California Potheads and the Half-witted Twits – E. Marshall Hoyt

California Potheads and the Half-witted Twits – E. Marshall Hoyt


Economics is a complicated beast. More importantly, it’s incredibly hard to measure, understand, or even predict. One little change to how you do business and the effect ripples. A small change in interaction in a large business and everything that business does is effected, and effects other things. Everything that is connected to money- and several things that aren’t- form this massive spider web.

This is why it can be hard to make judgments- come elections- whether some amendments are worth it. You always get the ones where people are thinly trying to sell you on the concept of reform for something admirable like education or public works, asking for just a little bit more money (e.g. higher taxes on everyone), but word it in such a way it’s too open ended a risk. Sure, your amendment says it wants public funding to improve roads, sidewalks, traffic lights, other projects, road repair response and public property gardening. But wait, back up- what the hell does “Other projects” entail, and how much of this money are you planning to use on “Other projects” instead of the actual appealing items? Those amendments are usually an easy “no” on my ballot. But then, there’s genuinely some where the benefits, risks and disadvantages are actually hard to weigh, and come down to personal preference.

There are always ones that are a very obvious “no”, because even an idiot doesn’t have to weigh the benefits to the disadvantages. In Colorado’s case, they put a movement called “Colorado-Care” on the ballot this year. It was indeed as awful a concept as it sounds. “A mere 10% increase in taxes on basically everything from sales to rent, and we can fund a healthcare system even more broken than Obamacare!” was their sales pitch. It was defeated 80-20, and while I’m concerned that 20% of our population thought that was a swell idea, I’m going to assume those people are the idiots from California I’m about to get to.

Because you see, the final items you’ll see on a ballot are ones you would think, very obviously, are terrible economic ideas and this should be clear to everyone. But, a lot of people in California, based on some of the amendments they just passed, suffer from what I like to call “One-step Politics”. This is to say, the concept that any proposed reform, any idea put forth for improvement or any change for the “greater good” is exactly what it says on the package and nothing more. I could do a whole article on how dangerous this belief is, and where it’s more prevalent… but like economics, it’s a whole woven web and it would take a while to explain. For now, I want to cover 3 of the amendments that passed in California, due to this way of thinking:

  1. Proposition 30, to extend tax hikes on the top 3% of California taxpayers, and also increase sales tax a might bit (Originally proposed in 2012 as a “temporary” and passed this year to extend itself another 12 years).
  2. Proposition 56, Tobacco tax, increasing the tax on cigarettes by a massive $2.00 per pack up to $2.87 per pack, but this tax also affects e-cigarettes
  3. Proposition 67, Plastic bags (single-use) are now illegal, although meats and perishables seem to be allowed to use single-use bags, it’s unclear if the company would accrue charges for providing them or if most stores will know they are allowed to do this.

These all, to some extent, seem like great measures. Tax the rich, discourage smoking and protect the environment. Well, okay, none of them seem great to me, but I can see why some people would vote for them. Tax the rich, and there will be more money for the rest of us. Tax tobacco, and it’ will discourage smoking. Ban plastic bags, and we’ll help protect the environment. In one step- they’re exactly that. Helpful measures. So what’s the problem?

Like I mentioned before, everything in society is attached to each other like a web, one little change and it sends a ripple throughout the system, making small and sometimes big changes to how people live their lives. These measures are more than just the “X does Y” that people that voted for them would like to think. They lack the ability to understand that “X affects everything”.

The first measure, Proposition 30, is probably the easiest to cover. There have been several articles as to why taxing the rich is a *terrible* idea, and how it ultimately effects the motivation, income and thus living standards of those bellow them. It’s easy to hate those with more money, and ironically the people I would say are the least deserving due to earning such massive wealth in comparison to the amount of work put in, are movie actors. I’d say California-based actors  are probably feeling the effects of this measure pretty hard, and kind of deserve it. That is of course just my personal bias against actors who, a good portion of which, make an habit of talking about how evil corporations are simply because they have money, before relaxing at home in their backyard swimming pool serviced by their personal butler. Most of them, thanks to modern style, are the literal definition of “People in glass houses shouldn’t throw stones”, and lord knows I’ve been tempted to head down to thrown some stones myself. That being said, they did earn their money, and I don’t think it’s right to tax them or anyone else in Cali just for having it. Especially since California is more than just actors, it’s also home to Silicon Valley, and several important tech companies. I guarantee to you there are plenty of people there that earn over 250k, but they also work their asses off, and deserve that money. Also, the bill’s progressive taxation. Punishing you more the more you make, is inane.  To the extent that earning 250k, you’re getting taxed so much you’re literally earning almost the exact same amount of money as you would be if you were earning 240k a year after taxes. That is to say, that getting a $5/hr raise is meaningless. Granted at 250k you’re also earning essentially $125/hr, but of course anyone making that much is doing so because they are doing something that doesn’t really pay hourly. Regardless, it is still a spider web, and while business revenue and personal revenue are different beasts, you’re still hurting the people that run everything where it counts. The people won’t be using their personal money to further the market- they won’t buy as many things, hire as many people for household maintenance, it keeps their money out of the general flow of money, and it doesn’t trickle down. They aren’t buying a new TV, and the TV salesman as a result isn’t getting a commission on a sale, which then means his daughter has less money to spend at the clothing store, so the clothing store makes less money so it uses cheaper materials to offset the costs and well, it all spirals out everywhere. As a result, the income of everyone below them drops just a little bit more.  As a result, more money is wasted by government and less is available to the people.

Worse yet, the measure sneaks in a higher sales tax on everyone, which obviously helps no one. But worst of all, this money is all funneled into K-12 schools and community colleges. Again, sounds great on the tin, but it doesn’t really put any bars on *how* K-12 schools spend the money. I find, having been through the school system before, that educational institutions rarely know how to spend their money the more you give them. In fact a tighter budget actually forces them to be smart, and at my second high school they actually had to put out requests for funding on individual matters. My high school Robotics team found funding through companies, as opposed to asking the school or district for money (In fact the district took 6 years to even recognize the team in any capacity, despite 5 trips to championships by then). However, my first high school, given a bunch of money because it was in the middle of downtown and pretty ghetto, spent several tens of thousands on upgrading the Mac computers in the Mac lab to the newest and most expensive apple computers. All while leaving the rest of the computers in the entire school to be the bulky monitors and Windows 98’ machines. This was in 2010, by the way, where absolutely no part of their spending made any sense when everyone did their work on the PC’s, not the handful of Macs near the art room. But that’s my point. No part of that spending made any sense and I doubt giving California schools several million dollars is going to result in a suddenly more educated future generation. Especially since another amendment in California now allows bi-lingual education, and I can’t begin to give a history lesson on why that’s never turned out well for anyone.  On top of *another* amendment that is giving $9 billion in bonds to K-12 schools, which means an extra $500 million per year that California has to pay, and guess who will be paying for that? (Hint, everyone in California).

But that’s the easy proposition, that’s obviously a bad idea, even if more people voted yes on that than they did to legalize weed. What about Proposition 56? Well, obviously also a boneheaded move. Listen, I don’t smoke. But I get why people do. In fact I totally get it- it’s a way to relax. For some people it’s even more than that. For some people it’s a way to switch vices, move from being a consistent alcohol drinker to simply a smoker. It’s not much healthier in the long run, but being sober is a good trade off for a lot of people. It’s a pleasure device, it’s fun; it’s a way to escape the negative aspects of life. So why on Earth does California think this massive tax on cigs is anything sort of a terrible idea for the general mood of the population?  I’d say, based on the numbers, at least 15% of the population of California smokes, which is roughly 1/7 people. Seems about standard, and while some might quit given the higher cost, others won’t, and will simply be much poorer because of it. A lot poorer. Take into account that people will be more irritable, since likely they’re either struggling or cutting back, and suddenly everyone is getting hit a bit. Some servers are less pleasant, some friends more on edge, people in high stress jobs are more itchy and inefficient. If a 30 minute smoke break it all it took for some people to relax a bit and work efficiently all day, suddenly people forced to buy less don’t work as efficiently, entire companies see a slight downwards trend in productivity. Warehouses end with more arguments and fewer deliveries, the people that normally can keep a level head are getting yelled at by some employee who can barely make ends meet and now has to choose between smoking or eating most nights, so he’s never in a good mood anymore. Some people will probably switch back to drinking, because it might suddenly be a cheaper vice to indulge in. Less is done, more people are unhappy, and even people using harmless e-cigs are being punished, which is the most insulting part of that measure.  But that’s the thing. Little California Suzy thinks this proposition is all fine and dandy and then is confused why her package came in late, and was not handled with much care. Because Suzy, the idiot, didn’t think that the proposition could affect her life in any way.  Suzy, as aforementioned, suffers from “One-step Politics” and doesn’t understand how everything affects each other. The use of this money is, however, at least not too open-ended. It’s all anti-tobacco measures and lung disease research, except for “physician training”, which is mighty vague. And unlike the previous proposition, doesn’t actually give a breakdown as to what percentage of money is going to what (In the previous, 89% is going to K-12, but that doesn’t really allay my concerns much).

But you know what? As much as this is going to effect the average taxpayer, as much as both prior propositions are going to cut more at the lower income citizens, and change the general mood of the populus- it’s Proposition 67 that’s changing how people live their very lives.

The concept is this- Stores will no longer provide single use bags except in very particular cases, boiling down to providing a bag if you have bought meats or perishables, or the item you bought needs protection from the other items in the reusable bag you brought. In all other cases, you either have to buy a “sturdy” reusable bag for 10 cents minimum, or bring your own. All of this being under the guise of environmental protection, and giving the local state government a little less than 1 million in projected income, which I can only assume will be used to enact further environmental regulations down the line. Of course, if you actually care about the environment enough, this sure seems like a great idea, I guess. But if you care about how people live their lives, then it’s not so great.

Let me explain- a lot of the market, and a lot of stores, rely on this concept I like to call “Impulse buying”.  It’s a concept that three kinds of business profit off of the most, as far as I can immediately think of. These are malls, thrift stores, and book stores. You see, we’re humans, and as such we rarely know exactly what we plan on getting when we go somewhere. I certainly end up buying birthday and Christmas gifts last minute, and as such, when I enter a store I don’t actually know what I’m going to get. Thus, I rarely know how much I plan on taking out. When I can rely on having my stuff put in a bag after I purchase items, that’s not a problem. But when I don’t? There are a lot of aspects to this, but simply put: no one is going to carry around a bunch of bags with them. You might, if you are headed to the grocery store and know almost exactly what you’re getting, but otherwise?

Take malls for example. They run off not the concept that you are going there to purchase anything, necessarily, but the concept that you are hanging out there with friends and *might* buy something. The idea that you’re walking around with friends at a mall, see a store, go in, and purchase something on a whim, maybe a T-shirt or a stuffed bear. But as a consumer, you might go to the mall and buy nothing at all. You really don’t have a plan if you’re heading to the mall, most of the time. I’ve gone to the mall several times, and sometimes I walk out with nothing, other times I walk out with cologne and some new workout clothes. But lord knows, if I knew I had to spend the rest of my time hanging out with my friends at the mall while attempting to hold everything I bought, just in my hands… I don’t think I would have bought most of anything I’ve ever gotten at a mall. I might not even buy things at malls at all, except for food.

That’s exactly my point- malls will suffer, because instead of people coming into your clothing store, expecting to buy a new pair of shoes and falling in love with a large bundle of clothing, they stop themselves right before the checkout line and realize they didn’t bring any bags to carry everything with, and they don’t want to carry around a large ball of clothing to their car, so they slowly put everything back. What of thrift stores that rely almost entirely on the concept that people browse, and don’t actually know what they’re going to buy when they come in? It’s a real problem. Book stores, barely on their last legs, live because people like my own mother used to go in, see dozens of books she liked and take out 3 bags full of books to read over the weekend. When you go into a bookstore, you go there intentionally looking for new stories and adventures to get lost in. When you go in, not planning on going in at first, bagless and without a place to put the books? You’ll take out a couple, since you can actually carry those out with you.

This proposition, for all the good it pretends to do, kills the concept of “impulse buying”, and thus also kills the chances that small products have of surviving. Small, barely marketed products thrive on the concept that people will discover their products on the shelves and buy it on a whim. But if a consumer doesn’t have enough bag space? They might just pass it up entirely, and the sales of the product will never hit a level where they can launch a larger marketing campaign, and expand their brand. If small products like that don’t sell well, places won’t even stock them. Those small products, never making headway, will never be sold that much by stores since they just don’t sell. It kills small companies. Certainly souvenir shops won’t sell nearly as many products that can’t fit in the standard tourist’s pocket. I know if I were going to Disneyland, I wouldn’t carry three empty bags with me through all the rides till I was done with the thrills and decided to buy some souvenirs. I’d just buy a fridge magnet after I was done with the roller-coasters and be done with it. I’m not going to sacrifice my enjoyment and comfort just under the assumption I *might* buy something, and I doubt many people will. I mean, I own several belongings I never would have planned on buying, but bought none the less. But if I had to lug them around with me at a mall, amusement park or just on a walk with friends? I don’t think I would own most of what I’ve bought from stores on an “impulse buy”. I’d have more money, sure, but companies would be hurting, sales would be a bit tougher, and distributors would have to deal with mounted complaints on having to buy bags and worse yet spend money on the more expensive “Reusable” bags, and then have to give money to the government every time they sell a bag to someone. It’s an awful measure, that changes how people live and companies work. It hurts innovation and discourages new products.

To be clear, none of these measures are great. In fact they’re terrible. They cut at people’s incomes, they make the populus generally more depressed and less functional, and companies struggle to get by as people just aren’t in a position to buy random products as much. It changes the entire playing field of California, and it does it just enough they won’t even notice till it’s too late, and companies are closing doors while others thrive in a low-competition environment. They won’t notice till everyone else notices they’re a lot poorer, and then the idiots will be asking to tax the rich more, and surely put forth stupider measures.

I’ll also give a shout out to the other silly amendments that passed, including needing a background check to buy ammo, because criminals not only buy their guns legally, but if they don’t they then buy the ammo legally, obviously. They also passed an amendment to make Medi-cal (Nationalized Medicine for California, or at least a way to pay for the federal funding for medicine) more restrictive in how funds are diverted because (surprise!) they’ve been diverting funds from this fee to the general state balance. This measure still costs the state a billion annually, which means California has to continue taxing people to make up for the billion to run the program. Then there’s an amendment on campaign spending and how it should be restricted, basically giving California officials the ability to overturn Citizens United V. Federal Election Commission on a state level. Basically another attack on the idea of companies acting like people, which is a whole other issue, but the amendment is very poorly written, and seems to give favoritism to Unions. The only positive I can give really, other than passing an amendment to legalize weed (Thank God, hopefully all the Californians move back now) , is that the state has to get voter approval before they can issue more than $2 billion in public infrastructure bonds, which would require a tax hike and additional fees. However I can see getting around that very easily, so it’s sort of a meaningless amendment.

All in all, California is strangling itself as much as it can, I assume because it’s into that sort of thing, the sick f*ck. As I see them restrict and regulate more, I can’t help to think- Why do we need them? F*ck it, they’re plastering #Calexit all over the place, I figure- why not? Let them leave the Union. They need us far more than we need them. They’ll find, of course, that without the water we in Colorado are forced to give them right now, that they’ll experience a drought like no other. We could negotiate water rights- but nah, it’s about time they learn how the world works, the hard way. Let them destroy themselves with their own policies, and then we can let that serve as a lesson to everyone else on why literally all these measures are terrible. We’ll take them back, maybe, if they’ve learned their lesson in ten years.

In the meantime, they can put a reusable plastic bag over their head, stick a pipe up their bum, and tax off the top 3% of their head, in the hopes that will somehow make them more intelligent.

431 thoughts on “California Potheads and the Half-witted Twits – E. Marshall Hoyt

  1. It’s probably not a good thing how much I’ve been giggling reading some of that.

    As for the reusable bags, I recall seeing one advertised somewhere with the words on it being, “This is the bag I keep forgetting.” or such.

    Here in MN the tobacco tax was raised a couple years ago and the result was a surge in e-cig sales, at least for a while, and lot of new “roll your own” supplies on convenience store shelves. It’s more than just one kind of bag of tobacco and some lonely Zig-Zag papers now. It’s boxes of different fillable tubes, various bags of tobacco blends, and ‘rolling’ machines.

    And I have had a suspicion for some time that all Iowa jokes are really started by Iowans as part of a plan to discourage encroachment by Californians. I do not know how successful this effort might be.

    1. “I have had a suspicion for some time that all Iowa jokes are really started by Iowans as part of a plan to discourage encroachment by Californians. I do not know how successful this effort might be.”

      If this is true, best of luck to them. Colorado needed to have started this campaign about 30 years ago…

      1. I lived in Colorado from 92-94 and there was already much complaining about the “Carpetbagger Californians” screwing the state up with all their imported tax and spend proposals. It’s definitely been going on for quite some time.

            1. Especially since, with another 3% off the top of their income, more Texans will soon be ex-Californians who were smart enough to leave.

        1. I came back to Colorado (I’d lived here a few years through 1st grade) when I got out of the Navy in 1981, and there was a bumper sticker around at the time that said, “Don’t Californicate Colorado.”

      2. 15-20 years ago, there was “Lesser Seattle”, with all kinds of jokes and stories about endless rain, causing high suicide rates, etc., etc. – but Seattle got its Californian immigrants and worse, its Californian blue-model ideology, anyway.

        If Iowa’s depending on that, they’re doomed.

  2. “…so they slowly put everything back.” That’s a little optimistic. A lot of people will just put the stuff down on the nearest shelf, making more work for the staff.

      1. I haven’t, either, but I was taught to notice it… I’ve freaked out more than one store clerk by walking up to them with a bag of produce when we’re in the frozen goods isle, and telling them where I found it.
        Or frozen goods stuck in the fridge section, or you get the idea; sometimes I’m not there soon enough and I’m only saving them cleanup, but the twenty pound sack of limes I pulled out of the freezer before they were ruined counted at least a little.

      1. Maybe he hasn’t even shopped enough. I lose track of how many times I’ve found bread in the toy aisle, or even frozen food in the coffee aisle. Some people aren’t conscientious (which is probably his real blind spot: he is).

        I think the mall problem will sort itself out in the most counterproductive way possible: retailers will start selling “reusable” bags. Because customers will resent the added cost, these will be the cheapest possible bags that just barely meet the standards of “reusable” (or just barely miss them, since it’s not like California can afford to police every bag seller). Maybe a few customers will even cheer this: “Hey, great, I can use this next time!” But they won’t. They’ll forget, and have to buy more. The things will pile up. Or the “reusable” bags will fall apart.

        The end result will be far more expensive effectively-one-use bags that don’t biodegrade anywhere near as well as does paper or the current cheap plastic bags. More landfill. Less money spent on products people actually want.

        1. Or, in my recent experience, a box of Swiss Miss shoved back behind a section of 5 lb boxes of nails.

          More often, I just find empty screw/nut/washer/bolt packages, or ones with a single item removed through a hole in the baggie.

          Although a few days ago a package of stainless steel machine screws had been opened and single machine screw added to the package.

          1. If you ever find out who did this, please thank them for me. I appreciated the life.

        2. It’s actually worse than that. Votes against plastic bags ignore a number of studies that have been done on the effects. Among them:

          The British Environment Agency found that you have to use a cotton bag 131 times before you made up for its greater environmental impact compared to an HDPE plastic bag that is only used once ( I usually use mine twice, sometimes more, while my cotton/canvas bags stay in the pantry because I never seem to remember them when I’m doing a quick shopping run.

          People are willing to go further afield to patronize stores that can provide plastic bags, although the study referenced referred to nearby municipalities, and the effects in California will probably now only be felt in a few towns near the state borders (

          Plastic bags are only 0.5% of the waste stream, and take up 1/10th the landfill space of paper bags. There is no evidence that any place that has banned them has saved money on waste processing (

          1. Not sure, but I think that study is mostly about the primary (manufacturing) environmental effect. There’s also the secondary health/environment effect: If you wash your reusable bag regularly, you’re adding X% laundry chemicals to the sewage stream; if you don’t, using it for food becomes a bad idea because of fresh food contamination. (Single-use bags are pretty clean inside.)

            And, at least in our house, the single use plastic bags are mostly at least double-use, as we line the smaller wastebaskets with them and donate them to school weekend food donation programs, etc.

            1. Same here, at least for the sturdier didn’t get-a-hole-from-fruit-stems/too many cans. And the milk bags and bread bags get reused to cover plates of left-overs (after the crumbs are shaken out) before they get tossed.

        3. I tried to respond to this earlier, but it vanished without a trace. Didn’t care for the links, perhaps.

          In any case (without the links) the effect on shopping (and the environment) is worse than that, because votes to ban plastic bags ignore the Science! they claim to love. A British environmental group did a study in 2006, and found that, due to differences in the environmental impact of manufacture, you would need to reuse a cotton bag 131 times to compensate for the lower environmental impact of an HDPE plastic bag that is only used once. Paper bags only have to be reused 3 times to match single-use plastic bags.

          The National Center for Policy Analysis reports that a study in California (related to municipal plastic bag bans) found that people would travel farther in order to patronize a store that was still able to provide plastic bags. It probably only still applies to a few towns near the state border now, though.

          NCPA also reports that plastic bags are about 0.5% of the waste stream, and take 1/10th the space in landfills that paper bags do. The same report notes that there is no definitive evidence that banning plastic bags saves any money in the processing of waste.

          1. Anything with more than one link is automatically tossed into the “hold for approval” jail. It’s why you’ll sometimes see someone reply six or eight times with one link each. 😀

            1. Yeah, I saw a reference to that happening to someone else further down in the comments. It would be useful to get a notice when a comment is held for moderation, because I just know I’m going to forget it by the next time I have multiple pertinent links to place in a comment.

      2. Everyone should, including a Christmas season. If you aren’t a misanthrope beforehand, you will be afterward…..

        1. For a grocery store/supermarket you can skip Christmas (unless you want to inflict the C thru Z rate Christmas tune covers that make even endlessly repeated A-list Christmas tunes seem goo… er.. not so bad.) and just go from Halloween (which is not bad at all) through Thanksgiving, aka Foodmas. That is the heavy time for such places.

  3. And as someone with an interest in Texas (born there, though family left before my memories really started) I find the CalExit amusing. A mix of “Well, go already.” and “All those things you said about why Texas can’t leave? They apply to California, too.” And I suspect the Navy (and Air Force) might have a few things to say about some bases there.

    1. I would wonder where their oil is going to come from since they won’t let new drilling occur….

      1. Oil? Try *water*. Colorado River rights will get renegotiated in a flash, And if California acts up, well, the US can always turn off the faucet…

          1. Here in Dixie, it’s “DRIVE 90 – FREEZE A YANKEE.”

            Though those seem to be at least equaled by “CANADIANS FOR GLOBAL WARMING” nowadays…

        1. California takes far more water out of the Colorado than it puts in. Colorado, Utah, and Arizona would be happy to charge market rates.
          Southern California agriculture would take a big hit and we would all suffer a shortage of lettuce and watermelon, but that’s how independence works.

                1. Different river entirely. The Delta Smelt lives in the San Joaquin-Sacramento river. About 1/5 of Colorado River water gets diverted to the Imperial Valley.

                  1. I have heard that it has since been determined that when the water rights to the Colorado River was negotiated the water measurements it was based upon had been taken when river had been running at a 600 year high.

              1. This. It’s not that they water doesn’t flow. It’s that it doesn’t flow to people… unless those people live in the Bay Area.

                Netflix has a pretty good documentary on it that’s worth checking out.

              2. (Southern) California is grossly overpopulated and unsistainable without leeching resources as far away as they can.

                The problem isn’t resources, the problem is too many people in the same place.

                1. … the problem is too many people in the same place.

                  I can never be sure; is that:
                  … too damned many people in the same damned place.


                  … too many damned people in the same damned place.

                2. Having been born in and grown up in SoCal before moving to the South and then Mid-West as an adult, there were too many people and too little water in SoCal THEN – (1970s)
                  The danger of a major earthquake is that LA now has < 12 hrs of water reserves, absent the aqueducts (American from No Cal + Colorado River), and < 18 hrs of food reserves; so when the SHTF – if the people can get out of SoCal at all, (fuel?) the towns and cities to the East will be overrun, and the mob may not be able to find enough water short of the Missouri / Mississippi rivers.
                  (assuming that no city or town is capable of supplying / supporting refugees in numbers in excess of 1/2 their existing population, and that there would be 20 Mil + affected in SoCal)
                  Another problem is that there are only 6-8 major roads / Interstates out of SoCal, and 3-4 railroads, all across deserts, and all with lots of bridges. ?? can you say Traffic Jam ??

                3. L.A. water has been through up to 600 miles of pipes just to get to the city.

                  And boy does it taste like it.

              3. As Confutus says, different river. The Colorado river doesn’t (currently) usually make it to the ocean, most of it being sucked out for farming/ranching/golf courses.

                1. This link has a chart for that:
                  Look for the chart above this:
                  SOURCE: Department of Water Resources (2013). California Water Plan Update (Bulletin 160-13).
                  NOTE: The figure shows applied water use. The statewide average for 1998-2010 was 79.8 MAF. Environment (40.5 MAF average) includes water for “wild and scenic” rivers, required Delta outflow, instream flows, and managed wetlands. Urban (8.3 MAF) includes residential, commercial, and industrial uses, and large landscapes. Agriculture (31 MAF) includes water for crop production. Net water use—i.e., the volume consumed by people or plants, embodied in manufactured goods, evaporated, or discharged to saline waters—is lower. The figure excludes water used to actively recharge groundwater basins (3% for urban and 1% for agriculture on average), conveyance losses (2% for urban and 7% for agriculture), and water used for energy production (less than 2% of urban use).

            1. The blasted Delta Smelt. Sacramento are screwing over state agriculture by diverting water to keep the smelt happy.

              This in an environment that normally includes low to no water flow in late summer/early fall, which the riverine biomes tolerated quite nicely long before any humans showed up.

              It’s nothing but exceedingly ignorant virtue signaling on the part of the state bureaucracy. And only one example of it, to boot.

                1. They could even use the synthesized seasonal variation to fill up new water storage locations– maybe even figure out a way to make some narrow, deep lakes to help with aquafers.

            1. Yup. Look up “Salinas River” on your favorite map site, and scroll southeast from Castroville to San Ardo, and you’ll understand why when they built a new elementary school by my house in 2002, they had to carve out the space from a lettuce field.

              From my front door to the nearest source of “organic” lettuce is less than 300 yards.


        2. Nah, don’t mess with their water, people living on my western State border will get rather aggravated when the wind is out of the west. Phew!

          Their lights, now – and have you ever noticed that nothing ever lives up to its “hours of use on battery power?” We’d eliminate at least 50% of the trolls polluting the internet in one swell foop when they can’t have their computers on at night…

      2. Not just oil. ANY sort of energy. Even solar plants are effectively blocked. Oh, the pols in Sacramento will talk up a big game. But when Schwarzenneger seriously suggested building a big solar power facility out in the Mojave desert (the one place in the state where it *might* make economic sense), the Greens(!) shot it down claiming habitat destruction.

        1. out in the Mojave desert

          I live in the neighborhood. In addition to habitat destruction, one of the things that shot it down was how much water would be needed to keep them clean.

          1. THIS! I wish more people understood this. There are proposals being floated for co-locating solar farms in the (already too numerous IMHO) wind-farms around here. No, nope, ixnay, nyet, nein, no. Come look at my car to see how much dust moves, and it’s not all that dry in the local area at the moment.

    2. Most of the state would have “something” to say about the psychos who already make their lives rough trying to forcibly remove them from the one thing that keeps them a little restrained, ie the authority of the US constitution.

  4. Little California Suzy thinks this proposition is all fine and dandy and then is confused why her package came in late, and was not handled with much care. Because Suzy, the idiot, didn’t think that the proposition could affect her life in any way. Suzy, as aforementioned, suffers from “One-step Politics” and doesn’t understand how everything affects each other.

    Kind of like that idiot woman in Austin Tx a couple of years ago bemoaning the fact that her property taxes on her little house in the city had gone up so much she could no longer afford to live there on her income. She whined that she voted for EVERY park, school, and city bond proposition since she had lived there when they were all based on the proposition that it would not cost her very much in future taxes. It was very mean of the Gods of Copybook Headings that she did not realize that those nickels and dimes eventually add up to dollars. She could not figure out why it was not the rich folks paying for all of it. Why did she have to?

    1. Yup – I got a laugh out of the same article:
      Texas is known as a low-tax state because it lacks a state income tax. State spending is funded by property, excise & sales taxes. Social justice Idiots complain that this has an inordinate impact on those with lower incomes – which is true. Alternatively, one could say that even low-income Texans have ‘skin in the game’ in how state funds are spent. This a major reason why the Free S*** Army has not taken over Texas (yet).

  5. I wish the Left Coast would get it’s collective sh*t together. I’m tired of folks moving to Texas, bitch about the weather, the food and drivers, exclaim how much better CA is with the coast and mountains, then proceed to try to turn the state blue, hence replicating the problem. (I’m assuming this is what happened to Colorado…)

    I would like to tell these complainers and economic migrants that they are the problem, but Brian Burns has a better response:

    1. *Grins* I am doing my best not to whine, and to acculturate. Which isn’t hard; Texoma’s not far off, culturally, from the real Alaska outside of that little slice of Seattle suburb known as Anchorage. 🙂 (And trust me, Alaskans are also intimately acquainted with Californicators trying to Californicate their new state over, like a parasite determined to kill the host.)

      And no, I did not vote for any property tax increases, new bonds, or “The state should”. Although buying this house made me suddenly realize that most people roll their property taxes into escrow, so they _don’t_ write a check twice a year and wince at how much is getting wasted. Perhaps they should. It’d be a nice painful reminder about why throwing more money at people who don’t have a plan or a clue never fixes a thing.

      Although to be perfectly honest, yes, I’m having trouble with the heat. My darling husband, on the other hand, is thoroughly enjoying how close this is to some parts of the African veldt. But that was expected when I married a man who, when I asked him how he was at driving on ice, gave me a confused look and said, “Ice? You have feral ice that escapes from the icebox?”

      1. I empathize with Peter… Lived in New Hampshire for a few years (Arizona native here), don’t ask me why I was there, let’s just say it was about as far as I could get while staying in the same country.

