You are currently browsing the monthly archive for January 2009.

Greg Pallast penned an hilarious bit of wishful thinking.  Hey, we can dream.

Frankly, I was worried about this guy. Obama’s appointing Clinton-droids to the Cabinet, bloated incompetents like Larry Summers as “Economics Czar,” made me fear for my country, that we’d gotten another Democrat who wished he were a Republican.

Then came Obama’s money bomb. The House bill included $125 billion for schools (TRIPLING federal spending on education), expanding insurance coverage to the unemployed, making the most progressive change in the tax code in four decades by creating a $500 credit against social security payroll deductions, and so on.

It’s as if Obama dug up Ronald Reagan’s carcass and put a stake through The Gipper’s anti-government heart. Aw-RIGHT!

About the only concession Obama threw to the right-wing trogs was to remove the subsidy for condoms, leaving hooker-happy GOP Senators, like David Vitter, to pay for their own protection. S’OK with me.

Actually, there were more concessions.  The tax cuts, whether for poor or rich, represent money that will not be as effective as spending in health care, education, and infrastructure in terms of stimulating the economy.  But I’d love to think Pallast is right.  Let’s see what comes out of the Senate.

Addendum: And here’s a very articulate argument that the federal government should stop dicking around and just “nationalize the damn banks already.”

There was a story on NPR today about the girlfriends of male bank mid-management and how stressful it all is.  One woman even remarked on a blog dedicated to the group, “my boyfriend isn’t going to take me on any trips this year because his wife is watching his finances more closely.”

Second addendum: And Joshua Holland speaks for me when he talks about how “f—ed up the discourse surrounding Israel and Palestine.”  I feel the same way about other issues.  Abortion.  The general plan.  Whether the film Humboldt County sucks the most because it stereotypes rural hippies or because Fairuza Balk wasn’t in it long enough (and by the way, the poster is lame without the end of the big joint burning).  Certain issues just leave no room for nuance.

Some Prop 8 backers’ attempt to suppress disclosure of donors to public failed.

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As you probably heard, Iraq has banned the Green Party financial backer Blackwater from its country.  Now Hillary Clinton has officially given the company the boot.

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Fashionably red.  If you’re in or around San Francisco and you need something to wear you can rent something from the socialist boutique.  All about the illusion of ownership and the ownership of an illusion…

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You may remember that Obama’s people came into office to discover that there really aren’t any files on the Gitmo detainees.  The records are scattered over various agencies, largely because there was no intention of actually bringing cases to court.  Daily Kos has a story and a couple of videos which tell the story of the politics of torture.  One of the main prosecutors has quit.

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A kid my son’s age suffering from salmonella poisoning told his mother “it hurts so bad I want to die.”  This Kos post has the list of products which have been recalled.  Fortunately for my family the only items on that list which have made it into my home for the last 10 years are Cliff bars.  If something like that happened to my kid and I found out that it was caused by a deliberate act I might want to hurt somebody.

It sounds like the first hint of this peanut butter scandal was when some peanuts were held up at the Canadian border. Canada wouldn’t take them. The FDA inspected them and wouldn’t allow them into America either. That was in September 2008. The peanuts contained what the FDA called “filthy, putrid or decomposed substance, or is otherwise unfit for food.” In other words, metal fragments.

Of course, that wasn’t the FIRST hint. Oh no. The Georgia plant at the heart of the outbreak was inspected in 2001 and 2006. Hardhat Democrat chronicles the FDA’s recent findings at the Blakely, Ga plant, which are quite frankly disgusting. I find it hard to believe that the plant was in a condition that should have passed an inspection a mere 3 years ago.

The 12 instances in which the plant found salmonella in their products but sold the products anyway occurred in 2007 and 2008 – after the 2006 inspection. Apparently, they were shopping around for labs that would give them clean test results despite their plant’s appalling conditions.

With all of these details coming to light, the Obama administration launched a criminal investigation. Furthermore, press secretary Robert Gibbs has noted that the new FDA commissioner will be announced in the next few days and that the Obama administration WILL do something to address food safety problems. (The same article notes that Dubya had NO PERMANENT FDA COMMISSIONER for over HALF his Presidency… and that the FDA is perennially underfunded, which makes it hard for them to do their job.)

