Bits and pieces

False prophecy: Damn, Bites has got to get a new crystal ball. Mine’s busted, as demonstrated by last week’s claim that the state budget passage was a done deal once Anthony Pescetti and other Republican turncoats from the Assembly signed off on it.

In my defense, it really was a foregone conclusion that the pending summer recess made the budget’s passage imminent, even if it did take an extra weekend of arm-twisting and pork-dealing to finish the job. Still, as many of you pointed out, Friday came and went, but the Legislature was still there.

Bites suspects it was all done to spite me. Damn you, John Burton!

Subsidizing sin: Generally, whenever anybody says that you’re entitled to refunds of “up to $300,” Bites reads that as “nowhere near $300,” cynical SOB that I am. And so it was with President George W. Bush‘s tax refunds, also known as the “Great Voter Bribe of 2001.”

Yet good ol’ Georgie cut through Bites’ cynicism last week when word came from the Internal Revenue Service that my $300 check would soon be in the mail. Let’s hear it for truth in advertising—ya-hoo!

Some have suggested that progressive types should give their refunds to worthy charities, but relying on charitable giving for a social safety net is bad public policy, so Bites plans to spend my windfall frivolously, maybe even illegally. Buying hookers and drugs may seem a strange way to hold the president accountable for his shortsighted tax cut, but these are strange days.

Besides, Bites has earned it. Bites got pretty beat up last fall for this column’s gushing advocacy of Ralph Nader‘s campaign, and claims that there were few substantial differences between the Republican and Democratic presidential candidates.

Bites hereby admits: “I was wrong.” So let’s party!

Heee’s baaaack: Didja hear who Attorney General Bill Lockyer has proposed as a mediator in the slow-going federal government anti-trust case against Microsoft? Former prez Bill Clinton, believe it or not.

While the proposal has drawn a few titters and guffaws from Republican attorneys general from other states, Lockyer seems to consider it a serious proposal, calling Clinton “uniquely qualified,” in a letter to U.S. Attorney General John Ashcroft.

Of course, Ashcroft is probably more likely to name Monica Lewinsky to the mediator post than her one-time presidential lollipop, but Bites has to admire Lockyer’s gumption for making the request.

Besides, Bites is still waiting for Clinton’s big Hollywood movie debut (and the gossip columns about which scarlet he’s screwing around with now), a transition that just seems logical after his impressive performance (but sorry leadership) during an eight-year run on America’s biggest stage.

Name withheld: In an effort to stay true to Bites’ recent pledge not to keep hammering on a certain local right-wing group, let’s just call this item an anonymous community service announcement, delivered without comment or commentary.

If you’re interested in hearing or protesting a newly rescheduled speech questioning whether the Nazi Holocaust ever really happened, then you just might want to be at the Ethel McLeod Hart Senior Center (915 27th St. in Sacramento) July 31 at 5 p.m.

‘Nuff said.

Straight schlock: Did anyone see that full-page ad that ran recently in the Bee titled “Straight Talk About California’s Energy Crisis,” put out by a group calling itself Californians for Energy Action?

“We must make sure the actions we take today don’t leave us all with a struggling economy and an investment climate that makes prosperity impossible,” declared the ad, which urged the California Public Utilities Commission not to try to re-regulate power producers.

So who exactly are these Californians for Energy Action that seem so concerned about the little guy in California? Why, it’s all of the corporate fat cats that created this deregulation mess in the first place.

Bites wasn’t sure about the latest PUC proposal to give the Department of Water Resourses more rate-setting authority … until now. Because if these guys are against it, Bites is for it. It’s that simple.