Friday, August 26, 2011

Rep. Herger's staff must read blogs

All it took was Bruce Ross chastising Rep. Wally Herger for not doing town-hall meetings this summer and here the congressman delivers.

Who: Congressman Wally Herger
Moderators Ray Roberts and Steve Gibson

Where: Simpson University Heritage Student Life Center - 2211 College View Drive, Redding, CA 96003

When: 6:00 P.M. on Wednesday, August 31st [...]

Individuals needing assistance or special accommodation to fully participate in the program should contact Congressman Herger’s Chico office (530) 893-8363, who will notify Simpson University of requests.

Herger is also doing one with a Tea Party group in Red Bluff on Tuesday the 30th, according to the Daily News.

I read somewhere that Bruce was eating his shoe. But actually, I wonder if the Herger folks just read his blog and said, "Oops, they noticed."

Farmers make use of Web

From the California Farm Bureau Federation:

Nearly 70 percent of California farmers have access to computers and more than half use their computers to conduct farm business, according to a newly released U-S Agriculture Department report. The report also found that the number of farms with Internet connections has risen almost 20 percent nationwide during the last decade. Farmers listed DSL as the most common method of accessing the Internet.

Thursday, August 25, 2011

Nielsen: Put killers in prison

From Assemblyman Jim Nielsen:

Assemblyman Jim Nielsen (R-Gerber) this [week] joined Crime Victims United of California at the State Capitol to call on the Governor and the California Board of Parole Hearings to immediately take the necessary actions to return to custody dozens of inmates – mostly murderers - who were wrongly released under a decision by the Ninth Circuit court in 2010.

“These particularly dangerous individuals were wrongly released onto our streets,” said Nielsen. “These individuals were found unsuitable for release by the Parole Board because they remained a threat of danger to society.”

“I would strongly urge the Governor to issue an immediate order to the Parole Board that they take action to rescind these releases and return the inmates to custody per board procedures and as per Supreme Court decision,” said Nielsen. “Justice and public safety demand no less.”

The early release was initially ordered by the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeal after reviewing the inmate cases which were not granted release by Parole Board, the state courts and the governor. The court's decision was, however, overturned by the Supreme Court of the United States as of January 24, 2011.

The Supreme Court concluded that the Ninth Circuit’s questionable finding that there was no evidence in the record supporting the parole denials is irrelevant unless there is a federal right at stake, as the law requires and that the responsibility for assuring that the constitutionally adequate procedures governing California’s parole system are properly applied rests with California courts.

“The adventuresome Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals ordered their release, disregarding the board, the governor and state courts, and in doing so has placed the public in danger,” said Nielsen.

Crime Victims United of California is the only organization of its kind – using education, legislative advocacy and political action to enhance public safety and crime-reduction measures and strengthen the rights of crime victims.

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Panel passes 'performance-based' budget bill

From Assemblyman Jim Nielsen:

Assemblyman Jim Nielsen (R-Gerber) reports that Senate Bill (SB) 14 (Wolk), that he co-authored, was passed unanimously in the Budget Committee today. SB 14 provides a framework for implementing performance-based budgeting for all departments and programs by fiscal year 2018-19.

“When performance is measured, performance improves,” said Nielsen. “I see this bill as an advancement of the cause of a more transparent and accountable government.”

The bill requires that funding for state agencies as part of the Governor’s proposed budgets be justified by a performance-based analysis of each agency. SB 14 specifies that the Legislature will designate a committee to propose legislative changes to programs and agency activities. It also requires that the performance review of all programs be conducted at least once every ten years.

Nielsen believes that in spite of the long road leading to the implementation of this bill, that this is a step in the right direction and is urging all the members of the Assembly to pass this bill and for the Governor to sign it.

“We should remember that the role of the government is to serve the people, not itself,” said Nielsen. “And because it is funded by the people, they deserve no less than an accurate accounting that their money is being spent prudently and responsibly.”

FCC rules out Fairness Doctrine

Redding.com's Bruce Ross links to Politico's report that the FCC has scrapped any notion of bringing back the Fairness Doctrine, the pre-1984 law that basically shut down political speech on America's airwaves. Bruce adds:

The prospect of the Fairness Doctrine return has been the subject of a running debate the past few years, but even if you think it's a good idea, it's hard to see how a regulation that made sense in a world of oligopoly broadcasters can stand in the 2011 media environment.

