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    Egberto wrote a good diary (with different content) about Rachel’s 21 minutes of awesome yesterday. Read it here. You can also see the embedded video there. But I spent some time last night transcribing her last few minutes, because it was breathtaking. You can watch it there or read it here. Rachel is my hero.

    If you are pro-life, that means you don’t think a woman has the right to have an abortion if she wants one.  It means you’re anti-abortion. It doesn’t just mean you won’t get an abortion in your own life, but that nobody else can get an abortion either. When a politician says he or she is pro-life, and will govern as such, what that means is that they would like abortion to be outlawed. It means that they want the United States of America to be a place where getting an abortion is a crime. And that means that anybody who gets an abortion is a criminal. Follow me here. This is what Chris Matthews was getting to with Donald Trump. This is what he admitted to that so upset everybody. He said it out loud. If we become a pro-life country, where abortion is illegal, then anytime any woman gets pregnant in the United States, she will face a government mandate which means that she must bring that pregnancy to term, and she must give birth by order of the government. The government will use criminal law to monitor every pregnancy in this country and will force every woman to give birth, even if it is against her will. That’s what it means in brass tax.

    It means that if you’re a woman in America, and we become a pro-life country, because the anti-abortion side wins, that means your pregnancy test is potentially criminal evidence. If you have a miscarriage, god forbid, every physical aspect of your miscarriage is potentially criminal evidence. The site of your miscarriage is potentially going to be treated and investigated as a crime scene.

    In a pro-life country, if the government knows you to be pregnant, and you do not give birth 9 months later, that will be a matter for the police to investigate. Donald Trump says he is pro-life. Ted Cruz is not only anti-abortion, but anti-abortion in every instance. Under a president Ted Cruz, he would go further than Donald Trump and impose the same criminal regime, not just on women broadly, but specifically on women who became pregnant because they were raped or they were the victim of incest. So, god forbid some 13 year old girl gets raped in America by her evil uncle, and gets impregnated. Under a Ted Cruz presidency, if he gets his way, that 13 year old girl’s pregnancy would become a matter for the state – the government – to monitor. And criminal law would be used to force that 13 year old girl to bring that pregnancy to term. And it would force her to give birth to her rapist’s child against her will under penalty of criminal law.

    So it seems like these comments from Donald Trump’s yesterday are outrageous, while Ted Cruz is the reasonable one. The anti-abortion movement does not like to talk about that part of what their agenda would mean for our country [the ‘punishment’ for the crime of abortion]. The anti-abortion movement does not like any public reminders of the part of their movement that shoots doctors – and says it’s justified to do so. But presidential candidate Ted Cruz has not been particularly diligent about keeping a bright line between his own anti-abortion politics, his own anti-abortion campaign, and the radical anti-abortion politics that have brought about the Operation Save America [doctors addresses online, urging people to murder them, “justifiably” that openly support and endorse his campaign] and Operation Rescue’s of this world. His opponent, Republican frontrunner Donald Trump, he has not been particularly good at keeping a bright line between what he wants to be seen as mainstream anti-abortion Republican politics, and the politically awkward, but true fact, of what it would mean for American women if Republicans get their way, if the anti-abortion movement gets their way and they succeed in making abortion a crime and every American woman who seeks one into a criminal.

    So…just a note to the national media. Everybody is all over Donald Trump on this one. … The idea that there is any distance between what Donald Trump said yesterday and the aims of the anti-abortion movement in this country -- is a fallacy. 


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    “I know what you are but what am I?”

    ”I’m rubber, you’re glue. Whatever you say bounces off me and sticks to you.”

    mumbling, “A sphincter says ‘what?’”

    “Oh yeah?”

    ”Takes one to know one.”

    “Talk to the hand.”

    Sigh


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  • 06/17/16--12:15: Let the Pride Flag Fly
  • The Pride flag under the City of Mountain View flag next to the California State flag next to the American Flag, all at half mast. We stand with Orlando.

