Saturday, June 21, 2014

Saturday Night Videos

Who">">Who are you? - Portrait of a photographer
from Martin">">Martin Zarka on Vimeo.">Vimeo.>
> from bram">">bram schouw on Vimeo.">Vimeo.>
An">">An Awesome Book of Love
from Furlined">Furlined> on Vimeo.">Vimeo.>
Noah">">Noah Kin - 822
from Cocoa">Cocoa> on Vimeo.">Vimeo.>
Balan">">Balan the Blowpipe Maker
from Ross">">Ross Harrison on Vimeo.">Vimeo.>
MY">">MY MOTIVE - KNYTRO (360 degree video - tiny planet London)
from j0n4s">j0n4s> on Vimeo.">Vimeo.>
20syl">">20syl - Kodama (official music video)
from 20syl">20syl> on Vimeo.">Vimeo.>
Bless">">Bless You
from DavidBK">DavidBK> on Vimeo.">Vimeo.>
Making">">Making RAEN - Carlo and Dante Mondavi
from VITA">">VITA BREVIS FILMS on Vimeo.">Vimeo.>
No">">No Way Out
from Diego">">Diego Contreras [B-sides] on Vimeo.">Vimeo.>
Hands">">Hands of Bresson
from kogonada">kogonada> on Vimeo.">Vimeo.>
New">">New Music Cities | Gothenburg
from AllSaints">AllSaints> on Vimeo.">Vimeo.>
> from Miguel">">Miguel Jiron on Vimeo.">Vimeo.>

Bay Area Citizens outside the Court on June 12, 2014. Round 1 Bay Area Citizens vs. Plan Bay Area.

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Muir Woods Congestion Plan meeting in Tam Valley June 18, 2014

Friday, June 20, 2014

'Reds In My Bed' by 10CC (Friday Night Music from Laika)

'Reds In My Bed' by 10CC (Friday Night Music from Laika)

Red Square 
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Laika the Space Dog has been orbiting Earth and transmitting korrekt thinking to our tinfoil hats since 1957. On some Friday nights, however, Laika mixes important updates to the Current Truth with occasional relevant light music programming. This is one of those Fridays.

Reds In My Bed

(See lyrics below)

There's a fat man who offers a change of scene
Says he'll guarantee my sheet will be clean
When I get on the outside
But who can you trust when the walls have ears
I'm for takin' a chance, like a drownin' man
I'm going under 

I've got reds in my bed
I'm not easily led to the slaughter
And while the cold war exists
I'll stay warm with the commisar's daughter 

We could meet at the zoo where the tiger roams
In a prison of steel
He reminds me so much of the way I feel
And we know that we're both in the danger zone
Where the eyes of the world
Full of shutters and bugs are upon us now 

I've got reds in my bed
I get blues looking out of my window
And we're never alone, there's a tap on the phone
And my pillow 

Let me go home
(There's a girl in a distant land)
Let me go home
(Who's nothing more than a memory)
She don't know that I'm gonna be free
Let me go home
(You're a land full of misery)
Let me go home
(You're a cruel and a faceless race)
I don't like your philosophy
I don't like your philosophy 

The connections are made and the time is right
So my body is walled in the shell of a car
in the dead of night
And I laugh through the pain and the agony
As they cut me away to be born again
back to humanity 

You've got reds in your bed
There's a man lookin' over your shoulder
But don't you give him your mind
It's too late when you find that it's over

Let me go home
(You're a land full of misery)
Let me go home
(You're nothing more than a memory)
I don't like your philosophy
Let me go home
(You're a cruel and a faceless race)
Let me go home
(You're nothing more than a memory)
I don't like your philosophy



Red Square 
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The pictures for this post are the work of my favorite Russian artist, Valentin Gubarev, whose paintings are so attuned to the People's Cube culture that they look as if they had been made specifically to illustrate this site. 

Luckily for us, Valentin Gubarev is very prolific. Here is just a couple, but you can see more inGoogle images.

