Seth Godin: How media changes politics


If you want to get elected in the US, you need media.

When TV was king, the secret to media was money. If you have money, you can reach the masses. The best way to get money is to make powerful interests happy, so they’ll give you money you can use to reach the masses and get re-elected.

Now, though…When attention is scarce and there are many choices, media costs something other than money. It costs interesting. If you are angry or remarkable or an outlier, you’re interesting, and your idea can spread. People who are dull and merely aligned with powerful interests have a harder time earning attention, because money isn’t sufficient.

Thus, as media moves from TV-driven to attention-driven, we’re going to see more outliers, more renegades and more angry people driving agendas and getting elected. I figure this will continue until other voices earn enough permission from the electorate to coordinate getting out the vote, communicating through private channels like email [and listservs] and creating tribes of people to spread the word… Mass media is dying, and it appears that mass politicians are endangered as well.


Nicholas Wilson: Mudslinging in Mendo

[This is a pure and simple choice between supporting a candidate, Wendy Roberts, who believes that the way out, locally, of our world-wide economic disaster is more of the same trickle-down philosophy that got us into it: develop our coast and exploit/export our resources for the rich and privileged to live here and visit here so we can grovel at their feet for small pieces of their growing largess — ho hum been there done that; versus supporting Dan Hamburg who understands that the required transition to a long-term, sustainable economy means we first work together husbanding and developing our local resources for those who live here: local food, local energy, locally-owned businesses. Only after that has been secured can we consider carefully our trade and economic relationships with our surrounding communities. The tactics and support team used by candidates reveal their character and ambitions… and our future. Vote for Dan! ~DS]

Little River, 5th District

Open Letter to the Editor, Press Democrat

Friday’s “Mudslinging in Mendocino” [see below] said: “After avoiding confrontation for months, candidate Wendy Roberts has aimed both barrels at her opponent, Dan Hamburg….”

But it’s outrageously false that Roberts just started attacking Hamburg. Hers is the dirtiest campaign I’ve seen in 40 years here, no surprise since her political consultant’s website says the owner was regional director of the Republican National Committee. Strange choice for one calling herself a liberal environmentalist.

It appears Karl Rove is running Roberts’ campaign.

Ralph Nader: Road to Corporate Serfdom

Common Dreams

It was Bill Clinton’s campaign strategist, James Carville, who in 1992 created the election slogan: “It’s the Economy, Stupid.” For the 2010 Congressional campaigns, the slogan should have been: “It’s Corporate Crime and Control, Stupid.”

But notwithstanding the latest corporate crime wave, the devastating fallout on workers, investors and taxpayers from the greed and corruption of Wall Street, and the abandonment of American workers by U.S. corporations in favor of repressive regimes abroad, the Democrats have failed to focus voter anger on the corporate supremacists.

The giant corporate control of our country is so vast that people who call themselves anything politically—liberal, conservative, progressive, libertarian, independents or anarchist—should be banding together against the reckless Big Business steamroller.

Conservatives need to remember the sharply critical cautions against misbehaving or over-reaching businesses and commercialism by Adam Smith, Frederic Bastiat, Friedrich Hayek and other famous conservative intellectuals. All knew that the commercial instinct and drive know few boundaries to the relentless stomping or destruction of the basic civic values for any civilized society.

When eighty percent of the Americans polled believe ‘America is in decline,’ they are reflecting in part the decline of real household income and the shattered bargaining power of American workers up against global companies.

It’s Morning In Griftopia: A Q+A With Author Matt Taibbi

From GQ

In his new book about “the long con that is breaking America,” the Rolling Stone reporter chronicles the bizarre sight of a nation about to reward—lavishly—the very same Wall Street titans, DC politicians, and shady power brokers who brought us low

Matt Taibbi, the profane, provocative reporter for Rolling Stone, is a larger-than-life figure in modern political journalism. That’s both literally true (he’s a big guy: he once played for the MBA—that’s the Mongolian Basketball Association) and figuratively true: he writes in a scorching, contemptuous style that gives the best of his work a cast of fire-breathing grandeur.

Known primarily for blaspheming the Pope, labeling Goldman Sachs a “a great vampire squid wrapped around the face of humanity”, and more recently, slinging a mug of hot coffee in the face of a Vanity Fair reporter, Taibbi is clearly a man of outsized emotions.

His new book Griftopia: Bubble Machines, Vampire Squids, and the Long Con that Is Breaking America [Spiegel & Grau] is a stinging new history of the financial crisis that heralds a return of Mencken-esque, dirt-under-the-fingernails American journalism. Griftopia delves into the shadowy world of collateralized debt obligations, credit default swaps and sovereign wealth funds, but he navigates the turgid money stuff with soaring sentences like “Greenspan’s rise is…a tale of a gerbilish mirror-gazer who flattered and bullshitted his way up the Matterhorn of American power, and then, once he got to the top, feverishly jacked himself off to the attentions of Wall Street for twenty consecutive years.” No one is spared…

Article here

Hey Wendy: Two problems with whining…

“The first is that it doesn’t work. You can whine about [your political opponent or] the government  or your friends or your job or your family, but nothing will happen except that you’ll waste time [and money].

