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 CalWatchDog.com, 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 CRNtalk.com 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 Education.net
John Holt: Growing Without Schooling
HomeFires.com–The Journal of Homeschooling Online
The Link, A.K.A. The Homeschool News Link Online Magazine
Free Range Learning, on Facebook
Excellence in Writing
Great HomeSchoolConventions.com

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.

Click here to read to article

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

How Big Government Is Killing California


When you’ve lost the entrepreneurs, free-spirits, and dreamers, you’ve lost the Golden State.
Steven Greenhut | April 27, 2012

The new USC study pointing to a much-slower population growth rate in California has been greeted by demographers and urban planners as good news, in that it supposedly gives our state’s leaders a little breathing room to plan better for the future. The rate of growth has slowed to about 1 percent a year, the result of fewer immigrants coming here and so many Californians heading to other states.

 

Click here to read the article

Al Ramirez, U.S. Senate Candidate, and Wayne Lusvari, Are Hispanics Up or Down in CA?

Tuesday, April 24, on Gadfly Radio, ‎Al Ramirez,  Republican, candidate for U.S. Senate in CA joins us to talk about his unique candidacy, and story.   Wayne Lusvardi, regular contributor at CalWatchDog.com join Martha Montelongo, John Seiler, managing Editor at CalWatchDog.com, and Ben Boychuk, Associate Editor with City Journal on CRNtalk.com, CRN1. Tune in LIVE at 10:00 a.m. PDT on CRNtalk.com or on USTREAM TV’s CRNStudioLive!”

Wayne Lusvardi has a new article published at CalWatchDog in which he responds to Heather MacDonald of the Manhattan Institute who believes California is doomed due to dysfunctional Hispanic families who are trapped in downward social mobility.  His article is not a rebuttal but a rejoinder -an expansion of her topic, in “California’s Demographic Revolution.”

Relaed Link:
Are Hispanics moving up or down the social scale?
Commentary
April 24, 2012
By Wayne Lusvardi
The ongoing economic malaise of the past half decade has slammed most social and economic groups in California. How are Hispanics doing here, especially in light of the bursting of the Housing Bubble?
For example, consider Riverside County, which according to the 2010 U.S. Census is 46 percent Hispanic. Housing prices therehave dropped 30 percent. Worse, construction work, a mainstay of Hispanic family income, has crashed 70 percent.
This matter was considered recently in the City Journal by Heather Mac Donald in her article, “California’s Demographic Revolution.” She wrote that, “unless Hispanics’ upward mobility improves, the state risks becoming more polarized economically and more reliant on a large government safety net.”
But she (click here to read the whole of Wayne Lusvardi’s article).

 

The New Aristocracy–Public Employee Unions–The Cluprits in Los Angeles’s Insovency

Officials and agency board members enjoy perks, and Cadillac benefits, without regard to who will pay the piper.

Unions the culprit in L.A. insolvency
by Brian Calle
Published: April 20, 2012 Updated: April 22, 2012 12:11 p.m.
Orange County Register

“…the City of Los Angeles Fire and Police Pension System is $9.25 billion unfunded; the Los Angeles City Employees’ Retirement System is $11.32 billion unfunded; and the City of Los Angeles Water and Power Employees’ Retirement System is $6.59 billion unfunded. To put the numbers in context, L.A.’s 2011-12 operating budget is $6.87 billion, according to the city…”

Click here to read the article

Desperate Means to Stop a Bellwether Measure

Steven Greenhut
Reform by Any Other Name
Call it “modification” if you prefer—but San Jose’s pension initiative will be a national bellwether.
17 April 2012

San Jose union officials are celebrating a decision last week by the Sixth District Court of Appeals, which struck some city-drafted language from a June ballot measure designed to reduce pension benefits for newly hired city workers and require existing workers either to pay more for their current pension plan or switch to a lower-benefit plan. But the three-judge panel’s unanimous verdict will do little to affect the ultimate outcome of the pension measure and much to remind the public of the lengths to which the state’s public-sector unions will go to resist any reform—and keep voters from having a say. (Click to read more)

David v Goliath in San Diego in June’s CA Primary

Public Enemy Number One
San Diego’s Carl DeMaio puts pension reform center stage—and himself in union crosshairs.
19 April 2012

In 1978, Howard Jarvis launched the U.S. anti-tax movement in California with Proposition 13, which capped annual increases in property taxes and kept people from being forced from their homes during real-estate bubbles. A generation later, the Golden State could be on the brink of launching another populist movement, one driven by anger over government compensation practices. A key battleground is San Diego. In June, voters will decide on Proposition B, the Comprehensive Pension Reform Initiative. It would end defined-benefit pensions for all new city hires except for police officers, instead providing pensions similar to 401(k)s. It would prevent pay sweeteners from being added to base salary when calculating pensions, and it would require city workers to pay a bigger share of their pension costs. Finally, Prop. B would mandate a five-year salary freeze. (Click to read more)

Bill Evers: Nationalize Education? & Brian Calle: Scott Walker Recall a Nationally Pivotal Battle, Tuesday, April 17 on Gadfly Radio

Tuesday, April 17, on Gadfly Radio, ‎Bill Evers, fellow, research fellow
member of the k–12 education task force, and Brian Calle, Editor-in-Chief at CalWatchDog.com join Martha Montelongo, John Seiler, managing Editor at CalWatchDog.com, and Ben Boychuk, Associate Editor with City Journal on CRNtalk.com, CRN1. Tune in LIVE at 10:00 a.m. PDT on CRNtalk.com or on USTREAM TV’s CRNStudioLive!

