Wednesday, November 21, 2012

Vote or Die, and preferably the latter if you actually used that term in the 1990s.

Maybe you really don’t care about how I voted in the 2012 election.  That’s fine.  Half of you didn’t bother to get off your fat asses and vote anyway, so I’ll just go ahead and remind you how I did everything I could to make your political opinion worthless.  Then you can go on any local talk radio show and complain about how bad the country is, because we all know that really gets change rolling.

Proposition 30:  Funding for Education  (VOTED YES)

I had a colleague that works at the school ask me “Why should I vote for this if we continue to throw money into a hole that doesn’t produce results?”    Yes, that was a colleague.  And my answer?  I told this colleague that they were right.  We are spending money and it is solving nothing in the realm of the problem that is education.  Money isn’t going to solve the problem of taking education seriously.  But here is the real deal.  If Prop 30 doesn’t pass, education is going to be in for a continued ugly ride.  And we are talking about years worth of ugly ride.  My job won’t be at risk.  What’s going to be at risk are sports, electives, Advanced Placement, music programs, support programs, and teaching days.  Read my past posts.  I’m not huge in engaging in gross hyperbole.  Want to fix education?  Create a better atmosphere.  But if this bill didn’t pass, you’ll have a lot less education to fix. 

Proposition 31:  Budget Issues  (VOTED NO)

We exist in the 8th largest economy on the planet and we want to a) create a budget that would only be dealt with over the course of two years, and b) allow one person to destroy the budget at will.  Not a good idea by any measure.  This is someone’s lame attempt at making the state legislature avoid actually fixing some of the economic issues of California.

Proposition 32:    Political Contributions (VOTED YES)

I don’t think the union should be able to use my money, at will, in a state where I am forced to pay union dues.  And since I know that my union regularly uses my money for causes that are often totally opposite my own, I don’t have a problem saying that they have to have my permission to do it.  Nor do I have a problem with the political contributions end.  The only reason I’ve heard from the other side not to vote  for Prop 32 is that the Citizen’s United Supreme Court case is bad, which is like saying that you aren’t going to watch baseball any more because the Kansas City Royals exist in this space/time continuum.  Making bad decisions because of bad decisions sounds like a union thing to do. 

Proposition 33:  Auto Insurance (VOTED YES)

This was probably not going to be good for new insurers or bad drivers, and that’s probably why it didn’t pass.  I’m insured and a pretty good driver, although I really like my current insurance company and won’t be changing it.  Regardless, this prop is the reason why voters are less and less interested in voting and more interested in almost anything else.

Proposition 34:  Repeal the Death Penalty (VOTED YES)

California’s death penalty law is idiotic.  Either go China and execute people at a rapid, sustained pace, or get rid of the law and go life-without-parole.  The overall financial costs are roughly the same.  But this twenty year prison term and umpteen appeals is not going to work.  Neither is the constant debate over how a needle is going to be inserted in the arm to avoid breaking the Eighth Amendment.  Enough already.

Proposition 35:  Human Trafficking  (VOTED YES)

Ok, I have to admit that I was a tad bit concerned about the sex offenders having to report their Internet Activity.  But that was just for a second.  A really quick second.  Then I realized that California’s sex trafficking laws are sort of a joke and I decided that people that pimp 12 year olds should go to jail for a really long time while other inmates start calling them girly names.

Proposition 36:  Three Strikes Law  (VOTED YES)

I actually remember voting for Three Strikes and being concerned about non-violent criminals going behind bars for the rest of their lives.  Now, meh, not so much.  I voted yes because I think the prisons are massively overcrowded and we have become a state that is obsessed with incarcerating people.  It’s a logical change to a good idea gone a little rogue.

Proposition 37:  Labeling GMOs  (VOTED NO)

Most genetically modified foods are actually already labeled on the back of the containers.  This law was actually not about GMOs.  It was about Monsanto.  It was anti-Monsanto down to its core with no real concern about the good that GMO foods have down to poverty, food inflation, and environmental protection.  With no scientific basis for hating GMOs, and with a statute that would have created a law suit nightmare for retailers, I voted no.

Proposition 38:  School Funding  (VOTED NO)

Hey look, a rich lady is trying to beat back Prop 30 by paying tons of money to get a law passed that sucks. 

Proposition 39:  Tax Loophole  (VOTED YES)

While I admit that regulations in California are stifling business expansion, I also think their overall tax liability is a joke.  Loopholes totally fool the idea that corporations have a high tax rate and this might be the start of holding them more accountable.  Now if can just start working on those idiotic environmental reviews.