Worse… far worse… is that whining is a reverse placebo. When you get good at whining, you start noticing evidence that makes your whining more true. So you amplify that and immerse yourself in it, thus creating more evidence, more stuff worth complaining about…” ~Seth Godin, business guru

Antonio Andrade: Why vote yes on Measure C?


Consider these points:

First, did you know that 45% percent of Counties (and numerous cities) charge anywhere between 8.375% and 9.75% in sales tax? Last weekend my wife and I went to a wedding in San Francisco. We spent a night close to the city, ate locally, and shopped at the Giants Dugout store (Go Giants!). All these purchase were subject to 9.5% sales tax, a tax that essentially subsidizes that County’s services.

However, when San Francisco residents visit our County to recreate,, enjoy our scenery, attend passport weekend, the Mendocino Music Festival, etc. and buy our local products, they use our roads and services, yet pay only 8.25% in sales taxes supporting our County services Let’s strive for parity with other counties and stop subsidizing non-residential usage.

Second, we spend an inordinate amount of our County dollars on law and environmental degradation enforcement, social services, and health issues addressing marijuana- related impacts. Yet those who grow and sell weed and associated value-added products pay tax on an insignificant portion of their revenues. It is absolutely essential that underground marijuana merchants pay towards these impacts. One of the few current ways to capture tax dollars from these folks is through sales taxes paid when their proceeds are spent within Mendocino County. Sales tax is regressive, but there are free-market and government-related options we can explore to lessen that impact on lower income folks.

Finally, there is the ‘politics of no’ engaged in and paid for by Measure C opponents.

Quack: Quadruple-dose seasonal flu “super” vaccine now being aggressively pushed onto senior citizens

Natural News
(article with links and footnotes here)

[See also: Pancreatic cancer takes 20 years to grow into detectable tumors – here’s how to halt it.]

The vaccine industry has now decided that injecting senior citizens with the “standard” vaccine dose just isn’t working. (Gee, really?) So now they’ve decided the way to make it work better is to offer a quadruple viral potency vaccine that packs 400% more viral fragments into one toxic shot.

The target for this quadruple vaccine injection? Senior citizens, of course — the very people most likely to suffer the most serious side effects from a vaccine overdose. The FDA reportedly approved the new vaccine in April even though no scientific tests have ever been done to show it reduces flu symptoms. Then again, since when did vaccines have anything to do with real science in the first place?

Why do people need a quadruple vaccine all of a sudden?
What’s especially entertaining about all this is that the FDA’s approval of this quadruple potency vaccine is a blatant admission that single-dose vaccines just don’t work! Obviously, if the single-dose vaccine was working as advertised, then it would be 100% effective and there would be no need for a double, triple or quadruple-dose vaccine. But all of a $udden, now that the quadruple-dose vaccine is available, the regular single-dose vaccine “isn’t good enough.”

So all that propaganda about “get a flu shot and you won’t get the flu” just turns out to be marketing quackery,

Energy developer GreenWave pleads with FERC for second chance


The Southern California partnership that wants to develop the waters off Mendocino for wave energy is asking the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) for a second chance.

On Sept. 23, FERC revoked GreenWave Energy Solution’s exclusive right to study ocean waters from Point Cabrillo to Little River. FERC yanked the permits for the Mendocino project and a similar one in San Luis Obispo, citing a pattern of late filings and incomplete, non-specific information.

Now, Bill Bustamante, GreenWave vice president, is asking for a rehearing to appeal the revocation of the preliminary permits.

“We must apologize for the seeming lack of specificity in the previous required reports. As you are aware, projects such as the GreenWave projects are front loaded with a great deal of work gaining acceptance and support from the myriad of stakeholders involved in the development process. GreenWave has been working with the stakeholders and is aware of their concerns and potential role in the development process,” Bustamante wrote to FERC.

However, GreenWave has also not followed through on announced plans to hold meetings on the Mendocino Coast, nor has it met with local governments.

“The current economic and political situation has made it very difficult to reach agreements which can produce reportable agreement results,” Bustamante wrote.

In a follow up interview, Bustamante said GreenWave kept running into scheduling difficulties. He hopes to make a trip up next month to meet with local officials.

If GreenWave’s relatively large proposal became reality, it would produce the most energy of California’s wave energy proposals. While all the wave energy projects exist on paper, so far GreenWave has shown the least local groundwork for the biggest project… Article here

Todd Walton: Disappointment


Whilst discussing my hopes and expectations for the San Francisco Giants with Mark Scaramella, he suggested I try my hand at writing about disappointment. I just hope my attempt doesn’t disappoint him.

“Disappointment is a sort of bankruptcy — the bankruptcy of a soul that expends too much in hope and expectation.” Eric Hoffer

What is disappointment? The New Shorter Oxford Dictionary defines disappointment as: dejection or distress caused by the non-fulfillment of desire or expectation. Substitute the word suffering for distress and we land smack dab at the outset of Buddhist philosophy. The First Noble Truth (and I have yet to read a satisfactory explanation of why the Four Noble Truths are noble rather than big or unavoidable or groovy) is that life is suffering. I recently read an article in a Buddhist magazine suggesting that suffering might not be the most accurate translation of the Sanskrit word Buddha purportedly used. The article suggested that annoying might be a more accurate translation. And in some texts the First Noble Truth is stated as: Life is full of suffering (though not necessarily completely full, which would allow for the occasional pizza, chocolate bar, or delightful flirtation).