Related Links:

Nationalizing Education Through National Defense?
ORANGE COUNTY REGISTER, Santa Ana, Calif
By Bill Evers
This month, the Council on Foreign Relations issued a report calling in the name of national security for national curriculum-content standards on science, civics, foreign languages, technology, creativity, and problem-solving – for elementary and secondary education. (Click here to read the article)

Scott Walker recall must be thwarted
Orange County Register Opinion
April 11th, 2012, by Brian Calle
The importance of thwarting the recall campaign against Republican Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker can not be understated: The Wisconsin showdown arguably is the most consequential election in the country this year. And with the release of recent polling data showing the anti-Walker effort leading, the stakes have become even higher.

A Rasmussen poll released April 2 found that a “majority of Wisconsin voters now support the effort to recall Republican Gov. Scott Walker.” Fifty-two percent of likely voters polled said they would recall the governor, versus 47 percent wanting to keep Mr. Walker in office. While the election is still nearly two months away, those numbers are still discouraging. (click here to read more.)

Guns and Roses
Jerry Brown’s high-stakes tax proposal faces a political challenge—from the Left.
5 April 2012 by Ben Boychuk

Jerry Brown wants Californians to believe that the state, facing a current budget deficit of $9 billion, has a revenue problem. In fact, what the 30 million residents of the Golden State have is an entitlement problem. From health care to state and local public-employee retirement benefits, Californians face as much as $500 billion in unfunded liabilities for pensions alone. The state’s unfunded health-care liabilities top $62 billion. Brown’s new budget actually proposes a 7 percent increase in spending, though it offers to cut some services. All of the governor’s plans assume that substantial, voter-approved tax hikes will provide billions in new revenue, helping to pay for the extra spending and shrinking the deficit. “I’m promising wine and roses,” he told reporters after a speech last month, “but not in 2012.” (Click here to read more)

California Counties Are More at Risk of Going Belly Up, than Cities…

This is the fifth in a CalWatchDog.com Special Series of 12 in-depth articles on municipal bankruptcy.
April 11, 2012

By Wayne Lusvardi

“…If the courts rule that existing pension plans are constitutionally protected and unchangeable, then we are likely looking at formal bankruptcy for many local governments.

With the basics of municipal finance explained, let’s look at the fiscal — or budgetary — situation that California cities and counties find themselves in today.
City and County Budgets on the Verge of Upset…”

Many California cities are under fiscal stress due to the protracted contraction of the economy. Many of those cities will be staring down bankruptcy waves as public pension obligations start kicking in during the coming years.

One of the largest prospects for bankruptcy is that of…”

Click here to read the report.

Calling All Moochers and Looters! Soros Organization to Host Training for Occupy Movement

“99% Spring training”: support Moochers & Looters!
The Ground Rules, to make sure everyone follows the chain of command!

 

The The Looters and Moochers’ Front Groups funding your action, as an activist to serve their cause, not really yours, though you’re to think you’re fighting in your interest.

Click here to go to EconomicPolicyJournal.com: Soros Organization to Host Training for Occupy Movement

Terry M Moe, Author of “Special Interest: Teachers Unions and America’s Public Schools” visits Gadfly Radio

Tuesday, April 10th, Stanford Political Science Professor and author of Special Interest: Teachers Unions and America’s Public Schools, joins Ben Boychuk, John Seiler and myself on Gadfly Radio, on CRNtalk.com or on USTEAM TV, on CRNStudioLive!

Every attempt at education is blocked by the most powerful union sector in the country.  The Parent Trigger law is no exception.   Teacher’s union blow back and thuggish blocking is de riguer.   Accountability and performance metrics for educators are blocked.   How impenetrable is the Teacher’s Union and where is the path to a renaissance of real learning and a spirited entrepreneurial culture?

Related links:  Special Interest: Teachers Unions and America’s Public Schools [Hardcover]

The Parent Trigger Law and the case of Adelanto School Board blocks the take over bid lead by parents.

Here’s a great podcast interview at Education Next with Terry Mo discussing Special Interest.

 

 

The Don, Career Politician Exposed in Proposition 29

            While Proposition 29 proponents trot out charities like the American Heart Association and celebrities like Lance Armstrong, there’s a far more ominous force behind its drive to create a brand new tax of about $1 billion per year.      

