The American Interest
Analysis by Walter Russell Mead & Staff
California: Blue Twilight on the Pacific

Last year, the Supreme Court made waves when it ordered California to release tens of thousands of inmates from its overcrowded prisons on the grounds that the cash-strapped state was keeping them locked up under inhumane conditions. The Supreme Court order has forced California to repurpose county jails—which are intended for short stays, often by people awaiting trial—into makeshift prisons for those with long-term sentences. Now many of these jails are facing severe overcrowding.

The New York Times reports:

Ordered by the United States Supreme Court to reduce severe overcrowding in its prisons, California began redirecting low-level offenders to local jails last October in a shift called realignment. Its prison population, the nation’s largest, has since fallen by more than 16 percent to 120,000 from 144,000; it must be reduced to 110,000 by next June.

Counties with already tight budgets are scrambling to house the influx of newcomers in facilities that were never designed to accommodate inmates serving long sentences, like a man who began serving 15 years for fraud recently in the Fresno jail.

Fresno County — a sprawling agricultural area surrounding the city, which is also facing financial problems and became a punch line for Conan O’Brien recently — is adding 864 beds to its chronically overcrowded jail. Under a longstanding federal consent decree that requires the Sheriff’s Department to release inmates when the jail reaches capacity, 40 to 60 people are let go early every day.

Nor do these jails offer the activities that often fill the lives of those in conventional prisons:

Built for stays shorter than one year, the jail does not offer the kind of activities, work programs and amenities found in most prisons. “You’re stuck in a little cell,” Mr. Diaz said, while prisons with outdoor space provide plenty of “yard time.”

Once again, California’s dysfunctional governance has utterly failed the state’s residents. California can’t afford to enforce its own laws: an absurd and even insane position for a state to be in. California needs laxer laws that lock fewer people up, or it needs a bigger prison budget but there are no sane grounds on which the status quo can be defended. Forced by the US Supreme Court to do something, the state has acted with its characteristic fecklessness and passed the buck: handing the problem off to local governments, which, we should add, are facing serious fiscal problems of their own and are ill-equipped to deal with new prisoners.

California is in a hole but can’t seem to stop its compulsive digging. Schools, universities, prisons, pensions, cities and towns: the state has lost the ability to manage even the most basic elements of communal living. But foie gras is now illegal there, grandiose plans for white elephant fast trains built with borrowed money waft through the air, and the state continues to boost the self esteem of affluent and cause-oriented gentry liberals by scattering scarce resources to the four winds, hunting unicorns when the cupboard is bare.

Someday, perhaps, California will be governed by people who care about governing: that is to say, educating the kids, balancing the books, enforcing the law. Until then, it offers the rest of us a spectacle and a warning. It is some spectacle and some warning. California remains awesome, even in decline.

 

Published on August 7, 2012 9:00 am
  • Sam L.

    Woke up this mo’nin’,jail cell fo’ my crib.
    Yeah, woke up this mo’nin’, jail cell for fo’ my crib.
    I got the blue-model blues, an’ I might as well be dead.

  • Jim.

    Gentry liberals have nothing but willful ignorance and contempt for the small-town regions of California that are hurting right now.

    It’s a feature of the system: remove the alleged best and brightest from whatever small town they’re from, give them a university education (politically correct indoctrination), and ship them to cities. In the process, many learn to hate their roots, who never understood them (acknowledged their obvious superiority) and stand for far different values than their “enlightened” professors.

    If you want to polarize a state or country, this is a great way to do it.

  • Kenny

    California would have fewer economic problems and fewer criminal ones if the state had fewer illegal aliens.

    As politically incorrect as that may be, Mr. Mead, it is objectively true.

  • Kolya

    California voters must shoulder some of the responsibility too. We would not have such a disfunctional government without an equally silly electorate.

  • Luke Lea

    Though it isn’t polite so say so, chalk up California’s problems to unrestricted low-skilled immigration from south of the border. This is a problem that will haunt us for generations brought on by irresponsible politicians and cowardly elites. Political correctness is bondage.

  • thibaud

    Kenny is 100% correct.

    In 1980, California spent about 10% of the general fund on higher education and less than 3% on the prisons.

    Today California spends 11% of the general fund on the prisons and less than 7% on higher ed.

    In 2009, the GOP Governor decided, without informing anyone, that he would divert $2 billion in ARRA [stimulus] funds that had been earmarked for CA public schools to – one guess – the prisons.

    http://www.baycitizen.org/education/interactive/education-vs-prisons-shifting-priorities/

    California’s educational system is without peer. Its universities perform world-class research, and the huge and outstanding UC system contains almost as many many cutting-edge hard science professors as all the top universities of Europe and Asia combined.

    And California’s _schools_ are excellent.

    But over 50% of California’s school _parents_ do not give a damn about education and are therefore, absent “nanny-school”, boot-camp style intervention, incapable of being educated.

    Care to guess what’s behind all this, Mr Mead?

    Do your drive-by postings ever go more than an inch deep?

    Perhaps one day Mead will decide that maybe this country’s foolish and self-destructive immigration policy might be worth a post or two, as a way of reducing his sky-high noise-to-signal ratio when it comes to analyzing, if that’s the right word, California’s mess.

  • thibaud

    Does Mr Mead have any idea how many of California’s 162,821 inmates are illegal immigrants?

    How does 20,864 sound? (That’s 13% of total, for the challenged.)

    They’re costing California $1 BILLION ANNUALLY.

    Keep in mind, this doesn’t account for children of illegals, or the US-born gang members influenced by the illegals.

    And the deficit from illegals overall for the state has been estimated at $18 BILLION.

    All for a failed _national_ policy, the results of which are wrapped around CA’s neck. The policy that neither party’s cheerleaders will question, determined as they are to ensure that OtherSide not have an edge when it comes to pandering to the nation’s fastest-growing voting bloc.

  • thibaud
  • Mrs. Davis

    The biggest problem these xenophobes have is explaining Texas.California’s problems are created by California’s voters. They elect the politicians.

  • TradCathPhilProf

    Another irony. In the same Central Valley commodity prices are high, but there aren’t enough agricultural workers. If only they could do something reasonable like put the inmates to work on the farms it would be a win-win. But of course they don’t do reasonable things in California.

  • thibaud

    #4 – “California voters must shoulder some of the responsibility too”

    Deal for you: when/if the federal government reimburses California voters for the $18 billion that California must throw away ever year because of the nation’s refusal to deal honestly with our Mexican immigration debacle, then we can talk about “responsibility.”

    And let’s be clear: California leads the way in attracting and retaining the right immigrants, those with advanced technical skills and determination.

    If in 1986 we had put in place a skills-based immigration policy similar to what Australia or Canada has , it’s a fair bet that California would not be in the mess it’s in.

