California

So who is in favour of CIR?

I object to the loons who push for Binding Citizen Initiate Referenda.

They think that they are acting democratically and are just but the reality is that they ignore our representative democracy and in many cases reject it utterly.

Mostly they are single issue nutters with a particular cause to push and see BCIR as a way to do that.

Colin Craig entertained these nutters and most coalesce around his cult party.

But CIR around the world is often used as a bully pulpit. California is one such case, where a CIR loon is trying to get a proposition across the line that would allow the state to mass kill homosexuals.

California has always done democracy a bit differently than most other states. Every other year, voters in the Golden State cast ballots not just for people to represent them, but for many of the actual laws that govern them. It’s not quite the ancient Athenian model of citizens gathering on a hill to make decisions, but it’s a version of direct democracy deeply-embedded in California’s political culture. Over the years, voters have answered for themselves weighty questions of taxation, same-sex marriage, election laws, and the legalization of marijuana, among many others.    Read more »

Photo Of The Day

Photo:  JAMES PALMER — Associated Press

Photo: JAMES PALMER — Associated Press

School Bus Kidnapping

‘The Memories Never Stop’

 In this July 20, 1976 photo, officials remove a truck buried at a rock quarry in Livermore, Calif., in which 26 Chowchilla school children and their bus driver, Ed Ray were held captive. Ray, the school bus driver was hailed as a hero for helping the students escape, after three men kidnapped the group and buried them underground.

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BL86, coming to a sky near you

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An asteroid the size five football fields is approaching Earth and is expected to pass by [today]. It will be visible through strong binoculars – definitely worth doing; the next time such an asteroid could be this close again will be in 2027.

The weather has been particularly good for star gazing of late.   Read more »

Brown’s rail project an expensive “boondoggle”

Not Len Brown this time, but Jerry Brown, the Governor of California and his ill-fated rail project.

The similarities are astonishing though.

As California breaks ground this week on its new high-speed rail line, it is clear what the $68 billion dollar project amounted to: though the project will surely make unions, construction workers, and bond salesmen happy, it is little more than money the state doesn’t have for a train that its residents don’t need and probably won’t use. TheWashington Post reports on the project’s continued financial troubles, and it’s not pretty:

Voters approved a $9.95 billion bond aimed at funding the initial construction of the rail project in 2008, by a slim five-point margin. The Obama administration added another $3.2 billion in federal grants, and the legislature agreed in 2014 to provide funding through cap-and-trade taxes on greenhouse gases, which will add another $250 million to $1 billion per year.

That means the rail authority will have about $26 billion at best, less than half the estimated total costs. California High-Speed Rail Authority officials have said they expect advertising, real estate developments and private investors to fund up to a third of the total costs.   Read more »

Socialist paradise has highest poverty rates

Everywhere around the world where socialists are in control there is increasing not decreasing poverty.

The basic tenet of socialism is that everyone gets to be miserable equally.

Even in wealthy countries the lure of socialism soon turns to disaster.

The State of California, formerly the most powerful economic force in the United States outperforming the economies of all but a very few countries in the world, is now the nation’s leader in a category that the formerly conservative, but now overwhelmingly progressively liberal and Democrat Party-controlled state, has to find embarrassing.

According to a new U.S. Census Bureau report, California, which has been losing jobs to lower taxed, less state regulated states, now sports the nation’s highest rate of poverty, with almost one quarter (23.4%) of its residents living in poverty.

A depressing 8.9 million of the progressive controlled Golden State’s 38 million population are living in poverty in the once prosperous formerly conservative-run state.

Democrat-controlled Washington, D.C. came in at 22.4%

A similar study by the Public Policy Institute of California affirmed the state’s poverty rate at 22%, with some of the highest rates being in the “progressive” San Francisco area.

Los Angeles, which has been hijacked by the far left, had the highest poverty rate in the state at 26.9%.

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Why self-driving cars and not rail is the solution

The Atlantic has been investigating California’s highly expensive and likely to be a white elephant project, the High Speed Rail solution.

As part of their investigation they have looked at the promise of self-driving cars…which in a direct comparison shows precisely why train-spotting projects like Len Brown’s rail loop and California’s HSP solution are nothing but boondoggles costing rate and taxpayers billions.

First, self-driving cars. I turn the floor over to a reader in California whose identity and background I know. He works in the advanced-research parts of the info-tech industry and did his bachelor’s and doctoral training at Caltech and MIT. He says:

Your series on High Speed Rail is under-emphasizing an important aspect of the big picture.

Should we invest in infrastructure? Absolutely!  But the right kind of infrastructure.

The technology and accompanying infrastructure creating the greatest impact today and over the past 30 years has been not just big scale physical stuff, but the brains coordinating and controlling physical stuff—specifically, computing and communication.    Read more »

What to do about the teacher unions?

The teacher unions are kicking up a fuss, just days after the election, claiming John key doesn’t have a mandate.

What can be done about these dinosaurs?

Well we could follow what is happening in California. Where the teacher unions are being forced with the removal of their right to deduct union dues from the payroll.

The worst union in America is contemplating its worst nightmare—a time when state law no longer compels California’s teachers to pay it for the privilege of working at a public school. According to a 23-page PowerPoint presentation unearthed by union watchdog Mike Antonucci, California Teachers Association officials are taking seriously the idea that a raft of pending litigation could put an end to mandatory union dues in the Golden State, and they’re exhorting local union leaders to rise to the challenge. The presentation’s title is fitting: “Not if, but when: Living in a world without Fair Share.”

“Fair share” in this context refers to the union’s current legal right to collect dues from every public school teacher in the state, whether they join the union or don’t. But a world without compulsory dues isn’t hard to imagine—it’s already the reality in 24 right-to-work states, including Florida, Indiana, and Michigan, home to the still-powerful Michigan Education Association. The CTA presentation offers a candid assessment of emerging legal “attacks” in the wake of Harris v. Quinn, in which the Supreme Court this year ruled that the First Amendment forbids the state of Illinois to force part-time home health-care workers to pay collective-bargaining fees. The high court is likely to take up Friedrichs v. CTA, a much wider-ranging lawsuit now pending before the U.S. Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals alleging that compulsory dues to public-employee unions are flatly unconstitutional.

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Photo Of The Day

Photo: Mark Andrew Boyer

Photo: Mark Andrew Boyer

A Homeless Boxers Mansion

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Photo Of The Day

Lynette “Squeaky” Fromme sits in an interrogation room September 5, 1975, just after her assassination attempt on Gerald R. Ford.

Lynette “Squeaky” Fromme sits in an interrogation room September 5, 1975, just after her assassination attempt on Gerald R. Ford.

Squeaky Fromme

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Weed, alcohol and tobacco – One of these things is not like the others

Here in New Zealand we have the health jihadists attempting get a plain packaging law on tobacco through parliament. Contemporaneously other health jihadists are trying to apply the same logic to products that contain sugar.

California is moving already to force warning labels on soft drinks…and has one of the most restrictive anti-smoking regimes in the world.

Australia has forced plain packaging of tobacco and is now being sued for the pleasure.

The UK is attempting to ram through plain packaging legislation at the same time.

We also have a ban on advertising, and have removed all displays from stores.

Which is all very incongruent when you look at two other products.

Alcohol and Cannabis.

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