Wednesday, October 31, 2007
Does anybody really like Sweet Tarts besides my son? When I was a kid we'd finish up trick-or-treating and trade. The candy-as-currency values would assert themselves, usually items like Snickers and Three Musketeers being valued the highest, with Sweet Tarts valued at almost nothing. For instance, I'd offer my brother all of my Sweet Tarts for any chocolate based bar without coconut. But my son actually favors them over other candies. Am I raising him right?
Okay, in the spirit of the evening, I present to you the creepiest kids' video I've ever seen.
No, the jack-o-lantern isn't mine. I got the image from this blog.
NCJ blog - and with the weekly deadline past they're busy!
This could be a big boon if they do it right. Here you have potentially minute-by-minute coverage of crucial events with a full news department behind it. Obviously they have to sell their papers so you'll get the depth of the stories there. But this could one more step to bringing Humboldt County into the 21st century. Online access to court case files, like just about every other county, should be the next.
Hank's got several posts up already, including this follow-up to the Grannie Greenjeans/Coop controversy, such as it is. And there's some election finances stuff which reports me as "retired." Sorry Hank, not quite ready for shuffleboard. But I wanted to know who else donated to Quilez, and Sonia Bauer is the only other contributor mentioned. Obviously she would like somebody on the Commission to second her son's motions to discuss something beyond the old guard agenda. Also, Quilez could obviously use some money. There will be a fund raising party in Redway on Sunday afternoon where you can meet him, and another one earlier in Miranda. Contact the campaign for locations.
Anyway, looks like a great addition to the local blogosphere. There are already comments mounting.
Give Sarkozy his due
From the Toronto Star:
NEW YORK–France's president abruptly ended a 60 Minutes interview aimed at introducing him to the U.S., dubbing it "stupid" and a "big mistake" and refusing to answer questions about his wife.It'd be great if more public figures reacted that way when asked patently stupid questions. The problem is, this Onion satire is too close to the truth.
Before the CBS interview in Paris even began, Sarkozy called his press secretary "an imbecile" for arranging the session on a busy day. "I don't have the time. I have a big job to do, I have a schedule," Sarkozy said through a translator.
In the interview, conducted earlier this month and aired Sunday night, he talked candidly of his admiration for the U.S. but grew agitated by questions about his wife, Cecilia, whom he sent to Libya in July to secure the release of five Bulgarian nurses and a Palestinian doctor.
"If I had to say something about Cecilia, I would certainly not do so here," replied Sarkozy, who then said "Bon courage" and left. Two weeks after the interview, the Sarkozys' divorce was announced.
Photo comes from the NY Times.
Tuesday, October 30, 2007
Yeah, I'm asking for it
From the New Republic.
The Jesuits Are Gonna Love ThisHave at it.
I apparently missed the early buzz on AEI adjunct fellow Jon Entine's book "Abraham's Children"--all about how Jews are genetically programmed to be smarter than everyone else--but Dana Milbank's dispatch from Monday's AEI forum on the book includes a lovely quote from fellow AEIer Charles "Bell Curve" Murray, reminding us of Murray's special gift for winning friends and influencing people. Positing that the Talmudic tradition probably drove out slow Jews long ago, Murray notes, "If you were dumb and a Jew, it was a lot easier to be a Christian."
SF Bay Guardian's mayoral endorsement
Ahimsa means "truth force." I remember that from my Ghandi readings in college.
Members say that the Coop isn't very cooperative
Apparently the developers demanded that such a discussion be suppressed and it was "take it or leave it." Sound familiar? "If you're me, do you really care what the city thinks? I don't want to have an alternate plan out there because it might not be what I want."
In a democracy unilateralism has its short term benefits. But it creates its own long term problems. The Coop board has no right to kvetch as they knew what kind of membership they have. I'm surprised the resistance has taken as long as it has.
Addendum: Heraldo has the issue up as well.
Monday, October 29, 2007
NASCAR alternatives - "infinity miles per gallon"
On another forum, this Dutch blogger brought to my attention the solar race car "Nuna" (depicted above) which has won the Solar Challenge in the last four races (the race is biannual, so they have essentially held the title for six years (obviously guaranteed eight). She is particularly proud as the car is the creation of Delft University engineering students. You will find a couple of videos in her post on topic.
The race is across Australia just over 3000 Kilometers, which is about 2000 miles if my brain is working right. Nuna is powered on demand, although she explains that a Lithium Polymer battery is used to stabilize the current. I can't find the rules at the event site, so I'm not sure if the participants would be allowed to supplement the power supply with stored power so long as it originated from the sun (well, most all our power originates from the sun ultimately, but you know what I mean).
According to this article, Nuna finished the race in 32 and a half hours, averaging about 60 miles per hour and breaking its own (and the world's) record. On the last day they pushed it and traveled over 65 miles per hour to cover about 830 km (tired of doing the conversions).
The article also contains some of the vehicle's specs.
In other solar news, Berkeley is instituting an innovative plan to encourage solar powered homes. Basically, the city will incur the initial cost of the construction of the system and the homeowner will pay it back as a low-interest property assessment over 20 years. The interest and principle will be kept low with the help of low interest bonds, grants, and rebates.
For more information about Berkeley's energy-saving initiatives, go to www.cityofberkeley.info/sustainable
More Redway Post Office woes
The Garberville Post Office has no closing hours. They have had problems with the homeless as well.
She has complained to the US Postal Service in Washington D.C. and urges you to do the same by calling 1-800-275-8777.
Update 10/30/07: The postmaster contacted my secretary and said that he was looking into timed locks so that they could keep the lobby open until 10 p.m.
Arnold says marijuana isn't a drug
But hemp is verbotten.
Another amusing moment in the interview is when Schwartzenegger is asked what he thinks of the president, and the governor starts complimenting Bush, Sr.
ABA calling for a nationwide moratorium on executions
I'm particularly concerned about the lackadaisical approach states are taking with regard to the preservation of DNA evidence and the fact that some states are employing rules which make it difficult for a defendant to demand and obtain testing. Apparently it's already spoiled too many prosecutions based on false confessions, weak counsel, or police/prosecutorial misconduct.
