Bad News Squared ~ California

From HotAir:

The weekend produced a spate of dang-this-is-bad articles on the economic situation in California.  Steven Greenhut’s for the Orange County Register is entitled “California to middle class: drop dead.”  At The Daily Beast, Joel Kotkin laments that “As California Collapses, Obama Follows its Lead.”  (H/t – and a “Read it, people!” shout-out – to Ed Driscoll at PJM.)

But what does all this look like in terms of numbers?  What’s the how much and where and whom of the Golden State collapse?  Perhaps the most interesting and telling thing is that it really is as bad as it looks.  And the reasons are pretty much what you’d expect.  Here’s the California story, in numbers.

According to a March 2012 report, 855,000 is how many private-sector jobs California has lost since the recession started four years ago. (H/t: California Political News & Views.)  The state today enjoys an unemployment rate of 11%, compared with the official national average of 8.3%

Texas, by contrast, has added 139,800 jobs, posting the biggest absolute gain among the 50 states.  (California’s is the biggest absolute loss.)  Texas’ unemployment rate is 7.1%.


But we were talking about California.  How does California rank in terms of the average state and local tax burden? According to the Tax Foundation, in 2009, California had the 6th heaviest tax burden in the nation, at 10.6%.   (New Jersey was #1, followed by New York at #2.)  That’s the in-state tax burden, of course.  Federal taxes are on top of that.

Of course, business climate comprises more than the average individual tax burden.  The Tax Foundation looks at five forms of taxation – corporate tax, individual income tax, sales tax, property tax, and unemployment insurance tax – to index the business climates of the 50 states.  By this combined measure, the Tax Foundation ranks California 48th in business climate.  (New York is 49th, and New Jersey 50th.)

State regulatory environment? George Mason University’s Mercatus Center ranks the Golden State 48th in the nation.  New Jersey and New York are numbers 49 and 50, respectively.

How about other business costs?  California had the 5th highest state premium ranking for worker compensation insurance costs in 2010 (although the state’s position improved slightly in 2011 due to other states raising their state premiums).

California ranks 7th highest in electric utility costs, with Hawaii being the highest, followed by Connecticut and Alaska.

According to the Small Business & Entrepreneurship Council, California has the third-highest per-gallon gasoline tax (Connecticut and New York are #1 and #2) and by far the highest tax on diesel, at 52.5 cents per gallon. (Some numbers below also come from the SB&EC report.)

California perennially has the second-highest gasoline prices at the pump (Hawaii is #1), although the state has regularly been ranked 3rd or 4th in oil production in recent years.  (In the past week the statewide average was $4.15 for a gallon of regular, down from $4.36 a month ago.)  In spite of having the third largest oil and gas reserves of any state in the nation, California is ranked dead last among all US jurisdictions for global oil investment.  The fact that California hasn’t issued a new offshore drilling permit for over 30 years is undoubtedly a factor, as is the fact that the Monterey Shale Oil Field, which holds 64% of all the recoverable shale oil in the United States, is hamstrung by lawsuits, a typical condition in the state for both drilling and refining operations.

In spite of the state’s natural bounty, California produces only 37% of its statewide oil consumption.  The rest comes from other states and countries, at added expense.

In terms of the employer burden of health-insurance mandates, California is 9th among the 50 states and the District of Columbia.  (Rhode Island, Maryland, and Minnesota have the highest burdens.)

Meanwhile, California ranks 4th highest in state and local government spending per capita.  The District of Columbia is the highest, followed by Alaska, Wyoming, and New York.

Ah, yes, state spending.  California has by far the largest debt of any US state, at around $612 billion with state and local debt and pension liabilities included.  In terms of raw numbers, New York posts a pathetic second place with only $305 billion.  The size of California’s population allows the Golden State to slip to only 7th place in terms of per capita state and local debt.  The District of Columbia walks off with another prize in this category, having on the books 85% more debt per capita than the 50-state average.

