Schwarzenegger video of the week

Disturbing, but seasonal, from the boys at JibJab.

Previous SVOTWs: December 18, December 11, December 4, November 27, November 20, November 13, November 6, October 30, October 23, October 16, October 9, October 2, September 25, September 18, September 11, September 4, August 28, August 21, August 7, July 31, July 24, July 17, July 10, July 3, June 26, June 19, June 12, June 5, May 29, May 22, May 15, May 8, May 1, April 24, April 17, April 10, April 3, March 27, March 20, March 13, March 6, February 27, February 20, February 13, February 6, January 30.


Bill Strauss: An appreciation

strauss.jpgBill Strauss, a Congressional lawyer who became one of America’s leading political satirists, died this past week at age 60; though born in Chicago, he grew up here in the Bay Area, in Burlingame.

He was working for a Senate subcommittee in 1981 when he co-founded the Capitol Steps, a political parody troupe which cleverly makes light of Presidents, lawmakers and justices; Democrats, Republicans and independents; and everyone in between with scathing wit and wild abandon.

Take for example a Capitol Steps performance in the late ’80s on the White House’s southern portico, for an audience of 300 including much of Congress, much of the Cabinet, and President and Mrs. Ronald Reagan. The President had instructed them to make fun not of Democrats, Senators, or Congressmen, only of him. And so the show opened the show with a parody of the Dolly Parton song “9 to 5,” featuring Bill Strauss as Reagan:

Nine a.m., my blood’s not pumpin’
Wonder which staffers Nancy’s been dumpin’
Check the watch, thank God I’m almost done

Workin’ 9 to 10, puttin’ total effort in it
That’s my regimen, sixty solid workin’ minutes
As your president, I won’t cut that any smaller
‘Cause I get free rent and two hundred thousand dollars…

The First Lady reportedly wan’t amused, but the President roared with laughter.

Strauss was a true renaissance man: a Harvard-educated lawyer; the co-author of ten books and three musicals; the co-founder of an international high-school theater program; the co-founder of a publishing, speaking, and consulting company; and a father of four.

When dealing with government, sometimes you don’t know whether to laugh or to cry. Strauss knew it’s always better to laugh.


Berkeley doctor named to state air board

balmes.jpgGov. Arnold Schwarzenegger announced today that Dr. John Balmes, 57, of Berkeley, has been appointed to the California Air Resources Board: the panel charged with maintaining the Golden State’s air quality, and now vowing to go to war with the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency over the latter’s refusal to issue a waiver letting California regulate greenhouse gas emissions from cars.

A hot-seat appointment, it would seem.

Balmes since 1986 he has been a University of California, San Franaicso professor of medicine; he also has been a professor of environmental health sciences at Cal Berkeley’s School of Public Health since 2002. Earlier, he was an assistant professor of medicine for the University of Southern California from 1982 to 1986. This part-time position requires Senate confirmation and pays $39,332 per year; Balmes is a Democrat.


Sparks still fly over Casino San Pablo

casino_front_sm.jpgJust because the Lytton Band of Pomo Indians backed off its hopes to install Nevada-style slot machines at its San Pablo Lytton Casino (formerly the Casino San Pablo card room) doesn’t mean its opponents have stopped taking potshots.

A spokesman for the East Bay Coalition Against Urban Casinos — a group of concerned citizens whose effort has been bankrolled by local card rooms who don’t want an Indian casino’s competition — sent out this release yesterday:

Casino San Pablo’s numbers are in: Estimated at $132 million for 2007. These numbers are unreleased but we expect them to be released formally in a few weeks. Tack these onto $140 million in 2006…

Did you hear that sucking sound? That was over a quarter of a billion dollars being drained out of the East Bay community in two years!

If it is true that the population within a five and 10 mile radius provides a casino with its most frequent player pool, then Casino San Pablo is winning on the backs of the East Bay.

At $33,192,867 for the quarter (Confirmed with Bradley Ward, Finance Director of the City of San Pablo), or $132,770,000 on an annual basis, Casino San Pablo is celebrating their most prosperous holiday season ever. This is representative of the enormous amount of income they have generated since installing the slot machines in August 2005. They win!

It is common knowledge that gambling rates go up during the holidays. The increased financial challenges of holiday gift giving and celebrations lead many to turn to gambling to help pay off debts (From Michigan Dept. of Health). People also gamble more when they are under stress, some do it as an escape, but more than often, it is an attempt to take a little bit of money and win a lot.

The trouble is, in order for a casino like Casino San Pablo, which attracts mostly lower-income clientele who live in the area, to make a lot of money, many people have to repeatedly lose lots of money.

Despite what the Prop 94-97 TV ads in favor of the casino propositions are spinning, most people would honestly say that the people who are losing their money this Christmas at Casino San Pablo probably need it a whole lot more than the already-rich Lyttons do.

Replied Doug Elmets, spokesman for the Lytton Band:

Of course, the Card Clubs don’t mention the hundreds of new living wage, full benefit jobs that the Casino has created; the millions that the Casino contributes to the City of San Pablo which keeps the City from spiraling into bankruptcy; the millions that are pumped into the local economy through vendors that service the casino; the millions that go to public safety to make San Pablo a more protected community; the hundreds of local non-profits and disadvantaged citizens who benefit from the Lytton Tribe’s generosity; and the members of the Lytton tribe who now have housing, health care and educational opportunities, something that has eluded them for generations.