It’s why I laugh when people tell me they prefer bottled water because it’s safe.  Your tap water is regulated by the Environmental Protection Agency, which is much better funded and run than the very weak and hapless FDA.

Someone has to go to jail for this.

Read all about it.

The Dimmick Ranch announces 2nd payment to the Mateel Community Center

[Humboldt County, CA January 29] The Dimmick Ranch is pleased to announce that Tom Dimmick will be making the third scheduled payment of $200,000 on or before February 1st to the Mateel Community Center. “We are happy to make this payment to the MCC and know that it will help them carry on their valuable services to our community through their varied and unique programs.” The final payment of $50,000 to the MCC is due in September and will be made on or before its scheduled due date.

The Dimmick Ranch is looking forward to Reggae Rising ‘09 to be held July 31st – August 2nd at the historic Dimmick Ranch and French’s Camp on the banks of the picturesque Eel River.


Thanks to Bob Doran for the news.

Over the past 8 years when progressive media watch organizations have called the networks on the fact that they’ve interviewed more Republicans than Democrats on their news shows, the excuse has always been that the Republicans were the party in power.  Over the past few days these are the breakdowns for each network with regard to the economy.  Ironically, Fox News has been the most fair to Democrats.

From the Digby blog:

Can someone explain to me why I’m seeing Republican after Republican on television advising Americans on the right way to run the economy? Is there any reason why we should listen to them sanctimoniously lecturing us on “what’s worked in the past” and telling us that the only way to cure the problems they themselves created are to do more of the same? They’ve always been known for chutzpah, but this takes the cake.

We’ve discussed this before.  And we’ll probably hear from conservative posters in this thread who won’t cite any studies of their own, but will roll their eyes and cite what “we all know.”  Reminds me of the old SNL news satire along the lines of “reporting on our allegations confirmed by our own talking points and verified by our assumptions.”

Yesterday I read a letter in either the Independent or Redwood Times. It came from a local trucker lamenting that a woman in some local coffee establishment has been hitting on him. He already has a girl, you see. And while she’s pretending she’s not hitting on him, she really is. He knows it. He has a girl (he mentioned that at least twice) an he wants this woman to have some class.

Well, at first I thought the man was really into himself and maybe making assumptions and that maybe the woman is just being friendly to be friendly. My perception was dashed this morning, and I wonder if my encounter was with the same woman. As I was paying for my coffee, she said “I hope you have a great morning.” And she smiled when she said it!

Not simply “have a good morning,” but “I hope you have a great morning!”

Yeah.

Think I’m going to have to call her boss.

Addendum: Our own version of Sam Malone’s letter was published in the Redwood Times and it’s now online.

And here are some comic book covers where male heroes are depicted as sex objects.  We should push for more comic books by and for men where we wouldn’t be so objectified.

They’ll either come out the other side as the heroes or go down in flames.  The stimulus bill passed in the house with all of the Republicans voting no and a handful of Blue Dogs.  This after numerous concession were made in terms of stupid tax cuts when even the most strident of free market ideology economists will tell you that the multipliers of infrastructure building spending get much bigger bangs for the buck in terms of jobs creation.

Some of the talking heads are arguing that it’s a ploy to get even more concessions when it comes up for a Senate vote, since Republican Olympia Snowe has signaled her support.  Sounds like sort of a good cop/bad cop approach, so she can promise some Republican support when the compromise package comes up in order to reconcile the more conservative Senate bill.

Personally, I think the Democrats should just figure they aren’t going to get Republican support, remove the tax cuts (that’s not what we need right now) and pump back up the money for schools, mass transit, and alternative energy spending.  The Democrats will get the blame anyway if it doesn’t improve the economy within the year, so they should just do it!  At least they restored some of the mass transit funds of the original proposal.

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On a different issue, now confirmed Attorney General Michael Holder is denying Sen. Kitt Bond’s statements to the press that Holder had promised not to prosecute anyone for torture.  Bond is avoiding the press.

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Addendum: Atrios sums up the politics of the vote pretty well.

