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  • Holding grudges and buying judges: Judge Steven Kirkland ruled in 2011 that attorney George Fleming had overcharged his clients by as much as $13 million. Fleming appealed and he also began recruiting challengers to run against Kirkland in the next Democratic primary. He contributed tens of thousands of dollars into the campaign coffers of Kirkland's primary opponent. Kirkland lost. And then he ran in another district. Fleming did the same thing again.
There is nothing illegal about what Fleming is doing, a point he noted in a statement to The Huffington Post. Under Texas law, individuals and political action committees are allowed to donate to candidates running for seats on the court. And while state law caps contributions at $5,000 for individuals and $30,000 for law firms, the Texas Ethics Commission has the power to waive those caps, provided the waiver applies to all candidates in the race. The commission made such a waiver for Fleming in 2012, and once more in 2014.
  • Seth Rogen would smoke a bowl with Sen. Tom Harkin. At the Capitol to testify about Alzheimer's, Rogen got into a discussion with the Iowa Democrat who chairs the Appropriations Committee's Labor, Health and Human Services, Education, and Related Agencies Subcommittee. Asked by ABC who he would like to get high with, the actor, known for stoner roles, Rogen replied “That Harkin guy seemed pretty cool. I’d go with him.” If they do, it shouldn't be in Iowa where possession of any amount can get you, on first offense, six months in the slam and a $1,000 fine.
  • 78-year-old wakes up in a body bag at funeral home: Pronounced dead at his home, Walter Williams was transported to the mortuary where staff was preparing to embalm him when he started kicking the bag. The coroner says Williams's pacemaker apparently stopped working and then started again.
  • Teachers in San Francisco out of luck in if they want to buy a home:
This week, the real estate listings website Redfin published a startling statistic. In the entire city of San Francisco, not one home or apartment is available on the market for under $220,000, which the site says is affordable for a typical teacher in the city. Statewide, just 17 percent of homes for sale are affordable for teachers. With the tech industry booming and the Google Bus quickly becoming a cultural icon, it’s not a surprise that San Francisco faces an affordability crisis. But how can it have become so dramatic? The answers boil down to two factors: San Francisco’s hot real estate market and dwindling income for city teachers.
While the median price for a home in San Francisco is now $850,000, the median pay for teachers there is second lowest of any county in California. When you take inflation into account, San Francisco's teachers earned 12 percent less in 2013 than they did in 2002.
Dirk Adams, a former educator, banker and current rancher, is a Democrat running for the Montana Senate seat long held by Democrat Max Baucus, but he’s not looking to follow in Baucus’ footsteps. [...]

Consider the recent post on Adams’ website, which was also printed in the Huffington Post.

Under the headline “Coal is Dead,” Adams wrote: “Coal is no longer viable as a long term source of energy, or a reliable source of jobs in Montana … The 700 million tons of coal in Montana will be left in the ground … We must both mitigate climate disruption and build new infrastructure.”

Though accurate and far-sighted, that's dangerous talk in Montana. We'll see how it plays out in the Democratic primary June 3.
  • On today's Kagro in the Morning show, two main themes, discussed with Greg Dworkin and Armando: Reddit  & "objective news," and Gimmetarian tears over Arizona. Plus another installment of Cocaine, Inc., this time on their department of government relations.

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Comment Preferences

  •  Who Do These San Fran Teachers Think They Are? (5+ / 0-)

    Gentrifiers? Hipsters? Google Bus riders? Didn't these people get the memo that San Francisco is only for people who make hi-tech money and want to live in the city rather than near where they work?

    So get out of town, teachers, and take your low-pay asses to...somewhere that the gentrifiers will show up to next.

    And as the song and dance begins, the children play at home with needles, needles and pins.

    by The Lone Apple on Fri Feb 28, 2014 at 12:12:15 PM PST

    •  What will it cost to raise their salary? (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      The Lone Apple, JeffW

      It sounds like the teachers in SF would need at least a doubling of their salary to make ends meet if they want to purchase even a modest home or apartment there.

