The sardonic Alan Mittelstaedt has been letting off steam this past week as he guest-hosts Celeste Fremon's Witness L.A. blog. His latest blast is in the form of fancifully proposed state taxes and, while ostensibly showing how easy it really is to balance the budget, Mr. Sardonicus manages to take some of his favorite targets out to the shooting range. Quoting from some of Mittelstaedt's suggestions:

  • Mental Health Tax: Let's admit the psychological benefits of tobacco

    and open smoking rooms in all public buildings. Admission would be $5 a

    day or $300 for an annual pass. Revenue estimate: $1 million a year.

  • Newspaper Burial Tax: One cause of the decline of newspapers in America today is Arianna Huffington, the Brentwood online publisher who steals much of her content by telling writers she helps their reputations instead of their pocketbooks. Now she'll pay $2,000 for every piece she runs without compensation. Revenue estimate: $10 million.

  • Sky-is-falling Tax: Blogger and secession activist Ron Kaye must pay $1,000 a day if he ever fails to file a post that in some way pushes for felony indictments of what he likes to call the bums at City Hall who are robbing his valley residents blind. Revenue estimate: $1,000, for that day every year when he writes about the birds nesting in his yard.

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