You are currently browsing the monthly archive for July 2012.

I may have linked to this site before, but this guy has collected captions and covers of comic books from the 50s through the 70’s containing everything from the bizarre to sexual innuendos (Batman’s closeted homosexuality, Wonder Woman’s bondage fetish, etc.).  The main gallery contains Superman covers which always made Superman look like a jerk.  Of course, the story always provided an explanation or context.  But often, it wasn’t even part of the story.  One had to wonder if the guy in charge of Superman comics hated the character, and his job.

But I got to this cover, and thought that even on its face, Superman had a point.

If you read these things as a kid, you’ve got to visit the site.

I forgot to do this weeks ago, but the final precinct report is in.  The Supervisor race results are on pages 69, 70, and 71 of the PDF.

I’m not sure what all the initials mean, but I know that “F” is Fortuna and “SH” is Southern Humboldt.  I’m assuming “R” is Rio Dell and “HV” is Hydesville.  I think that “F-R” must be “Fortuna-Rohnerville,” basically the south end of Fortuna and the surrounding areas.

So as expected Clif did better in the north, but obviously not by enough.  Sohum’s turnout rates appear to be a little bit higher than the north’s (and much higher than normal for Sohum), but not that much higher.  Clif won pretty handily in Fortuna proper, but Estelle kept it very close in the “FR” precincts, even managing to take one of the precincts.  Clif won in Hydesville, but not handily.  A key win for Estelle was in Rio Dell, which was a stronghold of Johanna four years ago, suggesting that her voters broke in Estelle’s favor.

The key was in Sohum where Estelle blew Clif out in some districts.  Others were fairly close, and Clif actually managed to take one.  I have no idea where the precincts are.  I can’t find a precinct map online.  I’m assuming that the larger ones are Garberville and Redway.


Rex Bohn won everywhere in the First.  I don’t see a precinct in which the DeModena and Seidner votes combined outnumbered his, not even in Loleta.  The loss of the precincts north of Harris Street to the Fourth, and the entry of Scotia into the First from the Second has rendered the First District an ultra-conservative district (by Humboldt County standards) and I don’t see anyone seriously challenging Rex from the left the next time around unless he really messes up.

Addendum:  I looked again and there are two precincts, MU and MU-F, in which Cheryl beat Rex by a solid margin.  I’m assuming that those are the Petrolia area precincts.  I don’t know what the letters stand for.


On page 71, the results of the Third District show that Mark took all but two districts – I think one of Brooks’ wins coming in the northern portion of Eureka, maybe it’s the Redwood Acres area?  Assuming that “B” is Blue Lake, it appears that the objections to being pushed from the 5th into the 3rd because of Arcata’s politics was not representative as Mark won 2 to 1.


In the Sohum precincts, Jared Huffman edged out Solomon 283 votes to 282.  Huffman defeated Roberts in Fortuna, by a margin I find surprising, and the progressive votes altogether overwhelmed the two Republicans.  Maybe Fortuna really is changing!  Not so much in the “F-R” precincts yet, but they aren’t as large as just plain “F.”

Huffman was the Arcata choice, with Susan Addams in second.  I didn’t count, but it looked more even between Adams and Solomon in Eureka, with Lawson doing well too.

The Republicans decided to call Senate Majority Leader’s bluff and allow majority votes on the two tax cut extension plans – the Democratic plan obviously nixing a good portion of the top tier tax cuts.  The Republicans do have an ace-in-the-hole with Mitch McConnel since any tax bill is technically supposed to be passed in the House first.  But the Democrats want to push him to resort to that to kill the extension of middle class tax cuts.

The Republican bill just went down, with at least one Republican voting against it.

I think the vote on the Democratic bill is underway.

But the real news is that the Republicans are allowing the vote to happen – just like the olden days when 51 votes was a majority.  Remember that?

The vote is expected to be close.  The drama was pitched a while ago when CSPAN microphones could pick up the sirens outside – alerting everyone that VP Biden had arrived to preside over the votes.  He could conceivably cast the deciding vote.

