Showing posts from October, 2010


Political campaigns are frequently known for stretching, twisting, and mangling the truth, but a kernel of truth usually remains. Take, for example, the statement by Jerry Brown that he would not raise taxes without a vote of the people (a reasonable position, one that puts the voter in control). However, his opponent twisted that around to say Brown wants to ask voters for more tax increases. There is still truth in that, but the emphasis is altered.   Outright lies are pretty uncommon. Yet two of this year's campaign ads have resorted to lies. Not twisted truths, but bona fide, genuine, actual lies.   Take Proposition 24's opponents. They call Proposition 24 a "tax increase." That is a lie.  Prop. 24 is a confusing offering. During the 2008 state budget process (and I use the term loosely), the legislature approved some tax breaks that primarily benefit a tiny percentage of large companies, many of which have their headquarters outside of California. Those

Yes on 19

Before I go any further, let me state up front that I don't do drugs. I don't like to put anything in my body that may screw it up, so I don't smoke, drink alcohol, or otherwise ingest anything that isn't food. I don't even like legal drugs. My experience with prescription drugs has been mostly unfavorable, and I prefer to avoid even over the counter medications. I'm as squeaky clean as they come. So when I advocate the legalization of marijuana, it is not for personal gain, nor do I take the subject lightly. I support Proposition 19 because it is painfully obvious that our decades-old war on drugs is not working. It never was working. Yes, old Mary Jane is a seductive temptress. She is not good for you. Though relatively harmless in small quantities, she has the ability to make you dependent, impair your judgment, ruin your relationships, and wreak all sorts of havoc when used to excess. Of course, the exact same things can be said of alcoholic beverage

Judging by appearances

Late last night, well after midnight, I took my little telescope out front to look at Jupiter. I had the porch light turned off so as not to spoil my night vision. While I was aiming the scope, a couple of noisy middle-aged Mexican guys walked by, speaking loud Spanish, and spitting a lot. It looked like they were walking home from work. I could see one guy was wearing a cowboy hat, but it was too dark to see their faces. Judging by their coarse manner, they didn't sound like people I'd want to meet on a dark night. After they went past the neighbor's hedge I could no longer see them, but could still hear them. Their voices abruptly became hushed. I sensed they were talking about me and I grew worried. But it sounded as if they were still moving away, so I felt some relief. Suddenly I looked up and saw the guy with the cowboy hat had returned and was staring at me in the dark. A little nervously, I said "Hello." He replied in a very f