VOTER FRAUD ALERT! @TedCruz threatens Iowa voters; @IowaSOS goes berserk

OK, we’ve seen and heard enough…Ted Cruz is a pathological liar who should not be allowed to hold public office of any kind.

After seeing the mailers, Iowa’s secretary of state, Paul Pate, issued a statement condemning Cruz’s tactic:

“Today I was shown a piece of literature from the Cruz for President campaign that misrepresents the role of my office, and worse, misrepresents Iowa election law. Accusing citizens of Iowa of a ‘voting violation’ based on Iowa Caucus participation, or lack thereof, is false representation of an official act. There is no such thing as an election violation related to frequency of voting. Any insinuation or statement to the contrary is wrong and I believe it is not in keeping in the spirit of the Iowa Caucuses.

Additionally, the Iowa Secretary of State’s Office never “grades” voters. Nor does the Secretary of State maintain records related to Iowa Caucus participation. Caucuses are organized and directed by the state political parties, not the Secretary of State, nor local elections officials. Also, the Iowa Secretary of State does not “distribute” voter records. They are available for purchase for political purposes only, under Iowa Code.”

On Saturday night, feckless Cruz responded. “I will apologize to no one for using every tool we can to encourage Iowa voters to come out and vote,” he told reporters during a campaign stop in Sioux City.

The secretary of state was mostly concerned that Cruz’s campaign mailers appeared partially disguised to look like an official communication from the state government.

Source: Ted Cruz’s Iowa Mailers Are More Fraudulent Than Everyone Thinks – The New Yorker


Everybody in Burns, OR pretty much hates #AmmonBundy and his whack-job friends

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Ammon Bundy’s group damaged the Malheur National Wildlife Refuge, taken over Jan. 2. The headquarters compound will be a crime scene for a week or more once all the protesters are gone. Then, displaced federal workers will return, going building by building, room by room, to assess the damage.

The most profound wreckage, however, is among the 7,000 people of Harney County.

Those supporting the occupation found themselves staring across a social chasm at friends and neighbors who abhorred Bundy’s arrival and his tactics. Community members couldn’t even agree on how to gather in public to hear information and share opinions without fear, insults and holstered guns dominating.

That deep canyon won’t be bridged soon, local residents say. Hurtful words, often entombed forever on social media, still rattle through the community, which seemed under siege for almost an entire month.

Unsure of the Bundy group’s intentions, local authorities closed schools in the Burns area for an extra week. The opening game of basketball season was shifted 113 miles east to a gym in Vale.

Bundy followers frayed nerves in the area but accomplished little of what they claimed they had come to do. The militants didn’t deliver any meaningful help to Susan Hammond, the wife of convicted rancher Dwight Hammond Jr. and their son Steven, whose resentencing sparked the occupation.

In the end, Bundy and his gang didn’t turn over a single acre of federal ground or shave so much as a day off the prison time facing the Hammonds.

Source: Bundy occupation leaves scars behind

Bay Area pols go tax crazy


Tax propositions might rain down on Bay Area residents like an El Niño downpour this year as cities, counties, school districts and agencies try to persuade voters to pay for improved transit, smoother roads, school repairs, city building rehab, and bay water and wildlife conservation.

Transportation authorities in Contra Costa, Solano, Santa Clara and Santa Cruz counties are planning sales tax elections. Santa Clara County is also talking about a sales tax to help the homeless.

BART directors plan a $3 billion bond measure in Contra Costa, Alameda and San Francisco counties. AC Transit directors are talking about a bond measure for the bus system’s Oakland to Richmond area. An obscure SF Bay Restoration Authority led the rush to the ballot box with a nine-county parcel-tax measure for the June election.

The Walnut Creek City Council and the Walnut Creek School District are discussing measures; so are Orinda, Lafayette and its school district. Not to be left out: the city of Hayward and the Hayward Area Recreation and Park District.

On top of that not necessarily complete list, Gov. Jerry Brown has said that the state needs new taxes and fees to maintain its transportation systems. The legislative fist fight between Democrats and Republicans over taxes vs. reallocating existing money has led to months of inaction.

Source: California braces for flood of tax measures – San Jose Mercury News

#Fascist #JanetNapolitano sets up computer network to spy on everyone at @UofCalifornia


UC Berkeley faculty members are buzzing over news that University of California President Janet Napolitano ordered the installation of computer hardware capable of monitoring all e-mails going in and out of the UC system.

“The intrusive device is capable of capturing and analyzing all network traffic to and from the Berkeley campus and has enough local storage to save over 30 days of all this data,” Ethan Ligon, one of six members of the school’s Senate-Administration Joint Committee on Campus Information Technology, wrote in an e-mail Thursday to fellow faculty members.

Information that the hardware gathers, Ligon wrote, “can be presumed to include your e-mail, all the websites you visit, all the data you receive from off campus or data you send off campus.”

Napolitano’s office defends the action.

Source: Cal professors fear UC bosses will snoop on them – San Francisco Chronicle

@AsmCherylBrown hands #racist @AssemblyDems their first loss


Despite an unusual challenge from a fellow Democrat, Assemblywoman Cheryl Brown received enough support at a delegate vote in her San Bernardino-area district Saturday to secure the party’s endorsement at its upcoming convention.

Brown is one of several moderate Democrat lawmakers this year who attracted unexpected intraparty opponents in safely Democratic districts where re-election would otherwise be a mere formality. Speculation that the challengers are backed by environmentalists seeking revenge for the weakening of high-profile climate-change legislation last session blossomed into controversy over whether the incumbents were being targeted because of their race.

Source: Cheryl Brown survives early challenge in contested re-election bid – The Sacramento Bee

The @NYTimes endorses two @Democrats — Clinton and Kasich


LOL! The NY Times must think Iowa has a top-two primary.

The New York Times on Saturday endorsed former secretary of State Hillary Clinton for the 2016 Democratic nomination and Ohio Gov. John Kasich for the Republican nomination.

The editorial board’s endorsements, published online and to run in Sunday’s print edition, come two days before the Iowa caucuses on Monday.

Source: The New York Times endorses Clinton, Kasich

@AmherstCollege dumps #racist genocidal maniac ‘Lord Jeff’


Lord Jeffery Amherst, the colonial-era military commander who gave this town its name, will no longer represent the prestigious liberal arts college here.

The trustees at Amherst College said on Tuesday that the institution would not use any references to Lord Jeffery, its unofficial mascot, in official communications or symbolism, and that it would find a new name for the Lord Jeffery Inn, a campus hotel owned by the college.

In a statement, the trustees also said that a group made up mostly of alumni and students would consider whether the college should adopt a new, and official, mascot.

“Amherst College finds itself in a position where a mascot — which, when you think about it, has only one real job, which is to unify — is driving people apart because of what it symbolizes to many in our community,” wrote Cullen Murphy, the chairman of the board.

Many students came to see Lord Jeff, as he is known here, as a symbol of white oppression for advocating that Native Americans be given smallpox-infected blankets to hasten their demise.

The military commander, who led key British victories in the French and Indian War and for whom this town, and others in the Northeast, was named, wrote in a postscript to a letter in 1763: “You will do well to try to inoculate the Indians by means of blankets, as well as to try every other method that can serve to extirpate this execrable race.”

The institution, which is one of the most diverse private colleges in the nation, was encouraged to cut its ties with Lord Jeff, who came to be seen as an inappropriate symbol and offensive to many members of the student body.

On Tuesday, students on campus, who had just returned from winter break, greeted the trustees’ decision as a victory in the tug of war over tradition, change and inclusion at one of the nation’s top private colleges.

Source: Amherst College Drops ‘Lord Jeff’ as Mascot – The New York Times

New #PoliceState policy: If you’re driving a car, #KillerCops consider you armed and dangerous


Now cops “fear for their lives” if you’re merely driving down the street.

Janet Wilson didn’t have a gun in her possession when she was fatally shot Wednesday by police in Dearborn, Mich., after a car chase.

But that doesn’t mean Wilson was unarmed, Michigan State Police First Lt. Michael Shaw told the Detroit Free Press.

“Armed or unarmed, what does that mean exactly?” Shaw said. “I think everyone wants it to be clear-cut, but more police officers are killed during the year with a vehicle than guns. … So was she armed? Absolutely.”

Wilson, Shaw said, was “armed with a three-ton vehicle” when she was brutally gunned down in Dearborn.

The incident in Michigan is hardly the first time law enforcement officials have argued that a vehicle can be considered a weapon.

Last year, for example, police in Colorado were cleared for their role in the fatal shooting of a teenage girl; officers said they opened fire on a car driven by 17-year-old Jessica Hernandez.

Source: Police: Woman killed by cops was ‘armed with a three-ton vehicle’ – The Washington Post

Bad news for @Frankenfood pushers — FDA bans imports of genetically engineered salmon


Genetically engineered salmon won’t be hitting U.S. dinner tables anytime soon.

Two months after federal regulators approved the nation’s first genetically engineered salmon for human consumption, the Food and Drug Administration on Friday issued a ban on the import and sale of the fish.

The FDA’s action was prompted by language in a sprawling federal spending bill passed by Congress recently, which instructed regulators to forbid the sale of genetically engineered salmon until the agency finalizes rules about how it should be labeled — a process that potentially could take years.

Source: FDA bans imports of genetically engineered salmon — for now – The Washington Post

Note to @GOP: An intellectually vibrant conservatism is essential to a healthy democracy


The Republican campaign for the 2016 presidential nomination has become a carnival, a comedy hour and, for many in the party, a horror show.

Donald Trump and Ted Cruz, the two leading candidates in Monday’s Iowa caucuses, are despised by most of the party’s leaders.

The GOP’s so-called establishment has, so far at least, been hapless in bringing them down.

Democrats can be forgiven for being gleeful.

An intellectually vibrant conservatism is essential to a healthy democracy.

The United States needs conservatives willing to criticize the grand plans we liberals sometimes offer, to remind us that traditional institutions should not be overturned lightly and to challenge those who believe that politics can remold human nature.

The aging base bodes ill for the party’s long-term prospects.

And the victories Republicans have won over the decades have produced neither the lasting electoral realignment that conservative prophets keep predicting nor the broad policy changes that the faithful hope for.

For the rank-and-file right, the sense that their leaders have failed

Source: Republican self-destruction is fun to watch, but bad for us all – The Washington Post

#Rednecks fight back: Georgia pol vows to stop ‘Confederate cleansing’ and ‘cultural terrorism’


A Republican lawmaker who says he’s grown weary of what he calls “Confederate cleansing” is working to preserve the famous carving of Robert E. Lee and other Confederate leaders on Georgia’s Stone Mountain.

“I’m tired of the anti-Confederate rhetoric toward Stone Mountain and any other Confederate monument that’s out there,” state Rep. Tommy Benton told the Morris News Service.

“We’re entitled to our heritage just like other people are entitled to theirs, and there seems to be an attempt to do Confederate cleansing.”

He continued: “I refer to that more as cultural terrorism than anything. They’re attacking us for no reason at all. We’ve not done anything to provoke them or anything else. They’re very similar to what’s going on in the Middle East with ISIS that’s destroying all those mosques and temples and everything because they don’t agree with that history over there, so they’re just destroying it and doing away with it.”

Source: Lawmaker vows to stop ‘Confederate cleansing’ and ‘cultural terrorism’ in Georgia – The Washington Post

#MarkZuckerberg sides with gun-grabbers — @Facebook bans private gun sales


Facebook will ban the private sale of guns on its social network as well as on Instagram, the company said Friday.