But seriously folks, the Second Noble Truth states that the cause (or origin) of suffering is attachment. If we can learn not to be attached to things and people and baseball teams winning the World Series, or even just to being alive, then our suffering will lessen and might even disappear entirely.

Every day is Halloween in the Empire: The Democratic/Republican Zombie Apocalypse

“When you say ‘It’s all good’ what you really mean is ‘I don’t care.'”

Online Journal
Thanks to Gail Jonas

Because, at this time of the year, we take pleasure in being frightened, let’s shuffle through the US Empire’s House of Horrors. On our tour, we cringe before: Brain-eating zombies of exponential destruction; soul-sucking vampires of eternal self-justification; right-wing, talk show demons whose wrathful voices rage into empty air; road-rage werewolves; hungry ghosts shuffling the aisles of supermarkets, convenience stores, corporate restaurant franchises and the food courts of shopping malls; and, running on a continuous video loop, The Fat, Mindless Blob That Ate the Planet.

The US mass media is rife with imagery of vampires, werewolves, zombies and other symbols of suppressed rage, insatiable craving and submerged terror. These narratives, resonate with the warnings implicit in nightmares, reveal the culture’s tormented soul. By foisting imagery so arresting that it cannot be ignored, nightmares break through the ego’s wall of denial; their disturbing imagery can be read as a wakeup call from the psyche that augurs warning and insists upon change.

On a cultural level, a profusion of nightmare imagery warns: paradigm shift or perish. Accordingly, the hack-scripted B-movie of the current political system could be titled… Duopoly Of The Dead: The Democratic/ Republican Zombie Apocalypse. By their almost exclusive devotion to maintaining the status quo, these hulking, putrefying parties of the undead shamble through public life . . . risen from the mouldering grave

Dear Wendy, Please return my underwears…


[This is a response to Wendy Roberts asking a neighbor to return her campaign sign, then when asked to produce evidence he took it, denied that she had accused him of taking it… -DS]

Dear Wendy Roberts,

While it’s still fashionable to pick on you, I wanted to get in a few more driveling snivels. Because what you did is preposterous and offensive. Wendy Roberts, please return my underwears immediately, no questions asked. The ones with the frog pattern are mysteriously ill-fitting, and I want them returned. I don’t think it’s appropriate for you to sneak into my mansion between the hours of two and three in the morning two nights ago and not only purloin my favourite underwears, but also unfold all the other ones. I had them laid out in the specific orderly order that I like to wear throughout the week, and it’s very disturbing to me when that careful arrangement is disrupted.

I’m not accusing you of breaking into my mansion and stealing my private property; I’m just saying that it’s not appropriate for you to do that. Also, I’m having trouble finding my purple striped toe socks… well at least the left one. The right one I already lost in 1998, but also, I suppose it makes it harder to find such things when they are both completely fictional.

Speaking of works of fiction, I got this slick and greasy mailer from you in my PERSONAL PRIVATE mailbox. How did you even get my address? Will you stop stalking me?! Only friends are supposed to know my boxular coordinates, and usually my mail consists of missives scrawled on both sides of a balsa wood model airplane, or a letter written entirely in runic with a picture of an egg with an eye. Those sorts of things I treasure, but this… your pitiful attempt

Sorry, Wendy. Money can’t buy you love… (Updated)

Fifth District, Mendocino County

[Wendy Roberts’ last-minute mud hits the fan… -DS]

Trick or Treat this Halloween deteriorated into a bitter Trick pulled by one candidate, who in a sign of desperation dropped a “nasty, negative hit piece” on her opponent in the last week of the campaign because her Republican, paid, professional consultant told her she was behind in the polls.

Wendy Roberts threw everything but the kitchen sink at Dan Hamburg this week in expensive, slick mailers and half page print ads where Roberts’ wolf in sheep’s clothing costume was clearly revealed to voters, who now know how low she is willing to stoop.

In the 30 years I have lived in this county, I have never seen such a scurrilous, vindictive attack against a candidate and neighbor in our small community, who himself ran only positive campaign ads.

The real Treat will come, however, for Mendocino County citizens when Dan Hamburg, a well-respected leader in our community, who has worked for the betterment of the County for some 40 years, representing us both on the Board of Supervisors as well as in Congress, is elected Supervisor on Nov. 2.


Marylyn Motherbear Scott: Speak clearly. Vote for Dan Hamburg!

Fifth District Mendocino

Everyone wants to enjoy life. That’s one of the reasons we live in Mendocino County. Relatively, we are a small community, nonetheless noticed on a larger map. Why? Simply because we have spoken clearly with our voting voice. We have a strong model of being green, being organic, voting down GMO’s, building up Farmer’s Markets, and caring for our citizenry. We are in a lineage of old time ranchers and farmers, hippies nee neo-pioneers, artists, and small business entrepreneurs. Both the heritage and the promise — a creative individualism that runs deeply and proudly through our county’s esprit de corps and esprit de force.

