“Everyone is entitled to their own opinion.” You may have learned this lesson in grade school when someone wanted a different story to be read than the one you wanted. Or maybe at home when a sibling got to choose a different television show than you wanted to watch that evening. Their opinion ruled the day and you had to live with it.
However, the problem is that not all opinions are equal. Moreover, some opinions are downright dangerous.
When someone chose a different story or television show than the ones you preferred, there was adult supervision. They weren't allowed to choose anything, but only certain things within a safe range. The opinion of some that “green is the best color”, while others claim that “orange is the best color” is certainly up for debate. But when it comes to matters of public policy the stakes are considerably higher, and something else must come into play — truth.
One of my favorite things to do during the summer is to visit an old fashioned car show. The Klamath Kruise is an annual favorite — gazing upon all those old restored cars and trucks as if they just rolled off the assembly line. It's a lot of fun looking, hearing, smelling and remembering (and wondering) what it was like "back then".
But when it comes to nature, can it be restored, like a 1952 Studebaker? Can nature be rolled back the way it was 50 years ago? How about people, can we be restored? Now thinking about it, can cars really be restored? In the case of cars, they are a non-living, man-made creation. Therefore the answer is yes, cars can be restored because all the parts can be swapped out with originals. But with living organisms, such as people and nature, restoration is not quite that simple. While face lifts, hair regrowth, tummy tucks and botox try to roll back the clock, it's a mere illusion. After the procedure is done, we are still the same age, no matter what we've had "altered" to try and say otherwise. In the end reality rules the day. The same can be said about nature. It is silly to think we can roll back the sands of time and pretend it is 1911 by removing this or adding that. It is 2011 and nature has adapted and moved on. Moreover, nature is such a complex set of systems, sub-systems and super-systems, the idea that humans can alter something and restore nature back to what it was 100 years ago is a very utopian notion.
In the latest round of debates concerning the Federal Budget and Debt Ceiling, President Obama said we need a "balanced approach". The President claimed in order to solve the government shortfall we need to cut spending and raise revenue. This is the only sensible approach.
Additionally, Mr. Obama mentioned we need "shared sacrifice". But what does that exactly mean? The term stems back to World War II when the country, on whole, had to give up certain amenities in order to help win the war. The idea is if everyone gives a little, it adds up to a lot and great good can come of this. Liberals love this concept.
However, that's not what Mr. Obama is asking for. When he talks of shared sacrifice he would like to raise tax rates on those making above $250,000 a year (including businesses). Notice he is not demanding everyone contribute a little more, just those over making $250,000 a year. The President's idea is that the "millionaires and billionaires" can afford to give more and strongly suggests they have a moral obligation to do so. They ought to give more for the greater good. This is what is fair.
Earlier this week it was reported that Chuck Collins & Company have abandoned their attempt to recall Klamath County Commission Cheryl Hukill. Instead they will focus on recalling Commissioner Al Switzer only. According to Collins the reason for this change of heart is because they don't want Governor Kitzhauber selecting a county commissioner. Interesting how this wasn't discovered before their recall campaign began. I think I mentioned this in my last blog post — yeah, I did (see the fifth paragraph).
While this might be an honest admission it begins to reveal Collin's effort is an emotionally driven campaign, not a rational one. It's like the teen boy who wants to borrow his parents car for the evening. The dad says, "No you can't...." and the teenager then throws a tantrum on how his dad is unfair, and mean, and doesn't care about him or his friends. When the teen is done with his rant, the Dad explains, "... I wasn't finished. Let me try again. You can't have the car tonight,... because it is out of gas. If you have money to fill the tank, then you can use the car." In the same way, Collins & Company have decided to throw a tantrum because they don't like something. Their tantrum is to recall Al & Cheryl whom they feel most responsible for the damage done to "public safety" among other items. That said, don't you think the rational approach would've been to have first gather the facts about how replacement commissioners would be selected instead of first starting a recall for both?
