Plant Trees SF Events 2011 Archive: 2004 2005 2006 2007 2008 2009 2010 2011 2012 2013 2014 2015 2016 2017 2018

Event

 
1.   Fiona Ma on shark fin soup legislation
2.   2011 season of Heron Watch begins May 14
3.   Protecting frogs from atrazine - hopeful steps
4.   Evenings Opposite the Golden Gate:  Malcolm Margolin, Christopher Richard, Gray Brechin in UC Botanical Garden
5.   Who Killed Off the Oysters of SF Bay?  May 19th at the Randall Museum
6.   Imagining new ways to engage visitors to the Presidio
7.   Heron's Head Park -visit and volunteer
8.   SFPUC's Laundry-to-Landscape Pilot Graywater Program
9.   Claremont Canyon Butterfly Walk May 15 (postponed from May 8)
10. Celebrate International Migratory Bird Day at Muir Woods and Presidio/bluebird nesting in GGP Buffalo Paddock - a FIRST!
11. Bay Nature on the Air - debuts new videos on Bay Area Public TV stations
12. Shop Whole Foods SoMa this month and contribute to Wild Equity Institute
13. Golden Gate Park Under Siege? at the Commonwealth Club Wednesday the 11th
14. Feedback:  David Hume/blog vs email/Heloise & Abelard/dog-running in a national park
15. The major difference between a thing that might go wrong and a thing that cannot possibly go wrong
16. The elephant in the room:  population
17. The Value of Nothing:  How to Reshape Market Society and Redefine Democracy
18.  Dictionary of Republicanisms.  Recommended reading that will help you to understand the confusing state of current affairs


1.  Fiona Ma on shark fin soup

Eric Mills:
I called Assemblymember Fiona Ma's Sacramento office on April 29 to see what her position was on AB 376, the Fong/Huffman bill to ban the sale, possession and trade of shark fins, only to be informed that she was still "undecided."

Curious, since Ma spoke out against the bill in the Chinese language WORLD JOURNAL, March 7, 2011 issue (article and translation enclosed).  If this is true, then Ms. Ma should make her stance known to her English-speaking constituents also, no? Fiona has long been a strong advocate for animals and the environment.  We hope we can change her mind.

AB 376 is now on the Assembly floor, and could come up for a vote any day now. E-mail pattern for all members:  assemblymember.lastname@assembly.ca.gov

Phone calls would be helpful, too:  Assemblymember Fiona Ma, 
Sacramento office  - 916/319-2012
San Francisco off. - 415/557-2312

From:  Clement Yui-Wah Lee   
I have a feeling that Fiona Ma has already declared her opposition to the bill.  I saw this article on World Journal (in Chinese)

http://bit.ly/mAezt6,  In which it says both Fiona Ma and Mike Eng oppose the bill. 

馬世雲 反對禁魚翅法案  http://bit.ly/lSZ8g2

Title: Fiona Ma opposes shark fin ban

。。。州眾議員馬世雲也公開反對法案,她認為該法案對加州居民不公平,也無法發揮保護鯊魚的實際效力。

... State Assemblymember Fiona Ma also openly opposes the bill (AB376).  She thinks the bill would not be fair to California residents, yet it offers no real protection for sharks.
。。。馬世雲強調,她反對方文忠的禁魚翅法案並非代表著她不支持保護鯊魚,但是方文忠的法案並不能真正保護鯊魚,卻使華人社區不再享有一套悠久的華裔傳統文化。

... She emphasizes that, even though she oppose AB376, this does not mean she does not support the protection of shark.  However, she think the bill offer no real protection for sharks, but deprive the Chinese community a Chinese tradition that has a long history.

。。。馬世雲說,早於2000年當前總統柯林任頓簽署保護鯊魚時,她已公開支持柯林頓的決定,

... Ma said when President Clinton signed the 2000 bill into law, she openly supported Clinton's decision 

。。。馬世雲質疑這項法案是否可真正保護鯊魚,她認為保護鯊魚應屬於聯邦政府的工作範圍,鯊魚並非只在加州生活,也並非只有加州居民吃魚翅。

.. Ma question whether the bill can really protect sharks.  She said shark conservation should be in the domain of Federal government.  Sharks do not live only in California, and California residents are not the only people eating shark fin soup.

。。。如果方文忠獲得通過,馬世雲說,希望吃魚翅的人士,仍然可以越州吃魚翅,相反地,這項法例對加州商人和加州居民都不公平。

... Ma said, even the bill gets passed, shark-fin eaters can still travel to other states to eat shark fins.  On the other hand, the law is not fail to California merchants and residents.

。。。對於方文忠在法案中提及的不人道捕捉鯊魚問題,馬世雲說,目前加州允許肉食,包括許多不同動物的不同身體部分,是否這些食物也不符合人道的標準。

... as of the inhumane treatment to sharks during catching, Fiona Ma responded the following.  Many meats are allowed to be eaten in California.  These include many different part of the animal bodies.  She question whether these other food are inhumane.

。。。馬世雲認為,真正可以保護鯊魚的途徑是透過聯合國,呼籲全球各國都加入行動,不能只是禁止加州民眾吃魚翅。

... Ma think the real protection for sharks should be done through United Nations ... call on all countries to protect sharks.  This cannot be done by solely banning the eating of shark fin in California.

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2.  San Francisco Nature Education announces the 2011 season of Heron Watch. Come experience the excitement of viewing nesting Great Blue Herons – four foot tall birds with six foot wingspans.
 
Naturalists and interns will be stationed at the observation site with spotting scopes, ready to offer spectacular views into the nests. Observe adults feeding chicks and learn more about these spectacular birds.
 
Saturday May 14 – 10am - 1pm. Free Observation at spotting scopes. Tours: 10:30 - noon, $10 donation.
 
