End of the Line

The California State Supreme Court just slapped Governor Jerry Brown.

The story: the taxpayers passed a state initiative approving a High Speed Rail that in theory would go from LA to San Francisco in just two hours and 40 minutes. And it was supposed get a mere $3.3 billion from the Obama administration to kick it off, after which California was to sell bonds, and get investment money.

Well, a Superior Court Judge said that before bonds could be sold, the state had to show how it was going to get investment money, and the state could not do that — so the judge temporarily halted the sale of bonds.

This did not make the Governor happy, so he did something unusual, almost unprecedented — he asked the State Supreme Court to take up the case, by-passing the Appeals Court. (The Governor said appeals would take too long.)

The Supremes said, go back and go through the appeals process, just like everyone else.Yes, years of delay probably spelling the end of the line.

This high-speed rail is the biggest fiasco since the Boston Big Dig.

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President’s Speech

Senator Ted Cruz apparently has a column saying we have an Imperial Presidency, and that is no real shock because the Christian Science Monitor — no right wing rag, that — asked last week if we have an Imperial Presidency.

The news also carried the news that Nicaraguan president has convinced his congress to grant him a fourth term…or, whatever.

Now it is not proper to conflate the two.

Yet.

Just a note from on the president’s speech — which I did not hear, opting instead for Moonshiners — but I did listen to both the CNN  and FOX analysis. Apparently, at least according to Rand Paul, the president mentioned the oil and gas industry but he did mention that only to say he was raising taxes on that industry!

(On that subject, we are in the fifth year of “analyzing” the Keystone Pipeline. We won WWII in less time! Meanwhile, Secretary of State John Kerry — who is responsible for reaching a decision — is keeping our friend, Canada, waiting. Meanwhile, Canadian oil WILL come out of the ground, and the only real question is whether Canada will sell it to the US, or China. )

Chris Matthews said that the president is trying to rally his own troops, “because he has been pushed back to his three-yard line, and he can’t afford to be pulsed back further.”

Time Magazine headlined it thusly:

“Vulnerable Democrats Distance Themselves From Obama after State of the Union

Senators up for reelection quickly criticize the president”

Read more: State of the Union 2014: Senate Democrats Bolt from Barack Obama | TIME.com http://swampland.time.com/2014/01/29/state-of-the-union-2014-democrats-obama/#ixzz2rrENwaZQ

The best line of the analysis night came on CNN from dour Newt Gingrich, who proposed an Obama Promises Bill (actually, one that is in progress) which would simply enforce the president’s words, “if you like your Doctor, you can keep your Doctor,” and, “If you like your policy, you can keep your policy.”

Back last November, former president urged President Obama to keep his promises.

Ain’t gonna’ happen.

Tenure Challenged in California Supreme Court

 

There is good news on teacher tenure, the bane of every rational person.

Students Matter, a student oriented organization out of Silicon Valley has sued, saying that tenure provides an unequal education, because teachers with greater tenure select the top performing schools, leaving the untried, junior teachers to the inner city schools with more discipline problems.

Vagara v California contends that the tenure situation does not provide constitutionally protected “equal protection under the law.”

 Students Matter hired uber-attorney Theodore Olson, former US Solicitor General.

In California, only two teachers a year are fired for incompetence – Los Angeles Unified Superintendent John Deasy, who was scheduled to testify today, submitted a deposition early saying that it costs about $350,000 to fire a teacher and can cost up to a million dollars.

The lawsuit was financed by a research scientist in Silicon Valley.

Sorry, Teachers Are NOT Unique

One of the problems with teacher unions is that teachers believe that they are unique…they may even believe that the laws of gravity apply to them!

Teachers are not unique, even though they believe they are.

Teachers should be forced to give up tenure (that may take a one year national strike), or perhaps they can be lured to do so…although an attempt by a reformer (Machael Rhee)  to get District of Columbia teachers to give up tenure for a huge increase in salary, failed.

