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, January 31, 2012

Gadfly Radio with Martha and CalWatchDog: Tonight, Ben Boychuk, John Seiler, with special guests Arun Ramanathan on teacher quality & Diane Goldstein on drug wars in LA County and what does Obama snack on?

Gadfly Radio Tonight, at 8 PM PT

Live Call in number: 1-818-602-4929
Jan 31, 2012:  Tonight live at 8 p.m. PT on Gadfly Radio, Martha Montelongo along with Ben Boychuk of CA City Journal and John Seiler of CalWatchDog.com

Arun Ramanathan from Education Trust West speaks to us about a recent report they just published on the findings of a two- year-long study of data from the second largest school district in the nation, revealing profound inequities in access to effective teaching.  In Learning Denied: The Case for Equitable Access to Effective Teaching in California’s Largest School District, The Education Trust—West finds that low-income students and students of color in the Los Angeles Unified School District (LAUSD) are less likely to be taught by the district’s top teachers – the very teachers capable of closing the district’s achievement gaps. These inequities are exacerbated by teacher mobility patterns and quality-blind layoffs.

YouTube Ignores LAPD Cop's First Place Question for Obama About Legalizing Marijuana  
 WASHINGTON, DC -- "Yesterday YouTube ignored a question advocating marijuana legalization from a retired LAPD deputy chief of police (watch that video at the link above) that won twice as many votes as any other video question in the White House's "Your Interview with the President" competition on the Google-owned site. They did, however, find the time to get the president on record about late night snacking, singing and dancing, celebrating wedding anniversaries and playing tennis."
Retired LAPD deputy chief of police Stephen Downing asks President Obama about the growing support for marijuana legalization among voters. Stephen is a member of Law Enforcement Against Prohibition, which anyone can join for free at http://www.CopsSayLegalizeDrugs.com.

I invited Chief Downing to join us but he was already booked, but we do have Diane Goldstein, also a retired law enforcement officer with LAPD and member of LEAP, to speak with us on this slight to American Voters' pressing concerns, and the assault on the state passed laws to legalize Medical Marijuana in Los Angeles, CA.

More links to hot stories:

by Joel Fox
A couple of months ago, at a discussion on the initiative process at a Zocalo Public Square meeting in Los Angeles, the panelists were asked what one thing they would change with the initiative process...

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

I am a stand for liberty, integrity, empowerment, 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:



Gadfly Radio is moving to a new home, on KKZZ 1400 AM in Ventura, CA, Starting Feb 7th

We move from 8 pm PT to 1 pm PT and we will be able to listen live on the web via 1400 AM KKZZ or you may subscribe to our podcasts which you'll be able to find at Http://GadflyRadio.com and via iTunes.

The subscription to listen via podcast feeds will be up and running next week,  by Tuesday or Wednesday.

We're excited about the move and we are very grateful to our hosts at LATalkRadio.com for the time they've had us on their network, and we are most grateful to our followers and listeners.

Thank you!

We love being here with you.

Ballot Measure Titles and Summaries Should not be Written by Attorneys General: Fox&Hounds

By Joel Fox
Editor of Fox & Hounds and President of the Small Business Action Committee
Tuesday, January 31st, 2012

A couple of months ago, at a discussion on the initiative process at a Zocalo Public Square meeting in Los Angeles, the panelists were asked what one thing they would change with the initiative process. As a panelist, my answer: Take away the power to write the initiative title and summary from the attorney general’s office.

Now come two newspaper columns that highlight the mislabeling of initiatives by the current Attorney General, Kamala Harris. John Diaz, editorial page editor of the San Francisco Chronicle simply used the word “unfair” to describe some of the titles and summaries written by Harris. Columnist Dan Walters of the Sacramento Bee argued that Harris’s titles and summaries “fixed the game” to sway political outcomes.


Click here to read the article.

EconomicPolicyJournal.com: California To Run Out Of Cash In One Month, Controller Warns

Tuesday, January 31, 2012
California To Run Out Of Cash In One Month, Controller Warns

California will run out of cash by early March if the state does not take swift action to find $3.3 billion through payment delays and borrowing, according to a letter state Controller John Chiang sent to state lawmakers today, reports the Sacramento Bee.