    Millions of brilliant immigrants from around the world with advanced training in STEM subjects and a desire to build businesses – as opposed to 10 million campesinos with a sixth-grade education and utterly no desire to push their kids to do better – could have made a huge difference to this nation’s economic trajectory as well.

    Ah, but CA’s mess is all due to the ol’ BSModel. Right.

    Pay no attention to the man behind the curtain.

  • An

    The cost of incarceration in CA is too high. In 2009 the average cost of incarceration per prisoner was $47,000. The nationwide average is around $23,000. A large chunk of costs is going to pay for the prison guards. It takes 4 months of training and you do not need a college degree, but base pay starts between $48,000-60,000. Add in overtime and there are some guards who make $90,000+. Now you add in generous benefits and pensions, and you can see why we in CA pay more for prisons than schools.

  • thibaud

    #9 – “xenophobes”: nice try, but no cigar. First, as I made clear, those of us in favor of skills-based immigration are the opposite of xenophobic: we want MORE immigrants of the sort who have made Silicon Valley the envy of the world.

    Re. Texas, you’re aware, aren’t you, that Texas pays next to nothing in the way of benefits to its desperately poor, miserably-paid population?

    The influx of unskilled, education-averse campesinos who are driving down wages, burdening the healthcare system and swamping the schools will in due course cripple Texas as they’ve crippled California.

    Texas has some excellent medical research facilities and of course O&G companies, but beyond these pockets of excellence the state’s socio-economic model represents the convergence of low-end America with northern Mexico. It’s a race to the bottom.

    That’s the wrong direction for this nation. Silicon Valley represents a different path. I’ll take SV’s path, myself.

  • Mick The Reactionary

    “Do your (ed. Dr Mead’s) drive-by postings ever go more than an inch deep?”

    You are complementing Mr. Mead here. I say they usually go 1.7 mm deep.

  • Kris

    So dixit thibaud, California’s major problem is illegal immigration. I wonder if there’s any major group as opposed to illegal immigration as the Tea Party grassroots. I wonder if I missed thibaud’s fulmination against this Administration’s immigration policies.

  • Luke Lea

    thibaud the shill

    true, illegal immigrants generally are not prone to crime or welfare (for obvious reasons, no?), but the same is not true of 2nd and 3rd generation Mexican Americans, as has been well-documented in City Journal articles by Heather McDonald (I hope I got her name right).

    http://www.city-journal.org/2012/22_1_california-demographics.html

    Analyze that.

    And let’s not confuse (or conflate) the issue with high skilled immigration in China, ok?

  • Mick The Reactionary

    @Kolya says:

    “California voters must shoulder some of the responsibility too.”

    There is every indication that Sacramento Morons do reflect electorate’s wishes by and large.

    CA has govirmint that Cal voters totally deserve.

    If you fill the place with citizens of Mexico, is it rational to expect that their democratically elected in fair elections government will work like that of Switzerland?

    No, instead it is fully rational to expect that government in Sac will more and more resemble gov in Mexico City.

    After all Mexican gov is elected in (relatively) free and (relatively) fair elections and, we must assume, by and large reflects wishes of Mexicans.

  • http://logotech.org Gerald Owens

    Hmm hmm, Thibaud. And which party is actively and assiduously courting those “10 million campesinos with a sixth-grade education” (as YOU so quaintly put it)? Who created, maintains, and expands the welfare/foodstamp/”free ER Health care” system that attracts them? And which party screams “RACISM!” when anyone points out that these immigrants are “10 million campesinos with a sixth-grade education” (as YOU so quaintly put it) who obviously can’t put anything into the pot that can be taxed to support those taking out of the pot.

    I agree with you, however, in disposing of the term “Blue model”.

    “Spoils system” is more accurate.

  • Luke Lea

    I think I misread (unread) thibaud. Pardon me.

  • Jim.

    @thibaud-

    Yes, the problem is the Blue Social Model. Illegal immigrants do not come to this country fo the pleasure of being thrown in prison (annual cost: $1 billion), they come here for the Blue Social Model benefits (annual cost: $17 billion).

    The Blue Social Model’s effects on prison construction, maintenance, program, pension, and staffing costs also explains why its cost as a percentage of budget has skyrocketed. (That $1 billion for illegals doesn’t come close to explaning it.)

    You might consider being less harsh on people who find math and analysis a challenge, thibaud.

    Anyway, what’s the solution? Well, that’s going to depend on how business-friendly countries south of our border become. Better fiscal governance (coming from limiting social provisions, and hence government debts and tax rates) is allowing Latin American countries to provide more private sector opportunities to their citizens.

    In the meantime, the US (and California in particlar) would be well served by something other than an open-borders policy.

  • Kenny

    Time to crank up the illegal alien deportation machine which is something that should have been done decades ago.

  • Mark

    It’s the voters. They elect the fools who run the government.
    Illegal immigration is also a huge problem.
    Those 2 lead to the 3rd problem: Businesses and taxpayers are fleeing the state, so it is being hollowed out demographically, leaving behind the latte liberals and the welfare class.

  • S P Dudley

    What California needs is a Coup D’Etat.

  • Kirk Weir

    The CA Prison Unions have been one of the most powerful forces in the state over the last 30 years. Today, CA spends TWICE the national average for each prisoner but with one of the highest recidivism rates.
    Until the People reassert themselves as the supreme power in the State and demand value for their tax dollar, the entrenched interests will continue to steal from them and their posterity.

  • Tom

    “Gentry liberals have nothing but willful ignorance and contempt for the small-town regions of California that are hurting right now.

    It’s a feature of the system: remove the alleged best and brightest from whatever small town they’re from, give them a university education (politically correct indoctrination), and ship them to cities. In the process, many learn to hate their roots, who never understood them (acknowledged their obvious superiority) and stand for far different values than their “enlightened” professors.

    If you want to polarize a state or country, this is a great way to do it.”

    How dare you make widespread assumptions and then name-call and accuse this ethereal “they” as ignorant.

    I’m from the Central Valley. You would be hard-pressed to find anyone who’s spent any time outside of it desperate to go back. Tulare county is a highly conservative county. It’s also one of the most impoverished. When my class went on to college, we spread out to a number of different places — from liberal to conservative, Havard and Yale to Fresno State and Pepperdine.

    Of the fifty or so classmates, ranging from friends to acquaintances, we run the gamut of political ideologies — some of us started liberal and went libertarian. Some of us started conservative and went liberal. Some of us started conservative and stayed that way. Most, in fact.

    Yet despite all that, we can all come together on one thing: We’re not going back to our hometown. We’re not going back to that county. While Fresno is still unfairly known for its gang violence, the Central Valley has only gotten worse (and before you ask, the hispanic gangs are not the problem. It’s the white folk and the Hmong-based gangs that are stirring up trouble, despite what the papers would like to say).

    We didn’t leave because we didn’t understand our roots — we understood it all too well. Quite frankly — [profanity removed], buddy. I suggest you take a trip through Tulare county and stay there for a year. Have some conversations with the bright students who are routinely knocked down by a local culture that begrudged intelligence with “you-think-you’re-better-than-be-college-boy” bullying.

    We’re liberals, moderates, libertarians, conservatives, Occupists and Tea Partiers, But there is no chance in [heck] we’re going back. And we are not ignorant. So go to [heck] with your generalizations. Either you want to convince everyone your crap home town ain’t so bad, or you simply don’t care to know why people leave their home towns. It ain’t liberalism. It’s basic survival.

  • JC Fremont

    California’s problems have been apparent for some years. In 1984 I attended a convention in Los Angeles and very carefully stayed in the hotel district for the week I was there. I had no desire to see what had happened to most of a once great city.

    Disclosure: I’ve lived in the San Francisco area and in the Los Angeles area both when I was quite young. I remembered the latter as paradise on earth and I didn’t want to change my opinion. A friend from Glendale reported that her father declined a trip to a local store on one occasion in the early 1980s because he wasn’t up for “a cultural experience”. And no one can call him a “ressist” a la Brother Jesse.

  • Jon

    For thibaud
    August 7, 2012 at 1:13 pm

    CNBC has just published it report on the business climate of the states. This study may be found at http://www.cnbc.com/id/46413845 . Texas came in number 1. As far as rankings among states, Texas has the following rankings: Cost of Business 28, Workforce 7, Quality of Life 35, Economy 5, Infrastructure and Transportation 1, Technology and Innovation 2, Education 26, Business Friendliness 12, Access to Capital 8, and Cost of Living 3.

    In comparison, California ranked at 40 and New York ranked at 34. Nevada, Senator Reid’s state, ranked at 45. Rhode Island ranked last.

    Please note that Texas ranks in the middle of the states in Education, 26, and is number 2 in Technology and Innovation. FYI, California ranks number 3 in Technology and Innovaion.

    CNBC is most certainly not a right leaning organization so I believe that the above rankings are unbiased.

  • Colin

    One-third of the prisoners in California prisons are illegal immigrants. If we get illegal immigration under control – the the overcrowding problem will solve itself.

  • valwayne

    When CA defeated two moderate Republican businesswomen in 1010 to reelect the worst Senator in the United States Senate, Senator Boxer, and elect Gov Moonbeam it lost its very last chance to save itself. Now what you see is the total insanity of the corrupt alliance of democrats, public employee unions, and left wing special interests just raping and pillaging the state of whatever is left. I for one hope they just tax the ying yang out of every person in CA that actually works for a living. The voters of that state deserve what they get for reelecting the corrupt alliance over and over. The state of Wisconsin showed the nation how quickly you could turn things around if you kicked out the corrupt alliance, but of course CA is too far gone to pay any attention. Anybody who owns a business or works for a living should just flee CA as fast as they can and March to the polls in Nov wherever they are and vote to defeat Obama because he is taking us down the same CA path of utter chaos and destruction at breakneck speed!

  • http://hotmail.com MacDaddy P

    There comes a time when the magnificent scenery and climate no longer compensates for living in a cesspool of corruption. I shall retire next year. I have a condo in Palm Springs. I could live 8 months out of year in Wyoming and Winter in Palm Springs. I will longer be a citoyen of california but that is hardly a prize. Oh yes, no income tax in Wyoming and only 525K people. Magnificent scenery too.

  • ID_Neon

    Someone said: “Texas doesn’t spend anything on their poor and poorly paid citizens.” if California is such a great place and Texas such a [profanity removed], why is it California lost 2 electoral votes and Texas gained 4? Hahaha. I can’t wait for California to become a true failed state, giving republicans control of the federal government and every reason to send the US Military into California to destroy the liberal establishment and expell by extreme prejudice all the bloodsucking trash that comes to the surface. Obama is only the bell tolling the death of Liberalism.

  • thibaud

    It’s the libertarians who are the loudest advocates of open borders.

    Peruse the reason.com site for a few minutes to get a taste of how nutty these people are, blathering on and on about those wicked “statists” and their “mythical borders.”

  • thibaud

    California’s problems are many and well-known: the budget process, the stupid tax policies that favor feckless grandchildren of longtime homeowners while crushing productive newcomers, the Kotkin critique of loopy green gazillionaires, the prison guards’ union etc.

    But what’s missing from all this is due recognition of the 800-lb gorilla. Both parties, the business elites, and their cheerleaders in the media and the blogosphere are complicit here.

    Especially absurd to watch the party of the workingman support this insanity, given the collapse of low-end wages for unskilled native-born US workers of any race.

  • http://RCP Rick Just Split From CA

    I just retired and bolted from CA after living and working there for 19 years, Now in Northern FL and have not heard Spanish yet in a single Fast Food Resturant. CA problems; illegal immigration, public unions, and the break down of the central family unit – too many people on wealfare – so all of these folks vote Democratic – nothing will be solved until the boarder is closed and chain migration ended and the State files Bankruptcy and can redo pension system funding. I feel sorry for my son that is still there in his Sr year at CSUF.

  • Jon

    thibaud wrote:
    August 7, 2012 at 4:30 pm

    “Especially absurd to watch the party of the workingman support this insanity, given the collapse of low-end wages for unskilled native-born US workers of any race.”

    Capitalism is what made America great. A business must generate enough profit to pay for costs and to provide a return on investment for those that have invested money in the business. Wages are a major cost to businesses. Since businesses are primarily interested in making a profit, the wages paid are based on supply and demand. If a large number of people have similar skills, the wages paid to these people will be relatively low. On the other hand, if you have skills that are in demand and few people are available with similar skills; your pay will be relatively high. The bridge that takes a person from lower pay to higher pay is hard work, education, and natural ability. Texas provides the opportunity for a person to make a decent wage. It is the responsibility of the individual to be competitive in the job market.

  • Snickers

    Assuming that California state government is not going to turn conservative any time soon, the best thing that local governments could do to ammeliorate some of the costs of an increased jail population would be erect “Tent Cities”. Sherriff Arpio has done so in Phoenix and it has saved the taxpayers millions of dollars.

  • http://inthisdimension.com alex scipio

    California’s problems:

    A) 12% of the national population, 30% of the national welfare case load.

    B) 8 Blue counties deciding how the citizens of 50 Red counties must live and on what they must spend their tax dollars

    C) No Right to Work; especially not voluntary Govt-sector unions.

    Unless govt sector unions are outlawed, CA will only continue to decline.

