Posts Tagged ‘California’

The Meaning of Patty Hearst

Thursday, February 15th, 2018

It’s one of those “too much to write about and not enough time to do it” weeks. So instead of a scanty Clinton Corruption update, here instead is an interesting piece on the meaning of Patty Hearst. It covers a lot of the social context for those those who were not around (or too young at the time) to appreciate.

The thing you have to understand about Patty Hearst, the reason that her fantastically sui generis story resonated so deeply within so many millions of ordinary American households, is that back then a lot of girls like her were disappearing. They were not California publishing heiresses, certainly; nor was the agency of their disappearance abduction at gunpoint. But disappear they did. One moment their lives could be summed up in a series of photographs not so different from the ones flashed on the nightly news over and over again: Patty in a first-communion dress at age 8; smiling with her gaggle of glossy-haired sisters as a young adolescent; sitting quietly—dreamily, inwardly—on the floor beside her mother’s chair as a teenager, staring off into the mists of girl land. And the next moment—gone.

One day my older sister—the smart and dutiful one, the daughter everyone had placed their bets on—was helping my mother pin McCall’s patterns to paisley linen, and the next she had crammed a sleeping bag and a passport into a rucksack and made her way to San Francisco International Airport with just enough money for a Eurail Pass, and although she did come back from Europe, she never really came back home. One of my friends had a glamorous older sister who fed the seals at Fairyland—she was long-legged and pretty, and she’d stand in her red miniskirt on a platform, tossing the fish—but then something happened; she went to live down in the flats, and her mother didn’t want to see her anymore. There were boyfriends who brazenly took girls out of their houses without chatting up the fathers; there were blue jeans (it is hard to convey the chagrin that middle-class mothers once felt at seeing their daughters in the loathed and stigmatized garment of their own Depression-era childhoods, instead of skirts and ironed dresses and lightweight cardigans). And most of all, underneath it all, there was the line connecting the dots of the Eurail Passes and the screaming matches and even the blue jeans: sex.

Also this:

“The SLA was probably the first band of revolutionaries to marry a commitment to radical feminism with the use of systematic rape as a means of recruitment.”

Few people today realize just how violent American leftwing radicals like the SLA and the Weathermen were in the late 60s and early 70s…

(Headline fixed)

Formerly Bankrupt Stockton Lays Plans For Next Bankruptcy

Wednesday, February 7th, 2018

If you just emerged from bankruptcy, part of your plan to stay solvent probably doesn’t include “handing out free money,” but that’s precisely what the city of Stockton, California is going to try.

Michael Tubbs, the 26-year-old mayor of Stockton, California, thinks handing out $6,000 a year to low-income residents (with no strings attached) is the way to lift people out of poverty.

“Stockton is absolutely Ground Zero for a lot of the issues we’re facing as a nation,” Tubbs told CBS San Francisco (video below). “Ideally, I would like to serve 100 families for 18 months at $500 a month.”

Stockton is experimenting with a welfare program called “universal basic income,” which gives low-income residents $500 a month, no questions asked. The money is coming from a private grant.

The California city, which went bankrupt in 2012, has recently made strides to become more economically viable, but is still struggling.

Mayor Tubbs, who was endorsed by Barack Obama, took office in January 2017. He is Stockton’s first black mayor, and its youngest-ever at age 26.

You may remember Stockton from such hits as “Hey, let’s give lots of money to a downtown developer for 14 units of affordable housing,” “Even though we went through bankruptcy, we didn’t address our huge underfunded pension liabilities,” and “our mayor was arrested for embezzling from a kids club.” Mayor Tubbs owes his office to the last scandal involving previous mayor Anthony Silva.

“Universal basic income” is the latest repackaged welfare state socialism, and its been tried before in the SIME/DIME “negative income tax” experiments. The results, as anyone not on the left could have predicted, were disasterous: people worked less and families broke up more often.

Those who can’t learn from the mistakes of others are doomed to repeat them. We have plenty of evidence that guaranteed income rewards idleness and discourages work. Combine that with California’s legal cannabis, and you have the Full Subsidy for Potheads to Play Video Games All Day Act. The only question is whether its a sincere (doomed) attempt at implementing a socialist fantasy, or a cynical ploy to payoff off supporters under the guise of “guaranteed income.” Either way, it’s destined for failure, and will help lay the groundwork for Stockton’s next bankruptcy.

Democrats Need Illegal Aliens Like Junkies Need Heroin

Sunday, January 14th, 2018

This Daniel Greenfield piece articulates the Democratic Party’s urgent political need to guarantee an endless flow of illegal aliens into the U.S.:

97% of immigrants in the appropriate grouping identify themselves as Hispanic, but by the fourth generation that number falls to half. Only 7% of immigrants describe themselves as Americans, but 56% in the third generation call themselves Americans. Even the use of Spanish is slowly declining.

If a minority stops existing after a few generations, did it ever actually exist?

The Democrats had abandoned their working class base to chase what they pretended was a racial group when what they were actually chasing was the momentum of unlimited migration.

In the economics of identity politics, Hispanics, unlike African-Americans, are not an enduring group. And that is a serious challenge for Democrats and their leftist allies who treat politics as a game of demographic Risk played with minorities across the states and cities of the United States.

Democrats have pinned their hopes for a national majority on a European origin group whose minority status is cultural and linguistic. And even without the old melting pot, foreign languages and cultural affinities decline across generations as immigrants become Americans. What Democrats really want aren’t a lot of Hispanics, but an endless firehose of first generation immigrants.

Democrat political affiliation falls with each succeeding generation and Republican affiliation rises. A family that speaks English is less likely to vote Democrat or view themselves as an oppressed minority. Even in California, support for subsidized lawyers for illegal aliens falls from a decisive majority among immigrants to a near tie by the second generation. It’s why Trump improved on Romney’s numbers with Hispanic voters despite defying every politically correct recommendation of the post ‘12 RNC autopsy.

Hispanic immigration becomes less politically helpful with each generation. The Dem majorities grow thinner and less reliable. Hispanic immigration, unlike Islamic migration, produces diminishing political returns for its sponsors. The only solution to the retention problem lies with open borders.

The Democrats don’t value the DACA illegal aliens who benefited from Obama’s equally illegal amnesty because, as they claim, they’re really Americans. They only care about them to the extent that they aren’t. And even they’re useful only as a wedge issue for open borders and unlimited migration.

As long as the census counts heads instead of citizens, migration creates Dem districts. And in machine politics, illegal aliens and non-citizens can even vote in those districts. But it’s momentum, not minorities, that the Dems are really after. A constant flow of immigrants transforms America. But when the flow stops, then the immigrants are the ones who become transformed by America.

The decline of legal immigration makes illegal immigration into an even more urgent cause for the left. The troubled economy of the Obama years paradoxically dissuaded legal immigrants leading the Dems to lean more heavily on illegal migrants. Those statistics eventually led Obama to openly endorse illegal immigration, to implement an illegal unilateral amnesty and to push hard for a total alien amnesty.

He points to California as the test case. Democrats are so fervent about California being a sanctuary state because they believe their political survival depends on it.

“A wall doesn’t just cut off the pathway of illegal aliens into this country; it cuts off the pathway of the Democrats to their new majority.”

Read the whole thing.

Damore Sues Google

Thursday, January 11th, 2018

James Damore, the former engineer fired by the search giant for daring to share doubts about Google’s diversity programs on an internal forum, is suing them for being terminated for his race, sex, and beliefs rather than job performance. His lawsuit is joined by David Gudeman, another terminated employee.

Here’s the text of the lawsuit. Some of the more insane tidbits:

  • From a co-worker who was evidently not fired: “I will keep hounding you until one of us is fired. Fuck you.”
  • “An employee who sexually identifies as ‘a yellow-scaled wingless dragonkin’ and ‘an expansive ornate building’ presented a talk entitled ‘Living as a Plural Being’ at an internal company event.”
  • Numerous examples of Google officially proscribing conservative thought and pushing SJW victimhood identity politics.
  • No wonder Google’s “fact checking” only targets conservative sites. They want America at large to reflect Google’s far-left ideological monoculture.

    (Hat tip: The Other McCain.)

    LinkSwarm for December 8, 2017

    Friday, December 8th, 2017

    Last night mother nature dumped a bunch of snow on Austin…very little of which stayed on the ground through this morning. Which is just fine for those of us who have jobs.

    I’ll still sorting out the latest DOJ/FBI revelations to have them all filed in the next Clinton Corruption update, which should be ginormous.

  • California is on fire.
  • “Traffic through central Mordor is slow but steady.”

  • The Wisconsin Witch Hunt was even worse than even conservatives feared:

    Wisconsin’s infamous John Doe investigation was more sinister and politically driven than originally reported.

    A Wisconsin Attorney General report on the year-long investigation into leaks of sealed John Doe court documents to a liberal British publication in September 2016 finds a rogue agency of partisan bureaucrats bent on a mission “to bring down the (Gov. Scott) Walker campaign and the Governor himself.”

    The AG report, released Wednesday, details an expanded John Doe probe into a “broad range of Wisconsin Republicans,” a “John Doe III,” according to Attorney General Brad Schimel, that widened the scope of the so-called John Doe II investigation into dozens of right-of-center groups and scores of conservatives. Republican lawmakers, conservative talk show hosts, a former employee from the MacIver Institute, average citizens, even churches, were secretly monitored by the dark John Doe.

    State Department of Justice investigators found hundreds of thousands of John Doe documents in the possession of the GAB long after they were ordered to be turned over to the Wisconsin Supreme Court.

    The Government Accountability Board, the state’s former “nonpartisan” speech cop, proved to be more partisan than originally suspected, the state Department of Justice report found. For reasons that “perhaps may never be fully explained,” GAB held onto thousands of private emails from Wisconsin conservatives in several folders on their servers marked “Opposition Research.” The report’s findings validate what conservatives have long contended was nothing more than a witch-hunt into limited government groups and the governor who was turning conservative ideas into public policy.

    “Moreover, DOJ is deeply concerned by what appears to have been the weaponization of GAB by partisans in furtherance of political goals, which permitted the vast collection of highly personal information from dozens of Wisconsin Republicans without even taking modest steps to secure this information,” the report states.

    Snip.

    The Department of Justice, however, recommends the John Doe judge initiate contempt proceedings against former GAB officials and the John Doe probe’s special prosecutor for “grossly” mishandling secret evidence. Schimel also recommends that Shane Falk, who served as lead staff attorney in the John Doe probes, be referred for discipline to the Wisconsin Court System’s Office of Lawyer Regulation. Falk took a job with a private law firm in August 2014, just as allegations of investigative abuse began to surround the political investigation.

    (Hat tip: Instapundit.)

  • Perspective: Nancy Pelosi seems to think the GOP tax bill is worse than the Fugitive Slave Act
  • Another sexual harassment followup on Democratic Rep. Ruben Kihuen: “Hey, Nancy Pelosi knew all about my sexual harassment charges last year, and threw money at me anyway. So why’s she getting her knickers in a knot now?”
  • “Eye Doctor Tied to Bob Menendez Case Convicted in $100 Million Fraud Scheme.” And Democrat Menendez is still, as of this writing, a Senator.
  • Months after the Las Vegas shooting, and there are still dozens of unanswered questions about what actually happened.
  • 92 percent of illegal aliens arrested this year had ‘criminal convictions, pending criminal charges, were an immigration fugitive, or were an illegal reentrant.'” (Hat tip: Director Blue.)
  • Man Deported 20 Times Sentenced to 35 Years for Sexual Assault.” So when is San Francisco throwing him his parade?
  • “Swedish Government to Ban Websites that List Ethnic Origin of Criminal Suspects.”
  • Related: “Swedish lawyer Elisabeth Fritz claims that in the majority of rape cases she has had to work on the suspects have been individuals from migrant backgrounds.”
  • “Swedish Chief Prosecutor: No-Go Zone Rinkeby Is Like a ‘War Zone.'”
  • “You know who doesn’t have a refugee problem? Japan.” This year Japan has taken in three refugees. Last year it was 28.
  • Hmmmm: “A federal judge in Argentina indicted former President Cristina Fernandez for treason and asked for her arrest for allegedly covering up Iran’s possible role in the 1994 bombing of a Jewish community center that killed 85 people, a court ruling said.”
  • Arizona Republican Rep. Trent Franks to resign over asking staffers to consider being a surrogate mother for him and his wife? Franks, unlike Al Franken, has actually resigned, not merely promised to resign at some unspecified date in the future.
  • More on how Saudi Prince Mohammed bin Salman plans to revitalize the kingdom:

    Last Sunday premiered the newly formed Islamic anti-terrorism coalition, putting together leaders from Sunni Arab nations to denounce and combat fundamentalist terrorism throughout the Middle East and the world. It was another bold initiative towards the West of the young and energetic Crown Prince of Saudi Arabia, coming on the heels of other bold moves that have looked to consolidate political and religious power in the Kingdom.

    Together, all of these initiatives couldn’t be more transparent. They represent a movement of the most economically powerful nation in OPEC towards social, cultural and economic change, the realization of the Saudi “Vision 2030”. It is a top-down Arab Spring movement that likely has a better chance of success than the populist movements that resulted in more chaos than change in 2010.

    However, the ultimate success for Vision 2030 will rely upon achieving the main economic goal of this revolution – the divestiture of Saudi Arabia from the singularity of oil revenues. Because we know that ultimately money – and lots of it – will be needed to drive the engines for change, we get a far better picture of just how important these latest production extensions agreed to in Vienna were for the young Prince.

    And here we’re brought back to the upcoming IPO of Saudi Aramco, still on tap for 2018.

    Even the planned 5 percent offering of the Saudi state oil assets could yield an instantaneous $100 billion dollars, if the $2 trillion-dollar valuation of Saudi Aramco is accurate. That’s a lot of capital to start the process of rebuilding a Saudi economy from one that is now virtually completely reliant upon the State. 75 percent of the Saudi public is under 35 years old, and they are starving for a new economic infrastructure that will bring job opportunities, cultural diversity, music, education – global access of all kinds – the kind of freedoms that the 2010 Arab Spring uprisings were supposed to deliver. Only this time, the push for change is coming from the top down, not as a populist movement from the people upwards.

  • “Tesla – which lost $619 million in Q3 – delivered only 3,590 vehicles in November in the US, down 18% from a year ago.”
  • In a rare moment of sanity for Sports Illustrated, they named J. J. Watt and the Houston Astro’s Jose Altuve as co-sportsmen of the year. Next week I’m sure they’ll get back to their usual Social Justicing…
  • Texas writer Bill Crider enters hospice care. Bill’s not particularly political, but he is a friend of mine, and I have frequently stolen some of the lighter LinkSwarm items from his blog. He’s a prince among men and he will be missed…
  • You’ve got to admire the designers of http://www.theworldsworstwebsiteever.com for having the courage of their convictions.
  • “Opossum breaks into liquor store and gets drunk as a skunk.”
  • Hell to the no
  • A tweet that tells you all you need to know to evaluate forthcoming legislation:

  • A shot of yuletide Archer cheer:

  • Charles Manson Dead at 83

    Monday, November 20th, 2017

    Burn in Hell, Charlie.

    The man who helped mastermind the murders of:

  • Sharon Tate
  • Tate’s unborn child
  • Leno LaBianca
  • Rosemary LaBianca
  • Gary Hinman
  • Donald Shea
  • Jay Sebring
  • Voytek Frykowski
  • Abigail Folger
  • Steven Parent
  • died of natural causes at age 83. “Sentenced to death for the crime, Manson escaped execution when the state Supreme Court declared the death penalty unconstitutional at the time.” Manson got to live because five liberal justices struck down the death penalty in all cases in Furman vs. Georgia in 1972.

    Edited to add: Among a notable strata of California’s hard left, Charles Manson was still admired even after being convicted of multiple murders.

    At their infamous Flint, Michigan, War Party at the end of 1969, the Weathermen hoisted a “Charles Manson Power” banner and spelled out pregnant victim Sharon Tate’s name in bullets. Trust-fund revolutionaries Diana Oughton and Kathy Boudin, the former obliterated by a bomb she hoped to explode at a soldier’s dance and the latter convicted of murder in the 1980s, idolized the Manson Family so much that they nicknamed their Weatherman cadre “The Fork” in homage to the eating utensil shoved into deceased victim Leno LaBianca’s stomach by Patricia Krenwinkel.

    The charismatic Bernardine Dohrn, later a friend of Barack and Michelle Obama, feverishly told Weatherman followers: “Dig it: first they killed those pigs, then they ate dinner in the same room with them, then they even shoved a fork into the victim’s stomach. Wild!”

    When I asked Weatherman Mark Rudd why his otherwise intelligent friends paid homage to Manson, he told me: “We wanted to be bad.”

    Like Dohrn, Rolling Stone later went on to enjoy mainstream respectability despite publishing bizarre views on one of the twentieth century’s most notorious serial killers. Whereas Manson looked every bit the madman on the cover of Life, he appeared as a visionary on the front page of Rolling Stone. Therein, the magazine depicted Manson’s refusal to offer an insanity plea as a principled stand and characterized his criticism of the legal system as “obviously accurate in many ways.” In calling him Charlie, a first-name-basis intimacy later reserved for Madonna, Prince, Bruce, and other singing celebrities, the magazine actively sought to humanize the man who dehumanized so many.

    Other underground newspapers went further. The Los Angeles-based Tuesday’s Child proclaimed, “Manson: Man of the Year” on one cover and depicted Manson as Jesus Christ dying on the cross under the tag “Hippie” on another. The Los Angeles Free Press ran a weekly column penned by Manson. The Other, playing off controversial remarks made by the president, headlined an issue “Manson Declares Nixon Guilty.” Upon the release of an album of Manson’s music, several underground newspapers provided advertising for it gratis.

    Nearly a half century after the murders, the Manson Family still strikes as surreal. So, too, does the contemporaneous admiration of the murderer from radical journalists and leaders.

    A sampling of the Los Angeles Free Press‘s Mansonphilia can be found here.

    Tesla News Roundup

    Tuesday, November 14th, 2017

    I keep pouring news items into the next Texas vs. California Roundup bucket, but there’s so much in there it’s ceased to be a bucket, zoomed past bathtub, eclipsed swimming pool, and is now looking more like a flood retention pond. Maybe next week, if everything breaks right.

    But one of the topics sloshing around there is the travails of Elon Musk’s media-darling electric car company Tesla. And there’s just enough news there to do a Tesla-only roundup:

  • Tesla posted it’s biggest quarterly loss ever, losing $1.4 billion dollars.
  • One reason for the loss? An inability to reliably weld parts. I’m going to go out on a limb and suggest that this is a solved problem for most automobile manufacturers…
  • More on the same issue:

    Tesla has no one who can run the new robotic welders – they are finding it impossible to regulate and apply the right amount of heat to do high-speed welding. He said that while Tesla may have the right robots, making them production ready is a highly specialized skill set and they don’t have it. His company was told to reduce production for the foreseeable future, until further notice, and produce to order, not in high volume.

    Seeking Alpha has a lot more information on why many of Tesla plans and projections are mostly pie-in-the-sky dreaming.

  • And one of their writers goes so far as to say that, structurally, Tesla is doomed to failure. Including this pretty damning sentence: “The more cars it sells the more cash it burns.”
  • Telsa is facing a lawsuit by over 100 black employees alleging racial discrimination, including a “hostile work environment” and “use of the N-word.” Rent-seeking lawyers looking for an easy score? Probably. But Musk was the one who decided to build his plant in California…
  • California considers giving Tesla a $3 billion bailout, just as Tesla’s federal rebates are phased out. Because there’s no better use of taxpayer money than subsidies for status symbol cars for rich people.
  • Tesla also let hundreds of workers go. But they insist it’s not a “layoff.”
  • Tesla employees want to unionize. Well, there goes profitability and flexible manufacturing…
  • Tesla is also planning to unveil a semi-truck on Thursday. Seeking Alpha thinks this is more a distraction from the Model 3 problems than a real product.
  • Remember Tesla’s ill-advised purchase of Solar City, another Elon Musk company? Well, guess who’s also having layoffs? Between Tesla and Solar City, apparently over 1,200 employees have been let go.
  • And their solar cell “gigaplant” in Buffalo, New York still hasn’t opened yet.
  • It seems fairly clear at this juncture that Tesla was founded on more green energy hype than a solid business model, and that Musk probably should have focused on making one ambitious, capital-intensive startup profitable, not the (four? five? six? seven?) he’s founded since cashing out of PayPal. (In addition to Tesla and Solar City, there’s also Space X, Hyperloop, The Boring Company, Neuralink, and the (non-profit) OpenAI. Of course, right now, all Musk’s current ventures are “non-profit”…)

    Musk is one of those classic boy-makes-good American stories you want to root for, but in splitting his focus, and not realizing how very much harder and more capital-intensive hardware development is than software development, Musk’s story looks a lot more like an even older story: hubris clobbered by nemesis.

    More On Google’s Ritual Heretic Burning

    Wednesday, August 9th, 2017

    There’s more news on the memo that got Google engineer James Damore fired.

    Now that I’ve read it, while I don’t agree with everything, there’s nothing in it that a rational person would regard as “crazy” or a “hate crime.”

    Of course, Social justice Warriors are not rational, and there’s plenty in the memo that offends their holy dogma. Like this:

    Only facts and reason can shed light on these biases, but when it comes to diversity and inclusion, Google’s left bias has created a politically correct monoculture that maintains its hold by shaming dissenters into silence. This silence removes any checks against encroaching extremist and authoritarian policies. For the rest of this document, I’ll concentrate on the extreme stance that all differences in outcome are due to differential treatment and the authoritarian element that’s required to actually discriminate to create equal representation.

    Or this:

    “On average, men and women biologically differ in many ways. These differences aren’t just socially constructed.”

    Or this:

    “We need to stop assuming that gender gaps imply sexism.”

    Or this:

    The harm of Google’s biases
    I strongly believe in gender and racial diversity, and I think we should strive for more. However, to achieve a more equal gender and race representation, Google has created several discriminatory practices:

    • Programs, mentoring, and classes only for people with a certain gender or race
    • A high priority queue and special treatment for “diversity” candidates
    • Hiring practices which can effectively lower the bar for “diversity” candidates by decreasing the false negative rate
    • Reconsidering any set of people if it’s not “diverse” enough, but not showing that same scrutiny in the reverse direction (clear confirmation bias)
    • Setting org level OKRs for increased representation which can incentivize illegal discrimination

    Or this (from a footnote):

    Communism promised to be both morally and economically superior to capitalism, but every attempt became morally corrupt and an economic failure. As it became clear that the working class of the liberal democracies wasn’t going to overthrow their “capitalist oppressors,” the Marxist intellectuals transitioned from class warfare to gender and race politics. The core oppressor-oppressed dynamics remained, but now the oppressor is the “white, straight, cis-gendered patriarchy.”

    And from his concluding recommendations:

    • De-moralize diversity: As soon as we start to moralize an issue, we stop thinking about it in terms of costs and benefits, dismiss anyone that disagrees as immoral, and harshly punish those we see as villains to protect the “victims.”
    • Stop alienating conservatives.
      • Viewpoint diversity is arguably the most important type of diversity and political orientation is one of the most fundamental and significant ways in which people view things differently.
      • In highly progressive environments, conservatives are a minority that feel like they need to stay in the closet to avoid open hostility. We should empower those with different ideologies to be able to express themselves.
      • Alienating conservatives is both non-inclusive and generally bad business because conservatives tend to be higher in conscientiousness, which is required for much of the drudgery and maintenance work characteristic of a mature company.

    Also this: “Microaggression training incorrectly and dangerously equates speech with violence and isn’t backed by evidence.”

    Be nice to conservatives? Speech isn’t violence? For Social Justice Warriors that’s like someone in Saudi Arabia declaring that Mohammed is not the prophet of God. No wonder they had to purge him for his heresy.

    The Damore affair proves yet again that no matter how many ritual nods towards liberalism and diversity you make, the moment you go against their sacred dogma, all the good intentions and prior good works in the world won’t save you from a ritual witch burning.

    Now comes word that Damore intends to file a lawsuit against Google. “He filed a complaint with the National Labor Relations Board before publishing his memo, and the NLRB protects people against firing once they’ve lodged a complaint.” I’m sure an Obama Administration NLRB would be only too happy to bury that lawsuit. But a Trump Administration NLRB is an entirely different kettle of fish. Stay tuned…

    Also: Stephen Green on how to how to de-Google your life.

    Texas vs. California Update for July 11, 2017

    Tuesday, July 11th, 2017

    Long time no Texas vs. California update. I’ve been busy.

  • California’s descent into socialism:

    In the end, we are witnessing the continuation of an evolving class war, pitting the oligarchs and their political allies against the state’s diminished middle and working classes. It might work politically, as the California electorate itself becomes more dependent on government largesse, but it’s hard to see how the state makes ends meet in the longer run without confiscating the billions now held by the ruling tech oligarchs.

  • Lots of comparisons between California and the rest of the nation. Like: “California has a nasty anti-small business $800 minimum corporate income tax, even if no profit is earned, and even for many nonprofits.” And “CA public school teachers the 3rd highest paid in the nation. CA students rank 48th in math achievement, 49th in reading.”
  • All across California, higher pensions equal fewer government services:

    Across California, many local governments have raised taxes while cutting services. Local officials desperate for union support have made irresponsible deals with public employee unions, creating staggering employee costs. Taxpayer money meant to provide essential services to the least well-off instead goes directly to higher salaries and benefits.

    In Santa Barbara County, the 2017-2018 budget calls for laying off nearly 70 employees while dipping into reserve funds. The biggest cuts are to the Department of Social Services, which works to aid low-income families and senior citizens. Meanwhile, $546 million of needed infrastructure improvements go unfunded as Santa Barbara County struggles to pay off $700 million in unfunded pension liabilities. County officials estimate that increasing pension costs may cause hundreds of future layoffs.

    Unfortunately, Santa Barbara County is far from alone. Tuolumne County is issuing layoffs in the face of rising labor and pension costs from previous agreements. In Kern County, a budget shortfall spurred by increased pension costs has led to public safety layoffs, teacher shortages, budget cuts, and the elimination of the Parks and Recreation department, even as Kern County’s unfunded pension liability surpasses $2 billion. In the Santa Ana Unified School District, nearly 300 teachers have been laid off after years of receiving pay raises that made them unaffordable, including a 10% raise in 2015.

    In Riverside County, non-union county employees took the blow for the county’s irresponsible pension deals, as all but one of the 32 employees the county laid off this June were non-union members. This came after contract negotiations granted union employees hundreds of millions of dollars in raises. The Riverside County DA said these raises caused public safety cuts. In addition, Riverside County imposed an extra 1% sales tax to pay for these benefits. Across California, citizens suffer as local governments give away their money while cutting their services.

    (Hat tip: Pension Tsunami.)

  • That Awkward Moment When Saudi Arabia Is More Pro-American Than California:

    Don’t think I’m going soft on the Saudis. I’ve just not seen a recent image from California where there were this many American flags and none of them were on fire.

    But let’s not forget that we are dealing with a corrupt, degenerate, autocratic state where there is no free speech, where universities are run by fanatics who indoctrinate students with radical ideology; where street thugs aligned with the ruling party freely commit acts of violence against opposing views, and whose ruling elite routinely violates the basic rights of Christians and other minorities. Also, Saudi Arabia is pretty bad too.

  • A piece on California banning public employees from traveling to Texas over various social justice warrior causes. I haven’t met anyone in Texas who doesn’t count that as a win/win situation.
  • The whole thing is an example of California’s Democrat-controlled government favoring virtue signaling over actual governance.

    Whether you agree or disagree with [religious liberty] laws, they don’t seem like any of our state’s business. California passes its share of laws that might offend any number of Nebraskans or North Carolinians, but we don’t see travel bans on official visits to Los Angeles or San Francisco. Federalism is a wonderful thing. Each state gets to pass laws that reflect the values of its voters.

    (Hat tip: Pension Tsunami.)

  • There was a big, biased piece in New Yorker about Texas politics. Instead of linking to it, I’m going to link to Cahnman’s takedown of it.
  • California pension funds are going broke because math is hard:

    Unlike water deficits, pension deficits compound. As a result, years of healthy investment earnings cannot close pension deficits. Ironically, Walker herself supplies the proof with these two sentences from her op-ed:

    • “[CalPERS’s] investment returns over the last 20 years have averaged 6.7 percent.”
    • “[CalPERS’s] funded ratio [today] is at about 63 percent.”

    Yet CalPERS’s funded ratio 20 years ago was 111 percent! Ie, despite averaging a wonderful 6.7 percent annual return for 20 years, CalPERS’s funded ratio fell 48 percentage points. That’s because pension liabilities compound at high rates.

    (Hat tip: Pension Tsunami.)

  • “Illinois at the brink: Parallel should give Californians pause….As in Illinois, the Democrats who control California politics use their power first and foremost to protect the interests of public employee unions — not the poor and powerless. This has created an entrenched pension-protection complex.”
  • Helping Californians move to Texas isn’t just an idea, it’s a business model:

    Paul Chabot was a hard working candidate for Congress in the Redlands area. He lost twice and decided that California was no longer a decent place to raise his family—so he moved to Texas. Now he is organizing conservatives and family people to move to Texas. There is an effort to re-populate that State of New Hampshire—indeed former San Diego Assemblyman Howard Kaloogian moved to the Granite State, along with thousands of other Americas.

    “So Chabot has found a new pursuit. Last week, he launched the website Conservative Move. It’s a business aimed at helping people leave blue states like California and move places where they might be a little more comfortable — like North Texas, where Chabot and his family moved in January.

    “The purpose of this organization is to help other families create an opportunity where we didn’t have much guidance,” Chabot says.

    After the election, Chabot searched for a community that appeared to uphold the values that he and his family held dear, like safe streets and good schools. Eventually, they decided on McKinney, Texas, a city about 40 miles north of Dallas with a population around 150,000.”

    (Hat tip: Pension Tsunami.)

  • Missed this for the last Texas vs. California update:

    On Tuesday, May 6th, Nick Melvoin and Kelly Gonez, who are more concerned with the needs of parents, kids and taxpayers than stoking the bureaucracy and complying with teacher union diktats, were elected to the Los Angeles Unified School District board. Reformers are now the majority of the seven member governing body in America’s second largest city.

    Melvoin, especially, was vocal in his campaign that the school district needs a major shake-up, including a call for more charter schools. He also stressed the need for fiscal reform, which includes a reworking of the district’s out-of-control pension and healthcare obligations. In December, LAUSD Chief Financial Officer Megan Reilly told the school board that the district may not be able to meet its financial obligations in the future because it faces a cumulative deficit of $1.46 billion through the 2018-2019 school year. While that dollar amount has been disputed in some quarters, there’s no doubt that the district is facing a budgetary crisis. It’s also no secret that an abysmal graduation rate (pumped up with the help of fake “credit recovery” classes) and shrinking enrollment have taken a serious toll on LAUSD. Also, in 2015, only one in five 4th-grade students in Los Angeles performed at or above “proficient” in math and reading on the National Assessment of Educational Progress.

    Needless to say, anything that bodes well for parents and taxpayers will rankle the teachers unions, and the LA school board race was certainly no exception. Not only did the young Turks (Melvoin is 31 and Gonez 28.), defeat the unions’ candidates, they raised more money – in Melvoin’s case far more – than their opponents. This was a rare occurrence, because historically teachers unions have greatly outspent their opponents to get their candidates elected, especially in high-profile elections. But this time the unions could not compete with the likes of philanthropist Eli Broad who donated $450,000 to the campaign and former LA Mayor Richard Riordan who contributed over $2 million. Additionally, Netflix CEO Reed Hastings donated nearly $7 million since last September to CCSA Advocates (the political wing of the California Charter School Association), which spent almost $3 million on the board election.

    On the union side the United Teachers Los Angeles was the big spender, pitching in about $4.13 million, according to city filings. But much of this money came from the UTLA’s national partners. The American Federation of Teachers gave UTLA $1.2 million and National Education Association, $700,000.

  • More on the same subject. “Melvoin, especially, was vocal in his campaign that the school district needed a major shakeup, calling for more charter schools. He also stressed the need for fiscal reform, including a reworking of the district’s out-of-control pension and health-care obligations.”
  • California teacher who was laid off shortly after winning her school’s Teacher of the Year award takes her union to court:

    Bhavini Bhakta never intended to become an activist, but after being laid off six times in the first eight years of her career as an elementary school teacher in the Pasadena suburbs, she decided to get involved in the education reform movement. She focused first on challenging seniority-based layoffs, which in turn led her into conflict with the California Teachers Association. Now she is a plaintiff in Bain v. CTA, a case which challenges the dues structure of unions as a violation of the First Amendment. The suit seeks to restore voting rights on union matters to agency fee payers, who pay full dues for representational activities but opt out of paying for lobbying and political activities.

    “The state union forcibly takes our money and uses it to misrepresent us. They’re not serving the teachers on the ground,” she said in an interview with the Washington Free Beacon. “They’re using my money for their own purposes.”

  • Tenure reform is the only big education reform under debate in California this year.
  • Back in May: ICE Nabs 188 In LA During 5-Day Operation. (Hat tip: Director Blue.)
  • “Soros-Linked Groups Behind California Ban on Detaining Illegal Immigrants.” (Hat tip: Director Blue.)
  • California uses one credit card to pay off another. (Hat tip: Pension Tsunami.)
  • “Amid Funding Shortfall, Santa Ana Raises Median Police Compensation Above $213,000.” (Hat tip: Pension Tsunami.)
  • California Democrats receive death threats for daring to point out that single-payer socialized medicine bill is pie-in-the-sky malarkey without a funding mechanism.
  • Let California try single payer…and deal with the consequences.
  • So how’s that minimum wage hike working out? At least 60 restaurants around the Bay Area had closed since September.
  • San Francisco has a staggering $5.8 billion pension liability, and a series of retroactive benefit increases approved by voters over a dozen years is largely to blame.” (Hat tip: Pension Tsunami.)
  • California farmer facing a $2.8 million fine for plowing his own field. (Hat tip: Ed Driscoll at Instapundit.)
  • California voters pass legislative transparency measure. California’s Democratic legislators ignore it. (Hat tip: Ace of Spades HQ.)
  • Committing felonies on the job is no reason to give up your cushy pension:

    Mark Peterson, the Contra Costa district attorney forced to resign as part of a felony perjury conviction, cut a sweet plea deal with state prosecutors allowing him to keep most of his pension.

    The deal will probably let him walk away with starting annual retirement payments of about $128,000 in addition to Social Security benefits. That’s because he pleaded no contest to only the most recent of 13 felony counts stemming from his illegal tapping of campaign funds for personal use.

    (Hat tip: Pension Tsunami.)

  • “California Democrats Want Data on Lobbyists’ Race, Sexual Orientation.” Social justice Warriors wanting to milk the graft cash cow? Get the popcorn!
  • San Francisco to pay illegal alien $190,000 for violating their own sanctuary city policy. (Hat tip: Gabriel Malor’s Twitter feed.)
  • Just how big is Houston? Take a look at these overlay maps.
  • Texas Governor Greg Abbott celebrates the opening of Toyota’s American headquarters in Plano:

    Today we celebrate another milestone marking the incredible momentum of Texas’ continuing economic expansion. Toyota Motor North America joins Hulu, Jacobs Engineering, Mitsubishi Heavy Industries, Kubota, Jamba Juice, Sabre and many other innovative industry leaders who have decided to go big in Texas.

    Our greatest natural resource in the Lone Star State is the hardworking people of Texas. And that work ethic draws global leaders like Toyota to Texas every day. With the second-largest workforce in the nation at more than 13 million strong, Texas continues to be a national leader in job creation. In fact, more Texans have jobs today than ever before, even as more people are moving here every year from states that overtax and overregulate.

  • Why Texas is so attractive for business relocation:

    During his latter years in office as Texas governor, Rick Perry made it a priority to lure businesses to the state, particularly from California. Two-and-a-half years into the term of Gov. Greg Abbott, the successor to Perry, the pace of corporate relocations to the Lone Star State shows no signs of slowing down.

    Much has been written about the state’s business-friendly environment. Most businesses in Texas that aren’t sole proprietorships or partnerships pay a 1 percent or lower “franchise tax,” in lieu of a traditional corporate income tax. In addition, the state’s governing bodies tend to favor minimal regulations and sponsor research and development initiatives.

    The state’s economy is healthy, evident by strong employment growth. The Texas Workforce Commission reports a net gain of 210,000 jobs across the state in 2016, and employers are projected to add another 225,000 jobs in 2017.

    Equally important to strong job growth is the quality of life that employees are promised upon relocating.

    According to Robert Allen, president of the Texas Economic Development Corp., the lifestyle element is perhaps the most common incentive for moving to Texas among executives and employees alike.

    “When we ask executives why they’re moving to Texas, what we hear is that providing a high quality of life for their workforces is number one on their lists,” says Allen.

    “Employees back that claim up. They’re able to buy larger houses, keep more of their incomes, send their kids to good schools and live in safe neighborhoods. This makes it easier for employees to take a leap of faith,” he adds.

    Texas has no personal income tax. Its education system currently ranks 21st based on a state-by-state study by wallethub.com, a credit scoring and reporting site. The study considers factors such as average SAT/ACT score, dropout rates, student-teacher ratios, graduation rate for low-income students and remote-learning opportunities within online public schools. The Huffington Post also notes that Texas has the fourth-highest graduation rate in the country, despite its ever-growing population and high percentage of non-native-English-speaking students.

    And according to a recent study from the NYU School of Law, while violent crime rates are rising in urban areas throughout the country, they’re holding steady in Texas. The state’s murder rate falls in the middle of the pack despite it being a national leader in population growth.

  • And Californians are still flocking to Texas.
  • Los Angeles, San Francisco homeless woes worsen despite funding boosts.”
  • “Federal judge blocks California ban on high-capacity magazines.” Note that’s not just a sale ban: “The law would have barred people from possessing magazines containing more than 10 bullets.” (Hat tip: Director Blue.)
  • “A former Diablo Valley College professor was arrested Wednesday in connection with the use of a bike lock in the beating of three people during a rally for President Donald Trump last month, police said Thursday.” I guess that’s the “high road” liberals keep talking about… (Hat tip: Instapundit.)
  • Bonus: He was tracked down by 4Chan, who are supposedly working on a face database of Antifa members.
  • Student Agreed to Orgy, But Later Called It Sexual Assault, Lawsuit Claims. Judge says that University of California, Santa Barbara, may have denied accused male student due process.”
  • “San Francisco supervisor Norman Yee recently proposed legislation that would prohibit autonomous delivery robots – which includes those with a remote human operator – on public streets in the city.” (Hat tip: Ed Driscoll at Instapundit.)
  • Texas vs. California Update for May 22, 2017

    Monday, May 22nd, 2017

    We’re in the home stretch of hammering out the Texas biannual state budget, which has to be completed by May 29. Until then, enjoy another Texas vs. California roundup:

  • Stop me if you’ve heard this before: Texas is once again ranked the best state for business, while California is ranked the worst. (Hat tip: Will Franklin’s Twitter feed.)
  • California’s big-government model eats its young:

    In this era of anti-Trump resistance, many progressives see California as a model of enlightenment. The Golden State’s post-2010 recovery has won plaudits in the progressive press from the New York Times’s Paul Krugman, among others. Yet if one looks at the effects of the state’s policies on key Democratic constituencies— millennials, minorities, and the poor—the picture is dismal. A recent United Way study found that close to one-third of state residents can barely pay their bills, largely due to housing costs. When adjusted for these costs, California leads all states—even historically poor Mississippi—in the percentage of its people living in poverty.

    California is home to 77 of the country’s 297 most “economically challenged” cities, based on poverty and unemployment levels. The population of these cities totals more than 12 million. In his new book on the nation’s urban crisis, author Richard Florida ranks three California metropolitan areas—Los Angeles, San Francisco, and San Diego— among the five most unequal in the nation. California, with housing prices 230 percent above the national average, is home to many of the nation’s most unaffordable urban areas, including not only the predictably expensive large metros but also smaller cities such as Santa Cruz, Santa Barbara, and San Luis Obispo. Unsurprisingly, the state’s middle class is disappearing the fastest of any state.

    California’s young population is particularly challenged. As we spell out in our new report from Chapman University and the California Association of Realtors, California has the third-lowest percentage of people aged 25 to 34 who own their own homes—only New York and Hawaii’s are lower. In San Francisco, Los Angeles, and San Diego, the 25-to-34 homeownership rates range from 19.6 percent to 22.6 percent—40 percent or more below the national average.

  • California continues to slouch toward socialized medicine. “California’s current system relies in large part on employer-sponsored insurance, which is still the source of health care coverage for tens of millions of people. That coverage would disappear under SB 562. Instead of receiving coverage financed by their employers, working Californians would see a tax increase of well over $10,000 per year for many middle-income families.” (Hat tip: Legal Insurrection.)
  • “If you live in California, have a job and pay taxes Governor Jerry Brown would like you to know that you’re a freeloader and he’s tired of your complaining.”
  • “Congratulations, California. You keep electing these same Democrats over and over again. and then you act surprised when they make you one of the most heavily taxed populations in the country. And when you finally raise your voices to protest the out of control taxation and spending, the state party’s titular leader is brazen enough to come straight out and tell you what he really thinks of you.”
  • Has the Democrats latest gas tax hike created an actual tax revolt in California? (Hat tip: Ace of Spades HQ.)
  • One lawmaker is the target of a recall petition over the tax hike: “Perceived as the most vulnerable of the legislative Democrats who passed Gov. Jerry Brown’s gas and vehicle tax package by a razor-thin margin, freshman state Sen. Josh Newman, D-Fullerton, faced an intensifying campaign to turn him out of office, potentially depriving his party of the two-thirds majority that allowed them to pass Brown’s infrastructure bill in the first place.”
  • Vance Ginn’s monthly summary of Texas economic data. Lot’s of data, including the fact that all major Texas cities created jobs in 2016 except Houston, which was down just a smidge.
  • San Bernardino could go bankrupt again.
  • Buying a house in Southern California is insane. (Hat tip: Stephen Green at Instapundit.)
  • California starts selling bonds for the doomed “high speed rail.”
  • 40-60 “youth” flash mob robs passengers on Oakland BART train. The complete absence of descriptions or pictures cues the astute modern American reader in to the ethnic makeup of the mob. (Hat tip: Ace of Spades HQ.)
  • “Gov. Jerry Brown and state Treasurer John Chiang have a plan to help cover the state’s soaring pension payments: Borrow money at low interest rates and invest it to make a profit. What could go wrong?” I can see it now: “Come on seven! Baby needs a new High Speed Rail!” Also this: “The problem was exacerbated because Brown’s so-called pension “reform” of 2012 failed to significantly rein in retirement costs. Statewide pension debt has increased 36 percent since his changes took effect.” (Hat tip: Pension Tsunami.)
  • “Riverside utilities dispatcher triples salary to nearly $400,000 with state’s 10th largest overtime payout.” (Hat tip: Pension Tsunami.)
  • And speaking of California public employees working overtime:

    The time cards Oakland city worker Kenny Lau turned in last year paint a stunning, if not improbable, picture of one man’s work ethic.

    Lau, a civil engineer, often started his days at 10 a.m. and clocked out at 4 a.m., only to get back to work at 10 a.m. for another marathon day. He never took a sick day. He worked every weekend and took no vacation days.

    He worked every holiday, including the most popular ones that shut down much of the nation’s businesses: 12 hours on Thanksgiving and eight hours on Christmas.

    In fact, his time cards show he worked all 366 days of the leap year, at times putting in 90-plus-hour workweeks. He worked so much that he quadrupled his salary. His regular compensation and overtime pay — including benefits, $485,275 — made him the city’s highest-paid worker and the fourth-highest overtime earner of California public employees in 2016.

    (Hat tip: Pension Tsunami.)

  • The Los Angeles Unified School District has decided it can break federal immigration laws at will. “No immigration officers will be allowed on campus without clearance from the superintendent of schools, who will consult with district lawyers. Until that happens, they won’t be let in, even if they arrive with a legally valid subpoena.” There’s no way such a genius decision could possibly backfire on them… (Hat tip: Director Blue.)
  • How California hurts the poor by jacking up traffic fines. (Hat tip: Pension Tsunami.)
  • “San Diego using loophole to hand out large raises during pay freeze.” It’s a blatant attempt to evade Proposition B.
  • An auditor funds the University of California President’s office of Janet Napolitano had a secret slush fund:
    • The Office of the President has accumulated more than $175 million in undisclosed restricted and discretionary reserves;
      as of fiscal year 2015–16, it had $83 million in its restricted reserve and $92 million in its discretionary reserve.

    • More than one-third of its discretionary reserve, or $32 million, came from unspent funds from the campus assessment—an annual charge that the Office of the President levies on campuses to fund the majority of its discretionary operations.
    • In certain years, the Office of the President requested and received approval from the Board of Regents (regents) to
      increase the campus assessment even though it had not spent all of the funds it received from campuses in prior years.

    • The Office of the President did not disclose the reserves it had accumulated, nor did it inform the regents of the annual undisclosed budget that it created to spend some of those funds. The undisclosed budget ranged from $77 million to
      $114 million during the four years we reviewed.

    • The Office of the President was unable to provide a complete listing of the systemwide initiatives, their costs, or an assessment of their continued benefit to the university.
    • While it appears that the Office of the President’s administrative spending increased by 28 percent, or $80 million, from fiscal years 2012–13 through 2015–16, the Office of the President continues to lack consistent definitions of and methods for tracking the university’s administrative expenses.

    An Ex-Obama Administration official with a secret slush fund? What are the odds?

  • Texas continues to attract net in-migration from every region.
  • California wants to tax rockets launched from California into orbit, based on miles traveled away from California. I’m sure many of Texas own spaceflight companies will welcome any business California drives out…
  • Speaking of spaceflight, Elon Musk’s Space X, just like Telsa, is more emblematic of subsidies and special favors than the free market:

    Tesla survives on the back of hefty subsidies paid for by hard-working Americans just barely getting by so that a select few can drive flashy, expensive electric sports cars. These subsidies were originally scheduled to expire later this year, and Tesla is lobbying hard to make sure that taxpayers continue to pay $7,500 per car or more to fund their business model. Tesla even tried to force taxpayers to pay for charging stations that would primarily benefit their business. That is not what Musk’s high priced image managers will tell you, but it’s the truth.

    SpaceX is even worse — its business model isn’t to invest its money developing competing space products that meet the same safety and reliability standards as the rest of the industry. Instead, its business model is to get billions in taxpayer money and push, bend, and demand regulatory special favors. Then, it produces a rocket that is more known for failed launches, long delays, and consistently missed deadlines.

  • How California’s air emission rules went to far.
  • “California may end ban on communists in government jobs.” (Hat tip: Ace of Spades HQ.)
  • Bachrach Clothing Stores File for Bankruptcy Protection in Los Angeles.”
  • “California solar installer HelioPower filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection in the U.S. Bankruptcy Court for the District of Nevada.”
  • Hudson Products relocating from Tulsa to Rosenberg, Texas.
  • “Bay Area bookseller Bill Petrocelli is filing a lawsuit against the state of California, hoping to force a repeal of the state’s controversial ‘Autograph Law.’ The law, booksellers claim, threatens to bury bookstore author signings under red tape and potential liabilities. Petrocelli, co-owner of Book Passage, filed Passage v. Becerra in U.S. District Court for the North District of California, pitting the bookstore against California State Attorney General Xavier Becerra.” As a bookseller on the side, I can tell you that California’s law is particularly asinine and is completely ignorant of the signed book trade.