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East Bay political calendar

What do crab, fixing California and Sarah Palin have in common?

They are all subjects of upcoming political events in Contra Costa County. Check them out.

BRENTWOOD

Piepho

Rancher Jack Roddy, developers and farmers Ron and Bob Nunn and Tim Argenti with Allied Waste will host a re-election fundraiser on Dec. 15 for Contra Costa Supervisor Mary Nejedly Piepho.

Other hosts include John Herrington, Norm Hattich and Tom Bloomfield.

The event will be held from 5:30-7:30 p.m. at Vic Stewarts, 2270 Balfour Road in Brentwood.

For information, send inquiry to marynejedlypiepho@gmail.com.

PITTSBURG

Glover

Let them crack crab. Contra Costa County Supervisor Federal Glover of Pittsburg will host his annual “all you can eat” crab feed on Jan.7.

It’ll cost you $40 a person for the festivities, which begin at 6 p.m. with cocktails, at the Good Shepherd Parish Hall, 3200 Harbor St. in Pittsburg.

Glover is running for re-election but proceeds from this event benefit his officerholder account; that’s a fund that incumbents are permitted to use for expenses related to serving in office such as crab feed tickets.

For tickets or information, email crabfeed2012@yahoo.com.

WALNUT CREEK

Mitchoff

Former Assembly Speaker Bob Hertzberg will headline the Feb. 2 luncheon hosted by Contra Costa Supervisor Karen Mitchoff.

These days, Hertzberg is co-chairman of California Forward and a leader of the California Think Long Committee, two groups of reformers whose members hope to persuade voters to make fundamental changes in the way the state governs itself.

The luncheon begins at 11:30 a.m. at the Walnut Creek Marriott, 2355 N. Main St., in Walnut Creek. Call 925-299-1612 for more information.

Proceeds benefit Mitchoff’s officeholder account, a fund that incumbents are permitted to use to pay for expenses related to their official duties.

BLACKHAWK

South San Joaquin County Republicans’ founder and author Frank Aquila will talk about his new book on Sarah Palin at the Jan. 26 evening meeting of the Blackhawk Republican Women.

Aquila wrote “Sarah Palin: Out of Nowhere” and was the 2008 chairman for then-president candidate and Arizona Sen. John McCain.  He lobbied early for Palin’s selection as McCain’s vice presidential running mate.

Aquila will also talk about the communist influence in America and present a 10-point solution to the nation’s woes.

The event begins at 5:30 p.m. at the Blackhawk Country Club, 599 Blackhawk Club Drive. The cost is $25 a person. For reservations, contact Marianne Lyons at rlyons@sbcglobal.net.

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Satirist sends Palin ‘Where the Rogue Things Go’

I just got off the phone with San Francisco-based political humorist Will Durst, who’s set to satirize the unique American political phenomenon that is Sarah Palin with the release of his new book “Where the Rogue Things Go,” a parody of Maurice Sendak’s classic for children.

From publisher Ulysses Press:

Where the Rogue Things GoCreative and entertaining, the book begins with Sarah’s early episodes of bad behavior—from her failings at higher education to her practicing of witch doctor religion. It retells the time when she seemed doomed to suffer the political version of being sent to bed without dinner for her abuse of power as governor of Alaska, but instead finds herself transported (almost as if on a magic boat) onto the national political stage as the 2008 Republican Vice Presidential candidate.

Where the Rogue Things Go follows each of Sarah’s pathetic missteps on the campaign, while simultaneously illustrating the legions of fans who inexplicably grow and grow until they surround her at every campaign stop like trees in a thick forest. But Sarah must also win over the snarling, filibustering, tea-bagging monsters that lead America’s right wing. She does so with her greatest ploy of all—she bewitches them with a single wink and they crown her Queen of the Rogue Things.

This cautionary tale continues Sarah’s story into a tragic future where now President Palin and the Rogue Things go on an unconstrained rampage of extreme conservatism that sends America’s economy, environment, and culture back to the dark days of the Bush/Cheney years. With childlike clarity and colorful artwork, Where the Rogue Things Go offers a smart rebuke to Palin’s lipstick-on-a-pit-bull rebranding of failed right wing policies.

“The illustrator is just putting on the final touches and then it gets to the publisher and then they send it to the lawyers… so we’re thinking maybe the beginning of May before it comes out,” Durst told me. “It’s a gentile pastiche, is what it is – we’re mocking and scoffing and taunting but were doing it with taste.”

