Archives for May 2013

Remorseful Holder

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Budget Battle Over Indigent Care Funds Pits Brown vs Counties

From Capital Public Radio:

One of the biggest unresolved issues in California budget negotiations is what to do with more than $1 billion counties currently spend on health care for the poor.  Governor Jerry Brown says counties won’t need that money once the new federal health law kicks in next year.  But the counties disagree.

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Global Warming Alarmists Caught Doctoring ’97-Percent Consensus’ Claims

From Forbes:

Global warming alarmists and their allies in the liberal media have been caught doctoring the results of a widely cited paper asserting there is a 97-percent scientific consensus regarding human-caused global warming. After taking a closer look at the paper, investigative journalists report the authors’ claims of a 97-pecent consensus relied on the authors misclassifying the papers of some of the world’s most prominent global warming skeptics. At the same time, the authors deliberately presented a meaningless survey question so they could twist the responses to fit their own preconceived global warming alarmism.

Global warming alarmist John Cook, founder of the misleadingly named blog site Skeptical Science, published a paper with several other global warming alarmists claiming they reviewed nearly 12,000 abstracts of studies published in the peer-reviewed climate literature. Cook reported that he and his colleagues found that 97 percent of the papers that expressed a position on human-caused global warming “endorsed the consensus position that humans are causing global warming.”

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More gun regulations approved by California Senate

From Sac Bee:

The California Senate today approved a package of bills that tighten the state’s regulation of firearms by outlawing detachable and large capacity magazines, keeping track of people who buy ammunition and widening the category of offenders who are prohibited from owning guns for 10 years.

Senate Democrats drafted the bills in response to December’s school shooting in Newtown, Conn.

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Don’t be fooled by the false economic recovery

From The Guardian:

After five years of unemployment, government deficits and financial struggle, every American wants to call it a recovery and call it a day. That’s why some optimistic economic data this week seem to have messianic importance, in the ever-optimistic belief that higher consumer confidence and rising home prices will deliver us from economic evil.

But if evil has one power, it is the power of illusion, to mask reality. And, in this case, that is also the power of the positive economic data.

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Sessions: Ten-year scoring of Senate immigration reform bill inadequate

From the Hill:

Sen. Jeff Sessions (Ala.), the ranking Republican on the Senate Budget Committee, has urged the Congressional Budget Office (CBO) to consider the costs of immigration reform beyond the next decade.

Sessions is concerned the CBO will dramatically underestimate the costs of comprehensive immigration reform by only projecting its costs over the next decade.

He argues that the biggest costs will kick in after the 10-year window typically used in CBO cost analyses.

“It is crucial that your fiscal and economic projections extend well beyond the current 10-year budget window,” Sessions wrote in a letter to CBO Director Doug Elmendorf.
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Morning Bell: Q&A on Scandals and Eric Holder


From the Foundry:

Attorney General Eric Holder is head of the Department of Justice—in charge of enforcing the nation’s laws. So what happens when the head law enforcer gets caught up in questionable conduct?


The Obama Administration is under scrutiny for the scandals of the IRS targeting conservative groups and the Justice Department investigating journalists, and Holder’s role is the focus of a lot of speculation. We sat down with Heritage senior legal fellow Hans von Spakovsky to get some context.


A number of news organizations including the Associated Press, CNN, and The New York Times just refused to meet with Eric Holder “off the record” about guidelines for investigating journalists. Have we even begun to get to the bottom of this?

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So, Where’s the Prop. 30 Money For Education?

While Governor Jerry Brown and his fellow Democrats are arguing about a new funding formula for dividing up some school dollars, parents like me are still scratching our heads over why, despite the passage of the temporary-tax initiative Proposition 30 last fall, so little has changed in our schools.

brown prop 30 california budgetFor all the spin on how Prop. 30 was supposed to rescue our schools, the reality has been less sunny. Between the 2007-2008 school year and today, California’s K-12 school budgets lost $7 billion, or 10 percent, of their total revenues, according to EdSource. Prop. 30 doesn’t reverse that. At best, the money raised by Prop. 30 is just enough to keep schools where they are: gutted.

Just two years before Prop. 30, I worked with our local education foundation in my San Gabriel Valley town to save two educators and our award-winning elementary music education program from elimination. The next year, we were asked to save those music teachers again—and to save our (also) award-winning elementary physical education program and to protect the jobs of our media staff so that our school libraries and computer labs could remain open.

We couldn’t raise enough money to do it, so we lost our district’s sole elementary P.E. teacher, who, because of previous cuts, was already shared between four schools.

If there is anything we’ve learned, it’s that once something disappears from school budgets, it doesn’t come back. Even when money is restored, the people you couldn’t afford to pay—the people who make things work, and work well—move on to other jobs.

Since Prop. 30 was approved seven months ago, my children have had three different temporary replacements for that P.E. teacher, each of whom has left our district for a better deal elsewhere. Our P.E. classes swelled from 50 children to 200, with aides shouting at the students through megaphones. One parent told me that our P.E. classes reminded him of a prison lot. Prop. 30 hasn’t changed that.

State policymakers paint a brighter picture. The California Legislative Analyst’s Office recently projected a 24 percent increase in school funding over the next five years. But, again, that allows us to do little more than stay in place. In the past five years, California laid off 32,000 teachers, 11 percent of the teacher workforce, statewide. We have a long way to go to get back to where we were, and I have yet to hear about any hiring.

Prop. 30 was not the fiscal cure for all that ails the schools. Think of it instead as an emergency blood transfusion. Perhaps it will give the public schools enough fiscal strength to get back on their feet eventually, but I wonder how.

Meanwhile, parents, educators, and students should catch our collective breath and prepare for the next battle. Because once people start to think that the schools are flush, they’ll say our students don’t really need all that money, and we’ll have to start defending a status quo that’s already unacceptable. So rather than rejoice in budget projections that may never materialize, let’s rest up and plan for how to bring some improvements that we can see, hear, and feel in our classrooms and schoolyards.

(Kim Tso is the former president of the Temple City Schools Foundation. This article was posted first at Zocalo Public Square. Retrieved from CityWatch.)

Powerful CA Unions Push ‘Fair Share Health Care’

healthcare obamacareLabor unions are on the attack and using the legislative process to take down Walmart and other non-union businesses using the Affordable Care Act, also called Obamacare

A bill aimed at forcing large non-union businesses to cover the health care costs of all employees, regardless of employees’ part-time status, is making its way through the Legislature.

United power

Democrats claim Walmart and other large, “low-wage employers” are avoiding the Obamacare law by keeping wages low, and workers’ hours to a minimum, so workers qualify for Medi-Cal, the state’s subsidized health care system for the poor and those with low incomes.

Obamacare already includes a provision to fine large employers if their full-time employees are forced to purchase a health plan on the new state health insurance exchange. That’s because the employees already are ineligible for Medi-Cal, or do not have employer-based coverage.

Labor unions justify their claims against Walmart because the über-retailer pays its executives millions in salaries each year, so there is no reason the company should get away with shifting its employee health care costs onto taxpayers.

The big penalty

The “Walmart loophole” bill, AB 880, by Assemblyman Jimmy Gomez, D-Los Angeles, seeks to make it illegal for a large employer to reduce worker hours below 30 a week to avoid Obamacare fines and penalties.

AB 880 would require large employers to “pay their fair share when they dump workers onto Medi-Cal by cutting hours or wages in order to circumvent their responsibilities under the Affordable Care Act,” according to Gomez.

The law, classified as a “job-killer” by the California Chamber of Commerce, would also penalize employers whose wages are too low to keep employees off of Medi-Cal.

AB 880′s penalty is written purposely vague with the intent of being very painful to private-sector business. The proposed penalty on employers is based on 110 percent of the average cost of health care coverage. This includes both the employers’ and employee’s share of the premium.

Based on conservative estimates, the employer penalty will average more than $6,000 per employee. According to the Kaiser Family Foundation, that is more than three times the federal penalty for not providing healthcare to an employee under the Affordable Care Act.

The motive

The real problem is that Walmart, a non-union company, provides jobs to people Democrats would prefer to see dependent on the government and on welfare.

But even low-wage jobs pay the bills for millions of Americans.

While the stated goal of AB 880 is to prod large businesses to offer health insurance by fining them more than the average cost of providing coverage, the money raised by AB 880 is meant to increase Medi-Cal provider rates, and to subsidize state costs for it.

In a sneaky provision in the bill, the proposed law also exempts the government as an employer. The bill says, “Large employer’ shall not include a state, city, county, city and county, district or any other governmental employer. … An employer responsibility penalty shall not be incurred by a state, county, city, city and county, district, or any other governmental entity.”

Pay your fair share, or else…

At the heart of the Affordable Care Act is the idealistic notion of “shared responsibility” between employers, employees and the government, contributing to a stable, affordable health care system for all.

This might have been possible 50 years ago before states and the federal government began heavily regulating insurance companies into submission.

I can already see tomorrow’s headlines: “Walmart forces Obamacare to turn to single payer system.”

“Single-payer” is a term used to describe a type of financing system in health care. A single-payer system would be setup such that the government would collect all health care fees, and pay out all health care costs.

A single-payer system was the original intent of Obamacare. In that vein, California’s Democratic politicians have embraced early implementation of Obamacare before any of the other states.

The way to get to a single-payer system is to force employers to pay the health insurance for all employees — part time and full time. When employers balk at this, single-payer will be ushered in.

Google search of “Walmart” and “Obamacare” finds hundreds of stories blasting the evil super-retailer for providing low-paying jobs without benefits.  Democratic lawmakers claim large employers are trying to game the system merely because Walmart wants to retain the option of staffing with part-time workers.

“Fair share health care”

Sponsored by the California Labor Federation and the United Food and Commercial Workers, two of the largest, most aggressive labor unions in the state, the bill aims to force large non-union businesses to cover all employees, regardless of employees’ part-time status.

The labor union-run campaign, called “Fair share health care,” has collected nearly 12,000 petition signatures. The campaign is busing in large groups of union members to the Capitol all week to swarm legislative offices.

The Affordable Care Act already allows businesses of 50 employees or more to be penalized if their full-time workers are forced to buy health insurance from a new state exchange because the workers are neither covered by an employer plan nor eligible for Medi-Cal. But that’s not enough of a disincentive.

I was the Human Resource manager for 20 years with a large manufacturing company. We had many entry-level, minimum wage positions, and used part-time employees whenever possible, depending on the production needs of the company.

The company provided health benefits to all eligible full-time workers. But many of the lower paid full-time workers declined the company-provided insurance and instead signed up for Medi-Cal. There was nothing we could do about this.

The federal government and individual states meddled so long in insurance regulation, they drove the best health care system in the world to the brink of disaster. And instead of getting out of the way to allow for a free-market correction, President Barack Obama and the Democratic Congress of 2010 made an unholy deal with the health care industry in a fateful story of the ugliest form of crony capitalism.

Now states are either embracing Obamacare, or rejecting it. California lawmakers love it.

(Katy Grimes is a longtime political analyst, writer and journalist, and CalWatchdog’s news reporter. Originally posted on CalWatchdog.)

Ted Cruz: Holder Should Resign “This DOJ Has Shown a Willingness to Disregard the Law”