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A ballot proposition by any other name would smell as stinky

Near the end of the film Monty Python's The Meaning of Life, we see a movie executive named Arthur Charles Herbert Runcie MacAdam Jarrett. He's been sentenced to death for his gratuitous use of female nudity in his films, and his manner of execution is to be chased to death (on film) by topless women wearing brightly colored hard hats. Most people remember the movie for the vomit scene in the restaurant, but I do so enjoy that dry British sense of irony.

I think of Monty Python whenever I read the ballot propositions. Actually, it's whenever I read the names of the ballot props. I would ask whom these people are trying to kid, but I already know the answer to that. They're trying to fool all of the people who are too busy and/or too lazy to read the actual props. Unfortunately, it works sometimes.

Take, for example, Clean Elections. Who wouldn't be for clean elections? With a slogan like that, the thing would have passed if they had hired a Hitler look-alike to do the TV spots. But what did we get? We got some (but only some) elections that are evenly financed and we also got the most annoying set of commercials of all time. That's it. I know what people were thinking at the time: Oh, the money that's in politics is poisoning the process.

Some people thought it would be a giant screw-you to the Republicans, who reportedly had "all the money." Well, with Barack Obama opting out of the federal financing and raising a half-billion dollars, we can put that myth to bed once and for all.

Clean Elections also has a dedicated money source that is used for self-promotion. The ads are everywhere! Dorky Dumpy Guy is walking alongside Hot Chick (which, you know, happens all the time). The woman says, "Oh, Dorky Dumpy Guy, you have such wonderful ideas. You should run for office." (Which, of course, happens in all kinds of conversations.)

"No," she says (I'm paraphrasing), "the state will pay for you to run for office. And after you get elected, I can be your bottom lady." (That's pimp talk; I heard it on The Shield.)

Apparently, some company gets a truckload of money each year to pump these ads out. It's like that Richard Pryor film Brewster's Millions, in which he had to spend a huge amount of money in a month on absolutely nothing of value. And are our elections really any cleaner than they used to be?

Anyway, this year, they have all kinds of ballot props that are grotesquely misnamed. There's an old saying in football that most games are won before the opening kickoff. That's all about preparation. With the ballot props, it's all about choosing the right catchy title or phrase. It doesn't matter if it's false; sometimes, the phonier, the better. And they're not even subtle about it because there's no way they can get in trouble for lying.

Let's go down the list:

• First off is Prop. 100, known as Protect Our Homes. Sounds both godly and American. But, protect our homes from whom? Or what?

From termites? From people who don't look like us? From unscrupulous lenders? No, from a tax that doesn't exist right now, but might in the future. How exactly does not charging a transfer tax on the sale of a house "protect" it? I see a guy in a skin-tight suit, his chest emblazoned with a dollar sign with a line drawn through it, standing guard on my front yard.

In my vision, he's white and I make him hold up a lantern.

• Then there's Medical Choice for Arizona. I don't care if this thing passes or not. It's not about choice; it's about greedy suckers trying to scare people by uttering the ultimate fright line: socialized medicine. All I know is that my wife's insurance premiums have gone up five-fold in less than 10 years, and that's in a period of little or no inflation. A pox on all their houses, preferably a variant strain of smallpox that not even House could cure.

• Prop. 105 bills itself as "Majority Rules." Well, it should rule, but it won't if this piece of crap passes. According to this, people who don't vote get counted as a "No" vote. I'm tempted to say that no court in the country would uphold something so un-American, but I know better.

• Then there are my two (least) favorites--200 and 202. Both do the exact opposite of what their slogans claim and are absolutely despicable. Let's see, 202 calls itself "Stop Illegal Hiring" but it's backed by restaurants and agriculture. Yeah, OK.

And 200 calls itself "The Payday Loan Reform Act" but it's bought and paid for by the payday loan people. That's like putting Amy Winehouse in charge of the medicine cabinet.

We should put together a group that would filter all the nonsense and euphemisms out of the Proposition names. We could even use librarians, if they're not too busy helping pervs watch porn. If somebody comes before the board with a stupid, self-serving name for a prop, the panel members can chase them down the street, waving rolled-up "Read" posters. They can even be topless if they want. That way we could show it on cable.

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