      How much would it cost the state?  And, if the teachers there got a huge salary increase and not teachers elsewhere, what kind of push back would that cause?

      Where I live, we would love to get some of those teachers coming our way and believe me, our teacher's salaries would more than cover a home.  Of course here, most teachers are not trying to purchase property being single with only one income.

      •  There are roughly 290,000 teachers in all of CA (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        saucer1234, The Lone Apple

        If you all of them got an extra $20,000/yr it would cost the state roughly 6 billion annually. The current annual budget for K-12 education in CA is $70 billion. So about an 11% increase in the education budget would significantly improve the lives of the teachers.

        Food processed to be nothing more than simple starches with two dozen flavorings and stabilizers added to make it appear to be food isn't "food". It's "feed" -- what you give to livestock to fatten them up for slaughter.

        by ontheleftcoast on Fri Feb 28, 2014 at 12:33:29 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

    •  Teachers Should Be Supported By Their Husband (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      The Lone Apple

      Jesus, many conservatives say.

      We are called to speak for the weak, for the voiceless, for victims of our nation and for those it calls enemy.... --ML King "Beyond Vietnam"

      by Gooserock on Fri Feb 28, 2014 at 12:54:24 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

    •  Chicago has the same problem (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      The Lone Apple, JeffW

      and city workers here are required to live in the city.

      •  Houses on the Northwest Side are mostly... (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        The Lone Apple

        ...still reasonable, unless you look at these detached rowhouse style homes (which are overpriced, IMHO). Our crumbling bungalow cost us $130K back in 1989, but I'd only sell it to someone who would tear it down, since it's old and falling apart. But it did the job for this retired Chicago City employee.

        Float like a manhole cover, sting like a sash weight! Clean Coal Is A Clinker!

        by JeffW on Fri Feb 28, 2014 at 01:51:34 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

    •  If it's that bad for teachers.... (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      JeffW, The Lone Apple

      ....think how bad it is for the thousands of service industry workers, especially the back-of-the-house people.

      You can't have precious, overpriced eateries without line cooks and dishwashers...

      You can't spell "Dianne Feinstein" without "NSA".

      by varro on Fri Feb 28, 2014 at 01:13:49 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  Not just teachers in SF (4+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    tardis10, DrTerwilliker, varro, JeffW

    Have a friend who is a physician that's starting at Stanford Medical center later this year. He and his family will have to live in subsidized housing because they can't afford to buy even a crappy house at the current prices. No one will give them a mortgage without 10% down, and coming out of training he simple doesn't have that kind of money.

    Just another day in Oceania.

    by drshatterhand on Fri Feb 28, 2014 at 12:13:41 PM PST

    •  Amen, I moved away from my beloved CA (5+ / 0-)

      because it was just too expensive. I made a good income, but it took $861,000 to buy an old, unrenovated 1292 square foot home in Mountain View in a neighborhood that was more than modest. That same home purchased in a same type neighborhood where I live in St. Pete, FL would cost $160k, tops.

      It is not just teachers, but anyone but the wealthy or those with inherited homes who could possibly buy there now. I made about $160k/yr at the time and it was a stretch. That's just crazy.

      The "teachers" and the lower level people in my company then had to live 1.5-2 hours away in the desert, like in Tracy, just to have a decent home for their families. That's up 4 hours a day just to commute to your job. No thank you. It's crazy and unsustainable.

      I distrust those people who know so well what God wants them to do, because I notice it always coincides with their own desires. - Susan B. Anthony

      by pajoly on Fri Feb 28, 2014 at 12:31:45 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  80 - 90k Here in Rustbelt NE Ohio (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        northerntier, JeffW

        in a safe low-cost-insurance inner suburb with no written-off neighborhoods, lots of parks, good schools, plenty of other services, proximity to numerous large cities & Great Lakes.

