September 14, 2002

Any doubts about the courage of Oscar de la Hoya were forever dispelled tonight. He took a beating the first five rounds tonight, shook if off, and relentlessly bullied Fernando Vargas to pull out a terrific 11th round TKO. Hopefully, this will put an end not only to the ridiculous "who's the real Mexican" debate that existed concerning the two native-born fighters, but also the sniping concerning the manliness of de la Hoya. I have no idea what his sexual preference is, nor do I much care, but from what I saw tonight, the man can fight !!

September 13, 2002

When I first began my write-in campaign to be SF Valley Mayor, I never considered the possibility that another "Steven Smith" might try to crash my party. As I recall, there was another "Jesse Jackson Jr." on the ballot this year in Illinois running against the incumbent Congressman, and now the mayor of DC has had to sweat out the past few days, hoping that the eight other "Anthony Williams" that are registered to vote in the District didn't try to claim victory. Obviously, my name is even more common: just looking at the phone book for the West Valley, I see a whole grip of Steven Smiths, and even a few Steven E. Smiths; that's not even taking into account the "S. Smiths" in the phone book who have my name, or the Steven Smiths with unlisted numbers. And that's just the West Valley.

Obviously, having a name that common can be a blessing as well as a curse. I've always had the gut feeling that my bar results, my application to Berkeley, even my applications for credit, were being judged not on what I accomplished (thank God) but on what someone else with the same name did. Incidentally, for a time there were three different bankruptcy attorneys in the Los Angeles area named "Steven E. Smith". Besides myself, and, of course, my late father, there is a partner in a prominent debtor's firm in Century City with the same name. On one occasion, I represented my dad in a hearing, back when he was a Chapter 7 Trustee. Representing the debtor, of course, was Steven E. Smith. So we had a good chuckle when we made our appearances: "Good morning, Your Honor, Steven E. Smith Jr. for the Trustee, Steven E. Smith", then, "Steven E. Smith for the debtor". I guess you had to have been there....
While most of the attention of political mavens Tuesday was on the tight battle for the Democratic nomination for Florida governor, a surprise result in Minnesota may have even bigger ramifications: the upset defeat of the endorsed candidate for the Green Party nomination for the Senate seat held by Paul Wellstone. In a race in which neither of the major candidates has held a lead larger than the margin of error, the elimination of a third party candidate who threatened to bleed significant support away from the progressive incumbent greatly improves the chances the Democrats will maintain control of the Senate.
For some time I've linked to Scoobie Davis' blog, which I have found to be well-researched and a lot of fun, even if he hasn't yet posted nude photos of Erika Christenson. Those of you who visit his site regularly know that for the past couple of months, he performed an encyclopedic take-down of 40-something faux blonde pundit Anne Coulter, culminating in a classic interview. Now, its Rush Limbaugh's turn to get "scoobied".
The latest news on the Bison Dele disappearance is not good. His catamaran was discovered in Tahiti, with the name of the ship painted over. Apparently, it had been there since July. In the meantime, his brother, who had been detained recently for attempting to use Dele's passport as identification to purchase gold bullion, has gone on the lam.

September 12, 2002

The House leadership has pulled the "Bankruptcy Reform" Act from the floor without a vote, apparently to protect the feelings of about four dozen arch-conservatives who refuse to go along with the compromise version approved in conference, that would have made debts incurred from illegal abortion-protests non-dischargeable. The abortion issue is clearly a red herring: liberal Democrats used it to block passage of a bill supported by powerful lobbies, while the wing-nuts in the GOP probably came to realize that any "reform" that would make it more difficult to file a bankruptcy in the middle of a double-dip recession would be a hard sell to the voters. Sometimes, in life, you just have to accept your small victories as they come....
Can you imagine what would have happened if luxury liners were still allowed to underman lifeboats, some 90 years after the sinking of the Titanic. This article points out that the mistakes and blunders that characterized the tragedy of September 11 may be repeated because of the lack of a public inquiry into those events. The whole point of such an inquiry isn't simply to get people on the record with what they recollect, or to have some panel make recommendations to prevent such snafus in the future. It's to put a human face on the screw-ups, such as the Base Commander at Pearl Harbor, or the head of the White Star cruise line; embarassment and shame have always been an effective way of overcoming bureaucratic lethargy.

