The Woundup was in need of spring cleaning. Fresh coat of paint, new look, streamlined gadgets in the sidebar.
Got rid of things like the "Twitter" gadget. I fell in and out of love with Twitter pretty durned quick, truth to tell. It encourages thinking in sound bites. If it can't be said in 140 characters, it's not worth saying? Thanks, but I can't even tell you my name in less than 140 characters.
Likewise I have severed my temporary ties with Haloscan's annointed (and annoying) successor, Echo.com. Comments have reverted back to Blogger control, and that's fine. I'll probably enforce a little more moderation on comments because the Google spammers are coming out of the woodwork again.
One change, strictly for fun, was to turn the labels display into a cloud. Kind of fun to see which ones I use over and over. Equally dismaying to see how many I've created over time that have never been used more than once or twice.
Anyway, I like this new layout, I think. It's cleaner and feels less crowded. Now if only I could think of something worth writing about...
UPDATE: Full comment moderation now. The spammers seem to feel they've wasted their time if they haven't slipped in all sorts of links to malware, porn, or other dangerous content.
It's time once again, boys and girls, for Uncle Woody's "Curmudgeon's Guide for Young Conservative Voters;" the only voters guide that has consistently provided the fewest possible facts in election after election while still claiming to know what it's talking about. The only such guide that could, if nominated, do a better job at governing than most of the current slate of candidates. The only guide that could conceivably cause severe headaches and abdominal swelling if ingested. The only guide with a preamble that should have ended about three sentences ago.
This is primary season, Young Conservatives, and as such it's important to realize that NOTHING YOU DO NEXT TUESDAY WILL MAKE A LICK OF DIFFERENCE. Oh, sure, certain people may be forced to drop out of the race, and our entire political process may change irrevocably for the foreseeable future, BUT THE HIDEOUS POLITICAL COMMERCIALS WILL STILL INFEST YOUR TELEVISION. Let us be clear, Young Conservative Voters: if Uncle Woody hears the phrase "let us be clear" one more time, he will sue President Obama and his estate in perpetuity for the next twenty five generations. Uncle Woody has heard that phrase in every commercial, news report, and radio commentary for what feels like the last fifty seven years, and Uncle Woody is NOT THAT OLD. Not yet, anyway.
But you're not here to listen to Uncle Woody carp about election advertising, Young Conservatives. You're here to listen to Uncle Woody carp about the carp for which you're expected to vote next Tuesday. So let's get to it, beginning with the inevitable and ad nauseum
California Ballot Propositions
There are only four of them this time around, but there's a lot of stealth politics embedded in these little jewels. They're supposed to cure everything from lazy voters to how electricity is generated and provided to new customers. In other words, lots of pork, plenty of chicanery, and almost zero accountability for wasting our taxpayer-subsidized time. First up:
Proposition 14 - Elections, Increases Right to Participate in Primary Elections
The most telling statement related to this boondoggle-in-boondoggle's clothing comes straight from (WARNING: Incipient Fact Notification) the California "Official Voter Information Guide." Right there, on page 14, bold as brass, are the words "Encourages increased participation in elections for congressional, legislative, and statewide offices by changing the procedure by which candidates are selected in primary elections." This proposition even includes a graphic showing how that process would, in fact, be changed. Bottom line: this is less about motivating "participation" than it is a pathetic attempt to winnow the number of players that reach the General Election stage by limiting the final slate to two candidates of "any party," meaning you could conceivably wind up with two Democrats in the General Election, or, worse still, two Green Party candidates.
At least one analysis that I've read calls this a move towards a "caucus" system for California. The only way you'll get this state to become a caucus is if you equip everyone's SUV or Prius with video conferencing equipment. Uncle Woody says absolutely not!
Proposition 15 - California Fair Elections Act
Call this the "Leveling the Playing Field" proposition. It sounds very high-minded and altruistic except for one teensy little flaw: it would never work. Certainly not in California, to put it mildly. What this really seeks to do is pump more taxpayer money into the campaign coffers of more politicians during an election so that everyone has equal abilities to spew lies like used car salesmen on television and over the internet.
Uncle Woody never fails to be amazed at how surprised everyone is when a candidate says "I will never accept money from lobbyists," only to find out exactly three minutes after his opponent concedes the election that they did, in fact, accept money from XYZPac for the express purpose of having wind turbines built in the middle of Lake Tahoe. Do we honestly think that employing legislation of this nature is suddenly (after numerous failed attempts at the federal level) going to result in "fair" elections? If Uncle Woody is stupid enough to donate money to a candidate, he deserves whatever he gets. Keep our taxes out of it, thanks. Uncle Woody says no way.
Proposition 16 - Imposes new two-thirds voter approval requirement for local public electricity providers. Initiative constitutional amendment.
