Click here for SFR on MySpace

Friday, February 29, 2008

Another weird Times story on McCain

I found the topic of presidential candidates' potential citizenship conflicts really interesting. But the McCain peg in it seemed kind of weak.

From the lede:

"In the case of Senator John McCain of Arizona, the issue is becoming more than a matter of parental daydreaming."

OK, I thought, how come?

Second graph:

"Mr. McCain’s likely nomination as the Republican candidate for president and the happenstance of his birth in the Panama Canal Zone in 1936 are reviving a musty debate."

OK, I thought, there's a debate. First I've heard of it. I'll read on.

McCain, you see, was born on a military installation in the Panama Canal. So "given mounting interest," the Times taasked "Theodore B. Olson, a former solicitor general now advising Mr. McCain, to prepare a detailed legal analysis." Olson apparently told The Times he has little doubt, but he's not done researching.

OK: 1. what mounting interest? I still haven't been told who is talking about this. 2. Why did they ask someone who is working for McCain to provide a detailed legal analysis (for free? I don't get it) and 3. Why are they running the story before he's done with his detailed legal analysis?

Eleven paragraphs later, toward the end of the story, "But whether he qualifies as natural-born has been a topic of Internet buzz for months, with some declaring him ineligible while others assert that he meets all the basic constitutional qualifications." Followed by a quote of someone who supports the latter assertion.

So there's a rising debate, but no one in the story ever expresses the view that is purportedly the point of the story, that some question whether McCain is eligible, with multiple sources expressing the view that he is. Very, very weird read.

Thursday, February 28, 2008


So, my first attempt at videotaping Honey and my Thursday morning show. I still have a ways to go with figuring out imovie. I didn't really read the instructions and I kept getting interrupted, so, um, yes, it shows. But I will improve. Hopefully.

Wednesday, February 27, 2008

I can feel my tongue again

I went in today for the final two hours of excruciatingly painful dental work. Both the dental worker and receptionist complimented me on my nerves of steel for knocking out more than five hours of hideous scraping and injecting. It turns out, most people take several months to complete this level of work (presumably drinking themselves into a coma in between visits). Yours truly, on the other hand, gritted her teeth (figuratively speaking), sucked it up and got it done in two weeks. I would be celebrating right now, but I feel strongly that one should be able to feel one's lips during any celebration worth having. I made a brief stop at work after the session, where everyone noted that I sounded exactly like Marlee Matlin, which I took as a compliment, since I think Matlin is pretty sexy. Of course, no one said I looked like Marlee Matlin, who, presumably, doesn't usually drool quite as much as I was. I left work after it became apparent that no one was enjoying watching me drool and that the computer guy working on my computer was going to be a while and was not enjoying my incoherent questions. "Whayado? kaahhep?"
I can feel my tongue again, which is nice, but my head is pounding and my planned visit to the gym has been indefinitely postponed. My big plan for the evening has already been accomplished: Stay awake until the sun goes down; I believed it could happen and it did. Very obamifying.
Speaking of which...the sad part of being unable to speak most of the day (sad for me, of course, not necessarily for others), was not getting quite enough post-debate chatter at the office. But, in general, we all agreed that there were no revelatory moments, nothing that seemed to shake it up one way or the other. I, for one, was irritated by Clinton's not releasing her tax records, while silmutaneously talking about overcoming the monied interests in the country. Seriously? When you have $5 million to put in your own campaign coffers and no one knows where your money comes from, you are part of the wealthy elite. I'm sorry: that's how it is. I was similarly sorry that Obama wasn't a little more clear about his previous promise to commit to public financing. I thought he was evasive. Just say,. "You know, when I said that, i didn't realize I could win and I didn't realize I could raise $1 million from small, individual donors." Because, frankly, $1 million in individual donations is public financing, sort of. I mean, it's fine. Just say it.
Speaking of Just Say It: I really wish Richardson would give his endorsement. I know it's coming. I can feel it. Sort of. Speaking of super delegates, I was psyched we had this interview with NM superdelegate and Obama supporter Fred Harris in today's paper. I've always thought Harris was super cool, and it sounds like I was right.