"In determining who gets the death penalty," Stephen Hanlon, chair of the ABA Death Penalty Moratorium Implementation Project, was quoted by ABC news as saying, "All too frequently, it seems to be not the person who has committed the worst crime, but the person who has the worst lawyer."
Hanlon called America's death penalty system "rife with irregularity--supporting the need for a moratorium until states can insure fairness and accuracy."Findings of the ABA study revealed that verdicts in many capital punishment cases were flawed. According to an ABA statement, there were a number of reasons. Some of those reasons included eyewitness misidentification; false confessions from defendants; significant racial disparities in how the death penalty is imposed; failure to use the most sophisticated testing procedures; serious mistakes or fraud in results from crime laboratories; a lack of policies by many states to ensure that mentally ill or mentally retarded defendants are identified and given the proper defense and a lack of specific standards used by those who are investigate, prosecute, defend, decide and review death penalty cases, the ABA Journal reports.
KMUD fund drive begins today
If you live in the encircled areas, or elsewhere and you listen - pay up! Although KMUD does receive some grants, it is almost entirely listener sponsored. There are very few stations around the country which can say the same. And they depend on syndications for only an hour or two per day, the rest of the programing being local.
Did you know their website has a forum? So far there are nine threads with fourteen posts.
KMUD is also part of the Seven Rivers Radio Network. Quick, without looking at the map, name the seven rivers!
Sunday, October 28, 2007
The election heats up
I noticed yesterday that Quilez signs had been placed in front of Signature Coffee in Redway. They're gone now. I'm a little curious about that.
I have also been informed by two sources that business owners in Fortuna have been hassled about Quilez signs on their property. I also spoke to Carlos about it and he had only information about one business in which the owner had been nervous about putting up the sign to begin with and apparently took it down soon thereafter and he does not intend to press the owner for any details.
I was in Fortuna yesterday for a soccer game (my kids remain undefeated by the way - not that I'm bragging) and I noticed at least two businesses with Quilez signs - which is alone an indication of a change. There are certainly more Curless signs in Fortuna, but Quilez signs can be found on every major street. And some of the usual conservative suspects don't have anybody's signs this year. There is only one Curless sign on the 101 corridor for instance. Uno.
Carlos has an uphill fight in this last week of campaigning. But his opposition may be underestimating him to their peril.
Addendum: Up in the 5th District, Pat Higgins nabbed the tribal endorsements.
Second addendum: Heraldo has Curless' financials posted.
Saturday, October 27, 2007
Mark Lovelace on the Bankruptcy hearing
Mark Lovelace said...
I was there in Corpus Christi on Tuesday. No one from Palco cared to correct the judge as to whether PL is really the largest landowner and employer. Ultimately that was not the point. The implication of the judge's question was that something must really be wrong when no one is coming to this company's defense.
PL's attorney tried to explain it away by saying that Humboldt County is "a tough place," to which the judge responded perceptively “Maybe it’s a tough place because you made it a tough place.”
And, 10:39/1:37, the judge made some very heartfelt comments at the end of the hearing that showed he really understands that this bankruptcy is much bigger than just the sum of the company's debts and assets. He realizes that this will affect all of Humboldt County, including the workers, the community, the economy, and the environment.
He said that in his 20 years as a bankruptcy judge, he has had a very few cases that simply could not be resolved, and this is one of them. He then said, "Maybe part of that is my fault, maybe I haven't been able to give this case the leadership it deserves, and if so I'm sorry."
Friday, October 26, 2007
Administrative note - word verification on
Sorry for the inconvenience.
Fire in the King Range
Question for anti-war leftists
The question was asked of me many years ago by a center-right woman I dated just after college. My initial response was I would say about 9 out of 10 leftists believe that the World War II effort was justified, for one reason or another, though they may have criticisms or even condemnations of certain aspects of the war policy (Hiroshima, Dresden, internment camps, etc.). But pretty much all but the Trotskyists and hardcore pacifists believed that we were justified in fighting the Germans, Japanese and their allies.
So maybe you first want to clarify whether you would have supported the war effort in 1942 (or 1939, or perhaps even earlier in Spain?). Then tell me whether you have or would have supported any other US military action taken since 1945 - and if so, which ones and why. And then tell me under what conditions, if any, you would support a U.S. military action. For instance, would you support military action against Israel to remove them from the West Bank, Gaza, and/or Golan Heights? Would you support an action defending Venezuela against a military attack from Columbia? Thirty years ago would you have supported a bombing attack on Chile under Pinochet if he was close to obtaining a nuclear weapon and stated his readiness to use it against Argentina? Was Vietnam justified in invading Cambodia in the late 70s and if so or if not would the U.S. have been justified to intervene on behalf of one or the other? Or against the subsequent Chinese attack on Vietnam?
What are the elements of a situation in which the US would be justified in military action abroad? It's fine if you want to slam the Bush administration or whatever else floats your boat, but please try to focus on the question. Not one caller could do so on my show. I don't think they were deliberately dodging. I think they just couldn't process the question.
Photo comes from Nato Review.
Thursday, October 25, 2007
Reggae news - I guess
In other news, I think there's a summary judgment motion pending in the Mateel/Dimmick arbitration, which last time I was told was scheduled for some time in November.
The Mateel general membership annual meeting is scheduled for November 20. No time is given at the Mateel site.
Looking for reports on the Harbor Commission debate last night
As I've said, this is a very important election despite the dearth of items on the ballot. If Quilez and Higgins are elected, the progressives have a majority on the Board. This election could determine the path of Humboldt County development for the considerable future - with impact way beyond the harbor itself.
The debate was streamed live at the KEET website, but I'm not finding any podcast version there at the moment.
Addendum: Probably no surprise is the fact that David Cobb is endorsing Quilez and Higgins. Maybe (not) somewhat of a surprise is that Fred Mangels is sort of (not) endorsing the same candidates, or at least a shake-up on the Commission.