            Don Perata, a career politician and failed candidate for Oakland Mayor, has just been outed by the Oakland Tribune in an investigative report that ran Friday. As the Tribune reports:

            Perata’s “Hope 2012” ballot-measure committee began raising money for what’s now known as Proposition 29 way back in 2009, and has transferred $488,500 to Californians for a Cure – the primary committee backing the measure… Now Perata himself has received $5,792.17 since July from Californians for a Cure, including $2,607.19 for “meetings and appearances” and $2,508.36 for travel expenses.

            Digging through campaign disclosure forms, the Tribune finds, “The rest of Californians for a Cure’s expenditure list reads like a who’s-who of former Perata aides and consultants.”

            It seems the self-dealing that will no doubt flow if Proposition 29 is passed has already started. By creating a brand new spending commission staffed with political appointees, it’s almost guaranteed to excel at taking money from taxpayers and placing it into the pockets of special interests. With Proposition 29’s 15 year lock-box on funds, not even the Governor nor the state Legislature can step in even in cases of waste, fraud and abuse.

            The same sort of ugly political self-dealing that’s sure to result if California voters were to pass Proposition 29 has already begun within its campaign. It’s one thing for them to do it with their own money, but something entirely different if they’re allowed to get their hands on ours.

EconomicPolicyJournal.com: Soros Organization to Host Training for Occupy Movement

“What’s the training going to entail? According to a web site set up by MoveOn.org:
Inspired by Occupy Wall Street and the fight for workers in Madison, Wisconsin, the 99% will rise up this spring. In the span of just one week, from April 9-15, 100,000 people will be trained to tell the story of what happened to our economy, learn the history of non-violent direct action, and use that knowledge to take action on our own campaigns to win change.

Click to go to EconomicPolicyJournal.com: Soros Organization to Host Training for Occupy Movement

EconomicPolicyJournal.com: Soros Organization to Host Training for Occupy Movement


“99% Spring training”: support Moochers & Looters!
The Ground Rules, to make sure everyone follows the chain of command!

The The Looters and Moochers’ Front Groups funding your action, as an activist to serve their cause, not really yours, though you’re to think you’re fighting in your interest.

Click here to go to EconomicPolicyJournal.com: Soros Organization to Host Training for Occupy Movement

A critical book review of Jim DeMInt’s Vote Republican by Laurence M. Vance

“It’s like the eight years of George W. Bush never happened.
Because DeMint believes that “unless freedom-loving Americans can unite within the Republican Party, the Democrats will win every election and continue to shamelessly lead our nation toward an economic collapse,” he calls on “every citizen who believes in freedom and opportunity” to “abandon the Democratic Party and help us restore a Republican Party that is principled, passionate, and worthy of the trust of freedom-loving Americans.”
DeMint mentions in his last chapter of Now or Never that “the definition of insanity is to keep doing the same thing expecting different results.” This he applies to the Democratic Party’s economic agenda. But this is exactly what conservatives keep doing: Voting Republican and then wishing, hoping, and praying that something better will come of it than the last time they did so.”

Click here to read the full review of Vote Republican by Laurence M. Vance

Pulitzer Winning Author Sues Obama Administration Over the NDAA « Dvorak News Blog


“It is a piece of legislation that was essentially supported by both political parties. Indeed the sponsors of the Bill are Carl Levin, a Democrat and John McCain, a Republican. There was no outcry within the systems of power itself, and that of course meant there was no outcry within the media, which allows those systems of power to set the parameters of debate.” Hedges added.

“I’ll sign this into law, but I promise I won’t use it. That’s how stupid your President thinks you are.”

There’s a video on this post I’m reposting here.

Click here to go to Dvorak.org, to read the full post and view the video.

TEXT

Senator Gloria Romero on Parent Trigger & Steven Greenhut on Pensions & Healthcare Benefits for Public Emp Retirees on Gadfly Radio Tues., April 3 @ 10AM PT

Tuesday, April 3 at 10 AM PT, Senator Gloria Romero and Steven Greenhut join Ben Boychuk, John Seiler and myself on Gadfly Radio, on CRNtalk.com or on USTEAM TV, on CRNStudioLive!

Senator Gloria Romero is the Director for the CA Chapter of Democrats for Education Reform.   On the Adelanto School Board, the Teacher’s Union blocks the Parent Trigger.  Fraud charges raised.– related links:  California’s school reform ‘parent trigger’ law doesn’t need rewriting – Los Angeles Times

Viewpoints: Failing schools dishonor civil rights heroes – Viewpoints – The Sacramento Bee

On Steven Greenhut, VP of Journalism with The Franklin Center for Govt and Public Integrity, some related links:

Steven Greenhut: Bankruptcy may be only way out for cities, states| bankruptcy, unions, reform – Opinion – The Orange County Register Feb 24, 2012
The problem in the public sector is that government never is allowed to fail. There never is a day of reckoning no matter how poorly government provides its so-called services.

What happens when failure is no option? – HUMAN EVENTS  Feb 28, 2012
SACRAMENTO — In my latest column, I documented how the state’s pro-union Attorney General Kamala Harris provided an unfair and dishonest title and summary to a pair of pension reform initiatives submitted to her office, thus effectively killing the measures. Last week the unions tried — and almost succeeded — with an even nastier stunt designed to undermine democracy.

