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A nice Hank Sims interview of local historian Ray Raphael regarding his new book Founding Myths: The Stories That Hide Our Patriotic Past. 5 questions though? All the other interviewees get like 12 or 15 questions. Figures that SoHum would get the short end as usual!

The book is another shot in the trench war debate between the notion of “peoples history” and “great man theory history.” We learn for instance that Paul Revere’s famous ride is fiction, that Jefferson was not regarded as the demi-god of American liberty really until Lincoln built him up, and that Patrick Henry never said, “Give me liberty or give me death!” (well, I haven’t actually read the book yet, but these items are mentioned in Amazon reviews). And apparently, Independence Day should really be celebrated on July 2 instead.

llustration: Randall Enos

These are just aspects of the larger theme however, which was summarized by the author in an earlier article:

Although textbooks in recent years have certainly become more inclusive, giving the nod to multiculturalism is not synonymous with getting the story right. We’ve come a long way, baby—but we have a long way to go.


Since our stories need protagonists, we marshal forth heroes and heroines to represent the people of the times. Although selected for their uncommon features, these few are made to signify the whole. George Washington, Benjamin Franklin, Thomas Jefferson—we speak of these illustrious individuals as the Revolutionaries, and we use them to stand for all the other Revolutionaries, even as we proclaim they are special, not like the others. These people are then called “leaders;” all others become mere followers. A handful of celebrated personalities make things happen, the rest only tag along; a few write the scripts, the rest just deliver their lines. This turns history on its head. In reality, so-called leaders emerge from the people—they gain influence by expressing views that others espouse. In the telling of history, however, the genesis of leadership is easily forgotten.


The way we learn about the birth of our nation is a case in point. If we teach our students that a few special people forged American freedom, we misrepresent, and even contradict, the spirit of the American Revolution. Our country owes its existence to the political activities of groups of dedicated patriots who acted in concert. Throughout the rebellious colonies, citizens organized themselves into an array of local committees, congresses, and militia units that unseated British authority and assumed the reins of government.

Ray has his own website. And here’s an interesting review from the History News Network.

So far I have not found any reviews by conservative scholars. Still looking.

Photo lifted from the NCJ story.

The Klamath is making a lot of news lately, thanks in part to the efforts of Rep. Mike Thompson. The fishing industry is of course in a lot of trouble, as well as the ecological health of the Klamath River. Two headlines provide rays of hope for the forces of light.

The Times Standard notes that Thompson managed to finesse 2 million of the 81 million he’d been pushing for in federal aid as well as a declaration of disaster. While the money will be gone in a heartbeat, it may in fact prime the pump according to Thompson.

Lawmakers originally asked for $81 million, but settled for $2 million after a strange legislative display in which the lawmakers used procedural votes to force action on an amendment Wednesday. ”What we decided to do was pull out all the plugs,” said Thompson, D-St. Helena.

The $2 million may sound like little compared to the original amount requested, but it gets the foot in the door, said Thompson’s press secretary, Matt Gerien, and allows for the U.S. Senate to provide even more money down the legislative line.

This came on the heels of bad news that the National Oceanographic and Atmospheric Administration was refusing to declare a disaster until possibly next February – ie. when the next congress has settled in.

Thompson went on to remind us that the problem stems from the Bush administration’s water policy – though completely absent from his statement as well as the article is any reference to the diversion of water for agricultural interests in Oregon.


Meanwhile, the ER is reporting that the Yurok Tribe has struck a deal with the the Bureau of Reclamation and U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service agencies “in river monitoring, data collection, strategic planning, land acquisition and recovery and related natural resource management efforts.”

All very nice, but will the Bureau be willing to make any recommendations regarding – I hate to keep bring it up – river water allocations?

I guess it’s too close to an election to take on farmers.

I dealt with this in a little more depth, with lots of links in an earlier post. And Humboldt Herald covered it here.