Will DurstHe said that to liberal-leaning political humorists, Palin is the gift that keeps on giving. Or something like that.

“She’s like the Republican herpes, she erupts every two weeks or so,” Durst said. “If there weren’t a Sarah Palin, we would’ve invented her. For those of us going cold turkey on Bush, she’s like a double dose of methadone.”

He’s hoping she’ll find the book “funny and amusing. She’s got a great sense of humor, so I’m hoping next time we can collaborate on something.”

Durst was calling from Chicago, where he’s “telling some jokes to drunks in bars, my usual job,” he said – fortuitous timing, given that former White House Chief of Staff Rahm Emanuel swept to victory over five rivals in Tuesday’s mayoral election, the first wide-open, non-incumbent mayoral vote the Windy City has had in 64 years. “I made fun of the audience last night – I said, ‘What are you doing here, you’re supposed to be voting!’ ”

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Let the show begin! Political ads and videos launched as general election gets underway

Let the paid advertising circus begin!

Republican gubernatorial nominee Meg Whitman launched her fall campaign with her first general election ad, titled, One Thing:

Opponents immediately ridiculed it, saying Whitman, the billionaire ex-CEO of eBay, is the last person to understand the plight of the unemployed and poor.

Later, California Working Families for Brown for Governor 2010 released its first video, laying into Whitman for her failure to vote for 28 years. “For decades,” goes the ad’s voice over, “she didn’t follow the issues. Couldn’t spare a moment to vote. Now she’s spending a hundred fifty million to get our vote?”

And after Sarah Palin jumped into the California gubernatorial fray mocking Democratic nominee Jerry Brown’s vow to not raise taxes unless voters ask for them, his team team hit back immediately with a video:

But the best video came out of the U.S. Senate race. Carly Fiorina’s off-mic comments about Meg Whitman’s “strange choice” to appear on Fox News’ Sean Hannity’s show is excellent fly-on-the-wall stuff, and is being viewed around the nation.

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CD11: GOP strategist names Emken a ‘Palin prospect’

Elizabeth Emken

Elizabeth Emken

It’s not an actual endorsement but Elizabeth Emken’s campaign is touting it nonetheless.

Daily Beast writer and GOP strategist Mark McKinnon listed Emken today as one 11 GOP women running for office he considers prospective members of former Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin’s sleuth of mama grizzlies. (Yes, a group of bears is called a sleuth. I Googled it.)

He cites the Danville resident’s background as an advocate in Washington, D.C., for increased attention and money for the treatment of autistic and other disabilities. She is one of four primary candidates seeking the GOP nomination in the 11th Congressional District.

Click through on the link above to read the full post but here is the top of McKinnon’s column:

The Alaska sensation is recruiting and endorsing GOP women nationwide—spooking the Democrats. Mark McKinnon surveys her 11 top prospects.

I like strong women.

I like strong women who speak their minds. (I’m married to one of them.) And I’ve worked with and around many in politics, including Ann Richards, Laura Bush and Sarah Palin.

No matter your gender or politics, you have to hand it to her: Palin is fearless. “You don’t want to mess with moms who are rising up,” the Wasilla warrior said last week. “If you thought pit bulls were tough, you don’t want to mess with mama grizzlies.”

Click here to read the full post.

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Yee: How much is CSU paying Palin to speak?

State Senator Leland Yee, D-San Francisco, is asking the California State University Stanislaus Foundation to disclose whatever pay has been promised to former Alaska Governor and 2008 Republican vice presidential nominee Sarah Palin for her June 25 speaking engagement at the university.

Few if any students will be able to attend the event that has a per ticket cost of $500, Yee noted in his news release, which announced he sent a letter today to campus president and foundation chair Hamid Shirvani. From the letter:

The sensational nature of former Governor Palin’s political commentary, coupled with an ongoing book tour, has allowed her to charge top dollar for speaking engagements. As was reported in the media, her speaking appearances typically command $100,000 per event. To that end, I request the foundation to respond to the following issues: 1. Is the former governor being compensated by the CSUS Foundation in any form for her participation in the event on June 25th? If so, please describe the amount and nature of the compensation being awarded to the former governor. 2. Please disclose any contracts between the former governor and the CSUS Foundation involving the June 25 speaking engagement.

