Reid Compares GOP to ‘Greased Pigs’

From Politico:

Majority Leader Harry Reid compared his Republican colleagues to “greased pigs” on Tuesday as the Senate erupted in frustration over lack of progress on an energy bill and the Keystone XL pipeline.

“For all those who don’t know what a greased pig contest is, here’s what it is: The organizers get a little pig, piglet, and they cover this little animal with tons of grease. It’s a greasy little pig,” Reid said. “The reason I mention this: Oftentimes working with my Senate Republican colleagues reminds me of chasing one of these little pigs in a greased pig contest. Regardless of all of our efforts, any time we get close to making progress, it seems as though we watch it slip out of our hands.”

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Sriracha Gets Bipartisan Support

From The Sacramento Bee:

California’s latest political darling comes in a clear plastic bottle with a green top and tastes good on eggs.

Sriracha hot sauce has won the eager endorsement of politicians from both sides of the aisle in recent weeks as the manufacturer has talked about leaving Irwindale amid a regulatory battle over whether the plant sends a spicy smell into nearby neighborhoods.

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Hot Sauce Lawsuit

House Prepares Lois Lerner Contempt Resolution

From The Daily Caller:

The House rules committee convened Tuesday on Capitol Hill to prepare the contempt of Congress resolution for ex-IRS official Lois Lerner, which the full House of Representatives will vote on Wednesday.

Tensions ran high as Democratic Ranking Member Rep. Louise Slaughter and other Democrats grilled Republican House oversight Chairman Rep. Darrell Issa, who represented his committee in recommending contempt. The committee considered resolutions both to hold Lerner in contempt and also to call Attorney General Eric Holder to appoint a special prosecutor in the case. Democrats in the hearing consistently expressed certainty that the contempt citation against Lerner will pass Wednesday.

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Steinberg Must Clean Up Scandal-Ridden State Senate

From The Sacramento Bee:

So what’s next for the scandal-ridden state Senate? And what should be next?

Darrell Steinberg, the Senate president pro tem, fired a sergeant-at-arms last week after learning – from a Bee reporter – that the aide had used drugs prior to a shootout at his house that left one person dead and three others injured 17 months earlier.

On Tuesday, the Senate’s chief sergeant-at-arms for the last three decades, Tony Beard Jr., resigned, presumably at Steinberg’s behest, after keeping the drug aspect of the case a secret for many weeks.

darrell steinberg

Only Seven Percent Of Reporters Are Republicans

From The Daily Caller:

Seven percent of reporters are Republicans, according to a study that does not surprise you.

“Oh, there’s a shocker,” you murmur to yourself, eyes rolling, as you read this story on a report by two journalism professors who found that the number of Republicans in the press has been steadily declining.

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news msm media

CA Dems Seek New Corporate Tax

A new bill would hike taxes on corporations with the biggest spread in paid wages.

The legislation, Senate Bill 1372, was recently introduced by state Sens. Mark DeSaulnier, D-Concord, and Loni Hancock, D-Oakland. It passed the Senate Governance and Finance Committee late last month.

Rather than raising state corporate taxes across the board, SB1372 exaggerates California’s targeted approach to business taxation. The state already taxes financial institutions at a special, higher rate — a 10.84 percent levy on income instead of the 8.84 percent applied to other corporations. Now, DeSaulnier and Hancock want to single out corporations that pay their CEOs the most relative to the median income paid to their employees.

Instead of the flat rates currently imposed by law, SB1372 would create a complex sliding scale. The legislative counsel’s digest sums up the proposed changes in the following chart. Numbers in the left column refer to the percentage that CEO pay exceeds pay for a corporation’s median employee:

If the compensation ratio is: The applicable tax rate is:
Over zero but not over 25 7% upon the basis of net income
Over 25 but not over 50 7.5% upon the basis of net income
Over 50 but not over 100 8% upon the basis of net income
Over 100 but not over 150 9% upon the basis of net income
Over 150 but not over 200 9.5% upon the basis of net income
Over 200 but not over 250 10% upon the basis of net income
Over 250 but not over 300 11% upon the basis of net income
Over 300 but not over 400 12% upon the basis of net income
Over 400 13% upon the basis of net income

In other words, SB1372 does two things. Not only does it penalize some corporations for their pay structure — it rewards others for their own.

Critics have argued that the bill’s approach is unwise because it’s bad for business. If California is going to use tax policy to modify behavior, they say, legislators should create incentives that create jobs. As the state continues to suffer high-profile job losses, pro-business advocates in California fear that higher rates and more complicated tax interventions will discourage new business formation and relocation.

A national battle

At the same time, broader concerns persist. California Democrats targeting CEO pay are pursuing an agenda that’s integrated with a national election-year strategy focused around the so-called income inequality issue. At the federal level, that involves a synchronized push for higher minimum wages. (One California Democrat, Rep. Barbara Lee, wants a $26 an hour minimum wage.)

Labor unions, meanwhile, are playing a significant role in the campaign. The AFL-CIO, for instance, recently focused on pay disparity in its annual “Executive Paywatch” report. One prominent talking point emphasized that, for S&P 500 companies, the average profit per employee topped $41,000. The report implied that high-end CEO pay unjustifiably spends company profits on executives, not workers.

The report, however, obscures one reason for pay disparity that SB1372 also does not take into account. Profit per employee may be an important new metric in business analysis, as the influential consulting giant McKinsey has pointed out. Understanding CEO pay scales, however, requires a detailed comparison between types of business models.

Profit per employee varies dramatically across industry sectors. Data collected in 2009, for instance, shows that finance, media and tech companies reap in excess of $150,000 per employee. In the food, airline and pet industry, by contrast, profit per employee falls far below $25,000.

