Wednesday, November 26, 2008


It's official

This is my last post on the Blogspot version. You can now post at the Wordpress version. I will spruce up the format and will get the moderation function in line to minimize impact on the free flow of discussion without requiring too much babysitting from me. It is not just one poster by the way. I will exclude others who are abusive, and I can do that with more ease on Wordpress. And if you manage to slip through the safeguards, I will simply delete abusive posts. All abusive posts, no matter how much you feel the target "deserves it." I want a new tone.

Feel free to make closing arguments here. I will be turning the comments function off at midnight tonight.

It has been a nice run on Blogspot, but it's time to move on. Here's the link:

Sohum Parlance II


Diane Feinstein on the Milk/Moscone killings

Tomorrow is the 30th anniversary. Feinstein was the first to fine Harvey Milk's body after White walked by his office. She had attempted to engage White in conversation, but he ignored her and left. She tells the whole story in the Chronicle today.

I've already made a couple of posts on the subject, but there's plenty more to come. The incident was a huge turning point in California politics in many ways. It was also the last political assassination in our country to my recollection.

Sean Penn is getting great reviews for his portrayal of Milk in a film which I believe will be released this weekend (? I'll check on that). Much of the movie was filmed in the Castro, the district to which he was dubbed the unofficial "mayor." I look forward to watching it.

Tuesday, November 25, 2008


Sohum Parlance II - coming soon to Wordpress

I have a page. Now I have to study up on how to use it.

Addendum: Can any of you Wordpress whizzes tell me how to turn the moderation function off over there?

Second addendum: Until I've worked out the Wordpress system I'll continue to post here. I'll let you know when I'm stopping. Right now, I'm having a hard time importing the comment here, although the posts seem to have transferred themselves fine. I may just leave it at that.


It's too easy

Even I have standards. Our favorite blond hippie's jaw has been wired shut. Literally.

Okay, I'm not taking joy in someone's suffering. It's just that the symbolism is too blatant to ignore. It's like a badly written sitcom.


Gay adoption ban ruled unconstitutional in Florida!

Great news of small favors.
Miami-Dade Circuit Judge Cindy Lederman said the 31-year-old law violates equal protection rights for the children and their prospective gay parents, rejecting the state's arguments that there is "a supposed dark cloud hovering over homes of homosexuals and their children."

She noted that gay people are allowed to be foster parents in Florida. "There is no rational basis to prohibit gay parents from adopting," she wrote in a 53-page ruling.

Florida is the only state with an outright ban on gay adoption. Arkansas voters last month approved a measure similar to a law in Utah that bans any unmarried straight or gay couples from adopting or fostering children. Mississippi bans gay couples, but not single gays, from adopting.

The ruling means that Martin Gill, 47, and his male partner can adopt two brothers, ages 4 and 8, whom he has cared for as foster children since December 2004.

Does the Mississippi law make any sense whatsoever to anyone?

The Miami Herald also has the story and some photographs, as well as a poll to freep. Key quote from the article:

''These children are thriving; it is uncontroverted,'' the judge added.

Of course, that's totally irrelevant, right?

There will be an appeal.

Addendum: Damn! I posted before I got to the bottom of the article. There's some great stuff in there, and there's a link to the 30 page judgment. Apparently there was a similar ruling in another court.

In August, Monroe Circuit Judge David John Audlin Jr. wrote that Florida's 1977 gay adoption ban arose out of ''unveiled expressions of bigotry'' when the state was experiencing a severe backlash to demands for civil rights by gay people in Miami.

Wasn't Florida Anita Bryant's stomping grounds?

The ruling may hold because it's based upon the rights of the children, not simply the parents.

''Disqualifying every gay Floridian from raising a family, enjoying grandchildren or carrying on the family name, based on nothing more than lawful sexual conduct, while assuring child abusers, terrorists, drug dealers, rapists and murderers at least individualized consideration, `` Audlin wrote, was so ``disproportionately severe'' that it violates the state and U.S. Constitutions.

In her ruling, Lederman said children taken into state care have a ''fundamental'' right to be raised in a permanent adoptive home if they cannot be reunited with birth parents. Children whose foster parents are gay, she said, can be deprived of that right under the current law.

''The challenged statute, in precluding otherwise qualified homosexuals from adopting available children, does not promote the interests of children and, in effect, causes harm to the children it is meant to protect,'' Lederman wrote.

The judge added: ``There is no question the blanket exclusion of gay applicants defeats Florida's goal of providing [foster] children a permanent family through adoption.''

This is significant, because the factual finding that children are actually deprived parents by virtue of the ban should beef up the strength of the ruling considerably. The ban runs afoul of the children's due process rights, but also the state policy to put children into stable families.

The Herald slights the ruling in the following passage, but she simply summarized the evidence provided to her. The finding is that the ban hurts children.

In a ruling that, at times, reads more like a social science research paper, Lederman dissected 30 years worth of psychological and sociological research, concluding that studies overwhelmingly have shown that gay people can parent every bit as effectively as straight people and do no harm to their children.

''Based on the evidence presented from experts from all over this country and abroad,'' Lederman wrote, ``it is clear that sexual orientation is not a predictor of a person's ability to parent. Sexual orientation no more leads to psychiatric disorders, alcohol and substance abuse, relationship instability, a lower life expectancy or sexual disorders than race, gender, socioeconomic class or any other demographic characteristic.

So shines a good deed in a weary world.

Monday, November 24, 2008


Primary Care Giver needs to give more than marijuana

The KMUD news reported tonight a California Supreme Court ruling which eliminates as a "primary caregiver" the right to distribute marijuana to patients unless the provider renders treatment other than the marijuana itself.

So I got home and tried to find the case. There's a story on the SF Chronicle site, but it sort of misses the point, focusing on a side point - state approved cooperatives yes, your street corner dealer no. The article barely mentions the "primary caregiver" issue, which was the central issue of the case. My first assumption was that Cynthia had misstated the nature of the case, but fortunately the Chronicle article links to the decision itself. It turns out the Chronicle writer just doesn't really understand the case. I offer my profuse apology to Cynthia for doubting her even for a brief moment.

The case arose from events in Santa Cruz. The defendant made a number of large cash deposits at a bank and the teller took notice. When the amount of the deposits exceeded $10,000 over a two month period she notified the sheriff who busted the defendant. The defendant brought to the stand several witnesses to testify that they had designated him their "primary caregiver" which would make it legal for him to sell to them.

The Supreme Court rejected the defendant's status as "primary caregiver" because he did not "consistently assume responsibility for the housing, health, or safety of the patient." And it's not enough to subsequently designate someone, the relationship must exist when the marijuana is being distributed. And as Cynthia reported, you have to offer something more than just the marijuana.

There is also a very interesting concurring opinion by Justice Chin, addressing a point which was not necessary to the decision of the case. It's a fine point, but the majority opinion continually states that the defendant has the "burden of raising a reasonable doubt" as to whether he had the right to possess and distribute the stuff as a primary caregiver. The jury instruction apparently says precisely that, but Chin argues that the defendant merely has the obligation to produce evidence while the burden of proof remains with the prosecution. It may seem a fine point, but it could potentially affect how a jury deliberates on the question and thus impact the result. Unfortunately for the defendant, the jury never even got to consider the question in this case. But Justice Chin pretty much issued a warning to trial courts as to how they're instructing juries.