Location: Stow Lake Boathouse in Golden Gate Park. Follow signs to observation site.
This event is appropriate for all ages. Children free. Adults $10. No one turned away due to lack of funds.
For more information visit call us at (415) 387-9160 email us at info@sfnature.org or visit our website at www.sfnature.org

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3.  From Kerry Kriger:

Atrazine & my meeting with the Environmental Protection Agency

One of the goals of the Save The Frogs Day Rally in DC was to get the attention of the US EPA, who holds the power to ban Atrazine and whose mission it is to protect environmental and human health. In this regard (and every other I can think of!), the rally was a huge success. The EPA heard about the rally, and last Friday I gave a 50-minute presentation on amphibian conservation to 10 members of the EPA’s Pesticide Division in Arlington, VA. I spoke about the threats amphibians face, the importance of protecting amphibians and the problems with Atrazine. I showed pictures from the rally and also delivered our petition with the signatures of 10,012 SAVE THE FROGS! supporters calling for a federal ban on the use and production of Atrazine. I also delivered 16 pages of my favorite comments collected from the petition signatories.

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4.  You are invited —  for one, or all, of the next 3 Thursdays in Strawberry Canyon — 
  Come to the Redwood Grove’s Amphitheater in UC’s Botanical Garden   
 
Evenings  Opposite  the  Golden  Gate 
 
6:00 o’clock  -  7:30 o’clock
 
Thursday, May 12th, Malcolm Margolin, Publisher Heyday Books,
Author, The Ohlone Way,
 “The Native Way along the Canyon Creeks”
 
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Thursday, May 19th, Christopher Richard, Curator,
Aquatic Biology, Oakland Museum, Editor, Guide to East Bay Creeks
“The Strawberry Creek Watershed Phenomenon”
 
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Thursday, May 26th, Gray Brechin, Historical Geographer,
Author, Imperial San Francisco
“An Amphitheater for the Damming: Strawberry Canyon in the 20s & 30s”
 
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Invite friends, tell others, send an e.mail —
    Come for a rare opportunity to gather in the Canyon
 
 suggested donation $20 (Students $10) 
 
www.savestrawberrycanyon.org/savestrawberrycanyon@gmail.com
P.O. Box 1234, Berkeley, CA 94701

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5.  San Francisco Natural History Series at the Randall Museum
Who Killed Off the Oysters of SF Bay?
Guest Speaker:  Andrew Cohen
7:30pm, Thursday, May 19th, 2011

Marine Biologist, Andrew Cohen, will talk about our once-abundant native oysters, with excursions into history, biology, geology, and archaeology.

Andrew Cohen is the Director of the Center for Research on Aquatic Bioinvasions. Find out more about his work here
http://www.sfei.org/bioinvasions/
As well as these stories, on KQED (4/2011)
www.kqed.org/quest/blog/2011/04/15/combating-bay-invaders/
and  NPR (8/2006):
http://www.kqed.org/quest/blog/2011/04/15/combating-bay-invaders/

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FUTURE TALKS
6/16 – 	Getting to the Bottom of the Bay – Subtleties of the Subtidal – Marilyn Latta
7/21 – 	Vanished Waters and the History of Mission Bay – Chris Carlsson
8/18 – 	The Farallon Egg War – Eva Chrysanthe
9/15 – 	San Francisco’s Changing Landscape – Greg Gaar
10/20 – Nature in the City – Peter Brastow (TBD)
11/17 – 	Reclaiming the Art of Natural History – John (Jack) Muir Laws

LAST MONTH's LECTURE NOTES 
online at: http://sfnhs.wordpress.com/2011/04/28/vanishing-the-now-vanished-lake/

Christopher Richard, Curator of Aquatic Biology at Oakland Museum, gave us a great talk on April 21st on the mystery of Laguna Dolores.

Round about 1912 a map was published showing a lake next to the Mission Dolores. The map was eventually enshrined in a monument on Albion near 16th street in the Mission. The author writing about this “now vanished” lake cited a historian who cited a historian who cited… well no one. But it has become a popular part of the myth of our city’s founding. An additional shine of luster as it were to our collective romanticism about our city before it was urbanized. A lake in the Mission!

But evidence — lots of evidence — shows that there never was a lake.  Maps from the earliest days — in all their distorted glory (I can’t imagine being able to make a decent map as they did back then) — to the most recent pre-urbanized maps pretty much show the same thing in the area of the Mission: a tidal inlet coming in and curving south.  Drawings of the area show a similar picture – one that did not include a lake. Richards walked us through map after map, and only a small sampling of the total volume he looked through.

What was there was certainly wet. There were also two creeks, a 14th street creek originating from a spring near Duboce Park, and a (perhaps) more seasonal creek on 18th. The 14th street creek was gradually diverted for irrigation and eventually paved over, though it still runs under the Armory and shows itself in particularly heavy rain. The spring is gone, as it was the result of water flowing through sand dunes now long covered over.

The 18th street creek went into a stand of willows which was for a time a popular place for outings. That stand connected into a body of water, not a lake, but a tidal inlet (depicted on the 1911 map as well). A drawing from the 1800s shows a creek-like body of water, a bridge crossing where 16th is now, and the Mission in the distance.  But no lake.

To understand where the idea of the lake came from, Christopher Richard went back to the source documents and maps, poring over hundreds of them to get a sense of what happened. The Spanish it turned out oriented themselves to water features more than say  mountains and hills and consequently had a richer language for water features. Nor were the text necessarily meant to be exacting descriptions of the surroundings. Subsequent translators weren’t careful to tease out the meanings, and perhaps the historians the map maker cited were confused by all this.

Father Palou did camp by a lake when he first came to San Francisco.  It just wasn’t the Laguna Dolores, it was the lake at Washerwomans cove. A “springfed lake” was how Captain Anza described it, which was exactly the term the 1911 map cited for the mission lake. And to top it off the shape on the lake on the map is suspiciously similar to that of Washerwoman’s cove.

The lake in the Mission then seems like it has vanished indeed. But never fear, there’s still plenty to be nostalgic for though: a tidal inlet, creeks, springs, and willows. I’d love to go and have paddle

Look for Christopher Richard's work at the Oakland Museum of California.

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6.  The Presidio Trust, National Park Service and Golden Gate National Parks Conservancy are now imagining new ways to engage visitors in all that the Presidio has to offer. Below, please find information about a series of six workshops designed to gather community input. We enthusiastically invite the public to join us for these brainstorming sessions. Feel free to share this invitation with others: colleagues, friends and family. 
Connecting with Nature:  Natural Resources and Stewardship, Monday May 16
6-8pm, Log Cabin in the Presidio
Help the Park and Presidio identify ways in which visitors can make a deeper connection to the amazing diversity of natural resources in the Presidio.  
All are welcome! RSVP to (415) 561-5418 or presidio@presidiotrust.gov. Thank you! 
2) This summer, the National Park Service, Presidio Trust and Golden Gate National Parks Conservancy will begin improvements to the Presidio Coastal Trail corridor and Lincoln Boulevard bike lanes south of Merchant Road.  The following is a brief description of the work that will be accomplished. All of these improvements are contained within the existing Presidio Trails and Bikeways Master Plan.

-	The first phase of Presidio Coastal Trail improvements will begin in late June with new bike lanes along Lincoln Blvd.
-	Work on the Golden Gate Overlook (above Merchant Road), the Pacific Overlook (along Lincoln Blvd.), and trail improvements will
                   begin after August 1.
-	A new multi-use trail will be established to connect the Merchant Road parking lot to the Golden Gate Overlook and along
Lincoln Boulevard to the Pacific Overlook.   This trail will also be designed to meet new guidelines for accessible trails.
-	In addition to bike lanes, improvements to Lincoln Blvd. will include crosswalk at Washington Blvd. to connect to a future trail to the Rob Hill
                  campground.
-	All of these improvements are contained within the approved Presidio Trails and Bikeways Master Plan.

We are inviting the public to a series of public walks to learn more about the project, including the improvements to public access and the resources the project will protect and enhance.  The walks will be led by staff with key expertise in the project and the natural and cultural resources in the area.

The walks will occur on Saturdays from 10 am to Noon and will cover include the following topics:

      May 21 – Natural Resources, Vegetation Management and Stewardship Activities
      June 11 – Pre-Construction/Project Details

To RSVP and learn the meeting location, write to trailsforever@parksconservancy.org or call 415-561-3054.

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7.  Heron's Head Park - Visit and Volunteer!
               
This Saturday’s (May 12) program activities will last from 9am-12pm and may include planting, weeding, and general care of HHP.  All tools and safety gear are provided.  Please wear layered clothing that can get dirty and don’t forget a refillable canteen for water.
 
Upcoming workdays:  June 11, July 9, August 13
Location of Heron’s Head Park:  Corner of Cargo Way and Jennings Street  - http://tinyurl.com/hhpmap

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8.  SFPUC's Laundry-to-Landscape Pilot Graywater Program
                                                             
San Francisco Water Power Sewer is now accepting applications for a Laundry-to-Landscape Pilot Graywater Program. The program offers a $95 subsidy toward the purchase of a $100 laundry-to-landscape kit that will divert your clothes washer water directly to your landscape for irrigation. Program participants also will receive a free training workshop and a Graywater Design Manual for Outdoor Irrigation that provides step-by-step guidance on designing, installing, and maintaining your laundry-to-landscape system.
 
The pilot program will help provide the City with valuable data on water savings and the potential market for graywater systems in San Francisco. Up to 150 qualifying single-family and two-unit San Francisco residential properties are eligible to participate. The Urban Farmer Store is helping implement the Laundry-to-Landscape Program. For more program information or for site requirements, visit www.sfwater.org/landscape or contact The Urban Farmer Store at (415) 661-2204.
 
For other water saving programs such as rebates, free indoor and outdoor water use assessments, and free water saving devices visit http://conserve.sfwater.org or contact San Francisco Water Power Sewer - Water Conservation Section at (415) 551-4730.

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9.  May 15: Butterfly Walk. Lepidopterist and illustrator Liam O'Brien will walk us through Butterflies 101 and give tips on identifying butterfly species and understanding the close relationship between each species and its host plant. This event is sponsored by the California Native Plant Society. We will meet at the Rockridge BART Station at 11 and carpool from there. With the steep or rough terrain, sturdy shoes and a walking stick are recommended. For more information, contact Liam O'Brien at liammail56@yahoo.com or 415.863.1212.

Note:  This was scheduled for May 8, called because of weather.  (Which was OK for people but too windy for butterflies.)

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10.  Birds, birds, birds

Celebrate International Migratory Bird Day at Muir Woods, May 14 th !
 
Bring your family and friends to celebrate International Migratory Bird Day on May 14 with PRBO Conservation Science at Muir Woods National Monument! Meet many Bay Area organizations working to conserve migratory bird populations, take a walk with expert birders, observe PRBO biologists safely band and release songbirds during a mist-netting demonstration and learn ways to help birds in your area.  There will also be fun games for kids.  The event takes place from 8 am to 2 pm, and will be held in the new Muir Woods plaza.
 
