You are currently browsing the daily archive for November 11, 2008.

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.

One of his more eloquent “special comments.”

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

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.


November 2008