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California Taxpayers Flip Off their Government

Contributed by Alex Shrugged

The California initiative system allows voters to propose their own laws. (Cough, cough.) Proposition 13 cuts property taxes by 60% and limits the rate of growth of property taxes for an existing homeowner to %1 a year. Home buyers pay full freight as the property assessment resets to the current value, but this allows the elderly to remain in their homes without being taxed into foreclosure. Leading the fight for Proposition 13 is retired Orange County businessman Howard Jarvis who had moved to California as a young man and watched in delight as the value of his home multiplied 10-fold, but then shrieked in horror as his tax bill skyrocketed to match. No homeowner can plan for retirement when the taxes on his home exceed the national debt of Paraguay. Proposition 13 passes and victory is sweet, but property taxes are a major source of funding for the state. Even though NOTHING HAS CHANGED YET, government services grind to a halt. Abusive bureaucrats sneer, "We don't do that any more. It's Proposition 13!" In other words, "You gave us the middle finger, so now you can shove your request right up your..." uh... never mind. Tempers flare but Proposition 13 holds. IT'S THE LAW! [1]

My Take by Alex Shrugged
The government has tried to make up for reduced property taxes by raising fees because fees are not really taxes. Right? I laughed out loud when I saw the Wikipedia page on California's Proposition 13. Someone has set up an automatic counter of the months, days and years since it was passed. That someone is still VERY angry with the voters. And for a bigger laugh, remember the movie, Airplane? The main character parks his taxi in the Passenger Loading zone. An old man gets into the taxi, but the driver runs into the terminal leaving the meter running. Midway through the movie, the man is still waiting and the meter reads over $11,000. At the very end as the guy gets the girl and all is right with the world, the scene returns to the old man in the taxi. He looks at his watch and says, "Well, I'll give him another 20 minutes, but that's it!" (Fade to black.) It's an inside joke! That old man was Howard Jarvis, now of blessed memory, the hero of Proposition 13. He knew how to take a joke. After all, he was living in California. [2] [3]

Discrimination is legal: Regents of the University of California v. Bakke

Contributed by Southpaw Ben

Allan Bakke was an engineer and former USMC officer seeking admission to medical school. As he was in his early thirties, he was rejected in part because he was too old. During this case this issues of affirmative action, which is favoring disadvantaged groups disproportionately, and racial quotas came up as 16 seats were reserved solely for minority students. While a fractured result came out of this case, the precedent was set that allowed affirmative action, but forbid racial quotas. This was a reversal of the California supreme court,which forbade race to be considered at all in the admissions process. [4][5]

My Take by Southpaw Ben
While I am firmly against institutions discriminating against anyone due to race, religion, or any other reason, I don't think this is the government's place to decide. I tend to agree with the California supreme court, and feel colleges should not be allowed to ask about race, similar to how employers can't ask about or use pregnancy or the possibility of pregnancy in a job candidate for hiring decisions. This would ensure that the most suitable candidates are chosen, not just that the percentages of minorities mirror or exceed the percentage in the general American population.

Israel and Egypt Get Peace. Jimmy Carter Gets Zip

Contributed by Alex Shrugged

If you will recall, Israel took the Sinai away from Egypt in the Six Day War after which Israel occupied the region. (It's a really big region.) This has had strategic advantages for Israel since the Sinai has oil while the State of Israel, proper, does not. Israel's natural gas fields will not be discovered for another 30 years. But holding the Sinai remains a major bone of contention between the two states, so, for the promise of peace, the Prime Minister of Israel and President of Egypt meet at Camp David with President Jimmy Carter to hammer out a deal. It is a stormy first meeting, but the result is the Camp David Accords. The Sinai is returned to Egypt. It will be an uneasy but lasting peace. Menachim Begin and Anwar El Sadat will receive the Nobel Peace Prize next year for their efforts. Jimmy Carter will get a hearty handshake and a see-you-later. Supposedly he stepped aside to give the other two leaders the spotlight, but friends say that Carter longed for that prize. He will finally get it... 24 years later. [6] [7] [8] [9] [10]

