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By Tim Hunt

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About this blog: I am a native of Alameda County, grew up in Pleasanton and currently live in the house I grew up in that is more than 100 years old. I spent 39 years in the daily newspaper business and wrote a column for more than 25 years in add...  (More)

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Tuesday thoughts

Uploaded: Jan 28, 2014
The memorial service for former Mayor Ken Mercer drew more than 500 people to a standing-room-only event at the Pleasanton Senior Center.
Political colleagues abounded, but so did the non-political folks who knew Ken as a friend—not a mayor.
It was cool to see the mayors of Dublin and Livermore when Ken served (Pete Snyder and Dale Turner) both venture down from their Central Valley homes to pay their respects. Standing quietly in the crowd in the back was one of Ken's long-time political friends and allies—state Treasurer Bill Lockyer (the longest consecutive serving politician in the state with 40 years in Sacramento in various roles).
I arrived 40 minutes early and stayed for almost two hours after the formal ceremonies were completed—time spent catching up with friends and colleagues that you don't see other than at a memorial service for a person like Ken. That is how broad his reach was within the county and beyond.
The idea of serving Casper's' hot dogs with all of the trimming was a particularly good one –executed by the BBQ crew that Ken served on. It is led by Tony Macchiano. Tony, incidentally, had an amazing day. He oversaw food for 500 plus relating (as one of the designated speakers) the story about how he showed up in the ValleyCare emergency room after being "stabbed by Ken" (a cooking accident). He then went on to cook for 2,500 people that evening at a crab feed.

Advance info on the president's State of the Union message indicates he will spend plenty of time on income inequality.
Perhaps the one-time professor of constitutional law should spend some time studying the nation's formative document.
This nation's founders never promised equal outcomes—only equal opportunity.
Depending upon your birth, there can be some very difficult mountains to climb, but having Uncle Sugar trying to mandate outcomes instead of ensure opportunity is simply dead wrong.
The founders would be spinning in their graves.

Wow—has state Senator Mark DeSaulnier done an amazing job of clearing the Democratic field of any challengers for the Congressional seat that George Miller will leave at the end of this year?
Miller announced his retirement on a Monday, Jan. 13 and by Tuesday DeSaulnier had withdrawn his name from candidacy for the leadership of the state Senate so he could focus on the 11th Congressional race. That is how prized Congressional seats are in safe districts.
By the middle of last week, DeSaulnier had endorsements from state Sen. Darrell Steinberg (current Senate leader), Ellen Corbett (San Leandro), Loni Hancock (Berkeley) and Lois Wolk (Davis) as well as Assemblywoman Joan Buchanan (Alamo) who ran against him and John Garamendi when Ellen Tauscher resigned from her 10th District seat in 2009 to join the Obama Administration. He gave up his term-limited job as lt. governor to take the Congressional job.
Buchanan's endorsement was particularly telling and likely leaves DeSaulnier with an easy path to the primary victory.
Local Journalism.
What is it worth to you?


Posted by John Hancock, a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood,
on Jan 28, 2014 at 2:32 pm

Tim: your cheap-shot pre-emptive strike on the State of the Union badly misses the mark, and shows not-much-Tuesday-thought. Perhaps you would be so kind as to explain which provisions of the Constitution the President has violated? Please be specific, as you may be onto an impeachable offense.

As to the question of income inequality, nobody, but NO-BODY is seeking equal outcomes. That's such a ridiculous charge that to call it a strawman is an insult to grasses everywhere. That term was coined by the same people who brought us the equally absurd "class warfare" nonsense. That's not Mr. Obama, it's just the worst, stupidest and least applicable, and most thought-bereft caricature of him and his policies. You can do better than that ... can't you?

Thoughtful people know that the current system is un-sustainably out-of-whack, and needs a healthy dose of rebalancing equity. I suspect that you know it, too, but would prefer to delay that day-of-reckoning. If you are wise, however, you'll help the process of reinvigorating the middle class, on whose spending the top-end ultimately depends for their own continued well-being.

Maybe it would be better if you hold-off 'til Wednesday to have any thoughts?

Posted by Caesar Rodney, a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood,
on Jan 28, 2014 at 3:15 pm

Which one are you?

Web Link

Posted by edantzig, a resident of Carriage Gardens,
on Jan 29, 2014 at 9:58 am

edantzig is a registered user.

Thank you John Hancock for a thoughtful and on the spot response to Tim Hunt\'s silly remarks.

Ed Dantzig

Posted by Boomer, a resident of another community,
on Jan 29, 2014 at 10:30 am

Tim, thanks for your thoughts !

