Stateside With Rosalea - Horse sense
After this year's dramatic - or should I say, theatrical - market slide, the media puzzle only deepens. Was what happened on 14/11 or 15/11 any more significant than what happened on 9/11?
Whoa, there, conspiracy theorists! That first paragraph is in a secret code only Kiwis and Aussies will understand. Here's a clue: why put a paper bag on your head when you can wear a cardboard beer box instead? A Toohey's beer box. For a day at the races. (Dang, now I've got the Marxists all excited!)
So, here in the States it's election day, and by the end of it we will (or won't) know what the Tomatometre says. (Apologies to rottentomatoes.com, who pronounce it differently but spell it the same, or pronounce it the same but spell it differently, depending which end of the pantomime horse you are holding.) I wasn't going to mention the election in this, my regular column, on account of I figured there'd be a media blackout like what they have Down Under and Up Over (in Canada).
But no. Up at the crack of dawn, I espied out my window a shadowy figure placing election placards in the grass median strip on the major on/off-ramp street on which I live. Turned on the telly for the morning news and found that the ads for candidates and propositions are still playing - Bill Simon was even still campaigning down in Southern California. He's up against the rails or, at least, the rail-thin Gray Davis, in the Governor's race.
Oakland Mayor Jerry Brown was interviewed after casting his vote on one of the new touch-screen machines, and pronounced them fast but easy. You can go back and check what you've voted for, he said, but added he didn't do that as he was sure he did it right first time. He very nicely dodged giving any opinion about the particular measure on the Oakland ballot that resulted from his insistence that the city needs more police, not more youth programs, to combat its alarming gang-related murder rate.
His reply fitted in with the general tone the media here in the Bay Area are taking that propositions are where it's at, considering that the big ticket item - Damon - is such a damp squib. And for a horse of quite a different colour you need look no further than dear old Berkeley, with its Measure O - "Shall an ordinance be adopted to restrict the sale of brewed coffee in Berkeley to only that which is organic, shade-grown and fair-trade certified coffee?" - on the ballot paper.
Bags the job of Coffee Commissioner, if it gets passed!
The live pictures of the traffic commute looked very light this morning, hopefully because people are taking the chance to go to their polling places before setting off for work. Normally you see cars jockeying for position on all the major commute routes between 7 and 8 in the morning, and often they're at a standstill on the approach to the Bay Bridge, but this morning's commute was Friday-lite.
And of course I cannot go another moment without mentioning the horsebite Governor Jesse Ventura delivered in Minnesota when he appointed a non-Rebloodrican/non-Democrip Senator to replace Paul Wellstone for the rest of the term. He was annoyed at the way the Wellstone commemoration service last week was turned into a party political broadcast, and suffering from a fit of pique (according to the editorial in Minnesota's 'Star Tribune') at the Independence candidate for Senator being excluded from the one and only televised debate on Monday. Minnesota has public funding of elections, so third party and independent candidates fare much better there.
According to the bookies, we're headed for a photo finish, even in a number of races that were earlier considered sewn up for one particular candidate or the other. Hold onto your hats, folks! She's a bumpy ride ahead.