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Stairway to Heaven ~ Off Topic

Stairway to Heaven ~ Off Topic published on



44 Years Ago, He Wrote This Song. But When He Hears Her Sing It Like THIS, He Cries…

littlethings.com

Like this story? Please share!By Barbara Diamond#Amazing
#Talent
#Touching
#UPLIFTING
Music lovers, you’re in for a big treat.

In December 2012, CBS aired its broadcast of the annual Kennedy Center Honors, which awards exemplary lifetime achievement in the performing arts. This was the year that British classic rock band Led Zeppelin was one of the honorees.

“Stairway to Heaven,” released in 1971, is often referred to as one of the greatest rock songs of all time. For any guitarist, learning each note of the intro is basically a birthright. When Ann and Nancy Wilson of the band Heart came on stage for the Kennedy Center Honors finale, their rendition of “Stairway” instantly went viral. Robert Plant, Led Zeppelin’s famed frontman, nearly broke down in tears as the Wilson sisters were joined by late Led Zeppelin drummer John Bonham’s son Jason on drums. “Stairway” is an incredibly difficult song to perform and pull off live, with its anthemic energy, building climax, and intricate vocals, yet Ann took full command of the classic rock tune, and left the entire audience speechless. Her voice takes a powerful turn at 4:00, and you don’t want to miss it!

Watch the powerhouse performance below. I guarantee you’ll be standing in your seat by the end.

I’m just gonna say it: This is one of the best covers of “Stairway To Heaven” that has ever been sung by anyone.

Please SHARE this jaw-dropping performance with your friends on Facebook!

More Amazing LittleThings Stories:

The Big Gay Lie in

The Big Gay Lie in published on



Articles: The Big Gay Lie

americanthinker.com

While gays are our siblings in Christ, the gay lifestyle is nothing like the straight lifestyle. That’s why we have to condemn the gay lifestyle because we love gays as people, just as we condemn smoking out of love for smokers.
One of the key reasons that gay “marriage” has won as much public support as it has is that few people understand how harmful the massively promiscuous gay lifestyle is. 
The Big Gay Lie (BGL) is that the gay lifestyle is the same as the straight lifestyle. The BGL has a number of facets including:

Lots of people are gay
Gay relationships are just like straight ones; they want long-term commitment
Being gay isn’t bad for your health
Gays are born that way
The BGL has made the debate over gay marriage like a debate about smoking where no one realizes that smoking causes lung cancer.
Before looking at what scientific studies tell us here’s some anecdotal evidence that people may already be familiar with:
When AIDS first struck gays fought tooth and nail to keep the bathhouses — where gays go for anonymous sex with strangers — open. Gays are so addicted to sex that even in the face of a fatal disease they didn’t want to curb their promiscuous lifestyle.
AIDS. While we’re constantly told that it’s not a gay disease the reality is that in the U.S. almost no one but gays get AIDS from sex. Yet even though condoms don’t stop the spread of AIDS gays continue to risk their lives to have sex with strangers
While everyone condemns crimes by priests and ministers against children, the fact is that 81% of the victims of priests have been young boys; the problem is a gay one.
NAMBLA — which advocates sex with 3 year olds — is an accepted part of the gay community. The organization marched in the SF Gay Pride parade for years before pressure from straights got the organization booted out due to bad optics.
Very few people are gay:
The debate about gay marriage has been skewed by a gross misrepresentation of the number of gays in America. While the average American thought 23% of Americans were gay the real number is 1.6% with only 3.8% of the population being LGBT.
Gay relationships are nothing like straight ones:
The simple reality is that the gay lifestyle consists of sex with many strangers and few if any long term, let alone monogamous, relationships.

Less than 1% of gays report, to gay friendly researchers, to having sex with fewer than 5 partners. On the other hand, 43% report having more than 500 sexual partners including 28% who have had more than 1000 sexual partners.
To put this in context, only 25% of heterosexual men have sex with more than 10 women in their lifetimes; women average 4.7 partners over their lives.
Gay relationships rarely last more than 2 years. A study of gay “marriages” in Holland found that they last, on average, 1.5 years and that they are not monogamous. Another study showed that not a single gay couple was monogamous for more than five years. Straight marriages are far longer lasting and much more likely to be monogamous.

