Sunday, December 18, 2005


Thursday, September 29, 2005

There are some bad, bad Republicans in Washington

And yes, of course there are some bad Demos, but at least their leaders aren't being indicted for money-laundering and election fraud. And we already knew the Republicans were big cheaters when it comes to elections.

Monday, September 12, 2005


Sunday, September 11, 2005

RFK Jr. speaks to Sierra Club in SF

I was fortunate to be at the convention and see this speech in person. This guy's account is a bit gushy, for sure, but it really was an incredible speech. Everyone knows the Bush presidency is terrible for the environment, but even I learned some things from his speech, and it was depressing. The Bush administration's actions are beyond egregious, and it's amazing that the press has been negligent in telling us about it.

Here's another account.

In this essay in Rolling Stone, RFK delineates many of the points he made in Saturday's speech.

Generations of Americans will pay the Republican campaign debt to the energy industry with global instability, depleted national coffers and increased vulnerability to price shocks in the oil market.

They will also pay with reduced prosperity and quality of life at home. Pollution from power plants and traffic smog will continue to skyrocket. Carbon-dioxide emissions will aggravate global warming. Acid rain from Midwestern coal plants has already sterilized half the lakes in the Adirondacks and destroyed the forest cover in the high peaks of the Appalachian range up into Canada. The administration's attacks on science and the law have put something even greater at risk. Americans need to recognize that we are facing not just a threat to our environment but to our values, and to our democracy.

Growing up, I was taught that communism leads to dictatorship and capitalism to democracy. But as we've seen from the the Bush administration, the latter proposition does not always hold. While free markets tend to democratize a society, unfettered capitalism leads invariably to corporate control of government.

America's most visionary leaders have long warned against allowing corporate power to dominate the political landscape. In 1863, in the depths of the Civil War, Abraham Lincoln lamented, "I have the Confederacy before me and the bankers behind me, and I fear the bankers most." Franklin Roosevelt echoed that sentiment when he warned that "the liberty of a democracy is not safe if the people tolerate the growth of private power to a point where it becomes stronger than their democratic state itself. That, in its essence, is fascism -- ownership of government by an individual, by a group or by any controlling power."

Today, more than ever, it is critical for American citizens to understand the difference between the free-market capitalism that made our country great and the corporate cronyism that is now corrupting our political process, strangling democracy and devouring our national treasures.

Corporate capitalists do not want free markets, they want dependable profits, and their surest route is to crush competition by controlling government. The rise of fascism across Europe in the 1930s offers many informative lessons on how corporate power can undermine a democracy. In Spain, Germany and Italy, industrialists allied themselves with right-wing leaders who used the provocation of terrorist attacks, continual wars, and invocations of patriotism and homeland security to tame the press, muzzle criticism by opponents and turn government over to corporate control. Those governments tapped industrial executives to run ministries and poured government money into corporate coffers with lucrative contracts to prosecute wars and build infrastructure. They encouraged friendly corporations to swallow media outlets, and they enriched the wealthiest classes, privatized the commons and pared down constitutional rights, creating short-term prosperity through pollution-based profits and constant wars. Benito Mussolini's inside view of this process led him to complain that "fascism should really be called 'corporatism.' "

While the European democracies unraveled into fascism, America confronted the same devastating Depression by reaffirming its democracy. It enacted minimum-wage and Social Security laws to foster a middle class, passed income taxes and anti-trust legislation to limit the power of corporations and the wealthy, and commissioned parks, public lands and museums to create employment and safeguard the commons.

The best way to judge the effectiveness of a democracy is to measure how it allocates the goods of the land: Does the government protect the commonwealth on behalf of all the community members, or does it allow wealth and political clout to steal the commons from the people?

Today, George W. Bush and his court are treating our country as a grab bag for the robber barons, doling out the commons to large polluters. Last year, as the calamitous rollbacks multiplied, the corporate-owned TV networks devoted less than four percent of their news minutes to environmental stories. If they knew the truth, most Americans would share my fury that this president is allowing his corporate cronies to steal America from our children.

Monday, September 05, 2005

More on Keplers

A rally Tuesday night! I would attend, except I haven't been to Kepler's in years. I think it should be saved, but I'm just not a book-buyer. My shelves are already too cluttered. It's the library for me.

Wednesday, August 31, 2005

Op Ed in NYT

As my husband said when he forwarded me this, "These people have to be removed from office."

August 29, 2005
Destroying the National Parks

Most of us think of America's national parks as everlasting places, parts of the bedrock of how we know our own country. But they are shaped and protected by an underlying body of legislation, which is distilled into a basic policy document that governs their operation. Over time, that document has slowly evolved, but it has always stayed true to the fundamental principle of leaving the parks unimpaired for future generations. That has meant, in part, sacrificing some of the ways we might use the parks today in order to protect them for tomorrow.

Recently, a secret draft revision of the national park system's basic management policy document has been circulating within the Interior Department. It was prepared, without consultation within the National Park Service, by Paul Hoffman, a deputy assistant secretary at Interior who once ran the Chamber of Commerce in Cody, Wyo., was a Congressional aide to Dick Cheney and has no park service experience.

Within national park circles, this rewrite of park rules has been met with profound dismay, for it essentially undermines the protected status of the national parks. The document makes it perfectly clear that this rewrite was not prompted by a compelling change in the park system's circumstances. It was prompted by a change in political circumstances - the opportunity to craft a vision of the national parks that suits the Bush administration.

Some of Mr. Hoffman's changes are trivial, although even apparently subtle changes in wording - from "protect" to "conserve," for instance - soften the standard used to judge the environmental effects of park policy.

But there is nothing subtle about the main thrust of this rewrite. It is a frontal attack on the idea of "impairment." According to the act that established the national parks, preventing impairment of park resources - including the landscape, wildlife and such intangibles as the soundscape of Yellowstone, for instance - is the "fundamental purpose." In Mr. Hoffman's world, it is now merely one of the purposes.

Mr. Hoffman's rewrite would open up nearly every park in the nation to off-road vehicles, snowmobiles and Jet Skis. According to his revision, the use of such vehicles would become one of the parks' purposes. To accommodate such activities, he redefines impairment to mean an irreversible impact. To prove that an activity is impairing the parks, under Mr. Hoffman's rules, you would have to prove that it is doing so irreversibly - a very high standard of proof. This would have a genuinely erosive effect on the standards used to protect the national parks.

The pattern prevails throughout this 194-page document - easing the rules that limit how visitors use the parks and toughening the standard of proof needed to block those uses. Behind this pattern, too, there is a fundamental shift in how the parks are regarded. If the laws establishing the national park system were fundamentally forward-looking - if their mission, first and foremost, was protecting the parks for the future - Mr. Hoffman's revisions place a new, unwelcome and unnecessary emphasis on the present, on what he calls "opportunities for visitors to use and enjoy their parks."

There is no question that we go to national parks to use and enjoy them. But part of the enjoyment of being in a place like Yosemite or the Grand Canyon is knowing that no matter how much it changes in the natural processes of time, it will continue to exist substantially unchanged.

There are other issues too. Mr. Hoffman would explicitly allow the sale of religious merchandise, and he removes from the policy document any reference to evolution or evolutionary processes. He does everything possible to strip away a scientific basis for park management. His rules would essentially require park superintendents to subordinate the management of their parks to local and state agendas. He also envisions a much wider range of commercial activity within the parks.

In short, this is not a policy for protecting the parks. It is a policy for destroying them.

The Interior Department has already begun to distance itself from this rewrite, which it kept hidden from park service employees. But what Mr. Hoffman has given us is a road map of what could happen to the parks if Mr. Bush's political appointees are allowed to have their way.

It is clear by now that Mr. Bush has no real intention of living up to his campaign promise to fully finance the national parks. This document offers a vivid picture of the divide between the National Park Service, whose career employees remain committed to the fundamental purpose of leaving the parks unimpaired, and an Interior Department whose political appointees seem willing to alter them beyond recognition, partly in the service of commercial objectives.

Suddenly, many things - like the administration's efforts to force snowmobiles back into Yellowstone - seem very easy to explain.

A Peninsula institution shuts down

From the Mercury News, Aug. 31:

Kepler's abruptly shuts its doors


By the Mercury News

Kepler's, the Menlo Park independent bookstore that drew loyal readers from around the Bay Area for more than 50 years, abruptly closed Wednesday.

The bookstore was a victim of the economic downturn that began four years ago, according to a sign posted on the door. ``As much as we love what we do and would like to continue another 50 years, we simply cannot,'' the sign read.

By noon today, a steady stream of people had wandered over to the building on El Camino Real to read the sign. The reaction was universal: Shock.

``What? What! My soccer magazines! From England!'' said Karan Das-Grande, 10. ``This is the only place I could get them.''

Rita Allison of Menlo Park, who had been buying books at Keplers for more than 30 years, called the store ```a symbol of the community.''

``It's a big jolt,'' she said.

Menlo Park officials had tried to help owner Clark Kepler negotiate a lower rent without success, said city business development manager David Johnson. Johnson said today that Kepler, whose father founded the store, ``invited all his employees in this morning to the location, even those who weren't scheduled to work. They pulled the shades and locked the doors.''

As they left the meeting, employees ``mentioned slow sales and the continuing difficulty competing with discount booksellers,'' Johnson said.

Kepler's celebrated its 50th anniversary in May.

``My dad had a vision of what a bookseller's role in society was,'' said Kepler in a 2004 interview. Roy Kepler determined that his bookstore would be a community place where readers could find a book on any topic.

Especially in recent years, Kepler's had become known as a place for writers. Lauren Bacall, Bill Cosby, Jane Fonda and Jimmy Carter have read at the store.

But the store suffered with the economy's decline beginning in 2001 and with the rise of chain and online bookstores.

A history, from Kepler's 50th anniversary, celebrated this May

A sad day in Menlo Park

Palo Alto Online story on the closing of Keplers

Keplers and the origin of the Dead

Thursday, August 25, 2005

Great story from, of all places, ESPN

Rather than simply encourage Americans to take up the bike as a method of recreation and exercise, (President Bush) should actively promote it as an alternative form of transportation. This shouldn't be some throwaway quote he says in response to a reporter's question while on vacation. This should be official national policy.

Tuesday, August 23, 2005

More reasons for Jesus to be proud of the religious right

a) What kind of dope is this guy on?
b) When did the meek-shall-inherit, peace-on-earth types become the war mongerers?
c) Robertson is 75; maybe he's senile, which makes me feel great about him being a leader of the most influential political movement today.
d) Rumsfeld's comment about how we don't "do that kind of thing" is pretty comical.

Monday, August 22, 2005

Examining "both sides" as journalists and creationism

I find the first few graphs of this column very interesting. It is a significant issue for reporters; one we struggle with regularly. Putting it out there is good for readers so they are better able to intelligently look at a story with "both sides." I noticed this phenomenon recently in a story in a pregnancy magazine about taking antidepressants during pregnancy. The reporter cited lots of studies and experts who believe it's probably ok, and one guy who did a small study and thinks it's bad.

Saturday, August 20, 2005

Back-of-the-envelope=$10 billion

Here's a fellow Restore Hetch Hetchy member's take on the PUC meeting, which I attended (much to the delight of RHH supporters, who suddenly had a pregnant mom on their side). I don't agree with his characterization of Ellen Levin (she's just a cog, sent by ambivalent superiors who can't be bothered), but the back-of-the-envelope quote was a defining moment.

The San Francisco PUC Citizens Advisory Committee, foisted on the imperial PUC by the Board of Supervisors, met August 15 to consider a Resolution urging the CAC to recommend that the SF PUC "fully cooperate with" the Governor's review of Hetch Hetchy restoration options, and that the CAC recommend that the SF PUC include an alternative in their Capital Improvements Plan that would explore storing water outside Hetch Hetchy Valley.

Those not present at the meeting missed a great display. The SF PUC representative (Ellen Levin) was bristling with hostility in her very bearing; she introduced herself by saying that she was the 'lucky one' chosen to speak for the agency (implying that people above her found other things to do at that time), and that she was not happy to be there, that she would read a prepared statement, and would not venture to answer questions other than what she was clearly authorized to do. She said, in effect, that the PUC has no intention of cooperating with efforts to restore the Valley. All this was expressed in an imperial manner, exuding disdain. When asked how the PUC arrived at its figure of $9 billion for a Hetch Hetchy Valley restoration, she said that it was probably "a back-of-the-envelope" calculation.

Great show, PUC!!

Questions from the audience directed at the PUC representative included:

1) expressions of hope that the SF PUC and the City & County of San Francisco would see the restoration of Hetch Hetchy as an opportunity to have people all over the State of California and the United States help pay for the $4.3 billion capital improvements costs that are facing water ratepayers in SF and the suburbs in exchange for their cooperation on Hetch Hetchy's restoration, and PUC was asked why the SF PUC isn't availing itself of this opportunity;

2) hope that the SF PUC and the City & County of San Francisco would see the restoration of Hetch Hetchy as an opportunity to have people all over the State of California and the United States help pay for the costs of filtering the water (making it cleaner than it is now in its unfiltered state) in exchange for their cooperation on Hetch Hetchy's restoration, and they were asked why the SF PUC isn't availing itself of this opportunity.

3) asked the SF PUC panelist to provide backgound information about its cost estimates for restoring Hetch Hetchy's (ranging up to $10 billion). RHH estimates the cost to be around $1 billion, and Environmental Defense estimates the cost to be between $0.5 billion and $1.65 billion.

4) asked what would be wrong with using pumps to pump water from the Don Pedro Reservoir (where water from the Hetch Hetchy Reservoir could be stored) into the Foothhill Tunnel (which runs underneath the Don Pedro Reservoir) when the current water system already has 23 pump stations (according to the SF Chronicle article of Sept. 2002 by Susan Sward and Chuck Finney, and RHH's technical review of the system that identifes many pump stations).

Saturday, August 13, 2005

Still more on Hetch Hetchy

News Hour with Jim Lehrer


here's the original expose by the SF Chronicle revealing that San Fran had been using money meant to repair the Hetch Hetchy system (which serves more than 2 million residents outside the city) for city projects:

The San Francisco Chronicle




S.F. looted region's water system, diverted millions into city coffers;

Now $3.6 billion sought to repair and expand aging Hetch Hetchy

SOURCE: Chronicle Staff Writers

BYLINE: Susan Sward, Chuck Finnie

Copyright 2002 San Francisco Chronicle.

About the series

TODAY Bay Area water system in peril.

MONDAY Public power vision betrayed..

Over the past 20 years, San Francisco officials raided the city's vaunted Hetch Hetchy Water and Power system of hundreds of millions of
dollars, leaving the Bay Area's largest water supply vulnerable to earthquake, drought and decay.

Despite increasingly serious warnings about the need for expansion and seismic upgrades, city officials postponed the costly work and used
profits from Hetch Hetchy's hydropower electricity sales to bankroll city programs and salaries for everything from the Municipal Railway to
health care for the needy.

Today, engineers warn that a significant earthquake could cause widespread damage to the system, ranging from the collapse of Calaveras
Dam in Alameda County to the destruction of a key tunnel that delivers water through the foothills to 2.4 million Bay Area residents,
potentially cutting off most of the system's water supply for 60 days. Now city officials want San Francisco and its suburban water
customers to borrow $3.6 billion to fix the problems - and pay for it by more than doubling water bills.

"The politicians used the Hetchy system as a money machine in the basement of City Hall," said Jim Chappell, president of San Francisco
Planning and Urban Research, a nonprofit civic group. "For decades, there has been gross irresponsibility in the siphoning of funds clearly
needed for Hetchy maintenance."

Since 1979, San Francisco officials have diverted $670 million from the Hetch Hetchy system into the city's general fund, according to city
records. As recently as fiscal year 2001, the city took nearly $30 million from the system.

Rudy Nothenberg, who ran the city's Public Utilities Commission during Mayor Dianne Feinstein's administration, defended the fund transfers,
saying, "There is nothing wrong in my view with using the (Hetch) Hetchy power resource to generate money for the general fund, which
pays for cops, parks and recreation and everything that people hold dear."

The city's diversion of the funds, though legal, exploited a loophole in the City Charter and shirked its obligation to maintain the Hetch
Hetchy aqueduct that the city constructed from Yosemite National Park to the Bay Area during the early 1900s.

The deteriorating condition of the system has prompted a rebellion by Hetch Hetchy's suburban water customers, who have raised the
threat of seeking state control over the repairs if the city -doesn't move speedily on its own.

Fiercest of San Francisco's critics are lawmakers representing those communities where residents and businesses depend solely or in part on
Hetch Hetchy water.

"If we have a major disaster, all the Bay Area will suffer," said Assemblyman Lou Papan, a Millbrae Democrat who represents more than
400,000 Hetch Hetchy customers. "We can no longer afford to put up with the child's play going on in San Francisco. The deterioration rests
on their shoulders."

Today, San Francisco officials say they need $3.6 billion to put the Hetch Hetchy aqueduct back on a sound footing.

This fall San Francisco voters will be asked to approve Proposition A, a $1.6 billion bond measure, to cover the city's share of rebuilding and
expanding the water system over the next 13 years.

To pay for it, San Franciscans' water bills would nearly triple by 2015. Suburban users of the system would raise another $2 billion toward
the project, requiring a more than doubling of their water bills over the same period.

California historian Kevin Starr calls the failure to maintain Hetch Hetchy more than just a matter of dollars and cents.

Recalling the system's creation in the early 1900s - an engineering marvel requiring an act of Congress and the sacrifice of majestic,
3-mile-long Hetch Hetchy Valley - Starr said the system's decline amounts to an abandonment of the public trust.

"For San Francisco to neglect Hetch Hetchy is to neglect the public works project it used to bring itself into metropolitan status," said Starr,
the state librarian.

Dangerous disrepair

Much of the 167-mile Hetch Hetchy aqueduct is more than three-quarters of a century old and vital sections are in dire need of repair:

-- State engineers suspect that Calaveras Dam, located in Alameda County 10 miles northeast of San Jose, is unstable, and have advised
San Francisco to keep the reservoir behind it less than a third full.

For years, water officials have been concerned about the dam's stability - in part because it failed in 1918 during construction and because
the Calaveras Fault runs within a quarter-mile of the dam.

"After it failed, they continued to build the dam on top of the material that had slid into the reservoir," said Ron Delparte of the state
Division of Dam Safety. "We -don't do that anymore."

More than four years ago, the state warned that the dam was in "an extremely high seismic environment" and "its height, reservoir storage
capacity and location create a very high damage potential to life and property."

More than a year ago the state told the city "the stability of the dam would be in question in a major quake," Delparte said. The city agreed
to lower the reservoir to a level considered safe for now.

State officials say that if the 200-foot-high dam failed, its water would cascade along Alameda Creek's path through Sunol, Fremont and
Newark, threatening lives and property.

Tentative plans call for replacing the dam and increasing more than six-fold the total capacity of the 31 billion-gallon reservoir.

-- A 64-year-old reservoir on a hill in the heart of the city's residential Sunset District - known as Sunset Reservoir North Basin - has a
seismically deficient concrete roof. In addition, the dam's northwest corner, at 28th Avenue and Ortega Street, sits on sand that could
liquefy in a major quake. State officials say the reservoir's 89 million gallons could spill out to the west, threatening lives and property.

Four years ago, state dam safety officials told the city to look at the stability of the reservoir's foundation, and now - in 2002 - the city is
preparing to design the repair and finish the work by 2005.

-- Some sections of 75-year-old pipelines carrying Hetch Hetchy water across San Francisco Bay sit on wooden trestles that were
constructed long before modern seismic-strengthening techniques were developed. These pipelines are decaying and are considered very
vulnerable to failure, particularly because they cross the Hayward Fault. The city says a fix -won't be finished until 2013.

