Saturday, May 31, 2014

In The Beginning Was The Money, And The Money Was With God...

I was cleaning out my car when I found a rant that I had written and shared on the air a few weeks back. It has to do with the current state of our union.

Picture from OccupyLincoln.net
Well, here we are. We find ourselves in a country where the  highest court of the land has determined that money equals speech and therefore those with the most money have the largest voice. They also have affirmed that a footnote written by a clerk at the top of the lawsuit in 1886 called Santa Clara County vs Union Pacific Railroad changed the definition of corporations to mean that they are living breathing people.

These days we give  welfare out to corporations like they are destitute people that actually need the money. Without corporate welfare and bailouts from actual people and tax payers of this great country, the whole free market capitalist model would destroy itself. It tried that in 2008 and in 1932 but the non corporations saved it through our government and taxes.

Now corporations are getting welfare and tax breaks on a regular basis and the courts have recently said that they can use this money to buy politicians and think tanks to write corporate friendly laws. These corporate funded politicians can go to places like ALEC and get bills custom written to be friendly to a wide variety of businesses such as extraction, energy, agriculture, manufacturing and others. They can put their names on them and when they do, the businesses that these bills are friendly to in turn donate money to the politician. This works well for everyone involved except for the citizens of the country that pay the taxes. Companies like Freedom Industries that placed their tanks right on the banks of the Elk River in West Virginia were allowed to site their tanks next to the water supply for the businesses own convenience. The drinking water in the capital of West Virginia was now poisoned but the company is protected from liability. They filed for bankruptcy so the tax payers end up paying for most of the cleanup. This is what happens when corporations get what they want. They destroy the goose that lays the golden eggs.

Yes there are still a few rules attached to what would otherwise be called quid pro quo but nothing a high priced lawyer can't navigate around. When the laws do get in the way of doing business, they just get a better politician to pass new laws to repeal any restrictions on their freedoms to do as they please.

This is where we're at. A country that is transitioning from a democratically elected representative government to an oligarchy, elected by those with the most money and speech (same thing now).

Forget Fukushima, Iraq, Afghanistan, Benghazi, or even global climate change. We have lost control of our government and the only way to get it back is with a constitutional amendment to define people as real people. People that eat and have babies. People that fight the wars. people that go to school and have student loans. People that invent things that other people need. People that love and write poetry. People that believe in a higher power and those that don't. People with the freedom to be what ever they can aspire to be.

Not people that reap huge profits but face almost no liabilities. Not the ones that enslave our foreign neighbors to make our products in sweatshops while we toil in a service industry with wages so low, some of us can't afford to live an honest and moral life even though we work full time.

Those people that call themselves corporations don't share in the risks that the rest of us do because they are protected by their lawyers. They internalize profits and externalize their liabilities like BP did with their oil spill. They declared it cleaned up but oil is still washing up onto gulf beaches and will continue to do so for decades to come. Like TEPCO the electric company that has continually lied to the government of Japan and those of the world about radiation spewing from three melted down reactors that will continue for decades. Like the recent recalls by General Motors. GM isn't liable for the deaths they caused  because they filed for bankruptcy and that gave them immunity from prosecution in such cases.

Add all this to the recent decision by the U.S. Supreme Court that affirms that millionaires and billionaires can spend as money (speech) as they can afford to influence our elections, you can see that we have lost our country.
Image from Wikipedia

I believe that there is only one course left for the citizens of the US to get back their country and that is to pass an amendment to the US Constitution affirming that only real people are people. This one thing will undo several decisions that allowed the take over of our country by a privileged class of corporate people that worship money over country and real people.

Move to amend.org.  Money does not equal speech. There is little time left. If we cannot do this, we will be relegated to prayer and the bible and even that has changed thanks to the US Supreme Court. Now John 1:1 reads "In the beginning was the money, and the money was with God and the money was God."

We need to stop this nonsense now! Move to amend.org
Sign the petition. I did.

Tom Sebourn
Trinidad Ca.





