Observations Along the Road

Theatre Writeups, Musings on the News, Rants and Roadkill Along the Information Superhighway

The Erosion of Trust

Written By: cahwyguy - Wed Oct 12, 2016 @ 9:33 am PDT

userpic=observationsI wish I knew who to blame.

Ever since I read “Denial”, I’ve been talking about the convergence of the facts. That we must go where the facts tell us; facts are not swayed by opinion. Facts just are, they are true, they point the way.

Alas, there’s a big problem with that. A gigantic problem. A yugggge problem. No one trusts the facts anymore.

I wish I knew who to blame. I can point to various culprits. Fox News is a big one, having introduced the notion of putting a particular political spin or slant on the news. As such, many people started discounting news from that source. Another culprit is the financial decline of print media, which forced newspapers to eliminate many editorial positions, including fact checkers and editors. As such, newspapers were no longer bastions of truth, but often presented the news either inaccurately or with particular political slants. Yet another culprit is the Internet, which has allowed anyone and everyone (including moi) to become a publisher, resulting in even more biased or slanted news sources camouflaging themselves as the truth. As such, people chose their curated news source without seeing the bias, and thus refusing to believe any other. The Internet is a culprit in yet another way, by creating echo chambers for news. As such, people don’t even realize they aren’t seeing the full stories or only selected sources that they “like”. A final culprit? The growing distrust of authority in society, making even the formerly reliable news sources now untrustworthy, whether that particular appellation is deserved or not. As such, authoritative papers of records or fact checking sources are now not trusted.

Whatever the culprit, people no longer believe the facts. And that, dear friends and readers, has brought us to where we are today. A society that has given us Donald Trump, and the lies he spreads as facts. It has given us a populace that no longer believes in science; it views science as merely an opinion. It has given us a populace that no longer believes in objective historical fact; it discounts historical facts unless they have been processed by a particular spin.

I could cite numerous examples of the result of this. Climate change deniers. Anti-vaxxers. Conspiracy theorists.

What brought this to a head for me was a discussion prompted by “And Hillary Clinton laughed at a 10 year old who was raped.” This is a particular like that has been promoted by the right wing media, by the Trump news establishment, by the establishment that has ignored facts consistently to build up a picture of Hillary as a demon. A media market that has played the populace just like the antisemitic media in Germany painted the picture that it was the Jews who were responsible for all of Germany’s problems. With today’s media, of course, it isn’t just the Jews. It is those demon Clintons and the liberal establishment.

Because of the distrust of the media, the folks to whom I indicated that statement was wrong did not believe me. You see, I had cited Snopes (which now seems to have a fake-“you’re infected” warning), and Snopes (of course)  is a conspiracy of the left. Of course, there are multiple sources pointing out the same thing:

Note that the ABC News article is from 2014, well before this year’s campaign.

What are the facts that all these sources agree upon? Clinton did not take the case willingly; the court appointed her based on the 6th Amendment’s guarantee that all parties in a case are entitiled to legal representation.  Getting the rapist off? She actually didn’t; she got a plea bargain to a shorter sentence because the prosecution mishandled the evidence, making it suspect. The laughter, not at the victim, but at the prosecution for being sloppy with the evidence, and at the polygraphs for not being as reliable as juries believe they are.

The same people who disbelieve the news believe what they are told: that Clinton was responsible for strongly defending the rapist, even though she knew he was guilty. Never mind the fact that a lawyer in a trial has a legal obligation to defend their client to the best of their abilities, even if they may know that are guilty of the crime. This is especially true when they are a court-appointed legal counsel — they have no choice, no ability to opt out of defending the person. And guess what: if you were that person — perhaps wrongly accused — wouldn’t you want your lawyer to give you the best defense possible. Our country has the legal standard of innocent until proven guilty, and that is proof beyond a reasonable doubt.

Today, we no longer look at multiple facts to draw our conclusion. We no longer trust our news sources, relying instead on the court of public opinion, on memes that circulate on the Internet, on the small set of sources that we “trust” despite their slant.

