Sunday, December 09, 2012


This is my reaction to a "jasond," a commenter on Legal Insurrection's brilliant Prof. William A. Jacobson's post about the viral video titled "Why Our Country is Going Down The Drain," in which Judge Judy's Judith Sheindlin grills a deadbeat dude who didn't pay his girlfriend rent despite having received thousands of dollars in misappropriated government aid.  The original LI post, titled "What do you do? I'm me" (a quote from the unjustly conceited defendant) can be found here, in which the video is embedded.

jasond's comment was as follows:
Multiply [the guy in the video] and his former girlfriend by 10 million and you’ve got california. Eisenhowers’ “domino theory” may been correct all along. We just didn’t realize the first domino would be california.
My reply:
You know that brief feeling of terror when you’re driving in wet conditions and you find yourself hydroplaning and heading toward a guard rail or another vehicle? That feeling that it’s inevitable that you’re going to crash, and it’s just a matter of how badly you’re hurt and how much it will cost you?
Click here to view full size

That’s what it feels [like] nowadays to be a California resident with no hope of relocating.

Folks, if you aren’t absolutely steeped in what’s happening in what used to be The Golden State, you have NO idea what’s going on. Jerry Brown is trying to create a legacy for himself before he croaks, and is hoping that will include the extravagant, unneeded so-called “high speed rail” stretching north to south. Arnold Schwarzenegger earlier wanted his landmark to be a state-funded multibillion dollar stem-cell research program that has yielded NO breakthroughs, and was the main driver behind the recently-begun job-killing cap-and-trade program that California voters foolishly approved. And Ahnuld’s predecessor Gray Davis, in his haste to buy the loyalty of public employee unions, installed the Sacramento plumbing flushing hundreds of billions of dollars to pension funds based on the expectation that the dot-com boom would never end. Oops.

Former RINO CA Lieutenant Governor Abel Maldonado
Add on top of that the fact the Republican Party is for all intents and purposes non-existent in the state after Democrats won a supermajority in the Senate and Assembly. That means that not only can tax increases can be passed by the legislature without two-thirds voter approval, it means those approvals can survive Brown’s veto (which could allow him to position himself as being fiscally responsible when he’s not).
Well, so what, you may ask — Dems are overreaching. Things are cyclical. It will come back to bite them if they go too far. Not so fast (pay attention, it gets into deep weeds here).

As part of a deal to temporarily close a budget gap during the Schwarzenegger fiasco, RINO State Senator Abel Maldonado — who had a speaking part at the 2008 Republican Convention — crossed party lines and cast a tie-breaking vote. He was rewarded by Dem support of his pet legislation — a bill that made California general elections competitions between the top two vote-getters in open primaries. That means that each final vote could potentially be between two candidates of the same party. Guess how well that worked out for Republican candidates.

The grateful Schwarzenegger also appointed Maldonado to the Lieutenant Governor position replacing John Garamendi, who left after winning the retired Ellen Tauscher’s Congressional seat. Maldonado thought with the top-two system in place and his advantage over any challenger as an incumbent, he would be a shoo-in for election to a full term when his centrism and Hispanic heritage was factored in. Then, former S.F. Mayor Gavin Newsom, having earlier realized he couldn’t beat Brown for Governor, jumped late into the Lt. Gov. race, and soundly defeated Maldonado.

Undeterred, Maldonado ran for a newly-drawn Congressional district vs. ensconced liberal Dem Lois Capps. Despite L.A.’s NBC affiliate’s declaration that his top-two gambit was a success because he might not have faced Capps in November otherwise, he still lost — as did nearly every Republican on the ballot facing a Democrat. Maldonado hoist himself with his own petard twice! More importantly, because of his selfish ambition, chances that a Pub will be able to supplant any important official in California anytime soon are slim to none.

That’s a primer for you folks in the forty-something remaining sane states. Learn from California’s mistakes so you won’t have to suffer them yourselves. Meanwhile, I’m working on a petition to change the state bird from the California Golden Quail to the Coal Mine Canary.

