Right Thinking From The Left Coast
The Government is merely a servant -- merely a temporary servant; it cannot be its prerogative to determine what is right and what is wrong, and decide who is a patriot and who isn't. Its function is to obey orders, not originate them. - Mark Twain

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

Revenge of the “Taxmasters”!

Well can’t say I didn’t expect the angry politicians, deprived of the means to rob the people of California, well, the productive ones at least, of more of their hard earned dollars, to strike back at the ones demanding cuts. Forced to not use the only tactic they care to – increase taxes – these politicians, beholden to the people that survive by sucking the productive dry like vampires do their victims, the politicians have decided to sour the milk. If they need to cut spending to balance the budget, then what they will do is cut the spending that will cause the most harm and displease the most people, not cut the waste. Hence the threat to release 27,000 felons; to cut costs of course!

It’s not that these politicians don’t get it. They get it just fine. And they are pissed that the peasants have revolted and denied them their power. Instead of cutting the bloated bureaucracy and the waste, especially in the massive and ridiculous entitlement programs that cost Californians a fortune, they will cut critical services! That way the angry populace, fearing the effect of 27K felons released from prison – admit that the first thing that springs into the mind of normal people is that they are going to cause mayhem – will break down and allow them to do the only thing they really want: raise taxes. In that entire article I didn’t see a single effort to roll back the bloated social spending. The 3 day monthly furlough of unionized state workers isn’t even close to a solution: it’s a band aid over a stab wound to the carotid artery.

Californians better be aware that the people supposedly serving them see them as nothing but ATMs. The current tantrum is akin to that thrown by those that get mad that the bank dared to impose a fee on them taking out their money. Before you say that this analogy is off, remember that these politicians already believe that your money is theirs. That’s why they always feel the solution to any kind of budget gap is to tax you more. This is where the rest of the country is heading to. Only we do not have the protection of a Prop 13. Of course the people driving us over the cliff are saying they saved the day. They have to. Public opinion has turned as more and more people realize we are heading from the frying pan right into the bonfire. And since the America hating politicians in charge are not done pouring gasoline on the fire yet, to get it real hot and ready, so it can burn up the America they so hate and allow their collectivist banana republic to be born from its ashes, they need to snow the masses, for just a little bit more, to give them time to drive in that final nail or two into the coffin.

Cross posted at Wasting time with Alex

Posted by AlexinCT on 07/22/09 at 06:23 AM in Cullyforneah   Health Care   Left Wing Idiocy   Politics   Law, & Economics  • (0) TrackbacksPermalink

Thursday, July 09, 2009

California (Surcharge) Dreamin’…
by

If you’re a Democratic congressman, what do you do when you see the biggest state in the union fall billions short on their budget, even though they charge an additional tax on people’s taxes?  Why, copy thier methods, of course!: (via Bloomberg)

July 7 (Bloomberg)—House Ways and Means Committee members are likely to propose a surtax on high-income Americans to help pay for an overhaul of the health-care system, according to people familiar with the plan.....

Two people familiar with closed-door talks by committee Democrats said a House bill probably will include a surtax on incomes exceeding $250,000, as Congress seeks ways to pay for changes to a health-care system that accounts for almost 18 percent of the U.S. economy. By targeting wealthier Americans, a surtax may hold more appeal for House Democrats than a Senate proposal to tax some employer-provided health benefits.

If this is implemented, watch for what the baseline will be, then watch revenues plummet dramatically after the first year or two, as people find ways to earn less so they won’t have to pay this stupid surcharge.

The problem with the mantra “From each according to his ability, to each according to his need,” is that you need enough suckers with ability to provide for those in need.  The US is going to find this out sooner rather than later, particularly with a communist-sympathizing President in charge.

Posted by on 07/09/09 at 07:50 PM in Cullyforneah   Left Wing Idiocy   Politics   Law, & Economics  • (0) TrackbacksPermalink

Wednesday, July 08, 2009

Why I think the second patronage bill will die a horrible death..

I have a little detail I want to add to HeartlessLibertarian’s excellent post on how the democrats are already talking about how a second stimulus package is needed, because the first one was an epic fail. Now most of us sane people that understand how collectivist economics work, or more importantly why this stuff never works, and understand how the real world works, predicted, and did so correctly, that we were about to throw a trillion dollars – add all the associated costs of printing up all this cash and the number is closer to $1.3 trillion – down a hole, and get no stimulus at all out of it. Forget the fact that this was simply a patronage bill, loaded with massive pork and a ton of cash for lobbyists, operatives, and past and future donors, and focus on what government has been doing. The amount of money that was actually going to do anything to stimulate the economy – by creating new jobs – was such a pittance that it might as well also have been given away to the friends of the democrats.

Posted by AlexinCT on 07/08/09 at 07:38 AM in Cullyforneah   Health Care   Left Wing Idiocy   Politics   Law, & Economics   Science and Technology   The Press Machine   War on Terror/Axis of Evil  • (0) TrackbacksPermalink

Monday, July 06, 2009

Get ready for the “Cali-Style” federal IOUs

There has been a ton of meaningless drivel going around by the usual lefty propaganda outlets about how conservatives, and in particular Rush Limbaugh whom mentioned it back when, want Obama to fail. The meme is that conservatives are going to do things to make that so. Nothing could be further from the truth. In fact, unlike democrats/leftists, who do actually undermine things they do not like - see Iraq war 2003 to present for undisputable proof – as a matter of recourse, conservatives, notice I did not say republicans BTW, in general do not need to do anything to make the current Obamanomics policy fail. For proof, just look at California where Obamanomics has been the de facto policy for the last 2 decades.

July 6 (Bloomberg)—Last week, we discovered that the state of California will gladly pay you Tuesday for a hamburger today. With California mired in a budget crisis, largely the result of a political impasse that makes spending cuts and tax increases impossible, Controller John Chiang said the state planned to issue $3.3 billion in IOU’s in July alone. Instead of cash, those who do business with California will get slips of paper. The California morass has Democrats in Washington trembling. The reason is simple. If Obama’s health-care plan passes, then we may well end up paying for it with federal slips of paper worth less than California’s. Obama has bet everything on passing health care this year. The publicity surrounding the California debt fiasco almost assures his resounding defeat.

It takes years and years to make a mess as terrible as the California debacle, but the recipe is simple. All that you need is two political parties that are always willing to offer easy government solutions for every need of the voters, but never willing to make the tough decisions necessary to finance the government largess that results. Voters will occasionally change their allegiance from one party to the other, but the bacchanal will continue regardless of the names on the office doors. California has engaged in an orgy of spending, but, compared with our federal government, its legislators should feel chaste. The California deficit this year is now north of $26 billion. The U.S. federal deficit will be, according to the latest numbers, almost 70 times larger.

Bleak Picture

Bleak is an understatement. Remember that Obama and democrats ran and won big on picking at how horribly fiscally irresponsible the republicans had been during the Bush years. Well, Obamanomics is about to outdo those years and deficit spend in one year what it took Bush and the republicans 8 years to do. Have a look at how much money the Obamanomics plan is going to put us in the red by.

image

By the time Obama is done we will have tripled if not outright quadrupled our current deficit! And it is a guaranteed thing we will see nothing of the growth promised, unless you think a bigger government is equal to an economic boost, for all this spending.

The Obama administration has no shame, and is willing to abandon reason altogether to achieve its short-term political goals. Ronald Reagan ran up big deficits in part because he believed that his tax cuts would produce economic growth, and ultimately pay for themselves. He may well have been excessively optimistic about the merits of tax cuts, but at least he had a story.

Obama has no story. Nobody believes that his unprecedented expansion of the welfare state will lead to enough economic growth. Nobody believes that it will pay for itself. Everyone understands that higher spending today begets higher spending tomorrow. That means that his economic strategy simply doesn’t add up.

Character Deficit

And I should remind everyone that the above projections does not yet contain the massive, and drastically underestimated, costs of the Obama “Cap and Tax” and “Healthcare” plans. The first one is a massive new tax burden that serves but to enrich some politicians and their elected entourage of sell-out companies at the people’s expense. The second is a plan that I should add will do nothing but eventually make government the sole provider of healthcare, drastically reduce its quality and availability – to cut costs – and guarantee a level of intrusion and suppression of our personal freedoms that would be on par with the very tyrannical forms of government so many Americans died fighting off.