The move comes as the White House has increased pressure on the company to address the popular use of its platforms to promote and advertise firearms for sale, often as a way to evade background checks.

The ban only applies to private transactions and will not include licensed gun sellers.

Facebook, which has 1.59 billion monthly active users, already bans the sale of marijuana, pharmaceuticals and illegal drugs on its site and apps.

Source: Facebook moves to ban private gun sales – LA Times

Brutal thug prosecutors at the @CADistAttysAssn hate Brown’s parole plan


Prosecutors at the CDAA say screw you and your constitutional rights.

Gov. Jerry Brown’s plan to give more inmates a chance for early release would probably reduce prosecutors’ leverage in negotiating plea bargains according to thug prosecutors who have no respect for the law anyway.

A statewide prosecutors group is expected to oppose the proposal, according to Yuba County Dist. Atty. Patrick McGrath, president of the California District Attorneys Assn.

Advocates for juvenile offenders endorse it, and several law professors called the proposal a needed step to reducing mass incarceration.

Source: Experts: Brown’s parole plan would lessen plea-bargain power – San Diego Union-Tribune

#MarioWoods Update: @GeorgeGascon slams @MayorEdLee for pimping for the @SFPD


Mayor Ed Lee’s request for a federal investigation of the Mario Woods killing is unlikely to be granted, according to a letter written by District Attorney George Gascon.

The Jan. 28 letter, obtained by the San Francisco Examiner, also asked the mayor why, if he wants an independent investigation of the police shooting and bias in the department, he hasn’t supported Gascon’s blue ribbon panel doing just that?

Source: Gascon blasts mayor for waffling over Woods investigation – The San Francisco Examiner

In San Francisco, you’re never to young to get a free condom from your teacher


San Francisco’s public schools leaders are considering distributing condoms at middle schools.

The policy change, introduced by San Francisco Unified School District Superintendent Richard Carranza to the Board of Education earlier this month, is part of an overall effort by the district to further prevent sexually transmitted diseases and pregnancy among minors.

In addition to supplying condoms at middle schools, the superintendent’s recommended changes include to eliminate the exemption option for parents.

Condoms are provided to the schools from the San Francisco Department of Public Health. Middle school students would need to meet with a school social worker or district nurse before receiving condoms.

Source: SFUSD to consider distributing condoms at middle schools – The San Francisco Examiner

Incompetent Cali pols can’t even get gun-grabbing right — WTF???!!!


The law let’s Kamala Harris grab guns…but she can’t seem to figure out how to get this right.

Gun ownership is a right, but not an absolute one. For years California has enforced a law that removes firearms from owners no longer fit or legally entitled to possess them.

It’s a sensible safety measure long supported by Democratic and GOP lawmakers.

But the program is running into delays and lack of money that threaten to undercut its value.

That’s why state Attorney General Kamala Harris is asking for permanent funding to improve the disappointing results.

The law is directed at gun owners who purchased weapons legally but later racked up criminal records, developed mental health problems or were hit with restraining orders barring firearm possession.

The state Justice Department produced a list of more than 20,000 people barred from gun ownership.

But in three years the Department has has only been able to whittle down the list by only 40 percent.

In a state considered to have strict gun control laws, it’s a glaring weakness.

Source: Gun seizure program needs more money to protect Californians – San Francisco Chronicle

@FoxNews takes a massive ratings hit without @realDonaldTrump


The ratings for Fox News Channel’s Republican presidential primary debate took an expected hit from Donald Trump’s decision not to participate in the event, staged Thursday night in Des Moines, Iowa.

The debate, which fell four days before the state’s nominating caucuses, averaged 12.5 million viewers from 9 to 11 p.m. Eastern time. It was the second-smallest audience of the seven GOP primary debates and about half of what Fox News scored with its first Republican debate in August.

Trump had predicted the event would be a “total disaster” without him.

Fox News anticipated a huge audience for Thursday night after its broadcast of the first GOP showdown on Aug. 6 attracted 24 million viewers.

The record-setting audience for a nonsports cable telecast revealed that Trump was a powerful attraction for the debates, which in past election cycles typically scored well under 10 million viewers.

Fox News had reportedly sold some of the 30-second spots for its telecast for more than $250,000, which has become the going rate for the GOP gatherings.

Without Trump, Fox News’ audience did not approach the level of the first debate or either of the two shown last year on CNN (23 million viewers on Sept. 16 and 18 million on Dec. 15).

Source: Fox News draws 12.5 million viewers with Trump-free Republican debate – LA Times

Cali SEIU announces legislative endorsements, including one GOPer


Assemblyman Eric Linder could be a Democratic target this year, with at least three Democrats so far announcing candidacies for Linder’s western Riverside County district.

Friday, though, SEIU California, a key Democratic ally during campaign season, announced its backing for Linder, R-Corona.

It marked the first time in more than two decades that the 700,000-member union had endorsed a Republican – the last was the late Doris Allen (a complete idiot by any measure), who was recalled from office after siding with Democrats during the Assembly speakership wars of the mid-1990.

In a statement, the union cited “Linder’s accessibility and willingness to meet face-to-face with constituents, as well as his track record for standing by workers who have voted for union representation in their workplace.”

Source: SEIU California announces legislative endorsements, including a Republican – The Sacramento Bee

Cali pols want ‘all-gender’ restrooms


California Assemblyman Phil Ting, D-San Francisco, is pursuing legislation to eliminate separate single-occupancy restrooms for men and women.

Assembly Bill 1732 would require businesses, government buildings and other public spaces in the state would be required to identify any toilet facility that can only be used by one person at a time as “all-gender.”

In a statement, Ting said the change would accommodate transgender people and others who do not identify as men or women.“

Source: California lawmaker seeks ‘all-gender’ restrooms in public – The Sacramento Bee

Duh! @FBI loses guns, badges in Benicia


How can you lose this stuff??? WTF!!!

The Sacramento FBI is offering a reward of up to $5,000 for information leading to the identification and arrest of any person responsible for stealing several items from an FBI vehicle in Benicia.

The theft occurred early Friday in a residential neighborhood. The vehicle was locked and the alarm on, according to an FBI news release. Taken from the vehicle were a Glock 22 .40 caliber handgun, a Glock 27 .40 caliber handgun, a Springfield 1911a .45 caliber handgun, an FBI badge and credentials, and miscellaneous FBI property.

Source: FBI offers $5,000 reward in theft of items from agency vehicle in Benicia – The Sacramento Bee

How Jerry Brown’s parole initiative came together


Before he settled on the sweeping prison initiative that he announced on Wednesday, two groups of activists were pressing Brown to support other changes. The first, which Brown rejected, sought to install an independent sentencing commission, an administration official said. The second, concerning juvenile justice, provided the platform for the proposal Brown announced this week.

Juvenile justice advocates had submitted their own, little-noticed initiative in December, seeking to undo provisions of a 2000 ballot measure allowing prosecutors rather than judges to decide when to try teenagers as adults.

After months of talks, Brown joined their effort, adding to their initiative his proposal to make certain nonviolent felons eligible for early parole and, possibly more significantly, to give the Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation authority to award credits for good behavior. Brown said inmates currently have little incentive to rehabilitate themselves while in prison.

Now voters are likely to decide whether they think Brown’s effort will better prepare prisoners to re-enter society or instead release more offenders to endanger the community.

The measure – the only ballot initiative Brown plans to propose this year – follows years of angst by the Democratic governor over fixed-term sentencing and a tide turning nationally against tough-on-crime policies of the 20th century. Forty states took action to ease their drug laws between 2009 and 2013, according to the Pew Research Center. President Barack Obama has made prison reform a priority of his final year in office, and Sen. Chuck Grassley, R-Iowa, is advancing a bipartisan effort to reduce mandatory minimum sentences for some crimes.
Read more here:

Source: How Jerry Brown’s parole initiative came together – The Sacramento Bee

#AmmonBundy’s creepy court speech

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Ammon Bundy…the ultimate nutcase.

Ammon Bundy, the leader of the armed occupation of the Malheur National Wildlife Refuge in Oregon, told a judge here on Friday that his actions were intended to “preserve freedom.”

The first of 10 defendants arrested in the siege to appear before Magistrate Judge Stacie F. Beckerman for a detention hearing in federal court, Mr. Ammon said, “I respect the federal court as a place for people to find redress.”

“I do love the Constitution,” he said. “It allows us to live in happiness, to live as free people. I do love his country very much. My desire was to preserve freedom for the people.”

Source: Ammon Bundy Tells Oregon Court He Wants to ‘Preserve Freedom’ – The New York Times

Ooops!  State Department says 22 Hillary emails are top-secret


Damn the bad luck…!

The private email server Hillary Clinton used while secretary of State reemerged as a liability for her presidential run, as the State Department acknowledged Friday that 22 messages stored on the server contain top-secret information.

Clinton has long denied any of the messages that went through the unprotected server in her home contained highly sensitive material.

The State Department said none of the messages were marked top secret at the time they were sent — although it is looking into whether they should have been.

The administration refused to discuss the contents of the messages, which it acknowledged hours before the latest batch of about 1,000 pages of Clinton email is to be disclosed publicly.

The messages marked top secret are being excluded from the disclosure.

Source: State Department declares 22 Clinton emails contained top-secret information – LA Times

Brown spends political capital on a justice-reform measure


Gov. Jerry Brown’s newly announced support for a statewide initiative that would reduce sentences for non-violent felons and impose a variety of other far-reaching criminal-justice reforms is final proof that California has moved beyond the law-and-order approach toward sentencing that has dominated politics here for decades.

Source: Brown spends political capital on a justice-reform measure – Steven Greenhut, San Diego Union-Tribune

Cop kills 12-year-old daughter in front of father, father charged with murder…WTF???!!!


The father of a 12-year-old has been charged with homicide after the girl was shot to death by a police constable in Pennsylvania, authorities said.

Ciara Meyer was killed by a police constable who was serving eviction papers at their apartment in Perry County on January 11.

Constable Clark Steele’s action was justified, and he did not face any charges in the shooting, authorities said.

Source: Father charged after girl, 12, is killed by police constable –

SoCalGas CEO shifty when asked if the utility will pay for gas leak repairs, environmental costs 

CaptureThe head of the Southern California Gas Co. said Thursday that the utility expects to pay for all costs associated with the massive natural gas leak at its Aliso Canyon storage field above Porter Ranch.

SoCalGas President and CEO Dennis Arriola said the utility can cover current and anticipated costs of fixing the leak and mitigating any environmental impacts.

Arriola stopped short from guaranteeing there would be no cost to the public given that new laws might require improvements or upgrades that would necessitate public funding.

In other words, he plans to pass the cost of repairs on to ratepayers. Nice, real nice. And SoCalGas and Sempra wonder why people hate them?

Any cost passed on to rate payers would have to be approved by the public utilities commission…which we all know is a tool of the industry.

Holding the gas company accountable for the costs also is stipulated in emergency declarations issued by the Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors and Gov. Jerry Brown.

Source: SoCalGas CEO says utility will pay for gas leak repairs, environmental costs

Brown initiative would give nonviolent criminals early parole


Conceding that a tough-on-crime law he signed four decades ago had failed miserably because of “unintended consequences,” Gov. Jerry Brown on Wednesday unveiled a ballot measure aimed at allowing nonviolent felons to seek early release and shrinking the number of juveniles tried as adults.

If voters approve the initiative in November, thousands of state prison inmates who have already completed their basic sentence and passed a public safety screening would become eligible for parole. And for the first time, offenders who complete rehabilitation programs while behind bars could earn credits for their efforts.