September 11, 2002

I'm beginning to wonder whether Florida should be allowed to remain in the Union, after yesterday's debacle. How many strikes do they get? Going back three years, there was the 2000 election, and the racist goon squad tactics used to disenfranchise black voters, to trick elderly Jewish voters into selecting an anti-Semite for President, and to prevent the votes from being accurately counted afterwards. It is one of the most barbaric states in its use of capital punishment (ie. "ole Sparky"). Its child welfare department has lost hundreds of kids under its supervision, and is now being run by a religious fanatic who has publicly supported the Biblical policy of "smiting" miscreant children. Speaking of which, last week a prosecutor was able to con two different juries into convicting two children of murder in Florida, even though only one of them could have done the act, and the fact that they were children !!! Furthermore, the governor's daughter decided to celebrate her stay yesterday in the rehab clinic by getting caught possessing crack, the tragedy of which is compounded by the fact that Florida has some of the most draconian drug laws in the country. Oh, did I mention Little Elian? Rather than dumping Jeb, that state may need to be taken over by the Marines for a few years.
Well, enough about what I did the events of a year ago affect Goldie Hawn?

September 10, 2002

Isn't this tragedy happening in the same state that Darryl Strawberry is currently doing time?
This is a very strange and sad story, one that might ordinarily be covered by Domenick Dunne were all the victims white. When Bison Dele was a local prep standout back in the late '80's (when he was known as "Brian Williams"), there were the usual predictions that he was going to be a certain Hall of Famer, but it never quite panned out. He did play on the 1997 champion Chicago Bulls, among other teams. I seem to recall that he had problems with some form of depression, but the authorities are looking at a possible identity theft/murder by a relative.

September 09, 2002

I'm not planning on any big 9-11 post this week, so this will have to do. I will always remember the feeling I had when I first saw the bulletin on the AOL screen that morning that a plane had crashed into the WTC, and thought at first that it was one of these private aircraft being flown solo by an amateur pilot, and resumed my surfing for about fifteen minutes. Then the AOL screen stated that the WTC had collapsed, and I knew that this would be a day I would always remember. The horror and pain that day have not gone away, nor has the anger that another human being could plot such a thing.

Nevertheless, of all the articles I have read on the subject, this one, by Jill Stewart, best encapsulates how I feel. From the "Let's Roll" bric-a-brac (and the popular mythology, largely based on unsubstantiated rumors and hearsay, about Flight 93) to NYC's efforts to steal the Oscar Awards to the Bush Administration attempting to exploit the attack in order to boost the GOP in November, as well as to justify performing a Pearl Harbor on Baghdad, the baser elements of American culture and politics are raping the memories of the brave firemen and innocent clerical workers at the Pentagon and the WTC. A critic writes that this sort of view is a typical "PC", "California" view, at variance with the rest of the country, as if that were a stinging rebuke (and btw, anyone who thinks Jill Stewart, who is just barely to the left of David Horowitz, is politically correct has got to be the biggest moron in all of christendom; hey, I'm PC, buddy, and Ms. Stewart is never at our meetings). In fact, if anything symbolizes the stereotypically facile "Hollywood" reaction to the murders of September 11, it's the repetitive, maudlin tributes and mourning (classical music on the Food Network?) that that critic seems to demand from everyone. How we remember those events is an individual decision, not something to be imposed by some sort of Stalinoid mandate.
Andrew Sullivan always has his funniest stuff at the beginning of the week...check out his pathetic tribute to Madonna and Guy Ritchie, whom he compares with Bush and Blair. Does that make the British Prime Minister W's sperm donor?