Shadow Chairman and the Committee Juice Machine

In the late 1970s, a few years after the post-Watergate “reformers” in the U.S. Congress broke the hold of a few curmudgeons who had served as autocratic committee chairman since time began and widely dispersed power by creating 172 new subcommittees and subcommittee chairmanships, veteran Congressman Morris Udall (D-Arizona) joked with a reporter that whenever he would approach a newly […]

Give Me Your Red Light Runners Yearning to Speed

I’ve been a little worried lately. My anxiety has been growing ever since the Legislature reconvened in January. Oh sure, one could certainly toss and turn at night about a state budget deficit of $17.5 billion that hangs, like Damocles Sword, over heads of every man, woman and child in California. But when one steps back and recognizes that the […]

Nanny and Soda Tax

Have you ever looked closely at the list of ingredients on the back of a soda can? I am holding up my Kiwi-Apple Natural Hansen’s Soda in the light and discovering all kinds of new things.

The good news is that there are no preservatives, sodium or caffeine. The bad news is that this so-called “natural soda,” contains “no fruit juice” […]

Two Cheers for Proposition 42

I know that swearing is a bad thing. But when I hit a pothole and my green Camry shutters in the shock, I grip the wheel even tighter and listen for the telltale hissing sound of a flat tire. At that point, my stoic demeanor momentarily fades and I blurt out a few choice words that I probably learned in […]

A Different Kind of Workers’ Compensation Fraud

Two weeks ago, on the morning of February 1st, AB 749 (Calderon), a 95-page bill to raise workers’ compensation benefits for injured workers by $3.5 billion and to make numerous other changes to our state’s complex workers’ compensation system, landed on my desk with a thud. Except for the annual Budget Bill, about 99% of the bills introduced in the […]

Legislative Limbo and Other Shenanigans

When I was growing up I learned about a place called Limbo. Theologians tell us that Limbo is a temporary place where souls, although purified from sin, are excluded from the beatific vision of Christ on account of original sin alone. That’s some pretty heavy theology for a kid in third grade. Now that I am older and wiser, I […]