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MARIN COUNTY'S NEWS MONTHLY - FREE PRESS
(415)868-1600 - (415)868-0502(fax) - P.O. Box 31, Bolinas, CA, 94924

September, 2009


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USS Kennedy
By Dwayne Hunn

Decades ago, I was waiting for a friend and member of Sen. Ted Kennedy's staff in their waiting room. Over the middle of the fireplace, in the place of utmost prominence, was a piece of scrap wood about 20 inches long. It had other smaller pieces of wood stacked and nailed on top of it. Nails stuck out of it pointing forward, starboard, lee, and aft. When my friend came out, she walked over to this big kid staring at this nails strewn block of wood and said, "It's the Kennedy kids' version of the USS John F. Kennedy. Sen. Kennedy wanted it right here in the middle of the room. He loves seeing it when he walks in."

CNN Is Now Foxified
CNN, "the most trusted name in news" blew its credibility by apparently giving its stamp of legitimacy to the racist-toned nutcake "birthers" who are claiming President Obama was not born in the U.S., has no birth

certificate, and may be an illegal immigrant, one who "hates white people"(his mother too?)

CNN sat on its hands for several days, ignoring complaints from many sources including the Huffington Post. Rival MSNBC newscaster Rachel Maddow displayed a copy of the President's birth certificate (Hey! Hawaii is one of the United States!) Dobbs called her a "tea-bagging queen," whatever that

is.
When the chorus of boos was joined by multi-million-member moveon.org, CNN chief Jonathan Klein decided he'd had enough and emailed Dobbs a message that's a model of conciseness: "You're nuts!"

How long will it take the most trusted name in news to mend its tattered image?

Lionel Gambill
650 Sunset Pkwy
Novato

The Price Of Liberty
It is with great enthusiasm that I take out a subscription to the Coastal Post; attempts by the morons at FLAME in Berkeley have only encouraged some of us to protect the freedoms of the press and speech, and if Whole Foods in Mill Valley won't carry the Coastal Post, then I'm starting a boycott of that store as well as boycotts of any business that wimped out and cancelled their ads in the Post; as soon as I get a rate sheet from the Post, I'll be advertising here as well; the price of liberty is eternal vigilance. Please subscribe to the Post and advertise here.

Charlie Morgan
Inverness

Little Hope For Affordable Housing
Stephen Simac's depressing article about "gold-plated" septic systems and the County refusing to permit composting toilets and gray water systems was generally thorough in it's scope, but noticeably lacking in one thing.

As a West Marin renter that will never be able to afford a half- million dollar home, I wonder what options can be made available for affordable housing for me and my family.

Green, LEEDs compliant prefab homes in gorgeous modern and classic styles are available in all parts of the US now, and can have graywater systems, composting toilets and solar passive and active energy systems built in, for costs that are half of standard, "stick- built" homes.

This seems like exactly the sort of low-footprint development the County of Marin should be encouraging. The missing piece of the article: How do West Marin citizens who are not landowners yet get the County and State moving on these building issues? The article lays blame at the State Level. Are there any State Representatives who have championed this issue? Does ours?

For a County so packed full of organic farms and hybrid cars, it seems ridiculous to ignore the single largest factor in our ongoing

environmental impact: future homes.
Jeffrey D. Gimzek
Digital Creative

Who Can We Believe About Healthcare?
Who can we believe about the proposed Healthcare package, Sarah Palin or President Obama?!?

Kathy and I will trust Monsignor Charles Fahey on this one.

Former Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin claims President Barack Obama is making light of concerns over what she has called "death panels" determining or denying care in the Democratic health care proposal. Palin makes the claim in a Facebook posting Wednesday evening.

Obama on Tuesday said the Democratic health care legislation would not create "death panels" to deny care to frail seniors -- or "basically pull the plug on grandma because we decided that it's too expensive to let her live anymore," as the president put it.

Rather, Obama contends the provision that led to such talk would only authorize Medicare to pay doctors for counseling patients about end-of-life care if they want it.

But Palin, the former Republican vice presidential candidate, says the provision reads otherwise and will lead to health care rationing.

