Did Prop. 47 cause state crime boost?

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Since the initiative’s passage, crime rates have gone up in California, especially in the state’s 10 largest cities. Law-enforcement officials – including San Diego Police Chief Shelley Zimmerman – have been blaming the new voter-approved law for the crime increases. Certainly, there’s nothing ridiculous about asserting that letting more offenders out on the street might lead to higher crime rates. But just because the correlation exists and the theory is plausible doesn’t prove causation.

Source: Did Prop. 47 cause state crime boost? – Steven Greenhut, San Diego Union Tribune

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China’s long march to dominate world currency

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China continues to crush America.

The International Monetary Fund on Monday approved the Chinese renminbi as one of the world’s main central bank reserve currencies, a major acknowledgment of the country’s rising financial and economic heft.

The I.M.F. decision will help pave the way for broader use of the renminbi in trade and finance, securing China’s standing as a global economic power. But it also introduces new uncertainty into China’s economy and financial system, as the country was forced to relax many currency controls to meet the I.M.F. requirements.

Source: China’s Renminbi Is Approved as a Main World Currency – The New York Times

Cali’s solar scam really about developer, utility company profits

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California’s aggressive push to increase renewable energy production comes with a catch for people with solar panels on the roof: You don’t count.

If a home or business has a rooftop solar system, most of the wattage isn’t included in the ambitious requirement to generate half of the state’s electricity from renewable sources such as solar and wind by 2030, part of legislation signed in October by Gov. Jerry Brown.

That means rooftop solar owners are missing out on a potentially lucrative subsidy that is paid to utilities and developers of big power projects.

It also means that utility ratepayers could end up overpaying for clean electricity to meet the state’s benchmark because lawmakers, by excluding rooftop solar, left out the source of more than a third of the state’s solar power.

Source: Why rooftop solar advocates are upset about California’s clean-energy law – LA Times

Finally! Brutal L.A. County sheriff’s deputies heading to the slammer!

Two former Los Angeles County sheriff’s deputies are scheduled to be sentenced in federal court Monday morning for their roles in the beating of a handcuffed man and a scheme to cover up the assault.

Sussie Ayala and Fernando Luviano were convicted in June alongside their supervisor at the county’s central jail facility. A federal jury found that the three violated the civil rights of Gabriel Carrillo, who was left badly bloodied.

The supervisor, former Sgt. Eric Gonzalez, was sentenced to eight years in prison this month.

Source: Ex-L.A. County sheriff’s deputies to be sentenced for beating of jail visitor – LA Times

Cali’s brutal foster care system finally changing

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California will soon stop warehousing kids in group homes where they often languish for years because the foster care system has found no other place for them to live.

Under a new law taking effect in January, the state’s Department of Social Services will begin a multiyear plan to replace privately run group homes with “short-term residential treatment centers” where youth will mostly stay no more than six months.

Source: California aims to stop warehousing foster kids in group homes – San Jose Mercury News

Yes, you read this right, UC gives Bill Gates $1 billion – WTF???!!!

The University of California announced Sunday it has pledged $1 billion over the next five years toward research and development of clean energy technology to fight climate change as part of a coalition led by Microsoft founder and philanthropist Bill Gates.

“The University of California, with its 10 campuses and three national energy labs, is home to some of the best climate scientists in the world and as a public research institution we take the imperative to solve global climate change very seriously,” said UC President Janet Napolitano.

UC said it has also committed $250 million to fund innovative, early stage clean energy projects that emerge from UC research.

Source: University of California pledges $1B in Bill Gates’ clean energy coalition – San Jose Mercury News

Cali tax measure has #BigTobacco, moderate Dems, on the ropes

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Even though a group of moderate Democrats, many of whom had accepted Big Tobacco’s money, helped snuff out a $2-per-pack tax in the Legislature this year, polls show the public favors the proposal by more than 2-1. A powerful union has already pumped $3 million into the campaign, and billionaire environmentalist Tom Steyer has kicked in another million.

Source: California tobacco tax measure’s supporters, foes prepare for battle – San Jose Mercury News

Without video evidence, the thugs cops who murdered #LaquanMcDonald’s would have gotten away

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The video provides compelling evidence of the value of mandatory video equipment in law enforcement — and the necessity of making it public. It should give pause to those who have suggested a “Ferguson effect” is making officers more reticent to confront suspicious people because of public scrutiny — and their apprehension could be producing a crime surge.

Feckless FBI Director James Comey even expressed concern about a “chill wind that has blown through American law enforcement over the last year.”

McDonald’s death is a reminder of the value of public scrutiny. If not for the video — and the mighty efforts of those who pushed to release it — his killing would be just another statistic in the category of “justified use of force.”

Source: Laquan McDonald death shows value of video evidence – San Francisco Chronicle

Needle exchange program has turned San Francisco into junkie city

What were the idiots who run San Francisco thinking?

The number of complaints to the city about discarded needles has skyrocketed in the past couple of years — and although San Francisco has the largest program in the nation for handing out free, clean needles to drug addicts, a quiet policy change has evolved over the past decade that may be contributing to that rise in complaints.

San Francisco no longer requires that addicts turn in a dirty needle for every clean needle they receive at city programs. In fact, since 2008, the practice has been termed “syringe access” rather than “needle exchange” — the same change that has occurred at handout programs across the country.

Source: Complaints skyrocket over syringes on streets in S.F. – San Francisco Chronicle

Sac Bee lays blame for Colorado Springs massacre at the feet of pro-Life @GOP

What happened in Colorado Springs is the sort of thing that has happened for generations when supposedly serious people play to the public’s basest political instincts. In the decades since abortion was made legal in this country, unhinged people whipped up by anti-abortion extremism have committed eight murders, not counting Colorado, attempted at least 17 others and staged hundreds of potentially lethal clinic arsons, bombings and other attacks.

