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August 31, 2012

Last Year's Man

The Man (0270)
Last year's Man on Friday.

Filed under Burning Man,Photography | permalink | August 31, 2012 at 06:00 AM | Comments (0)

August 29, 2012

Big Thing Last Year

The Horse (0114)
Last year's Trojan Horse on Wednesday.

Filed under Burning Man,Photography | permalink | August 29, 2012 at 06:00 AM | Comments (0)

August 28, 2012

At Last Year's Burning Man

Burning Man (0070)
People on the streets at Burning Man on Tuesday last year.

Filed under Burning Man,Photography | permalink | August 28, 2012 at 06:00 AM | Comments (0)

August 27, 2012

A Year Ago At Burning Man

Night Art (0057)
Last year I found this thing on Monday night at Burning Man.

Filed under Burning Man,Photography | permalink | August 27, 2012 at 06:00 AM | Comments (0)

August 26, 2012

I Miss Another One

Maybe the best predictor for earthquakes in the Coachella Valley is my absence. I missed today's 5.5 at 1:58 PM.

Filed under Automotive,Coachella Valley | permalink | August 26, 2012 at 06:40 PM | Comments (1)

The Gates Open In 12 Hours

Live video streaming of Burning Man right here. I've got a lame connection in a Motel 6 right now, so I can't verify if it's working at this moment, but I'm sure it'll be almost as good as being there.

After packing everything into the truck yesterday and leaving Desert Hot Springs I realized that I could smell Black Rock Desert playa dust in my truck and on my hands. Apparently, I've got quite a bit of stuff that I use only at Burning Man and it never gets 100% clean.

If you prefer audio streaming over video, BMIR playa radio is available for that. Rev Billy is on BMIR every day at 1 PM (starting Monday?).

Blouin ARTINFO has the confidence to rank the "10 Most Mind-Blowing Art Projects at Burning Man 2012" even though none have yet been seen. Their slideshow, however, calls them the "Ten Craziest." I didn't know mind-blowing = crazy.

Filed under Burning Man | permalink | August 26, 2012 at 05:59 AM | Comments (1)

August 25, 2012

Neil Armstrong: 1930-2012

The first human to walk on the moon has died at age 82. He had heart surgery earlier this month, but his family has not announced the cause of death or where and when he died.

Neil Armstrong
Neil Armstrong while in the Gemini program.

Filed under History,Science | permalink | August 25, 2012 at 01:23 PM | Comments (0)

August 24, 2012

Mountain Lion In Downtown Reno

The Reno Gazette-Journal reports that a mountain lion was sighted at Harrah's plaza on Virginia Street between 2nd and 3rd. The 2-year old male was tranquilized and carted away to the wilds of Carson City. It is not yet verified if he was trying to sell or buy a Burning Man ticket.

| permalink | August 24, 2012 at 10:00 PM | Comments (0)

It's A Buyer's Market - For Burning Man Tickets

KNSD Channel 7 in San Diego is reporting a glut of Burning Man tickets on the secondary market as virgins suddenly are faced with the reality of hard work in a hot, dusty desert. Woo-hoo! More dust for me!

eBay has 64 listed as I write. There are many where the sellers are asking laughably high prices, but the highest price actually bid is $403.39 + 30.25 shipping.

Craigslist Reno has 222 listings, but some of those are people looking to buy a ticket. There's one asking $800, but there's one who will sell you a ticket for $200 and pick you up along I-80 east of Reno and drive you to the playa for free! He expects to be in Lincoln, Nebraska, tonight (originating in Toronto), so if you are in Des Moines you might be able to catch up to him if you hurry.

Craigslist Los Angeles has 408 listings, and a few of those are seeking a ticket. 49 of those entries were posted today. One is asking only $150.

Sacramento: 49 listings. Several are seeking.

Las Vegas - 61 listings.

Kansas City, Missouri? One ticket. Yes, them Kansas Citians love them their Burning Man and they wouldn't give up their tickets, no sir.

Boston - 6 tickets for sale.

And at the Mother Ship herself? One-thousand listings in the San Francisco Bay area! All those people want to stay and see what the city is like without Burners. One supposed hipster (or is he just hipster-bait?) in Mountain View is offering ten cases of PBR for a ticket (or $150).

