Tuesday, June 29, 2010

Mike Berryhill missed work again today...

Mike Berryhill missed work again today...
Career politician Mike Berryhill began his 26 years of service on the Turlock Irrigation District with a promise that he would "devote whatever time is required..." to the work of the board of directors (January 31, 1983 letter from Michael Berryhill to TID board seeking appointment to a vacant seat).  He broke his promise right away.  In his FIRST year, Berryhill had the second worst attendance record on the board!  It was the initial, but not the last, sign of his lackadaisical approach to governing board responsibilities.

Berryhill had the WORST attendance record (calculated as combined absences and tardies from the official minutes of Turlock Irrigation District Board meetings) in 14 of his 26 years.  That's 54% of his years on the board.

In all but four years, Berryhill had the worst or second worst attendance record, or 84.6%.

Many boards and commissions pay members a stipend for attending meetings.  The Turlock Irrigation District doesn't do this.  TID gives its directors a flat monthly salary.  It doesn't matter if they go to the meetings, show up late, or miss them entirely - THEY STILL GET PAID!  Berryhill showed up and voted for the latest director salary increase (up 67% to $1,000.00 per month - TID Ordinance 99-1, March 2, 1999).  That was one meeting he didn't miss!

Berryhill had a lousy attendance record, however, he still voted to give himself a raise!

NOTE:  Before his service on the Turlock Irrigation District, Berryhill served as an elected trustee on the Ceres Unified School District.  For comparison purposes, we would like to give you Berryhill's official attendance record for that time as well, but we can't.  The school district's records for the years Berryhill served were destroyed in a fire.  So we don't know if his participation in these elective offices improved, or worsened.

Saturday, June 26, 2010

To the "Gate keepers of public information"

Sarah Palin comes to Turlock.
Lots of news stories about event itself inside and out, and brief descriptions of what she said with quotes from the lighthearted quips in her introductory remarks. But insufficient reporting on the serious main portion of her speech. That was what she was paid so much for wasn't it? Seventy five thousand dollars for her wisdom and instruction. What was the meaning of her rambling disjointed series of quotations and commentary? A news organization should have the courage to run an analysis of the quality of her arguments and the skill of her presentation in a boxed editorial next to the straight news story. It's not enough to present a video replay. You are the "gatekeeper" of public information. Present your analysis.
I think you are afraid to say "the Empress has no sense."

Sarah Palin, Please Donate your Speaking Fee to the CSUS Students for Scholarships!

"Mrs. Palin and the CSUS Foundation fail to acknowledge the dire fiscal situation that has affected all stakeholders of the CSU, most notably the students," said Patty Hughes of the Stanislaus County Democratic Central Committee wants Palin to donate her speaking fee.

"We encourage her and the CSUS Foundation to donate her speaking fee and all proceeds of the event to directly aid the students of CSUS by the way of scholarships or the like rather than to reward a polarizing figure in American politics and to hoard profits for an administration with questionable political motives."

It was only after this call to donate on the very morning of the event did the CSUS Foundation offer a one third percentage of the proceeds from the event for student scholarships.  The foundation seems to be benefiting off the university and the students if the majority goes to their foundation administration.

Friday, June 25, 2010

Spotlight is on Palin and our Peaceful Community

Modesto Bee Editorial
Click here to read this important message.

Saturday, June 19, 2010

And, In Other News...

We are now 60 days into the fiasco in the Gulf of Mexico. Two full months have passed, and oil is still gushing from a mile beneath the sea. I am bewildered by the fact that BP doesn’t (never did?) have realistic, researched and practiced methods to stop what they started. And the techniques they’ve tried, to date, seem so rudimentary in comparison to the high technology needed to initially drill.

I ascertain that BP executives formulated their ideas to stop the gusher, by consulting with kindergartners, with names like Top Hat and Top Kill (Dr. Seuss, for sure). From this dog’s perspective, that scenario plays out more truly than the visual of a boardroom, full of stuffed shirt stiffs, headed by Hayward.

I can hear it now: “Mr. Hayward, the handful of untested schemes we’ve tried, have not been successful in quelling our tiny spill.” And, in complete earnest, Tony the Tiger responds; “I am shocked that the top hat and cane didn’t work. Or the cut and paste. Or the assassin in a beret. When I played with those concepts on my etch-a-sketch, they seemed flawless. New idea’s anyone?”

