Wednesday July 24, 2013

7/24/13 As I read The Fringe this week, I wondered exactly how far back in time would he want “traditional life” of Sierra County residents to go. If he wants to preserve what we have always had I wondered what the cutoff date was for changes or improvements.  I personally would say everything started going downhill when the “Walk / Don’t Walk” signs were installed at busy intersections. (Don’t worry they haven’t arrived in Sierra County). That may have been the point when we stopped thinking and taking responsibility for ourselves.

It might have been World War II when Americans returned from the war, everyone could get a car and much of the community cohesiveness began to wane, families who have lived in the same town, same farm, same home for generations were scattered across the country.  Maybe the internal combustion machine invention was the tipping point. I don’t know and everyone has different ideas of what the perfect life might be. I do know that in a world with bicycles, motorcycles, snowmobiles and a zillion different activities that burn fossil fuel, pollute the air and make a lot of noise it is nice to have a few “quiet recreation” areas, and that’s it, there are only a few, so I hope we can keep those. There are many lakes with no restrictions and only a few that have some. Also, speaking as a Sierra County resident there are many others, like me, who rely on the Board of Supervisors to protect our interests, and I feel that they are doing a good job.

So read the Fringe, Gabby, Cooter, Carol’s Movies and Books, Carries Corner and our guest columnists who have interesting things to say about all the issues we have been following the past few weeks. Mazel Tov to Prince William and Duchess Kate for the birth of their son, Prince George Alexander Louis.

The photo this week is an interesting shot on Sardine Lake by Jim Yeoman.

Independent Fringe 7/24/13

Independence Lake

A Fringe Editorialfringe logo

The Friends of Independence Lake, (FOIL), were before the Sierra County Board of Supervisors again with stronger evidence that, at one time, the county acknowledged a road that ran right to the lake, right to the campground.

The problem, as most local folks know by now, is the Nature Conservancy, which used public and non-profit dollars to purchase the land around the lake and “save” it.  TNC has “non-profit” status even though it is a multi-billion dollar international corporation.  The term “non-profit” means the organization claims to operate for the “good” of someone.  Some non-profits benefit members; TNC claims to serve a larger “good”.
Much of the cash used to purchase the land around Independence Lake was public money, meaning TNC ownership of the land is intended to benefit society.  Instead, the Nature Conservancy is benefiting its wealthy urban supporters at the cost of local traditional users, offering free “kayaks” and attempting to keep historic uses like trolling from the lake.

TNC doesn’t own the lake; it doesn’t own the water, which belongs to Truckee Meadows users; it doesn’t own the fish or the land beneath the lake, which belong to the People of California.  It owns the land around the lake.  Traditional users contribute to the management of the fish through licenses and boat registration and have a right to fish the lake.  Yet, TNC is using the rationalization that it, and not the State of California and the department of wildlife, is somehow responsible for the lake, and can keep traditional users off.

The Nature Conservancy claims the lake is “pristine”.  Ironically, it is the traditional users who have kept the lake “pristine”, but TNC tries the claim that the handful of traditional users now somehow endanger the lake, while the thousands of new urban “paddle sports” enthusiasts it has encouraged to the lake are imagined not to.

The danger to the lake, is, of course, introduction of aquatic invasive species, a host of damaging organisms which threaten the lake, and which are likely inevitable.  In the name of preventing this problem TNC proposes to prohibit motorboats, though any surface which stays moist will transport the AIS, surfaces such as the interior of molded boats and hollow paddles.  TNC claims they are “saving” the lake, which they do not own, from the traditional users who kept it “pristine”.  In short, some feel TNC is simply trying to keep traditional and historic users from the lake so their urban supporters get the “pristine” effect they have paid for.

The Friends of Independence Lake have exhausted every appeal to authority on the issue.  They have tried unsuccessfully to lobby TNC decision makers, have appealed to state entities who technically support public access to the lake but won’t intercede, and finally to the Sierra County Board of Supervisors.

The primary issue is of access.  TNC can’t actually prevent motorboat users from using the lake, which they don’t own and which state law allows.  Instead the corporation is simply preventing traditional users from accessing the lake.  In the past, the relationship between the owners of Independence Lake and the public, represented by the County, was good.  The county built and maintained roads so the public could enjoy the lake, and the various private owners of the land around the lake worked with the public to preserve access.

