Category: California Diaspora


As a relatively new press secretary for California Governor George Deukmejian in 1987, your author was more than a little surprised to learn that Massachusetts Governor Michael Dukakis was paying an unscheduled visit to his colleague and my boss, “The Iron Duke.”

Dukakis was standing before the governor’s office door in the cabinet room in the State Capitol in Sacramento. He was cordial and polite, and apologized for the unexpected visit. The 1980s were a different time, more to the point a better era.

The political media was tailing along with Governor Dukakis that particular Wednesday, May 20 as he was running for the 1988 Democratic nomination for president. Dukakis was certainly not looking for encouragement as George Deukmejian was a Reagan-Bush Republican. And yet, George Deukmejian made time for his National Governor’s Association colleague and friend, Michael Dukakis.

My boss was never enamored about “surprises,” but he gladly welcomed Dukakis. The two demonstrated to America then and now that civility can reign, even if he political differences run deep.

Years later, George Deukmejian and his wife, Gloria, were sitting on the beach in Hana, Maui about to enjoy a picnic lunch, when a voice cried out … “Duke!” It was the other Duke, Michael Dukakis and his wife Kitty. One can only imagine they had some great stories to tell that afternoon and got along swimmingly.

As we celebrate what would have been George Deukmejian’s 92nd. birthday tomorrow on D-Day (June 6), we need to contemplate that America in general and California in particular were very different places when the Duke was governor from 1983-1991.

Almost DailyBrett is proud to champion that Governor George Deukmejian (1928-2018) is the most popular chief executive in blue state California’s modern political history by more than a two-to-one margin (66 percent approval, 30 percent disapproval)

Better than The Gipper. Better than Jerry. Better than AH-Nold.

Loss of Civility

George Deukmejian privately lamented the loss of civility, even in tamer times … night-and-day different times.

He remembered his policy debates on the floor of the California State Senate as the Republican minority leader against George Moscone, the Democratic majority leader. And when the rhetorical exchange ended, the two Georges could be seen having a glass of wine. Seems quaint now. Actually it sounds better.

George Deukmejian was not one for rhetorical questions. Subsequently, his press secretary avoided them like the plague. And yet when Almost DailyBrett posed a rhetorical question on the 1982 campaign trail — ‘how many terms did he envision as governor?’ — He immediately responded,”two terms.” Even though California did not have term limits at the time, Deukmejian knew then and there … there would be no third term.

His reasoning. Like any governor, you want the people of California to ratify your administration and policy direction through re-election (e.g., 61-37 percent). If a governor runs for a third term, there is the problem of the tyranny of accumulated decisions and with each one the number of disappointed people inevitably grows.

Only one California Governor was elected a third term, Earl Warren (later appointed to the U.S. Supreme Court). One other pursued a third term (e.g., Pat Brown) and he lost to a certain movie actor.

What was his name?

As Almost DailyBrett looks over the 2020 political minefield, there is no chivalry. George Patton and Erwin Rommel will not come down from their tanks, shake hands, and then engage in battle with the victor winning the war.

There is zero civility similar to Deukmejian-Dukakis, Deukmejian-Moscone and the more celebrated relationship between Ronald Reagan and Tip O’Neill.

Today the President of the United States refuses to shake the hand of the Speaker of the House of Representatives, and she responds by tearing up his State of the Union speech. Their collective hatred went downhill from there.

Your author certainly will not scold anyone for thinking that today’s divisions and tribal hatreds are now a permanent fixture of our troubled society. After all, politics is indeed a contact sport.

There was a lot of heat in political kitchens (paraphrasing the famous Harry S. Truman quote) even in the 1980s, but there were also times of consideration, politeness, cordiality and celebrated instances when civility indeed did reign across the fruited plain.

Happy Birthday Iron Duke. We miss you. We will always love you.

Some day this author will hopefully join you for a glass of wine in heaven, and ponder the lessons of the 1980s.

https://www.ctpost.com/politics/article/Jerry-Brown-boasts-approval-ratings-higher-than-8355461.php

https://www.capradio.org/articles/2018/05/08/george-deukmejian-ex-governor-of-california-dies/

https://almostdailybrett.wordpress.com/2020/02/20/tearing-up-the-speech-paying-the-pr-price/

 

Look at thus chorus of entitled white men, justifying a serial rapist’s (e.g., US Supreme Court Associate Justice Brett Kavanaugh) arrogated entitlement. All of them deserve miserable deaths while feminists laugh as they take their last gasps. Bonus: we castrate their corpses and feed them to the swine? Yes.” — Georgetown University Professor Christine Fair

“Bias against women as political leaders has clearly diminished in modern times, and women have been elected to state governorships (e.g., Nikki Haley) and other executive offices with some frequency. But the presidency is the ultimate executive office, and there are still many men, and some women, who have hidden (or not so hidden) gender prejudices.” — Professor Larry Sabato, UVA Center For Politics

What is the male equivalent of the word, “misogyny?”

Are you ready for … “misandry?”

Haven’t heard the term, misandrists or women who hate men? The same was true for Almost DailyBrett until recently.

In our advanced 21st Century civilization there seems to be only public dialogue of the unfortunate practice of misogyny and evil misogynists, which is appropriate but is that the end of the discussion?

