Feds Spend $333,210 Studying Bars Along Mexico Border

In the past the National Institute of Health had spent millions on studies such as “Why can’t fat girls get dates,” or “why do San Francisco prostitutes use drugs”, or my favorite, “The sex lives of pandas in China”.  Add to these payoffs to Leftists academics (these are not serious studies, just a way to transfer money to academics to support the totalitarian State.)

“The National Institutes of Health is spending over $300,000 to study bars along the U.S.-Mexico border.

The Pacific Institute for Research and Evaluation is heading the project. Among the study’s aims are to examine whether bars in border towns like Mexicali have “more dancing” and “louder music.”

The study, “Mexican American Drinking Contexts On and Away From the U.S.-Mexico Border,” involves researchers going into bars for “unobtrusive systematic observations.”

Instead of spending the money on the arrests of illegal aliens, or their deportation, the U.S. taxpayer is financing a study of the bars along the Mexican border.  Think this will help your kids in school, or fix the freeways or streets.  Total payoff to th academic class.

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Feds Spend $333,210 Studying Bars Along Mexico Border

Study asks if there is ‘more dancing, louder music’ in border towns

BY: Elizabeth Harrington, Washington Free Beacon,  5/18/18
The National Institutes of Health is spending over $300,000 to study bars along the U.S.-Mexico border.

The Pacific Institute for Research and Evaluation is heading the project. Among the study’s aims are to examine whether bars in border towns like Mexicali have “more dancing” and “louder music.”

The study, “Mexican American Drinking Contexts On and Away From the U.S.-Mexico Border,” involves researchers going into bars for “unobtrusive systematic observations.”

“The U.S./Mexico border is a unique macro context for drinking, with increased alcohol availability due to the lower minimum legal drinking age in Mexico of 18 years and an increased number of venues for on premise consumption of alcohol (bars, clubs, restaurants),” according to the grant for the project. “Previous research has shown that the border population is more at risk for unsafe drinking (binge) and drinking-related problems than the population off the border.”

“Mexican Americans are uniquely exposed to this macro environment by virtue of their location in large numbers in cities on the U.S./Mexico border,” the grant states.

The study will analyze Mexican Americans aged 18 to 39 who live in border cities between Mexico and California, including Imperial City, El Centro, Heber, and Calexico.

One of the specific aims of the study is to show that younger Mexican Americans living along the border are “more likely” to go to bars and clubs than “Whites in Valley cities.”

The researchers believe bars on the Mexican side of the border will have “riskier operating conditions,” such as “more patrons,” “more dancing,” and “louder music.”

“Unobtrusive systematic observations and semi-structured interviews will be conducted in selected bars in the border cities, in the Valley cities and in Mexicali,” the grant states. “It is expected that commercial drinking venues in the Mexican border town of Mexicali, BC (across the border from the selected study cities on the U.S. side), will have riskier operating conditions (e.g., more patrons, more dancing, louder music) as well as lower priced alcohol and later closing times compared to venues in the U.S. border towns and Central Valley towns.”

The study has received $333,210 from taxpayers.

 

Prop 68: A Yes Vote is a Reward for Bad Behavior

What does Congressman Tom McClintock think about this expensive boondoggle?  “Prop. 68 – Fool me once, shame on you: NO.  This adds about $400 of new debt onto your family’s tab, that you’ll repay in future taxes plus interest.  It promises to be used to prepare for droughts.  Remember the $5 billion that was supposed to be used on new reservoirs a few years ago?  It wasn’t.  The best way to prepare for droughts is to store water from wet years so that we have it in dry ones.  This wastes another $4.1 billion doing anything but that. “

Do you trust the Confederate State of California to spend the money as they claim they will?  Hint:  In the past they have not, they have abused the voters and taxpayers.  Time to stop the abuse—NO on 68.

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Prop 68: A Yes Vote is a Reward for Bad Behavior

Jack Humphreville, City Watch LA,  5/17/18

LA WATCHDOG–While the State of California is rolling in the dough with an $8 billion surplus as a result of increases in the State Budget to $200 billion, the spendthrift politicians in Sacramento are asking us to approve a $4.1 billion ballot measure that will help the State “protect our water, parks, and natural resources” from the impact of “severe droughts, wildfires, and climate change.”

Their efforts are backed by the usual suspects who love to wine and dine at our expense: the political establishment, the business community, the public-sector unions, the construction industry, the trade unions, and the environmentalists. They are also spending a fortune to “educate” us on the merits of this pork laden bond measure.

Unfortunately, the cost of this bond measure will double to $8 billion when you factor in the interest and underwriting expenses we will pay to Wall Street investors, traders, and investment bankers.  As a result, California taxpayers will be spending between $250 and $300 million a year for the next thirty (30) years.

A more prudent alternative is to develop a plan to fund these projects over an eight-year period.  This is not that much longer than it would take to spend the proceeds from the bond offerings.  This pay-as-you-go plan would result in payments of $500 million a year, representing a mere 0.25% of the State’s $200 billion budget.  This plan eliminates the payment of $4 billion to Wall Street investors, a substantial savings that may be used for other pressing needs such as the repair of our highways, affordable housing, housing for the homeless, and funding of the State’s pension plans.

While we know that this bond measure is loaded with pork as a result of all the log rolling in Sacramento that was necessary to get the two thirds vote to place this proposition on the ballot, it is impossible to determine what is or is not pork when reading this 15,000-word, incomprehensible proposition.  It is reminiscent of the response of the marketing director of a large consumer products company when asked about the company’s advertising budget, “Half the money I spend on advertising is wasted, the trouble is I don’t know which half.”

By eliminating the pork and pet projects, the State will be able to reduce its need for funds, resulting in additional savings.

An undetermined portion of the proceeds from the bond measure will be used to pay for deferred maintenance.  But the repair and maintenance of our infrastructure is the responsibility of the budget, not future generations of Californians who will have to pay off the bonds over the next thirty years.

The bond measure does not require that new projects be maintained.  And knowing the State’s past practice, this will not be the case. Once again, the State will be dumping today’s obligations on the next generations of Californians.

This ballot measure is nothing but a blank check for the Sacramento political establishment.  It will allow these self-serving politicians to allocate the bond proceeds to their pet projects in a less than transparent manner because the bonds do not provide for rigorous independent oversight.

