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Sunday, August 12, 2018 ISSUE # 942
 

More California fires, and political splits

California is still on fire. The fires have burned more acres and destroyed more houses than in any previous year. Governor Brown and The Washington Post agree on the cause: global warming.

It is always easier to blame something out of your direct control instead of policy decisions that created the fire-prone situation. Droughts and fires were just as common a hundred years ago as today. But with a population one-tenth of todays, they were less likely to build rows of luxury houses on steep, brushy hillsides.

A lot of folks thought they were protecting the environment several years ago when they outlawed timber cutting and grazing by cattle or sheep on public land. Dead trees remain in the woods, and the underbrush grows unchecked. No wonder fires spread rapidly.

As long as we have arsonists and others who are careless or plain stupid, there will be fires. But with good policy and good management those fires are usually small and put out before they become gigantic and out of control. Environmentalists can be nutty; their heart may be in the right place, but protection for the Spotted Owl in Oregon and the snail darter in California created unintended consequences.

By the way, there’s no lack of water to fight fires. President Trump is wrong on that one. He is correct that California requires that 25 percent of river flow be allowed to run unimpeded to the ocean.  Regardless of drought and desperate needs for crops, industry and a morning shower, that 25 percent cannot be touched.

          I have always claimed “I don’t belong to any organized political party… I’m a Democrat.” But it’s not just the Democrats that are unorganized; so are the Republicans. Instead of two parties we are looking at four. And that’s not even counting the Greens and folks registered Independent.

The young woman, Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, got only 16,000 votes in her New York City Congressional District, yet she won the nomination. Not only won, but she’s the new face of the Socialist wing of the Democratic Party. (Bernie Sanders is the old face.) The other wing is Liberal or Progressive, and Nancy Pelosi says her face belongs up front on that one.

The split for the Republicans is harder to define. They have pro-Trump and not-so-hot on Trump.  Or maybe Conservative and moderately Conservative. And like the Democrats they find plenty to argue over.

Historic quotes by Will Rogers:

          “We need rain [in California]. I will make it a motion, that it be called a prayer… It hasn’t rained here since Noah took two of every kind of moving picture actor and actress into the Ark with him… This is mighty dry humor, but, friends we would welcome the Johnstown flood right now.”  DT #1074, Jan. 3, 1930

          “California is happy today. It’s raining! It’s raining! When you haven’t seen a drop of water that hasn’t come through a faucet in ten months, why rain looks like a miracle from the Democrats.” DT #2013, Jan. 16, 1933

          “It’s getting so if a man wants to stand well socially, he can’t afford to be seen with either the Democrats or Republicans.” How To Be Funny, Sept. 1929


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