This political season has been built on a scaffolding of lies and innuendo, much of it built by the right wing establishment against the Clintons (Bengahzi, Email Servers, Rape, Murders), and to a lesser extent against Trump by the left-wing media establishment. People have become so ensconced in their lies they no longer recognize fact checking from neutral media. They no longer look at where the bulk of the evidence points.

When news services across the political spectrum denounce Trump and endorse Clinton, when pundits and politicians across the political spectrum denounce Trump and endorse Clinton, when there is almost universal acknowledgement that the stories going around about Clinton are patently false — these should people people to a particular conclusion. But when their leader — Donald Trump — denounces all these sources and individuals as the product of a conspiracy against them, and as a result people no longer believe them, well, there’s the biggest danger to our democracy. The erosion of trust in our media, because you can never disprove a conspiracy theory. We have a society that has become susceptible to demagogues, believing unquestioning what they are told, instead of checking for themselves.

Get it through your head: Our mainstream media — major television channels, major market newspapers (not tabloids), and such, are trustworthy. Further, checking a variety of sources and seeing the bulk of them pointing to the same conclusion should further support the theory that the conclusion is right. Believing multiple fringe sources that all bend their reporting should make one suspicious.


Just after posting this, I see one of my extreme conservative friends on FB post the following:

Folks, the Constitution enshrines Freedom Of The Press so that it may freely inform the public of the abuses, lawlessness and tyranny of our government when it becomes corrupt.

But what are we to do when the Press itself becomes just as corrupt, giving itself over to the regime in order to deceive the people to accept despotism, rather than guard against it?

Now you see why I’m worried? When our mainstream media is viewed as corrupt, when people believe mainstream media deceives — that is the opportunity that demagogues and despots pounce upon, for then they can convince people of anything. Perhaps one source is corrupt. Multiple mainstream sources, doing independent reporting, are trustworthy.

Is History Just an Opinion? | “Denial”

Written By: cahwyguy - Mon Oct 10, 2016 @ 4:02 pm PDT

denialuserpic=moviesIs history what you believe it to be? If you honestly believe that history happened a particular way, does that make it true? Is it acceptable to always slant history a certain way to support a particular argument? Do the facts define history, irrespective of what anyone says history to be?

Sounds like some questions relevant to this political silly season of 2016. Is it?

There was a man who said that particular historical events never happened. He said that others happened in a particular way that supported his view of reality. This man quoted numerous historical sources, and interpreted the evidence in such a way as to build a case to support his views and his arguments. Never mind that the facts and historians across the globe said otherwise. He truly believed that what everyone else knew as reality never happened, and was so ensconced in that belief that he could not see the facts.

However, there was a courageous woman who took him — and other similar believers on. She she called him out for his lies and his falsification. She believed that facts define what is true, not opinion, and a confluence of the facts is irrefutable evidence.

Again, sounds like someone this presidential year.

But the man in question didn’t like being called out for his lies and falsifications. He felt it was hurting his reputation, and was impacting his ability to conduct business deals. He wanted to take her down; he took this personally. He sued her for libel in court, and forced her to prove that he was lying.

Again, sounds familiar if you saw Sunday night’s debate. Only I’m not talking about Decision 2016. The man in question is David Irving (and no, I’m not linking to his website),  and the woman in question is Dr. Deborah Lipstadt, the Dorot Professor of Modern Jewish History and Holocaust Studies at Emory University. The trial did happen: Irving sued Lipstadt in British Court for Libel, based on her writings about Irving in her book “Denying the Holocaust: The Growing Assault on Truth and Memory“. Lipstadt subsequently wrote a book about her experiences with the trial, “History on Trial: My Day in Court with a Holocaust Denier” (recently rereleased). This book was adapted into a screenplay, which is hitting the big screens this month as “Denial“.

Now, back when I was in college, I knew Dr. Lipstadt. I was a Math/Computer Science major, and we had this requirement called the Breadth Requirement. This meant we had to take courses out of our area in order to graduation. I discovered Jewish Studies was an option for Humanities. Dr. Lipstadt, who was a professor at UCLA in the Jewish Studies Department at the time, taught a number of Jewish Studies courses. As a result, I took a number of courses from her on subjects such as Zionism and Antisemitism (turning in papers printed via nroff on the Diablo 1620 in the CS Department). I’ve been in touch with her off and on since then. When Dr. Lipstadt began to talk about this movie on her Facebook wall, my interest was piqued. I was just coming off two years as president of my synagogue men’s club, and I thought this would be a great event. So I found a date, coordinated a meeting, and picked up a copy of the book so I could prepare some discussion questions. Yesterday afternoon I lead a group of 19 down to the AMC Woodland Hills for the afternoon showing.

The movie tells essentially the story that is in the book: the setup of the conflict, receipt of the lawsuit, preparation of the case, the trial, and the aftermath. It is in many ways an extreme condensation of the book — the book covers the preparation for the trial in extreme detail (and you can see all that detail at the Holocaust Denial on Trial website, which has add the details and the trial transcipts, among other resources), and provides details for almost every day of the trial. Yet such condensation is required in the process of making the film. For those seeing the film, there is one important fact noted in the republished book’s foreward: Every word in the trial scenes is verbatim. The screenwriters did not modify those words, because to do so would be to go against the spirit of the movie.

Looking at the movie as a movie, I thought it was very good (and so did everyone else in my group). It provided sufficient context to the book, presented the discovery in an engaging way, and captured the conflicts of the trial — and the difficulties that Dr. Lipstadt faced in having to stay quiet — well. It provided just enough information on the British legal system for American viewers to understand the context. As a live theatre goer, I noticed the cinematography, and I thought it did a very good job of building the mood, especially in the scenes related to Auschwitz. It wasn’t maudlin; it didn’t well on the specifics and the cruelties of the Holocaust. The focus was the trial.

However, as I watched the movie (with the book fresh in my head), I couldn’t help but notice what was missing. The movie gave the impression that the trial was centered around Auschwitz and Irving’s claims thereabout. The discovery process of the case was much more extensive, looking at all of Irving’s writings and the historical areas they covered. When in the movie they enter the courtroom and see rows and rows of binders on the walls, those aren’t just Irving’s diaries. Those are all of the material that was discovered for the trial. The screenwriter also omitted a number of critical aspects of British court (likely for the sake of time and story): that all materials discovered are shared, and that there are to be no “surprises” during the trial. Further, it didn’t note that if Irving lost the trial, he became financial responsible for all of Dr. Lipstadt’s court costs. It also didn’t note the questions related to Penguin UK’s involvement in the trial.

With respect to the trial itself, there were numerous areas that, again, were condensed out for the sake of the cinematic demonstration. There were numerous aspects of Auschwitz that were hinted at in the movie, but were much more extensive during the trial, such as the ramp to the “delousing room” and the specifics of why Leichter’s analysis of the concrete was flawed. There were aspects of the construction of the facilities. Then there were other areas that were omitted entirely, such as Irving’s claims about the Eastern Front and the massacres of Jews there.

Again, I understand the cinematic need for the omissions. There was one omission that was more problematic to me. A key emphasis of the book is the notion of confluence of history — the notion that factual history arises from facts from multiple sources and multiple datapoints all pointing to the same conclusion. This was Irving’s fatal flaw: he drew facts from one or two sources, interpreting them as he would, and ignoring numerous other sources that contradicted him. That’s not what a historian does. Once examines as many sources as possible, and where the facts lead you are the truth. This notion of confluence of history is extremely important this election season; just this weekend we had a candidate claiming that a particular behavior wasn’t representative, when the confluence of facts pointed to the opposite conclusion. This same candidate identified a few examples about their opponent and claimed it demonstrated a significant pattern when, again, that conclusion wasn’t supported by a confluence of the facts.