Tuesday, February 26, 2008

If I lived in Ohio or Texas, I would vote for Clinton after this debate.
But mostly because I'd be afraid she would come to my house and yell at

Watching the debate.

They are on a commercial break. Apparently, going quietly into the night
isn't in the cards for Clinton. I'm kind of enjoying what a hardass
she's being...although she's also scaring me.

What was she thinking?

Double Talk

Read this while listening to King Crimson playing Elephant Talk (vid below). Seriously, it's really fun.

Monday, February 25, 2008

media trial coming to an end

I've been following the Bay Guardian's lawsuit against Village Voice Media with almost the same obsessive enjoyment as the presidential race. It's a suit long in coming and, really, has all the elements of a great story itself: big characters, fatal flaws, colorful language. At heart, it's a lawsuit that kind of manifests the overall division or conflict in the world.
Now, I like focused point-of-view journalism as much as the next, um, journalist and I've got nothing against blogging rants, but I've been a little baffled by the fact that the only coverage of the lawsuit has come from the Guardian's editor, Tim Redmond and, for the San Francisco Weekly, Andy Van De Voorde, who is the executive associate editor for VVM. Don't get me wrong, it's been fascinating to read both of their posts, since each proclaims at every twist of the proceedings that the other is clearly losing. It kind of reminds me of something Janet Malcom says in The Journalist and the Murderer:

"In life, it is hard enough to see another person's view of things; in a lawsuit, it is impossible."

In the case of the Guardian v. VVM, when I read The Snitch I feel pretty convinced The Guardian is going to lose big (although I am kind of a sucker for sarcasm, which Van de Voorde wields like an icepick soaked in venom). When I read Tim's posts, I start thinking about about the '70s (the '70s as I've read about them anyway, obviously I was only a child in the '70s) The Reporter's history with a similar predatory pricing case and realize, well, who knows what's really going on? At first, I couldn't understand why the Guardian and the Weekly hadn't just assigned actual reporters to cover the trial, but I've decided
my real question is: Why have none of the other San Francisco media outlets been covering this? From a distance, it seems like a big deal and I know others in the alt.weekly world are glommed on. I was glad to read the E & P story, but I'd really have loved some day in and day out trial analysis. And/or for Jack Schaffer to take it on.
Well, it's almost over. Time will tell.

Sunday, February 24, 2008

This story about the fear that Obama will be assasinated is basically a huge bummer, but you gotta love that Obama's nickname for Secret Service Agents is "Renegade."
Although it's kind of weird that's not a secret.

Saturday, February 23, 2008

Everybody Wants Bill

Unsurprisingly, Gov. Bill Richardson is getting lots of calls on behalf of Obama and Clinton these days. I heard him on KUNM not long ago (maybe Super Tuesday night) questioning the importance of endorsements one way or the other. But I think, particularly financially, Richardson did very well among the former candidates and his endorsement, if it yields throwing his former supporters, even a portion of them, toward his endorsee, could be influential. And, certainly, in Texas his support could represent a tipping point for one or the other. Time will tell, I suppose.
(This post is crossreferenced at our Richardson blog.

Wednesday, February 20, 2008

Abq Tribune, RIP

The news that the Trib is closing is not a surprise, but it is still profoundly sad. It's been a source of great journalism and I hope all the talented people working there are well compensated in the closure and swiftly re-employed.

Tuesday, February 19, 2008

Is Hillary gone?