Monday, May 26, 2014

Images From Big Lagoon California Memorial Weekend

My camera is my paint brush. In this case it was my cell phone.
Big Lagoon is about 10 miles north of Trinidad California on US 101. It is a small enclave of secluded homes with a grade school, park and camp ground. The Lagoon is divided from the Pacific Ocean by a narrow spit of sand that occasionally gives way and breaks through. This allows ocean going Steelhead to escape the lagoon or ocean and or return to hunting or spawning grounds depending on which direction they are traveling.
The kid that built this sail canoe said it's more stable than you might think.

Picturesque homes and cabins overlook Big Lagoon and the Pacific Ocean.

Paddle Boarding is all the rage these days. Even on rough days like today. 

Saturday, May 24, 2014

Kinetic Grand Championship Race

The 3 day Kinetic Grand Championship race got underway in Arcata at Noon today. They left the Arcata Plaza and headed to the Manila Dunes where most of the sculptures will change to their sand tires and get ready for the trek out over the sandy dunes to the beach.

After reaching the beach the machines will head about two miles south along the coast before climbing a seriously tall coastal dune where crowds of cheering fans will watch them fly down the other side known as "Dead Man's Drop". Some vehicles will have to be towed up and others will crash on the way down. It's all for the glory!

Today's race ends at Halvorsen Park in Eureka which is near the Samoa Bridge. See the map below.
There will be a party complete with live music, food and even a beer garden. The public will get a chance to meet the racers and get up close and personal.

Tomorrow they will enter Humboldt Bay at the Samoa Bridge boat ramp at 10:32 AM. From there they (if they don't immediately sink), they will paddle or otherwise propel themselves down to the Warfinger Building. A good place to watch the water crossing is from either the boat ramp at Samoa Bridge or the F Street Boardwalk in Old Town Eureka.

After traversing the H2O they will have lunch at Eureka Natural Foods. After this leg of the race they will head out toward Elk River Road ( This whole last leg of day 2 is not so great for public viewing), over the hill and on to Loleta before heading to a camp on Cannibal Road near Cock Robin Island at the mouth of the Eel River.  They will camp with just the racers and crew and the general public is not allowed.

On Monday, day 3 the racers will break camp and head to one more water crossing at the Eel River where they will face the "Slimy, Slippery Slope" on the other side before peddling their way into the tiny scenic town of Ferndale. The races is over by 4:32 PM which is followed by much rejoicing and partying.



Thursday, May 22, 2014

Paul's Live From New York Pizza Closed In McKinleyville

CVS Drug Store Chain has bought the building that currently houses Figueiredo's Video Store in Macktown. CVS started by buying Lima's Professional Pharmacy on Central Avenue in McKinleyville. Then they
bought the building across the street which used to house Don Juan's Mexican Restaurant and Paul's Live From New York Pizzeria in addition to Figueiredo's Video Store. Figueiredo's will be moving to the Safeway shopping center just up the street but Paul's Live From New York will leave Macktown all together. They still have locations in Arcata (just off the plaza) and Eureka, on 6th St.  but their pizza will be missed in points north of Arcata.

What puzzles me is  that CVS seems to think that McKinleyville needs another huge drug store. They already have Rite-Aid a block away and Cloney's is opening up in the Safeway Shopping Center.
New Site of  CVS Drug Store Central Ave. McKinleyville Ca.

Saturday, May 17, 2014

"One Of The Best Films Of The Summer"

Local news/photographic/reporter/announcer guy/film producer,  Andrew Goff,  has given all of us a reason for the season. As spring heads into summer we should all take time to reflect on what is important.
 Ladybug and a carwash, "One of the best films of the Summer!"



Thursday, May 15, 2014

Fair Wage Cafe' Saturday

FAIR WAGE CAFE, SATURDAY May 17th
@ the Labor Temple (840 E Street, 9
th & E, Eureka)
Noon to 5pm


The Fair Wage Folks invite you to the 9th Fair Wage Cafe. Bring family and friends for fabulous live local music all day, coffee, tea, juice, games for kids, lunch, and snacks. All Free!


The cafe is a family-friendly space. Will include music from Sarah Torres, BeTHisBell, Mad River Rounders, Bill Holmes, and Papa Paul. Also words from progressive local candidates and Comedy.

People/Organizations are welcome to set up informational tables. Tables provided.

