Archive for the ‘california’ Category

Lesson for all Americans? California budget “fixes” meet trouble with voters

March 26, 2009
Five proposals are falling short of the support needed to pass. Only a plan to block pay raises for elected officials when the state is running a deficit has strong support.
By Michael Finnegan
Los Angeles Times
March 25, 2009
Five state ballot measures aimed at solving California’s budget crisis are falling short of the support needed to pass in the May special election, a sign that voters may force lawmakers into another fierce clash over tax hikes and spending cuts, according to a poll released Wednesday.

The state’s dismal economy has already partly unraveled the budget deal that Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger and the Legislature reached last month, with a drop in tax collections leaving a new $8-billion shortfall. Rejection of the ballot measures would widen the gap to nearly $14 billion.

The least popular measure, Proposition 1C, is also the one that state leaders are counting on most for immediate fiscal relief: It would let the state borrow $5 billion against future lottery revenues. The cost, to be paid over decades, would be billions in new interest obligations, and less lottery money to meet future spending needs.

The poll by the nonpartisan Public Policy Institute of California found that Proposition 1C would lose in a rout if the May 19 election were held today, with 37% of likely voters in favor and 50% opposed.

Faring slightly better, but still decisively rejected, would be Proposition 1A. It would cap state spending while extending billions in temporary tax hikes for an extra two years. The survey found 39% of likely voters for the measure and 46% against it.

So far, Proposition 1A is the measure that has drawn the most attention. Conservatives on talk radio, enraged by the extension of the tax hikes, have made its defeat a top priority. Some labor unions are weighing whether to campaign against the spending cap.

The dynamics of the special election are volatile, and public opinion could swing dramatically once campaign advertising begins. The poll found more than 10% of likely voters are undecided on most of the ballot measures. Also, voter turnout is likely to be low, and it is unclear what mix of Californians will wind up casting ballots in the oddly timed election.

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Spending Priority on Infrastructure Needed: Schwarzenegger, Rendell, Bloomberg Tell Obama

March 22, 2009

President Obama is pressing ahead on his budget priorities of health care, education, energy and the environment. 

But three top civic leaders are reminging him not to neglect infrastructure.

Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger of California, Pennsylvania Gov. Ed Rendell and New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg appeared on NBC’s “Meet the Press” with David Gregory on Sunday to urge a higher priority for national spending on infrastructure….

Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger (R-CA) (L) speaks as New York ... 
Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger (R-CA) (L) speaks as New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg listens during a pre-taping of “Meet the Press” at NBC studios on March 20, 2009 in Washington. The program aired on March 22, 2009. The governor of America’s largest state and the mayor of its largest city called on the federal government during the show to dramatically boost its spending on bridges, sewers, high-speed rail and other infrastructure. Picture taken March 20, 2009. REUTERS/Brendan Smialowski-Meet the Press/Handout


By Rob Hotakainen, McClatchy

Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger went to the White House on Friday with Pennsylvania Gov. Ed Rendell and New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg to press President Barack Obama for more federal aid for infrastructure projects.

Noting that California’s unemployment rate had risen to 10.5 percent, Schwarzenegger said a good response would be to increase government spending on roads and bridges and other projects.

“This creates jobs,” he said. “We had a terrific meeting.”

Schwarzenegger and Obama appear to be developing a close relationship. There was no mention Friday of the moment in October when, in the heat of the presidential election, Schwarzenegger compared Obama’s policies to European socialism.

Schwarzenegger said at the time that Obama “says he wants to pursue the same spread-the-wealth ideas that Europe had decades ago.”

On Thursday, when the two appeared together in Los Angeles, the governor praised Obama for his “courageous leadership and the great commitment he has displayed.” And he said California is “benefiting tremendously” from the economic stimulus package Obama has put together.

Obama reciprocated, calling Schwarzenegger “one of the great innovators of state government” who has turned out to be “just an outstanding partner” for his administration.

“I’m grateful for him,” Obama said.

Tax Marijuana, Health Benefits? Obama Will Fiddle While It All Burns….

March 15, 2009

The “tax everything” fervor in America just now makes one wonder who will pay our bills?  Mexican drug cartels?  But what will be left that we want to save if we continue down the road now rolled out by Obama and Joke Biden?


