“Soft despotism is a term coined by Alexis de Tocqueville describing the state into which a country overrun by "a network of small complicated rules" might degrade. Soft despotism is different from despotism (also called 'hard despotism') in the sense that it is not obvious to the people."

Monday, June 22, 2009

California and the State Public Employee Unions

To assist minority employment, federal, state, and municipal governments gave priority to hiring minorities. It was the right thing to do. The employees returned the favor. They unionized and joined Democratic politicians and formed a coalition of interest. The consequences are becoming obvious and expensive. It is a national problem. California is on the cusp. Hasta la vista baby.


  1. Widow Of Murdered Fly Seeks White Apology, Shit--

    It all started with that court decision that mandated we educate every illegal immigrant kid that strolled into town, then let hundreds of thousands stoll in...

    Jun 21, 2:40 PM (ET)

    RICHMOND, Calif. (AP) - California's historic budget crisis threatens to devastate a public education system that was once considered a national model but now ranks near the bottom in school funding and academic achievement.

    Deep budget cuts are forcing California school districts to lay off thousands of teachers, expand class sizes, close schools, eliminate bus service, cancel summer school programs, and possibly shorten the academic year.

    Without a strong economic recovery, which few experts predict, the reduced school funding could last for years, shortchanging millions of students, driving away residents and businesses, and darkening California's economic future.

    "California used to lead the nation in education," U.S. Education Secretary Arne Duncan said during a recent visit to San Francisco. "Honestly, I think California has lost its way, and I think the long-term consequences of that are very troubling."

    The budget cuts will be especially painful for struggling schools such as Richmond High School, where more than half of its 1,700 students are English learners and three-quarters are considered poor. The East Bay area school has failed to meet academic standards set by the federal No Child Left Behind Act for more than four years.

    Now Richmond High stands to lose 10percent of its 80 teachers. Electives such as French and woodshop will be scrapped. Some classes will expand to more than 40students. And many special education and English-language students will be placed in mainstream classes.

    "We're going to see more and more students slipping through the cracks as those class sizes increase," said Assistant Principal Jen Bender.

    Richmond High students are worried about how the cuts will affect their education and ability to attend college.

    "I think we won't be able to learn as much," said freshman Andrew Taylor, 15. "They should put more money into schools. If you take money away from schools, you're going to end up with more people going to jail."

    Slammed by an epic housing bust and massive job losses, California faces a $24 billion budget deficit and could run out of cash by late July if Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger and the Legislature cannot reach a budget deal.

    To balance the budget, the governor has proposed closing more than 200 state parks, releasing prisoners early, selling state property, laying off state workers and cutting health care.

    Under the governor's plan, K-12 schools and community colleges would lose $5.3 billion over the coming year - on top of billions of dollars in recent reductions and payment delays.

    The state would spend $7,806 per K-12 student in 2009-10, almost 10 percent less than two years ago, according to the Legislative Analyst's Office.

    Federal stimulus funds have prevented deeper cuts to a public school system that educates 6.3 million children, of which about a quarter do not speak English well, and nearly half are considered poor under federal guidelines.

  2. Obama Presidential Eligibility--An Introductory Primer--

    from Natural Born Citizen, and it's very good, and the discussions are very good as well, for those with Constitutional interests. The conversation goes on, certainly with an eye to 2012.

  3. If you've had your feelings hurt lately, you can file a report Here

    h/t Maggie's Farm

    Until after the 4th....

  4. Education and Medicaid account for 60% of CA's budget!

  5. - Rogue Cancer Unit at the Veterans Administration -

    Had the government responded more aggressively, it might have uncovered a rogue cancer unit at the hospital, one that operated with virtually no outside scrutiny and botched 92 of 116 cancer treatments over a span of more than six years -- and then kept quiet about it, according to interviews with investigators, government officials and public records.

    The team continued implants for a year even though the equipment that measured whether patients received the proper radiation dose was broken. The radiation safety committee at the Veterans Affairs hospital knew of this problem but took no action, records show.

    Not because hospitals are above covering up malpractice, or because doctors don't protect other doctors, but because any private hospital would have been terrified of getting sued. The VA is very hard to sue because of sovereign immunity.

  6. The US is set to follow California.

  7. We're off to see the Wizard!

    We'll follow the yellow brick road.

  8. doug,

    Re: VA

    This ought to be instructive to those who advocate a greater role for government in heatlh care delivery. You may be certain, it will not.

    My local VA facility is a marvel of civility. Whether it is competent is something else again. If incompetent, the local VA is the most courtiously incompetent institution I have ever known.

  9. It's Monday. And that means it must be a holiday here in the grrrrrrreat nation of Colombia.

    And that means cocktail hour commences at noon. Which, if we US citizens adjust for daylight savings time in honor of our bureaucracies of origin (Miami or DC, take your pick), is less than three hours hence.

    Until said time the world is still a somewhat semi-serious place.


  10. A talking head, on FOX news, an outside face tells US that healthcare costs, under the Romney Plan in MA, have doubled.

    That for a resident making $31,000 per year, the least expensive mandated policy ...

    $9,300 and change

    Unfunded mandates, just another form of taxation.

  11. Leave Iran to the Iranians
    by Leslie H. Gelb

    As experts clash on how to deal with Iran’s turmoil, Leslie H. Gelb says Obama is right to keep his distance—this is what Iranians want, and they have smart, sophisticated reasons for it.

    Iranian hardliners just can’t wait for President Barack Obama to raise high the protesters’ green banner so they can turn it red, white, and blue and unleash a bloodbath against “American agents.” And American hardliners and foreign-policy gurus just keep pushing Obama toward precisely that rhetorical abyss, hoping either to topple the mullah dictatorship—which they know to be a very long shot—or to ensure what they see as the benefits of an American-Iranian confrontation.

  12. Leaving Iran to the Iranians would be nice.....

    However it seems the Iranians imported Arabs (hamas and hezbollah) to do the violent dirty work in the streets all the while Iran doesnt leave Lebanon to the Lebanese, Gaza to the Gazans, Egypt to the Egyptians, Quatar to Quatari's and so forth...

    BHO already has meddled in Iran, he has offered an open hand of friendship to Iran with all sins forgiven..

    that is empowering the hardliners IN IRAN...

    So President "VOTE PRESENT" Obama has taken a Joe Cool stance...

    Iran's response?

    They have blamed America anyway..

    And today?

    Iran is holding long range (3200 miles) airforce (complete with mid air re-fueling) exercises in the persian gulf.....

    Yep Iran is DOING something....

    Our POTUS's policy?

    Do nothing...

  13. DR,

    I tend to agree with the excerpts of Gelb you have quoted. That does not imply, I hope, that I favor no action from the Obama administration.

    Had the US been prudentially, assiduously working all these years to support an effective operation in Iran, the munitions would now be in play, minus the American fingerprints.

    For instance, consider the "disappearance" of enormous stockpiles of Iraqi munitions following 2003. Some of that could have found its way across the very porous borders, just as high grade Iranian munitions apparently did to the detriment of our troops.

    But...that was then, this is now...

  14. it is kinda funny reading all you who hate Iran advocating the arming of Iran.

    I know it is verboten to say it in the US re. health care, but hey, eventually, many may realize it is the only way rationally forward - single payer.

  15. Rat, a lot of people are paying more than $9,300.00/yr, now. A lot more.

    One thing I haven't seen is real, hard numbers out of Mass. I hear a few anecdotes that are impossible to "quantify."

    Ash, I think you're wrong about single-payer. Canada, and England are too big a mess to want to emulate. Our entire financial/business system (the most successful in the history of the world) is based on Competition. It would be folly to get away from that.

    Health Care Reform could have, if the Republicans have done it, been as easy as setting up some sort of SR-22, high risk, system. But, no; we had to nominate a clueless, neanderthal. Now, the Dems are going to present such a plate of "Dog's Vomit" that, even, I would probably have to vote against it.

  16. I can't speak for England but Canada isn't a mess. Not that there aren't problems but the USA appears to have a much much bigger mess happening.

  17. Ash,

    Re: hate Iran

    Yes, an excellent point you raise. It is one the French faced when Franklin et al sought aid during the Revolution: How does one support rebels without simultaneously supporting the British Monarchy. By a stroke of genius, the French discovered that supporting rebels actually weakened the British government ---leave it to those wily French to catch such subtleties.

    While I hate to admit it, I think the French response supplies an advantageous model for American policy toward Iran. Give it some thought.

  18. Yes, I can see it now allen - before the guns are handed out form tz2a-iran must be filled out detailing ones status and ideological fidelity before the issuance of weapons. "Are you a Kurd fighting against Iran but willing to submit to central Iraqi rule?" "Will you only use supplied weapons against autocratic ayatollah rule and for no other nefarious purpose?" If yes, here you go.


    US health care is the most expensive in the world per capita and per gdp and not the most effective - far from it. The pdf at the following link presents a pretty damning picture. Check out Table 1:

  19. p.s. allen, how'd the arming of the rebels go in Afghanistan last time we tried?

  20. Ash said...
    it is kinda funny reading all you who hate Iran advocating the arming of Iran.

    I know it is verboten to say it in the US re. health care, but hey, eventually, many may realize it is the only way rationally forward - single payer.

