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Politics

Board Selects Thompson as New Superintendent

Posted: 4/19/2011

Glynn Thompson
Glynn Thompson selected San Juan Unified Superintendent of Schools. Photo courtesy of SJUSD.

SJUSD - After conducting an extensive search, the San Juan Unified School District Board of Education has selected Glynn Thompson as the District’s Superintendent of Schools with a unanimous vote. Thompson had been in the role on an interim basis while the search was being conducted and will assume his duties permanently effective May 1. His contract will run through June 2015 with an annual salary of $225,000.

“Throughout the search process we heard students, teachers, parents, principals and community members tell us that the number one priority in selecting a superintendent was to ensure that the work of our community-developed strategic plan continued,” said Board President Richard Launey. “Mr. Thompson has been a leader in implementing our strategic plan and we need his strong voice to provide leadership as we build upon the work underway in our schools to close achievement gaps and educate and inspire each student to contribute to our radically evolving world.”

Thompson was previously named the District’s interim superintendent of schools in June of 2011 while a search was conducted to find a permanent candidate for the position. He became San Juan Unified’s first chief academic officer in July 2009 building up on his more than 30 years of experience in New Haven and Los Angeles Unified school districts. He has previously served as a teacher, principal, professional development advisor, coordinator of special education and director of instruction.

“We cannot do more with less, we must do differently,” said Thompson. “As state budget cuts continue to take resources away from our schools and classrooms, we must work collaboratively as a community to rethink how we deliver services and educate students to produce 21st century learners and leaders. San Juan Unified has a long and proud history of success which we will continue together.”

A graduate of Texas Christian University with a bachelor’s degree in elementary education, Thompson also holds a master’s in educational psychology from the University of Houston and has completed post graduate studies at the University of California Los Angeles and Pepperdine University. His full bio can be found at http://www.sanjuan.edu/superintendent.

Source: SJUSD


LaMalfa Responds to Budget Trigger Cuts

Legislative Republicans predicted $13b deficit, trigger cuts
Posted: 12/14/2011

(SACRAMENTO) - Senator Doug LaMalfa (R – Richvale) issued a statement today regarding Governor Jerry Brown’s announcement that nearly $1 billion in mid-year trigger cuts will take effect on in the first months of 2012. The cuts follow the passage of a rushed, fiscally unsound budget by Democrats anxious to receive paychecks and perks in the wake of Proposition 25.

“Legislative Democrats fabricated fantasy revenue numbers to kick out an on-time budget,” said LaMalfa. “The majority knew all along that the money would never materialize and that mid-year trigger cuts would be inevitable. Now, these mid-year cuts have become a political tool to help Democrats pass their tax increase plans.”

In July, legislative Republicans offered budget proposals that would have made no cuts to K-12 education. They also released an analysis that predicted the nearly $13 billion deficit if the Democratic budget passed.

"The only way to finally solve our budgeting problem is to eliminate the regulations destroying jobs and businesses,” LaMalfa stated. “When government agents are shaking down California businesses, families, and farms on a daily basis there is little doubt our budget problems will persist. California cannot regulate every aspect of business and life while expecting growth in the private sector. Californians are can-do people and will succeed if only government would get out of their way. Raising taxes will only hurt our struggling economy and hurt hard working Californian families.”

_________

Senator Doug LaMalfa is a lifelong farmer representing the fourth Senate District including Shasta, Tehama, Butte, Colusa, Glenn, Siskiyou, Sutter, Del Norte, Placer, Trinity, Yuba and Nevada counties.


Garamendi Blocks Up to 130,000 Jobs & Raises Taxes on Middle-Class Families

California Democrat Paves the Way for Tax Increases on Middle-Class Families While Allowing Himself a Pay Raise
Posted: 12/14/2011

Washington --- John Garamendi today broke new ground in demonstrating just how out of touch he is with middle-class families in California when he voted against the Middle Class Tax Relief and Job Creation Act. Garamendi sided with President Obama and Nancy Pelosi and voted to pave the way for higher payroll taxes on all working Americans, block the 130,000 potential jobs from the Keystone XL pipeline project, and even allow a pay raise for himself in the process. Garamendi certainly went far to appease his Democrat leaders in Washington today, but struggling families and small businesses in California will be paying the price.

“This is a win-win for middle-class Americans who need tax relief and jobs, but somehow John Garamendi figured out a reason to oppose it,” said NRCC Communications Director Paul Lindsay. “Garamendi voted to block up to 130,000 jobs associated with the popular Keystone XL pipeline project and pave the way for payroll tax hikes on all working families. The only thing Garamendi can confidently say he did with this vote is allow himself a pay raise.”

Democrat leaders in Washington have been strongly opposed to the popular Keystone XL pipeline project, fearing they will alienate radical Democrat activists:

“Environmental groups have been protesting the pipeline that would run from Alberta oil sands to Texas refineries, and there have been rumblings that greens would abandon Obama next fall if he approved it. At the same time, labor unions have backed the pipeline, arguing that it would create badly needed jobs for American workers.” (Dan Berman and Darren Goode, “Obama punts Keystone XL pipeline,” Politico, 11/10/11)

The union-backed Keystone XL pipeline project would potentially create up to 130,000 jobs:

“Many of those 20,000 jobs on the construction of the pipeline would have been filled by skilled union members. Eventually, the completed pipeline was expected to result in as many as 130,000 jobs…” (Editorial, “Keystone pipeline delay is the wrong call,” Houston Chronicle, 11/11/10)

Even Democrats admit there is little reason to oppose a package that creates jobs and prevents tax increases on middle-class families:

“At a time when many are without work, it is time that we come together in a bi-partisan way to pass this legislation which will create tens of thousands of new jobs. I commend the Speaker for including the construction of the Keystone XL pipeline that is supported by business and labor.