I think you can chalk one up to the presence of the Tea Party movement, which contributed in no small way to making such a regulation politically untenable.

The Farm Bureau on redistricting

I sought a reaction from the California Farm Bureau Federation on the state's latest redistricting maps, and this is what I got from Casey Gudel, the organization's manager of political affairs.

"Farm Bureau supported the initiative that created the redistricting commission, as well as the initiative that resulted in open primaries, because the combination of these two reforms offered a chance to see more moderate, business-friendly candidates of either party elected.

"We know the maps created by the commission aren't perfect but we believe the result of its work is an improvement from the previous process of asking the Legislature to draw the districts itself.

"The important thing is for farmers and ranchers to be involved in the political process by identifying and supporting candidates who will work to protect California family farms and ranches."

More on the issue soon at CapitalPress.com.

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

The mindset of incoming freshmen

From the AP:

Every year, Beloit College in Beloit, Wis., releases its Mindset List to give a snapshot of the world view of the incoming freshmen class. The list for the Class of 2015:

---

Most students entering college for the first time this fall - members of the Class of 2015 - were born in 1993. For these students, Andre the Giant, River Phoenix, Frank Zappa, Arthur Ashe and the Commodore 64 have always been dead.

Their classmates could include Taylor Momsen, Angus Jones, Howard Stern's daughter Ashley, and the Dilley Sextuplets.

1. There has always been an Internet ramp onto the information highway.

2. Ferris Bueller and Sloane Peterson could be their parents.

3. States and Velcro parents have always been requiring that they wear their bike helmets.

4. The only significant labor disputes in their lifetimes have been in major league sports.

5. There have always been at least two women on the Supreme Court, and women have always commanded U.S. Navy ships.

6. They "swipe" cards, not merchandise.

7. As they've grown up on websites and cellphones, adult experts have constantly fretted about their alleged deficits of empathy and concentration.

8. Their school's "blackboards" have always been getting smarter.

9. "Don't touch that dial!" . what dial?

10. American tax forms have always been available in Spanish.

11. More Americans have always traveled to Latin America than to Europe.

12. Amazon has never been just a river in South America.

13. Refer to LBJ, and they might assume you're talking about LeBron James.

14. All their lives, Whitney Houston has always been declaring, "I Will Always Love You."

15. O.J. Simpson has always been looking for the killers of Nicole Simpson and Ronald Goldman.

16. Women have never been too old to have children.

17. Japan has always been importing rice.

18. Jim Carrey has always been bigger than a pet detective.

19. We have never asked, and they have never had to tell.

20. Life has always been like a box of chocolates.

21. They've always gone to school with Mohammed and Jesus.

22. John Wayne Bobbitt has always slept with one eye open.

23. There has never been an official Communist Party in Russia.

24. "Yadda, yadda, yadda" has always come in handy to make long stories short.

25. Video games have always had ratings.

26. Chicken soup has always been soul food.

27. The Rocky Horror Picture Show has always been available on TV.

28. Jimmy Carter has always been a smiling elderly man who shows up on TV to promote fair elections and disaster relief.

29. Arnold Palmer has always been a drink.

30. Dial-up is soooooooooo last century!

31. Women have always been kissing women on television.

32. Their older siblings have told them about the days when Britney Spears, Justin Timberlake and Christina Aguilera were Mouseketeers.

33. Faux Christmas trees have always outsold real ones.

34. They've always been able to dismiss boring old ideas with "been there, done that, gotten the T-shirt."

35. The bloody conflict between the government and a religious cult has always made Waco sound a little wacko.

36. Unlike their older siblings, they spent bedtime on their backs until they learned to roll over.

37. Music has always been available via free downloads.

38. Grown-ups have always been arguing about health care policy.

39. Moderate amounts of red wine and baby aspirin have always been thought good for the heart.

40. Sears has never sold anything out of a Big Book that could also serve as a doorstop.

41. The United States has always been shedding fur.

42. Electric cars have always been humming in relative silence on the road.

43. No longer known for just gambling and quickie divorces, Nevada has always been one of the fastest growing states in the Union.

44. They're the first generation to grow up hearing about the dangerous overuse of antibiotics.

45. They pressured their parents to take them to Taco Bell or Burger King to get free pogs.

46. Russian courts have always had juries.

47. No state has ever failed to observe Martin Luther King Day.

48. While they've been playing outside, their parents have always worried about nasty new bugs borne by birds and mosquitoes.