In Tuesday's H&N, the big story was, "Citizen starts recall effort". Before I begin to analyze the article, notice how the H&N makes this action in itself seem noble. It wasn't a person nor was it a resident. No, no. it was a citizen — inferring that this recall petition is an act of citizenry, an honorable act. No need to go any further and measure whether or not this action make sense or whether it is just. Nope, because a citizen has bravley brought this petition forth, it is now noble. By their headline, the H&N has declared it so and therefore set the tone for their report.
While I could spend an entire article talking about the motives of the H&N, it is more prudent to focus on the act of Chuck Collins (he's the virtuous citizen in this story).
According the H&N, Mr. Collins claims that the two commissioners have not,
Who said there is no such thing as a free lunch?
According to the Wall Street Journal Online, participants in the Federal Food Stamp program grew from 26 Million in 2007 to over 44 million this year. That's nearly a 70% jump in just four years. Another way to look at it is that every month, another 375,000 Americans become food stamp recipients.
America is no longer a nation of food producers; instead we are becoming a nation of food stamp recipients.
Here's an interesting question, what does the government require in return for food stamps? Yes, you read that correctly, what does the government require the food stamp recipient in return for free food? Only that you don't make too much money. Interesting. Here's a little story to illustrate:
Last week we reported on the awful consequences of giving away food during the summer months — thanks to Uncle Sam's generosity. [see “Who said there's no such thing as a free lunch?”]
In that article we reported that not only was did the Herald & News misrepresent the food-give-away program by pretending it had something to do with encouraging childhood literacy during the summer months, but then we found an ad in the paper —not just one day, but several days in a row — promoting the program.
Summer Lunch & Story Time — H&N Wed. June 8, 2011. If you missed it, the pictures and the headlines describe a wonderful summertime program for children sponsored by the Klamath County Library and Integral Youth Services.
If you don't read through the entire article you are likely to think that children will be encouraged to read during the summertime while receiving a nutritious lunch. However, if you do read the entire story, you'll find out the program is little more than free food for children ages 1-18 who show up to a certain location at a certain time. However, only three of the 27 locations are at a library, where books are. Moreover, stories are going to be read to them. There is no indication that children will be "encouraged the read". What about the other 24 locations? Free, nutritious lunches for children 1-18, period.
What are the odds of a 1-year old going to this food-give-away alone? Right, mom, dad or someone will have to take them... oh yeah, and they can get food too. We all know how this works: the lunches are already made and will spoil if not eaten. This is not a for-profit enterprise it is a government give-away program so the more lunches given away the better it looks for the program. Matter of fact the program boasts that last year 600-700 lunches were given away each day — almost 29,000 during the summer.
Some say it's not polite to speak the truth in such a bold fashion. Others say not to hold back but just to speak your mind. There is probably some wisdom in both and knowing when to apply each bit of wisdom makes one, well, wise.
Klamath County is suffering a terrible time economically. A 13+% unemployment rate is awful for even one quarter but Klamath has been dealing with this reality for over two years — with no end in sight. Reality is rearing its ugly face and with the national economy set to double-dip into another recession, Klamath residents are holding on for dear life.
The cold, hard facts are that our community, our county, our state and our nation thrive only when capitalism is allowed to thrive. Our county does not work, when 13% are not working. Our county does not work when public employee sector jobs are the envy of the jobless or those gainfully employed! Mark Belling substituted for Rush Limbaugh today and uttered this profundity,
Sunday's Herald & News’ feature article was titled, “How Much We Pay Our Public Employees”. The paper outlined several different public employees with salaries above $50,000, $100,000 and even $200,000. With the Klamath County unemployment rate hovering well above 10%, that report ought to make a few folks a little jealous if not angry.
That said, we applaud the paper’s investigation and reporting. These are public employees that get paid by us. We ought to know what they are making. Moreover, we ought to be able to control how much they make, but sadly often can't.
The Old Lemonade Stand
As children many of us made a lemonade stand to earn a little summer money. We'd find a box, make a sign, stake out a good place on the front lawn where passers by would notice us, and of course made the best pitcher of lemonade we could.