This one probably implies that history could be different if Lenin had met this seductress to distract him from reading Marxist literature.


And I'm sure many of our goose-stepping contributors and commenters will recognize themselves in this kollektive portrait of comrades toeing the Party line for the common good!


- See more at:

Friday Night Music : Grateful Dead Mix

Larkspur Fights Back against "smart growth"

Porcelain Springs, the most peaceful place on earth

Wednesday, June 18, 2014

The Australian Police State and the Bikies

When police state enforcement tactics go too far, civil liberties vanish.

Stop the NPS "Muir Woods Access Plan"

The Unholy Trinity of Public Sector Unions, Environmentalists, and Wall Street

Brian Crawford, Director of Community Development lectured Marinwood/Lucas Valley about the importance of low income housing in our community. According to the 2010 census, the median HOUSEHOLD income in our neighborhood is slightly below the Marin County "low income" designation ( $88,000 for a family of four) at $85,444. This means our average household "deserves" taxpayer supported housing.  But half our property owners who earn LESS than low income but will pay MORE property taxes for TAX FREE developments to house people who earn MORE than us. This is an outrage.

Life is good for Mr. Crawford though.  According to the public employee salary database TRANSPARENT CALIFORNIA he earned $241,697.07 in salary and benefits in 2013 LOOK IT UP HERE.  Other top planners in his department earn well over $150,000 in salary  and benefits.

These are the people lecturing us about "social equity"?

 The Unholy Trinity of Public Sector Unions, Environmentalists, and Wall Street

By On May 6, 2014 · Leave a Comment

Taken at surface value, there ought to be minimal identity of interests between these three special interests. But if you follow the money and power instead of the rhetoric and stereotypes, you will find this unhealthy alliance is alive and thriving. For example, unions use “greenmail,” the threat of a lawsuit on environmentalist grounds, to block developments until the businesses involved concede to union demands. Once they back down, the environmental problem magically disappears.
California’s much vaunted high-speed rail and delta tunnel proposals are also examples of the unhealthy rapprochement between unions (public and private) and environmentalists. Because the construction unions, God bless ‘em, want thousands of good new construction jobs, and the only big projects that are environmentally correct are these monstrosities. The unions have a choice – fight the environmentalists in order to lobby for public works that actually yield economic benefits to society, or enjoy their considerable support for a couple of misguided mega-projects.
Beyond obvious examples, how unions, environmentalists, and America’s overbuilt financial sector collude – often unwittingly, does not lend itself to emotionally resonant, simple narrative. It can’t be expressed in a few declarative sentences. But because this web of collusion is stunting the economic growth of America and systematically destroying its middle class, it is a story that must be told. Here are some points that all exemplify the chain of cause and effect, linking the interests of public sector unions, environmentalists, and Wall Street.
  • Public sector unions demand, and get, over-market compensation and benefit packages. This causes budget deficits which, in turn (1) enables environmentalists to more easily fight and defeat infrastructure investments, and (2) creates hundreds of billions in business for Wall Street bond underwriters who finance budget deficits.
  • Politicians controlled by public sector unions declare new infrastructure – freeways, utility upgrades, improved water infrastructure, upgraded grid, investment in airports and seaports, etc., to be environmentally unsound. The real reason, however, is they want the tax revenue to go to increasing pay and benefits for public employees.
  • Wall Street investment firms work with pension funds to convince public sector unions that it is financially feasible and reasonable to enhance pension benefits – or not reduce them, as is more recently the case. As hundreds of billions each year of taxpayers money pours into these funds, investment firms make huge profits. If they don’t earn enough, they raise taxes.
  • Environmentalists come up with a “market-based” way to curb dangerous greenhouse gasses, an “emissions auction” plan, which in turn (1) enables Wall Street trading firms to collect a fee on literally every BTU of fossil fuel consumed in America, and (2) empowers public sector agencies to redefine their jobs (mass transit workers, firefighters, code inspectors, teachers – even police since crime increases during hot weather) as coping with, educating about, or mitigating the effects of global warming, allowing these government agencies to collect the proceeds of the emissions auctions.
  • Without an endlessly appreciating asset bubble, every public employee pension fund in the United States would go broke. To pump up this asset bubble, environmentalist restrictions artificially accelerate price appreciation for land, housing, gasoline, electricity, and other basic needs. And of course, financial institutions reap spectacular profits during periods of rapid asset appreciation.