If Stockton Is Broke, Then Why Isn’t San Diego?: Steven Greenhut – Bloomberg March 1, 2012

California Refuses to Fix Public-Sector Pensions – Reason Magazine  March 9, 2012
Golden State lawmakers close their eyes and pretend the looming pension crisis doesn’t exist.

Special Series: Broke Municipalities Look to Bankruptcy Option | CalWatchDog  March 9, 2012
This is the second in a CalWatchDog.com Special Series of 12 in-depth articles on municipal bankruptcy.

Public Unions Send Medical Bills to Taxpayers – Bloomberg  March 15, 2012
The U.S. public pension mess, with its $2 trillion to $3 trillion in unfunded liabilities, is such a volcano of gloom that it takes a potentially bigger problem to turn our eyes away from it.
Turn your attention instead to the size of the taxpayer- backed health-care obligations for public employees.

Are there Other Stocktons Out there?
By Kevin Klowden
Director, California Center; Managing Economist
Monday, April 2nd, 2012 Want to ask Steve what he thinks of Klowden’s remarks here:

“There is hope on the horizon, however. Negotiations to reduce future pension and benefit obligations are bearing fruit and will clearly show long-term improvements for cities such as Stockton. Construction of intermodal port facilities in the city are creating jobs both in the near and long term. The concern is that neither of these developments helps Stockton and cities like it right now.”

 

 

 

Senator Gloria Romero joins Gadfly Radio Tuesday, April 3 @ 10 AM PT

“The nation is watching this evening. California is watching,” said former California state Senator Gloria Romero, who co-sponsored the legislation.

Excerpt:
The outcome of Wednesday’s meeting marked the second time the Adelanto board has denied a petition submitted by families seeking a takeover, finding they fell short in collecting valid signatures from parents representing at least half of the 642 students at Desert Trails Elementary.

The petition drive has been fraught with acrimony as the two sides accused each other of fraud and forgery in trying to meet the 50-percent threshold or in presenting rescission affidavits from parents who claimed they were misled into initially giving their support.

“I could care less if I don’t get elected to office again, but today I stand for all of Adelanto in saying we will not be duped by anybody,” school board member Jermaine Wright said in explaining her vote against the petition. March 28, 2012

Even after a second rejection, it appeared the debate in Adelanto, a community of about 31,000 people made up predominantly of low-income minorities, was far from over.

California Parent Trigger Law: Adelanto School Board Blocks Takeover Bid

Excessive Government Regulations Are Strangling California Businesses published in Fox&Hounds

She has a business plan, has secured the operating capital and has a location picked out for the new small business. However, before she can hire employees and open her doors for business to sell her product and contribute to the local economy, a state bureaucrat has to certify that the people who will come to get yogurt are not adding to vehicle congestion in that neighborhood. Huh?

Excessive Government Regulations Are Strangling California Businesses|Fox&Hounds

Steve Greenhut joins Gadfly tomorrow, April 3rd! Here’s a taste…

Steven Greenhut: Bankruptcy may be only way out for cities, states| bankruptcy, unions, reform – Opinion – The Orange County Register Feb 24, 2012
The problem in the public sector is that government never is allowed to fail. There never is a day of reckoning no matter how poorly government provides its so-called services.

What happens when failure is no option? – HUMAN EVENTS  Feb 28, 2012
SACRAMENTO — In my latest column, I documented how the state’s pro-union Attorney General Kamala Harris provided an unfair and dishonest title and summary to a pair of pension reform initiatives submitted to her office, thus effectively killing the measures. Last week the unions tried — and almost succeeded — with an even nastier stunt designed to undermine democracy.

If Stockton Is Broke, Then Why Isn’t San Diego?: Steven Greenhut – Bloomberg March 1, 2012

California Refuses to Fix Public-Sector Pensions – Reason Magazine  March 9, 2012
Golden State lawmakers close their eyes and pretend the looming pension crisis doesn’t exist.

Special Series: Broke Municipalities Look to Bankruptcy Option | CalWatchDog  March 9, 2012
This is the second in a CalWatchDog.com Special Series of 12 in-depth articles on municipal bankruptcy.

Public Unions Send Medical Bills to Taxpayers – Bloomberg  March 15, 2012
The U.S. public pension mess, with its $2 trillion to $3 trillion in unfunded liabilities, is such a volcano of gloom that it takes a potentially bigger problem to turn our eyes away from it.
Turn your attention instead to the size of the taxpayer- backed health-care obligations for public employees.

Are there Other Stocktons Out there?
By Kevin Klowden
Director, California Center; Managing Economist
Monday, April 2nd, 2012 Want to ask Steve what he thinks of Klowden’s remarks here:

“There is hope on the horizon, however. Negotiations to reduce future pension and benefit obligations are bearing fruit and will clearly show long-term improvements for cities such as Stockton. Construction of intermodal port facilities in the city are creating jobs both in the near and long term. The concern is that neither of these developments helps Stockton and cities like it right now.”