    Context: My city, where I am currently the Vice Mayor, voted last month to fly the Pride flag for the last two weeks of Gay Pride Month. On Tuesday night (June 14th), we decided to raise it earlier in solidarity with the people of Orlando. The entire City Council and many members of the public were on hand to witness the ceremony. We then said the pledge of allegiance and went back into City Hall to convene our normal meeting. The photo above shows the flags beside our Center for Performing Arts building. City Hall is off photo, to the right. I have received more positive emails for this council action than any other since I began my term.
    I’m proud of my city.


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  • 07/01/16--08:05: Hamilton - My thoughts
  • Yes, it’s that good.

    Wednesday night I was fortunate enough to procure a ticket for Hamilton. And because everybody immediately asks, no I didn't pay the exorbitant prices demanded on TicketMaster. I paid face value of less than $200. Having said that, my seat on TM was about $3,500. The show is absolutely phenomenal, but no, it's not worth that much. But then again, the market suggests that some people are willing to pay that price, so who am I to determine "worth" as given by a dollar amount. I'm assuming that people just want to see the original Broadway cast before they all go their own separate ways. As a regular theater goer, that certainly was special and I know that some people will be jealous for that reason alone. For me, I just wanted to see the show. But look at the attached pic. That is all kinds of awesome! Ladies and gentleman I present the original Broadway cast of Hamilton and four Tony winners - all on stage at the same time!

    I've seen over 100 Broadway musicals (most of them in a theater in California) so I consider myself informed enough to give a layman's review. The shows that stick with me long after they end have a few common characteristics. Firstly, the musical score needs to be memorable. You may not remember the lyrics to a song, but if you're humming the tune to at least one of them on your way out the door - or better yet, the next day and the day after that - then the production was worthy of your time. If you're not singing "Oklahoma, where the wind comes sweeping down the plain" after the show ends, you were probably asleep while it was being performed. Secondly, the show has to have a story worthy of telling AND tell it in a satisfactory way. Most shows attempt to cover some lofty tale of human events, but some simply aren't that interesting. It's probably fairer to say that they are not that interesting long after the show has ended. In reviewing my list of attended shows, I don't remember anything at all about Smokey Joe's Cafe, Sweet Charity, or Caroline or Change - to name a few. Thirdly, the show has to have some level of intensity to remain stuck in my mind. It's easy to give examples, because so many outstanding musicals are riveting in their demonstration of humanity. Les Miserables is my favorite musical of all time. It is in my opinion a perfect show. It has wonderful music/songs from start to finish, tells one of the most challenging and moving stories of human endurance and our capacity to have justice triumph over injustice as was ever written. Other shows like this are Oliver or Fiddler on the Roof. But shows don't have to be "heavy" to be at or near perfect. The Book of Mormon is absolutely hysterical and not really heavy at all (save for the ravaging effect of AIDS in a Uganda village which they somehow made funny), but you can't NOT sing one of the songs as you tap dance out of the theatre. This also applies with shows like Mamma Mia or Mathilda, or Billy Elliot or Wicked, all fabulous.

    Which brings me to Hamilton. Quite simply, it's unlike anything I've ever seen before but was immediately familiar. Like it was obvious to tell the story this way. As you are probably aware, it is about the formation of the United States as seen through the events in the life of Alexander Hamilton. It's a live biography of Hamilton and the intersection of his life with other notable historical figures such as Thomas Jefferson, George Washington, James Madison, and of course, Aaron Burr. And it’s all told in rap. It meets each of my criteria for an outstanding musical. You can't ignore the score, the songs, the story, the characters, the story arc, or the intensity. And as most great shows will have, it's comic relief in King George is genius. The show has it all. It's compelling, it's interesting, the characters are relevant and important, it has war, it has death, it has love and deceit, it has comedy, it has some of the best songs to come out of a musical (ever), it has fabulous dancing and choreography, it has redemption, and on and on. In short, it's perfect.

    I have to admit, I was a little nervous about watching an (almost) all rap musical for lack of being able to follow the story. My 48 year old ear just doesn't pick up on all of the words spoken. During intermission, I found that I was not alone. The youngish couple sitting next to me acknowledged that they also couldn't pick out all words that were being sung. I responded that I can hear the words, but some of them were spoken so fast that my brain couldn't keep up with it all. Regardless, within a few minutes, I was able to translate the words as if this was Shakespeare. Which is probably a good analogy, because we don't speak in Shakespearean English, but we can follow along with Romeo and Juliet just fine, thankyouverymuch. But rap lends itself to a shortened style of speaking. You have to be efficient to get all that you need to say in a few rhyming stanzas. In the Playbill for Hamilton, there is a brief interview with Daveed Diggs, the Tony Award winning actor/rapper who plays both the Marquis de Lafayette and Thomas Jefferson. In his words, "rap is such a useful tool for telling this story. It's very good at condensing information. The fact that rap has a strict meter and stays to a click means that you have to make your thoughts concise. By the end of the show, you've gone on a journey and learned so much about so many characters." Ron Chernow, whose biography of Hamilton provided the inspiration for the musical, similarly noted that the show’s creator and star Lin-Manuel Miranda's style enabled him to condense the first 40 pages of his book into a four-minute opening number. The entire play is like that. Decades go by in 2.75 hours, all rich in content and history.

    I purposefully stayed away from reading reviews or spoilers about the show, hoping I'd get a ticket (I only found out I got one on the day of the show!) and wanting to have the whole story unfold in front of me without any prejudices or knowledge of the songs or plot. Because of this show's success, that was a Herculean effort. And I won't use this blog to ruin it for you. Because when it comes around, you need to see it. Of course, that may be a challenge for the next few years because even though it's going on the road, the places where it will be performing are requiring patrons to subscribe to the whole season if they want tickets to this one show. I must say, it's probably worth it to buy a season of other musicals to have the opportunity to include Hamilton, but it's a costly choice. Just as costly perhaps as finding resellers to buy a single seat.

    I'll close by making an assertion that Miranda has written an American Les Miserable. There are so many comparisons between the shows, it's hard not to see the connection. The score in both are bold and intense. Both have the entire script recited in song. Aaron Burr and Alexander Hamilton are the new Jean Valjean and Inspector Javert. Even the staging is familiar. When Les Mis had it's first, second, and probably third run (the revival did away with it), it had a rotating platform on the stage so the characters can move about while walking in place or get swung around from downstage to up, stage right to stage left. Hamilton makes good use of this technique. It was used to magnificent effect in the final dueling scene, including a slow motion bullet. It was more like a ballet. So awesome! Les Mis was seen as operatic. To the extent rap could be compared, rap is the new opera. And like Les Mis, the audience is on its feet standing in ovation before the last note of the last song is played.

    As I began, yes, it's that good.


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    As the vice-mayor of my town (Mountain View, CA), I am copied in on certain police emails. This morning, this came from our chief to his staff. We’re very proud of our police squad and understand that they have a very dangerous job. I had his permission to share.  

    I want to send you a message of support and ask that all of us reflect and focus on our job at hand, and that we reaffirm our commitment to carry out our responsibilities safely and professionally.
    As the facts, circumstances, and emotional response to the recent officer involved shootings unfolds across our nation, the backlash on law enforcement is being felt in almost every community.  The events in Dallas are extremely troubling and frightening.  As you go about your duties, you are undoubtedly expecting  the increased potential for confrontations and adversarial contacts because of these incidents, and it is a difficult time to protect and serve.  I have been asked about these incidents, and I have heard the confusion, sadness and fear from some who are trying to understand what they are seeing on the news.

    When answering questions from people who are concerned about policing in general, I emphasize our high level of training, professional commitment, and exceptional reputation that has been earned through the way in which you do your work on a daily basis.  I talk about our organizational priorities, which are important to me because they establish a foundation for how we police safely and effectively.  How we work with the people we serve.  How you earn the trust and support through emphasizing our values of exceptional service, respect, and integrity.  With those priorities in mind, I ask that you reflect and focus to ensure you do your work as safely as possible.  Be vigilant but not paranoid.  Be there for one another and make the best decisions based on your training and experience.  Remember your families and to reassure those who you love and worry for you.  Most of all, know that the overwhelming majority of the community you serve supports you.  I have heard from the City Manager and members of our community.  They send their support and acknowledgement of the difficulty, challenges and dangers you encounter on a daily basis.  Thank you for your dedication and service, especially in these difficult times. 

    I also know you will join me in sending thoughts and prayers to the members of the Dallas PD and to the families of the fallen and injured officers.  Because of this unprecedented tragedy and in recognition of their service and sacrifice, I am authorizing the wearing of black mourning bands on badges.  In accordance with policy section 1046.4.1, mourning bands are worn across the uniform badge from the 2 o'clock position over the word "VIEW" to the 7 o'clock position over the "P" in "POLICE."
    Be extra safe out there!


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  • 09/22/16--11:02: Raise your hand
  • Here is how I'd like to see HRC handle Trump on the debate stage. I fear, because the moderators are all but abdicating their roles as fact checkers, that she'd spend all of her valuable time debunking Trump. I propose, that during her opening statement, she simply says, "My opponent is well known to either make things up or exaggerate the truth. Instead of refuting him on all these points, I'm merely  going to raise my hand for a moment every time he isn't telling the truth. That way, when it is my turn to speak, I will concentrate on my well developed policy proposals. The press can fact check him in time for tomorrow's papers. Well, I'm guessing there won't be time to get to them all, but some of them will be reported.”

    This will serve a few purposes. Primarily, it will immediately affect Trump as he will be distracted. Secondly, it will likely (eventually) cause him to flip his lid. Thirdly, and likely most important, she will be able to talk about her...and not him.

    Feel free to edit how she might further get under Trump’s skin!


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    This week, U2 is celebrating 40 years of being a Rock N Roll band. Not just any band, but one of deep political, religious, and moral conviction. Lead singer Bono has never been one to shy away from using his celebrity to shine a light on some issue of global importance. At the IHeartRadio concert in Vegas earlier this week, they’ve done it again. Please watch the video for one minute and eleven seconds of perfect political art. “What do you have to lose?   EVERYTHING”

    Seriously...watch it!

    We are being watched, ladies and gentleman. By everyone around the world.

    Bono was also interviewed by Charlie Rose recently. There, he said, “America is like the best idea the world ever came up with. But Donald Trump is potentially the worst idea that ever happened to America...” You can watch another minute and fifty seconds here: 

      There is a reason I have been following this band since 1983. Wow, that’s 33 years of awesome music. 46 concerts attended...and counting.


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    “He is so completely and thoroughly uninformed”— Joe Biden on Trump’s misstatements about PTSD

    I didn’t find this in any other blog/diary, so I have taken the liberty of summarizing one of the strongest arguments you can find as to why Donald Trump shouldn’t be president.  On Monday, Rachel Maddow was mad. If you are a regular viewer of her show, you’ll know that she doesn’t often get mad. But when she does, she uses her platform of a national news show, and her talent as one of the smartest people on TV, to editorialize and to set the record straight. She called Trump out for what he is: “stunningly ignorant” on all things military and “dangerous”.  Read more for her critique.

    Background: Trump was answering a question about PTSD in our active duty military and veterans and his response was that essentially that some people are strong, but those who give into PTSD are weak, that they can’t handle their experiences. It was clear that he was trying to be empathetic, but because he is so uninformed on this issue, he missed the mark by a mile. After introducing the topic, Rachel shows video of Vice President Biden going way off script in a stump speech for Clinton. Having a son who served admirably in the US Army, he took Trump’s comments personally. He, too, got visibly upset and is quoted as saying, 

    [As a country] we have 1 sacred obligation: to care for those we send to war and to care for them and their families when they come home.

    He understood that Trump was speaking from a place of sincerity, but that 

    It’s not that he just doesn’t get it, it’s that he has no interest in finding out.

    What Biden was referring to was the idea that those who suffer from PTSD have a dual fight: first the battle that they have within their own heads...the terrors, the nightmares the physical changes that PTSD inflicts on a person and secondly, the internal consternation that seeking help is an admission of personal weakness. This stigma is what every professional, veteran, and responsible person anywhere near this field has been desperately trying to change for decades. The one thing you don’t say, if you know anything about this issue, is that those who have PTSD, are weak. Rachel cuts to an example of what real leadership looks like, President Obama answering virtually the same question.

    There is nothing weak about asking for help. For example, when you break a leg, you seek medical attention and see a doctor. If something inside of you, as a result of battlefield time, feels wounded, it’s just like a physical injury. You’ve got to get help….That’s strong.

    Donald Trump got it fundamentally and dangerously wrong. Again. Rachel goes on to say that for somebody running for president to be so wrong, to fundamentally misunderstand this issue….”it’s a big deal.” Where Rachel started getting visibly and audibly upset is her reaction to the Trump campaign’s attempt to be mad at those getting mad at Trump and their claim it isn’t what he meant.

    “It’s not what he meant. Yeah, but that’s what he said.”— Rachel Maddow  

    The video is below...and I will quote a lot (verbatim to the extent I could transcript it accurately)…this all starts at about the 8:30 mark. Rachel goes on to attack Trump for getting EVERYTHING he says about the military wrong.

    1. This was not him when he attacked POWs (McCain)
    2. It wasn’t an attack on American military leadership, like when he said American generals are an “embarrassment to this country” and that they have been “reduced to rubble.”
    3. And it wasn’t an attack on the U.S. military itself which he has twice now called “the gang who couldn’t shoot straight.”
    4. It was not Trump attacking the parents of a US Army Captain who was killed in Iraq, like he did after the Democratic Convention, calling them “vicious.”
    5. It was not him saying he has always wanted a purple heart [this one got to me more than others because it displays complete cowardice. Someone gave him a copy of a Purple Heart medal...you know, the thing you get when you’re wounded in battle, and he was happy about getting his Purple Heart as a gift]
    6. And it was not him equating his time in an expensive military themed boarding school with time spent in the actual military. Like when he told a biographer, “It felt like I was in the military in a true sense” adding he received more “training militarily than a lot of those guys that go into the military.”

    This wasn’t the same as any of those other times that he has attacked and disrespected and denigrated the military and military families — and equated his own life in which there has been zero public service to the lives of the military and their families who have sacrificed so much.

    This time it appears to have been a stunningly ignorant and painful misstatement on an incredibly sensitive and important issue that a lot of people take very seriously.

    Vice President Biden has it right. Trump just doesn’t care about learning the nuiances of what makes this country so great. And because of that, he is, especially as commander in chief, extremely dangerous.

    Watch Rachel below. It’s worth  your time.


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    Earlier today, I wrote what I thought was a good diary. An important diary. One that hadn’t really be discussed too much here at Daily Kos. It’s many hours later, the diary is buried deep in the “recent” list, and best I can tell, only one person read it. Here it is if anybody is interested:

    www.dailykos.com/...
    I poured a lot of time and energy into it. It had to do with PTSD and Trump’s response and how Rachel Maddow covered it and how the man is disqualified for office for this issue alone.

    What are we supposed to do when our diary’s get missed? I’ve been part of Daily Kos for years now. I’ve had a few diaries get rec’d, but most get ignored. It hurts, you know?


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    Last night I put a note on my Facebook page that said simply, “First ever presidential debate that you shouldn’t allow your children to watch.”
    After it was over, I felt I needed a shower. This whole process, which was at first intriguing and interesting has turned into a freak show. I just need it to be over. 
    I could comment extensively about my need to constantly check the latest news and read the latest blogs. All confirming and reinforcing the idea that HRC will be our next president. But today, I have to admit, I’m simply tired of it. It’s so nauseating. Trump has dragged our entire country into the gutter with him. He is certainly helping the GOP to explode (or is it implode?) and unfortunately, there is collateral damage to those who sit on the sidelines (me, you!) and watch. 

