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Stateside With Rosalea: Clayton For President!

Stateside with Rosalea

Clayton For President!

It's really very hard work disliking Arnold Volksenegger - his disarming smile giving, as it does, the impression that he is genuinely delighted by whatever attention is being paid to him. I mean, it's not like he's going to wrap his hands around anybody's throat in order to intimidate the folks in Pollywood, now is it? He knows enough to know that's not a good look for a leader.

So I'll be churlish about his wife instead. "Human beans"? What the hell are "human beans"? Did they come in on the back of a watermelon truck, as Bushdaddy likes to say in a veiled reference to those races who toil in the fields here in the US? "All human beans are more alike than un-alike," quoth Maria Shriver from the work of Maya Angelou, in between the reciting of the Pledge of Allegiance by special olympians and other children, and her husband's mangling of conjunctions in his oath of office.

Maya Angelou is the sort of poet whose sentiments end up on greeting cards the same way that Ghanaian Kente cloths end up as throw rugs in white middle class homes. When they signed her in 2000, Hallmark Cards' press release said that Angelou's "voice of hope resonates within all of us." Dr. Angelou, in turn, said that she would pen messages for those who "seek an expanded viewpoint on courage, spirituality, and personal expression." In 1993 she wrote and recited On the Pulse of Morning at the inauguration of President Bill Clinton.

The words Shriver recited today spoke of a "morass of misery" and a "grim meadow of misery", which was somewhat over the top, I thought, if it was supposed to be a description of the malady for which the new governor says he is the cure: car taxes, budget deficits, partisan politics, and special interests' distorting of policy decisions.

"Misery" brings to my mind a vision of the homeless who bum free rides on the bus I take to work in the morning. Ragged, stinky, and some of them covered in sores, they're going to a local church that has had to take on the burden of feeding them. Not one of them has a car to pay taxes on or gives a rat's arse about the budget deficit or special interests running Sacramento. Are they included in the "people" for whom your website says you are the People's Governor, Mr Schwarzenegger?

Shriver ended with some lines from another Angelou poem - A Brave and Startling Truth, which talks about "we, this people, on this small and drifting planet." But it's not about real-life people. If it was it wouldn't have become one of the banner poems of the armchair antiwar movement.

And as for being unbeholden, if you'll forgive the pun, to special interest groups - the Governor has said he'll commit money to building hydrogen fuel cell refueling stations every 20 miles in California by the end of the decade. Wherein I smell a rat's arse.

At a public talk I went to a week after the recall election, Bob Lutz, who is Chairman for North America at General Motors, said that petrol-electric "hybrids have become a sort of fashion trend" but are "inefficient in the long haul", so GM is placing its bets on - go on, guess - fuel cell cars. Which it will have on the road by the end of the decade.

It was an interesting talk. I learned that the Pontiac GT is the equivalent of the Holden Monaro. And that the "Hummer H2 will soon be the offical car of California." He was joking. Right? Lutz also said that "politicians are the world's biggest hypocrites" for placing the burden of creating fuel efficiency on auto manufacturers, when simply "raising fuel prices would drive people to fuel efficiency."

I double dare ya, Mr Governor, sir! For the children.


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