-- Meanwhile, the entire waterworks - 21 reservoirs, 25 tanks, two water treatment plants, 23 pump stations, 40 miles of tunnels and 1,470
miles of water mains stretching from Yosemite National Park to North Beach - is so overextended that one vital tunnel bringing water to the
Bay Area has not been shut down for maintenance in decades, city utility officials say.

This tunnel lies between the Hayward and Calaveras faults, and if it were to break in a quake or other catastrophe, that could halt the flow
of more than 85 percent of the system's water to Bay Area customers for 30 to 60 days, city-hired experts have concluded.

-- While deferring system maintenance, city officials have moved slowly to meet water demands created by growth in Hetch Hetchy's
service area.

When Hetch Hetchy was built, San Francisco had about 417,000 residents while Alameda County had 246,000 and San Mateo County
27,000. Today San Francisco has about 770,000 residents, Alameda County 1.4 million and San Mateo County 707,000.

On Hetch Hetchy's list of customers are thousands of businesses crucial to the economy of the Bay Area and the nation - in particular
Silicon Valley's high-tech industry.

With such growth occurring and more to come, critics say San Francisco failed to plan adequately where to get more water. Even with the
revamp, city officials say, the Hetch Hetchy system still would be 10-20 percent short of projected need in a long drought and, without
Proposition A, shortages could be in the 45 percent range.

This state of affairs exists despite the fact that San Francisco has known since 1994 that the Hetch Hetchy system was going to fall short
of customers' demands, according to a state audit.

"The San Francisco Public Utilities Commission has been slow to assess and upgrade its water delivery system so it can survive catastrophes
such as earthquakes, floods and fires" and meet future supply demands, auditors said in a 2000 report.

"San Francisco has not been aggressively looking at increasing the system's reliable water supplies to tide its customers through dry years,"
said Nicole Sandkulla of the Bay Area Water Users Association, representing Hetch Hetchy's 29 wholesale customers. "If there is a drought,
we'd all suffer - there's not enough water."

Sandkulla noted that in 1998, Contra Costa County Water District completed construction of the new Los Vaqueros Reservoir in the eastern
part of the county. Another major water development is being pursued by East Bay Municipal Utility District to give the agency Sacramento
River water during drought years.

Where the money went

Within the Hetch Hetchy system, there are two branches - one providing water and another generating hydroelectric power. The City
Charter called for the water and power systems to be merged when completed. When merged, hydroelectric revenues could be declared
surplus if they were not needed to maintain the water and power system. Only then could those revenues be used for other city needs.

But city officials have never declared the systems complete and merged. Thus city officials can declare the hydroelectric profits as surplus
to that branch of the Hetch Hetchy system and then use the revenues for general city needs - even though the system's waterworks are in
desperate need of repairs and improvements.

The city began diverting the hydropower revenues at least as early as the late 1960s. About $25 million in Hetch Hetchy funds went to fund
Muni electrical maintenance work in the following decade, which spanned the mayoral administrations of Joseph Alioto, George Moscone and
Dianne Feinstein.

Since 1979, the earliest year for which the San Francisco Public Utility Commission (SFPUC) officials say they have records, more than $236
million in Hetch Hetchy power revenues were transferred during Feinstein's administration ending in 1987; $95 million during Art Agnos'
four-year administration ending in 1991; more than $104 million during Frank Jordan's administration ending in 1995; and more than $233
million through Willie Brown's administration.

In 1999, Brown began reducing the amount of money the city took in Hetch Hetchy power revenues, believing the city should be weaned
from using those funds, Brown aides said. In the 2002 budget year, there was no transfer.

City Hall politicians who took the Hetch Hetchy money say it went to pay for police, public health and other important services and that it
helped San Francisco stave off municipal budget cuts during lean economic times.

Former Mayors Agnos and Jordan said they approved the transfers only after being assured by their staffs that the moves would not have a
negative effect on the Hetch Hetchy system. Agnos said the transfers in his administration declined over time because of his concern about
the need to protect the system, and Jordan said the city's budget problems forced him to continue transfers.

"I walked into office with a $300 million deficit and was having to consolidate services," Jordan said. "The public was clamoring for health
care for AIDS, social services for the homeless, Muni, affordable housing, the libraries."

Jordan said he toured the Hetch Hetchy system and knew it had long-term infrastructure needs, "but it -wasn't something I could take on
as an immediate priority given what I was dealing with."

Critics say the transfers were done out of expedience by elected officials.

"They milked the cow and chose to ignore an asset when they should have been putting its revenues back in the system to protect all who
depend on it," said Assemblyman Papan, who sponsored legislation this year that sets specific deadlines for the repair of Hetch Hetchy.

Warnings ignored

San Francisco had many warnings of trouble ahead.

In 1987, an SFPUC consultant faulted the agency for failing to perform preventative maintenance on the Hetch Hetchy waterworks, lack of
familiarity with the system's condition and lack of proper planning.

In 1994, Board of Supervisors Budget Analyst Harvey Rose concluded that the SFPUC was not collecting the basic information to set
priorities for what needed to be done to keep Hetch Hetch water flowing.

In 1999, experts hired to examine Hetch Hetchy vulnerabilities forecast enormous failures throughout the system in a severe earthquake.

Mayor Brown's five-member Public Utilities Commission adopted a 13-year capital improvement plan this May to put the waterworks on sound
footing, at a total cost of $3.6 billion, shared between San Francisco and suburban ratepayers according to their proportional use. The $1.6
billion water bond on the November city ballot is to pay San Francisco's share of the project.

San Franciscans, who pay some of the lowest water rates in the Bay Area, would see their monthly bills climb from an average of $14.43 to
$40.85 by 2015; suburban users' bills would go from an average of $32 to $71.

Typically, the suburban users now pay higher rates than San Francisco because their water systems are newer and they are still paying
them off.

The commission's vote on the revamp plan came two years and four months after its staff first began formulating a construction priority list,
which includes seismic strengthening and expansion to increase the system's capacity.

Jim Fabris, head of the San Francisco Association of Realtors and a member of a mayoral task force that evaluated the SFPUC's Hetch
Hetchy improvement plans, says he cannot fathom how the city could have moved so slowly given so many warnings.

"What is mystifying is how many in government knew of the severity of the infrastructure's aging problems for decades" without moving
expeditiously to meet repair and supply expansion concerns, Fabris said. "To not have done so borders on a crime."

Starr, the California historian, sees the city's failure to act expeditiously as indicative of a San Francisco-style arrogance - we built the
Hetch Hetchy system, it's ours and it's magnificent.

"It's this idea San Franciscans have that this -isn't a real city dependent on maintenance but it's a Monte Carlo, an Oz, the Club Med of
American cities," Starr said.

Some of San Francisco's often-desultory approach to care of Hetch Hetchy has to do with politicians' lack of interest in approving
infrastructure projects that will bring them little glory.

Oral Moore, Hetch Hetchy's longtime, respected general manager who retired in 1983, says most routine maintenance and repair should be
paid for year-by-year because that avoids bond measure interest charges.

But, he said, politicians "have budget problems above and beyond Hetch Hetchy and they -don't like to see funds diverted to the water
system from other important city needs."

Dean Coffey, who headed the Hetch Hetchy system from 1979 to 1989, said he pushed for repairs before any transfers of the system's
money over to the general fund, but "there was a tremendous amount of pressure put on the commissioners and staff by City Hall, which
wanted as much revenue out of Hetchy as possible."

Suburban anxiety

While Hetch Hetchy's problems have been well known for years in the relatively small circle of water and power experts, the problem has
been brought into sharp focus only as Hetch Hetchy users outside San Francisco have grown increasingly critical of the system.

Those users include hundreds of high-profile businesses that produce everything from cars to computer chips. Many of these companies
prize the Hetch Hetchy water for its high quality and the relatively small amount of additional treatment it requires before being used in
manufacturing processes.

"Our industries are delighted to have the Hetchy water because it is so soft," said Robin Saunders, director of the city of Santa Clara's
water and sewer system that serves dozens of high-tech firms. "It comes right off the Sierra, which is mostly bedrock granite. It's put in
pipes and comes straight to us so it has a very low mineral content. That makes it ideal for the Silicon Valley industries that have to have
ultra-pure water for their industrial processes."

In the state Capitol, lawmakers representing San Mateo, Santa Clara and Alameda county customers of the Hetch Hetchy system have won
passage of legislation that creates a mechanism allowing those water users to issue bonds covering their share of the project and sets a
series of deadlines for the project. All are expected to win Gov. Gray Davis' signature.

Ira Ruskin, chairman of the regional water reliability committee for the Bay Area Water Users Association that represents San Francisco's 29
wholesale, suburban customers, says the measures are greatly needed: "There is a human and economic catastrophe waiting to happen.
The very health and well-being of 2.4 million Bay Area residents is at stake.

"We cannot stand by and leave it up to San Francisco to decide when or if they're going to fix the Hetch Hetchy system," said Ruskin, a city
councilman from Redwood City, where Hetch Hetchy is the sole source of water. "The SFPUC's past record shows an inability or
unwillingness . . . to repair the system."

The Legislature's recent involvement in the issue of Hetch Hetchy's upkeep occurs at a time when San Francisco has been losing ground as
a population center and suburbs have been growing.

With the $1.6 billion bond measure on San Francisco's November ballot, the system's 29 customers outside the city will be watching the
outcome intently.

Clearly, the city finds itself in a world far different than the one where its leaders grabbed the Hetch Hetchy water almost a century ago.

"San Francisco's political position is slipping and it can no longer imperially call the shots," said Rich DeLeon, a San Francisco State University
professor who studies and writes about the city's history and politics. "The city has to get its act together and work out water problems on
a regional, cooperative basis.".

Librarian researcher Johnny Miller contributed to this report.


