Saturday, October 30, 2010

Prop. 19

Make no mistake. Proposition 19 is not about marijuana. It's not about driving stoned or doctors operating while high. Prop. 19 is about the right of the individual states to overturn federal law.
There are a lot of libertarians out there who would argue that that is a good thing. But, I would caution people to be careful what they ask for. While it is very unlikely that the courts will uphold 19, one can never be too sure. The conservative coupsters on the Supreme Court have ignored 200 years of case law to state that the second amendment is not about the rights of states to maintain militias but about the right of individuals to pack heat. They've ruled that corporations are de facto people with free speech rights, in other words, they have the right to spend as much money as they can to buy elections. If the same right wing five were to say, "Hey why shouldn't states be able to overturn federal law." Well let's see, there are law makers in Utah who have called for state seizure of federal lands. Bye bye Zion National Park. It wouldn't surprise me if Alabama would start putting certain people in the back of the bus. Texas isn't too fond of off shore drilling regs. And Arizona would happily ignore the Colorado River agreement and stop water from reaching California. That's no way to run a country!
Another reminder that has little to do with my central argument against Prop. 19. I've had some discussions with friends who support 19, and when I make my point about states overturning federal law, the counter argument that I get is that the feds aren't in a position to enforce federal drug laws on a local level. Perhaps, but they can withhold highway funds, aide to education, and stimulus funds. Government by proposition is unworkable.

Independents Breaking Republican!

I keep seeing all these polls that show independents are breaking Repug. This reinforces my opinion that most independents don't have a coherent political philosophy. What independents do have is a sense of themselves as being thoughtful and intelligent. Lacking a real understanding of political theory and how it applies to government, they substitute a facade of anger and cynicism, and end up either voting for charismatic leaders or against whom ever is in power. And while that benefited Barack Obama, which I consider a good thing for the United states, they also were the same people who voted Nader and gave us our George.
If the same independents who voted Obama actually had a political philosophy, they wouldn't now be breaking Repug. Their rather incoherent call for change for change sake, is leading them to vote for the obstructionist party that is doing nothing more than blocking any sort of real reform. If the senate didn't have this whole gentlemen's filibuster rule, which allows the Repug minority to declare their intention to filibuster, didn't exist, then the progressive legislation that has been coming out of the house wouldn't be stalled in committee, and we wouldn't be facing the possibility of Speaker of the House John Boehner.

Thursday, October 28, 2010

World Series 2010

Even though I live in Los Angeles, I'm rooting for the San Francisco Giants. I grew up in western Pennsylvania (Officially and painfully, I am a die hard Pirate fan.) so I wasn't raised with the whole got to hate the rival Giants thing. I've been to Dallas; I've been to Fort Worth; I've been to San Francisco. No knock on the Texas twin cities, but I'll take San Fran any day of the week.
It's tempting to hate the Rangers because they were once owned by our George, but that was a long time ago, and while it would have been nice if Junior had stayed in Arlington, today's Rangers have nothing to do with any of that. Too, I like that the Rangers didn't dump Ron Washington when he got caught with some cocaine. Classy. But, Freddy Sanchez was one of my favorite Pirates, and like all good Pirate players he ended up somewhere else, and that was S.F.
I know it's fashionable for liberals to hate Texas, but sorry I can't. I do abhor the political atmosphere in Texas, but it also has one of my favorite national parks, and that gets a lot of credit in my personal ledger. I'm talking Big Bend, by the way. Guadalupe Mountains is a great park, but second rate compared to Big Bend. And while I prefer the bay, Pt. Reyes, and Marin, the gulf coast is great too.
Okay, I realize that there aren't any real baseball reasons for my preference, but that's one of the nice things about baseball. It lacks the whole die for the team feeling of football. A very relaxing game. My prediction, Giants in six.

Thursday, October 14, 2010

Little Meg's Ambition

Little Meg Whitman has now spent $142 million of her own money to get elected governor of California. She must really, really, really want the job. I've got to wonder why, though. The reality is that California doesn't really have a state government anymore. What we have is the initiative system and all the state legislature and governor can do is go to Sacramento and try and make some sense of the mess that we the voters have made.
Wait a minute. Could it be? Is it true? Is Little Meg, Ahnold with presidential ambitions? I think so. I mean, Jerry Brown is a political creature from a political family. Had he beat Bill Clinton and become president he'd still probably be running for governor. But Little Meg is a dilettante who, up until now, has shown exactly zero interest in politics. Yes, should Little Meg get sent to the state capitol, when she moves into the governor's mansion, she'll be thinking, "Wow, those curtains would look so much better in the oval office. I think the first thing I'll do in Washington is put the defense department up for auction on EBay." And then, "I'll cut my own taxes. I mean, I'm rich, and it's only the common people who pay taxes. I'm Little Meg Whitman, President and CEO, of America, Inc."

Sunday, October 3, 2010

Little Meg Once Again

To answer a question: I think that if the Little Debbie snack girl had grown up to be a sociopathic CEO, she would be just like Meg Whitman. And that's why I call her Little Meg.

Lone Star and Hollywood, Texas

Fox series Lone Star has been cancelled, and all I've got to say is thank goodness. I grew up in western Pennsylvania and watched as the United States threw away the domestic steel industry. At 55 I'm old enough to remember when the United States had a shoe, garment, and electronics industry, all of which, we abandoned. And now, it looks like we're doing the same thing with Hollywood film and television production.
In it's mania to save money and get tax breaks, Hollywood studios have been moving a lot of production out of traditional film making centers, Los Angeles and New York City for the boonies of Texas, New Mexico and Detroit, Michigan. I work, albeit in a very basic position, in the film industry. And believe it or not there is a talent pool that is not made up of actors, writers, and directors that are necessary to make movies. If the film industry spreads out American production, the talent pool of grips, gaffers, set medics, focus pullers, and the whole lot will eventually shrink to a number so small that domestic production will be hard to sustain. The movies and television might be glamorous, but if the crafty guy has to live in a car to work on a film set, more than likely, he's going into another business.
So yes, even if Lone Star was the greatest thing on the small screen since Alcoa Theater, I'm glad it's gone. Moving production to Texas endangers the jobs of below the line personnel, and that in turn makes it more difficult for me to make a living. And, then the worst case scenario, Canada, Australia, and New Zealand, when the majority of top flight technicians move on to other professions in order to survive. Now, let's get Chase, The Good Guys, Detroit 187, and Hawaii Five O cancelled. And don't forget, stop watching reality shows!