The 2011 IMBD Event is sponsored by PRBO, the National Park Service, and Environment for the Americas (home of IMBD). Other organizations represented include the Golden Gate National Parks Conservancy, Golden Gate Recreation Area, Golden Gate Raptor Observatory, the National Park Service, Oikonos Ecosystem Knowledge, WildCare, and Wild Sound Stories.
 
International Migratory Bird Day (IMBD) is celebrated by many organizations and individuals every year. IMBD celebrates and brings attention to one of the most important and spectacular events in the Americas - bird migration.  Bird Day is celebrated in Canada, the United States, Mexico, Central and South America, and the Caribbean. The celebrations are great for families and include bird walks, banding demonstrations, shade-grown coffee, and other bird events and information. For more information check out the Muir Woods website at www.nps.gov/muwo. 
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2011 Annual Team Spring Bird Survey
Presidio of San Francisco
Saturday, May 14th, 8 a.m. – noon
Celebrate International Migratory Bird Day collecting data on the Presidio's bird species. Since 2005, one morning each spring volunteer birdwatchers have walked one of eight designated routes through the Presidio counting species of concern such as Wrentits, Wilson's Warblers, and Olive-sided Flycatchers.
These estimates will help document springtime trends in bird populations in the Presidio, and the effect that restoration and re-forestation are having on breeding habitat in the park. The data is strengthened by continued monitoring—but we need your help. Novice birders will be paired with experienced birders, so this is a great way to learn to identify common San Francisco birds both by sight and by their spring songs. After walking their routes, teams will re-convene at the old Crissy Field Center to share their birding highlights.
RSVP to Steve Phillips, 415-850-4677
sphillips@presidiotrust.gov

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From Josiah Clark:

Habitat improvement efforts at the Bison Paddock in  Golden Gate Park continue to pay off!  This morning while checking the bird boxes there I was excited to note a female bluebird dragging dry grass into a bird box on the far fence. It soon joined a male on the fence.  From what I know this is the first breeding record for the species in the history of Golden Gate Park.  In Mailard's, Birds of Golden Gate Park from 1930, the species is listed as "rare in winter" suggesting no breeding records. As I flipped through the old pages I marvel on the fact that Yellow Warblers, Warbling Vireos and Western Meadowlarks bred in the park not so long ago, today they breed nowhere in the county. 
        Also at the planting site Tree Swallows  occupied at least a couple other boxes there and fledgling White Crown and Song Sparrows begged among the newly established native planting of coastal scrub.

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11.  Bay Nature on the Air Debuts New Videos on Bay Area Public TV Stations
 
Berkeley, May 5, 2011 -- Now in its fifth year on public television, Bay Nature's short video series Bay Nature on the Air has enlightened audiences around the region with its entertaining and insightful glimpses of the natural world of Northern California. On Monday, May 9, Rohnert Park-based KRCB-TV will release four new videos in the series to Public Broadcasting Service affiliate stations around the region. These new spots celebrate several common but often misunderstood inhabitants of the Bay Area's parklands and open spaces: tarantulas, western fence lizards, western rattlesnakes, and the turkey vulture. 
 
Bay Nature on the Air is a series of two-and-a-half minute interstitial spots (airing between full-length programs) that highlight the incredible variety of flora and fauna around us. 
 
Each of the new videos is hosted by beloved Bay Area naturalist Michael Ellis, and offers a fascinating snapshot of these local creature's habits and habitats. In "Teetering Turkey Vultures", for example, viewers will learn a quick shortcut for distinguishing a soaring turkey vulture from a hawk (hint: it's in the title of the video!). 
 
A frequent contributor to KQED-FM's "Perspectives" series and proprietor of the international tour company Footloose Forays, host Ellis combines irreverent humor with encyclopedic knowledge to give us insight into the lives of these wild "next door neighbors". 
 
The series was inspired by award-winning, Berkeley-based quarterly magazine Bay Nature, which recently celebrated a successful first decade of publication. Serving as a gateway to the natural world of the Bay Area, Bay Nature is dedicated to "bringing Bay Area residents closer to the remarkable and incredibly diverse natural world that surrounds us right here where we live," says publisher and co-founder David Loeb. 
 
The new Bay Nature on the Air spots, along with the ten previous videos in the series, were produced by San Francisco-based BaciPix, and directed by Rick Bacigalupi. All the videos are also available for viewing anytime on Bay Nature's nature portal website, BayNature.org and on YouTube. The website also features listings of nature-related events around the region and hundreds of articles on local nature. 

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12.  Shop Whole Foods SoMa This Month and Contribute to Wild Equity Institute

From May 9 through June 5, Whole Foods Market in SoMA is donating funds from its Nickels for Nonprofits program to the Wild Equity Institute!
To participate, shop at the SoMa store with your reusable bags and then donate your 5-cent bag credit to the Wild Equity Institute. It’s that easy!

Find out more at wildequity.org.
It Can Be Done: Golf Course Acquired by Gettysburg National Military Park for Restoration
The Department of Interior recently announced that it has acquired a financially troubled golf course in Virginia: so it can be restored and incorporated into Gettysburg National Military Park.

Golf courses around the country are struggling because a construction boom in the late 90s and early aughts failed to foresee  a large-scale change in recreational preferences, littering the landscape with too many golf courses and not enough golfers to play them.  

While many of these failing golf courses become housing developments, places like Sharp Park have a special deed restriction which requires the land to be used as a "public park, or public playground" in perpetuity. And just like Gettysburg, the National Park Service is the best possible manager for Sharp Park: it can efficiently remove the course, restore the land, and provide sustainable recreational opportunities that everyone can enjoy.

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13.  The Commonwealth Club of California presents:  GOLDEN GATE PARK UNDER SIEGE?
 