“I also believe that this bill should attract votes from both political parties, because it takes initiatives supported by President Obama including the payroll tax cut extension and the extension of unemployment benefits, while also including initiatives supported by congressional Republicans like freezing federal worker pay.” (Press Release, “Boren Supports Payroll Tax Cut Extension Legislation That Includes Permitting The Keystone XL Pipeline,” Congressman Dan Boren, 12/12/11)

The package also prevented scheduled pay raises for Members of Congress. (“Sec. 5421: Extension of Pay Limitation for Federal Employees,” H.R. 3630: The Middle Class Tax Relief and Job Creation Act, House Committee on Ways and Means, Accessed 12/12/11)

John Garamendi toed the line for President Obama and Nancy Pelosi today, and middle-class families in California will pay the price with higher taxes and fewer jobs. When Garamendi votes to allow himself a raise while hiking everyone else’s taxes, his constituents in California can only conclude that he is a part of the growing problem in Washington.

Garamendi Blocks Up to 130,000 Jobs & Raises Taxes on Middle-Class Families http://bit.ly/vK66yL #madeinwdc


The Rich Are Getting Richer; So Are the Poor

By Jarrett Skorup
Posted: 121/4/2011

“No matter your thoughts about the Occupy Wall Street movement, the protesters were right in at least one respect: The rich are getting richer, and the poor are getting poorer.”

Variations on this statement were repeated in dozens of blogs, commentaries, and even news reports in the past months. The claim comes via a Congressional Budget Office analysis that shows incomes for the top 1 percent of Americans growing by 275 percent between 1979 and 2007, while the lowest 20 percent saw their inflation-adjusted incomes grow by “only” 18 percent.

The numbers from the report are correct, but the assertions based on it are true only because of careful wording. While the “top 1 percent” had the highest growth of income, if broadened to include the top 20 percent (the usual way of analyzing such figures), the growth rate was a far less stratospheric 65 percent. This contrasts with about 40-percent growth for the middle three-fifths of all wage earners, and 18 percent for the lowest one-fifth.

Statistically, the lowest 20 percent of households are poor for one main reason: They don’t work as much. Among the causes are medical issues, disability, and bad incentives. Not surprisingly, households in the top 20 percent are far more likely to include people with jobs. Here’s how professor Mark Perry, a member of the Mackinac Center’s Board of Scholars and chairman of the economics department at the University of Michigan-Flint, described it:

"American households in the top income quintile have almost five times more family members working on average than the lowest quintile, and … are far more likely … to be well-educated, married, and working full-time in their prime earning years. In contrast, individuals in low-income households are far more likely to be less-educated, working part-time, either very young or very old, and living in single-parent households."

More significantly, the “rich getting richer” storyline insinuates that the top 1 percent and bottom 20 percent include the same individuals over time. For example, as reporter Julie Mack writes, “Overall, the numbers show that the more affluent you are, the better you’ve done in the past three decades.” Note how this ignores the reality that many individuals who were in the poorest group years ago have long since moved up and out, while among the rich are many families who are literally nouveau riche—they’ve recently arrived from lower income levels.

That’s the risk of relegating real people into statistical categories. Economist Thomas Sowell explained it this way: “The actual empirical evidence cited has been about what has been happening over time to statistical categories turns out to be the direct opposite of what has happened over time to flesh-and-blood human beings, many of whom move from one category to another over time.”

Data that tracks real people show that Sowell is correct. For example, as reported in The Wall Street Journal, IRS tax-return data shows that individuals in the bottom one-fifth back in 1996 experienced income growth of 91 percent by 2005. In contrast, individuals in the highest one-fifth saw their incomes increase just 10 percent over the same period. Incomes of households in the top 5 percent and 1 percent actually declined, by 7 percent and 24 percent, respectively.

Anecdotally, this makes sense: For example, in 1985, my father was just out of college and probably in the lowest 20 percent. But by 2007 he had moved up. Such examples are commonplace, but are completely missed by statistical aggregates.

In the late 1970s, Steve Jobs was trying to expand a struggling computer company. Bill Gates was writing code and just beginning to start working on a personal computer. And one of the founders of Google, Sergey Brin, had just arrived as a six-year-old immigrant from the USSR. These are individuals who did not enter that top 1 percent until many years later—in the process displacing former “one percenters.”

It was these individuals, not statistical categories, who created companies and wealth by making products people wanted. Establishing conditions in which individuals can move up the income ladder by creating, innovating, and building is what America is all about.

_________

Jarrett Skorup is a 2009 graduate of Grove City College and former student fellow at The Center for Vision & Values. He is the research associate for online engagement for Michigan Capitol Confidential at the Mackinac Center for Public Policy, a research and educational institute headquartered in Midland, Mich. Permission to reprint in whole or in part is hereby granted, provided


An Open Letter to President Obama, Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and Secretary of Defense Leon Panetta,

Posted: 12/8/2011

Why are Secretary of Defense Leon Panetta and Secretary of State Hillary Clinton Blatantly Attacking Israel Our Only Democratic Mideast Ally?

In recent days our Secretary of Defense has put his cards on the table and given Israel an ultimatum "Get to the damned negotiating table," where the cards are stacked against Israel. This curt demand was made public Friday December 2nd at the leftest Brookings Institute's Saban Center for Middle East Policy. A day later Secretary of State Clinton railed against Israel by supporting the policies of Israel's radical Left minority. She accused Israel of disrespecting women's rights. This is how they treated America's only long-time democratic ally in the Middle East - with total disrespect.

Our public officials' adversarial role was forthcoming despite unprecedented concessions made by Israel which included a 10 month legal building moratorium in Judea and Samaria and Jerusalem. At the same time, the PA refused to negotiate or even recognize the existence of the Jewish state. Prime Minister Netanyahu had even offered to speak with President Abbas this past September when they were at the UN in New York and his offer was rejected. It is the Palestinians who are not coming to the negotiating table, to whom his profane command should have been directed.

The question arises: If the "Palestinians" will not even recognize the existence of a Jewish state, who will they negotiate with? The "Palestinians" have refused to recognize Israel's very existence. Is it possible to negotiate with a non-existent adversary? It appears obvious that the answer to this question is "no." There cannot be negotiations with an invisible non-entity, a non-existent second party. Which leaves the Israelis negotiating with themselves, a rather impossible assignment.

