In “A Progressive’s Progress” Greenhut writes about what one authentic progressive is standing for in California

Steven Greenhut
A Progressive’s Progress
San Jose mayor Chuck Reed shows how Democrats can take the lead on public-pension reform.
30 May 2012

Skyrocketing compensation costs for public employees are forcing California municipalities to contemplate spending cuts and, in some cases, even bankruptcy. The question isn’t whether to rein in these pension and medical liabilities—that’s unavoidable—but precisely when and how to do so. Dominated by public-sector unions, the state legislature remains in deep denial, but some local leaders, acknowledging reality, are taking action on their own to control costs. “We’ll do this city by city a few times and that will help to move the state,” San Jose mayor Chuck Reed told me in a recent interview at City Hall. Eventually, Reed says, California will need a statewide pension-reform initiative to overcome the legislature’s intransigence. Reed, a progressive Democrat who has dragged along a slim majority of a 10-member city council, is leading the most impressive effort statewide.

Click here to read the article published in City Journal

Real Progressives who authentically care about the poor should support Gov Scott Walker

GREENHUT: Real progressives should support WI’s Scott Walker
By Watchdog Staff / May 30, 2012 /

“…once-proud movement of working people who fought oppression has morphed into an upper-middle-class movement of coddled public employees who do not care about debt levels and eroded public services. They have their gold-plated pensions and no one better touch them or else.

Progressives used to pride themselves on their desire to help the poor, but in Wisconsin these days they’d rather throw the poor under the bus — a public bus, of course, with a union driver — to protect the relatively wealthy class of workers who administer government programs.”

Click here to read the article

A Democratic Tea Party and a Turning Point on Opposition to the War On Drugs and Political Suicide

“Mr. O’Rourke’s stance in favor of marijuana legalization is also something to watch. Conventional wisdom holds that such a view will kill a political career. But Mr. O’Rourke may have been helped by it. Don’t forget that Cuidad Juarez, where Mexico’s drug war has claimed the lives of thousands in the past six years, sits cheek-to-jowl with El Paso. Culturally and commercially, the two cities are almost one in the same. Mr. O’Rourke has argued that making the drug legal but regulated would weaken cartel financing and thereby reduce violence. The Times reports that he does not plan to make the issue a priority in Washington because it is not a priority for voters. But it is nonetheless interesting that his position does not seem to have hurt him.”  Mary Anastasia O’Grady  in the WSJ’s Political Diary, a daily subscription newsletter.  (Click here to go to the posted article.)

Public Employees, the new aristrocracy that rules CA: Slashes to services for the poor while they get pay raises

California Workers Get Pay Bump Even as Brown Seeks Cuts
By Michael B. Marois – May 29, 2012 

As California Governor Jerry Brown seeks a temporary 5 percent pay cut from public employees to fill the largest state deficit in the U.S., many of those same workers are poised for raises next year.

Labor contracts covering 140,000 workers grant increases of about 3 percent to top earners beginning in July 2013, according to the Personnel Administration Department. About 34,000 employees became eligible this year as the raises began to be incorporated.

Brown, facing a $15.7 billion deficit through June 2013, is seeking savings in a state where unionized public employees are paid more than government workers in other states, and civil- service protections hamper dismissals. The 74-year-old Democrat wants to save $400 million by shortening the work week by two hours. That will require approval from unions representing 182,000 of the state’s 214,000 workers.
Click here to read more

CA Election Races & Ballot Props w/ Chris Reed of CalWhine & Gadfly’s Ben & Martha

Tuesday, May 28, on Gadfly RadioChris Reed of joins Martha Montelongo, and Ben Boychuk, Associate Editor with City Journal.

We’re discussing the hot races in next Tuesday’s, June 5th, CA Primary.

We’ll talk about the race for mayor in San Diego, and the hot props for public employee pension reform in San Diego, and San Jose.  Prop 28 for term limits, and Prop 29, the Cigarette tax  initiative to fund cancer research, and of course, we’ll discuss the many props on the ballot aimed to raise taxes on the people who live, work and try to run businesses in CA.

Chris is always intensely passionate and he’s been interviewing candidates and proponents and opponents running for office or backing or fighting initiatives,  as part of  his work with the San Diego Tribune so he’s well prepared with all the details.

Publisher Brian Hews of the Los Cerritos News joins us to talk about the Noguez pay-to-play Million Dollars campaign contributions scandal.  

Tune in LIVE at 10:00 a.m. PDT on or on USTREAM TV’s CRNStudioLive!”

CA Lawmakers exemplify definition of insanity–The more harm they cause, the more they copy failed EU States, and cause yet more harm

Consider California, Illinois EU-Style Failed States
05/22/2012 06:09 PM ET

Brown is pushing to raise California’s sales tax (already the highest in the nation) from 7.25% to 7.5%. He also wants to slap higher income-tax rates on those making more than $250,000 — while raising the state’s marginal income-tax rate on millionaires from 10.3% to 13.3% (thus establishing the highest state income-tax rate in America).

Californians don’t have to look all the way across the Atlantic to see that this approach is destined to fail. They need only look halfway across their own continent.

In Illinois, income tax hikes haven’t solved the state’s budget crisis. That’s because most of the revenue generated by a 2011 marginal rate hike was earmarked for a $4.5 billion pension payment — not the state’s $5 billion deficit or its $9 billion backlog of unpaid bills.

Of course this $4.5 billion barely made a dent in the state’s long-term pension problem.

Click here to read the article

CA Assembly passes bill to protect “public servants” from investigative reporters who seek to out fraud, waste, and abuse of public funds, trust, & welfare

“The state is about to destroy the most significant source of public records, and create an open invitation to fraud and theft in order to combat a phantom threat. The bill was introduced by a legislator who ought to know better, Mike Feuer (D-Los Angeles). Not long ago, Feuer argued that openness is the key to stopping abuse in his city’s terminally troubled children’s court system, but now he is the champion of secrecy.”

The California Assembly, in a move that reminds me of my my childhood friend who’d take the Candy Land deck of cards under the table to “shuffle” them, just passed AB 2299 by a vote of 68-0.   This bill reinforces the evidence that the CA legislators are beholden to the new aristocracy of California, the public employee unions and their members.   If the bill becomes law, it eliminates the inconvenience of laws that allow reporters and citizen journalists to investigate and expose fraud, waste, abuse and corruption.   It still has to pass the CA Senate, and be signed by the Governor.

This gives Organized Crime a whole new meaning.  Click here to read Steven Greenhut’s article

Uh-oh, more than one in five cities in California face bankruptcy

By Troy Senik on May 24, 2012 1:53 PM

At least three California cities — Stockton, Mammoth Lakes and Montebello — have declared that they are exploring the [bankruptcy] option. And at least 100 of the state’s 482 cities are on track to face a similar predicament by the end of the year, according to Barbara O’Connor, a professor at California State University at Sacramento.

More than one in five. No wonder the state’s unions are fighting for a bigger role in local bankruptcies. How that fight resolves will be crucial to the fiscal future of local government in the Golden State. Click here to read more

Why is the GOP forever shrinking in CA? It’s the incongruity!

Steven Greenhut: If you wonder why the GOP is having such hard times, one need only look at the goings-on in Orange County, where Republican Party Chairman Scott Baugh is pulling out all the stops to ensure the election to the board of supervisors of Todd Spitzer, the former Assemblyman who is a close union ally and someone who proudly increased pensions for his deputy sheriff union friends and then stood by that action right until he started getting political heat for doing so.

Click here to read the article.

Jerry Brown is the Great Dissembler

Steven Greenhut | More Gimmicks, Less Honesty | California continues to play budget games | 17 May 2012

As the Sacramento Bee reports, “The state budget deficit had grown by a remarkable 70 percent since January, but fiscal experts said the economy had little to do with it.” If not the economy, then what could possibly explain the shortfall? The answer: Brown and his administration embraced overly optimistic budget projections—what the Legislative Analyst’s Office described as “an aggressive forecast.” In January, Brown had claimed a budget deficit of $9 billion; today, it stands at $16 billion.

Click here to read the article.

