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May 26, 2010     Feather River Bulletin
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lOB Wednesday, May26, 2010 DITORIAL and I00)PINION Bulletin, Progressive, Record, Reporter EDITORIAL Graduation thoughts ! Commencement season is again upon us. Local ceremonies began last Friday with Feather River College. Plumas and Westwood charter schools hold their ceremonies next week, and public high schools will hold theirs Friday, June 11. Here we offer excerpts from highly regarded commencement speeches of the last few years. To our graduates, congratulations and good luck. "Forget that this task,of planet-saving is not possi- ble in the time required. Don't be put offby people who know what is not possible. Do what needs to be done, and check to see if it was impossible only after you are done." Paul Hawken University of Portland 2009 "There is nothing naive about your impulse to change the world. Because all it takes is one act of service-- one blow against injustice -- to send forth what Robert Kennedy called that 'tiny ripple of hope.'" Barack Obama Wesleyan University 2008 "The very least you can do in your life is to figure out what you hope for. The most you can do is live inside that hope, running down its hallways, touching the walls on both sides." Barbara Kingsolver Duke University 2008 "The really important kind of freedom involves at- tention and awareness and discipline, and being able truly to care about other people and to sacri- fice for them over and over in myriad petty, un- sexy ways every day. That is real freedom. That is being educated, and understanding how to think. The alternative is unconsciousness, the default setting, the rat race, the constant gnawing sense of having had, and lost, some infinite thing." David Foster Wallace Kenyon College 2005 "I hope you'll pick a fight and get in it. Get your boots dirty; get rough; steel your courage with a fi- nal drink there at Smoky Joe'S, one last primal scream and go. Sing the melody line you hear in your own head; remember, you don't owe anybody any explanations; you don't owe your parents any explanations; you don't owe your professors any explanations." Bono University of Pennsylvania, Philadelphia 2OO4 "I hope you will judge yourselves not on your pro- fessional accomplishments alone, but also on how well you have addressed the world's deepest in- equRies, on how well You treated people a world away who have nothing in common with you but their humanity." Bill Gates Harvard University 2007 "Don't let the noise of others' opinions drown out your own inner voice. And most important, have thecourage to follow your heart and intuition. They somehow already know what you truly want to become." Steve Jobs Stanford University 2005 "Dig as deep as you have to, and rise as high as you can. Keep your passion. Make mistakes and learn from them. Honor curiosity and follow it. And, in everything you do, recognize the individu- als in the other." Alice Greenwald Sarah Lawrence College 2O07 Feath0000ghlng 00paper / Breaking News .... go to plumasnews.com Michael C. Taborski ............. Publisher Keri B. Taborski ...Legal Advertising Dept. Delaine Fragnoli ......... Managing Editor Diana Jorgenson ....  ..... Portola Editor Alicia Knadler ........ Indian Valley Editor Kate West ............... Chester Editor Shannon Morrow .......... Sports Editor Mona Hill .................. Copy Editor Staff writers: Joshua Seb01d Will Farris Sam Williams Barbara France Susan Cort Johnson Cheryl Frei Ruth Ellis Brian Taylor Pat Shillito Linda Satchwell 1)on't just chang, e the batteries MY TURN JOSHUA SEBOLD Staff Writer Jsebold@plumasnews.com There are a few nuggets of political "com- mon sense" that most of us probably hear on a daily basis these days. One of these is that the best way to change the actions of the Legislature would be to "vote out all incumbents." Now, let me begin by saying anyone who's going to use the cop-out argument -- that I must not be totally disgusted with the cur- rent budget process on the state and national level if I don't agree with the idea of voting all incumbents out -- is kidding himself. I cover the budget process on the county level every year and a large part of that is obviously paying attention to what's going on at the state. When the state cuts programs, many times that means cutting funding to a local county. Sometimes the state just skips the middleman and takes money directly from the counties, because, hey, it believes in efficiency like that. So don't write this off as someone who doesn't pay attention and isn't angry. Most people try to avoid a lot of the state budget discussion because it's pretty darn depressing realistically. But I don't get to: I'm one of the people who actually reads the Sac Bee articles quot- ing legislators, arguing with supposed doe- eyed innocence, that "Aw, shucks, it's not my fault; it's all those evil politicians I work with. I like you, and kittens and gumdrops too." You might hear two sentences from one of those speeches on a comedy show, but I'm reading the whole thing and hating every minute of it. So I'm glad we've cleared that up. Unfortu- nately, my hatred of the political process doesn't bring me to the "vote out all incum- bents" conclusion, because I don't believe the people sitting in thechairs at the state capital are really the active ingredient in this cow patty pie. A lot of people argue that "politicians are slime, and they're corrupt and they're not like us." But this assumes that in every election ever the bad person won while Mother Teresa was standing on the other side: Boy, did we mess that one up. What were we thinking? Obviously that's statistically impossible, so we're either gonna have to assume that most of the people who RUN for office are bad people or find another cause of the problem. My point is that if you're assuming all in- cumbents are bad people, then statistically the pool they come from -- people.running for office-- must practically be outrageously tainted according to the laws of statistics, H/here in the world? ........ ";i .::: ? Terry Moore and Gina Prince of Graeagle stand with one foot on each side of the equator while visiting La Mitada del Mundo, or the Middle of the World monu- ment, in Ecuador. This proves you can read the Portola Reporter in two hemi- spheres at the same time. Next time you travel, share where you went by taking your local newspaper along and including it in a photo. Then e-mail the photo to smorrow@plumasnews.com. Photo submitted right? Another reason often given is that we should vote 'em out because "they don't know how to balance budgets." I mean are we serious with that one? I can do the math to balance a budget and I could never run a small business. I mean who out there really can't make two numbers match up? This is besides the obvious fact of who runs for Congress, obviously highly educat- ed elites and, you guessed it, successful business owners ... well, except for Carly Fiorina, I guess. So, you're telling me that Harvard-educat- ed bureaucrats and successful business own- ers aren't smart enough to balance budgets? Come on, it's so obvious that they don't want to balance the budget. Why can't any- one see that? No politician who was elected as a mem- ber of either of the top political parties wants to balance a budget because that means either raising taxes or cutting ser- vices and, in case no one has noticed, the two parties vehemently hate one of those options. To loosely paraphrase longtime Plumas County Supervisor Ole Olsen, all those crooks in Sacramento are no good, except for the two that represent our district. That's how most people feel. They like their representatives because they do what pleases the people in their district. But if everyone in the Legislature does that, guess what? We obviously can't have a budget, because everyone will vote no on either taxes or cuts and so nothing will happen! Go ahead and put a person you like in power and see if anything changes. I'm not saying there's no evil, disgusting people in the California Legislature; I'm saying evil isn't the driving force for our budget problems -- we are. I will tell you right now that the only way I can see California having a better budget system over the long haul is if we allow a simple majority, meaning one more vote for than against, to make fiscal decisions. Some of you undoubtedly just muttered, "That's what a Democrat would say," under your breath. But guess what, you just don't get it. If you allow a simple majority and the De- mocrats do things that people don't like then Republicans will win more elections. Then they will have the power to make changes more efficiently when they're in control. Right now we can't do anything and noth- ing can change because neither side has enough power to do anything. But if you give people the power, you also give them the blame. If things go bad, the group who made the decision looks bad. Right now no one can do anything in Sacra- mento and we all look really bad. As much as I'm annoyed at people in pow- er, I know they're no more part of the prob- lem than we are because we're the one's screaming at our individual politicians about what we want them to do and they listen way too often. Replacing those people won't change any- thing because the system and the voters in this state will be the same. The incentives will be the same and the structure will be the same. You can't change the function of a ma- chine by changing the batteries. You have to change the structure of the machine. If you're a voter, you're a little too old to believe that life is as simple as evil people and good people. Don't think voting for someone you've never heard of without even comparing them to an incumbent makes you Batman, because you're still cheering on your two favorite jokers, just like everyone else. Fll, j'ishing , andj00shi,00g, for words MY TURN ALICIA KNADLER Indian Valley Editor aknadler@plumasnews.com OK, so is fly-fishing kind of like knitting? Is it something to keep your hands busy while your brain wanders and your eyes take in the scenery? If that's so, than I need another lesson. At least with knitting I have something to show for my efforts. Here I am putting into practice what I learned from Bill Forward in Graeagle: my line is looping, the rod is loading, I'm putting more and more line out with each flick of my wrist-- then I realize my fly has flown. Gosh darn, and it was the blaze orange Wooly Bugger with an ultra-lucent shimmer that's supposed to work so well on the Al- manor trout. I was a cheapskate and bought only one of those. My son is nearby with his spin caster and lure looking so relaxed and unconcerned, while I, on the other hand, concentrate on getting my clinch knot right. Grumbling, I start over again after unraveling a casting knot first. "What happened?" I asked myself. I did so much better the day of my lesson. I must have wondered out loud, for my son said it was because we added water, wind and the fly to the mix. Humph. He laughed. OK, so now I began again, stretching out my line with a house-fly-looking emerger this time, wondering if I should have used a nymph instead -- I had three of those. Snap. Darn it anyway, there goes another one -- my son steps closer. "Mom, you aren't stopping," he said. "Remember 10 o'clock and 2 o'clock." "OK, OK," I say with a laugh that quickly turned to a wrinkle when I looked back at what I was doing wrong at the 2 o'clock part. "Drat it anyway, my fly's gone again." But even with the losses and the knots my fingers aren't used to tying yet, I am still having fun learning how. While Bill was explaining to my boys and me the lifecycle of a caddis fly, I was some- how hooked into the whole concept of trying to figure out which one would work best -- and I succumbed to the lure of flash, just like he said many fishermen do. I bought six different flies -- not because of their practical use -- but because they looked flashy, like they would attract a fish -- especially that cute little deer-hair mouse I want to try up at Round Valley. It reminds me of the jar full of little frogs once given to me by an avid fisherman I met during my first fall here in Indian Valley -- frogs I never could talk myself into putting on a hook. Then there was the helgramites my hus- band spent three days catching for me to fish with. He sets the coffee can down on the ground, hands me his old Fenwick and climbs back into the warm truck with his newspaper, shooting back a warning about not going places I couldn't climb back out of. A few minutes later he lowers the newspa- per so he can track my progress -- and there I am dangling the hook in the can, hoping one of those ugly little helgramites will climb on the hook for me. My husband fell out of the truck he was laughing so hard. Yep, I think I'm going to like fly-fishing much better. Now, I just need to figure out how not to throw the rod at him in a panic when I hook one -- if I hook one. Maybe I'd better invest in fly-tying equip- ment so I can keep myself in Wooly Buggers.