The significance of these differences shows up in how much workers would stand to gain from redistributed CEO salaries. To take one example, Oracle CEO Larry Ellison’s chart-topping salary of $78.4 million would translate into just $930 a year in extra pre-tax income for each of Oracle’s employees. In industries with much narrower profits per employee, the cash value to employees of redistributed CEO pay can be vanishingly small.

As a result, the effect of SB1372 would be to penalize corporations without regard to their profit per employee. That’s at odds with its intended goal of using tax policy to pressure companies to improve their employees’ economic fortunes. Especially in industries with a low profit per employee, narrowing pay disparity will have no measurable effect.

For that reason, SB1372 is likely to meet stiff resistance, despite its support among high-profile national Democrats. Although Republicans are weak in California, nationwide opposition to wage legislation is powerful and well-organized.

(James Poulos is a contributor to CalWatchdog. Originally published on CalWatchdog.)

Condoleezza’s Insights Will Be Missed at Rutgers

“I am honored to have served my country.  I have defended America’s belief in free speech and the exchange of ideas.”  These are the words of Condoleezza Rice in her recent statement declining an invitation to speak at the commencement ceremony for graduating seniors at Rutgers University, due to protests from a small, but vocal, group of faculty and students.

It is unfortunate that select students and faculty at Rutgers are so enamored with a narrow perspective on life that it renders them incapable of considering the viewpoint of an individual mindful of a different angle.  The free exchange of ideas, so universally respected in American campuses, is seemingly limited to the free exchange of thoughts deemed progressive or liberal.  To some, the voice of a conservative is not deemed worthy of admission at a graduation ceremony.  Though unfortunate for its representation of narrow-minded academia run amuck, the greater injustice is to the graduating seniors themselves, who miss out on an opportunity to listen to the words of a historical figure in American history.  Condoleezza Rice, a woman of immense and diverse talents, would undoubtedly provide the graduating seniors with useful words of wisdom.

For instance, she might offer insights into the importance of the arts or athletics for a well-rounded individual – a relevant topic for Rice given her background as a renowned concert pianist and the fact that she was the first female entrant into the nation’s most prestigious golf club, Augusta National.  Additionally a former Board of Trustee member for the John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts, Rice has also performed music publicly with the likes of Yo-Yo Ma, one of the great cellists of our time.  Her years of classical training and experience with the high arts give her authority to speak on the topic.

Alternatively, she could offer her thoughts on the significance of higher education and the need to sharpen one’s mind throughout every stage of life.   Her tenure as a professor for over 30 years at one of the world’s premier institutions, Stanford University, might provide some appropriate perspective for this topic.  She might also add insights on the role of academia by discussing her position within the university’s administration, in which she served as the first female, first minority and youngest Provost in the history of Stanford.

Perhaps she might provide unique insights into a relevant issue of the day, such as the unfolding situation in Ukraine and Russia’s recent annexation of Crimea.  After all, she studied at Moscow State University in 1979 and has a Ph.D.  in political science, with a particular expertise in Russian and former Soviet affairs.  It was her expertise in this area that was the catalyst for her foray into public service, which would likely interest a few of the graduating seniors.  Speaking of public service, many students would welcome Rice’s thoughts as to how she was able to overcome the anger and despair of growing up in racially segregated Alabama to eventually become the first female African American Secretary of State in the history of the United States.

Or Rice could alternatively inform the students that one’s perspective on life is capable of evolving over time.  For instance, she could tell the story of a woman who viewed the world through a lens of inexperience and idealism in the late 1970s and called herself a Democrat.  Dissatisfaction with Democratic foreign policy in the late 70s and early 80s in part led her to become a Republican.  Rising within the ranks of the Republican party, she would go on to speak at the 2000 Republican National Convention.  There, she would tell the Convention that, “my father joined our party because the Democrats in Jim Crow Alabama of 1952 would not register him to vote.  The Republicans did.”

Rather than discussing her own experiences, she could sum up an overall message that a student’s perspective on life, particularly at the age of 22, is limited and subject to change.  She might quote single line from Hamlet, one of the most famous books in the English language: “There are more things in heaven and earth, Horatio, than are dreamt of in your philosophy.”

Instead, the Rutgers students who successfully lobbied for Rice to drop herself as commencement speaker will continue to view the world from a particular, limited vantage point.  Perhaps one day, that perspective will change.

(Ben Everard is a contributor to California Political Review. Originally published on California Political Review.)

Benghazi Spin

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Sentencing Delayed for Sen. Rod Wright

From The Sacramento Bee:

For the second time, the sentencing hearing for suspended state Sen. Rod Wright has been delayed for two months in the criminal trial that alleged he lied about where he lived when he ran for office in 2008.

A Los Angeles jury found the Democrat guilty in January of eight perjury and voter fraud felonies for claiming a home in Inglewood as his official address while he actually lived a few miles away in the tonier community of Baldwin Hills. Wright’s sentencing was originally set for March but wasdelayed until May 16. Today it was delayed again, this time until July 21, according to Wright’s lawyer Winston Kevin McKesson.

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rod wright

Obama and Holder Undermining IRS Investigation

From The Daily Caller:

House Republicans Friday introduced a resolution calling on Attorney General Eric Holder to appoint a special counsel to investigate the IRS targeting scandal, blasting Holder for purposely failing to seriously investigate the agency.

Bob Goodlatte, chairman of the House Judiciary Committee, accused President Obama and his administration of having “publicly undermined the investigation on multiple occasions.”

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eric holder attorney general