Source: Who is to blame for the tragedy in Colorado? – The Sacramento Bee

Planned Parenthood whack-job murder: ‘No more baby parts’ 

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The deranged white anti-abortion psychopath gunman who stormed a Planned Parenthood clinic killing three people used the phrase “no more baby parts’’ to explain his actions, according to a law enforcement official.

The attack on the clinic, by Robert Lewis Dear Jr., was “definitely politically motivated,’’ said the official, speaking on the condition of anonymity because the investigation is still underway.

NBC News, which first reported the comment, said that Dear also mentioned President Obama in a range of statements to investigators that left his precise motivation unclear.

Planned Parenthood has been at the center of a political storm as the 2016 presidential campaign heats up.

Republican candidates like Carly Fiornia (who incidentally outsourced 30,000 American jobs to China while pocketing millions in Silicon valley) have raged against Planned Parenthood on the campaign trail.

Source: ‘No more baby parts,’ suspect in attack at Colo. Planned Parenthood clinic told official – The Washington Post

More “Community Policing” eyewash from the thugs at the @SanDiegoPD

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Here’s the face of the real San Diego Police Department. If you’re a citizen of San Diego, you’re their enemy.

February 2014, then-San Diego Police Chief Bill Lansdowne asked the U.S. Department of Justice to conduct an audit of his department, which was mired in the scandal of officer misconduct that included drunken driving, drug dealing and sexual assaults.

After a yearlong investigation, the feds doled out 40 recommendations. Most were ways the department could better deter and prevent misconduct, but the report also included suggestions intended to help restore public trust. Eight of them focused on how the department could better forge community relationships.

So how did the department go from leading national conferences on community-oriented policing to being told by the Department of Justice that it needed to do better in that area?

Starting in the 1960s, crime steadily started to rise, peaking nationwide around 1991. Violent crime hit its height in San Diego County in 1992. Understandably, police were very crime-focused, said Jason Stamps, the associate director of the Center for Public Safety and Justice.

“They were focused on bringing down crime rates, solving crimes, catching bad guys and putting them in jail,” he said. “Which is good, but that singular focus started to create distance between (officers) and the community.”

That enforcement mentality, compounded by instances of police abuse, fueled tensions, especially in communities of color.

Source: SDPD’s drive to get back to community policing – San Diego Union-Tribune

Palin-land continues its assault against the #LGBT community

Screenshot 2015-11-29 at 08.48.22A young-adult sex education book that sits on Wasilla Public Library’s juvenile nonfiction shelf has sparked calls to relocate the book — if not remove it altogether.

“This Book is Gay” is a rainbow-covered guide for LGBT teens written by U.K. young-adult author James Dawson and published last year.

The copy in Wasilla is one of two public copies in Alaska. The other is in Barrow, where it’s shelved with adult nonfiction.

The book drew sudden attention in recent weeks after Wasilla resident Vanessa Campbell’s 10-year-old son pulled it off a shelf in the library’s lower-level children’s area.

Campbell, shocked by what she considered vulgar language and graphic sexual concepts, started the unusual process of getting the book “reconsidered” by the library director because she wanted it moved.

“This Book is Gay” mostly focuses on broader messages about safe sex, bullying, coming out and other aspects of life as a homosexual young adult. It’s written in a casual and humorous — though sexually explicit — style, with cartoon drawings and nicknames for body parts along with anatomically correct ones.

It’s one chapter — “Ins and Outs of Gay Sex” — that’s getting most of the attention. Among the passages: “Oral sex is popping another dude’s peen in your mouth or, indeed, popping yours in his.”

Source: Wasilla library weighs removal of gay sex ed book from juvenile shelves – Alaska Dispatch News

Regulators: #vaping “…not a safer alternative to cigarettes…a gateway to teen smoking”

San Mateo police alerted the public on Monday that an ordinance meant to curb secondhand smoke exposure from cigarettes has been updated to include e-cigarettes and medical marijuana as well.

San Mateo’s City Council established the ordinance update, which went into effect on Nov. 5, to protect the public from being exposed to “unwanted second-hand smoke in public places,” police said.

That means smoking both traditional tobacco products and the added categories of smoking is now prohibited inside any multi-unit residence, within 40 feet of those residences or in any enclosed or unenclosed common area of the residences, police said.

Under the ordinance “public service areas” where smoking is prohibited are defined as any place residents might have to wait, like bus stops, train stations, ATMs or movie theater ticket lines.

The ordinance also prohibits smoking in and around city buildings, parks and other unenclosed public spaces.Police said the move responds to information that indicates e-cigarettes “are not a safer alternative to cigarettes, and are a gateway to teen smoking.”

Source: E-cigs, medical marijuana added to San Mateo smoke ordinance – The San Francisco Examiner

More evidence the disgraced #SFPD and @SFPDChiefSuhr are just crooks…

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As the San Francisco Police Department continues its hiring surge after years of declining numbers, questions have arisen recently about the fairness of the recruitment process and the resulting quality of recruits.

In September, the San Francisco Examiner wrote about the special treatment given to a family friend of the chief.

Now, a group of San Francisco police officers are upset over a decisions by brass to allow failing trainees to stay in the department even though they were recommended for release, according to the memo obtained by the Examiner.

The memo raises questions about a trend that may be putting unqualified officers onto city streets.

Source: Leaked SFPD memo indicates practice of special treatment is widespread – The San Francisco Examiner

Judge: Regulator should release Brown e-mails on San Onofre scam

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A San Francisco judge is urging the state Public Utilities Commission to stop “stonewalling” and release e-mails that could reveal a behind-the-scenes role for Gov. Jerry Brown in a multibillion-dollar deal with two utilities that shut down a Southern California nuclear power plant.