Do you trust our Elected Elite in Sacramento to act in our best interests?  Just remember, these are the same people who are responsible for the not so High-Speed Rail and who thumbed their noses at the covenants in the $9 billion HSR bond measure.

Vote NO on Proposition 68 and save Californians billions.

(Jack Humphreville writes LA Watchdog for CityWatch. He is the President of the DWP Advocacy Committee and is the Budget and DWP representative for the Greater Wilshire Neighborhood Council.  He is a Neighborhood Council Budget Advocat

 

Sand: Teachers Aren’t Victims

People have choices.  They can become accountants, writers, police officers, attorney and teachers.  In America, no one forces you into a job.  You would hope that before you determined a career path, you would investigate the good and the bad.  In the case of teachers, they are training the next generation, you would expect these folks would know what they are facing.  Instead, the unions are now claiming that teachers are “victims”.  If they are, please show me one that was forced into the job, just one.

“Teachers aren’t just well compensated; they’re also more numerous than ever before, especially in proportion to their students. Researcher and economics professor Benjamin Scafidi found that, between 1950 and 2015, the number of teachers increased about 2.5 times faster than the number of students, and hiring of other education employees—administrators, teacher aides, counselors, social workers—rose more than seven times faster than the increase in students. Despite the staffing surge, students’ academic achievement has stagnated or fallen during that time. Scafidi suggests that, had non-teaching personnel growth been in line with student population growth, and the teaching force risen “only” 1.5 times as fast as student growth, U.S. schools would have had an additional $37.2 billion to spend annually. With that windfall, he suggests, we could have raised every public school teacher’s salary by more than $11,700 per year, given poor families more than $2,600 in cash per child to attend private schools of their parents’ choice, and more than doubled taxpayer funding for early-childhood education.

Why so many teachers?  The unions need the money.  The more teachers, the more extorted dues taken from their paychecks.  Of course, that is expected to end in about thirty days with the Janus decision. At that point teachers become professionals instead of agents of a union.  That is good for the children and community.

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Teachers Aren’t Victims

Unions defend recent strikes, but voters should look at the facts on pay and benefits and make up their own minds.

 

Larry Sand, City Journal, 5/14/18

In a USA Today op-ed last month, American Federation of Teachers president Randi Weingarten defended the teachers’ strikes in West Virginia, Oklahoma, Kentucky, Arizona, and Colorado, by sketching a familiar hero-villain scenario. “Teachers are standing up for their students and themselves against largely red states with weak labor laws and where governors and legislators have opted for tax cuts for the wealthy instead of investments for children,” she wrote. Pointing to the Janus v. AFSCME Supreme Court case, which she portrayed as a right-wing ploy to “get public sector unions out of politics,” Weingarten proclaimed, “Teachers’ voices—and their votes—are powerful, and educators have parents and communities supporting them.”

Some voters may be persuaded by the argument that teachers are picketing for more money “for children,” but they would be better off looking at some basic facts. While teachers in some cases are underpaid and certain school districts underfunded, teachers on the whole, according to researcher James Agresti, get paid much better than commonly acknowledged. For the 2016–2017 school year, the average salary of full-time public school teachers was $58,950. That figure excludes benefits such as health insurance, paid leave, and pensions, which, according to the U.S. Department of Labor, make up an average of 33 percent of total compensation for public school teachers. When benefits get added in, teachers’ average annual compensation jumps to $87,854. And even that amount doesn’t include unfunded pension liabilities and certain post-employment benefits like health insurance, not measured by the Labor Department. Private-industry employees work an average of 37 percent more hours per year than public school teachers, including the time that teachers spend for lesson preparation, grading, and other activities. “Unlike less rigorous studies, this data from the DOL is based on detailed records of work hours instead of subjective estimates about how long people think they work,” Agresti adds.

Teachers aren’t just well compensated; they’re also more numerous than ever before, especially in proportion to their students. Researcher and economics professor Benjamin Scafidi found that, between 1950 and 2015, the number of teachers increased about 2.5 times faster than the number of students, and hiring of other education employees—administrators, teacher aides, counselors, social workers—rose more than seven times faster than the increase in students. Despite the staffing surge, students’ academic achievement has stagnated or fallen during that time. Scafidi suggests that, had non-teaching personnel growth been in line with student population growth, and the teaching force risen “only” 1.5 times as fast as student growth, U.S. schools would have had an additional $37.2 billion to spend annually. With that windfall, he suggests, we could have raised every public school teacher’s salary by more than $11,700 per year, given poor families more than $2,600 in cash per child to attend private schools of their parents’ choice, and more than doubled taxpayer funding for early-childhood education.

It’s no secret that lavish teacher pensions are eating up money that should be spent on students. Robert Costrell, a finance expert at the University of Arkansas, found that 10.6 percent of all education spending goes toward teacher-retirement benefits—more than double the proportion spent on pensions in 2004. “As a percentage of their total compensation package, teacher retirement benefits eat up twice as much as other workers,” Bellwether Education Partners policy analyst Chad Alderman explains. Teachers—including bad teachers—have a powerful incentive to stay on in their jobs, since they automatically earn more just by showing up each fall, regardless of how effective they are. Pension benefits start accruing later in a teacher’s career, so younger teachers are helping to prop up pensions for lifers, with little to show for it; if a teacher leaves the field early, he gets no pension at all.

States typically administer teacher pensions, but health-care benefits frequently vary according to the local school district. While some districts cut teachers’ health benefits off when Medicare kicks in, others, such as the Los Angeles Unified School District, are much more generous. LAUSD provides the same expansive health coverage for retirees (and their spouses) as it does for current employees; neither group pays a premium for its insurance. The district recently announced that the unfunded liability for retiree health benefits has risen to $15.2 billion, up from a reported $13.5 billion in 2016, which translates to a cost of $525 per student.

Come November, the teachers’ unions and their unhappy members will be taking their case to the voters. Taxpayers need to look at the facts underneath the teachers-as-victims rhetoric and vote for fiscal sanity.

Larry Sand, a retired teacher, is president of the California Teachers Empowerment Network and a contributor to City Journal’s book, The Beholden State: California’s Lost Promise and How to Recapture It.

Price Pump to move Sonoma manufacturing business to Idaho

In Syria, people are leaving and becoming political refugees because of the physical threat by government.  In the Confederate State of California, folks are leaving due to the economic threat to jobs and families.

