Thursday, October 31, 2013
Joni and I ran across this drilling rig outside of Williams, California yesterday. The rig is drilling on land that belongs to (I think) the Wilderness Unlimited private hunting club. A weird juxtaposition, for sure. They are drilling at this site 24 hours a day. Given the large tanker trucks present, I assume they are fracking this well.
Wednesday, October 23, 2013
I am thankful that my back is on the mend. The injections that were shot into my muscles of my back seem to have done the trick. I met with the specialist MD last week, and there seems to be room for improvement yet. So, lord willing Workers' Comp approves the request, I'm hoping we will get one more set of shots and then things should be good enough for me to return to work.
The last six months certainly have been hard; made harder by the fact that not all the health professionals bought into the fact that I was even experiencing pain. Tensions flared. Medications were grudgingly given or too slowly given. I felt a whole lot of pressure to work before I was ready to. I felt a whole lot of pressure to work while under the influence of medications that nurses shouldn't be working under.
At times I was told to "buck up" and "learn how to work in pain". I was told that the pain in my back was all in my head. I was told that it was referred pain from the broken ribs. I was told there was no reason for me to be experiencing pain. The way I was treated was disorienting. Dismaying, really. Confusing.
In the end, the right decisions were made. I'm thankful to the NP who listened closely enough to order the consult with the pain specialist who does the steroid injections. And I'm thankful that they seem to be working.
I am still in pain--but it is livable. And it seems to be calming down everyday. By the time I get back to work it will have been six months since I was injured. It was good that we have such things as Workers' Comp to help us through injuries. The system certainly isn't perfect (I learned that); and I still don't think that my hospital should be able to self-administer its Workers' Comp. It isn't a friendly system and you have to stand firm and work with the people who are there to help you. Their job is to get you well as quickly, and as cheaply, as possible. Your job is to stand up for yourself. Only you know your symptoms.
It is all water under the bridge now. I'm glad to be on the mend.
Sunday, October 20, 2013
Belinda reorganized one of our bookshelves. Looks nice. There's some good stuff on this shelf. Most of it acquired since we moved up here in 2008.
Well, I'm pretty sick of politics and LaMalfa after that horrible business of the Government Shutdown and the Debt Limit increase. There has been universal spanking going on against LaMalfa for having voted AGAINST restarting the Government and raising the Debt Limit. If it was up to LaMalfa, we might still be in Shutdown. The Government may not be paying creditors, and all general financial mayhem would be going on right now.
The Chico ER wrote a decent editorial against Doug LaMalfa stating that he is an embarrassment. True. From the editorial:
"The reality is, the extreme-right wing of the Republican Party — north state Rep. Doug LaMalfa included — held the country hostage in a hissy fit over a health care law they didn't like. Well, we're not real fond of it either, but buck up, House Republicans. You lost. Get over it. Do what you can to improve the Affordable Care Act and quit trying to derail it. That train has left the station."
And it was more than the Chico ER that spanked LaMalfa. The Sacramento Bee and the Fresno Bee outright called for the three Congressman who voted to continue the Shutdown and to not raise the Debt Limit should have consequences for their action next November of 2014. From the Sacramento Bee:
"Reps. Doug LaMalfa, Republican from Richvale, Rep. Tom McClintock, Republican from Elk Grove, and Jeff Denham, Republican from Turlock, cast extremist votes. Central Valley voters should remember come November 2014."
Read more here: http://www.fresnobee.com/2013/10/19/3560150/editorial-defenders-of-a-fools.html#storylink=cpy
This may have been the extreme Right Wing's Waterloo and, finally, the end of the Tea Party as a force in American Politics. I hope so, anyway.
Thursday, October 17, 2013
Okay, so I've been grumpy and all in an uproar, punching out text from atop this little soapbox that the Chico ER wasn't covering the LaMalfa induced Government Shutdown properly. I accused them of being silent on the issue. I accused them of ignoring an issue that needed to be addressed through an editorial. Turns out I was wrong. David Little, the editor of the Chico ER, pointed out the mistake to me today and was kind enough to send a copy of an editorial entitled "Republicans in no-win situation".
On October 2, two days into the Shutdown, the Chico ER wrote a decent editorial that pretty much summed up the situation: "House Republicans need to come to their senses and realize their futile political statement has some real-world implications." The editorial was totally against the Republicans shutting down the government in order to attempt to defund Obamacare.