The Super Myth of Keynes as a Great Stock Market Investor

The Super Myth of Keynes as a Great Stock Market Investor
WSJ is running a story today perpetuating the super myth that John Maynard Keynes was a great investor. Writes WSJ:

A new analysis of the investment performance of John Maynard Keynes proves that the famous economist also was one of the greatest investors of the past century.

Total BS.

What’s remarkable is that WSJ provides the facts surrounding what really went down with Keynes. EconomicPolicyJournal.com: The Super Myth of Keynes as a Great Stock Market Investor

GAO pension survey reveals endemic corruption hiding in the hedges

A Commentary by FRANK KEEGAN | March 22, 2012
in State Budget Solutions–Real Solutions for Real Budget Problems

“Anybody who ever questioned how many layers of corruption are woven into state and municipal pension systems, should take a look at the latest Government Accountability Office report on “Challenges of Hedge Fund and Private Equity Investing.”

“Challenges?” That’s a genteel way of putting it. Why not put it in English: Ripping off taxpayers and public workers.” Click to read the full commentary.

Pledge of Allegiance at a Union Dinner « LewRockwell.com Blog

Excerpt: “But why the Pledge of Allegiance? Is this some sort of pox that Americans have caught? Is it that as their country goes downhill, they believe that this is some sort of ritual incantation that will resurrect its past life? Or, more likely, is this a way of “unifying” the people in the room, of sweeping them under one social umbrella so that they’ll be more receptive to the union messages? A blessing would do that. Is there something wrong with saying a blessing? Is blessing the United States of America supposed to be better? No, but it’s more politically effective.”
Click here to read full post, Pledge of Allegiance at a Union Dinner « LewRockwell.com Blog

Ron Paul More Electable Than Mitt Romney in Latest Poll – MarketWatch

“Paul is the strongest candidate with independents, tying Obama with them while the rest of the GOP field trails by 6-15 points.”

“…The new poll reveals that Paul is narrowing the gap between himself and Obama by 5 percentage points since last month’s PPP poll…”

“…Other notables are that among one of the fastest growing voter segments, the Hispanic vote, Paul takes a full third of the Hispanic vote against the sitting President, with no other candidate able to come within 5 points of Paul’s Hispanic support…”

Click here to read the full article, Ron Paul More Electable Than Mitt Romney in Latest Poll – MarketWatch

Richard Rider calls Prop 29 a new high speed rail

California’s high-speed rail is a massive spending boondoggle from the 2008 ballot.  Its cost nearly doubled to about $100 billion while not a single mile of track has yet been laid?

Well, if you liked high-speed rail, you’ll love Proposition 29, coming to the California ballot this June.
High speed rail, said Richard Rider, Chairman of the San Diego Tax Fighters, at a recent appearance on San Diego’s NBC affiliate, “promised in writing that it was going to operate under certain restrictions and now does not.”

That’s because special interests, with no accountability to voters or to taxpayers, hijacked the process doling out favors to political cronies and driving up the cost. It’s a reminder, Rider explained that “the idea that we should be budgeting money at the ballot box has not worked well for us.”

Like high-speed rail, Prop 29 creates an unaccountable commission packed with political appointees. The decisions this commission makes over the nearly $1 billion in annual new taxes it will administer are untouchable for 15 years, not even in cases of waste, fraud or abuse. That means that even though California schools are laying off teachers, this special interest spending commission can dole out favors as it pleases, with no strict controls over spending. The fact is Prop 29 does nothing to fix California’s $10+ billion budget deficit but does everything to make sure that the reckless spending that got California into the fiscal mess it’s in will continue unabated.

Californians have a choice this June. Hopefully they’ll come to realize that decades of unsustainable spending on questionable projects put California in the sorry state it is today. Prop 29 is just more of the same for California—something the state just can’t afford.

Richard Rider calls Prop 29 a new high speed rail

California’s high-speed rail is a massive spending boondoggle from the 2008 ballot. Its cost nearly doubled to about $100 billion while not a single mile of track has yet been laid? Well, if you liked high-speed rail, you’ll love Proposition 29, coming to the California ballot this June. High speed rail, said Richard Rider, Chairman of the San Diego Tax Fighters, at a recent appearance on San Diego’s NBC affiliate, “promised in writing that it was going to operate under certain restrictions and now does not.”
That’s because special interests, with no accountability to voters or to taxpayers, hijacked the process doling out favors to political cronies and driving up the cost. It’s a reminder, Rider explained that “the idea that we should be budgeting money at the ballot box has not worked well for us.” Like high-speed rail, Prop 29 creates an unaccountable commission packed with political appointees. The decisions this commission makes over the nearly $1 billion in annual new taxes it will administer are untouchable for 15 years, not even in cases of waste, fraud or abuse. That means that even though California schools are laying off teachers, this special interest spending commission can dole out favors as it pleases, with no strict controls over spending. The fact is Prop 29 does nothing to fix California’s $10+ billion budget deficit but does everything to make sure that the reckless spending that got California into the fiscal mess it’s in will continue unabated. Californians have a choice this June. Hopefully they’ll come to realize that decades of unsustainable spending on questionable projects put California in the sorry state it is today. Prop 29 is just more of the same for California—something the state just can’t afford.

