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California Tag

About 2 years ago, I featured a legal saga involving a California state senator from the Bay area who was a leading advocate for gun control. His alleged crime reeked of irony: Gun trafficking.
In exchange for campaign contributions, according to the affidavit, Yee would “facilitate a meeting with the arms dealer” so that the donor could buy a large number of weapons. The firearms would be imported through a port in Newark, N.J. At one meeting, the affidavit said, Yee and the prospective donor discussed “details of the specific types of weapons.”
The deals were facilitated by a Chinese gangland figure nicknamed "Shrimp Boy." The wheels of justice have been slow to grind, but grind they did. Leland Yee was charged and convicted of soliciting and accepting bribes in exchange for providing political favors and conspiring to import weapons and ammunition into the country. He has just received a 5-year sentence, after throwing himself on the mercy of the court.

California truck and business owners initiated a lawsuit against the California Air Resources Board because of exploding trucks and roadside fires, due to the CARB’s mandatory, faulty diesel particulate filters, they say. Ironically, the filters even fail at cleaning the air. The Alliance for California Business, a voluntary group whose purpose is to protect and promote business interests throughout California, says Diesel Particulate Filters have started more than 31 fires in the last two years, including several in areas of the state parched by the drought. The Diesel Particulate Filters are the result of environmental regulations created by the California Air Resources Board, and were based on a deeply flawed study led by a researcher accused of faking his Ph.D. credential. The CARB was aware of employee Hien Tran and his phony Ph.D. credentials and flawed research, yet instead, rushed head-on to meet its self-imposed schedule in creating the diesel regulations on truckers.

Trucking Companies Devastated

Bud Caldwell, Alliance for California Business president and owner of 11 trucks, says the truck fires are started below the truck’s engine compartment. The primary issue is whether properly maintained Diesel Particulate Filters can become clogged when the filter system fails to regenerate and burn larger diesel particulates into ultrafine particulate ash, Caldwell says.

Early in December, the first news I had of the San Bernardino terror attack was Facebook inquiries as to whether I was alright. Today, Facebook friends were asking me about another attack that seemed to be occurring a mere mile from where I often work. Fortunately, it was a false alarm:
Reports of an active shooter at Naval Medical Center San Diego (NMCSD) Tuesday morning led to a lengthy lockdown of the military facility, but U.S. Navy officials confirmed no gunman was found and no injuries were reported. NMCSD was placed on lockdown just after 8 a.m. and people inside were ordered to shelter in place after an unidentifed Department of Defense employee reported hearing three shots fired in the basement of Building 26, which houses a gym and barracks, according to the Navy.

Thursday night, news broke that federal authorities arrested two Iraqi immigrants. One in Sacramento, California, the other in Houston, Texas. Both individuals were arrested for allegedly lying to immigration officials about their connections with terrorist organizations. Early reports Thursday night provided conflicting information and left many questions unanswered. According to Houston local news, the Sacramento and Houston arrests were related. But CNN reported the arrests, "did not appear to to be directly related, but the cases had several similarities."

In late December last year East Bay Area regulated utility EBMUD released a list of "water guzzlers", a naming and shaming strategy the utility adopted in response to the drought that hit the state during the last couple of years. The local media had a ball with the release, publishing names of offenders and aerial pictures of their property.  Names of celebrity "water guzzlers" graced the headlines.  Although they obviously tried their best, Bay Area journos are yet to perfect the art of naming and shaming. In the Soviet Union such a list would be accompanied by an expose of how it was really the water criminal Kristi Yamaguchi, not as previously thought Tonya Harding, who plotted to break Nancy Kerrigan's leg.  Seriously, though, one must feel powerless to engage in this kind of behavior. A few days later I drove to Los Angeles and was relieved to see that somebody in California has a different approach to water crisis.

