Friday, February 29, 2008


The Heartlands Project

Now maybe Steven will go over to Hank's and bother him for awhile.


Clendenen to come to Weott


FEBRUARY 29, 2008

Clendenen to hold public meeting in Weott on Thursday, March 13

Clif Clendenen, candidate for Humboldt County Supervisor in the Second District, will be appearing at a public gathering in Weott at the Weott Community Hall at 175 Lum Street on Thursday, March 13 from 6 to 8 p.m. The event is free, however, donations will gladly be accepted. Food and refreshments, including cider and pastries, will be served.

Clendenen has been holding a series of similar events to hear what issues residents of the Second District believe are the most important. The past events have been well-attended and provided a great forum for both Clendenen and those in attendance.

Clendenen was born and raised in the Second District. He graduated form the University of California, Davis and returned to Humboldt County to operate his family's apple farm in Fortuna for the past 30 years. While Clendenen has been active in local Fortuna culture and politics, he is now directing his energy and ideas to the county level.

All residents in the area are urged to come to the event, meet the candidate, voice their views and discuss the issues.

Bill Thorington, campaign manager

(707) 496-4703


Truthers to suck up HSU air

And don't forget to bring your own tin foil
Blueprint for Truth: The Architecture of Destruction

Richard Gage, (American Institute of Architects, Architects and Engineers for 911 Truth - will present at the Jolly Giant Commons (355 Granite Ave, Arcata) at Humboldt State University Friday March 7th at 6pm. A 20-year veteran architect, Gage's extensive research in multi-media form focuses on the collapse of all 3 World Trade Center buildings. The two main towers, WTC1 & 2, were destroyed including WTC7, a 47-story skyscraper that fell at nearly free fall speed into its on footprint without being hit by a plane. Did you know 118 first responders saw explosions and flashes, molten iron under the buildings and Thermate, an incendiary used to cut steel, was found in the WTC beams and dust of the ruins? Attend to see for yourself, ask questions and demand answers! Presented by HSU 911Truth (707-826-5415, A second presentation will be hosted by Humboldt County 911 Truth (707-832-3916) at the Eureka Labor Temple (840 E street, Eureka) Saturday, March 8th at 3pm. Free with suggested donation of $10 general or $5 for students or Vets for Peace.
What do I know? I'm a lizard person.

Resistance is futile!

Addendum: Previous posts on topic: Most moronic post of 2006; destroying the peace movement; Michael Lerner part of the cover-up; Cultwatch; Truthers and porn; Noam Chomsky part of the cover-up; The Conspiracy Industry


What does a political demonstration accomplish?

This is a question for political activists of any ideological stripe. When you attend a demonstration, what is your purpose? For many of you it seems like a ridiculous overly introspective question, but really, have you thought about it?

I've already posted and dedicated a couple of radio shows to the idea of "activistism" or action for it's own sake. I asked the question on one show and only one caller even attempted to address the question directly. He said he attended demonstrations for his own morale, whether it did any "good" beyond that. Fair enough. Rallying the troops is more than an adequate purpose, especially at the beginning of any war where the patriotism quotient is running at 9 to 1 or worse and the airwaves are completely one-sided. I remember during the first Gulf War, FAIR kept tabs of the interviews on CNN. They found that only two of those interviewed for the first 30 days of conflict opposed the war, and on Nightline, one of them was cut off by Ted Koppel who said that the expert had not been brought in to voice opposition to the war but to comment on some obscure aspect of it. So, yeah, I don't want to play down that value to the demonstrations.

But I've attended the last few demonstrations in Eureka. The first, just before the war, was empowering or at least morale boosting. But between the bizarre behavior of a few individuals, the often grating rhetoric which stretches the sentiments well beyond the average person's opposition to the war, and the prominence of conspiracy theorists, speaking of which, reminiscent of the discrediting efforts of Cointelpro - "normal people" haven't been brought into the visible opposition.

As a teenager and during my early college years I attended many demonstrations of all sorts, large and small. I started to get jaded with them by the mid 1980s when I was attending many in and around the Bay Area. I started to recognize the "usual suspects," and poorly organized demos would consist of the various sectarian Marxist groups trying to sell their papers to each other and confused bystanders. I remember one gathering in particular at Union Square, where George Schulz, or maybe Al Haig, somebody from the Reagan cabinet, was attending some sort of Conference in the St. Francis Hotel. It was poorly attended, selecting for the usuals. You had the CISPES people at the center holding the placards opposite the police like and metal barriers, chanting the same old chants which sometimes rhymed. I'd come up from the BART station after work to do my civic duty, was approached by the usuals pitching Workers Vanguard, Revolutionary Worker, The Militant, and I forget which paper was put out by the DeLeon group. Oh and the one put out by the group which thought Albania was the salvation of the human race.

I made my way to the tables. Same old pamphlets. Same old faces.

I made my way to the crowd. Same old chants. Same old speeches. Same bullhorns with the same stickers I'd seen at the events for years. Same banners, getting tattered with age. A ritual, with no twists. No thought. A demonstration which would be reported between the weather and reports of car accidents. With people walking by just as accustomed to the event as they were of the guy holding up the signs on Market Street warning about impending Armageddon, and the Scientologists and Moonies pushing their leaflets with big vacuous smiles.

I concluded right there that the demonstrations weren't merely a waste of time. They hurt the causes - whatever the causes were, which was rarely clear.

So back to my question. What makes a demonstration "successful?" Merely that it happens? Can a demonstration be counterproductive to the cause? What specifically are the goals? Are you trying to reach people? Attract media coverage? Rattle some nerves in power? Do you think about how to attain these goals, tailoring the rhetoric to the goals? Is the timing important? The demographics of the attendees?

Just questions.

Photo comes from Zombie, a right winger who photographs demos in the Bay Area.


Simple pasta pleasures

Somebody at the SF Bay Guardian must have read my eulogy for OH's. Check out this review:
Everything about Bar Bambino (2931 16th St.; 701-8466, is carefully rustic. In the restaurant's front window, a rough-hewn community table seats 10 and a soft white Italian marble bar reaches all the way back to an open section of the kitchen, displaying cheeses and charcuterie. A few scattered indoor tables give way to a quiet, heated outdoor patio. The menu shows owner Christopher Losa's love for northern Italy, where he lived for several years: the food is simple, traditional Italian, like the polpetti, pork-and-veal meatballs in a rich tomato sauce with dark chard. There's nothing superfluous on the plates (order some sides for that), and the dishes are affordable. "I'm all about gastronomic progression, but how many times a week can you eat peppered sardines in cilantro foam?" laughs Losa. "Sometimes you just want a plate of really good pasta." The highly polished Italian wine list offsets Bar Bambino's simple food.
But really, if you want great simple Italian food, Little Joe's (not "Original Joe's" or any of the others), which used to be on Broadway, then Van Ness, but now located somewhere south of Market has the best marina sauce over raviolis anywhere. I wrote about it a year ago. My opinion hasn't changed.


We're number one!

More than one in a hundred American adults are presently behind bars. The highest percentage of any nation currently. Yippee!

And I believe California is even higher, thanks to three strikes and despite prop 36. Takes some doing.

Thursday, February 28, 2008


It's Nader-Gonzo!

Matt Gonzalez, who came within inches of the SF Mayor's office back in 2002 (and to whom I sent money) will be running for Vice President. Well, as much as I want the Democrats to retake the White House this year, I find it exciting that Gonzalez is back in politics. He had been on the Board in SF representing the Haight-Ashbury District and decided to go back into private practice not long after losing the Mayoral race to Gavin Newsom.