Second addendum: The NCJ has an excellent article with interviews from all five candidates in contested races. A couple of interesting notes. Quilez claims that Curless does not intend to campaign anywhere south of Fortuna, which explains his no show at the Shelter Cove Pioneers candidates forum. His website doesn't have any listing of events other than a fundraiser which took place in Fortuna back in September.
Another note is his response to criticism about the Harbor Commission's $170,000 loan to the North Coast Railroad Authority while the Commission is operating on a deficit. His response is simply that the loan isn't the first and therefor it's not controversial.
I don't know if the Journal compromised its objectivity by going out of its way to dispute Charles Olivier's comparison of Eureka to the Prince Rupert, BC port, but the point certainly should be well taken.
In some respects, though, the comparison doesn’t hold up. Prince Rupert is strategically located on the occidental end of the shortest existing land/sea route connecting Asia and North America — 1,000 miles/68 hours closer to Shanghai than the port of Los Angeles. It’s also located at the terminus of a transcontinental railroad operated by Canadian National Railway. And their bay is naturally deep, ranging between 38 and 44 meters. On all three counts, our bay is no match.But Olivier did say that we can "have it all," namely the port, the rail, and the trail. I'm all for a win-win scenario, but he didn't elaborate as to the location of the trail. Did it come up in the debate?
The Chronicle also has an "it can happen here" article. Concerns about the Bay Area emergency systems.
Local volunteers are fighting the fires as well.
Meanwhile, San Bernadino University police shot dead an arson suspect.
Photo comes from the L.A. Times.
Wednesday, October 24, 2007
Arkley-Glass incident report finished. Gallegos punts.
PALCO bankruptcy ordered to mediation
From the Eureka Reporter:
“It would be a whole lot more valuable if you had somebody on your side,” Judge Schmidt said. “You don’t have the county; the county is so incensed they passed a resolution.”And this gem!
Kinzie said there was one supervisor on their side — Rodoni.Almost makes me want to take back what I've said about this judge's rulings so far. Almost.
“Aren’t you the biggest employer in the county?” Schmidt said. “And you only got one supervisor?”
Deputy Tommy Clark was transferred
I wish him well in his new position.
In the meantime, I've now heard it from several people that Sohum's Sheriff force is actually going to be reduced further. Does anybody have any information on this?
Tuesday, October 23, 2007
Same show - two levels of sophistication
Is the left intellectually dying on the vine? I mean, what are we offering of late in terms of new ideas? Original thoughts? There are a few outlets, but anybody who even deviates from the line on major points is slammed as a "neo-con."
I decided I've been riding the left a little too hard in recent months, and the Truther/Maher video was too easy a shot. I drafted up a piece, but never posted it.
So then somebody sent me a chess video link which I'm not going to bother to post because it might interest the two or three bloggers here who play chess. The way Youtube works is you watch your video and then in a column near the mini-screen is a list of "similar" videos that might interest the viewer. I found one entitled "Gary Kasparov explains the political nature of oil." All of the sudden I'm back on the Bill Maher show and immediately there's a reference to the downside of live TV. I thought "how many times are the truthers going to be able to pull this?"
You're then treated to a very refreshing interview with Kasparov who is running for president of Russia. He's already been arrested in pro-democracy demonstrations, and has written a book which blends chess and politics. Granted his constituency won't see this video, not many of them anyway. But he actually listens to the questions, thinks about them, and responds - sometimes with clever humor. Very articulate despite a mild language barrier, and an interesting take on the impact of oil politics on his situation. I mean, it's about as deep as you can get in a five minute television interview, and unlike most pols and activists he was critically examining the questions and thinking about answers that aren't necessarily tailored to his agenda. As I said: refreshing.
After the interview the camera moves to the in-studio guests and what do you know? It's the Chris Matthews panel from the first video. What a better basis for comparison and contrast? And it concludes with Maher giving Matthews a dig. Of course, Matthews is used to interviews where his subjects challenge him to duels and whatnot.
Susan Polgar discusses the interview on her blog.
Agent provocateurs or just civility challenged morons?
To his credit, the filmer did dedicate some of the time to reasonably articulate leftists. But I recognize a few of the more animated protesters as RCP, and if this guy bothered to do his homework he should have known who they were. Instead, he implies that this group of cro-mags speaks for the left. I don't know if the omission is deliberate, but it's irresponsible nevertheless. It would undermine the whole "leftists don't believe in free speech" meme.
As to the more articulate left representatives, towards the end of the video there is a woman who identifies herself as a leftist who is concerned about what the extreme elements of Islam represent in terms of a threat to anything a leftist should stand for. I'm sure there are plenty who would challenge her leftist credentials on that basis. Another leftist early on argues with some justification that the difference between the evils of Islamic extremism and the US is scale even if on some level there is more intense malevolence on the part of the extremists, and it's a good point. But there should come a time where the left is comfortable acknowledging evils that might be in opposition to "US imperialism" or whatever without the presently obligatory "but" at the end of the acknowledgment. That won't come until more in the anti-war movement starts asking why the majority of the population opposes the war but so few are attending the demonstrations.
Meanwhile, this Catholic fan of Pope St. Felix III thinks that David Horowitz, the University of Wisconsin, and the college GOP club are part of a secret Jewish-communist order.
The Mother and Two Daughters gather in Dr. Aziz' garage
Elsewhere in the issue Jeff Schwartz proposes a program for dealing with grow houses.
Fires from God?
Again, if a left winger said something like this if the fire was in, say, Orange County, you know there'd be Hell to pay.
Meanwhile, 1 life and 1300 homes have been lost, many firefighters injured, and over 300 thousand America haters evacuated.
Photo comes from this CNN article.
My election endorsements
Pat Higgins in the 5th Division.
Anybody but Gavin Newsom for San Francisco mayor. Unfortunately, all the big kids except him decided to sit this game out. Pickins is slim.
As for the College of the Redwoods Board - well, don't know. Baseball been bery, bery good to me. (That's a cultural reference probably too obscure for anybody under 40, or anybody who lived in the hills without television throughout the 70s. Just take my word for it that it's deep intellectual humor.)
Speaking of Quilez, his signs went up all over Sohum over the weekend. As you drive Briceland Road you can see his blue and white signs marking all the properties that have hosted Gallegos signs in recent years. Dennis Huber and Jim Lamport have plenty more signs if you want one.
At least one sign has already been vandalized - whether it was the work of a disgruntled supporter of another candidate or an angry kid lashing out at whatever, who knows?
What's interesting is that several Curless signs have disappeared over the past couple of weeks, including the one on Roy Heider's lawn. I was concerned that a Quilez supporter (or angry lashing kid) might have removed them. But when the Curless signs initially went up, one of them was posted by the nursery across the road from Beginnings. That one has been gone now for several weeks. A Quilez sign sits on the same property now.
A reminder that all of the commission candidates will participate in a division-combined debate tomorrow night on Keet TV. You can listen in at the website. Meanwhile, you can go to KMUD to hear interviews of all of the candidates podcast - download the news for last Monday, Tuesday, and Thursday and my show last Thursday evening.
CLMP annual meeting
Liberties in the Balance
Saturday, November 3, 2007
Mateel Community Center, Redway
Doors open at 6 pm with music, drinks and desserts • Win-A-Trip Raffle drawing
FREE TO THE PUBLIC • DONATIONS APPRECIATED
For more information, contact CLMP at 923-4646
WIN-A-TRIP RAFFLE TICKETS NOW FOR SALE!
Support CLMP and win a trip for two to Maui or any destination of your choosing. Look for our posters around town or see a CLMP member or table. Win-A-Trip tickets are now available at: The Hemp Connection and Flavors Coffeehouse (Garberville); Signature Coffee and Redway Liquors (Redway); Sylvandale Gardens, Whitethorn Construction, Shelter Cove General Store and The Cove Restaurant (Shelter Cove) and the NorCal NORML office in Ukiah (467-1380).
Monday, October 22, 2007
Islamo-Fascism Awareness Week
During the week of October 22-26, 2007, the nation will be rocked by the biggest conservative campus protest ever – Islamo-Fascism Awareness Week, a wake-up call for Americans on 200 university and college campuses.
The purpose of this protest is as simple as it is crucial: to confront the two Big Lies of the political left: that George Bush created the war on terror and that Global Warming is a greater danger to Americans than the terrorist threat. Nothing could be more politically incorrect than to point this out. But nothing could be more important for American students to hear. In the face of the greatest danger Americans have ever confronted, the academic left has mobilized to create sympathy for the enemy and to fight anyone who rallies Americans to defend themselves. According to the academic left, anyone who links Islamic radicalism to the war on terror is an "Islamophobe." According to the academic left, the Islamo-fascists hate us not because we are tolerant and free, but because we are "oppressors."
So I've been looking for news clips to see how it's going on this first day of the celebrations. To my knowledge it's the first time anybody has tried to organize conservative students on a nation-wide level for demonstrations.
According to CAIR, one of the key speakers is Robert Spencer who advocates driving Muslims out by making their lives miserable. They also claim that a photograph used to promote the events depicting a woman being stoned to death was actually taken from a fictional movie. So now they have a photo of an execution. They could have used the beheading in Saudi Arabia which was in Fahrenheit 911, but for some reason it was "tasteless" and "deliberately provocative" when Moore did it. Wouldn't be seemly to use the same shot.
Barbara Ehrenreich notes the proximity of the festivities to Halloween and draws some parallels.
Michelle Malkin has a few notes. Drudge has nothing on the front page. Horowitz has a calendar of speakers, but no updated news. The link at the top contains a list of all the schools with organized events. HSU isn't among them.
But I can't find any stories on events today, not even on Fox News which did cover this demonstration. If anybody has any links please share them and I'll post them to the front page.
The safest mode of travel?
The study consisted of 30 minute interviews with 24 thousand pilots. Apparently NASA doesn't think it was a statistically representative sample?
NASA's planning to publish it's own report... based on... tea leaves?
Photo comes from MSNBC
More Mexican Marijuana talk
"I can count on one hand the amount of grows we came across that were linked to DTOs (drug trafficking organizations) before this year,” Peterson said.
But this year that changed.
Of the record number of plants eradicated -- 345,000 so far this year -- 270,000 are attributed to Mexican drug cartels, Peterson said.
And of the 220 garden sites raided, exactly half have been attributed to Mexican drug cartels.
The article goes on to say that while that while no clear ties have been uncovered a "variety of factors" have led to the conclusions, including the number of plants (white people are too lazy?), and the materials found (a few months ago I posted a photo from the DEA of a container of pesticide with Spanish-worded labeling). But while there is certainly direct and circumstantial evidence of Mexican-originating growers, I'm still perplexed about the "cartel" claim.
The article cites the sophistication of the methods (why aren't they sophisticated enough to grow in an area outside of the heaviest enforcement?), and names of people caught. So far, nobody's specifically identified any particular cartels in the media articles. Maybe there are tactical reasons for that, but another possibility is that it's speculative and purposely kept vague just to evoke visceral racial fears in urban white folk who might otherwise challenge certain enforcement tactics - the "them" factor at work. Certainly this latest incident where one of the growers allegedly threatened enforcement with a gun plays into those fears.
I'm not saying it isn't happening. Just calling for a healthy skepticism.
Sunday, October 21, 2007
Nature deficit disorder
What, after all, is a 15-year-old supposed to do in what John Muir called "the grandest of all special temples of nature" without cell phone service?
"I'd rather be at the mall because you can enjoy yourself walking around looking at stuff as opposed to the woods," Nguyen said from the comfort of the Westfield San Francisco Centre mall.
It isn't just national forests and wilderness areas that young people are avoiding, according to the experts. Kids these days aren't digging holes, building tree houses, catching frogs or lizards, frolicking by the creek or even throwing dirt clods.