Lawmakers previously believed the state had enough cash to last through the fiscal year that ends in June.


Chiang said additional cash management solutions are needed because state tax revenues are $2.6 billion less than what Gov. Jerry Brown and state lawmakers assumed in their optimistic budget last year. Meanwhile, Chiang said, the state is spending $2.6 billion more than state leaders planned on.


Bottom line: Who needs a Greek financial crisis to worry about, when you have California? They'll patch California together.


click here to read more.

'Drop Dead CRA Day' Will Celebrate L.A. Community Redevelopment Agency's Demise (With Special Kool-Aid) - Los Angeles News - The Informer

A pack of veteran L.A. City Hall gadflies will have a little fun, this Wednesday, with Governor Jerry Brown's big bloody butchering of California's redevelopment agencies (RDAs) -- and the notorious L.A. Community Redevelopment Agency, in particular.

Miki Jackson (No. 1 enemy of the slimy Community College Board) and John Walsh (Hollywood density-watcher with the most wonderfully terrible necktie collection this side of City Councilman Tom LaBonge) are holding "Drop Dead CRA Day"...

... on the morning of February 1. The celebration will be staged during the public-comment period for the day's L.A. City Council meeting. Full event details here..

Couple Abused at LAX for Tweets | CalWatchDog

And note that the government spies on Twitter, as it does on Facebook. Big Brother not only is watching you, he’s reading everything you write.

Welcome to 1984 — in 2012. --John Seiler


Couple Abused at LAX for Tweets | CalWatchDog

Mandatory "National Service" for New York Times Columnists - Forbes

Mark Perry over at Carpe Diem tweets "How About Mandatory "National Service" for New York Times Columnists?" Here here!

David Brooks, who always appeared to be a nice and reasonable gentleman, seems to have lost his marbles. In his most recent New York Times column he calls for young people (or perhaps all Americans) to be “forced” into a “national service program.”

Writing about Charles Murray’s new book that details differences between the middle/upper class and lower classes on employment, out of wedlock births, and even obesity, David Brooks writes, “I doubt Murray would agree, but we need a National Service Program. We need a program that would force members of the upper tribe and the lower tribe to live together, if only for a few years . . . If we could jam the tribes together, we’d have a better elite and a better mass.



Mandatory "National Service" for New York Times Columnists - Forbes

Sunday, January 29, 2012

Judge refuses to halt demise of California redevelopment agencies - Sacramento News - Local and Breaking Sacramento News | Sacramento Bee

By Peter Hecht
phecht@sacbee.com
Published: Saturday, Jan. 28, 2012 - 12:00 am | Page 3A

A Sacramento Superior Court judge Friday refused to stave off the elimination of more than 400 local California redevelopment agencies, rejecting arguments that the Legislature violated the state constitution by cutting off their funding.

Judge Lloyd G. Connelly's ruling on two lawsuits by 12 cities means the agencies stand to be dissolved by Wednesday. His refusal to grant a stay in the cases handed another victory to Gov. Jerry Brown, who has counted on the elimination of redevelopment agencies to deliver more money for schools and public safety.
Read more here:  Judge refuses to halt demise of California redevelopment agencies - Sacramento News - Local and Breaking Sacramento News | Sacramento Bee

Thursday, January 26, 2012

Greenhut Dissects State of the Union | CalWatchDog

This threat is not just financial. San Jose Mayor Chuck Reed, a Democrat, told Vanity Fair that “Our police and firefighters will earn more in retirement than they did when they were working.” He continued, “It’s staggering. When did we go from giving people sick leave to letting them accumulate it and cash it in for hundreds of thousands of dollars when they are done working? There’s a corruption here. It’s not just a financial corruption. It’s a corruption of the attitude of public service.”
Greenhut Dissects State of the Union | CalWatchDog

Tuesday, January 24, 2012

Anthony Krinsky's Education Blog: "The Experiment" A brief review

More on The Documentary, The Experiment Produced by Ben Limoine Anthony Krinsky's Education Blog: "The Experiment" A brief review

A Tale of Two Missions & Kids Aren't Cars - National School Choice Week


A Tale of Two Missions & Kids Aren't Cars- National School Choice Week
 

WHEN
January 26, 2012 at 7:00 PM


WHERE
Orthodox Union (OU) West
9831 W Pico Blvd
Los Angeles, CA 90035

Hosted by Anthony Krinsky and Martha Montelongo

Click here to register to attend or to find other events happening in your area you can attend, to learn more about School Choice and what you can do to advance it.