One 2016 prediction is very easy to make: Obamacare will continue its trajectory of failure. For example, Covered California has been heralded as one of the greatest state exchange successes for the "Affordable Care Act". The reality is that one-third of California's residents are now using a system that was initially intended for the low income families.
The state's health plan for the poor, known as Medi-Cal, now covers 12.7 million people, 1 of every 3 Californians. If Medi-Cal were a state of its own, it would be the nation's seventh-biggest by population; its $91-billion budget would be the country's fourth-largest, trailing only those of California, New York and Texas. "When the final numbers started coming out, where a third of the population was on Medi-Cal, it went way past anyone's expectations," said state Sen. Ed Hernandez (D-West Covina), who chairs the Senate Health Committee.

Last week, we reported that one of the San Bernardino killers, Syed Rizwan Farook, had pictures of educational institutions on his camera, indicating that high school and college campuses were potentially being targeted for future terror acts. Tuesday, the entire Los Angeles Unified School District has been shut down because of credible threats involving bombs and packages:
All Los Angeles Unified School District schools were closed Tuesday until further notice after LAUSD received a "credible threat," according to school district officials and police.

Investigations are continuing into the terrorist couple, Syed Rizwan Farook and Tashfeen Malik, who slaughtered 14 coworkers in San Bernardino and were planning to kill the first responders with explosives. The quest for clues has led to a local lake:
An FBI dive team was searching a lake Thursday near the site of the terror attack in San Bernardino, California -- a spot where investigators were told the shooters spent time. The FBI would not discuss the specific evidence it was looking for, but said it was seeking "anything that had to do" with the shooting. ....The investigators appear to be combing an area near the shallow edge of the lake. The water is so murky that divers cannot actually see through it, so they are largely feeling their way through.
Investigators had received indications through leads that at some point they came to this park, though they didn't specify exactly what was being sought when reporters queried them.

After the San Bernardino terror attack, California Governor Jerry Brown stopped by the city on his way out the the UN Climate Conference that is continuing this week. Brown, a leading advocate of creating climate change policies that have chilled the economy of the Golden State, was invited to speak. The reception was...unexpected.
Gov. Jerry Brown, at the conclusion of a speech here Tuesday, was heckled by a group of protesters opposed to carbon offset programs they said could hurt indigenous people. Brown, accompanied by several South American governors at a 19th century mansion in Paris, had finished brief remarks urging further efforts to counteract climate change when protesters started yelling, “No REDD.” The acronym is used by The Governors’ Climate and Forest Task Force, of which California is a part, to describe programs to promote reduced emissions from deforestation and land use. California officials have considered ways to link the state’s cap-and-trade program, in which polluters pay to offset carbon emissions, to tropical rainforests in Chiapas, Mexico and Acre, Brazil. Outside the venue, Tom Goldtooth of the Indigenous Environmental Network said that such a system could prevent indigenous people from working on their land.

A little over a week ago, President Obama was making the case that the most significant security threat was climate change and asserting that ISIS posed no credible threat to the US homeland. In the wake of the San Bernardino massacre of 14 Americans on the homeland, it is clear that the presidential fantasies and the national realities are quite different. The FBI has formally declared the incident is being investigated as an act of terrorism:
"The San Bernardino, California, mass shooting is now being investigated as "an act of terrorism," FBI official David Bowdich said Friday. Bowdich said the FBI "uncovered evidence ... of extreme planning."

Chaos, pandemonium, terrorism, popsicles, Britney Spears -- this is the latest from San Bernardino where fourteen were murdered earlier this week. Today's developments in no certain order.

It was a terrorist attack.

The FBI confirmed Friday that the attacks are under federal terrorism investigation. Because we're officially in some bizarro world, even Chris Hayes seems to get it:

Even though the FBI is calling San Bernardino a terrorist attack, the White House keeps beating the gun control drum.

As we are learning more about the radical Islamic terrorists responsible for 14 deaths in San Bernadino, California, the Obama administration and Congressional Democrats are wasting no time in pushing for more gun control. The media started clamoring for gun control before the buildings were even cleared, and Obama was quick to leap onto his soapbox and stammer on about the need for gun control. Watch: Note the new language here: "gun safety laws."  We'll be hearing this again, I'm sure.