Even here in Coachella Valley there are people who are changing their minds. Now here's one who says he bought his ticket in the special sale on August 3, and he will let you have it at a terrible loss - only $150. That was posted on August 17, and I hope you haven't taken him up on it. The tickets sold at the special sale in the first few days of August are not transferable. You pick them up at will-call after sitting for a couple hours in the entrance road. At that point the bargain shopper will be turned around and sent home, burnless.

One from August 13 in Palm Springs asking $409.

But it's Marcos in Indio who's got the best deal. The ticket is only $300 (OBO) and it includes a ride to the Black Rock Desert and back. You'll be riding with his brother and two friends and they leave tomorrow, Saturday, August 25. I assume they'll expect you to share gas. He reposted the deal yesterday, so I think he's an eager seller. You'll probably want to visit with your new travel mates before committing to that trip.

Filed under Burning Man | permalink | August 24, 2012 at 08:26 PM | Comments (0)

Kodak Pulling Out Of Consumer Market

With one exception, its consumer inkjet division, Kodak will cease all products aimed at the ordinary joe consumer. It will get rid of its print kiosks and all consumer film. It will continue to make motion picture film for the industry and specialty films like large-format for aerial photography. It intends to sell its digital imaging patent portfolio.

Filed under Photography | permalink | August 24, 2012 at 12:03 PM | Comments (0)

August 23, 2012

A Freebie For The Republican Delegates

Ybor Resort and Spa is "Tampa Bay’s only gay owned and gay operated, private club, resort & bathhouse." They are running a special deal until August 31: All RNC Delegates get in free. I am sure there will be takers. In 1976 the RNC was in Kansas City, and so was I, just freshly out. I met more than one gay Republican delegate, but the most interesting was one from Oklahoma who was a Reagan delegate. He gave me a Reagan/Schweiker button (which I still have somewhere) and we had a good long chat - just a chat.

Filed under Gay Issues,Politics | permalink | August 23, 2012 at 05:34 PM | Comments (0)

Burning Man Load For The Day

The San Francisco Examiner editorializes about the lawsuit Black Rock City LLC has filed against Pershing County, Nevada. They point out that a total of five people were arrested at Burning Man last year, making it safer than the Republican Party National Convention (they say). And they point out that Pershing County has not substantiated its charges of rampant criminality at Burning Man.

Here's a map of Pershing County:
Pershing County, Nevada

Burners and others familiar with the area will recognize Pyramid Lake to the southwest and the Black Rock Desert playa to the northwest. North of Pershing County on I-80 is Winnemucca. I-80 bisects the county north to south. What you don't see on this map are any cities in Pershing County. Click the map above and you'll go to Google maps where you'll have to zoom in a couple of clicks before you see Lovelock, the county seat, in that irrigated valley that is so green. Highway 447, "Burning Man Highway," skirts up the west side of the county, but is mostly in Washoe County. IOW, about the only place where Burners would spend money in Pershing County is in Lovelock buying fuel and food, if they are coming from or going east. Most Burners come from the west, via Reno and Sparks. Pershing County's only expenses for Burning Man would be law enforcement and possibly road repair on that bit of 447 that is in Pershing County. Burning Man pays for the law enforcement.

Smoke from northern California wildfires is blowing across the Black Rock Desert. There are reports of beautiful sunsets. Sunrise is probably beautiful too, but you have to be awake for it.

The Walking Beast (video) will return to the playa this year from Salem, Oregon. It's first year at Burning Man was also my first year: 2007. That year it walked only a few steps. It weighs over 7 tons, is powered by a 454 cu. in. big block Chevy V-8, and gets ½ mile per gallon. More technical info and history here. LEDs were added to it in 2008 and 2009, but it got a lot more attention in 2010 when a propane jet was added to shoot flames.

Burners from the District of Columbia are building a replica of the Washington Monument on the playa. It will blow bubbles by day and shoot flame at night.

Mary Polizzotti tries to address some of the misconceptions about Burning Man. "Where can you go in the world and completely escape all technology? I mean no cell phone reception, no laptop, no WiFi, no texting, no Skype." She hasn't been for five years, so she doesn't know that Wi-fi and cellphone service are sometimes found on the playa.

