Howling up at the moon, and moaning under the stars…
Chelsea Clinton to receive Lifetime Achievement Award?
“At the heart of New York City is a vibrant community of strong women in entertainment, media, and politics whose commitment to philanthropy is inspirational,” said Michelle Sobrino Stearns, Group Publisher/Chief Revenue Officer of Variety, in a statement released Monday. “We are delighted to be celebrating these women along with the women profiled in our annual New York Women’s Impact List with our partners at Lifetime.”
Ms. Clinton, vice chair of the Clinton Foundation, “will be honored for her work with Alliance for a Healthier Generation, which empowers kids to develop lifelong healthy habits,” Variety added.
Steven Greenhut offers an insightful analysis of the current state of the California Republican Party following the 2016 general election. An election that saw the California GOP slide further into irrelevance, giving California Democrats Super Majorities in both the State Assembly and the State Senate.
In swing districts, the GOP can grab the occasional seat, but can rarely hold on to them for long. Recruiting attractive minority candidates doesn’t work. Having candidates who constantly sell out to the other side doesn’t work. Neither does picking candidates tailor-made for the district. All the outreach programs in the world don’t help.
So engineering your pitch to the electorate doesn’t work. Hyper-targeting and matching a candidate ethnically to district demographics doesn’t work. And selling out doesn’t work, because the Democrats already have that covered (why would you buy a Buick when you could get the Cadillac for the same price? – heck, we’re givin’ ’em away!).
My own opinion is that California Republicans don’t offer any solutions – only opposition, and rote adherence to principle when campaigning. Unified messaging is great when you actually have a message voters want to listen to. The problem for the Republican Party in California comes down not to candidates, or positioning, or message: it comes down to solutions and the voter. And to complicate that a bit more, the only solutions California voters want seem to be more spending, more bond measures, and more services. Until California reaches a tipping point, and the inevitable crash comes, it seems that California voters aren’t open to solutions to government, they only want more government, specifically, more from government, always at the expense of someone else.
With the 63% voter approved Proposition 55 (extension of the Proposition 30 Income Tax Increase) it is clear that the California State motto has changed from “Eureka! (I have found it!)” to “Eureka! (I have found someone to pay for it!).
Daily affirmation, from Justice Don Willett
…it is unsurprising that people mistake majority rule as America’s defining value. But our federal and state charters are not, contrary to popular belief, about “democracy”—a word that appears in neither document, nor in the Declaration of Independence. Our enlightened 18th and 19th-century Founders, both federal and state, aimed higher, upended things, and brilliantly divided power to enshrine a promise (liberty), not merely a process (democracy). One of our constitutions (federal) is short, the other (state) is long—like really long—but both underscore liberty’s primacy right away. The federal Constitution, in the first sentence of the Preamble, declares its mission to “secure the Blessings of Liberty.” The Texas Constitution likewise wastes no time, stating up front in the Bill of Rights its paramount aim to recognize and establish “the general, great and essential principles of liberty and free government.” The point is unsubtle and undeniable: Liberty is not provided by government; liberty preexists government. It is not a gift from the sovereign; it is our natural birthright. Fixed. Innate. Unalienable.
Limited governance starts and ends with this.
Currently re-reading Whittaker Chambers’ Witness. One of Chambers’ quotes from the 1960s, as provided by William F Buckley in 2001, seems rather prescient half a century later :
But if the Republican Party cannot get some grip of the actual world we live in and from it generalize and actively promote a program that means something to the masses of people—why somebody else will. Then there will be nothing to argue. The voters will simply vote Republicans into singularity. The Republican Party will become like one of those dark little shops which apparently never sell anything.
As we have seen in California, if you aren’t providing a solution, if all you have to offer is rote opposition, you’ve got nothing to sell. And people will leave.
Please review the press release from the Sacramento County Sheriff’s Department regarding the impact of the just passed California Proposition 47.
See also an article from the Los Angeles Times regarding Proposition 47’s impact in court on it’s very first day
OK – This is why the ballot referendum process can be dangerous. Unintended consequences. Make a Proposition too simple and there are loopholes. Make it too specific and there are loopholes. The ballot initiative process is supposed to be a remedy for extreme instances, not the whim of ‘there ought to be a law’.
Our legislators are supposed to weigh and measure the significance of California law and then either create a law, leave it as is, or fix it. That is what all these time and money wasting legislative committees are supposed to be doing: evaluating proposed laws, and passing a recommendation on to the full legislature. Instead we get “placeholder” laws, completely empty of content, which are passed, and then the legislation is added to them after the fact.
But something that will enrage voters, where blame can be assigned, that’s different – our Legislative majority wanted tax increases so badly in 2012, but they were too chicken to simply pass it themselves and suffer the outrage of voters. So they cried to the electorate that we needed higher taxes for kids and schools, and our ‘safety net’, and begged the electorate to pass tax increases via the ballot, so that they couldn’t be blamed.
“Yes, those tax increases are significant, but WE didn’t pass them, the PEOPLE demanded them at the ballot box. Can’t blame us.”
Budgeting and passing laws is their JOB, not the voters’. We are a representative republic, not a direct democracy. When we leave the crafting laws to the teaming masses, moved by some perceived outrage, this is what we get. Instead of doing their damn jobs, legislators pass the buck to the electorate.
Sorry, but we are an ignorant electorate, and we deserve to choke on this crap sandwich we just passed.
