Election results

Posted on | November 6, 2012 | Eric Peterson | No Comments

As soon as the polls close, you can get election results at the following sites:

Calaveras County
State of California


Why we aren’t unhappy about budget problems

Posted on | August 9, 2009 | Eric Peterson | No Comments

A couple of days ago, an eight-year-old girl’s lemonade stand in Tulare was shut down by a city code enforcement officer because she didn’t have a city business license to hawk her fresh-squeezed drink at a busy intersection.

Daniela Earnest was trying to raise money for a family trip to Disneyland.

In fairness to the code officer — who technically works for the city fire department — he was responding to a complaint, and it all turned out okay because a local radio station swapped 30 cups of the beverage for tickets to the theme park.

But it does point out why the state’s budget crisis, and its resulting impact on local governments, doesn’t really bother us all that much.

First, maybe cities and counties have to take a long hard look at how their personnel are spending their time, considering that taxpayers are paying for it. We’re all for libraries; after all, the local library was dedicated with a poem written by our late father, in what he considered to be one of the proudest moments of his life. We’re not so much for people with authority who can’t find some other way to resolve a citizen complaint (!?!?) except to bully an eight-year-old girl selling lemonade on a hot summer day in the middle of the central valley.

Second, we think that cities and counties (and the state) should consider this current crisis as an opportunity for self-examination. Do we really need all those programs? Do we really need all those people wandering around nice fancy offices? Do they really add that much value to our lives?

PJ O’Rourke wrote, “The mystery of government is not how Washington works but how to make it stop.” That is a malady not restricted to that little piece of ground carved out of Maryland; there is a pretty solid example of it about an hour to the east-northeast of here, and one that isn’t too bad just a few minutes down Highway 49.




Posted on | February 17, 2009 | Ellie | No Comments

Please help me. I’m beginning to think Republican! Real icky.
Granted that the fools did much to get us into this economic mess as well as to shatter our budget because of their misadventure in Iraq and their failing to do the job in Afghanistan when they had the opportunity
That granted, I am concerned about the Stimulus package. Is it true that no one serving in the House or Senate and, having voted on the bill, has read the 14,000 – 1400 (?) pages?
I must confess to not having read the bill or War And Peace. I do note that, in the bill, there are many good and not so good things which will do little to put Americans back to work as is the stated purpose of the bill. Yes, we need health care. Desperately. But, what has it to do with decreasing unemployment? The original purpose of the bill has not been kept in mind. Most, if not every two bit politician has thrown in a goody for his constituents an thus his re-election. I would even bet that the Bridge To Nowhere is back in there someplace.
I am not an admirer of Harry Reid. I think he is the rear most aperture on the human body and is destined to do the Democrats great harm.
I was first delighted to read that the bill included X billions of dollars to create a fast rail in California. I envisioned a train that could transport me from San Diego to San Francisco in about the same time that it would take to fly there – three hours.And in much greater comfort. It is necessary to be at the airport one hour before the plane is scheduled to depart. Assuming that the plane takes off on time, rather than being delayed or cancelled, a brave assumption, one hour in the air. Up to half an hour to obtain my luggage and a half hour bus or taxi ride into the city. And, of course, the train would cost much less than a plane ticket and taxi fare.
But then, what did I discover? The train won’t be going from San Diego to San Francisco. It will be going from Los Angeles to Las Vegas. Well a person has to gamble, right? Of course, there are a few dozen Indian gambling casinos within an hour drive from L. A. And the money would stay in California. This would employ a large number of workers, but for what long lasting worthy purpose?
In this case, haste is making it possible for a lot of people to make waste. Get on top of it, Barack.


We matter.

Posted on | January 20, 2009 | Eric Peterson | No Comments

What’s so different about Obama? What did he do that overcame his huge lack of name recognition, his paucity of landmark legislation, and his comparative inexperience with the rusted steel factory known as Washington, DC, and caused his election to the Presidency?

