“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."

Wednesday, June 06, 2012

San Jose voters Tuesday handed (Democrat) Mayor Chuck Reed a crucial victory with his nationally watched pension reform measure passing by a decisive margin.

It was a big night for pension reform, with a San Diego measure also winning by a wide margin. City employee unions who argued the measures are illegal were expected to challenge both in court. But voter approval of San Jose's Measure B puts Reed and the city in the vanguard of efforts to shrink taxpayer bills for generous government pension plans. Passage also strengthen's Reed's hand as he and his City Council allies work to enact the measure's reforms with a vote next week to reduce pensions for new hires. "I want to thank the voters of San Jose for their commitment to fiscal reform and to creating a more sustainable future for our children and grandchildren," Reed said as returns were coming in. He added in an interview that he expected a big win after talking with residents around the city and called it a victory not only for taxpayers who have watched city services trimmed as pension expenses surged, but also for employees whose retirement plans will be more sustainable with the changes. The San Jose and San Diego votes drew interest around the country as a gauge of voter support for reforming pensions at the ballot box. Gov. Jerry Brown's pension reform proposals have gained little headway in the Legislature. Voters like Howard Delano of Willow Glen were tired of watching their city shovel more and more tax money into government pensions far more generous than their own retirement. "It's out of control," Delano, 60, said after dropping off his ballot. "Nobody gives me a pension." But Yolanda Cruz, president of the city's largest union, called the measure "an unfortunate way to spend taxpayer money fighting it in court because we will definitely take it there. Taxpayer money would be better used getting services back." Pension reform advocates saw the San Jose measure as a key test of how far cities can go in reducing pensions for current employees. Unions argue that decades of court decisions effectively hold that government employers may increase but never decrease current employee pension benefits without offering something comparable in return. Most pension reform around the state, including the San Diego measure and one approved in San Francisco last year, change benefits for new hires. But pension reform advocates and a state watchdog panel argue cutting only new hire benefits isn't enough to solve the cost problem. Reed's Measure B goes further than other efforts in tackling current employee pension costs. He said that as a charter city San Jose has the authority to reduce pension benefits not only for future hires, but for current employees' remaining years on the job. If courts disagree, Measure B calls for the city to take the equivalent savings in pay cuts. Among changes called for in Measure B: •Current employees keep pension credits already earned but must pay up to 16 percent more of their salary to continue that benefit or choose a more modest and affordable plan for their remaining years on the job. •Limit retirement benefits for future hires by requiring them to pay half the cost of a pension. •Suspend current retirees' 3 percent yearly pension raises up to five years if the city declares a fiscal crisis. •Discontinue "bonus" pension checks to retirees. •Require voter approval for future pension increases. •Change disability retirement with the aim of limiting it to those whose injuries prevent them from working. Reed proposed Measure B a year ago after his efforts -- from championing new tax measures to imposing 10 percent pay cuts on city employees -- failed to erase budgetary red ink that has soaked the city ledger for a decade. Though the city projects a modest $9 million surplus in the upcoming budget, thanks largely to the pay cuts and hundreds of job cuts, a $22.5 million shortfall is expected the year after. A key deficit driver has been the yearly pension bill that has more than tripled from $73 million to $245 million in a decade, far outpacing the 20 percent revenue growth and gobbling more than a fifth of the city's general fund. A city audit blamed the rise on a combination of benefit increases, flawed cost assumptions and investment losses. City audits and news reports also assailed a system in which the city's police and firefighters take tax-free disability retirements at rates far exceeding those in other big cities.


  1. I'm done posting here if I can't use the old blogger:

    I just wasted half an hour repeatedly reformatting the post, only to have NEW BLOGGER turn it into shit.

    1. It's still properly formatted in HTML view... but.

      Let us know how to deal with this shit.

  2. Tried republishing with Chrome:

    Same Shit

    1. I can't make a proper link. Gave up.

      Maybe just as well.

      Probably me though.


  3. How Scott Walker Helped Unions and Democrats Tonight
    By Jim Geraghty
    June 5, 2012 11:10 P.M.

    Believe it or not, by winning his recall election - by a 57 percent to 42 percent margin at this hour – Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker has done his foes – the Wisconsin Democratic Party, the public sector unions, the progressives and angry leftists – a favor.

