Saturday, October 31, 2009

Is website 'Christwire' serious? Kee-rist, who knows?

SACRAMENTO, Calif., USA - Many novelists have commented in the last 20 years or so that writing novels has become really hard.

Really hard?

It's become really hard because real life has become so incredibly bizarre, it's hard to write fiction that isn't topped by that day's headlines.

And so it was today, I was forwarded a link to a website called Christwire that reinforced the idea..
  • • Link to Christwire

  • The link was to a reportedly serious column that makes the claim that the late 1980s and early 1990s sitcom, The Golden Girls turned many American male viewers gay.

    See? How can a novelist compete with that?

    But after doing some research into the site, it's still unclear if the site is a spoof (I lean in that direction) or one that is arguably real.

    If the people who are posting things on it are, well, serious, I am going to have to find a new term. Wing nut doesn't even come close. In fact, it would be an insult to wing nuts everywhere to be linked to what is posted on the site.

    Check it out, but not this moment. The site seems to be crashing a lot.

    Amen to that.

    Golden Girls - gay magnets?

    Sunday, October 18, 2009

    Columnist Dan Weintraub leaves The Sacramento Bee

    SACRAMENTO, Calif., USA - Sacramento Bee columnist Dan Weintraub published his farewell column in today's newspaper, ending a nine-year run as a writer and most recently as the interim editor of the editorial pages since the departure of editorial pages editor David Holwerk.

    In his farewell remarks, he mentions columns upcoming with the New York Times and plans for a website where his work will be featured.

  • LINK: Weintraub says adios to The Bee

  • Dan will be missed by many of his faithful readers. He was known for doing a tremendous amount of reporting before ever touching the keyboard to write his column. And most of his columns were well thought out and analytical. High-pitched emotions were not a part of his regular repertoire. If anything, his critics complained that they wanted him to inject more opinion and/or outrage into his writing.

    Dan Weintraub
    Dan Weintraub

    I met Dan Weintraub on the day he came to work for The Sacramento Bee. He took over the office of the late Bee writer John Jacobs, his job to write about politics and policy matters. At the time, I was working as fill-in editor for Bill Moore, then editor of the Bee's Forum section.

    Over the years, when I was filling in at various times for Bill Moore or Jewel Reilly (editor of the op-ed pages), Dan and I talked a lot. On occasion, I edited Dan's column before it went to press.

    We didn't always agree on political matters. And our discussions about the politics of universities and university education - and university professors - were a lot of fun. Probably more for me than Dan.

    Dan's role at the newspaper changed in the last year or so, as the Bee management struggled with the financial free fall that has affected most media companies. His columns became rare as he took over other duties and the number of staff members in the editorial section of the newspaper kept shrinking.

    And for a brief time, he found himself at the helm of the newspaper's editorial section, a duty he just relinquished in the last few weeks, when Stuart Leavenworth was promoted to the editor's position.

    Dan Weintraub's departure adds his name to a long list of talented writers and editors who have left The Bee in the last few years, some voluntarily, some taking a buyout, some laid off (or pushed not-too-gently out the door): Bill Moore, John Hughes, Dorothy Korber, Mike Dunne, Lisa Heyamoto and Rachel Leibrock, to name just a few.

    It will be interesting to see if The Bee opts to replace Dan, or absorb his position (and salary) into the bottom line of the corporation.

    Either way, it will more interesting to follow the next adventures of Dan Weintraub as he becomes an 'independent journalist.'

    Tuesday, October 13, 2009

    CSUS rally draws a small - but enthusiastic crowd

    SACRAMENTO, Calif., USA - A crowd of approximately 150 students, faculty and staff came into the Library Quad Monday afternoon at CSU, Sacramento for a hastily called rally over budget cuts to the CSU and a bill that would tax oil companies - with the tax proceeds going to higher education.

    The rally was sponsored by the California Faculty Association and Associated Students, Inc. to also talk about AB 656, a measure by state Assemblyman Alberto Torrico (D-Newark) that would tax oil companies on the oil that extract out of the state's oilfields.

    And the lion's share of that funding would go to the CSU.

    ASI president with Alberto Torrico
    Alberto Torrico (right) with ASI President Roberto Torres

    A firebrand speech by ASI President Torres led off the event. Torres exhorted students to get involved and support the bill.

    Later, Assemblyman Torrico told the rally that oil companies have been posting incredible profits year after year and that California is the only state in the union that doesn't have a tax on oil as it is pulled from the ground.

    "The governor is going around the state selling off state property but giving away the oil," Torrico said. "Even Sarah Palin has a tax in Alaska."

    Professor Joe Palermo talks to crowd
    CSU, Sacramento Professor Joseph Palermo

    Also speaking was CSU, Sacramento Professor Joe Palermo who told the students that they are not being served well by the trustees of the CSU - or by the university system's chancellor, Charles Reed.

    Reed and the trustees have said they are not supporting AB 656. But Palermo pointed out they haven't suggested how to solve the university's budget woes.

    "AB 656 is the only game in town," he said. "What is Reed doing for his salary?"
  • San Francisco Chronicle story on AB 656

  • Audience at Sacramento State rally
    Audience at Monday's rally

    CSUS officials confer with person handing out information
    CSUS officials confer with student handing out literature