Thursday, February 27, 2014

California Town Shaken as Police Officers Arrested

A California farming town was grappling Wednesday with a profound violation of trust after learning the acting police chief and a handful of officers were charged with selling or giving away the impounded cars of poor Hispanic residents and other crimes.

The misgivings had been building for some time. Investigators heard people — many unable to speak English — complain that police were taking their cars and money, and there was nothing they could do about it.

"I'm not at all surprised by the arrests, I'm just surprised there weren't more charges," restaurateur Vivian Villa said Wednesday in Spanish while sizzling a pan of beef in preparation for the lunch rush. "Now maybe some of them are going to feel what we feel when they target us."

Later in the day, Villa held a meeting in her little restaurant where about a dozen community members spoke out against police abuse and corruption.

COMMENTS:

togetthetruth • 15 hours ago
How many of the so called victims were illegal and didn’t even have a California Drivers License. I guess if you’re Latino you can break the laws? I have no sympathy for these lowlife moochers!

augustoperez • 21 hours ago
As long as they continue impounding the vehicles of those who drive without insurance or a Driver's License. This should be done regardless of their demographics. As for the vehicles, they can be considered a stimulus program to encourage the cops to do their duty and paperwork. I'm cool with it.

jnttttt . • a day ago
Justice served, these are illegal immigrants, everything they have should be seized by whoever wants their stuff. Drive them back to the Mexican border with nothing, and let them go in the desert. A beating needs dropped on them as well. Illegal immigrants are not welcome, these police officers should be role models for our whole country.

jnttttt . jxs9 • 8 hours ago
Those groups aren't illegal, Illegal immigrants are, the Rico Statute should apply, take away all of their profits from their illegal activities, which is being in this country illegally, seize everything they have, and give them the boot. Send them into the wastelands of Mexico with no car. In the old west, town sheriffs got a percentage of fines, ask Wyatt Earp.

http://abcnews.go.com/US/wireStory/police-officers-arrested-car-impound-scheme-22674552

Wednesday, February 26, 2014

Money talks and bullshit walks.....Arizona Gov. Jan Brewer vetoes controversial SB 1062

(CNN) -- Arizona Gov. Jan Brewer vetoed a bill Wednesday that would have allowed businesses that asserted their religious beliefs the right to deny service to gay and lesbian customers.

Opinions have been sharply divided over the politically charged measure, with both sides ramping up pressure on Brewer after the state's Republican-led legislature approved the bill last week.

Brewer said she made the decision she knew was right for her state.

"I call them as I see them, despite the cheers or the boos from the crowd," she said, calling the bill "broadly worded" and saying it could have "unintended and negative consequences."

Brewer said she'd weighed the arguments on both sides.

Read Gov. Brewer's full statement

"To the supporters of the legislation, I want you to know that I understand that long-held norms about marriage and family are being challenged as never before. Our society is undergoing many dramatic changes," she said. "However, I sincerely believe that Senate Bill 1062 has the potential to create more problems than it purports to solve. It could divide Arizona in ways we cannot even imagine and no one would ever want.

"Religious liberty is a core American and Arizona value, so is non-discrimination."

http://www.cnn.com/2014/02/26/politics/arizona-brewer-bill/

Meet The Former 'Liberal Feminist' Who's Now Pushing Arizona's Anti-Gay Bill

According to Herrod, this specification would prevent people from using the bill to discriminate against gays in everyday life and would only allow them to refrain from being involved in promoting gay marriage if it was against their religious beliefs.

“The cake baker, the florist, the dress store owner, the photographer … in almost every one of those situations they would sell a dress to anyone, they would bake a cake for a graduation party or be the photographer for passport photos,” Herrod explained. “It’s when it crosses the line into a wedding where someone feels like that they are participating in the wedding, they are supporting the wedding, they are in a sense using their creative artistic talent to service the wedding. That’s where for many people of faith it crosses the line and they believe that their religious principles withhold that they should not be supporting a wedding.”