And they mentioned Congressman Doug LaMalfa: "The people who were impacted the least (by the shutdown)? The political tools in Congress who don’t think twice about holding the country hostage while they play politics. Shame on them. And that starts with House Republicans, including Doug LaMalfa."
It was a scathing editorial that found the Republicans behavior to be "baffling".
I hate it when I'm wrong. I will say that I am pleased that the Chico ER took this position against the Republican's strategy. The Chico ER got it right. And because I missed this important editorial, I apologize to the Chico ER.
I was wrong.
Wednesday, October 16, 2013
Robert Reich described what just happened over the last 16 days as a coup attempt by some extremist Congressmen who are financed by a couple of billionaires. It is amazing that we had 18 Senators and 144 Congressman vote to default on our debt and to continue the Government Shutdown. All of these irresponsible America Hating Politicians should be voted out of office. They are essentially the Gang of Eighteen and the Horde of One Hundred Forty Four--willing to risk defaulting on the debt in a "gee, lets see what happens" experiment. These Extremists don't trust the word of any experts. Global Warming? No, even though 97% of Climate Scientists confirm it is true. Some don't even believe in Evolution.
Hard to believe we'd elect these idiots. However, nothing ever gets reported in the papers about LaMalfa around here anyway. In the past 16 days, the Chico ER didn't have one story on LaMalfa, nor one editorial about the shutdown. They protect the criminals and keep the electorate uninformed.
But it is worse than that. What these guys tried to do (and a few gals) is to destroy government itself. They don't believe it is needed, so "get rid of it".
My own Congressman, Doug LaMalfa said that he would vote to end the Shutdown if it got rid of Obamacare or if it greatly reduced the deficit. He voted against it; one of the 144. I called his office and asked a hapless staff member if he knew how Doug was going to vote? "No", the staffer said as he took my name and phone number. Doug LaMalfa must have hired the most clueless staff members ever. Every right wing politician knows what Freedom Works is---they fear that this group will finance a primary challenge to their right. The woman who runs his Oroville office, Lisa D., said she didn't know what Freedom Works was. She is the same woman who tried to physically push me away from Doug LaMalfa when she figured out that I was going to ask him about Agenda 21. Didn't work. I got to ask Doug, who answered the question in the affirmative.
So we know who the extremists are. Now it is time to work to get them out of politics. Let them go back to their old jobs before they do real damage to this country.
I hope the 27 Republican Senators and the 87 Republican Congressmen who voted for sanity depart from their Extremist cousins and begin working with the Democrats who are more than willing to create some real bipartisan progress towards the problems facing this country. Hell, we should just go ahead and invite them to become Democrats.
And Boehner? More Democrats voted to end the Shutdown than Republicans. When it comes to actually governing, he needs to turn to the Adults in the Room and forget the Tea Party 80. Or 144. It is scary that 144 Congressmen voted the way they did. Amazing. Just Amazing.
This really was a Coup attempt by an extremist fringe that hates government and hates Obama. The LaMalfa Coup.
Tuesday, October 15, 2013
The ironic thing is that the debt is coming down. Obama raised taxes and slashed spending such that our deficit is much less than expected. It helps to wind down two wars too. The second will end soon with all sorts of budgetary savings.
John Boehner doesn't have any balls to stand up to the extremists in his party. If I were one of the Republicans who didn't sign the letter to withhold Obamacare, I'd seriously start thinking about becoming a Democrat. Hell, I think the Dems should start trying to actvely lure some of the reasonable Republicans to the light.
Of course LaMalfa remains in the dark. And you'd never know that LaMalfa is one of the 80 Representatives who are pushing for default on loans and are keeping the government shut down. There has been no mention of this in any of the papers. They are staying away from the budget debacle--and I don't know why. Are they scared of offending readers? I'm talking about the major newspapers, specifically the Chico ER.
So honestly, I think these guys are crazy enough that they just might push the country into default. Boehner is going to have to grow a couple and appeal to the Dems to get this thing stopped. The 80 Extremists should be shunned for the remainder of Congress. No bills passed of theirs. No cooperation whatsoever until they learn how to play nice.
If I were a Republican right now, I'd become a Democrat. The patients just took over the asylum in the House.
