Bought and paid for: Republican tax ‘reform’ legislation

Here’s all you really need to know about the Republicans’ tax “reform” legislation:

When the bill the Senate voted on finally surfaced last Friday–the one with 500 pages that nobody had time to read–the Republican leadership sent copies to K Street lobbyists before Senate Democrats got to see it.

That’s not surprising when you realize the GOP was under the gun from its biggest contributors to get a bill passed or lose financial backing for future elections.

“My donors are basically saying, ‘Get it done or don’t ever call me again’,” explained Rep. Chris Collins (R-NY). If a bill isn’t passed, “financial contributions will stop,” said Senator Lindsey Graham (R-SC).

The Republicans basically delivered the goods. “The most excited group out there are big CEOs, about our tax plan,” gushed Gary Cohn, the White House’s chief economic adviser.

That isn’t how the GOP has been portraying the plan to middle class America, but investors know better. In the succinct words of The Wall Street Journal: “The biggest winners of the Republican tax plan are corporations.”

But that’s supposed to be good for the rest of us, according to President Donald Trump and other Republican leaders, because corporations will take the money they save when their tax rate is cut from 35 to 20 percent and hire more people while increasing wages.

Not quite. When executive at a recent event featuring Cohn were asked who was going to invest the tax windfall in their businesses, few hands went. “Why so few hands?” Cohn asked. As the former No, 2 guy at Goldman Sachs, he knows the answer.

Most of the money is going back to investors in the form of stock buy-backs and increased dividends. As for the workers? A recent survey of top executive by the Business Roundtable found that most CEOs will be hiring fewer workers next year, and that their biggest concern is “wage pressure”–paying their workers more.

But I don’t want to leave the impression CEOs are completely happy with the legislation that has been passed. As the House and Senate begin the process of reconciling their bills, the K Street boys are pushing for elimination of the corporate version of the alternative minimum tax.

Posted in Donald Trump, Economy, Government, Republican Party, Uncategorized | 3 Comments

Word on the street is that Jeffie is grandstanding again

Jeff “Podunk” Pelline, always quick to come to the defense of a potential advertiser in his alleged magazine, is going after The Union for a recent story claiming multiple customers’ drinks were spiked at local bars.

The Union ran a story reporting on a woman’s complaint to local police that she believed her drink was spiked (“roofied” is the slang term) when she was at the Golden Era Lounge with her husband. (The bar is a regular advertiser in Podunk’s “magazine.”)

That prompted several area residents to recount similar experiences on Facebook and other social media, which as regular readers of Jeffie’s blog know, is changing the way we communicate.

The Union then wrote a followup story recounting their claims. But apparently Pelline is skeptical of social media’s truthfulness in this instance, writing is his blog that The Union’s story was based on “anonymous people who ‘suspect’ they were given spiked drinks.”

In a bit of (I assume) unintended irony, Jeffy added the following comment to the post: “Word on the street this afternoon is that a lot of local restaurants and bars are furious at this ‘rampant roofie’ article because it is based on hearsay without any corroboration.” Who are your sources, Jeffie? Where’s the corroboration?

In a followup to this post, Pelline reported he has filed a Freedom-of-Information request with the Nevada City Police Department to get a copy of the police report on a “roofie” incident reported in The Union. (This is the same police department he wanted investigated a year ago because a bank in Podunk’s neighborhood was held up twice.)

“Let’s see what the investigation entailed and what turned up–if anything. We all have a right to know,” he wrote in explaining the FOI request.

Of course, instead of forcing the PD to invest the time and money required to formally respond to his FOI request, Jeffie could have gone over to the department and asked to see the report.

But that would be too easy, and he wouldn’t have a chance to grandstand for the area bars and restaurants that are the life blood of his so-called magazine.

Posted in Jeff Pelline, Media, The Union newspaper | 15 Comments

Hey, Jeffie, why didn’t you disclose YOUR conflict of interest?