        Which is why we left the Puget Sound area many Californians flee for their price relief. While we were carrying 2 updated houses the total was less than the unimproved shack we had sold on the Sound.

        We are called to speak for the weak, for the voiceless, for victims of our nation and for those it calls enemy.... --ML King "Beyond Vietnam"

        by Gooserock on Fri Feb 28, 2014 at 01:00:29 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

    •  The bay area needs to build denser (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      kimoconnor, wu ming, PhilW


    •  Unusual Physician (0+ / 0-)

      The median SF physician salary is $159K. The median home price is $850K; 10% down is $85K. Most people save for at least a few years before buying a home.

      Why can't they save $30K a year to buy a home?

      "When the going gets weird, the weird turn pro." - HST

      by DocGonzo on Fri Feb 28, 2014 at 01:54:29 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  wrong link on that SF article (7+ / 0-)

    It also said:

    San Francisco has the second-lowest median salary of teachers for any county in California. That’s despite having a higher cost of living than other areas in the state...
    At an average of $65,000 no one can buy a home here much less teachers. And at that rate, no one can afford to rent either.
  •  So how many jobs are coal related in MT (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    JeffW, patbahn

    or any other state. I remember in one of the diaries on the many coal disasters in WV that it was like 3% of the jobs in WV. But that's still a lot of jobs that need to be created somewhere else and training and other requirements for them isn't going to happen overnight.

    Food processed to be nothing more than simple starches with two dozen flavorings and stabilizers added to make it appear to be food isn't "food". It's "feed" -- what you give to livestock to fatten them up for slaughter.

    by ontheleftcoast on Fri Feb 28, 2014 at 12:15:26 PM PST

  •  Hotly contested Houston primary (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    citizenx, DRo

    This race is getting attention on Huffington Post. If you live in Harris County TX, please alert your friends. Polls are open for early voting today until 7 PM. The next and last chance to vote is Tuesday, March 4.

    I have also posted a diary:

    Censorship is rogue government.

    by scott5js on Fri Feb 28, 2014 at 12:17:26 PM PST

  •  So is anyone reading the WJC docs? (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    ferg, Gooserock, kimoconnor

    I decided to begin with the health care task force papers.  So far lots of sickening crap about finding New Democrat solutions to every problem.


    These papers may boost their cred with neolibs, but probably not much with voters.

    It also reveals that the WH then (as now) was focused too much on PR, and electioneering than good public policy, more on creating and shaping public opinion than actually getting stuff done.


    Money is property, not speech. Overturn Citizens United.

    by Betty Pinson on Fri Feb 28, 2014 at 12:22:13 PM PST

  •  i assume he has no chance (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    but, damn i like adams.

    The cold passion for truth hunts in no pack. -Robinson Jeffers

    by Laurence Lewis on Fri Feb 28, 2014 at 12:28:26 PM PST

  •  The rule is once youre in the body bag, youre dead (0+ / 0-)

    No point in putting up a fuss or arguing about it. Dems da rules.

  •  COAL is DEAD (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    kimoconnor, JeffW

    Or we are.

    "If Wall Street paid a tax on every “game” they run, we would get enough revenue to run the government on." ~ Will Rogers

    by Lefty Coaster on Fri Feb 28, 2014 at 12:54:16 PM PST

    •  the investment community is writing off coal (0+ / 0-)

      Buffet has stopped investing, look at the
      Enterprise values of Rosebud and Arch Coal.

      The margins stink, the liabilities are rising.

      If they bust through the veil in Rosebud
      for the Charleston spill, Rosebud is dead.

  •  Hardly shocking (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    JeffW, PhilW, patbahn

    As a federal employee I cant afford a house in Seattle .  I can barely afford to rent an apartment.

  •  This week's so-called "educator" of the week (0+ / 0-)

    Principal Jim Simpson, of Calgary Canada's Lord Beaverbrook High School wins this week's idiocy prize.