It should freshen up Ralph Nader's run as he couldn't choose a more dynamic running mate in someone who came very close to making the Green Party a player in California politics. Demographically and culturally speaking - he's me - sort of in between baby-boom and gen x, post-hippie, non-punk, yuppie-but-not-yuppie, lost generation who remembers his first Clash album while enduring Billy Don't be a Hero on all the airwaves. It's likely he and I attended some of the same parties in SF (the ones with dim blue and red lightbulbs all over the house, usually in a rustic Victorian in the Mission District filled with grad student and art grant recipient tenants - with plenty medium priced booze served in plastic glasses and the background aroma of you-know-what from this county) in the early 90s and we probably have many of the same books on our shelves and much of the same music in our CD collections.

I still think it's a pointless run, and instead of going for the Hail Mary every time the Greens ought to work on getting local candidates elected so they can work up a leadership base and infrastructure to run for higher offices. But they don't listen to me, so what can you do?

The photo comes from the SF Chronicle article linked above.

Addendum: Yes, this is a weird week for me, praising campaigns I don't support.

Second addendum: Hmmm. I wondered what had become of James Hammer. Hammer, now one of Gonzalez' law partners, was an SF prosecutor famous for obtaining the conviction of dog owners who's pets had killed a lesbian woman in an apartment building. Some may remember that the dogs were raised in Hayfork, bringing a local element into the story. Anyway, James Hammer is now openly gay. He wasn't (open) when I knew him briefly while we both attended Half Moon Bay High School. In fact, I remember a religious argument which left me with the distinct impression he was very conservative. I think he probably liked Billy Don't be a Hero. Anyway, he's in private practice with Gonzalez after a brief stint as legal talking head for one of the networks.

Third addendum: Whew! Mayor Gavin Newsom on Gonzalez. I have to say, that the debate between them which I heard on the radio was the most high level intelligent debate I've heard between political candidates, and I mean the most. That includes races for president, senate, etc. Both were extremely knowledgeable, passionate, articulate, and most importantly candid with policy and philosophical details. About the only silly line in the whole campaign was Newsom saying he was for ideas and not ideology, which Gonzalez played around with in a way that you could only get away with erudite electorate of San Francisco.
Simply put, for the sake of America’s future, the Nader-Gonzalez ticket must be considered and challenged as the very real threat it is.

If had to make an educated guess, I would bet that Matt Gonzalez’s name ID outside of San Francisco is somewhere south of zero. But the fact is, Matt Gonzalez is a dynamic and accomplished politician who will bring both a charming charisma and a steely discipline to the Nader effort.

When Matt ran for Mayor, he was able to attract both the enthusiasm of young voters and the money of many developers who didn’t like my stands on their projects. He jumped into the race late, even though both a strong gay candidate and a progressive woman were already running credible campaigns – and he beat them.

Matt is a smart, tough and ruthless campaigner who will help make the Nader ticket just effective enough to be dangerous. I respect my fellow San Franciscan as an opponent. I respect him as a thinker. And I like and respect him as a person.

But what Matt Gonzalez and Ralph Nader are doing to our nation is beyond divisive – it is dangerous. Every progressive and Democrat needs to recognize that in the Nader-Gonzalez candidacy, we gain nothing but have everything to lose.

Read the whole thing. One more thing, Gonzalez would never bop his friend's wife. Newsom ought to reflect on that.

Fourth addendum: According to the NY Times, they will not be seeking the Green Party nomination, but will instead run as independents.

Fifth addendum: A hilarious video of "anonymous" advice for Nader.


Why Kucinich cut his presidential race short

Wasn't there a Gospel quote about Jesus being popular everywhere except for his home town? Well, Dennis Kucinich isn't Jesus, but apparently some of his constituents are feeling neglected.

The Cleveland Scene, an alternative newspaper, has an article up about his opponent, a former Kucinich groupie named Joe Cimperman who wanted to commission a portrait of the congressman, but got burned and then got pissed.
The new Kucinich, he argues, is rarely involved in matters at home anymore. He's twice run for president, but barely registered in the national consciousness. Meanwhile, while the congressman was "spending all his time in Hawaii and Syria," Cleveland was being rushed to an economic emergency ward.

So Cimperman decided to take Kucinich's job — the 10th Congressional District seat, representing an area that stretches from Cleveland to North Olmsted. It's not like he's betraying his mentor, says Cimperman. "I didn't leave Dennis. Dennis left me."


A few weeks later, Cimperman delivered a gift basket — stuffed with sausages and a map of Cuyahoga County — to Kucinich's house. The message: In case you forgot about Cleveland . . .

The next week, a staffer filmed him as he went to Kucinich's office to drop off a "missing" flier featuring the congressman's face.


He immediately launched TV ads attacking Kucinich's most vulnerable flanks, accusing him of ignoring his job and failing to deliver anything meaningful to the district.

Kucinich was forced to cut short his presidential bid and scurry back to Cleveland. He seemed to understand that he faced a legitimate threat, an opponent regarded as such a tireless campaigner and aggressive self-promoter that he's often accused of grandstanding.

In other words, Kucinich had come home to battle a younger version of himself.


Yet outside the unswayable core, Kucinich has done his best to alienate lay Democrats. His two presidential bids seemed like the antics of a kid brother who's constantly trying to play with the older boys. Despite three years of nonstop campaigning, he rarely scored more than 1 percent in the primaries.


At home he (Kucinich) was anti-abortion, anti-gay-marriage, praising the merits of bowling and sausage. In California he was a vegan liberal. At home he refused to debate his opponents; in New Hampshire and Nevada he sued to be included.


Unfortunately, Scene couldn't get Kucinich on the phone either. His cell phone picks up after one ring. This is Dennis. Thanks for calling. I'm looking forward to speaking with you . . .

But he never calls back.

And lest you think this is a flank attack by conservatives and/or Democratic Party insiders, Cimperman has mostly championed progressive causes including a failed attempt to keep WalMart out of Cleveland. He has compromised on other issues according to the article, but he does not appear to be hitting Kucinich from the right. On the other hand, note the first comment to the article which claims that Kucinich has an excellent attendance record in Congress despite his campaigns - and isn't that really the job of a congressional representative? The portrait incident may actually weigh against Cimperman's central theme.

Still, Kucinich's sudden departure from the presidential race would indicate that he's well aware of his vulnerabilities.

Disclosure: I voted for Kucinich in the 2004 primary.

Wednesday, February 27, 2008


William F. Buckley moves on

The man who introduced intellectualism to conservative politics died today. The magazine he founded, National Review, has a symposium and a slide show. I'll gather up some thoughts and type them out a little later on, but I miss his style of conservatism in the age of Limbaugh and Coulter.

Buckley's career took off in the 1950s with the book "Up From Liberalism," wherein on the very first page he warned of the danger that “comes when a distrust of doctrinaire social systems eases over into a dissolute disregard for principle.” It was perhaps an early plea for what would decades later be referred to as "compassionate conservatism. He also differed from his fellow conservatives from a libertarian perspective on the drug war. In fact, he would take his sailboat out of American legal jurisdiction waters and smoked marijuana (apparently not concerned about the possession issues up to that point) and was quite open about it. And more recently, he broke with his fellow NRO team to oppose the Iraq war.

And while other conservatives felt betrayed by Buckley's protege Michael Lind when the latter made the journey to the liberal dark side in the mid 1990s, Buckley maintained the utmost respect for Lind and continued to publish him. This even after Lind wrote a book and named it in parody "Up from Conservatism."

This isn't the most flattering remembrance of him, but it's a famous clip from a debate between Buckley and Gore Vidal during the 1868 Democratic Party convention. During the exchange Vidal calls Buckley a "crypto-nazi" and Buckley threatened to punch Vidal in the nose. Vidal later apologized saying he'd meant to say "crypto-fascist" rather than "crypto-nazi."

Here's an old debate with Noam Chomsky.

The photo comes from Britannica.


