California Has A Budget. UPDATE

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So, California will not go insolvent, at least in the immediate future. We don’t have much in the way of details yet, so I’m reserving my opinion. But I do find a few details curious. One is that legislators agreed to ask voters to revise the state’s constitution to allow open primaries for legislative, congressional and gubernatorial elections. Because so many districts are drawn up to create “safe” districts, i.e. designed to make sure one party will always carry that district, California’s political class is as stale as they come. Here is an example of one safe district.

shame

This change to an open primary has its problems (allows vile campaigns to influence opposition party outcomes such as Rush Limbaugh’s “Operation Chaos” for instance), but, by allowing for more choices, this might change the political landscape a bit. The legislature also scrapped the idea of freeze legislators’ salaries in deficit budget years. I know it wouldn’t have affected the revenue stream much, but I would have liked to see the legislature suffer when they don’t do their job. Oh, well. I guess that was asking too much. I’ll write more when I have more details.

More on the budget deal Here.

UPDATE: On the tax increases. Just a reminder to those Republicans who supposedly worship Ronald Reagan and will call for the heads of those Republicans because they voted for this latest budget – Ronald Reagan Raised Taxes When Governor AND When President!!!!!

The first big budget deficit in the last half a century was inherited by Reagan in 1967. He grandly declared “we will squeeze, cut and trim” state government and proclaimed a 10 percent across-the-board whack. But as Reagan learned then, and Schwarzenegger is learning now, across-the-board cuts — as simple and fair as they may sound — just don’t work. They fall unfairly on some crucial programs. No one would seriously suggest cutting the California Highway Patrol by 10 percent, for example. And the state Constitution and federal law prohibit other cuts, including some welfare programs.

Reagan ended up approving a $1 billion tax increase on a $6 billion annual budget, which was, proportionately, the biggest tax increase in state history. It left a fat treasury for his successor, Jerry Brown, but much of that was doled out to cities and counties to make up for property taxes slashed by Proposition 13. (The state got that back later by grabbing more than $1 billion of local revenues. The locals, of course, raised their own taxes to make up for the loss.)

Wilson took office in early 1991, just in time for a recession that hit California hard. Before long, Wilson and lawmakers were facing a $14 billion state budget deficit on a proposed budget of $56 billion. Today’s deficit, estimated at $16 billion, is close to that, but the budget is about twice what it was in 1991.

The plan Wilson worked out with the Legislature in 1991 contained $7.3 billion in new taxes and $7 billion in spending cuts and accounting changes. Wilson later said it was a mistake to raise taxes. But it worked. The state weathered the crisis and, in subsequent years, most of those tax hikes were rolled back.

I like Reagan and think he was a pretty good President, but the worshipers really need to take the almost religious gauze from their eyes, take off the rose colored glasses, and look at the whole record. Hannity and company reminds me of my gay friends who worship the ground that Rosie O’Donnell walks on.

How Tequila Works!

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Why am I thinking of Patric Reetz when I contemplate this effect?

tequila

Blatantly Stolen From: V the K

Monkey Business

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monkey

This cartoon has Al Sharpton and others in the race industry all aflutter, saying the chimp is a thinly guised reference to Barack Obama. The caption reads “Now they will have to find someone else to write the stimulus bill.”. Is this racist? A question or two will help resolve this.

Mr. Sharpton, who wrote the stimulus bill?

Answer: Nancy Pelosi, Harry Reid and a VERY WHITE Congress – NOT Barack Obama.

Mr Sharpton, who remembers the “Monkey” reference to blacks any more?

Answer: Since the last time someone got in trouble for the monkey reference was Howard Cosell in the early eighties, not many… well, except for the fact that YOU have once again reminded us of the reference.

This pseudo-controversy could have been avoided if the cartoonist would have been a bit more concise and indicated that the chimp indeed represented Congress, but I guess the cartoon guy though the reference would be obvious.

Now, on to the harder task of mollifying the animal rights guys, who are up in arms that the cartoonist would dare compare chimpanzees to Congress!

PS. Curious. If the previous cartoon is considered racist, is this racists too???

bushchimp

You Know Things Are Bad When….

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Muzak files for bankruptcy. Yes, that’s the elevator music guys.

(bumped – just because for some reason I love the idea of Muzak going bankrupt))

Flight Of The Bumblebee… On Crack!!!

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For my piano genius friends Salah and Kevie.

Hat Tip: Sully

Hypocrisy – Thy Name Is More Than Gore….

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I’ve often blasted Al Gore for his hypocrisy on carbon use. He preaches that everyone on the planet needs to reduce their “carbon footprint” and all the while he emits, at the very least, more than twenty times that of the average citizen. Well Al Gore is in good company. Someone has taken a survey of the “Green” types in Brittan, and, lo and behold, they also waste much more energy (burn more carbon) than your average citizen. Like I say, people will take you more seriously if you, you know, practice what you preach.

Hat Tip: Insta-P

The Near Economic Collapse Of 2008 UPDATE: Or Not!!!!

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[Note: If you read this, be sure to go to the update at the bottom of the post.]

September 18th is both my Mom’s and Little Brother’s birthday. On Sept. 18th of last year, it is also the day the world financial system nearly crashed.

