Late Night: God Gooses Glenn Beck

Glenn Beck thinks God gave him a flyover at his Beckstalnacht rally Saturday in Washington DC. With a flock of geese. Because Glenn Beck couldn’t get a military flyover. Or someone in uniform to present the flag, thank god/s:

I think it was God’s flyover. It was not supposed to happen. We couldn’t get a flyover. We couldn’t even get anybody dressed in a military uniform to present the flag. We tried for almost a year. We couldn’t get it done. Thank God, we had our flyover.

Beck must be confused about “wasn’t supposed to happen.” Geese fly in flocks and there are resident geese in DC.  No doubt, some were a little disrupted by the crowds on Saturday and so they took to the air. That aside, the use of augury and signs from nature to indicate a message from God/s is off limits for Christians and especially Mormons like Beck who would like the rest of us to forget about the golden salamander, golden tablets and magic glasses.

In Roman augury, birds flying from behind you is a bad sign. The birds were flying from behind the audience at Beck. Good for Beck, bad for his followers. But the flock of Canadian geese–the same species that caused the US Airways crash into the Hudson–veered to Beck’s left side. Bad omen.

If Beck was going to go retro-pagan and divine signs from God in the movement of birds, he really should have used the birds made for it. However, some works of augury say the birds that appear should be used to see which god is answering the question. So let’s give that a try:

Geese are sacred to Aphrodite. Aphrodite is Venus in Roman mythology. Venus the planet was ruled by her, and certain Christian sects came to associate the planet with Lucifer.

But let’s modernize our augury. Colloquially, God was goosing Glenn Beck. Glenn Beck is a silly goose. Honk if you think Glenn Beck is nuts….Surely you have some interpretation of this event.

(photo: Sakurako Kitsa on Flickr)

Willie Nelson: Can Hemp Save the Family Farm?

Willie Nelson recites hemp facts and advocates for legalization.

The Best of Humboldt: Love in the Devil’s Weed Patch

Humbolt Co crash

I found this on Humboldt’s, along with other grow related ads. It really sums things things up–or it’s the result of a really creative copywriter! Note that the advertiser was the investor in the project…

Can you GROW better than my Ex?

He’s gone; his equipment is not. I am not a gardener, but here is what I can describe: There is a complete set-up with a black tent, a large filter, a light with a hood, a different light that looks fluorescent to me, pots, chemicals, a large tub and a pump, etc. Basically everything someone would need to get off of their feet. It has all been purchased within the last year, and has been used twice.

I have receipts for many items and it was all purchased at local hydro stores, except the tent which was purchased online. I am not desperate and will not give it away… I know I spent about $4000 but any serious offers will be considered. I am a professional person and just want all of this out of my life, I don’t need more hassle, so please don’t respond if you aren’t reasonably mature and discreet.

Farm Report #8: Whither or Wither?

Humboldt County’s marijuana crop brings in about $300-$500 million annually, while the rest of the county’s $3.6 billion dollar economy comes from cattle and dairy, education, forestry, wildlife, construction, lumber, fishing, media, non-profits, tourism, wellness, restaurants and retail.

The local community radio station KMUD gives reports of fixed wing aircraft, helicopters and law enforcement movements. They are supported by donations for the growers, as are numerous community service clinics, non-profits and businesses. One grower told me that many small businesses were opened by people who would have found a way to be successful no matter where they were. But the infusion of cash for start up didn’t hurt.

With legalization will come some problems as well as a potential economic downturn if prices don’t hold. And there’s a good chance weed won’t stay at $3,000 to $5,000/lb.

What Humboldt has going for it is a lot of what Napa and Sonoma Counties have with regards to wine, what the French call terroir, a group of vineyards (or even vines) from the same region belonging to a specific appellation and sharing the same type of soil, weather conditions, grape and wine-making knowledge, all of which combine to give its specific personality to the wine. Can branding and appellation help keep Humboldt afloat?

Humboldt weed is legendary, whether grown indoor or out. Will legalization change that? Most plants are clones, so technically, Mr. Nice or any number of varieties could spread like, well, weeds. Is appellation possible? Co-ops could be formed like the dairy co-ops, organic certification is possible, outdoor vs indoor labeling…but is that viable?