Herrod went on to cite other examples where she said the bill would protect peoples’ religious freedom. She pointed to a hypothetical “a Catholic pharmacy owner” who could to refuse to sell the morning after pill.

http://www.businessinsider.com.au/az-anti-gay-bill-lobbyist-cathi-herrod-2014-2

Statement from CAP President Cathi Herrod on SB 1062

22-Feb-2014
“The attacks on SB 1062 show politics at its absolute worse. They represent precisely why so many people are sick of the modern political debate. Instead of having an honest discussion about the true meaning of religious liberty, opponents of the bill have hijacked this discussion through lies, personal attacks, and irresponsible reporting.

Our elected leaders have a fundamental duty to protect the religious freedom of every Arizonan, and that’s what SB 1062 is all about.

Simply put, the fear-mongering from opponents is unrelated to the language of the bill, and proves that hostility towards people of faith is very real. It’s a shame we even need a bill like this in America. But growing hostility against freedom in our nation, and the increasing use of government to threaten and punish its own citizens, has made it necessary.

I urge Governor Brewer to send a clear message to the country that in Arizona, everyone, regardless of their faith, will be protected in Arizona by signing SB 1062."

Read Center for Arizona Policy’s fact sheet here: http://www.azpolicy.org/bill-tracker/religious-freedom-restoration-act-sb-1062

Tuesday, February 25, 2014

VIDEO: ABC15 hosts town hall on SB1062



ABC15 hosted a community conversation on Monday night to look at the highly polarizing implications.

check out link: http://www.abc15.com/about-us/news-releases/monday-night-at-6pm-abc15-to-host-town-hall-on-sb1062

Monday, February 24, 2014

Stasi: New anti-gay bill proves Arizona is the land of dinosaurs — and bigots

Ari-no-zona: No immigrants, no gays, no nothing.

Somebody call Vladimir Putin ASAP — our countries finally have something to agree upon — anti-gay hatred as a policy.

The new pending law in Arizona, which is not, as it seems, a violation of the Civil Rights Act, but this bill will make it legal without question, for business owners to refuse to sell or provide services to gays and “others” on religious beliefs. In other words, if bigotry is part of the liturgy of your religion, you get to flout the law and violate the civil rights of the 9 million Americans who identify as gay, bisexual, transgender or “other.”

What if “religious conviction” keeps business owners from dealing with “others” such as women, blacks, ethnic minorities, the handicapped and mentally challenged? What about old people, blind people or people of another religion? Would that be OK?

Perhaps the next logical step for Arizona will be to require all gays to wear lavender armbands so that they will be easily identifiable. Armbands worked so well in Nazi Germany that Hitler was able to wipe out 6 million Jews in a very short time.

Imagine what it can do to the gay population, even those passing through.

Armbands would also keep bigots from making a profit off of gay people who could otherwise have spent thousands in their stores or millions on real estate. Of course, gay real estate in Arizona will now be as sought-after as evolution classes for Christian fundamentalists.

No right-thinking human would consider visiting the state or taking their kids there for a vacation, and with any luck, all right-thinking homeowners will get out of a state that dictates hatred.


Read more: http://www.nydailynews.com/news/national/stasi-new-anti-gay-bill-proves-arizona-land-dinosaurs-article-1.1698968#ixzz2uFzvFona

www.nydailynews.com


Sunday, February 23, 2014

What would it take to split California into six states?

A venture capitalist named Tim Draper, who struck gold with his investments in Skype and Hotmail, proposed the initiative in December. Draper argues California's 38 million residents are stretching the state government too thin. (Via YouTube / EZebis) "Californians believe that California is ungovernable in its current state, and I think the idea of having six new Californias is sparking their imaginations." (Via Bloomberg)

Six Californias has been met mostly with skepticism in the media. A writer for The Huffington Post says the logistical fiasco of divvying up California will give most California voters cold feet at the ballot box. ​"Think of the thousands of business transactions that take place between Southern and Northern California each day. Many of those would now be between states, triggering federal regulation of interstate commerce. How many Californians would need to file two, three, or more state income tax returns every year? ... Draper's initiative is vulnerable to hundreds of political hits."

And the proposal faces an even greater struggle on the federal level. Getting Congress to radically reshape California—altering the balance of power in both the House and the Senate in the process—seems almost impossible in D.C's increasingly partisan and unproductive climate. (Via Pew Research Center)

A nonpartisan analysis by the state legislature didn't help Draper's proposal, noting splitting California creates an enormous economic disparity amongst the proposed new states. As a state, Silicon Valley would have the highest per-capita income in the U.S., while the new Central California would become the poorest state in the country.

That study lead an Imperial Valley Press writer to conclude Draper's Six Californias idea was just "a plan by the One Percenter plutocrats and tech moguls of Silicon Valley to trick interested voters into creating a digital Camelot, untouched by state regulations."

http://www.ktvu.com/news/news/national/what-would-it-take-split-california-six-states/ndYG3/
www.ktvu.com

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You need an Awww ! moment =D

Friday, February 21, 2014

Arizona Legislature puts prejudice ahead of basic civil liberties

Reading the latest news out of Arizona on gay rights brings an image to mind: Jim Crow.

The Arizona Legislature on Thursday approved a law that would allow a business owner to refuse service to a gay customer if doing so would violate the practice of the owner’s religion. So, as our colleague Cindy Carcamo writes from Tucson, a baker could refuse to sell a wedding cake to a gay couple if her faith proscribes homosexuality. Further, a hotel owner with similar beliefs could deny a room to traveling lesbians. Two men holding hands ask for a table in a near-empty restaurant? The God-fearing owner could bar the door without risking a discrimination lawsuit.

Now imagine a baker refusing to sell a wedding cake to a biracial couple because his religious views don’t include interracial marriage. Imagine a hotel owner denying a room to a black couple because her religion deems blacks inferior (there are such religions). A restaurateur barring the door to African American diners would be met with protests and process servers (and we’d all have flashbacks to Lester Maddox).

Such acts are now illegal; we have managed to shake off those vestiges of the nation’s shameful past, even if we’re still grappling with the social and economic echoes. But a large swath of the country can’t seem to wrap its head around the idea that all people are created equal, and are entitled to the same basic civil liberties.

And no, barring the religious from acting on the prejudices of their faith is not a denial of religious freedom. The right to worship, even if it is a religion of intolerance, exists. But there is no right to act on that faith in such a way as to deny the fundamental civil liberties of others. And operating a business is not a religious right. If personal religious belief precludes you from selling an item to a gay person, the answer is to shut down your business.

One hopes we’d have learned from our history of prejudice, and segregation. Placing legal limitations on people based on physical characteristics or personal traits is wrong, whether the issue is race, sexual orientation, age, physical disabilities or any other aspect of our great, broad and diverse humanity.


http://www.latimes.com/opinion/opinion-la/la-ol-arizona-gay-rights-prejudice-civil-rights-20140221,0,3919031.story#ixzz2tz75Cmcy

www.latimes.com

Thursday, February 20, 2014

At it again......Arizona Senate OKs bill boosting service refusal

The Arizona Senate on Wednesday passed a bill backed by Republicans that would expand the rights of people to assert their religious beliefs in refusing service to gays and others, a measure Democrats say would open the doors for discrimination and hurt the state economy.

Democrats and civil-rights groups opposed the bill pushed by social conservatives, saying it would allow discriminatory actions by businesses.

But the sponsor, Sen. Steve Yarbrough of Chandler, said his push for Senate Bill 1062 was prompted by a New Mexico case in which the state Supreme Court allowed a gay couple to sue a photographer who refused to take pictures of their wedding. He said he is protecting religious rights.

“This bill is not about allowing discrimination,” Yarbrough said during a debate that stretched for nearly two hours. “This bill is about preventing discrimination against people who are clearly living out their faith.”