"Nature is increasingly an abstraction you watch on a nature channel," said Richard Louv, the author of the book "Last Child in the Woods," an account of how children are slowly disconnecting from the natural world. "That abstract relationship with nature is replacing the kinship with nature that America grew up with."
"We are city kids, so we don't get to experience the outdoors," said Ronnisha Johnson, a 17-year-old senior at Philip Burton High School. "I don't like bugs, and most of my friends don't like wild animals. And they don't teach you about the wilderness in school. Kids don't think of it as a park. They just think of it as a big open space where there is nothing to do."
Nguyen said he plays video games two hours a day on average, but has been known to spend the whole day in front of a new game. He doesn't know anybody who camps, backpacks or who has ever built a tree fort.
Children between the ages of 8 and 18 spend an average of 61/2 hours a day with electronic media, according to the Kaiser Family Foundation. The trend starts early. A 2002 study found that 8-year-olds could identify 25 percent more Pokémon characters than wildlife species.
I wonder if there is any correspondence between the detachment and wussification tendencies imposed by overprotective parents.By the way, have I discussed what a rip-off Pokemom is?
If anybody ever develops virtual sex, the species is history.
"My Name is Rachel Corrie"
This one-woman play about the the woman who lost her life trying to prevent an Israeli bulldozing of a Palestinian home allegedly suspected of containing hidden entrances to tunnels containing caches of weapons. It has been the subject of controversy, more for the politics surrounding it than anything in the play itself. As the NY Times put it:
Given Ms. Corrie’s lightning-rod status as a pro-Palestinian activist — she has been held up as both a heroic martyr (by Yasir Arafat, among others) and a terminally naïve pawn — the New York Theater Workshop drew accusations of moral cowardice. Theater artists including Vanessa Redgrave, Harold Pinter and the American playwrights Tony Kushner and Christopher Shinn joined the fray. Rachel Corrie became a name best not mentioned at Manhattan dinner parties if you wanted your guests to hold on to their good manners.But politics aside and despite a rather unimaginative title the play has received rave reviews. There have also been responses including censorship efforts. There are particularly nasty reviews such as this one claiming that the play is anti-semitic because it omits the fact that she burned flags at demonstrations and because the Israelis were trying to destroy "a structure" but were unable to stop the arms going through the tunnels thanks to Corrie and her "fellow activists." The blogger's account contradicts the Israeli report however, which denies that any demolition was intended. The nearby "structure" belonged to Samir Nasrallah, a Palestinian pharmacist.
There is dispute as to whether the driver saw Corrie. You can read the details of the eye witnesses at Wikipedia and probably a thousand other sites. Normally soldiers are supposed to clear the areas for the bulldozings, but they weren't out on the day in question. They claim they remained in armored vehicles in fear of Palestinian snipers, but wouldn't that danger be present at any time? Such danger would seem to be at its least when western activists are present. In any case, whether the driver's actions were deliberate is probably beside the point of the play, which is that a brave and perhaps naive young woman took a stand and lost her life for her cause. That should earn her some respect, whether you ultimately agree with her politics.
The conservative blogger's rant about her also contains a paradox in that they blame her for the inability to stop the transportation of arms through the house. But despite her efforts the home was destroyed, which would suggest that maybe the home wasn't what the IDF believed it was. Certainly it wasn't crucial to the underground operation.
I haven't yet seen it so I can't review it, but obviously it's not light entertainment. The following passage from the above-linked NY Times review captures what I anticipate.
The play, directed by Mr. Rickman, is not an animated recruiting poster for Palestinian activists. Its deeper fascination lies in its invigoratingly detailed portrait of a passionate political idealist in search of a constructive outlet. And its inevitable sentimental power is in its presentation of a blazing young life that you realize is on the verge of being snuffed out. (I kept thinking of the letters from Julian Bell, Virginia Woolf’s nephew, who was killed in the Spanish Civil War.)
The play’s most obvious hold on the audience’s attention comes from its being structured as a sort of countdown to a tragic death. The very look of the stage at the beginning — in which Rachel’s bedroom in Olympia, Wash., seems to float against a ravaged Middle Eastern townscape — presages a journey we know will be fatal.
The photo comes from her memorial website.
Benazir Bhutto's return
I hope Bhutto can actually use this to get back into office. She's a remarkable woman to say the least.
Her estranged niece blames her.
Apparently she could do very well in a fair election, or at least could have.
Saturday, October 20, 2007
PALCO attorneys leaning on the county, or trying to anyway
Here's the operative portion of the letter, which I think was a mistake.
However, in order to open that dialog, the Debtors need clarification as to theLawyers really annoy me. Of course they're not going to "waive" any rights. Nobody asked them to waive rights. What they mean is "we're looking for a way to nail your ass, and when we find one you better run like the wind." But it's the way you word it when you don't have anything, and after two weeks you'd think they'd have a more definitive letter, complete with case cites and a very specific argument. Nobody's going to be intimidated by anything less under these circumstances.
inconsistency you describe in your letter. The proposed plan, which as you know is in its very early stages, is predicated on single-family residential uses on 160-acre minimum lots that are consistent with all existing zoning and land use constraints and would not require any change in existing zoning to be implemented. As you know, no application has been made to Humboldt County and no specifics, other than the use of one residence per patent parcel lot, have really been proffered. We therefore find your letter to the Bankruptcy Court perplexing and, accordingly, we respectfully request that you provide to us and the Court evidence and supporting documentation detailing the manner in which the proposed residential development described in the Ordinance and accompanying documents could be "inconsistent with existing land use plans and policies."
The Debtors believe that the Board of Supervisors' actions to preemptively block the Debtors’ Joint Plan may have violated the automatic stay of Section 362 of the Bankruptcy Code. The Debtors do not waive any of their rights in respect of Section 362 or any of their other rights and remedies in connection with this matter, whether at law, in equity, or otherwise.
The first paragraph demands some action from the County, namely to provide some sort of evidence to the Bankruptcy Court. The County isn't a party to the action and it's under no obligation to submit evidence of anything to anybody. I'm not even sure they have standing to do so. Certainly the Bankruptcy Court in Texas has no jurisdiction over County legislation.
