Ponder This:

Real public servants are free enterprising individuals who, inspired, embrace challenge, take risks, and create, sometimes big, and often, they create jobs in the process, all out of their ideas, and self initiative...

Thursday, December 23, 2010

Newsflash: "Dems Prepping State For Tax Hikes" Say whaaa? No... Say it ain't so!

DEC. 22, 2010
By STEVEN GREENHUT
“The governor needs to add a third (or perhaps fourth) voter option to his false ‘either-or’ choice,” explains Richard Rider, chairman of the San Diego Tax Fighters association. “It’s not just less services or more taxes—the issue he’s dodging is how best to deliver desired public services.”

They should listen to Sacramento Bee columnist Dan Walters, who wrote, “We should, for instance, find out why, with 12 percent of the nation’s population, we have 32 percent of its welfare cases, and why we’re spending three times as much on prisons as Texas, which has almost as many inmates.”

And Californians should ask why there are more than 15,000 members (and growing) of the $100,000 pension club (in all California retirement systems), and why lists of state salaries are filled with police and fire officials and city managers earning $250,000 or more.

We are asked to choose between fewer services or higher taxes. Yet no one wants to look at the inefficiencies in the current system, at the way the state misspends its resources. Where’s the talk of privatization? Or pension reform? Or reduction of public sector salaries?
As the year ends, let’s review where Californians stand with its busted budget. This piece was published in PublicSectorInc.

California’s Democratic leaders would have you believe that our state’s budget has been cut to the bone. They contend that the state’s never-ending budget deficit—currently estimated at more than $28 billion over 18 months—is the inevitable result of an unusually bad economy, and that more revenue is needed to avoid devastating service cuts. This is a false choice—there remains fat to cut in California’s budget, if politicians are willing to overcome union objections to doing so.

Governor-elect Jerry Brown (D) held a budget briefing earlier this month and fiscal conservatives took heart that the new governor was dealing forthrightly with dismal budget realities.Click here to read more
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Monday, December 6, 2010

Steven Greenhut posted this on CalWatchDog.com's Blog: L’Aristocracy de CalPERS

As he notes in his post, it's long but well worth the time if you handle the darkness of truth told. I suggest you read the comments at the end of the post on CalWatchDog's blog. I hope someone posts a reply to the public employee retiree who gives the pat excuse and rational that it's not their fault and it's only fair given what someone of their same education background gets in the private sector. First, that's a myth, second, if it were true, public servants were supposedly sacrificing the "higher" pay and benefits of the private sector to serve and in return would be assured a modest but secure pension. Ha! We have been had! A link to CalWatchDog.com is at the bottom of the video. Click here to read the comments on CalWatchDog's Blog.
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While many baby boomer private sector employees face financial depression and bankruptcy as their only viable option for retirement, public employees are now the Aristrocracy among us.

California’s Crippling Brain Drain
DEC. 5, 2010
By LAER PEARCE
Three articles caught my eye Sunday morning, and what a tale they tell!
The first article said that Donald Lamm, 57, has announced his retirement as city manager of Westminster, an Orange County city of 88,000, where he was taking down a $207,000 annual salary. Lamm said he was going to start his own business.

The second article said David Freeland has announced his retirement as deputy P\police chief of Irvine, which is routinely rated as one of the safest large cities (pop. 208,000) in America. Freeland, 59, appears to have been paid close to $200,000 a year. Now he plans to teach martial arts, write a book and spend time with his family.Click here to read more.
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Layoffs come to L.A. Schools and the losers are the poor minority children, the kids who need great teachers the most. We cannot save our Republic if we don't have an educated electorate.

When layoffs come to L.A. schools, performance doesn't count
After the budget ax fell, hundreds of the district's most promising new instructors were laid off. Campuses in poorer areas — such as Liechty Middle School in the Westlake neighborhood — were disproportionately hurt.


December 04, 2010|By Jason Felch, Jason Song and Doug Smith, Los Angeles Time

John H. Liechty Middle School opened in 2007 in Los Angeles' impoverished Westlake neighborhood with a seasoned principal, dozens of energetic young teachers and a mission to "reinvent education" in the nation's second-largest school district.  Click here to read more.

Whitney Tilson, a national education reform activist wrote in his newsletter regarding this article: The LA Times just published the best article/research I’ve read to date on the impact of layoffs purely by seniority (last hired, first fired), focusing on one school in LA, and the results are exactly what one would expect: such an utterly insane policy destroyed the promising turnaround at the school and has been DEVASTATING for the school’s poor and minority students (who else? This kind of sh*t doesn’t happen to wealthy or white kids):
But when budget cuts came in the summer of 2009 — at the end of the school's second year — more than half of the teachers were laid off. Among those dismissed were Gascon and 16 others who ranked in the top fifth of district middle school instructors in boosting test scores, The Times' analysis found. Many were replaced by a parade of less effective teachers, including many short-term substitutes.

By the end of the last school year, Liechty had plummeted from first to 61st — near the bottom among middle schools — in raising English scores and fallen out of the top 10 in boosting math scores.

"Everything we worked those two years to instill is gone," said Amanda Uy, a math and science teacher who was laid off and now teaches part time at a private school. "It's really tragic."

Quality-blind layoffs are just one vestige of seniority rules introduced decades ago to promote fairness and protect teachers from capricious administrators. Enshrined in state law and detailed in teachers' union contracts, the prerogatives of seniority continue to guide many of the key personnel decisions made in public schools across the country, including pay and assignments. The effects are most keenly felt by students during layoffs.

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Wednesday, December 1, 2010

The Return of Stagflation

November 24, 2010
Alvaro Vargas Llosa
Washington Post Writers Group

Stagflation will likely come back into our daily lexicon. The political effect of the previous stagflation was the Reagan-Thatcher movement in the 1980s. The effect this time promises to be equally momentous. Let us hope it is peaceful, legal and reasonable. The danger that it will take a messianic, populist and authoritarian form cannot be discarded, given the signs we are already seeing at the ballot box in some European countries where anti-immigration far rights have polled strongly.
We are entering an era of high inflation, to judge by the massive growth of the money supply in the United States, Europe and Asia, and the stubbornness of central bankers who insist that high unemployment demands the creation of even more money. The last time the world went through a similar period was the 1970s. The term that defined the era was “stagflation.”
Pull quote

In a nutshell, stagflation back then was the result of a recession partly caused by stratospheric oil prices followed by the decision to print tons of money in the hope of inflating the economy out of unemployment. In other words, stagnation was not so much because of oil prices; rather, it was the result of the monetary response to the stagnant environment that the high energy costs had helped create. Inflation simply added a new ill to an already grave situation.

What is happening today is in essence not all that different. The response to high unemployment caused by the recession has been a massive increase of the money supply. Since the end of the housing bubble, the Federal Reserve’s balance sheet (assets and liabilities) has almost tripled while in Europe the money supply has increased annually by double digits. Click here to read more.
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Regarding a news story many friends have sent to me: Latino leaders swirl around idea of Tequila Party--Here's the article and my reply to my friends...

This Tequila Party Proposal is gaining international attention. Latino leaders in Nevada and nationwide are quietly debating whether to sever their traditional Democratic ties and form an independent grass-roots political group.

The idea, born of frustration over the party’s inaction on immigration reform and fears that as a voting bloc they’re a political afterthought, Latino leaders have discussed the idea among themselves locally and in conference calls with colleagues across the country.

The unlikely model for the movement they would like to launch is the Tea Party — not in substance, of course, but in its grass-roots organizational style. Acknowledging the source of their inspiration, Latino leaders have dubbed the proposed movement the “Tequila Party.” (Click here to read more of the article, Tequila Party
)

My response--I’m only interested if Francisco d’Anconia will be its symbolic leader. (He's one of the heroic characters of Atlas Shrugged) Women shouldn’t form their own party to support abortion rights, and Latinos shouldn’t form a party around the issue of immigration. Too bad the Libertarian Party is so fringe.

Richard Nadler tried to enlighten his fellow conservatives and he left a treasure trove of powerfully insightful and persuasive analysis concerning the Latino Vote and Immigration. He’s the best on this issue and he’s departed. Here’s a small excerpt from his work analyzing the 2008 elections, in his comprehensive published report called The Edge of the Wedge--Immigration and the Congressional Contests of 2008:

The deal breaker between Latino voters and conservatives isn’t border security, or official English, or future immigration levels. A Republican can run right on any of these, and sustain significant Latino support. The deal-breaker is deportation.

A mass of evidence explains this.

There is the fact that 40% of Hispanic citizens fear a deportation action against a friend or family member.

There is the fact that 44% of Latinos hear their clergy preach against “enforcement only” in the churches they attend.

There is the fact that 80% of Latinos favor comprehensive immigration reform.

But forget all that. Use your common sense. I have yet to meet a conservative who doesn’t understand the dynamic of the Elian Gonzalez incident in 2000 – how a SWAT team, on orders from a Democratic attorney general, invaded an ordinary Cuban home, and tore a screaming child from the arms of his protector. That sight, revisited nightly in Miami-Dade, carried Florida (and the presidency) for George W. Bush. What Republican didn’t understand that?

But due to our commitment to enforcement-only immigration policy, Hispanics are treated to Elian Gonzalez-style incidents nightly on Univision and Telemundo. In living color, viewers watch huddled Latinos cuffed by ICE raiders at their place of work, moms clutching their rosaries, priests pleading for mercy. It’s not rocket science to understand how Hispanic citizens react. Only now, the villains are Los Republicanos rather than the Clintonistas.

We all enjoy happy talk about the natural affinity between Republicans and Latinos. But given this broadcast bombardment, it is increasingly irrelevant that Hispanic opinion on right-to-life, or marriage, or school choice mirrors that of conservatives. The linked prospects of ICE raids, persecuted clergy, ruptured families, and mass profiling spooks the legal, working-class Latino. As long as the prospect of mass deportation remains in our playbook and in our platform, Democrats will clobber us with it.

Now, some of you think that we can lose the Hispanic vote by 40 percent, and make it up among non-Hispanics. I say: think again.

First, it didn’t happen. In 435 contests, not a single Congressional district with a historical trend of voting Democrat elected a Republican “enforcement only” advocate. But dozens of enforcement-only Republicans went down to defeat, most of them in historically Republican districts.

Some wedge issue, huh? (Click here to download a pdf of the full 138 Page Report, Edge of the Wedge)

By the way, I love Tequila too! It’d be a fun party, so long as we stayed away from policy issues while enjoying the spirits. Never safe to drink and drive.

Martha
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Monday, November 22, 2010

The GOP's Immigration Opportunity Republicans are natural champions of sensible changes that would make us more secure and benefit the economy.

By JOE JACQUOT
AND DAVID B. RIVKIN JR.

With the incoming Congress looking for accomplishments, here's one the Republican majority should take up immediately: immigration reform. Contrary to conventional wisdom, Republicans are its natural champions. The GOP led the way in 1986 and 1996, when partial immigration reforms were enacted. And a Republican Senate, with the support of President George W. Bush, passed comprehensive reform in 2006, only to see it die in the House.

Under President Barack Obama and a House run by Nancy Pelosi, immigration became a wedge used to separate Hispanic voters from the Republican Party. Thus came the sad spectacle of the Justice Department suing to block Arizona's common-sense enforcement efforts. Congress's failure to move any legislation on the issue has only added to the public's discontent.

Republicans should break this logjam by offering a vision of sensible immigration reform that can benefit U.S. citizens and boost America's influence globally. Such reform should focus on three critical national interests: security, the economy and freedom.

Security is first: Immigration must be viewed in a post-9/11 context. Immigration enforcement—including background checks for visa issuance, customs and border security, and apprehension of dangerous illegal aliens—is the frontline in the campaign against terrorism. Click here to read more.
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Who Cares About Haiti? Extortionists drain the country's economic lifeblood while the U.N. stands by idly. If this doesn't convince you that it takes more than throwing money at a problem to raise the standard of living for the poor, nothing will.

by Mary Anastasia O'Grady
Ten months after a magnitude 7.0 earthquake killed more than 200,000 Haitians and destroyed an already decrepit infrastructure, some 1.3 million impoverished souls are still barely surviving in tent cities around the country. Living conditions are deplorable and after nearly a year, optimism about a way out of what were once dubbed "temporary" camps has dimmed.

Now more than 1,100 people have died in a cholera epidemic, and riots that began in the northern city of Cap-Haitien spread to the capital of Port au Prince last week. Protesters allege that the United Nations peace-keeping mission brought the disease to Haiti. The jury is still out on the source of the cholera, but the unrest has taken a further toll.

And so it goes. Just when you think things can't get any worse, more poverty, violence and sorrow conspire to increase the sense of helplessness in what is the ultimate economic basket case in the Western Hemisphere. Millions of people the world over watch from afar and wonder why something can't be done.

Here's the $64 million question: Is Haiti's seemingly intractable misery the result of a society and culture that is incapable of organizing itself to create civil order and a viable economy? Or is it the consequence of ruling kleptocrats—abetted or at least tolerated by influential foreigners—treating every economic transaction in the country as an opportunity for personal enrichment? Click here to read more
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The Myth of the Sustainable Public Budget

by Wendell Cox 11/16/2010
Nobel Laureate economist Paul Krugman caused a stir on ABC's This Week, expressing the following view to Christina Amanpour on the recommendations by the leadership of the US Debt Reduction Commission:

"Some years down the pike, we're going to get the real solution, which is going to be a combination of death panels and sales taxes. It's going to be that we're actually going to take Medicare under control, and we're going to have to get some additional revenue, probably from a VAT."

He later clarified his statement to be less provocative, noting that health care costs had to be better controlled and that there is a need for "several percent" more revenue, which might "most plausibly" come from a value added tax.

He went on to say that "And if we do those two things, we’re most of the way toward a sustainable budget." That is a very tall order. Any serious examination of government costs makes it clear that there is no such thing as a sustainable budget. Click here to read more of wendell Cox's superb writing.
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The Overdue Debate: Smart Growth Versus Housing Affordability

by Wendell Cox 11/22/2010
American households face daunting financial challenges. Even those lucky enough not to have suffered huge savings and retirement fund losses in the Great Recession seem likely to pay more of their incomes in taxes in the years to come, as governments attempt pay bills beyond their reasonable financial ability. Beyond that, America's declining international competitiveness and the easy money policies of the Federal Reserve Board could well set off inflation that could discount further the wealth of households.

In this environment, the last thing governments need do is to raise the cost of anything. It is bad enough that taxes may have to rise and that a dollar will probably buy less. America's standard of living could stagnate or it could even decline.

The Choice: Smart Growth or Affordability

The Washington Examiner, however, succinctly put the choices that face the nation, states and localities with respect to the largest element of household expenditure --- housing. In an editorial entitled "Take Your Pick: Smart Growth or Affordable Housing," the Examiner noted:

"No matter how much local politicians yammer about how much they support affordable housing, they are the principal cause of the problem via their land use restrictions, such as the urban growth boundary in Montgomery County and large-lot zoning in Loudoun County." Click here to read more.
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Friday, November 19, 2010

California's Americans for Prosperity has produced this hard hitting video Exposé-- "Common Sense": Around the World on $69 Million in Welfare Funds

It appears Grifters hit pay dirt in California! They get an ATM card with access to the hard-earned cash extorted from taxpayers in the name of for-the-public-good, and they use it in style, on cruise ships, at exotic resorts around the world and living the good life. It beats holding up a bank. A heck of a lot safer and easier.

As long as the politicians who make this possible continue to get the votes they need to stay in power, working people whose money is confiscated in the name of taxes, will remain the schmucks who are left holding the bag, until there is no schmo left to squeeze.


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General Tso, Meet Steven Covey Fast-food Chinese chain Panda Express is turning self-help tenets into serious cash flow

I love this article because I love what it's about. An entrepreneur, transformation, free enterprise, and the greatest possibility, when an entrepreneur is committed to growth for the whole corporate body that makes not only the business thrive, but where each individual is inspired and supported to thrive. I love Landmark. It's all about individuals being their greatest possibilities!

By Karl Taro Greenfeld
Bloomberg Business Week
The Pandas are in an affectionate mood. Seventy-one Panda Express managers are gathered in the banquet room of the Dynasty Restaurant in San Jose, Calif., waiting in line to make a commitment in front of their colleagues to improve themselves—and the business. They are wearing orange T-shirts advertising their newest entrée, Kobari Beef. "I'm feeling saucy," the shirts read.

They call themselves "Pandas" because they are employees of Panda Restaurant Group (PRG), a privately owned, 1,350-location "fast casual" Asian restaurant chain with $1.4 billion in annual sales. Part of being a successful Panda is buying into a process that founder and Co-Chief Executive Officer Andrew Cherng, 62, calls "a continuous commitment to sharpening yourself." That means standing before your fellow Pandas and speaking honestly and openly about your personal and business failings.
Click here to read more...
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California's Destructive Green Jobs Lobby Silicon Valley, once synonymous with productivity-enhancing innovation, is now looking to make money on feel-good government handouts.

WSJ Nov 16, 2010
By GEORGE GILDER

California officials acknowledged last Thursday that the state faces $20 billion deficits every year from now to 2016. At the same time, California's state Treasurer entered bond markets to sell some $14 billion in "revenue anticipation notes" over the next two weeks. Worst of all, economic sanity lost out in what may have been the most important election on Nov. 2—and, no, I'm not talking about the gubernatorial or senate races.

This was the California referendum to repeal Assembly Bill 32, the so-called Global Warming Solutions Act, which ratchets the state's economy back to 1990 levels of greenhouse gases by 2020. That's a 30% drop followed by a mandated 80% overall drop by 2050. Together with a $500 billion public-pension overhang, the new energy cap dooms the state to bankruptcy. Click here to read more
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Sunday, November 14, 2010

Stray Cats who live to tell have lessons to share in Keith Richards' Autobiography--"Life"

"...The tax rate in the early ’70s on the highest earners was 83 percent, and that went up to 98 percent for investments and so-called unearned income. So that’s the same as being told to leave the country.” Heading for Villa Nellcôte in France, the Stones record perhaps their most critically acclaimed album, “Exile on Main Street.”"

"...Keith and family decide to stay on. He immerses himself in Rasta culture, fascinated by reggae music and its defiant political tradition. “They’re not going to work for Babylon; they’re not going to work for the government. For them that was being taken into slavery.”"
Here is a challenge for conservatives who want to protect their children, the adolescents, teens and young adult children in our lives from Keith Richards' candidness about his drug use. We are all afraid of drugs becoming visitors in the lives of our children. The message they get from elders in school, at home and in the media is either scolding and puritanical or it glorifies excess, vulgarity, depravity and self destruction. Most of the celebrities who aren't musicians self-destruct with alcohol, musicians with heroin and crack. It all confirms our most extreme fears, that our children, if they read about drugs, if they use drugs, they will become drug addicts and kill themselves or become derelicts and criminals. We don't tell them specifically how do these drugs affect the user, what are the effects and risk they pose physically and psychologically? We try to scare to scare them.

Milton Friedman, consistent in his arguments for freedom and liberty said "I'm in favor of legalizing drugs. According to my values system, if people want to kill themselves, they have every right to do so. Most of the harm that comes from drugs is because they are illegal."

In his book, "Life," Keith Richards levels. His story is instructive. An adult child who reads the book will learn drugs are dangerous. Richards used them. He pushed their limit and himself to his limit. He survived them but it took some knowledge, discipline and luck. He doesn't recommend it, and he doesn't think it could be done today, given what is available and how it's sold.


I've posted some Youtube videos below the post and link to the interview so you can listen to some of his creative guitar and song composition work.

The read is interesting. He was a choir boy, a boyscout, had working class parents and grew up in a working class neighborhood. He was the target of the neighborhood bullies, a rebel, a guitar master musician, song writer, singer, rock and roll superstar and he survived to tell about it in an insightful, instructive and entertaining auto biographical story.

Kids appreciate and listen if you level with them. Don't insult their intelligence and don't try to shield them. Educate them and encourage them to choose to be informed, edified and make wise decisions. Keith Richards has that message in his honest rendition of his life story. This is not Spinal Tap.

Stray Cat Blues
By LIZ PHAIR
Published: November 4, 2010
New York Times
He’s been a global avatar of wish fulfillment for over four decades and managed to eke more waking hours out of a 24-hour day than perhaps any other creature alive (thanks, Merck cocaine and amphetamines!). As Keith puts it: “For many years I slept, on average, twice a week. This means that I have been conscious for at least three lifetimes.”

You better believe it. This cat put the joie in joie de vivre. As the legendary guitarist for the Rolling Stones, Keith Richards has done more, been more and seen more than you or I will ever dream of, and reading his autobiography, “Life,” should awaken (if you have a pulse and an I.Q. north of 100) a little bit of the rock star in you. Click here to read the interview in a new tab and listen to the YouTube Videos while you read the interview.

Rolling Stones - Golden record Sticky Fingers & Jam Session


The Rolling Stones - Wild Horses


The Rolling Stones - Factory Girl


MORE STONES:
To view the YouTube video of Rolling Stones-Gimme Shelter Unreleased version Click here.

To see the YouTube Video of Exile On Main Street 2010 - From The Production Line Click here.
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Latino kids now majority in state's public schools

"...experts say the shift underscores the huge impact Latinos already have on California's politics, economy and school system."

Gamble that they won't vote or learn a lesson from what just happened in California this past November when record number of Hispanic voters pulled the lever and gave majority rule to the Democrats in California? Give up? Or consider there is possibility to win hearts and minds over to the side of Liberty, free enterprise and a climate where entrepreneurs have a shot? Here's the reality as it looks now:
Will Kane, Chronicle Staff Writer
San Francisco Chronicle
November 13, 2010 04:00 AM

Latinos now make up a majority of California's public school students, cracking the 50 percent barrier for the first time in the state's history, according to data released Friday by the state Department of Education.

Almost 50.4 percent of the state's students in the 2009-10 school year identified themselves as Hispanic or Latino, up 1.36 percent from the previous year.

In comparison, 27 percent of California's 6.2 million students identified themselves as white, 9 percent as Asian and 7 percent as black. Students calling themselves Filipino, Pacific Islander, Native American or other total almost 7 percent.

While the result was no surprise to educators, experts say the shift underscores the huge impact Latinos already have on California's politics, economy and school system.
Click here to read more.
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Saturday, November 13, 2010

The GOP's Earmark No-Brainer Sen. Jim DeMint is offering Republicans a chance to prove they meant what they said on spending.

Senate Republicans ran to midterm victory last week hitting every single high note. One week in, they risk ruining the aria with some off-key grunge.

What issue could prove so important that senators would risk blowing up the vision of a GOP unified against spending? Earmarks, of course. You know, the ugly little spending perks that have grown into one of Washington's biggest political liabilities. The pork that earlier this year was unilaterally sworn off (to public praise) by House Republicans, who appear to be ready to do the same even in their new majority.

In the Senate, not so much. South Carolina's Jim DeMint is offering his party its first opportunity to prove it meant what it said, by offering up a moratorium on Republican senators' earmarks. Fifteen GOP senators—including six senators-elect—are co-sponsoring the ban, which will get its vote on Tuesday. At least 13 Senate Republicans—spearheaded by Minority Leader Mitch McConnell and Sen. Jim Inhofe—are going to the mat to keep the spending privileges. Twenty senators are apparently still mulling over the complex decision of whether to demonstrate some principle.

Click here to read more.
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The High Price of Journalism in Putin's Russia Five of my colleagues at Novaya Gazeta have been murdered. No one has been brought to justice.

By ELENA MILASHINA

Moscow

As a journalist for Russia's leading independent newspaper, Novaya Gazeta, I have been lucky. For over a decade I've had the privilege to report extensively on dramatic current events in my country—including in Chechnya and other turbulent North Caucasus republics.

But press freedom is gradually becoming extinct in my country. In the past week alone, two reporters were brutally beaten because of their commitment to honest journalism. Novaya Gazeta has miraculously kept afloat—escaping governmental control, refusing self-censorship, and telling stories from the point of view of ordinary citizens.

Yet we have paid a heavy price for our independence. Over the past 10 years, five of Novaya Gazeta's journalists have been murdered. One of the victims was our star correspondent and my mentor, Anna Politkovskaya, who was assassinated in 2006 after tirelessly exposing brutal human-rights violations in Chechnya.Click here to read more.
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Friday, November 12, 2010

This is too funny!: The Onion Strikes Comic Gold With Biden Spoofs

(NYT's Jeremy W. Peters reports on the hilarious and wildly popular spoofing of Joe the working class man at the online parody and satire news publication. Made me laugh out loud throughout the article. Enjoy the read and the images about America's good ol' average working class Joe in the White House.)
By JEREMY W. PETERS
Published: November 10, 2010
New York Times
Vice President Joseph R. Biden Jr. has never smashed a Whac-A-Mole game in a drunken fit. He has never invoked Freedom of Information laws to find out a female federal employee’s work schedule. And to the best of anyone’s knowledge, he has never washed his car in the White House driveway.

But to readers of The Onion, the satirical newspaper and Web site, the vice president has done all of those things, plus bounce a check for $39.50 to a liquor store and star in advertisements for Hennessy cognac that emphasize his international playboy swagger. Click here to read the article
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Dick Morris puts it bluntly to the Republican-elect Majority in the Congress: Smash the Union Thug-o-cracy

The victory of Barbara Boxer and Harry Reid can be attributed to the underestimated power of the Public Employee Unions to get out the vote.
"One of the first orders of business to come up in the new Republican-controlled House of Representatives will be the demand for bailouts of states where expenditures have been especially profligate – California, New York, Michigan, Illinois, and Connecticut. Throughout 2009 and 2010, these states governments have stayed above water by repeated infusions of federal cash. These one-shot stimulus payments must be repeated each year. They are all non-recurring expenditures requiring separate annual appropriations."..."The fiscal crises facing state and local governments and school boards makes these unions and their political clout vulnerable, potentially at the mercy of a Republican controlled House of Representatives. We may, at long last, have a way to liberate our nation from the domination of those who should be our public servants but instead are frequently our union masters." Click here to read the article published at DickMorris.com
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Monday, November 8, 2010

Rubio Republicans: Republican candidates can talk tough on immigration and still do well with Hispanic voters if they can convincingly promote a message of economic opportunity.

(John Fund says convincingly. I think it's more like with warmth and a genuine desire to establish a powerful connection that connect mind and heart. Corny? Well, that's what "mi casa es tuya" or "mi casa es su casa" is all about. Good luck, and ¡salud!)
By JOHN FUND

When it comes to Hispanic voters, last week's elections were a tale of two results for Republicans. On one level, the GOP can take pride in the fact that 31% of all Hispanic members of Congress are now in their party. But on another level, the overwhelming Democratic advantage among Hispanics helped cost the GOP key Senate seats in Nevada, Colorado and California.

The next Congress will feature an unprecedented five new Hispanic Republicans. Two are from Texas and defeated Democratic incumbents - Bill Flores of Bryan and Quico Conseco from San Antonio. Jaime Herrera was elected to an open seat in Washington state. Raul Labrador defeated a Democratic incumbent in Idaho. David Rivera won an open House seat in Florida, just as Marco Rubio won that state's vacant U.S. Senate seat. In addition, Republicans elected two Hispanic governors -- prosecutor Susan Martinez in New Mexico and Brian Sandoval, a judge, in Nevada.

But Hispanic voters also powered the come-from-behind victories of two Democratic Senators. Hispanics accounted for 14% of the electorate in Nevada, up from 12% in the last midterm election of 2006. The two-to-one advantage they gave Majority Leader Harry Reid allowed him to win by a surprising 50% to 45% margin. In Colorado, Hispanic voters made up 13% of the vote, up from only 9% four years ago. Their big margin in favor of Democratic Senator Michael Bennet helped him pull off a come-from-behind victory.Click here to read more.
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Steven Greenhut's "State GOP verging on irrelevant" may be a great understatement. The Dems aren't the only ones who've been in denial over the destructive course of their actions.

And it appears there is little sign of any large or significant aspect of epiphany. All the same, I believe and so, I cannot resign into cynicism. Hope you read it and move into a positive course of action.

Republicans have been amused by President Barack Obama's thick-headed response to the Democratic Party's electoral defeat. Despite near-historic gains for the GOP in the House of Representatives and significant GOP gains in the Senate and statehouses, Obama refused in his news conference Wednesday to pin the blame on his agenda, instead pointing to economic frustrations and a failure by his administration to adequately explain his policies.

