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As if any of the stories isn’t, but here’s a story of a mentally retarded convicted man whose death sentence had been converted to life without parole.  He didn’t learn about the ruling in time however, and killed himself.

Yes, I know we should factor in the original victim as well.  Point is, he shouldn’t have been on death row to begin with, and once the 2002 Supreme Court ruling was made, it should have taken less than 8 years to resolve this case.  Whatever he “deserved” on the cosmic level we mortals will never know.  What is clear is that the system has one more senseless death on its hands.

I just heard that Sue Ivy’s fourth grade class at Redway will consist of 42 students this year.  You can’t teach a class that crowded, no matter how good you are (and by all accounts Ms. Ivy is excellent).  Many of those kids are going to lose the year, and obviously it won’t be any better for them next year.

The alternative I suppose, in lieu of what should happen which is to have the money to hire another teacher, is to take some of them out and create a combination class.  But I did that in the fourth grade, and I feel that the teacher should receive double pay since he or she is teaching two classes at once.  One level could also lose the year.

This is very sad.

And no, I’m pretty sure Prop L money cannot be used to hire a teacher.

Addendum: I heard from a good source this morning that the chemistry class at the high school had 40 kids as of yesterday.  At least one transferred out.

From the Neely campaign:

The election of County Supervisors this November is one of the most important we’ve seen. This next Board is going to adopt a General Plan that will set the rules for the next thirty years of Humboldt County growth. The race between Bonnie Neely and Virginia Bass presents a stark contrast.

From:  Bonnie Neely for Supervisor  <>

A press conference will be held at Bonnie Neely’s new headquarters in Old Town Eureka announcing her campaign as a call to voters to choose the candidate whose values we share.

We would like to extend a formal invitation to all of our supporters.  As a united community we will rise to this challenge and win this election, maintaining the values of Humboldt county residents.

Please join us this Tuesday.  Refreshments will be served.

What:  Bonnie Neely Campaign Announcement
When:  Tuesday, August 31st at 11:00a.m.
Where:  Neely Headquarters- 426 3rd Street, Eureka

Addendum: Both candidates responded to questions from KHSU about the Balloon Track development proposals. Heraldo has his own take on the interviews, but I haven’t heard either yet and obviously everybody should listen on their own and draw their own conclusions. Heraldo will be posting links.

Soccer is getting huge, and that’s good for kids on a number of levels.  Today’s Eel River Soccer Jamboree at Newburg Park Fortuna was the most enjoyable I’ve had yet.   Huge participation and lots of happy healthy kids in an atmosphere so much better than the Little League experiences of my youth.  Unfortunately, we didn’t have a soccer league where I lived as a kid.  Little League was fun, but unfortunately they let some of the parents drink beer while watching, and it wasn’t fun.  The soccer leagues now will actually throw parents off the field if they’re yelling at the kids or refs.

Almost everybody on my son’s team of last year moved up to the Under 10  (U-10) league and remain together.  Mid-season last year they really caught on to passing, and though we didn’t have a lot of power we won a number of games scoring a goal and winning with ball control – probably like four games won 1-0, kind of like international play!  Well, they haven’t forgotten how to pass over the past year, and now they’ve got more power.  They’ve added a couple of players, but all on the team are on the young side of the two-year split which means they’ll probably play together again next year.  I’m proud to report that my son Asher scored the first goal of the season within a few minutes of starting.  He also assisted in a goal later in the game with a great pass to Noah Kulchin, probably our strongest player, who got by a defender and the goalie to score.  It was a high scoring game by our standards – 5 to 4.  We won.  They won.  I’m on the sidelines now and I get to be the parent who tells the coach how he should do his job, etc.

Unfortunately I missed my son’s goal because I was coaching/reffing my daughter’s U-6 game.  At the end of last year’s season she told me that I had coached Asher’s team for three years and this year should be her turn.  So Jana and I are jointly coaching her team, the Blue Dragons.  She’s a powerhouse, and she scored three goals today – one for her team and two for the opposing team.  We have some bruisers on her team (going to have to work on that) and some of the other team’s 4-year-olds were a little intimidated by the whole thing anyway, and didn’t want to play.  They were a couple of players short, so part way into the game we gave them Lilith (my daughter) and Lucca.  It evened things up a bit, and they had a great time.  It may be the hardest age to coach, but it may also be the most fun.

I heard that the other Sohum U-10 team, who had some hard games last year, but are older and still together now, won their game 7-0.  Asher’s team, being coached by Dan Kulchin, looks forward to the challenge.

My kids’ teams are being sponsored by Redway Liquors and Deli (so funny – reminds me of the Bad New Bears being sponsored by a bail bonds company – but both are legit businesses!) and Humboldt House Inn respectively.   If you want some great sports entertainment, come out to Redway School on any Saturday morning starting in two weeks and through November.

The shot is of my son (on left) in action last year, taken by Clover Willison whose son is in green.

Addendum: Well, I just heard that there may not be a varsity football team at South Fork this year, because so many of the players want to play soccer (and that Arcata is having a similar problem).  Maybe they need to scour the halls for nerdy kids who might not otherwise make a team.  Didn’t they make a movie or two about this?

An interesting article in the East Bay Express about marijuana advocates who oppose Proposition 19 for various reasons.  It’s not radical enough.  It allows corporations to make money on it.  All of the sudden people who have lived outside of the law for decades would have to deal with the law and all it’s intricacies and bureaucracies.

Mostly I think there is a set which is simply afraid of change, even if it means less risk of jail and fewer killings like those in the headlines of late.

Our own Charlie Custer is quoted in the article.

Okay, I’ve worked long days and late nights pretty much all week and I need to shove some of the law out of my head for the weekend.  The kids have soccer Jamboree tomorrow, and that should help.  But I’m thinking I’m going to set aside all the political books sitting by my bed, and grab a cheap science fiction.  Haven’t read one in a while.

So, we’ve discussed the 10 best science fiction films.  Well, my science fiction choices were dated even when I was a kid, because I pretty much read what my father had.  Mostly Asimov, Clarke, Bradley – what is referred to as “hard science fiction.”  My choices are probably thus skewed generationally, even before my own when Alan Dean Foster and Phillip K. Dick were popular.  I don’t even know what’s out now.

My choices:

1.  Nightfall and other Stories by Isaac Asimov (Nightfall may be the best sci fi short story ever written, but some of the other stories play out in my mind to this day 30 years later)

2.  The Left Hand of Darkness, by Ursula Leguin

3.  Foundation (series), by Asimov (kind of lost its focus in the later books, but the concept of “psychohistory” may have been what drew me to socialism as a teenager)

4.  Rendezvous with Rama, Arthur Clarke

5.  Red Mars, Green Mars, Blue Mars trilogy by Kim Stanley Robinson (politically one of the most sophisticated science fiction stories I’ve read – also very interesting discussion of ecological ethics, even where life isn’t involved)

6.  The Caves of Steele, Asimov

7.  Dragon’s Egg, Robert Forward (concept somewhat borrowed from Mission of Gravity, by Hal Clement which deserves an honorable mention).

8.  The Dispossessed, by Ursula Leguin

9.  The Martian Chronicles, Ray Bradbury (he turned 90 a few days ago)

10.  Tau Zero, Poul Anderson

No, Heinlein didn’t make it onto my list, though Stranger in a Strange Land and a few others deserve honorable mentions.  Nor Larry Niven, mostly because I never got around to reading much of his stuff.

Sagan’s Contact almost made it.  As good as the movie is, the book, his only fiction, takes you places the movie just can’t go.

Okay, going from wired to tired – off to read The Moon is a Harsh Mistress.  Maybe it’ll make it onto my list.

Addendum: By the way, are novels like 1984 and Brave New World science fiction?  Why or why not?  You don’t find them there in the bookstores.  What about Marge Piercy’s Woman on the Edge of Time?

Someone sent me a link to this video suggesting I post it.  I’m not quite sure if there was a particular point, or if someone just wants Naked Gay Ted promoted, but I honor most requests.

They’re wimps, at our expense.

Beer anyone?

Addendum: Well, here’s a more cheerful view.

Maybe the guy’s id wanted to save him from a worse fate.

She doesn’t sound unreasonable as to her doubt.  Henry Fonda would be proud.

I didn’t hear the evidence, so I have no clue.  My first trial was a criminal trial and the jury took several hours before unanimously deciding my client was not guilty.  A juror told me that initially there were only three jurors who saw it that way.  The rest of the jurors didn’t like my client and had to be convinced by the three that it was a question of evidence not character.

In a case like this in which the whole world is watching them, it’s possible that there were people who just didn’t want to be demonized the way the OJ jury was.  Of course, it’s also possible that this woman is looking for a book/movie deal.  But it doesn’t sound that way.


August 2010