However, the movie did leave the audience with an extremely important point, which was also the moral (so to speak) of the book: History is not just what we say it is. One cannot say: this is how I honestly remember things, this is what I believe, and therefore it is true. Having honest antisemitic beliefs, and believing that the Holocaust never happened does not change the reality that it happened. That is such an important point to make this fall, where we have entire political parties insisting that history happened one particular way to support their point of view, completely ignoring the fact that the confluence of the evidence says otherwise.

The performances in the movie were uniformly strong. Timothy Spall, who to me was Wormwood from Harry Potter but whom others recall better as Churchill in The Kings Speech, does innocent evil so well. Rachel Weitz did a great job becoming Dr. Lipstadt — she got the vocal mannerisms down well, although her look didn’t quite fit my memory. The performance was excellent. Tom Wilkinson was strong as Richard Rampton, the lead Barrister on the case, with great support from Andrew Scott as Anthony Julius, the lead solicitor.

This being a movie, I’m not going to list all the credits as I do with a theatre production; you can see them all on the IMDB page.

Note that the underlying topic of the movie: antisemitism (always, as Dr. Lipstadt taught, written without the hyphen), is still far too prevalent. You’ll see it in comments on the book and on the movie. You’re seeing it in this political campaign, from the memes retweeted by the Trump campaign (Pepe the Frog was recently designed as a hate symbol by the ADL, and there was Trump’s earlier tweet) to the most recent debate, with the repeated references to Sydney Blumenthal. These are what are called “dog whistles” — silent signals that most people don’t recognize, but that white nationalists pick up to indicate messages to them. The denial of history — the bending of facts to make a particular point — is so timely this political season.

One other interesting comparison. One incident show in the movie, which was related in the book as well, concerns how Irving demonstrated he was not a racist. Quoting from the book:

Irving assured the reporter, Kate Kelland, that he could demonstrate he was not a racist by the fact that his “domestic staff” had included a Barbadian, a Punjabi, a Sri Lankan, and a Pakistani. They were “all very attractive girls with very nice breasts”.

Shades of a certain presidential candidates and comments made on a bus.

“Denial” is a movie I strongly recommend to all. It is in limited release now, expanding some on October 14, and going nationwide on October 22. See it. Learn from it. Get the book and visit the website and learn more.

* * *

Ob. Disclaimer: I am not a trained theatre critic; I am, however, a regular theatre audience member. I’ve been attending live theatre and concerts in Los Angeles since 1972; I’ve been writing up my thoughts on theatre (and the shows I see) since 2004. I do not have theatre training (I’m a computer security specialist), but have learned a lot about theatre over my many years of attending theatre and talking to talented professionals. I pay for all my tickets unless otherwise noted. I am not compensated by anyone for doing these writeups in any way, shape, or form. I currently subscribe at Cabrillo Music Theatre (FB), the  Hollywood Pantages (FB), Actors Co-op (FB), the Chromolume Theatre (FB) in the West Adams district, and a mini-subscription at the Valley Performing Arts Center (VPAC) (FB).  The Chromolume 2017 season looks particularly good: Zanna Don’t (Tim Acito, January 13 – February 5), Hello Again (Michael John LaChiusa, May 5- May 28), and Pacific Overtures (Stephen Sondheim, September 15 – October 8) — all for only $60). Past subscriptions have included  The Colony Theatre (FB) (which went dormant in 2016), and Repertory East Playhouse (“REP”) (FB) in Newhall (which entered radio silence in 2016). Through my theatre attendance I have made friends with cast, crew, and producers, but I do strive to not let those relationships color my writing (with one exception: when writing up children’s production, I focus on the positive — one gains nothing except bad karma by raking a child over the coals).  I believe in telling you about the shows I see to help you form your opinion; it is up to you to determine the weight you give my writeups.

Upcoming Shows:  Next weekend has yet another VPAC event: An Evening with Kelli O’Hara on Friday, as well as tickets for Evita at Cabrillo Music Theatre (FB) on Saturday. The following weekend brings Turn of the Screw at Actors Co-op (FB) on October 22 and the new Tumbleweed Festival (FB) on October 23. The last weekend of October brings Linden Waddell’s Hello Again, The Songs of Allen Sherman at Temple Ahavat Shalom (a joint fundraiser for MoTAS and Sisterhood).