There was a brilliant tactical move tonight on the part of Obama's campaign, wherein they scheduled him to start speaking before Hillary Clinton had finished, thus prompting the networks to cut her off mid-speech and move to him. His speech was long. I attempted to work my finely-honed skills of objectivity and distance tonight when I watched him. I've been slightly susceptible to the allegations of empty rhetoric and charges of cult of personality. Maybe it's a genetic thing, this free-floating anxiety about mass-thought and charismatic leaders. From what I can tell, more bad than good has come from large swaths of society falling in line behind charismatic leaders, and I generally like to reserve my group-experiences of revelation to concerts where the worst thing that can happen is your ears will ring the next day (or I guess you could get trampled).
But, you know, I don't foresee Obama urging his throngs of followers to wipe out a sector of society anytime soon and he really does have a magical quality that I'm loathe to dismiss. My friend Audrey has a great piece in the Portland Trib about taking her son to see Obama and two of my friends have donated actual money to him, marking the first time they've ever donated money to a political candidate. (I'm from the old school journalism school where journalists never donate money to political candidates; but even if I wasn't, I have trouble believing I would ever do such a thing. I prefer to just give my money to the people who hang out outside of Allsups).
It's going to be an interesting year.

the charisma/cult debate

The media seems interested of late in dissecting Obama's sway over people and looking, in general, at the idea of charismatic politicians. Journalists, contrary to popular opinion, are just as likely to to get caught up in the moment as anyone else. I, for one, felt galvanized when I first saw Obama speak at the '04 National Convention. But I have to confess that I haven't spent much time analyzing what it is he's doing that gives me goose bumps (at least not as much time as my favorite media critics have.
Generally speaking, I am very suspicious of any kind of mass reaction to anything. If history as taught us anything, it's to be suspicious of individuals who can lead large groups of people to follow them. But I'm not sure I would want that, um, paranoia, to keep the country from electing an inspiring leader.

Wednesday, February 13, 2008

overheard at the scary dentist

ME: I keep having dreams that my teeth fall out.
Scary specialist dentist; "A therapist once told me what that means but I can't remember."
ME: "I think in this case it might mean that I'm scared my teeth are going to fall out."

This conversation was followed by a fairly excruciating hour-long procedure. On the bright side, I'm so doped up now I don't think I'll be dreaming about anything tonight.

Tuesday, February 12, 2008

now that's effective

Thanks to Dave for passing this one along. Pfew!

Thursday, February 07, 2008

What the Frack?

"Over the next couple of days, we'll have a good sense of when we'll finish this process," said state Democratic Party Chairman Brian Colon.

In other words: Manana.

Here's some well-articulated outrage on Daily Kos.

And this report, which calls into question where the Dems even got their voting list is a little scary.

Also, This Washington Post blog post doesn't have much new, but some of the comments are entertaining.

And Heath calls it right on the whole Rio Arriba fracas. As someone who was once called as a witness to a grand jury in one of the older Rio Arriba voter fraud cases, I gotta say, this doesn't sound good. Wonder what the SUN will dig up.

Dem Party pre-caucus

From an interview I conducted and published prior to the caucus.

SFR: What are some of the lessons learned here from 2004?
Laura Sanchez, executive director of the Democratic Party of New Mexico: "I think in 2004, leading into that caucus, the expectation was to have about 50,000 [voters]. We actually ended up having 86,000 casting ballots…it was an overwhelming success, but now we’ve learned from that and can prevent some of the problems."

SFR: Such as?
LS: "It was the first time out. It was very new to people. There hadn’t been as much emphasis on training to understand the procedures. One of the main problems they’d had, hoping for 50,000, was running out of ballots. We heard anecdotally [workers were] running to the copy stores to make copies, having to photocopy ballots. We’re hoping again for a great turnout and trying to project high on the number of ballots and they will be impossible to photocopy and be sequential."

still no election results for new mexico

It's really pretty shocking that the provisional ballots aren't getting counted until today..
But what's got me even more confused is that the New Mexican article I just linked to has quotes from Gov. Richardson that read as though they were given in an interview ("he said"). But if I'm not mistaken they were taken directly from the press release issued by Richardson yesterday. Last time I checked, aren't quotes from press releases usually attributed as such? (As, for example, this Journal story, which uses the reasonable attribution "he said in a statement.") Or Monahan, who just prints the press release, and italicizes it to make it clear that it's a press release. No one just pulls quotes from a press release and doesn't make it clear that's where they came from. Anyway, here's the press release; I bolded the quotes that jumped out at me. FYI, this is what I'm like before I have coffee. Once I have the coffee, I'm much less snippy.

