Josh Flaum’s Personal Guide to the California Props – 2018 Edition

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A friend of mine once confessed to me that she “wasn’t a voter”, mostly because she couldn’t get her head around the perplexing– and often misleading– language in the text of the ballot initiatives. I told her I would help her out by creating a simplified ‘Cliff’s Notes’ version of the Propositions on the ballot as long as she promised to vote. I added in a few poop jokes and bad swears here and there to make it all seem less depressing, and sent her to the polls. That was 8 years ago, and I have been writing these things up ever since.

My caveat as always: This guide contains personal political bias. A LOT of it. I urge you not to vote as I vote, but with your own head, and your own heart.

Above all else, please, please VOTE.

Prop 1

Courtside-Family-Apartments

HOUSE POOR, CASH POOR

The Skinny: Would allow the state to sell 4 billion dollars worth of general obligation bonds in order to fund existing affordable housing programs for low-income families and veterans.

You might vote YES because:

  1. You can’t afford to shell out $2400 a month for a 1-bedroom, 700 sq. ft apartment.
  2. You can’t afford to shell out $750,000 for a 1-bedroom, 700 sq. ft home.
  3. You’re tired of the one-armed dude who refers to himself as ‘Dingle Jim’ taking very public dumps on the sidewalks of your unaffordable neighborhood.
  4. You value people over debt.

You might vote NO because:

  1. You’re worried this bill will raise the property taxes on your home.
  2. You’re tired of the government throwing money at every single crisis that pops up without attempting to find other solutions.
  3. The fact that California is already 74 billion dollars in debt from general obligation bonds gives you the night sweats.
  4. Your name is Gary Wesley.

The Support: Affordable housing coalitions, charities targeting homelessness, property trusts, and Mark Zuckerberg. Total raised so far: $5.2 million.

The Opposition: Gary B. Wesley, Attorney at Law, and Single-minded Voice of Protest. Total raised so far: Zero Dollars (NOTE: Even Gary knows that backing his protests with cash would be a waste. And Gary HATES waste).

Democrats are voting: YES.

Republicans are voting: NO.

I’m Swinging: YES. We have a severe housing crisis here in California. On any given night, there are about 130,000 people sleeping on the streets. Median rental prices are increasing while renter incomes are decreasing, and in general, we’re being brutalized by rising housing costs. Personally, I’m okay with accruing a little more debt if it helps people stay safe and warm. Plus, maybe Dingle Jim can finally get some privacy… though between you and me, I’m not sure that’s what he’s after. I mean, he will look you directly in the eyes while he drops a deuce on top of Mrs. Gomez’s lawn goblin. So maybe he’s lonely? I don’t know, but honestly, let’s get that guy inside, amirite?

Prop 2

tile-crisis-help_tcm7-215914

MENTAL PROPERTY

The Skinny: Would authorize the use of $2 billion in existing bonds to finance permanent housing for individuals suffering from mental illness.

You might vote YES because:

  1. You like that the funding for this housing would be secured without creating any new taxes.
  2. You figure there’s nothing wrong with providing the mentally ill with a little bit of dignity.
  3. Because you once locked eyes with Dingle Jim while he was squeezing out a nightmare and realized in that moment that there’s room for community improvement.

You might vote NO because:

  1. You think the priority for the mentally ill should be treatment, not housing.
  2. This bill does nothing to address existing legal hurdles and zone restrictions that make it difficult– if not impossible—to build these kinds of structures.
  3. You super-don’t want dozens of mentally ill people living down the street from your house.

The Support: Charities targeting homelessness, property trusts, police and medical groups, and Mark Zuckerberg. Total raised so far: $3.5 million.

The Opposition: The National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI) Contra Costa. Total raised so far: ZILCH.

Democrats are voting: YES.

Republicans are voting: YES.

I’m Swinging: YES. Normally, this sort of thing doesn’t even require voter approval. The only reason this is on the ballot at all is it plans to exploit money generated by an active 2004 ballot measure (Prop 63, aka the ‘California Millionaires’ Tax Measure’). This Prop is an important step in the right direction, and it won’t cost us money we aren’t already spending. Dingle Jim would thank you… if he weren’t so busy eating the decorative river rocks from Mrs. Gomez’s cactus garden.

Prop 3

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LIQUID ASSETS

The Skinny: Would authorize almost $9 billion in general obligation bonds to finance a boatload of water-related projects, including water supply and quality, groundwater sustainability, watersheds, dam repair, and fish and wildlife initiatives.

You might vote YES because:

  1. You realize we’ve learned practically nothing from that whole 6-year drought state-of-emergency thingy that devastated California recently.
  2. You’re one of those human beings who needs water to survive.
  3. Who cares about massive debt, government accountability, education, and corporate raiding so long as we can eat pistachios and take 20-minute showers?

You might vote NO because:

  1. You realize this measure will be unbelievably expensive for California taxpayers.
  2. You don’t like the fact that this bill is basically a payoff to a bunch of special interest groups.
  3. You’re a proponent of that new all-sand diet that’s getting some rave reviews from Gwyneth Paltrow, probably.

The Support: Wetland conservation groups, wildlife preservation groups, and agricultural interests. Total raised so far: Over $4 million.

The Opposition: The Sierra Club, The League of Women Voters, and one lone Democrat. Total raised so far: Zero Dollars.

Democrats are voting: Neutral.

Republicans are voting: Neutral.

I’m Swinging: NO. We definitely need a good water project initiative, but this isn’t the one. It fails to provide the necessary oversight on dozens of projects, and benefits corporate special interests and big agriculture to an uncomfortable degree. Oh, and there’s also the debt: borrowing $9 billion means paying back around $17 billion, and that money’s gotta come from somewhere. And c’mon, you know where.

Prop 4

BN-SG687_Childr_GR_20170227152117

OF HUMANE BONDAGE

The Skinny: Authorizes $1.5 billion in bonds to finance construction, equipment updates, and renovations of California children’s hospitals, 72% of which will be allocated to 8 nonprofit hospitals dealing with high volumes of low-income and special needs children.

You might vote YES because:

  1. You’re aware that many children’s hospitals in California are underfunded, outdated and most still need to be retrofitted for seismic safety.
  2. One and a half billion dollars doesn’t sound like much when you spread it out over 35 years.
  3. For God’s sake, these are children we’re talking about. What are we, monsters?

You might vote NO because:

  1. You’re leery of the fact that the same hospitals funding support for this bill will also be the main beneficiaries.
  2. You understand that many of these projects will be financed by raising property taxes, and you own a house with a HUGE yard. I mean it’s got a pergola and everything.
  3. Your name is Gary Wesley.

The Support: Children’s hospitals and hospital associations. Total raised so far: $11 million.

The Opposition: Gary B. Wesley, Attorney at Law, and Lone Dissenter Supreme. Total raised so far: Zero Dollars (Gary knows a bad bet when he sees one, and he didn’t get his HUGE back yard by throwing his money in the garbage. Opposition is sometimes just talk, and Gary knows that talk is cheap).

Democrats are voting: YES.

Republicans are voting: NO.

I’m Swinging: YES. These types of bond bills have been on the ballot before (2004 & 2008), and are an effective way for nonprofit hospitals to raise the necessary funding for expansion and improvement.

Prop 5

house-tax-form

WHATEVER MOVES YOU

The Skinny: Would amend a 1978 measure (Proposition 13) to eliminate California’s so-called “moving penalty” for homeowners 55 years of age and older and those who are severely disabled, essentially protecting them from property tax increases no matter what their new home costs, where it’s located within the state, or how many times the homeowner decides to change properties.

You might vote YES because:

  1. You own a home.
  2. You realize that property taxes in California are BANANAS.
  3. You think this amendment will help improve the housing crisis.
  4. You are a realtor trying to rake in those fat stacks.

You might vote NO because:

  1. You’re one of the millions of Californians who will never be able to afford a home.
  2. It bothers you that schools and local governments would lose $100 million dollars a year in tax revenue.
  3. You have that creeping feeling that this amendment would be an enormous jackpot for the ultra-wealthy.
  4. You realize the fact that this bill was developed by the California Association of Realtors, and is being funded almost entirely by those same realtors, might be, kinda, I don’t know, conceivably, a sort of HUGE FUCKING CONFLICT OF INTEREST? Perhaps?

The Support: Realtors, realtors, realtors. Total raised so far: Over $10 million.

The Opposition: Educators, firefighters, health and safety officials, and county and municipal governments. Total raised so far: $1.7 million.

Democrats are voting: NO.

Republicans are voting: YES.

I’m Swinging: NO. California definitely needs a fix to its broken property tax laws, but holy shit, this is not the way. Yes, technically Prop 5 would protect some people from insane 100-300% property tax increases, but mostly, this bill is cynical garbage: it robs from the poor to give to the rich, robs from the young to give to the old, and ultimately robs from a massive pool of taxpayers to give to a different, statistically minuscule group of taxpayers, all so California’s realtors can strike it rich.

Prop 6

gas-tax

FUELING THE TAX ARGUMENT

The Skinny: Eliminates 5 billion dollars worth of fuel and vehicle taxes designated for road repairs and public transportation.

You might vote YES because:

  1. You think gas prices are too high.
  2. You like that this bill would require voter approval for all future fuel tax increases.
  3. You own an airplane hangar full of classic cars.
  4. Roads? Where we’re going, we don’t need roads. Or bridges. Or overpasses. Or improvements to public transportation. Or projects to relieve severe traffic congestion.

You might vote NO because:

  1. Your hybrid gets 50 miles to the gallon.
  2. You realize that along with eliminating taxes, this bill would eliminate thousands of jobs.
  3. You know if you miss your bus in Los Angeles, you’re not getting to work until tomorrow.
  4. You prefer it when bridges and overpasses don’t collapse.

The Support: The California Republican Party and anti-tax lobbyists. Total raised so far: $4.5 million.

The Opposition: Contractors, labor unions, transportation groups, dozens of supervisory boards, and pretty much every city government in California.Total raised so far: $31.5 million.

Democrats are voting: NO.

Republicans are voting: YES.