The California debt spiral is due in part to the steep decline in state tax revenues.  The 22% year-on-year decline observed in February 2012 doesn’t tell the whole story either; California had already posted dramatic revenue losses in business and property taxes between 2007 and 2010.  Business-tax revenues dropped 18% in that period, and property-tax revenues fell 30% due to the real estate market crash.

Let’s talk population trends.  Many readers are familiar with the arresting Golden State statistics cited by a Wall Street Journal article in March:

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Wind Farms Causing Global Warming! You Cannot Make This Stuff Up

Via Independent IE “Technology” page:

….But on huge wind farms the motion of the turbines mixes the air higher in the atmosphere that is warmer, pushing up the overall temperature.

Satellite data over a large area in Texas, that is now covered by four of the world’s largest wind farms, found that over a decade the local temperature went up by almost 1C as more turbines are built.

This could have long term effects on wildlife living in the immediate areas of larger wind farms.

It could also affect regional weather patterns as warmer areas affect the formation of cloud and even wind speeds.

It is reported China is now erecting 36 wind turbines every day and Texas is the largest producer of wind power in the US.

Liming Zhou, Research Associate Professor at the Department of Atmospheric and Environmental Sciences at the University of New York, who led the study, said further research is needed into the affect of the new technology on the wider environment.

“Wind energy is among the world’s fastest growing sources of energy. The US wind industry has experienced a remarkably rapid expansion of capacity in recent years,” he said. “While converting wind’s kinetic energy into electricity, wind turbines modify surface-atmosphere exchanges and transfer of energy, momentum, mass and moisture within the atmosphere. These changes, if spatially large enough, might have noticeable impacts on local to regional weather and climate.”

The study, published in Nature, found a “significant warming trend” of up to 0.72C (1.37F) per decade, particularly at night-time, over wind farms relative to near-by non-wind-farm regions.

The team studied satellite data showing land surface temperature in west-central Texas….

Via M.I.T. Media Relations:

….According to Prinn and Wang, this temperature increase occurs because the wind turbines affect two processes that play critical roles in determining surface temperature and atmospheric circulation: vertical turbulent motion and horizontal heat transport. Both processes are responsible for moving heat away from Earth’s surface.

In the analysis, the wind turbines on land reduced wind speed, particularly on the downwind side of the wind farms, which reduced the strength of the turbulent motion and horizontal heat transport processes. This resulted in less heat being transported to the upper parts of the atmosphere, as well as to other regions farther away from the wind farms….

Via Gateway Pundit, and the part on birds is found here:

Not only do wind farms kill off high-profile bird species like golden and bald eagles and California condors, the farms also cause global warming. After hundreds of millions in blown taxpayer money and thousands of dead birds the latest research shows that wind farms cause warming. Reuters reported, via Free Republic:

Large wind farms might have a warming effect on the local climate, research in the United States showed on Sunday, casting a shadow over the long-term sustainability of wind power…

…The world’s wind farms last year had the capacity to produce 238 gigawatt of electricity at any one time. That was a 21 percent rise on 2010 and capacity is expected to reach nearly 500 gigawatt by the end of 2016 as more, and bigger, farms spring up, according to the Global Wind Energy Council.

Researchers at the State University of New York at Albany analysed the satellite data of areas around large wind farms in Texas, where four of the world’s largest farms are located, over the period 2003 to 2011.

The results, published in the journal Nature Climate Change, showed a warming trend of up to 0.72 degrees Celsius per decade in areas over the farms, compared with nearby regions without the farms.

“We attribute this warming primarily to wind farms,” the study said. The temperature change could be due to the effects of the energy expelled by farms and the movement and turbulence generated by turbine rotors, it said.

“These changes, if spatially large enough, may have noticeable impacts on local to regional weather and climate,” the authors said.

But the Democrats will continue to dump billions into the costly energy source anyway. It makes them feel good.

Top-Five Liberal Cliches

Washington Post’s Jonah Goldberg Article on Top 5 Liberal Cliches

‘Diversity is strength’

Affirmative action used to be defended on the grounds that certain groups, particularly African Americans, are entitled to extra help because of the horrible legacy of slavery and institutionalized racism. Whatever objections opponents may raise to that claim, it’s a legitimate moral argument.

