Thursday, February 28, 2013

Part 4 of 5: California in Crisis: Golden State's green jobs bust

Part 4:

The California Public Utilities Commission's Division of Ratepayer Advocates has already estimated that 59 percent of all renewable energy contracts signed by utilities paid above-market prices for their renewable energy.

Wednesday, the Wall Street Journal reported that California will once again face rolling blackouts starting in 2015, thanks to the loss of conventional plants and unreliability of wind and solar energy due to weather fluctuations.

But all these new green energy programs must at least be creating thousands of new green jobs, right? Wrong. According to the best numbers from the Bureau of Labor Statistics, fewer than 2,500 green jobs have been created in California since 2010. Compare that with the more than 556,000 jobs that California has added in total since the recession ended in June 2009.

Part 3 of 5: California In Crisis: California's expensive education failure

Part 3:

At an average salary of $69,434 per year, a family of two teachers would bring in almost $140,000 in income per year. That is almost triple the state's $57,000 median family income -- and teachers get summers off.

But all of that money for teachers salaries hasn't helped students in the classroom. By 1992, the first year for which state-by-state comparisons are available, California ranked second to last among states tested (ahead of only Mississippi), in reading proficiency among fourth-graders.

Since then, California per pupil education spending has continued to rise, and student test scores have not. In 2011, the most recent year available, California eighth-graders finished 48th in reading, ahead of just Louisiana and Mississippi, and 48th in math, ahead of just Alabama and Mississippi. Perhaps California should change its state motto to "Thank God for Mississippi."

Part 2 of 5: Conn Carroll: The California spending rush

Part 2:

Will any of Brown's magic new revenue actually materialize in state coffers? History suggests it won't. A recent California Common Sense study showed that, since the recession began, governors' budget projections have overestimated revenue by an average of 5.5 percent. Apply that average to Brown's 2013 projections, and California's budget would suddenly go from $1 billion in the black to $3.9 billion in the red.

And those are just the debts that Brown chooses to acknowledge.

California has been running almost yearly budget deficits since 2000. By last year, those shortfalls had accumulated into a $28 billion "wall of debt." Brown's new budget begins to dismantle that wall -- again, assuming his fantasy revenue projections come in as advertised. But even if they come true, California will still owe $4 billion to assorted creditors by the end of 2017.

Part 1 of 5 Conn Carroll: What happened to the Golden State?

Here's part one:

California is no longer a model that other states want to or should emulate. It currently has the nation's third highest unemployment rate, its highest poverty rate and more than one-third of the nation's welfare recipients.

What happened?

To make a long story short, the same political constituencies that have made Brown's Democratic Party invincible at the ballot box have also made the state unable to compete economically. California public employees, who are represented by the nation's most politically powerful government unions, benefit from some of the nation's most generous compensation packages. These unions have made it nearly impossible to keep spending down, thus making debt and higher taxes inevitable.

Nevada Corporation Solely Owned By California Resident Dodges California Taxes

A hit to CA.  A well deserved hit, I might add. This was obviously an attempt to suck up revenue.

Yeah.  That giant sucking sound you've been hearing is CA trying to suck in all of your money.

After 10 years of litigation, the Company won and the FTB was ordered to refund the $2.27 million, plus interest, costs and attorney fees.

[The] key, as Judge Mooney indicated, is that the business not have any commercial connection to California, which basically means that nothing occurs in California including that no operational direction comes from California.
Ten years.  What a travesty!

Fracking Water You Can Drink

Looks like the wonderboys at MIT have developed a cheaper method for water recovery.  Implications are pretty huge.  This doesn't appear to be a jump in technology as it is a refinement of existing technology.

The water and other fluids used to open wells through hydraulic fracturing — also known as fracking — are a somewhat different matter, requiring other kinds of treatment and disposal. But a much bigger issue for the operators of these wells is the ongoing treatment of produced water, which represents a significant expense. This water is typically several times saltier than seawater, which makes it a particularly good candidate for treatment with the HDH process, Narayan says: Unlike membrane-based desalination systems, this system’s efficiency is unaffected by saltier water. In fact, he adds, “The biggest advantage is when you deal with high salinity.”

A leading journal on desalination technology, Water Intelligence Report, gave the system the highest rating awarded to any system for dealing with produced water.

The MIT team built a 12-foot-high test unit that has run continuously for weeks, producing about 700 liters of clean water a day. They have tested it using barrels of water from natural gas wells to demonstrate that it produces water clean enough to drink.

Their next step is to scale up to a plant about two to three times the size of this initial unit, which calculations show should be an optimal size. Narayan says he expects the first commercial plants could be in operation within about two years.

Wednesday, February 27, 2013

First Shot Against The Press! "YOU WILL REGRET DOING THIS"

Why didn't they see this coming?  The Lapdog Press who have all been scurrying around tripping over their tongues hanging out, each trying to out do the other in order to show O'Bama each is more loyal to the Socialist.

Now if any even start to show any doubt BOOM!  You become history.

What does this all mean?  It means the end of the O'Bama White House.  Because if there is one thing Nixon learned:

You are never bigger than the media.

I called this the first shot, but it is really the second shot.  But without a doubt, this second shot is the BIG Shot.  Go after Bob Woodward?  THE Bob Woodward?  You've got to be kidding me.  The guy that brought down Nixon?  You're kidding, right?

The first shot was at Politico who had the temerity to call O'Bama the Puppet Master.  Then, according to Drudge Politico was "frozen out".  But I can't find the account for this.

UPDATE:  Ominous interview with Politico:

California, Illinois and New York ‘have more-or-less become European,’ argues author

So, are congrats in order??
He says he doesn’t mean that there is a sudden “re-emergence of the type of socialist regimes that controlled half of Europe for 50 years,” but rather “a near-obsession on the part of most European politicians … with equality in the sense of trying to eliminate difference, including just and natural distinctions.”

“Most European governments have ‘Ministers for Equality’ or ‘Equality Commissions,’ many of which are staffed by people who seem intent upon gutting European civilization in the name of whatever happens to be the latest politically-correct fashion,” he argued.

California in Chaos: Oakland residents take law into their own hands, post ‘wanted’ signs

Holy Mackerel!

KPIX 5 cameras caught up with a half dozen neighbors in East Oakland’s Arcadia Park neighborhood Monday as they walked the streets on the lookout for crime. The vigilance has never seemed more necessary than now; 25 homes in the neighborhood have been burglarized over the last two months alone.

In a neighborhood that has started to feel like the wild west, people have even started posting “wanted” signs.

“You have to walk around in your house with a gun to feel safe here,” said Alaska Tarvins of the Arcadia Park Board of Directors.
UPDATE: Video added:

How Will California Slash Greenhouse Gas Emissions 80% By 2050?

I would call this the other definition of insanity: To plan to move forward by first chopping off your legs.

According to the bill, members would be charged with studying both the “best process for meeting a goal of reducing greenhouse gas emissions by 80 percent of the 1990 emissions level by 2050” and the “integration of renewable electrical generation into the electric grid in a manner to ensure cost-effectiveness and reliability.”
Here is my prediction:  CA will meet its goals of reducing greenhouse gases because everyone will move out of the state.

Oyster Farm in California Gets a Reprieve

Thank God!  I just couldn't believe this when I first read this.  What a crock it was.  I covered this several months ago.
In granting the emergency injunction, the court said there were “serious legal questions” about the Interior Department’s refusal to renew the company’s lease at the park. It also said that “the balance of hardships tips sharply” in favor of the farm, which has about 30 workers.

“We’re thrilled we now have the opportunity to sort out the facts,” said the farm’s owner, Kevin Lunny. “We’re optimistic we’ll be able to save these jobs and the farm.”

The reprieve was the latest twist in a long battle pitting wilderness advocates against supporters of the farm, which is the source of about 40 percent of California’s oysters and a contributor to the area’s booming food and wine industries.

The farm’s 40-year lease to operate in Point Reyes, which was turned into a park in 1962 and parts of which Congress later mandated be designated as wilderness, expired last year. In November, Interior Secretary Ken Salazar ended the lease as originally planned so the area could be returned to wilderness status, pleasing environmental groups like the Sierra Club.
Ken Salazar was an ass hole.

Blogging is still light until things settle down a little more here.

Tuesday, February 26, 2013

California creates new school grade to ease 4-year-olds into kindergarten

I'm sorry to be cynical but what a piece of crap.  

First of all, TK? Why call it "transitional kindergarten".  Why do bureaucrats like to complicate things? Why not just "4K"?

And what the heck is this "easing kids" into kindergarten?

The solution is not to make schools "standardized" and "rigorous".  The solution is to get rid of the standardized tests.  I'm sick of them.  Having raised four kids in a mix of public and private schools, I can tell you the whole thing is a waste.

TK?  What a waste of time and money.  This amounts to state funded daycare.

As the public education system becomes more rigorous and standardized, its effect is creeping down to the littlest students. If you think back to your own Kindergarten days, you might remember singing and puppet shows and smearing paint with your fingers to create art. Today kindergarten is more academic, resulting in more struggling children.

To remedy this, California has implemented a new grade called Transitional Kindergarten (or TK for short). In its first year, this new grade aims to bridge the gap between the play-world of preschool and the rigors of kindergarten.
In fact, there is ample evidence that children do just as well when schooled later.  The idea that children need a more structured and "state run" environment at an even earlier age is a myth!

Then there is this:

Barbara Friedrich is the Principal at Stanley Mosk Elementary School in Los Angeles. She has watched kindergarten change over her decades at the school. Friedrich points out that kindergarten went from half to full day and became much more academic. She says her staff now has to “assess kindergarten children in ways which we never had to before.”
I'm sorry, but this woman has been working as a teacher for decades?  I just don't believe it.

I remember when I decided to put my kids in private school when my son was about to turn 5 yoa.  We visited to a small CHEAP private school run by an independent Baptist church.   The principal took us around and showed us the rooms and showed us the curricula for the kindergarten class.  The kids were reading and doing math problems.  I was stunned.

Do you know what year this was?


Do you know what state this was?

South Carolina.  You know.  The sate that rated NEXT TO LAST in education at the time.

So when someone says the education system has changed over the decades to be more rigorous for 5 year olds, man, you have to color me skeptical.

CA, you are wasting your money.

Why the sequester would be terrible for California and New York

Hah!  Get this:

With an aggressive package of automatic spending cuts set to take effect at week’s end, the White House is issuing stern warnings, highlighting what would happen in all 50 states and Washington D.C. if Congress fails to intervene.
Yeah and it was the President that originated the sequester idea!!  So the stern warning should be phrased thusly "All these people are going to be laid off and all these programs are going to grind to a halt because of a plan I proposed!"

And you idiots voted for this guy!!

The State that lives by the handout, dies by the handout with the hand....out.

Monday, February 25, 2013

CNN Hails 'New Cult Favorite' Jimmy Carter, Asks If His Image Is 'Being Rehabilitated'

This is the most amazingly stupid interview I have ever seen in my life.  It appears to me that he thinks he can get away with the lies about Jimmy Carter.

All Carter did was waste our time by being in office.  The Iran hostages were released NOT while Carter was president.  They were released on the day Ronald Reagan was administered the oath of office.

But what happened leading up to his ouster was just horrible and turned into one of the biggest humiliations in US history.

It was called Operation Eagle Claw.

It was fairly complex and it's hard not to get bogged down in the details.  So, here are the results:
In the ensuing explosion and fire, eight servicemen died: five U.S.A.F. aircrew in the C-130, and three U.S.M.C. aircrew in the RH-53, with only the helicopter pilot and co-pilot (both badly burned) surviving. During the following frantic evacuation by the C-130s, the helicopter crews attempted to retrieve their classified mission documents and destroy the aircraft. The helicopter crews boarded the C-130s. Five RH-53 aircraft were left behind mostly intact, some damaged by shrapnel. The Iranians gained at least four of them.

The C-130s carried the remaining forces back to the intermediate airfield at Masirah Island, where two C-141 medical evacuation aircraft from the Night Two staging base at Wadi Abu Shihat, Egypt (referred to as Wadi Kena by the U.S. forces due to its location near Qena) 26.555058°N 33.132877°E picked up the injured personnel, helicopter crews, Rangers and Delta Force members, and returned to Wadi Kena. The injured were then transported to Ramstein Air Base in Germany. The Tehran CIA team left Iran, unaware of their compromised presence.

He was a disaster of a president.  This article online gives some of the reasons:
For example, when Carter came to power, there appeared to him to be a 'shortage' of interstate pipelined natural gas. The price of natural gas that had been introduced into the interstate pipeline system was regulated by the federal government at the well head, and it was obvious to the most casual observer that the reason there was a perceived 'shortage' was that the federal government was holding the price too low. How did the supply-siders know the interstate price was too low? Because there was no shortage whatsoever of so-called 'intra-state' natural gas, where market forces determined the price. That is, until Carter came to power, as long as you didn’t introduce the natural gas that you produced from the gas wells in your south pasture into Carter’s 'interstate' federally regulated pipelines, you could get whatever the in-state market would bear. In Oklahoma, where there was gas aplenty, Carter would only pay you 40 cents on average -- and about 60 cents maximum -- per thousand cubic feet (MCF). But your fellow Okies were perfectly willing to pay you -- at auction -- three or four times what Carter would allow. The only requirement on Okie buyers and sellers was that the gas couldn’t be introduced into the interstate pipeline system.

Jimmy Carter -- who believed with a religious fervor that you had no right to selfishly profit from producing and selling natural gas that God had placed under your south pasture -- was furious. Those dumb Okies weren’t going to be allowed to get away with that. So what did Carter do to solve the interstate pipelined natural gas 'shortage'? He slapped price controls on all domestically produced natural gas at the well head. He got Congress to pass a law that essentially -- unconstitutionally, without just compensation -- seized the private property of hundreds of thousands, perhaps millions, of Americans.

So what did Okies -- who are not, after all, as dumb as Jimmy Carter -- do? Why, they stopped producing the natural gas that God had put underneath their south pasture. Everyone began to leave their natural gas in the ground and sat down to await the opportunity to make Jimmy Carter go away. Now, Carter had sure enough caused a natural gas shortage, for real. No one in their right mind was going to let Jimmy Carter have their gas for $0.60/MCF, when Jimmy Carter was paying Mexico $2.00/MCF for theirs. No one in their right mind was going to go out exploring for 'new' natural gas, and if they did accidentally find natural gas while exploring for 'new oil,' they were certainly not going to tell anyone -- especially not Jimmy Carter -- about it.

I remember when this happened.  I was in college.  Jimmy Carted thought he could do a better job distributing natural gas than the private sector could.  What a disaster!  The northeastern states ran out of natural gas!  The University of South Carolina switched to fuel oil for their generators to free up natural gas supplies.  We ran out of fuel oil and the school was shut down for two or three weeks.


Oh.  OK.  So we can now have students wear crosses and carry bibles.  Then have some wear a nun habit, etc.  All in the name of helping them see what it's like.

Can you imagine the outrage if we did that? But burkas are ok?  Nary a teacher raised a stink??  This CSOPE is an abomination.

