Hypocrisy, Thy Name Is Gavin Newsom

Featured image California Governor Gavin Newsom is a notorious COVID scold, berating the citizens of his state for not being sufficiently self-sacrificing. His Department of Health notoriously put out a bulletin that directed restaurant diners to wear face masks between bites. So it is no surprise that California politics are being roiled by the revelation, first reported by the San Francisco Chronicle, that Newsom and his wife attended a dinner for 12, »

Should Republicans Pick the Next House Speaker?

Featured image Right now it appears that Republicans will have at least 210 seats in the House in the next Congress, and perhaps a many as 214 if the remaining races where the GOP candidate leads all break their way. That would leave Democrats with a slim 7-vote majority, and leave the GOP needing to gain only four seats to take control in the next election. Given that over ten House Democrats »

When You’ve Lost Gene Simmons . . .

Featured image After a certain point it becomes wanton cruelty to keep dunking on California’s slow motion suicide, but some stories are too good to pass unremarked. Today’s Wall Street Journal reports that rocker Gene Simmons is KISS-ing California goodbye and moving to no-income tax Washington state, and in high KISS-my-ass style: [Simmons] is now putting the property, which they later redeveloped into a sprawling European-style mansion, on the market for $22 million. »

More California Dreamin’

Featured image It’s not enough that California starts a high-speed rail project that will never be completed and that almost no one will ride even if it was, or that it wants to make California into the nation’s largest used car market by banning the sale of new gasoline powered cars in the year 2035. Now the geniuses who run the state think Californians should pay reparations for slavery: California task force »

Catching Up With California and Texas

Featured image Busy week, with a LOT to catch up on. Stay tuned; I will. In the meantime, two important videos about California and Texas. First up, the great J.P. Sears. The COVID-19 lockdown is probably bad for his touring act, but it has meant that he’s producing more videos for us to enjoy. Although he lives (I think) in Colorado, he turns his attention here to California, or as he puts »

Only in California

Featured image Today’s California Crazy comes from the Los Angeles Times. Question: Is electricity for these housing units extra? Housing costs for the homeless rose to $531,000 a unit, L.A. controller’s report says The average cost of building a single unit of housing for the homeless in Los Angeles has risen to $531,000, according to an audit from the city controller, who recommends that L.A. rehab motels and open dormitory-style buildings to »

The Decline and Fall of California in Two Maps

Featured image Yesterday afternoon, as the temperature in many parts of the Los Angeles area topped 110 degrees, the mayor of Los Angeles issued this tweet: It was known for nearly a week that we were in for record-breaking heat this weekend, and remember that as it is a holiday weekend, most industry (that is still left in the state) is shut down, which ought to have made it easier to secure »

The Great Implosion

Featured image A couple days ago I referenced Tom Wolfe’s classic essay “The Great Relearning,” and it may be that we have to go through the Great Implosion in order to relearn things like common sense. As you have heard, California is going through a series of rolling blackouts of the kind not seen since the botched electricity “restructuring” almost 20 years ago ultimately ended up costing Governor Gray Davis his job. »

The Decline and Fall of San Francisco

Featured image Not long ago UC Hastings School of Law, as well-regarded law school in downtown San Francisco, sued the city because local neighborhood conditions had deteriorated to the point that the law school was losing prospective students who took one look at the place and said, “No, thanks!” Hastings is a very liberal law school—I don’t think they have a single conservative on their faculty—but as Robert Conquest reminded us, everyone »

Zero Bail and Zero Brains

Featured image As we’ve reported previously, California has gone all-in on the “zero-bail” nonsense that crime is just part of middle class oppression or something. Here’s today’s story of how this is working out, from Placer County, a Sierra foothills region east of Sacramento: Placer County Sheriff’s Office: Just after midnight early Monday morning, our graveyard-shift deputies initiated a traffic stop on a vehicle with suspended and expired vehicle registration, in Auburn. The »

A move to reinstate racial preferences in California

Featured image California Proposition 209, enacted by the state’s voters in 1996, amended the California Constitution to prohibit public institutions from discriminating on the basis of race, sex, or ethnicity. Now, the California legislature is considering legislation to reinstate racial preferences. That legislation, Assembly Constitutional Amendment 5 (ACA 5), would repeal Prop. 209. The text is here. The legislation tries to paint a grim picture of educational prospects for blacks and Latinos »

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. »