AP itself has reported, "Palin and other critics are wrong" about "death panel." In its fact check, the AP also reported that "Palin says the health care overhaul bill would set up a 'death panel.' Federal bureaucrats would play God, ruling on whether ailing seniors are worth enough to society to deserve life-sustaining medical care. Palin and other critics are wrong."

From the AP's August 11 fact-check article: Former Republican vice presidential candidate Sarah Palin says the health care overhaul bill would set up a "death panel." Federal bureaucrats would play God, ruling on whether ailing seniors are worth enough to society to deserve life-sustaining medical care. Palin and other critics are wrong. Nothing in the legislation would carry out such a bleak vision. The provision that has caused the uproar would instead authorize Medicare to pay doctors for counseling patients about end-of-life care, if the patient wishes. Here are some questions and answers on the controversy:

[...]
Q: Is anything required?
Monsignor Charles Fahey, 76, a Catholic priest who is chairman of the board of the National Council on Aging, a nonprofit service and advocacy group, says no.

"We have to make decisions that are deliberative about our health care at every moment," Fahey said. "What I have said is that if I cannot say another prayer, if I cannot give or get another hug, and if I cannot have another martini - then let me go."

End-of-life care counseling provision would, in fact, be voluntary. Provision calls for Medicare to cover voluntary end-of-life counseling sessions. Section 1233 of America's Affordable Health Choices Act of 2009 -- the provision Palin cited -- amends the Social Security Act to ensure that advance care planning will be covered if a patient requests it from a qualified care provider [America's Affordable Health Choices Act, Sec. 1233]. According to an analysis of the bill produced by the three relevant House committees, the section "[p]rovides coverage for consultation between enrollees and practitioners to discuss orders for life-sustaining treatment. Instructs CMS to modify 'Medicare & You' handbook to incorporate information on end-of-life planning resources and to incorporate measures on advance care planning into the physician's quality reporting initiative." [waysandmeans.house.gov, accessed 8/13/09].

R&J; Aloha

Help Stafford Lake Park!
During these crazy economic times, we all have to help each other. So here is a "plug" for the park rangers at Stafford Lake Park, whose hours are being cut back by one day per week. Every one of the rangers at Stafford Lake Park has been so consistently friendly and bent over backward for myself and my husband: We had our wedding reception at one of the park's gazebos. The views were just gorgeous, accommodations were up to 300 people, and the price was about 1/10th what it would have cost us anywhere else. Great for parties too! It's so fun to go to the lake and watch those baby goslings grow up, with waters sparkling and nothing but cow pasture and green hills all around.

There's disc golf, a playground and horseshoe areas too. A season pass to all the County parks combined, costs $75 for the entire year, and is well worth it. My husband and I go to the lake almost daily for walks and picnics, taking in some of the most gorgeous views in the county.

But the public also wouldn't believe how absolutely friendly these park rangers are, and how far backward they will bend just to be helpful. Not only were they willing to reserve a table outside the reservations area for us for a birthday lunch, but for our wedding they even considered getting gravel to a certain area, just for us. It's first-name basis around the lake! I can't imagine this place without these guys and really ask the public to help, and also urge Parks and Open Space to please consider stepping up publicity prior to cutting back such valuable people, especially during this treacherous economy. Thank you all for pitching in! Reservations: [email protected] or http://co.marin.ca.us/depts/PK/ParkRes/

Drina Brooke
Novato

Enough Is Not Enough
Being a journalist, I have seen how issues come to the forefront, and then how people tire of them and move on to another subject. There is an initial frenzy of interest and then editors feel that people have heard enough.

Despite the myriad of new findings, I am concerned that this is becoming the story about climate change. The science is getting more and more clear, but journalists are not continuing to cover the story commensurate with its importance. We are permanently harming all life on our planet, and all life to come. This is by far THE most important issue.

Many scientists, such as Sir James Lovelock warn that billions of people will likely die this century because of the impacts of climate change, unless we make major changes to reduce greenhouse gas emissions. The group Christian Aid found that 185 million people are expected to die from disease impacts of climate change just in sub-Saharan Africa this century unless major changes are made.

