Friday, October 22, 2010
My Birthday Wish List
By Harris Sherline

I’ve never paid much attention to birthdays, my own, that is. Marking another year off the calendar of my life doesn’t mean much to me. However, as the years have continued to add up, I suppose like many elderly people, I find myself thinking less about what direction I want to personally go in the future and more about what I would like to see happen in the world around me. I rarely think about the past, at least on a personal level.
I will soon be 82-years-of-age. It’s a milestone I never expected to see, and since my birthday is the day after the November elections, I’ve decided to make a Wish List, put it under my pillow the night before and see if, when I wake up in the morning, the Good Fairy has made any of them come true.
I realize this is probably a pointless exercise because I’m old enough to know that wishing doesn’t make it so, but nonetheless, following is a list of my birthday wishes. Just for fun, you might try a similar exercise at the appropriate time and see how we compare:
Here is my birthday Wish List, in no particular order:
1) I wish for World Peace: This may be a bit tongue-in-cheek, but since it seems to be the perennial wish of beauty contestants, I figure I might as well join in by starting with a really big, all encompassing wish.
2) I wish we would capture or kill Osama bin Laden, although I doubt that we will. I’m not sure it would make much difference at this point in time or affect the ability of our enemies to attack us, but it would certainly be a morale booster for those of us on the receiving end of his campaign to destroy America and Western society in general.
3) I wish our political leaders would stop spending money as if we had it. Unlike most of the general public, far too many of our politicians seem to think they can continue to spend money as if there’s no tomorrow and expect to never run out.
4) I wish America would turn back from its descent into the mindset that every thought or idea that anyone has is a good thing, regardless of who says it or its impact on our society. For example, equal rights. The concept is good, but when you think about it, people may have equal rights but this does not mean that they are or should be assured of equal outcomes. 
5) I might as well join many other Americans and resolve to lose some weight. I am seriously overweight, and although I’ve reached the age where I’d like to think it really doesn’t matter a whole lot, I know it does. Getting old shouldn’t and doesn’t necessarily mean getting fat, so I have my work cut out for me.
6) I also wish for the good health and success of my friends, and I suspect like most everyone else, there are probably some people I don’t want to see succeed, especially president Obama with his policy agenda.
7) Also in the matter of health, I wish for continued progress in managing a problem I’ve had with my eyes, which at one point had the potential of seriously impairing or causing the loss of my vision. Fortunately, under the care of two outstanding doctors, I’ve managed to dodge that bullet.
8) Politically, I hope the Conservatives (not necessarily Republicans) prevail big time in the November elections. It looks as though we’re headed in that direction, but we will see come November 2 and in the two years that follow. I also hope they don’t revert to type and act like the rest of our political leaders, who are spending us into oblivion at every level of government.
9) I wish for the success and happiness (whatever that may mean to them) of my three children and six grandchildren, but I worry about the world that everyone’s grandchildren will inherit from their elders, who really should have done a better job of managing the affairs of the nation.
10) I wish Obama would grow up and become a real leader, who cares more about the people than he does himself.
11) I also wish that Obama would stop running around the country making speeches. I’m sick of seeing him pop up on the TV screen just about every day, pontificating about everything from his policies and legislative initiatives to how we should live. The hypocrisy of a leader who constantly preaches to the rest of us about health care but can’t quit smoking is truly irritating.
12) I wish America could get out of the many wars around the world in which we are engaged, without just walking away and letting our enemies gain ascendency.
13) I wish people of different faiths would stop attacking those who don’t believe as they do.
14) I wish for less cruelty in the world. Two notable examples are the recent behavior of the governments in Iran, stoning people to death, and in Saudi Arabia, amputating a criminal’s right hand for stealing. It’s mindboggling to me that anyone could believe that their god would demand such violent and cruel forms of punishment. There are, of course, many other places around the world that engage in similar practices.
I could go on, but I will wind this up for now with the wish that I get a really big piece of birthday cake on November 3.
Thanks for listening.
© 2010 Harris R. Sherline, All Rights Reserved
Posted at 12:45 PM By admin | Permalink | Email this Post | Comments (0)

Thursday, October 7, 2010
How the Marines welcome the Commander in Chief -AMAZING
 How the Marines welcome the Commander in Chief -AMAZING

This video has received a lot of attention. As of right now, it is showing well over a half a million hits since it was posted on March 1. It is also controversial. Many Obama supporters have claimed to debunk the video by pointing out that the events were not comparable. They argue that the event in Anbar province that President Bush attended in September 2007 was informal. The Camp Lejune event that President Obama attended, on the other hand, was more formal. They point out that it is not fair to compare two events in which the Marines are subject to different rules of behavior.

In fairness, they are correct. The events were different in many ways and the Marines present were subject to different behavioral expectations. There is, however, more to this video than that. If the content of this video were that easily debunked it would not still be drawing tens of thousands of hits per day. The different degrees of formality aside, this video is quite revealing.

In the video, the Marines exhibit obvious love and respect for President Bush. His visit was not an event that followed closely on the heels of 9/11. This video was taken after the worst days of the war and after the surge created major progress in the region. The president is visiting the troops in Anbar Province, the home of the infamous Falluja and Ar Ramadi killing grounds. This visit took place after the province had been pacified. In other words, the Marines showed their love of Mr. Bush even after the darkest days of the war.

The Lejune video, on the other hand, shows Obama entering with all the pomp and circumstance of a royal visit to the peasants. Hail to the Chief plays in the background; something that President Bush didnt allow during his military visits. Obama knows that keeping the Marines locked at the position of attention means that no comparison can ever be made to the loving reception President Bush regularly received from the troops. Obama knows how the Marines feel and will always treat them exactly like the rabble he sees.

This is the real truth of the video and why it is so popular. It warms the heart of Bush supporters to see President Bush receive the love, gratitude and respect of these warriors. It angers Obama supporters because they also see the love President Bush receives and they know their man will never see anything similar from the troops. They know that these warriors loved the last president and will never give similar respect to this one.

A good YouTube video stirs the emotions and this one does that. It elicits different emotions in different people but the underlying truth that is the catalyst for the emotional response is the same for everyone. The Marines loved President Bush in a way they will never love President Obama.
Posted at 15:26 PM By admin | Permalink | Email this Post | Comments (0)

Thursday, October 7, 2010
D.C. Tea Party shows how angry people really are
By Phil Kiver

I spent the 9/11 weekend hanging out in downtown Washington, D.C. observing the various Tea Party rallies. Honestly, the last one I attended was in Gonzales in October 2009, and the one before that was a health care protest in Austin.

I will make a bold prediction here. Whatever the highest number of congressional seats the experts say are vulnerable, I will go 50 seats higher than that. I am talking about total number of new representatives of both parties.

Judging by people’s anger I predict it will be an absolute blood bath and we may see higher voter turnout than at anytime in our memories.

The streets will flow with the blood of the non-believers...I confess I got that line from a captured terrorist while serving in Iraq who was commenting on their (Iraq’s) first free elections in 2005. As for my prediction, go back a few issues in this paper and read that in July, I told the prosecutor in Chicago to offer the former governor a deal. Yes, sometimes I can see the future unfortunately it is never very far.

I believe at least 125 seats will see a new member elected to congress. Republicans and Democrats alike are in danger. In DC among the thousands of protestors the one common theme was anger at the government, but for various reasons. Spending too much money, too many taxes, no border control, right to life, the wars, the mosque. Literally dozens of issues were bringing people together of all backgrounds in our nation’s capitol.

Folks were dressed up as period patriots, others wore Florida Gators rain coats. State flags from Texas, Maryland, New Mexico, and Georgia waved in the wet mist that could not keep the protestors away from the very grounds that belong to us all.

Signs expressing frustration and outright rage and contempt against the government, were seen in the crowd. I estimate about 30,000-50,000 in attendance, but for every one I saw, I imagine there are a 1,000 more back home cursing the over reach of federal government for one reason or another.

Now let me address a few issues and attacks that have come up against Tea Party supporters. They were people of all ages from teens, young families, and retired civil service workers, even blue collar fireman from New Jersey and New York.

A middle aged couple from Kingston Wa. Hundreds of people from Indiana, Florida, and Massachusetts came in by the bus load,  true patriots willing the give their lives for our Constitution. Even voters who were not white were in the crowd. 

I know its hard to believe that the Tea Party is not just a bunch of racists’ right? Sorry, that sentence rhymes with white. Just a little literary humor.

Let’s see who’s laughing in November. 
Posted at 10:07 AM By admin | Permalink | Email this Post | Comments (0)

Friday, October 1, 2010
SBCAG Board Does the Right Thing
By Robin Hayhurst

Our Santa Barbara County Association of Government’s Board recently voted 7 to 6 along north/south county lines to do the right thing in the face of persistent environmental advocates who continue to dominate any regional community planning conversation.
The vote in question involved the proposed emission reduction targets identified in the California Air Resource Board’s August 9th staff report: Regional Greenhouse Gas Emissions Reduction Targets for Automobiles and Light Trucks Pursuant to Senate Bill 375.  Not reflected in this report or SBCAG’s staff report is the economic impact of their recommendations, as each incremental percentage of reduction for emissions is exponential,  requiring huge behavior changes and skyrocketing costs.  Ironically, the centerpiece of these behaviors is the commuter culture of Santa Barbara’s workforce, which becomes more polluting due to lack of affordable housing (in a county which fought the state to lower its RHNA housing numbers) and 101 freeway improvement obstructionists.
SB 375 was passed in 2008 to address regional planning for transportation, housing and greenhouse gasses. The California Air Resources Board set forth on a collaborative process that engaged officials at the local level to identify emission reduction targets associated with land use and transportation that are both ambitious and achievable.  However, CARB staff disregarded the input and analysis provided during the statewide stakeholder process, and instead proposed completely unrealistic reduction targets that were not even discussed or modeled. This has been especially impactful in the Bay area and in Southern California, where the numbers set by CARB were clearly unachievable and counter to their negotiations with local agencies. While we all appreciate the challenge of reaching our climate change goals, the targets recommended by CARB staff fail to balance the goals with California’s need to provide jobs and housing for our residents.

CARB did a brilliant job of cleaning up the air in LA but has also amassed a sizeable and powerful bureaucracy that literally answers to no one.  Those of us who have dealt with them for the past few years regarding their draconian dictates when it comes to on and off road diesel engines are quite familiar with the capricious methods CARB employs. Specifically, CARB has regulations pending that would render today's trucking and heavy construction fleets inoperable in California.

The affected industries made it known to CARB that their numbers simply were not right, and currently by CARB’s own admission they overestimated the affects of emissions of diesel particulate matter and its actual quantity by 200 to 300%. Yet CARB still pushes unrealistic diesel restrictions based on a staff report written by an individual who lied about his qualifications.  A lot of your local businesses have already been forced to purchase or retrofit their equipment at great cost ultimately passed on to the consumer when they deliver food to your markets or graders to your permitted projects.
Miraculously, when suggesting Santa Barbara county’s SB 375 auto and light truck emission requirements, CARB found us the least emission emitting area in the state outside of Lake Tahoe and deemed that we did not have to impose further restrictions on our local citizens.
This was not good enough for the environmental commenter’s on SBCAG’s deliberative process, who insisted that those levels be set higher to match San Luis Obispo County’s hubris in overshooting their CARB dictated mark and show off their commitment to strangling the economy further without sufficient reason.  The cost to consumers and the convoluted selective thinking that has hamstrung affordable housing and revenue development should be the true concern.  Local governments simply do not have the funding to support infrastructure needs nor the planning activities that would be required under enhanced targets.
The process that started as a collaborative effort has turned into a massive new state regulatory program that will create major uncertainty for employers and increase job losses. In order to preserve the spirit of SB 375 and promote a program that will move forward successfully, CARB should go back to the statewide input and analysis that was provided by experts during the stakeholder process, and adopt lower range targets in the Bay area and Southern California that have been modeled and shown to be reasonable and achievable.  These extraordinarily high target levels were not modeled for economic impacts, and are based on entirely impractical assumptions about transportation improvements.  For example, CARB’s targets assume the development of expensive mass transit projects such as high speed rail, that are not likely to be completed anytime soon. 
The local environmental community prefers to expose our businesses and families to unnecessary fines and expensive mitigation fees in a bravado stance that becomes tiresome in the face of the real struggles in our economy.  The Board majority of SBCAG is to be commended for saying enough is enough, and voting in support of reason and pragmatic reality.  Not standing up to monolithic state agencies like CARB would be truly counterproductive given the reality of our current regulatory environment and its ignorance of the real on-the-ground impact of policies not supported by anything but south county style political correctness.  Until these policies are vetted and analyzed for economic impacts, and the public is informed about the ramifications, SBCAG’s Board was right to reject increased target levels.
Robin Hayhurst is a Director on the Boards of COLAB, SBCTA, and Committee INC, and a member of the Bond Oversight Committees for Measure A and C-2004.  She isExecutive Director of the Santa Maria Valley Contractors Association.
Posted at 09:43 AM By admin | Permalink | Email this Post | Comments (0)

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