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...

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

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.
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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.

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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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