And I sent in a long piece to the CNR today which, if the editor likes it, will be the feature story in a few weeks. Generally, the rewrites suck. They make me work. But this time, and with Joni's excellent editing, I think we've got a good piece going.
Monday, October 14, 2013
I live with four women. Joni. Joni's daughter who moved in with us in July. Kylie and Jazmine (age 13 and 12). I'm also on Disability so I don't really have all that much of an escape from these Female antics. Yes, I can take a walk...but my back dictates that I try and heal and not do too much.
Four women and we share one very small bathroom. I trip over hair dryers, hair straighteners, curlers, four bottles of face wash, fru fru shampoo bottles (multiple), bottles of conditioner, buckets of nail polish and many other implements of proper female teenage vanity care.
We have one television--which is probably unusual in American families these days. What to watch, when we watch is always a negotiation process similar to what the Soviets and the Americans had during the SALT talks. Exemptions: The television is ceded to me at 6 pm every night for Rachel Maddow; NCIS is Joni's Tuesday night must see show. Other than that, it is a negotiation between the Teenagers who have fallen in love with some of the worst television to pollute the airwaves. Jersey Shore. A game show called: Baggage, which is so disgusting, I can't even describe it. The adults have veto power over the TV. The Teenagers pine for a more traditional lifestyle (and their own television).
This off grid, simple life inflicted on the two Teenagers with a house of walls of mud and rooms that aren't even close to being finished, is really uncool when you are in that image conscious "gotta fit in with my friends" stage of life. Inviting friends over is rare; at this point, what we have done is just plain bizarre to the Teenagers. "Why can't we have drywall or a NORMAL house!", words I hear often, usually at top volume.
Now that it is colder, there is no place for the male of this tribe to get away. Until yesterday. Joni ceded a corner of our Bedroom to be my: Man Cove. It ain't much. But it is a place where I can escape the female talk and problems, retreating to a place of refuge to write and read.
Saturday, October 12, 2013
Despite losing, the fight was picked up in many other states. Washington State has a ballot initiative coming up in November. After California's Prop 37 lost, the state legislatures of Maine and Connecticut passed GMO labeling laws. Twenty six States have legislation pending on labeling GMO's.
This is a law that is going to happen. The movement is comprised of mostly women. Women who are appalled that twenty years ago, genetic changes were made to seeds and were released untested into the American food system. The evidence seems murky regarding the safety of these foods. Yet there are a couple of reasons to object, despite the insufficient knowledge regarding the food safety. First off, it puts our whole seed industry into just a couple of company's hands. A monopoly for Monsanto. Secondly, it is never a good idea to splice genes from different organisms into a "Genetically Modified Organism". This does not happen in nature and, philosophically, this is just something that should not be done. It is a gut reaction that we are playing with the stuff of life.
Personally, I think the evidence is there to make a case against GMO grains. First off, just take a look at the explosion of chronic disease that has occurred since they were put on the market in the late 80's. I'm sure we will be gathering more and better data confirming what, at this point, is just circumstantial evidence with a few promising studies.
This March wasn't as big as the one a few months ago. But the last one I attended was in Sacramento. However, when you attend these gatherings, it really is a movement that is led by women. There must be something maternal about genetics and food. Women know instinctually, that you just don't mess with the genetic make up of an organism. And because this movement is led by women, it will succeed. I'd make a bet that every state will have labeling laws by 2016. And after that, there will come the push to eliminate GMO's to our diets. That is what the big companies are worried about. And that is what is going to happen. Of this, I am fairly certain.
Friday, October 11, 2013
Just a few of us down at LaMalfa's office today. We were there as a presence to ask that this Government Shutdown, engineered by Congressman Doug LaMalfa and 78 others, and carried on by Speaker John Boehner---that this thing end. The whole thing has become pointless. I know that the Republicans are upset that the Working Poor just might have the opportunity to have health insurance, but, really, must we have such a temper tantrum that we close down vital services because of it?
In the meantime, the Newspapers of Northern California remain silent on the whole matter. The Chico ER still has not editorialized about it. Nor anybody else in the past couple of days. There was a good Letter to the Editor in the Chico ER today. But nothing from those who run the paper.