Now, the Nature Corporation has closed those roads to the public. It has closed an access campground to users, reserving it for TNC staff and privileged friends.  FOIL maintains that the county owned road goes to the lake, and TNC must allow access.

The group has taken heat from some for asking tiny Sierra County to take on the blind gargantuan TNC.  The county is poor, some claim, and we have no hope against TNC.  Some have complained that the group is asking the county to waste money it badly needs elsewhere.  Further, if forced to acknowledge traditional public use of the roads in question, some county officials have threatened to simply abandon the roads, essentially giving them to the corporation.

But, who else should the group appeal to if not the Board of Supervisors?  If one of us were to try to curtail the use of a lake, would the county step in?  Indeed, if one of us wanted to add a deck to a house we own, on land we own not in the public good but for private use, wouldn’t the county show its muscle?  The county sends cops to arrest us, social workers to take our children, makes rules about all facets of our lives.  Now, we need help against a powerful entity, should the Board of Supervisors claim to be powerless or disinterested?  TNC doesn’t want hillbillies on the lake, should the county step forward in defense of those over whom it exercises power, whom it claims to represent?  Or, should it suddenly claim no interest over the land of the county, or her people?

We in Sierra County are few and generally poor.  If we represented a hundred thousand more people, and millions more in wealth, we would be eligible for cooperation from the Nature Conservancy.  We suffer laws made by and for people in the over-populated south which fit us poorly and burden our people; they grab our water, force mandates on our tiny county, try to keep us from living on our land in the traditional ways.  They dictate our land use, determine when and where and how we can build a shelter.  Even the water in the lake is owned by the wealthy in the populated portion of Washoe County, Nevada.  We are few and generally poor; they are multitudes and have the money to wag the dog.

Even so, at some point, shouldn’t we try to make a stand for our traditional ways, at least make a statement for our people and our vanishing way of life?  FOIL has demonstrated beyond a preponderance of evidence that the county does own and control those access roads.  The records indicate it; the county has the roads on its tally; the GIS data is conclusive.  In response, the County has Tim Beals review old records and check his hoary memory to decide that the ownership of the roads can’t be decided.  Markers have been moved; nothing can be determined, and even though the county has been paid to maintain those road miles, it can’t be said for certain if the roads are the same roads that it owns.

The Board of Supervisors need to step forward as more than just the local representatives of the state to tax, regulate, and punish us.  The Board needs to make a statement first to TNC and then publically, that, whether or not the markers have been moved and Tim Beals’ memory degraded, it has always been understood that the County and the land owner cooperate to give the public access to the lake.  They must open the campground to real families in station wagons, the way it used to be.  They must give watercraft access to the lake.  Certainly, inspect and sanitize all watercraft against aquatic invasive species; some FOIL members are qualified to inspect water craft, perhaps they would volunteer.  Institute an in-basin boat policy to protect the lake.  But, access to traditional users must be restored.

As for TNC, one has to wonder if a similar treatment is given to the indigenous and traditional people where ever they “save” land.  Somewhere, someone in a position of power at TNC decided to “pristinize” Independence Lake.  “Pristine” means no traditional users, in favor of some idealized, urbanized view of what is appropriate for a rural alpine lake.  I’d encourage TNC to return Independence Lake to the stewards who cared for it so well for so long, and find a lake down south, closer to the people who pay the corporations wages, to “pristinize”.   There are many lakes there that actually need the help a billion dollar organization could provide.  It would be more convenient to the urban population, and would be very green indeed, since it would discourage the long drive northward, and the pollution that traffic causes in our delicate mountain ecologies. Simply not advertising the lake to urban users would go a long way to reducing the opportunity for AIS introduction.

Good luck, fishers of trout!

Gabby Fringette 7/24/13

Fighting with Food

By Gabby Fringette

As I ate the last of three pieces of pizza, I could hear my arteries cursing at me (is there a pill for cursing arteries?) Then after a stomach ache which resulted in a mountain-shaking session in the “library”, it occurred to me I need to eat veggies.

Problem: I do not like veggies. We don’t cook them much, the last veggies we got stayed in the fridge so long they started screaming when we took them out; I couldn’t bring myself to throw them in boiling water.  We had celery grubs; the celery made the grubs taste funny.

I know veggies are important and they sustain life, whole species live off of veggies.  Then I eat those species. I put catsup on them, and that’s my veggie.

