Friday, June 30, 2006

 

Missives from the lunatic fringe

Starting with the letter-of-the-day published in the ER, ostensibly about the Da Vinci Code. Although the writer, Jim Beagle, doesn't really talk about the movie, he does conclude that it is "the work of the devil, straight from Hell." He doesn't even mention whether he's seen it. You see, it's a matter of "choice," "knowledge," and "attitude." The Holy Spirit told him.

Am I a religious bigot?

.....

The Da Vinci Code isn't the only current release movie out of favor with the wingnuts. Over at one of the larger right wing blogs entitled "Little Green Footballs," the posters are talking boycott against Superman Returns because it isn't patriotic enough for a 4th of July release. I kid you not! Check out some of the comments.

If anybody sees the movie while this post is still on my entry page, would you mind posting a comment or two as to whether it is appropriate for a 5-year-old child? My son is a huge Superman fan. He's seen films like the 60s version of Batman, The Incredibles, and pretty much every animated Disney movie. Might take him on the 4th, before we celebrate independence and "all that stuff."

.....

Meanwhile on the other side of the political spectrum, the Workers World Party, a neo-Trotkyist sect which pretty much runs the ANSWER coalition, has apparently brought Marx into the 21st century of political correctness, having rewritten the most famous line of the Communist Manifesto and incorporated it into its masthead. The logo reads "workers & oppressed peoples of the world unite."

I wonder what Marx would have thought about the insertion of identity politics into the Manifesto. Probably not much, as he was hardly a paragon of racial and sexual sensitivity all sectarian mythology to the contrary.

The WWP originally split from the Socialist Workers Party during the 1950s over a dispute pertaining to the Soviet Suppression of the Hungarian Revolution. Don't remember at this point which of them supported it.

More recently, Jewish activist Michael Lerner was barred from speaking at an ANSWER-sponsored rally. In disputing the claim that Lerner's ban was the product of his support for Israel, coalition leaders later claimed it was because of his public criticism of the WWP and ANSWER (precisely for statements about Israel). For those of you who have wondered why I have a hard time working up enthusiasm for ANSWER-sponsored anti-war demos - this is one of many reasons why.

 

Paging Jefferson!


Okay, Ray Rafael will have to forgive me for invoking a "great-man-in-history" legend, but the Jefferson campaign did result in the expiration death of the Alien and Sedition Acts, of which some are looking to release a sequel.

Republican Senator Jim Bunning, along with Representative Peter King (R-NY), is calling for treason charges against the NY Times for publishing the story about the government's monitoring of bank transactions. Note, the piercing hard questions from the dauntless paragon of journalistic integrity Neil Cavuto of "we report, you decide."

Likewise Michelle Malkin wishes that the "Bush-deranged reporters" would "just shut up!" The Wall Street Journal joined in the hysteria. The conservative media has engaged a collective rant, apparently desperate for a wedge election issue.

Of course, none of these commentators have raised such a fuss over numerous leaks of classified information that favored the president. And it's not like the program has been any major secret, as the administration itself has announced and dicussed it on numerous occasions as discussed at Media Matters:

That terrorist organizations would be aware of international efforts to track their finances is not surprising, as Bush administration officials have publicly touted the government's capability to do so for years. For instance, shortly after 9-11, Bush heralded the establishment of a "foreign terrorist asset tracking center at the Department of the Treasury to identify and investigate the financial infrastructure of the international terrorist networks." On November 7, 2001, then-Treasury Secretary Paul O'Neill announced that the United States, along with an "international coalition," had begun "to block assets, to seize books, records and evidence, and to follow audit trails to track terrorist cells poised to do violence to our common interests." In a September 10, 2004, statement, the Treasury Department disclosed "some of the many weapons used against terrorist networks," which included "following money trails to previously unknown terrorist cells." An April 2006 Treasury Department report similarly noted that the department "follows the terrorists' money trails aggressively, exploits them for intelligence, and severs links where we can."
The onslaught isn't about national security. The national media has apparently been intimidated into relative silence on the matter. And the House of Representatives has just passed a resolution demanding obedience from the media in precisely the form Steven Colbert joked about at the recent White House Correspondents Dinner. And as John Mclaughlin pointed out on his television show tonight, "fear always trumps hope." Enough people may just go for it. It's certainly worked in past elections.

Liberty, particularly of expression and the press, has been treading on thin ice since 911. I don't have anything particularly brilliant or original to say about it. The sky isn't falling just yet, but there is certainly reason for concern. But more important, I guess, that we focus on the right to impress tourists with our breastfeeding habits.

Photo source

Thursday, June 29, 2006

 

NCJ's interview of Ray Raphael


A nice Hank Sims interview of local historian Ray Raphael regarding his new book Founding Myths: The Stories That Hide Our Patriotic Past. 5 questions though? All the other interviewees get like 12 or 15 questions. Figures that SoHum would get the short end as usual!

The book is another shot in the trench war debate between the notion of "peoples history" and "great man theory history." We learn for instance that Paul Revere's famous ride is fiction, that Jefferson was not regarded as the demi-god of American liberty really until Lincoln built him up, and that Patrick Henry never said, "Give me liberty or give me death!" (well, I haven't actually read the book yet, but these items are mentioned in Amazon reviews). And apparently, Independence Day should really be celebrated on July 2 instead.

llustration: Randall Enos

These are just aspects of the larger theme however, which was summarized by the author in an earlier article:

Although textbooks in recent years have certainly become more inclusive, giving the nod to multiculturalism is not synonymous with getting the story right. We've come a long way, baby—but we have a long way to go.

.....

Since our stories need protagonists, we marshal forth heroes and heroines to represent the people of the times. Although selected for their uncommon features, these few are made to signify the whole. George Washington, Benjamin Franklin, Thomas Jefferson—we speak of these illustrious individuals as the Revolutionaries, and we use them to stand for all the other Revolutionaries, even as we proclaim they are special, not like the others. These people are then called "leaders;" all others become mere followers. A handful of celebrated personalities make things happen, the rest only tag along; a few write the scripts, the rest just deliver their lines. This turns history on its head. In reality, so-called leaders emerge from the people—they gain influence by expressing views that others espouse. In the telling of history, however, the genesis of leadership is easily forgotten.

.....

The way we learn about the birth of our nation is a case in point. If we teach our students that a few special people forged American freedom, we misrepresent, and even contradict, the spirit of the American Revolution. Our country owes its existence to the political activities of groups of dedicated patriots who acted in concert. Throughout the rebellious colonies, citizens organized themselves into an array of local committees, congresses, and militia units that unseated British authority and assumed the reins of government.


Ray has his own website. And here's an interesting review from the History News Network.

So far I have not found any reviews by conservative scholars. Still looking.

Photo lifted from the NCJ story.

 

Signs of hope for the Klamath salmon, but really, it's the water stupid!


The Klamath is making a lot of news lately, thanks in part to the efforts of Rep. Mike Thompson. The fishing industry is of course in a lot of trouble, as well as the ecological health of the Klamath River. Two headlines provide rays of hope for the forces of light.

The Times Standard notes that Thompson managed to finesse 2 million of the 81 million he'd been pushing for in federal aid as well as a declaration of disaster. While the money will be gone in a heartbeat, it may in fact prime the pump according to Thompson.

Lawmakers originally asked for $81 million, but settled for $2 million after a strange legislative display in which the lawmakers used procedural votes to force action on an amendment Wednesday.

”What we decided to do was pull out all the plugs,” said Thompson, D-St. Helena.

The $2 million may sound like little compared to the original amount requested, but it gets the foot in the door, said Thompson's press secretary, Matt Gerien, and allows for the U.S. Senate to provide even more money down the legislative line.

This came on the heels of bad news that the National Oceanographic and Atmospheric Administration was refusing to declare a disaster until possibly next February - ie. when the next congress has settled in.

