Letters to the Editor
by AVA News Service, January 5, 2011
In previous letter I have indicated my thinking that there is no hope. As I read the progressive periodicals it is clear that we have more than enough information, facts and ideas about how to save the environment and mankind. What is lacking is the political will to do so. The pundits on the left are calling for a grassroots movement to end corporatism, anti-environmentalism, over-population, and so on.
What I am sensing is that we are past the tipping point on many of the major survival factors, for humans and the other species and life forms on this planet. I was going to say “on our planet”, but in reality it’s not ours at all, since life itself does not indicate that it belongs to us. We have made the population too large, the growth economy too large, the carbon footprint too large, the despoliation of the environment too large, the extinction of species too large, put profits before life itself, and so on.
It seems to me that when hope disappears we are all faced with the choice of live or die. Each of us individually, and all of us collectively must make that choice. However, if the masses of people on the planet are undereducated, under informed, in denial, in escapist abusive behaviors, bought off, addicted to entertainment, addicted to consumerism, as they are, then the choice is preempted. They will choose to die, not live. It is my feeling that consciously or unconsciously, everybody knows that we blew it; that the last two hundred years have brought us great creature comfort, but at the expense of our collective lives on the planet.
There are two forms of suicide to choose from, both individual and societal. The first is where there is intention to act, to commit suicide, via the gun, knife, poison, etc. The second form is where there is non-action, without intention. But doing nothing is doing something.
So, is it too late, in the face of the non-action of the people’s of the earth, to prevent mass suicide of the second kind? Are we really going to motor our way over the cliff? Here we are sitting in the car, which is driving to, and is now at the edge of the cliff, and the exhaust pipe is feeding back into the car, and the windshield is covered with so much pollution that the cliff cannot be seen, the smart money is not on the car.
Far ‘n Away Farm in Virginia
Warning: Scam Against Older Men
Women often receive warnings about protecting themselves at the mall and in dark parking lots, etc. This is the first warning I have seen for men. I wanted to pass it on in case you haven't heard about it.
A heads up for those men who may be regular customers at Lowe's, Home Depot, Costco, or even Wal-Mart. This one caught me totally by surprise.
Over the last month I became a victim of a clever scam while out shopping. Simply going out to get supplies has turned out to be quite traumatic. Don't be naive enough to think it couldn't happen to you or your friends.
Here's how the scam works:
Two nice-looking, college-aged girls will come over to your car or truck as you are packing your purchases into your vehicle. They both start wiping your windshield with a rag and Windex, with their breasts almost falling out of their skimpy T-shirts. (It's impossible not to look). When you thank them and offer them a tip, they say 'No' but instead ask for a ride to McDonald's.
You, of course, being a man, agree and they climb into the vehicle. On the way, they start undressing. Then one of them starts crawling all over you, while the other one steals your wallet.
I had my wallet stolen Mar. 4th, 9th, 10th, twice on the 15th, 17th, 20th, 24th, & 29th. Also Apr. 1st & 4th, twice on the 8th, 16th, 23rd, 26th & 27th, and very likely again this upcoming weekend.
So tell your friends to be careful. What a horrible way to take advantage of us older men. Warn your friends to be vigilant.
Wal-Mart has wallets on sale for $2.99 each. I found even cheaper ones for $.99 at the dollar store and bought them out in three of their stores.
Also, you never get to eat at McDonald's. I've already lost 11 pounds just running back and forth from Lowe's, to Home Depot, to Costco, Etc.
So please, send this on to all the older men you know and warn them to be on the lookout for this scam. (The best times are just before lunch and around 4:30 in the afternoon.)
THOSE LYING METERMEN
I was shocked to read where PG&E's spokesman Paul Moreno dredged up the phony energy shortage of a few years back as an argument for the installation of SmartMeters. According to Mr. Moreno, the statewide energy crises a few years ago prompted PG&E to solve the problem with "rotated outages" commonly called rolling blackouts. This was how PG&E reacted to the problem, but it didn't solve the problem.
“The problem" was a direct result of the state legislature deregulating energy production in California. Before deregulation PG&E was only allowed to have 3% of the state's power plants off line at one time. During the rolling blackouts PG&E had 30% of the power plants off line which created an energy shortage. It was a crises manufactured by energy suppliers in Houston, Texas, with the help of PG&E, in order to steal the 12 billion dollar surplus in the California budget at that time. Unfortunately, they stole somewhere in the neighborhood of 20-30 billion dollars and it was the start of an ongoing budget deficit in California. A few companies were forced to pay back a little of the money, but no one went to jail for this white collar robbery.
