Back to Political Commentary? Sure, Why Not?

Months and months ago, when I was going through the emotional throes of holy crap I think my marriage is over and what the eff am I supposed to do about that, a friend said to me, “Can you please make a decision so you can get back to snarky political commentary? In case you hadn’t noticed, there’s quite a bit going on.”

Whatever. The president said they were all phony scandals, so he must be right or I’m a racist. Pfffttt.

Last fall when I was on the Romney campaign, we weren’t really allowed to tweet. Well, we could but we couldn’t. Sometimes except certain times. Only if it was a good tweet, but not too good. Never on Tuesdays or after dark. Unless there was a debate. In other words, the tweeting policy was clear as mud.

Because nothing says Voter Engagement like reclusiveness.

I finally gave up trying after I was chastised for tweeting, “Lady smarts > lady parts.” Yes, I cried, because I’m a TOTAL PROFESSIONAL. Seriously though, if I couldn’t win with that tweet, then the whole thing just seemed hopeless. I should’ve known right then that we were going to lose.

Anyway, I was talking to Justin, one of my favorite friends in the Boston trenches with me about it, and said that once the campaign was over I wanted to go back to commentary. “I think my first tweet after the campaign shall be, ‘I’m back, bitches.’”

Then he blushed because he’s LDS and doesn’t say the B-word.

Er, um … neither do I. Except sometimes.

Obviously, my cussing policy is very similar to the Romney tweeting policy, which can basically be summed up as: Don’t get caught by the wrong people. Sorry if you’re reading this, Dad.

Of course, it’s been nine months since the campaign ended (nine months!!!), which is not only the correct amount of time to grow a human, but also apparently just about right for getting over a spectacular political loss. Not to mention a bunch of personal crap.

Since then I’ve been plodding along, keeping up with some news, doing some behind-the-scenes freelance writing for some candidates, and doing other very important things like learning how to curl my hair. Yes, I was 30 before I learned how to properly work a curling iron. Stop judging me. Judgey people are only allowed to visit between 2-4 pm on the sixth of never.

Anyway.

A couple of weeks ago I got a message from the lovely Christine, who knew me from being on with Chip and LaDonna once upon a time for the whole Victoria’s Secret hullabaloo. She’s now producing for Rick Amato’s new Internet TV show, and would I like to come on?

Rick and I go way back, like three years or longer! I’ve been on his radio show a handful of times, and we’ve spoken at some of the same Tea Party events.

Would I like to do a media appearance to comment on some current events from a conservative mommy blogger’s perspective? Um, yes.

All that to say … I’m back, bitches.

(Sorry Dad.)

So I was on a panel yesterday, Token Female Style, to discuss expatriates and gender-bender issues. I’ll post a clip when they get it archived.

Thoughts on Record Expatriatism

There’s this new law that’s killing Swiss bank accounts, because the U.S. is now demanding that all financial institutions report on American citizens’ bank activity — anywhere in the world. You know, so they can be sure to squeeze every last drop of blood out of people’s wallets in the name of taxes.

So people living and working abroad are denouncing their American citizenship in record numbers. The tax rate is capped in Hong Kong at 15 percent.

And liberals scratch their heads at this phenomenon, because paying taxes is supposed to be patriotic.

Meanwhile in California

Jerry Brown signed a law that says all students in public school grade K-12 get to pick their own gender. No really. It’s supposed to combat bullying, because if a little boy wears pigtails and a skirt, the bullying will supposedly stop if he’s allowed to use the girls’ bathroom.

*Insert eye roll here*

Actually, I don’t really care. I don’t have an opinion on raising little Johnny as little Joannie. You don’t tell me how to raise my kids, and I won’t tell you how to raise yours. Just keep ‘em healthy, happy, and reasonably under control in public please.

I think the real issue is going to come into play when Johnny/Joannie is 17 and wants to play basketball on the girls’ team. Boys are naturally better athletes than us women-folk, stuffed bra and close shave aside.

We were also going to talk about Bob Filner, but ran out of time. So I’ll just say he’s an ass. And I voted for Carl DeMaio.

Also I think it’s funny Hooters won’t serve him because he’s too big a boob even for them.

Sometimes the headlines write themselves.

Mitt Romney and the Lying Trash Man

The afscme, a service employee public union, has released some short videos featuring people who have worked in Mitt Romney’s upscale San Diego neighborhood.

Richard Hayes is a garbage man whose route includes La Jolla, the ritzy suburb where Mitt and Ann have a home. In the video clip, Mr. Hayes says that many times citizens will come out to give them hugs and Gatorade, to thank them for the job that they’re doing. He also says that he picks up 15 to 16 tons of garbage by hand.

Red light! Red light!

I live in San Diego. I haven’t seen a garbage man get out of the truck for residential trash pickup in years; possibly decades. It’s one of those things I’ve thought about that my kids might never see, like phones with cords or cassette tapes.

San Diego issues every single-family residence an approved trash receptacle. The garbage goes in, and on trash day, someone has to pull it out to the curb. The trash men cometh on your assigned day, in their air-conditioned trucks, and they stop next to the can. Then a robotic arm shoots out, grabs the thing, and dumps it into the back of the truck.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cmhverQzSYw&feature=relmfu

It’s not exactly the hard physical labor it once was, and certainly nothing is done by hand.

Mr. Hayes says that when he’s 55, 60 years old, his body is going to be broken down. Broken down from what? A sore finger from pushing the button to make the robot arm pick up the trash?

Just in case you didn’t know, San Diego has some of the most insane employment and retirement benefits. You can read about them here. So this guy is going to drive around in a truck until his mid-fifties, then basically retire on a full pension complete with healthcare, and thanks to the way the system is set up, he can even double dip by getting another job with the city. After all, who retires at 55?

This guy has a cushy job, and it’s on my dime. I’m paying taxes so this guy can retire at 55 while I have to continue to work, because in the private sector, no one is offering me an insane pension that will pay out even more than I made when I was actually working.

Mr. Hayes, I’m so sorry that Mitt Romney didn’t come out to give you a hug for pushing the trash button on your truck’s instrument panel. This is what we like to call a first world problem.

Endnote: When Mitt Romney was running for governor of Massachusetts, he spent a day a week doing odd jobs that everyday Americans do, in order to gain appreciation and understanding for what various people do in their day-to-day lives. This excerpt is from his book No Apology: The Case for American Greatness:

“One day I gathered trash as a garbage collector.  I stood on that little platform at the back of the truck, holding on as the driver navigated his way through the narrow streets of Boston.  As we pulled up to traffic lights, I noticed that the shoppers and businesspeople who were standing only a few feet from me didn’t even see me.  It was as if I was invisible.  Perhaps it was because a lot of us don’t think garbage men are worthy of notice; I disagree – anyone who works that hard deserves our respect. –  I wasn’t a particularly good garbage collector: at one point, after filling the trough at the back of the truck, I pulled the wrong hydraulic lever.  Instead of pushing the load into the truck, I dumped it onto the street. Maybe the suits didn’t notice me, but the guys at the construction site sure did…”

Grandmother Jailed for Child Abuse After Yanking Toddler Off Street

San Diego grandmother is sitting in jail on charges of child abuse. Last Saturday, she allegedly flung her 2-year-old grandson to the ground and slapped him. The child received minor abrasions on his back and head, and was examined at Rady Children’s Hospital.

Kelly Daffara was traveling by bus with her toddler grandson to visit a relative. When they got off the bus in a busy part of San Diego, the little boy ran away from her.

Daffara told police she yelled at him to come back, but he ignored her.

That was when Daffara allegedly screamed at him, went after him, picked him up, and slammed him down onto his back on the pavement. Witnesses told police Daffara slapped the boy once or twice.

The police reported that Daffara admitted to losing control.

Her reaction might have been extreme, but how many of us haven’t lost our minds when our children darted away from us near the street? Kids, especially adventuresome toddlers, are hit and killed bymoving vehicles all the time.

Read the rest at The Stir

RightOnline in San Diego

This weekend, Americans for Prosperity will be holding a regional RightOnline training seminar right here in my beautiful San Diego.

Join Americans for Prosperity Foundation for our regional RightOnline training seminar on January 28-29th at the San Diego Marriott Gaslamp Quarter. The training seminar will bring together an impressive lineup of America’s leading experts in new media, grassroots mobilization, and public policy for cutting edge training in online activism.

We’ll be joined by Conservative Commentator Andrew Breitbart, Talk Radio Host Roger Hedgecock, Fox News Contributor Stephen Kruiser, Conservative Blogger and Radio Host Ed Morrissey, and many other leading conservative voices.

Guess who one of those ‘leading conservative voices’ is? Some chick named Jenny Erikson. Hey, that’s me! I’ll be running a Social Media 101 session with guru James Hickey on Saturday morning from 10:00-10:45.

Tickets for the whole event (Friday evening through Saturday evening) are still available and only $40. Click here to find out more, and I hope to see you there!

PS- If you’ve never been to one of these, they are super fantastically fun.

PPS- Trust me, I know most of these people. They are not boring.

PPPs- One of them even has a mohawk. That is definitely not boring. Not even a little.

Kill Him Dead.

Someone needs to explain this to me. A lawyer perhaps. Maybe a cop. Because I do. Not. Understand.

John Albert Gardner III forcefully raped and brutally murdered two beautiful teenage girls. He watched as the life drained from their terrified eyes, and hid their abused bodies in shallow graves. He took their lives and destroyed those of their family and friends. He shook the trust of a community. MY community.

He’s flat out admitted that he killed them. He raped them both. He stabbed Amber. He strangled Chelsea. He got rid of their bodies. Didn’t manage to get rid of Chelsea’s DNA though. And through a plea bargain, he led the police to Amber’s body.

The plea bargain basically said that he would avoid the death penalty if he pled guilty and revealed the location on Amber’s body.

He will now serve three life sentences, two of them without parole (The third is for an attempted attack on another woman that managed to escape). Chelsea’s parents agreed to the conditions because they knew the Dubois family needed closure, and the death penalty is an empty promise in California anyway.

Why is it an empty promise?

Why can’t we kill these demented perverts?

Why do they have more rights under the law than their victims did?

Why can’t the cops and lawyers make a plea bargain stating, “If you plead guilty and give up the location of Amber’s body, you can have a painless injection. If you don’t, we’ll fry you. Or hang you. Or chop parts of you off and let you bleed to death. Your choice.”

That’s a plea bargain I can get behind.

Life without parole isn’t good enough.

James Moore was spared the death penalty in 1962 after raping and murdering a 14 year old girl. Thanks to a change in the law, he’s now eligible for parole every two years.

In 1966, Kenneth McDuff killed a couple of teenage boys, then raped and killed one of those boy’s girlfriend. He got a life sentence. And was let out in 1989 when prisons were overflowing. He went on to rape and kill at least nine other women. We’ll never really know how many.

Willie Horton.

Clarence Ray Allen.

And many, many more.

Life without parole doesn’t cut it. Kill him.

Kill him dead.

And that’s how I feel about that.

Justice Scalia and Consitutional Originalism

I’ve grown up with the law.  Literally.  My parents met in law school, and my mom was pregnant with me when she graduated.  I spent the first 6 months of my life nestled in her arms as she studied for the bar exam (although now that I have my own darling little hooligans, I can barely believe I was that good of a baby.  My mom is just THAT SMART for passing the bar on the first try.).