A compliment warmly accepted

Matthew Owen, who invited me to speak at the Rotary Club in Eureka on Monday (where I was clearly out of my element), reports to me that an elderly gentleman told him that he didn't think he was going to like my talk. First off, he didn't know what a "blog" is. Secondly, I was from Sohum, a liberal, and an attorney - three strikes against me.

But he told Matthew that he thought my talk turned out to be "very interesting."

Hey, they laughed at my jokes! I can't ask for more.


Estelle kicks off her campaign

I don't have the time to post a full report right now, but I was at the event at the Garberville Fire Department earlier today. A good turnout - I counted about 120 people. Culturally diverse crowd and even some young people. Very upbeat and positive event.

Her website is up.

I'll have more to report when I can find the time later today.


Okay, so I was a little late to the event which was marked a block away with a sign and red, white, and blue balloons. Campaign Treasurer Karyn Thomas was speaking when I arrived. I just caught the tail end of her introduction. There were probably about a hundred people there and I think a couple dozen more arrived after me. According to one organizer, they got about twice as many people as they had anticipated.

Present from the north were Eureka City Council Member Chris Kerrigan and Greg and Carol, all of whom will be working on Estelle's campaign.

Karyn introduced David Kirby who spoke about the differences and points of unity between northern and southern district, the latter being state of the economy. He then introduced Estelle as a candidate of unity.

Estelle began by describing the Second District folk as "self starters" who are "not looking for hand-outs." She then moved into a discussion of issues of infrastructure, including roads. "It's not just pot holes" she said, noting that she has driven every single county road and finds that there are entire pieces of road missing on some. She noted that Shelter Cove residents finally had to take matters into their own hands and fill in a large hole which had been causing them grief. She moved into Roger Rodoni's failure to adequately address the needs of the fire departments of the Second District.

She opened up the gathering for questions. Holly Sweet spoke up about the need for public restrooms in Redway, talking about troubles the lack of bathrooms are causing for her business property. Holly emphasized that she didn't want a government response which essentially blamed the poor for their situations. Estelle responded that it was a "sticky situation," complicated by the mental problems and drug usage of some of the homeless and supported the idea of experimenting with the placement of port-o-potties to see how it would work. She emphasized that the problem was really one which had to be addressed by a comprehensive policy which emphasized access to social services and pointed to an effort in Eureka, the funding for which Roger was the only opposition vote. She agreed that she did not want to target the poor and that their needs should not just be ignored.

Asked about the Richardson Grove controversy, she responded that she had attended last week's meeting at the Wharfinger and that while she understands the objections of environmentalists, she also understands the issue from all perspectives and said that the widening of 101 is very important to a number of independent businesses. (Before anybody jumps all over her about it I should note that Clif also holds a nuanced view of the issue and both candidates want to keep the dialog open to look for situations which address all concerns comprehensively - I would also note that the candidates may be ambiguous on the issue because the project and its apparent opposition is also very ambiguous. See the post and thread below on topic.).

In response to a question about the County's case against McKee she noted that the Court has found him in compliance with all laws and the contract with the county and that the county had been in violation of the same. I took this to mean that she would vote to drop the lawsuit if elected.

A teacher brought up budget cuts. Estelle indicated that that would be out of her jurisdiction as a supervisor, but that the teachers should let her know what she could do to help.

A representative of the Second District Volunteer Firefighters Association (I'm really not sure if I got the name right, but I'll correct it when I have the information) announced a vote to endorse Estelle.

Another attendee blamed the problems of the roads on environmentalists who pushed regulations which make it so expensive to fix them. There was an awkward moment of silence, which Estelle ended with "okay," then passed the microphone on to someone else.

After a few more speakers she thanked the crowd for turning out and announced that she will be holding an event at Fortuna River Lodge on March 13 at 2 to 4 p.m., an event organized by Harold Mendes.

She had signs, bumper stickers, and buttons - all red, white, and blue. Clif's paraphernalia is also red, white, and blue. Roger's is green. Read into all that what you will.

The shot of Estelle flanked by her impressive campaign committee comes from her website, linked above. The photo of Estelle with firefighters also comes from the site. The photo at the top from today's event comes via e-mail from Kim Sallaway.

Tuesday, February 26, 2008


Rejecting and denouncing

I'll share some points later. I missed some of the debate taking care of dinner and kids, but I'll watch what I missed later. Russert is more aggressive than he should be, and he's annoying both candidates - Clinton a bit more. She responded with a wry smile when he challenged her on her 2000 promise of more jobs in upstate New York by responding, "I thought Al Gore would be president."

And apparently Obama "rejected and denounced" Farrakhan. (Clinton told him that "rejecting" wasn't strong enough and that he had to "denounce" - he then did both).

I actually prefer Clinton's health care proposal to Obama's, but they kind of went over the same old ground. Clinton's proposal punishes poor people who can't afford the insurance and doesn't specify subsidies. Obama's plan doesn't allow for the economies of scale needed to assure the success of the plan, and besides Obama mandates coverage for kids. Etc.

Some highlights leading into the debate, yesterday's sarcastic speech was probably Clinton's best moment in the campaign. Too little too late, but a nice moment. See, in case you missed it in tonight's debate, she's "a fighter." She said it about 5 or 6 times.

Obama emphasized the difference being that he draws a bigger crowd into his tent. Sen. Christopher Dodd endorsed Obama this morning, remarking: "For 27 years I've been hearing about 'Reagan Democrats.' Now for the first time I'm hearing about 'Obama Republicans.'"

Both promised to pull out of NAFTA if they don't secure better labor and environmental standards.

I think this is the SNL skit Clinton's been referencing.

More later.


Incriminating Obama photos! Hanoi Jane connection?


Oops! Diebold just accidentally leaked the 2008 results! Also, the situation in Nigeria is very complex. And they're imposing waiting periods on suicide bombing vests in Iraq.


Okay, I guess I got sidetracked. Democratic Party nomination debate number 20 is in the history books. If I think of anything else intelligent to say about it I'll post it here.


Well I watched the portions I missed. The most interesting part was the question about what vote each would take back. Clinton said she'd take back the war authorization, which automatically makes her a candidate five times stronger than Kerry who wimped out on the question. And Obama apologized for not putting up a fight to keep the federal government out of the painful Terry Schiavo situation, where right wing senators played doctor and ultimately the autopsy revealed there really was nothing left of her brain (after the physicians who said so were raked over the coals all over the airwaves). Good answers both.

Oh, and I had it reversed. "Reject" is stronger than "denounce." I didn't know that.

And Tim Russert is a pompous jerk.


Addendum: Here's some background into the Farrakahn reject/denounce exchange last night, and perhaps a preview of what he's facing in the general election campaign.


So, educate me on the Richardson Grove realignment

Yesterday I was the guest speaker (about blogging) at a Rotary meeting at the Warfinger in Eureka. I had a great time, and I'll type up some notes about it later on. But before and after my talk I was asked by two individuals to explain the environmental opposition to the proposed realignment. One of them said, "we're talking about four trees, all of them deciduous." I haven't really followed the issue, so I couldn't really comment. I promised that I'd post something to draw comments so that people up north could understand what the issue is.

Unfortunately, I'm not at all clear about it even after reading the Redwood Times article. Certainly I would hope that there would be some sort of scientific inquiry about the impact on the old growth root systems, if there is an intelligent concern. The article states that concerns are posted at the EPIC site, but I can't find any mention of the proposal except for this old alert from which I've lifted the photo.

So in a thousand words or less, what's the story?

Monday, February 25, 2008


An institution closing in Eureka

OH's Townhouse will be closing this Friday after 52 years. The Times Standard has the details.

When I came to Humboldt County 12 years ago, my then new law partner took a day to give me a tour of Eureka. He introduced me to Los Bagel's for breakfast and OH's later in the day. I fell in love with the onion rings instantly. Often we celebrated trial victories and good settlements at the same place. They're famous for steaks, but they had a number of great dishes.