Should I Stay or Should I go? Greenhut says Conservatives should stay in CA

Yes, There’s a Case for Staying in California: Steven Greenhut

“Just as California progressives view their first-in-the-nation ideas such as cap-and-trade as a means to push the entire nation to the left, so too could conservatives and centrists use California as a model for a back-from-the-brink rescue.”

Click here to read the article.

Jim Manzi discusses “Uncontrolled: The Surprising Payoff of Trial-and-Error for Business, Politics, and Society”; Plus: American Dream Goin’ South and California’s Proposed Cigarette Tax, This Week on Gadfly Radio

Join us live Tuesday, 10 a.m. PDT, on, CRN1, for another spirited edition of Gadfly Radio with Martha and CalWatchDog.

Martha Montelongo could not stay away from the microphone for long, so she’s returning from her road trip a week early!

In the first half of the program, we’ll talk to Jim Manzi, author of the new book, Uncontrolled:  The Surprising Payoff of Trial-and-Error for Business, Politics, and Society. Manzi, a senior fellow at the Manhattan Institute and the founder and chairman of Applied Productive Technologies, argues “we have much less formal knowledge about society than economists and other social scientists often claim, and that therefore we need to rely predominantly on practical expertise, federalism and trial-and-error learning to make useful progress.” It’s a fascinating book, and should make for a fascinating discussion.

Then, John Seiler, Ben Boychuk and Martha Montelongo will discuss some of the latest developments in California, including the pitch battle over Proposition 29, the “Tobacco Tax for Cancer Research Act.” If approved, Prop. 29 would raise the cigarette tax by $1, with the money ostensibly earmarked for cancer research.

Prop. 29’s backers are trying to portray the measure’s opponents—which do, in fact, include tobacco companies—as objectively “pro-cancer.”  L.A. Times columnist George Skelton flatly asserts that Prop. 29 will save countless lives, and that opponents of the tax increase are simply lying to protect Big Tobacco. And in a column at California Progress Report headlined “The Friends of Lung Cancer,” former Sacramento Bee editorial page editor Peter Schrag writes:

There are lots of good reasons to support Proposition 29, the tobacco tax initiative on the June 5 ballot, not least those named Philip Morris and R.J. Reynolds. Together, the two tobacco giants have so far kicked in about $40 million to the sleazy campaign to defeat it. If you count the nearly $700,000 that the Republican Party contributed to their cause you have yet another reason.

Incredibly, Schrag comes out in qualified opposition to Prop. 29, saying, “Anything that big tobacco is against – or big pharma or big oil – is usually good enough to be for. But let’s save it for a more worthy purpose next time around. There’s a long list of underfunded programs that can badly use the money.” Well, alrighty then!

The problem with Prop. 29—well, one of them, anyway—is that it would create yet another new agency with an unreliable revenue stream in a state beset with a multi-billion dollar deficit. Remember Prop. 71? That was a 2004 bond measure that set up a mostly unaccountable new agency responsible for spending billions on stem-cell research. The Sacramento Bee reported Monday that the California Institute for Regenerative Medicine is now in danger of running out of money.

And as CalWatchDog’s Katy Grimes noted last month, Prop. 29’s backers have plenty to gain if the measure passes: “Don Perata, a former state legislator, has been using the June ballot measure’s election fund as his own personal checkbook. Perata has paid nearly $40,000 to an Oakland City Councilman in order to win a contract for one of his lobbying clients, the San Francisco Chronicle and Contra Costa Times reported.” Grimes also reports that Prop. 29 includes “a clause prohibiting any changes in the spending decision that its politically appointed commission makes, for a full 15 years.”

What’s more, the measure, “is written in a way to exempt the CEO from normal state salary requirements, and why that CEO can hire whomever he wants, at whatever salary he chooses.”

How bad is California’s economy? People are voluntarily returning to Mexico. John Seiler at CalWatchDog lays out the numbers in “American Dream Goin’ South,” which highlights the reverse migration of Mexicans from California. John writes:

Although the official California unemployment rate is 10.9 percent, the real level — including those working part time who want to work more and those who have given up looking for work — is 25 percent, just as during the 1930s, as I have reported.