PG&E did three things to solve “The Problem”: (1) Just before going into bankruptcy they doubled the salaries of all of their executives. The rationale for doubling salaries was that they needed to keep these good people, who had lead them into failure, around. (2) They declared bankruptcy. (3) They have kept more power plants on line and we haven't had any problems since.
Under the circumstances, I don't see how we can believe anything PG&E tells us about SmartMeters.
OBAMA’S BEEN NAUGHTY?
Obama the Long Nosed President
Sung to the tune of Rudolph the Red Nosed Reindeer
Obama the brown nosed president
Had a very very long nose
And if you ever saw it
You would even say it grows
All of the other politicians
Used to laugh and call him lame
They never let poor Obama
Play in the political game.
Then one foggy election eve
Corporations came to state
“Obama with your nose so long
Won’t you be our candidate.”
Then all the neocons loved him
As they shouted out with glee.
Obama the long nosed president
You’ll go down in history.
SOME MODEST PROPOSALS
Note the following changes effective January 1, 2011.
Voters under 30: A vote counts 1.5. From 30 to 65 a vote counts 1. Over 65 a vote counts 0.5. Only members of the Senate, assembly and County Supervisors eligible to vote on all initiatives. You may contact Hambug, the ex-hippie, Chesbro or Noreeeeen with your preference. Buy that bottled water? Prefer that you not vote. Double the number of assembly districts, eliminate senate. Term limits repealed. Many advantages.
Don’t try this: In 1919 a bunch of socialists took a few bundles of their newspaper to the roof of a tall building and threw them off. They all received long jail sentences for this caper.
The Nobel Peace Prize should reflect what one person without influence or money can do.
David Severn should be nominated for what he did in the winter of 2003.
The President has had a white mark placed next to his name for his Afghanistan adventures. He also receives a white mark for fraternizing with assholes.
Nashmead is a small town without electricity located on the Eel River north of Dos Rios. Every 4th of July a tub of ice cream was placed on the train in Willits. When the train reached Nashmead all of the people came down to the railroad tracks with their spoons and ate as fast as they could before the ice cream melted.
In James S’s column recently he writes that the most opposition to the healthcare bill came from people over 65. The real reason for the opposition is that it benefits African Americans, Messicans, hippies and white trash.
Since the Chronicle, has deteriorated so much, the Pee-Dee is a better paper than the dominant newspaper in Phoenix, Albuquerque, Dallas, Fort Worth, Shreveport, Chattanooga, Louisville, St. Louis (!), Omaha, Salt Lake City. Only Denver has a halfway decent newspaper. I did not read the Des Moines or Minnesota papers.
Dave Smith says he likes to read Todd Walton! Don Macqueen’s letters are too short. All the letters from the various prisoners are too long.
CASH FOR MY ARREST
To the AVA,
A modest proposal — the sad truth is: the only place I can write is Room 222 at the "Concrete Motel." The entire government is conspiring to not arrest me. So I, Captain Fathom, will pay in hard currency dollars for a weekend in January.
Alan Graham/Captain Fathom
OUR DISPOSABLE FUTURE
Thanks to our friend, China, America had another fab Christmas. While many chronic complainers are bad mouthing China these days, I say, imagine Christmas without disposable lights, disposable (faux) trees, disposable ornaments, disposable inflatables, disposable electronics, disposable cheer.
The throwaway crap is shipped back to China where it's dismantled, and the material reused to manufacture more throwaway crap to sell to goose-stepping, well marbled, robo-American mall rats. Quite a scam! Thank Jah for China!
Every year on Christmas Eve we drive around to see the lights, since the annual Christmas displays are an indicator of the year to come. Based on the amount and intensity of lights and inflatable lawn jockeys this season, 2011 is going to be a very good year.
Willits, of course, had the usual stoner inflatables — Jerry Garcia, Wavy Gravy, Big Lebowski… But the mind-boggling inflatable créche scenes that covered entire front lawns indicate a looming Christian backlash that will be hard to control. The Tea Baggers are on the march.
Governor Moonbeam has pledged that 2011 will be the year California starts to deal with its $25 going on $30 billion deficit. He promises draconian upper-level lard reduction starting with the education aristocracy. That's why State Treasurer Bill Lockyer snidely dismissed delusional Mendocino County, saying it needs a wake-up call.