Tuesday, December 04, 2012


The following is my reaction to Bob Costas' controversial comments about the Kansas City Chiefs' Jovan Belcher's murder-suicide, and his echoing of Jason Whitlock's remarks not only about the incident itself, but about the 2nd Amendment right to own a gun.  The yellow text below is what was posted by me on a Bay Area media blog, Rich Lieberman 415 Media.

For background, here's the entire speech from NBC's Football Night In America on December 1, and here's the full text of Jason Whitlock's blog about the incident and its societal implications.

Bob Costas seems to me to be one of those guys who feels trapped in the well-feathered nest he's built for himself. He's made his solid reputation covering sports, but thinks that he's beyond silly games after so many years and wants to leave it behind. He would like to be Keith Olbermann or Bryant Gumbel (presumably minus the unjustifiably massive egos and reported personality disorders), but he can't make the transition until he first establishes his bonafides.

Remember that Costas previously dipped his toe into unsolicited social commentary in his coverage of Gabby Douglas' Gold Medal victory in the 2012 London Olympics, saying she was an inspiration to "African-American girls out there tonight who are saying, 'Hey, I'd like to try that too.'" Yeah, just one problem, Bob; Douglas was NOT the first black American to win a Gold. Dominique Dawes [pictured, second from left] won one as a member of the U.S. crew that won the team competition in 1996 - the year Douglas was born. People mostly remember the team nicknamed "The Magnificent Seven" for Kerri Strug [second from right]'s courageous vault on an injured ankle and coach Bela Karolyi's encouragement ("You cahn do eet!") The color barrier of Gold Medal achievement had been shattered by Dawes for over a decade and a half when Costas threw in his gratuitous footnote. He was fishing for an angle beyond the games themselves, but came up with a minnow.

Costas' Sunday remarks were more egregiously half-baked. With only a minute and a half to a commercial break, Costas started by chiding everyone for not being able to achieve sufficient "perspective" about tragedies that occur among sports figures with the exception of Kansas City sportswriter Jason Whitlock. In his Fox blog, Whitlock blamed the death of Belcher and his girlfriend on the fact that he even had a firearm. Costas selectively quoted Whitlock, using these paraphrased quotes: "Our current gun culture simply ensures that more and more domestic disputes will end in the ultimate tragedy, and that more convenience-store confrontations over loud music coming from a car will leave more teenage boys bloodied and dead ... In the coming days, Jovan Belcher’s actions, and their possible connection to football, will be analyzed. Who knows? But here, wrote Jason Whitlock, is what I believe: if [Jovan Belcher] did not possess a gun, he and Kasandra Perkins would both be alive today."

Costas seemed to want to reduce Whitlock's comments to the usual fretting about immature inner-city teenagers and intense family quarrels settled quickly and fatally. Costas didn't follow through on the full thrust of Whitlock's words, so allow me to fill in the blanks Costas didn't want attributed to him personally:

We’d prefer to avoid seriously reflecting upon the absurdity of the prevailing notion that the second amendment somehow enhances our liberty rather than threatens it ... How many lives have to be ruined before we realize the right to bear arms doesn’t protect us from a government equipped with stealth bombers, predator drones, tanks and nuclear weapons?

Whitlock wasn't only musing about skewed "perspective." He wasn't simply suggesting that people should choose not to own a gun. Whitlock was taking on the Supreme Court's definition of the Second Amendment, expanding the scope from the common perils of a loaded gun in a home to stereotypes of the few and far-between who hoard arms to protect themselves against a tyrannical federal government.

Again, Costas, in his haste to elevate his presence in our living rooms to The Big Picture Beyond Sports, eloquently and sincerely said something that sounded like it made perfect sense at first listen. Then, upon analysis, it was found wanting. President Obama (I'm not a fan) recently referred to such statements as "Shooting first and aiming later," if you'll pardon the expression.