Sunday, June 19, 2016

Your Father's Day News and Review

It is Father's Day. That one moment out of this entire arduous year where the remote and disinterested working stiff who pays everyone's bills gets dragged off to an Olive Garden at some godforsaken Caruso Mall with a few thousand unskilled leisure amateurs. And under those very difficult circumstances is celebrated over a blooming onion, some cheesy bread, and your choice of soup or a salad. But never both.

OK, so that is my jaundiced view of today's special event. I've always chosen to believe that Father's Day is a faux holiday invented by Hallmark Cards so they could move some serious amounts of colored cardboard. At this point in my life there will to be no changing my opinion about that.

And just so you know, we're celebrating the day at my house by watching the 7th game of the NBA playoffs. Beer will be served in agreeable quantities and no, I will not be wanting a tie this year. They just don't fit with the Hank Williams III t-shirts I've been wearing lately.

However, and as you certainly must be aware, fathers do like to read the news. They want to know that there are far worse things out in the world than the kinds of grim nonsense they have to deal with on a daily basis. And why not? We all need our small moments of escapist fantasy.

In that spirit I have selected the following news stories for all of you dads out there.

Addiction Treatment Industry Worried Lax Ethics Could Spell Its Doom (The Huffington Post - link): The premier organization representing drug treatment providers met in South Florida recently for its annual convention. The theme of this year’s gathering — “The Addiction Industry at a Crossroads” — only hinted at the internal tensions and external pressures reshaping a troubled industry.

The opioid epidemic, which just added Prince to its list of victims, has shoved the addiction industry into the spotlight, and many here at the National Association of Addiction Treatment Providers conference worried aloud how the industry’s lax ethical standards would look in the new glare.

Nor is greater attention to ethics the providers’ only threat. Drug treatment is now big business, and a wave of consolidation is sweeping the industry, as private equity firms and publicly traded companies look to cash in on the surging rates of addiction. Federal regulators, meanwhile, are pushing to reform the very nature of the services offered by treatment centers.

How the addiction industry faces up to all these changes will help set the course of drug treatment for years to come.

(Mod: So the suggestion here is that the sober house industry might be corrupt? Say it ain't so.)

Pasadena woman arrested for rock-throwing vandalism in Arcadia, Sierra Madre (The Pasadena Star News - link): Police officers in Arcadia Saturday morning pulled over a woman in a black Mini Cooper who was wanted for throwing rocks into buildings and vehicles in Arcadia and Sierra Madre, authorities said.

Sierra Madre police said the woman is accused of throwing rocks through windows of three buildings and one parked car Saturday morning, but didn’t release the time or locations.

Shortly after a bulletin on the Sierra Madre incidents went out at about 7:30 a.m., Arcadia officers who were also investigating similar cases of vandalism spotted the woman in her car and stopped her, said Arcadia police Sgt. E. Lopez.

The 35-year-old Pasadena woman was taken to a hospital for a mental evaluation and treatment, he said.

When officers searched the woman’s car they found numerous rocks similar to the rocks found at the crime scenes, police said.

(Mod: There are plenty of buildings in Pasadena she could have thrown rocks at. So why did this person feel the need to travel here?)

Ex-Calif. State Sen. Leland Yee, gun control champion, heading to prison for weapons trafficking (The Washington Post - link): On the surface, the story of Leland Yee looks like a precipitous fall from grace.

The 67-year-old had risen steadily in the ranks of Bay Area politics since the late 80s, when he was elected to the San Francisco School Board. He then went on to sit on the city’s Board of Supervisors and in the State Assembly. The latter role saw him become the first Asian American speaker pro tem in 2004, making him the second-highest ranking Democrat in the California assembly at the time.

From 2006 onwards, Yee served as a state senator and was plotting a secretary of state campaign when his political visions were curtailed by a federal indictment in March 2014.

The arrest swept Yee and his associate Keith Jackson, 51, up in charges alongside some of the city’s most notorious characters, notable among them Chinatown gangster Raymond “Shrimp Boy” Chow.

It was one thing for the public to learn that Chow, a known convict, may have become embroiled in more objectionable schemes. But it was quite another to hear that Yee, a respected public figure who had supposedly distanced himself from San Francisco’s corrupt past, was being accused through the same undercover FBI investigation.

This Wednesday, Yee received a five-year prison sentence for accepting bribes and trafficking in arms.

It was one thing for the public to learn that Chow, a known convict, may have become embroiled in more objectionable schemes. But it was quite another to hear that Yee, a respected public figure who had supposedly distanced himself from San Francisco’s corrupt past, was being accused through the same undercover FBI investigation.

This Wednesday, Yee received a five-year prison sentence for accepting bribes and trafficking in arms.

(Mod: A gun running pro-gun control State Senator from California? Yee's time in jail will give him some time to sort through his confusion.)

