Wednesday, January 31, 2007


Sen. Barack Obama introduces his anti-war bill

Calls for redeployment to begin no later than May 1 of this year, with complete withdrawal by March 31, 2008.

Give him credit for nerve. He'll pick up some poll numbers, but it will burn bridges with bluedog and DLC types he has flirted with since his election.

You can read his full press release here.

Photo from Wikipedia.


Time to come out of the closet

Somebody brought this comment to my attention. It's posted over on Fred's blog.
Eric Kirk is a conservative. Eric Kirk is no Democrat. Eric Kirk gave himself away on his own blog when he tried to say that Mike Thompson is a member of the Progessive Caucus. No legitimate Democrat could possibly be that clueless. Come out of the closet Eric Kirk. You are a Republican!
It's a keeper. Even better than a comment I got a few months ago.
Eric Kirk is just another pot smoking Gallegos clone
How many pot smoking Gallegos clones are there?

I think I'm going to put together a collection - sort of a best hits. They date back to my very second blog post, again over at Fred's, back in May. Two posts, and somebody says:
You're losing your credibility with every post Eric.
What can I say? I work fast.


VP Freudian slip?

In an odd twist in the Scooter Libby trial, a handwritten memo from the VP's office seems to imply at least knowledge on the part of the president about the personal attacks on Wilson/Plame that has been denied. From the Truthout article by Jason Leopold and Marc Ash.
But Cheney's notes, which were introduced into evidence Tuesday during Libby's perjury and obstruction-of-justice trial, call into question the truthfulness of President Bush's vehement denials about his prior knowledge of the attacks against Wilson. The revelation that Bush may have known all along that there was an effort by members of his office to discredit the former ambassador begs the question: Was the president also aware that senior members of his administration compromised Valerie Plame's undercover role with the CIA?


Last week, Libby's attorney Theodore Wells made a stunning pronouncement during opening statements of Libby's trial. He claimed that the White House had made Libby a scapegoat for the leak to protect Karl Rove - Bush's political adviser and "right-hand man."

"Mr. Libby, you will learn, went to the vice president of the United States and met with the vice president in private. Mr. Libby said to the vice president, 'I think the White House ... is trying to set me up. People in the White House want me to be a scapegoat,'" said Wells.

Cheney's notes seem to help bolster Wells's defense strategy. Libby's defense team first discussed the notes - written by Cheney in September 2003 for White House Press Secretary Scott McClellan - during opening statements last week. Wells said Cheney had written "not going to protect one staffer and sacrifice the guy that was asked to stick his head in the meat grinder because of incompetence of others": a reference to Libby being asked to deal with the media and vociferously rebut Wilson's allegations that the Bush administration knowingly "twisted" intelligence to win support for the war in Iraq.

However, when Cheney wrote the notes, he had originally wrote "this Pres." instead of "that was."

During cross-examination Tuesday morning, David Addington was asked specific questions about Cheney's notes and the reference to President Bush. Addington, former counsel to the vice president, was named Cheney's chief of staff - a position Libby had held before resigning.

"Can you make out what's crossed out, Mr. Addington?" Wells asked, according to a copy of the transcript of Tuesday's court proceedings. "It says 'the guy' and then it says, 'this Pres.' and then that is scratched through," Addington said.

"OK," Wells said. "Let's start again. 'Not going to protect one staffer and sacrifice the guy ...' and then what's scratched through?" Wells asked Addington again, attempting to establish that Cheney had originally wrote that President Bush personally asked Libby to beat back Wilson's criticisms.

"T-h-i-s space P-r-e-s," Addington said, spelling out the words. "And then it's got a scratch-through."

"So it looks like 'this Pres.?'" Wells asked again.

"Yes sir," Addington said.

As such, Cheney's notes would have read "not going to protect one staffer and sacrifice the guy this Pres. asked to stick his head in the meat grinder because of the incompetence of others." The words "this Pres." were crossed out and replaced with "that was" out, but are still clearly legible in the document.

Seems odd that Cheney would have left the memo intact, but if looking at the whole memo you'll note he was writing at the bottom of a memo to him which I'm assuming came from Scott McClellan since Cheney's notes were intended for him. The VP stamp at the top of the page may have made it a firm record already. But then why didn't he scribble it out more thoroughly?

So far nothing in the mainstream media that I can find, but I just did a cursory Google check. It is a bit speculative as to its significance. But at minimum, it raises a serious question.

The photos are from Truthout. Click on them to enlarge.


Should we move the California primary to February?

Hey, why not January? Two days before the Iowa caucus? I do object to the fact that two states which are 99 percent white set the tone for the whole primary season.

But this guy at San Francisco's Beyond Chron makes the progressive case against moving the primary.
As Ben Franklin said, the definition of “insanity” is “doing the same thing over and over again and expecting a different result.” Once again, California politicians complain that our state never gets to choose a presidential nominee because the race is over by the time it gets here. Now the state legislature wants to push up our presidential primary even earlier than before – in the vain hope that we will decide from a wide-open field in 2008. But other states have the same idea too and we may end up having a national primary on February 5th – only one week after New Hampshire. While a February primary could be seen as a boon for progressive activists, the subsequent low-turnout June election poses grave risks, particularly given the attempt to qualify a statewide initiative to ban rent control.

The February primary is a bad idea for many reasons, and California should not fuel the madness. First, it is unlikely that California will get to decide the outcome of the presidential race, even with an earlier primary. Second, a front-loaded schedule puts insurgent candidates at an insurmountable disadvantage, virtually guaranteeing that the establishment candidate (i.e., Hillary Clinton) will win. Third, pushing the whole primary schedule further back forces candidates to campaign even earlier and raise even more money. Fourth, having two California primaries (the presidential one in February and the legislative one in June) will help right-wing propositions sail through in a low-turnout election.


Already, the Howard Jarvis Taxpayers Association is gathering signatures to place a “son” of Proposition 90 on the ballot – probably for June 2008. While its language makes it sound less extreme than Prop 90, it is actually worse because of its retroactive effect and would eliminate rent control in California. The religious right will also try to place an anti-gay marriage amendment on the ballot – it would also likely be voted on in June 2008.

California’s a very blue state – but past elections have shown that a low turnout can pass right-wing propositions. In March 2000, California had a low statewide turnout -- the average voter’s age was fifty – and the state passed a legislative ban on gay marriage (Proposition 22) and a drastic juvenile justice initiative (Proposition 21) by healthy margins.


Federal fish & wildlife agencies pushing for salmon ladders on the Klamath River

From the Times Standard:
Federal fisheries and wildlife agencies stuck to their guns in a final demand to require Klamath River hydropower dam owner Pacificorp to install ladders for salmon and other fish if it wants a renewed license to operate.

The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and National Marine Fisheries Service's stance on providing ways for fish to get above the dams to spawning grounds that have been cut off for decades changed little since its draft report last year. The agencies also issued a scalding indictment of Pacificorp's proposal to trap fish and truck them above and below the dams instead.

Advocates for removing the four dams in question believe the order may grease the skids toward a settlement with Pacificorp that would involve tearing the dams out. It would be the largest dam removal project in the country.

Grease the skids?

There's more through the link. As always, watch out for defamous statements in the article's comments section.

Tuesday, January 30, 2007


Not feeling particularly inspired tonight

In fact, recent events have kind of taken the pleasure out of the project for the moment.

The Redwood Times article got it wrong. I've received no e-mail. I will continue to make posts about People Productions whenever they're in a news story I deem important.