For example in 2009 the average duration of an American woman’s first marriage was 20.8 years. Second marriages last 14.5 years. In 2009, 30% of American heterosexuals were not married, 55% had been married once, 12% had been married twice, and 3% had been married more than twice.

This disparity isn’t surprising, given that men tend to be more promiscuous than women. A sexual relationship without a woman is hence likely to be based on sex, not love.
Basically what passes for love in gay relationships is really lust or infatuation. It’s not the sort of love that keeps a couple faithful and together for decades. Gays as people deserve better than that, but they will never find it if they follow their inclinations.

Being gay is very bad for your health:
Being gay cuts roughly 20 years off of a man’s expected lifespan; smoking only cuts 10.  That’s not surprising given the AIDS epidemic but the basically unhealthy sexual practices of gays lead to death and illness from sources other than AIDS as well.
Additionally the gay community serves as a reservoir of other STDs due to the massively promiscuous nature of gay relationships.

Finally the nature of gay “sex” leads to a wide variety of other problems — nature has taught us to not play with feces for a reason.
Gays aren’t born gay:
Even a cursory examination shows it’s absurd to think that gays are born gay, that there is a “gay” gene. Evolution teaches that genes that help an organism survive and reproduce endure and genes that hinder survival or reproduction disappear. Yet what gene could possibly be worse for reproduction than a “gay” gene? Clearly any person with a “gay” gene wouldn’t have had kids and hence the gene would disappear from the gene pool.
Further many studies have shown that being gay is not genetic. Eight major studies of identical twins prove that being gay is not due to genetics. Identical twins have the same DNA and hence, if being gay is purely genetic, if one twin is gay the odds of the other being gay would be 100%. Yet the reality is on average the chance of the other twin being gay is around 12%.

This does not mean that gays wake up one morning and decide to be gay. Studies have shown that gays are very likely to come from families with detached or absent fathers. That makes sense; gays turn to sex with men to replace the love they never had from their fathers. After all, our society is great at confusing sex with love.

Given that being gay is not genetic it is likely that being gay is curable. While the MSM attacks any possibility of gays becoming heterosexual the reality is that cure rates of 30% or more may be possible for gays who want to be cured.

Moving beyond the BGL:
Why has the BGL been so successful? There are several reasons, but the primary one is that since gays are so rare, most people don’t interact with them that much; and when they do gays are unlikely to boast about their promiscuity. On the other hand the media, both news and entertainment, portray gays as being just like straights. Not only are the health, mental and physical, consequences of the gay lifestyle concealed but even the fact that gays are sex addicts is never mentioned.
It’s hardly surprising given the prevalence of the BGL that support for gay “marriage” is as high as it is.

Based purely on science, gays are dysfunctional since from an evolutionary perspective the only purpose of life is to produce offspring. It’s Christianity that teaches that gays are not defective only prone to a different kind of sin than most people. In fact, Christianity teaches that gays who live chaste lives are truly great servants of God for bearing a very heavy cross successfully.
Once the BGL is exposed it’s clear that the only truly loving response to gays is to urge them to seek a cure and to live chaste lives. Because our objection to the gay lifestyle is based on love it makes perfect sense to simultaneously condemn violence against gays, persecution of gays, and hatred for gays with efforts to encourage gays to not live the gay lifestyle.
The liberal response of encouraging the gay lifestyle is like encouraging smokers to smoke, fat people to eat more, or people who want to amputate their limbs to go right ahead. If you truly love someone you don’t enable them to do things that are self-destructive.

In reality, #lovewins should mean encouraging gays to avoid the gay lifestyle not enabling them to live a lifestyle that cuts decades off their lives and involves the objectification of others as things to be used rather than people to be loved. Gays deserve better than that.

Use the truth to combat the BGL and you’ll find that people’s attitudes will begin to change — true love will win in the end.

You can read more of tom’s rants at his blog, Conversations about the obvious and feel free to follow him on Twitter

© American Thinker 2015

One-Third Of Obamacare CO-OPs Are Now Officially Dead

One-Third Of Obamacare CO-OPs Are Now Officially Dead published on



drink-obamacare
One-Third Of Obamacare CO-OPs Are Now Officially Dead – Freedom Force

freedomforce.com
One-Third Of Obamacare CO-OPs Are Now Officially DeadOne-Third Of Obamacare CO-OPs Are Now Officially Dead

Posted onOctober 16, 2015Richard PollockOne-third of the Obamacare health insurance co-ops have now failed, causing about 400,000 policyholders in 10 states to scramble for new coverage for 2016.

Seven of the 23 co-ops created by the Affordable Care Act in 2011 at a cost of $2.4 billion — including many launched by passionate but inexperienced health reform activists —  have since closed their doors. An eighth, the Colorado Health Insurance Cooperative, appears on the brink of defaultas well.

The failing Obamacare co-ops have canceled health insurance for largely poor and low-income customers in Iowa, Nebraska, Kentucky, West Virginia, Louisiana, Nevada, Tennessee, Vermont, New York and Colorado.

The co-op’s are falling like dominoes.  In the last two months, the public has seen co-ops fail in Nevada, Louisiana, Tennessee, Kentucky and New York.

Including Colorado, taxpayers have lost $876 million in loan moneythat was supposed to last for 15 years.  The failed co-op’s existed for only two years before suddenly closing their doors.

More co-op failures are expected.  “There will be more closures,” said American Enterprise Institute resident fellow Thomas Miller, a health care expert. “The only question is when rather than whether.”

The Center for Medicare and Medicaid Services, which funded the co-ops, said this summer that six co-ops were under “enhanced oversight” because of poor financial reports.  The Daily Caller reportedin August that federal officials refused to identify the six that are in trouble.

The Inspector General of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services reported in Julythat 21 of 23 operating co-ops faced staggering losses, some greater than the loans that were expected to last 15 years.

New York’s Health Republic, the largest of the co-ops, announced it was closing its doors last month, leaving 155,000 customers in the lurch.

The New York failure was not only the largest, but was the flagship of the co-op movement. It was created by liberal political activist Sarah Horowitz, who had previously worked with then-state Sen. Barack Obama.

The New York Department of Finance Services last month reported that Health Republic had the worst 2014 consumer recordof all insurance companies operating in the state.

Horowitz was the only individual to be given federal loans to run three co-ops at the same time.  Her other two co-ops are in New Jersey and Oregon.

Miller said there is growing apprehension among state insurance commissioners about the solvency of many of the other co-ops still hanging on.

Nov. 1 is the new date for open enrollment for the co-ops.  The deadline is forcing state insurance commissioners to take a closer look at the co-0p’s prospects over the next year.

Miller said many state commissioners are asking, “do you cut your losses now or do it later? There’s a lot of apprehension among state regulators in terms of signing up for another year in light of results that have happened.”

Sally Pipes, president of the Pacific Research Institute think tank, said, “everything is coming to pass.  It was inevitable, given their inexperience.”

Kelly Crowe, CEO of the trade association that represents all of the co-ops has now turned against the Obama administration, which set up the programs.

She blamed “regulatory obstacles,” and said Obamacare — is “not working.”

 

How California’s new medical marijuana law will make roads safer

How California’s new medical marijuana law will make roads safer published on



marijuanalegal

How California’s new medical marijuana law will make roads safer: Guest commentary
By Tom Lackey

dailynews.com
In this Dec. 16, 2011, photo a police officer checks a driver’s license at a sobriety check point in Escondido, Calif. Researchers at UC San Diego will soon study the nexus between marijuana use and driving skills, which could help with developing tools for testing motorists for impairment. (AP Photo/Lenny Ignelzi)Next year, a ballot initiative will allow Californians to decide on legalizing recreational marijuana. While I am strongly opposed, there is a very real possibility that voters will approve the measure and follow what four other states have already done. State lawmakers must be prepared if this becomes the law of the land.

If California’s experience legalizing recreational marijuana will be anything like Colorado’s, we will have a very serious drug-impaired driving problem on our hands that inevitably will increase the number of fatal traffic accidents.

This month, the Rocky Mountain High Intensity Drug Trafficking Area (RMHIDTA) released a report detailing the impact of legalizing recreational marijuana in Colorado and the roadway impacts were troubling. According to the study, the number of crash deaths related to marijuana increased by one-third in 2014 — the first year after legalization. It also found that approximately one in five of all motor vehicle crash-related deaths last year were marijuana-related — increasing from about one in 10 in 2009.

This year, I was part of crafting bipartisan legislation that was signed into law by Gov. Jerry Brown. It brings clear rules and regulations to medical marijuana, which has been allowed since 1996, but completely unregulated. Part of this new law includes a provision that will be an important step toward combating the problem of drugged driving.

A study will be conducted by UC San Diego to determine the nexus between marijuana consumption and driving skills. Armed with this research, we can use it to design scientifically validated field sobriety tests for marijuana and other tools to make people think twice about driving wheel stoned.

There are many parallels between drugged driving today and drunken driving in the 1980s. When I first became a CHP officer, drunken driving was not as strong of a priority for law enforcement and was even culturally acceptable. It took tragedy after tragedy to galvanize the government to make a concerted effort to crack down on drunken drivers and educate the public of its dangers. The result has been a decline in drunken driving, yet inversely the prevalence of drugged driving continues to grow.

AdvertisementCalifornia must start taking drug-impaired driving as seriously as drunken driving, particularly if voters decide to legalize marijuana. Other states like Colorado were caught flat-footed on roadway safety as recent statistics show an alarming increase in marijuana-related fatalities. It’s time for California to become a national leader like we were on fighting drunken driving two decades ago. Better law-enforcement tools have made a real difference on reducing alcohol-related traffic deaths. We can do the same for marijuana and other drugs.

While additional research is a critical first step taken this year, we must begin to give officers new tools and enhanced training. Drug “breathalyzers” present an opportunity to overcome some of the current limitations to detecting stoned drivers on the road. A recent pilot program in Los Angeles using these devices has shown promising results. A problem with prosecuting drug DUI cases is that substances like marijuana can come up positive in blood tests weeks later. However, drug breathalyzers test for recent use exclusively. This tool, combined with drug-specific field sobriety tests demonstrating the person’s ability to drive is impaired, will allow officers to get the dangerous drivers off the road.

The legalization of marijuana in 2016 is a potential reality. State officials must be prepared because it would be irresponsible for us to ignore the roadway threat it presents. California took its first step to prepare with the new medical marijuana laws passed this year, but clearly there is a lot more work to be done.

Assemblyman Tom Lackey, R-Palmdale, is a retired CHP Officer who serves the 36th Assembly District, including Kern, San Bernardino and Los Angeles counties.

A Really Bad Day For Freedom In The California Capitol

A Really Bad Day For Freedom In The California Capitol published on



capital picture

A Really Bad Day For Freedom In The California Capitol

westernjournalism.com
It was a good day for the Kingdom of God, but it was a really bad day for ground level freedom in the capitol of California.

James Wilson October 14, 2015 at 9:21am

A person like myself – ever trumpeting the advent of the Fourth Great Awakening and daring to compare or conflate it into the prophesied (John 14:12-14) End Times Harvest – needs to acknowledge the co-existence of what the Bible calls the Great Tribulation. This is the part where the return of the King is presaged by the last ditch gasp of the enemy of all life and light. That time includes wars sweeping the planet, men calling evil good and good evil on a wholesale basis, and inchoate hatred of all who bear the Name of Christ etched in their personalities.

Assembly Member Shannon Grove told us how – in the midst of the praise, worship, and repentance of our California Day of Repentance – the Assembly was busy adopting ABx 2-15, the physician assisted death bill. Our gathering was in a hearing room directly above the assembly chamber, and Grove says the worship was clearly audible in the legislative chamber. It was a good day for the Kingdom of God, but it was a really bad day for ground level freedom in the capitol of California.

There is simply no reasonable way to believe this bill is consistent with the respect for life, liberty and pursuit of happiness guaranteed in the 14th Amendment to the US Constitution and enshrined in the California Constitution as well. The Amendment states that no one shall be deprived of life, liberty or property without due process of law. The Supreme Court has differentiated between procedural and substantive due process, as one example in a long line of decisions codifying what must be done to pass the due process test. This bill fails miserably.

The bill requires a signature from the person allegedly wishing to die. A doctor who is not necessarily trained in either pain management or psychoanalysis certifies the patient is of sound mind. The trouble is that this patient may or may not be drugged, may or may not be under the influence of friends and relatives waiting impatiently for death, and may or may not be subject to a changing mind on the desirability of early death. Let’s recall the poster child of the assisted death movement – Brittany Maynard – who posted she wanted to live two days before her scheduled death. That post was superceded a day later with a message – posted by someone else – that Maynard was “back on schedule,” and the next day she was dead. Unanswered questions about her death prompted the pulling of the bill from consideration in late Spring. How this arrangement (that makes no provision for properly vetting the capacity for informed consent to death in the patient) satisfies due process is inconceivable.

Late Summer saw the bill re-introduced as a piece of a larger appropriations package. This sly maneuver means the bill did not have to go through a committee process and hearings again, even though it was a new piece of legislation now originating in the assembly instead of the senate. It also adds to the due process question this one: If this bill is so good and so full of compassion, why do its sponsors bypass normal procedures and ensure a limited debate – outside the glare of the massive opposition it provoked in the Spring? Why is there a cavalcade of elder abuse, disability advocate, and family care groups so provoked?

Every nation and state that has launched assisted death programs has seen documented abuse under them. The longer the tenure of the law in a place, the more brazen its advocates become for including the disabled and deficient of all kinds – with or without their consent. If this reminds readers of what they remember about Nazi Germany, there is a reason for this. And the reality remains that, given the advanced state of pain management medicine – what is called palliative care – there is no reason for anyone to linger indefinitely in agony as the death advocates contend. There is only reason to clear the inconvenient actors from the stage of life.

As a Christian who takes seriously Jackson Senyonga’s famous statement that “The condition of society is the report card of the church,” I can only call for massive civil resistance to this lawless piece of legislation. I can only grieve over those weak-kneed Christians and others who say – as they say of the new marriage decree and the failure (so far) to prosecute Planned Parenthood for trafficking human organs – it is the law of the land and so must be obeyed. We are called to be law-abiding by our own Bible. But we are also called to know the difference between law and legalized anarchy – which is what we get when lawmakers and enforcers spit on law and call it good.

The good news is our God is determined to fulfill Genesis 50:20, in which He claims what some meant for evil, He means for good. Shannon Grove claims that – despite the horrific event occurring while we worshiped – there is a new and God-acknowledging spirit making itself felt in the halls of political power. Others state officials and staffers have told me how our presence in Him over the years has forged a peace-of-God atmosphere we don’t always see. It was a very bad day for freedom in the capitol that day. But if we are staunch in defense of our freedom and stronger still in our pursuit of our God and His Kingdom in California, it will be an awesome season.

The views expressed in this opinion article are solely those of their author and are not necessarily either shared or endorsed by WesternJournalism.com.

About the author: James WilsonTags: California, Christianity, God, Moral Depravity, Pro-life, The Bib

Jerry Brown signs Motor Voter Law

Jerry Brown signs Motor Voter Law published on



October 11, 2015
California will have automatic DMV voter registration
By Rick Moran

Governor Jerry Brown of California has signed a law making registration to vote automatic when residents obtain or renew their drivers’ licenses. The law will add millions of voters to the rolls by the time of the 2016 election.
The irony here is rich; we can use a drivers’ license to register to vote but we can’t require the showing of that license in order to cast a ballot?

Sheesh.

The record-low 42% turnout at the polls in last November’s state election spurred legislation that will allow eligible Californians to be automatically registered to vote when they obtain or renew a driver’s license at the DMV.
The measure, which Brown signed Saturday with 13 other bills related to elections, permits people to opt out of registration if they choose.
The new laws will “help improve elections and expand voter rights and access in California,” said a statement from Brown’s office.
About 6.6 million eligible Californians have not registered to vote, according to Secretary of State Alex Padilla, who sponsored the measure.

“The New Motor Voter Act will make our democracy stronger by removing a key barrier to voting,” Padilla said Saturday. “Citizens should not be required to opt into their fundamental right to vote. We do not have to opt into other rights such as free speech or due process.”
Voting rights activists note that the registration gap is widest among young people. Only 52% of eligible Californians between 18 and 24 were registered to vote before the last election, according to Emily Rusch, a voting rights activist and executive director at the California Public Interest Research Group.
The law takes effect Jan. 1, but the new registration process will not be offered until the state completes work on a new database. That is expected around June 2016, the time of the presidential primary election.
The bill’s author, Assemblywoman Lorena Gonzalez (D-San Diego), cautioned that registering more voters will not increase turnout unless candidates do more to engage voters.
“It’s going to lead to millions more Californians being registered to vote, which means more people we can talk to,” she said Saturday.
California allows illegal aliens to get a special drivers’ license which isn’t supposed to be included in the blanket DMV registration. Not to worry. There are up to a million illegals in California who already possess fake drivers’licenses. Besides, there’s no voter ID law in California os who knows who’s voting on election day anyway?
This would actually be a good idea if the program were carefully administererd and the voter rolls purged regularly of those ineligble to vote. But since this is a blatant attempt to create more Democratic voters, the last thing state authorities are going to be is careful.

Read more: http://www.americanthinker.com/blog/2015/10/california_will_have_automatic_dmv_voter_registration.html#ixzz3oTBZUGes
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Politics of Drought

Politics of Drought published on



150929_CaliforniaDrought-1250x650
SACRAMENTO, Calif.—I was walking through downtown Sacramento recently when raindrops started falling. People on the street stopped dead in their tracks, looked up at the sky, and began acting giddy. “What’s that?” I asked a man. “I think it’s something called rain,” he responded.

Such is the gallows humor in a state that hasn’t seen substantial rainfall in years.
The obvious lack of rain is the seemingly obvious reason for the state’s lack of sufficient water. Water levels in state reservoirs are falling, officials are cracking down on “excess” water use (lawn-watering, etc.), and voters passed a water bond on the 2014 ballot to help fund more storage. The Capitol crowd is obsessed with the water issue, while local planners use the crisis to clamp down on building permits.
State officials say California’s drought is “one of the most severe droughts on record,” and they warn that even an El Niño rainy season is unlikely to fix the situation. In fact, nothing seems to fix the situation. Californians have slashed their water use by 31 percent during July—well above the 25-percent reduction targeted by the governor. And there’s still not enough water.
But as this series will show, California’s drought is largely a man-made crisis. It is caused by a series of policies—some from the past, many ongoing—which has prioritized environmental demands above the basic provision of water resources to the public. More than half of the state’s water resources simply flow out the San Francisco Bay to the Pacific Ocean.

Even now, in the Sierra foothills, state officials empty reservoirs to protect “unimpeded” river flows to benefit small numbers of non-endangered hatchery fish. The California Coastal Commission, the powerful agency with control of development along the shoreline, is holding up a privately planned desalination plant over concerns about its impact on plankton. The environment-friendly commission want to force the developers to build a pumping system that destroys the economics of the plant.
Meanwhile, slow-growth activists see opportunity in the drought. Their goal is to stop new developments despite California’s growing population, so a lack of water is a useful tool in their arsenal. A state law forces developers to prove sufficient water resources for decades into the future—before being able to get a permit to build developments. This slow-growth lobby sees no reason to come up with water-storage solutions.
Even the federal government is in on the action. In the far northern part of the state, along the Klamath River, federal environment officials want to remove four dams that provide water storage near the Oregon border. Their goal is to help preserve the habitat of non-native salmon. The “destroy the dams” movement had gained so much steam in recent years that San Franciscans were asked in a 2012 advisory vote to destroy the O’Shaughnessy dam in Yosemite National Park and drain the Hetch Hetchy Reservoir—the main source of water for the state’s third-largest city. Even that city’s notoriously lefty voters said “no” to shutting their main water spigot.
If one takes a map of the state of California and turns it on its side, with the Pacific boundary at the bottom, it’s easy to better understand the state’s water geology. Water flows from the Sierra Nevada Mountains through rivers that head toward San Francisco Bay. It all ends up in a place called the Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta, the West Coast’s largest estuary. That’s near the lowest point in your sideways map. Then it heads to the bay and, then, the ocean.
When you hear Californians argue about the Delta, that’s what they are talking about. It’s a 1,100-square-mile area with 1,000 miles of rivers filled with historic towns, orchards, swamps, islands, and marinas. That estuary serves as a giant water filter. Primarily, the mighty Sacramento River meanders through the delta, kept within its banks by a series of aged dirt levees. A pumping station at the south end near Tracy sends water along a system of canals to farmers in the San Joaquin Valley—and also to the Southern metropolises.