A bloated (possibly gout-ridden), BP executive chimes in with, “I have a brilliant hypothesis! I think, if we stuff the pipe with garbage and concrete, and maybe even some golfballs, we can plug the leak. It’s a sure thing, I tell you!”. Dear readers, this is where everyone in the room should howl with laughter, right? I mean, that is pretty darned funny and outrageous, and humor is a good way of diffusing a tense moment. But, no! This was one of the real solutions provided by the experts running BP.

Yes, friends, my fantasy scenario happened last month, when we were weeks into the “spill”. We are now at the two month mark, and no better solutions have come from the corporation(s) that caused this travesty.

I was titillated watching the BP executives yesterday, most notably Mr. Hayward, squirming under Congress’s interrogation. There is some comfort in knowing they will pay for their crimes against the U.S. and the environment, but that does little to rectify the damage already done, not to mention the oil flood has not ceased.

As the hearings progressed, I was really feeling fed-up with Mr. Hayward’s blanket answer of “I don’t recall”. It appeared that most of Congress was feeling as I was, until the tedium was broken by one Rep. Joe Barton (R-Tx). God bless his greedy, heartless little soul! Rep. Barton sure perked up the room when, with complete resolve and confidence, he apologized to the offender! Un-freaking-believable, even to this savvy pup!

Mr. Barton was voted into office by the people of Texas, not the executives at BP, Transocean, or Halliburton. Yet, his loyalties clearly lie with big oil, defending their big mistake and big profits, not with the people of the big state of Texas. What is the disconnect with Republicans from southern states?

Dear readers, this week we have heard; BP’s Chairman of the Board (that Swedish cat with the aristocratic name) identify the Gulf Coast residents as “small people”. Barton defend big oil, and in the same breath vilify our President and administration. CEO Hayward giving zero tangible answers. And, in the other news...the oil continues to erupt into the Gulf...

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

Guns & Money

I am dumbfounded by the power that the NRA holds in our political system. Just today, the strong-armed arm of the NRA wielded it’s influence on Congress, once again. This time in relation to campaign finance reform, which, in this dogs’ eyes, has no connection to gun rights. The result being, that while almost all organizations and corporations need to clearly identify themselves when advocating for a candidate or position, the NRA will be exempt.

Special, kid-glove treatment of the NRA is nothing new, and they have their influence in the pockets of politicians from both sides of the house. Paul Helmke, of the Brady Center to Prevent Gun Violence had this to say: "It truly is amazing. We are not talking 2nd Amendment issues at all. We are not talking gun bans or background checks. We are talking campaign finance disclosure. I have never seen this before. I have seen people get earmarks for things. Here it seems like the NRA has tooth marks instead." Or, bullet holes.As a contemplative canine, I do not understand some humans’ fixation on their firearms. And, I certainly don’t comprehend the deference these folks are given by our elected officials. This legislation, for example, has no bearing on one’s right to bear arms, yet the NRA must demand an exemption. Why the secrecy regarding who/what the NRA wants to support? This canine cranium cannot comprehend the unwavering power of gun lovers.

I understand the second amendment, but is it really a dog’s place to remind you all that the amendment is almost 220 years old? Does it take a pooch to point out that in 1791, when our Constitution was amended to include the Bill of Rights, firearms mostly consisted of single-shot rifles and pistols? Today’s NRA distorts the brilliance of the Bill of Rights, by insisting that today’s sophisticated weaponry must be included in our “right to bear arms”. The only use for today’s high-caliber, automatic weaponry is to kill...people. Not for defense, or hunting, or sportsmanship.... for war.

Currently, in multiple states, including my own beloved California, arms enthusiasts are challenging open-carry laws. Apparently, gun worshipers enjoy a little amplification with their arms, as they have chosen Starbuck’s as one of their challenge venues. In response, Starbuck’s has decided to take a neutral position, and allow firearms to be openly carried, if it’s legal in that jurisdiction.

Mama likes milk in her coffee, not guns, so our response to Starbuck’s has been to boycott, and to frequent Peet’s Coffee. Peet’s has taken the correct stand, in my opinion. They have designated their establishments as “gun free”, and for that, they get our business.

