Friday, May 31, 2013


Funny thing, slander and libel, especially in the age of Blogs, YouTube, Twitter, Facebook.  The concept seems so . . . well, Victorian.  Nowadays, who has a “reputation?”  All it takes is a few anonymous key-strokes and anybody, for any reason, can be publicly trashed.  But here’s the odd thing: Nowadays, who believes anything they read anywhere anymore? Kinda hard to be “slandered, defamed and libeled” if nobody believes a word of it. Or they believe every word but never bother to find out whether it’s true or not, so “facts” and “false facts” just become meaningless gossip, subject to change at any moment. 

Hard to maintain a “reputation” of any kind in such a downpour of swirling blither. 

And funny thing about suing somebody for libel is that news of the lawsuit will spread the libel even farther than the original libel, so you’re likely to face the ridiculous possibility that you should maybe sue yourself for making sure that libel got the widest possible coverage.  So, either way, damned if you do, damned if you don’t. 

Case in point, yesterday’s Tribune carried the headline “A.G. man accuses news site of libel.”  According to the story, “Charles Tenborg, CEO and president of Eco Solutions, a hazardous waste management service in Arroyo Grande” filed a lawsuit against “CalCoast News and reporters Karen Velie and Daniel Blackburn” for publishing a story that claimed that “Tenborg’s company illegally transported hazardous waste for San Luis Obispo County’s Integrated Waste Management Authority.”

See the problem there?  I’ll bet none of you reading this ever heard of Charles Tenborg or Eco Solutions.  Likely you’re not even familiar with CalCoastNews.  And I’m also betting you missed the original story all together.  So, there’s the problem:  If a “libel” falls in a forest of “news” and nobody sees it, is it still “libel?”

Ah, but file a lawsuit, especially in a small town, and it gets picked up by the one newspaper of record, well it’s sure to be splashed far further than the original story ever went.  Toss in the fact that CalCoast News regularly makes headlines by their muckraking and pot-stirring, and you’re sure to spread whatever “libel” you think you’re dealing with all over the place.

So there you are.  You feel your reputation was dinged in a news report likely read by nobody and now, thanks to your lawsuit, your dinged reputation is now splattered all over the newspaper in big headlines and now everyone and their uncle is aware of your previously quasi-dinged reputation and they’re now blinking their eyes and saying, “Gosh, I didn’t know Mr. So & So was a crook.”  

Meanwhile,  your bet noir, CalCoastNews now gets another bite at the apple to refresh and repeat the whole story and add their two cents defending their actions and so the whole thing gets rehashed again.

Hopeless.  It’s a no-win deal.  The lawsuit story will now stick in a whole lot of people’s minds even before you have to go to court and face impossible odds of actually proving “malice” and “willful” intent from your accusers. Or if the news agency agrees to publish a retraction or modification of the original story, or maybe you even win your lawsuit, it’s a good bet that story will appear on page B6 buried under an ad for underwear.

So there you are.  Win, lose or draw, your efforts to right a perceived wrong just made a bigger mess.

On the other hand, if a news agency is running amok and falsely accusing folks of illegalities, (the Tribune notes that “this is the second defamation lawsuit in two months that has involved CalCoastNews”) then somebody needs to put a stop to it.

But at what price for all the players? Except for the lawyers, who get paid regardless.   

Sunday, May 26, 2013

Instructions for a Summer Morning

This by Henry David Thoreau, yes, he of Walden Pond, from "Life Prayers," edited by Elizabeth Roberts and Elias Amidon.

There were times when I could not afford
to sacrifice the bloom of the present moment
to any work, whether of head or hands.
Sometimes, in a summer morning,
having taken my accustomed bath,
I sat in my sunny doorway
from sunrise till noon, rapt in a reverie,
amidst the pines and hickories and sumachs, in undisturbed solitude and stillness,
while the birds sang around.
I grew in those seasons
like corn in the night,
and they were far better
than any work of the hands would have been.
They were not time substracted from my life,
but so much over and above my usual allowance.

