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Archive for the 'America' Category

July 8th 2009

Let Government Do It – That’s The Answer


ox News Radio on Sirius doesn’t get many paying advertisers at night when I frequently listen to it while driving home from meetings, so I get to hear a lot of public service announcements from the federal government.  Oh, joy.

One that’s running a lot nowadays features a little girl who’s afraid to go to sleep.  It turns out she’s afraid because of what happened during Hurricane Katrina, but don’t worry, the soothing voice of the announcer tells us, just bring the little girl to us, the government, where there are caring people ready to make everything all better.

What?! Isn’t that the family’s job? The pastor’s job? When did America become so trusting of the government that a parent would hand a frightened child over to a bureaucracy?  Surely they know that this is the sort of thing you should expect from government:

A multi-million pound initiative to reduce teenage pregnancies more than doubled the number of girls conceiving.

The Government-backed scheme tried to persuade teenage girls not to get pregnant by handing out condoms and teaching them about sex.

But research funded by the Department of Health shows that young women who attended the programme, at a cost of £2,500 each, were ‘significantly’ more likely to become pregnant than those on other youth programmes who were not given contraception and sex advice.

A total of 16 per cent of those on the Young People’s Development Programme conceived compared with just 6 per cent in other programmes. (Daily Mail)

That’s what that mom with the frightened child should consider – if the rate of little girls going crazy in the general population is six percent, it’ll be 16 percent for those given over to the U.S. Department of Love & Caring.

Now let’s see … the Prez tells us we’ll be healthier if we just let government take care of our health care ….  Sure – that sounds like a great idea!


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July 6th 2009

Crazifornia: Zero Intelligence In Concord Schools


chool days, school days, good old Golden Rule days. Remember that? Oh, how far we have slid down the slope to craziness here in California, the state where the book pictured here is a perpetual best-seller. Today’s lesson comes from the Conta Costa county town of Concord, where the 9th grade math class was just a bit short of Golden Rule behavior:

The ninth-grade students threw things around the room. Shortly after Christmas, students told the Times, someone exploded Play-Doh in the microwave, resulting in a smoke-filled classroom that teacher Michael Huang refused to air out. In other classes Huang taught, they said, students lit trash can fires and smoked cigarettes or even marijuana. (Source)

So, come May, after Huang failed to get his classroom under control – perhaps because the kids just couldn’t understand his thick Taiwanese accent, who knows? – a fifteen-year-old student, referred to in the news articles as Allison Moore’s daughter, videotaped a raging paper ball fight and a friend anonymously sent it to the assistant principle in a plea for discipline so she might, you know, learn something in school.  Seems resonable enough. Except not here.

A friend of Moore’s anonymously sent the video to Dick Nicoll, interim superintendent of the Mt. Diablo school district. The following week, the school suspended Moore’s daughter for two days after she admitted she had taped the class without permission, a violation of the state Education Code.

Confronted with this particular bit of lunacy, the school did not admit an error and provide a lesson in maturity to its students; oh no, anything but that!

Principal Gary Swanson said he could not discuss the suspension. He disputed Moore’s claims, saying students received “appropriate consequences.” Student Services Director Margot Tobias upheld the suspension, and Moore has appealed to the assistant superintendent.

“She may have felt that her purpose was valid,” Tobias wrote about the taping, “but as a result the privacy rights of all involved were violated.”

Privacy rights?! Does the “privacy rights” of disruptive and undisciplined students now supercede any right of a good student to expect having the opportunity to learn?  Apparently not.

Sadly, this story is hardly one limited to California. Across our nation, students are taught by administrations life lessons they will carry with them for a long time: Avoid blame, cover up, avoid making hard decisions, forget morality.



July 2nd 2009

A Perfect 4th Of July Read


hat better way to get ready for the 4th of July than to pull up a chair in George Washington’s study and have a friendly conversation about his feelings about the Revolutionary War, the Congress and man’s quest for liberty? Wouldn’t that be grand?

Well, pull up that chair.  History News Network is highlighting an article by Thomas Fleming, Channeling George Washington: The Glorious Fourth! that puts you in his study for a Q&A in which he uses sentences considerably shorter and fresher than those Geo. wrote in his letters.  I’ll entice you with the lead-in paragraphs and the closing ones.