Regular readers of his blog know that Podunk Pelline has a double standard for activities in these parts: There’s one standard that applies to Jeffie and a second standard that applies to everybody else.

A good example can be found on his blog, where he offered yet another criticism of The Union under the headline “The Union’s ‘roofied’ article is podunk journalism,” in which he actually comments on a news story.

This is unusual for Jeffie, who generally zeros in on the writing of the publisher, editor and various columnists (I believe I’m the leader in the latter category) for failing to adhere to the kind of  progressive thinking that will attract a younger readership.

Now the alleged former big-time journalist finds fault with a story about a woman who claims she was drugged at a bar in Nevada City. Podunk wrote there “is not enough proof to justify such prominent placement of the report. It is one-source article from…” the alleged victim. The Union “should have waited for more information before it published this article.”

When is there enough “information” to write about an alleged crime? Stories routinely appear in the news media about people being arrested before they are formally charged and long before they go to trial. And what about Harvey Weinstein and Roy Moore? All we have to go on is what their alleged victims are saying.

Stories are even written about crimes–like bank robberies–before anybody is arrested and charged with the crime. (Jeffie knows about bank robberies in his high-crime neighborhood.)

Pelline claims the story is single-source even though the owner of the bar is quoted along with the alleged victim. Pelline doesn’t mention this and doesn’t identify the establishment, strange for an alleged professional journalist.

Aw, but then you read the article in The Union and discover the bar was the Golden Era Lounge, a regular advertiser in Podunk’s “magazine” that has received lavish praise from the publisher, starting before it even opened.

Podunk should have disclosed this conflict of interest. After all, he criticized The Union a couple of weeks ago for not disclosing Dollar General is a potential advertiser when the paper criticized the county planning commission’s handling of the zoning for the stores:

“The Union’s conflict of interest in supporting Dollar General stores”.

But then as we know, there are two standards of conduct in Jeffie land.

ONE MORE THING: I hope Jeffie didn’t hurt his arm patting himself on his substantial back for contributing $100 to the journalism students at Bear River HS, and advising the teacher on how to get more publicity. As I’ve observed in the past, he possesses the rare ability to strut while seated. “Modesty” is not a word you’ll find in his lexicon.

He challenged me to match his $100 after I wrote about the program in my Union column and contributed $25. I figure the student journalist will get more mileage out of $25 donation and positive coverage on The Union’s editorial page than they’ll get from $100 and a plug in Pelline’s blog.

Posted in Crime, Jeff Pelline, Media, Uncategorized | 7 Comments

Bear River an underdog (or not) in Section V playoffs

Bear River enters tonight’s Section V matchup at Capital Christian as a decided underdog even though both schools have 7-3 records, according to gushin’ Joe Davidson of The Sacramento Bee.

Davidson, The Bee’s long-time cheerleader for prep sports,  considers Capital Christian the favorite to win the division while the Bruins are basically cannon fodder. Davidson predicts better times for Placer, his pick to win Division IV, and he considers Colfax a contender for the Division V title.

That was Wednesday. In today’s edition, Davidson rates Bear River 1 of 5 possible upset winners in tonight’s games. That’s what you call covering all of the possibilities.

Regardless of the outcome of the playoffs, Bear River succeeded in its season goal of flipping its record from 3-7 to 7-3. It wasn’t easy as the team struggled down the stretch and had to go to overtime to beat a 5-5 Center team in the season finale, a victory that put them in the playoffs.

The Rankings:  Three of the four teams in the Foothills 4 were within 4 points of each other at the end of the regular season. Colfax actually had the best point differential (points scored minus points surrendered) but Placer had a stronger schedule and finished first. Colfax lost ground when I adjusted for strength of schedule because it played 2 schools–Bella Vista and Wheatland–that managed to finish a combined 0-20.

