Marin County Sheriff: I love everything about the 2nd Amendment, except the part where it lets people carry guns

Heading into Marin CountyIt turns out that even in Progressive Marin County, law-abiding residents want to carry guns on their persons.  In the weeks since the 9th Circuit (!) held that county’s cannot condition concealed-carry permits on the sheriff’s determination that the applicant has made a credibly showing that he or she is in fear for his (or her) life, the upswing in concealed-carry applications has even reached true blue Marin (emphasis mine):

As Californians in some locations have flooded sheriff’s offices with applications and inquiries for permits to carry concealed guns, in Marin, sheriff’s officials say they have been fielding more calls than usual.

Demand is being driven by a federal appeals court ruling last month that made it easier for some residents to obtain the hard-to-get permits. About 56,000 Californians have a concealed-weapons permit in a state of 38 million residents. [Prior to the ruling] In Marin County, the sheriff’s office has issued only 21 concealed weapons permits.”

Those in Marin afraid of guns, though, need not worry that their perfectly nice neighbor, the one who brings casseroles when they’re sick and helps prop up fences in winter storms, will be packing legal heat any time soon.  Although the 9th Circuit may have spoken, that’s not good enough for Marin’s Sheriff:

Marin County Sheriff Robert Doyle said he doesn’t plan to loosen how permits are issued until the issue has been conclusively decided by the courts. He said he’s not sure how may people have applied for permits since the ruling as most of the inquiries in Marin have been phone calls.

“We’ve had more requests than usual since the ruling. We’ve told people they can apply, but we’re going to apply the same standard of demonstrating ‘good cause’ until it’s finally been decided by the court,” Doyle said. “The decision has basically been put on stay for three weeks to give the parties time to respond.”

Color me cynical, but I’m willing to bet that, if Sheriff Doyle had been in charge, Marin would have been issuing same-sex marriage licenses within minutes of the 9th Circuit’s decision striking down California’s Prop. 8, the much-maligned law holding that marriage is between one man and one woman.  A foolish consistency, though, is never the hobgoblin of Leftist minds.

What’s so incredibly funny in all this is Sheriff Doyle’s position on gun rights:

Doyle said he’s a strong supporter of the 2nd Amendment, but believes concealed-weapons permits should be reserved for those who have some sort of verifiable threat in their lives.

“I don’t agree with the adage that the more guns we have, the safer we are,” Doyle said. “We do have business owners that have been robbed and some people that carry large sums of money in the course of their employment carrying concealed guns.”

Properly translated, what Doyle is saying is that “I strongly support the Second Amendment, except for the part where it says that the right to carry arms is inherent in the people, and not dependent on the whim of the government.  But otherwise, if I decide someone deserves to have a gun, I might actually give that person permission.  Maybe.”

I shouldn’t poke too much fun at the sheriff.  He is, after all, a perfect reflection of the county he serves.  Everyone here claims fealty to the Bill of Rights, provided that it’s eviscerated to conform with Leftist norms.

Even if Doyle is, as I suspect, a very nice man, I’d rather have Milwaukee’s Sheriff Clarke in charge of our concealed-carry licensing program:

Police chief get a gun

Marin County residents feeling Obamacare pain

obama-doctor-needleMarin County is enthusiastically Progressive.  In 2008, Barack Obama got 78% of Marin County’s votes.  in 2012, his popularity slipped only slightly, to 74%.  (Funnily enough, up until 1984, Marin was predominantly Republican.  By 1984, the county was split equally, and as of 1988, it’s been reliably Left ever since.)

Part of being enthusiastically Progressive, of course, meant that Marin County went all-in for Obamacare and its state version, Covered California.  Since 2009, with the exception of my small cadre of conservative friends in Marin, everyone else I know has supported it all the way.  And if the bumper stickers I see around are anything to go by, those I don’t know supported it just as enthusiastically.

For those reasons, perhaps you’ll pardon the unseemly schadenfreude I felt when I read this article in the Marin Independent Journal:

Marin residents who have recently signed up for Anthem Blue Cross health insurance coverage under the Affordable Care Act may have to travel outside the county for medical specialty care.

Kelley Eling of San Rafael said she recently swapped her Blue Shield coverage, which cost her $916 a month with a large deductible, for a gold plan offered by Anthem Blue Cross through California’s new health insurance exchange, Covered California. Eling said she pays just $250 a month for the Blue Cross plan. There is just one problem. Eling said she needs to see a gastroenterologist, and she can’t find one in Marin who is part of Blue Cross’ physician network.

(Read the rest here.)

I have enough decency to feel sorry for each individual suffering from the way in which Obamacare has (quite predictably) destroyed America’s highly functioning healthcare system, even if that individual was dumb enough to support Obamacare.  I also feel deep empathy for those few in Marin who had the wisdom to oppose Obamacare, but were nevertheless screwed by an uninformed, credulous and, it must be said, defrauded population.  Nevertheless, looking at the matter from a distance, without taking into consideration individual dislocation, this serves Marinites right.  Maybe it’s time they start re-thinking that 1988 switch in political party allegiances.

The costs of being a homeowner, and other Friday ruminations

I spent the day making house doesn't look like this one.

I spent the day making sure that my house doesn’t look like this one.

I have had a busy day.  The dishwasher sprang a leak that was, thankfully, easy to repair:  the repairman put in a new seal and the leak was over.  He was here for about 20 minutes and put in one 6-foot-long seal.  Thankfully, we have appliance insurance, because he said that, without the insurance, the repair would have cost $250.00 for parts and service.  Yikes!

The dishwasher wasn’t the only thing leaking.  The upstairs bathtub was leaking into the garage.  We had one plumber out yesterday who diagnosed a tub waste overflow and said it would cost $700 to fix.  We politely sent him away.  I called around and another guy said that he thought it would take an hour to fix, at a cost of $250 per hour for labor, plus $100 for the part — but it might be more, and could come up close to $700.  Better, but not good enough.

I called around one more time, and got a guy who said that he’d do it for a flat fee of $350 based on my say-so.

I asked, surprised, “So you’re going to base the price just on what I said?”

He answered with another question, stated in a friendly voice.  “Are you lying to me?”

“Gosh, no,” I said.  “But I’m just telling you what the other guy said.  I didn’t actually see it myself.”

He thought about that for a minute and then said, “Why don’t I just come by tomorrow [Friday] and check it out?”

That sounded like a plan.  He came by, he checked it out, and he announced that it was a simple fix that he could do right away — for $135.  When he was done, he told me, “I’m going to give you a bill, but don’t pay it now.  Keep an eye on things until Monday.  If it’s still good, put a check in the mail.  If it’s not, I’ll come out again, but I won’t charge any more than $350 if we have to replace the tub waste overflow part.”

So far, despite shower use, there’s been no further leaking.

For those of you who live in Marin County, if you’d like this honest paragon’s name, send me an email and I’ll give you the information.  You can probably find him on Yelp:  He’s the guy with 102 five-star recommendations, all saying the same thing:  incredibly reliable, honest, and good at what he does.  I can’t argue with that.  In fact, I’ll be the 103rd five-star recommendation if all continues to go well.

The plumber had scarcely left when the landscape guys showed up.  Our pool, which was the delight of the neighborhood children, is now a dysfunctional swamp.  Built 45 years ago, despite our best efforts to keep it going, it finally gave up the ghost this summer.  As is always the case, once we decided we needed to redo the pool, we realized we also needed to redo the cement surround . . . and, hey, if we’re doing that, maybe we’d better smarten up the whole place.  We hired a landscape designer who came up with a lovely idea that was more expensive than we wanted.  We’ve worked with him, though, and seem to have come up with a plan in our price range.  The only sticking point now is whether the Marin drought will make the whole process impossible.

Droughts make me very, very unhappy. I was in high school when the big drought hit at the end of the 1970s.  Despite living most of my life in semi-arid climates, I love water and I especially love rain.  Not having rain makes me feel emotionally dried-up inside.  I also hate water rationing.  I don’t know what we’d have to do this time around, but I’m sure I won’t like it.  Back in the 1970s, we bathed in two inches of water, and then saved the water in buckets so as to flush the toilets.  My mom captured the rinse load from the washing machine to use to water her garden, but all the plants died anyway.  Everything looked dead and barren — and the toilets smelled bad.  I bet many of you remember “When it’s yellow let it mellow; when it’s brown, flush it down”?  I really hated that.