For the first time since they past the $700 Billion TARP relief package, someone actually explains why everyone was in such a panic. They had good reason to be. We came this close to a total, worldwide collapse of the financial system. During this time period Lehman Brother’s had gone under, B of A purchase an ailing Meryl Lynch, and insurance giant AIG revealed they were in the midsts of a liquidity crisis. That was what we saw and heard in the news. There was an aspect to this that was kept quiet… on September 18th, around 11AM, the feds realized there was a run on the money market funds, at a rate of $270 billion in a matter of two hours. Without immediate action, it was estimated that the loses would have been around $5.5 Trillion, which would have bankrupted the United States and world financial system. They halted trading, issued a $250 federal guarantee on money market accounts, which stopped the financial bleeding.

A lot of people are ticked because the money that was supposed to be used to by the toxic loans (and they aren’t all mortgage btw) are instead now being used to prop up the banks. Turns out there is a good reason. The toxic assets, as it turns out are much much more toxic than originally estimated. To get them off the books would have cost over FIVE TRILLION DOLLARS. Realizing there was no way in hell to that the United States could raise that kind of capital, Paulson and Co. decided to simply prop up the banks instead. Of course, they didn’t think that the banks would turn around and waste some of that money, but they should have added more restrictions on the bail-outs. Here is a video of Penn Congressman Paul Kanjorski explaining what happened last September.

It’s no wonder everyone was panicked and white as a sheet on capital hill. I still think things are going to get much worse before they get better, but in the end, if this is an accurate accounting of the crisis, Paulson and Co. will be looked at in a favorable light.

Hat Tip: Sully.

UPDATE: This blogpost may be the result of Sen. Kanjorski’s vivid imagination, or an agenda to justify his vote for the first financial bali-out. Either way, it looks like it may be false! If it turns out to be the case. the Bush administration has even more to answer for, as the first TARP bail-out has begot the newer, even more ridiculous Obama / Reid / Pelosi pork-laden $1.1 trillion feeding frenzy.

"The United States banking system is effectively insolvent…"

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I can’t write anything long about this. as I’m out the door to go substitute for a math class. Yes I did say math, my “favorite” subject (hey, I’m learning to love the bomb). I just want to be on the record as saying that I totally agree with this assessment, and that the stimulus package, while it will provide needed jobs for some, won’t get us out of this recession. Only when those those unhealthy banking institutions fail will we see the apex of this severe slump.

Gotta Go.

PS. I predict it will be B of A that fails first… or Wells Fargo! :-).

Compare And Contrast!

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OK, for the last ten or so years, we have been told, mostly by liberals, that climate change due to dramatic increases in CO2 emissions are bad, very bad, will cause an increase of all sorts of environmental disasters, and will lead to our doom. We have also been told by the same liberals that the dramatic increase of the national debt by the Bush Administration is bad, very bad, will cause the government and all social programs on which we depend to go bankrupt, and will lead to our doom.

With that in mind, will someone please tell me why this:

caused by the additional spending by the Obama administration, is, according to the “Doom” scenarios discussed above, so much less damning than this?

Hey, I’m just asking.

Fresno In The News – Local Heros

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Last month was my four year blogiversary. It is very difficult to keep things fresh. I have been posting more YouTube vids recently, but that is not enough. One thing I have decided to do is to focus on more local issues and news stories. Today, an inspirational story caught my attention. Even though this happened in Washington DC, the heroes of the story are local. Fresno Sheriff Margaret Mims and Fresno County Supervisor Judy Case saved a life. A man apparently had a heart attack at the Capital Hill Metro station, and the two women came to the rescue. Mims, who was first on the scene, started CPR, and Case, who is also a registered nurse, became coach, advising Mims on technique and timing of the chest compressions. Here are the details of the story. In the process of getting my teaching credential, I had to renew my CPR certification. If an emergency arises, I know I can perform CPR, but I also know that you don’t know how you’ll react, or how well you’ll perform when the moment comes, and with that in mind, my hat goes off to these local hero’s.

PS. I met Sheriff Mims last summer. I though I had blogged about this, but I guess I didn’t, and since it was last summer, some of the details might be not quite as accurate as I would like. Late August of last year, at a fund raiser Mims was hosting, I played an Indian named “Hawk Who Watches” in an improvisational dinner theater “Who Dun’ It”. The basic plot revolved around the murder of a citizen in the fictional town of Dry Gulch, and one of the twelve characters, including mine, was the murderer. The cool thing was, the identity of the murderer was not revealed to either the audience… or the cast, so any one of the characters could have been the murderer. For all I knew, it could have been me who killed “Mr Body” (I don’t remember the dead guy’s name, so I borrowed “Mr Body” from the game “Clue”!). There was no script – the actors only had a cheat sheet containing an outline of basic info about the relationships between the characters, including potential conflicts between other characters and the dead guy. We had to improvise stuff, but we couldn’t just make stuff up, we had to stay within the facts we knew about each other. The audience interviewed the characters and, at the end of the evening, they had to deduce which character, based on the info we had provided, was the murderer. Keep in mind, many in the audience were career police officers and detectives, so the questions they asked were sometimes pretty tough. As luck would have it, in the end, I was not the killer. It was the publisher of the local news paper. I have always distrusted journalists!