Friday, August 31, 2007

 

Wow!

Captain Future has this incredible shot of last Tuesday's eclipse from a San Francisco view incorporating the top of the TransAmerica Building. Click on the photo to enlarge.

Too cool for words!

 

The "where do we go from here" Reggae thread


By request from the participants in the discussion below I'm posting for a thread on settlement possibilities. This is not a thread to rehash the same old arguments about who is in the legal right. If the cases don't settle they will be resolved in arbitration and court - with harsh consequences for one or all parties.

I have heard rumors that all parties are putting out feelers for further settlement discussions. I'm not sure where they could go where they haven't gone before, but maybe if the Reggae Rising event was a financial success there may be enough money on the table to mitigate some of the previous issues.

So what could a settlement look like? I've proposed from the beginning that the Mateel make a clean break and sell the event - maybe for 3 or 4 million. PP could go public and raise money with investors, or create a corporation based simply on Reggae on the River.

There may be some argument from PP side that now that RR has happened ROTR is worthless as a trademark. But that's only the case if PP defenses the interference/trademark violation causes of action. And as we've learned in recent months, the case is far more complicated than most anybody knew. I knew it as soon as I read Bob D.'s summary of the complaint which is why I drew ire from both sides when I called for an immediate settlement. This is the type of case that multi-million dollar corporations file against each other and expect resolutions years away.

I know there are strong feelings about the justice of the matter from both sides of the fence. If you feel too strongly to consider settlement possibilities, please, I'll start up another thread to flame. Let's leave this one to creative settlement ideas.

 

The new KMUD news woman

I've heard a couple of the broadcasts, part of them. The new woman (Terry something?) seems to be filling in quite well.

There's no introduction at the KMUD site. I think she deserves an introduction, particularly as she's coming into a very difficult situation.

Obviously many of us miss Estelle, but as the cliche goes change is the only constant. This too shall pass, and it appears so far that this hiring was very successful.

 

Local boy makes good


The North Coast Journal makes note of David Katz' entry into the business hall of fame (right under an article about LSD and the Cotton Death). For those outside the area, or new to it, David is the founder of Alternative Energy Engineering which is becoming known in the business world by its hip initials AEE.

The NCJ article was prompted by this Inc, Magazine article. The business has expanded over 800 percent in 3 years and made over 28 million last year.

I hope he doesn't get too big for Redway.

Thursday, August 30, 2007

 

Iranian feminists to be flogged for protesting

How many of us would continue to protest?

Oh, and some of the protesters were given 6 months to 5 years in prison - for protesting polygamy and demanding equal rights.

But should we mention this development lest we're accused of slandering Islam to support the "Zionist war?"

Incidentally, I see events like these as evidence against Andy's pessimism about progress. These women are precisely among the individuals who make change possible - perhaps even more profoundly than these women.

The photo is from the above-linked article.

 

The merger of the wars on drugs and terror

Thanks to Mark for bringing this to my attention. From Alternet:
Last time we checked in on the bizarro nexus between cannabis and terrorism, it was none other than actor/director Tommy Chong who was feeling the Bush administration's post-9/11 wrath. In fact, the stoner icon, whose fabled act was concurrently resuscitated for Fox's drugged and confused comedy hit That 70s Show, was being slapped by John Ashcroft with a nine-month prison bid, a $20,000 fine and over $100,000 in seized assets for selling bongs. The terrorism connection? He was sentenced on Sept. 11, 2003. And if you think that's a specious connection, it's only gotten worse since. In fact, over the last few years, "terrorist" has become an epithet for all seasons.

In 2003, Iraq occupation architect Richard Perle slapped investigative journalist Seymour Hersh with the term, saying, "Look, Sy Hersh is the closest thing American journalism has to a terrorist, frankly." As if filing a story about the doomed occupation of a sovereign state in the pages of the New Yorker was the same thing as flying a 747 into the World Trade Center.

In 2004, Secretary of Education Rod Paige called the National Education Association, the country's largest teachers union, "a terrorist organization" because of what Paige defined as the "obstructionist scare tactics" used by its lobbyists. Because we all know it's every educator's dream to buck the system by blowing themselves up in front of their students.

And just this month, the Bush administration decided to employ the term to legally target the entire Iranian Revolutionary Guard, a sovereign nation's standing army numbering in the hundreds of thousands. When you want a war that badly, you'll pretty much do or say anything to get it.

So how does the Bush administration get away with crying terrorist at every opportunity? Say hello to the Military Commissions Act....
and the semi-local angle:
Unable or unwilling to solve the nation's crippling meth addiction or its hypocritical dependency on prescribed narcotics like oxycontin, the Office of National Drug Control Policy (ONDCP) recently rang the terrorism alarm to nail pot growers in Redding's Shasta-Trinity National Forest in California.
Addendum: Uh oh! Someone's going to accuse me of trying to steal Heraldo's thunder.

 

Peter Singer interviewed by The New Republic

Tom Hanson asked me to post a link to this TNR interview. He thought you might be interested. The intro:
On Monday, Atlanta Falcons quarterback Michael Vick plead guilty to federal charges of dog fighting, including charges that he personally endorsed the execution of underperforming dogs by hanging or drowning. For insight into the reaction to Vick's case, The New Republic spoke with ethicist Peter Singer, the Ira W. DeCamp Professor of Bioethics at Princeton University. His book Animal Liberation, first published in 1975, is considered the foundational text of the animal rights movement. He discussed the sorry lives of the American pig, the ethical difference between hunting and dog fighting, and why both of those are minor cruelties in the scale of things.
Some of the comments attached to the article are interesting as well.

 

Andy Stunich on the Arab-Israeli conflict

The views expressed are not mine - not all of them anyway. If anybody would like to type up a thoughtful response, I'll give it front page billing - EVK.


THE REAL CAUSE OF AND LIKELY PROGRESSION OF THE ARAB-ISRAELI CONFLICT

By Andrew Stunich

The battle for the land we call Israel rarely disappears from the news. The dispute is often referred to as the Arab-Israeli conflict, but as shown below that label is under-inclusive. The dispute garners so much media attention for several reasons, most of important of which is the obvious conclusion that it is a conflict that has the potential to ignite a regional war that could further erupt into a larger, more global conflagration. Such a global confrontation could result in an associated economic depression.

An understanding of the roots of the Arab-Israeli conflict is crucial if we are to have any chance of ending or containing the conflict. An accurate understanding is also essential to a deeper appreciation of the complex forces causing war, famine, terrorism and refugee problems in diverse places.

Many people believe that the conflict between the Jews and Arabs dates back to the well known story of Isaac, Abraham and Ishmael. Arabs trace their lineage to Ishmael and Jews trace their lineage to Isaac. Both Isaac and Ishmael were the sons of Abraham - Ishmael from his wife Sarah's maid and Isaac from his wife Sarah. Belief in the story of Abraham, Isaac and Ishmael is widespread, but Arabs believe in a different version of the story than is taught in the Bible. The Arab version of the story is taught in the Koran. Both groups find their version of the story to be favorable and, therefore, the widespread belief that Isaac and Ishmael descend from Abraham is not a significant factor that drives animosity between Jews and Arabs.

The Arab-Israeli conflict has its real genesis in seventh century Arabia and the advent of Islam as a world religion.

The Jewish people were conquered by the Romans and ceased to exist as an independent Jewish state several hundred years before the advent of Islam and the Arab conquest of the Middle East in the late seventh century and early eighth century. The Jewish people were scattered throughout the Middle East and beyond. As a result, vibrant Jewish communities existed on the Arabian Peninsula during Muhammad's time and they became a prime target of Islamic aggression soon after Muhammad gained political and military power in Medina.

Arab Muslims, led by Muhammad himself, attacked and ruthlessly subdued Jews located on the Arabian Peninsula. Entire Jewish tribes were destroyed by some combination of slaughter, slavery, or forced expulsion from the Arabian Peninsula. The nexus between that early conflict and the present Arab-Israeli conflict is indirect, but nonetheless existent and extremely important to an understanding of the modern Arab-Israeli conflict.

