Saturday, November 23, 2013

How Will The End Of Print Journalism Affect Old Loons Who Hoard Newspapers?

How Will The End Of Print Journalism Affect Old Loons Who Hoard Newspapers?

George Bush and the Murder of John Kennedy. A Dark Legacy

"It is better to debate a question ...

"It is better to debate a question without settling it than to settle a question without debating it." -Joseph Joubert (1754-1824)                

Heather Gass on Plan Bay Area and Wildlife Corridors

Published on Nov 21, 2013
Video by Steve Kemp
05:17 SB375, AB32 and AB2785
06:58 SB375
09:00 Bay Area PDAs
10:53 Human Settlements
11:34 300 sq ft Apartments
12:00 Developed Land in the U.S.
12:58 National Corridor System
14:53 California Essential Habitat Connectivity Project
15:32 California Corridor Map
19:01 - cont
19:41 Berryessa Snow Mountain PCA
21:02 Bay Area "Open Space"
21:44 The Morgan Hill area PCA

NEWSFLASH: Marin IJ will no longer cover Politics or Crime on its Main Pages.

Marin IJ will no longer cover Politics or Crime on its Main Pages.

(San Rafael)  The Marin Independent Journal founded in 1861 announced a new editorial policy today that it will no longer cover Politics or Crime on its main page.  It cites complaints by readers who find the coverage one sided and upsetting. 
“I read the paper for the garden section, the lost and found, local meetings, and crossword puzzles.  I have no need to read nonsense about politics or the blather by writers that have nothing better to do than get people upset.” - A.R.
“The constant daily reports by the self appointed spokespeople “of the people” are obnoxious and grating. I will cancel my subscription if something is not done about it.”-K.H.
“I really don’t care what the local politicians do as long as they stay out of my business.”-D.P.
“I know the politicians they write about.  They are so unfair and should not be allowed to print such rubbish”- B.A.
“The paper is publishing lies and half truths”-D.P.
Chief Editor, S. Adams, explained, “We wrestled to develop an editorial policy that is fair to everyone.  We believe in free speech and feel that the discussion of local politics is important to the community.  Our readership is up and some people demand political news and analysis. To balance the needs of all parties, we will now publish a separate “subscription only” supplement to cover local political stories. “ 
“Likewise, crime stories will also be published in a special “subscription only” supplement and will be mailed free.  Readers complain that crime stories make them uncomfortable and afraid.”
“We will publish a weekly summary of the politics and crime stories in the main section to recap events” explained Adams.

Reader K.G. reacts, “I am happy that the Marin Independent Journal is preserving a free press by allowing alternate voices to be heard and is sensitive to the needs of its readers.  This shows foresight and leadership in the world of ideas.  Let freedom ring.”

For a related Post see 'What is Satire?"

Friday, November 22, 2013

People are Awesome

Friday evening songs for November 22nd

O’TOOLE and SCHIFF: Do single-family homes threaten the planet?

Is your single family home a threat to the planet?

A plan to squeeze most residents of the San Francisco Bay Area into multifamily housing offers a test case of whether land-use bureaucracies nationwide, encouraged by the Obama administration, should be allowed to transform American lifestyles under the pretext of combating climate change.

Currently, 56 percent of households in the nine-county Bay Area live in single-family homes. That number would drop to 48 percent by 2030, under a high-density development blueprint called Plan Bay Area, recently enacted by the Association of Bay Area Governments and the region’s Metropolitan Transportation Commission.

Plan Bay Area has already drawn several legal challenges, and the debate could spread nationwide if, as may happen, it becomes a model for regulators in other parts of the country.

Owning a single-family home has long been part of the American dream, but Plan Bay Area embraces a dramatically different vision of the ideal community: crowded rows of high-rises and mass-transit platforms.
Population density in the region’s urban areas would increase by 30 percent during the next two decades under the plan. Nearly 80 percent of all new housing and 62 percent of new jobs would be located in just 5 percent of the region’s surface area.

