A new year is upon us, which means a few things. First and foremost, it’s a Presidential election year which means the focus for most of the year will be on who will replace Barack Obama in the White House, and what issues will be a top priority. To a lesser degree, there will be discussions about which party will control which house of Congress. And to an even lesser degree, on the national level at least, there will be some focus on state legislative issues and state ballot measures. see more…
Tag Archives: California
Government officials often tout the line “if you’ve nothing to hide, you’ve nothing to fear” in response to news about one government spy program or another.
However, many of these same officials will do everything in their power, including filing lawsuits, to prevent you from knowing what the government is doing.
In March of this year “Harry Scheeler Jr. sent a request to Hamilton Township [NJ] for surveillance footage of the town-hall and police-department buildings, making the request under the state Open Public Records Act (OPRA) and the state common law right of access to public records.”
“A few weeks later, instead of responding to the request, the township sued Scheeler and asked a local court for relief from any obligation to respond, then or in the future.”
“The township also asked for attorney’s fees.” see more…
Chris Dorner, the Ex-LAPD cop turned revenge-fueled cop killer was allegedly cornered and killed in Big Bear, California on Tuesday evening according to several media reports. In the final moments of the several hour long siege, police ran off media helicopters, only to have them return to witness a cabin on fire.
What took place in those critical moments was captured on audio recorded from police scanners, confirming that the blaze was intentionally set by police.
In a separate recording by a reporter on scene, we can hear police yelling “burn him out” “we’re going to burn him out” and “burn that motherfucker” right before the fire started at the house.
Appalling as it may sound, the events that unfolded in the wake of Dorner’s war against police, we should be wary of individuals who claim the right to be judge, jury and executioner beyond the scope of due process safeguards. Be it a disgruntled ex-cop, or the Judge Dredd wannabes that pursue him, our society suffers when we allow our concept of “justice” to be bent to the militaristic levels that we have witnessed.
The American Petroleum Institute issued a press release warning motorists about a study of the E15 blend of ethanol and gasoline. Turns out, E15 causes expensive damage to engines:
The additional E15 testing, completed this month, has identified an elevated incidence of fuel pump failures, fuel system component swelling, and impairment of fuel measurement systems in some of the vehicles tested. E15 could cause erratic and misleading fuel gauge readings or cause faulty check engine light illuminations. It also could cause critical components to break and stop fuel flow to the engine. Failure of these components could result in breakdowns that leave consumers stranded on busy roads and highways. Fuel system component problems did not develop in the CRC tests when either E10 or E0 was used. It is difficult to precisely calculate how many vehicles E15 could harm. That depends on how widely it is used and other factors. But, given the kinds of vehicles tested, it is safe to say that millions could be impacted.
In 2010 and 2011, EPA gave the green light to use E15 – the 15 percent ethanol gasoline blend – in model-year-2001-and-later cars and some other vehicles. EPA’s action was irresponsible. EPA knew E15 vehicle testing was ongoing but decided not to wait for the results. Why did EPA move forward prematurely? Part of the answer may be the need to raise the permissible concentration level of ethanol so that greater volumes could be used, as required by the federal Renewable Fuel Standard. Most gasoline sold today is an E10 blend, but rising volume requirements under the law can’t be met much longer without going to higher blends. When Congress passed the law, it could not know it was creating this problem. Today we know. The answer is to repeal the RFS before it puts millions of vehicles and many motorists at risk.
The Coordinating Research Council’s initial tests — first released in May of 2012 — are once again coming to light after further testing proved that delicate components in newer cars were most at risk.
AAA, the recognizable and leading auto club in the U.S., also called for an outright suspension of E15 earlier this month, citing a lack of research:
The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and gasoline retailers should suspend the sale of E15 gasoline until more is done to protect consumers from the potential for costly auto damage and voided warranties.
Research to date raises serious concerns that E15, a fuel blend consisting of 15 percent ethanol and 85 percent gasoline, could cause accelerated engine wear and failure, fuel system damage and other problems such as false “check engine” lights.
The potential damage could result in costly repairs for unsuspecting consumers. This is especially tough for most motorists given that only about 40 percent of Americans have enough in savings to afford a major auto repair.
In June, the EPA approved the use of E15, and a handful of gas stations in Nebraska, Iowa and Kansas have begun to sell this fuel. There is a strong likelihood that retailers will market E15 in additional states soon unless regulators take immediate action to protect consumers.