Richard Rider, Taxpayer Advocate and Diane Goldstein of LEAP on Gadfly Radio

Click on the radio to listen live

Today on Gadfly Radio with Martha and CalWatchDog at 10 AM PT on CRNtalk.com on Channel 1, Martha Montelongo, and  John Seiler of CalWatchDog.com and Ben Boychuk of CA City Journal, welcome Diane Goldstein of LEAP and Richard Rider, Chairman of 

A test for state’s untouchable pensions | PressDemocrat.com

A test for state’s untouchable pensions
Stockton, on verge of bankruptcy, running up against the 800-pound gorilla known as CalPERS
By MARY WILLIAMS WALSH
NEW YORK TIMES
Published: Sunday, March 18, 2012 at 4:03 a.m.
Last Modified: Sunday, March 18, 2012 at 4:03 a.m.

When the city manager of troubled Stockton had to tell City Council members why it was on track to become the biggest U.S. city yet to go bankrupt, it took hours to get through the list.

There was the free health care for retirees, the unpaid parking tickets, the revenue bonds without enough revenue to pay them. On it went, a grim drumbeat of practically every fiscal malady imaginable, except an obvious one: municipal pensions.

Click here to read the full article of A test for state’s untouchable pensions | PressDemocrat.com

A test for state’s untouchable pensions Stockton, on verge of bankruptcy, running up against the 800-pound gorilla known as CalPERS

Some public pension experts think they know why pensions were not on the city manager’s list. They see the hidden hand of California’s giant state pension system, known as Cal-PERS, which administers hundreds of billions of dollars in retirement obligations for municipalities across the state.

CalPERS does not want cities like Stockton going back on their promises, and it argues that the state Constitution bars any reduction in pensions — and not just for people who have already retired. State law also forbids cuts in the pensions that today’s public workers expect to earn in the future, CalPERS says, even in cases of severe fiscal distress. Workers at companies have no comparable protection.  (Click here to read the article)

California college students protesting budget cuts miss the mark

According to Stanford and California Common Sense studies, over the past 12 years state spending on higher education has increased just 30 percent. Spending on the retirement benefits for government employees has grown more than 10 times as fast, tripling, and spending on prisons has more than doubled. The message is clear: Despite revenue growth, cash has not gone to fund higher education. So on this the students are right.

Click here to read the article

Being Bilingual May Boost Your Brain Power : NPR

Research suggests that the growing numbers of bilingual speakers may have an advantage that goes beyond communication: It turns out that being bilingual is also good for your brain.

Being Bilingual May Boost Your Brain Power : NPR

Dr Oz.. Medical Marijuana Part 1 – YouTube

 I love that Pat Robertson has broken with the Politically Correct and spoke out against the war on drugs.  Here’s Dr. Oz, who another nationally famous, influential and highly respected Pastor has worked with, Dr Oz, on Medical Marijuana and common sense policy.  I hope Rich Warren follows Pat Robertson’s example and speaks with moral authority for the truth, marijuana and the absurdity of our current policy!

You can watch all four parts of this youtube video exhibit here. It starts with Dr Oz.. Medical Marijuana Part 1 – YouTube

Being Bilingual May Boost Your Brain Power : NPR

Research suggests that the growing numbers of bilingual speakers may have an advantage that goes beyond communication: It turns out that being bilingual is also good for your brain.

Being Bilingual May Boost Your Brain Power : NPR

Jim Gierach speaks out on 420 University | LEAP

James Gierach of LEAP (law enforcement against prohibition) talks about the failed “War on Drugs Policy” endorses 420 University. Former State Prosecutor and current LEAP board member, Jim Gierach speaks for LEAP on 420 University about how the War on Drugs is both at the heart of a wide range of social problems, with special emphasis on how it fails our children.

If you want society to get better, if you want people to be safer, if you want to regulate drugs and end the violence, you have to listen to this retired judge’s paradigm shift and realization. Here is Jim Gierach speaking out on 420 University and LEAP

Central Valley Business Times: Report: California does a good job hiding how it spends your money

SACRAMENTO
March 14, 2012 1:37pm
• State among the worst for spending transparency

• ‘It’s disappointing and embarrassing’

Want to know how your state servants are spending your taxes? Good luck, if you want to know about California’s state government.

A new report says California ranks among the lowest when it comes to being transparent in spending.

“Transparency in government spending promotes fiscal responsibility, checks corruption, and bolsters public confidence,” says the report from the California Public Interest Research Group’s Education Fund.

California received a “D minus” when it comes to government spending transparency,…
Click here to go to the Central Valley Business Times to read the full article.

