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The Nation, which at this point is probably the chief in-print spokesentity for the left, has settled on a candidate, however, I’m posting the first three paragraphs of the editorial for its description of the situation facing progressives this election. It’s very salient and eloquent.

It’s gotten to that time in the primary contest where lines are drawn, camps are solidified and conversations around dinner tables grow heated. My friend Dan recently put it this way: “You start talking about the candidates, and next thing you know someone’s crying!” The excellent (and uncommitted) blogger Digby recently decided to shut down her comments section because the posts had grown so toxic. The recent uptick in acrimony is largely due to the narrowing of the field. While once the energy was spread over many camps, it is now, with the exits of Dennis Kucinich and John Edwards, concentrated on just two, leaving progressives in a fierce debate over whether Hillary Clinton or Barack Obama would make the better nominee, and President.

According to polling data as well as my conversations with friends and colleagues, progressives are evenly split or undecided between the two. This is, to me, somewhat astonishing (about which more in a moment), but it also means that at a time when other subgroups within the Democratic coalition are leaning heavily toward one candidate or the other, progressives are at a moment of maximum leverage.

Insofar as the issues discussed during a presidential campaign are circumscribed by the taboos and pieties of the political and media establishments, they tend to be dispiriting for those of us on the left. Neither front-runner is calling for the nation to renounce its decades-old imperial posture or to end the prison-industrial complex; neither is saying that America’s suburbs and car culture are not sustainable modes of living in an era of expensive oil and global warming or pointing out that the “war on drugs” has been a moral disaster and strategic failure, with casualties borne most violently and destructively by society’s most marginalized and–a word you won’t be hearing from either candidate–oppressed. And yet, this election is far more encouraging (dare I say hopeful?) than any in recent memory. The policy agenda for the Democratic front-runners is significantly further to the left on the war, climate change and healthcare than that of John Kerry in 2004. The ideological implosion of conservatism, the failures of the Bush Administration and, perhaps most important, the shifts in public opinion in a leftward direction on war, the economy, civil liberties and civil rights are all coming together at the same time, providing progressives with the rare and historic opportunity to elect a President with a progressive majority and an actual mandate for progressive change.

The next couple of paragraphs criticize their choice, before the piece moves into a very detailed explanation for the endorsement. One of the better reads on the contest to date.

Addendum: Here are the endorsements of the San Francisco League of Pissed Off Voters.

Second addendum: SEIU is switching its endorsement from Edwards to Obama. Love this line from the article:

But is it too late? Union members have been receiving Edwards endorsement materials for weeks. But really, nobody except media dorks and political groupies pay attention to a campaign until, uh, about now.

Third addendum: By request, the Superfriends. Amusing, but a lot of trouble for very little. Plus, nobody under 40 or over 50 is bound to get what there is to get.

Fourth addendum: I don’t have a link, but on the idiot box our favorite hippie says she’d rather face a Clinton administration then let McCain win.

Update: Here it is.

By the way, the debate tonight was a sleep fest. Both candidates have their ground games going into Tuesday and they didn’t want to screw anything up by offending anybody or pissing each other off. She got one sound byte about it taking one Clinton to clean up the last Bush’s mess, and it’ll take another to clean the second Bush’s mess. Obama earned some sound byte coverage with his “right on day one” line regarding the Iraq war. Clinton probably should have shut up about the war, but instead she tried to explain her vote which led Wolf Blitzer to ask her if she was trying to say she was naive about the President’s intentions back then.

But nobody drew any blood.

Fifth addendum: Geeze, having cable is going to do things to my head. I was switching back and forth for post-game reporting between the cable stations and landed on a Fox News round table with Brit Hume hosting commentary from Fred Barnes, Charles Krauthammer, and Morton Kondracke, only the latter of which is arguably to the left of Genghis Kahn. They were lamenting what seems to be the inevitable coronation of McCain with Krauthammer grimacing as if in pain as he said, “you have Schwarzenegger, Giuliani, and McCain all in a photo-shoot in a solar panel factory talking about global warming, which is bound to give conservative triple heartburn.”

I never thought of solar panels as being an inherently liberal technology, but to hearKrauthammer describe it, things could only have been worse if they met in a Volvo or brie factory. Why can’t the conservatives win this time? The consensus: they need Reagan back.

Funny thing is that immediately following the Democratic candidate debate while CNN and MSNBC were analyzing the highlights, Fox News was covering some crime story. I guess they’re a bit sore that the Democrats refused to accept their invitations to debate, but they’re only reinforcing the reasoning behind the boycott.

Sixth addendum: Al Franken is beating Norm Coleman in a Minnesota Senate race poll.