    I think the cure to this fatigue is to phone bank. We can’t take anything for granted until November 9th. Still, can someone, anyone, please make Donald Trump go away. He is so awful.  Oh, how I miss Mitt Romney and John McCain as competitors.


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  • 10/16/16--09:42: Hate
  • Investors are easily motivated, in spite of all historic evidence to the contrary, to flee to safety when markets go down. That is, they sell their stocks or other assets and “go to cash” to wait out the storm. They are driven by fear that the market valuation (their invested net worth) will be irreversibly diminished. I often say to them that when fear hits an investor, the only thing that will enable them to get back in the market is comfort. For comfort to exist, they need evidence that it is safe (i.e. a rising stock market). Sadly, that comfort is typically restored when the market has not only gone up for a while, but it has surpassed the level in which they got out of it in the first place. In other words, they’ve committed the worst sin in the investment world: sold low, bought high. It’s hard to have faith that you can grow your nest egg when you do that a few times. Fear is a powerful emotion.

    Hate is stronger.

    Someone on my Facebook feed yesterday posted the article I’ve attached below written by Deepak Malhotra of Harvard. I hope you take a moment to look at it because it talks about hate, as a tool, and how intractable it is to reverse. Nearly every candidate for lofty offices (e.g. Governor, US House, Senate, and President) use fear as a tool. “If you vote for candidate X, your taxes will go up, jobs will be lost, and puppies will starve.” Eventually, as the election heads toward the finish line, candidates drop the act that their opponent’s ideas are bad, and instead give voters reasons to choose them. They turn the conversation to their own attributes, strengths, and qualities and essentially ignore their opponent. If your candidate doesn’t win and over time puppies don’t starve, jobs aren’t lost, and/or taxes didn’t go up, you have an opportunity to change your mind about someone. You may not like them ideologically (nor their political party), but at least you have the chance to see them as human. The fears were unfounded and we’ve moved on.

    Donald Trump is sowing hate at the deepest, most base levels, in unprecedented ways in this election. He has moved away from “simple” fear tactics. Everything he talks about now is about making people that aren’t him “others” and therefore easier to hate. I think the Jewish population of the United States picked up on this earlier than most groups due to the relative proximity of the Holocaust. We’ve seen this before and it doesn’t end well. But it’s nearly inescapable to any moral person who chooses to see: Donald Trump is breeding a large contingent of people in our United States to hate thy neighbor. It’s extremely frightening. Forget about the idea that he’s a terrible man who has assaulted women for decades. His ideas, for a collective, are about destruction. They are all about hate. And the hate ship can not be easily turned over time.

    “Fear and anger might make it difficult for us to work with each other, but hate strips away our willingness to even try.”– a clip from the attached article. Hate changes people. It goes to the marrow of who they are as a person. Some who experience hate are beyond recovery. Most aren’t. Here is the prescription, described in greater length in the attached.

    (1) Don’t force them to defend their beliefs (2) Provide information, and then give them time
    (3) Don’t fight bias with bias
    (4) Don’t force them to choose between your ideas and yours
    (5) Help them save face
    (6) Give them the cover they need (7) Let them in

    “Some of the above advice requires that we temper our natural inclinations for how to behave when someone is yelling and screaming or pushing and shoving. It is well worth building this discipline. Of course, not everyone is ready to change their mind. Equally, not all minds can (or need) to be changed. But you will have a much greater likelihood of navigating the path to change if you invest in building an exit ramp. The election of 2016 is as important a time as any to do it.”

    Mr. Malhotra’s article is here: hbr.org/...