They've got nothing, and they just tipped their nothing hand.
Cranky sexist old fart loses to a girl and spazzes out
Korchnoi is the senior world champion who challenged Karpov for the world championship on two occasions. He was a defector from the U.S.S.R. playing against the Soviet golden boy and all the cold war intrigue that had surrounding the Fischer-Spaasky game made the story sell outside the chess world. That and Korchnoi's antics. He's never been known for his sportsmanship. The following description of the 1978 match comes from Wikipedia.
The World Championship match of 1978 was held in Baguio in the Philippines, and deserves its reputation as the most bizarre World Championship match ever played. Karpov's team included a Dr. Zukhar (a well known hypnotist), while Korchnoi adopted two local renegades currently on bail for attempted murder (Source: Karpov -- Korchnoi 1978, by Raymond Keene). There was more controversy off the board, with histrionics ranging from X-raying of chairs, protests about the flags used on the board, the inevitable hypnotism complaints and the mirror glasses used by Korchnoi. When Karpov's team sent him a blueberry yogurt during a game without any request for one by Karpov, the Korchnoi team protested, claiming it could be some kind of code. They later said this was intended as a parody of earlier protests, but it was taken seriously at the time.Karpov's team wasn't particularly gracious either. The Soviets objected to Korchnoi playing under the Swiss flag and instead wanted his flag to be white and read "stateless." Korchnoi's support team showed a sense of humor and offered to switch his flag to the Jolly Roger.
Sophia is one of the famed Polgar sisters from Hungary. They were the first women to achieve authentic grandmaster status and Sophia's older sister Judit is ranked among the top 10 players and competed in this last world championship tournament. The oldest sister Susan is living in the US and is into politics more than chess of late (she even has a blog).
Not all the male grandmasters are happy about the intrusion, which is bound to get bigger as made evident by the account in the first book on the history of women in chess entitled Chess Bitch and written by another rising female star Jennifer Shahade. In this game, which took place recently in San Francisco, Korchnoi loses and immediately he gets up to leave without offering the customary handshake. She attempts to strike up a conversation I think, based on her tone and body language, trying to say she was afraid she would lose his respect, though her English isn't clear and it's hard to know what she meant. He either hears it in the worst way or doesn't care - he is clearly angry before she speaks. Either way he smugly tells her that she's never going to win a game from him again in her life, which probably means he'll have to refuse to play her.
The accents make it hard to make out the dialogue but with several listens and some transcripts to compare, this transcript offered by one of the Youtube commenters is probably pretty close to the exchange, with some modifications as I hear it.
SP: I was afraid to lose the...the res...Don't let him get to you Sophia.
VK: excuse me?
SP: I was afraid to lose the respect that now I have others/elders (?)...
VK: It was the very first and the very last you ever won(ed) a game against me . I'm sorry.
SP: Could be but I won it anyway.
VK: You won it...you won it, the very first and very last in your life. Yah.
SP: Really! One time does in you.
Polgar's photo comes from Steffen's Chess Gallery. Korchnoi's comes from his Wikipedia entry.
Addendum: Came across a simultaneous exhibition Judit Polgar performed at a chess club in Germany. She played against 30 and lost 1. I was trying to figure out which one she lost. I thought it might be to the kid, but then I went back and looked at the position when they first homed in on him and it's not likely.
Judit was also interviewed about attitudes she's run into in her professional life.
Friday, October 19, 2007
Lucky Dube, RIP
Score one for Dodd
From the article:
The move would effectively stall a measure that President Bush and Director of National Intelligence Mike McConnell have said is essential to protect national security.
Allowing lawsuits to go forward, McConnell has said, could impoverish the companies and make them less able to aid intelligence surveillance efforts.
Cry me a river!
Iraq - you break it you buy it?
From the intro:
There are no good options in Iraq, but the options narrow to the horrific the longer our leaders dawdle. Bush seems content—whether out of delusional optimism or cynical "strategery"—to run out the clock and stick the next administration with this mess; only 5 percent of Americans expect him to do otherwise. And the Democrats are playing the other side of the same game—content to let the GOP go down with its man.I suggest that before posters from any side of the debate start spouting off rote rhetoric, pat answers, and sound bites that maybe you actually read some of the material first?
So what is to be done? First and foremost, anyone running for or holding national office must be forced to answer these questions: What's your schedule for withdrawal, and what consequences do you foresee? Which comes first—withdrawal, a functioning Iraqi government, or a solid international peacekeeping force? What concessions would you make to get Iraq's neighbors to help? What degree of bloodshed are you prepared to stand by and watch?
We put such questions to five dozen military men, think-tankers, peace activists, academics, and politicians. Some of their responses follow, and we'll post the full interviews online, along with a list of those who refused to respond—including the architects of the war, leading presidential candidates, and the congressional leadership. Some, it should be noted, begged off because they were taking a summer break, even as Iraqi politicians were being criticized for doing the same. We hope that if we can't force them to reckon with reality, you can. As General Zinni notes, "the government is us. We made promises and commitments. The administration proposed the war; Congress—the voice of the people—authorized it; we are responsible for it. We can't claim, 'I didn't vote for him in the first place' or 'I changed my mind.' There has to be some sort of obligation that falls to us as a society for what our government does in our name."
Just a suggestion.
If you're bored in Humboldt County...
Arcata's task force on grow houses
There's a joke in there somewhere.
The Eureka Reporter had this coverage on Wednesday.
Thursday, October 18, 2007
No war, no warming
"All issues are created equal ," say organizers of NO WAR, NO WARMING, "when the
health and sanity of our community is at stake.". The event -held at the Mateel Community Center on Sunday Oct. 21st from 1 to 5 PM - emphasizes the connections between Global Climate Crisis and the war for global resources.
There will be tables galore offering information and discussion on the varied approaches activists, organizers, business people and individuals are taking to resist and repair. As a participant, you are encouraged to pull up a chair and promote your solutions to our common crisis.
