A spirited, thoughtful anthology.


Taxifornia 2016


A collection of essays that skewers California state government for confiscatory taxation and ideological partisanship.

In his second book, Lacy (Taxifornia: Liberals’ Laboratory to Bankrupt America, 2014) carefully curates a series of pieces that focus on the destructive consequences of California’s tax system. The book as a whole largely anatomizes the issue from three broad perspectives. First, the state’s approach to taxation, it says, is starving business by creating punitive obstacles to commercial activity. It also asserts that the increasing aggrandizement of the state’s bureaucracy has generated massive inefficiencies in the ways that basic public services are delivered. Finally, the underlying impetus for such aggressive taxation, it says, is the satisfaction of liberal ideological commitments rather than any clearly definable, nonpartisan good. In his essay “Why Stay?” Liftable Media chairman Floyd Brown argues that the primary purpose of California’s obsession with tax collection is to reward public unions for their continued electoral loyalty, creating a form of collusion at the expense of the taxpaying public. Journalist Katy Grimes contends that prodigal spending on “ineffectual antipoverty programs, police sensitivity training, and community-based youth and outreach services” has failed to reign in Oakland’s spiraling problem with crime and that the state at large is following suit. Orange County Water District director Shawn Dewane examines California’s well-publicized struggle with its water supply, contending that the state’s shortage is more a function of its deference to partisan environmental policies than a scarcity of natural resources: “Half of the state’s water supply is reserved for environmental purposes—and environmentalists get first priority. In times of drought, everyone else takes a cut first.” City Journal editor and Sacramento Bee columnist Ben Boychuk attempts to draw a causal line from the state’s taxation to its burgeoning inequality, saying that California essentially creates a prospering class of civil servants at the fiscal expense of others. These essays by respected experts are rigorously presented and provocatively argued. Lacy is upfront that the book comes from a conservative and libertarian viewpoint, so readers looking for an essay or two defending a liberal perspective will be disappointed. However, this collection effectively challenges the conventional wisdom about the causes of California’s economic distress.

A spirited, thoughtful anthology.

Pub Date: Aug. 20, 2015

ISBN: 978-0-692-45018-5

Page Count: 268

Publisher: Landslide Communications, Inc.

Review Posted Online: Oct. 8, 2015

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Nov. 1, 2015

Did you like this book?

No Comments Yet


This early reader is an excellent introduction to the March on Washington in 1963 and the important role in the march played by Martin Luther King Jr. Ruffin gives the book a good, dramatic start: “August 28, 1963. It is a hot summer day in Washington, D.C. More than 250,00 people are pouring into the city.” They have come to protest the treatment of African-Americans here in the US. With stirring original artwork mixed with photographs of the events (and the segregationist policies in the South, such as separate drinking fountains and entrances to public buildings), Ruffin writes of how an end to slavery didn’t mark true equality and that these rights had to be fought for—through marches and sit-ins and words, particularly those of Dr. King, and particularly on that fateful day in Washington. Within a year the Civil Rights Act of 1964 had been passed: “It does not change everything. But it is a beginning.” Lots of visual cues will help new readers through the fairly simple text, but it is the power of the story that will keep them turning the pages. (Easy reader. 6-8)

Pub Date: Jan. 1, 2001

ISBN: 0-448-42421-5

Page Count: 48

Publisher: Grosset & Dunlap

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Dec. 1, 2000

Did you like this book?

No Comments Yet



Noted jazz and pop record producer Thiele offers a chatty autobiography. Aided by record-business colleague Golden, Thiele traces his career from his start as a ``pubescent, novice jazz record producer'' in the 1940s through the '50s, when he headed Coral, Dot, and Roulette Records, and the '60s, when he worked for ABC and ran the famous Impulse! jazz label. At Coral, Thiele championed the work of ``hillbilly'' singer Buddy Holly, although the only sessions he produced with Holly were marred by saccharine strings. The producer specialized in more mainstream popsters like the irrepressibly perky Teresa Brewer (who later became his fourth wife) and the bubble-machine muzak-meister Lawrence Welk. At Dot, Thiele was instrumental in recording Jack Kerouac's famous beat- generation ramblings to jazz accompaniment (recordings that Dot's president found ``pornographic''), while also overseeing a steady stream of pop hits. He then moved to the Mafia-controlled Roulette label, where he observed the ``silk-suited, pinky-ringed'' entourage who frequented the label's offices. Incredibly, however, Thiele remembers the famously hard-nosed Morris Levy, who ran the label and was eventually convicted of extortion, as ``one of the kindest, most warm-hearted, and classiest music men I have ever known.'' At ABC/Impulse!, Thiele oversaw the classic recordings of John Coltrane, although he is the first to admit that Coltrane essentially produced his own sessions. Like many producers of the day, Thiele participated in the ownership of publishing rights to some of the songs he recorded; he makes no apology for this practice, which he calls ``entirely appropriate and without any ethical conflicts.'' A pleasant, if not exactly riveting, memoir that will be of most interest to those with a thirst for cocktail-hour stories of the record biz. (25 halftones, not seen)

Pub Date: May 1, 1995

ISBN: 0-19-508629-4

Page Count: 224

Publisher: Oxford Univ.

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 1, 1995

Did you like this book?