To me, their silence is tacit approval. Approve of it or not, the people of Northern California need to know that their Congressman is one of the zealots who pushed to have this mess happen. Somewhere, someplace, Doug LaMalfa should be deemed responsible for this mess.
Will the Chico ER? the Oroville Mercury? the Marysville Appeal/Democrat? the Redding Searchlight? the Red Bluff Daily News? the Corning paper? the Mount Shasta paper? Will anybody please come forward and mention that our Congressman is responsible for a Government Shutdown that has led to some pretty scary things?
The risk of a default by not raising the Debt Cap seems less today. Boehner is willing to give in on that, for now. Unless, of course, 79 absolutely crazy Congressmen, amongst them LaMalfa, decide that all the dire warnings about defaulting on debt is wrong and Boehner buckles, once again, to Right Wing pressure.
It is time for the Democrats to retake the House in 2014 and put an end to this irresponsible behavior by a party that has become enamored with Extremists.
Thursday, October 10, 2013
They moved to the Suburbs so that their kids could go to school with other White kids. Egalitarianism from previous generations was gone; killed by the draft and the Vietnam War and the thinking that you deserved to die if you couldn't figure out a way to get out of going to war. Kids found God and got religion for the deferment. Kids went to college for the deferment. It set an ugly precedence, got us used to a whole divide of people less fortunate than us. It set the table for the tax cuts to the rich and the unbelievable wealth transfers to the Upper Classes.
The elder Baby Boomers, those born before 1954 who had turned 18 in time to vote for McGovern (but not in great enough numbers). After that war ended it was career and cars and a focus on the immediate family. Normal stage of life stuff for about sixty million peers. It was a time for "meritocracy" in Chris Hayes terms. "I deserve this house in the ex-burbs, due to my own brilliance". Reagan came along and it was morning in America again. And most Baby Boomers bought it. And they bought into the materialism: the SUV's, the Monster Houses, the stereos and an increased love of gadgets. The age of political activism was done; time to raise family. Yet this family raising was done in isolation with the belief that with enough early exposure to Mozart, my kid could develop into a renaissance child. Public schools got neglected in order to create Magnet Programs. Charter schools. School choice. Anything that would get my kid the advanced status he/she deserved. Meritocracy, you know: we earned it.
Those were awful years. Clinton became President, the first Baby Boomer Executive in Chief and he immediately declared that the age of big government was over. Old tried and true socialist health programs were ignored to try and create some complicated private market mess called Hillary care. It flopped. The war on the poor ramped up; Welfare was reformed so that taking money on the dole was no longer possible for the poor for more than a few months; only Trustfunders could receive a monthly stipend for life.
A second Baby Boomer President came along in 2000. A not too bright C student son of privilege by the name of George W. Bush Jr. 911 broke our hearts and rather than seeing it as a sophisticated criminal act, W decided it was good cause to settle some old scores against his Daddy. We began a decade of war. Cost trillions of dollars (all off budget). And it secured the vast oil fields of Iraq for western corporations. One of the first acts of the invasion of Iraq was to eliminate the state owned Iraqi Oil Company.
More awful years. Now the Baby Boomers were nearing retirement. So what did Baby Boomer Romney do? He created a plan whereby the best Medicare plan would continue for the older Baby Boomers. Younger brothers and sisters would get vouchers and would expect to pay for their healthcare on the private market. The program that had worked since 1967 would remain the same for the elder Baby Boomers. An unfair system, but that didn't matter; this generation had become used to inequality from the time the boys received their draft number and they had to scramble to figure out a way to avoid the Vietnam War.
And I wonder how John Lennon would have responded to all of this? Would his songs remain political. At all. Or would he sing of organic veggies and awakenings to spiritual leaders, GURU's with seven digit incomes. The old line churches melted away, only to be replaced by either the Suburban Pop Church with their pop psychology, drum sets and action groups for divorced lonely Boomers. It was either that or a flight into a world denialism, a nilhism, represented by self actualization and meditation combined with a bit of herbal juicing, organic gardening and either Tarot card Divination or Astrology. Sometimes both.
Alternative medicine became all the rage. Andrew Weil MD, with his Marxian whiskers, had absolutely nothing in his approach to health that was even slightly communal. He made a fortune; bought a bunch of BMW's, a huge house in Tucson with an Olympic sized pool and reminisced about the days when he used to look for medicinal plants in the Amazon.