I know there are those who'll want to tear it down because of the family's politics or perhaps out of a smug sense of cultural elitism. But family owned restaurants with traditional recipes and down home service are an endangered species as a bland "California cuisine" homogeneity sweeps the state displacing everything from the California-Chinese "chop suey" houses in S.F. to the countryside Italian restaurants where you could buy a simple bowl of spaghetti with sauces constructed with TLC cooking over days at a time. The choices are coming down to Applebee's and pretentious bistros serving seared ahi with kiwi butter (actually, I like seared ahi with kiwi butter, but that's completely beside the point).

Anyway, Eureka is diminished with the loss. I hope in the cycle of business life its replacement is worthy.


Obama vs. Nader

John Nichols discusses Nader's comments about Obama and Obama's response.
Obama may be "the first liberal evangelist in a long time," says Nader, but the senator's "better instincts and knowledge have been censored" since he hit the nation stage.

"(Obama's) leaned, if anything, toward the pro-corporate side of policy-making," Nader said of the senator from Illinois. The consumer activist also scored Obama on on foreign policy, noting that, "He was pro-Palestinian when he was in Illinois... Now he's supporting (right-wing Israeli policies that thwart progress toward peace in the Middle East)."

Such blunt statements may not win Nader many friends among Obama's enthusiastic backers, and Obama did not exactly welcome his new rival to the race. "Ralph Nader deserves enormous credit for the work he did as a consumer advocate," Mr. Obama said while campaigning in Ohio "But his function as a perennial candidate is not putting food on the table of workers."

But Nader's not looking for Valentines from the Democrats.

Frankly, he's not even all that interested in popular approval.

The DNC folk may be panicking, but Obama doesn't appear to be.

Nader's greatest value in any race is -- like Socialist Norman Thomas in his races against Democratic Franklin Roosevelt -- as a source of pressure on the Democratic nominee to address fundamental questions and perhaps to take more progressive stands on a few issues. As in 2000 and 2004, Nader's appeal will be determined in large part by the extent to which the Democratic candidate is willing to be bold.

Obama seems to understands this. Unlike Gore or Kerry, who never quite "got" the point of Nader's runs in 2000 and 2004, the Illinois senator appears to recognize that it is pointless to grumble about Ralph Nader as a "spoiler." Rather, the point is to be more appealing to progressive voters who might consider voting Green or independent.

"I think the job of the Democratic Party is to be so compelling that a few percentage [points] of the vote going to another candidate is not going to make any difference," says Obama.

I keep looking for reasons not to like Obama, but they're far and few.

Meanwhile, Nader didn't take kindly to the "perennial candidate" comment.

Obama photo comes from Obama Youth. Nader's shot comes from CBS.

Sunday, February 24, 2008


Random election campaign notes

My yard work plans having been frustrated by the weather, I have a little time this morning. I'll be posting some notes. I think it's probably over, but Clinton appears to be hitting back. But Hendrick Hertzberg of the New Yorker notes:
"Going negative" has been a bust. It could never be anything but a bust, because there is no audience for it in the Democratic Party... Barack Obama is a phenomenon that comes along once in a lifetime. Unfortunately for Hillary, it's her lifetime; fortunately for the rest of us, it's ours.

More as I find it.

Update: There's a break in the rain. I'm going for it! Be back later.


Addendum: Whether it's Clinton, McCain, or the media in general - somebody is desperately looking for something negative to stick to Obama. The memes so far have been his Muslim connections, Rezko, inexperience, and plagiarism. Now they're pushing the unpatriotic theme. It turns out that he failed to put his hand on his heart for the National Anthem one time, he didn't wear a flag button, and his wife wasn't proud of America until recently. Oh, and Bill Ayers, former Weathermen, donated 200 dollars to his campaign.

I guess the question is whether he can withstand the heat. Clinton's argument is that she has taken the worst the right wing noise machine has to offer and is still standing. Obama's untested.
But the paper said that, in a statement, a spokesman for the Obama campaign, William Burton, said, "Sen. Obama strongly condemns the violent actions of the Weathermen group, as he does all acts of violence ... But he was an eight-year-old child when Ayers and the Weathermen were active, and any attempt to connect Obama with events of almost 40 years ago is ridiculous."
And by the way, he also strongly condemns the sinking of the Maine and the kidnapping of the Lindberg baby.


For what it's worth, the polls have Obama surging to a statistical tie in Texas. She still clinging to a moderate lead in Ohio. In the other two states deciding a week from Tuesday, Obama is well out in front in Vermont and behind in Rhode Island.


The William Jennings Bryan of the activist left runs again

It's official.

Actually it's a bad analogy. Some people actually voted for Bryan.

Addendum: Nader has this blogger thinking about Max Weber.

Saturday, February 23, 2008


But we here in Sohum can't be bothered

Blogger Al Giordino covering the presidential race brings attention to a recent demonstration.
Texas Republicans have worked overtime to make it harder for key Democratic voting groups to vote and be represented fairly. The redistricting games they’ve played are infamous. And for the Prairie View A&M University precincts, they put the early-polling place more than seven miles from the school.

So what did the students in this video do? They shut down the highway as they marched seven miles to cast their votes on the first day of early voting.

Watch the video.

Photo comes from MyFox Houston.

Friday, February 22, 2008


Will McCain campaign from the slammer?

He'd be in good company. Eugene Debs ran for president from a jail cell in 1920, having violated the Espionage Act by publicly opposing U.S. involvement in World War I. But Debs was in jail for speaking out against the war. McCain has another problem, and it isn't the unsubstantiated sex scandal. Should he spend much more money, he may be in violation of his own law.

From WAPO:
By signing up for matching money, McCain agreed to adhere to strict state-by-state spending limits and an overall limit on spending of $54 million for the primary season, which lasts until the party's nominating convention in September. The general election has a separate public financing arrangement.


If the FEC refuses McCain's request to leave the system, his campaign could be bound by a potentially debilitating spending limit until he formally accepts his party's nomination. His campaign has already spent $49 million, federal reports show. Knowingly violating the spending limit is a criminal offense that could put McCain at risk of stiff fines and up to five years in prison.
There are some, including the ACLU, who believe that McCain/Feingold violates the First Amendment, so maybe he can champion the opposition to the law of his own making. Since we now know that pols borrow quotes from each other all the time, nobody should begrudge McCain credit should he repeat Debs' words upon conviction:
Your Honor, years ago I recognized my kinship with all living beings, and I made up my mind that I was not one bit better than the meanest on earth. I said then, and I say now, that while there is a lower class, I am in it, and while there is a criminal element I am of it, and while there is a soul in prison, I am not free.
Then he can break out into an old spritual - swing low sweet chariot....

The image comes from Debs' Wikipedia entry.

Addendum: Darn for the irony! Somebody e-mailed me saying that she doesn't think that this particular limit is part of McCain-Feingold. Still, there's enough irony left for a decent meal.

Second addendum: McCain's not worried. The FEC doesn't exist. Or does it? It's very complicated.


Press release from Clif Clendenen

February 21, 2008


Clendenen Goes Door-to-Door to Meet Constituents

Humboldt County Second District Supervisor candidate Clif Clendenen has begun walking neighborhoods in Fortuna, going door-to-door to talk with area residents about the focus of his campaign. As part of his commitment to be accessible and approachable, Clendenen would like to meet with as many of his constituents as possible by walking neighborhoods in Fortuna, Hydesville, Rio Dell, Scotia, Garberville and Redway.

Clendenen can be found going door-to-door in neighborhoods from 4 to 7 p.m. on many weekdays and on most weekends. His goal is to be able to personally meet as many Second District voters as possible. In order to better meet voters in more rural areas of the district, Clendenen has held meetings recently in Garberville and Miranda, with the next set for Weott on Thursday, March 13 from 6 to 8 p.m., as well as participating in house party events such as the one recently held at the home of Sal and Naomi Steinberg in Carlotta, with others set for the upcoming weeks.