A play on Atlas Shrugged, this piece tags the 33% who pay the load of taxes that support Government on all levels, the Atlas Generation.

America’s Atlas Generation – The Forgotten 33%
By Editor, on January 9th, 2012

Pull Quote: America’s forgotten 33%, those who are neither entitled to avoid all taxes, nor members of the political class who pay no taxes, nor the super-rich, might be called “The Atlas Generation.” They carry the world on their shoulders. Their challenge is daunting – they must convince the political class to support sustainable taxpayer funded benefits under formulas that apply equally to ALL workers, public or private, without relying on Wall Street speculative investments to pay for this. Equally challenging, they must convince the entitled class that there is an alternative to identity politics, the politics of envy, and the cycle of government dependency. And they must convince a critical mass of the politically influential super-rich to embrace and advocate a political economy that nurtures competition instead of crony capitalism.

To Read the article and see the dramatic graphic, click here.

Some of the hottest on CA News concerning public policy and Fiscal sanity, or insanity, depending on how you see it.

State & Local – POLITICS
Cash-strapped California city gears up for battle with unions over pension reform
By William Lajeunesse
Published March 14, 2012

Facing an ocean of debt, San Diego is offering voters in June a potential lifeboat: public employee pension reform.

“Taxpayers have had it,” former Mayor Roger Hedgecock said. “A huge portion of the city budget is going to fund these pensions far beyond anything in private sector.”

The initiative would force new city workers into private-sector style 401(k)s. Current employees would pay more, and their retirement payments would be based solely on base salary – not accrued sick leave and vacation time, often used to inflate pension pay.

To read more and check out the video report: Click here

CalPERS reduces investment forecast – How will California cover the difference?
March 14, 2012

n the midst of massive budget deficits and recent heat over pension reform, the Board of Directors of the California Public Employees’ Retirement System, known as CalPERS, voted today to lower its assumed rate of return for the first time since the recession dragged down stock and real-estate prices.

They’re readjusting from 7.75 to 7.5 percent, which might not sound like a lot, but in actual dollars, it means finding an additional $167 million in the state budget to pay pensions, for which California spent $3.5 billion in 2011. The new rate will take effect on July 1, although CalPERS has been asked to phase the change in over two years, hopefully sparing cities from more cuts.
To read more and to listen to the audio with Pat Morrison, Click here.

The Union War on School Volunteers
By Editor, on March 13th, 2012

There are so many facets to the problem of public sector unions that one of their most outrageous abuses, their war on volunteerism, is barely covered by the media. But it happens all the time, especially in public education. If any volunteer does work that could be done by a unionized worker, even if no funds exist to hire that worker, the union is likely to use all their power to stop that volunteer from providing their services.

In Culver City, a suburb of Los Angeles, the union war on school volunteers has taken a new twist. In order to maintain supplemental language programs, as well as adequate staffing of classroom helpers in the Culver City Unified School District, a few philanthropic individuals have funded the payment of modest stipends to people to assist the teachers. They are essentially volunteers. But that’s not ok with the Culver City Association of Classified Employees – translation, the local union – who has threatened to file a complaint with the powerful, union-friendly Public Employment Relations Board (PERB), a “quasi-judicial administrative agency that is charged with upholding and administering collective bargaining statutes that cover employees working in California schools.” For more on this, refer to the following reports: “Parents lodge strong opposition to unionizing of CCUSD language school employees,” and “Parents Attracting Name Allies in Dispute with Union.”

To read more Click here.

California’s Greek Tragedy No one should write off the Golden State. But it will take massive reforms to reverse its economic decline.

By MICHAEL J. BOSKIN and JOHN F. COGAN

Long a harbinger of national trends and an incubator of innovation, cash-strapped California eagerly awaits a temporary revenue surge from Facebook IPO stock options and capital gains. Meanwhile, Stockton may soon become the state’s largest city to go bust. Call it the agony and ecstasy of contemporary California.  (Click here to read more.)

Stratfor on the Futility of the War on Meth – Hit & Run : Reason Magazine

Jacob Sullum | March 14, 2012
A new Stratfor primer on the illicit methamphetamine market cites some numbers that illustrate the risk premium associated with prohibition, which delivers big profits to murderous thugs all over the world:

Depending on the price of chemicals used—determined by the quantity of chemicals purchased and the legitimacy of the supplier—the cost of manufacturing 1 kilogram (2.2 pounds) of meth comes to anywhere between $150 and $4,000….According to the U.S. Department of Justice’s National Illicit Drug Prices Mid-Year 2009 report, the wholesale market price for meth is $19,720 per kilogram while its street value is $87,717 per kilogram. Needless to say, this is a huge markup.

Stratfor on the Futility of the War on Meth – Hit & Run : Reason Magazine

Brian Doherty, Senior Editor of Reason Magazine interviews on DailyPaul.com radio. An ufiltered analysis of the Ron Paul Revolution, unbound delegates, and national political landscape!