There are a lot of somewhat technical things. Yes, he understood the technology available to him, and mastered it in a fashion not seen since Goldwater took the Republican party by storm in 1964. Yes, he had a masterful strategy, especially in the general election; he marshalled his superior resources and deployed them such that John McCain had to fight in states he might have otherwise expected to win easily (North Carolina, Nevada and Missouri, not to mention Florida, come to mind). And yes, he isn’t 71.

Our support for Obama came early on: he is literate, he is well-spoken, he is intelligent, he has a sense of history and context, and he questions every assumption. He passes the ball, plays defense, and can nail a three-pointer when the game is on the line. What more could one want in a President?

There was a lot of blather about his not having enough “experience” to be the President — which was hogwash in the 1800s and is hogwash now. There is NO job anywhere that prepares one for being the President — including having a father who was one.

The experience of once-every-year-and-a-half hour-long conversations with the head of state of Germany or Israel or Mexico does not prepare someone to decide to ask men and women to die in Afghanistan or Iraq.

The experience of being a Senator or Governor does not prepare one to tell the US federal bureaucracy that some of it has to go in order to reduce an out-of-control deficit — and it certainly doesn’t prepare one to face the wrath of some Congressman or Senator whose support one needs that his or her favorite government program is about to get red-lined out of the next budget.

The experience of shaking hands with factory workers and seeing how they operate their machinery does not prepare one for making the decision that because their corporate bosses made some bad decisions next month they’ll all be looking for work and by the way, that 401(k) isn’t worth much more than the paper the statement is printed on.

All the experience in the world doesn’t mean a damn thing if you don’t, can’t or won’t listen. When it gets down to it, that’s why Obama won: He paid attention.

That was most evident in the debates; when Mr McCain was speaking, Obama was intent on every word. When Obama was speaking, McCain was consulting his notes. There’s a novel idea; if you want to steal your opponent’s thunder, start by listening to what he says. If you say it before he does, there’s a good chance he’s going to be seen as saying “me, too” if he can say anything at all.

Obama, when he does speak, inspires and compels, not by blaming — but by insisting that problems can be solved. There are lots of great speechwriters out there — but Obama’s words are his, in the same way John Kennedy owned the words of Theodore Sorenson. The words are what Obama believes: “And where we are met with cynicism and doubts and those who tell us that we can’t, we will respond with that timeless creed that sums up the spirit of a people: Yes, we can.”

What’s curious isn’t so much that, on the eve of Obama’s inauguration, 84 per cent of the country thinks Obama has prepared for the transition to power well, but rather that there is 16 per cent of the country that doesn’t think so. We know there are the Luddites out there who cannot imagine a Democrat of any kind — let alone a bi-racial one — who can possibly command the authority and respect that George W. Bush does. Huh? My friend Shawn thinks it has to do with either prolonged proximity to crude oil vapors or a belief that the only people you can trust are the ones who have received eight figure severance packages to please find some other company to ruin. They say you can’t fix stupid, venal or the BCS.

People need to feel like someone, somewhere is paying attention — and Obama has made us feel that way. For the past eight years, the President hasn’t been paying attention; his own agenda (actually, the Vice President’s agenda) was more important to him than the country’s, and we are all suffering the consequences. Indeed, Bush’s popularity is the lowest of any exiting President since polling data has been published, hasn’t topped 30 per cent in 18 months, and hasn’t been above 50 per cent in his second term. The most charitable thing that can be said about the Bush Presidency: we survived, we think. No wonder we all feel like we’re on the verge of a depression.

The next step begins in a few hours; the next few years will tell us just how bad the damage to our national psyche is. It is unfortunate that Obama’s turn at the head of the class will be marked by how much success he has at cleaning up the mess, or rather, convincing us that we can clean it up. But it’s not enough that we are successful; it’s that in the redesign and rebuilding of this country that our voices be heard. To Obama, we all matter.


