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March 4, 1864: “The Saint of the Pacific Coast” Lays Down His Burdens

That’s what contemporaries call Universalist and Unitarian minister Thomas Starr King, who  lies on his San Francisco deathbed, 160 years ago.  According to Charles Wendte’s 1921 biography of Starr King, the resonant orator — whose passionate sermons are instrumental in keeping California in the Union during the Civil War — tells his wife, Julia:

“Don’t weep for me. I know it’s all right. I wish I could make you feel so; I wish I could describe my feelings. It’s strange. I see all the privileges and greatness of the future. It already looks grand, beautiful. Tell them at home I went Read more »



On February 25, 160 Years Ago…

As soon as lawmakers deliver him the approved bill, Gov. John Bigler ends California’s five-year game of musical capitals by signing legislation making Sacramento California’s permanent seat of government.

The current capital is Benicia. Previously it’s been Monterey, San Jose, briefly Sacramento and Vallejo. Benicia’s representatives are eager to have Benicia remain the capital. They join with lawmakers from other parts of the state to block Sacramento’s attempts to “remove” the capital there.  At first their efforts succeed – despite support for moving the capital from Bigler, a Sacramentan. In his January 4 message to the Legislature, Bigler tells Read more »



Preventing a Final Indignity

Death certificates are the latest battleground for gay rights advocates trying to ensure that the gender a person identifies with in life carries over into death.

A bill introduced recently aimed at ensuring the death certificates of transgender persons reflect their chosen gender is the latest legislative effort to vouchsafe the rights of this small category of Californians.

“A person should rest in peace after death as the same person they were during life. For transgender people, their gender identity may not be consistently recognized after death by family, friends and even officials,” said Assemblywoman Toni Atkins, a San Diego Read more »



Is New School Vaccine Law Undermined By Reporting Rules?

Regulations implementing a new law aimed at reducing the number of unvaccinated kids attending school may do just the opposite.

A 2012 bill, which took effect January 1, requires parents seeking an exemption from vaccinations against diseases like measles and whooping cough, to first talk with a health care provider about the risks and benefits of vaccines.

But the form designed by the Brown administration to prove the conversation took place includes a “religious exemption” that easily allows any parent to not only avoid having their children inoculated but avoid talking to health care officials at all.

“We disagree with the decision Read more »



California Corporate Tax Collections Lag Estimates

It’s a litany of good news in Gov. Jerry Brown’s election-year budget. Safety net programs are being shored up. Debt is being repaid. Revenues are rising.

Except for corporate taxes.

In fact, business tax receipts are falling at the same time hefty profits are being posted by major companies across the country.

Partly, the lagging revenues are due to the variance between tax years, which cover a calendar year, and California’s fiscal years, which run from July 1 to June 30. But primarily the sluggish and mercurial business tax receipts stem from policy changes enacted, starting in 2008, by the Democratic Read more »



Pete Seeger (1919 – 2014)



  “Passing Through”……………………. 




Passing through. Passing through.

Sometimes happy, Sometimes blue.

Glad that I ran in to you.

Tell the people that you saw me passing through.


I saw Adam leave the garden with an apple in his hand, 

I said, “Now you’re out, what are you gonna do?

Plant some crops and pray for rain, maybe raise a little Cain,

I’m an orphan and I’m only passing through.”


I saw Jesus on the cross on that hill called Calvary.

“Do you hate mankind for what they’ve done to you?”

He said, “Speak of love, not hate. Things to do, it’s Read more »



No Doubt Just a Momentarily Slip, Governor But…

…on behalf of  William Strunk Jr., E.B. White and English teachers everywhere, when comparing or contrasting more than two items,  “among” is the proper preposition.

Your final grade is not jeopardized should this remain an aberration:

Brown surprises state board, calls for adoption of LCFF regs

by Tom Chorneau

(Calif.) Taking clear control of the debate over school funding governance, Gov. Jerry Brown made a rare appearance at the state board of education meeting Thursday saying the draft regulations pending before the panel met a balance between flexibility and accountability.

“I like to find the truth between the reformers, the unions, the parents, the students Read more »



Legislature and Governor Hold Budgetary Love-In

The Legislative Analyst routinely takes governors to task for any number of deficiencies  – unrealistic forecasts, faux-savings and gimmickry, among them — contained  in the January spending plans of the executive branch. Not this year:

“Overall, the governor’s proposal would place California on an even stronger fiscal footing, continuing California’s budgetary progress,” the analyst says in its 42-page Overview of the Governor’s Budget for the fiscal year beginning July 1. Continues the analyst:

“The governor’s proposal for a new rainy-day fund requirement emphasizes the importance of regular state contributions to a larger budget reserve. In general, setting aside money Read more »