Allan Sherman Tribute Show at TASInterrupting this recap for a word from a sponsor: Linden Waddell’s Hello Again, The Songs of Allen Sherman at Temple Ahavat Shalom is open to the community, and is a joint fundraiser for MoTAS and Sisterhood. Please tell your friends about it. I’m Past President of MoTAS, and I really want this to be a success. Click on the flyer to the right for more information. It should be a really funny night.

Oh, and if that wasn’t enough, October is also the North Hollywood Fringe Festival (FB), although I doubt if we’ll have time for any shows. November will bring Hedwig and the Angry Inch at  the Hollywood Pantages (FB); a Day Out With Thomas at Orange Empire Railway Museum (FB) [excuse me, “Southern California Railway Museum”]; the Nottingham Festival (FB); and possibly Little Women at the Chance Theatre (FB) in Anaheim. We still have some open weekends in there I may book. We close out the year, in December, with the CSUN Jazz Band at the Annual Computer Security Applications Conference (ACSAC), Amalie at the Ahmanson Theatre (FB), The King and I at the Hollywood Pantages (FB); an unspecified movie on Christmas day; and a return to our New Years Eve Gaming Party.

As always, I’m keeping my eyes open for interesting productions mentioned on sites such as Bitter-Lemons, Musicals in LA, @ This Stage, Footlights, as well as productions I see on Goldstar, LA Stage Tix, Plays411 or that are sent to me by publicists or the venues themselves. Note: Although we can’t make it, I also recommend the 10th Anniversary Production of The Brain from Planet X at LACC. See here for the Indiegogo. Lastly, want to know how to attend lots of live stuff affordably? Take a look at my post on How to attend Live Theatre on a Budget.

You Out of Luck Today. Banks Closed.

Written By: cahwyguy - Mon Oct 10, 2016 @ 6:46 am PDT

[Today is Columbus Day (or Indigenous People Day, if you prefer), and, FYI, the banks are closed. Thus, it is all together fitting and appropriate to remind people why we do this… to give bankers 3-day weekends :-)]

In 1961, the humorist Stan Freberg issued Volume 1 of The United States of America, a musical telling of the founding of America through the Battle of Yorktown (Volume 2 goes through the end of World War I (“They’ll never be another war…”)). The first scene on Volume 1 relates the story of how the Indians discovered Columbus. Although many things have changed since 1961 when this was recorded — Columbus is no longer held in the same regard, the portray of the Native American would likely be very different — there are still points that ring true, especially the exchange:

Columbus: Alright. Hello there. Hello there. We white man. Other side of ocean. My name, Christopher Columbus.
Chief: Oh, you over here on a Fulbright?
Columbus: No, no. I’m over here on an Isabella, as a matter of fact. Which reminds me. I want to take a few of you guys back on the boat to prove I discovered you.
Chief: What you mean discover us? We discover you.
Columbus: You discovered us?
Chief: Certainly, we discover you on beach here. Is all how you look at it.

As today is Columbus Day, let us remember that unfortunate day that the Native Americans discovered a Italian sailor, and the world was never the same. Just look at all he brought us: “real food: starches, spaghetti, cholesterol, … all the better things. That’s called progress.”

I present a transcription of the scene, just as it happened:


Not Equivalent at All

Written By: cahwyguy - Sun Oct 09, 2016 @ 7:31 am PDT

userpic=political-signsThe news cycle his weekend has been dominated with the Donald’s misogyny, his crude language and attitude towards woman. In response, I’ve seen a number of Trump supporters responding that it isn’t so bad, not when compared to ______ from Hillary Clinton. However, what they cite is not equivalent or worse at all. As you know my opinion on Clinton, let’s debunk these:

  • Bill Clinton. Oh, what Trump did pales against Bill Clinton’s sexual escapades. First and foremost here: Bill Clinton is not running for President; he’s already had the job. This cannot be emphasized enough: Bill Clinton is not running, and wives are not responsible for their husband’s behavior. Wives do not make their husband’s cheat on them, they do not make their husband’s express horrible attitudes towards women, they do not make their husband’s commit acts of sexual violence. Saying Hillary Clinton is responsible in any way for Bill Clinton’s behavior is like blaming Melania  Trump for Donald’s vulgar behavior, or blaming Marla or Ivana for Donald cheating on them. Bill Clinton’s sexual escapades are Bill Clinton’s responsibility, just as Donald Trump is responsible for what he said and the attitudes he continues to hold. See, that’s what people miss about Bill Clinton. Look at the long list of woman that have accused Bill Clinton. Notice something. They are all related to alleged incidents that happened during the first term of his presidency or before. After the Monica Lewinsky mess (literally and figurative), there are no more accusations. Lesson learned. Behavior change. Whereas Donald Trump has continued to express women-hating attitudes, as has been seen by statements made by Trump during this campaign. Trump has a continuing pattern of misogyny to this very day. So the two are not equivalent at all.
  • Hillary Clinton. Oh, but Hillary as also slut-shamed and defended rapists. Let’s work back on this. The “defense of a rapist” was a case when Hillary Clinton was a private lawyer in 1975, and the court appointed her to defend a rapist. Remember, in the USA, everyone is presumed innocent (check your law books), and guaranteed a trial, and the court appoints a lawyer if they can’t afford one. The lawyer has no choice in the matter: law and ethics require they do the best defense possible. That’s what happened her: she did her job. As for the “slut shaming”, all the incidents were in the heat of Bill’s messes noted above. Since then… nothing.  Further, fact checking by Politifact has put even the shut-slaming claims in doubt. There is no evidence of a continual pattern of the behavior. Whereas, and you know where this is going, Donald Trump has continued to express women-hating attitudes, as has been seen by statements made by Trump during this campaign. Trump has a continuing pattern of misogyny to this very day. So the two are not equivalent at all.
  • Email Server. Oh, but Hillary leaded all this classified information through her email server. Not equivalent at all. The FBI has withdrawn the statement that there was anything significantly that was classified at the time on her server, and the few cases cited were labelled “confidential” (the lowest security rating), were not properly marked, and were sent by another person to her (which makes the other person responsible for the violation). There has been nothing that has risen to a sufficient level for prosecution. Much as people don’t realize it, minor classification spillages occur regularly because humans are stupid and sloppy. When they are called out, usually the first incident or two result in infractions or warnings, not jail. Prosecution only occurs (and lets say this together) when there is a pattern of disclosure, and that disclosure is accompanied with intent to disclose. That’s not the case with Clinton: there are a few minor incidents, all accidental, not reported by either side of the conversation, and that, most importantly, would not be repeated as President because the President cannot do their own IT (Information Technology). Whereas Trump’s behavior, and you know where this is going, Donald Trump has continued to express women-hating attitudes, as has been seen by statements made by Trump during this campaign. Trump has a continuing pattern of misogyny to this very day. So the two are not equivalent at all.

Isolated incidents cannot compare to continual misbehavior. All situations you see with Secretary Clinton are in the past and have not been repeated to the present day, or (such as the behavor of her husband) are not relevant. Whereas Donald Trump has continued to spew hatred — of blacks, of hispanics, of gays, of veterans, or the disabled, and of women — to the present day. He has disclosed information from National Security Briefings not on an email server, but over news microphones to the entire world.

There’s no comparison.

Of course, I must repeat again what I said in my post Thursday. Hillary Clinton is the best candidate, of the candidates on the ballot, out there, hands down. She is not only the most experienced candidate running, not only the candidate with the best restraint in what she says and how she behaves, and not only the candidate who is absolutely, positively guaranteed to keep it in her pants, she is the candidate (when you compare policy by policy) with the best policies to move this country forward. My vote for Hillary is not just a vote against Trump, it is a vote for Hillary Clinton.

