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Will young CA justices use Vergara case to audition for SCOTUS?

December 27th, 2014 By Chris Reed.

The Volokh Conspiracy, the wonderful legal blog founded by UCLA law professor Eugene Volokh, had a provocative post about what might happen now that Gov. Jerry Brown has named three acclaimed youngish scholars to the California Supreme Court. George Washington University law professor Orin Kerr writ...

Record DOW? Not so fast

December 27th, 2014 By John Seiler.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average has been setting new records. It soared above 18,000 for the first time on Tuesday. But is it really a record? Not if we score it by gold, the only real money. Then it's clear that, although stocks have been rising lately, they are far from their heights of the la...

CA govt. workers score top salaries

December 26th, 2014 By John Seiler.

A new survey by the U.S. Census Bureau found that California government workers pull down among the highest compensation in the nation. Here's the map: Table 4 shows average earnings, for 2013, in California for a full-time state-and-local employee are $6,190. No other state even breaks the $...

Will NY fracking ban trigger ‘domino effect’ that reaches CA?

December 26th, 2014 By Chris Reed.

California environmentalists and government regulators have long prided themselves in pioneering new rules and restrictions. But now it appears a liberal East Coast state has taken the lead in dealing with one of the day's most controversial environmental issues. This is from

Bag ban goes to voters in 2016

December 25th, 2014 By John Seiler.

Some good holiday news. This year the California Legislature passed the most unsanitary legislation in decades, the ban on plastic bags at grocery stores. An initiative just qualified for 2016 for voters to dump this eco-Marxism from the law books. I think it will pass. Not only do "reusab...

State government’s computers so primitive they’re tough to hack

December 25th, 2014 By Chris Reed.

The hack of Sony Pictures by shadowy types believed associated with the North Korean government took another twist on Christmas Eve when Sony went ahead and released "The Interview" on YouTube after initially caving to hackers' demands and scrapping plans for any release of the crude, Pyongyang-mock...

Call her Prof. Dr. Big Sis

December 24th, 2014 By John Seiler.

It was Matt Drudge who dubbed Janet Napolitano "Big Sis" when she was the head of the U.S. Department of Homeland Security. Given her duties of spying on Americans and repressing us in the strangely Teutonic-sounding "homeland/heimat" department, it was a play on Big Brother in Orwell's "1984." T...

Brown readies 2015-16 budget

December 23rd, 2014 By John Seiler.

Budget time again. According to the Sacramento Bee, Gov. Jerry Brown is working on his budget, for fiscal year 2015-16, which begins next July 1. He will reveal his budget a couple weeks into the new year. The Bee looked at five things. My perspective follows. 1. "Will Brown loosen up?" and in...

Tax credit could cost taxpayers $1 billion

December 22nd, 2014 By John Seiler.

California now is considering a state-level Earned Income Tax Credit. That comes just in time for Jan. 27, the IRS' EITC Awareness Day. (I am not making this up.) According to a study by the Legislative Analyst, requested by the Legislature: The federal EITC is an income tax credit that increase...

CA media finds de Leon guilty of not being Steinberg

December 22nd, 2014 By Chris Reed.

There has been steady turnover in the leadership of the state Assembly every few years, so there is plenty of evidence that most new speakers get the equivalent of a honeymoon. Certainly that's been true of current Speaker Toni Atkins, D-San Diego, and the two Los Angeles Democrats who preceded her,...

Drought mostly over, govt. water takeover isn’t

December 21st, 2014 By John Seiler.

It looks like the drought is receding, the U.S. Drought Monitor reported on Thursday: In summary, a wet December (to date) has provided California a foothold for drought recovery, but 3 straight winters of subnormal precipitation will take time (possibly several consecutive wet winters) to fully re...

CA data does not compute

December 20th, 2014 By John Seiler.

California remains the global epicenter of computers and the Internet. Then why do so many of its state-government systems not compute? The latest critique comes in a new report, "Data Reliability," by State Auditor Elaine M. Howle. Subtitle: "State Agencies’ Computer-Generated Data Varied in ...

Coal ban would boost tax cost of pensions

December 19th, 2014 By John Seiler.

California public pensions already have a big problem with adequate funding. The nonpartisan state Legislative Analyst pegs the pensions' unfunded liabilities at $340 billion. It should be obvious what the investment strategy should be for the California Public Employees System, the California St...

Tesla facing tough competition

December 18th, 2014 By John Seiler.

No question that Tesla, in addition to getting a lot of public subsidies and tax breaks, has come with some great cars based on incredible technology. But does that justify its $27 billion market capitalization? Now the Big Boys are getting into the act of producing luxury electric cars. Accordi...

Teacher pay raises gobble up Prop 30, LCFF funds

December 18th, 2014 By Chris Reed.

In 2012, California voters approved Proposition 30, which temporarily raised sales taxes on everyone and income taxes on the wealthy. The measure was sold with the promise it would directly help public education. It was "for the kids." In 2013, the California Legislature approved a dramatic chang...

CA firefighter makes $508,893

December 17th, 2014 By John Seiler.

The problem of absurdly high compensation for government workers in California never seems to get better. The latest from the Orange County Register's Watchdog: Several California firefighters managed to triple their base salaries by working tons of overtime last year, according to competing data o...

Dems bring back fundraising party

December 16th, 2014 By John Seiler.

When the going gets tough -- the tough party. A series of scandals involving three California state senators forced the cancellation of the Pro Tem Golf fundraiser earlier this year. But it's hard to keep party animals down. The party is back for 2015. The Times reports: The event at Torrey Pine...

Budget fight shows unlikelihood of fed $ for bullet train

December 16th, 2014 By Chris Reed.

Congress' most intense squabbles over the $1.1 trillion omnibus spending plan that passed Saturday weren't over the budget details. They were over plans to add provisions in the measure to modify existing laws, most notably language that would weaken some protections against a fresh round of Wall St...

Dismal election turnout

December 15th, 2014 By John Seiler.

The California Secretary of State's office just released figures showing the Nov. 4 election suffered the worst turnout rate ever. According to the Capitol Weekly summary: Less than a third of California’s eligible voters cast ballots on Nov. 4.... Of those who registered to vote, little better ...

High-speed rail incompatible with current tracks

December 15th, 2014 By John Seiler.

One reason the American South lost the Civil War was it had numerous incompatible railroad track systems, requiring supplies to be unloaded, then loaded again, for each different segment. By contrast, the Northern rail networks were more uniform, although not completely so. That's turning out to ...

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