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FLASH!!  Here’s a super-secret memo (admittedly it’s so secret that I made it up) I imagine I just received from a whistleblower — an internal communique circulating at Amazon:

HAPPY THANKSGIVING!  We at Amazon have much to be thankful for this Turkey Day.


Last night I took my wife and our two young grandchildren to Applebee’s.  It went great — our 4 and 2 year old charges were more decorous than half the patrons.

But I digress.  Here’s what caught my attention: Applebee’s is testing a new ordering policy — using the technology that is rapidly becoming prominent in fast food restaurants.  Every table had an online electronic tablet, with the menu, ordering and payment process built in.  One can place the order and have the busboy bring your food.


“Broken promises at Grossmont-Cuyamaca”

Thursday, November 19, 2015
posted by Thor's Assistant


“Tuesday’s Grossmont-Cuyamaca Community College District board meeting offered a graphic example of why politicians have among the worst reputations of any occupational category in the world.”

Read today’s editorial.


“The Grossmont-Cuyamaca Community College District governing board went back on a promise it made three years ago and voted 3-0 Tuesday night to negotiate a project labor agreement with the San Diego Building and Construction Trades Council for work funded by the 2012 Proposition V bond measure. Trustees Bill Garrett and Edwin Hiel abstained.”

Read it all at the San Diego Union-Tribune.


I’ve updated my salient median household income comparison of California vs. hated Texas. My last figures were from 2009. Since then it’s gotten even better — for Texas.

According to recent U.S. census figures, the 2014 median household income in California is still significantly higher than Texas.
CA — $60,487
TX — $53,875 — 10.9% less than CA (vs. 18.1% less in 2009), though slightly above the national average of $53,657

But, ADJUSTED FOR THE COST OF LIVING, the Texas median household income is significantly higher than California.
TX — $58,816
CA — $44,706


A common canard is that government doesn’t work. It DOES work — just often not the way intended.

If we pay people not to work (including SSI and SSDI), fewer people opt to work. It works EXACTLY as any honest economist would predict.

With SSI, one has to PROVE that one can’t work in order to receive the benefits. Ignoring the fact that the system has become too corrupt — dispensing such status far too easily — it’s an incredible anti-work incentive program.  Sadly, such programs work all too well.


Okay, I’m exaggerating, but only a bit. This costly label “font” mandate was one of several state-imposed regulations that drove this small company under.

At its peak, this Chico firm employed 30 people.  Since none of them were union members, politicians simply don’t much care that these workers are now unemployed.  Indeed, as unemployed, these folks are more likely than ever to vote Democrat.  It’s a win-win!

Woof & Poof to cease production in Chico


The Sacramento Strategy to Undo Proposition 13

Tuesday, November 10, 2015
posted by Diane Harkey

This op-ed originally appeared in the Flashreport

Serving in the Legislature for six years, I had a front row seat to the culture in Sacramento where operatives strategize and execute plans to continuously raise your taxes to fund an ever expanding state government. For the first time in years, our state budget is running a surplus, and yet the demand for more of your money never ceases. The lobby for bigger government is alive and well in California, backed by creative think tanks and pressure groups dedicated to finding new ways to further separate you from your income. While your paycheck doesn’t buy what it used to, neither do your ever-increasing tax “investments.”


Here’s a breaking bizarre news story, the result of an Associated Press Investigation just released today (Thursday, 11/5/15).  Apparently CA Governor Jerry Brown sought and received extensive geological services from a government agency, mapping out the prospects for finding oil on his family’s land.  According to this write-up of the facts by Breitbart, these services are normally never available to private individuals.  Of course, Brown’s push to all but outlaw the use of fossil fuels makes this story even weirder.

Here’s the Breitbart story…




On October 12, 2015, the Republican Party of San Diego County’s treasurer, Gary Felien, moved to suspend the endorsement rules and endorse the candidacy of Oceanside City Councilman Jerry Kern for 76th Assembly District (over businessman Phil Graham) and Escondido Mayor Sam Abed’s candidacy for County Supervisor (over Encinitas Mayor Kristin Gaspar).  Felien suggested that because the two candidates attend party monthly meetings, they were worthy of early endorsement over the other two candidates.  The GOP Central Committee voted against that motion and rejected the early endorsements of Abed and Kern.