SANTA FE, NM- New Mexico Governor Bill Richardson today issued the following statement regarding the state’s Democratic Presidential caucus.
“I am proud that so many New Mexico Democrats turned out to vote in yesterday’s caucus. The unprecedented interest and activism in the primary process shows that New Mexicans take seriously their important role in choosing the next President. Make no mistake, New Mexico’s 26 delegates matter greatly.”
That said, I am deeply disturbed by the reports that problems and delays at polling locations may have kept people from voting. As this very close election shows every vote is important, and every vote must count. Anything less is unacceptable. In addition the delay in results was extremely disappointing. I have expressed my frustration to Democratic Party Chairman Brian Colon and I told him that I stand ready to help the party in any way that I can.”
“At the same time, I believe that New Mexico voters- Democrats and Republicans alike- must decide whether they want to preserve their early voice in the process in the future, and what form it should take. Whatever the decision, we must pledge to voters that future caucuses and primaries are professionally run, inclusive, and provide accurate, timely results.”
The Caucus was conceived by the Governor in 2003 to give New Mexico voters a real voice in the selection of the party nominees--as the state primary elections are in June--long after nominees traditionally have been chosen. It has been wildly successful as over 100,000 Democrats turned out in the first caucus and 150,000 turned out yesterday. New Mexico Democrats- and Republicans if they choose- now have a real voice in the nomination process.
This is a Democratic Party process--not done at taxpayer expense--run by volunteers and funded by the Democratic Party and its supporters. Democratic voters must recognize that with their new privilege of voting early comes responsibility. If they want a voice in the process-they need to support the Caucus with their time and financial contributions.
In 2004 Governor Richardson--through his personal efforts and those of his organization--ensured a successful first caucus--well organized, well funded, well-executed. This year, his political organization was devoted to his Presidential run and his personal time is now devoted to the Legislature. The New Mexico Democratic Party and New Mexico Democrats were wholly responsible for this caucus in the absence of the Governor’s time and his organization. Despite their best efforts, the enormous turnout overwhelmed Party officials in some places.

Wednesday, February 06, 2008

don't blame the county clerks

Because, as we've said, the state and the county had nothing to do with yesterday's election. Here's the press release from the Santa Fe County Clerk's Office:

Valerie Espinoza, Santa Fe County Clerk, appreciates the challenges that voters faced in the February 5th Democratic Presidential Preference Caucus. The caucus was not an election held by the any of the 33 New Mexico county clerks’ offices. The Democratic State Party conducted its own presidential caucus.
While the county Elections staff was able to refer the voters who called to the caucus sites, other questions and requests had to be referred to the New Mexico State Democratic Party.
The county Election staff is currently putting systems in place for the June 3rd Primary and the November 4th General elections. Voters are urged to keep their voter registration current, and to make changes at least a month before any election.
Espinoza wants voters to know that “we have run many seamless elections in the last three years and intend to do so again in June and November.”

still counting

I'm getting lots of calls and e-mails from people wondering what the heck is going on with our election. Again, the brief recap:

1. Lots of provisional ballots. My guess why: Because people didn't know where to vote. Because it was confusing. See previous post for why it was confusing.

2. You can find the totals as they stand on The Democratic Party's Web site.

Here's what they're showing right now:

These totals don't include the absentee ballots.