Many Saturdays and school holidays were spent at my parents’ law office; making forts under my dad’s big walnut desk, coloring pictures with florescent highlighters, and making paperclip chain necklaces.  I didn’t understand what they did, but I saw that they loved it.  I knew they worked passionately and tirelessly.  I knew I wanted to be just like them when I grew up.

In second grade, my teacher asked us students to share what we would like to be when we grew up.  After several ballerinas, teachers, and firemen, it was my turn to answer.  “A United States Supreme Court Justice.  But I’d settle for senator.”  What a mouth I had even at the age of eight!

Needless to say, I’ve always been fascinated with the law.  It’s probably why I’m so passionate about politics.  I want politicians to uphold the Constitution.  You know, that thing upon which our laws are based?  That simple document that built the greatest nation the world has ever seen?  The one signed by George Washington, James Madison, Alexander Hamilton, and lots of other dudes in funny looking clothes?  Yeah, that’s the one.

So it’s no surprise that sparks of excitement practically shot out my fingers and toes when my mom invited me to attend a lecture by the Honorable Antonin Scalia, of the United States Supreme Court.  Justice Scalia (a Reagan nominee) is an outspoken proponent of Constitutional Orginalism, the idea that the Constitution is not a living, breathing document that is given to morph through the years into something unrecognizable to the founders of our great nation.  A constitutional originalist understands that times and technology may change, but that we must calculate the trajectory of the meaning of the founders in the original document.

I had an invitation to hear the foremost authority in the country talk about an issue that is near and dear to me.  To say that I was thrilled would be an understatement.  I even showed up two hours early to the event.  Well, you never know if you’re going to get a flat tire, or maybe spill your Coke Zero on your blouse and have to make a mad dash to the nearest clothing store to buy a new, unstained shirt.  Thankfully, I made it to the venue in plenty of time, and managed to snag a seat in the third row.

The auditorium filled up behind me while jittery nervousness coursed through my veins.  Justice Scalia is a man that I’ve held in high esteem for years, and everyone knows that pedestals have a tendency to crumble.  The room began to hush as four very scholarly looking professors made their way onto the stage.  Mike Rappaport (the Director for Study of Constitutional Originalism at USD) introduced the man of the hour.

Within the first 27 seconds, I knew that my image of Justice Scalia would not come crumbling to the ground.  He was at ease.  He made jokes with the professors and the audience.  His defense of “the enduring Constitution” was clearly defined and well articulated. He didn’t talk above our heads, but he didn’t dumb it down either.  He was not boring.

And now I have a new favorite buzz term: Constitutional Originalism.  Justice Scalia explained that if judges do not hold to originalism, they will rewrite the Constitution, which would change the very nature of America. (Rewriting the constitution should not be confused with amendments, which have done wonderful things like abolishing slavery and giving equal rights to men and women of all skin colors.)

Here’s what I learned:

It keeps up with the times. A common criticism of originalism is that it’s impractical.  The Constitution was implemented long before vehicles, computers, or indoor plumbing were an everyday part of life.  How is it possible to stay true to such an ancient document in a modern world?  Justice Scalia gave the example of Saia v. New York, a case in which amplified sound was an issue.  Of course there was no electronically amplified sound at the time of the Constitution.  A non-originalist judge might make up any new rule that he felt like on the particular day that the case was handed to him.  An originalist judge would try to figure out how our founders would’ve ruled on such a case given the current technology.  Even though there wasn’t electronically amplified sound 200 years ago, there were certainly public nuisances.  The originalist then could focus on whether the case violated public nuisance laws.

Even liberals can be originalists- In the summer of 2008, the Supreme Court saw a case regarding the right to keep and bear arms. In DC v. Heller, the court held that the Second Amendment to the United States Constitution protects an individual’s right to possess a firearm for private use.  All of the opinions issued, even the two dissents, were originalist opinions.  Although they arrived at different conclusions, the Justices examined what the founders intended in, “A well regulated Militia, being necessary to the security of a free State, the right of the people to keep and bear Arms, shall not be infringed.”

