Cowboy Libertarian talks ‘nut cuttin’ time’ in new book


'It's Nut Cuttin' Time America!' by Patrick Dorinson, Cowboy Libertarian and former California GOP communications director

Cowboy Libertarian and ex-California Republican Party communications director Patrick Dorinson has a new book out just in time for the 2012 general election called “It’s Nut Cuttin’ Time America!”

For the uninitiated, “nut cutting” refers to that pivotal moment in a male calf’s life when a bull becomes a steer. Or castration, if you prefer the more clinical term.

I haven’t read the book yet but I’ve known Dorinson for years. And the book is almost certainly humorous in a Will Rogers fashion, that wry western common sense tone one finds in places where cowboys and cowgirls must rely on their wits if they hope to bring home the cattle in one piece.

Yeah, Dorinson dresses up real nice. I’ve seen him on numerous occasions dressed up in a spiffy suit and tie, schmoozing politicos and the press corps with his cowboy charm.

But since Dorinson left the California GOP — and the GOP entirely, to become an independent a few years ago — he has been tapping into his lengthy cowboy roots. He bought a ranch in Nevada City, writes columns, blogs and hosts a weekly radio talkshow on Saturdays near his home at Newstalk 1530 KFBK.

Liberal Bay Areaites may not agree with Dorinson’s libertarian politics but you cannot help but laugh at his turn of phrase as he describes his journey from devout Republican to avowed independent.

“I have chased more false prophets than the ancient Hebrews in the Old Testament!” he wrote in the book description materials.

Hmmm. Could Dorinson be talking about Arnold Schwarzenegger?



110,000 register to vote online in first week

About 110,000 Californians registered to vote online during the first week they could.

The state’s online voter registration system went live last Wednesday as a result of SB 397 by state Sen. Leland Yee, D-San Francisco, which was signed into law last October by Gov. Jerry Brown.

Secretary of State Debra Bowen said today she’s “thrilled to see the high volume,” but it’s part of the usual presidential-year deluge. “At this time four years ago, we received as many as 191,000 paper registration applications in a single week just at the Secretary of State’s office – that’s not counting the 58 county offices,” she said.

Still, Yee said in a news release today that he’s “ecstatic with the popularity of this new voter registration system.”

“It is a game-changer for our democracy,” he said. “While some states are suppressing the rights of voters, here in California we are significantly increasing participation.”

A slew of Republican-dominated states have enacted voter ID laws in recent years. Supporters say they’re meant to reduce the chance of in-person voting fraud, although there are extremely few documented cases of such fraud; critics say they’re meant to disenfranchise poor, disabled, minority and other voters who are likely to vote Democratic.

Yee said California’s new law already is saving county election offices thousands of dollars: “Election clerks do not have to spend as much time and money entering data from paper registrations, which also results in fewer administrative errors.”

The new system lets citizens whose signature is already on file with the Department of Motor Vehicles submit their voter registration form to their county elections office electronically.

Only 44 percent 59 percent of eligible California citizens voted in the 2008 presidential election. Even now, more than 6.5 million Californians are eligible to vote but remain unregistered.

The deadline to register to vote in this November’s election is Monday, Oct. 22.


Let someone else make the debate jokes for you

“Sitting on a sofa on a Sunday afternoon
Going to the candidates’ debate
Laugh about it, shout about it when you’ve got to choose
Every way you look at it you lose.” –Paul Simon

Might as well laugh about it, right?

But rather than having to provide your own snarky comments during the upcoming presidential and vice presidential debates, now you can have a professional do it for you.

Stand-up comedians Dhaya Lakshminarayanan and Samson Koletkar are producing a series of events coinciding with the four debates at The Washington Inn, at 495 10th St. in Oakland, at which audiences watch the debates with comics who afterward dish up their best political material.

Four different headliners will be accompanied by “a cast of comics including a lesbian Latina, a black lesbian single mother, a single father of three daughters, a transsexual, a Mormon, a non-U.S. citizen and, just to balance things out, a fistful of straight white men,” the producers say:

  • Wednesday, Oct. 3 – Maureen Langan. Also appearing: Marga Gomez, Sean Keane, Trevor Hill
  • Thursday, Oct. 11 – Aundre the Wonderwoman. Also appearing: Kellen Erskine, Matt Gubser
  • Tuesday, Oct. 16 – Dan St. Paul. Also appearing: Michael O’Brien, Karinda Dobbins
  • Monday, Oct 22 – Will Durst. Also appearing, Johnny Steele, Natasha Muse.
  • All shows are from 6 p.m. to 8:30 p.m. Tickets for each show cost $10 and are available online.


    It’s National Voter Registration Day. Do it. Do it.

    Today has been National Voter Registration Day, and Bay Area officials and activists joined their peers across the nation in urging people to “register in September and make it count in November.”

    photo courtesy of Keith CarsonRep. Barbara Lee, D-Oakland, and Alameda County Supervisor Keith Carson were among those who rallied at mid-day outside the Alameda County Administration Building in Oakland to urge all eligible voters to register and cast ballots this fall.

    The Oakland event was one of several held today across the nation by members of the Congressional Black Caucus as a part of the “For the People” Voter Protection Initiative. H. Res. 542 condemns “the passage of legislation that would unduly burden an American citizen’s ability to vote and opposing any State election law or proposed legislation that would have a disproportionate impact on vulnerable communities across the country.”