Filed under Burning Man | permalink | August 23, 2012 at 12:02 PM | Comments (0)

Did No One Else Notice?

Did no one else notice that in Google maps the segment of Indian Canyon between Dillon and Pierson was identified as "Palm Canyon?" I noticed it 2 or 3 weeks ago and clicked the "Report a problem" link on the map. Now it's fixed. Their response was much faster than a year ago when I noticed that the DHS Police Department was labeled "Sheriff's Department." That took several months to correct.

Filed under Desert Hot Springs,Technology | permalink | August 23, 2012 at 11:38 AM | Comments (0)

August 22, 2012

Tim Edwards Doesn't Like Windows 8

Windows 8 won't be available for the general public until October 16, but Tim Edwards got an early copy and tells us what he didn't like. Basically, it seems that in his point of view Windows 8 has been designed for tablets, which wouldn't necessarily be bad, but it seems to be unable to adjust for the larger displays that users will have on desktop systems. The result, for him, is that all of that beautiful real estate he has invested in as a display is wasted as it shows one app at a time, full screen.

One commenter says "Well this is the first time I have been here, but sadly it will be my last. 95% of what is stated in this article is false. You simply do not know how to use Windows 8. Just like every other person who says Windows 8 is crap, you installed it for 10 minutes, decided not to learn how to use it, and are now saying its crap."

I conclude from this comment that something magical happens in the 11th minute after installing Windows 8 in which the user begins to see the operating system's true beauty...or at least its non-crappiness.

Filed under Technology | permalink | August 22, 2012 at 03:35 PM | Comments (0)

Mission Springs Water District Board - August 16 and 20

The audio recording of this meeting of the Mission Springs Water District Board of Directors is available here. The recording of the Monday, August 20 board meeting is available here. All votes that are reported here took place at the Monday meeting. Director Russ Martin was absent from the Thursday study session, but all directors were present at the Monday meeting.

Public Comments

Richard Cromwell distributed a handout. It was a copy of an article entitled "Restaurant and Utility Makeovers Aren't That Different" from Opflow, a publication of the American Water Works Association. The premise is that people used to be satisfied having safe drinking water and a reliable sewer system, but now with higher prices they expect something more, including evidence that the agency cares about its customers.

Mr. Cromwell said the MSWD 2.0 Citizens' Committee meetings are very interesting, which is related to the subject of the magazine article. He said he didn't think the meetings had yet addressed what the district wants the committee members to do with the information they've been given. The public needs to understand what this district has been through and what it has accomplished, he said.

Environmental Services Contract with Tom Dodson

This is a $41,360 contract to oversee environmental compliance for Areas F and M1:1-4 sewer construction in AD 12. The work involves a bird survey and monitoring for archaeological discoveries, plus all the paperwork. Director Martin said the archaeological monitoring is "the definition of government run amok." He said the same of the monitoring of the migratory birds.

Area F for Sewers
Area F for sewer construction is shown in green.
That's Hacienda on the north, Two Bunch Palms Trail on the south; the western edge is Cholla, and the easternmost street shown is Verbena.

General Manager Wallum said the whole project is an investment of about $10 million and will be immediately followed by another sewer project of about $2 million. The cost of the environmental services contract will be reimbursed by a grant to the district.

Tom Dodson and Associates had done all the previous environmental work on these areas. It's a professional services contract, so it is not required to go to bid.

Approved 5-0.

AD 12, Area D-1 Sewer Construction

President Wright recused herself from this item as she owns property in the area.

Area D-1 for Sewers
Area D-1 is in color.
The three small non-contiguous areas are labeled Alt 1, Alt 2 and Alt 3. Palm Drive is on the left edge of this map and Pierson runs along the bottom.

The district will receive a grant of Prop 84 funds via the IRWMP that will pay for sewer construction in this area. This item before the board was to re-package existing plans to make something that will fit into $2 million. The cost will be shared with the Assessment District. It will also authorize staff to put the construction project out for bid. If the bids come out low enough, then Alt 1, Alt 2, and/or Alt 3 will be added into the project.

Approved 4-0.

TKE Engineering Contract

This is to revise the contract from $44,000 to $144,000. The district contracts out its engineering work. More work is coming up, so engineering expenses go up. It is estimated a full time engineer on staff would cost $230,000/year.