        That feral ice is bad stuff. No matter how much roadkill you make during the day, those vast herds looming at the sides of the road just move back in overnight.

        1. The connection between owning property and supporting a daycare system for other peoples’ use has never been clear to me.

          1. Historically (pre-Carter) schools were funded and managed locally, and local taxes were generally property and sales taxes.

            Historically (pre-1970s) schools weren’t a day care system for other people’s kids.

            Some things change slowly.

          2. Use to be that since you had a say in what they were taught, and benefited from kids who had been taught, you of course paid for it. Sort of like roads– even if you didn’t use them, you benefited. They also had land to be used for their support.

            *shudders at how much inner cities are paying for the “Benefit” they’re getting*

      2. Never been there, but I understand that Alaska is still a “challenging” environment. How many of the Californicators die each year just from that?

        1. Mmm, it’s not so much the death rate, as the winter is wonderful at encouraging them to move back south. And stay in Seattle or Portland. It also encouraged me to move to Texas, and many older Alaskans who can afford it to winter in Arizona or Mexico.

          Although, every year the winter not only claims lives, but teaches many, many people from elsewhere about the reality that physics doesn’t care, and being an ass on the roads doesn’t work in a low-friction environment.

          1. Convinced the one family member (that we don’t talk about very much at all) in just one Alaska winter.

            Come to think of it, living in extreme weather regimes can be a good thing sometimes – snowflakes don’t do all that well in Arizona summers, either. (Unfortunately, we do grow our own – or import them from further south.)

      1. I’m hoping that the recent decision by CA to legalize recreational pot will slow that down, or reverse it.

        This is a beautiful place to live, but I’d rather live in Idaho than a socialist workers paradise.

      2. This is the main reason why I’m still here behind the lines in CA – I was born here, and I want to work to fix it, but the mass of urban stupid (who by the way are mostly immigrants from elsewhere than California) all may in the end defeat me and those like me still here in the fight.

        So if you see new CA license plates in your neighborhood, give them a chance before you judge – they may be refugee gun owners who finally could not take it any more here and made the difficult decision to leave for the unoccupied US. That might be me, someday, and I’d appreciate being given the benefit of the doubt.

        1. After 64 years, we just gave up and moved. Central Minnesota is much nicer, to me. And citing California as a very bad cautionary tale comes across up here as preaching to the choir. Mostly.

          The Twin Cities aren’t as far away as perhaps one might wish, though.

        2. I wound up moving to CA for work. I voted against all of those &$*&%^_&$^%^) amendments, after reading the fine print. (OK, for some the BIG print was all it took.).

          Please don’t tar us all with the same brush. There’re a whole bunch of libertarian (and Libertarian) types around here who are here because that’s where the biggest chunk of jobs are in our industry. We’re just massively outvoted by the rest. Longsuffering sigh…

    2. Since Deb and I movednto TX we spend time on the overpass outside of town watching for eastbound Prii and Subaru’s. Then we cruise around for a bit looking for the ones with the clean spot on the bumper where the Obama and Coexist stickers were scraped off.

  6. Hi all,

    I just posted this yesterday at 10:00 PM, so it’s possible not too many people saw it. I got one reply from JPDev (thanks a bunch!) but I’d appreciate more people chiming in with advice if they know something on the subject. Apologies for the repeat comment if you’ve already seen this.

    I have a request for all the Huns and Hoydens who know something about putting together costumes. I’m looking to get my sister-in-law a cloak for Christmas, and I need to know more about cloaks so I can buy a good one. I’m looking for something that would work in many different kinds of costumes: a hobbit, an elf, a ranger, a mediaeval noble, and so on. So I think I’m looking for a cloak that goes down to the knees, but not down to the ankles.

    But there’s so much I don’t know. What materials are best, or are materials not all that important? What kind of price range should I expect to pay for a decent cloak? I’d like to keep the price under $50, if possible, because my Christmas budget won’t stretch much past that. Does that seem feasible, or would a good cloak be likely to be in the $100-200 range? Do I need to know my sister-in-law’s height, or her shoulder width, or something? Or are cloaks kind of one-size-fits-all? Are there any other considerations I should be thinking about, which I haven’t even mentioned because I’m ignorant about them?

    If you have specific costumers to recommend who’ve done good work for you in the past, that would be great too — but what I mostly need is some basic information about what to look for, and/or what to avoid. Thanks in advance!

    1. As a wearer of capes and cloaks on occasion, first, knee or at least mid-calf cape length is far, far more practical than ankle length cloak. (The two are used almost interchangeably, except “cloaks” are always long, usually ankle-length. So when you’re looking for these things on the net, don’t overlook the search term of cape, as well.) The “looks cool” is outweighed by the flapping, the tangling, the trailing in the dirt and mud every time you bend over, the tripping hazard going up and down stairs, and the sheer weight of the thing. On the other hand, ankle length is much more available on the market, because “looks cool” is what sells clothes.

      Depending on if it has curved shoulder seams, you may or may not need shoulder width (although capes are, in general, extremely forgiving of this.) The simplest style of cape is a gigantic semicircle of fabric (okay, not really, seamstresses are about to cut me, but it’s the simplification of concept here!) and thus will drape off the shoulder at any width, no matter. Others have shoulders tailored in, and then flow down from there.

      You will need her height, because cloaks are measured by length. Also, if hooded, neck circumference. If this isn’t a surprise, get her measurement from the hollow at the base of the throat to the hemline length she prefers. If this is a surprise, take her height, subtract a foot for her head & neck, and then, um, I think it’s about another foot to make the hemline hit the knee. Costumers, help! That measurement varies also depending on short legs vs. legs that go all the way up to heaven and past Babylon, so this is fuzzy guessing math, here. Also, this varies a little if she’s built like a stick, or has plenty of circumference that the fabric will drape across before reaching to the ground. But that’s a rule of thumb for a good start.

      Now, choose your fabric. That’ll set your price range, too, because a good chunk of what you’re paying for in a cloak isn’t sewing, but the sheer amount of material. If you’re doing multiple costumes, skip the satin and velvet, not only because they’re dry clean only (a headache) and won’t stand up to much use and abuse, but also because a good velvet is darned expensive.

      Price range will vary by: amount of material, embroidery / designs in said material, hood, capelet & sleeves & pockets & liner, the fanciness of the throat clasp, bespoke or off the rack. While a hundred is a good rule of thumb for a cloak simple, if you search the renfaire costumer sites, you can usually find a cheaper “This is the dead simple unadorned entry-level cloak” for sale, too.

      For example (pulled from google search, not a personal recommendation) see here:

      1. I second Dorothy on the length – knee or mid-calf is a LOT easier to manage than longer. And if you are using a light material but want it to act a bit more like something heavier, you can add dress weights or bead chain to the bottom hem. Not perfect, but can prevent “heavy wool cloak in winter forest” from billowing like cheap curtains in front of a fan (unless you want that effect.)

    2. And that half circle fynbospress mentions is very, very easy to make yourself as long as you have access to a sewing machine and know how to sew with it even a little. Or you could make a full circle too, I think they look better, are warmer if that is a good feature (definitely where I live, which is why my SCA cloaks have all also been as long as possible. You learn to lift the hem after a few landings on the nearest mud puddle after you stepped on it).

      And this has a slightly more complicated cut:

          1. Sausage links hurt wurst! (Ducks.) Outer door, Closed and Locked! Inner door, Closed and Locked! Rigged for silent running, Cap’n!

      1. Cloaks should have liners and be made of washable materials. A sturdy cloak can double as a raincoat, winter coat, and comforter, which is why wool blankets often get turned into cloaks. But obviously, the cute light dressy cloak also has its place. (One of the coaches in The Voice was wearing a translucent hooded opera cloak in a floral pattern, which was cute and amusing but also practical with her sleeveless outfit.)

        1. Re: half-circle vs. full-circle cloaks — I’ve found that 3/4 circle is the best compromise (at least for me) between too-tight-leaks-cold-air-in-front and too-heavy-gets-in-the-way. Also as mentioned elsewhere, you need enough weight in front to balance the back, or your front neck fastening is likely to choke you…

          1. Yes, that is a good compromise. Most of mine were of thick wool and full circle (it usually gets cold here in the evenings even in high summer and I do not like being cold) but the couple of lighter ones I made during the years I was in, for show, were 3/4 circle.

            1. And why I no longer have any – wool, and other natural materials, and then I got this moth infestation… If I decide to go back to SCA, even for visits, I will need to make a whole new wardrobe. :/

              1. Sorry about the moths! As a result of playing in the SCA the last 16 years, our preferences as a family have moved strongly toward natural fibers, have been lucky so far about moth or similar problems.
                Hope to meet you some day & compare notes on SCA experiences.

    3. My favorite-to-wear (in SCA garb) is a shorter cloak, what JPDev called a cape, that’s just longer than bum-length. Keeps the rain off about as well as a longer one, not too heavy to throw both sides back over the shoulders when the sun comes out, doesn’t catch or drag on stuff. This cape is a medium-light Melton (i.e. feltable wool, so it doesn’t require edge finishing).

      I do have a heavier woolen (medium-heavy, woven, lined, & edge-finished so it hangs better) cloak for sitting around a campfire at night when it’s chilly and maybe a bit wet. It’s adequate for walking in the snow if wool’s worn under it..

      Hope that helps…

    4. I have a well-made (thanks, mom!) lower-calf length cloak for functional wear. It has built in slits in the sides for getting arms out w/out opening the cloak, is made of boiled wool with a double-lining (water-proof then, soft poly-satin.) It’s been professionally treated so it can be easily spot cleaned (Lippizzaner slobbering and acrylic paint pith sponges off easily, frex) has a moderately deep, narrow hood, and heavy duty bronze clasps. It stands up to both Belgium January snowstorms and walking a quarter mile to work in NW rainstorms.

      I don’t use it for Cosplay. Not unless I’m doing a charity job street-corner booth in the rain.

      If you’re going to give her a costuming / Cosplay gift, you want ankle length for ease of movement + Cool Look (Why do people Cosplay anyway?) medium – to – light weight to go over other costume pieces, machine washable fabric (if you think she’ll be using it a lot) and a neutral colour (medium grey literally goes with anything) OR find out her favourite character types and go with that.

      All the info on sizing is solid, but I’d add that if you can find a decent seamstress willing to work for a reasonable price, get a decent pattern and hit the the thrift shops for old curtains. Seriously, the fading patterns will make the cloak more realistic (watch out for burns, tears, stains, etc.)
      Remember if you pick very heavy fabric (denim, courderoy) or super-slithery like satins, your seamstress should charge you more for the PITA involved.


  7. “Granted at 250k you’re also earning essentially $125/hr, but of course anyone making that much is doing so because they are doing something that doesn’t really pay hourly.”

    Doctors. They make $125/hr and they get paid piecework. The unintended consequence of a progressive tax is, they reach their cap and then they go on holiday. Or they leave the state. Instant medical crisis.

    1. Questions:

      Do the doctors themselves make the $125.00 per hour, or does this also cover the costs of office, equipment, utilities, insurance, staff, etc.?

      Where are doctors charging $125.00 per hour? (Take into consideration that the costs to operate are substantially different depending on what practice and where your office is located.)

      1. Given $85 for an office visit to the nephrologist, (in which we looked at test results; no test were taken) and that we actually saw the doc for just under 5 minutes, the clinic was charging us $1020/hr. So yeah, $125/hr for the doc’s income is entirely believable.

        1. Yep. $97 was the top-line charge for the wife’s dermatologist last week. (Thank goodness she has a not-Obama-don’t-care policy.) Just a quick exam for more basal cell, for which she goes in for a Moh’s procedure in December. (Don’t know how much that will cost, but she’s at the out of pocket limit very early in the plan year anyway, so I’m not worrying. Told her to “stock up” on every medical thing she can possibly think of the rest of the year…)

          And… spouse just had hernia surgery (one reason/excuse I haven’t really gotten back up to speed yet). Don’t have the insurance breakdown yet, but the original discounted charge for the primary surgeon was some $1,300. I have the remainder bill from the hospital here, original charge for them $16,500. Yesterday, another remainder bill from the assistant surgeon – her original charge before discount and insurance payment was $943.

          I think that’s it – reading the hospital bill, the anesthesiologist was staff, so was included there. So somewhere north of $20K for just that.

          1. Addendum, here. For some reason, my mother kept the bill from the hospital from when I was born. I was kept an extra three days – somehow, my umbilical knot came untied in the nursery, and I lost quite a bit of blood.

            The grand total, all care (including the delivery doctor – staff GP, not a specialist)?

            $45.00 even.

      2. I had a lithotripsy done. It cost $8,666, of which I paid almost $6,000 due to deductibles, co-pays, and expenses not covered by insurance. The urologist claimed he only made about $300 out of that.

        Didn’t do a good job of it either; he charged me another $8,666 two weeks later when the first one didn’t work. Over $17,000 total.

        A fat chunk of my money went *somewhere*.

        1. Services, and people to perform them, required by O’care and the insurance companies, eat up a lot of it.

          1. From The High Price of Socialized Medicine by Dr. James W. Brook (Great book. Highly recommended.)

            “Consider the difference in fees between a free market medical practice like that of the author, and a typical insurance-based practice. Suppose I charge $30 for something. The average doctor who collects his fees from a third party has about $218,000 more overhead per year than I do, averaged over about 7,500 patient visits. This adds another $29 to the charge, bringing it up to $59. If only 58% of charges end up getting paid, then the doctor needs to charge $102. The $30 service now costs $102.

            “An insurance company has to collect more in premiums than it pays out in claims, or it cannot remain in business and continue to offer insurance…. It therefore needs to collect more in premiums than the costs of claims plus these other costs. If a service would cost $102 to pay directly, then the insurance company would have to collect more than that, perhaps $140, in order to stay in business…. People end up paying somewhere in the neighborhood of $140 in premiums to cover what would have originally been a $30 service if insurance was not involved at all….

            “What the uninsured see is a $102 fee for something that could be costing $30. They cannot be billed any differently than the insured, or the doctor would be guilty of charging according to a “dual fee schedule,” a form of insurance fraud.”

            And that was BEFORE whatever Obamacare now tacks on.

            1. If you want to see free-market prices, I’ve found one lone holdout inside the USA:


              How little they charge compared to what I’ve paid elsewhere as an uninsured has been mind-boggling.I have them bookmarked permanently for my eventual knee replacements.

              1. Whee! Looks like hubby (who cannot afford the insurance) will be going to OK for any surgery I need in the future. Less than $6K – for what I just detailed above for more than $20K.

                1. Keep in mind that the travel cost and hotel stay while the procedure is done are all chargeable against your taxes as medical expenses. Meals while there might be, as well — I haven’t had cause to read that portion of the 1040 in a while. Anything that gets you above that 7.5% Gross Income before taking expenses as deductible shield of income is golden.

              2. Cripes, I bookmarked it too. Their outright prices look pretty much like my deductible+copay.

                Maybe 20 years ago a friend’s father needed a multiple bypass procedure on his heart. He had no medical insurance. So he took his checkbook, went down to the hospital, got hold of their accounts manager, and played “Let’s Make A Deal.” By paying cash ahead of time, he worked them down to about 20% of their “retail” price.

                I’m pretty sure that only worked because it was a rural Arkansas hospital that could do as it pleased, as opposed to a state or national chain hospital that had set policies and no leeway.

