Tuesday, June 30, 2009

Images of the coastline

OK, the real reason for this post was to practice uploading photos onto the blog. But as you make your plans for the Fourth of July weekend, you might want to make your way to Newport, Ore., where my wife and I took these pictures recently. The famous aquarium is one of many attractions in that beautiful coastline city.

Inhofe: "No way" cap-and-trade passes Senate

U.S. Sen. James Inhofe, the Oklahoma Republican who has often called global warming "the greatest single hoax perpetrated on the American people," virtually guarantees that the cap-and-trade bill will not pass the Senate.

Speaking on Roger Hedgecock's radio program last night, Inhofe said the bill has 34 firm votes and needs 60.

He said he's confident because the Senate has had five votes on similar climate change-related bills, and each time his side has gained more support.

Monday, June 29, 2009

Hey, I thought President Obama didn't like to meddle

Apparently when it comes to Honduras, he does.

Maybe he was inspired by the gift he received from Hugo Chavez.

Friday, June 26, 2009

New online adventure is about to begin.

Two weeks from today we will be wrapping up training on the new software we will be using to build, update and maintain the Capital Press website. So look for some major changes coming to our news home page soon.

We don't yet have an official launch date, but I would guestimate we will be ready to go live by Aug. 1, and perhaps as soon as mid-July.

It's getting pretty exciting. New, shiny things are always fun. Although, I am also anxious about all the unforeseen headaches the relaunch might include, like broken links and other unintended consequences. However, hopefully we will be able to offer even more features for readers/visitors and more opportunities for interaction.

Change can be a bit scary. But it can also be a very good thing sometimes too.

No alien power lines allowed

The TANC transmission line project in Northern California has made another enemy. And this one's a classic.

Headline in my former paper:

Scientists say TANC could foil Hat Creek search for ETs


The search for the slightest signal of intelligent life at the far end of the galaxy from a north state radio observatory could be jammed by the buzz of proposed power lines.

With more than $50 million invested in the Allen Telescope Array, scientists at the Hat Creek Radio Observatory don't want the proposed power lines of the Transmission Agency of Northern California to interfere with their sensitive equipment.

"We have a lot of reasons why we wouldn't like the power lines to be in our backyard," said Donald Backer, director of the array and the Radio Astronomy Lab at University of California at Berkeley. [ ... ]

Backer has joined the scores of north state residents filing comments about the power lines' proposed path. Running from Lassen County to the San Francisco Bay area, the 500-kilovolt line would travel over land in or near Cassel, Burney, Round Mountain, Oak Run, Millville, Happy Valley, Cottonwood and Red Bluff.

No telling whether he got any little green men to sign any petitions.

Thursday, June 25, 2009

Did the EPA suppress internal global warming research?

The Competitive Enterprise Institute asserts that it did.

Washington, D.C., June 24, 2009—The Competitive Enterprise Institute today charged that a senior official of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency actively suppressed a scientific analysis of climate change because of political pressure to support the Administration’s policy agenda of regulating carbon dioxide.

As part of a just-ended public comment period, CEI submitted a set of four EPA emails, dated March 12-17, 2009, which indicate that a significant internal critique of the agency’s global warming position was put under wraps and concealed.

The study the emails refer to, which ran counter to the administration’s views on carbon dioxide and climate change, was kept from circulating within the agency, was never disclosed to the public, and was not added to the body of materials relevant to EPA’s current “endangerment” proceeding. The emails further show that the study was treated in this manner not because of any problem with its quality, but for political reasons.

“This suppression of valid science for political reasons is beyond belief,” said CEI General Counsel Sam Kazman. “EPA’s conduct is even more outlandish because it flies in the face of the President’s widely-touted claim that ‘the days of science taking a back seat to ideology are over.’”

CEI’s filing requests that EPA make the suppressed study public, place it into the endangerment docket, and extend the comment period to allow public response to the new information. CEI is also requesting that EPA publicly declare that it will engage in no reprisals against the study’s author, a senior analyst who has worked at EPA for over 35 years.

Tuesday, June 23, 2009

Politically motivated travel?

Are you the type who wants President Obama to stay the heck out of your state?

Well, you may get your wish -- provided you don't live in a presidential swing state.

Monday, June 22, 2009

Jon, Kate and the mess they've made

My wife is a big "Jon and Kate Plus 8" fan. That's fine -- gives me an opportunity to go watch baseball on the computer.

But I had to love what columnist Kerry Dougherty wrote recently.

You've got to hand it to the publicity geniuses at TLC.

They've managed to turn a debauched family drama into an over- hyped money machine. Every time the audience shrinks, they manufacture a new marital crisis so they can start promoting an explosive new episode.

Is there anything they won't do for money?

Yep, I'm talking about the insipid sextuplet series "Jon and Kate Plus 8."

So what if there are real children involved? So what if the shameless parents parade their spats and peccadillos on TV and across the tabloids for the whole country to see? And so what if this made-for-TV family is spinning out of control, within reach of millions of remote controls?

Remember, they're messing up their lives and their kids' home for YOU.

There's only one way to make them stop.

On behalf of the Gosselin children, I'm begging you.

Turn it off.

Friday, June 19, 2009

I admit I sometimes get impatient in the drive-through line

But not this impatient.

My mother's in the paper

She was interviewed for a Sacramento Bee story on the slow real estate market.

A snippet:

That explains why Cynthia Hearden's $459,000 house in Sacramento's Land Park neighborhood has been slow to sell since its March listing. It tells why Kathy McKnight in the city's Pocket neighborhood decided not to offer her house for sale after an agent suggested an asking price of $525,000, less than she had hoped.

Hearden, nearing retirement and aiming to downsize, showed one of the more creative responses to lack of move-ups. When she got an offer based on the potential buyer first selling her own house, Hearden waited as neither house moved. Then she looked at her potential buyer's $289,000 house in South Land Park, and proposed a trade accounting for price differences.

The other homeowner was interested, but even that deal fell through last week.

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

Beef for Father's Day

From the California CattleWomen:


Fathers are very special individuals, and deserve to be treated as such on
Father's Day, according to the American National CattleWomen, Inc.
Therefore, the CattleWomen are again sponsoring a "Beef For Father's Day"
promotion to encourage families to serve Dad his favorite food on his
special day. Father's Day has been chosen by the CattleWomen to demonstrate
the industry's commitment to family values on an annual basis. Started in
1953, "Beef For Father's Day" is one of the most popular promotion programs
in the beef industry.

"Beef and Father's Day are a natural tie-in," said Merrilee Doss, President
of the California CattleWomen. "Not only is beef one of the most popular
foods among fathers around the country, but the industry embraces the
strength, loyalty and integrity that we like to associate with fatherhood."
Doss pointed out that today's beef is highly nutritious. She said that it is
considerably leaner than it was 10 or 20 years ago, and there are now 29
cuts of beef that meet government guidelines for lean. Beef contains a high
proportion of nutrients compared to calories and is one of the diet's
leading contributors of iron, zinc, protein and important B vitamins.

Locally, the San Joaquin/Stanislaus CattleWomen will actively promote "Beef
for Father's Day" by donating $250 to the Salvation Army in each county
respectively, to be used toward their Father's Day menu. The Salvation Army
was founded in London England in 1865 and came to America in 1880. Major
Darvin Carpenter, Stanislaus County Coordinator, has been with the Salvation
Army for 40 years and says beef is a big part of their meal planning. They
serve over 2.5 million meals annually to low income families, just in
Stanislaus County. "The meat department is very busy the week of Father's
Day" says, Alan Borba, Manager of Oakdale's Save Mart. "We're delighted to
be part of your promotion."

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

Join the celebration

My editor, Joe Beach, posts over at the Back Forty:

The Hermiston Agricultural Research and Extension Center will hold a centennial celebration from 2 to 8 p.m. Tuesday, June 30.