49. Public schools have always made space available for advertising.

50. Some of them have been inspired to actually cook by watching the Food Channel.

51. Fidel Castro's daughter and granddaughter have always lived in the United States.

52. Their parents have always been able to create a will and other legal documents online.

53. Charter schools have always been an alternative.

54. They've grown up with George Stephanopoulos as the Dick Clark of political analysts.

55. New kids have always been known as NKOTB.

56. They've always wanted to be like Shaq or Kobe: Michael who?

57. They've often broken up with their significant others via texting, Facebook, or MySpace.

58. Their parents sort of remember Woolworths as this store that used to be downtown.

59. Kim Jong Il has always been bluffing, but the West has always had to take him seriously.

60. Frasier, Sam, Woody and Rebecca have never Cheerfully frequented a bar in Boston during primetime.

61. Major League Baseball has never had fewer than three divisions and never lacked a wild-card entry in the playoffs.

62. Nurses have always been in short supply.

63. They won't go near a retailer that lacks a website.

64. Altar girls have never been a big deal.

65. When they were 3, their parents may have battled other parents in toy stores to buy them a Tickle Me Elmo while they lasted.

66. It seems the United States has always been looking for an acceptable means of capital execution.

67. Folks in Hanoi and Ho Chi Minh City have always been able to energize with Pepsi-Cola.

68. Andy Warhol is a museum in Pittsburgh.

69. They've grown up hearing about suspiciously vanishing frogs.

70. They've always had the privilege of talking with a chatterbot.

71. Refugees and prisoners have always been housed by the U.S. government at Guantanamo.

72. Women have always been Venusians; men, Martians.

73. McDonald's coffee has always been just a little too hot to handle.

74. "PC" has come to mean personal computer, not political correctness.

75. The New York Times and The Boston Globe have never been rival newspapers.


Of course, one sometimes gets the impression the list more reflects the mindset of AP and/or a handful of career academics than it does a class of 18-year-olds.

The Dick Clark of American political analysts? Are you kidding me? How many 18-year-olds actually sit and watch "This Week"?

Monday, August 22, 2011

What?! Politics from a public schoolteacher?!

I've been doing blogs off and on for six years now and been bantering with folks on Facebook for over a year, and folks have sort of gathered that I have certain opinions on some issues. But I would never post something like this, and I work in the private sector.

That said, it's interesting what'll get you fired or suspended from the public school system. If this teacher had said something like, "All global warming deniers are flat-earthers who should be denied any platform to spread their views," or even "America got what it had coming on 9-11," chances are the school officials would have just shrugged. Heck, this guy could've even lied to his employers about being sick so he could go storm the state Capitol with his union and not been suspended.

For this teacher's part, I don't know why someone with his views would want to teach in a public school. He must feel like he's bailing back the ocean with a bucket. He ought to go teach for a private institution that shares his opinions.

Producers' confidence in decline

From DTN/The Progressive Farmer:

As we move into this year’s harvest, agribusiness managers’ sentiment toward their operations has declined overall, according to the latest DTN/The Progressive Farmer Agribusiness Confidence Index. This marks the first time the Index has dropped.

The agribusiness index now stands at 97.8, a significant decline from the last survey in February, which came in at 113.2 and down from the initial survey last August, which was set at 100.

The survey indicates that agribusiness managers are much more optimistic about their current operations than future prospects. The Present Situation Index, which reflects current sentiment regarding sales to farmers and ranchers and current profitability, is 110.4, slightly above February’s survey index, which was 109.6. However, the Expectations Index, which measures sentiment on business activity 12 months from now, is 89.5, a significant drop from the February results, which came in at 116.

The 26.5 point dip in confidence for business activity 12 months from now could reflect uncertainty of what the economy will do in the next year. However, survey results do not indicate that more agribusiness managers are predicting their profitability and overall business prospects will worsen over the next year, but rather more indicated that they believe these aspects will stay the same than did in February.

Friday, August 19, 2011

Is Rick Perry 'a bad man'?

So asserted Erin Ryan, organizer of the Redding Tea Party, on her Sunday morning radio show recently. And to bolster the point, Ryan recently sent out an article by Patrick Wood, a self-described international economics expert, titled "Is Rick Perry a Globalist in Disguise?" It reads:

Already I am suspicious of the sudden frontrunner, Rick Perry, and have just posted an article that you can read here...

Rick Perry Tied to Agenda 21, globalist policies

Perry is the Texas Governor who tried to shove the Trans-Texas Corridor project down Texan's throat. The TTC was the first leg of the NAFTA Super-Highway, NAFTA being an exclusive creation of the Trilateral Commission.

Thus, beware of and look past all the slick marketing techcniques, including giant prayer meetings and slanderous attacks on the Ben Bernanke and the Federal Reserve.

Last month, Erin sent out another article titled "14 Reasons Why Rick Perry Would Be a Really, Really Bad President." It opines:

Many believe that if Rick Perry enters the race, he will instantly become the frontrunner for the Republican presidential nomination in 2012. Perry certainly looks the part and he knows how to give a good speech, but when ordinary Americans all over the country take a hard look at his record, they may not like what they see. The truth is that Rick Perry is a big-time globalist, he has raised taxes and fees in Texas numerous times, he has massively increased the size of government spending and government debt in Texas, he has been trying to ram the Trans-Texas Corridor down the throats of the Texas people and he tried to force young women all over Texas to be injected with the Gardasil vaccine. No, Rick Perry is not going to save America. In fact, he would likely be very, very similar to both Bush and Obama in a lot of ways.

The latter article was also sent to me by someone in Washington state, who'd gotten it from his local Tea Party there.

One can debate the merits of the arguments in the two articles, but I think they're notable in that Perry is often touted as a Tea Party darling, and these postings show that a funny thing may happen on the way to his Tea Party coronation.

I said on Facebook the other day that my hunch -- I wouldn't go as far as to call it a prediction -- was that Perry would turn out to be this year's Fred Thompson, with lots of pregame hype and not so much actual impact when people start voting.

The knock on Thompson in 2008 was that he didn't campaign very vigorously, like he wanted or expected to win. Perry may turn out to have the opposite problem.

'A light at the end of the tunnel'

From the Pacific Legal Foundation:

Today, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife finally responded to a Pacific Legal Foundation petition issued last September, and announced that there is "substantial information" that the Valley Elderberry Longhorn Beetle (VELB) may no longer require protection under the Endangered Species Act.

Now, the service must decide whether it will actually drop the beetle from the ESA list.

The agency’s response today comes eight months late. It was legally required to respond to PLF’s petition last December. Because of its delay, PLF attorneys launched a lawsuit in April, on behalf of landowners, farm bureaus, flood-control districts, and businesses up and down the Central Valley, to compel FWS to comply with its legal obligations and issue a response about the VELB’s status.

PLF attorney Brandon Middleton is the lead attorney in that lawsuit. He issued this statement today:

"The government's own study, in 2006, found that the beetle is thriving and doesn’t need to be on the ESA list. It’s the economy that is endangered, and these ESA regulations for the beetle are part of the problem, because they’re depriving thousands of people in Central California of the productive, job-creating use of their property.

"Also, beetle regulations are making it harder for flood-control and reclamation districts to build and maintain levies, so public safety and public budgets are compromised.

"At long last, there may now be light at the end of the tunnel for all the victims of these unjustified beetle regulations. But federal officials have already been dragging their feet inexcusably. Their response to our petition was issued today – but it was due back in December. By delaying so long, they have undermined confidence in government's competence and concern for our broken economy and high unemployment rate. Going forward, they’re on notice. If they stall on their final decision on beetle delisting, make no mistake -- we'll see them in court."

Thursday, August 18, 2011

Obama caught absolutely clueless

When somebody asks you a question that you don't know the answer to, and you don't want to admit that you don't know the answer, you might tend to do two things. First, you question the source or the accuracy of the person's information, then you tell him to go ask somebody else.

This apparently happened to President Obama yesterday when a Midwestern farmer asked him about regulations pertaining to dust, noise and water runoff.

From Politico:

At Wednesday’s town hall in Atkinson, Ill., a local farmer who said he grows corn and soybeans expressed his concerns to President Barack Obama about “more rules and regulations” — including those concerning dust, noise and water runoff — that he heard would negatively affect his business.

The president, on day three of his Midwest bus tour, replied: “If you hear something is happening, but it hasn’t happened, don’t always believe what you hear.”

When the room broke into soft laughter, the president added, “No — and I’m serious about that.”

Saying that “folks in Washington” like to get “all ginned up” about things that aren’t necessarily happening (“Look what’s comin’ down the pipe!”), Obama’s advice was simple: “Contact USDA.”

“Talk to them directly. Find out what it is that you’re concerned about,” Obama told the man. “My suspicion is, a lot of times, they’re going to be able to answer your questions and it will turn out that some of your fears are unfounded.”

Apparently talking to them directly has been easier said than done for this particular Politico reporter.

But my thinking is the farmer ought to just get himself a subscription to the Capital Press. I couldn't tell you much about noise regulations -- they sound like they might be more of a local thing -- but I've written about potential regulations of dust and water runoff many times myself, and I can tell you they've been a great concern to producers around the country.

As for Obama, I'm still waiting for the legacy media to give him the Sarah Palin treatment for not knowing the answer to a question, not that I'm holding my breath.

Agency may de-list valley beetle

This just in ...

The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service is requesting more scientific and biological information from the public and species experts about the valley elderberry longhorn beetle to determine whether the beetle, currently a threatened species under the Endangered Species Act (ESA), should be proposed for delisting.

Today’s announcement, known as a 90-day finding, will open a 60-day public comment period. The Service will accept comments from the public until October 18, 2011. A copy of the finding is available at www.fws.gov/sacramento

The finding is the result of a petition submitted by the Pacific Legal Foundation in September 2010, seeking to remove the beetle, (Desmocerus californicus dimorphus) from the threatened and endangered species list under the ESA. Based on a review of the petition and information available in our files, it was determined there is substantial scientific or commercial information indicating that delisting the beetle may be warranted. The Service will now undertake a more comprehensive study, known as 12-month review, to determine whether or not to propose the beetle for delisting.

“We are looking to the public, agencies and non-profit organizations to provide us with more information on the status of the species,” explained Susan K. Moore, Field Supervisor in the Sacramento Fish and Wildlife Office. “To ensure the best decision is made for the species we need our information to be complete and accurate.”

The finding does not affect current protections and management of the beetle, nor does it constitute a decision to delist the species. The 12-month review will consider additional information provided by the public and species experts to determine whether or not a change is warranted in the species’ status under the ESA. Such a determination would not automatically result in a change in classification. Any change would require a separate formal rule-making process, including additional public review and comment, as defined in section 4(a) of the ESA.

The Service is seeking information on the following five factors:
1.) Is there a present or threatened destruction, modification, or curtailment of the species' habitat or range? The Service is also interested in information on measures in place to protect habitat of the species.
2.) Is the species subject to overutilization for commercial, recreational, scientific, or educational purposes?
3.) Is disease or predation a factor?
4.) Are there existing regulatory mechanisms in place outside the ESA (taking into account the efforts by the States and other organizations) to protect the species or habitat?
5.) Are other natural or manmade factors affecting its continued existence?

Comments may be submitted in one of the following ways:
-- Federal eRulemaking Portal: http://www.regulations.gov. In the Keywords box, enter Docket No. FWS–R8–ES–2011–0063 and follow the instructions for submitting comments.
-- U.S. mail or hand-delivery: Public Comments Processing, Attn: FWS–R8–ES–2011–0063; Division of Policy and Directives Management; U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service; 4401 N. Fairfax Drive, MS 2042–PDM; Arlington, VA 22203.

When commenting, be as specific as possible and include references to scientific journal articles or other publications where possible so the Service can to verify any scientific or commercial information included. Comments by e-mail or faxes will not be accepted.

All information received, including name and addresses will be posted on http://www.regulations.gov

Submissions stating support for or opposition to the action under consideration without providing supporting information, although noted, cannot be considered in making a determination. Determinations as to whether any species is an endangered or threatened species are made solely on the basis of the best scientific and commercial data available.

The valley elderberry longhorn beetle is one-half to one-inch long with arching long antennae and vivid, almost iridescent, colors on its forewing covers. Females have metallic green highlights; males exhibit red highlights. The beetle is found only in California’s Central Valley, where it depends on a single species for food and shelter, blue elderberry bushes (Sambucus) that grow along Central Valley watercourses. These beetles spend most of their lives as larvae inside the stems of the bushes, emerging as adults between March and June to lay their eggs on nearby elderberries. The insects eat elderberry nectar, flowers and leaves.

The beetle was listed as threatened in 1980 due to loss of habitat and inadequate regulatory protection. It was known to occur in less than 10 locations and more than 90 per cent of the Central Valley’s original riparian habitat had been lost. Since then, nearly 200 occurrences in 25 locations ranging from Shasta County to Kern County have been confirmed and the rate of riparian habitat loss has been greatly reduced. About 35 percent are on protected lands.

