Here's How I'm Voting Tomorrow

I try to do a post here for every election. This time, I'm actually on top of things enough to not have to do it ipso facto. So, without further ado, here's how I'm voting for the Statewide issues in California. If you really want to know who I'm voting for Mayor of Alameda, you can ask. As always, I am using my scoring method of scouring websites and using the excellent follow the money site (especially useful for ballot propositions. If I can't decide based on those materials, the tie breaker is to do the opposite of the Howard Jarvis Taxpayers Association's recommendation. [Read more…]

California Republicans Disenfranchising Themselves

The Secretary of State of California pretty much has one job. She runs the State's elections. So, you might consider it a problem that the Republican candidate, Damon Dunn, has voted exactly once in his 33 years on the planet. Dunn, who (in a great quote from the article) "says he's wealthy", is a tailor made candidate (young, Republican, African-American) except for this inconvenient not participating in elections business.

In fact, if you are scoring at home, this means that almost every major Republican candidate in California has not been bothered to vote in almost any elections during their lifetimes. What is up here? I mean, I know that voting and making decisions create those annoying records that can be so inconvenient when you are trying to be all things to all people, but come on.

A run down of the electoral excellence of the Republican slate:

Wannabe Secretary of State Damon Dunn: 1 time voting in 15 years he was eligible to vote (and that one was last May!)

Wannabe Senator Carly Fiorina: voted in 6 elections since moving to California in 2000, lived in New Jersey prior to that and never voted.

Wannabe Governor Meg Whitman: (ignorning the kerfluffle over whether she was registered to vote ever or not, because those records are a mess, but it doesn't look good) even when she was definitively registered (like in Santa Clara county in 1999) she didn't vote almost as much as she did vote. And, she didn't vote at all from 2000 to 2002.

It's funny, all 3 of the candidates use similar language in describing their non-voting sprees. "no excuse" and then proceed to provide a litany of excuses. What is it about Republicans that makes them not vote? To me, voting is the most important part of being an American. I have never missed an election, since I took the Freeman's oath in Vermont in the early 90s.

If you are running for any public office, or think you might someday, vote. In fact, even if you aren't, vote. If you can't take the time to vote, why should we think you will take the time to properly represent us?

I Can't Believe Cheney Didn't Think Of This…

For a man who can't even properly pronounce the State he governs, Governor Schwarzenegger can be quite articulate. Recently, he went through a great deal of trouble to release a statement on why he was not signing a non-descript bill, AB 1176, relating to the Port of San Francisco. The bill was put forth by Democrat Tom Ammiano, who, when Arnold showed up at a Democratic fund raiser, stormed out, suggesting Arnold could (and I quote) "kiss my gay ass."

So, perhaps there was some bad blood there. Bad blood that seemed to seep it's way into the Governor's message. On first reading, some of the prose seems a little forced. Then, someone noticed a special message spelled out by the first letter in each sentence. Coincedence? The Governor's Office claims it is.


Academics: Not Just Better Than You, But "World Class" Better Than You

Read this open letter from the faculty of the University of California at San Diego, and weep.  Not for the University, or the faculty, but for the taxpayers and citizens of the state of California.

A few thoughts:

  • The tenured faculty also weep, WEEP!, at the thought of taking a five percent pay cut at their tenured, guaranteed-for-life jobs. Not for themselves, but for the people of the State, which risks losing a "world class" university system.  A system whose world-classness includes the University of California at San Diego (which I've barely heard of, but what do I know?), but excludes all universities lower on the system totem pole.
  • Meanwhile, the state which pays them is issuing kited checks to pay its obligations.  The taxpayers of California are losing their jobs in droves.  But they'll have a "world class" department of sociology at UCSD, which is also known to billions for its oceanography department.
  • In the spirit of oceanography, the faculty propose savage cuts for "scrub" schools such as UC-Riverside, which serve the poor and modest who can't get into UCSD.  Throw those kids, and their schools, to Shamu the killer whale, so long as we don't have to eat five percent less food on the lifeboat.
  • The chair of the economics department, who also signed, evidently fails to consider that if a pay cut for the economics faculty at "world class" UCSD is bad, but a pay cut for faculty at smaller schools is good, perhaps eliminating UCSD and funneling the money to genuinely world class Berkeley and UCLA might be even better.
  • The faculty protest their undying loyalty to the University, which they've struggled so hard to build, and then admit that if their pay is cut they'll cut and run to better paying schools as soon as the economy improves.  The lone historian who signed the letter, if candid, might describe himself and his compatriots as "mercenaries."
  • It's ok to be a mercenary.  It's an ancient and honest profession with roots going back to ancient Greece.  But there's another Greek-derived term for a mercenary who refuses to admit he's a mercenary: hypocrite.
  • Another historian, classically trained, might describe the lament as fiddling while Rome burns.  It's not as though much of California's financial crisis can't be laid at the feet of sociologists and the like, who in better times urged their government to spend like a coke fiend on whatever crisis commanded the attention of sociologists that day.
  • And speaking of economics, if the faculty believe that generous salaries from private universities, or other state systems, are just around the corner, well perhaps they should consult a member of the oceanographic zoology department on how long it takes a starved killer whale to rebuild its reserves of fat.

I have a more radical proposal, which would be of equal benefit to the taxpayers of California, and allow San Diego to keep its world class university.  Approximately half of the signatories belong to departments which produce students who may in turn produce something of economic value to California.  Fire them, but keep and reorganize their departments.

As for the other half, from the departments of sociology, music, political science, international studies, philosophy, communication, and education studies, whatever those are, eliminate their departments entirely, and transfer the money to UCLA and Berkeley.  Because what California needs, more than a government able to pay its bills with dollars instead of scrip, is a world class university.

California: The "Purity Of Essence" State


Since the 1940s, it has been fashionable among right-thinking, scientifically inclined people of the left to point out a certain unseemly fascination among folks on the extreme right with fluoridation of the water supply.

As sensible people know, fluoride is certainly a dangerous chemical, but on the scale it's used in municipal water it's a positive health benefit, allowing Americans to enjoy nice smiles into ripe old age while our cousins in the Old World spit their rotted teeth into the denture glass.  The joke reached its height with Stanley Kubrick's Dr. Strangelove, in which the anticommunist General Jack D. Ripper attempted to destroy the world in order to save it from fluoride.

As it turns out General Ripper didn't commit suicide at all.  He's alive and well, and working for the California Office of Environmental Health.

The CIC voted on May 29 to prioritize 38 more chemicals for possible listing as carcinogens.  Nine were designated as high priority, and these include fluoride (yep, the stuff the dentists use, Crest puts in its toothpaste and many water districts add to the water)…

After sixty years, the dream of rightwing fluoride nuts has been realized, and to think it's going to be done by the public health ministry in Sacramento.  Henceforth products containing fluoride, including toothpaste, will have to be labeled a carcinogenic health hazard.  While there's no evidence that Californians will suffer less cancer as a result, human nature being what it is, we can predict they'll suffer a lot more cavities.

Open wide and smile, California.

What If They Held An Election & Noone Came?

Record low turnout is expected for tomorrow's elections in California. The main items on the bill are a coterie of linked budget proposals that are supported by almost no one except the Governator & Legislature. This is a confusing election for me, because I don't like any of the Propositions, but the Howard Jarvis Taxpayers Association is also against them, and I default to doing the opposite of their recommendations. It's like Kirk trying to destroy a super computer… So, let's take a look at the items on the ballot and see if I can talk myself into any of them, shall we? [Read more…]

Hell Hath No Fury Like A Captain Scorned

If, as Tip O'Neill said, all politics is local, it must be equally true that all politics is idiotic.  At least, if all local politics is like that of the Jurupa Unified School District in Riverside California, where board trustee Noreen Considine, excuse me, Captain Noreen Considine, is threatening to sue the District.

Her complaint?  That board members refer to her as "Trustee Considine" rather than as "Captain Considine":

[Read more…]

So, Anything Important Happening Tomorrow?

Every election, I toss up my thoughts on how I am going to vote, and try to point out some little tidbits that may interest you (especially when it comes to California's assinine proposition system.) This time we have a hotly contested (in other states) Presidential election, 2 dueling energy propositions, one attempt to write discrimination into the State Constitution, a beautiful FU to Shrub and several really random ballot propositions that still have me wondering how I should vote. Let's work this out together, shall we? [Read more…]