Why Benghazi Doesn’t Get Any Traction

Thursday, October 22, 2015
posted by Elliot Schroeder

It’s been stumping the GOP why Benghazi doesn’t resonate with the public. GOP voters are certainly fired up about it, rightly so. But among the left and independents they just shrug it off, why?

It’s a hard question. Considering how it’s believed that American casualties in Vietnam hurt the war effort, it should mean something, right? Or the casualties in Mogadishu shown later in “Black Hawk Down” that made Clinton rethink the mission there. Or the casualties in Iraq seen as a large factor in the 2006 Democratic mid-term win and Rumsfeld’s departure. With Benghazi has Americans become desensitized to casualties after years of war?


In California, exceptionally high firefighter pay and benefits makes “firehouse” firefighter positions coveted slots, with few openings and huge applicant interest. Couple that with a strong desire by existing firefighters to get their offspring and relatives hired (a.k.a. nepotism), and it’s a scenario ripe for corruption.

Here’s one of the more amazing examples.  In 2007 the Oakland Fire Department unwisely had all the applicants show up on ONE day.  They started lining up 3 days ahead of time.


Good news!  California’s unemployment rate dropped significantly in September, from 6.1% to 5.9% — while the nation’s unemployment rate remained stable at 5.1%.  The bad news?  No increase in the number of CA jobs.

Okay, okay — I exaggerated a bit to make a point.  Actually the number of CA jobs DID increase in September — but by only 8,200 jobs.  That may sound like a lot of jobs — until you consider that we have a whopping 39,000,000 people in the Golden State. That’s FAR less job growth than the number needed to handle our modestly increasing state population.


Fire departments are rated for the insurance industry as to their fire suppression efficiency.  The lower the rating, the better.  These ratings ARE important, as they are considered by the companies that issue fire insurance.  Higher ratings translate into more costly fire insurance.  The certifying outfit is the Insurance Services Office, and so it’s called the ISO rating.

VERY few departments get the best ISO rating — a “1.”  In the entire state of California, only 10 fire departments achieve that rating.  Only 97 of the 47,000 fire agencies nationwide merit a “1” rating.


Just when you think things can’t get any worse in California, it gets worse.  A bill was just signed into law by Governor Brown that will register maybe 6 million low information people to vote. People who go to the DMV (supposedly limited to citizens, but no one will check) for licensing or ID will be AUTOMATICALLY registered to vote unless they specifically opt out.  No stinkin’ registration form needed, apparently.

California already has the lowest voter turnout (percent of registered voters) in the nation.  This will LOWER that percentage.


CA state and local governments deem inmate brush firefighters a valuable asset that makes good sense. But the idea of forming CIVILIAN VOLUNTEER brush firefighting brigades to fight the fires and protect homes when these fires approach housing areas is somehow not safe — for union firefighters.

Few people realize how big our California prisoner firefighting effort is.  There are 196 inmate fire crews that perform more than 3 million hours of emergency response work annually. It’s estimated to save California $80-$100 million a year — combating CA brush and forest fires. The story below about this program is illuminating (sorry), but should result in some heated (again, my bad) debate.


by Richard Rider

Jaded cynic that I am, still I was stunned by the biased “news” story today in the nominally centrist SAN DIEGO U-T. It’s an awesome demonstration of how liberal bias in media is so strong that the reporters and editors don’t even think of it as bias.

The “news” story below is an ode to Pop Francis — especially for his calls for social justice and drastic environmental restrictions because of global warming. But the story interviews only the usual cabal of left wing activists who back the progressive agenda. The number of people at the staged Pope’s cheerleader gatherings (watching him on TV or holding press conferences) number in the dozens at best — not the hundreds, let alone thousands.


Here’s one of the ways our media fails to accurately report a story.   Indeed, in this government “charity” category, this misrepresentation is more the rule than the exception.

Granted, it’s not a big story.  It’s a feel-good episode that might have raised some interesting points, but didn’t.

HEADLINE:    [Chula Vista] Police Dept. outfits kids with new shoes, socks

RIDER COMMENT:  $12,000 was spent on providing shoes, socks and school supplies for 284 needy students — a commendable activity.  Nothing wrong with the charitable effort. Indeed, it’s good that such efforts are recognized by the media.  But this story gives credit where it’s NOT due.