Superior Court Judge Ernest Goldsmith acknowledged that he may not have the legal authority to order the state to turn over the e-mails, which the commission says were communications involving Brown and the president of the regulatory agency’s governing board, Michael Picker, about the closure of the San Onofre nuclear plant in San Diego County.

But it’s in the public’s interest for the commission to “do the right thing” and reveal as much documentation as possible about what went into a deal that would cost Southern California utility customers more than $3.3 billion, the judge said.The experience of another major California utility — Pacific Gas and Electric Co. — after the San Bruno disaster shows that “when something is big enough, it’s just got to come out,” Goldsmith said.

Source: Judge: Regulator should release Brown e-mails on nuclear shutdown – San Francisco Chronicle

For the @OaklandPoliceCA, being black a good enough reason to bust someone

Basically all cops in Cali think that black people are criminals. It’s the biggest race-based hate movement since the advent of the KKK.

Police in Oakland disproportionately stop and search African American pedestrians and motorists under the parameters of “reasonable suspicion” — a vague legal standard that can amount to little more than an officer’s hunch.

From September 2014 to September 2015, more than 34,000 people were stopped by Oakland police, 1,876 for reasonable suspicion. About 70 percent were black, even though just 26.5 percent of Oakland residents are African American, according to a Chronicle analysis.

Reasonable suspicion is the lowest legal threshold officers must clear to conduct a rudimentary search without consent. Unlike traffic or probable cause stops, which require tangible evidence of a violation or crime, reasonable suspicion can be invoked if someone fits a suspect’s physical description, inconsistently answers questions or displays any other signs that they’re engaged in criminal activity.

Source: Black Oakland residents stopped, searched with vague legal tactic – San Francisco Chronicle

Cali pols should step up and support transparency initiatives

Any red-blooded, flag-waving politician would declare that the public has a right to know how government works and that transparency is vital to a functioning democracy.

Here’s how legislative leaders and Gov. Jerry Brown can prove they have nothing to hide: Embrace two proposed initiatives that would shine more light on government, lobbying and campaign spending.

Source: Lawmakers can prove they support transparency – The Sacramento Bee

Videos of massive Cali firefighter corrupiton scheme leaked to Sacramento Bee

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For more than a year now, the California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection has been climbing out from a scandal that started with the murder of an academy instructor’s mistress and ballooned into a wide-ranging investigation of academy activities. The agency since has dismissed or disciplined 15 employees for a range of behaviors, including drinking on duty, using state property to meet with prostitutes, and sexual harassment. It accepted the resignation of another.

But agency officials have refused to make public the CHP probe that resulted in those actions. Nor have they addressed in any detail another explosive allegation: that cadets and instructors at California’s firefighting academy for several years conspired to cheat on weekly exams.

Concerns about rampant cheating are laid out within 13 hours of audio recordings of witness interviews, leaked to The Sacramento Bee, that CHP investigators made during their probe. The recordings contain interviews with 11 people, a small number of the 163 interviewed. Those accounts, along with reports from two former cadets who came forward to speak about their own experiences, depict a culture in which test scores were routinely manipulated and exam answers widely circulated in an effort to graduate as many cadets as possible.

Source: Widespread cheating by instructors, cadets alleged at California’s fire training academy – The Sacramento Bee

Burger King manager says the police spiked his store video showing the #LaquanMcDonald murder


A Burger King manager who accuses Chicago police of erasing surveillance video in the case of Laquan McDonald, a black teenager shot 16 times last year by a white officer, says he has testified before a federal grand jury investigating the shooting.

Jay Darshane told reporters the FBI also took the restaurant video recorder containing all of its surveillance images.

The feckless Chicago police chief and the rotten Cook County state’s attorney say no one tampered with the Burger King video. Yeah, right, as if anyone would believe them.

Federal prosecutors said this week that their investigation was continuing, but would not comment further.

Under a judge’s order, the city released police squad car video showing the ruthless execution of McDonald, who was 17.  Cook County prosecutors also announced this week that officer Jason Van Dyke had been charged with first degree murder.

Van Dyke is being held without bond. His attorney vomited up the same #PoliceState bull$hit that Van Dyke feared for his life when he shot McDonald in the back.

Source: Laquan McDonald shooting: Burger King manager says he has testified – The Guardian

Idiots at #NSA, #CIA, #FBI all dropped the ball on #Paris attack

Three days before the attacks that ripped through Paris, Djazira Boulanger handed the keys to her row house, across the street from a kindergarten, to a guest who had booked it over the website Homelidays.com. His name was Brahim Abdeslam.

She didn’t know that Mr. Abdeslam was a central figure in plotting the deadly assault. As Ms. Boulanger tended to her two young children at home, authorities say Mr. Abdeslam and a band of cohorts were down the street preparing weapons for an assault on the Stade de France and Paris’s nightlife district.

Source: Paris Attacks Plot Was Hatched in Plain Sight – Wall Street Journal

Science doesn’t look good for the #vaping scammers

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Vaping, just another scam by death dealing corporations and their feckless retailers to get kids addicted to chemicals.

Electronic cigarettes, marketed as safer than regular cigarettes, deliver a cocktail of toxic chemicals including carcinogens into the lungs, new studies show. Using e-cigarettes may even make bacterial infections resistant to antibiotics.

People may think vaping is safe, but FDA has seen no data establishing anything like that.

E-cigarettes contain at least traces of the solvents in which nicotine and flavorings had been dissolved. Those solvents, she reports, are known as lung irritants.

And the solvents can transform into something even more worrisome: carbonyls. This group includes known cancer-causing chemicals, such as formaldehyde, and suspected carcinogens, such as acetaldehyde.

Source: Health risks of e-cigarettes emerge – Science News

@LongBeachPD_CA’s meat cleaver story is simply unbelievable

According to a rather fishy story from the Long Beach Police a 45-year-old man refused to drop a meat cleaver and they had to shoot him.

Where have you heard this line before…???

The man they shot was the guy who called them for help in the first place.

Sound even more familiar…???

The man was identified by police as Hung Doan Nguyen.

What’s more likely the truth, Nguyen probably used the meat cleaver to defend himself during the assault. But when the Long Beach PD arrived they apparently blasted away at the first person they saw.

Nice police work…real nice.

The victim is now a suspect. Great, makes you want to pick up the phone and dial 911 next time a burglar busts in doesn’t it.

If you want to read the B.S. the Long Beach PD fed to the media here’s their propaganda: Long Beach officer shoots man who refuses to drop meat – Long Beach Press-Telegram

After #Paris, at least the docs get it: We’re at war with the #Islamics…

On the morning of Friday, Nov. 13, doctors throughout Paris — along with emergency personnel from the city’s fire brigade — held a drill to hone their response to a multiple-shooting disaster.

Several hours later, when terrorists really did stage shootings and bombings throughout the city, many of those doctors at first believed it was another phase of that exercise.

They soon realized they were dealing with the worst attack Paris had seen since World War II.

By the time the siege ended, medical teams had attended to 302 patients, including many with life-threatening injuries.

“This is the civil application of war medicine,” wrote the authors of a poignant essay published Tuesday in the medical journal Lancet.

Source: Doctors recount the Paris terror attacks: ‘This is the civil application of war medicine’ – LA Times

#PoliceState incompetency killed Kathryn Steinle

The revelation this week that a federal immigration agent’s gun was used to kill Oakland muralist Antonio Ramos in September adds to a running tally of high-profile Bay Area cases from the past year where a law enforcement firearm was stolen from a vehicle.

One of those guns is linked to the shooting death in July of 32-year-old Kathryn Steinle, of Pleasanton, as she walked along Pier 14 in San Francisco, involving a pistol stolen from the vehicle of a ranger with the Bureau of Land Management.

The succession of thefts since the summer is a small sample given the thousands of police weapons issued in the region. But the incidents highlight a lack of centralized record-keeping and have touched off a conversation in law enforcement agencies trying to avoid being the latest to experience a scenario that can range from embarrassing — a chief was victimized, and another officer was reportedly looted by a prostitute — to tragic.

 

 

 

 

Source: Oakland muralist’s death by law enforcement gun spurs talk about weapon security – Inside Bay Area

While Paris burns, and #Islamics overrun Europe, Cali’s pols rant about climate change

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While California has no official role in the negotiations, observers say the state brings proof that governments can initiate effective climate programs, and at the same time, not kill their economies — an example expected to inspire the parties at the bargaining table.

The governor will be accompanied officially by a handful in his administration and unofficially by dozens of state business and political leaders, including former Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger, hedge fund manager and billionaire Tom Steyer, and representatives of Google and Pacific Gas and Electric Co.

Their agenda has not been disclosed, but the contingent is certain to highlight California’s ambitious efforts to reduce greenhouse gas emissions.

Source: Gov. Jerry Brown marches California climate agenda to Paris – San Francisco Chronicle

Pols in DC have had enough of the hapless #DEA’s “war” on marijuana

The Drug Enforcement Administration is not having a great year.

The chief of the agency stepped down in April under a cloud of scandal.

This fall, the administration earned a scathing rebuke from a federal judge over its creative interpretation of a law intended to keep it from harassing medical marijuana providers.

Then, the Brookings Institution issued a strongly worded report outlining the administration’s role in “stifling medical research” into medical uses of pot.

Unfortunately for the DEA, the year isn’t over yet. Last week, a group of 12 House members led by Ted Lieu (D) of California wrote to House leadership to push for a provision in the upcoming spending bill that would strip half of the funds away from the DEA’s Cannabis Eradication Program and put that money toward programs that “play a far more useful role in promoting the safety and economic prosperity of the American people”: domestic violence prevention and overall spending reduction efforts.

Each year, the DEA spends about $18 million in efforts with state and local authorities to pull up marijuana plants being grown indoors and outdoors. The program has been plagued by scandal and controversy.

More recently, overzealous marijuana eradicators have launched heavily armed raids on okra plants and warned the Utah legislature of the threat posed by rabbits who had “cultivated a taste for the marijuana.”

Last year, the DEA spent an average of roughly $4.20 (yes, really) for each marijuana plant it successfully uprooted. In some states, the cost to taxpayers approached $60 per uprooted plant.

Given that marijuana is legal in some form or another in nearly half of the nation’s states, some lawmakers are saying enough is enough.

Source: The DEA has failed to eradicate marijuana. Some members of Congress want it to stop trying. – The Washington Post

Incompetent Cali regulators leave largest reservoir in Santa Clara County nearly empty

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No matter how much it rains this winter, one of the Bay Area’s largest reservoirs won’t fill up.

Seismic safety concerns are already restricting the amount of water that can be stored in Anderson Reservoir, and now the discovery of new “trace faults” near the dam have further stalled a $193 million project to strengthen it.

State regulators ordered a few years ago that the vast lake near Morgan Hill in Santa Clara County — which holds more water than the other nine reservoirs in the county combined — could not be filled any more than 68 percent full because geologic tests found that in a major earthquake, its 240-foot high earthen dam could slump, releasing a wall of water that could generate a trail of death and destruction all the way to San Jose.