Director Bowman talked about reaching the point where the district would have to hire an engineer. Mr. Wallum said he has asked on of TKE's staffers to be the lead person on upcoming sewer construction. He will do a lot of the work that is now handled by Brent Gray, who plans to retire in 2013.

Approved 5-0.

Acceptance of AD 12, Area F-1 Sewer Project

This is the Cactus Drive project that the district shared with the city. The final cost was $154,050. Work was done by Tri Star.

Approved 5-0.

Acceptance of the Rehab of Mission Lakes and Two Bunch Number 1 Reservoirs

Total cost for the rehab of these two reservoirs was $330,427, which was more than originally estimated because holes were found in the floors of the reservoirs, necessitating repairs. They should be good for another 30 years.

Approved 5-0.

4th Street Tree Removal

The trees have already been removed, but the General Manager agreed to split the costs with the city, since both the city and district benefit from removing tamarisks. The district's share is not to exceed $10,500. Mr. Wallum said that when he was in Inyo County the LADWP gave him $1 million/year just for tamarisk removal.

Approved 5-0.

I-10 and Indian Area Sewer System

This is a preliminary design report. The design is constrained by an already constructed interceptor that goes under I-10. They have come up with a design that requires only one lift station and will cost about $8,800,000. Sewage will ultimately travel to the site of the future regional wastewater treatment plant.

I-10 & Indian Sewers - Preliminary Design
The thin blue line is the project boundary; green lines are gravity lines; dotted blue is the "force main;" and the red rectangle is the future home of the regional waste water treatment plant
. The northeast corner is Desert Hot Springs. The other three corners are Palm Springs.

Mr. Wallum said it's important to get moving ahead on this project. The next step after the preliminary design is to create an assessment district. District funds have been spent on these early steps.

Brent Gray delivered this report. The line under the sewer line under I-10 is 12-inches and was installed in 2002. It's 29 feet deep. The properties there today are producing 50,000 gallons/day. Ultimately it will reach 1.5 million gallons/day. The regional WWTP will be designed to handle 20 MGD at full build out.

You will see that the design above is called "Alternative 2." Alternative 1 would have required two lift stations and would cost $1.1 million more.

Mr. Jack Vanderwood came forward to speak. He owns property on Garnet Avenue across from the Pilot station. He has been in discussions with John Soulliere about sewers in the area. He says there are some anxious property owners in that area who are looking forward to sewers in the area. He mentioned a hotel and a couple of restaurants. The property owners even considered running a line down to the Tram Road where it would hook into the Palm Springs system, but the cost would have been horrendous. He asked if there is a way to build a small plant on the south side of I-10 so investors could begin to build. He also asked the timeline for this project.

Mr. Wallum said cooperation from the cities would be very helpful. MSWD is taking the lead on this, not the cities. The next action will be schedule a meeting with the property owners in that area. The cities (and Riverside County) could take the lead on creating an assessment district, but they're not.

Mr. Bowman asked if the "package plant" would be a precursor to the regional plant. Mr. Wallum said it would be.

Vice President Brown said the political cover of the cities is needed. There are always going to be a certain amount of people who will oppose any project that involves a tax assessment. The two cities have to come out strongly in favor of it. Existing businesses in the area may think they don't need the project.

Mr. Vanderwood said he was in a similar situation in San Bernardino some years ago. Some owners on septic are oblivious and think they can stay on septic forever. The city came up with a program whereby landowners (mostly commercial) could buy advance sewer rights. Terms were arranged for people who wanted to pay over time. An extraordinarily large amount of money was raised. The sales were very popular.

Richard Cromwell said he has talked to both DWA and CVWD and said they are interested in a joint-powers authority to operate the regional WWTP. Mission Springs Water District has the demographics that are necessary to successfully obtain federal grants.

Councilmember Russ Betts asked the timeframe for the regional WWTP. Mr. Wallum said construction would start within 6 months after all the funding is lined up. He said he would like to see the formation of an assessment district in the next year.

Mr. Brown said the earliest possible date for the assessment district would be June 2013, but realistically it would be more like November 2013. He said he feels sort of burned and unsupported when MSWD sticks its neck out. Then a small group of people show up and complain about being taxed. MSWD needs clear support from Desert Hot Springs, Palm Springs and Riverside County.

