Saturday, March 19, 2011

Bill Clinton’s CIA Director James Woolsey calls President Obama’s handling of the Libyan crisis “extremely” ineffective.

Local News: Budget impasse sets in: With $14 billion in cuts enacted, lawmakers negotiate over tax extensions

Budget impasse sets in: With $14 billion in cuts enacted, lawmakers negotiate over tax extensions
While state legislators have made a major dent in the projected $26.6 billion deficit hanging over the state through cuts enacted in recent days, some heavy lifting remains.

After enacting $14 billion in spending reductions during floor sessions on Wednesday and Thursday, the Legislature has indefinitely postponed votes on the two most contentious items on its plate -- putting about $12 billion in tax extensions before voters in a June special election and eliminating redevelopment agencies throughout the state. Democrats have been unable to recruit the four Republican votes -- two in each house -- necessary to meet the two-thirds vote threshold needed to move the items forward.

Now the matters are left in the hands of Democratic legislative leaders, Gov. Jerry Brown and the small handful of Republicans who remain at the negotiating table, with the balance of the Legislature on call throughout the weekend, ready to race back to Sacramento to vote if a compromise is reached....

(State Senator Noreen) Evans said if Republicans don't come to the table in a matter of days, Democrats might have to look at other options

State Senate (Humboldt)
Noreen Evans
State Capitol Building
Room 4081
Sacramento, CA 95814
Phone: (916) 651-4002
710 E St.
Eureka, CA 95501
Eureka phone: 445-6508 Fax: 445-6511
Website: http://sd02.senate.ca.gov/
Email: senator.evans@sen.ca.gov
http://sd02.senate.ca.gov/contact (contact via webform)

Friday, March 18, 2011

CRP: While Other Governors Tackle Real Reform, Jerry Brown Tries To Pass The Buck

GOVERNOR FAILS TO MEET OWN BUDGET DEADLINE cagop.org
One Month Before Taking Office, Jerry Brown Announces 60-Day Budget Deadline:"Gov.-elect Jerry Brown said Tuesday that he wants to complete a budget agreement within two months, an accelerated timeline that would allow a late-spring special election for potential tax increases or other revenue generation. ‘I’m going to try to get the budget agreements done within about 60 days. I don’t think we have a lot of time to waste,‘ [Gov. Brown] said." (Seema Mehta, "Brown wants to complete budget in 60 days, predicts cuts to education," ◼ Los Angeles Times, 12/14/10)

60 Days After Taking Office, Jerry Brown Admits That He Failed On His First Promise: "Still in the midst of intense talks with legislators, Gov. Jerry Brown on Wednesday called off action on the budget to provide breathing room as they seek to resolve their differences. That means Brown will miss his self-imposed deadline of Thursday to have his budget approved and tax extension proposal ready for the ballot." (Steve Harmon, "Brown will miss state budget deadline," ◼ Contra Costa Times, 3/10/11)

MEANWHILE, OTHER GOVERNORS ARE MOVING FORWARD WITH BUDGET CUTS, SIGNIFICANT GOVERNMENT REFORM

Republican Governors Lead The Way:

Scott Walker Pushes Back On Unions, Promises Sweeping Pension Reform Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel, 2/10/11
Chris Christie Shakes Up New Jersey, Calls For Significant Cuts, Government Worker Concessions CNNMoney.com, 2/22/11
Florida’s New Governor Calls His Budget The Most Fiscally Conservative In The Country Southern Political Report, 3/9/11
Pennsylvania Governor Keeps His Word--No Taxes, Deep Spending Cuts Philadelphia Inquirer, 3/9/11

TRANSCRIPT: REMARKS BY THE PRESIDENT ON THE SITUATION IN LIBYA

Obama: Oh, by the way, we’re going to war in Libya

Visit msnbc.com for breaking news, world news, and news about the economy


Obama: Oh, by the way, we’re going to war in Libya - HotAir
Obama: A ‘Focused’ Mission in Libya - National Review
Other People’s No-Fly Zones Commentary Magazine
Libya Process Signals Shifts in Global Order - World Politics Review
How the decision was made to press for a No Fly Zone - Questions and Observations
U.S. to deploy more ships to support Libya planning - Reuters
European governments 'completely puzzled' by US stance on Libya - thecable foreignpolicy.com
Obama: A ‘Focused’ Mission in Libya ConservativeTalk Forum

All Talk, No Action.


The National Republican Congressional Committee TheNRCC's Channel

Local News: Budget battle continues in Sacramento: Legislature approves cuts, GOP proposal has some environmental groups worried

Budget battle continues in Sacramento: Legislature approves cuts, GOP proposal has some environmental groups worried Times-Standard
As the California Legislature continued to wrangle over budget bills Thursday, local officials were coming to terms with cuts enacted the day before.

As of the Times-Standard's deadline Thursday, little clarity was coming out of Sacramento, with proposed tax extensions, realignments of state services and the elimination of redevelopment agencies throughout the state still being hotly debated. What was clear is that cuts enacted Wednesday targeting state social services promise to have a dramatic impact on Humboldt County.

News trickling out of Republicans' negotiations with Gov. Jerry Brown regarding a compromise to get tax extensions before voters in a June special election also has some environmental groups on the North Coast concerned and some local developers keeping their fingers crossed.

Faced with a $26.6 billion deficit, the Legislature is in the midst of voting on a package of 36 bills, which, if enacted, would cut $12.5 billion in spending and put $12 billion of proposed tax and fee extensions before voters. The remaining $2 billion would be made up through a variety of internal loans, accounting maneuvers and fund shifts.

Back in Sacramento, at around 5 p.m. Thursday as the Senate passed one of the 36 budget bills on a strictly party-line vote and the Assembly was repeatedly derailed by partisan bickering and procedural arguments, Assemblyman Wesley Chesbro, D-Arcata, took a break to offer a statement to the Times-Standard.

”We have spent the last two days doing what needs to be done to save the state of California,” he said. “It is disappointing that so many of our Assembly Republican colleagues who keep saying they want to reduce the size of government are unwilling to join us in voting to make necessary cuts.”
State Assembly (Humboldt)
Wes Chesbro (D)
P.O. Box 942849
Sacramento, CA 94249-0001
Phone: (916) 319-2001
Fax: (916) 319-2101
Eureka phone: 445-7014 Fax: 445-6607
Email: assemblymember.chesbro@assembly.ca.gov
Website: http://democrats.assembly.ca.gov/members/a01/
http://lcmspubcontact.lc.ca.gov/PublicLCMS/ContactPopup.php?district=AD01& (contact via webform)
Humboldt: (Also represents Del Norte and Trinity Counties.)
710 E Street, Suite 150
Eureka, CA 95501
Tel: (707) 445-7014 Fax: (707) 445-6607
Mendocino & Lake:
311 N. State Street
Ukiah, CA 95482
Tel: (707) 463-5770 Fax: (707) 463-5773
Sonoma:
50 "D" Street, Suite 450
Santa Rosa, CA 95404
Tel: (707) 576-2526 Fax: (707) 576-2297
State Senate (Humboldt)
Noreen Evans
State Capitol Building
Room 4081
Sacramento, CA 95814
Phone: (916) 651-4002
710 E St.
Eureka, CA 95501
Eureka phone: 445-6508 Fax: 445-6511
Website: http://sd02.senate.ca.gov/
Email: senator.evans@sen.ca.gov
http://sd02.senate.ca.gov/contact (contact via webform)

Thursday, March 17, 2011

Ferndale delegate heads for Calif. Republican State Convention

Patricia Welch of Ferndale is a candidate for election at the Calif. Republican Party's secretary of the state. - Humboldt Beacon

Ferndale's Patricia Welch, immediate past chairman of the Humboldt County Republican Central Committee, will be a delegate to the California Republican Party's state convention in Sacramento March 18-20. She is a candidate for election at the convention as secretary of the state party. The county committee will send six other delegates, according to Peter Hannaford, chairman. Welch's late mother was a great-granddaughter of Joseph and Zipporah Russ of Ferndale, making her a great-great granddaughter of the pioneer family.
Also from Ferndale, Jorgen Von Frausing-Borch recently joined the Republican county committee as a member in the First District.

AN IMPORTANT MESSAGE FROM (8) FORMER CRP CHAIRMEN

Dear CRP Delegate,
This Spring CRP convention our party will face a crucial life changing decision. As delegates we can choose to adapt to the Prop. 14 world that abolished political primaries and give the CRP the power to endorse candidates or we can choose to play a passive role and not endorse.

There are two dramatically different proposals that you will decide next weekend. The Nehring proposal, in light of the harsh reality that Prop 14 has disenfranchised over 5 million Republican voters, offers to convert the CRP into a caucus system.
Over 20 states have Republican caucus systems. The California Democrat Party has operated under a caucus system for the last 10 years. We prefer a direct vote in a primary system, but that option was taken away, by existing state law. Instead of our voters choosing the nominees, the CRP will need to take that responsibility. Quite important, for the first time elected county central committee members are invited to also choose republican nominees along with CRP delegates. Only those delegates and central committee members living in the particular, congressional, senate or assembly districts can cast a vote.

Please note the CRP has already approved a caucus structure. Chairman Nehring's proposal would modify and improve the existing rules.

There is a competing proposal. Essentially stated this proposal would grant any Republican incumbent an automatic endorsement. And, under "exceptional" circumstances, Republican new comers could also nominated through a difficult process.

Certainly there are flaws with both proposals. But the fundamentals are clear. Chairman Nehring's proposal will give delegates great authority toward representing Republican voters toward helping vet good and effective Republican nominees. The other proposal essentially concedes defeat to Prop 14 and removes the CRP as an active political player....
read the rest at The Flash Report

San Francsico's rising costs

◼ In San Francisco alone: Health Service Board blamed for SF's rising costs - SFgate
There's no disputing the city's health care debt is alarming. City Controller Ben Rosenfield recently pegged the long-term amount owed by the city to every current employee and retiree at $4.36 billion. By 2033, the tab is expected to hit $9.7 billion.

The city has hardly saved anything for it, prompting Rosenfield to suggest the city prefund health care like it does its pensions, paying into a trust fund to accumulate interest. But to solve the problem, he said, the city would have to pay 15.4 percent of its salary costs - or $370 million a year - toward health care.

That doesn't include the city's pay-as-you-go health care costs, which will total $615 million for medical and dental benefits next year. Members will contribute $78.7 million.

The costs of retirees' health care is spiking faster than it is for regular employees, largely because of the charter-mandated City Plan, which costs $36,000 a year per participating family, most of which is picked up by the city....

California - $256.5 billion...

TRANSCRIPT: REMARKS BY THE PRESIDENT ON THE SITUATION IN JAPAN

REMARKS BY THE PRESIDENT ON THE SITUATION IN JAPAN
Rose Garden 3:35 P.M. EDT

THE PRESIDENT: Good afternoon, everyone. Over the last several days, the American people have been both heartbroken and deeply concerned about the developments in Japan.

We’ve seen an earthquake and tsunami render unimaginable — an unimaginable toll of death and destruction on one of our closest friends and allies in the world. And we’ve seen this powerful natural disaster cause even more catastrophe through its impact on nuclear reactors that bring peaceful energy to the people of Japan.

Today, I wanted to update the American people on what we know about the situation in Japan, what we’re doing to support American citizens and the safety of our own nuclear energy, and how we are helping the Japanese people contain the damage, recover and rebuild.

Update from Nuclear Energy Institute

UPDATE AS OF 1:30 P.M. EDT, THURSDAY, MARCH 17:

Radiation readings at the Fukushima Daiichi site boundary were measured today at a lower level, between 2 and 3 millirem per hour.

UPDATE AS OF 11:35 A.M. EDT, THURSDAY, MARCH 17:

Fukushima Daiichi
The reactors at the Fukushima Daiichi plant are in stable condition and are being cooled with seawater, but workers at the plant continue efforts to add cooling water to fuel pools at reactors 3 and 4.

