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...

Wednesday, August 31, 2011

CA Neighbor Mexico Spirals Into Anarchy | CalWatchDog

Instead of the Bush-Obama “war” on drugs being exported to Mexico, there are two actions that can end, or at least greatly reduce, the country’s deadly gang wars and massive government corruption.

First: End the ‘War’ on Drugs
First, the U.S. government should end the “war” on drugs. It should begin to do so internationally, ending its interventions in Mexico, Colombia, Afghanistan and other narco-states. Further, it should allow U.S. state and local governments to decide whether or not illegal drugs should be decriminalized. That’s actually what’s said in the Constitution, where no “war” on drugs is given as a power to the federal government.


Second: Legalize Mexican Guns
The second reform to reduce violence in Mexico would be to legalize guns in that country. Currently, Mexico has one of the world’s most draconian gun-control policies.

click to read more.

Cop n' attitude: Flash! Speed trap ahead!

Want to warn fellow citizens about check points and speed traps? Well here's some coppers talking about this kind of behavior, and they don't take kindly to it. They see it as interfering with their revenue stream, ur, um, I mean their law enforcement duties.

Flash! Speed trap ahead!
One day, a co-worker and I were talking about stuff, and the subject turned to those fools who try to mess up our traffic radar operations by flashing their lights at oncoming motorists to warn all the speeders to slow down before we can catch them and give them their just deserts properly. Such conduct is actually illegal here, chargeable under a fairly broad statue that prohibits interfering with law enforcement operations. So to try something novel, we decided to try to catch a few of these folks one day.


Click to read more.

Michele Bachmann's Unholy Crusade - Reason Magazine

But this will put her in bed with groups such as the Center for Immigration Studies and Numbers USA who are the political godfathers of the modern anti-immigrant movement. Inspired by a radical Malthusianism, they tout an ultra restrictionist agenda—advocating in CIS's case a moratorium on all immigration, skilled and unskilled. They are part of a network of organizations founded by John Tanton, a Michigan-based ophthalmologist, who warmly applauded China’s one-child policy and sterilization of Third World women, all of which fundamentally conflicts with Bachmann’s Christian, pro-life beliefs.



click to read the article.

Random thoughts on CA's perilous polical climate...

Peter Olson noted on his status on FB: California ....watching fox news right now and they just showed your state redistricted ... You republicans that still live in that place are toast ... Not that the ones still there will ever move but at least get ready for even worse government.

I started to comment and went on and on so I copied and posted it here, on my blog:

CA is so beautiful... Can't just get up and go live in the desert or swamp...without a fight. Republicans here talk as if they were the majority or they whine about their powerless state of being. They don't talk to the voters as if the...y were looking for a way to coalesce and find our common ground. When you're such a minority and you have no cache, you've got to find what the other side's voters are attached to, and give it to them better.... But Republicans here have played footsies with Law Enforcement, and built a monster that now plagues communities at all socio-economic levels, and they talk about those illegals from the southern border as if the legal voters with familial and historical ties to Mexico have no feelings or regards for the intentions if not the impact of the immigrants who come here out of desperation, because they can relate and feel at home. Wow, if Republicans said we love Mexicans and immigrants. Let's do away with the welfare programs and makes it affordable for businesses to do business here, and slash our welfare, make work visas available, and please school your kids back at home..you can come and go safely... I'm just brainstorming here... But you'd think the way most notable Republicans in this state talk that they think that Mexicans invaded California. I don't know how they reconcile such notions with the fact that so many of our most populated cities have Spanish names? If Republicans talked with some modesty, and said, hey we need you. We need your help. We need your vote. Here's our plan. Can you help us? We want to create a business climate where entrepreneurs can flourish, where property rights are secure, where citizens have civil liberties protected by law and don't fear law enforcement, that presently is so protected, they can keep all offenses and hearings of officers who are disciplined secret from the public. End the war on drugs. If you don't like diversity, ignore it, but most people like having choices for food, mates, music, dates etc. It's late, and there is a lot of bad blood, but I think Mexican Americans, who make up the majority of Latinos in the State, are forgiving, if the contrition is genuine.... We spend more than 50 percent of the state cash on education and get little in return, but nobody stands with the poor over the shit holes their kids are forced to attend or else!! L.A Unified has it's own police force and kids are harassed for skipping their mind numbing classes with the sorry excuse that passes for unaccountable pathetic teachers. There are no jobs for the kids when they graduate, if they graduate, because labor has made so many rules not enough business people can afford to do business here and hire low skilled entry level kids if kids could legally drop out and start out early in getting a real education in the work force. Republicans don't want to have to deal with the poor classes so their pie shrinks and shrinks and shrinks... and the behemoth Big Govt grows and takes from producers to feed its growth.... The Republicans love redevelopment and they love their subsidized universities and they fight over the spaces in those universities when the race identity politicians fight for slots for token minorities to go to college. It's a mess, but both parties have had their hand in us getting here. Thinking out side the box means dropping the party labels and talking principles, and meaning it. Chris Norby, Carl DeMaio, Shawn Nelson, Tom McClintock, are a few good politicians who come to mind. I'm sure there are more, but not enough... yet...

America's Flimsy Fortress

America's Flimsy Fortress

Bruce Schneier
Wired Magazine, March 2004

Every day, some 82,000 foreign visitors set foot in the US with a visa, and since early this year, most of them have been fingerprinted and photographed in the name of security. But despite the money spent, the inconveniences suffered, and the international ill will caused, these new measures, like most instituted in the wake of September 11, are mostly ineffectual.

Terrorist attacks are very rare. So rare, in fact, that the odds of being the victim of one in an industrialized country are almost nonexistent. And most attacks affect only a few people. The events of September 11 were a statistical anomaly. Even counting the toll they took, 2,978 people in the US died from terrorism in 2001. That same year, 157,400 Americans died of lung cancer, 42,116 in road accidents, and 3,454 from malnutrition.

Click to read more.


Now Playing At Security Theater: The Sting
Posted by Jim Babka

The Feds do lots of things to make people feel safer than don't actually improve security. Bruce Schneier calls it "security theater."

FBI stings are a perfect example. Most of the "potential" terrorists they trap were NEVER A THREAT to anyone.

These stings are a waste of time and money. I've asked Congress to end them using DownsizeDC.org's "I Am Not Afraid Campaign."

This is what I wrote . . .

Most of the "terror Plots" the FBI stopped over the past 10 years were of their own making. For instance, I was angered when I read this: (http://motherjones.com/print/125137) . . .

Mother Jones and the Investigative Reporting Program at the University of California-Berkeley have examined prosecutions of 508 defendants in terrorism-related cases, as defined by the Department of Justice. Our investigation found:

* Nearly half the prosecutions involved the use of informants, many of them incentivized by money (operatives can be paid as much as $100,000 per assignment) or the need to work off criminal or immigration violations.
* Sting operations resulted in prosecutions against 158 defendants. Of that total, 49 defendants participated in plots led by an agent provocateur -- an FBI operative instigating terrorist action.
* With three exceptions, all of the high-profile domestic terror plots of the last decade were actually FBI stings. (The exceptions are Najibullah Zazi, who came close to bombing the New York City subway system in September 2009; Hesham Mohamed Hadayet, an Egyptian who opened fire on the El-Al ticket counter at the Los Angeles airport; and failed Times Square bomber Faisal Shahzad.)
* In many sting cases, key encounters between the informant and the target were not recorded -- making it hard for defendants claiming entrapment to prove their case.