Nielsen: No changes right away

From Assemblyman Jim Nielsen:

Assemblyman Jim Nielsen (R-Gerber) today released the following statement regarding confusion caused by the announcement of new legislative maps drawn by the Citizens’ Redistricting Commission on Monday August 15.

“Apparently some news articles and reports have created confusion among citizens in the Northstate about who represents them and when these newly-drawn districts go into effect. Bottom line is that I will continue to represent all of the counties of the current 2nd Assembly District through the end of 2012," said Nielsen.

The current 2nd Assembly District includes Butte, Colusa, Glenn, Modoc, Shasta, Siskiyou, Sutter, Tehama and Yolo counties.

"The new district lines drawn by the Citizens Redistricting Commission will be used to select candidates in next year's elections and the winners of the November 2012 election will then be sworn into office in December.”


Chances are, too, that some readers don't read thoroughly. They see a headline, panic and call Nielsen's offices.

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

Ranchers decry ethanol at presser



In the photos, U.S. Rep. Wally Herger is seen talking with Orland dairyman Bob Bignami (above) and a local reporter (below) during a press event this morning on a farm near Oroville.

Herger was touting his bill to repeal a controversial tax credit for producing ethanol as well as a 54-cent-a-gallon tariff on imported ethanol. Cattlemen and dairy farmers have long complained the subsidies drive up their input costs by increasing the price of corn.

Bignami, who milks about 1,600 Jersey cows, said high corn prices have pushed his input costs up about 40 percent over the past year and a half. He said corn is a "benchmark" for other grain costs, including hay.

For details about the event, check CapitalPress.com soon.

CDFA taking input on Farm Bill

California Food and Agriculture Secretary Karen Ross will host four listening sessions throughout the state to gather input on the next federal Farm Bill.

Ross asserts the legislation funds "critical" programs such as nutrition assistance, technical assistance for farms and ranches, invasive species prevention and conservation and food production initiatives, according to a California Department of Food and Agriculture news release.

The sessions aim to give California "a strong voice in the national food policy discussion," Ross said in a statement.

The first meeting will be held at 3 p.m. Aug. 22 in the CDFA's main auditorium, 1220 N Street, Sacramento. The other meetings will be held Aug. 29 in Fresno, Sept. 7 in San Diego and Sept. 8 in Salinas.

Comments may be e-mailed to farmbill@cdfa.ca.gov or sent to the California Department of Food and Agriculture, 1220 N Street, Suite 400, Sacramento, CA 95814.

Information is here.

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

Resisting authoritarian temptation

Author and columnist Tony Blankley cuts to the heart of the current political debate in America, dealing specifically with the dinosaur-media meme that government is "broken" as proven by the debt deal.

Make no mistake: If our form of government is “broken,” democracy’s critics would “fix” it by castration. In our case, they would castrate the “representative” bit. We have seen this argument before in our history. Put forward by authoritarians and their supporters, it disdains the messy and disorderly process whereby free people thrash out the nation’s decisions.

The current recrudescence of this authoritarian temptation did not start with the debt-ceiling fight. It’s been building for a couple of years. It comes - as it always does - at a moment when the nation faces serious economic or security dangers. New York Times columnist Thomas Friedman in September 2009 gave early voice to the current authoritarian temptation: “One-party autocracy certainly has its drawbacks. But when it is led by a reasonably enlightened group of people, as China is today, it can also have great advantages. That one party can just impose the politically difficult but critically important policies needed to move a society forward in the 21st century.”

Abraham Lincoln could have been thinking of Thomas Friedman when he worried out loud in the Gettysburg Address whether any nation “conceived in liberty … could long endure.” Lincoln then called the nation to the “unfinished work” of maintaining a nation “of the people, by the people and for the people.” That work goes on today.

Yes, it's no accident that certain politicians in Washington keep lashing out at average citizens who happen to get involved in grassroots politics. They really do want people to just shut up and submit.

Event to highlight ethanol bill

From Rep. Wally Herger:

On Wednesday, August 17th, Congressman Wally Herger, members of affected industries and others will hold a press conference to discuss legislation he introduced to immediately repeal the Volumetric Ethanol Excise Tax Credit (VEETC), as well as the tariff on imported ethanol. At a cost to taxpayers of $5 billion per year, ethanol consumes forty percent of the U.S. corn crop. According to Iowa State University, the year extension of the ethanol blenders credit only created a little over 400 jobs in 2011, at the cost of over $14 million per job. By contrast, the livestock industry alone is expected to lose many thousands of jobs due to higher feed costs brought on by corn ethanol policies.