One student quoted the teacher as saying, “We are going to work to change your perception of Islam.”

The teacher in the burqa lesson, according to a student, also said, “I do not necessarily agree with this, but I am supposed to teach you that we are not to call these people terrorists anymore, but freedom fighters.”

Critics argue that this should not be a teacher’s role, and are concerned that CSCOPE curriculum appears agenda-driven.

According to a student in the class, the lesson was to teach about the life of women in Islam. The burqa exercise focused on fashion and did not include the fact that to be in public without a burqa in many Muslim countries is punishable by death.

At the end of class, the students were assigned to write a paper about Egypt. According to one student, they were instructed to discuss “how Egypt was a good country until democracy took over, and that things were finally corrected when the Muslim brotherhood came into power.”

Sunday, February 24, 2013

Lack of immigration fix leaves crops rotting in California fields

Yeah., I know it's hard for farmers to compete with government handouts.
Except for illegal immigrants, no group has more at stake in the national fight over immigration reform than California farmers.

“It doesn't pay to plant a product if you can't harvest it,” noted Mark Teixeira of Santa Maria, who said he had to let 22 acres of vegetables rot last year because he couldn't find enough field hands to gather the crop. “That hurts.”

As security has tightened along the California-Mexican border, the flow of illegal immigrant labor into the nation's most productive agriculture state has slowed significantly, farm interests say.

“It's very difficult to find crews compared to three or four years ago,” said Greg Wegis, a fifth-generation Kern County farmer who grows cherries, almonds, pistachios and tomatoes, among other crops.
I talked about this before.  So this is another take on the issue.  In a state whose unemployment rate is well above the national average, don't you find this strange that the farmers aren't deluged with legal applicants?  You hear crazy stories about companies with four or five openings and they receive thousands of applications.

The official number is 9.8% with 1.8 million persons unemployed. But we know these numbers don't include all the people that have dropped out of the search and who have just quit looking for a job.

So who would be able to work these jobs?  Teenagers and young adults.  These are the demographics who are entering or have entered their prime physical condition.  So, what does the labor pool look like for CA?

I found this article that shows CA has a tremendous labor pool of unemployed teens and young adults:
Eighteen percent of California’s teens, ages 16 to 19, and 56 percent of young adults ages 20 to 24 were employed in 2011, according to the report. Compared to other states, California’s teen employment rate was the lowest. In terms of young adults, California ranked fifth from the bottom in front of West Virginia, South Carolina, New York and Mississippi, according to the report.

“All young people need opportunities to gain work experience and build the skills that are essential to being successful as an adult,” Patrick McCarthy, president and CEO of the foundation, said in the press release. “Ensuring youth are prepared for the high-skilled jobs available in today’s economy must be a national priority, for the sake of their future roles as citizens and parents, the future of our workforce and the strength of our nation as a whole.”

Overall, the study found 6.5 million people, ages 16 to 24, who are neither in school nor working. In California, more than 850,000 youth fit into that category. Such numbers raise concerns since students without early work experience are likely to experience unemployment later, according to the report.

“This report illustrates the need to provide teens and young adults clearer direction to college and careers, and makes the case for stronger connections between the experience they gain in and out of the classroom,” said Ted Lempert, president of Children Now, a nonprofit advocacy group.
The fallacy in this article is the conclusion that these kids all need to get started on their careers.  What they really need is a JOB.

But, from previous articles we know why these demographics aren't getting jobs.  Government handouts are too easy to obtain and decreases the available labor pool.  In fact, CA is the worst:

California is the nation’s welfare queen: The state accounts for one-third of America’s welfare recipients, though it only contains one-eighth of the population, and there’s no good reason for it.


The main reason that California is so dependent on welfare is its uniquely lax enforcement of the provisions of the 1996 welfare reforms. As part of the creation of the Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF) program, the federal government put in place a set of regulations on welfare payments to help or encourage recipients to return to work, such as the five-year lifetime limit on benefits.

California, however, is one of nine states that don’t unconditionally enforce this supposedly nationwide provision. Even when adults do exhaust their welfare payments in California, under the Safety Net Program, the minors in their families continue to receive checks. Only three other states have similar policies. Unsurprisingly, three-fourths of California’s welfare recipients are 18 years old and younger.
So there you have it.  I wouldn't say this is the main cause of the labor shortage, but I can guarantee you this doesn't help.

Saturday, February 23, 2013

Great. Obama’s Policies Are Reportedly Killing Off Deli Businesses, Too

Gateway Pundit has a great article on the demise of the Jewish Deli in LA.

In a recent Los Angeles Times article on the struggle of the Delicatessen business, it is interesting that all the cities listing Deli businesses in a slump are located in Democratic run states… but Liberal media wants to blame the slump on something else… like more restaurant choices… as if competition has been a problem in the past?

Friday, February 22, 2013

Tough Turkeys Are Taking Over A California Town

What the heck is going on there?  Turkeys? You've got to be kidding me!

There's the issue of the birds' droppings. "You can see it's just a mess," parent Renu Bhatt tells KQED about her home's backyard. Just imagine what happens when up to 30 turkeys decide to get together.

And there's the issue of the birds' aggressiveness. CBS SF Bay Area says that's also got some parents' worried.

Dan Walters: California's high taxes bring low results

This is a sign of a brokem system.

Meanwhile, state transportation officials plan to spend $5.6 million on a party for opening a new Bay Bridge section – but what's to celebrate? The project took 24 years and cost several times the original estimate.

We spend more on inmate health care, proportionately, than Texas spends on its entire prison system – yet California is under federal court supervision.

Finally, there's the string of failed projects to incorporate technology into public services.

Scarcely a month passes without some new and very expensive debacle in implementing technology projects, inevitably leading to cancellation of contracts and recriminations – and sometimes lawsuits – pitting state officials against the hardware and software vendors they chose.

Gun Retailer Abandons California for Texas

PJ Media has this report:
Shield Tactical released the following statement on their Facebook page today.

Who didn’t see THIS coming, honestly?

Shield Tactical is pleased to announce that we are moving our retail division to Shiner, Texas. We are pleased to have neighbors such as TBRC and the Spoetzl Brewery (home of Shiner Beer). Shipping etc will not be substantially affected.

Out training division will remain in CA until the legislature outlaws everything.
Sorry guys.  I closed my Facebook account.  I can't get access to the announcement.

Thursday, February 21, 2013

Editorial: California revenue surge not going to services

I don't think this is a big surprise.  CA has so many fiscal problems that need addressing.
Some state government core responsibilities not only will receive a smaller portion of the budget pie, they will receive fewer dollars than when the pie wasn't as large as it is today.

Despite more tax revenue, proposed spending is significantly lower in key areas in 2013-14 than in 2007-08, the analysis found. Funds for social services declined 14 percent; universities, 14 percent; courts, 16 percent; and transportation, 31 percent. State spending on K-12 education is expected to be no higher than in the 2007-08 proposed budget.

In contrast, spending on health care services is up 62 percent; employee compensation, up 16 percent; retirement benefits, up 25 percent; and debt service, 24 percent. "General obligation and retirement benefit debt has grown substantially – 55 percent and 25 percent, respectively," the report says.

Lack of immigration reform threatens California farmers

What is most notable about this article is the fact that farmers have access to foreign labor through the H-2A program.  But the program is so poorly run that by the time they get permission to bring in the foreign workers, the harvest season is over.

If O'Bama really cared abou stopping illegal immigration he would fix this problem.  I'm sure (wink wink) he's all over that...

