SPLITSVILLE: I see where tech investor Tim Draper wants to split California six ways, lumping Santa Barbara County in with (gasp!) L.A. As William Bendix used to say in his The Life of Riley series, “What a revoltin’ development this is.”
Who wants to be part of a place that has sheriff’s deputies who routinely beat up people, is jammed with corrupt and/or brainless politicians, and writes zoning laws in disappearing ink? Then again, Draper’s six-states-out-of-one plan could have coupled us with (horrors!) Bakersfield, which at least is far enough away to be ignored. Speaking of which, one of my New Year’s resolutions is not to slam Bakersfield and its air-pollution problems, which rival those of Beijing.
Draper does have a point though. He argues that the average Californian is sorely unrepresented in the U.S. Senate. Our Founding Fathers, in their (ahem) wisdom, decreed that all states get two senators each, regardless of population.
Why? It’s complicated. They were trying to hammer together a nation. Result: A resident of Wyoming, with its 582,658 population, has vastly more political power than a Californian, whose clout is watered down among 38 million-plus Golden Staters. They also gave us the Electoral College, a political version of baseball’s infield fly rule, which only the court can understand.
But under Draper’s plan, we’d get 10 more senators, evening up things, in a way. But Democrats worry that the way Draper drew the lines, most would be Republicans. Don’t worry: It’s DOA.
SCHADENFREUDE: The last days of 2013 provided us with supreme political poetic justice. The Mormons of Utah, having shipped money and misinformation south to help pass anti-gay marriage Proposition 8 in 2008, are shocked, shocked, that a federal judge and appeals courts have ruled that Utah’s own holy ban on same-sex marriage is unconstitutional. But on Monday, the U.S. Supreme Court, acting on an appeal from Utah, temporarily blocked same-sex marriage there and sent the case back to an appeals court for more consideration. This leaves the estimated 1,000 people who have already taken out marriage licenses in some state of suspended animation. To be, or not to be? The Supremes, by the way, previously put the kibosh on Prop. 8. All of which raises the question of why nine unelected judges, appointed to the federal bench for life and who meet in secret and decide key issues on narrow 5-4 votes, are ruling on whether other people can get married.
TY WARNER GOING TO JAIL? The Beanie Baby billionaire is due to be sentenced on January 15 for tax evasion, but will he be tossed behind bars? He’s promised to pay more than $16 million in back taxes and interest and a $53 million penalty but still faces up to 57 months in the hoosegow. His attorney suggests probation and community service. Jail? I very much doubt it.
DATING GAME: I was reading Dave Barry’s latest book, You Can Date Boys When You’re Forty. He doesn’t want his daughter Sophie to go out with boys until the year 2040. Of course no parent in his or her right mind wants his or her beloved girlchild to go out with boys until she is mature enough to handle the weirdness of dating. Unless, of course, she falls in love with a doctor, dentist, or rich congressmember with a good medical plan and pension.
Barry, who will be regaling us on the Granada Theatre stage on January 22, thanks to UCSB Arts & Lectures, hopefully will not read from his book, which is jammed with shocking vulgarities. There’s bathroom humor, sex jokes, and lessons in grammar, such as use of prepositions in song titles, like I’ve Been Through the Desert on a Horse with No Name. He’ll probably even weigh in on the common belief that women don’t like sex. Actually, Barry contends, they do like sex if it’s with a very rich doctor or movie star.
SWAMP PEOPLE: My wife and I don’t have many domestic crises, but one involves the living-room TV, which she has hard-wired to the Hallmark Channel. With Sue’s iron fist on the remote, a series of feel-good flicks, many with similar plots involving the same actors, flicker across the screen. Which means that if I wanted to see football, Swamp People, Gator Boys, or Ice Road Truckers, I’m out of luck.
But, hey, my New Year is starting out great. Sue bought a beautiful flat-screen smart TV for my office, where I can write while keeping one eye on a game, which might explain my punctuation. A thought just struck me: If there’s no God, who invented cheerleaders? Just asking.