Thompson went on to remind us that the problem stems from the Bush administration's water policy - though completely absent from his statement as well as the article is any reference to the diversion of water for agricultural interests in Oregon.

.....

Meanwhile, the ER is reporting that the Yurok Tribe has struck a deal with the
the Bureau of Reclamation and U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service agencies "in river monitoring, data collection, strategic planning, land acquisition and recovery and related natural resource management efforts."

All very nice, but will the Bureau be willing to make any recommendations regarding - I hate to keep bring it up - river water allocations?

I guess it's too close to an election to take on farmers.

I dealt with this in a little more depth, with lots of links in an earlier post. And Humboldt Herald covered it here.

Photo source

 

From Chris Kerrigan's conspiracy to the NYT's mistaking Fred Phelps for a peace activist

Travie J. Westlund of Eureka believes that Eureka City Council Member Chris Kerrigan is on the take, or so he says in a letter to the ER. The proof? He was seen wearing a Pierson's hat as he was helping to clean up the vandalism at Sequoia Park. No kidding! That's why he's fighting Arkley on the balloon tract/track. See Pierson supported Kerrigan's election. Kerrigan opposes Home Depot on the waterfront. Ergo, Pierson has bought Kerrigan, because Kerrigan would have no other rational reason to oppose the Arkley plan.

There are a few other reasons cited here.

.....

Another letter to the ER backs Ann Coulter up in calling the 911 widows (or "Jersey Girls") whiney wimps because they take issue with people other than the terrorists themselves or Clinton.

Again, can you imagine the fire and brimstone if someone against the war made light of suffering of the war supporting contingent of Gold Star families?

.....

Well, we saw a little of it following the NY Times Op-ed piece claiming that progressive anti-war demonstrators were protesting at military funerals and hospitals. FAIR did some groundwork to prove the Times irresponsibly erroneous, leading to the following retraction published in the Times on June 17:
An Op-Ed article on Monday, about demonstrations at military funerals, hospitals and memorial services, incorrectly described the protesters at the military funerals discussed in the article. In some cases, the protesters were members of an anti-gay group, not people opposed to the Iraq war; in others, the families of the dead service members were unable to determine the affiliation of the protesters.
The "anti-gay group" referenced is of course Fred Phelps and company (hopefully no relationship to the medical family of SoHum).

Wednesday, June 28, 2006

 

Wednesday Notes 6/28/06

Per the Times-Standard title, "death-with-dignity" died in committee in the state senate. Looks like it'll take a ballot measure, but something like it already failed back in 1992, an election where liberals and other lib causes did fairly well. California has a higher percentage of ethnic minority voters than Oregon, and though they tend to vote for lib pols black and Hispanic voters aren't necessarily socially liberal.

.....

Over at Humboldt Herald, Heraldo discusses Mike Thompson's efforts on behalf of the salmon fishing communities with appropriate links. The Times-Standard also picked up the story.

.....

Chris Rall isn't against cars. We just use them too much.

.....

Meanwhile, over at the Eureka Reporter, Dikeman supporter Pete Ciarabellini laments at the claims of a previous letter by Linda and Jim Sorter in which Dikeman supporters were accused of negativity during the campaign. Ciarabellini explains to the letter writers that not all Dikeman supporters employ negativism. Then he proceeds to insult them.

.....

Chuck Harvey's letter about ER vs. TS - the gift that won't stop giving.

.....

Haven't quite digested the SCOTUS decision re soon-to-be-ex-representative Tom DeLay's gerrymandering, but the gist seems to be that it's perfectly legal to gerrymander for partisan purposes so long as it doesn't disenfranchise a racial group. A Kos poster expresses it in more basic language.

If I find the time, I'll review the decision on my own and post something about it.

.....

Speaking of DeLay, there is some serious question as to whether the Republicans will be able to replace him on the Fall ballot. This time around, DeLay may have overplayed his hand.

.....

Son of Proposition 73 (last year's failed abortion snitch law proposal) is on the ballot. Angelides has taken a position. Schwarzenegger is on the spot. I'll post my thoughts from last year re prop 73 another time.

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The Flag burning amendment failed.

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Save Ancient Forests reports that the Bear River old growth logging plan has been all-but-approved. Never hurts to write though!

.....

One of my depositions today was held at Humboldt Orthopedics, on Harris Street (yes folks, it was a personal injury case, for those of you who want to make more "ambulance chaser" comments). The last time I was there, a couple of years ago, there was a beautiful forest at the back of the parking lot. No more. A fence has been put up and the forest cleared for some sort of construction. There are now one fewer tree stands in Eureka.

Don't get me wrong. The project may very well be worthwhile. The owner had probably purchased the land for just such an investment. The owner has the right to utilize the land as zoning and regulations allow. Jobs. Economic development. Probably not a major impact on the overall ecosystem.

None of that means I have to be happy with it. I'm not.

 

"Big" Benbow Breast Blow-up


Lest you think last night's lightening show was the SoHum story of the day, the scandal of the year erupted this morning on the Women on Wednesday on KMUD. I was on my way to depositions in Eureka when a young mother named Lisa Miller called in to complain about her treatment by a waiter at the Benbow Inn yesterday. Apparently, she was in the dining room when her child required a shot of breast milk. When she bared her mammary gland, the waiter apparently approached her and asked her to move the feeding process into the lobby. Ms. Miller objected and she was threatened with ejection.

So she contacted Le Leche League who informed her that it is against the law to interfere with human breastmilk consumption by offspring in a public place. The law reads as follows:

Cal. Civ. Code §43.3, >1997 Cal ALS 59; 1997 Cal AB 157; Stats 1997 ch 59.
Notwithstanding any other provision of law, a mother may breastfeed her child in any location, public or private, except the private home or residence of another, where the mother and child are authorized to be present.
Ergo, according to Ms. Miller, on both the morning show and later on the KMUD news, "my civil rights were violated." When she returned to the Inn this morning with a copy of the law, she was apparently not well received, at least not to her liking.

"This is big," the hostess of the show added, and apparently the Inn received a slew of telephone calls from listeners.

Big? You can tell we live in a slow town down here. Usually.

Teresa Porter, co-owner of the Inn, has a different story to tell. She insists that the Benbow Inn is "pro-breast feeding," and "not lactose intolerant." She says that Ms. Miller was not merely breastfeeding in a discreet manner, but doing it in an "open" manner that made some of the other guests feel uncomfortable. I am not clear from the KMUD interview whether the option was discussed at the time, but question arose as to whether Ms. Miller would have been willing to cover her breast with a napkin during the feeding. Ms. Porter said that other customers had breastfed their children discreetly without incident. She complained about the manner in which Ms. Miller and the Wednesday women handled the matter. Ms. Miller responded, "they brought it on themselves."

I wasn't there. I can't take sides. Were the other customers uncomfortable, or was it the waiter's problem? And if the other customers were uncomfortable, is it her problem or theirs? Is Ms. Miller a cultural elitist insensitive to the feelings of guests from less sexually open cultural milieus, or was she really just trying to feed her child without hassle? Perhaps there are independent witnesses out there who can bare all for our benefit.

I can tell you that there was one moment in the interview that I felt uncomfortable about Ms. Miller's response. When asked whether she could have been more discreet in her presentation while feeding, she responded, "I am going to feed my child when he needs to be fed." My problem is that it isn't an answer to the question. It seems a dodge. I didn't hear anything from her about the feelings of the people around her. She discussed only her wants and needs as if they were the only consideration. Now, it was a quick interview, and I know from experience that it's not always easy to communicate everything you want in a short time when you're kind of on the spot. But personally, I'd like to hear Ms. Miller's candid thoughts about the feelings of the other guests and to what degree she believes that they figure into her equation - separate from the issue of law and rights.

In the meantime, here's an interesting article about the impact of terrorism on breastfeeding. Off topic I suppose, but it's too interesting a read to pass up.