Photo source

Travie J. Westlund of Eureka believes that Eureka City Council Member Chris Kerrigan is on the take, or so he says in a letter to the ER. The proof? He was seen wearing a Pierson’s hat as he was helping to clean up the vandalism at Sequoia Park. No kidding! That’s why he’s fighting Arkley on the balloon tract/track. See Pierson supported Kerrigan’s election. Kerrigan opposes Home Depot on the waterfront. Ergo, Pierson has bought Kerrigan, because Kerrigan would have no other rational reason to oppose the Arkley plan.

There are a few other reasons cited here.


Another letter to the ER backs Ann Coulter up in calling the 911 widows (or “Jersey Girls”) whiney wimps because they take issue with people other than the terrorists themselves or Clinton.

Again, can you imagine the fire and brimstone if someone against the war made light of suffering of the war supporting contingent of Gold Star families?


Well, we saw a little of it following the NY Times Op-ed piece claiming that progressive anti-war demonstrators were protesting at military funerals and hospitals. FAIR did some groundwork to prove the Times irresponsibly erroneous, leading to the following retraction published in the Times on June 17:

An Op-Ed article on Monday, about demonstrations at military funerals, hospitals and memorial services, incorrectly described the protesters at the military funerals discussed in the article. In some cases, the protesters were members of an anti-gay group, not people opposed to the Iraq war; in others, the families of the dead service members were unable to determine the affiliation of the protesters.

The “anti-gay group” referenced is of course Fred Phelps and company (hopefully no relationship to the medical family of SoHum).

Per the Times-Standard title, “death-with-dignity” died in committee in the state senate. Looks like it’ll take a ballot measure, but something like it already failed back in 1992, an election where liberals and other lib causes did fairly well. California has a higher percentage of ethnic minority voters than Oregon, and though they tend to vote for lib pols black and Hispanic voters aren’t necessarily socially liberal.


Over at Humboldt Herald, Heraldo discusses Mike Thompson’s efforts on behalf of the salmon fishing communities with appropriate links. The Times-Standard also picked up the story.


Chris Rall isn’t against cars. We just use them too much.


Meanwhile, over at the Eureka Reporter, Dikeman supporter Pete Ciarabellini laments at the claims of a previous letter by Linda and Jim Sorter in which Dikeman supporters were accused of negativity during the campaign. Ciarabellini explains to the letter writers that not all Dikeman supporters employ negativism. Then he proceeds to insult them.


Chuck Harvey’s letter about ER vs. TS – the gift that won’t stop giving.


Haven’t quite digested the SCOTUS decision re soon-to-be-ex-representative Tom DeLay’s gerrymandering, but the gist seems to be that it’s perfectly legal to gerrymander for partisan purposes so long as it doesn’t disenfranchise a racial group. A Kos poster expresses it in more basic language.

If I find the time, I’ll review the decision on my own and post something about it.


Speaking of DeLay, there is some serious question as to whether the Republicans will be able to replace him on the Fall ballot. This time around, DeLay may have overplayed his hand.


Son of Proposition 73 (last year’s failed abortion snitch law proposal) is on the ballot. Angelides has taken a position. Schwarzenegger is on the spot. I’ll post my thoughts from last year re prop 73 another time.


The Flag burning amendment failed.


Save Ancient Forests reports that the Bear River old growth logging plan has been all-but-approved. Never hurts to write though!


One of my depositions today was held at Humboldt Orthopedics, on Harris Street (yes folks, it was a personal injury case, for those of you who want to make more “ambulance chaser” comments). The last time I was there, a couple of years ago, there was a beautiful forest at the back of the parking lot. No more. A fence has been put up and the forest cleared for some sort of construction. There are now one fewer tree stands in Eureka.

Don’t get me wrong. The project may very well be worthwhile. The owner had probably purchased the land for just such an investment. The owner has the right to utilize the land as zoning and regulations allow. Jobs. Economic development. Probably not a major impact on the overall ecosystem.

None of that means I have to be happy with it. I’m not.

