HIT: Our nation's lawmakers could learn a few things from these folks. The San Francisco Chronicle reported on a meeting between members of two of the nation's most ideologically extreme groups: MoveOn.org co-founder Joan Blades and national tea party figure Mark Meckler. The two met in Blades' Berkeley home, where they snacked on homemade blueberry scones made by Meckler's wife. Even more shocking, they found areas of agreement: that the Glass-Steagall Act, which prohibited commercial banks from being involved in investment banking, should be reinstated and that government regulations are burdensome on small businesses. The meeting was an exercise in "transpartisanship," which aims to find common ground without abandoning core beliefs. Next time, invite John Boehner and Harry Reid.
MISS: Some people don't deserve a gun
While gun advocates have claimed that new gun control efforts wrongly target responsible gun owners, it's worth remembering there are many irresponsible gun owners out there for whom tighter firearms restrictions would be beneficial. Case in point, the mother of a 7-year-old boy in Queens, N.Y., who took a semi-automatic handgun to school in his backpack last week. Police reports indicate the boy's mother had put the gun and about two dozen rounds of ammunition in the boy's backpack when she went out the night before and forgot to take it out before the boy went to school the next morning. The child didn't know he had taken the gun to school but discovered it while at school and reportedly gave a flare gun that was also in the backpack to a schoolmate. Police eventually recovered all the items and the mother has been charged with, among other things, owning an unlicensed handgun.
HIT: A move toward sane borrowing
The state's top finance officer and school officials have called on education leaders to stop using capital appreciation bonds until the Legislature and governor determine appropriate legislation to restrict their use. Capital appreciation bonds mature over 25 to 40 yeas and carry excessively high interest payments -- sometimes costing up to six times the borrowed amount in interest payments. Nearly 200 school districts statewide have resorted to using these bonds, including several in Kern County. They are horrible deals for taxpayers and should be used in limited cases, if ever.
MISS: The way it's always been
California lawmakers once again jiggered their weekly meeting schedule ahead of the long holiday weekend so they can continue collecting additional per diem pay while most headed home for the weekend. The extra $142 collected daily will cost about $65,000 but was justified by some lawmakers as the way things have always been done in Sacramento. That's a sorry excuse, in our opinion.
HIT: A sensible, kind gesture
In one of the more humanitarian moves by a bank since the housing crisis, Bank of America is donating more than 2,000 foreclosed homes nationwide to Habitat for Humanity. Five homes have been donated locally, valued between $100,000 and $150,000. The homes require some work, but should take just a few months to be move-in ready. Volunteers will help fix up the homes for low-income families.