The good general  has just explained how he and Continental Congress secretary Charles Thompson had decided in their old age not to write their memoirs.

“Why not, General? There isn’t an historian I know who wouldn’t give an arm and maybe a leg to read them.”

“We both agreed that if either of us committed such an act of folly – and told the truth about how close we came to losing the war -  it would disillusion every man and woman in the country.”

“Does that mean you don’t have an answer for how we won?”

”I told Charlie Thomson  there  was only one explanation – Divine Providence.  Charlie was a hotheaded Irishman in his youth –  for a while he was known  as the Sam Adams of Philadelphia.  But he was older and a lot wiser when we talked. He replied: “That’s the only answer.”

“Does Ben Franklin agree with that answer?”

“Absolutely. Do you know that by 1781, Franklin was so disgusted and discouraged with the way things were going, he resigned as ambassador to France? Congress persuaded him to change his mind, thank God.”

If you’ve read any history of the American Revolution, it’s hard not to see God’s hand in the war, from the fog bank that rolled in at the opportune time or the cloud that covered the moon, to the strength our generals and soldiers drew from their faith.  So remember to make a part of your 4th of July celebration a prayer of thanksgiving.

Now to the close:

“Does the American Revolution still matter, General?”

“It will always matter. Within a century of  our victory, no less than 200 similar declarations of independence were published around the world. I like to think there are invisible American Revolutions happening today in Iran,  in Russia, in China,  in Venezuela. Wherever men and women realize they’re being deprived of freedom,  America’s example stirs resistance in their souls.”

It is a fundamental purpose of America to be the shining light of freedom in a still-dark world.  Our current president does not seem to grasp the overriding importance of that purpose, but fortunately he will not outlast the strength of our Constitution and the power of this nation’s spirit and will.  At least I don’t think he will.  I have great faith in America … and great awareness that if Gen. Washington were here today, he would find much to his displeasure eminating from Washington DC and spreading throughout the land.


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July 1st 2009

Our Crumbling Civilization – Biscuit Holes


C-based Carl’s Jr. was founded by an outstanding gentleman, a devout Catholic and patriotic American, Carl Karcher. He sold the company late in his life and all the good, wholesomeness he put into his advertising campaigns disappeared, replaced with Paris Hilton making love to a hamburger and similar tawdry and sleazy campaigns designed to appeal to their target market: sex-obsessed, hormone-drenched nitwits.

That was then.  It’s gotten worse.  Carl’s Jr. and its co-brand, Hardee’s, have just introduced donut holes on their breakfast menu – a nasty looking product of fried, cinnamon-sprinkled bread globs with a sugar and chemical dipping sauce that looks to be made of 100% artery plaque.

OK, so that should be fairly simple to advertise without offending the multitudes and crumbling the civilization.  But what fun would that be?

In the first TV spot, the announcer says Hardee’s is announcing its new product, “Biscuit Holes,” and asks passers-by, who look like normal people but are really gutter-dwellers for hire, what they think the product should be named.  Cover the kids’ eyes; here come some of their responses: Goodie Balls, Hole Munchers, Puffy Nuts, Melting Holes.

Not content to let that pass by without some one-upsmanship, the announcer cleverly holds up two of the balls side by side and asks the last taster, “What about ‘Bistecles?’”

Not appalling enough? There’s always TV spot #2, where the announcer has conventional donut holes and Carl’s/Hardee’s Biscuit Holes on a little table, the donut holes marked “A” and the Biscuit Holes marked “B.”  He asks another group of sex-obsessed sell-outs which they prefer.  You guessed it:

“The B hole has it over the A hole.” “The A hole seems kind of small.” “The A hole tastes nasty.”

These are not commercials that play on late-night pay-per-view soft porn channels. They are designed for every day, all day TV – the kind families watch together and kids watch alone. The TV we watch after church on Sunday.

One Million Dads has set up an auto-letter you can use to send a protest letter to the company’s president, Andrew Puzder.  I suggest you click here and fire one off.  And, come to think of it, you might want to offer him a name or two of your own. Like sleazeballs.



June 29th 2009

Crazifornia – Regulators Want To Ban Big TVs


ere’s a simple proposition:  If you want to watch a big TV that uses more electricity, you simply exert your right to pay a bigger electric bill in return for a bigger picture.  That is unless you live in Crazifornia where know-it-all bureaucrats stand ready to strip Californians of their ability – or right – to watch big-screen TVs.

