Category Archive 'California'
12 Nov 2017

California: Doing Less Well Than Mexico

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Fifth Generation Californian Steve Baldwin says good-bye to the Golden State, refuting in the process all the liberal boasting about California’s prosperity under Leftism.

[L]iberals like to claim California socialism is working by pointing to the much heralded statistic that “California’s economy is the 6th largest in the world” as calculated by the state’s Department of Finance. Indeed, California’s $2.62 trillion economy is larger than that of France, Canada, Brazil, Russia, and Italy. However, that GDP stat does not factor in California’s cost of living, which is 36.2% higher than the national cost of living. As Carson Bruno writes in Real Clear Markets, “using the cost of living adjusted data from the International Monetary Fund and adjusting California’s GDP data provides a better snapshot of California’s economic standing in the world. Doing so shows that California is actually the 12th largest economy — a drop of 6 spots — and actually puts the state below Mexico.”

Moreover, as Bruno points out, Silicon Valley “accounted for 50% of California’s private industry real GDP growth.” In other words, without a few dozen mega profitable high-tech Silicon Valley firms such as Apple, Google, and Facebook, California’s GDP would be significantly smaller.

However, as economic blogger Richard Rider points out, the aggregate GDP statistic is really not a good indicator of a state’s economic health, especially since one industry appears to be propping up the “6th largest economy” myth. California has over 39 million people, more than any other state, so a far more accurate assessment of its economy, Rider writes, would be per capita GDP as compared to the rest of the country. After adjusting the GDP figures to account for the cost of living (COL), the Golden State ends up with a paltry 37th place ranking within the U.S.A., with a $45,696 per capital GDP. Even rustbelt states, such as Michigan and Ohio, have a higher adjusted per capita GDP. Despite Silicon Valley’s high-tech giants, California barely squeezes past impoverished New Mexico. Rider also reports that when one looks at per capita GDP stats for the rest of the world, California ranks 19th, but those stats don’t factor in the COL data; if they did, California would be even further down the rankings internationally.

One should not also assume that high-tech companies are a permanent feature of California’s economy. Already, the extremely high cost of living in Silicon Valley has, since 2016, caused more Silicon Valley employees to leave the state than it has attracted. With a few high-tech companies having left California for other states such as Virginia, Texas and North Carolina, it’s only a matter of time before this turns into a flood.

But it’s not just Silicon Valley employees fleeing California; it’s productive — and job-creating — citizens from all over the state. As Joel Kotkin and Wendell Cox wrote in the Mercury News last April, “the largest group of outmigrants tends to be middle-aged people making between $100,000 and $200,000 annually.”

Indeed, California has done everything possible to make it difficult for businesses and employers to produce goods and services. California now has the highest state income tax rate and the highest state sales tax rate in the country. Our gas tax rate is fourth-highest, but if you add in the 10-12 cent “cap and trade” cost per gallon, we have the highest gas tax in the country. Based on 2014 numbers, California’s single-family residence property tax is the eighth highest in the country with the median homeowner property tax bill 93% higher than the average property tax bill for the other 49 states. As for the state’s corporate income tax rate, it is also eighth in the country. And let’s not forget our small business tax, a minimum of $800, even if no profit is earned.

Overall, the Tax Foundation ranks California as fifth worse in overall tax burden, but the state is especially hostile to its high earners who start businesses and create most of the jobs. Indeed, the top 1% pays 50% of all state income taxes. Moreover, the Small Business and Entrepreneurship Council ranked California as having the worst anti-business climate in the country; the American Tort Reform Foundation ranks the state as the “worst state judicial hellhole” in the U.S. and the national Chamber of Commerce rates California as having the fourth-worst business climate.

If California is such a prosperous state as liberals claim, why does it have the highest poverty rate in the nation? According to the Census Bureau, the poverty rate is 23.4%, which is 17% higher than second place Nevada. Indeed, while California has 12% of the nation’s population, it is home to 33% of the nation’s TANF (Temporary Assistance for Needy Families) welfare recipients, more than the next seven states combined.