Doherty coments on the different facets of this race, especially for the delegates, bound and unbound. The factions, groups and organizations that comprise the Ron Paul Revolution, is broad.
 Doherty provides keen analysis of the Tea Party, the grassroots, the campaign groups and begs the contemplation of the potentiality of this movement.

I loved this interview and am listened to it again, and I will do so again, after that:

Brian Doherty Senior Editor of Reason Magazine joins Daily Paul Radio with Kurt (LISTEN HERE) 

Doherty’s editorial at Reason 

Ron Paul Revolution: What Now? 
The Paul campaign definitely isn’t winning first ballot. But there’s still much to win. 
Brian Doherty | March 9, 2012 

After Super Tuesday, it’s officially official: Ron Paul won’t go into Tampa with enough delegates to win the presidential nomination. Still, because of the unbound nature of 197 extant delegates from caucus states, and his campaign’s diligent efforts to ensure that their people rise through the convoluted GOP state convention process, it’s likely that he has many more committed delegates in hand than the media counts. And as still-excited Paul partisans will tell you: Paul can’t go into Tampa with enough to win on first ballot. As The Daily Beast points out, it seems unlikely that Mitt Romney, clearly in the lead now, can do so either. (Click here to read the full article.)

It’s been a bear, or should I say, a beast. But I’m in my saddle and revved up! Won’t forget my lessons to do practice yoga and good diet.

 I thank everyone in my life because it can be harsh and challenging, and love, friendship, and integrity are edifying pillars.  

I am very excited about GadflyRadio.com That’s been my big project and focus in February.  It’s like what happens when your office or home gets flooded and then all of a sudden you have to deal with the damage and keep going.  

We have a nice home for the production of our show, in a nice studio with good audio, and we have a great website for GadflyRadio podcasts and posts about the upcoming guests, shows, and topics. 

There’s a lot going on and I hope to contribute to the conversations, in a way that advances the truth, liberty and stands in integrity. 

Tuesday, March 13, on Gadfly Radio, David Crane of Govern CA and Wayne Lusvardi of Cal Watch Dog join Martha, Ben and John at 10 a.m. PT

Join Martha Montelongo with Ben Boychuk, and John Seiler as we welcome our special guest, David Crane of Govern CA  and Wayne Lusvardi, regular contributor to CalWatchDog.com.

See my post about David Crane here.

We’ll talk with Wayne Lusvardi on Water Wars bubbling up across CA.  Here are a few of his most recent posts on the water wars:

NEW: Feinstein Waves White Flag in Water War
Sunday, March 11th, 2012

Drought Politics Dries Up Wet Sacramento
Thursday, March 8th, 2012

Cadiz Water Holds Key to CA Resources
Wednesday, March 7th, 2012

 

You can listen live  to Gadfly Radio by clicking the radio here:

Or you can listen to the podcast later at our Podcasts page.

Or you can subscribe to our podcasts here: 

Anyway you like, we serve it up just right for you!

More on the Future of Education:

With the backing of Gates and Google, Khan Academy and its free online educational videos are moving into the classroom and across the world. Their goal: to revolutionize how we teach and learn. Sanjay Gupta reports.

The future of Education

“The future of higher education is online. This is an opportunity for the best professors to reach a global audience. Meanwhile, prices will collapse.”__David E. Shellenberger

#1 Sebastian Thrun, a former Stanford computer science professor, gave a talk on his experiment in teaching a course on artificial intelligence. In parallel with his usual lecture format, he offered the same course online in a sort of interactive tutorial format that made use of the latest research about how we learn  most effectively — basically in small batches followed by quizzes and exercises at certain intervals that, once mastered, mean the student is ready to move on. By the end of the course, most of his students were not longer coming he the lecture and he had 160,000 people around the world taking the course online. You read that right. 

You can watch his presentation here. There is a slightly long intro, which ends after 2 minutes if you want to jump ahead.  (click here to read more at One Last Question–Ned Desmond on What’s up in online media

Check out Udacity University at Udacity.com! It is so exciting! The possibilities are infinite!

Calif. city seeks to escape soaring pension costs

March 7, 2012
By
Ben Tracy

Steven Greenhut, now vice president of the Franklin Center for Government and Public Integrity, penned this powerful piece in the Washington Examiner Friday, March 9

Manhattan Moment: Fiscal mess coming soon to a city near you

Stockton, Calif., a hard-pressed industrial city of nearly 300,000 people in the agriculturally lush Central Valley 80 miles east of San Francisco, is grabbing national headlines because it might become the largest U.S. city yet to enter Chapter 9 bankruptcy.

First, it must go through a 90-day mediation process mandated by a new California law designed to put the brakes on an expected wave of municipal bankruptcies. But the city is out of cash, and other cities aren’t far behind.

Stockton’s situation epitomizes the reality of local government in California today: City governments don’t exist to provide services to the public, but function mainly to dispense high salaries and pensions to the people who work for the government.

Ninety-four of Stockton’s retirees, for instance, receive six-figure pensions, placing them among a rapidly growing list of 15,000 California public retirees in the $100,000 pension club. Click here to read more.