It is reasonable at this point to wonder – what about business? What is their role in this? That is simple – big business benefits, by being able to afford to comply with excessive regulations and by being able to afford a unionized workforce. In general, smaller companies, innovators, emerging competitors, are crushed by the power of unions and environmentalists, just like the middle class.
There are consequences of an unexamined, unchallenged yet powerful de-facto alliance between public sector unions, environmentalists, and the financial sector that ought to animate anyone claiming to care about America’s working middle class – whether they adhere to the ideology of the Occupy movement, or the Tea Party movement. Because the consequences are a higher cost of living with minimal economic growth and new opportunities. The consequences are an increasingly monopolized, anti-competitive private sector, a perennially swollen financial sector, and an increasingly authoritarian, self-interested government. Public sector unions and Wall Street use the environmental movement for cover. This factor should temper any assessment of environmentally inspired policies.
Unions in the private sector, were they to adhere to their ideals and even their most cherished pragmatic goals, would use their considerable influence to rein in the unchecked power of environmentalists. Only then will their desire for more and better jobs, building tangible assets that are actually beneficial to society, be best realized. Public sector unions, on the other hand, whose entire reason for existence is inherently in conflict with society at large, should be illegal.
*   *   *
Ed Ring is the executive director of the California Policy Center.

NY TIMES: War Gear Flows to Police Departments


War Gear Flows to Police Departments

A military-style armored personnel carrier, top, that the Seminole County Sheriff’s Office in Florida bought off a contractor. Credit Jacob Langston                  
NEENAH, Wis. — Inside the municipal garage of this small lakefront city, parked next to the hefty orange snowplow, sits an even larger truck, this one painted in desert khaki. Weighing 30 tons and built to withstand land mines, the armored combat vehicle is one of hundreds showing up across the country, in police departments big and small.
The 9-foot-tall armored truck was intended for an overseas battlefield. But as President Obama ushers in the end of what he called America’s “long season of war,” the former tools of combat — M-16 rifles, grenade launchers, silencers and more — are ending up in local police departments, often with little public notice.
During the Obama administration, according to Pentagon data, police departments have received tens of thousands of machine guns; nearly 200,000 ammunition magazines; thousands of pieces of camouflage and night-vision equipment; and hundreds of silencers, armored cars and aircraft.
The equipment has been added to the armories of police departments that already look and act like military units. Police SWAT teams are now deployed tens of thousands of times each year, increasingly for routine jobs. Masked, heavily armed police officers in Louisiana raided a nightclub in 2006 as part of a liquor inspection. In Florida in 2010, officers in SWAT gear and with guns drawn carried out raids on barbershops that mostly led only to charges of “barbering without a license.”
Continue reading the main story

Military Equipment for Local Police

As the nation’s wars abroad wind down, many of the military’s surplus tools of combat have ended up in the hands of state and local law enforcement. Totals below are the minimum number of pieces acquired since 2006 in a selection of categories.
= 1 vehicle
Mine-Resistant Ambush Protected armored vehicles
Other armored
Night vision
Machine guns
Planes and helicopters
5.56 mm and
7.62 mm rifles
Including cars and trucks
Including sights, binoculars, goggles, lights and accessories
No ammunition
When the military’s mine-resistant trucks began arriving in large numbers last year, Neenah and places like it were plunged into the middle of a debate over whether the post-9/11 era had obscured the lines between soldier and police officer.
“It just seems like ramping up a police department for a problem we don’t have,” said Shay Korittnig, a father of two who spoke against getting the armored truck at a recent public meeting in Neenah. “This is not what I was looking for when I moved here, that my children would view their local police officer as an M-16-toting, SWAT-apparel-wearing officer.”
A quiet city of about 25,000 people, Neenah has a violent crime rate that is far below the national average. Neenah has not had a homicide in more than five years.
“Somebody has to be the first person to say ‘Why are we doing this?’ ” said William Pollnow Jr., a Neenah city councilman who opposed getting the new police truck.
Neenah’s police chief, Kevin E. Wilkinson, said he understood the concern. At first, he thought the anti-mine truck was too big. But the department’s old armored car could not withstand high-powered gunfire, he said.
“I don’t like it. I wish it were the way it was when I was a kid,” he said. But he said the possibility of violence, however remote, required taking precautions. “We’re not going to go out there as Officer Friendly with no body armor and just a handgun and say ‘Good enough.’ ”
Congress created the military-transfer program in the early 1990s, when violent crime plagued America’s cities and the police felt outgunned by drug gangs. Today, crime has fallen to its lowest levels in a generation, the wars have wound down, and despite current fears, the number of domestic terrorist attacks has declined sharply from the 1960s and 1970s.
Police departments, though, are adding more firepower and military gear than ever. Some, especially in larger cities, have used federal grant money to buy armored cars and other tactical gear. And the free surplus program remains a favorite of many police chiefs who say they could otherwise not afford such equipment. Chief Wilkinson said he expects the police to use the new truck rarely, when the department’s SWAT team faces an armed standoff or serves a warrant on someone believed to be dangerous.
Today, Chief Wilkinson said, the police are trained to move in and save lives during a shooting or standoff, in contrast to a generation ago — before the Columbine High School massacre and others that followed it — when they responded by setting up a perimeter and either negotiating with, or waiting out, the suspect.
The number of SWAT teams has skyrocketed since the 1980s, according to studies by Peter B. Kraska, an Eastern Kentucky University professor who has been researching the issue for decades.
The ubiquity of SWAT teams has changed not only the way officers look, but also the way departments view themselves. Recruiting videos feature clips of officers storming into homes with smoke grenades and firing automatic weapons. In Springdale, Ark., a police recruiting video is dominated by SWAT clips, including officers throwing a flash grenade into a house and creeping through a field in camouflage.
In South Carolina, the Richland County Sheriff’s Department’s website features its SWAT team, dressed in black with guns drawn, flanking an armored vehicle that looks like a tank and has a mounted .50-caliber gun. Capt. Chris Cowan, a department spokesman, said the vehicle “allows the department to stay in step with the criminals who are arming themselves more heavily every day.” He said police officers had taken it to schools and community events, where it was a conversation starter.
Kevin Wilkinson, the police chief of Neenah, Wis., said having a vehicle built for combat would help protect his officers. Credit Darren Hauck for The New York Times
“All of a sudden, we start relationships with people,” he said.
Not everyone agrees that there is a need for such vehicles. Ronald E. Teachman, the police chief in South Bend, Ind., said he decided not to request a mine-resistant vehicle for his city. "I go to schools,” he said. “But I bring ‘Green Eggs and Ham.’ ”
The Pentagon program does not push equipment onto local departments. The pace of transfers depends on how much unneeded equipment the military has, and how much the police request. Equipment that goes unclaimed typically is destroyed. So police chiefs say their choice is often easy: Ask for free equipment that would otherwise be scrapped, or look for money in their budgets to prepare for an unlikely scenario. Most people understand, police officers say.
"When you explain that you’re preparing for something that may never happen, they get it,” said Capt. Tiger Parsons of the Buchanan County Sheriff’s Office in northwest Missouri, which recently received a mine-resistant truck.
“You have a lot of people who are coming out of the military that have the ability and knowledge to build I.E.D.’s and to defeat law enforcement techniques,” Sgt. Dan Downing of the Morgan County Sheriff’s Department told the local Fox affiliate, referring to improvised explosive devices, or homemade bombs. Sergeant Downing did not return a message seeking comment.
The police in 38 states have received silencers, which soldiers use to muffle gunfire during raids and sniper attacks. Lauren Wild, the sheriff in rural Walsh County, N.D., said he saw no need for silencers. When told he had 40 of them for his county of 11,000 people, Sheriff Wild confirmed it with a colleague and said he would look into it. "I don’t recall approving them,” he said.