Google map and directions

Gadfly Radio with Martha and CalWatchDog: Tonight, Ben Boychuk, John Seiler, with Special guest, Ben Limoine, on Nat'l School Choice Week, and the New Orleans Miracle

Gadfly Radio Tonight, at 8 PM PT

Live Call in number: 1-818-602-4929
Jan 24, 2012:  Tonight live at 8 p.m. PT on Gadfly Radio, Martha Montelongo along with Ben Boychuk of CA City Journal and John Seiler of CalWatchDog.com.  Special Guest Ben Limoine of Fleurish Productions and Producer of the film documenting the transformation of New Orleans schools after Katrina in the film called The Experiment.


This week is National School Choice Week, and we'll talk with Ben about what that means and about his film, The Experiment and what is so special about New Orleans schools today, post Hurricane Katrina?  The movie is available right now on Starz, and Netflix for on demand viewing! 

Related Links:
Editorial: Superintendent Deasy, LAUSD board member Galatzan to attend town hall - LA Daily News
Gov. Jerry Brown said in this week's State of the State address that K-12 education will lose nearly $5 billion next year if voters don't approve his tax measures in November. And in response to the budget pressures, LAUSD Superintendent John Deasy has called for putting $270-a-year parcel tax on the ballot.  
Whistle-blowing teachers to open a charter school - Los Angeles Times  
They lost their jobs during a cheating scandal at Crescendo schools. Former union chief and charter foe A.J. Duffy will lead them.
 
Whitney Tilson's School Reform Blog: At his charter school, ex-UTLA head would target tenure  

The longtime anti-charter crusader wants to make it harder for teachers to earn tenure protections and wants to lengthen that process.
He even wants to require teachers to demonstrate that they remain effective in the classroom if they want to keep their tenure protections.
And if a tenured teacher becomes ineffective, he wants to streamline dismissals.
The process now in place can stretch out for several years, even with substantial evidence of gross misconduct.
Some union leaders, notably Duffy, have defended this "due process" as a necessary protection against administrative abuses.
"I would make it 10 days if I could," Duffy now says of the length of the dismissal process.
And what does Duffy's [predecessor]... think of his [A.J. Duffy's] new direction? Not much -- LOL! 

Former UTLA President John Perez said he wished Duffy well but said he could not endorse Duffy's new direction. Charter school operators, he said, are laying the groundwork for using public-school funds at private schools through so-called vouchers. They're also opening the door for corporations "who want to destroy public education by getting their hands on the hundreds of billions of dollars we spend on public education in this country," Perez said. 
Golden Missed Opportunity by Larry Sand - City Journal
School choice is on the move everywhere—except California.

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

 

I am a stand for liberty, integrity, empowerment, 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

Thursday, January 19, 2012

1/16 Aaron Smith - News Talk 1370 WSPD | Where Toledo Comes To Talk

I love listening to Brian Wilson over at 1370 WSPD. I just realized I can listen on my iphone live via I heart radio, which is great, because I'm all caught up with his latest podcasts, and today i wanted to listen in live while I rode my bike to run errands. Here's a favorite recent interview on education. 1/16 Brian talks homeschooling with Mises contributor, Aaron Smith.


1/16 Aaron Smith - News Talk 1370 WSPD | Where Toledo Comes To Talk

Tuesday, January 17, 2012

Gadfly Radio with Martha and CalWatchDog: Tonight, Ben Boychuk, John Seiler, with Special guests Bob Bowdon on Ed & Joel Fox Pension Reform


Gadfly Radio Tonight, at 8 PM PT

Live Call in number: 1-818-602-4929
Jan 17, 2012:  Tonight live at 8 p.m. PT on Gadfly Radio, Martha Montelongo along with Ben Boychuk of CA City Journal and John Seiler of CalWatchDog.com.  Bob Bowdon is the founder of ChoiceMedia.TV and the producer and director of the film The Cartel. Joel Fox is the Editor at Fox & Hounds political daily.

