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Author: Leslie Eastman

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Leslie Eastman

I am an Environmental Health and Safety Professional, as well as a science/technical writer for a variety of news and professional publications. I have been a citizen activist since 2009, and am one of the co-founders of the San Diego-based group, Southern California Tax Revolt Coalition.

This year's Memorial Day weekend was filled with tragedy for Californians -- a tragedy that might have been prevent if  parents' warnings about their mentally ill son had been pursued. Six University of California Santa Barbara students were killed Friday in a spree murder.  The school has cancelled classes in mourning for the profound loss.
UC Santa Barbara canceled classes for Tuesday as the campus mourned six students killed in a rampage on Friday. The school, however, said faculty and staff will be on campus to offer support and counseling to students.
The dead students have now been identified as:
  • Veronika Weiss, 19, from Westlake, CA
  • Katherine Breann Cooper, 22, from Chino Hills, CA
  • Christopher Ross Michaels-Martinez, 20, from Los Osos, CA
  • Cheng Yuan Hong, 20, from San Jose, CA
  • George Chen, 19, from San Jose, CA
  • Weihan Wang, 20, from Fremont, CA
Authorities have  determined that the killer was a troubled off-and-on student at Santa Barbara City College named Elliot Rodger. Rodger shot and killed himself at the end of the shooting spree.
Authorities have identified the killer, who left various video and written manifestos saying that he was seeking to kill sorority women and others at the university as revenge for the way women had rejected him. The killer -- who subsequently shot himself -- has been identified as a student who enrolled but frequently dropped out of classes at Santa Barbara City College. Rodger posted a video on YouTube prior to the killings. In it, he outlined what he was going to do and said that the women deserved it for rejecting him. The Los Angeles Times published a transcript of the video. "On the day of retribution, I am going to enter the hottest sorority house at UCSB and I will slaughter every single spoiled, stuck-up, blond slut I see inside there. All those girls I've desired so much. They have all rejected me and looked down on me as an inferior man if I ever made a sexual advance toward them, while they throw themselves at these obnoxious brutes," the video says. "I take great pleasure in slaughtering all of you. You will finally see that I am, in truth, the superior one, the true alpha male."
The YouTube video of one of Rodger's many disturbing dialogs is below.

Now that I am back to my normal schedule after a week's worth of blazes in San Diego County, we seem to have another kind of wildfire breaking out in the state. Over the past few months, it looks like nearly 1,500 Californians have complained to state regulators about their Obamacare coverage purchased through California's insurance exchange (Covered California).
New data reveal the biggest category of complaints centers on getting confirmation of health plan enrollment and basic issues such as getting an identification card to obtain care. Many consumers have also encountered difficulty finding a doctor who accepts their new coverage, as well as frustration with inaccurate provider lists, according to the California Department of Managed Health Care. "If you have a medical condition and can't get care that is a very serious issue," said Marta Green, spokeswoman for the managed healthcare agency. "We are still working to resolve many of these cases." Health insurers and officials at the Covered California exchange say they are working hard too to address consumers' gripes. They say some problems are inevitable from such a massive overhaul and that the number of complaints is a small fraction of the more than 1 million Californians who signed up under the Affordable Care Act.
So, let me get this straight: The problems that the 1,500 people have reported are "inevitable" and because it is a "small fraction" we shouldn't worry. When should I start worrying, then? When someone in my family dies waiting for an appointment?

Professor Jacobson just reported that a ponderous tome explaining why black Americans are entitled to reparations has just been published. In other news, hundreds of Chinese families are suing Japan for compensation related to World War II enforced labor.
As relations between China and Japan plumb a new low, the descendants of hundreds of of Chinese men forced to work in wartime Japan are taking big, modern-day Japanese corporates to court. They are seeking millions in compensation. ...In possibly the biggest class-action suit in Chinese legal history, about 700 plaintiffs lodged a case against two Japanese firms at a courthouse in eastern Shandong province in April, said Fu Qiang, a lawyer representing the families. Among the plaintiffs are several forced labourers, now in their 80s and 90s, and this might be their last chance to seek redress. The suit was filed against Mitsubishi Corp (Qingdao) Ltd, a subsidiary of Mitsubishi Corp, and Yantai Misubishi Cement Co, a joint venture between Mitsubishi Corp and construction firm Mitsubishi Materials Corp, Fu said. The plaintiffs are each seeking 1 million yuan ($160,100) in compensation, a public apology in several prominent Chinese and Japanese newspapers, as well as the erection of a memorial and monument in remembrance of the forced labourers, Fu said, adding that they also want the companies to fund their legal expenses.
Perhaps they would settle for control of a certain set of islands called the Senkakus in Japanese (and the Diaoyu in Chinese) that both countries have been vying to control and which have become a source or regional tension?