I should note that my prediction has come true. The participation in the discussions about the Reggae controversy has dropped since the attorney posts were made here the other night. I was all ready to blame it on them and start up another Reggae conversation to break the spell, but I can't think of anything new to talk about. It may be that the topic is a bit talked out right now, which would be fine with me.

On the other hand, this thread contains probably the most useful discussion on the topic to date. I don't have anything to add to the conversation, but if you all want to renew it up here, that works for me.

I've a few things on the backburner, which I may finish and post in the morning if I get the chance.

In the meantime, the teachers got their raise (yay!). Gallegos hired a new investigator. And Mexicans and Arabs going to invade America (it's on TV, it must be true).

I'm sure you can find something to talk about in there.

Addendum: Sam the Soundman sounds off over at Bob D.'s blog. He explains why he joined the exodus of coordinators. It also represents the first use I've seen of the inevitable play on words with "Boots." I'm surprised it took this long.


Brand new person in Sohum

Early this morning Noelle McBride gave birth to a boy. She and Tony Frasier, the father, have not yet decided upon a name. The boy joins a family which includes daughters Seora and Iana.

Tony is the owner of Island Boy sauces, which are available in local stores, which by the way gives 10 percent of its profits to education and sustainable agriculture projects in Jamaica. My personal favorite is the Irie Ginger!

Update: I just met the baby tonight. Doesn't look like Winston Churchill.


ISF press release on PALCO bankruptcy

For Immediate Distribution
29 January 2007

Redway, CA – January 2007
Institute for Sustainable Forestry (ISF)

ISF’s Recent Study Shows the Long-Term Financial Advantages of Community Forestry on Maxxam’s Scotia Pacific properties: Despite up-front costs, ecologically-responsible management returns higher economic rewards than industrial forestry model over 60 year period.

Much of the current debate surrounding Pacific Lumber Company (PL) and Scotia Pacific’s (Scopac) recent bankruptcy filing is focused on the funds extracted from the company and environmental considerations in elements of its Headwaters deal. This debate is a losing strategy for Humboldt County.

PL management takes the position that approval of key THPs by the California State Water Board (SWB) will provide access to additional inventory that will enable PL to sustain its operations and retire the company’s debt. Yet increased harvest of standing inventory on the Scopac properties will do nothing to increase the future yields necessary to make payments 10 or 20 years from now. This strategy is unsustainable in both environmental and economic terms.

In their efforts to defend the terms of the Headwaters agreement and the SWB’s rulings on PL THP’s environmental groups like BACH, EPIC and HWC take the position that PL’s financial difficulties arise from its highly leveraged financial position and profit taking by PL’s parent company Maxxam.

Both sides in the current debate express a commitment to long-term financial and environmental sustainability. Neither side articulates an economically and ecologically viable strategy to create a profitable and sustainable financial structure for PL properties.

It’s time for efforts to resolve this dispute to focus on creating the financial mechanisms, policy instruments and ownership structures that will enable new owners and investors, committed to conservation values as well as long-term productivity, to make the necessary financial commitments.

ISF's “Limited Appraisal and Valuation of Scotia Pacific Timberland and Timber” (

A recent study released by the non-profit Institute for Sustainable Forestry (ISF) makes it clear that neither the Community Forestry Model nor the Traditional Timber Management Model has the potential to retire PL’s current bonded debt over the next 30 years.

Figure 1: The difference in harvest revenues over time between traditional industrial forestry and the ecologically-responsible ‘community forestry’ model. (Click on the graph to enlarge).

ISF’s appraisal values the Scopac properties three different ways: it evaluates comparable sales of similar timber properties and it compares discounted cash flows based on traditional timber management as well as environmentally friendly “community forestry” standards.

ISF’s evaluation demonstrates the long-term financial advantages of an ecologically-responsible “Community Forest Management Model.” Using the Maxxam’s Scotia Pacific properties as a case study, forestry consultants at BBW Associates found that this balanced, environmentally-sensitive approach to forestry would generate $1.1 billion more income than traditional industrial timber management over a 60-year period, but will also require significant up-front capital investment to ensure fiscal sustainability over the first 20 years.

Managing Scopac properties based on community forestry standards offers significant benefits in both economic and ecological terms:

• Increased late seral stage stand conditions from 12% to 54% of the overall acreage in the first 30 years, 100% in 60 years.

• $3 billion in long-term debt-free income over the second 30 years – double the long-term income and local economic impact of the Traditional Timber Management Model in the same period.

• Steady increases in forest inventories and productivity throughout 60+ years that will position Scopac properties to maximize their biological capacity to meet a significant proportion of California’s lumber needs on an economically and environmentally sustainable long-term basis.

• Steady increases in the provision of ecosystem services throughout 60+ years including carbon storage, water quality and in-stream and upslope wildlife habitat.

However, strategies aimed at that rebuilding an economically and ecologically viable operation will require a reduction in harvest volumes, and income, over the next two decades.

Now is the time for efforts to resolve these issues to focus on creating the financial mechanisms, policy instruments and ownership structures that will enable new owners and investors, committed to conservation values as well as long-term productivity, to make the necessary financial commitments.

For further information contact ISF at 707-923-7004 or at

PO Box 1580
Redway, CA 95560


Is left bias on college campuses a myth?

I may have more to say the New Republic article tomorrow, but I find some of the points interesting enough for discussion on their own. It's basically a study of the right wing think tank studies which have resulted in conclusions about systematic exclusion of conservative faculty and ideas on college campuses. I'll throw together some thoughts in the morning. Here are some highlights.
Professors are all Democrats, except those who are communists. Professors all hate Bush. Professors favor like-minded students and love converting those who love God, country and the president. You’ve read all the claims and more, in right-leaning blogs and columns. Frequently, these claims are based on studies — many have been released in the last two years — of professors. Party registration is documented, or professors respond to surveys, or syllabus content is rated.

A new study being released today aims to debunk all of those studies. “The ‘Faculty Bias’ Studies: Science or Propaganda,” takes eight of the recent studies on faculty politics and judges them by five general tests of social science research. Today’s study finds that the eight all come up short in adhering to research standards. The new study was sponsored by the American Federation of Teachers and the work was conducted by John B. Lee, an education researcher and consultant who said that once the AFT commissioned the work, it did not restrict his approach or findings in any way.


Lee’s analysis finds some support for the first theme. “Taken together, these studies at best suggest that college faculty members are more likely to be Democrats than Republicans,” he writes. However, even on this theme, he notes that the studies tend to exclude community college faculty members and to focus on faculty at elite institutions — probably skewing the results.

The second theme takes a more thorough beating in the study. “Among the most serious claims the authors make is that this liberal dominance results in systematic exclusion of conservative ideas, limited promotion opportunities for conservative faculty, and expression in the classroom of liberal perspectives that damage student leaning,” Lee writes. “These claims, however, are not supported by the research. Basic methodological flaws keep a critical reader from accepting the conclusions suggested by the authors.”

The flaw Lee identifies most frequently with this theme is one in which researchers note a correlation and — in Lee’s opinion — then see a causal relationship without sufficient evidence that one exists.


The new AFT study looks at eight studies, including some that have attracted substantial attention (both praise and criticism), such as work published in 2005 in The Forum that analyzed faculty attitudes at four-year institutions and concluded that conservatives, practicing Christians and women are less likely than others to get faculty jobs at top colleges. That study was based on a survey of 1,643 faculty members. Other studies looked at faculty attitudes in certain disciplines or at certain institutions.

