Posts Tagged ‘California’

White Privilege.

Thursday, July 2nd, 2015


The subject of “white privilege” is very much in the news there days.

Administration officials at the John F. Kennedy School of Government at Harvard University have reached an agreement with student activists to force “mandatory power and privilege training” on incoming students during orientation.

The group, which calls itself “HKS Speaks Out,” will have a meeting this week with the dean of the Kennedy School, David T. Ellwood, to discuss the funding for the compulsory training and to “make sure this training is institutionalized” throughout the school, reports Campus Reform.

Who is this group behind the “white privilege” training session ? Well, they are disgruntled students.

The movement, called HKS Speaks Out, began in October after students expressed having “really negative classroom experiences,” according to Reetu D. Mody, a first year Master in Public Policy student and an organizer of the movement. She said the group has amassed about 300 student signatures, or about a fourth of the school’s student population, on a petition that calls for mandatory privilege and power training.


She can’t breathe. She is a Congressional staffer but I can’t find out whose staff. Democrat if not Bernie Sanders.

Steve Sailor is not impressed.

Harvard U. is full of people who clawed their way into Harvard, so it’s not surprising that they often can’t stand each other. Fortunately, 21st Century Harvard students have a vocabulary of whom to blame for any and all frustrations they feel. From the Harvard Crimson:

Kennedy School Students Call for Training To Combat Privilege in Classroom

Whiteness !


Dick Boggs

Thursday, March 15th, 2012

When I was a medical school junior, we had a rotation on the Neurology service at LA County Hospital. One of my classmates was planning a career in neurology but the reason it was so popular with the students like me who were interested in surgery was that we got to do tracheostomies. A number of patients with severe neurological lesions would require respirators or had trouble with airway secretions requiring a tracheostomy. This was our one chance to do surgery, even a minor procedure as things go. It was good practice and I later did a lot of tracheostomies, some quite difficult and rushed.

Our resident was a very interesting guy named Dick Boggs. He was tall and looked a lot like Orson Welles did when he was young and making “The Third Man.”Boggs was quiet and aloof but let us do trachs and work up any patient we wanted to. I had some very interesting cases. One was a woman who showed all the signs of alcoholic neuropathy, which is very similar to diabetic neuropathey. It was a popular rotation for juniors. Boggs was popular among the residents and was elected the president of the Interns and Residents Association, which under his leadership took on some of the characteristics of a union.

At the time, intern and resident pay was very low and, aside from a new dormitory that was built for single house staff, we were on our own. I was married with one child, born in March 1965, so I was really on my own. My wife quit her job as a teacher in January 1965 and I was working after hours doing histories and physicals at private hospitals for $7 per hour. Fortunately, my tuition was covered by scholarship but living expenses were tight. We lived on $200/month contributed by our parents, $100 from my father and the same from Irene’s parents. Half of that went for the rent of our two bedroom house in Eagle Rock, near Pasadena. I’m spending some time on details to emphasize what Boggs accomplished for us all.


Nation chooses GOP; California chooses suicide.

Wednesday, November 3rd, 2010

There were huge Republican gains all across the nation yesterday. They took over the House of Representatives by the largest margin since 1948. John Boehner will be speaker with a clear mandate from the tea parties. Harry Reid hung on to his seat by some typical Nevada shenanigans with casinos getting their employees to vote, whether they wanted to or not. The Republicans failed to get a majority in the Senate which is a mixed blessing. Some of the tea party candidates had a hard time lacking experience.

California, on the other hand, turned back to the past and elected Jerry Brown governor. This is a disaster but he apparently won by a comfortable margin. I would imagine Gloria Allred has a big payday coming. The notorious housekeeper will, of course, be discarded. Barbara Boxer seems to have survived but this has little to do with the impending California catastrophe except as she is another indicator of the fatuous voters here. The only good news is that redistricting reform passed but it has to get past Brown. In addition to Brown, the the entire Democrat statewide slate won, which will make the coming collapse the clear responsibility of the party and its policies.

To add more weight on the scale, the voters passed measures to make tax increases easier, removing the 2/3 vote requirement from Prop 13 in 1978. They also rejected a suspension of the lunatic “cap and tax” law passed two years ago which was going to roll back global warming by killing even more California jobs.