    “We are engaged in a battle to protect the fundamental, Constitutional right to vote,” Lee said later Tuesday. “Voter suppression tactics do nothing at all to prevent voter fraud, while disproportionately excluding and disenfranchising people of color, elderly and young adults from their Constitutionally given right to vote. By preparing all Alameda County residents to vote this fall, we are standing in solidarity with communities fighting intense battles against voter suppression efforts throughout the country.”

    Lee notes that at least 34 states have introduced laws that would require voters to show photo identification in order to vote, and at least 12 states have introduced laws that would require proof of citizenship, such as a birth certificate, to register to vote or to vote. The states that have already cut back on voting rights provide 171 electoral votes in 2012, 63 percent of the 270 needed to win the presidency, she said.

    on Sproul Plaza (photo by Josh Richman)Meanwhile, groups at the University of California, Berkeley – including the Associated Students, Voto Latino and others – had tables on Sproul Plaza today in an attempt to register as many people as possible.

    Election Day is six weeks away. Still not registered to vote? You’ve got until Monday, Oct. 22, and you need not even get up from where you’re sitting right now reading this post: You can register online. Or, if you prefer, printed voter registration forms are available at many government offices, DMV offices, post offices, public libraries and other locations.


    New laws move to grab human trafficking assets

    Gov. Jerry Brown signed a pair of bills into law today to make it harder for human traffickers to hide their assets.

    AB 2466, by Assmemblyman Bob Blumenfield, D-San Fernando Valley, ensures that criminal defendants involved in human trafficking can’t hide or dispose of assets that would otherwise be provided as restitution to victims. Existing California law entitles victims are entitled to mandatory restitution, but this new law will let courts order the preservation of the assets and property until there’s a conviction.

    “Now, the perpetrators of this despicable crime cannot game the system and keep their money when caught and convicted,” Blumenfield said in a news release. “Justice will come for victims.”

    SB 1133, by state Sen. Mark Leno, D-San Francisco, expands the list of assets that a human trafficker must forfeit and provides a formula for using those resources to help victims of human trafficking.

    “Today we are one step closer to dismantling the economic infrastructure that convicted child sex traffickers rely on to continue to lure young people into the sex trade,” Leno said in a news release. “In addition to taking away the lucrative profits from these horrendous crimes, we are providing much-needed financial support for increased investigations and victim services.”

    The Assembly and state Senate passed both bills without any dissenting votes; both laws will take effect on Jan. 1.

    “With these new laws, California prosecutors and law enforcement officials will be able to seize assets of human traffickers, cripple their operations and aid victims,” California Attorney General Kamala Harris said in a news release. “Human trafficking is big business in California. It is a high-profit criminal industry that is expanding rapidly across the globe, including here in California.”

    Harris and Mexico Attorney General Marisela Morales Ibáñez signed an accord Friday to expand prosecutions and secure convictions of criminals who engage in the trafficking of human beings. The pact will increase coordination of law enforcement resources targeting transnational gangs engaged in such crimes, and calls for closer integration on human trafficking as well as sharing best practices to recognize human trafficking and provide support and services to victims.


    Brown signs bill expanding birth-control access

    Gov. Jerry Brown signed a bill into law today that makes it easier for women to obtain birth control – a bill that created some strange bedfellows, pun intended.

    Assembly Bill 2348 by Assemblywoman Holly Mitchell, D-Los Angeles, lets registered nurses dispense and administer hormonal contraceptives under a standardized procedure, or upon an order by a certified nurse-midwife, a nurse practitioner or a physician assistant in certain clinic settings. Hormonal contraceptives include birth control pills, “morning-after” pills, vaginal rings and patches, and so on.

    “At a time when some seek to turn back the clock and restrict women’s health choices, California is expanding access to birth control and reaffirming every woman’s basic Constitutional rights,” Brown – who signed the bill Saturday morning at Planned Parenthood Los Angeles’ headquarters – said in a news release.

    Planned Parenthood Federation of America President and CEO Cecile Richards said California “has long served as a national model for enacting proactive public policy that reduces rates of unintended pregnancy and expands access to comprehensive reproductive health care services. By enacting this bill, California is, once again, setting an example of national leadership at a critical time when access to health care is under attack.”

    Planned Parenthood had sponsored this bill along with the California Family Health Council, where President and CEO Julie Rabinovitz applauded Brown “for continuing California’s long-standing history of breaking down barriers to birth control access and helping women across the state reduce their risk of unintended pregnancy. With his signature, the Governor also took action to address provider shortages statewide by allowing RNs to work to the full extent of their scope and training. This is especially important in our changing health care landscape.”

    AB 2348 bill had been opposed by the California Right to Life Committee and the California Catholic Conference, which is the public policy arm of the state’s bishops.

    “I propose that the problem is not the lack of access to contraceptives but their ready access — and this bill will allow even more medical personnel to hand them out,” Carol Hogan, the conference’s pastoral projects and communications director, wrote in July.

    Reliable information is lacking on the effects of long-term use of hormonal contraceptives, Hogan wrote, and “their easy access may actually encourage sexual activity — possibly producing yet more problems. There are also studies showing emotional damage to women who engage in sexual activity at an early age and/or outside of a marital commitment.”

    “In keeping with society’s move to honor nature, rather than handing out hormonal contraceptives on every street corner, perhaps we ought to educate our young women to honor their natural bodies,” she wrote.

    But the bill also had been opposed by the politically powerful California Nurses Association/National Nurses United.

    “CNA supports the expansion of primary health services for women with a single standard of high quality care for everyone,” the union blogged this spring. “However, this bill encroaches on the practice of nurse practitioners in an effort by employers to use lower paid registered nurses to provide these family planning services.”