Decision 2016 Ballot Analysis: Summary (6/5)

Written By: cahwyguy - Sat Oct 08, 2016 @ 5:27 pm PDT

userpic=voteThe upcoming November ballot, at least in my precinct in Los Angeles, California, is large. As the Donald might say, it is “Yuuuuuge”. Over five posts: one covering the Presidential ticket (although you know where I’m going there), one for the down-ticket races (although note that I reconsidered two judge races), two covering the state-wide propositions on the ballot (50-59, 60-67), and a final post covering the county, city, and special district measures, I have presented my thinking on all the ballot issues. This post summarizes all my conclusions.

Note: Propositions Haiku by Damion Carroll. Click on [📝] for the analysis page.

Office or Issue
My Position
President [📝]
Hillary Clinton / Tim Kaine fb (D)
US Senator [📝]
Kamala D. Harris fb (D)
US Representative, 30th District [📝]
Brad Sherman fb (D)
California Senate, 27th District [📝]
Henry Stern fb (D)
California Assembly, 45th District [📝] Matt Dababneh fb (D)
Judicial Office No 11 [📝]
Steve Schreiner fb
Judicial Office No 42 [📝]
Efrain Matthew Aceves fb
Judicial Office No 84 [📝]
Toss up: Either candidate is acceptable: Javier Perez fb or  Susan Jung Townsend fb
Judicial Office No 158 [📝]
David A. Berger fb
Proposition 51: Bonds for K-12 School and Community College Facilities. [📝]

Nine billion dollars
Of bond funds for school buildings
Term: thirty-five years

 Thumbs Down  No on 51
Proposition 52: Medi-Cal Hospital Fee Program.  [📝]

A hospital fee
Matched with federal dollars
Funds Medi-Cal boost

 Thumbs Up Yes on 52 fb
Proposition 53: Revenue Bonds. Statewide Voter Approval.  [📝]

Bonds for big projects
(Like high speed rail and Delta)
Would need people’s vote

 Thumbs Down No on 53 fb
Proposition 54: Legislature. Legislation and Proceedings. [📝]

Bills must be posted
On the web, for three days straight
Before they are passed

 Thumbs Down No on 54
Proposition 55: Tax Extension to Fund Education and Healthcare. [📝]

For high-earning folks
An income tax that funds schools
Would remain in place

 Thumbs Up Yes on 55 fb
Proposition 56: Cigarette Tax to Fund Healthcare, … [📝]

The cigarette tax
Would go up, two bucks a pack
E-cigarettes, too

 Thumbs Up Yes on 56 fb
Proposition 57: Criminal Sentences. Parole. … [📝]

Earlier parole
Of prisoners serving time
For non-violent crimes

 Thumbs Up Yes on 57 fb
Proposition 58: English Proficiency. Multilingual Education. [📝]

Kids learning English
Won’t need a waiver to take
Bilingual classes

 Thumbs Up Yes on 58 fb
Proposition 59: Corporations. Political Spending. [📝]

Asks to overturn
Citizen’s United, but
Shucks, it’s non-binding

 Thumbs Up Yes on 59 fb
Proposition 60: Adult Films. Condoms. Health Requirements. [📝]

Adult film makers
Would have to require condoms
Or risk a lawsuit

 Thumbs Down No on 60 fb
Proposition 61: State Prescription Drug Purchases. Pricing Standards. [📝]

In theory, lowers
The cost of some state-bought drugs
(But it could backfire)

 Thumbs Down No on 61 fb
Proposition 62: Death Penalty. [📝]

Vote for this one if
You want to eliminate
The death penalty

 Thumbs Up Yes on 62 fb
Proposition 63: Firearms. Ammunition Sales. [📝]

Requires a permit
Issued by the DOJ
To purchase ammo

 Thumbs Up Yes on 63 fb
Proposition 64: Marijuana Legalization. [📝]

Legalizes pot!
Also raises some tax funds
(Perhaps a billion?)