Because of their long-term familiarity and sometimes close association with one another, both groups have some common cultural ties. As noted above, both Jews and Arabs tend to believe that they are descendants of Abraham. They are both monotheistic people. Many Arabs presently live comfortably as citizens of the State of Israel with few restrictions. At least on the surface, it is part of what the two sides have in common that has become the focus of the conflict.

Both sides have long-term, historical ties to the disputed Holy Land that neither side is willing to relinquish. The present outward manifestation of the conflict between the two groups revolves around a claimed right to the Holy Land and control of Jerusalem. The conflict has a deeper root cause as explained below, but the territorial dispute exacerbates the conflict. While both groups claim rights to the Holy Land and consider control of Jerusalem as paramount to their claims to the Holy Land, it is a mistake to view the conflict as nothing more than a territorial dispute. The dispute excites Islamic fervor in millions of Muslims that were not born in, have never visited, and have never owned property in the Holy Land. Yassir Arafat, for example, was born in Egypt, but nonetheless became the most famous, iconic leader of Arab Palestinians and champion of their claims to the Holy Land and Jerusalem.

While both sides have long-term ties to the Holy Land, some of the Arab sentiments are more manufactured than the result of actual historical reverence. The Jewish reverence for Jerusalem is based on undisputably ancient historical and religious claims to the city. The Islamic claim to Jerusalem is far more manufactured by modern Islamic leaders than it is rooted in legitimate religious or historical claims to the city. In the late seventh or early eighth century Arabs built sacred sites on top of the ruins of the most sacred Jewish site in Jerusalem despite knowledge of the fact that both the city and the sacred site were perceived as profoundly holy and revered by Jews.

The destruction of and expropriation of other religion's holy sites was a common Islamic practice for centuries. Even in modern times, the Taliban resurrected the ancient Islamic practice by destroying magnificent statues of Buddha in Afghanistan. Muslims destroyed countless Hindu Shrines in India. The Hindu Shrines were seen as an especially moral affront to Islam because of the incorporation of art and statues depicting nudity and sexual acts into the temple designs.

Under the original United Nations mandate seeking to peacefully partition the Holy Land, Jerusalem was declared an international city to be administered by the United Nations. That partition attempt by the United Nations was rejected by several Arab states and they attacked the nascent Jewish state of Israel in an expressly stated attempt to destroy it. Israel prevailed in what many describe as a David versus Goliath type confrontation, but Israel's existence has been vehemently opposed by most of the Arab and Islamic World with the result that several subsequent wars, violent skirmishes, and repeated acts of terrorism have ensued.

These continued conflicts further deepened the dispute and in 1967 added additional territories to the land dispute aspect of the conflict. The 1967 Six-Day War also exacerbated the Palestinian refugee problem, as well as the dispute over Jerusalem. Israel gained full control of the city from Jordan during the 1967 war.

The underlying root cause of the Arab-Israeli conflict, like so many issues related to the conflict, is highly contested. There are many theories as to the root cause and little consensus. The most strident anti-Israel view of the conflict is that it is the direct result of Imperialism. The ultra extremist view that the Jews themselves were Imperialists is not addressed herein as it is patently untenable. There must be an empire before any people can potentially engage in empire building.

Adherents to the more mainstream view that British Imperialism caused the conflict have a more realistic, albeit ultimately inaccurate assessment as to the roots of the conflict. Adherents to the view that British Imperialism caused the conflict argue that after the British took control of Palestine following a mandate from the League of Nations to administer the land, they mismanaged the competing claims to the land and made inconsistent promises to both the Arabs and the Jews. It is claimed that the British used a small force to garrison the Holy Land without working to create a national government to administer the region or to transfer any political power to either the Arabs or the Jews. It is further claimed that without strong central authority and a viable plan to transfer power or control to the local inhabitants and to peacefully resolve their differences, it was inevitable that factions emerged to advance the interests of the competing Jewish and Arab communities. There is a great deal of truth in some of the premises that underlay the argument that the conflict is a result of British Imperialism. Both the Jews and Arabs wanted, at a minimum, autonomy and were displeased with British governance.

Both sides claimed that the British were biased against them and had broken promises to give them control of the land. Arabs complained to the British about Jewish immigration and sought to curtail that immigration as much as possible. Jews legitimately complained to the British about the limits placed on Jewish immigration and that the British were not only not defending them from Arab violence, but were hindering their ability to protect themselves from Arab aggression. British indifference, hostility, or shifting allegiance to the Arabs resulted in the Nazi slaughter of countless Jews trapped in Europe. Many Arabs applauded the slaughter and hoped to expand it to the Holy Land.

Despite a host of errors made by the British in the Holy Land, it is unfair to blame the British for the Arab-Israeli conflict. At best the British are guilty of failing to manage the conflict in the best possible manner. The reality is that the Arab-Jewish conflict was an impossible problem for the British or anyone else to resolve. There had been a continuous Jewish presence in the land for thousands of years, much longer than the Arab presence, but the Arabs were the majority population and they were violently opposed to the increasing Jewish presence. Arabs also could not accept the refusal by the Jews to adopt a traditional role of subservience to Islamic culture in the Middle East. Neither the Jewish desire to develop a home in the Holy Land nor the Arab opposition to Zionism resulted from British malfeasance or nonfeasance. At worst, Britain added fuel to a fire that was destined to burn. The reality is that it is the norm rather than the exception for there to be conflict wherever the Islamic world comes in contact with the non-Islamic world. Consider the situation in Kashmir, Nigeria, and Sudan.

No one disputes that Palestine, the Roman name for the Holy Land after the Romans were angered by a Jewish revolt, is also the Promised Land, but to whom was it promised? "The Jew, who came first? Or the Arab, who was there last?" (see fn. 1) Both Britain and the United Nations proved incapable of achieving a peaceful solution to such a difficult problem.

Both Jews and Arabs were willing to fight for the Holy Land and eventually the situation deteriorated to the point that members of both sides attacked British soldiers or each other. It is, however, undisputed that Arabs initiated the violence by attacking and slaughtering Jews in Hebron, one of the four most holy cities in Judaism. The violence spread to other parts of Palestine. Britain eventually came to understandably realize that it could not resolve the conflict and decided to withdraw from its mandate.

The United Nations attempted to resolve the problem and legitimately tried to do so. The eventual two-state solution was not a mediated solution between the Jews and Arabs; however, it was decided by the United Nations after considerable study, analysis and debate and a mediated resolution was impossible to obtain. The Palestinian Arabs were well represented at the United Nations by a host of Arab nations and the Arab League that vehemently opposed the United Nations Partition Plan.

The Arab nations were flatly unwilling to recognize the legitimacy of an independent Jewish presence in Palestine under any terms and, even after the United Nations voted to partition Palestine and Israel declared its independence, sought to supplant Israel with some type of Arab state or to divide the area among Egypt, Syria and Jordan. The following September 16, 1947, quote from Arab League secretary Abd al-Rahman Azzam Pasha reveals both the negotiating intransigence of the Arabs and the Arab view that the fight over Palestine was simply a front in the larger historic battle between Islam and the West:

"The Arab world is not at all in a compromising mood. The proposed plan may be logical, but the fate of nations is not decided by rational reasoning . . . . You will achieve nothing with talk of compromise or peace. You may perhaps achieve something by force of your arms. We will try to rout you . . . We succeeded in expelling the Crusaders, but lost Spain and Persia, and may lose Palestine. But it is too late for a peaceful solution." (see fn. 2)

The belief that the root of the Arab-Israeli conflict arises from Imperialism or is simply a land dispute is nothing more than the result of Western ignorance about Islam and Islamic culture. After the increased study of Islam and resulting better understanding of Islam that followed the horrific events of September 11, 2001, the roots of the Arab-Israeli conflict can be more accurately assessed and disclosed.