I know that drought here is a cyclical thing.  It’s happened before and it will happen again, and it will probably be followed by winters with such heavy rains that everything floods.  The floods make for miserable driving, and periodically destroy vast swathes of homes, but I still prefer a wet winter to a drought.

This is just another reminder, as if we need one, that Nature likes to let us know that we are as nothing before her.  We can try to minimize her impact, but we cannot control her.

Anyway, that’s why I haven’t read anything or written anything today.

Thinking about that last statement, it’s not quite accurate.  Oyster Books, which advertises unlimited books (the Netflix of books) is offering a one month free trial.  I thought that sounded interesting, so I signed up, remembered to calendar the date by which I have to cancel if I don’t want to continue with the service, and started reading.  Thanks to this temporary membership, between visits from repairmen, landscape designers, and plumbers, I am reading 97 Orchard: An Edible History of Five Immigrant Families in One New York Tenement, a delightful social history of New York’s Lower East Side as seen through the food different immigrant groups ate. I love this kind of book (one of my favorites is No Idle Hands: The Social History of American Knitting), and 97 Orchard is well written.

And that’s all.  I’ve a small mountain of bills to pay, so that too will keep me away from my beloved blog.  So it goes.  At least I finished my legal brief, which got filed today.  I think it’s a winner, but one never knows what those judges are going to do….

Bag bans — a microcosm of Obamacare

I went to a Safeway in Mill Valley because it was convenient.  When I got to the check-out, I was reminded why I never shop at that Safeway:  their town council banned plastic bags and you get charged five cents per bag for a paper bag.  Next year, all of the stores in Marin County will be subject to these rules.  I have no words for how much I loathe this liberal police state law.  Let me count the ways:

Let me begin by saying that the problem isn’t that I’m being charged five cents per bag.  I’m cheap, but I’m not that cheap.  I’ve understood since I was a child that stores don’t really give bags away for free.  Instead, the cost of bags is folded into the prices they charge.  I’m paying not only for the groceries, but also for the staff, the facility, the shopping carts, and the bags.  I therefore don’t mind stores such as Goodwill that charge for bags as a way to keep their overhead down.  That’s a business decision, and I’m happy then to make my own decision:  Do I want to pay the ten cents or will I just make do without a bag?  After all, I don’t need to go to Goodwill.  I can do without cheap books or I can find them at other stores (or online).

The five cents per bag charge at Mill Valley (and soon, all Marin) stores irks me because it’s not a business decision.  It’s punitive.  The local governments are punishing me for having the temerity to use a paper bag.  Moreover, once it goes Marin-wide, I can’t avoid it, unless I want to drive 50 or 60 miles to a fascism-free county.

As it happens, I adore paper bags.  I’m forced to use a recycling bin and paper bags are an easy way to collect recycling.  They can go right into the bin along with the recycled refuse filling the bag.  Paper bags also make great packing material, covers for textbooks, stable (non-tippy) bags in which to carry food to potlucks or school events, fireplace starters, etc.  I’ve already paid for them by paying a higher price for my groceries than I would in a store (e.g., Goodwill) that says “We keep prices down to help save you money.”  Marin stores, though, are being forced to say, we charge you money to punish you.

There are two alternatives to paying a fine to use a paper bag:  You can bring your own, or you can toss individual items into the car (as you do at Costco).  I’m going to opt for the latter.  I refuse to become a bag lady.  I will not be forced to buy bags, which I then need to remember to carry around with me wherever I go, and which I need to remember to wash regularly so I don’t poison my family.  As to that last point, washing bags means that I’m doing an extra load of laundry every week, which means increased water and electricity use.  Surely that can’t be green.

I go crazy when I see all the liberal drones in Marin dragging around their little bags.  It makes me feel as if I’m living in a third world country.  They look like derelicts.  They’re feeling righteously smug, and I’m looking at them and thinking that they’ve been brainwashed to accept a Zimbabwe lifestyle.  (Let me say here that, while I don’t agree with them, if people want to do this, I applaud them.  Why?  Because they’re freely making a decision and it works for them.  That’s how life in a free country should be.)