  • Matthew Hall

    I live in cincinnnati and have met five young professionals who have recently moved from California in just the last 6 months. If they are willing to come to Cincinnati, California MUST be in bad shape. Still, they can’t stop talking about how cheap everything is and how much they enjoy our quaint local customs, like weekends, vacations, and friendship.

  • Mkelley

    Illegals seem to be used as scapegoats for California’s collapse. You can’t really blame people who escape a poverty-stricken country to come to a place that is rich and stupid enough to give lavish welfare benefits to non-citizens. Human nature 101 tells you that giving away free stuff will draw a crowd. Duh.

    The real cause of California’s demise is the makeup of its voting population. There are way too many lefties there. Bankrupting policies that would be reined in by a more moderate electorate are followed to their logical conclusion in California-bankruptcy. Just look at the loony “high-speed rail” program and economy-destroying AB 32.

  • MisterH

    All the reasons for CA’s troubles are fully enumerated here but I see almost no chance of any single one of them being addressed seriously by our state government. I’m afraid the ONLY thing that will get anyone’s attention is budgetary calamity on a grand scale. The only sign of hope on the horizon I see is the upcoming state election which includes the proposition to raise sales and income taxes. This ballot measure must be defeated decisively. It needs to be an unequivocal statement that the government must stop the spending orgy, live within its means and go back to basics.

  • An

    Hispanics only make up 20% of CA electorate and vote overwhelmingly Democratic. But you cannot blame CA problems on the Hispanics. CA has a spending problem which the Hispanics have reinforced (by their support of Democrats and their policies), but are not the root cause of. CA is the laboratory where progressive policies have been enacted in almost their purest forms. We are seeing the results.

  • Mrs. Davis

    Don’t forget the Federal courts who overturned Prop 187. And only one party refused to appeal the decision. It’s been downhill since then. That’s the 800 lb gorilla. But you Athertonies will be well protected from your gardeners.

  • Kepler

    California’s prison problems are less a problem with enforcing the laws (though, they do a lousy job of that) and more a budget problem. California’s prison workers have a powerful union with most of California’s politicians in their pocket. CA’s prison guards are the highest paid in the nation. CA’s top 5 highest paid public employees all work in the prison system. The high labor cost make it impossible for CA to expand the system.

  • https://www.facebook.com/jay.teigh Jay Teigh

    All you folks who are bashing the Correctional Officers’ unions have no idea what you’re talking about. that’s a REALLY tough job. Imagine being surrounded by a couple of hundred TRUE criminals—convicts—for 8 or more hours a day. It’s no cakewalk. It’s extremely dangerous. It’s a highly stressful occupation. Honestly, they’re underpaid, and badly. I know all about it—I worked as a CO for a couple years.

  • BlackSaint

    California the Golden state, Obama and the Democrats model for American future, is fast becoming the poster child for an bankrupt third world State!

    An unholy alliance of Socialist Democrat politicians, Unions, Left wing loony,s and Illegal Aliens supporters are feasting like hogs at the trough of tax payers paid benefits while taxing & regulating business and the tax paying public into poverty.

    The corruption and pandering of Left Wing Democrat Politicians to their constituency of Unions, Illegal Aliens and open border supporters, are driving business and citizens to other states & countries, while leaving the parasites, welfare leeches and Hollywood perverts in an increasing bankrupt, crime ridden, dysfunctional state!

    For years California has ignored economics 101 and imported Criminals, Uneducated Parasites, and poverty from Mexico, which increased Medical, Welfare, Crime, Prison, etc. & adding a estimated 22 billion per year to Calif. State expense to support the invading horde of Illegal Aliens while exporting business and educated tax payers.

    Like all Socialist countries the results have been a astronomical increase in social welfare, schooling, prison cost etc. and a lowing of Living standards, Heath care, Education standards, Tax receipts & finally Bankruptcy.

    The policies of Comrade Obama and Wash. DC Democrats are intent on following Calif. policies and Pro-Illegal Aliens, Pro-Unions and Anti-tax paying citizens and are endorsing the same socialist process of rewarding the Corrupt, Stupid, Foolish, Lazy, Greedy & Criminal while punishing the responsible, honest, law abiding citizens of American.

    Failure to abide by our Constitution against invasion & enforce our Immigration laws and constraints on wages and benefits for public employees will result in turning the Golden State into MexiCalif and the end of the Calif. Dream and the beginning of the MexiCalif. Nightmare!

    Amnesty & Citizenship as a reward for their invasion of the USA, with chain immigration will result in the rest of the USA turned into a Spanish speaking third world cesspool and follow California into a polluted, over populated, Spanish speaking, third world Slum of Crime, Corruption, Poverty, Cruelly & Misery modeled on Mexico!

    This will result in a population depending on Welfare and the Democrat party, thus assuring the lock on power for the Socialist Democrat party of the United States of Mexico!

  • BlackSaint

    There would be millions more jobs for American citizens if our borders were secured in accordance with Article IV Section IV of our Constitution, our Immigration laws enforced and our Corrupt Politicians would honor their Oath of Office!

    All of our cost could be reduced by 10,s of billions if we were not providing free medical, food stamps, welfare, free education, prisons cells, law enforcement, subsidize housing, etc. etc. for millions of invading illegal aliens!

    American tax payer,s cannot and should not be required to support millions of other Nations criminals and uneducated parasites!

  • Genma Saotome

    “Someday, perhaps, California will be governed by people who care about governing…”.

    Yup. And to get from here to there, split the state into (at least) three new states.

    CA. is so large it is ungovernable. Too much land, too many people, and especially too much money. Only the professional politicians and their familiars in the public employee unions think in terms of Oregon to Mexico — NOBODY else does.

    Everyone north of the Tehacippi’s hate the Southland. Everyone west of the coast range look down on the central valley. There is no overall union of interests.

    If CA was a territory today there is NO WAY the people would petition Congress to join as one state.

    So split it.

    With three-five states the odds of all of them screwing up in the same way is nill. Some of them might actually find the path to good government. But left as is, CA will continue to screw up because as big as it is nobody knows how to fix it.

  • http://barking-moonbat.com Rich K

    thibaud,do you have a point to make after all that wordage you spewed here today or are you just in a venting mood like Micky Kaus gets into once in awhile?Inquiring minds want to know.

  • AD-RtR/OS!

    Someone above claimed that Illegal Aliens cost CA $18B/yr.
    And CA’s budget deficit is currently $16B (if you believe in Unicorns, Fairies, and Pixie-dust).

  • thibaud

    Luke Lea – “I think I misread (unread) thibaud”

    Par for the course in these parts. Posting about stuff one hasn’t read is a Via Meadia specialty.

  • thibaud

    #31 – “California is such a great place and Texas such a [profanity removed]”

    Texas is where great California companies locate their worst jobs – call centers and the like. The good jobs, including all the executive management jobs, are kept in California.

    Your evidence that TX is succeeding is population growth.