Posted by Ben Johansen, a resident of Birdland,
on Jan 29, 2014 at 10:45 am

Mr. Hancock, the problem is there are too many to site. Heck, in the ACA alone there are many impeachable offenses. Just to name a few...

1)Obama altered law ? (A president has no authority to alter law) Delayed upholding the Employer Mandate Law (ACA) until 2015 ? Individual Mandate will be enforced. A President does not have that authority ? Article. I. Section. 1. All legislative Powers herein granted shall be vested in a Congress of the United States; The president ?shall take care that the laws be faithfully executed? -Article II, Section 3; Equal Protection Clause -14th Amendment.

2)Obama shelves part of the ACA Law for Insurers, extending the life of non-qualifying (according to ACA) plans until Jan. 1, 2015. Article. I. Section. 1; Article II, Section 3. Violation of the Take Care Clause, Separation of Powers.

3)Obama waved ACA individual mandate for those that lost their insurance. Article. I. Section. 1; Article II, Section 3. Violation of the Take Care Clause, Separation of Powers.

4)Waived Federal provision that prevents U.S. From arming terrorist groups ? Article I. Section 1; Impeachable under Article III, Section 3.

5)The Senate/Obama immigration bill (approved by both) raises revenue ? Section 7. All Bills for raising Revenue shall originate in the House of Representatives

6)Congress did not approve Obama?s war in Libya. Article I, Section 8, First illegal war U.S. has engaged in. Impeachable under Article II, Section 4; War Powers Act ? Article II Section 3.

7)Four Executive appointments ? Senate was NOT in recess (Court has ruled unconstitutional yet the appointees still remain)

8)Executive Order bypassing Congress on immigration ? Article 1 Section 1, ALL Legislative power held by Congress; Article II Section 3
Issued directive instructing ICE to NOT enforce immigration laws in certain cases. Article 1 Section 1, ALL Legislative power held by Congress; ?he shall take Care that the Laws be faithfully executed,? Article II Section 3

9)DOMA Law ? Obama directed DOJ to ignore the Constitution and separation of powers and not enforce the law. ? he shall take Care that the Laws be faithfully executed,? Article II Section 3

And on and on and on....

Posted by Ms. bunny, a resident of San Ramon,
on Jan 30, 2014 at 9:14 am

I can well appreciate your comments Tim though not in agreement with your "take" on the State of the Union Address, which I thought a real 'shot' of determination in finally going forth almost in spite of congress. That said?

Ken Mercer was a remarkable man. That was a great sendoff, one his friends and family can be most proud of.

It's not Mark DeS's fault no one has yet "thrown" their "hat in the ring" with him. He's a good guy, has integrity and real dignity. Though different than George M. ??? I have little doubt he will do a fine job of representation if elected, even though I perceive him as "warm apple pie with a glass of milk" in his approaches...

Thanks for always giving balance and perspective (-others could learn a little less verbose, self-centered thinking if they took the time to read your POVs) You go guy!

Posted by Biff, a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood,
on Jan 30, 2014 at 10:26 am

"Giving balance and perspective?" What, is he balancing on a bicycle while offering his undefended perspective? Bad enough the poor guy can't think himself out of a paper bag -- formulate a coherent argument, anyone? He seems to have learned nothing from those who have commented on his immature cheap shots, and he has proven himself too cowardly (or airheaded?) to respond to anyone's remarks.

When offering a validity claim, one should either give it argumentative backing (evidence, reasoning) while making the claim, or be prepared to openly defend the claim with argumentative backing. My 10- and 8-year olds have learned this basic communicative skill. But this homer apparently has never learned this. A consequence of living all of one's life in the Pleasanton bubble zone? Likely.

Here's the irony: How can he bark about others getting handouts from the government when his entire professional 'career' has been nothing but receiving handouts from his employers for seriously substandard 'work'?

Posted by Huh?, a resident of Danville,
on Jan 30, 2014 at 2:30 pm

John Hancock nailed it. Tim has copied Thomas Sowell's technique of grotesquely mischaracterizing the other side's actual position and then ridiculing that stupid parody as if it actually expressed the thoughts being attacked.

Bad on you, Tim. Seriously - you should be embarrassed and ashamed, if you have the integrity to honestly assess the nature and quality of your statements.

Government policy has always affected how wealth is distributed. Always. The idea that it should only do so in a way that **increases** income inequality is actually what you're promoting, although I doubt that you even realize that. If you were to study the changes in policy and law which were instituted in the 70's and 80's which upset the balance of the distribution of wealth and income which had existed for the previous 50 years (none of which raise constitutional concerns) and caused a significant and ongoing increase in income inequality since that time and considered the merits of revisions of law and policy which might tend to counteract those changes so as to nudge the balance of wealth back towards its previous equilibrium (none of which raise constitutional concerns either) you might demonstrate having had some "thoughts." Instead, you have indulged in shopworn cliches.

If there's any grave spinning going on it's out of horror that you're wrapping yourself in the flag of the founding fathers to defend your vacuous exercise in mindless propaganda.

Posted by Ms. Bunny, a resident of San Ramon,
on Jan 30, 2014 at 5:21 pm

Biff boy, what IS YOUR PROBLEM? If you don\'t think well of Tim Hunt? That\'s your business dear, I mean seriously do ANY of us CARE? (-any more than they should care about my issues with TC? Really now Biff boy, do get a "grip")


Posted by Bob P, a resident of another community,
on Feb 1, 2014 at 9:57 am

My issue with Obama is he is not a leader, in any sense of the word. He never works for consensus, and he would rather make unilateral decisions in a 'lone wolf' manner. It's kind of ironic that being a former senator, he didn't learn a thing about the legislative process.

Mark D. is the consummate politician. I have always enjoyed working with Mark, he is a man of his word. Now what the Republicans will do is find 8 or 9 really mediocre candidates to battle royal each other into submission and then not be able to fund a competitive race against Mark.

Posted by Jake, a resident of Alamo,
on Feb 1, 2014 at 7:36 pm

Based on my readings the issue of income inequality is a world-wide one largely attributed to advances in technology and automation in addition to mobility/migration of jobs to the lowest labor cost regions. This is a real problem that is being exacerbated by societies not being able to react quickly enough to revised the "rules" to mitigate the issues. The current system is disproportionately biased toward rewarding intellectual activity over "work". Entertainment and sports rewards are another area that have become out of balance. I would not propose that those who are rich are diabolical; they just played by the rules currently in place. I have the same view of those who no fault of their own are being pushed down the scale. However, for the societies wold over the current system(s) can not be sustained and it is unstable.

Posted by John Hancock, a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood,
on Feb 2, 2014 at 7:24 am

BobP: do you have actual evidence for this failure-to-compromise claim, or is it just one of those things that has been said so often in the right-wing media that everybody knows it is true? It is very much at odds with my recollections, which is why I ask.

Item: ObamaCare its-very-self was an approach created by the uber-conservative Heritage Foundation. Obama chose it over more liberal plans (single-payor) precisely because he thought it would therefore have bi-partisan appeal. Imagine his surprise when the GOP suddenly opposed it, following their leaders' early 2009 dictum to obstruct Anything for which Mr. Obama might get credit.

Item: Obama compromised on the Bush tax cuts.

Item: Obama compromised on the first and second fiscal cliffs.

Item: Obama compromised on the austerity programs generally, that have shrunk the deficit to half, and stalled the recovery.

Item: Obama did NOT compromise on the government shutdown last fall, and the opposition caved-in.

Item: in the international sphere, lots of compromise and collaboration, including Libya/Gaddafi, Syria's chems and possibly Iran's nuke program.

Item: he is about to sign an Ag bill with lots of welfare pork for Industrial Ag, and food stamps cuts he would prefer not to make.

Item: the Senate immigration bill has huge compromises in it. The House won't budge.

You see, I see the imprint of Harvard's late, great Roger Fisher and "Getting to Yes" on Mr. Obama. When he can, he seeks to negotiate to "interests," not positions. Now, you have to know your own BATNA -- the lower limit below you will not go. Mr. Obama has had to demonstrate that repeatedly, because stalemate does beat surrender. It is exceptionally difficult to make agreements, however, when the primary "interest" of the other side involves little more than your own destruction. The GOP's approach, OTOH, has been competitive, not collaborative -- a fixed pie, and "more for me, less for you."

Under the circumstances, I feel we have been well-led -- except for those several times when Obama's BATNA was too low. Please, tell me why -- with evidence -- this is not true.

Posted by spcwt, a resident of Danville,
on Feb 3, 2014 at 8:52 am

Obama didn?t compromise on the Bush tax cuts. He campaigned that he wouldn?t raise taxes during the recession. No one in Congress was pushing for a tax increase back then.

After the recession, Obama imposed a $600 billion tax increase on people making over $400,000 per year. That?s not a compromise.

And Obama didn?t compromise on Obamacare. He wasn?t involved. He stepped aside and let Pelosi & Crew shoved it down our throats. Yes, universal insurance was a conservative idea. So what? Conservatives never supported Obamacare?s generous subsidies that increase government spending by over $400 billion per year. Conservatives also wanted everyone to help pay for it, similar to Social Security. Instead, millions get another free handout. Obamacare pays for it by taxing ?the rich? by over $500 billion per year. And Obamacare raises insurance premiums on young healthy people in order to subsidize older sick people. That?s not a conservative idea. That?s wealth redistribution.

