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Monday, May 22, 2006
My Big Fat Greek Primary Diary
I'm going to take an objective look at the California governor's race right now, but before I get started, please bear in mind that Arnold is going to win. Thank you.
But, as of this writing, we have a Democrat primary coming up, and it pits State Treasurer Phil Angelides against State Controller Steve Westly. The race leaves me with only one question:
Do I want to vote for the multi-millionaire, or the mega-multi-millionaire?
Phil is a guy who has worked closely with bigshot Sacramento developer Angelo K. Tsakopoulos, and this is a major bone of contention for those in the party who are very anti-development.
Steve, on the other hand, is best known for helping eBay get started, and is a one-man dotcom bubble unto himself. This is a major bone of contention among those of us who have a problem with an online garage sale.
They're battling it out for the right to be the Dem nominee, and take on the current governor, whose name I have momentarily forgotten. He's bland, but that's all I remember.
Being a political animal, I've looked very closely at both men, their resumes, their statements, and it's not going to be an easy decision for me to make. Both candidates will protect a woman's right to choose, will fix our "broken" schools, and probably give us all enough access to health care that we may live to be 500 years old. I'm not sure I want to live that long, but neither candidate is proposing a handgun ban, so at least I can still blow my brains out, should I so desire.
There are differences, of course. Phil Angelides' name was once used on The Simpsons, and this fictional Phil was introduced as Duff Beer's "vice president in charge of calendars and fake IDs." Apparently, the show's producers just liked the name and decided to use it, but it gives Phil a deep well of cool that dorks like me can't get enough of.
Steve Westly has great hair.
So again, a tie. I need something to help me decide, and it's already May 22nd.
At the moment, the major issue separating the boys is the fact that Angelides has said that he is going to raise taxes, which in days of yore, used to be done all the time when a government was running an obscene deficit. Westly, of course, is a smart enough politician to jump all over Phil.
"Taxes? TAXES?!? What's next? Human sacrifice?"
And I snort in amusement, because I know that Phil is only asking for large corporations to pay a higher share, and for households with incomes over $400,000 per year to do the same. We as Californians have bills to pay, and the top one percent is being asked to use regular gas instead of premium in their yachts.
Poor rich bastards...
I don't understand why, year in and year out, people who work for a living, and I mean really work, sympathize so much with the super-wealthy whose pools you clean, and whose children you raise. Let them pay a little more, and when the deficits are erased, they will receive tax cuts again. Or they won't. Frankly, I don't care.
Now, I don't fault Westly for jumping all over this opportunity to kick his opponent, but it is disingenuous to claim to want to fix problems in California, and not have a plan to pay for these repairs. Do you want the cops to come when your house is being invaded? The fire department to show up when your car hits a pothole and sails off of a bridge? What about fixing the damned roads and bridges?
These things cost money, and society raises cash for them through taxes. I learned that in junior high, and apparently have gotten neither so old, nor so rich that I have forgotten the lesson. It'd be nice if Jesus would miracle the deficit away, but he's very busy working up hurricanes for New Orleans.
So, if I was a betting man, I'd have to put my money on Steve Westly to get the nomination, even though I feel like Phil Angelides is the better candidate. Plus, you know, that whole Simpsons thing. But, Westly will win in June because he sent me money in the mail.
This past Saturday, I open my mailbox and find an envelope. It is from Steve Westly, State Controller. Inside is my California state tax refund. No one could possibly compete with that. For doing absolutely nothing, I have received money, delivered to my home, and I am grateful.
Polls now show Angelides and Westly in a virtual deadlock. The interesting thing is that 33% of the people polled (and I think we know how painful that can be) are still undecided. I'm seriously hoping the undecideds and a good 25% of the "lesser of two evils" voters will take a look at Peter Camejo's Green Party candidacy. Camejo is a sharp guy, and knows how money works. He's an unrepentant liberal, and doesn't owe anything to anyone. At least look at his website at http://votecamejo.com/
If your interest isn't piqued, I'll personally refund the price of your magazine.*
*offer not valid if you can read this.
The long holiday weekend is over. It's very quiet on the election front. Maybe a little too quiet. I'm out of the loop, and also owe the Overused Cliche' Writers Union a hundred bucks.
Phil and Steve still polling in a statistical dead heat, and the mud continues to fly. Arnold must be giggling to himself a lot these days, watching the ammo pile up for him to use against whichever one of these shnooks wins the primary. The governor may still be polling in the low-40s himself, but he was the star of Last Action Hero, and no one can compete with that.
Well, no one but Mary Carey.
Election Eve. It's not really a holiday, but it feels like one. I celebrate by heading out with two rubber masks, one looks like Phil, the other looks like Steve. I start knocking on doors.
"Tax or effete!"
I am assaulted roughly the same number of times in either mask. I still don't know who is getting my vote.
I go vote around 11am, and am handed a non-partisan ballot, which matches my registration. The ballot does not have a listing for "Governor." I cast my mark on the ballot measures, and for sheriff, and slink out of my polling place. I remember later that I could have asked for a party-affiliated ballot. I am too embarrassed to tell anyone.
I wish I was making this up.
Phil Angelides declares victory at about 1:15 am, and will take on Arnold in the election come November. I am excited by the prospect of actually casting a vote in this race, although upon further consideration, I can't think of any reason why that should be.
In our next issue: Hot Fall Fashions to wear to the polls! Parasols are going to be de rigeur this year! Suck on that, Newsweek.
posted at 2:42 PM
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