Short Stories

(Named after my favorite smokes)



I know you've all probably read, heard, and seen all you ever want to read, hear and see about this poor little kid--Bear with me while I get my two cents into the equation.

Eight words, none more than two syllables, capture the entire situation:

The Mother's Dead, so the Father Takes Over

Are you listening, Cuban exiles in Miami? Are you listening, Ms. Reno?

It isn't really about one kid. Unless you all weren't aware, there are an awful lot of immigrant kids being sent back home to places like Haiti and Mexico, and who knows where else? Who's up in arms to save them? Which State Supreme Court will champion their "wish for a better life"?

The fact is, and most of us realize it, The poor kid's become a symbol for all the Cuban exiles in Florida and elsewhere, who hover over him, drooling like Newt Gingrich over his secretary. These people will not let go by a single opportunity to stick it to Castro. Now, Castro himself ain't completely spotless here, either, but can't they pick their issues with him a little more intelligently?



Slick Willie

No, I don't mean Mr. Clinton. I'm talking about the recently re-elected mayor of San Francisco, the Honorable (snicker) Willie Brown. It's no surprise he defeated the ex-mayor/ex-police chief (Frank Jordan) and the cheap-suited political hack and hanger-on (Clint Reilly), especially with his vote-splitting other rival, openly gay Tom Ammiano, an experienced local politico and "friend of the people". Ammiano got so much of the vote, they had to run a second election for him and Brown, who won easily, if not in a landslide, as conservative local dailies would suggest. (Note to the SF Chronicle -- 59% to 40% is decisive, but not a landslide.)

On the other hand, a scan of the Chron's online message board for local politics showed healthy debate and a lot of stupid (It's my column and I can say what I want--Get your own column if you disagree) comments, as well as the poetic gem, "turnout is low among people I know".

Anyway, Brown won the election, as we all expected, and has been very lucky there's so much world and national news to distract everybody from his ruining, er, running of the city. For the past year, City Hall has been home to FBI agents poring over city records because of allegedly fraudulent minority building contracts and other conflict-of-interest issues. These guys are as intent on their investigations as Mulder and Scully, and with about as strong a conviction record. Good luck, guys, keep digging.

It wouldn't even be so bad if Willie would get off his duff and fix MUNI, the spawn of Satan that passes for a public transportation system in this town. Maybe we should get off Slick Willie's case - I guess it takes more than four years to fire a bunch of alcoholics who regularly run red lights and plow into not only bus shelters and cafes that stand still, but also pedestrians who do their best to avoid getting hit.

Alert readers may recall the 1998 Pie incident, in which the Biotic Baking Brigade showed up at a Brown press conference and "assaulted" His Honor with some cream pies, but you may not know this (yes, now it can finally be made public): Your own co-editor, Janet Glasser, served on the jury for the famous pie-throwing trial! I can't remember, Janet, did you convict?

I'd have acquitted the throwers and imposed sanctions against Brown for vindictively pressing charges, but that's me.



Stupid Laws Department

After Mussolini, Italy amended its constitution to forbid the resurrection of the Fascist party. Since, they've also passed laws against anti-semitism. So far, so good. Now, though, a turn for the stupid.

This from the New York Times:

At a soccer match in Rome on Sunday, extremist fans held up pictures of Mussolini and banners honoring Zeljko Raznatovic, the Serbian paramilitary leader and war-crimes suspect known as Arkan, who was recently assassinated. The Italian government warned that if those gestures were repeated this weekend, the match would be halted and the police would tear down the banners.

Today's news from the BBC said the Italian parliament are considering a new law allowing police to stop a soccer game to remove banners, and if it takes longer than 45 minutes to restore order, the referees are empowered to call off the game, and declare a 2-0 defeat against the team among whose fans the hooligans are sitting...I'm still shaking my head at it.



George Dub-ya In a Nutshell Department

"I propose that every city have a telephone number 119 - for dyslexics who have an emergency."

Thanks, Governor Bush, for your visionary leadership.