    Well, I guess that depends, now, doesn’t it?

    There’s no doubt that America’s rush to transform itself into a northern version of Latin America, with garbage wages and low-end jobs, diminishing or no security for working families, dismal educational performance by our fastest-growing demographics, cronyist and corrupt politics – will benefit places like Texas that, with few exceptions, show all the above in abundance.

  • http://hailingfromgeorgia.blogspot.com Jeremy Janson

    @LukeLea: Frankly, no sir. While it is true that gentry liberals have helped create the mass immigration problem, the reality is that the white, liberal inhabitants of San Francisco and Los Angeles are far more responsible for the plight of the state than the illegals are. The illegals at least are in the business of doing real work to make real money. They may also be a major source of lawlessness, and they are, but while lawlessness is a problem in California, the far bigger problem is the unrealistic postmodern mess that is the modern California liberal.

  • Brutus

    The biggest problem with California is Californians. The liberal populace voted to reduce property taxes, provide free college education, free medical to everyone including illegals. Some how with the high cost of living, over crowding, smog and traffic congestion they think they are in the greatest place on earth. Personally, I will take my “lousy” Midwest weather and 1/2 the cost of living and tax rates at 1/3 that of California.

  • Steve

    I grew up in San Diego, went to school at Berkeley, and now live in wine country. I can state that the worst day in California is still better than the best day in any other state.

    In CA, no one cares what you do for a living or how much money you make. People aren’t pushy, they’re not trying to put some crazy agenda onto you (okay, maybe the Norcal hippies get a little overzealous, just like the Born-agains do in the O.C.)

    For the most part, though, people just leave each other alone here. The rest of America should try it.

    All these wackos commenting on our state who don’t live in our state should realize that, just like Texans, Californians don’t give a damn what anyone else thinks. If you don’t like it, don’t come here. One more parking space at the beach for me.

    Have a nice day!

  • dborj

    Yep, Californians are to blame. Basically, they get what they vote for. They voted these progressive Democrats into office because they think they can live off welfare from a socialist state. Sorry, my best advice is you all move to Texas.

  • Lance Sjogren

    thibaud:

    Your claim that California’s schools are excellent is laughable. The state consistently ranks among the very worst in the country in quality of K-12 education.

    California is the pinnacle of progressive idiocracy. High taxes that deliver a very low caliber of public services.

  • RSNSouth

    It’s impossible for me to garner even a scintilla of sympathy for Golden State denizens. Not only have they brought the pending collapse entirely upon themselves, but they have had multiple opportunities over the past 15 years to take corrective measures and have passed every time. Pity.

    All is not lost, however. In perhaps the greatest sacrifice made by its residents, California is about to become its own reality show. The rest of us will get to watch the ulimate consequences of left-wing policies unfold, providing viewing and reading that will be both entertaining and educational. I, for one, will be watching with popcorn as each episode unfolds.

  • Brian

    #51 – thibaud

    “Texas is where great California companies locate their worst jobs ”

    Your assertions are so ridiculously wide of the mark that they would be laughable if they were not so laced with malicious venom toward your fellow countrymen.

    I’m a CA expatriate – lived there many years, then moved to TX. It was a great move for many reasons. TX is superior to CA in numerous ways – better housing, lower prices, better & friendlier people, better workforce, less government hassle, a balanced(!) budget, fewer hindrances to productivity, lower taxes, better services – infinitely better services, better schools (not even close), more equal income distribution (I mix with people from all social strata in TX – much less segregated than CA. In fact, TX seems to not care about an individual’s social class – only ability. It is much, much more meritocratic than CA), better and more diversified jobs in a far broader array of industries, a focus on growth and renewal, a generally higher level of energy, enthusiasm and entreprenuerial activity, and many, many more.

    To be sure, I miss many things about CA – hiking in the Sierra or Point Reyes, visiting Napa, eating in SF, swimming on Stinson Beach. CA is a great place to live, and if it could straighten itself out with reasonable policies, I’d love the opportunity to live there again sometime.

    You see, I am sad to see CA failing – and one needs be willfully blind to not notice that it is on a course for self-destruction. The Central Valley is already on the borderline of anarchy. The people of CA and the industries and businesses deserve much, much better.

    I contrast this to your attitude. You seem to be urging TX to failure, almost wishing for it, as near as I can tell simply so that you can prove your world view is correct. This is a very terrible thing to say, but I can come to no other conclusion from your constant harping on TX inferiorities. It is doubly sad because of your willful ignorance and inability to even conceive that your statements are not simply wrong, but deeply offensive and disturbing.

    So let me be clear – your statements about TX have little grounding in reality. It is a great place to live and work, with a highly educated, motivated and diverse workforce, and if you took the time to live there and learn I think you would agree.

    Likewise, CA is a great place to live. Its failures are a cause of alarm and dismay for everyone in the country because it is so important to the nation. I am hopeful – even confident – that it will rise again from its self-inflicted wounds. However, I believe that a precondition for this to occur is for CA defenders of the status quo, such as you appear to be, to open their eyes and take a serious look at what is not working, and learn a bit from other places where it is working a little better. TX is one place I suggest you should look.

    Regards,
    Brian

  • MJ

    The initiative process contributed a lot in getting CA into the mess it is in, and it can be used to help get us out of it. #1: Repeal the right of civil servants to unionize. #2 Make English the official and sole language of government. #3 In order to obtain public benefits on behalf of a child, a green card is required. #4 Restore the mental health asylum system and make long term civil commitment for serious afflictions and addictions easier. That would be a good start to cleaning this place up. And one more: Send the National Guard to the delta to open the gates to the canals and restore water to the Central Valley .. that is: defy the federal government.

  • Stephen

    I’ve lived in California for the last 33 years. I started a business there 25 years ago. I moved to Nevada this year, moving one business here. I can see why businesses are moving out of CA: high taxes, an onerous tax and regulatory system, lawsuit happy employees, high costs for real estate, high rents, generally everything costs more. The state’s population has grown tremendously here (San Diego County), and the quality of life gets worse each year. There’s a reason that for every 3 businesses moving into the state there are 100 moving out. I would never start another business in CA.

    Over 50% of K-1 in Los Angeles only speak Spanish. Over 50% of K-12 are latino. Most illegals don’t pay taxes, have drivers licenses or car insurance, and they get free medical care, education, welfare, etc. The tax base of businesses (employers) and middle to upper class professionals is being depleted from them moving to other states while the influx of illegals and all the free services they get continues to increase unabated. The state is hopelessly bankrupt due to future unfunded liabilities (public employee unions) and the cost of illegals who don’t even pay into the system. This inexorable grind towards ruin is easy to see and predict. The only thing that can keep it from a collapse in the short to mid-term are federal dollars being pumpled in, but how long can the country keep that up before the dollar is finished – currently 61% of the US debt now being bought by the federal reserve, and it keeps going up.