Our undiplomatic Secretaries of State and Defense need to rethink their position and behave in a more civil fashion to their allies, rather than fantasizing about making would-be friends with our enemies, whose countries are in turmoil and are being taken over by the tyrannical, barbaric Islamist Muslim Brotherhood.

Both Secretary Panetta and Secretary Clinton can begin to bring Israel and the Palestinians together by demanding that the Palestinians recognize the Jewish state of Israel. Until both parties recognize each other they cannot possibly have meaningful negotiations.

Respectfully, Esther Levens


Dr. Stein Condemns White House Blockade of Binding Agreement on Greenhouse Reduction Emissions at Durban

Posted: 12/8/2011

Dr. Jill Stein, Green Party presidential candidate, criticized the White House today for effectively killing a legally binding global agreement at the UN Climate Change meeting in Durban. The meeting concludes on December 9th.

Stein has called for a Green New Deal to create jobs while reducing climate change.

"I condemn the White House's inaction in the face of a global emergency," said Stein. "The U.S.' and other rich countries' inaction on climate change is not only inexcusable. U.S. and global emissions continue to rise, and national legislation to reduce emissions is nowhere in sight. Even when the Democrats controlled both the House and the Senate in 2009-10, efforts to pass even weak legislation to reduce emissions were completely unsuccessful due to the powerful influence of Big Oil and Big Coal on both of the establishment political parties."

The White House's global position reflects the influence of the fossil fuel companies that continue to dominate the energy agenda of both the Democrats and the Republicans. President Obama has himself supported offshore drilling, including granting permits to exploit the pristine environment of the Arctic, expanding nuclear power, and promoting the unproven technique of Carbon Capture and Storage (CCS).

"Climate change is the biggest threat facing the U.S. and the planet. We don't need a nice sounding but meaningless statement coming out of Durban. The White House continues to block the creation of binding agreements for developed countries to reduce their greenhouse emissions and provide financial support for developing countries to transition to carbon-free economies," stated Dr. Stein.

As part of her aggressive plan to combat climate change, Stein has proposed a Green New Deal, "that would create millions of green jobs through investment in weatherization, renewable energy, clean manufacturing, sustainable agriculture, public transportation and reforestation. The Green New Deal, according to Stein, would be paid for by redirecting trillions of dollars being squandered on wars for oil, Wall Street bailouts, and tax breaks for the wealthy. She says she will also end the White House's subsidies for "clean coal" schemes.

The emission reduction targets of the Kyoto Protocol, the only binding international agreement on greenhouse gases, expire in 2012. Despite the weakness of the Protocol, the U.S. has failed to ratify the agreement under both Democratic and Republican presidents. The United States and some other industrialized nations say they will adopt emissions limits only if rising powers like China, India, and Brazil (which were excluded from the original 1997 goals) also commit to matching reductions, which, according to Stein, "has been a formula for stalemate. The U.S. and a few other developed countries are responsible for releasing the vast majority of the global warming pollution that's in the atmosphere. It is appropriate that we take the lead in reducing the emissions."

"Global warming is already having a serious impact on the United States and the rest of the world. The year 2011 has been a year of extreme weather events marked by record rainfall and flooding, forest fires, and deadly tornadoes, and severe hurricane activity. These events have taken a huge toll on the lives and livelihoods of many thousands of U.S. residents. The global picture is one of growing climate instability and ever rising emissions. Yet the developed countries have made it clear that a new global agreement will not be in effect until 2020 at the earliest. U.S. leadership is desperately needed to galvanize a new world treaty to rescue the climate and our future economy that depends on it."

Since the disastrous UN climate talks in Copenhagen in 2009, the White House has worked to undermine the chances of a rules-based global agreement along the lines of the Kyoto Protocol. The Administration's support for ineffective voluntary commitments to reduce emissions in the form of a so-called "pledge and review" system has brought the UN process to the brink of collapse, as other major emitters have followed the U.S. and lowered their own already inadequate emissions reductions targets. "This isn't leadership" said Stein. "It's an abdication of responsibility to the future that we can no longer tolerate."

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Paid for and authorized by Jill Stein for President/ http://www.JillStein.org


Broad Coalition to File “Millionaires’ Tax” to Fund Education, Senior Services, Public Safety

Posted: 12/8/2011

A broad coalition of educators, unions and community groups announced today it is filing a ballot initiative to restore critical funding to schools and universities, essential services for seniors, and public safety, as well as start rebuilding the state’s crumbling roads and bridges. It asks the wealthiest Californians—people who earn over a million dollars per year—to help pay to rebuild the state. The “California Funding Restoration Act” would increase personal income taxes only on those who make $1 million or more annually to restore funding to services that make California communities stronger and safer, and ensure seniors receive the care they deserve.

“As a teacher and parent, I have seen the terrible impact of state budget cuts on our schools through teacher layoffs and larger class sizes,” says Joshua Pechthalt, president of the California Federation of Teachers. “It is time for the wealthiest Californians to pay their fair share to restore funding for education and essential services.”

The coalition tested various approaches in opinion research with likely voters. No other type of proposal came close to the strength of voter opinion in favor of the idea that the richest Californians should pay their fair share to restore funding for schools and services. Pollster Ben Tulchin notes that “Extensive recent public and private polling show that California voters strongly support a progressive approach of raising taxes on the rich to fund education and other essential services that have been cut in recent years.”

The coalition estimates that the initiative, under discussion by Restoring California since last March, will restore $6 billion in funds for K-12, higher education, social services, public safety, and roads. It would help people like Jazmin Casa, an East Los Angeles Community College student, who says, “I lost my job caring for seniors because of the state budget cuts. Now, I’m fighting to keep my home.” Jazmin is an active member of California Calls, a statewide alliance of organizations that has identified 325,000 voters in support of this type of reform.