Some people eat nothing but veggies too. They don’t seem to see the importance of a well-rounded diet.  We have sharp teeth in our mouths for the ripping of flesh. Why would we have them if we ate nothing but squash?

I love veggies, that’s why I don’t eat them. People who hate veggies are the ones who are vegetarians.

Now, fruit is different, it’s tasty, even actual non flavoring fruit.  Fruit is good for you; it keeps your bowels moving, and gives you nutrients. Of course, you have to eat other things; otherwise you’ll end up putting a TV on the wall in front of your toilet so you don’t fall asleep.

I would say ‘good bye and don’t forget to eat your veggies, kids’ but I hate hypocrites.

Good bye

Heidi Speaks for Students

Students need our support!

Each summer, college students head back to their parents’ homes, take low-paying or unpaid jobs and internships, and plan their next year at school. But tens of thousands of students might be forced to tell their friends that they won’t be coming back to class in the fall because of gridlock and partisanship in Washington.

Congress just let Stafford student loan interest ratesdouble because, on yet another critical issue, Members couldn’t come together. Providing access to affordable college education is one of the best ways to strengthen and preserve the Middle Class, but Tea Party extremists in Congress seem determined to take that opportunity away from working families.

We Californians know better than most that college isn’t cheap. Even with in-state tuition, the UC system can cost students over $30,000 a year. This real hardship is made harder by high loan rates and Congressional inaction.

Americans are already saddled with over $1 trillion in student loan debt. Bills like the Student Loan Relief Act provide hope that college will remain within reach for kids from working families. But now, thanks to ideologues in the House, these bills are effectively dead, and our students and working families are forced to bear an even greater burden.

We can do better for our kids. Join me in fighting for working families by making a contribution today.I’m proud to stand with students in this debate, and I hope you’ll join me in working to make education more accessible and more affordable for American families.



Global Women 7/24/13

A Call to the New Ambassador-At-Large for Global Women’s Issues

By Laura Finley

Laura Finley

Laura Finley

Early in his first term, President Obama appointed Melanne Verveer as the first Ambassador-At-Large for Global Women’s Issues.  Now, a new appointee will take the lead on the State Department’s global women’s initiatives. It is my hope that Cathy Russell uses her new position to address the continuing problems faced by women seeking legal protection from abusive partners.  To date, much of the focus on women’s issues has been external to the U.S. While this is very important, we need to clean up our own backyard as well.

 Major changes were recommended in August 2011 by the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights in the way that the courts provide for, and police enforce, restraining orders. The IACHR heard the case of Jessica Gonzales (now Lenahan), whose three young daughters, ages seven, nine, and ten, were killedwhen her former husband, Simon Gonzales, violated a permanent restraining order, kidnapped the girls, and brought them into a shoot-out with the Castle Rock, Colorado police on June 22, 1999.

The night that Simon Gonzales took the three girls, Jessica contacted the Castle Rock police multiple times by phone and in person to report his violation of the restraining order and to describe her fear for her daughters’ safety. The police refused to respond, and the result was three dead little girls. Jessica filed suit, and eventually the U.S. Supreme Court heard the case. In a shocking decision, the court announced in 2005 that the Castle Rock police had no duty to enforce the restraining order.

Jessica and her team of attorneys received some vindication through the IACHR’s decision, which noted that domestic violence is a global human rights issue and recommended a thorough investigation into this specific case, more training for police, and more.

Having worked with survivors of abuse for seven years, I continue to see women denied restraining orders for themselves and their children, even when they are in clear danger. I have witnessed police repeatedly fail to arrest abusers for violating restraining orders by threatening their victims through calls, emails, text messages and other means.  More than 1,000 people are killed each year—at least three per day—by abusive partners.

President Obama has perhaps done more about this issue than any other president.  The Department of Justice has recently announced new funding for 12 communities that are engaging in data-informed efforts to prevent domestic violence homicides. Obama himself, and in particular, Vice President Joe Biden, are vocal advocates of the Violence Against Women Act (VAWA), which was re-authorized by Congress in spring 2013.

More is needed, however, to protect women (and men) who are victims of abuse.  Ratification of the Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination Against Women (CEDAW), which Obama pledged, would be a good start. And, while the criminal justice system is surely not the only (and sometimes not the best) way to deal with cases of abuse, when victims elect to utilize it is imperative that police afford them the full protection of the law and are held accountable when they do not.

Laura Finley, Ph.D., teaches in the Barry University Department of Sociology & Criminology and is syndicated by PeaceVoice.


The Mountain Messenger (real paper) 7/24/13


Every week I attempt to write something interesting about the Mountain Messenger and the three people who keep it running. The Editor of All Things, Don Russell, then there is the little short, long haired woman, Milly, who works in the office and occasionally pretends to work and answers the phone, and then there is Ross, not many people see him, he works in the dead of night silently and mysteriously and is on call for computer failures and other misfortunate accidents of computerworld. So what can I say except it helps to keep everyone fed if you buy ads or subscriptions to the Mountain Messenger. Here’s another classic pose of Don at work.

In a candid moment apparently Don is making an important point in a conversation, possibly preparing to sneeze or just is pausing in an attempt to remember what he was talking about.

7/24/13 In a candid moment apparently Don is making an important point in a conversation, possibly preparing to sneeze or just is pausing in an attempt to remember what he was talking about.


Send anything you need published to Jill at  Of course you may call directly to 530 289-3262 and talk to Don, (and suggest he give a raise to Jill) or the machine. Keep jobs in Sierra County read the Mess.

For a subscription: send in as below or call 530 289-3262 with credit card in hand.. Tell Don, you subscribed because you read about it on Sierra County Prospect…..

mess subcrip

Jerusha 7/24/13

Volume V #265
Dear Jerusha,Jerushaboys
I read the letter from Jonathan Riverton.  I hope you don’t mind me suggesting this but you should introduce Jon to Pat through your dating service.  It’s because of you and Pat that I met a wonderful person to date.  What do you think?
Los Gatos
Dear Vicki:
Why do you people constantly refer to my column as a dating service. This is not a dating service. This is a column by Jerusha, me, not a dating service. It used to be called “Ask Jerusha” but then people just kept asking me questions which became very annoying.  Of course, I am glad that you found someone to date, although if I recall it wasn’t clear to me whether “Pat” was a male or female. Are you dating Pat? Or did you find someone completely new. To be politically correct I will not ask you who you are dating. Just because your name is Vicki I assume you are female and dating a male, but I could be wrong and that is just fine. No judgement here. I try not to be judgmental, however it does annoy me when people ask me questions that are not relevant to me or when they assume I am running a dating service. What in heavens name would make anyone think that. I still have not found the Perfect Man for me… well maybe a couple of times, but then they turned out to be very particular about who they dated and it just didn’t work out. Meanwhile, I’m happy that you are happy.
Sincerely, Jerusha

Plumas/Sierra Fair Schedule 7/24/13

Plumas-Sierra County Fair

Please check the daily program for any changes.

August 14 – Wednesday-Senior Day

8am  Driving Singles and Doubles Horse Show/Horse Arena

8:30am Swine Show/SPI Pavilion

10:00am Poultry Show/Jr. Ag Barn

12 noon Flag Raising Ceremony

12 noon Fair Opens/Free admission until 2pm

12 noon Senior Lunch/Sponsored by Safeway and the Health Dept.

12noon  Slim & Minnie/Senior Luncheon

1:00pm to 2:30pm  Opportunity Farm/Beef Barns

1:30pm  Dr. Solar’s Magical Medicine Show/Wold Amusement Stage under the tent

2pm  Swan Brother’s Circus/Kidland!

4pm Pygmy Goat Show/SPI Pavilion


5:00pm  4H/FFA Alpaca Show

6:00pm  Hog Calling Contest/SPI Pavilion

6:00pm to 7:30pm  Opportunity Farm/Beef Barns

6:30pm  Swan Brother’s Circus/Kidland!

7:30pm  Dr. Solar’s Magical Medicine Show/Wold Amusement Stage under the tent

10pm Fair Closes

August 15 -Thursday-Kid’s Day (12 and under free all day)

8am 4H/FFA/Open Trails Classes Horse Show

9am Rabbit/Cavy Show/Jr. Ag Barn

10am  Sheep Show/SPI Pavilion

12 noon Fair Opens/Free Admission until 2pm

12noon  Slim & Minnie/Wold Amusement Stage under the tent

12:30pm  Science Wizard/Science Corner

1:00pm  Meat Goat Show/SPI Pavilion

1:30pm  Magic by Bill/Wold Amusement Stage under the tent

2pm  Science Wizard/Science Corner

2:30pm  Swan Brother’s Circus/Kidland!

