Here is an interesting story about the movement to ban text messaging and emails to lawmakers while they are in session on the floor.
Posted by dweintraub at 3:44 PM
Today Assembly Speaker Fabian Núñez will be rolling out his proposal for redistricting reform. Yesterday, in comments to the California Newspaper Publishers Assn., he noted that no legislative body’s majority party has ever willingly given up the power to draw district lines. But he suggested his might be the first.
“Power is something which once you gain you don’t want to give it away to anybody,” he told the publishers. “People don’t give power away.”
But, he added, “The time has come for us to show the way.”
Next door, in comments to the Legislature’s Latino Caucus, Senate Leader Don Perata continued his longtime love-hate relationship with the idea. He keeps suggesting he is open to reform, but never really seems to have his heart in it. Same story on Wednesday:
“If we have to do it, so be it,” Perata said. But he added: “We are not going to give up power easily.”
If anything happens, it seems certain to be linked to a term limits measure that would allow both leaders to hold onto their posts after 2008.
Posted by dweintraub at 9:43 AM
In this piece she wrote a few years ago, Virginia Postrel takes the difference between incandescent and flourescent lighting very seriously. An excerpt:
If clean air were really the goal, the law would attack pollution directly. It would go after car exhausts and power-plant emissions, not incandescent spotlights. If energy conservation were the goal, the law would reward using less energy. Or it would raise the price of electricity to encourage people to use less. It would focus on how much energy people use, not how they get to that total. It wouldn't tell retailers what light fixtures to buy.
The dirty secret is that this is really an aesthetic battle. It's the latest version of the old American conflict between pleasure and Puritanism... Efficiency-minded engineers regard anything more than simple illumination as waste. Environmental activists are repulsed by "unnecessary" consumption. The boards that set energy codes and evaluate their effectiveness include engineers and environmentalists. They don't include artists or designers, much less lingerie shoppers.
In the behind-the-scenes meetings that establish the rules, no one speaks for pleasure. You can't measure aesthetic enjoyment with a light meter, so enjoyment doesn't count. We wind up with a law that makes it illegal to reproduce a Victoria's Secret. Legislators don't even know what they've passed.
Posted by dweintraub at 6:36 AM