    2. Lawyers. Billable hourly rates in the $750 range are considered low in the field I’m involved in these days, and I’ve heard about personal billable rates up in the $1,500 per hour range for high reputation lead lawyers.

      The main note on this is that much income makes a person very mobile.

      1. One of the charming things about lawyers is that they have figured ways to bill the same hour to multiple clients.

  8. The unmentioned problem with this is Californication. People leave CA and ruin other states like they ruined CA and don’t even realize it.

    What’s E stand for?

  9. Well spoken. There is wisdom here that is years beyond your physical age.

    The only thing I will say about the sales tax is that it spreads the pain across the board, instead of placing it all on the employed residents. For example: Tennessee has no state income tax but it has a hefty sales tax*. They like to nail the tourists as much as the residents. (*quick caveat here, it has been a few years since I have paid attention to TN financial status, things could have changed.)

    Tobacco tax: Don’t get me started on the tobacco Nazis. Non-smoker, but both my parents were smokers. I have about three soapboxes that I can jump between on this topic. I am puzzled by the push-back I am seeing to e-cigs. Since the T.N. claim they are forcing all these regulations on us to reduce second hand smoke, and protect the children. _gack_ What is their problem with e-cigs? Aren’t they just water vapor? Since when does water vapor cause breathing problems? Seriously, if we’re going to legalize pot, and consider drinking acceptably, these T.N. need to STFU. I have yet to see a legitimate report indicating that tobacco impairs the user’s reflexes and/or perceptions. There are no existing laws (that I know of) forbidding smoking in your own car^ or home. ((^yes, there are some moronic states that have made it illegal to smoke in your car while in the presence of a minor, we’re assuming you’re in your car, alone.)) Meanwhile, we all know that alcohol and pot can effect how you see, hear and react. _kicks soapbox away_ So besides “tobacco, horror”, wtf is their deal?

    Reusable bags: I can’t speak for anywhere else, but I have noticed something in our neck of the woods. Das Fatherland, up north, has a bag tax. A well-known grocery chain based in Das Fatherland has been trying to eliminate plastic bags in all of their stores in my woods. When this bag tax was started, this chain gave a 5 cent discount for every ‘reusable’ bag used at check-out. They also had somewhat sturdy reusable bags. The chain noticed that people were buying less of these bags, since they lasted a long time, and replaced them with “cheap” reusable, usually themed, bags. (cheaply made, not cheap to buy) What makes this so amusing to me is that these bags are recycled plastic and will tear if mishandled. Then the chain decided to stop offering the discount. I have a sizable cache of reusable bags in my car – which I frequently forget to take in. So I have gone back to plastic bags if I am in a rush, or absentminded. No incentive. (The bags that I do use are sturdy rip-stop nylon and canvas.) Oddly enough, given the option, I’d take the paper bag over the plastic. They hold more, are easy to pack in the car, and I am quite accustom to handling them. Plus, they made great book covers when I was in school. ((Hmm, book covers you made yourself; did I just give away my age?))

    CalExit? All for it, but I do wonder how that will affect those of us born there. Would we be considered foreign nationals? Or does the fact that I was born on a military base mean that I would still be a citizen?

    1. There is some medical research indicating that nicotine slows the advent of dementia-category illnesses, but this is an essentially closed research field, just as there is little funding available for research into links between birth control hormones and depression or abortion and breast cancer rates.

      1. It also helps people with bi-polar disease. Since it runs in my mom’s family, when people stop smoking for their lungs, they often go on psychiatric drugs.
        Again, the means of delivery via smoking stick MIGHT affect others, at least those with hyper-reactive airways (so will fireplaces. Never mind) BUT e-cigs don’t have that, and nicotine actually shortens your life more than a lot of psychiatric drugs.

        1. I have at least one acquaintance who says that she is allergic to e-cig vapor. Personally I find it at least as objectionable as side-stream smoke, just like someone who has bathed in perfume (not that that means that they should be illegal).

    2. Oh, and reusable bags harbor microbial growth which is one reason for the exception for meats. I am surprised they didn’t simply ban meat, or put a tax on its consumption as cattle farts are a major contributor to greenhouse gasses.

        1. OK, then counter with legislation to recapture the methane for energy use. This should not be applied in the barns alone, but require that a system be developed to be strapped to each cow…

              1. Since when did the radical greens concern themselves with either the feasibility or practicality of their demands?

                1. Anybody else remember Arthur Clarke’s “Food Of The Gods” short story? 😈

                  1. Actually, I have a cookbook from 1971 that has a chapter on cannibalism. Not much in the chapter, though – the author stated that she included no recipes because most people weren’t worth eating.

                2. I have considerable problems, especially when you consider the typical diet of the food source is ungodly high in additives, antibiotics, steroids and who knows what all else.

                  That is why I insist that if forced to cannibalism I will accept only organically raised, free-range food.

                  1. And some people are just unaware of those possibilities.
                    Last year at Halloween I sat on the porch with a white shirt and chefs hat, with a copy of “To Serve Man” on the table next to the candy, and no one noticed.
                    I was sad, and had to have a big mug of “Spider” – spiced hot fresh cider spiked with 100 proof applejack. Called so b/c a small female friend once had 2 mugs of the stuff, tried and failed to get up, and asked me
                    “jhohn – is zere ane alkohol in zis spider?”

                  2. It makes me wonder what percentage of the population would be culled as unhealthy or otherwise unsuitable if we were being raised for food. Then again, considering how many steroids and additives are applied to current food sources …

                    1. Depends on what they were using for the raising; the intelligence is what would be the biggest issue, followed by long reproductive cycles and erratic heritability of even things like birth weight unless you’ve got a very restricted population.

      1. Is it all cow farts or cows which eat certain ways farts? If it’s all cow farts do buffaloes fart less or were there considerable fewer buffaloes back before Europeans came to the continent than there are cows now, otherwise why would the cow farts be a big problem now?

        Nobody ever explains all the obvious questions in those cow fart articles. :/

        1. It is all a plot by the Cow Fart Cabal (aka: Big Flatulence) to distract from the real source of the problem: methane produced by excessive piles of steaming BS.

        2. Is it all cow farts or cows which eat certain ways farts? If it’s all cow farts do buffaloes fart less or were there considerable fewer buffaloes back before Europeans came to the continent than there are cows now, otherwise why would the cow farts be a big problem now?

          It’s just like people– depends on the cow, how they’re doing, and what they’ve been eating. I vaguely remember that higher fiber means more gas, broadly speaking– so grain or silage (chopped whole corn plant) fed would be better than “grass fed.”

          I’ve only heard rumor of one experiment into buffalo on this subject, which got dumped because it had the wrong answer. (couldn’t find a spin to make buffalo enviro friendly)

      2. I’m sure a lot of the rich progs over here would love to try (and then probably use their wealth to smuggle in meat for their own private use). There’s no way that the voters would go for it, though.

      3. I’m going to mention weird NY law on reusable bags here. One of the places I buy wine at on a regular basis, if you’re buying several bottles gives you a really nice bag with little dividers sewn in to keep the bottles from clinking together. Mentioned one time to the cashier I should have brought one in from the car- they really are quite sturdy. She said not to bother- NYS health department prohibits their reuse to carry wine bottles. Meanwhile, in the grocery store next door, I can put meat, produce, eggs, and other things into a reusable bag. And NYS encourages doing that. Haven’t figure out exactly what adverse health effects can occur by carrying wine in sealed glass bottles in a reusable bag, but I’ll keep drinking wine until I figure it out… And I’ll keep adding to my collection of reusable bags I can’t reuse. Although I’ve found them handy for other things.

    3. Re. smoking in your house. IIRC San Fran has banned smoking in apartments, duplexes, and condos, and you can’t smoke in the yard of a privately owned home (air pollution, natch). But that’s a municipal ordinance, not state.

        1. Youngest son moved to San Jose in January to take a job with Whiting-Turner. He loves the job, the climate, but not most of the people who live there. IN his words, they are way too much interested in telling you what to do in the tiniest details.

          1. Only one of many reasons why my son, and his wife, who were born and raised in the Silicon Valley area, and are doing well work-wise, are planning to leave the state.

            And most definitely not bringing along any of the area’s econopolitical notions with them.

  10. Several thoughts on your points:

    On Colorado Care: I’m pretty sure the reason that this didn’t pass was that the phrasing of it began, “Shall taxes be increased by 25 billion in the first year…” Anyone capable of basic math would look at that, say, “Wait a sec, what’s the population of Colorado again? About 5 million I think. So that means $5,000 per person, so my family of 4 pays an extra $20,000 a year…I don’t #%$%! think so!”

    On more money for K-12 education: They’ve tried giving a school district a literally unlimited budget, and spoiler alert, it didn’t work out very well or give very good outcomes. There were a lot of things like “every secretary gets a new chair every year” but even things like “we take all the Spanish classes on field trips to Spain” had limited effect. Google “Kansas City Experiment” if you want the details.

    On plastic bags, mall consequences: I think the idea of “the mall” as a place to hang out may be dying anyway, at least where I live (north of Denver). I don’t think a new “mall” has been built here in about 15 years. Instead, they’re building outdoor shopping spaces where no one wants to be in cold weather (as in December, as in when most of the stores do most of their business). In the space that replaced our mall, there are about a dozen restaurants, a grocery store, and a liquor store, but nothing for clothes, accessories, or toys; you couldn’t impulse buy something there even if you wanted to.

    On plastic bags, other consequences: One of the major uses of those “one use” plastic bags from the grocery store is for dog owners to clean up after their dogs; if they can’t use the grocery store bags, they’ll have to buy ones from Petco or something, and I suspect many of them just won’t bother. When all of the hiking trails start to literally smell like crap and you can’t go through a park without getting doo on your shoes, I wonder of any of those Suzy One-Steps will connect that to the fact that it’s now hard to get plastic bags.

    On legalizing weed: “The only positive I can give really, other than passing an amendment to legalize weed (Thank God, hopefully all the Californians move back now) ” Can I get an “Amen” from the Colorado chorus! This is the one thing this election I was desperately hoping would pass, and for precisely this reason: it’s past time for all of the permanent pot tourists to go home. Of course, some will stay because they’re smart enough to realize that they haven’t screwed up Colorado as much as they have California yet, but if we can get even a few out of here, it’ll be worth it.

    1. I was REALLY hoping that CC would pass. I voted against it, and I think it’s a horrible idea, but I was PERSONALLY planning on bankrupting the state of Colorado with my health care visits. After all, I work remotely so I can do that from the Doctors office almost as well as I can from my bunker.

  11. There is nothing to stop people who are genuinely convinced that plastic bags are terrible from taking their own reusable bags to stores. Turning this into a plastic bag ban is just a way of forcing everybody to behave as they pretend they do (I saw damn few reusable bags in Austin before the ban). In short: just another case of the Left’s desire to bully.

    1. Portland OR was an early adopter. I was up there working a contract. Now one thing a visitor quickly realizes is that the Portland climate is decidedly on the damp side…. even indoors. So I would buy a couple cold Mountain Dews at the convenience store on the ground floor and they would put them in a paper sack. By the time I took the elevator up to the workspace, it was 50/50 that the bottles would sweat so much the bottom would fall out. About 10% of the time, it wouldn’t make it out of the store…..

      These people need a thorough rogering by the frozen swordfish of reality.

  12. Law of Unintended Consequences bites hard.

    The federal government decided to pass a luxury tax to offset the deficit in 1991. It was a 10% surcharge on boats over $100,000, cars over $30,000, aircraft over $250,000 and furs and jewelry over $10,000. One thing about luxuries, they are not necessities and people can forgo or find ways around buying them. The federal government found out that the revenues they expected failed to materialize.

    Meanwhile, as the rich stopped buying the not rich suffered. For example, Hatteras Yachts was founded in High Point North Carolina and once built boats there. They had flourished, adding a second plant in New Bern, but then things changed. The economy was suffering, it can be argued in part due to government interference, and the luxury tax was enacted. Hatteras Yachts are no longer built in High Point, and many people lost good jobs.

    1. And when a State does things like that – the rich move their stuff to another State. When the Feds do that, the rich move their stuff to another country. When the Feds try to tax their stuff in another country, the rich move themselves to another country.

      Not an option for the poor – or most of the middle class, either (at least whoever is the current generation with roots sunk into the community and things to lose – not their kids).

      1. And when a State does things like that – the rich move their stuff to another State.

        I wish that were true. Because the fact of the matter is that it’s the rich progs who keep pushing most of this crap here in California. Don’t get me wrong. The initiatives keep passing because voters from the other classes are voting for them as well. But the rich progs in places like Silicon Valley keep bankrolling all of this nonsense.

        1. Because their money, with its attendant economic and political power, insulates them from their behavior.

          And virtue signaling apparently is fun.

        2. Depends on what they’re getting rich from. Fair number of manufacturers, with well-paid executives, moved to Texas – or so I hear.

        1. When I filmed an episode of Jeopardy! there in the 1990s, CA nailed me with taxes on ALL income, not just the $1000 earned as a contestant.

          1. A number of states do a form of that by prorating the taxes owed.

            Simplistically expressed, say your income from all sources (two states) is $100,000, ten percent from State A and the remaining ninety from State B. State A has a tax rate (at the $100,000 income level) of 30% while State B’s comparable tax rate is 10%.

            State A determines your taxes as 10% of $30K, or $3,000 (ten percent of what you would have paid if all your income had been earned in State A.) State B assesses your taxes as $9,000 (10% of the ninety thousand earned in that state.) It is possible that State B offers a tax credit for taxes paid to other states, but if not your total income tax liability would be $12,000.

            For the example given the actual amounts work out the same as if State A followed B’s practice of only taxing income earned in that state, but that is mostly an effect of the numbers used to keep the example simple. (Maybe — it might work out as essentially the same in all instances and would thus represent merely an effort by State A to annoy taxpayers who live out of state.)

            Consider the issues this would create for, e.g., an NFL player who “earns” his salary in nine locales (eight in home games, eight away games) and must compute the intersection of nine different state taxes. MLB and NBA players would have even more challenging filing issues.

    2. And those with the sort of income to purchase six figure and up boats quickly discovered that shipyards in other countries were more than willing to take their money and provide registration of record. Net loss of revenue and jobs across the board.
      We sure showed those rich fat cats there, didn’t we though.

      1. Wasn’t international redistribution of income one of their stated objectives? Easiest way is to get the wealthy to move out of USA, so the progs won’t have to feel guilty about how many rich people we have.

    3. I’ve been observing lately: It’s not the law of UNFORESEEN consequences. Plenty of people foresee the consequences, and warn about them. But the other side says, “No, you lie, why do you hate _____? HATER!”

      Then they ram through their program, the foreseen consequences happen, and they scurry for ways to blame their opponents. (c.f. Obamacare).

      Secretary Clinton should be pretty pissed at President Obama, Speaker Pelosi, and Senator Reid right now. When Obamacare was proposed, I heard many eyes-wide-open pundits say, “It’s a sham! The benefits are front-loaded to make it popular, while the costs are back-loaded so this crew won’t have to face up to them. In fact, most of these costs won’t be visible until 2016, maybe 2017, when President Obama will be safely out of electoral danger.”

      Welcome to 2016, Secretary Clinton. They screwed you back in 2010, and you never even noticed.