    We as a state and country are now in unchartered (for this country) waters, but the end result in all the other countries who have tried to print their way out of debt has always ended in hyperinflation and financial collapse. We’ll see the truth in Voltaire’s statement that paper money eventually returns to its intrinsic value.

  • Jon

    #58 Brian
    August 8, 2012 at 3:49 am

    I totally agree with Brian. I lived in California for three years and have lived in Texas for the last 30 years. Due to the low cost of housing, low taxes and availability of high tech jobs, my standard of living in Texas is around twice of what it would be if I lived in California.

  • thibaud

    Re the tedious TX-CA slanging match that some here want to whip up: Texas has its charms, but there’s a reason that Apple isn’t willing to put more than a tiny smidgen of call center jobs in TX while it expands by leaps and bounds in Cupertino. I agree that TX has better regulation of its mortgage lenders than CA and that TX schools probably are not worse at educating TX hispanics than CA schools do with CA hispanics. UT-Austin is a fine school. UT-Southwestern is a world class medical research facility that has several Nobellists on its faculty.

    All that said, we have a choice to make as a nation. Do we want to become more like Mexico? That’s where Texas is headed.

    Or do we want to become more like Holland, Germany, Sweden and Canada? To be fair, neither party’s leaders have the cojones to argue for that in the current climate that’s marked as much by our ignorance of our northern peers’ ACTUAL economic performance as it is by their terror of running afoul of Grover Norquist and his ilk.

  • Danram

    California is a textbook example of what ends up happening when liberals are allowed to run things. They’ve taken an economy and lifestyle that was once the envy of the world and turned it into a basket case teetering on the edge of bankruptcy.

    Their plight should indeed serve as a warning to the rest of us, because that’s exactly where our entire country is headed if we don’t make significant changes, starting on November 7th.

  • thibaud

    #56 Lance Sjogren: your ignorance of statistics is laughable.

    As anyone who’s ever delved into our nation’s K-12 stats knows, you have to disaggregate by ethnicity to get anything like a true picture of quality. TX does worse than MN or WI – when you fail to compare TX hispanics with WI hispanics, for ex.

    Same goes for CA. The school performance of the districts that are majority-Asian in California – Cupertino, Fremont, for ex – is world-class.

  • koblog

    Released prisoners make excellent Democrat voters.

  • Don51

    Whether its popular culture as the family vendetta in Romeo and Juliet or the opening scene from the Godfather as the mortician pleads for justice, when the state no longer will provide or be expected to provide security in one’s person, family or property, people will seek out others who will provide protection and other means of justice.

    When the ‘Command’ starts ‘capture and release’ programs, there’s a tendency to take fewer prisoners in a fight.

    It’s all human nature regardless of the wishes of the authorities.

  • Ken Green

    Liberals are irrational, that’s all there is to that, their heads are full of cotton, hay, and rags. They’re nothing but exasperating, irritating, vacillating, calculating, agitating, maddening and infuriating hags!

    Seriously, leftists are fundamentally irrational, and live in almost complete denial of the laws of human nature and economics. They can’t be reasoned with because they do not reason: they emote.

    The only time that leftists back off from their insane policies is when the cupboards are absolutely bare. Then, they’ll back off (sulking) for long enough to let conservatives fix a few things, demonizing them as they do so. But as soon as things are moving again, they move to re-assert the same policies that emptied the cupboards the last time.

  • M. Murcek

    More pointless yawping about how it is. California’s citizens voted for every bit of this. They are getting it. The system worked. The voters’ fevered imagination of how their votes would turn out did not. Again. The. System. Worked.

  • Marty

    California’s correctional officers have one of the most powerful public employee unions in the country and are VERY well-paid; the high cost leading to inability to provide enough prison capacity starts right there, with the prison work force, itself.

  • Gringo

    54. Steve
    All these wackos commenting on our state who don’t live in our state should realize that, just like Texans, Californians don’t give a damn what anyone else thinks. If you don’t like it, don’t come here. One more parking space at the beach for me.

    Fine by me. By the same token, don’t expect the rest of the country to bail out California’s self-imposed fiscal problems. To an outsider, it appears that wackos have designed California’s fiscal policies.

  • John L Jordan

    Gee willikers, Mr. Mead. The ‘blue’ nomenclature & symobolism are an invention of Democrat journalists aren’t they? Why continue supporting the ‘blue’ charade? Everywhere that blue policy isn’t working, it’s the Democrat Political Party (leaders & followers) who’ve put those policies in place. Blue is Democrat. Democrat is blue. There is nothing democratic about the Democrat Political Party.

    RE: JAIL TIME IN CALIFORNIA
    In 1983 I did four days of a 7 day stretch the Judge at Superior Court in Glendale sentenced me to serve; it was either that or pay 700 dollars which I chose not to do. I’d forgotten to pay a jaywalking ticket from 1979. I was arrested on a Friday & they kept me in Glendale over the weekend and sent me to L.A. County on Monday morning. While there, I was twice loaded onto the county jail bus and hauled around the county. I never got off during either transport period. I asked about it. The sheriff’s deputies were not forthcoming but an experienced inmate told me that the county was paid $75.00 a head for inmate transportation. Sure, the sheriff’s deputies were cookin’ the books, but who cares? Federal Blue & State Blue are bossed by the same corrupt Big Labor Union Democrat bureaucracy. For an inside look at Big Labor’s biggest bossman (including AFSCME, postal workers, et cetera) please search: RICHARD TRUMKA EDDIE YORK. What’s not to love about a deep baby blue Democrat?

  • http://www.errortheory.blogspot.com Alec Rawls

    “California needs laxer laws that lock fewer people up, or it needs a bigger prison budget”

    Wrong. It needs to stop paying its unionized prison guards over $100,000 per year apiece for minimum wage work. Meade, you are missing the key factor in California’s collapse: gold plated government. The idiotic laws make the headlines, but it is the government unions that are doing the actual damage.

  • MMcN

    64. Thibaud: you’re wrong about Texas and Wisconsin: http://iowahawk.typepad.com/iowahawk/2011/03/longhorns-17-badgers-1.html

  • juliesa

    thibaud, Texas schooldkids solidly outperform CA schoolkids on objective nationwide tests like NAEPs. TX Hispanic kids perform better than CA Hispanic kids, and there is less of a gap between Anglo and Hispanic kids in Tx than there is in CA. TX spends much less per child and gets better results.

    You’re spreading myths about the low wage jobs in Texas. [Heck], even if we removed all low wage jobs from TX, TX would still be creating more jobs than most of the other states put together. The truth is that your middle class taxpayers and small business owners are having to leave CA for TX and other states. CA is more and more only friendly to the very affluent or the subsidized welfare class. The middle class has been told to take a hike. And that’s what they are doing. People vote with their feet, and the domestic migration from CA to other states including mine is telling.