My Take by Alex Shrugged
I make it sound easy, but disputes over Jerusalem and the so-called West Bank almost sunk the whole deal. Despite everything, it managed to hold together. Unfortunately, Sadat got a bullet for his trouble. I don't like Jimmy Carter, but I've mellowed toward him over the years. He should have received the Peace Prize too. His efforts were critical to the over all resolution of the Camp David Accords. I don't know why the Nobel Prize committee snubbed the US President. Maybe it was because Carter was the US President. Nothing personal. And it was nothing personal when Carter finally received the Prize in 2002. The committee chairman was clear in his statement. Carter received the Peace Prize in order to criticize the US war in Iraq. By saying that Carter was the President of Peace they were saying that President Bush (the Younger) was not. Often the Nobel Peace Prize is well deserved, but just as often it is political statement and utterly meaningless. [11] [12]

Notable Births

  • Garfield: Yes. The cat from the comic strip, Garfield. [13] [14]
  • Morgan Webb: Co-host of 1,300 episodes of X-Play, the video game review show. [13] [15]
  • -- In TV... Bill Hader (SNL), Bryan Greenberg (HBO's How to Make It in America), and Nikki Cox (Unhappily Ever After). [13] [16]
  • -- In Music...: Matthew Bellamy (Muse) and Usher (who, like Captain Kirk, can't seem to keep his shirt on.--alexshrugged) [13]
  • -- In Movies... Katie Holmes (Batman's childhood sweetheart in Batman Returns) [13]

This Year in Film

  • Grease: John Travolta and Olivia Newton-John sing their way through high school. [17]
  • Superman: Christopher Reed. (Excellent special effects.--alexshrugged) [17]
  • National Lampoon's Animal House: (This is how Disney would makes a movie if the whole staff was on LSD--alexshrugged). [17]
  • Coming Home: A paralyzed Vietnam vet (Jon Voight) falls in love with the wife of a Marine (Jane Fonda). (It is anti-Vietnam War and a little too preachy. --alexshrugged) [17]

This Year in TV

  • 20/20: The TV news magazine. [18]
  • Dallas: The prime time soap opera. [18]
  • Battlestar Galactica: Science fiction. A rag tag fleet searches for the legendary planet Earth while fighting off robots. [18]
  • Fantasy Island: with Ricardo Montalbán. People pay big bucks to live out their fantasies. [18]
  • -- In Comedy: Taxi, Mork & Mindy and WKRP in Cincinnati. [18]

This Year in Music

  • The Bee Gees dominate: Stayin' Alive, Night Fever, and How Deep Is Your Love (continuing from 1977). [19]
  • You're the One That I Want: John Travolta and Olivia Newton-John from the musical Grease. [19]
  • Y.M.C.A.: The Village People. [19]

This Year in Video Games

  • Gross arcade sales hit 1 billion dollars: It will hit 1.5 billion next year. [20] [21]
  • Space Invaders hits Japan: 5 months later it hits the USA. The Golden Age of Video Games has begun. [20]
  • Nintendo releases Computer Othello to the arcades: Their home console, Color TV-Game 15, features hockey, tennis, volleyball etc. In other words.... PONG! [20]

In Other News

  • SF Mayor George Moscone and Supervisor Harvey Milk are assassinated.: The assassin, Dan White, will use the "Twinkie Defense." (Apparently, he lost control after eating too many Twinkies.--alexshrugged) [22]
  • The first "test tube baby" is born: Actually, Louise Brown was conceived in a petri dish. Her parents did not realize that they were participating in an experiment. (A lie of omission by the doctors.--alexshrugged) [23]. [22]
  • Home brewed beer is now legal: (I'm a big enough man to admit that Jimmy Carter did some things right.--alexshrugged) [22]

This Year in Wikipedia

Year 1978, Wikipedia.

