The week ahead: Back to our own Mega Millions

150 150 Chris Nelson

The Lede

photo courtesy of radaronline.comLast week’s Mega Millions frenzy was a brief mental vacation for all from the dire financial straits of our own state. As people across the country clamored for a piece of the record $640 million jackpot, dishing out $1.5 billion in ticket purchases, Californians were no exception with plenty of dollar sign-filled eyes and big dreams to go around.

Alas, no golden ticket was sold in the Golden State. We can’t help but think of this as a microcosm for how we dug ourselves into this hole in the first place.

We have been plodding along with the warning signs readily apparent, but instead of tending to infrastructure and implementing long-term solutions, we bet on quick fixes like bonds and clever debt restructuring, much like the people who spent huge chunks of their weekly take home for a chance at the jackpot. 

All of this has been done with similar levels of hope and thoughts of reinvigorating the idea of the California Dream. 

But just as any individual needs better odds than 1 in 176 million at financial security, Californians deserve better than simple reshuffling of red numbers in our state ledgers. It begins with fixing the system, moving toward a budgeting system that adjusts based on the performance of each program, and giving the states and counties more authority in how they distribute state funds.

Then and only then can we stop placing our greatest hope in one winning ticket and make the California Dream a waking reality once again.

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The rise of social media has spawned new ways of looking and thinking about pretty much every personal, professional, and political interaction we make on a daily basis. Many of these changes are positive benefits of the ultra-connectivity we now experience.

Last week, however, State Senator Leland Yee (D-San Francisco), who is quickly becoming one of the more prominent figures in the California transparency arena, introduced legislation that would prevent employers from requesting Facebook and Twitter passwords from job applicants.

It’s an interesting conundrum as it is already standard practice for employers to search for job applicants on Facebook. The Palo-Alto based company recently bowed to heavy pressure regarding its privacy controls, making it much easier for users to lockdown every aspect of their profile from unwelcome eyes. 

But asking for a Facebook password during a job interview is a new one. Despite it feeling similar to asking for the keys to someone’s house, there are those who simply cannot afford to be indignant in the face of such a request in this economy, hence Sen. Yee’s law.

Facebook itself isn’t sitting around idly to see how this plays out: they have indicated that they may sue employers who ask for passwords.

We’d love to hear where you stand on this debate because we think it’s absolutely fascinating.

Quick Hits

It’s fitting that HBO’s smash hit series Game of Thrones debuted it’s second season last night just as the GOP rallies behind Mitt Romney ahead of tomorrow’s Wisconsin primary that could give him the nomination (mathematically). Add in Dan Walters fielding questions about a run for office and the irony is spread on thick coming out of April Fool’s weekend. (PS, how great is Peter Dinklage in Game of Thrones?)

The Supreme Court had a very public hearing about the constitutionality of the so-called “Obamacare.” In a PR move, the Obama campaign released an email saying that they actually love the word that the GOP has used to deride his universal health care legislation since its introduction. If it winds up dying, California just may pick up the reigns and institute something similar on its own.

Ballot inititiave season is upon us a tad early as commercials have started hitting the airwaves for Gov. Brown’s tax measure…which has yet to actually qualify for the ballot. And if you’re missing the ads on television, they may be coming soon to a website near you.

Buckle up as this promises to be a very interesting spring quarter, both nationally and in California.

Chris Nelson is the blog editor and social media + content specialist at California Forward.


Chris Nelson

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