Treasured by millions of people from all over the world, Golden Gate Park’s meadows, forests, and lakes have served as a refuge from the pressures of urban life for both people and wildlife for over 140 years. Yet throughout its history, the park continues to attract those who view it as free land available for their favorite projects. In addition, with the current short-term budget crises, some view the park as a source of revenue rather than a precious civic asset to be protected.
 
JOIN OUR PANEL TO LEARN ABOUT CURRENT CONSTRUCTION PLANS FOR GOLDEN GATE PARK
 
Jim Chappell, Interim Director-San Francisco Beautiful, Past Executive Director–SPUR; Moderator
Mark Buell, President, SF Recreation and Park Commission
Anthea Hartig Ph.D., President - Western Office National Trust for Historic Preservation
Katherine Howard ASLA, Golden Gate Park Preservation Alliance, SF Ocean Edge
Mike Lynes,  Conservation Director/General Counsel - Environmental Matters, Golden Gate Audubon Society
George Wooding,  President, West of Twin Peaks Central Council, Columnist, Westside Observer
 
Wednesday, May 11, 2011
6:00 - 6:30 pm Networking Reception
6:30 - 7:30 pm Program
Commonwealth Club, 595 Market Street, SF    -    Montgomery Metro Station
Tickets: $20 standard, $8 members, $7 students (with valid ID)
Pre-Registration is Advised
Call 415-597-6705 or register online at  www.commonwealthclub.org

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14.  Feedback

Robert Laws:
On May 6, item 22 Dear Jake,  I am an admirer of Hume and nowhere, Both of us have had to deal with people like the ones described below and nowhere have I ever heard or read a more concise summary of one of life's recurring annoyances.  This is from the "Enquiry  Concerning the Principles of Morals, a long favorite passage.  As I recall,  William James had a very similar comment somewhere.  I'll have to dig around for it.

"DISPUTES with men, pertinaciously obstinate in their principles, are, of all others, the most irksome; except, perhaps, those with persons, entirely disingenuous, who really do not believe the opinions they defend, but engage in the controversy, from affectation, from a spirit of opposition, or from a desire of showing wit and ingenuity, superior to the rest of mankind. The same blind adherence to their own arguments is to be expected in both; the same contempt of their antagonists; and the same passionate vehemence, in inforcing sophistry and falsehood. And as reasoning is not the source, whence either disputant derives his tenets; it is in vain to expect, that any logic, which speaks not to the affections, will ever engage him to embrace sounder principles." 

Anna-Marie Bratton:
Jake - Concerning Bubbles and Bivalves:  Isn't it interesting that Drakes Bay Oyster Co. is involved - given the controversy over it's permit extension to operate in a National Park.  According to some science, albeit controversial science, oyster farming is detrimental to the environment and there are a number of prominent local environmentalists who agree.

I'm sorry that you'll be going to a blog format rather than email.  Have you considered that your announcements of meetings, outings, etc. will reach fewer (perhaps far fewer) people.  I know that I'll never remember to check out your blog whereas I almost always open your email - perhaps in my case it won't matter to you.  Think about this, the only real difference between a blog and Twitter is the number of characters allowed.

Concerning Twitter:  Like it or not, Twitter is playing an important role in many areas, it was a factor in the events in Tunisia and Egypt.
I've received 3-4 similar complaints about going to a blog, and it's important that I hear from people on this.  Ironically, I am vulnerable on this point, as I have never been comfortable with the blog idea.  It's a subtle point, but rather important, and I will be giving it further thought.  My original intention was to discontinue the email after I've settled into the blog--which hasn't happened yet; you notice, eg, that there are no pictures.  Even though I was taught how to do it, I promptly forgot and have to re-learn.  And I have to work to restore the formatting:  the blog currently has no italics, bold, color, clear indication of what is pasted from those giving feedback vs my response, &c.  I haven't had time to work on that.

So I will be doing some sorting-out.  It may be that I will ask those who prefer email to let me know, so will have two different systems.  

I was aware of the role of Twitter in the Arab spring, and thank goodness for that.  But can you use that as an argument for its value, or is this just a footnote in history and its last positive contribution in an increasingly trivialized world?

On Apr 28, 2011, at 11:45 AM, Linda Shaffer wrote:
Finally I have found time to send you some shots of a "Jardin Naturel" tucked right into a residential neighborhood near the Pere la-Chaise Cemetery in Paris.
Pere la-Chaise Cemetery rings a bell.  Is that where Heloise and Abelard are buried?  
Yes.  Well, maybe.  From Wikipedia:
Disputed resting place/lovers' pilgrimage
The bones of the pair were moved more than once afterwards, but they were preserved even through the vicissitudes of the French Revolution, and now are presumed to lie in the well-known tomb in the cemetery of Père Lachaise in eastern Paris. The transfer of their remains there in 1817 is considered to have considerably contributed to the popularity of that cemetery, at the time still far outside the built-up area of Paris. By tradition, lovers or lovelorn singles leave letters at the crypt, in tribute to the couple or in hope of finding true love.



Dedicatory panel.
There is dissent as to their actual resting place. The Oratory of the Paraclete claims Abélard and Héloïse are buried on their site and that what exists in Père-Lachaise is merely a monument, or cenotaph. According to Père-Lachaise, the remains of both lovers were transferred from the Oratory in the early 19th century and reburied in the famous crypt on their grounds. There are still others who believe that while Abelard is buried in the tomb at Père-Lachaise, Heloïse's remains are elsewhere.

Pere La-Chaise  is also where Edith Piaf, Chopin, and a great many other famous folks are buried.  
This Heloise and Abelard affair was a truly strange one, and they were strange people.  Most people would not have recognized their relationship as love.  I must revisit that story, as I didn't understand it first time around, and would like to get a better feel of what motivated both of them.  He seemed a bit of a tyrant; perhaps that's not justified, but that was my reaction at the time.