Some of the studies were prompted by specific events, such as the American Council of Trustees and Alumni’s “How Many Ward Churchills?,” which analyzed class materials online at top institutions and found that the controversial Colorado professor’s ideas — which have been in the news while his university has considered whether to fire him — are shared by many professors. Some of the reports are by social scientists, published in peer-reviewed journals. Others were issued by associations that are players in the culture wars of academe.


Lee said that to test the validity of the studies, he wanted standards that could not be considered partisan, so he used a 2006 statement by the White House Office of Management and Budget about objectivity in research. Based on that statement, he asked five questions about each of the faculty bias studies:

  • Can another researcher with a different perspective replicate the results using the information provided by the author?

  • Are the definitions used in the studies clear enough?

  • Does the research eliminate alternative explanations for the results?

  • Do the conclusions follow logically from the evidence?

  • Has the author guarded against assumptions that could introduce systematic bias into the study?

Using this framework, Lee gives the studies failing grades. Four studies had data that could be replicated, and he gave three studies acceptable reviews on clarity of terms, but it was downhill from there, and he argues that none of the reports can truly back up their contentions.


Another theme he returns to over and over again is one of demonstrating (or not) causal relationships. He notes that there are many explanations for political trends and demographics among the professoriate, so it is unfair to assume that a liberal tilt (assuming one exists) reflects bias. He notes, for example, that the studies do not explore whether there could be non-political explanations.

This last point is salient I think. The conservative pundits quoting the studies simply point out that the history, sociology, and literature departments tend to be dominated by liberals, without reference to the ideological makeup of business administration or engineering departments. They point out how many liberals are hired compared to conservatives, but they provide no ratios for the applicants. Maybe there are correllations between ideology and actual interest in various disciplines.

The conservative response might not contain much substance, but it is certainly abundant in vehemence.
Anne Neal, president of the American Council of Trustees and Alumni (which issued two of the reports reviewed), criticized the AFT for commissioning the study. Via e-mail, she said: “Faced with mountains of evidence from ACTA and others documenting a troubling lack of professionalism in the academy, AFT chooses, instead, to shoot the messenger. In doing so, far from undermining ACTA, it discredits itself. AFT’s study is severely flawed. It is filled with inaccurate and tendentious interpretations — for instance, framing the debate in terms of politics rather than professional standards outlined by ACTA; applying irrelevant ’scientific’ standards to textual analysis; and offering such shoddy research that the sections on ACTA totally confuse and conflate two different reports, rendering the critique invalid, even laughable.“

Monday, January 29, 2007


Another Mateel press release

Got this from Bob Doran's reggae blog.
This press release came Monday Afternoon, Jan. 29:


Please note that this year’s Reggae on the River festival will take place on August 3rd, 4th, and 5th at French’s Camp in Piercy, California. Any rumors you may have heard to the contrary are false.

The Mateel Community Center and its board of directors, together with the new production company 2b1 Multimedia, look forward to another excellent year at Reggae on the River® 2007. A major shout out of thanks and recognition goes out to all of our supporters who come from all walks of life. Reggae on the River® is more than a destination. It is a cultural idea.

In The Spirit of Unity. Peace.
Yvonne Hendrix
Press Coordinator
Reggae on the River

What seemed significant was the location -- "at French's Camp" -- not on the Dimmick Ranch.
Bob's comments are in italic, and I agree, the wording is significant. Not sure what it means in the big picture, but maybe they're just deciding to let Tom off the hook and work with somebody who wants to work with them. The drama continues.

Update: I'm hearing on the grapevine that the wording of the post was in error. Developing.


In all the hoopla I forgot to mention that I was interviewed

Jo-Ellen Clark Petersen interviewed me last week as part of her voices in the community series. It was before the deluge, so it seems like ancient history. However, some of the subject matter was ironically very pertinent to recent events on this blog. And thanx no doubt to the excellent editing of Jo-Ellen I actually sounded articulate!

It'll be aired again tomorrow morning, proably around 8:20. I think I was the last story. You might want to listen at 8:00 however as she also conducted an excellent interview with Justin Crellin of the Mateel about Saturday night's event. The good news is that the Mateel will be opening again soon, at least for the time being.

I was actually interviewed briefly on KHUM this morning, and I'm going to be interviewed again at about 9:30 tomorrow morning on KSLG - all about the current Sohum tribulations. My 15 minutes have apparently arrived.


Human Rights panel to discuss universal marriage on KMUD

In time for Valentines Day:
In an effort to help educate the community on the right to civil marriage, the Human Rights Commission is participating in a KMUD interview on Feb. 4 at 1:30 p.m. as part of the Taking a Stand on the Side of Love Event on Feb. 16, which the Humboldt County Human Rights Commission is co-sponsoring.
Now, I'm linking to an article in the Times-Standard. As of this time, there are seven comments, some of them rather colorful, but none of which appear to be potentially libelous. So please attorneys out there, feel free to post another threatening missive should one appear.

As I remarked when the matter came up for discussion with the county council, the equal protection clause of the 14th Amendment should have resolved this matter over a century ago. Then again, it took decades to reverse "separate but equal" as it applies to race. Sexual preference is of course not a "suspect class" for discrimination.

However, I suspect that within 30 years most states will have approved universal marriage. In 50 years, conservatives will be taking credit for it.


Hopefully my last post on the issue

I spoke briefly to John Vrieze this morning. The primary object of concern is a hyperlink I provided to another site in which a certain comment was posted. I am rapidly becoming an expert on defamation law as it applies to bloggers and I'm certain that I cannot be held liable for a mere link to a post which contains potentially defamatory comments, especially not where the link was made before the comment was even posted. As it may be construed as mere offensive hyperbole, the comment may not even be libelous. However, the comment is way out of line and breaches any sense of common decency.

I believe the administrators of that site will remove the comment once they have been notified. Until then I am disabling the link. I tolerate a certain amount of insults here, even the many that have been directed at me, simply because I don't want to discourage spirited debate. I want people to be themselves. But a line was crossed with this comment. I hope the poster has the decency to apologise for it.

Addendum: Great resource for bloggers concerned about legal issues. It doesn't seem to have incorporated the recent California Supreme Court case discussed here.

Update: The egregious post having been removed, I am now linking to the Times-Standard article once again. For those of you who might be concerned for the TS' well being, it does appear that they are also immune under the law discussed in the links above. No way can a forum service provider be expected to verify the accuracy of every post made. I know you were all worried about them.

Sunday, January 28, 2007


Alright. The moratorium's off.

Upon rereading the Vrieze/Floyd posts and the subsequent clarification, I won't be seeking advice of an attorney. I will continue to post on the grand topic. Please feel free to comment - obviously responsibly. They are right, your anonymity may protect you from short term social consequences, but may not protect you from long term legal consequences.

Everybody can take a deep breath. So far I have not been requested to remove any posts. Based on that, I will assume there are no libelous posts currently up.

Counsel may correct me on that if they wish.

Addendum: I'm researching the law of discloure of anonymous posters. Here's an interesting article.


This blogger has received a post ostensibly from People Productions' attorneys

The following message was posted in two threads below.
Please Take Notice: People Productions LLC and persons associated with People Productions LLC will seek any and all available legal remedies against any and all persons and businesses, including the Times Standard, who libel and/or republish libelous statements against them.

Further, notice is given to the this site administrator and its IT servers to preserve all internet tracking information needed to identify the names and addresses, including but not limited to IP information, for all contributors to this comment board.

