Patterico's Pontifications

4/24/2024

California Democrat: Forcing Stores to Hire More Check-Out Clerks Will Deter Theft Rings

Filed under: General — JVW @ 5:14 pm



[guest post by JVW]

It just gets sillier and sillier in the mind of progressive Democrats here in the Golden State. CalMatters has a recent piece which acknowledges that legislative Democrats are becoming increasingly skittish on their party’s lurch towards soft-on-criminal policies over the past decade and wondering if it’s perhaps time for a return to harsher penalties for repeat offenders. So naturally, the hard left of the caucus is taking a far different tack:

“Some lawmakers have responded (to retail theft) by pushing policies that solely focus on punitive measures that deepen our crisis of mass incarceration at a time when California has pledged to walk away from it and dismantle it,” said state Sen. Lola Smallwood-Cuevas, a Los Angeles Democrat.

Smallwood-Cuevas is sponsoring two bills that would require counties to set up diversion programs for theft-related offenses and increase staffing at grocery store checkout counters.

The community newspaper in Sen. Smallwood-Cuevas’s district, Westside Voice LA, describes the bills as follows (as usual, bolded emphasis added by me):

SB 1282 would amend penal codes 1001.81 and 1001.95 and would authorize a city or county prosecuting attorney or county probation department to create a diversion or deferred entry of judgment program for persons who commit a theft offense or repeat theft offenses.

The bill would require each county to, on or before January 1, 2026, create that diversion or deferred entry of the judgment program. By increasing duties on local entities, the bill would impose a state-mandated local program.

Existing law authorizes a judge in the superior court in which a misdemeanor is being prosecuted to offer diversion to a defendant for a period not to exceed 24 months. The amendment would expand that authorization to include any cases being prosecuted, as specified.

[. . .]

SB 1446 would create regulations on self-checkout stations in large grocery and drug retail stores.

The bill would prohibit a grocery establishment or a retail drug establishment from providing a self-service checkout option for customers unless specified conditions are satisfied, including having no more than two self-service checkout stations monitored by any one employee and requiring the employee to be relieved of all other duties.

The bill would require a grocery establishment or retail drug establishment that develops or implements technology that significantly affects the essential job functions or eliminates jobs or essential job functions of its employees, or that enables self-service, to complete a specified assessment before implementing the technology.

Additionally, it would require the study to include, among other things, the salaries, benefits, jobs, and work hours that would be eliminated by workplace technology. The establishments would have to provide the study to employees at least 60 days before implementation, and to post a copy of the study in a location accessible to its employees and customers before, and for at least 90 days following implementation of the workplace technology.

So there you have it. Once again we have clueless Democrats who have zero understanding of how free markets work. Would it surprise anyone to learn that Lola Smallwood-Cuevas spent her pre-legislative career as a union organizer and “civil rights activist”? The bill attacking self-checkout stations has nothing to do with discouraging theft: it’s hard to imagine shoplifters, especially those who operate in organized rings, worrying too much about being accosted or detained by check-out clerks. No, this bill is all about creating more union jobs in California stores, which will clearly have the effect of driving up costs to the consumer. At my local grocery store we have six self-checkout stations for customers, and there is one store employee who stands by to help with any issues that arise. Under this bill there would now have to be three paid employees manning those stations. What utter waste.

Sen. Smallwood-Cuevas has filed an additional bill which appears to be modeled upon a proposed local San Francisco ordinance which tries to bully grocery stores into remaining in unprofitable or even money-losing locations. The bill before the California legislature requires that a grocery store give 90 days notice before closing, or presumably be subject to class-action lawsuits from local residents. The San Francisco bill is worse, requiring a full 180 days notice and also insisting that the owners of the store have to work to find a new grocery tenant for the location or else help local residents set up a food co-op. But the cumulative effect of all of these measures is that the state will drive up the cost of operating a grocery store, then make it very difficult for that store to close before accumulating months of significant losses.