We'll visit with Bob Bowdon about the second annual National School Choice Week coming up next week, from Jan 22nd to the 28th. Bob is going to be involved speaking, reporting, and filming at events all across the USA. He's got a lot of exciting information to share.

We're going to speak with Joel about two op-eds he recently published in Fox & Hounds, and one of them was also published in CA Political Review. We'll speak with Joel Fox about Initiatives Weapon of Choice in Policy Wars published today, and a precursor article, Public Employment Retirement Costs Are At “Tipping Point” published earlier this month. 

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

 

I am a stand for liberty, integrity, empowerment, 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

Martin Luther King, Economic Equality And The 2012 Election :: Fox&Hounds

"More important is the dissatisfaction among some Latino and African American Democrats that the current progressive regime. Writing recently in the Los Angeles Business Journal, Roderick Wright, a Democratic state senator from south Los Angeles argues draconian environmental laws have seriously undermined job creation in his heavily minority, working-class districts...

Sadly the GOP has done little to address these failings. Republican pandering to nativist constituencies will contain Latino willingness to hear the party’s message. Old links to racist groups (in the case of Ron Paul) [Ron Paul has strongly denounced such comments and opinions]or possession of a tin ear (Newt Gingrich) does neither the GOP nor the more important cause of political competition a great service.

A hard focus on economic growth and opportunity by minorities might not win accolades from the mainstream press, academia or top party cadres. Yet if we wish to see Dr. King’s real dream extended beyond a relatively small number of the gifted few, minority voters should start challenging Obama’s and the other candidates’ economic agenda — or they can expect their support and their futures to again be taken for granted..."


Martin Luther King, Economic Equality And The 2012 Election :: Fox&Hounds

L.A.’s Best Educators Aren’t Teaching Students Who Need Them Most | Education Trust

In Learning Denied: The Case for Equitable Access to Effective Teaching in California’s Largest School District, The Education Trust—West finds that low-income students and students of color in the Los Angeles Unified School District (LAUSD) are less likely to be taught by the district’s top teachers – the very teachers capable of closing the district’s achievement gaps. These inequities are exacerbated by teacher mobility patterns and quality-blind layoffs.

L.A.’s Best Educators Aren’t Teaching Students Who Need Them Most | Education Trust

Monday, January 16, 2012

David Seaman, Critic of NDAA & SOPA, Dismissed by Business Insider After NBC News Complaints - International Business Times

This guy, who's story I posted just below this post, paid with his job, for speaking up for Liberty, for trying to warn Americans to resist.
David Seaman, Critic of NDAA & SOPA, Dismissed by Business Insider After NBC News Complaints - International Business Times

Rush Limbaugh's NDAA Rage, SOPA, And Congressional Treason - YouTube

"I love shoes, designer clothes, hot cars and cool sunglasses, but I don't think it's cool to not watch out for my personal freedom to call my government out for wrong doing and injustice. Govt does good, but they're also the ones who spied on MLK, among other deeds that were not OK. WAKE UP AMERICA! THIS IS HOTTER THAN JIMMY CHOO, AND IT'S NOT DRAMA, IT'S REAL..."

Rush Limbaugh's NDAA Rage, SOPA, And Congressional Treason - YouTube

Lessons from Spain’s bullet train: The numbers are lies, and it’s all about politics, not economics | Calwhine.com

"Even the enthusiastic Spanish officials are curious about the logic of starting in the sparsely populated middle of California. The environmental benefits won’t be realized, they said, if the cities along the first line don’t have enough people to generate ridership.

“You need to have either Los Angeles or San Francisco,” said Pedro Pérez del Campo, environmental policy director for ADIF, Spain’s Administrator for Railway Infrastructures. “They should build it where it will have an impact so that people will support it.”

What’s so funny about this article is how it so conflicts with the message that the Brown administration tried like hell to sell last week, to wit: All the problems we’re seeing have to do with poor management, because the concept is just so, so awesome and can make lots and lots of money."


