110-Year-Old Gubernatorial Advice on Legislating

“The evil of an individual, as a general rule, affects him alone, for his power of injuring the few around him can be summarily restrained.

“But the wrong of a bad law affects the whole community and its poison may spread before discovery and the injury may be irreparable, though afterward annulled by a decision of a court or repealed by an act of a future Legislature.    Read more »



Sage Advice from the Oracle of Omaha

“Rule No. 1: Never lose money.

“Rule No. 2: Never forget Rule No. 1”

                                                  — Warren Buffett    Read more »



The Origin of California’s Great Seal

The state seal was approved during the constitutional convention convened September 4, 1849, one year prior to California’s 1850 admission as the 31st state.

Major Robert S. Garnett, a native of Virginia, was the designer. Twenty-seventh in his class at West Point and sent to California to deliver dispatches, Garnett became the academy’s commandant in 1852.    Read more »



Another Lesson in Latin and Roman History From California’s Governor (Annotated)

California’s governor holds a 1961 degree in classics from the University of California at Berkeley.

Invariably, at some point during encounters with the press he offers some bit of Latin or allusion to Roman history in order to prove it.

(There has been some grumbling among the Greco-philes of the Capitol Press Corps about the Fairness Doctrine.)

Brown’s December 27 offering included a quote from Marcus Tullius Cicero, the famed orator, author, statesman and consul fromthe Roman Republic.    Read more »


Brown the Elder & Brown the Younger

Brown the Elder & Brown the Younger

At a wide-ranging meeting with reporters to discuss his accomplishments in 2011, Gov. Jerry Brown “invoked” — his verb — his father, Gov. Pat Brown several times.

Discussing the role of the chief executive and the Legislature and how, in the interest of “comity” the governor sometimes signs bills with little impact or import merely to forge a better working relationship with lawmakers, Brown noted that his father was “very hesitant to veto” bills that had a “strong vote” in the Legislature.     Read more »



Will the State Reach Its December Income and Corporate Revenue Projections?

More than $5.7 billion in income tax collections and $1.4 billion in corporate taxes are supposed to flow into California coffers during the month of December.

So says the predictions in the state budget enacted June 30, which the Brown administration and legislative budget writers say is already $2.2 billion to $3.7 billion, respectively, short of estimates.    Read more »



Happy Birthday Governor Merriam!

Born December 22, 1865, Frank Finley Merriam – nicknamed “Marble Top” because of his bald pate – became California’s 28th governor on June 2, 1934.

At 68, the Long Beach Republican was the oldest man to become governor until the current occupant of the Capitol’s corner office began his third four-year turn in the wheelhouse at age 72.    Read more »



A lively December 2011 Episode of “Politics on Tap” featuring the dulcet vocal stylings of  Jim E arp, California Transportation Commission Member, Franciso Silva, General Counsel of the California Medical Association and Anthony York, Statehouse Reporter for the Los Angeles Times

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Yet Another Word That Deserves Revival: “Cousin-Betty”


“A deranged woman. ‘Cousin Tommy’ is applied to a man in that melancholy situation.”

— William Carr’s Dialect of Craven, 1828

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For the Edification of Governor Brown: “Income Inequality in the Roman Empire”

A subscriber forwards this article by Tim de Chant, a science writer.

In the piece, he examines an academic study that measures how much wealth was concentrated in how few hands during the height of the Roman Empire in 150 C.E.*

At a December 13 press conference, Gov. Jerry Brown, holder of a 1961 degree in classics from the University of California at Berkeley, said the current gulf between America’s haves and have-nots is akin to Ancient Rome where “it was the same fight between the aristocrats and the plebians.” 

Not exactly  — as De Chant and the study by Walter Schiedel and Steven Friesen show.     Read more »