What’s clear is that the producers are leaving the state and the takers are coming in. Many of the takers are illegal aliens, now estimated to number over 2.6 million. The Federation for American Immigration Reform estimates that California spends $22 billion on government services for illegal aliens, including welfare, education, Medicaid, and criminal justice system costs. Liberals claim they more than make that up with taxes paid, but that’s simply not true. It’s not even close. FAIR estimates illegal aliens in California contribute only $1.21 billion in tax revenue, which means they cost California $20.6 billion, or at least $1,800 per household.

RTWT

22 Oct 2017

Bear Inclusive Bathrooms

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Bearmageddon News:

Rancho Popantopalous, CA—It started when a local brown bear attempted to use the restroom at the Feldman Public Library in Rancho Popantopalous. At first, library staff refused the bear entry, but when it was clear that the bear self-identified as human, the issue immediately became more complex. The library’s restroom was an “inclusive restroom” and after some thought, library staff decided to allow the bear entry. Despite the mauling of three patrons, the community at large felt good about the decision and celebrated it as a big step for interspecies progress.

This led to a public policy allowing any local bears who identify as human to use any restrooms in the state, without exception.

With more bears using restrooms, the death toll has risen exponentially, causing some people to question if the policy has really been thought through. But this is only a small minority, mostly friends and families of the dead, who have been dismissed as bigots and hatemongers.

There is already talk of building larger stalls and urinals to accommodate the animals. “If you don’t like getting attacked by bears, go home and use your own bathroom,” said librarian Julianna Huxley. “Stop trying to set back the clock.”

06 Sep 2017

Californians Congratulate North Korea For Building Hydrogen Bomb

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What could be more appropriate? They are the people Kim will be using it on.

23 Aug 2017

California School Teaches Transgenderism in Kindergarten, Parents Not Pleased

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From the time she was two years old, Jazz knew that she had a girl’s brain in a boy’s body. She loved pink and dressing up as a mermaid and didn’t feel like herself in boys’ clothing. This confused her family, until they took her to a doctor who said that Jazz was transgender and that she was born that way. Jazz’s story is based on her real-life experience and she tells it in a simple, clear way that will be appreciated by picture book readers, their parents, and teachers.

CBS 13 Sacramento

The Rocklin Academy school board is facing tough questions from parents concerned over a controversial incident involving transgender discussions inside a kindergarten class.

“These parents feel betrayed by the school district that they were not notified,” said Karen England with the Capitol Resource Institute.

The incident happened earlier this summer during the last few days of the academic school year.

At Monday night’s board meeting, the teacher at the center of the controversy spoke out. With emotions high, she addressed a packed house.

“I’m so proud of my students, it was never my intent to harm any students but to help them through a difficult situation,” she said.

The teacher defended her actions to read two children’s books about transgenderism including one titled “I am Jazz.” She says the books were given to her by a transgender child going through a transition.

“The kindergartners came home very confused, about whether or not you can pick your gender, whether or not they really were a boy or a girl,” said England.

Parents say besides the books, the transgender student at some point during class also changed clothes and was revealed as her true gender.

And many parents say they feel betrayed and blindsided.

“I want her to hear from me as a parent what her gender identity means to her and our family, not from a book that may be controversial,” a parent said.

“My daughter came home crying and shaking so afraid she could turn into a boy,” another parent said.

RTWT

10 Aug 2017

Diplomatic Message

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21 Jul 2017

First California Community College, Then Yale

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NPR interviews the head of California’s community college system, who is arguing in favor of eliminating Algebra as a course requirement. The reason? Algebra is too hard for minorities.

Algebra is one of the biggest hurdles to getting a high school or college degree — particularly for students of color and first-generation undergrads.

It is also the single most failed course in community colleges across the country. So if you’re not a STEM major (science, technology, engineering, math), why even study algebra?

That’s the argument Eloy Ortiz Oakley, chancellor of the California community college system, made today in an interview with NPR’s Robert Siegel.

At American community colleges, 60 percent of those enrolled are required to take at least one math course. Most — nearly 80 percent — never complete that requirement.

Oakley is among a growing number of educators who view intermediate algebra as an obstacle to students obtaining their credentials — particularly in fields that require no higher level math skills.