As former Vice President Joe Biden contemplates, which woman he will add to the ticket (too bad he closed the gender door to New York Governor Andrew Cuomo), the always excitable resistance journalists will hyperventilate about how his running mate choice will impact THE Gender Gap (Democrats vs. Republicans and the women’s vote).

Translated: Who will better assist Biden in firming up and expanding his base with women: Stacey Abrams? Kamala Harris? Amy Klobuchar? Catherine Cortez Masto? Elizabeth Warren?

Your author fully anticipates the predictable absence of pundit bloviation of what is another valid factor, if not an equally germane discussion: What will be the impact of the chosen woman running mate on the forgotten gender gap: Republicans vs. Democrats and the vote by men (assuming all American males don’t suffer miserable deaths, while feminists laugh in the meantime).

Looking back at 2016 exit polling, we find not surprisingly that Hillary Clinton carried THE gender gap by a 13 point margin (54 percent-41 percent).

Conversely, Donald Trump won the forgotten gender gap by 11 points (52 percent-41 percent).

This assessment of the women vs. men voting tendency divide is not the end of the story, just the end of the beginning.

Digging deeper into the numbers, we find that inconceivably Hillary Clinton actually lost the white women’s vote to Donald Trump (52-43 percent). White men in numbers with high propensity, voted for Trump over Hillary by two-to-one landslide, 62 percent to 31 percent.

Three times in the past 48 years, Republican nominees have captured 50 percent or more of the total vote among women (Nixon, 61 percent in 1972, Reagan, 56 percent in 1984 and George H.W. Bush, 50 percent in 1988)

Only once in the last 48 years has a Democratic nominee won 50 percent of the total vote among men (Jimmy Carter with 50 percent in 1976).

‘Don’t Want This Particular Woman’

“Throughout the campaign, an observer could not miss an assertion made frequently by women young and old: ‘I want a woman president, and I’m sure we’ll have a woman president soon, but I don’t want this particular woman (e.g., Hillary Clinton).'” — Larry Sabato

Donald Trump’s two-for-one victory among men in 2016 should not be dismissed particularly as it applies to the fly-over swing-states including: Iowa, Michigan, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Wisconsin … White men and Midwest swing states still matter in 2020.

Should Joe Biden pay attention to the forgotten gender gap? How will his choice of running mate, a bleeding heartbeat away from the presidency impact the men’s vote?

Trust Almost DailyBrett on this point: The good folks at CNN, MSDNC, NBC and CBS will pay scant attention to the shave-their-faces in the morning demographic. They will focus on how a shrill Elizabeth Warren fires up progressive women base or how an angry Kamala Harris will perform in a debate against cool customer, Mike Pence.

Even as apoplectic Warren clearly unnerves Wall Street and America’s Investor Class (more than half of the country), how will she play with men in must-win-for-either-side, Florida?

Considering Biden’s rhetorical struggle against himself, could an oratorically gifted Governor Cuomo have been a wiser choice as a running mate?

Let’s also weigh Biden’s “… you ain’t black” gaffe with the African-American community. Will adding Georgia governorship loser Stacey Abrams or “I don’t believe you (Biden) are a racist” Kamala Harris solve the nominee’s problems with blacks in particular, and American men in general?

Maybe making the premature announcement that he would only consider a woman for the VP slot was political malpractice? Why close out one gender so early, when your party has historical major political problems with that very same gender, men?

Are progressive women going to vote for Trump, if an Andrew Cuomo or Cory Booker is selected? Forget about it.

Men are relevant. Men matter. They vote. They don’t appreciate being placed in a “basket of deplorables.” They will not be the forgotten gender gap.

Most of all, they will be there in November.

https://www.lexico.com/explore/what-is-the-female-equivalent-of-a-misogynist

https://almostdailybrett.wordpress.com/2018/10/02/when-boy-meets-girl/

Which Californian would you rather have running your business: Tim Cook or Gavin Newsom?

Taking into account that Covid-19 indiscriminately hit both Apple and the State of California at the same time in the same place, which entity performed better under nearly identical circumstances?

Under Governor Gavin Newsom’s watch, California with the nation’s highest income taxes (13.3 percent at the apex) and an average sales tax of 8.66 percent recently reported its record $21 billion surplus is now an unprecedented $54.3 billion deficit … that’s a staggering $75.3 billion switch if you are scoring at home. Nonetheless, the state found $75 million in the form of a pander payment to California illegal aliens.

Will they be eligible to vote … some day?

As the chief executive officer of $260 billion Apple with $44 billion in cash reserves, Tim Cook just announced the reopening some of Apple’s national stores this week with many more to follow. The company achieved a 37.8 percent gross margin and 14.3 percent to the bottom line in FY 2019, returning quarterly dividends of $0.82 per share for its shareholders.

As a member of the growing California Diaspora and a best-in-breed investor, who would Almost DailyBrett choose as a responsible fiscal steward?

Hint: Apple shares are up 7.25 percent this year, despite the Corona virus. As CNBC’s Jim Cramer repeatedly has proclaimed, he is only interested in a stock’s future. Share prices are a leading … not trailing … indicator of future performance.

Apple is a leader. California is a laggard.

The same is true with other best-in-breed publicly traded companies including Salesforce.com, Gilead Sciences, Lululemon Athletica, McDonald’s, Microsoft, Nike, NVIDIA and Starbucks. Is the present iteration of California anywhere close to … best in breed?