Climate change is a creeping disaster, as an Alaskan Senator described it. But it is also accelerating and unpredictable, as a 2004 Pentagon Report on abrupt climate change details. That report, done by Defense Advisor Andrew Marshall, found that climate change is a much more serious threat than terrorism.

The recent passage of the American Clean Energy and Security Act by the House of Representatives is the most important step our country has taken to combat this crisis. We must mobilize to pass the act through the Senate.

Misinformation, such as claims that the legislation will require home owners to do an energy audit before they can sell their homes are simply not true according to the National Association of Realtors. The insurance industry and several energy companies are in favor of the legislation, which does not go nearly far enough to reduce greenhouse gas emissions.

Still, it is a critical step that will create nearly two million jobs and clean up our air, water and landscapes as we transition to clean, renewable energy used far more efficiently, while combating the most serious crisis our species faces: climate change.

Chad Kister
Nelsonville, Ohio

Greetings From The Good Witch of West Marin

The local farmers' markets are no longer for the community. Corporate greed is taking over the farmers' markets of Marin County. Capitalist bureaucracy has insinuated itself between the community members and the farmers, giving both profit and exclusive control to a few highly salaried individuals with agendas for personal gain, not community well being. This is of course at the expense of both farmers and community. The hundreds of signatures and many emails requesting that my presence and service be grandfathered in have been ignored, as the management paves its way to personal profit over neighborhoods' preferences.

I opened a whole can of worms in my efforts to keep my local farmers market local. Since the article in the Marine IJ last month about my ejection, many individuals have contacted me with much unsolicited information of wrong-doings by Marin Farmers Markets Organization. I am a minister, not a lawyer. I have neither the expertise nor the inclination to fight this reported exploitation and greed in court, nor to expose the reported violations of bylaws, and laws, to the authorities, even though many have asked me to do so. I trust you, or others receiving this information, will have both the power and ability to right these wrongs, or influence those who can to do so.

Reports to me include but are not limited to: merger of Marin Farmers Markets and Marin Agricultural Instituted, conflict of interest regarding this merger due to the marriage of the MAI executive director and a member of the FFM board of directors, inappropriate rate increases on vendors, violations of non-profit codes including but not limited to 990 requirements, and changes that allow the ejection of vendors. It is reported to me that the president of the board, Kevin Lenny, has no booth at the market, in violation of the bylaws, also that the executive director Brigitte Moran is paid in excess of $120,000 annually. The new merger will allow salaries to be hidden. Is it legal to merge when bylaws are being violated? I heard something about Coca-Cola from two people, and five vendors sympathized with my cause but feared loosing their own ability to participate in the markets. All of this is reported to me, not verified by me.

Plus lies were told about me, that I charged, that my sign was new. When truth serves, lies are unnecessary.

Thank you, from
Rev Joey

White, Conservative And Closed Minded
Before everyone forgets the craziness of the town hall meetings, just who were/are the obnoxious people yelling at the speakers? This is not a grassroots movement or a groundswell of mom-and-pop America!

We've seen these angry and frustrated folks and their intimidating tactics before: The mostly white, conservative and close-minded crowd has been at the forefront of the anti-abortion protests for years, at countless anti-immigration rallies, and pushing the anti-gay agenda. Now, these same people and new converts have morphed into the anti-tax movement and tea party patriots attacking health care reform.

Leave it to the Republicans to exploit the current situation and put party politics before the health and well-being of millions of Americans. The GOP's goal is obstruction, blocking all meaningful reform, and then running against a "do nothing" Congress in 2010.

Ron Lowe
Nevada City

Presidency In Disarray
President Obama is in disarray and heading in many directions, thereby diluting our efforts, our energies, and our resources needed to move this country forward.

It seems like President Obama is continuously hovering over us on TV, radio and the Internet in campaign mode to promote his agenda of large-scale social programs, big government, government control of domestic programs, and the appeasement and enabling of our adversaries.

