There's a video going around of Harvard Professor/TARP supervisor/MA Senate candidate giving the progressive's rationale for raising taxes. It's all about the social contract:
"There is nobody in this country who got rich on his own. Nobody," she said at a campaign event. "You built a factory out there—good for you. But I want to be clear. You moved your goods to market on the roads the rest of us paid for. You hired workers the rest of us paid to educate. You were safe in your factory because of police forces and fire forces that the rest of us paid for. . . . You built a factory and it turned into something terrific or a great idea—God bless, keep a big hunk of it. But part of the underlying social contract is you take a hunk of that and pay it forward for the next kid who comes along."
What words don't capture is Warren's hectoring humorless tone, especially the sneering sarcastic way she says "good for you." It might be the 21st century, but we still have aristocrats looking down on grubby merchants and money changers.
Still, this line of argument is evergreen on the left, and just the sort of thing that stokes the sort of resentment that leads to full ballot boxes in November, so Republicans, especially Scott Brown, will need to counter it. Russ Roberts offers the best I've seen.
There's much truth in Ms. Warren's statement. But if government stuck to what it does fairly well—roads, police, fire and the courts; enforcing contracts that help businesses interact with their customers and other businesses—the federal government wouldn't need to spend over $3.5 trillion a year, as it now does. And of course it's state and local governments—and not Washington—that primarily fund police, fire and education, so it's a bit strange to ask the rich to pay their fair share of federal income taxes because they enjoy police protection.
Much government spending supports activities that are ineffective or even harmful to the economy, often helping the politically powerful at the expense of the rest of us. Wouldn't it be great for the federal government to stop federal export subsidies, propping up financial institutions, meddling in the education system, and trying to engineer the entire health system from the top down?
Warren loves to talk about roads, police, and teachers because she knows that even conservative voters will accept that government must pay for these. But they are just cover for everything else that the left wants "us" to pay for. If what you care about is basic government services, well, there's plenty of tax revenue coming in to pay for that. What we can't afford are bloated school budgets, unsustainable entitlements, and Obamacare, not to mention the interest on the stimulus that was supposed to fund shovel ready projects, but never did.
Anyway, Warren doesn't really care about cops and roads. I'm sure she supports the sort of green legislation and union contracting rules that make it so expensive to even begin contemplating building "roads." And, I'll bet she has no problem with the sort of procedural shackles that the left always wants to load on to the police. (wanna bet she was on Henry Gates's side on the night when the Cambridge police "acted stupidly?")
Still, Warren's video has proved very popular with the resentful left. It's hard to imagine she could win a Senate race, given her sourpuss style, but Massachusetts is probably the one place where that might work.
The California Nurse's Association called a one-day strike last week, including at three East Bay hospitals.. The hospitals had to bring in replacement workers. Now a patient has died, apparently because one of the replacements put the wrong tube in the wrong incision:
The cancer patient who died because of a medical error at Oakland's Alta Bates Summit Medical Center was killed by a nutritional supplement that a replacement nurse mistakenly put into a catheter meant for delivering medicine to her bloodstream, The Chronicle has learned.
The supplement was supposed to be put into a tube that ran into 66-year-old Judith Ming's stomach, said one source close to the investigation. Ming, who suffered from ovarian cancer and had been hospitalized since early July, died early Saturday, soon after the replacement nurse made the mistake.
The nurse, a 23-year-old woman from New Orleans, was in a state of shock after realizing what had happened, said a source who spoke on condition of anonymity because patient privacy laws prevent public discussion of many of the case's details.
The woman was one of about 500 replacement nurses brought in by Sutter Health to staff its Oakland hospital and two Berkeley campuses when the California Nurses Association called a one-day strike for Thursday. Sutter kept its replacements for five days, locking out its regular nurses until today.
The union employees were among 23,000 nurses in Northern and Central California who walked off the job to protest possible cuts to benefits and services.
The spin from the CNA - last seen connecting Gloria Allred with Meg Whitman's illegal alien maid - is that management "killed" the patient by setting into motion the events leading to the strike, thus leading to the hiring of incompetent replacements, thus leading to a needless death of an innocent patient while self-less, experienced nurses were on the outside looking in.
What did the CNA think would happen when they called a strike? The patients certainly weren't going to leave the hospitals. It was inevitable that replacement nurses would be brought in. Apparently, the company providing the replacements required a minimum of five days service (which ought to give you an idea of what a hassle this strike was for patients and management). Everyone involved says this was a tragic mistake, but that hasn't stopped the CNA from waving the bloody hospital gown of of the late patient. (As if "regular" nurses don't make mistakes). Uhh, maybe the real problem was that the actual nurses decided it was much more important to walk around the hospital waving mass-produced signs, rather than caring for patients, which they always profess to be so concerned for - that's the message of the pro-strike radio ads I keep hearing, anyway.