“The heart of this bill would allow for discrimination versus gays and lesbians,” said Sen. Steve Gallardo, D-Phoenix. “You can’t argue the fact that bill will invite discrimination. That’s the point of this bill. It is.”

http://www.azcentral.com/news/politics/free/20140219arizona-senate-oks-bill-boosting-service-refusal.html

GOP’s Wango Tango With Ted Nugent

For well over a year now, Americans have been treated to the spectacle of GOP leaders plotting and planning and searching for clever ways to assure the public that it is not the party of old, angry, testosterone-heavy, and most of all white grievance politics. Granted, this is a delicate task, calling for a thoughtful, multi-faceted approach. But how’s this for a modest starting point: Stop sucking up to freak-show, has-been rocker Ted Nugent?

Honestly, it was sad enough when Rep. Steve Stockman took Ted as his date to the State of the Union address this month. Then again, these days, people pretty much expect that level of adolescent fuck-you from rank-and-file House members. But a leading gubernatorial candidate from our second-most populous state?

Sure enough, there was Nugent in all his unhinged glory, campaigning in North Texas on Tuesday for state attorney general and gubernatorial wannabe Greg Abbott. Texas Dems understandably threw a fit, pointing to some of Ted’s latest ravings, most notably his calling President Obama a “subhuman mongrel.”
Abbott’s team pushed back limply. Before the appearances, they pooh-poohed concerns about Nugent, praising him as a great patriot. As Abbott’s spokesman informed Politico:

Ted Nugent is a forceful advocate for individual liberty and constitutional rights—especially the Second Amendment rights cherished by Texans. … While he may sometimes say things or use language that Greg Abbott would not endorse or agree with, we appreciate the support of everyone who supports protecting our Constitution.
Likewise, following the rally in Denton, Abbott told reporters:

Sen. Davis knows she is suffering with voters because of her flipping and flopping on 2nd Amendment gun laws. And she knows that Ted Nugent calls her out on her disregard for 2nd Amendment rights. We are going to expose Sen. Davis’ weaknesses on the 2nd Amendment and show that in this area and in so many other areas, she represents the liberalism of Barack Obama that is so bad for Texas.”

Oh, so this is all about Abbott’s love for the Second Amendment? Bullshit. Yes, Nugent is loud and proud about his fondness for playing with guns. But the Texas governor’s race is not about protecting gun rights. Wendy Davis is no Michael Bloomberg here. She has voted to allow guns in cars on college campuses and to put armed marshals in schools. The woman supports open-carry laws, for God’s sake. She may not strut around begging the president to “suck on my machine gun” ala Nugent, but that’s only because she’s not a professional maniac.

Abbott’s snuggling up to Nugent is not about the Second Amendment or the Fourth Amendment or any part of the Constitution. It is about courting and stoking the absolute ugliest, most paranoid, most ass-backwards elements of the GOP coalition. We’re not talking here about garden-variety gun lovers or small-government enthusiasts or evangelical values voters. We’re talking about people who find it quaint when Nugent starts raving about how black people are lazy or how disgusting he finds gays or how Hillary Clinton is a “toxic cunt” and “a two-bit whore for Fidel Castro.” (Media Matters has a sprawling, multi-decade sampling of Ted’s greatest hits here.) We’re talking about people who find it hilarious when Nugent waves his little guns around and froths, “Hey Hillary! You might want to ride one of these into the sunset, you worthless bitch.”

A great patriot indeed.

Abbott’s snuggling up to Nugent is not about the Second Amendment or the Fourth Amendment or any part of the Constitution.
To be fair, Abbott is hardly the only prominent Republican to embrace the unhinged rocker. Texas Gov. Rick Perry, the very man Abbott is looking to succeed, asked his good buddy Ted to headline Perry’s 2007 inaugural ball. (With a respectful nod to Texas’s increasingly diverse populace, Nugent showed up clad in a confederate-flag shirt and started talking smack about the state’s non-English speaking residents.) Nor are Texas pols the only Nugent courters. Even poor Mitt Romney sought Nugent’s (grudging) endorsement two years ago.
That said, it was Romney’s—and the broader GOP’s—epic failure that touched off this recent round of soul-searching among Republicans. Sure, the trials and tribulations of Obamacare have given them breathing space of late, but the times they are a changing—along with the nation’s demographics—and Republicans’ cozying up to characters like Nugent is not a recipe for a healthy national party.