This week California's State Treasurer Johnny Chiang announced that the Golden State's finances are completely tarnished:
State Treasurer John Chiang unveiled a new open data website today, providing important details about $1.5 trillion in debt issued by state and local government entities as part of his ongoing efforts to promote transparency in government. The site, debtwatch.treasurer.ca.gov, makes it easier for taxpayers to track proposed and issued debt, cost of issuance, and bond and tax election results. “The state and its local governments have borrowed more than $1.5 trillion from Wall Street over the past three decades to build roads, schools, and other critical public works,” said Chiang. “Bonds are not free money and, indeed, obligate the public to repay them through higher taxes and fees. DebtWatch aspires to empower Californians to hold government accountable for its borrowing decisions.”
Meanwhile, our state's Chief Executive seems to have added to that debt, after requesting a state deparment complete a gas and oil survey of his property at taxpayer expense.
Gov. Jerry Brown last year directed state oil and gas regulators to research, map and report back on any mining and oil drilling history and "potential for future oil and gas activity" at the Brown family's private land in Northern California, state records show.

There is not a single campus where the failure to ban lawfully-possessed concealed guns caused a mass shooting. In fact, almost all places where mass shootings have taken place are "gun-free zones." The results are predictable, as I explained in my viral column at USA Today, Time to talk about gun free zones:
In almost all mass shooting situations, particularly at schools, the common theme is a gun-free zone, with the shooter being the only one armed person in the building for minutes or longer. And in each case, the shooter couldn’t care less about the gun-free nature of the building, and if anything, was drawn to such a location. Gun-free zones presume the good intentions of those entering the zone. And the overwhelming majority have such good intentions. But for those who have bad intentions, gun-free zones turn schools and other locations into shooting galleries. The good people are unarmed, the evil person is armed.

I have followed the progress of California's "assisted suicide" legislation since it began to wind its way through the legislature. Yesterday, the bill landed on Governor Jerry Brown's desk, and he signed the controversial measure with the type of pontificating we have come to expect from our state's chief executive:
Caught between conflicting moral arguments, Gov. Jerry Brown, a former Jesuit seminary student, on Monday signed a measure allowing physicians to prescribe lethal doses of drugs to terminally ill patients who want to hasten their deaths. Approving the bill, whose opponents included the Catholic Church, appeared to be a gut-wrenching decision for the 77-year-old governor, who as a young man studied to enter the priesthood. “In the end, I was left to reflect on what I would want in the face of my own death,” Brown added. “I do not know what I would do if I were dying in prolonged and excruciating pain. I am certain, however, that it would be a comfort to be able to consider the options afforded by this bill. And I wouldn’t deny that right to others."

The closure of the largest of the nonprofit Obamacare cooperatives is another sign that the Affordable Care Act is the single best oxymoron ever created by politicians. I should be experiencing some amount of schadenfreude, as the fight against Obamacare was one of the major action items of my local Tea Party group in its original year. That it has been a galactic scale fiscal disaster comes as no surprise to any of us who took the time to review the law and think seriously about its implications. But there is no joy in the Golden State for me. As my husband, Ben, is now enjoying another round of FUNemployment under the "robust" Obama economy, we have been forced to find to new healthcare insurance. Covered California has been hailed as the most successful of the state exchanges. So, with great optimism, Ben completed the online application.

Congressman McClintock represents California's fourth district. Wednesday, he announced he was resigning from the House Freedom Caucus. Formed earlier this year, the HFC hoped to pull the House Republican Caucus further to the right. There principles were simple. "First, rank-and-file Republicans must pressure leadership to enact a more conservative agenda. And second, this pressure should never involve frantic scurrying on the House floor," wrote NRO's Joel Gehrke in January.
As a caucus devoted to moving leadership’s agenda to the right, the group has a chance to take over the traditional role of the Republican Study Committee, which many lawmakers believe has strayed from its founding mission as an organization designed to pressure moderate GOP leaders to adopt more conservative positions. National Journal first reported that such a group was forming.
Less than a year after it began, the HFC has already lost one of its 30 members. Rep. McClintock's resignation was brutal. "I believe the tactics the HFC has employed have repeatedly undermined the House’s ability to advance them," he wrote.
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