Busted Flat

greetingfromcalifornia

This is going to leave a mark:

California, the eighth largest economy in the world, is broke.

“People are going to be hurt starting today,” said Hallye Jordan, speaking on behalf of the state Controller. “There’s no money.”

Ahhnold terminated deh economee.

Since state legislators failed to meet an end of January deadline on an agreement to make up for California’s $40 billion budget gap, residents won’t be getting their state tax rebates, scholarships to Cal Grant college will go unpaid, vendors invoices will remain uncollected and county social services will cease.

How serious is the problem?

“Included are $515 million in payments to the state’s vendors and $280 million to help people with developmental disabilities. Other public assistance agencies will be left waiting for hundreds of millions of dollars,” reports CNN. “Other public assistance agencies will be left waiting for hundreds of millions of dollars.”

“I see the will during the negotiations even though these are very, very tough things that we talk about, where we go into areas that we have never, ever dreamt of going into and trying to solve,” said Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger. “So you will be very surprised when the whole thing is done. We’re still not there yet. There is still a lot of work that needs to be done but we are moving slowly forward with this process.”

“If there is no deal by Friday, state government workers will take their first furlough day,” reports the San Diego Union Tribune. “Schwarzenegger has ordered state employees to take two days off a month without pay through June 2010 to save about $1.4 billion.

More wonderful news.  How much more of this can we take?

California Goes Broke, Halts $3.5 Billion in Payments [Raw Story]
72 Comments

And GM January sales down 49% YOY. Chrysler, 55%, the Japanese, average of about 29%.

Fucking doomed, we are so fucking doomed.

Even fucking booze and gambling are down, people, do you know what this means? Booze and gambling are supposed to be depression-proof, hell, their will be a booze and gambling (and prostitution) economy after we enter the cannibal anarchy. Even fucking booze and gambling are down, damn.

And a state GOP leader yesterday said that any Republican in the Assembly who compromises with Ah-nold and the Democrats and votes for a budget that results in an increase in taxes should be censured.

Prop. 13 needs to be overturned. 2/3 majority to pass a fucking budget? We’re been held hostage by the asshats in the GOP who want to starve the beast…and starve the mentally retarded, the foster children, the hospitals, the schools, the roads, etc.

@SanFranLefty:

Truly, the only sensible solution is to roast said Republicans, then feed them to the poor. It’s a win-win, not to mention karmic, poetic justice.

I’d like to thank the UCR art gallery for finding another web designer a couple years back. Saves me a lot of grief.

@SanFranLefty:

We should get started on a repeal, no joke. When is the next state election?

One small bit of good news:

Some of you may be aware of the case of Leslie Hagan, an (In)Justice Department attorney who was fired by psychopathic Jeebus biznatch Monica Goodling based solely on the rumor that she is a lesbian (in total violation of the department’s own HR rules and ethics, of course). Well, she’s been rehired to a permanent position, so there’s one tiny happy ending out there (except for the thousands of dollars of attorney’s fees that she still owes because of Goodling).

http://www.npr.org/templates/story/story.php?storyId=100147494&sc=emaf#commentBlock

@Prommie: @Prommie: there will be a booze and gambling (and prostitution) economy after we enter the cannibal anarchy…you must read Go-Go Girls of the Apocalypse if you haven’t already.

@SanFranLefty: And it created a two-tier property tax system, those “grandfathered in” and those not. It’s been so long I’m not sure how much impact it still has today on why our schools are in such sorry shape, but it probably helps explain a huge chunk of the deferred maintenance that makes some schools hellish trailer slums with slumping foundations and leaky roofs.

Right about now, McCain would be having his heart attack, and Talibunny would be sworn in.

My sympathy for the people who keep electing actors as governor AND who sent Sonny Bono to Congress is underwhelming. All of politics is a popularity contest but California has managed to take it to the extreme. So now what happens? Do Californians seriously expect a federal bailout too? I just watched the Senate vote for an amendment removing a tax break for the film industry from the stimulus package. That may be a not-so-subtle hint.

@Prommie:
Never fear, one of the banks getting bailed out says they are still going to Vegas for their annual junket.