The morning after Ted and Greg’s road show, I emailed a handful of Republican strategists. Subject line: “Ted Nugent.” Question: “Why? That’s all I want to know. Why?” Not even the most conservative among them had a serious answer.

As for Gregg Abbott, when pressed by reporters about the appropriateness of his new pal’s comments, the candidate, predictably, claimed ignorance. “I don’t know what he may have done or said in his background. What I do know that Ted Nugent stands for the Constitution.”

I like to think that Abbott is not actually this stupid. It’s far less troubling to assume that the man likely to become the next governor of Texas is a shameless liar than to imagine that he’d embrace the famously vile Nugent without some vague sense of what made the guy a wingnut celebrity to begin with. (Hint for the would-be governor: It’s not Nugent’s 40-year-old hit song.)

Then again, maybe Abbott really is that clueless. At this point, Nugent has been spouting racist, sexist, generally insane invective for so long that the ugly particulars of any one rant quickly dissolve into his vast sea of lunacy. People tend to roll their eyes and give Nugent a pass because the ranting is seen as just part of his schtick. I mean, he’s the Motor City Madman, right? And, this being America, the guy can say whatever the hell he wants, right?

That he can—and does. But so long as Republicans keep hitching their wagon to a star like Nugent, they really shouldn’t wonder why more and more Americans see the party as defined by an unsettling blend of rage and ignorance.

http://www.thedailybeast.com/articles/2014/02/19/gop-s-wango-tango-with-ted-nugent.html
www.thedailybeast.com

Tuesday, February 18, 2014

Congressional Republicans are focused on calming their divided ranks

After a tumultuous week of party infighting and leadership stumbles, congressional Republicans are focused on calming their divided ranks in the months ahead, mostly by touting proposals that have wide backing within the GOP and shelving any big-ticket legislation for the rest of the year.

Comprehensive immigration reform, tax reform, tweaks to the federal health-care law — bipartisan deals on each are probably dead in the water for the rest of this Congress.

“We don’t have 218 votes in the House for the big issues, so what else are we going to do?” said Rep. Devin Nunes (Calif.), an ally of House Speaker John A. Boehner (Ohio). “We can do a few things on immigration and work on our principles, but in terms of real legislating, we’re unable to get in a good negotiating position.”

Added Frank Luntz, a Republican pollster who works closely with party leaders: “It is an acknowledgment of where they stand, where nothing can happen in divided government so we may essentially have the status quo. Significant immigration reform and fundamental tax reform are probably not going to happen.”

http://www.washingtonpost.com/politics/congressional-republicans-focused-on-calming-their-divided-ranks/2014/02/17/0210bcc2-9599-11e3-8461-8a24c7bf0653_story.html

www.washingtonpost.com

Wednesday, February 12, 2014

Wine: Arizona chardonnay -- who knew?

Winemaker Eric Glomski says people's perceptions of Arizona are "based on seeing Looney Tunes, the Road Runner and Coyote." Think vast stretches of desert with the occasional cactus and Acme anvil.

But Arizona, he says, "is much more than desert." Parts of it are quite mountainous, and those higher elevations have proved to be suitable for wine grapes.

Most of Arizona's vineyards lie in three areas: Verde Valley, outside Sedona, in Northern Arizona; Sonoita, south of Tucson, in southern Arizona; and Willcox/Cochise County, east of Tucson, in southeastern Arizona. Vineyards generally are at elevations between 2,000 and 5,000 feet.