Franken's Silver Lining

Nate Silver, whose election predictions have bee uncannily accurate so far this year, is projecting an Al Franken win by 27 votes. The recount totals released so far don't look so good with well over half the votes cast and and only a seventh of the first count deficit erased. But Silver argues that these figures probably don't mean a whole lot as the challenged ballots are temporarily removed from the equation and deducted from the count. It's already been demonstrated that some of those challenges are just silly, and Coleman clearly wants to go into the challenged vote count round ahead in order to play the refs who don't necessarily want their decisions to decide the race.

Silver is speculating that the majority of challenged votes are coming from Franken's stack, as Franken is most certainly going to challenge any initial decisions by local elections judges which would deprive him of votes previously counted. I'm inferring from everything I've read that the challenges will not be addressed until after all of the precinct recounts are completed. I don't know what the rationale for that is, but if the state body, whatever it is, which decides on the challenges would address them as soon as they were made, it might prevent the type of gamesmaship Coleman is playing and save themselves some work. I have no idea whether the law even gives them that discretion.

Addendum: Inquiring right wing minds want to know, will Somalia steal the Minnesota Senate election?

Second addendum: This Kos blogger references an incident which reminds us of why elections must be transparent.
A small story catching on a bit in the MN blogs is from Dakota County (exurban sprawl, S of St. Paul). Procedure is to of course count the ballots and then stack them in groups of 25. (Since the ballots are 8x10, you then stack them in groups of 25 at right angles to each other.) At the end of the recounting you can visually tally totals by going 25-50-75 etc.

On Saturday a woman working at the recount was found putting 26 Franken ballots into a group (which of course later would be tallied at 25.) Franken observer caught it and called foul...twice. Attorneys from both sides went into a huddle with the election officials, who then recounted several Franken stacks---and caught 6 stacks of 26. No word on consequences for the woman in question.

Kudos to the Franken observer! And, ugly as something like this is, it was caught, dealt with and fixed. (I'll bet the attorneys on both sides might feel pretty good about what they did actually serving justice.) Whew!
There are some other stories through the link, but this one concerns me the most. And the transparency should include a statement from the woman about what happened. 6 "oopses" favoring one candidate demands an explanation, and some punitive action if the explanation is wanting.

Third addendum: It gets even more interesting. Franken's people have uncovered about 6400 absentee ballots which had been rejected. Moreover, it appears that some ballots which were counted initially have disappeared. Franken's campaign has a photograph of one such ballot. What will the courts do with that if they don't find them?


Test your civics knowledge

Take the test. You will probably do better than most elected officials (don't worry, most of them were probably on school boards).

Addendum: Those of you who think the test has a conservative agenda are right.

Sunday, November 23, 2008


Cookie conundrum

So I was in the store the other evening and walking down the cookie isle when I saw some of the many varieties of Oreo Cookies of late (it seems the latest marketing annoyance is to have like 10 versions of everything from cookies to candy bars). One type was covered in fudge with mint flavoring. It all of the sudden occurred to me that the brownish the package was describing Mystic Mints, my childhood favorite store-bought cookie, sans the green package and name. I looked around and couldn't find the familiar green box.

So tonight I sat down at the computer and sure enough, Mystic Mints were discontinued. This site even describes it as "food from the seventies," but I bought a package right in Shop Smart in Redway just a few years ago. I think. Certainly not more than ten years ago.

And make no mistake, Mystic Mints were made with Oreos. I removed the chocolate on one occasion to verify the same. Do these new Oreos taste like the MMs?


Is mint actually a flavor? Or is it merely a sensation combined with flavor, like hot spice or MSG (referred to in China as "the fifth flavor")?

And why do we associate mint with green? Sure the plant is green but there are hundreds of green plants with various flavors of which we don't associate with green.


A few years ago Shop Smart also sold Mallomars, my wife's favorite cookie from the east coast, but they appear to have discontinued that line as well. Apparently, for some reason, Mallomars are seasonal. But I haven't seen them, or at least I haven't noticed them, since before my son came home. That's about seven years. And they're supposed to be available by now. According to the Wikipedia entry, about 70 percent of Mallomars are sold in New York City.


The painting of the cookies come from this site where you can purchase this or other cookie paintings.


My Word post-election statements



I can't find Johanna's. Maybe it hasn't been published yet. I'll link to it as soon as it becomes available.

Saturday, November 22, 2008


Squaw Rock legend courtesy of two Sohum bloggers

I just wanted to draw your attention to these posts on Squaw Rock, in Mendo by 101, near the Sonoma County border. Both Kym and Ernie have deep family north coast roots and you can find some fascinating local history on both blogs.

Kym's post was first. Ernie has some more.

My reaction the first time I heard the name some 20 years ago was to sneer at the naming as borderline racist as the word "squaw" is Alonquian, a language grouping which is located well east of California, the word actually having been recorded by Plymouth colonists as part of the language of the tribes they encountered. What I didn't know until I just googled the word is that Alonquian is a subset of languages in the "Algic" family. There are two languages in the Algic family which are not Alonquian - Yurok and Wiyot. I realize that neither of the latter extended so far south, but I guess it's not completely unfathomable that the word was used on the north coast. Maybe someone can tell me if either of the local tribes use the word?

The map of the Algic language (obviously long after its theoretical roots in the Pacific northwest) comes from Wikipedia.


Marina Center EIR to be released on December 1

You'll be able to find it here. Thanks to Heraldo for the heads-up.

Now with all the problems facing Security National and the newspaper going belly up, will there even be any money to move on it assuming it passes muster? Supervisor-election Mark Lovelace has long maintained that there's no way it can make it through all of the numerous obstacles, political, economic, and regulatory. And we've been waiting for over a year now on the release of a proponent-backed study which would rebut the BAE Study of ten years ago which outlined the potential impacts of various additional big box stores on the local economy, including Home Depot. In fact as I'm reviewing my coverage back to my discussion with Morrissey and Gans, I have to wonder why it hasn't been completed and released. They certainly didn't wait around to release their poll results, timed just before a crucial election.

Obviously the proposal hasn't been dropped. But is the money there to pursue the proposal? Wouldn't it be ironic if the Marina Center was ultimately pushed through with the backing of Obama's "build baby build" economic strategy in terms of federal funds? Brian told me that Rob Arkley really wasn't interested in public grants, but I can't imagine at this point that he'd refuse money if private investors aren't available.

The photo comes from Balloon Track Watch, which apparently hasn't been active for well over a year now. The site still contains this classic Jibjab video Big Box Mart.


Moonstone Beach last winter


Mike Thompson - Secretary of the Interior?

I guess it's a possibility.

I do have to say that the argument that the Secretary of the Interior should of necessity be a hunter is lame.

Friday, November 21, 2008


Gasoline $1.99 per gallon at Costco

The lowest it's been in years. My wife reports that every other price she saw in Eureka today was over $2.20 today, some of them as high as $2.39. Usually there's maybe a 10 cent difference between Costco and the others.


Coleman: "All McCain votes should be counted for me"

At least according to campaign representatives on one county, nobody would ever vote for McCain and Al Franken.

Obviously the voters were confused. They should be counted for Obama.


Don's Donuts in Arcata and Regret

Somebody just drew my attention to this little gem.

From the creator:
The best donuts in the country are right here at Don's Donuts in Arcata, California. Krispy Kreme might as well stay the hell home. Don's delivers the goods and then some! They also have great bagels, pizza, sandwiches, and apple fritters. Their friendly service is always outstanding, and they carry a wide variety of tasty beverages.


"Is it okay to be liberal again?"

Michael Lind is an unapologetic liberal as announced in his decade old manifesto "Up from Conservatism." He was a Buckley protege conservative at one time and he puts together some interesting thoughts outside the box of any ideology. Obviously the word doesn't have the negative power it acquired during the 1980s, and it was used by Republicans with minimal success in 2000 and 2004 (one of the few attacks Kerry managed to parry easily by responding to the question of whether he's a liberal with the simple "on some issues, obviously"), and not even really attempted against Obama (McCain tried for a bit of a longer throw with "socialist" but even that didn't take).

The term "progressive" to describe the moderate left actually predates the use of the term "liberal" as Lind somewhat points out. The term "liberal" in the late 1800s and early 1900s actually referred to more of a free market ideology. Progressivism, despite it's elitist shortcomings elaborated upon in Lind's article, represented a mixed economy approach differentiating themselves from the "liberals" of the time as well as the socialists. The term "liberal" to describe social democracy really didn't come until the reallignment under the New Deal.

In any case, Lind argues with justification that liberals should step up and reclaim the mantle.

If the conservative era is over, can liberals come out of their defensive crouch and call themselves liberals again, instead of progressives?

In the last two decades, Democratic politicians, including Barack Obama, have abandoned the term "liberal" for "progressive." The theory was that Richard Nixon, Ronald Reagan and George W. Bush -- and Rush Limbaugh, Sean Hannity and Pat Buchanan -- had succeeded in equating "liberal" in the public mind with weakness on defense, softness on crime, and "redistribution" of Joe the Plumber's hard-earned money to the collective bogey evoked by a former Texas rock band's clever name: Teenage Immigrant Welfare Mothers on Dope.

I've always been uncomfortable with this rather soulless and manipulative exercise in rebranding, for a number of reasons.

Then he lists them off and elaborates. Some of those topics deserve a little more treatment and debate, including this passage:

Unlike progressivism and conservatism, liberalism is not a name that implies a view that things are either getting better or getting worse. Liberalism is a theory of a social order based on individual civil liberties, private property, popular sovereignty and democratic republican government. Liberals believe that liberal society is the best kind, but they are not committed to believing in universal progress toward liberalism, much less universal progress in general. Many liberals have been skeptical about the idea of unlimited progress and have believed that a liberal society is difficult to establish and easily changed into a nonliberal society.
And well, actually, most liberals do believe in progress, which comes with the glass-half-full view of human nature which distinguishes it from both conservatism and radicalism. The concern for the easy change into a "nonliberal society" doesn't stem from a lack of belief in progress necessarily, but is termed "regression" or "reaction." But you always here phrases like "two steps forward, one step backward." Lind himself may be retaining some of that Buckleyian cynicism about human nature. Then again, he probably wants to win that fight between some modern liberals and conservatives over the soul of Edmund Burke. Personally, I'm happy to cede that fight and claim Tom Paine as rightful Enlightenment representative of progressivism or liberalism.

Then again, as you'll read in the article, he's also fighting the liberty front with libertarians. Certain concessions about human nature have to be made. Lind's the right one to make them.

Image comes from Photobucket.

Thursday, November 20, 2008


Challenging ballots in Minnesota - you be the judge

Minnesota is a "ascertain-the-voter-intent" rather than strict adherence state. MPR has posted jpegs of some of the ballots being challenged by both the Franken and Coleman campaigns, including the one to the left. They are polling for each challenged ballot to see how you would rule on the status of each.

In the ballot to the left, I would give it to Franken. The bubble was marked next to Lizard People in the race above the Senate boxes, and it would seem that more likely than not the voter just included "Lizard People" in the Senate race to be flippant and not to cast a write-in vote.

My judgments on the ballots at the MPR site are as follows:

1. Franken
2. Accept the ballot
3. Reject the ballot
4. Franken
5. Franken
6. Sufficient evidence of intent (though I'd like to know how the rest of the ballot was filled out)
7. Coleman
8. Franken
9. Barkley
10. Barkley
11. Coleman (this was the most difficult one for me - I went back and forth)

So where do you differ from me? Bear in mind that under Minnesota law the intent of the voter is paramount, so even if you aren't completely certain of the intent, you should go with what is most likely the intent. In other states, including California, it may be different, and while we can debate the virtues of differing standards, try to make your judgments based on the liberal standards of Minnesota.

Addendum: Nate Silver is asking whether Franken is being "too nice" about his challenges. If Coleman is ahead after the second round before the disputed ballots are determined, Silver reasons that Coleman will have moral leverage to play the ref in the final determinations.

Personally, I think everybody needs to relax and let the campaigns and officials do their thing. Maybe Franken just doesn't have as many questionable ballots to work with.

Oh, and in response to the poster who says that I have too much time on my hands: how about this guy?!

In particular this proves, uh, something.

Second addendum: There are some ballots challenged on the second day. My take:

1. Accept the ballot. The idea is to keep people from making ballots identifiable to government, business, or union bosses. But if there's only one in the batch, obviously there's no conspiracy of intimidation. If there were a series of ballots like this one, I'd say invalidate them.

2. Accept the ballot.

3. I would have to conclude that the voter intended to nullify the mark, unless all of the offices were similarly marked with an x. But we see bubble filled without one. On the other hand, there's no other selection made and it seems odd that the voter would vote for Coleman by mistake when he/she intended to vote for nobody.

4. I'd have to reject this one. "Lizard men" can be explained away as snark. This one makes no sense.

Third addendum: Al Franken is going to review his campaign's ballot challenges over the weekend to determine if any of them should be withdrawn. He's calling on Coleman to do the same, but don't bet on that.


Independent ironies

For those of you with a copy handy, check out the front page story about the Bootleg robbery. Note the names of the alleged perpetrators. Then go to the second section of the paper and check out the "who's reading the Independent" caption, where you're supposed to guess who face is partially obscured by the paper and they show you the face of last week's mystery reader.

Only in a small town.


I actually find this kind of depressing

He's pissed off a lot of world leaders.

Wednesday, November 19, 2008


National political news roundup

So it's a couple of weeks after the most intriguing election of my lifetime and there's still enough news that I'm not even suffering withdrawal. A few races haven't been resolved, and the next battle lines are already being drawn.


Paul Begich is the new Senator of Alaska. That's 58 confirmed Democrats, including Sanders, not including Lieberman. The Republicans are spared the unpleasant duty of expelling the convicted Ted Stephens from the Senate.

And that leaves two Senate races yet to be decided.


The Minnesota Senate election recount began today. 2.9 million votes to be hand counted with the certified machine count giving Coleman a 215 vote lead. Most of the pundits are saying that the undervote count will benefit Franken as they tend to be new voters who make errors on their ballots, but either of them can win. As the recounting happens, both candidates are challenging the legitimacy of ballots. Those ballots won't be counted until the disputes are resolved. So far Coleman is challenging more ballots than Franken, which is being seen as a good sign for Franken under the liberal rules of consideration in the state. Franken has picked up a few dozen votes, but it's way too early tell anything. You can track the recount here. The early estimates for the recount were as long as a month, but they seem to have made considerable progress today.


On December 2 Georgia will hold a runoff election for their Senate seat. The Atlanta Journal-Constitution has renewed its endorsement of the Democratic challenger Jim Martin, but the Republican incumbent Saxby Chambliss is slightly favored, a prediction status supported by the most recent Rasmussen poll. Obama, McCain, Clinton, Palin, Romney, and every major party bigwig and his/her uncle are going down to poor Georgia to push for their respective candidate. There were reports and rumors of voting irregularities for the first round, and I wonder if the intense media focus over the next couple of weeks reveals anything concrete.

If Franken and Martin both win that would bring the Democrats to their "filibuster proof" 60, not including Lieberman. (Addendum - a poster says that the 60 number would include Lieberman - I will verify or correct later)


Speaking of Lieberman, largely due to Obama, he skated by with only 13 Democrats voting to take away his chairmanship of the Homeland Security committee. You can blame it on Obama who told Senate leaders that he wants to jump right into substantive policy concerns in January and didn't want party politics drama distracting anybody.


The final vote tallies are coming in, and Obama has exceeded 67 million votes and counting. McCain's numbers have slipped below 46 percent.

Missouri is finally called for McCain by .12 percentage points. Obama could get a free recount, but there's no indication he'll call for one. It's the first time in many years that Missouri did not pick the winner.

Obama made some more history, taking Salt Lake County, one of two slightly blue counties in the "blood red" state of Utah.


Meanwhile, Al Qaeda's latest Number 2 had harsh words for Obama, calling him a "house negro," invoking Malcolm X's famous reference to MLK. Apparently there is concern among militants that Obama's election could soften the intensity of radical Muslim anger with the U.S., which could cut hard into their supply of suicide bombers - sort of a Jihadist recession.


Back on the domestic front, all indications are that Obama does intend to aggressively pursue universal health care (I'll forgive him Lieberman if he accomplishes it). Rahm is talking it up on the airwaves, and Tom Daschle has been chosen for the Health and Human Services Department. Meanwhile, Kennedy is setting up working groups in the Senate to develop some health care legislation. One of those groups is to be headed up by Hillary Clinton, which is diminishing some of the Secretary of State talk. One possibility is that Obama offers and she respectfully declines in a bit of theater before he hands it off to Richardson or Kerry.


Congressman Henry Waxman is favored to beat out John Dingell to head up the House Energy and Commerce Committee. That could signal a big move towards alternative energy, global warming policy, and fuel efficiency standards. The latter could become a moot issue, in this country anyway. Update: Waxman wins! This is actually a very big deal if you're an environmentalist.


Addendum: Oklahoma does not share the change euphoria.


All Things Reconsidered - Cristina Baus will join me tomorrow night

That's Thursday night. We'll discuss the fallout of the election - local, state, and national. As always, at 7:00 p.m. at 91.1 in Sohum, 88.3 in Nohum, or live-streaming at Call in with questions and comments.


Home Depot founder message to CEOs who don't support Republicans who oppose unions

"You should be shot!"

Addendum: an activist in Minnesota says "Home Depot will never get another dollar from me."


Bear Gulch Bridge decision postponed again

The Times Standard reports that the decision will be made at the Supervisors' meeting on December 9 to allow for the testimony of a couple of tribal leaders who couldn't make yesterday's meeting.

Tuesday, November 18, 2008


Tragic impressions - 30 years later

Some good S.F. Chronicle summaries of the Jonestown massacre and the Moscone/Milk killings by the last conservative to be elected to the City Council (Mayor Frank Jordan did appoint his Republican god-daughter in the early 1990s, and she became the only Republican incumbent in California to be turned out of office in the 1994 election).

Today is the anniversary of the Jonestown killings.

Part 1

Part 2 (By Rep. Jackie Speier)

Part 3


I was in the 9th grade attending Half Moon Bay High School during these events. I remember hearing that there was hope that some of the children might have made it into the woods and survived, but their bodies were later discovered under those of the adults. One of my fellow students suggested that Kool-Aid could make an advertisement out of it by having the big smiling pitcher with legs burst through the wall over the bodies. I wasn't politically engaged at the time and didn't even recognize Leo Ryan as my congressman when he was reported dead. I wouldn't become familiar with Jackie Speier until a couple of years later when she was elected to the assembly.

I first heard about the Moscone/Milk killings when someone joked "why should I care about spilt milk?" A lot of black humor in that week.

The Pittsburg Steelers won the Superbowl that year. I had my first serious kiss. I played the clarinet in the school band, enjoyed concerts, hated marching. The next year we moved to Pacifica and I was transferred to a private school in the City named Lick-Wilmerding. Pink Floyd released The Wall and I listened to it over and over again before buying Dark Side of the Moon and Meddle. I still listen to Meddle. Their tour consisted of 10 shows in New York and ten in Los Angeles, so I never got to see them live. I settled for The Cars at the Oakland Coliseum, my first rock concert not including the free Dead concerts I'd attended with my parents at Stern Grove when I was like four or five. I played on the JV soccer team.

A few years later I saw The Times of Harvey Milk (available from Netflix), one of the most powerful documentaries I've seen, and read up. It was so weird to me that I was unaware of the full significance of those events as they were happening.

Diane Feinstein became Mayor of SF, district elections were nixed for two decades, and SF went through a bit of a relatively conservative period. Relatively. Dan White made Diane Feinstein. Moscone, as a legislator, made equality of marriage a reality, however brief, decades before its time. However brief his influence, Harvey Milk brought gay rights to the mainstream, through his election and the defeat of Proposition 6, the Briggs Initiative of 1978, just weeks before his death. For extra credit I had debated against the initiative in class, and was harassed as "a faggot" by some of my classmates later. I was glad to leave the place the following year. I started to miss it a couple of years after that.

Just some impressions of the time from an initially apolitical teenager.

Photo of Harvey Milk comes from Photobucket.


KMUD Battle of the Bands this Saturday

KMUD is hosting the 4th KMUD Battle of the Rock Bands on Saturday November 22nd at the Mateel Community Center in Redway.

This ALL DAY, ALL AGES event will feature 15 bands ranging from Ukiah to McKinleyville. Four Star Bravado, Revocateurs, Skeksis, Deadboldt, This Dying Wish, A Farewell Device, International Trash, Emilia's Rose, Twice Lightning, Definition Unknown, The Fire Demons, The Zygoats, Anslinger, Montage and 3 Peace will battle it out live on stage to see who will be the next KMUD Battle of the Rock Band's winner. They're all looking for your votes! MC for the show is Lisa Luv.

Doors open at 10:30 am, music starts at 11:00 am. Plenty of food and drinks available. In's and out's o.k. This show will most likely sell out!

Tickets available at all usual outlets. $12 in advance, $15 at the door, 12 and under $7, under 5 free. For more info call 923.2513.

Monday, November 17, 2008


UK Guardian is reporting that Clinton will be Secretary of State

Here's the story.

On the other hand, CNN is not reporting it, and the story currently at the top of their page says that Bill Clinton is in the way.

As I've been thinking about it I'm wondering why he didn't select Clinton as VP. It would have guaranteed an Obama win and I'd much rather have Biden as Secretary of State rather than Clinton. The Secretary of State actually has work to do.

Nothing at MSNBC and the Bill-as-a-problem story is at Fox.

Did a British paper scoop all of the American media, or did they mess up? Stay tuned!

Addendum: Josh Marshal isn't buying the story.

Sunday, November 16, 2008


"Thank you Joe Lieberman"

It looks like the Democrats are going to let Lieberman slide with his chairmanship in the Homeland Security Committee, but quite frankly his personal attacks on Obama and several Democratic senators during the campaign are only part of the story, as is his support for the Iraq war which rivals pretty much any Republican's. The more egregious moment dates back to the 2000 Florida recount where his capitulation as to whether the law should have been followed with regard to overseas military ballots arguably made the difference. This Kos poster explains in detail, and provides the following video excerpt from the movie Recount.

If he had any integrity whatsoever he'd simply start caucusing with Republicans per his threats. Democrats are hedging for a "filibuster proof" majority, but he won't join them when the going gets tough, so what's the point?