First order of business will be to eliminate redundant County Offices of Education. MCOE's twitchy Tichi will have to get a real job outsourcing himself to China as an excellence counselor.
At the annual Solstice Boogie, I won this year's boobie prize — a deck of bubblegum trading cards created by local cannabinuts featuring historical and celebrity stoners from Jerry Garcia to Jesus Christ. The three wise guys didn't gift the baby Jesus with "gold, frankincense and myrrh," they loaded him with "coke, crank, and hash." JC was a stoner from the get-go.
The trouble is my stoner card deck has some duplicates and I need to trade with someone to complete the 52 card array. So, Mr. Editor, will you trade your Alice B. Toklas for a Jerry Garcia? Your Abraham Lincoln for a Wavy Gravy? I want a complete original deck to save for the future when it will be a retro collector's item like the original hoola hoop and lava lamp.
I called my 91-year old mother — an avid AVA fan — for Christmas, and she thoroughly enjoys your rambling account of thrust and parry adventures in Frisco. But she thinks they should be featured in a separate column called "Bruce on the Loose" rather than buried in "Off the Record." As a big fan of the late Herb Caen she thinks you can fille the void. How about it?
—Yes, indeed, 2011 will be a very good year as the invasion of the mind snatchers gathers momentum. A cyber-pot pandemic, like a toxic green fungus, will eventually contaminate the entire Earth, making us all happy, healthy, high — and disposable.
Thank Jah for Doomsday!
Skunktown (Willits), horticultural capital of Mendopia
PS. The China Daily advertising supplement to the December 24, 2010 New York Times states the following: "Over 60% of the world's Christmas products — from ornaments to toys — are made by Chinese manufacturers. Total exports of the products in these products in the first 10 months of this year from East China's Guangdong province — the hub of the Christmas products manufacturing industry — increased by 3.9% year-on-year up to $770 million according to data released by Guangzhou Customs." "For Chinese toy manufacturers, like that of the Zhu Zhu Pets (robotics hamsters), the must-have toys of 2009, business has never been better. Demand for the robotic interactive hamster has been ten times that of last year with sales of $715 million."
HAPPY NEW YEAR?
The arguments about climate change and global warming are confusing. But one can clarify the issues by concentrating on a few important questions. I believe there are but three:
1. Is the earth really getting warmer?
2. Do greenhouse gasses contribute to the problem?
3. How much global warming is attributable to human activity?
The first question: Is the earth really getting warmer?
The evidence for global warming is persuasive. The literature is full of examples: before and after photos of receding glaciers, the reduction of the Arctic sea ice, the rise in sea levels, etc. I myself have lived long enough to see Glacier National Park lose the reason for its name.
People are mostly aware of the evidence. A few are in denial.
The second question: Do greenhouse gasses contribute to the problem?
Most of us have experienced the greenhouse effect. Get into a closed automobile on a sunny day and you'll gather first-hand knowledge about this phenomenon. Greenhouse gases have the same effect on the atmosphere as rolling up the windows on your car. The science is simple — and settled.
A side issue: a couple of decades ago there was concern about an ozone "hole" developing over the South Pole. It was mostly attributed to chlorofluorocarbons (CFCs). The nations of the world united on this issue and pretty much eliminated the use these ozone depleting substances. But CFCs are not greenhouse gasses. Global warming is not attributable to these agents. It's an entirely different chemistry and a different problem.
The last question: How much of global warming is attributable to human activities?
This one is more difficult and may be the nut of the problem.
The world is coming out of an ice age. The climate is warming. The glaciers have been receding for 20,000 years. Sea levels are rising. Some landmasses are rising as well — rebounding from the loss of ice. Flora and fauna are adapting — or not. Some lifeforms have been less successful than others. The woolly mammoth (along with others) didn't make the cut.
An interesting animation of sea level rise is available through a University of Colorado website. It's called, Postglacial Flooding of the Bering Land Bridge: a Geospatial Animation.
The animation shows the rise of 120 meters (almost 400 feet) in the last 20,000 years — a change of about two feet per century.
The present rate is but a third of that — around 8 inches per century. This seems a lessening of the problem. But think about it — as ocean levels rise, the area of the basin gets bigger. More water is required for each inch of change.
Global warming has been underway for some 200 centuries. But significant artificial greenhouse gas production only really began with the industrial age — maybe two centuries ago.
So are we merely experiencing a natural warming cycle? Or are we currently experiencing a natural warming cycle, plus an additional temperature rise associated with our greenhouse gasses?
