American Elephants

What Happened to California? by The Elephant's Child

Here is Victor Davis Hanson on Tucker Carlson’s program talking about their native state of California. Both were born and grew up in California. Victor Davis Hanson is the 6th generation living in the same house, with obviously a deep sense of family history.I have lived in California, on both sides of the Bay area, and in Southern California. As I often say, I can remember when anyone who did not live in San Francisco dressed up to go to the city. Now, Travel agents and event planners suggest avoiding San Francisco because of the prevalent feces on the sidewalks and the  needles and addicts also on the sidewalks. So how did a once beautiful city and a once ‘golden’ state go so haywire?

California is now a state with probably more billionaires than any other and definitely with the largest number of people in poverty. Jerry Brown is not rated as abjectly low as the governors of Oregon and Washington in fiscal discipline—but what is it with this coastal corridor? There are lessons to be learned here.

Is Green Regulation the Fabled Perpetural Motion Machine? by The Elephant's Child

California is an interesting case of a state slowly committing suicide. Businesses and citizens are leaving California in droves, there is a tsunami of red ink, and the California Assembly just passed a bill that will require state utilities to get a third of their energy from “renewable” sources by 2020.  It is one of the most aggressive standards anywhere.

The usual suspects are delighted.  The NRDC  says in just nine years renewable energy generation in California will be roughly equal to total current U.S. renewable generation, and supply enough “clean energy” to power nearly 9 million homes, or according to the Union of Concerned Scientists, to drive 3 million cars.  A spectacular case of wishful thinking.

Can you think of any case when an agency set up to regulate to control a problem, has quietly disbanded when the problem disappears?  Me neither.

The California Air resources Board (CARB) was founded in the wake of terrible smog in Los Angeles.  Anyone who lived there in the smoggiest years has unpleasant memories.  On the very rare days when wind blew the smog out of the basin, you were always astounded to see the mountains in the distance.  I had the distinct misfortune to live there at the time.  CARB found that the regulations they made for California had national repercussions, since California was such a large market.  Car companies and other manufacturers hastened to adjust their products to fit CARB’s requirements.  Power corrupts, and absolute power corrupts a whole bunch.

In California, as on the national scene, the urge  to regulate is focused on ever finer particulates, and the case for regulation becomes more ephemeral.  There are always consequences,  One of the  unintended consequences is driving Dwayne Whitney’s trucking company out of business.  But it also appears that the regulations were imposed because of a study by Dr. Hien Tran that linked the emission of particulates from diesel exhaust to 2000 “premature deaths” in California each year.

Another researcher who found no connection between diesel emissions and ” premature deaths” decided to check on Dr.Tran’s credentials, and found that his PhD had come from a diploma mill, purchased for $1,000.  That researcher, UCLA’s Dr. James Enstrom, blew the whistle on Tran and insisted that CARB needed to consider his work before passing the new regulation.  After 35 years at UCLA the university suddenly fired Enstrom. Two powerful CARB commissioners are also professors at UCLA.

“The environmental regulation machine is powerful in California,” says Adam Kissel of The Foundation for Individual Rights in Education (FIRE), which is defending Enstrom in the fight to keep his job.  “When Dr. Enstrom went up against that machine, he was retaliated against. If Dr. Enstrom loses his job because he exercised his academic freedom, then it’s a message to other researchers that you’d better not rock the boat because you might be next.”

There are always consequences. Some of them are unintended, some are just the usual result of the unthinking grasp for power.

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