Sewer Spending Spigot
Bob Hazard has again “hit the nail…” with his “What’s Up in the Sewer System” expose (Guest Editorial MJ # 25/38). How can we ascertain who appointed “those three” Sanitary Board members and change the system to all five elected in the future?
No one in Santa Barbara media is performing investigative journalism like Mr. Hazard. We are lucky to have him.
Leon “Lee” Juskalian
After Bob Hazard‘s devastating analysis of the Montecito Sanitary District’s building plan, I assume the appointed members of the board would resign. However the analysis suggests a more fundamental step is necessary. Having a board of five individuals to supervise 17 employees is ludicrous. Lord Parkinson would be delighted to use MSD as the ultimate example of his theories. The organization should be merged, as Bob suggested, with one or more of the water organizations that already serve in Santa Barbara County. Do we need a referendum, how can this be done?
(Editor’s note: We probably don’t need a referendum, as Mr. Hazard’s Guest Editorial has brought to light a questionably large proposed spending and building plan that will now undergo increased scrutiny. Which, if you think about it, is what community newspapers are supposed to do. – J.B.)
“Give me one non-GMO, free-range, organically-raised, all natural 16” BBQ chicken pizza to go. Oh, can you make half of it gluten-free?” the customer pleaded. It must not be easy serving customers food these days. And for the consumer, confusing labels with dubious health claims and questionable scientific assertions are rampant. Deceptive advertising springs up from packaging and “transparency labels” invite you to make a false choice.
What is all the fuss about GMO? Au naturel is grand but genetic alterations do occur in nature (mutations) and researchers study and learn from them to create something better. Genetically Modified Organisms have been around since 12,000 BC, when man began the selective breeding of animals and plants and the process has progressed and been improved to this day. The dogs, wheat, potatoes and medicines we have today were all derived from the application of biologic science to alter the DNA of various organisms through various methods.
Maybe it is the word “organisms” that throws us off; a word that congers up images of a monster. In reality, we should be thanking our lucky stars that science continues to work on the application of altered DNA to prevent genetic diseases where one small change can stop a dreaded affliction for a newborn child or where genetically modified mosquitos can help stop the Zika virus.
Are you afraid to eat a GMO? Well, do you not eat sweet corn, soybeans, canola oil or plums? These have all benefited from genetic engineering. Wisely altering DNA can increase crop yields, create better nutrient composition and reduce food costs. Certainly genetic practices must be scrutinized for effectiveness and safety but creating unnecessary detours, roadblocks or deceptive labeling are no way to treat the solution to greater food security and enhanced quality of food.
The USDA acknowledges that so called “bioengineered” or Genetically Modified food is neither more nor less safe than other so-called organic food, yet compliance with convoluted multi-ingredient labeling drives up the producer’s costs which you end up paying. Two identical bottles of corn oil on the grocery shelf could be labeled differently; more labels, more work, more confusion, more cost.
A third party has started producing “butterfly labels”, they call it the “Non-GMO Project” and it is a clever marketing device using labels to stigmatize food grown in conventional ways, making it seem bad but it has no scientific evidence of discernable difference. But, this and other such types of labeling puffery is apparently effective and makes that product stand out from the competition in the grocery store aisle, producing a higher price tag with no added benefit.
FDA guidelines state that food labels (like non-GMO) are “false and misleading” if they imply that certain foods “are safe, more nutritious or have different attributes than other foods not genetically engineered”. But, of course, that is what the third-party “butterfly labels” are all about and what the “Non-GMO Project” promotes: the power of suggestion is strong. It is regrettable that the FDA does not more actively go after such deceptive advertising, which drives up the cost of safe and nutritious food for families who may falsely put their trust in such labels. Shoppers with extra cash are certainly free to buy “organic” and “non-GMO” produce and products but do it for the taste, not for safety or nutritional reasons. Rather think “Genuinely Marvelous Objects” when you say GMO.
Steve Gowler’s wry reminder (“Under Water At Last,” MJ # 25/38) that the City of Santa Barbara plans to build near the blue line of projected sea level rise underscores the only rational response to the “Climate Crisis”: believe it is a crisis when the people who tell you it is a crisis behave like it is a crisis.
Some people are not aware that the primary in California is in March! That means that vote-by-mail ballots will go out in late January. And, what that means in practical terms is that we have to raise as much money and support as possible in the next month before the holidays are upon us.
We need to raise money for yard signs, ranch-sized signs, mailers, ads, and our get-out-the-vote efforts.
March matters because the Republican National Committee and various PACs throughout the country are assessing our race right now. They need to know we have support from people like you.
Salud has $1.5 million in the bank; nevertheless, we believe we can and will win this race. We only have to make up between five to seven percent better turnout than was the case in the last couple of elections.