    1. I hate the mullahs and their supporters... Arming the other 70% of Iran makes sense. The Iranian death machine of it's OWN citizens is quite an amazing story, I am sure those that have been tortured, murdered, starved would have LOVED to own a nice Mossberg 500 12 gauge.

    2. I am for a SINGLE payer system. As long as we do the following.

    Deport all illegal aliens.

    Deny all medical care to those that refuse to participate, and I do mean ALL treatment...

  21. Ash said...
    p.s. allen, how'd the arming of the rebels go in Afghanistan last time we tried?

    How about this...

    Arm ONLY the Women of Afghanistan?

  22. ash said,

    "p.s. allen, how'd the arming of the rebels go in Afghanistan last time we tried?"

    Very well, indeed! The Soviet was humiliated and further wounded.

    Can you recall an American aircraft of any sort being lost to any of the weapons systems supplied to our then allies in Afghanistan. No!!?? Wonder why?

  23. Ash, put it in a "clickable" link and I'll look at it.

    You have to be really careful with the fine print in some of these comparisons. For instance, when they look at "infant mortality," what are they looking at in reference to starting point. If we try to save a 25 week old fetus, rather than aborting it, does this count against us.

    How about health care that's offered (free,) but not accepted.

    Anyhoo, most of the "innovation" happens in the U.S. You don't want to destroy that. On the other hand, we have a lot of young people that are sick, and can't get health care. We've got to fix That.

    Again, I don't blame "Socialists" for being Socialists. The Dems are what they are. They're trying to institute a One-World, Socialist system with Socialized Health Care. That's what Dems do.

    I BLAME THE REPUBLICANS. The Parthy of Stupid has put itself in a situation where their nit-picking over a few unimportant definitions of purity has opened the door for the Dems to accomplish their goal.

    Shame on us.

  24. naw, allen we just lost the WTC and get to enjoy our current stay in Afghanistan.


    copying and pasting into the address bar links isn't very difficult but just for you:

  25. ash,

    I may have been unfair to you earlier, given your confusion about how things work in the real world.

    See, the "fixers", i.e. the guys who follow the three "Fs" have a job to do: 1) find them, 2) fix them, and 3) fuck them. That was done to the Soviet in spades.

    Later, the guys who are supposed to have the wherewithal to fill political/power vacuums created by successful campaigns failed in Afghanistan.

    Different teams, different games, different rules

  26. ash,

    Re: WTC

    Stingers were used against the WTC? I did not know that. Thanks!

  27. So, allen, what groups in Iran do you propose arming?

  28. Ash,

    neither is making clickable links. :)

    They get stuck in my address bar, and I don't know how to get them out.

  29. ash said,

    "So, allen, what groups in Iran do you propose arming?"

    Ash, I am not in a position to make that call. But generically, that is where a permutation of the first "F" comes in - "find them". We (US) should have done that ages ago.

    At this point, my advice would be to arm anyone willing to point the weapon away from me. To be sure, this is unscientific and unsatisfactory but, as General Lee observed, "You play the hand you are dealt."

  30. Okay, I went to your link.

    Again, Infant "Mortality." If we take a 5 oz fetus, and try to save it we list it as a "Live Birth." We're penalized for trying to save lives that no one else attempts to save. That's misleading.

    However, it is fair to say that a Large Segment of our population Can NOT Get Adequate Healthcare.

    Look, here's something else a lot of "Republicans" don't realize. The reason the figures look as good as they do is that Millions of Americans have, through their employers, little Cheapie Policies with Annual Limits of $3,000.00 and such.

    Most of the Waitresses, and Bartenders that serve you fall under this category. A good friend of mine sells this type of coverage. When you go to Darden Restaurants, for example, your waitress, if she has Any coverage, has this type of policy.

    Well, folks, technically, she has insurance; but, not from a realistic standpoint. That won't cover ONE MRI. Again, there are Millions of employees of Small Businesses that have just this type of policy.

    If one of these people get sick they're screwed. If you're sick you can't work. If your present health insurance runs out (at $3,000.00 how long would it take?) you can't buy MORE health insurance to cover an illness you already have. You Are Screwed.

  31. I agree rufus that it is important to encourage leading edge R&D for health care but there are serious flaws, as you rightly point out, in the US health care system and I don't think it does the debate in the US much good to perpetuate the myth that Canada is all messed up while the US currently provides the best. Unfortunately I really don't think any form of universality can be had reasonably without adopting a single payer system.

    By the way, WiO, you don't need worry about deporting all illegal aliens before starting a single payer systems if you approach it the way Canada does. You don't just walk in the hospital and they do everything free, nope, you gotta have a health insurance card and they don't just hand those out willy nilly, you got to qualify (residency requirement ect.)