Obama nearly shut down the government because Republicans asked for a one year waiver of Obamacare?s individual mandate. Obama refused. Later, when it was revealed that Obama lied about people being able to keep their insurance, he granted a one year waiver for the millions of people who?ve lost their insurance thanks to Obamacare.

Obama didn?t compromise on the Ag Bill. It?s $950 billion of pork spending, mostly for Big Ag. Democrats and some spendthrift Republicans teamed up to mug taxpayers because they know these farm states are the battle ground during upcoming elections. The $8 billion cut to food stamp spending over ten years is miniscule, nearly all of it coming from the LIHEAP loophole, under which some 17 states were able to leverage token (often as little as $1) fuel-assistance payments into higher food-stamp benefits.

Obama divides Americans, demonizing those who dare disagree with him. He?s aloof, he refuses to build relationships, he spends most his time playing golf, vacationing, or giving campaign speeches & fundraisers, calling millions of Americans his ?enemies.? He tells kids smoking pot isn?t so bad, undermining parents? efforts to help our kids stay off drugs.

Obama is ignored even by Democrats. A major plank in his State of the Union address, free trade, was repudiated the next day by Harry Reid. Not a single Democrat voted for his 2013 or 2014 budget. He couldn?t even pass a gun bill that 90% of Americans supported. The guy can?t lead.

Posted by Huh?, a resident of Danville,
on Feb 3, 2014 at 11:27 am

Have you ever notice that when Fox-bots complain about Obama and Obamacare, they always use the expression "shoved down our throats." It's almost like they're programmed to respond to certain phrases like Pavlov's dogs.

Apparently they're also trained to complain about Obama's vacations, despite the well-documented fact that he has taken only a fraction of the vacation days that his predecessor took.

To Fox-bots when Obama only gives the right wing 50% of what they want, he's "refusing to compromise" and when he refuses to capitulate to the most extreme demands of right wing radicals he's a "dictator."

Given that worldview, it's not surprising that the most moderate, drama-free, non-confrontational president in recent years can be sincerely believed to resemble the bizarro-world cartoon character depicted by spcwt.

Posted by John Hancock, a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood,
on Feb 3, 2014 at 11:54 am

In one of Mr wt's few candid moments on one of Cushing's blogs, I recall that he admitted to being a say-anything internet troll.

That's when I stopped paying attention to his entries.

Posted by spcwt, a resident of Danville,
on Feb 3, 2014 at 12:07 pm

Notice how Obama-bots rarely address the points in question, but instead attack the messenger?

Obama-bots think compromise and giving conservatives ?what they want? means: a $600 billion tax increase on ?the rich,? $400 billion per year of liberal spending on Obamacare, $500 billion per year of new Obamacare taxes, $950 billion of pork spending on the Ag bill, etc., etc., bizarro-world indeed.

And if you ever criticize Obama about anything, they always trot out George Bush, as if Bush?s failings somehow justify Obama?s poor performance as president.


Tom, you?re still mad at me cause I didn?t give you an atta boy about your porn habit article? Ok, you win. Atta Boy buddy.

Of course I?m a troll. Like Huh?, I have no friends and no life. What else am I supposed to do on my lunch hour and weekends?

Posted by spcwt, a resident of Danville,
on Feb 3, 2014 at 1:40 pm

spcwt, the problem IS the messengers - because there is no "message." How should one respond to a rant about Obama's vacations, when anyone with the means to post that rant also has the means readily available to ensure that they know it's nonsense? When you apopleptically declare that a reversal of a "temporary" tax cut in a manner which is least likely to adversely affect the recovery of the economy by limiting those to whom that reversal applies actually constitutes the "imposition" of a "tax increase" can you really expect me to address your vacuous "message" instead of marvel at your disconnect from reality? When you use the term "demonizes" in the same sentence with "Obama" without recognizing that the Obama family is in fact the target of that verb do your really expect to be taken seriously?

You are the phenomenon that's interesting. Your ability to tie yourself into knots of reality-insulated rage over every minor policy tweak implemented by the political party which received the majority of the votes cast in the past election, and your inability to come to grips with the fact that the losers weren't able to impose their will **completely** demonstrates a world view that is interesting - far more interesting than the nonsensical Foxy "talking points" you repeat.

Posted by Huh?, a resident of Danville,
on Feb 3, 2014 at 1:41 pm

Oops. Obviously, the above post was addressed to spcwt, not authored by him/her. Mu apologies to anyone confused by the mislabeling.

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