      1. Oh I’m sure she noticed. It’s just like so many of her progressive ilk she assumed that was a can she could safely kick down the road. Typical of all progressive socialists, they reap the benefits while someone else pays the price.
        But do keep in mind that in spite of her many faults and incredible negative baggage she just barely lost.

        1. As I recall, the argument was that having gotten people hooked on government underwritten health care insurance, the people would vote for anesthetic over hook removal.

          They had no idea the implementation (Internet Insurance Exchanges!!! What is not t like?) would go so badly, especially as all those web designer DNC contributors assured them it would involve off-the-shelf technology.

          Insurance providers promised that they could suck-in attract sufficient purchasers to keep the costs viable, especially with under-the-table subsidies (hereinafter termed: “risk adjustment, reinsurance, and risk corridors”).

          1. “especially as all those web designer DNC contributors assured them it would involve off-the-shelf technology.”

            RES, they were told that….. and the SuperGenius in the room promptly gave the command not to use the software developed for various private insurance companies, as that might call into question why a government seller was needed at all.

            The final requirements from CMMS, all progtestations to the contrary, were absolutely delayed until after the 2012 election…. and then modified…. repeatedly….. up until scheduled go-live.

      2. The Law of Denied Consequences.

        Ox might be slow, but even ox predicted that a Trump would result in (possibly 4 or 8 years of) tantrums. Gal on Plurk asked if ox really believed that… and well, her world got rather shaken last week.

        Ox slow, but at least ox eventually get there.

        1. Yes, they not only ignore the obvious; they go further. They deny what they couldn’t deny, even if they tried with both hands.

    4. It was Democrat John Kerry, proponent of high taxes, apparently just for others, who registered his yacht in Rhode Island to avoid $50,000 in Massachusetts taxes.

      1. Yeah ex Senator Kerry (known round these parts as Lurch) is a serious hypocrite. In Massachusetts in the late 90’s we rolled back a (temporary HAH) surtax from the Dukakis administration that raised the income tax from 5.15% to 5.65%. The pols not wanting to reverse it simply added a little box that you can check to increase your tax back to the Larger amount. When campaigning in 2004 Lurch said he’d happily pay more taxes as he was wealthy. Well when he provided his income taxes gues who doesn’t check the box. Pretty much I think nobody checks that stupid box except for the occasional moron from Cambridge or Wellesly.

        1. a (temporary HAH) surtax

          Yeah, once they slip those shackles on (c’mon; it’ll be fun … and it’s just for a short time! It’ll be good for our relationship, you’ll like how it makes you feel, trust me) there’s no guarantee of them coming back off, even if you’ve agreed to a safe phrase (I recommend “recall election”) beforehand.

  13. Reblogged this on The Arts Mechanical and commented:
    How little votes make big changes. Marshall makes some great points about the web of interrelated economics how one thing seemingly simple and one step, flings effects right across the economy. The problem is that the people who come up with this stuff more than likely don’t spend time in shops, have never made an impulse purchase or at least never had to deal with a big load of stuff. They should try one of my walkabouts in NYC for a good reason why bags are needed.

  14. :I’m concerned that 20% of our population thought that was a swell idea …

    Most probably there were 20% who expected to profit from the plan. It is hard to imagine any government scheme done at that scale which won’t directly benefit that much of the populace: bureaucrats looking to expand fiefdoms, suppliers expecting to lock out competitors, middling-sized businesses looking to offload a cost …

        1. Amendment 71 would make the process more difficult by requiring a more expansive geographic distribution of those signing petitions to put such a measure on the ballot — and then requiring 55 percent of voters to approve it instead of a simple majority. Specifically, signatures would have to be collected from each of the state’s 35 senate districts in numbers equal to at least 2 percent of the registered voters in each district.

          1. Can’t answer for Marshall, but I have some mixed feelings about it. On the plus side, we’ll have fewer idiotic amendments in the future. On the minus side, it’s going to be more difficult to do things like repeal the “minimum wage” nonsense that just got written in (yes, I know that only 50% vote is required for repeal, but it’s still more difficult to get that repeal on the ballot).

              1. Raising it was bad enough. Saying that it will now be raised in perpetuity according to “cost of living” adjustments was precisely the sort of thing I didn’t want locked in to the Constitution.

              2. As frequently pointed out, the real minimum wage is zero. When the only jobs you can get are volunteer or min-wage, there’s a lot of people who won’t find work.

  15. I remember when plastic bags were suppose to be good for the environment because they would save trees (never minding the fact that trees are replanted and grow back and money really does grow on trees, it just takes 20-25 years). If they went back to paper bags, I wouldn’t mind. In North Carolina, Atlantic Beach banned plastic bags because sea turtles mistake them for jelly fish. If people throw paper bags out on the side walks, they eventually decay. Plastic bags just get blown around by the wind, but they do make cheap liners for small trash cans, and they wipe peanut butter off knives well.

    1. Not quite the same, but I recall the Age of Steel (Beer,Soda-Pop) Cans and finding the odd mostly rusted away remains of one in the woods from time to time. Aluminium, due to the nature of the oxide coating, lingers. I suspect Al is an overall win for lighter shipping, but steel recycles too – and can be magnetically separated from other items.

    2. The thing about reuseable bags is that you gotta wash ’em or you’re bringing you stuff home in filthy (germ wise) bags—especially groceries, yuck. And I keep forgetting the insulated bags I bought at Sam’s Club for milk. I put milk in an old duffle bag, which probably isn’t the cleanest thing in the world.

    3. Plastic bags tend to break down after prolonged exposure to UV. The complaint is this forms microparticles similar to sand or dust in the environment. But these particles have not been shown to be detrimental.

      FWIW, I remember a news story of researchers looking into microparticles in the marine environment to see if they were detrimental. The reporter, though, went on that it must be detrimental. Plastic, you know.

      1. And we found that the reason the “great pacific trash vortex” doesn’t grow, is because once sunlight & wave action breaks the plastic down to small enough microparticles (i.e – large enough surface to volume ratio), the bacterial and other microbial beasties think it’s an awesome food source, and quickly digest it.

        Yeah, there are bacteria that will happily eat petroleum products. This is one of the tragedies of the exxon valdez: the steam-cleaning of the beaches destroyed a lot of the microbial life that thrives on natural petroluem seepage from the seabed, and as a result, prolonged the lingering time of the oil.

        As an aside: my husband once decided to wash my sneakers. He came back upstairs and exclaimed, “They left a tide ring on the washer! What was on those, crude from the exxon valdez?”

        I looked at him, very confused about why anyone would wash sneakers. Then I thought about his remark. “Um, given some of the beach landings we’ve done flying up and down that coast… probably. Only trace amounts, but I was kicking over rocks, so.. yeah, likely.”

        That was not the answer he’d been expecting.

        1. “Yeah, there are bacteria that will happily eat petroleum products. ”
          As a boat builder, I was aware of the sudden increase in “osmotic blistering” on boat hulls in the 80’s. Nasty, and hard to prevent and fix. I thought at the time it might be “Polyestermites” released by some greenpeace lab to clean up oil spills. Turns out it was probably the bean counters changing resin formulations to save money.

          1. The reason you don’t see hills of tire rubber along the sides of roads is that bacteria have evoloved which eat it.

            1. Once Upon A Time In Wausau Wisconsin…

              The Wisconsin Valley Radio Association had a few ‘foxhunts’ with the rule the transmitter had to be within the Wausau city limits and on public land (roads, parks). People got creative about that, finding hard to access spots, doing weird things with polarization and directional antennas, aiming transmitter antenna at watertowers… once it was “go the newly annexed land.” Fellow parked on the side of a dead-end street and played fox. He was eventually found… and then the street/road was examined. Evidently it was secluded enough that it was a make-out spot for some of the young-ish locals. This was evidenced by all the condoms along the shoulder. I forget the actual name of the road, but it was quickly dubbed, due to a commercial of the time, Firestone Alley, “Where the rubber meets the road.”

        2. I wash my sneakers every once and a while if they get too dirty. As in “they were encased in mud, and I hosed them off as well as I could, inside and out, but they’re still brown” dirty.

          And I have a few pairs that I normally wear barefoot. They get washed.

      2. The reporter, though, went on that it must be detrimental. Plastic, you know.

        Having been an observer of television news for several decades, it seems to me that for a reporter to inveigh against plastic constitutes an argument against interest.

    4. The other thing that people forget is that making paper is a filthy process. I suspect that there is far far less environmental damage from a plastic bag over the complete life-cycle than from a paper bag.

        1. Downstream is no picnic either. Samples of the riverbed have been known to spontaneously combust.

        2. I have vivid childhood memories of trips from my hometown of Huntington W.Va. to visit Mom’s sister’s family in Cincinnati that took us through Chillicothe, OH — the city you could smell before you could see it.

            1. My visits through there were late Fifties, early Sixties, well before your time and also somewhat before environment impact became a thing businesses were expected to concern themselves about.

            2. I stayed in Chilicothe a few days on my walk across the midwest about 12 years back. I didn’t notice anything bad.

          1. I’ve visited Plymouth, NC frequently, which is home to a paper plant, and has been for years. It used to stink to high heaven; now, it just has a distinctive odor. That is, it’s better. I think the plant in New Bern, NC is better too.

            1. There used to be a Lay’s potato chip plant alongside one of my town’s main throughways. Those sitting at the intersection waiting for the light to change were treated to a plume of factory exhaust travelling about two feet above the pavement up to perhaps six feet (yes, you could see it) which reeked of rancid fat.

              Neither Beloved Spouse nor I will eat a Lay’s potato chip to this day.

              1. Claxton, Georgia, home of Claxton Fruitcake. First time I went through there, the smell of fruitcake was strong enough to cause a “Huh?” Then I remembered the fruitcake business.

                I am happy to report that when I went through Vidalia, it did not smell like onions.

  16. Oh, and the problem with more money to the schools is that the central office and front office staffs grow. They have to, to a certain extent, because that money has to be accounted for, and a lot of it comes with strings attached, like cafeteria funds from the US Department of Agriculture—you must do this, you can’t serve that, etc.

    1. I don’t recall which author it was that claimed that when you give too much money to schools, they grow administrators. Sort of like mushrooms.

      1. Relates to the idea that the ideal classroom size would be 8-10 students/teacher (actual studies say this isn’t true) – but fairly obviously we don’t have enough teachers, or people willing to teach for a living, in the country to make that happen.
        So money voted to reduce classroom sizes for better teaching gets used for other things. Makes you think teachers are innumerate…

        1. Teacher’s Unions want teachers to be paid like professionals, such as doctors and lawyers. That means limiting the supply. Last time I checked out an education program, I was told that it was next to impossible to get into without some kind of preference for the politically disadvantaged. What with all the other ridiculous requirements, I decided I didn’t want to be a public school teacher that badly.

          1. Interesting. Have several teachers in the family, and they’ve never run into this. The newest things are a background check and something that’s sort of like malpractice insurance. Some of the classes don’t seem to have changed much since some family took them in the 1940s. That’s not necessarily a good thing.

            About the worst thing is dealing with parents. I wouldn’t make a good one.

            1. I think it’s parents (some of them), meetings, paperwork, and end of year testing–the stress and the constraints.

          2. One flaw in that theory is that professionals do not typically form unions through which they bargain collectively. You will not generally find your doctors, lawyers nor engineers (or even accountants) setting their fees according to seniority.

            1. “You will not generally find your doctors, lawyers nor engineers (or even accountants) setting their fees according to seniority.”

              Not sure that’s true for either lawyers or accountants. How long does it take to make partner?

              1. That is a matter of setting their compensation, not fees. A partner represents an ownership in the firm and entitles the partner to a share of the net proceeds. Fees are determined by such factors as specific expertise, a proven track record and what competing firms charge for similar services.

                Teachers’ unions are a conspiracy to set prices regardless of results.

    2. The amount of documentation that the government requires in order to track costs for fear the money they provide is properly certainly adds to the costs. It also takes up growing amounts of teacher’s time.

      1. Should have been ‘is properly spent…’

        I have found that there develops a certain blindness when you edit and reedit your own work. Then, when you post the mistake comes glaring out at you and you wonder how in the world you could have missed it.

        1. Very common among authors, it’s why they treasure a good copy editor so.
          Your brain knows what you wanted to say so it fills in the gaps your fingers may have left on the page.

          1. true for drawings, art, etc – I always do a check print (or the equivalent) in another medium, background color, scale – something to make it look different enough that the eye will look more closely.

  17. This is not news to anyone who has given the matter a moment’s intelligent thought (so, about a third of the country?) but nicely illustrates the point:

    $15 minimum wage to cost taxpayers an extra $838M for Medicaid
    The $15 minimum wage is going to end up costing New York taxpayers an extra $838 million a year in Medicaid payments by 2020 — double what the Cuomo administration estimated.

    According to the mid-year state budget, taxpayers will shoulder an additional $44 million next year when wages for home health care aides, orderlies and other low-paid medical workers contracted with Medicaid increase from $9 to $11 an hour.

    Officials originally estimated the first year would add just $13 million to the state budget.

    When wages are eventually hiked to $15 by 2020, the extra cost will reach a staggering $838 million a year — more than double the $411 million officials originally estimated.

    The fiscal bombshell can be found in two paragraphs on page 81 of the 391-page budget, released Monday.

    It dryly reads: “Minimum wage initiatives, inclusive of revised forecast assumptions, are expected to increase annual Medicaid spending above statutory Global Cap limits by $44 million in FY 2017; $255 million in FY 2018; $579 million in FY 2019; and $838 million in FY 2020.”


    Union spokeswoman Helen Schaub insisted the new numbers don’t reflect that higher paid workers will pay more taxes and get off food stamps, and added higher wages would result in improved care because of less workforce turnover.

    Morris Peters, a spokesman for the state Division of the Budget, responded by saying:

    “The Governor is committed to paying a fair wage to healthcare workers who provide an essential service to our most vulnerable New Yorkers. The updated numbers reflects statute enacted subsequent to our initial estimates, as well as additional analysis on the costs associated with the wage increase to providers. We continue to work with all stakeholders to ensure access to affordable, high-quality care for our state’s residents.”
    — — —

    According to Ballotpedia: “Between fiscal years 2014 and 2015, total government spending in New York increased by approximately $6.3 billion—from $134.1 billion in fiscal year 2014 to an estimated $140.4 billion in 2015.”

    Thus the $838M represents a mere 0.6% of the total budget, a minor rounding error and no cause for concern. Nothing to see here. Move along quietly, please.

  18. Seeing Lake Powell and Lake Mead fill back up after kissing California goodbye? That would be beautiful.

    On Thu, 17 Nov 2016 07:17:18 -0500
    According To Hoyt wrote:

    > accordingtohoyt posted: “California Potheads and the Half-witted
    > Twits – E. Marshall Hoyt Economics is a complicated beast. More
    > importantly, it’s incredibly hard to measure, understand, or even
    > predict. One little change to how you do business and the effect
    > ripples. A “

    1. Except Lake Mead and Lake Powell are upstream from where California takes its water. There’s not much Calexit can do about drought conditions all over the western US for the past decade or so.

      1. I think they currently have to let more water flow out from Lake Mead and Lake Powell to keep the water flow to California going. Outflows would likely be able to be reduced somewhat if California doesn’t get that water.