Update: Apparently there is going to be a "nurse-in" at the Inn sometime on Friday. Advice to the Porters - warn the guests and try to have a sense-of-humor about it.

Second update: Heard the story again this morning, and this time in its entirety. Want to clear up a few errors on my part. For one thing, the mother's name is Elisa, not Lisa. I have no idea if I'm spelling it right. Secondly, her child is female.

And in the KMUD interview, Ms. Miller stated that she was told to leave the room to "do that," and not offered the option of "covering up." On the other hand, Teresa Porter stated that when she spoke to Ms. Miller that she had the feeling that Ms. Miller would not have agreed to cover up. Too much amibiguity there. Ms. Porter also said that she did not believe that Ms. Miller was interested in receiving an apology.

The fact that a manager was involved rather than a waiter suggests that there probably were customer complaints for what that's worth. And as one commenter here said, the fact that the manager addressed the husband directly rather than the mother suggests that the guy may have had an issue of his own of some sort.

One thing clear to me however is that the Wednesday Women jumped the gun a bit - shooting before getting any facts. They heard one side and only one side.

The breast wars continue....

Note, the story has revealed to me yet another local blog.

Photo source

 

Wishing Dave Myers well

KMUD Station Manager indeed moving on as reported in the comments section in a post somewhere below. I wish him and his lovely family well, and I will personally miss his presence at the station.

Dave and I have been on the opposite side of some policy discussions of late, and we haven't seen eye-to-eye on the role of the Personnel Committee. However, I have always respected his enthusiasm and his ability to pull some of the warring factions together under about as much unity as one can expect under the circumstances of a listener sponsored station in a community with so many dynamic personalities. He has also done very well by the station and community by organizing so many events beyond the mere broadcast - all of them coming out in the financial black! My differences with him have never been personal, and I hope the station back east does well by him.

From the KMUD site, his farewell letter:

From Dave Myers, KMUD Operations Manager

For the last four years it has been my privilege to serve as KMUD’s Operations Manager, Development Director and Volunteer Coordinator. I am both excited and sad to announce that this August I will be moving on to become Executive Director of WOMR-FM, a community radio station in Provincetown, MA. The move will also bring me closer to the many members of my family who live in Massachusetts.

Working for KMUD has been a labor of love from the beginning, and I am grateful to all of you who have made KMUD the dynamo it is today. I was drawn to the station through the boldness and magic of its programming; only after first being a devoted listener did I become involved as a Board member in 2001 and then as a paid employee in 2002. It has been an honor to work on such projects as the Amy Goodman benefit with KHSU, the nationally distributed Earthdance broadcasts, the move to using organic and local foods at our benefits, the live production of “Thank Jah” with Humboldt Community TV, the formation of the Seven Rivers Radio Network, numerous live remote broadcasts, the addition of financial professionals to our business team, the founding of the Northern Community Advisory Council, and eight exciting pledge drives.

Now, KMUD is at a crossroads, looking at hiring a new manager as well as at the management structure itself. If you have ideas about KMUD’s management or future direction, please contact one of your Membership Reps to the KMUD Board of Directors, or any other Board member. Contact info for many of them is here on the KMUD website. I also invite you to come to our annual membership meeting, this Tuesday June 27 at the Healy Senior Center in Redway, starting at 5. If you have managerial skills and a desire to be of service to KMUD, consider applying when our Board opens up the next management position.

While following our policy of political non-advocacy, KMUD has acted as a vessel for change and social justice simply by allowing all of us in this amazing community to express ourselves. To me, this – along with creating good radio – is the highest value a community station can achieve. Being a part of these processes, and this community, has opened up new vistas and inspired me to try to make a difference. I thank all of you all for your participation, commitment and good fellowship.


Tuesday, June 27, 2006

 

Tuesday notes 6/27/06




Rush Limbaugh is in trouble again. Apparently he was stopped in an airport because he possessed a bottle of prescription medicine that was in his physician's name (for privacy) rather than his and detained for three hours. The fact that it wasn't in his name isn't the problem. The problem is that under the terms of his probation-that-we-aren't-supposed-to-call-"probation," he's supposed to clear all prescription drugs with his non-probation officer. Another round for the late-night comedians.

Photo from MYDD.

Update: Just borrowed the following Al Franken line from Tenzil Kem, who has posted here a couple of times.
"From what I understand, if you cut out all the passages in the Bible where Jesus talks about the poor, about helping out the least among us, you'd have the perfect container to smuggle Rush Limbaugh's drugs in."
.....

In a letter to the Eureka Reporter one William Langely is worried that if the Arkleys won't buy the balloon track, nobody will. He says that Arkley wants to make it a "very beautiful place."

Meanwhile, local historian Ray Hillman would like to see the Balloon Track preserved as a "cultural resource."

And Times Standard columnist notes that tensions are high on the Eureka City Council over the Balloon Tract, particularly between Chris Kerrigan and Jeff Leonard.

Note also that the TS says "tract" while the ER says "track." As a rural SoHumer so confused by those big city politics up there, can somebody tell me which paper has it right?

.....

Once again, 3 Strikes is under some negative scrutiny, as the governor pushes for more bonds to build even more prisons to accomodate the increased inmate population. Cited in the Calitics article linked above are the following points:

According to a 2004 report, 3 strikes accomplishes very little but costs a great deal. A summary of the 3 part report that the Justice Policy Institute Published:

1. 3 Strikes has significantly contributed to an increase in California’s prison population. (Still Striking Out)
2. Nearly two thirds of the second or third strikers were incarcerated for nonviolent crimes.
3. California had four times as many people incarcerated under Three Strikes as the other 21 Three Strikes states for which there were data.
4. There was no substantial link between the use of Three Strikes and declines in crime.
5. 3 Strikes disproportionately impacts African-Americans and Latinos on a statewide basis. (Racial Divide)

In fact, according the article, there are now 3 times more black men in prison than in college. Basically, many conservatives - the same people who would join the tax posse in opposing bonds for schools or libraries - will vote to spend exhorbitant amounts of money to build even more prisons in the state which has the highest percentage of its citizens behind bars - a reality that reflects the rule of conservatives thanks to Orange County bloc voting for about 15 years.

This issue brings new meaning to the phrase "if you build it, they will come."

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And the Confusion Hill bypass construction is finally under way!

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The Redwood Times also features a nice story on the latest business venture of Holly Sweet and Jill McClure.

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Robert Scheer of the San Francisco Bay Guardian revives a decades old story about journalists who were charged with sedition for alleging that the US military used germ warfare in Korea. The surviving member of the group still believes it's true. The case was dismissed because the prosecutor misunderstood a basic element of sedition law. The story was revived again a couple of decades later after the journalist using the Freedom of Information Act squeezed some interesting documents from the government. A fascinating story either way.

I wonder though if this is the same Robert Scheer who once lobbied Pete Seeger to back off of supportive statements about Solidarity, the Polish Trade Union on the basis that it was the creation of a CIA plot. Stalinism isn't dead yet.

.....

And the librarians still have it in for President Bush.

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My wife is watching the news and just informed me that Jim Steinberg will be stepping down as Public Defender. I assume it'll be the hot topic in our competing dailies tomorrow morning.

 

Ann Coulter says she's a Deadhead


No kidding! The darling blonde of the right wing who is so cantankerous she was actually booted from National Review (after reading Goldberg's column, I don't really know with whom I side) says she's a Deadhead, and furthermore proclaims that "Deadheads are what liberals claim to be but aren't."
"Oddly enough, I like the music. No one believes that I never took drugs at Dead shows (except for the massive clouds of passive marijuana smoke) but I went because I really liked the music. There are various groups I get enthusiastic about for awhile, but of all the music I've listened to over the years, the Grateful Dead is the one band I never grow tired of. Apparently, the same is true of me for ski-lift operators."
You're on your own as to the meaning of that last sentence. And sorry Ann, but I'm going to need some credible independent witnesses as to the second sentence.

