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Sunday, October 22, 2006

Thereís an election just over two weeks away, and as usual Californiaís ballot is so crammed with propositions that itís dizzying just to contemplate them, much less try to study them thoroughly enough to make an informed decision. We are the vanguard, but oh my. We take that role way too seriously. Itís incredibly easy to get every idea, crackpot and otherwise, on the ballot so that the masses make the decisions weíre paying our legislators to make.

And then there are the changes our legislators want to make but canít without our approval. Some are good and some are not so wonderful. Often itís hard to get a handle on the difference. For example, I spent way too much time today wading through Proposition 1A. And thatís only the first of thirteen state measures Iím trying to figure out.

The argument for Proposition 1A makes a lot of sense, I suppose. If passed, it would ensure that gasoline taxes are spent only on transportation projects, and why shouldnít the drivers who pay the tax get the benefit?

It makes perfect sense, but Iím voting no, because it takes too much flexibility out of the hands of the legislators to react in case of a fiscal emergency. There are already safeguards in place to keep them from spending gas tax money willy nilly, and this measure just locks them into an overly rigid position. Itís not a matter of not building more highways, which we need, but of keeping our tax money from solving more pressing problems when they arise.

Donít worry. Nobody is going to take gas tax revenue and spend it on saving spotted owls. Well, not unless two-thirds of our elected representatives decide the existence of spotted owls has become a crisis. Even then, the governor has to sign it. I have faith that thatís not going to happen (although I do believe in saving spotted owls).

The logic Iím using here is similar to the logic that applies in my opposition to mandated sentencing and term limit laws. Judges should apply their judgment when sentencing convicts; thatís why we call them judges. And a law that takes out of my hands my ability to vote for the person I want to represent me is patently anti-democratic. Some may see good reason for these laws; I see red.

16 October 2006

Rooftop landing.

Whew! At this rate it will be some time in January before Iím prepared to vote in the November 7 election. I think Iíd better pick up the pace a bit.

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In the first game of the World Series last night, two rookie pitchers faced off, with the more heralded Justin Verlander of the Tigers losing to the lesser known Anthony Reyes of the Cardinals, 7-2. Tonight it was two pitchers in their forties starting the game, and both were good, but the Tigersí Kenny Rogers was better. He threw eight two-hit shutout innings to lead his team over Jeff Weaver (along with five other pitchers) and the Cardinals, 3-1, evening the series at a game apiece. It got a little dicey when Todd Jones came in for the save in the ninth, because thereís never anything automatic about Jones. The Cardinals scored a run but left the bases loaded, and the series will move to St. Louis for the next three.

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One year ago: Peeved
"I know plenty of people who live their lives at hair-trigger readiness to punish anyone who looks at them sideways. If you make a mistake with someone like that, watch out."

Two years ago: Duped
"We lost our questioning free press somewhere along the way, and it now takes outsiders to do the job journalists are supposed to be doing."

Three years ago: Ticking
"I'm an old dog, and you can't teach me to take these things lying curled on the rug by the fireplace."

Four years ago: Spheres
"As far as I'm concerned, a political candidate can't be too liberal. That's because there will always be people like our current president who come out of right field and weasel their way into power, one way or another. In his case, another."

Five years ago: Out of the Loop
"So I watch the news, when I do watch it, with as much a critical eye as a patriotic heart. It's the curse of having lived through too much history."

Six years ago: Just Wind, Baby
"The computer reboots and warns me testily to shut it down properly next time, okay pal?"

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