Even if California decides to wreck the grocery industry in the name of social justice, fortunately it would seem that in this election year the tide is turning against the soft on crime approach to organized theft rings. Despite Sen. Smallwood-Cuevas’s laughable “provide job skills to miscreants” ideology, her fellow Democrats are going in the opposite direction. The new President Pro Tem of the California Senate has helped shepherd two bills through the Public Safety Committee, one of which stiffens penalties on smash-and-grab rings and the other which provides for harsher penalties when arson is used during shoplifting, usually to distract store employees while the perpetrator engages in theft. Even the notoriously left-wing San Francisco Senator Scott Wiener has introduced a bill to make it easier to prosecute those who break into cars or homes to steal items (a crime rampant in San Francisco) by no longer requiring prosecutors to prove that the car or home was properly locked. This suggests that even an outright leftist lunatic like Scott Wiener can be swayed when his constituents finally holler “Enough!”

The people of Los Angeles’s Westside choose to elect rabid ideologues like Lola Smallwood-Cuevas. That is, unfortunately enough, their prerogative. If the damage that she and her ilk wreak were limited to her district then I would say that her constituents deserve the fruits of their voting habits. However, people like the good senator implement policy which affects the entire state. Perhaps this being an election year, most Sacramento Democrats will for once tune out the nonsense that is churned out by Marxist college professors who have nothing to offer the world but their awful ideas. But next year will be a new story and don’t act surprised if these bad ideas re-emerge once the smoke of November clears. I don’t look forward to it.

– JVW

2/11/2022

Weekend Open Thread

Filed under: General — Dana @ 4:23 pm



[guest post by Dana]

Let’s go!

First news item

Liz Cheney on refusing to be intimidated:

Republicans used to advocate fidelity to the rule of law and the plain text of the Constitution. In 2020, Mr. Trump convinced many to abandon those principles. He falsely claimed that the election was stolen from him because of widespread fraud. While some degree of fraud occurs in every election, there was no evidence of fraud on a scale that could have changed this one. As the Select Committee will demonstrate in hearings later this year, no foreign power corrupted America’s voting machines, and no massive secret fraud changed the election outcome.

Almost all members of Congress know this—although many lack the courage to say it out loud. Mr. Trump knew it too, from his own campaign officials, from his own appointees at the Justice Department, and from the dozens of lawsuits he lost. Yet, Mr. Trump ignored the rulings of the courts and launched a massive campaign to mislead the public. Our hearings will show that these falsehoods provoked the violence on Jan. 6. Mr. Trump’s lawyers have begun to pay the price for spreading these lies.

The Jan. 6 investigation isn’t only about the inexcusable violence of that day: It is also about fidelity to the Constitution and the rule of law, and whether elected representatives believe in those things or not. One member of the House Freedom Caucus warned the White House in the days before Jan. 6 that the president’s plans would drive “a stake in the heart of the federal republic.” That was exactly right.

Those who do not wish the truth of Jan. 6 to come out have predictably resorted to attacking the process—claiming it is tainted and political. Our hearings will show this charge to be wrong. We are focused on facts, not rhetoric, and we will present those facts without exaggeration, no matter what criticism we face…

Second news item

President Biden makes a decision about frozen Afghan funds:

President Joe Biden has decided what to do with the $7 billion of the Afghan central bank’s assets sitting frozen in the U.S. banking system. According to reports, the president will split the money down the middle between 9/11 families in America and humanitarian aid in Afghanistan. The billions were frozen after it became clear that the Taliban would seize control of Kabul last year, and the group has urged the U.S. to release all of the funds to help stave off a humanitarian crisis in the nation. But, as first reported by The New York Times on Friday, the Taliban won’t get the money. Biden will sign an executive order later Friday that will designate half the money to humanitarian relief efforts in Afghanistan, and the other $3.5 billion will be used to compensate victims of the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks.

Third news item

President Biden rejects Army’s report on US Afghanistan withdrawal:

From NBC interview with President Biden regarding the Pentagon Afghanistan report

HOLT: It interviewed many military officials and officers who said the administration ignored the handwriting on the wall….

Another described trying to get folks in the embassy ready to evacuate and encountering people who were essentially in denial of the situation. Does any event ring true to you?

BIDEN: No, no. That’s not what i was told.

HOLT: Are you rejecting the conclusions or the accounts that are in this Army report?

BIDEN: Yes, I am.

HOLT: So they’re not true?

BIDEN: I’m rejecting them.

Again, I highly recommend that you read George Packer’s devastating opus on Afghanistan titled “The Betrayal”. It is nothing less than a brutal indictment of President Biden.

About Biden, Packer observes:

“During the 2020 campaign he was seen as deeply empathetic, but the fierce attachments of ‘Middle-Class Joe’ are parochial. They come from personal ties, not universal concerns: his family, his hometown, his longtime advisers, his country, its troops. The Green Beret interpreter and the girl in the unfinished schoolroom now stood outside the circle of empathy.”

Fourth news item

Republican candidates courting kooky MTG for endorsements:

Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene (R-GA), the COVID vaccine-hating, conspiracy theory-spewing freshman congresswoman who came to national prominence as a far-right QAnon promoter, is increasingly in demand. This is due in large part to her direct line to former President Trump, and her vast network of small, grassroots donors.

According to four longtime Republican operatives working at senior levels on a variety of competitive GOP primaries across the nation, Greene’s endorsement in competitive 2022 Republican House and Senate primaries is not only considered as welcome, but also as one that should be actively courted—particularly in races where the nominee is likely to be decided by which candidate most animates the ultra-Trumpist grassroots.

According to four longtime Republican operatives working at senior levels on a variety of competitive GOP primaries across the nation, Greene’s endorsement in competitive 2022 Republican House and Senate primaries is not only considered as welcome, but also as one that should be actively courted—particularly in races where the nominee is likely to be decided by which candidate most animates the ultra-Trumpist grassroots.

“If you can’t get Donald Trump, you are going to want to have MTG in your back pocket,” another one of the four operatives…conceded, in discussing the most desired 2022 endorsements today.

Fifth news item

Ramping up:

The Pentagon is sending another 3,000 combat troops to Poland to join 1,700 who already are assembling there in a demonstration of American commitment to NATO allies worried at the prospect of Russia invading Ukraine, a senior defense official said Friday.

The additional soldiers will depart their post at Fort Bragg, North Carolina, over the next couple days and should be in Poland by early next week, according to the defense official, who provided the information under ground rules set by the Pentagon. They are the remaining elements of an infantry brigade of the 82nd Airborne Division.

Their mission will be to train and provide deterrence but not to engage in combat in Ukraine.

Related:

US National Security Adviser Jake Sullivan said Russian forces were now “in a position to be able to mount a major military action” in remarks seen as a clear escalation in the urgency of warnings from US officials.

“We obviously cannot predict the future, we don’t know exactly what is going to happen, but the risk is now high enough and the threat is now immediate enough that [leaving] is prudent,” he said.

US Secretary of State Antony Blinken said the increase in Russian forces at the border was “very troubling signs of Russian escalation”.

“We’re in a window when an invasion could begin at any time, and to be clear, that includes during the Olympics [which end on 20 February],” Mr Blinken said.

Note: President Biden has said that he would not send troops to rescue any citizens left stranded in the event of Russian action.

Sixth news item

California dreamin’ turns into a slow-motion suicide:

Right now, in the heart of downtown San Francisco, “the bullshit” the mayor [San Francisco’s London Breed] spoke about is worsening by the day. The city is running a supervised drug consumption site in United Nations Plaza—just blocks away from city hall and the opera house—in flagrant violation of state and federal law. (Two weeks ago, my colleagues and I broke the story. The San Francisco Chronicle confirmed our reporting.) There, city-funded service providers supervise people smoking fentanyl and meth they buy from drug dealers across the street.

The police do nothing. Indeed, the mayor, through the Department of Emergency Management and the Department of Public Health, is running the site.

Tom Wolf, a recovering homeless addict who served on the city’s drug-dealing task force, compared the department to “the mafia.” Everyone sees that the situation is untenable, he added, but “nobody wants to go on record” because “everyone is afraid of the backlash.”

Seventh news item

How Republicans justify the censure of Cheney & Kinzinger:

With very few exceptions, elected Republicans lack the integrity or courage to stand up for Cheney, Kinzinger, or Pence. Instead, they’ve been inventing excuses for the censure, for Trump’s attempts to block the peaceful transfer of power, and for burying the Jan. 6th investigation. Here’s what they’re saying.

1. Cheney and Kinzinger deserved censure because they voted to impeach Trump…
2. Cheney and Kinzinger are part of a plot to sabotage the GOP…
3. Who are we to judge the RNC?…

Read the whole thing to learn how the author qualifies his list.

Eighth news item

California Democrats read the writing on the wall:

For months, a nationwide parental backlash to school closings has dominated headlines and driven speculation about a brewing electoral wave for Republicans. But what’s happening in deep-blue San Francisco complicates that picture:

Here, a liberal school board is colliding with a group of angry, just-as-liberal parents who’ve mounted a recall campaign against them.

The city’s Democratic mayor and big media organs have endorsed the recall effort. So has state Sen. SCOTT WIENER, who is eyeing Speaker NANCY PELOSI’s congressional seat when she retires.
What’s happening in San Francisco is the clearest sign of how Democrats are recalibrating — by backing away from the party’s 2020 swing toward progressive activist views on Covid-19, race and crime.

It’s happening throughout the Golden State. Gov. GAVIN NEWSOM is lifting mask mandates. Rep. KAREN BASS, who is running for mayor of Los Angeles, called this week for a surge in funding for L.A.’s police force because residents “don’t feel safe today.” Over and over, progressive shibboleths are being dispensed with in one of the most reliably Democratic places in the country.

Which brings us back to Tuesday’s election in San Francisco. Three members of the S.F. Board of Education — GABRIELA LÓPEZ, ALISON COLLINS and FAAUUGA MOLIGA — are facing the first recalls to qualify for the ballot in the city since 1983, when the White Panthers tried to recall then-Mayor DIANNE FEINSTEIN.

It all started when they couldn’t figure out why San Francisco’s public schools remained closed while other cities were sending kids back to in-person learning. So they dialed into the city’s Board of Education meetings — and, like a lot of other parents, were annoyed at what they saw:

*A massive budget shortfall.
*An inordinate amount of time and energy spent on a plan to rename 44 school buildings, including those honoring GEORGE WASHINGTON, ABRAHAM LINCOLN and Feinstein.
*Eliminating the merit-based admissions process at Lowell High School and transforming the coveted academic destination to a lottery so that it would better reflect the diversity of the city’s overall student population.
*A two-hour debate over whether SETH BRENZEL, a father who happens to be white and gay, brought enough diversity to be allowed to join a volunteer parental advisory committee. During the discussion, the board failed to ask Brenzel a single question, then blocked his appointment.

Ninth news item

Unfortunately, there will always be ugly bigots and racists, and there will always be people and organizations that protect them:

A Jewish high school student said he couldn’t believe what was going on when a history teacher in a wealthy Alabama school system had classmates stand and give a stiff-armed Nazi salute during a lesson on the way symbols change.

Once he shared a video and photos of the incident on social media, Ephraim Tytell said, he received a reprimand from school administrators in Mountain Brook, a suburb of Birmingham.

The point of the lesson, Tytell said, was that something very similar to what’s now widely known as a Nazi salute was used before World War II to salute the U.S. flag. Called the “Bellamy Salute” for decades, it was ditched in 1942 for the now-familiar right-hand-over-the-heart gesture after the United States’ entry into the war.

“He explained to us that in America we used to do that before WWII and everything, and then he proceeded to show us, ask us to stand up to salute the flag, and he and everyone else did the Nazi salute,” Ephraim said. “I felt upset, unsure of what’s going on —just kind of shocked.”

Tenth news item

Moving forward:

School districts around the country are rapidly rolling back Covid-19 policies that have built up over nearly two years, with many eyeing a return to more normal classroom life and operations as infection rates fall and fewer students and teachers miss class.

The number of Americans with new cases of the virus fell to 202,001 on Feb. 9, down from 860,860 four weeks earlier, on Jan. 12, according to Centers for Disease Control and Prevention data. Estimates show that the Omicron variant was likely responsible for 99.9% of Covid-19 infections in the week ended Jan. 29, according to the CDC.

Have a great weekend!

–Dana

9/3/2021

California Democrat Legislators and Their Priorities

Filed under: General — JVW @ 1:50 pm



[guest post by JVW]

COVID. Recall elections. Homelessness. Wildfires. Drought. Racial unrest. Housing shortages. Unaffordable pension obligations. All of these are huge problems plaguing the Golden State. So what is our state legislature, controlled entirely by Democrats from the more leftish flank of the party, working on in the final days of this legislative session?

California could soon force large department stores to display some child products in gender neutral ways after the state Legislature passed a bill on Wednesday aimed at getting rid of traditional pink and blue marketing schemes for items like toys and toothbrushes.

The bill would not outlaw traditional boys and girls sections in department stores, but it would require retailers to have a gender neutral section to display “a reasonable selection” of items “regardless of whether they have been traditionally marketed for either girls or for boys.”

The bill would only apply to department stores with 500 or more employees, so most small businesses would be exempt. It also wouldn’t apply to clothes, just toys and “childcare items,” which include hygiene and teething products.

The state Senate passed the bill Wednesday, sending it back to the Assembly for a procedural vote before it heads to Gov. Gavin Newsom’s desk. If it becomes law, California would become the first state to require these sections in stores, according to the office of Assemblyman Evan Low, the bill’s author.

Because females, who comprise 58% of bachelor’s degrees earners and are now over 50% of doctorates conferred each year, are truly being held back by big block toy stores. There is almost no problem too picayune for progressives to pursue government-imposed solutions. More on this lunacy:

This is at least the third time California lawmakers have tried to pass this bill, with previous versions failing to pass in 2019 and 2020. Low, a Democrat from Campbell, said the measure was inspired by a 10-year-old girl named Britten whose mother works in his legislative office.

“Britten asked her mom while shopping why certain things in a store were ‘off limits’ to her because she was a girl, but would be fine if she was a boy,” Low said. “Thankfully, my colleagues recognized the pure intentions of this bill and the need to let kids be kids.”

But of course the toys weren’t at all “off limits” to young Britten: there’s hardly a toy store across the fruited plain from sea to shining see (and you too, Alaska and Hawaii) which would refuse to sell a “boy’s toy” to a little girl. In a functional world, Britten’s mom would have told her this and dissuaded her from the notion that she isn’t free to shop in whatever toy aisle she chooses, but of course Britten’s mom is a political employee for a far-left Democrat and so there’s a pretty strong chance that she is entirely unacquainted with reality to begin with.

And when a Republican senator tried to point out that perhaps this matter is too piddly even for hyper-sensitive California to deal with, the intersectionality matrix and the litany of past unconscious toxic heteronormativity reared their ugly heads:

Sen. Scott Wiener, a Democrat from San Francisco, said that while both he and Low are “childless gay men,” he defended their right to have opinions about children and families.

“We know what it was like to grow up not conforming to the way that your gender is supposed to be,” he said, adding: “This is about making safe spaces for all children in today’s society and not pushing, sometimes forcing children to conform.”

And so there you have it. Once Gavin Newsom signs this bill (and why wouldn’t he?) into law, these big box retailers will face fines of up to $250 for the first offense and up to $500 for the second offense. There’s no word on what a third and subsequent offenses will set back the user, but if it doubles each time then the dreaded thirteenth offense should come in at about $1 million. So as we slide into this Labor Day Weekend nervously tracking the rise in COVID cases, fretting about wildfires, worrying about the homeless people as the weather cools, and wondering where we’re going to get the money to pay for pensions down the road, take heart that in just 27 short months from now our state’s children will no longer have to deal with the heinousness of segregated toy aisles, and Barbie and G.I. Joe can at last share the same shelf at your local Wal-Mart. Progress.