Nobody talked much of class anymore. Nobody mentioned egalitarianism. Tax rates were brought down to obscene levels where the wealthy paid LESS than the working poor. And this monster bulge of Baby Boomer population went along with it. They reveled in it. They created it.
The Sons and Daughters of the Greatest Generation decompensated into what Hunter Thompson called a "Generation of Swine". Yup. As it turned out, the Baby Boomers departed from the social contract in many ways: They escaped to Gated Communities. They created private police forces. They created school choice and Magnet schools. They became very comfortable with poverty and the return of homeless beggars.
These kids, who used to agitate against Apartheid in South Africa ended up living their own American Apartheid where their kids went to magnet schools and their families lived in the ex-burbs in houses that had three car garages and four bathrooms.
Tuesday, October 8, 2013
The mountain in the background is Mount Lassen. This photo I took on my little illegal foray into Lassen Volcanic National Park. I had the place to myself, courtesy of Doug LaMalfa, who was quite active in pushing for the government shutdown (despite his denials in a letter he sent a friend of mine today).
LaMalfa knows no shame really. He is part of a new breed of right wing extremist politicians whose world view are so tight, no amount of fact, truth or matter of the heart will cause any change in the hard hearted politicians. LaMalfa doesn't believe government is good for much of anything. Charity should take care of the poor. In his world, Somalia is probably the most free nation on earth: plenty of guns; charity is the welfare system; no government regulations to ruin a free market.
These guys, the "Suicidal Seventy Nine" members of the House of Representatives are dangerous. They aren't particularly bright; they just lead very myopic lives. And their zealotry is frightening. They see nothing beyond their own rice farms.
So in keeping tabs on the Newspapers of Northern California today: None of them have had an editorial that blames the Government Shutdown on LaMalfa. In fact, it is day 8 of the crises and there is very little acknowledgement that the Shutdown is happening. Come on David Little, editor of the Chico ER, what's up with you avoiding the issue? And Bruce Ross of the Redding Searchlight, a bright fella, better than most around here, whose politics more resembles Joe Scarborough rather than Rush Limbaugh----why so silent Bruce?
In other matters: Assemblyman Brian Dahle did get a bill signed by Governor Brown today. The bill he wrote with a Democrat is good in that it calls for clearing undergrowth in a way to cut down the severity of wildfires. The only problem is that it extends the legal diameter of a tree that is cut from sixteen inches to twenty-four inches. This is no longer clearing undergrowth; it is a slippery logging bill that got snuck through the legislature. There was no outcry from environmental organizations about the bill. The bill would have been better if the current sixteen inch max diameter would have been honored.
Of course, the Redding Searchlight was pleased that Dahle managed to get a bill through the legislative process. They have an obvious affection for the guy who used to participate in coyote hunting competitions on his land. Jim Nielsen was the Senator who sponsored it on his side of the aisle. That should have been warning enough that something slimy was going on.
Dahle does have an idea to create pellet facilities from the bio mass that is cleared from the thinning of the undergrowth. And there is plenty of undergrowth to clear. I wonder if he would go so far as to have either State government funding for these factories or maybe even have them be owned by the State of California. As such, that would make Brian Dahle as much of a Socialist as Obama. It would be good to see his idea come to fruition. Although you have to be a bit skeptical: Most times when Republicans mention "thinning" and forests, it really means "logging". Logging operations in California must be planned and approved by the California Department of Forestry. Clearing undergrowth doesn't require that extensive of a permit process---so it just might be a quick way around a regulatory process. Twenty four inch trees makes it worth their while to log.
Monday, October 7, 2013
The government shutdown that began October 1, was first called for by a letter, drafted by a Mark Meadows of North Carolina and also signed by Doug LaMalfa and 77 others---requested that John Boehner shut down the government over the funding of Obamacare. Mark Meadows is a freshman legislator from the Tea Party freaks. Doug LaMalfa is also a freshman legislator friendly to the Tea Party freaks. Rachel Maddow is reporting that there has been a plan to shutdown the government since the Inauguration of Obama's second term--masterminded by Reagan era veteran Edwin Meese and funded by, guess who? The Koch Brothers.
