The Times – Arnie Schwarzenegger joins the ranks of the girlie men After years on the brink, California is finally going out of business, by Chris Ayres

Lucky you,” said my accountant the other day. “You’ve underpaid your taxes this year. That means you owe the state of California money.”

“I don’t get it,” I said, wincing. “Why is that lucky?”

“You didn’t hear?”

“Hear what?”

“If you were due a refund for 2008, California wouldn’t send you a cheque. It would send you an IOU. And before you ask: no, this will not work in reverse.”

So this is what things have come to here in America’s most financially powerful state – a state whose $1.8 trillion economy is theoretically the eighth-largest economy in the world (just behind the United Kingdom, France, and Italy). If you thought that the collapse of Iceland made things tricky, confidence-wise, just wait until this sucker goes down. Which it is expected to do this week or next, as it technically becomes insolvent, unable to pay tax refunds, repair roads and bridges, keep schools open, or indeed provide a wage for anyone unfortunate enough to find themselves on its payroll.

After years on the brink, it has finally come to this: California is going out of business.

He doesn’t have a lot to say about the California legislature, which, after all, has been ticking along like this for longer than Ahnuld’s been around, and without any recalls or, indeed, any regular election-year turnaround either. Ahnuld did at least try to do something in his first term (remember the teachers’ unions?). Meanwhile, I’ve had this open for over a week, and I think it’s high-time to link to it:

San Francisco Chronicle – Magic in the Mission

It is too easy to make fun of the people who packed Room 400 in San Francisco’s City Hall to stop American Apparel from opening a store on Valencia Street in the Mission District last week.

They are not serious people. They live in a world where facts like 27 vacant storefronts on Valencia Street and 9.3 percent unemployment statewide and nearly 600,000 jobs lost nationally last month do not matter. The few who read books know no authors beyond Naomi Klein. They do not believe that the world has changed since the 1999 World Trade Organization protests in Seattle. This accounts for both the static nature of their vocabulary – “no formula retail!” is their death chant, though anyone who has picked up a newspaper in the last five months could tell you that there isn’t a single retail establishment with a formula today – and the juvenile nature of their worldview. They do not want to see businesses be successful. They do not want the Mission District to be welcoming to different types of people.

What they want is magic.

And read the whole thing.