Tchaikovsky Sounds Funny: November 2005

Is this where I put in key words such as sex, lesbians, vampires, Christopher Lloyd and others things to which this blog do not pertain, but by putting them here, I may get hits from all the Christoper Lloyd lesbian vampire fans (and you know who you are)? This is the primarily humorous and occasionally rambling writings of Leon Tchaikovsky, humor writer. Enjoy.

Tuesday, November 22, 2005

Autobiography of a Powerful California Lobbyist

There were times when lobbyists controlled state legislatures. State legislators served part-time with low pay and thus were susceptible to high-paid lobbyists who controlled the flow of information regarding bills, as well as campaign contributions, to legislators. The Pennsylvania Railroad lobbyists used to sit on the Senate floor where they were referred to as “Pennsylvania’s 51st Senator”. During the late 1960s and 1970s, the Pennsylvania legislature was converted into a full-time legislature with salaries that legislators could live on (without sometimes relying on assistance from favor seekers) with full time skilled staff who could research issues and provide independent information other than the facts the lobbyists provided.

Other states had similar experiences with lobbyists. California actually had a famous ‘super-lobbyist’ who not only represented clients but realized that, by playing a major role in getting legislators elected, he could greatly influence the legislature for his clients. This book, “The Secret Boss of California”, is the autobiography of one such lobbyist, Arthur Samish.

Samish was considered to have been more powerful than political party bosses, as he directed where large flows of funds from large corporate contributors were distributed to legislators he favored (which were, of course, the legislators who favored his clients.) In his own words, Samish was “the Governor of the legislature. To hell with the Governor of California.” Governors came and went, but Samish had substantial influence over the legislature for decades.

Samish helped elected enough state legislators in order to control the election of the Speaker. The Speaker then appointed the committees, and Samish attempted to see that committees that affected his clients were composed of legislators who agreed with the positions of Samish’s clients. Samish owned a ventriloquist’s dummy, as that represented how Samish h saw himself, as the holder of the strings to a legislature that moved as he wished.

Samish’s candidate recruitment interviews may be questionable. He told of first meeting one legislator, Jack Tenney, by asking him what his prior occupation had been. “I played piano in a whorehouse in Mexicali”, the candidate replied, to which Samish responded “Jack, you’ll make a good legislator.” Samish helped elect Tenney by sending out letters stating that the National Democratic Committee supported Tenney. As Samish explained, “it didn’t matter that there was no such thing as the National Democratic Committee…What mattered was getting Jack Tenney elected.”

California adopted a number of measures such as cross-filing that weakened the power of political parties. With weak political organizations, Samish as a powerful lobbyist stepped in to fill a political void in recruiting and financing candidates. Samish was a skilled lobbyist who learned what motivated different legislators to follow his lead. As Samish explained. “I can tell if a man wants a baked potato, a girl, or money.”

Legislative pay then was low, causing some legislators to fall to bribery on votes to supplement their income. Samish was a manipulator, but he made it clear he never used bribery, stating that bribery was “for amateurs”. He didn’t need to persuade legislators as he had already chosen candidates who supported his goals and had helped elect them. Thus, the legislators entered officealready on his side. Legislators were lobbied by Samish through his helping getting jobs for their relatives, plus Samish saw to it that lawyers and insurers Samish represented gave breaks to favorable legislators when using their services. If the legislator decided to vote against Samish’s clients, Samish simply did what he could to see the legislator was defeated for reelection. When a Lt. Governor wouldn’t make Senate appointments as Samish saw fit, Samish had the Senate take away the Lt. Governor’s appointment powers.

Once a legislator was speaking on the floor against a bill Samish wanted. Samish slipped the representative a note. The legislator read it and then stated “now that I have told you the bad things about the bill” and then continued speaking in favor of the bill Samish wanted.