"I'm looking forward to the chance to talk one-on-one with as many people as possible," Clendenen said. "Between now and the election I think it's absolutely vital to meet with people on their doorsteps and in their living rooms so I can listen to everything they have to say.

"Being able to communicate in this way is something I've learned from my years as a business owner and as a resident of this community, and it reflects the way I'll serve the people -- being part of an open, responsive and efficient government, which is something we need now more than ever."

Clendenen, for the past 30 years the owner of his family business Clendenen's Cider Works, helped develop the Fortuna Apple Harvest Festival, is a former board member of the Fortuna Chamber of Commerce and is the founding president of the Fortuna Concert Series. He is also a past director of the Humboldt County Farm Bureau. Clendenen has been actively involved in Fortuna's General Plan Update, advocating for responsible growth that will preserve the city's small-town character and foster sound economic development and diversification.


Re the photo: Clif Clendenen recently began walking the neighborhoods of Fortuna, and is pictured here at the home of Jimmie Ballenger. Pictured clockwise with Clendenen are Jimmie Ballinger, Virginia Anderson, Margaret Rodrique, Mary Carroll and Lola Harland.

Thursday, February 21, 2008


Bruce is back

And I mean back! I noted his return previously, but he seemed to have mellowed. Lately he's taken up the Bari crusade again. Steve Talbot, who produced the documentary Who Bombed Judi Bari?, was in Booneville for a visit (the Redwood Summer people weren't impressed, particularly not Judi). KZYX icon Annie Esposito showed and spoke up.
At one point in her monologue directed at the gentlemanly Talbot, who clearly wanted to shake free of the monopolizing Esposito to allow other people in the audience to ask questions, Esposito turned her cadaverously pale, unnervingly spectral, ghostly gray self towards me and said in that breathy, oddly muffled, underwater burble of hers, "You slander people all the time, right, Bruce?" I must admit that I briefly panicked. Had Dr. Death sent his administrative assistant to prepare me for Final Departure? I grabbed a full glass of beer out of Irv Sutley's startled hands and was gulping it down as the last I'd ever enjoy when Ms. Death mercifully returned her befuddled attentions to Talbot.

I've never been formally introduced to this person and here she is calling me by my first name! Liberties aside, Ms. Esposito, if you'll take out your handy dandy reporter's notebook and listen very carefully here's a second simple distinction a reporter ought to be able to make: Slander is spoken untruth; libel is written untruth. Both are deliberate, conscious lies. Of course most non-ideological, adult-type persons also know that there's a difference between libel and slander and mere error. If errors are not corrected, well, maybe then you can talk libel and slander. Funny thing about it was, while Ms. Esposito was slandering me Saturday night at the Ox she was waving an article written by the late Bari at Talbot as if Talbot hadn't read it, as if he hadn't long ago responded to it, as if both articles hadn't appeared in the AVA, the only media entity on the Northcoast where the case has been fully discussed, complete with the deliberate evasions and libels of me in my own paper by such dogged male simpletons (and Sweeney surrogates) as John McCowen and Nick Wilson. If KZYX were anything like the "free speech radio" it advertises itself as it would have been fully discussed on local air years ago.

He's trying to restrain himself. But it's like the scorpion and the frog. And he's still convinced that Mike Sweeney is the bomber. Sweeney has never been amused.

I could say much more about this. I have all my old notes in boxes in the attic somewhere. But I don't really want to dredge this up again, not even to distract from the Reggae War. But Anderson may very well be one of the great writers who won't be recognized for it until he's dead. Sort of a modern Mencken. Here's hoping Bruce moves on to something fresh, with less obsession.

It's good to see the Pulitzer quote back on the masthead - Newspapers should have no friends. He's always taken that admonition to heart.

The drawing is by Jan Baughman and accompanies this article heralding Bruce Anderson's return to Mendoland.


Tonight's radio topic - Cuba and the American left

I've interviewed him previously. Leo Casey, a left wing union activist based in New York City, will talk about the recent change in power (specifically Fidel Castro's resignation), its implications, and most importantly how the American left should respond.

A few years back Casey was involved in an e-mail exchange with a number of activists who "support" Cuba and I found one of his posts particularly compelling and posted it on this blog. It'll give you an idea of where he's coming from. He also drafted this Statement on Cuba which was signed by progressives across the country (including me) and is posted at the Nation Magazine site.

Please feel free to call in to argue the points respectfully. The last show was fairly contentious. 7:00 this evening on KMUD of course.

Addendum: The international union movement is relieved over the release of union activist Pedro Pablo Alvarez Ramos, out of prison after 5 years. Only about 70 political prisoners arrested in that 2003 crackdown left.


New Reggae article in NCJ

I have been told that the North Coast Journal has a "10 page" article about Mateel v. Dimmick. I have not seen it and it is not yet up at the website. When it is, I'll post a link and maybe some thoughts.

Addendum: Thanks to the poster who provided the link.


Moore case arraignments today

Former Eureka Police Chief David Douglas and Lt. Tony Zanotti are set to be arraigned today in charges arising from the Cheri Moore killing which has been the topic of extensive discussion on this blog an others.

The Grand Jury transcript was released to the Times Standard which has posted some excerpts. I've only had the time to skim the article, but I noticed that there was officer testimony that the police had tried to establish telephone contact with Moore.
Gallegos repeatedly questioned officers and police negotiators about their attempts to contact Moore. Moore had music blaring in the apartment much of the time, and law enforcement repeatedly tried to get her to answer the phone and hold a conversation.

Officers testified that they held a discussion about whether to cut power to the apartment, but decided against it, since it was believed her phone was cordless and required electricity. Gallegos also asked whether commanders considered using a “throw phone” -- a special phone provided to a suspect during negotiations -- or the PA systems on police vehicles to communicate.

But according to Hank Sims NCJ article of September, 2006 about the inquest.
Sgt. Lynne Soderberg, the head of the Eureka Police Department's crisis negotiation team, was called into work as soon as it was clear that there would be a standoff between Cheri Moore and the police. As she was driving down, she passed the standoff itself — in downtown Eureka, on G Street between Fifth and Sixth streets. As she pulled up, an officer came up to her and told her that a man had come up to him to tell him that he had Moore on the phone. Soderberg ordered the man to hang up and not call again. It turned out that she had lost her last chance to talk to Moore — neither Soderberg nor her staff, located back at police headquarters, would establish effective communication with her again.
In Monday morning quarterback retrospect, this looks like a horrible mistake. But obviously neither Douglas nor Zanotti could be held responsible for it, and I would think that Sgt. Soderberg's intention wasn't to cut off communication but help the officer's establish it.

If you want to catch up on the story, at least to last December, Rose has an index of articles with links. (Edit - Rose informs me that she has pretty much all of the articles to date, and is working on links to letters to editor)

Wednesday, February 20, 2008


Estelle to kick off her campaign next week

I received a telephone call from the campaign earlier tonight. They are planning a rally at the Garberville fire department on Locust Street at noon next Wednesday. They're making the rounds as several others including my next door neighbor reported receiving calls. I also spoke to somebody from the northern part of the county (Eureka) who will be helping with her campaign, and it sounds like Estelle's wheels are spinning.

I almost forgot that I have a radio show tomorrow night. I was reminded when the person I'd intended to interview called me to cancel. Cristina's up north covering trials and hearings, so I'm probably going to have to improvise tomorrow night. Let's plan to discuss national and local politics. It'll be one of my caller-driven shows, which I'm long overdue for. And if nobody calls, I'm just going to sing.

Any requests? How about my Ethel Mermon impression?


Culture wars redux - and can't we just get along?

