All errors should be reported to

Tuesday, February 13, 2018

California learns to turn billions into thousands

California is the Cleveland Browns of the states.

And proud of it.

The California Institute for Regenerative Medicine has invested $2.7 billion in stem-cell research. It redistributes taxpayer money to researchers.

Californians approved this plan 71% to 29% in a referendum in 2004. Unlike other referendums to ban gay marriage or ban giving welfare to illegal aliens, no federal judge reversed the decision of the people -- and so California went ahead with the plan.

The state passed out taxpayer money to tax-exempt groups (ah, irony) and now after 14 years and $2,700,000,000, California has received its first royalty check for...

(Drumroll, please.)


Multiply that 10,000 times and wow, you will still fall $800 million shy of breaking even.

The check came from the City of Hope’s Alpha Stem Cell Clinic, which received $8 million in grants.

Its director, John Zaia, told the San Francisco Chronicle that this royalty check proves skeptics wrong.

"I think this illustrates that a state agency can actually fund research in the private community and get a return on its investment," Zaia said.

"It’s something that’s not done in general by other funding agencies such as the National Institutes of Health, and this is a proof of concept that it can work."

Yes, the concept worked quite well for Zaia. His company got $8 million for a mere $190,000.

Reporter Joaquin Palomino of San Francisco Chronicle showed a skepticism that journalists seldom aim at government.

"Critics of the stem cell institute say it’s still unclear whether California will ultimately reap the rewards it was promised when voters in 2004 passed Proposition 71, which gave the state the constitutional right to conduct stem cell research and led to the creation of CIRM. At the time, the campaign predicted as much as $1.1 billion in royalties from the research — a figure that was quickly called into question by experts," he wrote.


Oh, you can say that the money went into research that saves lives.

But that was not how it was sold to the public.

This was a get-rich scheme.

This was the draft-Johnny Manziel moment for the state.

But there is a larger issue. Why is the state going into business?

Constitutions are supposed to limit and rein in government by telling it that it should make no law.

In California, the state constitution gives the state rights -- not the people.

And thus you wind up with investing billions to make thousands.


From Leslie Eastman's review at Legal Insurrection:
Surber, a recovering journalist with over 30 years of experience, has been cataloging the #FakeNews that has been regularly offered as serious analysis of President Donald Trump’s actions, policies, and opinions. He has brought his enormous collection together in the longest, most serious book he has yet written: Fake News Follies 2017.
"Fake News Follies of 2017" is available on Kindle and in paperback.

Autographed copies are available. Email me at for details. I am including a "director's cut." I'll email you back the original Chapter 1 that I cut because while the chapter was amusing, it really had nothing to do with the "Fake News Follies of 2017."

Ben Garrison did the cover and I am so happy with it. I told him what the book was about, sent him a copy of the manuscript, and he came up with a perfect cover. I am so pleased.


  1. See? The Democrats are right. Money really does grow in Petrie dishes supplied with grants and idiotic redefinitions of return on investment.

    Remember when Clinton talked about taxes as investment? The same way a guy talks to his wife about that new boat. Except in stead of ripping off his own future, Clinton was ripping off ours.

    1. And what used to be called State Tax Bureaus are now called Departments of Revenue.

  2. I don't know whether California is stupid or corrupt, so I'm embracing the power of AND. Also, the happiness of not living there.

    1. SamL, trust me, it's only getting worse. I've been to some city council meetings. These guys and their supporters are
      1) nuts
      2) egged on by Sacramento directives to go further into madness

      Example: we're given garbage bins to separate our trash into 5 different categories. Spending millions on bins, special trucks, processing centers, etc, is supposed to save The Planet from global warming. Instead it's a massive hole of gov't spending-- a butterfly sneeze that is totally negated every 2 weeks when a new Chinese power plant comes on line.

    2. Jim, it pains me to tell you this, buddy, but your state in its current configuration is beyond redemption. Get out of there, or secede from the state. Y'all were pretty cutting edge with your Propositions back in the day, but those days are gone. WV is a really nice state with totally affordable housing and vistas that will remind you of home. Give it a think.

  3. 'There are technological fixes and then there are changes in the culture and in the way of life...We're going to have to both...The present imperative is to maximize material consumption resources and resource-depletion and ecological disaster,' he (Jerry Brown) informed Alexander Cockburn and James Ridgeway during an interview. In an earlier day friends of the English language would have assassinated an editor for publishing such cackelocutions. Relatives, concerned for the honor of the Brown family name, might have had the boy governor declared non compos mentis. Yet in the glorious 1970s Mr. and Mrs. Brown Senior were actually proud of their brat.

    - R. Emmett Tyrrell, Jr., The Liberal Crack-Up, 1984

  4. Be glad it's only the state of California that's getting stuck with the bills. Recall how much stem cell technology was hyped when W was president, and how strong a push was made to get the federal government to do wide scale funding of stem cell research. We were told stem cell technology was going to lead to cures for everything that ails you, from hangnails to old age. Okay, funding basic research is, I think, a worthy component of the federal government's portfolio of activities, but it should not take precedence over the Constitutionally mandated tasks that it still cannot seem to carry out properly.

    1. The speech that GWB gave concerning harvesting of fetal stem cells was one for the ages in terms of blending and balancing the actual scientific merits of the question at hand and the indisputable moral concerns.

      The way the left came out against him was ghoulish. Scum like Christopher Reeves (the opposite of Christopher Walken) and Michael J. Fox showed their asses over this in front of God and everybody.

      The left are not my countrymen. Hell, we are not even the same species so far as I am concerned.

  5. Maybe California can be like Cleveland Browns fans and have a parade to celebrate losing.

  6. if you got that ROI on your IRA you'd sue your broker. In government, it's called a 'wise investment.'

    1. Well, SPP, in my former world that wouldn't just merit an arbitration, it would merit a yuge fine, actual/compensatory-punitive-lawyers fees damages, and a lifetime bar from the securities industry. Pity that FINRA doesn't regulate the Gubment too.

  7. Hell, just wait until you see the revenue stream from their $68-billion-dollar "bullet" train to nowhere.

    They're just warming up!

    1. "Revenue stream?" How about revenue trickle? -- BJ54

    2. That's a "Revenue Black Hole", Anon. And not the only, but "one of many". Likely the biggest, but I wouldn't know for certain.

    3. Moonbeam's "bullet" train is a world-class boondoggle. It will make people look back at Boston's Big Dig with fondness. Even though they started with the easiest stretch first, California's choo choo is already 7 years behind schedule and billions over budget. I can't wait until they start tunneling through 30 miles of mountains, if they get that far.

  8. It is California and has been on a downward slide for a couple of decades. I abandoned that state in the late 80's when the stupidity because so strong and celebrated by the clowns.