Parents go to jail if their kids miss too much school. Can we please vote these people out of office…. Forever.
Judy, our wonderful companion. Today was the day we had to say good-bye. She’s had very bad hip dysplasia, and the arthritis has been getting progressively worse. This was a very hard decision to make, but today we decided that she should not suffer any longer. Here is some background of her life with us. Good-bye my sweet girl.
Our ruling class:
The Democrats who control the Legislature have fired their opening salvo against Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger’s spending blueprint, which proposed eliminating California’s welfare program and cutting deeply into other state services, by proposing that the state rely instead on billions of dollars in new taxes to balance the budget.
The Assembly’s Democrats detailed a plan Tuesday that would tax oil companies and borrow billions from the nickel-and-dime deposits that consumers make on recyclable bottles and cans. Tax breaks for businesses that are scheduled to take effect soon would be delayed under the plan.
A day earlier, Democrats in the Senate had begun debating a nearly $5-billion tax plan that would delay the same corporate tax breaks and extend both a hike in personal income taxes and a reduced dependent-care credit that are set to expire in December. Vehicle license fees would rise by $1.2 billion. Taxes on alcohol would increase 60%.
Because, you know, we just can’t cut the size and scope of government, not on their watch. I would shake my head in disbelief, but, honestly, I’m not surprised.
File this under “Stuff I Should Have Blogged About, But Have Been Too Busy”.
California has been locked in some sort of water war for about as long as it’s been a state I think. This last week delivered some great news concerning water delivery to the west side farmers:
A judge in Fresno slammed the federal government Tuesday for reducing the supply of water last year to Central Valley farmers and millions of California residents without scientific justification.
There are no studies that show the pumps to be the main cause of the declining fish population, and, in fact, due to the shut off from last year, there is now scientific evidence that shows that, even with the pumps off, the fish population still declined.
U.S. District Judge Oliver Wanger will consider restoring the water supply and ordering government biologists back to the drawing board during a hearing today that could decide the fate of the state’s beleaguered salmon.
The flow of delta water to farms and communities was cut by about 7 percent in June 2009 to protect salmon, steelhead, green sturgeon and southern resident killer whales, whose primary prey is salmon. Biologists with the National Marine Fisheries Service claimed in an 800-page regulatory report known as a biological opinion that there was not enough water in the delta to support migrating salmon, which are too often killed in the delta pumps that move water south – or harmed by warmer waters resulting from the water delivery.
Wanger agreed with agricultural representatives who claimed that the pumping restrictions were harmful to more than 20 million residents and farmers, many of whom had to let their fields go fallow. He criticized the fisheries service for not backing up its numbers with sound science, calling the restrictions “arbitrary, capricious and scientifically unreasonable.”
“Federal defendants completely abdicated their responsibility to consider alternative remedies,” Wanger wrote. The fisheries service actions “lack factual and scientific justification, while effectively ignoring the irreparable harm those (regulations) have inflicted on humans and the human environment.”
National Fisheries Service representatives declined to comment Tuesday.
Of course they did, because the judge is right.
Battle not over
Wanger ordered a hearing to determine how the restrictions contained in last year’s biological report should be reworked and what should be done in the meantime.
The move could – depending on how many revisions are needed – negate many months of work and extend indefinitely a legal battle that has been raging for years among fishing interests, environmentalists, farmers and water agencies across the state.
The National Academy of Sciences declared in March that the efforts to save endangered fish by restricting water delivery were “scientifically justified.”
Except that the powers that be seem to have purposefully ignored the pollution dumped into the river by the state capital area residence and industry. That is two separate studies that confirm what we’ve been saying for years. Gee, wonder why they’ve been overlooked?
Here is a hint why:
In the link above, he says this of Feinstein’s attempt to releive the water situation of Central Valley Farmers:
“I think it’s a massive miscalculation,” Rep. George Miller, D-Calif., said of Feinstein’s plan in an interview. “It’s destructive, both environmentally and politically.”
Note that there is no concern about the farmers and job losses due to the man-made drought. The article reports that:
The 11 lawmakers further warn Feinstein that her plan would “drive California’s and much of Oregon’s salmon to extinction” and threaten “thousands of jobs.”
Of course, the hundreds of thousands of farm and farm related jobs don’t count. It’s because environmentalists have tremendous influence over the state politicians, whereas farmers have none.
This was a story that came out a couple of weeks ago that I had meant to get to, but have just been too darned busy. The object of my derision is an AP article titled “Rising sea levels threaten Taiwan“. Here is what’s happening:
When worshippers built a temple for the goddess Matsu in south Taiwan 300 years ago, they chose a spot they thought would be at a safe remove from the ocean. They did not count on global warming.
Now, as the island faces rising sea levels, the Tungshih township is forced to set up a new temple nearby, elevated by three metres (10 feet) compared with the original site.
