California election returns web site seeing 10 times the traffic

Like most of you, I’ve been unable to bring up the California Secretary of State’s election results web page most of the evening

But it is back up as of a few minutes ago.

I’m told the site is experiencing 10 times the normal levels of traffic. A spokeswoman says they are disabling the map function, which should speed it up.

This is what happens when you have an election and everyone shows up.


Bill Clinton called my house

So did actor Charlie Sheen. And U.S. Sen. Dianne Feinstein. And Sen. Tom Torlakson.

My phone rang all weekend, in fact, with those annoying pre-recorded phone messages called robocalls.

Yes, robocalls are illegal in California. But campaigns get around the law by originating the calls outside of California and the jurisdiction of the state Public Utilities Commission.

If you are curious about who is getting these calls and where, the National Do Not Contact Registry has created an interesting Google map site. You can also enter a call made to your house into the map through Twitter by clicking here.


Presidential candidates reach out to Latino voters

Contra Costa Times reporter Matt O’Brien wrote a fascinating story today about how the presidential campaigns and candidates are reaching out to Latinos. But the candidates don’t necessarily do the best job speaking Spanish.

Click here for the story.

And below, you’ll find some extra notes that Matt could not fit into the published story as well as some links to the candidates as well as President Bush and Jackie Kennedy speaking in Spanish.


But impressions among fluent speakers was that whether or not he can actually speak the language in a non-scripted setting, Obama’s accent is better than that of President Bush, who has been known to sprinkle Spanish words into his speeches since his time as governor of Texas.

“It’s nice and short and correct,” said college Spanish instructor and Hayward City Councilman Francisco Zermeno. “It’s got a good use of the subjunctive. Good diction, he’s almost natively speaking, almost fluently, a couple little problems here and there. Not as fluid as it could be, but of course, he’s monolingual.” Continue Reading


Dogs and their humans unite for Obama in Richmond

Metro Dog co-owner Diane Livoti with Bark for Barack poster (Photo by Kristopher Skinner/Contra Costa Times)

Metro Dog co-owner Diane Livoti with "Bark for Barack" poster (Photo by Kristopher Skinner/Contra Costa Times)

Your pooch cannot vote for president. Not legally, anyway.

But the humans at Metro Dog, a Richmond doggie daycare and boarding center also known as “Disneyland for Dogs,” found a way to get out the bark for Barack Obama.

Get it? “Get out the bark!” instead of “Get out the vote!”

Okay, it’s a stinky joke.

But this is a really cool poster.

Emily Jan of Timbuktu Designs styled the vivid artwork titled “Bark for Barack” after an early 1900s Alexander Rodchenko Russian literacy poster.

The poster features a regal greyhound, which probably wasn’t Metro Dog regular and Burmese Mountain Dog Tomas’ first choice. (His human, after all, coined the phrase “Bark for Barack” for the poster.)

Pet lovers are displaying it all over the East Bay, including the Oakland Zoo.

Bark for Barack poster

"Bark for Barack" poster

Hundreds of copies of the image have been downloaded from all over the nation at their web site, www.ObamaDogsUnite.com.

Metro Dog co-owners Diane Livoti and Alison Smith have raised more than $2,000 for Obama’s campaign through sales of the poster although they long ago exhausted their one and only order of 500 prints.

The only place to obtain it now is a download from their web site, where they ask for a $5 campaign donation in return for use of the image.

In the interest of fairness, I asked Livoti to arrange a paw-wow with the Republican pups in her fine establishment.

Surely, there must be some toothy growling over this flagrant bias against their candidate John McCain?


There are no Republican dogs here.