You are who you hate

Interesting comment in issue 872 of the Editor’s Letter in The Week magazine:  “For much of the electorate, politics is a ritualized display of tribal identity, not a mere choice of policies.  You are who you hate.”

IMO, it’s in the self-interest of our political parties (tribes) to drive ever harder wedges between one another, because the #1 function of a tribe is to out-compete other tribes.  It’s hard-wired into our genes from our primate ancestors.

George Washington warned against the formation of political parties and urged the nation to choose leaders for reasons that transcended partisan politics.  Hmmm.


Median home prices near me – ouch

The median home price in San Jose, the nearest big city, is $1M.  That’s way more than LA, NY, and even SF.  It’s the highest in the US.  How can young families afford it?  They can’t of course.  And rents are likewise sky-high.

This article in Kiplinger lists the median home prices for the top 100 US metro areas.  Even the median price, $800K, in the little burg I’m near, Santa Cruz, is a lot higher than anywhere else in the US.  This 950 sq ft home in Santa Cruz recently sold for a little over $800K, the median price in Santa Cruz.  In my hometown of Garden City, MI, it would be around $80K, a tenth of Santa Cruz.  I’m speechless.136 Wendell St, SANTA CRUZ, CA 95060




12 things we COULD do to reduce the gun problem

Blaming AR15s for gun violence is like blaming white colored vehicles for causing the most deaths on our roads.  It’s the most popular vehicle color, so chances are, it’s going to be involved in the most road deaths.  So if we ban white vehicles, will highway deaths decrease?

IMO, the #1 thing we could do:  We could censor popular media; who currently have little self-censorship. People all too easily turn to guns to solve problems.  Where did they learn this?  Answer:  popular media.  The people in Hollywood who want to ban guns make billions by glorifying gun violence.  And who is going to be more seduced by the image of John Wayne blasting Indians, or Dirty Harry, or other Hollywood Americans who become heros by killing people with guns?  Will an American teenager  or a Japanese teenager more closely relate to American heros?  And the country with the greatest correlation of usage of violent video games to gun violence?  Brazil, not the U.S, and it’s not close.

What else could we do, but won’t?

  1. We could make it harder for people convicted of ANY violent crimes to get guns.
  2. We could aggressively punish violent transgressors instead of slapping their wrists, even if it means building more jails.  Stick up a 7-11?  Say goodbye to your freedom forever.
  3. We could jail therapists who don’t “out” the nut jobs they know are a danger to others.
  4. We could stop threatening the 2nd amendment so gun owners don’t have to take extreme positions and instead, encourage them to work with everyone else on the problem.  The NRA only represents 5% of gun owners.  IMO we have no hope of establishing a meaningful dialogue with the NRA, nor with the anti-gun zealots, the two entities carrying 95% of the debate.  Gun owners feel assaulted for exercising their rights.  Which is why we need the NRA, a necessary evil.
  5. Related to #4, we could make existing laws fairer and less difficult to understand, and NOT use CA as a blueprint for federal laws. The ONLY way to understand the California laws, for instance, is to buy and use the 500+ page book on “CA Gun Laws”.  I have not met a cop or even gun shop owner who understands all the CA gun laws.
  6. We could legalize drugs and kill the revenue source of gun-using gangs and BTW, save the lives of countless innocent people in Latin America.
  7. Related to #6, we could shift tax dollars from things like drug enforcement and incarceration to education.  This would help build a strong economy so people get good jobs and have hope.  IMO too many shootings are perpetrated by people with no hope.
  8. We could identify at-risk individuals through schools and the military, and offer/ force counseling.
  9. We could admit that suicides are not a gun problem, it’s a people problem.  Stop lumping suicides in with homicide stats.  Let’s be real.
  10. We could stop listening to gun-ignorant people for solutions.  NOT being a gun owner doesn’t make you an expert in gun usage, even if you are really smart.  For instance, I’ve lost count of how many people I’ve talked to that are not aware that in CA, all gun purchases require a background check, even private party deals (which have to go through a dealer).
  11. We could harshly punish every parent who’s found guilty of making guns available (unsupervised) to kids.  A few “punishment” examples would solve most of this part of the problem.  Public beatings should not be taken off the table.  Yes I know this seems extreme but it’s not as bad as the gun violence caused by this issue.