Tuesday, June 17, 2014

Surveillance State Future for Marin?

Marin Emergency Radio Agency (MERA rebuilding its communication system for police, fire and emergency services. Concerned residents speculate that it will become a surveillance system like Camden, NJ funded with generous grants from the federal government. Oakland just approved a similar system.

Surveillance Cameras can be found all over Marin.
This is one of four at the intersection of Lucas Valley Road and Las Gallinas Avenue.

Corte Mazilla up close- Is this the "New" urban Marin?

Is Marin Urban or Suburban?

Is Marin Urban or Suburban?

Download audio (MP3)

Greenbelt Alliance/Flickr Downtown San Rafael
Marin County is currently designated as an urban community by the state, requiring it to build new housing at the same density as cities like San Francisco. But under legislation approved recently by the state Assembly, the county would be re-designated as suburban, reducing the housing mandate from 30 to 20 units per acre for future developments. The bill's author, San Rafael Assembly Member Marc Levine, says it would lead to smarter growth more in-character with the county's rural nature. But critics say it would reduce affordable housing requirements at a time when Marin hasn't met existing ones. We talk about the proposal, which now heads to the state Senate.
Host: Michael Krasny
  • Marc Levine, assemblyman for District 10 which covers Marin County and Southern Sonoma County
  • David Kunhardt, CEO of SolEd Benefit Corp. and founder and steering committee member of the Coalition for a Livable Marin 

Monday, June 16, 2014

The Story of Our Time

CRITICAL MEETING: Larkspur Fights Back this Wednesday at 6:30 PM


Critical Larkspur City Council Meeting

 When: Wednesday, June 18 @ 6:30 pm
Where: Hall Middle School Gym

The battle is not over for the future of Larkspur Landing and against the forced urbanization of Marin. Public pressure is needed to force a vote now. No more hearings, no more studies, no more workshops, no more wasting taxpayers' money. VOTE NOW! Our elected officials assure us they are on board for “No Project.” If so, then they should “Stop it NOW!” and vot...e to reject both the Station Area Plan (SAP) and Draft Environmental Impact Report (DEIR).
Besides “Stop it NOW!” we must urge the Larkspur City Council to “Start Fresh” to properly study improvements to the Larkspur Landing area’s traffic congestion, parking, and safety for pedestrians and cyclists. The Station Area Plan is NOT the answer.
Wear red. (MAD tees will be available there.)

Andres Duany, The New Urbanist Pied Piper invades Scotland

Andrés Duany and the new enlightenment

Andrés Duany
Source: Scott Clissold
Wearing tweed trousers, a tartan tie and a boyish air of can-do assurance, the architect and urbanist Andrés Duany was in London recently for one of his three annual visits to the offices of planning consultants Turnbury.
Duany’s Miami-based practice, DPZ — which he runs with his wife, Elizabeth Plater-Zyberk — has become a regular collaborator with Turnbury over the past six years, providing the design input for a string of major developments in the UK. As the tie suggests, many lie in Scotland. The largest, Tornagrain, is soon to break ground on land near Inverness Airport and will ultimately house 10,000 people.
Co-founding the Miami-based Arquitectonica in the 1970s, Duany and Plater-Zyberk began their careers as architects. But for the past 30 years their interests have focused on the urban scale and in particular the lessons that historic towns might offer current development. Gaining international attention through their plan and design code for the neo-traditional Florida new town Seaside, they remain highly divisive figures.
And yet in Scotland, DPZ’s advocacy of coding has been received sympathetically, not least by the country’s recently retired chief planner, Jim McKinnon. Duany attributes this to the fact that Scots have an appetite for developing a planning culture to reflect their burgeoning independence. “When we arrived I could tell they had an attitude that they were becoming their own country,” he says. “McKinnon ultimately liked codes because they are rationalist. The Scottish enlightenment is not empirical. It’s a rationalist culture.”