“It’s the end of an era. Price Pump has grown and thrived in Sonoma for 70 years. But before the end of this year, the manufacturer of high-tech pumps will pull up stakes and move its headquarters – lock, stock and pump – to Boise, Idaho.

“It has simply become too difficult and too costly to run a manufacturing business in Sonoma Valley,” said Price Pump President Bob Piazza.

“To pick up and move is traumatic,” he acknowledged. “Some of our employees have worked here for 45 years.

This is just one story—but EVERY reader knows of someone that has left the State or about to leave the State.  We have created as many refugees as Syria or other totalitarian State—with more to come.

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Price Pump to move Sonoma manufacturing business to Idaho

LORNA SHERIDAN, North Bay Business Journal,  5/2/18

 

It’s the end of an era. Price Pump has grown and thrived in Sonoma for 70 years. But before the end of this year, the manufacturer of high-tech pumps will pull up stakes and move its headquarters – lock, stock and pump – to Boise, Idaho.

“It has simply become too difficult and too costly to run a manufacturing business in Sonoma Valley,” said Price Pump President Bob Piazza.

“To pick up and move is traumatic,” he acknowledged. “Some of our employees have worked here for 45 years.

Piazza, 74, shares the emotions of his employees. He has lived in California his whole life and he will also move with his wife of 53 years to Idaho.

“I don’t love change,” he said, “But the way things are going, we don’t have a choice.”

Price Pump was founded in 1932 by E. L. Price in Emeryville. During the 1930s and 1940s its focus was on the manufacture of agricultural pumps. The company relocated to Sonoma in 1948. Jack Price, the son of E.L Price, headed the firm during the 1950s. When Leon J. Paul acquired Price Pump in 1962, he retained the Price brand name because it had a good reputation in the business.

By 1979, Price Pump Company had outgrown its 3,600-square-foot rented space on Fourth Street East and moved to a 10,000-square-foot facility on Eighth Street East. In 1989, the company constructed a 32,000-square-foot facility two miles further down Eighth Street East at 1 Pump Way, where it still operates today. For now.

In 1992, Piazza was recruited to head up the company, bringing with him 24 years of pump experience in marketing, operations, engineering and sales.

So, why Boise?

Piazza is one of three shareholders who own the business, and one of his partners is based in Boise, a location that offers a much lower cost of doing business.

Piazza said that employee reaction to the move, including his own, has gone through stages.

“First it was shock… then everybody started getting interested in learning more about Boise,” he said. “Those that haven’t decided or aren’t moving are pretty quiet… and are thinking about the future here.”

For Quality Assurance Technician Ryan Daley, the news felt like déjà vu.

“When the news broke during a meeting, I was shocked that this is happening to me again,” he said. “I had lost a good job in Sonoma around 2007 due to a manufacturer moving outside of the state”

Piazza offered all employees an all-expenses paid trip with their families to Boise to see the area. A dozen employees have taken him up on the offer and the vast majority came back excited to move.

Daley and his wife visited Boise and the surrounding areas in March.

“We both agreed that the Boise area would be a fantastic place to raise our young family and keep the American dream alive,” he said. “Our quality of life will improve. We will surely miss the beauty, community, friends and mostly family here in Sonoma. I have lived most of my four decades in the Sonoma Valley, but my wife and I are ready for a new adventure.”

Piazza said it turned out to be hard to predict who would be excited to move and who wouldn’t.

One of his employees is 66 years old and has never worked anyplace other than Price Pump.

“When he said he would move with us, I was surprised,” said Piazza. “But he explained to me that he had planned to work until 70 and it would be hard to get a different job now, but even more… he realized that when he ran the numbers, he wouldn’t even be able to retire in Sonoma at 70.”

Another employee lost his house during the 2009 recession and he’s moving because, he told Piazza, it will be give him a chance to be a homeowner again.

“He gets to keep the same pay, move someplace less expensive and he’ll get a moving allowance and be able to buy a house,” said Piazza.

Piazza’s employees have been pleased to find that they can buy a house in the Boise area that is comparable to their home in Sonoma for less half the cost.

For those who aren’t moving, Piazza has offered a 10 percent bonus to stay on until the end. He has reached out to both Nelson Staffing and Bolt Staffing to help those employees with next steps.

“One company has already reached out to us and they’re interested in hiring all of them,” he said.

Piazza’s long litany of complaints about the business climate in Sonoma center around hiring, the cost of living in California, taxation and labor laws. He has been getting more and more frustrated with “over-regulation” by the county and state government.

“Over the last few years, I found that I can’t ignore all the good reasons to move any longer,” he said. “We’re certainly not the only local manufacturing company that has fled the area.

“Our competitors are now based in Tennessee, Georgia, Louisiana and overseas,” he said. “Large corporations don’t want to do business here.”

He cited the example of a dishwasher manufacturing company. Stero, that was located for years on the corner of Frates Road and Highway 116 in Petaluma.

“They sold to ITW (Illinois Tool Works) and immediately moved the company to Pennsylvania and sold the building,” he said.

“I knew that I would either need to move the business or sell it,” said Piazza. “If I sold, I realized the new owners would face the same challenges and they also end up moving the business and selling the building.”

He said that paying entry level workers, even high school students in summer jobs, at least $15 an hour is a challenge. While Price Pump is outside the city limits, Piazza needs to match offers being made for jobs inside the city limits.

Meanwhile, he agrees that even $15 isn’t a living wage in Sonoma.

“It’s impossible to hire here as workers can’t afford to live here,” he said.

Price Pump owns its building at 21775 Eighth St. E., and it will go up for sale later this year. Piazza feels confident it will sell quickly.

“We’ve already heard from three folks who are interested,” he said. “Properties on Eighth Street East are at a premium and there isn’t much available like this.”

Piazza was recently invited to speak to the Sonoma County Taxpayers Association about the Price Pump move.

The theme of Piazza’s remarks?

“The government has all these progressive ideas but those measures have consequences… and the consequence here is us moving to Idaho,” he said.

 

New Data Show California Kids’ Math Achievement Took A Nosedive After Common Core

Common Core was never meant to help students—it was a Leftist effort to dumb down education.  Remember, Congress never approved it, no hearings or pilot programs.  President Obama mandated it to the States and Districts by blackmailing them to use the system, or Federal tax dollars will stop.  Now we have a generation of kids ill prepared for the world or college—so colleges will be dumbed down.