You know Crazifornia – the state where this book is a bestseller.

The effort by the California Energy Commissars … er, Commission … won the bureaucrats a Golden Trashcan from conservative California news aggregator FlashReport. The award is given sparingly to particularly “onerous” – in FashReport publisher Jon Fleischman’s word; I’d use “fascist” – legislation or regulation.

Last March libertarian OC Register columnist Steve Greenhut wrote about the plan:

In their continuing quest to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, state regulators have uncovered a new villain in the war on global warming : your big screen TV

Couch potatoes, beware.

The California Energy Commission is considering a proposal that would ban California retailers from selling all but the most energy-efficient televisions. Critics say the news standards could take 25 percent of televisions off the market — most of them 40 inches or larger.

I read it back then, but haven’t heard anything else since, and figured maybe the bureaucrats had been slapped back into place.  Not so.  Here’s Fleischman:

I figured that this proposal, like that California Air Resources Board Report [CARB] that talked about banning black cars, would be rolled up and put into a file cabinet somewhere – a bad idea conceived by some government eco-bureaucrat that would never fly in the real world…

But I was wrong – and the CEC is actually DEAD SERIOUS about punching a huge whole in the California economy, and severely limiting consumer choice in big screen televisions, implementing a ban on many of them starting in 2011, with even more being banned starting in 2013.

The CEC is looking to move forward with proposed language for the ban in the coming weeks – under the guise of “adopting energy efficiency standards for televisions.”

You may have heard sporatic chatter that California is once again leading the nation – this time in unemployment, high taxes and barriers to business.  But don’t bother CARB with such trivialities.  Jobs, schmobs.  And who needs state revenues, even if we are bleeding out to the tune of $23 billion?  The Consumer Electronics Association (CEA)  has published a study that shows by banning big-screen TVs, the state could lose as much as $50 million a year in tax revenue and lose 4,600 jobs in TV sales, distribution and installation. That’s 4,600 tax-paying jobs that would no longer be contributing to the state’s ailing economy.

The worst of it is the dishonesty CARB uses when talking to us about their plan. The bureaucrats must think we are so dumb.  This is from the CARB Web site’s FAQ:

Q: Is California considering banning plasma, large screen or HD televisions?

A: No, the state is not banning any type of TV. Consumers have the freedom to choose any type and size of television that meets the efficiency standard.

Never mind that TVs that don’t meet the standard would be, you know, banned. It’s no different from Ahmadinejad and the Mullahs proclaiming that there’s freedom in Iran – it’s the same insolent betrayal of truth by the forces in power.

You can walk into any consumer electronics store and buy an Energy Star-rated big-screen TV, with assurance that it is the most energy efficient brand available. Don’t bother the CARB bureaucrats with such niceties; it’s power of the political sort they’re concerned with, much more than power of the energy sort. And Fleischman reports that CARB itself isn’t too hot on Energy Star:

The CEC, of course, derides the EnergyStar program in their FAQ document, emphasizing that, in essence, because it is a voluntary program, EnergyStar doesn’t go far enough.

I did note that the CEC touts as supporters of this program California’s three heavily state-regulating power utilities – Pacific Gas & Electric, Southern California Edison, and San Diego Gas & Electric. So I dropped a call into a longtime [FlashReport] friend who is a prominent executive with one of these companies – this person made it clear to me — after confirming that I would leave their name out of it – that the utilities are in a bind. These regulations are being proposed and advocated by their regulators. So they don’t have a choice but to support them. He said it is now commonplace for the utilities to have to publicly feign support for “social engineering programs” because they simply cannot afford to alienate their regulators.

Quick question: Does what I’ve just described to you sound like the workings of a democratic government or a fascist one?


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June 25th 2009

Crazifornia: Imperial Imperviousness


esidents of other states may think they know how crazy things are in California, but I don’t think the power of human imagination is anywhere great enough to really capture just how insane this state is.  I mean, it’s like that book on the right is a best-seller here.

So I’m starting this periodic feature, Crazifornia, to help out-of-staters get a better understanding … and in-staters to realize that it’s way past time to throw all the #@$%!s out.

Today’s subject: Rainfall.