“Right now, the temple is flooded pretty much every year,” said Tsai Chu-wu, the temple’s chief secretary, explaining why the 63-million-dollar project is necessary.
“Once the new temple is completed, we should be able to avoid floods and the threat of the rising sea, at least for many, many years,” he said.
The temple of Matsu, ironically often described as the Goddess of the Sea, is only one example of how global warming is slowly, almost imperceptibly piling pressure on Taiwan.
Mountains cover two thirds of Taiwan, but the heart of the island’s economy is concentrated in the remaining third, which stretches down the west coast and consists mostly of flat land near sea level.
This part of Taiwan is home to a string of populous cities, several industry zones, three nuclear power plants — and a petrochemical complex, built in the 1990s by Formosa Plastics Group for over 20 billion US dollars.
And unlike the temple, none of these crucial economic establishments can possibly be lifted, leaving them exposed to the elements.
I’ve been writing a lot of sarcastic “Oh No’s” lately, and this certainly deserves one, because, of course we know that it is impossible to tear down and rebuild any of the things mentioned in the previous paragraph. It might cost some money but doesn’t rebuilding and improving infrastructure actually help stimulate the economy (hello Obama $1 trillion stimulus package 2009).
The rest of the article is typical U.N. based Anthropogenic Global Warming disaster predictive boilerplate. But there is a detail that is glossed over in the article. That is the phenomenon known as subsidence. Here is how the Association of Environmental and Engineering Geologists describes subsidence:
Land subsidence can result from fluid (e.g. groundwater, petroleum) withdrawal in weakly consolidated materials. The loss of fluid causes consolidation of the empty pore spaces, which means that any voids in the soil previously filled with fluid are compressed by the mass of the overlying materials, effectively decreasing the soil volume and resulting in land subsidence. Examples of places experiencing land subsidence due to fluid withdrawal and subsequent soil consolidation include: the San Joaquin Valley, California; Houston, Texas; Phoenix, Arizona; and Venice, Italy.
My partners in crime over at WattsUpWithThat (to some warmists, we ARE criminals) noticed that got glossed over too. They show that subsidence is indeed a major problem in parts of Taiwan, aand link to an article from April that explores the situation:
The high-speed railway is safe although a six-kilometer stretch of the system runs through sinking land in a southern county, transport officials said yesterday.
Safety concerns were raised after according to the Taiwan High-Speed Rail Corp. (THSRC) figures revealed that at its worst, the land at one site along the stretch in Yunlin County has sunk 55 centimeters over the past seven years.
That’s a nice little bit of subsidence, at just under two feet of land drop. I happen to live in the San Joaquin Valley, and am very familiar with the effects of subsidence. For all those who are doubting just how much subsidence can affect a region, here is a picture of the affects of subsidence on the area where I live.
That is a wee bit more that a couple of feet. In the case of the displaced Taiwanese temple, subsidence is the culprit here, not sea level rise caused by global warming.
Why? It’s because of the poor quality and caliber of the politicians that run the state.
Exhibit A: The speaker of the State Assembly, John Perez. He was appointed the assembly leader, even though he had been in office for only a year. His lack of experience showed in spades this last week, as documented by the always superb Dan Walters:
Schwarzenegger unveiled this year’s version of what the Capitol calls the “May revise” on Friday and ordinarily, legislative leaders quickly react, not wanting the governor to have the media stage to himself. Accordingly, the president pro tem of the Senate, Darrell Steinberg, listened to the governor’s presentation and then quickly issued sharp criticism.
Pérez, however, was absent because he was attending a big bucks “golf tournament” in Pebble Beach to raise campaign money from special interest groups. That may have been a little unseemly, but Pérez would have been well-served to take whatever criticism came his way silently.
Instead, he decided to play the victim card. “I don’t think the timing was coincidental,” Pérez said when asked about his absence. “I think it was proven to be really a good opportunity for the governor to make ugly proposals and dump the trash on a Friday and then try to distract you into talking about where I was instead of what the substance of his proposals are.”
It was a hanging curve ball that the governor’s flack, Aaron McLear, knocked out of the park, quickly pointing out that state law, not the governor’s whim, dictated the May 14 deadline for a budget revision.
Once again, Pérez should have kept his mouth shut, but he continued to insist that he had been dissed, and then compounded his faux pas by offering the ludicrous rationale that raising special interest money – as much as $60,000 per donor – was just serving the public.
Yes, he’s the Speaker of the Assembly, yet he doesn’t even know that May 14th is a specific deadline to submit a budget revision. Walters goes on to expose that this Assembly Speaker is in his own world when it comes to common sense. So, how does California end up selecting such an inexperienced person to occupy the highest seat in its Assembly? It could be his strong ties to labor, but that’s not quite enough.