I wonder if Jerry Brown thinks the Congress, with the House in Republican hands, is going to bail out his state when the pensions and state employee salaries and benefits break the budget. He was elected by the employee unions, which is only fair as he was the governor who made such unions legal by executive order. In 1983, the British Labour Party, in a last gasp of the old trade union Marxists, ran for election on a pure leftist, if not communist, manifesto. It was called “The longest suicide note in history.” Tony Blair followed as Labour Party leader. I wonder what will follow Jerry Brown?

Apres Moi, Deluge

Wednesday, July 8th, 2009

UPDATE: There is a state that is working. It is called Texas, and the Economist has a report.

The French king, Louis XV, is said to have predicted that “the deluge” would follow his reign. His great grandfather, Louis XIV, the “Sun King” had reigned for 72 years, from the age of five. he left France glorious but financially ruined. One wit of the time said if the courtiers could be convinced to put paper on their walls and gold in their pockets, the kingdom would be far better off. They did not and profligacy continued. Finally, it all ended with the hapless grandson of Louis XV when he ( Louis XVI) and his young wife, Marie Antoinette went to the guillotine.

Something like this is happening in California as the public employee unions are determined to prevent any attempt to rationalize the state’s finances. Now, they will try to block insolvent cities from filing bankruptcy.

Mendoza’s bill would not only empower the commission to regulate bankruptcy filings but allow it to impose conditions on the filings they do allow, which is the nut of the issue. Local governments that file for bankruptcy may be able to abrogate their labor contracts, but if AB 155 becomes law, the debt commission could – or at least the unions hope they would – block abrogation.

You’d think IOUs would be enough to convince them of the seriousness of the problems. Louis XVI wavered and almost was persuaded of the necessity for financial reform but his arrogant nobles were convinced they could overcome the rabble.

Tumbrils, anyone ?

Government by Democrats in 2009

Monday, July 6th, 2009

We are in the midst of the worst financial crisis since 1929, being made worse in my opinion by the government’s feckless attempts at stimulus. The states have been called “laboratories of democracy” for many years and our two largest states have been governed the past 20 years by the Democratic Party. Since the Democratic Party has been in power in Washington for only the past three years, perhaps we should turn to the states to see what the future holds for us under Democrat control.

New York is a good example.

During the long years of Republican control, the all-white GOP “conference” would regularly bemoan its lack of diversity, and make extra efforts to recruit minority Senate candidates and hire minority staff.

During the first five months of this year, with the Senate under the control of its first African-American majority leader, Smith, top Democrats bemoaned the lack of minority Senate staffers.

But instead of trying to recruit new hires, they fired nearly 200 almost exclusively white workers and replaced them with a large number of minority employees, many of whom were seen by their fellow workers to be unskilled at their new jobs.

The move produced severe racial tensions, made worse by the fact that, as a high-level Democratic staffer confided, “We’ve been told to only hire minorities.”

We’ll see how much of a precedent that is over the next year. The first Supreme Court nominee by Obama is not reassuring. How does he think the future will play out ?

The Empire State — once a beacon of progressive state government to the nation — is on the brink of ruin. And it doesn’t look like anything can be done to stop it.

In two words: We’re doomed.

Well, California is the other large state with “progressive government.” How is it doing?
Things could be better

California Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger declared a fiscal emergency and ordered state offices closed three days a month to save money as state officials began paying bills with IOUS on Thursday.

Deep budget cuts have already forced California school districts to cancel summer school programs, moves that have affected — among others — elementary and middle school students in Los Angeles, which has the country’s second largest district.

What is the solution ? Why, raise taxes, of course.

But labor and education groups, health care and social service advocates and (a bit more quietly) some Democratic lawmakers continue to insist that tax hikes should be part of California’s solution to its $24.3 billion budget deficit.
“The solution to this budget problem is not to slash and burn education but to re-evaluate our revenue policy,” Jeff Freitas, a lobbyist for the California Federation of Teachers, told a legislative budget committee last week.

“There are a plethora of options that are being ignored that must be brought to the table.”

