Michael Laybourn: No on Prop 16!


From MICHAEL LAYBOURN
Hopland

The Ukiah City Council unanimously approved A Resolution to Formally Oppose Proposition 16 “The New Two-Thirds Vote Requirement Form Public Electricity Providers Initiative Constitutional Amendment” April 21st. I’m astounded that the UDJ and AVA, to my knowledge, had no mention of this important decision.

The Supervisors should do the same for the County.

Consider a rich bully with endless money, unlimited political spending recently legalized by the Supreme Court, up against a small group who has no way of raising that kind of money and up against cities that manage or want to manage their own utilities. Why, that’s a description of PG&E.

“Peter Darbee, who was paid $10.6 million dollars last year, told company shareholders that the goal of Prop 16 is to defeat local power choice “once and for all,” instead of having to continually fend off the specter of customer defection.

Darbee speculated that California voters would be receptive to Proposition 16 if the initiative’s campaign exploited the current anti-government anger over the economy and state budget deficit.” – Dan Aiello

Don’t believe those slick Yes on Prop 16 fliers telling us the initiative is a voter safeguard against local governments wanting to spend unlimited amounts to get into the energy business. Don’t believe the flood of ads claiming this is your defense against big spending government. Don’t believe this protects your right to choose right to vote. It is a lie. This is not about more choice, it is about restricting your choice because a nothing gets passed with a 2/3 majority.

The deluge of Prop 16 TV ads doesn’t mention that the initiative was written to guarantee that PG&E’s high priced electricity monopoly will never be challenged. Prop 16 takes away a community’s right to choose to buy their own power by imposing the 2/3 vote requirement. Ironically, it doesn’t take a 2/3 majority to change the California constitution with this proposition. PG&E  simply wants to get rid of the competition. PG&E’s CEO didn’t ask ratepayers for approval before spending over 35 million of our dollars to get rid of its competition.

Book Review: ‘War,’ by Sebastian Junger


From PHILIP SEIB
The Dallas Morning News

Junger observes that “civilians balk at recognizing that one of the most traumatic things about combat is having to give it up.”

On assignment for Vanity Fair , Sebastian Junger made five trips to Afghanistan’s Korengal Valley during 2007 and 2008. What he found was a war that is unknown to Americans whose exposure to the rest of the world consists of skimming a front page or website or glancing at a few minutes of television news. He found skilled and courageous U.S. troops facing an enemy that is so fierce and well organized that it is capable of overrunning American outposts.

Junger, best known as author of The Perfect Storm, spent his visits in the midst of combat, talking to grunts rather than generals. The soldiers he lived with were line infantry: “They fought on foot and carried everything they needed on their backs.” His descriptions of firefights are bloody and thrilling, but the most valuable aspect of his book is his thoughtful examination of what it means to be a fighter – the individual and collective psychology of combat.

He writes that being in battle “is insanely exciting,” and adds, “There’s so much human energy involved – so much courage, so much honor, so much blood – you could easily go a year here without questioning whether any of this needs to be happening in the first place.” He notes, “The moral basis of the war doesn’t seem to interest soldiers much, and its long-term success or failure has a relevance of almost zero.”

What is relevant is keeping yourself and your friends alive, which requires skills that Junger learned to appreciate. “Stripped to its essence,” he writes, “combat is a series of quick decisions and rather precise actions carried out in concert with ten or twelve other men.”

For much of his time in Afghanistan, Junger saw combat almost constantly and watched what it did to the troops he lived with. He learned to understand fear, which he says “has a whole taxonomy – anxiety, dread, panic, foreboding – and you could be braced for one form and completely fall apart facing another.” One soldier observed, “It’s okay to be scared; you just don’t want to show it.”

More here
~~

Rachel Maddow: Why Rand Paul Doesn’t Get It


From FIREDOGLAKE

In 1964, the United States enacted the Civil Rights Act outlawing discrimination in all public facilities, whether privately owned or public. Kudos to MSNBC’s Rachel Maddow for displaying the language of Title II, which establishes as the law of this land, enforceable by injunction, the following fundamental human rights:

All persons shall be entitled to the full and equal enjoyment of the goods, services, facilities and privileges, advantages and accommodations of any place of public accommodation, as defined in this section, without discrimination or segregation on the ground of race, color, religion or national origin.

Notwithstanding the members of the Texas School Board and the sensibilities of libertarians, every American should read, understand and cherish these words. They establish the basic democratic principle — still not complete — that America will demand our businesses and government institutions treat all of us fairly. I don’t know how you can have a democracy worth defending without that principle.

Despite claims of principle, Rand Paul does not appear to accept this core American value. His opposition is not principled, though he would have you believe so. When pushed to explain his real beliefs, whether with local press, CNN, or Maddow’s show, or even in politically dictated clarifying statements, he has repeatedly evaded the central question, changed the subject or distracted the questioner with some irrelevant point that just so happened to be more dog whistles to his fanatical supporters.

Paul has been asked at least a dozen times whether he agrees with the core principle that America’s businesses should not be allowed to discriminate. But instead of saying “yes,” he’s told us he’s not racist himself, though no interviewer has made that charge. He’s said he doesn’t approve of discrimination and wouldn’t join a private club that discriminated, but that was never the issue. He’s said we should worry about gun rights, though no interviewer made any connection between the 2nd Amendment and the core principle of non-discrimination. And he’s tried to go off on free speech, when that has nothing to do with whether or not he supports using government to end discrimination in accommodations.

It’s appalling enough that Rand and his supporters would reopen an issue whose history of violence and inhuman treatment remains an indelible stain on who we’ve been, and who some would remain…

More with Video here
~~



Ukiah Farmers Market Today Saturday 5/22/10



Springdale, Utah

From SCOTT CRATTY
Ukiah

Friends of the Farmers’ Market,

Greetings.  It seems timely to remind everyone that, whatever the weather, your loyal local farmers will be out on School Street in Ukiah Saturday morning with farm fresh goodies, and heaps of other good stuff grown, raised, or made right around here.

Perhaps you have been interested in trying lamb but not sure how to prepare it?  Be at the market Saturday at about 10:15.  Chef Jacquie Lee will be providing this season’s first Ukiah Natural Food’s sponsored cooking demonstration.  She can show you how to do great things with lamb and you will get an opportunity to sample some of the excellent Owen Family lamb that is available every week at the Saturday Market.

Robinson Creek Flower Farm is expected back at the market, plus two long-time Willits vendors plan to try out the Ukiah market this weekend: Sweetie Pies (who make pies) and a new craft vendor.

Last week we had 23 agricultural (farms, nurseries, ranches, sea foods) vendors and 14 prepared food and/or craft vendors.  That is a total of 37 shopping options in one compact location.  To give you a sense how the market has evolved, on the same week of the season in 2007 we had a total of 18 vendors, in 2008 there were 28, 2009 brought 35.  This Saturday we might hit 40.  That makes for a dynamic and interesting market, but it also requires a lot of consistent community support to maintain.

You can also enjoy free live music by Bob Laughton and Kristine Robin.

Please plan to come enjoy the market, and bring a friend.

8:30am to noon, on School Street starting at Clay St, Ukiah
~~

Muddling Toward Victory Gardens


From JOHN MICHAEL GREER
The Archdruid Report

The uncontrolled simplification of a complex system is rarely a welcome event for those people whose lives depend on the system in question. That’s one way to summarize the impact of the waves of trouble rolling up against the sand castles we are pleased to call the world’s modern industrial nations. Exactly how the interaction between sand and tide will work out is anyone’s guess at this point; the forces that undergird that collision have filled the pages of this blog for a year and a half now; here, and for the next few posts, I want to talk a bit about what can be done to deal with the consequences.

That requires, first of all, recognizing what can’t be done. Plenty of people have argued that the only valid response to the rising spiral of crisis faced by industrial civilization is to build a completely new civilization from the ground up on more idealistic lines. Even if that latter phrase wasn’t a guarantee of disaster – if there’s one lesson history teaches, it’s that human societies are organic growths, and trying to invent one to fit some abstract idea of goodness is as foredoomed as trying to make an ecosystem do what human beings want – we no longer have time for grand schemes of that sort. To shift metaphors, when your ship has already hit the iceberg and the water’s coming in, it’s a bit too late to suggest that it should be rebuilt from the keel up according to some new scheme of naval engineering.

An even larger number of people have argued with equal zeal that the only valid response to the predicament of our time is to save the existing order of things, with whatever modest improvements the person in question happens to fancy, because the alternative is too horrible to contemplate. They might be right, too, if saving the existing order of things was possible, but it’s not. A global civilization that is utterly dependent for its survival on ever-expanding supplies of cheap abundant energy and a stable planetary biosphere is simply not going to make it in a world of ever-contracting supplies of scarce and expensive energy and a planetary biosphere that the civilization’s own activities are pushing into radical instability. Again, when your ship has already hit the iceberg and the water’s coming in, it’s not helpful to insist that the only option is to keep steaming toward a distant port.

Mendocino Perspectives – What Should Be The Future of Mendocino County?


From MENDOCINO PERSPECTIVES

Conversations today for a healthier community tomorrow

Welcome to Mendo Perspectives Blog, a place where concerned community members can discuss, suggest and weigh-in on what the future holds for our county. Where you can give your feedback based on articles and surveys as a means to gather and provide useful data geared towards finding compromise and common ground for a prosperous community in the not to distant future.

Please take a few minutes to complete our survey:

http://www.surveymonkey.com/s/HKWJMTN

Mendocino County is at a crossroads

Many residents of Mendocino County wish to see the development of new industries, planned growth, and to create a sustainable economy that, they believe, will lead to a more prosperous place to live. There are others that claim by doing this will create overcrowding and sprawl and that County is fine the way it is considering future development and growth to be harmful to both the ecology and economy.

Mendocino County has always been a place of forward thinking individuals who are passionate about their beliefs and band together to influence public opinion. If we are to prosper as well as maintain our County’s natural beauty, we must be willing to achieve common ground on fundamental issues, to serve as the foundation for our as well as future generations.

The need to bring citizens together to engage in a positive and useful dialog, with the goal to achieve balance and build consensus within our community, is paramount.

This blogsite is an opportunity for community members to open and exchange ideas, opinions and perspectives in a productive way to build a stronger healthier community.

Consider the possibility that change is inevitable….. What is your biggest concern for Mendocino County’s future? What kind of change could you see as positive?

New posts will be added and results from surveys posted for your enjoyment. Survey results may be presented to local governments for consideration.

Your comments and feedback are also invited in “Comment” below.

“About us” is here
~~

Don Sanderson: Climate Change Modeling Defended


From DON SANDERSON
Hopland

I generally find Alexander Cockburn’s prejudices agree with mine. Several of his columns recently [in the AVA] essentially hawking the fossil fuel corporations’ line on global warming, however, deserve an answer.

Mathematical modeling seems to be his pet peeve: “These quack science models are … skewed by the modelers’ doctrinaire anti-carbon passion…” driven by “dependence of their salaries on the expectations of the funding agencies.” Wow, we have a new religion, it seems.

El Niño has recently dampened the Southwest and the present sunspot cycle has cooled solar radiation, but these are temporary though may be expected to periodically and unpredictably recur. As astrophysicists have explained in detail, on the average the sun is surely warming, has been for the entire life of our planet, and the Earth will surely eventually burn up. It has been conjectured that the ice ages are the Gaia’s, that is the living Earth’s, way to stay cool. Those who have studied the periods between ice ages have noted they typically have both rapidly began and ended, but why so isn’t understood. Given the durations of earlier ones, this one likely should be ending – the so-called little ice age beginning in the fifteenth century may have portended this. But, the fossil-fueled industrial age appears to have interrupted it. Atmospheric carbon dioxide measurements have been made by various methods trailing back to the beginning of the industrial age and before; the growth of fossil fuel usage, atmospheric carbon dioxide, and the rise of global temperatures over this period positively correlate, which of course doesn’t prove relationships, but ….Also, in spite of determined searching, no one has found any driver for the rapidity at which global warming is occurring other than human-generated greenhouse gasses. Two and two make four in my book, yet even the best correlations only suggest causal relationships. We need to dig deeper.

But, wait. Many thousands of pages of research articles have been published reporting what many scientists are finding by collecting data on the melting ice caps, about mostly retreating glaciers, about the warming, increasingly acidic, and expanding ocean and the effects these are having, about the melting tundra, about expanding deserts and declining forests, rain and otherwise, and so on.

Jim Mastin: Do Not Privitize Our Garbage!


From JIM MASTIN
Mendocino County

To: Mendocino County Board of Supervisors

Dear Chair Brown,

Due to a series of meetings I must attend in Sacramento on Tuesday I am unable to personally address the Board regarding agenda item #5D (Review and Possible Adoption of Solid Wastes of Willits, Inc. Proposed Contract…). Please distribute my comments to the Board for their consideration.

As a resident of Mendocino County, former member of the Mendocino Solid Waste Management Authority and as a candidate for supervisor I strongly oppose the proposed contract and urge a no vote by the Board of Supervisors.

Many areas of the proposal should be of immediate concern (i.e., eliminating bi-lingual educational materials, lack of diversion performance requirements, elimination of wood and yard waste recycling at the Albion Transfer Station, failure of many performance compliance issues, reported overcharging of over half its customers including all of its South Coast customers, and more).

I understand that the County cannot afford to subsidize transfer station operations and that privatizing the operation is one option.

Another way would be for the County to raise gate fees and cut expenses sufficiently to allow the transfer stations to break even. That’s what’s being offered by Solid Waste of Willits, but does not give away control of our county’s waste stream.

In choosing between these courses of action, I hope that you will keep the following points in mind:

1.  Giving long-term extensions to Solid Wastes of Willits for its franchise collection contracts is a major benefit to them. Would the County — and the public — get fair value, or any value, from this concession?

2.  Fifteen years is a long term for an exclusive solid waste contract, especially if it has automatic rate adjustments that could substantially boost the gate fee every year. Can anyone predict if the gate fee will fairly reflect the actual costs of operation five years or ten years into the contract?

Is There Rehab For This Oil Overdose?


From CAROLYN BAKER
Speaking Truth To Power Blog

[...] Before the addict experiences a fatal overdose and ravages everyone and everything around him, there is always the choice to end the addiction and enter treatment. Treatment involves withdrawal from the substance, then taking a long, exhaustive, meticulous look inside oneself to confront the demon of the addiction. Much support is necessary; the addict cannot make the journey alone.

The Transition Handbook frames our dependence on hydrocarbon energy in terms of an addiction. We can blame, rationalize, project, deny-we can employ whatever defense mechanism we choose from humanity’s vast repertoire of them, but like the hard core addict, the human race is committing suicide. It is willing to kill every form of life in the oceans, cause the extinction of every species on earth, pollute every cubic inch of breathable air, poison every drop of water on the planet, and yes, enable an unfathomable cataclysm such as we are witnessing in the Gulf of Mexico at this moment, in order to perpetuate the lifestyle to which it feels entitled. Like all addictions, this one is both irrational and insane.

Every person who has chosen to research Peak Oil, climate change, global economic meltdown, species extinction, and population overshoot is not unlike an addict who has some moment of clarity in which he can actually choose to walk to the nearest rehab facility and fall on his face screaming for help. None of us can do that investigative work without the massive support of other “cheap energy addicts in recovery”. None of us can do it without a spiritual as well as a logistical recovery program which all authentic recovery absolutely requires.

Like the recovering addict there will be moments of terror about what the future holds,

Book Review: The Art of Racing in the Rain


From BOOKREPORTER.COM

“…a warm hug of a story.”

In Garth Stein’s touching story, the appealing narrator is a dog named Enzo, who (of course) cannot communicate as he’d like to, by talking with his family. Instead, he pours his considerable heart and spirit into this book, sharing his experiences and reflections with readers. Although Enzo is frustrated with his limitations as a canine, he comforts himself with the fact that, according to a documentary he watched about Mongolia (Enzo is a dedicated television viewer), he will be reincarnated as a human. And he knows a lot about being a human after watching his master Denny Swift, who is a hero to him.

At the beginning of the book, Enzo is just barely clinging to life, so he spends time reflecting upon his past. As Denny, who is a race car driver, has told him, drivers cannot contemplate their moves while they make them. Racing is like living; you can only do it and then remember it at a later date. For Enzo, in these last days he immerses himself in memories.

His reminiscences begin with the day Denny chose him out of a heap of puppies, taking him from a country farm to an apartment in Seattle. Although Enzo doesn’t enjoy living there, he adores Denny and thus looks on this as a good life. He later develops a fondness for Eve, “the interloper,” who Denny falls in love with and marries. He stands in literally for Denny on the day that his daughter, Zoë, is born. Denny is off racing in Daytona, Florida while Enzo is at the new mother’s side.

For Denny, the joyous day of Zoë’s birth is overshadowed as his racing career takes a beating. After a year of obtaining sponsorships in order to enter the race, he loses this hard-won opportunity to shine when a driver on his team has an accident… More here
~~

PG&E Proposition 16 Update


From BILL McEWEN
The Fresno Bee

The mail the other day brought the usual offers for debt relief and loan modifications, along with something new: a slick flier declaring that Proposition 16 would stick up for people sick of government debt. I had a hard time deciding who peddled the biggest scam — the mortgage and credit card debt hustlers, or Pacific Gas & Electric, which is spending $35 million backing Proposition 16.

The utility monopoly is trying to rejigger the state constitution and protect its bottom line against start-up municipal power companies. And it’s using a deceptive advertising campaign for a law that would require two-thirds voter approval before local governments go into the power business or existing PG&E competitors expand their territories.

PG&E says Proposition 16, which is on the June ballot, is about choice, voice and transparency. But the so-called Taxpayers Right to Vote Act is more about limiting consumer choice, preserving monopolies and keeping utility rates high.

In the time since I last wrote about Proposition 16, opponents have been working to overcome PG&E’s deep pockets and cut through the baloney served by company shills. For example, John Geesman, a renewable energy advocate and former member of the California Energy Commission, uncovered the truth behind PG&E’s initiative by wading through the transcript of a company shareholders meeting. Geesman blogged thatPG&E  chief executive officer Peter Darbee told shareholders that the goal was to defeat local power choice once and for all instead of having to continually fend off the specter of customer defection. Darbee also speculated that voters would be receptive to Proposition 16 because of anti-government anger.

Regulating the disaster


From SHARON ASTYK
Casaubon’s Book Blog

As long as we desperately need oil to run our economy – and we have done virtually nothing to meaningfully transition off oil – we can clamor for regulation that will keep us safe, but cannot actually propose the measures that would work. We are too deeply invested in the cause.

We still don’t have the faintest idea how much oil is spewing out of the well in the Gulf. Nor do we have the faintest idea what the full environmental consequence of what may well be the biggest single-event human-caused. ecological disaster of all time (the very fact that I have to add the word “single-event” to that statement should tell you something). We know that it is almost certainly more than all the low estimates to date, and we know that the ecological consequences will be huge, lasting and we do not understand them.

That is, we know some of the potential effects, we know they will be horrible and devastating to oceans, wildlife, people, communities and the nation, that they will play out in ecologies both human and wild, in politics, economics, in day to day life in thousands and thousands of ways, all of them horrible. We know that the costs will be unendurable and we know that they will play out not over weeks, but over years and decades. And we also know that we don’t know what many of them will be. Consider this AP report:

The loop current could carry oil from the spill east and spread it about 450 miles to the Florida Keys, while the Louisiana coastal current could move the oil as far west as central Texas... More here
~~

A Plutocratic Universe


From GLENN W. SMITH
FireDogLake.com

It’s not lost on the elite that the world is fast approaching the inevitable global Resource Wars. And that means that in America, the real struggle is between democracy and plutocracy, as the plutocrats place as many barriers as possible (voter i.d., secrecy, assaults on privacy, great income disparity and enforced poverty) between the government and the governed. They may not affect a science-fiction escape to another planet, but they might escape to Dubai.

Autocrats, plutocrats, authoritarian ideologues and elitists of all stripes speak often of the people’s inability to govern themselves in a complex world that requires expertise – namely, the self-justifying expertise of the elite themselves. With surprising frankness, federal appeals court Judge Richard A. Posner summed up the elite’s paternalistic rationale:

Few citizens have the formidable intellectual and moral capacities (let alone the time) required for the role that [popular democracy] assigns to the citizenry…

The anti-democratic sentiment is hard enough to stomach. But what really galls is the blindness to an indisputable fact of history:  it’s the autocrats, plutocrats, dictators, duci, fuhrers, imperial presidents and corporate barons who have lacked the necessary “intellectual and moral capacities” to cope.

More at FireDogLake
~~

There’s a Reason We Need to Keep Reminding People About George W. Bush


From CROOKS AND LIARS

The other day, Rep. Ed Markey made the following mundane but true observation:

For years, the Bush administration’s oil strategy placed the granting of drilling leases ahead of safety review.

This irked Neil Cavuto no end:

Ipso-facto — Bush to blame for the big leak-o.

Just like he’s apparently behind that big thousand-point swing-o.

Just like he’s to blame for the unemployment rate that’s higher than when he left office, and the deficits that are much higher than any year he was in office.

All problems, all Bush, all the time — probably until the end of time.

Cavuto wants a “statute of limitations” on blaming Bush. “Just give it a break,” he pleaded.

Nuh-uh.

It’s true that the miseries we’re currently enduring are not merely the fault of the sole personage of George W. Bush, the man now widely viewed by conservatives as The Man Who Betrayed Conservative Values. He had lots and lots of help. In fact, he had millions of little helpers — all those movement conservatives who now want to pretend that he wasn’t a real conservative.

This is because, in reality, Bush is The Man Who Nearly Destroyed the American Economy. It wasn’t Bush’s “betrayal” of the “conservative values” they believe are so time-honored and proven that caused his abysmal failure — it was those values themselves, and Bush’s steady adherence to them throughout his tenure.

Plummeting Marijuana Prices Create A Panic In The Emerald Triangle


From KQED

For decades, illegal marijuana cultivation has been an economic lifeblood for three counties in northern California known as the Emerald Triangle.

The war on drugs and frequent raids by federal drug agents have helped support the local economy — keeping prices for street sales of pot high and keeping profits rich.

But high times are changing. Legal pot, under the guise of the California’s medical marijuana laws, has spurred a rush of new competition. As a result, the wholesale price of pot grown in these areas is plunging.

Demand Not Meeting Supply

In 1983, the Reagan administration launched a massive air and ground campaign to eradicate pot and lock up growers in northern California. Charley Custer, a writer and community activist, had just arrived to Humboldt County from Chicago. With the Reagan crackdown, Custer recalls, wholesale prices shot up — to as high as $5,000 a pound. That sudden and ironic windfall for those growers willing to risk prison time transformed the community.

“A lot of people were living on welfare and peanut butter and banana sandwiches for a long time before pot made it possible to be part of the middle class,” Custer says.

Nearly 30 years later, Custer says that boom may be over.

“Outdoor growers are having a hard time unloading their fall harvest,” Custer says. “And this is six months later and when some people do move it, they don’t get nearly the price they were hoping for.”

This Is What Happens Sometimes When You Play God


From ROBERT C. KOEHLER
Energy Bulletin

Dark Green

This is what happens sometimes when you play God:

“Birds dropped from the air. The sky rained mud. And, as men from the rig struggled to save themselves from the aftermath of (the) explosion . . . the Gulf of Mexico itself caught on fire.”

The Washington Post, covering a federal inquiry into the Deepwater Horizon oil spill, summarized the scene, described by witnesses on a nearby supply ship, as “almost Biblical” – which is sort of a comic-book expression these days, but conjures up a moment of superstitious awe that, God knows, seems appropriate. This is love of nature stood on its head: nature as (wow!) spectacle. What a symbol for the profound alienation of our times.

And we’re all caught up in this crisis of faith, no matter where we position ourselves on the political spectrum. No matter how comfortable we are, no matter how securely gated our community, we live with profound insecurity, at the event horizon, you might say, of awareness: Civilization cannot go on this way. Our way of life is unsustainable. If we don’t destroy ourselves with our own nuclear-armed self-hatred, “nature” (as though this were a force separate from us) will do the job for us.

All of which brings me to the Dark Mountain Project, a growing movement out of the U.K. that challenges mainstream environmentalism, which it sees as hopelessly compromised, collusive with global capitalism and the myth of material progress, and tied to technical (rather than spiritual) solutions for the profound structural contradictions of Western civilization.

Investigations You Need To Read


From RYAN KNUTSON
ProPublica

A dose of accountability news:

  • Bloomberg tracked dollars around the world to show how companies avoid paying [1] billions in taxes through a method known as “transfer pricing.”
  • The New York Times reports that federal regulators skirted permit requirements [2] when allowing BP and other companies to drill in the Gulf of Mexico.
  • In Texas, a stimulus program to weatherize homes has been executed so poorly [3]that 60 percent of the projects need to be redone, according to the Texas Watchdog.
  • More people in the military are being hospitalized [4] for mental disorders than for injuries, according to the USA Today. Last month was the first time that has occurred in the 15 years since tracking such data began.
  • The Securities and Exchange Commission is eyeing another part of Wall Street, reports The Wall Street Journal. This time, it’s looking at banks that sold municipal bonds yet set themselves up to profit from their failure [5] ($).

These stories are part of our ongoing roundup of investigations from other news outlets. For more, visit our Investigations Elsewhere page.
~~

My Bad


From TODD WALTON
Anderson Valley

(This article originally appeared in the Anderson Valley Advertiser May 2010)

I first heard the expression My Bad used on a basketball court circa 1975. The expression most likely came into being among jazz musicians, for many of the most popular expressions emanating from black America were first used by musicians and then quickly adapted to the basketball court. By the time these expressions were in common usage among white people, their original meanings were frequently distorted and even reversed. The most famous example of such reversal is the expression Up Tight. Originally an expression of praise for excellent playing by an improvising musician, and used with that original meaning by Little Stevie Wonder singing, “Up tight outta sight,” white folk eventually deformed the phrase to mean tense, as in “I am so uptight.” Fascinating, no?

My immediate inspiration for writing this piece is the catastrophic oil flood ongoing in the Gulf of Mexico and the grief my friends and I are feeling about the catastrophe. I refuse to call this horror a leak or a spill, for it is a flood that will likely render the Gulf of Mexico a dead sea for the rest of our mortal lives. So what does the ruination of the Gulf of Mexico have to do with the expression My Bad? I will tell you.

Nowadays the expression My Bad is generally used to mean My Mistake. Someone spills a cup of coffee and says, “Oops. My bad.” Or someone forgets to bring the beer and apologizes with, “Sorry. My bad.” But the original meaning of the expression was more profound than a simple apology. To illustrate: I am playing a game of basketball. My teammate makes a poor pass and despite my best effort I am barely able to touch the ball before it goes out of bounds.

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