A difference this time from the 1930s is that Mexico’s economy is not also in a slump, but is a hot tamale:

“First-quarter growth was 4.6 per cent compared with a year earlier, the fastest pace since the third quarter of 2010, prompting several analysts to upgrade 2012 growth forecasts.”

Other items of note: 

  • “California’s salary setting commission is bracing next week to consider a 5 percent pay cut for legislators and other statewide officeholders, in keeping with a similar cut proposed by Gov. Jerry Brown for state workers,” reports Jim Sanders at the Sacramento Bee.
  • Executives at California State University campuses would be prohibited from getting public pay increases during the next two years and then limited to 10% raises during the next four years under legislation approved Monday by the state Senate,” according to the Los Angeles Times. CalWatchDog’s John Hrabe has been on the cutting edge of reporting on the Cal State executive compensation scandal. Read his latest report here.
  • During last week’s episode, Ben and John discussed California’s exploding budget deficit, including the state’s high hopes for billions in new revenue from the Facebook IPO. City Journal contributing editor Joel Kotkin argues at The Daily Beast that Facebook won’t save the Golden State. Meantime, Facebook shares on Monday closed near $34 on the second day of trading—or about $4 below the stock’s initial offering price. Yikes.

This Week on Gadfly Radio: Troy Senik on the “Worst Union in America”; Plus: Jerry Brown and California’s Greek Ways

Join us live on Tuesday, 10 a.m. PDT, on, CRN1, for another lively edition of Gadfly Radio!

Troy Senik, has a dynamite article in the Spring issue of City Journal: “The Worst Union in America: How the California Teachers Association betrayed the schools and crippled the state.” Really? The worst? Worse than the SEIU? Worse than the NEA? Yes, yes, a thousand times, yes. But we’ll have Senik make his case, which will be excerpted in the Los Angeles Times in the next few days. And editor-in-chief Brian Calle opines in his latest column at the Orange County Register.

We’ll also discuss Governor Jerry Brown’s May budget revision, which was released officially Monday but previewed over the weekend. Anyone not paying attention would have been shocked to learn that California’s current budget deficit is several billion dollars higher than Brown’s office reported in January—$16 billion, as opposed to around $9 billion at the beginning of the year. Anyone else wouldn’t have been the least bit surprised.

“This means we will have to go much farther and make cuts far greater than I asked for at the beginning of the year,” Brown said. “But we can’t fill this hole with cuts alone without doing severe damage to our schools. That’s why I’m bypassing the gridlock and asking you, the people of California, to approve a plan that avoids cuts to schools and public safety.”

Brown delivered the “news” on YouTube, where he doubled down on his pitch to voters to approve a tax increase in November.

“Please increase taxes on the most affluent,” Brown urged. “It’s reasonable and fair.”

”By the time I leave here, California’s budget will be balanced and the state will be back on road to prosperity,” Brown added. ”I am a buoyant optimist.”

It’s phony-baloney. All of it.

Katy Grimes at CalWatchDog: “Jerry Brown twists out ‘pretzel palace’ budget,” which reports legislative Republicans’ reaction to the governor’s news.

“Tax revenue is up two years in a row, but not enough to satisfy the spending demands of Sacramento Democrats,” retorted Assembly Republicans. “It will be interesting to see if the liberal majority in the Legislature accept the Governor’s cuts, or reject them as they did earlier this year when they blocked the Governor’s health and welfare reforms and grew spending by $1 billion,” wrote Assembly Minority leader Connie Conway, R-Visalia, and Assemblyman Jim Nielsen, R-Biggs.

Tom Del Beccaro, chairman of the California Republican Party: “Amazingly, a year and a half into Brown’s Governorship and we still hear nothing of the unemployed. California will continue to face chronic budget deficits because so many people remain out of work; the conversation about revenues should always begin with how to restore jobs. So many people are wondering when Brown will offer plans to make California competitive, so that business will return to this state and bring jobs with them.”