Asking questions

As foreigners, he also felt the members of his practice were able to bring a fresh eye to the Scottish urban landscape and extrapolate lessons that could be applied to future developments. St Andrews, in particular, has served as a model for his schemes in the country.
“As Americans we were excited by what we saw,” he says. “We asked questions: What is a pend? What’s a wynd? How do you block the wind coming in from the sea? We asked questions the architects stopped asking.”
‘We’re not working with good designers but with builders. Acres of great architecture can be very oppressive’
Duany acknowledges that not all architects share his enthusiasm for design codes, but claims they offer more freedom than the traditional British system of planning by negotiation. “The idea that negotiating with an administrator is somehow a freedom, I find extremely obnoxious,” he argues. “I would rather deal with a rule than a person. That is a situation where I come in with rights.”
In the case of his three permitted Scottish projects, he is not expecting — nor even particularly hoping — that all the architecture will be of high quality. The likely outcome certainly sounds far removed from a project like Poundbury.
“Those were good designers working there,” he says. “We’re not working with good designers, we’re working with builders. I could design all the houses myself or I could get my buddies in but that’s not fair and it’s not urbanism. When you select the architects, you don’t need codes. It just becomes a large architectural project — and acres of great architecture can be very oppressive. There’s something that allows you to breathe when it’s not great architecture.”

Lessons from America

Duany is used to being attacked as a romantic but his arguments come rooted in pragmatic and even commercial concerns. Our conversation returns repeatedly to questions of affordability — a consideration that he believes should be given a much increased emphasis in discussions of urban form and sustainability.
He cites the development of America in the 1870s as a model for the kind of environment we should be seeking to create in our post-crash economy. With banks only lending in small increments and reluctant to extend loans on mixed-use buildings with complex leasing arrangements, he believes examples of urbanism from that period — such as the low-rise, small-grain grid of Portland, Oregon — have renewed relevance.
“The continent of the United States was colonised without a banking system from sheer common sense, management expertise and sequential design, and it created wealth. That technology, from the way it was managed to the way the bureaucracy ran — everything made sense. That 19th-century culture of engineering, married to a vernacular approach to delivering buildings — in the sense of thinking, not style — has a lot to teach us today.”
He argues that our current discussion of sustainability issues could also benefit from a dose of 19th-century common sense. He is particularly hostile to the demand for housing to incorporate hi-tech solutions. “Right now it is known that ecological design is more expensive, but it will pay for itself in the end, and I will not accept that,” he says. “Even passive technology is too expensive. I’d rather spend $500 on a beautiful curtain than triple glazing. The commitment to hi-tech is a commitment to cost — and we don’t have the money any more.”
Given that at Tornagrain the plan is to build 90 houses a year, Duany has no expectation of seeing the scheme completed in his lifetime. However, that is a situation with which he seems quite content. “As you become an urbanist you become a futurist. An architect finishes in five years; our Scottish projects may take 50 years to build out,” he says.
Slow as they may be to appear, it is a good bet that, like them or not, these projects will have a huge influence on future urban development in Scotland and beyond.

Three steps to new urbanism


Duany and Plater-Zyberk studied under Charles Moore at Yale before co-founding the Miami-based Arquitectonica in 1977. Their brand of mirror-plated pop modernism found fame through projects such as the Atlantis Condominium, which had a starring role in the opening credits of Miami Vice.

Discovering urbanism

A new engagement with urbanism followed their attendance at a lecture given by the young Leon Krier. “He was absolutely spectacular,” Duany recalls. “I thought Lenin must have been like this. And, of course, at first I reviled him. I spent two weeks in a yellow fury.”


After founding DPZ in 1980, Duany and Plater-Zyberk planned the Florida new town Seaside, as an exemplar of the principles that came to be known as New Urbanism. The development prioritised pedestrian travel and directed the contributions of many architects — including Krier, Robert Stern and Steven Holl — through the application of design codes.