I’m sure there are dozens of other things we could do, after careful and bi-partisan study.

California is the Poorest State

In a Feb 18 article by CALmatters on the “California Dream”, Matt Levin observes that if you factor in cost-of-living, California has the highest poverty rate in the U.S.  Stated another way, California is the poorest state in the country.  Poorer than states like Louisiana or Mississippi.  The article mostly blames the cost of housing.  In 1969, the average California home price was 3X the average annual income of younger Californians; today, it’s 7X.  At the same time, we have the wealthiest citizens, and some cities with the highest per capita income.

Image result for poorest state
Back in 2005, I was trying to be funny.  It’s not funny anymore.

CSU Drops Algebra Requirement – Halleujah

I’m so impressed that the California State University system dropped the algebra requirement.  Impressed … because it’s more forward thinking than I normally give our established academicians credit for.  In his book “In Defense of the American Teen“, author Ryan Teves makes a compelling argument to give young people a basic education, then allow them to pursue their passions. Forcing people who do not want or need algebra is just plain stupid.  So I say “congratulations CSU!”  Keep innovating and keep your curriculum relevant!  You are in the business of serving students, not academic dinosaurs. celebrate

Next, let’s try to get the people in charge of K-12 out of the dark ages.


California Dems screw us again

It appears that it’s a hardship to pay for your traffic fines. So, now, you don’t have to pay traffic tickets in CA.

Keep in mind that we have the worst drivers in the US.

Or if you believe this website, we only have the 2nd worst drivers.  I’ve been to Utah, and I dispute their claim to be #1.

Biggest news of the year/ decade

Seems like everyone is focused on politics, president Cheeto-head, the Kardashians, ISIS, or the crisis-of-the-month.  But this little tidbit almost slid by my radar:  94% of the jobs created in the past decade were not traditional 9-5, full-time jobs.  According to this study, conventional jobs are disappearing. You know, like jobs with benefits.

For those of us who are boomers and maybe Gen-Xers, it’s not a huge problem.  We mostly already have jobs.  But millennials have to figure out how to carve out a living with small chance of buying a home, getting health insurance from an employer, or providing for retirement.

Something to think about when the government thinks about shutting down health insurance subsidies and cutting back on social security benefits for those just entering the workforce.  And I guess that Uber drivers can always raise their families in their vans, which is OK as long as the founders of Uber are zillionaires.




Can cops legally shoot you for any reason?

A Paradise CA cop, Patrick Feaster, shot a motorist who was exiting his wrecked car.  The cop claimed that he accidentally pulled out his weapon, accidentally aimed his weapon at the motorist, and accidentally shot the motorist. (The motorist eventually died from his gunshot wound).  The cop was not initially prosecuted because “he is human and humans make mistakes”.  There’s a little more to the story that’s not on this clip.  It seems that because cops are trained to shoot twice (double tap), if they only shoot you with one bullet, it must be an accident. This story stunned me because it seemed to imply that cops have a free pass to shoot anyone for any reason as long as they only pull the trigger once.  I can’t see how you can interpret this in any other way.

So it’s one year later and I followed it up and found that after protests, he was eventually tried and found guilty of involuntary manslaughter. So, if citizens protest wrongful shootings, it’s possible that cops will have to stand trial for shooting you.

Note that his fellow officers defended his actions.  Of course they did.  It’s us vs. them.  And of course, his dirt-bag lawyer tried to get another trial on a technicality. So, can cops legally shoot you for any reason?  The final answer is no:  this murderer wound up serving 180 days for killing an innocent citizen.  So I guess that’s the penalty in CA, assuming that citizens protest.  If not, then they get off with no penalty.