When I look back to consider why I came here, it was the land pure and simple, the clean water, the clear air, the good earth, the Back to the Land Movement, the neo-pioneering lifestyle that was a part of it. Translation? Do It Yourself — grow your gardens, build your houses, teach your children well. A growing awareness. We are a treasured part of the Garden that is Mendocino County. Our part? We need political leaders who will keep us in good tilth, to help our gardens grow, to support independent means of survival, one that finds the means of support for a vibrant community, one that helps itself and has enough and some to share.

Changes are inevitable. The change we now face is more critical than ever before. In District Five, we have an opportunity to elect an experienced representative to the Supervisor’s Chambers, one who will work toward keeping our county healthy and independent, a reflection of its inhabitants. Dan Hamburg proved himself as a responsible and accessible Supervisor and Congressional representative. We need what Dan has to offer.

Michael Laybourn: Vote Yes on Prop 19


The AVA, UDJ, Dianne Feinstein and the U.S. Chamber of Commerce all agree: Vote no on Prop 19. The AVA voters guide says until pot is legalized at the federal level, state initiatives like this one merely add to the enforcement confusion already prevalent at the local level.

Uh, so what? We have to lead the way as usual. It is a start in the right direction.

The so called “large-scale interests positioning themselves to further dominate the marijuana business” will get taxed and controlled better. Legalization would be a step towards similar laws that beer or wine have, but controlled better than now.

“Some kind of basic regulation will always be necessary to protect people, especially young people, from themselves.” It is written in the law that you have to be 21 –  just like having a beer. And I might not need to be protected from myself.

It is true though. The feds continue a failed drug war, costing billions and not working. Legalization would be a beginning to fix this American problem. The real problem. Americans seem to resist learning from history. Prohibition does not work. It creates crime. A black market appears and criminals take advantage of it. Prices go up and the problems that we don’t like — cartels, water stealing, trashing the environment and violence occurs. The exact same thing happened with alcohol prohibition. Prohibition does not work.

“Since the founding of the Drug Enforcement Administration in 1973, 15 million Americans have been arrested for marijuana. That is more people than live in California’s 25 largest cities – millions more than live in Ohio, Pennsylvania or Illinois. The DEA has led an aggressive national law enforcement effort that results in a marijuana arrest every 38 seconds, propelling the U.S. to become

Please Vote…





Hamburg/Roberts Debate on KZYX 10/26/10 Now Available

The KZYX Norman de Vall hosted District 5 candidates show from 10/26 is online as MP3 files.  They’ve been rendered in approximately half hour segments. Please pass this on to anyone who may be interested in hearing a pretty freewheeling exchange between the 5th District Supervisor candidates, call in interrogators and show host Norman de Vall…

For the Conservatives, this is not a financial crisis but a long-awaited opportunity

The Guardian, UK

In a classic example of ‘disaster capitalism’, the cuts are being used to reshape the economy in the interests of business – and to trash the public sector

We’ve been staring at the wrong list. In an effort to guess what will hit us tomorrow, we’ve been trying to understand the first phase of the British government’s assault on the public sector: its bonfire of the quangos. Almost all the public bodies charged with protecting the environment, animal welfare and consumers have been either hobbled or killed. But that’s only half the story. Look again, and this time make a list of the quangos which survived.

If the government’s aim had been to destroy useless or damaging public bodies, it would have started with the Commonwealth Development Corporation. It was set up to relieve poverty in developing countries, but when New Labour tried, and failed, to privatise it, the CDC completely changed its mission. Now it pours money into lucrative corporate ventures, while massively enriching its own directors. Private Eye discovered that in 2007 this quango paid its chief executive just over a million pounds. The magazine has also shown how the CDC has become entangled in a series of corruption cases. Uncut. Unreformed.

Michael Laybourn: Voting for Judges


I have always ignored the judge voting until I realized how the right wing has gotten control of America’’s judicial system, especially during the Bush II years. So this year I decided to go online and try to find out about some California judicial recommendations for this reason: On the state Courts of Appeal, you vote “yes” or “no.” If a majority says “no,” they are out of the office and the Governor must select a new judge. So I googled…

First of all, Google’s first page are 2 Christian recommendations, Tea party and other politically right recommendations for the top five. The next was the League of Women voters as follows:


Read the local newspaper for coverage of the campaign. Check editorials for their endorsements and reasons for their choices in the week before the election.

Check the sample ballot that all counties mail voters. It will list only the judicial candidates that you will be able to vote on at your polling place. Then turn to the section that prints statements submitted by nonpartisan candidates. Judicial candidates can, for a fee, put a 200 word statement in the sample ballot, and many of them do.

Gene Logsdon: The Lonely Hickories

Upper Sandusky, Ohio

Along the one lane country roads in our county, the traveler encounters an occasional roadside tree, all by itself at the edge of the endless fields of corn and soybeans. The casual passerby may see nothing unusual about the trees but those of us who have lived here almost as long as these trees have, think of them as quite remarkable. They stand as monuments commemorating the passing agrarian life we cherish.

These trees are hickories, already bearing when I was born seventy some years ago. To understand why they are precious, visualize this landscape when these trees first sprouted at least a hundred years ago. Much of this land was originally forested, and was still in the process of being cleared. All through the 20th century, more trees vanished every year. By the time I worked in the fields, there were still a few sentinels of the old forest dotting the grain fields and pastures. They were left there mostly for shade. In those days farmers spent a lot of time in the blazing sun, not in tractor cabs, and all of you who have felt the July sun bearing mercilessly down on you know what a pleasure it is to be able to rest a bit in the shade. Worth losing a little bit of corn for. A few trees in the pastures were spared for the same reason— shade for the livestock.

One by one, these silent sentinels from the past were cut down or died. It was not much of a bother to dodge a field tree with two-row equipment,

Mendo Island Transition: Achieving Local Food Resilience


As weather patterns change and fossil fuel supplies dwindle, communities have to start thinking about food resilience. How can farmers and gardeners grow and preserve food amid rapidly changing weather conditions, and without easy access to cheap industrial fertilizers? In her new book, The Resilient Gardener: Food Production and Self-Reliance in Uncertain Times, longtime gardener and scientist Carol Deppe digs into just such questions.

I recently talked to Deppe about how her form of resilient gardening compares to “traditional” gardening, the importance of not seeking perfection, and how all of this ties into food security.

Q. What’s the first step toward achieving food resilience?

A. There are three ways to do that. The first is through local buying patterns and trade. A second is through knowing how to store or process food that is available locally, whether we grow it ourselves or not. The third is gardening. In The Resilient Gardener, I talk as much about storing and using food as growing it. I love gardening, but not everyone is in a position to garden every year of their lives. However, the person who has learned to make spectacular applesauce or cider or apple butter or pies can often trade some of the processed products for all the apples needed.

Doug Mosel: Why I’m Voting for Dan Hamburg

The Mendocino Grain Project
Anderson Valley

I believe Dan Hamburg is the person we need as the next supervisor in the 5th District.

His qualifications alone make the case: intelligence, extensive experience and deep-rooted knowledge of Mendocino County–its problems and its promise.

But a more fundamental reason to vote for Dan is his grasp of the larger predicament we’re in.  This is no ordinary economic fluctuation.  It is a turning point.  There is no “return to normal”  We are just beginning a ride on the rapids of a radical shift away from business as usual.  Dan understands that the present turmoil is the logical result of how we’ve been doing business and we simply can’t go back to the illusory smooth waters we’ve taken for granted.

It won’t be an easy ride and there is no roadmap, so we will need leaders who can help navigate a new course for the County.  Dan brings the capacity and commitment to engage people at the “grass-shoots” level–the people who are actually doing the work of building a renewed local food economy, developing genuine energy alternatives, taking care of communities on shoestring budgets, teaching the young ones, or maintaining county services even as the budgetary ax falls.

Nearly a year of watching Dan campaign convinces me that he’s the supervisor we need for the 5th District.

How Investing in Corporate Banks Corrodes the Soul


I’ve never thought of putting money in a bank as a spiritual activity. It seemed the prototypical business transaction with few ethical sides to consider. But I recently read an article by Kevin Arsenault who challenged this view of banking. He said that when we accommodate ourselves to corporate rule and capitulate to a system we know to be morally repugnant, we sacrifice our self-esteem and authentic spirituality. He talked about the constant pressure that wears down our resistance, a pressure to accept and conform to the practice and values of dominant systems, and about how these social compromises can corrode our spirits.

At the time when the article was written (1996), it was probably more difficult to convince someone that the big banks were a morally repugnant entity and that giving them access to your money might be a moral issue, but these days, after the economic collapse in the United States, the view of big banks as practitioners of evil doesn’t seem so far-fetched.

In Matt Taibbi’s 2009 article “The Great American Bubble Machine,” he describes Goldman Sachs, the world’s most powerful investment bank, as “a great vampire squid wrapped around the face of humanity, relentlessly jamming its blood funnel into anything that smells like money.” A world overrun and squeezed by these insidious tentacles is our reality. We now live in what Taibbi calls a “gangster state, running on gangster economics” where the rules of the game are rigged by the big banks.

John Cesano: What’s behind the hype surrounding Natural Process wines?

John On Wine Blog

[…] What is natural process wine? It begins in the vineyard, whether certified organic, or biodynamic, or uncertified but making the same choices, not for paper but for flavor, and extends into the winery where as little of the winemakers influence as possible is involved. It is letting grape juice become wine with little intervention. Wines made naturally the way they would have been made 1,000 years ago, before the advent of harvesting machinery and the development of enology and viticulture science, before artificial yeasts, before fining with animal products, before gums, before catalogs of chemical additives and processes of manipulation.

From The Natural Process Alliance’s website:

We believe that expressive soil is sacred, responsible farming is a requirement and natural winemaking is the only option. In the creation of wine, there are innumerable natural processes that are elegant in their simplicity and astonishing in their effectiveness.

Janie Sheppard: Another reason I’m voting for Dan Hamburg

Mendocino County

Something Wendy Roberts said [in her Radio Curious interview here] has been rattling around in my head for a few weeks, and last night I realized why.

Roberts said she was inspired to run for supervisor as she was riding home after a difficult meeting of the Board of Supervisors.  She found herself, she said, sympathizing with the present supervisors and managers in our county.

Didn’t three of the present incumbents do their share to dig us into the hole we’re in?  Why would I vote for anyone who sympathized with them?  I would not.

I will vote for Dan Hamburg because he has a vision of how to use the strengths of our county to lead us out of our old ways. Those ways no longer work, if they ever did.  We need fresh ways of doing the county’s business.  And we need new business.

Vote for Dan Hamburg for 5th District Supervisor.  Vote for the children.  Vote for the future.

Neil Davis: An inconvenient convenience

Mendo 2 Mile Challenge

What’s the sweetest experience you can have as a “round town” bicyclist? I’ll entertain submissions, but right up toward the top of any list has to be “passing cars”. When I lived in a more urban setting it was pretty frequent. Rush hour commutes would almost always include a section or two where I could breeze past cars stuck in a line at stop signs or lights. Passing jammed cars may provide the pinnacle of self-righteous, cycling smuggery. “I’m cheap, I’m green, I’m healthy, I’m having fun… and I’m passing you”!

In cycling centers like Amsterdam and Copenhagen people ride bikes primarily because it’s the fastest way to get around town. All the other benefits are just gravy. Here in Nor Cal we don’t have enough traffic for driving to be noticeably inconvenient. And yet, the bike it still competitive on short trips.

Now I say “noticeably” inconvenient because of course it’s incredibly, and euphemistically, “inconvenient”. Using a hundred plus horse power and a thousand pounds of metal and hard plastics to move a single 200 pound person around is of course absurdly expensive and wasteful, not merely inconvenient… More: Neil Davis here

Wikileaks: The Shaming of America (Updated)


Robert Fisk delivers a searing dispatch after the WikiLeaks revelations that expose in detail the brutality of the war in Iraq – and the astonishing, disgraceful deceit of the US

As usual, the Arabs knew. They knew all about the mass torture, the promiscuous shooting of civilians, the outrageous use of air power against family homes, the vicious American and British mercenaries, the cemeteries of the innocent dead. All of Iraq knew. Because they were the victims.

Only we could pretend we did not know. Only we in the West could counter every claim, every allegation against the Americans or British with some worthy general – the ghastly US military spokesman Mark Kimmitt and the awful chairman of the Joint Chiefs, Peter Pace, come to mind – to ring-fence us with lies. Find a man who’d been tortured and you’d be told it was terrorist propaganda; discover a house full of children killed by an American air strike and that, too, would be terrorist propaganda, or “collateral damage”, or a simple phrase: “We have nothing on that.”

Of course, we all knew they always did have something. And yesterday’s ocean of military memos proves it yet again. Al-Jazeera has gone to extraordinary lengths to track down the actual Iraqi families whose men and women are recorded as being wasted at US checkpoints – I’ve identified one because I reported it in 2004, the bullet-smashed car, the two dead journalists, even the name of the local US captain – and it was The Independent on Sunday that first alerted the world to the hordes of undisciplined gunmen being flown to Baghdad to protect diplomats

Chicken Little, Peak Oil and Y2K

Resource Insights

At the recent conference of the Association for the Study of Peak Oil & Gas-USA in Washington, D.C., an unknown person hired two people to dress as Chicken Little and walk around outside the conference venue.

The trouble with Chicken Little is that he neither had a practical plan to address the problem of the falling sky nor the sense to discern the intentions of Foxy Loxy who ultimately devoured Chicken Little and his friends before they could reach the king to tell him that the sky is falling. As such, Chicken Little gives us poor guidance about the effect that the efforts of those involved in the peak oil movement will likely have. A better analogy would be the so-called Y2K problem.

Y2K refers to the problem of two-digit year notation previously used in computers, notation which could only accommodate years up to 1999. Many experts believed that computer failures related to this problem had the potential to be highly disruptive of global society if not corrected before the year 2000. As a result of this concern, firms and governments spent large sums to update or replace outdated software and hardware.

Critics of extensive Y2K preparations said that the problem was overblown and that any necessary corrections could me made after January 1, 2000 on an as-needed basis. Those who supported extensive Y2K preparation cited the almost completely smooth rollover to January 1, 2000 as a vindication for their strategy. Oddly, their opponents cited the same smooth rollover as proof that such preparation,

Whistling past our democracy’s graveyard


[No, all politics is NOT local. But local politics is all we really have left. Fed up? Please vote anyway! Also, see political joke from Deb Bauman at the end… -DS]

What happened to change we can believe in?

President Obama, the Rodney Dangerfield of 2010, gets no respect for averting another Great Depression, for saving 3.3 million jobs with stimulus spending, or for salvaging GM and Chrysler from the junkyard. And none of these good deeds, no matter how substantial, will go unpunished if the projected Democratic bloodbath materializes on Election Day. Some are even going unremembered. For Obama, the ultimate indignity is the Times/CBS News poll in September showing that only 8 percent of Americans know that he gave 95 percent of American taxpayers a tax cut.

The reasons for his failure to reap credit for any economic accomplishments are a catechism by now: the dark cloud cast by undiminished unemployment, the relentless disinformation campaign of his political opponents, and the White House’s surprising ineptitude at selling its own achievements. But the most relentless drag on a chief executive who promised change we can believe in is even more ominous. It’s the country’s fatalistic sense that the stacked economic order that gave us the Great Recession remains not just in place but more entrenched and powerful than ever.

Repost: Rebroadcast of Barry Vogel’s Classic Interviews with Wendy Roberts and Dan Hamburg Today Sunday 10/24/10 2pm KZYX

Radio Curious

[Rebroadcast (audio here | KZYX here): Local attorney and host Barry Vogel asks them both the same questions, independently of one another so you can compare their answers. A fifteen minute interview with each candidate makes the differences between them exceedingly clear. Well worth the time.

Something could be said for members of a community listening together to this revealing classic of local politics at the same time during this rainy, stormy Sunday. A reader writes: “To sing along, see transcript” (below)… All together now, 1, 2, 3, 4… -DS]

Welcome to Radio Curious, I’m attorney Barry Vogel.

In anticipation of the election for 5th District Supervisor, we have two interviews: first with Wendy Roberts, and second, with Dan Hamburg… both candidates for 5th District Supervisor. I interviewed them both in the studios of Radio Curious in the last week of September 2010.

I asked them both the same questions in the same order, outside the presence of the other, so that you may compare their answers.

B: Wendy Roberts, welcome to Radio Curious.

W: Thank you.

B: I heard you give a talk at a picnic in Redwood Valley, and you referred to extremist ideologies, which you said have led to our decline. And I was curious what you meant by extremist ideologies.

Why I Got Fired From Teaching American History

Huffington Post
Thanks to Todd Walton

Five years ago, I had every reason to believe that my job as a history professor at Barnard College was secure. I had been teaching there for four years, I had published my dissertation with a major publisher, and because I had tripled the sizes of the introductory U.S. history course and the American Studies program, colleagues told me they “would be shocked” if I were not promoted to a tenure-track position.

But that was before my colleagues knew what I was teaching.

I had always been a misfit in academia, partly because of my background, partly because of my personality, and increasingly over the years because of my ideas — ideas that are now a book called “A Renegade History of the United States.”

I was raised by pot-smoking, nudist, socialist revolutionaries as an egghead white boy in black neighborhoods in Berkeley and Oakland. I nearly flunked eighth grade and finished high school with a C average. Then I went to the anarchist, ultra-hippy Antioch College in Ohio, which accepted all their applicants, didn’t give grades, and didn’t have a history department.

So even though I managed to pull myself out of that background and into and through Columbia for a PhD, then onto a job at an elite college, I was highly uncomfortable moving from the world of weed to the world of tweed. I hated being “Professor.” I cursed in class. I talked about sex. I used politically incorrect terms. My students said they had never heard the things I was teaching them in class. They called me “Bad Thad.”

I showed them that during the American Revolution drunkards, laggards, prostitutes, and pirates pioneered

Todd Walton: Gay

Under The Table

“A good story cannot be devised; it has to be distilled.” Raymond Chandler

Before the advent of the interweb, I frequented libraries and secondhand bookstores in search of good short stories, my appetite for cuentos pequeños insatiable. I am not keen on most contemporary short stories that find their way into mass media print, so I mainly feed on authors dead and obscure.

When I was living in Berkeley in the 1990’s, I came upon a library cache of short story anthologies published annually in the 1920’s and 1930’s, hardbound volumes featuring now mostly forgotten literary darlings of America and England. Many of the stories were well written, in stark contrast to their equivalents today, though few of the stories were great. And in every volume there was a story by Gertrude Stein, though the word story does not do justice to her conglomerations of words, for her conglomerations do not tell tales so much as they weave verbal webs that may mean something to someone, but mean very little to me.

However, whilst devouring these relatively ancient anthologies, I came upon a particular Gertrude Stein story that excited me tremendously, for I felt I had discovered the origin of the current meaning of the word gay. The story is entitled Miss Furr & Miss Skeene and featured the use of gay in the following manner.

“…she liked to stay in one place and be gay there. They were together then and traveled to another place and stayed there and were gay there. They were quite regularly gay there, Helen Furr and Georgine Skeene, they were regularly gay there where they were gay.

Standing Tall Against The Corporate-Fueled Money Onslaught

Progressive Strategies

Okay, I’m very biased because I have been working with my friends at MoveOn for a while on their The Other 98% campaign to fight corporate corruption in our political system, but I couldn’t be prouder of these ads that MoveOn members themselves are making and starring in. Check out Sam Stein’s piece on the ad campaign. The amount of work it took to separately shoot each of these 28 ads with people from those districts and states was incredible, and they capture the spirit of the moment perfectly: regular citizens at the grassroots have to stand up to these incredibly wealthy special interests- the big Wall Street banks, big oil, the big insurance companies, and probably some foreign corporations as well- who are trying to buy this election for their friends in the Republican Party.

Democrats are up against formidable odds this cycle- secretive corporate slush funds busting every record known by far for spending on campaigns, self-funded candidates pouring huge sums of money into their own campaigns (Meg Whitman holds the record at $140 million so far, but many others are already deep into the 7 or 8 figures), an economy so deeply damaged by the profligacy of the Bush years that it will probably take a decade to recover)- but grassroots activists from the progressive movement are fighting back. The MoveOn campaign from day one has involved hundreds of thousands activists and contributors and local demonstrators at various events. The labor movement effort has been phenomenal- check out this memo from their political director Karen Ackerman. Immigration activists have mounted a major

Take Action! Save The Ukiah Municipal Swimming Pool!


A Facility for the Whole Community

The Ukiah Swimming Pool provides the only public access to supervised aquatic activities for the 45,000 residents of the greater Ukiah area.

The pool facility also provides the only American Red Cross certified swim lesson program.

The facility provides affordable activities for all ages including aquatic fitness classes, open swim, lap swim and swimming lessons.

The pool facility employs more than 25 lifeguards and swim instructors and provides those individuals with valuable aquatic training and work experience.

Renovation is needed immediately.

Construction Plans & Funding

The City of Ukiah Community Services Department has secured a grant from the California Department of Parks and Recreation in the amount of $500,000.

A requirement of the grant is that the community will contribute a minimum of $215,000 donations.

Opting Out of Airport Naked Body Scans

Thanks to Herb Ruhs

I encountered my first airport naked body scanner while flying out of California today, and of course I decided to “opt out” of the scan. You do this by telling the blue-shirted TSA agents that you simply wish to opt out of the body scanner. Here’s what happened after that:

A TSA agent told me to step to the side and stay put. He then proceeded to shout out loudly enough for all the other travelers and TSA agents to hear, “OPT OUT! OPT OUT!” This is no doubt designed to attract attention (or perhaps humiliation) to those who choose to opt out of the naked body scanner. I saw no purpose for this verbal alert because the same TSA agent who was yelling this ultimately was the one who patted me down anyway.

For the pat down, first I was required to walk through the regular metal detector. From there, I was asked if I wanted to be patted down in a private room, or if I didn’t mind just being patted down in full view of everyone else. Not being a shy person in the first place, I told the agent I didn’t need a private room.

He then explained to me that he was going to pat down my entire body, including my crotch and my buttocks, but that he would use the back of his hands to pat down the crotch and buttocks areas. This is probably designed to make the pat-down seem less “personal” and more detached. That way, air passengers can’t complain of being felt up by TSA agents who might get carried away with the pat-down procedure. He asked if it hurt for me to be touched anywhere, and I told him no, at which point he proceeded with the pat down.

Mendo as Microcosm of Radical Right-Wing Plots

Thanks to Gail Jonas

Health Insurance, Banking, Oil Industries Met with Koch, Chamber, Glenn Beck to Plot 2010 Elections

[The Local Radical Right-Wing have never been more exposed than in the current Supervisor’s 5th District race between Dan Hamburg and Wendy Roberts here, here, and here. Is it part of a vast right-wing conspiracy funded by money perverts? Of course it is. Is it class war? Of course it is. And it could not be more blatant. All the prevaricating, hired professional diversions, amateur cluelessness, hilarious drug-baiting, petty silliness, and Rovian dirty-tricks-of-the-trade are in practice by very, very small-minded people, supporters of Wendy Roberts, as they did with the Monster Mall, GMO Fight, and the Timber Wars. -DS]

[Koch Brothers are right here in our county, owning as they do, the GP mill site in Fort Bragg. -JS]

In 2006, Koch Industries owner Charles Koch revealed to the Wall Street Journal’s Stephen Moore that he coordinates the funding of the conservative infrastructure of front groups, political campaigns, think tanks, media outlets and other anti-government efforts through a twice annual meeting of wealthy right-wing donors. He also confided to Moore, who is funded through several of Koch’s ventures, that his true goal is to strengthen the “culture of prosperity” by eliminating “90%” of all laws and government regulations. Although it is difficult to quantify the exact amount Koch alone has funneled to right-wing fronts, some studies have pointed toward $50 million he has given alone to anti-environmental groups. Recently, fronts funded by Charles and his brother David have received scrutiny because they have played a pivotal role in the organizing of the anti-Obama Tea Parties and the promotion of virulent far right lawmakers

Michael Laybourn: 10 Fun Things to do to Improve Our Local Economy


1. Use only local banks. Local banks and credit unions usually have lower overheads, lower default rates and lower fees on checking. Now we can add that these institutions also appear to be much less likely to engage in predatory lending and global securitization, and therefore are much less prone to the spectacular collapses we’ve seen. Finance, of course, is closely tied with two of the largest expenditures rural residents make – shelter and transportation. To put it another way, boycott those big banks that got bailed out with your tax money, but still don’t help small business with loans or help with refinancing mortgages. That’s the fun part.

2. Use only local credit cards. Savings Bank and Redwood Credit Union have cards, still Visa and Mastercards. Mendo-Lake does not. It would be nice for these local banks to administer their own local cards and generate more jobs, but they don’t. Maybe in the future.

3. Use local services as much as possible. Two-thirds o f the budget in every U.S. household involves some kind of service, whether health care, education, yard work, auto repair, or accounting. Most services are inherently local and can be competitively delivered by professionals working out of their homes. We need to identify these gaps, encourage existing service providers to expand into these areas and target entrepreneurship efforts on creating these kinds of professionals.

4. Have local fun.