If California was publicly traded, would a responsible investor select the Golden State or no state income tax Texas and/or Florida?

As the former press secretary for the former Governor of California George Deukmejian (1928-2018), my love for the Golden State is true … your author loathes the present crew in Sacramento. Just ask Tesla boss Elon Musk.

Peddling A False Choice

The bull statue on Wall Street and the True Value hardware store on Main Street are not mutually exclusive.

The countless suggestions of a Berlin Wall type of divide between the two streets is a false choice. Even the stately The Economist fell into this trap.

The reason is simple, millions of investors who live on Main Street, the side streets and the suburbs. Gallup reported that 55 percent of Americans own stocks and/or stock based mutual funds … before Covid 19. America’s Investor Class certainly took a hit with the virus, but there are tangible results indicating without any doubt that investors are coming back, money is coming off the sidelines … heck the NASDAQ is up for the year.

Those who project the end of Capitalism may even be the same to predict the Republicans were the Whigs of the 21st Century, heading for extinction. Whatever happened to these rocket scientists?

Many in America’s investor class are fond of ETFs or Exchange Traded Funds and other versions of mutual funds. Your author is an investor in Fidelity’s Contrafund with $112 billion assets under management (AUM). The fund invests in large caps including Facebook, Amazon, Microsoft, Berkshire Hathaway (think Warren Buffett), Adobe, Google …

Cash needs to be a significant portion of any responsible portfolio, which should include a mutual fund or two.

Almost DailyBrett must pause and ask the investor class (anyone who would care to listen), how about being the manager of your own mutual fund (no fees or commissions)? Why not build a portfolio with your own selection of best-in-breed stocks (e.g., Apple)?

To some, this approach may be too risky. To others, do you really need a paid-by-you investment advisor to tell you that Nike is the number athletic apparel manufacturer in the world? Why not buy the stock when the next inevitable dip comes around?

Buy Low Sell High.

For the most part, America’s Investor Class radiates out from Main Street. To suggest that Wall Street needs to be reined in and economic freedom should be curtailed by those who determine the so-called Public Good is contrary to the best interests of millions investing for retirement, a child’s education, a dream house or a new business.

It takes a free market to raise a child.

Wall Street is Main Street.

P.S. Be careful about investing in The State of California.

https://www.economist.com/leaders/2020/05/07/the-market-v-the-real-economy?

https://www.cnbc.com/2020/05/07/california-faces-a-staggering-54-billion-budget-deficit-due-to-economic-devastation-from-coronavirus.html

https://www.apple.com/newsroom/2019/10/apple-reports-fourth-quarter-results/

State and Local Sales Tax Rates, 2020

https://www.cnbc.com/2020/04/15/california-to-give-cash-payments-to-immigrants-hurt-by-coronavirus.html

https://almostdailybrett.wordpress.com/2019/06/20/californias-growing-diaspora/

What Percent Of Americans Own Stocks?

State Individual Income Tax Rates and Brackets for 2020

“One taboo after another has been broken. Not just the threat of fines or prison for ordinary people doing ordinary things, but also in the size and scope of the government’s role in the economy. — The Economist, The state in the time of covid-19, March 26, 2020

“Coming next is likely to be contact tracing, an effort track people exposed to the virus that could invade the privacy of all Americans.” — Dan Balz, Washington Post, Government is everywhere now. Where does it go next. April 20, 2020

“Government is not the solution to our problem; government is the problem.” — President Ronald Reagan’s first inaugural address, 1981

The California beach City of San Clemente filled its popular skate park with sand because it was being used by … (gasp!) … skateboarders.

The State of Michigan banned nurseries and garden shops because mandated shelter-in-place folks actually wanted to plant their home gardens … believe it or not … with seeds.

It’s spring. Pollen is in the air. The flowers are blooming. The birds are chirping.

In these growing cases of governmental overreach, are these punitive actions public relations victories … or failures?

“For believers in limited government and open markets, covid-19 poses a problem. The state must act decisively. But history suggests that after crises the state does not give up all the ground it has taken. — The neoliberal Economist

The Economist proclaimed today’s global state of affairs after more than one month combating the Corona virus as the “most dramatic expansion of state power since the second world war.”

Reminds one of the Red Army “liberating” Eastern Europe at the end of the same war.

Almost DailyBrett maintains a healthy libertarian streak preferring carrots (e.g., effective public outreach) than stones (thou shalt not … ). In the overwhelming number of cases, Americans accepted wise counsel from doctors and scientists, and closeted themselves at home for weeks on end.

At the same time, pay checks and investment portfolios vanished in the face of the unprecedented shutdown of the world’s largest ($21.44 trillion GDP) free-market economy.

Now the storm clouds are showing signs of receding, people are ready to go back to work, particular those who are unemployed. They do not want to wait … and will not sit at home … until 2021 or (gasp 2022 ), calmly waiting for final FDA approval and widespread distribution of a covid-19 vaccine.

The “Highest Priority” Of Government

“The highest priority of government is the protection and safety of its citizens.” — Former California Governor George Deukmejian

“Government also has changed personal behavior, recommending and in some cases ordering people to stay home, practice social distancing and wear masks outdoors, in some places under the threats of fines and penalties.” — Dan Balz, Washington Post

It will come as no surprise that your author, who earlier served as a Governor Deukmejian press secretary, concurs with controlling the size and scope of government.

