Monday, February 18, 2013

Sequestration is not the problem. Sequestration is (part of) the solution.

UPDATED: 2/20/2013
Find the sequester 
The steady drumbeat in the mainstream media about the sequestration "crisis" is getting louder by the day. With less than two weeks until the cuts go into effect it is already approaching an absurdist crescendo.
the scream
The sequestration is coming!
Let's be clear. The "sequester" is not a crisis.  The "sequester" is not the problem. The real problem is the massive growth in federal spending creating unsustainable deficits and debt that will be shouldered by generations to come.  The "sequester" is a solution to a real problem facing America.

That said, the "sequester" is not a great solution.  It's not even a good solution.  The sequester cuts are not a smart way to address the spending problem. The sequester cuts are also not adequate to solve the spending and unfunded liability disaster that looms in our entitlement programs. But the odds of getting anything smart out of this administration or this congress that even makes as little impact on the real problem as do the sequester cuts are vanishingly small. Since it's a bad bet to rely on our leaders for smart significant cuts, let's at least take the cuts they already passed.

Tuesday, February 12, 2013

State of the Union - The Musical!
Obama Superstar Edition

SOTU The Musical!
Obama Superstar

Welcome to the Dividist's annual coverage of the Presidential Address to Congress - aka State of the Union - The Musical!

In 2007, as a blogging infant, the Dividist despaired at finding a unique approach to the SOTU when so many other bloggers would be traversing the same ground. The answer came from Bob Woodward. I asked Bob in an on-line Washington Post forum whether the SOTU had any real relevance. He responded by saying it was "mostly theater." Genius. That was the answer. What better way to frame the SOTU, media and blog reactions than within the lyrics of a Broadway show tune?

Monday, February 11, 2013

Eco-lawyers sue San Francisco. Case is dismissed. Losing lawyers demand $1.3 million in legal fees anyway. They may get it. Coming soon to a city near you.

In December U.S. District Judge Susan Illston dismissed a lawsuit filed by the W.E.B.L.E.E.D.U. Axis (Wildly Equitable Biodiverse Litigants for Ecological Extortion and Deep Untruths) to shut down the City's landmark Alister Mackenzie public golf course - Sharp Park.  This led some to wonder whether the long running Battle for Sharp Park might finally be over.  Spoiler alert: No.

 I've been covering this story here and on my other blog and was laboring under no such illusion. On Friday February 8, 2013 the WEBLEEDU's filed a pleading with Judge Illston that demonstrates exactly why these lawsuits will never end:

"In a curious twist in the long-running fight between anti-golf activists and San Francisco over the fate of the city’s historic public Sharp Park Golf Course, the Tucson-based Center for Biological Diversity, Wild Equity Institute, and a handful of other groups filed a motion here today in Federal Court, asking the same Federal Judge who dismissed their lawsuit in December, 2012 to order the City of San Francisco to pay their legal bill of more than $1.3 Million... The Plaintiffs’ fee motion was filed under a provision of the Endangered Species Act that authorizes the Courts to award legal fees “whenever the Court determines such award is appropriate”.  Plaintiffs seek payment for more than 2,000 hours of attorneys time, most of which are billed at hourly rates between $550 and $750."
The press release quotes Bo Links of the San Francisco Public Golf Alliance echoing the feelings of most people hearing this story - with bemusement and incredulity:  “It’s a head-scratcher... This is environmental litigation in Wonderland... they lose every motion they file, and their case is thrown out.  And now they want the Court to order the City to pay their attorney’s fees?

 Of course it makes no sense. But that does not mean the WEBLEEDU's won't get paid.  It is very possible that the people of San Francisco will be forced to pay some or most of their attorney fees.

Welcome to the Looking Glass World of Equal Access to Justice Act legal fee reimbursements.

Sunday, February 03, 2013

Ten reasons San Franciscans should support the Baltimore Ravens in the Superbowl

We interrupt this political blog to bring you some perspective on today's game.

Full Disclosure: I've lived in San Francisco for 30 years. However, as I originally hail from Chicago,  Da Bears, Cubs, Bulls, and Blackhawks will always command my sporting loyalties.  Still, I have made a sincere effort to get behind the local teams as my second choice. They've not made it easy.

Look -  I am enormously grateful to the Niners for knocking the Green Bay Packers out of the playoffs. After the Packers lay down against the Vikings to keep the Bears out of the playoffs, watching Green Bay go to the Superbowl would have been too painful to bear. Since then, I have enthusiastically cheered the Niners throughout the playoffs. But the Superbowl  is another matter. There is a very good case for my fellow City citizens to follow my lead and pull for a Ravens win.

Here the top ten reasons why every San Franciscan should reconsider their support for the Niners: