Time to take a little break before going off to class. Time to do some non-programming writing.

Time to vent the spleen. It’s been needing some venting for a good long time.

See, Michel went and got us a subscription to the LA Times, one of the worst newspapers in the world. The Times has awful writing, uses the bloody passive tense in its headlines, and has smaller balls than a ping-pong shop. The fact that it’s owned by yet another monolithic corporation that isn’t based in Los Angeles doesn’t help, either. At least a wing-nut paper like the Register was entertaining, even when it pissed me off. The Times just makes me upset, which is the last thing I need to be while I’m munching on breakfast and figuring out how to milk the economy to my advantage. But the damn thing keeps showing up like the clap, so I might as well read it and get misinformed before I read the BBC or the Guardian or even the Sacramento Bee and get informed.

All this has done, of course, is make me furious before I start the day. The Times is chock-full of the stupidity that runs rampant in my state, whether it’s in the many levels of government or the many levels of society. The Times reminds me that the world is full of stupid people, and that some of them have influence over my life. This infuriates me to no end.

What’s gotten my craw right now is the recall. Are you not in California? Have you not heard of this? Grab a brew and pull up a chair.

There has been a movement for the past six or seven months to recall Gray Davis, the governor of the Great State of California. It’s a very simple process: you’re unhappy with the governor’s performance, so you collect around 900,000 signatures demanding that the state hold a special vote so the voters of the state can decide whether he stays or goes. If he goes, you have another special election to decide who will replace him. Simple.

The problem lies in two things: first, the state is broke, and second, the people running the campaign are swine.

First, the money. It’ll cost about $25 million to run this special election, and that’s really money the state doesn’t have. Now, there are some who say that the money isn’t there because of Davis’s fiscal mismanagement. We had an ugly energy crisis two years ago, one that was brought about by the joys of deregulation and the shenanigans of Enron and the like. Whether the whole thing was Davis’s fault or not is something I haven’t sorted out because every time I try and dig for info I wind up following a thread and finding out it’s connected to another thread, which is connected to another thread, and on and on until I find I’m looking at a bunch of sweaters in a musty closet that’s been sealed off from the outside world since Nixon was in office.

But the fact is that the state is out of cash and cutting programs, something that hits home. Anne, the love of my life, is on the board for the Westside Children’s Center, an excellent outfit that provides child care, education and foster services for poor kids, and she has told me about one problem after another that the Center is having because it’s not getting any cash from the state. Or rather, it’s not getting as much as it used to. (The fact that LA’s best and brightest would rather donate money to museums and parks and things like that rather than to the center are beside the point. That’s another rant that I’m going to nail to Eli Broad’s front door.) I haven’t talked with any of my family and friends who are teachers about their jobs, but I can’t imagine things are going to be a lot of fun for them next school year with the state pulling even more money out of education. And now people want to flush another $25 million down the drain.

Can California get a few million credit cards to max out?

But what really chaps my hide is the crew that’s behind the recall. Its leader is Darrell Issa, a Congressman from Vista, one of the most conservative cities in the state. It’s the kind of place where conservative Christians get on the school board and decide to ban things like books and the theory of evolution. Darrell is certainly a man of his people; he’s anti-choice, anti-gay, anti-environment, anti-gun control, anti to just about everything that I’m pro. And, hey, if he wants to do that in Vista, bully for him and his community. It’s when people like him decide that what’s good for him is good for the rest of the state when I start to get a wee bit miffed.

Darrell’s laid down the cash for the recall, almost $1 million. And he’s gotten backing from organizations with fun names like Blessed Cause, the Campaign for California Families, the Patriot Defenders Network, and the good ol’ California Republican Party. Here we have another bunch of right-wing yahoos who are unhappy that they lost in the last election and are abusing the system to get their way. Another bunch of spoiled, crying babies who can’t cut the mustard the right way go blubbing off to the Secretary of State with a bunch of signatures.

Oh, and the signatures! I love this part: those guys collecting the signatures for this recall? They get paid a buck per John Hancock. A lot of them come from out-of-state. The whole thing is as grassroots as a lobbyists’ luncheon. I got a petition sent to me; I wrapped the return envelope around a brick and dropped it in the mail.

Now, those of you who don’t live in California must be asking yourselves: so what? This is your problem, Sparky, not mine.

The thing that people forget is the California is a smaller version of America. We could easily be our own nation, what with our agriculture, oil, minerals, engineers, universities and tacos. We are an incubator of American ideas, no matter how whacked out they may be. What happens here will happen in your state eventually, provided you guys have a recall policy floating around.

So, I’m going to have to start kicking some ass around here. I found a group that’s fighting the recall, so I might start spending my lunch times standing in front of Vons to get signatures of my own. Davis is talking about using legal mojo to stop the thing; I’m hoping we can use some real grassroots to save the state some money and tell Darrell Issa and his lot to get stuffed and play like all the other big kids and do what everyone else does: buy stupid campaign ads that no one will pay attention to come November.

The only good thing to come out of this boondoggle: if people can recall the governor, is there any way to kick this up a notch and recall the President?

And all this because of the Times. Why couldn’t Michel have gotten the Wall Street Journal instead?