““[I]n the four years under Common Core, the number of eighth graders taking Algebra I in California dropped precipitously to 19 percent in 2017, taking California back to where it was around 1999, when early algebra taking was the privilege of the elite. And while all demographic groups lost ground, the loss for Latino and African American students was much deeper than for white and Asian Americans,” write Wurman and Evers, who both vainly voted against California adopting Common Core on a state commission. The graph below shows the deeper damage to minority students in more detail.

While the highest-achieving nations make eighth-grade algebra the default, in the United States it has been more typical for students to take algebra in ninth grade. Common Core also pins the bulk of an algebra course to ninth grade, but its supporters still promised the nation their force-fed sandwich of curriculum mandates and federally required tests would boost student achievement to match that of international peers. Yet they did this not by actually raising the bar for what students would learn in states like California, but redefining success and taking away the public’s ability to measure it.”

This explains why the State do not audit the results of Common Core.   If they did, they would know it was a massive failure.  Obama, Zuckerberg, Gates  and the Sanders Left have abused a generation of students—but there is no law against educational abuse.

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New Data Show California Kids’ Math Achievement Took A Nosedive After Common Core

By 2014, California was the top state in eighth-grade algebra enrollment. Common Core erased all those gains almost immediately, shows a new Hoover Institution analysis.

 

By Joy Pullmann, The Federalist,  5/16/18

 

Before Common Core came along, California parents, faculty, and officials spent years developing some of the best-ranked K-12 math requirements in the nation. One result of their careful work was more than tripling the number of eighth graders who ranked proficient in math, and quadrupling the number of eighth graders taking algebra.

By 2014, California was the top state in the nation in eighth-grade algebra enrollment. That was the year Common Core went into place. It erased all those gains almost immediately, shows a new Hoover Institution analysis.

The shocking graphs in the study by Bill Evers and Ze’ev Wurman tell the whole story in one glance. Here’s one. For reference, the Obama administration pushed states into Common Core in 2010, but it started phasing into schools at the earliest in 2013, and more in earnest in 2014 and 2015. That’s right when all the achievement jumps off a cliff.

“[I]n the four years under Common Core, the number of eighth graders taking Algebra I in California dropped precipitously to 19 percent in 2017, taking California back to where it was around 1999, when early algebra taking was the privilege of the elite. And while all demographic groups lost ground, the loss for Latino and African American students was much deeper than for white and Asian Americans,” write Wurman and Evers, who both vainly voted against California adopting Common Core on a state commission. The graph below shows the deeper damage to minority students in more detail.

While the highest-achieving nations make eighth-grade algebra the default, in the United States it has been more typical for students to take algebra in ninth grade. Common Core also pins the bulk of an algebra course to ninth grade, but its supporters still promised the nation their force-fed sandwich of curriculum mandates and federally required tests would boost student achievement to match that of international peers. Yet they did this not by actually raising the bar for what students would learn in states like California, but redefining success and taking away the public’s ability to measure it.

Here’s how. To improve their ability to compete for federal education grants during the Great Recession, states had to get their university systems to agree to not remediate students who passed Common Core exams. This is how Common Core deceptively achieved its public promise of getting all students “college and career-ready.” State higher education systems simply agreed to allow Common Core to define what constitutes college-ready. Take out definition, insert Common Core. Presto.

One problem with that: Common Core does not require enough math for students to actually be ready for college-level classes, especially for those who intend to major in math-related fields. In order for all students to actually be able to meet Common Core’s standards, those standards had to be set at a level that most everyone can achieve without major genuine curricular improvement. In other words, low.

“Common Core defines college readiness below what have traditionally been the prerequisites for essentially all state colleges across the nation—the completion of Geometry and Algebra II courses. Instead, Common Core puts the readiness level at about half of the traditional Geometry and Algebra II content, suitable at best for community colleges,” Evers and Wurman write.

“Since remedial classes are gone this Fall, unprepared students will be placed in specially-designed credit courses—often called corequisite or stretch classes…” In other words, students who cannot do college-level work will nonetheless be told they are doing college-level work and given college credit for explicitly non-college-level work. Kafka, call your office.

In an extremely convenient move that just happens to cover up this deception, at least for a while, like nearly all states California abruptly ended its pre-Common Core tests, plus its end of course exams for classes like algebra and geometry. That means there is no measuring stick by which to equally compare pre-Common Core and post-Common Core tests. They simply stopped the non-Common Core tests one year and started up the Common Core tests the next, with no continuity between the two by which to gauge how Common Core compares to California’s previous high standards.

This is how to explain the graph below, which magically shows that the number of so-called “college-ready” high school graduates doubled overnight. It didn’t. California just dropped the bar and kept the label.

“California has lost much of its ability to monitor students’ progress in high school because of the loss of End-of-Course tests,” say Evers and Wurman. “Since 2014, we have been flying blind” — in California and across the nation. As a rough substitute for having this data, Evers and Wurman examine math achievement in advanced classes, which has also gone south.

Common Core critics warned of all this beforehand and directly after during a wave of parent and teacher opposition once the public was allowed to learn what was going on: the lack of data by which to robustly evaluate how Common Core affects kids, the degradation of math instruction in a country already known for poor math instruction, the especially damaging effects on the most vulnerable kids, the lying to parents, students, and taxpayers about the quality of the classes their kids are taking and we’re all paying for.

We were ignored and belittled, not just by Democrats but by Republicans, in statehouse after statehouse after statehouse. They called us crazy tinfoil hatters and preferred to believe the slick PowerPoints of overcredentialed and underproven “experts” selling snake oil for personal gain. Vindication like this is not what any of us wanted. What we wanted, and still want, is for American kids to stop being used as props for cynical, exploitative politics that destroy their futures. Is anyone going to listen when the next Common Core-style juggernaut rolls around? I’m afraid I really don’t think so.

Joy Pullmann is executive editor of The Federalist and author of “The Education Invasion: How Common Core Fights Parents for Control of American Kids,” out from Encounter Books in 2017

Report: Republicans Stacking Courts With Unqualified Conservatives

To the Democrats anyone that is a judge that uses the Constitution to determine decisions is unqualified.  They prefer the sensitive, “living” Constitution, that changes with the headlines of the day and the political winds of the era.  So, it is no surprise that the Left is upset Trump is appointing Judges that take their oath of office seriously—and abide by the Constitution.  The Leftists on the Court make it up as they go along.