Bottom line:  The bag ban forces me to buy a product I don’t want or to pay a penalty.  It is a microcosm of Obamacare.  It is a denial of free will, it perverts the marketplace, and it is an unforgivable form of coercion against a free citizenry.

Life in the suburbs

I may not agree with Marin politically (it’s roughly 70% to the Left of Left, despite the rampant capitalism that supports its infrastructure), but it is a fabulous place to raise children.  Sure, there are problems with drugs and drinking (lots of them), but the fact remains that if you want your children raised in a child-centered community that offers safe streets, old-fashioned neighborhoods, excellent schools, and true community, you can find it in Marin.  My kids play soccer, swim, do martial arts, run around the neighborhood, play parlor games, go to their friends’ basketball/lacross/water polo/football/baseball/etc. activities, and generally live the healthy, physical, safe life that we all dream of for our children.

My kids and their friends don’t hunger for urban life.  When they go into San Francisco, none of them can leave fast enough.  To them, the City is dirty, noisy, crowded, dirty, unsafe, overwhelming — did I mention dirty? — and just not the place they want to be.  Most of the kids they hang with say that they want to attend a college in a smaller rural or suburban area when the time comes.  Put another way, Marin has some of the same downsides as San Francisco — drugs and drinking — and lacks some of the upsides — trendy restaurants and public transportation — but overall, when it comes to raising children, Marin offers much more for parents and children than the City ever could.

Speaking of public transportation, when my children were little and we had left the City for Marin, I thanked God on a daily basis that Safeway was an easy 7 minute drive from my house, and that there was clean, safe parking when I got there, as opposed to my situation in the City.  There, as the crow flew, Lucky’s was 7 minutes from my house, but add in traffic and parking, not to mention the crowded, surly store itself, and shopping for groceries in the city was one long screaming child nightmare that could last an hour or two.  And I had a car.  Had I lived there without a car, a quick trip to the store would have taken up to half a day, with an angry, temperamental child (or two).

Marin is just easy.  It is.

As for the drugs and drink, we’ve tried to instill values in our children.  It’s not the school’s responsibility to instill those values.  It’s mine and my husband’s, and I think we’ve built some pretty strong moral armor around the children.  It helps that the neighborhood shares our values.  Interestingly enough, the kids, when at school, shy away from the fast crowd.  Their friends are as wholesome as they are.

All of which means I totally agree with Mike Lanza, who adds data to my anecdotes and reaches the obvious conclusion:  for all their “it’s for the children” talk, the Democrats’ hostility to suburbs is fundamentally anti-family and anti-child.

Does it matter that Marin may close all polling stations and only do voting by mail?

An increasing number of Marin residents vote by mail (more than 65% in the last election).  I know I’m one because, when the kids were little, there was always the chance that I might forget that it was election (at least for off-season elections) or that a sick child could keep me away from the polls even if I did remember.  I still vote by mail now, simply because I am forgetful and I lose track of time.  I usually fill the ballot out on election day and drop it off at my local polling station.  My mom votes by mail because her mobility is limited.

My mom and I represent the good reasons for voting by mail.  Here’s the really bad thing about absentee voting:  The absenteeballots go out very early.  When those people who are not procrastinators receive them, they vote immediately and pop the completed ballot in the mail.  Very efficient, but it also means that these busy bees deny themselves the opportunity to see how things play out in the weeks and days leading to the election.  They’ve essentially locked themselves into a vote they may deeply regret when there’s an October surprise.  Of course, if they’re die-hard whatevers, it’s unlikely that their vote will change unless something absolutely shocking occurs right before the election.  Unlikely, but still possible….

These aren’t just idle ruminations.  The Marin County grand jury has proposed that, to save the county significant sums of money, everyone must vote by mail:

The grand jury, in a report released last week, suggests that moving to an entirely mail ballot election could save the county hundreds of thousands of dollars.

“The Elections Department estimates that an election in Marin County costs about $1 million. If Marin County were to go to 100 percent vote-by-mail, the Elections Department estimates that the county would save between $100,000 and $200,000 per election,” the report states.

Members of the grand jury think it might lead to a more involved electorate.  I think the opposite will happen:  People who wouldn’t normally vote by absentee ballot will lose their ballots in their in-boxes.  Then, on election day, when their only choice to to drive up to the Civil Center if they want to cast their vote, they’ll just blow it off — at least if they’re in the comfortable Democrat majority.  (Hey, maybe this mail-in-ballot thing is a good idea, after all….)

What I’m worried about is that converting the system to one that’s only by mail-in ballot somehow corrupts voting by moving it so far forward from an actual election day that we create a disengaged voter who just votes along party lines without any regard to late-breaking data (or even the possibility of late-breaking data).  In Marin, it really doesn’t matter, given the 65%+ Democrat majority, but it seems to me that this is important in swing-vote counties, where late-breaking information can change people’s minds.

What do you think?

Gun control advocates crash children’s event in Marin

The Marin YMCA just wanted to host its annual “Healthy Kids” day.  “Organizing for America,” the perpetual Obama campaign, had a different idea, crashing the event by setting a table in an adjacent parking-lot in such a way that it looked like part of the YMCA sponsored event.  To its credit, the YMCA said “Leave!”:

Two Marin organizations interested in slightly different aspects of children’s health bumped heads Saturday in Marinwood.

The Marin YMCA hosted its annual Healthy Kids Day event at its facility at 1500 Los Gamos Drive, and the Marin chapter of Organizing for Action, a grass-roots group formed to support President Obama’s legislative agenda, decided to take advantage of that fact to recruit supporters for gun control legislation.

The Organizing for Action group set up an information table and hoisted picket signs in a private parking lot adjacent to where the fair was taking place from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. The gun control advocates, which included Corte Madera Mayor Diane Furst and Larkspur Councilwoman Ann Morrison, were later ordered to move out of the parking lot after the YMCA complained to the property manager in charge of the lot. The YMCA declined to comment on the dustup.

Here’s something for OFA to think about:  children are not healthy in the slums of Chicago, which has extremely strict gun control; they’re not healthy in the slums of South Central LA, which has extremely strict gun control; they’re not healthy in the slums of Oakland, California, which has extremely strict gun control; they’re not healthy in Mexico, which has extremely strict gun control; they’re not happy in Russia, North Korea, Cuba, and a whole bunch of other places that have extremely strict gun control.

Maybe the problem isn’t the gun control; maybe the problem is a Democrat control that does everything it can to destroy respect for individual life, to destroy families, and to leave people — or, in socialist talk, proles or drones — dependent on a state that has no conscience and no respect for individual life, and that, therefore, breeds people who have no conscience either.

This seems like an appropriate video to expose the deep-thinkers that support OFA’s drive for gun control:

Is nice Marin County an outlier or American ordinary? (In the nicest possible way.)

Heading into Marin County

For reasons I’ll explain shortly, I was kvelling to a friend about how wonderful Marin County is.  I then wrapped up by saying the Marin is an outlier, unlike the rest of America.  The moment the words were out of my mouth, it occurred to me that I’m probably wrong.  While Marin is an outlier economically, being one of the richest counties in America, the values I’m about to describe are American and it’s the large urban areas, the ones that fill the headlines, that are American outliers.

To begin at the beginning….

My son had a school project that required him to ask people to fill out a little survey.  Having exhausted the neighborhood without receiving a sufficient number of responses (most people are out of town for ski week, which is a wealthy community’s luxury vacation), he got permission at the local mall to set up a table.

I can only say that people were lovely.  Those that couldn’t, or didn’t want to, participate, were polite.  And those who did participate were delightful.  One parent, having taken the survey, returned home and immediately came back with seven children (her own and friends’ children) to help out.  I knew several of the people who came by, as well as some of the children whom I’d watched grow up over the years.  My overall sense was of a happy, healthy, highly functional little community.

Based upon my perception that I live in a very good community, I later remarked to my friend that we are lucky to live in Marin.  I added that it would have been impossible to complete this project in “other communities.”  My examples of “other communities” were Oakland and San Francisco — both highly urbanized areas.  My friend, however, who lives in one of Oregon’s bigger cities, remarked that, as long as you didn’t wander into one of the yuckier neighborhoods in her city, you could have done the same project in there too.

It was her remark that got me thinking about a little-mentioned American ethos — friendliness.  Or perhaps you could call it generosity of spirit.

As you all have gathered, I’ve traveled fairly extensively throughout Western Europe, parts of Central Europe, the Mediterranean, and some parts of Latin America.  I’ve sampled the Far East (my Japan trip) and spent meaningful amounts of time in Israel.  In every place in which I’ve traveled, I’ve had the pleasure of meeting nice people.  (Okay, not in Tunisia, but that was a few months into the Arab Spring, and the Tunisians were clearly a people on edge.)

Despite invariably having met pleasant individuals, I’ve never been a county, other than my own, that offers friendliness as a national hallmark.  In my travels abroad, I’m pleasantly surprised when I meet nice, friendly people.  At home, I’m equally surprised when I’m met with unfriendliness.

Part of this, of course, is the urban versus suburban or rural divide.  As a tourist, one tends to go to the capital cities (London, Rome, New York, Prague, etc.) and the nature of cities is that they are less friendly than smaller communities.  That is, unless you go to cities such as Dallas, Houston, or other Southern cities that still take pride in their manners.

Even cities that suck up a lot of headline space with violence horror stories tend to confine that icky behavior to specific neighborhoods.  I know that Chicago is right up there amongst America’s murder capitals, but when I was in downtown Chicago on a business trip a few years ago, people couldn’t have been nicer.  The same holds true for other major American cities, provided that one is able to overlook regional eccentricities.  For example, people in Boston were rigid, but friendly; people in New York, rude but friendly; and people in L.A. peculiar, but friendly.

We Americans are fully aware of how nice we are.  Or, rather, we’re aware that, barring certain urban environments (which are usually subsets of a larger, nicer urban area), we are nice, helpful, friendly people.  That’s why mass murders in suburbs upset us so much.  It’s not, as the race-mongers would have us believe, that we only care when white kids die.  It’s that we’re terribly aware that urban toxins are polluting our communities.  These toxins may not be factory smoke or ground-water pollution, but they are every bit as vile and dangerous.

So is Marin County an outlier because it’s nice?  No.  It’s an outlier because it’s affluent, but it’s niceness is quintessentially American.  That’s something worth remembering when we see headlines about shootings in Vegas or Chicago or Detroit.  Although those cities are strongly identified with America, they are behavioral outliers.  We’re nice more often than not.  (And no, I haven’t found a study to prove this.  I’m just basing it on having traveled extensively at home and abroad.)

Oh, one more thing.  You know those recently listed, incredibly miserable American cities?  Here’s a little chart identify something they all have in common:

Unhappy Democrat run cities

You don’t need to be a statistical genius to realize that there’s a strong correlation between Democrat politics (and many of these cities have been Democrat strongholds for decades) and unhappiness. I’m not going to make the effort now, but I’m willing to bet that one could find an equally strong correlation between crime-ridden, or unfriendly, cities and Democrat politics.

Honestly, you’d think that Republicans would figure out a campaign along the lines of “You’ve been miserable Democrats for decades. Try being a happy Republican.”

Climate change Chicken Littles look at ordinary phenomenon and extrapolate their way to Armageddon

Approximately every ten years, Marin County floods.  Thinking back, the last big flood year in our neighborhood was around 2002 or 2003.  I remember taking the kids down from the hill on which we live to the marshy flat-lands nearby.  We waded through water that came up past our knees.  This high water was a combination of heavy rain and unusually high tides.

This year, those unusually high tides are back (as they invariably are).  Fortunately, they’re not coinciding with a wet storm, so we won’t have any serious coastal flooding:

San Anselmo flood 2005

This week, California will experience the highest tides of the year, peaking on Thursday morning in a condition known as “king tides.” At 9:45 a.m. Wednesday, 10:34 a.m. Thursday and 11:24 a.m. Friday some of the year’s highest tides — 7 feet and above, about a foot higher than normal — will hit Marin’s shorelines.

Water will lap high in Corte Madera, along Richardson Bay and at Gallinas Creek just north of China Camp, among other spots in the county.

[snip]

King tides occur several times a year, although this week’s are the biggest of 2012.

