Archive for October, 2012

2012 Propositions.

Education is an important part of this proposition season. Some of the more hotly debated propositions involve funding of education and tax increases. Also this is the first image that showed up in a google search of “CA propositions 2012.”


My blog is back! ASC is far behind me now, and it’s time to start talking about and thinking about new things. I put off my blog for a long time and the semester is catching up with me. Thoughts and feelings are slipping through my fingers like water through a sieve, and I need the written word to stem the tide.


I had planned my grand re-opening post to be of a different nature, but with a big election coming up in a week, I thought I would discuss California’s Propositions and how I feel about them. If possible I would like some discussion on this before I go to vote for real so that my opinions and logic can be critiqued or challenged. And perhaps just the act of me writing down my thoughts could be enough to change my mind on a subject.


Here’s a quick run-through of how I intend to be voting this season. I’ve included buzzwords in parentheses to help you remember what the propositions are about.

30 (higher taxes): Yes
31 (budget/performance regulations): ??
32 (campaign donations): No
33 (car insurance): No
34 (death penalty): Yes
35 (human trafficking): No
36 (change three strikes): Yes
37 (labeling GMOs): No
38 (taxes for education): Yes
39 (multistate business tax): Yes
40 (senate redistricting): Yes

For details on what each proposition entails, click here. 


Now I’ll go through and give a proposition-by-proposition analysis and explanation of my opinions. This is going to be a bit wordy, so you might want to just “ctrl-F” for “PROP __” that you’re interested in hearing about.



I’m going to lay down some reasoning here which will apply to a few of the later propositions. I have a controversial opinion regarding taxes. I like them. A lot. I like high tax rates. I think they are opposed very strongly in the US because it is a part of the US culture to favor the individual and to care more about money itself than the things that money provides. Taxes do a lot of good, because they pay for things that we don’t want in private hands. In the case of this proposition, that includes education. I’m also a very big fan of public education – in fact I think that education is the single most important thing in an advanced society, besides basic needs like water and food. This is because education begets everything else. An educated populace will make smarter decisions, which means every single facet of society will become more advanced and efficient. Common criticism to this proposition: “There’s no guarantee that the taxes will be spent well. We should instead devote effort to making sure the money is spent intelligently before devoting more money to the system.” This is a chicken and egg problem. A smarter populace will make smarter spending decisions. And besides, it’s not as though this proposition has a rule embedded in it that says “we’re not going to try harder to make the system more efficient.” I think it’s fair to assume that people are already doing what they can. It’s just not enough. We’re just not GOOD enough at education yet, plain and simple. We can’t be afraid of investing in education. Even if resources are not being managed perfectly now, the ability to pay teachers more, build more advanced facilities, have smaller class sizes, etc., these are all things that can be helped with more money and investment. And, even despite all that, I would probably still vote for this on the principle that I can cancel out someone else who voted against it only because they hate the word “tax” and for no other reason, of which I’m sure there are bound to be a plethora.


PROP 31: ???

I honestly don’t know enough about the implications of this measure to have a strong opinion for or against. I might just end up voting for whatever the California Democratic Party wants. I dunno. Very open to opinions here.



This proposition sounds good on the surface, promising to make elections more fair by banning monetary contributions to campaigns. The only problem here is that the contribution restrictions are not as all-encompassing as they should be, and end up creating an imbalance where a few sources who can contribute are going to have all of the power over the political candidates. I definitely think that less money should be spent on political campaigns, but this is not a good measure to make that happen in a level-playing-field sort of way.



This proposition sounds good on the surface but actually sucks. I think you can see a pattern here. It looks like it makes logical sense but in reality it ends up just screwing over people who don’t have insurance which is really not what you want to be doing. This seems like another in a long list of measures that is support by interest groups, for interest groups, and only seeming to help the general public on the surface. Think about it – why would this even be a law? Who would want to be pushing this measure? If it made people pay less, then why would insurance companies want it to happen? It just doesn’t really make sense. The only outcome I see here is that insurance companies somehow make a profit by giving advantages to the well-to-do and screwing over poorer people or college grads looking to get insurance for the first time.



I’m gonna admit some emotional bias here. I really really really don’t like capital punishment. I think it’s stupid. I could probably write a whole blog post about this. The only reason I would ever NOT be in favor of this proposition was if I thought that there was some better way to end the death penalty, and that passing this proposition would prevent that other way from happening. I don’t think that is the case. As far as I can tell, all of the arguments against this proposition have been arguments in favor of the death penalty, and I just can’t in good conscience support it. The only reason for a legal system to ever kill someone is revenge, and that is a terrible reason. Law enforcement should never be emotion-based. It should be the most objective system we have.



I fucking hate propositions like these. They basically say “If you don’t vote YES on me, then you support sex slavery! You are a demon!” and then nobody can possibly speak out against it or else they are ostracized by society. So let’s just be done with that bullshit here, OK? My opposing of this proposition obviously doesn’t mean I like sex slavery and if you think it does then you might as well stop reading. I’m going to go into detail on my opposition here because I think the reasons against are not obvious to a lot of people, and because an overwhelming number of people are probably going to vote YES.

First let me say that I really don’t like the idea of a sex offender registry. Here is part of the reason why. Like the death penalty, it’s a cruel and unusual punishment for a crime and has not shown to be effective at all other than as a means of revenge against those who have committed crimes. Especially really dumb crimes like an 18 year old engaging in sexual activity with a 15 year old, or public urination. Part of the reason I oppose prop 35 is because of the added bullshit having to do with the sex offender registry.

The main reason I oppose this proposition is because I feel that it is attempting to treat the symptom and not the problem, and I honestly don’t think it’s going to be effective in any way other than to give people who oppose sex slavery a nice legislative circlejerk. Really, what is this, besides revenge? Increasing sentences and fining offenders isn’t going to stop sex slavery. “I’m not going to participate in human trafficking anymore because I’m afraid that Prop 35 has made being a kidnapper just too darn risky” – said nobody ever. Nobody plans on getting caught when they enter the sex trafficking business.

You can solve the problem of sex slavery with four words. Legalize and regulate prostitution. Done. Why is this not a thing?

And to top it all off, the proposition is poorly worded and neglects to mention how it’s going to fund anything.



I don’t want to talk about this one too much. The three strikes law has been dumb for a while. It just doesn’t really make any sense. It allows a lot of silly things to happen and is yet another of countless examples of our country having a shitty justice system. There’s a reason why we have more inmates than any country ever, and it’s because of laws like the three strikes law. Let’s get rid of it please.



This is probably the most straightforward proposition of them all, and the one for which I’m most sure about my vote. I think labeling something as genetically modified is ridiculously stupid. What even is a genetically modified organism? An organism whose genetic sequence is not the same now as when it existed before humans started farming it, yeah? So how about everything that is farmed ever. It’s called breeding. Breeding is a form of genetic modification. We take 5 billion cows, take the two cows that we think are the awesomest, make them fuck, and the result after doing this for 500 years is a cow which is so different from a “natural” cow that it has been genetically modified to suit our needs. Why is this different than doing the same thing, except way faster, way more effective, and with way more potential for positive change? That is what “genetic modification” as you know it means. It means a better version of breeding that some people have a problem with because they don’t understand anything about evolution or genetic modification and they think that we are making corn into the Hulk. Genetically modifying something doesn’t mean that it will be radioactive or have dangerous toxins or develop into a crazy mutant strain which will destroy the balance of nature. It means that we increase crop yield, make food with higher calorie and vitamin densities, make crops pest-resistant such that they don’t require pesticides, and many other awesome benefits which most of the voting public are not educated enough to understand (see Prop 30).

Once we start labeling things as “genetically modified,” what other labels do we need to put? “This food was harvested by illegal immigrants.” “This cow was cut open with a giant cleaver and bled out.” “These bananas were imported from a tropical region by underpaid and overworked child laborers. One of them is missing a leg.” “This food was put through a machine that contained mercury [there was a thermometer in it somewhere].” There are things that I really dislike about the food industry, and genetic modification is not one of them. I might be in favor of this labeling if genetic modification was in any way harmful or if people actually knew jack shit about it. But neither of those things are true, and thus I stand opposed.



This proposition is pretty similar to Prop 30. Increase taxes to support education. There’s some controversy here because people are afraid that this proposition will cause votes to be split such that neither 38 nor 30 will win, so I’m just going to vote for both of them anyways and see what happens. I don’t even mind if both pass, and I’m not convinced that either will. It seems like 38 is less likely to pass and 30 more likely. I actually do like 30 more, but again, I really don’t mind if both pass, and I might as well hedge my bets here by voting for both.



This one is kind of a no-brainer for me. Keeps jobs in California. Makes it harder to exploit workers and to do sketchy loop-holey outsourcey things. Me likey. Most other people likey too.



I don’t know a lot about the implications behind this, but it sounds pretty sweet. Districts need to change with time because the number of people, the political climate, and the socio-cultural climate of California are probably changing a lot all the time, and it would be great if Californians could work on redistricting ourselves rather than asking other people to.


By the way, let me just take this opportunity to ask, where are all of these millionaires who donate to these propositions coming from? And why aren’t they donating millions to causes that are more useful? Take a look at Bill Gates, mother suckers. That’s the kind of philanthropy which helps the world. Whatever. Spend your money how you like, ridiculous random millionaires.


Ok, that’s all folks. Phew. Long post. Anyways, I’m glad to be back. Expect a lot more posts in the future – I have tons of ideas waiting to share! Here’s my theme song for the semester so far. Not sure why, I’ve just gotten really obsessed with it.