Without getting inflamed by all the political finger pointing and retributions associated with the containment of the Corona virus, your author believes there is zero doubt we will ultimately beat this little bugger, the evidence is already there. We have prioritized protection and safety.

The Deukmejian administration contended that government was indeed necessary, but we questioned automatic expansions and costs of government which make little or no sense (e.g., today’s high speed train proposal from god-awful Bakersfield to no-where Merced).

But when is too much government, too much? Why can’t citizens … not subjects … be treated as adults rather than children?

Almost DailyBrett concurs with stay-at-home and social-distancing gospels as long as they are absolutely necessary … on a state-by-state basis. Where your author gets out of the government über alles boat is when the orders are arbitrary and capricious, and become an excuse for arrogant petty tyranny.

There is a major difference between the word, “encourage,” and “prohibit.” The latter means Verboten.

Your author remembers vividly University of Oregon graduate school classmates openly stressing about the prospect of the federal government keeping tabs of their … library book checkouts because of the Patriot Act to fight terrorism.

Why would government … care?

What would they think about digital virus contact tracing by Big Brother?

The Mother of All civil liberties battles?

https://www.economist.com/leaders/2020/03/26/the-state-in-the-time-of-covid-19

https://www.realclearpolitics.com/2020/04/20/government_is_bigger_than_ever_what_comes_next_508525.html

https://www.nationalreview.com/2020/04/coronavirus-authoritarianism-is-getting-out-of-hand/?

As the mallard flies, Autzen Stadium is less than five miles away … but it seems like millions of light years right now.

The Ducks last flew triumphantly in Pasadena just three months ago, and yet there are so many questions about when they will be airborne again.

We were all packed into the Rose Bowl as Justin Herbert repeatedly gave the “Heisman” to Wisconsin would-be tacklers, scoring a hat-trick of stand-up touchdowns.

And now we are required to give the Heisman to everyone, including those who are normally packed into Autzen with us.

Almost DailyBrett certainly respects and shares the global concern about the unbelievable power and threat posed by a ten-thousandth of a millimeter in diameter COVID-19 virus. We must do what we must do.

At some point, we will be done. We must be done.

The dreams of Autzen remain, and they’re not trivial. We may have taken “Autzen” for granted. Never again.

The next time walking into the stadium with nearly 60,000 of our most intimate friends means that we have fought and won the war against the Corona virus. We literally saved hundreds of thousands of lives.

Being at Autzen where it “never rains,” standing up proudly as the Oregon Marching Band plays the national anthem, will be a celebration of the American spirit. The mere act of standing en masse signifies what we can do, if absolutely necessary. In unprecedented fashion, America closed the planet’s largest ever economy and more importantly for our safety, health and prosperity … opened it back up for business.

As America begins a guided by science, phased-in, step-by-step, state-by-state recovery, it seems that sporting events (football is indeed our pastime) may be near the end of the line in terms of priorities. Keep in mind that our sports inspire us, build our character, make us happy and urge us to persevere (e.g., Miracle on Ice in 1980).

Your author is still looking forward to consecutive season #31 as a season ticket holder at Autzen, 15 rows behind the opponent’s bench near the 30-yard line. In many ways, the south side of Autzen has been a home-away-from-home for more than three decades. Yours truly and fellow fans have been high fiving each other … without ever thinking about infection … after every Oregon touchdown.

The 2020 home schedule is particularly attractive with the Ohio State Buckeyes making their first-ever trip to Oregon. Washington, Stanford and USC were all slated to visit the not-so-friendly confines of Autzen this fall. The key word now is … “were.”

Some have suggested playing the games in empty bowls with zero Oregon fans, including zero season ticket holders, students, bands … Translated: Ohio State would play Oregon in a quiet, deserted stadium. Autzen’s intensity, passion and its legendary cauldron of noise would be absent, allowing the Buckeyes to easily run their offense.

Conceivably, Oregon would play Ohio State a year later in the 104,000-seat “Horseshoe” with all the crazies from Akron, Canton and Toledo, let alone Columbus, yelling for their fighting chestnuts.

How is that fair? Life is not fair.

Given the uneasy choice between antiseptic made-for-television football with confiscatory ESPN advertising rates, played in sterile stadiums in 2020 or waiting for the return to intensity of Autzen in 2021, Almost DailyBrett would reluctantly choose the latter. The caveat would be, the 2020 schedule becomes the 2021 slate of games.

Considering the re-opening of America will be decided by the nation’s 50 state governors, will red state governors (e.g., Greg Abbott of Texas) opt for the early resumption of football? Will blue state governors (e.g., Andrew Cuomo of New York) essentially cancel football until 2021 or beyond?

Will there be football states and non-football states?

Hopefully, Autzen is located in a football state.

https://www.forbes.com/sites/alexreimer/2020/03/30/espns-kirk-herbstreit-is-telling-sports-fans-hard-truth-about-how-coronavirus-could-cancel-football-season/#3c365077319d

Donald Trump Says Major Sports Could Resume As “Made For Television” Events — Without Fans — Under New White House Plan

We are all being reminded daily about how small we really are, and the tenuous nature of our lives.

And yet there are good reasons to celebrate, and emulate fortitude and stamina.

Mumsy Marjorie is celebrating birthday #101 today.

Best of all, she remains as sharp as a tack. She is fully aware of her world around her, and seemingly has forgotten … absolutely nothing.

And what a century-plus it has been. The Corona-virus (COVID-19) is just the latest challenge.

Heck, she was born right smack in the middle of the Spanish flu pandemic (January 1918-December 2020), which reportedly took 50 million with it.

In March 2019 the extended family celebrated Marjorie’s coming attainment of the hallowed centenarian distinction, including a recitation of what she has seen and experienced during her lifetime (i.e., Roaring 20s, Great Depression, Pearl Harbor, VE/VJ Days, Ike, Kennedys, Watergate, Berlin Wall rise and fall, hem lines up and down … ).

She is so incredibly talented, graduating from college in the 1940s when so very few women reached that pinnacle. Classical music pianist, Francophile, global traveler, sports fan, newshound, and did Almost DailyBrett mention … mother of three relatively well-adjusted children, and five stubborn yet lovable, Beagles?

My favorite sister, Claudia, deserves credit for dubbing mom — all five-foot, one inch of her — as “Mighty Mouse.” Yes, mumsy hits harder than her size. She would be a lousy poker player, you can read her expressions and temperament in two nanoseconds … make that one nanosecond.

Diplomacy is not mother’s strong suit.

Will always remember mumsy giving the business in no uncertain terms to a tough-as-nails Italian bail bondsman living across the street (long story), and turning him and his spouse into … wonderful friends.

She grew up Western Pennsylvania tough, demanding with limited patience but always fair. She has always been a good listener, even to your author’s periodic forays into and expressions of bovine excrement.

Having said all that, she has even forgiven Almost DailyBrett’s philosophical transformation and related career in Reaganite politics. Mumsy even tolerated as a former Julliard student with a Steinway and musical taste, your author’s lifelong love of classic … rock.

As Carly Simon sort of sang, this “song is not about … me,” but mumsy Marjorie. Some are amazed she is still rocking her world into her second year of trois figures. Your author is not surprised. She is embracing each-and-every day as the gift it is for her and should be for everyone else.

She is not just marking time, but wisely rejoicing in every minute.

She wants to be happy. That’s a wonderful goal, particularly with viral storm clouds spreading around the globe.

If happiness is being a lark … early to bed, early to rise … that’s mumsy.

If happiness is tending to her garden, and making it bloom year-in, year out …

If happiness is reading in Anglais et Francais … Que Sera, Que Sera … 

If happiness is a glass of Sauvignon Blanc, even in Bavarian wine glasses …

If happiness is soaking up the legendary Southern California sun for yet another day …

Then more power to you mumsy Marjorie. This is your time. You earned it.

You practiced tough love. We are all better people because of you.

As George C. Scott said playing, “Patton.” (Pardon the paraphrase)

‘I love you. I love you so.’

https://almostdailybrett.wordpress.com/2019/04/04/every-century-is-precious/

 

 

 

Even before the little bugger, Coronavirus  (COVID-19), started reeking its pandemic havoc, the nation was earlier appalled that Iowa couldn’t simply count the results of its Democratic caucus last February.

A few weeks later California couldn’t tally its votes until literally one month after its March 3 Super Tuesday primary. The final results are mandated no later than … April 3 and certified by April 10 … maybe.

How many times have courts around the country extended voting hours (e.g., Illinois yesterday) because of lines of people, who could have, should have, but didn’t vote early?

And let’s not forget the infamous 2000 hanging chads of Florida.

Finally, did Almost DailyBrett readers note how quickly the State of Washington completed its March 10 primary count?

Wonder why?

Every voter in the Evergreen State has been voting by mail for nearly a decade, including last week’s State of Washington primary. Yep, everyone in the Pacific Northwest is an absentee voter.

Voting by mail works. Federalism works. Local control works. Can we learn from these Western state success stories?

Oregon Sets The Pace For The Nation

Oregon set the pace for the nation opting for all state’s elections to be — vote by mail — starting with the commencement of the new millennium in 2000.

Ballot Measure 60 was placed before Oregon’s electorate in 1998 calling for exclusive voting by mail in all of the state’s 36 counties, winning by a landslide 69.4 percent to 30.6 percent.

The chances of fraud are greatly reduced as the Oregon Secretary of State needs to be concerned only with polling locations in 36 counties with a main server in Salem, and a redundant system in Baker City.

Here is a key differentiator: All Oregon ballots must be received — not just postmarked — by the official close of voting, typically 8 pm local time on election day. If your ballot is received after that time … oh well.

California’s permissive practice, allowing for ballots to be postmarked as late as election night and received during the next three days, only delays results and frustrates the ease of voting, which Oregon’s vote-by-mail system pioneered.

Some argue romantically about voting in the neighbor’s garage, the school gymnasium, the church hall, wishing for the return of a time that has passed.

Ohio officially postponed its Tuesday Democratic primary because its polling places brought people together, exactly the wrong practice at this pandemic point of time.

Others say voting by mail negatively impacts the economically disadvantaged. Why’s that?

Each Oregon county has designated secure voting drop-offs, a stamp is not required. One can even vote on a non-mail delivery day (i.e., holidays or Sundays). Just drop your signed ballot into the secure ballot box before the magic closing hour on election day.

What about changing your mind? You can revise your ballot right up until the close of voting at 8 pm. What’s the difference between mail-in voting or standing in line at polling places with the deadline being … the deadline? Zero.