Rick Jacobs, chair and founder of the 750,000 strong Courage Campaign says, “This is the only initiative proposal that would restore funding devastated by the recession, and rehire thousands of teachers, senior care providers and public safety personnel, without affecting the wallets of working families and the middle class. It addresses the heart of the problem: that total income share to the state’s richest 1% has doubled over the last twenty years, while their tax rates have fallen and the 99% have fallen farther behind.”

Groups in support of this reform include:

California Federation of Teachers
Courage Campaign
California Calls
Alliance of Californians for Community Empowerment
California Partnership
Inner City Struggle
Equality Alliance
Community Coalition for Substance Abuse Prevention and Treatment
Strategic Concepts in Organizing and Policy Education
Dolores Huerta Foundation
Knotts Family and Parenting Institute
Communities for a New California
Oakland Rising
Causa Justa/Just Cause
The Ella Baker Center for Human Rights
Asian Pacific Environmental Network
CAUSE
Working Partnerships USA
Poder Popular
Warehouse Workers United
Congregations Organized for Prophetic Engagement
Mobilize the Immigrant Vote
PICO California
University of California Student Association


Senator Blakeslee Issues Statement On Governor’s November Tax Increase Proposal

Posted: 12/8/2011

Today, Senator Blakeslee issued a statement in response to Governor Brown’s proposal to raise $35 billion in taxes without any reforms to resolve California’s boom-bust budget cycles.

“Last year, Governor Brown chose cuts over compromise. Now he is announcing that his plan for the coming year is to simply stop trying and delay any action until next November. If he really cares about protecting school and our most vulnerable, he will stop whining and get back to the negotiating table so we can hammer out a bipartisan budget deal in time to avoid additional harm to our economy. No one ever said that leadership would be easy.”

Senator Blakeslee was a part of a group of five Republican Senators who proactively engaged Governor Brown last year regarding his desire for a special election, which the Governor called off because of the Governor’s unwillingness to allow Republican reforms to be included on the ballot along with the Governor’s tax hikes.


U.S. Term Limits praises California U.S. Senate candidate Michael Stollery for pledge

Posted: 12/8/2011

Fairfax, VA – U.S. Term Limits (USTL), the leader in the national movement to limit terms for elected officials, praised California U.S. Senate candidate Michael Stollery for promising to support and co-sponsor an amendment to the U.S. Constitution limiting congressional terms.

Philip Blumel commented on Stollery’s pledge saying, “Michael Stollery is leading the way for the other candidates for Congress by being an early signer of the term limits pledge.

Stollery’s commitment to returning to citizen government in Washington, D.C. is a beacon that should be followed by candidates across the nation.”

The U.S. Term Limits Amendment Pledge has been provided to every announced candidate for federal office. It reads, “I pledge that as a member of Congress I will cosponsor and vote for the U.S. Term Limits Amendment of three (3) House terms and two (2) Senate terms and no longer limit.”

The U.S. Term Limits Constitutional Amendment has been introduced in both the U.S. Senate by Senator Jim DeMint (R-SC) and the House of Representatives by Representative David Schweikert (R-AZ). This session of Congress marks the first time in nearly twenty years that a serious term limits bill has appeared in both Houses with co-sponsorship.

Blumel noted, “The dysfunction in Washington, D.C. has never been greater, and people have had enough of politics as usual. Many members of Congress are getting on board as they become increasingly frustrated with the status quo. Fortunately, with candidates like Michael Stollery jumping into the fray, the political pressure for the constitutional amendment will continue building toward successful passage.”

According to the last nationwide poll on term limits conducted by Public Opinion Dynamics for Fox News in September 2010, the issue enjoys wide bi-partisan support. The poll showed that 78 percent of Americans support congressional term limits, including 74 percent independents and 74 percent of the nation’s Democrats.

Blumel concluded, “America is in trouble. Our career politicians have let the people down. It is time to limit their terms and return control of our nation to people who have actually had to create a job, earn an honest paycheck and pay a mortgage. It is time for a constitutional amendment limiting congressional terms.”

The term limits amendment bills would require a two-thirds majority vote in the House and Senate, and ratification by 38 states in order to become part of the Constitution.

_________

U.S Term Limits is a non-partisan, non-profit advocacy organization that works to promote term limits at all levels of government. For more information, please call Ray Wotring at 703-383-0907. U.S. Term Limits is a nonprofit501 (c) (4). It is located at 9900 Main Street, Suite 303 Fairfax, VA 22031 info@ustl.org


U.S. Term Limits praises California U.S. Senate candidate Dirk Konopik for pledge

Posted: 12/8/2011

Fairfax, VA – U.S. Term Limits (USTL), the leader in the national movement to limit terms for elected officials, praised California U.S. Senate candidate Dirk Konopik for promising to support and co-sponsor an amendment to the U.S. Constitution limiting congressional terms.

Philip Blumel commented on Konopik’s pledge saying, “Dirk Konopik is leading the way for the other candidates for Congress by being an early signer of the term limits pledge.

Konopik’s commitment to returning to citizen government in Washington, D.C. is a beacon that should be followed by candidates across the nation.”

The U.S. Term Limits Amendment Pledge has been provided to every announced candidate for federal office. It reads, “I pledge that as a member of Congress I will cosponsor and vote for the U.S. Term Limits Amendment of three (3) House terms and two (2) Senate terms and no longer limit.”

The U.S. Term Limits Constitutional Amendment has been introduced in both the U.S. Senate by Senator Jim DeMint (R-SC) and the House of Representatives by Representative David Schweikert (R-AZ). This session of Congress marks the first time in nearly twenty years that a serious term limits bill has appeared in both Houses with co-sponsorship.

Blumel noted, “The dysfunction in Washington, D.C. has never been greater, and people have had enough of politics as usual. Many members of Congress are getting on board as they become increasingly frustrated with the status quo. Fortunately, with candidates like Dirk Konopik jumping into the fray, the political pressure for the constitutional amendment will continue building toward successful passage.”