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    As an elected official, I frequently receive notifications of local press releases. This came out earlier today. I am posting to reassure folks that at least one county in the United States is taking measures to protect their voters. And if one is doing it, then others must be as well. Do you have stories or examples from your neck of the woods?

    ==========================================================================  

    MEDIA ADVISORY - NEWS CONFERENCE
    October 18, 2016

    CONTACT:
    Philip Chantri, Registrar of Voters Media Officer, 1-408-282-3008
    Laurel Anderson, Office of Public Affairs, 1-408-299-5119

    County of Santa Clara Officials to Address National Concerns About Potential for Voter Intimidation During Presidential Election

    In response to national concerns about voter intimidation during the upcoming Presidential General Election on November 8, 2016, County officials will reassure the community that polling locations will be open to the public and voters will be able to safely exercise their right to vote. County leaders will highlight election deadlines and important opportunities to participate in and observe the election process.

    WHO:
    Board President Dave Cortese
    County Executive Jeffrey V. Smith
    Registrar of Voters Shannon Bushey

    WHEN: Wednesday, October 19, 2016, 11:00 a.m.
    WHERE: Auditorium, Registrar of Voters’ Office 1555 Berger Drive, San Jose, CA

    Visual opportunities on site will include: early voting, vote by mail ballot processing, and voting machine testing and programming. Interviews will also be available in Spanish, Vietnamese, Chinese, Hindi and Tagalog.


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    On January 10th of this year, I became the mayor of Mountain View, CA. I was elected to our City Council two years ago. In Mountain View, we have a tradition of rotating through the Mayor’s seat, one year at time. It’s indeed an honor.

    During the last council meeting of 2016, we passed a resolution recognizing Mountain View as a Human Rights City – an initiative I began before being elected as a member of our Human Relations Commission. At its most basic, this means that we, as a government, recognize the intrinsic value and dignity of all of our residents. That we will shape policy and make decisions that support human rights as defined by the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. But that is just our part. In order for Mountain View to succeed as a Human Rights City, we need our schools to teach students what human rights mean to themselves, individually - as well as collectively - and empower them to own and protect those rights. We need our non-profits and our grassroots organizations to embody the spirit of Human Rights Learning. It is this collaboration between the people and their government, and the push from the bottom up, that will make our resolution a success. People in the United States often conflate our Bill of Rights with that of Human Rights. The former is an outline of political and civil rights. The latter is the inalienable right bestowed on all of humanity by our creator. And it requires learning. To see this succeed I will work tirelessly.

    I have largely ignored the news and even Daily Kos since the election. As a person who worked to see Hillary elected, it was like a punch to the stomach when she lost. Especially to that guy. But no more. He is president now and we all have work to do! We like to say that all politics are local, but our Federal Government controls much of what we can do locally. Our Council has already heard testimony to the fears from some in our community regarding the language and promises he used during his campaign. It was divisive. It was ugly. And it fell far short of showcasing Americans at their finest.

    Asking myself, “What could I do” I realized that I will be in a position of leadership for 2017, and I intend to use it. I will work to expand the learning of human rights in my community and will focus my energy toward protecting the quality of life for all Mountain Viewers.

    As Eleanor Roosevelt said, “Where, after all, do universal human rights begin? In small places, close to home…”

    If you live near Mountain View, on Saturday February 11 at 10:00am in our Center for Performing Arts (500 Castro St, downtown), you’re invited to an event we are hosting called “Affirming Mountain View’s Values and Building Community in Uncertain Times.” Here, we will come together and begin the dialogue. Will you join me?


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  • 04/11/17--08:29: By The Numbers
  • If you like these, I can do them weekly (or monthly)

     

    STOCKS
    The S&P 500 gained +6.1% (total return) in the 1Q 2017, the 5th best opening quarter for the stock index over the last 25 years, i.e., 1993-2017. The S&P 500 consists of approximately 500 stocks chosen for market size, liquidity and industry group representation. It is a market value weighted index with each stock's weight in the index proportionate to its market value (source: BTN Research).