Could marijuana be the answer to the economic misery facing California? Democratic state assemblyman Tom Ammiano thinks so. Ammiano introduced legislation last month that would legalize pot and allow the state to regulate and tax its sale – a move that could mean billions of dollars for the cash-strapped state. Pot is, after all, California’s biggest cash crop….

From Time Magazine:


Obama wants to ‘discuss’ with Taliban? Taliban threatens to kill aid workers

 Rosy Talk From Obama and Gang is BS

 Obama, Biden Chat Up Economy; Congress Talking “Stimulus II”

Obama: Fire Geithner

 Obama: Stop Thinking About What Might Be Gained; Think What May Certainly Be Lost


Obama Could Tax Health Benefits

Fox News
President Obama’s top economic advisers on Sunday disputed claims that the administration is receptive to the idea of taxing employee health benefits, but would not rule out the option. 

“He is open to all ideas,” said Austan Goolsbee, of the White House Council of Economic Advisers, on “FOX News Sunday.” 

Adviser Christina Romer, appearing on NBC’s “Meet the Press,” also would not take the option off the table. 

But both played down an article in The New York Times Sunday that said advisers were acknowledging the president would not oppose efforts by Congress to tax health benefits, even though he is not personally proposing the change. 

“That was highly overstated. That is not in the president’ budget,” Goolsbee said. “There are some people in Congress who are pushing this, but this is not the president’s idea.” 

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A bonfire: your money going up in smoke?

Plan to cut mortgage interest deduction stirs opposition

March 14, 2009
Obama’s proposed budget would reduce the tax break for households earning more than $250,000. Some see the plan as targeting real-estate rich states like California and New York.
By Peter Y. Hong
Los Angeles Times
March 14, 2009
The Obama administration’s budget threatens to cut a benefit many Americans view as practically a right — the mortgage interest tax deduction — and powerful real estate interests are fighting back.

The move would affect only households earning $250,000 or more, but opponents say it could prolong the housing crisis by slowing already torpid home sales and deal another blow to home values ravaged by the market crash.

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California Budget Standoff: GOP Won’t Budge

February 16, 2009
Capitol lockdown and all-nighters can’t shake loose the one GOP Senate vote needed to pass the spending plan. Weary Democrats will try again this morning.
By Jordan Rau and Eric Bailey
Los Angeles Times
February 16, 2009
Reporting from Sacramento — Ending a weekend marathon of tense negotiations, bleary-eyed state lawmakers late Sunday suspended their bid to plug California’s $41-billion deficit but vowed to continue working today to halt the state’s dizzying slide toward financial collapse.

Despite support from legislative leaders in both parties, the budget deal became mired in politics. The two-day hunt for a third Republican in the state Senate willing to vote for $14.4 billion in temporary tax increases proved futile. Lawmakers and staff said there were enough GOP votes in the Assembly for passage in that house.

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WAITING: Assemblymen Hector De La Torre (D-South Gate), left, and Bill Monning (D-Monterey), right, sleep at their desks during the Capitol lockdown Sunday. Photo:
Rich Pedroncelli, Associated Press

California Says No To Off-Shore Oil

January 30, 2009
State Lands board votes 2-1 against an oil company’s proposal to close four platforms, and in turn be allowed to drill new wells in state waters.
By Steve Chawkins
Los Angeles Times
January 30, 2009
Reporting from Santa Barbara — It was cast as an unprecedented compromise, a deal that would allow a Texas oil company to sink new wells off the Santa Barbara coast in return for an agreement to shut down all four of its offshore platforms within 13 years.

Michael Mariant / Associated Press
Offshore oil platforms are seen off of the Santa Barbara shore.

But the State Lands Commission on Thursday killed the deal crafted by Santa Barbara’s most vociferous anti-oil groups and Houston-based Plains Exploration and Production, closing the door on a plan that would have been the first approval to drill for oil in state waters since 1969.

Lt. Gov. John Garamendi, one of three members of the lands panel, said allowing any new drilling in state waters would suggest the state welcomes offshore drilling and send a come-hither message to other oil companies. His view was echoed by legislators from coastal districts, including Assemblyman Pedro Nava, who represents Santa Barbara.

Approval would have been “a message heard very, very clearly by those who call for ‘drill, baby, drill,’ ” said Garamendi, a former Interior Department official who is running for governor.