Samish was an operator. He helped his client bus lines get tax breaks through a voter initiative by staging a “Drive the Hog From the Road” campaign that called for a favorable vote for his client, even though the issue had nothing to do with reducing large trucks from roads. Another time he led a “Let’s Clean Them Out-Vote Yes on Number Two” campaign that had nothing to do with cleaning anyone out. Samish once saved a client, San Francisco Bank, $20 million by having a bill introduced that reprinted the entire banking law with a one word change that no one found that helped this bank save that money.

It is interesting to note that Samish worked on a contingency basis. If he didn’t get a client’s legislation passed, he didn’t charge the client. I only mention this to make current lobbyists sweat when they read this.

Samish,, for his Philip Morris client, kept a cigarette tax from being created. For his movie industry client, he kept dog racing out of California so races would be one less competitor for entertainment dollars. For his beer industry client, he saw to it the beer tax was never raised.

Samish’s manipulations finally caught up with him. He was first banned from the State Senate, but he claims that did not bother him because he still was a major force in the State House. Eventually he was charged with tax evasion, a charge he denied, but he pled guilty and was sent to jail.

Eventually one’s bad deeds come back and haunt, and Samish discovered that. Hopefully, there will never be another time when such a manipulator could ever operate. Yet, if there ever is a state without lobbying disclosure, unlimited campaign contributions, too many Republican legislators, and low paid legislators, who knows?

Monday, November 21, 2005

And A Very Merry Clapton to You

As we entered the holiday season way before Halloween, let me now attempt to give holiday greetings to cover as many readers as possible: Merry Christmas, Happy Hanukah, Joyful Ramadan, Hare Krishna, Cheerful Confucius Guidance, Joyful Buddhist Guidance, Happy Festivus, Happy Satanic Guidance, May Mother Earth Sustain You, and, from my own perspective, Happy Enjoying that Eric Clapton is God.

I saw an advertisement for a new kind of birth control called a Neuder Ring. The ad was kind of creepy: it showed a ring around the women’s waist. Isn’t this what they used to be called chastity belts?

I ran into my close and personal friend Rick Santorum. Ever since he made his slip about having gay thoughts, I do find it disturbing how he smiles at me. But then, since he equates gay sex with bestiality, he may have only been smiling at the collie behind me.

Penn State is number three in the football ratings. In they hadn’t lost that one game, they’d be…well, they’d still be number three. But a strong number three.

Monday, November 14, 2005

Rational Conversations with Irrational People

One of my problems in life is I have attempted way too many times to believe that it is possible to have rational conservations with irrational people. I should have realized, after once saying the following comments, that any subsequent conversation was going to go downhill:

“Let me see if I understand your position. You are upset at me because you trespassed onto my property, which is illegal to do, to plant an illegal substance, marijuana, on my property, without my knowledge, and that my cows, who belong on my property, then ate your marijuana?”

The response was “yeah, man. So, what are you going to do about it?”

“What do you expect me to do about it?” I should have known at that point not to ask, but that failed to prevent me from doing so.

“I want you to talk to your cows.” The gentleman seemed to think this was a perfectly logical solution. I then offered my logical alternative, which is where I made my mistake.

“They’re your plants. You should talk to the cows.”

People from then on loved to drive by my farm and watch this spaced out guy talking to cows. “Are you paying attention to me? Don’t walk about from me, man, I’m still talking to you.”

Since we were grandfathered in and were one of the last farms allowed to see un-pasteurized milk, I always wondered if a cow that eats marijuana would then affect the milk in any way. I guess I’ll never know. Although, sales were sharply higher (no pun intended). And, the cows seemed happier. Plus, they seemed to stay up all night with the munchies eating a lot more grass (the legal kind) and they were producing more milk, so I guess it did make some difference.