You’ve heard about our drought, so you’d think we’d love rain but in San Diego a few years back, the Regional Water Quality Control Board – let’s just call it “the San Diego Board” instead of the alternative SDRWQCB – tried to declare rain to be a toxic substance as soon as it hit the ground.  Why? Why because then they could regulate it even more, of course!  They figured it would pick up all sorts of human-caused nastiness as soon as it touched down, and that would allow the Board to force citizens and businesses to treat it before it left their property – or face nasty fines if they failed to.

That bizarre campaign ulitmately failed, but the spirit lived on.

The Ventura Board – following some very secretive deliberations – just passed a new set of regulations for runoff that requires that all new development (they never hit existing development – voters live in existing development!) to meet strict limits for “effective impervious area,” or EIA.  That would be the portion of the parcel that becomes impervious as roads, roofs, sidewalks and driveways are built over it.

Ventura’s Board figured it would limit EIA to 30 percent for urban infill properties and … gasp … five percent for “greenfield” developments.  You can make more than five percent of a greenfield site impervious, but if you do, you have to capture every single drop that falls on that remainder of the impervious area and either infiltrate it into the ground, use it on the site, or hold it on the site until every last molecule of it evaporates.

As you can imagine, that will drive up the cost of new construction dramatically … and why?  In any good storm, water will run naturally off of more than five percent of any greenfield site.  And if runoff is such a big problem, why not treat it like sewage, let it flow  to a regional treatment, clean it and release it?

We tried to get that cost effective and reasonable idea approved by any number of regional boards, but they said they wanted the conveyance systems – be it a creek or a concrete-lined channel – to be “fishable” and “swimable.”  We had some fun with that, creating this image of what every Southern Californian would rather do than go to a nearby beach.

Up and down the state, Regional Boards are foisting this kind of insanity, pretending its normal human behavior.  And they’re getting away with it.

Now you may have heard that California is in just a bit of a financial squeeze, facing a $24 billion budget deficit and suffering an unemployment rate that’s a couple points higher than the depressing-enough national rate. Encouraging new construction would help get us out of this mess, since each new home generates three new jobs, $300,000 in economic output, $16,000 in state tax revenues and $3,000 in local tax revenues, according to the Building Industry Association of Southern California.

But instead of encouraging the end of the recession, California keeps doing things like these new stormwater regs, which make new homes, factories, schools and hospitals more expensive to build, more difficult to finance, and ultimately less likely to ever happen.  And why?  Even environmental groups report that beach water quality is way up – yet no one sees the need to stop ratcheting up the regulations.

Welcome to Crazifornia.



June 8th 2009

California’s Latest Budget Victim: The Dealth Penalty


uite a lot has been written about California’s budget debacle – a $24 billion, growing hole – and its impact on the poor, state employees, our highways and waterways, and the viability of our counties and municipalities (who fear Sacramento will be stealing their surpluses).

But there may be good news in the budget melt-down … if you’re planning on committing a capital crime any time soon.  From Steve Greenhut’s column in yesterday’s OC Register:

During a recent budget meeting, [OC District Attorney Tony] Rackauckas was grilled by [OC Supervisor John] Moorlach’s chief of staff, Mario Mainero, over the cost-effectiveness of pursuing the death penalty in so many cases, even though that penalty is virtually never actually imposed in this state. Mainero believes that the D.A.’s office spends unnecessarily on death-penalty prosecutions, a contention certainly up for debate, but at least we are now having important debates about how departments spend their money.

It seems hard to believe that matters of such import would hinge on the number of bucks in the coffer, but then, everything about California nowadays seems a bit hard to believe … unless you factor in the fact that the Dems have complete control of Sacramento.



June 2nd 2009

A Country That’s Left Racism, Sexism Behind


espite the never-ending whining of the race victimhood lobby and the shrill bitching from the feminists, America is no longer a country that needs to cut special deals with minorities and women because of our racist, sexist ways.  (As Sonia Sotomayor may soon find out.)

The case-closer to the unhappy era of affirmative action in America is, without a doubt, Rear Admiral Michelle Howard.  “Michelle Howard who?” I thought when I first heard the name via Huffpo this a.m., after which I quickly clicked through to a lengthy profile on Essence. (Can’t leave HuffPo fast enough!)

Rear Admiral Michelle Howard is, to dispense with the blather quickly, the U.S. Navy’s first black woman admiral. Yay.  Now we won’t have to ever use that discriptor again; she’s euthanized it.  Here’s the more important part, from the Essence piece:

Rear Admiral Michelle Howard awoke on April 8 to sunshine, the rolling swells of the Indian Ocean, and the beginning of another day looking for pirates. No one could have predicted just a few days later she would be embroiled in a major international crisis, and saving a man’s life from the deadly forces of Somali pirates.

Howard, 49, had just officially transitioned from a desk job in Washington, D.C., where she was senior military adviser to Donald Winter, secretary of the Navy, to the helm of the USS Boxer, a large deck assault ship patrolling off the Gulf of Aden, otherwise known as “Pirate Alley,” in the Arabian Sea.

Now the Boxer had become Howard’s flagship, where she is the first African-American woman and second female to head a Navy strike force. And in this role she oversees a dozen warships and a contingent of 1,000 Marines, as well as runs the international Combined Task Force 151 with another 14 warships.

When Howard received word that the containership Maersk Alabama had been attacked and boarded by pirates and its American captain, Phillips, was taken hostage, she immediately devised a tactical plan with her team to save his life.

When the Navy Seal snipers took out Capt. Phillips’ captors, they were under the command of Adm. Howard.  And when Capt. Phillips returned home to the embrace of his wife and kids, it was because of the tactical plan Adm. Howard had devised.  And I don’t know about you, but I never heard peep one about this until today.

Now, I suppose there are some crazed leftists out there that will confront this same set of facts and scream hysterically that America is a sexist, racist country for not glorifying Adm. Howard’s role in these dramatic events.  But they miss the point. To us, Adm. Howard is just Adm. Howard, a consummate Navy professional doing the job she was sent out to do, and doing it as a Navy officer, not a black woman Navy officer.

She has made me prouder to be an American, because her quiet, competent work shows that we are the world leader in utilizing the talents of our best, no matter what their race, gender or heritage may be.


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May 20th 2009

Quote Of The Day: Four’s The Charm

“Now we must move forward from this point to begin to address our fiscal crisis with constructive solutions.” – Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger


ith his four attempt at budget reform crashed by a massive voter revolt, what’s Gov. Schwarzenegger to do? Something radical? Something heretofore unheard of in Sacramento? A constructive solution?! C’mon, what’s he smokin’?

Maybe, maybe. The defeat of the cynical measures, which played us all for fools while giving the architects of the state’s budgetary nightmares an undeserved reprieve, peaked at 34% approval – that was 1B, which actually carried three NorCal counties.  The others, A, C, D and E were defeated in every county, with two-thirds of the voters voting no.  1F, which cuts the gov’s and legislators’ pay off until a budget is passed, won in every county, with a statewide 74 percent voting for it. Stats here.

Schwarzenegger may yet redeem his failed governorship if he takes yesterday’s vote to heart and stands in the Statehouse door, refusing to let anything that’s not a budget cut through.  That’s the only constructive solution we’ve got.  We’ve acquiesced to every Dem kumbaya wet dream for over a decade, so our only option is to refuse to let the lunatics run the asylum any longer.

Can Schwarzenegger find his spine at long last?  I’d rate the prospects somewhere between unlikely and fahgeddaboutit.  But maybe he, maybe even the spending-crazed Dems, got a wake-up call yesterday.  If they hit the snooze button again, they’ll understand that two-thirds of their voters will be ready to turn them out in the next election. Maybe that will get their attention, and maybe the Governor will be pushing in the right direction.

But I’ve lived here long enough to not get my hopes up.



May 19th 2009

Californians Pulling The Plug


he taxpayer revolution has begun. With 11 percent of precincts reporting, Sac Bee says Californians are rejected propositions 1A through 1E by overwhelming margins, with the best of ‘em barely able to break the 40 percent mark.

It’s like we gassed the state legislator with ourselves in the room. There’s going to be some hurt because of the way we voted today, but that’s OK. Sometimes it’s just more important to send a message, and today we sent it: The long-running Sacramento show Dems Gone Wild has got to stop, with all its over-spending and over-intrusiveness.

The final measure, 1F, that won’t let the legislator pay itself until it passes a balanced budget, is winning big time.

Message sent.


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