October 2010 Archives

The Separation between Corp and State

I happened to catch an NPR story on the American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC).  It's shocking to me that politicians and Corporations can use a non profit "organization" as a clearing house for lobbying.  Its rather like a shell Corporation being use to hide money laundering!  I can't imagine how such activities are allowed to continue.  Imagine a "model bill" written by a Corporation (or group of Corps) becoming the actual legislation almost word for word.  Apparently it happens, and not infrequently: "more than 200 of the organization's model bills became actual laws over the past year."  The politicians are not representing the people.  They are representing the Corporations.  Every fear The Founders had of the Church, is coming to fruition wrapped in greed, on Corporate letterhead.  

It strikes me as one of the unforeseen (by The Founders) changes in American social/legal structure, that Corporations have become so powerful.  Looking back at history though, the signs were there to see.  One of the very sparks that lead to the American Revolution was due to the effects of Corporate interests.  Between John Company and the VoC, the power and influence of a Multi-National Corporation was evident even in the time of Washington and Adams.  

Perhaps the rise of the "modern" Corporation as a legal person was the pivotal change.  I do not know.  But I do believe that Corporate lobbying and what ever you wish to call the activities of the members of ALEC (It certainly quacks like a duck) are one of the greatest threats to our Representative Republic.

private passenger space flight getting closer

The multi million dollar trips to the ISS aside, looks like the business of taking folks into space is getting closer to reality.  Have you booked your ticket yet?  =)  Me neither sad to say.

My own guess on the timeline:
The glide tests of SS2 will probably continue for another 6 months.  That assumption is based on a comparison of the timeline for SS1.  First drop test of SS1 came 4 months before the first powered flight.  I figure they'll be more careful here, but you also have to figure, they have a significantly deeper pocketbook, and much more experience.  Then maybe 6-9 months of powered flights, another 3-6 months of space flights, and then... commercial!  I fella can dream can't he?  Just thankful there are rich folks like Branson out there pushing the envelope and pulling us all along into the future.

Wikibooks == awesome

The coolest thing since at least 5 minutes ago.  Wikipedia gives you the ability to make your own book from the wiki content.  Its awesome.  While it could be a little more user friendly, I found that it was fairly easy to throw together a reference book worth the dead trees it would take to print.  

My California voting stance for Nov 2010


Prop 19 - Yes
People are doing it anyway, lets Tax it!  Lets take away a source of income for those engaged in illegal activity.  Given that they are no longer prosecuting anyway, we should go the final step and legalize.

Prop 20 - Maybe
Dont get me wrong, I am all for redistricting.  However, I am most in favor of Arnold's plan to use a panel of retired judges.  I think it would be safer that way.  Maybe I trust judges too much?  Regardless, I do like the idea of taking power to draw boundaries away from the Legislature.  I do not care about the red-herring of costs.  

Prop 21 - No
This is a cash grab.  The publicly available evidence puts our Legislature and this Proposition into their true perspective.  

Prop 22 - Yes
I'm in favor of limiting the "rob Peter to pay Paul" accounting/funding practices.  The State (and the Federal and Local governments as well) needs to balance the budget, and truly cut spending.

Prop 23 - NO (Fixed)
Tying an already existing set of legislation to the unemployment rate is I think bad logic.  That aside, I don't care if its global warming or global cooling, either way its pollution.  Lets reduce it.  Many of the possible changes to improve air quality might actually help unemployment: Someone has to design / develop / implement / install those changes.

Prop 24 - No
This one is hard... but CA is already such a crappy place for businesses, we need to give them some incentive to stick around.  I think repealing the tax credit sharing makes sense.  I think repealing the multi-state sales income calculation makes sense.  However, it would be good to allow businesses to shift operating losses to prior and future tax years (to some extent).  This would allow more businesses to survive economic downturns!  

Prop 25 - Yes
We need to lower the bar to pass a balanced budget.

Prop 26 - No
The fees vs taxes argument is bunk.  Its about requiring a 2/3 majority vote that is at the heart of this.  They can't even pass a budget (see prop 25) why would I want that for new fees / taxes?  Government has to be paid for.

Prop 27 - Hell No
Don't give those crooks the power to draw the lines without having to even jump through a few hoops.

Carly Fiorina (R).  

Jerry Brown (D).  Yes... I hate myself for typing this, but Whitman just doesn't have the right stuff.  Arnold has proven it takes more than one figurehead to turn things around.  

Lt Governor:
Abel Maldonado (R).  Just to keep Moonbeam on his toes.

Secretary of State:
Christina Tobin (L)

John Chiang (D).  I think he did a good job and did right defending the payroll from Arnold.

Mimi Walters (R)

Attorney General:
Timothy Hannan (L)




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