Hosted by the folks who wrote the the Eureka Fair Wage Act (on the Nov. 2014 ballot as the Minimum Wage Ordinance).

Strong wages build strong families! Gatherings build strong communities!
Please share the FACEBOOK EVENT: https://www.facebook.com/events/731995220185910/ 

For more information call (707) 442-7465, email info@fairwages.org or check out fairwages.org


--
Defending the Community
$12.00 An Hour Minimum Wage for Large Employers

Eureka McDonald's Being Torn Down

As you come into Eureka from the north, US 101 turns to 4th Street. About two blocks into the north end of town used to be a McDonald's restaurant. Today, the place is being torn down into a pile of rubble. For those of you that don't like McDonald's for what ever reason, this is not your cause to celebrate. Just as
Wendy's in Eureka was torn down and became a new fancy modern Wendy's with fireplace and big screen TV's, McDonald's is doing the same. The 4th street location was worn out from age, heavy volume and fatigue so the owner will be doing something similar to what they did at Valley West in Arcata at that McDonald's where there are now couches and big screen TV's in a relaxed atmosphere.

So, if coming to Eureka from the north, just remember that Mc Breakfast place on the left hand side will be closed for at least a few weeks.  This is a great time for people that are stuck in a rut to branch out and try some of the other great eating establishments in Eureka. But if the only thing that gets you going is Mc Food, the McDonald's on the south end of town by the Bayshore Mall is still open.

Tuesday, May 13, 2014

Fund Raiser For Steve Watts This Friday

Waiting For A Miracle: A Benefit for Steve Watts


Friday, May 16th, Passion Presents is hosting "Waiting For A Miracle: A Benefit for Steve Watts", featuring a Silent Auction, Live Music and more.  The event will be
held at Humbrews at 856 10th Street in Arcata beginning at 6 p.m. Admission is a suggested donation of $10. This is a fundraiser for local businessman, musician and Jiu Jitsu Martial Artist Steve Watts, who recently sustained a major spinal cord injury. We hope that you will join us to share your support for one of Humboldt's own!

Thursday, May 8, 2014

Here are the latest radiation reports for the Pacific Ocean.

As promised, I said I would share the numbers when they came in from those volunteers testing the Pacific Ocean for radiation related to Fukushima. I have mostly focused on air monitoring since that's the only monitoring the US Government is conducting. There are others though that have taken it upon themselves to find out what is going on in the ocean.

The folks at Kelpwatch Berkely are testing sea kelp at 44 locations in the Pacific Ocean for cesium.
Here are the latest findings.

At the same time, volunteers have been sending in their west coast samples of water to Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution. This is an all volunteer effort led by Ken Buesseler.
Here are their latest findings and numbers.

From what I can see, the ocean is doing a good job of dispersing the tones of radioactive water pouring over the melted core (or cores) in Fukushima and into the Pacific Ocean. Since our government doesn't see any need to test the waters for radiation, this volunteer effort is all we have to go by. Unless or until the Japanese are able to stop the unmitigated flow of radioactivity into our air and ocean, these numbers will continue to climb. According to projections, the radioactive water plume is just now starting to arrive along the west coast. Keep these links on hand to track and see how things are going as time unfolds.

For now, it looks like the ocean and it's spray are not as dangerous as some may have thought. I will be going out in my kayak this summer and will still eat local fish ( not salmon or long distance fish like Blue Fin Tuna) but rock fish from the local coastal waters. What you do is up to you as the government doesn't see any reason to test the fish or water for radiation. We do know that radiation shows up in the air because there are still some working EPA air monitors and as recently as April 30th, measured 146 Counts Per Minute of background Beta radiation here in Eureka before going off line for several hours. Normal background is about 7 to 10 CPM. Here is a link to the EPA site where you can plug in your town (if it still has a working monitor) and get the latest results for yourself. 

Wednesday, May 7, 2014

Should The State Of California Have It's Own Bank?


This is a great read about how states deal with budget woes. Unlike the Feds, states can't print their own money. For an economy the size of a large country, California should look to a State owned bank for providing funding for infrastructure and other projects that otherwise require cash or expensive bond measures. Another benefit for California owning it's own bank is to remove the middle man or Banksters as I call them from Wall St.. The same folks that regularly crash the economy due to their greed. North Dakota already has one and it was virtually unaffected by the last Wall St. Crash in 2008-2009.  

Read this great story from Ellen Brown at Common Dreans.org


Monday, May 5, 2014

Judge Halts Caltrans Work Along Smith River


 Epic did an Epic job on this story. Check it out at Wildcalifornia.org

Report asks, Is Caltrans Obsolete or Irrelevant?

Is Caltrans Obsolete or Irrelevant? This was asked by the Brown Commission Report, parts of which are published below.

 By, Paul Encimer of Greenfuse

After the Caltrans bolts on the Bay Bridge threatened tragic consequences, Gov. Brown went to an independent commission made up of a team assembled by
Caltrans Seismic Retrofit US 101 Trinidad Ca.
the State Smart Transportation Initiative (SSTI), a foundation and government funded effort, managed out of the University of Wisconsin-Madison, which has a mission of improving the productivity, sustainability, and accountability of state transportation policy and practice. This team included academics, SSTI staff, independent transportation experts, a California lawyer and businessman, and former chief executives of other state transportation departments. It was released on January 28th of 2014. Following are excerpts from SSTI Executive Summary: (from The Brown Commission Report)


Caltrans was organized to build a network of trunk highways linking cities. In metro areas, local traffic began to overwhelm these highways, leading to massive construction. Eventually the highway system was largely built-out, and system operation and maintenance became more critical to Caltrans' job. Yet the department continues to be oriented toward projects- both for new capacity and reconstruction of the existing system.

As early as 1972, when Caltrans was formed out of the Department of Highways, there were calls for more multi-modialsm and less reliance on auto-mobility. More recent passage of state planning goals in AB 857 (2002) and transportation greenhouse gas reduction strategies SB 375 (2998), Signal a need for Caltrans to support reductions in auto travel via low transportation demand land use patterns. 


Californians are driving less, a trend that creates optimism for achieving state planning and policy goals and that should allow for less spending on highway capacity. Other expectations that have developed since the interstate building era include concerns for economic and environmental justice, livability, and economic development. New technologies in planning and operations, and expectations of mode choice have all complicated Caltrans' world. 

Caltrans often has not had to adapt to these changes. When the state vested more funding decisions at the local level, for example, decision makers seem not to have thought much about how Caltrans would have to change to be a partner rather than a master builder. Sustainability initiatives  frequently have worked around, not through, Caltrans. The legislature has required many reports from Caltrans, but these have failed to drive fundamental change in the department which remains oriented toward projects. 

Partly because of its own actions or lack thereof, but also because of how it has been treated by stakeholders, Caltrans today is significantly out of step with the best practice in the transportation field and with the state of California's policy expectations. It is in need of modernization-both in the way it sees its job and how it approaches that job- and of a culture change that will foster needed adaptation and innovation. 

When this review began, Caltrans was moving toward adopting a new five yeear strategic plan that would include a mission, vision and goals.  Critically, the draft plan avoided the word "sustainability" or any similar concept, when one of Caltrans' most important tasks is to understand what sustainability means to a state DOT and to operationalize it in goals, measures, and actions. For example, the department has not come to grips with the reality of induced traffic and the relationship between transportation and land use.

As it remains oriented toward project development, Caltrans has not developed the resources needed in the modern, post interstate building use, Smart Mobility 2010, the department has almost completely ignored the report and failed to implement its important recommendations for practice. 

Caltrans' analytic capacity on these issues has fallen behind that of local and regional partners. though it now controls a mature system, Caltrans continues to view it on a project by project basis. Consequently, systemic and operational issues have not received enough attention. 

System planning documents, such as the California Inter-regional Blueprint, may have sound guidance, but these often do not effectively guide investment of policy, as they garner little interest among the project oriented department.

Operational needs, such as maintenance of its infrastructure, are not fully adapted to the multi- stakeholder environment in which it finds itself. It participates in some partner driven initiatives, such as the nationally significant integrated corridor management (ICM) program in San Diego, but rarely leads on these and tends to view off-system activities as irrelevant. 