For details about the event, check CapitalPress.com later in the week.

Monday, August 15, 2011

Red Bluff's identity crisis

It appears that a few individuals, mainly in the Red Bluff business and government sectors, have decided that Red Bluff and Tehama County are in need of a new image. It also appears this desire was inspired by a report from a state agency, which insisted that a new image is necessary. So they raised $75,000 (so far) to hire a consultant from Seattle to tell them how to get that new image.

But has anybody talked to folks from the ranching, horse and other agricultural industries that have given Red Bluff its current image -- that of a rustic Western cattle town with a history that dates back nearly to Gold Rush times? Has anybody sought the opinions of organizers of the Red Bluff Bull and Gelding Sale or the Red Bluff Round-Up, which together bring thousands of people to town to shop at local businesses, eat at restaurants and stay in hotels? Has anyone spoken to the organizers of the umpteen horse and animal shows held each year at the fairgrounds, or to the fiddlers who have flocked to the fall championships, or to the Borror family, which hosts a bull sale each September on their ranch?

The fact is that Red Bluff is a Wild West town with colorful stories of cowboys, outlaws and rodeo stars. Its rodeo has been featured in a movie, "8 Seconds", about rodeo legend Lane Frost and the local cattleman who supplied his stock. Its rustic Main Street and Victorian downtown homes scream to the glory of its past. It's not on the ocean, or by a lake, or in the mountains; it's surrounded by farms, which are still the county's No. 1 industry.

I haven't spoken to anyone about this effort, but at first blush it looks like there are a few relative newcomers to Red Bluff and other assorted elites who don't appreciate being associated with a "cow town." But really, in today's economy, couldn't they have found a better use of their $75,000 than to hire an out-of-stater to tell them what their community ought to be like?

Tuesday, August 9, 2011

Rep: Don't underestimate Obama

From U.S. Rep. Dan Burton of Indiana:

It is a cardinal mistake in any competition, be it sports or politics - and politics is a competition of ideas - to underestimate your opponent. All too often, underestimating your opponent leads to disaster. I believe that America, especially America’s political class, is vastly underestimating President Obama; and if we continue to do so, it will be a disaster for America. Specifically, I am worried about the growing political story line that the Obama administration is “failing” because they are just inexperienced and the president is simply “in over his head.” [ ... ]

Mr. Obama knows precisely what he is doing: He is changing America into his vision of a European-style socialist utopia where the government controls every aspect of our lives. Consider the facts, since taking office, Mr. Obama has taken control of the student loan industry, the health care industry, the banking and financial sectors, and he orchestrated the bankruptcy and reorganization of two-thirds of the American automotive industry, leaving his political allies in the labor movement in effective control of the companies and allowing the administration to dictate the industry’s direction.

Although Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid and then-Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi could not strong-arm enough Democrats to pass legislation to allow the president to take control of our energy sector, the Obama administration’s Environmental Protection Agency is aggressively rewriting and reinterpreting environmental regulations to accomplish the same end result: government control of energy.

The pattern is unmistakable: Every solution proposed by the Obama administration to every problem is more government control. That is the textbook definition of socialism: “Any of various economic and political theories advocating collective or governmental ownership and administration of the means of production and distribution of goods” (Merriam-Webster Dictionary).

More here.

Monday, August 8, 2011

The downgrade and the tantrum

The Washington Times editorializes today:

Standard & Poor’s historic downgrade of the U.S. credit rating is an attempt to bring adult oversight to the political squabbling over out-of-control government spending. But rather than “eating his peas,” President Obama is throwing a tantrum.

The day after the S&P action, the White House took aim at the messenger. Administration officials launched a blistering attack on the agency’s integrity, accusing S&P of employing flawed methodologies and making basic math errors in its analysis. When the bureau acknowledged and corrected one of the problems, chief White House economic advisor Gene Sperling pounced, saying that the credit downgrade “smacked of an institution starting with a conclusion and shaping any arguments to fit it.”

Well, look who’s talking. A review of White House budget proposals from 2009 to present reveals a series of long-term economic assumptions that torture credulity in service of Mr. Obama’s big-government agenda.