    We have high salary tech jobs in TX. We also have high wage blue collar manufacturing/mining jobs–the kind of jobs that the Democrat party used to like, but now look down their noses on.

  • daxypoo

    i would keep all the illegals here in california if we could deport all the libs in their place

  • https://www.facebook.com/ritchietheriveter Ritchie The Riveter

    All that said, we have a choice to make as a nation. Do we want to become more like Mexico? That’s where Texas is headed.

    As long as Texas continues its profound respect for personal initiative …

    Or do we want to become more like Holland, Germany, Sweden and Canada?

    … as opposed to having one’s initiative subordinated to the “wisdom” of a professional-political class, where established/deep-pocketed enterprises have a significant political advantage over the up-and-coming …

    … Texas will not become what Mexico (or California) is at present.

    In fact, you will see more and more of America, and maybe even Mexico, become like Texas … where you are respected and rewarded, no matter where you came from, as long as you can get things done.

    Tell the people at TI, Dell, HP, Raytheon, Lockheed Martin, and many other Texas employers – including the highly-technical petrochemical firms – that they are the “backwater” of their corporations, and see what you get in response.

    And as for the schools … Texans are ferociously proud and protective of their schools, and not just for the football. The boundary lines between school districts are a significant determinant of home values here.

    I lived there four-and-a-half years, before a islet of opportunity on Long Island “made me an offer I couldn’t refuse”. I still have family down around Dallas. If the proper opportunity presented itself, I’d have no problem returning to Texas from the Vampire State.

    Face it, thibaud … you’re defending the indefensible.

    What you should be defending is a government that respects America’s ace-in-the-hole when it comes to economic prosperity — personal initiative — to the point that it expects PERSONAL and DIRECT responsibility for the lot of oneself and one’s neighbors …

    … instead of allowing people to “outsource” the “safety net”/societal-health tasks that government is ill-equipped, by its very structure to deal with, to that government to do FOR them through the mis-application of the coercive force of law …

    … and instead have that government concentrate upon the tasks that DIRECTLY support the exercise of our unalienable rights.

    In other words, a government that is even more Texan, than Texas is today.

  • thibaud

    #73 – you didn’t read my post. I was in fact referring exactly to what David Burge wisely pointed out re Simpson’s Paradox and the need to disaggregate ed stats by ethnicity.

    Again, I wrote:

    “TX does worse than MN or WI – *** when you fail to compare TX hispanics with WI hispanics ***, for ex.”

    The larger point is that, had we not imported an underclass of over 10 million, our schools – ESPECIALLY in the border states – would show very good performance overall. There is not a [darn] thing that teachers, principals, other parents or anyone else can do for a majority school population that doesn’t care about education.

  • thibaud

    What the Sam Hill is with the bluenosed censors today? Can’t write a gosh-dern thing without it being redacted.

  • Bill Dalasio

    “Do we want to become more like Mexico?…Or do we want to become more like Holland, Germany, Sweden and Canada?”

    Hmm…I’d think most people would prefer to stay like America. And you might want to be a little more reticent about holding up the Eurozone as the preferred economic model.

  • Harsh Times

    Although the illegal alien situation is a bad one, voters should place the blame squarely on their government and their reliance and worshiping of the unions. California just keeps digging that hole – re-electing Moonbeam? – c’mon…you get what you deserve.

  • http://www.pacrimjim.com PacRim Jim

    It’s simple:
    You get more of what you reward: welfare cases, illegal aliens, drugs, crime, unemployment.
    The Left is a metastatic cancer. Destroy a state, city by city, by dumbing down the voters and offering them something for nothing, then move on to another healthy state.

  • J. Burbank

    This debate of Texas versus California (the most populous state for decades) is getting absurd from people rationalizing why they had to move to Texas First off, for those pro-Texans, there’s a reason why Texas elected the idiotic D-student who embarrassed himself during the GOP primaries — they like the likes of him, such as George W. Bush who was a disaster of a president. Texas loves to execute people, while vindictively explaining away evidence of innocence, and proud of it.

    Secondly, there’s a reason why Silicon Valley remains the center of the tech and start-up universe (from new ideas to programming, tech writing, etc.) and the envy of Texas. I live in San Jose, where the social roots of Silicon Valley started, with the nation’s first radio station with continuous programming over 100 years ago. The Wall Street Journal in 2006 reported that 12 of the 20 “most inventive” towns in America were in California, and with Silicon Valley claiming 10 of those.

    (From Wikipedia): “The (S.F.) Bay Area as a whole however, of which Silicon Valley is a part, would rank first with 387,000 high-tech jobs. Silicon Valley has the highest concentration of high-tech workers of any metropolitan area, with 285.9 out of every 1,000 private-sector workers. Silicon Valley has the highest average high-tech salary at $144,800. Largely a result of the high technology sector, the San Jose-Sunnyvale-Santa Clara, CA Metropolitan Statistical Area has the most millionaires and the most billionaires in the United States per capita.”

    I am minutes away by car from the headquarters of Apple, Google, Cisco, Adobe, Oracle, eBay, Intel, HP, Fairchild, Yahoo, AMD, Netflix, not to mention tech research giants Stanford, UC Berkeley, Cal Poly, the likes of which do not exist in Texas. My daughter goes to a public middle school here that has fine teachers and I’m very satisified. Yes, it’s expensive to live here, but with the beauty of it, the beaches, S.F., Monterey, Big Sur, and fantastic weather, I love it anyway. Stay in Texas with your callous people, the future is still here.

  • Ann K.

    Just anecdotal, but of the 40 or so K-12 age children I know that have moved to Texas in the last couple of years, all but 3 were held back a grade because they were below grade level.

    The 6 Texas children that I know who moved to California in the last couple of years were all moved ahead a grade.

  • Gringo

    82 J. Burbank
    This debate of Texas versus California (the most populous state for decades) is getting absurd…

    Twenty or thirty years ago, NO ONE would have believed that people would reverse Dust Bowl migration patterns and leave California for greater opportunity in Texas.

    Why would anyone leave 75 degrees in the summer California for 100 degrees in the summer Texas? Certainly not for the climate.

    Regarding who elects the bigger idiots to office- California or Texas- judge by the results.

    Given all the advantages that California used to have, it is an outrage that people now leave the state for greater opportunity.

  • thibaud

    #79 – Canada and Sweden aren’t part of the Eurozone. Their growth, fiscal performance, employment levels are superior to ours and have been for many years now.

    I have nothing against Texas, btw. Dallas’s Park Cities are lovely. UT-Austin’s a fine school. Medical research and high-end medical care in Dallas and Houston are both world-class. Austin has some great technologists, though Dell’s best days are behind it.

