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The Times Standard covers Bonnie Neely’s party switch, and man, look at the comments section!  Rose’s thread has some pizazz as well.


She’s the nominee to replace Justice Souter.  The White House has its talking points, which do in fact include the word “empathy” which hasn’t played well with conservatives, who have their own talking points accidentally released to the press.

The Republicans seemed ready for this selection.  Among their concerns for her character is that she is “domineering.”  Empathetic and domineering.  Hmmmmm.  And Senator Imhofe (R) is concerned that she may not be able to resist the “undue influence” of her race and gender.  Is it like demon possession or something?  The goblin of Hispanic womanhood threatens to render her a hapless zombie conjuring from the spirit world glamours of quotas, hostile workplaces, and bilingual education.

TPM looks at the big picture and the obstruction:

Technically, Republicans come into the Sotomayor confirmation process in an extremely weak position. Their caucus is only 40 members large. Four of those members are women. One is hispanic. And their ranks are teeming with people who’ve loudly decried the idea of filibustering judicial nominees in the recent past.

Now that same crew is faced with the prospect of playing the opposition (loyal or otherwise) to a 54 year old Hispanic female with honors degrees from Princeton and Yale and heaps of experience on the bench. Not exactly ideal circumstances.

At the same time, though, they’ve proven perfectly willing to stand athwart other, similarly qualified Obama nominees, most of whom serve (or will serve) in the executive branch for only a few years at the most.

And speaking of the paranormal, Norm Coleman promises to keep an open mind on the nomination “when I am re-elected.”

I don’t know anything about her and she hasn’t even said anything yet, but I already like her.  I just hope one of the conservative justices retires soon, because we just lost the Sixth Amendment.

Addendum: Mark Krikorean of the conservative National Review takes issue with how Sotamayor pronounces her name.  It’s “unnatural in English.”  We shouldn’t “give in” to it.  I swear the caricatures have nothing on the real people sometimes.

Oh, and she was a socialist, or at least willing to quote a socialist in her 1976 Princeton yearbook!

Norman Thomas was of course the perrenial Socialist Presidential candidate throughout his adult life.  I’m liking her even more!

Second addendum: Republicans have dug up even more dirt.  They wonder whether her love for a Puerto Rican dish consisting of pig’s tongue and ears with rice and beans will affect her impartiality.  Or do you think they’re just trying to find a lame excuse to gross some folks out about her cuisine preferences?  Nah.

Addendum: Uh oh.  TPM may have perpetuated the Hill’s cuisine cultural ignorance, and I may have done so right here.  Apparently the dish is made from pig’s feet and is some sort of soup!  What the nominee actually said in that fateful speech was:

For me, a very special part of my being Latina is the mucho platos de arroz, gandoles y pernirmorcilla, — pig intestines, patitas de cerdo con garbanzo — pigs’ feet with beans, and la lengua y orejas de cuchifrito, pigs’ tongue and ears. – rice, beans and pork – that I have eaten at countless family holidays and special events. My Latina identity also includes, because of my particularly adventurous taste buds, morcilla, — pig intestines, patitas de cerdo con garbanzo — pigs’ feet with beans, and la lengua y orejas de cuchifrito, pigs’ tongue and ears.

The photo to the right accurately depicts the soup. The one above is probably the arroz, gondolas y pernir.

I think the Republicans had better regroup.

So far the only reservation I have about her is her decision in favor of a school administrator punishing a student for blog speech made off campus.

Second addendum: Empathy bad.

I haven’t read the decision yet, but the announcement was made minutes ago.

The silver lining is that the 18 thousand couples who hitched up prior to the election remain lawfully married.

I hope it can be reversed in 2010.  It was mostly the older generations who voted for Prop 8.  Those under 30 are overwhelmingly for universal marriage, and many of them don’t even understand why it’s a question.  Each election brings in more of those voters.

Addendum: Civil disobedience outside SF City Hall.  The photo comes from Eric Mar.

Second addendum:
Here’s what gay conservatives think of the ruling.

Third addendum: progressive legal analysts, looking for silver linings where they can find them, are pointing out that the decision impacts only the word “marriage” and that the civil unions remain as close to marriage as California law can guarantee.  It’s about stigma and dignity.

Fourth addendum: Apparently there will now be a challenge in federal court, with attorneys from opposite sides of Bush v. Gore teaming up to try to overturn Prop 8.

He’s right that as the America’s vanguard of the Pacific rim economy the recession shouldn’t be hurting us this bad, but the gutting of public infrastructure is taking its toll on the economy.

From today’s column:

The seeds of California’s current crisis were planted more than 30 years ago, when voters overwhelmingly passed Proposition 13, a ballot measure that placed the state’s budget in a straitjacket. Property tax rates were capped, and homeowners were shielded from increases in their tax assessments even as the value of their homes rose.

The result was a tax system that is both inequitable and unstable. It’s inequitable because older homeowners often pay far less property tax than their younger neighbors. It’s unstable because limits on property taxation have forced California to rely more heavily than other states on income taxes, which fall steeply during recessions.

Even more important, however, Proposition 13 made it extremely hard to raise taxes, even in emergencies: no state tax rate may be increased without a two-thirds majority in both houses of the State Legislature. And this provision has interacted disastrously with state political trends.

I wish he’d expanded a bit before drawing parallels with national politics, but it’s a point that has to be made.  It’s not that we’re spending too much.  As the fourth largest economy in the world, we’re not spending enough to support it.  Sometimes the tough choices have to be made and the voters of the last generation have pretty much taken the choice away.

I found this law review article (entitled The Effect of Historic Parcels on Agriculture – Harvesting Houses, by Ed Johnson) a few months back.  I’ve intended to write up a whole schpiel about it, but I just haven’t gotten to it.  I want to get it out into the discussion as it’s particularly timely, but I do hope to present a summary and analysis at a later time.  It deals with an aspect of the topic of patent parcels that I believe many locals haven’t considered, namely its usage to force residential development of precious farmland and open space by using the historical legal status of the parcels to bypass state and local zoning and regulations.

Does this mean people shouldn’t be allowed to develop their parcels?  That’s not the point.  It’s a very complex issue and I think there are a number of ways to approach it.  I’m just saying that there are huge issues at stake well beyond the local subdivisions and the bubble of Humboldt County politics.

If you’re on dial-up, you should know that the link is to a pdf document.

Food for thought.

And Capdiamont’s poll.

The Craig’s List ad put out by opposition .

I’m not completely decided on the project, but Kym’s post and some of the thread postings would seem to undermine the claim that all of the support is institutional.

And by the way, is it Richardon Grove, Richardsons Grove, or Richardson’s Grove?

Much anticipation and trepidation.

Gatherings are being organized all over.  Here are a couple of local events.

Eureka, California – Gather at Arcata plaza and County Courthouse in Eureka. 6PM. Contact Debbie Coggins, Justin Pabalate & Stan SmithHanes or, email Stan at

Ukiah, California – Gather at 6pm at Alex Thomas Plaza (State Street). For more information, contact

That was the mantra of tonight’s meeting.  There was a good turnout to hear Senior Planner Martha Spencer present the GPU options for land use policy, filling the dance room at the Vets Hall.  I’d say about 1/4 the crowd was wearing HumCPR buttons, some of them coming from the Fortuna and other northern areas.   Healthy Humboldt reportedly sent a couple of people to “observe,” but nobody I recognized.

Roby and I probably should have clarified with the CLMP Board as to what we were trying to accomplish.  The original idea as billed was to have Planning Department representatives and Clif Clendenden explain the GPU process and the details of each option.  The crowd politely listened to the opening presentation, then we invited people to ask questions.  We hadn’t set time limits and the first few questioners asked quite a few questions before Roby and I became concerned about the time in relation to a list of about 25 people who wanted to speak.  At one point a well-known speaker had been at it for about 15 minutes (Peter reports that it was considerably less), but when I tried to nudge him towards some closure about a third of the crowd started yelling “let him speak.”  I looked at Roby who shrugged, and from then on the meeting was primarily audience members talking to Clif and two Planning Department staff rather than information coming the other way.  It’s apparently what the crowd wanted, except that several people came up to me following the event to complain that it had become just another “bitch session” (one person’s words), including with irony he himself acknowledged, the well-known speaker during whose presentation I’d tried to moderate.  Nobody told me they came out of the meeting much more educated, except one person who found Martha’s demonstration of the navigation of the GPU website helpful. Read the rest of this entry »

Don’t forget the GPU update meeting at 4:30 p.m. at the Vets Hall, sponsored by CLMP.  I previously posted the details, though Tom Hofweber cannot make it and will be replaced by another Planning Department representative.  I have heard that the representatives will be bringing some equipment with a screen to access the plan website in order to discuss the potential impact of any GPU proposal on a given area.

This should provide a terrific opportunity for clarity.  Hopefully we can have an intelligent and fruitful discussion.  You can attend the meeting and still make it to the play on time.


You can also attend a fundraiser out at Beginnings tonight with Fishtank, “a fantastic dance band, sort of a gypsy, klesmer, eastern European wiggly band.”  Dinner and spirits will be served.  I’m not sure when the doors open, but it will run until midnight.


Tomorrow there is the Redway Fire Department fundraising Barbecue at the firehouse, running all day until 7:00.  Usually they have a firetruck for kids to climb on and some live music.  Great food – grab a bite then walk up to the Mateel for the play.


There is also a 10k/5k walk-run out at Shelter Cove to raise money for Whitethorn School.  I think registration is at 10 a.m. with the race starting at 11:00.  I don’t know where it starts, but I’ll post the info when I have it.

Here’s the information.


And from Beginnings:

Also, this weekend: Herbs for Children with herbalist and naturalist (& Children’s House teacher) Michele Palazzo.  Sunday, May 24th 10am-2pm at the Beginnings Octagon.  Sliding scale $15-$40.


~Children tend to be curious about the wonderful world of plants and experiment with them in their playful concoctions.  This class will cover plants that are safe for children to nibble on and that work well for childhood ailments.  We’ll talk about a child’s herb garden and remedies that you can make with children.


And of course the 40th “Ruby” Anniversary Kinetic Sculpture Race takes place all three days up north.  My family and I will head up for the water crossing (our favorite part) on Sunday.


Sanctuary Forest is offering a hike in the Mattole to learn about edible plants on Saturday.


I’m sure I’m missing something.  Let me know.

I had the opportunity to watch the dress rehearsal for South Fork High’s presentation of Singin’ in the Rain last night.  It was an extremely ambitious production particularly as a high school play.  Between the physical comedy moves, the dramatic requirements of uncharacteristic of high school stage musicals, and songs which would be challenging to extensively trained voices, these young performers had to learn and and integrate all of it and carry the heavy load to the audience.  The kids rose to the occassion with heart, skill, and grace.

Nicole Sheldon in particular had the audience rolling in laughter and really, her performance of the difficult part of Lina Lamont was flawless.  Sierra Totten beautifully managed the part of Kathy Selden for which, representing the heart and soul of the storyline, she had to cover the whole spectrum of emotion and draw the audience sympathy while delivering comedy and song.  Aaron Thiele and Forest Tressider carried their stage presence very well particularly in their passionate delivery of the comedy which carries the audience through some of the sadness of the story.  The supporting cast was wonderful, especially in light of the fact that there really are no parts so casual that each young actor didn’t have to work hard to carry his/her part, and the structure holds brilliantly.

The audience is also treated to live background music courtesy of the high school band, and the production staff and stage crew deserve accolades for an exceptional job of synchronizing multiple elements.  Again, this is a very difficult production which came together very tightly.

Singin’ in the Rain was a groundbreaking musical at the time of its original presentation and has been regarded by many as the best musical film ever.  Unfortunately, Gene Kelly who performed and directed found himself blacklisted by HUAC for such radical activities as singing with Woodie Guthrie to allowing his wife to openly support Henry Wallace for president.  The film received no awards at the time (some movie about a circus won best picture that year and you can’t even find it in the leftovers of a video store just before it closes).  The storyline itself takes place during the transition from silent film to “talkies,” and deals with power politics in the entertainment industry which led American Legion Magazine to slam the film as a “pro-communist” movie.

Please support the kids and enjoy this spirited and wonderful presentation – at the Mateel tonight and tomorrow night at 8:00 p.m. with a matinee on Sunday at 2:00.


May 2009
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