Calle at CalWatchDog: “If nothing else, the budget situation points to the power teachers’ unions have within the Brown administration and California government in general. This is particularly true of the juggernaut CTA, which was recently dubbed by City Journal as the ‘Worst union in America’ because of the lopsided influence it has on public policy in California. Education spending is perhaps the Holy Grail of politics in the Golden State. So it is no surprise Brown’s administration is using education as a justification for increasing taxes. Improving education is popular with voters. But money is not the major problem facing California’s education. Instead, the state is in need of structural reform.”

Robert Wenzel at Economic Policy Journal: “California is fast becoming the new Greece.” And Brown’s proposal to reduce the work week of many state workers—a move that would need to be bargained with the unions because the Democratic-controlled Legislature isn’t about to impose that change unilaterally—would be equivalent to a 5 percent pay cut.

Bill McGurn at the Wall Street Journal (subscription required): “Jerry Brown vs. Chris Christie.”

Hard economic times bring their own lessons. Though few have been spared the ravages of the last recession and the sluggish recovery, those in states where taxes are light, government lives within its means, and the climate is friendly to investment have learned the value of the arrangement they have. They are not likely to give it up.

Meanwhile, leaders in some struggling states have taken notice. They know the road to fiscal hell is paved with progressive intentions. The question regarding the sensible ones is whether they have the will and wherewithal to impose the reforms they know their states need on the interest groups whose political and economic clout is so closely tied with the public purse.

Mr. Brown’s remarks Monday suggest the answer to this question is no.

McGurn’s column follows on the Journal‘s editorial fusillade Monday:

Among the biggest surprises is a 21.5% or nearly $2 billion decline in personal income tax payments from what Governor Jerry Brown had anticipated. This reinforces the point that when states rely too heavily on the top 1% of taxpayers to pay the bills, fiscal policy is a roller coaster ride.

California is suffering this tax drought even as most other states enjoy a revenue rebound. State tax collections were up nationally by 8.9% last year, according to the Census Bureau, and this year revenues are up by double digits in many states. The state comptroller reports that Texas is enjoying 10.9% growth in its sales taxes (it has no income tax), while California can’t seem to keep up despite one of the highest tax rates in the land.

This would seem to suggest that California should try cutting tax rates to keep more people and business in the state, but Sacramento is intent on raising them again. Governor Brown and the public-employee unions are sponsoring a ballot initiative in November to raise the state sales tax by a quarter point to 7.5% and to raise the top marginal income-tax rate to 13.3% from 10.3%. This will make the state even more reliant on the fickle revenue streams provided by the rich.

The Orange County Register: “More bad news ahead of Brown’s revised budget”:

This is a man for all intents and purposes bought by, and in the pocket of, government employee unions. Likewise, so is the Democratic-controlled Assembly and state Senate, which all but precludes a legislative fix.

Sadly, California deserves better than it has gotten for more than a decade in Sacramento. An unwillingness to properly adjust government spending and an insistence on draining even more billions from the private sector is symptomatic of the runaway fiscal catastrophe under way in Europe.

Bottom line, courtesy of Reason‘s Tim Cavanaugh: “Where are the devastating cuts of the austerity of bare-bones of the starving beast in a state that will increase spending by six percent — from $86.5 billion in outlays last year to $91.4 billion this year?” Mighty good question.



The Occupy Protesters are a mish mosh of divergent factions, but at least they’re angry. Greenhut ponders why are most people not angry over the harm done under guise of Government?

“The problem is not with one agency, but with the vast expansion of federal and state government, which takes our money and freedoms and leaves a path of destruction wherever it goes.

Sure the Occupy protesters are annoying. But the real surprise is why the rest of us aren’t at least as angry as they are.”

Click to read Legislature worse than occupiers,
May 7, 2012
By Steven Greenhut

Should the Govt make it harder for parents to opt out of vaccinations for their kids? Govt is killing CA

Tuesday, May 8, on Gadfly Radio,  join Martha Montelongo, with John Seiler, managing Editor at, and Ben Boychuk, Associate Editor with City Journal.

Tune in LIVE at 10:00 a.m. PDT on or on USTREAM TV’s CRNStudioLive!”

