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Tuesday, October 29, 2002

Now turning my attention toward one of my other favorite sports, I spent some of my "free" time today getting ready to vote. Later this week I'll fill out my ballot and put it in the mail and be done with it. Next Tuesday I'll watch the national election returns with much more interest than anything going on in California. I'm very much afraid of what Congress might look like at the end of the night.

As I've mentioned often here (in the vain hope that I have some influence on any other California voters who don't like the major candidates), I'm voting for the Green Party candidate, Peter Camejo, for governor. It isn't a protest vote, but a vote for a man I admire who's running on a platform I mostly agree with.

That platform, which strongly values peace, social justice and individual liberties, has encouraged me to vote for Green candidates in several statewide races. I've been impressed with most of the Green Party members I've been able to find information about.

In a few cases, I'm sticking with my Democratic roots, but for the most part I'm striking a blow for breaking up the two-party system, because I think there's hardly enough difference between Democrats and Republicans these days to distinguish one from another.

There's still a difference in the philosophies of the two parties, but in practice they all seem to be in the same crowded bed, snuggling up to each other and whispering sweet nothings about war and "security" (a code word for repressing the freedoms we used to take for granted, since the definition of terrorism is being kept deliberately vague, and in some countries anti-terrorism now includes gassing a theater full of hostages).

The polls show the voters in California aren't happy with the choice for governor of either Gray Davis or Bill Simon, as if that were the choice! Newspapers "reluctantly" endorse one or the other (mostly Davis), as if there were no other candidates. People should realize that their choices are limited only by their imagination.

It seems obvious to me that if you don't like the Democrat or the Republican, you don't vote for either of them, especially if you see another name on the ballot. There are six candidates for governor listed, plus another three official write-in candidates. All we have to do is think and believe (and know where to look for information).

Living out here in the country, my ballot is free of those nasty city council races and other local contests. I've read up on the high school district board race, and it begins and ends with hiring and firing decisions made by the current board. The parents in the district feel the board has repeatedly acted against their wishes.

As a result of the controversy, only one of the three eligible incumbents is running for reelection. Three other candidates are running specifically against the current board, and I'm voting for them. It isn't just to shake things up, although that's not a bad reason. I'm doing it because these candidates are running on a platform of increased involvement by parents, teachers and students.

I'm still wrestling with the seven state propositions on this year's ballot, but I'm grateful to have so few of them to worry about this time around. The initiative process that puts people's pet projects on the ballot is abused outrageously, and we sometimes have fifteen or twenty measures to try to make informed decisions about.

Often we vote on what sounds good, simply because we don't have time to figure out whether it's too good to be true. I still have a day or two to sift through the arguments. I'll let you know.

my new sofa

Obviously (is it obvious?) the blue throw pillows are from the old couch. But the cooler makes a good coffee table, don't you think?

When Suzanne and John offered me their old sofa, I was thrilled. It's the kind of furniture I've always looked at (and sat on) with envy, but I never thought I'd have any of my own. Now I have a lushly leathery couch, simply for the cost of re-covering. John took care of arranging for the work to be done, and this morning he and Eric delivered it to me. If you'd come by the house at four this afternoon, you'd have caught me sinking into it, sleeping off the anguish of the second Monday so far this week.

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Latest recommendation:

Jon Carroll's column for October 29, Lies, damned lies and ongoing dread

Recent recommendations can always be found on the links page.

One year ago: O Happy Day
"I'm sorry, but it's not supposed to be dark at five o'clock in the afternoon. That's nonnegotiable."

Two years ago: Time Warp
"No more cookies. No more (sob) golden brown toast dripping with butter."

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