PretePress’ October surprise: a horrible, debilitating cold

October 29, 2008

It figues. Just a week before what is probably the biggest Election Day I’ll ever see in my life, I’ve come down with a really bad cold. It’s the kind with chills, uncontrollable sneezing fits, running eyes and nose — and it has made my head so fuzzy I sometimes get confused trying to make tea.

I feel like i’ve let down my six readers, but there’s not much I can do when my life is filled with spit, snot and worse from a 7-month-old baby. When he gets a cold, I get it too. So on the off chance you were actually disappointed that I haven’t written lately, I’m sorry. I’ll try to post something soon about the final days of the run for the White House, and probably something about the most important issue on California’s ballot, the one that touches every other issue in state government in some way: redistricting.

That is, if I can make it to the keyboard.


California green policies aid economy, says study

October 22, 2008

Contrary to the fears of opponents, California’s policies seeking to increase energy efficiency and fight global warming are actually good for the economy, according to a new study.

David Roland-Holst writes for the University of California, Berkeley’s Center for Energy, Resources and Economic Stability that based on past state policies and practices, implementing California’s historic “Global Warming Solutions Act” — also known as AB 32 — would create as many as 403,000 new jobs, boost household incomes statewide by as much as $48 billion and increase the Gross State Product by $76 billion.

Looking ahead, California’s ambitious plan to reduce greenhouse gas emissions as mandated by the California Global Warming Solutions Act (AB 32) puts the state on a more stable economic path by encouraging even greater investment in energy saving innovation.

The California Air Resources Board is on track to consider and possibly adopt an implementation plan for AB 32 in December.

Read the full report in PDF form here.

This post originally appeared in my other blog Golden State Cleantech. If you’d like to share or pass on this post, please visit the post from Golden State Cleantech.

PretePress poll gives Obama big edge over McCain

October 17, 2008

PretePress readers overwhelmingly believe Barack Obama beat John McCain in the third presidential debate, and

Obama stencil found on sidewalk in San Francisco Aug. 24, 2008

Obama stencil found on sidewalk in San Francisco Aug. 24, 2008

by an even larger margin indicated they expect Obama to be the next president of the United States.

It was an unscientific poll by anyone’s standard, and included some conflicting responses, so take the results with plenty of grains of salt — but the fun survey I created after Wednesday’s presidential debate (using WordPress’ nfity new PollDaddy poll feature)  was interesting nonetheless.

Of the PretePress readers who took the poll, 84 percent said Barack Obama won the debate, while 16 percent gave the victory to John McCain.

Barack Obama will be elected the next president of the United States, 95 percent of respondents believed — even though only one-quarter of respondents identified themselves as registered Democrats.

The rest of the poll:

  • 90 percent of respondents said they were citizens of the United States.
  • 95 percent said they were registered to vote in the U.S. (get out that salt).
  • 50 percent of participants said they did not belong to any political party, 25 percent said they were registered to vote under the Democratic Party, 10 percent said they were Republicans, 5 percent Greens and 0 percent Libertarians. 10 percent said they were registered under some other party.

You can see the original post will the poll here, but I’m still learning to use the PollDaddy polls and at the moment I’m not sure how to turn off the poll. The results you see in the original post may not match the results at the time of this writing.

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Six first impressions of the third Obama-McCain presidential debate

October 15, 2008

Well, someone certainly put a heck of a burr under John McCain’s saddle before the third presidential debate. Was it enough to get him back out of the ditch and onto the road to the White House?

  1. The Republican nominee for president of the United States turned in his most lively and coherent performance of the three debates,
  2. If John McCain was looking to ding Obama, he missed  a perfect opportunity — twice. McCain brought up the criticisms that had been leveled at him and Sarah Palin by U.S. Rep. John Lewis. He noted first that Obama had yet to repudiate Lewis’ statements, but then let the conversation turn elsewhere. Not long later, McCain again brought the topic back to Lewis and again noted that Obama had not repudiated the accusations, but he got nowhere with it as he let Obama successfully divert the talk on both occasions. McCain should have said something like, “Senator Obama, you have yet to repudiate John Lewis’ unfair remarks, but I’d like to give you the opportunity to do so right now. Will you tell the American people you want no part of his accusations, right here at this debate?” Instead, McCain allowed Obama to remain comfortable and dodge the issue.
  3. Barack Obama was as dull as dry toast. Post-debate polls put him significantly ahead of McCain, but I think that must be at least as much because of Obama’s momentum (and the perception of inevitability his campaign excels at cultivating) as the strength of his performance at the debate.
  4. McCain clearly didn’t learn anything from reviewing old video of a grimacing Al Gore in Gore’s debate with George W. Bush. He was all forced half-smiles and nervous-looking blinks. McCain seemed sometimes to channel Jon Lovitz’s Michael Dukakis, who in a Saturday Night Live sketch famously exclaimed in reference to Dana Carvey’s George H.W. Bush, “I can’t believe I’m losing to this guy!” In spite of McCain’s efforts to maintain a neutral expression, he came off like an exasperated and angry porcelain doll (albeit one with a really advanced blinking function).
  5. Did McCain really pull out the air quotes while discussing abortion? Yes, unfortunately, he did. When Obama said he was opposed to late-term abortions but thought consideration ought to be given to the health of the mother, McCain pooh-poohed the health issue, making air quotes when saying that the meaning of “health” had been stretched too far by abortion activists. This is already the stuff of blogs and punditry, and I wouldn’t be surprised to find it featured in an ad by Thursday morning.
  6. Although McCain did much better in this debate, he’s going to have to do much better still if he is to eke out a victory.