Barack Obama: 64,377 (42.99%)

Hillary Clinton: 64,530 (43.09%)

Provisional Ballots (Total): 16,871

John Edwards: 1,380 (0.92%)

Christopher J. Dodd: 66 (0.04%)

Dennis J. Kucinich: 397 (0.27%)

Bill Richardson: 1,120 (0.75%)

Joe Biden: 105 (0.07%)

Uncommitted: 374 (0.25%)

The vote in New Mexico

Just once, just once, it would be nice if New Mexico could have results from an election in a timely way. Everywhere else in the country, they've got enough precincts reporting within five seconds of polls closing that they (by which I mean CNN et. al) can tell you a projected winner. In New Mexico, the polls don't even close when they close and the NEXT DAY we still don't know who won. Why? Why is it so hard?
1. No one correctly estimated turnout, although I will note that when I interviewed the party's executive director, Laura Sanchez for last week's paper, one of things she said went wrong in '04 was that the party underestimated turnout and didn't have enough ballots and that was one of the things they had learned from last time. Apparently not.
2. I haven't read much about this, but people were very confused about where to vote because they were voting in a different place than usual. OK, that's happened before; consolidated districts are nothing new. The real confusion, it seems, stems from the voterview look up on the Secretary of the State's Office. When you use it, it brings up your name and your voting place, and next to that is a number. That number is actually your precinct number. But there's also a list of which districts you live in. I personally had no trouble understanding this, but it was pointed out to me that unless you really understood various things about voting districts/precincts etc., it could be confusing. Plus, after you get that number, then you had to go back to the Democratic Party (or SFR) to find out where you voted in this race. So, you know, not my idea of a huge mental challenge, but I can see how, if you haven't spent every minute thinking about this stuff, it could be. I know I spent a decent amount of time yesterday taking calls from people who were conufsed or lost and helping them figure out where to vote. (Does this count as my good deed for at least this week?)

Our election-watching event well, I thought.

Tuesday, February 05, 2008

this kind of makes me wish I could vote for for president

Political ad.indd

Monday, February 04, 2008

screed pays off

While stuck in the Phoenix airport, I went on the US Airways web site to file a complaint. You can't just send them an e-mail; you have to fill out an excruciatingly tedious form with your flight number and other info, which did not help soothe my by-then nicotine-deprived homicidal rage.
I heard back from them today.

Dear Ms. Goldberg,
On behalf of US Airways and the entire Customer Relations team, please accept our sincere apology for the travel difficulties you experienced. Your concerns have been thoroughly documented and your comments have been shared with the appropriate management teams to help us improve our service.
To convey our apologies we have authorized one $100.00 Electronic Travel With Us Voucher, in hopes you will allow US Airways another opportunity to regain your confidence

This note, followed by near-incomprehensible instructions on how to use or not use my travel voucher, was followed by a copy of my complaint at the bottom, which was convenient as I didn't have a copy of it, given that I had to fill my comments into their little automated boxes. My screed, written on the last of my i-book's waning battery Saturday, as I sat on a plastic chair staring at Cinabun, is as follows:

the people hawking frequent flyer miles for us airways are intrusive and rude. I would never buy anything from them; they seem like criminals.
Comments: This has been the worst travel experience of my entire life. My first flight, Flight 570 got cancelled for no reason. Flight 683 was very late, no one told us ever how late it would be. As a result, I missed my connecting flight, 206, which couldn't even wait five minutes, and was stuck in the Phoenix Airport for four hours, given a $5 voucher, which was more of an insult than anything. The new flight, 208, now, is also late. Your staff is rude, incommunicative, makes no effort to compensate anybody for anything. Basically, I am running 12 hours behind schedule and no one has even attempted to compensate me (except with a $5 voucher). Unless I receive a very large apology and some kind of voucher, I will never fly US Airways again and will devote my time to making sure no one I know or work with is ever on your airline again. Frankly, you people are just awful and it's horrifying in this day and age that you could do such a bad job not just at your job of getting people places on time, but at customer service as well. Shame on you.

ps; even this customer complaint form is laborious and ridiculous. And your consumer desk people, by the way, are also terrible.

It occurs to me, as I re-read this, that I sound a little bit like angry people who write me letters. Hmm.

Saturday, February 02, 2008

Us airways worst airline ever

Bad in every way.