Voting By Mail Makes Us Better Voters

In Oregon, the voting pamphlet from the county registrar-recorder arrives about five weeks before election day. The ballot comes about a week later.

In reality, voting starts about four weeks before election day. Campaigns need to calibrate this change and get their messages out to the voters earlier to coincide with the commencement of mail-in voting.

And who tends to vote early? High propensity voters (e.g., senior citizens).

Almost DailyBrett is convinced that voting by mail fosters more intelligent voting. The reason, the voter has the time to read the pamphlet and secure more information about down ballot races (i.e., initiatives, bond issues, city councils, boards of supervisors,  school boards, judges etc.,).

In practice, voting by mail is far more relaxed as opposed to fighting traffic after work in foul November weather to reach a crowded polling place before the voting time elapses.

Instead, the mail-in voter has done her or his civic duty and can head on home to watch the electoral results all within a few hours of the time for the final submittal of mail-in votes (e.g., Washington Democratic Primary, March 10).

There are no hanging chads in Oregon, and never will be.

There are zero lines at polling places simply because … there are no polling places.

All the ballots are submitted by the time the election closes; results are quicker.

There are zero apps to hack.

The county registrar-recorder offices safeguard the sanctity of voting.

And if the backside of the ballot is not signed by the voter, the vote is simply not counted.

As a libertarian, Almost DailyBrett prefers for each individual state to decide whether or not to follow Oregon’s lead as is usually the case with the State of Washington.

If a critical mass of states opt for vote by mail, maybe the nation as a whole can vote by mail with a uniform poll closing time?

What’s not to like when it comes to Oregon’s pioneering voting by mail?

https://www.oregonlive.com/politics/2020/02/oregon-vote-by-mail-draws-increasing-interest-from-other-states.html

https://www.ncsl.org/research/elections-and-campaigns/all-mail-elections.aspx

https://www.washingtonpost.com/technology/2020/03/10/mail-voting-coronavirus-bill/

https://www.sacbee.com/news/politics-government/capitol-alert/article240828386.html

https://electionresults.sos.ca.gov/returns/president/party/democratic

 

“If you can keep your head when all about you, are losing theirs, and blaming it on you.” — Poet Rudyard Kipling’s, “If” (1865-1936)

One thing is certain when it comes to any crisis — earthquake, floods, fires, pandemics — the media will hyperventilate and will be totally out of control.

Another is that no good deed goes unpunished.

And an absolute truth in politics: You have a finite number of friends and the same is true for your enemies. Your enemies will never change; your friends can change.

Finally, the public wants and needs to see its president, governor, mayor, CEO … whoever is the elected/designated leader … that individual must be there repeatedly, visible on the front lines.

The images of President George W. Bush with the bullhorn at Ground Zero, Rudy Giuliani being designated as Time Magazine’s Man of the Year in response to the brutal attacks on 9/11 are illustrative of leaders immediately present and active in response.

President George W. Bush’s response to Hurricane Katrina is less of a text book example. The failure of Exxon Valdez CEO Lawrence Rawl to visit the 1989 Prince William Sound spill site for three weeks or maybe worse, BP’s former chief executive Tony Hayward lamenting about the impact of his company’s 2010 Gulf Spill … on his personal life.

“I’m sorry. We’re sorry for the massive disruption its (Gulf Spill) caused their lives. There’s no one who wants this over more than I do. I’d like my life back.”

Sorry to say Tony, this song was not about you.

Crises present opportunities and perils. Some succeed in the face of unprecedented challenges, others fail miserably. There are few who just for lack of better words, screw up.

When asked at an emergency site to characterize what he was seeing with his very eyes, former California Governor Pat Brown didn’t realize what he was saying until he said it: “This is the worse disaster since my election.”

During the course of any political lifetime, there will be crises. You are not judged when all is well, but defined when all are losing their heads.

And besides keeping your head, a public sector team should always operate under the philosophy that good government always takes precedence over good politics.

Almost DailyBrett believes for any incumbent, regardless of whether it’s an election year (it is) or not, the “What is the good government response?” question should always be answered first.

If the answer is good government, then the question of good politics should address itself.

Invoking The Wrath Of The NRA

“There’s no logical reason for anybody to own an assault weapon.” — California Governor George Deukmejian (1928-2018)

As a Republican governor in a blue state, Governor Deukmejian recognized immediately the political landscape changed when troubled Vietnam vet Patrick Purdy took an AK-47 onto a Stockton schoolyard, filled with happy playing Korean children, in 1989.

The good government response immediately following this senseless massacre intended for the protection of innocent children and the public at large was to ban assault weapons in California. This responsible action predictably triggered (pardon the pun) an immediate vitriolic response from the NRA.

Good government, won. Good politics came along for the ride.

As President Donald Trump directs the nation’s emergency response to the global Corona virus (COVID-19) pandemic, he and his team must be mindful that anything and everything will be viewed in terms of the electoral season.

No action taken by the administration (i.e., blocking flights from China and Europe, teaming with private sector on mobile testing, relaxing and suspending burdensome federal regulations) will meet with universal approval, not this year in particular. There are those who cannot and will not be positive. So be it.

The nation needs to see its leader. The leader of the free world cannot be perfect (impossible standard to uphold), but he must be confident. Some have said we need more teleprompter Trump and less tweeting Trump. Politics needs to be left to others, particularly those out of power.