If you're interested, I have audio CD from Teaching Co about four women:  Heloise, Hildegarde of Bingen, Eleanor of Aquitaine, and Joan of Arc.  In order to make it into history they had to have been singular and driven--and THEY WERE.  I must hear them again.  The lecturer, Bonnie Wheeler, of, I believe, Southern Methodist U, was excellent.  (Well, of course it was excellent--it was from the Teaching Co, after all!)

Christopher Ruedy:
Hey Jake-  I see how impassioned you are about the commercial dog issue but please try not to let the money factor get in the way of seeing the whole picture.  Every one of those dogs in the pictures will still need a place to go on a walk every day, whether or not the owner is paying for it.  The impact on the GGNRA will not be significantly different either way.  in fact, the photos show the dogs being walked in a group, at a time of day when the parks are relatively sparsely used, which i think is a good thing for the multitudes of users who will emerge to enjoy those spaces in the evenings after work.  Remember, we live in a city, and that means combining and overlapping our individual impacts on the land in order to leave other areas untouched.  nobody is asking to walk their dogs in Yosemite in this fashion BECAUSE we live in a city and save the wilderness in the wilderness.
Chris:  Before I launch into it, I want you to know that I am sympathetic to people with dogs, including people who earn a living at doing it.  Dogs need exercise and their joy in it is infectious and entertaining.  Beyond that, I recognize a need in people lives that motivates them to have a dog or other pet:  It is one of the only--or perhaps even the only--contact that some people have with non-human life.  People do have deep needs that are not being met in today's contrived, shallow, and increasingly sterile world.  Trying to satisfy that hunger by having a dog may not be the best way to do it, but it is far better than nothing.  My sympathies for people are great.  The last thing I want to do is to thwart them or increase their frustration.

You focused on one of the five bullet points posted, and not the most important one.  I'm guessing that you're a commercial dog-walker, which would, understandably, color your view--that's human.  But the park is not yours, Chris, it is ours:  there are 300 million of us who own it and want it managed as a national park, with all its features and resources.  It is not a playground.  Even a majority of San Franciscans want it to be a national park, but we can't show up at all the multitude of hearings to express ourselves on a single issue.

Chris, please try to step aside for a moment and try to look from the point of view of someone who has other interests and perspectives, perspectives that are in conflict with yours, and ones which involve public policy, among other considerations.  And consider that dog running, very popular with many Bay Area residents, is still favored by only a small minority of potential park users.  Consider further that this is a national park, not a city park, and it must be guided by national park purpose and policy.  Single-issue people always have an advantage in that they can turn out large numbers of people for public hearings (eg, recent SF Bd of Supervisors meeting on Supervisor Scott Wiener's proposal, in which, predictably, Supervisors counted noses and voted accordingly).  It's one of the acknowledged flaws of democracy which prevents the will of the majority from prevailing.  Those who might oppose such measures have a great multiplicity of issues and concerns that forbid them to devote time to attending the myriad meetings populated by single-issue folks.  

The subject has become polarized and rational dialogue is needed--but is not getting it.  I am not polarized on the subject.  So I would ask you to open your perspective and look beyond your personal needs.  There's more going on out there than you're aware of.  You betray your innocence of other perspectives in your statements.  Chris, you have no idea what you're disrupting when even a single dog goes into a wild area.  Merely listing them would take more time than I have to type them or you to read them.  Strive for humility in looking at the world; it is rich and complex beyond imagining.

Much to be said; this will have to suffice.

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15.  LTE, The Economist
Sir:  Your leader on the Deepwater Horizon and Fukushima disasters reminded me of Douglas Adams's axiom:  "The major difference between a thing that might go wrong and a thing that cannot possibly go wrong is that when a thing that cannot possibly go wrong goes wrong it usually turns out to be impossible to get at or repair."  Sage advice indeed.

John Theis, Melbourne, Australia

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16.
(JS:  Speaking of things that can go wrong, that includes estimates and projections, eg, this quotation from below article:  "Can we feed 10 billion people? Probably."  

That's a reasonable projection, based on the past and what little we know of the future.  We don't know just how climate change will affect us.  It is possible to concoct a scenario--a believable one--that portrays large destabilized geographic areas (including the U.S.) where the requirements of an orderly society come under increasing strain, and lead to mass migrations.  When (not if) that happens, all bets are off.  We have witnessed small-scale versions of migration that have threatened management, eg, Afghan boat people into Australia, Vietnamese to Hainan Island (China), Arabs into Italy, North Koreans into China (the nightmare scenario almost paralyzes China's policy in North Korean issues) and our own crude and uncoordinated attempts to control our border with Mexico.  But matters are bound to get worse, much worse, as population pressures on land and water resources become untenable.)


16.  The world's most important problem, and the one we choose to ignore, mostly:

http://www.sfgate.com/cgi-bin/article.cgi?f=/c/a/2011/05/03/MNAO1JBF1P.DTL#ixzz1Lgzj1qct
...The new report comes just ahead of a demographic milestone, with the world population expected to pass 7 billion in late October, only a dozen years after it surpassed 6 billion. Demographers called the new projections a reminder that a problem that helped define global politics in the 20th century, the population explosion, is far from solved in the 21st.

"Every billion more people makes life more difficult for everybody - it's as simple as that," said John Bongaarts, a demographer at the Population Council, a research group in New York. "Is it the end of the world? No. Can we feed 10 billion people? Probably. But we obviously would be better off with a smaller population."

The projections were made by the U.N. population division, which has a track record of fairly accurate forecasts. In the new report, the division raised its forecast for the year 2050, estimating the world would likely have 9.3 billion people then, an increase of 156 million over the previous estimate for that year, published in 2008.

Among the factors behind the upward revisions is that fertility is not declining as rapidly as expected in some poor countries and has shown a slight uptick in some wealthier countries, including the United States, Denmark and Britain. The United States is growing faster than many rich countries, largely because of high immigration and higher fertility among Hispanic immigrants. The new report projects that the U.S. population will rise from today's 311 million to 478 million by 2100.

The director of the U.N. population division, Hania Zlotnik, said the world's fastest-growing countries, and the wealthy Western nations that help to finance their development, face a choice about whether to renew their emphasis on programs that encourage family planning. Although they were a major focus of development policy in the 1970s and 1980s, such programs have stagnated in many countries, caught up in ideological battles over abortion, sex education and the role of women in society. 

From San Francisco Chronicle (excerpt)

________________________________________

As Population Action International explains in this video, the world population will hit 7 billion this fall -- on Oct. 31, to be specific. At least that's the date the U.N. has specified, maybe because it'sscary -- mwah-hah-hah. But seriously, the U.N.'s latest population projections are scary. Many demographers have been projecting that human numbers will stabilize at about 9 billion in 2050, but the U.N.'s new, more realistic analysis says the population could in fact keep on growing and hit 10.1 billion by 2100. That's in part because there are still 215 million women around the world who want to avoid or delay pregnancy but don't have good access to effective birth control, and the U.N. seems to have grown more pessimistic about remedying that situation any time soon.


(I am sometimes told that population is a complicated subject, and there are reasons why not much can be done about it.  Complicated, yes, but there are many things that can be done--eg, look at that last sentence.  JS)

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17.  Against covetousness
 
The pursuit of affluence may be wrong, but it’s hard to curb human nature, finds John Gray
 
The Value of Nothing:  How to Reshape Market Society and Redefine Democracy, by Raj Patel
 
Economists are taken seriously by governments because they claim to be practicing a type of science that can predict the future and help manage our lives.  Yet very few economists forecast the current crisis and it is hard to think of any economist who has come up with compelling ideas about how to deal with it.  Underpinning all the stimulus programmes is the faith that if only we can restart growth of the sort that was suddenly curtailed two years ago, all will be well.  But growth of that kind – debt-fuelled expansion that inflates the value of financial assets while depleting the material environment – is what got us into the present mess.  If this is the best economists can do, it is hard to avoid concluding that there is something basically wrong with their discipline.
 
Part of the problem is the belief that price and value are for most purposes one and the same.  This equation makes it possible for them to develop impressive-looking mathematical models of the economy, but it involves a huge oversimplification of reality.  As Raj Patel explains in this penetrating and admirably concise guide to the follies of market fundamentalism, the notion that the value of a good is its price obscures the complexity of markets and of human beings.  Theories of efficient markets take the shifting abstractions generated by the price mechanism as actually existing entities but, as Patel puts it, using one of many vivid metaphors that stud his argument, this is like being in the simulated world of The Matrix, surrounded by “a digital rain of symbols and signs”. 
 
The seeming precision of the computer screen suggests that something substantial is being measured and exchanged, when in fact what is being traded are virtual assets whose relations with actual resources are tangled and hidden.
 
Contrary to the claims of economists, the belief that price equals value is not science, an accurate representation of the world, but ideology – a way of obfuscating the world.  Even some well-known economists have been forced to accept that their discipline is shaped by ideological thinking.  Patel quotes Alan Greenspan…admitting before a congressional committee in October 2008 that his “view of the world” was “not right”.  As Greenspan put it:  “I found a flaw in the model that I perceived in the critical functioning structure that defines how the world works, so to speak.”  This statement is characteristically turgid and Delphic, but the message shows through:  he truly believed in the ideology of the efficient market.
 
The difficulty of the present situation comes from the fact that while few any longer believe in the free market, no one has an alternative to it that is able to command widespread support.  For all this forensic dissection of free-market thinking, this is a predicament that Patel cannot escape.  The first half of The Value of Nothing, showing the unreality of efficient markets and Homo economicus, continues the demolition of market fundamentalism that events have set in train.  The second section, where Patel discusses options to the hegemony of the market, is markedly less convincing. 
 
…But Patel fails to confront the most fundamental contemporary fact, which is that the majority of people in every country clearly want a type of economy – the sort that rich countries have enjoyed in the recent past – that the planet cannot sustain.  A passionate activist, he believes problems of resource scarcity can always be solved by fairer distribution.  However, the growth-oriented lifestyle of rich countries is not unsustainable because it is unjust; it is unsustainable because the Earth’s resources are finite.  It may be true that the imbalance between human demands and the environment could be diminished if enough people rejected material affluence as their main goal in life.  But this is an extremely nebulous possibility and one that highlights the deepest difficulty for Patel’s analysis.
 
Oscar Wilde may have been right that people know the price of everything and the value of nothing, a remark Patel cites at the start of his book, and which gives him its title.  But what is value if it is not price?  It is telling that when trying to flesh out a non-market account, Patel turns to religion, in this case Buddhism.  The Buddhist tradition gives him an understanding of human wellbeing that does not centre on the satisfaction of wants.  Like the ancient European Stoic and Epicurean philosophies, Buddhism proposes that happiness lies in shrinking the self – in giving up our wants, rather than forever chasing after them.  It is a thought that occurs to many well-off people from time to time, but it is hard to imagine large numbers of people ever acting on it.
 
Theories of value that focus on curbing desire run up against the demand for self-realisation, which is one of the strongest impulses in modern life.  To be sure, the pursuit of self-realisation does not often result in happiness.  But is it happiness that most people are pursuing?  Or is it stimulus and excitement?  In the Buddhist kingdom of Bhutan, Patel tells the reader, the introduction of satellite television has been followed by a crime wave.  He seems to think this fact strengthens his argument.  But what it tells us is that no culture can resist the dangerous charms of a life spent in insatiable desire.
 