Source: Project to drain largest reservoir in Santa Clara County a year behind schedule – San Jose Mercury News

Left-wing Cali Endowment giving mega -$$$’s to the #Islamics

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Another win for terrorists…

The California Endowment will make emergency relief grants to several organizations helping Syrian refugees arriving in the Golden State, it announced Tuesday.

With more than $3 billion in assets, the foundation is one of the nation’s largest private health care foundations, created in 1996 when Blue Cross of California acquired the for-profit subsidiary WellPoint Health Networks.

“This is a moment to stand up for our values as Americans,” Dr. Robert Ross, the California Endowment’s president and CEO, said in a news release.

“Inclusion and compassion are at the core of The Endowment’s mission to create healthier communities across our great state. We are committed to do our part and support Governor Brown’s decision to welcome refugees to California.”

Source: Political Blotter: California Endowment offers grants to aid Syrian refugees – Contra Costa Times

White whack-job ID’d as Planned Parenthood gunman

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CalNews.com condemns in the strongest terms the actions of Robert Dear. People like him are as big a threat to America as any foreign terrorist organization. We invite everyone, pro-choice and pro-life, to join us in our condemnation of this pathetic, feckless maniac.

The nightmare at a Colorado Springs Planned Parenthood clinic is over. Now comes the time to sort through the sad, sordid, alarming aftermath.

Three people were shot dead Friday, including university police Officer Garrett Swasey, whose body was escorted out early Saturday morning by his fellow officers. Five officers and four civilians are hospitalized in good condition, according to city police Lt. Catherine Buckley, after the assault.

And then there’s the challenge of making sense of all this bloodshed: Why, on the day after Thanksgiving, would a man walk up to a clinic with his guns out and then hold out for hours before finally surrendering?

Speculation immediately swirled that Planned Parenthood was targeted because one of the services it provides is abortion.

Source: Planned Parenthood gunman named, motive unknown – CNN.com

 

Mexican migrants are saying adios pendejos…

While some may cheer the net outflow of Mexican migrants, they should be careful what they wish for. We have long known that a growing U.S. economy depends critically on immigrant workers in various sectors. Mexican immigrants contribute heavily to our state and local economies, especially in construction, agriculture and various service sector jobs. With the wave of baby boom retirements growing each year, demand for immigrant workers will only increase.

Source: Mexican migrants are heading back home — and that’s bad news for the U.S. economy – LA Times

Cali tax collectors creating a new black market for marijuana

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The state’s cannabis industry is learning that its expanding freedoms may come with a stiff price tag. In 1996, the state’s voters approved Proposition 215, which legalized the sale and purchase of marijuana for medical purposes. It was hailed as a victory for freedom, but the initiative’s details were hazy and the state has struggled for two decades to figure out how to tax and regulate it – especially given the feds still treat marijuana as a banned narcotic.

Source: Price for pot freedom is a higher tax bill – SanDiegoUnionTribune.com

In Cali, gas price gouging continues

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The days when oil companies could credibly deny they’re gouging California drivers just because they’ve dropped pump prices a bit appear now to be over.

For every measuring stick except a comparison with the price of gasoline four months ago leads to the unmistakable conclusion that this state’s three biggest gasoline refiners – Valero, Tesoro and Chevron – are still gouging customers like they did at mid-summer, when prices topped $4 per gallon in many places.

Now prices are down to $2.60 in some spots, while it’s hard to find gas anywhere at prices over $3.60 per gallon.

That’s taking some heat off the big refiners, but it should not. For even when this state’s higher-than-normal gasoline taxes are figured in, Californians are still paying about 60 cents per gallon more than the average price in many other states with far worse access to refined gasoline.

Source: Pump prices down a bit, but gas gouging continues

Gavin Newsom has put himself front and center on three controversial ballot measures

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The former San Francisco mayor has put himself front and center on three controversial 2016 ballot measures — pot legalization, gun control and a higher minimum wage. They’re all issues that could shore up his liberal base and raise his profile in areas of the state where he’s not well known.

Newsom insists he’ll have time to work on all three measures, while admitting that the gun control proposal, which he is not only backing but sponsoring, will take center stage.

Source: Gavin Newsom Talks His Three Big Issues For 2016 – KQED News

Poland continues to protect child molester Roman Polanski

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Poland will not extradite filmmaker Roman Polanski to the U.S. in an almost 40-year-old case after prosecutors declined to challenge a court ruling against it.

Prosecutors in Krakow, who had sought the extradition on behalf of the U.S., said Friday they found the court’s refusal of extradition to be “right” and said they found no grounds to appeal it.

The decision by the prosecutors closes the case in Poland and means Polanski, 82, is free to reside and work in Poland, where he grew up and studied filmmaking, and where he is preparing to make a new movie. Preparations for the movie were stalled by the extradition request that the U.S. made last year.

The director pleaded guilty in 1977 to one count of unlawful sexual intercourse with a 13-year-old girl during a photo shoot in Los Angeles.

In a deal with the judge, he served more than a month in prison, but then fled the U.S. fearing the judge would have him imprisoned for much longer. The U.S. has been seeking to bring Polanski back and put him before a court.

Source: Poland won’t extradite Roman Polanski to the U.S. – LA Times

Decision on releasing cam footage can’t be left to the #PoliceState

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Chicago officials refused to show the public a police dash-cam video of the October 2014 fatal shooting of a young man. Instead, the public got the official police version of what happened: The 17-year-old black suspect was shot in the chest by an officer whose life was in danger when the youth lunged toward him with a knife.

Now, 13 months later — the video, released due to a judge’s order, shows what really happened. The teen, Laquan McDonald, is walking up the middle of a street with a pocketknife in one hand. He never lunges toward a police officer. He moves away. And then he’s shot. Sixteen times. The teen goes down after the first shots, but Officer Jason Van Dyke stops only to reload. The teen’s body is nudged slightly from the force of each round — followed by puffs of smoke.

