Getting back into drought mode

Life in the Dust Bowl

Life in the Dust Bowl

I was in high school during the last major California drought.  I found it a very traumatic experience.  Thankfully, we didn’t end up with a Dust Bowl, and we didn’t have mass starvation of the type one periodically sees in Africa.  Nevertheless, I couldn’t shake the feeling that things could get that bad.

As a teen, I resented the imposition of water rationing.  I found disgusting the whole “when it’s yellow, let it mellow; when it’s brown, flush it down” mantra.  Truly, I felt that it’s my God-given right as an American to flush my stuff and, when I approach a bathroom, to know that you flushed your stuff too.  My parents tried to save their lawn by catching the water from the last rinse cycle in the washing machine, but it died despite those efforts.

Our house was filled with buckets in the kitchen and the bathroom, and all non-carpeted floors were hazardous, since the act of shlepping buckets from bathtub to toilet or sink to plants meant that the floors were perpetually covered with drips.  Step wrong and your bathroom turned into a skating rink.

yellow let it mellowAs you’ve probably seen in the news, California is having another drought, although this one is worse than the last big one in the 1970s.  (Interestingly, the last big drought coincided with the last big Polar Vortex.  Hmmm.)  The timing couldn’t be worse for my family, because we’ve already sunk substantial sums of money into a project requiring water, not to mention having signed contracts for that same project.  It’s unclear whether the project can go forward.  Worse, because of the signed contracts, we’re in a situation where we’ll still have to go forward with the least satisfying part of the project., which doesn’t require water.  Blech.

What’s also fascinating (to me, at least), is how quickly I’m back in the groove of water rationing.  I guess it’s like riding a bike — you never forget.  I’ve collected buckets, I’m saving bath water, I’m saving hand-washing water for the kitchen sink to use when I need to run my garbage disposal, etc.  I’ve told the kids that the only clothes that get washed are the genuinely dirty ones, that they have to keep their bathing to an efficient minimum, and that they can’t run any water while they brush their teeth.  Oh, and my garden is dead as a doornail.  My home looks derelict in the extreme.

We’ll get through this one, of course, but I’m not looking forward to the drought’s run.  It’s depressing.  Very, very depressing.

The whole abortion thing just got weirder in California

One of the reasons given for legalizing abortion was so that it could be done by doctors, rather than less qualified practitioners.  (Although the Gosnell case revealed that being is physician is no guarantee of quality.)  Given that a driving argument behind abortion was to put women in the hands of medical professionals, there’s something deeply ironic about the recently passed bill in California handing abortion back to practitioners who aren’t doctors.  I get leting midwives and nurse practitioners do abortions, but physicians’ assistants?  Really?  In my admittedly limited experience, PAs take temperatures, write notes in charts, rub in unguents, and generally do the stuff that LVN’s (who are less trained than RN’s) consider beneath them.  But they’re going to be allowed to do abortions?

I know that Hillary is going to look Americans in the face when she runs for president and boast that she’s committed to keeping abortion safe, rare, and legal.  Well, at least she and her fellow Progressives will be telling the truth about the “legal” part.

Using the tax code and tax authorities as Leftist sledge hammers

I’ve written before that the IRS’s aggression towards conservative groups and individuals is the worst presidential scandal in American history because it represents the first time a government agency, which falls under the executive’s control, has used its vast power to target people and groups that oppose the administration’s agenda.  Before the IRS started doing this, taxes had to come through a legislative process which was, in theory, vox populi.  Legislators were at least somewhat sensitive to voter concerns — they can, after all, get kicked out of office.  Administrative agencies with a partisan agenda feel that they’re untouchable and nothing can stop them.

Earl has now alerted me to the fact that the California legislature, which is so overwhelmingly Democrat as to make California a one-party state, has decided to copy the IRS’s behavior and use taxes to destroy political opponents:

What the IRS was doing behind closed doors may soon be official policy in California. Last week, the State Senate voted to revoke the nonprofit status of any group within the state that does not allow full participation of homosexuals, a move aimed directly at the Boy Scouts of America. According to the Associated Press, the bill “would require those organizations to pay corporate taxes on donations, membership dues, camp fees and other sources of income, and to obtain sellers permits and pay sales taxes on food, beverages and homemade items sold at fundraisers.” Groups that sponsor troops would also have their tax returns and membership policies scrutinized by the Franchise Tax Board, California’s version of the IRS.

If further proof was needed that the BSA’s partial surrender on the homosexual issue only emboldened their opponents, here it is. Compromise is not in the left’s vocabulary. Not until Dan Savage is taking your son camping will they be happy, and probably not even then.

Read the rest here.

It used to be that, if the Boy Scouts (or any other private organization) wouldn’t have you, you’d start your own organization and it would be so successful people would be knocking down your door and the Boy Scouts (or whatever) would be copying your model.  Or perhaps you’d start your own organization and it would fail, because the Boy Scouts (or whatever) actually had a good idea and were doing things right.

Nowadays, you don’t take your marbles and go play with other, more friendly people.  Instead, you stand there and kick the other side’s marbles all over the place and, if a few remain, you stomp them into dust.  My way or the highway — and I don’t care if my way destroys your essential essence, so long as you bow down before me.

A matched set: California is broke and we know why

One of my friends posted a great chart on Facebook:

Rich states and poor states

And then I remembered a post at The City Square which explains how California ended up at the bottom of that chart.

Incidentally, if you’re interested in more California lunacy (and remember, as California goes so has gone the nation), check out Laer’s Crazifornia blog (and please consider buying his delightful, informative book, Crazifornia: Tales from the Tarnished State – How California is Destroying Itself and Why it Matters to America).

Another edition of “tame the inbox”

I stopped going through my inbox when I got it down to 100 unread emails.  It’s now scooted its way back up to 170 unread emails.  So, I’m going to continue clearing the inbox and posting those things that are not only interesting but still relevant.

Here’s a matched set for you.  Back in December, Breitbart ran a post noting that California’s budget has gone right off the cliff.  We’ve been hearing about “rich athlete flight,” and I know several rich non-athletes who have fled since the Prop. 30 and 32 debacle.  Several California municipalities are massively in debt, politically-connected little birds have told me that the so-called “balanced budget” is funded by imaginary revenues resting on wishful thinking, and California is America’s champion welfare sucker.  So can someone explain to me this Daily Kos post saying that California — under Jerry Brown, of course — leads the nation in job creation?  Kos cites some pretty impressive statistics to back up his claim:

California leads the nation in job creation

California contributed more than 15 percent of the nation’s new jobs between October 2011 and October 2012 – adding more jobs in 12 months than Texas and the rest of the other top-10 fastest-growing states combined – while home building is bouncing back and demand for houses is increasing.

The end-of-2012 results were even more impressive.

Of the 171,000 new jobs the entire U.S. added in October, 27 percent were in California. And since the beginning of the year, California has added nearly 300,000 jobs, outperforming Texas by a decent margin and outpacing New York by more than 2 to 1.

San Francisco is overrun with cranes, as the new digital economy (Google, Apple, Facebook, Twitter) continue to be HQ’d in the Bay Area. Heck, add Samsung to the pile.

Conservatives have made hay of reports of California companies leaving the state. And it’s true! Some have—254 in 2011, to be exact. Conservative media had a field day with that little stat. On the other hand, 132,000 new businesses were created that same year—second highest per capita in the nation, tied with Texas, and behind only Arizona. And that was California’s down year.

Off the top of my head, I guess what matters isn’t just the numbers of jobs created, but the nature. If California is losing big businesses that pay solid wages, but gaining in returning fly-by-night small businesses that function at a minimum wage level, there’s a superficial net benefit, but an actual net revenue loss.

Anyway, I would appreciate your input on this one. If we’re right, it’s nice to know; if we’re wrong, it’s necessary that we know.

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Speaking of California, one of the engines driving California politics is climate change.  California has all sorts of regulatory and tax schemes aimed at punishing “dirty” producers and rewarding “clean” energy.  Conservatives doubt whether these will achieve their stated goal (affecting the climate), but pretty darn sure that they will affect the unstated goal, which is to rid California of the ill-gotten gains of capitalism.  That’s what California voters want, that’s what they’ll get.  But I do wonder how voters will feel about all this when/if they start becoming aware of all the stories that indicate that anthropogenic climate change (as opposed to naturally occurring climate change) is the scam what am.  When even the IPCC starts tentatively admitting that the sun could matter more than we puny humans do, you’ve got a problem.  It’s also going to be worrisome for the AGW crowd when people start realizing that they’re playing games with the numbers — and that the real numbers do not show dramatic climate change.  Getting rid of unnecessary pollution is a laudable goal.  Creating a world without humans, or one in which humans exist at a subsistence level, is a genocidal, downright evil goal.  In any event, if you’re interested in climate news, you’ve got to stay current with Watts Up With That.

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It’s a post from December, but it’s never too late for a good idea (or, as I’m wont to say now, a tipping point idea).  Coyote Blog suggests legislation holding unions to the same standards as insurance companies.  I like it !  (H/t JKB.)  After all, if the government is going to go all fascist and run ostensibly private businesses, it should certainly apply those same standards equally across the board.

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They all laughed at the NRA for suggesting armed guards in school.  But now Newton is doing exactly what Israel does, what the NRA suggested, and what the Clinton presidency funded.

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While I’m on the subject of guns, Eugene Podrazik, at Elkhorn Creek Lodge, notes that the entire gun battle in America (not battles with guns but the battle over guns) is tightly linked with the Left’s elitism.  Leftists speak of “the people,” but they don’t really like “the people,” nor do they consider themselves to be down in the gutter with the people they purport to represent.

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Six harsh truths that will make you a better person.  Or life is tough — get used to it and work with that reality.

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More inbox taming to follow in subsequent posts.

Lowering expectations in California

The San Francisco Chronicle has an article that both praises Governor Jerry Brown’s “balanced” budget and notes that California is in desperate financial shape.  Clearly, the Chron is lowering expectations in case Brown’s “balanced” budget doesn’t do what it promised.

The Chron is wise to keep its readers from getting too excited.  I heard from a fairly knowledgeable source that Brown achieved his balanced budget (a) by determining how much he wanted to spend and (b) by announcing that the amount he wanted to spend would be matched precisely by anticipated 2013 tax revenue.  The first number (spending) is real; the second number (expected revenue) is completely phony.  In other words, reasonable people can confidently assume that, by the end of 2013, California’s budget will be more out of whack than ever.

California-for-Beginners-copy

Gore’s boiling frogs versus real boiling frogs: can we save ourselves?

Al Gore got a lot of mileage out of likening the slow accretion of anthropogenic climate change to a frog in cold water that was gradually being heated to boiling point. He contended that, just as the frogs were lulled by the gradual heat to be the point at which they’d fail to react when the heat became deadly, so too were we humans going to allow our planet slowly to boil us to death.

Except that everything Al Gore said was untrue.  First of all, there’s increasing evidence that anthropogenic global warming doesn’t exist.  Climate change definitely exists, and always has.  Sadly for Gore’s inflated sense of self, though, the earth’s climate does not bend to human will.  Humans are capable of polluting their environment, something that they’ve done since time immemorial, but the evidence for them changing the climate doesn’t add up.  Second of all, frogs do not allow themselves to be slow-boiled.

Unlike the earth’s climate, humans have direct responsibility for economic changes.  In America, the tension is between free markets and a government-managed economy.  At the federal level, voters opted for government-management.  At the local level, it was a mixed bag.  As a resident of California, I can tell you that a government-managed economy, especially one further tainted by union favoritism, is a recipe for economic disaster.  In California, we are the frogs in the hot pot.

Here’s the question:  will we humans react like real frogs and try to escape from the government-managed economic mess we’ve created, or will we go Gore and sit there was we boil to death?

AP report on thwarted terrorist attacks within the United States downplays Islam’s central role in the planned attack

The headline in the San Francisco Chronicle was simple:  “FBI: 4 Calif. men charged in alleged terror plot.”

California men, huh?  Did they have names like Big Kahuna and look like this?

“Yo, dude, I’m like going to, you know, like, attack the man. It’ll be, like, totally tubular.”

No? Well maybe these California men rejoice in names like Butch and look like this:

“Hey, everyone! We’re going to have a little whip and dip party. We’ll start with some fun bondage stuff, and then move on to the crudités. I’ve got a divine dip.”

Somehow that doesn’t seem right either. Maybe that’s because, when you read the story, you discover that these guys weren’t just any old California men. Instead, they had a lot more in common with these guys than with surfer dudes or San Francisco’s Folsom Street brigade:

That’s right — these “California men” were (a) Muslims and (b) three of them came from places other than America, let alone other than California:

Four Southern California men have been charged with plotting to kill Americans and destroy U.S. targets overseas by joining al-Qaida and the Taliban in Afghanistan, federal officials said Monday.

The defendants, including a man who served in the U.S. Air Force, were arrested for plotting to bomb military bases and government facilities, and for planning to engage in “violent jihad,” FBI spokeswoman Laura Eimiller said in a release.

A federal complaint unsealed Monday says 34-year-old Sohiel Omar Kabir of Pomona introduced two of the other men to the radical Islamist doctrine of Anwar al-Awlaki, a deceased al-Qaida leader. Kabir served in the Air Force from 2000 to 2001.

The other two — 23-year-old Ralph Deleon of Ontario and 21-year-old Miguel Alejandro Santana Vidriales of Upland — converted to Islam in 2010 and began engaging with Kabir and others online in discussions about jihad, including posting radical content to Facebook and expressing extremist views in comments.

They later recruited 21-year-old Arifeen David Gojali of Riverside.

[snip]

Kabir is a naturalized U.S. citizen who was born in Afghanistan. Santana was born in Mexico, while Deleon was born in the Philippines. Both are lawful, permanent U.S. residents. Gojali is a U.S. citizen.

In a sane, honest world, the AP headline would have said “FBI: 4 Muslim men in So. Cal. charged in alleged terror plot.” But we’ve already established that we don’t live in a sane, honest world, right? We live in a world dominated by a media that is determined to pretend that Islam, with its institutionalized jihad and antisemitism, is just a myth, and that it’s purely coincidental that these mythical Islamists keep trying to blow up Americans.

Democrat-ruled Oakland, California, targets news crews

For decades now, the Left has been excusing crime with the old “root causes” argument:  criminals are made, not born, and they’re made by a confluence of poverty, racism, peer pressure, etc.  Because white Leftists feel guilty about this, they’ve tended to give ghetto-based criminals a pass.  It’s not their fault they’re criminals; it’s our fault, so we should not judge them harshly.

Of course, regardless of its cause, the problem with giving criminal behavior a pass is that it takes away disincentives for crime.  Anyone with a lick of sense knows that you have to attack crime at both root and branch, with the branch being those disincentives.

I mention all this because the media has been one of the major purveyors of the “pathetic criminal” meme, which is consistent with the media’s 90 Democrat demographic.  But the one thing these Lefties forgot is that revolutions always eat their own.  And that’s why we get this story coming out of Oakland, the city next door to Berkeley, with a population made up of rich white liberals and poor blacks.  Municipal government hews Left even by California standards, which may explain the abysmal poverty in which many of Oakland’s blacks live — and the crime.  Hitherto, the media has been somewhat sympathetic to the crime.  I wonder, though, if that’s all about to change:

The violent robbery of a television news crew outside an Oakland school last week was the latest in a series of similar incidents in a city where the rate of strong-arm robberies and holdups is surging.

But the brazenness of the attack – which occurred during a live broadcast in the middle of the day – has brought fresh urgency to the problem.

Union officials who represent reporters at most of the Bay Area’s major television and radio stations said Tuesday they had asked the broadcasters to immediately hire security guards to accompany news crews when they are in Oakland. At least one station has already enlisted guards, and others are considering it.

You can read the rest here.

I suspect that what brought “fresh urgency to the problem” isn’t a criminal act in a violent city, but the fact that the reporters were the targets.  (Shame on me for being so cynical.)

 

 

Elizabeth Emken, with a little digital help, finally debates Dianne Feinstein

(You can read more about Emken here, or at her own website.)

As usual, Dianne Feinstein is nowhere to be seen when there is hard work to be done, so Elizabeth Emken went ahead and had the debate without her:

The fact that DiFi is a no-show has nothing to do with age. My sister went to pre-school with one of DiFi’s daughters. At Christmas, DiFi and my mom got assigned to work on a big project.  Fifty or so years later, my Mom still hasn’t forgiven DiFi for being a no-show, sticking my Mom with the work, and then attempting to take a “fair” share of the credit when my Mom’s efforts came to fruition.

Character is destiny: DiFi is lazy. She was then, she is now, and it’s time to get her out of the United States Senate.

If you have friends or family who vote in California, please share this video with them.  Voters don’t like DiFi and DiFi’s absentee campaign shows that she doesn’t like voters very much.  Don’t let Feinstein end up in Washington again simply by default.