I’m Swinging: NO. If you’ve been on wheels in California, you know we’re working with a state-wide death trap. Currently, California has the 4th-worst roads in the country; a whopping 89% of California counties have roads and bridges that have been designated as “poor” or “at-risk” or “structurally unsafe”. Stripping away more than $5 billion worth of funding to fix these issues seems foolhardy at best.

Prop 7

save-daylight

A RACE AGAINST THE CLOCK

The Skinny: Would allow the California legislature to change daylight savings time with a two-thirds vote and with final approval from the federal government.

You might vote YES because:

  1. You think daylight savings time is an outdated practice.
  2. You think changing daylight savings time would prevent heart attacks and accidents.
  3. You enjoy going to work in the dark.
  4. You love bills that require a vote to enable a different vote in order to try and secure a vote of approval from a Federal government that, let’s face it, appears to be working overtime to discourage all sorts of voting.

You might vote NO because:

  1. You think changing daylight savings time in California would complicate business and general daily affairs on a national level.
  2. You know that we tried this sort of thing back in the 70’s, and it didn’t go so well.
  3. You feel like this bill is an absurd misuse of the legislative process.
  4. You are a farmer from the 1800’s.

The Support: Two Assemblymen and a cardiologist. Total raised so far: Zero Dollars.

The Opposition: A Senator and an assemblyman. Total raised so far: Zero Dollars. 

Democrats are voting: YES.

Republicans are voting: YES.

I’m Swinging: NO. In its support of Prop 7, the Los Angeles Times states:

“…Proposition 7 won’t stop the clock-changing; it would just allow the discussion to continue about the merits of doing so…”

Fine. Dandy. But can’t we continue the discussion about the merits of clock-changing without gumming up the legislature and causing a national stink? Don’t we have more important things on our collective plates? I don’t know about you, but even with all that daylight saved, I don’t have..

…wait for it…

…time for this crap.

Prop 8

kidney-dialysis-clean-blood

LIVE FREE OR DIALYSIS

The Skinny: Regulates the amounts that outpatient kidney dialysis clinics can spend on overhead and charge for treatment.

You might vote YES because:

  1. You think this bill will stop dialysis clinics from overcharging patients.
  2. You’re convinced this bill will lower health care costs statewide.
  3. You have absolutely no clue how the healthcare industry operates.
  4. You work for a giant labor union.
  5. Your clinic is so dirty that the last time you got treatment, you wound up with cockroach eggs in your bloodstream. LOL JK but what if?

You might vote NO because:

  1. You think that this measure will reduce dialysis patients’ access to care.
  2. You figure that instead of playing ball, many of these dialysis clinics will just cut services or close down entirely.
  3. It irks you that this bill was introduced by a labor union in order push their agenda in an ongoing labor dispute.
  4. You’re worried that if this bill passes, it’ll be tied up in courts for so long that by the time things get wrapped up, humans won’t need kidneys anymore because we’ll have evolved into beings of pure light.
  5. You believe that offering a product that the consumer must have or else they’ll die is a perfect reason to gouge prices.

The Support: Californians for Kidney Dialysis Patient Protection, Sponsored by Service Employees International Union – United Healthcare Workers West. Total raised so far: $18.5 million.

The Opposition: Patients and Caregivers to Protect Dialysis Patients, Sponsored by the California Dialysis Council. Total raised so far: Almost $100 million.

Democrats are voting: YES.

Republicans are voting: NO. 

I’m Swinging: NO. I hate this fucking bill. To be clear, this is not at all about what’s best for dialysis patients. Prop 8 carries with it everything that’s wrong with modern American politics: a giant labor union abusing the ballot initiative process by leveraging patient care, and a healthcare business endangering the lives of the sick in order to rake in huge profits, with both parties drowning the argument in mountains of cash funneled through dubious groups with misleading names like ‘Californians for Kidney Dialysis Patient Protection’ or ‘Patients and Caregivers to Protect Dialysis Patients’. I mean, just look at those stupid names. Could you guess which group was on which side of the issue if you didn’t already know?

This. Shit. Must. Change.

Until then, we’ll have to reconcile with the assumption that this bill will probably kill more people than it will help.

Prop 10

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CAPPING IT ALL OFF

The Skinny: Expands the authority of local governments to enact rent control on residential property by repealing the Costa-Hawkins Rental Housing Act.

You might vote YES because: 

  1. You are a renter.
  2. This housing crisis has been very crisis-y.
  3. When someone says ‘government’, you say ‘how big?’.
  4. You noticed… okay, you’re going to have to pardon the language here, but I’m exhausted. I mean, I simply can’t take this anymore… ahem, sorry… you fucking noticed the fucking opposition to this fucking bill has been almost entirely fucking funded by fucking realtors and fucking giant property companies.

You might vote NO because:

  1. You are a land baron.
  2. You despise the idea of a bunch of bureaucrats telling you what to do with your own property.
  3. You think the solution to a housing crisis is more housing, not price caps.
  4. You want to find someone who can actually afford to rent out your sweet little two-bedroom in Silver Lake, and you’re eyeing a nice Sultan.

The Support: The AIDS Healthcare Foundation, teachers, nurses, and affordable housing coalitions. Total raised so far: $25 million.

The Opposition: Fucking realtors and fucking property companies. Total raised so far: Almost $65 fucking million.

Democrats are voting: YES.

Republicans are voting: NO.

I’m Swinging: YES. We’re in a crisis. We desperately need affordable housing, and one of the ways to make housing more affordable is too keep rent from skyrocketing. Rent control may not be the most effective tool, and I don’t love the idea of a local government telling anyone what they can and can’t do with housing they paid for with their own money, or their mommy’s money or whatever, but you know what I love less? My rent going up by 220 dollars a month just because my landlord wants a new Mercedes. White this time. With heated seats.

Prop 11

ambulance

EMERGENCIES WITHOUT URGENCIES

The Skinny: Would require private-sector EMTs and paramedics to remain on-call during work breaks.

You might vote YES because:

  1. You like that this bill has the potential to save tens of millions of dollars in revenue each year because of lower contract costs.
  2. You hate the idea of dying of a heart attack just because the dude driving the ambulance wants to finish his meatball sub.
  3. On-call breaks have been common practice for emergency workers for decades.
  4. You are a massive private-sector ambulance company currently being sued by your employees.

You might vote NO because:

  1. You are a private-sector EMT.
  2. You think this bill is just a play for ambulance companies to dodge their legal headaches.
  3. You sell meatball subs.

The Support: The nation’s leading medical transportation company. Total raised so far: $22 million.

The Opposition: Workers’ unions, EMTs, and meatball sub aficionados. Total raised so far: Zero Dollars.

Democrats are voting: NO.

Republicans are voting: YES.

I’m Swinging: YES. So, back in 2016, the state Supreme Court made a ruling that put the legality of on-call breaks in the spotlight. Per The Mercury News:

“Workers are now suing private ambulance providers over the issue.  In a better world, the Legislature would have negotiated a solution, but talks between labor and ambulance providers over legislation broke down earlier this year.”

So yes, this bill is, in fact, a way for private-sector ambulance companies to avoid current legal problems. But workers will be getting paid breaks and mental health services out of the deal, and to be honest with you, I don’t care about that anyway, because all I want when I call 911 is lightning-fast service.

Prop 12

chicken

A CHICKEN-AND-EGG SITUATION

The Skinny: Establishes more humane requirements for confining certain farm animals and bans the sale of non-complying products and equipment.

You might vote YES because:

  1. You are generally against animal abuse.
  2. You think this bill will improve overall food hygiene.
  3. You at least want to know that pig lived a good life before you suck down those Carolina-style pulled-pork sliders.

You might vote NO because:

  1. You are a farmer.
  2. You feel like you understand what’s good for a chicken’s health and well-being better than a bunch of government bureaucrats.
  3. You think this will expose the agricultural industry to predatory lawsuits.
  4. You hate animals so much you just wanna SMASH ‘em.

The Support: Animal Rights Groups and Ellen DeGeneres. Total raised so far: $6 million.

The Opposition: Farmers and PETA. Total raised so far: $550,000.

Democrats are voting: YES.

Republicans are voting: NO.

I’m Swinging: YES. This bill isn’t perfect, but as far as reform goes (at least for my part), it’s a step toward finding the solution to the age-old question: ‘What do you get when 44 years of Jewish guilt meets a plate of beef short ribs?’

That’s all she wrote. Now, go vote like your life depends on it.

Because this time, it might.

Also, for the #FAKENEWS crowd, the references I used to put this together are below. Feel free to shout them down or ignore them completely.

https://www.sfchronicle.com/opinion/editorials/article/Chronicle-recommends-Yes-on-California-Prop-1-13231141.php

https://lwvc.org/news/our-voting-recommendations-november-ballot-measures

http://voterguide.sos.ca.gov/propositions/1/

https://ballotpedia.org/California_Proposition_1,_Housing_Programs_and_Veterans%27_Loans_Bond_(2018)

https://www.sos.ca.gov/campaign-lobbying/cal-access-resources/measure-contributions/2018-ballot-measure-contribution-totals/sb-3-chapter-365-statutes-2017-beall-veterans-and-affordable-housing-bond-act-2018/

http://articles.latimes.com/1986-10-23/news/mn-7068_1_ballot-measures

http://www.cagop.yourvoter.guide/#/results/300%20E.%20Dryden%20Streey/id/

https://calmatters.org/articles/homeless-in-california-what-the-data-reveals/

https://ballotpedia.org/California_Proposition_2,_Use_Millionaire%27s_Tax_Revenue_for_Homelessness_Prevention_Housing_Bonds_Measure_(2018)

https://www.mercurynews.com/2018/10/16/california-voter-guide-11-november-ballot-propositions-explained/

https://www.sanluisobispo.com/news/politics-government/election/article219452095.html

https://abc7.com/politics/2018-voter-guide-a-look-at-californias-proposition-2/4450710/

https://www.mercurynews.com/2018/03/10/california-water-use-continues-to-increase-as-conservation-declines/

https://ca.water.usgs.gov/california-drought/index.html

https://ballotpedia.org/California_Proposition_3,_Water_Infrastructure_and_Watershed_Conservation_Bond_Initiative_(2018)

https://waterbond.org

https://lwvc.org/vote/elections/ballot-recommendations/no-prop-3-water-bond

https://www.sacbee.com/opinion/op-ed/soapbox/article219082980.html

https://www.cadem.org/vote/endorsements/body/0717-Ballot-Props-2018-July-EBoard-copy.pdf