I am experiencing de ja vu all over again with the latest  "Tea Party is dead" discussion. The numerous political class "debates" on Wednesday focused on the result of Tuesday's elections in several states, as reported in the following Politico article:
Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell defeated his GOP challenger in Kentucky by 25 percentage points, a high-profile but low-suspense race on a critical primary day when voters cast ballots in six states. In Georgia, a Senate Republican primary headed to a runoff with the two candidates favored by GOP establishment leaders. And in Oregon, pediatric neurosurgeon Monica Wehby fended off a more conservative challenger in her Republican primary. ...After a year of threats from conservative outside groups, no GOP incumbents lost Tuesday. Idaho Rep. Mike Simpson beat back a tea partier supported by groups such as Club for Growth, with help from the business lobby and Mitt Romney. National Republican Congressional Committee Chairman Greg Walden, targeted in Oregon by a national campaign called Primary My Congressman, received triple the support of his opponent with more than half the votes in. And House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee Chairman Bill Shuster prevailed over his challenger in Pennsylvania by 18 points.Republican leaders have maneuvered to nominate candidates who they hope can avoid the kinds of foot-in-mouth mistakes that cost them winnable races last cycle in red states like Missouri and Indiana.
How quickly the Beltway opiners forget a couple of recent wins (hat-tip, Instapundit)! Tea Party Alex Mooney wins Virgina GOP House Primary:
Former Maryland GOP Chairman Alex Mooney has won the Republican primary for West Virginia’s second congressional district, according to the Associated Press, beating pharmacist Ken Reed and former U.S. International Trade Commissioner and state legislator Charlotte Lane. ...Tea party groups quickly congratulated Mooney. The Senate Conservatives Fund, a group that works to elect conservative candidates, even trying to oust incumbents in several races, put in $95,000 supporting Mooney. “Alex Mooney started out as the underdog, but won this race because he ran on conservative principles,” SCF Executive Director Matt Hoskins said in a statement.
And this chestnut: Tea-party-backed Ben Sasse wins Nebraska primary for U.S. Senate:

With a little help from cooler temperatures, atmospheric moisture, and robust emergency response, San Diego's recent wildfires are well contained and a return to normal life is resuming for San Diego Residents...almost.
As we reported earlier, evacuations have been lifted for residents of Camp Pendleton military base in San Diego, though some marines have been relocated to barracks away from the fires. Lt. Ryan Finnegan told KPCC that outlook is "trending positive," with all three fires on base over 50 percent contained. "I wouldn't say it's quite back to normal," Finnegan said. "We definitely still have some road closures and power outages here on base, but all the families are back in their housing. The people who are displaced right now are the single marines who live in the barracks." Those marines have been moved further south to temporary housing.
Last week, I mentioned there were serious speculation that arson may be the cause for several of these blazes. An arrest was made in connection to one of those fires.

As surely as night follows day, a natural disaster will be followed by the assertions of environmental activists that it was caused by "man-made climate change." At this point, six of the now 11 wildfires raging through San Diego county are fully contained. And before the embers have begun to cool, California Governor Jerry Brown offered his eco-activist assessment of its cause.
On Thursday, Governor Jerry Brown asserted that it is settled that climate change is a factor in the wildfires now devastating parts of San Diego County. According to a story in the U-T San Diego, the governor opined, “Despite what you may hear in Washington, climate change is a factor… This is not about theory. It’s not about politics. This is about fires on the ground, people’s homes.” ..Brown, a staunch advocate of climate change theory, recently confirmed that Los Angeles International Airport (LAX) is in danger of being overwhelmed by floods due to global warming.
Actually, it looks like some of the wildfires may, indeed, be "man-caused disasters." But not in the way Brown thinks. The Bernardo Fire was caused by a backhoe:
A backhoe in use at a housing construction project near Rancho Bernardo sparked the first large wildfire to erupt in San Diego County this week, authorities reported Friday.

