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Boise
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Yes, I abstained from voting for the two empty shells who were drug around by their noses during the tedious and boring Presidential campaign. It's no secret I would have preferred a Mitt Romney or even a Rudy G... or hell, even a Democrat who actually had some of what I consider essential experience in business and/or managing large, even huge, groups of people and red tape.

Doing some reading the other day I finally came across a rational explaination as to why Congress can have a miserable 10-11% approval rating... or maybe a better perspective... a 90% disapproval rating... yet you people keep electing the same old crooks. What the site explained is that when individual respondents are queried they usually say they like their guy/gal, it's your CongressCrook who is bad.

Well... now I understand how charaltans, fools and theives like Barney Frank or Harry Reid stay in power. Ted Stevens as well. That guy pisses me off too.

*disclaimer* Larry Craig was not representing my district when he was in Congress and I never liked the guy... yes, I met him several times, thankfully not in a public restroom.

Out here in Idaho my district tossed out the incumbant Republican and elected a man who I have always been suspicious of. He sheparded a once vibrant company (TrusJoist) into bankruptcy and then oblivion, advocated the removal of all dams in Idaho... we are well over 80% hydro-electric out here... power is insanely cheap compared to you losers back East... and is on record as having been supportive of eliminating virtually all state incentives to attract new business and jobs. Huh? Yep, it's true. His rationale was that more jobs in Idaho screw up the pretty landscapes.

Nonetheless, Walt Minnick is the new CongressCrook for my district. How could he be any worse than Bill Sali was anyway? The guy makes Ron Paul look mainstream.

But we do have a real Republican Governer. And listening to the local news on AM radio the other day he secured my future vote yet again. Faced with diminishing tax receipts, like most states, Butch Otter responded last year by brandishing his six-shooter and lasso and demanding... and receiving... a mandatory cut back in state spending. That's right... he got the state to spend less. It helps that our legislature is 80% conservatives who are wary of foolish spendthrifty behaviour like you folks in Michigan and New Jersey... and California.

It gets better. Otter is a rare politician. He is capable of foretelling the future! Or, reading the handwriting on the wall. When the State of Idaho released both witholding tax and sales tax data from September the numbers were down. No surprise there. But unlike Arnold, the psuedo-Republican out on La-La Land... Otter responded immediately and said in no uncertain terms that he would task the legislators in the upcoming session with the job of cutting state spending yet again!

That's right folks. A politician who's response to diminishing income numbers is to reduce spending... not raise taxes!

Idaho is a weird state because it's both small and kind of big. What that means is you often have a chance to mingle with politicians and Poobah People in normal settings. I met Butch a number of times over the years because I used to go out dancing and drinking at a large CW watering hole that he also frequented. In fact, he was voted top stuff in Wranglers at one point by the cowgirls. A dubious honor for a future Governer I'd say. But since he'd recently secured a divorce from heiress to the Simplot billions I'm certain he was cheerful about the young babes checking his buns out.

I thought he was kind of an asshole. Which made me all the more likely to vote for him when I got the shot. Politicians who aren't somewhat assholey make me wonder what they're up to... or what they're hiding.

So how are your guys doing? If your state is in the economic dumps are they following Arnold's path and raising taxes? Or do you have politicians with balls who understand that their task is to help you, not penalize you?

Butch is no genius, of that you can be sure. But he is a person who is uniquely qualified to be a Governer or CongressCrook (which he was at one point) because he has no law degree, no handlers, no special relationships with DC power brokers, none of that shit. He's a local guy who worked for Simplot, wrangled some steers, fucked a lot of women, married big money, drank too much and BS's about it... like you or I would and just, in general, understands what the people he work for hired him to do.

I still think the guy is an asshole. But he's a solid, workman-like politican who is apparently willing to respond to the will of his constituents.

Are your people raising your taxes and expanding the local government? Or are they being good businesspeople as well as elected Public Servants?
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Boise
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I figured I'd better add a thing or two about Gov Otter. Despite him being kind of a jerk, he does have what I think of as National Charisma. He didn't divorce Simplot's daughter when she was dying of cancer or anything. he didn't receive billions of bucks. He was just a cowboy playboy type. No harm, no foul. I sold his ex a Mercedes once when I was in that business and she was just fine.