The crowd in the Assembly chambers clapped and shouted as John Perez (D-LA) entered to take up the post as the next speaker of the Assembly. As he took the oath of office, some of his powerful predecessors watched – among them, Willie Brown, Fabian Nunez and L.A. Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa – who’s also John Perez’s uncle.
OK, there is some nepotism. But, more than likely, it’s because of this:
The Gay Men’s Chorus of Los Angeles roused the crowd to its feet with a rendition of “A Brand New Day” from the Broadway musical “The Wiz.”
And it is “a brand new day” in the state capitol in some respects. John Perez is the first openly gay speaker of the California Assembly.
You see, our Democratic politicians in this state (and beyond, obviously) just can’t resist the temptation of playing identity politics. They live and breath it. Perez’s predecessor, Karen Bass, was the first African American and woman to be Speaker. Fabian Nunez, her predecessor, may not have been a first as far as identity politics goes, but he does have a rather unique “first” on his resume. From his Wiki:
While serving as Speaker in 2004, Núñez made the controversial decision to not allow a 4th of July ceremony featuring a talk by retired Rear Admiral Jeremiah Denton to take place on the floor of the California State Assembly.
Why, may you ask?
In 1966, Denton, a Vietnam War veteran and POW, and former US Senator, was interviewed during his confinement and blinked in Morse code to spell out the word “torture.” Following his retirement from the Navy, Denton accepted a position with the Christian Broadcasting Network as consultant to his friend, CBN founder Pat Robertson, a position Denton held until 1980. Assemblyman Jay LaSuer had invited Admiral Denton to speak, but Nunez claimed that there wasn’t time for to celebrate America’s Independence Day on the floor on the Assembly. However, time was made to hold a ceremony honoring a retiring Los Angeles Times reporter on the day of the planned 4th of July ceremony. While Cinco de Mayo, St. Patrick’s Day and Chinese New Year’s had been celebrated on the State Assembly floor for several years in a row, the 4th of July had not been.
Yes, Denton was THAT guy, maybe the most famous Vietnam POW this side of John McCaine.
All three Speakers also have something else in common – all are from the LA political power base, and all are associated with that Antonio Villaraigosa guy.
Back to Perez. Lets not ignore the other reason that the newbie legislator was shoved into the Speaker position.
Democrats expect him to be a more powerful budget negotiator than his predecessor Karen Bass because of his strong labor and business ties.
You may as well ignore the “business ties” reference in that sentence. In this state, it’s all about labor unions. They rule the roost. Notes Walters:
The most important contributors to Democratic campaigns are public employee unions and, one presumes, they were heavily represented at Pérez’s fundraiser in Pebble Beach last Friday.
City Journal Columnist Steve Malanga sums up the end result of the corrosive Union control of our state government this way:
The unions’ political triumphs have molded a California in which government workers thrive at the expense of a struggling private sector. The state’s public school teachers are the highest-paid in the nation. Its prison guards can easily earn six-figure salaries. State workers routinely retire at 55 with pensions higher than their base pay for most of their working life. Meanwhile, what was once the most prosperous state now suffers from an unemployment rate far steeper than the nation’s and a flood of firms and jobs escaping high taxes and stifling regulations. This toxic combination—high public-sector employee costs and sagging economic fortunes—has produced recurring budget crises in Sacramento and in virtually every municipality in the state.
PS. Did I forget to mention that our politicians tend to be petty and vindictive if you step out of the party line? Bass kicked fellow Dem, Central Valley Representative Nicole Para to the curb, literally, for refusing to vote yes for a flawed budget that she knew would lead to a bigger budget deficit, and that did nothing to fix the growing water crisis here in the Central Valley. And as we have seen in the last two years here in California, Parra was absolutely right. Prior to the Bass / Parra flap, Nunez did something similar to another Central Valley Democrat, Juan Arambula.
Back in 2006, Arambula failed to toe the party line on an infrastructure bond package. Then-Speaker Fabian Núñez, D-Los Angeles, stripped Arambula’s committee chairmanship (it was later returned) and crammed Arambula and his staff into “the doghouse,” the Assembly’s tiniest office space.
In the last five years, Parra and other politicians have made attempts to tackle our states problems, but they, and the possible solutions that could have helped avoid / get us out of this mess, were kicked to the curb.
OK, I’ll be the first to admit, it is a cool, well done ad, as far as the production values go. But Come On! This is just the type of exaggeration that has caused so much disillusionment with the quality of the IPCC AR4, and is causing more and more people to turn away from the science. And please, don’t blame the skeptics for pointing out how ridiculous this ad truly is.
I meant to blog on this last week, but forgot. Miss Birther Queen herself, Orly Taitz, is running for the California Secretary of State. OK, I know our state does not exactly have the greatest record when electing zealots are concerned, but I have confidence that even our crazy electorate will steer clear of elevating this nut to public office…. I hope.