And now, more than a year later, Cook County prosecutors charge Van Dyke with first-degree murder. Apparently, the powers that be in Chicago realized they could no longer cover up an unsanctioned state execution.

Source: Decision on releasing cam footage can’t be left to police – San Francisco Chronicle

CalPERS crook remains free…

The sentencing of CalPERS’ former chief executive on bribery charges was postponed Wednesday for a fourth time.

Fred Buenrostro, who pleaded guilty in July 2014 to accepting bribes, was supposed to be sentenced Dec. 10 in U.S. District Court in San Francisco. Instead, prosecutors and his defense lawyer agreed to postpone sentencing.

Buenrostro, who is expected to receive a five-year prison term, has been remains a free man.

This rat Buenrostro admitting taking more than $250,000 in cash and other bribes from scumbag Alfred Villalobos, a “placement agent” representing private-equity firms seeking investments from the California Public Employees’ Retirement System.

Villalobos earned roughly $50 million in commissions after securing billions in CalPERS’ money for his clients.

Source: Sentencing postponed again in CalPERS bribery case – The Sacramento Bee

Jerry Brown slams AG’s Morrisey and Paxton on climate change

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Continuing to lambaste climate change skeptics as he prepares to attend a global climate summit in Paris, Gov. Jerry Brown on Wednesday chided the attorneys general of Texas and West Virginia for seeking to convey to world leaders their opposition to new federal emissions rules.

Officials in 24 states sued the Environmental Protection Agency in October for exceeding its powers in moving to limit emissions from power plants. Earlier this week West Virginia Attorney General Patrick Morrisey and Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton sent Secretary of State John Kerry a letter asking him to highlight the legal challenge during the Paris talks, saying Kerry has “a duty to acknowledge to negotiating nations” the pushback.

In response, Brown – who has championed California’s aggressive efforts to curb emissions and made the issue a centerpiece of his final term – sent Paxton and Morrisey a letter dismissing their argument as “legally flimsy.” California has joined other states in court filings supporting the federal plan.

“You’re sending a dangerous message to the world: on climate change, do nothing,” Brown wrote.

Source: Jerry Brown has stern words, flash drives for Republicans challenging climate rules – The Sacramento Bee

Cali’s courts in complete disarray…in other words, business as usual

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California has the nation’s largest court system, and perhaps its most troubled with severe financial and managerial tangles, and a virtual war between a San Francisco-based administrative superstructure and hundreds of rebellious local judges.

What was once a highly decentralized system – and by state law supposed to be that way – was more or less compressed into a centrally managed system under former Chief Justice Ron George, through the state Judicial Council and the Administrative Office of the Courts.

When Tani Cantil-Sakauye succeeded George five years ago, she inherited not only a big financial crisis, born of the Great Recession, but a very expensive “case management” system that had cost hundreds of millions of dollars but didn’t work, a courthouse construction program in disarray, and the trial judge rebellion.

Today, the budget crisis continues, the case management system was finally abandoned, the construction program is still underway, albeit with an uncertain future, and the Alliance of California Judges, the rebel group, is as noisome as ever.

Source: Dan Walters: Troubles continue for courts – The Sacramento Bee

Cali farmers sucking up the aquifer are destroying the Central Valley

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Experts say we’ll see farmlands go out of production because of groundwater law in coming years.

Land retirement is coming to California agriculture. The drought will end someday, maybe even this winter, but farmers will still face long-term shortages of water. The driving force: a new state law regulating the extraction of groundwater.

The new groundwater law is expected to further shrink agriculture’s presence.

The subject is particularly touchy in the San Joaquin Valley, the heart of California’s $54 billion-a-year agricultural industry. Experts at UC Davis estimated that farmers have been draining the valley’s underground water reserves by as much as 5 million acre-feet per year during the drought to help compensate for staggering shortfalls in water deliveries from the State Water Project and the federal government’s Central Valley Project.

What’s more striking, perhaps: Even before the drought began four years ago, the valley’s aquifers were being depleted by 1 million to 2 million acre-feet per year, according to data compiled by the state Department of Water Resources.

Pumping has been so extensive that portions of the valley floor are literally sinking, a phenomenon known as subsidence. As land subsides, the aquifers gradually lose much of their ability to be replenished by rain.

In other words, this is a deep, systemic problem that will squeeze farmers long after the drought ends.

Source: More California farmland could vanish as water shortages loom beyond drought – The Sacramento Bee

If you’re young, poor, or just plain stupid, you probably still smoke (or vape)

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The number of Californians who smoke has plummeted by roughly one million in the last decade, but smoking remains prevalent in many parts of the state, according to the latest figures from a large UCLA health survey.

For years, the California Department of Public Health has aggressively pushed advertisements that discourage smoking and note its adverse health effects. The state restricts where its residents can smoke, largely banning the practice in public, enclosed spaces. An effort to raise the legal smoking age to 21 passed the State Senate this year before stalling in the State Assembly.

So who is still smoking?

Source: Who still smokes in California? – The Sacramento Bee

Kelly Thomas’ murder by @FullertonCA’s killer cops cost taxpayers $4.9 million

The city of Fullerton agreed Monday to a $4.9 million settlement for the father of Kelly Thomas, a homeless, mentally ill man who died four years ago after he was murdered by two thugs from the Fullerton police department.

Obviously knowing they were going to lose big-time in court, attorneys struck the deal early Monday, hours before a civil trial was set to begin in the wrongful death claim – a trial that would have included video recordings in which the dying 37-year-old Thomas screams for his father to help him.

The Feds say a criminal civil rights investigation remains open.