Proposition 40:  State Senate Map (VOTED YES)

Someone didn’t like the redrawn maps so they pouted and attempted to change it.  Nah.

Measure F:  Official Condemnation of Citizen’s United Case and call for Constitutional Amendment banning free speech for corporations.  (VOTED NO)

This is such a Mendocino kind of measure.  Basically it was a simple advisory vote that allows the county to write a letter to someone-or-other in the Federal government demanding that the Citizen’s United get overturned by Constitutional Amendment.  Obviously the person that spends the most money in campaigning is going to win elections and we can’t have that.  Just look at Mitt Romney.  Oh wait…..

Measure G:  $1 Fee Review for Abandoned Vehicle Program (VOTED YES)

It’s been around for a decade and I see no problem helping the county get rid of the crap that’s let on the road.

President:  (VOTED Barack Obama)

Yeah, so Jon Huntsman wasn’t on the ticket and that’s a damn shame because a Huntsman/Christine Todd Whitman ticket would have probably slaughtered Obama.  But my party wouldn’t move away from the 1950’s references and the country, including myself, decided to vote for the guy that was going to move the country in a more “forward” (get it?) thinking manner.  The result made me happy for two reasons.  First, I think Obama was the better candidate.  Second, the loss (and the Senate losses) forces the party to reevaluate why all the candidates rose their hands during the primary when asked about Grover Norquist’s No-Tax-Pledge.  Republicans must get out of the rut of becoming the party of the Angry White Man, and start thinking about the future.      

Monday, November 19, 2012

B.Y.O.B- Bring Your Own Bag. The Green Police have arrived!

Yeah, this commercial was so funny when it came out.  And when those select few furrowed their brow in worry and started to quibble about the reality of the Green Police in the future, you slapped your knee and shoved another Cheeto in your mouth because it was the Super Bowl. 

Well, it looks like Mendocino County has taken the trendy step of readjusting people’s buying habits in regards to bags.  Starting in January, all plastic bags will be banned from stores in Mendocino County and all paper bags will cost a dime.  The idea mainly revolves around the environmental impact of plastic bags (of which hardly any are recycled) and their paper counter-parts (of which more than half are recycled). 

I’ve of two minds about plastic bag bans.  First, I get how environmentally unsound the practice of plastic really is, and that figuring out how to get them out of landfills and off the street should be a priority.  Paper bags are another matter, and the way the city has rigged the ten cent charge is kind of a joke. 


That’s funny, because from every angle I’m viewing it from, that is a classic definition of a tax.  And to not call it a tax is kind of like saying that Cop Rock wasn’t shitty television if you watched it with the sound off.  And even worse, this tax doesn’t go back to the city for services that it desperately needs, it’s basically a tax that goes right into the pockets of those big corporations that the city regularly slams as being anti-competitive, which the city has decided to become a part of with this idiotic measure.

What does this mean for the consumer?  Well, Wal-Mart instituted a bag ban a couple of years ago and what this created was a significant drop in my overall visits to Wal-Mart.  In a time of economic distress for the valley, the city has managed to engage the population in a scenario that will reduce trips to the supermarket and decrease overall revenue for the city.  Carrying your own bags around is an inconvenience when doing significant shopping trips and I’m totally uninterested in dealing with it. 

That, and having to deal with the new Green Police.  

Sunday, November 18, 2012

Happy Fall!

I’ll admit that this is not my picture.  It’s from @UkiahCA101 on Twitter, who is someone running a nice little campaign that is really promoting the good things about the Ukiah Valley.  It’s pretty dang convincing except for the weed, the transients, and the idiotic bag ban that I’ll get to later.

But this picture does contain my favorite season.  Fall is in the air and in Ukiah, that has some distinctive qualities.  The mornings are much cooler.  The oaks and maples turn beautiful colors of orange and red, although those pale in comparison to the vineyards that turn vibrant reds and golds.  Practice turkeys are now being cooked on the stove and dinners sometimes consist of homemade mashed potatoes, turkey, and loads of gravy in a bowl.  Egg Nog has been drank, the slippers are out, and I’m regularly wearing a hoodie again.  Yes fall is here!

That means basketball season started about three weeks ago.  You know, about when I stopped posting to my blog, or when I stopped finding the time to grade papers, or when I stopped caring about the piles in my classroom.  Yep, basketball season has made my room look like Doc Brown’s laboratory and thankfully this week off will allow for a little catch-up.