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Proud of councils refusal to dictate over soft drinks
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I couldn't have been more proud of the Ceres City Council on Monday after they were lobbied to step into private business affairs and dictate that milk and water be the "default" drink when ordering combo meals at fast-food establishments. Lourdes Perez may have thought she demonstrated the "need for protection" of kids but all five of the council sanely rebuffed the idea. Aren't parents in charge, they all reasoned?

Mayor Chris Vierra vocalized something I was thinking the whole time. You guys are concerned about sugared soft drinks being served to kids but not concerned about dishing up Chicken McNuggets or French fries? Or was that the next step ... to start dictating the fast-food menu?

Good government ruled on Monday!

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Really? The NAACP wants California lawmakers to remove the "Star Spangled Banner" as the national anthem?

California NAACP President Alice Huffman also said that the controversy of former San Francisco 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick falling on his knee would "go away once the song is removed."

Such ignorance.

The phrase in question is this: "Their blood has washed out their foul footsteps' pollution. No refuge could save the hireling and slave."

Let's look at the entire third verse:

"And where is that band who so vauntingly swore
That the havoc of war and the battle's confusion,
A home and a country should leave us no more!
Their blood has washed out their foul footsteps' pollution.

No refuge could save the hireling and slave
From the terror of flight, or the gloom of the grave:
And the star-spangled banner in triumph doth wave
O'er the land of the free and the home of the brave!"

Few people ever hear that third verse and certainly it's not one that is sung at NFL games. But it was news to me that Kaepernick was protesting a few lines from part of a song that nobody hears these days. I thought his protest was about police treatment of minorities, which if you think about it, the National Anthem has nothing to do with that problem.

Secondly, these modern-day morons have no clue what that verse is saying.

Francis Scott Key describes the British as arrogant and boastful in the lyrics "that band who so vauntingly swore."

Key is venting his anger at the British with his "foul footsteps' pollution" reference, inferring that the British poisoned the ground on which they walked.

But the "poison" and corruption had been washed away by the blood of the British.

His use of the lyrics "the hireling" refers to the British use of mercenaries (German Hessians) in the American War of Independence.

Lastly and most importantly, The Star Spangled Banner lyrics reference to "...and slave" is a direct reference to the British practice of kidnapping American seamen and forcing them into service on British war ships - which was one of the major causes of the War of 1812.
The stupidity never ends in California, does it?
This is why we can't ignore history, folks.

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One of our readers reached out and had something to say about a piece of my column of Nov. 14. Specifically, the part where I commented that: "A woman spoke at Monday's City Council meeting in protest of the water rate increases. She mentioned how her neighbors didn't know anything about said subject.

"Surely they are not reading this local newspaper. We've covered it ad nauseam. It is a pure and simple case for reading the Courier to stay abreast of local government - the one layer that has the most impact on your life."

The reader said she agreed with the woman and took us to task on a hit-and-miss delivery of the Courier. She said she received two papers in the last three months.

She continued, "The thing that concerns me the most is the one Courier I did receive that was dated September 13, states on page A6 that the public hearing will be on Monday Nov. 27. I have it marked on my calendar. I was planning on attending the meeting along with a neighbor.

"I REALLY do want to keep abreast of my local government but do not think i should have to buy or steal a paper to do it. What are your feelings on this?"

Emailed her back, saying, "The woman in question was not reading the Courier. She didn't say why, or if she hasn't received it.

"I have written and published numerous articles on the water increase over the months and each one is available online for free at The original hearing date was targeted for Nov. 27 and it was changed and duly noted in several subsequent articles, again, online.

"Also, every household was notified through the utility billing.

"As far as keeping abreast of local government, there is always the option of attending the Planning Commission and City Council meetings like I do. You really don't think you should pay for our product? What about reading books? Do you feel you should be able to read any book for free?

What do you think? Email Jeff at