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Months ago on my KHSU radio show, Chuck Rogers predicted that Manafort would be the John Dean of the scandal.  What do you think?  Will Manafort sing, or take it for the team?

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First went up a slew of signs for Tracy Coppini.  More recently some signs went up for someone named “Bonnie.”  I haven’t looked at my sample ballot yet.  Did I receive one?  It’s probably in my stack of mail somewhere.

I have a little over a week to learn something about this election.   Any insight as to whom I should vote for?

The Larkspur/SF ferry passes by the long defunct Angel Island Immigration Station sometimes referred to as “Ellis Island West.” I think the majority of commuters are well-educated and probably know of the station, but many probably do not realize it’s what they’re looking at every day. It was constructed in compliance with the Chinese Exclusion Act and pretty much funneled the immigration from Asia – mostly China, Japan, and the Philippines. Of note – while the rejection rate at Ellis Island was about 3 percent, it was 18 percent here. Many people were detained here for extended periods of time, and some left graffiti poetry on the walls which has been preserved. From Wiki:

Many of the detainees turned to poetry as expression, spilling their emotions onto the very walls that contained them. Many of these poems were written in pencil and ink, or in brush, and then carved into the wooden walls or floors.[9] Some of the poems are bitter and angry, placid and contemplative, or even hopeful.

“America has power, but not justice.
In prison, we were victimized as if we were guilty.
Given no opportunity to explain, it was really brutal.
I bow my head in reflection but there is nothing I can do.”

Another example:

“I thoroughly hate the barbarians because they do not respect justice.
They continually promulgate harsh laws to show off their prowess.
They oppress the overseas Chinese and also violate treaties.
They examine for hookworms and practice hundreds of despotic acts.”[10]

A more hopeful example:

“Twice I have passed through the blue ocean, experienced the wind and dust of journey.
Confinement in the wooden building has pained me doubly.
With a weak country, we must all join together in urgent effort.
It depends on all of us together to roll back the wild wave.” [9]

The Station closed in 1940,but not before the government held a trial on location to deport Australian immigrant and Longshoremen Union leader Harry Bridges for his radical affiliations, including an alleged membership in the Communist Party. Bridges would defeat this and several other attempts to deport him and deny him citizenship. I’ve always wondered why the location was chosen, and the first assumption which comes to mind is that they wanted to avoid demonstrations. 1939 was only five years after the general strike he helped organize.

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To get to a legal training on fighting deportations I took the ferry from Larkspur – my commute mode of choice a couple of decades ago when I lived in Mill Valley. It was always a weird feeling upon leaving the terminal and floating by this ugly thing caught up in the physical beauty and affluent serenity around it. A short swim and climb away from reinforced walls – most commuters probably not cognizant of the level of pain so close to us. Whatever the residents did to “deserve” it, the pain is there and in great abundance. The bar on the ferry sells canned bloody Maries.

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During lunch break while attending a training in SF today I walked over to the Rincon Center. Hadn’t been there in years. Last year they restored the murals painted by Russian immigrant Anton Refregier who was paid by the WPA back when it was the main SF post office. They fill up the walls in the north hall of the building. Right away he got into trouble as he applied a basic “socialist realist” aesthetic to California and broader US history. He was a bit of a red and some of his pro-labor works were rejected. And he had to make other adjustments. The Catholic Church objected to a depiction of a priest as too fat. There was racist opposition to his glorification of Chinese labor contributions. Objections to his depictions of pioneers. Still, some of his social agenda slipped through and there have been a number of attempts to have them painted over by reactionary elements of community and government. This is one of the “controversialchec” paintings which can be found at the north east corner of the building. During the McCarthy era there was a push to remove the Soviet-marked gun, because, you know, the Soviets had nothing to do with the fight against the Nazis. Somehow the murals weathered the storm.

But until they start voting in primaries the way they claim to think in polls, it won’t happen.

69 percent of the voters under 34 want to move left.

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Dani Burkhart who is a “cannabis consultant” who has lobbied for the industry will challenge Virginia Bass. You can read her announcement and some background at the Lost Coast Outpost.   I borrowed the photo from their post.

My thoughts?  I don’t know.  I’m going to keep an open mind, but there’s nothing in the article or her press statement specific to any issues outside of the pot industry.  And I really think pot has replaced timber around here as the dominant political economic force.

Meanwhile I appreciate the evolution Virginia’s politics have taken over recent years.  By some environmentalist accounts, the GPU has (finally) come out with some pretty decent policies and Virginia might have been pivotal in all that.  So often I know whom I would support right at the starting gun.  I don’t live in the 4th so I don’t really have to choose a side.  And I’ve heard rumors of yet another who might step in, but I heard them a while ago and they’ve gone quiet.

Well, here we go…

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“The Modified Genome”
by Dr. John W. Steele
HSU Department of Biological Sciences

With the recent discovery of the bacterial CRISPR/Cas9 system, research around genome engineering, modification, and gene-directed therapies have exploded into highly productive and often controversial scientific discoveries. These tools are relatively easy and inexpensive to use, increasing the rate and depth of study of genes, genomes, and organisms. But what is the CRISPR/Cas9 system? What is genome engineering and modification? What does it mean to be a genetically modified organism? How are we using genome engineering and modification to study and solve human disease, or diseases of other organisms? Are we ready for a world in which we can tailor the genome of any organism to fit our needs? Dr. Steele’s talk will focus on what these tools are, where they come from, how they work, how his lab uses these tools to study human neurodegenerative disease, and some of the many applications of genome engineering in modern science. He will host a conversation about the potential benefits and risks of a world in which genome modification is easier than it looks.

Free and all ages welcome!
Delicious food and drink available for purchase!

Wednesday November 1, at 6:00 p.m.

At Blondies Food & Drink, 420 East California Ave., Arcata

Hosted by Science on Tap

I was in the second grade when I first started reading the sports section of the SF Chronicle.  It was easy to find because it was one of two green parts of the paper.  The business section was green and usually had the comics.  I would read the comics first then read up on the Giants’ games and other stories.

I don’t know whether it was before or after the Battle of the Sexes, but I took interest in Billie Jean King at some point.  I watched a few of her games even though I knew nothing about tennis.  I remember a championship match at Wimbledon or the US Open which was rained out and had to be played the following day when King defeated Chris Evert.  I think that was the first tennis match I ever watched.

I remember at some point reading that she was going to be playing against a man.  I remember some of the hype through the summer while I was living in Pacifica having finished the 3rd grade and as we were preparing to move to Montara.  The game took place sometime after we moved.  A lot was happening in my life at the time, and I associate them with this match.  I don’t know exactly the timing, but I remember seeing her at Candlestick Park at some point where she was watching her brother Randy Moffit pitch for the Giants.  I think we were out of the house when the match was televised, but I remember the players warming up together the day before and some clips of their warm up was aired on the news.  They were serious, but also engaging each other.  They seemed like friends.

I remember really hoping that King would win.  A friend of the family told me that it probably wouldn’t happen.  Bobby Riggs had already beaten a woman “just as good as Billie Jean King.”  I remember assuming erroneously that he had beaten Chris Evert, her chief rival at the point I was interested.  I remember feeling relieved at the news the following evening – Billie Jean King had won.

I didn’t know the word “feminism” at the time.  I knew that my mother and nearly all the women I knew were “women’s libbers.”  They were all really happy about it.  So were the men.

I didn’t really think about it for a long time after that.  The next tennis match I watched was while visiting family in Bellingham.  Arthur Ashe defeated Jimmy Connors to be the first black man to win Wimbledon.  A year later I would pick up a tennis racquet for the first time in my life when I took a tennis class for summer school at Half Moon Bay High School.  In high school I would play for the team.  I was never really good.  Really powerful flat serve.  I could follow it in to the net and win some points with volleys, but the longer the point went the more likely I would get into trouble.  Too much thinking.  Always.

I took interest in watching the professionals.  In the first match I watched on KQED (the only sports I ever saw on PBS) was between a young John McEnroe and Jimmy Connors in Cincinnati.  Connors won.  It was the first and last match between them I would watch in which Connors won.

I watched regularly from then on, both men and women.  Occasionally I saw Billie Jean King.  But she had passed her prime and was no longer in the top 10 as the tournaments were dominated by the likes of Martina Navratilova, Tract Austin, and King’s old rival Chris Evert.  I always rooted for King.  I was sentimental over a match I hadn’t watched.

Somewhere in the years between the Battle of the Sexes and my teenage tennis watching, I saw a rerun Odd Couple episode with Bobby Riggs guest starring, and playing himself as kind of a parody of himself.  Billie Jean King made a cameo appearance at the end of the episode.  I think I was about 12 or 13 when I saw it.  I became convinced that Riggs was privately a feminist who played knowing he would probably lose, and hoping it would make a difference for women.  After watching the film and reading up on some of the history to clarify and fill in aspects of the film, I remain so convinced.

 

The film is entitled “Battle of the Sexes.”  I took my family to see it last weekend and I strongly recommend it. I had been concerned about the lack of creativity in the title – that it would be a lackluster docudrama with a made-for-TV aesthetic. Actually, that had already been done in an effort entitled “When Billie Beat Bobbie,” with a script so insipid, even greats like Holly Hunter and Ron Silver in the main parts couldn’t salvage it.

But the Battle of the Sexes is art.  Great camera work, great use of imagery to bring the viewer back into the seventies, great use of music.  The tennis doubles did wonders.  Actually, I’m not familiar with Bobby Riggs’s and Margaret Court’s play styles, but the BJK double perfectly caught the way she moved, including her phenomenal backhand volley.  The acting is phenomenal and the writing was compelling and tight.  And somehow it manages to avoid being too preachy when the very history depicted is inherently preachy.

Read the rest of this entry »

Lost Coast Communications recently put up another station in “the Lounge.” Chuck Rogers is hosting a monthly show called the “Humboldt Chronicles” which will feature discussion about local history. I was honored with an invitation to be interviewed on their pilot show along with archeologist Nick Angeloff. It was a lot of fun. I gave Chuck a slew of names to contact for future shows, but you may have additional ideas.

Here’s a link to the archive of the show.

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