John M. Vrieze

Bradford C. Floyd

Attorneys at Law

Sun Jan 28, 04:29:00 PM

In light of these developments I will not be making any further posts about the Mateel/People Productions conflict until I have consulted an attorney. My suggestion is that all others forgo further comment which could be construed as libelous if found to be false until further notice. I am certain that the information that has been posted on this blog was not made with malice, ie. a deliberate or indifferent disregard for the truth - and much of it has been hyperbole. However, litigation of this nature can be quite expensive and time consuming. In the unlikely event that you have deliberately posted falsehoods, or if you did not but still believe that you might be named in litigation should the matter escalate to that point, I suggest that you consult an attorney.

As for the preservation of IP information, I will refer the attorneys to Blogger and it's parent company Google. I have no capacity in that regard.

As always, this is an open forum. I will only censor statements that have been demonstrated to me to be falsehoods. I cannot speculate on what may or may not be true or false on issues which are only just beginning to come to public light, and I firmly believe it would be a chilling and egregious affront to the First Amendment and the tradition of freedom of expression and open debate to hold any public medium to a standard which requires censorship based upon speculation. The issues discussed herein are of paramount importance to the community, and open discussion and debate are essential to the resolution of the challenges facing the community.

Whether it was the intent of this letter to suppress open expression and discourse, the posting from People Productions' attorneys has accomplished just that - at least for the time being.


The cardio-vascular was willing, but the flesh was weak

Unfortunately, I missed the peace demonstration yesterday. I'd already committed to the Clam Beach Run, and the demo was over by the time I was finished. Unfortunately, I'm certain I'll have plenty more opportunities.

My kids had classes at the Humboldt Music Academy at HSU earlier in the morning. Because of the timing I couldn't get to Trinidad until after 11:00, which should have been fine considering that the 5 miler doesn't start until noon. There were about 20 people in line to pick up our numbers, chip, and t-shirt. One of the volunteers was a little cranky, telling us that registration ended at 10:00 as announced. But what the website says anyway is that late registration and pick-up take place in the morning, and later that registration ends promptly at ten so that the longer races can start at 11:00 (the runners are bussed from Trinidad to the starting points). Somebody responded that the paper did not say that pick-up ended at 10:00, and the woman curtly replied "it's the same thing!" Well, it isn't the same thing, and quite frankly there's no reason the noon racers should have to wait around for two hours after picking up their stuff, which really just involves picking up an envelope of items and a t-shirt. They could even just leave them out for the runners to self-serve without troubling the volunteers.

I headed towards the starting point and walked by the Beachcomber, recommended for breakfast by Jennifer Savage on Richard Mark's breakfast post on his blog. The food and coffee smelled good. It's on my list.

My training has mostly consisted of stationary bike use. I did get some running in over the past few months, but not enough. I had almost no practice runs on hills. As the result, my calves were burning and my feet were numb after the first few hills. I had to walk the last one. Getting my feet into the little river provided some relief and the numbness gradually wore off on the beach portion of the run. But usually I can make up for lost time on the beach, that leg of the run passing very quickly. Yesterday, every time I looked back Moonstone Beach looked just as big. When I could finally see the arch, it actually seemed to move away. Most of the distress was in my feet, but I didn't think the run was ever going to end.

Towards the end of the race you can tell who's run it before. A few always try to make a straight line for the arch and discover that the sand away from the water gets pretty soft. You see them head west after a few moments. The key is to hug the water until the last moment.

My wife met me at the finish line and drove me back to friends' home in Eureka. By the time I got out of the car, I had to hobble into the house where a big piping hot bowl of Bonnie's homemade white bean and smoked ham soup was waiting for me, along with fresh home baked whole wheat rolls right out of the oven. Really hit the spot.

Incidently, Bonnie has given up her show on KMUD and now Going for Baroque can be heard on KHSU on Wednesday mornings at 10:00.


While my younger child attends her folk music class, I usually walk around campus with Asher. He likes to ride the glass elevator, and wander the halls. I came across a leaflet entitled Students of Radical Thought advertising a "weekly discussion group of revolutionary, subversive, and controversial literature and philosophy." It brought back college memories, and I reminisced of the time that I might have been excited to attend. The leaflet contain photographs of 5 radical thinkers (all of them male by the way), presumably of whom the writings will be discussed. Karl Marx, Noam Chomsky, and Malcolm X made the list. There is another African American's photo which I believe is W.E.B. Dubois. The largest photo in the center is of, I believe, Anonio Gramsci, which suggests two things.

1. To their credit, they probably aren't a front for a democratic centralist fringe group. Gramsci is usually above their heads. Could be Prairie Fire Organizing Committee, but I don't think they're enthralled with Chomsky nor Dubois.

2. The group facilitators probably walk a line between classical Marxism and post-modernism. Gramsci, an Italian radical jailed under Mussolini, is most famous for abandoning the "economic determinism" of classical Marxism with his "cultural hegemony" concept which has inspired "new lefties" for several decades now. Again, this suggests that the group won't be a Bible-study format propaganda effort by Progressive Labor.

Of course, the central photo may be Trotsky. It would have to be a very young shot though. It actually kind of looks like Max Eastman, but I doubt this group has that much depth. Eastman left the ranks of Marxism in later life, invalidating in many sectarian eyes anything he wrote earlier. I'm pretty sure it's Gramsci.

Anyway, the discussions will take place in the library lobby on Mondays at 5:00 p.m. Revolutionaries don't need dinner.

Addendum: I forgot to mention. Usually when I cross the river I'm in waist high, sometimes higher. Yesterday the water level was barely above my knees at the deepest point. Not a good sign for this year's water supply.

Saturday, January 27, 2007


Huge turnout at the Mateel fundraiser!

Whatever their politics, locals turned out in large numbers tonight. Parking was tight as I arrived - a good sign. Great food. Lots of wine. Good music. Lots of talk over "the topic." Lots of bidding on the auction items. And despite the recent news, everybody was very upbeat. Even one or two signers of the "Vote of No Confidence" showed. Definitely some folk from all sides of the issue.

Certain people were missed.

More later. Tomorrow actually. I'm beat.

Meanwhile, the Reggae conflict has finally drawn the attention of both of the daily papers.

The Eureka Reporter also published a story in yesterday's paper, but it was obviously written prior to Tom Dimmick's announcement, and the release of the audit report. It's more of a summary of the conflict up until that point.

Meanwhile, I was informed tonight that a bill for services from the CHP for $49,000.00 had not been paid and had not been accounted for in previous figures, meaning that the Mateel did not make $16,000.00 last year, but instead lost $33,000.00. I was told that there may be more bills yet to come in which could render the Mateel much further in the red.

I hope they made some money tonight!

Friday, January 26, 2007


100,000 hits and counting

According to my "site meter," I've now passed 100,000 "page views." The same meter tells me I'm just over 46,000 "visits." Meanwhile the "Free Website Counter" says I've had just over 77 thousand "hits." You can enter my sitemeter account for all kinds of info on my traffic by hitting the meter icon at the bottom of my links in the left hand column, or at the bottom of the page depending on your screen setting.

I don't know the difference between a "visit," "page view," and "hit," and I don't know how accurate either of these meters are. They both started counting on June 1 of last year.

But in any case, if this graph is to be believed, the blog has been growing. I spend entirely too much time on it, and with the exception of days such as this one where a lot has happened, I have been scaling back since the summer. And I'm coming into a season of trials which means I'll probably have to scale back even more. But I'll try to make a post or two a day when I have Internet access.

I certainly appreciate all of the participation. With a few exceptions, the quality of the posts have been improving as the blog grows. There are some problems with the medium, but I'm seeing a great deal of potential and I'd like to see more Sohum blogs so that I'm not the only game in town. Actually, if you go to the left hand column where my links are, you will note that there are a couple of local blogs Ed Denson's and Women on Wednesday, which isn't very active yet, but maybe with some encouragement?

The downside for me is that it has practically eliminated my other writing. I haven't been submitting articles, stories, nor even very many letters to the editor. I may have to structure my writing time so that I have at least one night, after the kids are in bed, dedicated to "non-blog" writing.

And those of you who have recently come onto this blog for info on the Mateel crisis or other issue of interest, I encourage you to check out some of the other local blogs. Each one has its own character. Some are focused on particular subjects. Some post every day. Others post once a week or even once a month. Most allow comments, although flame wars have resulted in periodic shut-downs. Fred's blog is one of the oldest of the political blogs. Humboldt Herald and Eureka Standard also contain a healthy of politics and humor. We have some local celebs blogging, such as former supervisor candidate Richard Marks who writes about everything from local sports to local restaurants, as well as politics. And Captain Buhne manages to find humor even in a cougar mauling.

For those who don't know, I have a very liberal policy when it comes to expression. I actually do allow for personal attacks, as you may have noticed. If it gets out of hand, or goes overboard in extremity, I'll take some action. All personal attacks on me are fair game. I have a pretty thick skin. But if you don't, and you want me to remove a post in which you were insulted, please contact me to discuss it. Generally, if you are a public figure, even in a local context, I allow for heated discourse which may ruffle your feathers. I assume you have a thick skin as well if you're in that position. If not, talk to me.

But I want this to be as open as possible, and when I do zap posts, I generally have a good reason. Usually it's spam.

However, I want this blog to serve as an open forum with little interference from me. I am something of a freedom of expression extremist. I believe in the capacity of the human mind to sort the hyperbole from the facts, and I firmly believe in the principle of "sticks and stones." As to when you've crossed a line, well, to quote a famous Supreme Court Justice commenting on porn, "I'll know it when I see it."

In the meantime I advise you to be respectful even if only because it makes your arguments more compelling.

Oh, and for those of you new to the medium, the orange-lettered print means a hyperlink, meaning that if you click on those words they will take you somewhere magical. I'm translating for the luddites around here who are grudgingly only just entering the 21st century technology of communication.


So what exactly does Tom Dimmick want?

I've had some time to mull this over. I've been asking around about the permits needed to put on his own event. Seems to be a consensus that it's too late for Dimmick to get permits on his own. Does he expect to use the Mateel's?

There is speculation that Mr. Dimmick simply wants to bring down Reggae on the River this year, clearing the way to regroup for next year. If so, that is extremely cynical. And I doubt Carol would be a part of that. Very few people would volunteer for anything that comes out of that - not even some of the die-hard People Productions supporters.

But it would seem that all he can accomplish is to leave the legal situation in limbo long enough so that performers and businesses hold off making firm contractual commitments. I assume that the lease agreement contains a mediation provision, and perhaps even an arbitration provision. That means that the Mateel takes a chance if they file for an injunction, as they'd have to show not only substantive merit, but exigent circumstances warranting a bypass of the mediation/arbitration process. As evidence, the Mateel could print out the comments on ROR chat sight in which posters are starting to think about making other plans. Dimmick's press release could make it difficult to sell tickets, let alone land contracts. It would seem that the Mateel has grounds, but nothing is ever a guarantee in law.

I heard tonight that Boots Hughston is nearly ready to announce part of the line-up, but I don't know how close is "close." An announcement in the next couple of weeks would certainly up the ante on the legal front.

On the other hand, there is hope that Dimmick simply issued the press release to get the Mateel's attention and to obtain some negotiation leverage for something else on his agenda. You can question the ethics of a move like that, but I truly hope that's the case because the alternative presents an even more disappointing thought.

I suppose another possibility is that he has already lined up a permit somehow. But that seems unlikely.

In any case, I would urge Carol and her supporters to dissuade Tom D. from his current course of action. It isn't doing anybody any favors.


Latest Mateel Press Release

No sooner did I finish the post immediately below that I received this press release via e-mail.

Press Release: From the Mateel Community Center
RE: Mateel Responds to Dimmick Press Release
Contact: Garth Epling
Taunya Stapp, Executive Director
January 26, 2007

The Mateel Community Center would like to reiterate that it holds a valid contract with Mr. Dimmick. Mr. Dimmick apparently hasn't been adequately advised of his obligations under the contract; however our lawyers will be explaining it to him shortly as they are responding. The Mateel fully expects to prevail in this unfortunate situation. We move forward positively on behalf of the community with planning for Reggae On The River 07.

We would like to thank the overwhelming heartfelt positive responses coming in from coordinators and the community. We hope to see everyone at the benefit for the Mateel Community Center this coming Saturday (tomorrow) at 4 P.M at the hall in Redway, CA. Please visit our website at for more information. The following meetings are scheduled. All meetings will be held at the Mateel Community Center hall in Redway, CA except as noted.

2: 00 PM: Feb. 6, 2007 - Nonprofit Community Involved in Reggae On The River, Meeting
5:30 PM: Feb. 6, 2007 – Emergency/Medical/Fire Staffing and Crew, Meeting
5:30 PM: Feb. 13, 2007 - Monthly Reggae Coordinator, Meeting
2:00 PM: Feb. 20, 2007 - Private Contractors Involved with Reggae, Meeting
March 1, 2007 - Planning Commission Review of ROTR permit in Eureka.

All meetings will be posted to and


Probably a follow-up in the oven for tonight's KMUD news

Cristina B. was interviewing Taunya Stapp when I called up there for information about tomorrow's benefit. It's Jo-Ellen's night, so maybe the story will be in next week's Independent, but I suspect it will be a special report tonight. The Board is meeting tonight, probably to receive whatever legal advice their attorneys are cooking up.

Lots of interesting comments on Thank Jah this morning, with pesky calls from Nohumers like Carol and David Cobb trying to convince us that there are other issues to deal with besides Reggae on the River. Can you believe that?!

I noted in one of the threads below that I respectfully disagree with Fred-in-the-Hill's vision of a very limited "hall" as opposed to a Community Center. The cultural fare has been extremely limited in recent years. I wonder if that can attributed to Hank's aging population and satellite television analysis.


Tribal quasi-sovereignty and the HCAOG

Neely may have replaced our man Rodoni on the HCAOG Board, but as mayor Virginia Bass has also replaced La Vallee, and so far will not vote for Hoopa admission. Why didn't anybody see that one coming?

According to the Times Standard article, the "conservatives" on the Board won't vote to allow Hoopa membership until there is some kind of agreement on the part of Hoopa that they will forgo and future campaign contributions to offices which result in HCAOG membership.