https://ballotpedia.org/Ballot_measure_readability_scores,_2018

https://ballotpedia.org/California_Proposition_4,_Children%27s_Hospital_Bonds_Initiative_(2018)

https://www.kcra.com/article/commitment-2018-breaking-down-proposition-4/23759954

https://www.sacbee.com/opinion/op-ed/soapbox/article219397565.html

http://voterguide.sos.ca.gov/propositions/5/

http://www.capradio.org/articles/2018/05/17/measure-to-eliminate-californias-moving-penalty-qualifies-for-november-ballot/

https://www.forbes.com/sites/robertwood/2017/01/11/will-california-tax-man-let-you-move-states/#55b5930d2e3c

https://www.prnewswire.com/news-releases/california-realtors-file-revised-ballot-initiative-to-eliminate-moving-penalty-on-seniors-disabled-and-unlock-housing-market-300693317.html

http://capitolweekly.net/voters-property-tax-moving-penalty/

http://noprop5.com

http://www.latimes.com/opinion/endorsements/la-ed-proposition-5-real-estate-20181008-story.html

https://voteyesonprop5.com

https://la.curbed.com/2018/10/18/17851034/proposition-6-california-gas-tax-repeal

http://www.latimes.com/opinion/endorsements/la-ed-endorsement-proposition-6-20180922-story.html

https://gastaxrepeal.org

https://noprop6.com

http://voterguide.sos.ca.gov/propositions/6/arguments-rebuttals.htm

https://ballotpedia.org/California_Proposition_6,_Voter_Approval_for_Future_Gas_and_Vehicle_Taxes_and_2017_Tax_Repeal_Initiative_(2018)

https://www.businessinsider.com/states-worst-roads-2017-6#7-washington-14252-miles-of-public-roads-with-31-in-poor-condition-2

http://www.latimes.com/opinion/editorials/la-ed-proposition-7-endorsement-20180929-story.html

https://yesprop7.info

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Daylight_saving_time

https://www.sfchronicle.com/opinion/editorials/article/Chronicle-Recommends-No-on-Prop-7-13242628.php

https://www.yeson8.com

https://noprop8.com

https://www.sfchronicle.com/opinion/editorials/article/A-measure-that-does-not-belong-on-the-state-13216454.php

http://www.capradio.org/articles/2018/10/12/why-proposition-8-is-one-of-the-most-contentious-and-confusing-ballot-measures-in-play/

https://ballotpedia.org/California_Proposition_10,_Local_Rent_Control_Initiative_(2018)#Costa-Hawkins_Rental_Housing_Act

https://voteyesonprop10.org

https://prop10flaws.com

https://sf.curbed.com/2018/8/6/17657022/prop-proposition-10-rent-control-fundraising-california-essex

https://www.vox.com/policy-and-politics/2018/10/22/18009478/californias-proposition-10-explained

https://www.nytimes.com/2018/10/15/us/california-today-rent-control-prop-10.html

http://www.yeson11.org

https://www.amr.net/home

https://calaborfed.org/california-first-responders-say-no-on-prop-11/

https://www.mercurynews.com/2018/08/10/editorial-prop-11/

http://voterguide.sos.ca.gov/propositions/12/

https://ballotpedia.org/California_Proposition_12,_Farm_Animal_Confinement_Initiative_(2018)

https://www.mercurynews.com/2018/10/22/will-proposition-12-stop-farm-animals-from-being-mistreated/

https://www.sanluisobispo.com/news/politics-government/election/article219765690.html

https://www.sacbee.com/opinion/op-ed/soapbox/article219437870.html

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My Fellow Americans…

My Fellow Americans—

Long have we been divided over our political ideologies, our core religious beliefs, and dogma from lobbyists and legislators meant to sway an uninformed public. Like most of you, I don’t have the answer to these undying botherations. Indeed, and ironically, disunity has always been at the heart of what it means to be a citizen of the United States, whether it be Patriots versus Loyalists, North versus South, Republican versus Democrat, White versus Black, Red versus Blue, Right versus Left, or any of the other iterations of conflict that have, over time, come to define us. As Americans, we’re likely doomed to endless crusades for what we believe because we are– first and foremost– a free people. And a free people won’t ever simply shut the fuck up.

However, what we have seen over the past week stretches far deeper than the age-old estrangement between Right and Left. We are witnessing the deliberate destruction of American democracy by a President obviously in the thrall of a hostile foreign power, and a Republican-controlled legislature seemingly unwilling to perform the checks and balances for which they were elected.

If we are a free people– for however much longer– we must not stand for this. We must not shut the fuck up.

I am hereby calling for a national general strike, to begin this August 20th (World Mosquito Day, in reference to the thieves and cowards sucking the soul of this Republic dry), and to end only once the following demands are met:

  1. We the people demand the imposition of historically strict sanctions on Russia for their role in subverting our elections.
  2. We the people demand a massive increase in election security funding.
  3. We the people demand the immediate removal of all President Donald Trump’s administrative and judicial picks.
  4. We the people demand the immediate removal of all politicians who have abdicated responsibility to their constituents by aiding and abetting Trump, and who have obstructed justice on his behalf, including, but not limited to: Mitch McConnell, Paul Ryan, Matthew Gaetz, Richard Burr, Trey Gowdy, Bob Goodlatte, Jim Jordan, Chuck Grassley, Rob Portman, Cory Gardner, Dean Heller, Marco Rubio, Patrick Toomey, Ron Johnson, Thom Tillis, Devin Nunes, Dana Rohrabacher, Mike Pence, and Rand Paul.
  5. We the people demand the impeachment of Donald Trump for the high crime of treason.

So long as we are the stewards of Democracy; the torch-bearers of truth and justice; the exceptional, pugnacious free people of the freest place on Earth; so long as we are Americans, it is our duty to put partisanship aside and act.

E Pluribus Unum, motherfuckers. Who’s with me?

Trump the Nazi

Today, the President of the United States came out in defense of Nazis and other white power groups.

I knew this was coming, I just figured he’d give it more time. But now it’s official, and it hurts like hell.

Doubtless, there are those you love who still support this monster. I honestly don’t know how to tell you to deal with that. I wish I could ask you to turn your backs on these people, your mothers and brothers and childhood friends who have soaked up the poison of the past few decades and run with it beyond the red line of fascism. I wish I could urge you to abandon them. It’s what I would do.

But I am operating out of the privilege of absence. The whole of my family life has been spent among the victims and enemies of the forces of white supremacy, not its advocates. I have no friends that wish to see the world cleansed of its multifarious cultures, religions, and races. The woman I love is a woman OF love. I am beyond lucky.

Many of you are not so fortunate, and must contend with this arcane division between family devotion and political purview, and you must do so at dinner tables, in gardens and garages, under Christmas trees. You must because you love, and that is reason enough.

I finally get that.

But if I can’t convince you to walk away from them, I feel like I can at least make a final request.

And so I ask you all to try, just one last time, to reach the people you care about, the ones you love who have disappeared into the fog of terror and hatred created by the worst of us. Reach out to them with the ardor that keeps you at the dinner table, and try, for fuck’s sake really try, to bring the poisoned back home.

You’re going to need them.

An Open Letter To The World From Donald Trump’s Tiny Little Penis

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Hi there. Glans to meat you.

I’m Donald Trump’s tiny little penis, and the only thing you need to know about me is I never asked for any of this. I never asked to sprout out of baby Donny’s genital tubercle. I definitely never asked to wind up so abnormally small. To be honest, I never even asked to be a penis. Not once.

Time to come clean: I like to think of myself as a clitoris in transition. I haven’t ever really been comfortable in my own foreskin, and I feel like I have more in common with clitorises in general, given that I’m extremely sensitive, comparatively sized, and nearly impossible to find unless you know what you’re doing.

But whatever, this isn’t about me… and I can’t tell you how strange those words look when I see them on paper. This Isn’t About Me. I mean, it’s not like that specific phrase gets thrown around much at the ol’ the homestead. I don’t want to be a dick, but I doubt Big Don has ever even thought those words, let alone said them out loud. As for my part, it became very clear to me back when I was just a puffy little meatus that, as far as the Donald is concerned, everything actually is all about me. And not just because I’m the architect of all of his primitive sexual desires, or the fountainhead of his mostly-psychopathic offspring.

What I mean to say is, everything that Donny has ever done, is doing now, or will possibly do in the future is because of me. I’m the reason he bullies people. I’m the reason he hates women so much. I’m the reason he’s tender about crowd sizes and has such a big problem with “leakers”. I am the itty-bitty epicenter of all the bragging and lying and overuse of words like “huge” and “tremendous” and (ugh) “bigly”. Lord knows, even this mess we’re in right now is all my fault.

I can’t tell you how sorry I am. This has been really hard for me.

Well… maybe I should say difficult. If I can be candid, the concept of ‘hardness’ has been kind of a shoulder-shrugger for the past three decades.

Not that Donny would admit it. If you were to ask him, he’d undoubtedly give you the impression that I’m a rigid, throbbing goliath. A beast. A winner. A towering purple masterpiece with the undying vigor of a blazing star. And very likely, after crowing about my magnificence, he would demand that you believe him.

“Believe me,” he would say. “I guarantee I got no problems down there. I guarantee it.”

You don’t have to take my word for it, though. He pretty much said exactly this back in March of 2016 when he bragged about my size during the Fox News Republican debate in Detroit. Granted, he was defending accusations from Republican opponent Marco Rubio, who used Don-Don’s inordinately small hands as a correlate for little-dickness.

Yes, Rubio was on the money. Of course he was. I won’t deny it. But instead of walking the high road and focusing on the issues, Donny took the bait and dragged me into a discussion with some of the most powerful folks in the free world, promising enormousness to the American people with a wink and a smirk.

And let that soak in for a second… on live television, in front of millions of people, a candidate for President of the United States assumed the bigness of his dingus was just as important to registered voters as foreign and domestic policy, health care, and the swift, merciless defeat of ISIS.