One type of business has a special affinity for California — Asian businesses. They have substantial ethnic communities built up, and are comfortable being on a Pacific Rim state.

But oddly enough, these Asian business people seem to have an interest in maximizing profits — or at least staying in business. Of course, all California businessmen have the same desires, but not all have the bonding ties to their local ethnic communities that is common among Koreans, Vietnamese, Filipinos, Chinese and Japanese.


RIDER COMMENT:  This year there’s certainly a war of words against cops, fueled by the press and social media. Maybe it will soon change into a significant war of bullets. 

But not yet. Indeed, latest stats indicate that 2015 will be one of the safest years for cops on record. Sadly, the press has ignored this reality, preferring hype and hysteria to dull facts and reason.


Evidence of the liberal bias of MSM is overwhelming. But sometimes the best examples is what these networks and newspapers DON’T report. Consider this example.

The media gave the 10th anniversary of Hurricane Katrina extensive play last month. Naturally there was heavy emphasis on the failure of FEMA, with a generous amount of blame dumped on hapless George Bush (none with which I have a problem).

But what the MSM has largely ignored are the doomsday predictions all the networks were hyping after Hurricane Katrina — the coming massive hurricanes from global warming. Katrina was declared to be definitely the product of global warming, and just the start a series of disastrous mega-hurricanes — all caused by global warming.


Buried in our California water bills are the inflated salaries and benefits of our public water works “public servants.”  The examples in the article below are instructive — and not that unusual.

It includes a chart that compares the pay of water department employees with the average pay for such work.  BTW, included in that average are our government workers, which thus skews the figure higher than the true private sector average.

The superiority of government pay can be breathtaking, contrary to what the public employee labor unions tell the press. And this example doesn’t plumb the depths of the benefits disparity, which is much greater.


Breitbart: Trump says he’ll face Biden in 2016

Friday, August 14, 2015
posted by Thor's Assistant


Should billionaire and GOP frontrunner Donald Trump win the Republican primary in 2016—as he certainly wants to do—he expects he will face Vice President Joe Biden in the general election since he thinks the current email scandal plaguing former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton will eventually knock her out of the race.

Read it all.


The California public employee labor unions have a set of talking points they go to whenever the subject of reforming our taxpayer-backed pensions comes up. One major point they love to present boils down to this:  “Employees can’t invest money as smartly as CalPERS [or other pension agencies] can. CalPERS will make a higher return, and will do it for less cost.”

In California, we fiscal reformers will always be swimming vertically up Niagara Falls until we break the back of public employee labor unions. We can do it, but only through the initiative process. NEVER will we achieve success through the legislature.
“Paycheck protection” — ending government payroll deduction of union dues — is is an initiative that should be put before the voters as often as possible. If nothing else, the union will be forced to spend $30-$50 million to block it.
Another initiative should FORCE state and local governments to put government functions out for competitive bid — “managed competition.” No option (except for police, perhaps). Unfortunately it’s hard to keep labor from crippling such a mandate, as happened in San Diego. Still, we know managed competition is a way to reduce union clout and dues — and the proof is the unions’ apoplectic response whenever such a contracting out option is suggested.
Even better would be to return to the 1970’s situation (when everything was great in California, according to liberals), when there were toothless public employee labor unions — before Governor Brown changed the law to essentially mandate that government employees must join labor unions. Again, this change can only happen by initiative, and would be a tough battle, to put it mildly.
All these initiatives would be difficult to pass. But compared to what? Every legislative session, labor will push through numerous laws blocking or crippling reform efforts and solidifying their stranglehold on state and local government. In this day and age, they can pretty much get any legislation passed that they desire. Occasionally a governor will veto it, but not often.
We simply CANNOT win those legislative battles — the unions OWN the state legislatures. We are doomed if we don’t gut the public employee labor unions.

I was asked to write the following column for the “Fox and Hounds” website as a rebuttal to some nonsense published by a CalPERS booster who claimed we all profit from the stimulus of government pensions.  My column wrote itself in a record 65 minutes — I just did the typing.


Chuck Beckwith’s column competently lays out all the usual public employee arguments justifying their opulent pensions.  A cursory review of the logic reveals just how breathtakingly flawed this reasoning is.


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