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On being savvy with social media
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In this era of outlandish social media and fake news, you have got to be careful in what you read online.

On April 6 a number of people in Ceres began freaking out over something they saw on social media and called 9-1-1. The social media posting showed a young man holding a rifle with the caption "F*** CHS I'm going out with a bang" and "Don't go to school tomorrow."

CHS wasn't Ceres High School. It was Clovis High School in Clovis, New Mexico.

One of the Ceres School Resource officers recognized the post as same one out of New Mexico where authorities investigated and arrested a 17-year-old boy. The original post had been altered and was shared on social media in other communities.

Ceres Police asks the public to "be cautious when sharing information online, which perpetuates social media rumors."

If only voters could be so savvy.

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The story probably did not get out but a funny thing happened on the Centennial Committee's way to producing special commemorative coins for the 100th anniversary of the incorporation of the city.

Paul Caruso was in charge of the project. When the proofs came back from the Southern California manufacturer, Paul was aghast to see the following misspelling on the back of the coin: "Together We Acheive." He scrambled to have the order changed and they came barely in time for the gala on March 23.

If you don't see the mistake, you probably didn't do well in spelling.

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Think if this could happen.
A populist who is promising to shake government to its core and reform things for which many Americans are clamoring is elected president despite widespread predictions it would never happen. The truth is that the media, which hates his politics, spreads false news about him in an attempt to turn public opinion. That's why they repeated often that he really didn't want to be president and that he had no chance of being president. That's also wh they timed the dropping of a bombshell just weeks before the election. But the bombshell is a dud as his supporters - in this post Monica Lewinsky era - don't believe a crude remark about grabbing women by a body part really disqualified his ideas.

Since he takes office, the media crafts every news story to put the new president in a bad light, hoping something will stick to take him out. Some in Congress scream for his impeachment, without anything to warrant it.

Unelected bureaucrats who feel threatened by his reforms and loss of jobs are out to destroy him. They spend years investigating claims that he conspired with a foreign government to interfere with an election, a claim that has never been proven but repeated so much that half the country believes their propaganda. Truth is that foreign government has tampered with social media to made up fake news about the president's opponent, an aging, unpopular former first lady who is seen as a phony and a cold fish.

Think about it. Think it could ever happen?

It reminds me of the scene in "Wizard of Oz." "Pay no attention to the man behind the curtain."

The Deep State is real - and scary business.

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I received a call from reader Brenda Wise last Thursday who told me of the identity of one of the teachers in the photo we ran last week on page A5. She said the lady in the second row next to janitor Cliff Landreth was Mrs. Dorothy Vivian, her first grade teacher at Whitmore School. Mrs. Vivian was also her third grade teacher in the 1950s.

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A couple of weeks ago I was in Southern California and for the first time in my life checked out the beach at Huntington Beach. Then I heard about the City Council there standing up against the sanctuary city laws passed by Sacramento Democrats. They are suing the state.

Last week I then received an email from Assemblyman Matthew Harper (R-Huntington Beach) who was blasting Democrats on the Assembly Committee on Public Safety for killing legislation that would have protected victims of domestic violence. Harper's Assembly Bill 2462 would have required a judge or magistrate to consider whether a domestic violence victim had been strangled or suffocated before allowing their aggressor to post bail.
"It is vital that we give victims of domestic violence time to seek help and get away from their abusers," Harper said. "I am disappointed that Capitol Democrats do not want to help them from being trapped in the agonizing cycle of domestic violence."

Experts across the medical profession agree that manual or ligature strangulation is "lethal force" and is one of the best predictors of a future homicide in domestic violence cases. According to The Training Institute on Strangulation Prevention, the odds for homicide increase 750 percent for victims who have been previously strangled, compared to victims who have never been strangled. The idea was brought to Harper by domestic violence victim Patricia Wellman whose husband strangled her and was released from jail in less than three hours. She was stalked for the next five weeks.

"It is shameful that Democrats voted against the rights of victims today."

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When I heard that the City Council in tiny Ripon became one of first cities to give the state a piece of its mind over the illegal sanctuary state protection of lawbreakers, I began wondering if the Ceres City Council would add itself to the list.

Other cities standing up are Huntington Beach, Orange, Newport Beach, Los Alamitos, Westminster, Santa Ana, Fountain Valley, Fulleton. So is the Orange County Board of Supervisors. Of course, the libs contorted the issue and tried to make this about race instead of the rule of law and sane immigration practice.