They also note, "Terrorism-related charges are so difficult to beat in court, even when the evidence is thin, that defendants often don't risk a trial."

Victims of FBI stings include . . .Click to read more.

Jose Solorio and Tony Mendoza, Assembly Democrats, Blasted for "Anti-Business" Bills - Orange County News - Navel Gazing

By Matt Coker Tue., Aug. 16 2011 at 7:55 AM
Categories: OC Media, Politics

A proposed law authored by one Orange County assemblyman is being called a big favor for big labor, while legislation from another has powerful California business interests lined up against it.

The legislators are Democrats and California Latino Legislative Caucus leaders Jose Solorio of Santa Ana and Tony Mendoza, whose LA County district includes OC's Buena Park.

The article also shows they are also anti-civil liberties. They are supported by law enforcement because they support law enforcement's expansion of power and erosion of individual civil liberties. They help grow the Police State.

Click here to read more.

Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Court upholds 'citizen's right' to film cops

The second article down on this post was posted by David Bailey on our Gadfly Radio Group wall on Facebook, as a comment or amendment to a post I made of this Reason Youtube video called

Who will watch the watchers? In a world of ubiquitous, hand-held digital cameras, that's not an abstract philosophical question. Police everywhere are crackiing down on citizens using cameras to capture breaking news and law enforcement in action.

In 2009, police arrested blogger and freelance photographer Antonio Musumeci on the steps of a New York federal courthouse. His alleged crime? Unauthorized photography on federal property.
Click on this www.youtube.com direct link to watch the video and or to read more.



Yesterday, David Bailey, resident of the City of Fullerton, and our guest tonight on Gadfly Radio posted this article yesterday.--
August 29, 2011
Court upholds 'citizen's right' to film cops
Arrests for filming cops violate Constitution, court ruled

By PoliceOne Staff

BOSTON — Arresting someone for filming the police is a constitutional violation, the Massachusetts district court announced Friday.

The case began when Simon Glik was taken into police custody for recording an arrest with his cell phone camera, according to Tech Dirt. Glik told police he saw an officer punch the suspect and believed their use of force was excessive, sources say. Officers reportedly asked him to stop recording because audio recording — a capability of Glik’s phone — violated Massachusetts wiretap laws. Click to read article.

Tonight on Gadfly Radio w/ Martha Montelongo and CalWatchDog's John Seiler, CA City Journal's Ben Boychuk & special guest, David Bailey, former LA Port Police Officer

Gadfly Radio Tonight, at 8 PM PT

Live Call in number: 1-818-602-4929 
August 30, 2011 Tonight live at 8PM PT:  Tonight on Gadfly Radio, Ben Boychuk of CA City Journal joins me as we talk with John Seiler of CalWatchDog.comDave Bailey, a current businessman who lives in the City of Fullerton, CA  and is former police officer with the Los Angeles Port Police Department, joins us to discuss the due process lag in the case of the fatal beating of 38 year old, 135 pound schizophrenic homeless man, Kelly Thomas, at the hands of six Fullerton Police Officers who have since been put on paid leave, but whom have not been charged for any crime since the beating occurred on July 5th of 2011. 

Given the current law and precedent established by the CA Supreme Court in August of 2006, in Copley v. Superior Court, is it possible to get due process and justice when the alleged criminals are police officers?

In a recent article posted at CalWatchdog  involving Assemblyman Portantino, D-La Cañada, and his current stand for transparency concerning the CA State Legislators' personal budgets, Steve Greenhut referred to a CA Supreme Court Case decision in August of 2006, and a subsequent bipartisan effort by some lawmakers in Sacramento, led by then Senator Gloria Romero, D-Los Angeles, to overturn the effects of that decision with SB 1019, which Portantino played a role to defeat.

The Tracy Press described it this way in an article titled Bill puts cops in the sunshine  "Sen. Gloria Romero, D-Los Angeles, authored Senate Bill 1019 after the August 2006 state Supreme Court decision in Copley Press v. Superior Court, which prevents the public from learning about law enforcement officers who have been disciplined for misconduct, even if the law enforcement agency wants the public to know the findings. The door has been slammed shut on the misconduct hearings and all their records. It’s so extreme that local police officials cannot even tell citizens that a disciplinary hearing happened."

Greenhut links to a previous post in which he reports his account of a California Assembly's Public Safety Committee hearing where Sen. Romero's bill was heard, supportive legislators were excluded and law enforcement lobbyists and their legislative supporters dominated.

We'll talk with John Seiler and Ben Boychuk on the latest posts at CalWatchDog.
Here are some of the hottest stories we want to cover on the show:

CA ‘Jobs Gap’ Jumps to Record High by John Seiler.
California’s “Jobs Gap” with the rest of America jumped to a record high, according to new calculations. In 2010,[John Seiler] devised the “Jobs Gap” to measure how much worse unemployment is in California that the rest of America.
Brown Jobs Plan Just More Gimmicks

Existing Pensions Also Will Be Cut

Gov. Unions Attack Initiative Process

I said I'd do it two weeks ago, then last week... Now two week later, I must squeeze it in. I want to ask our panel, Why the media black out of Ron Paul's 2nd place victory at the Iowa Ames Straw Poll on Saturday? Aug 13th. Want to get John Seiler's take on it.

We'll take your calls, questions and comments on the air at 1-818-602-4929.

I am a stand for liberty, freedom and prosperity for all people; a stand for vibrant and innovative small businesses that create jobs, that in the process of prospering, nurture and support creative and dynamic culture, in the work place, and in our personal lives.

Thank you for supporting our program, by listening, sponsoring, and or sharing this post with others.

It's a pleasure to share this program with
CalWatchDog's
team of government policy watch dogs and the great investigative work they produce!

Tuesday nights live, on Gadfly Radio in Southern California or where ever you are. California, the land of beauty and unlimited possibility because of the abundance of our greatest capital resource, our human resources, when we get it right. Join us.

Or you can listen to a podcast later, if you miss the live call-in show by clicking on the white player to stream or the orange player to download and or subscribe to Gadfly on iTunes:


iTunes

Cop Lobby Flexes Its Muscle--Politics behind the defeat of CA SB 1019

"...law enforcement, after last year's decision, gets a pass. An officer can mistakenly arrest you, can beat you, can even kill you and then the public (including victims and their families) will learn nothing about the investigation or whether that officer is disciplined. The public now is forbidden from learning about the background of officers who repeatedly use excessive force.

"Ultimately, this bill is about the public's right to know, about the public's ability to hold government accountable," said Senate Majority Leader Gloria Romero, a liberal Democrat and author of SB1019. In a previous statement, the conservative Sen. Tom McClintock, a Thousand Oaks Republican and a co-sponsor, agreed: "The police exercise the ultimate of official power — and that ought to be tempered by the ultimate of public scrutiny. Unfortunately, because of a combination of bad law and a bad court decision … the police have the least public scrutiny."

Click to read Steve's analysis.

Portantino Late Convert To Openness Issue | CalWatchDog

Can justice be served when police commit crimes in CA? Or, Portantino may look heroic to the taxpayers now for standing up to Perez and the Democratic leadership in the Legislature over secrecy of the personal bugets, but those budgets are chump change and his actions that secured unparalleled secrecy for police accused or suspected of committing a crime are proving dramatically harmful to the ...civil liberties and due process of Californians. A powerful hard hitting opinion by Steven Greenhut. Here are a few excerpts: "...Portantino [was involved] in 2008 over perhaps the most significant open-records issue the state has faced in decades. Portantino was working at the behest of the police unions to keep information quiet about abusive police officers following the Copley Press v. Superior Court of San Diego County decision.

As the Los Angeles Times reported, “In that case … the court prohibited public disclosure of personnel records of a sheriff’s deputy appealing his discipline...


Click to read the article.

Monday, August 29, 2011

Steven Greenhut: Pension funds should get real on rate of return - Orange County Register

SACRAMENTO – When the taxpayer is backing up the entire liability for the pensions received by members of the California Public Employees Retirement System, then CalPERS officials are exuberant about the stock market. They insist that a predicted rate of return of 7.75 percent is perfectly realistic.

When their own funds are on the line, however, CalPERS can be extremely conservative as it embraces one of the lowest annual return rates imaginable: 3.8 percent.

In essence, the...
Click to read more

Saturday, August 27, 2011

Who is Ron Thomas? Kelly Thomas's father-an intimate, eloquent, rightous depiction of the great father that Ron Thomas was and is

A quote from a blog post up at Friends for Fullerton's Future Blog. They get so many comments on their posts, it's like a paper like the WSJ. This one was number 24 of 282 comments... That number will grow. This comment like many on the blog, is a jewel. It is a tribute to Ron Thomas. Hurrah! Hurrah! Hurrah! You were a great dad to Kelly Thomas. Your heart must break each time you hear that recording of your son calling out for you, his last words...Dad! Dad! dad!



"Shut your pie-hole you taint! Ron Thomas has been asked by the City of Fullerton to become chairman for a new Homeless/Mentally Ill support committee for the city. Why? Mainly to teach the police force and hopefully other ignorant bungholes like yourself, some of the behaviors of mentally ill people and how to effectively deal with them. This man cared for his son. He obtained conservatorship over his son. His son was spending the night at his house on a regular basis, but also chose to sleep elsewhere. He did many ‘tough love’ things with his son like placing him in psych wards when he was a little off, for ongoing evaluations and monitoring his meds. He had to physically restrain his son to do this on many occasions and did it very well without beating him or tasing him. GO AHEAD and tell us more about how Ron Thomas was not doing his job as a parent Mr. Killer Cop or Mr. Killer Cop’s wife!!!"

Lieu Bill Would Assault The Poor | CalWatchDog

Lieu epitomizes everything that is wrong with this state. In his bizarro world, nothing is left to individual choice. Government agents get vast powers over our private lives. Citizens — subjects, really — face increasing fees, penalties, fines and rules to prod us into complying with whatever idea pops into the leaders’ head. Microchipping pets is a fine enough idea as long as the owners get to choose it. Most of the pets that wind up in shelters, by the way, are not those from responsible pet owners whose family dog gets lost. He has to know that. But the law will provide new powers and responsibilities for government employees, and Lieu is nothing if not an effective representative for the unions that elect him to office.

Click here to read more.

Friday, August 26, 2011

Facebook

California’s water wars aren’t about scarcity. Even with 37 million people and the nation’s most irrigation-intensive agriculture, the state usually has enough water for both people and crops, thanks to the brilliant hydrological engineering of past generations of Californians. But now there is a new element in the century-old water calculus:


Click here to read the article.

Teachers' Road Map to Nowhere by Larry Sand - City Journal

A new study shows deep flaws in the Los Angeles Unified School District, but the local teachers’ union will resist any meaningful reform.
25 August 2011

A major study on teacher quality makes clear just how sclerotic the Los Angeles Unified School District has become—but while the diagnosis and prescriptions are clear, the prognosis is far from certain. The National Council on Teacher Quality’s 58-page report, “Teacher Quality Roadmap: Improving Policies and Practices in LAUSD,” was commissioned by the United Way and several civil rights groups and paid for by the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation. While the report focuses on Los Angeles, many of its findings are applicable to other school districts around California, where collective bargaining agreements have hamstrung administrators and state laws supersede local policies.

Such studies are vital because...


Click here to read more...

Thursday, August 25, 2011

Tiawanda Moore Acquitted | The Agitator

A follow up by Radley Balko --A few thoughts on Tiawanda Moore, "former stripper." Reminds me of how Fullerton PD, the majority of the City Council, and County DA were all indifferent to the fate of a homeless schizophrenic The comments on The Agitator's post are interesting as well, and Balko post one at the end, or at least it was at the end when I read them.
One other thing. It’s a little odd that most media accounts of this case describe Moore as a “former stripper.” It’s actually the first three words in the Sun Times story. Maybe I’m wrong, but it’s hard to envision the article starting that way if Moore were a former nanny. Or school teacher. Or bus driver. So what’s the point? Even if Moore’s sexual assault allegation was the only newsworthy part of this story, the implication is that her former job is relevant to her allegation. Is the implication that strippers probably act provocatively even when they aren’t working—-indeed, even when they aren’t strippers anymore—and thus should expect unwanted sexual advances from cops? Is it that strippers are inherently untrustworthy? That they’re more likely to make false allegations of sexual assault? (If anything, I would suspect that strippers have built up a fair amount of tolerance for unwanted advances.)
Click to read the article.

Woman who recorded cops acquitted of felony eavesdropping - Chicago Sun-Times

Radley Balko tweeted about this story yesterday: "Jury acquits Tiawanda Moore of eavesdropping charges for recording police. Sounds like possible case of nullification."

A former stripper, who secretly recorded two Chicago Police Internal Affairs investigators while filing a sexual harassment complaint against another officer was acquitted on eavesdropping charges Wednesday.

“I’m feeling a lot better now,” a smiling Tiawanda Moore said after a Cook County jury returned the verdict in a little over an hour.

The 20-year-old Indiana woman admitted she taped the officers on her Blackberry in August of last year. But she said she only did it because the investigators were coaxing her to not go forward with her complaint.

“I wanted him to be fired,” Moore testified of the cop she alleges fondled her and gave her his phone number during a domestic battery call at the South Side residence she sometimes shares with her boyfriend.

Click to read article

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Tonight on Gadfly Radio w/ Martha Montelongo and CalWatchDog's John Seiler, CA City Journal's Ben Boychuk, with special guest Ben Austin of Parent Revolution

Gadfly Radio Tonight, at 8 PM PT

Live Call in number: 1-818-602-4929 
August 23, 2011 Tonight live at 8PM PT:  Tonight on Gadfly Radio, Ben Boychuk of CA City Journal and also policy adviser for education at The Heartland Institute and a former managing editor of School Reform News, joins me as we talk with John Seiler of CalWatchDog.com, and  special guest, Ben Austin, Executive Director of The Parent Revolution  and co-author of The Parent Trigger Law.   

 "While it has changed over time and changes somewhat from year-to-year, about 52 to 55 percent of the State General Fund Budget is spent on K–12 and Higher Education." (CA.Gov)   

Ben Austin is a proven effective education reformer.  He is also a self described Progressive who vehemently defends unions, collective bargaining and even card check.   Ben Austin, together with co-author for The Parent Trigger Law, Senator Gloria Romero and supporters,  developed and helped bring into being, a powerful and effective tool for The Movement which Diane Ravitch claims in an op-ed posted below, is "already failing." 

The coalition of reformers includes Progressives,  Democrats for Education Reform, conservatives and libertarians, business leaders, and of course parents.  

What is the strength of this coalition?  How threatening is the divide around unions and card check, and partisan politics? 

  Do all Democratic Reformers defend Teacher's Unions?  Both Steve Brill and Joel Klein are also formidable leaders with Democrats for Education Reform.  Brill prescribes turning around public schools  "not by abolishing the unions but by persuading or forcing them to engage in real reforms so that they can help move those 3.2 million teachers in the right direction..."

Tonight's show will be a spirited discussion among allies who want to see parents engaged and empowered, and all children have a shot at being well schooled--no excuses.  If a child can read, write and is numerate, he or she is capable of forming his or her own opinions and venturing outside of dogma to seek truth.  That is why everyone who believes in individual liberty and possibility should be engaged in this very real movement. 

Some related links:

When Adults Need to Act Like Grown Ups by Ben Austin, published today, Aug 23, 2011
...The vast majority of the public discourse around education reform ends with name-calling and finger pointing -- depending on which ideological extreme has the microphone, either charter schools or teachers unions are single-handedly dismantling American public education.

So it was no surprise that all sides retreated to comfortable ideological corners last week when the American Federation of Teachers (AFT) accidentally released their secret plan to "kill" the Parent Trigger.

The Parent Trigger is an historic law in California, Texas, and Mississippi that gives parents unprecedented power to transform their children's failing schools through community organizing. The Parent Trigger allows half the parents at any failing school to transform their school based on what's good for children, not adults.
Four Opinions are posted in an excellent series, published this week online at Reuters Blog and I've posted them below: 
The Great Debate

First Two are by Education Reformers (Two Education Reform deniers follow below): 
The school reform deniers by Steve Brill--A label is coined.  The whole piece is fascinating, but scroll down to the facts section... for a super charged reminder for why reformers are so committed. 
Whitney Tilson, Director of Democrats for Education Reform noted the following excerpts from Steve Brill's, and Joel Klein's op-eds posted below, in his e-newsletter yesterday:   
That said, the issue of whether we need to throw out a system in which we allow unaccountable, unmeasured civil servants to produce failure when our nation’s economy, security, and core values depend on success is not complicated at all. It doesn’t take Woodward and Bernstein to see that the deniers are running on empty. It reminds me of the old debates over whether cigarette smoking is bad for your health. Curing lung cancer is complicated. Identifying a leading cause wasn’t. It only seemed complicated for as long as it did because those with an interest in denying the obvious spent so much for so long to keep the debate going.
The parents: the force that can’t be beat By Joel Klein
...But relying on strong leaders alone is folly. Their survival, as Fenty’s experience suggests, depends on building political constituencies that will support them, and push them to be even more aggressive. If that is to happen, we have to start with parents, who must stop tolerating a system that is failing their kids, and start insisting on great schools and teachers.

The unions know that parents are the only force they can’t beat and, as a result, they’ve done an incredible job over the past couple of decades cultivating them as allies. But, increasingly, parents — especially those in high-poverty communities — are coming to understand that it’s their kids who are bearing the brunt of the current union-driven, adults-first focus of public education...
Whitney Tilson goes on about Klein--"[He] also gives a nice and well-deserved shout-out for an important new book by Terry Moe, Special Interest: Teachers Unions and America's Public Schools:

When it comes to persuading the unions, there’s another recent book, “Special Interests”, by Stanford professor Terry Moe, that’s well worth reading. Moe spends considerable time discussing what he views as the misguided notion of “reform unionism,” which is similar to Brill’s idea of persuading the unions to get on board for real reform. The simple truth, according to Moe, is that “beneath all the talk, important fundamentals are at work — and the fundamentals drive most of the action. Teachers fully expect that their leaders will protect their jobs, promote their economic well being, and win work rules that give them valuable rights and prerogatives.” Union leaders who fail to do those things, Moe adds, “do so at their own peril.” In fact, more than once, union leaders have told me that, even though a proposed reform made sense, they couldn’t support it and survive — and, they would always add, for good measure, that whoever replaced them would be worse for reform.

Let me be clear, reformers should always seek “to persuade” the unions to join them, and there are several encouraging examples to support this approach — some that I personally achieved together with NYC’s union president Randi Weingarten, and others that Brill recounts in “Class Warfare”. But so long as persuasion is the reformers’ only weapon, Moe concludes, “the reform movement will never get where it aims to go. It will never be able to build a school system that is organized for effective performance. It will never be able to simply do what’s best for children.”
Brill’s second theory of change — ” forcing [the unions] to engage in real reform” — appears to be more realistic.  But how is that going to happen?
I take the liberty to add to the preceding excerpt, what follows in Klein's op-ed:
...The next political force for reform that needs to be unleashed, as Brill notes in “Class Warfare”, is teachers, especially those who are new to the field and haven’t yet bought into the union-driven long-term seniority- and pension-based system that has long served the veterans. Teachers need to be convinced that the model Brill advances — where salaries can increase significantly if we build a system based on performance, rather than longevity — is better for them financially, while also likely to enhance public respect and support for their profession. This is not so much a variation of reform unionism but, rather, the creation of a second — and different — teacher voice in the discussion. 
Klein mentions Educators 4 Excellence as an example.   Would California Teacher's Empowerment Network CTEN be another example?
 
And two Deniers:
If only the unions were the problem By Deborah Meier  (below, this denier's answer to Steve Brill's comments on the Rubber Rooms... She loses me at 'Hello.'
1.  Rubber Rooms. I happen to know some terrific teachers and principals who were sent to the Rubber Room.  They left 30-40 years of extraordinary work in despair and dishonor.  It wasn’t the union that created the Rubber Room—but former schools chancellor Joel Klein.The fact that many never get charged with any crime, much less given the opportunity for a hearing, is not the union’s fault either.   Brill might acknowledge that the contract was created by two groups, and that both the original decision to remove the teacher and the subsequent investigation and final appeal are part of management’s responsibility.  I don’t blame my lawyer if the prosecutor delays an investigation or hearing.
But should they be “sleeping, playing board games, chatting” for their $85,000 a year? Would Brill have been happier if they were reading Crime and Punishment?  One friend of mine tried to get excused from the Rubber Room to volunteer in New Orleans after Katrina.  She was not allowed.
The reform movement is already failing by Diane Ravitch
We are in the midst of the latest wave of reforms, and Steven Brill has positioned himself as the voice of the new reformers. These reforms are not just flawed, but actually dangerous to the future of American education. They would, if implemented, lead to the privatization of a large number of public schools and to the de-professionalization of education.
More Related Links: 

The Parent Trigger: A Positive Step or a Distraction for Improving Our Public Schools? an online debate featuring Ben Boychuk and Julie Cavanagh.

I want to ask our panel, Why the media black out of Ron Paul's 2nd place victory at the Iowa Ames Straw Poll on Saturday?
I said I'd do it last week... Now a week later, hope to squeeze it in.  Um, will try; Would love to get John Seiler's take on it.   

 We'll take your calls, questions and comments on the air at 1-818-602-4929.

I am a stand for liberty, freedom and prosperity for all people; a stand for vibrant and innovative small businesses that create jobs, that in the process of prospering, nurture and support creative and dynamic culture, in the work place, and in our personal lives. 


Thank you for supporting our program, by listening, sponsoring, and or sharing this post with others.

It's a pleasure to share this program with CalWatchDog's team of government policy watch dogs and the great investigative work they produce! 


Tuesday nights live, on Gadfly Radio in Southern California or where ever you are. California, the land of beauty and unlimited possibility because of the abundance of our greatest capital resource, our human resources, when we get it right.   Join us.

Or you can listen to a podcast later, if you miss the live call-in show by clicking on the white player to stream or the orange player to download and or subscribe to Gadfly on iTunes:


CA Unfunded Pensions Triple to $884 Bil | Chris Street for CalWatchDog

The cabal of California politicians, bureaucrats and crony consultants that justified the granting of lucrative benefits to employees, while failing to contribute enough to support the true pension costs, solemnly dismissed the Stanford report as unsophisticated reflections by academics.

But now that a swarm of local governments wants to abandon the floundering retirement trusts, the state plans are willing to credit only a 3.8 percent expected return.

If the California state pension plans adopted the same 3.8 percent rate they are only willing to credit when participants want to leave, their published $288 billion in pension shortfall would metastasize into an $884 billion California state insolvency.
...
If the pension investment returns skyrocket, the unions will bargain for increased benefits. If the pension investment returns crash, the public employees are protected by a rock-solid contract law that prevents any reduction in benefits.

In 2007, I was fortunate to gain the support of enough Orange County Pension Trustees to reduce speculative derivative use by 90 percent. At the time, trustees for the California state public pension plans solemnly dismissed Orange County as unsophisticated. Shortly thereafter, the stock market crashed and the state pension trustees stopped making comments.

Click to read more...

Why Flash is Right on Redistricting | CalWatchDog

"Jon Fleischman of Flashreport has called for a referendum to overturn the 2011 gerrymandering."

Fleischman just was attacked by by CalBuzz, “Why Fleischman Is Wrong, Wrong, Wrong on Redistricting.”

"GOP Irrelevance: CalBuzz mentions how the only power left for Republicans in the Legislature, if can maintain more than one-third of the seats in at least one house, is to prevent tax increases.

So Democrats are salivating like Pavlov’s Dog about raising taxes ad libitum.

But as I have been noting here on CalWatchDog.com, what already is developing is a split in the Democratic Party between the wild spenders and those more fiscally prudent. I likened it to the split in the Democratic Party in the old 'Solid South' before the 1970s.
Because, once Democrats actually do control two-thirds of the Legislature, they will assume 100 percent of the blame for every economic calamity in the state. No more saying, 'If the Republicans would just let us raise taxes on those greedy capitalist rich people, we could establish paradise!...
And according to new numbers released today by the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, unemployment rose again in July in California, back up to 12 percent. Government is so gargantuan in the Golden State that jobs are dying or moving elsewhere."

Click here to go to article

Saturday, August 20, 2011

PressTV - Spending for weapons make Americans 'prosperous'?

There are a lot of people in the United States that think spending money for military weapons makes them "prosperous", says James Bovard, a policy advisor to The Future of Freedom Foundation.

"So many liberals think of government [military] spending as a panacea, as something which will solve all of our problems" he told Press TV's U.S. Desk on Tuesday. Bovard criticized such liberals for ignoring the inevitable costs of starting wars in other countries.

Critics say the U.S. is taking advantage of a war policy to keep the nation's economy running.

A New York Times writer, Paul Krugman, has recently called on the U.S. government to manufacture war to save economy.

“If we discovered that space aliens were planning to attack and we needed a massive buildup to counter the space alien threat and really inflation and budget deficits took secondary place to that, this slump would be over in 18 months. And then if we discovered, oops, we made a mistake, there aren’t any aliens, we’d be better” said Krugman to CNN. prisonplanet.com


Click to listen to the one minute and 40 second commentary by Jim Bovard.

Friday, August 19, 2011

The Parent Trigger: A Positive Step or a Distraction for Improving Our Public Schools? - Public Sector Inc. Online Debates

"In 2010, California enacted education legislation known as the “parent trigger.” The legislation empowers parents of children at schools that have failed to meet annual yearly progress for at least four years to change the administration, convert the school to a charter, or shut it down completely if they gather signatures from at least 51% of parents at the school. Similar legislation exists in Mississippi and Connecticut, but has failed to become law in Arkansas, Colorado, Maine, and Maryland. Parents at McKinley Elementary in Compton Unified – a school that only met yearly progress once in the last eight years –were the first in the nation to “pull the trigger” and remain the sole group to do so to date. As a result of their action, the State of California required the district to hire a “direct assistance intervention team,” and later, an attempt by parents to convert the school to a charter was rebuffed by the school district on technical grounds. A case is currently pending in Los Angeles Superior Court. Many school reformers believe that this law puts the interests of children ahead of teachers and helps to save children in failing schools before the clock runs out. Many education professionals, among them the president of the California Federation of Teachers, view the law as a “lynch mob provision,” intended to dismantle the public school system. The politics of the “parent trigger” are confusing,..."


Click here to read the four part online debate.

He'll get attention in CA: Ron Paul to join Michele Bachman at GOP state convention in September : Politics Blog

The Spin Cycle with Carla Marinucci, SF Chronicle: It's going to get hotter in Los Angeles next month now that Republican Rep. Ron Paul will be joining Minnesota Rep. Michele Bachmann at the upcoming gathering of the nation's largest Republican Party -- the California state GOP convention in Los Angeles starting Sept. 18.

The campaign of the Texas Congressman, who came in a close second to Bachmann in the recent Iowa straw poll, confirmed to us today he's hitting California to address the convention on Saturday. Paul is planning to be present all day at the gathering -- expected to draw at least 1,000 GOP enthusiasts to the JW Marriott at LA Live.

As we reported this week, more GOP candidates might be showing up to the blue state convention now that Bachmann is the Friday keynote speaker -- and the party has decided to hold a straw poll that could juice up interest and passions among grassroots activists and the media in the nation's most populous state.


OH, this just perked up my whole disposition about the upcoming CA GOP Convention in L.A. in September. Suddenly I am excited about it, for more than the pleasure to see kindred spirits whom I've met years past. Since 1999, I would never miss a convention in CA, until a year ago. Then, disenchanted, I surmised that the CA GOP Party Leadership did not stand with principles of liberty but in spurts, and whim.

Too many jockeyed for power opposite Democrats and both Parties' Leaders divvied the goods over which they had control. Both Parties curry favor to secure the endorsements of the public Employee Unions--CTA, AFT, SEIU, Prison Guards Union and bow to them before the public whom votes for them into office. Many, not all, county and city law enforcement agencies, and Redevelopment Big Developers and their League of Cities minions on City Councils across the land of CA partake in this public orgy of power and money grabbing, the people, entrepreneurs, small business owners all be damned.

There are many who've chosen not to flee California, but who want to transform CA to a place where there is more liberty, less tyranny for the people. They believe that Real change is possible. They know there is no guarantee, but we will stand up!

More and more awaken and engage. They speak up against corruption, abuse of power and the public trust. They collaborate and they coalesce. Many of these same inspired and determined activists are also inspired by ideas that Ron Paul articulates consistently.

The most contentious issues that stand between conservatives and libertarians right now, with respect to Ron Paul are all the wars, the war on drugs, and the Federal Reserve. These are substantive issues and he discusses them with moral and ethical authority, reason and integrity. Let both he and Ms Bachman do so in a debate.

I am glad he is coming. I hope that Ms Bachman and he debate. They would sell a lot of tickets. I hope that Ms Bachman is courteous to him and this time that she doesn't leave the stage while he is speaking, as if he were the intermission. She may believe that it is most wise to ignore him and smirk or wink about him, but those who seek a deeply rooted leader, different from the two sides who've governed in CA for decades now are listening and many who've left the Parties like what they hear.
He'll get attention in CA: Ron Paul to join Michele Bachman at GOP state convention in September : Politics Blog Click to read the article

Thursday, August 18, 2011

Is the SEC Covering Up Wall Street Crimes? | Rolling Stone Politics

Another explosive piece by Matt Taibbi. Found this linked at LewRockwell.com Here's the link to it.
Click here to read the article.

The Real Housewives of Wall Street | Rolling Stone Politics

Thanks girlfriend Helen for pointing this one out to me. I found the next one by the same author and Mag at Lew Rockwell.com. So Bravo! Cool! Some great investigative reporting in The Rolling Stone. Go Matt Taibbi.

Click to read the article

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

Indecision 2012 - Corn Polled Edition - Ron Paul & the Top Tier - The Daily Show with Jon Stewart - 08/15/11 - Video Clip | Comedy Central

"The best critique of the MSM’s treatment of Paul came from social critic and comedian Jon Stewart, who absolutely skewered the MSM on his television show. What better way to expose these people than by ridicule? Stewart’s critique has gone viral on the Internet. If you haven’t seen it, here’s the link. You will absolutely die laughing."--Jacob Hornberger, Aug 17, 2011

Click to view the clip.

Minority rules: Scientists discover tipping point for the spread of ideas

This is one of two great links on Jacob Hornberger's blog post for today. Unshakable beliefs of libertarians are a powerful force indeed. I told my twin, I've found peace where my faith and my politics don't collide and contradict. They co-exist, and I co-exist in a wonderful marketplace of free enterprise, exchange and voluntary collaboration and partnerships. Amen!

ScienceDaily (July 26, 2011) — Scientists at Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute have found that when just 10 percent of the population holds an unshakable belief, their belief will always be adopted by the majority of the society. The scientists, who are members of the Social Cognitive Networks Academic Research Center (SCNARC) at Rensselaer, used computational and analytical methods to discover the tipping point where a minority belief becomes the majority opinion. The finding has implications for the study and influence of societal interactions ranging from the spread of innovations to the movement of political ideals.

Cick to read more.

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

Tonight on Gadfly Radio w/ Martha Montelongo and CalWatchDog's John Hrabe, CA City Journal's Ben Boychuk, with special guest Mark Cabaniss

Gadfly Radio Tonight, at 8 PM PT

Live Call in number: 1-818-602-4929 
August 16, 2011 Tonight live at 8PM PT:  Tonight on Gadfly Radio, Ben Boychuk of CA City Journal joins me as we talk with John Hrabe of CalWatchDog on the CA Redistricting, and Mark Cabaniss on his take on the Fullerton Police Department gang of 6 who should be prosecuted for murder and what the public needs to watch for and resist from the O.C. District Attorney.  We'll discuss Ben's on-line debate on the Parent Trigger for Education reform,  Los Angeles Mayor Antonio Villareigosa's pronouncement today at a press club event calling for "reform" of Prop 13, and why is Ron Paul ignored as a top tier candidate? 


Related links:


To end police abuse, punish abusers By Mark Cabaniss, an attorney from Kelseyville, California, who has worked as a prosecutor and public defender in his former state of residency.

The Parent Trigger: A Positive Step or a Distraction for Improving Our Public Schools? an online debate featuring Ben Boychuk and Julie Cavanagh.

Mike Ward: Redistricting Panel Broke Law by John Hrabe of CalWatchDog.com

Carla Marinucci blogged today following LA Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa calls for overhaul of "corporate giveaway" in Prop. 13 "in a much-anticipated speech to the Sacramento Press Club today, urged progressives to "stand up to the idealogues" of the Tea Party and called for massive overhaul of state tax system -- including Prop. 13 -- to protect California's future and resources, including education."

I want to ask our panel, Why the media black out of Ron Paul's 2nd place victory at the Iowa Ames Straw Poll on Saturday?

We'll take your calls, questions and comments on the air at 1-818-602-4929.

I am a stand for liberty, freedom and prosperity for all people; a stand for vibrant and innovative small businesses that create jobs, that in the process of prospering, nurture and support creative and dynamic culture, in the work place, and in our personal lives. 


Thank you for supporting our program, by listening, sponsoring, and or sharing this post with others.

It's a pleasure to share this program with CalWatchDog's team of government policy watch dogs and the great investigative work they produce! 


Tuesday nights live, on Gadfly Radio in Southern California or where ever you are. California, the land of beauty and unlimited possibility because of the abundance of our greatest capital resource, our human resources, when we get it right.   Join us.

Or you can listen to a podcast later, if you miss the live call-in show by clicking on the white player to stream or the orange player to download and or subscribe to Gadfly on iTunes:


iTunes



Sunday, August 14, 2011

Whistleblower: 12 days in jail over a faulty drug test | StarTribune.com

Goodin's case has been seized upon by critics who question the reliability of field drug-test kits, which are used widely by law enforcement.

"She is what you call collateral damage in the drug war," said former FBI special agent Frederic Whitehurst, a North Carolina attorney and forensic consultant with a Ph.D. in analytic chemistry, who has publicly raised concerns about field drug-test kits. "When you run the tests, you run into all sorts of problems from overzealous cops."
Click here to read.

Friday, August 12, 2011

How to Prevent Riots in California | CalWatchDog

“I wonder how brazen those British thugs would be if they knew shop owners might have a loaded Sturm-Ruger Mini-14 under every counter. One report I saw tonight showed a block of shops totally destroyed and looted, save one: the bookstore. Clearly intelligent persuasion will not avail with the plunderers. Bullets might fare better. They are cowards, after all.” Click here to read the post.

Thursday, August 11, 2011

Timeline of FDA raids on raw milk farmers, dietary supplement makers and natural medicine practitioners

What you see from this is a pattern of government-sponsored terrorism against innocent Americans and small business people; all done in the name of "protecting" the public from milk, walnuts, vitamins, plants or fruit extracts. The real reason behind all this, of course, is that the FDA has long waged a campaign of fear and intimidation against natural product providers for the sole purpose of destroying the natural products industry and thereby handing Big Pharma a monopoly over health treatment medicines.
click here to read the timeline.

I don't know about the FDA being behind this to hand business over to Big Pharma but that's exactly what they do with marijuana. They hand Big Phama the bag by classifying Marijuana as a Schedule 1 Drug, with a high potential for abuse,... ...no accepted medical use in the U.S., and unsafe for use even under medical supervision. Other Schedule I drugs include heroin, LSD and PCP. That classification is preposterous and has no scientific substantiation. Schedule II drugs -- still considered to have high abuse potential but with accepted medical uses and considered safe for use under medical supervision -- include cocaine, morphine and methamphetamine. That's right, federal law currently classifies marijuana as more dangerous than methamphetamine . It's so obscene, it's stunning. See here for opposing views on marijuana classification: http://www.opposingviews.com/search/node/schedule%201%20%20schedule%202%2C%20marijuana

It definitely helps pay for the uniforms and weapons you see on these benevolent public servants in the picture here busting a purveyor of alternative health products. Fighting crime pays! And it helps grow the size of our Police State.

U.S. Knew About Salmonella at Turkey Plant - WSJ.com

U.S. Federal Officials Knew About Salmonella at Turkey Plant but they couldn't do anything about it until someone died.

Click to read the article.

The Natural News Blog, that has been reporting on the recent and previous raids on Rawsome Dairy Farmers posted on this story here.

(NaturalNews) Adding yet more evidence to the proof that the U.S. government maliciously promotes dangerous food borne illness outbreaks rather than trying to prevent them, evidence has emerged today that the U.S. Department of Agriculture knew ground turkey produced by Cargill was widely contaminated with salmonella, yet it did nothing about it and waited for fatalities to occur. This breaking news has been published by the Wall Street Journal (http://online.wsj.com/article/SB100...).

At a time when the federal government is conducted SWAT-style armed raids on raw milk farmers, accusing them of selling "pathogenic" milk, another regulatory department of that same government brazenly stands by and allows deadly pathogen-contaminated meat to be openly sold without offering any warning whatsoever to the public.

Once the fatalities start to mount, of course, then the USDA springs into action and announces a recall. This, of course, has the effect of spreading fear about contaminated food -- something that both the USDA and FDA then use to call for stronger food safety legislation such as the recently-passed Food Safety Modernization Act. (Problem, reaction, solution, see?)

Learn more: http://www.naturalnews.com/033283_ground_turkey_salmonella.html#ixzz1UkoDHUNi

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

Tonight on Gadfly Radio w/Martha, San Diego City Councilman Carl DeMaio, CalWatchDog's John Seiler, City Journal's Ben Boychuk, and Nate Bradley of LEAP

If you missed the live call-in show you can listen to a podcast by clicking on the white player to stream or the orange player to download and or subscribe to Gadfly on iTunes:  Richard Rider was scheduled but had to cancel last minute, but he'll make a visit soon.  Meanwhile, Carl DeMaio, John Seiler, Ben Boychuk, and Nate Bradley entertain while they enlighten us. 


iTunes
 



Tuesday, August 9, 2011

Tonight on Gadfly Radio w/Martha, San Diego City Councilman Carl DeMaio, Tax Payer Advocate Richard Rider, CalWatchDog's John Seiler, City Journal's Ben Boychuk, and Nate Bradley of LEAP



Gadfly Radio Tonight, at 8 PM PT

Live Call in number: 1-818-602-4929 
August 9, 2011 Tonight live at 8PM PT:  Tonight on Gadfly Radio, Ben Boychuk of CA City Journal joins me as we talk with:  

City Councilman Carl DeMaio on his efforts to pass city legislation to reign in the fiscal crisis of San Diego and fix the unsustainable costs of the city's public employees' pensions and benefits.   

Richard Rider, San Diego Taxpayer advocate and president of San Diego Tax Fighters Group joins us on the real size of Govt debt when local, county, state and Federal Government debt are looked at all together.   

John Seiler has a new report posted up at CalWatchDog today on how the Market Crash Slams State Pension Funds.

Nate Bradley of LEAP (Law Enforcement Against Prohibition) on recent testimony he provided against California drug asset forfeiture laws.   

We'll take your calls, questions and comments on the air at 1-818-602-4929.

I am a stand for liberty, freedom and prosperity for all people; a stand for vibrant and innovative small businesses that create jobs, that in the process of prospering, nurture and support creative and dynamic culture, in the work place, and in our personal lives. 


Thank you for supporting our program, by listening, sponsoring, and or sharing this post with others.

It's a pleasure to share this program with CalWatchDog's team of government policy watch dogs and the great investigative work they produce! 


Tuesday nights live, on Gadfly Radio in Southern California or where ever you are. California, the land of beauty and unlimited possibility because of the abundance of our greatest capital resource, our human resources, when we get it right.   Join us.

Or you can listen to a podcast later, if you miss the live call-in show by clicking on the white player to stream or the orange player to download and or subscribe to Gadfly on iTunes:


iTunes

The raw milk Rawesome Foods raid (comic)

Comments by Mike Adams, the Health Ranger
(NaturalNews) This counterthink cartoon is obviously based on the Rawesome Foods raid that took place on August 3, 2011, where state and federal agents conducted an armed SWAT-style raid on a raw milk farmer, a nutrition educator and a food distribution coordinator. Three people were arrested and sent to jail, then charged with 13 counts including felony conspiracy charges. (http://www.naturalnews.com/033220_R...)

The public outrage that emerged in the aftermath of the event has brought new attention to the rights of farmers and the basic human right to be able to choose what kind of food we wish to consume. It has also highlighted the outrageous abuses of government power that are increasingly wielded against targeted victims who take a stand against unreasonable government regulation.
TEXT

Saturday, August 6, 2011

Teacher credentialing commission fails students in California - Orange Punch - The Orange County Register

"Twenty-four past and present members are related to each other — “a small percentage,” according to the leaders of the 160-person staff.

But the matter cannot end with a few personnel changes and short-term oversight. Every member of the commission who abused the public trust by allowing children to be stuck in classrooms with incompetent or criminal teachers should immediately step down and possibly face child endangerment charges. More extensive audits need to be done to identify and address serious problems. In addition, the watchdog position should be permanent.

And there needs to be transparency. Currently the public can go into the commission’s database only to verify a teacher’s credential. The system should be upgraded to operate like the Medical Board of California’s website, where one can learn if any doctor has been accused of wrongdoing by the board, convicted of a felony or issued a letter of reprimand.

Even if the worst offenders detailed in Howle’s report constitute a small percentage of the overall cases, our children should never have been exposed to those teachers once the problems surfaced."


Click to read the article.

Steven Greenhut: Left wins redistricting game |- Opinion - The Orange County Register

California’s new electoral districts crafted by a supposedly nonpartisan commission, which actually did the bidding of left-wing and ethnic interest groups, will almost certainly ensure a two-thirds legislative majority for tax-hiking Democrats.

In 2008, California voters approved Proposition 11, which created the California Citizens Redistricting Commission to draw new lines following the 2010 Census. The commission was charged with forming districts for the state Assembly, Senate and the Board of Equalization. Voters then approved Prop. 20, which gave the commission the authority to draw new district lines for Congress.