According to the last nationwide poll on term limits conducted by Public Opinion Dynamics for Fox News in September 2010, the issue enjoys wide bi-partisan support. The poll showed that 78 percent of Americans support congressional term limits, including 74 percent independents and 74 percent of the nation’s Democrats.

Blumel concluded, “America is in trouble. Our career politicians have let the people down. It is time to limit their terms and return control of our nation to people who have actually had to create a job, earn an honest paycheck and pay a mortgage. It is time for a constitutional amendment limiting congressional terms.”

The term limits amendment bills would require a two-thirds majority vote in the House and Senate, and ratification by 38 states in order to become part of the Constitution.

________

U.S Term Limits is a non-partisan, non-profit advocacy organization that works to promote term limits at all levels of government. For more information, please call Ray Wotring at 703-383-0907. U.S. Term Limits is a nonprofit501 (c) (4). It is located at 9900 Main Street, Suite 303 Fairfax, VA 22031 info@ustl.org


Garamendi Ignores Continuing Consequences of Job-Killing Government Takeover of Healthcare

California Democrat Opposes Repealing the Law that Continues to Kill Jobs in a Struggling Economy
Posted: 12/8/2011

Washington --- The Democrats’ government takeover of healthcare continues to burden businesses with unprecedented new mandates and fees, but John Garamendi seems unconcerned in this bad economy and opposes repealing the disastrous law (Roll Call #14, 1/19/11). Garamendi has made it clear he prioritizes defending President Obama’s disastrous takeover of healthcare despite the fact that a plurality of voters want to see it repealed and its burden on the economy continues to grow.

“The consequences continue to pile on from the Democrats’ disastrous government takeover of healthcare, which makes it even more amazing that John Garamendi defiantly stands by the law,” said NRCC Communications Director Paul Lindsay. “Garamendi's constituents in California recognize that the Democrats’ takeover of healthcare cut $500 billion from Medicare and is destroying jobs when they are needed most, which is why a plurality of Americans now want to see it repealed.”

Examples of how the Democrats’ government takeover of healthcare imposes an extraordinary burden on the economy continue to reveal themselves:

“When CKE’s health-care advisers, citing Obamacare’s complexities, opacities and uncertainties, said that it would add between $7.3 million and $35.1 million to the company’s $12 million health-care costs in 2010, Puzder said: I need a number I can plan with. They guessed $18 million — twice what CKE spent last year building new restaurants. Obamacare must mean fewer restaurants.

“And therefore fewer jobs. Each restaurant creates, on average, 25 jobs — and as much as 3.5 times that number of jobs in the community. (CKE spends about $1 billion a year on food and paper products, $175 million on advertising, $33 million on maintenance, etc.)…”

“In an economic climate of increasing uncertainties, Puzder says, one certainty is that many businesses now marginally profitable will disappear when Obamacare causes that margin to disappear. A second certainty is that ‘employers everywhere will be looking to reduce labor content in their business models as Obamacare makes employees unambiguously more expensive.’” (George F. Will, “Choking on Obamacare,” The Washington Post, 12/2/11)

It is no wonder that a plurality of Americans want to see the disastrous law repealed:

“A Gallup survey of more than 1,000 U.S. adults found that 47 percent favor the repeal of healthcare reform, versus 42 percent who want the law kept in place. Eleven percent had no opinion.” (David Morgan, “More Americans than not want health law repeal: poll,” Reuters, 11/16/11)

John Garamendi continues to demonstrate how out of touch he is when he opposes repealing the Democrats’ government takeover of healthcare in the face of so many disastrous consequences. This is yet another example of how Garamendi and his fellow Washington Democrats are doing more harm than good to job creators when middle-class families in California want economic growth above all else.


Macy's Fires Employee for Protecting Women's Dressing Rooms from Cross-dresser

LC.org
Posted: 12/8/2011

San Antonio, TX - A young woman was fired from a Macy's department store for refusing to violate her religious beliefs by permitting a young man dressed as a woman from entering the women's dressing room. Natalie Johnson claims she saw the young man walk out of the women's fitting room and politely told him that he could not go back in because it was for women only. The cross-dressing young man claimed that he is a "female." Johnson said that he was wearing make-up and girl's clothing, but clearly he was a male. The cross-dresser was accompanied by five other individuals. The group argued with expletives that Macy's is LGBT-friendly, to which Johnson replied that Macy's is also non-discriminatory toward religion, and that it would go against her religious beliefs to lie that he was a woman or compromise with homosexuality. The group then demanded to speak with a manager.

When Johnson was confronted by her employer, she explained that she could not allow a male to change in a female's fitting room. Johnson's boss referred her to Macy's LGBT policy which allows "transgender" people to change in any dressing room they want. However, Johnson pointed out that the same policy also protects against religious discrimination and, in this case, it protects her right to her beliefs that were being violated. The manager demanded that she comply with the LGBT policies or lose her job. Johnson refused to go against her sincerely held religious beliefs and was terminated from her job.

Mathew Staver, Founder and Chairman of Liberty Counsel, commented: "Macy's policy which allows men to use the women's dressing room is fraught with problems. This policy will cause significant problems and will alienate the majority of Macy's customers. Macy's has essentially opened women's dressing rooms to every man. The LGBT agenda has become the theater of the absurd."


Obama's War Record Should Appall Progressives

by Sheldon Richman
Posted: 12/8/2011

“Why are liberals so desperately unhappy with the Obama presidency?” asks New York Magazine’s Jonathan Chait, a self-proclaimed “Obama apologist.”

He answers his own question: “ Liberals are dissatisfied with Obama because liberals, on the whole, are incapable of feeling satisfied with a Democratic president.”

See? It isn’t Obama’s fault. It’s something in the so-called liberal, or progressive, psyche. (“Liberalism” originally meant a philosophy of maximum individual freedom, free markets, and minimum government, not today’s support for intrusive, comprehensive bureaucratic management.)

