|"Will you just look at the time!"|
Personally I think we put an awful lot of faith in chaining everything to the time it takes this planet to revolve once around the sun. There could have been other criteria for the year, you know. Like maybe the length time it takes an oak tree to reach 25 feet. Or perhaps how long it takes your newborn son to grow a decent beard. Some never do. However, I am going to have to let this go, at least for now. The calendars are already printed, the parties planned and the caterers have ordered champagne. It is too late to change things. Maybe next time.
So here is the last news. At least for 2012. Hopefully I'll get this "year thing" all worked out and we won't have to have another one of these for a while.
China Requiring People To Visit Their Parents (click here): Visit your parents. That's an order. So says China, whose national legislature on Friday amended its law on the elderly to require that adult children visit their aged parents "often" - or risk being sued by them.
The amendment does not specify how frequently such visits should occur.
State media say the new clause will allow elderly parents who feel neglected by their children to take them to court. The move comes as reports abound of elderly parents being abandoned or ignored by their children.
A rapidly developing China is facing increasing difficulty in caring for its aging population. Three decades of market reforms have accelerated the breakup of the traditional extended family in China, and there are few affordable alternatives, such as retirement or care homes, for the elderly or others unable to live on their own.
(Mod: Now that is frightening. Given the rate new laws are passed in California, someone in Sacramento is likely to hear about this and there go our perfectly good Thanksgivings at the bowling alley. Look at it this way, this could halt the westward migration of young people to California. Think about all the people who moved here just to get away from their folks in New York. And here is something even more scary. What if they're living in the Kensington? Perhaps all of those planned store fronts will end up being rented by lawyers.)
All the new laws enacted in Sacramento for the year 2012 (click here).
(Mod: There are 56 pages of these newly "enacted bills," with approximately 8 to 12 listed on each page. It must have cost millions of taxpayer dollars just to to pass all these damn things. I do have a favorite, though. AB 2274, "vexatious litigants." As opposed to civil litigants, I suppose?)
Pet chicken alerts family about house fire (click here): They say heroes come in all shapes, sizes, and now species. When Brad Krueger raised this chicken on his farm, he never knew it would one day grow up and save his neighbors. "I've heard animals waking people up but not a chicken," he said.
It all started Thursday morning when the fire department says a huge fire broke out at a home in Alma Center. The smoke detectors were not working, the people inside were asleep. That is, until the chicken sensed something was wrong.
"She said she heard the commotion of the chicken and all that stuff," Krueger added.
The people inside the home also told Krueger the cat started making noise. They smelled fire, opened the garage door, and it was full of smoke.
"We were halfway into town and you could look into town and all you could see was an orange glow," said Jeff Gaede, the Fire Chief in Alma Center.
He says the home and everything inside is a total loss. Because the house sits up on a hill beyond a private driveway, we were are not able to show you video of what is left. But even Gaede is surprised how the family got out. "I guess at first I was really amazed, we've never run into a chicken before," he said.
(Mod: Perhaps we were entirely too dismissive of Mayor Moran's efforts to amend our chicken ordinances.)
Caltrans to raise rents on tenants living in the path of 710 Freeway (click here): Caltrans mailed letters out Friday notifying 310 tenants of the homes it owns in the Long Beach (710) Freeway extension path that their rents will increase starting next year.
Rents will begin increasing in 10percent increments starting on March1, 2013, until they reach "fair market" rates, said Caltrans spokesman Will Shuck. Caltrans' other 250 tenants will either pay the same or less rent.
The letters come in response to a state audit released this summer that slammed the transportation agency for "poor management" of the more than 500 properties it purchased decades ago to make way for a surface freeway from El Sereno to Pasadena.
The audit, commissioned by former Assemblyman Anthony Portantino, D-Pasadena, said Caltrans cost the state millions in lost rent revenue.