I have to say, that as a dog, I find the open-carry devotees to be fuel for my funny bone. I’m certain that for many of these open-carry fanatics, the act of sporting heavy metal around their (usually rotund) mid-sections, gives them the sense of power, superiority and virility. I think, that if their man-parts were closer in size to my own, the need to openly display their “tool” would vanish. Just a thought... and it makes me giggle.

Dear readers, I trust that your fur is not in a bundle over my opinions. I’m just a dog and have no intention of taking your precious guns away from you. Peace out, friends.

Thursday, June 10, 2010

Winners, Sinners (and Dinners)

Thank God the primary elections are over! If I heard one more negative Meg vs. Steve ad, I was going to start pulling my hair out! And, I have a lot of hair. And let's not talk about the "Demon Sheep" ad, run by Carly Fiorina. That gave me nightmares for weeks!

What a shock...money buys elections! Who would've thought? (yes, I'm being snarky). I'll refrain from riffing on Meg again, for her absenteeism from voting, for the past 20+ years. I said my piece on that subject in my post, "By the Numbers". But I am just dumbfounded with the gullibility of voters; don't they see that, by incessant propaganda (ie; 80$ million in negative advertising), they allowed themselves to be hypnotized into voting for the most familiar name? I guess, if one is repetitive enough, even with blatant fibs, people will join the bandwagon. That's what Fox "News" does daily. Say it enough, no matter how wrong or absurd, and people will buy it...eventually. It's called propaganda, folks. Little sheep being led to slaughter...

I love the ladies. You know my devotion to my mama, grandma and sister, Bella. But the ladies who won the California primaries baffle me. I am all for women gaining political power, but what does it say about the electorate, that women like Meg and Carly won the primaries?

I believe, the reason they prevailed, is the bourgeois's fixation on wealth; the wealth they don't have, but aspire to attain. Both of these women vow to cut state jobs, and have no appreciation of work that better's our community (and many state jobs are to serve that purpose). The only occupations that these females respect, are those that earn great profits, not those that better society. Sadly, in my opinion, some of the general public applaud this stance. It's the corporatocracy of the electorate. Profits over people.Carly holds great disdain for low-wage earners. She made that clear when CEO of HP and she outsourced close to 30,000, lower-level, U.S. -based jobs to India and South America. And she's pandering fear to the electorate, that illegal immigrants are taking our jobs? Carly doesn't care about jobs for American citizens, if her bottom line can profit by overseas outsourcing. Is this canine the only one who sees the disconnect here?

I'm not saying that someone with the background of a CEO would not make a good public officer, but the voters really need to take a closer look at their actions and attitudes as CEO. A respectable CEO, and now Senatorial candidate, would not cattily bad mouth an opponent's hairstyle while on camera with a mic on her lapel.

I implore you, voters, to use your God-given cranial synapses before casting your final votes in November. You are not sheep, nor is this canine. Now, on to more important things: dinner!

Ps: please check out my daily blog: http://atticusuncensored.wordpress.com

Tuesday, June 8, 2010

VOTE for Rob Jackson for Stan Co Sheriff

On this Election Day, and I humbly ask for your vote in restoring honesty, integrity, and professionalism to the Office of Sheriff. Pass it along to all your family and friends!


Today you can change California's future

The influence of Big Money is everywhere. It's washing up on the shores of our Gulf Coast, creeping up on homeowners across the country and showing up in our schools and hospitals.

Our economy, our environment and our well-being are held hostage by lobbyists whose only care is retaining the power they hold. The need for reform is simple: we won't -- can't -- fix any of our country's problems until we end the dominance of money in politics.

Today, Californians have an opportunity to strike a blow against the entrenched system of money-dominated politics that puts lobbyists' interests above the public interest by voting yes on Proposition 15, the California Fair Elections Act.

Prop 15 will change the way we finance election campaigns, starting with a voluntary pilot project to provide limited public financing for Secretary of State candidates in 2014 and 2018. The Secretary of State referees our elections, so it's especially important that s/he has the best ideas and experience, not the most money.

And it pays for itself, primarily through a $350 per year registration fees on lobbyists, lobbying firms and lobbyist employers (right now, they only pay $12.50 per year in California, one of the lowest rates in the country and less than a daily fishing license).

And that's not all. From Calitics:

It also repeals a ban on public financing, so that local governments can create their own systems—and the system can be extended to other statewide offices with a vote of the legislature and the signature of the governor. Perhaps a Governor Jerry Brown might be inclined to sign a bill creating a public financing system for the 2014 governor's race, given the abhorrent spectacle of Meg Whitman spending $68 million and counting to buy the governor's office?