Can Humboldt create a pot tourism industry like Napa’s wine tourism industry, and to a smaller extent Los Olivos, and build on what is already there in the gorgeous county? Does it want to?

Humboldt has a strong organic food and farming base, plus wineries and breweries. Loleta Farms raises its own cows and makes their cheese right in their shop in Loleta. Loleta also has an organic bakery that uses locally grown wheat and fruit. Cypress Grove Chevre makes Humboldt Fog and other goat cheeses. Grass-fed beef is the norm; pork and lamb are also raised, and yes, I saw “meat rabbits” at the county fair, but that’s not likely to be a major retail food anytime soon. Locally grown fruit and vegetables abound. Add in an art scene, a film festival, performing arts, the Victorian homes of Ferndale, and you have a really sweet area for vacationing, an hour flight from San Francisco, two hours from LAX–when it’s not fogged in.

Can all that–combined with the ocean, rivers, and lush mountain scenery, river rafting, surfing, and eco-tourism–plus legal artisanal pot help lure tourists? We’ll see in the next year or so. There’s still a harvest to be brought in before the election, and November 2 there’s a Legalize Pot rally at the Veterans Hall.

Farm Report#7: Trimming the Workforce?

Female plants are valued in Humboldt; they produce the buds. The male plants are winnowed and yanked out. When it comes to trimming time, women are valued, too. They do most of the trimming, at about $25 an hour. Cash. Under the table.

Some people might think it’s sorta sexist that women do that work–and there is a sense that most of the trimmers hired for a harvest are young, perky and pretty, leading to grumbles among some of the older workers–but the logic was explained to me by a veteran grower:

It’s more fun and easier to sit around a bunch of women. They are in general better at removing the leaves.  And then there’s the matter of safety.  Women are less likely to organize rip-offs. It’s necessary to have a discreet work force, with some locals supervising and others who short term and not form the area.

An indoor grower gets three harvests a year, and may have the trimming done in a location away from his grow house, again for safety.  Music plays, food is supplied, and while it’s work, it’s more fun than WalMart and higher paying.  A trimming gig can cover the cost of school for a semester, a new car, a trip, or savings.

One woman I spoke to, along time Humboldt resident, had never worked in the ganja business, but after loosing her job was going to take the plunge. She said it was getting harder though to  find a gig because

the trust fund kids come up to earn money for their festival tickets, since their parents won’t give it to them

Gigs are found by word of mouth, through friends of friends, though having worked before for the same grower.

Along with the seasonal, primarily female trimmers, there are men and women who tend large grows and who perform specialized horticulture techniques. Legalization could change the pay for trimming and other related work associated with both indoor and outdoor growing.

For about $15,000 a grower can invest in a machine that turns out perfectly trimmed, standardized buds, a further encroachment on the underground labor pool.

So with legalization, whither or wither Humboldt?

Levi Johnston: Sorry He Said “Sorry.”

creative commons allen jae lee

Levi Johnston told CBS’s Early Show that the only thing he regrets is apologizing to Sarah Palin because his “sorry” seem like his original reports of life chez Palin were lies.

I don’t really regret anything. But the only thing I wish I wouldn’t have done is to put out that apology. ‘Cause it kind of makes me sound like a liar. And I’ve never lied about anything. So that’s probably the only thing. The rest of the stuff I can live with.

The rest of the stuff includes posing for Playgirl and placing a diamond engagement ring on Bristol Palin’s bed surrounded by a rose petal heart to renew their pre-wedded state. Only that kinda fell apart. But those zany kids have another plan: Instead of marriage, they’re each going to do a reality show.

Just to sweeten the pot and twist the plot a bit more, Levi is running for mayor of Wasilla, the job his nearly once-and-former mother-in-law Sarah held in her upwardly mobile trajectory to the New York Times Best Seller List, while Bristol will appear on Dancing with the Stars.

Farm Report #6: Breakin’ the Law, Breakin’ the Law

There is supposedly a crime problem involved with pot growing. And not just because some of the people growing it here in Humboldt are growing more than their legal limit. No, with a pound of pot worth $3,000 to $4,000, there is a problem with theft. Grow houses get ripped off. Drugs deals go bad. And people will steal plants out of the ground.

