City Journal Winter 2014

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Bill Watkins
A “Comeback” in Name Only « Back to Story

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Shocking shocking! That the New York Times would report in a way that makes Democrats look good. The plain and simple truth is that if it is written in the New York Times it can't be trusted - facts are usually facts but if a fact is reported in the Times, you just can't rely on it being fact.

And that's the long and short of it - those of us who have long experience with the Times - and I started reading it in the '60's - noticed that in the early 1980's the reporting changed dramatically. What was initially a creep became a flood as the editorial page began infecting the entire paper. Now its one great big editorial - from Science Times to the front page, nothing in the paper can be trusted as everything gives way to pressing ahead with an ideological agenda.

What is absolutely incredible - other than that Republican candidates even talk to the Times these days - is that it sometimes appears that those in charge of the paper are blind to their own biases. I am one of those who think that those at the Times know full well what they are doing, and that the news is slanted on purpose. But, it is almost comical when one hears anyone at the Times defending the paper and claiming it is free from bias. Of course, that bias has hurt the Times in the pocketbook - only a fool would dismiss half of the potential readership, but that is precisely who the Times has in charge, and its typically single digit stock price reflects it.

Likewise only a fool - or fools who run a once great newspaper - could look at California and see good news. But, the Times is doing its job, spinning reality in a way that makes Democrats look good, even as they run the state into the ground. This article shows how Califorina is fast transforming itself into the perfect Democratic paradise - lots of poor, a few "good" rich, and in the middle, overpaid government workers and party apparatchiks. The middle class has disappeared or is disappearing, and if anyone moves out of state, its no problem for the Democrats in charge, as more pliable people can be imported from overseas or from south of the border. The fact that places of Democratic governance always end up like Detroit makes no difference to the Times - they will be singing the praises of California even as it slips away into the third world. After all, what's critical to those at the Times aren't facts, it is that Democrats are elected.

Even as I write this, I'm looking forward to the inevitable - when the New York Times joins so many others as solely an online news source, competing with about a billion news sources. If any paper could have survived todays news environment, it was the Times - only the gross incompetence of the person at the top - who values ideology over making money could lead to this result.

Given the harm done by the Times, it can't happen soon enough.

Two expressions come to mind . The first is " States don't die , they commit suicide " The second "Never interrupt a man while he is destroying himself " In both cases , words to that effect .Sayonara , Caly
Who really pays any attention to the NYT anyway?
Not just the New York Times doing it but a national trend. Happy Talk from various media organizations is actually political propaganda in a rented tuxedo – and it goes on daily among European media outlets as well. Journalists have re-defined their role to be that of popular entertainers combined with political ideology advocates and a constant diet of bad news followed by even worse news isn’t entertaining by anyone’s definition.

With the internet available 24/7, no one actually believes everything is rosy but must we constantly dwell on it? And what if we did dwell on only the latest murders, tales of political corruption and no-hope economic indicators – where’s the fun in that?

Instead, the big city and Blue State blather machines attempt to provide a balanced mix of entertainment. Neutral entertainment news like a massive fire at the local oil refinery is reported as what we used to call “straight news”. But to expect city dailies in long term Democratic Party metropolises to headline today’s bad news leaves very little room for anything else – no chili recipes, cute kid stories or inspiring tales of human kindness to the less fortunate. And some cities have become so depressing, real news reporting would become constant emotional triggers for phoning the Suicide Hot Line.

In Detroit, for example, sports reporting receives a daily avalanche of news and opinion pieces – go Tigers, hope U of M wins the finals, etc. and so on. Sports are followed in order of popularity by announcing the latest grand opening of the world’s best hamburger restaurant. Murders and political corruption are so commonplace in Detroit that more of the same is just plain boring – so what else is new defines the general mood.

Our mainstream media is big business, not a public service. And media customers don’t want their noses rubbed in the daily truth, they’d prefer their chosen political views to be re-affirmed frequently and our nation’s journalists are motivated to provide that very product. As Hollywood would say: “That’s Entertainment”.
The housing problem isn't simply caused by choosing to not develop on buildable land. If that were the case we would likely see growing density on land already develop ( aka tear down a single family home and replace it with a tri-plex ). That's not cheap but surely with mediocre single family homes going for $300k - $750k, there are a lot of areas where the demand exists.

It seems like Cali's problem is simply that you're not allowed to build much of anything.
I am not sure where Professor Watkins got the impression that the Port of Long Beach is no longer able to receive the largest container ships and tankers. In fact, last year Long Beach welcomed the largest ships ever in the transPacific fleeet.
http://www.polb.com/news/displaynews.asp?NewsID=1076&TargetID=1
California's illegal immigrants account for a lot of a "false" increase in population, since they awren't supposed to be residents. Their toll on the state's economy is huge, but those who profit from this modern-day "slavery" (since illegally paying lower wages to those in the U.S. illegally is common)keep this corrupt system in place. In addition to taxpayers supplimenting their reduced pay, future generations of Americans will have to pay because of the greed of a few (like previous centuries' African-American slavery is costing generations now who never profited from slavery)
It's interesting. There does indeed seem to be a coordinated marketing campaign promoting the false idea that all is fixed in California. Sure, it's bogus, but many of California's low-information voters , ever loyal to The Party, will accept it as gospel.

My favorite was from Harold Meyerson.

"The Once and Future Gov"
http://prospect.org/article/once-and-future-gov

His bio in the article mentions that he's a columnist with the Washington Post. Funny, they forget to mention that he's also a Vice-Chair of the Democratic Socialists of America (DSA).
http://www.dsausa.org/our_structure

These articles certainly smell like the American Left is attempting to protect one of their own. They know full well that most of their base won't actually do the research to find out that their claims are full of lies.

Amazingly, even some from the Left are suspect. Matt Miller, senior fellow at the Left-leaning Center for American Progress wrote a skeptical piece in the Washington Post.

"Jerry Brown’s California still has much to do"
http://www.washingtonpost.com/opinions/matt-miller-jerry-browns-california-is-far-from-a-comeback/2013/04/04/7ce5d4d6-9d20-11e2-9a79-eb5280c81c63_story.html

Miller's questioning of official orthodoxy prompted a letter from California Governor Brown, himself!

"California’s Prop 30 puts state on solid footing"
http://www.washingtonpost.com/opinions/californias-prop-30-puts-state-on-solid-footing/2013/04/09/1faf5e9c-9f8f-11e2-bd52-614156372695_story.html

So far, Governor Brown's Proposition 30 tax hikes have simply given California the nation's highest state sales tax rate and the nation's 1st-, 2nd-, 3rd-, 5th-, and 7th-highest marginal state income tax rates. Neither has helped California's business climate or unemployment, which is tied as worst-in-the-nation with Nevada and Mississippi.

Some of Governor Brown's "reforms" have indeed helped. But as Matt Miller says, we have a long way to go.
In large parts of LA, gunfire rings out through the night. Unless somebody's actually been shot, the police don't even want to hear about it. They could set up listening devices that would pinpoint instantly where the shots were fired, and whether from a moving vehicle or from a stationary location. But they don't.
Gilbert W. Chapman April 10, 2013 at 5:00 PM
There is only one not too plausible solution for all of California's problems.

Perhaps some day an earthquake will split California off from the United States, and it will just 'float away'.

Hopefully, it will float in a southerly direction, and become attached to Antarctica.
When California's progressive cheerleaders brag that our (huge) "Golden State" has the 8th largest economy in the world (Governor Brown did as recently as two weeks ago), they are citing outdated figures. We've dropped to TWELFTH place. And rather quickly (the last two-three years).

They also conveniently fail to mention that, at the start of the new century, we were the FIFTH largest economy. California's stately decline continues.