Effective immediately, the passage of Proposition 47 will have the following effects on the custody and policing practices of the Sacramento County Sheriff’s Department:
1. In most instances, many crimes that were previously “arrestable” as a felony will now only be “citable” as a misdemeanor. That means they may not be booked into jail but rather given a citation (similar to a traffic ticket) with a court date to appear, and released in the field. They will not be held pending trial. Such felony crimes that are now misdemeanors include:
• Commercial burglary (theft under $950)
• Forgery and bad checks (under $950 value)
• Theft of most firearms
• Theft of a vehicle (under $950 value)
• Possession of stolen property (under $950 value)
• Possession of heroin, cocaine, illegal prescriptions, concentrated cannabis, and methamphetamine
2. Inmates awaiting trial on any of the above felony charges in most instances will be able to have their charges immediately reduced to the new misdemeanor level, and will be let out of jail on a citation. A determination as to each person’s eligibility is somewhat time consuming, but could result in up to 420 releases.
3. Inmates who are sentenced on the above felonies can petition the court for reduction of their felony convictions to misdemeanors and many of them would be also be eligible for immediate release.
4. Convicted felons with the above felonies in their history can petition the court to have their prior felony convictions reduced to misdemeanors. If successful, many of the prohibitions they faced would then be reinstated, such as the right to vote, the right to purchase a handgun, the ability to apply as a peace officer, etc.
For a single day, let us ignore the current state of the world, and instead recall that seventy years ago, on June 6th, 1944, citizen warriors from the United States, along with our allies from nations around the world, leapt from the air, and surged from the sea, to gain a toe hold in France, in Hitler’s Fortress Europe. In eleven months, less than a year, ordinary American servicemen achieved the extraordinary, fascism’s barbarity would soon meet it’s end.
Let us hold true to the sacrifice of those men as they undertook the unimaginable.
Soldiers, Sailors and Airmen of the Allied Expeditionary Force!
You are about to embark upon the Great Crusade, toward which we have striven these many months. The eyes of the world are upon you. The hopes and prayers of liberty-loving people everywhere march with you. In company with our brave Allies and brothers-in-arms on other Fronts, you will bring about the destruction of the German war machine, the elimination of Nazi tyranny over the oppressed peoples of Europe, and security for ourselves in a free world.
Your task will not be an easy one. Your enemy is well trained, well equipped and battle hardened. He will fight savagely.
But this is the year 1944! Much has happened since the Nazi triumphs of 1940-41. The United Nations have inflicted upon the Germans great defeats, in open battle, man-to-man. Our air offensive has seriously reduced their strength in the air and their capacity to wage war on the ground. Our Home Fronts have given us an overwhelming superiority in weapons and munitions of war, and placed at our disposal great reserves of trained fighting men. The tide has turned! The free men of the world are marching together to Victory!
I have full confidence in your courage and devotion to duty and skill in battle.
We will accept nothing less than full Victory! Good luck! And let us beseech the blessing of Almighty God upon this great and noble undertaking
General Dwight David Eisenhower, Supreme Commander Allied Forces Europe.
In Flanders fields the poppies blow
Between the crosses, row on row,
That mark our place; and in the sky
The larks, still bravely singing, fly
Scarce heard amid the guns below.
We are the Dead. Short days ago
We lived, felt dawn, saw sunset glow,
Loved and were loved, and now we lie
In Flanders fields.
Take up our quarrel with the foe:
To you from failing hands we throw
The torch; be yours to hold it high.
If ye break faith with us who die
We shall not sleep, though poppies grow
In Flanders fields.
I’ve never been to Arlington National Cemetery, but I hope to pay respect to our fallen warriors in person there, someday.
However, I have been to the National Memorial Cemetery Of The Pacific, and it is a sobering experience.
As you observe Memorial Day, in the warm embrace of family and friends, please remember that the day is intended to mark the sacrifice of those noble Americans who gave their last full measure to preserve our liberty and principles.
On Friday February 14th we’ll have a memorial to remember my mother in law Sharon, whom we lost on February 2nd.
A sad day, indeed, but we’ll take some time away from grieving to celebrate her life. I first met Sharon in December of 1983, and while I doubt that she had any inkling of the long lasting and significant bond we’d develop, she warmly welcomed me into her family. Directly attributable to Sharon and my father in law Jim, are the three greatest gifts in my life: Meirve, who then brought me Megan and Kaitlin. I am eternally grateful for the way Sharon has impacted my life these last 30 plus years.
Having only had one grandmother alive when I was born, I’m thankful that Meg and Kaitie have had the blessings of being able to have had all four of their grandparents in their lives, even if only for a little while.
And while there is appreciably little I can do to assuage the the overwhelming sorrow felt by our family, I know that the promise of tomorrow, and the gladness for all our yesterdays, will allow each of us a small measure of relief.
The California Legislative Analyst’s Office’s Chief Analyst Mac Taylor is forecasting a budget surplus that could reach $2.4 billion by June 2014 and $5.6 billion by June 2015. The actual projection made by the LAO has the state at a $10 billion surplus in six years, provided that revenue and spending patterns continue at the same pace in that time span. Ignored in this reporting is the $70 billion unfunded hole the California Public Employees Pension System has, or the unfunded mandate at the California State Teachers Retirement System.
With Governor Brown telling the Legislature that the surplus should be banked for a rainy day, and Legislative Republicans largely agreeing with the Governor, we’ve also seen numerous media opinion pages asking the Legislature to follow Brown’s suggestion to bank the surpluses and to start paying down debt before considering restoring funding to programs cut during the recession that fully engulfed the state in 2007/2008.
Also missed in this economic euphoria is the fact that the surpluses are due in large part to the tax increases implemented by Proposition 30 – which, strangely enough, has projected increases in tax revenue collected that follow the expected surpluses through 2018. So, why did we need to increase taxes?
The question for now is, since California is filthy rich with a $10BILLION budget surplus through 2018, how much of that $10 billion surplus will the Legislature spend in 2014?
(*- The correct answer is $90 billion. 2014 is, after all, an election year -*)