It is ok (and sometimes necessary) to impose limitations on Constitutional rights.  A convicted felon does not have a right as an individual to keep and bear arms. Drunk drivers may be discriminated against by having their licenses revoked.  Screaming, “FIRE!” in a crowded public place as a joke does not fall within the bounds of free speech.

It’s hard to do the right thing. Part of the fun of being a non-originalist is that you can make up whatever you like.  If our courts and legislature do not hold true to the meaning and intent of the Constitution, what do they cling to?  Their own convictions and morality?  It’s much easier to make decisions based on how you feel, or upon popular opinion, than it is to make them based on that mean old rule book.

Town Hall Fail

About a month ago, just before the congressional August recess, I spent some time finding out what the representatives in my area felt about health care.  Even though I live on the left coast, there’s only one Representative in my county that is a supporter of HR 3200, the 1000+ page behemoth of a bill that would allow the government huge control in the medical field.  Representative Susan Davis, of California’s 53rd district, plans to vote yes on this bill.

Being adamantly opposed to this particular health care reform, I was looking forward to attending Susan Davis’s Town Hall Meeting, where she would be making a statement and taking questions about her support of the bill.  I had to search for a while, as the meeting was not listed on her website, but I finally found some information about a town hall meeting that she would be holding on health care reform, to take place August 29 at 1pm.  I put it on my calendar.

Silly-nilly me.  I should have known that with the difficulty of finding the information, along with the unwillingness of lefty elected officials being so disinclined to answer difficult questions (Barney Frank even asked one questioner, “On what planet do you spend most of your time?” and then proceeded to tell her that arguing with her would be “as pointless as arguing with the kitchen table.”) that the date might change.  I gave Susan Davis too much credit.  It never occurred to me that she would stealthily change the date of her town hall meeting regarding health care to two weeks prior than the date she originally gave.  Surely an elected official, someone that depends on the votes of their constituents, would not pull a switcheroo that would make it impossible for us protesters to express our opinions.

But that is exactly what happened.  Last night, I was preparing for my sojourn to a town hall meeting.  I checked my facts on health care, and wrote out some talking points on a 3×5 card so I wouldn’t get flustered by the hub-bub of it all. I laid out my clothes (not Brooks Brothers, just in case you were wondering), and I hoped online to check the address and get directions.  I searched Twitter to see if any of my local tweeps wanted to meet up.

On Twitter, I saw some weird comments about green jobs.  Huh.  I wondered what green jobs had to do with health care?  Maybe Cap and Tax, but health care?  With a sense of unrest, I pulled up Google and did a couple of searches.  And found out that Susan Davis had switched the topics and dates of her meetings.  When I did my original search last month, I saw that she had been planning to have a town hall meeting on green jobs earlier in the month, and a meeting on health care on August 29th.

I guess she decided to switch them around.  Leaving people like me SOL.  I don’t know about the rest of you, but I don’t have a time machine.  I can’t go back a few weeks and attend Susan Davis’s health care town hall meeting.

Here’s what I can do.  I can do it call her office (619-280-5353) and tell her how disappointed I am in her reluctance to openly discuss HR 3200 with citizens in her hometown.  I can write a blog post about her cowardice.  I can make a point to my readers: If this health care bill is such a great piece of legislation, why won’t those planning to vote for it talk to us about it?  Why don’t they answer our questions?  Why do some, like Barney Frank, flat out insult those that dare to question their government?  If a government option is going to lead to finer health care than the private industry provides, then why won’t one single Representative or Senator come out and promise that they will accept the public option for their own health care?

When did so many of our elected officials forget that they were not anointed or crowned as royalty, but elected as representatives?  They answer to us, the people that voted them in, and the people that have the power to vote them out.  They better start answering our questions.