This isn't a full solution, but it starts us down the path of cleaning up our elections and returning power to the people. It is a great way to show the people of California that we can have democracy again, and not corporatocracy.

Prop 15 is tough:

  • Candidates who agree to use public funds must prove they have substantial support by gathering signatures and $5 contributions from 7,500 registered voters.
  • Participating candidates are banned from raising or spending money beyond the limited funds.
  • Spending limits and reporting requirements are strictly enforced. Candidates can only spend on legitimate expenses. Violators would face fines, possible jail time, and prohibitions from running for office in the future.

This is not just important to Californians. People across the country are watching too, knowing that Prop 15 could open the door for similar reforms across the country. Hundreds of orgs and individuals (including Rep. Alan Grayson and Lawrence Lessig) support it. You should, too.

Monday, June 7, 2010

OFFICIAL California Democratic Party Slate and Polling Locator

OFFICIAL California Democratic Party Slate and Polling Locator

ACTION Alert: Rally in the Valley Tomorrow- Election Help for Candidates!

Rally Locations


McHenry & Briggsmore Noon

Sisk & Standiford (mall) 5:00 p.m.


Monte Vista & Countryside NOON


The Circle – Highway 33 and Las Palmas 5:00 p.m.


Claribel & Oakdale Road 4:30 p.m.

Crossroads Shopping Center

Bring your own candidate yard sign or we can provide them for you!

If you would like to host a rally in your area that is not listed please contact us!

Candidate Help on Election Day!

The Stanislaus County Democrats will be combining forces with the Stan Co CLC and will be phone banking from the Stanislaus Co. Central Labor Council office tomorrow from 9 a.m. - 6 p.m. Bring your cell phone if you have free minutes otherwise a phone will be provided. Refreshment donations for the volunteers will be appreciated.

Candidates and volunteers will be precinct walking and phone banking all day today and tomorrow to help get out the vote on Election Day! To find out how you can help the candidates please call the campaign phone numbers provided.

U.S. Congress - 18th District
Dennis Cardoza (D) - United States Congressman
Contact: Chip 489-7188

State Senate - 12th District
Anna Caballero (D) - Assembly member
Contact: AJ 510-502-4871, office number: 209-408-8636

Superior Court Judge Office No. 6
Martha Carlton-MagaƱa - Attorney
1012 11th St. Suite 103 Modesto 95354 209-529-4241 324-6347

Nancy Williamsen - Superior Court Commissioner
2813 Coffee Road #E-3 Modesto 95355 209-568-2389

Geoffrey C. Hutcheson - Attorney
416 N. 9th St. Suite B Modesto CA 95350 581-6261

Lauren Klein - Chief Deputy Auditor-Controller
PO Box 5373 Modesto 95352 209-549-6028

Lee Lundrigan - Stanislaus County Clerk Recorder
PO Box 1844 Modesto CA 95353 209-303-0011

Rob Jackson - Police Captain
PO Box 549 Oakdale CA 95361 209-988-5596 / 209-765-0648

Supervisor - District 3
Bill Lyons - Farmer/Businessman
PO Box 1212 Modesto 95353-1212 209-408-8436

Supervisor - District 4
Carmen Sabatino - Businessman
421 McHenry Avenue Modesto 95354 209-602-5634

Balvino Irizarry - Business Owner
400 12th Street Suite 8 Modesto 95354 209-606-3276

Tuesday, June 8, 2010
9:00am - 6:00pm
Stanislaus County- Modesto-Turlock-Patterson-Riverbank
1125 Kansas
Modesto, CA


Friday, June 4, 2010

Video: Congressman Dennis Cardoza talks about Valley economy

A fifty minute statement and Q & A session with a great congressman for our area. Listen to what he has to say and you will vote Cardoza.

Video: Congressman Dennis Cardoza talks about Valley economy

Thursday, June 3, 2010

45 Days of Crud...I Mean, Crude...

It’s been 45 long days since the BP disaster began. That’s 64,800 minutes of this dog’s life with worry on my mind. I cannot use the term oil “spill”, as what happened in the Gulf is no spill… its a full fulmination of oil! A spill is something that is easily cleaned up—just look at this example of Wilbur and I erasing a milk spill.

Now, imagine us trying to lick up this “spill”!

The volume of oil has become so great, that, as Wyatt Cenac of The Daily Show observed , “they (BP) gave up on getting the oil out of the water a long time ago. Now the challenge is to get all the water and dead shrimp and stuff, out of the oil.”

I’m especially ruffled since the offending organization is British, as am I. This CEO chap, Tony Hayward, is giving us Brits a bad name, I tell you. We Brits are generally thoughtful, and always polite. So, why is this bloke, Hayward, spewing ridiculously crude words, in addition to all the crude oil? He actually, publicly, said this weekend that he “wants his life back”. Can we say greedy, careless, narcissistic bastard? I am embarrassed, and perturbed, to share my heritage with such a cold-hearted, avaricious, piggish and selfish man.

On May 30, Hayward had the brazenness to tell CNN that he thought the reason many of the cleanup response crews were falling ill, may have been “food poisoning or some other reason” than the oil and dispersants. You’d have to be an incredibly dense dog to believe that balderdash!

BP has hired a new spin doctor to try and clean up Hayward’s faux pas (since they can’t clean up the oil). I find it hysterically ironic (in a sick and demented way), that the new hire is, none other than Anne Kolton, (not to be confused with the similarly repugnant, Ann Coulter), the former press secretary to the master duck hunter, Mr. Energy himself, Dick Cheney.

I have no solid solutions, my friends, just more frustration. But since I am a naturally optimistic pup, I can always find an upside to any situation. I think the upside of this calamity, is the possibility that the collective We, Americans, may begin a paradigm shift in the way we view energy, and our dependance on oil. Note: The collective We, does not include Gov. Wunderkind Jindal (R-La) and Senator Vitter (R-La); they are ready to drill again, and soon. I guess that proves that some fools just can’t learn from past mistakes.

Fired up, and ready to go! (again…)

Please note: this post originally published in Atticus's daily blog:


ACTION ALERT: GOTV" Walk & Talk to Win BBQ" Volunteers Needed Saturday

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Wednesday, June 2, 2010

Brown Signs Supreme Court Brief to Stop an Anti-Gay Hate Group from Disrupting Military Funerals

Office of the Attorney General
1 June 2010

Saying that "disrupting a private funeral with vicious personal attacks goes too far," California Attorney General Edmund G. Brown Jr. has signed a friend-of-the-court brief filed today in a Supreme Court case that will test whether families grieving at a funeral have a right to be free of hate-filled attacks from fanatical protesters.

Brown is one of 48 state attorneys general who gave their support to Albert Snyder in his lawsuit against Fred W. Phelps, Sr. and the Westboro Baptist Church in Topeka, Kansas.

Near the 2006 Maryland funeral of Snyder's son, Marine Lance Cpl. Matthew Snyder, the vehemently anti-gay Phelps and his parishioners demonstrated and waved signs that said "Thank God for Dead Soldiers" and some that employed even more offensive language. Matthew Snyder, 20, was killed in a Humvee accident a month after he arrived in Iraq.

"Free speech is a cherished American right," Brown said, "but disrupting a private funeral with vicious personal attacks on the grieving family goes too far."

Phelps believes that U.S. military deaths represent God's judgment on the country's tolerance of homosexuality. He and his church members have staged their hate-filled protests at some 200 military funerals across the country.

Albert Snyder filed a civil suit against Phelps for invading his family's privacy and intentionally inflicting emotional distress on them. A U.S. district court awarded Snyder $10 million, but a federal appeals court overturned that verdict and ordered Snyder to pay Phelps' legal costs.

Forty states have enacted "funeral picketing" or "funeral protest" laws regulating the time, place and conduct of demonstrations near funeral services.

The amicus brief, submitted by Kansas Attorney General Steve Six, argues that such laws are necessary to protect the traditional "sanctity and privacy" of funerals and to prevent mourning families of veterans from being "attacked viciously and personally." The picketing, the brief says, "amounts to emotional terrorism" directed at a "captive audience."

Freedom of speech does not permit hate groups to espouse hate-filled vitriol at a private funeral service for the purpose of intentionally inflicting emotional distress on mourners.

"All we wanted," Albert Snyder told a reporter, "was a private funeral for my son. They turned it into a three-ring circus."