Speaking of people having irrational conversations, how about the President of the United States, who lied about the reasons why he thought we had to go to war in Iraq, and who kept secret Defense Department warnings that the war could last a long time and had us believe that it would be a quick war, now finds faults with people who currently criticize him even though they initially supported his request to go to war? Now, that does not include me, because I was against going to war with Iraq for a number of reasons, such as we had Saddam Hussein contained where we wanted him so he couldn’t use the weapons even if he had them and I thought we should at least wait until the inspectors finished the job (where, it turns out, they would have discovered he didn’t have weapons of mass destruction). Yet, how can a rational person blame someone for being against their lie because they believe him when he lied to them? How can…oh, wait, there I go again: expecting rational conversation from an irrational person.

Sunday, November 13, 2005

Maybe Paul McCartney Stole the Japanese Space Station

Paul McCartney gave a live performance for astronauts in space. What was really amazing about the whole thing is the astronauts only had to pay $300 a piece for their tickets.

Japan turned its back and lost a space station. Maybe they were distracted intercepting an illegal version of the Paul McCartney space concert. Just what our mothers always warned us about: there is a whole universe where one can get lost. Now, it finally happened.

Pennsylvania has banned hunting with prehistoric weapons. People in Dover, Pa., where they stopped teaching about evolution because they believe the world is only 4,500 years old, though, may hunt with whatever they want. The problem with this ban is, so many hunters’ guns are so old, those guns are included in this ban.

There is a poster in Pennsylvania that reads “Gun Crime = Gun Time.” Do they really expect most criminals to understand what “gun time” means? Many probably think it is like happy hour, like you’re legally allowed to use a gun for any reason between 5 and 6 pm. In Dover, where evolution is being challenged, there is a strong believe the people descended from rifles. Afterall, doesn't the Constution guarantee our right to free expression with guns?

An announced gay candidate for City Council won election this week. I supported him. I do have to confess that I read about his past and it did take some doing to overlook some of his immoral life. Yet, I have forgiven him for his having been a Republican.

Thursday, November 10, 2005

France is Aflame But Paris Hilton is Fine

I received a breaking news item that Paris Hilton was in a car crash, and she was uninjured. I have notified the wire services of the following: The next time I receive a breaking news flash containing the words “Paris Hilton” in it, she had better either be getting nominated to the U.S. Supreme Court or have discovered a cure for cancer.

Pennsylvanians are highly delusional. They not only believe that a ground hog can predict the weather, but that the ground hog does so according to convoluted logic that if it is warm out, it will be cold, and if it is cold out, it will be warm. Although, there could be some safety in such predictions: sort of like predicting during a rain storm that it will stop raining.

I attended a boring meeting with speakers where everyone was asked to write down a suggestion for future meetings. The suggestions would be randomly drawn with those suggestions drawn winning prizes. The suggestions drawn turned out to read “I have nothing “ and “I beg you, never have these meetings again.” At least they won prizes.

Riots in France. A Texan President is engaged in a foreign war where the American public was deceived as to the reason why we went to war. I saw this movie in 1968. Why are we re-running the news?

Monday, November 07, 2005

Choked Chickens and 65 Million Year Orgasms

I was recently asked for my ID. I responded, “keep in mind, your tip depends on how you answer this question. Did you ask for my ID to see if I was 21 or over, or did you ask for my ID to see whether I qualify for the senior citizen discount?”

Explorers found the fossilized remains of a couple captured in sexual union for 65 million years. Amazingly, the woman stated she is still waiting to achieve an orgasm. I wonder why they never got hungry and ate the 4,000 year old bowl of noodles.

The cafeteria today is serving “smothered chicken”. I always thought they chopped their heads off.

Bush today firmly announced that “we do not torture.” Most American interrogations are just a little slap and tickle, that’s all.

Thursday, November 03, 2005

Why Denver is the Mile High City

Philadelphia airport has a reputation for stealing your luggage. Several airlines admit they don’t even have security cameras in their luggage area, stating they trust their employees. After numerous complaints of things being stolen, they still trust their baggage handlers. An airline is printing ads for flying out of Philadelphia airport with the headline “Feel like showing off your next luggage?” Yeah, we do, because you STOLE our old luggage.

There are some in Congress who state blogs like this should be fined for linking to political parties. Therefore, please, whatever you do, please do not observe the above link to a political party. You could get us all in trouble.