Yee noted the Foundation’s stated mission is to “to supplement services and funding provided by the state so that our students, our faculty and our community experience a margin of excellence that private support affords,” and he wants to know whether money is being diverted from students to pay Palin’s speaking fees.

“At a time when students are struggling to afford an education at CSU, I would hope that spending potentially hundreds of thousands of dollars on a guest speaker for a black-tie gala would be low on the priority list,” he said in his news release. “Money that is spent on bringing an out-of-touch former politician to campus could be spent on scholarships and other financial assistance during these challenging budget times.”

Yee said CSU officials have argued that the contract with Palin prevents the foundation from disclosing how much they are spending for her appearance, yet a state law he authored in 2008 prohibits state or local agencies from allowing an outside entity to control the disclosure of information that is otherwise subject to the California Public Records Act (CPRA). The law states that regardless of any contract term to the contrary, a contract between a private entity and a state or local agency is subject to the same disclosure requirements as other public records.

Yee has another bill now pending, SB 330, which would clarify that campus foundations and auxiliaries must adhere to the CPRA. CSU and University of California foundations and auxiliaries often perform government functions and are staffed entirely by university administrators, yet despite their sole purpose being for the benefit of the schools, CSU and UC administrations argue that they are private entities that need not adhere to open government laws. The state Senate passed SB 330 on a 37-1 vote in January, and the bill now awaits a hearing in the Assembly Higher Education Committee. Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger last year vetoed a similar bill that the Assembly had passed 76-0 and the state Senate had passed 35-1.

“It is time for CSU and UC administrators to stop acting like they are running private country clubs,” Yee said today. “These are public institutions that should embrace transparency and accountability.”

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Books for the already-convinced

Inside Obama's BrainTwo new titles crossed my desk this week: “Inside Obama’s Brain” (Portfolio, $24.95) by Sasha Abramsky, and “Going Rouge – Sarah Palin: An American Nightmare,” (Health Communications, $15.95) edited by Richard Kim and Betsy Reed. Both are likely to please the people who are likely to buy them.

Abramsky – a Sacramento-based freelance journalist and senior fellow at Demos who reports on political personalities and cultural trends for outlets such as the Atlantic Monthly, the Huffington Post, Mother Jones and the Nation, among others – interviewed almost 100 of President Obama’s current and former friends, colleagues, classmates, staff, fellow activists, neighbors and so on. He introduces his book thus:

In a very real way, we want answered the question, “what makes Obama tick?” That core question is what Inside Obama’s Brain sets out to answer. To do so, one has to ask a host of smaller questions: How does he approach problems? What ideas and intellectual theories make up his political credo? How does he communicate with friends and foes? How do his many skills play out in his chosen fields, the worlds of writing, organizing, law and politics? And why is it that so many people not just in the United States but around the world are so seduced – and so willing to be seduced – by his words and his presence?

The responses, provided by relatives, friends and colleagues from the many layers of Obama’s extraordinary life, and by his own words – put forth in his books and essays, in media interviews spanning more than a decade, and in numerous campaign speeches and political meetings – reveal the complexity of a man who has become something of a mythical figure in his own lifetime.

Although well-researched and generously footnoted, this book starts from the premise that President Obama is an inspirational figure, transformative for the better; it wraps up by calling him “a living legend.” Those who disagree with the President politically aren’t likely to think much of this book.

Going RougeSimilarly, “Going Rouge” – edited by two senior editors at the Nation – is meant as rebuttal to Palin’s bestselling memoir, “Going Rogue” (HarperCollins, $28.99) right down to the portrait on the cover: Instead of Palin wearing red in front of a cloud-dappled blue sky, it’s Palin wearing red in front of storm clouds and a lightning bolt.

And in this case you can judge a book by its cover. “Going Rouge” collects essays from liberal writers including Jim Hightower, Katha Pollitt, Gloria Steinem, Tom Frank and many others seeking to deconstruct Palin’s “maverick” political persona and policies, casting her as “a Christian fundamentalist opposed to the teaching of honest sex education in schools and in favor of teaching creationism alongside evolution, a climate-change-denier and government-basher alarmingly ignorant of the world and totally unprepared to be president.” It reviews all her gaffes and her conservative policy statements from last year and since, and contemplates “the nightmarish prospect of her continuing to dominate the nation’s political scene.”

Like Abramsky’s book, this one isn’t likely to change any minds, just to reassure those who’ve already made their minds up.