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Monday, March 29, 2010


"Democracy" on display

On a state level, the farce of "free" speech continues. Republican Gubernatorial hopeful Meg Whitman continues to saturate the airwaves with her aids (bizarrely, most aimed at her primary opponent whom she leads in the polls by 50 points!), on track to spend...$150 million of her own money which, the San Jose Mercury News helpfully points out, would educate 13,194 California schoolchildren for a year, or would more than wipe out San Jose's $116.2 million budget deficit. Don't feel too bad for her opponent, another billionaire, who has already spent "only" $19 million of his own money on his campaign.

On a more local level, the numbers are smaller, but still put the lie to the concept of "free" speech. The San Francisco 49ers are trying to convince the small city of Santa Clara to help them build a new stadium, and there's a measure on the ballot for residents to vote on. The 49ers are spending $1.4 million on more not-so-free speech, running ads on TV which, you won't be surprised to learn, have no counterpart on the other side. So the "debate" continues, with one very heavy thumb on the scale.

The "greatest democracy in the world"? Yeah, about as much as "the best medical care in the world."

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