No more games, Jerry: Take firm stand on high-speed rail

For months, Sacramento insiders have speculated about Gov. Jerry Brown’s real views of high-speed rail. Despite his nominal public support for the project, some have believed that his appointment of “realists” to the high-speed rail board showed he wanted it dead. Others have said his public view was his private view. Still others have said that Brown was merely doing the Obama administration a favor by backing the project so it could get started next year and allow the president to tout it on the campaign trail as he sought re-election. But the brutally harsh report from the Legislative Analyst’s Office on Tuesday should sweep all this shadow-boxing and speculation away.

Another (crazy) view of bullet train: ‘all substantive criticisms have been refuted’

The scathing, welcome, overdue report from the LAO on the bullet train fiasco should bring the debate over this debacle to an end. But it won’t, thanks to rail true believers. This group, amazingly, includes the Los Angeles Times editorial page, which recently made an insane comparison between state high-speed rail and the California water project of the 1960s, which transformed the Golden State.

No wonder UC Davis students would rather protest

Hey, Bay-Bee!

Some UC Davis students have more of an incentive that most Occupy sympathizers to keep protesting: those paid to provide “abdominal massages” to poultry. I read this story 15 years ago and, well, it made a lasting impression. It also made me feel a little better about my paternal grandfather losing his Central Valley farm during the Depression. Here’s a snippet:

Norquist has nothing on Dems’ green energy cult

A common media trope is that anti-taxation has become a secular religion for Republicans, with heretics condemned to political hell if they cross Grover Norquist. When will the media get around to realizing that green lunacy has become a similar secular religion for Democrats, resulting in profoundly dumb energy policies? Consider two new essays — one from Brookings Institution official Charles K. Ebinger and one from former Microsoft whiz kid/CTO Nathan Myhrvold — outlining how loopy Dems have gotten in recent years.

Occupy backlash: Will the ‘Silent Majority’ rise again?

Is Richard Nixon, ensconced in the afterlife and watching what’s going on right now in the United States, savoring the fact that the East Coast political and media establishment are once again going to be exposed as hopelessly out of sync with how Americans think — just as they were in 1968 and 1972 in not understanding what Nixon called the “silent majority”? I think so. As I’ve watched coverage of Occupy protesters in California making life hell for commuters in Los Angeles, hassling Black Friday shoppers in San Bernardino and Orange County, and costing hundreds of middle-class truck owner-operators millions of dollars at Oakland’s port, I can’t help but think this abuse of the “99 percent” by those who pretend to be their defenders will affect our politics.

Indentured servitude for young? Older person says, ‘why not?’

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:

What links AB 32, bullet train fiasco? Years of deceit on cost to public

The enormity of the boondoggle that is the California bullet train project is settling in. The public and the previously cheerleading media are finally figuring out the extent of the myths and falsehoods that were used in 2008 to win the passage of its $9.95 billion in bond seed money from taxpayers. So when will a like realization settle in about another enormously hyped boondoggle that was sold with myths and falsehoods? I refer to AB 32, the 2006 law forcing a shift to cleaner but costlier sources of energy.

Comparing California and Michigan: The real pension truth squad weighs in

Argentine President Bill Clinton: Too bad politicians aren't like free agents in sports.

The relentless way Steve Maviglio and defenders of the Sacramento status quo have tried to minimize the extent of the state’s pension crisis has been breathtaking. The assertion that the average pension is under $30,000 is never accompanied by the context that the figure covers all former state workers getting a pension, including those who worked barely enough years to qualify for retirement pay.

On the L.A. Daily News opinion page, back in June, I whined about the Maviglian assault on reality and the way it was undercut by, well, reality:

Calbuzz unsophisticated and lazy? Damn right

Back at my old blog, I had fun going back and forth with the Calbuzz guys. They were simply better writers than anyone else on their side of the political aisle, and funny, too. I read them every day. But something about the broad conclusion reached by tens of millions of Americans that Barack Obama has been a mediocre president or worse has driven them around the bend. This translates all the time into the argument that amounts to, “If he’s unpopular, his critics are bad people.” Really? It’s that simple, huh? They’re all driven by rotten motives, not their honest perception of the state of America after nearly three years of this administration?