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Governors Gone Wild: Paterson Cancels Swiss Ski Trip, Blago On TV, Arnold Stands Tall

January 27, 2009

Just think for a moment about the three U.S. Governors most seen in the nationl media.

Governor Paterson of New York just passed up an opportunity to appoint Caroline Kennedy to the U.S. Senate, choosing instead a relative unknown House member supported by the NRA, Kirsten E. Gillibrand.

Paterson also just cancelled a trip funded by the taxpayers to the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland.

“Perhaps it would be a better idea to go at another time,” Paterson said.  Or maybe never….

Illinois Governor Rod Blagojevich is all over TV, apparently fighting to keep his hair from getting mussed in prison.  His impeachment trial opened monday in Illinois but that is just an opening: there is sure to be a criminal trial.

Blago also caused his Demoicratic Party some heartburn during his dramatic naming of a former Illinois notable to fill the vacant Senate seat of barack Obama.


In California, Arnold stands tall like a Redwood.

Governor Schwarzenegger has warned that the Golden State is on the brink of insolvency; yet he seems to be working like a dog and in a bipartisan way to make things better….

 Oprah, Britney, China, ‘If U Seek Amy’ and What Next Rod Blagojevich?


From Reuters:
“The prophets of doom and gloom are just not looking at the reality of California,” said Jerry Nickelsburg, senior economist at the UCLA Anderson Forecast.

“The government has created kind of a mess and that’s a problem to be solved, but the negatives are actually fairly small. I think you can expect a lot of good out of California,” he said.

The typically upbeat Schwarzenegger made international headlines this month when, instead of delivering his usual cheery “state of the state” speech, he issued a short, bleak message about California’s roughly $1.5 trillion economy.

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A beleaguered Gov. Paterson pulled out of his Switzerland trip Monday as a new poll showed his once-huge lead over Attorney General Andrew Cuomo has virtually disappeared.

Paterson was planning to leave Thursday to attend and speak at the World Economic Forum in Davos, but said he decided to stay to concentrate on the state budget.

“Because of the deficit reduction and the desire to get it moving as soon as possible … perhaps it would be a better idea to go at another time … and stay right here with the leaders of the Legislature and work on the budget,” Paterson told reporters in Hyde Park, Dutchess County.

Some critics felt he should forgo the taxpayer-funded trip and stay in New York to deal with the $15.8 billion budget deficit.

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Obama’s Responsibility, Mandate To Make The American System and Economy Work

January 21, 2009

Everybody in the world knows we are in a global financial crisis like never before.

Many in the world are looking to America for strength and solutions.  And as of this morning people are looking to Barack Obama.

And the American people have given Barack Obama a mandate to solve the problem.

“That we are in the midst of crisis is now well understood,” the President said during his Inaugural Day Address.

Former Secretary of State and Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Colin Powell said, “The American people I think fundamentally bet on President Obama because of the economic situation we are in.”
“The stock market dropped another 300 points on this glorious Inauguration Day and people are losing jobs, and that will be No. 1 for him,” Powell said.

America is inching each day closer to an economic stimulus that will give our children and grandchildren more than $2 Trillion in debt.

Yet no one is certain the stimulus will work.

If there is doubt that the American economy will recover as a result of the actions we are taking, we are either taking the wrong actions or we need to ask ourselves “what else should be done? What should we do differently?”

There will be no national security without a strong American economy.  No social security.  No health care.

A news story yesterday said the only segments of the California economy showing “growth” were in the sectors of government and  medical services.  That won’t produce “wealth” for future investment….

If we all believe in the American System of Government, and I sure do, why are we not tasking Congress to create solutions?  After the stimulus is passed, where is “Plan B”?  Why aren’t Nancy Pelosi and Harry Reid being asked to shut down all the small talk and crap and hold hearings that will give the experts of the world a chance to give the Congress new ideas?

Yesterday the President told us, “America has carried on not simply because of the skill or vision of those in high office, but because we the people have remained faithful to the ideals of our forebears, and true to our founding documents.”

Time to end politics as usual….

Experts around tables in the White House are great and we all applaud “Blue Ribbon” committees; but where is our use of our time-tested system?

Time to make it work for us….

“Today I say to you that the challenges we face are real. They are serious and they are many. They will not be met easily or in a short span of time. But know this, America — they will be met.”

Time for action.  Enough with the foolishness and fal-de-ral…

President Obama renewed his call for a massive plan to stimulate economic growth.

Uproar in Congress? Protest Against Pelosi, Leaders

January 6, 2009

A number of Republicans and some Democrats are considering a protest vote against Nancy Pelosi for House speaker when lawmakers convene Tuesday afternoon to launch the 111th Congress, FOX News has learned.

Once the House is sworn in, one of its first orders of business is to elect a speaker, a vote taken by the entire Congress.

The vote usually goes along party lines. Pelosi will run for the Democrats while Republicans were expected to nominate House Minority Leader John Boehner.

But some lawmakers of both parties are mulling a protest against their leaders and are considering casting their vote for the most senior member of the House, Rep. John Dingell, D-Mich. 

Dingell first took office in 1955 and is the second-longest serving U.S. representative in history.

House sources offered FOX News a number of reasons why some Democrats and Republicans might vote for Dingell. 

Firstly, it would give moderate and conservative Democrats from marginal districts some political space between them and the more liberal Pelosi. 

Fox News

Speaker of The House of Representatives Nancy Pelosi listens ...

Secondly, many House moderates are upset that the House Democratic Caucus unceremoniously ousted Dingell from his chairmanship of the powerful Energy and Commerce Committee in favor of the more liberal Henry Waxman, a Pelosi disciple. 

Thirdly, it would be highly unlikely for any Republicans to vote for Pelosi but some conservative Republicans have considered a protest vote against Boehner. He presided over two bloodbath elections for Republicans and while no GOPer has emerged as a strong enough alternative to be the minority leader, some might vote for Dingell as a clear statement of disapproval of Boehner.

Forging a coalition of conservative House Republicans with moderate Democrats could hold some potential to block Pelosi from the speakership, but chances of that scenario remain unlikely.

“That’s not going to happen,” said a senior Democratic aide when asked by FOX News about the odds of Pelosi losing the speakership on Tuesday.

Still, several GOP sources indicate that while no effort has been organized to draft Dingell, they expected the Michigan Democrat to score some votes.

Historically, only a couple of votes have deviated from each party’s candidate during each new session’s speaker tally, in part because those who vote against their party’s candidate are often remembered by loyalists when a favor is needed down the road. The vote is by roll call.

When the Democrats were in the minority and Pelosi was the Democratic leader, Rep. Gene Taylor of Michigan made a practice of casting his vote for Democratic Rep. Jack Murtha of Pennsylvania. Taylor did vote for Pelosi as speaker in 2007.

When the full House votes for speaker, a reading clerk calls the names of each lawmaker. Lawmakers respond orally with the name of their preference. Some lawmakers opt instead to vote “present.”

Ironically, the new speaker is traditionally sworn-in by the most-senior member of the House, in this case, Dingell.

America: You Are Disintegrating, Russian Claims (California Joins China….)

January 3, 2009

For seriously predicting that the United States will break into six parts in June or July of 2010, Igor Panarin has suddenly become a Russian state-media celebrity. Hardly a day goes by without another interview or two for the KGB-trained, Kremlin-backed senior analyst. The clamor in Russia for his ideas is growing, he says. 

By Joel Garreau
Washington Post Staff Writer
Saturday, January 3, 2009; Page C01

Panarin’s disintegration divination comes complete with a map. In it, Alaska goes to Russia. Hawaii goes to Japan or China. “The California Republic” — the West from Utah and Arizona to the Pacific — goes to China. “The Texas Republic” — the South from New Mexico to Florida — goes to Mexico. “Atlantic America” — the Northeast from Tennessee and South Carolina up to Maine — joins the European Union. And “The Central North-American Republic” — the Plains from Ohio to Montana — goes to Canada.

Few Americans paid any attention to his novel views until this week, when the Wall Street Journal trumpeted them on Page 1. Within hours, the U.S. media began the counterattack.

This is preposterous, Time magazine said in a blog.

“The man knows nothing at all about American regional differences,” wrote Justin Fox, Time’s business and economics columnist. South Carolina is like Massachusetts? Tennessee will join with France? Idaho will find something to love about California? Wyoming will snuggle up to Ottawa? Alabama will happily report to Mexico City? “Yeah, right!” Fox wrote. “Has this man ever been to the United States? Has he never even heard of ‘The Nine Nations of North America’? . . . Igor, do your homework!”

Russian Professor Predicts Fall of U.S. in 2010

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[Igor Panarin]