One wades through the 5,000-word essay hoping to witness Chait at least acknowledge that Obama has let his supporters down with his “war on terror” policies. But all we get is this:

Obama … has enjoyed a string of foreign-policy successes—expanding targeted strikes against Al Qaeda (including one that killed Osama bin Laden), ending the war in Iraq, and helping to orchestrate an apparently successful international campaign to rescue Libyan dissidents and then topple a brutal kleptocratic regime.

Excuse me? Progressives — who properly savaged George W. Bush for his autocratic presidency, civil-liberties flouting PATRIOT Act, undeclared war on Iraq, use of detention and torture at Guantanamo and elsewhere, and warrantless surveillance — are supposed to be happy with Barack Obama, who has essentially carried on most Bush policies, even kicking them up a few notches?

If we listen to Chait, there is nothing at all disappointing about Obama’s expansion of drone attacks in Pakistan and Somalia, with their routine “collateral damage” to innocents; his flagrant violation of the War Powers Resolution (not to mention the Constitution and his campaign promise) with his intervention in Libya; his intensification of the war in Afghanistan; his sanctions (an act of war) against Iran; his broken pledge to close Guantanamo; his support of indefinite detention without charge; his policy of assassinating even American citizens abroad without due process; his renewal of the PATRIOT Act; his placement of Marines in Australia with the words, “The United States is a Pacific power, and we are here to stay”; his failed attempt to lift the UN ban on cluster bombs; or his invocation of state secrets to keep torture victims out of court.

Chait thinks Obama should get credit for “ending the war in Iraq” — but hold on. The December 31, 2011, withdrawal date is set in the Status of Forces Agreement negotiated between the Iraqi government and the Bush administration. Obama tried — but failed — to persuade Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki to let U.S. troops stay longer. As it is, they will simply be moved down the road to Kuwait, and a large contract mercenary force will likely be left behind at the humongous embassy in Baghdad.

For Chait and his ilk, these all must count as “foreign policy successes.”

And what about torture? Nothing upset Progressives more during the Bush years. Toward the end of the administration, the criminal policy was abandoned and was forsworn by Obama. Yet the detention center at Bagram airbase in Afghanistan has been called “worse than Guantanamo” by Daphne Eviatar, an attorney for Human Rights First. Adds John Glaser of Antiwar.com,

There are now 3,000 detainees in Bagram, up from 1,700 since June (!) and five times the amount there when Barack Obama took office. Many of them have not been charged, have seen no evidence against them and do not have the right to be represented by a lawyer, aren’t given fair trials, and the U.S. claims it is not even obligated to explain why these people are caged.

U.S. special operations “black site” at Bagram features “sleep deprivation, holding detainees in cold cells, forced nudity, physical abuse, detaining individuals in isolation cells for longer than 30 days, and restricting the access of the International Committee of the Red Cross,” according to Jonathan Horowitz’s investigation for the Open Society Institute.

Finally, in a move that bodes ill for the future, Obama refuses to criminally or civilly investigate Bush administration officials for illegal torture of prisoners. He won’t even empanel a “truth commission” to bring the facts before the American people. Future administrations will thus have little to fear when they break the law.

Most progressives are silent about Obama’s shameful record. But it may explain the disappointment Chait can’t understand.

Sheldon Richman is senior fellow at The Future of Freedom Foundation (www.fff.org) and editor of The Freeman magazine.


Federal Lawsuit Filed Against California's Ban on Openly Carried Loaded Firearms in Public

Posted: 12/8/2011

A Federal Civil Rights lawsuit naming California Governor Edmund G. Brown Jr., California Attorney General Kamala Harris, the City of Redondo Beach, its police department and police chief has been filed in the Federal Central District Court for California.

Defendants have until December 14th to waive service of summons. Those who do not will be served the following day which coincides with the 220th Anniversary of the Second Amendment and the Bill of Rights.

In 1967, the California Legislature made it a crime to openly carry a loaded firearm in most public places in California. This was a knee-jerk reaction to the activities of the Black Panther Party which included a band of its members marching into the California State Capitol building openly carrying loaded firearms.

One of the Penal Code sections enacted as a result of this impromptu publicity stunt was California Penal Code section 12031 which makes it a crime to openly carry a loaded firearm in incorporated cities and areas of a County where the discharge of firearms is prohibited.

The opinion of then Attorney General Thomas C. Lynch was that “...it remains clear that the Legislature did not direct the provisions of section 12031 against all uses of firearms but only at uses of firearms which are inimical to the peace and safety of the people of California.”

Then Governor Ronald Reagan was adamant that the legislation not apply to openly carrying loaded firearms through town for peaceful purposes such as hunting.

The lawsuit was intended to disarm the members of the Black Panther Party. Since then, it has been applied to persons which the statute itself exempts such as hunters and persons with loaded firearms inside of mobile residences.

This year, Governor Brown signed Assembly Bill AB 144 into law which makes it a crime to openly carry an unloaded handgun as well. That law goes into effect on January 1st. As a result, California has banned a complete class of weapons commonly used for the purpose of self-defense from being openly carried in public. Only unloaded rifles and shotguns may be openly carried after the new year.

The lawsuit was filed by Charles Nichols, President of CaliforniaRightToCarry.org. The plaintiff in the lawsuit has filed as an individual. CaliforniaRightToCarry.org is not a plaintiff in this case.

The case number is CV-11-9916 SJO (SS). The case has been assigned to Federal Judge S. James Otero.

Funds for the lawsuit are being raised by Open Carry advocates across the state:

California Right To Carry
Riverside Open Carry Club
Inland Empire Open Carr
California Carry
The2A
Orange County Open Carry
OpenCarryClub.com
Bay Area Open Carry Movement
California Open Carry Movement

Donations to the lawsuit can be made online at http://do.nr/4Rj and http://tinyurl.com/PC12031Lawsuit

Donations are not tax deductible.

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If you would like more information about this topic, please send inquiries to Charles Nichols: email Press@CaliforniaRightToCarry.org

California Right To Carry is a California nonprofit registered with the California Secretary of State. It does not solicit or accept public donations for its organization. Operating expenses are provided entirely by its membership.