$670 million

Hetch Hetchy hydropower revenues San Francisco officials used for other city services.

$3.6 billion

Estimated construction and financing costs for rebuilding and expanding the Hetch Hetchy system.

2.4 million

Bay Area residents who use Hetch Hetchy water.


Projected monthly water bill increase for San Francisco water users by 2015.


Projected monthly water bill increase for suburban Hetch Hetchy water users by 2015.

Nov. 5 Prop. A

S.F. voters will be asked to approve a $1.6 billion bond measure to fund repair and expansion of Hetch Hetchy system.


Hetch Hetchy Water and Power: A century in the making

-- Phelan's ploy - In 1901, James D. Phelan files for water rights in Yosemite's Hetch Hetchy Valley and at the nearby Lake Eleanor, not
revealing he is the city's mayor. It's the beginning of one of the most notorious water grabs in U.S. history.

-- Battle preparations - Phelan signs water rights over to the city in 1903 in preparation for the decade-long battle to win congressional
approval to flood Hetch Hetchy Valley and use it as a reservoir for San Francisco water and power.

-- Catastrophe - San Francisco's 1906 earthquake and fire gives the city's search for a new water source special urgency, as the private
Spring Valley Water Co.'s water mains break and a three-day firestorm consumes much of the city.

-- Muir's opposition - The Sierra Club sends a 1907 resolution to the secretary of the Interior opposing the flooding of the valley. John Muir,
the famed founder of the club, is among the leaders of the fight to block the flooding.

-- Bond measure - In 1910, San Franciscans vote overwhelmingly for a $45 million bond to fund the Hetch Hetchy project, which will use as
its main source the Tuolumne River, originating in a glacier on the slopes of 13,000-foot Mount Lyell.

-- Key players - Two men who will be crucial to building the Hetch Hetchy system step onto the city's political stage in 1912: James "Sunny
Jim" Rolph Jr. becomes mayor of the 417,000-population city and names M.M. O'Shaughnessy city engineer.

-- Raker Act - O'Shaughnessy and Rolph lobby for passage of the Raker Act, which allows the city to dam the Tuolumne River for water and
power. Barely two decades after creating Yosemite National Park, Congress approves the act in 1913.

-- O'Shaughnessy dies - On Oct. 12, 1934, 12 days before the first Hetch Hetchy water flows into the Bay Area, O'Shaughnessy dies at age
72. The last years were bitter for him as project costs grew increasingly controversial and he was pushed aside politically.

Bond foes - In 2002, several groups, including the Sierra Club and Environmental Defense, oppose the water bond and call on San
Francisco to study the feasibility of restoring Hetch Hetchy Valley to its natural state.


"To provide for the little children, men, and women of the 800,000 populationwho swarm the shores of San Francisco Bay is a matter of
much greater importancethan encouraging the few who, in solitary loneliness, will sit on the peak of the Sierrasloafing around the throne of
the God of nature and singing His praise."

James D. Phelan, former San Francisco mayor, in 1913 testimony in Congresson San Francisco's bid for the valley

"This is a large undertaking for a small city the size of San Francisco. The City That Knows How'with courage and determination has
broughtthe project to completion."

M. M. O'Shaughnessy, San Francisco's city engineer who supervised most of the system's construction

"Dam Hetch Hetchy! As well dam for water tanks the people's cathedrals and churches,for no holier temple has ever been consecratedby the
heart of man."

John Muir, first Sierra Club president, naturalist and ardent foe of Hetch Hetchy Valley's flooding


Costs to upgrade Hetch Hetchy

The San Francisco Public Utilities Commission, the city agency that runs the Hetch Hetchy Water and Power system, proposes $3.6 billion in
repairs and upgrades to the waterworks over 13 years. Here is a breakdown of the projected spending:

------------------------SpendingConstruction in 2003 dollars - $2.1 billion Inflation adustment - $500 million Contingency & management
reserve - $400 million Financing costs - $600 million Total - $3.6 billion

-------------------Water bill increasesHetch Hetchy water users would face bill hikes to pay for their share of improvements to parts of the
system that they use. For a typical four-person household, here is a breakdown of the projected increase, which would be phased in
through 2015:.San Francisco-- 2002: $14.43 a month-- 2015: $40.85 a month.Outside San Francisco-- 2002: $32.00 a month-- 2015:
$71.00 a month

------------------------------Hetch Hetchy raidedDespite the regional dependence on Hetch Hetchy for water, San Francisco politicians
turned the system into a cash cow to feed City Hall spending. Amount of money pulled out and transferred into the city general fund by
year, since fiscal year 1979:

-- Total amount since 1979: $670 million-- Cumulative amount adjusted for inflation: $956 million


Hetch Hetchy water usersTwenty-nine wholesale customers of the San Francisco Public Utilities Commission serve Hetch Hetchy water in
these areas of San Mateo, Santa Clara and Alameda counties.

.Source: San Francisco Public Utilities CommissionChronicle Graphic

E-mail the writers at and

Wednesday, August 10, 2005

More Woodward

"He theorized that Hillary Clinton would earn the Democratic nomination in 2008 and would run against Dick Cheney..."

This is a weird prediction. I think, anyway. I also think that Hillary is the slightly less un-electable of the two.

Wednesday, July 13, 2005

More on Hetch Hetchy

"This was done by people, and it can be undone by people," says Restore Hetch Hetchy's executive director Ron Good.

Friday, July 08, 2005


From the interview on "Fresh Air" today:

"The biggest threat is not terrorism, not economic collapse, not war. It's secret government. That will wreck our system."

Thursday, July 07, 2005

Bush mishap

Commentary from a cycling mailing list that I'm on:

Improperly equipped (mountain bike on pavement), speeding ahead
without watching for potential obstacles, ignoring the European's
position, resulting in unexpected blood loss, and having a spokesman
decline to discuss him being at fault.

Just like how he runs our country. lol.

Wednesday, July 06, 2005

"Has the whole world gone CRAZY?

"Am I the only one who gives a sh*t about the rules??" As Walter Sobchak would say.

Thursday, June 16, 2005

NASA is shooting things at comets, just to see what happens

And they're naming their devices after cheesy disaster movies.

From their press release:

The Deep Impact spacecraft's 820-pound 'impactor' is scheduled to
smash into the Tempel 1 comet on July 4, Eastern Daylight Time (late
July 3, PDT). Scientists hope to learn more about comets by observing
the resulting cloud of debris following the impact. Scientists believe
the impact will form a crater on the comet.

Ames' Vertical Gun Range is used to simulate the physics and
mechanics of planetary 'impact cratering' and micrometeorite impacts.
For Deep Impact, studies included crater-scaling experiments.

The Vertical Gun has been used to conduct tests related to many other
space missions including Apollo, Mariner 9 to Mars, Mariner 10 to
Venus and numerous others.

Earlier: "It is not appropriate for the U.S. to not be the world's prime space-faring nation."

Schaivo redux

The report generally supported the contention of Schiavo's husband, Michael, accepted by judges in six courts over the years, that she was unaware and incapable of recovering. It also countered arguments by her family, who badly wanted to win custody of Schiavo, that she was responsive and could improve with therapy.

Monday, June 13, 2005

These are dark, dark times

Forty percent of Americans think Bill O'Reilly is a journalist; 27 percent believe Rush Limbaugh is one.

In the poll taken before the Deep Throat revelation, only 30 percent said they considered Bob Woodward a journalist. What the heck did they think he was, a game show host?

As for O'Reilly and Limbaugh...I have pretty much the same thing to say about them as I did about Pat Buchanan last week.

Vote to Restore Hetch Hetchy!

Nearly 100 years ago, the beautiful Hetch Hetchy Valley -- inside Yosemite National Park -- was stolen from the American people by San Francisco for the city's exclusive use of the Valley's water and power. Today the Valley remains under San Francisco's tyranical control.

Vote in the San Francisco Chronicle poll to restore Hetch Hetchy.

Even if you don't live near Yosemite, this valley belongs to YOU and is meant for your recreation, inspiration and enjoyment -- if you are a US citizen -- because it's in a national park.

Over the years, the San Francisco Public Utilities Commission has selfishly retained control of the Hetch Hetchy Valley and water system, even though millions of people who live outside the city rely on the system for their water; only one-third of the users of Hetch Hetchy water live in San Francisco!

On top of that, San Francisco PUC has collected tax money from the residents of the cities surrounding San Francisco that use the water, and have funneled that money into the city's general fund, instead of using it for the intended purpose of maintaining the Hetch Hetchy system. As a result, the pipes and pumps have fallen into grave disrepair, putting the whole region at risk of a massive water shortage if a large earthquake hits. The cost of fixing the system continues to skyrocket into the several-billion-dollar range.

Still, San Francisco visciously fights against efforts to restore Hetch Hetchy Valley, even though it would result in the water being stored closer to the millions of people who use it, make the system more stable.

Friday, June 10, 2005

A highly local issue

This man hates children.

We already figured this was the case. See his argument againt the modest parcel tax increase here. Nice work, Jack. You helped get the schools screwed.

Here's proof (see fifth item).

My favorite new blog

It's by an "anonymous" person who may or my not live and/or work in or near Mountain View.

Now this is a funny post. It made me laugh, anyway.

Thursday, June 09, 2005

God hates fags

A quote from this Chron story about people from Kansas (yes, the state) picketing against gays in Central California: "Strip away their titles, and those churches are all talking about the same big lie," Phelps-Roper said, "that God loves anyone."

Um, maybe I'm mis-remembering what I learned in Sunday School, but isn't the big message of Christianity that God does love everyone?

Let's summarize.

Bush is against stem-cell research, in favor of war and in favor of global warming. He also loves the death penalty. So much for the "culture of life."

Why hasn't this guy been impeached yet? We don't even need Deep Throat to help us this time. We just need the Downing Street Memo and some notes from an aide in a global-warming brief.

Friday, June 03, 2005

Pat Buchanan is...

...oh, why even bother at this point.

Monday, May 30, 2005

Memorial Day is for baseball...

I am getting my money's worth out of the MLB Extra Innings package. I watched parts of the White Sox, Red Sox, Pirates and Reds games, and all of the Cubs-Dodgers game, of course. I had forgotten how phenomenal Vin Scully is. He talks so slowly and melodically, and seemingly never stops. And there's never a wasted word. And sometimes, he even uses those really big, good words that I love. I had to look one up, even! It was "tattersall." I'm guessing that neither Bob Brenly, nor Joe Morgan nor any of the other idiots who call baseball games on TV know what tattersall means. I might start recording the Dodger games just so I can listen to Vin Scully. No inane jokes, no uncorrected errors...ah....

Saturday, April 16, 2005

Cubs look flat in win

This Cubs team is bad. Even in tonight's win (against one of the worst teams in baseball) they look like a group of guys who are already thinking about their plans for the All Star break. Note tonight's ninth inning, which began with two weak ground-outs and ended with "lead-off" hitter Correy Patterson swinging at a ball in the dirt.

This team has no bullpen (as evidenced by Friday night's choke), a fragile rotation and an offense spottier than a car windshield after a drive across a Minnesota interstate.

But at least they won, and so Sandberg the cat got to do his happy dance.

Friday, April 08, 2005

Is it just me, or is the news weirder than usual this week?

Woman who "found" finger in Wendy's chili is searched.
Jimmy Carter hosed by Bushies.
Warden's wife comes home after 11 years with escaped inmate.

And my pick for weirdest of the week, from Bay City News, a local wire service:


An 18-year-old woman accused of pretending to be twin 12-year-old
boys and simultaneously dating two adolescent girls will undergo a
psychiatric evaluation to determine her competency to stand trial in San
Mateo County Superior Court.
Lakesia Michelle Mason pleaded not guilty in March to 13 counts of
lewd acts upon a child under the age of 14 for her alleged relationships with
a 13-year-old girl and an 11-year-old girl.
She denied the special allegations of substantial sexual conduct
with a child under the age of 14 and allegations that the offenses were
committed in more than one jurisdiction and that the crimes were serious
felonies. Mason also pleaded not guilty to providing marijuana to a minor.
The alleged crimes took place in San Francisco and Daly City.
Today in court, Mason's defense attorney raised questions about
Mason's competency to stand trial for the alleged crimes.
According to the state penal code, a person cannot be tried or
punished for a crime while that person is mentally incompetent.
Superior Court Judge Craig Parsons today assigned Mason to undergo
a psychiatric evaluation by two court-appointed doctors. Criminal proceedings
against Mason are suspended pending the outcome of those reports.
According to Deputy District Attorney Elizabeth Raffaelli, the two
young girls involved in the case met Mason at a park. Mason befriended the
11-year-old and later introduced the girl's 13-year-old friend to her "twin''
brother. Mason then allegedly became involved with both girls.
Mason was arrested on Jan. 17 after the brother of the 13-year-old
saw his sister hugging Mason, who he thought was an older boy. Police soon
learned that Mason was a woman.
After charging Mason for her alleged relationship with the
13-year-old, the prosecution learned of Mason's alleged relationship with the
Mason is scheduled to return to court for receipt of the doctor's
reports on May 6.

--Dwana Bain

Monday, April 04, 2005

Opening Day

While it's always nice to see the Cubs rip into somebody 16-6, I'm not going to base any predictions about the rest of the year on today's game. Javier Vazquez had nothing. not a little, but nothing. And if the offense was looking uncharacteristically good, Zambrano was looking uncharacteristically bad. His control was off and he got overcondifident, which one can be forgiven for doing when one has a seven-run lead. But the fit-throwing wasn't a good sign.

I fully expect the exact opposite in tomorrow's game: the Cubs will return to their weak-hitting ways which, combined with a Maddux start, will make it a virtual pitchers dual (though I'm thinking whoever's starting for AZ won't really have the tools to duel with Maddux).

Oh--I think I heard there was a basketball game today, too.

Saturday, April 02, 2005

Arizona "Minutemen" take aim against illegals

This NPR piece from Friday is no joke. These armed citizens express their feelings about illegal crossings, including one who says Mexicans coming into the country cheapen her citizenship. She makes about as much sense as the folks who argue that gay marriage will somehow weaken straight marriages across the country.

Monday, March 28, 2005

Dual loyalties?

"There are Sox fans (like myself), and there are Cub fans (for no apparent reason). A Sox fan hates the Cubs. A real Cub fan (and there are some of these around) hates the Sox but not as vehemently as the Sox fan hates the Cubs. The `bandwagon' Cub fan (and there are lots of these) doesn't really care about the Sox (or doesn't even know they exist)."

I really don't care about the Sox and have nothing against their fans; I'm too busy hating the Cardinals and their a-hole fans to have much hate left for the South Siders.

Conservative journo suggests righties get into the news biz

(from Romenesko)
Conservative Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel columnist Patrick McIlheran writes: "The blogosphere and National Review are dandy, but ultimately they repackage news, not
originate it. If conservatives want news they can believe, they must
involve themselves in the daily reporting, photographing, editing,
headlining and producing of news as eagerly as do liberals. Honestly, it's
not a hard field to get into. It's fun, and you'll find there are other
conservatives, too (as well as a lot of reasonably friendly liberals)."

Yeah, he's right that it's fun, and not usually hard to get into (depending on your circumstances) but he skipped over the fact that you have to be willing to make less money than a new teacher does.

Sunday, March 27, 2005

Make end-of-life decisions for yourself, while you can

If any good comes of this Schiavo mess, perhaps it will be that more people make their wishes known to more of their loved ones.

An end to it all
The issues raised by the Terri Schiavo case linger and are as complicated as life itself
Make decision for yourself--now

By Hesham A. Hassaballa
a Chicago doctor and freelance writer
Published March 27, 2005

There are countless Terri Schiavos across the nation, and the same difficult issues are being grappled with every single day.

I have witnessed many of these heart-wrenching situations as a pulmonary/critical care physician, and it has profoundly affected my thinking about end-of-life issues.

As a physician in the 21st Century, I have witnessed medical technology advance to such a degree that diseases that once killed can now be cured with little effort or at least treated successfully.

HIV is one. When I was a young lad in medical school, I would rarely see a patient with HIV over 30, and frequently they came into the hospital deathly ill. Now, however, I am routinely consulted on patients with HIV well into their 50s who have more "routine" medical illnesses.

Yet for all the advancement in medical technology, I have also seen a person be stricken with a disease that simply does not respond to treatment. Sometimes, in fact, the treatments administered can do much more harm than good. Mind you, this is not malpractice--it's just reality.

The most difficult cases for me, however, are the patients who, while surviving the disease's initial onslaught, are left with permanent organ damage, the most serious of which is the brain and nervous system.

Frequently, they are left neither fully alive nor fully dead.

This is where the difficult questions arise: Do we continue to "do everything," or do we "let nature take its course"?

The answers are not easy.

Continuing to "do everything" may come at a high price and with pain when subjecting the patient to complications of medical procedures and side effects of medications. Allowing "nature to take its course," on the other hand, can be an equally heart-wrenching decision, with feelings of guilt and remorse for relatives who perceive that they have "given up" on their loved one.

Yet these very difficult questions must be answered by every single one of us--here and now--when we are of sound mind, if not body. I cannot tell you how horrible a situation it is when a doctor approaches frightened and terrified family members--watching their loved one be in extremis--and ask them, "Should we do everything?"

Quite often, the family says, "do everything, doctor."

Yet that either may not be the most medically appropriate choice, such as in a patient with a terminal condition, or may not be what the patient truly wanted for himself or herself.

I have made my decision already: If there is no hope for my meaningful recovery, then I do not want my life sustained; please, let me die in peace and dignity and return to my Creator.

But that is not a decision I should be making for my patients. Rather, it is a decision for every free-willed human being and--most important--one that should be clearly delineated to our doctors and loved ones.

When I bring up end-of-life issues with my patients, they frequently fidget uncomfortably. It is such an important issue to discuss, however, that a brief moment of uncomfortable silence in a doctor's office is well worth it.

Whatever the decision, it has to be made, and it should be made between oneself, one's god, and one's family.

Governors mansions, state legislatures, houses of Congress and Oval Offices should never have to get involved.

Copyright © 2005, Chicago Tribune

Friday, March 25, 2005

Sports reporters screw up Dusty coverage

This is interesting on many levels. The coverage issue is intriguing; why doesn't anyone want to ask Dusty about racism? He's been prefectly willing to share his feelings on race before.

The second interesting issue: is Chicago so racist that a black manager can't make it? Chicago is pretty racist. There is no disputing that. But I've never known criticisms of Dusty to be unwarranted or seemingly racist in any way.

Friday, March 18, 2005

Why are Americans fat?

The answers are many; some complex, some simple.

Have you been shopping for china or stoneware recently? I have. The trend is toward HUGE plates. Salad plates are the size of what I'd consider a dinner plate, and what passes for a dinner plate these days is the size of a serving platter. Bowls are deep, cavernous pits. Check out your local Pottery Barn, Crate and Barrell, etc., when you have a chance. These huge dinning pieces have the insidious effect of making you want to fill them up. It's the little things that are making people so big.

Yesterday I was tooling around the touristy part of San Francisco on my bike, from Fisherman's Wharf and Pier 39 to the Golden Gate Bridge visitors' center. I saw a fair number of tourists on rented bikes, but I also noticed a new trend: people are renting these little miniature roadster thingies called "Go-Cars." You can also rent a Segway and get around town on that. Just another example of laziness and the trend away from exercise as recreation.

Tuesday, March 15, 2005

Preserving wild space is good for the economy!

This is a fascinating article from Outside Magazine (which contains consistently great writing). Basically, economists are finding that preserving wild spaces for recreation and air and water quality makes more economic sense than drilling, logging and mining in most cases.

