Category: Politics

County Accountability

As far as nasty and unfair-to-the-minority generalizations go, the assertion that “all politicians are venal, corrupt power addicts” is a pretty safe one. Because almost everyone, including the politicians, know that it has some basis in fact. Indeed, an entire oxymoronic political movement, the Tea Party, has been built recently around the simplistic assumption that...

On Wisconsin: On, Wisconsin!

Having grown up in the Badger state, I feel well qualified to write sniggeringly about the place. I was there. I know what I’m talkin’ about, all right? It’s a great state beside a Great Lake, populated by generally nice folks. It also has more taverns per square mile than just about anywhere, including Bavaria....

Gays in the Military

Justice has been done! The U.S. Military’s pernicious ongoing discrimination against heterosexuals has been outlawed.  Now it’s all out in the open. Now straight people won’t be the only (majority) group permitted to suffer unimaginable indignities, grievous disfigurement and injuries, and painful death while protecting the business interests of those richer than they. Now straight...

Are Human Beings Worth Fighting For?

Rousing public sympathy for bottle-nose dolphins is easy, and it might get your documentary film lots of awards. Saving whales, polar bears, pandas, snow leopards, wolves, tigers, rhinoceroses, and imprisoned industrial fowl will get you sympathy, money, media coverage, and maybe even a little pot-stirring controversy. Championing a cause that involves something that isn’t capable...

Department of Bold Predictions: Crackpots

Bold prediction: Within a decade, a whole class of societal crusaders will develop and be recognized by the arbiters of culture. They will be called radicals, Luddites, crackpots. They’ll be dismissed and ridiculed. And they’ll be consistently marginalized by those with money and power. But they’ll be right.  Their main focus? Harnessing the astonishing energy...

Manufactured Versus Natural: Big Pharma Wins Again!

An enticing banner ad has been plastered recently all over the highly trafficked sites. It’s got a pulchritudinous brunette beaming a contented smile. She’s pretty but not too sexy, a natural gal, unthreatening and pure. The text asks viewers how they would feel if they learned that there was a newly developed chemical compound that...

Unlikely Bedfellows

No one is surprised that among the groups opposing California’s Porposition 19, the Control, Regulate, and Tax Marijuana initiative on the November 2 ballot, are financially entrenched business organizations. The prison and law enforcement industry, which profits every time a marijuana user is branded a criminal; the beer industry, which worries that Californians will collectively...

No Free Parking

The idea behind Congestion Pricing is to charge people more to use things — city streets, toll roads, cellphones — during peak times. By raising the cost you reduce demand, freeing up more space. And if demand stays constant you earn higher revenue and then raise the price some more. Such programs are in place...

Participatory Democracy in Bell, California

If there were such a thing as a Public Outrage Meter, it would be registering unprecendented levels of angst. The Gulf Oil Spill. The Wall Street Bailout. LeBron James. The latest (and possibly greatest) case of societal outrage, at least in my corner of the country, is being directed at the public servants of Bell,...

Australia Going to Hell

When Julia Gillard became Australia’s first female prime minister last week she quickly earned international headlines (and a congratulatory call from President Obama). Being a woman was the easy part. Gillard overcame an obstacle far more troublesome than her gender: She doesn’t believe in God.  “No, I don’t,” she told an interviewer at Australia’s national...