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Who won the Obama-McCain presidential debate?

October 15, 2008

Who won the third presidential debate between Barack Obama and John McCain? Which candidate will be the next American president?


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Third Obama-McCain presidential debate preview

October 15, 2008

U.S. presidential candidates Barack Obama and John McCain meet at Hofstra University in Hempstead, N.Y. tonight for their third and final debate of the 2008 race. Does McCain still have a chance to turn his campaign around? Can Obama conclusively nail the race tonight?

Barack Obama

Barack Obama

Barack Obama has what looks like an overwhelming lead in Electoral College votes, according to most polls, and he continues to press the Republican candidate in states that McCain should have sewn up a long time ago.

But John McCain has been newly energized about promoting his plan for handling the current economic crisis and recharging the U.S. economy. Tonight’s debate is viewed by some analysts as a do-or-die moment for the McCain campaign, when he either will seize his last chance to get American voters excited about his candidacy or watch the presidency slip irretrievably out of reach.

I’ll make my own prediction — it’s a safe one — and say that neither candidate will do anything tonight to change the minds of voters who already have made up their minds for the other guy. Furthermore, my guess is that Obama will convince some undecided voters to throw in with him, but will still leave most of the undecideds questioning who should get their votes.

John McCain

John McCain

However, this debate does present a convenient opportunity for McCain to decide how he wants this campaign to fit into his legacy as a war hero and respected legislator. Does he make one last push in an attempt to surmount long odds, using whatever methods are expedient, at the risk of marring his reputation even if he wins? Or does he look beyond this election, distance himself from some of the campaign tactics he previously disavowed but now employs, and ask history to remember him as he was before this run for the White House?

That’s a choice only McCain can make — but if he want to keep pushing for the presidency, he needs to take advantage of tonight’s debate, even though the debate alone is highly unlikely to make the difference.

McCain has spent the past few days pushing an economic plan that he bills as new, even though much of it simply reflects the core of the Republican economic agenda of the past decade or so. But it sounds new enough to most people that McCain should keep going back to it as often as possible in the debate.

He needs to do tonight what Obama did in the first debate: present concrete ideas in clear, simple language. If McCain did no more than adopt Obama’s answering style of a simple preface followed by three or four numbered points, he would be way ahead of his performance in the past debates and well on his way to quashing the notion that his campaign has run out of ideas and can’t come up with a credible alternative to Obama’s proposals. Now that McCain has a relatively coherent plan — for the purposes of the election it doesn’t really matter whether it will work as economic policy or not — he needs to push it and push it and push it.

Obama could choose to play defense tonight, seeking long-term victory by simply avoiding errors in the debate. If he can, though, Obama should use the debate to keep McCain off-balance. McCain’s best ammo for the debate is his “new” economic plan, but pushing it as strongly as he will need to leaves McCain vulnerable to Obama coming out with a strong presentation of his own domestic policy plans.

Both candidates would be unwise to even address the attacks their campaigns have made on each other in the past two weeks. It makes for dull television and seems not to play well with undecided voters in this election.

The debate starts at 6 p.m. Pacific time, 9 p.m. Eastern. On nearly everywhere. Ostensibly the topic is domestic policy, but both candidates are likely to direct their answers where they want to go.

* * *

Parting Shots: I’m no economist, but there’s one idea both Obama and McCain have suggested recently that even I know is foolish in the extreme. That idea is the proposal to offer tax relief to people withdrawing money early from their 401Ks and other retirement savings accounts, and it’s dumb on two levels. First, for many people this will serve merely to enable them to put off reckoning with their overextended lifestyle, giving them a way to spend money they previously had reluctantly saved. When that money is gone, what good will it have done them? Second, at a time when investors only worsen the economic downturn when they withdraw their money from the market, this proposal would give many more people a tax incentive to do just that. It doesn’t make any sense.
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Ed Jew pleads guilty to extortion charges

October 14, 2008

Ed Jew, the former San Francisco supervisor who fled his post representing the southwest corner of the city after

Ed Jew

Ed Jew

coming under fire for allegedly accepting bribes and living outside the district he represented, has pleaded guilty to federal charges.

Jew pleaded guilty on Friday, Oct. 10 to federal charges of extortion, bribery and mail fraud related to accusations that he accepted tens of thousands of dollars from the owners of several tapioca-drink shops inexchange for helping them obtain City permits. The plea means that a trial on the charges that had been scheduled for November will not go forward.

Jew is scheduled to be sentenced in February. His attorney, Stuart Hanlon, told the San Francisco Chronicle that he expected Jew would go to prison but that he hoped it would be for only two years.

Jew still faces nine felony charges under California state law, alleging that he lied about living in San Francisco’s Sunset District while actually residing in the nearby suburb of Burlingame.

Ed Jew is alleged to have lied about living in this Sunset District house to qualify for office representing District 4 on the San Francisco Board of Supervisors.

Ed Jew is alleged to have lied about living in this Sunset District house to qualify to represent District 4 on the San Francisco Board of Supervisors.

Jew’s sudden departure from office resulted in Mayor Gavin Newsom appointing current officeholder Supervisor Carmen Chu, who faces several challengers for the seat this November, including Ron Dudum.

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