Feckless Dana Fox, a rat attorney for the city of Fullerton, said the $4.9 million settlement is not an admission of legal liability by the city or police.

But Thomas’ father, Ron Thomas, disagreed.

“They know they were guilty of murder,” he said during a news conference.

Civil rights lawyers and advocates for the mentally ill said the amount sends a strong message to all police and the public that the lives of the homeless have value.

“You can’t look at these folks on the streets and deal with them in any less a human manner than you would with a regular working Joe,” said Eric Traut, former president of the Orange County Trial Lawyers Association.

Erwin Chemerinsky, a constitutional scholar and dean of the UC Irvine School of Law, said the amount “sends a message that something really wrong was done here.”

Source: $4.9 million settlement reached in Kelly Thomas wrongful-death case – The Orange County Register

#Putin to Turks, bring it on – Russia deploys missiles in Syria

Russia ordered the deployment of sophisticated ground-to-air missiles in Syria on Wednesday, a day after a Turkish fighter jet shot down a Russian SU-24 warplane that Ankara said had repeatedly violated Turkish airspace near the Syrian border.

The Kremlin also said it was moving the missile-carrying naval cruiser Moskva closer to the Syrian government-controlled Latakia area, where Tuesday’s deadly confrontation occurred, to provide better protection of Russian aircraft. The Kremlin’s warplanes are in the region to wage airstrikes against Islamic State militants and other forces fighting to oust Syrian President Bashar Assad, Russia’s closest ally in the Middle East.

The strengthening of Russian air defenses in the region further raises the stakes for the multinational coalition trying to contain the Islamic State extremists who have proclaimed a “caliphate” in the vast Syrian and Iraqi territory they control. If Russia were to shoot down a Turkish plane, or one from any other NATO member state, the Western military alliance would be obliged to respond to the attack.

Meanwhile, Syrian special forces staged a dramatic overnight rescue of one of the two Russian pilots who ejected from the SU-24 after it was struck by an air-to-air missile. Both Russian airman had been reported dead by Syrian rebel forces controlling the border area where the plane was shot down.

The rescued pilot, Capt. Konstantin Murakthin, told Rossiya-1 television that the warplane’s two-man crew had no warning of the Turkish attack and denied that they had strayed into Turkish airspace “even for one second.”

The navigator was reported in good condition after his ordeal and vowed to rejoin the air campaign against the anti-Assad forces that Moscow has labeled terrorists.

“I have a debt to pay off on the part of my commander,” Murakhtin said of the SU-24 pilot, Lt. Col. Oleg Peshkov, who was shot dead by rebels as he parachuted from the stricken warplane early Tuesday.

Another Russian airman was killed later Tuesday when rebels attacked an MI-8 helicopter that taken off from the Hemeimeem base in search of the two SU-24 pilots, Russian officials said. The helicopter was forced to land in neutral territory and the surviving crewmen were evacuated.

Source: Russia deploys missiles in Syria; pilot denies straying into Turkish airspace – LA Times

More worries about oil trains

Concerns about the safety of crude oil trains loom over a proposed rail takeover that would create the largest rail system in North America.

Last week, Alberta-based Canadian Pacific made public its plan to acquire Virginia-based Norfolk Southern. The $28.4 billion deal would need to be approved by company shareholders and federal regulators, a process that could take at least 18 months.

The railroads are key players in the transportation of crude oil from North Dakota’s Bakken shale region to East Coast refineries. Currently, Canadian Pacific transfers the shipments to Norfolk Southern at Chicago. The combined company could offer a seamless path the entire distance to the East Coast.

Though both companies have so far escaped the most serious crude by rail incidents involving spills, fires and mass evacuations, they are likely to face fresh scrutiny of their safety practices.

Source: Oil train safety concerns cast shadow over cross-border rail deal – The Sacramento Bee

Pissed-off white people turn to @realDonaldTrump

Donald Trump is still on top of the polls — defiantly, loudly, implausibly on top, even after saying things that would doom any candidate in a normal year.

Since the Nov. 13 terrorist attacks in Paris, Trump has seized the center of the GOP’s stage and bolstered his lead in both national and state polls. The horrors inflicted by Islamic State have given his campaign a lift.

The anger of conservative voters has been evident all year, but this week the nonpartisan Pew Research Center released an important study that added new detail to the picture.

The headline on Pew’s report was that only 19% of Americans say they can trust the federal government most of the time, one of the lowest levels in half a century. But among Republicans, that disaffection runs much deeper: 32% say they not only mistrust the government but are “angry” with it.

The angriest voters, Pew found, are politically engaged conservatives, the Republicans most likely to vote in primary elections. Most of them say an ordinary citizen could do a better job in the White House than a professional politician. Among that group, Citizen Trump scores high.

Source: What fuels Trump’s rise? Anger and fear – LA Times

Cali tourism groups say making money is more important than national security

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California Travel Assn. President Barbara Newton

The head of a group representing California tourism organizations says she is concerned that the state’s more than $117-billion annual tourism industry could be hurt by a plan to change a visa program following the Paris terror attacks.

California Travel Assn. President Barbara Newton and leaders of several California tourism boards already were in Washington for a U.S. Travel Association meeting when word of the legislation began to come out.

“We certainly support security and safety of our citizens and everyone around the world,” Newton said by phone this week. “But we don’t want to see the government do something that would disrupt business and travel.”

Source: California tourism groups worried about changes to visa program – LA Times

Feckless generals blame lowly airmen for Doctors Without Borders massacre

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In an effort to protect their jobs and save their careers, U.S. officials in Afghanistan said Wednesday that multiple service members were suspended from duty following an investigation into the deadly airstrike last month on a hospital in Kunduz.