One federal program designed to allow temporary entry of foreign agriculture workers — called H-2A — fails in California because "it's fraught with bureaucratic nightmares," Pegg says. "The federal government doesn't act timely enough for picking and harvesting."

Here's an article that discusses some more of the problems associated with the bureacratic mess of the H-2A visa program.  What I don't understand is why it takes an act of Congress to get this fixed.  O'Bama has already shown he can act on issues merely by edict with our without Congress.  Why should this be any different?

Farmers apply for certification from the Labor Department to ensure that U.S. workers are not available; the majority of these requests are granted. (Florida ranks fifth for the number of granted certifications.)

Employers then submit a petition to the Department of Homeland Security to bring in foreign workers. If that application is approved, foreign workers can go to a U.S. embassy or consulate and apply for the visa from the State Department.

Employers must meet a list of requirements, including providing workers with housing, transportation, and other benefits, such as workers’ compensation insurance. No health insurance coverage is required.


"There is a legal program," said Debby Wechsler, executive secretary of the North Carolina Strawberry Association. "It is considered by agriculture to be broken and needing to be fixed. Rubio is definitely wrong when he says there is no program now, but he is right when he says something needs to be done."

Ervin Lineberger, who owns a North Carolina blackberry and grape farm, told PolitiFact that he looked into using the H-2A program a couple of times and concluded that it wouldn’t work for him. One problem was that he would have to supply housing, and he only does that now for four workers, though he hires 50 -- mostly Mexicans -- during the season.

Last year he turned to unemployed U.S. citizens, and of the 15 he hired, "only one was with me when we finished the season." Some were too out of shape for the farm work or didn’t want to work on weekends, he said.

"There is a need for a process where, especially the Mexican workers, can come here legally and go home legally," he said.

Personally, if I lived in CA and were a young strapping lad again, I'd be working in the fields.

Wednesday, February 20, 2013

California's Tobacco Control Program generates huge health care savings, UCSF study shows

Do you think this is really true?
Over a span of nearly 20 years, California's tobacco control program cost $2.4 billion and reduced health care costs by $134 billion, according to a new study by UC San Francisco.

Additionally, the study -- covering the beginning of the program in 1989 to 2008 -- found that the state program helped lead to some 6.8 billion fewer packs of cigarettes being sold that would have been worth $28.5 billion in sales to cigarette companies.

The study was designed to calculate the fiscal impact of California's large public health program on smoking prevalence and cigarette consumption. The new research shows that tobacco control funding is directly tied to reductions in both the prevalence of smoking and cigarette consumption per smoker – and generates significant savings in overall health care expenditures.

"These health care cost savings began to appear almost immediately after the program started and have grown over time, reaching more than $25 billion a year in 2008," said first author James Lightwood, PhD, a UCSF associate professor of clinical pharmacy.
We are blessed nowadays with the Internet that allows us to really check these claims that people make.  And what we see is that the claims are wanting.

Here is a graph of the smoking rate from 1950 through 1978.  What do we see?  Look at the top line labeled "Total".
The most significant thing we notice is by the early 1960s the smoking rate had peaked and started to decrease.

Looking at another graph for the entire USA,   This graph covers 1880 through 1995
One thing that is immediately clear, either the percentage of people smoking and the amount being smoked peaked in the 1950s - 1960s. And the graph NEVER LOOKED BACK.  The graphs show a healthy decrease in smoking and smokers.

Let's look  at CA vs the nation from 1979 through 1998.  As it turns out, CA'ians have always smoked less. Ignore the graph on the bottom.

And yet again, if there is a point you can highlight showing a marked decrease in smoking due to changes in laws restricting smoking in public areas, you're a better man than I am.  All of these graphs show that the rate of smoking with or without additional taxes or bans has been decreasing.  These health agencies have been running victory laps saying that have saved the citizens of CA hundreds of billion in healthcare costs.

And it's been a lie.

Detroit's financial crisis now in governor's hands

This would be the bankruptcy heard around the world.  Detroit has always been the icon of the American Auto Industry.  Although, it won't mean that the American Auto Industry is dead, far from it, the world will perceive it that way.
James McTevia, president of a Michigan-based firm that specializes in turnaround management, said an emergency manager could halt the city's borrowing, freeze debt and restructure finances, including voiding contracts.

"The checkbook needs to be taken from the politicians," he said.

California Requiring 50MW Of Energy Storage For Local Requirements

I'm curious how they plan to store the electricity.  If I were an environmentalist, I would be highly suspicious.

he CPUC’s final decision included a need for energy storage resources to be considered “along with preferred resources” including energy efficiency, demand response, and distributed generation.

Janice Lin, Executive Director of the California Energy Storage Alliance (CESA) and Managing Partner of Strategen Consulting, LLC, said that “this landmark decision represents a major breakthrough for energy storage market development in California and nationwide.” According to Lin, “required energy storage procurement under this decision provides a much needed market signal that energy storage will be considered as a key asset class to help California address its long term local reliability needs.”
Wind and Solar are so unreliable as a continuous source of power, you are left with two options: backup power with "old" fossil fuels such as natural gas, or power storage.

Court Says California Prisons May Have To Hire Wiccan Chaplain

I find this evil and disgusting.
The 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals overturned a trial judge’s dismissal of a Wiccan prisoner lawsuit seeking the same rights as the five other religious practices. The appeals court said the Wiccan prisoners make a compelling argument that the California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation may be unconstitutionally showing preference to the five religions in violation of the 1st Amendment.

Tuesday, February 19, 2013

California vs. Texas

From the Independence Title Company
It’s hard not to compare California and Texas against each other. Both states are geographically large, coastal, resource-rich, ethnically diverse, and are the #1 and #2 states in both population and GDP. However, the states differ greatly in culture, government, and political and business climate.

Much has been made throughout the Great Recession of the strength of Texas over California. Texans have been crowing about the strength of their economy in comparison to California’s weaknesses. Even though California has been adding jobs lately, its 9.8 percent unemployment rate is sharply higher than Texas’s 6.1 percent rate (that disparity has been true before and through the recession). The Texas economy slid just 1.5 percent in 2009 – the depth of the recession – while California’s dropped 2.2 percent and continued to struggle up to this year. Many would put the blame on California’s “anti-business” attitude.


Great advice from
If you’re a San Diegan moving to the Lone Star State’s capital, pack your appetite and dancing shoes.

You might want to bring a shovel, too.

That’s the advice of Maria McPhail, a San Diego State graduate. She and her husband, Doug, came here five years ago, and bought a house twice the size of the one they had left behind in California. But when a rattlesnake slithered onto their new home’s windowsill, Doug struggled to kill it with the only large tool the family had — a pickax.

“We were so na├»ve,” Maria said. “We’ve learned that you take a shovel and strike down on the head and pop it off.”

California vs. Texas: Wild West Shootout

From The American Interest:
As the match rolls on, a few things are clear. California still has the upper hand, with an economy larger than Canada’s or India’s and untapped energy reserves to rival Nigeria. But Texas has all the momentum. It places at or near the top in every ranking for business climate, whereas California consistently scrapes the bottom. It spends far less than California on education but ranks significantly higher. And California business leaders are growing more frustrated by the day, as Sacramento seems determined to squeeze them for ever more revenue.

This is the Ali vs. Frazier of interstate rivalries. It promises to be the fight of the decade.

Bill O'Reilly: A tale of two Americas, California and Texas

O'Reilly speaks.  This is a little old...ish.  Back in November last year.

In Texas, the government does not believe that redistributing income is its responsibility. Also it does not believe that it should micromanage the lives of its citizens. If you are dumb enough to ride a motorcycle without a helmet and you wind up in a cemetery it's your call. Trust me nobody is banning 16-ounce soft drinks in Waco. Again it goes back to everybody who has a gun.

In California, and the federal government -- if California and the federal government, I should say, continue to spending at the rate they're spending both will go bankrupt before Barack Obama leaves office and that's the truth. But now there's a very ominous new tax scheme bubbling under the surface, so-called wealth tax. In France, Spain, Iceland, and Switzerland they tax the net worth of wealthy people every year. It doesn't matter if you earn anything, or if you get income or dividends, it doesn't matter. If you have assets -- house, gold, car, whatever -- those governments are going to take some of that. Uber liberals in America want to do the same thing.

Dan Walters: California vs. Texas debate rages on

Dan Walters speaks.

Dan Walters: California vs. Texas debate rages on The differences are more than oil. Texas has a much lower tax structure, including no personal income tax, a much more permissive regulatory climate, and a much lower cost of living, especially housing. That makes it attractive to business of a certain type.

California has its attributes as well, including a much better climate and unmatched natural scenery, as well as first-class research universities and – in and around Silicon Valley at least – a powerful entrepreneurial impulse and access to capital.

The question for California – one that its politicians don't even acknowledge, much less answer – is whether the state's assets outweigh its deficiencies in the global competition for investment capital.

We always assume that today's bust will morph into tomorrow's boom. But Detroit also assumed that it always would be the nation's industrial Goliath.
One thing TX doesn't have is a Prop 13.  And that's a shame.

California vs. Texas: Who cares?

This article makes some good general points.  But there are just too many things where CA is self-destructing.

Part of the enduring genius of the founding fathers, in creating a nation that allows its states to set many of their own local priorities, was to ensure that Americans got the freedom of choice in many ways. I'm not sure the Founding Fathers foresaw that states would actually compete with regulation, tax policy and outright cash for businesses' affection. But as folks pretty distrustful of government, the Founding Fathers certainly saw the risks of one-size-fits-all policy for many issues.

In 237 years, the nation's economic system has evolved into a patchwork quilt of local economies – each with its own pluses, minuses – and quirks. That means consumers and corporations – and not to forget, foreigners seeking to immigrate – get a full menu of alternatives on where to settle or relocate.

California vs. Texas: What do the differences mean?

I'm going to put together all of the articles that have the title "California vs Texas" or whatever is close. That is, whatever google finds.  I think most of them will end up just being a tax comparison.  But bear with me. There might some hidden gems that go deeper.
And so when it comes to matters of fiscal policy, it seems that Texas and California are on two radically different paths with the former having clearly embraced the free market mantra of low taxes, spending, and debt while the latter continues to tax-and-spend at an accelerated rate. At this point, one can only speculate on the endgame, but if history is our guide, then California faces a difficult road ahead as it tries to maintain its ever-growing style of government.

People sometimes forget that policies, like elections, have consequences. It is an important point to remember because the way a state’s policies tend to skew will have a big impact on the quality of life and future prospects.
I am worried about the debt of some of the cities here in TX, especially here in Houston.  A lot of others are, too.

Monday, February 18, 2013

Does Brown really think California’s economy is ‘successful’?

Good meaty post.  Not like others I've read.
So the Golden State has a “successful economy”? Really?

California is in its longest sustained stretch of high unemployment since the depression. Its jobless rate has been higher than 8 percent since September 2008. For 52 months, there have been at least 1.5 million people in this state actively seeking work who can’t find jobs. And those numbers don’t even reflect the “underemployed” – those with part-time jobs – and the hundreds of thousands of people who have given up looking for work. In January, the state’s unemployment rate was 9.8 percent, among the worst of any state and significantly higher than the national average of 7.9 percent.

Branstad tries to attract California businesses

I think CA makes this sort of thing too easy.
Gov. Terry Branstad said Monday that he's heading to California in an effort to get West Coast businesses to consider setting up shop in Iowa.

Calling California a "happy hunting ground," Branstad said he'll travel there this week, but the Republican declined to name the businesses he'll be courting.

"What we do, we call on companies that already have an investment here and we call companies that are prospects," Branstad said, arguing that Iowa's efforts to reduce commercial taxes should make it attractive. "Their plan is if it doesn't move, tax it."

Oil’s new reign in Texas draws comparisons to the Kingdom: SAUDI TEXAS

You know...this could have been SAUDI CALIFORNIA.  But no.
The Lone Star State is earning a new moniker: Saudi Texas.

Oil production in Texas is soaring, jumping to an average 2.139 million barrels a day in November — the best showing in more than 25 years.

Analysts are chalking up Texas’ booming production to shale plays, especially South Texas’ Eagle Ford, where production was minuscule just five years ago, along with a revival of West Texas’ Permian Basin.

Analysts are tossing around the words “phenomenal,” “amazing” and “unprecedented” when discussing the numbers.
High salaries.  Low unemployment.  I'm telling you, the Audis, BMWs and Mercedes will leave your head spinning there are so many of them.

Someone drove their Ferrari up our street last week.

I wasn't impressed.  It sounded like a motorcycle.

For 40 Years, This Russian Family Was Cut Off From All Human Contact, Unaware of WWII

A truly incredible story!
'Lord, what have they thought up—it is glass, but it crumples!'"

California's second cap-and-trade auction set for Tuesday

The water in the pot is slowly getting warmer.  And yet, the frog doesn't even notice.
Now comes a second auction that will offer about 12 million permits good over the next three years - plus another 9 million permits for use after that. Each permit represents a metric ton of carbon; that’s about how much you release when you use just over a hundred gallons of gas.

Sunday, February 17, 2013

Alien Technology and Conspiracy Theories

"I have a friend", John said, "that developed an anti-gravity machine."

I smiled.  Another one of John's whoppers.  "Really?"


"Did you see it?" I asked.

"I sure did. It was the size of a V-8 engine.  The problem was he couldn't get the power supply to fit on the floating unit."

"Well, how come we don't hear about it?"  I asked.

"I called him up a couple years later to find out how his invention was going and my friend said that when the Military found out about it, they took his itt from him and swore him to secrecy."

I said, "Yeah, right.  whatever..."

I thought this would be an interesting diversion.  The truth is out there!!

I couldn't tell of this last one is really exposing UFO technology or just an elaborate high school science lecture.

Saturday, February 16, 2013

California company recalls E. coli-tainted spinach sold in Oregon, elsewhere

And yet another organic produce is recalled due to disease contamination.  You guys have to reallize by now that organic doesn't mean healthier.  It doesn't mean more nutritious.  It doesn't mean tastier.
A California company announced Wednesday a recall of organic spinach sold across the country, including in Oregon, over fears of E. coli contamination.

Taylor Farms Retail, Inc., located in Salinas, said it is pulling baby spinach sold under the following labels: Central Market, Full Circle, Marketside, Simple Truth and Taylor Farms . The products were sold in states from Alaska to Tennessee to Pennsylvania. Only the Simple Truth brand was distributed in Oregon.

Why I Dumped my Smartphone

I was sitting in the choir loft doing what I shouldn't have been doing as the pastor slogged through the litrugy.  I had my smartphone out surfing the web.  I was reading all sorts of blogs, reading email and responding in between standing and sitting and bowing and singing the various responses.

That was in 2003.  I was one of the earliest adopters of the smartphone technology.  I had a Kyocera 6035.

Available only on Verizon's CDMA service, I was surfing the internet.  I  would tether it to my laptop and surf the net as I was driving down the freeway (actually, it was my wife doing the surfing).  It was sweet.  The only drawback was it would use up my talk time minutes.

Moving abroad
After that, I switched to T-Mobile because I was headed to Europe to work.  I purchased a Dell Axim PDA and learned how to bluetooth tether it to my T-Mobile phone and surf the net on the Axim.  Back then it was the GPRS data transfer protocol and incredibly slow.  But all the while I was in Europe I was surfing the internet, looking up maps and information.

And it was almost free. For a measly $5 a month, I was able to surf and sail the internet for no additional charge the whole time I was in Germany, the UK, France, Italy.  It didn't matter.  It was such a sense of freedom.  Later I got a T-Mobile Dash with EDGE and I was surfing faster and the price was still $5.  EDGE was more usable.  I was able to download files and even watch streaming video.  I used it in Italy doing google translations into Italian on the fly.  I could still tether it to my laptop or my PDA

Expanding Universe of the Internet - the Peak of Surfing
By 2005 there was a service available called LOGMEIN that was reasonably priced. It allowed me to see my computer Desktop back in the states (in fact, the service is free for getting access to your home computer desktop.  You only pay for file management).  Now, it didn't matter where I was. Using my Dell Axim  with LOGMEIN I could tap the raw power of my superfast computer at home and access files and maps and do deep internet surfing.  It was amazing and I was on the cutting edge of the technology.

But little did I know of what was going on back in the States to put the kibosh on all of this freedom.

Things Go Downhill - at the speed of 4G
But all that ended with 3G, then 4G.  When I was back in the States I made the horrible mistake of upgrading my phone to a T-Mobile Blur.  A miserable little Android phone if ever I saw one.  I tried to use it sparingly in Germany only to be slapped with a $1200 data bill.  To their credit, T-Mobile found (or created) a loophole such that I didn't have to pay the bill. They wrote it off.  I'm sure they were well aware of all the bad press of people getting slammed with huge roaming 3g charges.

But now, the amazing world of surfing the internet no matter where I was, no matter what I was doing had ended.  In fact, I could no longer even surf with EDGE.  T-Mobile was no longer offering plans that allowed you to use EDGE exclusively.

When in Rome...
So, while in Germany I finally plunked down the money for a prepaid iPhone. Just 3g - the Original.  But now I no longer had unlimited surfing.  They did allow tethering, but hey, how to take advantage of that was all in German.  I just lived with the situation.

Return to Disaster
So in 2010 I stepped off the plane back in the states only to find a completely changed scene.

First off, the 3G German iPhone, even though with T-Mobile Germany, was INCOMPATIBLE with 3g here in the USA.  Now it's just an expensive iPod Touch.

Intent on keeping my cellphone costs down, I tried Virgin Mobile with the Samsung Intercept phone.  But its 4G wasn't much faster that EDGE - or at least felt like it.  The only upside was that it was unlimited 4G data.

But by then, I had finally had it with the underpowered phones.  I was sick of the quirky Android OS.  I hated the fact I would run out of juice three quarters through the day.  I coudn't bluetooth my phone to my computer to surf the net anymore.  I couldn't even hard-tether to the computer to surf the net. (I know I could "root" the phone - but I'm talking about what companies allow you to do).

And using your cell phone as a hot spot? Well, that would cost you extra (with one of the other carriers)  and Virgin Mobile just flat would not allow it.  Ok, thanks for nothing.  But I'm still sick of running my phone down and missing phone calls because I had to turn my phone off to save battery power.

And then there is the problem with surfing limits.  You give me all this power and then you LIMIT ME?

The Solution to End All Solutions
I finally came to the realization that I would have to separate the two.  If I needed to surf the net, I needed a mobile hotspot.  I settled on the Clear Mobile Hotspot - the Clear Spot Voyager.  Unlimited 4G surfing within the city.  And I love it.

Why do I love it?  I no longer have the restraints that the idiotic phone companies have tried to put on me.  I don't need a "data sharing" plan (what a TERRIBLE IDEA).  I don't need to pay extra to tether to my phone - which only drains the battery anyway.  Anything with WIFI capability, which is just about everything, can now jump onto the hotspot and surf the web.  I don't need to pay extra for an "internet device" that surfs 3G such as a Kindle, iPad or iPod Touch.

The only downside with the Clear Spot Voyager is that it is only 4G and when outside the city there is no signal at all.  So, I bought my wife a T-Mobile Mobile Hotspot with about 1.5GB of data to take with us on out-of-town trips.

And what phone do I use?  I went back to my old trusty T-Mobile Dash with the EDGE capability.  I have a cheap no-contract cell phone plan with T-Mobile with a meager amount of data in case I'm in a jam and I need it.

And my phone stays juiced. All.  Day.  Long.

Freedom.  Again.

Friday, February 15, 2013

Texas Senator Goes on Attack and Raises Bipartisan Hackles

Oh, this is rich!
“He basically came out and made the accusation about money from North Korea or money from our enemies, and he just laid out there all of this accusatory verbiage without a shred of evidence,” said Senator Claire McCaskill, Democrat of Missouri. “In this country we had a terrible experience with innuendo and inference when Joe McCarthy hung out in the United States Senate, and I just think we have to be more careful.”
And these Democrats are so full of shit it's not funny.  Who can forget this:
Democratic Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid has revealed strong, and questionable accusations against Mitt Romney. The Nevada Democrat has told the Huffington Post that a Bain investor called his office claiming that Romney did not pay any taxes for 10 years. Sen. Reid and his aides have not identified the alleged caller, and the Romney campaign has criticized the claims and irreverent comments from Sen. Reid in regards to the late George Romney in the Huffington Post story.  
Or who can forget this?
“He said that Romney has sullied the religion that he, Prince and Romney share,” Reid said on the conference call. “And he’s so disappointed that in his words, ‘It’s a good religion and he’s hiding from it.’”  
The Democrats for DECADES have thrown accusations at Republicans and all of a sudden they are worried about evidence?  Since when??  Every chance they get they'll throw out the Joe McCarthy thing at Republicans, or maybe it's Jim Crow Laws they toss out or at conservative blacks, they're all Uncle Toms.

You would think by now people would wise up to their rhetoric and tactics.  But the press just laps it up and report it and people, well..I guess they just believe it all!

And I love this last sentence:
After she raised the specter of McCarthyism, Ms. McCaskill was asked if she had spoken to Mr. Cruz about her concerns. “I’m not sure it would do any good,” she said. “Do you?”
The reporter mentions McCarthy FOUR TIMES.  So, who is REALLY calling Cruz McCarthy??

In California, ’Moderate Democrat’ Is an Oxymoron

From what I can tell, there is no such thing as a CA moderate democrat.
Thus, “moderate” goals are more about process than ideology. Or more about politics. Democrats in conservative- leaning districts will occasionally take a fiscally hawkish position on a meaningless issue to burnish their moderate credentials. When it really counts, they vote as the Democratic leadership demands.

Legislators considered moderate in California would be considered left-wingers in almost any other state. They have no principled objection to increasing the size of government or the tax burden, although they tend to represent more working-class and rural areas and are less enthusiastic about some boutique policies that emanate from San Francisco and Santa Monica, such as bans on plastic bags and a proposed 1 percent tax increase on lumber products.

CA gas crosses over $4 per gallon

I supposed this happened a while back.  I noticed I'm paying an arm and a leg for diesel so I figured I'd check into CA prices. 

I dare say $5 a gallon is right around the corner.

Fracking undermines California's future

I agree with this article.  I don't want CA to do any drilling to bring in added money to fund a morally bankrupt and Leftist government.

Fracking is simply not worth the high costs to California's environment, public health and agricultural industry. Rather than roll over for the oil and gas industry, Gov. Jerry Brown should focus on ensuring that California stays a global leader in the burgeoning clean energy economy. Bringing renewable power and energy efficiency solutions to the global marketplace is the only responsible way to solve our energy challenges, and it is the real answer for our state's economic troubles.