– JVW

10/10/2017

Frankly, It Would Be Surprising If This Wasn’t Happening In California

Filed under: General — Dana @ 3:34 pm



[guest post by Dana]

With Gov. Jerry Brown’s approval, California’s Democratic state Sen. Scott Weiner’s recent bills put the Golden State’s nuttery on full display. As if we needed more proof.

First:

Gov. Jerry Brown signed a bill Friday that lowers from a felony to a misdemeanor the crime of knowingly exposing a sexual partner to HIV without disclosing the infection.

The measure also applies to those who give blood without telling the blood bank that they are HIV-positive.

Modern medicine allows those with HIV to live longer lives and nearly eliminates the possibility of transmission, according to state Sen. Scott Wiener (D-San Francisco) and Assemblyman Todd Gloria (D-San Diego), authors of the bill.

“Today California took a major step toward treating HIV as a public health issue, instead of treating people living with HIV as criminals,” Wiener said in a statement. “HIV should be treated like all other serious infectious diseases, and that’s what SB 239 does.”

Opponents to the bill expressed their concerns:

Republican lawmakers including Sen. Joel Anderson of Alpine voted against the bill, arguing it puts the public at risk.

“I’m of the mind that if you purposefully inflict another with a disease that alters their lifestyle the rest of their life, puts them on a regimen of medications to maintain any kind of normalcy, it should be a felony,” Anderson said during the floor debate. “It’s absolutely crazy to me that we should go light on this.”

Weiner is also defending his bill that would “allow for penalties of up to one year in jail for health care workers who “willfully and repeatedly” use the “wrong” pronouns to refer to a senior transgender patient“:

Weiner has also dismissed concerns about religious freedom regarding the criminal punishments for health care workers who don’t use transgender pronouns.

“Everyone is entitled to their religious view,” he said. “But when you enter the public space, when you are running an institution, you are in a workplace, you are in a civil setting, and you have to follow the law.”

Opponents to this bill also expressed their concerns:

“How can you believe in free speech, but think the government can compel people to use certain pronouns when talking to others?” Greg Burt of the California Family Council testified in July.

“This is not tolerance. This is not love. This is not mutual respect. True tolerance tolerates people with different views. We need to treat each other with respect, but respect is a two-way street. It is not respectful to threaten people with punishment for having sincerely held beliefs that differ from your own.”

Misgendering gets a person jail time, but knowingly exposing individuals to HIV in the Golden State isn’t that big of a deal.

It’s downright funny to read the transcript of Ronald Reagan’s taped announcement on his candidacy for California Governor from 1966. What a distant memory.

(Cross-posted at The Jury Talks Back.)

–Dana

1/25/2011

The Most Offensive Line in the State of the Union

Filed under: General — Aaron Worthing @ 9:47 pm



[Guest post by Aaron Worthing; if you have tips, please send them here.]

Update: See this follow up post showing the Beatles v. the Taxman.

Update (II): Where are my blog manners? I forgot to thank Instapundit for the link.

He said it in the prepared text and in the speech itself:

The bipartisan Fiscal Commission I created last year made this crystal clear. I don’t agree with all their proposals, but they made important progress. And their conclusion is that the only way to tackle our deficit is to cut excessive spending wherever we find it – in domestic spending, defense spending, health care spending, and spending through tax breaks and loopholes.

(emphasis added).

You got that?  When you are allowed to keep your money, that is considered “spending” by the Federal Government.  Because in reality all of the fruits of your labor belong to us, the government.

Is it wrong to say it almost the attitude of a master toward his slaves?  Consider this passage from Jeffrey Rogers Hummel’s history of the Civil War, Emancipating Slaves, Enslaving Free Men, which I have to cut and paste from a screen cap:

(more…)


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