Related Links:
Schwarzenegger’s Bizarre Analysis
by Steven Greenhut

“…suggesting that the Republican Party is “too narrow” and rigid. In Politico, he points to the departures from the GOP of Assemblyman Nathan Fletcher, a man whose only political principle is the advancement of his own career, and Anthony Adams, as terrible losses for the party…

“…In what bizarro world are those unprincipled, tax-hiking, union backers up and comers in the GOP? In what way is their departure any sort of loss for the GOP?…

…The problem with GOP moderates — who often are far less tolerant toward differing opinions than the right-wingers — is they end up standing for nothing at all. Try to explain in a few sentences what any of the above-mentioned politicians believe in beyond advancing their own political power and careers?…

Head to Head: Should we make it harder for parents to opt their kids out of vaccinations?
By Ben Boychuk and Pia Lopez

Vaccine bill injects drama into Capitol hearing
April 18, 2012
By Katy Grimes

Legislature worse than occupiers
May 7, 2012
By Steven Greenhut
The problem is not with one agency, but with the vast expansion of federal and state government, which takes our money and freedoms and leaves a path of destruction wherever it goes.

Sure the Occupy protesters are annoying. But the real surprise is why the rest of us aren’t at least as angry as they are.

Darrell Steinberg wants you in an ant farm
May 2, 2012
By John Seiler

Bob Huff Embraces Nanny State
By Steven Greenhut

College is ‘a racket’
May 4, 2012
By John Seiler

Does Being GOP “Moderates” equal Being Unprincipled, Tax Hiking, Union Backers.

Schwarzenegger’s Bizarre Analysis

Steven Greenhut: I love it when politicians have their chance in power, squander their opportunities, then spend the rest of their career lecturing us about how to reform government. Arnold Schwarzenegger was not just a disappointment, he was a fraud — and a particularly embarrassing one at that. Now he is playing martyr, suggesting that the Republican Party is “too narrow” and rigid. In Politico, he points to the departures from the GOP of Assemblyman Nathan Fletcher, a man whose only political principle is the advancement of his own career, and Anthony Adams, as terrible losses for the party:  Click here to read the post on

Government is not the answer! How does Govt make life worse? Steven Greenhut spells it out!

Entrepreneurs take risks. They often fail, but they sometimes make great strides forward. Government employees, on the other hand, go to jobs where they cannot be fired except in the most extreme circumstances. They regulate us and provide “services” few of us want. They retire at young ages with pensions that make them the envy of their neighbors. They consume an ever-larger share of the money earned by those who take risks and create growth. Then their unions lobby for more government. And unfortunately, writes Steven Greenhut, our fellow citizens willingly vote for the politicians who perpetuate this system. Read the rest at here

On Education, More Money Doesn’t Equal Better Results–This truth is factually buttressed, but buried by rhetoric, again, as usual

Stanford studies showing no correlation between spending, school quality hijacked again |

“Getting Down to Facts,” I actually read about a thousand pages of the reports. And as I wrote back in 2007, buried in all the multiple studies, here is the lead: A review of all California school districts shows “essentially no relationship between spending and student outcomes” and that spending more is futile until “extensive and systemic reforms” are in place. In other words, the problem is much more about the stupid way money is spent than the lack of money.

Read more: Stanford studies showing no correlation between spending, school quality hijacked again |

Stanford studies showing no correlation between spending, school quality hijacked again |

“Getting Down to Facts,” I actually read about a thousand pages of the reports. And as I wrote back in 2007, buried in all the multiple studies, here is the lead: A review of all California school districts shows “essentially no relationship between spending and student outcomes” and that spending more is futile until “extensive and systemic reforms” are in place. In other words, the problem is much more about the stupid way money is spent than the lack of money.

Read more: Stanford studies showing no correlation between spending, school quality hijacked again |

The Best Cities For Jobs – by Joel Kotkin, Forbes

By Joel Kotkin and Michael Shires

Throughout the brutal recession, one metropolitan area floated serenely above the carnage: Washington, D.C. Buoyed by government spending, the local economy expanded 17% from 2007 to 2012. But for the first time in four years, the capital region has fallen out of the top 15 big cities in our annual survey of the best places for jobs, dropping to 16th place from fifth last year.

