May 14, 2012

California’s Budget Woes: No One Ever Mentions Work Disincentives, Welfare Fraud, or Taxpayer Flight

Here we go again. The State of California’s budget is again in crisis, facing a budget deficit of $16 billion, which is $6.8 billion higher than projected mere months ago. Governor Jerry Brown is browbeating residents to pass tax initiatives in November which include “a quarter-cent increase in the state sales tax for four years and a seven-year hike on incomes of $250,000 or more that will range from 1 to 3 percentage points.”

The totally predictable problem (and, from all appearances, a bit contrived; the state’s controller saw this coming several months ago, and was largely ignored) is that tax revenues aren’t coming in as expected. Media treatment of the problem acts as if this all some kind of uncontrollable act of God which is a by-product of the recession and weak recovery.

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Monday Off-Topic (Moderated) Open Thread (051412)

Filed under: Lucid Links — Tom @ 8:27 am

Rules are here. Possible comment fodder may follow later. Other topics are also fair game.

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Priceless, from George Will (HT Fox Nation): “If you struck from Barack Obama’s vocabulary the first-person singular pronoun, he would fall silent …”

Punk President Personified: Jeremiah “God D**n America” Wright claims that, in the words of the New York Post’s coverage, “(presidential candidate Barack) Obama’s team tried to buy his silence” in 2008 “not to preach at all until the November presidential election.” The amount allegedly offered ($150,000) seems really inadequate; if I were a craven hypocritical materialist masquerading as a preacher like Wright, I would have held out for seven figures. No wonder he kept on talking.

Doug Powers at Michelle Malkin’s place“California budget deficit just a little higher than previous projection.” As in $6.8 billion. Totally unrelated (/sarc), from last July: “Welfare Fraud Still Plagues California.”

North Carolina Governor Bev Perdue, who is so unpopular that she isn’t running for reelection, is upset that the state’s Amendment 1 affirming traditional marriage and enshrining that affirmation in its constitution passed, whining last week that “We look like Mississippi.” The Tar Heel State also “looks like” 30 other states which “have approved some sort of constitutional amendment banning same-sex marriage,” while no others have passed opposing measures.

Inadvertent Comedy Gold, from Meghan Daum at the LA Times: “Too brainy to be president? Obama’s intellect doesn’t have much currency in the political climate of extreme partisanship and pandering to a very low common denominator.” All academic evidence of Obama’s “braininess” is under lock and key, while he’s a clear and present danger to himself and his party every time he’s away from his teleprompter. Gimme a break, Meghan.

Positivity: Ann Romney on ‘Three Seasons of Motherhood’

Filed under: Positivity — Tom @ 5:56 am

Note: Readers here know that yours truly has serious problems with Mitt Romney’s positions, actions, and political mindset to the point where I believe he is unfit to be president (but not anywhere near as unfit as the White House’s current occupant).

That shouldn’t, and doesn’t, affect my willingness to recognize well-done, heartfelt work on the part of his wife Ann, which follows.

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Ann Romney, in a USA Today op-ed posted on Wednesday evening:

… the day my first boy was born I felt woefully unprepared.

My mother took pity on me and stayed for two weeks, but that wasn’t nearly enough time. As she was preparing to leave, I cried like I was the baby. I told her that I wasn’t ready, that I had no idea what to do. In her smile I saw the truth. Ready or not, my son couldn’t wait, and somehow, I would make it through.

Of course, she was right. Some might say it was the mothering gene kicking in, the same one that every mom throughout history has possessed. Maybe. But I don’t think so. I was a good mom because my own mom was the best.

I suppose my mother was somewhat unusual for her time. At 30 she was — and expected she always would be — a career woman. She worked as a cosmetics rep and was happy in that job. She never expected to get married, but then she found the one man in all the world who could change her mind — my dad.

The same passion she had for her work she poured into being a mother. I never lacked for confidence or a sense of self-worth. How could I when my mom seemed to think I had hung the moon? People would tell her, as people are wont to do with little girls, that she had a beautiful daughter. “If only you knew,” she would say, “how much more beautiful she is on the inside.”

Ringleader and troublemaker

Such words gave me my place in the world. She let me be who I was, which meant playing baseball and football with the boys, and catching frogs and hunting for snakes out behind the house. I think the thing she loved the most was that I was always the ringleader, always more likely to get others into trouble than to follow along.

Growing up as her daughter is what prepared me to be a mother myself. So began a different phase of my life. People often ask me what it was like to raise five boys. I won’t sugarcoat it. There were times I wanted to tear my hair out. I can remember visiting my friends’ houses, seeing their daughters’ manners, the way they helped with the chores. Then I would return home to my boys, hoping only that my house was still intact.

Still, those were wonderful times. My boys had a way of putting their emotions and their disputes on the table. And more important, they had a way of leaving them there, of walking away without worrying about the things that might distance them, or letting hard feelings fester and grow. That directness and forgiveness shaped me into who I am today.

I’m a grandmother now. In fact, the gift I received this Mother’s Day is two more wonderful grandchildren, twins, bringing the total to 18.

As every grandparent knows, it’s a different role than being a mother or a daughter. I am able to adore the grandchildren, and to smile as my children go through the same struggles I went through when they were young. I’ve lived through three seasons of motherhood, and I have seen the beauty in each. …

Go here to read the whole column.