Monday, November 03, 2008

COLUMN: Election questions? Ask Professor Civics

With the election less than a week away, we turn this week’s column over to our resident expert, Professor Civics, to answer your last-minute voting questions.

Dear Professor Civics:

I notice there’s a ballot question asking to abolish the income tax. Could this possibly be a good idea?

Skeptical in Stoneham
Dear Skeptical:

Absolutely! The idea that we need an income tax to run government is one of those great legislative myths. In actuality, getting rid of the income tax would just force legislators to “trim the fat” from unnecessary programs like schools, roads and police.

In fact, if this initiative works like it’s supposed to, legislators will only have enough money left for their salaries and to pay the “escorts.”

Dear Professor Civics:

Another ballot question wants to “decriminalize” small amounts of marijuana. Couldn’t making it easier for people to smoke pot cause problems down the road?

Scared Straight in Saugus
Dear Scared:
Dude! That’s so … um … What was the question?
Dear Professor Civics:

I wanted to vote this year, but I missed the voter registration deadline! What should I do?

Dumbfounded in Duluth
Dear Dumbfounded:

Never fear. You can take the place of one of the people who won’t be showing up to vote, because they somehow got registered even though they are long deceased. E-mail me and I’ll put you in touch with a guy. We never had this conversation.

Dear Professor Civics:

I’ve read on blogs that the Republicans have rigged voting machines to benefit their candidates. Could this possibly be true?

Outraged in Orleans
Dear Outraged:

Ha ha! No, although blogs are usually extremely reliable sources of information, that particular rumor is completely untrue, except in Pennsylvania, Ohio, New Hampshire and Virginia. And also Florida, where old Jewish people have been known to walk into the voting booth, feel suddenly woozy and wake up the next day in a bar in Key West with a vague recollection of voting for Pat Buchanan.

Dear Professor Civics:

What will the cable news commentators do after the election is over?

Concerned in Colorado
Dear Concerned:

That’s still up in the air, but it’s expected that if McCain wins, Chris Matthews and Keith Olbermann’s heads will melt off their bodies like the Nazis at the end of “Raiders of the Lost Ark.”

Dear Professor Civics:

I wanted to dress as a candidate for Halloween. Which one would make the scariest costume?

Undecided in Uncasville
Dear Undecided:

Well, they are all fairly scary, what with Obama maybe being a secret terrorist whose entire public life has been a carefully conceived 30-year ruse, and McCain always looking like he might, at any moment, hit you in the knees with a shovel.

But recent surveys show that people find vice presidential candidate Sarah Palin by far the scariest. They said this because of her extreme right-wing views, her seeming lack of intellectual curiosity, and also because of the second little head that pops out of her mouth and tries to eat your face off.

Dear Professor Civics:

Do you think I should vote in favor of a ballot question that would ban dog racing?

Wondering in Wellesley
Dear Wondering:

Absolutely not! The last thing we need is a lot of out-of-work dogs competing with all the brokers for street scraps.

Dear Professor Civics:

Do you think it’s possible that we’ve been so focused on silly minutia during this election season that the vast majority of voters haven’t really been exposed to the actual positions on the issues that will affect us the most?

Troubled in Trenton
Dear Troubled:
Dude! That’s so … um … What was the question?
Peter Chianca is a CNC managing editor and the brains behind “The At Large Blog” ( and “The Shorelines Blog” ( To receive At Large by e-mail, write to, with the subject line “SUBSCRIBE.”

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