California Lawmakers Mobilize to Weaken Transparency Initiative (Reason - link): Almost everyone has some idea for fixing whatever is wrong in Sacramento, ranging from new campaign spending limits to a requirement that legislators wear NASCAR-style sponsor logos. Such reforms, however interesting they might sound in theory, never change anything.

The problem, of course, is the state government is so big and spends so much money that lobbyists will always try to control and influence it. Real reform would mean reining in the power of government—an idea that's never on the table.

Does that mean we abandon any hope of making state government more accountable? Probably not, but it's important to focus on reforms that work—rather than simply venting our populist anger.

One of the most significant proposed reforms since the passage of property-tax-limiting Proposition 13 in 1978 is headed toward the November ballot. Backed by former Republican state Sen. Sam Blakeslee of San Luis Obispo and funded by moderate GOP donor Charles Munger Jr., "The California Legislature Transparency Act" is far more significant than its title would suggest.

The initiative has such potential to shake up the way legislation is passed that legislative leaders spent the week trying to undermine it. Backers of the Blakeslee/Munger measure have submitted a million-plus signatures. It is likely to pass by overwhelming margins. Opponents' only way to derail it is to confuse voters by placing a similar-sounding, but weaker, measure on the ballot and passing a related reform in the Capitol.

The transparency act's main provision requires that "no bill may be passed or ultimately become a statute unless the bill with any amendments has been printed, distributed to the members, and published on the Internet, in its final form, for at least 72 hours before the vote" can be taken. It includes emergency exceptions.

Legislators often pass "gut-and-amend" measures in which the original bill's language is stripped out and replaced with something completely different. The transformed bill is rammed through in the final moments of the session. Often, legislators haven't even read the details of what they approved. No one—except for the legislative leaders and lobbyists who cobbled together the bill—knows what happened until it's too late to do anything about it.

The initiative also requires all committee hearings to be recorded (audio and video) and made publicly available within 24 hours. It gives the public the right to record hearings and floor sessions with their own phones and recorders. The measure is based on the simple concept that openness leads to better government and less bad behavior.

No wonder the Legislature is scurrying for a softer alternative. Many lawmakers want SCA14 to go on the same ballot. If this constitutional amendment passes with more votes, the Blakeslee-Munger initiative would not go into effect. SCA14, passed in committee, deals with the 72-hour transparency issue but critics say it's so laden with loopholes it renders the reform nearly meaningless—even after some last-minute amendments that bring it a bit closer to the initiative.

(Mod: I think California must have one of the worst state legislatures anywhere.)

 sierramadretattler.blogspot.com

23 comments:

  1. "Shrimp boy" Chow sounds like something to eat.

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  2. Is there a Hank IV?

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    1. ...go on you tube and search SEND ME DEAD FLOWERS....Keith Richards, Willie Nelson and Hank Williams III.

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    2. Keith Richards can be surprising. I mean as a musician, not just that he's living after what he's done to himself.
      https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8jbgPHAQVbk

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  3. Wow, Danny Downer on the Father's Day stuff......I would give ANYTHING to be able to hug my Dad today, real piece of work you are Sparky.

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    1. This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

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    2. 8:07 -not cool

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    3. Really harsh 8:07. You sound like you're paying the price this morning for cracking open that second liter last night. Amazing how it made so much sense then, didn't it? But not now!

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    4. Fathers Day, like Mothers Day, is a made-up ritual. Eventually they might achieve the status in society of time-honored tradition, but now they are still so heavily linked to their commercial origin that the Moderator is quite right - they were inspired by the business communities that benefit from them.
      It's not such a bad thing though, to thank the people in our lives every once in a while. Might as well be today.

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    5. At some point, all ritual is "made up." The meaningful ones last.

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  4. Stoning is passeJune 19, 2016 at 8:52 AM

    Give her a gun

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    1. I think she showed great ingenuity in her choice of armament.
      She must have wandered around looking for rocks and putting them in her car.
      At least they were free.

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    2. I wonder what she was mad about.

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    3. Modern life?

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  5. One nutso person who didn't have a gun. How lucky are we! Go Warriors! I love Steph Curry, who no longer looks like he's 12, more like 18, especially next to LeBron.

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  6. Mod, according to the article you linked to a while back, the Feds were going to be reforming some of the regulations for rehab houses, and the reforms were expected by August.
    So, yeah, that industry must be nervous. Imagine, a superb hustle disturbed by accountability.

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    1. The three CA Assembly bills that passed last spring, the revisions at the Federal level - sounds like a lot more is going on than our Planning Director knows about.

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    2. But organizing and creating change takes a problem solving attitude.
      Not the same thing as sighing and saying "There's nothing we can do"

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  7. Off topic, but it's the Tattler, does anyone have an opinion about drinking our water now that it's the mixture? We have been buying bottled water for a few years now, but the quality of the tap water seems to be better.

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    1. Do you feel lucky? Well, do you?

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    2. Thanks, 12:49, and darn it. I was hoping to stop buying the stuff.

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  8. The game is about to start.

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  9. This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

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