California GOP hard-pressed to dispute law that moves initiatives to November ballot

From the SJ Mercury:

When Gov. Jerry Brown recently signed a bill to move all voter-generated initiatives to November ballots, Republicans responded with a fury that suggested their political world had been turned upside down.

Senate GOP leader Bob Dutton, well aware that the fall electorate tends to be larger and more liberal, called it a “blatant power grab” by public employee unions.

Assembly GOP leader Connie Conway claimed it took away “a power reserved to the people.” And prominent Sacramento attorney Tom Hiltachk filed a referendum aimed at overturning SB 202 on the day Brown signed it.

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Has Our “System” Failed, Or Has Our President?

From Town Hall:

“The system has failed.”

Have you heard this comment lately? Does it express how you feel about America?

This one sentence, vague as it is, nonetheless captures a common sentiment about the current condition of the United States.

With the “occupy” protesters disrupting civic life around the country and President Obama publicly bonding with them, we’re seeing that magical phrase – “the system has failed” – being used in increasingly ambiguous ways. So it makes sense that the rest of us should ask a couple of important questions: What “system” are they talking about? And in what sense has that system “failed?”

At times it would appear that the occupiers are decrying our American system of constitutional, elective and representative government. “Our voices aren’t being heard,” many of them will say, implying that they are being trampled-upon by an abusive dictatorial regime.

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Hispanic voters: Stick with Obama or go with GOP?

From the Sac Bee:

A year before the 2012 presidential election, Hispanic voters are facing a choice. They can continue to support President Barack Obama despite being hurt disproportionately by the economic downturn or turn to Republicans at a time when many GOP presidential hopefuls have taken a hard line on immigration.

Obama kicks off a three-day trip to Western states trip with a stop Monday in Las Vegas, where he wants to rally support for his jobs agenda in Congress. Nevada has the nation’s highest unemployment rate, 13.4 percent.

The trip comes as Republican candidates have taken a more strident tone on immigration.

Businessman Herman Cain recently suggested electrifying a fence along the U.S. border with Mexico to kill illegal immigrants; he later called the remark a joke and apologized. Minnesota Rep. Michele Bachmann has raised the issue of “anchor babies,” or U.S.-born children of illegal immigrants; it’s a term that some people find offensive.

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California bullet train: The high price of speed

From the LA Times:
Since it opened in 1893, Bakersfield High School has been the pride of this city and its academic cornerstone, the place where the late Chief Justice Earl Warren graduated and students call themselves the Drillers in homage to the region’s oil patch.

It has withstood earthquakes and depressions, but perhaps it will not survive the California bullet train.

The train’s proposed routes are taking aim at the campus, potentially putting a bulls-eye on the Industrial Arts Building, where future engineers, ceramic artists, auto mechanics, fabric designers and wood-workers take classes. Even though freight trains already lumber not far from the campus, these elevated trains could rocket by on a viaduct at up to 220 mph every five minutes, eye level with the school library and deafening the stately outdoor commons where students congregate between classes.

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Obama’s foreign successes may help little in 2012

From the SJ Mercury:

By declaring the Iraq War over, President Barack Obama scored what his allies see as a fourth big foreign policy success in six months, starting with Osama bin Laden’s killing.

But in his re-election bid, these events might play a discouragingly small role even if they burnish his eventual place in history.

Voters tend to focus heavily on domestic issues, especially in times of high unemployment. That will limit Obama’s campaign options.

His supporters are seeking ways to make the most of his foreign policy accomplishments. One approach is to contrast them with Congress’ partisan-driven gridlock on taxes, the deficit and other domestic issues.

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Obama Jobs Bill Could Dry Up 238,000 Pharmaceutical Jobs, Report Says

From CNS News:

President Obama’s jobs bill could result in the loss of as many as 238,000 jobs in the pharmaceutical industry by 2021, says a new study says.

The American Action Forum (AAF), a conservative think tank headed by former Congressional Budget Office Director Douglas Holtz-Eakin, says to help pay for Obama’s American Jobs Act, prescription drug manufacturers would be required to give billions of dollars in rebates to the federal government to have their drugs dispensed to low-income seniors through the Medicare Part D program.

Those rebates would save the federal government $135 billion over ten years, the Office of Management and Budget estimated. But the savings would come at the expense of the pharmaceutical industry:

“At a minimum, these additional rebates would constitute a direct, dollar-for-dollar reduction in revenue to the pharmaceutical industry,” the AAF study said. “Using the historic relationship between revenues and employment, we find that by 2021 the proposal could reduce pharmaceutical and related employment by up to 238,000 jobs.”

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Employees: Anaheim Planning to Lay Off Eight More Librarians

From the Voice of OC:

Several Anaheim library employees say the city is planning to lay off eight of its 41 full-time library employees — almost one-fifth of the workforce — by as early as the end of this month.

The employees, who spoke on condition of anonymity, contend that the $1.1-million library budget reduction will greatly affect the children and teen areas of the city’s main library.

Anaheim city officials say that reductions in staff will take place sometime soon but dispute the number of layoffs claimed by the staff. Officials said city hasn’t determined the total number of layoffs and is working hard to find other city jobs for the affected workers.

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Obama Job Approval Average Slides to New Low in 11th Quarter

From Gallup:

President Barack Obama’s 11th quarter in office was the worst of his administration, based on his quarterly average job approval ratings. His 41% approval average is down six percentage points from his 10th quarter in office, and is nearly four points below his previous low of 45% during his seventh quarter.

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The power of one: Perez controls Assembly with money

From the Sac Bee:

Assembly Speaker John A. Pérez single-handedly doles out millions in public funds each year to his 80 members: No vote, no committee, no debate.

Like speakers before him, the Assembly Democrat gives and can take away, handing out or withholding leadership posts that can boost office budgets by six-figure sums. Assembly rules give him sole authority to control purse strings, with no appeal.

The power of his position differs from operations in the smaller state Senate and can be necessary in wrangling votes from an unruly house.

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California prison layoff notices begin downsizing process

From the Sac Bee:

California’s prison agency on Friday began issuing 26,000 layoff warning notices as it begins a massive, slow-motion transfer of some of its work to local governments.

The mailing by the Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation is going to employees with less than 10 years of state service – from case record technicians and cooks to correctional officers and groundskeepers.

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