    But most places in Texas, like much of California, are inexorably heading toward the Latin American model, with a large and growing proletariat wallowing in crap jobs at low wages, a degraded public sphere and corrupt cronyist politics. No argument whatsoever that large swaths of California, mainly the inland regions, are headed the same way. Victor Hanson has written at length about this devastation of his patch.

    I don’t think that’s the America any of us wants. We should be aiming for high-paying jobs, high educational standards, clean air and other hallmarks of an advanced nation. All of these will be much harder to attain if we follow the Norquist/TP loons over the cliff.

  • Jon

    For J Burbank

    The problem is multidimensional. You only discuss the issue of Technology and Innovation. As I pointed out in #27, Texas ranks number one with respect to business climate. California ranks number 40. I also pointed out that in the CNBC study Texas is number 2 with respect to Technology and Innovation. California in number 3. I lived in California for three years. I am well aware of the advantages and disadvantages of both states. My cost of living in Texas is about one half of what it would be in California. The biggest difference that I see between the two states is the attitude of the residents toward jobs and welfare. Texas puts its emphasis on creating jobs. California seems to be more interested in providing welfare.

  • http://www.megapotamus.com/wp/ megapotamus

    “Educating the kids” has NO business beneath the government aegis. Not the Federal government nor any other has the moral competence to educate anyone of anything except the requirements for fishing licenses and things of that sort.

  • https://www.facebook.com/ritchietheriveter Ritchie The Riveter

    All of these will be much harder to attain if we follow the Norquist/TP loons over the cliff.

    Only if you define “harder” as having someone other than the government working on the problems. Do you really think that ONLY the government can provide a safety net or work to better society?

    What really IS hard, is trying to achieve those objectives – while ignoring human nature and limiting the brainpower being applied to them – by delegating so much responsibility for them to a relative few “experts” … with the coercive force of law to force their ways, right or wrong, upon us all, while also insulated from the consequences by politics and bureaucratic inertia … to solve for everyone else.

    This is the fundamental flaw, IMO, of the Blue Model.

    Not only do you limit the brainpower being applied to our problems through this paradigm, and waste resources in such efforts … you also diminish the respect (including self-respect) for personal initiative, as well as the resources available to the individual for its exercise.

  • teapartydoc

    An old saying in medicine says that there is nothing more dangerous than a resident with a journal article in his pocket or an intern with a new pen. In academic medicine one makes the rounds with residents, interns and students in tow and patients are examined and discussed. The key thing being taught is often how to make an accurate assessment of what is going on–diagnosis–and what treatments are available and will be used. This blog is similar to that: the USA is the patient and Mead is the attending physician. The residents, interns and students are making the case for whatever they think it is that ails the patient and what should be done about it. But the key thing is still in the assessment. This remains prior to whatever is to be done. Patients never have just one disease, they usually have many problems, and one can accurately diagnose and treat any one of these in a fabulously precise and expert way while the patient goes on to die. Draining a bubo helps the bubo, but the patient goes on to die of the plague that caused it. People who fixate on one aspect or one disease are known as zebra chasers because they see an animal with four hoofed legs, a mane and a tail and call it a zebra, when anyone with two eyes can see that it is a horse. This mistake is often made by fixating on a localized or limited problem while not noticing more systemic ones that ultimately have much more effect. Occasionally systemic problems can be harder to detect and diagnose because the symptoms they cause can have subtle effects, but occasionally they literally cry out to be seen and are obvious yet go unnoticed. Once one of my employees developed classic symptoms of Cushing’s Disease and I didn’t notice because it took so long to develop that it evaded my detection. If she had been a patient that had walked into my office with hypertension, it would have been obvious. What we see here in this blog is a case in which a diagnosis has been proposed by the chief attending, and that is of a systemic disease called the Blue Model. The residents, interns and students, rather than try to understand the diagnosis or the disease, continue to bicker on about this symptom or that, failing to see the forest for the trees, and chasing various zebras. It is rather comical, but a scene that gets re-enacted on wards every day. If you want an example from popular culture check out Doc Hollywood. In the film a young smart-ass straight-A student is filling in for an old codger of a doctor whom the young one has no respect for. In one segment the young doc thinks he has nailed a diagnosis that the old guy has missed and ends up finding out that the old codger knows much more about the patient than he will ever know. But not because he has a false attention to detail. He knows from being there and seeing with his eyes and taking in situations as a whole–non-analytical thinking. Mead is right. The problem is the Blue, highly intrusive, overly planned, overly regulated, big-box, big government model. That is the disease that is killing this patient. It does no good to compare the physiology of this patient with that of ones from another species half-way around the world or next door. THIS is the patient. Right here. What is your next step, doctor?

  • richard40

    If you want to know what all of america will look like under Obama, just look at california today.

  • Gringo

    #51 – thibaud
    “Texas is where great California companies locate their worst jobs ”

    I don’t know if this is true or not. I am not going to debate whether it is true or not.
    I will point out that the statement is irrelevant to the theme of the article: dysfunctional, over-regulating, bankrupt government in California.

    Deal with the issue of the article- dysfunctional government in California. Or are you afraid to do so?

  • Dan

    “And California’s _schools_ are excellent”?

    For pity’s sake, we’re ranked behind LOUISIANA in K-12 education!

    Sure, parents deserve some of the blame, but come on. “Excellent schools” don’t fail on that epic of a scale, parents notwithstanding.

  • Luke Lea

    @ thibaud – “most places in Texas, like much of California, are inexorably heading toward the Latin American model, with a large and growing proletariat wallowing in crap jobs at low wages, a degraded public sphere and corrupt cronyist politics. No argument whatsoever that large swaths of California, mainly the inland regions, are headed the same way. Victor Hanson has written at length about this devastation of his patch.

    I don’t think that’s the America any of us wants.”

    Well said, except obviously there are some Americans — the ones setting our immigration agenda — who don’t care or choose not to believe it.

  • thibaud

    #91 – can you read, Gringo?

    Try #33: “California’s problems are many and well-known: the budget process, the stupid tax policies that favor feckless grandchildren of longtime homeowners while crushing productive newcomers, the Kotkin critique of loopy green gazillionaires, the prison guards’ union etc….”

  • Patricia

    “Someday, perhaps, California will be governed by people who care about governing.”

    Not until you stop the political ATM of mandatory dues for public employees that are then funneled back to legislators — who are also in charge of giving those employees raises. upwards of 80% of those “dues” go straight back to the campaign war chests.

    BTW a friend of mine, a police sergeant, bought his wife and daughter each a .22 recently because of all the bad guys being released into our population. We are all in prison now, with no one to protect us.

    I’m retiring and moving to Indiana next year, perhaps keeping a little condo here. Can’t take it.