The final rankings with season records:

  1. Placer (9-1)                    118.8
  2. Colfax (7-3)                    116.0
  3. Bear River (7-3)            114.7
  4. Nevada Union (2-8)      86.1

The Picks: I went 2-0 last week (Bear River-Center was considered a toss-up) to bring the season record to 12-7, a respectable 63 percent. I’ve done better in past years.

Wait ’til next year: Nevada Union is leaving the Sierra Foothills League after 8 years of futility (5-39 in league play) and dropping down a couple of notches to play in the Foothill Valley League with Placer, Lincoln, Oakmont, Ponderosa, and Rio Linda.

The Miners played 2 of those schools this year, beating Placer (the Hillmen’s only loss) and losing to Lincoln. So how would NU have done if the six schools were in the same league this year?

I decided to run the power numbers to find out, and the following is how they rated this year. This is not a projection of what will happen next year and is unfair to NU because the Miners played in a much tougher league than the other schools. With those caveats in mind, here are the rankings with each school’s 2017 record:

  1. Placer (9-1)                  118.8
  2. Lincoln (8-2)               110.3
  3. Rio Linda (6-4)           103.0
  4. Oakmont (5-5)              98.5
  5. Ponderosa  (4-6)          96.6
  6. Nevada Union (2-8)    86.1
Posted in Bear River football, Colfax football, Nevada Union football, Placer football, Uncategorized | Leave a comment

The irresponsible Facebook posters of Nevada County

The internet is changing the way we communicate, as people like Podunk Pelline are forever telling us, but they don’t bother to mention the downside of this communication revolution.

We saw an example of the downside earlier this week when a student at Nevada Union High School allegedly got in an argument with a teacher that escalated into a physical confrontation with an administrator.

That prompted the deputy sheriff on duty at the school to get involved, and the ensuing struggle to subdue the student prompted several sheriff’s deputies, fire and medical personnel to respond.

This overreaction–blame it on faulty communications or just a sign of the times–prompted all kinds of wild speculation. Thanks to Facebook, that speculation became wide-spread.

The Union reported member of local Facebook groups speculated that a stabbing or drug overdose caused the commotion. It reached the point that principal Kelly Rhoden felt it was necessary to send an email to the school’s community to reassure parents and others that “no drugs, stabbing or violence” were involved in the incident.

This is just one example of the irresponsible behavior you find on social media. It should be obvious by now there are morons who will believe anything they see on Facebook, and users are being irresponsible if they throw out rumors or speculation with nothing to back up their statements. It does no good to say it’s just your opinion–reading comprehension is so poor, people will just skip right over that.

In developing situations like the one at NU, it is prudent to wait until the smoke clears before trying to draw any conclusions because initial reports are often inaccurate, misleading or incomplete. Citizen journalists don’t seem to learn this lesson.

Posted in Media, Uncategorized | 4 Comments

Is Kaepernick being blackballed by the NFL? You decide

The attorney for former 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick has repoertedly requested cell phone records and is scheduling depositions from at least 5 NFL team owners as he pursues a grievance alleging collusion against signing the QB to an NFL contract.

This gun’s for hire

Kaepernick is claiming the league blackballed him after he started kneeling during the playing of the national anthem at games last season. Kaepernick said he was trying to draw attention to the mistreatment of blacks by police, but the gesture was not well received.

Many fans protested the action, a drop in TV ratings was attributed in part to anger over Kaepernick, and President Donald Trump–never one to pass up the opportunity to create division–said players like Kaepernick should be fired.

So has Kaepernick been blackballed? That will be tough to prove, but there is some compelling evidence to suggest he has become too hot to handle in the eyes of many team officials.

The owner of the New York Giants said during the off-season that fans would revolt if the team signed Kaepernick, and there is strong evidence the owner of the Baltimore Ravens vetoed an attempt by coach John Harbaugh to bring him in as a backup.

No team has made an effort to sign him since he opted out of his contract with the 49ers in March despite the loss of several marquee quarterbacks, bad play by several so-called starters, and general offensive ineptitude that has led to the lowest scoring since 2009.

Let’s be clear: Kaepernick never developed into the marquee QB the 49ers envisioned when they drafted him, but he did get them to 1 Super Bowl, and his skill set exceeds that of several quarterbacks currently on NFL rosters.

For starters, you have teams like Green Bay (Aaron Rodgers), Indianapolis (Andrew Luck), Arizona (Carson Palmer), Minnesota (Teddy Bridgewater) and Miami (Ryan Tannehill/Jay Cutler) whose starters went down with injuries and are playing backups–some of them terrible backups.

Then there are teams like the Houston Texans and Denver Broncos. Houston started the season with Tom Savage at QB, but benched him at half-time after an epic melt down during the first two quarters of the season.

He was replaced by rookie Deshaun Watson, who played well until he injured an ACL this week. Guess who’s going to start Sunday for the Texans: Savage.

Savage got a chance to start at the end of last season because Brock Osweiler, who the team lured away from Denver with a big bucks free agent deal, turned out to be a bust. Houston then gave Cleveland a ton of free agents to take his contract off their hands.

Osweiler couldn’t even cut it with the Browns, who are currently tied with the 49ers for the worst record in the NFL at 0-8. Cleveland cut him loose and Denver took him back.

Osweiler is starting Sunday’s game because the guy who was supposed to replace him, Trevor Siemian, isn’t getting the job done. Would you say the Broncos are desperate?

Then there’s the Chicago Bears, who benched starter Mike Glennon for the team’s QB of the future, Mitch Trubinsky. Alas, Chicago had so little confidence in him that they let him throw a total 7 passes in his first start (but he did complete 4).

The Bears and Tennessee hold the distinction of winning games this season without scoring an offensive touchdown, something that happens about once a decade.

Then there’s the 49ers. They signed well-traveled journeyman Brian Hoyer as a placeholder this season, but he was so bad they replaced him with untested rookie C.J. Beathard. Now he’s going to be replaced by Jimmy Garoppolo, who San Francisco got in a trade with New England.

And who did the Patriots sign to a 3-year deal to back-up Tom Brady? Hoyer, who works cheap and knows the system–they cut him once before.

None of these teams can use Colin Kaepernick?

Posted in Colin Kaepernick, National Football League, Sports, Uncategorized | 4 Comments

Colfax has an easier path to the playoffs than Bear River

The Bear River and Colfax football teams have to win their season finales tonight to qualify for post-season play, even though each school would have a 2-3 league record.

But that’s the way things work in an era where everybody gets a trophy, even if it’s just for participating.

Colfax has a considerably easier path to the playoffs, taking on Foothill (1-8) at home. Meanwhile, the Bruins have to travel to Antelope to play Center (5-4) in what should be a mudfest.

Bear River is going to have to turn things around if it wants to advance to the playoffs: The team has lost 2 straight and 3 of its last 4 games. Center is on the upswing after beating Colfax last week.

Bear River is in a toss-up game while Colfax should easily advance to the playoffs.

This week’s prediction:

Bear River (6-3) vs. Center (5-4) toss-up

If momentum means anything, Center has the edge here.

Colfax (6-3) over Foothill (1-8) by 35.5 points

Foothill’s just playing out the schedule and Colfax needs the win.

Placer (8-1) over Lincoln (8-1) by 8 points

The 2 leaders meet for the championship of the Pioneer Valley League. The Hillmen have the edge in this home game.

The Results: Last week’s picks went 1-2 to bring the season record to 10-7. We need a sweep this week to make the season record respectable.

The Rankings: The top 3 teams moved closer together. You need a telescope to find Nevada Union.

  1. Colfax                      118.8
  2. Bear River              115.8
  3. Placer                      115.8
  4. Nevada Union        86.1
Posted in Bear River football, Colfax football, Nevada Union football, Placer football | Leave a comment