    He has liberated them from the soothing illusion that they are popular, and that the public agrees with them.

    How do you think the leadership of the Wisconsin chapter of the American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees fell to 28,745 in February from 62,818 in March 2011? How do you think they greeted the sudden realization that two-thirds of the members, given the option of leaving and cease paying union dues, headed for the exits?

    The leadership of the unions have done a terrible job – and have spent years convinced that the membership loved them, and that the public thought well of them as well. That may have been true at some point, but it is no longer the case, and no amount of spin can change that. Better for these organizations to confront the hard truth, and work to earn back that trust of members and the public at large, then to insist that all is well and ignore the problems.

    Tonight Scott Walker and his GOP allies did a favor the Obama campaign, too. They assured them that their classification of Wisconsin as a swing state was accurate, and that in the “dry run that we need of our massive, significant, dynamic grassroots presidential campaign” that DNC Chair Debbie Wasserman-Schultz promised, the Wisconsin Democrats failed miserably. At this hour, Walker is winning by roughly a 200,000 vote margin.

    We should all be willing to help out the democrats, unions, lefties and Obama in this manner whenever we get the chance.

    By the way, that Debbie Wasserman-Schultz is an airhead.


  4. Sarah Palin and I have been trading e-mails on a three or four time daily basis.

    I see I have finally convinced her that

    "Obama's goose is cooked."

    And I forgive her for using my line.

    Cooked goose -


    1. Good ol' wonderful Sarah, she took my advice on Intrade too, and has made a bundle.

      She is anxious to know my picks on the Belmont.


    2. Let her know @ the Belmont Club.

  5. You got sucked into that Geraghty column by the headline! did I.

    Good post, it turned out, as was proven in San Jose and San Diego.

  6. Replies
    1. Crazy G-y lost in a claiming race at Pimlico and is now pastured in Montana.

      He couldn't be back.


  7. I'll Have Another drew the 11th slot for the start of the Belmont. This might be bad news for I'll Have Another, as only two horses have won the Belmont from the far outside since....1....9.....0......5.

    Alpha is not running.

    PETA sticks nose in stable--

    2012 Belmont Stakes: PETA Wants Surveillance For I'll Have Another

    I'll Have Another trainer Doug O'Neill is currently facing a 45-day suspension when it was discovered that one of his horses had excess level of total carbon dioxide which is an illegal practice. With this information, PETA has decided to get involved and request that I'll Have Another be placed on a 24-hour watch.

    I'll Have Another trainer accused of milkshaking -

    Belmont Stakes 2012: I'll Have Another Dealing With Drug Questions

    A horse might win the Triple Crown for the first time since Affirmed did it in 1978. Why wouldn't there be drug rumors?

    Following another brilliant performance by I'll Have Another to beat Bodemeister in the Preakness Stakes, talk of drug usage has started to swirl significantly.

    I'll Have Another's trainer, Doug O'Neill, has been under siege for supposedly supplying the horse with chemical help. O'Neill has strongly denied all of the rumors being lobbed his way.

    "We play by the rules," O'Neill said, according to "It's all about the horse. We're going to focus on the horse. I think we've got a horse and a team that, with a little bit of luck, will have an unbelievable time in three weeks."

    O'Neill has also dismissed talk that I'll Have Another has received a "milkshake", also known as a combination of bicarbonate soda, sugar and electrolytes.

    "I swear on my kids' eyes I never milkshaked a horse," O'Neill said nine days before the Preakness.


    "I'm not planning on breezing I'll Have Another," O'Neill said. "He said he only breezed Seattle Slew twice between the Preakness and Belmont because he needed to take the edge off him, because he was such a high energy horse. As you see I'll Have Another is a pretty mellow horse, really."

    World ace handicapper 'b' is quoted as saying "I'll Have Another is out of the money and is gonna finish 4th.'


    1. A "milkshake", also known as a combination of bicarbonate soda, sugar and electrolytes, is what track odds master Rufus has been found to use to get off Budweiser, the beer, not Bodemeister the horse, according to an inside stables source. There had previously been some confusion concerning this issue.


    2. In Theory, there is no difference between theory and practice,

      but in practice, there is.