Remember this ad from four years ago? For those of you on dial up, the transcript:

ANNOUNCER: What do you think of Howard Dean's plan to raise taxes on families by $1900 a year?

MAN: What do I think? Well, I think Howard Dean should take his tax-hiking, government-expanding, latte-drinking, sushi-eating, Volvo-driving, New York Times-reading...

WOMAN: ...body-piercing, Hollywood-loving, left-wing freakshow back to Vermont. Where it belongs.

MAN: Got it?

ANNOUNCER: Club for Growth PAC is responsible for the content of this advertising.

Well, Kos brings to our attention last night's comments from Int'l Assoc. of Machinists President Tom Buffenbarger's while introducing Hillary Clinton (quoting from MSNBC):
[I]t was Obama supporters for whom Buffenbarger saved his most vitriolic contempt, and he proved that the Democratic Party’s coalition is nothing if not fragile. Channeling Howard Beale from the movie "Network," he yelled into the microphone, "Give me a break! I've got news for all the latte-drinking, Prius- driving, Birkenstock-wearing, trust fund babies crowding in to hear him speak! This guy won't last a round against the Republican attack machine. He's a poet, not a fighter."
His predecessor, William Wimpisinger, is probably rolling in his retirement. Looking at the comment, and the ad, imagine if somebody released an ad in California about Huckabee which read "I think he should take his Bible-thumping, Coors drinking, Wonder Bread munching, WWF watching, Ford Ranger driving, Limbaugh listening, illiterate ass back to Arkansas where it belongs."

Would everybody take it for a joke? Maybe. But I wonder if there isn't a double standard. I seem to recall a slew of salsa advertisements aimed at New York City. One of those ads was aimed at San Francisco, but I think the silliness of suggesting that nobody in San Francisco knows how to make salsa came down on them pretty quickly. But again, if a New York based company was to advertise making fun of whatever pizza comes out of Texas, it would be universally vilified as elitist at minimum. Not that Hollywood/NY cultural elitism doesn't slip through. But it does have to be a little more discreet about it.

Meanwhile, the Teamsters and Boilermakers are endorsing Obama.

Addendum: McCain should take care. He may get just what he asked for.



The artwork, by Iris Schenke, is posted on Artists for Hillary.

So, I guess March 4 is Clinton's "firewall." Ohio and Texas are states Clinton should do well in - in theory. Ohio being filled with economically hard-hit working class voters and Texas with a large segment of Hispanics and other demographics which did well by her on Super Tuesday.

But Wisconsin is also made up of voters which should have been favorable to her - working class white voters yearning for the Clinton era. She pulled out early, probably so she could wiggle out a defense that she had to focus on March 4 and so Wisconsin doesn't really count anyway. She made no mention of Wisconsin in her speech last night. But I think she was counting on a closer win. Everybody, including myself, had been praising her organization and ground game based on her New York wins. But as Laura Flanders pointed out on the Peter B. Collins show yesterday, her organization is top down. Obama has made extensive use of volunteers in every state so that the campaign has been off and running before the paid people showed up in each state. Obama's is the first campaign to successfully run on grassroots power in decades. Howard Dean had made the last attempt, but supporters of John Kerry's campaign had to pull teeth just to get yard signs. Much is being said about Obama's money, but it's much of it has come from small donations.

And by all accounts he has an excellent ground game going in Texas, and while not quite as advanced his Ohio effort is coming together as well. And he's just opened offices in Vermont and Rhode Island.

I expect Clinton to pull out all the stops. With nothing to lose, Bill will probably go back on the attack. The Clintons have always been at their best when their backs were against the wall. Will Ohio and/or Texas (and Pennsylvania in April) be her Trenton or Waterloo? And even if she wins both, will it matter? The math suggests it's nearly impossible for Clinton to overtake Obama in pledged deligates. Will the super delegates give her the win if the elected delegates have chosen Obama? How will that play out in November?

Addendum: You say Obama, I say Osama. The media's still not getting it right. Are we in for 8 years of this?

Tuesday, February 19, 2008


About our own superdelegate

By now you know that super delegates are elected party members or party bureaucrats who have been given a vote at the Democratic Party nomination convention and have the power to vote as they want rather than as their constituents prefer. They were installed a few decades ago as insurance against "insurgency" candidacies such as McGovern circa 1972 and even Carter in 1976. The idea is that these 800 delegates could maintain some control.

Some of the super delegates have committed to one candidate or the other, though a few who formerly supported Clinton have jumped on the Obama bandwagon. Others are waiting - hedging their bets.

Despite Obama's lead in delegates, which was enlarged by a very convincing win today, neither candidate can win the majority of "pledged delegates" prior to the convention. The nomination will be decided by the super delegates. Some super delegates have suggested that they would support the candidate receiving the largest number of pledged delegates (which if proves to be the rule begs the question - either the super delegates serve an anti-democratic purpose, or they're superfluous).

Rep. Mike Thompson has publicly backed Hillary Clinton. As a result, Bill Clinton came to Eureka, spoke to several hundred while pissing off a couple of thousand, and Obama won big in Humboldt County. It was a little closer in the other First District counties (fortunately for Hillary, Bill didn't show up in those counties), but Obama did indeed take the district (does anybody know how the pledged delegates in our district were allocated?).

So the question is, will Representative Thompson vote with his district, or does he view the Obama vote as an insurgency he is bound to squelch?

Addendum: Still only 8 percent of the votes counted, but it looks like a blow-out in Hawaii.


ER on Rodoni

Somebody finally found the article and posted the link.
Rodoni said he is running for re-election against candidates Estelle Fennell and Clif Clendenen because he believes he best represents the diverse residents in the southern areas of the county — particularly the working people he says aren’t given enough voice in government.

If he was going to make a campaign promise, Rodoni said it would be to not change his principles, ideology and philosophy he said have remained consistent during his tenure in office.

Sometimes criticized for his comments that some say go to far, Rodoni admits he is the most outspoken supervisor of the five-member board.

He also said he is the most conservative member and would remain that way if re-elected.

He says that economic development is in the hands of business leaders and the best thing government can do is stay out of their way and not bug them for taxes.

According to the article, he's raised about 9000 dollars. And he reminds everybody who say he's inaccessible that he has an office in Garberville (behind the library) and he's there every Thursday.

Addendum: Heraldo reports on Rodoni's comments on Estelle at the Board meeting, apparently not referring to her by name and calling her "emotional" about the Eel River.


Reggae trial resumes tomorrow

For another three days. Use this thread to report on the proceedings. Or you could just repeat the same lamoid arguments and accusations you've been making for a year and a half. Or you could come up with something new to say, though I wonder if there actually is anything new to say. Comments about private individuals who aren't actually major players in the case will be deleted, as well as over-the-top insults and of course anything which appears to be libelous or threatening.

I'm looking forward to the conclusion of this thing, however it ends.


Castro resigns

I'll have much more to say about this when I have some time. The reign goes to his "kid" brother Raul - a spry 76.

A bunch of comments from Nation contributors.

Addendum: Castro is giving up power to take up blogging. The catchy title: "Reflections of Comrade Fidel."

Monday, February 18, 2008


Some national political notes

A slow day locally from what I can tell. The freeze in Wisconsin is keeping the primary out of the news, but I may have an item or two before I'm done typing this post up.


So how did the baseball steroids issue become partisan?


Some of you might have caught the equality of marriage effort locally last week. In New Jersey, they're putting up even more of a fight. This Americablog post incorporates a series of ads being played in NJ about the inadequacies of their civil unions act.