Additional proposed rules for Hoopa membership:
According to the new rules up for consideration, new members would have to have public agency status, a population greater than 300 and a road system greater than five miles. They'd also have to agree to all statutory and regulatory requirements of any grants project delivery processes, and they'd have to conduct all HCAOG related business. American Indian governments would have to agree to a waiver of limited sovereign immunity for interpretation of the HCAOG cooperative agreement.
Incidently, a tribe may waive immunity under quasi-sovereignty. From Wikipedia:
While tribal nations do not enjoy direct access to U.S. courts to bring cases against states, as sovereigns they do enjoy immunity against many lawsuits (Santa Clara Pueblo v. Martinez, 1980), unless a plaintiff is granted a waiver by the tribe or by congressional abrogation (Oklahoma Tax Comm. v. Citizen Band Potawatomi Indian Tribe, 1978). The sovereignty extends to tribal enterprises (Local IV-302 Int'l Woodworkers Union of Am. V. Menominee Tribal Enterprises 1984), and tribal casinos or gaming commissions (Barker v. Menominee Nation Casino, 1995). The Indian Civil Rights Act does not allow actions against an Indian tribe in federal court for deprivation of substantive rights, except for habeas corpus proceedings (Santa Clara Pueblo v. Martinez, 1978).
But it cannot be merely implied. Hoopa would have to make the intent very clear.
Absent "a clear waiver [of immunity] by the tribe or congressional abrogation", Oklahoma Tax Commission v. Citizen Band Potawatomi Indian Tribe of Oklahoma, 498 U.S. 505, 509, 111 S.Ct. 905, 112 L.Ed. 2d. 1112 (1991), it is clear that Indian tribes possess the "common law immunity from suit traditionally enjoyed by sovereign powers." Santa Clara Pueblo v. Martinez, 436 U.S. 49, 58, 98 S.Ct. 1670, 1677, 56 L.Ed. 2d. 106 (1978). The sovereignty of the Mohegan Tribe of Indians of Connecticut is further expressly set forth in the Mohegan Constitution, which provides that the Tribe shall have all the inherent sovereign rights and powers of an independent, indigenous sovereign nation. Mohegan Const., Art. II. While Indian Tribes can waive their sovereign immunity, "such waiver may not be implied, but must be expressed unequivocally." McClendon v. United States, 885 F.2d. 627, 629 (9th Cir. 1989). "The issue of tribal sovereign immunity is jurisdictional in nature." McClendon v. United States, Id.


"Where there is any doubt about [the] meaning or intent [of the statute in derogation of sovereign immunity, it is] given the effect which makes the least rather than the most change in sovereign immunity." Federal Deposit Insurance Corp. v. Peabody, N.E., Inc., 239 Conn. 93, 102, quoting White v. Burns, 213 Conn. 307, 312 (1990).
There are cases in which what appeared to have been clear waivers were held as procedurally and/or jurisdictionally void for their lack of clarity, as illustrated in the above-linked case.

During the 1980s there were hearings to revisit the whole "Red Atlantis" program of quasi-sovereignty (it's not really sovereignty if congress retains the power to revoke it and manage it). Unfortunately, Sen. Orin Hatch opened his mouth and many of the tribal leaders assumed that there was an agenda to expand Mormon adoptions of native children - a major issue of bitter contention between the tribes and the church. Nothing came of the hearings.


Meanwhile, if anybody on the HCAOG board is reading this, I want to register my support for a Eureka-to-Arcata bike trail along the old railroad track line. That's up your alley, isn't it?


The left's Sisyphus complex

Something must be in the air. Progressives are riding high for the first time in years, so now we have to round up the circular firing squads. The article is from the Nation, and is entitled The ACLU vs. The ACLU.

Actually, this dispute is old.
Last September a group of civil libertarians launched a website,, on which they declared: "We come together now, reluctantly but resolutely, not to injure the ACLU but to restore its integrity." Only a "change in leadership," they insisted, "will preserve the ACLU." That website, and those words, marked a new phase in a lengthy campaign to unseat Anthony Romero, the ACLU's executive director. The website contained a surprise: a pithy and combative declaration from Romero's retired predecessor, Ira Glasser, who recruited Romero for the top job six years earlier.


In late October a second website, voicesfortheaclu. org, was launched by supporters of Romero. That site was spearheaded by some prominent ACLU veterans, including Aryeh Neier,Gara LaMarche and Norman Dorsen, who declared themselves "dismayed by the ongoing attacks on the ACLU and its leadership" and the "disproportionate and distorted some quarters of the press." Since 2004, Stephanie Strom, who covers philanthropy and nonprofits for the New York Times, has written a dozen stories about internal controversies at the ACLU, stories that have infuriated Romero and many of his colleagues at the organization.


On savetheaclu. org, Kaminer and Glasser wrote that the "ACLU continues to do a great deal of excellent, important work." Romero's supporters argue the point with greater emphasis and feeling. "The ACLU has never performed better," says Burt, a former ACLU legal director who is now a law professor at New York University. "If you drew up a blueprint for a machine to protect civil liberties, you'd literally copy the existing ACLU."

So what is the row about? The critics proclaim that Romero has made grave mistakes; that those mistakes amount to a firing offense; and that he has betrayed "fundamental ACLU values." Romero's supporters say that he is a visionary leader and that his critics are only damaging the ACLU. Glasser's intervention, and his decision to employ the full range of his polemical, linguistic and strategic abilities in the fight against Romero, has only ratcheted up the tension.


Romero's difficulties can be traced back to 2002, when he signed a consent decree with the New York Attorney General at the time, Eliot Spitzer, to settle a privacy breach that had been discovered on the ACLU website. A company called Virtual Sprockets was responsible for the breach, but Spitzer's office demanded a $10,000 fine from the ACLU. The terms of the decree required Romero to distribute it to the national ACLU board within thirty days, but he waited six months to do so. Glasser and Kaminer have written that Romero "offered vague and inconsistent explanations of the circumstances surrounding the negotiation, execution, and eventual distribution of the agreement." They further allege that ACLU president Nadine Strossen and the eleven-member executive committee, the leadership body of the board that oversees the executive director, "declined to reprimand Romero, even though a number of them privately conceded that they believed he had been less than honest with them." At the Warwick Hotel Romero told me, "I probably was a bit cavalier about it. But $10,000 is not a huge sum of money, and it was fully reimbursed [by Virtual Sprockets] to the ACLU. Had it been a million-dollar fine coming from our bottom line, I would have paid a lot more attention to it."

Then, in April 2004, Romero quietly put his signature on a Ford Foundation grant letter that contained a dubious clause: "By countersigning this grant letter, you agree that your organization will not promote or engage in violence, terrorism, bigotry or the destruction of any state." Dissident board members Kaminer and Michael Meyers viewed that language as disgraceful, and believe that Romero and the ACLU should have vigorously opposed it [see Sherman, "Target Ford," June 5, 2006 ]. Upon questioning Romero, the critics learned that he had done more than sign the grant letter: He had privately advised Ford on how to craft it. After vigorous debate, the ACLU ultimately refused more than $1 million in Ford money, which Romero wanted for the organization. "The mistake I made," Romero told me, "was in not appreciating the civil liberties implications" of Ford's grant language; he also says that he should not have signed the Ford document without first consulting his board.

A long sad article.

Sisyphus gif is from Wikipedia.

Addendum: For those who are interested in the NAMBLA case which is referenced on the comments page, here is an extensive discussion of it.

Thursday, January 25, 2007


Meanwhile, another debate rages

For the Nohum folk bored by the Reggae saga (and probably more than a few Sohumers as well): in a thread below a link was posted to a forum discussion of a Houston Chronicle column by somebody named Loren Steffy. He's apparently one of Charles Hurwitz' defenders. He is being taken to task, vehemently. Sort of a revival of the old Cowboy/49er rivalry.