Nearly all of the gasoline sold in the United States today is E10, which contains up to ten percent ethanol, primarily produced from corn. The ethanol industry has lobbied hard to increase the amount of ethanol allowed in gasoline as a way to increase sales and help meet the Renewable Fuels Standard.
AAA’s concern with E15 is not about ethanol. In fact, AAA believes that ethanol-blended fuels have the potential to save Americans money and reduce the nation’s dependency on fossil fuels. The problem is that available research, including the EPA’s exhaust emissions tests, is not sufficient evidence that E15 is safe to use in most vehicles.
Ethanol producers, backed by politicians reaping ethanol lobbying money, fired back by claiming the study by the CRC was rigged. Senior Vice President of the American Coalition for Ethanol (ACE) Ron Lamberty, called out AAA as “hypocrites” and alarmists for “turning a blind eye and most likely allowing people to shorten the lives of their vehicles by using unapproved and untested oil-company produced sub-octane gasoline for decades, while loudly attacking thoroughly tested and approved E15 when only a few stations are offering it for sale, is quite unbecoming for an organization that claims it puts the best interests of the American motorist first.”
Last November in California, E15 was outright banned as an option for motorists because, “it would take several years to complete the vehicle testing and rule development necessary to introduce a new transportation fuel into California’s market.”
The results will no doubt speak for themselves when E15 becomes more widespread at gas stations in other states this year. I for one, will avoid it.
Buried on the second page of a New York Times article on California Health Benefit Exchange’s gung-ho efforts to deliver a yet unnamed portal in preparation for the full effects of Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (Obamacare) are the costs:
The exchange itself has so far been financed by three grants, worth $237 million, from the federal government. Most of the money is committed to consultants, including Accenture, which has a $327 million contract to build and support the initial operation of the enrollment portal.
But who’s footing the bill? Only all of California’s nearly 38 million residents:
“It’s all good for consumers,” she said. “But somebody’s got to pay for it, and that’s going to go into the premium.”
Despite the full-throttle approach here, another uncertainty is the outcome of the presidential race. Mitt Romney, the Republican nominee, has vowed to repeal the health care law and restructure Medicaid, not only scrapping the planned expansion but making the program much leaner. Even without a repeal, Republicans could undo the federal subsidies and other financing for the law if they won the presidency and even a narrow majority in the Senate.
“If the federal funding stopped,” Mr. Lee said, “we would be at a ‘press reset’ button.”
Move over $18M recovery.gov 2.0, California is set to dethrone the federal government when it comes ridiculously expensive website boondoggles.
And by the way, Accenture is indeed the same outfit that was previously called Andersen Consulting (Arthur Andersen). The same firm infamously tied to the Enron document shredding scandal is now in charge of delivering the world’s most expensive website to gullible Californians.
Reality show twit Kim Kardashian said on a recent bonus clip of Khloe & Lamar that she wants to run for mayor of Glendale, California. Keep in mind that this is someone whose claim to fame is a sex tape with Ray J.
Kim said, “I decided. I’m gonna run for the mayor of Glendale, but it’s gonna be in like five years. So mark your calendars for 2017!”
She also added that she would have to establish residency first in the city and that her pal Noelle Keshishian is taking the reigns on her future campaign. She added, “You have to have full residency in Glendale…so I have to buy a house there. Noelle and I are looking into all the requirements. It’s Armenian town.”
Do we really need to have a politician who’s been in a sex tape? Since we don’t really know her politics or what she stands for, we can’t comment on her future mayoral bid. We’re pretty sure that she has enough money to buy the office if she so chooses.
Our sister site earsucker, says that her ex-husband Kris Humphries thinks it’s all a ploy for publicity. He’s probably not that far off.
UPDATE: NBC Los Angeles douses the speculation with cold water by explaining Glendale’s appointed mayor system, “On a technical note: in the city of Glendate all of the city council members take turns filling the mayoral seat, so technically you can’t run for mayor, you run for city council.” Yet the real power lies in the job of city manager, an appointed bureaucrat who has the real power and would run things in what we presume as a SimCity style overseer.
Regardless, it’s not the mayor of Glendale who has the power, so NBC generously offers up a bigger slice of the pie by telling her to run for governor of California. “If you want to get into public service in California, don’t bother yourself with winning office in a city. If you want to be the center of attention, and of the action, aim higher. Run for governor.”
“As Governors Reagan and Schwarzenegger demonstrated, experience in public service isn’t a prerequisite.”
And she hasn’t even given barely any hints of her political affiliation, other than blatant capitalist. Maybe that’s not so bad a characteristic of someone aiming to be the head public servant of of the world’s eighth largest economy.