

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