Lessons from Spain’s bullet train: The numbers are lies, and it’s all about politics, not economics | Calwhine.com

Thursday, January 12, 2012

Nuclear Arms Charge Against Iran Is No Slam Dunk: Robert Kelley - Bloomberg

Nuclear Arms Charge Against Iran Is No Slam Dunk: Robert Kelly:

"I am speaking up about this now because, as a member of the IAEA’s Iraq Action Team in 2003, I learned firsthand how withholding the facts can lead to bloodshed. Having known the details then, though I was not allowed to speak, I feel a certain shared responsibility for the war that killed more than 4,000 Americans and more than 100,000 Iraqis. A private citizen today, I hope to help ensure the facts are clear before the U.S. takes further steps that could lead, intentionally or otherwise, to a new conflagration, this time in Iran."
Nuclear Arms Charge Against Iran Is No Slam Dunk: Robert Kelley - Bloomberg

Tuesday, January 10, 2012

Gadfly Radio with Martha and CalWatchDog: Tonight, Ben Boychuk, John Seiler, with Special guest, Chris Reed, Journalist, Political Pundit, Honorary Gadfly!

Gadfly Radio Tonight, at 8 PM PT

Live Call in number: 1-818-602-4929
Jan 10, 2012:  Tonight live at 8 p.m. PT on Gadfly Radio, Martha Montelongo along with Ben Boychuk of CA City Journal and John Seiler of CalWatchDog.com.  Chris Reed, author, blogger, pundit at CalWhine.com joins us to talk about CA's budget, the $9 Billion Dollar Choo-choo train Jerry wants even though, as Dan Walter's writes, we're buried under a mountain of debt.  

We'll talk with Chris about his latest posts at CalWhine.com, in addition to his most recent on the Bullet Train, and the impact on the people of California. He opines on Education, on Public Employee Pensions and Benefits, on junk science driving public policy in CA, via AB32, and more.

Steven Greenhut has a piece out now at California City Journal, Crony Capitalism Rebuked California’s supreme court strikes a blow for property rights and fiscal sanity. He concludes by stating that Redevelopment agencies are fighting now, to bring back Redevelopment, and he poses a poignant question to the minority party in CA: Will Republicans side with property rights and limited government at the local level, or again stand up for these misguided and destructive bureaucratic bodies?

On Education, we'll talk with Chris Reed, John Seiler and Ben Boychuk about Larry Sand's op-ed about "air time," a little known scheme in California and 20 other states that allows teachers and other public employees to pad their pensions at taxpayers’ expense. We didn't get to it last week.

Sand has an new piece out today also at UnionWatch.org, called More Pension Truths and Why You Should be Very Angry, which we may or may not get to on the program, but which you ought to know about.

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

 

I am a stand for liberty, integrity, empowerment, 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

Dan Walters: California's 'wall of debt' is really a mountain -But he wants a bullet train that will top $9 Billion!!!!

Sacramento Politics - California Politics | Sacramento Bee

"...Brown's budget cites the $33 billion in on- and off-the-books debt run up in recent years to cover the state's operational shortfalls..."

"...But those numbers, as large as they may appear, are only the foothills of the debt mountain that state and local governments have amassed in recent years..."

"...California voters have approved nearly $130 billion in active general obligation bonds, of which $73 billion are still outstanding and $33 billion remain unissued, according to the state treasurer's office, and even if no more are sold, it will cost the state nearly $135 billion to repay them over the next 30 years..."

"...Other bond issues that lack dedicated revenues and therefore must be repaid from the state treasury will cost another $20 billion..."

There's also Redevelopment Debt: "...more than $100 billion in debt that must be repaid, mostly from property taxes that otherwise would finance local services. With interest, it may be $200 billion..."

Federal Govt loans to $10 billion dollars in loans from the Feds to CA for Unemployment Insurance.


Unfunded Public Employee Pension debt: According to Brown, "...$45.2 billion and retiree health care at $59.9 billion, but independent estimates of the pension gap have ranged as high as a half-trillion dollars, depending on assumption of future investment earnings..."