  19. I don’t disagree with anything you wrote, but look at it like it’s California and Californian’s business. Freedom lets us make our own choices, both good and bad. If Californians want to run their state into the ground . . . shrug. It’s their state.

    It would work out well for the rest of the country if they left the Union. They could maintain their own defense and borders, including if Kim Jong-il wants to use it as a missile testing range. The US could enact immigration restrictions. And if they wanted to rejoin the Union, there’s the precedent of “state suicide” and Reconstruction. I’m sure the Southern States could give the government pointers.

    1. We also need to consider how Californians’ bad decisions cause them to flee and then Californicate other states. This is why rather than building that Mexican wall, we should all push fro CalExit and build a giant wall to keep Californians from fleeing and contaminating the rest of the nation.

        1. There are a lot of us living in the land of fruit and nuts that are neither. I’d like to see the state divided – rednecks below and communists above.
          I promise that if we move eastward we will not try to californicate.
          We are Wirecutter types.

            1. I remember an oooooooold NewYorker cartoon. Family in car approaching highway sign: You are now leaving California. Resume normal behavior.

          1. *grins* I am proud to count Dennis of Dragon Leatherworks as a friend, and was thrilled when he fled NY for TN to raise his kids and his awesome custom holster-making business. It’s been awesome watching him run face-first over and over into “wait, you can do that?” and “nobody forbids that?”

            The standard response from the gun owners he works with is “Welcome to America, Dennis.”

            There are a few other folks still stuck in occupied territory like yourself; I’ve been trying to entice a lovely friend who’s an RN out of New Hamster, and a paramedic and her family out of Northern CA. Both are some of those exceptions that remind us that the crazies are loud, but the state isn’t completely saturated with them yet.

      1. Anyone taking bets on how long before California establishes a border fence along their state lines with Oregon and Nevada? With those cigarette taxes and ammo restrictions the smugglers will have a field day unless strict border check stations are implemented.

        1. A few Yankee states have been fighting a war with smugglers bringing untaxed cigarettes north for decades.

          If there’s a profit to be made, someone will reach for it.

          1. The guy who died in police custody in NYC a while back was arrested because he was selling untaxed cigarettes.

            1. Accuracy demands we note he was basically selling them in the entrances to stores which sold taxed cigarette packs.

              Sometimes where you do a thing matters as much as what you do.

              1. I don’t know if this adds or detracts to the point. What matters is that the State of New York decreed that there be a Tax, and one of the citizens saw an opportunity, and tried to take advantage of it, so the Agents of the State tried to arrest him, and he died.

                Granted, the police didn’t *try* to kill the guy; but the fact remains that when you pass a law, you say “We think this is *so* important that we decided that we are going to kill people if they don’t do this!”

                So, the question is, does New York *really* think that cigarette taxes should be so high — and thereby encourage the smuggling of said cigarettes, by increasing the margin of profit that can be obtained by selling such smuggled cigarettes — that they increase the likelyhood that they’ss have to kill people for not paying that tax?

                Apparently the answer is “yes, of course we should have this law, but we don’t *really* want the police to kill anyone!”

                1. Granted, the police didn’t *try* to kill the guy; but the fact remains that when you pass a law, you say “We think this is *so* important that we decided that we are going to kill people if they don’t do this!”

                  And he decided that not only was the risk of arrest and punishment for publicly, obviously doing tax evasion worth it, but that physically assaulting law abiding citizens to avoid arrest for openly committing a crime was worth it.

                  Same way that burglars aren’t shot because the person they chose to steal from thought that the property was worth a human life– the burglar decided that their life was worth that little.

                  1. You are treading dangerously close to advocating the (SPLC denounced) extremist theory that people are responsible for their actions. That would be racist, because we all know that only White people are capable of culpability for their actions.

                    Annnnnnd because some dolt will undoubtedly fail to perceive that as sarcasm, be advised it is sarcasm.

                    Only White conservative people (of all skin shades) are capable of culpability.

            2. The guy who had a heart attack after body-slamming an officer off of the wall and attempting the same with two others was being arrested for selling untaxed cigarettes at the front door of a store that was following the law on their tobacco sales.

          2. This. CA authorities already bust semi trucks loaded with out of state cigarettes due to the prior minor tax difference between CA and other states – now it will be enormously more profitable, and organized crime will repurpose all that pot smuggling expertise to something that’s not actually illegal to possess.

            As we went through our sample ballot I called this proposition the “out of work pot smugglers full employment act of 2016.”

          3. If there’s a profit to be made, someone will reach for it.

            If there’s enough of a profit to be made, someone will find a way to invest a portion of it in political contributions.

        2. Arab terrorist groups make money by smuggling cigarettes into New York City. They buy smokes in North Carolina load them into a bobtail truck and drive up to NYC to sell them.

          1. Yep; some of them got busted because a security guard (current or retired law enforcement officer) noticed a bunch of guys buying lots of cigarettes at an outlet store in NC. he followed them for a while. I think they were Hezbollah (Lebanese terrorist) or their supporters.

  20. Oh, on plastic bags:

    This is a huge face palm for a different reason. A study some years ago found that while the number of plastic items in landfills increased, the weight of plastic remained the same. Improved materials and manufacturing techniques mean manufacturers can use less plastic to accomplish the same tasks. If businesses move to thicker plastic, that will increase the amount in the environment.

    I also wonder if paper companies were a backer of this proposition. It could mean a return to paper bags. I assume paper bags are more expensive due to material and weight than plastic, or we’d still be using them. That means higher prices and/or fewer employees in order to offset costs.

    1. Paper bags do cost more than plastic, which is why stores now will default to plastic unless paper is specified. It’s something like 7 cents for paper vs. 2 or 3 for plastic as I recall.

        1. When plastic bags first started appearing at stores, we avoided them as long as paper was still available.

          The plastic was so thin and weak that *every single item* usually got its own bag, which sort of avoided the “carry multiple items in the same bag” idea.

          They came out with stronger bags, but they were easily torn, as in by the corner of a box of cereal. So you’d pick the bag up, but your purchases remained on the counter or in your trunk.

          Then there was the “self-unpacking” problem, where when you sat them down your purchases rolled out because the tie tabs joined each side, but left about a third of the top open on each side of the knot.

          *Most* bags are better than this now… but we still shop at stores what have bags with some or all of those problems.

    2. Archeologists have been doing digs in landfills out here in CA’s dry climate for a while, and the number one villain in “filling up the landfill” here isn’t plastic bags, it’s paper. It doesn’t really rain enough out here to naturally keep thinks decaying when landfills are still open, and the operators try to keep things dry anyway to reduce methane production*, especially after they close. The archeologists recovered perfectly preserved 25 year old newspaper in those digs.

      The issue with the bags that set off everyone is that they are so lightweight they blow around when discarded, and are very visible as they collect in the creeks and in hard to reach spots along the roads.

      * One of the major local concert venues basically right next door to Google HQ is Shoreline Amphitheater, which is built on a closed landfill, and concert goers still occasionally light the very green well kept lawn on fire while innocently exploring the smokable pharmacopeia. That landfill, located in what was very swampy ground right down at the level of the bay, still makes enough methane that there’s now a methane-powered gas turbine generator off to the side that runs from pipes drilled down into the ex-landfill.

      1. I’ve read that if you run into a stack of 50 year old newspapers while digging in a landfill that the newspapers in the middle of the stack are perfectly readable. No matter where the landfill. Once they’re buried deep enough, there’s nothing there to eat or degrade them.

        And as to why people were digging into a landfill- I think they were actually conducting a study to fine out what really happened to all the buried stuff. Apparently it doesn’t degrade nearly as fast as anyone “knew” it did.

        1. I can’t help but wonder what the big deal about this is, either. I just consider such things to be time capsules for future archaeologists. Every time I wrap a poopie diaper up in a grocery bag, I think to myself “Here you go, future archaeologists! Another sample for you to determine what we used to feed to our diaper-age children!”

      2. I watched a BBC documentary about ancient documents found in a rubbish heap in Egypt. They were something like 2400 years old. A great deal of them were still readable.

  21. is that the state has to get voter approval before they can issue more than $2 billion in public infrastructure bonds, which would require a tax hike and additional fees.

    Are you referring to Proposition 53?

    It failed to pass.

    1. Yeah. And our governor keep trying g to push through the Delta Tunnels, an overpriced solution in search of a problem. We don’t need to send more water south! Especially not at a cost of billions.

  22. 3.Proposition 67, Plastic bags (single-use) are now illegal …

    Every time I feel like I’m starting to get a handle on the packrat gene which I inherited from both sides of the family, I become legally obligated to hoard more stuff.

    1. The assholes forgot that very few plastic bags are used only once. We use them to line garbage pails etc. Now we have to buy plastic liners instead of recycling.

      1. Mrs. Chronda once bought a cute little wastebasket designed for them. It had large ears on the sides that stuck through the handles to hold the bag in place. Very nice.

      2. … very few plastic bags are used only once.

        I believe that, properly folded, they would make excellent garrotes, suitable for use on recycling activists.

          1. Regrets. Lower back is going through an irritable phase and is making me more than usually cranky. Saw chiropractor for monthly adjustment this morning and am now worse than before. The management hopes and trusts that a good night’s sleep will restore normal equilibrium. Labor prmoises that it is promising nothing.

      3. I once used a plastic bag as a tie-down to secure pvc pipe in my truck bed. Necessity is …the savior of the forgetful.

        1. I use the ones that are too torn to use as garbage liners for this all the time– for stuff like tying tree branches in position, or anything else where you don’t want string that will cut, or stuff that will last a long time.

              1. Based on the various posts by you I have read over time, that is a rather general assertion about yourself with which I cannot agree. 😉

  23. My biggest concern about a California succession is that, contrary to popular belief these days, the Civil War started when South Carolina voted to secede, not because the North and South disagreed about slavery. Given a lot of the tensions in the US these days, it could well spark a second civil war. Not something I’d like to see happen.

    Course, assuming it didn’t…. California’s 55 electoral votes going bye-bye would mean that the odds of a Democrat being elected president again in my lifetime would be slim to none, along with the odds of the Democrats having control of the House. That might not be a bad thing, if the Republicans get their act together.

    1. What South Carolina said ( ) was (summarized)

      1) The northern states had failed to uphold a Constitutional provision that fugitive slaves were to be returned to their owners.
      2) The northern states had denounced slavery as sinful, permitted societies devoted to helping slaves escape, and fomented rebellion by emissaries, pictures, and books.
      3) Some of the Northern States had given citizenship to former slaves.
      4) A man whose opinions and purposes were hostile to slavery had been elected President of the United States, and the political party he represented was going to exclude the South from the United States, divide the Judiciary into sections, and make war on slavery.

      I’m willing to admit that there were other causes of tension between the Northern and Southern states, but the reasons they gave at the time were all about slavery.

      1. My shorthand comment was not the most clear. In a lot of schools today, the cause of the Civil War is being taught as (again, in shorthand), “the racist south declared war on the abolitionist north because the north wanted them to give up their slaves” secession is, at best, briefly mentioned, but more usually not at all. Secession and the discussion of states rights vs federal, are just plain ignored in most schools because it doesn’t fit the ‘racist redneck hillbilly southerners’ narrative. (Tangentially, hillbilly was actually a derogatory term used by the South against West Virginians who stayed loyal to the Union, not a term used by the North in regards to the rebels).

        1. One of the things I’ve always known just by reading it is that the Constitution describes how new states can enter the union, how two states can merge into one or one state be divided, and how to dispose of minor possessions, but nowhere in it does it describe how a state leaves the union. And it was only recently that I connected that to the fact that the Constitution, both supplanted and replaced the Articles of Confederation which is the actual founding document of the United States. Where all the states agree to enter into a perpetual union. If you’re in a perpetual union, you can’t just up and leave. Nothing has ever been added to say otherwise. Joining the union as a state is a one way trip.

            1. Our hostess can verify this, but I think the ACW is a banned topic, particularly the causes issue, because if no one has agreed on them since 1861, they aren’t about to start now.

              My only suggestion is to go back to the original documents, including pre-1860 thought on the US Constitution. Know what they actually thought and then go from there. In general, history books tend to make (sometimes) halfway decent summaries and the footnotes and bibliography great resources for further research. Always try to get as close to the original documents as you can.

              Sometimes it can be interesting. Such as a cite in a history book that, when I checked the actual documents, wasn’t there. Or one of the kids’ history text that implied a minor historic figure was a myth, except my family knew her or knew of her well enough that they knew she was cross-eyed.

          1. Joining the union as a state is a one way trip.

            Does this mean we cannot expel a state? Could we possibly suspend a state’s representation in the electoral college and federal legislature for failure to comply with certain financial requirements, e.g., a balanced state budget?

            1. Further ruminating … would this mean we could eliminate the Ninth Circus and any of its rulings not affirmed by the SCOTUS?

              1. The ninth circuit includes Alaska, Arizona, Idaho, Nevada and Montana. Whatever would they do without the guidance of the enlighten jurisprudence?

            2. Can’t expel one. However, the Constitution GUARANTEES each state a republican form of government. Not a true democracy. So, if the vast majority of other states go along, my guess is that a state government could be dissolved, and the state occupied by federal troops while the state holds a new state constitutional convention. I suspect before it got to that point the SC will have had it’s say and invalidated some laws.

              1. the Constitution GUARANTEES each state a republican form of government. Not a true democracy.

                Thank G-D for that, else the Liberals would be using that phrasing to argue that the electoral college was in violation of the Constitutional guarantee of a democratic government.

                I’ve never seen a faction so prone to change the meanings of words then argue from definition.

          2. I would propose, though, that there’s no reason why if a State wanted to leave the Union, that it can’t be done through negotiation between that State and the rest of Congress.

            If California really wants to leave, and other States wish to join them (New York, I’m looking at you!), I see no reason why we shouldn’t let them. If we wanted to be particularly mean, we could even propose that they should elect Hillary to be their President.

    2. A major reason for a lot of Southerners was Taxation Without Representation, a rather historical refrain. The population in the North was going up faster than it was in the South, and, since tax and spend bills must originate in the population-allocated House, taxes detrimental to the South were getting worse, and there was no way out of it in the political process (at the time of the beginning of the War, something like 80% of the federal government’s income was taxes on Southern agricultural exports; less than 10% of Southerners owned slaves, so the rest didn’t have that dog in the fight, but by far most were farmers). The War was a big, complex event, which had big, complex causes, but simple, emotionally-imperative concepts are easier to teach.

      1. Sarah would prefer that we NOT get into a discussion on the American Civil War.

        1. I understand that, as there are still recriminations about it 161 years later, but it is the only analogous situation in our history. What I meant by my comment was that the Civil War was a big, complex event, and so would be California seceding, however simple the reasons people give for doing it, and many there will perceive their problems as not being of their own making, and to a certain extent they will be justified in thinking that. But their biggest problems are of their own making.

          1. While you may be correct, if you go the handy tab labeled ATH FAQ AND BBQ — COMPILED BY TXRED and click through you will discover that the subject is generally off bounds in order to maintain civility and avoid flame wars.

          1. It’s okay. I just don’t like the fights. If it makes you feel better it’s forbidden in our household too. Husband is from Connecticut and I’m an adopted Southerner.

      2. I have no wish to refight the Civil War, and I would not bring it up except that I see disturbing similarities of the secession movement then to the “Calexit” notion now.