Instead, good government must rule … good government must take precedence. This is a time for message and political discipline. Can Trump and his team do it?

Let’s give them a chance.

https://www.poetryfoundation.org/poems/46473/if—

https://www.latimes.com/archives/la-xpm-1989-05-19-mn-112-story.html

https://almostdailybrett.wordpress.com/2018/05/08/the-governor-who-changed-my-life/

 

Can you imagine college students being denied their hard-earned final grades for … three months or more?

The reason: privileged graduate teaching fellows (GTFs) decided to hurt their students to line their own pockets.

Guess Lord John Dahlberg-Acton’s saying is still true: “Power corrupts, absolute power corrupts absolutely.”

Aren’t these students — waiting week-after-week for their final grades — essentially the paying “customers” of major universities, including the University of California at Santa Cruz?

Many are going into debt to pay way-too-high 6 percent interest for their tuition. Others are waiting tables and taking any job they can find to fund their college. Some are fortunate enough to have their parents dig deep for them.

Regardless of how the money is raised, they expect a return on their investment (ROI).

And yet the result of their years of hard work, including hours of studying, researching, drafting papers and presentations, is being denied to them by … striking graduate students.

These graduate teaching fellows (GTFs) are being provided free master’s or doctoral degrees from a UC System university. They are demanding $1,412 more per month for their stipend to live in a desirable, but expensive Pacific Ocean fronting locale.

Did anyone hold a gun to their heads demanding they accept this wonderful opportunity to research and teach in Santa Cruz?

Almost DailyBrett has repeatedly asked in earlier blogs: ‘Where are the university presidents?’

In most cases they are cowering and quivering under their desks, living in mortal fear of their easily excitable and always demanding unionized faculty.

At least in the case of the courageous leadership of UC Santa Cruz,  54 graduate students were dismissed this past Friday for denying students, what they had legitimately earned three months ago … their final grades.

Worse, they are asking their victims (e.g., their students) to support their unionized militancy.

Hate To Admit It …

This is yet another example of ‘What are they thinking,’ unionized graduate student research fellows, receiving a free master’s degree or Ph.D plus valuable teaching experience and a stipend, not a salary. … What a deal!

Your author is ashamed to acknowledge that he was once a member of the Graduate Teaching Fellow Federation (GTFF) at the University of Oregon from fall 2010 to spring 2012.

The unsuccessful angry strike of hundreds of bright, but not smart, GTFs at the University of Oregon during Fall 2014 dead week — only punished students — not the university.

And now graduate students at the bucolic, near-the-ocean University of California at Santa Cruz wrongly withheld the grades of their students as a bargaining chip for three months. Similar petty actions by petulant and selfish graduate teachers are planned at University of California at Santa Barbara (e.g., full strike) and the University of California at Davis (e.g., withholding winter term grades).

Terminating 54 arrogant banana slug graduate teaching fellows at UCSC reminds your author of President Ronald Reagan courageously firing striking federal air traffic controllers in August 1981, who were flaunting federal law designed to safeguard the lives of passengers.

Will UCSC continue to exhibit old-fashioned Reaganesque guts to deliver final grades after three months to students — who have been hurt by this silly strike — or will they cave? These students and their parents should not required to wait one minute more for what they are justifiably due.

“Total Douche-o-Rama”

When Almost DailyBrett dared to offend the University of Oregon graduate teaching fellow union six years ago, the responses — intended to stifle dissent — were vicious.

Some of the nicer salvos including the non sequitur, “This person is an idiot … Perfect for Ph.D candidacy.” And … “This whole blog is an audition for a commentator position at Fox News.” (Thank you).

And finally, “I’m puking in my mouth.” Hopefully, Listerine came to the rescue.

As a retired tenure track professor in public relations at Central Washington University (CWU) for four academic years, there were zero teaching assistants. The task of educating, mentoring, and providing final grades on time was my responsibility and mine alone.

Yours truly was never going on strike, but instead concentrated on the job at hand.

Maybe the University of Oregon, the University of California Santa Cruz and others should make do without spoiled graduate teaching fellows?

Think of it this way: Without graduate teaching fellows, there are no strikes.

And without strikes, students … our customers … secure a better education and their final grades as well.

https://www.latimes.com/business/story/2020-02-28/uc-santa-cruz-fires-54-graduate-student-workers-wildcat-strike

https://www.cbsnews.com/news/university-of-california-grad-students-striking-for-a-livable-income/

https://www.vice.com/en_us/article/wxe45b/graduate-student-strikes-are-spreading-in-california

https://almostdailybrett.wordpress.com/2014/12/03/are-striking-uo-graduate-teaching-fellows-certifiable/

UCSC cancels classes, shutters services as demonstrators block roadways

Fired UCSC grad students speak out, campus prepares for impacts

Muhammad Ali was the self-proclaimed, ‘Greatest of All Time.’

And then Joe Frazier walloped him with a massive left hook, sending Ali and his pretty red tassels sprawling on the canvas.

The lesson: Be careful about labeling someone, anyone — particularly anointing yourself — as the ‘Greatest.’

As an on-and-off naturalized Oregonian since 1975, Almost DailyBrett believes it’s now safe to make the call about the state’s greatest-ever citizen.

Hands down, it has to be Phil Knight.

Happy Birthday #82, Uncle Phil.