  32. Ash, you are right.

    I do not know enough about Canada's situation to say things like that.

    If I've learned anything in the last few years, it's that you can't trust Anybody. If you haven't had the time to do the research, and run the numbers, yourself, you're a fool to take someone else's word for it.

    I know we're going to provide insurance for those in our country that don't have it. I know the Republicans had better Lead, Follow, or Get The Fuck Out of the Way.

    I hope we can avoid the worst elements of the "single payer plans," and keep the best aspects of our free-market system.

    But, whether we can, or not, we're changing.

  33. By the way, WiO, you don't need worry about deporting all illegal aliens before starting a single payer systems if you approach it the way Canada does. You don't just walk in the hospital and they do everything free, nope, you gotta have a health insurance card and they don't just hand those out willy nilly, you got to qualify (residency requirement ect.)

    to use canada as an example scares the shit out me...

    it's pure and simple medical rationing...

    that is why tens of thousands of canuks come south for quick and quality health care..

    If you want a solution to health care its actually quite simple...

    take health care and divide it into some basic groups (more groups if needed) and do the following:

    1 Basic care, prenatal, general office visits, preemptive health care for the masses..

    This group of visits should be easy, cheap, available to all and affordable. In areas (such as poor areas) that cannot afford, time away from work, MASH units should be set up with communities, on a rotating basis, with a no-fee service available to all, this device should be used to TRAIN and License new General Practitioners to fill up the MD rants. Supply of Doctors is a major reason costs are so high.

    2. All elective surgery is not covered by any governmental program. (this does not include plastic surgery to repair vet's disfigurements due to service of their country.

    3. DIscourage use of Emergency Rooms by those who do not pay.

    4. Allow those elderly to refuse treatment when terminal.

    5. Focus in on the largest portion of health care costs.. Elderly Care. 85% of all expenses are generated in the last 6 months of elderly care. Instead of rationing it and killing off the elderly (thus lowering major costs), tax credit hospice care to help our elderly (with the support of the insurance industry & family) live in those last 6-12 months in health units designed for them, not basic hospital stays...

    these would all contribute to leaner health care bill...

    why tweak the system rather than destroy it?

    the system serves 250 million people.... it should not be destroyed because 40 million people are not covered for a variety of reason... 250 million pay for it already... and these 250 million also PAY for those who choose not to pay..

    Maybe the simple solution is find a way to get those who do not pay to pay their fair share, without it costing the rest of us...

  34. Ash. I find our replacement Israeli far nicer than his predecessor, don't you?

  35. Frankly, they're a (not without reason) prickly and paranoid bunch. Which, in the latter category I note, puts them in league with most of their Muslim counterparts.

    But allen was an American first. And that makes all the difference in the world.

  36. do I detect a hint of sarcasm?

    All Israeli's are X and all muslims are Y making all middle easterner, of course, Z.

    but Americans are A-OK!!

  37. "Do I detect a hint of sarcasm?"


  38. ...Which, in the latter category I note, puts them in league with most of their Muslim counterparts.

    It's not paranoia when the threats are real. You surprise me with that.

    Your perceptions are usually more accurate.

  39. Hey, how 'bout them Norks?

    The 64K question is, Who are they going to sell it to?

  40. Linear, I have listened to some absolutely bat-shit insane fears on the part of Isrealis. But as I said, it's not like it's out of the blue.

  41. I rely on National Enquirer in the grocery checkout line myself.

  42. “A few years after World War II a doctor examined a Jewish woman who wore a bracelet made of baby teeth mounted in gold. ‘A beautiful bracelet,’ the doctor remarked. ‘Yes’, the woman answered, ‘this tooth here belonged to Miriam, this one to Esther, and this one to Samuel…’ She mentioned the names of her daughters and sons according to age. ‘Nine children,’ she added, ‘and all of them were taken to the gas chambers’…”
    ___Frankl, Viktor (2000): Man’s Search for Ultimate Meaning. Basic Books; p 142

    This dear soul took the high road, spending her life managing an orphanage in Israel. Some of us are less noble –


  43. 2:39 PM PDT, CNN Breaking News:

    Two D.C. Metro trains collided during rush hour Monday, CNN reports.


    Where is John Galt?

    "Our leaders have decided that anyone can do anything...good luck everybody," said a distinguished engineer of my acquaintance, as he departed his retirement party with mistletoe pinned to the tail of his sport coat.

  44. I didn't attend my retirement party.

    I figured the fuckers could celebrate my departure without me having to endure anymore of their bullshit.

  45. If you havent read Atlas Shrugged you need to...