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Because in about four billion years the Milky Way is going to “collide” with the Andromeda Galaxy.

Check out the video and the gorgeous shot of what the sky will look like (above)!  Except that the sun will be too bright for any humans to be around to see it without “technological intervention.”

What: The Most Comprehensive Celebration of Art & Music on the North Coast
When: Saturday & Sunday, June 2nd & 3rd, 2012 / Open 9:30am – 10pm
Where: Benbow Lake State Recreation Area, Southern Humboldt County, CA
Tickets: $15 per day / $25 for the weekend

Sponsorship Info     Advertising Info     Vendor Info     Volunteer Info

See the Summer Arts and Music Stage Schedule!

Look for the Official Festival Program Guide, out now at local news stands and available as an insert in the Redwood Times (5/22/12), Willits News (5/23/12), and the Arcata/ Eureka boxes of the North Coast Journal (5/23/12).

Coming up on the weekend of June 2nd and 3rd, 2012 the Mateel Community Center will kick off the summer festival season with the 36th annual Summer Arts and Music Festival at Benbow Lake State Recreation Area.

A beloved local tradition to celebrate the arrival of summer, this favorite family event will again offer the most comprehensive and affordable celebration of arts and culture in Humboldt County, with more than 100 diverse performances on 4+ stages, over 150 handmade craft and food booths, an all-media Fine Arts Showcase, Outrageous Kid Zone, Belly Dance Temple, the Generation Green Tent, and so much more.

Admission for the festival will be at the gate only for price of $15 per day or $25 for the weekend pass. Kids 12 & under are free. Gates open at 9:30am both days and the fun wraps up at 10pm. Free shuttle service is offered continuously from Redway, Garberville and both Benbow Lake and Richardson Grove campgrounds. A limited amount of paid parking is also available in Benbow.

More info.

Aside from a few letters of unnecessary tone from both sides, I’ve really appreciated the Second District Supervisor discussion this time around.  We have some very articulate writers.  Some long winded (including me – I didn’t realize quite how long winded until I saw how much space I took up in the paper, and believe it or not I condensed!).  Some very thoughtful.  Some not so thoughtful.  Anyway, The Redwood Times has its letters up.  I wrote a separate letter for each paper, and unfortunately the Independent isn’t yet online and I keep forgetting to thumb drive the first letter from my offline computer.

My letter

Marie Rafael’s letter on behalf of Clif

Dave and Cheryl Nicholson’s letter on behalf of Estelle

Linda Lowe’s letter for Clif

David Hawkins’ letter for Estelle

Dave and Susan Hagemen for Clif

Barbara Kennedy for Clif

Kevin Caldwell for Estelle

Unfortunately, that’s as far as the links go.  There were some great letters over the past month.

So what will happen on Tuesday?  I’ll give you my predictions on Monday evening.

Addendum:  The Arcata Eye was kind enough to compile its letters of support for candidates.  None in the Second District.  Lots of support for Mark.

Second addendum:  More letters from this week’s paper.

Joan Becker for Estelle

Jerry Latsko for Clif

Jennifer Kubik for Estelle

Ted Kogon for Estelle

Karyn Lee-Thomas for Estelle

Chris Weston for Clif

Jim Truit for Clif

The big Bob collects the Presidential Medal of Freedom.  How awesome is that?

Bob Doran has some videos.

And the NCJ has a slew of photos.

I actually have a problem with cigarette taxes in that they’re extremely regressive.  Most of the top 1 percent don’t smoke.  Over the past have century, it’s become much more exclusively a lower class vice.  It’s very easy to dismiss the concern because smoking is a choice, but for the fact that you’re talking about the most addictive substance known.  And much like passing laws for tougher laws against child molesters (would you ever oppose tougher laws for child molesters no matter how tough they are already?), tobacco companies make easy targets.  Yes, the demand curve is elastic to some degree, and increasing prices does diminish consumption despite the addiction, which means that not all of the revenue generation can be passed off to the consumer.  The point is, will you ever oppose more cigarette taxes?  I think this is the third or fourth tobacco tax we will have voted on (not sure how many have passed), and this one is a doozy!  Five cents per cigarette, meaning $1.00 per pack.  That will more than double the existing tax.  And it will probably result in a larger black market.

Okay, that’s the downside.  On the other hand, the tax increases and the revenue-backed anti-smoking programs in California have actually worked.  Fewer teenagers are smoking.  More adults are quitting.  That will save some lives.