When it comes to grapes, variety is the hallmark. Traditional Rhone grapes (syrah, grenache, mourvedre) mingle with varieties from Spain (tempranillo, graciano) and Italy (sangiovese, aglianico, nebbiolo). Bordeaux varieties, like cabernet sauvignon and petit verdot, are in evidence, as is chardonnay. I also have tasted two wonderful malvasia biancas and even a fresh, fruity sparkling wine made from colombard, all Arizona grown. Blends are also popular.

http://www.mercurynews.com

Dog Eats Dog...Is the GOP Ready for Erika Harold?

There was the ugly email from a GOP county chairman calling Harold “a streetwalker.” The bizarre snub at the state fair. The adamant rejection when she asked to use Republican voter data. And the frequent suggestion she would be better off running for something—anything—else.

“One thing after another,” lamented Doug Ibendahl, a Chicago attorney and former state GOP general counsel who considers Harold a “top notch” candidate. “There are people in the Republican Party who are actively working against her who shouldn’t be.”

It does seem odd. Harold would appear to be exactly the kind of candidate the GOP needs: Miss America 2003. A speaker at the 2004 Republican National Convention. Harvard Law School grad. A practicing attorney interested in the Constitution. She is just 33 years old, close enough to count as one of the coveted “millennial” voters herself. The product of a mixed-race marriage—her father is white, her mother is African-American—Harold has a background that recalls that of another Illinois politician, a guy who went on to hold a pretty lofty office himself.

Harold doesn’t fit neatly into the taxonomy of today’s Republican factions: She is not a middle-of-the-road Republican. Nor is she a neocon, a Tea Partier or a strict libertarian cribbing Ayn Rand quotes. She calls herself a constitutional conservative. She is anti-abortion rights, pro-gun, believes that marriage is between a man and a woman. She does not support marijuana legalization. She wants to repeal Obamacare. She also is against the death penalty, because, she says, the sentences are too dependent on the varying quality of the accused’s attorneys.

A few days after Harold announced, she was on the Fox & Friends morning show, where Gretchen Carlson interviewed her. Carlson herself had been Miss America, in 1989, and it was a breezy pageant-sister-to-sister talk. Harold told Carlson she hoped people would see her, this non-typical conservative, and think, “maybe the Republican Party can be a welcoming place for me as well.”

But Harold’s own welcome was short-lived. A week later, Jim Allen, a GOP county chairman in the 13th district, sent a message to an independent Republican website that began, “Rodney Davis will win and the love child of the D.N.C. will be back in Shitcago by May of 2014 working for some law firm that needs to meet their quota for minority hires.” He also wrote that Harold was being used “like a street walker.”
“That was quite an email,” Harold recalled.


Read more: http://www.politico.com/magazine/story/2014/02/erika-harold-republicans-illinois-103357_Page2.html#ixzz2t7pKf4i4

Tuesday, February 11, 2014

Foster Farms reopens Livingston plant


Foster Farms reopened its largest poultry processing plant Wednesday after voluntarily closing the facility for 10 days to improve safety conditions.

The plant in Livingston, Calif., was cited by the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Food Safety and Inspection Service for cockroach infestation this month.

As a result, inspectors suspended operations at the factory Jan. 8. They cleared it for reopening two days later. But Foster Farms decided to close the factory again Jan. 12 to expand safety measures.


http://www.latimes.com/business/money/la-fi-mo-foster-farms-20140122,0,48323.story#ixzz2t2fl3q1D

What no Menudo ?

Details of where nearly 9 million pounds of beef products recalled Saturday by a Northern California slaughtering plant were sold were scarce Monday, but a preliminary list of retailers shows that many were Latino meat markets.

Rancho Feeding Corp. of Petaluma on Saturday announced a recall of 8.7 million pounds of beef products processed at its plant over the last year and sold in California and three other states. They included whole carcasses, beef tongue, head, tripe and oxtail — cuts of meat widely used in Latino cuisine.