Luckily for coastal residents, this week’s tides aren’t expected to cause significant flooding because they are happening during relatively calm weather.

“Flooding would be a concern if we had a storm system coming through,” said Matt Mehle, a meteorologist with the National Weather Service.

The fact that this is an ordinary event hasn’t stopped the resident Chicken Littles from screaming about the global warming sky falling:

chicken-little

The gravitational tug of the moon and sun, not climate change, is responsible for the extreme tides. But volunteers with cameras across the state are using the event to document what California could look like in the coming decades as the warming Earth continues to raise sea levels.

This overwrought reaction is a reminder that you really can’t change a monomaniac’s mind.  It’s no use telling your average obsessed Climate Changer that, throughout the earth’s lifespan, the water has risen and the water has fallen again.  Glaciers have advanced and retreated. Deserts have become forests and forests have become deserts. The earth is a dynamic system.

Humans can definitely affect their immediate surrounding, whether it’s early man hunting the Mammoth to extinction or modern factories destroying all of the surrounding ecology.  As the Earth’s caretakers, it’s foolish and short-sighted of us willfully to destroy our own environment.  The more responsible we are, the better for us and for our children.

Global water levels, though, are bigger than we are, and they are timeless. Indeed, this seems like a very good moment to bring to your attention an article positing that it was glacial retreat that caused the flood that led Noah to build his Ark:

Noah's Ark

A flood of Biblical proportions just like in the story of Noah’s Ark may have actually happened, according to the oceanographer who found the Titanic.

Acclaimed underwater archaeologist Robert Ballard claims his team of researchers have uncovered evidence that suggests The Great Flood described in the Bible was actually based on real events.

Mr Ballard told how he investigated a controversial theory proposed by two scientists from Columbia University that there was a massive flood in the Black Sea region.

In an interview with ABC News, he said around 12,000 years ago much of the world was covered in ice and the Black Sea had been a freshwater lake surrounded by farmland.

But when the glaciers began to melt during a warming period in the cycle of the Earth’s temperature around 5600BC water rushed toward the world’s oceans, Mr Ballard said.

This, he claimed, caused floods all around the world and water cascaded through Turkey’s Straits of Bosporus towards the Black Sea.

If the seas do continue to rise, it will affect the way we live.  But trying to de-industrialize America will not stop the seas from rising.  These AGW Chicken Littles show megalomaniacal arrogance insofar as they believe that we puny humans can change weather cycles that happened with relentless regularity for billions of years.

Marin County demonstrates the one-party totalitarianism that flows from open primaries

Yesterday, I posted about the result of California’s open primary in Marin:  two Democrats running against each other for the California Assembly.  My post was about the problem that this creates for those people whose party has been shut out of the election.  The net effect of open primaries is that, rather than allowing parties to choose their own candidates, the primary just becomes a “pre-election election,” with the November election serving as a run-off.

It turns out that the open primaries are also a problem for the candidates facing off against each other in November, because it’s hard for voters to distinguish between Tweedledee and Tweedledum.  In the article I quoted yesterday,the Marin IJ tried to help, by painting Marc Levine as more “pro-business,” which can be translated as “Mitt Romney surrogate.”

The IJ needn’t have made the effort, though.  I didn’t realize it when I wrote yesterday’s post, but I had waiting in my mail box a flyer from the California Democratic Party making the difference between the two candidates as clear as a bright summer day (click on thumbnails to enlarge):



On the flyer’s front, you can see the Republican elephant superimposed in the middle of what is clearly a group of people standing in line.  The text reads:

Marc Levine Doesn’t Want You to Know About the Elephant in the Room . . .

Because the elephant in the room is MARC LEVINE

Turn the flyer over and the message gets more specific:

The MITT ROMNEY CAMPAIGN KICKOFF in San Rafael was described as “LIKE MINDS COMING TOGETHER…”

[Quoting a female attendee] “We’re a bunch of red folks . . . and we find comfort with our own.”

Marin County Republican Chair Kevin Krick dismissed Todd Akin’s “legitimate rape” comments as “a speed bump on the way to the White House.”

And the applauding Elephant in the Room was Marc Levine!  [With a big red finger arrow pointing to a picture of Levine attending the kick-off, with the Levine picture cropped in the shape of an elephant.]