She then trails off with a series of anecdotes that have led her to believe that Jerry Garcia and the rest of the band were all closet conservatives. And furthermore, with regard to Al Franken (who was in fact a personal friend of Jerry Garcia's):
"Apart from Al Gore, Al Franken is the most un-Deadhead like person I know of who purports to be a Deadhead."
Speaking of which, it was from Franken that I heard about Rush Limbaugh's comment on the very day of Garcia's death that the musician was: "Just another dead doper. And a dirt bag." The comment has obviously taken on a certain irony in recent news. But I wonder what Ann Coulter ever did to correct her colleague on the matter. I can't find anything on Google.

Coulter has been under a bit of fire herself for comments about 911 widows in her book entitled "Godless, the Church of Liberalism" including:
"These broads are millionaires, lionized on TV and in articles about them, reveling in their status as celebrities and stalked by grief-arazzis. I've never seen people enjoying their husbands' deaths so much."
And more recently, her comment on decorated war hero Representative John Murtha (a long time war supporter who changed his mind last year) to the effect that if Murtha "did get fragged, he'd finally deserve one of those Purple Hearts" has earned her some new scrutiny.

You know, I'm sure she does it on purpose - and getting left wingers riled up is obviously her schtick. It's what puts the butter on her table. It's what psychobabble hacks used to call "an attention getting device." But when left wing icons say anything of that is comparably inflammatory, there is Hell to pay as in the case of Bill Maher who lost his ABC network show for simply pointing out that there is nothing particularly courageous about lobbing missiles from hundreds of miles away from the target.

But for the double standards, I would have no problem accepting Taylor Hill's account of how "cool and really funny" she is in talking about the Dead shows. Maybe this is why I was never really a Deadhead - having more in common with the "undeadheaded" Al Franken. I'd be happy to chalk it all up to the rigors of spirited political discourse and "sticks and stones." But for the double standards.

And incidently, I disagree with the L.A. Times' suggestion that she gets the bye because she is a woman. It's because she's conservative.

But hey, maybe Coulter really is deep. Maybe she'll show some empathy the next time a left winger is strung up for some heresy of patriotic correctness. Maybe the next time she shows up to a not-really-the-Dead-anymore concert, the tye-dye denizens can greet her with all sincerity, "Peace sister!"

Photo source - Time Magazine.

Update: Ann Coulter recently partied with some liberal bloggers in Los Angeles.

Monday, June 26, 2006

 

Beyond Brokeback

Now this photograph, on the front page of the S.F. Chronicle, will have done more to alter somebody's consciousness than all the costume based photos put together. I wonder if it will make it onto the right wing sites along with the drag queen shots.



The Chronicle's caption reads: Kevin Heuer (left) and Todd Leichleiter are a contingent of two as the parade makes its way through downtown San Francisco. Chronicle photo by Carlos Avila Gonzalez.

What is it like to work on the police force, even in "liberal" San Francisco?

 

Angelides in the driver's seat?

An interesting editorial from the Ukiah Daily Journal (news in itself from a paper which rarely prints anything interesting) about the governor's race, suggesting that contrary to predominant philosophy the contested primary campaign may actually have worked to Angelides' benefit. As mentioned in an earlier post, Zogby has the race in a dead heat. The kicker is the following passage:

And for Angelides there may be some advantages to having weathered a tough campaign. There's the fact that he faced down charges of environmental depredation in his earlier days as a Sacramento-area developer, claims that proved to have no legs despite tens of millions of dollars worth of commercials touting them. If those charges arise again this fall, Angelides should know how to defuse them, unless the Schwarzenegger camp can dredge up new allegations with more substance.

And there's the fact that he fought his way through multiple debates against a plain-talking opponent who pulled few punches. Westly charged Angelides with everything from ignorance of immigration issues to loving tax increases - a claim Schwarzenegger will surely repeat.

Meanwhile, Schwarzenegger has yet to engage in a one-on-one debate with any opponent, ever. When he ran in the 2003 recall election, the governor deigned to appear at only one of the many candidate debates, picking one that included half a dozen figures whose sheer numbers guaranteed there would be no direct confrontations over issues of substance. (emphasis added)

Not only that, but in that debate Schwartzenegger demanded (like a "girly-man") that all of the questions be provided to him ahead of time - a demand that the other candidates caved to for reasons I'll never grasp. If Angelides holds firm on the format, he'll probably come out of the debates pretty strong. It's not like Schwartzenegger can hide behind lower expectations at this point as he prides himself on his ability to communicate.

You can expect Angelides to bring back to the forefront Schwarzenegger's special election of last year - a topic which the latter has avoided like the plague. A lot can happen between now and November, but certainly if the economy continues to slow before the election, and even if it doesn't, we're probably looking at a new governor next year.

Update: Angelides made an appearance at the Gay Pride march. Good for him! He will probably lose more political capital than he will gain by the appearance.


 

Monday notes 6/26/06

Nathan Rushton wrote yet another ER opinion piece about the diversity of opinion at the paper. Memo to ER - guys, you've convinced me and probably a number of others. But keep running opinion columns about it and you're going to come off like Lady MacBeth!

Update: I may be convinced, but Captain Buhne isn't!

.....

I mentioned Whitmore Grove in a post a couple of days ago - a state owned forest located just west of Redway along Briceland Road. Somebody tells me that she believes the name of the Grove was recently changed to Dewitt Grove. I'm curious about this because the road was in pretty bad shape during the winter because the county wouldn't devote resources to state-owned land and the state wasn't prioritizing its holding very highly. Any chance the name change indicates some change in jurisdiction? I haven't heard anything about it.

.....

On my wish list for Southern Humboldt - piroshkis. Currently, there are no piroshkis available, not even the frozen ones - "Hot Pockets" don't count.

We need piroshkis. And a public swimming pool.

.....

Joe Shermis, of the Steelhead Special, responds to Steven Lewis' "cold war" in a letter to the ER.

.....

The Supreme Court will hear a case to determine whether the Environmental Protection Agency is required to regulate carbon dioxide emissions. Don't bet on it given the current SCOTUS make-up. Good discussion on the debate over whether CO2 should be designated a pollutant over at MYDD.

.....

The Court also struck down campaign finance limitations in Vermont. Some of the wording of the plurality opinions may not bode well for Measure T, such as the following from the relatively liberal Justice Breyer:
"That is to say, they impose burdens upon First Amendment interests that (when viewed in light of the statute's legitimate objectives) are disproportionately severe..."
and
Breyer said Vermont's law was so strict, especially on contributions, that it "could itself prove an obstacle to the very electoral fairness it seeks to promote."
Justice Stevens wants to revisit Buckley v. Valeo, which prohibited bans on expenditure limits while allowing donation limits. Again, don't hold your breath. The conservative wing wants to overturn it to its own ends, perhaps to eliminate campaign finance reform altogether.

More discussion on the recent court decision at Daily Kos.

.....

There's a push for a state ballot measure to provide some protection against emminent domain actions not available in the US Constitution. I'm all for limiting the doctine to actual public use, or clear public benefit. But it appears the measure also seeks to expand the takings doctrine with regard to "regulations" - translate "environmental regulations." Another example of a group seizing upon an incident to push a more broad agenda under the radar. I'm sure I'll be writing more about this soon.

.....

Hey, my Klammath River piece got plugged at Calitics! Guess I'll have to start charging for autographs.

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The City of Eureka is conducting a public survey to assist in the hiring of the next police chief. You can download the survey here.

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I forgot to introduce Axis of Drivel, a new kid on the local blog block. Notice that I'm on the "bad" list. The blogger is "Sun Tzu," author of The Art of War. There's even a portrait.

