2008 Ballot Measure Breakdown

2008 Ballot Measure Breakdown

Erik Deckers
Laughing Stalk Syndicate
Copyright 2008

We all watched history unfold Tuesday night when we elected our first black President, just 44 years after the Civil Rights Act was passed. President-Elect Barack Hussein Obama was born three years before the crucial piece of legislation that eventually paved the way for him to become President of the United States. So for everyone who thought we would never see a black President in our lifetime, you can imagine Obama's excitement when he became one.

I kept my kids up to watch Obama’s acceptance speech so they could say they got to see it. And it's all I heard about the next day from the news and my family. As proud as I am of our new president, I'd like to hear a little more about the rest of the election. And since everyone in the media is talking about Barack “that’s PRESIDENT Hussein Obama to you, buddy,” I want to talk about the part of the election people really care about: state ballot measures.

Let’s start in Iowa, where idiots and insane people are not only allowed to hold public office, now they can even vote. In an attempt to drag Iowa political law into the 20th century, Rep. Pam Jochum has worked for ten years to change political language originally written in 1851 which barred anyone identified as an “idiot or insane person” from voting. The new language now refers to “a person adjudged mentally incompetent to vote.” The measure won by a margin of 4 -1, and idiots now have more rights than convicted felons.

“Certainly the amendment reflects that we, as a society, respect the dignity of people with disabilities,” said Jochum, whose 31-year-old daughter is mentally disabled, which made me feel guilty about that crack about idiots having more rights than felons.

While I'm glad to see Iowans realize that even 157 year old language can be hurtful – especially when you realize that that New Mexico failed to pass a similar measure in 2002 – I still have to wonder what it says about the 20 percent of Iowans who said no to the measure. And more importantly, why can't New Mexicans hop on board the dignity train? Who votes against something like that?

Iowa was originally going to vote on the measure in 2000, but Secretary of State Chet Culver failed to put it on the ballot. See, I told you they could hold public office.

But idiots aren't the only ones claiming victory. The stoners had quite a day themselves. That’s because voters in Hawaii, Massachusetts, and Fayetteville, Arkansas have voted to decriminalize marijuana, while Michigan voters approved the use of medical marijuana.

Hawaii, Massachusetts, and Fayetteville voters agreed to decriminalize possession of small amounts of pot. For example, in Massachusetts, if you’re caught with less than an ounce of marijuana, you won’t face criminal penalties. Instead you’ll forfeit it to police and pay a $100 civil fine.

Over in Michigan, 63 percent of voters said, “Dude, that would be AWESOME!” to Proposition 1, which allows specially-registered Michiganders to grow, buy, or use small amounts of pot, while the other 37 percent voted to harsh their buzz.

“It appears we came up short,” said Bill Schuette, chairman of Citizens Protecting Michigan’s Kids. “We were severely underfunded, and that’s always a challenge.”

“It’s like those guys had a never-ending supply of cash,” he added. “Cash and Twinkies.”

Claire Luczak said she voted against Prop 1 because she thought it would make things too easy for Michigan’s dopers.

“It would be too easy to get it. I know hundreds of people who smoke pot, and I think people would get it for recreational use and not legitimate reasons,” Luczak told the Associated Press, not realizing that if she knows hundreds of pot smokers, then it's already too easy to get.

Meanwhile, in San Francisco, they apparently have enough respect for George W. Bush not to name a sewage plant after him. Either that, or they have more respect for their sewage. Either way, there will not be any sewage plants named after the outgoing President.

Earlier this year, liberal activists got enough signatures to start a ballot measure to rename a city-owned sewage plant the George W. Bush Sewage Plant, apparently as some sort of metaphor for what they thought President Bush was full of..

But less snarky heads prevailed, because the measure was soundly trounced 69 to 31 percent. And to show the rest of the world they’re not all a bunch of Bacchanalian heathens, they also defeated a measure that would have decriminalized prostitution by banning police from arresting hookers and their clients.

How frightening is it that San Francisco is more level-headed than Fayetteville, Arkansas?

In the Minnesota Senate race, it turns out Al Franken isn’t good enough, smart enough, and doggone it, not enough people liked him. Franken (D) is just 236 votes behind incumbent Norm Coleman, and is asking for a recount. His deficit has dropped down from 725 on Wednesday morning, which makes the recount a smart idea.

“This is the closest Senate race in Minnesota history,” he told Minnesota Public Radio. “This is just part of the process to make sure that every vote is counted fairly.”

Meanwhile, Coleman is urging Franken to give up the recount to save Minnesota the nearly $90,000 in recount costs. Coleman even said that he would drop out if he were in Franken’s shoes, even if he were trailing by such a close margin.

Suuuuure you would. Dude, you must think we all live in Michigan.

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