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This PowerPoint presentation amply illustrates the differences between pub clientele of Stockholm and pub clientele of Newcastle. Although we can draw our conclusions, I suspect that this is more amusing when viewed within a cultural context that we Yanks are unfamiliar with.
Rated PG. No nudity but this is definitely racy. May offend those with delicate sensibilities or refined tastes. You probably won't share this with your pastor or your third grader.
Shikha and Mrs TWC nailed that Meathead guy once again this morning in the Wall Street Journal. If you're a subscriber you can read it online here. If you're not, Mrs TWC has it on her blog, Education Weak.
LOS ANGELES -- Celebrities with a social conscience are a growing breed in Hollywood. But it would be nice if they'd stick to whales and landmines and leave our children alone.
Unfortunately, California parents have no such luck. Movie-director-turned-child-advocate Rob Reiner recently acquired a million signatures to put his Preschool for All initiative on the California ballot next June, his second attempt to launch a "universal" preschool program.
If enacted, it will bump the state's top tax rate to 12% in exchange for offering three hours a day of child care for 36 weeks a year. Frankly, I don't see how that justifies spending billions of dollars on a new program that only stay-at-home moms needing some downtime can avail themselves of. Most working people need child care all day, all year. More here.
But the people most dreading Mr. Reiner's latest foray are not the super-rich, who would no doubt find ways to dodge -- by moving out of the state if necessary -- what would effectively be a 19% increase in their tax rate. The real victims would be low- to middle-income women who run nearly all private early-care centers that comprise 70% of California's child-care industry.
Beyond that, it would hand over the state's pre-schoolers to the governmental educational establishment that is...
...run by teachers with precisely the kind of fancy education degrees drawing union wages that Mr. Reiner wants in preschools. California's fourth graders' reading and math scores are 47th among the 50 states on national tests. Furthermore, a study by the Rand Corporation this year found California's children trailing on every objective measurement of student achievement -- even after controlling for its disproportionate number of low-income, minority kids.
Lots more to say, but TWC is dangerously close to straying away from the primary tax analysis of this measure, which justifies this screed in the first place. Okay so I'm so far off the beaten path I'll need a sack lunch and a sleeping bag to get back over there. I'm sorry, but the coming wholesale decimation of an entire private sector industry that was largely created by entrepreneurial women, many of whom are minorities that found a market niche, and many who also serve minority communities, leaves me with a bad taste in my mouth.
Even though TWC hadn't seen it before, this exceptional blues short, set to Lonnie Mack's Oreo Cookie Blues, has been around a while. Download the clip here or watch it here. Your kids or grandkids will enjoy it as well.
Terrance Alexander has been suspended or reprimanded 13 times by the Atlanta Police Department since 2001 for violating department rules. The department fired him in May, after he pulled a woman from her car, threw her to the ground, handcuffed and arrested her for stopping too long at the airport while she was picking up her 78-year-old mother. Alexander was not assigned to the airport but was working a second job directing traffic. The woman settled a lawsuit against the police department for $350,000, but a civil service board ordered the department to reinstate Alexander.
So, the Old Lady isn't having enough fun lately. Last night she hosts a table (not sure exactly what that means) at the Beverly Wilshire. Fancy shindig celebrating the 50th anniversary of Milton Friedman's ideas on school choice. And, yeah, Rob from the Friedman Foundation wondered where I was. At Sam's Club, Dude. With two kids, one of whom was only ambulatory because I doped him up (heavily) with Children's Motrin before leaving the Casa. Near as I can tell, Californicate Governor Schwarzengroper was a special guest of honor and was, apparently, quite engaging (not that TWC would know, mind you). Heard the chow wasn't bad neither. You guys really ought to read Free to Choose.
That guy Meathead just annoys me to no end. Somebody ought to buy him a cigar and tell him to lay off the fried foods. For more than a year we denizens of the Golden State have been bombarded by innocuous sounding infomercials touting the bennies of pre-school.
What is the connection between Meathead and pre-school? Easy, Reiner has hijacked millions of dollars from the fifty-cents-per-pack Tobacco Tax fund to soften up the electorate and lull them into a YES vote on HIS universal pre-school initiative come June.
That’s illegal you say? Not quite. Reiner is walking just this side of illegal because he never once mentions his initiative; only that preschool is good for kids and good for society. It falls under TWC rule number 2:
What’s legal isn’t always moral
What’s illegal isn’t always immoral
I set out this morning to pitch Shikha and Mrs TWC’s piece appearing in the San Francisco Chronicle, and I got sidetracked. Sorry.
If Reiner's initiative is approved in June, individuals making more than $400,000 a year ($800,000 for families) will face a 1.7 percent tax increase to raise $2.5 billion to finance three hours of free preschool a day for all of California's 4-year-olds -- even the 62 percent who already attend preschool without universal subsidies.
As a tax guy, I can clarify that tax increase. It means that the top personal income tax rate in California will increase from 9.3% to 11.0% 12.0% (1.7 percentage points on top of the 1.0 percentage point increase in tax effective in 2005 applied to incomes of one million and up that I forgot about). That's really a 19% increase in the rate of tax.
Then there is the Canadian model.
The final price tag for Quebec's day care program is 33 times what was originally projected: It was supposed to cost $230 million over five years, but now gobbles $1.7 billion every year.
You can make book that Reiner’s initiative will become law. He has enormous resources available to him, including the $5.00 per carton that you smokers cough up (get it?) every week or so. He's also willing to go to the mat to protect his personal bucket of taxpayer's blood, vowing to oppose other efforts to tack additional taxes onto smokes in order to fund hospital trauma rooms.
The opposition? Lisa, Shikha, and a dozen others who are working with hundreds of dollars rather than millions, and besides, who could oppose free universal child care? Not sure where in the Constitution that part is, but I'm sure someone can enlighten me.
One more reason to leave the Great State of Californicate.