Planners admit this will make single-family housing in the already high-priced Bay area even less affordable.
To be sure, the plan isn’t the first attempt to herd families into condominiums and apartments. Since at least the 1970s, urban planners around the country have argued that the single-family-home lifestyle results in people driving too much, which supposedly wastes energy and pollutes the air. Thus, 17 years ago, Portland, Ore., adopted a scheme to reduce the share of residents living in single-family homes from 65 percent to 41 percent. In some neighborhoods, if a house burns down, it can be replaced only with an apartment structure.
Even if it’s not without precedent, Plan Bay Area could still be revolutionary because of the rationale behind it. It could help spur a nationwide movement for high-density “transit-oriented” development — in the name of reducing global warming. The federal government has signed on. The Obama administration has told metropolitan areas to include land-use regulations in the transportation plans that federal law requires them to update every five years. Washington is also giving communities “livability grants” aimed at promoting high-density development.

As a result, cities that are far removed from San Francisco in a political sense — Des Moines, Iowa, and Lafayette, La., for example — are considering similar land-use restrictions.

Advocates argue that the demand for single-family homes is about to drop as retiring baby boomers and up-and-coming millennials will prefer to live in mixed-use neighborhoods with high densities and easy pedestrian access to stores and entertainment.

This claim isn’t supported by people’s actual behavior. The vast majority of population growth continues to be in low-density suburbs. Surveys of millennials show that more than three out of four aspire to live in a single-family home with a yard.

The data also show that crowding people together isn’t really effective at reducing greenhouse-gas emissions or addressing other urban concerns. Population densities in the San Francisco-Oakland-San Jose urban areas have already grown by nearly 60 percent since 1990, yet per-capita driving still has increased.
Even under planners’ most optimistic projections, Plan Bay Area will have negligible effects on carbon-dioxide emissions: The draconian land-use changes will reduce emissions by only about three-quarters of 1 percent.

In contrast, improved fuel economy, already mandated by the state of California, is projected to reduce per-capita emissions by more than 30 percent in the coming years.

Other transportation programs, such as van pooling and giving drivers incentives to use electric cars, are expected to reduce per-capita emissions by nearly 3 percent more.

As Americans consider the future growth and development of their communities, the Plan Bay Area debate should offer a message of caution. Forcing people to live in crowded “stack and pack” housing developments curtails freedoms without substantially curbing greenhouse gases.
There are many ways to reduce emissions that are genuinely cost-effective, some of which — such as making cars and homes more energy-efficient — could actually pay for themselves in the long run. In contrast, decreeing radical lifestyle changes for average Americans is expensive, intrusive and ineffective — squandering the political and financial capital needed for real improvement in environmental quality and our quality of life.

Randal O’Toole is a senior fellow with the Cato Institute and author of “American Nightmare: How Government Undermines the Dream of Homeownership” (Cato Institute, 2012). Damien Schiff is a principal lawyer with Pacific Legal Foundation. He represents Bay Area Citizens in a lawsuit challenging Plan Bay Area.

Read more:
Follow us: @washtimes on Twitter

JFK," A Rising Tide lifts all boats". Your choice of Kennedy Wisdom for Optimists and Pessimists and Nihilists

"A rising tide lifts all boats"-President John F. Kennedy

Boats at mooring waiting for tides return.

"Sunken boats are unaffected by tides" -Dwight

"We don't have a boat"

A brown-skinned suburban mom responds to Common Core bigot Arne Duncan

A brown-skinned suburban mom responds to Common Core bigot Arne Duncan

By Michelle Malkin  •  November 18, 2013 02:28 AM
bigot 2
Ohhhh yes, the red blood underneath my brown skin is boiling. This Obama educrat has stepped in it. Big time. Race card-wielding Education Secretary Arne Duncan is nothing but a corrupt and bankrupt bigot.

We’ll get to his diatribe in a moment. But first, let’s step back for some perspective, reflection, and background on this pivotal moment in the battle against Common Core.
In January, I launched the first in my ongoing blog and column series on the perils and pitfalls of Common Core. Grass-roots parents, educators, analysts, and activists had been working hard at the local and state levels to turn back the top-down, Big Government/Big Business. I vowed at the beginning of the year to do everything in my power to spread the news of their work and to add my own voice because this battle is near and dear to my heart. It’s not just “business” for me. It’s personal. Here’s what I wrote on January 23 when I kicked off my project:
This year, I’ll be using my syndicated column and blog space to expose how progressive “reformers” — mal-formers — are corrupting our schools. One of my New Year’s resolutions is to provide you in-depth coverage of this vital issue that too often gets shunted off the daily political/partisan agenda. While the GOP tries to solve its ills with better software and communications consultants, the conservative movement — and America — face much larger problems. It doesn’t start with the “low-information voter.” It starts with the no-knowledge student. This is the first in an ongoing series on “Common Core,” the stealthy federal takeover of school curriculum and standards across the country. As longtime readers know, my own experience with this ongoing sabotage of academic excellence dates back to my early reporting on the Clinton-era “Goals 2000″ and “outcome-based” education and extends to my recent parental experience with “Everyday Math”.
The good news is that grass-roots education and parental groups, brave teachers, and professors are fighting back.
And they’re winning. Big time. Over the last 10 months, Common Core has imploded under withering scrutiny from the tax-paying public, informed parents and educators, and more national media. States under both Republican and Democrat governors have adopted moratoria on the untested standards, withdrawn from the costly testing consortia, and retreated from partnerships with Common Core-promoting educational software data-miners like inBloom.

There’s much more to the fight than simple left-right divisions. The Common Core peddlers include meddling, Fed Ed Republicans from Jeb Bush and Mike Huckabee to progressive billionaires Bill and Melinda Gates to Newscorp. media giant Rupert Murdoch and dozens of educational corporate special interests that stand to gain billions from the Common Core testing/textbook/data-mining boondoggle.

The Stop Common Core movement includes social conservatives, libertarians, teachers’ union members, charter school advocates, Catholic school principals, urban and suburban parents, New York City Democrats, Tea Party Republicans, homeschoolers, and concerned activists from all parts of the political spectrum concerned about the feds’ encroachment on family and student privacy.

As I’ve reported, the nationwide revolt against Common Core’s constitutionality, costs, dubious quality, threat to local control, and privacy invasions has proponents in a panic. They’ve resorted to demeaning dissenting parents and educators and abusing their power to stifle all challenges to their authority.

Now, along comes Obama education secretary Arne Duncan to inject poisonous race-baiting and class warfare into the debate.
U.S. Education Secretary Arne Duncan told a group of state schools superintendents Friday that he found it “fascinating” that some of the opposition to the Common Core State Standards has come from “white suburban moms who — all of a sudden — their child isn’t as brilliant as they thought they were, and their school isn’t quite as good as they thought they were.”
Yes, he really said that. But he has said similar things before. What, exactly, is he talking about?
 In his cheerleading for the controversial Common Core State Standards — which were approved by 45 states and the District of Columbia and are now being implemented across the country (though some states are reconsidering) — Duncan has repeatedly noted that the standards and the standardized testing that goes along with them are more difficult than students in most states have confronted.

The preposterousness of Duncan’s tirade is outweighed only by its arrogance and falsehood.

As a brown-skinned suburban mom opposed to Common Core, I can tell you I’ve personally met moms and dads of ALL races, of ALL backgrounds, and from ALL parts of the country, who have sacrificed to get their kids into the best schools possible. They are outraged that dumbed-down, untested federal “standards” pose an existential threat to their excellent educational arrangements — be they public, private, religious, or homeschooling.

Duncan’s derision betrays the very control-freak impulses that drive Common Core. He presumes that only technocratic elites in Washington can determine what quality standards and curricula look like. He pretends that minority parents and students in inner-city charter and magnet schools with locally-crafted, rigorous classical education missions simply don’t exist. A textbook liberal racist, Duncan whitewashes all minority parents and educators who oppose Common Core out of the debate. And he condescendingly implies that the only reason “white suburban moms” object to Common Core is that their children are too dumb to score well on tests that are…a complete and utter mess.

