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Sunday, February 19, 2017 ISSUE #900

News from Washington to California     

We’ve been hearing a lot lately about a thing called “fake news.”  Some big newspapers and television networks have been accused of putting out stories that are no more accurate than what you’re likely to see on Facebook or Twitter. Well, I want you to understand that anything I write should never be considered as “news.” Therefore, I have a clear conscience regardless of whether it’s fake or real.  

In Washington, a successful businessman who has hired thousands of workers was forced to drop out as a candidate for Secretary of Labor. Instead the job will go to a lawyer who never hired anybody, at least not with his own money.

          For the Environmental Protection Agency, Oklahoma Attorney General Scott Pruitt got confirmed, even though about 90 percent of EPA employees don’t like him. Too many environmental employees are determined to keep adding regulations until you can drink a glass of water directly from the Mississippi River. They should go to Pittsburgh or Cleveland and ask an 80-year old person how the air quality compares to the 1950s. Is it 99 percent cleaner?

The EPA has done a masterful job of cleaning up our air and water since it was started in 1970. It met its goals. Maybe it’s time for employees to return to their home states, work in a steel mill or coal mine or on a dairy farm or cattle ranch. See what the conditions are, first hand, and learn about the cost of meeting the latest EPA dictates, such as the “Waters of the U.S.” regulation.

Next we come to the Department of Education, which used to be part of the Department of Health, Education and Welfare. Has it met its goals of making American students the best prepared in the world? Not even close. Companies have to hire immigrants because we don’t produce nearly enough engineers, business entrepreneurs, and doctors and nurses.  Of course not every student is brilliant. Those should be taught how to weld, saw a 2x4, operate a backhoe, and most important, how to work. I read a report from Florida where hundreds of unemployed Americans were hired to work in the vegetable fields and only a handful lasted a month. The others quit, and had to be replaced by immigrants. Maybe Secretary DeVos can ask a few old retired teachers how they managed a classroom forty or fifty years ago and prepared their students to become productive citizens. I bet teachers have not changed. What changed is the way they are managed from Washington.

Plenty of folks are upset with President Trump. Protests are as common as 5K races, Awards shows, and Cheerleader competitions. You can’t go a week without a million showing up to march and carry placards. But the stock market and other parts of the economy seem to like the direction we’re headed.       

California has been so concerned about years of drought they never considered what might happen if it rained.  They built the Oroville Dam fifty years ago, and not once had any water gone over the emergency spillway. Now the emergency spillway is the emergency. Even though the dam is made of earth, not concrete, and is taller than Hoover Dam, legislators have been focused on high-speed rail, snail darters, and environmentalists who hate dams.  

Historic quotes by Will Rogers:

          “We’re up here working on a picture (Steamboat ‘Round the Bend). We’re working on the Sacramento River. We could have worked on the Los Angeles River, but they’d have had to haul the water too far. I hope some of these relief agencies (will) irrigate the Los Angeles River.” Radio, May 19, 1935

“We are celebrating the birth of George Washington. He was not only the Father of our country, but he was the most celebrated woodsman that ever lived. He gained more fame with his hatchet than Lincoln did with his axe.” Feb. 22, 1925

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