Friday, March 11, 2005

James Watt quote made up?

Thanks to Peter for pointing this out. I blogged about it last month, but the link appears to be gone! Hmmm...

"I said I had made a mistake in quoting him without checking with him," Moyers told E&P today. "I should have done my homework."

How does this kind of stuff happen? When did reporters get so careless? As a reporter, I always double-checked stuff to the point of paranoia. Why do some of these people think it's ok to play fast and loose with the truth? I just don't get it.

Problems with the iPod

One of my primary problems is that it seems like maybe iTunes is lame, at least when used in a Windows environment. But there are others that just seem like idiocy on Apple's part:

One of the default settings when you install the iPod software is for it to pull every song you have on iTunes onto the iPod! Since I had already dumped all my MP3s (about 18 gigs worth) into iTunes it took some random selection that would occupy the 6 gigs on my new iPod mini and started downloading it. It took me quite a while to figure out how to stop this, because there's no paper manual, and the CD was pretty much inaccessible because of the intense downloading procedure.

Next, there's the physical iPod itself, especially the glorius "clickwheel," which is made out by many to be God's gift to consumer electronics. Well, I found it to be totally unintuitive, and I'm not exactly a novice when it comes to pulling gadgets out of the box and messing with them until I figure them out, without looking at the directions. I have figured it out, but I just don't understand the hype.

Finally, I'm still having a problem with it that's greatly affecting my enjoyment of the thing and it's usability: I can't figure out how to use the "random" function within a playlist, only within the entire list of songs that are on the iPod. My friend, Linda, is also having this problem, according to her fiance. If anyone knows how to do this, and can explain it to me, I would be very grateful!

Wednesday, March 02, 2005

Sprouts and the iPod

First, I went to this place called Erik's Deli Cafe. I went there specifically to get this one kind of sandwich, which has pastrami and cheese heated in a pita. First, they were out of pastrami. Lame, but no biggie, substitute ham and roast beef. I ask for "no sprouts." When the guy hands my order to the sandwich-making people, I ask again, "Did you get the no sprouts?" He says yeah. What do I get on my sandwich? Sprouts. You have to be retarded to actually want to eat sprouts. First, they look like sperm. Second, they harbor disease. Third, they offer no nutritional or taste value. As a result of this incident, I am never going to Erik's Deli Cafe ever again. In fact, I am going to endeavor to never order a sandwich from some place that puts sprouts on sandwiches ever again. Which is one reason I like Le Boulanger so much (even though I think the name is silly, so I just call it BOO-lang-er). Oh, and if you needed another reason not to go to Erik's, their bread bowls (which they claim are sourdough, but I'm skeptical) are atrocious compared to Boulanger's.

The other annoying thing that happened to me today was that I got my iPod Mini. This was far and away the most disappointing, aggravating consumer electronics experience I have ever had. More details in a future post...

Friday, February 25, 2005

Most clueless high school principal ever

Here's someone who is supposed to be helping kids learn and thrive in one of the most difficult times in their lives, and she doesn't want one of them encouraging her peers not to have sex. Wow.

Thursday, February 24, 2005

Good riddance

When he left that Oct. 3 game, one or more of Sosa's teammates destroyed his boom box. Asked about the incident yesterday, Sosa smiled and said, "When the man is not in the house, the chickens are jumping around."

Monday, February 21, 2005

poll results

Free polls from

Friday, February 18, 2005

Maybe idiot smokers will think twice before tossing butts

A man barely escaped serious injury Thursday after a lit cigarette he tried to toss out the window while driving across the Bay Bridge blew back in and ignited the vehicle, according to the California Highway Patrol.

Thursday, February 17, 2005

Bumper sticker of the day


Wednesday, February 16, 2005

It's a big, big day

Last night, I became an aunt! (Madelline Elizabeth Miller, 8 pounds, length and pictures to come...)

Today, pitchers and catchers reported to Arizona!

And this weekend, I'll be babysitting two Scottish Terrier puppies and hosting my mother-in-law at our home. It should be interesting.

Microsoft: Almost as evil as Walmart

THE NOSOFTWARE Patents site is reporting that Bill Gates told the Danish prime minister Anders Fogh Rasmussen that 800 jobs would go if the country opposed the European Union's proposed directive on software patents.

It quotes a report in Danish newspaper Børsen, which alleges that Gates told Rasmussen and two other Danish ministers last November that 800 jobs at Navision would go unless the EU passed the directive.

The ginger group also alleges today that the CEO of Philips put pressure on the Dutch government to support the proposed directive.

Sunday, February 13, 2005

WalMart closes store rather than tolerate union

Once again, WalMart has shown its disdain for the people it employs.

Friday, February 11, 2005

Charles and Camilla

This is the kind of thing I find interesting in spite of myself. An odd, real-life soap opera.

Thursday, February 10, 2005

Restore Hetch Hetchy

As a staunch environmentalist, ardent lover of Yosemite National Park and life-long supporter of lost causes (i.e., the Cubs), this is an issue that is important to me.

Here is a reasoned, thoughtful take on the subject (I've copied and pasted the whole story, since the link requires registration):

Tom Philp: Hetch Hetchy feasibility grows - so does resistance

By Tom Philp -- Sacramento Bee Associate Editor
Published Sunday, February 6, 2005

Suddenly, notions of restoring Yosemite's Hetch Hetchy Valley and restructuring the San Francisco Bay Area's water supply don't seem so far-fetched anymore.

"This thing has serious political legs," said Susan Leal, the new general manager of the San Francisco Public Utilities Commission. A transcript of a Jan. 20 meeting of Bay Area water leaders reflected her comments and her obvious vexation.

The old idea that has sparked a new look is whether Hetch Hetchy Valley in Yosemite National Park could be restored to its natural state. The valley's reservoir supplying the Bay Area's water would have to be drained for that to happen.

The state Department of Water Resources is assessing new proposals that examine storing the same water supply elsewhere. Environmental Defense, which spent months crafting a detailed technical explanation of how to take better advantage of the rest of the Bay Area's considerable water storage facilities, is winning new allies. On the political left inside the California Legislature, there are supporters such as the Assembly's Lois Wolk of Davis. On the Republican side, Assemblyman Tim Leslie of Tahoe City is among those intrigued by a package deal that restores Hetch Hetchy while building new reservoirs.

As the reality of a new Hetch Hetchy debate is dawning on San Francisco, the city seems to be struggling to find its political moorings. The reaction publicly evolved in phases. At first, Leal's agency cooperated fully with Environmental Defense as the environmental group produced its Hetch Hetchy restoration study. Upon the study's release in September, Leal officially "welcomed" its findings. But now that those findings are being taken seriously, the mood seems to be shifting. Talk of restoring the Hetch Hetchy Valley doesn't seem so welcome after all.

San Francisco's water commission, Leal said at the Jan. 20 meeting, "will be considering a very strong, detailed resolution taking a position against draining Hetch Hetchy." She has urged other governmental bodies to follow suit. And a business group, the Bay Area Council, is recruiting opponents as well.

I wrote a series of editorials for The Bee calling for a second look at Hetch Hetchy. We were intrigued by the possibility of marrying two agendas - the Bay Area's pressing need to upgrade and expand its water system and the public's insatiable appetite for visiting beautiful Yosemite valleys. So now the San Francisco Public Utilties Commission doesn't like me very much. "You have a fairly zealous opinion about this," agency spokesman Tony Winnicker said the other day.

Without going into all the technical details, the basic proposal is to eventually drain the reservoir by punching a hole through the dam, once a bigger, better water storage system is in place outside the national park. Replace the lost storage - and then some - with a reservoir that San Francisco already was contemplating for the Bay Area: Calaveras. Build another pipe (just as San Francisco proposes) to the Sierra so that 100 million gallons more Sierra water can move per day into reservoirs when the water's available.

That's enough new storage and new conveyance in the Hetch Hetchy system to raise some legitimate questions about the future of that medium-sized reservoir in the national park. Technically speaking, this idea passes the back-of-the-napkin test. (Hetch Hetchy's is just one of nine reservoirs in the Bay Area's system, by the way.) If this weren't technically intriguing, some much smarter folks inside the California Resources Agency and its Department of Water Resources wouldn't be examing it.

This very initial study phase is normally a safe harbor for both proponents and opponents of any given idea, but in this case, even the prospect of a serious study seems to be rocking San Francisco's boat.

What does history reveal about San Francisco's apparent fear of a study? For clues, look to historian Robert Righter of Southern Methodist University and his soon-to-be-released book, "The Battle for Hetch Hetchy, America's Most Controversial Dam and the Birth of Modern Environmentalism."

As far as restoring Hetch Hetchy goes, "I don't ever think there was a fair look," Righter said. "All of the looks were done by engineers or technocrats who looked only at money and engineering. They were pretty myopic in terms of what we might be wanting in the year 2000. Nothing about recreational needs."

John Muir lost the fight to save Hetch Hetchy in 1913, when Congress approved the dam in the national park. He failed to make a convincing technical case for how San Francisco could get the same supply in other ways. The new generation of Hetch supporters haven't made that same mistake. San Francisco surely has history on its side. But this time around, the allies of Hetch Hetchy have done their homework. That's why this has legs.

Then: "The leaders of the Bay Area and the San Francisco Public Utilities Commission (SFPUC) are highly sympathetic to the well-meaning goals of those who advocate restoring Hetch Hetchy Valley, and we are extremely interested in these studies and their findings."

SFPUC General Manager Susan Leal,
Sept. 12, 2004

Now: "This thing has serious political legs. ... The commission...will be considering a very strong, detailed resolution taking a position against draining Hetch Hetchy. I think it's about time that..your city councils, other organizations, take that same position."

Leal, to Bay Area water leaders,
Jan. 20., 2005

Then: "For a period of three years from the date of this agreement, the city and county of San Francisco and the SFPUC agree to remain neutral on Restore Hetch Hetchy's efforts to seek state, federal or private funding for the preparation of feasibility studies for restoring Hetch Hetchy."

City Attorney Dennis J. Herrera,
Nov. 18, 2003

Now: "We are writing you to urge you to join with us in rejecting any proposal to drain the Hetch Hetchy Reservoir in Yosemite Valley."

San Francisco Mayor Gavin Newsom to Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger,
Oct. 4, 2004

About the writer:

Reach Tom Philp at (916) 321-1046 or

Bud Selig is a numbskull

This much we knew.

Selig repeated his oft-stated position that San Jose is not an option for a team because baseball has granted the Giants ``territorial rights'' to Santa Clara County, and the Giants have said they won't allow another team to undermine their support among South Bay fans and Silicon Valley businesses.

``I have been very clear, not only here but everywhere. Territorial rights are established and that's what they are. We don't have anarchy in baseball. We don't change things. We don't move things around,'' Selig said.

Where, exactly, did the crack-smoking mental midgets at MLB come up with this "territorial rights" BS? According to, Shea Stadium is 9.5 miles from Yankee Stadium. Wrigley Field is 15 miles from Comiskey Park. Pac Bell Park is 16 miles from the Oakland Coliseum. Pac Bell Park is 47 miles from downtown San Jose!!! A) The whole concept of "territorial rights" is beyond ridiculous and thoroughly socialist, and b) the idea that the Bay Area will support the A's less in San Jose than Oakland is perposterous, especially given the mileage figures I cited.

Tuesday, February 08, 2005

One more week...

That's right, seven days till pitchers and catchers report.

Here are my random thoughts at this stage in the game:

Bay Area baseball is lame. Hardly anyone cares about it (it's all about the 9ers and Raider Nation), but you can't get tickets to Giants games cause it's "cool" or something; on the other side of the bay, the A's can't even sell out when they play the Yankees or get into the playoffs!

I'm already excited about my May trip to New York, at which time I'll see my first games at Yankee Stadium and Fenway. And I'm accepting tips on what to do and where to stay while I'm there...

For some reason, I have a good feeling about Jeromy Burnitz. I kinda like his name...maybe that's it.

Monday, February 07, 2005

New low in photographer harrasment

Little did I know that I was violating copyrights... Posted by Hello

Sunday, February 06, 2005

Scary stuff

Basing environmental policy on Biblical predictions of the end of the world... Hmmm, I'd say that qualifies as a violation of seperation of church and state, wouldn't you?

Friday, February 04, 2005

Cubs blogs

There are many. And I mean a lot. I'm not sure just how much I'll read them, since I subscribe to a very active mailing list that includes some inside sources. But my favorite Cubs blog name so far is this.

Thursday, February 03, 2005

Blogs I've read this week.

I haven't really read any new blogs this week. I have been checking out some of the links on Adam's blog, especially dannyman's. Some of those are cool.

The Marathon Men have been updating sporadically, but they can certainly be excused this week.

Snipet remains a reliable winner.

Things that are bothering me today

Does anyone in California use their turn signal? Ever? Or was there some kind of shift in the six years since I moved here and nobody in the country is using their turn signal?

* * * * * * * * * * * * * * *

There is nothing good on the radio. Nothing. OK, NPR, but I don't feel like listening to that allll the time. And, no, I don't listen to Air America or whatever it's called with Jeanine Garafalo and Al Franken; a little something called "preaching to the choir."

Remember, oh, about 15 years ago, some people tried to start a radio station that only played Led Zeppelin? That is a great idea. Because there are no bad Led Zeppelin songs. None. It would be the only radio station where you would never hear a bad song.

I will never understand why stations have dj's or "radio personalities" yammering all the time, especially in the morning. Does anyone enjoy listening to this dribble?

* * * * * * * * * * * * * * *

Does anyone else think it's weird that Blogger lists people's astrological sign and the Chinese year they were born in?

Wednesday, February 02, 2005

Liberal cities

This is an interesting little city "guide;" of special interest, to me, anyway, was the Chicago entry. I agree with the posts. It's true that Chicago is Democratic to the core, but in many ways far from liberal.

To bad the rest of this site is no longer active.

Tributes to Susan and Nina

and memorial info.

Tuesday, February 01, 2005

I think it's funny

that this is the first hit when I google my husband.

"The dark underbelly of the net is pretty bloated."
-- Nathan Schrenk, after an anti-spam rant

Hillary in '08?

News Snipet links to an article that seems to indicate that Hillary is more palatable to a broader cross-section of Americans than any other possible Democratic candidate. I was under the impression (and Lightning's comment on this post seems to confirm this) that conservatives have the kind of comtempt for Hillary that liberals have for W. Is this not true?

(On a similar topic, my father-in-law commented over Christmas that having TH Kerry as our first lady would be "unacceptable." I'm not quite sure what that means, since a) the first lady usually doesn't do much, b) what would he do about it? and c) is she worse than Hillary? Again, I wonder if I have overestimated conservatives' hatred for Ms. Clinton.)

SF Chronicle story about Susan and her daughter

So sad.

Monday, January 31, 2005

Examiner photog dies in car wreck

This is a real shock to those of us who work or did work at the Examiner. Susan was the photog their for 15 years. It's hard to know what to say or feel right now. For some reason, one of the first thoughts I had when I heard the news was about all those times I gave her a photo assignment at the last minute or otherwise made her life hard by not giving her enough info on a photo request, asking her to take a picture of something lame like a building, etc.

Sunday, January 30, 2005

Sosa trade to Baltimore

OK, it's not the end of the world that Sosa is leaving Chicago. Could everyone please relax? Shees. The Cubs ain't winnin the freakin pennant either way.

Friday, January 28, 2005

Sharon Stone raises $1million in five minutes

From today's SF Chron:

Sharon Stone raised $1 million in five minutes Friday for mosquito nets in Tanzania, turning a panel on African poverty into an impromptu fund-raiser. About an hour into the panel, when a U.N. official said 150,000 African children were dying of malaria every month because they didn't have bed nets, Stone suddenly rose from her seat in the audience. "I'd like to offer $10,000 to help you buy some bed nets today," Stone told Tanzanian President Benjamin William Mkapa, who was on the panel along with Microsoft founder Bill Gates and others. Stone then implored others in the hall -- packed with several hundred well-heeled executives and political leaders attending the World Economic Forum -- to reach into their pockets. "Just stand up. Just stand up. People are dying in his country today," she said. "And that is not OK with me today." Immediately an unidentified man promised $50,000. Around 30 others quickly followed, and within five minutes, Stone had raised $1 million, said Sen. Bill Frist, the Senate leader who moderated the panel discussion on how rich nations can best fund the war on poverty. The money will go to the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria. The nets can be had for as little as $7 for pretreated models that last up to five years. Also in the audience was actress Angelina Jolie, a United Nations goodwill ambassador for refugee issues, who later said she thought it was "wonderful" what Stone had done. "We can all contribute in our own way," she told The Associated Press.

Letter to America

This is so great! I have issues with 6b, but other than that, sounds good! Oh, maybe 16 wouldn't be so great :-)

Blogs I've read this week

At some point I'll actually have time to figure out how to get one of those blog role thingies on the side of my blog, but for now I'll just post this weekly listing:

Meathook Reality: Adam at lawschool
Big Sur Marathon trainingSome dudes I know running a lot
David Wagner, who is cool
Jack is a conservative wacko, but he reads my blog, and comments too! So I like him despite his misguidedness.

Cheney clothing choice criticized

Fashion wasn't really what we were supposed to be focusing on yesterday, now was it? Knuckleheads.

Thursday, January 27, 2005

Blogburst: Remembering the Wannsee Conference and the Liberation of Auschwitz

I've never heard of a "blogburst" before, but I guess it's something lots of bloggers link to on the same day.

The article below was written by Joseph Alexander Norland of Israpundit as part of the January 27, 2005 BlogBurst to remember the liberation of the Auschwitz death camp sixty years ago, on January 27, 1945.

On January 20th, we marked the anniversary of the 1942 Wannsee Conference. In the course of that Conference, the Nazi hierarchy formalized the plan to annihilate the Jewish people. Understanding the horrors of Auschwitz requires that one be aware of the premeditated mass-murder that was presented at Wannsee.

Highlighting these events now has become particularly important, even as the press reports that "45% of Britons have never heard of Auschwitz"! (Jerusalem Post, December 2, 2004)

On January 20th, we marked the anniversary of the 1942 Wannsee Conference. In the course of that Conference, the Nazi hierarchy formalized the plan to annihilate the Jewish people. Understanding the horrors of Auschwitz requires that one be aware of the premeditated mass-murder that was presented at Wannsee.

Highlighting these events now has become particularly important, even as the press reports that "45% of Britons have never heard of Auschwitz"! (Jerusalem Post, December 2, 2004)

The Holocaust, symbolized by Auschwitz, the worst of the death camps, occurred in the wake of consistent, systematic, unrelenting anti-Jewish propaganda campaigns. As a result, the elimination of the Jews from German society was accepted as axiomatic, leaving open only two questions: when and how.

As Germany expanded its domination and occupation of Austria, Czechoslovakia, France, the Low Countries, Yugoslavia, Poland, parts of the USSR, Greece, Romania, Hungary, Italy and others countries, the way was open for Hitler to realize his well-publicized plan of destroying the Jewish people.

After experimentation, the use of Zyklon B on unsuspecting victim was adopted by the Nazis as the means of choice, and Auschwitz was selected as the main factory of death (more accurately, one should refer to the “Auschwitz-Birkenau complex”). The green light for mass annihilation was given at the Wannsee Conference, January 20, 1942.

The Wannsee Conference formalized "the final solution" - the plan to transport Europe's Jews to eastern labour and death camps. Ever efficient and bureaucratic, the Nazi kept a record of the meeting, which were discovered in 1947 in the files of the German Foreign Office. The record represents a summary made by Adolf Eichmann at the time, even though they are sometime referred to as "minutes".