Seventh addendum: The Times-Standard endorses Obama.

Eighth addendum: In it’s first endorsement of a presidential candidate since 1972 (when it endorsed Nixon) the LA Times is supporting Obama. It’s endorsing McCain for the Republican primary.

From Mark Lovelace:

Release January 31, 2008

Alliance of Timber Industry Investors and Conservation Interests Intend to Bid on Great Redwood Forest. Coalition’s Proposal Focuses on Permanent Sustainable Timber Operation and Protection in Humboldt County.

(January 31, 2008, Humboldt County, California) – An alliance of community groups, conservation organizations and private investors formally expressed interest in acquiring more than 200,000 acres of redwood forest, the Scotia sawmill and other assets. The coalition’s proposal would create a sustainable timber operation, which would preserve jobs by guaranteeing the forest is always kept in working timber management, and would ensure permanent protection for the remaining old-growth.

In court filings yesterday, the Indentured Trustee for the Noteholders, the largest secured creditor group in the bankruptcy proceedings, proposed a restructuring plan for Scotia Pacific that included an auction of the timberlands and other assets. In a letter sent to the Indentured Trustee earlier in the week, the alliance expressed interest in purchasing the timberlands, mill and other assets.

If the coalition’s proposal comes to fruition it would ensure that 197,000 acres of redwood forests will be permanently kept in sustainable timber management, which provides a permanent source of jobs for the local community, and resolves a long-running environmental dispute by protecting the remaining old-growth and environmentally significant habitat.

“Our goal is to recover the job base by recovering the resource base,” said David Simpson of the Community Forest Team.

The coalition’s proposal, while dependent on an open and public auction occurring, would aim to:

a.. Place 197,000 acres under permanent protection through an enforceable conservation easement that ensures the forests are managed in an environmentally sustainable way while providing a continuous supply of timber to mills in Northern California

b.. Set aside the most ecologically important habitat, including old-growth forests, in publicly protected wildlife areas

c.. Maintain the operations of the Scotia sawmill

d.. Support the current local economy by keeping the forests in sustainable timber management in perpetuity regardless of future ownership

e.. Position Humboldt County to take advantage of future economic opportunities, such as the emerging carbon market

f.. Extend key elements of the existing temporary Habitat Conservation Plan into perpetuity through the easement

­The alliance is a unique combination of experienced and well-capitalized timberland investors and mill operators, globally significant financial institutions, non-profit conservation organizations and community interest groups that combine four powerful elements:

a.. timber industry experience and private financial capacity required for a transaction of this scale,

b.. wood products industry operating expertise and financing capacity

c.. conservation and scientific expertise to ensure that the lands are managed appropriately and the most sensitive are protected; and

d.. community stakeholders to represent the community’s position in decisions for the long-term future of its local forests.

“Our goal, as partners in the alliance, is to focus our operational and financial resources on the Scotia sawmill,” said Tim Fazio, managing partner of Atlas Holdings. “We believe that this mill, coupled with sustainably managed timberlands, can be a viable enterprise and a source of employment and economic stability for the region.”

“Our proposal of a permanent working forest means permanent work for the community,” said John Tomlin, managing member of Conservation Forestry. “The local mill operations are critical to a viable, permanent working forest.”

“Our coalition has the financial capacity, timber management expertise, conservation interest and local community participation to offer the best solution for the community, local workers and for conservation,” said George Yandell, North Coast project director for The Nature Conservancy’s California chapter.

“The Murphy family was a good steward of these lands for years before financial pressures forced a sale,” reflected Simpson. “We want to ensure that the jobs and the land are cared for regardless of future market pressures or changes of ownership. We are proposing a permanent working forest that provides a permanent supply of timber for local mills and local jobs. We want what is best for the long-term viability of the community, the local timber industry and for the
long-term health of the forests. We have found investors whose interests are compatible with our own.”

Though unique, the make up of the coalition is modeled on previous partnerships of conservation interests and private timber investments that have successfully conserved huge tracts of forests, while developing sustainable timber harvesting practices that support local jobs and help ensure a healthy timber industry in the future.

“The Great Redwood Forest,” which includes the long-disputed Headwaters Forest, represents fully 10 percent of the redwoods left on Earth, is home to numerous threatened or endangered species and comprises nearly half the watershed of Humboldt Bay.


Jordan Peavey, The Nature Conservancy, 415-281-0492,

David Simpson, Community Forestry Team, 707-629-3670,

Jennifer Benito, Save-the-Redwoods League, 415-362-2352 x314,

Zach Sufrin, Atlas Holdings, 203-622-9138,

Eloise Hale, Bank of America, 980-387-0013,

Art Harwood, Redwood Forest Foundation Inc., 707-984-6181,

What followed was a description of each involved group, which I’ll post in the comments section.

Addendum: Meanwhile, PALCO has finally gotten around to submitting its bankruptcy plan, and the Governor weighs in.

Photo comes from the Nature Conservancy site.

I don’t want to push my endorsements too heavily, but I thought these two items might be of interest to Sohum activists.

This account is from a poster at Daily Kos who called both campaigns. The Clinton campaign hadn’t returned his call, but he had a 20 minute conversation with an Obama rep.

We talked about Obama’s opposition to the Iraq war from the start. We talked about ethics reform in the senate. And we also talked about the torch being passed from the Kennedy’s to Obama. I asked about medical marijuana and this staffer laid out that Obama would not raid medical marijuana patients because “resources are wasted going after the sick.” This is an important issue to me as I am a medical marijuana patient for chronic back pain.

Hillary Clinton has made the same pledge. However, I suspect it would be difficult to pin either down on whether he or she would support removal of marijuana from Congressional categorization as lacking medicinal value, or at least a law which allows states to legalize the stuff for medicinal purposes free of federal enforcement of its own laws.

The second is more salient to me. He has the backing of Guantanamo attorneys based upon some very real assistance in preserving habeas corpus.

Back in October, John Hutson, former Judge Advocate General and Dean of Franklin Pierce Law School, changed his registration to vote in the New Hampshire Democratic primary and endorsed Barack Obama. Hutson, a life-long Republican, had grown increasingly frustrated with the Bush administration’s treatment of detainees at Guantanamo Bay.

“We fight wars to uphold the rule of law,” he said in 2004, “but then we don’t uphold the rule of law in our conduct of the war.” Hutson eventually becoming a key leader among former military officials pushing back against Bush policies on Guantanamo Bay and torture, worried about the precedent it would set for future conflicts.

“We are running the risk,” Hutson said in announcing his endorsement of Barack Obama, “of historians looking back on the first few years of the 21st century and saying ‘That’s where America came off the rails, that’s where we began to be the next former world power.'” Obama, Hutson argued, would be the candidate best able to bring about the changes we need.

And then on Monday, more than eighty attorneys volunteering their time on behalf of detainees at Guantanamo Bay collectively endorsed Obama for President:

The writ of habeas corpus dates to the Magna Carta, and was enshrined by the Founders in our Constitution. The Administration’s attack on habeas corpus rights is dangerous and wrong. America needs a President who will not triangulate this issue. We need a President who will restore the rule of law, demonstrate our commitment to human rights, and repair our reputation in the world community. Based on our work with him, we are convinced that Senator Obama can do this because he truly feels these issues “in his bones.”

It’s not exactly a popular political stand, or at least it wasn’t at the time.

Addendum: In this week’s Sohum Independent, Ray Raphael makes his case for Obama. In short, he believes that a Clinton candidacy will galvanize the currently fractured Republican opposition and even if she scratches out a win, will pretty much paralyze any progressive agenda if Congress remains close. The Republican hatred for the Clintons is borderline irrational as pundits like Tucker Carlson and Bill Bennett admit to (Carlson when she was running for Senate: “I have to believe she will lose despite the polls, though it’s more theological than rational.”).

Two points however. One, while the House might be close this year, the Democrats may firm up their Senate majority. Of the 10 vulnerable seats this year, nine of them are currently Republican.

Secondly, Obama is still off message. With all the lofty potential from the Kennedy endorsements and the huge crowds he’s drawing, he’s taking too much of his time attacking Clinton. I was listening to NPR this morning, and Clinton employed a bit of rhetorical judo which she’ll use tonight if Obama is as aggressive as in the last debate. When asked to respond to some attack of his, she said, “that’s audacious, but not very hopeful.” It’s telling that I don’t even remember the substance of Obama’s attack.

Point is, the Clintons are brilliant. If they get by Obama, they will probably take McCain apart. What happens once she’s in office, well, they’ve had eight years to think about how they were stymied for 6 years in the 1990s.

Second addendum: Obama was rated “the most liberal Senator of 2007” by the National Journal.

Former Sohum resident and KMUD programmer Bonnie Burgess was honored by her new station KHSU and briefly interviewed by the Eye. Her show Go for Baroque airs at 10:00 a.m. on Wednesdays.

The interview begins with her show’s description:

Go for Baroque features Western European music from the Baroque time period which is, roughly, the years 1600 to 1750. I cheat a bit and often play music from the late 1700s, which is officially the Classical era. That way I can include music by the sons of J.S. Bach and even occasionally Mozart and early Beethoven. Those guys were so heavily influenced by the Baroque composers that their sound doesn’t give my listeners “musical whiplash.”