Despite the president's delusion, Democrats would be wise to engage in some soul-searching if they hope to reconnect with the public.

Republicans in California need to do some soul-searching of their own as they find themselves in a much deeper hole than the Obamaites. The Democrats eventually will regain some steam across the country, but Tuesday's drubbing of the GOP in California suggests the state party might now be an irrelevancy. Click here to read the article
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Dear CA Conservatives who want to save our State, if you want to legislate, you have to get elected. You can't if you slap and hurl contempt at a crucial constituency.

Dear Conservatives in California:

If you want to legislate, you have to get elected, beyond your ever shrinking puddles of safe districts. You can’t succeed if you continue to slap and hurl with rage and contempt at a decisive and growing constituency. That is not how How to Win Friends & Influence People. I strongly recommend that all Republicans and or those conservatives who've left the GOP out of disgust, who blame the voters for the disastrous defeat in last Tuesday's elections, please read this great book by the late and very influential Dale Carnegie.

If you continue to follow the ear of the "immigration experts" who have secured your allegiance, you concede to their arguments that Latinos are hopelessly wedded to big government with all of it’s welfare giveaways and token programs that rescue a fraction of the majority of low income minorities.

If you really do believe in the possibility of individuals, and that truth, integrity and honor are not mutually exclusive to people who come from or are the children of immigrants who come from south of the U.S. Border, then we’ve got a shot at redeeming ourselves as a movement, and moving forward.

Last Tuesday should have been a big bucket of cold water to wake us up to how ranting and raving, accusing and wringing our hands in fears and anxiety over the number of Latinos among us is a destructive waste of energy. You win nothing. Everybody loses.

If you love free enterprise and you believe in the fundamental superiority of Capitalism, you will follow the example of our greatest sales men and women in the marketplace of ideas. You will sell your ideas to the markets you need on your side to survive. Win them over and support them in their growth as they develop their own market share of customers who will buy what you’re selling.

If you continue to buy what the likes of Mark Krikorian of the Center for Immigration Studies CIS and author of The New Case Against Immigration: both legal and illegal, and his ilk sell you, that Latinos are a lost cause and they as a group, will never buy into Liberty, free enterprise, individual responsibility and capitalism because they will never give up the perks bestowed on them from the Left in exchange for their vote, you will fail and you fail all of us. As well you should, for you’re not a true believer in what you espouse.

There is no qualifier in the words so eloquently phrased in the Declaration of Independence, that lit hearts afire and were flamed with the great quote of Patrick Henry, “Give Me Liberty or Give Me Death.”

It is an insult to the words "We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness." To qualify such truths as not applying to Hispanics, as Krikorian suggests in his e-brief to CIS subscribers immediately following last Tuesday’s national elections, is morally reprehensible and is in deed the road to surfdom.

Imagine if the disciples of Christ had looked at those who spoke a different language or shared a different culture and concluded that the Truth would never appeal to them, that they were the wrong kind of people as a group with a different cultural pedigree to ever get Christ, our Creator.

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Friday, November 5, 2010

Now you tell us? Big Hope and Promise for Green Jobs, Recipient of $535-million federal loan guarantee, more than $1 billion in private equity funds is leaving CA.

The LA Times let's the cat out of the bag the day after voters reject Prop 23, just in case that might have given voters pause to reconsider voting green and rejecting Prop 23 that would have suspended the Legislative AB 32 that is placing stiff demands on Businesses to pay for green technology or pay fines.

NEW: Solar company faces dark days ahead

Katy Grimes: The day after the election, the Los Angeles Times reported that Solyndra Inc., a solar power system manufacturing company in the San Francisco Bay area, is closing one of its factories, laying off 40 employees and letting the contracts for more than 150 temporary workers expire.

It’s hard not to question the timing of this information.

Even with substantial government subsidies, credits and loan guarantees, many are wondering if Solyndra enticed by the Schwarzenegger administration and/or opponents of Prop 23 to keep the news of the downsize quiet until after Tuesday’s election, in order to guarantee failure of the proposition. It certainly appears so.

The Times reported Solyndra had received “a $535-million federal loan guarantee, more than $1 billion in private equity funds and supportive visits from dignitaries such as Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger, Energy Secretary Steven Chu, Vice President joe Biden and President Barack Obama.” Click here to read more.
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Six key races where Latinos made a difference

November 03, 2010
...The California Senate race
Democrat Barbara Boxer defeated Carly Fiorina among Latinos, 86 percent to 14 percent. Latinos made up 22 percent of the electorate, up from 19 percent in 2006. Boxer won by 9 percentage points. The polling firm Latino Decisions estimates that the Hispanic vote contributed 10.1 percentage points to Boxer's margin — more than the margin of victory..

The California governor's race
Democrat Jerry Brown outpolled Republican Meg Whitman among Latinos, 86 percent to 13 percent. Hispanics made up 22 percent of the electorate, up from 19 percent in 2006. Brown won by 13 percentage points. The polling firm Latino Decisions estimates that the Hispanic vote contributed 13.1 percentage points to Brown's margin — more than the margin of victory..Posted at Texas on the Potomac Blog
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Thursday, November 4, 2010

From the LA Daily News: County workers salaries have taken a hit, except those at the top and they list the top 10. My heart rate goes up to beyond cardio workout rate


These people are taking us all for chumps, dupes, fools and to defend them is to say the emperor is wearing fine gold threaded garments.
Biggest salaries in Los Angeles County
 
Here are the 10 highest paid department heads and elected officials in Los Angeles County government, in order of current salary.
 
Position
Name
2007 Salary
2010 Salary
Increase
Health services
director
Mitchell H. Katz
$306,800
$355,000
16%
Chief executive
officer
Bill Fujioka
$242,116
$338,458
40%
Public health
director
Dr. Jonathan E.
Fielding
$270,400
$309,494
14%
District attorney
Steve Cooley
$229,263
$297,859
30%
County
counsel
Andrea Sheridan
Ordin
$203,611
$295,000
45%
Sheriff
Lee Baca
$259,587
$284,183
9%
Forester &
fire warden
P. Michael Freeman
$213,582
$281,036
32%
Coroner chief
medical examiner
Dr. Lakshmanan
Sathyavagiswaran
$239,273
$276,912
16%
Alternate public
defender
Janice Y. Fukai
$194,790
$229,525
18%
Public works
director
Gail Farber
$202,540
$230,000
14%
 
Amid the worst recession in modern history, the salaries of top Los Angeles County officials have shot up 12 to 45 percent in three years and some public servants are now making more than $400,000 annually in total compensation, a Los Angeles Daily News investigation has found.
 
The analysis of a county salary database obtained through the California Public Records Act found 17,686 of the county's more than 100,000 employees make more than $100,000 annually in total pay.
 
This includes a Coroner's Office executive secretary making $113,825 and a firefighter who collected a whopping $271,498 last year…  click here to read more.
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Wednesday, November 3, 2010

The GOP Gets an undeserved Second Chance

Steven Greenhut 11-02-2010 11:02 p.m.
Special to the OC Register
SACRAMENTO – President Barack Obama saved the Republican Party from itself. In a two-party system, when one party makes a mess of things, the only choice is to reward the other party and hope that, eventually, one of the parties learns the right lessons. The Democrats received a well-deserved comeuppance, although the populist tide fizzled at the California state line. Our voters apparently are bigger gluttons for punishment than those in the rest of the country.

The GOP should thank its lucky stars that John McCain was not in the White House, or else it would be the Democrats who would be celebrating an Election Day rout. McCain supported the same basic noxious policies as Obama (cap and trade, health care reform, big bailouts, military expansionism) even if he wouldn't have gone to the same extreme as our current president on the domestic stuff.  Click here to read more.

On October 28, 2010, John Seiler published a report on an interview with U.S. Rep Dana Rohrahbacher, R-Huntington Beach, warning "If the GOP fails, third party will rise." While the race between U.S. Rep Loretta Sanchez and challenger CA Assemblyman Van Tran of Orange County didn't result in deposing incumbent Loretta Sanchez, the U.S. Congress did change from Democrat to Republican control. Rohrahbacher outlines what the Republicans need to do if they are to earn the trust of the American people.
Click here to read the report.
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"Over 20% of California's debt issuance during 2009 and over 30% of its debt issuance in 2010 to date has been subsidized by the federal government in a program known as Build America Bonds." The Day of Reckoning looms big and sooner than we think.

State Bailouts? They've Already Begun
Bond subsidies and transfers have allowed states to avoid making tough decisions. It won't last.

By MEREDITH WHITNEY

The threat posed by the state fiscal crisis in the U.S. is vastly underestimated and under-appreciated—because even today too few people understand how states have been managing their finances.

A clear example of this took place in Manhattan last week at the Economist magazine's Buttonwood Conference, where a panel role-played the federal government's response to a near default of the hypothetical state of New Jefferson. After various deliberations and simulated threats from the Chinese government, the panel reluctantly voted to grant New Jefferson an emergency bailout of $1.5 billion to cover the state's debt payment.

What this panel and so many other investors fail to appreciate is that state bailouts have already begun. Click here to continue.
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Monday, November 1, 2010

You like Chris Christie? You think he says it like it is and gets it done? Meet Luis Fortuño

Move over, New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie. You've got a tax-cutting, pro-growth competitor who may be even bolder than you. His name is Luis Fortuño and he is the governor of Puerto Rico, a place that, if you can believe it, is in worse fiscal shape than the Garden State.

When Mr. Fortuño took office in January 2009, Puerto Rico had a 46% budget shortfall equal to $3.3 billion. Things were so bad, he told me in a telephone interview from San Juan on Tuesday, that he had to fly to New York while still governor-elect to explain his fiscal plan to the investment community in order to avoid a sharp downgrade of Puerto Rican debt. "We were one step from junk status," he says.  Click here to read more
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Calif. rail project is high-speed pork

By Robert J. Samuelson
Monday, November 1, 2010

Somehow, it's become fashionable to think that high-speed trains connecting major cities will help "save the planet." They won't. They're a perfect example of wasteful spending masquerading as a respectable social cause. They would further burden already overburdened governments and drain dollars from worthier programs - schools, defense, research. Click here to read more.
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I hate the mailers in my mailbox. They're firepit kindling and no more. Can't trust 'em. They're sold to the highest bidder and they deliberately deceive. Save it. If you want to vote your party line straight, go to their website! Otherwise, research & verify.

Dirty Tricks, Plebiscite-style
Democrat-backed campaigns in California are spending hundreds of thousands of dollars this year to get their proposition endorsements onto "slate mail" voter guides targeted at Republicans in hopes of confusing conservatives into voting for liberal causes.

Countless registered Republicans last week received what appeared to be GOP-backed mailings advising them to defeat two ballot initiatives that are actually supported by the GOP. Together, the initiatives aim at empowering an independent commission to short-circuit the gerrymandering of legislative districts by the state's Democrat-controlled legislature. One version of the voter guide also advises Republicans to vote "no" on Prop. 23 (which would suspend the state's cap-and-trade law) and "yes" on Prop. 21 (which would hike vehicle fees).--Allysia Finley WSJ's Political Diary e-newsletter, Nov 1, 2010
"Scott Hart, the Orange County consultant behind the mailers, is playing innocent, telling the Sacramento Bee that he's a "good Republican" and "I don't know why people are all worked up about this." He also tells the paper he "probably" will accede to a GOP letter demanding that he cease and desist his "disgraceful" and "bad faith" use of the GOP logo. And he probably will -- after Election Day."
CAGOP
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He is feared because his message resonates with a vast majority: "Where Republicans have failed: We should be the pro-legal immigration party, not the anti- illegal immigration party," he says. If he wins, Mr. Rubio will be the most prominent elected Hispanic official in the U.S. from either party.

Who's Afraid of Marco Rubio?
WSJ
Nov 2, 2010

Democrats are scared enough of the charismatic Republican Senate hopeful that some were willing to sacrifice their own candidate to help a stronger challenger in the race.

By MATTHEW KAMINSKI

West Palm Beach, Fla.

Marco Rubio is the newest Republican star, but not for any obvious reasons. On policy, the Senate hopeful from the Sunshine State blends in easily with the tea party crowd. Less government, taxes and debt, check; repeal ObamaCare, ditto. More eye-catching are his boyish good looks, a gift for speechmaking, and inspirational biography and ethnic roots. Yet those were Barack Obama's attributes as well. Two years into his presidency they are devalued novelties, no matter which party card you hold.

Something else accounts for Mr. Rubio's rise from a blip in polls against the popular governor in his party, to the runaway favorite tomorrow. He appealed as a different sort of Republican. He kept his pitch upbeat, shunned personal attacks, worked hard to widen support without apologizing for his conservatism, and more noticeably than anyone in this race ran on an unabashed and constantly invoked faith in American exceptionalism. Click here to read more.
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Sunday, October 31, 2010

Prop. 23 Foe Profits From ‘Dirty Coal’

OCT. 28, 2010

By WAYNE LUSVARDI

NO on 23 backer and Democrat Tom Steyer’s Farallon Capital Management Company holds stock in “dirty coal,” nuclear, and oil and gas companies, and in a Chinese solar panel supply company that potentially would rob jobs from Californians, even as the NO on 23 campaign blasts Prop. 23 backers for similar investments.Click her to read more.
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Have you noticed a lot of incumbents in Sheep's Clothing on the ballot?

In looking at local elections in San Jose, there are a lot of well established politicians like Forest Williams who have been in local office for decades pretending they are an outsider. Williams' brief bio on the ballot, for example, completely omits his long political career and doesn't mention his usual public Union supporters -- making him seem like a new face on the scene. The same goes with Jim Beale, State Assembly, who downplays his incumbent status and again tries to appear as a new arrival on the scene. And look at Tom Torlakson's bio -- the man has been politics for 32 years but his bio makes him seem like he's just a science teacher!
Click here to see a real breath of fresh air.
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Beware Incumbents in Sheep's Clothing! They're hiding out and running as new to Politics

I see a lot of well established politicians who have been in office for decades pretending they are outsiders. Forest Williams' brief bio on the ballot, for example, omits his long political career, making him seem like an outsider. Likewise, Jim Beale (State Assembly) downplays his incumbent status and tries to appear like an outsider. Other incumbents have just pulled a vanishing act -- like long-time Congresswoman Zoe Lofgren whose recent embarrassing gaffes and scandals, plus voter anger over her support for the healthcare bill, have sent her scurrying for cover. She won't debate the issues, won't speak in public, and won't even appear before the voters. Where in the world is Zoe??

Voters beware! Look carefully at the candidates, the incumbents and machine politicians are hiding their pasts and misleading the voters to get re-elected.--

John Cunnuningham, San Jose CA
Click here to see a real breath of fresh air.
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Michigan Turns to the GOP for Jobs During previous recessions, voters went for Democratic candidates. Not this year.

By MICHAEL BARONE

When I was growing up in Michigan, the political rules were pretty simple. About 40% of all voters were in union households with at least one union member—and they voted heavily Democratic. Others voted Republican, but by smaller percentages. The usual result was a close election, but in recession years like 1958, when thousands of United Auto Workers members were laid off by General Motors, Ford and Chrysler, voters shifted toward the Democrats on the belief that more government spending would help them through tough times.

No more. This year there is no question that Michigan is in economic distress. It had the nation's highest unemployment rate for more than three years until it was overtaken by Nevada last May. Now it's No. 2. But unlike during earlier recessions, Michigan isn't trending Democratic. It's going the opposite way.Click here to read more.
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Botched Paramilitary Police Raids: An Epidemic of "Isolated Incidents"

"If a widespread pattern of [knock-and-announce] violations were shown . . . there would be reason for grave concern." —Supreme Court Justice Anthony Kennedy, in Hudson v. Michigan, June 15, 2006. An interactive map of botched SWAT and paramilitary police raids, released in conjunction with the Cato policy paper "Overkill: The Rise of Paramilitary Police Raids," by Radley Balko. What does this map mean? How to use this map View Original Map and Database

Key

Death of an innocent. Death or injury of a police officer. Death of a nonviolent offender.
Raid on an innocent suspect. Other examples of paramilitary police excess. Unnecessary raids on doctors and sick people.
The proliferation of SWAT teams, police militarization, and the Drug War have given rise to a dramatic increase in the number of "no-knock" or "quick-knock" raids on suspected drug offenders. Because these raids are often conducted based on tips from notoriously unreliable confidential informants, police sometimes conduct SWAT-style raids on the wrong home, or on the homes of nonviolent, misdemeanor drug users. Such highly-volatile, overly confrontational tactics are bad enough when no one is hurt -- it's difficult to imagine the terror an innocent suspect or family faces when a SWAT team mistakenly breaks down their door in the middle of the night. But even more disturbing are the number of times such "wrong door" raids unnecessarily lead to the injury or death of suspects, bystanders, and police officers. Defenders of SWAT teams and paramilitary tactics say such incidents are isolated and rare. The map above aims to refute that notion.

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