Earlier this year, the chilly nation was informed that it was experiencing a "Polar Vortex." Videotapes of many wildfires raging through San Diego county focus on another meteorological event that is now "hot": Firenados.
Helicopters, military aircraft and extra crews, worked the fire, which fire officials said was only 5% contained as it burned 800 acres Thursday morning in San Marcos, home to a California State University campus and a heavily populated area. ...In broad daylight at noon, the fire blackened the skies in one San Marcos neighborhood and sent a “firenado” — a column resembling a tornado with smoke and flames shooting from it — rising and twisting into the air. The blaze forced the university to cancel this week’s commencement and other activities, officials said.
NewStationNation offers a glimpse in its video: Air response has been very effective in battling back the blazes. And, what type of aircraft would you use against a firenado? A jumbo jet of course. The following video shows a DC-10 that has been used to pound the flames with fire retardant.

Never let it be said that Legal Insurrection doesn't have the hottest news. Yesterday, I was having a business lunch in Temecula, north of San Diego by about an hour and just off of I-15. I went with the understanding that the Bernado Fire that had burned the day before was under control. When I stepped out of the restaurant, the sky was filling with smoke from several areas in my view, which were from three of the 9 wildfires that broke out around the county yesterday.
In all, nine fires in the county had burned more than 9,000 acres, Cal Fire Capt. Dave Allen said at a briefing late Wednesday held by fire and law-enforcement officials. That number included the Bernardo fire that began Tuesday near 4S Ranch. It was 50 percent contained Thursday and had burned 1,548 acres, officials said.
Racing to get home, I was stopped along the I-15 by firefighters handling the "Highway Fire". I got an up-close and personal view of the blaze, as well as the very effective and organized response by the firefighters and emergency crews. The worst of the fires was in the coastal community of Carlsbad.
Thousands were asked to evacuate their homes - including in Carlsbad - after the blaze erupted about 10:34 a.m. Wednesday and spread through rapidly heavy brush before jumping into residential areas. Despite a state fire report of 30 homes burned earlier in the day, Carlsbad Fire Chief Michael Davis said he knows of just three homes destroyed and about a dozen damaged, all of them in the same neighborhood. The wind-driven wildfire tossed embers onto roofs and trees, igniting them. Firefighters found themselves evacuating people and battling the blaze at the same time, Nick Schuler of Cal Fire said.
San Diego blogger Tim Daniel of LeftCoastRebel captured video of this blaze, which is now known as the "Poinsettia Fire":

General Abdel Fattah al-Sisi, the former Egyptian army chief who deposed the Muslim Brotherhood's Mohamed Mursi, is likely to win in the upcoming presidential election at the end of this month. His popularity has increased enormously during his successful battle against Egypt's religious extremists who threatened to enact a wide array of "reforms" while they were in power, everything from enacting laws repressing religious freedom to calling for the destruction of the Great Pyramid and the Sphinx. Now, he offers an intriguing new plank on his presidential platform by "casting himself as a defender of religion and taking aim at the doctrinal foundations of Islamist groups the state is seeking to crush." From Reuters:
Striking a pious tone that sets him apart from former president Hosni Mubarak, Sisi also appears to be taking on the mantle of a religious reformer. He has blamed outdated "religious discourse" for holding back Egypt. "I see that the religious discourse in the entire Islamic world has cost Islam its humanity," Sisi said in an interview televised on May 5. "This requires us, and for that matter all leaders, to review their positions." With references to God and morality, Sisi may turn out to be the most outwardly pious of any of the military men to have governed Egypt since the republic was founded in 1953.
This video from WoChit General News summarizes his stance:

Per its tradition in the second week of May, America's business leaders have voted for the states with the "best" and "worst" business climates. As usual, Chief Executive Magazine places California at the top....of the naughty list!
That’s 10 years in a row — a decade of dominance. Over that same period, California saw its unemployment rate go from mirroring the national rate to having consistently among the highest rates. The Golden State is now second worst in the nation when it comes to the percentage of adults who want to work full time but can’t find such jobs.
An executive officer's comments about the results summarizes many of the points I made recently when reporting about Toyota's move to Texas.
“California could hardly do more to discourage business if that was the goal. The regulatory, tax and political environment are crushing. The only saving grace is that there are still a lot of affluent areas that drive local economic zones, but the trend line on these is not good for the mid- to long-term.”
A good example of this dynamic involves one of the most popular exports of the state, Sriracha Hot Sauce. The company that makes the sauce, Huy Fong Foods, has been embroiled in a public battle with the Irwindale City Council over complaints that fumes from its busy plant are causing neighbors to get sick. A video report summarizes the controversy. Team Texas is eager to offer the firm another option:

As a Tea Party activist, I am accustomed to the fact that our citizen-based groups are targeted. However, given how much time federal employees spend watching adult films during work hours, I would think that protecting the porn business would be a priority. So, imagine my surprise at discovering this legal enterprise  is now the target of the Department of Justice.
Despite being in good financial standing, adult film performers and others in the porn industry have had bank accounts abruptly terminated—and the U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ) may have had something to do with it. Under "Operation Choke Point," the DOJ and its allies are going after legal but subjectively undesirable business ventures by pressuring banks to terminate their bank accounts or refuse their business. The very premise is clearly chilling—the DOJ is coercing private businesses in an attempt to centrally engineer the American marketplace based on it's own politically biased moral judgements. Targeted business categories so far have included payday lenders, ammunition sales, dating services, purveyors of drug paraphernalia, and online gambling sites. "Operation Chokepoint is flooding payments companies that provide processing service to those industries with subpoenas, civil investigative demands, and other burdensome and costly legal demands," wrote Jason Oxman, CEO of the Electronic Transactions Association, at The Hill.
At College Insurrection, we chronicle the disturbing "pornification" of our campuses. But while I despise the business model, it is still a legal business and its participants are not breaking any law. Then how is it that special rules have been put in place that deny an American in good standing the ability to do basic banking?
This past Monday, porn star Teagan Presley arrived home in Las Vegas from yet another whirlwind strip club appearance tour and found a letter from her bank. Chase was closing her account, which was listed under her legal name, as well as the account of her husband. When Presley went to the bank in person to ask why, she was told it’s because she’s considered “high risk.”
The Department of Justice is only one agency that cops an attitude of moral righteousness when stripping citizens of their assets. George Will recently recounted the use of "civil forfeiture" rules by the IRS to strip the accounts of Terry Dehko and his daughter Sandy Thomas, which were related to the running of their Michigan store:

In Egypt, it looks like they have opted to go BIG:
A judge in Egypt on Monday sentenced to death 683 alleged supporters of the country's ousted Islamist president in the latest mass trial that included the Muslim Brotherhood's spiritual leader, defense lawyers said. But in a surprise reversal, the same judge also reduced most of the death sentences handed to 529 defendants in a similar case in March, commuting the majority of them on Monday to life imprisonment. The judge, Said Youssef, said he was referring his ruling on the 683 death sentences for violence and the killing of policemen to the Grand Mufti, the top Islamic official -- a requirement under Egyptian law, but one that is considered a formality. Both mass trials are linked to deadly riots that erupted in Minya and elsewhere in Egypt after security forces violently disbanded sit-ins held by Brotherhood supporters in Cairo last August.
General Sisi apparently has decided not to win the "hearts and minds" of the Muslim Brotherhood. However, he may be winning the support of his people, who have suffered with enormous civil unrest since "Arab Spring" sprung in 2011.

Professor Jacobson just asked if a Toyota can get from California to Texas on single tank of gas? As a Californian, I would like to answer that question. First, you need to know that California Governor Jerry Brown recently said Rick Perry's efforts to recruit businesses to Texas are "barely a fart." So, if the fuel is blended with those farts, the answer is: Hell, yes! Interestingly,Toyota has had a relatively long-term stay in California.
With its worldwide headquarters in Japan, Toyota's U.S. operation has headquartered in Southern California for more than 50 years. Most employees affected by the move, which begins in 2016, work on a sprawling campus in Torrance. "This is the most significant change we've made to our North American operations in the past 50 years, and we're excited for what the future holds," says Jim Lentz, Toyota's U.S. CEO.
My question is not why Toyota is leaving, but why it took them so long to make the move. The economic advantages to both the company and its employees are quite compelling.

While President Obama was doing a "victory lap" over the truly questionable healthcare exchange enrollment numbers, the deaf citizens of California were being directed to a sex hotline by the Covered California website: Auburn resident Jeff Brown was one who went on the Covered California site...

To add to the chaos and unrest around the world, there is recently some disturbing news about the always tense relationship between North and South Korea. North and South Korea have exchanged fire into the sea across the disputed western sea border, South Korea says. North Korea...

I have been following the news about California state senator, Leland Yee, who was arraigned in federal court on charges related to alleged roles associated with Chinatown gangsters and brokering arms deals with a Muslim rebel group based in the Philippines. I made the analogy to the recent box-office smash, American Hustle. When...

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