      - Yogi Berra

    3. In practical theoretics a balance is maintained between the active and the potential poles. In practical theoretical theological discusions this tension is said to be that which is maintained between Shiva and Shakti. In racing it is popularly said to be that between the Budeweiser, the restfull potential pole, and the Bodemeister, the active involved pole. As in all things, the Master dances lightly and gracefully across the gaps. Thus Doug in the above, or, rather, Yogi Berra, is on to something here, a rarefied truth abstracted from the hurly-burly. Can these concepts be applied to ecology, perhaps, or energy production? We know and can say at least this much: without the insights and aid rendered by an understanding of the above, you'll be sucking gas to get much ethanol out of corn, and make it to market.


    4. I am Doodnauth Shivmangal, trainer for Guyana Star Dweej, master of equine yoga, and I am looking for a hindu raised jockey to ride our horse in the coming Stakes.

      I inadvertently left out my last sentence in the above, which would read "The human race is thus called to revert to horse powered transport, saving the earth in the process."


    5. I am Arjuna

      Expert in all things horseful and forceful.

      I volunteer to ride the steed, O Nobly Born Shivmangal.


    6. I am Kent Desormeaux, you shitkickers, and have landed a ride on Guyana Star Dweej in the Belmont Stakes after losing my mount in the Preakness Stakes because I failed a Breathalyzer test. See article about me below.

      Read more:


    7. Damned owners have hired a drunk to ride Star behind my back.

      I may just throw this race. I can do it, too.


    8. I am reconciled with the owners. Though I was coerced.

      Here is what I have to work with --

      Guyana Star Dweej had Eddie Castro as his jockey in his last race on April 27. Apprentice Samuel Camacho Jr. rode him in three previous races, including his only win on April 7.

      "Kent came by with his agent and they were asking about the horse," Shivmangal said. "We were debating who would ride him. My kids were thinking I should bring Camacho back to ride. I told them I have nothing against him. He won on the horse, but this is a big race, the toughest of the Triple Crown races to win.

      "I met with my wife and kids and we decided to go with Kent. We felt it was the right decision to have an experienced jockey who knows what it takes. We believe in loyalty, but this is a big race and not a small race. You have to have somebody who knows how to do it."

      Guyana Star Dweej had been pointed to the May 19 Preakness, but he hurt his left front leg three days before the race and skipped it.

      "Guyana Star is back on the straight path again," Schivmangal said.

      Desormeaux was removed as the rider of Tiger Walk for the Preakness after the 42-year-old rider failed the test at Belmont Park. A new rule requires all jockeys riding at the track to undergo a test for alcohol consumption.

      He failed a Breathalyzer test at Woodbine in July 2010 and was removed from his mount that day.

      Last September, Desormeaux was arrested and charged with misdemeanor reckless endangerment for hitting a traffic cop outside Saratoga. He was taken off his scheduled mount by racing officials.

      Read more:

      I will be surprised if my jockey passes the finish line before he passes out.


    9. Fools.

      It is I, Krishna, who will determine the winner of this race.

      In fact, I have already decided who will be the winner of this race.

      Now, get in there and ride like your life depends upon it, as it does.


  8. Scoring early shares of Facebook carried a measure of cachet. As with other investments in private companies, investors had to have a net worth of $1 million or more, not including a primary home, or income of more than $200,000 a year to qualify.


    David Winikoff, a technology consultant based in Menlo Park, Calif., thought it was a "bragging right" when he landed the opportunity to buy shares last fall at $31. "I accepted the fact that this was a speculative play," he said.

    "But I thought the pre-IPO price was just bound to be lower than what it would be on the public market."

  9. And I'd expect one of them to be on the ticket. I could still make a case for a reformist senator (Pat Toomey, Marco Rubio, Kelly Ayotte, or perhaps Rob Portman) or congressman (Paul Ryan).

    But given that Team Romney would like to run against Washington, I think they'll be inclined to pick a governor. And given Romney's insistence on his VP being ready to be president, they'd presumably prefer a governor who's got some national experience or at least two terms as governor plus national exposure.

    So I suspect we may be heading toward a Romney-Daniels ticket...or, possibly, Romney-Bush or Romney-Pawlenty. Or could Romney just decide not to over-think things and pick the governor who most clearly embodies Scott Walker's combination of policy and political success—Scott Walker?