[The Pilot station is the leading sales tax producer in Palm Springs, so I wouldn't think there would be too much of a problem getting that city to support sewers in the area.]

Mr. Betts said that as long as there is a plan in place that will lead to a system, he will support it.

Ms. Wright said the board fully supports the project, but Mr. Bowman added that the support has to come from the grassroots.

Financial Master Plan

Several of the elements are complete. Mr. Wallum said he will join Finance Director Matt McCue to wrap it all up. Mr. McCue updated the board on the recent meeting of the MSWD 2.0 Citizens' Committee. The next and final meeting might be in September.

Mr. Brown pointed out an ACWA award for "Best In Blue - Achieving Communications Excellence." It's for outstanding public relations efforts. He suggested MSWD nominate its own MSWD 2.0 Citizens' Committee for that award.

Consent Agenda

There was an item on the consent agenda, the subject of which was a claim by Mr. Kym Lad. Mr. Wallum asked that to be removed from the consent agenda, because he wants to give it further consideration.

Mr. Bowman requested to discuss an item to approve one travel day for Director Martin to attend the ACWA Regulatory Summit in Rohnert Park. Mr. Bowman said one travel day is not enough. It's a thousand mile drive round-trip. The meeting that day (August 14) ended at 5 PM. There was some discussion whether this was policy or an oversight. Mr. Martin said if it was policy he would not dispute it, but if it was an oversight he would like it corrected. Mr. Wallum thought it meant one additional day. Mr. Brown moved to reimburse Mr. Martin 2 travel days plus the day of the conference. Approved 5-0, or 4-0 if Mr. Martin was supposed to recuse himself.

The remainder of the consent agenda was approved 5-0.

Monthly Reports

Water production in July 2012 was 8.8% higher than in July 2011. A lot of that is construction water.

Ms. Wright noted a new item in the agenda packet: the "Yearly Work Order Log." It's a list of all the various work orders the district gets and gives and their count, month by month. For instance, customer requested disconnects - there were 64 in July. Reconnects - there were 104. There were 241 door hangers for nonpayment in July. There were 57 inquiries about high bills. Six customers were shut off for nonpayment. Five construction meters were installed. And so on.

Mr. Wallum said this grew out of their work with the Citizens' Committee.

Mr. Brown reported on their visit to the Fifth District Economic Development Symposium. An interesting thing he learned was that Metropolitan Water District had negotiated a deal with Desert Water Agency to store an additional 600,000 acre-feet of Colorado River water in our basins. Mr. Brown said this may stretch the capacity of the spreading ponds to handle. Even now the spreading ponds look like lakes, he said. Ms. Wright said she thinks the allotment for the two agencies already going into the spreading basins is 300,000 AF. No one is sure if water is going into the spreading pond at Mission Creek along Worsley Road.

Mr. Brown wondered how such a big deal could be brokered without letting the public know about it. It's not in the press.

Mr. Wallum said he thinks the water spill that happened in the ponds along Indian Canyon was caused by excessive water in the ponds.

Mr. Brown said that as water prices rise, people conserve and use less. But the law as to how much California (and Metropolitan Water District) are entitled to take from the Colorado River has not changed, and no one wants to take less than what they are entitled to.

Mr. Bowman reported on the DBVA meeting where he spent quality time with General Manager Wallum.

Mr. Bowman reported that the Hoteliers are re-organizing the Spa Tour. Details will come later.

General Manager's Report

A gas company has abandoned a 16-inch pipeline that goes from the vicinity of the western end of Pierson Boulevard to Orange County. From Banning west, there is interest in using it as a brine line. But from Banning east, it could be used to bring State Water Project water directly to MSWD. The issues and possibilities are being explored with other water districts.

A group of Canadian investors has been in town and are interested in buying the Snellenberger property. They think that home building will begin in less than three years. They want to make it a residential development - despite the current plans to put wind turbines there.

MSWD and the city are working on an MOU whereby the city would pay the water district to build the ADA ramps and crosswalks after finishing a sewer project, rather than the city putting it in first, then the water district tearing it up.

