Saturday, May 15, 2010

Good for her!

I've been following Jessica Watson's solo circumnavigation since before day 1, seven months ago, with daily checks of her blog and updates of her position in the ocean.

I don't know why I was interested since I'm not a sailor and don't have anything in common with Jessica, but I was. Maybe it started out as a reaction to some bullshit people were saying about irresponsible parents of reckless, spoiled teenagers or some such. I just felt admiration for her, hoped the best for her, and now I'm glad she's home safely.

Congratulations Jessica! More power to you.

in reference to: BBC News - Australia hails solo yacht girl Jessica Watson (view on Google Sidewiki)

Friday, May 07, 2010

Arizona's Proposition 100

This is so annoying.

There's a problem with State revenues and budget projections that will require further major cuts in the budgets of various sectors of State government. The proposed Proposition 100 would create a temporary one cent increase in the State sales tax to lessen the cuts that will otherwise me made in education, public safety and health care. They say two thirds of the anticipated $1 billion dollars in revenue will go to education, and apparently the lion's share of the rest will go to public safety.

One of the complaints among the commenters on the Yes on 100 blog is that there's not enough information about how the money would be spent. Maybe a complete breakdown is too much to ask, or maybe it's available and I just have not found it.

Someone suggested looking at the two budgets that the Arizona Legislature had proposed or passed, one with and one without revenues stemming from this temporary sales tax hike. I looked for them, but could not find anything on the Legislature's web page. Maybe it's there and I just didn't see it.

The particular tidbit I was looking for has to do with the public safety allocation, justification for which includes a scare line about having to release thousands of non-violent prisoners, by which they mean, for the most part, thousands of non-violent drug offenders.

Non-violent drug offenders should not be incarcerated in the first place. Their incarceration is the result of bad public policy, the power of the prison-cop complex, deep corruption in the halls of power, stupid authoritarianism and a refusal to recognize that prohibition is as bad today as it was when it was applied to the that really dangerous drug: alcohol.

It would be so easy for me to vote Yes on Proposition 100 if whatever portion of its revenues that will support keeping non-violent drug offenders incarcerated were, instead, going to education. As it is, I will have to hold my nose tightly when I probably vote Yes.

in reference to: Homepage | Yes On 100 (view on Google Sidewiki)

Sunday, May 02, 2010

Short Shrift Friedman

Thomas Friedman's column of May 1, "Narcos, No's and Nafta," contains two paragraphs about the Narcos and the troubles they present, then he drops them from further consideration of Mexico's future.

He goes on about how the No's (the conservative middle class of unionized teachers, oil workers, electric utility workers, other government workers) are the segment of the Mexican middle class that derives its position from Mexico's dwindling oil, which finances 40 percent of the government's budget.

The Nafta's are the segment of the middle class that is meritocratic.

"So here’s my prediction," Friedman writes. "When Mexico’s steadily falling oil production meets its rising meritocratic middle class, you will see real political/economic reform here. That is when the No’s will no longer have the resources to maintain the status quo, and that is when the Naftas from the Instituto Wisdom will demand the reforms that will enable them to realize their full potential."

And the Narcos?

Unless we in the United States get real about the drugs problem and remove prohibition inflation from the profits of the drug trade, the Narcos will gain even more power over society as the No's enter decline. The poor Naftas won't be able to do a thing about it.

The corrupting influence of prohibition has to end. If it doesn't, the Narcos will stifle Mexican progress as the decline of the No's draws nearer.

Thomas Friedman, you gave short shrift to a crucial aspect the issue you addressed.

in reference to: Op-Ed Columnist - Narcos, No’s and Nafta - (view on Google Sidewiki)