I bragged about my good airport karma one too many times

And now I get to live in the Phoenix airport. Which is great. For breakfast I'll eat cinnabuns and for lunch quesadillas from the blue burrito grille and then, at night, I'll cozy up to some drunken stranger in the Fox bar. No smoking, no reading, except for Ann Coulter books. It will be just super fabulous.
Hello...God? It's me, Julia. Could you please get me the hell out of here? I swear if you find a way to magically transport me home I will believe in you from now on and say nice stuff about you to everyone!
Got back to hotel last night after hailing a cab from the Tenderloin ("I never stop in this neighborhood," the cab driver said. "But I saw the look on your face and thought I better.").
The look on my face, the look on my face.
Keep in mind, I'd already managed, just that afternoon, to:
1. get on the Bart going the wrong way
2. Get off the Bart at the wrong stop
3. Get back on the Bart at the wrong stop and then get off at the right stop and still have no idea where I was, so I walked up to a policeman, who, literally, seemed to be in the middle of a murder scene, and told him I was lost. Those lessons from childhood sure do stick with you. I should keep my mittens pinned to my sleeves too.
So, you know. I had gone to a great show (details forthcoming; ticket stub in other bag and I'm too lazy from eating french fries with my $5 food voucher to look for it. Five fucking dollars. That's, apparently, the going rate for sucking away 10 hours of my time. I am worth 3/900ths of a penny per hour.
As I was saying:
Made it back to hotel.
Realized I'd locked room key in room.
Got new room key.
Tried to print boarding passes and check in. Discovered flight had been cancelled and was instructed to call 1800 number and have tedious unsatisfying conversation with Us Airways evil robot lady working for worst airline ever.
Got rebooked on noonish flight. Bright side: Kind of late by the time this was accomplished.
Changed shuttle arrangements for airport downstairs with Roger, very elderly slightly impossible to understand and a little cranky Japanese valet person at about 1:30 am.
Pass out.
Wake up.
Take shuttle to airport.
Flight delayed 10 minutes. Then 20. Then 30. Law student with girlfriend who works for the Federal Reserve (The only time I've heard anyone mention the Federal Reserve besides Ron Paul) strikes up conversation. Conversation basically surrounds his belief that he is going to miss his connection. His connection is just a few minutes before mine.
Get on plane. Man and dad ask if I'll switch seats with one of them and sit on the aisle and let one of them sit in the emergency row because he's 6'4". I say OK. Flight attendant comes over and tells them they are on the wrong plane, but they can stay. But not in those seats.
Flight attendent announces that only people flying to Newark are going to make their planes. The rest of us have been booked on new flights. Can't decide which is worse: Hours in Phoenix airport or flying ontime to Newark.
Get harangued by crazy weird people who live in Phoenix airport trying to sell passerby frequent flyer miles on US Airways.
"i'm not interested," I tell them.
"May I ask why?" sad woman selling frequent flyer miles asks.
"Because your airline sucks."
Another man just came up to me and asked if he could buy me a drink at Taberna Del Tequila. I realize at some point as I build my life here in the airport I'll need friends and such, but I'm still holding out the hope that I may get out of here tonight.

ps: I know the tenses in this post are all crazy; I am tense-challenged sometimes, and it gets a lot worse when I start hitting hour eight without nicotine and when I am only running on grease and sugar. The guy who asked me to have a beer with him is just sitting by himself having a beer and it seems really sad. I must be hormonal because I am reaching that point where I feel sorry for everyone around me (and myself, but that goes without saying). Last night at the show, there were some older couples, (by which I mean couples in their 50s and 60s). And I was thinking it was pretty cool that they were out in a club watching innovative genre-busting music and that I hoped I would be adventurous in 20 or 30 years (which is unlikely, given that I would just as soon never leave my house again if I could get away with it). When, just then, one of the men slipped and fell and kind of body surfed, legs flailing, across the crowded floor (by accident). His wife went to help him up. He was fine, but he looked embarassed, as many 20-somethings stared at him kind of shocked. Honestly, it's amazing I didn't burst into tears. It just seemed kind of heartbreaking, although God knows I've fallen down, tripped, wiped out and banged into shit enough in my life and have yet to inspire anyone to cry (although many have laughed).
Definitely nicotine deprived. Starting to type with vicious abandon.