April 28 Open Thread

To the links:

• Lawrence Lessig’s Change-Congress.org has a website arguing that the DSCC should not reject PAC money for just one Barack Obama fundraising event, but every day. Calitics Ed Board members David Dayen and Brian Leubitz were two of the original signatories.

Gray Davis on Arlen Specter‘s party switch: “The tide goes in, the tide goes out. Times change, attitudes change. … It’s great news for now — but no one should get complacent.”  On the other hand, Yacht Party Chair Ron Nehring tweeted: “Just waiting for the professional whiners to say its’ Republicans’ fault Specter left the party. Give me a break.”  As an amateur whiner, I want to step in and say that Ron Nehring has the worst Twitter wallpaper I’ve ever seen.

• A key informant alleges that the FBI monitored Orange County gyms to obtain information on Muslim members of area mosques.  Just another reason why I love the Patriot Act!

Asm. Jim Beall’s alcohol tax was pulled. You can queue up every bad pun, but it would have brought in a bit of cash.

The U-T takes a look at Prop 1C.   Not only does it allow $5B in securitization now, but in theory the state could borrow additional cash in the future and changes the way the lottery works. All these changes, however, do not bring any certainty that the performance of the lottery will actually improve.

The CA Budget Project reminds us that “the plural of anecdote is not data.” Just because one CA business leaves, does not mean there is a pattern.

• Noted real estate industry expert Robert Shiller gave an interesting reminder of California’s boom and bust housing markets and the lack of historical memory at a recent talk at Seattle Pacific University:

One amusing part of the afternoon session was a story Dr. Shiller related about a localized Los Angeles housing bubble in 1885. In describing the mentality in 1885 Los Angeles, he said that people thought “Los Angeles is special!” He also quoted from an article in the LA Times which was published during the aftermath of the collapse in 1886:

We Californians have learned something. And that is that home prices can’t just go up forever-they have to be supported by something. Never again will Californians make this mistake.