Update: According to TPM, party leaders are going to propose that he retain the Homeland Security Committee chairmanship, but lose his chairmanship of the Environment and Public Works subcommittee - basically a slap on the wrist. We'll see if it flies.


I've been "tagged"

By Richard Marks, which means I'm supposed to tell you seven things about myself which you may not know.

1. As a teenager I was a member of the school marching band, soccer team, tennis team, chess club, Model U.N., drama club, 4-H Club and Socialist Workers Party.

2. Both my grandfathers died of lung cancer. I don't smoke. I am also allergic to morphine, which I learned the hard way in the Weaverville emergency room a few years ago. I am told that had I ever tried heroin recreationally even once, I might have died. Fortunately I don't like needles.

3. My favorite television series on right now is Iron Chef, but I miss the Japanese version. My favorite television series ever is Upstairs Downstairs.

4. As a kid I had a reputation with teachers for asking annoying questions. (Okay, you probably knew that).

5. The biggest thing I miss about San Francisco is not, contrary to the claim of some posters herein, the politics, but rather the availability of dim sum.

6. I am afraid of public speaking. That includes being on the radio. Oddly, I find it exhilarating as well.

7. All of the women with whom I have had serious relationships are older than me, the youngest being 3 days older. Jana is two months older. This wasn't by design as I was often interested in younger women. I just didn't end up in relationships with them.

Okay, now I'm supposed to tag seven other bloggers, but I don't know who hasn't already been tagged.

Tom S.


Richard Evans at the H8 protest yesterday

Photo by Kim Sallaway.

I'm encouraged by the demonstrations. I wish this kind of energy had been present in September. The election might have gone the other way.

Anyway, it's going to take more than protests. It's going to require more fear alleviating organization. Just remember that on the eve of the passage of the Civil Rights Act, something like seventy percent of the U.S. population opposed mixed-race marriage.

Saturday, November 15, 2008


Speaking of San Francisco

By the way, grassroots progressives did very well in San Francisco this last election, against an onslaught of "downtown money." The usually cynical and alienated progressives/radicals of SF actually sang the Star Spangled Banner with pride at one gathering on election eve.
Outside of Kilowatt, on 16th Street near Guerrero, the crowd of celebrants was dancing to the sounds of a street drummer. In the Castro District, a huge crowd was cheering and chanting Obama's name. And on Valencia and 19th streets, a spontaneous outpouring of energy filled the intersection. Two police officers stood by watching, and when a reporter asked one if he was planning to try to shut down the celebration and clear the streets, he smiled. "Not now," he said. "Not now."

Then, out of nowhere, the crowd began to sing: O say can you see /By the dawn's early light ...

It was a stunning moment, as dramatic as anything we've seen in this city in years. In perhaps the most liberal, counterculture section of the nation's most liberal, counterculture city, young people by the hundreds were proudly singing The Star Spangled Banner. "For the first time in my life," one crooner announced, "I feel proud to be an American."


Secretary of State Hillary Clinton?

Nothing definitive from the MSM, but the chatter is reaching a significant pitch.

Friday, November 14, 2008


How San Franciso voted on Proposition 8

Of course the vast majority voted against, but it wasn't quite unanimous. Almost so in the Castro (97% no - makes you wonder who in the neighborhood represents the three percent), but neighborhoods like Bayview-Hunters Point, Visitacion Valley, and the Excelsior - neighborhoods heavy with African-American and Hispanic voters, usually guaranteed heavy voting blocks when it comes to liberal positions on economic issues or war, went as much as 65 percent for the ban.

And in San Francisco politics, the "conservative/liberal" divide didn't really apply to this issue. Even San Francisco conservatives (those whom the Bay Guardian refers to as supporters of "downtown interests) tend to be socially liberal, and so Pacific Heights, the Marina, Mission Bay, etc. voted against the measure. There were some "new money" pockets of support downtown, as the article points out, consisting of newcomers to the city who have not yet been what some may consider afflicted with progressive osmosis.

According to a San Francisco Chronicle article, Asians were split among first generation and those beyond. So some Chinatown precincts went for the proposition, while the Richmond and Sunset went almost entirely against - a few light blue shaded precincts appearing in the middle of the Sunset in the above map which comes from the article.

Meanwhile, the map indicates that the progressive heart of the city (Castro, Noe Valley, Haight, etc.) exceeded 90 percent opposition to the proposition. I do know a conservative family which resides in that realm. But even they voted against Proposition 8.

I post this to emphasize that future campaigns to overturn 8 (if the courts don't do it) will require that gay rights activists from minority communities are going to have to push hard to change minds. These aren't people who hate homosexuals. They are afraid of this kind of change.

Addendum: Lots of anti-prop 8 protests across the country today.

Second addendum: Heraldo has some coverage and photos from today's Eureka demo. He links to a site which explains the inadequacy of civil union status as a practical matter.


Mateel meeting open thread

I'll be on the computer for much of the weekend to check on this thread. Couldn't make it tonight due to my son's event at Cecil's, and the meeting's probably over by now. If anything happened, please feel free to report.


No review of the Tooby Ranch decision

The Times Standard reports.

Thursday, November 13, 2008


10 best movies where the plot revolves around drugs - positively or negatively

Returning to my top ten movie category series, here are my drug movie choices.

1. Bird - the only movie I can think of except Ghost Dog where the underutilized brilliant Forest Whittaker plays the lead role. It was also Clint Eastwood's debut as a director. The movie is about Charlie Parker and you know the story.

2. North Dallas Forty - about the use of painkillers in the NFL, "hard drugs" which would otherwise be illegal for not-strictly-medical purposes. Elaborates on an irony in that NFL players can be dismissed for use of marijuana and yet become addicted under officially sanctioned drug policies. The film predates the steroids controversy.

3. Up in Smoke - Cheech and Chong's first and best movie. Amateurish, but that added to the hilarity. Unfortunately, like Rocky, the movies declined in quality with each release. Up in Smoke probably would not have made it just a few years after its release, and it raised quite a bit of ire as it was.

4. Reefer Madness - the unintentional cult classic has to be on anybody's list.

5. The Trip - about as dumb as Reefer Madness in terms of any congruence with reality, and almost as great a self-satire of the "self-discovery" phase of the early seventies. Peter Fonda takes LSD and embarks on an adventure with a little help from his friends including Dennis Hopper in his wimpiest role.

6. Sid and Nancy - another depressing junkie movie, albeit very well done. I was a little disappointed on the focus of Syd Vicious' self-destruction with almost no emphasis on the music or the inspiration therefor. But it grabs your attention and keeps it right down to the bitter end.

7. Traffic - should have won best picture instead of Gladiator, an epic about the futility of the drug war on every front.

8. Easy Rider - drug sales finance a symbolic, deep, and tragic journey.

9. More - the first of the junkie movies, and probably the most artistic even if it's contrived. Probably the only French movie with a Pink Floyd soundtrack. I especially liked the part where the couple attempted to shake their heroin addiction with an acid trip.

10. Maria full of Grace - a compelling story told from a Columbian drug trafficker's point of view.

What am I forgetting?


Klamath dam deal reached

About time! The Times Standard has, well, no real details, but the story.
The federal government and Pacificorp have reached an agreement in principal on removing four dams on the Klamath River and have floated the deal to tribes, fishermen, farmers and conservation groups.
I'd like to know what about the deal will keep Oregon agribusiness from throwing another tantrum and unilaterally redirecting the water in actions which would have gotten environmentalists or anyone else arrested. I hope there are some salmon left to save.


The county results map

I think some of you were confusing the map below, which depicts movement of the counties across the country towards either party between 2004 and 2008, with the actual results map. This is the results map. Obviously the blue counties went to Obama and the red to McCain.

The map comes from this site which also contains the more useful map below (indicating shades of purple) and some cartograms which look drug induced.

Wednesday, November 12, 2008


My son's self-portrait

Along with other art to be on display at Cecil's this Friday evening. I generally don't put images of my children online just because of some of the nutty posts, but I'm making an exception here. Asher is on the right. It may be hard to recognize him since he was missing a couple of teeth at the time. Of course, many of you should recognize Persia on the left.

There will also be a musical presentation by the kids. It's a fund raiser for the Skyfish music program. Starts at 6:00 p.m.

Addendum: Just received this e-mail from Beginnings:

Beginnings and Cecil’s will present an art exhibit and musical performance on Friday, November 14th at Cecil’s in Garberville. This whimsical evening, which begins at 6PM, will showcase the talents of Skyfish school children, both in art and in music. All are invited to come enjoy an exhibit of expressive art and of joyous music created through the enthusiasm of the children. The musical portion of the evening is made possible by Skyfish music teacher Marie Schafer, whose creativity and passion inspires her students to high entertainment. Donations made to the school that evening will help support the Skyfish music program. ALL CHILDREN MUST BE AT CECIL'S AT 5:45 TO GET READY FOR A PERFORMANCE AT 6:00. If you plan to eat at Cecil's, please make reservation for the time and number in your party.


Mateel Community Center annual meeting this Friday

Friday, November 14th

Mateel's Annual Membership Meeting & Party
Dinner & meeting at 5:30pm/ Party afterwards
Music by Ponche!

Free for MCC members. $10 non-members at the door.

Contribute to your Community Center - attend the Annual membership meeting!

Tuesday, November 11, 2008


Going blue - what realignment looks like

Check out this map comparing the voting results of 2004 with 2008. The counties which are blue increased their votes for the Democratic candidate. Those in red increased their votes for the Republican candidate.

There's a story in here somewhere.

More on stats and realignment through this link.

Addendum: Okay, I was looking at the map wrong I guess. There is no red in New England whatsoever, not even in Massachussets. Maybe I just needed my glasses. (Update: I take it back again. I guess it depends on which computer I'm on. Weird.)

Anyway, the map ultimately comes from the NY Times, which literally breaks it all down for you.


Measure T down for good

The Times Standard is reporting that a "settlement" was reached. I opposed the measure, but I'm not exactly sanguine about a precedent in which the county lets a measure which passed by a comfortable margin go down without much of a fight.

Heraldo has a Statement from Democracy Unlimited.

I'll have more to say about this later.


Olbermann on Prop 8 - "What is it to you?"

One of his more eloquent "special comments."

Monday, November 10, 2008


Elections do make a difference

I was out of range of the media today. Just learned that Obama will shut down Guantanamo.


Some random anecdotes, notes, and reflections on this calm after the storms Monday eve

Great anecdote out of Fortuna Middle School where they held a mock election last week in which Obama won and proposition 8 failed (yet another local stereotype bites the dust - I'm looking forward to reading the Fortuna election results). My wife is performing her student teaching there and one sixth grade student lamented the results: "It's those liberals in the eighth grade!"


On Wednesday in a Humboldt County School a teacher announced to her class that she wasn't in a good mood: "I'm warning you now, I'm not pleased with the election."

I had some teachers who shared their political views on various points from Three Mile Island to the trial of Patty Hearst. We even had one deeply Catholic teacher who objected to rock music as Satanic and immoral. I had a high school English teacher who got mad when Stanford lost the big game with Cal (I'd already graduated when the "play of the century" took place, but I heard that she took that following Monday off). But none of my teachers ever made politics an issue for their students.


Speaking of stereotypes, being a hippie does not necessarily assure a liberal perspective on all issues. We've learned that on some local issues of late, and there is a definitive libertarian influence which percolates in the rural counterculture for reasons which have been discussed in great detail on this blog and others. But there are certain key phrases which often betray a right-libertarian orientation to accomodate coalitions with more traditional conservatives.

Over the weekend I had a conversation with a friend who is clearly ensconced deep in the Reggae-loving, peace emphasizing, and even Obama-supporting counterculture milieu. I know he really means it when he says that he has nothing against homosexuals. He voted for Proposition 8. Rather than argue with him (plenty of time for that before he votes again) I probed for clues and what came out was the signature phrase "special rights." He opposes "special rights" for homosexuals.

This is a frame which comes from conservatives and right-leaning libertarians to describe not only affirmative action, but any law which is intended to protect the equal rights of a particularly vulnerable group.

Now, don't go painting libertarians with an inappropriately wide brush. For instance, given Fred's position on the issue I think he takes vehement exception to the use of the phrase in this context. But the proliferation of Ron Paul signs around here, and some of CPR's superficially unlikely support, point to a definite interest - liberal on social issues, but don't look to the government to resolve social issues. I may expand on this theme in my post-mortem thoughts about the Second District Supervisor race and other local politics. I've covered the issue on my radio show, but I think revival of the subject may be timely.


I've taken flack for nosing into how people eat in restaurants, or listening to their conversations. I was engaged in conversation with my wife tonight as we had a long overdue dinner alone at the Mateel Cafe (hadn't had my Sohum Thai, extra hot, in quite a while), but that didn't stop me from noticing a man in a booth across the room eating pizza slices with a knife and fork. I find that fascinating.


The kids and wife asleep last Friday night, I went over to the neighbor's to watch The Chicago Ten, Speak your Peace. In light of a prominent anti-Obama theme invoking some extremities of the sixties, it's important to revisit these historical icons and moments in a reflective and nuanced manner. Unfortunately, the film takes sides - there are the heroes and the bad guys. Let me say that I do believe that the authorities were much more in the "bad" camp than the demonstrators, and the trial was a sham which is why pretty much all of the convictions and contempt orders were tossed out on appeal, but the organizers did make some very bad decisions which got a lot of people hurt, and the film glosses over them. That being said, the trial scenes do conform to my memory of Tales of Hoffman, which was basically the publication of select portions of the trial transcript. Not to sound too cliche, but you may want to read it as a primer before viewing the films.

I'm not aware of any outright inaccuracies in the film, but one aspect completely whitewashed is the discord between the defendants, and not just regarding Bobby Seale. For instance Tom Hayden wanted the demonstrations to focus on the war, while Hoffman wanted to push the demos as an expression of cultural revolution (you get snippets of the "secret meeting" at the begining of the film, but if you don't know the history you won't have a clue as to what is happening). Hoffman went on to joke that it would be "cruel and unusual punishment to be in the same cell as Tom Hayden."

But man what a presentation, and an interesting effect by using modern music in place of the traditional uses of contemporary music for a sixties movie. Somebody listened to me! But having seen it, I'm still mulling over whether it works to bridge the generation gap. Classical music is also used, more effectively than Rage Against the Machine I think.

It's the first in a trilogy about the trial, which explained the abrupt ending of the first. Well worth the watch.


Okay, the last two entries came out longer than I expected and probably deserve posts of their own. I just started typing about what I considered to be lite topics and the words came out. I may reorganize later if the thread discussions become too disjointed.


Nebraska Republicans are up in arms about that electoral college vote

It was the first time any state had split its votes since 1828. The Republicans don't like it and they'll be introducing legislation to nix the proportional representation and adopt the winner-take-all mode of 48 of the other states.