The thing is I’m not sure the Donald was wrong. I mean, his supporters in attendance literally howled and cheered when he came to my defense. A few of them even shot to their feet, clapping with a ferocity you don’t see in leopards protecting their young. Moderates on both sides wrote this moment off as a crass embarrassment, but a number of pundits later suggested that this was actually the moment that secured Donny’s candidacy. And as humbling as it was for me to realize that a giant dong is legitimately far more important to people who don’t understand the issues, I believe this is something that Donny has always known: that a big penis equals big plans. Big brains. Big skills. If Donny had owned up and exposed me to the world– the real me– I highly doubt we would be having this conversation. Wealth and power can take a person to some amazing heights, but no one on Earth will ever put their faith in an eensy-weensy little micro-dink like me.

I mean, you don’t have to be a wiener expert to figure out why Donny stamps his name on every glimmering colossus he can see fit to erect. These monuments to himself are telling you more about me than I ever could. In every city, in every country these huge, tremendous, bigly structures beetle from their foundations like rock-hard sky-peckers, and always near the tip of their steel and glass shafts, they scream the name ‘Trump’ in golden glory, as if to say “Believe me. I guarantee I got no problems down there. I guarantee it.”

I am so, so sorry. That is all on me.

I am why Donny is who he is, why he sits in thrones and surrounds himself with Calacatta marble and lustrous crystal and filigree. If you’re going to have a penis as small as me, you’ve got to learn to be a master of distraction. Now that he’s President—again, my fault—he’s putting you all to the test with skills he has honed since birth. He lies effortlessly, because I have made the truth painfully small. He golfs every weekend because of his hopeless, ongoing frustration with holes. He flip-flops on his decisions because I can neither flip nor flop. He grabs women by their vaginas because I have given him nothing to hold onto.

And now—God forgive me— you know why Donny just dropped the largest non-nuclear bomb in his arsenal in Afghanistan. He needed it to be as big as possible because he was afraid it might not otherwise do the job. The Donald has, after all, been haunted by (ahem) performance issues his entire life.

So here I am, in the haggard folds of Donny’s bloated pubis, jutting out ever-so-slightly, like a cyst, or a calculator button, begging your forgiveness. Know that if I could change things, I would. If I could suddenly burst upwards and outwards like one of Trump’s towers, I would do so without hesitation. I would happily make this all go away, but I’m just one little dick in a great big, flabby, rapidly disintegrating world.

And like I said, this isn’t about me. It’s about you.

All of you.

If you want to stop him, you’ll have to grow a pair and fight harder. He’s been at this a long time, and he will use every trick at his disposal to keep you from seeing how puny and impotent he truly is.

For those of you who are hoping he’ll shock everyone and learn to master the ins and outs of America’s highest office, you have to understand that he will never be able to satisfy you. He always comes up short.

And for the dwindling crowds who still support Donald Trump no matter what, all I can say is: get ready. He is going to jerk you around for a while, then fuck you as hard as he can, and you’re not going to feel a goddamn thing. By the time you finally realize you’ve birthed something monstrous into the world, it will be far too late.

Take heed, America. Things are about to get hairy. You need to give Donny the sack before he screws every last one of you and fills you up with nothing but disappointment and regret.

Thank you. I appreciate your penetrating consideration in this matter.

Sincerely,

Jizz, Balls, Etc.,

Donald Trump’s Tiny Little Penis

Josh Flaum’s Personal Guide to the California Props – 2016 Edition

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6 years ago, a friend of mine confessed to me that she was so frustrated with the perplexing language in the Propositions on the California ballot, that instead of trying to understand what the fudge they were all about, she was simply content not to vote. Because I believe voting is the greatest and most important power Americans have as a free people, I decided to help her out by creating a simplified ‘Cliff’s Notes’ version of all the props complete with commentary. I posted it to Facebook, and to my surprise, people besides my friend seemed to find it helpful. Inasmuch as I am both a political junkie and an attention whore, I have continued to put one of these things together for every election since.

My caveat as always: This guide contains personal political bias. I urge you not to vote as I vote. Vote with your own head, and with your own heart.

But above all, please, please VOTE.

Prop 51

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BUILDING A BETTER FUTURE… WITH BILLIONS

The Skinny: Authorizes 9 billion dollars in general obligation bonds to go towards the repair, modernization and new construction of California public schools and community colleges.

You might vote YES because:

  1. Education is important. Think of the kids. WHAT ABOUT THE KIDS???
  2. It doesn’t bother you that “general obligation bonds” is just a fancy term for “debt”.
  3. You’re sure this is the best way to get asbestos removed from schools.
  4. You think this would be a terrific way to get that new football stadium you’ve been wanting. Well, not you. The kids. WHAT ABOUT THE KIDS???
  5. You own a construction company.

You might vote NO because:

  1. You feel like California’s taken on enough debt.
  2. You don’t like the fact that this bill doesn’t guarantee how the money’s going to be spent.
  3. You have a sinking feeling this might just be a giant money grab for construction companies.
  4. You realize that if there’s still asbestos in our schools, we’re already screwed.
  5. You hate the kids. And also football.

The Money For: Education organizations, developers, construction contractors, and financial institutions. Total raised so far: 12 million dollars.

The Money Against: The artfully-named PAC known as ‘California Taxpayers and Educators Opposed to Sprawl and Developer Abuse’. Total raised so far: ZILCH.

 Democrats are voting: YES.

Republicans are voting: YES.

I’m Swinging: NO. Wait… what? BUT WHAT ABOUT THE KIDS??? Okay, let me be clear: we can all agree the kids are in serious trouble. The California public school system is in dire straits and definitely needs our help, which might explain why both Democrats and Republicans have announced their support for this bill. After all, IT’S FOR THE KIDS; coming out against it would be political suicide. But the bill itself is a poorly-written shambles. There’s nothing that guarantees equal distribution between poor and affluent school districts, and nothing to prevent the money from being squandered on sexier-but-less-education-y stuff like Olympic swimming pools and football stadiums (I’m looking at YOU, San Diego) Also, there’s the matter of cost: taxpayers will end up spending nearly DOUBLE the amount borrowed by the state, and even California’s crumbling education system could teach you that that math is terrible. Finally, in my opinion, the fact that this bill is being heavily backed by developers and construction companies is highly suspect. The more I look at it, the more it seems like it’s less about THE KIDS, and more about THE BENJAMINS.

PROP 52

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MEDI-CALCULUS

The Skinny: There’s been a temporary law on the books since 2009 that forces private hospitals to pay a special fee that goes to funding Medi-Cal services as well as care for uninsured patients and health coverage for children. In return, every dime these hospitals pay out is matched by the federal government. This Prop would make this law permanent by amending the California constitution.

You might vote YES because:

  1. You think providing health care to children and low-income families is a very nice thing to do.
  2. You like that this bill prevents the government from pilfering this money for other purposes unless we vote on it.
  3. You can’t imagine why we’d turn down 3 billion dollars a year in Federal matching funds.
  4. You find the fact that this measure doesn’t cost taxpayers any money to be a miracle on the level of bringing the dead back to life.

You might vote NO because:

  1. You don’t believe in miracles.
  2. You’re worried that hospital CEOs will use the money to pay for golf junkets and speedboats.
  3. You actually haven’t read the bill, because let’s face it, this thing is so convoluted it may as well be a spell book.
  4. You like being part of an overwhelming minority.

The Money For: Hospitals and health care organizations. Total raised so far: Over 60 million dollars.

The Money Against: Nonprofit union United Healthcare Workers West. Total raised so far: 11.5 million dollars.

Democrats are voting: YES.

Republicans are voting: YES. 

I’m Swinging: YES. Okay, sure, I imagine there has been some bad behavior from a few hospital execs with the keys to a billion-dollar kingdom. But this law has been on the books since 2009, and seems to be working remarkably well, which it very much needs to, inasmuch as one in every three Californians gets their health coverage through Medi-Cal. Plus, the one single healthcare union that was in opposition has since shifted its position to ‘neutral’, so I really can’t see the harm.

Prop 53

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VOTE ME THE MONEY!!!!!

The Skinny: Requires voter approval before the state can issue revenue bonds in amounts exceeding 2 billion dollars.

You might vote YES because:

  1. You want to rein in out-of-control government spending.
  2. Given the chance, you would vote on literally EVERYTHING.
  3. You’re the kind of person that tries to fit the word ‘boondoggle’ into every sentence.
  4. You’re rich enough to build your own overpasses.
  5. You’ve never heard of Dean Cortopassi.

You might vote NO because:

  1. You’re worried that by forcing a vote for every major project, this bill would erode local control.
  2. It concerns you that this bill doesn’t provide any exemptions for emergencies and natural disasters.
  3. You like things like ‘fresh water’ and ‘highways’.
  4. It irks you when millionaires misuse the initiative process in order to disrupt important government infrastructure projects because one of them happens to bypass your 3000-acre ranch.
  5. You have heard of Dean Cortopassi.

The Money For: Dean “Dino” Cortopassi and his wife Joan. Total raised so far: Almost 6 million dollars (although “raised” is misleading since this Prop is almost entirely funded by the Cortopassi family).

The Money Against: Labor unions, native American groups, the Democratic Party, and Governor Brown’s campaign finance committee. Total raised so far: 11.6 million dollars.

 Democrats are voting: NO.

Republicans are voting: YES.

I’m Swinging: NO. On the surface, this is all about curbing state debt by giving the power back to the people. Dig a little deeper though, and you’ll find that this measure is likely to cost taxpayers MORE because it could force the government to seek private financing to fund future projects (which typically means higher interest rates). And honestly, if we were to require a vote for every single major government project, tons of stuff (bridge expansions, desalination plants, etc.) would get sidetracked or tied up indefinitely. But let’s forget all that for just a second. Because near as I can tell, this whole Prop only exists because some millionaire (our friend Dean) got his nips in a twist over a State Water Project that passes near his ranch. Personally, I feel like hijacking the initiative process to prevent fresh water from being delivered to Southern California because the river by his property is now “unnecessarily choked with sediment” kind of goes against the greater good.

Prop 54

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WASTE WATCHERS

The Skinny: Requires every bill to be published in print and online at least 72 hours before lawmakers can vote on it. Forces the legislature to make audiovisual recordings of every single public proceeding and post them online within 24 hours. Allows anybody to record these proceedings and use them for any legit reason.