But that argument has been abandoned in recent years and replaced with a far less plausible and far more ideological claim: that enforced diversity is a permanent necessity. Lee Bollinger, the president of Columbia University, famously declared: “Diversity is not merely a desirable addition to a well-run education. It is as essential as the study of the Middle Ages, of international politics and of Shakespeare.”

It’s a nice thought. But consider some of the great minds of human history, and it’s striking how few were educated in a diverse environment. Newton, Galileo and Einstein had little exposure to Asians or Africans. The genius of Aristotle, Socrates and Plato cannot be easily correlated with the number of non-Greeks with whom they chatted in the town square. If diversity is essential to education, let us get to work dismantling historically black and women’s colleges. When I visit campuses, it’s common to see black and white students eating, studying and socializing separately. This is rounding out everyone’s education?

Similarly, we’re constantly told that communities are strengthened by diversity, but liberal Harvard sociologist Robert Putnam has found the opposite. In a survey that included interviews with more than 30,000people, Putnam discovered that as a community becomes more ethnically and socially varied, social trust and civic engagement plummet. Perhaps forced diversity makes sense, but liberals make little effort to prove it.

‘Violence never solved anything’

It’s a nice idea, but it’s manifestly absurd. If violence never solved anything, police would not have guns or nightsticks. Obama helped solve the problem of Moammar Gaddafi with violence, and FDR helped solve the problem — far too late — of the Holocaust and Hitler with violence. Invariably, the slogan (or its close cousin “War is not the answer”) is invoked not as a blanket exhortation against violence, but as a narrow injunction against the United States, NATO or Republican presidents from trying to solve threats of violence with violence.

‘The living Constitution’

It is dogma among liberals that sophisticated people understand that the Constitution is a “living, breathing document.” The idea was largely introduced into the political bloodstream by Woodrow Wilson and his allies, who were desperate to be free of the constraints of the founders’ vision. Wilson explained that he preferred an evolving, “organic,” “Darwinian” Constitution that empowered progressives to breathe whatever meaning they wished into it. It is a wildly ideological view of the nature of our political system.

It is also a font of unending hypocrisy. After the attacks of Sept. 11, 2001, conservatives argued that the country needed to adapt to a new asymmetrical warfare against non-state actors who posed an existential threat. They believed they were working within the bounds of the Constitution. But even if they were stretching things, why shouldn’t that be acceptable — if our Constitution is supposed to evolve with the times?

Yet acolytes of the living Constitution immediately started quoting the wisdom of the founders and the sanctity of the Constitution. Apparently the document is alive when the Supreme Court finds novel rationalizations for abortion rights, but when we need to figure out how to deal with terrorists, suddenly nothing should pry original meaning from the Constitution’s cold, dead hands.

By the way, conservatives do not believe that the Constitution should not change; they just believe that it should change constitutionally — through the amendment process.

‘Social Darwinism’

Obama this month denounced the Republican House budget as nothing more than “thinly veiled social Darwinism.” Liberals have been trotting out this Medusa’s head to petrify the public for generations. It does sound scary. (After all, didn’t Hitler believe in something called “social Darwinism”? Maybe he did.) But no matter how popular the line, these liberal attacks have little relation to the ideas that the “robber barons” and such intellectuals as Herbert Spencer — the “father” of social Darwinism — actually followed.

Spencer’s sin was that he was a soaked-to-the-bone libertarian who championed private charity and limited government (along with women’s suffrage and anti-imperialism). The “reform Darwinists” — namely the early-20th-century Progressives — loathed such classical liberalism because they wanted to tinker with the economy, and humanity itself, at the most basic level.

More vexing for liberals: There was no intellectual movement in the United States called “social Darwinism” in the first place. Spencer, a 19th-century British philosopher, didn’t use the term and wasn’t even a Darwinist (he had a different theory of evolution).

Liberals misapplied the label from the outset to demonize ideas they didn’t like. They’ve never stopped.

‘Better 10 guilty men go free . . .’