The measure would also allow judges rather than prosecutors to decide whether juveniles as young as 14 should be tried as adults. The judges lost that power under Proposition 21, an anti-crime measure approved by California voters in 2000.

The governor pledged to do “whatever it takes to get this done.”

Source: California’s nonviolent criminals could get earlier parole under new ballot measure endorsed by Gov. Jerry Brown – San Jose Mercury News

Gascón says @MayorEdLee, @SFPDChiefSuhr stonewalling investigion into @SFPD #DeathSquads


San Francisco Mayor Ed Lee and Police Chief Greg Suhr refuse to cooperate with the district attorney’s efforts to investigate police misconduct and departmental culture — even as they claim to be committed to transparency and accountability in the wake of the fatal shooting of Mario Woods.

After the mayor declined to fund the district attorney’s police misconduct task force, San Francisco District Attorney George Gascón launched a blue ribbon panel to look into the culture and practices of the Police Department. However, he said in the letter that the panel was having difficulty getting Suhr and other officers within the department to cooperate with the review.

The department and the police union have “engaged in a dizzying array of stonewalling tactics.” Gascón said.

“This is not the type of transparency and collaboration we could expect from a department and a chief eager to improve,” Gascón said.

Source: SF’s DA says Ed Lee, Greg Suhr uncooperative in police misconduct probe – San Francisco Chronicle

Gun control in Oakland: “it’s not the law abider I’m worried about”


I live in Oakland, so I support the development and passage of effective gun control measures at all levels of government. That said, the ban on high-capacity magazines isn’t one of them.

The City Council unanimously approved the ban on magazines holding more than 10 bullets this month, following in the footsteps of Los Angeles, Sunnyvale and San Francisco. The idea is that if there are fewer of these bullet-feeding devices, the public will be safer.

The problem is it relies on law-abiding citizens to comply by surrendering any high-capacity magazines to police or getting rid of them some other way. But, it’s not the law abider I’m worried about.

The reality is that it appears these laws have had no effect in Sunnyvale and San Francisco, which have had their bans since 2013.

No one in either of these cities has ever — not once — turned in a high-capacity magazine to police.

Source: One gun control attempt that misfires – San Francisco Chronicle

@KamalaHarris conspicuously silent on big betting bill


Harris’ tenure has been marked by politically correct, often superficial, actions.

The current version of our gambling debate is whether we should legalize websites on which players back their fantasy sports teams with money.

Attorneys general in other states have declared that the heavily advertised websites – which have drawn Silicon Valley investment – are, in fact, gambling.

If it’s gambling, it may take a state constitutional amendment to make it legal. Harris, however, has been conspicuously silent on efforts to legalize it and give her office regulatory power.

Source: Dan Walters: AG Harris ducks big betting bill – The Sacramento Bee

Video: Finicum goes for his gun…cops nail him


The FBI released video Thursday that shows Oregon State Police fatally shooting one of the men who occupied an Oregon wildlife refuge.

The shooting happened Tuesday afternoon during a traffic stop on a rural stretch of Oregon highway, where law enforcement had hoped to peacefully arrest the leaders of the armed group that had occupied the Malheur National Wildlife Refuge.

In video taken from an aircraft, Robert “LaVoy” Finicum, 55, can be seen speeding away from law enforcement officials during an initial traffic stop. He then drives his white truck into a snowdrift near a roadblock.

It shows Finicum getting out of the vehicle and then lifting his hands in the air as Oregon state troopers approached him with their guns drawn.

Finicum then reached inside portion of his jacket for a 9-millimeter semiautomatic pistol.

That’s when the cops blasted him.

Source: FBI releases video of Oregon occupier’s fatal shooting by state police – LA Times

@GOP continues its relentless assault on immigrants


Exchanges on immigration were the night’s most heated.

Cruz and Rubio were both confronted with video evidence (a nice touch from Fox) that they had significantly altered their positions.

Rubio sweated when asked about his role as co-sponsor of a 2013 immigration overhaul in Congress.

“I do not support blanket amnesty,” he pleaded, just after the video showed him equating a path to citizenship with blanket amnesty.

Former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush piled on.

“He cut and run because it wasn’t popular among conservatives,” Bush said of Rubio, who withdrew his support for the 2013 bill after it became clear it would ultimately fail in the House.

Rubio and Kentucky Sen. Rand Paul then pounced on Cruz for appearing to support the 2013 bill before positioning himself as its chief opponent.

“He’s the king of saying, ‘Oh, you’re for amnesty,’” Paul said. “But it’s a falseness, and that’s an authenticity problem.”

“This is the lie that Ted’s campaign is built on,” Rubio said. “He’s the most conservative guy and everyone else is a RINO” — Republican in name only.

“Throughout this campaign, you’ve been willing to say or do anything to get votes,” Rubio accused Cruz.

Source: Republican debate takeaways: Even with Trump absent, immigration battles take center stage – LA Times

Free Money!!!  $1 billion in cap-and-trade funds just sitting there


When budget negotiations were in danger of stalling last year, Gov. Jerry Brown and state lawmakers put off deciding how to spend more than $1 billion in funds collected from the auction of greenhouse gas pollution credits.

Seven months later, a deal remains elusive.

Now, with next year’s budget proposal on the table, advocates and environmentalists remain anxious about what will become of the cache of funds raised through the state’s cap-and-trade program.

The money has been left unspent in the state’s Greenhouse Gas Reduction Fund.

By law, it must be used on programs to cut emissions.

Source: More than $1 billion in cap-and-trade funds unspent as budget negotiations begin anew – LA Times

Obama, Garcetti team up on immigrant legalization


Obama administration officials are scheduled to meet in Los Angeles on Friday with Mayor Eric Garcetti, local nonprofits and business owners to discuss ways to encourage immigrants to become U.S. citizens.

The meeting is part of a multi-city tour by the White House’s Task Force on New Americans.

In recent years California has moved repeatedly to provide rights, benefits and protections to immigrants in the country illegally, including in-state tuition, driver’s licenses, rules to limit deportations and state-funded healthcare for children.

Los Angeles, San Francisco and San Jose have signed on to participate in the task force, as have cities in 25 other states.

Joining the White House’s effort is former Los Angeles Dodgers pitcher Fernando Valenzuela, who became a U.S. citizen in July. He said he wants people to know there are resources available to assist people starting the process and to help integrate new citizens.

“I am excited to vote in my first presidential election,” he said.

Source: Obama administration is starting in L.A. to help immigrants become citizens – LA Times

@realDonaldTrump event makes @FoxNews, @GOP look like fools


Donald Trump proved Thursday night that he still has a television executive’s touch.

After dropping out of the Republican debate because of a feud with Fox News, Trump decided to host his own counter-programming just three miles away.

The event’s official purpose was to honor veterans, and Trump drew gasps by announcing that he had raised $6 million in donations for veterans groups, including $1 million from himself.

Skipping a debate just days before the Iowa caucuses was a bold move by Trump, who is leading in polls here and across the country.

Trump announced his event Tuesday after abruptly withdrawing from the Republican debate over disagreements with Fox News.

On the way to his special event, Trump invited journalists from Fox’s cable news rival CNN onto his private plane for an interview.

Robert Montgomery, a 30-year-old community college student who works at an insurance company, said Trump was right to pull out of the debate because the media had been unfair to him.

“When you’re in the media, it’s important to be as objective as possible,” Montgomery said. “There’s a lot of journalists out there that don’t seem to have a lot of objectivity.”

Source: True to form, Trump makes a big show of skipping GOP debate and staging benefit for veterans – LA Times

State regulators order sweep of all Cali gas storage wells


California utility regulators have ordered the owners of all underground gas storage fields in the state to undergo immediate checks for leaks.

The directive from the state Public Utilities Commission accompanies an order by environmental regulators requiring Southern California Gas Co. to turn over all records it has on its gas storage field in Aliso Canyon, where a well has been leaking massive amounts of methane since late October. Noxious fumes from that leak have forced thousands of downwind residents in Porter Ranch and other communities from their homes.

“We are taking additional safety assurance measures and directing the operators to demonstrate that their storage facilities are safe by conducting this special leak survey,” said commission spokeswoman Terrie Prosper.

Environmental regulators give Southern California Gas until Monday to turn over all records and documents the company has on its Aliso Canyon gas storage project.

Source: State regulators order sweep of all gas storage wells in California – LA Times

Life near the Aliso Canyon gas leak – the health risk is huge


One resident reported getting bloody noses for the first time in 40 years. Another described Christmas Eve vomiting in urgent care.

This is how Porter Ranch-area residents responded to a Los Angeles Times questionnaire about how they believe their health has been affected by the massive Aliso Canyon gas leak.

Dozens of readers from the San Fernando Valley community and the surrounding neighborhoods reported dizziness, nausea and nosebleeds, among other health impacts.

A nontoxic chemical compound added as a warning for methane, commonly known as an odorant, is making residents ill. Some, though, said they felt no different and were concerned lawyers were inflating the health concerns.

Source: Life near the Aliso Canyon gas leak: ‘When it’s breezy, I’m lethargic’ – LA Times

Mexico deports ‘affluenza’ moron


The Mexican immigration institute says it has taken a Texas teenager who used an “affluenza” defense in a fatal drunken-driving accident to the Mexico City airport, to fly him back to Texas to face charges.

The institute said Thursday that Ethan Couch would be placed on a commercial flight to Dallas.

Couch and his mother, Tonya Couch, were detained in the resort of Puerto Vallarta in December. His mother was quickly sent back to the U.S. She was released after posting bail.

Source: Mexico puts ‘affluenza’ teen on plane to Texas – LA Times

More scrutiny of @SFPD’s leniency towards #killer cops


A measure introduced to the Board of Supervisors on Tuesday could be placed on the June ballot for voters to decide whether an independent investigation is launched each time a San Francisco police officer discharges a firearm, according to the office of Supervisor Malia Cohen.

The current policy of the Office of Citizen Complaints, the civilian agency tasked with reviewing claims against police, is to investigate cases in which an officer discharges his or her weapon only if a complaint is filed, according to executive director Joyce Hicks.

As a result, the OCC has investigated just eight of the 35 police shootings reported in San Francisco in the past five years — 31 of which have resulted in injury or death — Hicks said at a Tuesday press conference introducing the ballot measure.

“We believe the charter amendment will increase transparency and increase community police relations,” Hicks said.

Source: Scrutiny of officer-involved shootings may increase – The San Francisco Examiner

Oregon “patriots” begin to slither out of town…


Three more suspects linked to the armed occupation of a federal wildlife refuge in Oregon surrendered Wednesday, hours after their leader was nailed by the police.

Militant leader Ammon Bundy made his first court appearance in Portland on Wednesday.

It was unclear whether the remnant of Bundy’s followers still holed up at the Malheur National Wildlife Refuge south of Burns was ready to heed his advice, but more arrests were made later Wednesday at a nearby checkpoint established by federal and state law enforcement officials, according to the FBI.

The FBI and Oregon State Police said in a statement Wednesday night that 45-year-old Duane Leo Ehmer of Irrigon, Oregon, and 34-year-old Dylan Wade Anderson of Provo, Utah, turned themselves in around 3:30 p.m. And 43-year-old Jason S. Patrick of Bonaire, Georgia, did the same a few hours later.

The men were described as being in contact with the FBI and officials said the men surrendered to agents on a road near the refuge.

As with Bundy and the seven others arrested a day earlier, officials said the men will each face a felony charge.

Source: 3 more linked to occupied federal site in Oregon arrested – San Francisco Chronicle

Sac State students speak out against #Islamics…then get punished


Officials at California State University, Sacramento, are investigating an incident involving written hate speech directed at the Muslim community on campus.