As Brittany Corona noted earlier this summer, educators in New York and Kentucky outlined multiple problems with the assessments that Duncan champions:
Earlier this month, 49 New York principals wrote a letter to New York education commissioner John King explaining the problems teachers are finding with the Common Core assessments. While the principals state that they agree with Common Core in theory and are “are committed to helping New York realize the full promises of Common Core,” they write that its implementation has been haphazard:
Because schools have not had a lot of time to unpack Common Core, we fear that too many educators will use these high stakes tests to guide their curricula, rather than the more meaningful Common Core Standards themselves. And because the tests are missing Common Core’s essential values, we fear that students will experience curriculum that misses the point as well.
The New York principals reported problems with the assessments, including:
Difficult and confusing questions (some on unrelated topics).
Unnecessarily long testing sessions—“two weeks of three consecutive days of 90-minute periods”—that require more “stamina for a 10-year-old special education student than of a high school student taking an SAT exam.”
Field-test questions that do not factor into a child’s score but take up time.
Confusing directions for the English language arts sessions.
Math problems that repeatedly assess the same skill.
Multiple choice questions that ask the student to choose from the right answer and the “next best right answer.” The fact that teachers report disagreeing about which multiple-choice answer is correct in several places on the English language arts exams indicates that this format is unfair to students.
Kentucky, the first state to implement Common Core, has experienced similar testing problems.
Last month, the Kentucky Department of Education “discontinued scoring for all constructed-response questions in each of the four CCSS-aligned high school end-of-course exams.” Leaders said that the slow turnaround times for scoring and lack of diagnostic feedback on how scores are determined would cause the results to be delayed past the end of the school year.
In two states in which the Common Core assessments have been tried, they have posed problems. Both New York and Kentucky should be red flags for states moving forward with Common Core implementation.
If Arne Duncan thinks his comments are going to tame and marginalize the Stop Common Core movement, he’s got another thing coming. As I noted earlier this month, Common Core is a sleeper ballot box issue that will shake both sides of the aisle for months and years to come. The Davids are exercising their freedoms of speech and association to beat back the deep-pocketed Goliaths at their schoolhouse doors.

Stop Common Core moms of all colors have done their homework, brought their arguments and evidence to their school boards and state legislatures, and acted responsibly to protect their children’s best interests.

By contrast, education demagogue Arne Duncan and his Big Government/Big Business cronies invoke race, employ divisive class rhetoric, and attack active, involved, and informed moms and their children as academic failures — while Common Core’s own failings pile up like Obamacare website 404s.

Arne Duncan, I will continue to do everything in my brown-skinned suburban mom power to keep your smug, grubby hands off my kids’ education. I know I’m not alone.
Michelle Malkin, writer and suburban mom.

Thursday, November 21, 2013

How to fight Global Poverty

Why the Government Now Cares What You Spend on Gas

[Editor's Note: This latest "fix" by government is manipulation of the markets by government to "nudge" you to move to central cities. Government taxes and tolls are the single largest portion of the total cost of transportation by car. This is another way to control your life by "caring".]

Why the Government Now Cares What You Spend on Gas from The AtlanticCities

Why the Government Now Cares What You Spend on Gas

The housing crisis was, of course, primarily about housing: housing that people couldn't afford, housing that banks helped them finance anyway, housing that too many treated as a sure-fire investment.
But in a less noticed way, the housing crisis was also very much about transportation. The money we spend getting around is largely dictated by the choices we make in where to live. Buy a house 20 miles down the highway from your job, and your costs of getting around on $4-a-gallon gas are much steeper than they would be if you lived a short walk from the office (or the bus stop).
Those costs – half a tank of gas here, a bus ticket there – are much harder to track than a single monthly housing payment. They're practically invisible. That $2,000 a month mortgage on a spacious suburban colonial? It may also cost you $100 a week in gas money. Which is just the kind of unanticipated financial burden that can break a family budget.
So how do you make the intertwined costs and tradeoffs of housing and transportation more obvious? The Center for Neighborhood Technology in Chicago has been trying to do this for several years with its Housing + Transportation Affordability Index. And, as we've previously mentioned, the federal government has been paying attention.
Now the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development and the Department of Transportation have come out with their own modified version of the tool, with CNT's help.

Federal Location Affordability Index screen shot from Milwaukee
The government's Location Affordability Index is based on data from the American Community Survey and Consumer Expenditure Surveys. Most people in the U.S. (some small parts of the country aren't yet covered by the data) can now look up and compare the typical combined costs of housing and transportation for a range of different household types, down to the block group level. Local policymakers might also use the site to decide whether to rezone a parcel of land or where to construct a new subway stop.
HUD Secretary Shaun Donovan and his new DOT counterpart Anthony Foxx were careful to stress Tuesday that the tool is meant as an informational aid for these families and communities, not as a federal policy lever. But the site itself opens the door to that possibility in the future. Picture, for instance, the federal government using this more sophisticated calculation of what's truly "affordable" to decide how to direct grant money, or where to build public housing, or whether to back mortgages that appear too costly (or not costly enough) when you don't consider transportation.
For decades, the federal government has used the Interstate Highway System and the home mortgage interest deduction to encourage Americans to move out of inner cities and into their own suburban homes. A federal government that values "location efficiency" might begin to do the opposite, throwing its weight behind development that connects people to transit and jobs instead of back yards and highways.
That is, again, in the future (if it ever happens). But look carefully at what Donovan said about our recent past:
I would argue that had we had a tool like this going into the housing crisis and the bubble that we experienced – I certainly wouldn’t have argued it would have solved that problem – but I think it could have helped ameliorate some of the worst effects that we saw. Because, frankly, too often we saw individual families buying homes they thought they could afford without factoring in transportation costs.
That's a pretty bold statement for the head of HUD, pinning at least some of the blame for the country's housing meltdown on what is, in effect, one cost of sprawl.
Donovan said 75 to 85 percent of a family's living costs can be explained by location. Behavior accounts for the rest. If that's true, it would be a powerful insight for federal policy to leverage in trying to expand access to affordable communities.
"But we want to make sure that that's in fact true now that the model is out there," Donovan said. The government doesn't want to end up, he says, "misunderstanding the power of this information."

Emily Badger is a staff writer at The Atlantic Cities. Her work has previously appeared in Pacific StandardGOODThe Christian Science Monitor, and The New York Times. She lives in the Washington, D.C. area. All posts »

Tuesday, November 19, 2013

No Pressure for Marin County to Follow Plan Bay Area

See their website at

Wikipedia entry on this FILM

Bridge Housing updates plans for Marinwood Village

High Density housing project like proposed Marinwood Village
Corte-Mazilla on Wornum Drive in Corte Madera next to 101 freeway

The Gettysburg Address on the 150th year Anniversary

President Abraham Lincoln circa 1863

Four score and seven years ago our fathers brought forth on this continent, a new nation, conceived in Liberty, and dedicated to the proposition that all men are created equal.

Now we are engaged in a great civil war, testing whether that nation, or any nation so conceived and so dedicated, can long endure. We are met on a great battle-field of that war. We have come to dedicate a portion of that field, as a final resting place for those who here gave their lives that that nation might live. It is altogether fitting and proper that we should do this.

But, in a larger sense, we can not dedicate -- we can not consecrate -- we can not hallow -- this ground. The brave men, living and dead, who struggled here, have consecrated it, far above our poor power to add or detract. The world will little note, nor long remember what we say here, but it can never forget what they did here. It is for us the living, rather, to be dedicated here to the unfinished work which they who fought here have thus far so nobly advanced. It is rather for us to be here dedicated to the great task remaining before us -- that from these honored dead we take increased devotion to that cause for which they gave the last full measure of devotion -- that we here highly resolve that these dead shall not have died in vain -- that this nation, under God, shall have a new birth of freedom -- and that government of the people, by the people, for the people, shall not perish from the earth.

