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California vs. New York Smackdown!

WNYC's Brian Lehrer and I tussled our way to the bottom in our spirited argument over whose legislature is worse, the Golden State's or the Empire State's? [You can cast your vote at the Patt Morrison blog].

It may all be upstate apples versus Inland Empire oranges, because New York's problems seem to be those of personality [like the legislator who claims the right to two votes], versus California's structural problems, like the 2/3 vote threshholds, term limits, budgeting-by-ballot and a general sense of having painted ourselves into a procedural corner. When it comes right down to it, problem politicians are a lot easier to dump than problems with the mechanics of government.

More on Michael Jackson from some wonderful guests -- radio's Rick Dees, who palled around with Jackson; the man who chose that signature tuxedo for a Jackson album cover [it was a woman's Yves St. Laurent model, and they rolled up the pants cuffs to show off those Bob Mackie white socks]; and ''Wait, Wait'' host Peter Sagal, who was to have played a snake charmer in a Michael Jackson video more than 15 years ago. They never shot the snake-charmer scene, but he did get to shake The King of Pop's hand. He found it to be soft and dry.

On Monday, the new rulebook takes effect in Iraq: Iraqi troops take over a lot of patrol duties from American soldiers, but is this happening too soon?

-- Patt Morrison