Researchers claim that short term anger is good for you. So, take that, you stupid moronic readers. There, I’m done. Seriously, I love you readers. Honest.

General Motors has announced they are increasing their number of Hummers. Bill Clinton announced the same thing.

China is seeking the marketing license for Olympic products. They argue they might as well be given the license since all the stuff is going to be manufactured there anyway.

Former Klan leader and Republican State Rep. David Duke is giving lectures in Europe. He states he has a “passing and love for European heritage”, especially German heritage during the 1930s and 1940s.

Joey Buttafuoco has been hired at a Mister Freeze in Los Angeles. Drop by his joint and shoot him a “hello”.

Denver is going to pot, literally. They approved a law that adults may have up to an ounce of marijuana. Hello, shoot over there and drop a joint.

Personally, I am against the use of any mind-altering substances. This position has been particularly hardened during the Bush Administration, as it seems hard enough to find people who start off understanding reality.

Wednesday, November 02, 2005

Killing Iraqis and Other Republican Sex Fantasies

Speaking of Republican sex fantasies, I have always wondered about my close and personal friend Rick Santorum (well, not THAT close). I remember when he was criticizing gay marriages, he explained he was not condemning gay thoughts, stating that everyone has thoughts, and then he started to say “even I’ve had thoughts…” before he cut himself off. Yes, Republicans criticize Jimmy Carter for lusting in his heart, but Republicans are allowed to have gay daydreams.

Now Rick worries me. Actual transcript from a recent conversation between Rick and Don Imus of MSNBC:

Rick: “Did your wife tell you she called me the other day?”
Imus: “No, she didn’t.”
Rick: “She called and the first thing she said to me was “Do you know Susanne Wright? And I said “sure”. And she said “Well, I’d like to do a threesome.” That’s what she said.”
Imus: “I think she meant a conference call.”

It is interesting that the political leadership of the party of the Christian Coalition likes to talk about gay sex and threesomes while the other party seems to focus on oral sex with interns and drunken frolics in fountains with secretaries. At least we have our political and sexual lines defined.

I have nothing against religious advertising on television, yet I think they should be required to also announce their possible side effects. You know, like “devoting yourself to this religion could result in intolerance of other religions.” Also, there should be warnings that it could lead to thoughts of threesomes and gay sex.

My uncle is so worried that, when he heard about the bird flu, he got a flu shot for his parrot.

I overheard a student explain that Rosa Parks won the right for Caucasians to sit in the back of the bus.

A professor told me that a student answered on a test that the Viet Nam War began when warships were shot down. I warned him not to mention this too loudly or else the Navy will then want to create ships that can fly.

Scientists announced that mice squeaks are actually love songs. I don’t know about others, but frankly, the songs don’t do a thing for me. Although, maybe Republican sex fantasies extend to that hot looking Minnie Mouse.

A detainee who was set to testify about the abuse detainees have experienced has escaped. That’s our military’s story, and they’re stinking to it. And, besides, it was not abuse. It was just Republican sexual play acting.

Jessica Simpson states she’s felt she’s needed counseling lately. Her sister Ashlee stated she mimics her sister’s feelings.

Tuesday, November 01, 2005

Republican Sex Fantasies and Using Breasts for Peace

A woman at work swore she was giving up going to the bathroom for Lent (I know you are supposed to give up something you enjoy. Well, at least we now know what she enjoys.) However, after two days, she stood up at her desk, announced she was converting to Judiasm, and dashed out of the office. I guess God moves in mysterious ways.

I just bought the next to last copy of a sex novel. I got a copy for $1.99. The last copy was being sold by another dealer for $49.99. The novel was written by Scooter Libby. Republican sex fantasies…I don’t know if I am ready to handle it, though.

Mikhail Gorbachev is promoting a campaign entitled Chess for Peace. Bill Clinton was going to join the effort as well, until he realized he misunderstood that it is not called Chests for Peace.

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