There was a tragedy here, no doubt about it. It's too bad the tragedy is little more than a talking point for whiny union members.
Obama's Bay Area fundraisers always generate some headlines as Obama must speak a lot more left-wing than the rest of the country wants to hear. Former Google marketing executive Doug Edwards's request that Obama "raise his taxes" is the latest:
Tax increases on the wealthy, one of the most controversial issues currently facing the country, just got an outspoken defender: Google's 59th employee, Doug Edwards. On Monday, in a town hall meeting in Mountain View, Calif., President Obama called on a seemingly-anonymous member of the audience to ask a question. What happened next was surprising.
"Thank you, Mr. President," the man began. "I don't have a job, but that's because I've been lucky enough to live in Silicon Valley for a while and work for a small startup down the street here, that did quite well. So, I'm unemployed by choice. My question is: Would you please raise my taxes?"
We don’t need the smoothest debater, but we do need someone with the minimum required debating smoothness.
Like it or not, in September and October 2012 there are going to be debates which will be watched by an enormous percentage of the electorate, and the mainstream media will be unforgiving of mistakes by the Republican nominee. A miserable performance, on par with the one Perry had Thursday night, would be a disaster.
By contrast, strong debate performances against Obama, holding Obama accountable in front of tens of millions of people, exposing his failures for what they are, could seal the deal. The mainstream media will not perform that task for us, so our nominee needs to do it. Perry has not shown so far that he is capable of that; it’s not smoothness, its preparation and execution.
How do a Harvard-schooled private-equity titan, a Mandarin-speaking former ambassador, a libertarian physician-congressman and the nation's longest-serving governor convince Americans that they are men of the people?
Fashion observers say the men in the Republican presidential primary race are setting a new standard for studied sartorial ease. Working the campaign trail in shirt-sleeves and jeans, they're tossing off their neckties—and with them, a century of tradition.
"Good lord, what have we come to?" says Daniel James Cole, professor of fashion history at the Fashion Institute of Technology in New York. "I read that Mitt Romney's wife bought him Gap skinny jeans…We don't think of jeans as being presidential." The Romney campaign didn't respond to requests for comment.
A Republican former White House aide suggests the 2012 candidates have gone far beyond what he calls the "three F's" rule: A president looks better without a tie only when appearing at a fair, on a factory floor or at the scene of a flood.
Indeed, Mr. Romney, the former Massachusetts governor, went tieless when kicking off his candidacy.
Giving an informal air to the formal announcement, he wore a roomy shirt in a tattersall pattern—a plaid first used in 18th-century British horse blankets—with sleeves "rolled as if he [had] entered an impromptu hot-dog-eating contest," wrote Kurt Soller, Esquire's style editor. The magazine's Web story was titled, "Mitt Romney's New Strategy: Stop Dressing Well."
Even if state officials can scrape together the billions of dollars needed to fund California's ambitious high-speed rail plans, lawsuits from cities and opposition groups could delay, divert or derail the project.
In the Bay Area, cities and nonprofits are suing over issues with the route and environmental studies. In Southern California, the city of Palmdale (Los Angeles County) has gone to court over fears that rail officials will abandon a planned Antelope Valley line through the city and reroute the tracks up Interstate 5 instead.
Perhaps the hardest-fought battle is yet to come in the Central Valley, where Kings County officials and residents say they'll do everything in their power to stop a 100-mile stretch of track from wiping out thousands of acres of prime farmland between Fresno and Bakersfield.
The biggest obstacle facing the beleaguered bullet train is probably its uncertain financial future. But lengthy court battles also could affect the project by delaying construction, increasing costs and altering the course the train takes through the state.
According to estimates by the California High-Speed Rail Authority, rerouting the high-speed line to satisfy stakeholders could add hundreds of millions, even billions, of dollars to the final price tag.
Biological warfare came to America soon after the 9/11 attack. In Florida, a photo editor died of inhalation anthrax. At the time it was thought to be an isolated incident. But then anthrax was found in New York in the newsrooms of NBC and the New York Post, together with letters dated "09-11-2001" and warning: "Death to America Death to Israel Allah Is Great." These were followed by anthrax-laced letters, with a similar message, sent to Patrick Leahy, chairman of the Senate Judiciary committee, and Majority Leader Tom Daschle. The clouds of trillions of spores closed down Congress. In all, five people died from the killer anthrax, and more than a dozen required treatment.
It was quickly established that all the anthrax was from the deadly Ames strain. All the envelopes carried the same Trenton, N.J., postmark, but the FBI had little else to go on. There were no fingerprints, fibers or DNA traces on the envelopes, on the tape used to seal them or on the photocopied letters inside. After testing every mailbox that used that postmark, the FBI found one in Princeton, N.J., that tested positive; investigators found no witnesses to the mailings. Though the FBI eventually identified a few suspects and ultimately insisted that it had found its man, no one was ever prosecuted.