Another group of big cities that may be seeing light at the end of the tunnel are some of the metro areas hit hardest by the bursting of the housing bubble. Miami, Fla., which ranks 21st among the 65 largest metros, Tampa-St.Petersburg-Clearwater, Fla. (33rd), Phoenix (45th), Riverside-San Bernardino, Calif. (50th), and even Las Vegas (56th) began to show some signs of new life this past year.

So amidst all the good news, which big cities are still doing badly, or even relatively worse? Sadly, many of the places still declining are located in our home state of California, including Los Angeles (59th place among the biggest metro areas), Sacramento (60th), and, and just across the Bay from Silicon Valley, Oakland (63rd). Only the old, and to date still not recovering, industrial towns of Providence, R.I. (64th), and Birmingham-Hoover, Ala. (dead last at No. 65), did worse. And the glad tidings in manufacturing have not touched all the Rust Belt cities: Camden, N.J. (57th), Newark, N.J. (58th), Cleveland, Ohio (61st), and Detroit (62nd) still feature prominently near the bottom.

Click here to read  The Best Cities For Jobs – Forbes

What Is or Should Be the Law?

What this country needs is a good theory of law. We even lack the language to talk about what is happening to us. One party denounces the other but only in ways that exempt itself from criticism. As a result, the “man on the street” is not even prepared to talk about fundamental questions.

Example: Where did law come from, and what should it do? Sure, people get annoyed at the police, irritated by the TSA or startled to read about periodic injustices of public policy. One party gets annoyed when the other party’s president enacts laws without regard to any constitutional conventions.

Read more: What Is or Should Be the Law?

The Best Cities For Jobs – Forbes

The Best Cities For Jobs – Forbes

Jenny Worman on Liberty Caucus in CA, & Peggy Christensen, Open Source Learning, a.k.a. Homeschooling on Gadfly Radio Tuesday at 10am PT

Tuesday, May 1, on Gadfly Radio, Peggy Christensen, mother of two, after starting her first girl in a public school for the first few years, explored and finally jumped into open source learning, a.k.a. homeschooling, for both of her two daughters. Ms Christensen joins Martha Montelongo, with John Seiler, managing Editor at, and Ben Boychuk, Associate Editor with City Journal.  Also, GOP Congressional candidate, Jenny Worman drops in for short visit.

Tune in LIVE at 10:00 a.m. PDT on or on USTREAM TV’s CRNStudioLive!”

On April 30, Larry Sand, retired L.A.U.S.D. teacher and Founder and President of California Teachers Empowerment Network published what he called an Honest Cheat Sheet of facts regarding Public Education in L.A.U.S.D., for those who need to see the numbers– how much we actually spend per pupil, and how many children are failed in our schools despite the dollars we spend. (Click here to download the PDF of Larry’s Cheat Sheet)

Reformers battle to empower parents, and give them choice in what school their child has to go through, with the idea that competition would improve the stagnant and ossified conditions that prevail in most public schools. It could be years before The Parent Trigger Law gets any traction. Schools will argue that they’re implementing their own reforms, and have the access to parents the reformers don’t have.

Decades pass, and little victories come and go, but ultimately, the situation has only grown more dire, in cost, and worse, in unlearned children. The schools are little detention centers where large groups of children are corralled into classrooms, and conditioned into submission and conformity. And as if this assault on the way children naturally learn and develop were not bad enough, in just the past four months of this year, it seems everyday we read and hear about teachers and aides who sexually or physically abused children. It is an all too common danger that further betrays and victimizes our children.

What if you could give your children an education that was designed to nurture leadership, curiosity, independence, critical thinking, initiative, individuality, confidence, and written and spoken communication skills? What if these skills could be learned by any child, without having to pay tuition for an elite private school, or live in a multimillion dollar neighborhood?