Sunday, June 25, 2006

 

Stonewall is a distant memory


Today's Annual Gay Pride Parade in San Francisco was the 36th, and has become the second largest annual special event in California, coming after the Rose Bowl. The parade was originally organized to comemorate the Stonewall riots of the June of 1969, but the event has become less political over the years, more oriented towards tourist promotion and self-centered exhibitionism. There are now pride parades and public events across the country. I think most of the younger participants would be hard pressed to even identify Stonewall's historical significance.

Stonewall was the name of a gay bar in New York City which was the target of frequent raids to enforce "decency" laws which mandated among other things that anybody entering a bar must be wearing at least three items of clothing associated with his or her own gender. As stereotypical as this sounds, the tension of this particular night's raid was aggravated by the death of Judy Garland. The raid resulted in a protracted street fight between police and homosexuals which led to injuries on both sides. The melees continued for three nights. It represents a major turning point in gay rights history. A year later, the first pride parade was held in San Francisco.

I attended my first some time during the 1980s, while it was still held in the Castro district. I was already well acquainted with the open sexuality, and while it didn't offend me I didn't find it particularly interesting either. There were non-sexually oriented parade contingents including the SF Gay Choir, Gay Rodeo, Gay Olympics (before the Olympic Commission forced them to change the name), etc. And there were the Holy Sisters of Perpetual Indulgence, the S&M/leather contingent, and other overtly sexual displays which got monotonous very quickly, having gone well beyond a statement of defiance of hypocritical values to simple narcissism - the footage serving more as fuel for Dr. James Dobson's fundraising.

I haven't been to a pride parade in over a decade, but unless it's changed significantly, I wouldn't take my children to one. It's not so much that I'm concerned that they will be harmed or corrupted by what they see, but in the words (paraphrased from my bad memory) of my good friend Tom Hansen, "children shouldn't be deprived of the mystery of sexuality." I don't care about seven-foot-tall transvestites dressed as Marilyn Monroe, but I have no interest in exposing my children to 50 foot dildos, drunken exhibitions of nudity, nor the recreational use of hand-cuffs.

More to the point, there are many homosexuals who don't care to partake in the festivities for the very same reason. I remember as a child living in Moss Beach, a rural town to the south of San Francisco, being visited by some of my parents' gay friends living in or near the Castro at the time. A conversation turned to the discussion of an openly gay man living in Moss Beach, and one of the guests smirked and asked "where does he hang out, the post office?" The presumption was of course that it is in the nature of all homosexuals to "hang out," as if the mere sexual preference was proof positive of a particular political agenda, cultural practice, and even sexual philosophy. How does a movement undermine these perceptions when so many of its own hold them?

There are long time gay activists who lament the movement of homosexuals from the city to the suburban and even rural Bay Area surroundings. They lament the decline of overt sexuality in the Castro, and the increased commercialization of the subculture to the point that the Castro has become something of a tourist theme center more than a counter-cultural milieu, much like Chinatown or Fisherman's Wharf. Maybe it was the superficiality of the Castro culture, presumptuously dubbed the Gay and Lesbian culture, that made it so vulnerable - the presence of a persistent ideology that makes physical experience the primary expression of a cultural identity. Maybe growing up has been a good thing for some members of the subculture, and perhaps it has influenced the pride parade in my absence. Certainly not if judged by the photos that will be plastered over right wing sites for the next few weeks.

Just my thoughts, for what they're worth. I like to think the parades to more good than harm. Maybe they do.

Update: An activist friend of mine informed me by telephone that three years before Stonewall, San Francisco had it's own event of a similar nature known as the Gene Compton's Cafeteria Riot. Thus the legend that Stonewall marked the first major physical resistance to police harassment of homosexuals is false. So why does Stonewall get the recognition? The incident doesn't sound significantly different in nature. Per the link above:
When a surly cop, accustomed to manhandling Compton's clientele, attempts to arrest one of the queens, she throws her coffee in his face. Mayhem erupts -- windows break, furniture flies through the air. Police reinforcements arrive, and the fighting spills into the street. For the first time, the drag queens band together to fight back, getting the better of the cops, whom they kick and stomp with their high-heeled shoes and beat with their heavy purses.
The site also notes the recent release of a documentary about the incident entitled "Screaming Queens."

Saturday, June 24, 2006

 

Saturday notes 6/24/06

Title IX twist - The ACLU is taking up the cause of boys who want to be cheerleaders, or specifically, those who are good enough to make the finals in competitive cheerleading. The rules in place prevent boys from participating in girls' sports play-offs, but those rules are probably only legally valid where the physical differences between the sexes would give one sex a particular advantage. One could argue that Title IX would allow for a rule to prevent girls from participating in a boy's cheerleading finals if such a competition existed.

Incidently, since the inception of the Title IX, female participation in high school and college sports was up something like 900 percent as of about 2000 if Josh Lymon of West Wing was telling the truth.

Update: I have been informed that the statement may have been made by Sam Seaborn. Shame on me for not checking my sources! Damn!!

.....

Nice letter to the ER from Trevor Harper of Mid-City Motor World defending the consumption of hybrid vehicles against a Glenn Simmons editorial which essentially implied that it is pointless to do anything if you can only do a little. The editorial reminds me of the incessant right wing commentary after every Earth Day celebration noting the "irony" of the litter that has to be cleaned up afterward.

I suppose we could be accused of hypocrisy for breathing. After all, by doing so we release carbon dioxide into the atmosphere.

Update: As Heraldo noted, the Time-Standard "toasted" a mild jab at Simmons in yesterday's paper. And Heather Muller of ER provided a good natured jab as well, along with some nice prose about the diversity of opinion at ER. She personally broke at least one major story that ended up hurting Worth Dikeman's campaign. Maybe just maybe Arkley is more interested in making money than monopolizing the local media with a right wing slant. But Heather's welcome to take my picture anytime, though my kids are much more photogenic.

.....

I suspect that the meth dealers consist of people too lazy and impatient to grow marijuana. Either that, or the marijuana industry is languishing in a post-prop 215 world. In any case, it doesn't seem to be attracting the brainiest folk. A few days ago, local drug cops benefitted from a de facto bug zapper phenomenon.

.....

Zogby says the governor's race is a dead heat.

.....

Mayor Gavin Newsom may make San Francisco the first American city to offer universal healthcare. It's not quite socialized medicine, nor even single payer. But for a city of under a million to even attempt such a feet is memorable in and of itself - worthy of a lot more media attention than it's getting. Newsom has managed to pull some of the heavyweight chamber types into the discussion, which bodes well for its future. With downtown backing, it may very well come out successful.

Would my favorite mayoral candidate Matt Gonzales have pulled this off? I don't know.

.....

It looks like the founder of my favorite national blog is an astrologist, and possibly a con man. Disappointing. Fortunately, Chris Bowers is in charge at the moment.

.....

And from that very blog, a discussion about a study that suggests that young people who watch the Daily Show may tend towards cynicism that actually deters them from voting.

.....

My car's exterior thermometer registered 108 degrees just east of Briceland at about 3:00 today. It went down to 102 by the time we reached Whitmore Grove, then back up to 104 by the time I pulled into my driveway in Redway. I have no idea how accurate my car thermometer is, but tomorrow we're heading up to Eureka - any excuse we can come up with.

 

TS story on wilderness bill push poll

Thanx to Fred for the heads-up on this article. Apparently, the machines have been calling from Virginia. Seems to have been getting around, as noted in the comments below. The TS is describing it as a push poll, notwithstanding the dispute below. The post below also contains direct links to the actual bills.

Apparently, the poll imparted some inaccurate information. According to Mike Thompson's office, wheelchairs are in fact allowed in wilderness areas. Bikes however, are not, as those of us who have ridden the Bear Valley trail at Point Reyes Seashore know. For the last mile or two before you reach the ocean, you must be on foot. There is a bike rack at the border between the park and the wilderness area.

Living in an areas surrounded by georgous raw land all privately owned and inaccessible to the public, I would love to see even more land designated wilderness, anti-development buffer zones and all. At one point during the 1980s in the Tamales Bay area, where Pt. Reyes is located, a developer approached the locals to discuss the possibility of lobbying for undesignating the wilderness there to allow for more development. The story, as it was told to me, is that the locals didn't receive his proposal too well, and he was shocked. "Do you want your towns to remain little backwater nothing towns?!!" he reportedly asked. The locals looked at each other and responded, "well, yes." One local said "if I wanted to live in South Lake Tahoe or Carmel Valley I'd move there."

Anyway, as with the story of the frog and the scorpion, what can I say? It's in my nature. Call me "anti-business."

As for whether we have too much wilderness already, well here's a map of the wilderness areas (note how little of the land is east of the Mississippi).



Complete explanation with legend here. Click on the map above if you simply want to enlarge it.

Friday, June 23, 2006

 

4th District Supervisor's Race Debate

As noted below, Bonnie Neely has backed out of a debate with Nancy Fleming that would have been moderated by Richard Marks, their opponent prior to the run-off. The proposed debate format is appropriate because the candidates would be primarily fighting for his votes, and thus the deciding votes will be cast by those who have expressed an interest in his agenda. And since he is in fact a Democrat, and a fairly progressive one to boot, Local Solutions should favor the proposed debate. It would certainly be consistent with the LS stated vision:
We believe that the quality of life in Humboldt County is threatened by unsustainable practices in the pursuit of private profit. To create a more sustainable community, we need leaders and officials with vision and a committment to long-term strategies designed to keep Humboldt County a desireable and livable place for future generations.

Local Solutions PAC
seeks to protect and enhance our quality of life by recruiting, advising, supporting and helping to elect candidates for local public office who will work together to ensure civil and human rights, democratic local control of schools, land use, development and planning, sustainable economic development, and appropriate and equitable levels of basic social services to all citizens in Humboldt County.
I sincerely hope that Ms. Neely's campaign reconsiders. Negotiate some appropriate guidelines. Propose a more acceptable forum. But don't pass up an opportunity to show some real leadership. This is an opportunity not only to allow the voters to distinguish between the candidates on matters of substance, but also to promote a public appetite for more substantive debates in future campaigns. Plus, it would be damned interesting to watch, and might actually generate some voter interest to increase turnout.

Oh, and Local Solutions people? You've got a couple of spelling errors in your vision statement above. I'm not one to throw stones. I wouldn't have noticed but for spellcheck.

 

We've experienced a tragedy in SoHum

Haven't really been in the mood to post today, other than in the comments section. Been busy anyway. But we lost at least one teenage girl to a car accident yesterday. She was the daughter of a prominent local businesswoman and a friend. The other young woman, a former client of mine, had just graduated from South Fork and currently suffers a coma. I'm not going to say much more so as to respect the families' privacy for as long as it can last. Those of you who know whom I'm talking about please devote some prayers and thoughts to the families. Hug your own kids. That's what I'll be doing.

I'll probably resume posting tonight or over the weekend.

Thursday, June 22, 2006

 

On the receiving end of a push poll

My wife being out for the evening, I was trying to get the kids down for sleep when the phone rang. I was instantly greeted by a mechanical voice identifying itself in the royal "we" as part of some research organization asking me to take 45 seconds to respond to some questions. By the third or fourth question I realized it was a sleazy push poll.

The first couple of questions were fine. It asked me if I was registered to vote in California. I had to answer audibly "yes" or "no," to each question, so I complied without complaint until it got to the substance, which was "do you support the concept of federal wilderness area" or something like that.

"Yes."

"Do you realize that some members of congress want to declare portions of Humboldt and Del Norte counties as wilderness land?"

"No, but I'm glad to hear it." (Obviously the machine heard simply the "no" part, because it got to the next question almost before I could finish the sentence.)

"In wilderness area you cannot construct even one structure, nor introduce any mechanized vehicle such as a bicycle. Does this make you more or less likely to support the designation of wilderness area in your area?"

"More, defini---" (Stop trying to talk to the machine moron!)

"Development in areas surrounding wilderness area (I think it gave me some specific mileage, I'm not sure) is prohibited. Does this make you more or less likely to support the designation of wilderness area in your area?"

"More."

"Some members of congress want to use wilderness area to stop development in towns in your area. Does this make you more or less likely to support the designation of wilderness area in your area?"

"More."

Then it offered some alternative designation of land that allows for certain "management" activity and still guarantees the serenity of the land, blah, blah, blah, then it asked me which I would prefer to see in my area.

"Wilderness."

"Are you aware that wilderness area can increase the danger of fires, such as the biscuit fire and the Canoe Creek fire near Salmon Creek that resulted in the evacuation of over a hundred residents? Does this make you more or less likely to support the designation of wilderness area in your area?"

"Definitely, more."

"Please state whether your answer is 'more,' 'less,' or say 'repeat.'"

"More."

Either that was the complete survey or the machine gave up on me. Didn't seem like 45 seconds. Anyway, it thanked me and hung up.

So does anybody know what legislation it's talking about? Sounds like something I'd want to support.

Update: So there is a bill in the works, and apparently somebody is nervous about it - perhaps anticipating a change in the make-up of congress next year. I found a few articles on a topic that I certainly haven't followed, including this one. And The Wilderness Society has this summary (with links) of various bills, including HR233 / S2432, the "Northern California Coastal Wild Heritage Wilderness Act."

Why haven't I heard about the proposal?

 

Consumer tip

Being the quasi-hippie parents of two young kids, we buy a lot of soy milk. At this point both my 1-year-old and my 4-year-old prefer it to cow's milk. For some reason, probably because it was the first box we grabbed off the shelf, we started both off on vitamin enriched WestSoy. On one occasion, when Asher, my oldest, was younger, we ran out of WestSoy and the local store was out of stock. We tried Soy Dream, but he made it very clear that he didn't like it, though he wasn't quite at the level to communicate why. And the bad parents we were, we didn't think to check the labels.

Well, it happened again recently. Luckily Lilith is young enough that she doesn't have quite the prejudice. But Asher explained that Soy Dream "isn't sweet enough." Sure enough, my wife compared labels and a serving size of WestSoy contains 12 grams of sugar, while the same amount of Soy Dream contains 4 grams.

Personally I can't stand any of it, so I never noticed. Live and learn.

 

Wailaki Pass?


As reported in the Redwood Times, my good friend September Gray spent some time at the Bancroft library with Wailaki tribe descendents and learned that the tribe occupied the bulk of SoHum before the European arrival. She and others are advocating that the new Bear Creek Bridge be named for them, and the research was conducted to that end. However, the revival of the history is in my opinion much more significant than the naming of any bridge. The article refers to a number of notes that have been recovered. Hopefully, copies of those notes will be made available at the local library.

.....

Not available online, but in the hard copy of the same issue is a very entertaining letter from one Gene Owens of Fortuna decrying the "U.N. mandated" socialist public school system. Apparently, friend of his was complaining about his daughter coming home from Arcata High School and talking like a pinko. The letter also extols the virtues of the John Birch Society, founded by Robert Welch. Everytime you purchase grape juice, some pocket change goes to these nutballs.

.....

Also in the letters page is even more whining about Dikeman's loss from Steven Lewis. Steven, the election is over. Your guy lost. Get over it.

 

Thursday notes 6/22/06

Richard Marks makes some closing thoughts (update: and whinings - per the discussion in the comments section - everybody happy now?) on the election and renews some legitimate grievances with Local Solutions. I hope LS will hold some serious internal discussions about this before the next election.

Meanwhile, it appears that Marks will be moderating a debate between Bonnie Neely and Nancy Fleming on June 29 at the Samoa Cookhouse at noon. Those attending are asked to pay for a meal. I'd like to attend, so here's my plug for the Cookhouse to serve its top rate split pea soup!