Their thinking has led to initiatives like Community College Pathways, which strays away from abstract algebra to engage students in real-world math applications. …

What are you proposing?

What we’re proposing is to take an honest look at what our requirements are and why we even have them. So, for example, we have a number of courses of study and majors that do not require algebra. We want to take a look at other math pathways, look at the research that’s been done across the country and consider math pathways that are actually relevant to the coursework that the student is pursuing.

You are facing pressure to increase graduation rates — only 48 percent graduate from California community colleges with an associate’s degree or transfer to a four-year institution within six years. As we’ve said, passing college algebra is a major barrier to graduation. But is this the easy way out? Just strike the algebra requirement to increase graduation rates instead of teaching math more effectively?

I hear that a lot and unfortunately nothing could be farther from the truth. Somewhere along the lines, since the 1950s, we decided that the only measure of a student’s ability to reason or to do some sort of quantitative measure is algebra. What we’re saying is we want as rigorous a course as possible to determine a student’s ability to succeed, but it should be relevant to their course of study. There are other math courses that we could introduce that tell us a lot more about our students.

Do you buy the argument that there are just some forms of reasoning — whether it’s graphing functions or solving quadratic equations that involve a mental discipline — that may never be actually used literally on the job, but may improve the way young people think?

There’s an argument to be made that much of what we ask students to learn prepares them to be just better human beings, allows them to have reasoning skills. But again, the question becomes: What data do we have that suggests algebra is that course? Are there other ways that we can introduce reasoning skills that more directly relate to what a student’s experience in life is and really helps them in their program of study or career of choice?

A lot of students in California community colleges are hoping to prepare for a four-year college. What are you hearing from the four-year institutions? Are they at ease with you dropping the requirement? Or would they then make the students take the same algebra course they’re not taking at community college?

This question is being raised at all levels of higher education — the university level as well as the community college level. There’s a great body of research that’s informing this discussion, much of it coming from some of our top universities, like the Dana Center at the University of Texas, or the Carnegie Foundation. So there’s a lot of research behind this and I think more and more of our public and private university partners are delving into this question of what is the right level of math depending on which major a student is pursuing.

And there are people writing about concepts of numeracy that may be different from what people have been teaching all this time. Do you have in mind a curriculum that would be more useful than intermediate algebra
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We are piloting different math pathways within our community colleges. We’re working with our university partners at CSU and the UC, trying to ensure that we can align these courses to best prepare our students to succeed in majors. And if you think about it, you think about the use of statistics not only for a social science major but for every U.S. citizen. This is a skill that we should have all of our students have with them because this affects them in their daily life. …

Rates of failure in algebra are higher for minority groups than they are for white students. Why do you think that is? Do you think a different curriculum would have less disparate results by ethnic or racial group?

First of all, we’ve seen in the data from many of the pilots across the country that are using alternative math pathways — that are just as rigorous as an algebra course — we’ve seen much greater success for students because many of these students can relate to these different kinds of math depending on which program of study they’re in. They can see how it works in their daily life and how it’s going to work in their career.

The second thing I’d say is yes, this is a civil rights issue, but this is also something that plagues all Americans — particularly low-income Americans. If you think about all the underemployed or unemployed Americans in this country who cannot connect to a job in this economy — which is unforgiving of those students who don’t have a credential — the biggest barrier for them is this algebra requirement. It’s what has kept them from achieving a credential.

RTWT

From the perspective of the Left, colleges are there to supply credentials which are tickets to comfortable, well-paying positions in Society. Results must be equal, so if some groups are having trouble earning those credentials, it is necessary to grease the skids. The goal is not education; the goal is credentials.

12 Jun 2017

Kotkin on California’s Feudal Socialism

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San Francisco Bay area from Grizzly Peak

Joel Kotkin admires the contradictions inherent in California’s Socialism.

The oligarchs of the Bay Area have a problem: They must square their progressive worldview with their enormous wealth. They certainly are not socialists in the traditional sense. They see their riches not as a result of class advantages, but rather as reflective of their meritocratic superiority. As former TechCrunch reporter Gregory Ferenstein has observed, they embrace massive inequality as both a given and a logical outcome of the new economy.