"The Bureau of State Audits ... noted that many of the Caltrans-owned properties along SR710 were renting below fair market value, in violation of the state constitution's prohibition on providing a gift of public funds," Shuck said. "Subsequent legal advice has concurred with the auditor's view, so the department must revise rental rates to operate the program consistent with the law."
(Mod: Caltrans being, of course, the people we are expected to entrust with the spending of $10s of billions of dollars to dig a truck tunnel under Pasadena. This when they cannot even follow the law on managing rental properties.)
Steven Greenhut: New Year's predictions for California (click here): California's Democratic leaders are giddy about the future now that they have gained everything they wanted in the recent election – voter-approved tax increases and two-thirds supermajorities in both houses of the Legislature, thus rendering Republicans little more than an annoying irrelevancy who can no longer block tax hikes.
Will Democrats just ramp up the taxing-and-spending spree or will some semblance of a "moderate" Democratic caucus emerge to offer a limited check on those tendencies? Either way, it's hard to find good news for taxpayers or business owners, although the state's public-sector unions ought to be stocking up on champagne.
(Mod: Of course I am a big Steven Greenhut fan, who isn't? If you go to the article you'll see that Greenhut lists his 10 predictions for 2012, none of them particularly sunny. Which is fine with me. The underlying theme being one party government isn't going to be a good thing for our already disastrously governed state.)
Ford C-Max "Fastest selling hybrid vehicle ever at launch" says Ford (click here): Ford Motor Company says its C-Max Hybrid became the fastest-selling hybrid vehicle ever upon its launch, selling one car shy of 9,000 examples through October and November, the first two months the C-Max Hybrid has been on sale in America.
In a press release, Ford was bold enough to predict C-Max Hybrid sales through December would be more than 40% higher than the combined first three months’ sales of the Toyota Prius and Honda Insight hybrids when they were unleashed on the American marketplace in the year 2000.
C.J. O’Donnell, group marketing manager of Electrification at Ford, said, “Dealers are seeing an overwhelmingly positive response to C-MAX hybrids and are excited to finally take on Prius, with some offering comparison test drives right on their lots. Our customers also are excited to have a fresh hybrid option, with leading fuel economy that does not sacrifice driving fun, performance and technology– choices typically not offered with hybrids.”
(Mod: Thank God America now has some credible competition to the Prius.)
Joel Kotkin: California's Demographic Dilemma (click here): It's been nearly 20 years since California Gov. Pete Wilson won re-election by tying his campaign to the anti-illegal immigrant measure Proposition 187. Ads featuring grainy images of presumably young Hispanic males crossing the border energized a largely white electorate terrified of being overwhelmed, financially and socially, by the incoming foreign hordes.
The demographic dilemma facing California today might be better illustrated by pictures of aging hippies with gray ponytails, of legions in wheel-chairs, seeking out the best rest home and unemployed young people on the street corner, watching while middle-age families drive away, seeking to fulfill mundane middle-class dreams in other states.
The vital, youthful California I encountered when moving here more than 40 years ago soon could be a thing of the past – if we don't address the root causes of an impending demographic decline. The days of fast population growth have certainly passed; the state's population growth barely equaled the national average in the past decade. In the urban strips along the coasts, particularly in the Los Angeles Basin, growth has been as little or half that level.
To be sure, particularly in this region, few would want to see a return to breakneck population growth. But there's little denying that California has shifted from a vibrant magnet for the young and ambitious to a state increasingly bifurcated between an aging, predominately white coastal population and a largely impoverished, heavily Hispanic interior. This evolution, as suggested in last week's essay (click here), has much to do with what passes for "progressive" policies – high taxation, regulation and an Ecotopian delusion that threatens to crush the hopes of many blue-collar and middle-class Californians.
(Mod: We're about to become the new Florida? Probably explains the ALF and whatever it is they're about to spring on us at the British Home. Geriatopia Madre. And doesn't "Ecotopian delusion" describe the Green Committee's devious designs rather nicely?)
I hate to end the year on such a negative note. Well, OK, not really all that much. But have a Happy New Year anyway.