California: More Parks Woes Found

Can you imagine if Google or Apple were run this way?  No, we wouldn't. Not knowing wht is coming in or going out is a sign of incompetent management who should be fired.  Should we hold our breath to see if that will happen?
The State Department of Parks and Recreation does not know how much it costs to operate each of California’s 270 state parks, beaches and recreational areas and had no way of knowing how much the state would have saved by closing 70 parks last year, according to an audit released Thursday.

Parents Complain About School Ad Excluding Whites From Tutoring Program

Talk about reverse discrimination! How perverse is this?  I'm sorry, but I'd pully my kids out of a twisted system like this as fast as I could.
A school principal said no white children were allowed at an after-school tutoring program, and now some parents call it discrimination.

The principal at Mission Viejo Elementary in Aurora sent a letter telling parents the program is only for students of color. Parents CBS4 talked with said they were shocked to see, in this day and age, what they consider to be segregation.

“I was infuriated. I didn’t understand why they would include or exclude certain groups,” said parent Nicole Cox, who is white.

Cox’s 10-year-old daughter needs tutoring. After receiving the notice, other parents complained to the school’s principal, Andre Pearson.
She calls this a form of bullying. Seems to me to be a miss-labeling.  What it is is a form of moral bankruptcy.  And this is all the product of Leftist dogma which is inherently morally bankrupt.

Thursday, February 14, 2013

An American Hymn

My daughter was in the HISD Honor Choir this year.  They performed this piece.  This isn't her choir.  Also it's a bit Pantheistic, but it is well done, nonetheless.

The words are by Molly Ann Leikin.  Music by Lee Holdridge.  Here are the lyrics:
An American Hymn

I have seen a summer day
that slowly opens like a rose
along a quiet road that wanders by
And I have smiled and wonder'd
Where it goes.

I have stumbled through the night
Alone as any man can be
Then found a silent canyon full of stars
And in my heart I heard them telling me
I was home.

The gentle winds, the rains that fall
The tallest trees, and I'm part of it all
I've seen the silver mountain tops
And golden prairies on my way
Now everywhere I go across the land
I stand so proudly in the sun and say
I am home.

I've dreamed of eden all my life
I find it more and more each day
Now everywhere I go across the land
I stand so proudly in the sun and say
I am home.


Even if you want a gun in CA, if you're not well connected, you might as well forget it.
Public records show Los Angeles County Sheriff Lee Baca, who is known for being stingy with concealed-weapons permits in an anti-gun jurisdiction, may be giving out permits disproportionately to his friends and political supporters and donors.

L.A. Weekly obtained public records for all of the 341 active concealed-weapons permits in addition to the 123 applications for permits that were denied over the last 18 months. The records show that of all the people who were denied a permit, only one had contributed to Baca. Baca's friends and campaign donors disproportionately make up the list of those who have active permits.

Cardinals Mull Obama Papacy

Too funny!
He admitted that, like assuming the mantle of the presidency, becoming pope would entail a step down for the Lightbringer, but in his well-documented humility the President would be willing to do so to set the Church straight on a number of vital issues.

"Internally, the Church needs a thorough reorganization, starting with assigning union representation for each diocese, and also this staunch resistance to the human right of abortion on demand has obviously got to stop," Carney said.

Furthermore, Carney pointed out the additional advantages of having a Pope Hussein at the helm of the Church.

"Imagine the ecumenical possibilities in the Middle East," the Press Secretary suggested. "This could be the moment when the Earth begins to heal itself, when the waters start to recede in the relationship between Islam and Christianity."

Austin seeing interest from California companies ‘double or triple,’ chamber says

CA papers were derisive of Guv Perry and quipped he was walking away "empty handed".  Personally, I figured that that's what would happen.  In the meantime the phones are ringing off the hooks in the Austin Chamer of Commerce.
“We have had a spike of double or triple the amount of normal (business relocation) activity since the November election in California,” said Dave Porter, senior vice president for economic development at the Greater Austin Chamber of Commerce.

Perry underscored that message in a conference call with reporters Wednesday as the governor, accompanied by several officials from Texas cities, wrapped up his four-day trip that caught the national media’s attention with its cheeky tone that included a back-and-forth with California Gov. Jerry Brown.  

Tuesday, February 12, 2013

President George W. Bush's Address to the Joint Session of Congress on September 20, 2001

Since I 'm not interested in listening to the Socialist map out his strategy to turn America into the next Communist bastion, I thought I would watch the last great Joint Session of Congress addressed by President George Bush. The speech starts about the 22 minute marker on the C-Span video.

I had trouble with the video in the Youtube video. It would freeze up about at the 9 minute marker.

 Thought I would add this song that just doesn't get enough play anymore"

A Fracking Miracle: North Dakota’s Bakken Boom (VIDEO)

This isn't a new video.  But I think if you live in CA, you would long for CA to be this way.  Or not.

Dan Walters: Fresno joins the ranks of troubled California cities

Dan Walters on Fresno fiasco.
Moody's Investors Service, which less than two years ago gave Fresno an Aa2 credit rating and declared the city's finances to be "very strong," has since downgraded the city's bonds step by step, culminating in a recent drop to a subpar level. Moody's cited a big general fund deficit, high payrolls and other fixed costs and a struggling local economy.

Nobody's uttered the B-word – bankruptcy – yet in Fresno, but clearly if it cannot meet all of its obligations, that becomes an alternative, just as it did in Stockton and San Bernardino. The key to Fresno's immediate future obviously is the trash collection franchise, which promises the city $1.5 million in immediate cash, plus $200,000 a month. But Fresno is also becoming ground zero for public employee union opposition to privatization of public services at any level of government.

Dan Walters Daily: California's wealth divide

Dan's daily:

Rick Perry in California to Lure Businesses to Texas

The article itself is nothing new.  But the best part was the first comment at the bottom:
Why doesn’t California retaliate by trying to convince Texas’ companies to come to California? Lure them with confiscatory taxes. Lure them with massive regulations. Lure them with a workforce that’s ready to unionize as soon as the production line gets turned on. Come on in!

Monday, February 11, 2013

State lacks doctors to meet demand of national healthcare law

And yet again, CA is CA's worst enemy.
"We're going to be mandating that every single person in this state have insurance," said state Sen. Ed Hernandez (D-West Covina), chairman of the Senate Health Committee and leader of the effort to expand professional boundaries. "What good is it if they are going to have a health insurance card but no access to doctors?"

Hernandez's proposed changes, which would dramatically shake up the medical establishment in California, have set off a turf war with physicians that could contribute to the success or failure of the federal Affordable Care Act in California.

Doctors say giving non-physicians more authority and autonomy could jeopardize patient safety. It could also drive up costs, because those workers, who have less medical education and training, tend to order more tests and prescribe more antibiotics, they said.
I recommend you go back and read my blog on Obamacare that I wrote shortly before Obama was re-elected.  My timing is off but the idea was to list the consequences of Obamacare and hang a date on when it would occur.
The federal government relies more on nurse practitioners and physician assistants to treat patients. But this doesn’t make the situation better. More wedges are being driven deeper between the doctor and his patient in doing this.

My first thought was "How could this happen?" So, I did a little more digging and this is what I found.
March 3, 2011 (3:49pm) – I received this email response from the LT: “Congratulations! You are now a licensed physician with the State of California. You can access your license number off our web site. It was nice working with you.”

And that’s how I became a licensed physician in the state of California. Of course, the clinical job I was interested in in 2008 — for which I’d originally applied for a CA license — is now long gone, life has moved on, and I just bought a house on the beach in South Carolina.