The status of the reactors at the site is as follows:

U.S. Debt Jumped $72 Billion Same Day U.S. House Voted to Cut Spending $6 Billion

U.S. Debt Jumped $72 Billion Same Day U.S. House Voted to Cut Spending $6 Billion - cns news

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Legislature to vote on budget today; as pressure mounts on Republicans, local elections office stands by

Legislature to vote on budget today; as pressure mounts on Republicans, local elections office stands by - Times-Standard
The California Legislature is scheduled to vote on a budget package today as pressure on a handful of Republican lawmakers mounts from all sides.

Democrats need a total of four Republican votes -- two in each house -- to pass a budget package based on Gov. Jerry Brown's proposal and put a series of tax extensions before voters in a June special election. A group of 30 Republican legislators recently pledged to vote against putting the measures -- which would extend current increases on the state's vehicle licensing fee, income taxes and sales taxes for five years -- before voters.

That leaves 12 Republicans theoretically in play for Democrats, but only five publicly pulled up to the negotiation table with Brown. Then, late last week and again Monday, they abruptly pushed away, saying negotiations had “hit a wall.”

No one -- including North Coast representatives Sen. Noreen Evans, D-Santa Rosa, and Assemblyman Wesley Chesbro, D-Arcata -- seems sure which way today's vote will break, but what is certain is that Republicans are finding themselves between a proverbial rock and a hard place....
State Assembly (Humboldt)
Wes Chesbro (D)
P.O. Box 942849
Sacramento, CA 94249-0001
Phone: (916) 319-2001
Fax: (916) 319-2101
Eureka phone: 445-7014 Fax: 445-6607
Email: assemblymember.berg@assembly.ca.gov

State Senate (Humboldt)
Noreen Evans
State Capitol Building
Room 4081
Sacramento, CA 95814
Phone: (916) 651-4002
710 E St.
Eureka, CA 95501
Eureka phone: 445-6508 Fax: 445-6511
Email: senator.evans@sen.ca.gov

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Information from the Nuclear Energy Institute that provides updates without the hysterics of the news media

NEI, Nuclear Energy Institute
An explosion at Unit 2 of the Fukushima Daiichi plant earlier today has damaged the suppression chamber, which holds water and steam released from the reactor core. Personnel not directly supporting recovery efforts have been evacuated from the plant, with about 50 employees remaining, principally to restore cooling water in the reactors.

Later in the day, water level inside the Unit 2 reactor was measured at 1.7 meters below the top of the fuel rods, but it was rising as workers pumped sea water into the reactor, reports said.
more at the link
Fact Sheet - Used Nuclear Fuel Storage at the Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Power Plant - (Last updated 3/15/11)

This site also includes links to select news articles on the Japanese earthquake and reactors in the region. These links are being regularly updated, with the newest links on top.

And you can subscribe to ◼ NEI's Twitter Feed for up-to-date information.

Putting a radiation rumor to rest

Putting a radiation rumor to rest - Michelle Malkin
Japan is facing the very real possibility of a massive release of radiation following three explosions at the Fukushima nuclear power plant, where workers are frantically trying to cool the overheating reactors before they completely melt.
Perhaps more alarming to our readers in the United States is a map circulating on the Internet that purportedly shows the fallout from the ongoing disaster will expose the U.S. West Coast to 750 rads of radiation. The map, allegedly from the Australian Radiation Services, doesn’t say what exactly that means, but it sure sounds bad.
Fortunately, the map is a hoax, according to the real Australian Radiation Services, which has put a disclaimer on its website letting readers know it had nothing to do with the map.
One of the giveaways is that the “rad” is an outdated unit of measurement and is no longer widely used, said Joe Young, managing director for the service.
…THE RUMOR DOCTOR’S DIAGNOSIS: This map is a fake, but the situation at Fukushima is real. Still, U.S. citizens — like those in Japan — should remain calm.