Lest you think last night’s lightening show was the SoHum story of the day, the scandal of the year erupted this morning on the Women on Wednesday on KMUD. I was on my way to depositions in Eureka when a young mother named Lisa Miller called in to complain about her treatment by a waiter at the Benbow Inn yesterday. Apparently, she was in the dining room when her child required a shot of breast milk. When she bared her mammary gland, the waiter apparently approached her and asked her to move the feeding process into the lobby. Ms. Miller objected and she was threatened with ejection.

So she contacted Le Leche League who informed her that it is against the law to interfere with human breastmilk consumption by offspring in a public place. The law reads as follows:

Cal. Civ. Code §43.3, >1997 Cal ALS 59; 1997 Cal AB 157; Stats 1997 ch 59.
Notwithstanding any other provision of law, a mother may breastfeed her child in any location, public or private, except the private home or residence of another, where the mother and child are authorized to be present.

Ergo, according to Ms. Miller, on both the morning show and later on the KMUD news, “my civil rights were violated.” When she returned to the Inn this morning with a copy of the law, she was apparently not well received, at least not to her liking.

“This is big,” the hostess of the show added, and apparently the Inn received a slew of telephone calls from listeners.

Big? You can tell we live in a slow town down here. Usually.

Teresa Porter, co-owner of the Inn, has a different story to tell. She insists that the Benbow Inn is “pro-breast feeding,” and “not lactose intolerant.” She says that Ms. Miller was not merely breastfeeding in a discreet manner, but doing it in an “open” manner that made some of the other guests feel uncomfortable. I am not clear from the KMUD interview whether the option was discussed at the time, but question arose as to whether Ms. Miller would have been willing to cover her breast with a napkin during the feeding. Ms. Porter said that other customers had breastfed their children discreetly without incident. She complained about the manner in which Ms. Miller and the Wednesday women handled the matter. Ms. Miller responded, “they brought it on themselves.”

I wasn’t there. I can’t take sides. Were the other customers uncomfortable, or was it the waiter’s problem? And if the other customers were uncomfortable, is it her problem or theirs? Is Ms. Miller a cultural elitist insensitive to the feelings of guests from less sexually open cultural milieus, or was she really just trying to feed her child without hassle? Perhaps there are independent witnesses out there who can bare all for our benefit.

I can tell you that there was one moment in the interview that I felt uncomfortable about Ms. Miller’s response. When asked whether she could have been more discreet in her presentation while feeding, she responded, “I am going to feed my child when he needs to be fed.” My problem is that it isn’t an answer to the question. It seems a dodge. I didn’t hear anything from her about the feelings of the people around her. She discussed only her wants and needs as if they were the only consideration. Now, it was a quick interview, and I know from experience that it’s not always easy to communicate everything you want in a short time when you’re kind of on the spot. But personally, I’d like to hear Ms. Miller’s candid thoughts about the feelings of the other guests and to what degree she believes that they figure into her equation – separate from the issue of law and rights.

In the meantime, here’s an interesting article about the impact of terrorism on breastfeeding. Off topic I suppose, but it’s too interesting a read to pass up.

Update: Apparently there is going to be a “nurse-in” at the Inn sometime on Friday. Advice to the Porters – warn the guests and try to have a sense-of-humor about it.

Second update: Heard the story again this morning, and this time in its entirety. Want to clear up a few errors on my part. For one thing, the mother’s name is Elisa, not Lisa. I have no idea if I’m spelling it right. Secondly, her child is female.

And in the KMUD interview, Ms. Miller stated that she was told to leave the room to “do that,” and not offered the option of “covering up.” On the other hand, Teresa Porter stated that when she spoke to Ms. Miller that she had the feeling that Ms. Miller would not have agreed to cover up. Too much amibiguity there. Ms. Porter also said that she did not believe that Ms. Miller was interested in receiving an apology.

The fact that a manager was involved rather than a waiter suggests that there probably were customer complaints for what that’s worth. And as one commenter here said, the fact that the manager addressed the husband directly rather than the mother suggests that the guy may have had an issue of his own of some sort.

One thing clear to me however is that the Wednesday Women jumped the gun a bit – shooting before getting any facts. They heard one side and only one side.

The breast wars continue….

Note, the story has revealed to me yet another local blog.

Photo source

KMUD Station Manager indeed moving on as reported in the comments section in a post somewhere below. I wish him and his lovely family well, and I will personally miss his presence at the station.

Dave and I have been on the opposite side of some policy discussions of late, and we haven’t seen eye-to-eye on the role of the Personnel Committee. However, I have always respected his enthusiasm and his ability to pull some of the warring factions together under about as much unity as one can expect under the circumstances of a listener sponsored station in a community with so many dynamic personalities. He has also done very well by the station and community by organizing so many events beyond the mere broadcast – all of them coming out in the financial black! My differences with him have never been personal, and I hope the station back east does well by him.

From the KMUD site, his farewell letter:

From Dave Myers, KMUD Operations Manager

For the last four years it has been my privilege to serve as KMUD’s Operations Manager, Development Director and Volunteer Coordinator. I am both excited and sad to announce that this August I will be moving on to become Executive Director of WOMR-FM, a community radio station in Provincetown, MA. The move will also bring me closer to the many members of my family who live in Massachusetts.

Working for KMUD has been a labor of love from the beginning, and I am grateful to all of you who have made KMUD the dynamo it is today. I was drawn to the station through the boldness and magic of its programming; only after first being a devoted listener did I become involved as a Board member in 2001 and then as a paid employee in 2002. It has been an honor to work on such projects as the Amy Goodman benefit with KHSU, the nationally distributed Earthdance broadcasts, the move to using organic and local foods at our benefits, the live production of “Thank Jah” with Humboldt Community TV, the formation of the Seven Rivers Radio Network, numerous live remote broadcasts, the addition of financial professionals to our business team, the founding of the Northern Community Advisory Council, and eight exciting pledge drives.

Now, KMUD is at a crossroads, looking at hiring a new manager as well as at the management structure itself. If you have ideas about KMUD’s management or future direction, please contact one of your Membership Reps to the KMUD Board of Directors, or any other Board member. Contact info for many of them is here on the KMUD website. I also invite you to come to our annual membership meeting, this Tuesday June 27 at the Healy Senior Center in Redway, starting at 5. If you have managerial skills and a desire to be of service to KMUD, consider applying when our Board opens up the next management position.

While following our policy of political non-advocacy, KMUD has acted as a vessel for change and social justice simply by allowing all of us in this amazing community to express ourselves. To me, this – along with creating good radio – is the highest value a community station can achieve. Being a part of these processes, and this community, has opened up new vistas and inspired me to try to make a difference. I thank all of you all for your participation, commitment and good fellowship.

Rush Limbaugh is in trouble again. Apparently he was stopped in an airport because he possessed a bottle of prescription medicine that was in his physician’s name (for privacy) rather than his and detained for three hours. The fact that it wasn’t in his name isn’t the problem. The problem is that under the terms of his probation-that-we-aren’t-supposed-to-call-“probation,” he’s supposed to clear all prescription drugs with his non-probation officer. Another round for the late-night comedians.

Photo from MYDD.

Update: Just borrowed the following Al Franken line from Tenzil Kem, who has posted here a couple of times.

“From what I understand, if you cut out all the passages in the Bible where Jesus talks about the poor, about helping out the least among us, you’d have the perfect container to smuggle Rush Limbaugh’s drugs in.”


In a letter to the Eureka Reporter one William Langely is worried that if the Arkleys won’t buy the balloon track, nobody will. He says that Arkley wants to make it a “very beautiful place.”

Meanwhile, local historian Ray Hillman would like to see the Balloon Track preserved as a “cultural resource.”

And Times Standard columnist notes that tensions are high on the Eureka City Council over the Balloon Tract, particularly between Chris Kerrigan and Jeff Leonard.

