Category Archives: California

Why California’s Drought Was Completely Preventable

by Victor Davis Hanson // National Review Online

The Drought: California Apocalypto

by Victor Davis Hanson // PJ Media

Gov. Jerry Brown, center, answers a question concerning the executive order he signed requiring the state water board to implement measures in cities and towns to cut water usage by 25 percent compared with 2013 levels, at Echo Summit, Calif., Wednesday, April 1, 2015. (AP Photo/Rich Pedroncelli)

Gov. Jerry Brown, center, answers a question concerning the executive order he signed requiring the state water board to implement measures in cities and towns to cut water usage by 25 percent compared with 2013 levels, at Echo Summit, Calif., Wednesday, April 1, 2015. (AP Photo/Rich Pedroncelli)

The proverbial thin veneer of civilization has never been thinner in California, as if nature has conspired to create even greater chaos than what man here has already wrought. What follows below was a fairly typical seven-day period in the land of the highest sales, fuel, and income taxes that have led to the nearly worst freeways, schools, and general infrastructure in the nation.

I recently came home from an out-of-state trip. Something was wrong: I noticed off in the distance a strange geyser at the top of the hill. Vandals had apparently earlier taken sledgehammers to the pump’s four-inch plastic fittings — all to scavenge two brass valves (recycle value of about $20).

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A Tale of Four Droughts

by Victor Davis Hanson // PJMedia

A warning buoy sits on the dry, cracked bed of Lake Mendocino near Ukiah, California. (AP Photo/Rich Pedroncelli, File)

A warning buoy sits on the dry, cracked bed of Lake Mendocino near Ukiah, California. (AP Photo/Rich Pedroncelli, File)

California is not suffering one drought, but four. Each is a metaphor of what California has become.

Nature

The first California drought, of course, is natural. We are now in the midst of a fourth year of record low levels of snow and rain.

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How to Make Sense of an Incoherent America

by Victor Davis Hanson // National Review Online

Photo via PJMedia

Photo via PJMedia

The United States can be quite an incoherent place at times. Here are a few examples.

Diversity

Sometime in the 1990s the growing contradictions of affirmative action in a multiracial society became problematic. Ethnic ancestry was often neither easily identifiable nor readily commensurate with class status, and so gave way to a more popular term: “diversity.”

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The Scorching of California

How Green extremists made a bad drought worse

by Victor Davis Hanson // City Journal 

MICAH ALBERT/REDUX

MICAH ALBERT/REDUX

In mid-December, the first large storms in three years drenched California. No one knows whether the rain and snow will continue—only that it must last for weeks if a record three-year drought, both natural and man-made, is to end. In the 1970s, coastal elites squelched California’s near-century-long commitment to building dams, reservoirs, and canals, even as the Golden State’s population ballooned. Court-ordered drainage of man-made lakes, meant to restore fish to the 1,100-square-mile Sacramento–San Joaquin River Delta, partly caused central California’s reservoir water to dry up. Not content with preventing construction of new water infrastructure, environmentalists reverse-engineered existing projects to divert precious water away from agriculture, privileging the needs of fish over the needs of people. Then they alleged that global warming, not their own foolish policies, had caused the current crisis.

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The Campus as California

by Victor Davis Hanson // PJ Media 

college_anarchy_graffiti_1-19-14-1Campuses are becoming the haunts of the very wealthy and the poor, with little regard for any in-between — sort of like California.

Let me explain. Lately lots of strange things have been in the news about college campuses — from the Rolling Stone’s mythography [1] of the University of Virginia fraternities to Lena Dunham’s invented charges [2] of rape against a supposed Oberlin College Republican to courses on “white privilege” to “hands up; don’t shoot” demonstrations protesting the police shooting of Michael Brown.

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Versailles in California

Versailles or San Francisco, it’s good to be the king.

by Victor Davis Hanson // PJ Media 

Photo via PJ Media

Photo via PJ Media

California is run from a sort of Pacific Versailles [1], an isolated coastal compound of elite rulers physically cut off from its interior peasantry.

To understand how California works — or rather does not work — drive over the I-5 Grapevine [2] and gaze down at the brilliantly engineered artificial Pyramid Lake. Thanks to California water project deliveries, even in a third year of drought its level still fluctuates between 90 to 100% full — ensuring, along with its companion reservoirs, plentiful water for the Los Angeles-area municipalities for the next two years. The far distant watersheds and reservoirs that feed Pyramid Lake are about bone dry.

The same disconnect is true of Crystal Springs Reservoir along the I-280 near San Francisco. The Sierra watershed that supplies the now 90%+full lake is drying up. But San Francisco will have an assured water supply from its manmade reservoirs for some time, even if the drought persists.

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What Exactly Is Comprehensive Immigration Reform?

by Victor Davis Hanson // PJMedia

Photo via PJMedia

Photo via PJMedia

Comprehensive immigration reform — rarely has a catchphrase been so widely invoked and yet so little defined. Why?

If proponents of so-called reform detailed exactly what they wanted, American voters would never support their self-interested agendas.

Most Americans insist that existing federal immigration laws be enforced. They are adamant that the border be shut tight to all unlawful entry. And they prefer legal immigration to reflect merit, diversity and ethnically blind criteria.

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Mythologies and Pathologies of the California Drought

by Victor Davis Hanson // PJMedia

silicon_valley_duck_race_3-30-14-1 The 4th Annual Silicon Valley Rubber Duck Race in Vasona Lake Park on June 12, 2011, in Los Gatos, California.

The 4th Annual Silicon Valley Rubber Duck Race in Vasona Lake Park on June 12, 2011, in Los Gatos, California.

The third year of California drought has exposed all sorts of water fantasies. If in wet years they were implicit, now without rain or snow for nearly three years, they are all too explicit. Add them up.

Take the Bay Area, Ground Zero of water environmentalism. From Mill Valley to San Jose is where most of the green activists are based who have demanded, even as the snowfalls and rains ceased, that reservoir storage waters be diverted to the sea to encourage the resurgence of the delta smelt and river salmon. The Bay Area’s various earlier lobbying groups long ago helped to cancel the final phases of the California State Water Project and the Central Valley Project, and now talk about reducing world carbon emissions rather than building more storage capacity to solve California’s water crisis.

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The Valley of the Shadow

How mansion-dwelling, carbon-spewing cutthroat capitalists can still be politically correct.

by Victor Davis Hanson // National Review Online

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