The economic scholar Ronald Coase once characterized themarket as "islands of butter in a pail of buttermilk." Similarly,President Obama's stimulus package could be characterized as islands of sensein an ocean of politics-as-usual. And one of those islands happens,fortunately, to be the Congress's efforts to remove $70 billion from thealternative minimum tax, a cruelly designed trap for the successful, with theexpress purpose of maximizing bracket creep while minimizing upward mobility.

The percapita income in Californiawas $33,749 in 2005, according to U.S. Census Bureau Data.

If thealternative minimum tax fix that expired in December isn't renewed, taxpayersmaking as little as $30,000 to $50,000 could be hit by a levy aimed 40 yearsago at making sure the creative and well-heeled pay up, according to the TaxPolicy Center.

$70 billion is the magic number being floated right now by Congressional memberstrying to push along the federal government stimulus package throughboth houses of Congress with bipartisan support. Those billions wouldgo toward fixing a terribly flawed system known as the AlternativeMinimum Tax. By Wednesday, Congressional leaders announced a middleground, of a stimulus plan with a price tag of $789 billionrather than the previous bills costing upwards of $800 billion -$1 trillion.

The People of the State of California hereby find and declare all of the following:

(a) Purpose. The Top Two Candidates Open Primary Act is hereby adopted by the people of California to protect and preserve the right of every Californian to vote for the candidate of his or her choice.

The impending budget cataclysm, having drawn all the politicalcourage it possibly can out of California's politicians, has now begunproducing the much-less-desirable opposite reaction: namely, panic.

California is known forleading the nation in many ventures, trends and movements, and 2009is no different. In areas all across California, local and stategovernments are supporting "greening" measures to helpthe environment and raise accountability. Going hand-in-hand with theloftier goal of cleaning house, proverbially, comes lucrativespending contracts to update infrastructure. In Los Angeles alone,SCE and the LADWP are working with Mayor Villaraigosa, to get on thetrack to a goal of 20 percent renewable energy use in LA within only ahandful of years.

Last week a federal judge ruled in support ofCalifornia campaign finance disclosure laws that requires making publicthe names of political donors contributing more than $100 to a campaignor candidate.

U.S.District Judge Morrison C. England Jr. ruled against the Yes on8/ lawsuit which sought to have the names of donorsto the winning Nov. 4 ballot proposition which banned gay marriage inCalifornia kept secret.

England's ruling on Thursday was the right call on a number of levels.