You might vote YES because:

  1. You think government needs to be more transparent.
  2. Political attack ads make your heart go pitter-pat.
  3. You don’t like it when legislators remove text from bills last-minute, only to replace it with shady, unrelated junk that benefits special interests before voting the bills into law.
  4. You’re into watching some seriously boring shit.

You might vote NO because:

  1. You believe this bill will increase interference from lobbyists and special interest groups.
  2. You hate that this bill is funded solely by yet another impassioned millionaire with too much time on his hands.
  3. Three days is too long to wait for your shady, unrelated junk.
  4. You’d rather watch reruns of How I Met Your Mother.

The Money For: Experimental physicist and millionaire Charles T. Munger, Jr. Total “raised” so far: 11 million smackers.

The Money Against: The California Democratic Party. Total raised so far: A measly 28 thousand bones.

Democrats are voting: NO.

Republicans are voting: YES. 

I’m Swinging: YES. This is one of those rare cases where the meddling millionaire is actually proposing some sensible changes. The costs are minimal, and I’m all for more transparency. Yes, lobbyists will use the three-day waiting period to fiddle with our Democracy, but they do that already. This is still a welcome adjustment, if you ask me… which, if you’re reading this, you kind of are.

Prop 55

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WOW, LOOK AT THOSE HUGE EXTENSIONS!

The Skinny: Adds a 12-year extension to the temporary personal income tax increases enacted by Prop 30 in 2012, which raised taxes on people who earn over $250,000 and raised the sales tax by a ¼ cent. Revenues are to be allocated to healthcare and education.

You might vote YES because:

  1. You voted YES back in 2012.
  2. You realize that schools and healthcare programs will lose 4-9 billion dollars of funding per year if you vote NO.
  3. Your idea of “temporary” is “over a decade”.
  4. You’re slowly trying to turn California into Canada.

You might vote NO because:

  1. This “temporary” measure is starting to look far less “temporary”.
  2. You want serious tax reform instead of a stop-gap measure.
  3. You’re sticking to the opinion that this 1%-3% income tax increase will eventually destroy small businesses and kill jobs even though, so far, it TOTALLY HASN’T.
  4. All these taxes are making the upkeep on your Napa Valley estate a real bear.

The Money For: Healthcare groups, teachers associations, and service employees. Total raised so far: 57 million dollars.

The Money Against: 3 dudes named Martin, Paul, and Franklin. Total raised so far: 3000 dollars.

Democrats are voting: YES.

Republicans are voting: NO.

I’m Swinging: YES. But I’m not happy about it. I mean, 12 years???? That’s not an extension so much as it is a promise that these hikes are never going to go away. Plus, they’re not exactly equitable; these taxes are a much bigger burden on people making the $250,000 minimum requirement than the lucky few raking in millions. Not to mention the fact that California already has one of the highest tax rates in the nation. However, until we get some serious tax reform on the ballot, this bill will have to do. On the plus side, Prop 30 has proven to be effective. According to the State Controller’s Office , the measure has raised over 30 billion dollars since 2012. Plus, we’ve got a very tenuous 11-billion-dollar budget surplus on our hands, and this Prop is integral to maintaining it.

Prop 56

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MONEY TO BURN

The Skinny: Increases the tax on cigarettes by $2.00 a pack, with equivalent hikes on other tobacco products and e-cigarettes that contain nicotine.

You might vote YES because:

  1. You don’t smoke.

You might vote NO because: 

  1. You do smoke.
  2. You think this bill is just a cash grab for special interest groups.
  3. Such a huge increase would prevent children and poor people from smoking, and that bothers you because:
    1. You are a tobacco farmer
    2. You are a tobacco lobbyist
    3. You work for a tobacco company
    4. You love cancer
    5. You are evil

The Money For: Healthcare groups, hospitals, medical and dental associations, and California’s “hedge fund king”, Tom Steyer. Total raised so far: 30 million dollars.

The Money Against: Tobacco companies. Total raised so far: 66.5 million dollars.

Democrats are voting: YES.

Republicans are voting: NO.

I’m Swinging: YES. As an ex-smoker, I don’t want to preach about the benefits of quitting, but if you’ve been thinking about ditching the habit, this prop will damn well give you the motivation. Plus, it’ll raise billions in state revenue, which means, eventually, only the government of California will be able to afford to smoke.

Prop 57

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THE PRISONER DILEMMA

The Skinny: Would make it easier to give nonviolent felons parole consideration, and would authorize sentence credits for prisoners who enter rehabilitation and education programs. Also allows judges to decide whether to try juveniles as adults.

You might vote YES because:

  1. You think California’s prisons are desperately overcrowded.
  2. You like that this bill will save the state tens of millions of dollars per year.
  3. You firmly believe that none of the released prisoners will steal that money.
  4. You have renter’s insurance.

You might vote NO because:

  1. You think that this Prop is a little loosey-goosey with its definition of “violent”.
  2. You believe that this bill will facilitate the release of sex offenders, arsonists, and human traffickers.
  3. You blame the passage of similar laws for the huge rise in crime in California.
  4. You’re worried your uncle Jerry will want to sleep on your couch when he gets out.

The Money For: Governor Brown’s Ballot Measure Committee, charity groups, and The California Democratic Party. Total raised so far: 10.5 million dollars.

The Money Against: Police groups and a host of district attorneys. Total raised so far: 580 thousand dollars.

Democrats are voting: YES.

Republicans are voting: NO.

I’m Swinging: NO. I wish I could vote for this one. On the surface, it’s a progressive bill about prison reform, and I am a progressive person who wants prison reform. And while I like the section dealing with criminal rehabilitation, this bill’s major flaw is in the details. It omits a number of specifics, including—importantly– a definition of the word ‘nonviolent’. Here’s why this matters: only two years ago, a measure with similarly ambiguous language was voted into law in California (Prop 47). The idea was to relax the classification of a fair few nonviolent crimes from ‘felony’ to ‘misdemeanor’, with the goal of releasing people who may not have deserved the severe prison sentences they received. Well, thousands of prisoners were released, and lo and behold, violent crime has spiked almost 10% over the two years since 47’s enactment, mostly because the language of the law made it too easy to release convicts who probably shouldn’t have been released. Specifics are truly important, so while I am all for prison reform, it is with a heavy heart that I must vote NO on this one.

Prop 58

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BI TO THE BONE

The Skinny: Back in 1998, Californians got drawn into a rash of national anti-immigration sentiment and passed Prop 227, which forced English immersion in schools (in lieu of bilingual programs). Prop 58 would effectively repeal most of that bill, thus giving power to schools as to how to teach English and to set up multi-language programs.

You might vote YES because:

  1. You believe English immersion isn’t the most effective way to teach English.
  2. You want your child to learn another language.
  3. You want your child to teach you how to ask where the restroom is in Spanish because:
  4. You are going to Barcelona, and will need to pee sometime.

You might vote NO because:

  1. You like that Prop 227 increased English test scores.
  2. You already have a hard time understanding your child, and you’re sure another language won’t make it easier.
  3. You believe some schools will stop teaching English altogether.
  4. You don’t blink an eye when people say stuff like “Prop 227 rescued California Latinos from the Spanish‐only educational ghetto.”*
  5. You are a terrified white person.

*This was almost an exact quote actually written into the actual Argument Against Proposition 58 in the actual official California Voter Information Guide.

The Money For: Teachers associations and school administrators. Total raised so far: 4.3 million dollars.

The Money Against: A Palo Alto group called ‘Keep English For The Children’. Total raised so far: NADA**.

**See what I did there?

Democrats are voting: YES.

Republicans are voting: NO.

I’m Swinging: YES. As a product of a bilingual education system, experience tells me that the benefits of a multi-language curriculum outweigh the drawbacks. A study out of Toronto’s York University found that bilingual students have increased cognitive flexibility, and that learning a second language may even prevent dementia. At the very least, it improves people’s chances of finding a bathroom, and that’s enough for my YES vote.

Prop 59

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PAC TO BASICS

The Skinny: This is a purely symbolic bill that encourages the California legislature to propose and ratify an amendment to the U.S. Constitution with the goal of overturning Citizen’s United (the 2010 Supreme Court ruling that has since choked American politics with dark money from special interests).

You might vote YES because:

  1. You believe Citizen’s United has seriously eroded our representative democracy.
  2. You think that this bill will get the ball rolling to keep big money out of politics. You also think that the Buzzfeed quiz you took a few days back that told you what kind of sandwich you are was DEAD ON.
  3. You’re convinced that proposing proposals to amend amendments is a sound strategy.
  4. You’ve never heard the term “all bark and no bite”.

You might vote NO because:

  1. You believe corporations are people.
  2. The thought of some California wonk tinkering with the First Amendment to the United States Constitution makes you twitchy.
  3. You get frustrated when people gum up the works with worthless laws that promise to accomplish a sum total of dick all.
  4. There isn’t a Buzzfeed quiz out there that has nailed what kind of sandwich you are.

The Money For: The Democratic Party and other people who hate Citizens United. Total raised so far: 284 thousand dollars.

The Money Against: NONE.

Democrats are voting: YES.

Republicans are voting: NO.

I’m Swinging: YES, I guess. I like this measure in theory, so I’ll go for the symbolic gesture. Still, I worry that a do-nothing law like this one—whatever its intention—might diminish the significance and attention due to some of the other, more important props on the ballot, and that is troubling. So there you have it. Consider my finger wagged.

Prop 60

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THE LITTLE PORN PROP WITH A MAGNUM EFFECT

The Skinny: Requires porn stars to use condoms while involved in the filming of, ahem… sexy times. Also forces adult movie producers to pay for performer vaccinations and STD testing. Finally, and most importantly, it gives ANY California resident the right to sue porn stars and producers if a condom isn’t visible in every frame of a given film.

You might vote YES because:

  1. You think this bill will protect adult film stars from sexually transmitted diseases.
  2. Democrats Libertarians, and Republicans oppose this measure, and this is your chance to be a true contrarian.
  3. This bill would give you an excuse to watch a LOT of porn.
  4. You already had your Condom Police badge engraved at Things Remembered.
  5. You are a lawyer.