Restoration Award Celebration

Seventh Annual Road to a Restoration Economy Awards Celebration
Thursday, November 20, 2008, 6-8:30 pm
Wharfinger Building, Eureka

Food, non-alcoholic and alcoholic drink and festive spirit provided by the hosts

Keynote Speaker to be announced
Master of Ceremonies David Simpson
Awards presenter, Richard Gienger

The Alliance for Sustainable Jobs and the Environment is a network of individuals and organizations dedicated to building a world where nature is protected, the worker is respected, and unrestrained corporate power is rejected through grassroots organizing, education, and action.

Every year the Alliance singles out for commendation an individual worker, a specific project, and a single organization from among the many first rate practitioners of watershed and fisheries restoration on the North Coast. The award indicates that the recipient has achieved the highest level of excellence and has had the most beneficial impacts on fisheries and watersheds in pursuit of the health and abundance to which we all aspire to see North Coast watersheds return. This year, we are pleased to honor some of the real pioneers in restoration.

Event Cosponsors

Mattole Restoration Council
Redwood Community Agency
Salmonid Restoration Federation

The Restoration Project of the Year is being presented to the Redwood Creek Slide Stabilization Project. This project is near Briceland on Redwood Creek that flows into the South Fork Eel River near Redway. It was started in 1986 to stabilize a large slide and to prevent massive yearly additions of sediment to important salmon and steelhead habitat. The toe of the slide was armored with available large boulders. A series of off-channel settling ponds captured sediment coming from the slide. Extensive planting of trees was done. The third round of maintenance measures was completed this year, ensuring continued effectiveness. The team that has made this project such a creative and enduring success includes Scott Downie, Bill Eastwood, Harry Vaughn and others.

The Restoration Organization of the Year is being presented to the Pacific Watershed Associates, Inc. PWA was established in 1989 by founders and principals Bill Weaver and Danny Hagans. Bill and Danny were part of the pioneering efforts to rehabilitate and restore the landscape of the heavily damaged lands that were added to Redwood National Park in 1978. They were at the forefront of an revolutionary approach to watershed restoration that focuses on slope stabilization and recovery of hydrological integrity -- leading to prevention of stream sedimentation -- through methodical evaluation followed by careful and intensive corrective and/or constructive measures with heavy equipment. The art and science of road building, road maintenance, and road removal were enormously changed by their efforts and continues to evolve today. Their Handbook for Forest and Ranch Roads and Upslope Erosion Inventory and Sediment Control Guidance remain the foremost and mpst widely used technical manuals. PWA today has more than 30 highly skilled and professional personnel working in a range of endeavors that require solid expertise in northern California geology, hydrology, and applied geomorphology. They do important work for a wide variety of over 100 clients.

The Restoration Worker of the Year is being presented to Mitch Farro. Mitch was a commercial fisherman who turned to watershed restoration to recover salmon and steelhead as a livelihood, as the viability of the salmon fishery almost, if not entirely, vanished. Mitch started out with the formation of the Humboldt Fish Action Council in 1969, engaged in all manner of fisheries enhancement and watershed rehabilitation activities, became an articulate and informed advocate for fisherman and fisheries, continues to be key in securing funding for such work, represented the Humboldt County Supervisors on the Klamath River Basin Fisheries Task Force for 10 years, and founded the Pacific Coast Fish, Wildlife and Wetlands Restoration Association (PCFWWRA). He continues with his work throughout Northern California from Napa to DelNorte County with an emphasis on Humboldt Bay. His work on the estuary and access to spawning tributaries is especially exemplary and important.

Sunday, November 09, 2008


And doggone it, the people like him!

Al Franken is currently down by just over 200 votes with about 3 million ballots to be automatically recounted. Josh Marshal thinks his chances of prevailing are high.
The Franken-Coleman race I've been watching more closely. And I'm starting to think there's a very good chance Franken could end up prevailing. Partly I believe that because of the ground Franken has already made up in the pre-recount rechecking of ballot counts. And also because of the pattern of the undervotes, which suggests that Franken has more to gain from a recount than Coleman. But what's really got me convinced is how aggressively Coleman is going to the mats with the lawyers. On Saturday they tried and failed to get a court to prevent the opening of the 32 absentee ballots from Minneapolis.
If Begich pulls it out against Stephens (before Stephens is forced to resign and Palin replaces him with Todd), the Democrats would have 58 Senators, not including Lieberman. Not quite filibuster proof, but overwhelming nevertheless.

Update: Nate Silver at 538 elaborates on Franken's chances of winning. Take him very seriously because he projected both the popular vote and electoral-college result almost perfectly (you can see the projections in the left and right columns at the above-linked site). Based upon the margin of 221 votes and a correctable error rate of .75 percent (he argues that it could be as high as .9 percent), he gives Franken just under 40 percent likelihood of winning. Had the margin been 700 or more as initially reported, the likelihood would have been .oo8 percent.

Second update: More numbers may be in before the end of the day. The margin is currently 206. The Kos post contains several new pieces of information, but the final initial count probably won't be finished until November 19 and the recount could take until December 19.

Consequently, Nate Silver has upped his projection of win possibilities for Franken.

Saturday, November 08, 2008


Who is "S.C.?"

Somebody who signed off as "S.C." posted in a Second District race thread below (the Times Standard endorsement of Johanna because her personality matches the Second District) and got the percentage numbers almost perfect. We all bow before your predictive might!

The post was made at 10:03 on Sunday evening.


Currying favor with kids

For the "you may be a hippie if..." file. My son has a friend overnight. I ask our six-year-old guest what he would like to have for dinner expecting the answer to be "hot dogs" or "spaghetti." His response: "can you make chicken curry?"

He may have had my Burmese curry chicken stew once before and remembered it, I'm not sure. But I look for any excuse to make the stew I've loved since I was a toddler. I got the recipe from Mahbi Gill, a woman of Burmese origin who has been like an aunt to me since I was born. She lives in a Victorian on Eureka Street in the Castro, where she has lived since prior to my birth. Her home was my first stop after I left the hospital following a birth I resisted until they had to cut me out. She is a caterer and an excellent cook, famous for her patented stew, the recipe for which she gave me when I left for college (I had thought it had to be read from a tablet of stone, but the recipe is simple!).

There were many occasions where my mother dropped me off at her home for a day, and I remember the many occasions on which she cooked the stew all day the smell of curry would permeate the entire home all day and I'd be looking forward to dinner the whole time. From these memories, curry became my comfort food and I put it into everything from my egg salad to a curried vinagrette salad dressing.


One medium to large chicken - including the giblets if you like (I do).
One very large onion, or two medium onions. Or more maybe.
Three or four large cloves of garlic or the equivalent.
One bell pepper.
One six ounce can tomato sauce.
Two slightly heaping tablespoons of curry (more to taste later if you like).
Two slightly heaping tablespoons of cumin (yes, I know there's already cumin in most curries).
A little salt.

Heat up some olive oil and a touch of toasted sesame oil if you have it in a large pot, preferably a cast iron or something like it. Dice up the onions, garlic, and pepper and saute until onions are translucent. Then dump in the spices. It's important to do this before you add the tomato sauce because you want to cook the spices a little bit directly, stirring constantly to keep it all from sticking because the spices dry out the onion mixture a bit. When the smell of curry/cumin reaches the farthest corner of your home, pour in the tomato sauce and reduce the heat.