“The 61-page report titled “Review of Republican Efforts to Stack the Federal Courts” details both the pace and volume of the nomination and confirmation process, as well as the obstruction and filibustering of President Barack Obama nominees that afforded Trump the opportunity to shift the balance of federal courts.

“President Trump entered office with 112 judicial vacancies, compared to just 53 vacancies when President Obama entered office,” the report states. “To fill these vacancies and change the nature of the federal judiciary for decades, President Trump and Senate Republicans have been rushing nominees through the Senate at a breakneck pace by changing the process for consideration and eliminating traditions that had been followed for over a century.”

In eight years, Trump will have a vast majority on the nation’s courts—and possibly three members of the Supreme Court.  This could be the way back to legitimate government—the courts using the Rule of Law and the Constitution, not the latest political fad, to make decisions.

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Report: Republicans Stacking Courts With Unqualified Conservatives

MATTHEW RENDA, Courthousenews,  5/11/18

(CN) – Democrats on the Senate Judiciary Committee released a report Friday accusing their Republican colleagues of conspiring with President Donald Trump to reshape the federal judiciary by appointing judges whose only qualifications are youth and conservative ideology.

“President Trump and Senate Republicans are stacking our courts at record-breaking speed,” said Senator Dianne Feinstein, the ranking Democrat on the committee and one of several signatories on the report. “Nominees have been largely controversial and incredibly young, allowing them to shape our courts for generations.”

The 61-page report titled “Review of Republican Efforts to Stack the Federal Courts” details both the pace and volume of the nomination and confirmation process, as well as the obstruction and filibustering of President Barack Obama nominees that afforded Trump the opportunity to shift the balance of federal courts.

“President Trump entered office with 112 judicial vacancies, compared to just 53 vacancies when President Obama entered office,” the report states. “To fill these vacancies and change the nature of the federal judiciary for decades, President Trump and Senate Republicans have been rushing nominees through the Senate at a breakneck pace by changing the process for consideration and eliminating traditions that had been followed for over a century.”

The “blue slip” tradition referred to in the report is an unwritten rule in the Senate process, honored by both parties for decades, meant to simultaneously preserve a more bipartisan approach to the judicial nomination process and make sure both home-state senators approve of judicial nominees.

The tradition is named after a blue form that is given to the two home-state senators asking for their assessment of the nominee. If the senator has no objection, the blue slip is returned to the committee chairman with a positive response. If they don’t approve of the nominee, the blue form is withheld or returned with a negative response.

Friday’s report says Republicans used blue slips to block 18 Obama court nominees, including six nominees for federal appeals courts, which rank just below the U.S. Supreme Court and have a huge hand in determining some of the most important matters of law in the nation. 

After Trump was elected, Senator Charles Grassley, the ranking Republican on the Senate Judiciary Committee, eschewed the blue-slip tradition, according to the report.

Michael Brennan was confirmed to the Seventh Circuit on Thursday over the objection of Tammy Baldwin, the home-state senator from Wisconsin. Similarly, Ryan Bounds was nominated to fill a vacancy on the Ninth Circuit over the objections of Ron Wyden and Jeff Merkley, Democratic senators from Oregon.

But Feinstein and the other Democrats who signed the report are equally irate about Republicans scoffing at and undermining the credibility of the American Bar Association, which has given a “not qualified” rating to four of Trump’s nominees after only giving out just two such ratings in its history.

Instead of heeding the concerns of the ABA, Republicans attacked the credibility of the independent bipartisan organization, according to the report.

Brett Talley was nominated to the U.S. District Court for the Middle District of Alabama despite being ranked as unqualified by the ABA and admitting he has never tried a case in federal court.

The organization pointed out Talley’s unconditional support for the National Rifle Association coupled with his vows not to recuse himself from cases that involved the gun rights group, in addition to his apparently apologist stance toward the Ku Klux Klan.

Talley withdrew his name from consideration in December.

The report from the Senate Judiciary Committee’s minority members says Republicans are bypassing the ABA and blue slips because they are more concerned about recasting the federal court system — consisting of 94 district courts, 13 appeals courts, the Court of International Trade and the Supreme Court — in a more conservative mold.

Feinstein said the Republican-controlled Senate is bent on doing so in a hurry.

“With a Republican president, Senate Republicans are moving judicial nominees at breakneck speed,” Feinstein tweeted on Friday. “President Trump’s first 15 circuit court nominees took half the time to confirm — an average of 131 days — compared to 254 days for President Obama’s first 15 circuit court nominees.”

Feinstein and the other Democratic senators on the committee further accuse their Republican colleagues of allowing themselves and the Trump administration to illegally allow outside organizations such as the Federalist Society, the Judicial Crisis Foundation and the Heritage Foundation to influence the process.

Co-founded by former Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia, the Federalist Society seeks to advance the legal careers of conservatives who espouse originalism – the idea that the Constitution should be interpreted based on the intention of the framers, not as a living document that adapts to a changing American society.

The Democratic senators argue this remaking of the courts under Trump will significantly erode civil rights, women’s rights, voting rights and other legal gains made in the past several decades.

“President Trump’s signature policies—banning travel from Muslim-majority countries, restricting women’s access to contraception, limiting communities’ ability to combat pollution, allowing coal-fired power plants to discharge toxic wastewater, expanding the use of harmful pesticides, and reversing the Obama administration’s net neutrality rules—are all subject to ongoing litigation,” the report states, adding that with more young conservatives on the bench, the legal outcomes involving those controversial policies will continue to tip in the direction of Trump.

 

Job Killer Update: CalChamber Identifies 28th Bill –SB 993

Thought you needed to see an updated list of bills that will kill jobs and harm families.  SB 993 by Hertzberg would tax your CPA, attorney and all services—adding up to 10% to the cost of these services, with give government upwards of $13 billion a year—from your pocket.

SB 993 (Hertzberg; D-Van Nuys) would impose a 3% tax on services purchased by businesses in California. CalChamber has identified SB 993 as a job killer because it adds another layer of taxes onto California companies, raising costs, and puts them at a competitive disadvantage.

According to CalChamber’s analysis, SB 993 would increase the cost of doing business in an already costly state by taxing most of the services used by businesses, including those necessary for day-to-day operations, like accounting or janitorial services.”

It is disturbing that the media is not talking about this massive transfer of money from families to government—to enlarge government.