On the FISA fight, this time around, the House majority didn't cave under "deadline" pressure and called the Republican bluff. The president may not get a bill that immunizes the telecommunications companies from consumer lawsuits against those companies turning over information about their customers without so much as a warrant or subpoena. This Kos poster's prose leaves much to be desired, but his overall point is salient. The Heritage Foundation and other conservatives probably figure they've lost the frame war on this debate and will be trying to regroup during the break. They're testing the waters with the old trial lawyer gambit, but I think the average citizen/voter will want to know precisely what the companies did to necessitate immunity. I don't think they wanted to be debating this, which is why they tried to muscle it through in a hurry. Not enough Blue Doggers in the House and all of them are facing re-election in November, with a few facing tough challenges from primary candidates to their left. In fact, I'm wondering if the Donna Edwards win killed the the immunity clause.


Score Vermont for Obama. Free ice cream!
The founders of Ben & Jerry's endorsed Barack Obama on Monday, and lent his Vermont campaign two "ObamaMobiles" that will tour the state and give away scoops of "Cherries for Change" ice cream.
Cherries for Change? How about Baracky Road?

A side note, B&J's site has some information on the federal banning of their ability to advertise the lack of rBGh in their product. I mean, I really find that quite remarkable - that they are not even allowed to inform consumers for whom that might be a choice, on the grounds that the government knows better than the consumer what's best for the consumer. Where is the outrage from the Cato Institute types?


CNN has Obama and Clinton in a dead heat in Texas, but I don't believe it. Maybe after a week of campaigning there, but there's nothing that's happened in the last few days to make it that close. Obama will be in San Antonio and Houston tomorrow.

Meanwhile, his frontrunner status and the realization that he could very well be the next president have drawn attention to his wife, and this Newsweek article has been the talking head focus throughout the weekend.


Jackie Speier may replace Tom Lantos. She was an assembly rep for years in San Mateo County. There is a mystique about her because she survived after bleeding with 5 bullets in her for nearly a day before help arrived after the Peoples Temple ambush on a Guyana runway which killed Rep. Leo Ryan.


Dissent has an excellent symposium on the Jury system as a political institution, starting with Toqueville's famous piece on topic. I'll post some highlights later.


Addendum: So McCain got George H.W. Bush's endorsement today, and pledges "no new taxes" while on the same stage. Seriously.

It was a stupid pledge to make in 1988, it's incredibly moronic to do so with the guy whose political career it destroyed standing several feet from from him. And even more so as you've got deficits out of control and a war that costs 35 million an hour.

Is he trying to lose? Or trying to got down in flames if he wins?


And new allegations of Obama plagiarism, this time from a cartoon character. The image comes from photobucket.


Terrorism in Humboldt County

No joke.

Addendum: In case anybody wants to know what Planned Parenthood does, abortion counseling being a small part of their program, you might actually visit their national site. Here is the local site. I am also planning to make a donation specifically in response to this attack on them, and I would encourage others to do so as well. That would be the best way to deter similar actions in the future.

Sunday, February 17, 2008



I was in Eureka today and wanted to buy a birthday present for my wife. I ventured into Old Town and found that Gallery Dog is gone? Are they out of business or did they move somewhere? Over the past few years they'd made a few gift shopping bucks off of me. Guess not too many others.

Saturday, February 16, 2008


Mark Lovelace for supervisor?

Wow! This year's campaign could be fascinating!


I don't quite know how to describe this

You've seen the Obama "Yes We Can Video" and the McCain-targeted parody (if not, both are available in the link below). One Youtube posting of "Yes We Can" is in the millions in hits. Hillary Clinton's people apparently believed they had to come up with an answer. You can find it here (it's the 4th or 5th vid down the page) along with some additional (intentional) satire.

I'm grateful for the power of the hyperlink, because otherwise I just couldn't do it justice. I mean, it sounds like a song from one of those floppy 45 speed records they attached to cereal boxes when I was a kid. Only worse. And that's just the music!

At first I thought it had to be parody. But it is authentic and earnest. If it had anything to do with the campaign, I'm not blaming Clinton for firing some of her handlers.

Addendum: Now, to contrast the Obama girl, this guy's got a crush on Hillary.


Estelle kicks off her campaign

The Eureka Reporter has some comments from her about Rodoni, PALCO, the need for local redundant broadband, and the general plan.
“I am the candidate willing to listen to people and also provide solutions,” Fennell stated in an e-mail response to questions from The Eureka Reporter.

Fennell moved to the North Coast 24 years ago and spent the past 17 and a half years working as news director at Redwood Community Radio station KMUD, before stepping down in August.

Fennell, who said she has a good working knowledge of the issues and realities of the Second District, is drawing on her many years of experience covering issues at the local and regional level and through meetings and working with the management and staff of numerous agencies.

And she isn’t shy about pointing out what she sees as one of the district’s problems: Rodoni.

Fennel claims Rodoni seems unable or unwilling to be a representative who can make county government work better for people who are trying to build or attract new business and solve existing problems.

“The most important issue facing the Second District is our local economy,” Fennell stated.

You can comment on the article at the ER site.

Friday, February 15, 2008


Blue Lake police chief denied OR

The Times Standard has the story, which I haven't had the time to follow. I happened to be in the court room yesterday, on a separate matter, when he was brought in for the hearing. Luckily for me the judge called the other shorter matters before getting to the hearing, and I didn't actually put together who he was until I saw Russ Clanton go up and sit next to him. They had cleared all the other prisoners from the jury box where they're kept.

Anyway, all of the papers and blogs are all over the story and maybe I'll try to catch up with it over the weekend. Probably not. I have absolutely no opinion as to his guilt or innocence. As usual, the blogs are full of big opinions with very few facts. But feel free to chime in here as well.

Heraldo's coverage.

Rose's coverage.

Thursday, February 14, 2008


Beginnings Octagon renovations

I didn't read last week's Redwood Times until tonight. Beginnings has big plans. I can't make out the plans even when they're enlarged, but they look ambitious in a time when funds are drying up in a very rough economy. But we can use some good news and a surge of optimism around here.
To date, through a combination of fundraising efforts, the Beginnings team has already raised more than $48,000. The projected budget outlines phase one (kitchen expansion and ADA-compliant bathroom) at $185,000, phase two (meeting room, office expansion) at $78,000, and phase three (roof repair, window upgrades, bathroom renovation, etc.) at $37,000.

If you do the math, you can see that despite the money already raised, the project is going to require about $250,000 more for completion. That money is accumulated through community offerings and fundraisers. “Gifting opportunities” range from “Friend” at $20-$900; “Contributor” at $1,000; “Family” at $2,000-$4,000; “Supporter” at $5,000-$9,000; “Sponsor” at $10,000-$29,000; and “Benefactor” for those who contribute $30,000 or more. Gifts of $1,000 will be greatly treasured and the donor will be designated a lifetime member. In addition, as a small gesture of appreciation, Beginnings will be tiling the foyer walls with a commemorative tile displaying each donor’s name.

The article doesn't provide an address to which to send money, but they're in the phone book.


Redwood ACLU press release

For Immediate Release

Redwood ACLU Calls For
Sweeping Reform Of Local Elections

At the regular monthly meeting of the Redwood Chapter, ACLU Board of Directors, local civil rights leaders adopted a comprehensive policy on local election reform after months of deliberation and consultation with other election reform advocates.

This new policy, while consistent with standing policies of the state and national American Civil Liberties Union, goes into detail in dealing with local election conditions, including most notably the proposed replacement of electronic vote-counting systems with precinct-based hand-counting of paper ballots "as the most verifiable method available" to local election officials.

"Other modern democracies around the world use hand-counted paper ballots and still achieve accurate results in a speedy and transparent manner," said Redwood ACLU boardmember Jack Munsee. "There's just no way to eliminate the justifiable mistrust we have in secret, privatized and error-prone electronic vote-counting systems, especially when a hand-counting system would keep our local dollars in Humboldt County and our local elections in the hands of the people."