Click to read more.

Friday, August 5, 2011

DEA acknowledges supporting role in Operation Fast and Furious - latimes.com

The war against drugs is a dangerous and corrupt force that endangers innocent people, pushes people who are mentally ill or unstable into a criminal realm where they are exposed to and are then under the whim of dangerous criminals and government agencies like the two in this article, incompetent, unethical and morally bankrupt in their judgments and courses of action.

Click here to read more.

Manhattan Moment: Public-sector pensions are anything but modest | The Examiner | Columnists | Washington Examiner

Click to read the article.

Thursday, August 4, 2011

Are voter ID laws necessary? Yes - Sacramento Politics - California Politics | Sacramento Bee

The only people who defend not requiring id such as a driver's license or state issued id card, as required for employment or for writing a check or using a credit card to purchase something are those who like and benefit from the fog of our current voting system. No national ID card--I'm not for that, but an ID that shows you are who you say you are when you exercise your right to vote in elections that determine who legislates over us--That is fair and common sense.

Click to read more.

Don't Despair. Just because we are a morass of wounded dysfunctional immature human beings, doesn't mean all is lost for CA. There is real hope. But, it requires the right approach!

There is a preponderance of uneducated or undereducated single parent, un-employed or under-employed, that is true. And there are those who were brought up in homes where parents were unschooled or under schooled and drank too much and didn't have good parenting skills, and didn't know what qualified for learning and schooling so that they could monitor and enhance or supplement what their child got in school.

So I ask that you not despair, that you consider that there is hope. First I ask that you consider regarding the aforementioned preponderance as walking wounded. Understand that all of them, or most of them suffer from post traumatic stress disorder. They were raised in a state of chaos and despair. They suffer from a flaccid or anemic self esteem or self identity. It's not hopeless. They're human beings. They are walking possibilities. Granted, it is a monumental task, but such is the model that inspires the extraordinary entrepreneur!

When I was in college, I got work for a few quarters for The Project for Developmental Disabilities at UCLA. I worked in a graduate program, as an assistant, and helped instruct parents in the backward chaining theory, to immediately change how parents were interacting with their children in a way they, the parents could quickly and easily master and advance, and so would their children learn.

Aug 6, 2011: Ron Paul has said libertarians or in the lexicon of the era of our Country's founding, liberals (Classical liberals, not what the word conjures today) are born. Jacob Hornberger has said the same thing in a piece on his blog on his visit to Puerto Rico. You can only help them, or us to discover ourselves. It is a key that unlocks the mind so that one becomes present to one's individual self, and one's individual power over oneself. My first connection with libertarianism, in concrete form was one night in 1999, the year I had my first radio show one morning a week. I would spend hours reading and researching to formulate my opinion on issues. I was drawn to focus on political economic policy. I discovered CATO's website and I couldn't stop reading it. I ordered a course on Principles of Liberty which consisted of a collection of audio cassettes in a binder. Jose Piñera explained to me once how he had convinced the people of socialist Chile to embrace privatized social security using a simple message of personal choice, private ownership and the possibility to save more and to leave more to heirs. That resonated with the majority of the Chilean people including the voting poor. Chile was is dire straights economically and wanted to do something to change its crushing weight of public costs. Chile is the most stable and economically sound country in Latin America.

Unfortunately I didn't discover Murray Rothbard, and I didn't give Ron Paul or Mises a second look until recently.

(this post is a journal. I write in it in small entries. I'll be back to continue another day)

Wednesday, August 3, 2011

Cup O' Joel: About that FDA-sponsored SWAT team at Rawesome Foods

Stuff like this makes me think about becoming a weirdo libertarian:

A multi-agency SWAT-style armed raid was conducted this morning by helmet-wearing, gun-carrying enforcement agents from the LA County Sheriff's Office, the FDA, the Dept. of Agriculture and the CDC (Centers for Disease Control).

Rawesome Foods, a private buying club offering wholesome, natural raw milk and raw cheese products (among other wholesome foods) is founded by James Stewart, a pioneer in bringing wholesome raw foods directly to consumers through a buying club. James was followed from his private residence by law enforcement, and when he entered his store, the raid was launched. click here to read more.

Oops!!! Uh-Oh. AFT in CT accidentally posted a secret 19 page slide presentation: How Connecticut Diffused the Parent Trigger

Memo From Whitney Tilson Aug 3, 2011 1:08PM PT
Apparently, the [American Federation of Teachers] AFT in Connecticut accidentally posted on its web site a secret 19-page slide presentation (attached) entitled How Connecticut Diffused the Parent Trigger, laying out how it was able to neuter reformers’ attempt to pass parent trigger legislation similar to what California enacted in late 2009 (thanks in large part to the leadership of then state senator Gloria Romero, who now heads DFER-CA).  RiShawn Biddle of Dropout Nation captured and downloaded it before the AFT realized its mistake, and has reposted it at: http://rishawnbiddle.org/outsidereports/aft_parentpower_guide.pdf.
It is stunning – there is so much juicy stuff here (though most of it won’t be a surprise to veterans of fights with the unions):
        The AFT’s first line of defense is “Plan A: Kill Mode” (nice image; how ironic that elsewhere, the AFT document complains that the term parent trigger “has a disturbing connotation”)
        Then, if the AFT can’t kill the bill, its next line of defense is to “engage the opposition” (meaning dupe them), which appeared to work, as the final outcome was legislation that allows the formation of “School Governance Councils” that have the “authority to recommend reconstitution in third year of poor performance” (whatever that means).  Translation: the AFT’s strategy was to trick parents into joining committees that appear to have power, but actually are only advisory.  Very clever.  Thank goodness this cynical strategy is being exposed.
       The icing on the cake is that the AFT talks smack about the local NEA affiliate, CEA, saying “CEA thought it would go away if they just ignored it” and how the AFT “Dragged CEA along kicking and screaming because teachers had to be united” (the NEA is going to love reading that)

Here’s is RiShawn’s take on it:
The AFT’s Real Feelings About Parent Power
Three Thoughts No Comments by RiShawn Biddle

When the AFT offers a road map on how to shut down Parent Power efforts, it offers a nice PDF document to do it. Apparently in a fit of celebration during last month’s TEACH 2011 conference, the nation’s second-largest teachers union offered up a presentation on how its Connecticut affiliate managed to make the state’s Parent Trigger law a little less harder for parents to use. (Dropout Nation is doing everyone a courtesy by making it available for public consumption; the original is still available at the AFT’s Web site. At least, for now.)

This included arguing that parents groups weren’t at the table for the discussions that led to the passage of the law. (Gwen Samuel and former state representative Jason Barlett, who had led the effort to pass the Parent Trigger law, will find that statement quite amusing.) It also includes declaring that it brought the Nutmeg State’s NEA affiliate “kicking and screaming” to the negotiations because “teachers had to be united.” Again, the NEA will probably find this very amusing.

Whatever one thinks of the document, it clearly offers a lesson for school reformers and Parent Power activists everywhere: The debate over reforming American public education isn’t going to let up anytime soon.

Update: The AFT has taken down the document. Dropout Nation continues to have a copy available.

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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