Or at least try too. A grower told me about the one time a rip-off was tried at his place several years ago. He and his buddy had guns, a shot was fired into the air, the perps screeched off the property,  and the crop–which was too well rooted to get yanked out–was saved, end of story.

Crime as a side effect of indoor grows are an issue in this November’s Humboldt County District Attorney’s race.

In an interview with Eureka’s local paper, the Times/Standard, DA candidates Allison Jackson and Paul Hagen said:

home invasion robberies and fires associated with grows in residential neighborhoods are out of control, and that something needs to be done to rein in abuse of Proposition 215.

Jackson felt that the county’s recently overturned 99-plant limit, an ordinance drafted by incumbent Paul Gallegos,

brought a massive influx of people from outside the county, outside the state and outside the country into this community. And, it’s made residential neighborhoods unsafe.

Gallegos disputes Jackson’s assessment about home invasion robberies, calling them drug deals gone bad and said with regards to
non-medical pot growing and sales:

Illegal marijuana is accessible to anyone who wants it — that’s how successful the war on drugs is.

Opponent Paul Hagen–the only candidate who supports Prop 19 and said he will vote for the measure which will legalize marijuana– has a solution:

If we make it legal, we can finally control it above board. You’re never going to get rid of it.

If the initiative passes, the DA will be plenty busy, since there could be a new wave of local controls, regulations and ordinances. And then there’s the economic side effects.

According to reporting in the Los Angeles Times,

Humboldt State economists guess that marijuana accounts for between $500 million and $700 million of the county’s $3.6 billion economy.

I stopped at gas station and went in to buy a pack of double-A batteries for my camera. I asked the cashier which he preferred for my $4 purchase, a debit card or a $100 bill.


he replied with a smile–everyone in Humboldt is really, really nice and friendly and smiles all the time–so I gave him the C-note since I wanted change, and he didn’t even check to see if it was counterfeit. What a change from LA where many businesses have signs posted saying

No bills over $20

and a fake-bill checking pen resides in the cash drawer. It’s like they see them all the time.

Oh wait, they do…

Farm Report # 5: Humboldt Medical Farming

My last day in Humboldt was spent on a farm where a group of people who have medical marijuana cards under the compassionate care law live and grow their medicine. Up until June of this year, in Humboldt County, under guidelines set by the county, 215-ers–so called because of Proposition 215, the medical marijuana bill–could grow 99 plants or less in a 100 square foot area.

The guidelines were developed in response to Senate Bill 420, which set  limitations on the amount of marijuana a patient could possess, and allowed counties to create their own ordinances with different limits.

Then in July of this year, things changed when California Supreme Court ruled earlier this year in the People v. Kelly that S.B. 420 was unconstitutional, as it placed limits on a voter-passed initiative.

The city of Arcata has its own ordinances in place–created in response to residential grow houses which are often for profit and exceed the original county limits. Arcata’s indoor grows are limited to spaces 50 feet wide and 10 feet in height.

So now outside of Arcata, things are in a gray area. One outdoor farmer I spoke with had plowed under a field after spotting a fixed wing aircraft since he was in excess of the old Humboldt ordinances and didn’t want to run the risk with the new lack of law confusion, though he did admit that it could have just been a pleasure flight, not law enforcement. But caution is a watchword up here and there is no point in drawing unwanted attention.
The 215 collective I visited is an outdoor farm, where the residents also grow fruits and vegetables. A copy of the doctor’s recommendation was attached at the entrance of each grow area, and each patient’s area had plants in pots

See it’s a real pot farm

joked the grower, fertilized with various nutrients and treated with organic fungicides, a very different from another grow spot I visited where chicken manure and bone meal were the sole nutrients and the plants went directly into the ground. The plants were behind a simple fence, ringed with trees, and a “hot wire” fueled by solar generated electricity was in place to keep anything/one out.

The potted plants had already been sexed and were starting to produce small buds, and several varieties were represented. All were grown from clones/cuttings. As I mentioned in an earlier post, there is some breeding going on, but for growing, cuttings/clones are the wave of now and the future.