Uncle Woody really wants to like this one, Young Conservatives. It requires a two-thirds vote before a municipality can provide or expand service to new customers, and that sounds really nifty. Gee! They want my approval before they're allowed to act! But a closer reading of this proposition leads Uncle Woody to believe that what they're really trying to do is limit the availability of public funds and bonds for what may be necessary expansion of service into territory currently claimed and serviced by existing utilities. Truth to tell, Uncle Woody thinks they're barking up the wrong tree here. Far better in Uncle Woody's mind would be to eliminate the existing Public Utilities Commission and create a board that has enough teeth to actually punish utilities when they're found in collusion for hiking rates without justification. This proposition will actually end up costing us more by having long and expensive court battles over such issues in the long run. Uncle Woody says vote this one down and come back with something that works.
Proposition 17 - Allows auto insurance companies to base their prices in part on a driver's history of insurance coverage. Initiative statute.
Pardon Uncle Woody while he yawns and lies down for a quick nap. Insurance regulations frankly bore Uncle Woody because he's old enough and experienced enough to have earned his Good Driver discounts and tries to drive safely. This proposition wants to allow insurance companies to come up with another new "magic" discount for drivers who have a continuous history of coverage. The problem here is that we're trying to reward behavior that is already required by law. Period. If you don't have insurance, you're not supposed to be driving. So even though he has insurance, and has had insurance (with extremely brief lapses here and there because he forgot a payment) for his entire adult life, why on earth should Uncle Woody receive any monetary consideration for obeying the law in California? This sounds like entitlement run amok to Uncle Woody.
The other problem, of course, is that thanks to Obama Care, we have no idea what the insurance industry in general is going to look like in a few short years, and Uncle Woody certainly wouldn't want people to get addicted to discounts that may just as suddenly disappear because the companies are going belly up at a frightening rate. But that's mere conjecture on Uncle Woody's part. Vote no, Young Conservatives, and tell the insurance-mongers to get a real job.
Finally, Young Conservatives, Uncle Woody actually has one or two recommendations for elected officials this time around. Uncle Woody normally avoids recommending one candidate over another, but this election has been a little different. Specifically, this is the first time Uncle Woody can remember in recent years that Republican candidates are calling each other "liberal" on any number of issues, and trying to remember when the last time was that we could get away with making "liberal" a dirty word. So, Uncle Woody's two key picks:
Uncle Woody has to side with Steve Poizner on this one. Meg Whitman has some very impressive credentials, Young Conservatives, and Poizner has his history of unreliable alliances with the Dark Side. But Poizner has a necessary stand on illegal immigration that Whitman does not share, and Whitman refuses to acknowledge that taxpayer-subsidized abortions ought to be verboten. For those two reasons, Poizner gets the nod. Fiscally, Uncle Woody doesn't believe California is poised to achieve any significant growth until the nation as a whole begins to recover in a meaningful way, and there's just no telling how long that will take. Uncle Woody doesn't see economic recovery as Priority One for our next Governor. Important, certainly, but not as important as doing more to control the flood of immigrants into a state (and country) that has insufficient resources to support them.
(As a sidebar, Young Conservatives, Uncle Woody doesn't really care who you pick for the largely ceremonial job of Lt. Governor, so long as it isn't Abel Maldonado. He had his chance and blew it.)
For United States Senator
You might think, Young Conservatives, that Uncle Woody would be happy to throw his support to anyone who could unseat Barbara Boxer this November, but you would be wrong. At this point, the odds seem to favor Carly Fiorina, of dubious Hewlett-Packard repute. But there are facets to Fiorina's personality that worry Uncle Woody. Perhaps it's a sexist thing and Uncle Woody is somehow threatened by Fiorina's decidedly feminist statements. Or perhaps it's because Fiorina seems to Uncle Woody to really be just a Republican version of Boxer herself with an affinity for large government and dangerous open borders leanings. Whatever the case, Uncle Woody just can't pull the lever in her favor.
Neither can he support Tom Campbell. Uncle Woody had high hopes early for Campbell, but those hopes faded with Campbell's opposition to Proposition 8 and that's all you really need to know about him.
That leaves Chuck DeVore. DeVore appears to have the conservative creds that Fiorina lacks, particularly in fiscal management. He also sports endorsements from some high-powered conservatives whom Uncle Woody admires. Chuck DeVore gets Uncle Woody's vote next week.
* * * * * * * * * * * So that's about it for this edition of the Guide, Young Conservatives. The Curmudgeon, as always, just encourages you to get out next Tuesday and vote. Please! But vote your conscience, because after this election it may be all you have left.
Every election, Uncle Woody likes to summarize the California Voter's Pamphlet. Unfortunately, searches on the web for "conservative voter guide" always bring up my older efforts. This space, then, is meant to be a pointer to the latest: