[Read the whole story @ Wall Street Journal]

My internship over at Sacramento ended a week ago, but I’m still addicted to California politics. Serving as a novice member of the capitol press corps through the UC Center Sacramento Journalism Program was an eye-opening experience. Reading about the economy and state government in textbooks is one thing, but living it is a whole different monster.

It’s like getting front row seats to the SuperBowl. Or the reality TV show to end all others. Ah, the sporadic protests, 11th-hour legislative sessions, closed-door negotiations, bills, perpetual deadlocks…suspense and financial craziness that accompanied the seemingly insolvent budget crisis.

I have lived to see the golden state plunge over 24 billion dollars into the red, slash budgets to bits, issue “IOUs” (because it had almost no cash flow), demand 3 unpaid furlough days from its workers, and host a garage sale. Upcoming events: state parks to close following this weekend (unprecedented), tens of thousands of inmates to be released (per a federal court ruling) over the next two years to reduce overcrowding, and lawmakers to revamp the state’s ancient water system (while saving the Delta?). Maybe unemployment rate will lower, as well.

And to think that reporters spend their waking hours making sense of the maelstrom of the day’s events, organizing and condensing them in a more palatable form for the public. Journalists are awesome.