A new logo for the 60th anniversary is being considered for the bottled water.

483 MSWD customers have signed up for electronic billing.

There are 853 inactive accounts in the district.

There were 77 service line leaks in July.

On 4th Street, roots from one of the late (but not lamented) tamarisk trees crushed about 10 feet of clay sewer pipe. It has been repaired - and the offending tree dispatched.

Water meters have been installed at the Village At Mission Lakes. The developer's schedule shows paving being completed in September [2012, of course].

Water, sewer and landscaping plans for the proposed Dollar General store have been reviewed.


President Wright said she had invited DWA Director Stuart to come take a tour of MSWD facilities, and that was scheduled for the next day, Friday, August 17. On Monday she reported that it had been a good meeting.

Filed under Coachella Valley,Desert Hot Springs | permalink | August 22, 2012 at 03:29 PM | Comments (2)

The Man Is Up!

Burning Man 2012 by John Curley
The Man was placed atop his pedestal this morning.
Photo by John Curley.

Filed under Burning Man | permalink | August 22, 2012 at 02:32 PM | Comments (0)

Not Doing Anything Next Week?

Join Nicholas Pell who is not going to Burning Man, and never will, despite the fact that all his coworkers disappear into the Black Rock Desert every year. He's got his reasons:

Here's the deal, though: No one actually believes you have to experience something to dislike it. If they did, they'd be hitting up ICP and Ke$ha concerts just to make sure it wasn't their thing. I only need to be a grown-ass man with a sense of pattern recognition to know Burning Man sucks. It's middle-class people behaving embarrassingly. The tales of spiritual enlightenment gained after six hours of dancing on ecstasy are as hard to hear as they are dubious. If I ever have to hear a story about how amazing a fire twirler was, I might actually light myself on fire.

Or Katie Bain who IS going, but finds the names of some of the camps silly. She lists what she says are the five silliest, but I think 3½ of them are simple straightforward descriptions of the camp.

  • "Naked Hipsters"
  • "Genital Portrait Studio"
Here's the ½:
  • "Street Life: Sesame Street Meets Hip Hop Music" - very slightly silly, but not much more than a description of the camp.

The fifth one is "Intense Intents In Tents" which has something to do with intentional communities. No matter how it's written, I have never understood what an "intentional community" is, although I could guess what an UNintentional community is. There are lots of movies and novels about UNintentional community.

The San Francisco Chronicle (who would never dare besmirch Burning Man) has this for "Packing list for dirty pagan nirvana." Just lots of jokey panicky warnings about how to survive the playa. For example, on photography:

Get yourself one of those indestructible, all-conditions point-and-shoots that can withstand the apocalypse as it snaps 30-second video clips of the dusty, full-moon pagan wedding ceremony you witnessed in the Temple before dancing all night and accidentally dropping the camera into the dust where it will be run over by a fire-breathing art car shaped like a giant serpent. Not to worry.

BTW, all the severe warnings about conditions on the Black Rock Desert are mostly valid for people who live in the Bay Area and wear shoes and socks almost every day. Residents of the Coachella Valley generally find the Black Rock Desert to be a tad more comfortable than home, except for the lack of swimming pools. It's farther north and up at 4,000 feet so it's definitely cooler. Also the blowing dust on the Black Rock Desert is just dust, and not the sort of windshield-pitting baby rocks that get blown through the Whitewater wash. It's in the comments on that article where you'll find the negativity. For example:

  • "Burning Man is a colossal waste of time, energy and resources. And it wouldn't exist but for the MDMA, LSD, mushrooms and other drugs that fuel its false magic. It's all just a mirage in the desert."
  • "Looking at the playa on Google Earth shows what a giant cluster $&@! the whole event is and how the beautiful desert has been scarred."
  • "BM makes that weekend the absolute best weekend to stay in s.f."

So, looky over here at eBay where today you can buy a Burning Man ticket (presumably genuine) for as littles as $275. Fill up the family station wagon and drive on out.

Filed under Burning Man | permalink | August 22, 2012 at 07:06 AM | Comments (3)

August 21, 2012

200th Anniversary Of Ironsides vs. Guerriere

This past Sunday the USS Constitution sailed under its own power for the first time since 1997. In 1997 it was to commemorate the 200th birthday of the ship itself, which remains an active ship in the U.S. Navy. This week it sailed to commemorate the 200th anniversary of its famous battle in the War of 1812 against the British frigate HMS Guerriere, the battle in which the USS Constitution earned its name "Ironsides."