Update: As noted in the comments section by Richard Marks himself, the debate is apparently off. And it appears that Bonnie Neely is the stick-in-the-mud. Personally, I hope she proves Marks wrong and takes him up on the offer. It'd make a great format for debate, with guaranteed substance.

.....

While I'm certain that I share more political views with Jonathon Speaker than ER editorialist Glen Simmons, I have to disagree with the former's letter. I think cynical columns make infinitely better reads than "positive" missives. My opinion anyway. I can read Hallmark cards for the latter.

.....

Is this the letter that started the hoopla? Good going Mr. Harvey. The local blogosphere is in your debt.

.....

See, now this is exactly what I'm talking about in my paper wars post below regarding the TS. Do we really need a front page advertisement for the Redwood Acres Fair? Is news that slow today? Page 3 maybe, but not the cover page.

On the other hand, the potential loss of local government to negotiate cable easements is a serious story - completely absent from the pages of ER at least online. The bill discussed in the article would allow telephone companies to circumvent local authorities entirely. It's a non-local story with local implications.

See? The TS can distinguish itself, when it puts its collective mind to it.

.....

The Humboldt Advocate reports that the Grand Jury isn't just picking on Gallegos. It slams the Building Temple this time. And while it didn't address the inadequacy of sheriff services in Southern Humboldt, it did note that the Garberville substation is messy. The GJ also seems to agree with Gallegos about the inadequacy of mental health treatment for jail inmates.

.....

Two more members of the California Republican Congressional contingent are accused of mild corruption. It's not clear if these deals were illegal or technical breaches of any code of ethics, and I'm reminded of the admonition of Plunkett of Tamany Hall about the differences between "dishonest graft" and "honest graft,:"

"Dishonest graft is stealin'. Honest graft is seein' your chances and takin em."
.....

The State of Kentucky is now banning certain liberal blogs from all state-owned computers. At least one of those blogs is hitting back.

.....

Ghana just ended the US World Cup dreams this time around.

......

An entertaining blog I just found - Blue Girl in a Red State. Yeah, a blog is established every second or something like that, but some of them stand out.

 

Klamath river politics


Hank Sims of the North Coast Journal summarizes the recent developments in the Klamath River salmon restoration. The article talks mostly about funding, but so far the pols don't seem to be offering many specifics other than emergency loans. The closest suggestion of specifics comes in this paragraph:

The "federal action" Bitts referred to was a concerted effort on the part of members of Congress representing the coastal regions of California and Oregon — the commercial fishermen most affected by the Klamath River's suffering fishery — to find money not only to give some assistance to fishermen and related industries this year, but to fund some serious, long-term fixes to the complicated problems on the Klamath, a river that upstream farmers, hydropower companies and coastal fishermen all have a stake in. (See the Journal's Aug. 25, 2005 cover story, "Klamath Doldrums," for more background on the problems on the river.)

A few years ago the federal government rediverted some of the water than had been earmarked for Oregon farmers. The farmers threw a collective tantrum with acts of vandalism that would have landed the typical environmental activist a long prison sentence. As a result, their water was restored at the expense of the salmon industry and the following summer thousands of salmon were found floating dead due to low water flows and higher water temperatures.

Some of the farmers then got stupid and filed suit for damages for the duration of the temporary water decision, resulting in not only denial of the damages but an actual court ruling that the farmers have no rights to the water. Other lawsuits have also fallen in favor of the salmon and fishing industry. I should probably be more sympathetic, but the whole attitude of at least the militant wing of these farmers is "we're special and we're entitled," with no expression of concern for the other interests affected, and no expressed interest in a global discussion. I don't always agree with Jeff St. Claire, but his opinion piece on the subject captures my views as well, and elaborates on some of the hypocrisy in the farmers' argument. Moreover, they have resources and options not available to the tribes or fishermen.

Found a very balanced article with a good timetable of the Klamath crisis.

So, the legal power to keep the water in the river having been established, it's now a question of political will to buck agribusiness. So far, the pols are very vague on the basic issue: water.

 

Weighing in on the paper wars

I'm succumbing to peer pressure here. Apparently the Humboldt Advocate's editorial about the Times-Standard/Eureka Reporter rivalry has gotten around and is generating quite the discussion on Fred's Blog, Humbolt Herald, Buhne Tribune, and Anon-R-Mouse. The argument hinges on a statement allegedly made by Judy Hodgeson of North Coast Journal as quoted and explained by the Advocate:

“I understand what motivates Arkley: Revenge against the Times-Standard."

.....

She went on to explain how Arkley had been upset that the Times-Standard did not support his wife, Cherie Arkley in her mayoral race, and that is part of the basis in motivation against the Times-Standard.
Thing is, whether this is Arkley's intention, I don't think it can succeed. I'm of the firm belief that ever town should have at least two daily papers. Competition in that realm is good. It may force TS to dig for stories with a little more vigor, and maybe to expand it's role as a forum for community disputes. The first page of the ER that I go to every morning is the letters page, which I find fascinating notwithstanding my snide elitist comment of yesterday. The TS doesn't even bother to post its letters on its website. The TS is going to have to stop existing as a boring sheet for rotary event reporting, new recipies, and syndications. The weekly papers can take up the slack on those functions. TS will simply have to become an interesting read.

Sure people are going to read the ER. It's fun and it's free. Yes, the editorials are right wing, and perhaps the coverage is slanted to the right a bit as suggested by Dikeman's campaign site. But in the final weeks of the election campaign, the ER published several stories that may well have won the election for Gallegos - not the least of which is the article in which the ER revealed that Worth Dikeman had misrepresented the appellate court statements regarding his exclusion of Native Americans from a jury pool. Dikeman took even more shots from ER in the final week. If Arkely's aim has been to promote a conservative agenda, it certainly failed with that race. Assuming that Hodgeson's statement is correct, Arkley has obviously not yet delivered his memo to his reporters.

Something else I've noticed since I've opened this blog. Somebody at the ER visits this blog on a daily basis (the "visits" counter lists the servers of all who come here and the ER has its own server). I'm assuming that this person is viewing all of the active local blogs, looking for news, or perhaps just as one among many tools to get a feel for community sentiment, division, and interest. I also know that Kevin Hoover and Hank Sims keep up with the blogs. Perhaps someone at the TS does so as well - I have no way of knowing if they don't have their own server. Not to say that the blogs are likely to break a big story for which they don't already have information - it's just a matter of keeping in touch. This may very well be a small factor in what currently makes the ER a more interesting read.

If TS works hard to distinguish itself from ER, then the community benefits from the rivalry. If it stubbornly refuses to become more engaged with the community around it, it will indeed go down per Captain Buhnes' projections of gloom and doom. I think the TS' half-hearted endorsement of Gallegos was intended for such a purpose, and I suspect they will work harder to break stories (in an era where papers openly view "muckracking" as a negative term), and to take advantage of the professionalism of its writers (currently lacking in some of the ER articles). It has connections and a history ER lacks. It has to work on publishing material that won't be found in ER, and even when it covers the same stories it must work hard to dig up facts that make it worth reading after you've read the counterpart ER article. It's the type of competition that could itself fuel more interest in both papers - expanding the overall pie.

Call me an optimist.

Wednesday, June 21, 2006

 

People! It works like this.

Look, you can send me angry e-mails when I say something that offends you, and certainly if I say something inaccurate I will be happy to post a retraction and apology. And if you simply disagree with my opinion, I love to hear from you.

But really, if you want the blog readers to read your arguments, use the comments section available at the bottom of each post, right next to the date and time of the post. Simply click your mouse on the word "comments" and a box will come up. Read the comments that have been made then start typing. I have left it open for anyone to post without registering and you may even post anonymously - a practice I will continue to allow except where it is abused.