ADD: The douchebag spokesperson for Wells Fargo actually had the chutzpah to say:

Kevin Waetke, another spokesman for Wells Fargo, defended the trip. He said the company, which recently acquired Wachovia Corp., had a long-standing tradition of recognizing top employees.

“This year, we have the unique opportunity to bring together our Wells Fargo and new Wachovia mortgage consultants to focus on continuing to do all we can for U.S. homeowners,” Waetke said.

@FlyingChainSaw:
Be my guest. Go nuts with your baseball bat. The fucking sense of entitlement and sociopathic excuse-making that they will be in Vegas together to “focus on continuing to do all we can for U.S. homeowners” has made me beyond stabby.

Mr. SFL has a checking account with Wells Fargo and is so pissed about this story, especially since they require a minimum balance, charge him fees, and probably won’t honor the IOUs he’s going to get in lieu of a paycheck, that he says he’s going to close it and open up an account with the credit union, like I’ve been telling him to do for eons.

@SanFranLefty: Working on it now! DIE, DIE, DIE, YOU GRAVY SUCKING PIGS!

@SanFranLefty: Wells holds my mortgage. If I could re-finance I would do it in a heartbeat, especially since I could get a much better rate. Unfortunately, due to circumstances I owe more than the place could be appraised for.

I used to bank with them, long ago, when they bought my friendly regional bank (remember 1st Interstate?) but I got so mad at them I quickly moved to a credit union.

Anyway, does a non-evil mortgage lender even exist?

“This year, we have the unique opportunity to bring together our Wells Fargo and new Wachovia mortgage consultants to focus on continuing to do all we can for to U.S. homeowners.”

Fixed.

@Dave H: Well, Batman (Kilmer model) is running around New Mexico trying to get people interested in some idea he has to be elected governor here. The Woman Who Is Supposed to Be the Next Governor, and who got the rug pulled out from under her when Bill Richardson came slinking back to the state, is not amused. Some suspect the Val Kilmer campaign exists only in the minds of bored political journalists, but he could split the Anglo (white) vote so that a Hispanic dark horse could weaken Lt. Gov. Diane Denish in a primary fight. (Full disclosure: I worked with Diane at the state Democratic Party, so I’m on her side).

Meanwhile, the Evil former Congresslizard Heather Wilson rubs her hands together, flicking her long pink reptilian tongue at the prospect of beating the Democrat and an ethnically/philosophically split party and enriching her Republican friends in 2010 and the exercise of power on their behalf, since she apparently has no deeply held political values of her own.

Busy day out here in Kah-lee-fornya. Challenge to the Sanctity of Marriage Ballot Initiative to be argued March 5 in San Francisco in front of the California Supreme Court. Maybe I’ll try to go watch the arguments.

Well, this will give the GOP something to distract attention away from the bailout of the corporate whores.

@SanFranLefty: Oh, you so have to go! I had a chance to watch the Hazelton arguments here in Philly, but I had to work. Boourns!

@redmanlaw: Isn’t Val supposed to be batshit crazy?

@SanFranLefty: It would be nice if they cold find it in their hearts to get my tax statements out before they go to their little orgy. Wachovia was always slow, but this year is even worse.

Oh, I could rant on this topic for a long, long time. Backroom budget deals that are likely to hose the poor, students, the sick, and the air we breathe in Cal, are being worked out right now — right now — in Sacramento by 5 people. Two Rs, two Ds, and Ahnold’s chief of staff. In secret.

I’m in D.C. for a conference. I heard today that Boxer is co-sponsoring a bill with some troglodyte that will add $50 billion in stimulus funds for new highways. Way to go, Barb — screw public transit, let’s keep enabling exurban sprawl and increasing those ghg emissions. After all, you’ll be dead when the ocean submerges San Francisco.

Damn, I am lucky, my mortgage is with a tiny local bank, right now, their mortgage rates are a whole point lower than our mortgage, we called them up and said we want to refinance, unless they would agree to recast the mortgage, they agreed, they are just gonna lower the interest a whole point, no refinance, no closing fees, no title insurance costs, no nothing. It was not prescient, I did not see this coming, I just always liked dealing with small local banks, from my days as a real estate attorney, you can call on the phone and talk to an actual decision-maker, and they will be reasonable.

@Dodgerblue: Did you read the NYT article about how mass transit is cutting routes, hiking rates and laying people off? St. Louis is being especially hard hit, and some neighborhoods are losing all their bus routes. I’m a huge fan of mass transit — I never needed to own a car and didn’t own one until I moved to CA. NorCal isn’t too bad with CalTrain and BART and the light rail in SF, but the bus routes to the hinterlands suck, and the whole system shuts down way to early at night. I could always find a way to get my drunk ass home in Philly no matter the wee hour.

Yeah, saw the article. It’s happening in LA also. My kid went to college near Philly and took the SEPTA.

We need an Ark, or a commune. I am not kidding. Look at the Trappists, come up with an artisanal product, green and natural, work it communally, like a monastery, there we are, making goat cheese and smoked salmon in the Pacific Northwest, happy and in touch with life, making something grow from the land.

@Promnight: That’s what I did when one of my clients needed a Bureau of Indian Affairs guaranteed loan. The local bank wanted the business, the tribe needed the money and BIA was there to assume a lot of the risk in case of default.

@Promnight: Don’t forget wine! Some nice property available here, probably at advantageous rates. You could totally do a sustainable farm, because with cold frames you can grow stuff year round. An local gardening expert has a new book out on growing your own food for hard times. I’m on the wait list at the library.

tj/Anyone catch my defense of hunting at the end of the second hour of the Ron Reagan show on Air America today?

@Mistress Cynica: The more you refine it, the more profit, or should I say value-added, you benefit from. We grow grapes and make fine alembic brandy. You might see that everything I want us to make, is what I want on a little stand beside my rocker, where I will sit as the sun sets over the vineyards and fields of goats, nibbling on goat cheese and smoked salmon, and savoring a fine brandy.

@redmanlaw: No, but congrats! I’ve never really been into talk radio, I like music going constantly. I’m streaming a glitch/IDM channel from soma.fm at home that I only turn off in order to play videogames. At work , I just listen to KEXP.

@Promnight: I would immediately get behind a commune producing lox and cream cheese. But Nova AND Belly lox … I have my standards.

@redmanlaw: I didn’t, but I just want to say, because I never have before, that I am with you. I grew up a total suburban veal, no appreciation for or introduction to the wild, the world, in my youth. No hunting tradition, no guns, nothing. City parents, only recently moved to the suburbs.

But I learned it, on my own, in my 20s, and it was not easy, I had no introduction to outdoorsmanship. I read books about it. I went to national parks and took long day hikes, but tented in the campground. My first real wilderness camping, near Sedona, was the biggest thrill.

I have seen what the hunters do, Ducks Unlimited in my area, hunters do more to preserve wilderness and protect wildlife than everyone else put together. I think this is way underappreciated.

And gun control, that issue we should drop. Fuck it. Its not worth the damage. Its not worth anything. When about 100 more important issues get solved, then maybe we look at it.

@Promnight: I just invited my oldest friend in the world to peek in on the clubhouse. Hopefully she’ll drop by and offer tips on raising beef and growing a lot of one’s own food in the short growing seasons out by Durango.

@redmanlaw: If you’ve got a sound clip, send it and we’ll post it.

@redmanlaw: I don’t care what it is, we grow artisanal beans, and raise goats. Herding goats works where nothing else will. Anywhere, I know, with you all, we’d be OK.

@Promnight: Too bad the Stinque Foundation, Inc. can’t buy the old ranch.

@Pedonator: remember 1st Interstate?

I still use a deposit pouch from First National Bank of Oregon, one of its regional units. That and the 76 ball on my wireless phone antenna have somehow survived the years with me.

As I vaguely recall, 1st Interstate was originally a holding company for state banks, and it rebranded the lot of them in anticipation of looser banking regulations in the early ’70s. The notion of a bank being too big to fail would have been inconceivable, since banks had to operate within state borders.

I say we abolish all safety regulations. Since fewer people are getting killed, clearly they’re no longer needed.

Wow, you guys are up late. What’s up? Where are the girls?

@Tommmcatt Yet Again: Mrs RML is an arm’s length away on FB while I’m writing a memo, drinking a Hendrick’s martini and listening to Portishead. Also, it’s only 9:37 pm in Santa Fe.

@redmanlaw:

I always assume everyone is on the east coast, for some reason. Even SFL.

@Tommmcatt Yet Again: Nope, only 8:40 here. Just got home and had dinner and am watching Colbert Report reruns. I’m not allowed to watch Rachel Maddow anymore per Mr. SFL because I “get too worked up” when I watch her. Now we’re having the nightly standoff to see who will wash the dishes (no dishwasher here). I think I will win since I made dinner.

@Mistress Cynica: I am not moving back to Oregon — high 70s in Sandy Eggo today. Can we substitute a beachfront apartment complex for the commune?

@SanFranLefty: You get to watch the wave of martinis wash over the east coast and middle america stinquers; no wonder you always seem the wise seer and soul of commense sense and moderation, you are the only one sober.

@nojo: Is there anyone who knows how to make LSD? Would that work in a condo?

@blogenfreude: Looks like only the first hour of three is available for streaming on demand or podcast.

These fucknozzles in Sacramento couldn’t get a budget done on time if you fucking held guns to their heads and threatened to pull the triggers at the stroke of midnight. Thank FSM I’m moving out of this stupid state in a month. I’m sick of writing budget stories on these douchebags.

@Signal to Noise: My greatest fear as a Young Reporter was ending up as city editor for the Salem Statesman-Jounal. Which is why I’m not an Old Reporter.

@Signal to Noise: Haha I saw your twitter about koala-punching, I’m still giggling. Where are you moving to?

Hey kids. Miss you all. HF has been crazy busy at work and some new commitments, and now I am off to Florida at the buttcrack of dawn for some vaca. Mr. HF and I celebrated 5 years today, although we aren’t actually celebrating until we down in the warmth.

Oh yeah, sorry about your shitty broke-ass state.

@Signal to Noise: Husker Du, Everything Falls Apart

I got nothing to do
You got nothing to say
Everything is so fucked up
I guess it’s natural that way.

Everything falls apart

____

No Husker Du, but here’s Metallica, That Was Just Your Life

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yfbe3fGZKl0&feature=related

____

@ nojo

I could not see myself as a career prosecutor moving up to murders and shit, so I bailed. Same thing, although I know I would have been a great super reporter or regional guy.

Thread motherfucking jack. I just spent 45 minutes listening to Buddy Holly on Youtube. The one I recomend most highly is the fast version demo of “Slippin and sliding” recorded in his NY apartment just before he died. There is a seemless transition from Holly to the early Beatles, absolutely seemless, like Radiohead to Coldplay. I also listened to Ritchie Valens. Poor bastards.

Alls I know is, if anyone on earth spent a half hour thinking about me, on the 50th anniversary of my death, I would say I was a success.

@redmanlaw: I worked as a PD, but I couldn’t see myself defending murderers and rapists. Then I went into private practice, and in the end, I noticed that 99% of all human conflicts and disagreements are unnnecessary and there is no fucking right or wrong, so often, and I started drinking heavily, and haven’t stopped.

@drinkyclown: I lurve KEXP. I only know the podcasts, but they’re fantastic.

@drinkyclown: I had a friend who really enjoyed some wacko late-night Nevada dude (well-known, but I can’t remember the name), but I could never muster enough irony to appreciate it.

(Ah, of course: Art Bell.)

@mellbell: Yeah, they rock! You can stream it from their site, the music is great and even their pledge drives are entertaining.

@nojo: Art Bell, jeez, my friend was sooo into him in the nineties. I’ve always been interested in Fortean stuff, cryptozoology and unexplained phenomena, but I found his show a little wing-nutty, most of his callers were the stereotypical tinfoil-hat crowd, it seemed.

@Dave H:
how about jerry springer? he was a mayer somewhere in ohio.
usamerica is a scary place…and i’m in israel!

@nojo:
i vote for beachfront condo complex. it’s freezing here. i had an interesting voyage. my flight to london was diverted to bumfuck england due to a blizzard at heathrow. they put us on a freezing crowded bus for 5 1/2 hours, in a blizzard!) back to heathrow. veeery cranky people, bickering, loud arguments, threats of lawsuits, natch.
snow is so overated.

@Tommmcatt Yet Again:
whattaya mean where are the girls? are you confused again?
remember when you thought i was a man? good times. and that was before i realized i was a gay man in the wrong body (but the right preferences.

@baked: Cincinnati. It’s a strange, strange place. Good food, though.

@Dodgerblue: That’s right! I used to catch the train across the street from her school.

@redmanlaw: I always knew you were a star!

@SanFranLefty: No dishwasher here either. Jr is doing them right now (after being threatened with me cutting off the home intertubes and taking his keyboard with me to work so he couldn’t jump on someone else’s unencrypted wireless. And I would be schlepping my computer and the AT&T wireless doodad to ensure total internet blackout).

@nojo: Exactly! I cannot be landlocked or cold.

@nojo: I’m confused — I thought hydroponics were only good for growing weed and that LSD was some purely synthetic chemical concoction.

@drinkyclown: @Signal to Noise: I, too, read a funny tweet about koala punching, but as far as I know, I’m not following STN. STN, do you have a different handle on Twitter?

@baked: Glad you had a safe trip despite the weather shenanigans.

@Tommmcatt Yet Again: I have some hydroponics growing now, I have one of those self-contained herb gardens, I got it for christmas, its great, if ony, if only. Self-sufficiency is key.

@nojo: I’m in broadcast, so there’s no danger of that. I know people who work for the local papers on city beats — they LOATHE city council meetings.

@drinkyclown: the City of Roses, Portland, Oregon.

@JNOV: no, same handle, just remove the spaces in between.

@redmanlaw: who thought a trio of St. Paul dudes would have encapsulated just how screwy this damn state is with one fucking verse.

Oh, BTW: this budget shit gets even funnier today, because my do-fuck-all state senator just got his dander up over the state controller (who isn’t issuing tax refund checks because we’re flat broke) getting a couple mil worth of new furniture.

@Signal to Noise: Are you in SLO? It’s one of my favorite towns in Cali. I spent much of my childhood tramping around in the general vicinity of the Madonna Inn due to family members living nearby.

Buon viage to Portland. Get ready for rain and white people. You can go drink wine with Cynica, though…so it’s all good.

@SanFranLefty: yes. I found a pleasant apartment close enough to downtown to walk to and from the bars yet far enough from Cal Poly to avoid the cops. I am rather disappointed to give up my nice place and location, but career and personal matters demand it. Staying in one place for three years is forever in my business, and I think this city is limited to two types of single women: undergraduates and cougars. I will forever love the Madonna Inn not only for its decor, but because it makes the best chocolate cake EVER.

I will be happy to deal with rain and white people because I miss winter, and it’s worth it if I can make it so I only have to drive if I go shopping or leave the city completely.

@Signal to Noise:
You may have to drive more often than that in Portland. When are you moving? Are you traveling through Es Eff? Not that I want to be a queen bee, but if you’re driving near my hive, come have a drink or four with me.

@SanFranLefty: I can dream.

Moving at the end of the month. Don’t know yet whether I’ll take my truck through SF. If I do, I shall let you know.

@Signal to Noise:

Puh-fuckin-leeze.

Hwy 101 passes through Ess Eff, verdad?

It’s kind of out of your way to avoid us and go from SLO to I-5 and avoid the Bay Area. Besides, why would you want to avoid the siren song of the Bay Area?

And have to go through Ex-cre-mento?

@SanFranLefty: my wallet? (I kid.)

Seriously, I just haven’t planned the route or thought of it yet. I can only stare at my apartment and think of the boxes I’m collecting and will fill after I spend next week in PDX looking for an apartment. But the odds are 99.9% that I will go through the Bay because I’d rather not take the 46 out of Paso Robles to get to the 5. There’s a reason they call it Blood Alley, and I’d rather not do it with a Penske truck.

(Also, there is that avoiding Sacramento business.)

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