The nerd estate is definitely not stupid, and like rulers everywhere, they worry about a revolt of the masses, and even the unionization of their companies. Their gambit is to expand the welfare state to keep the hoi polloi in line. Many, including Mark Zuckerberg, now favor an income stipend that could prevent mass homelessness and malnutrition.

Unlike its failed predecessor, this new, greener socialism seeks not to weaken, but rather to preserve, the emerging class structure. Brown and his acolytes have slowed upward mobility by environment restrictions that have cramped home production of all kinds, particularly the building of moderate-cost single-family homes on the periphery. All of this, at a time when millennials nationwide, contrary to the assertion of Brown’s “smart growth” allies, are beginning to buy cars, homes and move to the suburbs.

In contrast, many in Sacramento appear to have disdain for expanding the “California dream” of property ownership. The state’s planners are creating policies that will ultimately lead to the effective socialization of the regulated housing market, as more people are unable to afford housing without subsidies. Increasingly, these efforts are being imposed with little or no public input by increasingly opaque regional agencies.

To these burdens, there are now growing calls for a single-payer health care system — which, in principle, is not a terrible idea, but it will include the undocumented, essentially inviting the poor to bring their sick relatives here. The state Senate passed the bill without identifying a funding source to pay the estimated $400 billion annual cost, leading even former Los Angeles Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa to describe it as “snake oil.” It may be more like hemlock for California’s middle-income earners, who, even with the cost of private health care removed, would have to fork over an estimated $50 billion to $100 billion a year in new taxes to pay for it.

In the end, we are witnessing the continuation of an evolving class war, pitting the oligarchs and their political allies against the state’s diminished middle and working classes. It might work politically, as the California electorate itself becomes more dependent on government largesse, but it’s hard to see how the state makes ends meet in the longer run without confiscating the billions now held by the ruling tech oligarchs.

RTWT

19 May 2017

Road Crews Clearing Record Snow Pack in Tioga Pass

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3:13 helicopter video of road crews clearing 50-foot snow drifts from Tioga Pass on the eastern side of the Sierras.

10 Apr 2017

New Softball-Sized Spider Discovered in Baja California Mine

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SFGate:

Researchers at the San Diego Natural History museum recently discovered a new species and genus of spider in the hills of Baja California, called Califorctenus cacahilensis.

While traipsing through the a mine in the hills of Baja California, Michael Wall and Jim Berrian struck gold. Skittering across the abandoned mine shaft was a beast that would send most people running.

The entomologists instead ran toward the creature – a whopping spider the size of a baseball – and captured it for analysis. With juicy fangs, a hairy yellow abdomen and legs for miles, the arachnid was certainly a looker, but neither of the scientists could classify it.

Back in their lab at the San Diego Natural History Museum, the researchers had a eureka moment. Upon corroborating with Mexican entomologist and southern spider expert Maria Jimenez, the scientists confirmed that they had discovered a new species and genus. They named it Califorctenus cacahilensis, after the Sierra Cacahilas mountain ranges where it was first found.

“Discovering a species in entomology and arachnology is not terribly unusual,” said Berrian, who published the findings in Zootaxa last month. “There might be another 2-2.5 million species of undiscovered insects and spiders.”

Finding such a large spider in a place once roamed by humans, however, is a scientific triumph of sorts.

09 Mar 2017

Hubris in High Places

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Victor Davis Hanson has a fine rant contending that, in today’s America, a hankering to order the stars in their courses and reform everything in the world from the bottom up tends to go hand in had with complete incompetence and a total inability to deal with basic responsibilities.

The recent Academy Awards ceremony turned into a monotony of hate. Many of the stars who mounted the stage ranted on cue about the evils of President Donald Trump.

Such cheap rhetoric is easy. But first, accusers should guarantee that their own ceremony is well run. Instead, utter bedlam ruined the event, as no one on the Oscar stage even knew who had won the Best Picture award.

Stars issued lots of rants about Trump, but were apparently unaware that one of the ceremony’s impromptu invited guests was a recent parolee and registered sex offender.

