Dean Clough

August 25, 2021

Portico Darwin: California's Stupid Recall Election

Before another bitch session (however warranted), I mourn the death of Charlie Watts, drummer for The Rolling Stones.  He died Tuesday in a London hospital. 

Their only drummer, over a career with them that began on January 12, 1963, he is considered the backbone of The Stones and their sound.  RIP Mr. Watts, and sadly it must be said, The Rolling Stones.  It's not "The Rolling Stones" without him behind the drumkit, and I bet Keith and Mick know that.  At least I hope so.

In his honor, and apart from KLUF, here, on an album considered one of their finest, is the inimitable Charlie Watts and The Rolling Stones, with "Beggar's Banquet". 

I will miss his dignity, let alone his drumming.   His passing reminds us that Time Waits for No One.


Moving from a legend to a shame . . .

The attempt to recall Governor Gavin Newsom highlights some of the problems we have here in California, and also in the US as whole.  Next month, Californians will vote to decide if Newsom, who won our gubernatorial race in 2018, fairly and in undisputed fashion, should be recalled and replaced.  Conducting this special election will cost the state at least $250 million.  That's a lot of fire hoses we could buy to help fight the seemingly permanent wildfires we have now.

As governors go here, he's done an OK job, albeit with self-inflicted wounds along the way.  His infamous chow session at the 3 Michelin Star French Laundry (of course we have:  5/13/2005) at the height of the pandemic lockdowns was dumb and hubristic.  And since taking office a little over two years ago, many of our ills as a state (lack of affordable housing, crumbling infrastructure, wildfires, etc.) remain.

But there have been no reports from anywhere of real malfeasance or impropriety.  Nor can those problems I list above be laid solely at his doorstep, and he's done as good as any governor on the pandemic.  Honestly, I think a lot of people don't like him because of his appearance:  I fear he's too handsome, and I am not kidding. 

And frankly, it's not like he's Ron DeSantis or Greg Abbott, two governors I wish would disappear from Earth totally, if not just their states.  (I am apparently not the only one.)

So that's my first rant.  What in the world happened to accepting the outcomes of fairly held elections?  Obviously, Tr***'s Big Lie regarding the 2020 election is the most disgusting example, but this isn't very  different. 

I get that Newsom might not be your cup of tea - great, we have elections every 4 years and you can vote for whom you feel will do the best job.  Put another way, Julie and I discussed moving to Ireland if Tr*** had won in 2020.  But we wouldn't have attempted to reverse the outcome of a free and fair election if he had.  We would have accepted it and moved on - way on, in our case.

But that's not how it goes any longer.  Newsom had barely even sat down in Sacramento before the drumbeats for his ouster began.  On what basis?  Because your party didn't win?  Is that the America we want?

Enabling this madness, at least here in California, is "Direct Democracy" and I could not be more opposed.  Reminder:  we live in a representative democracy, not a direct democracy.  We elect our leaders to legislate for us, with the concept being the typical citizen can't possibly be well-enough informed to make rational decisions on a broad set of far-reaching policies.

Not here in California, though, and that's my second rant.  Californians know all too well of the mostly stupid "Propositions" that somehow make their way on to each and every ballot.   Regulating dialysis centers.  Soda in schools.  Union benefits.  Taxes.  Police and transit reform.  You name a subject and the (often poorly-informed) general populace is asked what our state policy should be for it.

That's because here, one only need collect a relatively tiny number of signatures (5% of the number of votes cast in the state's previous gubernatorial election) in order to get an initiative or proposition on the state-wide ballot.  Think about that.  That number now is ~ 630,000 signatures, in a state with a population of 37 million. 

So a literal fraction of the state can pick an issue - any issue - and with enough money and effort, get it on the ballot of the world's 7th largest economy.  And guess what?  There's often money at stake in the outcome - big money - so you can imagine what happens next.  Shocker:  a typical proposition gets decided by who has the biggest wallet and thus, the loudest megaphone.

Sadly, the same is true for ginning up a state-wide recall election:  get enough signatures and a fairly elected governor, who has done nothing material to warrant removal from office, has to battle for survival.  Who asked for this?  Not I.

Because I was raised to try your hardest to win, but be gracious in defeat.  Weren't you?  Weren't most of us?  Why has this been forgotten, by Tr*** and his enablers in The Big Lie, and now, by these non-democratic recall fools? 

A message to my first cousin Cyd Darwin:  your kind words about Julie's "lovely" appearance in the recent photos I've posted here made her day.

You want lovely?  Here's lovely - one of my cousin's recent works.


Look at the range, depth, and intricacy of color in this work.  There's more here.  We may have to add to our collection.

And while I tease this man early and often regarding his personal music "knowledge" and musical "taste" (I mean, who isn't hoping for an Uncle Tupelo reunion?), I must give credit where credit is due.  Hunter Deuce kindly validated my assessment of Green Day's cover of "Tired of Waiting For You" as being among the best:

"I keep forgetting just how great that Green Day cover of "Tired of Waiting for You" is."

Hunter, once and for all:  my musical knowledge and taste is unique among humans.  As is my outsized ego.

Thank you to any one that is reading this blog.

Despite my quasi-vast collection of music, there are times when I feel I must repeat a suggestion because a) it's so appropriate for the day's blog topic, and/or b) the album is just too f'ing good to recommend only once. 

This one ticks both boxes. 

Featuring the song "Electioneering", here, and also from my recent list of the best bobo Rock Albums of all time, is the incomparable Radiohead and "OK Computer".

(Fun fact:  this is actually the 3rd time I've mentioned this album - it dates to one of my early posts, on 3/24.  Frankly, the album recommendation for that post should have been this - but I was trying to stick to high-res recordings at the time.  The post was titled "Voices Inside My Head", after all . . .)

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