Obama's concurrent policies and programs include the following:

--A stimulus plan that has created on the order of a few hundred thousand jobs, because the recovery plan was poorly designed and concentrated on social welfare programs. Obama predicted the creation of 3.5 million new jobs by the end of 2010. We will be lucky if 1 to 1.5 million new jobs are created by December 2010.

--A $2 trillion deficit in FY 2010 and annual deficits of $1 trillion for many years thereafter. Our national debt will go from $11.5 trillion now to $24 trillion by 2019.

--Government involvement in private industry with huge bailouts of the automobile manufacturers, AIG, and major banks.

--A government run healthcare program with more government interference and control. It could cost $1 trillion, and to help pay for it Obama proposes to significantly raise taxes on successful individuals and small businesses. The crushing costs could force many small businesses into bankruptcy. And Obama's healthcare opponents are being labeled by the Administration as right wing extremists.

--A $12 billion program for community colleges.

--A cap and trade policy which will hurt the U.S. economy.

--Alternative energy programs which will only provide 10% to 20% of our energy requirements. We need domestic oil and natural gas production and nuclear power plants.

--Financial regulatory reforms generating government control of private industry, and some economically unsound programs. Example: The Administration wants the net asset value of money market funds to float up and down from $1 in response to economic conditions. This will kill money market funds and the safe havens investors seek in times of financial uncertainty.

--Completely exiting Iraq by 2010. This could lead to civil war and more instability in the Middle East.

--Significantly ramping up the war in Afghanistan. We will probably have 100,000 troops there within a few years, which will continue a drain on our economy and military. This is Obama's war.

--A very timid response to the Iranian government crackdown on demonstrators, and a lackluster response to the development of Iranian nuclear weapons and missile delivery systems.

--A weak response to North Korean belligerence and its development and proliferation of nuclear weapons and long-range missiles.

--A proposed new nuclear arms treaty with Russia which will significantly reduce the availability of nuclear weapons/missile delivery systems. This program is being promoted by the Obama Administration in the face of increased availability of nuclear missiles by Communist China, Communist North Korea, and Fascist Iran.

--Cozying up to and appeasing the dictators of the world. Barack Obama could be the Neville Chamberlain of the 21st century.

President Obama has his fingers in many pies. He has to start prioritizing his policies and programs, and concentrate on focused and rational domestic and global initiatives most crucial to our economy and security. He has to extricate himself from all the gooey pies, overcome his reckless arrogance, and start being a chief executive.

Donald A. Moskowitz
Londonderry, NH

Republican Hypocrisy
Notice this: during Bush's Iraq war (of choice), Republicans said, "Support the President!" while Democrats asked "How to pay for this?" Now during Obama's recovery (of necessity), it's exactly the reverse -- except that the Democrats actually answer the payment question: tax the rich! Typical Republican hypocrisy...__

J. Andrew Smith_
Bloomfield, NJ

Time For Obama To Get Tough With Republicans

Is Obama being suckered by the Republicans the same way that was depicted in Charlie Brown comics? Lucy would hold the football and always promise that she wouldn't jerk it away at the last minute. Poor Charlie Brown would run up to kick the ball and at the last second Lucy would jerk it away and Charlie Brown would fall on his butt.

When I hear Obama talking about a "bipartisan" health care reform package it makes me ask the question, "Is Obama really that stupid? He praises Republican Senator Grassley for his support while Grassley tells people to fear Obama's death panels. What Obama doesn't seem to grasp is that for Republicans, failure is the new success. Republicans want America to fail so they can claim that Democrats are just as bad as Republicans. I think it's time for Obama to get tough and the Democrats to get smart.

Marc Perkel
Gilroy, CA.

The "Voice" Of The People
GOP sympathizers and anti-tax protestors at Democratic town hall meetings across the nation are out to control and shape the health care debate. You've seen this raucous bunch on TV.

Protestors at the town hall meetings, yelling, screaming, stomping their feet like 2-year olds, trying to drown out the speakers with their way or no way; All in the name of insurance companies and ideology.

In 2000, the same types of people, Republican operatives in Florida, with the same tactics, screaming "Stop the vote count" gave America 8 years of George Bush.

