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You only find the perfect gifts when you’re not looking . . .

Posted by B. Daniel Blatt at 8:18 pm - December 23, 2009.
Filed under: Family,Holidays,Random Thoughts

I just returned from last minute holiday shopping, actually, even though I’m Jewish, I can actually call it Christmas shopping as I’ll be spending Christmas Day in San Francisco with my Mom, my sister, her husband and their son (the most important person in the Golden State whose adorable mug has appeared multiple times on this blog).

Given that my brother-in-law celebrates Christmas, word is there’ll be some kind of festivities at their home.  So, today, I made sure to buy presents for all and sundry.  Until this afternoon, I never fully realized how draining gift-buying and present-wrapping can be.  It may well have been that I had no idea what I was getting for anyone, save my brother-in-law, until I set out on my various errands.  The good news is that I was also able to find presents for a niece and nephew whose birthdays are coming up.

I did learn today that one should never go to Target two days before Christmas.  Farmer’s Market was manageable, but the Grove was hectic.  I did find gifts for all, things that relate to family member’s various passions, tastes and preferences, but, given how much I spent, regret that I didn’t find any “home-run” gifts.  I mean, I always try to get something perfect for someone, such that when they open it up, their face will light up, knowing that their uncle, brother or son knew what they loved, having bought something that they really wanted. (more…)

Small Business Bankruptcies Way Up in Golden State

Posted by B. Daniel Blatt at 2:54 pm - December 23, 2009.
Filed under: California politics,Entrepreneurs

Just up the street from me, a new business opened earlier this year in what had once been a furniture shop.  As I drove past it last week, the store was empty, the walls painted white, a “For Lease” sign perched in the doorway.  What struck me about this new business is that it was one of the few new enterprises I had seen in the Hollywood/West Hollywood neighborhood in the first year of the Obama/Reid/Pelosi era.  It didn’t make it to Christmas (or Chanuka for that matter).

Drive down the major commercial thoroughfares in this area, Santa Monica Blvd., Melrose, Beverly or 3rd and you’ll see a whole host of shuttered storefronts, with signs like “This Space Available” abounding.  Travel up the 5 to Sacramento and I would expect you’ll see a different sign.  While my friends in some professions report taking pay cuts so their employers don’t have to lay anyone off, state employees don’t appear to be suffering.  And many in the private sector in the Golden State have not been as fortunate as my friends with smaller salaries.

And the outlook doesn’t look good for California.  Small businesses, as even the President has said, create the most net new jobs.  But, as we learn via Jim Hoft, small business bankruptcies in the Golden State are far outpacing the national average:

“While bankruptcies are up, overall, small-business closures are up even more,” Headd [Brian Headd, an economist at the Small Business Administration's office of advocacy] said.

California has been particularly hard hit. The latest data show small-business bankruptcies up 81% in the state for the 12 months ended Sept. 30, compared with the previous year. Filings nationwide were up 44%, according to the credit analysis firm Equifax Inc.

The article focuses on the reluctance of banks to loan to small businesses.  Typical of the LA Times to ignore the burden of federal and state regulation which impact small enterprises the most.  Banks might lend more if the government didn’t attach so many strings to their lending of fear the legislation Barney Frank is pushing to regulate the financial sector even further. (more…)

HAPPY FESTIVUS!

Posted by Bruce Carroll at 1:22 pm - December 23, 2009.
Filed under: Post 9-11 America

Today is the day.  It is a festivus “for da rest of us”!

Grab your aluminum pole, tape recorder and start thinking up your family grievances to air tonight at the dinner table!

Happy Festivus to you and yours from all of us at GayPatriot!!

-Bruce (GayPatriot)

Don’t Blame Republicans for Passage of Obamacare

Some conservatives, notably RedState’s Erick Erickson, are quick to blame Senate Republicans for failing to block the expected passage today of Harry Reid’s legislation to overhaul our nation’s health care system.  And while to be sure, the GOP reaction has been far from perfect, with Erickson himself offering some sound criticisms, on the whole, Senator McConnell has done a remarkable job.  He held his caucus together, even Republicans eager for media accolades as well as moderates from a state where John McCain got barely 40% of the vote and carried only one remote county.

To fault Republicans from blocking Obamacare (and some say it could still be defeated) is to look at a football team which starts the game on its own 20 yard line, with 50% fewer men on the field than its opponent who has home field advantage.  The referees are favored the larger lineup.   And with home field advantage, the opponents have packed the stadium with supporters eager to cheer them on and jeer the GOP team, pelting them with snowballs, tomatoes and rocks.  To be sure, our team has managed to sneak a few supporters into the bleachers.  And they held their own as the home team used fisticuffs to silence them, attempting to bite off their fingers and smear them as haters for daring to attend the game and root against the ol’ home team.

While it suffered all these disadvantages, our team still managed to slow the opponents’ advance, holding it back even as the refs continued to give the home team a new set of downs for only marginal advances. (more…)

Ma’am’s Incompetence & Harry’s Loony Legerdemain

If the election for the U.S. Senate seat for California next fall is waged on party identification, Barbara Boxer, the all-but-certain Democratic nominee, will win. If, however, it is waged on her record in the Senate, her ideological extremism and her responsiveness (er, lack thereof) to her constituents, the Golden State will send a Republican to represent it in the United States Senate for the first time since voters rejected the appointed Senator John Seymour, now nearly 18 years ago.

Simply put, after 17 years in the Senate, Ma’am hasn’t done much for the Golden State nor does she return here regularly to meet with her constituents and listen to our concerns.

As we learn the full details of the payoffs Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Mt. Crumpit) made with our tax dollars to various states to secure the votes of their respective Senators, we note one state severely short-changed, the state with the biggest population and almost the lowest rate of employment, the very state represented by the most unable Barbara Boxer in the United States Senate.  Our state is ailing, its coffers depleted and our Democratic Senator can’t deliver in an overwhelmingly Democratic Senate.

While “Nebraska’s unemployment rate dropped to 4.5 percent in November,” roughly a third the rate in the Golden State, the Senate bill showers Ben Nelson’s bailiwick with goodies, but doesn’t offer much of anything special for Barbara Boxer’s backyard.   (more…)