Can’t wait for the IOUs to be given to all these old Baby Boomer idiots that voted for this guy. Be it as their primary form of income as the economy continues to tank, as they find themselves looking for energy to meet their needs, or their critical healthcare needs as Obamacare becomes the law of the land. Hope and Change, indeed!

Cross posted at Wasting time with Alex

Update: Reader Miguelito asks:

Like others have already said here in the past: If the real goal is to destroy the capitalist system and fundamentally change the US.. then their strategy adds up perfectly.

In the words of Barack Obama himself:

“Generally, the narrow focus of the [Nuclear] Freeze movement as well as academic discussions of first versus second strike capabilities, suit the military-industrial interests, as they continue adding to their billion dollar erector sets.  When Peter Tosh sings that “everybody’s asking for peace, but nobody’s asking for justice,” one is forced to wonder whether disarmament or arms control issues, severed from economic and political issues, might be another instance of focusing on the symptoms of a problem instead of the disease itself.”

I Wonder how this would have played out if the MSM had disclosed this information before the election. In fact, it explains a lot about the current economic strategy pursued by the WH: destroy the economy and destroy the military capability. Then we can all smoke rope and sing Tosh songs about peace while we clamor for social justice.

I no longer doubt that when Biden says the WH underestimated the economic slump and the impact of their actions that they are lying. They created this crisis: they plan to take advantage of it too. And that’s your “Hope & Change” on a big steaming pile of doo.

Update 2: Manwhore brought up the issue of unions:

My personal opinion on how the state intends to do the inevitable is by doing things like issuing IOUs for services and making the work environments hostile in an effort to get some of these people to leave. Afterward they will lay off some people, and then cut services which will mean yet more layoffs.

I just happened to blog about that today:

Liberals love to tell us about the evils of capitalism, the greed of Wall Street, how the top people in big companies fleece us all, but nobody does it better than the liberal’s champion: government! Have a gander over to the WSJ and read about the underfunded Public Pensions and liabilities, and how big government is dealing with these problems:

Public employee pension plans are plagued by overgenerous benefits, chronic underfunding, and now trillion dollar stock-market losses. Based on their preferred accounting methods—which discount future liabilities based on high but uncertain returns projected for investments—these plans are underfunded nationally by around $310 billion.

Public pension administrators argue that government plans fundamentally differ from private sector pensions, since the government cannot go out of business. Even so, the only true advantage public pensions have over private plans is the ability to raise taxes. But as the Congressional Budget Office has pointed out in 2004, “The government does not have a capacity to bear risk on its own”—rather, government merely redistributes risk between taxpayers and beneficiaries, present and future.

Market valuation makes the costs of these potential tax increases explicit, while the public pension administrators’ approach, which obscures the possibility that the investment returns won’t achieve their goals, leaves taxpayers in the dark.

Get that? What’s good for the goose is not even close to being acceptable for the gander. No, really. And it gets worse: they don’t want us to know about it!

Some public pension administrators have a strategy, though: Keep taxpayers unsuspecting. The Montana Public Employees’ Retirement Board and the Montana Teachers’ Retirement System declare in a recent solicitation for actuarial services that “If the Primary Actuary or the Actuarial Firm supports [market valuation] for public pension plans, their proposal may be disqualified from further consideration.”

Scott Miller, legal counsel of the Montana Public Employees Board, was more straightforward: “The point is we aren’t interested in bringing in an actuary to pressure the board to adopt market value of liabilities theory.”

Enron was a greedy and evil corporation because of exactly this kind of stuff. However, government is not. That’s because these blood suckers figure they can always shaft the tax payer to cover their “exceedingly generous” debt obligations. And they need us to stay in the dark about it. This is the hope and change we are getting. Guess it pays to be part of the big government machine. Sucks bigtime otherwise. And we should not kid ourselves that Obama and his people would right now be nationalizing any private company doing what these public ones are doing, while demonizing capitalism, because they were abusing the public.