Abraham Lincoln
November 19, 1863

Abraham Lincoln in 1858 as a Republican Candidate for Senator.

Why is General Electric (GE) pushing the Common Core?

Editor's Note: General Electric is the recipient of millions of dollars taxpayer subsidies for their technology each year. They are heavy lobbyists for sustainable cities and just like the Siemens Corporation (and fellow WWII Nazi collaborators), they have massive profit motive to provide solutions for water/sewer, desalination,  energy management, transportation, power grids, medical technology, capital markets and much more. They will be huge profiteers of a highly centralized economy envisioned by the United Nations and Smart Growth planners.  Why are they pushing the Common Core initiative and urging us to be "GE Citizens"?

Article found on the GE Citizenship Website: Common Core State Standards—Our Kids’ Future

Posted September 19, 2012
Historically, educating our country’s children has always been in the hands of teachers, principals, schools, districts and states. As we moved into the 21st century, many states had systems in place to standardize what teachers would teach and students would learn in each grade. Then in 2002, No Child Left Behind (NCLB) institutionalized this system by federally mandating that every state implement a standards-based system of assessment and accountability. While this requirement was well-intentioned and an important step in the right direction, the federal law mandated only that individual states develop and adopt statewide standards; it did not specify the necessary rigor for those standards. As a result, states set varying levels of expectations for their students; some very high, some very low, and some in-between. As a result, a student’s ZIP code continued to be the greatest determinant of what he or she would learn each year as well as the minimum expectations for what he or she would achieve before graduating high school.

In addition to the equity concerns of state-specific standards that varied wildly across the country in 2002, the system also presented another problem for students. Families move—within and across states—and the varying expectations meant students were often unprepared for the demands of their new classrooms, or, alternatively, they had already learned information being taught. This impact was felt most acutely by our nation’s military children, who attend an average of six to nine different schools from kindergarten to 12th grade.

Sunday, November 17, 2013

21 Reasons Marin County Is The Most Beautiful County

21 Reasons Marin County Is The Most Beautiful County from Buzzfeed

Try and name another county as beautiful. Go ahead and try.

posted on September 4, 2013 at 7:12pm EDT

Sandra Allen BuzzFeed Staff posted about 2 months ago

1. Sunrises.

Flickr: arrighi / Creative Commons

2. The view of the Bridge from the Headlands.

Flickr: opusbloo / Creative Commons

3. Except for when it gets shy.

Flickr: pwinker / Creative Commons

4. The Headlands in general.

Flickr: l1mey / Creative Commons

5. The houseboats of Sausalito.

Flickr: miwok /Creative Commons

6. Muir Woods.

Flickr: jasontoff / Creative Commons

7. The Muir Beach Overlook.

Flickr: flannobrien / Creative Commons

8. The view up the coast.

Flickr: josecamoessilva / Creative Commons

9. Cataract Falls.

Flickr: jarcher / Creative Commons

10. The view of Tam from the Bay.

Flickr: 34186459@N00 / Creative Commons

11. The top of the mountain.

Flickr: johnny4ever5 / Creative Commons

12. The view of the City.

Flickr: thenickster / Creative Commons

13. Ridgecrest.

Flickr: tahitipix / Creative Commons

14. And the watershed.

Flickr: katarokkar / Creative Commons

15. Stinson Beach.

Flickr: johnjoh / Creative Commons

16. The cows of West Marin.

Flickr: kiltron / Creative Commons

17. And their friends, the chickens.

Flickr: nourishingourchildren / Creative Commons

18. Point Reyes.

Flickr: jackfrench / Creative Commons

19. That one abandoned boat.

Flickr: wyattwalter / Creative Commons

20. The Civic Center.

Flickr: arrighi / Creative Commons

21. Sunsets.

Flickr: esmitt / Creative Commons