Now two excellent books give a thorough chronicle of the anthrax terror campaign and try to clarify what happened. "American Anthrax" is Jeanne Guillemin's brilliant examination of how America responded, while David Willman's "The Mirage Man" focuses more tightly on the FBI investigation, exposing the inner workings of one of the most extensive efforts in the bureau's history.
The report concluded that the FBI's key assertion—that its genetic fingerprinting showed that the killer anthrax could have only come from the flask in Ivins's custody—was flawed. "The scientific data alone do not support the strength of the government's repeated assertions that 'MR-1029 was conclusively identified as the parent material to the anthrax powder used in the mailings,' " the report stated. "It is not possible to reach a definitive conclusion about the origins of the B. anthracis in the mailings based on the available scientific evidence alone." Without a scientific basis for tracing the killer anthrax to Ivins's lab, the FBI's case against him was reduced to inferences from his behavior.
For several weeks now, I’ve been hearing rumors that there was something in California called a “Republican Party” with elected officials and stuff.
But I dismissed all those rumors as crazy talk, because it has been years and years since any actual Republican has won any important election in California. Somebody told me that Maria Shriver’s ex-husband once claimed to be a Republican, but I never believed a word that guy said (and as it turned out, Maria shouldn’t have believed him either).
Imagine my surprise, then, when my buddy Joe Fein in L.A. wrote a blog post saying that not only is there a “Republican Party” in California, but they’re having what they call a “state convention.” I figured this meant that three or four guys were getting together in the corner booth at a diner on Wilshire Boulevard or something, but Joe has some pictures and at least one of them shows what appear to be at least half a dozen people in what looks like a hotel lobby.
Joe also has pictures of what he calls the “media department” of this alleged California GOP — I dunno, to me it looks like a dude with a laptop – and also a photo of a chick in front of a “Rick Perry for President” sign. Rick Perry probably heard the rumors, too, and figured what the heck, if they say they’re having a convention, might as well send a chick with a sign.
Tom Otterness, a Brooklyn-based artist, has created public art all over Europe, Asia, Canada and the United States, with an emphasis on New York City.
But he garnered notoriety in 1977 when he adopted a black-and-white dog from an animal shelter and shot it to death with the camera rolling. The footage ended up in his avant-garde movie "Shot Dog Film."
Otterness has since apologized, telling the Brooklyn Daily Eagle in 2008, "Thirty years ago when I was 25 years old, I made a film in which I shot a dog. It was an indefensible act that I am deeply sorry for. Many of us have experienced profound emotional turmoil and despair. Few have made the mistake I made. I hope people can find it in their hearts to forgive me.
Kinde Durkee was arrested Sept. 2 and accused by federal authorities of stealing campaign funds and using the money to pay for an array of personal expenses, including mortgage payments, cosmetics and nursing-home care for her mother. Based in Burbank, Calif., the 58-year-old had long managed money for scores of Democratic campaigns.
According to the federal criminal complaint, Ms. Durkee "misappropriated money from her clients' bank accounts and filed false disclosure reports to hide the misappropriations." Ms. Durkee "admitted that she had been misappropriating her clients' money for years," according to court documents.
Her lawyer didn't immediately respond to requests for comment.
The complaint against Ms. Durkee focused solely on her alleged misappropriation of more than $600,000 from the campaign accounts of state Assemblyman Jose Solorio's campaign accounts. But prosecutors said the case is set to widen as evidence surfaces that more politicians were alleged victims and millions of dollars in campaign donations may be missing.
While some California political figures expressed shock at the allegations against Ms. Durkee, there are growing indications that there were potentially serious problems in her operation for years.
"There definitely had been red flags that have gone off in the last few years," said Stephen Kaufman, a campaign attorney who worked for clients of Ms. Durkee's. Mr. Kaufman said he was working with a number of clients to find out the status of the bank accounts that Ms. Durkee had controlled.
Ms. Durkee was cited for financial reporting misdeeds 11 times by the state agency that oversees campaign finances, starting in 2002. The fines totaled $190,000.
Compared to other campaign treasurers, the number of citations stood at "an extreme level," said Ann Ravel, chairwoman of the Fair Political Practices Commission, the state oversight agency. Ms. Durkee was "the subject of quite a few major violations."
One of the investigations found unusual fluctuations in the campaign accounts of a statewide regulatory board candidate. Investigators noticed similar irregularities in the accounts of other clients of Ms. Durkee, including one official for a federal office, prompting the state agency to contact the Federal Bureau of Investigation, Ms. Ravel said.
Poverty levels increased for a fourth straight year in California, according to census data released Tuesday.