At least until George Zimmerman was in the dock, this was a reflexive liberal refrain. The legendary English jurist William Blackstone — the fons et origo of much of our common law — said, “Better that 10 guilty persons escape than that one innocent suffer.” In fact, this 10 to 1 formula has become known as the “Blackstone ratio” or “Blackstone’s formulation.”

In a brilliant study, n Guilty Men,” legal scholar Alexander Volokh traced the idea that it is better to let a certain number of guilty men go free — from Abraham’s argument with God in Genesis over the fate of Sodom, to the writings of the Roman emperor Trajan, to the legal writings of Moses Maimonides, to Geraldo Rivera.

As a truism, it’s a laudable and correct sentiment that no reasonable person can find fault with. But that’s the problem: No reasonable person disagrees with it. There’s nothing wrong with saying it, but it’s not an argument — it’s an uncontroversial declarative statement. And yet people say it as if it settles arguments. It doesn’t do anything of the sort. The hard thinking comes when you have to deal with the “and therefore what?” part. Where do we draw the lines? If it were an absolute principle, we wouldn’t put anyone in prison, lest we punish an innocent in the process. Indeed, if punishing the innocent is so terrible, why 10? Why not two? Or, for that matter, 200? Or 2,000?

Taken literally, the phrase is absurd. Letting 10 rapists and murderers go free will almost surely result in far more harm to society than putting one poor innocent sap in jail.

Meaning of Irony: Anti-Bullying Crusader Curses Christian Children and Bashes GOP ~ UPDATED: Conservative Gay Groups Demand Apology!

(*Language Warning*)

Via Gateway Pundit:

*Watch all the kids get up and leave* Bully for Them!


From Libertarian Republican:

Conservative/libertarian Gay group demands apology from Republican-hating Gay activist Dan Savage

…Here’s a taste of his remarks:

“We can learn to ignore the bullshit in the Bible about gay people — the same way we have learned to ignore the bullshit in the Bible about shellfish, about slavery, about dinner, about farming, about menstruation, about virginity, about masturbation,” Savage said.

“We ignore bullshit in the Bible about all sorts of things.”

He also attacked Newt Gingrich’s wife Callista with an especially caustic comment:

“The Bible says if a woman is not a virgin on her wedding night, she shall be dragged to her father’s doorstep and stoned to death,” Savage told the students. “Callista Gingrich still lives.”

Attacks Christians as prudes; no mention of Islam

As Joe Newby at the Spokane Examiner reminds us, Savage once said on Bill Maher’s HBO show that he wished all Republicans were “fucking dead.”

In reaction, Jimmy LaSalvia, president of GOProud issued this immediate statement:

“Dan Savage should apologize for his comments and should apologize to the high school students in attendance whom he called ‘pansy-asses,’” LaSalvia said.

It is ironic that someone whose claim to fame is fighting bullying would resort to bullying tactics in attacking high school students who were offended by his outrageous remarks.”

Savage did not mention Islam or the Koran once in his speech.

Ironically though, he implied Christians were stoning those who failed a moral test:

“There is no effort to amend state constitutions to make it legal to stone women to death on their wedding nights if they’re not virgins — at least not yet,” he said. “We don’t know where the GOP is going these days.”

A Few Thoughts from Gay Patriot:

If it gets better, why is Dan Savage so bitter?

As many as 100 high school students walked out of a national journalism conference after an anti-bullying speaker began cursing, attacked the Bible and reportedly called those who refused to listen to his rant “pansy asses.”

The speaker was Dan Savage, founder of the “It Gets Better” project, an anti-bullying campaign that has reached more than 40 million viewers with contributors ranging from President Obama to Hollywood stars. Savage also writes a sex advice column called “Savage Love.”

. . . .

Savage was supposed to be delivering a speech about anti-bullying at the National High School Journalism Conference sponsored by the Journalism Education Association and the National Scholastic Press Association. But it turned into an episode of Christian-bashing.

(Via Instapundit*)

Why does Dan Savage harbor so much hatred?  Gay organizations, especially GLAAD, should condemn Mr. Savage for his mean-spirited rhetoric and make clear that he does not speak for gay people. He certainly doesn’t speak for me — and I would dare say most of this blog’s readers, including some of our liberal ones. We should expect gay speakers at such fora to show the same respect for Christianity as we would like Christians to show for gays.