    He previously decreed that graduating students would not be allowed to attend graduation ceremonies if they failed any one course. This was aimed specifically at those students who qualify to graduate by having the required number of credits, but failed one additional course. The backlash was loud and clear. Today, Simpson reversed his decision. So, if you graduate from his school this year, you will be able to get your certificate at graduation, if you have enough credits despite failing one course.

    “I have heard loud and clear. I know that participation in graduation ceremonies is treasured by students and their families,” Simpson said. “As a school, we also look forward to celebrating this very special event with our community.”
    Ya think?


    There's no such thing as a Free Information Kit. There is, however, advertising.

    by lotac on Fri Feb 28, 2014 at 01:36:25 PM PST

  •  Note to self: Change pacemaker battery, today. (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    Punxsutawney Phil has been unfriended.

    by jwinIL14 on Fri Feb 28, 2014 at 01:46:47 PM PST

  •  There Are SF Apts For Under $220K (0+ / 0-)

    Zillow, which is not an apartment real estate site (it's a formula-based valuation site) lists dozens of apartments in SF under $220K.

    Now, even "dozens" isn't nearly enough in a city of over 3/4 million people. And a lot of those home prices look like mistakes, or technical pricing that's not an offered price. But there are some, not none, and surely more than those. It means that report is not correct.

    I lived in SF 20 years ago, and occupancy was already something like 98%+. But I was also always able to find apartments in that recession, usually one room of 3-4 for under $400 a month, and sometimes under $200. When I visited last month yes there was more widespread affluence.

    SF needs more apartments. But with earthquakes its density is irresponsible to increase with more homes on its finite square footage. What it needs is for South SF and adjacent towns to develop, and for Oakland to become the kind of pressure relief that Brooklyn has become for Manhattan. That means a lot more public transit, especially shuttles between suburbs and SF districts. That's why Google's widely (and rightly, for its unpaid parking privileges) criticized shuttles are running in the opposite direction.

    My point is that the report cited in DKos isn't reliable, even if "not totally bleak" isn't good enough.

    "When the going gets weird, the weird turn pro." - HST

    by DocGonzo on Fri Feb 28, 2014 at 01:47:50 PM PST

    •  20 years ago (0+ / 0-)

      I worked for SFSU, and most of their employees lived across the Bay or down the Peninsula.  I remember showing some out of towners around and how shocked they were at the prices, even then (in the reasonably good neighborhoods).   I should have bought then and taken advantage of the housing bust's lower prices.

  •  Recently retired educator here (0+ / 0-)

    I am looking forward to regular COLAs now that I am retired. The WA state legislature has suspended COLAs for working teachers six years running, even though the voters passed a COLA initiative in the early 2000's. Prior to that we got one every 3-4 years for around half the actual one year cost of living increase.  Now I will get annual COLAs and look forward to actually keeping up with costs, as long as the leg doesn't decide to screw with it for retirees. The difference is that we are tied to state employees and the legislators would cut their own retirement if they mess with ours. So maybe I'm safe for a while. Unless the rethugs completely take over.

    Be bold. Be courageous. Americans are counting on you. Gabby Giffords.

    by Leftleaner on Fri Feb 28, 2014 at 01:50:39 PM PST

  •  Well, just had a chuckle. I'm on a email list (0+ / 0-)

    because I'm interested in energy, and this list has lots of information.  I got an email today from Energy Nation, asking me to urge Pres. Obama to approve the pipeline.  The email claimed that the pipeline would produce 42,000 permanent jobs and billions of economic progress.  So, silly me, I erased the entire letter, and wrote about the cost of potential bitumen leaks and spills, and how many pipeline leaks we have had recently.  Sent it under their name and mine.  Got a nice email thanking me for doing this.  Do these mails get read by anyone?

    Patriotism may be the last refuge of scoundrels, but religion is assuredly the first.

    by StrayCat on Fri Feb 28, 2014 at 02:35:36 PM PST

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