I miss her on Thursday nights, though we have some excellent classical programmers in Fred and Margaret who’ve taken her place. I just remembered that I posted about her KMUD show once previously.

On everything except Cynthia McKinney. That’s pretty rare.

The photo is from a tribute site. His granddaughter spread his ashes today.

Here are some of his quotes.

The following is from the site linked at the top.

[Purushottam Gandhi writing from Rajkot asked Gandhiji three questions : (1) What is the difference between the so-called atheism of the jains and the theism of the Gita? (2) If God is not doer, who dispenses grace? Is prayer anything more than the expression of a person’s wishes? (3) What do you mean when you say the Truth is God? To him Gandhiji replied as follows:]

I do not think there is any contradiction between the Jain and the Vedic doctrine. They are only different ways of looking at a same thing. The God of Hinduism is doer as well as non-doer. God pervades the universe and is therefore a doer, but He is a non-doer inasmuch as action does not affect Him, and He has not to enjoy the fruit of action. The universe is not the result of any karma (action) of God in the sense in which you use that word. Therefore there is no discrepancy in the Gita verses quoted by you. Remember that the Gita is a poem. God neither says nor does anything. He did not say anything to Arjuna. The conversation between the Lord and Arjuna is imaginary. I do not think there was any such conversation between the Krishna and the Arjuna of history. There is nothing improper or untruthful in the setting of the Gita. There was a custom of casting religious books into such a shape, and we cannot find a fault with any cultured individual even today who employs such a vehicle for his ideas. The Jains put it logically, unpoetically and dryly and said that there is no Creator of the universe. There is nothing wrong in saying so. However, mankind cannot live by logic alone, but needs poetry. Therefore even the Jain rationalists found it necessary to have temples images and similar aids for the spirit of man, which are ruled out by mere logic.

He was broke, and obviously floundering since he couldn’t manage more than third place in his home state. It’s a bummer, because he was the best of the three candidates – the only one speaking to issues of class (actually, the only serious candidate to do so since Jesse Jackson in 1988) and the only one with anything resembling specific proposals.

Obviously both of the remaining campaigns will be hassling him for an endorsement. According to this CNN article:

“The cynics will say that with Edwards out of the race, a lot of the white working-class people who voted for him will now vote for Hillary Clinton; they’ll see it in racial terms,” said Time magazine journalist Joe Klein. “On the other hand, you could just as easily say that with Edwards out of the race, those people who are more interested in change who were part of his constituency, will go vote for Obama.” He added, “I don’t think he endorses Hillary Clinton. The question is whether or not he endorses Barack Obama.”

The photo comes from his campaign site.

Lost Coast Musings, with the slogan “little things matter.” The blogger’s name is “Tara” (I’m wondering if I know her). Does it qualify as a Sohum blog? You decide.

There are only a few posts so far – some nice writing about daily life and photos, and an endorsement of Obama.

Welcome to the Humboldt blogosphere Tara.

Cristina Bauss was at the proceedings today and provided a story on tonight’s news. You can listen at the KMUD site. Apparently it was another day’s grilling of Tom Dimmick. I’ve already heard several different versions, and I’m not even going to attempt to reconcile them.

My understanding is that Tom’s attorney will be cross-examining him tomorrow. If they finish cross, redirect, and recross tomorrow, I believe Cristina said that Susan Matilla and Carol are due to follow. I guess Bragg is saving his friendly witnesses for last. Of course, Bragg can call the witnesses in any order he wishes.

There are some accounts provided by spectators who’ve posted in the Red Lion thread below.

Addendum: Bob has some photos from the proceedings.

A white egret has been wandering around across the street from my office window all morning, moving back and forth from the side of southbound offramp to the Osprey grounds. It’s a pretty thing. I don’t know why it’s hanging around.

Can it be some kind of omen? If so, of what?

From A. Venenifica’s blog:

The Heron or Egret is symbolic in many cultures.

In Egypt the Heron is honored as the creator of light. A double headed Heron in Egypt is symbolic of prosperity.

In China the Heron is a symbol of strength, purity, and long life.

In Africa, the Heron was thought to communicate with the Gods.

Most Native American tribes took note of the heron’s inquisitiveness, curiosity and determination. As such this set the heron as a symbol of wisdom in that this creature seemed to have good judgement skills.

Specifically, the Iroquois tribe held the blue heron as a very good omen, a very lucky sign. They recongnized the heron as an expert fisher/hunter. As such, they believed that sighting a heron before a hunt was a sign that the hunt would be a good one.

As a water creature the heron is also a symbol of going with the flow, and working with the elements of Mother nature rather than struggling against her.

The photo comes from