Buried under eight feet of snow and six feet of earth, he's not going anywhere. That would be my great grandfather and namesake, Peter Cavanaugh, who was born in Ballyoughter, Ireland in 1816 and now rests under a remarkable Celtic cross next to St. Mary's Church in Fulton, New York having established permanent residency at such a fine location upon his death in 1892.
Fulton, on the leeward shore of Lake Ontario, averages 179.6 inches of snowfall per season. It is 30 miles northwest of Syracuse, which receives a comparatively puny 115.6 annual inches. It was 72 ever-so-dry degrees on our back deck in Oakhurst last week as I spoke with my brother in Syracuse, where it was eight degrees above zero with two feet of freshly fallen snow on the ground.
As anyone who watches the Weather Channel or just looks out the window knows, we are being confronted with increasingly strange and potentially ominous environmental conditions in current times, the jet stream dividing us into two separate realities between east and far west in this latest instance of marked deviance from national norms.
We are becoming as temporarily polarized climatologically as we are even more sadly separated in our political persuasions devolving into a new U.S.A. The Un-United States of America. Yet, unlike the scientifically undeniable realities of global warming, this social disintegration won't last long. Formed by the unwavering forces of unstoppable demographic change, a new America awaits us all. I say, let's get on with it.
Following Barack Obama's reelection in 2012 and a pronounced diminution in the popularity of ultra-conservative candidates by an awakened national electorate, the Republican National Committee undertook several months of serious study into what went wrong and what to do about it.
This massive "Growth and Opportunity Project" conducted 36,000 online surveys, initiated 800 conference calls and employed 50 focus groups. Its final recommendations involved increased efforts to clarify messaging with a renewed focus on appeals to minorities particularly Hispanics, African-Americans, Asians, women and youth. Since the results of the exercise were presented for consideration and action last year, the national GOP has moved in exactly the opposite direction.
Last week's Sierra Star presented a summary of 2013 news highlights in Madera County, beginning with "a substantial loss of income for area businesses" due to October's governmental shutdown, which included a closure of Yosemite National Park for 16 days. Jerry Rankin, who manages Oakhurst's Comfort Inn, is quoted as saying, "Within the first four hours, we had about 15 rooms cancel. That's $1,500 in lost income."
Similarly, with more than an estimated million local dollars vaporized as a direct consequence of the unwarranted slam-down, Dan Cunning of the Yosemite Visitor's Bureau noted, "If there is a silver lining to this cloud, it is that it didn't happen during our peak season." Not so fast, Dan. It could happen again this brand new year if our Congressman, Tom McClintock, has anything to say about it.
This representative has gone on record time-and-time again in his dedicated efforts against the trumped up specter of "big government" in general and President Barack Obama in particular.
McClintock presents himself as a champion of individualism, opposed to such nonsensical collective fantasies as "economic fairness" and "social justice." What's wrong with that new Pope?
In attempting to tie repudiation and overturning of "ObamaCare" into approval of last fall's temporary congressional budget deal, McClintock was directly responsible for Yosemite's closure and this region's ensuing financial woes, sharing such shame with fellow supporters in the GOP's hard-right wing.
And where is Tom on immigration reform? Infrastructure investment? Job creation? Voter suppression? Tax reform? Unemployment Insurance? Women's rights? And yes where is our Congressman on still another prohibitively expensive government closure? He's busy rolling up his 2014 campaign kitty much of which he'll not even need to spend being securely cocooned in a "safe district." Tom McClintock is not worried about you or for you at all.
He's got his.
Get your own.