If I didn’t believe we could do that, I wouldn’t be asking for your support!
Please RSVP for the Hitching Post event today. It takes place on Sunday, October 6, from noon to 3 pm, the Hitching Post, 3325 Point Sal Road, Casmalia. The cost is $99 per person. If you cannot attend, your financial support would be greatly appreciated, so if you can’t make the event, please consider donating anyway, and, keep an eye out for future event announcements.
Questions? firstname.lastname@example.org 805-260-6291
Prospective U.S. Congressman
In light of the renewed missile testing going on in Russia and the U.S.A., one gets the impression that we are now entering into another ridiculous arms race. This benefits no one except the industrial military and arms makers and gins up fear that Russian government wants to take over the U.S.A. and stamp out capitalism.
The following poem I wrote almost fifty years ago, after I saw the film On The Beach, had as the theme that no one is going to win such a war and that it would most likely be started by a third-world country that sent an A bomb that would escalate into a radiation cloud that would kill everyone.
Two great nations poised on the brink; two great nations about to sink. Their government leaders sworn to protect, no matter the cost or long-range effect.
Two great nations with people in fear, pursuing a path to destroy this sphere. The best and the brightest here and abroad, not an idea between them how to play the cards.
Two great nations, their children wait, will blasts, bricks, and burns be their fate?
Both governments sworn their promise to keep. Their nations so strong their people can sleep. But who sleeps now, not eagle nor bear/ Awake young children, make your governments hear!
Don’t you find it interesting that when I asked a few papers in the U.S. to print it, they refused? The only paper that would print it was Pravda.
(Editor’s note: If we’d have been around then, perhaps we would have printed it too – J.B.)
In a recent “Brilliant Thoughts” column, Mr. Brilliant put forth a thought about cars contributing to traffic congestion (duh!) and air pollution (double duh!) in his own disclaimer (i.e., while “saying” something about cars and congestion-pollution.) Does anyone care about that? (Just kidding, Ashleigh. Caught you out, huh?)
Here’s something else in the matter of waste: normal-sized postcards don’t cost 50 cents to mail, at least not yet. Those many postcards produced by Ashleigh all fall within the standard dimension, so whoever is posting them with 50-cent stamps is wasting her or his money.
As for the cost of manufacturing one-cent coins, who can calculate the real worth of a penny, when it is employed over and over – maybe countless times – to square up U.S. cash transactions?
New Schools of Thought
Thank you for publishing my letter (“Trickle-Down Learning,” MJ # 25/38). In your “Editor’s note,” you asked me to send ideas for primary education without public institutions doing the job. To answer your question, I submit my reply (in several parts):
As a youngster, I always wondered what I wanted to do as an adult. In school, I was seldom, if ever, exposed to real life or career situations. It was all academic. Few of sixteen (K thru degree) years prepared me to trade real estate, farm avocados, fly airplanes or deal with government. Rather, education served to mold me in a particular, guarded way, pleasing to my omniscient fabricators. Not in the least according to my interests, abilities, or ultimate career choice.
Education: freedom and choice would be preferable to monopolized public education.
I propose nothing more than to allow parents to choose and pay for whatever education, learning, life, happiness model they wish. Absent the government monopoly, the free market will supply an unending, ever evolving variety of school or unschooling choices. Independent educators will be welcome. No doubt many parents will do it themselves and/or partner with other parents and friends to do it. Nothing new here. This was the case for 99% of the time humans inhabited the earth.
Practical skills I learned outside school through observation, inquiry, personal instruction, reading, etc.: basic English, dressing, grooming, civility, health care, cleaning, cooking, shopping, nutrition, fitness, budgeting, self-criticism, adjustment, multiple sports, camping, cycling, driving, sales, customer service, navigation, flying, property acquisition and management, basic plumbing, electrical, painting, carpentry and mechanics, finance, logistics, efficiency, government, farming, hiring, payroll, irrigation, water systems, computer, internet, stock market, etc. Nothing anyone could not do, or required more than basic language and math skills, which could have been easily learned outside a classroom by age 12.
Jumping through hoops to get a Zoology degree (classes like physiology, statistics, physics, botany, genetics, chemistry, hematology, etc.), landed me a job as a health inspector, but it was a simple job that was mastered with a week of on-the-job training.
Honestly, I wish I’d gotten a learning head start and deleted the last few years I wasted in school (other than the parties and girls).
Education can be either an unlimited, World Class buffet freely served anywhere, or thin gruel force-fed by the state in a costly, dilapidated classroom. Take your pick.
If public schools aren’t state worship-indoctrination centers, why are know-nothing children required to recite the pledge of allegiance to the United States in unison? Allegiance isn’t unconditional love; it must be earned on a daily basis. The United States government is coming up short, and when graduates finally realize their forebears have obligated them to hundreds of thousands of dollars in public debt, their drilled-in allegiance should evaporate.