Here will be a chance as well to check with the experts on your ecological footprint, your small planet diet, the status of your current technological fixes and your place in a truly local economy. The Mateel's stage will provide an open mike for rapping, for theater and for song. Upstairs there will be a full program of up to the moment videos, including the latest from such as Norman Solomon and Naomi Klein.
NO WAR, NO WARMING on Sunday Oct. 21st from 1 to 5 is our local contribution to a nation-wide event which culminates in Washington D.C. on Monday Oct.22 with a mobilization before Congress. Activists from many perspectives are taking the opportunity to underline the need for urgent action from our federal representatives. On the Northcoast, we will be meeting at 10 am that day at Congress member Mike Thompson's offices in Eureka and Ft. Bragg. (Carpooling at the Redway P.O. at 9 am.)
Admission is free. All donations will go to the Mateel Community Center, which graciously provides the venue. More info call 923 4488
Chart comes from Politics Blog. Click on it to enlarge.
Quick note regarding tonight's radio show
I will talk to KMUD's program director about setting up a debate prior to the election at a time in which all of the candidates can make it - if possible.
The changing winds of the second district
We consulted professors of scientific research from Humboldt State University and College of the Redwoods in order to determine how many completed surveys we needed in order to have confidence that the results accurately reflected the sentiments of 2nd District voters overall.
Based on these conversations, we determined we needed at least 300 completed surveys from a random sample of registered voters in the 2nd District. We used a pure random sampling technique, which is the most accurate form of probability sampling. This means that each member of the population has an equal and known chance of being selected.
There are 15,700 voters in the Second District, Local Solutions provided us a randomly generated list of 2,100 voters from this pool for us to call in order for us to reach our completed survey goal of 300.
Our final number of completed surveys was 312 registered voters, which represents approximately 2% of the registered voters in the Second District.
If the poll was conducted properly and the data even somewhat accurate, there has been a significant shift in second district politics - possibly as reflected by recent election results. You can view the poll data here. I do have one criticism of the poll in that it uses the term "big box" to describe plan C. The term is somewhat loaded and evokes a visceral reaction. Probably an alternative should have been used. Still, most people know what it means and whether they would support it.
New face in the chess world championship
Anand is only the third non-European to hold the title since its inception in the late 19th century. The first was Cuban Jose Capablanca of whom I've already written.
Anand had also won a "disputed world championship" in 2000. The international chess competition had split into two organizations each with their own champion for a number of years. He was the FIDE champion while the Russian Vladmir Kramnik held the "classical" world championship. Anand lost the FIDE title to another Russian whom Kramnik defeated in a "reunification" championship last year. By agreement a championship tournament was to be held this year and Anand came out on top at the end of September for his first "undisputed" reign (in quotes because Bobby Fischer still considers himself the real world champion after all these years having forfeited the rematch because FIDE wouldn't bend over and change the rules to his liking).
It's appropriate that an Indian should hold the title. Chess is believed by some to have originated there.
Wednesday, October 17, 2007
It happened today. Anti-war movement media darling Medea Benjamin vs. Queen of Righteousness Melanie Morgan.
I'm sure the discussion was illuminating.
How much value does your telephone company place on your privacy?
From the Washington Post:
Verizon Communications, the nation's second-largest telecom company, told congressional investigators that it has provided customers' telephone records to federal authorities in emergency cases without court orders hundreds of times since 2005.
The company said it does not determine the requests' legality or necessity because to do so would slow efforts to save lives in criminal investigations.
In an Oct. 12 letter replying to Democratic lawmakers, Verizon offered a rare glimpse into the way telecommunications companies cooperate with government requests for information on U.S. citizens.
Verizon also disclosed that the FBI, using administrative subpoenas, sought information identifying not just a person making a call, but all the people that customer called, as well as the people those people called. Verizon does not keep data on this "two-generation community of interest" for customers, but the request highlights the broad reach of the government's quest for data.
The disclosures, in a letter from Verizon to three Democrats on the House Energy and Commerce Committee investigating the carriers' participation in government surveillance programs, demonstrated the willingness of telecom companies to comply with government requests for data, even, at times, without traditional legal supporting documents. The committee members also got letters from AT&T and Qwest Communications International, but those letters did not provide details on customer data given to the government. None of the three carriers gave details on any classified government surveillance program.
Here's my favorite line:
Verizon and AT&T said it was not their role to second-guess the legitimacy of emergency government requests.
But apparently they do see it as their role to decide when to chuck your privacy into the prevailing winds.
Currently Congress is debating whether to immunize the telecommunications companies from consumer lawsuits for privacy violations (does anybody have a bill number or other information?). If it passes, only the free market will impose any regulation whatsoever. Here's a link to the Working Assets alternative.
KMUD Halloween Boogie
Tuesday, October 16, 2007
Map of PL's proposed subdivision
Did anybody attend the Board meeting today? According to Heraldo, opponents of last week's emergency ordinance and PL supporters were planning to show up for the comments portion of the meeting.
KMUD interviews with Harbor Commission candidates
(Edit) - Steven Morris was interviewed on Monday night. I guess I didn't listen long enough.
Speaking of KMUD news, the following missive is currently occupying the KMUD homepage.
Hello, From the Desk of Brenda Starr, the General Manager of Redwood Community Radio:They've done a fine job. But Brenda really should report on the progress of the search for a new director. Are they giving up on the idea and setting up a team instead? Fine with me especially since the "department" has traditionally amounted to the director doing the news four days a week and an apprentice working Mondays. As long as they retain editorial independence from the Board or the rest of management, I see no problem with a collaborative effort. But again, I'm not clear from the memo that such is the direction KMUD is heading. Some clarification is in order.
Greetings to those who are listening on the world wide web and our listeners of KMUD in Garberville, KMUE in Eureka/Arcata, KLAI in Laytonville - and very soon people will be listening to our Shelter Cove signal of 99.5.
I would like to make some comments about the News Department. First of all, I would like to thank Terri Klemetson for the fine job she is doing reporting the news, and welcome Cynthia Elkins in joining our news team as a reporter during this time of transition. KMUD News is evolving. Building on our strength, adding more voices, more reporters. Inviting volunteers who want to produce a one minute weekly report from their neighborhood or report on a special event. You can always call the News Line at 923-2605.
Expanding on our news service is a big job. Let us know, as you listen in the next few months, what you think. Be gentle though, it is still a work in progress.
There has been misinformation spreading throughout the airways in regards to KMUD News. There are no budget cuts or absolutely no thoughts of taking apart the news department. Let me assure you, the listener, that those ideas are simply not true. KMUD will deliver the local news on a daily basis with our sister station KZYX broadcasting on Friday evening for the rest of this month, October. And our KMUD News will be heard by KZYX listeners on Nov. 1 & 2nd - during our pledge drive- so KZYX listeners can hear our news team from Redwood Community Radio.
So please loyal listeners and recent newcomers, stay tuned to KMUD for your local news. Listen to Terri and Cynthia and Daniel and some new voices along the way. The mission of the news department is still covering stories with the continuing high standards successfully set forth - being relevant and informative.
Thanks again for listening, supporting and allowing KMUD to be Your community radio station. We're here to do radio - Your community radio.
Thanks for this story from Mark. Lynn Cheney says her husband and Senator Barack Obama are cousins.
See the resemblance?
Cheney photo comes from Wilson's Blogmanac.
Obama's comes from Family History Circle.
Balancing sexual morality with cancer prevention
“The Center for Disease Control (CDC) recommends this vaccination for all females between the ages of nine and 26. It is available at little to no cost through California’s Vaccines for Children (VFC) program for girls between the ages of nine and 19, and that is the population which our school district serves,” Marshall told the board.The elephant in the room is the conservative opposition to the distribution of the vaccine and apparently the education around it as encouraging teenage sexual activity in an argument similar to the opposition to the distribution of clean needles to prevent the spread of AIDS - the gist being that teenagers, knowing they can get the needles for free, will run out and stock up on heroin to make hay while the sun shines.
“The best preventive measure is abstinence,” she wrote. “However, given that 50 percent of teenagers have been sexually active by the time they graduate from high school… vaccination could help your daughters from developing this disease, and subsequently, cervical cancer.”
This disturbed Boardmembers Sarie Toste and Jim Welsh. “It’s an excellent letter, but that statement bothered me – this is premature for us,” said Welsh.
The conservative opposition has attempted to frame the discussion by referring to the "promiscuity vaccine," and it's a national discussion. And there are some legitimate policy questions as to whether it should be among the mandatory children's vaccines, not to mention some medical questions about the vaccine itself. But the point is that even here in liberal Humboldt County a school board is afraid to simply send out an informative letter.
The oddly Freudian image comes from the Time article linked just above.
Making a statement
I hadn't reviewed my guide and since Curless has pulled it together early to get his signs out while the other two candidates have been scrambling to raise money, I just assumed it was Curless who might have earned Michael's vote. This morning I glanced at the guide to find that it was Quilez who submitted the statement.
In any case, if you want to learn about the candidates you have a couple of opportunities this week. Tomorrow night you can see the candidates debate on KEET at 8:30 p.m. On Thursday night you can listen and call in to Carlos Quilez and Steven Morris (Roy Curless is unable to attend) in back-to-back interviews on my radio show at 7:00 p.m.
Or you can visit each candidate's web site.
Addendum: It's not yet up online, but today's Redwood Times front page contains a photograph of Quilez flanked by Sohum political icons Jim Lamport and Jared Rossman, and an article about the candidate.
The edition also contains a photo and brief caption describing some royal polygamy at the high school.
Monday, October 15, 2007
Kucinich supports war, Zionism, and globalization
New blog on biking
Gordon Inkeless sent me the link last week, but I'm behind on my updates. He posted in a thread below.
Check out The Social Biking blog, which explores the practical and philosophical benefits of bicycle use.
PBS documentary on VP Cheney tomorrow night
For three decades Vice President Dick Cheney conducted a secretive, behind-closed-doors campaign to give the president virtually unlimited wartime power. Finally, in the aftermath of 9/11, the Justice Department and the White House made a number of controversial legal decisions. Orchestrated by Cheney and his lawyer David Addington, the department interpreted executive power in an expansive and extraordinary way, granting President George W. Bush the power to detain, interrogate, torture, wiretap and spy -- without congressional approval or judicial review.
Now, as the White House appears ready to ignore subpoenas in the wiretapping and U.S. attorneys' cases, FRONTLINE's season premiere, Cheney's Law, airing Oct. 16, 2007, at 9 P.M. ET on PBS (check local listings), examines the battle over the power of the presidency and Cheney's way of looking at the Constitution.
"The vice president believes that Congress has very few powers to actually constrain the president and the executive branch," former Justice Department attorney Marty Lederman tells FRONTLINE. "He believes the president should have the final word, indeed the only word on all matters within the executive branch."....
As Goldsmith began to question his colleagues' claims that the administration could ignore domestic laws and international treaties, he began to clash with Cheney's office. According to Goldsmith, Addington warned him, "If you rule that way, the blood of the 100,000 people who die in the next attack will be on your hands."
Goldsmith's battles with Cheney culminated in a now-famous hospital-room confrontation at Attorney General John Ashcroft's bedside. Goldsmith watched as White House Counsel Alberto Gonzales and Chief of Staff Andy Card pleaded with Ashcroft to overrule the department's finding that a domestic surveillance program was illegal. Ashcroft rebuffed the White House, and as many as 30 department lawyers threatened to resign. The president relented.
But Goldsmith's victory was temporary...
Following the broadcast, Cheney's Law will be available to view on FRONTLINE's Web site, www.pbs.org/frontline/cheney.
Not that I will probably disagree with much of what the documentary has to say, but we should probably come up with some language to distinguish between a polemical documentary and one that at least attempts to be unbiased. Still, I very much look forward to hearing what Goldsmith has to say.