Where will the dollar go?  If implemented as planned, 60 cents will go to grants and loans to support research on cancer and other tobacco-related diseases.  15 cents would go to build facilities for the research.  20 cents would go to prevention and cessation programs.  3 cents would go to fight the aforementioned black market.  And 2 cents would go to administration of the fund (which I think would set a record for government efficiency!).

There’s also a provision for “backfill” payments to cover the earlier taxes, where revenues might be lost because the deterrence function is actually effective at addiction reduction.

The primary opposition is coming from the usual tax posses, some Chamber folk, and you know who.  In support is a slew of cancer non-profits and medical associations.  The opposition claims that grants will go out of state, and laments the lack of money going to school programs (which I admit would make me slightly more enthusiastic a supporter).  And for some reason the opposition in the Voter Information Guide is spending some of its space opposing high speed rail.

So, anyway, I support it.  I won’t be broken-hearted if it fails.  Politically speaking, I would like to see the measure pass because the Republicans are literally destroying the economy with an intransigent opposition to all things tax, and maybe it’ll send some sort of message.  And research is one of the few industries still thriving in this country – it makes sense to subsidize it.  It’s research which will save lives.

So, good cause and all.  Ra ra.

I have to say also that the melodramatic whining from self-proclaimed “libertarians” generating the “smoking Nazi” image above presents an extra incentive.

He was interviewed on The Last Word, and did very well!

It’ll be at maximum blockage between 6:25 and 6:30.

Don’t look directly at it!  Poke a hole into a piece of paper, and hold it up to allow the beam from sun, through the hole, onto another piece of paper or flat surface.

It’s kind of a no-brainer to me, because I think that term limitations for legislative positions are, sorry, a dumb idea anyway.  It’s particularly ironic that the whole concept was cooked up by conservatives often opposed to what they call the “nanny state” and yet feel compelled to save voters from themselves.  So anything that weakens term limits and restores electorate choice is fine with me to begin with.  If anything, I’m annoyed that the proponents felt compelled to actually lower the maximum potential from 14 years (and the big whoop “loophole” that allows up to 17 years if someone comes in after a legislator kicked the bucket during his/her first year in office) to 12 years.

On a more practical note, term limits in California have really hurt rural areas.  Those darned “career politicians” representing the lower population zones used to bide their time, get into the right committees, and toss some money our way.  But now that everyone has to think in terms of lateral and upward movement before they’ve even really learned how to legislate, the emphasis is on the concentrated population centers – where the voters are who will send the more clever pols to a statewide position.  This is why school bus funds are so easily cut.  It’s also why San Rafael road widening takes precedence over Willits Bypass (not that I necessarily disagree with that priority in particular).

Also, with the decline in institutional memory and information, legislators are increasingly dependent upon information provided to them by lobbyists.  And sometimes legislation is bogged down because of collective inexperience, where some legislators are forced to leave just as they’re figuring the job out.  And they’ve brought on a slew of other problems.  Here’s a pdf report by a think tank which outlines a number of problems in Arizona.  It’s a good read, worth your time unless you’re really convinced that the legislature works better in 2012 than it did in 1990.

Okay, so what does Prop 28 do in mitigation?  It doesn’t end term limits.  It doesn’t extend them.  It’s actually kind of lame.  But it’s something.

Currently a pols time in the legislature is limited to three two-year terms in the Assembly and two four-year terms in the Senate.  You can serve in both, so basically you can serve for a maximum of 14 years.  The proponents are lowering the time to 12, and yes, that’s misleading.  The opponents, mostly from the perennial tax posse and the free market/property rights extreme, are justified in their screeching about it.  Well, sort of.  It does actually shorten the time professional pols will stay in office.  But many Assembly members don’t make it into the more elite Senate, so the overall years in office for incumbents will be extended.

Basically, you have 12 years in office, if the voters will have you.  You can do it in any combo.  Six terms in the Assembly, three terms in the Senate, or four terms in the Assembly and one term in the Senate, and so on.  And if you are appointed because someone died or left office, those years count.

So 12 years in the Assembly might help rural areas out, a little bit anyway.  Of course, it doesn’t apply to anyone in office on or before June 5.

It’s not enough, but it will be a moderate improvement.  That is if the voters have the sense to pass it.

And Hank made it.

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