Posted by AlexinCT on 07/06/09 at 06:32 AM in Cullyforneah   Decline of Western Civilization   Health Care   Left Wing Idiocy   Politics   Law, & Economics   The Press Machine  • (0) TrackbacksPermalink

Tuesday, June 30, 2009

Where are we headed?

You know America is heading in the wrong direction when the Germans figure out they need tax cuts to create economic growth, the one and only indisputable proven way to do it BTW, while in America, the nanny state where the WH regulates lighting, the new spending and taxes keep on piling on and are already seen as game changers for the 2010 elections. Seriously. Our economy is imploding, government is doing its best to make it keep heading south, people are losing work left and right, and Obama’s priority, well other than having government grab control of healthcare for everyone but democrats and politicians, is lighting efficiency standards?

WASHINGTON—Aiming to keep the focus on climate change legislation, President Barack Obama put a plug in for administration efforts to make lamps and lighting equipment use less energy. “I know light bulbs may not seem sexy, but this simple action holds enormous promise because 7 percent of all the energy consumed in America is used to light our homes and businesses,” the president said, standing alongside Energy Secretary Steven Chu at the White House.

Obama said the new efficiency standards he was announcing for lamps would result in substantial savings between 2012 and 2042, saving consumers up to $4 billion annually, conserving enough energy to power every U.S. home for 10 months, reducing emissions equal to the amount produced by 166 million cars a year, and eliminating the need for as many as 14 coal-fired power plants.

Yeah, this sure makes me believe this is about stopping AGW. My bet is GE, or some other big democrat donor, has a new light bulb that nobody really wants and the WH is going to help them sell a lot of them. In return for a nice large donation, indirectly and well hidden, to the donkey’s campaign coffers, of course. This is not the first payback for services rendered, anyway. We Americans are now subsidizing “big and greedy” corporations, the ones democrats love to demonize but then cozy up with, and making them rich. All courtesy of that massive 1500 page bill, most of it still unwritten and definitely unread, that will stick US taxpayers with a $161 billion dollar annual tax hike, the largest single tax ever levied in our history, that was passed by the house, in the dark of night and by the hairs on Pelosi’s ugly mug, while the MSM had everyone focused on Michael Jackson’s freak death. Let’s hope the bill crashes and burns in the Senate. Today it’s California, a not too distant tomorrow considering where the collectivists are taking us, it will be the U.S. of A.

Cross posted at Wasting time with Alex

Posted by AlexinCT on 06/30/09 at 05:54 AM in Cullyforneah   Left Wing Idiocy   Politics   Law, & Economics   Science and Technology  • (0) TrackbacksPermalink

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

Talk about a royal shafting…

Democrats in the state of California seem hell bent on making sure the state fails. There is no other way to interpret their demand that all of the proposed $16 billion in cuts be done away with and for the $24 billion shortfall to entirely be made up with new taxes. You heard that right. The collectivists, in a down economy and at a time people are already fleeing California because of its draconian tax obligations, want to forego any kind of sacrifice on the part of their constituents, and are demanding more be taken from the already overburdened and fast dwindling productive in the private sector.

Have no doubt that this comes right back to democrats protecting their constituents: the large union blocks, first and foremost. Oh sure, in typical fashion, they are invoking suffering children and all that jazz, but the truth is that this is all smoke & mirrors. The democrats could give a rat’s ass about children. They do not get to vote, and vote for democrats. But admitting what you really are after is to protect the many public employee jobs at risk, at a time when people in the private sector are getting hammered, because of your dependency on them, will not fly well. So their solution is to raise taxes.

And these are more taxes. They have already raised taxes on Californians to the tune of $14 billion recently:

The latest tax proposal comes after six Republicans broke ranks with their party in February and approved $14 billion in tax increases to end a four-month impasse over how to close what was then a record $42 billion deficit. To fill that gap, lawmakers also agreed to cut $15 billion in spending.

So after they get the taxes they wanted in return for a promise to cut some of the brutal deficit with some spending reductions, the democrats now want to go back on their word and make it all up with new taxes. Talk about a royal shafting. I guess Californians, at least the ones not sucking at the government’s teat, are getting what they deserve from those they elected. Don’t worry America! This same stuff is coming our way courtesy of the federal government soon too…

Posted by AlexinCT on 06/16/09 at 09:43 AM in Cullyforneah   Left Wing Idiocy   Politics   Law, & Economics  • (0) TrackbacksPermalink

Saturday, June 13, 2009

The Collapse

Can someone explain to me why we should bail out California?  Because all the reasons given sound like garbage to me.  I don’t mean to pick on this article in particular, but it’s a nice distillation of all the bullshit talking points I’ve been hearing.

The Golden State is beset by two significant problems. The first is macroeconomic; like every state in the Union, recession has meant increased demand for public services combined with a dramatic decline in tax revenues (though California’s problems have been magnified by the severity of its housing bust and recession).

Wrong.  The structural problem is that it massively increased spending during boom times and is now going off the very cliff its irrational fiscal policy built.  Every state is in a recession.  I will grant that California is worse owing to high taxes and a brutal regulatory environment.  But is it worse than, say, Michigan?  Is it worse than Florida, which also had a gigantic housing bubble?

The second problem is structural and institutional. California’s system of ballot measures has helped pile a growing load of spending commitments on the state, while the infamous Proposition 13 has made it all but impossible to raise taxes. The 1978 voter initiative limited property tax rates and set a statutory requirement of a two-thirds majority in both legislative houses for passage of any tax increase. Combined with a more-or-less permanent minority of rabidly anti-tax Republican legislators, California has found itself absolutely unable to fix its budget problems.

Wrong again.  California is one of the most intense tax environments in the nation and has raised taxes repeatedly since 1978.  Liberals, you need to learn to do the math on this.  Prop 13 is not your problem.  I will grant, however, that massive unfunded spending initiatives and the defeat of the Governator’s ballot proposals have a bad situation far worse.  But then again, supporting the spending and opposing the initiatives was the position of liberals, not conservatives.

We have to let California collapse so that they can get untangled from the hideous maze of union payrolls that has them tied down.  We have to let them fail because it will set a precedent to bail other states out.  We have to let them fail because, if we bail them out, they’ll just be back next year for more money.  This is not some sudden visitation of fate; this is a problem that has been building for a decade or more.

The response to this, on the other hand, is that California is simply too big to fail. And truthfully, it is. California is the world’s eighth largest economy, and it contributes roughly an eighth of total American output (and drives much of the output in surrounding states). It’s very difficult to imagine the European Union standing by and allowing a budget crisis to ravage the German economy, or the IMF doing nothing at all to assist a Russia or a Brazil as they melted down.

Nonsense.  California is not going to slide into the ocean because their government goes belly up and is forced to drastically cut services.  I like to think of budget cuts in terms of time.  If we set the budget of California back ten years, it would be balanced.  And clearly, California wasn’t dying ten years ago or even close to it.

Were California forced to make significant cuts to its spending, the ramifications could be quite serious. School systems and universities would be endangered (which would threaten the state’s long-term economic prospects). Increases in crime, homelessness, and serious poverty would encourage residents to leave. Service cuts could threaten key industries. In short, the recession could grow far more serious in the state than it already is. That would threaten recovery across the nation.

Standard liberal tripe.  California spends about half its budget on education, mostly on a bloated public school system that the fucking LA times recently documented has become nothing but a sinecure for loyal union members.  But that leaves half the budget that’s not education.  Why, when spending cuts are threatened, do liberals always want to cut education first?  Because they want to use children as human shields against the budget cutters.

Ideally, America could adopt a comprehensive policy that would apply to California and any other state which might find itself in trouble, but that might not be possible given constitutional constraints. At the very least, the principle should be established that aid comes with strings attached. The federal government should put together a bail-out package for California that can only be accessed if the state agrees to hold a constitutional convention, limits the scope of the convention to budget rules and ballot initiatives, and changes those rules in ways that sharply reduce the probability that this kind of structural issue will emerge again. To ensure California’s compliance, the federal government could declare that if the state refuses to call a convention, it will receive aid but will have its federal dollars—for things like transportation, military spending, housing, and so on—garnished significantly until reform is achieved

And when they fail to do anything?  California doesn’t need a Constitutional Convention.  They have the power to fix things now.  I don’t see any reason why the legislators would show more courage and less union genuflecting at a convention than they do right now.  Unless the convention is held in a secret location that the union can not surround and protest at, nothing will change.