Jobs

Job Killer Update: CalChamber Identifies 28th Bill 

California Chamber of Commerce,  5/14/18

SACRAMENTO, CA — The California Chamber of Commerce today added SB 993 (Hertzberg) to its job killer list, bringing the total number of job killers to 28. The latest bill will be considered as a special order of business in the Senate Governance and Finance Committee on May 16.

SB 993 (Hertzberg; D-Van Nuys) would impose a 3% tax on services purchased by businesses in California. CalChamber has identified SB 993 as a job killer because it adds another layer of taxes onto California companies, raising costs, and puts them at a competitive disadvantage.

According to CalChamber’s analysis, SB 993 would increase the cost of doing business in an already costly state by taxing most of the services used by businesses, including those necessary for day-to-day operations, like accounting or janitorial services.

Additionally, SB 993 would make an already complex tax system even more costly and challenging for California businesses to navigate.

The negative impacts of SB 993 will hit small businesses the hardest. Although the bill has a limited exemption from this tax increase for certain small businesses, it certainly does not protect all of them.  Small businesses depend on the services included under SB 993 to conduct their operations. While larger businesses will be able to avoid paying taxes on certain services by bringing them in-house, most small businesses will not be able to do so. The burden of complying with this new tax will also be more challenging for small businesses that provide services – as they likely have limited resources to set up a new tax system within their companies. Additionally, such small businesses could suffer a loss of customers and revenue due to higher prices for their services.

Even though SB 993 focuses on business-to-business transactions, and attempts to avoid raising taxes on individuals – this bill would increase the costs of producing and selling goods here in California. These costs would ultimately be passed on to consumers – with the higher prices disproportionately impacting working families, CalChamber’s letter states.

SB 993 will be heard in the Senate Governance and Finance Committee on May 16.

Only 22 job killer bills remain alive; To view the job killer list, visit www.cajobkillers.com.

For up-to-date information on the job killer list, follow @CAJobKillers on Twitter.

The California Chamber of Commerce (CalChamber) is the largest broad-based business advocate to government in California.  Membership represents one-quarter of the private sector jobs in California and includes firms of all sizes and companies from every industry within the state.  Leveraging our front-line knowledge of laws and regulations, we provide products and services to help businesses comply with both federal and state law.  CalChamber, a not-for-profit organization with roots dating to 1890, promotes international trade and investment in order to stimulate California’s economy and create jobs.  Please visit our website at www.calchamber.com

 

Why we should all be concerned about the attempt to buy the District Attorney’s office

George Soros is spending $1.5 million to elect a new DA in San Diego—the candidate does not believe criminals need to be bailed out—they automatically get bailed out.  She does not believe in long prison terms or the death penalty.  She is the Bernie Sanders of the legal field.

“Her opponent, Genevieve Jones-Wright, who was described by the Washington Free Beacon as “far left” has received over $200,000 in campaign support from the California Justice and Safety PAC. She has pledged not to prosecute the death penalty or offenses which she believes “disproportionately affect homeless people. She has also announced she believes “mass incarceration” is a “public health epidemic.” (in total Soros has pledged $1.5 million to the campaign.)

In other words, people of color should not be prosecuted, period.  Imagine a county where people of a certain color are ALLOWED by the DA to commit crimes, because of their color.  I call that racist—and dangerous.  What do you call it?

Washington DC - Federal Triangle: Robert F. Kennedy Department of Justice Building

Why we should all be concerned about the attempt to buy the District Attorney’s office

 

Michele Hanisee is President of the Association of Deputy District Attorneys, 5/23/18 

We have highlighted in previous blogs the attempt to bypass the legislative and initiative process through the installation of elected Deputy District Attorneys who promise to ignore criminal statutes with which they disagree. This effort has been financed in large part by out of state billionaire George Soros, who solely funds the (misnamed) California Justice and Public Safety PAC.

Some have asked why the Association of Los Angeles Deputy District Attorneys (ADDA) would involve itself in District Attorney races in other counties. The answer is, that although Deputy District Attorneys work for the county, when we walk into court and announce our appearance it is on behalf of the People of the State of California. So although rules of venue divide the workload by county, our duty is to represent ALL the residents in the state. Moreover, the laws we enforce are not county laws, they are state laws, enacted through legislation or initiative.

When a candidate for District Attorney announces they will not enforce laws they disagree with, they are undermining the rule of law. For example, the residents of California have repeatedly voted to uphold the death penalty. A candidate who promises to refuse to ever seek the death penalty is not exercising discretion but instead undermining the laws of this state and the will of the voters.

Let’s look at some of the races in California.

Sacramento County

Sacramento District Attorney Anne Marie Shubert is one of only two openly gay DAs. During her term as D.A. she has:

  • Started a program with local motels to reduce human trafficking.
  • Changed juvenile filing policies within her office to significantly reduce the number of juveniles charged as adults.
  • Collaborated with justice system partners to create Mental Health Court, Drug Court and other rehabilitative alternatives to incarceration.
  • She is currently sponsoring a bill that proposes a major sentencing reform to the felony murder rule.

Her opponent is a prosecutor from a wealthy family who is currently under investigation for prosecutorial misconduct for allegations that he made a secret deal with a murderer to testify falsely against the less-culpable codefendants in exchange for a recommendation for a lesser offense. The allegations, if true are not only an ethics violation but a Felony offense under Penal Code Section 141.

Yolo County

Yolo District Attorney, Jeff Reisig, is an experienced, respected, thoughtful and innovative District Attorney which earned him the endorsement of the  Sacramento Bee. During his term, he has:

  • Implemented a multi-cultural community council.
  • Started the state’s second neighborhood court program.
  • Helped create Yolo’s first Mental Health Court
  • Helped create a Homeless Neighborhood Court
  • Was the first DA in the state to provide implicit bias training

His Soros-backed opponent, Dean Johansson, has been accused of domestic violence, as revealed by police reports obtained by Crime Victims United, stemming from a 2007 incident in which he allegedly kicked his minor son in the chest and pulled his daughter out of the house by her hair. He has pledged on his website to stop seeking the death penalty.

San Diego County

San Diego District Attorney Summer Stephan has been a prosecutor in San Diego County for more than 28 years. She is a child of immigrants and has led the effort to end human trafficking and sexual exploitation of minors. During her term, she has:

  • Implemented programs to protect school children from domestic terrorism;
  • Reforming the juvenile justice system to divert minors from adult incarceration;
  • Promoted rehabilitation of offenders through Veterans Court and Behavioral Health Court;
  • Commitment to support a conviction review unit.

