Liberals Balk At Paying Cost of “Living” Wage

labor living wage

As it turns out, liberals refuse to put their money where their mouths are…literally.

Earlier this year, labor unions in Los Angeles whipped up low-wage workers into a frenzy with demands for a minimum “living” wage of $15 per hour. They achieved their goal and the $15/hour wage bill was signed into law. This was supposed to be a huge victory for the workers (though, it should be noted, within days of the law going into effect, the same labor unions that lobbied for the $15/hour minimum wage were lobbying government for an exemption for union companies, so that union companies could pay well below the new minimum wage).

Even so, some California business owners decided to show solidarity with the cause of low-wage workers, significantly increasing their starting wage of their own volition.

Vic Gumper, owner of Lanesplitter Pizza (with stores in Albany, Berkeley, Oakland, and Emeryville, California), voluntarily raised wages for his employees to between $15 to $25 per hour. In order to cover the cost of the higher “living” wage, Gumper began advertising $30 “living wage pizzas” to his customers, which include patrons from the Pixar Animation Studios and biotech companies located near his shops. In doing so he declared these pizzas “sustainably served, really…no tips necessary”.

The result? Sales have dropped by 25% as liberals in these communities have balked at having to pony up more money for the pizzas. The hit has been so significant that Gumper has had to close during lunch hour at several locations (think about that…a restaurant that has to close during LUNCH because it can’t afford to stay open!).

The Kelly Thomas verdict is an outrage

Kelly Thomas' pleas

Most police officers are not murderers. Most police officers are not corrupt brutes on a power trip. Most police officers do their jobs professionally and serve their communities. Not all policemen are thugs who brutalize and murder unarmed people. However Manuel Ramos and Jay Cicinelli are murderers and thugs.

On Monday, both men were acquitted for the murder of Kelly Thomas, a homeless man suffering from schizophrenia. On July 5, 2011; police in Fullerton, CA responded to a call about a man vandalizing cars. Police found a shirtless Kelly Thomas and questioned him. As a video shows the incident grew out of hand, it eventually grew violent.

The heroic Manuel Ramos, who was trying to handle the situation in a calm and professional manner asked Thomas, “Now see my fists? They are getting ready to f**k you up.” Our brave heroes also climbed on top of Thomas’s back and held him down while he was tased not once, not twice, but five times. Apparently in the city of Fullerton, saying you’re sorry and begging for your life is considered resisting arrest. Finally, our brave men in blue beat Thomas nearly to death and Thomas finally succumbed to his injuries five days later.

Kelly Thomas

Second Amendment Documentary “Assaulted” to Air in California Capitol


With more than 15 gun control bills pending in California and a Democratic supermajority, California’s gun rights organizations have had to find new ways to educate lawmakers about the civil rights aspect of gun control and to inform the public of the looming legislation.

Some of the changes Californians will be subjected to should these bills pass and be signed by Governor Jerry Brown are:

  • Existing “Assault Weapon” laws will be broadened by redefining the word “Shotgun”
  • Expanded list of “prohibited persons”
  • Ban/forced registration of nearly semi-automatic rifle
  • Background check and pre-approval to purchase ammunition
  • All ammunition must be purchased at a limited list of state-approved ammunition vendors
  • Required reporting of ammunition purchases (over 3,000 rounds in a 5-day period) to local law enforcement
  • Creation of a new CA-DOJ database to track gun owner and caliber information

CAL-FFL has joined with California Assemblyman Tim Donnelly (District 33 - Hesperia) to screen the Second Amendment documentary Assaulted inside the Capitol Wednesday for legislators and staffers. The film, recently released by Dead Patriot Films, is narrated by rapper Ice-T and offers a historical and legal perspective on the Second Amendment’s significance over the years since America’s founding, and takes a critical and objective look at current gun laws and their effect on civil rights and liberty.

ObamaCare Call Center To Keep Employees Under 30 Hours/Week

part-time jobs

ObamaCare’s employer mandate may have been delayed until 2015, but its disastrous effects on the price of labor are still being felt throughout the country.  Now we have a new prime (and hilarious) example of its inevitable market distortions.  Much of the budding bureaucracy being hired in a California ObamaCare call center inform eager entitlement-seekers how to access the new ObamaCare dole will be working under 30 hours/week.  Of course this hiring policy is designed to avoid, of all things, ObamaCare.

As originally reported in the Contra Costa Times and picked up widely by Eliana Johnson at NRO,  the California county and job applicants are less than pleased with the development:

Earlier this year, Contra Costa County won the right to run a health care call center, where workers will answer questions to help implement the president’s Affordable Care Act. Area politicians called the 200-plus jobs it would bring to the region an economic coup.

Now, with two months to go before the Concord operation opens to serve the public, information has surfaced that about half the jobs are part-time, with no health benefits — a stinging disappointment to workers and local politicians who believed the positions would be full-time.

The Contra Costa County supervisor whose district includes the call center called the whole hiring process — which attracted about 7,000 applicants — a “comedy of errors.”

Chatting with Igor Birman

Igor Birman

“I think the impressionable libertarian kids are going to save our nation.” — Igor Birman

Late last year, I ran across video of Igor Birman, who immigrated to the United States with his family as the Soviet Union was collapsing, warning against a more centralized government healthcare system. Birman, who now serves as Chief of Staff to Rep. Tom McClintock (R-CA), was explaining that the Soviet system relied on rationing of healthcare, which would be the end result of ObamaCare.

Earlier this week, I had the chance to sit down with Birman to discuss his story, the transformation of the United States into a police state, ObamaCare, the budget, and other destructive economic policies that are being pushed by the White House.

When asked about the recent filibuster in the Senate, Birman applauded Sen. Rand Paul and noted that it was refreshing to hear a politician be so passionate. He also compared the policies implemented as part of the “war on terror”  to life in the Soviet Union, where the government frequently searched homes of ordinary citizens without cause, which he called a “fact of life,” noting that “you just accepted it as much as you did the cold weather and the long lines for the basic staples of food and water.”

Birman experienced this first-hand. “A week before we left for the United States, we went to say goodbye to my uncle in St. Petersburg and when we came back, we found our apartment just absolutely ravaged,” recalled Birman. “The authorities must have been looking for whatever lame excuse they could find to either delay or disrupt our departure.”

A Quick Round-Up on Education Policy and the 2012 Elections

Written by Andrew Coulson, Director of the Center for Educational Freedom at the Cato Institute. Posted with permission from Cato @ Liberty.

Californians approved Prop 30, a $6 trillion dollar tax hike intended to save public schools from “devastating” cuts. In fact, the state is already spending around $30 billion more today on public schooling than it did in the early 1970s, after controlling for both enrollment growth and inflation—and SAT scores, the only academic outcome measure going back that far, are down. Prediction: this $6 billion will have little impact on children’s education even if it does make it to the school level. Instead, it will further slow California’s economy and drive a few more businesses out of the state.

Georgia approved a new charter school authorizer, which should lead to more rapid growth of charter schools in that state. Based on recent research published by the Cato Institute, this will increase generally mediocre options within the public school sector by, in part, cannibalizing generally better options in the private sector. Georgia can avoid a net reduction in educational diversity, freedom, and quality by expanding its existing education tax credit program.

CA Prop 30 - Using Students as Bait

Liberals are masters at messaging and manipulating the legislative process - and a great example of this is the campaign for Prop 30 in California - a “temporary” 1/4 cent increase in the state sales tax and 1% increase in personal income tax for those earning over $250,000/yr - those who can “most afford it,” a direct quote from the proposition.

First, we have the title: “The Schools and Local Public Safety Act of 2012.”  Instead of “Personal and Sales Tax Increase Act of 2012.”

Then the graphics and ads:

yes on prop 30

The hokey music, the wholesome looking school teachers, the all-American apple graphic - it’s all so feel-good! How can you possibly want to DENY these children the teachers that have been laid off over the past few years, the arts and music education?  If you do, you must be a vile human being.

What they’re not telling you:

Legislators have had ample opportunity to cut true wasteful spending, yet they cut things that would gain attention and empathy from the voters: schools and public safety. That way when they come, hat in hand, to ask for a sales tax increase, the understanding electorate will say, “But of course!”

Guess what? It’s still NEW funding.  Adding to what is there before.  If they cut Assembly member benefits or office staff or stopped spending so much on welfare or attempting to build bullet trains, no one would care. But they purposely axed teachers so they would have this excuse to prey on the emotions of low information voters and get what they really want - more money to fund their progressive agenda.

California’s Foie Gras Ban Proves Once Again That Prohibition Doesn’t Work

Foie Gras

California became famous, or infamous depending on your point of view, a few weeks ago when it became the first state to ban the traditional method of producing foie gras, the fatty substance dervice from duck and goose liver that is considering something of a gourmet delicacy.

The reason for the ban had nothing to do with the health arguments that have been made in recent years about foie gras, but because animal rights advocates contended that the method of production, which involves feeding the animals large amounts of food in a short period of time, was cruel. There are other methods of producing foie gras, but it’s generally accepted that these alternative methods produce a vastly inferior product. As a result, some California restaurants have resorted to creative legal arguments to allow them to keep making the product available, while other Californians are engaging in a practice that is reminiscent of the era when alcohol was banned in the United States:

Random Musings

As a voracious consumer of news regarding current events and politics, it occurred to me this week that to a person of sanity and sound reason, listening to and reading the coverage of what is going on in our nation and world today is so far removed from reality, historical experience and logic as to be the product of a journalist reporting live from the bottom of that rabbit hole in Lewis Carroll’s Wonderland. We regularly hear from people considered leaders by many, uttering the most incredibly nonsensical things with a straight face, fully expecting the rest of us to believe them. Indeed, often these things are uttered with such seemingly powerful sincerity that even the sane begin to question themselves.

So, here are a few random thoughts from the passing week…

Judging by recent stories from California, the nickname for that state should be changed from the “Golden State” to the “Granola State”, because it is positively the land of fruits and nuts. California, with a debt rating of A- (the lowest of any state), annual deficits of billions of dollars, and long-term debt obligations to public employee unions that amount to hundreds of billions of dollars, nevertheless recently decided to double down on lunacy by passing the “California Dream Act”, a state version of the federal law that would give in-state tuition and more lavish taxpayer-funded benefits to illegal aliens and their children. This is a magnet for more illegal immigration, and in the end the state will continue its rapid descent into bankruptcy.

VIDEO: CEO Patrick Byrne Talks Internet Sales Taxes

Following up on an earlier post I wrote about the legal theory and precedent behind online retailers and state sales taxes, I thought I’d share this video from C-SPAN’s “The Communicators” show, in which CEO Patrick Byrne makes the consitutional and policy cases for not subjecting online retailers to state sales taxes:

Scott Peterson, executive director of the Streamlined Sales Tax Governing Board, offers the pro-tax position in the latter half of the video.

Recall in my last piece that I deduced that

the Internet has connected people in ways they’ve never before been able to connect, and one of the ways it has done this is through electronic commerce. As such, if someone in Michigan buys something from an Amazon Associate seller in California, and that order is filled in California (or anywhere else), then commerce has taken place across state lines. Last time I checked, only the U.S. Congress has the power to regulate interstate commerce, and California therefore has no taxing power over Amazon Associates sellers in California — unless they’re taxing purchases made by Californians only.

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