Potpourri

Amid the mediagasm of JFK nostalgia, I was curious about one thing—the population of the USA on 11/22/63. Turns out it was about 180 million. So that means in the 50 years since, America has grown by 135 million people. Yoiks. From this number, we can conclude one thing. We seem to really enjoy breeding.

In the recent news flurry about Obamacare, filibuster reform and JFK, one very important story from our western neighbor got sorta overlooked. And it shouldn't be. The state of California just announced a surplus for fiscal year 2013. About $2 billion worth. Repeating, the state of California is gonna be in the black this year, with a surplus of TWO BILLION DOLLARS. This extraordinary news comes from a state that in fiscal '09 was about 60 billion in the red.

Just further proof that good things can happen, and happen fast, when you tax the rich people properly. Which is exactly what happened here. Californians wised up in '12 and passed Prop 30, which enabled the government to (1) increase the state sales tax by 25 percent through 2016, and (2) raise state income taxes on people making $250,000 a year. At the risk of being broken record redundant, I'll remind that the reason you raise the taxes on wealthy people is very simple. Because they're the ones that have the money. Also, their checks don't bounce. This basic rule of finance was laid out there years ago by legendary economist John Maynard Krebs.

I was driving along Interstate 5 late on the Sunday afternoon of Thanksgiving weekend. I'm just getting into that long, boring stretch that runs from south of Stockton to Bakersfield. Right off, near the gas stop of Westley, it's obvious that traffic is pretty thick. In fact, just past Westley, it stops. Full on big city urban freeway slowdown scene, except that we're out here in the sticks, between the metropoli of Westley and Spitoon. OK, I grumble, must be a wreck up ahead. Only there ain't no wreck. We creep along at 5 mph for a few miles, and then, suddenly, we're back to normal, cruising at 70. Dandy. Then, a few miles down the road, the constipation returns. Back to creeping at 2 to 4 mph. After a few miles of this, once again it lightens up and we're all cruising at 70. And then, just outside of Hornetville, more clogged slowdown. There are never any wrecks or explanations for this strange pisser of stop and go. No construction crews. I'm going goofy trying to figure out what is now a major WTF. All I know is that this is apparently gonna keep happening, and it sucks.

Then it hits me. There are no wrecks. There is no construction. I'm in the midst of one massive Californicated CF. This is the Sunday of Thanksgiving weekend. This mighty interstate is simply being overwhelmed by all the bozos, ding dongs and numchuks who are heading back to LA after the holiday. Holy freakin' gridlock, Batman.

I will now completely support any candidate who will offer free vasectomies to all American adult males.