Former New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg used to offer all sorts of cosmic advice on the evils of smoking and the dangers of fatty foods and sugary soft drinks. Bloomberg also frequently pontificated on abortion and global warming, earning him a progressive audience that transcended the boroughs of New York.

But in the near-record December 2010 blizzard, Bloomberg proved utterly incompetent in the elemental tasks for which he was elected: ensuring that New Yorkers were not trapped in their homes by snowdrifts in their streets that went unplowed for days.

The Bloomberg syndrome is a characteristic of contemporary government officials. When they are unwilling or unable to address premodern problems in their jurisdictions — crime, crumbling infrastructure, inadequate transportation — they compensate by posing as philosopher kings who cheaply lecture on existential challenges over which they have no control.

In this regard, think of Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel’s recent promises to nullify federal immigration law — even as he did little to mitigate the epidemic of murders in his own city.

Former President Barack Obama nearly doubled the national debt, never achieved 3 percent economic growth in any of his eight years in office, and left the health care system in crisis. But he did manage to lecture Americans about the evils of the Crusades, and promise to lower the seas and cool the planet.

Arnold Schwarzenegger, the former governor of California, likewise ran up record debt during his tenure, culminating in a $25 billion deficit his last year in office. Schwarzenegger liked to hector state residents on global warming and green energy, and brag about his commitment to wind and solar power.

Meanwhile, one of the state’s chief roadways, California State Route 99, earned the moniker “Highway of Death” for its potholes, bumper-to-bumper traffic, narrow lanes and archaic on- and off-ramps. During California’s early-February storms, the state’s decrepit road system all but collapsed. A main access to Yosemite National Park was shut down by mudslides. Big Sur was inaccessible. Highway 17, which connects Monterey Bay to Silicon Valley, was a daily disaster.

Schwarzenegger’s successor, Jerry Brown, warned of climate change and permanent drought and did not authorize the construction of a single reservoir. Now, California is experiencing near-record rain and snowfall. Had the state simply completed its half-century-old water master plan, dozens of new reservoirs would now be storing the runoff, ensuring that the state could be drought-proof for years.

Instead, more than 20 million acre-feet of precious water have already been released to the sea. There is nowhere to put it, given that California has not build a major reservoir in nearly 40 years.

The crumbling spillways of the landmark Oroville Dam, the tallest dam in the United States, threaten to erode it. Warnings of needed maintenance went unheeded for years, despite the fact that some 20 million more Californians live in the state (often in floodplains) than when the dam was built. Meanwhile, the state legislature has enacted new laws regarding plastic bags and transgender restrooms.

We have become an arrogant generation that virtue-signals that we can change the universe when in reality we cannot even run an awards ceremony, plow snow, fix potholes, build a road or dam, or stop inner-city youths from murdering each other.

Do our smug politicians promise utopia because they cannot cope with reality?

26 Feb 2017

So California Secedes, Then…

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Aesop contemplates with unholy glee what would happen if the fruits & nuts running California were actually to proceed with their Secession fantasy.

So Governor Moonbeam and the Progressive Communist Party apparatchiks, looking for all the world like a dog who caught a car, now have their own little socialist utopia, for discussion purposes. For as long as that lasts.

Half the Pacific Fleet is homeported in Alameda, Long Beach, and San Diego.

So, when President Trump declares the entire state in rebellion to the union, and orders the crews of any numbers of those ships to launch cruise missiles into the state capitol building, the governor’s mansion, etc., and knowing that their families are hostage to the whims of the leftists attempting secession, and knowing how radical and contrary and out-and-out leftist the members of the US military are(n’t), how many sailors are going to say “No, Mr. President.”

(Or should the question be better phrased as “How long before they carpet bomb every city’s government centers with cruise missiles and cluster bombs, and napalm most of the UC campuses, movie studios, television and radio stations “just to be safe”?)

One third of the Marine Corps – the First Marine Division, the First Marine Air Wing, etc. – is located at Camp Pendleton, Miramar MCAS, and MCB Twentynine Palms.