3pm  Magic by Bill/Wold Amusement Stage under the tent

3:45pm  Dr. Solar’s Magical Medicine Show/Wold Amusement Stage under the tent

4:30pm  Science Wizard/Science Corner

5:30pm  Swan Brother’s Circus/Kidland!

6 to 10pm  Live Music, Mudbone/Plumas Bank Stage

6 to 8pm  Date Night Under the Wold Amusement Tent-Italian Dinner and entertainment

6:30pm  Magic by Bill/Wold Amusement Stage under the tent

7:00pm  Dr. Solar’s Magical Medicine Show/Wold Amusement Stage under the tent

7:00pm  Ladies & Gentlemen’s Lead/SPI Pavilion

8pm Mineral Building Closes

8:30pm  Science Wizard/Science Corner

10pm Fair Closes

August 16 – Friday

8am  Open Horse Show/Horse Arena

9:30am  Dog Show/Jr. Ag Barn Lawn

10am  4H/FFA Beef Show/SPI Pavilion

12noon  Fair Opens

12noon  Slim & Minnie/Wold Amusement Stage under the tent

12:15pm  Science Wizard/Science Corner

1pm  Dr. Solar’s Magical Medicine Show/Wold Amusement Stage under the tent

1:30pm  Magic by Bill/Wold Amusement Stage under the tent

2:00pm  Swan Brother’s Circus/Kidland!

2:30pm  Science Wizard/Science Corner

3pm  Cattleman’s BBQ/Range Pens

3pm  Magic by Bill/Wold Amusement Stage under the tent

4pm  Dr. Solar’s Magical Medicine Show/Wold Amusement Stage under the tent

4:30pm  Science Wizard/Science Corner

5pm  House of Dance Variety Show/ Wold Amusement Stage under the tent

5:15pm  Swan Brother’s Circus/Kidland!

6pm  Meg & Mik, Exciting Musical Duo/Wold Amusement Stage under the tent

6pm  4H/FFA Dairy Goat, Primary Member Show/SPI Pavilion

6:30pm  Tiki Lounge Lizards/Wold Amusement Stage under the tent

7 to Midnight  Live Music, Rock Bottom Band/Plumas Bank Stage

7:30pm  Dr. Solar’s Magical Medicine Show/Wold Amusement Stage under the tent

7:30  Science Wizard/Science Corner

8pm  Swan Brother’s Circus/Kidland!

8pm  Tiki Lounge Lizards/Wold Amusement Stage under the tent

8pm  Mineral Building Closes

9pm  Magic by Bill/Wold Amusement Stage under the tent

9:30pm   Tiki Lounge Lizards/Wold Amusement Stage under the tent

Midnight  Fair Closes

August 17 – Saturday

8am  Gymkhana/Horse Arena

10:30am Fair Parade/ Downtown Quincy sponsored by the Quincy Chamber of Commerce

12noon  Fair Opens

12noon  Slim & Minnie/Wold Amusement Stage under the tent

12:15pm  Science Wizard/Science Corner

1:00pm  Magic by Bill/Wold Amusement Stage under the tent

2pm  Swan Brother’s Circus/Kidland!

2pm  Small Animal Round Robin/SPI Pavilion

2:15pm  Dr. Solar’s Magical Medicine Show/Wold Amusement Stage under the tent

2:30pm  Science Wizard/Science Corner

3pm  Magic by Bill/Wold Amusement Stage under the tent

4pm  Dr. Solar’s Magical Medicine Show/Wold Amusement Stage under the tent

5pm  QHS Booster Cow Plop Drop

4:30pm  Science Wizard/Science Corner

5pm  Swan Brother’s Circus/Kidland!

5pm  Large Animal Round Robin/SPI Pavilion

5:15pm  Magic by Bill/Wold Amusement Stage under the tent

5pm-9pm  Wine Tasting/Mineral Building  Hosted by Evergreen Market to benefit Indian Valley Recreation

6pm  Summer of Love (Music of the 60’s)/Wold Amusement Stage under the tent

6:30pm  Science Wizard/Science Corner

7pm  Dr. Solar’s Magical Medicine Show/Wold Amusement Stage under the tent

7pm  Bull Riding Smackdown/Horse Arena

8pm  Weird Science (Music of the 80’s)/Wold Amusement Stage under the tent

8 to Midnight  Live Music Back 40/Plumas Bank Stage

8pm  Swan Brother’s Circus/Kidland!