Afternoon activities include kids entertainment, historical exhibits and lab and field tours.

Official presentations will take place from 6 to 6:30 p.m.

A complimentary, family-styled dinner will be served from 6:30 to 8 p.m.

The celebration includes live entertainment from 7 to 8 p.m.

The research center is at 2121 South First St. in Hermiston.

Information: oregonstate.edu/dept/hermiston/, or call the center at 541-567-6337.

Monday, June 15, 2009

Crops under stress because of global ... cooling?

From the Telegraph in London:

For the second time in little over a year, it looks as though the world may be heading for a serious food crisis, thanks to our old friend "climate change". In many parts of the world recently the weather has not been too brilliant for farmers. After a fearsomely cold winter, June brought heavy snowfall across large parts of western Canada and the northern states of the American Midwest. In Manitoba last week, it was -4ÂșC. North Dakota had its first June snow for 60 years. [ ... ]

There are obviously various reasons for this concern as to whether the world can continue to feed itself, but one of them is undoubtedly the downturn in world temperatures, which has brought more cold and snow since 2007 than we have known for decades.

Saturday, June 13, 2009

Nature's big show

Self-proclaimed "Weather Geek" Scott Mobley, who works at my former paper, has been sort of an inspiration for some of my weather/drought stories this year. As I told him, I'm the generic to his name brand.

Here's what he did during last night's big thunderstorm in far Northern California.

Here in Geek land, we opened the windows, turned out the lights, dialed up some Tom Waits and enjoyed the show.

And what a show – the storm served up some of the fattest, most vivid lightning bolts this long-time weather watcher (who, admittedly, has spent almost his entire life in California) has ever seen.

The lightning flickered and cracked through a truly cathartic downpour that even managed to swamp Parkview (a south-central Redding banana belt so often skipped when heavy rain bands and training cells march up the western valley).

Joke of the week: June 13

From WorldNetDaily:

A drill sergeant had just chewed out one of his cadets, and as he was walking away, he turned to the cadet and said, "I guess when I die you'll come and dance on my grave."

The cadet replied, "Not me, Sarge ... no sir! I promised myself that when I got out of the Army I'd never stand in another line!"

Friday, June 12, 2009

Time has escaped from the bottle

Where has the time gone? June 13 marks my 4th anniversary at the Capital Press, but in many ways if feels like I just got here.

Perhaps that is because the Capital Press, our parent company the East Oregonian Publishing Co., and some of our sister papers are fortunate to have some staff members with long tenure. It's not unusual to have people stick around these parts for 10, 15, 20 years or more.

When I started working at the Capital Press in June 2005, it was something of a homecoming. I had worked at East Oregonian during vacations from college and joined the staff at the Pendleton-based daily in the Hermiston, Ore., bureau as my second job after college. When I first started working in the newsroom's photo lab in the summer of 1985, Mike Forrester was the editor-in-chief at the East Oregonian. He later become editor and then publisher of the Capital Press. Although he retired shortly before I came to the Capital Press, he still stops by from time to time as chairman of the Capital Press board and one of the owners of the company. I was seeing familiar faces from my first day of work at the Capital Press.

It doesn't feel like 24 years since I collected my first paycheck for this company and it certainly doesn't feel like 4 years since I got here. The only way I can quantify the passage of that time was that my daughter, who was born when I was in East Oregonian reporter back in 1991, is now 18. About the time I started my job as associate editor for the Capital Press I also attended her 8th grade graduation. Now, this month, she earned her high school diploma.

There is another obvious sign of the passage of time since my early days with the company. There is a black-and-white photo hanging on my office wall of me and four other photographers who were covering the Pendleton Round-Up in one of those summer/fall periods at the EO in the mid to late 1980s. The people who stop by my office and look at that picture don't seem to notice that I'm one of the people in it. And if I tell them I'm in the photo they usually can't tell which guy is me.

Well, the picture is black-and-white and it was taken a few years, and more than a few pounds, ago.