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In my personal life I am doing a video project on our area's connection to the late great Merle Haggard and am struck by the words to his hit song, "Mama Tried." It is, of course, about his wayward days of a troubled young man and his early pathway to crime. Merle didn't offer anyone blame but himself when you hear the words, "Mama tried to raise me better, but her pleading, I denied. That leaves only me to blame ‘cause Mama tried."

It is refreshing to know there were - maybe still are - people who take personal responsibility for their own stupid choices.

Speaking of Merle, I was happy to finally learn where the Fun Center was located on Crows Landing Road. It was actually the first place Merle Haggard ever played for money. He was just 14 and was paid $5 and, if you can believe this, all the beer he could drink. Age 14, mind you. Haggard made mention of it being a cinderblock building.

Haggard was hanging out in South Modesto, Riverbank and Hughson around 1951. I did some sleuthing in the 1950 Modesto City Directory and didn't see a listing for the Fun Center. But in the section on Liquor Dealers - Retail. I saw the name D. L. Stephens and the address 1647 Crows Landing Road. I googled it and learned it was the place where several businesses were operating - Lupita's Floral, Celeste's Flowers and Linda's Beauty Salon and Amelia's Fashion before last December's fire. I did more googling and learned that some prior work that I have written was actually quoted in the Bakersfield Californian.

Apparently former Modesto Bee reporter knew the location before I did as he spoke to Haggard. I never had the privilege.

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Did you hear that Newt Gingrich believes California might elect a Republican as governor this November?

The former Speaker of the U.S. House wrote an oped noting that John Cox is within striking distance of Democrat Gavin Newsom, an even bigger phony than Jerry Brown who confessed in 1992 that he never had a plan for California and that he lied as a candidate.

Gingrich cites that California's primary system for congressional and statewide elections could make the difference. All candidates for governor of California will appear on the June 5 ballot. The two top vote-getters move on to Nov. 6. That could mean Newsom v. Cox. Apparently that matchup would motivate Republicans to vote in November. While Newsom has a significant lead on Cox, nearly 25 percent of likely voters have yet to make up their mind as to who to support.
Having Cox on the Nov. 6 ballot would help Republicans running for Congress, including Jeff Denham. Gingrich cites a survey that says if Cox is on the ballot in November, 97 percent of Republicans have pledged to vote, as compared to 56.1 percent if only Democrats are on the ballot for governor. That kind of turnout could give Denham the comfortable margin he needs to win re-election. It could elect Cox, Gingrich says.

California, as Gingrich notes, is in serious trouble. Under the watch of Jerry Brown, Californians have been saddled with one of the highest levels of taxation and when the cost of living is factored in, California has the highest poverty rate in the U.S. We have 12 percent of the U.S. population yet we have 33 percent of the welfare recipients. Our Valley is also being branded as the West Coast Appalachians. If you don't know what that means, get educated for crying out loud and quit voting Democrat!

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I didn't know this.

Did you know that Ceres has sat atop the Vermont State House since 1859?

Joy Black, a former Ceres resident now living in Springfield, Ore., wrote me and sent a clipping from a paper there. The wooden statue of Ceres whittled in 1938 was removed and will be replaced by a newer one as the capitol dome in Montpelier is refurbished.

Ceres, of course, is the Roman goddess of agriculture.

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My gut reaction to news that LA is painting its street light gray out of concern for global warming is that environmental extremism has gone off the rails.

The cost: $40,000 per mile.

Do this experiment. On Google Earth, hover over the Los Angeles area and look at the sheer number of roofs and sides of homes and buildings and get an idea of the relationship of all those buildings to the surface of streets. Imagine that it's July and LA is hit by a heat wave. The streets may be cooler but you've got all those buildings and sidewalks and parking lots glowing with heat. And this is going to make a difference?

Oh, yeah. Eric Garcetti, the mayor, is an old friend of Obama's.

That's all you need to know.

Only in California.

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Headline: "Iowa town causes uproar by shooting feral cats."

Jefferson, Iowa made the news this week for controlling wild cats by shooting them.

I bet this was a common practice in every town across America from 1776 to the 1960s - without the fuss. Not saying it's appropriate but just noting how we've changed as a country.

Do you have any feedback about this column? Let Jeff know by emailing him at He will read it, promise.