100% of the donations to the legal fund will be used for the Federal lawsuit. None of the money goes to the organization – California Right To Carry. Donations are not tax deductible.


JUDGE ISSUES TEMPORARY ORDER AGAINST STATE – POTENTIALLY STOPPING $100 MILLION CUTS TO THE IN-HOME SUPPORTIVE SERVICES PROGRAM

Cuts would impact the care of an estimated 372,000 low-income seniors and people with disabilities

OAKLAND, CA – Late yesterday afternoon United States District Court Judge Claudia A. Wilken issued a Temporary Restraining Order (TRO) effective immediately that stops the state from proceeding with a 20 percent cut to the state’s In-Home Supportive Services (IHSS) program until the Court is able to hear the case on December 15, 2011.

The cuts of more than $100 million to the IHSS program are part of the state’s $700 million “trigger cuts” written into the 2011/12 state budget and passed under SB 73. The cuts, which would impact the care of an estimated 372,000 low-income California seniors and people with disabilities, were to be enacted on January 1, 2012, if state revenues didn’t meet projected earnings by mid December.

“Judge Wilken’s Temporary Restraining Order brings a sense of relief to California seniors and people with disabilities,” stated Laphonza Butler, president of SEIU United Long Term Care Workers (ULTCW). “This ruling means that our parents, grandparents, and children with disabilities who rely on the IHSS program to live safely at home will be able to get through the holidays without fear of losing their in-home care and being forced into institutions. It also means that there is a possibility of preventing these dangerous cuts to home care altogether.”

As stated in Judge Wilken’s findings, SB 73 raises serious questions of violations to Title XIX of the Social Security Act, the Medicaid Act, the American Disabilities Act and part of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973 by placing IHSS recipients at imminent risk of unnecessary and unwanted out-of-home placement. (download TRO at: http://ultcw.org/files/2011/12/TRO.pdf)

Although the TRO does not stop the cuts from taking place, it does prevent the state from moving forward with issuing a Notice of Action to IHSS recipients that would announce the IHSS cuts as taking place on January 1, 2012.

“If implemented, these trigger cuts to the IHSS program would place hundreds of thousands of fragile lives in jeopardy,” said Butler. “Every hour of in-home care taken away from our seniors and people with disabilities places them in danger of experiencing falls, breaking bones, not taking their medications, or even worse. We simply can’t balance our states budget on the backs of our most vulnerable residents. The consequences are too great.”

The request for the TRO was filed on December 1, 2011, along with a lawsuit by senior and disability advocates to stop these devastating cuts to vital care from taking place. The Court is scheduled to hear the case on December 15, 2011, at 2:00 pm in Oakland.

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Over 700,000 Californians make up SEIU in California; we work throughout the state, in all 58 counties, and we represent California in all of its diversity. We are social workers, nurses, classroom aides, state workers, security officers, college professors, home care workers, janitors, and more.


Denham Statement On Recent Unemployment Numbers

Posted: 12/8/2011

WASHINGTON, D.C. – Representative Jeff Denham today released the following statement regarding this morning’s employment report from the Bureau of Labor Statistics:

“While lower unemployment rates are always welcome news, especially as we head into the holidays, we must be realistic about the situation. There is still much more that we can do to create American jobs and House Republicans have demonstrated this for the past year. Just this week, we passed three more bills to create jobs and we continue to work in bi-partisan ways towards pro-growth strategies. Unemployment in the Valley remains well above the national average, and we need to remain focused on getting people back to work by bringing a reliable source of water to the Valley and reducing regulations on small businesses and farms.

”NOTE: Congressman Denham addressed these concerns on the House Floor this week.

The week the House passed three pro-growth bills that would ease the regulatory burden hampering California businesses. Information on these three bills is below.

The Regulatory Accountability Act (H.R. 3010) is bipartisan legislation that “requires agencies to assess the costs and benefits” of new regulations on small businesses and “in most cases, to adopt the least-costly alternative to achieve the regulatory objectives of Congress,” says the House Judiciary Committee. Several dozen groups representing job creators, small businesses, and manufacturers support the bill, saying it “would modernize and update the 65-year old regulatory process” and help prevent new federal rules from destroying American jobs.

The Workforce Democracy & Fairness Act (H.R. 3094) prevents the Obama administration’s National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) from imposing sweeping new regulations that threaten American jobs. According to the House Education & the Workforce Committee, the bill ensures “[n]o union election will be held in less than 35 days,” giving workers “the ability to make a fully informed decision in a union election,” and it and overturns new NLRB rules that would raise costs on job creators. These NLRB rules were cited in a memo by Majority Leader Eric Cantor (R-VA) on the “top 10 job-destroying regulations” that would be addressed by the House this year.

The Regulatory Flexibility Improvements Act (H.R. 527) closes loopholes used by federal agencies that allow them to impose costly, job-crushing regulations, says Small Business Committee Chairman Sam Graves (R-MO). According to the House Judiciary Committee, it “requires federal agencies to identify and reduce the costs new regulations would impose on small businesses.” The bill was cited in Leader Cantor’s memo as one that makes “fundamental and structural reform of the rule-making system” to help create a better environment for jobs.


The Marcellus Shale Boom

By Steve Irwin
Posted: 12/8/2011

Marcellus Shale is becoming a household name, from discussions around kitchen tables to town halls with (sometimes) angry citizens. Endless media coverage, economic analysis, geological prediction, business maneuvers and political debate encompass this complex topic. Even the experts concede that the breadth of this issue will only be fully understood after gas production continues for many more years.

An important effect of natural gas production in Pennsylvania, Ohio, and West Virginia is simple: jobs. In contrast to America’s chronically high unemployment rate, the Marcellus-generated job activity within these regions can only be described as a gold rush. Thousands of trucks, ranging from semi-tankers to white diesel crew-cab pickups, have flooded the streets and back roads of many towns. While billions of dollars in federal spending have done little to nothing to improve jobs and infrastructure, the dollars invested into these reborn communities, once hurting by economic depression, are all thanks to subsurface layers of dirty black shale.