    - Bill Kristol

  10. A commission statement said: "This averted massive banking failure and economic disruption, but has burdened taxpayers with deteriorating public finances and failed to settle the question of how to deal with large cross-border banks in trouble."

    Mr Barroso said: "Two weeks ahead of the (G20) summit in Los Cabos, the commission is presenting a proposal which will help protect our taxpayers and economies from the impact of any future bank failure.

    "Today's proposal is an essential step towards banking union in the EU and will make the banking sector more responsible. This will contribute to stability and confidence in the EU in the future, as we work to strengthen and further integrate our interdependent economies."

  11. WFOR, the Miami TV station that helped propagate the notion that "bath salts" made Rudy Eugene eat Ronald Poppo's face, reports that "the preliminary toxicology report from Eugene’s autopsy" indicates he "had been smoking marijuana near the time of the incident." Exactly how near is not clear, since traces of marijuana can be found in people's bodies long after the drug's effects have worn off.


    Unfortunately, "it will now be at least two months before all the lab work will be completed," which gives WFOR another 60 days for wild speculation like this:

    Inside [Eugene's] car investigators found a Koran and five empty bottles of water. The water appeared to have been recently purchased, the law enforcement source told [WFOR reporter Jim] DeFede.


    The Koran is another red herring, as WFOR reveals:

    Police now believe that Rudy Eugene, the so-called Miami Zombie, was not only naked, but was also carrying his bible, when he nearly beat a homeless man to death and chewed off three-quarters of his face.

  12. On this day in 1944, Allied forces invaded the beaches of Normandy, France during World War II, an event known as D-Day.

  13. The Democrat Crime Family War

    Michael Walsh, who is a writer at National Review Online, has a great analogy of the Democrat Party as a crime family -- as a typical mob family -- to illustrate why Obama's in trouble.
    He has forgotten things ('cause he never learned them, he's too young) about how mob family head honchos act.

    Obama's prime problem -- is that he has forgotten something central to survivability.

    And that is respect for your elders and those who came before you who paved the way for you.


    John Lott knew him in college:

    He said as soon as he found out you had a different perspective, he'd refuse to talk to you.

    1. Yup, I heard Lott say that. Not only refuse to talk, but just walk right away.

      Daughter and I went to listen to Lott at the U here.


  14. Hey Deuce:

    How about telling us how we could fix my unformatted mess?

  15. Vegetarians/animal rights activists are terrorists.


    One such chef, Chris Cosentino, has reportedly received death threats. In response he accused animal rights activists of having an "agenda for a vegan country."

    California' goose is fattened no more -


  16. .

    The initial neocons were merely a bunch of liberals who happened to think that liberal thought on U.S. foreign policy wasn't quite masculine enough.

    A couple of streams back, I linked a post by Henry Kissenger [link] in which he argued that outside intervention in Syria could upset global order.

    Today, in The National, Michael Young's article

    Western 'realists' inspire the deadly stalemate in Syria

    offers a negative critique of the Kissenger view.

    With the title of his article, Mr, Young alleges that 'realism' is the cause of all the current trouble in Syria, an absurd conclusion in my opinion. He outlines Kissenger's position as presented in the linked article, then goes on to offer up an ad homenem attack on Kissenger for being a cynic, followed by a similar one on realists for coddling dictators.

    Then in the second to last paragraph, after saying Kissenger and the realists are wrong throughout the article, he finally admits that when it comes to Syria, they might in fact be right.

    Then in in the last paragraph he returns to his meme that the realists won't help Syria and we have to do 'something'.

    IMO, Young's article is useless as far as content; however, it does offer up a perfect example of the way liberal interventionist think.


    1. Realistically, Obama won't go in unless he thinks it will help him with the voters. How he would think about that God only knows. The Christians there would sooner or later take a worse beating, so I have read. McNutz is for going in. Unsurprisingly. I don't think there are many people in the US who much care about it one way or the other. I'd expect it not to happen.


  17. China's overseas investment surged in the first quarter to $21.4 billion as state-owned companies snapped up resource-related assets around the globe, according to a report by a private investment firm that counts China's sovereign-wealth fund among its partners.