Did anyone think the teachers union lobbyist would be in favor of cutting education spending ? What about voters ? You know, the people who pay those taxes ?

voters rejected five ballot measures on May 19 that included $16 billion more in temporary extensions of the February tax increase

Gee, I thought the ballot propositions didn’t include a tax increase ! The ballot argument didn’t mention a tax increase. Maybe voters are starting to doubt the veracity of politicians. Well, they seem to have believed Obama last fall. I wonder how long that will last ? I’m not the only one.

A nice summary of the problems of California.

Is there a state that is not in big trouble ? Yes, Texas. Here’s one reason:

Texas is home to more applications for new nuclear plants than any other state, with more than 9,000 MW of new capacity under development. These investments are a direct result of Texas’ world leading competitive electricity market, which has lead to more investment in electric generation capacity than any other state.

How a union goes bankrupt

Tuesday, June 16th, 2009

The Service Employees International Union has been in the forefront of driving California to bankruptcy with its sweetheart union contracts and pensions. It was instrumental in defeating Arnold Scwartzenegger’s ballot initiatives after his election, in which he tried to gain control of some state spending. The teachers’ union mortgaged their headquarters in San Francisco to get money for TV ads in that battle. They won and Arnold has given up his attempts to slow the spending tsunami. The result is that California is bankrupt but, in a sort of sweet irony, the unions seem to have bankrupted themselves in the struggle to keep California spending too much. They also spent many millions to elect Barack Obama, an investment that will pay off better than their California spending.

But all that spending eroded much of the SEIU’s finances. The article notes that the union took out $25 million in loans last year and saw its net assets fall in half from the previous year. It also points out that the SEIU fired some of its Washington, D.C-based staff.

The SEIU is running TV ads even today trying to stop state budget cuts. The ads are sponsored by something called I went to the web site and, sure enough, the SEIU seems to be spending their last dollars in a futile effort to prevent cuts that may be enforced by a bankruptcy judge although there seems to be no chapter of the code for states.

Their last hope appears to be the Obama Administration, which will divert the public purse to bail out unions. Ask the UAW and the Chrysler bond holders.

If I were a union member, as I once was many years ago, I would be unhappy at all this spending.

The coming California bankruptcy

Thursday, December 25th, 2008

Governor Schartzennegger has announced a huge budget deficit this year. He tried to cut spending a year ago, and got nowhere.

Schwarzenegger’s $141 billion budget for the 2008-09 fiscal year proposes cutting 10 percent from every state agency, even as California struggles to provide for millions of [illegal] new residents, fix failing schools and address myriad problems in its overcrowded prisons.

The across-the-board spending cut is the kind of draconian tactic his Republican Party colleagues have long sought to realign state spending and revenue.

But it touched off a firestorm of criticism among the state’s ruling Democratic majority in the Legislature and promised to put his pledge to move California beyond partisan politics to the ultimate test.

If ultimately passed, Schwarzenegger’s budget would cut hundreds of dollars in classroom spending for every California student and release 22,000 inmates back to the streets. It also would close nearly one in five state parks and eliminate dental coverage and other benefits for millions who rely on the state for health care and welfare.

The governor painted his spending plan as tough love and the only option left for the state after a housing market meltdown and years of deficit spending by California lawmakers. It was a pattern he helped perpetuate by borrowing to cover past deficits and increasing spending for popular programs on the eve of his 2006 re-election bid.

Now the deficit is three times as large. He has said that, by March, the state will no longer be able to pay its bills. One option, used in past budget crises, is to pay with IOUs or scrip, redeemable after the crisis is over. The public employee unions have already announced that this is illegal and they plan to fight any attempt to cut salaries, such as with unpaid days off. It must be reassuring to have the power to demand to be paid, no matter what is happening to the employer. The alternative for the state, becoming more likely as the unions dig in, is bankruptcy. The more one looks at this option, the more it seems the only one available.

The city of Vallejo—population 120,000—declared bankruptcy earlier this year because it was locked into spending 74 percent of its $80 million general fund budget on public-safety salaries. Police captains were entitled to receive $306,000 annually in pay and benefits, while 21 firefighters earned more than $200,000 a year, including overtime. After five years on the job, all were entitled to lifetime health benefits. Now two smaller towns north of San Francisco, Isleton and Rio Vista, also appear on the brink of bankruptcy.