I don't ask that you treat me with respect - except for some very basic boundaries of decency. I do ask that you treat others posting here with some respect, and I'll be a little more strict about insults of other guests though I'll allow for spirited argument. Other than that I'll only censor spam, obsenities, and anything that could get me into legal trouble by way of libel or other liability.

So re those e-mails I've been getting, particularly those about the KMUD post - please feel free to correct, clarify, add to, or argue about anything I post. Don't be shy.

 

Arcata may acquire the ability to sell the right to pollute

That's if I'm understanding this Arcata Eye article correctly. The Arcata Community Forest may qualify to serve as a nest egg of "carbon credits." I think this is part of a rather bizarre new program by which companies have the right to release a certain amount of greenhouse gasses, and may sell some of their rights to other companies. Apparently you can also increase your right to pollute by pulling some carbon out of the air so that you can subtract from your balance. The Eye elaborates with regard to Arcata's asset.
Arcata’s forest, known widely for its management practices, grows twice in biomass than it harvests, allowing the forest to hold more carbon every year. The net increase of carbon storage in the trees over the forest’s initial baseline would be considered carbon credits that the City could sell in the future if stable markets emerge. “It’s the stock-market of the future,” said committee member Danny Hagans.

Not all forests in California can register its carbon sequestering. To be eligible, the forest has to be managed above and beyond the state’s Forest Practices Rules. Since the Community Forest already does, registering it should be simple. The City could not register the forest without registering its own carbon emissions that it generates from things such as its vehicle fleet, so the City, as Tuttle said, is “not just reporting the good stuff.”

I was first introduced to the concept in law school, where the professor handed out a comic strip that provided an analogy in a right to kill. Basically, if I woke up one night in my home and found a prowler, and I reasonably feared for my family's safety, I would have the legal right to use lethal force. However, being the enterprising sort that I am I could let him go and call up some sort of agency to sell my right to Don Corlione so he can deal with somebody who refused what couldn't be refused. A good, sound, free market solution.

I've got some trees in my yard, including a big bay tree. How much money could I make selling my polluting rights to PG&E? My yard is certainly managed above state standards.


 

Wednesday notes 6/21/06

Check out the prose in this letter to the Eureka Reporter:
America, in righteousness, does judge and make war, just like the fellow sitting upon a white horse and with many crowns on his head in Revelations of the Bible, “and in righteousness he doth judge and make war, and he hath on his vesture and on his thigh a name written, King of Kings and Lord of Lords.”
That was the explanation for the killing of al-Zarqawi. If the Eureka Reporter does in fact establish its monopoly, it may be because of the vitality of the writing it seems to attract.

.....

The Redwood Times reports that sales for 4th of July parking at Benbow has begun. For just $25.00 a vehicle (plus $5.00 per person at the park itself unless you're under 12), you too can enjoy a fireworks show that would be free just about anywhere else. For $1.00 you can take a shuttle from Garberville.

You know, years ago a Bay Area based law office on the opposite side of a suit called my office to arrange a deposition here in Garberville. They asked us if we validated parking. The anecdote used to be funny.

.....

Dr. Frankenstein says that California needs more medical schools, but opposes the single payer system because it won't pay doctors enough money.
As quoted by the Times-Standard:
He said the tendency of government programs is to “overpromise, underfund, and shift the blame.”
Yeah, and the private sector based system is serving Humboldt County so well!

.....

As San Francisco prepares for a weekend of Gay Pride (originally organized to commemorate the Stonewall riots), Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger is going to meet with the Log Cabin Republicans to explain his veto of the equality of marriage bill. It's early enough in the campaign - enough time for the wingnuts of the party to forget this moment while he collects some campaign donations from the more gullible contingent of the gay and lesbian rights movement.

Meanwhile, the governor is the recipient of this year's "pink brick" award, for that same veto.

I hope to be writing something on my thoughts about evolution of the Gay Pride celebrations sometime before the weekend.

.....

Ex-congressional representative Ron Dellums avoided a run-off in the Oakland mayor's race. With all these formerly high level pols running for Oakland Mayor, you'd think the office is as prized as the presidency itself. Maybe Clinton can run next time around.

.....

The Mendocino County election results are final. D.A. incumbent Vroman will be facing a run-off and Pinches ousted Wagenet by just under 300 votes.

.....

Just drove to and from Ukiah today, and noticed for the first time that the Willits Environmental Center is closed. It's empty with "for rent" signs up. Got back to my office and found this reference to a "new Willits Environmental Center" next door to Tsunami, but the message is two years old. I could swear I've been reading freshly edited sign messages at the old site during that time, and I haven't noticed anything happening at the new location, though I haven't really paid much attention. What gives?




 

Republican Senators want American soldiers to die

Actually, they don't. But if I wanted to use the same quality of rhetoric the Republicans were using last week against those who refused to vote for a meaningless bill that rejects timetables for withdrawal last week, I would be making that argument.

In a rather bizarre twist yesterday, 19 hardcore war supporters in the Senate voted against another non-binding resolution, an amendment to the National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2007 - this time "to express the sense of Congress that the Government of Iraq should not grant amnesty to persons known to have attacked, killed, or wounded members of the Armed Forces of the United States." The 19 are as follows:

Wayne Allard of Colorado
Kit Bond of Missouri
Jim Bunning of Kentucky
Conrad Burns of Montana
Tom Coburn of Oklahoma
Thad Cochran of Mississippi
John Cornyn of Texas
Jim DeMint of South Carolina
Mike Enzi of Wyoming
Lindsey Graham of South Carolina
Chuck Hagel of Nebraska
Jim Inhofe of Oklahoma
Jon Kyl of Arizona
Trent Lott of Mississippi
John McCain of Arizona
Jeff Sessions of Alabama
Ted Stevens of Alaska
Craig Thomas of Wyoming
John Warner of Virginia

I honestly understand the reluctance to handcuff the Iraqi government in future negotiations, but again, this amendment imposed nothing by way of sanctions or any means of enforcement. These votes are fair game for the coming election which will follow a campaign season in which you are going to hear phrases like "cut and run" and other strawmen to stigmatize any skeptism about the war.

What these 19 votes represents is a concession of sorts - a concession of the very complexities of Iraqi culture and politics that may very well make this war unwinnable by any reasonable standards. Yet Representative John Murtha is vilified by hawks simply for pointing out the fact that 80 percent of Iraqis want us to leave and nearly half feel that it is appropriate to kill American troops. It's not so much to me that their vote is wrong or immoral, but rather that they fail to appreciate the irony in it.

Tuesday, June 20, 2006

 

KMUD Board election approaching

From KMUD:

Nominations are open as of June 1st for the membership representative to the KMUD Board of Directors. They will be open until the end of the Annual General Membership Meeting, to be held at 5pm Tuesday June 27th at the Healy Senior Center on Briceland Road in Redway. Candidate statements are to be delivered to the KMUD office by 4pm June 30th with ballots going out the following week. KMUD’s regular monthly board meeting will follow the Annual General Membership Meeting at 6pm.
The Board desperately needs some new blood, and as we know elections provide a healthy forum for discussion of the directions the station is taking. I'm not going to discuss my recent experiences on the Personnel Committee on this blog, but I'd be happy to discuss them with anybody in person.

Separate from those issues however, I want to register my protest regarding KMUD's new "at-will" firing policy. Don't get me wrong. The Board members are all good liberal-to-radical folk. But this new policy is reactionary - a similar but less extreme proposal having led to riots in France recently. We might as well turn the station over to the Pinkertons.

Yes, I'm engaging hyperbole. That's to get your attention.

Update: While googling something else I came to a post from a few weeks back on Fred's Humboldt Blog. The discussion is very interesting. By now Fred knows that KMUD is not NPR affiliated (it does have some Pacifica programming, but is not officially part of the network). KMUD makes no pretense about being unbiased, although Estelle did give plenty of time to the NoT crowd, beginning with an extensive interview with Greg Allen early in the campaign.

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