BUT HE WANTS the CHOO CHOO TRAIN THAT WILL SERVE PRIMARILY MIDDLE CLASS RIDERS WHO CAN FEEL "GOOD" ABOUT THEIR CONTRIBUTION TO SAVING THE ENVIRONMENT, AND WHO THINK IT'S COOL TO RIDE A SHINY TRAIN. Who cares if it's costs are now estimated to be more than $9 Billion Dollars. LET THE POOR EAT CAKE


Read more here: Dan Walters: California's 'wall of debt' is really a mountain - Sacramento Politics - California Politics | Sacramento Bee

Crony Capitalism Rebuked by Steven Greenhut - City Journal



The redevelopment agencies are fighting to return, but unlike last year, when most Republicans opposed the effort to dissolve the agencies, 2012 may see a minority party doing the right thing. A number of assembly Republicans who refused to support Brown’s anti-RDA legislation claimed that they did so because the package of bills would just resuscitate the RDAs. Well, the state supreme court has now killed that argument. Will Republicans side with property rights and limited government at the local level, or again stand up for these misguided and destructive bureaucratic bodies?


Crony Capitalism Rebuked by Steven Greenhut - City Journal

Monday, January 9, 2012

Pension Puffery

...One of my pet peeves in the ongoing debates over public pension reform is the way partisans on each side try to pitch half-truths and myths to support their arguments. The other side seldom believes any of these, but they help rally the allies on the speaker's side. Sometimes the press naively re-circulates these fallacies, which leaves the general public even more confused about what to believe. There's an old saying in politics that if you tell the same lie long enough, the public will eventually believe it — and that apparently is the mentality of lobbyists on both sides. In an effort to start the new year with a clean slate for public debate, I'd like to set the record straight on a dozen of the most glaring fallacies and silly slogans.

This is a lengthy column, so readers can click on to any one of these topics to jump to that subject:

1. "The pension mess was caused by greedy people (from the other side), not us."
2. "There's no crisis. The stock market will recover and then there is no problem."
3. "The solution is to replace pensions with 401(k) plans, like the private sector."
4. "Experts consider 80 percent to be a healthy pension funding ratio."
5. "Only 15 percent of pension costs is paid by employers. Investment income pays the lion's share."
6. "My pension contract is protected by the Constitution and can't be violated."
7. "States are already fixing the problem with reasonable pension reforms."
8. "The solution is collective bargaining. There is no need for drastic legislation."
9. "This is a $3 trillion problem when you measure it using honest (risk-free) math."
10. "We earned more than 8 percent in the last 25 years, and will do so again."
11. "The average public pension is $23,000."
12. The $100,000 pension club.


Click here to go to the article, Pension Puffery at Governing.com

Doug Kaplan: Beware of unintended consequences if redevelopment is revived - San Jose Mercury News

...The Legislature created the redevelopment program in the early 1950s for the sole purpose of "eradicating blight" in struggling urban areas such as San Francisco's Western Addition. Convinced that this monumental task could not "be accomplished by private enterprise alone," Sacramento lawmakers gave local officials the authority to establish powerful public agencies endowed with extraordinary abilities to borrow, tax and seize private property through eminent domain. 

It didn't take long for local officials to realize that they could use their new powers to do much more than rebuild blighted neighborhoods. Soon, nearly 400 cities and counties in California, including some of the most affluent suburbs in the country, were using their new redevelopment agencies to toss people out of their homes and businesses in order to build tax-generating auto malls, hotels, shopping centers and big-box stores on prime -- not blighted --commercial sites. This was the first perversion of legislative intent...
Click here to read more of Doug Kaplan: Beware of unintended consequences if redevelopment is revived - San Jose Mercury News

Friday, January 6, 2012

Obama Says Bill Breaks With Our Values, Signs It Anyway - Conor Friedersdorf - Politics - The Atlantic

For many liberals, the ACLU fulfills a role akin to a canary in a coal mine: it's beyond the capacity of the average citizen to monitor every piece of legislation that might impact civil liberties, but when the organization starts freaking out it's taken as a credible signal that our rights are in peril. As America turned its calendars from 2011 to 2012, we witnessed that kind of moment. "President Obama's action today is a blight on his legacy because he will forever be known as the president who signed indefinite detention without charge or trial into law," said Anthony D. Romero, the ACLU's executive director. "The statute is particularly dangerous because it has no temporal or geographic limitations, and can be used by this and future presidents to militarily detain people captured far from any battlefield." Warnings are seldom so dire.


