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Tuesday, November 08, 2005

Star-Spangled Internationale

KremlinSm.jpg T'S ELECTION DAY AGAIN, here in California - special election day, no less - on a ballot of eight initiatives. Not for office. This special election was cooked-up by Governor Schwarzenegger who, being merely Governor, has been unable to implement his various schemes using, you know, the tools of Governorship. He needs more power - sorry, Mo Po-wah - because he isn't just The Governor, he's The Gubernator, by God, and no poxy State Assembly or public service union should be able to stand in his way.

So Ahnold has called a Special Election.

I can't vote in today's election - of course I can't - because I'm still a damned foreigner, still an Alien. I am, however, One Year Closer to being empowered to vote, since it is days-shy of my Green Card's first birthday. One year down, two more years to go before I can apply for citizenship and finally cast-off all pretense at still being "scots" and call myself a real "scots-american". My Goddess wife will be voting today because she is a citizen, and always has been. She, I'm afraid, does not like Ahnold one tiny bit: last time she voted to not grant him any power at all. Hmmm: will she submit to his whining this time?

Two, maybe even three, of the measures I might have given time to, but probably would have voted against on principle. Politics and lawmaking is hard; incomparable drudgery filled with subtle traps, and no place for an unsuspecting Joe Sixpack. We elect people to do that crap for us. Using "voter initiatives" is an admission that you can't achieve your ends through regular means. So throw it to the public on the grounds they're too stupid to notice what you're really up to. In our hugely indebted State, for example, most of our budget can't be touched by our Representatives because it was voted-in by Proposition, and therefore trumps the legislature.

The ones I might have voted 'yes' for are Prop. 73, Abortion for Minors, advising parents of; Prop. 74, Teacher Employment, sacking the useless ones; and Prop 77, Redistricting, to a cabal of ex-judges the handing of. Only the last of these, really, is an issue profound enough for Voter Initiative, to my mind.

I'll save you any talk about abortion, or whether parents of minor children ought, by law, to be informed of such decisions 48-hours before they are performed.

What has come as a surprise to me, during the course of the campaigns, is the notion that California's school teachers are given tenure? This, to me, equates to "a job for life, regardless" - though the actual reality might be quite different. In calling it "tenure", however, they're asking for such misperception. Really though: what the hell are grade-school teachers doing with any kind of tenure? It's not like they're professors or somesuch, for whom teaching is incidental to the principal tasks of leading teams of researchers, writing papers, earning international renown or wads of cash for their institutions, is it? They're teachers: teachers only - in the sense they have no other responsibilities than to teach schoolchildren - and some of them, frankly, are crap at it. I don't see why they should be granted exceptional security in those positions? Not that I'm anti-teacher or anything - lord, no - but I'm not one to get all dewey-eyed at them either, as one might over nurses or firefighters or even The Filff. On the other hand, not only do teachers have to endure all our kids all day long so we don't have to, but they also have to endure the constant complaint of their overwheening parents. That to my mind, ought to be properly compensated - but with cash, not tenure.

Prop. 77 is all about Redistricting in California: about replacing the present scheme, where politicians in Sacramento are allowed to choose their own districts, no matter how squiggly or irregular those might appear on a map, replacing that scheme with a panel of retired judges who, supposedly, would perform redistricting impartially and independently. Now, if there's one thing I can't stand it's gerrymandering, and I really don't care who or why: if a state assembly can come through an election with exactly zero seats changing hands, that ain't democracy to me, that's a soviet, and a single-party state. The single party, incidentally, being The Incumbents Party, case you were wondering. So I'm all for scrapping the current system and replacing it with something wholly Impartial, up-front, above-board, and accountable. But I'm not a total idiot. I wouldn't empty that bathtub by dropping a 500lb Republican whacko into it; and though democrats in California are a lame-ass waste of space, the republicans here are lame-ass nutjob wastes of space. Besides, anyone who could put their trust any Redistricting scheme cooked-up by the party of DeLay deserves a serious enema. Poor Tom - arguing he can't receive a fair trial out there in Texas on account of him gerrymandering all the districts with courts in 'em. Boo hoo. I'd have voted 'Yes' to the idea of Redistricting changes, but could not have voted 'Yes' to this particular scheme.

MEANTIME, in the day it's taken me to stitch this post together, the Republican Majority Leader and the Speaker of the House have ordered an investigation into who squealed to the Washington Post about Cheney's little Holiday Camps out there in the former salt mines and gulags of eastern europe. Good to see they have their priorities straight: let's find who blabbed; not a word about why the United States Government is renting and employing the torture chambers of former Communists. Such a shame to see them go to waste, no? I'd bet Cheney has shares in the realty companies, and has advised his new chums how real Capitalists would mark-up the rent 5000% when the client is a government?

At least we finally have an explanation for this little imbroglio, from a month or two backaways:

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"I'm not the 'Communist Old Guard'!"



Lots of bloggers seem to be gloating that, after Frist and Hastert ordered this inquiry, good old Trent Lott (or was it???) blabbed on CNN that it was probably a Republican congressperson that spilled the beans, "because Dick Cheney was just talking about that very thing to us the other day, and next thing you know it's all over the papers!"

Bloggers think this is a measure of Frist and Hastert's stupidity: to have ordered an inquiry into what has turned-out to be their Own Team.

I'm not so sure: while there is no limit, it seems, to the depth of moronity I could attribute to Dr "Diagnose-by-Video" Frist, this pair are worse sneaks even than they are bozons. I smell a stitch-up in the air, and underhanded damage being inflicted upon a presidential prospect who is not Senator Bill Frist.

We'll see. But if by some stupendous feat of chance and jiggery-pokery this very thing turns out to be true, then you know whose tin hat you read it under first...

1 Comments:

Blogger Cowtown Pattie said...

Politics give me gas.

I voted "no" to all props on the Texas ballot, for all the good it did me.

Flatulation is at least a relief...

2:27 PM  

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