When SecDef Mattis tells them to seize and defend San Diego, the greater Los Angeles area as far north as Santa Barbara, and secure the US border with Mexico, do you figure they’re going to take a pass?

And how many people do you think they’ll have to kill outright, vs. how many will they round up and hold in their underpants in stockades in the desert at 29 Palms, for sedition and treason trials in batches?

When reinforced by USAF squadrons from Nellis AFB in Nevada, and from AFBs in AZ and NM, how long do you think it will take components of the USAF at Vandenburg AFB and Edwards AFB, etc. to reduce Sacramento, San Francisco, and most of leftist bastions in coastal CA from Monterrey to Oregon to smoking Dresden-like heaps of ashes after the firestorm? Will it be a full hour, or more like seven minutes?

When the 40th Div., CA NG (yes, the frickin’ CA National Guard) is informed they’ve been federalized, do they honor their oaths, or become the palace guard of the 40-second commissariat?

(Or more realistically, how long before they call the Pentagon and let them know that have Gov. Moonbeam’s head – just that – mounted on a handy display pole?)

When the 40-45% of Californians who vote Republican, own metric fucktons of guns, and are sick of the nanny-statist shit going back 50 years have the opportunity to start taking out the opposition, do you figure their biggest problem will be organizing, or will it be making sure everyone has enough targets to shoot at, so no one feels left out before it’s all over, way too fast, and the inevitable clean-up of bodies has to begin?

And will they have to take out the cops defending the new communist utopia, or will their biggest problem be keeping up with the cops who change sides en masse, organize, and start taking out every city government pro-actively, and holding them under arrest in Death Valley until the arrival of federal forces from outside CA?

When the eastern 3/4’s of the state that is redder than a sunburned pig realizes there’s no way past them, especially after AZ, NV, and OR NG units are federalized and seal the borders, do they march on the coastal enclaves and go all Genghis Khan, lopping off heads, pillaging, and so on; or do they simply drive the leftist herds of footie pajama-clad cocoa-sipping nancy boys right into the fucking Pacific, and watch them swim (partway) to China?

That takes us to Monday afternoon, on the first day after the vote, to about 2PM.

We can stop there, and anyone who sees that going some other way can show their work in comments.

My biggest quandary if this looked like it had a snowball’s chance in hell would be wondering if I could get a good file and handle to sharpen my bayonet, or whether prep time would be better spent acquiring a pair of waders to keep the blood running in the streets from ruining a perfectly good pair of trousers. And wondering whether it’s more ethical to loan Molotov cocktails, versus selling them for cash to those who hadn’t brought any from home.

Hat tip to Vanderleun.

30 Jan 2017

Natural Selection Foiled by Coast Guard in Northern California

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10 Jan 2017

Famous Tunnel Sequoia Felled By Winter Storm

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1899 stereograph photo of Pioneer Cabin Sequoia.

NPR:

A powerful winter storm in California has brought down an ancient tree, carved into a living tunnel more than a century ago.

The “Pioneer Cabin Tree,” a sequoia in Calaveras Big Trees State Park, saw horses and cars pass through it over the years. More recently, only hikers were allowed to walk through the massive tree.

Over the weekend, a powerful winter storm slammed into California and Nevada, prompting flooding and mudslides in some regions. The Associated Press reports it might be the biggest storm to hit the region in more than a decade.

On Sunday, a volunteer at the state park reported that Pioneer Cabin had not survived.

“The storm was just too much for it,” the Calaveras Big Tree Association wrote on Facebook.

It’s unclear exactly how old the tree was, but The Los Angeles Times reports that the trees in the state park are estimated to be more than 1,000 years old. Sequoias can live for more than 3,000 years.

The iconic tree was one of just a few tunneled-through sequoias in California. The most famous was the Wawona Tree, in Yosemite National Park; it fell during a winter storm in 1969 at an estimated age of 2,100 years. The other remaining sequoia tunnels are dead or consist of logs on their side, the Forest Service says.

However, there are still three coastal redwoods (taller and more slender than sequoias) with tunnels cut through them. They’re all operated by private companies, the Forest Service says, and still allow cars to drive through.

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13 Nov 2016

The Morning After

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californiapot

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