If I were advising the Republicans I would’ve told them to vote against the stimulus package. I would tell them to make the point clearly that if they were in charge, the bill would be a different bill. They’re a competing political party and they need to, you know, highlight the fact that their vision for America is actually different. I appreciate that members of both parties don’t always toe the line completely, but on a bill as big as this it makes perfect sense for it to play out as it did.

Of course the flip side is that Dems should’ve pushed the best plan that could pass the Senate instead of pushing some pointless fantasy about bipartisanship.

And Dick Armey is, well, as much of an asshole as he’s ever been.


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Second addendum: From Daily Kos, “So now they’re fiscal conservatives.” Some graphs and numbers of interest.

Have you noticed that in recent years the grocery stores put up Valentines Day displays almost immediately after Christmas?  Well, instead of giving your partner stale Russell Stover crap, here are a couple of productive alternatives.

The first is a fundraiser for the Arcata and McKinleyville (ArMack) High School orchestra.  Thanks to Bodie.

Hello All,

Hitting you up (for the very last time) to see if you are interested in a Valentune this year.

Times:   Thurs 2/12  3:30 to 9 PM
Fri  2/13  3:30 to 10 PM
Sat 2/14  9 AM to 10 PM

Prices:  $15 for a Song & Card,  $ 5 Each additional song, $5 floral bouquets, $1 chocolate

Songs:  1) L.O.V.E.  (L is for the way you look at me, Nat King Cole) 2) 8 Days a Week (Beatles) 3) When I’m 64 (Beatles)  4) The Way You do the Things You Do ( the Temps)  5) The Way you Look Tonight ( first sung by Fred Astair in the movie Swing Time, not to Ginger, but dreamily thinking of her. )  6)  You’ve got a friend in me ( Randy Newman -good for the office crowd) 7 ) If Not for You (Babe I couldn’t find the door, Bob Dylan, (for the stoners))

As Carol remembers, this is the 14th year for Valentunes, especially lucky for romantic swains, Feb 14th, 14th year….

The trip this year is to New York NY.  ArMack was adjudicated and accepted to compete at *Carnegie Hall*.  Pretty exciting. Among the competition, Santa Monica High, which has I think 3 orchestras. Santa Monica was voted the “Best High School level orchestra in the Nation” in 2005.  Carol is nervous, and is using her inestimable powers of persuasion to encourage students to increase their practice (chuckle). The trip is expensive, more so than London 2 years ago, and the orchestra could really use the community’s support & donations.

Joyce Jonte donated the art work for the poster which can be viewed at
http://outerarcata.net/armack/valentunes.html

Let me know if you are interested. You can order through me or phone
822-5453 or 825-9514. Thanks, Larella

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And back down here, from Lisa Luv:

Please help spread the word.  Earth Club is having their 7th annual Chocolate Auction the day before Valentine’s Day. We can’t afford a big ad in the paper.

It will be held at the Healy Senior Center in Redway.  Feb. 13th. Door opens at 5:30pm; auction starts at 5:45pm sharp.  It is a lot of fun.  This year the kids are really excited.  We have a real auctioneer and great chocolate goodies (not stale Russell Stover crap – EVK) to be auctioned off.

Several email alerts tonight.  Two come from readers who frequent Daily Kos.

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Rose Bird the sequel.  Proposition 8 supporters are going to push a recall of Chief Justice Ronald George for his decision in favor of equality of marriage.  I think it’s a political miscalculation, but they didn’t ask me. Thank you Moonshadow for the heads up.

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Your tax dollars at work if this report is accurate.  According to the Huffington Post article, Bank of America, AIG, and Home Depot may have used bank baillout money to fund Republican candidates in opposition to the Employee Free Choice Act.  Thank you Rohn for the link.

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And thank you Janelle for the following:

Dear Friend,

I just sent an email to support the inclusion of schools and solar in the stimulus package, two things near and dear to me. It only takes a moment, and I think it is important that we not assume that our votes in November were all that was needed to bring change. Please consider whether this is something you have a few moments to support:

Green jobs and investments in energy efficiency and green schools are in danger of disappearing from the trillion-dollar stimulus package in Congress, to be replaced with so-called shovel-ready jobs! This is a risk we cannot afford to take! Greening America’s schools, and investing in energy infrastructure have the greatest potential to capture the public’s imagination and catalyze change towards a green economy.