Climatologists seem to believe it's even worse than that. They believe global warming is mostly attributable to our greenhouse gasses.
Skepticism feels wrong. Most of my life's work has been founded on a core belief in science and the scientific method. I'm inclined to accept conclusions from this community -- especially when there's so little disagreement.
Nevertheless, I am skeptical. Suppose we really got serious about this issue. Suppose we just completely stopped using fossil fuels — right now. Would the warming problem go away?
I don't think so. We're in a natural cycle that's been underway for thousands of years.
Ok. But surely the warming would be slowed?
Maybe so — probably so. But by how much? A lot?
On this, this most important question, the science is — to be kind, imprecise. The answers vary and are vague. Most seem (and probably are) guesses.
And, after the science, there's the politics of energy. There are hundreds of coal-fired power plants in the United States. The Chinese and Europeans have even more. There is transportation: cars, trucks and planes. Home heating is a huge contributor. The burning of fossil fuels in these sectors is the major contributor to artificial greenhouse gas production. And its use is increasing.
It's an international problem and international cooperation is needed to resolve it. But we can't seem to muster the will for change. Unless resource shortages develop, diminished use of these fuels seems unlikely.
Happy new year to you and the AVA team.
GAIA’S RHYTHM METHOD
New Holistic Climate Research
In the 2009 book from Massachusetts Institute of Technology The Metamorphosis of Plants, Goethe’s extraordinary form of (super-sensible) scientific observation is portrayed. Goethe’s views are being re-examined because new answers can be found in his methods for today’s challenges. In the 1920s, Goethean scientist Dr. Rudolf Steiner gave indications for developing this higher perception.
Through such training, it is possible to accurately predict a forecast (with consistency) and gain clear understanding of planetary rhythms — much more so than standard science allows. At Rudolf Steiner College, Dennis Klocek has been developing this ability for decades and (with the help of available computer technology) innovating climatology.
Because of the speed and precision of his forecasts, he’s attracted persistent interest from NASA and others. Like Goethe, Klocek understands that much more influences weather than scientists have thought: it is now clear that all the planets have a significant effect on the entire Earth organism.
Dennis is giving a workshop at Frey Vineyards on Friday, January 7th on this subject: Weather Eye, How to Do a 5-day Forecast. Registration: (916) 342-5718 or www.corosinstitute.org
Klocek is author of many books including The Seer’s Handbook, A Guide to Higher Perception, and the just-released, Weather: Soul Life of the Earth.
PS. Innovations in Water Management — Keyline is a system of water management that uses natural landscape contours and sub-soil tillage in order to maximize availability (and usage) of annual precipitation. Other effects include: greatly increased soil fertility as well as sediment and erosion control.
This approach involves designing a landscape so that rainwater drains off as slowly as possible—out to the ridges rather that straight down the watershed. A Yeomans plow, developed in dry-land Australia, augments this process by breaking up the lower soil strata, while leaving the surface intact. This allows rainwater to infiltrate much more deeply and bring organic matter down. According to the California Water Stewardship Initiative, for each 1% increase in organic matter, water storage can increase by 16,000 gallons per acre-foot of applied water.
Keyline and the use of the Yeomans plow can benefit all terrain: it has even been successfully used on land with a one-foot rise to a 5,000-foot distance. Using such techniques leads to healthier agriculture and forests with clearer streams that run longer into the dry season: a blessing to the entire ecosystem.
This is vital, essential knowledge for all California residents interested in the wellbeing of future generations; water must be well managed for agriculture to be sustainable in the long run (keeping aquifers full and clean)—a foundation of a healthy society.
There is a workshop: January 12th, at Frey Vineyards in Redwood Valley. 9:30 am to 4:00 pm: Keyline—Principles and Concepts for Capturing Water and Enhancing Soil Fertility. Reserve a spot at email@example.com, (707) 485-8684. The instructor is Hugh Williams, a Biodynamic farmer from New York, originally from Australia, who is a Keyline expert.
HONORING JOHN WHEELER
Dear Congressman Thompson,
No doubt you have heard by now that John Wheeler III — affiliated with The MITRE Corporation since 2009, and lately focused on establishing cyber warfare and joint warfare capability — was found murdered on New Year's Eve, although the Newark Police Department didn't release that information until yesterday.
