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Are you against trains in Marin since you stopped all attempts?
Freight trains day and night: Ridiculous. After a few months, at the least there might be two day freight trains a week. No reason to run trains at night business are not open to except shipments at night! Maybe a dozen companies in San Rafael can ship by train and it will be months or years to set up!
Noise? Sorry but you buy a house next to track expect trains. In any case electric trains and the new diesel locomotives are quiet and can be made exempt from whistling at intersections in residential areas.
Dirty diesels? How many people know how a diesel locomotive works? They use a diesel engine to generate electricity that drives the electric motors on all the wheels. They can burn natural gas, propane or hydrogen or use fuel cells or supplement with solar and batteries!
No one will ride it? The Marin to SF traffic has not increased that much in the last 20 years, it is not the problem. But the Marin to Sonoma has gone up exponentially. The train will give these people an alternative to the busses and take thousands off the road. Since the train will go to the ferry terminal, riders will be able to get to SF from Novato or Sonoma via train to ferry.
One track only? That is why they have sidetracks and block lights. (Shakes head!). In any case a second track could be eventually added if needed.
The other problems SMART does not take care off? They will be dealt with when they come up. You cannot make everyone happy. The tracks, bridges and the tunnels have to be fixed before anything else can be done or even considered!
So if SMART does not pass? Then I feel it is time for the Marin supervisors to go to private funding. They need to first get the funds to get the tracks fixed. Local business will save millions by shipping by rail. Local businesses near the right of way and contractors can be asked to invest. I am sure that they can get railroad companies to invest as well. Then there is federal and state money. Maybe even UPS and USPS will help, it they went to rail for some cross-country shipping they would save millions!
A warning to anti train oil company supporters: If Marin Rail is privately funded then you will have little if anything to say about it!
So Supervisors get going with private funding. I doubt SMART will pass. Sadly the oil and auto companies anti train groups lies, fear tactics and propaganda have stopped trains in Marin again!
Bad Choice For President
John McCain is trying to depict Obama as dangerous but who is it that's really dangerous? I say McCain is the dangerous choice. First - look where we are today? Bush and McCain caused this. McCain votes with Bush.
But also, and perhaps more importantly, McCain just doesn't have either the judgment or the temperament to be president. He's just too shallow and erratic. We already found out the hard way what happens when America makes a bad choice for president. I don't think we can afford that kind of mistake again.
I'm Marc Perkel - And I approved this message!
It is remarkable that the most dangerous aspect of our current financial crisis is never mentioned. Unless our adverse trade deficits are mitigated, our fiscal problems can only worsen despite costly (and questionable) bailouts and tax reductions, which will add to our trade imbalance since most of the tax returns would be spent on foreign made goods and oil.
Until we develop our own renewable energy sources, with meaningful conservation measures, our economy and environment will only worsen. Reputable scientists & engineers agree that the potential for alternative energy is there, and can be developed with concerted efforts--once we detooth the energy cartel, which under this administration, has been able to block or delay conservation and energy reforms using fabricated science, warrantless delays, etc.
Moreover, the funding for renewable energy would be spent here--hence enriching our economy while lessening out environmental impact--rather than funding the terrorists.
Human Papillomavirus Quadrivalent Correction
I work for GCI Health, the public relations agency of record for GARDASIL(r) [Human Papillomavirus Quadrivalent (Types 6, 11, 16, 18) Vaccine, Recombinant] and I am contacting you regarding inaccuracies in the article "US: Genetically Engineered Merck Cancer Vaccine Made Mandatory For Immigrants" posted on your Web site. The article inaccurately states GARDASIL is a "live genetically engineered cancer virus." Below and attached please find clarification.
The FDA in its fact sheet about HPV states "GARDASIL mimics the disease and creates resistance. It is NOT a live or a dead virus. It prevents infection with HPV types 6, 11, 16, and 18," (Fact Sheet available online here). GARDASIL contains virus-like particles (VLPs), empty shells consisting of viral protein - but no viral DNA - that closely simulate HPV and are capable of generating an immune response in the body without causing disease.