See Also


  1. Alex Shrugged notes: Having lived through Proposition 13 and heard all the arguments at the time, my remarks are based on my personal experience as a California voter and I experienced the abusive bureaucrats recounted above. So much for the term, "public servant".
  2. California Proposition 13 (1978) - Wikipedia (2017). Retrieved on 6 April 2017. “Proposition 13 has been part of the California Constitution for 38 years, 9 months, and 29 days.”
  3. Sponsor of Prop 13 Howard Jarvis at the airport - YouTube. Retrieved on 6 April 2017.
  4. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Regents_of_the_University_of_California_v._Bakke#Decision
  5. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Affirmative_action_in_the_United_States
  6. Globes English - Where are the oil majors? (5 June 2012). Retrieved on 6 April 2017. “Noble is a company that has grown with the Israeli market. It came here in 1998, when it was still called Samedan, and its market cap was below $1 billion. That year, the only serious international company that has ever operated here entered the Israeli market: British Gas. However, unlike Noble Energy, British Gas got out after ten years, and sold its investments at knock-down prices: it sold its rights in the Matan license, later known as the Tamar reserve, which eventually turned out to be worth billions, to Gidon Tadmor's Avner Oil and Gas LP (TASE: AVNR.L) for one dollar. 'Undoubtedly, BG must be eating its hat today,' says Mor, 'I think they are still waiting for a phone call from the Israeli government and the Palestinian Authority to renew negotiations on development of the Gaza Marine reserve.' What made BG leave? The view in the energy market is that the reasons that it went are the same as those that deter international companies from entering the Israeli market today: the Arab boycott, and the conditions of extreme uncertainty arising from Israeli regulation.”
  7. Consultants: IEC paying too much in gas deal with Tamar partnership - Haaretz.com (May 21, 2012). Retrieved on 6 April 2017. “The deal represents a price per cubic meter of $5.30 per million BTUs, which is substantially higher than the $4.70 agreed upon in principle two years ago. At the time, even the lower price tag elicited surprise, because it did not take the quantity of gas that was being purchased into account, or the increased profitability of a large natural gas reserve such as the Tamar site.”
  8. Why was Jimmy Carter awarded the Nobel Peace Prize? - Quora (opinion) (2015). Retrieved on 6 April 2017. “Begin and Sadat had shared the 1980 prize, partly because Carter allegedly demurred, considering the risks the other two were raking, and partly because no one besides Carter had much confidence it would work.”
  9. List of Nobel Peace Prize laureates - Wikipedia (2017). Retrieved on 6 April 2017.
  10. "Nobel Peace Prize Awarded to Carter With Criticism of Bush - The New York Times", October 11, 2002. Retrieved on 6 April 2017. “Friends say though Mr. Carter is driven more by his deeply held Christianity than by prizes or compliments, he had always ached for the Nobel Peace Prize.” 
  11. A Gamble for Peace – Negotiating the Camp David Accords - Association for Diplomatic Studies and Training Association for Diplomatic Studies and Training. Retrieved on 6 April 2017.
  12. Jimmy Carter wins Nobel Peace Prize - World news - The Guardian (October 11, 2002). Retrieved on 6 April 2017. “But in awarding the prize to the 78-year-old statesman, the Norwegian Nobel committee chairman launched a clear attack on the current US president's threats to use force against Iraq. '[The award] should be interpreted as a criticism of the line that the current administration has taken,' Gunnar Berge, the chairman of the Nobel committee, said. 'It's a kick in the leg to all who follow the same line as the United States.' The committee's citation contrasted Mr Carter's success in finding Middle East peace between Egypt and Israel through diplomacy with the US's current stance on Iraq.”
  13. 13.0 13.1 13.2 13.3 13.4 1978 Births - Wikipedia.
  14. Garfield (character) - Wikipedia.
  15. Morgan Webb - Wikipedia.
  16. Bill Hader - Wikipedia.
  17. 17.0 17.1 17.2 17.3 1978 in film - Wikipedia (1978). Retrieved on 27 January 2017.
  18. 18.0 18.1 18.2 18.3 18.4 1978 in television - Wikipedia (1978).
  19. 19.0 19.1 19.2 1978 in music - Wikipedia (1978). Retrieved on 30 January 2017.
  20. 20.0 20.1 20.2 1978 in music - Wikipedia (1978).
  21. History Page. Retrieved on 4 April 2017. “industry grosses $1 billion annually, says Gallup”
  22. 22.0 22.1 22.2 1978 - Wikipedia.
  23. Hutchinson, Martin. "I helped deliver Louise", BBC News, 24 July 2003. 

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