Obama Says Bill Breaks With Our Values, Signs It Anyway - Conor Friedersdorf - Politics - The Atlantic

Marijuana | Barack Obama | Obama's foolish war on marijuana | The Daily Caller

If the Obama administration recognizes arrests are not going to solve the problem, then why are we spending $14 billion a year on marijuana-related arrests? Why are people being sentenced to life in prison for marijuana-related crimes? And more importantly, why did Obama direct the Justice Department to target dispensaries a week after these petitions received the minimum amount of signatures necessary to receive a response?

The fact is, marijuana is less deleterious to the human body than alcohol. In fact, there are no scientific studies that conclusively prove that marijuana poses real health risks to humans. To the contrary, 16 states have recognized its medical benefits and legalized it for medicinal use. By hiding behind the “science” that doesn’t exist, the Obama administration is trying to brush off the 74,000 Americans who signed the petition to legalize marijuana and the 70% of voters who would like to see medicinal marijuana legalized. This administration’s marijuana stance makes neither scientific nor political sense.



Marijuana | Barack Obama | Obama's foolish war on marijuana | The Daily Caller

10 IMPLICIT fallacies justifying government pensions - Richard Rider - Open Salon

Sometimes explicit but often IMPLICIT in government employee demands for high pensions are many, many fallacies:

10 IMPLICIT fallacies justifying government pensions - Richard Rider - Open Salon

Tuesday, January 3, 2012

Gadfly Radio with Martha and CalWatchDog: Tonight, Ben Boychuk, John Seiler, with Special guest, Steve Greenhut on Redevelopment--Ding Dong, The Witch is Dead!

Gadfly Radio Tonight, at 8 PM PT

Live Call in number: 1-818-602-4929
Jan 3, 2012:  Tonight live at 8 p.m. PT on Gadfly Radio, Martha Montelongo along with Ben Boychuk of CA City Journal and John Seiler of CalWatchDog.com.  Steven Greenhut, the Editor in Chief at CalWatchDog, joins us to discuss the latest and hottest stories in CA politics, but especially, we want to talk about the how California's RDAs [were] Hoisted on [Their] Own Petard.

Steve's most recent book, Plunder, about Public Employee Union Benefits and Pensions are bankrupting the nation, is well known and regarded by serious reformers in the field, across the political spectrum nationwide.

But Greenhut also did a compelling and comprehensive book on RDAs or Redevelopment Associations, called Abuse of Power: How the Government Misuses Eminent Domain.  Did he ever think he'd see this program be dissolved in California?  How did it happen?  The title of his report says it all in one sentence.  We'll have a chance to hear him talk about it in detail. 

Every week we cover an important story concerning education and the struggle to transform it into an effective institution. This week we touch on two stories.

One is very subtly described as State Sponsored Thievery Continues in Plain Sight, in an op-ed by Larry Sand, published today at UnionWatch.org.

The other story is regarding Parents across Southern California Demanding CTA apologize for fear mongering and intimidation tactics used against families who want to organize for reform, and demands that the CTA retract denigrating statements dismissing parents' interests, intentions and good will. Linda Serrato of the Parent Revolution joins us to talk about this story.

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State Sponsored Thievery Continues in Plain Sight « Union Watch

"Teachers and other public employees use “air time” to pick your pocket. The California State Teachers Retirement System tries calming words. David Crane tells the truth and loses yet another job." 
Saying that the state teachers’ retirement system is underfunded is the understatement of this or any year and now, CalSTRS is giving us specifics. On December 27th, it said,

“Recent media reports have suggested that to solve the unfunded liability the state will have to increase CalSTRS funding by $3.8 billion a year for 30 years for a total of more than $114 billion. Although this is an accurate statement based on current projections, achieving adequate funding can occur several ways that would be phased in over time. The CalSTRS $56 billion funding shortfall can be managed, but it will require gradual and predictable increases in contributions.”
Read more:
State Sponsored Thievery Continues in Plain Sight « Union Watch

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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