We hope that you will take the opportunity to correct the misinformation your recent piece on GARDASIL contained and appreciate your prompt attention to updating the article. Please contact me with any questions or in the future should you need any information about GARDASIL.
Dear Red States
We've decided we're leaving. We intend to form our own country, and we're taking the other Blue States with us. In case you aren't aware, that includes California, Hawaii, Oregon, Washington, Minnesota, Wisconsin, Michigan, Illinois and all the Northeast. It may even include Florida and Ohio. They are seriously considering it. We've given them until Nov. 4th to decide. We believe this split will be beneficial to the nation, and especially to the people of the new country. Since we're dropping the middle states we're calling it United America, or simply the U.A.
To sum up briefly: You get Texas, Oklahoma and all the slave states. We get stem cell research and the best beaches. We get the Statue of Liberty. You get Dollywood. You can take Ted Nugent. We're keeping Bruce Springsteen and Billy Joel. You get WorldCom. We get Intel and Microsoft. You get Ole' Miss. We get Harvard and 85 percent of America's venture capital and entrepreneurs. You get Alabama. We get two-thirds of the tax revenue; you get to make the red states pay their fair share.
Since our aggregate divorce rate is 22 percent lower than the Christian Coalition's, we get a bunch of happy families. You get a bunch of single moms, and the highest concentration of pregnant unwed teenagers. Please be aware that the U.A. will be pro-choice and anti-war, and we're going to want all our citizens back from Iraq at once. If you need people to fight, ask your evangelicals. They have kids they're apparently willing to send to their deaths for no purpose, and they don't care if you don't show pictures of their children's caskets coming home. We do wish you success in Iraq, and hope that the WMDs turn up, really we do, but we're not willing to spend our resources in Bush's Quagmire. We'd rather spend it on taking care of sick people, and educating our children.
With the Blue States in hand, we will have firm control of 80 percent of the country's fresh water, more than 90 percent of the pineapple and lettuce, 92 percent of the nation's fresh fruit, 95 percent of America's quality wines, 90 percent of all cheese, 90 percent of the high tech industry, most of the U.S. low-sulfur coal, all living redwoods, sequoias and condors, all the Ivy and Seven Sister schools plus Stanford, Cal Tech and MIT. With the Red States, on the other hand, you will have to cope with 88 percent of all obese Americans (and their projected health care costs), 92 percent of all U.S. mosquitoes, nearly 100 percent of the tornadoes, 90 percent of the hurricanes, 99 percent of all Southern Baptists, virtually 100 percent of all televangelists, Rush Limbaugh, Bob Jones University, Clemson and the University of Georgia. We get Hollywood and Yosemite, thank you.
Additionally, 38 percent of those in the Red states believe Jonah was actually swallowed by a whale, 62 percent believe life is sacred unless we're discussing the war, the death penalty or gun laws, 44 percent say that evolution is only a theory, 53 percent that Saddam was involved in 9/11 and 61 percent of you crazy Redies believe you are people with higher morals than we Blues.
Finally, we're taking the good pot, too. You can have that dirt weed they grow in Mexico.
GOP And Election Years
Is this patriotic? John McCain and Sarah Palin have aligned themselves with the worst elements of the Republican Party; the hatemongers, naysayers, bigots and religious extremists.
Groveling in the mud, the McCain-Palin campaign has become a lightning rod for lies, innuendo and hypocrisy; It's what you've come to expect from the Grand Old Party in election years.
McCain's "Straight Talk Express" has devolved into the 'riverboat from hell' turning black into white.
Is COM Green or Going Green?
Are all the leaf blowers and chain saws and garden tools battery or electric powered? NO
Are all the gardener's vehicles electric? NO
Are all the maintenance vehicles electric? NO
Is that seat lawn mower electric? NO
Is all the watering done by the drip system? NO?
California declared this a drought year because of the dry spring. (Saving water is not green, like putting in dry urinals!)
GOOD NEWS: The campus police have electric vehicles. GOOD JOB!
Are they putting solar panels on all the buildings where they will be cost effective? NO
The excess power feeds back into the grid reversing the meter. This will benefit all PG & E customers, the environment and prevent grey outs. It is not about "return for investment" sick corporate thinking it is about setting a GOOD example and "Saving The Planet".
Are there any EV charging stations for students or staff? NO
I drive a an electric moped to work, and it would be nice to be able to put it on a charger a couple of hours a day so I can run errands.
Do the printers in the labs print double sided to save paper? NO
Only in my lab that I am aware off. Some instructors will not accept assignments printed double sided (they need to be talked to)!
Does most of the staff turn off lights and computers and printers when not in use? No
Do they keep doors closed to save heat and AC? NO,
When I worked in different building, I would open the lab and turn on only minimum lights and a couple of computers until student started to use them. Then department head would charge in and turn on ALL the lights and insist ALL the computers are on. In a few hours a few student would arrive!
It is a myth that leaving lights and computers on all day saves more energy than turning them on and off all day.
Then there are all those posters plastered all over the school. I call it tagging. They are a waste of paper and look unprofessional. The tape takes the paint off the walls, thumbtacks put holes in the walls and the posters cover up the windows on doors, (a safety issue). They leave tape on walls, doors and windows that someone else has to remove! The offenders rarely if ever take them down when they expire and never clean up after them!
And how about all the flyers in our mailboxes!!!! They fill the blue recycle bin very quickly! Can't they just post one in the mailroom so everyone can read it? Or just email all these notes?
Does College Of Marin have a bus system? NO
When I lived the canal area, just over the hill. When I took the bus I had to leave my apartment 2 hours before my class! There was a 50/50 chance the bus I had to transfer to at the hub would not wait, and then I would have to wait an hour for the next bus. Even on time I would still be late to class anyway, because the bus arrives after the hour. (It would take 1 hour to walk and 15 minutes to drive and about 30 minutes to take a bicycle from my apartment, any wonder why people drive to school!)
Golden Gate Transit is just that! They do not care about local transportation, and it shows. Great local transportation system Marin has! What happened to the trains?
Is this information new to lCOM administration? NO
I have written letters with these suggestions in the past.
Do you still think College of Marin is Green or Going Green?
Last Republican Left Standing
It would seem that all of the Republican Party's eggs are in John McCain's basket. The future of the GOP depends on one man. But is that a good thing? If you're a Democrat it is. It appears McCain is going to lose big and since he is the one getting all the attention he is representing all Republicans who will be identified with his erratic positions. Many in the Republican Party are in a real bind. They are trying to distance themselves from the failures of both Bush and McCain. The only safe seat in the Republican Party is perhaps Ron Paul who may end up being the last Republican standing.
I'm Marc Perkel - And I approved this message!
McCain Lacks Judgment
The proof that McCain lacks judgment is his choice of running mate--Sarah Palin. Probably the only thing worse for the nation than George Bush is Miss Corruption.
But there's more. To LOWER taxes on the rich (he wants to eliminate the capital gains tax), when the country is deeper in debt than ever before, is insane. The biggest cause of that debt is the Iraq War. But instead of ending it, McCain wants to keep tilting at that windmill, putting us even deeper in debt! Then he wants to give everyone $5000 for health care. Where is that money going to come from?
It's perfectly clear that McCain would continue Bush's legacy of spending money that we don't have. And he has the gall to call Obama a "big spender"?!
Michael J. Vandeman
I am working on creating wildlife habitat that is off-limits to humans ("pure habitat"). Want to help? (I spent the previous 8 years fighting auto dependence and road construction.)
Please don't put a cell phone next to any part of your body that you are fond of!
A More Accepting Place
I moved to Marin County right before my 13th birthday from Philly. When we moved here I was upset and did not understand why my mother, who at the time was a very liberal, semi-hippy sort of figure. She never saw wrong in us and promoted us to believe in ourselves and made us believe we could do whatever we wanted.
Enough of that. Let me get back on track. When I asked why we came here, she simply told me that it was because California was more of an accepting place for all people to live. A while ago, I saw that. More recently I have come to see that we are not so accepting of all the different walks of life here. For example, why are we even discussing Prop 8? Shouldn't that be an automatic "do not pass" here?