Federal regulators said that the plant "processed diseased and unsound animals" without a full federal inspection. As a result, the agency said, the "products are ... unsound, unwholesome or otherwise are unfit for human food and must be removed from commerce."


http://www.latimes.com/business/la-fi-beef-recall-20140211,0,2188992.story#ixzz2t2eLl3fU

WaPost: White House delays health insurance mandate for medium-sized employers until 2016

Under new rules announced Monday by Treasury Department officials, employers with 50 to 99 workers will be given until 2016 — two years longer than originally envisioned under the Affordable Care Act — before they risk a federal penalty for not complying.

Companies with 100 workers or more are getting a different kind of one-year grace period. Instead of being required in 2015 to offer coverage to 95 percent of full-time workers, these bigger employers can avoid a fine by offering insurance to 70 percent of them next year.

Saturday, February 8, 2014

WTF !....Hundreds Of California Government Employees Are Paid Over $400,000 A Year (Forbes)

For decades, this is what it’s been like for California taxpayers trying to rein in government compensation. But instead of going out of business like a private company, California governments have just raised taxes higher and higher. California residents now suffer the highest individual income tax rate in the country, one of the highest rates of sales tax and corporate income tax rates, and the second highest tax on gasoline. Behind all the increases, there’s a big contributing factor in common: the insatiable salary demands of government employees.

Consider Redwood City, where three fire captains and one firefighter made between $434,274 and $452,733 in total compensation in 2012. One police officer made $463,690 in total compensation. In all, nine employees made over $400,000 in total compensation with a total of 33, mostly police and fire department employees, making over $300,000 in total compensation in 2012.

Those are staggering sums anywhere, but in a city with a population of just 79,009, they’re a recipe for fiscal disaster.

Redwood City is hardly alone. The city manager in Temecula, population of 105,208, made over $497,000, while the advisor to the city manager made over $436,000, both in total compensation. The Fire Battalion chief in the city of Milpitas, population of 68,800, had a compensation package that topped $494,000 in 2012.

Then there’s the Orthopedic Surgeon in Kern County who took home over $1 million in pay and benefits in 2012.

While compensation for public employees keeps driving up taxes, it’s also pushing California tuition sky high. Two University of California Directors made over $900,000 each in 2012, excluding the cost of any benefits. Thousands of UC and California State University employees made over $200,000 in 2012, excluding benefits.

From the state’s top positions to those at the bottom, Transparent California makes it easy for citizens to find inflated salaries and benefits for many public employees. A Monterey County Secretary made over $146,000. An Alameda County sheriff took home over $541,000. The Parks and Recreation Directors in San Jose, Santa Rosa, Cupertino and San Mateo each made over $240,000.

Thousands of firefighters made over $200,000 in salary and benefits in 2012, with hundreds taking home over $300,000.

http://www.forbes.com/sites/realspin/2014/02/07/hundreds-of-california-government-employees-are-paid-over-400000year/


Monday, February 3, 2014

Food Stamp Cuts

Date: Feb 02, 2014 11:50 A.M.
From: Paul Hogarth, Daily Kos
Subject: SHOCKING: 97% of foodstamp cuts to target just 15 blue states, including California

Sonia, there is a horrifying twist on the $8.7 billion cuts to food stamp cuts that passed the House—and which will soon face a vote in the Senate.

Almost all of the food stamp cuts come from 16 states and the District of Columbia—including California. The rest of the nation is left virtually untouched.

Sign and send our petition to your two U.S. Senators—telling them to just say “no" to food stamp cuts.

But wait, that's not all—15 of these 16 states voted for President Obama twice, and 28 of their 32 senators are Democrats


How the Tea Party Saved America



The Tea Party has been an awful drag on the U.S. economy, the U.S. Congress, and the level of discourse about U.S. politics and issues that matter. It has promoted hysteria (and bad policy) about the national debt. Its money, votes and organization have propelled more than a few certified idiots into positions of prominence and power. And it has poisoned political discourse with a toxic combination of nonsense, paranoia and vituperation.

But mostly, the Tea Party has been a good thing.

In fact, the more irate and bizarro that Tea Party members become, the more useful a service the party structure provides. Indeed, the Tea Party has performed brilliantly at the chief task of a political institution catering to resentful hotheads (many of whom, not incidentally, have an alarming affinity for guns): It has channeled their rage into socially and politically acceptable behavior.

To see what radical activism and rage-fueled politics look like without such constraints, just look back at the New Left. Black Panther shootouts. Symbionese Liberation Army shootouts. Kathy Boudin & Friends shootouts. The occasional ROTC building explosion. Reckless politics was a cause of death in those ugly years. To the extent that gun laws encourage suicide, homicide and manslaughter, it still is. But the word "laws" makes all the difference.

Unlike the New Left, the Tea Party has worked within the system. It has organized public demonstrations, supported candidates and lobbied legislatures. What it has not done is murder police officers or blow up buildings.

Of course, the Tea Party is populated by a much older cohort than the New Left was, and so it's demographically less prone to violence. (The Bill Ayers and Kathy Boudins of the 1960s aren't too violent these days, either. In fact, some of them may be Tea Partyers.) Still, it's hard to know what would have become of all that conservative rage without a Tea Party to give it voice, direct it into appropriate channels and designate violent behavior out of bounds.

Tea Partyers like to call themselves patriots. They're nutty about a lot of things. But not that.

http://www.bloomberg.com/news/2014-02-03/how-the-tea-party-saved-america.html

Wa Post:Anti-immigration gang moves goalposts


The anti-immigration crowd, including a couple of prominent dead-tree conservative weeklies, have let the cat out of the bag. When the immigration reform bill was making its way through the Senate, the argument went, “We’re not opposed to any immigration bill, it’s just this one.” The triggers were too weak or the security measures couldn’t be verified. It was always something. Another variation was: “We favor immigration reform, but not a path to citizenship.” It seems they were not being candid or at the very least have moved the goalposts.

With no actual House bill or even agreed-upon principles, the anti-reform gang has declared its opposition to whatever the reform is. In other words, the details don’t matter; any immigration bill that might result in not deporting those here or encouraging legal immigration is now a nonstarter. They go so far as to say that it is inconsistent with the GOP’s new focus on upward mobility. (This is absurd since upward mobility has been static for decades, regardless of the level of immigration.)

This is a Malthusian mindset that believes that there are a set number of jobs, only so many opportunities to move up the ladder and that every immigrant is another mouth to feed through food stamps. Moreover, it is an argument against legal immigration since the competition for jobs and resources would come from immigrants as well.
Many in the anti-reform group have opposed immigration reform because this would be handing Democrats millions of new voters. But wait, we’re talking now about legalization. No, never mind, reply the anti-immigration crowd; it will only lead to citizenship. In other words, you have to round up the people here, kick them out and make sure new people don’t ever come in to boost the Democratic Party’s voting rolls.

http://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/right-turn/wp/2014/02/03/anti-immigration-gang-moves-goalposts/

‘Wacko Birds’ Cloud Republicans’ Election Euphoria



That take-no-risks approach is unraveling. Congressional Republicans are offering proposals on major matters, and the party’s right wing -- whose members Senator John McCain called “wacko birds” -- is omnipresent in Washington and across the U.S.

Congressional Republicans have introduced initiatives on immigration, health care, and economic mobility and poverty that are creating policy and political fissures. There were four separate Republican responses to President Barack Obama’s State of the Union address last week.

House Speaker John Boehner wants his chamber to pass immigration reform. Any compromise that is acceptable to Hispanic and Asian-American groups draws fire from the party’s sizable nativist bloc and political consultants who don’t want to divert attention from their campaign against health-care reform. The speaker’s task is enormously complicated, the prospects uphill.

On health care, three leading Republican senators recently offered an alternative to the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, one they say is more market-centric. But fewer people would be covered, the prohibition on discriminating against people with pre-existing conditions would be weakened, and the authors already are backing away from a proposal to deny tax benefits for some employer-based plans. Many Democrats would relish a debate over the competing plan.

www.bloomberg.com

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