beaker

TJ's Coming to Atlanta?

Trader Joe's is planning to enter metro Atlanta! There's speculation that they might be considering the former Harry's in a Hurry/Market One location on Ponce. Wherever they choose, they have officially announced that they are planning to open in Atlanta!

This would be fantastic news. No more suitcases full of Trader Joe's loot every time I fly back from California. :-D
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    Supertramp - Even in the Quietest Moments (Remastered) - Give a Little Bit
beaker

New toy!

The Awesomest-Father-in-the-World got me a new toy for my upcoming birthday.

Which begs the question: What's a good name for a 1GB iPod Shuffle?
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    The Stills - iTunes New Music Sampler (Atlantic/Lava Edition) - Yesterday Never Tomorrows
beaker

Why I did not vote for CA Propositions 63 and 69...

Overall, I was fairly happy with the results of yesterday's elections in California. Most of the measures that I voted for or against went as I had voted. A couple of them that I did not particularly care about went differently from how I voted, but that was reasonable disagreement between me and the majority of the voting state.

However, there were two propositions that passed that disturbed me to the point that I hope legal challenges prevent them from taking effect. The first of those is Proposition 63 -- Tax for Mental Health Funding. This proposition provides funds to the counties to expand services and programs for the mentally ill. Given California's abysmal mental health programs (Reagan dismantled the State's mental health programs, arguing that the mentally ill could better be cared for by the community. But inadequate funding was turned over to the communities to cover the mentally ill that flooded out when the state mental hospitals were shut down), such a proposition is a Good Thing(tm). But Proposition 63 proposes to pay for such services by raising a 1% tax on those taxpayers whose personal income exceeds $1 million. While I do believe that those who can afford to ought to carry a heavier share of the tax burden than those who are having a harder time to make ends meet, this tax crosses a line. 1% of $1 million is $10k -- definitely not small change, even from someone who is making a million bucks a year. The number of californians who make that much in a year is a small percentage. Such a tax burden is very unwise because such a small number of people will be fully funding these services, making the services very susceptible to tax revenue fluctuations. Most importantly, I find it offensive that such a huge majority can vote on something that would have such a huge consequence for so few. It is as if the entire College of Computing were to vote that the Dean should pay tuition for all of the grad students in the college. It seems fundamentally wrong to me.

The second of those propositions is Proposition 69. This proposition requires the state to collect DNA samples from all felons and to maintain a database of these samples. At first glance, this seems a reasonable measure to take to enable law enforcement to take advantage of a very useful law enforcement tool. But it is a huge violation of privacy. If the measure were simply what I've described, I would have voted in support of it. There's already a precedent of disenfranchising felons, so it seems reasonable to require convicted felons to turn over DNA samples to this database. But Proposition 69 does not stop there -- it also requires that DNA samples be taken from any adult or child arrested for or charged with certain specified violent crimes (and after 2009, any felony). That is, this proposition requires any citizen to give up his rights without due process! No charges even need to be raised; any officer could force someone to turn over a DNA sample because he merely has a hunch that that person committed a felony (maybe he was a Sox fan).

I suppose, overall, that I shouldn't be too downhearted about the election results in California. It could have been much, much worse.

BTW, here's an interesting break down of how each county in the country voted.
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    R.E.M. - Up - You're In The Air