In a written message to students, faculty and staff members Wednesday, CSUS President Robert S. Nelsen said, “I was heartbroken and angered to learn that this happened on our campus …We are investigating and reviewing video footage of the area. We will not tolerate hateful and racist behavior on this campus, and we will pursue sanctions against those who are identified.”

Craig Koscho, a university spokesman, said the message was found near the University Union, but he said he could not discuss the form or content of the message. Koscho said campus police are investigating the incident.

Source: Sac State officials investigate hate speech directed at Muslims on campus | The Sacramento Bee

@DraftKings, @FanDuel running scared in Sacramento


For all their fancy lawyers and consultants, the unwise guys running the daily fantasy sports racket are showing themselves to be a sketchy bunch playing at the far edge of legality, if not illegality.

To dress themselves up as legit, the East Coast-based FanDuel and DraftKings hired renowned constitutional lawyer David Boies and former Massachusetts Attorney General Martha Coakley.

To separate sports fans from their money, they are receiving investments and endorsements from the National Basketball Association, Major League Baseball, National Football League team owners, Comcast, ESPN and Google. As the Super Bowl approaches, huge sums will be wagered and lost at DraftKings’ and FanDuel’s sites.

And yet the industry appears to be running scared.

Source: Dan Morain: Fantasy sports takes aim, shoots foot – The Sacramento Bee

Cali voters pretty evenly split on Brown’s proposed budget


Gov. Jerry Brown’s proposed spending plan is splitting state residents, but a record-low number of Californians believe the state budget situation is a big problem, according to a new poll.

The survey, by the Public Policy Institute of California, found 48 percent of adult residents support the governor’s budget plan while 46 percent are opposed.

“Californians are divided on whether to use surplus revenues to restore funding for social programs or build up the reserve, and most residents would rather fund road improvements through surplus funds and state bonds than vehicle fees and gasoline taxes,” PPIC President Mark Baldassare said in a statement.

However, with the economic picture brightening, just 42 percent say the budget situation represents a major predicament.

Source: Californians split over Jerry Brown’s proposed budget, want more action on guns | The Sacramento Bee

Brown will go to November ballot with plan to remove mandatory prison sentences

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Almost four decades after he signed a law to require strict sentences for most serious crimes, Gov. Jerry Brown on Wednesday will announce a November ballot initiative to change course and return California to a system where judges and parole boards have much more discretion.

Brown will introduce details of the proposal in a 1 p.m. conference call, according to sources who did not want to speak on the record.

The measure will be submitted to the attorney general’s office as an amendment to a juvenile justice initiative.

Sources said it would allow nonviolent felons who have exhibited good behavior and participated in rehabilitation and education programs while behind bars to earn credits toward early release.

It also would authorize early parole consideration for nonviolent inmates who have completed the full sentence for their primary offense, and require a judge to decide whether defendants as young as 14 should be tried in juvenile or adult court.

Source: Brown will go to November ballot with plan to remove mandatory prison sentences – LA Times

Feds start rounding up Oregon whack-jobs

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As law enforcement surrounded the remaining protesters at an Oregon wildlife refuge Wednesday, an armed occupier urged supporters to join them and to kill any law enforcement officer who tried prevent their entry, according to a livestream that has been broadcasting from the site.

“There are no laws in this United States now! This is a free-for-all Armageddon!” a heavyset man holding a rifle yelled into a camera that was broadcasting a livestream from the refuge Wednesday morning, adding that if “they stop you from getting here, kill them!”

A second man cooed to the camera in a sing-song voice, “What you gonna do, what you gonna do when the militia comes after you, FBI?”

Source: Remaining Oregon protesters issue death threats: ‘This is a free-for-all Armageddon’ – LA Times

@FBI does great work! Nabs #Islamic planning to shoot up the Milwaukee Masonic center

Screenshot 2016-01-27 at 16.01.04A terrorist-style plot intended to kill dozens of people with automatic weapons at a Masonic center in Milwaukee was foiled this week by FBI agents, federal prosecutors said Tuesday.

Samy Mohamed Hamzeh discussed his plan to attack the center with two others, detailing how they would quickly and quietly kill the first people they saw and then methodically move through the building, “eliminating everyone” they encountered, according to a federal criminal complaint.

Hamzeh, 23, has been charged with possessing a machine gun and a silencer. Despite indications of an attempted act of terrorism, Hamzeh is not charged with any terrorism counts.

“We are Muslims, defending Muslim religion, we are on our own, my dear, we have organized our own group,” Hamzeh said, according to the criminal complaint, adding he was confident it would trigger more attacks in the United States.

“Such operations will increase in America, when they hear about it. The people will be scared and the operations will increase, and there will be problems all over,… this will lead to people clashing with each other. This way we will be igniting it. I mean we are marching at the front of the war,” he said, according to the complaint.

Acting U.S. Attorney Gregory J. Haanstad called it a “detailed plan to commit a mass shooting intended to kill dozens of people.”

“(Hamzeh) also said that he wanted this mass shooting to be ‘known the world over’ and to ‘ignite’ broader clashes. It is difficult to calculate the injury and loss of life that was prevented by concerned citizens coming forward and by the tireless efforts of the FBI and the Joint Terrorism Task Force.”

Source: FBI thwarts mass shooting at Milwaukee Masonic center

New rules expose depth of state’s medical funding hole

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For those who wonder about the practical importance of transparency, I offer as evidence the latest result of a modest rule change from a mind-numbingly named organization – the Governmental Accounting Standards Board, or GASB (pronounced Gaz-bee). The group’s stated goal is to promote accountability through “excellence in public-sector financial reporting.” This is exciting stuff for people who wear green eyeshades.