If you've followed the Charles Hurwitz saga for a while, you probably know that Pacific Lumber was flirting with bankruptcy for several years. I discuss the bankruptcy in my column today.

One thing I didn't mention in the column, though, is the theory among environmental groups that Hurwitz has purposely kept Palco near bankruptcy.

He did this, the theory goes, because he was siphoning money out of the company. Now first of all, no executive purposely keeps a company near bankruptcy. That's especially true if you're wanting to siphon money out of a company, because when the company goes bankrupt the first thing the creditors will do is look at where the money went.

The environmental groups, though, can't be bothered with such business basics. Here's another one they frequently flub: they want to stop logging on private land, yet they are unwilling to pay to preserve the trees.

If these guys cared so much about nature, why don't they simply buy up the bonds of Palco's Scotia Pacific division? That's the unit that owns the timber land. Then, they could control the trees. They could refuse to sell the trees to Palco or any other lumber company. They could retire the debt and set up a preserve. They could, in other words, put their money where their mouths are.

Why don't they?

Please discuss.

Click here for the discussion.


Audit thread

I'm thinking it might be better to separate some of the discussion. Feel free to post all audit related comments here.

Addendum: The debate is raging on this forum as well.

Further Addendum: Of course, the discussion is taking off on the ROR forum.

So I'm listening to the rebroadcast, and basically as rumored the audit conclusions were drawn from what the CPA had. Taunya's answers to almost all the questions of ambiguity were simply "We don't know. We weren't given the information." She also said that the law now requires an annual audit.

Carol's response was in the form of a memo, but did not make herself available for comment. She reiterated her position that the audit itself violated the contract in its lack of timeliness, but did not respond to Taunya's comments that the audit is mandatory by law regardless of what the contract says. She also curiously claims that she actually tried to comply with the requests and tried to deliver information to the Mateel, but that Taunya refused it.

Why would it be refused?

Further addendum: Bob's blog is also getting some commentary despite the policy against anonymity.


Mateel v. Dimmick Ranch open thread

Took me a few minutes to get through. Blogger chose a real odd time to force me to switch to "beta blogger."

In the meantime, as you heard on KMUD news, Tom Dimmick announced his intention to void the contract on the basis that the terms required that People Productions produce the event. I expect the Mateel will file suit tomorrow and move for a mandatory injunction.

I can't speculate on the relative strength of the legal positions without reviewing the lease, which will be available to the public when it is attached to the Mateel's seemingly inevitable court complaint.

The kids started acting up as Pat Arthur was being quoted. Can anybody fill me in?

Also, the Mateel announced that it was releasing the audit report, and claimed that under new law annual audits are mandatory. Statements from Taunya and Carol contradict each other as to whether People Productions cooperated with the audit. Carol claims she tried to give Taunya the missing information, but it was refused. Apparently the big issue is whether certain wristbands were sold or given away, but I wasn't able to hear all of the discussion.

I would surmise that the Mateel was advised by its council to disregard the letter from Carol's attorney which delayed the report's release.

I'm going to post this for open comment and then amend as I check my notes and get more information.

Update: Found the Dimmick press statement over at Bob Doran's blog.

Press Release

Cooks Valley, CA January 25, 2007:

On January 19, 2007, the Dimmick Ranch notified the Mateel Community Center that due to a material breach of the lease contract, the Dimmick Ranch was terminating the lease of the property for the purposes of Reggae on the River. The Dimmick Ranch had been contractually assured by the Mateel Community Center that People Productions would be the producer of the event for the term of the lease. The Mateel Community Center improperly purported to terminate its contract with People Productions and materially breached the lease agreement by doing so. While we firmly believe in the principles forming the foundation of the Mateel Community Center, Dimmick Ranch is concerned that the festival will not achieve its goals under Mateel's continuing management.

Despite these recent events, the Dimmick Ranch maintains its belief that Reggae on the River has been a world-class community fundraiser that the people of Southern Humboldt County have come to rely upon to help fund our public schools, fire departments, martial arts schools, and environmental and social organizations. We believe, however, that Reggae on the River needs and deserves long-term stability and that we, along with People Productions, which has a 23 year track record of success with county agencies, Cal-Trans, the CHP and CDF, can work together and continue to produce a festival that will make this community proud.

It is our and People Productions' plan to host a world-class reggae music festival and community fundraiser on the first weekend of August 2007 at the Dimmick Ranch and French’s Camp. Please stay tuned, there will be a detailed announcement very soon.

On the news, Taunya simply responded that the contract is valid.

Addendum: Can they get permits for an event this late? Can the Mateel simply move the event back to the Arthur ranch under the same permits they have?


Well Ed, maybe they just have very high metabolisms

On his travel blog Ed Denson expounds on a very unique method of judging a restaraunt upon entering.
I just got home from the MCLE weekend - and let me recommend Brit Marie on Solano Av as a fine restaurant with an excellent Sharaz, if that's the way people spell it. Check it out in the Bay Area. The only thing that worried me was that the two waitresses were really skinny. "Fashionable" says Mary Alice. "Worrisome" is what I say. The food is really good, how come they aren't eating it?
Several jokes come to mind, but they'll all get me into trouble.


Hank Sims gets medieval on Maxxam!

Yesterday I posted the SF Chronicle editorial on the PALCO bankruptcy, and pretty much dared the local papers to publish something similar, suggesting they wouldn't. Hank informed me that I had "spoken too soon."

And how!

And he goes way beyond the Chronicle piece in terms of detail. Here are some clips.
But first, note one of the more curious aspects of the omnibus Pacific Lumber bankruptcy, which was finally announced, after years of lead-up, this last Thursday. For some reason known only to the company -- even veteran Maxxam Kremlinologists pronounced themselves stumped -- was the abrupt U-turn in company rhetoric. Once again, it was all the environmentalists' fault. This despite the fact that only last month, when the company laid off 90 workers, Palco President George O'Brien blamed his company's woes on the weak international market for softwood lumber. For some reason, that wasn't mentioned in this recent round of press releases.

In neither case, of course, was there any mention of the Maxxam Corp.'s seemingly insane (but perfectly sensible, from another point of view) business strategy. In a perfect world, you'd think, there would be some sort of law banning a plutocrat from mortgaging a company up to and beyond the hilt, just so the company could pay for the pleasure of being owned by said plutocrat. Then, too, you'd think that the plutocrat shouldn't be allowed to let that debt ride for 20-plus years, meanwhile selling off big chunks of the company's assets and disappearing the proceeds down a hole. But such is perfectly legal and proper business practice in the good old U.S.A.


Then, too, there is the $20 million that the company has diverted from its employee pension plan over the last few years. As John Driscoll reported in the Times-Standard on Tuesday, the taxpayers may well end up picking up that tab, through the federal Pension Benefit Guaranty Corporation. That lost $20 million, which the company used to service its ludicrous debt structure, will end up coming out of your pockets and mine. Yet another parting gift from Maxxam owner Charles Hurwitz, whose place in Humboldt County history is now secure.
Lots more through the link.

So I guess the question for conspiracy theorists out there is, "how is Hank going to exploit the Maxxam/PALCO maneuver to the advantage of his Dark Lord puppetmaster Rob Arkley?" It's a vicious circle man!

Oh, and in the second half of his column he warns against purchasing pure-bred dogs over the Internet. Just in case you were thinking about it.