Greening and repairing America’s schools would create 300,000 jobs in the construction industry, and help stimulate green technology and energy efficiency. An investment in educational services will generate significantly more jobs – over 23 jobs per $1 million invested – than spending in any other public infrastructure sector.

In President-elect Obama’s American Recovery and Reinvestment Plan, 3.6 million jobs are predicted to be created, with 30% in manufacturing and construction. We need to make sure these jobs help repair and green America’s schools. Renewable energy also cannot be overlooked in the stimulus bill – the renewable energy and energy efficiency industries created 8.5 million jobs in 2006, nearly $970 billion in revenue, and more than $100 billion in industry profits.

Please join me and Earth Day Network and email or call your member of Congress and Senators now at 202 224-3121 and tell them you want investments in green jobs, schools, and energy efficiency in the stimulus package. For green schools, tell them you want H.R. 3021, the 21st Century Green High-Performing Public School Facilities Act, included as part of the recovery package. The bill, already passed by the House with overwhelming bipartisan support, would mean $6.4 billion for school construction and modernization projects – beginning with 50 percent green certified – that will improve the health, safety, learning environment, and energy efficiency of our nation’s public schools.

It only takes a moment!! Email or call your member of Congress and Senator today – 202 224-3121

Thanks,

janelle

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And then I received several emails on the Richardson Grove project.  As always, the views expressed do not necessarily reflect the views of Sohum Parlance or its staff.

To Friends of Richardson Grove – this is an Action Alert sent by EPIC – I apologize for any cross-posting but I want to be sure the word gets out – this project is seriously flawed.  Thanks!  Regards, Barbara Kennedy

Protect Richardson Grove!
Comments due this Friday, January 30.

Dear Epic Alerts Member,

Please take a moment to make sure your views are considered on Caltrans’ controversial proposal to alter Richardson Grove State Park and its ancient redwood trees.

A sample letter is available here, to send in immediately!

Comments on the Draft Environmental Impact Report (DEIR) are due to Caltrans at the address below by this Friday. To read up on the plans on Caltrans’ website, click here.

Please act now to help protect one of the North Coast’s world-class special places.

Richardson Grove is one of the crown jewels of California’s State Park system. The area was protected for future generations because once the ancient grove is damaged or destroyed, it is beyond human power to restore.

Caltrans says it needs to change the grove to make it easier for big trucks to pass through the Redwood Curtain. The highway project would remove 89 trees from a one mile stretch of Highway101, construct a 17 foot high, 300 foot long retaining wall along the road, and cut into the sensitive root systems of up to thirty ancient redwoods. The proposed changes to the winding road through the giants will likely take more than a year to complete, with disruptive sounds, lights and construction equipment within and around the prized grove.

Caltrans says these impacts will not harm the natural environment or take away from the gateway feeling travelers’ experience when they cross into Humboldt County. But Caltrans’ environmental analysis does not adequately address either the harms the project is likely to cause, nor provide for sufficient mitigation to address those impacts. In fact, the project appears designed to benefit one set of commercial interests? businesses in Humboldt and Del Norte that ship in large volumes ? over others, including local trucking companies and the businesses and community nearest to the Grove.

Contrary to its own rules, and despite the fact that its project will lead to more big trucks travelling at higher speeds through the narrow grove, Caltrans has failed to provide for improved bicycle or pedestrian access as part of this project. Highway 101
is designated part of the Pacific Coast Bike Route, and California highway code (887.8.(b)) requires the agency to pay for bike access “(w)here the traffic safety or capacity of the highway would be increased.” But Caltrans has refused to do that here, suggesting instead that State Parks will build a bike path at some point in the future.

Remember that just over a year ago, when Caltrans proposed the project, they were sure they wouldn’t need to even consider the environmental impacts. Your input forced Caltrans to follow the law.

Let’s keep the pressure on to protect Richardson Grove!

I’ve included the sample letter below for you to copy and paste into an email to Deborah Harman, Senior Environmental Planner at Caltrans.

You can also send it with one click here!

Every comment counts!

For the Wilds,

Kerul Dyer, Outreach Director for EPIC

[I've put the sample letter into the first post, unless someone beats me there - interest of space]

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These have been public service announcements. Nest we will conduct an emergency posting test… this is only a test…

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