Infrastructure improvements and job creation are not the only byproducts of Marcellus Shale drilling. Land owners are likewise reaping tremendous benefits. Three years ago, some land leased for gas production had a market value of $10 an acre, tops. The driving market force of competition has caused that number to surge, with landowners negotiating payment terms upwards of $3,000 an acre with 15 percent or better royalty rates. That’s cash in hand, checks in the mail, and escrow in the bank.

And still, a mere one percent of expected wells have been drilled within the Marcellus-rich region, with a potential of 200,000 wells. The full potential offers a source of American energy that is hard to estimate. The pipeline system needed to transport the hydrocarbons has only begun to be constructed, with boom-centers of crackers and compressors along the way. This could portend an economic viability extending 100 years.

This phenomenon can be understood in very basic economic terms. The development of Marcellus Shale could only happen in America. Consider: citizens in this nation have long enjoyed not only the unique freedom to pursue happiness but the liberty to own property. Although other portions of the globe could be cashing in shale—namely China, Canada, and Europe—an individual citizen’s control of land, even to the depths of thousands of feet, is unique to the United States. Furthermore, it is only through private industry and corporations that the efficient technology of hydrofracturing is made available. Companies like Chesapeake Energy, Range Resources, Hess, BP, and Consol are all publicly traded and held liable to their creditors, and thus are making private business decisions for their own sake and profit.

Of course, also part of the American phenomenon is the government’s regulatory role, which plays a crucial role in Marcellus development—or the lack thereof. Look no further than the state of New York, where a moratorium on natural gas exploration has capped economic activity. Yet, gas producers remain cautiously optimistic. If Governor Rendell were still in office, things might look different. For the time being, Republican Governor Tom Corbett has only proposed an impact fee on natural gas production, of which the tax portion is not expected to survive state legislation. Maybe Governors John Kasich and Earl Ray Tomblin in bordering Ohio and West Virginia will take note.

Exploration and production of Marcellus Shale is certainly a sign of the times in Pennsylvania, Ohio, and West Virginia, exhibited by the boom towns that have been revived from drilling activity. These times are producing the creation of real jobs and money infused into local communities, and this is just the start. No doubt, Marcellus drilling also provides distinct challenges, which are being hotly debated, and which indeed need to be carefully considered. For now, though, the economic benefits in these dire economic times are undeniable.

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teve Irwin is a senior at Grove City College and a student fellow with The Center for Vision & Values.


Fuel Job Growth with Wise Energy Investments, Scientist Urges

First Solyndra, then Beacon Power Corp.
Posted: 12/8/2011

Both alternative energy companies declared bankruptcy this year after receiving millions in federal job stimulus dollars. It’s just what the United States does not need right now, says nuclear scientist Michael T. Gamble, an alternative energy researcher and investment-banking analyst.

The public backlash to ill-spent tax dollars could hurt a vital emerging industry – one that is very much key to future U.S. jobs.

“Cheap energy would enable little Silicon Valley businesses to develop phenomenal things because they’re not hampered by the increased cost of doing business,” says Gamble, a former scientist at the Los Alamos National Lab in New Mexico and author of Zeroscape (www.zeroscape-thebook.com), a high-tech thriller. “Work with certain technologies, like high-energy lasers, requires large amounts of energy. A little photonics company could be a future Apple.”

Apple Inc., he notes, had 46,600 full-time employees in September 2010, up a third from the previous year. That was job growth during the throes of economic recession.

Gamble says the public perception of the alternative energy industry as a worthy recipient of taxpayer dollars may be tainted by what were essentially business failures exacerbated by the falling cost of solar-grade silicon. Perhaps they were poor choices for Energy Department loan guarantees.

“Solyndra was never even close to manufacturing cost-effective, competitive solar panels,” he says. “Their cost was $3 to $6 per watt.”

However, there are companies, and even government research, worth investing in, Gamble says.

A robust photovoltaic company that’s close to achieving competitive pricing is Nanosolar of San Jose, Calif. Its thin-film, printable solar collection panels use copper, indium, gallium, selenium and nanoparticle inks as opposed to the widely used silicon panels, a lower-cost strategy. When combined with the savings from minimal installation labor, Nanosolar’s panels are on course to produce energy for 60 cents per watt and achieve production efficiencies comparable to silicon panels within the next few years.

Of the regional options for renewable energy – tidal on the coasts, geothermal in the West, and wind in myriad locations – the latter is ripe for harvest. In 2010, China replaced the United States as the world leader in wind energy production, adding 16.5 gigawatts – comparable to the maximum electricity generated by 16 large nuclear power plants. It now surpasses the United States by 2 gigawatts. The U.S. lag was due, in part, to the expiration of the Obama administration’s Recovery Act, a one-time tax incentive for deployment of renewable energy installations.

Free as they are, sun and wind may be overpowered by success of the most high-tech energy source sought: nuclear fusion. Different from the nuclear fission employed by nuclear reactors, fusion is environmentally friendly, much less risky for humans, and uses fuel derived from water. It produces lots of energy; helium is the byproduct. The Lawrence Livermore National Lab near San Francisco has built a laser fusion device called the National Ignition Facility (NIF), capable of delivering 500 terawatts to a BB-size target while liberating clean energy. “Now that NIF is operational,” Gamble says, “its budget must be directed principally toward its mission as the groundbreaking American device closest to realizing a fantastic renewable energy source.”

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Dr. Gamble is a former staff member of the physics division of the Los Alamos National Laboratory, where he researched directed-energy devices such as terawatt laser systems. He is a former Vice President of Manufacturing Technology for Nanovation Technologies, Inc. and a founding partner of Fidelys, LLC, a California investment banking and corporate advisory firm. Gamble holds degrees in nuclear and mechanical engineering, and was a postdoctoral fellow at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology.

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