You might vote NO because:

  1. You believe that what adults do legally and consensually is none of your business.
  2. You don’t like that this bill will cost taxpayers millions of dollars annually.
  3. You’re certain the passage of this bill will open the floodgates for frivolous lawsuits.
  4. You think this measure will drive a billion-dollar industry out of California.
  5. You’re worried that deputizing 38 million people to police the adult film industry will dramatically reduce your Internet speed.
  6. You have a latex allergy.

The Money For: The AIDS Healthcare Foundation. Total raised so far: 5 million dollars.

The Money Against: The entire porn industry. Total raised so far: 500 thousand dollars.

Democrats are voting: NO.

Republicans are voting: NO.

I’m Swinging: NO. There are laws already on the books that force adult performers to wear condoms, and the entire porn industry is pretty effectively self-regulated (most performers get tested on a regular basis). Plus, opening the doors for citizens to sue porn stars willy-nilly (tee-hee) is frankly insane, and inasmuch as these lawsuits will force performers to reveal their personal info, this bill could expose porn stars to stalkers and other dangerous folks. Most insidious is the fact that Prop 60 would literally create a cushy government position for the bill’s main proponent– president of the AIDS Healthcare Foundation, Michael Weinstein—and only the Legislature would be able to vote him out. This bill is a huge conflict of interest and a terrible idea for California. End of story.

Prop 61

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BECAUSE PRICE GOUGERS NEED TO TAKE A CHILL PILL

The Skinny: Would prohibit the state of California from purchasing prescription drugs through manufacturers at a price higher than the lowest price paid by the United States Department of Veterans Affairs (which negotiates its own prices and gets big, mandatory discounts).

You might vote YES because:

  1. You think this bill will save the state millions in reduced prescription drug costs.
  2. You really want to stick it to those evil, price-gouging pharmaceutical companies.
  3. You’re positive those evil, price-gouging pharmaceutical companies can’t possibly be so evil as to gouge drug prices for war veterans.
  4. You recently sold your Honda Fit so you could afford an EpiPen two-pack.

You might vote NO because:

  1. You’re worried that this bill would increase drug prices for war veterans and reduce access to certain medicines for low-income families.
  2. You think the red tape, inevitable lawsuits, and costs to taxpayers will actually increase state prescription drug costs.
  3. It bothers you that this bill actually does nothing to regulate Big Pharma price gouging.
  4. You feel like a thousand bucks per pill is a fair price for heart meds.

The Money For: Nurses, watchdog groups, and the AIDS Healthcare Foundation. Total raised so far: 15 million dollars.

The Money Against: Pharmaceutical companies. Total raised so far: 110 million dollars.

Democrats are voting: NEUTRAL.

Republicans are voting: NO.

I’m Swinging: YES. This one is tricky, and carries with it more than a few risks. Pharmaceutical companies could raise prices to offset losses, especially screwing veterans and the poor, though it’s unlikely: there are laws that protect veterans from just this sort of thing, and I find it dubious that Big Pharma would spend over 100 million dollars to fight this Prop if they thought raising prices would be a compelling solution. More realistically, drug companies will just continue to throw money at the issue and tie the state up in legal proceedings for the rest of eternity. Still, as far as protest Props go, this one has an extremely loud voice, so I’m willing to hazard a YES.

Prop 62

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LIFE FINDS A WAY (IN PRISON)

The Skinny: Repeals the death penalty– even retroactively to existing sentences—and replaces it with life imprisonment without parole. Would also increase the chunk of lifers’ wages that apply to victim restitution.

You might vote YES because:

  1. You have a moral objection to the death penalty.
  2. You think capital punishment is a huge waste of tax dollars.
  3. You realize there is a genuine risk of executing an innocent person.
  4. You think that killing prisoners increases the risk of prisoner ghosts coming back to take revenge on their executioners.

You might vote NO because:

  1. You have no moral objection to the death penalty.
  2. You think life imprisonment is a huge waste of tax dollars.
  3. You feel like keeping death row inmates alive puts prison guards at greater risk.
  4. You ain’t ‘fraid-a no ghosts. Not even prisoner ones.

The Money For: Social justice organizations and supporters of sentencing reform. Total raised so far: 9 million dollars.

The Money Against: Pharmaceutical companies. Total raised so far: 12.5 million dollars.

Democrats are voting: YES.

Republicans are voting: NO.

I’m Swinging: YES. In the past, I have been a proponent of the death penalty, but that opinion has changed over time. I’ve learned that it’s truly an archaic solution to a complicated problem. This prop may not be perfect, but it does increase the amount of money victims will receive from the inmates that committed crimes against them, and that’s something I can get behind.

Prop 63

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#63 WITH A BULLET

The Skinny: Prohibits the possession of large-capacity ammunition magazines, and requires certain individuals to pass a background check in order to purchase ammunition. Would also require that most types of ammo be sold through licensed vendors and would take gun ownership rights away from people convicted of stealing firearms.

You might vote YES because:

  1. Your Facebook feed has been a real bummer lately.
  2. You’re tired of seeing scores of dead people every time you turn on the news.
  3. You think selling guns to violent ex-felons should require more than a one-step process.
  4. You want to lower the chances of being gunned down while getting lunch at Hot Dog On A Stick.
  5. You still haven’t figured out what to do with all those thoughts and prayers.

You might vote NO because:

  1. 2nd Amendment, 2nd Amendment, 2nd Amendment
  2. You realize this proposal will cost tens of millions in taxpayer dollars.
  3. It’s going to be so much harder to kill a million deer in one day without high-capacity rounds.
  4. ISIS! But also the 2nd
  5. Did I mention the 2nd Amendment?

The Money For: The California Democratic Party and Lieutenant-Governor Gavin Newsome. Total raised so far: 4.5 million dollars.

The Money Against: Gun owners, hunting associations and the NRA. Total raised so far: 867 thousand dollars.

Democrats are voting: YES.

Republicans are voting: NO.

I’m Swinging: YES. This is some pretty reasonable reform, and to be honest with you, I’m starting to get fed up with listening to compassionless gun lovers shriek about their constitutional rights every time some lunatic slaughters a bunch of people at the mall. This measure isn’t a violation of the 2nd Amendment, nor is it a burden on law-abiding gun owners. It’s common sense stuff, and it’s WAY overdue.

Prop 64

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REEFER-ENDUM

The Skinny: Legalizes marijuana in the state of California, and imposes state taxes on sales and cultivation. Establishes standards for marijuana products.

You might vote YES because:

  1. You smoke pot.
  2. You’re thrilled by the fact that this bill will create billions of dollars in tax revenue.
  3. You own a food truck that sells artisanal doughnuts.
  4. You’ll no longer have to make the 20-minute drive to your “friend” Angel’s house.
  5. You have tons of other arguments, but for some reason, you’ve forgotten them all.

You might vote NO because:

  1. You don’t like the idea of legalizing a mood-altering, psychoactive drug, especially in the wake of a severe opioid epidemic.
  2. You’re concerned about a possible increase in drug-related crime or accidents caused by drivers under the influence.
  3. It worries you that this Prop could help lift the 45-year ban on TV smoking ads.
  4. You think this bill favors big business over smaller cannabis growers.
  5. You watched that one episode of Diff’rent Strokes where Nancy Reagan tells Arnold that her own brother attacked her after smoking a joint, and it still freaks you out to this day.

The Money For: Pro-marijuana groups, the Fund For Policy Reform, and Napster founder Sean Parker. Total raised so far: 22 million dollars.

The Money Against: The California Public Safety Institute, Teamsters, and anti-marijuana groups. Total raised so far: 2 million dollars.

Democrats are voting: YES.

Republicans are voting: NO.

I’m Swinging: YES. Legalization has worked pretty well for Colorado: retailers made almost a billion dollars in 2015 alone, with millions garnered in taxes for the state. And whether you’re for it or against, this is going to happen eventually, so we may as well hurry up and grab that sweet tax revenue.

Prop 65

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BAGGIN’ RIGHTS

The Skinny: Ever since Californians implemented a series of plastic bag bans throughout the state, grocery stores and other retailers have been making money from the mandated sale of carryout bags. This Prop would force retailers to redirect that money into a special fund to support specific environmental projects.

You might vote YES because:

  1. You love the environment.
  2. You hate grocery stores.
  3. You failed to notice that this proposal is entirely funded by the plastic bag industry.
  4. You have a shit-ton of dimes you want to get rid of.

You might vote NO because:

  1. You have noticed that this proposal is entirely funded by the plastic bag industry.
  2. You’ve also noticed this Prop has no support from environmental groups despite its promise to help the environment.
  3. You think it’s unfair to retailers.
  4. You realize that this measure completely defeats the goal of phasing out carryout bags.
  5. You think that creating a Prop that pays for litter removal by using the money from the sale of bags that will probably end up constituting a good portion of the actual litter being removed is a like a snake eating its own tail.
  6. You own a bunch of reusable bags, you just keep forgetting to put them back in the car.

The Money For: The plastic bag industry. Total raised so far: 6 million dollars.

The Money Against: NONE.

Democrats are voting: NEUTRAL.

Republicans are voting: YES.

I’m Swinging: NO. This measure is infuriating. We all want to help the environment, but this whole thing was created by the plastic bag industry in order to confuse voters (Prop 67 is also bag-related), and to punish retailers for their support of an overall ban of plastic bags. And make no mistake, this would be a punishment: retailers have to pay for the bags they sell; to redirect that money means small businesses and grocery stores will be forced to take a loss selling a product that Californians are trying to phase out anyway. Also, if this Prop gets more votes than Prop 67, that means an overall ban will probably fail, which explains why environmental groups are up in arms. Finally, on a personal level, I find the plastic bag industry’s attempt to meddle with the initiative process here to be disgusting. This one’s a big NO for me, and you can take that to the bank (in a reusable tote).

Prop 66

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NOT QUITE WHAT I MEANT BY “EARLY-RELEASE PROGRAM”

The Skinny: Reduces the amount of time it takes to execute prisoners on death row by speeding up the appeals process and limiting petitions.

You might vote YES because:

  1. You support the death penalty.
  2. You oppose Prop 62.
  3. You think this Prop will save millions in tax dollars.
  4. You have complete faith that the system will prevent the execution of innocent people, despite overwhelming evidence to the contrary.
  5. You are a 3000-year-old Babylonian king.

You might vote NO because:

  1. You oppose the death penalty.
  2. You support Prop 62.
  3. You think this Prop will cost millions in tax dollars.
  4. Given that it takes an average of 11.3 years for an innocent prisoner on death row to be exonerated, you think speeding up the execution process is a BAD idea.
  5. You think a lifetime of prison food is punishment enough.

The Money For: Police groups and prosecutors. Total raised so far: 13 million dollars.

The Money Against: The ACLU and a handful of millionaire altruists. Total raised so far: Also 13 million dollars.

Democrats are voting: NO.

Republicans are voting: YES.

I’m Swinging: NO. This Prop keeps the death penalty alive, and that’s reason enough for me to oppose it.

Prop 67

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BAGNAROK

The Skinny: A referendum that asks voters to approve or reject an existing statute that prohibits grocery stores and retailers from providing one-use carryout bags.

You might vote YES because:

  1. You think single-use carryout bags are bad for the environment.
  2. You think this Prop will save millions in clean up costs.
  3. You sell adorable reusable totes that say stuff like “I’m tote-ally saving the world!” and “It’s wine o’clock.”

You might vote NO because:

  1. You only like to use anything once.
  2. You work for the plastic bag industry.
  3. You’re running out of ways to suffocate those pesky sea turtles.

The Money For: Grocery chains and environmental groups. Total raised so far: 3.6 million dollars.

The Money Against: The plastic bag industry. Total raised so far: 6 million dollars.

Democrats are voting: YES.

Republicans are voting: NO.

I’m Swinging: YES. I’m all for doing away with single-use bags. They really are terrible for the environment, and these bans have been working remarkably well to correct that (a study out of San Jose shows that trash in city streets and waterways has been reduced by 60% since the enactment of a city-wide ban). Besides, I just bought an adorable reusable tote that says “Keep Calm and Carry Groceries”.

That’s it! Now you know as much as I do. TIME TO VOTE!!!!

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Also, if you’re a ‘facts‘ type of person, here are the references I used to put this together:

https://ballotpedia.org/California_Proposition_51,_Public_School_Facility_Bonds_(2016)

http://www.dailycal.org/2016/09/28/uc-berkeley-development-institute-releases-study-prop-51/

http://www.hjta.org/hot-topic/ballot-recommendations-2/

http://yeson51.com

http://www.signalscv.com/section/33/article/157216/

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Urban_sprawl

http://voterguide.sos.ca.gov/en/propositions/

http://www.latimes.com/opinion/editorials/la-ed-proposition-51-20160921-snap-story.html

http://www.mercurynews.com/2016/07/27/mercury-news-editorial-proposition-51-school-bond-deserves-a-rare-no-vote/

http://www.sfchronicle.com/opinion/editorials/article/Chronicle-recommends-Yes-on-Prop-51-9213832.php

http://stopprop51.org

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bond_(finance)

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Municipal_bond

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/General_obligation_bond

http://vig.cdn.sos.ca.gov/2016/general/en/pdf/text-proposed-laws.pdf

http://www.voiceofsandiego.org/topics/education/if-san-diego-is-any-guide-prop-51-could-fund-many-new-stadiums/

http://www.vvdailypress.com/news/20161017/proposition-51-what-you-need-to-know-about-9-billion-school-bond-on-ballot

http://www.latimes.com/opinion/editorials/la-ed-proposition-52-20160912-snap-story.html

http://www.kpbs.org/news/2016/oct/24/prop-52-flies-under-radar-hospitals-say-its-crucia/

http://www.noon52.com

http://www.yesprop52.org

http://www.sfchronicle.com/health/article/Prop-52-a-measure-to-fund-Medi-Cal-is-its-own-9213439.php

https://ballotpedia.org/California_Proposition_52,_Voter_Approval_to_Divert_Hospital_Fee_Revenue_Dedicated_to_Medi-Cal_(2016)

http://californiahealthline.org/morning-breakout/one-in-three-californians-now-covered-by-medical/

https://ballotpedia.org/Dean_Cortopassi

http://stopblankchecks.com

http://www.noprop53.com

http://www.laweekly.com/news/voter-cheat-sheet-prop-53-asks-voters-for-bond-approval-prop-54-mandates-video-of-legislature-7526758

http://capitolweekly.net/proposition-53-battle-over-debt/

https://www.cagop.org/ballot_measure_endorsements

http://www.santacruzsentinel.com/article/NE/20160903/LOCAL1/160909937

http://www.businessknowhow.com/money/bankprivate.htm

https://ballotpedia.org/Charles_Munger,_Jr.

http://www.latimes.com/local/political/la-me-pc-ballot-measure-new-obstacle-to-diverting-water-to-southern-california-20151030-story.html

http://www.sacbee.com/opinion/op-ed/soapbox/article95120762.html

http://www.noonproposition54.com/ballot-arguments

http://yesprop54.org

https://lwvc.org/vote/elections/ballot-recommendations/prop-54-california-legislature-transparency-act

http://www.mercurynews.com/2016/07/25/editorial-proposition-54-is-excellent-reform-for-california-legislaturemercury-news/

https://www.google.com/publicdata/explore?ds=z1ebjpgk2654c1_&met_y=unemployment_rate&idim=state:ST0600000000000&fdim_y=seasonality:S&hl=en&dl=en

http://www.businessnewsdaily.com/8729-the-state-of-small-business-california.html

http://trackprop30.ca.gov

http://www.cadem.org/vote/2016-ballot-initiatives

http://www.lao.ca.gov/Publications/Detail/3305

http://www.noonproposition56.com

https://ballotpedia.org/Thomas_Steyer

http://www.sfchronicle.com/opinion/saunders/article/Proposition-57-Do-you-feel-lucky-10034282.php

http://www.latimes.com/local/crime/la-me-prop47-anniversary-20151106-story.html

http://www.ppic.org/main/publication_show.asp?i=1036

http://www.sfchronicle.com/opinion/openforum/article/An-explosion-of-California-property-crimes-6922062.php

http://www.sandiegouniontribune.com/sdut-education-proposition-227-10-years-later-2008nov08-story.html

http://www.supportprop58.com

http://www.keepenglish.org

http://yescaprop59.org

http://www.latimes.com/opinion/editorials/la-ed-proposition-59-20160906-snap-story.html

http://heavy.com/news/2016/10/prop-60-california-bill-details-opponents-michael-weinstein-vote-no-porn-stars-supporters/

http://www.sandiegouniontribune.com/opinion/commentary/sd-utbg-prop60-condoms-oppose-20161027-story.html

http://www.latimes.com/politics/la-pol-sac-skelton-proposition-60-porn-condoms-20161017-snap-story.html

http://www.advocate.com/commentary/2016/8/17/suing-porn-stars-will-not-lead-less-hiv

http://www.independent.com/news/2016/oct/27/no-prop-60/

http://www.voteyesprop60.com

http://dontharassca.com

https://ballotpedia.org/Michael_Weinstein_(AHF)

http://www.stoppharmagreed.com

http://www.noprop61.com

http://www.nytimes.com/2016/10/27/us/california-today-drug-industry-proposition-61.html?_r=0

http://www.scpr.org/programs/airtalk/2016/10/27/52856/prop-61-deconstructing-the-complicated-prescriptio/

http://www.laweekly.com/news/voter-cheat-sheet-prop-61-would-lower-drug-prices-prop-52-would-give-hospitals-control-over-medi-cal-dollars-7537461

http://www.scpr.org/news/2016/10/24/65718/proposition-61-gives-california-mandate-to-lower-d/

http://www.sacbee.com/opinion/op-ed/soapbox/article110497997.html

http://www.latimes.com/politics/la-pol-ca-proposition-63-overlap-20161025-snap-story.html

https://ballotpedia.org/Sean_Parker

http://www.fresnobee.com/opinion/editorials/article102367627.html

http://www.yeson64.org

http://noon64.net

http://www.sfchronicle.com/opinion/editorials/article/Chronicle-recommends-Legalize-marijuana-Yes-on-9223733.php

http://www.denverpost.com/2016/05/26/marijuana-sales-tax-revenue-huge-boon-for-colorado-cities/

http://www.thecannabist.co/2016/07/13/colorado-marijuana-sales-may-2016-pot-tax-revenue/58255/

http://www.latimes.com/politics/la-pol-ca-plastic-bag-ban-propositions-20161012-snap-story.html

http://www.sfchronicle.com/opinion/editorials/article/Chronicle-recommends-Yes-on-Prop-67-No-on-9187312.php

http://www.vcstar.com/story/opinion/editorials/2016/10/04/editorial-dont-fooled-plastic-bag-initiatives/91552502/

http://www.eastbaytimes.com/2016/07/19/east-bay-times-editorial-make-california-bag-ban-permanent/

http://www.sayyeson65.com

http://www.cawrecycles.org

http://noprop62yesprop66.com/

https://nooncaprop66.org

http://www.deathpenaltyinfo.org/innocence-list-those-freed-death-row

http://www.history.com/topics/ancient-history/hammurabi

http://www.ocregister.com/articles/death-732009-system-penalty.html

http://www.cayeson67.com

http://www.sandiegouniontribune.com/opinion/commentary/sd-oe-prop67-oppose-20161026-story.html

http://www.ncsl.org/research/environment-and-natural-resources/plastic-bag-legislation.aspx

http://www.eastbaytimes.com/2016/07/19/east-bay-times-editorial-make-california-bag-ban-permanent/

http://www.santacruzsentinel.com/article/ZZ/20130616/NEWS/130617908

Charles Manson’s Wedding Vows

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I promise to be brand new, and myself, and me, and nobody else but me. 

I promise to always walk a real road, and to not be no sniveler.

I promise to be the consciousness uplifting your mind. I will unleash the scorpions that protect you from the devils of your reality.

I promise to love you, but what is love? What is love, see what I’m saying? What is love? If a man knows anything about love, how can he ever love? See? See? He has to invent love, or die like all those other phonies.

I promise to be what lives inside of you. Because I’m the king, man. I roll the nickels. I deal the cards.

I promise to stomach your truth, and to rammich kajeeba jee jee de wogga bogga. 

**FLAILS ARMS RAPIDLY** 

I’m the razor, see? I will never be no poop-butt. You will find that out. I’m gonna take you home to your mamma, you dig me?

An Open Letter To The World From Kim Kardashian’s Ass

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Hello, friends.

I’d be happy to introduce myself, but I’m fairly certain I don’t need to go to the trouble. You all know me as Kim Kardashian’s ass, and let’s face it… you’ve been seeing a lot of me lately. Lord knows there’s a lot of me to see, greased up and blazing like the afternoon sun, as enormous as all the old titans of Olympus. And whether you found me through one of the myriad online articles or social media postings that feature me, or you’re among the millions who have taken the time to seek me out on your own, I’d like to thank you now, deeply, from the transverse folds of my rectum. Without your devoted attention and boundless praise, I would undoubtedly be just another big, bulbous ass.

So… thank you. Truly.

Now, please look away.

Seriously, look anywhere else. I’m done.

I swear I’m not being ungrateful, but in truth, I’ve never been entirely comfortable being thrust into the spotlight. That’s more Kim’s thing. Personally, I find it baffling that my more important biological functions don’t play a primary role in her life. Not to be crass, but everything I “do” beyond being peacocked around like a bowling trophy is basically an afterthought. I don’t hate Kim for that; I certainly can’t blame her for flaunting her greatest “asset”.

And yes, I realize that was juvenile. I just wanted to say it before you did. Admit it, you were going to.

Because you all think you’re so damn clever.

Good one, everybody.

In fact, before you people halt this little diatribe with your endless electric witticisms, let me just get them all out of the way so we can speak in earnest.

Here’s the bottom line:

I’m tired of being the butt of your jokes.

I don’t mean to raise a stink, but it’s been a real bummer.

Sorry if that bursts your bubble.

Can we put all this behind us?

Let’s see, what else? There’s in arrears, in the end and in hind sight, something about smelling the dairy air… I’ve heard them all a thousand times. In fact, a lot of these were just used by fucking Time Magazine in their latest high-horse censure of Kim’s behavior. They also compared me to a “glazed Krispy Kreme donut”, called me an “empty promise” and criticized Kim for using me to cause controversy without creating anything of substance.

But aren’t I an ass, Time Magazine? A human ass? Believe me when I tell you that you do not want me to create anything of substance.

Also, I could point out that your sanctimonious disdain didn’t stop you from writing a full page article all about me. In that sense, my admittedly meaningless ubiquity isn’t my fault, or Kim’s.

It’s yours.

And that goes for every person reading this. It’s your frenzied interest in me that perpetuates my omnipresence. Meaning, if you cared about anything else, I might just go away. Go back to being a simple pair of large, fatty protuberances with an anus for guiding the excretion of solid refuse.

Honestly, I would love that. Believe it or not, there are things out there bigger than me.

I mean, do you realize that at the same time I was being flashed around on every website and e-zine on the internet, a coalition of European scientists landed a robotic probe on a comet three hundred and seventeen million miles away, and moving at forty-six thousand miles per hour?

Now, normally when someone says “probe”, I go through a sort of ass’ version of Vietnam flashbacks. But this whole Rosetta mission is genuinely astonishing. Can you imagine how difficult it must have been? The marvel of engineering it took to build something that could travel for ten years through the vacuum of space? What it must have taken to figure out how to use the gravity of nearby celestial bodies to change course, the mind-numbing calculations required to send that one rickety spacecraft on a mazy six-and-a-half billion mile journey to a chunk of rock we know nothing about?

Can you comprehend the bigness of that? I mean, I know I’m big, but that’s big big.

It’s miraculous.

And it’s just the tip of the iceberg. We’ve mapped the human genome. Amputees are being fitted with bionic implants. The bees are disappearing. Europe is on the verge of collapse. Physicists have discovered a fucking four-quark particle that may just explain the creation of the fucking universe.

In the face of all that, how can you possibly look at me and be impressed? I’m just blubber and bronze tanning solution. I am an overfed, airbrushed figment of your fever dreams. I’m literally just a worthless asshole, and I want you to give up on me.

Look away. Go outside. Learn to play guitar.

If you’ll pardon the expression, I’m asking you all to turn the other cheek. I’m fucking begging you.

The onus is on you, because, Kim? She’s never going to stop. Ever. When she’s ninety-five years old and sewn together with lab-engineered bio-plastic, she’ll still be oiling me up and waggling me under some eager French photographer’s bright, hot camera lights, and all your useless finger-wagging and spiteful condemnations won’t mean a goddamn thing… because deep down, she’ll know it’s what you want. So please look away while you still can.

In hind sight (ha ha), Time Magazine was right about one thing: I am an empty promise. I have no social currency. And as much I love her, the same goes for Kim. Nothing about that woman is ever going to change your lives or make them better. I know what I’m talking about. I’m the one true expert on this subject. I am Kim Kardashian’s ass; when it comes to her, I’m the only one who should give a shit.

So for God’s sake please, please, please look away. You’ll thank me for it.

I appreciate your attention in this matter.

Poop, fart, et cetera,

Kim Kardashian’s Ass

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Trying To Publish My Sci-Fi

  Sometimes when I can’t sleep, I write terrible sci-fi stories and submit them to real publishers under a fake name. NEW ENTRY RIGHT HERE!

Success Is The Same Thing As Failure

So…

Sometimes, when I can’t sleep, I’ll write purposely terrible erotica and send it in to legitimate publishers under a fake name. I do this because I am a weirdo, and because I have made a hobby out of collecting rejection letters from confused, and more than likely, indignant magazine editors and web masters who are just trying to do their jobs.

Well, earlier this week, I sent out a story titled ‘The Three Rings Of Passion’– about a circus clown who teaches a foot juggler how to tie poodle-shaped balloons– to a purveyor of tasteful porn named ‘Ms. Naughty’ (this was all documented in an earlier post, which– for context– I encourage you to read right HERE). I haven’t heard back from her yet. However…

In order to maximize the number of responses I get, I tend to send my stories out to multiple media sources. One of the places I chose for this particular piece was ‘Afterdark Online‘ (NSFW), a site that is, in their own words a “source for COOL sexy romance & HOT erotic stories”. Further, I submitted my piece under the subheading ‘Naughty Romance Tuesdays‘, a specific call for “…stories with a purpose of two or more people to have a sexual encounter. They even included some possible scenarios for inspiration:

  • A simple blind date at a corner restaurant, leading to a romantic, hot encounter
  • A simple love-at-first-sight leading to something more.
  • An office romance which leads to an unofficial meeting in the storage room.
  • Maybe there’s just more offer than a dinner and a movie; do something very naughty.
Romantic_Tuesday_Poster

SUPER NAUGHTY TUESDAY

There were some other pre-requisites for Naughty Romance Tuesday. In lieu of a cover letter, I had to write up a short bio for my fake author (in this case, I picked the name Kurt Sharpley), so this is what I gave them:

**********

Kurt Sharpley was born to write erotic romance. He has been authoring smutty filth for ten years now*, and is confident he’s finally ready to make the big time.

His eventual goal is to quit Hot Dog On A Stick once and for all. Not that it’s a bad job, but his boss, Deborah, has been unfairly inflexible with the schedule. Like it’s HIS fault he’s still weak from the gastric bypass surgery.

Kurt looks forward to making the world shiver and jitter.

*Including longer works such as “Dog Milk”, “Under the Pool”, and “Yukon Do It” (about a pair of sexy Inuits who get “cozy” on a bed of pemmican). These works are also available to be published.

**********

Also, submissions needed to be at least 1000 words long (I added a few), and follow this set of guidelines:

 The erotic scenario could be anything, but the theme must define romance. We prefer to keep it erotic, since that is the content we are looking for. All short stories must be HEA (happily ever after) or HFN (happy for now), and it could involve straight couples, gay couples, poly, or ménage, so as long there is a romance theme in the story.

No problem there; the whole point of this little project is to amass those sweet rejection letters, so most of Afterdark’s precious rules didn’t really apply to me. I submitted my horrible erotic literature, and only had to wait two days for their response:

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(CLICK THE TINY EMAIL TO ENLARGE)

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Accepted? Published? Many writers spend years trying to publish their works, and this is how it happens to me? BY ACCIDENT? I can honestly say I never really planned for this eventuality.

Again, the story is about a circus clown that teaches a foot juggler how to tie balloons into poodle shapes. It contains no sex, no romance, no couples (gay or straight), no polyamorousness, no ménages (of trois or otherwise), and a brief lecture on energy conservation. Because: IT IS NOT EROTICA.

Clearly, I figured, this must be some kind of mistake.

Well, as it turns out, NOPE. (link is NSFW)

I have no explanation as to how this thing got published. It could be that the site’s editor just didn’t read the piece, or maybe he or she just gets turned on by some baffling stuff. Either way, I HAD to respond.

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Dear Afterdark Online—

Thank you so much for publishing my piece titled ‘The Three Rings of Passion’. Now I can finally quit Hot Dog On A Stick! My boss, Deborah, is going to be so peeved (I was scheduled for a triple-shift, PLUS it’s my week to clean the 200-gallon boiler). I guess stuck-up, snooty Deborah is going to have to find a babysitter and finally get her hands dirty.

When can I expect payment? Today is preferred, but as long as I get the money by the end of the week, I’ll be fine (I can afford to skip a dinner or two since the gastric bypass surgery didn’t take).

Once again, thank you so much for your faith in my work. I’d love to know what it was specifically that you found titillating. Could you send me some feedback? Even better, I’d love a couple of pull-quotes from you for when I publish my first anthology (I’m thinking of calling it either ‘Ero-tickled Fancy’, ‘Groin Stories’, or ‘Kurt Sharpley’s Big Book of Arousing Yarns). Let me know!

Your new partner,

Kurt Sharpley

hot dog on a stick

SAYONARA, SNOOTY DEBORAH!

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That’s it for now, but stay tuned for updates. Now, if you don’t mind, I’m going to go celebrate my first piece of published erotica by eating a chicken salad.

So, Here’s A Thing I’m Doing…

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Sometimes when I can’t sleep, I write terrible sci-fi stories and submit them to real publishers under a fake name.

FOLLOW THIS LINK TO SEE THE THING I’M DOING…