 Thumbs Up Yes on 64 fb
Proposition 65: Carry-Out Bags. Charges. [📝]

Plastic bag makers
Put this one on the ballot
To punish grocers

 Thumbs Down No on 65 fb
Proposition 66: Death Penalty. Procedures. [📝]

If you want the state
To execute more people
This one is for you

 Thumbs Down No on 66 fb
Proposition 67: Ban on Single-Use Plastic Bags. [📝]

To ban plastic bags
Vote “yes” on 67
“No” on 65

 Thumbs Up Yes on 67 fb
County Measure A: Safe, Clean, Neighborhood Parks, Open Space, Beaches, … [📝]

Modest parcel tax
Maintains parks and rec centers
Rivers and beaches

 Thumbs Up Yes on A fb
County Measure M: LA County Traffic Improvement Plan [📝]

A half-cent sales tax
Funds transit infrastructure

 Thumbs Up Yes on M fb
LACCD Measure CC: Affordable Education / Job Training / Classroom Safety [📝]

Three point three billion
For community college
Repairs and upgrades

 Thumbs Down No on CC (tentatively)
City Measure HHH: Homelessness Reduction and Prevention [📝]

One point two billion
In bond funding will provide
Safe homeless housing

 Thumbs Up Yes on HHH fb
City Measure JJJ: Affordable Housing and Labor Standards [📝]

Building in L.A.?
Add affordable units
And hire locally

 Thumbs Down No on JJJ
City Measure RRR: Los Angeles Department of Water and Power [📝]

Gives greater power
To DWP’s Board
To hire and set rates

 Thumbs Up Yes on RRR (tentatively)
City Measure SSS: City of Los Angeles Fire and Police Pensions [📝]

Lets airport police
Into the same pension plan

 Thumbs Up Yes on SSS

Decision 2016 Ballot Analysis: Reconsidering Two Judge Races

Written By: cahwyguy - Sat Oct 08, 2016 @ 1:33 pm PDT

userpic=voteThursday evening, I published my initial take on the down-ticket offices in the upcoming general election. After I did so, I received some comments on two of the judges races that have led to me reconsidering my recommendations. The questions that the exploration raised, however, was so interesting I wanted to make them a post of their own. Let me discuss the broad issues I see, and then we can go into the specific races.

Issue #1: Diversity.  An issue of growing concern in any workplace is diversity. I’ve noted before my two favorite podcasts that touch on the issue: an episode of Startup where Gimlet explored their own diversity, or lack thereof. The second was an episode of Reply All (also from Gimlet) that explored diversity problems at Twitter. Both explored why diversity was so important. This exchange from the Reply All should clarify it a bit:


Decision 2016 Ballot Analysis: L.A. City, County, & District Measures (5/5)

Written By: cahwyguy - Sat Oct 08, 2016 @ 4:55 am PDT

userpic=voteThe upcoming November ballot, at least in my precinct in Los Angeles, California, is large. As the Donald might say, it is “Yuuuuuge”. So I’m splitting my regular sample ballot analysis into five posts: one covering the Presidential ticket (although you know where I’m going there), one for the down-ticket races, two covering the state-wide propositions on the ballot (50-59, 60-67), and a final post covering the county, city, and special district measures. I’ll also include one additional post summarizing all my positions. As always, if you have different views, I urge you to comment and try to convince me to change my mind.

Note: Propositions Haiku by Damion Carroll.


Decision 2016 Ballot Analysis: Prop. 60 through 67 (4/5)

Written By: cahwyguy - Fri Oct 07, 2016 @ 7:27 pm PDT

userpic=voteThe upcoming November ballot, at least in my precinct in Los Angeles, California, is large. As the Donald might say, it is “Yuuuuuge”. So I’m splitting my regular sample ballot analysis into five posts: one covering the Presidential ticket (although you know where I’m going there), one for the down-ticket races, two covering the state-wide propositions on the ballot (50-59, 60-67), and a final post covering the county, city, and special district measures. I’ll also include one additional post summarizing all my positions. This post covers the remaining 8 statewide propositions, Proposition 60 through Proposition 67. As always, if you have different views, I urge you to comment and try to convince me to change my mind.

Note: Propositions Haiku by Damion Carroll.