You wouldn't hardly know that there is a shutdown if you read the Northern California newspapers. Reading through the editorials for all of the papers in Doug LaMalfa's district, only one, the brave Nevada City newspaper, the Union, has called for Doug LaMalfa to change his position on shutting down the government. Kudos to the Union!
One other newspaper had an editorial regarding the shutdown: The Paradise Post. The Post editorial board didn't blame either side, nor was LaMalfa's name even mentioned. There was no mention that this shutdown was planned by 79 Congressmen including LaMalfa. The Paradise Post's solution is to, amazingly, stop the Congressmen's paychecks. They think this will end the Shutdown.
Nothing in the last seven days was mentioned in the Red Bluff paper. Nor the Redding paper. Nothing in the Corning paper. The Marysville paper did have an editorial complaining that Beale Air force Base isn't considered an essential base (even though they manage drones that bomb kids in Afghanistan).
One paper that has been at least a little bit critical of Doug LaMalfa is the Chico ER. Yet, David Little, the editor, decided it was much more important to write about the fantasy State of Jefferson last Sunday rather than write about the reality that the government Shutdown was brought about by the actions of our Congressman LaMalfa. Shameful!
I guess you just don't mention things that you are embarrassed about. Come on editorial writers, get it together! Do your research on our awful Congressman LaMalfa! Inform us, don't ignore us.
In the meantime, there have been demonstrations against Doug LaMalfa. Redding had one last Thursday as did Oroville. We will do it again in Oroville this next Thursday, assuming the Shutdown is still ongoing. The Chico ER did have a feeble attempt at covering the LaMalfa protest in Oroville. They sent a reporter, Mary Weston, whose report reads like a very disinterested students attempt at taking notes in a calculus class. Terrible reporting.
Over the weekend I went to a National Park that is in Doug LaMalfa's district. Lassen National Park is closed. Partly out of civil disobedience and partly out of a contract to write a story about the Park, I hiked into the Park and spent the night on the peak of Mount Harkness where Ed Abbey wrote Desert Solitaire. It was a once in a lifetime event to have a National Park to yourself. I slept under the stars, with the new moon making it very dark, and watched a beautiful display of amazing starry beauty. You should be able to read about this adventure in print in another publication in about a month.
Thursday, October 3, 2013
Wednesday, October 2, 2013
Wandering the back roads, driving back from Napa where a couple of doctors shot up my back with steroids, I came across one of those signs pointing to a "place of Historical Interest". Interested, I turned down a road and drove a few miles in the middle of the Sacramento Valley. The place of interest turned out to be this building which is an original Carnegie Library.
You remember Andrew Carnegie? A man of enormous wealth made from the sweaty brows of thousands of steel workers, he decided that he shouldn't spend his money on giving his workers' decent wages. He thought they would just squander the money on liquor and frivolous pursuits. Instead, he built libraries coast to coast. This is one of them in a town that no longer exists. The library states it has been running continuously since 1917, although the doors were locked when I stopped in.
The town really does not exist anymore.
As for the success of the steroids? We need a few more days to assess, but thus far there has been minimal improvement.
Tuesday, October 1, 2013
Wow. What a day. For some reason, the Republicans think that some specific legislation that was settled years ago, stands in the way of a Continuing Resolution to fund the Federal Government. Now, if this was over funding an offensive war, like say the one in Iraq, that would be one thing. But the Republicans think that those who don't have health insurance, and the threat of them acquiring health insurance, is enough of a danger to the point that they chose to shutdown the government.
That's right: Keeping poor people from getting health insurance is the reason why I may not be able to go to Lassen National Park to write a story on Ed Abbey on Friday. Are these people so mean that restricting poor people from receiving healthcare is worth bringing our economy to a standstill? These fascist Tea Partiers really are hate filled extremist pukes.
And John Boehner is a weiner for not talking back to the 80 or so extremists whose very purpose in Washington is to destroy it. They want to see the government fail. They hate government and think that there are very few roles for the government to exist. Freedom for them is freedom from government. So if they raise enough havoc to actually close down the government, they think this is success. They hate government so much, they'd like to see it whither away (but not in a Marxian sense).
Extremist Pukes. They are ruining this country.
I am in the Napa Valley where tomorrow I will be receiving shots into my scapula. We are hoping that these injections will stop the muscle spasms that have made my life miserable for the last five months.