The real root cause of the Arab-Israeli conflict lies within Islamic doctrine and history and the resulting Islamic anti-Semitism with its origins dating back to the rise of Islam in the seventh century. Several verses from the Koran assign negative attributes to Jews. (see fn. 3) The Koran and hadiths contain a few favorable verses about Jews, but overall Islamic doctrine and Islamic history and culture results in fervent anti-Semitism by fundamentalist Muslims. This fervent anti-Semitism is described in "Islam and the Jews" written by Mark Gabriel. Dr. Gabriel was born in Egypt and once taught at the prestigious Al-Azhar University in Cairo, Egypt. His story of how difficult it was for him to shed the anti-Semitism bred into him during his upbringing in Egypt brings to life just how deeply ingrained and fervent anti-Semitism is in the Islamic world.

Palestinian religious leaders such as Haj Amin Hussein, the Grand Mufti of Jerusalem and uncle of Yassir Arafat, were virulently anti-Semitic and played a major role in fomenting Arab violence against and hatred of Jews. The fanatical hatred of Jews by Haj Amin Hussein and his position of leadership virtually assured that Palestinian Arabs would reject any and all compromises and assured that peace would be a transitory concept in the Holy Land for the foreseeable future.

Haj Amin Hussein's fanatical anti-Semitism fell on fertile ground. The type of institutionalized discrimination mandated by the Pact of Omar applied to Jews throughout the Islamic world to one degree or the other over the centuries inevitably led to deeply ingrained feelings of a natural right to Muslim authority over any Jews living in the Middle East or North Africa. Muslims also developed an abiding belief in the supremacy of Islam as a result of its early conquests and centuries-long status as a dominant religious and political force in the Middle East and beyond. Muslims, as the quote above reveals, perceived the fight over Palestine as a continuation of the conflict between Islam and the West that began when the early Muslim community attacked the Byzantine Empire. From the Islamic perspective, the conflict had simply simmered for approximately three hundred years. From the Western perspective, few outside of academia even realized that an epic historical fight had occurred between East and West.

The relative decline of Islam as a dominant military and political force has ultimately engendered in the Islamic world a deep-seated desire to regain Islam's past glory. It follows that the presence of Israel, a Jewish state anddemocracy, in the heart of the Islamic world is very difficult for Muslims to accept. It is very difficult for Muslims to reconcile Israel's presence and its regional military supremacy with the prevalent Muslim view that, as alleged recipients of Allah's final revelation, that no Muslim should be subject to the political supremacy of a Jewish state. It followed that, regardless of the small size of Israel and the vastly larger land mass of the surrounding Arab lands, from the Muslim perspective, Israel's existence was a cancer in the heart of the Islamic world that needed to be excised.

An additional important factor in the inability to resolve the Arab-Israeli
conflict over-looked by most Middle East analysts is the tribal roots of Arab culture and Islam. The Christian concept of forgiveness and "turning the other cheek" is just that - a Christian concept that has influenced most Western belief systems, including secular ideologies, but has made little inroads into Islamic culture in the Middle East. Islam has its origins in Arab tribal culture with its blood feuds. Islam simply traded sanguinity for belief in Muhammad as Allah's Messenger as the basis for primary tribal affiliation. In fundamentalist Islam and Arab culture, there is no concept of forgiveness for forgiveness sake. Perceived honor is paramount and any suspected slight in a family's honor can lead to violence. It is for this reason that an Arab family can and often does kill female family members who are suspected of violating the family honor. In Arab culture, blood feuds are infused with issues of honor and any settlement or resolution must restore any perceived loss of honor. Blood feuds are settled by paying the appropriate price and disputes are not settled on the basis of forgiveness along with a negotiated solution that is acceptable to both sides with no admission as to who is at fault.

It is not that honor is completely ignored in Western culture, many of us will
recall Richard Nixon's need for "peace with honor" during the Vietnam War, it is simply that the concept is restrained, tempered by, and competes with other,often stronger cultural influences that are either non-existent or not as strong in the Islamic World.

Israel is a Western culture and it has in large part adopted the Western concept of forgiveness and willingness to reach a fair negotiated solution. While this cultural difference may at first blush seem insignificant, it is not. It makes peace difficult to obtain on reasonable terms because Arabs feel wronged and have a perceived sense of a humiliating loss of honor. Arabs expect peace to come in the form of a bargained capitulation to end the blood feud that essentially pays a premium price for perceived loss of honor. Israel is unwilling to pay such a steep price for peace as it believes Arab demands would leave it defenseless or Arab demands for all or part of Jerusalem are too steep of a price to pay emotionally and culturally. It is this cultural difference that results, at least in part, in Arab refusals to accept settlement offers that, at least to Westerners, appear very favorable to Arabs in light their relative military weakness and apparent inability to achieve anything more favorable by continuing the conflict.

Islam also instills in its adherents the belief that everything that happens is
Allah's will. This concept is known as predestination. Muslims tend to believe that it is Allah's will that they ultimately triumph and, therefore, there is no need to negotiate a solution. The news media and entertainment industry in the Middle East plays to an already pervasive anti-Semitism that adds to the intractability of the conflict. Even children's cartoon characters such as Farfur the mouse advance Islamic anti-Semitism and Jihadist ideology.

Because the strongest source of the Arab-Israeli conflict is deeply ingrained in the centuries' old religious and political experience of the Islamic World, resolution of the Arab-Israeli conflict has defied resolution. Many analysts, including Henry Kissinger, have accurately concluded that the Arab-Israeli conflict is incapable of any foreseeable, permanent resolution and that all that can be achieved is some degree of crisis management.

Only complete domination and control of Islamic society by Western culture and the slow dampening and reduction of the influence of Islam over time could ever result in a real, lasting peace in the Middle East. That process would require control of the media, entertainment industry, education system, and Mosques in Islamic countries until decades of education eliminated pervasive Islamic control over the beliefs and cultural values of the region. Such an approach is beyond the parameters of what is acceptable in Western democracies so we are left with attempts to manage the crisis and the unrealistic hope that Islamic culture will miraculously change from within.

The attribution of Imperialism as the alleged source of the Israeli-Arab conflict also fails to account for the fact that the United Nations thoroughly investigated the conflict prior to voting to recognize Israel and partition that portion of Palestine not already assigned to Jordan, an Arab state and monarchy, into separate Jewish and Palestinian homelands. Such diverse countries as the United States and U.S.S.R., bitter cold war opponents at the time with divergent interests, both voted for the partition and to recognize Israel as a nation which suggests that the partition was as objectively fair as learned minds could determine.

Proponents of the view that the root cause of the conflict stems from deep-seated animosities point out that, at the time hostilities commenced, the Holy Land was far from its historic high population levels and the existing high population level today. There was, therefore, no legitimate reason for such fervent Arab opposition to continued Jewish immigration. Local Arabs did not register similar complaints about Arab immigration from surrounding Arab countries revealing that racial and religious bigotry was a driving force in Arab opposition to Jewish immigration.

It is also noteworthy that Jewish immigrants toiled hard to reclaim lost agricultural land and develop the Holy Land and their efforts raised the standard of living of both Jews and Muslims, as well as health standards and life expectancies. Jewish efforts benefitted all of Palestine's inhabitants. Moreover, Jewish land purchases resulted in a higher percentage of ownership of land in the hands of local inhabitants and away from absentee Arab landowners.

Israel's fair treatment of its Arab citizens also proves that Arabs had no reason to fear Jewish immigration and statehood. Arabs are treated by the Israeli government far better than most Arabs are treated by their own Islamic governments and Israeli Arabs have far greater free speech rights and other freedoms than most other Arabs in the Middle East.

Whatever the original origins of the conflict may be, it is clear that the conflict seems to be gaining in intensity for many reasons. There are Palestinians who were displaced during the conflict and their desire to return to their former homes within the borders of modern day Israel has been an open wound and certainly contributes to the ongoing nature of the conflict. The plight of these Palestinians has been manipulated and intentionally left unresolved by the Islamic world. In Saudi Arabia, for example, Palestinian Arabs are expressly excluded from the right to become citizens of Saudi Arabia for the admitted purpose of not diluting Arab claims to Israel.