According to the fiscal 2010 budget proposal, released in February 2009 and modestly entitled “A New Era of Responsibility,” prosperity was just around the corner. The projected gross domestic product for 2009 was almost zero, but in 2010 the Obama administration foresaw 3.43 percent growth, followed by 5.23 percent in 2011 and an astonishing 6.26 percent in 2012. By 2015, this would level out to a comparatively modest but objectively unrealistic 4.45 percent, which was the default assumption out to 2019. These growth dreams were laughable. Without credible rationale, the White House posited that the U.S. economy would grow at a record pace for almost 20 years. This red-hot growth projection was necessary, however, to justify and cover the record levels of government spending Mr. Obama was planning.

White House long-term deficit projections were wrongly rosy as well. According to Mr. Obama’s first budget, the projected $1.2 trillion deficit for 2010 would be sliced in half to $533 billion by 2013. This red ink would creep slowly up to $712 billion by the end of the decade but would still be around 3 percent of the mammoth projected GDP.

Two years later, the economy isn’t producing the benefits Mr. Obama promised. Growth has been anemic rather than robust, and deficits have skyrocketed rather than receded. Never mind, the fiscal 2012 budget proposal gives the impression that everything is going according to plan. The administration still projects almost 4 percent growth this year, when most economists who aren’t in Mr. Obama’s employ predict 1 percent to 2 percent growth. The Obama budget predicts the economy will surge in the out years, growing between 4.36 percent and 6.15 percent per year for the rest of the decade. And through some inexplicable numerical magic, the projected yearly deficits for the period after 2017 are even lower than the absurd numbers offered in the 2010 budget. These outlandish figures are an insult to the national intelligence.

Meanwhile, the Democrats are also blaming the Tea Party for the downgrade, as if the Tea Party has been in charge of the Senate and White House these past few years.

We have a deficit that's at least as serious as our fiscal deficit. It's a deficit in leadership.

Thursday, August 4, 2011

UC: Children should drink water

... not sports drinks. From the University of California-Berkeley:

As summer simmers to a close, University of California, Berkeley, nutrition experts suggest parents send their children back to school with a message: When buying beverages at campus vending machines and snack bars, pass the sports drinks and select water.

“Water is simply the best drink for children,” said Patricia Crawford, UC Berkeley Cooperative Extension nutrition specialist and co-director of the Dr. Robert C. and Veronica Atkins Center for Weight and Health. Crawford and center researcher, UC San Francisco pediatrician Kristine Madsen, wrote a fact sheet to answer parents’ frequently asked questions about sports drinks.

Even though new laws in California have gone into effect restricting the highly sweetened beverage options that schools may sell to children, less nutritious choices will still be available. Parents, teachers and coaches must teach children to make healthy decisions for quenching their thirst, Crawford said.

For elementary and intermediate students, soda is no longer available at school. High school students may still buy sweetened carbonated drinks on campus for the next two years. But in 2009, all beverages in California school vending machines, student stores, snack bars and cafeterias will be water without sweeteners, fruit and vegetable juices, milk and sports drinks.

More here.

Personally, I much prefer water to sweet juice or other sports drinks on a hot summer day. It actually quenches my thirst.

Wednesday, August 3, 2011

You know you're from San Francisco when ...

-- your mom knew what you did before you got home in certain neighborhoods.

-- your boss understands when you tell him you couldn't be at work on Monday because you had a particularly intense acid trip last weekend.

-- you use a skateboard to get to your Mercedes.

These according to the Facebook page.

Will voters intervene at Knighton Road?

Well, it appears something finally got approved for the much-coveted Interstate 5 interchange at Knighton Road south of Redding, after proposals for a second truck stop and an auto mall were defeated within the past decade or so.

I can understand the frustration of small farmers in the area who've been fighting development for so many years. But I have to question whether a referendum against the newly approved shopping center will fly in Shasta County, considering the center would provide jobs amid a perpetually sluggish local economy here.

The Churn Creek Bottom folks say it'll hurt sales tax revenue in Redding and Anderson if the development gets built. But would Redding's tax base be destroyed by one shopping mall in Churn Creek Bottom? I mean, I haven't seen any fewer shoppers in Redding's Wal-Mart since Anderson's got built.

And if Redding did lose out on business because of the Knighton shopping center, isn't that partly the fault of city leaders who've been dragging their feet on Oasis for so long, not to mention lending their ear to certain no-growth environmentalist friends of Mike Warren?