Saturday, May 25, 2013

Close, But No Cigar

Calhoun's Cannons for May 25, 2013

Dear Baden-Powell,

Sorry, old chap, but no merit badge for you.  Well, O.K., to be fair, half a badge.  For years, your fine organization, the Boy Scouts of America, has officially banned gays, which, you must admit is kinda funny since a whole lot of people think that Scouting itself is soooo gay.  I mean, running around in the woods with a bunch of boys wearing knee socks, and sashes with embroidered merit badges on them?  And neckerchiefs?  Really? Neckerchiefs?

But, O.K., I know that Scouting has helped many young boys to grow up to become fine young men and now the organization has finally voted to allow gay boys to officially remain a part of scouting.  That's something the Girl Scouts of America figured out some years ago when the issue of gays in Scouting began coming into public awareness.  Unlike the BSA, the GSA did not confuse "being" with "behaving," and welcomed all girls into their fold providing they minded the rules and didn't misbehave (gay or straight).   Since girls mature more quickly than boys, I suppose the BSA's being so late in figuring this all out is perhaps perfectly natural.

However,  My Dear old Powell, your organization has made a hash of things with their recent vote because they only allow The Gays to stay in Scouting until they turn 18.  And when that happens, it's out the door with them.  No matter how much of an Eagle Scout they are, no matter how talented, brave, thrifty, honorable they are -- OUT.  Like a Werewolf at the full moon, they suddenly become persona non grata and are not allowed to become Scoutmasters or be part of running your fine organization?

Think about what kind of message that sends to gay kids:  You're one of us for seventeen years, three-hundred-sixty-four days.  Then you turn into a child molester?

And there, my Dear old Chappie, is where you and your organization went off the rails years ago and which allowed molesters to flourish in your midst doing untold harm to kids and to your organization. You failed to understand that there are three kinds of people in the world:  1. Straight people. 2. Gay people.  3. Child molesters.  And # 2 and #3 are NOT automatically interchangeable. Indeed, Scouting's secret files have revealed whole swaths of happily married men, fathers of three children, owners of picket fences, station wagons and a dog -- child molesters all, hidden in plain sight and unsuspected because they weren't "gay." And there was the problem.  They weren't gay, they weren't straight: They were predatory child molesters.

So, no merit badge for you, my dear fellow.  After all, if you're learning bushcraft and you don't know the difference between the tracks of a deadly predator and a field mouse, you have no business being out in the woods with anybody, let along a pack of young kids.

Naturally, many conservatives are up in arms about all this gay stuff.  And I sympathize.  Many Scout programs are closely affiliated with various Christian churches as sponsors, and so the secular and religious have traditionally (and often uneasily) meshed in Scouting. With this new vote, various conservative denominations are vowing mass exoduses and pulling their support from the BSA.  Indeed, John Stemberger, president of the Florida Family Policy Council, has vowed to create an alternate youth group, one that has "timeless values," one that would continue to ban gay kids.

Which, my dear Powell, sounds like a wonderful idea!  Since Scouting is a private organization, members are free to break off and form all kinds of different organizations.  Heck, we could even see an All White Christians Scouts of America, a Gay Scouts of America, a Black Scouts of America, even a Bi-Sexual/Transgendered Girl/Boy Scouts of America.  The possibilities are endless.

In the meantime, Old Sport, the official BSA might as well finish what it started.  If you're a Scout you're a Scout, whether you're 6 or 86. If Scouting has timeless value and is meant to turn good boys into better men, then that's always going to be a work in progress, a work that doesn't end in seventeen years, three hundred sixty four days.

Thursday, May 23, 2013


Calhoun's Cannons for May 23,2013

"I wonder if Senator James Inhofe is watching TV right now?"  That thought popped into my head as I watched the news coverage of the devastation caused by the monster tornado that ripped through Moore, Oklahoma.

You see, Jim doesn't believe in climate change, global warming, or the increasingly dangerous weather patterns caused by a heating planet. He even wrote a book about it called "The Greatest Hoax," which stated, among other things, that "The arrogance of people to think that we, human beings, would be able to change what He is doing in the climate is to me outrageous." 

Which is why I wondered what he'd make of this record-breaking tornado.  Probably figure it was all God's plan.  After all, since a great many Oklahomans are sinners, as are all of us, maybe Jim just thought this record-breaking tornado was God's just punishment on the unrighteous.  And certainly nothing a God-fearing United States Senator need concern himself with.

I mean, if that tornado had hit in a latte-sipping, agnostic, Godless state with a Senator who believed, along with 99% of climate scientists, that our CO2-warming planet will continue to generate more and more destructive weather patterns, that it would be his duty to legislate ways to mitigate the damage to his constituents.  Like maybe offering legislation that required all schools receiving federal aide that are located in areas designated to be the most vulnerable to tornadoes, be retrofitted with "safe shelters" designed to keep school children safe.  Rather like California required earthquake retrofits on public buildings and businesses to keep the buildings from falling on the heads of  the unsuspecting public.

You would think that would be a prudent thing for a Senator to do.  To, at the very least, make sure school kids who, by the very nature of schools, are all gathered together in one place, one tempting bulls-eye target, would at least be offered that one shot at safety.

But not Jim.  When it comes to federal aide, both of Oklahoma's two senators are pretty select.  I mean, Jim and Tom, voted against the federal aid package intended to help the victims of the Superstorm Sandy.  Claimed that that appropriation was loaded with pork larded in there by their fellow Senators, so he said the hell with New Jersey. 

Of course, now it's Oklahoma's turn and the question is, will Tom vote to send federal aide to Oklahoma?  Apparently so, and when asked about that, declared that this federal disaster relief package is entirely different.  This relief package won't have any pork in it, he declared, with no explanation as to how that will happen. 

So hypocrite Jim will grab federal money from the Wicked Government with the same hands he used to introduce a bill that would have repealed Obamacare thereby stripping out the insurance exchanges and extensions and  federal subsidies of Medicaid that will be kicking in as the new health care bill unrolls. That repeal effort failed, but Jim is still foursquare behind the Oklahoma governor who has refused to participate in the Affordable Care Act's extensions of Medicaid. 

Which caused this thought to pop into my head: "I wonder what Jim thinks about a family whose house was blown away, family members injured and in need of long term rehab, who have lost their jobs on account of the tornado and because of that have now lost their health insurance, and because they now have "preexisting conditions" caused by the tornado, will be denied affordable, subsidized health coverage because their governor (with the blessing of Jim) has turned down the very Obamacare provisions that would have helped them the most?"

I can only presume that Jim would have no trouble with any of that since that family's suffering is surely part of God's Plan, they were most likely sinners to boot and deserved whatever befell them, and anyway, there's nothing a United States Senator can be expected to do about such problems since all of those concerns are the province of the Lord.

Jim's job is to collect $1,352.523 in campaign contributions from the oil and gas industry, $90,950 from Koch Industries (coal) and write books about Hoaxes, and funnel federal pork down to his select cronies.  Poor hard working Sooners need not apply.

Sunday, May 19, 2013

Your Sunday Poem

This from "Flying at Night; Poems 1965-1985," by Ted Kooser, one of my favorite poets. His works are available in paperback, so please do yourself a pleasure and go order some at Volumes of Pleasure. 


We go out of our way to get home,
getting lost in a rack of old clothing,
fainting in stairwells,
our pulses fluttering like moths.
We will always be
leaving our loves like old stoves
in abandoned aprtments.  Early in life
there are signals of how it will be --
we throw up the window one spring
and the window weights break from their ropes
and fall deep in the wall.

Thursday, May 16, 2013

Calling Darrel Issa Some More

Poor Guy.  Darrell, a man who never passed a TV camera without falling in love (Those polished teeth! Those room-scanning eyes! The need!  The need!), has now found himself pushed off the air just when he thought he had picked the right horse to gallop to the eternal Republican wet dream  of the Impeachment of Barack Obama.  And pushed off the air by some mid-level functionary nincompoop at the IRS in Cleveland.  Cleveland!  Oh, the bitter irony. Nobody cares about what one of my blog readers calls Oh My Gahazi.  Darrell's horse foundered over at Faux News and is now wobbling around in the back stretch, spavined and wheezing while Darrel keeps kicking it in the ribs saying, "Giddyup! Giddyup."

But it's too late.  That old horse left the gate and fell over, killed by public ennui and public fickleness.  They've thundered on to something new, something better:  Yes, the IRS scandal.

And Darrel's nowhere in sight on that mess.  Oh, the unfairness of it all!

Well, Darrell should take heart.  There's sure to be something juicy for his "Committe For The Garnering Of TV Face Time" to "examine" coming along any minute.  In a city filled with lean, hungry, "ambitious" men, too many of whom live on the dodgy edge, there will be no end of F--k ups to "examine."

But here's one that Darrel won't be touching with a ten foot pole -- one that desperately needs examining.  And it won't get a good hard look because Washington is also a town filled with piano players in Madame Cecile's fancy establishment who make a very fine living absolutely ignoring (and denying) the fact there are ladies of the night plying their trade right up the stairs. The ladies tip well, the money buys Momma a new pair of shoes, so what's not to love?

In yesterday's L.A. Times, Michael Hiltzik had a splendid column on the 501(c)4s that were responsible for this latest IRS kerfuffle.  Far from decrying the IRS's bringing extra scrutiny to these C4s, Hiltzik writes, "It's about time the IRS subjected all of these outfits to scrutiny.  The agency's inaction has served the purposes of donors and political organizations on both sides of the aisle, and contributed to the explosive infection of the electoral process by big money from individuals and corporations.   . . . Thanks to ambiguity about what it means to be 'primarily' concerned with 'social welfare,' political activists have reaped a bonanza for years while the IRS ignored their chicanery.  "

Continues Hiltzik, "C4s are curious creatures in the tax code.  They're allowed to engage in lobbying, but not ("primarily") in campaign activity.  Their donors don't get a tax deduction, but the organizations are tax-exempt.  For example, they don't have to pay taxes on income they earn by investing donated funds.  But what makes C4s especially attractive to people who want to funnel money into politics is this:  They don't have to identify their donors."

In short, C4s are perfect money laundering machines. And so are perfectly poised to allow handfuls of wealthy people (and corporations) to have profound impacts on our elections.  Control (i.e. "buy") your local Congressmen and you control Congress. Local races are easy targets, a great bargain for your money.  All of it untraceable, all of it legal, thanks to our Supreme Court.

Concludes Hiltzik, "Let's remember that a tax exemption handed over to any group costs all of us money.  It's proper for the IRS to scrutinize applicants.  The biggest laugh line uttered in this affair is that the IRS is somehow "harassing" these public-spirited organizations by asking them to justify their statuts.  Here's a good rule of thumb:  You don't want to get harassed by the IRS? Then don't claim a tax exemption you may not deserve."

But that's one important horse Darrell won't be mounting.  Holding real hearings on the C4s might actually result in exposing this flim-flam and might lead to much needed reforms -- what his Committee is supposed to be doing in the first place. But much needed reforms are the last thing Darrell wants.  They're too much work, all that wonky noodling.  TV cameras don't do "wonky noodling," they do outrageous sound bites and for Darrell, it's all about the face time.

Those shiny teeth, those eyes, those headlines!

Tuesday, May 14, 2013

Calling Darrell Issa

Oh, wait, Darrell’s busy flogging the Benghazi dead horse, an enterprise that’s getting more hilarious as it goes along.  Chris Mathews is having a field day hauling up Republicans and asking them, point blank, “What evidence do you have that the President was involved in “editing” those emails?” 

No reply, just a cascade of talking points designed to cover over the fact that the answer is, “None.”  So we have Issa and his cohorts gargling on about the “I” word and when cornered to offer any real evidence, they come up sputtering. They’re holding an investigation to find out if there’s anything that needs investigating that hasn’t already been investigated.

But, evidence is the last thing Issa’s interested in.  He’s after face time with the TV camera.  So he must be grinding his teeth over this.  I mean, here he is, stuck with this rotting equine that’s getting nowhere, except with Faux News Fans, when, ka-blooey, out of the blue, here comes the Perfect Storm of a Scandal! A Right Wing Republican’s Wet Dream!

Yes, it’s the IRS “targeting” Conservatives!  It’s the perfect fake talking point that combines several conservative bet noirs – The Evil Government, in the form of the agency that collects those Evil TAXES, and the conservatives’ most cherished, dark belief that the Evil Government IS coming for them in the black helicopters.  A perfect conflation of their most cherished beliefs come true.
It will offer delicious opportunities to crank up the base, get lots of face time on TV decrying the organization that everyone loves to hate – the tax collector – and, most important, permanently deflect and cover up in a cascade of outrage, the REAL danger here.

It isn’t the IRS.  The folks who screwed the pooch on this one will be booted out the door. What will be buried in the ballyhoo is the genuine threat to our democracy.  It isn’t the IRS, it’s the Supreme Court ruling declaring money as speech as well as Citizens United.

Most of the public didn’t understand what that money-speech ruling meant.  Karl Rove wasn’t one of those people.  He knew and acted quickly to set up 501c4s, those fake non-profit PACs that declare themselves to be a “social welfare organization,” while, in reality, they’re a political action committee in disguise engaging in political activity under the thinnest veil of laughable deniability.

Steven Colbert also caught on really quick and formed his own PAC in order to satirize and illustrate just how corrupting this whole thing had become.  In short, any crackpot political organization could now pretend to be a non-profit “social welfare organization,” apply to the IRS for a non-profit status and the IRS was charged with trying to follow a deliberately vague law defining “social welfare.”
I mean, can you imagine the rolled eyes in the Cleveland IRS offices when agents had to equate Meals on Wheels with Karl Rove’s clearly, blatantly political operation disguising itself as a “social welfare organization?”  Like Karl was doing social welfare by handing out baloney sandwiches to the poor? But, God Bless them, the IRS closed their eyes to the obvious and did just that and Rove’s group is now on a non-profit par with Meals on Wheels. So are all kinds of “tea party” groups mushroomed prior to the election, all of which that galloped in right behind Karl. (And, need I add, fake left-wing groups as well, all equally phony?)

Laughable?  Yes. And the laughability became so obvious, even to a corrupted Congress, that they felt they had to at least make this rot look good so they charged the IRS to closer scrutinize groups that simply didn’t pass the smell test, though the bar was already laughably low. And it has been reported (at this point) that almost all the fake 501s that were scrutinized were issued their non-profit status. That’s the kind of wink-nudge stuff a wholly owned Congress comes up with when money is speech and money talks.  

While the result in this case will turn out to be a foot in mouth operation, its ultimate value to Corporate America is this:  The perfect  opportunity for Corporate America and their handmaidens to permanently  shut down any and all inquiries into exactly how the  IRS determines eligibility of these 401s, and exactly how the law is written to determine that status, and whether the definition of “social welfare” needs to be better clarified. 

And it will stop any attempt by Congress to change the laws, to tighten up the rules, to force the fox to nail up the holes in the chicken coup.  It will also shut down any attempt by Congress to take a closer look at how money-is-speech is playing out in the real world of politics, how corrupting these fake PACs are (on both sides of the political fence) on the body politic. 
To Corporate America, this IRS bungle is a gift from heaven.  And is bound to get great TV face time to whoever gets to chair the investigation committee.