Crichton on science and fear (an excerpt) - neoneocon
The full piece at michaelcrichton.net

Monday, March 14, 2011

HUMBOLDT DELEGATES HEAD FOR STATE REPUBLICAN CONVENTION

Humboldt County’s Republican Central Committee will send a delegation of seven to the California Republican Party’s state convention in Sacramento, March 18-20. The delegation includes Peter Hannaford, Eureka, chairman; Kathy Rodriguez, McKinleyville, treasurer; Joy Finley, Eureka; Sharon Pierson, Eureka; Park Bostrom, Eureka; Steve Rodriguez, McKinleyville and Patricia Welch, Ferndale, the immediate past chairman of the county committee and now a candidate for secretary of the state party.

It's Digital Nuisance Time

It's Digital Nuisance Time - Peter Hannaford/THE AMERICAN SPECTATOR on 3.14.11 @ 6:06AM

Yesterday you forgot to set the alarm clock so you had to scramble to get to church. This morning when you got in the car you realized you hadn't re-set the clock. So, next weekend you'll pull out the owner's manual and once again figure out how to do it.

Welcome to Daylight Saving Time, a.k.a. Digital Nuisance Time. In this age when nearly everything is digital, millions of Americans (not to mention folks elsewhere) must remember to set all of their timepieces ahead. A few timepieces do it themselves. Most do not. And it costs businesses untold millions to do the same with office and operating equipment.

The phenomenon has been with us off and on since World War I, when it was thought that the reduced need for electricity in the evening would save fuel for the war effort. No one was able to prove that it did. Critics said that the real reason it was adopted was that President Woodrow Wilson wanted more time in the evening to play golf.

It came back full force in World War II, lasting year-round from 1942 to 1945. In the 1960s it was used according to local laws until Congress decided to make it uniform throughout the country. Congress has been tinkering with it ever since. In 2007 it extended DST to begin the second Sunday in March (yesterday) until the first Sunday in November. The underlying theory seems to be that if a little bit is good, a lot must be better.

Several reasons are advanced for having DST, most with little evidence to support them. The very term "Daylight Saving Time" is a misnomer, since it does not "save" daylight; it only shifts it from the morning to the evening.

One reason put forth is traffic safety. A recent study by Carnegie Mellon University found that pedestrians are three times more likely to be hit by a car in the days immediately following the end of DST. This corroborates a 2001 University of Michigan survey. It found that 65 persons were killed during the week before the end of DST and 227 the week after. The answer? Do away with DST.

Another reason: Less violent crime. Government studies show that crimes where darkness is a factor occur 10 to 13 percent more in evening Standard Times than in comparable DSTs. Is this attributable to DST or to the continuing downward trend in violent crime?

Saves gasoline? The government calculates that Daylight Saving Time results in about four days' worth of reduced U.S. gasoline consumption a year.

Safer Halloween? Having more daylight for trick-or-treating children was expected to reduce the hazard of accidents with traffic. Kids didn't like it. It turns out they waited to go out until it was dark. It was more spooky that way.

Who likes it? Various surveys show many people say they do because they enjoy longer summer evenings. The surveys are asked in a way that almost always elicits that response. Evening golfers like it. Shopping mall store proprietors like it, presumably because it provides a greater incentive for customers to shop till they drop.

Who doesn't like it? People with sleep disorders. Farmers and poultry producers (Canadian Marty Notenbomer, for example, says, "The chickens do not adapt to the changed clock until several weeks have gone by."), school children (who get to wait in the dark for the school bus), businesses having to reset their automatic equipment. And don't forget China and India. Neither of them uses it and, lest we forget, China is eating our lunch in international trade and India's not far behind.

The solution to the inconvenience, dubious benefits and confusion caused by Daylight Saving Time -- Digital Nuisance Time -- is simple. Make it year around or do away with it year around. Russia's President Dmitri Medvedev, after reducing the number of his country's times zones from 11 to eight, is considering just that--DST year around or not at all.