During wet years, the estuary is filled with fresh water. During droughts, the salinity levels are high as water from the Pacific migrates eastward. That region remains Ground Zero for the state’s water fights. The fate of a tiny baitfish called the Delta Smelt is central here. Occasionally, a few dead smelt are found at the fish screens in Tracy, which causes administrators to shut down water supplies from the Delta toward the south. Water supplies are also stopped during drought years.
In 1982, our past and current governor, Jerry Brown, wanted to build a peripheral canal that would bypass the crumbling levees and take Sacramento River water around the Delta—before heading to the farm and urban water users. The state’s voters rejected that measure. Southern Californians were mostly indifferent to the idea, but Northern Californians resented having more of “their” water sent away.
Gov. Jerry Brown’s latest plan is to build twin tunnels under the Delta to provide a more consistent water supply southward. The planned cost: $25 billion for the total project, with a separate portion geared toward environmental restoration. Northern Californians are still mostly against it, as they claim it’s a water grab by Los Angeles-based users. (To understand the emotions, watch “Chinatown,” the 1974 movie about the deceptive way Owens Valley water was diverted to the Southland to spur the growth of Los Angeles’ San Fernando Valley).
Looking deeply into the plan, this much is clear: The newly renamed “California Water Fix” doesn’t even promise more water to southern cities. It simply promises a more consistent water supply. The twin tunnels are designed to change the flow of the rivers and protect the Delta Smelt. With the smelt protected, there will be fewer reasons to shut the pumps. In other words, this is a costly engineering solution to a political problem.
And therein lies California’s main water problem. No one here denies the importance of the environment or that some portion of the state’s scarce water resources needs to be used to protect wetlands and river habitats. But the balance of power has shifted from those who believe that people come first to those who seem to view the population as a scourge.
In April, I reported on a contentious meeting at the Oakdale Irrigation District east of Modesto. Farmers and local residents were aghast. The state and federal officials insisted on releasing massive amounts of water from the large New Melones Reservoir and Lake Tulloch, a small lake downstream from New Melones surrounded by homes. As the governor was threatening fines for people who take long showers, his State Water Resources Control Board was going to empty reservoirs to save about a dozen fish.
The local farmers and residents were asking for a temporary reprieve. I remember the words of one of the district officials, who was calling for “off ramps” during times of severe drought. That’s jargon for temporarily putting aside some of the more aggressive environmental demands at a time when farms and people are out of water. Bad publicity delayed the “pulse flows,” but by September water officials began insisting on new releases.
Recent reports showed that farmers use 80 percent of California’s water resources. It’s true that farmers are an important interest group. And because of the state’s old and quirky system of water rights, we see infuriating misuses of resources—e.g., farmers growing water-intensive hay in one of the driest regions on Earth, the southern Imperial Valley.
But that 80 percent number was deceptive because it completely omitted environmental uses of water, which constitute more than 50 percent of the state’s flows. Farmers, businesses, and residents fight over what remains. What we’re seeing—water releases to benefit a small number of common fish, removing dams along major rivers, delays of desalination plants, failure to build adequate water storage—is not an anomaly. It is the cumulative effect of water policies dominated by environmental interests.
It wasn’t always this way. In earlier days, California’s water policies had more in common (and with some admittedly ill environmental effect) with the ideas of capitalist defender Ayn Rand than John Muir, the famed naturalist whose environmental legacy dominates California discussions. California leaders were proud of taming the wilderness and building massive infrastructure projects—especially water projects—that allowed the state’s phenomenal growth.
In 1961, when Jerry Brown’s dad, Pat Brown, was governor, the State Water Project was begun. “The project includes 34 storage facilities, reservoirs and lakes; 20 pumping plants; four pumping-generating plants; five hydroelectric power plants; and about 701 miles of open canals and pipelines,” according to a state description. “The project provides supplemental water to approximately 25 million Californians and about 750,000 acres of irrigated farmland.”

I’ve toured a lot of the facilities and even was on an official tour of the Colorado River project, following the water as it flowed from reservoirs behind New Deal-era dams at the Arizona border down to the treatment facility in the Los Angeles. It was quite a feat to build these projects. As I argued in my Orange County Register column at the time, it could never be replicated today in a world of Environmental Impact Statements, greenmail lawsuits filed under the California Environmental Quality Act, and a political system dominated by officials more interested in quashing human development than providing the means for humans to thrive in this arid climate.

Sure, it would help if it rained—but the lack of rain is the least of California’s drought problems.

Originally published in Watchdog.org.