As featured on p. 218 of "Bloggers on the Bus," under the name "a MyDD blogger."

Tuesday, July 14, 2009

Arnold's Crusade Against Legislators For Committing The Crime Of Legislating

The Sacramento Bee committed an act of journalism today, taking a look at the consequences of the legislature failing to act on various bills in favor of solving the budget.

Merced County beekeeper Gene Brandi says he had enough problems before getting ensnared in the nasty war of words between Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger and the Legislature over California's failure to cure its staggering budget deficit.

His Gene Brandi Apiaries in Los Banos, which once produced 400 drums of honey a year, has turned out just 20 drums so far this year as a searing drought has deprived wildland plants of the nectar that bees turn into honey.

And Brandi says he is facing competition from food processing companies that market sugar-added honey products as the real thing. "We've got people who take advantage of the good name of honey to try to sell their product," he says.

Now some agricultural producers and Democratic lawmakers say Schwarzenegger and his aides are unfairly exploiting the good names of honey, blueberries, pomegranate juice – and cow tails – to bash legislators for fiddling while California burns.

The dust-up stirs debate over whether the budget mess should freeze out all other matters – or whether lawmakers still have a responsibility to continue the business of legislating, no matter how mundane it can appear.

Did this guy really ask to be turned into a punchline by the Governor? I would argue that the crap that large multinational food producers package and sell as food is a serious problem on a variety of levels, not the least of which is public health. And given 120 legislators with different committees and responsibilities, we are perfectly able, even with a budget crisis, to deal with additional legislation, particularly that which can make a difference to small businesses and the health and safety of the entire state. In the past several years, with budget woes in every single one of them, somehow we passed a prescription drug benefit for seniors, an increase to the minimum wage, a landmark smart growth bill, and the Global Warmings Solutions Act, just to name a few.

Ol' Stogie And Jacuzzi is guilty of the exact same crime of turning every program that sounds funny, that includes animals or food, into an object of derision, as John McCain when he discussed so-called "pork" in the stimulus package:

McCain's method of indentifying waste, gleefully repeated by Dowd, is a disgrace. His technique is to focus on programs that mention animals or food, or anythign that sounds silly. He's clearly not interested in learning whether any of the programs he targets have merit. Here is Dowd recording McCain's twitter postings:

$1 million for Mormon cricket control in Utah. “Is that the species of cricket or a game played by the brits?” McCain tweeted. ...

$2 million “for the promotion of astronomy” in Hawaii, as McCain twittered, “because nothing says new jobs for average Americans like investing in astronomy.” ...

$200,000 for a tattoo removal violence outreach program to help gang members or others shed visible signs of their past. “REALLY?” McCain twittered.

I don't know whether or not cricket control is a necessary program. Maybe crickets are doing many times that amount in crop damage every year. Maybe it's a boondoggle. I don't know about the astronomy program, either, though I do think there's a role for federal support of the sciences, even in silly-sounding places like Hawaii.

I do know that the tattoo-removal program is an effective anti-crime initiative -- it allows rehabilitated former to reenter society shorn of visible markings that cut them off from middle-class culture. McCain and Dowd don't know this, and they don't care. What's on display is the worst elements of political demagoguery meeting the worst elements of the instant-reaction internet culture. They think the very idea of trying to learn about something before you take a position on it is a joke.

Who could have expected that going with a chief executive this simple-minded could lead us to such a place of ruin?

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