ROUGH TIMES, ROUGH SEAS
We are aboard the "SS Constitution State," having finished discharging cargo around the Far East. We have just passed through the strait separating the islands of Honshu and Kyushu heading to Shimizu, Japan to load mandarin oranges for Vancouver. Shimizu is located at the base of Mount Fuji. Those canuks have a habit of eating mandarin oranges at Christmastime. They have to have them. So each fall several loads are sent to Vancouver from Japan.
I am on the 12-4 watch and Adrian Duffy is on the 4-8.
Duffy, born in Ireland, was a member of the crew of the California when they set her down in San Pedro in 1937. It was the event that led to the formation of the National Maritime Union. Duffy was elected Vice President. After the war there was an effort to purge the union of communists. Duffy was a lefty and was one of the purged so he went back to sea.
At 4am I was off watch and went to bed. Duffy had to stand lookout from 4-5am. He had one of those pocket-sized transistor radios and was listening to hillbilly music on the Armed Forces station in Japan. Sometime after 4am the announcer said, "We have a report that the president was shot in Dallas," followed by, "Now here's Roy Acuff doing 'I'm just an asshole from El Paso." Before 5am between two hillbilly tunes they announced "Yeah, the president was shot and killed in Dallas, Texas."
When he came off lookout Duffy woke me up and told me to come to the mess room. Duffy was pissed off by the way the Army station kept playing hillbilly music at such a time. "Those dirty bastards," he kept saying. Apparently Duffy thought I was the only one in the crew of 45 who was interested, as he didn't say anything to anyone else about the news.
Any news we received in Shimizu was very sketchy. Nothing in print in English. Two days at sea we ran into one of those huge storms that you read about in Melville and Conrad. The ship was pitching and rolling heavily -- almost standing on end and doing cartwheels. Those mandarin oranges were in flimsy wooden boxes and had to be stowed so that air could circulate around them. Needless to say the rough seas caused everything to collapse. We spent the rest of the trip throwing rotten mandarin oranges over the side and arrived in Vancouver with about 10% of the cargo intact.
A Merry Christmas was had throughout Canada.
SCIENTIFIC TEAM FINDS NO HARMFUL RADIATION FROM FUKUSHIMA ON WEST COAST
An international team of scientists led by Ken Buesseler of the Center for Marine and Environmental Radioactivity at the Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution has found that there is no harmful contamination of seafood by radioactive discharge from the crippled Fukushima Daiichi nuclear plants “except close to Japan.” Extensive testing of ocean waters beginning shortly after the March, 2011 earthquake and tsunami tore into the six nuclear plants at Fukushima led to a spring, 2013 issue of Oceanus which concluded that “the impacts of the Fukushima disaster to human health are largely localized to the waters near Japan, despite the spread of debris across the Pacific.” “The situation is of concern near Japan coast where fisheries remain closed,” Ken Buesseler wrote in an email to me this November 17. “There is a lot of radioactivity left in the tanks (they have removed much of the cesium, but strontium-90 is still very high), contaminated groundwater that flows to the ocean, and spent fuel pool. Something could get much worse, but so far all of the leaks, etc. in the news are much smaller than the big releases in 2011. Doses from eating fish are very low off US, and in fact 500 times greater from a natural radionuclide, polonium-210, but no one worries about 210Po.” Continuing monitoring and analysis of contamination from the Fukushima crisis will be reported on the website <www.whoi.edu/CMER>. “I will be starting a crowd source page by end of year where you can sponsor samples for Fukushima radionuclide analyses,” Buesseler wrote.
BLOW IT UP TIMES TEN
When I was dean of the College of Science and Engineering at San Francisco State University, I testified before the San Francisco Board of Supervisors and elsewhere against the peripheral canal and its potential negative impact on the bay and the delta. Now we have a plan presented for a delta tunnel project with an estimated price of $14 billion. I ran out a calculation based on the cost estimates versus the final cost for two recent state projects — the Bay Bridge and the Devil's Slide tunnel — for comparison. Using the inflation factors, which caused the final cost of both these projects to be about 10 times the original estimates, I project that the final cost of the delta tunnels should come in at about $200 billion — assuming they can be built at all through water-saturated mud. The original (1974) estimated cost for the 0.8-mile-long Devil's Slide tunnel was $45 million. It came in 10 years late at $440 million. That is $550 million per mile, so 70 miles of tunnel in the delta should have cost at least $38.5 billion had it been started ten years ago. If the state thinks that the water contractors are going to fund a $200 billion water project, it is seriously misguided. The entire project is a fantasy. The annual state budget is $96 billion, so it's not coming from there.
James C. Kelley
Half Moon Bay
A DOLLAR TREE IN FT. BRAGG?
Fort Bragg's city government talks a lot about preserving and protecting existing small retail stores; allowing a Dollar Tree Store simply does not comply with that promise. To quote a new book on urban design and small town economics, “Happy Cities: Transforming Our Lives Through Urban Design” by Charles Montgomery:
“Money spent at small local businesses tends to stay in a community, producing more local jobs, while money spent at national chains tends to get sucked out of local economies. Local businesses use local accountants, printers, lawyers and advertisers, and owners spend more profits in town. National retailers tend to send such work back to regional or national hubs, and profits to distant shareholders. Every $100 spent at local businesses produces one-third more local economic benefit and one-third more local jobs.”
It's crucial that as many people as possible attend the next meeting of the Fort Bragg Planning Commission, set for Wednesday, December 18, at Town Hall, to voice opposition to this ill-advised project. Those who cannot attend are urged to email their opinions to Jlemos@ftbragg.com, or use the USPS to City Clerk's Office, 416 N. Franklin St., Fort Bragg, CA 95437. Economic analysis shows that smaller “match box” chain stores have as much power to hurt local economies as big box stores, because of corporate buying power that enables them to undersell any competition. If you don't want to see Fort Bragg become the coast's discount capital, Please speak out now.
A GREAT PARK REHAB
Dear Wonderful Community of Anderson Valley,
Over the past 30 years, a wonderful thing has happened in our valley. Several groups along with many individuals have come together to create the community park located on the high school property next to the Anderson Valley Health Center. The Community Services District Recreation Committee took on the oversight of the community park and Sueño Latino became a fiscal sponsor along with being active participants in its upkeep when Kevin Jones applied and received several grants to help with improvements. In October, Sueno Latino held two workdays in the park to repair the sand-“boat” and fix and fill in the chip area around the swing area.
We would also like to thank some anonymous “helpers” who stepped up to work in the park! In between the two Saturdays that were the scheduled as workdays, some wonderful people pitched in and cleaned up the remains of the dragon cob-bench that was loved but is no longer with us! Thank you, thank you, who ever you are! It takes a community to “raise” a park when there is no public funding for its creation or maintenance. Many thanks to all of you for this fabulous and popular contribution to our valley and its families!
With heartfelt gratitude,
The Recreation Committee
A PLACE TO BE
Letter to the editor,
To the homeless who literally at times beg for our compassion.
"A handout won't help," proclaims a poster of Wal-Mart. "Contact the various agencies."
A shiny new little car patrols Wal-Mart premises with the comforting title "Protective Services."
The grassy park-like lawn with trees, an ideal place to be, and close to the necessities.
As we herd the homeless from place to place, no right to be anywhere. Pain compounded.
No right to sleep at an MTA bus stop or even in a truck -- or be reported by a righteous citizen -- Christian? — then cited for illegal camping!
No right to sleep. Paying to be on this earth. I summon the New Age.
PS. Wal-Mart has allowed their grounds for years to be used by the homeless, surprisingly. Why the change in policy? Can't we make a place to be?
NO DOLLAR TREE STORE
Responding to Thursday's Advocate article on the recent Planning Commission meeting about permitting a Dollar Tree Store at 825 S. Franklin, which previously housed Social Services:
Applicant Robert Affinito's defense of the Dollar Tree Store's poor employment record, as providing job training for our youth, translates to the fact that this huge Corporation does not provide a living wage or benefits for adults. Meanwhile, the estimated 10% loss of revenues for established local retailers who cannot compete with the DTS 's power to undersell could cause layoffs of adult employees. At the meeting, Commission Chair Derek Hoyle stated that applicant and products sold are not to be considered. This seems questionable. What if a porn shop wanted a permit? As DTS co-founder Macon Brook Jr told Fortune magazine, “We're selling stuff that you want but don't really need.” This chain earned its bad reputation for numerous recalls of faulty products, toxic items, and other dubious offerings. Aside from merchandise already available from existing retail,the DTS seems to promise a lot of future landfill. The City avows its goal to protect and preserve existing local small businesses; allowing a DTS does not comply with that promise.
Affinito's threat that a DTS will move into town “sooner or later” is no reason to grant a permit for this location, and the City could defend its stated goal to protect Fort Bragg's 'small town rural character' by establishing a moratorium on chain stores and fast food franchises of which we already have more than enough.
Affinito's contention that only a 'small portion' is opposed is negated by the fact that the majority of letters to the Planning Commission don't want a Dollar Tree Store in Fort Bragg, plus hundreds of signatures against this project.
THE PHYSICS OF GREED
To the Hope & Change Crowd,
The Major is correct, obviously. Obama doesn’t care. Obama is careless. It is structurally impossible for the president to care about the health and welfare of the people. That’s us, you and me. We don’t have armies of lobbyists armed with huge money to promote our rights. The elected representatives who are supposed to be our advocates are themselves with few exceptions nothing but the errand boys of power. And in any civilized society healthcare is clearly a birthright and a financial win in the long run.
The medical infrastructure will not even come close to proper treatment in a timely manner for millions of newly insured medically neglected people — picture every person in China suddenly having cars but no road systems to move them on! Not only that, but the medical establishment is in no way prepared for a biblical flood of patients.
But this is moot. Obamacare isn’t about helping the many, of course it’s about helping the few. Same old story. I’d like to be wrong as I am uninsured and approaching 60. But unfortunately, my cynicism keeps being well founded as the years go by.
It takes a lot of hope or belief or something to keep people blinded to the terrible facts of life in this corporate socialist state. A system that feeds its citizens on frankenfood, miseducation, disinformation and non-stop obscene pop culture trash and disposable ugly buildings, cars, and you name it, isn’t going to all of a sudden let its socialism move down the ladder. It’s against the physics of greed!
They are the nation that’s always being secured with all our taxes. We are the other nation that’s always being made insecure by their insurance policies at home and around the world. Their national socialism doesn’t give a shit about life down here under their Lear jets and penthouse suites. We are rabble.
GMC was too iconic and too big to fail even though it and the other two Big Auto companies had quite thoroughly and grossly failed us all from the early 50s on. No innovation, no vision, cheap oil, phantasmagoria.
The Republic though is not too big to fail and to be robbed, gutted, abandoned and failed on purpose, no less. The Republic pays for the Empire. Modern history in a nutshell. The only thing about us that they care about is our ability to go shopping — in severe decline, to pay taxes and keep quiet. And of the profits they will make in fact are already making picking up all the broken pieces from decades of unbridled greed and psychotic madness in high places.
This anti-human anti-social system isn’t going to suddenly have a heart just because a different puppet is in the big chair in the White House. Santa isn’t coming to town folks!
National Health is a sane, logical and viable, not to mention moral and ethically responsible way for government to treat its citizens. Which is precisely why it’ll never happen as long as our country is run by criminals, mental cases, greed monsters and warmongers. “…steal a little and they’ll throw you in jail; steal a lot and they make you king. — Bob Dylan.
So all said and done here in front of the fire in editorial last hour, the Major was absolutely right to name his trivia team with an honest and unfortunately provocative title “Obama Doesn’t Care.”
Trivia is of course not trivial when used to keep sharp minds sharp and to learn from our collective past into present time. Thank for daring to be a truthnerd, Mark!
But to all, this holiday is under MAC#3, that’s Military Air Corrider #3, where even clouds are a lie. Remember these facts: There are no commercial jets flying over Mendocino County at this time. Those giant loud jets you hear day and night are US military tanker planes conducting illegal and insane weather modification experiments on us very locally and on the entire Pacific region, especially in the jetstream areas of the Alaskan Gulf.
I dare you head-in-the-sand naysayers to get a scope and have a look. I’ll tell you what you’ll see. Three unmarked planes, two are Stratotankers, the other is a Lockheed C-141 Starlifter cargo plane. The four-engine Stratotanker is a Boeing KC-135 and the two-engine one is a Northrop Grumman KC-10.
Has the military been up to anything but evil when tanker planes are used for projects outside their refueling task?
This white crap going over today and laid down east and west in massive ugly strips is manmade and has exactly nothing to do with jet engine thermal dynamics. The tanker planes are spraying something into the troposphere. This is really sick, really illegal, and blatantly obvious. Wake up.
On that bright note: Peace.
THE VICIOUS CIRCLE
The letter from “a reader” you published in Mendocino County Today (on-line edition), Nov. 23, titled: “Why I Make Terrible Decisions, Or, Poverty Thoughts,” has also been picked up by several lib/prog websites and is garnering no small measure of attention; as it should, for the insightful author, now identified as Linda Tirado, succeeds eloquently in “trying to explain on a human level,” she writes, “how it is that people (in poverty) make what looks from the outside like awful decisions.”
A couple of her lines stand out: “Poverty is bleak and cuts off your long term brain,” and: “It doesn't leave you much room to think about what you are doing, only to attend to the next thing…” In other words, poverty and its exigencies require so much physical and mental energy that one has little left to devote to other activities that need attention or clearly analyze one’s choices. In this context we can better understand James Baldwin's line that anybody who has ever struggled with poverty “knows how expensive it is to be poor.”
Ms. Tirado's insights are affirmed by scientific research. A study conducted by researchers at Princeton University and published in the August 30 issue of the journal Science found that people's cognitive functions are measurably diminished by the constant, consuming efforts to cope with the day to day effects of having little money, such as scrounging to pay bills and trim expenses. On average, the study found, this diminishment is equivalent to a nearly 20 point drop in IQ. Consequently, people have fewer “mental resources” to focus on related issues such as more education, job training, and even time management. It can also become a vicious circle, for “lack of financial resources can lead to impaired cognitive function” while “that condition itself can be a cause of poverty,” the study states.
The finding might partly explain why those who are impoverished and lean rightward politically seem to consistently vote against their own self interests, or why those who might lean left are not marching in the millions through state capitals or battering at the redoubts of the rich (a fact increasingly bemoaned by the left commentariat.)
If we were half as civilized as we purport to be in our collective self-delusion, we would never tolerate conditions that create poverty anywhere.