Observer, reprinted in Guardian Weekly 08.01.10

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18.  DICTIONARY of REPUBLICANISMS (dated material from the GW Bush administration)

abstinence-only sex education n. Ignorance-only sex education [Wayne Martorelli, Lawrenceville, NJ].

alternative energy sources n. New locations to drill for gas and oil [Peter Scholz, Fort Collins, Colo.].

bankruptcy n. A punishable crime when committed by poor people but not corporations [Beth Thielen, Studio City, Calif.].

"burning bush" n. A biblical allusion to the response of the President of the United States when asked a question by a journalist who has not been paid to inquire [Bill Moyers, New York, NY].

Cheney, Dick n. The greater of two evils [Jacob McCullar, Austin, Tex.].

China n. See Wal-Mart [Rebecca Solnit, San Francisco, Calif.].

class warfare n. Any attempt to raise the minimum wage [Don Zweir, Grayslake, Ill.].

climate change n. The blessed day when the blue states are swallowed by the oceans [Ann Klopp, Princeton, NJ].

compassionate conservatism n. Poignant concern for the very wealthy [Lawrence Sandek, Twin Peaks, Calif.].

creationism n. Pseudoscience that claims George W. Bush's resemblance to a chimpanzee is totally coincidental [Brian Sweeney, Providence, RI].

DeLay, Tom n. 1. Past tense of De Lie [Rick Rodstrom, Los Angeles, Calif.]. 2. Patronage saint [Andrew Magni, Nonatum, Mass.].

democracy n. A product so extensively exported that the domestic supply is depleted [Michael Schwartz, unknown].

dittohead n. An Oxy(contin)moron [Zydeco Boudreaux, Gretna, La.].

energy independence n. The caribou witness relocation program [Justin Rezzonico, Keene, Ohio].

extraordinary rendition n. Outsourcing torture [Milton Feldon, Laguna Woods, Calif.].

faith n. The stubborn belief that God approves of Republican moral values despite the preponderance of textual evidence to the contrary [Matthew Polly, Topeka, Kans.].

Fox News fict. Faux news [Justin Rezzonico, Keene, Ohio].

free markets n. Halliburton no-bid contracts at taxpayer expense [Sean O'Brian, Chicago, Ill.].

girly men n. Males who do not grope women inappropriately [Nick Gill, Newton, Mass.].

God n. Senior presidential adviser [Martin Richard, Belgrade, Mont.].

growth n. 1. The justification for tax cuts for the rich. 2. What happens to the national debt when Republicans cut taxes on the rich [Matthew Polly, Topeka, Kans.].

habeas corpus n. Archaic. (Lat.) Legal term no longer in use (See Patriot Act) [Josh Wanstreet, Nutter Fort, WV].

healthy forest n. No tree left behind [Dan McWilliams, Santa Barbara, Calif.].

homelandism n. A neologism for love of the Homeland Security State, as in "My Homeland, 'tis of thee, sweet security state of liberty..." [Tom Engelhardt, New York, NY].

honesty n. Lies told in simple declarative sentences--e.g., "Freedom is on the march" [Katrina vanden Heuvel, New York, NY].

House of Representatives n. Exclusive club; entry fee $1 million to $5 million (See Senate) [Adam Hochschild, San Francisco, Calif.].

laziness n. When the poor are not working [Justin Rezzonico, Keene, Ohio].

leisure time n. When the wealthy are not working [Justin Rezzonico, Keene, Ohio].

liberal(s) n. Followers of the Antichrist [Ann Wegher, Montello, Wisc.].

Miller, Zell n. The man who shot and killed Alexander Hamilton after a particularly tough interview on Hardball [Drew Dillion, Arlington, Va.].

neoconservatives n. Nerds with Napoleonic complexes [Matthew Polly, Topeka, Kans.].

9/11 n. Tragedy used to justify any administrative policy, especially if unrelated (See Deficit, Iraq War) [Dan Mason, Durham, NH].

No Child Left Behind riff. 1. v. There are always jobs in the military [Ann Klopp, Princeton, NJ]. 2. n. The rapture [Samantha Hess, Cottonwood, Ariz.].

ownership society n. A civilization where 1 percent of the population controls 90 percent of the wealth [Michael Albert, Piscataway, NJ].

Patriot Act n. 1. The pre-emptive strike on American freedoms to prevent the terrorists from destroying them first. 2. The elimination of one of the reasons why they hate us [Michael Thomas, Socorro, NM].

pro-life adj. Valuing human life up until birth [Kevin Weaver, San Francisco, Calif.].

Senate n. Exclusive club; entry fee $10 million to $30 million [Adam Hochschild, San Francisco, Calif.].

simplify v. To cut the taxes of Republican donors [Katrina vanden Heuvel, New York, NY].

staying the course interj. Slang. Saying and doing the same stupid thing over and over, regardless of the result [Suzanne Smith, Ann Arbor, Mich.].

stuff happens interj. Slang. Donald Rumsfeld as master historian [Sheila and Chalmers Johnson, San Diego, Calif.].

voter fraud n. A significant minority turnout [Sue Bazy, Philadelphia, Pa.].
Wal-Mart n. The nation-state, future tense [Rebecca Solnit, San Francisco, Calif.].

water n. Arsenic storage device [Joy Losee, Gainesville, Ga.].

woman n. 1. Person who can be trusted to bear a child but can't be trusted to decide whether or not she wishes to have the child. 2. Person who must have all decisions regarding her reproductive functions made by men with whom she wouldn't want to have sex in the first place [Denise Clay, Philadelphia, Pa.].
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