        There was no shortage of influential Northerners back in 1861 advocating that the southern states be permitted to depart peacefully. Lincoln’s reason for going to war over it was that if South Carolina or California, or Texas can unilaterally secede at any time for any reason (especially in a fit of pique that someone politically odious gains the Presidency); so can any other state, and there will shortly be no Federal Union at all. I refuse to believe that the rest of America is better off without California than with it; or vice versa.

        The American ideal is that we are all Americans more than we are Federals or Confederates, red staters or blue staters, Republicans or Democrats, easterners or westerners, liberals or conservatives, blacks, browns, or whites, males or females. This is what our enemies wish us to forget as they are busy fomenting riots and strife.

        1. A more appropriate comparison might be the New England Secessionist Movement during the War of 1812, in which several American States not only threatened to secede but actively aided and abetted the enemy.

          Given that such founding stalwarts as Adams, Jefferson and Madison were still alive and writing their insights into the question of whether states could secede ought be illuminating.

            1. Behind a paywall, but Googling on a key phrase should turn up a free version … Wall Street Journal Today:

              The Great Unraveling
              In Their Coastal Citadels, Democrats Argue Over What Went Wrong

              Epic Loss Reveals Retreat of White Working-Class Support Across America’s Midsection; ‘There Are Big Parts of the Country That Just Aren’t Hearing Us’
              — — —

              Oh, we hear you loud and clear. Your problem is not that you’re not being listened to but that you aren’t listening.

              1. To a very large extent, it wasn’t the “white working-class” who moved, but the Dems who moved away from them.

  24. Lefty (IL)Logic:
    “Hey, smoking is bad, right? Lets raise the taxes on it so high people quit!”
    “Great Idea!”
    “What do we do with the money?”
    “We’ll budget it to the Schools!”
    “What were Cig sales last year? We will budget off that for a start.”
    “Wow, that’s a bunch we will make for the schools! We can spend a lot of $$$$!! What do you think we should spend it on?”
    “Administration, of course!”
    “Oh, right, of course!”

    some short time later, the tax worked, people quit smoking (or, those with gas money to burn, headed to another state or an indian reservation to buy cigs at a lower price)

    “Hey, we are falling short of our budget!”
    “?Really? We need to raise taxes again!”
    “In the mean time, what do we cut?”
    “The usual. Teachers, replacement books extracurricular activities . . .”

      1. Nod.

        Not sure of the situation now but people living in Cook County Illinois (Chicago) would drive outside of Cook County to buy gas.

        1. People seem to have this peculiar amnesia that America is a mobile society. I suspect even one car dealer I (almost) dealt with had that idea. Yeah, my car then was junk, an ’87 Excel. But surprise, Mr. In-Town Salesman who thinks he has captive audience: My family was driving junk for ages (the 1970’s sucked in the private sector) and that p-o-s car made it to Canada, Michigan – twice, and interstate (to WI & SD respectively) countless times. Going a couple towns over to a different dealer was nothing (“Rust and smoke….”). Only issue there was a salesman pushing a lease…

          “You get a NEW CAR every two years!”
          “But the payments NEVER END!”
          This repeated a few times until I finally said:
          “See my car out there? Piece of junk with no reputation for reliability? It’s ten years old, has been to Canada, Michigan – twice,” (and so on..) “So… why does YOUR car need to be changed out every couple years?”
          **STUNNED SILENCE** for a moment, anyway.
          And not another word about a fscking lease.

        2. Yep, and smokes. Soon they will be buying pop in Will, DuPage, and Lake counties. A lot of Illinois smokers also make the drive into Indiana and Missouri to buy cigarettes.

          1. Illinois kids used to drive to Wisconsin to drink back when states set the drinking age without significant federal interference. WI was 18 and IL was… something older. “Illinois: Land o’ Drinkin'” doesn’t seem so apt, but along that WI-IL border…

            1. Michigan had that as well, WI was one of the last to up to 21 iirc.
              When it first jumped and it was an easier trip, there was a lot of border jumping to drink at Sault St. Marie. Canada had a lower drinking age, but the bars in MI did a hopping biz because they stayed open an hour or so longer than the Canukistani bars.
              Closing time. An unknown concept to bars in New Orleans. “Is that when you can chase a guy or two out so you can hose the vomit off the floors?”

            2. I was raised in California, but I lived in Arizona during the late 70’s. At that time, the Arizona drinking age for was 19, buit the age to see an X-rated movie in a theater (pre-VCR era) was 21. Many of my college classmates were envious of Californians because *they* could see adult movies at 18.

              Then I transferred to a California school – and all my classmates were really envious of the Arizona drinking age. Though I didn’t particularly notice that the lower drinking age reduced the amount of drinking, just who made the run to the liquor store.

              At least there weren’t large populations (in either state) close enough to the borders to make weekend border crossings in search of the forbidden pleasures much of an issue, or we’d have seen something like the wet/dry county traffic.

              1. As I recall the late Seventies Smut Boom, it and drinking liquor shared the quality that excessive consumption of each tended to first render a person stupefied and then likely to upchuck.

              2. By the time I made it to college, both states had drinking ages of 21, but the time when Idaho had the age of 18 and Washington had 21, and the deadliest road in Idaho was the couple miles between UI and the Washington boarder (with WSU just a few miles further on) was still fresh in many folks memory.
                I don’t remember how long the road was, but we biked it with then seven and five year old older boys on their own bikes under their own power, so it wasn’t very long. (Then-five had training wheels still, both of them on one gear with back-pedal brakes . . . )

        3. There used to be a couple of big truck stops in Cook County that were put out of business by the higher fuel taxes there.

        1. Below is the packing list for the back ordered items in your last reply.
          Within this post, please find:
          Leftoids – 1
          Applies – 3
          Comes – 1
          When, – 1
          It – 2
          To – 2
          . – 1
          , – 1

          The packaging personal who did not include the above have been hunted down and shot. Please accept our sincere apologies, and we hope it will not happen again.

          Message should have read:
          “When it comes to leftoids, it applies to everything.”

    1. I will personally pledge the price of a one way UHAUL rental to get them to move back.

  25. The ammunition ban (yeah, that’s what it amounts to) is going to open up all sorts of opportunities. The border between az,nv and ca will look like the Mexican border. Ammo sniffing dogs?

    1. My wife (who seldom shoots and has little interest in it) when she heard about the new ammo buying restrictions in CA wanted to know how we could ship ammunition to our son out there.

      I *think* I finally convinced her that it wasn’t a very good idea.

      He, on the other hand, will be visiting the Cabela’s in Verdi, NV next year.

      1. I will guarantee you that there will be an undercover ChiPpie in the parking lot with a plate scanner, and another one on his route home.

        1. Yep – word was they were already doing that going after people buying normal-cap magazines. That Nevada Cabelas location is just too obviously servicing the California market.

        2. That’s fine, people will find out soon enough if they do that and just start getting a ride with someone else once in NV.

        3. The WY/CO border has a bunch of firework stores just barely (as in “feet”, not “yards”) on the Wyoming side – and WY complains about people bringing in pot from Colorado.

          If WY stores can target Coloradoans wanting illegal fireworks, I see no reason CO stores cannot return the favor. I’d _really_ like to open a store right on the border with fireworks on one side and pot on the other with a glass wall down the middle. Somehow I doubt it would fly.

          1. Somebody could probably work a doctoral economics thesis on the trafficking that occurred when there were still many “dry” counties adjacent to “wet” ones. I recall a statistically non-normal distribution of liquor stores on county lines rather than located within convenient distance from a concentration of in-county clientele.

        4. it is happening here in Kansas. highway patrol stopping cars coming from Co. sometimes less than legally

        5. Unmarked Maine police cars used to sit in the parking lot of the New Hampshire liquor store conveniently located just off the interstate. If I remember correctly, New Hampshire resorted to finding excuses to ticket them on a regular basis to rid themselves of them.

    2. The People’s Democratic Republic of California *already* has border checkpoints and vehicle searches, comrade. I first encountered them in the early 1960s.

      Though they’re unconstitutional the way I read the document, the Feral courts have apparently read something different.

      1. There are multiple types of checkpoints established across the west that many of us never encounter. One is the plant police. Try to cross into Arizona with any fruits or vegetables in your car.. Your options are to stop and eat them, throw them away, or turn back. I think California has similar checkpoints. Lot’s of unconstitutional things can occur right at the border, and not be unconstitutional. I believe the SC held that customs could perform road blocks within 50 miles of the border to check for illegal immigrants. I don’t think that’s been extended or reduced. But they’re limited in what’s admissible in court. And I’ve actually run into those in upstate NY near our other border. The Mohawk reservation in upstate NY is notorious for cross border smuggling operations.

        What I think is unconstitutional the way I read the document is drunk driving checkpoints. They’ve nothing more then “Iz your paperverk in order?” stops. And the police conducting them get really upset if you answer the question “Where are you coming from?” by pointing behind you and “Where are you going?” by pointing in front. I know that from personal experience. Not that they could do anything about it other then keep me there for a few minutes extra while they attempted to find an excuse to do more, and they could only keep me there because they were better armed.

        1. California does have the agricultural checkpoints—not because of the plants or veggies, but because they may harbor passengers, horrible pests that could infest the agricultural powerhouse. Planarians, for example, snuck in on Asian plants and now they’re in my garden eating MY earthworms.

          Getting past them is only a matter of lying. I’ve stopped remonstrating with a particular relative who regularly brings fruit and houseplants past the border check. Why bother when the rules apparently don’t apply?

          1. I knew a trucker from Georgia who was turned around at the Arizona line because an agriculture inspection found a fire ant on his trailer. And once, traveling from Georgia into Florida, I saw a sign that trucks had to submit to inspection.

          2. “Because we’re doing it to protect agriculture, it’s totally not a violation of your Constitutional rights.”


            What happens when they expand it to check for untaxed cigarettes, bottled water, ammunition, or plastic bags?

        2. What I think is unconstitutional the way I read the document is drunk driving checkpoints. They’ve nothing more then “Iz your paperverk in order?” stops.

          Here in our woods, we have “driver license” check points. Ostensibly to check for unlicensed motorist, but really to check for illegals. They have dropped noticeably since we elected a new sherriff.

          1. I think they get away with that because driving on public rights of way is technically a privilege not a right, and the drivers license laws probably state that in exchange for exercising that privilege, the state has the right to check up on you when you’re driving on its roads.

      2. Yes, my then wife and I got stopped in Utah border because CA plates and beard. I then had to explain that I was allowed to have a beard because I was an oceanographer, not a hippie, and all oceanographers had beards.

  26. I’d say California-based actors are probably feeling the effects of this measure pretty hard…

    No way.

    Actors, as everyone else working in Hollywood, individually incorporates as a services company (domiciled out of state) and has that corporation pay them (or more likely some form of trust) a pittance in salary. Their services corporation owns (and depreciates) their house and other real assets, leases their cars, buys their groceries, hires their household staff, and charges them exorbitant management fees that on paper wipe out most of their small salary. Thus they do not personally make very much at all, while their corporation takes advantage of all the corporate tax law possible, only recognizing income outside of the CA tax view, and paying the bills on the company credit cards the corporation provides to the actor.

    Even the lower level folks in Hollywood take advantage of some of this stuff – Bill Whittle has talked about how he’s been incorporated in this fashion for many years since it’s a standard practice there, and his day job is as a video editor.

    All that, combined with the various tax credits the state grants for any film industry activity, tilts the playing field quite completely away from any of the successful actors feeling any California tax related pain.

    1. A similar setup was common in Britain during the 1980s/1990s, among IT people and engineers, anyway. Their “compensation” often included a leased or company car, subsidized housing, etc. I think Inland Revenue eventually put the kibosh on that sort of thing, though.

      1. I remember that – my company was doing a joint project with a British company, so for a couple of years I was visiting their Cambridge office pretty regularly. Their salaries sounded low compared to the Silicon Valley equivalent, but most of the senior people had really, really, nice company cars.

        I saw some of this a few years ago in Israel, too. This is a really big thing since there were high taxes on cars – I was told that taxes roughly doubled the US price. I don’t know the specifics, but was also told the government there is aware of this end-around and taxes company cars as “income” to limit the practice.

        I did note that whenever some of the staff from Haifa transferred to the US office for a prolonged stint one of the first things they bought was a really nice luxury car. Often used, from folks transferring back. One of them told me that it was probably his only chance to own and drive a luxury car, and since he bought a year-old car to begin with the depreciation while he had it was equivalent to the cost of owning an economy car in Israel.

  27. Sarah, you got yourself One Smart Son! I suspect Robert is, too, but I need to see more than Ninja Nun to be sure.

    1. I just realized, thaks to this reminder, than when the previous hard drive slagged last Spring I had failed to secure the URL for Ninja Nun. Googling to check whether the strip is still quiescent I was prompted to look at “Ninja Nun Movie” which led me to …

      Clearly a documentary on a par with The Great Spaghetti Harvest.

        1. Robert needs to give serious consideration to what his priorities should be: completing his education and earning a living or giving stuff away on the internet.

  28. my comments on calexit + Oregon/Washington.
    they can’t.
    if they attempt to do so the federal government would be required to send federal troops to surpress a revolt. one of the very few times the military can be use on American soil.
    see the small spat occurring during the 1860’s.
    looks skyward, hands clasped….. please, please, please let them be that stupid.
    however the country has in the past, purchases land that became states (from France and Russia)
    to me that means we can also see land, to other countries.
    so, if these leftward leaning states wish to leave. we sell the to china.
    we start with southern California. and see how it works out from there.
    note: keeping the rep. north in the union is part of my EVIL plan.

    1. If we sold them to China in exchange for our bonds held by the Chinese it would reduce certain security risks, although I might be leery of the Chinese developing some of those military bases, such as Camp Pendleton …

      I vaguely recall that in the War of Southern Secession there was a clause about extinction of certain property rights. If California seceds couldn’t we simply cease protection of their intellectual property rights, such as copyrights? All those movies, television shows and computer apps becoming freed slaves …

      1. Those copyrights were secured as US copyrights. So prior works would be copyrighted in the US. A post-secession Californian’s works would be treated as any other international work, and I haven’t a clue how that’s handled.

        1. I think we could establish as precedent that secession entails forfeiture of previous rights and privileges that were accorded on the presumption of American citizenship. What could they do about it? It would certainly establish a deterrent against others following them out.

          1. Loss of protection on two of California’s most portable & valuable intellectual-property exports (entertainment and computer programs)? Just a credible threat should be enough to quiet the Calexit noise, rather suddenly!

            As usual, it all depends on whose ox is being gored!

            1. Not that it’s really going to happen, any more than the anti-Trump celebrities are really going to move to Canada. Alas.

              But why would you want to make it *difficult* to leave? I *live* in California but if it looked like Calexit had a chance of succeeding I’d move to Arizona or Texas and happily wave goodbye. It’d be nice to live in an area where my political and social views weren’t in the minority, and where I wasn’t harangued by zealots for holding them.

              The schadenfreude of watching the state’s economy and standard of living slump would just be a nice bonus.

              1. I always remind folks that half of the Lake Tahoe shoreline is not California, and that Nevada has zero state income tax and property tax is on the order of ~.9% of value.
                The main problem is there’s no defensible border at Stateline in south shore, and it’s only a little better in north shore.

      2. As someone who is rather anti-copyright, I cannot endorse this suggestion: the less we enforce copyright, the more the work can get exposure (and have opportunities to become more popular than otherwise).* I’m much more inclined to give these Hollywood types *exactly* what they want, good and hard: as much restriction on the expression of their works as we can possibly work out.

        Having said that, these guys are *very* jealous of their copyrights, so it might just be fun to do this, just to see a lot of leftist heads explode.

        Now, about the topic at hand: are you *sure* we could sell California to China? Isn’t there a danger that the mere suggestion might be considered an act of war?

        * I don’t want to get into an argument about that, though — I suspect that, like the Civil War, it will need to be a topic that has to be banned, if we get into too deep of a “discussion”.

        1. I have two standard responses for people that are anti-copyright, especially artists and writers:

          1: Give me a copy of your latest work. I’m going to put my name on it, and sell it. If you’re ‘anti-copyright’ then you will do nothing.

          2: ‘Exposure’ doesn’t keep the rent paid.

        2. The Democrat Party would never allow California and its 55 reliably blue electoral votes (and donors) to leave.

  29. My take on propositions is that if you can see a bad outcome, or if you can’t parse the language of the law well enough to determine if there will be a bad outcome, you default to “no.” That’s not the only reason to vote No, but it should be the bare minimum.

    It annoys me that so many bad props passed. It also annoys me that in the slew of bad props, the only one I cared about didn’t: converting death penalty to life imprisonment without parole. I mean, ethical reasoning aside*, that’s basically where California is anyway (Charles Manson is still alive, and who cares?) and just think of the monetary savings.

    *There are three supposed purposes to the death penalty: protecting the community from further harm, which imprisonment does just fine, deterrence, which doesn’t work, and revenge, which isn’t really the purview of the judicial system. (Besides, in most cases I think prison is actually the crueler option.) It offends my sensibilities of efficiency.

    1. In 28 years living and voting in CA, I found only ONE ballot proposition that wasn’t either wrongheaded or to the benefit of some special interest. I’ve become convinced that this so-called direct democracy is at best mob rule by the dumbest elements, and at worst … well, you see what California is today.

      The only one I can think of that was actually positive was Prop 13’s limit on galloping property tax increases, tho it’s still been end-run to roughly double the supposed tax level. Without it, following the vast inflation of real estate values, perhaps as many as 90% of CA homes would have defaulted because the tax burden exceeded the owner’s total income. Unfortunately, government found ways to grow and now complains of insufficient funds because of Prop 13’s restrictions. Uh, no. Live within your means, just as we must. Perhaps a Prop 13 is needed to restrict how much gov’t can spend relative to the prosperity of the state.


      1. I’ve seen some complaints about Prop 13 that are based on the idea that someone who has a lower tax rate due to when they bought is inherently unfair. This totally misses the fact that taxes are not only not “fair,” but that they CAN’T be fair, because there are so many ways “fairness” can be applied. Any tax is unfair to somebody.

        At their best, taxes are a policy means to a common good. Going down the scale, they become a misguided moralistic instrumernt. The new cigarette tax is, to put it mildly, a punitive tax punishing people for an addiction, because any good done by increasing the cost has already happened. I hate cigarettes and smoking as much as anyone who has lost someone to lung cancer, but sheesh, do something productive, like not treating e-cigs like full on burning tobacco.

        1. Government ain’t ’bout “fair,” government is about order. Being fair is merely a tool that helps maintain order, and when disruptive of order it should be dropped.

        2. Libertarians like to say that taxation is theft at the point of a gun. Having become a so-called anarcho-capitalist, I’m not going to argue against the claim; and as a conservative, I’m going to go so far as to say that this makes taxes of any kind inherently unfair (there’s no two ways about it), so if we’re going to tax people, it’ a moral imperative that we take the least amount possible, and do as little possible once we take it.

          There’s a very good speech by Davy Crockett explaining how he had lost a vote because as a Representative he voted to authorize a bill to help provide assistance to an area hit by disaster. The voter didn’t like the fact that Crockett was in essence deciding that some widow who was barely making ends meet didn’t need the money taken from her as much as those people recovering from disaster.

          I think we as a nation would do better if we kept things in perspective like this!

            The Crockett story.
            Libertarians like to say that taxation is theft at the point of a gun. Having become a so-called anarcho-capitalist, I’m not going to argue against the claim; and as a conservative, I’m going to go so far as to say that this makes taxes of any kind inherently unfair (there’s no two ways about it), so if we’re going to tax people, it’ a moral imperative that we take the least amount possible, and do as little possible once we take it.

            You should be able to make arguments for it, and against I– you also need to define “fair.” Just and unjust might work better, but justice requires recognizing a greater power, and that’s traditionally a purely philosophical worldview weakpoint.

          2. Fair taxes, in most people’s lexicon, comes down to “what hurts me least.”

            But most people are incapable of comprehending all of the ways that taxes hurt them.

            Instead of arguing about whose definition of “Fair” is fairest in all the land, the better approach might be to acknowledge taxes as a necessary evil, one which ought be perpetrated in ways that inflict the least harm on the economy. Efficiency ought be our goal, not fairness. An efficient tax system ought be premised on ability to pay, protection of citizen privacy, and minimal disruption of the marketplace. It should also satisfy the “moral imperative that we take the least amount possible, and do as little possible once we take it.” (Leaving aside arguments over whose morality is imperative, as we can stipulate we are in general agreement, in this venue, on the premise.)

            The strongest arguments I have seen along these lines seem to support a consumption task, with “rebate” for an estimated level as a sort of guaranteed minimum income — e.g., we assume each American has a base level of expenditure and “rebate” the taxes consistent with that base level; any expenditure above that level is deemed “excess” and does not increase the rebate. The tax generated by is based on expenditures and thus has minimal (or rather, equally distributed according to citizen choices) distortion of the market — no waivers to well-connected or “socially desirable” businesses. It entails no reporting of income and makes no distinctions between income, capital gains (long term or short) and instead relies upon the premise that people spend what they can afford on what they want. Because there will certainly exist a black market of “untaxed” sales there is a natural barrier to excessive levels of taxation: making legal purchase over expensive and buyers refrain from purchasing in the taxed market, either doing without, buying alternatives or buying “offline.”

            Almost impossible too sell to the general public in our current environment — imagine the Democrats and MSM Talking Heads (BIRM) propounding on why this wouldn’t work, and the public — faced with an unliked status quo and an incomprehensible alternative will almost always elect the devils they know. But it remains an interesting thought experiment and could well be fodder for somebody’s novel.

            1. Taxes-on-purchase disproportionately harm smaller, newer or more rural businesses, both because every time a thing changes hands the government gets a cut and because keeping track of all of that takes time and effort.

              There’s also the issue of barter. I can tell you that Washington State just taxed my parents on the “value” of a vehicle that even in perfect condition and sold to a desperate person with bad credit it could never command.

      1. Both guards– in some cases, like the lady guard murdered by a known predator who she’d repeatedly mentioned was ACTING like a predator but they put her alone, unarmed and isolated around him anyways– and prisoners are murdered in jails.

        There’s a program to report on the deaths in custody:

        About a five years to a decade back, Cali was having fits because their male sex offenders were twice as likely to be killed while in jail as any other group, 20-some of the almost 80 killed in six years.

  30. So glad to see a “budding” economist who can write in clear, understandable, fascinating words. Walter Williams is getting old. Glad a newbie is coming up, perhaps to fill some large shoes. Welcome! (Sarah, you done good!)

        1. There might be a small economics section on the first level (Engineer in Training) exam*. I think Econ 101 was required at my school, but not others back when.

          *A couple of decades ago, if you want to be a licensed engineer, you first take the EIT exam, then work for four yours with a licensed engineer (PE), then sit for the PE exam. If you get your masters degree, you don’t have to have as much work experience.

          1. Actually, it was ECON 201, to indicate it was a sophomore class. I remember there was a basketball player in my small (30 person?) class.

  31. The thing about dedicating money to schools or what have you is that money is fungible. A million dollars from this source mans they cut the general revenue spent on it by a million. Whatever the declared destination, the real one is the politicians and their cronies.

    1. [M]oney is fungible.

      Some of the smarter observers (i.e., not journalists) noticed that back when states first started using state-run crapshoots lotteries to “fund education.” Relieved of the burden of assuring adequate funding for schools state legislatures quickly found that it left them more to dole out to friends and family invest in infrastructure and other critical state needs.

      Cutting spending, actually cutting spending, is something most politicians do as willingly as a surgeon amputating a limb. It is a last-ditch effort to save a patient when all else has failed.

      1. IIRC, California passed a ballot initiative a couple of decades ago that mandated that a certain percentage of the state’s budget had to be spent on schools. My vague recollection is that others then did the same with other “virtuous” budget items, though I don’t recall for certain. That, for obvious reasons, led to grumbling from legislators about having their hands tied when it comes to how to disburse the budget funds. But I don’t think there’s been a serious challenge to it yet.

        That might change, though, when the pension red ink starts coming due…

        1. Clever legislatures can embed a great deal of mischief in a school budget. Look at what the DOJ Civil Wrongs Division has achieved with a mere “Dear Colleague” letter.

  32. Some cities in CA had already banned those single-use plastic bags. Walmart promptly noted that people began buying small trash bags in the same numbers as were previously handed out of the now-illegal store bags. In other words, effectively none of the one-use plastic bags had been single-used; people routinely re-used most of them for trashbags and the like.

    This forced substitution of purchased trash bags is actually environmentally counterproductive, because they’re thicker, heavier bags and don’t biodegrade so fast. But since people still use just as many bags, the net effect of the bag ban is MORE mass of landfill plastic.

  33. Heh. Where’s DiFi been the last eight years? Running intereference for Holder, Lynch and Lerner has not apparently disabled her ability to reverse directio:

    GOP cheers Sessions pick, Dems send warnings
    Members of the Senate Judiciary Committee already appear split on whether Sen. Jeff Sessions’ nomination to attorney general, which is expected to win confirmaton, will sail through without any controversy or hit a few bumps along the way.


    Sen. Dianne Feinstein, D-Calif., the ranking member of the judiciary panel, said the attorney general must be prepared to tell the president “no.”

    “The Justice Department has the awesome responsibility of upholding the country’s laws and protecting Americans, and the attorney general sets the tone for the entire agency. That’s why this position is so important and deserves such intense scrutiny,” Feinstein said.

    “The attorney general should be above the political fray — our laws absolutely must apply equally to all Americans if we’re to have confidence in them,” she added, noting that the Justice Department oversees immigration judges weighing cases for immigration asylum and what interrogation techniques are permissible.

    “Finally, the attorney general is the lawyer for the people, not the president. His or her primary loyalty must be to the Constitution and the rule of law — and sometimes that means telling the president ‘no.'”

    1. “The attorney general should be above the political fray — our laws absolutely must apply equally to all Americans if we’re to have confidence in them,”

      Unlike the last eight years…


  34. I find, in my life, that all these restrictions on behavior tend to keep me at home more and more. I smoke. I’m older and have smoked since I was 12 (it was legal then). I have zero intention of quitting because I’m that rare bird that actually enjoys it. I hate smoking outside. Like I am at the moment. We used to go out to eat once or twice a week. Now I don’t because I can’t smoke anywhere anymore. Alas, we’ve just moved in with my recently widowed father-in-law to help him out but I can’t smoke in the house. It sucks but family is family. But I’m damned sure not going to give someone my money at a restaurant or bar, etc and still not be able to smoke in comfort. I don’t love them. I adore my FIL. The no bags thing keeps me from shopping just like Robert states. We went to Target once and I found lots of stuff I wanted. I love their line of dolls. Rolled up to the checkout happy as a clam. Found out they don’t provide bags because of a law in the little town we were in. I told them then never mind. I’d just take the one doll and they could keep the rest. I had no way to lug that stuff around and didn’t want to make thirteen trips up a set of stoop stairs to take it in the house. Instead of making a more than $200 sale off me they got twenty-five bucks. So I just give up on all this stuff and eat at home (my cooking’s better anyway) and do my shopping online where I’m actually more cautious about buying too much. It takes away that impulse to buy things. I just get what I need and have done with it. These stupid laws on top of stupid laws are just taking the fun out of everything.

          1. Is it a bad sign when your household has learned the Amazon box nomenclature and calls dibs on claiming the boxes for re-use?

            “Hey! An A3 — just what I need for storing the “Phryne Fisher” trade paperbacks! Mine, mine, mine!”

            “That 1A3 is mine; I need it for storing the Elvis Cole paperbacks.”

    1. Oh good grief not Robert, but Marshall. Heck, I can’t even keep my own kids straight. How can you expecte me to keep yours sorted out lol?

      1. It’s okay, I call them by the cats’ names, sometimes. “Euclid,Havey,Greebo,Marshall ROBERT!”
        They only get upse twhen I call them the dead cats names too, “Pixel,Petronius,Randy, Euclid….”

    2. We used to go out to eat once or twice a week. Now I don’t because I can’t smoke anywhere anymore.

      We used to rarely go out to eat and never to a bar because we don’t smoke, and can’t stand it. Now we eat out weekly. But that should be a business decision. From what I understand, a lot of food only establishments saw their business pick up after smoking bans. And, their cleaning costs went way down. Establishments that lost or broke even on food and made money on the drinks saw a downturn. Bars only suffer, and, of course, strict enforcement of .08 when most actual DUI accidents are over .2 really hurts bars. For bars, there appears, from my observations, a distinct link between heavy drinking and smoking. And of course, they make more money off the heavy drinkers.

  35. On the plus side, always having to carry five large sacks on my real-life equipment sheet makes me feel like I’m living a strict D&D game full time. That or a post-apocalyptic one.

  36. Not to defend the loony state I live in (in fact I could tell you more stories than you mention, like Prop 20 and Prop 65), but I will point out that CA is the laboratory for the Democrats strategy of keep us “ignorant and complacent” as the Podesta emails say. Give us 2 years of actual rule of law for the country’s immigration laws, and you might see a change once about 5 million illegal aliens are suddenly missing from the voter rolls.

    The institution of initiatives is itself the progenitor of the syndrome you cite. It sounded good at the time I’m sure. When the idiots at the shopping center ask me to sign some idiot petition, I tell them, “The only one I’ll sign is the one that abolishes the state legislature since everything gets decided by initiative these days.”

  37. First, I would have to point out that the things that Marshall pointed out that could be the effects of these laws might not actually pan out…but then, they might actually be far, far worse too.

    The problem is that when we’re talking about the economy, we’re talking about a chaotic system — a system for which a small change might (or might not) have unpredictable consequences.

    This is a big reason why I’m a Climate Skeptic. First of all, we’re talking about a climate system — something that is inherently chaotic, so it’s no surprise that modelling the climate doesn’t actually predict what happens. But to “control” these changes, we’re supposed to make “little” changes to the economy — another chaotic system — and expect to predict the results.

    Germany with its carbon credits has a larger carbon footprint than when it first adopted the Kyoto protocols (carbon credits push carbon-intense industries out of Europe — but the need for those products still remain, so are shipped in — giving a net *increase* in carbon output) while the United States, having rejected Kyoto, is meeting the very goals we rejected, because of fracking.

    Sure, some of this *might* be predicted — but ultimately, how do you predict the effects of 8 billion people, all of whom have their own goals, their own needs, and their own desires?

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