Cut up the chicken into pieces and add to the mixture, stirring it in so that all of the chicken is coated with curry stuff. Cover and cook at a low heat stirring every ten minutes or so until the moisture leaves the chicken and creates a broth. There should be plenty of liquid after awhile, but if there isn't you can add a little chicken stock or broth if you like. Not too much!

Cover and cook for an hour or so, then uncover slightly and cook for another hour or even longer. Don't worry that the meat starts falling off bones, it tastes fine. Remember to stir semi-frequently, unless you transfer the whole thing to a crock pot at some point. Maybe even then, I don't know how to cook with a crock pot. Let the aroma spice up your house.

Serve over basmati rice and serve with steamed broccoli and a hearty dry red wine. You won't have my associated memories, but you can create some for you own kids.


Bill Ayers speaks

In an article in the Chicago based In These Times, Ayers discusses his "surreal" experience through the campaign.
On March 13, Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.), apparently in an attempt to reassure the “base,” sat down for an interview with Sean Hannity of Fox News. McCain was not yet aware of the narrative Hannity had been spinning for months, and so Hannity filled him in: Ayers is an unrepentant “terrorist,” he explained, “On 9/11, of all days, he had an article where he bragged about bombing our Pentagon, bombing the Capitol and bombing New York City police headquarters. … He said, ‘I regret not doing more.’ “

McCain couldn’t believe it.

Neither could I.

On the campaign trail, McCain immediately got on message. I became a prop, a cartoon character created to be pummeled.

When Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin got hold of it, the attack went viral. At a now-famous Oct. 4 rally, she said Obama was “pallin’ around with terrorists.” (I pictured us sharing a milkshake with two straws.)

The crowd began chanting, “Kill him!” “Kill him!” It was downhill from there.

My voicemail filled up with hate messages. They were mostly from men, all venting and sweating and breathing heavily. A few threats: “Watch out!” and “You deserve to be shot.” And some e-mails, like this one I got from “I’m coming to get you and when I do, I’ll water-board you.”

Much more where that came from. I'm thinking of adding his blog link to my list.

Friday, November 07, 2008


Obamaha, Nebraska

Obama was just declared the winner of a single electoral college vote in Nebraska. Nebraska is one of two states which awards its four votes according to Congressional District. Obama took Omaha, the first time a state has split its electoral college votes in decades.


Clif's post-election statement

Clendenen thanks supports and volunteers

Based on the final count as published by the Humboldt County Elections Department on Nov 5th, Clif Clendenen has won his bid to represent the 2nd District as their supervisor. “I am deeply honored and moved that the people in the 2nd district have made their decision to allow me to represent them as their Supervisor, said Clendenen. My first goal when I announced my decision to run was to unite the 2nd district, and over the last 14 months of this unique and challenging campaign, I believe we have made an excellent start. There is renewed hope from Garberville to Fortuna that we are about to embark on a new path. And it will be my honor to work with everyone in the 2nd District, the other Supervisors (new and returning) and county staff to take up the new challenges of our economy, loss of jobs and a changing environment.”

“While there are certainly challenges ahead of us, I see many new opportunities, such as working with Humboldt Redwood Company (HRC) as they chart a new path for a significant part of the 2nd District, working with the Headwaters Fund to find way to invest money into the 2nd District and to continue the General Plan Update process, which is so vital to our future.” Clendenen went on to say.

Next I want to thank the thousands of voters that believed it was time to make a change in the 2nd District. As I walked the neighborhood from Garberville, to Rio Dell and Fortuna, the message was consistent and clear. You are concerned about our economy, jobs and maintaining our unique Humboldt County way of live. I accept your confidence in me and will do my best to honor your wishes.

And most of all I want to thank the scores of volunteers from every corner of this district that believed in me and believe that we really could change the way we do business in the 2nd District. I accept the challenge and will promise to keep all communication lines open. We have developed a tremendous network of people, ideas, and groups from every community in the district. I will build on this network to keep my earliest campaign promise, to be an open and accessible supervisor.

And finally, a special thanks to both Johanna and Estelle for a clean and challenging campaign. I have the utmost respect for each of them, and a better understanding of their views and positions on the challenges that face our district and county. My door is already open to both of them and their supporters for it is only with continued communication, understanding and cooperation that we can really unite the 2nd district and make it a better place of all of us to live.

For more information about Clif Clendenen
visit his website at .

For more information contact:

Bill Thorington, campaign manager
(707) 496-4703

Clif Clendenen,
(707) 496-4495

Thursday, November 06, 2008


Another local blog

Bitten Apple - A fun and humorous blog belonging to Karol, a former Sohumer now in the northern part of the county. She was one of the founders of the Independent. Didn't know she had a blog and I've only skimmed it so far, but there are some great reads in there.

I'll add it to my list later on.


The days after

The downside of the Obama win.


AP is finally calling North Carolina for Obama. He won in the "real America" portion. Missouri is still too close to call, but leaning McCain.

In a small bit of a surprise, Obama may win an electoral vote in the Omaha district of Nebraska - one of two states which potentially splits its electoral college votes among its districts.


At latest count as the provisionals are coming in, Al Franken is behind Norm Coleman by just over three hundred votes. This triggers an automatic recount. Coleman has been calling upon Franken to spare the state the ninety thousand dollars the recount will cost, but Franklin isn't biting. I wonder if the recount is even waivable.


In other close Senate races, convicted felon Senator Ted Stevens won his race. That means that Governor Palin can choose his replacement after he resigns. Alaska's a weird place.

Meanwhile just a few miles to our north Democrat Jeff Merkley edged out Republican incumbent Gorton Smith. Used to be that the only blue area of the state was the Portland region, but Merkley did well in and around Eugene.

Georgia appears to be headed for a runoff to be held on December 2. The Republican incumbent Saxby Chambliss didn't quite get 50 percent, although he's a little bit ahead of his opponent Jim Martin. Expect Obama, McCain, and scores of others to head down to campaign for their party's candidate.


Assisted suicide is now allowed in Washington State.

Michigan passed medical marijuana and expanded stem cell research.

South Dakota preserved choice.


And a little more fun from West Wing.


CNN exit poll demographics: 43 percent of whites voted for Obama nationally. 95 percent of black voters. 67 percent of Hispanics. 62 percent of Asians.

53 percent of the voters were women, which worked well for Obama as he took 56 percent of the female vote to McCain's 43. Obama took 49 percent of the male vote to McCain's 48. The PUMA predictions flopped as Obama took 46 percent of the white women. McCain took 3 percent of black female votes!

The muched watched youth vote (18 to 29 - 18 percent of the total vote, I'm looking for some comparison with 2004, but given that all the groups' voting rates were up this year maybe raw number comparisons would be more meaningful) - 66 percent to Obama, 32 percent to McCain.

The income based figures are odd. All of the groups earning below 50 grand voted for Obama in overwhelming numbers. Then the group earning between 50 grand and 75 grand goes slightly to McCain. But then between 75 grand and 100, Obama wins again. All the groups above that goes for McCain, until you get to 200 grand or over where Obama is winning by the same margin as the whole country - basically the group which would be hit by his tax policy. It suggests to me that when you're earning that much money you probably aren't obsessed with taxes. Of course, you have plenty of deductions which really only apply to you, so why should you be?


Addendum: Here's the story on the Minnesota Senate race.

Oh, and apparently there's a Texas newspaper who refused to inform his readers that Obama had won the election.


Second addendum: This liberal blogger doesn't believe Fox's Palin stories, particularly the Africa portion. He thinks it's finger pointing from incompetent McCain campaign staff.

And right now it sucks to be Lieberman.

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