These extremists keep on beating their drums feloniously proclaiming, "It's the voice of the people."

Ron Lowe
Nevada City

Epidemic Of Cowardice
An apparent epidemic of cowardice is sweeping across the nation, as Congress members in many states use their summer break to hold make-believe "town hall meetings" by telephone on the healthcare "reform" package, or cravenly schedule no meetings at all, members too gutless to face a live audience, while their supporters slanderously stigmatize conservative opponents as "right wing armed thugs."

Rep. Lynn Woolsey's unseemly secrecy in announcing her telephonic "town hall meeting" charade mere minutes before its start, by phone calls to 40,000 "random" numbers from a (probably Democrat only) list of Marin voters, evidences her disrespect for her constituents in keeping the great majority of them in the dark, especially after her staff had assured some callers that she had no plans for a meeting.

Rep. Woolsey owes the entire County all an apology for her abysmal failure to trust her constituents.

Fielding Greaves
Past President, MUTA
San Rafael

Marijuana Policy Project Alert
Letter To Lynette Shaw
The California Legislature is convening from summer recess this week and one hot item on their agenda is making mandatory reductions to prison spending. The state's recently adopted budget relies on $1.2 billion in unspecified cuts to corrections spending and the governor and legislature will be deciding just where to cut in the days ahead.__ Please tell Gov. Schwarzenegger and the legislature that nonviolent marijuana offenders shouldn't be taking up space in our prisons!

A federal court recently declared that conditions in California's overcrowded prisons constitute "cruel and unusual punishment." In fact, the state is under court order to reduce the prison population by 27%. I trust that you agree that the more than 1,500 marijuana prisoners should be first in line for release.

In July, Governor Schwarzenegger outlined a spending reduction plan that would downgrade penalties for several property crimes including certain vehicular and grand theft offenses. Shockingly, the governor's plan makes no changes to marijuana penalties. __If you find it morally objectionable to consider going soft on car thieves before easing up on victimless marijuana offenses, please take action today!__ Growing even a single marijuana plant or selling one joint are still felonies under California law, which could land an offender behind bars alongside murderers, thieves, and sex offenders. Amending our marijuana laws would be a safe and sensible part of the upcoming overhaul of the prison system.

Writing the legislature and the governor is easy using MPP's online action center. Just enter the requested information and send a pre-written or custom message to your representatives in Sacramento.

Thank you for supporting MPP and humane marijuana policy. Please be sure to pass this message along to other Californians who support reform, so that they too can take action.

Sincerely,
F. Aaron Smith_
California Policy Director_
Marijuana Policy Project

Homosexual Activity Among Clergy
I wish to express my disappointment with the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America for approving homosexual activity among its clergy.

It is sad that some people want to measure the truth of the faith by modern society's standards. They mistakenly believe that divine Revelation must adapt itself to the current mentality in order to be credible, instead of the current mentality converting in the light that comes to us from on high. The result is a stripping of the Redeemer of man of his radical uniqueness, and classifying him as someone who can be managed and domesticated.

The Bible clearly and unequivocally condemns homosexual acts (Gen 1:27-28; Gen 2:24; Matt 19: 4-6; Rom 1:24-27; 1 Cor 6:10; 1 Tim 1:10 etc.). They are contrary to the natural law. They close the sexual act to the gift of life. They do not proceed from a genuine affective and sexual complementarily. Not surprisingly, there is no scientific evidence to confirm homosexual activity as a normal behavior.

Dr. Francis Collins, who received the Presidential Medal of Freedom for his work sequencing the human genetic code has stated that homosexuality is not genetically "hardwired." If genetics were determinative, then identical twins should "virtually always" show the same pattern of same-sex attraction. However, a study of the Australian Twin Registry showed that only 11% of identical twins with same-sex attraction had a twin brother who also experienced it.

St. Paul tells us that the "aberration" of homosexuality is both the proof and the result of the exclusion of God from collective attention and social life. The Christian approach to modern-day homosexuality must distinguish between the respect due to persons and the necessary repudiation of any exalted ideology of homosexuality.

Paul Kokoski
Hamilton, Ontario. Canada







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