Her opponent, Genevieve Jones-Wright, who was described by the Washington Free Beacon as “far left” has received over $200,000 in campaign support from the California Justice and Safety PAC. She has pledged not to prosecute the death penalty or offenses which she believes “disproportionately affect homeless people. She has also announced she believes “mass incarceration” is a “public health epidemic.”

Alameda County

District Attorney Nancy O’Malley was the county’s first woman to serve as District Attorney. She led a statewide drive to curb human trafficking; created the Alameda County Family Justice Center, providing legal, health and other services to violence victims; and pushed for bail reform in the county.

The Mercury News Editorial Board said, “In the race for Alameda County district attorney, there are two candidates, only one of whom is fully qualified for the county’s most powerful law enforcement position.”

Soros is spending money to elect Pamela Price, who like the other candidates opposes the death penalty. Price also vowed if elected that she will avoid prosecuting misdemeanors, including DUI and domestic violence cases. Recently, a former client who had been victim of sexual abuse, accused Price of  exploiting her out of greed, by requiring the victim to sign over book and movie rights to her story.

The oath of office of a District Attorney is to uphold ALL laws, not promise to ignore the ones they personally don’t like. The Soros backed candidates fail that test.

To read our previous blog regarding this matter, please see:

 

 

 

Michele Hanisee is President of the Association of Deputy District Attorneys, the collective bargaining agent representing nearly 1,000 Deputy District Attorneys who work for the County of Los Angeles.

 

Checking the math on cap and trade, some experts say it’s not adding up

Starting on January 1, 2020, the Confederate State of California will be begin the climb to a 72 cent gas tax per gallon increase.  Most of that money will go to the choo choo to nowhere.  Billions each years will be taken from families and businesses to finance the biggest boondoggle in America history—a payoff to unions and special interests.  Once built, it can not run, since there is NO money to operate the train.

“Some companies have not yet needed to use up the allowances to stay within state emissions limits and probably won’t have to in the next couple of years, according to some analysts, who estimate there are hundreds of millions of unused credits in the system.

The result is a glut of credits that could allow businesses to keep polluting past state limits in later years, after the overall cap becomes more restrictive. Unless the oversupply is addressed, experts say, polluters will have no incentive to cut emissions to required levels by 2030; instead, industries could continue polluting and use banked allowances to offset their emissions and technically keep them under the cap.

The state Legislative Analyst’s Office foresees a reckoning, estimating that because of excess allowances, actual emissions could be as much as 30 percent over the statewide target by 2030.”

Yup—billions in new taxes each year—and little or no change to the environment—except making California families poorer—and that is the real goal.

SAN DIEGO, CA - JULY 18:  Arnold Schwarzenegger arrives for the "Escape Plan" Premiere - Comic-Con International 2013 at Reading Cinemas Gaslamp on July 18, 2013 in San Diego, California.  (Photo by Gabriel Olsen/FilmMagic)

Checking the math on cap and trade, some experts say it’s not adding up

By Julie Cart, CalMatters,  5/22/18

As California accelerates its efforts to reduce greenhouses gases over the next decade, experts are pointing to vulnerabilities in its celebrated cap-and-trade system, weaknesses that could make the state’s goals difficult—even impossible—to reach.

Cap and trade, featuring a market where permission to pollute is bought and sold, is a key mechanism California uses to lower the volume of harmful discharges by industries that are subject to state emissions caps. But as the California Air Resources Board ponders a major retrofitting of the highly complex program, state analysts say that in a little over a decade emissions could soar much higher than the legally binding level.

Checking the math on cap and trade has taken on urgency this year because the state is leaning more heavily on the system to reduce greenhouse-gas emissions. The air board projects the program will account for about 46 percent of annual reductions in coming years, a figure that has surprised many experts.

One calculation is out of California’s control: a possible political shift in Ontario, Canada, after provincial elections there next month. One leading candidate has vowed to dismantle the province’s cap-and-trade system, which participates in California’s emissions-trading market. A Canadian withdrawal could undermine California officials’ message about its stability and growth as they recruit other states and nations to join.

Far more troubling are red flags highlighted in reports from academia, the nonpartisan Legislative Analyst’s Office, independent market experts and other major carbon markets, all concluding that California has a serious problem with too many unused pollution credits.

In the cap-and-trade system, major polluters must either produce fewer greenhouse gases to comply with California’s emissions caps or buy credits to offset their excess emissions from companies that pollute less. Credits are traded at state-sanctioned auctions and on secondary markets. And the state gives some free to utilities, natural-gas suppliers and industries that are vulnerable to out-of-state competition.

Some companies have not yet needed to use up the allowances to stay within state emissions limits and probably won’t have to in the next couple of years, according to some analysts, who estimate there are hundreds of millions of unused credits in the system.

The result is a glut of credits that could allow businesses to keep polluting past state limits in later years, after the overall cap becomes more restrictive. Unless the oversupply is addressed, experts say, polluters will have no incentive to cut emissions to required levels by 2030; instead, industries could continue polluting and use banked allowances to offset their emissions and technically keep them under the cap.

The state Legislative Analyst’s Office foresees a reckoning, estimating that because of excess allowances, actual emissions could be as much as 30 percent over the statewide target by 2030.

One analyst likened the problem to a game of musical chairs that starts with too many chairs and allows participants to save seats for later. The issue has plagued both the European Union’s carbon-trading system and the Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative, a consortium of nine eastern U.S. states that sells credits for the electricity sector. Both markets have put policies in place to limit surpluses.

In California, lawmakers instructed the air board to examine the issue last year, and the agency has  steadfastly maintained that the surplus of credits will not imperil California’s fight against climate change.

Rajinder Sahota, who oversees much of the cap-and-trade program for the air board, has testified numerous times before the Legislature on this topic. On each occasion she has assured lawmakers that the system is working.

“We do not believe that there are unused allowances in the system that will hinder our goals for 2020,” she told CALmatters.

She didn’t address how allowances might play out in subsequent years. But the agency forecasts that the state will also meet its 2030 target, when emissions limits will tighten dramatically, the number of free allowances will come down and the cap-and-trade program will expire.

Among the skeptics is Ontario’s environmental oversight agency. The commission’s annual report in January stated flatly that California has an oversupply of allowances that could last for the life of the program.