Granted, a convention might free them from some constitutional restraints on the budget. But as the earlier (and incorrect) note on Prop 13 indicates, they will almost certainly use this freedom to raise taxes, not to get their bloated budget under control.

It may seem that I’m blaming California’s unions for California’s woes.  If I’ve given that impression, it’s because it’s what I believe.  If the union is going to boast that they run the state—and they do—they can take some responsibility for the pending fiscal apocalypse.

Posted by Hal_10000 on 06/13/09 at 09:16 AM in Cullyforneah  • (0) TrackbacksPermalink

Wednesday, May 20, 2009

Insert Schwarzenegger Movie Line Here

Good for California:

California Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger was dealt a crushing defeat as voters rejected a series of ballot initiatives designed to help plug the state’s spiraling budget deficit.

Schwarzenegger, a Republican, had argued forcefully in favor of six measures that would have allowed for increases in sales, income and vehicle taxes, as well as other moves such as pay freezes for elected officials.

Schwarzenegger had warned that failure of the proposals would leave California grappling with a budget shortfall of around 21.3 billion dollars.

But weary voters were unwilling to heed Schwarzenegger’s deficit warnings and came out broadly against the ballot proposals, by margins of around 60-70 percent to 40-30 percent, local media reported.

The libs are, of course, heartbroken.  And they do have a point.  Californians can’t have their cake (high spending) and it it too (low taxes).  But that’s a syndrome the entire nation is afflicted with.  The problem California is having, unlike the Feds, is that they can’t tax those who don’t vote—i.e, the unborn children who are really going to foot the bill for this—with big deficits or inflation.

In the end, this is going to come down to a fight between the taxpayers and the state employees’ unions.  My bet is that this ends in bankruptcy for California and either a direct bailout from the Feds or an indirect bailout through higher bond prices for the rest of the nation.

Posted by Hal_10000 on 05/20/09 at 07:39 AM in Cullyforneah  • (0) TrackbacksPermalink

Saturday, May 16, 2009

Coming Soon To A Nation Near You

The Greatest Magazine On the Planet continues their slow move toward the Greatest TV Show On the Planet:

If this doesn’t enrage you—and make you virulently anti-union—you need help.  Why the fuck didn’t Californians elect McClintock back in the day?

Posted by Hal_10000 on 05/16/09 at 05:14 AM in Cullyforneah  • (0) TrackbacksPermalink

Friday, May 15, 2009

Good Medicine

When you’ve got no case, you’ve got no case.

As a concession to the shortness of life, California law does not allow a civil lawsuit to recover the purchase price for medicine consumed by the purchaser which performed as intended with no harm or fear of future harm merely because the consumer would not have purchased it had he or she known that the medicine came from a plant whose quality-control had been compromised....

If the pills had not been consumed, the consumer might possibly have a claim for a refund. But after consuming the pills and obtaining their beneficial effect with no downside, the consumer cannot get a refund on the theory that the pills came from a source of uncertain quality.... [T]he civil law should not be expanded to regulate every hypothetical ill in the absence of some real injury to the civil plaintiff.

In other words, the product worked, dummy, so shut up and literally take your medicine. Heh.

Posted by West Virginia Rebel on 05/15/09 at 03:21 PM in Cullyforneah  • (0) TrackbacksPermalink

Thursday, May 14, 2009

“I Have A Bridge In San Francisco To Sell You”

Arnold has apparently decided to put the Golden State up for sale:

Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger wants to sell the Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum, San Quentin State Prison, the Orange County Fairgrounds and other state property to raise cash amid the state’s growing fiscal crisis, according to a copy of a proposal reviewed by The Times.

Sale of the properties, to be included in the governor’s revised budget plan on Thursday, would raise between $600 million and $1 billion, although it would not provide relief to state coffers for two to five years, according to the proposal.

Is this a sign of things to come? Will other states sell stuff to make ends meet? Shades of DC Follies.

Posted by West Virginia Rebel on 05/14/09 at 05:23 PM in Cullyforneah  • (0) TrackbacksPermalink

Thursday, March 26, 2009

California Steaming

What the hell?

If California regulators get their way, auto makers may soon be forced to rewrite a cliché from the Ford Model T era and start telling customers they can have any color they want as long as it isn’t black.

Some darker hues will be available in place of black, but right now they are indentified internally at paint suppliers with names such as “mud-puddle brown” and are truly ugly substitutes for today’s rich ebony hues.

So buy a black car now, because soon they won’t be available or will look so putrid you won’t want one. And that’s too bad, because paint suppliers say black is the second- or third-most popular vehicle color around the world.

The problem stems from a new “cool paints” initiative from the California Air Resources Board. CARB wants to mandate the phase-in of heat-reflecting paints on vehicle exteriors beginning with the ’12 model year, with all colors meeting a 20% reflectivity requirement by the ’16 model year.

Because about 17 other states tend to follow California’s regulatory lead, as many as 40% of the vehicles sold in the U.S. could be impacted by the proposed directive, suppliers say.

The measure is aimed at reducing carbon-dioxide emissions and improving fuel economy by keeping vehicles cooler on sunny days and decreasing the amount of time drivers use their air conditioners.

There’s been some evidence showing that repainting buildings can cut energy use.  But people don’t spend their entire days inside cars.  Moreover, it’s not clear that these new paints will themselves be environmentally safe.  Or that they even exist.

You know, I’m becoming more and more convinced that our government works by people sitting around, smoking some pot and legislating whatever damn fool idea comes into their head.  “Dude!  I just realized that like, my car gets hot.  Maybe we can do something about that.” “Hey man, do you realize people could put like chemicals in water bottles and do stuff on planes.  We should ban water bottle in airports.” “This is freaking me out, my lamb is from New Zealand.  Think of all the food miles.”

It’s not scientific.  It not even sciency.  It’s one step remove from reducing global warming by sacrificing animals to the Carbon Gods.

On a slightly less foolish if much more economically damaging note, California is also considering banning big TVs:

The California Energy Commission is considering a proposal that would ban California retailers from selling all but the most energy-efficient televisions. Critics say the news standards could take 25 percent of televisions off the market — most of them 40 inches or larger.

“The larger the television, the more at risk it is of being banned unnecessarily in California,” said Douglas Johnson, senior director of technology police for the Consumer Electronics Association.

Association officials say the standards are not only unnecessary – because the federal government already regulates energy efficiency through the voluntary Energy Star program — but also ill-timed. The last thing our economy needs now is products taken off the market, they say.

They expect the ban would save a consumer about $18-30 per year on his electric bill.  That translates to a power savings of about 2.5 billion kWh, assuming there are ten million big TVs in California.  A single nuclear power plant would produce several times that amount of energy without any carbon whatsoever.

Of course, building a new nuclear power plant doesn’t stick it to those rich assholes with their big TVs.  So it’s really a non-starter, I guess.

Update: In other California news, Diane Feinstein wants to block wind and solar power from being in deserts.  I predicted this would happen—that the enviros would tie themselves in knots over whether alternative energy or pristine deserts were more important.

Posted by Hal_10000 on 03/26/09 at 06:45 AM in Cullyforneah  • (0) TrackbacksPermalink

Thursday, March 19, 2009

This City For Sale

The mayor of Los Angeles has discovered privatization in lean times.

In a wide-ranging session with Business Journal editors and reporters...[Mayor Antonio] Villaraigosa said he hoped to help plug a budget deficit by privatizing some operations.

“Why do we have to own a zoo?” he said. “A lot of cities don’t own their own zoos; they are privately run or have a public-private partnership structure. And, while we’re at it, why do we have to own a convention center?”

The city is facing a $450 million deficit in the 2009-10 fiscal year beginning July 1 and a projected deficit of at least $500 million the following year. Villaraigosa is looking for major revenue sources – other than tax increases – that can whittle down those deficits, and prevent massive layoffs of city workers and cutbacks in city services.

Villaraigosa is also exploring whether Los Angeles should make a long-term lease arrangement with a private operator for its parking garages, surface lots and parking meters.