My own small city of Mission Viejo has similar problems with pensions and excessive employees. I have been a member of a local activist group trying to get control of the city council but the group has found that, even if we succeed in electing our own candidate, the new council members quickly adopt all the bad practices of the old guard. The city has seen its reserves fall steeply over the past eight years and it has become dependent on sales tax revenue, dangerously dependent on retail sales, especially auto sales.

What will happen ?

In a preview of political fights to come, both New York State and California budgets are being crippled by outsized public sector union pension obligations that are now coming due in a perfect storm—a combination of an aging population, a declining tax base, and a fiscal crisis.
The Democrats who narrowly control both state legislatures have a notoriously cozy relationship with unions and they will be unlikely in the extreme to bite the hands that feed. But the unsupportable absurdities of the current arrangement are becoming evident.

The average state and local government employee now makes 46 percent more in combined salary and benefits than their private sector counter-parts, according to the Employee Benefit Research Institute—including 128 percent more on health care and 162 percent more on retirement benefits. New York City, for example, not only spends 10 times more on pensions than it did ten years ago, it now spends more on pensions and benefits for firefighters than it does on firefighters’ salaries.
These tax-payer sponsored paychecks cannot be renegotiated in tough times to balance a budget. They can only go up, never down.

This will head to a showdown in March and bankruptcy seems inevitable. California is the 8th largest economy in the world but Democrats can spend faster than an economy can generate tax revenues. One major factor is the erosion of the tax payers class in California. Millions of illegals exist in an underground economy like that of a south American banana republic. Middle and upper class taxpayers are leaving. The tax base is dangerously narrow with 380,000 Californians paying 40% of all income tax revenue. That is down from ten years ago. People are leaving and the state can’t afford the loss.

With large employers leaving the state, fed up with the tax burden and offered better business environments elsewhere, we have to protect the jobs we have. We just lost 1,000 jobs when the largest manufacturer of hybrid cars chose business-friendly Mississippi. The increased business tax rate proposed as a Democratic budget “fix” didn’t appeal to Toyota any more than it did to a major California employer, AAA auto club. The company is taking its business — and 900 jobs — elsewhere.

But the taxes do not stop there. The tax rate on the citizens who together already pay $9 billion of our state’s revenue will become twice the national average. It is clear why wealthier Californians choose to leave for economically sunnier pastures, leaving even more of the burden on middle income workers.

When the rich leave the state, those in control of the legislature simply change the definition of rich. Democrats have proposed to stop accounting for inflation when defining “middle income” Californians. Conveniently, this allows higher tax brackets to apply to more and more people every year, including those earning more than $100,000 — despite the fact that they already foot almost 85 percent of the state’s tax bill.

Soon the absence of taxpayers will be irreversible. My chief concern is to sell my house while there are still buyers. Then I’ll be gone.

And I thought California was bad.

Wednesday, October 29th, 2008

California has been run by the Democrats for a decade now. Gerrymandering has virtually guaranteed election of the legislators. The only contested elections anymore are the primaries and, even here, there is a “gentleman’s agreement” about who will run. California has a huge budget deficit and, before the national financial meltdown, Governor Schwartzenegger (a Democrat with a Republican label) was trying to get a bailout from the feds. Well. it turns out that California is not the only Democrat dominated state to have run off the rails.

New York is looking at a deficit of over 40 billion dollars!

Gov. Paterson grimly declared yesterday that New York faces a historically unprecedented four-year, $47 billion budget deficit, $20 billion higher than projected just three months ago – and will need some form of federal bailout.

It seems that Democrats can’t run a state without running it into the ground. I wonder how they will do with the federal government ? This is not reassuring.

With the state’s finances souring, Gov. David A. Paterson in July took an important step to control the spiraling costs of government: a hiring freeze for state agencies.

But since the July 30 freeze was declared, 31,684 people have been hired by agencies, according to a Buffalo News analysis of payroll records provided by the state comptroller’s office.

The records do not include hiring at hundreds of state authorities whose payrolls are not maintained by the comptroller.

Another Democrat hiring freeze. There was a time when the Democratic Party was a responsible political party with the ability to manage the government. The Second World War was managed by a government controlled by Democrats. There was even a committee, called the Truman Committee, that was a watchdog over waste and incompetence in government. The days when the Democrats could be trusted with government are over. They can still win elections, and appear to be doing so with the Obama campaign, but the governance is another matter.