Still, there is some comfort in marking the passage of time, the changing of seasons, on familiar ground. So much changes and yet much remains the same.

I wish to thank my family and many friends for welcoming me back home in the summer 2005 and sharing so many special occasions with me these last four years. I look forward to many more special times.

I also wish to thank the Capital Press and East Oregonian Publishing Co. families who have extended so many professional opportunities to me over the years. I have gained a lot of experience and understanding of journalism and agriculture in the newsrooms of the East Oregonian, Hermiston Herald and the Capital Press. I also appreciate my colleagues and coworkers who have been receptive to the things I've suggested here based on things learned in other newsrooms and communities in the West.

And I also offer my thanks to all of you who stop in here at Blogriculture to check out what we have posted here. I've learned so much from the comments and interactions with my fellow bloggers too.

Four years. Wow. I can't believe how quickly the time has passed.

Oh, and if you are looking for anniversary gift ideas, the traditional fourth anniversary gift is fruit or flowers (I prefer fruit). The contemporary fourth anniversary gift is supposedly electrical appliances (and my iPod is showing it's age). Or is this my 24th anniversary? Funny, there is not traditional gift suggest for a 24th anniversary, according to my online website resources, but the modern gift suggestion is musical instruments. I have forgotten all I ever knew about playing the saxophone and I don't really have room for a piano, but I think the ever-musical iPod idea would still work.

OK, so I won't hold my breath waiting for the gifts.

Thursday, June 11, 2009

County supervisor calls for Schwarzenegger's arrest

For stealing. From Shasta County Supervisor Less Baugh's open letter to the Brokenator:

What we cannot handle is your decision to take $6.3 million dollars right out of our bank account. You might as well hand us a lead life vest!

You call it borrowing. You say that we (Shasta County) will be partially repaid with interest.

I call it stealing.

You don't have the ability to pay your bills now and I don't believe you will have the ability to repay this loan with interest.

Meanwhile, Shasta County and all counties will be forced to pay the ultimate price for your mismanagement.

So what do I want Governor?

I want the Shasta County District Attorney to issue a warrant for your arrest. After all, grand theft is a crime. [ ... ]

Remember, Sir, when you steal from the county, you steal from the widows. You steal from the homeless. You steal from the veterans. You steal from every man, woman and child that we, the county, works so hard to serve.

The bottom line is this, Governor: Your proposal to suspend Proposition 1A, steal our local tax revenue and borrow your way out of your current fiscal mess on the backs of counties will not solve your budget problem, but will have a devastating impact on local government.

We cannot sustain a permanent take of gas tax funds. The elimination of CalWORKs may help solve your problem, but it places the entire burden on the county. You continue to mandate services and yet you propose a major shift of local revenue to the state.

We are working diligently to do our job, Governor.

Man up and do yours.

I keep remembering how Arnold promised to fix the state's budget mess when he was elected, and how he promised to be the "people's governor". Since he took office, things have gotten 10 times worse.

Wednesday, June 10, 2009

'Will politics and social agendas phase out U.S. livestock production?'

From the Cattle Network:

How would you react to non-farm folks imposing rules on your livestock production? It is one thing if those rule makers were from your own state, but what if they did not even live in your state, much less have no economic interest in livestock production? That is what has happened in some western states, and may well happen soon in Ohio and in the not-to-distant future in other Cornbelt states.

Methods of livestock production, honed over the years by enterprising farmers and university researchers, have become controversial with the help of the Humane Society of the United States which has turned to the political route to pursue its agenda. Noted Ohio State University economist Luther Tweeten says the HSUS plans a referendum in 2010 that will impact the Ohio laying hen industry and its 27 million birds. In the June issue of the OSU Ag Manager newsletter Tweeten says Ohio agriculture has a major stake in the outcome of the HSUS effort.
[ See:

The threat of a referendum, if Ohio agriculture does not cooperate with HSUS plans to change livestock production, is backed up by forced changes that occurred with Proposition 2 in California. That new law makes it a misdemeanor for anyone to confine livestock in ways that are typical of 21st Century production.

Tweeten says it is important to recognize that nearly everyone supports humane treatment of animals, but at issue is what constitutes humane treatment. He says the HSUS proponents believe legislation will enhance animal welfare, provide healthier food because animals will contract fewer diseases and will reduce soil, water, and air pollution. On the other hand, confinement philosophies are associated with protection of animals from temperature extremes, predators, soil-borne diseases and parasites. He believes the general public has looked to science-based research to narrow the differences, but only with partial satisfaction.

Tuesday, June 09, 2009

Australian scientists injecting pigs with swine flu

From the Geelong Advertiser:

GEELONG scientists are preparing to inject pigs with swine flu to see how it affects herds.

They would then be able to give pig farmers a list of symptoms to alert them to the unlikely scenario the H1N1 virus had jumped back to animals.

Australian Animal Health Laboratory assistant director Dr. Peter Daniels said the research was urgent given the recent outbreak of the disease, but he moved to reassure consumers there was no evidence of the animal disease, classic swine fever, in Australia and that pigs and pork posed no threat.

"It is the responsibility of the Australian Animal Health Laboratory to provide a diagnostic program for disease," Dr. Daniels said.

"It's part of our program to have Australia best prepared ... it's important that we do know how that particular strain of influenza virus does affect Australian pigs."

Monday, June 08, 2009

New Capital Press home for online ag news under construction

There are some big changes coming to the Capital Press website, www.capitalpress.com.

This summer we will unveil a whole new look, feel and functionality to the site. We are currently in the process of moving our website software to a new vendor, which will update many of the features of the site. Our goal is to help you find the news and information you need to run your farm, ranch or agriculture business as effectively as possible in a quick and easy-to-use manner.

We don't yet have a final launch date yet, but I anticipate we should be ready to go live by the first part of August, and perhaps earlier.

We are still early in the conversion process, but I may offer Blogriculture readers a few sneak peeks as work progresses.

So, stay tuned. And once our site is launched and live I hope you will take the time to check it out and share your impressions with us so we can keep making progress to the ways we deliver agriculture news to our readers — online and in print.

Signs of the times?

This is hilarious.

'The stimulus is not stimulating'

Without President Obama's stimulus package, we'd have less debt and probably less unemployment, asserts the conservative blog RedState.

The assertion was that with the stimulus plan, the growth of unemployment would slow dramatically during the second quarter of 2009, taper off in the third quarter, then begin heading back down. Without the stimulus plan, unemployment would continue skyrocketing well into 2010. [ ... ]

Actual unemployment has risen faster and higher than Barack Obama said would happen even without his stimulus plan. In other words: Barack Obama's stimulus plan has failed to do what he claimed it would do and we are in greater debt and greater unemployment than if we had done nothing at all.

RedState has a chart with the numbers here.

Sunday, June 07, 2009

Examining TANC

Redding.com has a package of stories this morning -- including two by one-time Capital Press freelancer Dylan Darling -- examining the Transmission Agency of Northern California's proposed 600-mile transmission line system.

The stories:

North state residents worry about TANC's effects on property values, lives
TANC plans were hidden in plain sight
TANC and REU history intertwined
Faraway power companies are the big players in TANC proposal
TANC sparks "green" opposition

Saturday, June 06, 2009

Joke of the week: June 6

Courtesy of workjoke.com:

How the media would handle the end of the world:

Wall Street Journal: Dow Jones Plummets as World Ends.
National Enquirer: O.J. and Nicole, Together Again.
Inc. Magazine: 10 Ways You Can Profit From the Apocalypse.
Rolling Stone: The Grateful Dead Reunion Tour.
Sports Illustrated: Game Over.
Playboy: Girls of the Apocalypse.
Lady's Home Journal: Lose 10 Pounds by Judgment Day with Our New "Armageddon" Diet!
TV Guide: Death and Damnation: Nielson Ratings Soar!
Discover Magazine: How will the extinction of all life as we know it affect the way we view the cosmos?
Microsoft Systems Journal: Netscape Loses Market Share.
Microsoft's Web Site: If you don't experience the rapture, DOWNLOAD software patch RAPT777.EXE.
America OnLine: System temporarily down. Try calling back in 15 minutes.
Got a headline for Capital Press? Post a comment below.

Remembering heroes

As we observe the 65th anniversary of the Normandy invasion, for those of you who were there and, say, came West after the war and bought a farm, we want to thank you for your service. You're truly the essance of what has made this country great.

Friday, June 05, 2009

It's the holiday season ...

Here in far Northern California, the temperature's barely reached 60 degrees, the sky is dark and bleak and it's been raining pretty much non-stop. And I keep hearing these reports of a line of nasty thunderstorms and 80-mph winds in the northwest. So I must've slept through summer and woken up in November, right?

So how are the 49ers doing? Did the Dodgers end up winning the World Series? What's Obama's approval rating these days? And did they finally put to rest all the talk of global warming?

USDA to offer more NAIS listening sessions

From the National Cattlemen's Beef Association:

The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) has released details for six additional public listening sessions on the implementation of the National Animal Identification System (NAIS). For information, visit: www.usda.gov/nais/feedback.shtml.
All beef producers, regardless of size, location or type of operation, will be affected by this program. In order to ensure NAIS works for the beef industry and accomplishes the goal of improved animal disease response and surveillance, without harmful unintended consequences, it is vital that individual producers and operations share their concerns and ideas for improvement with USDA. NCBA encourages all interested parties to attend the listening sessions or submit comments. Individuals may pre-register for the sessions at: NAISSessions@aphis.usda.gov or submit comments at: www.regulations.gov.

NCBA has talked to Secretary Vilsack about this issue and we're encouraged by his efforts to maintain an open and constructive dialogue with stakeholders. We look forward to continuing to work closely with USDA on the development of an animal identification system that makes sense for producers. NCBA advocates a voluntary animal identification system that is workable, affordable and able to move at the speed of commerce to enable state and federal animal health officials to respond rapidly and effectively to animal health emergencies, such as foreign animal disease outbreaks or emerging domestic diseases. We continue to stress that animal ID is not a food safety tool. There are already multiple firewalls and inspection procedures in place to keep our beef supply safe. The NAIS will not enhance food safety, nor was it intended for that purpose.

NCBA has led a number of producer education and outreach efforts to encourage participation in animal identification systems, and many of our members already participate voluntarily in a variety of these programs as one of many tools to improve their herds, monitor disease, and better market their cattle. The private sector plays a tremendous role in the administration of these voluntary programs, and NCBA believes that private sector involvement and the resulting competitive market forces benefit producers while maintaining the objectives of the NAIS.

Thursday, June 04, 2009

Speaking of pigs

Could they have a role in the ongoing stem cell debate?

From the BBC:

Chinese scientists have given cells from adult pigs the ability to turn into any tissue in the body, just like embryonic stem cells.

They hope the breakthrough could aid research into human disease, and the breeding of animals for organ transplants for humans.

It may also enable the development of pigs that are resistant to diseases such as swine flu.

The study appears online in the Journal of Molecular Cell Biology.

This breakthrough to produce pig stem cells potentially reinvigorates the quest to grow humanised pig organs

Lead researcher Dr Lei Xiao, of the Shanghai Institute of Biochemistry and Cell Biology, said many other attempts had been made to transform adult cells from animals such as pigs into "pluripotent" stem cells, but they had failed.

He said: "Therefore, it is entirely new, very important and has a number of applications for both human and animal health."

Big winner

From California's Red Bluff Daily News:

Maudie Hermetet, 93, of Los Molinos entered 58 items into the Chico Silver Dollar Fair.

She won 48 ribbons with 21 blue, 22 red and 5 white.

She also won Best of Show for a jar of green beans and three ribbons on three gift baskets.

Hermetet works one day a week at The Hope Chest Thrift Store and one day a month making bandages for the Cancer Society.