But it has practical importance for taxpayers. For decades, state and local governments have been able to essentially hide – or at least downplay – the size of their unfunded pension and retiree health-care liabilities, or debts. GASB passed rule changes that make governments more directly account for these debts. California governments are starting to report pension debts differently in their 2015 financial statements, which is becoming a wake-up call.

Source: New rules expose depth of state’s medical funding hole – Steven Greenhut, San Diego Union-Tribune

@realDonaldTrump dumps @FoxNews and dopey @MegynKelly

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Donald Trump on Tuesday bowed out of the final Republican presidential debate before the leadoff Iowa caucuses, saying Fox News moderator Megyn Kelly is “a lightweight.”

With 48 hours to go before the faceoff, campaign manager Corey Lewandowski confirmed Trump’s decision Tuesday evening after a press conference in which Trump lashed out at Kelly and said she’d been “toying” with him.

“He will not be participating in the Fox News debate Thursday,” Lewandowski said immediately after the press conference.

Trump, who called his decision “pretty close to irrevocable” in the press conference, said he’d hold an Iowa event at the same time as the debate to raise money for wounded veterans. Iowa hosts the nation’s opening presidential primary contest on Monday.

“With me, they’re dealing with somebody that’s a little bit different. They can’t toy with me like they toy with everybody else,” he said. “Let them have their debate and let’s see how they do with the ratings.”

He added, “Why do I have to make Fox rich?”

The New York real estate mogul’s presence has helped produce massive ratings in the previous six Republican presidential debates.

Trump has proven to be a master of commanding media attention at key moments. Among other things, he has called for a temporary ban on all Muslim immigrants and later questioned Ted Cruz’s presidential eligibility given that he was born in Canada.

The provocative declarations have often left little oxygen in the race for his opponents.

Source: Trump refuses to debate; calls Fox’s Kelly ‘a lightweight’ – San Francisco Chronicle

State hammers SoCalGas over methane leaks

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New state regulations issued in the wake of a massive methane leak in Southern California require a range of safety checks at the state’s 322 active underground gas storage facilities. Environmentalists, however, criticized the new rules for not going far enough in preventing more leaks.

The regulations, issued by the Department of Conservation, require daily inspections of gas storage wellheads, regular testing of safety valves and the setting of maximum pressure limits at wells. Since the leak began on Oct. 23, more than 84 million kilograms of methane have escaped into the atmosphere at Aliso Canyon, the daily equivalent of more than 4 million cars, according to the California Air Resources Board.

Scott Anderson, senior policy director at the Environment Defense Fund, said he was troubled that the rules didn’t require natural gas storage facility operators to install automatic shut-off systems at wells.

Source: State issues new rules to avoid future methane leaks – The Sacramento Bee

Two controversial crude oil train projects under fire

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Two controversial plans to bring half-mile-long trains carrying crude oil through California, including Sacramento, face key votes in the next two weeks.

The city of Benicia will take up Valero Refining Co.’s request for permits to ship two 50-car oil trains a day to its Benicia plant. The trains would run through Roseville, Sacramento, West Sacramento, Davis and other Northern California cities. The train shipments will replace current oil deliveries via ocean vessels.

City officials have set aside several nights in a row, beginning Feb. 8, for public comment on the Valero plan.

Officials in Sacramento and other communities along the line have issued statements of opposition, noting that trains carrying crude oil have been involved in a handful of fiery explosions in recent years, including one that killed 47 residents of a Canadian town.

An environmental analysis of the project by Benicia concluded the trains would create a “potentially significant” hazard to the public from oil spills and fires, but said a spill is likely to only occur once every few decades.

In San Luis Obispo County this week, officials recommended that county’s Planning Commission reject a similar crude-by-rail proposal from Phillips 66. Phillips is proposing bringing crude oil to its seaside refinery five days a week via 80-car trains through both Northern and Southern California, including trains that would pass through the Sacramento area.

Source: Two controversial crude oil train projects near key votes – The Sacramento Bee

Oregon standoff gun play leaves one dead, several arrested

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Oregon standoff spokesman Robert “LaVoy” Finicum was killed and other leaders of the Malheur National Wildlife Refuge occupation were arrested Tuesday after the FBI and state police stopped vehicles about 20 miles north of Burns.

Authorities did not release the name of the person who died at the highway stop, but Finicum’s daughter confirmed it was Finicum, 55, of Cane Beds, Arizona, one of the cowboy-hat wearing faces of the takeover.

“My dad was such a good good man, through and through,” said Arianna Finicum Brown, 26, one of Finicum’s 11 children. “He would never ever want to hurt somebody, but he does believe in defending freedom and he knew the risks involved.”

Ryan Bundy, 43, of Bunkerville, Nev., suffered a minor gunshot wound in the confrontation about 4:30 p.m. along U.S. 395. He was treated and released from a local hospital and was in FBI custody, authorities said.

Also arrested during the stop were his brother, Ammon Bundy, 40, of Emmett, Idaho, Ryan W. Payne, 32, of Anaconda, Mont., Brian Cavalier, 44, of Bunkerville, Nevada, and Shawna J. Cox, 59, of Kanab, Utah. They were charged with conspiracy to impede federal officers, a felony.

Source: Oregon standoff spokesman Robert ‘LaVoy’ Finicum killed, Bundys in custody after shooting near Burns – Oregonian

Macy’s to stop selling furniture with toxic flame retardant chemicals

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Just hours before planned events at Macy’s stores in ten states calling attention to the retailer’s sale of some furniture products containing toxic flame retardant chemicals, the retailer announced it would end the practice. Mind the Store campaign advocates hailed it as a victory for consumers’ health and the environment.

Numerous competing retailers like IKEA, Walmart, and Ashley have already announced that they are phasing out toxic flame retardants in furniture. Some chains like Pier 1 Imports, Rooms to Go, and Berkshire Hathaway’s furniture stores have not yet made announcements.

Source: Macy’s to stop selling furniture with toxic flame retardant chemicals