Editor’s note: Michael Ackley’s columns may include satire and parody based on current events, and thus mix fact with fiction. He assumes informed readers will be able to tell which is which.

When I lost both my parents to cancer, I felt like an orphan.

I have always viewed home ownership as the pinochle of success.

She has two pure bread Yorkshire terriers and would love a third, and constantly pesters her husband for a chance to bread them.

– Quotes from papers by California University Students

Poor Steve Poizner. The state insurance commissioner and would-be governor of California is learning the cost of telling the truth.

His book about his year of teaching at an east San Jose high school has teachers and parents bleating because he wrote that he encountered many unmotivated and underperforming students.

It’s to his credit that he didn’t back off in the face of protests. I can say from experience that the problem of the unmotivated and the underperforming isn’t limited to east San Jose. It’s pervasive in a dumbed-down education system that gives good grades for poor work.

I met such students – including the seniors who wrote the sentences quoted above – while teaching at a university. They were good kids, but they had been told from kindergarten through the 12th grade and right into college that they were doing fine when they were not. They couldn’t write a lick, but their self-esteem was in good shape.

By the way, does anybody have a good recipe for breaded Yorkshire terrier? Does it include a nice sauce?

California’s cash-strapped state government is pressing ahead with plans to release “nonviolent” criminals, to save the cost of imprisoning them. Here’s a possible scenario:

Warden: “Well, Sluggo, I see you were found guilty of receiving stolen property. This is a non-violent offense, so I’m going to sign off on your early release. How do you feel about helping California save money?

Sluggo: (aside) Non-violent!? Doesn’t he know I smashed in the front doors of 36 apartments and actually stole those stolen goods? (to the warden) I feel great about it, sir. After all, California is my state, too.

Warden: Wonderful! I’m sure that even your abbreviated stay with us has left you rehabilitated and ready to re-enter society.

Sluggo: You bet! (aside) And thanks to the plea bargain that reduced the charges against me, I’ll be back supporting my drug habit in no time. Woohoo!

Let us hope officials look at prisoners’ actual offenses before they turn them loose, not just the plea bargains executed to save time and money in the state’s overburdened courts.

The GOP is getting a nice boost from the California Chamber of Commerce. It’s running TV ads zinging the Democrats’ presumptive gubernatorial nominee, state Attorney General (and former Gov.) Jerry Brown.

The San Francisco Chronicle notes that former Gov. Pete Wilson is on the chamber’s board of directors and, coincidentally, is campaign chairman for former eBay executive Meg Whitman.

Brown, who will win the Democratic nomination in a walkover, is shepherding his resources for the general election campaign while Whitman and Poizner cut each other up in TV ads. Whitman leads, perhaps in part because the commissioner’s name is such a near-homophone to “poisoner.”

The Los Angeles Opera’s $32 million staging of Wagner’s Ring cycle has spawned an ancillary arts festival. And the Angelenos have a sense of humor. Among the events will be a showing of Warner Bros. Bugs Bunny cartoon, “What’s Opera Doc?” a lampoon of Wagnerian opera.

Let’s hope the 1957 classic helps the city and county laugh off LA’s $14 million “loan” to help stage the Ring productions.

“What’s Opera, Doc?” is a selection particularly fitting for Los Angeles, for it has Elmer Fudd, hurling imprecations at Bugs, concluding with the greatest curse of all, “SMO-O-O-O-G!”

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