President Franklin D. Roosevelt was a C student in College. President Bush was hardly a C, and Senator Kerry, who ran against Bush, had an even lower grade point average than Bush. They went to elite boarding schools. What characteristics and what skills prepared and qualified these men to be a Senator and Presidents? What if all children were capable of developing the same qualities and skills? They are.
We will discuss with Peggy, her journey into what she prefers to refer to as open source learning, for her two daughters. We’ll talk about her reservations starting out, her shift of consciousness, the challenges she faced, resources, her success and advice she has to share.

Also joining us, later in the program is GOP Congressional candidate, Jenny Worman, on the board of the Screen Actors Guild for six years, and is part of the Liberty Caucus of the CA GOP. She’s running for U.S. Congress in the new 28th District. What’s special about CA’s Primary if you want to vote for Liberty Candidates but you’re not a Republican? Last day to register is May 21, to apply for vote by mail is May 29, and June 5th is the Primary.
Links shared by Jenny Worman:
The Ron Effect–Bloomberg Business Week, April 26, 22012 
Liberty Candidates across the USA in 2012

Links shared with us by Peggy Christensen:
Freedom of
John Holt: Growing Without Schooling–The Journal of Homeschooling Online
The Link, A.K.A. The Homeschool News Link Online Magazine
Free Range Learning, on Facebook
Excellence in Writing

Additional Links on Open Source Learning (Homeschooling):
Homeschool Legal Defense Association/California
The Preservation Institute:  Beyond Progressive and Conservative on John Taylor Gatto

Homeschool Oasis about John Taylor Gatto
How one family has been helped by the Khan Academy | KTVB.COM Boise

California Dreaming–Brown’s tax measure, which has yet to even qualify for the June 2nd ballot is a band-aid for a critical condition

California Dreaming

The latest Public Policy Institute of California poll shows Gov. Brown’s proposed tax initiative – which hasn’t yet qualified for the ballot – currently has 54 percent support among likely voters. Historically in this state, ballot initiatives lose support over time, so it looks like an uphill climb. If the unscientific San Francisco Chronicle readers’ poll accompanying the article is any indication, the opposition is just getting warmed up.

Because CalSTRS has earned only 60 percent of its forecasted investment return since 1999, it needs school districts to boost contributions by more than $100 billion. Worse, CalSTRS waited so long to seek more contributions that its request is now for an extra $4.5 billion a year, almost double the $5 billion a year it already receives in contributions.

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On Education v. Compulsory K-12 Public Schooling, can you improve the system, or is it better to transform how we understand the distinction?

Peggy Christensen, who will be our guest on Gadfly Radio, Tuesday May 1,  shared with me, in a private phone interview, a lot of information and insights into her personal journey, allowing her two daughters to educate at home,  as opposed to “schooling” them in a Government school, or a private school that is still too much like the dehumanizing and constraining elements of compulsory public education.

Among the wealth of information she shared with me, she told me how much she liked John Taylor Gatto.  She may have said how much she loved him, but I don’t want to put words in her mouth. I will say that Ms Christensen is very understated and mindful of not offending or putting anyone off with anything that might be taken as her being judgmental or dramatic.
Her desire is to inspire others enough to pique their curiosity, so that they will question their hard set beliefs and consider exploring the possibility that they may be missing out on a far more rewarding experience, if only they will take a few minutes of their time, and explore their options.

I am looking forward to our interview tomorrow, and in the mean time I have fallen in love with John Taylor Gatto!

I looked him up, and I have to say, he is the most exciting voice I have ever heard on education.  I urge anyone with the slightest curiosity, to give him a listen, and a read.  Here is a YouTube playlist I put together for my own listening instruction and pleasure–I delight in hearing what he has to say.   You can listen while you exercise on a treadmill or an elliptical machine,  while you walk, run, weed or water the garden, wash dishes, fold laundry, sew, (these are my home routines and activities), or what ever it is you do that leaves room for you to listen and ponder. Enjoy.

      “I don’t think we’ll get rid of schools any time soon, certainly not in my lifetime, but if we’re going to change what’s rapidly becoming a disaster of ignorance, we need to realize that the school institution “schools” very well, though it does not “educate”; that’s inherent in the design of the thing. It’s not the fault of bad teachers or too little money spent. It’s just impossible for education and schooling ever to be the same thing.”

– John Taylor Gatto