Dunking For Democracy

Posted on | December 20, 2008 | Eric Peterson | No Comments

From our friend jorcutt:

On this evening news I watched with great pleasure the Iraqi gentleman throwing his shoes at Georgie Bush. It displeased me that the irate Iraqi missed, but other than that… The gentleman mentioned that he was motivated by the killing of hundreds of thousands of his fellow Iraqis.

The incident brought forth unto my brain an idea as to how we could pay off our horrendous national debt. At fund raising events you have no doubt seen a contraption where in, if a person has purchased the privilege, said person can throw a baseball at a small object which, if hit, causes a person in a cage to drop into a large container of water. Said persons are often school principals, politicians or town dignitaries.

Now, suppose the cage were positioned over an overflowing cesspool. And suppose the person in the cage, after January 20 of course, were none other than little Georgie Bush. And let’s say the cost per baseball thrown were one million dollars. Now, not many of us could afford to pay such a sum – not even me on my retirement income. However, groups of us could band together to purchase tickets and then a lottery could be held wherein one of us would win the privilege of throwing a baseball. And all of us who bought a chance on the lottery could were little baseball pins in our lapels or wherever to show our patriotism. This would encourage people to purchase dunking tickets in order to prove themselves to be patriots. With three quarters of the American people desiring to see Bush covered with that which for the past eight years he has thrown on us and the rest of the world, we could raise billions. And certainly a majority of the Iraqi citizens would wish to purchase a chance. In fact there would be billions in countries throughout the world who would seek to make themselves heroes.

Add to this attraction honored guests such as Cheney, Rumsfeld, Rove, Gonzales, Kristol et al and the debt would be erased in a very short time. Yes, there would be untold millions throughout the countries of the world who would pay to seek to have the opportunity to watch Bush and his cohorts drop into what he’s caused our nation, Iraq and other countries to drop into. Additional money could be made between dunkings by a lottery for the privilege of cleaning off the subjects with a fire hose.

Now all I need is a slogan. DUNKING FOR DEMOCRACY? THROWING TO DECREASE THE OWING? No. I’ll keep working on it.


Stina Nygren

Posted on | November 11, 2008 | Eric Peterson | No Comments

Stina Nygren

Stina Nygren

For people who have followed the Prosepct and Californian during the time our family owned the newspapers, some of our more seasoned readers will recall letters I sent home during my year as an AFS student in Skellefteå, Sweden. To call it “formative” is to do the term a grave injustice; I still consider it to be one of the most profound experiences of my life.
Stina Nygren, my second mother, died on Saturday, November 8, after a heart attack from which she never recovered, at her home in Umeå, her husband, Erland, and two sons, Åke and Per were with her.

Mrs. Nygren — Mama — was an amazing woman. On the day I arrived at her home, she made strawberry shortcake; a couple of days later, when Åke took me to a party to meet some of his friends, I was chewed out just as he was for coming in at an ungodly hour of the morning. That set the tone for my year; I was her third son — and her expectations and aspriations for me were no different from those she had for my two brothers.

She was relentless in her insistence that I learn to use my new native language; at the same time, every Friday was the day we spoke English in the house (Papa would be notoriously less vocal those days) so she could practice. If she suffered through the rheumatism she had, you almost never heard about it; she was not a woman who was going to let that get in her way. She encouraged us to do things we had never done; on one such instance, she reminded me that I hadn’t come halfway around the world just to spend my time doing homework. When winter (Skellefteå is a coastal city not all that far from the Arctic Circle) arrived, she took me to the store to buy a couple of pairs of winter pants; the jeans a California boy takes just weren’t going to cut it.

There are always regrets when someone you haven’t seen in years dies relatively suddenly; mine is that I wasn’t able to see her, or talk with her more frequently than I did. My adopted siblings and their father are blessed to have spent their lives with her.

Tak så mycket, Mama. Jag vill missa du.


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