This hits home for me since I have a child who is gay. She recently got married. If this passes she will lose what she has worked so hard for. For her freedom to be open about who she loves and be in a really great place in her life. Because of the non-accepting people in Marin County, I almost lost her. She tried to take her life. She thought it would be better on all of us to just give up and end it all. THANKS YOU SELFISH BASTARDS!
Whose decision is it anyway? Who has the right to tell anyone whom they can or can't love and marry? No one told me I could not spend the rest of my life with my husband. Why should they tell her?
Another issue we have is health care. My other child cannot afford it and because the insurance companies will not allow a child who is not a full time student after the age of 18 to be on my policy. I am very concerned. How can we afford to send her to college? Let's be real. The cost of living has gone up so much and the wages have not. So she is not in college and has no health care. Do I just sit by and wait for something horrible to happen to her and then hope that she will be able to get Medi-Cal to pay? Hospitals love that. They do not take very good care of patients without insurance. It's a let's give them a painkiller and send them home thing with no insurance.
Something is wrong with our system here. We are the strongest nation and yet have the weakest health care system, the highest un-employment rate in years, and nobody seems to be able to fix it. Bring the troops home and put some money back in our economy. Boost consumer confidence.
So for 20 years, I have been married, working and raising a family. For the first time in my life I am going to vote. I am actually scared of what might happen if I don't. What if I am the one vote that makes the difference?
What happened to freedom of choice? What happened to America? I want back the American dream of being able to feel secure in my own self and having a future.
On The Way To Regional Transit
According to the Transportation Authority of Marin, half of Marin's residents who commute, commute to jobs in Marin, while 40% of the people who work in Marin commute from outside the county - mostly from Sonoma. Commuters from Marin to Sonoma are also increasing. The value of a mass transit system no longer lies solely in its ability to get people to an urban center. The "suburb-to-suburb" commute is now significant, and there is demand for a fast/efficient system to handle it.
The SMART commuter train, from Cloverdale to Larkspur through the 101 corridor, will be the keystone to such a system. Measure Q, on the November ballot, seeks voter approval to develop it.
SMART will form the trunk line of a transit system that integrates train, bus and bike.
¥ Busses will provide branch service for people to get to and from the train, in addition to local service. SMART and bus operators will work together in revising bus routes where necessary to include SMART stations. The bus/train relationship is, in fact symbiotic, not competitive.
¥ SMART will provide shuttles for many of its stations, designed to get commuters to their jobs. Many of the larger employers will add their own shuttle service.
¥ Measure Q includes construction of a bike and pedestrian pathway along side SMART's entire 70-mile route. The trains will easily accommodate bicycles, making bike transit a much more feasible option.
Vote "Yes" on Measure Q, "Yes" on SMART. Send Sonoma-Marin on its way to developing a true, regional transit system.
Sands Recommends For Bolinas Fire
We are fortunate in the upcoming election to have four candidates running for three open seats on the Bolinas Fire Protection District board of directors. Members of the Bolinas Volunteer Fire Department and all residents of the Bolinas Fire Protection District depend on fire board members to provide informed leadership, transparency in all their deliberations, and prudent fiscal management of district resources. Bolinas deserves a strong fireboard with vision for our future as well as accountability for day-to-day operations.
Please join me in endorsing and voting for David Kimball, Shannon Kilkenny and Sheila O'Donnell for the Bolinas Fire Protection District board of directors. Based on their active community involvement, previous experience on local boards, and ongoing personal commitment to the Bolinas Volunteer Fire Department, I believe that David, Shannon and Sheila will be excellent additions to the fireboard.
Retired Bolinas Firefighter/EMT
Past President, Bolinas Fire Protection District Board of Directors
Co-Chair, Bolinas Firehouse and Clinic Project Capital Campaign
Mr. Louis Nuyens wrote a lengthy opinion piece in the Coastal Post's October issue opposing Measure Q on the November 4 ballot, the SMART passenger train and bicycle-pedestrian trail proposal. In 2006 the similar measure won 64% - 65% approval in West Marin precincts. Had the rest of the county voted with that plurality, it would have passed easily. Here's why West Marin was right.