Some may want to immediately contend that Knight is being named Oregon’s greatest simply because he the 16th wealthiest in the world with an estimated fortune of $35.9 billion (Forbes). Bernie Sanders says billionaires should not exist. Oregon should be proud that Phil Knight more than exists; he thrives and cares.

To be considered by Almost DailyBrett for this lofty honor, one has to be born in Oregon. Salem lists among its most influential: President Herbert Hoover, Governor Tom McCall, trail blazers Meriwether Lewis and William Clark, but alas … none of them were born in Oregon.

Some worthy native Oregonian candidates for the ‘greatest’ designation include: Oregon track coach Bill Bowerman, Senator Mark Hatfield, author Ken Kesey, Senator Wayne Morse, runner Steve Prefontaine and democratic socialist John Reed.

Sorry being the only American to be buried in the Kremlin Wall (played by Warren Beatty in the interminable “Reds”) does not put Reed at the very top of the greatest Oregonians list.

Why is Phil Knight the greatest? Let’s Just Do It.

Never In Recorded History Have So Many Oregonians Owed So Much To One Man

If one Googles (21st century verb) the word, “entrepreneur,” the image of one Philip Hampson Knight should serve as the definition.

His best seller, “Shoe Dog,” tells the story of how he turned a $1,000 loan from his father and almost failing about nine times, he actually turned the proverbial corner with his athletic apparel company, Nike.

Today, Almost DailyBrett is a happy-camper-investor for many moons in the global athletic apparel market leader by far, Nike (NYSE: NKE).

The total amount invested in Nike stock is $156 billion (e.g., Feb. 21 market capitalization figure) with shares trading at 35 times multiple compared to the prior year’s earnings (P/E ratio).  Beaverton, Oregon-based Nike reported annual revenues of $39.1 billion in FY ’19. In total, 70,000  employees work for Nike globally, 8,000 of them in Oregon.

Without any doubt, Phil Knight’s Nike is the largest and most influential publicly traded company in the history of the State of Oregon. Think of Nike this way, great company, great products, great employer and great publicly traded company. How’s that for fiduciary responsibility?

Nike pioneered its much copied marketing campaigns celebrating The Athlete: Michael Jordan, Tiger Woods, Roger Federer, LeBron James,  Rafael Nadal, Kevin Durant, Rory McIlroy, Stephen Curry and many, many others.

Almost DailyBrett has not always agreed with Nike’s marketing decisions (e.g., Nike Takes A Knee), particularly designing and selling apparel associated with NFL persona non grata, Colin Kaepernick. Your author has never expected perfection with any individual or organization (impossible distinction to achieve, let alone maintain), and the same is true with Nike.

Giving Back To His Native State, Oregon

“And here at home in Oregon, we believe the potential to arm our talented young people with the skills and tools, they will need to have a lasting impact on the world and to pursue rewarding careers, make such (charitable) investments essential.” — Phil Knight upon making a $500 million pledge to the University of Oregon for a new science center

When discussing Uncle Phil’s financial impact you are reaching the end of the beginning of the Phil Knight story, not the beginning of the end. Knight’s legend particularly revolves on his giving back to his native Oregon and the world.

Preparations for the opening of the Knight Cancer Research Building, August 21, 2018. (OHSU/Kristyna Wentz-Graff)

Considering that Phil’s business strategies and his company focused on sports (e.g., track and field), it’s only natural to first emphasize his sports philanthropy, particularly for his alma mater, the University of Oregon (e.g., BA in Business Administration, 1959). He has given more than $300 million (and counting) to the school’s Athletic Department, including $100 million to the UO Athletics Legacy Fund.

Academically, he contributed the lion’s share to the $27 million renovation to the University of Oregon Knight Library. The name of his late father and 1932 Oregon Law grad, William W. Knight, adorns the 68,000-square foot UO law school.

He has also directed $500 million-plus to Oregon Health Sciences University’s (OHSU) Knight Cancer Institute, and $125 million more to establish the OHSU Cardiovascular Institute.

Knight’s generosity is not limited to Oregon universities, as he gave $105 million to the Stanford Graduate School of Business (e.g., MBA, 1962). Recently, he pledged another $400 million to Stanford to establish an on-campus new graduate scholarship program.

With all due respect to the memories and accomplishments of Governor McCall and Senators Hatfield and Morse, Bowerman, Pre, Kesey and Kremlin Wall fixture, John Reed … none of them rose to the level of entrepreneurial and philanthropic success and impact on Oregon’s past, present and future than Phil Knight.

Yes indeed without any conceivable doubt, Phil Knight is the greatest Oregonian of all time.

https://sos.oregon.gov/blue-book/Pages/explore/notable/knight.aspx

https://sos.oregon.gov/blue-book/Pages/explore-oregonians.aspx

https://www.oregonlive.com/life-and-culture/erry-2018/07/227b06fbff2915/the-100-greatest-oregonians-ev.html

https://www.forbes.com/forbes-400/#39cd30857e2f

https://www.businessinsider.com/athletes-endorsements-nba-golf-tennis-2019-6

https://www.oregonlive.com/business/2016/10/phil_and_penny_knight_will_giv.html#incart_river_index

https://almostdailybrett.wordpress.com/2012/09/25/taxing-uncle-phil-to-death/

https://almostdailybrett.wordpress.com/2018/09/04/nike-takes-a-knee/

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