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Sen. Lindsey Graham, R-S.C., a member of the Armed Services Committee and the Homeland Security Committee, tells reporters that he will push for a vote in Congress to kick the Palestinian Liberation Organization out of its Washington offices and threaten to withhold U.S. financial assistance if the Palestinians seek to use enhanced U.N. status against Israel, at the Capitol in Washington, Thursday, Nov. 29, 2012. (AP Photo/J. Scott Applewhite)

Sen. Lindsey Graham appears to have a southern accent in this photo but it might be just the lighting or the lens

The other day Sen. Lindsey Graham of South Carolina, who is dropping hints he may join the Republican herd stampeding for the White House, said it’s high time for another president with an accent. That struck me as a odd, since it’s only been seven years since President George W. Bush drawled and cut brush mightily on his Texas ranch.

And it’s been an equally short a time since President Dick Cheney announced he was taking America into his dark bunker with an accent reminiscent of old black-and-white creature features.

Graham was really talking about was it being time for another southern president. And the South Carolinian was betraying yet another prejudice by asserting only Southerners have accents.

Well, everyone has an accent, even those smart-phone voices that tell us where we can buy killer chimichangas in the next town.

I’m a native Californian, and my parents were native Californians. I’m fairly certain I have a distinct California accent, seasoned slightly by growing up in Bakersfield and having a gang of childhood pals whose families accented Oklahoma at the dinner table. That’s why I have always used the word ain’t in my normal conversation, though I say it with a distinct California accent. I ain’t fooling, dude.

For over a year while living in Portland, Ore., I mumbled a lot to conceal my accent, for I had heard horror stories about what real Oregonians do to arrivistes from California. When confronted with the chilling prospects of pronouncing common Oregonian geographic words like Willamette, Wallowa and Tualatin, I would sneeze and curse my hay fever. 

Oregonians, a polite, pale and hip people by nature, would commiserate. For if it wasn’t raining in the “Willy Met Valley,” you could be sure the pollen count was in the stratosphere.

From movies and television, we all are familiar with Boston, New Jersey, Philadelphia, Fargo and Simpson Family accents, not to mention the Austro-Calliforniaye accent of former Gov. Terminator and Moon Unit Zappa‘s Valley Speak.

Is Graham pushing Schwarzenegger ( I am so glad I no longer have to spell this name in daily copy) to enter the race? The gentleman from South Carolina should be careful for what he wishes. Or do more research on accents.

Hillary Clinton spent several years in Arkansas, and she isn’t above dropping the g’s in her present participles when speakin’ to the good folks who like grits, gravy and floatin’ down the Whitewater River.

Why, Bill Clinton himself — no matter how much a citizen of the world he has become since leaving the White House — still delivers his $100,000 speeches with an Arkansas drawl. And Jimmy Carter, it must be recalled, spoke folksy Georgian when calling upon the nation to save energy by wearing his line of cardigan sweaters.
No one party, nor one part of the country, has a monopoly on accents.

And the true language of politics, as Sen. Graham should know, doesn’t speak anything but dollar signs, with the accent heavy on the dollars.

Lovely girl and little pony

Contrarian Larry Parsons wants people to remember that a vote against Monterey Downs is a vote against ponies

It’s one of the glorious days when possible subjects to write about are falling from the sky like so many stars in a Jimi Hendrix song.

First, there are all advance quotes from former Vice President Dick Cheney’s interview in the upcoming issue of Playboy in which he — major SPOILER alert — calls President Obama the worst president of all time and space.

This from the guy who never saw an oil well or potential Middle Eastern war without feeling lust in his heart. Cue the Jimmy Carter canoe-and-cannibal-rabbit story, and juxtapose it with the time Cheney was bitten by a floppy-eared werewolf.

Another subject, naturally, is Starbucks’ harebrained push for employees to engage customers in conversations about racial relations in the United States. People much higher in their pay grades in politics, pulpits, the media and corporate board rooms should be having these conversations — not $10-an-hour baristas, for pity’s sake.

“Reparations, race cards, rap music!!! Just give me caffeine, for #!?%’s sake.” Oh, the sound of America healing.

And there is the Hillary problem — that amorphous, media-fed tidal wave carrying the flotsam of secret emails, cattle futures, travel bookings, botched health-care plans and being-married-to-Bill again to the shores of our presidential politics. But there will be time, oh, there will be time, to wear out the fingers blogging about this. It never will go away, and the mighty Wurlitzer is just getting tuned up.

Then I spotted a story from the right side of the media world that seemed especially piquant. A blogger for the Daily Caller, the conservative web site run by Peter Pan frat boy Tucker Carlson, quit when Tucker spiked a column critical of Fox News. Seems you can criticize everything under the sun but Fox News — Imperial Death Star of right-wing confabulation — at the Daily Caller.

The writer was unhappy that Fox lately has dropped threat-level 7 stories about the scourge of unauthorized immigration and Obama amnesty plans to pad Democratic voter lists. Apparently, Fox is hitting harder at the scourge of all things Muslim and the terrible fact that American troops are no longer dying in sufficient numbers in the Middle East because the last two wars went so well.

This falling-out among fevered founts of Fox fabulism got me thinking. I’d best watch my step, or something similar could upset the equilibrium here the Monterey Bay Partisan.

In my notebook, I found a few ideas I’d been kicking around for columns that I realize might run afoul of what could be called the Partisan party line. Rest assured they will never see the light of day, or I, too, would have to take the high road and resign in a righteous huff from this comfortable and prestigious sinecure. I will share a few, but this is strictly between me and you. Totally off the record, very hush-hush.

1. Sure Cal Am hasn’t produced a major water project for the Peninsula to save the Carmel River for almost 40 years and the multinational utility takes profits out of the community and passes on all sorts of questionable costs to customers who spend a good part of each day getting thorns and needles out of their hides from their prickly xeriscape gardens, but the water company isn’t all bad. I saw a crew fixing a water line one day, and the guy with the jack hammer smiled, or looked like he was trying to smile as his face jiggled like Jello …

2. We can agree that the undeveloped land at Fort Ord is pretty unsurpassed in coastal country beauty, but just a teensy bit could be tastefully destroyed to make room for the charming, little Monterey Downs horsolopolis. Think of all the jobs. You remember, Hercules got his start mucking out stables. And if there were horses, there would be ponies. So there will be pony rides for all the children, and we must think of the children …

3. OK, the Ferrini Ranch subdivision will dump hundreds of more vehicles each day on Highway 68, making the stop-and-go commute between Salinas and Monterey a lot more stoppy than goey. But there are a lot of good audio books that can be very instructive when you spend more than two hours a day listening to them in frozen traffic. And some folks, who must take Highway 68 to get to the two or three jobs they juggle to make ends meet, may decide to eat and sleep in their cars during peak congestion. This could ease the horrible shortage of affordable housing in Monterey County. Moreover, the slower traffic pace will allow travelers more time to enjoy the rustic beauty of the old red-and-white fence near Laguna Seca …

Seriously, these jottings, I promise, will never see the light of day at this blog.

Meanwhile, I look forward to the upcoming Cheney issue of Playboy. I’m interested in whether the Playboy editors have ever found a Playboy Party Joke that is funny. Like this one:

Trimalchio: I attended an orgy last night with the leading candidates for the Republican presidential nomination.

Encolpius: Ooh, sounds nasty. Was it fun?

Trimalchio: For a while, but then Mike Huckabee arrived.