Because most of us attended public school, it’s difficult to make the case otherwise. However, a free market solution for education would eventually provide everything that consumers demand. Ultimately, an infinite array of continually evolving and improving education choices would be offered. All without the downside of public education, including narrow curricula, costly bloat, innovation paralysis, indoctrination and lately, shootings.
On auto pilot: indoctrination has persuaded people that they must be educated, socialized, and standardized in large masses, by the state. Subject matter is controlled by and for the state. Alternative education, independence, and individuality are discouraged, if not outlawed. It’s in the state’s interest to cultivate succeeding generations of docile, narrowly informed citizens, so as to avoid challenge and maintain dominance. Public schools serve that purpose admirably.
A child’s abundant energy and curiosity would be better served watching any number of diverse educational channels on TV without the threat of being locked up and shot or living in a prison-like environment.
A child is a tempest of energy and curiosity. A child in public school is energy and curiosity curbed.
Everything worthwhile originates in the human brain, not in a classroom.
The next time you think they taught you how to think in school, that exactly what they taught you to think.
If you think they taught you how to learn in school, that’s exactly what they taught you to think.
Every great discovery, invention or artistic masterpiece originated in a human brain, not in a classroom. A classroom is simply a place to learn about an original thought.
Conventional wisdom is often conventional ignorance.
I wish I had back all the time I wasted in school looking at the clock and waiting for the insufferable boredom to end.
(Editor’s note: Thank you for responding to our request. You certainly make good points, and we could point out that one of my grandsons has been home-schooled and was about to enter a public school in Utah a few weeks ago. However, and even though the school was listed as among the best in the area, his reading skills were two grades above those of his fellow second graders. He switched to a private school and now seems happy, which goes to show you that yes, there should be many choices as to educating our children. – J.B.)
The entire American left, the mainstream media, the environmentalist movement and Democratic politicians in particular, are celebrating the involvement of teenagers and even younger children in protesting the world’s “inaction” with regard to global warming. Even our very own “bastion of all things left” – SBCC – got in on the “act” as dutifully reported in a local left wing mouthpiece publication. And not just the American left, of course. The left throughout the world is celebrating.
A 16-year-old Swedish girl (I’m not sure if that’s her biological gender) whose contempt for adults is breathtaking is an international hero. Or they would have you believe. Her left wing bona fides are impeccable: her father is a mediocre film maker, her mother is a full-fledged feminist, Congressional Democrats invited her to testify in Congress, and the United Nations likewise invited her.
The mayor and city council of New York City, to no one’s surprise, further politicized their city’s public schools by allowing students to skip school to actively participate in a global warming protest. As long as they were not wearing MAGA hats I presume. If you are one of those who think that all this has been magically orchestrated by a 16-year-old girl, then you are probably one of those who still believes that 9/11 was masterminded by someone with a rag wrapped around his head, sitting in a cave in Afghanistan.
The message of young climate change activists is: “You adults aren’t doing your job. As a result, we have no future.” The Los Angeles Times reported: “Underneath the activism lies a simple truth: Young people are incredibly scared about climate change.” They see it as a profound injustice and an existential threat (just as the left hoped) to their generation and those that will follow.
It is critical to remember that hysteria, such as Russian collusion with the Trump campaign, “endemic and systemic racism in America” (thank you Obama, et al) the heterosexual AIDS “crisis” in America and the “rape culture” on American college campuses, are to the left what oxygen is to biological life. No oxygen, no life; no hysteria, no left.
The “existential threat” scenario is another left-wing fabrication used to whip up hysteria that will lead to the left’s control of the economy and society. And that takes us back to the children: If you can’t sell your hysteria to adults, try kids, which is what the left has done. After all, no one is as malleable or as easily indoctrinated as children.
Consider this: If the left didn’t tell them the world is going to end, they wouldn’t worry about it. They’d be enjoying their young lives, maybe even learning to appreciate that they live in the freest country at the most prosperous time in human history. Instead, thanks to leftists (who are children, albeit, evil children in adult bodies), they live in their grip of “existential eco-anxiety.”
This horror show is happening in real life, and it is all based upon lies. A perusal of the argument to debunk what the left is spewing out is titled “Carbon Dioxide: The Miracle Molecule of Life,” by Mike Adams. His thoroughly documented premise in short, is that without CO2 (Carbon Dioxide) life could not exist.
My advice: be happy.
(Editor’s note: Local author Richard Auhll has written “Climate Myopia: Global Warming vs Earth’s Climate Cycle,” which also seeks to set the record straight on the miracle of CO2; I’ll have more on that in the coming weeks – J.B.)