"Of all the gin joints in all the towns, in all the world, she walks into mine."

When Rick utters these fateful worlds in "Casablanca," the audience understands it's more than just mere blind luck, mere fortune. Still, why him, and why then?

Equally confusing is why state and federal leaders would continue down the path more traveled, a path of tax hikes, up and up and up...

Open Voter Registration. At the time they register, all voters shall have the freedom to choose whether or not to disclose their party preference. No voter shall be denied the right to vote for the candidate of his or her choice in either a primary or a general election for statewide constitutional office, the State Legislature, or the Congress of the United States based upon his or her disclosure or nondisclosure of party preference.

This measure would permit a voter, at the time of registration, to choose whether or not to disclose a party preference. This measure would also provide that a voter may vote for the candidate of his or her choosing in the primary election, regardless of his or her disclosure or non-disclosure of party preference.

Thirty California counties were mad as hell last week, and vowed that they wouldn't take it anymore.

After California legislators were unable to come together last weekend to fix the epic failure that is our budget crisis, no definitive deal was struck until Thursday. But before that, threats were made.

There is a great movie in which a person decides that he wants to bring down a huge and prosperous company. The best way to do so, he decides, is to do so from the inside, intentionally running things so slap-dash and inefficiently, as to force the company into a tailspin. As things go down, down, down, some of the top members head for the hills. As their last resort, all of the fellow employees turn to their CEO, who was less of a micromanager than a laissez-faire type of guy everyone likes.

Thegreatest irony in the deal Sen. Abel Maldonado struck in exchange for a"yes" vote on the state budget: If thenonpartisan primary that's headed for the June 2010 ballot is approved, itwould greatly decrease the chances of Californiaever again going through months of legislative waterboarding.