California

Observations on the Great Hunkering (5)

Featured image • There are a handful of states, especially Illinois and Connecticut, whose fiscal woes have never really recovered fully from the financial crisis and recession of 2008-2009. Illinois wants to raise its personal income tax—again—through a ballot initiative this fall, but of course only on “the rich.” The money will supposedly got to schools, but everyone understands that most of it will go to backfilling the unfunded public employee pensions. »

Feeling the Bern in California

Featured image My pals at the Institute of Governmental Studies here at UC Berkeley (where I remain a fellow against all odds—story to follow some day soon) today released their latest poll on the state of the presidential race here in the once Golden State ahead of the March primary. I know the IGS pollster, Mark DiCamilo, quite well (in fact we shared an office for a time), and I think he »

Election Aftermath

Featured image Move over Cook County, Illinois, and make room for King County in Washington state, where Seattle’s ongoing bid to rival San Francisco in the crazy department is only exceeded by its dubious record in ballot counting after close elections. Last week I noted that the attempt to reimpose affirmative action in Washington state had failed at the ballot box, but then the “late vote” started coming in from King County. »

California Dreamin’

Featured image • California recently passed a law aiming to crack down on “abuses” and “exploitation” of independent contractors and other participants in the so-called “gig economy.” (I prefer the term “side hustle” myself, but whatever.) The real target of this law are Uber, Lyft and other enterprises that offer great flexibility for people to set their own hours, etc. The new law will requite Uber drivers to be formal employees, subject »

Down and out in Santa Monica

Featured image I’m tied up on personal matters in Venice Beach and Santa Monica through this weekend. The scene has deteriorated considerably since I was here in 2011, when I filed this report: We spent the weekend at a family wedding in Santa Monica, California. Just after I started in the private practice of law in 1981, I was assigned to work on a major project that took me out to the »

California Keeps Digging

Featured image The “First Law of Holes” (“If you’re in one—stop digging”) is usually attributed to the late British politician Denis Healey, but whatever. One thing is certain: California never heard of the First Law of Holes. • Item, from the Washington Post a while back: The One Issue Every Economist Can Agree Is Bad: Rent Control By Megan McArdle There aren’t that many things you can get economists to agree on. »

Rewriting Tony Bennett

Featured image The Wall Street Journal has adapted Charles Kesler’s editorial in the forthcoming issue of the Claremont Review of Books — we’ll be getting to a few highlights ourselves next week — into the column “California’s biggest cities confront a ‘defecation crisis'” (subhead: “Lawmakers ban plastic straws as a far worse kind of waste covers the streets of San Francisco and L.A.”). Having turned one of the most beautiful cities in »

The news from Newsom

Featured image The trouble with California is that it represents the wave of the future. Take California Governor Gavin Newsom — please. Citing Newsom’s tweeted video (below), Monica Showalter writes: “I thought it was satire, something cooked up by his political enemies. You couldn’t put out a less attractive video than the one Gavin Newsom did for illegal aliens on Twitter, advising them himself on how to obstruct ICE from any deportation »

Beach of the living dead

Featured image When I went into private practice one of my first big projects led me to Venice Beach. I took up residence in Venice with my late colleague Bob Collins at the Marina Pacific Hotel (as it was then) for several months. We enjoyed the time in Venice, although it was our impression that we might be the only people in Venice working for a living. I therefore turned with special »

A Preview of the Green New Deal

Featured image Liberals love trains. I am not sure why that is; it certainly wasn’t true in the 19th and early 20th centuries. But as train travel has become less practical, liberals have learned to love it. Thus, a principal feature of the Green New Deal Socialism is reliance on passenger trains to replace air travel, and to largely replace automobile travel. Good luck with that–the liberals have a better chance of »

California’s Ongoing Suicide Attempt

Featured image I’ve been meaning to post an omnibus review of all the latest indicators of California’s steady road to becoming Venezuela, which is going into high gear now that we—finally!—have a governor named Gavin (long overdue), but news items have piled up faster than human excrement on a San Francisco street (about which, see below). So just a couple of new highlights. First, how long until there’s a Road Kill Cafe »

Orange (County) is the new blue

Featured image The vote counting in California congressional races continued until Democrats carried every district in Orange County. The Democrats flipped four seats formerly held by Republicans in the county. The last of the four races to be called yielded the victory of Democrat Gil Cisneros over Republican Young Kim (who held the lead on election night). The AP reports the result and looks back here. What happened? In the American Spectator »

I Love LA—Remy Style

Featured image Remy Munasifi has done it again. I cringed a bit when I saw that he was taking on LA in a new video, except that a moment’s reflection prompted the thought that it is simply impossible to go too far with California these says. So enjoy (especially the “emotional support rodent”): »

A Sign of Sense in California?

Featured image What’s this? An actual expression of common sense in California? Yes, it has actually happened. CalPERS, the public employee retirement system in California, has one of the largest investment portfolios in the world (0ver $350 billion), though it is still not large enough to fulfill its pension obligations. Naturally being a political plaything, several years ago CalPERS board decided that it should use its investment clout on behalf of “social »

From my conservative cousin in California

Featured image As longtime Power Line readers may recall, I have occasionally posted the political commentary of my conservative cousin from New York over the years. This post, though, is by my conservative cousin from California. But here’s the thing: it’s the same guy. After more than 70 years in New York City, my conservative cousin — the quintessential New Yorker — has moved to California so he can live near his »

Memo to California GOP: Vote Socialist?

Featured image I caught a headline yesterday concerning how Arnold Schwarzenegger regrets and is apologizing for his old line about “girly men,” because #MeToo or something: In the summer of 2004, Schwarzenegger called Democrats “girly men” and urged voters to “terminate” them on Election Day — prompting outrage from his opponents, the Los Angeles Times reported at the time. Of course, the real reason the Governator is recanting is that he became a »

I Left My S— in San Francisco

Featured image The late novelist Walker Percy used to wonder about why the suicide rate was so high in San Francisco, the most beautiful city in the world by his reckoning. I wish we had Percy still with us today—for many reasons—but especially to update his observations on how San Francisco’s decadence and dysfunctions are a reflections on the defects of the human soul. Even The Guardian, the British leftist rag, is »