State Sen. Mark Wyland, R-Solana Beach, once told me that he would meet prominent people in Sacramento, not street-corner crazies, who were surprised to hear Wyland say the economy was in the dump or that unemployment was sky-high. I think today I figured out one of the people he was talking about. It’s Assemblyman Warren Furutani, left, who revealed his obliviousness in a Sac Bee story about Democratic legislative leaders and union officials touting “CalPERS for all,” a bill to force employers to set aside 3 percent of the pay of all private-sector employees to contribute on their behalf to a defined-benefit program that invests only in very safe but low-yield Treasury bills. Furutani noted pension reform was often fueled by resentment of big public employee pensions. Then the Gardena Dem said that giving private sector workers a tiny pension funded with mandatory paycheck deductions that are invested in a CalPERS-managed fund sure to have mediocre returns “turns that argument on its head.”
Great news, for once, on the AB 32 front, with a Fresno federal judge blocking part of California’s 2006 law mandating a switch to cleaner but much costlier forms of energy on the grounds that it violates the Commerce Clause of the U.S. Constitution by requiring changes in “farming and ethanol production practices in other states.” This is the same clause, of course, that offers the most hope of blocking the multilevel fiasco that is Obamacare. It’s also helping in the legal fight against California’s manmade drought. Such utility. Can we also use it to take down Donald Trump and PETA?
In fall 1972, legendary New Yorker film critic Pauline Kael expressed amazement after reading that Richard Nixon was a heavy favorite for re-election. Why? Because she didn’t know anyone in her Manhattan circles who was voting for the president. In his Monday column, the L.A. Times’ George Skelton exposed his Kael-style bubble for all the world to see, and in so doing confirmed what I’ve been writing for years: Sacramento’s Democrats and the Sacramento media establishment generally believe the exact same things. So much for any hope we’ll get honest, neutral coverage of state government.
Nanny Staters are typically oblivious to how the world works. They are also bafflingly confident that people like being bullied, implored or required to live their lives in a way Nanny Staters approve. That’s why I so enjoyed seeing my views reaffirmed in this L.A. Times story about the student revolt in defense of “junk food” and against the public health establishment, the most powerful wing of the Nanny State:
The pepper-spraying of the passive UC Davis students last month was a stomach-turning abuse of police authority, which I think is far more common than most Americans believe. Cellphone videos turn up daily showing people with authority acting badly, and the UC Davis cops deserve strong punishment. That said, the proliferation of investigations into an incident that was caught on tape and that involved a handful of officers and their bosses has become a self-parody of the labored, bureaucratic way that liberal institutions fall all over themselves to send out the loudest possible message: We care about this very very much and we’re just going to keep throwing money and resources at this until you understand we care about this very very much!
Forcing an individual to spend one year, two years, three years, whatever, of their lives doing something they don’t want to do should be something that’s close to unthinkable in a free society — except if the individual being coerced is a criminal being punished for a significant crime.
Nevertheless, since the draft was abolished in the early 1970s, the U.S. has with clockwork regularity been beset with calls for compulsory service for young people coming from old people. Here we go again: