Thursday, June 30, 2011
Printed in the Tribune under title “COLAB protects right to farm”, June 30,2011

By Al Fonzi

In recent weeks, the pages of the Tribune and the local air waves have been filled with an ongoing war of words between Chairman of the Board of Supervisors, Adam Hill and the officers and members of the Coalition of Agriculture, Labor and Business (COLAB).
            Hill charged that a fundraising event hosted an entertainer in “Blackface” who satirized the President due to racist motivations. The charge carried over to members of COLAB who were also accused of being a “secretive and hatemongering” group.
             “Blackface” uses racist stereotypes and exaggerates racial features in the most derogatory manner. The entertainer in question, Steve Bridges, did nothing of the sort, other than use makeup to darken his skin color in his satire of President Obama. Bridges used neither racial exaggerations nor derogatory characterizations about race but mocked the President’s policies. This is normal political satire. Bridges is a nationally known entertainer. He was featured on the Jay Leno Tonight Show hosted by the NBC Network. Not one liberal watchdog in the nation took offense by his satire of President Obama on Jay Leno, (identical to the COLAB performance) as Bridge’s performance was not “Blackface.” Had it been so, Bridges would have justifiably been drummed out of the entertainment industry. Supervisor Hill knew this-or should have known this- yet he deliberately misled the public into believing something heinous had occurred at a COLAB fundraiser.
            To date, Hill’s apologies have been shallow and hedged. He has not retracted his charge of racism, although it was proven false; he continues to mislead the public about the motives of his opponents. COLAB exists today because of the abuses of power of Hill and fellow travelers, who have bullied small farmers, ranchers and businesses into compliance with confiscatory land use and business policies. Confronted with environmental law firms funded by out of area celebrity millionaires, they united in self-defense to preserve their right to farm, ranch and be left alone, as many have done locally for over a hundred years. No “Texas oil money”, just ordinary Americans fighting to preserve a way of life under siege by adversarial government. No racism, as COLAB is about unreasonable government policies; it has members of every race and creed as members. “Secretive?” No more so than members of any other political organization that fears retaliation from abusive politicians. “Hatemongering?” That’s a specialty of the extreme left which uses character assassination as their stock in trade.
            We now know from the Tribune articles that this entire episode was contrived by Hill for craven political reasons, to intimidate a State Senator, to stifle public dissent and smear the political opposition with a charge akin to being called a Nazi post-WWII.
            This is the greater sin for an elected official. Hill is engaging in politics reminiscent of Nixon or McCarthyism, where political opponents were threatened with “investigations”, and subjected to character assassination.
            As the Chairman of our Board of Supervisors, Hill threatened COLAB with investigations of IRS records, browbeat his critics and used the power of his chairmanship to intimidate and silence dissent during public comment. That is unacceptable for any official and must be repudiated by every person of conscience.
            Supervisor Hill must retract his statements and set the record straight, apologize to those whom he has bullied from the dais of the Chairman, to officers and members of COLAB and to all members of the public for his despicable behavior. There is no place in American politics for arrogant officials who forget who is the servant and who is served in public life.
                                                                        Al Fonzi
I am the Vice President of the SLO County Lincoln Club, a member of COLAB and a part-time conservative columnist for the Atascadero News. My comments are my own and have not been endorsed by any organization.
Posted at 13:19 PM By admin | Permalink | Email this Post | Comments (0)

Thursday, June 30, 2011
We Get the Government We Deserve
To be called a “racist” in today’s America is akin to being a “Nazi” in WWII. It is not a trivial charge nor should it be trivialized by wanton use in political disagreements.
            Over the last week SLO County has witnessed a deplorable abuse of that term by our Chairman of the Board of Supervisors, Adam Hill. While Atascadero doesn’t vote for Hill directly, he represents all of us in his position of Chairman.
            Chairman Hill doesn’t like people to disagree with him or call him to account for actions with which his opponents disagree. He has used his position of authority to browbeat and intimidate citizens during public comment, threatening to “investigate IRS records” and demanding personal and usually private information. .He called his opponents “racists…hatemongers” for the crime of political opposition. His “non-apology” was insincere. He attempted to misdirect public attention to alleged Republican misdeeds versus accepting responsibility for his own words. Hill is a Democrat Party activist and his party has a 150 year history of official racial segregation. It was under President Wilson (1912-1920) that the military and federal civil service were re-segregated and the most racist film in America, “Birth of a Nation”, screened and celebrated in the White House. I normally don’t agree with the concept of collective guilt, believing that people are personally, not corporately responsible for their actions, but liberal progressives routinely advocate collective guilt, so I’ll let them wear the mantle.
            Sadly, most people of the world live under tyranny with “individual rights” consisting of the whim of local police to beat you or not, depending upon their mood and your position in society. In America, our Bill of Rights confers “unalienable rights”, meaning they are given to us by God, whom we acknowledged as a nation when we ratified our constitution in 1787-89. Those rights are not granted by men or any government, which is why no government can take those rights from us without our consent. However fashionable it may be for our “intelligentsia” to mock the concept of “God-given inalienable rights”, respect for that concept has made America the most free nation in history and a beacon of hope to millions who immigrated here in search of a better life where, before the law, every man was every other man’s equal. Politicians who forget our heritage and their place as servants of the people, like Hill, are petty tyrants in training and should be harshly curbed when out of line.
            It is incumbent upon people of conscience to speak out against abuse of political power. If elected officials and members of the public excuse or give Hill a pass, we get the government we deserve.

Al Fonzi, Article for June 29, 2011
Posted at 13:14 PM By admin | Permalink | Email this Post | Comments (0)

Monday, June 6, 2011
Lights Out
As usual, while most of the American public was not looking, Congress passed and the president (Bush) signed into law another bill that will blindside Americans by imposing some new restriction or mandate that no one really wants or needs. A good example is the energy bill that was passed by Congress in 2007, which bans the use of incandescent light bulbs beginning in 2012 and will completely phase them out by 2014.
President Bush signed the 822-page measure into law, and Rep. John D. Dingell (D-Mich), chairman of the House Energy and Commerce Committee, said the legislation will boost the energy efficiency of "almost every significant product and tool and appliance that we use, from light bulbs to light trucks."
The phase-out of incandescent light is scheduled to begin with the 100-watt bulb in 2012 and end with the 40-watt bulb in 2014.
All light bulbs must use 25 percent to 30 percent less energy 2014. By 2020, bulbs must be 70 percent more efficient than they are today.
Australia was the first country to announce an outright ban by 2010.
Sounds good, doesn’t it?  Taking responsibility for reducing America’s energy use, that is.
But just how good is it?
At the risk of raining on the parade of those who may think this is a good idea, following are some of the unintended consequences of this legislation:
1) It will have a negative effect on the economy: GE has already closed its last major bulb producing factory in the U.S., abandoning their manufacture to China.
2) Compact fluorescent lights (CFLs) are the least expensive alternative and last much longer incandescent bulbs, but they take longer to turn on and can flicker,
3)  Fluorescent bulbs also contain small amounts of highly toxic mercury, which is classified as “hazardous” material.
4) The problem arises when a bulb breaks.  Mercury vapor escapes into the air, which can be inhaled and settle can settle into carpet and curtains or drapes.  The EPA recommends that the room be ventilated immediately and that all people and pets vacate for at least 15 minutes.  In addition, central heating or air conditioning should be turned off.  After the room is aired out, the broken bulb should be picked off the carpet or other surfaces, wearing gloves to avoid contact, after which sticky tape or duct tape should be used to pick up smaller fragments.  Hard surfaces should then be wiped down with a damp paper towel or a wet wipe and all materials put into a sealable plastic bag or a glass jar with a metal lid.
Unfortunately, you’re not done yet.  Read on for the rest of the process of cleaning up after breaking a fluorescent light bulb:
Do not vacuum or sweep the room, because that can spread the mercury to other parts of the house.
Finally, disposing of fluorescent bulbs that have burned out can also be a major headache.  In many places it is illegal to throw them out with regular garbage, which means you may have to take them to the closest recycling facility, often miles away from your home or office.
The Association of Lighting and Mercury Recyclers (who knew there was such an organization) estimates a recycling rate of only 2 percent, noting: “Our first preference is not to see them go into landfills”
In some areas, you may be required to call a local Hazmat crew to clean up a broken fluorescent light bulb, at an estimated cost of $2,000.
Stephen Frank noted in his California Political News and Views: “As for me I believe I have stacked up on real, cheap, light bulbs – should last ten years or more – I have LOTS of light bulbs.  Plus when they run out, I am positive there will be a black market in real light bulbs.”
Typical of the bureaucratic mindset, legislators and government regulators seem to think the new law will not only significantly reduce America’s energy use but that the population in general will obey the rules and dispose of fluorescent light bulbs as prescribed, but I submit that human nature will prevail and people will simply continue to toss used bulbs into the trash, where they will be carted off to landfills, break in the process, leak mercury into the surrounding area, and potentially drain into aquifers below.  A few bulbs won’t matter, but consider the risk if millions, perhaps billions of broken or used fluorescent light bulbs are simply thrown into the trash.
What then?
Is that a risk that we are really willing to accept?
I plan to stock up on incandescent bulbs before the ban takes effect in 2012.  Given my age, it shouldn’t be a problem to buy enough to avoid my ever having to use fluorescent bulbs.
How about you?  What do you plan to do?
© 2011 Harris R. Sherline, All Rights Reserved
Read more of Harris Sherline’s commentaries on his blog at www.opinionfest.com
Posted at 13:09 PM By admin | Permalink | Email this Post | Comments (0)

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