This, I think is the best offer to put on the table, along with a starting salary of $100,000:

End tenure

End Unionization

Impose STRICT testing for incoming teachers

Rank ALL teachers on a ladder, so there must be only one teacher per rung. and then…

End “The Dance of the Lemons” by cutting the bottom 5%

Permit Merit Pay

This policy will, in addition to the obvious work rule reform, start to entice those much higher SAT and IQ students currently going into Law, Medicine, Engineering and Computer Science to consider the teaching profession.

I know the argument that without tenure, school districts will lay off the better paid, usually higher performing teachers to bring in new, and lower performing talent.

Duh!

School districts are no more prone to firing all experienced and highly-paid teachers than Apple would fire all of their experienced and highly paid Engineers in favor of newly graduated and lower paid Engineers, or Sears would replace their older and highly paid Managers with recent college graduates at 20% of the cost.

(Ask Jay Leno!)

I know that teachers believe that they and they alone can do their job, but education, as opposed to schooling — they are sometimes the same, sometimes not — has always been cheap, from libraries, to encyclopedia, to the Internet, to….

Teachers are important, but they are as susceptible to automation replacement as anyone. Students with self-discipline can and will get an education, but good teachers are only partly intellectual mechanics, they are also coaches who inspire, disciplinarians who control the animal instincts we all have.

A New Old Car?

 

A new, old car arrives!
 
You can see the great video at the CNET site below.
 
Morgan Three Wheeler: proper motoring
 
 
Shared via the CNET Application
 
I once had a license to drive and race one of these — the license was issued by the Royal Automobile Club, and the license was for a “reversible Tri-Cycle!
 
I would love a new edition, but at $45,000+   
 
It is completely unusable (except in the South or Southwest0, but I love it!      
 

Clearly Overreaching! Adios, Bob!

 

While the Virginia Republican Governor ( Bob McDonald) saga is new to most of the US, I have been following it for a year in the Washington Post and I have written about it on these pages.
 
Bob McDonald is a square-jawed Republican Governor with a beautiful blond wife, who aspired to at least the US Vice-Presidential nomination and who must have been on everyone’s short list.
 
He is being charged with corruption by the Justice Department — which McDonald calls “overreaching.”
 
Now I often accuse politicians of overreaching, and this time it was clearly McDonald.
 
Some snake-oil CEO of some supplement made of tobacco, befriended the Governor, and they traded favors. The CEO paid for the lavish wedding of one of the Governor’s daughters, and treated the wife to a Prada-fueled New York shopping trip. Then there was a gold Rolex for the Gov….and the list goes on. In exchange, the Governor, and his wife touted the product of the company, even in Governor mansion parties. A clear quid pro quo.
 
The Governor ignored all news reports, always claiming he had done nothing wrong — but recently he returned the “gifts” and repaid the money.
 
 While I deeply regret accepting these legal gifts and loans from Mr. Williams, all of these now have been returned or repaid with interest, McDonnell said in a press conference. I repeat again emphatically that I did nothing illegal for Mr. Williams in return for what I believed was his personal friendship and his generosity.”
 
 
Politicians really do feel entitled. They really do feel above the law.
 
They really do “overreach.”        

Yes, More Racing News…But Short

 

Well, football is mercifully almost over, but we begin racing of the motor kind with a 24 Hour race at Daytona. I love endurance racing because it tests the cars and driver to their absolute limit and with three or four classes, all with different speed, cornering and acceleration capabilities, it requires looking to the front and back simultaneously.
Just to entice those who ask, why(?), I say that these racing events test the technology of the future — and not just performance, but fuel economy. You cant win long races if you use fuel at a rate that you must stop to re-fuel. In racing, the rule is, “You cant win a race in the pits!”
 
The problem with IMSA motor racing is that it is being covered by Fox2 Sports which is not yet a strongly placed Chanel. Here in San Diego on Cox it is Channel 315.
 
Wonderful. Most people don t get that channel, and, if they do, they can t find it.
 
Anyway, I will be transfixed by cars I was never good enough to drive.
As much as it pains me I never could have made these teams.