His body was discovered as a garbage truck emptied its contents at the Cherry Island landfill, near Wilmington, DE., not far from Wheeler's home in the Old New Castle neighborhood of Newark, NJ.
Investigators have last placed Wheeler on an Amtrak train from Washington to Wilmington last Tuesday.
It's interesting to note that Wheeler's death wasn't staged to look like a suicide; nor was Wheeler killed in a public manner. My inference is that his death may have served in part as a warning to a certain group of people.
Most recently, Wheeler had been warning about our nation's extreme vulnerability to cyber intrusions. Wheeler was certainly credible in this area. He worked to activate the USAF Cyber Command. He was instrumental in the creation of the Cyber Research Center at the Air Force Institute of Technology. He was a key member of the team for standing up the Air Force Cyber School, including its cyber master's program.
Earlier in his career, Wheeler can be credited with placing Precision Strike technology and Real Time Streaming video targeting links in the hands of groundfighters in combat.
To call John Wheeler a visionary would not be an over-statement. He was a visionary. And he was a patriot. He is well known to Vietnam vets and their families for his leadership and tireless efforts to build the Vietnam War Memorial.
Congressman Thompson, as member of the House Intelligence Committee, and as chair of its Subcommittee on Terrorism, HUMINT, Analysis, and Counterintelligence, I hope you will formally honor the memory of John Wheeler.
Letter to the Editor,
The one-year anniversary of the Supreme Court’s disastrous Citizens United decision (to allow unfettered spending by corporations in our elections) is just two weeks away, January 21st. North Coast citizens believe this is the ideal time to present a resolution to the Fort Bragg City Council endorsing an amendment to the US Constitution clarifying that corporations are not people and are not entitled to human rights.
This is part of a nationwide movement by outraged citizens across the country to help solve the problem of too much corporate money flooding our democracy.
The public is invited to help in this effort, by attending a preparation meeting on Wednesday, January 12th, at 7pm at the Fort Bragg Library, and then by attending the City Council meeting on Monday, January 24th, to voice or show support for their passage of this resolution.
Now is the time for concerned citizens to stand up for democracy and against corporate rule. People's ideas and creativity will be welcomed at the January 12th and 24th meetings.
For more information contact Jim Tarbell (964-1323, firstname.lastname@example.org) or me (937-1113, email@example.com).
Memo Of The Week
To Mark Scaramella
December 16, 2010
Re: Brown Act Complaint
I am responding to your letter dated December 9, 2010.
I consulted with our attorney regarding your Brown Act complaint. He cited two cases that he thought were relevant to the situation and I would like to share that research with you.
You state that the setting of the Superintendent’s goals, and objectives by the Board is not part of the confidential evaluation.
In Duval v. Board of Trustees (2001) 93 Cal. App. 4th 902, the court considered a Brown Act challenge to the agenda listing for the superintendent’s evaluation and in particular to the discussion in closed session of the form the Board would use to evaluate the superintendent.
The court rejected the challenge, finding that the Board’s evaluation of the Superintendent’s performance in closed session is meant to extend to all consideration by the Board of the employee’s discharge of his duties, after his appointment but excluding discipline or dismissal. Thus, the court found that the evaluation review in closed session may include the consideration of the criteria for the evaluation, consideration of the process for conducting the evaluation and other preliminary matters, a comprehensive review of the employee’s performance, a review of the particular instances of job performance, feedback by the Board, a determination of whether the employee’s performance is satisfactory and the establishment of goals for future improvement.
In Versaci v. Superior Court (2005) 127 Cal. App. 4th 805, the court considered the request by a citizen for a copy of the superintendent’s written performance goals. The court found that the goals were not a public record; instead, they were part of the confidential personnel file. The ruling in Versaci was consistent with the holding in Duval, that is, the discussion of the performance goals for the superintendent may occur in closed session and any written materials regarding the goals and evaluation are confidential.
At the Board meeting I indicated to you that I did not think that the Superintendent objectives that were recently developed in closed session were particularly confidential. Upon further reflection, I believe that it is important that the confidentiality of these personnel matters be maintained for the Superintendent and other District employees. Accordingly the Board will continue to consider such matters in closed session unless you can cite some legal authority that requires a different result.
The Board sets and reviews District goals and site goals on a yearly basis in the Fall and reviews these goals in the Spring. This goal-setting and review is done in open session and public comment and input is welcome.
I hope this is helpful. As noted above, if you have any research that is contrary to the above, please forward it to me and I will consider it. Thank you for your support of the Anderson Valley Schools.