Released in the last hour… GOPROUD condemns Dan Savage.

Jimmy LaSalvia, GOProud Executive Director – “Dan Savage’s outrageous anti-Christian tirade hurts – not helps – the fight for gay rights in this country.”

(Washington, D.C.) – Today, GOProud – a national organization of gay and straight Americans seeking to promote freedom by supporting free markets, limited government, and a respect for individual rights, condemned a speech given by left wing gay activist Dan Savage. “Dan Savage’s outrageous anti-Christian tirade hurts – not helps – the fight for gay rights in this country,” said Jimmy LaSalvia, GOProud Executive Director. “There is nothing incompatible between being a Christian and believing that all people should be treated equally, and Dan Savage’s attacks on Christianity only fuel those on the extremist fringe who oppose gay rights.”

“Dan Savage should apologize for his comments and should apologize to the high school students in attendance who he called ‘pansy-asses,’” continued LaSalvia. “It is ironic that someone whose claim to fame is fighting bullying would resort to bullying tactics in attacking high school students who were offended by his outrageous remarks.”

“GOProud works with people of faith every single day – gay and straight. We believe strongly that people of faith should be treated with respect,” concluded LaSalvia.

Bravo ~ Bruce (GayPatriot)


The White house supports and fundraisers for this anti-bullying, bully — Via

The Obama Administration has placed significant support behind the so-called It Gets Better Project. The White House has devoted a specific section of the website to the Project. President Obama, Vice President Biden, Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi, Secretary of Labor Hilda Solis, Secretary of Agriculture Tom Vilsack, and many other administration officials have cut videos on behalf of the Project.

Now, the message of the Project is worthwhile. The organization is designed to protect children from bullying; its suggested pledge states:

Everyone deserves to be respected for who they are. I pledge to spread this message to my friends, family and neighbors. I’ll speak up against hate and intolerance whenever I see it, at school and at work. I’ll provide hope for lesbian, gay, bi, trans and other bullied teens by letting them know that “It Gets Better.

There’s only one problem: the organization is headed by one Dan Savage.

This is the same Dan Savage who spoke at the National High School Journalism Conference last week, where he ripped into the Bible and called religious students “pansy-assed” for walking out on him.

But there’s much more to Dan Savage than just anti-religious bullying. He’s one of the biggest bullies on the planet. And he’s the point person the White House specifically chose – and fundraised for – in order to push their anti-bullying agenda.

Now, it’s not as though the White House was ignorant of the fact that the It Gets Better Project is run by Savage.

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What Would Constitute Proof a Religion was One of Death? Necrophilia?

I am curious what would constitute evidence that a religion is a religion of death? Sex with dead people? Via Gateway Pundit:

Egyptian husbands will now be allowed to have sex with their dead wives up to 6 hours after their death. Gross. The Daily Mail reported, via Free Republic:

Egyptian husbands will soon be legally allowed to have sex with their dead wives – for up to six hours after their death.

The controversial new law is part of a raft of measures being introduced by the Islamist-dominated parliament.

…Read More….

Take note this swath of laws brought in by the majority controlled Islamo-Nazi parliament in Egypt also wants child marriages instituted. Like their founder’s life exemplified [Muhammad]:

“The Prophet wrote the (marriage contract) with ‘Aisha while she was six years old and consummated his marriage with her while she was nine years old and she remained with him for nine years (i.e. till his death).”

Sahih Bukhari 7.62.88


New Afterburner ~ The `LOVE` of Theory

From HotAir:

In 1 Timothy 6:10, the Bible says that the love of money is the root of all evil (not money itself, as many mistakenly believe).  PJ Media’s Bill Whittle makes the case that the love of theory is the root of all modern evil, as he explains in his new Afterburner.  And he has a pretty good point, at least over the last 100 years.  Dedication to theory at the expense of evidence and fact has borne malicious fruit in that time, resulting in the deaths of tens of millions around the world.