9pm  Magic by Bill/Wold Amusement Stage under the tent

9pm Mineral Building Closes

10pm  Big Bad Boogie Rock (Musice of the 90’s)/Wold Amusement Stage under the tent

Midnight  Fair Closes

August 18 – Sunday

10am  Junior Livestock Auction/SPI Pavilion

9:30am  Non Denominational Church Services

12noon  Fair Opens

1:30pm  Magic by Bill/Wold Amusement Stage under the tent

2pm  Swan Brother’s Circus/Kidland!

2:45pm  Magic by Bill/Wold Amusement Stage under the tent

4pm  Swan Brother’s Circus/Kidland!

7pm  American Valley Speedway/Grandstands

7pm  Magic by Bill/Wold Amusement Stage under the tent

8pm Mineral Building Closes

10pm  Fair Closes

Boots are Packed 7/24/13

New post on

The Lost Sierra Hoedown: My Boots Are Packed

by Mark



The Johnsville Ski Bowl will be an awesome venue for the Lost Sierra Hoedown

The Johnsville Ski Bowl, 50 miles north of Truckee, is considered to be the birthplace of skiing in California. Miners started one of the first longboard ski clubs in the late 1800’s and reportedly repurposed ore carts into some of the state’s first ski lifts. The Ski Bowl, now a part of Plumas Eureka State Park, operated until 2003, relying on Poma lifts purchased from Squaw Valley and the Rainbow Lodge. Efforts to revive the ski hill and preserve the history of skiing at Johnsville has been an ongoing effort since 2008. A number of fundraising efforts have continued to keep the dream alive.


Click to enlarge

Click to enlarge

The Lost Sierra Hoedown is the latest fundraiser event and it should prove to be a great event. The Hoedown is the  result of a service learning project by three Interdisciplinary  students from Sierra Nevada College: Drew Fisher, Cody Wilkins and Rachel Blum. With each sharing a passion for snow and a love for Americana music, it seemed natural to create an event that involved both. Working with Event Organizer Azariah “Z” Reynolds, all of the details are rapidly coming together, and the Lost Sierra Hoedown is rapidly becoming a reality.

“People have lost touch with the roots of skiing, and Johnsville is keeping the culture and core of the sport alive, and that’s something we are trying to support,” said Wilkins, the team’s social entrepreneur.

The event, scheduled for September 20-22, 2013, includes twelve different bands scheduled to perform over the first two days, with a number of acoustic performances scheduled “off the stage” and “on the peak” for Sunday. Limited on-site camping is available right at the Johnsville Ski Bowl, with additional family camping available in Plumas Eureka State Park, approximately one mile away. With sustainable living and low impact being key tenants of the project, tickets sales are limited to 500 participants.


Traditionally, handbills and flyers create new trash. The Hoedown's latest handbills are printed on cardboard scraps from the recycling bin. It's not your typical event.

Traditionally, handbills and flyers create new trash. The Hoedown’s latest handbills are printed on cardboard scraps from the recycling bin. It’s not your typical event.

There’s an incredible line-up of musical talent for the weekend, including small local bands, some well known regional bands and some artists on the verge of becoming very well known. The headline acts will include Dead Winter Carpenters, Miner, Rose’s Pawn Shop, and Good Luck Thrift Store Outfit. A complete lineup is available at the Lost Sierra Hoedown site.

The odds are almost certain that  over-development is going to make Lake Tahoe resorts less attractive as we continue to have mega mergers and real estate sales driving the ski and snowboard industry. It seems sensible to make sure that we do what we can to support small local hills. The last time I skied at Johnsville was around 1990. Hopefully we will all get a chance to ski there again sometime soon. Head on over to theLost Sierra Hoedown site soon as tickets may not last long! There’s also a lot of updates available at the Lost Sierra Hoedown Facebook page. Be sure to “Like” their page to stay on top of the latest developments!


Theodore Lovely, checking out the venue last May.

Theodore Lovely, checking out the venue last May.


The State of Worst 7/24/13

Oh, Florida, You Really Are the “Worst State”

By Laura Finley

Laura Finley

Laura Finley

In case you’ve been in a cave or on Mars, here’s the update: In response to the acquittal of George Zimmerman for the murder of Trayvon Martin, The Daily Show host John Oliver dubbed Florida “the worst state,” citing the state’s broken laws. As a Floridian for eight years, I say Oliver couldn’t be more right. Much attention has been paid to the state’s asinine Stand Your Ground law, which Oliver described as cut and pasted from 1880s Tombstone. That is just the start of it, however. Below is a small snippet of some of the backwards laws or policies that have been passed, largely under uber-Conservative Governor Rick Scott.