Several of the Conference participants survived the war to be convicted at Nuremberg. One notorious participant, Adolf Eichmann, was tried and convicted in Jerusalem, and executed in 1962 in Ramlah prison.

The mass gassings of Europe's took place in Auschwitz between 1942 and the end of 1944, when the Nazis retreated before the advancing Red Army. Jews were transported to Auschwitz from all over Nazi-occupied or Nazi-dominated Europe and most were slaughtered in Auschwitz upon arrival, sometimes as many as 12,000 in one day. Some victims were selected for slave labour or “medical” experimentation before they were murdered or allowed to die. All were subject to brutal treatment.

In all, between three and four million people, mostly Jews, but also Poles and Red Army POWs, were slaughtered in Auschwitz alone (though some authors put the number at 1.3 million). Other death camps were located at Sobibor, Chelmno, Belzec (Belzek), Majdanek and Treblinka. Adding the toll of these and other camps, as well as the mass executions and the starvation im the Ghettos, six million Jews, men, women, the elderly and children lost their lives as a consequence of the Nazi atrocities.

Auschwitz was liberated by the Red Army on 27 January 1945, sixty years ago, after most of the prisoners were forced into a Death March westwards. The Red Army found in Auschwitz about 7,600 survivors, but not all could be saved.

For a long time, the Allies were well aware of the mass murder, but deliberately refused to bomb the camp or the railways leading to it.

George Will is a hypocritical windbag

Here's proof.

During the 1980 campaign, he drew fire when it was learned he'd secretly coached Republican candidate Ronald Reagan for a debate with President Jimmy Carter using a debate briefing book stolen from the Carter campaign. Immediately following the debate, Will appeared on Nightline (10/28/80) to praise Reagan's "thoroughbred performance," never disclosing his role in rehearsing that performance (New York Times, 7/9/83).

Meathook Reality

Adam at lawschool

Training for the Big Sur Marathon

A bunch of 20-something guys running and having PMS. Or something.

Dowd sells out to conservatives!

I still have many Christmas bills to pay. So I'd like to send a message to the administration: THIS SPACE AVAILABLE. I could write about the strong dollar and the shrinking deficit. Or defend Torture Boy, I mean, the esteemed and sage Alberto Gonzales. Or remind readers of the terrific job Condi Rice did coordinating national security before 9/11 - who could have interpreted a memo titled "Bin Laden Determined to Attack Inside the United States" as a credible threat? - not to mention her indefatigable energy obscuring information undercutting the vice president's dementia on Iraq.

Tuesday, January 25, 2005

Gay marriage: Understanding conservative arguments

I posted the following on The Charging Elephantin response to a general post on conservatism. It's a very interesting topic to me and I thought I'd put it out on my blog to get some responses:

Here's a conservative argument I sincerely don't understand, with regard to gay marriage. I completely understand why people don't want gays marrying in their church. That is totally up to them. But legal marriage, as it is today, is a governmental institution, not a religious one. My marriage ceremony took place inside a courthouse in the office of the judge who performed the ceremony. Why would it make marriage "something it is not" to allow two people of the same gender to take part in that same exercise?

I am even more preplexed by the people who say that "real" marriages will be degraded if gays are allowed to marry. I strongly believe that, if people *really* want to "defend" marriage, they should be going after people who marry, say, five times, or people who, ala Brittney Spears, get married sort of as a joke and get an anullment or divorce right away. Why is gay marriage more threatening to straight marriage than that?

Looking forward to your comments...

Monday, January 24, 2005

Wagner's Ramblings

I like Dave. You will, too.

Right-wingers support bullies' rights to call kids "fags"

Discourage a liberal from trying to do some good so you can advance your own political agenda; yeah, that's pretty Christian.

Bob Johnson, director of marketing for the Pro-Family Coalition of America, said No Name-Calling Week is unnecessary. "The fags should do what my kids do when others call them 'Bible-thumpers' or 'Jesus-freaks,'" he said: "turn the other cheek."

OK, I made that up. But it's not far fetched, is it?

Support your local farmers market!

Yesterday I rode my bike five miles, as I often do on Sundays, to visit the Menlo Park Farmers Market. Not only is the market open year-round, but it features many great vendors, including "Phil the Prune Man." Yesterday I met a wonderful woman named Alison, who has been coming to the market here for many years and is a chef, so she sometimes makes food (this time it was chili, with vegetarian and pork options available) for the farmers, just to say thanks! I stayed for a while and chatted with her and some of the farmers. What a great way to spend an hour on Sunday afternoon!

So, why should you buy produce, flowers, etc. from the farmers market instead of your neighborhood [insert giant-corporation-owned supermarket here]? Well, you get to meet great people like Phil and Alison. The food is fresher, which means it's more tasty and nutritious. And buying local means saving the environment from the pollution produced by shipping the produce from across the country or across the globe.

Look up your local farmers market here or here, or do a Google search for "[your state] farmers market directory."

More on the WalMart front

Killing small businesses -- and in the process, small newspapers.

It's a sad day

This sums it up. Not many celebrities manage to keep from turning into cheeseball hams at some point. Carson was one.

Friday, January 21, 2005

The Moderate Liberal

The Moderate Liberal

Focus on the Family at it again

Christian groups issue "gay warning" -- whatever that is

Sponge Bob is gay

Still, Dobson assistant Paul Batura told the Times that Focus on the Family stands by its complaint. ''We see the video as an insidious means by which the organization is manipulating and potentially brainwashing kids,'' he said.

Leave it to the good doctor, James Dobson, to make American Christians look like a bunch of idiots.

Lightning Bug's Butt

Lightning Bug's Butt
Fairly entertaining.

Thursday, January 20, 2005

Blogs I've read more than once

So, here's a little list of blogs. I don't necessarily think they're good , but they are at least somewhat interesting:

The Charging Elephant
people in every direction...
matters of the heart(less)
DHP: Embrace the ki of the DHP
(this is my favorite link from this last one; too funny!)
News Snipet 'Blog

Black Thursday

Cheer up -- think about this:

President, by Dan Bern


Raised up my hand & said I solemnly swear
One January day
And just like that I was the president
Of the U.S.A.

There were limos, bands & speeches
Parties to go to
I said all that will have to wait
There's so much to do

My first day I offered statehood
To Cuba & Mexico
Cuba: 1 state, Mexico: 6
All or nothing, that's how it goes
No more border patrols & human smuggling
We'll deal with our own neighborhood
And a few more stars & some green in the flag
Seems like, it might be good
And maybe Israel & Palestine
Will follow our lead and just combine
And then become Israelstine -- who knows?
Anyway, that's my first day

Second day I told Detroit Start makin' cars that don't use gas
And I give everybody a big rebate, 'n' they
Started sellin' fast
We'll stop burnin' up the air we breathe
And makin' the planet boil
And we won't have to kiss the ass
Of whoever's got the oil

Since before Hoover, the farmers have got
The short end of the stick
With the help of our Cuban brothers
We'll go communistic (collective farms!)
Capitalism is a fine thing
If it works, then great, OK
But if it don't, you gotta try something else
That's what I did on my 3rd day

The 4th day all of our troops came home
From all around the earth
Afghanistan, Iraq, Iran
More trouble than they're worth
And I was tempted to say "I'm sorry
We'll rebuild you with money and men"
But I just said, "You're on your own
And don't fuck with us again"

My 5th day I changed the army
So it's all of us or none
We'll all tie knots and walk through mud
Pitch tents and fire a gun
With just a few of us as warriors
And the rest of us gone soft
Martians could come and zap us
Ain't gonna happen on my watch

Day 6 I swore no prisoner more
Would face his death inside
Thou shalt not kill, applies to us all
Too many mistakes besides
Day 6 I swore no prisoners more
Would ever face his death
At least until my jury hears
The crimes of President Bush

Day 7 was hot, I legalized pot
And none of this decriminalizing crap
Let it grow in glory, end of story
Then I burned one & took a nap
Hemp will help the farmers
We'll grow hemp everywhere
One acre of hemp's like 10 acres of trees
And hemp grows back next year!

My 8th day I made health care
Apply to everyone
If you get sick, see a doctor
That's how my government's run
And by the way abortion
Is included in this plan
No one tells a girl how to treat her body
Least of all some man

My 9th day I said sorry
This government is no fool
Ain't gonna play you exra to send your kid to some
Weird-ass, wacko school
We'll do our best to make our schools
The best anyplace on earth
If they ain't good enough, think about it
Before you go give birth

My 10th day I made it OK
To marry whoever you
Would be willing to ride with
On a bicycle built for two
Marry a woman, marry a man
Marry a monkey too
Marry a big old rhino
And visit him at the zoo

And that was my first 10 days
My first 2 working weeks
Lots of work for the bureaucrats
And the paper-pushing geeks
Next we'll need a time
To go and just have fun
So we added some new holidays
The next week, one by one

Monday was national nude day
Everyone disrobed
Tuesday was national stoned day
Everyone got stoned
Wednesday was national painting day
Thursday no television
Friday was tennis, John McEnroe helped
From his cabinet position
Saturday, sex with impunity day
With no repercussions
Sunday, do it all: Nude, stoned, tennis, painting, sex, no tv -- enjoy!
Just be ready for work on Monday

My cabinet, as previously mentioned
Includes John McEnroe
And Wavy Gravy and Michael Franti
And Ani DiFranco
Muhammad Ali, Madonna, Maya Angelou, Brad Pitt (for the ladies)
And Bill Clinton & Monica Lewinsky
And we'll watch 'em both go at it
Next we'll get that Stephen Hawking
And make him a citizen and stuff
He's the smartest guy in the world
England's had him long enough

And I will not run for re-election
Four years enough of this
'Cause between you and me
I hate politics

I raised up my hand & said I solemnly swear
One January day
And just like that, I was the president
Of the U.S.A.
Just like that
Just like that
Just like that I was the president Of the U.S.A.