Congress has tinkered with this for decades. It's time for them to simplify this aspect of life, period. Then they can concentrate on cutting spending and the federal deficit.
________________________________

Peter Hannaford

Peter was closely associated with the late President Ronald Reagan for a number of years, beginning in the 1970s. He was vice chairman of the Governor’s Consumer Fraud Task Force, then the governor’s sole public appointee to the Tahoe Regional Planning Agency’s governing board, then Assistant to the Governor and Director of Public Affairs in the Governor’s Office, Sacramento.

When Mr. Reagan’s second term expired, Peter and another senioir aide, Michael Deaver, founded a public affairs/public relations firm in Los Angeles (Deaver & Hannaford, Inc.) and Mr. Reagan became their lead client. They managed his public program until his election as president. In his 1976 campaign for the presidential nomination, Peter was his co-director of issues and research. In the 1980 campaign he was senior communications consultant to Mr. Reagan.

With the Reagan victory in November 1980, both men could not go into the White House. Mike Deaver did, as deputy chief of staff, while Peter continued with the company to manage it. He movedits headquarters to Washington, D.C. During the Reagan years he was involved in a number of volunteer activities including membership on the United States Information Agency’s Public Relations Advisory Committee, the board of trustees of the White House Preservation Fund, consultant to the President’s Privatization Commission and active in the President’s Private Sector Initiatives program.

After nearly three decades in Washington, Peter returned to his native state of California in 2006.
He remains a member of the board of directors of the Washington-based Committee on the Present Danger and a senior counselor of APCO Worldwide, a Washington-based public affairs/strategic communications firm. Currently, he is chairman of the Humboldt County Republican Party and lives in Eureka.

He is the author of 11 books (most of them about U.S. presidents) and a frequent contributor to opinion magazines and their online editions.

Voting "present"

On Libya and budget, President Obama votes 'present' - Michael Barone/Washington Examiner
In the Illinois legislature state Sen. Barack Obama voted "present" 129 times. Today he seems to be voting present on two major issues, Libya and the budget. National Security Adviser Tom Donilon told reporters Thursday that the United States and other nations have "taken a range of steps . . . to squeeze Gadhafi, isolate him, really turn him into a pariah."

But the steps the United States has taken may well have bolstered Gadhafi's determination to crush the rebellion against his regime.
read the rest

Entitlement reform: Obama criticizes lawmakers for not doing what he didn't do either - David Freddoso/Washington Examiner
President Obama has not exactly been a profile in courage with respect to entitlement reform. If he has any plans or any will to do anything about it, he has yet to show them. But that doesn't stop him from criticizing people who try to cut other parts of the budget:

And that’s why I think it’s going to be important for us to have a conversation after we get the short-term budget done about how do we really tackle the problem in a comprehensive way. And that means not just going after Head Start or Corporation for Public Broadcasting -- that’s not where the money is.

Even if CPB (which really doesn't need public money at all) and Head Start (a completely ineffective program) aren't where the money is, Obama completely avoided all of the areas "where the money is" when he presented his ten-year budget this year, so who is he to criticize?
read the rest

Sunday, March 13, 2011

Interactive Before & After Satellite Images

Satellite Photos of Japan, Before and After the Quake and Tsunami - nyt
Move the slider to compare satellite images, taken by GeoEye, from before and after the disaster.

An Unbelieveably Foolish NRO Editorial

An Unbelieveably Foolish NRO Editorial On Wisconsin - riehlworldview
...They simply concluded that a governor under incredible pressure finally standing up to it somewhere in America is a moderate accomplishment. No, the very moderate Christie is the one accomplishing those types of temporal changes in New Jersey. Walker, on the other hand, is governing like a genuine conservative and the fight he started and won represents serious long-term institutional change. That, not simply heated, videotaped rhetoric, is what we need in America today. Perhaps Walker should encapsulate it and post it to YouTube so that the editors at the purportedly staunchly conservative NRO might actually take notice of it....

THEY SAID IT BEST


“The centralization of power in Washington, which nearly all members of Congress deplore in their speech then support in their votes, steadily increases.“
--Calvin Coolidge, 30th President of the United States, 1931