But in keeping with the recent theme that Scrib started... and I contributed to... old guys and poontang... Otter also gets my vote for later marrying the former Miss Idaho, 20+ years younger than him. I offer this picture as evidence that he might be Presidential material and well as the potential of a truly hot First Lady in 2012 or 2016.

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William Boykin
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Texas
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I can't believe I'm going to defend Arnold, but it gives me a chance to make fun of California (one of my favorite hobbies) so here goes...

Arnold isn't really in control of the budget of California. The initiative system in California mandates given percentages (!) of the budget to be spent on things like education and the like. This means that a LOT of the budget can't be cut without doing a constitutional amendment- which is what a initiative is in California. The result is that their tax receipts are falling critically low.

They can either raise taxes, or cut what few programs they could cut. BOTH require a 2/3rds vote in the Legislature- which is so gerrymandered 55-45% between the parties in 'safe' seats that that is almost impossible to to do. The Republicans are REALLLY conservative, the Democrats REALLLLY Liberal- because they are both running in 'safe' districts- their only REAL race is in the primary, so they have to be as extreme as possible to win.

Frankly, I think that the state is on the verge of being ungovernable. If it wasn't so RICH the state government would have gone under years ago, in the tech bubble collapse.

So Arnold gets some credit for trying to do SOMETHING there. I think that Governor of California is a poison pill- its a job you give your worst political enemy, becuase NO ONE in thier right mind wants it these days. What that state REALLY needs is a constitutional convention to dump their 100 (!) page constitution and start over.

Darilian
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William Boykin
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Texas
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Oh- and as for Texas....

We wisely learned long ago not to give the Guvner ANY power. (Although Perry has upset a lot of people by actually DOING some things- My Lord, doesn't he KNOW what his proper place is suppossed to be!!! Trans Texas Corridor my EYE).

In other words, real power in Texas is with the Land Commissioner, the RailRoad Commissioner, and the Head of the State Congress. The REAL fight is going to be whether the Republican Congress is going to finally dump Craddick or not. But as for DOING anything else- its interesting, but few bills get really PASSED in Texas, but when they do, they are whoppers. Which means the state bureaucrats try to weasel as much power as they can under a very few number of statutes....

Fascinating state politics- I've only lived here a few years so I don't understand all the ins and outs NEARLY as well as I should.

Darilian
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Boise
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I can't believe I'm going to defend Arnold...


It's been so long since I lived in California that most memories of how things work there have faded.

What I do know is that when Reagan was governer he applied a combination of budget-cutting and a judicious tax increase and he got the massive budget balanced. Better than that... he managed to get the state into such a surplus situation that we not only got our state income tax refunds, we got extra! That's correct. One year I received $236 more in my refund than I had paid in. Mainly because the state coffers were bursting with several billions of extra dollars.

I vaguely recall the hue & cry from the more liberal legislators over that. It was pretty intense. The way local county and municiple governments got around not having loads of public loot to waste was to increase propety taxes to staggering levels. Really staggering... burdensome and onorous even.

That led to the Jarvis-Gann initiative and the 1% cap. Which merely prompted state employed appraisers to feloniously assess properties at unreal levels... were they being paid commisions or something?

In the years follwoing Reagan's departure Jerry Brown ran the show. I like him as a person but he was a terrible, terrible idealist with none of his ideology rooted in the reality of life. IIRC it was about 1980, shortly before I moved to Idaho, that the state was so broke under Brown that it didn't have the money to give people their tax refunds. So Brown, with a partisan legislature, announced he would issue "scrip" from the state... which us taxpayers could use freely just like real money.

Yeah, right. Merchants revolted and flat refused to take the scrip. I wouldn't have... if the state didn't have the cash to give people back their rightful tax refund, how could I expect to be paid by the state for my scrip? It was ludicrous... Jerry Brown and the legislators actually tried to get the businesspeople of California to finance their horrific and irresponsible over-spending and debt.

California is a beautiful state. Physically. But oh man, is it ever fucked up politically.
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William Boykin
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The 80's were not good for California. If it wasn't for the tech boom, the state would have gone bust a long time ago.....

Bread and Circuses, man. When the vox populi realizes that they can use the initiative system to give themselves 'free' toys- and put the bill on a state government that is incapable of raising the money to pay for anything- you're GOING to have a mess. Thats why I love to watch California politics. More Americans should. Its an object lesson as to how NOT to run a huge state government.