I'm disappointed ...

... that in President Obama's big speech in Cairo this morning, he didn't mention Egypt's massive slaughter of its pig population, which obviously didn't help.

Oh well. Don't suppose there was any chance of him mentioning that. Being diplomatic and all.

Wednesday, June 03, 2009

How's your animal welfare-approved burger?

Coming soon to a burger joint near you:

Hut's Hamburgers in Austin, Now Serving Animal Welfare Approved Texas Longhorn Burgers from HMIT Practioners Bandera Grassland
Hut’s Hamburgers, an Austin tradition since 1939, has added that iconic symbol of Texas-the Longhorn-to its menu. Animal Welfare Approved Bandera Grassland of Tarpley, Texas is supplying the restaurant with pure Texas Longhorn beef from cattle that are direct descendants of the Iberian cattle brought by the Spaniards in the 1500s. The Animal Welfare Approved seal is an assurance to consumers that cattle from Bandera Grassland have been treated according to the highest welfare standards.

Like they say, don't mess with . . . animal welfare.

Farm Bureau: Climate change legislation benefits must outweigh costs

John Hart, director of news services for the American Farm Bureau Federation, writes:

The talk on Capitol Hill is not to expect climate change legislation to become law this year, but do expect Congress to take action before the 2010 elections. Any delay in sweeping climate change legislation is welcome news for America's farmers and ranchers because whatever action Congress takes could have a profound and permanent impact on production agriculture.

Congress should not push through such important legislation in a rushed, haphazard way. Experts agree that efforts to reduce greenhouse gases will impact all sectors of the economy and will be costly to all. Climate change may well be the most serious, far- reaching issue the 111th Congress handles, even more critical than health care reform.

Read the rest of the commentary here.

Trade secrets

George Tastard, the director of the U.S. Commerce Department's Export Assistance Center in Sacramento, Calif., offered a great analogy during a trade meeting that I covered last week.

"Having a trading partner is like being married," he said. "When it's good, it's really good. When it's not good, it's expensive."

Tuesday, June 02, 2009


If you're wondering what Gary's been up to lately, click here.

Cool thing, this Twitter. Instant news.

(Hey, was this post short enough to be a tweet?)

Monday, June 01, 2009

Whither California's political winds?

The aforementioned Bruce Ross has linked to a blog post by a UC Davis historian that lays out some of California's recent political history. The gist, in Bruce's words:

Pete Wilson took office in 1990 just as the economy collapsed, and the severe budget cuts and tax increases that he pushed to balance the budget left him deeply unpopular when he was trying to get re-elected four years later. Hunting for an issue, he hopped on the Prop. 187 wagon and rode it to victory, but the backlash -- in the form of legal immigrants gaining citizenship, registering to vote, and casting ballots against Republicans -- has left the California GOP the faded minority that it is today.
Actually, Gov. Wilson rode a Republican wave in 1994, the year that the GOP swept into control of Congress, took many statehouses and gained the majority in the California Assembly for the first time since 1970, so I'm not sure how much of a role Prop. 187 actually played. And as UPI noted in 2002, Prop. 187 was positioned "more as a cry for help from Washington to cut back on illegal immigration than as a practical long-term state policy." But I digress.

Bruce concludes:

That's not news to anyone who's been around to watch the events, but it's got me thinking: Crises tend to bring on profound political shifts, and the state is certainly suffering a crisis --- so what shift is California likely to see? Who are the political constituencies up for grabs? And who is ripe for a fall?
Well, considering that California is already among the bluest of blue states, with blues controlling virtually every vestige of government, to have another round of blues winning statewide elections would hardly be considered a shift. So if there is to be a shift, it would seem the only direction to go would be rightward.

As for Hispanics, I'll be interested to see how that particular voting bloc responds to seeing thousands of their fellow/former countrymen being put out of work by a tiny fish. I wonder if they'll take out their frustrations on the party under whose authority the water got shut off.

Ag in the West social media watch

Capital Press videos on YouTube

Our most popular videos