“We understand that the board believes…they don’t have an oversupply problem,” said Dianne Saxe, the environmental commissioner of Ontario. “Frankly, we don’t understand it.”

The disconnect will be addressed this week in a hearing before the newly formed Joint Legislative Committee on Climate Change Policies. The committee chairman, Assemblyman Eduardo Garcia, a Democrat from Coachella, said the air board will be grilled on how it intends to manage allowances.

“Our numbers don’t pencil out to be the same numbers they propose,” Garcia said. “We will go back and reexamine the numbers they are projecting. We have some questions about how they got there.”

Danny Cullenward is an energy economist with the climate-change think tank Near Zero and teaches environmental law at Stanford University. He’s also a member of the newly established Independent Emissions Market Advisory Committee that is charged with reviewing the mechanics of cap and trade. He says the air board not only got its projections wrong but also used an incorrect model for its calculations.  The board’s most recent estimates are off by 10 percent and used a model that the agency identified in 2010 as problematic, he said in an interview.

“I can’t emphasize enough, this is a basic question of scientific integrity,” Cullenward said. The board has been reluctant to engage outside experts on the issue of allowances, “in a rush to justify that this is not a problem,” he said.

Sahota said external studies have not taken into account that allowances are set aside if they have gone unsold for 24 months—a “self-ratcheting mechanism,” she said, that prevents a glut on the market. The Canadian study, she said, relied on a flawed analysis conducted by Chris Busch, research director at Energy Innovation, a San Francisco-based climate-change and clean-energy think tank.

Saxe, the environment commissioner, stood behind the report’s conclusions, saying, “We did our own analysis.”

Busch, who was among the first researchers to identify the oversupply problem, is a longtime supporter of California’s cap-and-trade system, which he calls the best designed in the world. Busch said he used the air board’s own data to reach his conclusions about allowances, which he said were conservative.

“I sought to engage the air board to evaluate what they thought of the numbers,” he said. “They didn’t want to engage.”

Sahota said she had not read all of the recent reports, but the air board is taking all the research and criticisms seriously.

 

USC under federal investigation for anti-male discrimination

Finally—the bigotry of USC is under Federal investigation.  Policies of this formerly world class institution are discriminatory against MEN.  Women, LBGQT, whatever, all are protected.  Males are not protected, they are hunted down at USC.

“According a January 28 letter obtained by Campus Reform, the department’s Office for Civil Rights (OCR) has agreed to investigate four USC initiatives, including the school’s Smart Women’s Securities chapter and the Women in Science and Engineering (WiSE) chapter.

Both of these programs allegedly discriminate “by excluding male students from participation and providing opportunities for female students only,” according to the OCR letter, which notes that many female-only scholarships at USC are also under investigation.

The OCR agreed to launch an investigation after Kursat Christoff Pekgoz, a lecturer and Provost’s Fellow at USC, filed a Title IX complaint against the institution in October 2017.”

I hope there are many other investigations against  the bigotry of universities—this is just one example. If you know of any, please add them to the comment section of this article on the web site—others need to need.

usc traveller

USC under federal investigation for anti-male discrimination

 

Toni Airaksinen, Campus Reform,  5/22/18

 

  • The University of Southern California has joined Yale University as the second institution to face a federal investigation into alleged anti-male discrimination.
  • Both investigations were prompted by complaints filed by USC professor Kursat Christoff Pekgoz, who argues that initiatives created to benefit women are not necessary now that females constitute a majority of college students.

The U.S. Department of Education is officially investigating allegations that the University of Southern California excludes male students from certain educational opportunities.

The Title IX investigation was launched in response to complaints submitted by a USC professor whose efforts have already instigated a similar investigation into Yale University.

“There is no longer any valid reason to maintain affirmative action for women.”    Tweet This

According a January 28 letter obtained by Campus Reform, the department’s Office for Civil Rights (OCR) has agreed to investigate four USC initiatives, including the school’s Smart Women’s Securities chapter and the Women in Science and Engineering (WiSE) chapter.

Both of these programs allegedly discriminate “by excluding male students from participation and providing opportunities for female students only,” according to the OCR letter, which notes that many female-only scholarships at USC are also under investigation.

The OCR agreed to launch an investigation after Kursat Christoff Pekgoz, a lecturer and Provost’s Fellow at USC, filed a Title IX complaint against the institution in October 2017. Though the OCR initially dismissed his complaint, Pekgoz filed an appeal, and the dismissal was overturned just two weeks after his January 18 interview with an OCR official.

OCR’s agreement to consider an appeal is nearly unprecedented, Pekgoz told Campus Reform.

“The attorney who initially dismissed it cited a Dear Colleague Letter from 2016 which apparently allowed sex-selective scholarships ‘for the underrepresented sex,’” Pekgoz explained, saying he won the appeal by pointing out that—unlike during the 1970s when Title IX was put into law—women are no longer underrepresented in higher education.

Men are now a slight minority at USC, constituting only 48 percent of the student body. Though data on the most recent batch of graduates has not yet been calculated, men were also in the minority of USC graduates in the 2016-2017 academic year, a school spokesman confirmed.

Women have also outpaced men in earning BAs since the 1981-1982 academic year, according to data from the National Center for Education Statistics. Since then, the gender-gap has grown; by 2018, there is projected to be a 25 percent “gender degree gap” favoring women.

In an interview with Campus Reform, Pekgoz maintains that “there is no longer any valid reason to maintain affirmative action for women” considering their now-majority status.

He also expressed disapproval with the lack of resources colleges provide for student fathers, citing for example how “the USC WISE program offers resources to pregnant women and women with children, [but offers] no equivalent resource for fathers.”

In a statement to Campus Reform, USC media official Emily Gersema said that “USC is working with the Office of Civil Rights and will take steps to address any issues they may raise.”

“USC is committed to maintaining an environment that is free from discrimination and that encourages fair treatment of all students, faculty, and staff, a value that is emphasized in university policies,” she added.

Upon further investigation, if the OCR determines that the USC programs implicated above do indeed violate Title IX, the school will be encouraged to make those programs gender-inclusive. If the school does not comply, legal action could ensue.

Pekgoz also filed a similar complaint against Yale University. As Campus Reform reported last Monday, the OCR has also launched an investigation into seven Yale University programs for providing unfair advantages to female students.