Darilian
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Jonathan Takagi
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Wait a minute, are you saying that it wasn't worth voting for $10 billion in bonds for a high speed rail line?
 
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nothing but static
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Darilian wrote:

So Arnold gets some credit for trying to do SOMETHING there. I think that Governor of California is a poison pill- its a job you give your worst political enemy, becuase NO ONE in thier right mind wants it these days. What that state REALLY needs is a constitutional convention to dump their 100 (!) page constitution and start over.

Darilian


Or introduce proportional representation in the state legislature?
 
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Bela's dead and Vampira won't talk
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Madison
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jtakagi wrote:
Wait a minute, are you saying that it wasn't worth voting for $10 billion in bonds for a high speed rail line?


In my city of 225,000 people, they want to develop a light rail system. This harebrained scheme has been in the works for years.

We're on an isthmus, basically meaning that we're in a straight line (or at least a barbell shape, with downtown on the isthmus as the bar). They're intentionally reducing the bus system--some might say a far cheaper and more practical mode of public transportation for our little city--to shore up support for the expensive light rail.

The light rail would essentially run in a straight line and would require the vast majority of those without their own cars to ride the bus to even be able to use the rail system, which they'd need to because of the hamstrung bus system. (Note, too, that in our city of 225,000 people, traffic is rarely an issue.)

We have some great parks, trails, and services here, and I love living in Madison, but sometimes I just have to shake my head at the idiots in charge.
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In my city of 225,000 people, they want develop a light rail system. This harebrained scheme has been in the works for years.


Right. That is exactly the kind of stuff you CAN have an effect on. When I lived in Boise there was a huge "movement" to raise money for and build a similar system. Like your area, the valley that feeds Boise extends 50+ miles to the west... all the way into Ontario, Oregon. Tens of thousands drive back and forth to the various little towns and so forth every day. And, like Madison, in order to even get to a rail line they'd usually have to drive 5, 10 or 15 miles first... probably out of the way from a direct path to work.

The prime promoters of thie plan were folks who had moved into Idaho from California, Seattle, Boston, etc as our high tech sector boomed. I didn't blame them for the notion that such things can work.. but they don't work over large geographical areas that draw people from as many as 60 miles every day to work. Not when you're starting from scratch, at a billion+ dollars.. with a resistive user-base that won't use it anyway.

It was defeated so brutally that it has never again been mentioned.

Or, the small county I live in just had a $20M School Bond issue that was defeated. Why? Simple... there are less than 21,000 people in the county. The schools have, at most, 4,000 students. You do the math. I did and laughed. This is hickville. Some of these kids don't want an education and building a new building or buying $700K worth of computers won't make smartness happen. Most of the meth kids already have high-speed internet and know more than the teachers anyway.

But again, over the last 5 years this county has seen an influx of high income folks from over the hill in Boise. They want their kids to go to fresher looking schools I guess and so the bond made the ballot. To be defeated by the farmers, ranchers, meth lab owners, toothless mechanics and other assorted folks who look at about half the loser kids and think, "why throw good money after bad?"
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Ken
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Crystal Lake
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DWTripp wrote:
It's been so long since I lived in California that most memories of how things work there have faded.


It's almost certainly gotten worse since you lived there. Least effective state government I've ever seen, and it probably can't be fixed without entirely re-writing the state constitution and outlawing ballot initiatives.
 
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M@tthijs
Netherlands
Venlo
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DWTripp wrote:
I figured I'd better add a thing or two about Gov Otter. Despite him being kind of a jerk, he does have what I think of as National Charisma.

I love the hat.

We have wooden shoes, but they're only for the tourists and an odd farmer.
You guys really wear those hats. It's great.
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You guys really wear those hats. It's great.




You got an issue with the hat pardner? No? Okay... hard to tell with that funny foreign accent of yours.

By the way... love your tulips.
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Bill Gates
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Essex
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As I already mentioned in your "Things a moron should grasp " thread, Maryland's General Assembly passed a $1.6 billion tax increase (during a special session -- no public input) to cover a deficit (created when our bright legislators passed a huge program earlier this decade that they KNEW had no funding source), then went out and increased the state budget by $1 billion.



I'm convinced Maryland has one of the most inept legislatures around. If any other state is worse, I really, really pity you.

For years, pretty much one person, the Speaker of the House of Delegates, has prevented Maryland from legalizing slot machines. The issue finally made it onto the ballot as an amendment to the Maryland Constitution (because our Governor didn't have the guts to deal with it by helping legislation get passed), and people voted for it by a huge margin (they've been voting with their feet for years, by going to neighboring states to play their slot machines).

So, basically, one delegate was thwarting the will of the majority of the citizens of Maryland who cared enough to vote.

(I realize there are moral issues about gambling. I myself voted against legalizing slot machines, mainly because I would prefer it be legislation and not an amendment to the state constitution, which means any future changes in slots machines must also be put on the ballot as an amendment to the state constitution. But, if Marylanders are going to drive to Delaware, Pa. and West Virginia to play slots, might as well keep them home and let our state get the revenue).

Polls show most people in the state would like some kind of restriction on using cell phones while driving. But, again, one legislator -- Del. Maggie McIntosh -- keeps it from happening by killing the bill in her committee year after year (kinda wonder where some of her campaign contributions come from?).

When the 2000 presidential election had the audacity to follow the rules and declare the winner to be the candidate with the most electoral votes, not the most popular votes, Maryland's knee-jerk, Democrat-dominated General Assembly, which always over-reacts, passed a law that would give the state's electoral votes to the winner of the popular vote (it won't kick in until a certain number of other states pass similar laws).

Here's what is hilarious: Maryland pretty much always goes to the Democratic candidate. So, if this law is ever activated, the most likely outcome is that Maryland will vote for the Democrat, but its electoral votes will go to a Republican candidate who wins the popular vote.

I hope I live long enough to see that happen, and the resultant uproar from Maryland's residents when their votes for the Democrat are transferred to a Republican.

And I don't even want to get started on local Baltimore County politics ...
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Bradley Hendricks
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Las Vegas
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DWTripp wrote:

Well... now I understand how charaltans, fools and theives like Barney Frank or Harry Reid stay in power. Ted Stevens as well. That guy pisses me off too.


Don't be bad-mouthin' my man Harry. angry
 
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Quote:
As I already mentioned in your "Things a moron should grasp " thread, Maryland's General Assembly passed a $1.6 billion tax increase (during a special session -- no public input) to cover a deficit (created when our bright legislators passed a huge program earlier this decade that they KNEW had no funding source), then went out and increased the state budget by $1 billion.


This sort of thing continually amazes me. But I guess it boils down to the politicians relying on a couple of features of all voting populations. One being that a segment will always vote "for" if they are told the legislation will put somebody else's money in their pocket. Most people really are dullards and never once think that their costs in taxes or whatever will increase and swallow up the extra loot.

The second thing most politicians rely on is that people, in general, really don't want to invest the time and effort in trying to grasp what is actually going on. Some people intellectually can't figure it out anyway.

Corporate taxes are a great example of this. Most dullards, when told the evil corporations will now pay more tax, raise their fists and shout "Right On!!"... screw those fat cats. Try explaining to one of these people that taxes of that sort actually end up increasing everybody's cost of goods and services and they flat out do not believe you. They won't make the effort to see how such things work... they'll just decide you're a tool.

One of my best stories about this sort of galvanized, moribound thinking is a long time gamer buddy who refused to carry auto insurance. More than once he lost his license after being stopped and ticketed for the offense.

We had several lengthy disussions and all he could come up with was how he hated insurance companies and he knew they were the overlords of the planet... even owned the banks as well as all the politicians.

Finally... after his third suspension... we were talking one day and I slowly and painfully explained to him that the rest of the citizens had a right to demand protection FROM him. And that whatever bad or terrible things one might say about insurance companies, I personally needed him to carry insurance to protect me and my assets from anything he might do. When he finally saw that insurance requirements are not only sane, but a neccessary contract between citizens who must live in and among each other, he got the point. Got his license back, got a car and got insurance. But it was nearly 8 years total for him to see the light.

Who has that sort of patience... to try and bring every guy like him up to speed on how things work? It's impossible. And so local politics is the best way to have a positive effect as a voter. It's on those issues and those politicians where you'll find more people who actually think things through because they can relate to how those votes actually impact them personally.
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