Which is why poor old Darrel must really be miffed.  He took the starring role in a Grade B movie and lost out on the chance to star in a blockbuster.  Rats!  

Sunday, May 12, 2013

Your Sunday Miscellany

Does Los Osos Now Have It’s Very Own Watts Towers? 

Tree trunks, Sage nursery 002

And from the Department of HUH?
The White House released a “national strategy for the Arctic” in time for Secretary of State John Kerry’s trip to Sweden for a conference with eight polar nations.
The conference is set to discuss, among other things, the opportunities of getting at MORE oil and gas to burn that’s now accessible only because the polar ice will soon be gone. And the polar ice will soon be gone because of the CO2 emitted by. . . .  burning oil and gas. 

And from “Poetry 180” edited by Billy Collins, this from Bill Knott.
Advice from the Experts
I lay down in the empty street and parked
My feet against the gutter’s curb while from
The building above a bunch of gawkers perched
Along its ledges urged me don’t, don’t jump.

Thursday, May 09, 2013

Johnny Got His Gun. Suzy, Too

Calhoun's Cannons for May 9, 2013

The "Crickett" worked perfectly. It wasn't a toy, although it looked like one, like a   miniature version of Daddy's gun.  But it wasn't a toy.  It was a specially designed, kid-size .22 advertised as "My first rifle." And it was designed for ease of operation: Put a bullet in, pull the trigger and the bullet is discharged at deadly velocity.  Simple enough for a 5-year-old to operate.  The "Crickett" is great little rifle for shooting at tin cans, paper targets, and for killing squirrels, rabbits and 2-year-old sisters.

Which is what happened in Kentucky.  A five-year-old was given a "Crickett" for his birthday. He used his new gun as intended and now his sister's dead.  Latte-sipping suburban liberals were outraged.  What kind of moron would deliberately buy a child a lethal weapon specifically designed to be used by a child?  Gun-culture rural folks, sneerers at all things latte, shrugged.  Nothing wrong with giving a 5-year-old a rifle. It's a family tradition.  And accidents happen.

Then everybody blamed the parents for being (a) morons or (b) irresponsible. 

The sad case wasn't without irony, however.  Had the "Crickett" been a child's stuffy toy with poorly secured button eyes that could come off and choke a child, the toy would have been taken off the market for violating child-safety laws. Ditto for some harmless alphabet blocks painted with toxic paint that might be ingested.  Indeed, the states are woven thick with laws that are specifically designed to protect children from things likely to harm them -- cribs that strangle, toys that poke eyes out, items that are choking hazards. 

But a kid-sized rifle that can kill when used as designed, is apparently not among those hazards that require government oversight.  

At the recent NRA convention, the whole recent" gun dialogue" was re-framed as a "culture war,"  which meant the narrative could now shift from the sensible into the soupy morass of  the loonier right-wing irrational, psycho/sexual, fear-fueled paranoid  realm of the Aggrieved Christian White Male Gun Guy. "[You] here in this room are the fighters for freedom.  We are the protectors," said the new NRA President, James Porter.

Protectors.  Neo-Davy Crocketts with their "Cricketts" atop the walls of the Alamo standing athwart government tyranny.  Except, in this case, our stalwart Protectors wouldn't be facing Santa Ana's rusty muskets, they'd be facing Seal Team 6's and Hell-fire missiles arriving from unseen drones.

Alamo fantasies, but, no matter. In the "culture wars," reality takes a back seat to overheated rhetoric, especially when there's money to be made from fear-fueled gun sales.

