People are starting to come back to their senses…

…although Texas has shown us that it’s still possible to slide backwards while other places are starting to move in a more rational direction. I know I have at least two friends who live in that state, and all I can say is, “Why?!!?” I mean, I know they both have life situations which sort of limit their options, but doesn’t being an intelligent person in that state sort of hurt, kind of like being a deep sea angler fish suddenly brought up to live in a tide pool?

At any rate, though, the real test won’t be until 2006 when the midterm Congressional elections hit. I’m cautiously optimistic that we’ll be able to get some balance and sanity back in our national government by then.

Democrats Win Gov. Races in N.J., Va. – Yahoo! News

Bush Could Learn from Clinton

In Scandalous Times, Bush Could Learn from Clinton

From the above referenced article: “With the White House shrouded in scandal, the biggest obstacle to George W. Bush’s political comeback is that he’s no Bill Clinton.” I find this amusing in light of the fact that part of his campaign presentation in 2000 was that he wasn’t Bill Clinton.

The article’s worth a read, I think. It points out that it wasn’t just the fact that Clinton’s agenda was less self-serving than Bush’s that made the Lewinsky scandal easier for the American public to bear; it’s also the fact that the public in general had an extremely positive perception, overall, of the economy in the late days of his administration. Because the public’s perception of the current economy is not so positive (when middle class workers are still not getting lots of jobs and their health insurance rates are skyrocketing, it’s hard for them to feel like the economy is surging), the web of scandal surrounding the current Administration is harder to swallow.

It's Election Time

It’s election time, so all good Californians who haven’t already voted by absentee ballot should get out there and vote today. And because I know you’re dying to learn what my opinions are, here they are:

Proposition 73: No. It sounds good, on some levels, but I oppose it for a couple of reasons. First, it’s unlikely to survive a court challenge in California anyway (as I understand the way our Constitution interprets the individual’s right to privacy); and second, if a young woman isn’t telling her family about her abortion anyway, that family probably has far more problems than this legislation will solve. Herb Cain said it best a few years ago: the anti-abortion folks generally care about the baby right up until the moment it’s born.

Proposition 74: No. It’s another one of those propositions that we think sounds good on paper. Get rid of tenure rules for teachers so that we can fire the bad ones! Well, yes, there are bad teachers, but tenure rules are not in place to protect them; the tenure rules are in place to protect the teachers, period. I’ve also noted that one of the most frequently broadcast “Yes on 74” ads starts off with, “There was once a teacher who…” and then lists a litany of (two) problems. What bothers me is that only one example is given, and the source dates back to 1999. If bad teachers really were such a big problem in California, then you’d think they’d be able to find more examples, and more recent ones as well.

Proposition 75: No. Again, the advertising for this proposition is misleading and blatantly deceitful. Public employee union members do, in fact, have the right to opt out of having their union dues go to political causes. When Governor Davis signed the mandatory dues into law, this provision was included to allow for public employees who, for religious or political reasons, did not want their dues to go to politics. The “Yes on 75” contingent would have us believe that die hard Republicans are required to support liberal union causes, and this is a lie. That, in my mind, is enough cause to vote no on this proposition in itself. Given this fact, it seems blatantly unfair to me to place political restrictions on unions and no other entity. I’d much rather see an across-the-board restriction on political contributions. (To my shame, I signed the petition that got this proposition on the ballot. The petitioner had misrepresented the legislation to me, which pisses me off.) I see this proposition as punitive, directed against the unions which have legitimate concerns with the governor and his policies.

Proposition 76: No. From the bill’s summary: “Changes state minimum school funding requirements (Proposition 98); eliminates repayment requirement when minimum funding suspended.” In other words, gives the governor the right to give the schools less funding than is required by current law, and also says that the governor does not have to pay back such funding when he goes below that minimum. In what way does this increase funding for our schools? This proposition is nothing but a punitive measure designed to retaliate against the teachers’ unions who called the governor on his failure to keep promises to the schools to pay back funding that he owed them.

Proposition 77: No. This one is perhaps the only one that has anything resembling good intentions behind it, but it is horrifically flawed. Gerrymandering is a bad thing, but this proposition would only make things worse by removing the voters from the process. The ads also don’t mention that the “independent judges” who would be responsible for redistricting would, in fact, be chosen by the very politicians who continue to do the gerrymandering now. Very little would change, except that perhaps our state would end up even more strongly in the hands of one party or another (depending on who gets to choose the retired judges).

Proposition 78: No. That the drug companies support this measure and that the Consumers’ Union opposes it is pretty much enough for me.

Proposition 79: No. I waffled on this one, actually. It seems good in theory, and it’s supported by public employees and by the Consumers Union, but I just don’t think it would work. If it passes, it will end up simply causing money to be spent in the courts and will ultimately do no good since the Federal government — which supplies Medicaid funding in the first place — has never, without exception, supported a plan like Proposition 79. Something better needs to be devised.

Proposition 80: No. While I’m inclined to believe that Pete Wilson’s grand scheme to deregulate the power industry in California opened us up to the horrific abuses brought on us by corporations like Enron, and while I’m all for “green energy” wherever possible, I don’t believe that this proposition was well thought out. Changing the entire process by initiative is not the way to go; much more study needs to be undertaken and much more work needs to be done.

Now, if you happen to live in Dixon and are thus voting for the school board, I strongly recommend voting for both of the incumbents and for Amy Swanson. The other candidates are either unqualified or have an “Intelligent Design Must Be Taught In Science Class” agenda. Dixon has enough problems without the ID loons working their way into our schools. I’ve worked fairly closely with the incumbents, though, and I know their qualifications and their integrity, and I’m impressed with both of them (and those who know my general feelings toward politicians should see that as a very strong endorsement).