The USS Constitution was towed out to a point between Deer and Castle Islands where it then sailed on its own. Here's a map showing the relative locations of the significant points in Sunday's sailing.
USS Constitution 8-19-2012

As a federal employee I worked for awhile in the same office building where the U.S. Navy had its offices for the USS Constitution and we'd occasionally encounter sailors delivering expense reports or time sheets (or whatever sort of paperwork the Navy has). Here is what their genuine U.S. Navy uniforms looked like.

By the way, a guerrier is a warrior or fighter. Gruyère is a cheese.

Filed under History | permalink | August 21, 2012 at 06:51 PM | Comments (0)

Dog Bites Man

Log Cabin Republican Executive Director R. Clarke Cooper was pleased yesterday that the Republican Party's platform-drafting committee included language in the platform stating "We embrace the principle that all Americans have the right to be treated with dignity and respect." Negative Nelly Jerame Davis, head of the National Stonewall Democrats said language like this has been in Republican Party platform since at least 1996.

Box Turtle Bulletin, writing today, has more specifics. The platform's preamble does include the that statement. It also includes this statement on marriage:

The Institution of marriage is the foundation of civil society. Its success as an institution will determine our success as a nation. It has been proven by both experience and endless social science studies that marriage is best for children. Children raised in intact married families are more likely to attend college, and are physically and emotionally healthier, are less likely to use drugs or alcohol, are less like to to engage in crime, and are less likely to get pregnant outside of marriage. The success of marriage directly impacts the economic wellbeing of individuals. Furthermore, the future of marriage affects freedom. The lack of family formation not only leads to more government costs, but also more government control over the lives of its citizens in all facets. We recognize and honor the courageous efforts of those who bear the many burdens of parenting along, even as we believe that marriage ... must be upheld as a national standard, a goal to stand for, encourage, and promote through laws governing marriage. We embrace the principle that all Americans should be treated with respect and dignity.

It would seem they are endorsing marriage equality rights - except you see that ellipsis there? That's where I removed this little bit: "the union of one man and one woman." So, while all of their logic supports equal rights, they've decided not to.

Elsewhere in the platform it says that all of the judicial decisions that have recognized equal rights are evidence of an "activist judiciary" and that equal marriage rights are "an assault on the foundation of our society."

The platform also supports DOMA and a constitutional amendment establishing unequal marriage rights nationwide.

On their Facebook page, the Log Cabin Republicans declared success!

Pleased to report that the Republican platform committee at 2012 Republican National Convention today engaged in vigorous debate in support of civil unions and stripping out support of DOMA. Materials distributed by Log Cabin and our partners, Young Conservatives for the Freedom to Marry, were prominently featured in the debate. While these measures failed, the future direction of our party clearly trends toward inclusion.

I think this goes beyond mere denial and into the fantastic realm of Pollyanna.

UPDATE: The full press release from the Log Cabin Republicans cite some real improvements in the 2012 Republican Party platform compared to 2008:

  • The platform does not include language about the "incompatibility of homosexuality with military service."
  • "[T]he 2012 platform's language on refugees no longer presents a barrier for asylum of LGBT people who are persecuted and threatened with execution in places like Iran."

And the Log Cabins acknowledge the platform's "abysmal marriage rhetoric."

Filed under Gay Issues,Politics | permalink | August 21, 2012 at 04:50 PM | Comments (0)

LAFD Suggestions For Kid Safety

These are intended to make sure that you don't leave your kids locked in the car on a hot day. Here's the first on their list:

Always put something you'll need - such as your phone, handbag, a sunshade, lunch or briefcase on the floor in the back seat. This will make you open the back door of your vehicle every time you reach a destination. This way, making sure no child is left behind becomes a habit.

Also, I would advise that if you follow this suggestion and realize that your phone, handbag, sunshade, lunch or briefcase are more significant to you than your child, then you've got a serious problem and should seek professional help.

| permalink | August 21, 2012 at 06:53 AM | Comments (0)