SMART will establish a 70 mile passenger train between Larkspur and Cloverdale that offers fast, sleek, quiet, comfortable, spacious trains on 30-minute frequencies. It will remove a conservative 1.4 million car trips a year from Highway 101. Reduce gasoline consumption by at least 1.5 gallons a year. SMART would take at least 31 million pounds of greenhouse gases from the air each year. In many cases SMART will take passengers where they want to go, door-to-door, faster than by car.
There is validity to Mr. Nuyen's claim that projected SMART ridership is too low. Last March, the California Transportation Commission slammed our Bay Area Metropolitan Transportation Commission for using a travel demand-forecasting model that is "inaccurate." CTC told MTC to adopt a new model. CTC is responsible for the programming and allocating of funds for the construction of highway, passenger rail and transit improvements throughout California. Guess which model SMART used? SMART used the MTC model. Also in March down in San Diego County, a train similar to SMART, called Sprinter, started up between Oceanside and Escondido. The line serves nearly the same size population as SMART, and a similar low-density, single family housing area. Sprinter fully expects to carry 11,600 riders per day by the end of its first year based on success already achieved. Twice that projected for SMART.
Measure Q would establish a quarter-cent sales tax to fund SMART. Twenty-five cents on the purchase of one hundred dollars of gas, for example. Pretty affordable at any time. Even opponents agree that we need a green alternative to driving Highway 101. Mr. Nuyens and others argue that bus is the cost effective alternative. Bus cannot be cost effective if nobody rides it. The fact is that Marin is abandoning the bus in droves. Golden Gate Transit lost 25.1% of its commute bus ridership in the last three fiscal years alone. It gets worse. MTC just announced that due to anemic ridership, with revenues below the minimum acceptable, it will no longer subsidize the GGT Route 75 express bus between San Rafael and Santa Rosa. GGT says the last No. 75 will run in March next year. Killed not by SMART, but by being non-competitive. The bus takes one hour and 47 minutes between San Rafael and Santa Rosa. SMART will do the trip in 50 minutes flat, less than one-half the time, rain or shine, regardless of highway congestion.
In fact, SMART will often beat the car, big time, door to door. Fully 80 percent of all North Bay of all North Bay commercial, residential, and educational facilities are located along the SMART corridor. That kind of density supports rail trail transit. Marin expects to add 35,000 jobs by 2025. How are they going to get there without SMART? During peak hours they will save up to 36 minutes, door to door, by taking SMART between San Rafael and Santa Rosa. Cost effective? Even with the conservative ridership projections, SMART expects to achieve a 36% farebox recovery ratio on fares comparable to GGT bus. GGT bus averages 21% farebox recovery.
Will Marin ride SMART? While abandoning commute buses, Marin has jumped ridership on the GGT ferries 46% since introducing the high-speed ferries, which match travel times with auto and bus to San Francisco. The high quality service offered by the ferry costs 64% more than the bus from Larkspur. Yet Marin enthusiastically boards the ferry. SMART will offer a similar high quality service for Marin at fares comparable to bus. Please join your neighbors and vote for Measure Q.
We Do Not Consent - Open Letter To The Media
A Public Media Campaign Launched By Dave Berman Of We Do Not Consent
You are receiving this message because you are known to American progressives as a truth-teller. In this presidential campaign, despite the typical horse-race coverage, we also see the overall corporate media narrative influenced by daily debunking efforts from candidates' rapid response teams, the blogosphere, and the reality-based coverage and reporting that you provide.
We need to take this to the next level.
There are three very simple basic facts about the way US federal elections are conducted now, and we think they lead to an inescapable conclusion that must be addressed.
See if you agree:
1. We have secret corporate vote counting computers counting more than 95% of the votes cast in the United States; 2. The absence of paper ballots, and in some cases state's law, prevents meaningful re-counts throughout much of the country; 3. These electronic voting machines frequently produce results impossible in a legitimate election, such as John Kerry's negative 25 million votes in Youngstown, OH (Nov. 2004), or Palm Beach County's 12,000 votes in excess of the number of voters (Aug. 2008).
To us this suggests the conclusion that federal election results are unprovable, even though the media reports them as fact.
Can you draw any other conclusion?
It will surprise nobody this November when the outcome is a spoiled mess, riddled with controversy. In fact, we can already say the results-based on the conditions-are guaranteed to be inconclusive, unknowable and unprovable.
We must challenge our industry to refuse to report as fact what can't be proven and hasn't been independently verified, particularly when the only source of the information is the government itself.
The reality is that the media should be the greatest advocates of hand counting paper ballots because this method of counting allows media greatest access to observing and documenting the process, affording the reported results the greatest credibility.
Transparent coverage of a transparent counting process would create a basis for confidence in the reported results where none currently exists.
As we all know, there is a vibrant community of engaged citizens across the US who collectively self-identify as the "election integrity community." They are asking us truth-tellers to challenge our industry, essentially reframing the debate.
Many of them have appeared on our shows and in our columns over the past few years, and they are eager to be sources for us now. But they are also counting on us to take this message forward and we don't see how we can be truth-tellers without doing that.
Please join us in this concerted effort to use truth telling yet again to change the corporate media narrative of this presidential campaign.
Dave Berman, WeDoNotConsent.blogspot.com; Voter Confidence Committee of Humboldt, CA
Mark Crispin Miller, Author, and www.markcrispinmiller.blogspot.com
Seniors Can Avoid This Crime
As Crime Prevention Month comes to a close its a good time to urge those receiving paper checks for their federal benefits to consider switching to electronic payments.
Senior citizens are often the target of crime and many fear that they may become the next victim. There is one crime that doesn't have to happen. At the California Association of Area Agencies on Aging, we understand the anxiety-causing experience of having one's Social Security check or Supplemental Security Income (SSI) payment lost or stolen. It doesn't happen every day, but last year alone, signatures were forged on thousands of Social Security checks and in 2007, 60,000 U.S. Treasury-issued checks, totaling $56 million, and more than 700,000 checks were reported lost or stolen. The fear is only magnified when combined with worries about having to wait to be reimbursed for a lost check and running out of money before the end of the month.
A lost or stolen check is one thing senior citizens do not need to worry about. Social Security and SSI recipients have the option of receiving their money through electronic payment, either by direct deposit or taking advantage of the new, Treasury-recommended prepaid debit card, the Direct Express card. Approximately eight of 10 recipients of federal benefits are already paid electronically - because it's convenient, reliable and safe to do so. The payments come when and where they're supposed to every month like clockwork.
Seniors who have a bank account can sign up for direct deposit by visiting their bank or credit union, calling the Go Direct helpline at 1-800-333-1795, or visiting www.GoDirect.org. Those who do not have a bank account can sign up for the Direct Express card by calling 1-877-212-9991 or visiting www.USDirectExpress.com.
Executive Director for the Area Agency on Aging for Santa Cruz and San Benito Counties
Marriage Between Man And Woman Only
In the year 2000, over 61% of the people in the State of California voted that "Only marriage between a man and a woman is valid or recognized in California". Pretty straightforward, right?
Guess not! Apparently four activist judges were "persuaded" to take another look at the issue and subsequently ruled that the outcome of the vote would be overturned. The will of the people was discounted. Who are these so-called Justices who reign supreme? Are they so important that they feel we are insignificant and not able to decide for ourselves what we want as a majority in the State of California?
It's time that the people returned the favor by overturning the decision of the judges by voting YES on behalf of Proposition 8 (Protect Marriage). These judges would be much more effective if they upheld the laws already on the books as they were sworn to do. Should it have been necessary to vote on this issue AGAIN in order to get an amendment to our State Constitution? I think not.
We are wasting too much time and money on an issue that was decided years ago. I am voting YES on Proposition 8 and encourage everyone who agrees to do the same. The will of the majority of the people has been ignored for far too long. We, the loyal, taxpaying citizens of this great State of California expect and deserve better. Stop the continued erosion of our rights and privileges as decent values are attacked. The sanctity of marriage must be upheld - it's time to stand up and be counted!