So if you live in California and are having a hard time finding a doctor, perhaps it’s because physicians like me are being effectively prevented from working in your state by its own medical board? I bet you hadn’t thought of that.
Here is the bar graph included with the article:

THIS IS WHY!  So, CA...are you going to do something about it??  Or will you guys just accept second rate care?

Sunday, February 10, 2013

This Is The Most Depressing Version Of Google Maps I’ve Ever See

Link via Ann Althouse.  These google maps with average incomes overlaid are supposed to show how the affluent have moved out of the city, causing segregation.  But I don't think they show a consistant story of segregation.  I followed the author's link to the website that helps show a clearer picture.  Below is a zoom-out of Houston, TX.  Since I live here, I think I can talk somewhat intelligently on this place.

As you can see, the situation isn't quite like the author protrays it to be. If you click on the image, you can enlarge it.

Do you know why there are large swaths of green around the city?  Because housing is cheaper.  Inside the city, single dwelling homes are extremely pricey or the other extreme.  People who make average incomes want to keep them.  My home inside the I-610 loop was assessed at about $225,000.  Down in the "green" Clear Lake area located in the southeast corner (follow I-45 south) my townhouse can be had for about $100,000.

I'm going to look at a couple of areas that include what the author of the website probably wasn't aware of.  Here is a snip from his website.  The two areas are circles in blue and red:

If you zoom into the area circled in blue, this is what you see:

The area in the black circle, is NOT populated.  Sure, you see a fishbone design that looks like roads, but there are no houses there.  Maybe there were at one time.  It appears to be a giant easement area - probably part of Harris County's  Flood Control Area.  The issue is that this whole area is highlighted as being very low median wage.  The fact is over half of it has no one living inside it.

Now we'll look at the area included by the red bracket and arrow.  This is what you see:

Clicking on the image expands it and you can see that a huge, GIANT portion of the area that is labeled as having a median income of about $38,000 has very few people living in it.  This entire area is 98% industry.  And it is HUGE.  I tried to include in the red circle all of it, but you can see I missed a lot.

The same is true for the inner I-610 around the ship channel (re:Denver Harbor/Port of Houston and  Clinton Drive).  The area appears to be lower median income, but in actuality about 1/3 of it is just shipping equipment and heavy industry.

This is not to say there aren't large enclaves of lower income areas.  Of course, there are.  North of Houston is predominantly housing with scattered heavy industry.  But to call this some sort of discriminatory segregation is something of a stretch.

DHS Watchdog OKs ‘Suspicionless’ Seizure of Electronic Devices Along Border

Wow.   This smacks of Totalitarian.  Isn't this one of the things we fought the Revolutionary War over?
The Department of Homeland Security’s civil rights watchdog has concluded that travelers along the nation’s borders may have their electronics seized and the contents of those devices examined for any reason whatsoever — all in the name of national security.


According to legal precedent, the Fourth Amendment — the right to be free from unreasonable searches and seizures — does not apply along the border. By the way, the government contends the Fourth-Amendment-Free Zone stretches 100 miles inland from the nation’s actual border.

Civil rights groups like the American Civil Liberties Union suggest that “reasonable suspicion” should be the rule, at a minimum, despite that being a lower standard than required by the Fourth Amendment.

“There should be a reasonable, articulate reason why the search of our electronic devices could lead to evidence of a crime,” Catherine Crump, an ACLU staff attorney, said in a telephone interview. “That’s a low threshold.”

The DHS watchdog’s conclusion isn’t surprising, as the DHS is taking that position in litigation in which the ACLU is challenging the suspicionless, electronic-device searches and seizures along the nation’s borders. But that conclusion nevertheless is alarming considering it came from the DHS civil rights watchdog, which maintains its mission is “promoting respect for civil rights and civil liberties.”

“This is a civil liberties watchdog office. If it is doing its job property, it is supposed to objectively evaluate. It has the power to recommend safeguards to safeguard Americans’ rights,” Crump said. “The office has not done that and the public has the right to know why.”
So, we go from checking laptops to make sure they aren't bombs to just outright taking people's property. And this "watchgdog" agency is ok with this.

Saturday, February 9, 2013

How the LAPD Lost my Trust

Wow!  I am SO GLAD I don't live in CA!
The other practice that made me distrust the LAPD has been their scofflaw attitude toward court orders to administer the California CCW program as the law requires. They have failed to do this for 17 years, even though ordered to do so by the court. The Court order was originally obtained by a legal action won by the Second Amendment Foundation. In the intervening years two more amended judgements of declaratory relief were signed. A current appeal to enforce the court order is in the works from the National Rifle Association and the California Rifle and Pistol Association.

When the LAPD engages in systematic legalized theft, and refuses to follow court orders to uphold the law, when they routinely fail to protect and defend the Constitution of the United States, even though they have taken an oath to do so, they have lost my trust.

The Belmont Club: The Dorner Manifesto

Probably one of the most amazing essays written as an analysis of the Dorner Phenomenon.  What Dorner was faced with was the corrosive interface of the Law written on our hearts and the Law written by Man.

Others have written about how the old ideas of what is right have been replaced with new ideas as to what is right.  The only problem with the new ideas is that they are not written on our hearts.
Hanson hit the problem squarely on the head. His piece on falsity, written before the Dorner manhunt, anticipates many of its weak points admirably.

Our elites in academia and the media have some culpability. Thirty years of nihilist postmodern relativism — no absolute truth, just constructs based on race, class, and gender privilege — have finally filtered down to the popular culture. An obsession with celebrity also has meant that we increasingly worship the antics of the wealthy and famous and decreasingly worry what they had to do to obtain or maintain both.
In the new progressive age, the exalted ends of equality sometimes require that the means of achieving a place on the public stage should remained largely unexamined. If there is no consistency, no transparency, no absolute standard, then it is because the task of fairness is hard and occasionally requires extraordinary sacrifices for the greater good. And to the degree that someone is deemed cool, then cool trumps most everything else: Google executives don’t outsource. Rappers are not misogynists. Green apostles don’t have conflicts of interest. And men in camouflage with assault weapons don’t just kill less than 1 percent of those Americans lost each year to gun violence, but account for all sorts of vastly more evil things that we cannot even begin to describe.

This is not the world as it is. It is the world as the media pretends that it is. And we are dying inside that world. It is founded on maintenance lies. It is extended by capital investment ones, as in “never let a crisis go to waste”. Now we and the public enemies exist in that corrosive context. The elite has poisoned the chalice. And now it is drinking from the poisoned cup itself.

New Green Rules In California Take Safe Chemicals Out Of Use

At this rate the only thing that will be deemed safe will be....nothing.  Another great article I got through

The latest proposal will establish a list of "candidate chemicals" that the DTSC may eventually list as "concern chemicals."

The candidates list, which regulators say will exceed an earlier estimate of 1,200, will include substances that fit within certain politically derived categories — not because of any evidence that existing uses are likely to pose significant risks.

It is likely that the mere listing as a "candidate" and/or "concern" can demonize these chemicals even though existing consumer exposures are far too low to pose any real risk.

For example, hundreds of useful chemicals will be listed because massive doses produce tumors in rodents.

But it is the dose that makes the poison. Even broccoli, carrots, and other healthy foods cause tumors in rodents exposed to high doses, but we don't need to list them as potentially dangerous.

Regulators will also develop a list of "priority products" — those that the government may regulate because they use one or more "candidate chemicals."

Woe to the entrepreneur who worked tirelessly to develop a product that ends up on this list. His or her life work may be destroyed as the product is unfairly deemed dangerous.