Do or die

Oct 12, 2010

Jerry Brown and Meg Whitman, locked in a tight race, head into their final debate of the gubernatorial campaign tonight in Marin County: Be there or be square.


From the Chronicle's Carla Marinucci: "With California voters casting mail ballots and three weeks until election day, Brokaw will be under pressure to get Whitman, the former eBay CEO, and Brown, the former two-term governor and current state attorney general, to detail their positions and explore new ground at a pivotal moment in the campaign - with polls shifting slightly in Brown's favor."


"The debate comes nearly a week after Brown's camp faced questions raised by a private conversation last month that was inadvertently recorded on voice mail. In the recording, a campaign staffer characterizes Whitman as a "whore," an apparent reference to her move to exempt law-enforcement unions from her pension-reform plans to win their endorsement."


The Bee's Dan Walters notes that with hyperbole riding high in the race for governor, important issues are getting obscured by the hubub.


"Lost in this wave of invective, of course, is any meaningful discourse on what the next governor would do, or not do, to repair a badly damaged state government."


"The enactment of a new state budget, 100 days after the onset of the fiscal year, is further evidence, if we needed any, of our civic dysfunction. It's a pastiche of gimmicks and assumptions that probably will fall apart before the next governor takes office in January."


"It would be nice if we heard some sober indications of how Brown or Whitman would deal with the budget and other unresolved issues. But we're more likely to get another heavy dose of housekeepers and name-callers."


Meanwhile, the Clintons -- Hillary and Bill -- are coming to California to mix business and politics, says Lisa Vorderbrueggen of the Contra Costa Times.


"And Bill, her husband and former president, will headline a rally on Friday and Sunday rally with gubernatorial candidate and Attorney Jerry Brown. The Friday event is at UCLA, followed by a  San Jose State University rally on Sunday."


"Wait? Don’t those two dislike each other? Never mind. San Francisco Mayor and lieutenant governor candidate Gavin Newsom will on hand to buffer any leftover hostilities as Democrats push back against predictions of a mid-term Republican wave."


The Riverside Press Enterprise's Ben Goad reports that Democrats in Congress, jittery at the prospect of a GOP takeover in the Nov. 2 elections, are worried about the rising clout of Rep. Darrell Issa.


"If Republicans can pick up the 39 seats they need to win a majority in the House, Issa would be chairman of the committee. With the gavel comes subpoena power that would give Issa authority to demand testimony and documents from the administration."


"Issa, who has become known for his aggressive, sometimes confrontational style, vowed that he would approach the position with a commitment to bipartisanship and cooperation. But the mere idea of a Chairman Darrell Issa has prompted his rivals from across the aisle to issue repeated warnings to voters in recent months."



Continuing our fascination with power politics, we see that solar energy proponents want utilities to pay those who generate power as a way of boosting production. For the uninitiated, it's called a "feed-in tariff."


The LAT's Tiffany Hsu reports: "Under a feed-in tariff program, renewable power installations, including those on residential and business rooftops, are connected to the electricity grid. This allows the owners to sell energy to utilities at long-term, fixed rates."

"If such a program is adopted, proponents say, the benefits could be enormous for California as well as for individual producers, who could profit from the sale of the energy and pay off the cost of the installations sooner."


And finally from our "Agony and the Ecstasy"  file comes the story of a missing Michelangelo painting, which was tucked comfortably away behind a living-room couch. We don't think it's true, either, but we're in the New Media age.


 "When the kids knocked the painting off its perch with an errant tennis ball sometime in the mid-1970s, the Kober clan wrapped it up and tucked it away behind the sofa.


There it remained for 27 years, until Air Force Lt. Col. Martin Kober retired in 2003 and had some time on his hands. His father gave him a task -- research the family lore that the painting was really a Michelangelo...."


"In reality, this painting was even more beautiful than the versions hanging in Rome and Florence. The truth was this painting was much better than the ones they had. I had visions of telling them that there was this crazy guy in America telling everyone he had a Michelangelo at home," Forcellino said."

Jackson Pollock eat your heart out....


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