What’s next — campaign contributions from Republican Special Interests?  Is this the kind of “Democrat” we want representing us in the State Assembly?

One can guess what happened.  Marc Levine, in an effort to distinguish himself from a Democrat opponent who is pure Progressive, sought to make himself known to a broader coalition of Marin County voters.  Since Marin has no subway or train stations outside of which the candidate can stand to introduce himself to voters, he goes from one political event to another.  This one was a Republican event.  He probably thought it was a smart move, because Republicans, having been denied a candidate by the open primary system are, theoretically, an up-for-grabs constituency.  They’ve got to vote for someone, so why not Levine?

Poor Levine.  His tactical outreach effort backfired, but it had the salutary effect of exposing the anti-democratic effect of open primaries:  Because of the open primary, which denied Marin County Republicans the right to choose their own candidate, the Democrat Party in California filled the vacuum by anointing a “Republican” candidate.

This whole thing has become a travesty.  What we’re seeing isn’t democracy in action.  Instead, it’s one-party rule, complete with infighting, without even the pretense of open elections.

The Hobson’s choice in Marin County elections; or, choosing between Left and Lefter

The theory behind Open Primaries is that it will encourage moderation in districts that are extremely Democrat or extremely Republican.  Without Open Primaries, minority opposition votes are symbolic throwaway votes.  Whoever is the majority candidate wins, regardless of the details of that candidate’s platform.  With Open Primaries, which inevitably result in two majority candidates going head to head, the minority opposition must either refrain from voting entirely or vote for the least bad of the other party’s candidates.  The hope is that, if minority party voters do the latter, they’ll vote for the opposition candidate who is least extreme.  I suspect that’s what’s going to happen in the upcoming Marin County election for 10th District in the California Assembly:

Due to California’s new open primary law, two Democrats will compete for the 10th District Assembly seat in the Nov. 6 general election.

Because the 10th District is overwhelmingly Democratic, in past years the general election has been little more than a formality; for all practical purposes, the eventual winner had already been decided in the Democratic primary election.

[snip]

The incumbent in this race is Michael Allen, who was elected to the Assembly in 2010 to represent the 7th District. Allen, 65, moved from Sonoma County to an apartment in downtown San Rafael after the 7th District was splintered by redistricting in 2011. Currently the assistant majority leader in the Assembly, Allen is a labor lawyer who has served as executive director of the Service Employees International Union Local 707 as well as president of the North Bay Labor Council and district director for state Sen. Patricia Wiggins. [Bookworm: In other words, way Left.]

His challenger is Marc Levine, 38, who has served on the San Rafael City Council since 2009. McCuan said Levine is known as a more business-friendly Democrat, and Levine’s endorsements and campaign donors indicate that. Levine angered some more liberal Marin Democrats in 2011 when he supported the opening of a Target store in San Rafael.

“Levine’s supporters are Joe Nation Democrats,” McCuan said, referring to the former assemblyman from Marin who once tried and failed to upend U.S. Rep. Lynn Woolsey in a Democratic primary election. [Bookworm: In other words, slightly less Left, thereby marginally avoiding fiscal insanity.]

I’m going to vote for Levine, because he’s better than Allen. Anything is better than Allen. But I truly resent having my voice muffled in this way. My candidate has been thrown out of the election entirely. Republicans are denied a voice and that is, I think, a complete failure of representation. It’s one thing always to lose; it’s another thing to be unable even to cry out as you do.

Something interesting in Marin

I do not expect Marin to vote for Romney.  Indeed, if I had to predict the race, I would say that Romney has a snowball’s chance in Hell of taking Marin.  Nevertheless, something interesting is happening in Marin:  No new bumper stickers.

Marin-ites do have Obama/Biden bumper stickers, but they’re almost all leftovers from the 2008 campaign.  I think I’ve only seen about ten or twenty stickers for the 2012 election.

I’m not prepared to say whether Marin’s naked bumpers bespeak apathy or over-confidence.  I just believe that either condition might depress voter turn out.  I also hope in my heart of hearts that, if we are indeed l0oking at apathy, we’re seeing voters who, while they would never dream of voting for Romney, have already made piece with a decision not to vote for Obama.