Almost immediately upon taking office, Governor Scott passed a law requiring recipients of welfare benefits to pass a drug test.  A federal court overturned the law, noting that the state had not proven that those receiving Temporary Assistance to Needy Families (TANF) were any more likely to use drugs than the general population. In fact, before the courts shut down this large-scale gathering of Floridian’s urine, only 108 people had negative tests. This was only 2.6% of the persons who were tested. The state had to pay more than $100,000 to persons who passed the pee tests. Clearly the program was not cost-effective.

Equally problematic is the fact that the law targeted the poor, not the many corporations like Wal-Mart or Kel Tec CNC, which manufactures the gun used to kill Trayvon Martin. Kel Tec CNC receives millions in tax incentives to locate in the state.  This corporate welfare is widespread in Florida, a state that in 2012 had to cut $1.8 million for school safety initiatives and $5.7 million for mental health programs, a state that has the highest long-term unemployment and foreclosure rates in the nation.

Another Rick Scott loser is the law that has come to be known as “Docs v. Glocks.” This gem prohibits doctors from asking their patients about guns in their homes. While clearly it is essential that gun owners store their weapons safely, the NRA-backed legislation would make asking this standard risk-assessment question a misdemeanor, subject to a $10,000 fine and even potentially the loss of medical licensure. A U.S. District Court ruled that the law was an unconstitutional restriction on doctor’s right to free speech.

In both cases, Governor Scott vowed to fight the court decisions, at taxpayer expense, of course. By August 2012, the governor reportedly had spent more than $880,000 to fight for Docs v. Glocks. He reportedly spent more than $190,000 to fight for the drug testing program. In December 2012, the Miami New Times reported that Scott had spent more than $1 million on lawsuits related to his controversial laws.

And, while Governor Scott was a Tea Party darling for his repeated pronouncements about “limited government,” it is clear that these two laws are anything but that. Instead, Scott seems to feel that it is all fine and dandy if the government gets into our bodily fluids or our medical consultations.

The list of Governor Scott-isms could go on and on. Suffice it to say that John Oliver has it right: “Just because you’re shaped like some combination of a gun and a dick doesn’t mean you have to act that way.” Indeed.

Laura Finley, Ph.D., teaches in the Barry University Department of Sociology & Criminology and is syndicated by PeaceVoice.


Carol’s Books 7/24/13


Amazon says:

Four women bound by chance take the trip of a lifetime in Karen McQuestion’s fifth novel The Long Way Home.

For Wisconsinites Marnie, Laverne and Rita, life isn’t working out so well. Each is biding time, waiting for something better, something to transport them out of what their lives have recently become. And then there’s Jazzy: bubbly, positive, and happy even though she hears voices of the departed. Brought together by a chance meeting, the women decide to join Marnie on a road trip from Wisconsin to Las Vegas where she intends to reunite with Troy, the boy she raised as her own—and who she’s been separated from since her boyfriend’s death. Little do they know that as the road trip unfolds, so will their lives—in directions they never anticipated. Humorous, heartwarming, and bittersweet, the journey has something special in store for each woman.

Carol Says:
The Long Way Home – fiction
by:  Karen McQuestion
Let me start out by saying – this is a “girl book”.  It is about 4 women that suddenly come together and take a road trip (a purposeful one, at that) and the adventures along the way.  The main character is Jazzy, who happens to be physic.  She meets Rita and Marnie at a grief group, and Laverne elsewhere along the way in the book.  Jazzy is about 25 yrs old, and the others are about 40, 35, and 70ish (I cannot remember how old Laverne was).  I think we are supposed to like Jazzy the best, but I like Laverne because she always said what she meant and what she was thinking.  Age is good.
Anyway, Jazzy gets them all to go on this road trip and their destination is Las Vegas, where they are going to pick up Marnie’s step-son, in a way he is her step-son.  Then there are Jazzy’s psychic abilities and a murder to be solved – but the murder part doesn’t make this a murder mystery book at all.  My favorite part, where I really laughed, is when Laverne shoots this guy in the leg and has the feeling she would like to shoot someone else, too (you just have to read it….).   This is a nice light reading book.  Predictable, but entertaining.
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