As Reason notes, it’s a far different situation than when L.A. apparently had money to burn:

Villaraigosa isn’t the first Los Angeles mayor to suggest privatizing operations at the Los Angeles Convention Center. In 1994, then-Mayor Richard Riordan wanted to contract out management of Convention Center operations, claiming it could save the city up to $40 million a year.

But Riordan’s proposal ran into a buzz saw of union opposition and was handily defeated by the City Council, according to Fernando Guerra, director of the Center for the Study of Los Angeles at Loyola Marymount University.

However, Guerra said, the outcome now might be different. “Under Riordan, this whole debate was highly ideological, with Riordan committed to privatizing as much of government as possible and former Councilwoman Jackie Goldberg essentially saying, ‘Over my dead body.’ Now, with the economic meltdown, these private-public partnership proposals might not be dead on arrival.”

Considering that this guy is about as left-wing as it gets in L.A. politics (and that’s saying something), maybe Arnold should start following his lead. I could easily see him pitching things like the San Fernando Valley (if anyone would take it) in an informercial…

Posted by West Virginia Rebel on 03/19/09 at 04:54 PM in Cullyforneah  • (0) TrackbacksPermalink

Wednesday, March 18, 2009

Grand Old Jihad

Maybe they really are turning into the Taliban:

At a time when the national GOP is trying to find its voice and cultivate new candidates, California GOP activists have begun engaging in a new pastime: issuing “fatwas” to punish state Republican legislators deemed too moderate on tax issues.

This circular firing squad was on display last week at a “Tax Revolt” rally that drew 8,000 people to a Fullerton parking lot. It was organized by popular conservative talk show hosts John and Ken – John Kobylt and Ken Chiampou of radio station KFI in Los Angeles.

The raucous California tea party featured such dramatics as the spearing of a likeness of Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger’s head, and the sledge-hammering of a pile of Schwarzenegger dolls, videos and movie memorabilia – even an action hero lunch box.

The radio hosts’ “fatwas” target a handful of moderate GOP legislators who sided with Democrats to end the state budget impasse. Their calls to recall those lawmakers have reverberated throughout the Republican grassroots.

Does this mean Arnold has to start watching for pitchforks and torches?

Posted by West Virginia Rebel on 03/18/09 at 06:47 PM in Cullyforneah  • (0) TrackbacksPermalink

Sunday, March 15, 2009

Recession Radio

It turns out the Fairness Doctrine wasn’t necessary, after all:

The reality is that conservative talk radio in California is on the wane. The economy’s downturn has depressed ad revenue at stations across the state, thinning the ranks of conservative broadcasters.

For that and other reasons, stations have dropped the shows of at least half a dozen radio personalities and scaled back others, in some cases replacing them with cheaper nationally syndicated programs.

Casualties include Mark Larson in San Diego, Larry Elder and John Ziegler in Los Angeles, Melanie Morgan in San Francisco, and Phil Cowen and Mark Williams in Sacramento.

Two of the biggest in the business, Roger Hedgecock in San Diego and Tom Sullivan in Sacramento, have switched to national shows, elevating President Obama above Schwarzenegger on their target lists.

Another influential Sacramento host, Eric Hogue, has lost the morning rush-hour show that served as a prime forum to gin up support for the recall of Gov. Gray Davis. Now he airs just an hour a day at lunchtime on KTKZ-AM (1380).

“It’s lonely, it’s quiet, and it’s a shame,” Hogue said of California’s shrinking conservative radio world. “I think this state has lost a lot of benefit. I don’t know if we can grow it back any time soon.”
....

And apart from KFI, whose morning show with Bill Handel draws 652,000 listeners a week, the California shows are far less popular. The only hosts of conservative programs with a weekly audience of more than 100,000 are Doug McIntyre of KABC (790) in Los Angeles, Lee Rodgers of KSFO (560) in San Francisco and Rick Roberts of KFMB (760) in San Diego.

“The content is the same,” said Hogue, “but it doesn’t have the reach it once did. There are major players gone.”

We all rightly cheered when Air America went down in flames. Now that the shoe is on the other foot, it’s not as pleasent. But it is reality. The free market is an equal opportunity downsizer.

Posted by West Virginia Rebel on 03/15/09 at 03:55 PM in Cullyforneah  • (0) TrackbacksPermalink
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