Dan Baum, a latte-sipping east coast liberal, who is also a serious Gun Guy, spent a good deal of time on the road, criss-crossing America and talking to his fellow "gun culture" warriors.  His book, "Gun Guys; A Road Trip," is the result.  And what he found is not surprising:  There is a very real, perfectly sane, respectable "gun culture" in America-- family traditions of hunting, target shooting, generations of responsible gun ownership and use in everyday life.  And there's a smaller cadre of seriously disturbed "culture warriors" whose relationship to guns slips past "tradition" and into far murkier, more dangerous waters.  And until the former group reins in the latter, there will be little hope of  bridging the gulf of disrespect/disbelief that's now gaping between outraged LatteVille and paranoid GunVille. 

In an MSNBC interview with Chris Hayes, Baum set the matter more clearly: Gun Guys aren't being adults, aren't doing a good job as responsible gun owners, and need to step up on all fronts.  To Baum, a gun is not a toy, not a psycho/sexual crutch, not a phony rhetorical device.  Baum also found that being armed and trained created in him a mental state that was a combination of "sheepdog vigilance and scrupulous self-control." And for any serious Gun Guy, a gun should be "on your hip, in your hand, or locked in a safe," the combination of which is known only by the responsible adult in the house."  As Baum notes, if Adam Lanza's mother had been a responsible Gun Gal, the NewTown massacre wouldn't have been possible. Ditto for the Kentucky family who bought their little son a "Crickett."

In short, gun owners are doing a sloppy job as stewards of their "gun culture." And until they step up, the insanity -- and the killing -- will continue unabated.   

Sunday, May 05, 2013

Your Sunday Mitzvah

Yesterday was a work day at El Chorro Dog Park.  The park is run by SLO-4-PUPs , a non-profit member of SLOPOST, is financed by private donations and is maintained by many hard-working volunteers. 
On this day, there was a donor bench to be moved, which involved digging its heavy cement footing out of what had now turned into bone dry, cement-like adobe soil, a slow, pick-and-shovel-buckets-of –water project that was headed up by the park’s #1 go-to lady -- Addie.
Dog park, CCC work day, May 13 001
Anthony Aurgnac and Clark Cali, Two young men from Mission Prep School soon arrived to volunteer.  Mission Prep requires that all their students dedicate a certain number of hours for service/community work and we were very grateful to have them come help.  In short order they moved and re-laid pavers and moved a heavy picnic table on top to create a new seating arrangement under the trees.
Dog park, CCC work day, May 13 005
Dog park, CCC work day, May 13 008
Then the cavalry arrived.
Dog park, CCC work day, May 13 006
Yup.  The C’s.  They’re a fabulous group of young people who are training for future careers in forestry, engineering, park administration, firefighting, and conservation , while working like Trojans improving all our wonderful parks and trails. 
 Dog park, CCC work day, May 13 007
They review the day’s plans and soon the heavy lifting begins.  The bench is moved and replanted.
Dog park, CCC work day, May 13 011 
And, of course, had to be given a test drive.
Dog park, CCC work day, May 13 012
And, since it’s the dog park, where the entire area has to be covered with wood chips since there’s no water for grass, the rest of the afternoon was spent . . .
Dog park, CCC work day, May 13 014
Mulch hurling.  Lots of mulch hurling. Followed by a well deserved snack break.
Dog park, CCC work day, May 13 013
And, of course, all work being done was inspected by Lucky, the official El Chorro Dog Park Supervising Beagle. Nothing escapes his placid gaze.  Unless he’s taking a nap. 
Dog park, CCC work day, May 13 003
So, on this beautiful Sunday, grab your dog, or borrow one from your neighbor, and come on out to El Chorro and see some of the changes we’re making, with more to come.

Thursday, May 02, 2013

Pop the Popcorn, Get Out The Nice Comfy Chair

Ah, thanks Ron.  All those interesting dots.  What I love most are so many earnest, honest people saying, Why yes, that's fraud.  You need to contact the authorities.  Bwahahahah.  Or, as the line in Chinatown has it, "You don't understand, Jake.  He OWNS the police." Well, read it and weep, fellow PZers.  At