Gen. John F. Campbell said the Oct. 3 strike on a Doctors Without Borders hospital, which killed 30 civilians and left 37 others wounded, was “tragic, but avoidable.” Human errors compounded by technical malfunctions onboard the AC-130 attack aircraft caused the strike, he said, speaking to reporters at the Pentagon in a video broadcast from Kabul, Afghanistan’s capital.

The investigation found that the “cause of this tragedy was … avoidable human error, compounded by process and equipment failures,” Campbell said.

The medical facility was misidentified as a target by U.S. military personnel who believed they were striking a different building several hundred meters away where there were reports of Taliban fighters, he said. The hospital was on the military’s so-called “no-strike list.”

Campbell did not identify the names or number of individuals suspended and did not say whether they would face disciplinary or criminal charges. Decisions on whether to prosecute will be made by the U.S. Special Operations Command, officials said.

Source: U.S. report on Afghan hospital attack ‘shocking,’ medical group says – LA Times

@GOP sheep gobble up @realDonaldTrump’s gibberish

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Donald Trump’s campaign trail commentary flows seamlessly but is often vague on specifics, and even facts.

It’s become almost standard for Trump in his quest for the Republican presidential nomination: make statements that defy truth, or promises that go beyond the power of the presidency. Yet his rhetoric resonates with supporters, who laud Trump for his blunt and politically incorrect style and have put him atop polls since he announced his candidacy in June.

Source: Donald Trump often says things that stretch the truth, but they fire up the faithful – LA Times

Cali gun control #EpicFail: Homeless felon found with submachine guns and silencers

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Richard Cunningham was homeless. But he wasn’t gun-less.

Deputies found a cache of weapons at his Harbor City encampment, including: two fully operational submachine guns, four handguns, two makeshift silencers and numerous rounds of ammunition.

Cunningham, a convicted felon, was taken into custody on suspicion of weapons violations and arraigned Tuesday, Pope said. He is being held in lieu of $165,000 bail.

It is unclear how Cunningham came to possess the arsenal. However it’s absolutely clear that California’s stupid gun control laws are a complete failure.

Source: Homeless man is accused of collecting submachine guns, silencers and handguns – LA Times

High Speed Rail haters continue their rant

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The Los Angeles to San Francisco bullet train is headed for new federal and state scrutiny following disclosure that the project’s lead contractor forecast significant cost increases that were not made public.

State Assembly Speaker Toni Atkins (D-San Diego) said in a letter this month that her chamber “will be undertaking a broader range of oversight activities in 2016” that would subject the bullet train to an “enhanced process” and a public hearing.

The Times reported Oct. 25 that a 2013 report by Parsons Brinckerhoff, the project’s main management contractor, projected a 31% cost increase to build an initial segment from Burbank to Merced and an overall 5% increase in the full Los Angeles to San Francisco system.

The California High-Speed Rail Authority has dismissed the cost projection. Rail authority Chairman Dan Richard said in a letter to Atkins that a $68-billion estimate, which the authority used for its 2014 business plan, was backed up by scores of documents and analyses.

Source: Bullet train faces new scrutiny after release of report predicting higher costs – LA Times

@GOP elites finally starting to get it – even their own party hates them

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Republican elites and their billionaire donors are in a funk. They don’t know where to turn, who to support or what to do with their money. Fearing Trump and Carson, they crave an establishment candidate—though the ones available are flat tires.

The desire to stop Trump and Carson is really about preventing the political desires of large numbers of Republican voters from being realized. It’s what elites really fear. This is a vote of no confidence in Republican elites.

While the Koch brothers wring their hands on the sidelines, and operatives fantasize about a Romney draft, large numbers of Republicans are in revolt. The question now before us is how far the revolt will go.

Source: Revolt of the masses and Republican elite shock – TheHill

San Diego’s good-news “problem” reinforces a reality that needs wider attention by Cali pols

As California suffers through the fourth year of a grueling drought, San Diego officials struggle with an unusual problem: They have too much water.

They don’t know where to store it all as a new desalination plant that turns ocean water into drinking water is just about to come on line in Carlsbad.

This surprises many California policy makers, but it’s easy to have seen this “problem” coming.

Source: New ‘problem’: Too much water – Steven Greenhut, San Diego Union-Tribune

@DailyCaller phony #racist tweets

What a coincidence…last week the Daily Caller reported this…

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Daily Caller photo 2:33 PM 11/18/2015

Thanks to “impressive” journalism, the Daily Caller even furnished its readers with the action packed picture above.

Funny thing, that very same gang apparently committed another heinous crime a full week later, yet they were kind enough to stop and pose one more time for the Daily Caller’s crack photo journalism team…

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Daily Caller photo 11:42 AM 11/25/2015

If you’re looking for exciting racist journalism, look no further than the Daily Caller.

#Racist @PortlandPolice officer reassigned after he and his bigot wife slam #BlackLivesMatter 

A Portland police officer was reassigned after tweeting about an upcoming protest organized by the groups Black Lives Matter and Don’t Shoot Portland.

The police bureau learned about the tweet on Tuesday, according to a news release. The officer deleted the tweet.“Once I learned of this post, I ordered this officer reassigned to an off-street assignment while this incident is being reviewed by the Professional Standards Division,” said acting Portland Police Chief Donna Henderson.

Soon after the incident, the racist cop’s wife Christy Hurlman, tweeted her pathetic racist point of view in support of her bigot cop husband, “Black Lives Matter is a movement created to give voice to racism…” 

This is not the first time Hurlman has come under fire for his bigoted opinions. In 2012, he texted officers following the federal justice department finding that Portland police used excessive force against people with mental illnesses.

The Oregonian reported that the text referred to two federal law enforcement debacles. Hurlman later said the text was inappropriate and apologized.

Source: Portland officer reassigned after Black Lives Matter tweet