The conflict has also resulted in the voluntary and involuntary expulsion of Jews throughout the Islamic World and the ingathering of many of them to Israel. That population infusion of displaced Jews into Israel and the Arab states' refusal to reciprocate and accept large numbers of Palestinians as welcome fellow Arabs and citizens have contributed to the ongoing nature and exacerbation of the dispute. Even if Israel had wanted to, its need to accommodate, house, and feed hundreds of thousands of Jewish refugees would have rendered it incapable of successfully absorbing the return of Palestinians whose high birth rates caused their ranks to swell during their exile.

Some analysts claim that Israel's demand that any right of return granted to
Palestinians must involve a comprehensive, permanent peace, has also contributed to the ongoing nature and exacerbation of the dispute. I disagree and believe that allowing more Arabs to live within the borders of Israel would simply destabilize the country and threaten its ability to remain a viable democracy. Any Israeli instability would translate into a perception in the Islamic world that Israel is vulnerable and would increase the likelihood of armed aggression and increase the likelihood of a new Holocaust.

A fundamentalist Islamic awakening or revival has added additional fervor to the conflict. The Islamic world has experimented with many Western ideologies, none of which have led to parity between the Islamic world and the Western world. As the Islamic world falls further behind the West and Muslims feel increasingly inferior, there is a natural reaction or tendency to turn to Islam under the belief that Islam and Islam alone made the Muslim world great and only Islam can make it great once again. There is also some understandable revulsion, from a Muslim perspective, at the decaying moral values of Western civilization. The increasing ease of communication means more exposure to Western culture at its worst as represented by Hollywood movies.

Some Jews and Christians also believe that God promised the Holy Land to the Jews and that Israel's borders should be expanded to its ancient boundaries further adding to the conflict. The Bible promises all of the land between the Nile River and Euphrates River to the Jews and many Jews and Christians believe that the Jews are obligated to accept God's gift. Palestinians become enraged when Jewish settlers take up residence in Judea and Samaria, known more popularly as the West Bank and Gaza Strip.

Now that population levels in the region are high, it is anticipated that further rising population density in the region will add further demands to the relatively limited land space and already strained water supplies and potentially deeply exacerbate the conflict. The increasing sophistication and intensity of international terrorism and the response to that terrorism are both adding further instability to the region. Knowledge and education are increasing with the associated sophistication of the type of weaponry sure to be used in future battles.

The threat of the proliferation of weapons of mass destruction increases with each passing year with the concurrent increase in the danger to the region's inhabitants and the very real possibility that Israel will undertake preemptive strikes against Iran, Hamas, Hezbollah or some combination thereof.

Iran's support of terrorism since its 1979 Islamic Revolution and the express
desire by some of its political and religious leaders to exterminate Israel and fund terrorism against Israel has greatly intensified the conflict. Iran's funding and support of Hezbollah has already caused one war and will probably lead to future wars. Prior to the 1979 Islamic Revolution, the Shah of Iran had good relations with Israel and kept Iran out of the confict.

Given Iran's increasing involvement in the conflict and the likelihood that it will play a major role in the future of the conflict, it may be more accurate in the future to describe the conflict as the Islamic-Israeli conflict.

Such a designation would more accurately describe the participation in the conflict by Muslims throughout the World who are not Arabs, as well as help identify the root cause of the conflict.

Up until now, there really has been no legitimate reason for the conflict. There was plenty of room for the area to comfortably accommodate Twentieth Century population levels. But water resources available to the region are becoming increasingly taxed and there may well be very legitimate disputes in the future over limited water supplies that could raise the stakes of the conflict even further. Israel and Syria have already squared off in the past over disputed water supplies. Israel is obtaining water from Turkey which will make it vulnerable to an interdiction of some of its water supply. The globalization of water resources will also allow an unnatural population increase in the Middle East that will eventually add to regional instability.

My best prediction for the future of the Middle East is not optimistic, although I hope and pray that I am wrong. I believe that Iran will obtain nuclear weapons. Western culture has become too unsure of its own moral right to exist to take the hard steps and to maintain the long-term resolve needed to stop Iranian nuclear development. How can those who do not respect their culture ever decide to sacrifice themselves or even their comfort to preserve that culture? Increasing oil prices will raise the amount of money the Mullahs of Iran can spend preparing for war and decrease the relative power of Western economies. Increasing European political and economic power, as well as shifting domestic politics within the United States, will lessen military aid to Israel from the United States. Israel will become increasingly isolated and may well find itself facing the Islamic World alone.

Iran and several other Islamic states will eventually attack Israel after a decline in Israel's relative regional military supremacy. The conflict will eventually result in the exchange of nuclear weapons or some other type of weapons of mass destruction.

___________________________________________________________
Footnotes:

1. Quoted from Lightning Out of Israel an old and out of print book written by the
Associated Press about the Six-Day War.

2. Quoted from Middle East Conflict by Mitchell G. Bard.

3. See chapter 2, verses 61, 65; chapter 3, verse 71; chapter 4, verse 46; chapter 5, verses 60-65, 78-82; and chapter 7, verse 166.

 

Cotton death aftermath

I haven't really followed the matter, but there are two stories in the Times-Standard today. One is an interview with Cotton's father. The other is about the EPD chief's calling for the release of the prison video to settle the controversy.

Wednesday, August 29, 2007

 

Slow Food

Just read Bob Doran's NCJ article about the Slow Food movement and its local incarnation. A good read and an interesting concept!

 

Questions about children's books

Obviously I'm becoming an expert on them. And a connoisseur. My favorite author is and has always been Dr. Seuss, who introduced the concept of children's literature as opposed to the "see Tom run" prose which dominated prior. Plus, Dr. Seuss introduced politics into children's literature - everything from environmentalism (The Loraxx) to anti-fascism (Yertle the Turtle).

My favorites are the Horton sequels. But my question is: in the Horton universe, which story took place first? Obviously the elephant bird pup wasn't around when the Whoville dust speck blew into Horton's life. Did he return to the no-good Mayzie bird? Horton sat on that egg for a full year, without protecting the Whoville speck, but then all the animals were chipping in by the end of the Who story.

Also, was the dust speck Whoville the same as in the Grinch story? If so, during the Horton/Wickersham Brothers crisis, did the Grinch chip in with his own yip or yop? He lived on a mountain top. Certainly his contribution would have been crucial.

....

Is anybody besides me creeped out by The Giving Tree? The tree, for some reason depicted in the story as female, gives everything of herself. The brat gives nothing back. And somehow, we're supposed to be touched by an ending where the boy can make use of what little she has left?

Was this like some children's metaphor for a leather scene relationship?

....

Now I like the Bearingstein Bears stories. But do they move a lot, or does the landscape around them constantly change as in that movie Dark City? In one story they're surrounded by farms. In another they're in a neighborhood with other kids. The treehouse itself seems to alter shape from story to story - but then the father is a woodworker and maybe he just can't sit still.

....

Does Curious George ever get anyone killed?

....

And where does Clifford, well, you know, go?

....

Dr. Seuss stamp image is from here.

 

From the Civil Liberties Monitoring Project

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Tune in to the next Civil Liberties Hour on KMUD radio, Wednesday September 5 from 7-8 PM with scheduled guest Undersheriff Mike Downey.

The Humboldt County Election Advisory Committee meets on Tuesday, September 18 from 6:30 to 8:00 p.m. in Conference Room A on the first floor of the County Courthouse at 825 Fifth Street in Eureka. (The group will has changed its meeting time to the third Tuesday of each month.)

NORML'S 36TH ANNUAL NATIONAL CONFERENCE
"Cannabis, Creativity and Commerce" Los Angeles October 12-13, 2007

CLMP ANNUAL FORUM � SAVE THE DATE!
Saturday, November 3
Mateel Community Center, Redway


Tuesday, August 28, 2007

 

Richard asks a great question

Where exactly is "Northern California?"

 

Three years for child molestation?

As I've said before, I generally don't second-guess attorneys who make settlements - certainly not when all I have for information is what can be summed up in a newspaper article.

On the other hand, just by virtue of the defendant's response in court this verdict can't be described as anything but extremely disappointing.

And again, there are numerous reasons not to take a matter to trial, the well-being of the victim being a prominent consideration.

And as a Gallegos supporter, I have to admit that a string of settlements like these begin to look troubling.

Addendum: Rose has some of her own thoughts on the story.

Second addendum: Yet another case involving allegations of sexual assault. Maybe if I can find the time I'll put together a comprehensive list for overview purposes. Or maybe Rose has already done this?

 

Clinton will be the next president

I've said it before. Barring a major hemorrhage, which is always possible.

I just got these figures from Kos. Note that Clinton is clobbering the strongest Republicans in their home states, and it really shouldn't be that close in Kansas. The election's a long way off, but this really isn't where the Republicans want to be right now.
We've seen SUSA matchups in Missouri, New Mexico, and Ohio here, Alabama, Kentucky, and Virginia here. and California, Oregon, and Washington here.

Kansas. 6 Electoral votes. Bush won in 2004 by 25%. Clinton versus Giuliani, Thompson, and Romney.

Clinton (D) 40 (36)
Giuliani (R) 54 (56)

Clinton (D) 44 (45)
Thompson (R) 49 (48)

Clinton (D) 45 (44)
Romney (R) 45 (44)


Massachusetts. 12 Electoral votes. Kerry won in 2004 by 25%. Clinton versus Giuliani, Thompson, and Romney.

Clinton (D) 57 (56)
Giuliani (R) 37 (36)

Clinton (D) 62 (64)
Thompson (R) 30 (29)

Clinton (D) 62 (63)
Romney (R) 33 (30)


New York. 31 Electoral votes. Kerry won in 2004 by 19%. Clinton versus Giuliani, Thompson, and Romney.

Clinton (D) 59 (58)
Giuliani (R) 37 (36)

Clinton (D) 64 (64)
Thompson (R) 31 (30)

Clinton (D) 64 (66)
Romney (R) 27 (27)

The media has already coroneted her. The money's going to her - I think she's raising more money than any of the Republican candidates at this time which hasn't happened I'm pretty certain since 1996. Yes, I know people don't like her. But when a country is in crisis, as a matter of reality or perception, likability declines as a factor. People think she will get things done, and moderates are pining for the Clinton "glory days."

Barring a dark horse ringer, or a scandal, I don't see anyone overtaking her. For better or worse.

Monday, August 27, 2007

 

"I have lived the American Dream"

That line's going to be a big subject for comedians all week. As you've no doubt heard or read by now, Attorney General Alberto Gonzales has resigned following a long string of scandals, from the politicizing of the hiring/firing process of his office to the wiretap flap.

You have to wonder what happened. Usually they try to slip these things in late Friday afternoon. Something must have broken over the weekend, though I don't see anything in the news coverage as of yet.

Photoshop job comes from Talkleft.

I'll post more links on the subject as they're brought to my attention.

Addendum: John Nichols of The Nation points out that there were 27 sponsors for impeachment of Gonzales, with more expected following the recess. Maybe the administration was afraid it would prime the pump.

Sunday, August 26, 2007

 

Fox News "embarrassed" over Wikipedia flap

Hilarious.

By the way, I think Chris Wallace was the host of the show I watched this morning. I'm glad I don't have cable.

 

PALCO asks for another bankruptcy extension

Heraldo is reporting on a news story I missed.

 

Well, I've tried to be sophisticated!

Since my youth, I've "acquired" what I like to consider sophistication in my palate in spite of the initial taste bud rebellion. I learned to prefer dry wines to sweet wines. I learned to prefer wheat bread to white bread. I learned to prefer coffee without cream and sugar. I learned to prefer the real peanut butter from which the oil separates to the stuff loaded with lard and sugar. I've even come to enjoy brewer's/nutritional yeast on popcorn.

But no matter how many dark chocolate bars I eat - the ones that label with pride the cocoa content of seventy percent or above- I just can't get by the sour aftertaste and, more to the point, the heavenly flavor of milk chocolate. I know it's better for me. My wife and kids prefer it. I know the sugar and milk obscure the "true flavor" of the chocolate on some esoteric level.

Just call me a chocolate Philistine. What can I say?

Photo source.

 

Does anybody here think Bush's Vietnam comparison was prudent?

I had the opportunity to watch a Fox News gab fest this morning - four right wingers and moderately left Juan Williams - and with the one exception they all seemed to believe the president would actually win points with the association. Personally I think it was the dumbest comment he's made since "bring em on."

Later on that show the host tried to slam Bill Moyers for the latter's report that various acquaintances of Karl Rove say that he's an agnostic who merely manipulates religion for political gain. The host's response? Moyers didn't ask Rove. Rove told the host that he's Christian, and that's that. Moyers should have asked Rove.

I mean, am I missing something?

Friday, August 24, 2007

 

Does the Hippocratic Oath apply to psychologists?

There are several versions of the Oath, and all of them contain some version of the pledge to "do no harm," or "never to do deliberate harm to anyone for anyone else's interest."

The topic has come up in discussions about physician participation in executions, though the physicians would argue that their presence is to mitigate harm rather than impose it. That doesn't seem to be the case with psychologists, whose primary association refuses to issue a moratorium on the practice of psychology for torture. The association did limit the involvement to a passive role - sort of.

From the SF Bay Guardian:
At the APA's 115th annual conference, held at San Francisco's Moscone Center on Aug. 17 to 20, Fallenbaum and many other psychologists and activists spoke — and rallied at the Yerba Buena Gardens — in favor of a rule that would have banned psychologists from engaging in military interrogations at US military prisons "in which detainees are deprived of adequate protection of their human rights."

The moratorium they advocated — which only recently made it onto the APA's agenda — was overwhelmingly voted down Aug. 19 at the APA Council meeting after an hour of public comment that was mostly in support of the moratorium. A competing motion that reaffirmed the organization's position against torture "and other cruel, inhumane, or degrading treatment or punishment" was unequivocally passed, leaving a schism between the organization and the rejected resolution's supporters.

From the small favors department:
In its approved resolution, the APA for the first time lays out 14 forms of inhumane treatment that it opposes. The list includes mock executions, water boarding, sexual humiliation, isolation, exploitation of phobias, and induced hypothermia...
But then, you don't need psychologists for that. You only need them to induce a Stockholm Syndrome after the fact.

The conference did generate a startling admission, if unintended, from an officer at Guatanomo.
As US Army Col. Larry James, who serves as a psychologist at Guantánamo Bay, told the crowd before the vote, "If we remove psychologists from these facilities, people are going to die."
So, I guess that puts them in the framework of the physicians trying to make executions painless, but what's going on at the base then that's going to kill people but for the presence of headshrinkers?

Read the article. It's...., well, fascinating.

Update: An APA award winning author returned her award in protest of the organization's stance.

 

Eric the soccer coach


Yep. The league is short on coaches right now, so I got roped in. Thing is, I missed the training session, and I don't really know what I'm doing. I need some pointers.

The team is made up of 4 to 6 year olds. We had our first practice yesterday, which we mostly spent scrimmaging and running through the sprinkler in the field (it was hot!). I improvised a couple of drills trying to teach them to pass with the insides of their feet, and some dribbling around cones. Anybody have any drills to suggest for that age level? We play with hockey-sized goals in a smaller field. Only five kids on the field for each team. No goalie. No off-sides rules or anything like that. Any books, websites, or other literature to suggest?

We chose a name - the Blue Sharks got the most votes (the jerseys being blue). Other nomination were the Blue Dragons, The Blueberries, the Snakes, and the Red Tree (my personal favorite, but it only got two votes).

It's like herding cats at that age. They don't listen to my whistle! Any advice is welcome!

Photo is from the Mad River Youth Soccer site.

Thursday, August 23, 2007

 

KMUD the new Reggae War front?

I'd hoped this thing would die down by now, but there were two All-sides-now entries last night on Estelle's resignation - both very articulate singing her praises and one calling for her to run for supervisor.

Meanwhile, Anna's got a letter in the Eureka Reporter.

I heard from my partner that somebody who spoke to him think's it's my fault that Estelle is leaving. He hasn't elaborated. It's a curious accusation, seeing as how her resignation was already announced before I posted anything about it. I imagine it's all about the "climate" I've created by allowing people to post their opinions on my blog. Whatever.

Estelle's last news broadcast will be aired tomorrow night.

Photo comes from Camp Betty Campout.

 

Conservatives don't need no stinkin books!

AP says iberals read more books.
34 percent of conservatives have not read a book within the past year, compared with 22 percent of liberals and moderates.

– Among those who had read at least one book,
conservatives “typically read eight” books in the past year. Liberals read nine, moderates five.

– “By slightly wider margins, Democrats tended to read more books than Republicans and independents. There were no differences by political party in the percentage of those who said they had not read at least one book.”

Here's an amusing response from a conservative pundit. The poll is faulty because after all conservatives spend more time reading on the Internet!
What is probably the most likely answer for the variation between the number of books liberals and conservatives read is that conservatives have aggressively embraced the new media, and since the amount of reading material available on the Internet is infinitessimally easier to access than books, conservatives are spending exhorbitant amounts of time online reading -- much more reading than they ever did even before, leaving them with less time to read books.

....

It's easy to see why Schroeder is claiming this -- she's trying to reverse a long held stereotype of liberals. Liberals have been stereotyped for years as lacking the intellectual rigor of conservatives...
No, it's not satire! Maybe if she read more books she could spell exorbitant and infinitesimally.

Okay, that was a cheap shot considering my spelling disabilities. But since she and her political creed have "aggressively embraced the new media," you'd think she would aggressively embrace spellcheck.

Oh, here's another good one!
"Liberals read more books because they read fiction only. Conservatives are too busy reading lengthy non-fiction dealing in facts!"
There's so much to work with in that comment. I just don't have the time!

And Whitehouse spokesman Tony Fratto may not read books, but he does know how to consult a thesaurus. He accuses liberals of being "locquacious."

This poll comes on the heels of another poll that suggested that Fox News watchers are less informed than Colbert watchers. The graph comes from Think Progress, linked just above. Click on the graph to enlarge.

Honestly, I don't think these polls mean much, as there are multiple explanations in alternative to the obvious Archie Bunker implications (and the lame explanations above). But they're too much fun to pass on.

Wednesday, August 22, 2007

 

County demands marijuana legalization

This paragraph from the Times Standard is hilarious!
Eric Heimstadt disagreed with the concerns of some that legalized marijuana would lead to large, corporate grows taking over the market and suffocating mom-and-pop operations like those in Humboldt County.
Was prohibition-as-protectionism actually discussed?!

And Jimmy Smith's reason for abstention? He needs more information. Because like, the legal issues of marijuana have never come up in Humboldt County. He needs time to educate himself and make up his mind.

Tuesday, August 21, 2007

 

Amnesty bucks the Catholic Church over abortion

From adnkronos:
Norwich, 21 August (AKI) - Roman Catholic Bishop Rev. Michael Evans has announced he is leaving Amnesty International after the campaign group last week backed abortion as a human right for rape victims.

Bishop Evans, quoted by the Independent newspaper, said he will be "the first of many" to cancel his membership of Amnesty. He has been an active member of the group for 31 years.

Amnesty was founded in 1961 by British lawyer and Roman Catholic convert Peter Beneneson to campaign on behalf of prisoners of conscience. It has never been officially affiliated to the church.

Senior international Amnesty representatives overwhelmingly agreed in Mexico last week to end the group's previously neutral stance on abortion and to condone the killing of an unborn child in certain circumstances.

These include cases of rape, incest or to save a woman's life.
The Church is accusing AI of a "double standard" because it opposes the death penalty. AI responds:
Amnesty says it is not "pro-abortion" but supports "women's human rights to be free of fear, threat and coercion as they manage all consequences of rape and other grave human rights violations."
For me abortion is an easy legal issue, but a difficult moral one. My wife's miscarriages kind of led me to an appreciation of the delicate balances in the life cycle, and I wonder if we're devaluing life and the life process with abortion. Since I will never be faced with the decision, I'm content to leave the matter to the individual conscience of the pregnant woman. The government has no business enslaving someone, not even to save a life. As to what phase of a pregnancy does the fetus become "human" entitled to rights, well, I'd say it's when the life can survive without the enslavement of the woman. Before that, it's her call.

As for the Amnesty stand, please! It's a bare minimum consideration for the woman. Better late than never.

 

Iraq and Iran in the world news, and not


I received in e-mail with a link to an English version of IRIB (Islamic Republic of Iran Broadcasting) news report of a large anti-occupation rally in Bagdad.

Tens of thousands of Iraqis held a massive demonstration against the American forces' savage raids on the peaceful parts of Baghdad Monday morning. According to IRIB correspondent in Baghdad, the demonstrators began their protest in Baghdad's Sadr city from early morning by chanting anti-occupation slogans. While holding Iraqi flags, boards condemning the presence of occupiers and pictures of the martyred Iraqi civilians, demonstrators chanted slogans against America, the Zionist regime and all the occupiers and condemned the raid by the American forces on the secure Shia-settled areas of Baghdad and the air raid on Sadr city.

The protest was the greatest popular demonstration in Baghdad in the last two months.
Can't find any mention of the demonstration, ostensibly organized by Shiites, in any other media. The prose is obviously not objective, but even if there weren't "tens of thousands" of demonstrators, shouldn't there be some report of a demonstration for the Iranians to exagerrate? It does suggest a collusion on the part of the media, although similar demonstrations in the past have been used by administration apologists to argue that peaceful demonstrations indicate stability and progress.

The photo, ostensibly of the apparently invisible demonstration, is from the IRIB article.

....

Meanwhile, the Guardian is reporting that fights between Kurdish rebels and the Iranian military have spilled into Iraq.

The Kurdish group (Party for a Free Life in Kurdistan or PJAK) is interesting. Nearly half the fighters are female. It is closely allied to the Kurdistan Workers Party, which has been designated a "terrorist organization" by the State Department, although some in the anti-war movement have suggested that these quasi-Marxist groups are part of a CIA effort to destabilize Iran, or at least in cooperation thereof. The PJAK does operate relatively freely in Kurdish Iraq. The PJAK also has its eyes set on portions of Syria, and, yes, Turkey.

Addendum: a reader sent me links to some additional coverage of yesterday's demonstration, including this story.

Monday, August 20, 2007

 

Caracas commemorates Trotsky on the anniversary of his assassination

From a site entitled In Defense of Marxism, apparently Venezuela is now the only government to acknowledge the event as one of significance.
The ideas of Leon Trotsky have already been referred to on a number of occasions by president Chávez, who has said he is a follower of the permanent revolution, and commented favourably on the Transitional Programme.

Now, on August 20th, the Venezuelan authorities have organised a public meeting to commemorate 67 years since the assassination of Trotsky in Mexico. This is certainly an historic event. It is the first time in 67 years that this date has been commemorated officially by a government institution anywhere in the world.

Amongst those invited to take part in the event are Esteban Volkov, Trotsky's grandson, who has dedicated most of his efforts to the rehabilitation of the figure of the Russian revolutionary from the pile of slanders and lies of the Stalinists; Celia Hart, the Cuban communist who has played a key role in reintroducing the debate on Trotsky on the island and reclaimed his ideas; and Ricardo Napurí, a Peruvian army officer who became a revolutionary, collaborated with Che Guevara and is also a Trotskyist.

Che Guevara was NOT a Trotskyist by the way. Trotskyists in Cuba have mostly been jailed or exiled. Or killed.

Anybody curious about Trotsky would do well to read from Isaac Deutscher's biographic trilogy. Although the history was bogus, the film Frida portrayed Trotsky in a very thoughtful manner. A complex figure, and if I start typing about him I won't make it to bed. Maybe later.


 

Mattole blues

From Sanctuary Forest. You can find regular updates here.

Mattole River Update: Aug 2007

This summer continues to be one of the lowest flow years on record for the Mattole River. On August 8th there were 500 gallons per minute flowing just upstream of Bridge Creek, and within two weeks we expect that number to drop by half, to 250 GPM-the equivalent of just 12 pumps working at once.

By September 1st the Mattole Headwaters will be in a critical condition, with some spots drying up completely and leaving baby salmonids exposed and stranded. Already there are approximately 15,000 baby Chinook stuck in gradually warming water at the mouth of the Mattole in Petrolia, where they will die unless we do something to help them.

Sanctuary Forest, the Mattole Restoration Council and the Mattole Salmon Group are working together to improve river flows and salmon survival, and encourage community members to do what they can to conserve water. Everybody counts, including those who use water from tributaries and springs that would usually feed the Mattole. September is the most critical month, and everything you can do to reduce water use or stop pumping will help. Stop watering your garden, let lawns go brown, take short showers and fix leaks. Little changes can make big differences.

For more information visit sanctuaryforest.org, and please come join us at the Mattole River Celebration on Aug. 25th at Whitethorn Construction to celebrate our shared watershed, local culture and talent, and to learn more about river and fish conditions and what you can do to help them.

SAVE WATER SAVE SALMON
Mattole River Update August 8, 2007

Conditions:

· Conditions are low and approaching critical
· 494 gallons per minute were measured upstream of Bridge Creek confluence on August 8th, 2007
· Juvenile salmonids are currently trapped in tributaries and the estuary

What you can do:

· CONSERVE NOW!!
· Every water source counts, including all water taken from tributaries and springs that feed the Mattole
· Fix Leaks. Leak proof your water storage tank and water system
· Use a tank shut-off valve to keep water from overflowing or use overflow piping that leads back to the stream or river
· Reduce watering of garden & landscape: Try dry farming, drip irrigation, mulching, timing of watering, avoid over watering, and drought resistant plants
· Reduce household water use
· Recycle grey water
· Install low flow shower heads and fixtures - Free fixtures available from Mattole Restoration Council (629-3514)

Prepare for even greater conservation measures for the entire month of September including:
· Stop watering lawns and let them go brown
· Stop watering gardens
· Share a shower
· Reduce or eliminate toilet flushing - use an outhouse - “let it mellow”
·
Sanctuary Forest invites you to come join us at the Mattole River Celebration on Aug. 25th at Whitethorn Construction (10:00 a.m. into the night) to celebrate our shared watershed, local culture and talent, and to learn more about river and fish conditions and what you can do to help them.


 

Local blog roundup

My life's pace is finally slowing down a bit. I've had some time to explore the local blogs of late. Here are some highlights.

....

Fred notes that both Humboldt and Mendocino counties are pushing Thompson to support marijuana legalization, but wonders why they don't start with industrial hemp per Ron Paul's actually existing legislation.

....

Heraldo's head is spinning as he's simultaneously attacked for being a cop lover and a cop hater.

....

Anon.R.Mouse thinks Richard Salzman is stupid.

....

Steve Lewis thinks I'm a Zionist here to suppress him.

....

Hucktunes has a nice photograph of a very beautiful woman on a bicycle.

....

Reggae Warrior is MIA.

....

Forest Defender is promoting a "direct action camp" for the first week of September.

....

The Petch House people are taking a break from the bathroom and painting outside.

....

Jennifer S. recommends a yogurt and honey mask for your beauty. (She's yet another blogger who moved over to Wordpress. Can't go to sleep or the pod might get me too!).

....

Ed gives a thumbs-down to Safeway's prepared meal.

....

Rose discusses the admissibility of polygraph tests (California requires stipulation from both sides).

....

And ecoshift ponders the roller coaster stock market of late, and it's implications (ecoshift also fell asleep near a wordpress pod).

....

All that and more! Don't say you don't have choices. More fun than you can shake a stick at!

 

KMUD Lu'au this weekend

And this time it's at the Community Park rather than Benbow, probably in part due to some of the hassles of last year.

From KMUD's site:
KMUD Celebrates 10th Annual Lu'au and Slack Key Guitar Festival, Saturday August 25th.

In ancient times, Hawaiians gathered together for three days in ceremony "to make right"- called Ho'oponopono. When problems in extended family units, called Ohana, reached a level of inescapable severity a pig would be raised, sacrificed, cooked and sent home to the many households for use as a sacred feast of thanksgiving after a wrong was righted. The modern day Lu'au has its roots in this ancient Hawaiian psychotherapy.

KMUD's 10th Annual Lu'au once again asks all to gather together in feast and song to help heal and perpetuate KMUD's Ohana, its family, and its diverse community. This year the Lu'au will take place on Saturday, August 25th at the Southern Humboldt Community Park in Garberville. Aptly called "Lu'au In The Park" this event is also a Slack Key Festival featuring Aaron Mahi, Martin Pahinui and George Ku'o. One of Hawaiian music's most gifted vocalists, Martin Pahinui has performed with a host of top artists, including his father's legendary Gabby Pahinui Hawaiian Band. Martin's incredible voice ranges from a low deep bass to a rich high and haunting falsetto. Aaron Mahi is one of Hawaii's living legends in traditional Hawaiian music. He has a tremendous repertoire and knowledge of the hidden meanings of traditional Hawaiian songs. Aaron is Hawaii's musical ambassador as he also performs with the Royal Hawaiian Band all over the world. George Kuo in known for perpetuating traditional Hawaiian slack key guitar styling, called kiho'alu. George shares the feelings and enjoyment of a by-gone era in Hawaii that he was fortunate to be part of. Martin Pahinui (6 string slack key guitar), Aaron Mahi (bass guitar) and George Kuo (6 and 12 string slack key guitar) will present the slack key guitar and vocal melodies in a manner that will give the listeners goose bumps on their arms and a rich happiness from their deep soulful delivery.

People can attend the Lu'au food fest only or enjoy the Slack Key Festival only or participate in both. The Imu (pig in a pit) uncovering begins at noon and a feast of kalua pig, chicken lau laus, sweet potato, poi, grilled fish and tofu as well as KMUD's infamous Lu'au spam, are accompanied by salads, drinks desserts and more. Many food and flowers are flown in from the Hawaiian Islands. The aroma will be intoxicating!

Tickets are available at The Metro & Greenhouse Board Shop in Arcata; The Works in Eureka; Leaves of Grass in Willits; Tangents in Fort Bragg; Wild Horse Records & Blue Moon in Garberville and in Redway at Redway Liquors or stop by the KMUD studio. Lu'au & Slack Key Festival tickets are $50 in advance, Slack Key Festival only tickets are $20 in advance.
Ticket discounts for seniors, students and KMUD members. Children 12 and under are free, as is the parking.

Come celebrate our Ohana, our diverse community and see why KMUD ‘got da bess Lu'au in da mainland'. For more information call KMUD at 923-2513.

Also of note (which I probably missed), KMUD has a new program director:

KMUD is pleased to announce our new Program Director, Marianne Knorzer. Marianne comes to us from Radio Birdstreet, 107.1 FM in Oroville, California, a station she helped found and manage. We are all looking forward to working with her to continue the excellent programming KMUD is appreciated for. We will have opportunities for the public to meet her at one or more gatherings soon, stay tuned to KMUD!

Welcome Marianne!

Sunday, August 19, 2007

 

The Prince of Darkness returns!

Boy! I don't know how I missed this one. I've definitely been out of the loop of reality of late. Maybe the Reggae conflict has overshadowed the event. In any case, Bruce Anderson has returned. He's back in charge at the Anderson Valley Advertiser, which has a website now where you'll find his return interview.

I won't bother to make an introduction for those of you who don't know him. He's a brilliant writer, and a consummate iconoclast. Many people will also tell you he's, well, a supreme asshole. To say that not everybody is going to be overjoyed with his return is about along the lines of suggesting that PB and Anna Hamilton won't be having any Sunday dinners together anytime soon. Anderson has pissed a lot of people off, some of who probably deserved it and others who clearly didn't. His scorched earth writing about the Judi Bari saga is a classic example. I hosted him on my radio show a few years back (and subsequently gave Darrel C. "equal time") and it was one of my more lively shows. I should point out that many of his detractors accuse him of being very loose with the facts, at least when it came to the Bari story. I'm sure the thread will be rich with accusations to that effect.

Setting aside the controversies, his writing is extraordinary and fun to read. Then again, I haven't really been a target of his. Not yet anyway (though I was briefly slammed by one of his writers, but as I said once before, it only made me feel more important than I was). I was just going through my e-mail archives and I found this old piece of his on modern bookstores and progressive magazines. You either love his stuff, or you don't.
"If you're like me, and you must be pretty much on the same page if you read this fine newspaper every week, the new book stores are of little interest other than as a place to buy a book that you can't really afford but can't wait to be remaindered when you buy if from Hamilton for $3.95. You want to read it NOW. And the new bookstore sells NOW. (Kids aren't the only segment of the society prone to the pull of instant gratification. Book fogies are right up there with junkies in unreasoning compulsion.) New book stores irritate the hell out of me, frankly, because they're a living reminder of how far the culture has slipped. Of course to stay in business a new bookstore has got to sell what people pay to read, hence the shelves stuffed with the aforementioned Toms and Dicks. Hawk, along with Dr. Laura, Miss Butterfly, Tome Clancy, Michael Jackson bios, and all the rest of the downward cultural indicators in print form. The cover art, if that's what it's called on new books, is as awful as the gibberish on the page. Fifty years ago even bad books came in interesting wrappers designed and illustrated by real artists. No more. If the product wasn't in book form you could be browsing in WalMart for all you can tell from the packaging.

.....

The magazine racks are even more offensive than the new book stores. Here's the cover of a recent collection. Small seas of brightly colored covers committed to nothing at all of the latest in mindless consumption. Hidden away in the "serious" part of the mag rack there with the three copies of New Left Review and maybe two copies of Monthly Review, there's the Nation wondering on its cover if Nancy Pelosi will move the Democratic Party in a more "progressive" direction and, on the same cover, another inane ditherer is worried that Ralph Nader might run for president again. I have a suggestion for the progressive print people: Combine The Nation, In These Times, Utne Reader, The Progressive, Mother Jones, and Z in to one monthly magazine called WUSS. A Publication for Greek Seaman's Caps and People Who Drive Used Volvos With Lots of Bumperstickers On Them."
Hmmm. What's going to happen if he catches up with the Reggae conflict? Then again, maybe he won't bother. All of the sudden the old quote by Tom Lehrer comes to mind: "I gave up satire the day they gave Kissinger the Nobel Peace Prize." I mean, what could Bruce add to the mix?

 

Balloon Track back in the news - economy, jobs, growth... yada, yada, yada

The Times Standard's article barely scratches the surface and makes no mention of the aging BAE study commissioned by Eureka during the WalMart controversy. It focuses on the impact of the megaboxes in Crescent City, then acknowledges later in the article that we're talking very different economies and cultures. The Humboldt Business Council did commission a poll last fall which suggests that the Eureka citizenry is supportive of the proposal, though last fall's election results introduced some ambiguity.

I doubt the following paragraphs from the article are going to excite the majority of Humboldt residents, at least not in the right way for Marina Center advocates.
In addition to bringing traffic into town, Naffah said the combination of Home Depot and Wal-Mart has also brought the interest of other national chains, which he welcomes with open arms.

He said Starbucks is opening a shop across the street from Home Depot, and Walgreens has plans to move in shortly. He said he has no question that Home Depot played a role in those companies' decisions.

”One thing sort of feeds into another,” he said. “There's kind of a synergetic snowball effect.”

The Marina Center faces a number of serious obstacles, both from local grassroots opposition and potentially from various layers of regulation as Mark Lovelace explained to me some months ago.

I had promised to study the issue and make some sage comments about the whole thing. We are of course waiting for the Security National economic study intended to address concerns raised by the BAE study as to the impact on local businesses. I did meet with Security National representatives last fall and they made some compelling arguments for the proposal. I would add to their arguments that Humboldt County has an aging population with families on the decline. All of the school districts are experiencing declining enrollment as the economic bases are melting away.

I don't know if this proposal would make a difference. It doesn't revive old economic bases, nor does it introduce new ones with the possible exception that the development would introduce a small amount of infrastructure to accommodate high tech industry. It would seem to basically kick around the same money, the only benefit coming from the multipliers if there is an increase of income and more spending. But sooner or later local progressives are going to have to propose something and not just stand in opposition to whatever comes along.

Saturday, August 18, 2007

 

Christian prof fired for criticizing capitalism

From Inside Higher Ed:
When Colorado Christian University notified Andrew Paquin, an assistant professor of global studies, that his contract would not be renewed, he knew that not being sufficiently guided by Christ wasn’t the problem. But it might have been that he wasn’t sufficiently capitalist.

“Throughout the process it became evident that the issue of capitalism, the use of a couple of different books were at the core” of President William L. Armstrong’s “discomfort” with him, Paquin said. Those included works by animal-rights ethicist Peter Singer and Jim Wallis, author of God’s Politics: Why the Right Gets It Wrong and The Left Doesn’t Get It. Once Paquin was notified that he couldn’t continue on as a professor, students, faculty and alumni started petitions and contacted The Rocky Mountain News, which broke the story this week and sparked a torrent of anger on the blogosphere.

Of course, Paquin knew that he was a full-time professor at a private, religious institution that does not award tenure; Colorado Christian’s statement of faith says, “We believe the Bible to be the inspired, the only infallible, authoritative Word of God.” But he didn’t think his views or his teachings would conflict with the university’s mission — and besides, he’d been voted Faculty Member of the Year for 2006.

All that apparently changed when Armstrong became president a year ago and helped unveil a new set of strategic objectives, including to “[i]mpact our culture in support of traditional family values, sanctity of life, compassion for the poor, Biblical view of human nature, limited government, personal freedom, free markets, natural law, original intent of constitution and Western civilization.”

....

Paquin generated his own response in a blog entry, where he wrote, “My stance on capitalism is this ... it is obviously a very efficient and pragmatic economic system that has produced the largest and wealthiest country the world has ever seen. It also can be exploitative, lead to human greed, and leave vast populations behind in its wake. It can turn citizens into consumers. Adam Smith writes that the common good is served by the individual pursuit of self-interest. Excuse me if I believe that the pursuit of my own self-interest might be in contrast to the life of Christ that exemplifies the pursuit of the interest of others. This is my tension.”

Other commentators have chimed in as well. Christianity Today’s blog wondered, “Does Armstrong’s support of a constitutional amendment banning ‘desecration’ of the U.S. flag violate the school’s commitment to ‘limited government,’ for example? As one often wonders in these stories of lines in the sand, How far is too far?” And at a Beliefnet blog run by Jim Wallis and others, Randall Balmer, a professor of American religious history at Barnard College, quipped: “Capitalism, in fact, appears to be Jesus’ preferred economic system.”

At Episcopal Café, meanwhile, a blogger asked, “Let’s put the shoe on the other foot. What if a professor at an Episcopal college or seminary deified the free enterprise system? Would she be fired?”

I'll have some more to say about this tomorrow.


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