Note also that the TS says “tract” while the ER says “track.” As a rural SoHumer so confused by those big city politics up there, can somebody tell me which paper has it right?


Once again, 3 Strikes is under some negative scrutiny, as the governor pushes for more bonds to build even more prisons to accomodate the increased inmate population. Cited in the Calitics article linked above are the following points:

According to a 2004 report, 3 strikes accomplishes very little but costs a great deal. A summary of the 3 part report that the Justice Policy Institute Published:

1. 3 Strikes has significantly contributed to an increase in California’s prison population. (Still Striking Out)
2. Nearly two thirds of the second or third strikers were incarcerated for nonviolent crimes.
3. California had four times as many people incarcerated under Three Strikes as the other 21 Three Strikes states for which there were data.
4. There was no substantial link between the use of Three Strikes and declines in crime.
5. 3 Strikes disproportionately impacts African-Americans and Latinos on a statewide basis. (Racial Divide)

In fact, according the article, there are now 3 times more black men in prison than in college. Basically, many conservatives – the same people who would join the tax posse in opposing bonds for schools or libraries – will vote to spend exhorbitant amounts of money to build even more prisons in the state which has the highest percentage of its citizens behind bars – a reality that reflects the rule of conservatives thanks to Orange County bloc voting for about 15 years.

This issue brings new meaning to the phrase “if you build it, they will come.”


And the Confusion Hill bypass construction is finally under way!


The Redwood Times also features a nice story on the latest business venture of Holly Sweet and Jill McClure.


Robert Scheer of the San Francisco Bay Guardian revives a decades old story about journalists who were charged with sedition for alleging that the US military used germ warfare in Korea. The surviving member of the group still believes it’s true. The case was dismissed because the prosecutor misunderstood a basic element of sedition law. The story was revived again a couple of decades later after the journalist using the Freedom of Information Act squeezed some interesting documents from the government. A fascinating story either way.

I wonder though if this is the same Robert Scheer who once lobbied Pete Seeger to back off of supportive statements about Solidarity, the Polish Trade Union on the basis that it was the creation of a CIA plot. Stalinism isn’t dead yet.


And the librarians still have it in for President Bush.


My wife is watching the news and just informed me that Jim Steinberg will be stepping down as Public Defender. I assume it’ll be the hot topic in our competing dailies tomorrow morning.

No kidding! The darling blonde of the right wing who is so cantankerous she was actually booted from National Review (after reading Goldberg’s column, I don’t really know with whom I side) says she’s a Deadhead, and furthermore proclaims that “Deadheads are what liberals claim to be but aren’t.”

“Oddly enough, I like the music. No one believes that I never took drugs at Dead shows (except for the massive clouds of passive marijuana smoke) but I went because I really liked the music. There are various groups I get enthusiastic about for awhile, but of all the music I’ve listened to over the years, the Grateful Dead is the one band I never grow tired of. Apparently, the same is true of me for ski-lift operators.”

You’re on your own as to the meaning of that last sentence. And sorry Ann, but I’m going to need some credible independent witnesses as to the second sentence.

She then trails off with a series of anecdotes that have led her to believe that Jerry Garcia and the rest of the band were all closet conservatives. And furthermore, with regard to Al Franken (who was in fact a personal friend of Jerry Garcia’s):

“Apart from Al Gore, Al Franken is the most un-Deadhead like person I know of who purports to be a Deadhead.”

Speaking of which, it was from Franken that I heard about Rush Limbaugh’s comment on the very day of Garcia’s death that the musician was: “Just another dead doper. And a dirt bag.” The comment has obviously taken on a certain irony in recent news. But I wonder what Ann Coulter ever did to correct her colleague on the matter. I can’t find anything on Google.

Coulter has been under a bit of fire herself for comments about 911 widows in her book entitled “Godless, the Church of Liberalism” including:

“These broads are millionaires, lionized on TV and in articles about them, reveling in their status as celebrities and stalked by grief-arazzis. I’ve never seen people enjoying their husbands’ deaths so much.”

And more recently, her comment on decorated war hero Representative John Murtha (a long time war supporter who changed his mind last year) to the effect that if Murtha “did get fragged, he’d finally deserve one of those Purple Hearts” has earned her some new scrutiny.

You know, I’m sure she does it on purpose – and getting left wingers riled up is obviously her schtick. It’s what puts the butter on her table. It’s what psychobabble hacks used to call “an attention getting device.” But when left wing icons say anything of that is comparably inflammatory, there is Hell to pay as in the case of Bill Maher who lost his ABC network show for simply pointing out that there is nothing particularly courageous about lobbing missiles from hundreds of miles away from the target.

But for the double standards, I would have no problem accepting Taylor Hill’s account of how “cool and really funny” she is in talking about the Dead shows. Maybe this is why I was never really a Deadhead – having more in common with the “undeadheaded” Al Franken. I’d be happy to chalk it all up to the rigors of spirited political discourse and “sticks and stones.” But for the double standards.

And incidently, I disagree with the L.A. Times’ suggestion that she gets the bye because she is a woman. It’s because she’s conservative.

But hey, maybe Coulter really is deep. Maybe she’ll show some empathy the next time a left winger is strung up for some heresy of patriotic correctness. Maybe the next time she shows up to a not-really-the-Dead-anymore concert, the tye-dye denizens can greet her with all sincerity, “Peace sister!”

Photo source – Time Magazine.

Update: Ann Coulter recently partied with some liberal bloggers in Los Angeles.

Now this photograph, on the front page of the S.F. Chronicle, will have done more to alter somebody’s consciousness than all the costume based photos put together. I wonder if it will make it onto the right wing sites along with the drag queen shots.

The Chronicle’s caption reads: Kevin Heuer (left) and Todd Leichleiter are a contingent of two as the parade makes its way through downtown San Francisco. Chronicle photo by Carlos Avila Gonzalez.

What is it like to work on the police force, even in “liberal” San Francisco?

An interesting editorial from the Ukiah Daily Journal (news in itself from a paper which rarely prints anything interesting) about the governor’s race, suggesting that contrary to predominant philosophy the contested primary campaign may actually have worked to Angelides’ benefit. As mentioned in an earlier post, Zogby has the race in a dead heat. The kicker is the following passage:

And for Angelides there may be some advantages to having weathered a tough campaign. There’s the fact that he faced down charges of environmental depredation in his earlier days as a Sacramento-area developer, claims that proved to have no legs despite tens of millions of dollars worth of commercials touting them. If those charges arise again this fall, Angelides should know how to defuse them, unless the Schwarzenegger camp can dredge up new allegations with more substance.

And there’s the fact that he fought his way through multiple debates against a plain-talking opponent who pulled few punches. Westly charged Angelides with everything from ignorance of immigration issues to loving tax increases – a claim Schwarzenegger will surely repeat.

Meanwhile, Schwarzenegger has yet to engage in a one-on-one debate with any opponent, ever. When he ran in the 2003 recall election, the governor deigned to appear at only one of the many candidate debates, picking one that included half a dozen figures whose sheer numbers guaranteed there would be no direct confrontations over issues of substance. (emphasis added)

Not only that, but in that debate Schwartzenegger demanded (like a “girly-man“) that all of the questions be provided to him ahead of time – a demand that the other candidates caved to for reasons I’ll never grasp. If Angelides holds firm on the format, he’ll probably come out of the debates pretty strong. It’s not like Schwartzenegger can hide behind lower expectations at this point as he prides himself on his ability to communicate.

You can expect Angelides to bring back to the forefront Schwarzenegger’s special election of last year – a topic which the latter has avoided like the plague. A lot can happen between now and November, but certainly if the economy continues to slow before the election, and even if it doesn’t, we’re probably looking at a new governor next year.

Update: Angelides made an appearance at the Gay Pride march. Good for him! He will probably lose more political capital than he will gain by the appearance.


June 2006