Addendum:  Joe Lieberman a “no” vote on the Democratic bill.  Thank God he’s leaving!

Collins and Brown were the two Republicans voting against the Hatch bill.  Probably we should expect them to vote no on the Democratic bill as well.

Reid is reminding the Republicans of their Norquist pledge.  I haven’t heard whether he granted Republicans special dispensation on this bill as he did with the payroll tax.

Second addendum:  Harry Reid is mad.  He said “poppycock.”

Third addendum:  Brown and Lieberman, “no,” but some major bloggers are counting 51 votes for the bill, even without Biden’s help.  Tester?  Nelson?

Fourth addendum:  Webb votes no, but it passes!  51 to 48!

Wow!  The Democrats just did something!  Pinch me!

If the Republicans block in at the House over the technicality, that will be the subject of Democratic Party ads from here to November, and it could deliver the House back to them.  Otherwise, the Democrats just simultaneously maintained lower taxes for 98 percent and reduced the deficit by hundreds of billions of dollars!

Give Reid credit where it’s due!  He outplayed McConnell.  Don’t know if the game was chess or poker, but it was played well!

If you were to ask my opinion of the second greatest scientist of all time, I would have a hard time responding.  There are so many choices and I would probably have to spend an hour clarifying the criteria with you before coming up with any kind of response.  But my first choice is easy, and I’ve already written a post about him.  Johannes Kepler’s laws of planetary motion and what he did specifically for the field of astronomy and the way we view the universe are great achievements.  But his most profound gift to science was his willingness and ability to abandon a theory in which he was intellectually, emotionally, and spiritually invested – having spent his entire life trying to prove it.  In the face of conclusive and contradictory evidence, and with a heavy heart – he changed his mind.  He gave up his quest for mathematical proof of the existence of a Godly order in the universe.  He didn’t abandon his belief in God.  He simply abandoned a tenet he had cherished.  He thought critically and acted with intellectual integrity unmatched by even many of those arguably more brilliant than he.  He had to be open to the evidence.  He had to be willing to let go.


In my brief stint as a substitute teacher in between undergrad and law school I had the pleasure of subbing a civics class of high school seniors for a couple of weeks due to the teacher’s serious illness.  Kids love to debate, but they don’t necessarily enjoy the learning involved in debating effectively.  Most everyone of every age believes he or she debates effectively.  They state their positions, by which they impress themselves, and they assume that anyone reasonable should be equally impressed.  Their positions are most powerful, because they believe them.  If they weren’t so powerful, they wouldn’t believe them.

After a couple of days discussing some topic of government or policy, I became a little frustrated. (probably if I had been blogging for any length of time beforehand, my level of expectations would have been much lower).  At one point I asked everyone to take out a piece of paper and fill the page with their argument.  Most of the kids had no problem.  A few had a problem limiting the argument to one page, but I insisted.  Five minutes or so later everyone was finished.  Other than grammar or spelling, my later review of the papers generated little disappointment.  These were bright and articulate students.

Then I asked them to turn the paper over.   Their next assignment was to write an argument just as compelling, but for the opposite side of the issue.  I didn’t want irony.  I didn’t want qualifications.  I wanted them to write their position as if it was their own.  I wanted them to convince me of that argument.  I got resistance.  Some were frustrated and said they didn’t know what to write.  Others were unable to fill the page.  A few couldn’t bear to turn in the paper without reassuring me at the end that they didn’t really believe that position.  One asked why she had to do it.  (I didn’t realize at the time that some Christian fundamentalists object to such exercises as “values clarification” curriculum which undermines their faith).  Only three or four in a class of about twenty were really able to do it, and only after some prodding.

It’s not easy to see another view.  It runs against human nature.  We have the capacity for it, but we do not have the drive to compel it.  We don’t want to change our minds.  Not even a little.


About eleven or twelve years ago I participated on an early Internet forum.  Some of you may remember those ancient times before blogs where the forum was set up like a flow chart where you could track a discussion on the main page (those forums are probably virtual collector’s items now).  I had an encounter with a conservative participant very well versed on the NRA talking points about gun control.  My views on the Second Amendment differ significantly from those of most of the gun control advocates.  The short version is that while I agree that the Second Amendment contains a qualifying dependent clause which suggest an intent to regulate the right of possession with a little more scrutiny than the other rights named in the Bill of Rights, the framers left few clues as to their intent and therefor the text should be construed in favor of the individual and against the state.  The longer version is in an old post.  And I elaborated a bit more in a later post.

Well, in my encounter with the NRA member, the fact that my ultimate conclusions on the issue matched his was not good enough.  He was invested in not merely the conclusion, but on the whole structure of the narrative.  That I attributed any intent of the glorious “Fathers” to limit gun rights in any way was simply unacceptable, and he surmised that I wasn’t truly in favor of the Second Amendment or gun rights.  He didn’t call me a liar.  He simply repeated his customary rant rhetoric, as if I was a gun control advocate (I am actually – as are some NRA members – it’s a question of degree).  He could not leave the box of his dogma long enough to realize the ridiculousness of the rant.  It reminded me of a scene on L.A. Law where a young attorney had spent so much time preparing her arguments that when the Judge dismissed the case against her client within seconds of calling the case she continued to argue.  The Judge said, “how not guilty do you want me to find your client?”

Before he could accept me into the fold, whatever it may have been, I had to recite the full catechism.  I had to agree that the Second Amendment is clear and concise, and that “A well regulated militia, being necessary to the security of a free state, the right of the people to keep and bear arms, shall not be infringed” was always intended to be the equivalent of “the right of the people to keep and bear arms, shall not be infringed.”  The first portion of the sentence was merely philosophy, intended for no legal effect.  He wouldn’t say it that way, because it sounds ridiculous.  But anything less was caving to the liberal narrative.


You can listen to my last radio show, aired this last Thursday, at the archives.  The 7:00 p.m. slot for those who don’t know about it.  I confess I transgressed.  Although I support GMO labeling (purely from a consumer rights perspective) I remain agnostic as to whether there is absolutely no positive value to GMO biotechnology.  Unlike some of my callers, I am not an expert on what I know nothing about.

Innocently I raised some of the arguments against GMO’s, one being the potential for genetic strains of organisms loose in the wild with no ecological context.  I cited the salmon farming as an example of such a biological contamination – the fact that salmon which have been selected for certain characteristic have gotten loose to contaminate the wild gene pool is a serious concern of some biologists, as explained to me during one of my trips to the Monterey Bay Aquarium.  I suggested that the biotechnological genetic modification could potentially be as dangerous as the selective breading genetic manipulation.  Bad move on my part.  Apparently the anti-gmo narrative is that selective breeding is not genetic modification, the main reason being because so many industry hacks have said that it is.  That discussion dominated much of the show, as I was accused of “spreading the corporate line.”

In the beginning I asked listeners for information of balanced discussions of the topic, but all I really got were sources to convince me of the anti-gmo line, some of which sounded interesting, but none of which I was really looking for.  One book was recommended.  Otherwise, it was all films and websites.  But that’s fine.  A couple of women called me up afterward, laughing at some of the callers, and suggested some leads.  Either way, that’s not really the topic of this thread.  The topic is the investment not just in the conclusion – they were willing to forgive my agnosticism on the subject.  They were not willing to concede that selective breeding is genetic manipulation.


Afterwards I remembered arguments made on behalf of the nuclear industry during the early 80s when they were on the defensive following Three Mile Island and the timely release of The China Syndrome, along with mass demonstrations against nuclear power.  One industry advocate said, “all we do is boil water.”  It became a mantra.  “We boil water.”  Sounds benign.

So boiling water must be inherently destructive.  We can’t boil water on our stoves.  Or we can’t admit it, because that’s what nuclear power does.  We merely raise the temperature of water to 212 degrees Fahrenheit to render it into a gaseous form.  But we do not boil water.  To acknowledge that we boil water should require a Kepler moment.  Apparently it will be required of some activists who cannot accept that genetic manipulation takes place outside of the biotechnological realm.


Yes on Proposition 37.  I realize that’s not good enough for some of you.

Posted at the Herald. 

I can’t do him justice right now.  I’ll have some thoughts later.

Strongly recommended is this amateur documentary my wife just happened to find on the Netflix instant viewing.   Amy Ferraris does a gentle version of Michael Moore in this no-frills but deep substance film which explores the pleasures and histories of espresso as well as the politics of coffee, much of the film revolving around a conflict between the Starbucks Corporation and a coffee house owner in Tulsa, Oklahoma, a master at his craft and yet an inadvertent adversary to a large corporation perhaps too protective of a trademark.

Ferraris has some definite opinions, but laces them in beautiful narrative prose with refreshing balance, even managing to humanize the faceless in Starbucks as they refuse her interviews and clearly play the role of bully.  She deals with a depressing subject of the corporatization of coffee and homogenization of culture, but leaves you with hope in the “third wave” coffee movement.

And now I’m in search of the perfect cappuccino in Humboldt County, by her criteria.

Some excerpts from a little known soft-sell film which deserves a lot of attention.  To paraphrase the last lines of the movie, it’s great to have a little taste from someone who will serve you a cup with “knowledge, passion, and integrity – it was delicious.”

Her website, which includes some of her favorite coffee spots in the Bay Area where she lives.

From the Mateel Site:
What: A World-Renowned Reggae Music Experience
: Saturday & Sunday, July 21st and 22nd, 2012
Where: Benbow Lake State Recreation Area, Benbow, CA
Advanced Weekend $110 ($120 at Gate) / Single Day (at gate only) $60

~ Tickets ON SALE now! …buy with above button or see outlets here.
~ Advance weekend tickets at $110 are advised as this event sells out!
~ Single day tickets (available only at the gate) are $60
~ Weekend tickets (sold at the gate) are $120

On Saturday & Sunday, July 21 & 22, 2012 the Mateel Community Center proudly presents the 28th Annual Reggae On The River™ festival at Benbow Lake Recreation Area in Humboldt County, California.

An internationally renowned celebration of the best in reggae and world music, the 2012 Reggae On The River™ festival will feature nearly 30 classic and cutting edge reggae and world music artists on two stages, along with 80+ vendors, a lively kid zone, and a weekend full of fun on the banks of the majestic Eel River.

Lots more info, including the lineup schedule, through the link above.

It would be sad if Lew Hill’s vision died due to incompetence.

It shouldn’t affect any KMUD programming however.  I believe that Amy Goodman and FSRN both broke off and syndicate independently now.

Part of the problem from my point of view is that the network was taken over by a New Left clique which has pretty much homogenized the ideological content.  They made the talk shows boring, and then extended their hours so that there is less alternative music and more straightjacketed political blab throughout the day – week days and weekends.  That narrowed the scope of donors.  In the very old days Lew Hill made sure there were varied voices.  Even Cap Weinberger had a show as KPFA‘s token conservative.  But there were debates – vital discussion, with nobody excluded – something that didn’t exist anywhere else really.

There was jazz.  Gospel music.  It’s where I first heard Reggae.  Ambient music.  Even some avante-guard stuff, often marginally listenable, but always different from anything anywhere else.  And there were local producers of programs heard once a week or once a month (kind of like KMUD now).  Now it’s all syndicated or local, but in a homogenized schedule, same thing every weekday.  No morning concert.  No morning reading.  And even Over the Edge isn’t what it was.

I rarely listen to it now when I’m in the Bay Area.

I do hope they survive, but I’m not optimistic.

So I was in the midwest vacationing and visiting family.  I don’t have cable at home, so I wash myself in the cable news when I’m spending any kind of time in a hotel (or rented home with cable).  I don’t know why I do it.  I’m usually fuming by the time I switch it off.  It’s not just Fox News that pisses me off.  CNN is actually worse in a way, because you expect them to be journalists along the lines of Walter Cronkite or Dan Rather.  The only real news anymore is McNeil-Lehrer, which is deemed “heady” for market standards, but really isn’t much different from the CBS World News Tonight in the Cronkite era.  Our standards have just lowered.

Yes, there’s a meme out there about the “liberal media establishment,” which basically consists of all media not owned by Murdoch or the Moonies.  And the ascent of Fox ratings, along with the push for entertainment format, clearly has the mainstream media grovelling to avoid even the impression of liberal bias.  As FAIR has pointed out, right wingers are interviewed on the talking head shows much more frequently than liberals – even on McNeil-Lehrer.  So when they are compelled to report that the Swift Boaters are slandering a liberal candidate like John Kerry, they feel obliged to point out the Kerry played with some statistics to make some obscure argument about the economy and report the two occurrences in some equivalent fashion.  Or when President Bush, after having referred to his Social Security “reform” package as privatization, then freaked out when his focus groups didn’t like the term, declared that any reporter using the term “privatization” to describe his plan was foregoing objectivity and showing political bias.   And the “liberal media” more often than not, caves – the conservatives having played the ref effectively.

So it was that last week I was watching a daytime CNN show hosted by a woman named Soledad O’Brien.  I think I have the name right anyway.  She was reporting on the conflict over the potential sunsetting of the Bush tax cuts.  As before, Obama is pushing a bill which will preserve the cuts for 99 percent of the public, and calling for a separate vote on the other two percent.  The Republicans are well on message, claiming that Obama is exhibiting political gamesmanship (truth to tell, he is, but that’s really beside the point), and intending to filibuster (if necessary) any bill which does not incorporate the top one percent as well (who would still get the lion’s share of the cuts under Obama’s plan as well).

Anyway, the point is that the Republicans are willing to hold the 99 percent hostage in order to preserve the massive cuts for the  top.  But not only was O’Brien careful to avoid that point, she would not even refer to Obama’s plan as a tax cut plan.  She talked about Republicans trying to sell their tax cut plan and Obama trying to sell his “economic message.”  That Republicans in voting to kill Obama’s plan are actually essentially voting for a tax increase for the middle class didn’t even come up in explicit terms (I did switch over to Chuck Todd on MSNBC, and he did ask the question, though avoided the “hostage” terminology the liberal wing of the Democratic Party is using – the response from the Republican Governor of New Hampshire was that the Republicans wouldn’t be voting for a tax increase (and thus they wouldn’t be violating their lame oath to Grover Norquist, who will probably give special dispensation as he did with the payroll tax vote) because a few Democrats in the Senate (McCaskill, Tester, and others in tough reelection races) opposed “Obama’s economic plan” as well.  But O’Brian wouldn’t touch it.  It was Republicans for tax cuts and Democrats opposed, with Obama trying to be cute.  She asked some Republican whose name I don’t remember if they would be willing to hold two separate votes, he didn’t give her a straight answer, and she didn’t press.

So here’s the graph that tells the story.  I think it gets bigger if you double click on it.

The mantra is that Obama’s plan impacts small businesses.  It does.  about three percent of them.

Democrats are pressing Romney on the hostage issue, but they should be pressing Republicans in the Senate and House, and their own conservatives.  It appears, with regard to the latter, that Reid did just that.  The Republicans were calling his bluff and a vote, so they wouldn’t have to filibuster.  But it looks like Reid won over a few of the scared conservative Democrats, and now the Republicans are scrambling for a strategy.  Looks like they’ll have to filibuster the extension of middle class tax cuts.


By the way, the more people learn about “Obamacare,” the more they like it, myself included.  So says the recent polling.

Read the rest of this entry »

The Jefferson Project – before and after.  Thanks to the organizers and 250 volunteers, yesterday – including a few Sohum expatriates.  In fact, Richard Evans took the shots.

There’s more on the big day – a huge turning point – at the Herald.

The term “community organizer” earned some derision in the election campaigns four years ago. Well, here’s well-earned tribute to a few individuals who dedicated heart, soul, and sweat into a vision, after some setbacks, some of which were generated by those in government apparently suspicious of the dreaded “community organizer.”

We’ve had many such moments at our own Community Park in Sohum.  Hopefully many more to come, once we’ve completed the EIR.

Addendum:  About a hundred photos at Facebook.


July 2012