Additionally, the Redwood ACLU addresses the complete failure of the unconstitutional, unworkable and unenforceable Measure T in having any meaningful effect on the power of big money to skew the electoral playing field. Instead, a "reasonable cap" on contributions is proposed, as is the case for federal elections, in order to ensure First Amendment protections while still addressing the need for campaign finance reform.

"Two years ago I proposed the real deal in campaign finance reform, which is a reasonable cap on the size of individual contributions to candidates. Instead, under Measure T we've seen only more growth in the flood of special interest dollars clogging our local elections," said Redwood ACLU vice chair Greg Allen. "I'm very grateful that my colleagues in the civil liberties community are on board with a reform which can really bring people together behind the concept of fairness."

Also addressed in the policy are issues as diverse as disabled accessibility, the need to include polling places in underserved precincts, and a vote of confidence in the new Humboldt Transparency Project, which provides independent citizen groups with the opportunity to conduct their own re-count of local elections.

"We awarded Carolyn Crnich and the Election Advisory Committee with our highest honor, the Patriot Award, last year because of their commitment to reforming local election conditions," said Redwood ACLU boardmember Maria Hershey. "We hope that this next round of reform will be received with the spirit with which it was issued, as a call to further our mutual aspirations for elections we can all believe in."

For more information, contact Redwood ACLU vice chair Greg Allen at 825-0826, or visit our website at


The Humboldt sociology of Valentines Day

Another Hallmark holiday in which I'm expected to scramble for something that outdoes all the previous years. Actually, my wife is pretty good about it. But I still find the Hallmark holidays annoying as they're primarily fueled by guilt-prevention masquerading as spontaneous affection.

So anyway, I bought chocolate today. Sjaak's (new retail name Venlo's Chocolates) dark chocolate. Then I went up to Partrick's to grab a couple of heart shaped lollipops for the kids. Both establishments were doing a brisk business today as can be expected.

I guess by the Brooks analogy (Obama Whole Foods, Clinton Safeway. Is Trader Joe's John Edwards?) Sjaak's is for Obama supporters and Partrick's for Clinton supporters. Both were full of men, so strictly speaking in statistical terms those not McCain/Romney/Paul voters were more likely to be Obama voters in either store. And I couldn't notice any significant socioeconomic differences in the men today. One guy was Hispanic, but he was delivering flowers to his girlfriend at Venlo's.


My kid spent much of the past couple of nights making his own valentines for his class. He brought home those he received at their school party today and most of them were also homemade. Maybe it's just the hippie thing, I don't know. I remember as a kid the only student who brought homemade valentines was a creative hippie girl (also into unicorns, John Lennon, and Kalil Gibran's The Prophet by the time she got to junior high school - if I'd stuck around for high school I'd probably have been pining for her). Some of the jerks in the class who were probably Rams fans later in life called her efforts "gay." Meanwhile most of the rest of us passed around exactly the same Hallmark valentines sold at Alpha Beta pretty much the only grocery store in Half Moon Bay at the time.


From Wikipedia, the earliest known reference to St. Valentine as having anything to do with romance.
The first recorded association of Valentine's Day with romantic love is in Parlement of Foules (1382) by Geoffrey Chaucer:[5]
For this was on seynt Volantynys day
Whan euery bryd comyth there to chese [choose] his make [mate].

This poem was written to honor the first anniversary of the engagement of King Richard II of England to Anne of Bohemia.[6] A treaty providing for a marriage was signed on May 2, 1381.[7] (When they were married eight months later, he was 13 or 14, and she was 14.)

A "bryd" is a bird.


Cute kid moment post 342

I swear, if my daughter was alive in Europe during the middle ages she would have been drowned as a little witch. Or maybe a demon familiar. With her physical abilities, language skills, and uncanny self-awareness, I've been remarking to her that she's a little girl all of the sudden and no longer a toddler.

Last night I was attending a meeting in Fortuna, which left Jana by herself with her kids. When my son practices violin, Jana uses the piano to set the pace. Usually I'm around to distract my three-year-old daughter. Last night she kept playing with the piano while they were trying to practice and Jana was a little short with her.

My daughter's response: "You no yell at me! I still a baby!"

Wednesday, February 13, 2008


Why Clinton may have lost the nomination

In one sentence.
"We didn’t put any resources in small states."

-- Clinton Finance Chair Hassan Nemazee, quoted by the New York Observer, on why Clinton might lose the Democratic nomination.

Among other reasons. But it's a good vindication of the Dean/Obama concept of the "50 state strategy."


Clendenen press release re Miranda event

I've already reported on it, but here's the official campaign statement:Bill Thorington, campaign manager

February 12, 2008


Clendenen meets the Public in Miranda

Humboldt County Second District supervisorial candidate Clif Clendenen met with nearly 40 citizens who attended one of his community meetings in Miranda this past Saturday. After addressing the group, Clendenen joined the audience in an informal discussion for nearly two hours about the issues and concerns most important to their community. Clendenen plans to continue meeting as many of the Second District residents as possible, by walking the neighborhoods in the larger towns and with more of these public gatherings. These well-attended public meetings provide a great opportunity for first-hand dialogue with the voters.

The Miranda meeting was one in an ongoing series of appearances in which Clendenen will hear the concerns of Second District residents and respond to their concerns directly. Additional public meetings and forums all around the Second District are set for the coming months leading up to the June 3 election. The next public meeting is scheduled in Weott on March 13 from 6-8 in the Weott Community Hall. Watch for local notices.

"It was a great success, and I was really impressed with the enthusiasm and energy of everyone who came out," Clendenen said. "I think it reflects the great degree of interest people have in this election, and the hope they have for the future. People are looking for responsive, hard-working representation at the county level, and there's no better way for them and me to have an active dialogue than face to face.

Clendenen, for the past 30 years the owner of his family business Clendenen's Cider Works, helped develop the Fortuna Apple Harvest Festival, is a past board member of the Fortuna Chamber of Commerce and is the founding president of the Fortuna Concert Series. He is also a past director of the Humboldt County Farm Bureau. Clendenen has been actively involved in Fortuna's General Plan Update, advocating for responsible growth that will preserve the city's small-town character and foster sound economic development and diversification.

Bill Thorington, Campaign Manager

Mary Anderson's article on the event is also up at the Redwood Times.


Obama has coattails?

This from Electoral Vote Count:
Obama hasn't even gotten the nomination and already he has coattails. In congressional district MD-04 in suburban Montgomery and Prince George's Counties surrounding D.C., there was a fierce battle in the Democratic primary for a seat in the House of Representatives. In that district, a progressive young black community organizer, Donna Edwards, challenged and beat a popular eight-term incumbent Democrat, Albert Wynn. Edwards ran against him in 2006 and lost. The difference this time was all the enthusiastic young Obama supporters who showed up to vote. Since MD-04 has a PVI of D+30, she can go visit Nancy Pelosi today to start discussing office space and committee assignments. The Washington Post has a story about her upset win. In MD-01, Wayne Gilchrest (R), was defeated by state senator Andy Harris (R) in a primary.

Meanwhile, from the same source:
In a development that should make Republicans nervous, Obama got more votes (619,000) in Virginia than all the Republican candidates combined (485,000). In fact, the combined Democratic vote in Virginia was more than double the combined Republican vote. And this in a state that hasn't voted Democratic in a Presidential election since 1964 when Lyndon Johnson wiped Barry Goldwater off the map. If the Democratic enthusiasm is running so high in places like Virginia, what's going to happen in the general election in true swing states like Missouri, Iowa, New Mexico, and Colorado? In Maryland, the Democrats got over 2.5x more votes than the Republicans, but Maryland is traditionally a blue state, so that was to be expected.
A word of caution however. The Democrats also had many more primary voters than the Republicans in the 1988 contests. On the other hand, Dukakis claimed the nomination with a 17 point poll lead. He managed to blow what should have been a sure thing.

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