Goods movement systems are too inflexible and do not do enough to mainstream facilities for non-SOV (single-occupancy) vehicle travel into project development. The agency and department should support, or propose if no bill is forthcoming, legislation to end the archaic practice of imposing state rules on local streets for bicycle facilities. 

Modernizing Caltrans' mission and redirection resources will only pay off if the department can effectively implement these changes, even though such a system was envisioned in a widely read report from two decades ago. 

One reason for Caltrans' rigidity, both with respect to projects and to its ability to change, is a culture of risk aversion and even fear. Staff frequently cited liability as a concern, but other DOTs have been able to innovate without exposing themselves. 

Caltrans and CalState Transportation Agency should develop mission, vision, and goal statements that re fully consistent with state planning and policy goals. These statements should explain conceptually what Caltrans' role is in sustainability, livability, and equitable economic development. 


One source for these statements is the department's own 2040 long range plan. Another is the recent Smart Mobility report, which has largely been ignored. Critically, if the word "mobility" (whether described as smart or not) remains as a central focus in the department's mission, it needs a clear definition in light of new expectations of Caltrans. 

Whatever the aims of management might be, currently too many in the department understand the word mobility to mean "moving cars faster."

To jumpstart this effort, we recommend that the secretary and director accept responsibility for Crafting these statements in concert with a set of key senior staff of their choosing. To demonstrate the commitment to collaboration, we suggest that these statements be produced in draft and shared with key transportation and elected officials selected by the secretary before finalization. 

Once CalSTA and Caltrans have developed the new statements, they must go to the district directors and other key staff to work out the details and implementation. The process we describe is different from the bottom up aproach that has characterized strategic planning in the department, which resulted in the culture endorsing itself. Strategic direction must come from top down and outside in. 

Following the release of new mission, vision, and goals, Caltrans and CalSTA should use those statements, as well as the recommendations in this report to organize teams to develop implementation action and performance measures. 

Caltrans and CalSTA should work to ensure the success of CEQA reform rulemaking set up by SB 743(2013). SB 743  could do more to advance state planning goals than anything else Caltrans has done. 

The statue's assignment of the SB 743 rule making to another department, however, is evidence of the general lack of confidence in Caltrans' ability to accomplish this trans formative change. And that lack of confidence may be well-founded, as our interviews disclosed substantial resistance to change, with Caltrans staff, for example, arguing to extend the new rules only to the minimum area required, while the statue would permit statewide application. 

Caltrans and CalSTA should modernize state transportation design guidance. A complete overhaul should move quickly. 

This report (and Smart Mobility 2010 and the 2040 plan) provide a stunning critique of what's been called The Last Soviet Republic. Watching local, state and federal agency after local, state and federal agency groveling before Caltrans Willits' atrocity makes this report a potential game changer. Draining 90 acres of irreplaceable Willit's wetlands for a giant interchange of no help to Willits' congestion problem. All based on traffic studies from decades ago. 

Natalynne DeLapp of EPIC has her own report: "Caltrans implementation of the bypass has been a circus of permit violations, spiced with the destruction of a cultural site, and clouded by an underfunded and unproven mitigation plan."

The SSTI report is in tune with the state court of appeal's recent ruling, to the effect that the Richardson Grove boondoggle seriously threatens mammoth ancient redwood trees.  "Incredibly," states Natalynne, "instead of designing alternatives and doing an in-depth environmental review that better reflect the desires of Californians and the environmental realities of our times, Caltrans wastes time and taxpayer money disregarding the intent of the courts by arrogantly steamroolling forward with the project. 

"This bully behavior confirms the independent review conclusion that Caltrans is obvious to the concerns of the public while unabashedly promoting environmentally damaging projects." 

Has the tide turned? Will the North Coast boondoggle projects finally get their comeuppance? 

Cobbled together by Paul Encimer from this 
  which was published in the April 2014 #159 issue of Greenfuse a free monthly newspaper that can be found at establishments around Northern California
The link isn't working. (Sorry about that, I will try to get one that works) this is exactly as is was in the paper. And it was confirmed when I got permission to republish this.
Here is another link directly to the official report, all 71 pages. 

Here is the updated link
 

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