Meanwhile, in the same NCJ issue Bob Doran updates Nohum on the Mateel crisis. Apparently, Sohum lost a booking because the Mateel is inadequately staffed.
The "house that Reggae built" has not exactly fared well through all this. An Oregon-based concert promoter who called me yesterday said he wanted to bring KRS-ONE to the Mateel Jan. 31, but was told the place is not adequately staffed -- instead his show will run at Mazzotti's. (Winter Ruckus 4 was booked ages ago, before the mess got so ugly.)


Local anti-war events this weekend

Lots of events around the country in conjunction with the "Peace Surge" in Washington.

Carol has the details of the local event on Greg's List.

Also just got this e-mail from Redwood Progressive:

Members of the Buddhist Peace Fellowship will be ringing bells 3,000 times at the
Eureka Courthouse this Saturday, 1/27, at noon, in memory of those who have lost
their lives in the Iraq conflict. We welcome anyone and everyone to
participate... bring a bell if you like. We'll have several bells, one of them
constructed from a bomb casing recovered from Vietnam.

This is an opportunity for those of us who are not able to march in Washington to
bring mindful attention to the suffering caused by the war.

I'll be happy to post text or links to any additional information.


Did Dershowitz grill Jimmy Carter?

Actually, I'd love to see them debate. But I was going through my old e-mails this morning - the ones you set aside until you have time to read them - and came across a link to this article.

Incidently, the word Haaretz is also part of the name of the Sohum Jewish communit B'Nai Haaretz. I've never bothered to ask anybody what it means.

From the article:
Dershowitz, a Harvard Law School professor who has successfully defended O.J. Simpson and other unpopular figures, said he would take Carter to task when the former president addresses a forum at Brandeis University near Boston on January 23.

"I will have my hand up the minute he finishes. It will be polite. It will be dignified but it will be tough," Dershowitz told Reuters. "There are some very, very hard questions that have to be asked to him. "

Dershowitz said he wanted to ask Carter why he had accepted money from Saudi Arabia and why the Carter Center, an Atlanta-based humanitarian organization, had criticized Israel while not looking into human rights abuses in Saudi Arabia.

"He claims that Jewish money buys the silence of politicians and the media, and yet he denies that Arab money has bought his silence," said Dershowitz.

Carter's spokeswoman was not available to comment. Carter has said he was "completely at ease' with the book and that its title was deliberately provocative.
So that was going to be Tuesday night. Does anybody know what happened?

Wednesday, January 24, 2007


SF Chronicle slams Hurwitz

Brought to my attention by the Alliance for Ethical Business - uncharacteristicly harsh wording from a Hearst paper! Guess they don't owe Charles Hurwitz any political favors.

Some highlights:
The man is unstoppable. In 1986 he used junk bonds to buy the nation's biggest redwood lumber producer. He doubled timber cuts to pay down some $714 million in debt, but even that wasn't enough.

He then jammed out a deal of state and federal agencies that paid him $480 million for some 10,000 acres of primeval redwoods, some of the tallest stands in existence. The Headwaters acreage was turned into a park, and Hurwitz got his money.

But government wisely locked in an important condition. Hurwitz's company had to abide by conservation rules that minimized the damage of his hurry-up timber cuts on the remaining land.


Sorry, Mr. Hurwitz, your financial miscalculations can't be cured by denuding hillsides, clogging streams and harming wildlife. The state and federal purchase of the Headwaters came with an obligation that can't be jettisoned.

Hurwitz wants a bankruptcy court Hail Mary. A federal judge, sitting in a Texas courtroom, may have the power to undo a California logging deal. But this strategy would be a lawless mockery of an important deal.

Somebody's been eating raw meat! I don't imagine we're going to see anything like that in the local papers. Could you imagine the flaming?!


Hospital tax "socialism"

In May we're going to vote on extending the Hospital District parcel tax and upping the amount to $125.00. The measure is going to receive some spirited opposition from property owners like Bob Berry who is “sick and tired of every socialist organization looking to the taxpayer."

He moves on to argue that the hospital doesn't increase property values (obviously the paramount issue on his mind) and he's tired of property owners being forced to pay for "every damned social ill." As covered by the Redwood Times, he went on:
The board members devoted a large portion of the meeting to Berry’s comments. At one point he stated that he didn’t have any confidence in the ability of the hospital to provide good care. He said that when he had a heart attack last summer, his main concern was being taken to Redwood Memorial rather than Jerold Phelps Hospital. He said that on a previous visit to the ER following a motorcycle accident, he felt the only thing that saved him was the fact that his sister worked there.

”I pay the tax because there’s a gun at my head,” he said. “There’s no trust and I don’t want to come here.”

Meanwhile, I'm hearing many of the old gripes resurfacing. Among them:

1. Questions about the competence of the service providers;

2. The promise made with the passage of the last parcel tax that the hospital would get its finances in order and not require more than the 5 years;

3. Claims that the hospital has blown money by failing to submit bills for months or even years, and that sometimes patients receive no bills until they hear from a collection agency; and

4. Claims that the last tax was passed with the promise of exemptions for multiple parcel owners and others, but that once the measure was passed the hospital refused to discuss exemptions with anyone who approached them.

With the school parcel tax proposals having gone down 2 or 3 times since, the hospital has an huge climb, and they had better address each of these concerns and probably many others.


Jah My Children

The Mateel sent this letter to the coordinators yesterday.

January 23, 2007

Dear Reggae on the River Coordinators,

Our first coordinator meeting was a very positive and successful meeting for Reggae on the River 2007. Thanks to all for coming and lending your support. The next coordinator meeting will be on Tuesday, February 13th at 5:30 at the Mateel. We look forward to seeing you there. For those of you who were unable to attend, we missed you and hope you will be able to attend the subsequent meetings. Your input from past experience is invaluable for future success.

There is a lot of conflicting information flying around “out there”, and whether or not this is the reason that you did not attend the meeting we want to clear up some misconceptions:

  1. Balanced against expenses MCC realized no net income from Reggae on the River 2005 and 2006.
  2. People Productions quit working for Reggae on the River as announced at our Annual Meeting on November 17th, 2006 and in a letter titled “Letter of Termination” which we received at the end of October 2006 prior to the public announcement.
  3. The Mateel entered into mediation in good faith to try to resolve our problems with People Productions. Despite many efforts we could not reach a mutual agreement.
  4. The MCC was given several ultimatums on buyouts that were clearly not in the best interest of the Community Center, and therefore unacceptable.

After all of this transpired, thankfully a proposal for the MCC to license Reggae on the River 2007 was supported by 2B1 Multimedia. Boots Hughston has given us every reason to believe that he can produce a safe, conscious and environmentally friendly event for our community. He is a past coordinator of Reggae on the River and has been in our area for years. He will be meeting with groups of coordinators to continue organizing the event. We are looking forward to having all of the community involved including volunteers, coordinators, non-profits and vendors.

We are moving forward with Reggae on the River 2007 and we hope to see you at the meetings and participating in the show. Below please find the statement of principles 2B1 signed as a part of the license agreement.

Thank you,

The Mateel Community Center

707 923-3368 Coordinator’s Hotline Mailbox 33

2B1 Multimedia, Inc. Statement of Principles

1. We will allow the Mateel complete financial transparency.

2. We will emphasize the use of local businesses, coordinators, and staff for the event.

3. We will continue the “greening” of Reggae On The River.

4. We will emphasize the community spirit of togetherness and cooperation.

5. We will work to realign and develop the ambiance of a conscious spiritual event.

We will continue the tradition of nurturing the local nonprofit community’s economic well-being at Reggae On The River.

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