Nearly six million California residents fell below the national poverty threshold of $22,113 for a family of four in 2010, while one in five lacked health insurance.
The numbers represent a negative trend sweeping the nation as close to 46.2 million Americans reported living in poverty last year -- the fourth year in a row the country has seen an increase in poverty.
Bachmann said last night on Greta that a woman came up to her after the debate, crying, and said that her daughter had been given the Garadsil vaccination and as a result had suffered mental retardation. Bachmann says that Perry shouldn’t just be given a mulligan on this because there are significant consequences to the decision he made to mandate Gardasil.
Great line by Newt, Obama scares seniors every day. He made a strong substantive point, which is that why should be have to live in a system where a President can threaten to withhold social security benefits. It goes to the heart of individual autonomy. My wife responded, “Newt for V.P.” I think he’s earning that spot but may also be the comeback kid in this primary season.
California lawmakers on Friday approved a bill that would soften parts of a landmark, 4-decade-old environmental law and could pave the way for the quick approval of large developments across the state.
In the final hours of the year's legislative session, Democrats pushed through a measure that would give the governor the power to speed up the environmental review process on some large construction projects, including sports stadiums and green manufacturing plants. It was sent to the governor late Friday.
This is nothing more than standard New Deal-style corporatism. It's a gift to labor unions, big developers, and a few urban pols who want to build sports arenas. The bill's main proponents are city fathers in Sacramento, who want to build a new basketball arena, and the city of Los Angeles, which wants to build a new football stadium. Liberals are the "smart" party, of course, so I guess they know something about economic benefits (economically, they are a loser) of the public funding of sports stadiums that the rest of us don't know.
If signed by the governor, AB900 would allow projects costing $100 million or more to request streamlined judicial review under the California Environmental Quality Act, known as CEQA. That law, passed in 1970, requires public agencies to identify the environmental impacts of construction and other projects and mitigate them.
"While I appreciate the value of wearing a ski helmet, I am concerned about the continuing and seemingly inexorable transfer of authority from parents to the state. Not every human problem deserves a law."
Supporters were quick to criticize the veto, pointing out that Brown's Republican predecessor supported an identical bill last year and that the bill mirrored existing bicycle helmet laws for children. Jo Linder Crow, executive director of the California Psychological Association, said Brown "chose to ignore the scientific evidence (and) the ski industry's support."
FBI agents executed search warrants Thursday at the California headquarters of Solyndra LLC, which was awarded more than $500 million in federal stimulus loans in 2009 to make solar panels in what the Obama administration called part of an aggressive effort to put more Americans to work and end U.S. dependence on foreign oil.
But the firm filed a bankruptcy petition Tuesday in Delaware, shedding more than 900 full-time employees, leaving just a “core group” of 113 employees, according to bankruptcy records.
FBI spokesman Peter D. Lee said multiple search warrants were served at the company’s Fremont, Calif., headquarters in what he called a joint investigation by the FBI and the Energy Department's Office of Inspector General. But he said he could not provide any details about the ongoing probe.
Energy spokeswoman Karen Sulier confirmed that the department was involved in the investigation but would not elaborate. Solyndraspokesman David Miller said the company was cooperating in the investigation but did not know the reason for the search.
News of the raid prompted key Republicans in Congress, who already were investigating the loan to the company, to issue a statement calling for answers from the company.
Myth #3: The Republican party is moving to the right. When things go wrong for liberals, as they did in last November’s elections, and politics seems especially divisive, it is never because liberals have moved out of the mainstream. There’s only one possible explanation: Republicans must be moving to the right. But in 1980, when Ronald Reagan was elected, Republicans stood for lower taxes, less federal spending, smaller deficits, less government regulation, a strong defense, free trade, limits on abortion, and First and Second Amendment rights. Sound familiar? This is the platform of today’s Republicans. The Democratic party, however, has careened far to the left. Who in 1980 could have imagined today’s federal budget of $3.6 trillion, 25 percent of GDP? Or today’s deficit of $1.3 trillion, up from just $161 billion in 2007? Or today’s national debt of $15 trillion? Or today’s defense spending below 4 percent of GDP? Or government control of health care and automobile companies and banks? Or marriage itself redefined? Who’s kidding whom here?
BART protesters vowed to block the fare gate exits at the Powell Street Station Thursday in a direct confrontation with transit district officials.
A handful of demonstrators gathered in front of the Civic Center fare gates Monday to detail their plans for Thursday's planned protest.
By shutting down the fare gates at 5 p.m. Thursday, the protesters hope to force BART officials to open the emergency gates and let passengers at the station leave without paying their fares, said Krystof Lopaur, an organizer for No Justice, No BART.
If BART officials refuse to open the fare gates for the protests, as they would after a baseball game, then it will prove that their main concern isn't public safety, but blocking the protest, Lopaur said.