California once had a Republican governor named George Deukmejian who insisted that the state not spend every penny of income during good economic times. The next Republican governor, Pete Wilson, raised taxes during the California recession in 1991 and managed to prolong the recession in California after the rest of the country recovered. Another lesson that will be forgotten if Obama is elected. Now we have Schwartzenegger, a movie actor whose politics seem to be a mixture of strong talk and weak action. At least he seems to be keeping out of trouble as compared to New York governors. Spitzer resigned in disgrace after a scandal about a hooker. His successor, David Patterson, has his own tax scandal. Patterson, himself, has a sex scandal. No wonder their finances are screwed up.

Casey Stengle used to say, “Can’t anybody here play this game?”

The future of California

Friday, September 12th, 2008

I have lived in California since 1956. When I arrived as a freshman college student, California had the best infrastructure in the nation, the University of California was the best public university and the state had a balanced budget and a part-time legislature. In fact, the last items were connected because, once the state legislature became a full-time career for politicians, the growth in state spending followed rapidly. Now we have the highest state taxes in the country, some of the worst infrastructure and people are leaving. Not everyone is leaving. Illegal aliens are streaming into the state. Legal, tax paying residents are leaving.

Including me.

Now, 56 year later, we have come to this.

California has the highest state income tax rate in the country (10.3%), while New York State also has a high income tax rate (6.85%), with the combined state and city rate rising to 10.5% in New York City. Their overall government spending totals also happen to top the national charts. And, what do you know, California is $15 billion in the red this year while New York is trying to close a $6.4 billion 2009 budget hole, which budget expert E.J. McMahon of the Manhattan Institute expects to grow to $26 billion over three years.

California hasn’t even passed a budget yet, many weeks into the fiscal year. The Democrats in Sacramento have proposed a series of new taxes on businesses and individuals with incomes above $1 million. Their plan would raise the top income tax rate to 12%, which would be the highest in the nation. They would also repeal a tax law allowing businesses to carry forward losses against future profits.

In August, Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger abandoned his promise not to raise taxes and proposed a hike in the sales tax — by one percentage point for three years, which would bring the rate in many cities to as high as 9%. California taxpayers are fortunate that state law requires a two-thirds majority to pass a budget, which gives Republicans in the legislature leverage to block these tax hikes. They realize that these budget showdowns are the only chance they have to force even modest spending restraint.

So what is happening ?

As for California, its spending soared to $145 billion in 2008 from $104 billion in 2004. Every time the politicians raise taxes, they merely lift their spending by as much or more, and then plead poverty and demand another tax hike during the next economic slowdown.

The “progressives” who dominate politics in these states target the rich on grounds that they have the ability to pay. They also have the ability to leave. From 1997-2006, New York State lost 409,000 people (not counting foreign immigrants). For every two people who move into the state, three flee. Maybe the problem for New York is merely bad weather, not high taxes.

Except that sunny California is experiencing a similar exodus. Over the past decade 1.32 million more native-born Americans left the Golden State than moved in — despite beaches, mountains and 70-degree weather. Mostly the people who have fled are the successful, the talented and the rich.

Why do you think Las Vegas has a million people ? Who in the world would live there if the income tax was not zero ? The sales tax is also zero. Tucson now has a sales tax. Twenty years ago, Arizona had no sales tax but they have a Democrat governor now.

We see the same phenomenon in New Hampshire. Democrats move to New Hampshire to escape the taxes of Massachusetts. Then they vote Democrats into office in their new home state. Pretty soon the taxes rise.

No wonder Arizona residents hate Californians. I have to change that license plate on Annie’s car.

This will not be the last such story

Friday, May 23rd, 2008

Today, the city of Vallejo, California filed for bankruptcy due to excessive city employee costs and pension obligations. The public employee unions have had a merry time, bidding up salaries and pensions by supporting enabling politicians. Now, the real estate crunch may be the straw that broke the proverbial camel’s back. This will not be the last municipal bankruptcy. A few elected officials have recognized the danger and tried to do something about it, but they are few, far too few.