    TIME FLIES
    The S&P 500 bull market that began on 3/09/09 is now in its 98th month. The average bull market for the stock index since 1950 (including the current bull) has lasted 61 months (source: BTN Research).

    WOO PIG SOOIE
    In data tracked since 1976 (i.e., 41 years ago), the February 2017 unemployment rates in Arkansas (3.7%) and Oregon (4.0%) are the lowest ever reported (source: Department of Labor).

    WHAT’S IMPORTANT
    54% of 4,200 American workers surveyed would switch jobs for a better retirement plan (source: Transamerica Center for Retirement Studies).

    NO PROGRESS MADE
    After adjusting numerical data from the past for the impact of inflation, the median household income today ($56,516) is lower than the median household income ($57,909) from 1999 (source: Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis)..

    BUT WOULD YOU UNDERSTAND IT?
    The federal tax code and accompanying federal tax regulations contain 10 million words, a publication that would take an individual reading 300 words a minute (the average reading speed for an adult) more than 23 days of non-stop reading to digest (source: Tax Foundation).

    YOU BORROW, YOU PAY
    94.7% of home mortgages are "current and performing" as of 12/31/16. Just 2.3% of home mortgages were "seriously delinquent" (defined as 60 days or more past due) as of 12/31/16 (source: Office of the Comptroller of the Currency).

    THE REWARD
    30% of American homeowners who are approaching retirement move. Surprisingly, of the 30% that move, a greater number of homeowners buy a more expensive home compared to the number of homeowners who elect to downsize in retirement (source: Calvo, Haverstick and Zhivan).

    NOT UP TO SNUFF
    The 75-year (1942-2016) average growth rate of the US economy (i.e., “Gross Domestic Product” annual growth rate) is +3.3% per year. However, the actual growth rate of the US economy has reached +3.3% or greater in only 2 of the last 16 calendar years (source: Commerce Department).

    BANKING BUSINESS
    Just 4 banks in the USA hold 89% of all derivatives nationwide as of the end of 2016. The face amount of the derivative contracts held by all insured commercial banks and savings associations was $165.2 trillion as of 12/31/16. 75% of the $165.2 trillion were interest rate derivative contracts (source: Office of the Comptroller of the Currency).

    REMOVES AN INCENTIVE FOR BANKS TO LEND
    The +1% that the Federal Reserve currently pays to banks on the $2.185 trillion of excess reserves the banks hold at the 12 regional Fed banks (as of 3/29/17) is equal to $59.9 million in daily interest. The Fed began paying ¼ of 1% on excess reserves as of 10/06/08, increased the rate paid to ½ of 1% as of 12/17/15, increased again to ¾ of 1% as of 12/15/16, and finally to +1% as of 3/16/17 (source: Federal Reserve).

    AWASH IN OIL
    The storage of crude oil in the United States reached 535.5 million barrels as of Friday 3/31/17, an all-time record volume for our country. The 535.5 million barrels, up +56.5 million barrels YTD, are separate from any oil stored in the "Strategic Petroleum Reserve" which has a capacity of 727 million barrels (source: Department of Energy).

    HAS TO TRAVEL A LONG WAYS
    Oil pumped in Saudi Arabia and exported to the USA takes 90 days to reach America. Saudi Arabia is the # 2 country that the USA imports petroleum products from, trailing only Canada (source: Energy Information Administration).

    PERSONALIZED MEDICINE
    10 years ago, it cost $10 million and took several weeks to "sequence a genome," i.e., mapping out a person’s entire genetic code. Today, the work can be completed for $1,000 in just a few hours (source: Financial Times).

    HOOPS
    North Carolina beat Gonzaga on 4/03/17 for the championship of men's college basketball. The game was held before 76,168 fans at the University of Phoenix Stadium in Arizona, more than the 75,765 fans that attended college football's Alabama vs. Clemson title game held in the same arena on 1/11/16 (source: NCAA).


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    Please stop with the super close-ups. Just stop. Please.

     

    :-)


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