After a tour of farm we picked berries made dinner some of the produce from the farm itself, while the rest was locally grown.

Legalization wouldn’t negatively impact these folks, in that they grow for themselves. Granted there would be peace of mind that the amount they are growing is legal and not is some weird legislative limbo. No more fears of fixed wing aircraft.

Or thefts. But more on that later…

Farm Report #4: Blogging on Logging, and a Thank You

Redwood baron William Carson's mansion, now an exclusive club

So, one of the people I got to spend  time with here in Humboldt kinda blew me away. He was friend from school but we’d lost touch over the years, so when this came up in passing during a drop-by visit, I was sort of jaw-droppingly stunned, though modestly he claims the lawyers did all the hard work.

In September 1997, Eric Samuel Neuwirth was the first victim of pepper application directly and purposefully to the eyes by law enforcement during a non-violent protest.  Part of Headwaters Forest Defense, a timberland protection group, Neuwirth and six other protesters chained themselves together inside the offices of Pacific Lumber in Scotia, California. They were connected with their arms encased by metal pipes, their wrists attached to rods inside the pipes in such a way they could they could release themselves.  While they were trespassing, they posed no threat to law enforcement or to those in the building.

Neuwirth did not release himself from his peaceful and passive position of civil disobedience, despite what the 9th Circuit Court later ruled was excessive use of force by law enforcement personnel, and what several major newspaper editorials and Amnesty International called torture: The use of severe physical or mental pain or injury to punish or coerce.

Officers first applied pepper spray to corners of his eyes as an example, then to those of the other protesters who did not release from their devices. The chemical was then reapplied and officers sprayed the protesters’ eyes with water for an hour while they remained chained together. Eventually Neuwirth and others were carried out of the offices and the pipes holding them together taken off using a grinder, the standard practice by law enforcement. Which they could have done in the first place, actually.

The law enforcement tactic of applying pepper spray to non-violent protesters who were fastened together continued at two other old growth forest protests. Uniformed police performing this action were videotaped in the offices of  then-Congressman Frank Riggs, yanking  back chained protesters’ heads,  lifting their eyelids and using a cotton swab to put the caustic chemical directly on the eyeball, as well as pepper spraying the victims from as close away as three inches. In the three incidents, there were eight plaintiffs total, each of whom, after a seven-year series of trials and appeals, received a symbolic $1 in damages from the jury.

For Neuwirth, the case was about our civil rights and liberties, and making sure that others who protest non-violently could do so safely, as well as drawing attention to the logging of old growth redwoods. Until this case the Eureka Police Department considered any form of civil disobedience to be “active protesting,” thus justifying the use of excessive force, that’s a mindset that needed to shift. And not spread!

Had Neuwirth and the other plaintiffs not prevailed, the door would have been wide open for law enforcement across the country to utilize pepper spray in this manner on protesters whenever they chose.

A couple days ago I wrote about how there are more logging trucks with logs on the road now. Yesterday  I overheard a conversion in the local cheese aisle at the Co-Op (I may be going native!) that Green Diamond Resource Company has been doing some clear cutting in the nearby Jacoby Creek watershed area, and there was a blockade.

So I checked and yes, Redwood Defenders last week blockaded the road with 60-foot high rope structures, called sky pods, made in such a way that that if moved or damaged, the activists could fall from a considerable height. Several pickup trucks and a van full of workers had to turn back when they arrived. By Friday, the timber company had stopped supporters from bringing in food and water to the activists, one of whom was arrested.

(In a weird side note to the pepper spray case, U.S. District Court Judge Vaughn Walker of Prop 8 fame, first heard the original trial in 1998,  which deadlocked 4 to 4.  At the second trial, Judge Walker threw out the case against the Humboldt County Sheriffs and Eureka Police Department saying that threw the case out on the defendants’ summary judgment motion, saying no reasonable juror could find in favor of the plaintiffs.)

Neuwirth at Carson Mansion. We plead the 5th on whether we trespassed.

Haiti: Wyclef Jean To Contest No Go on Presidential Ballot

Singer Wyclef Jean has been a denied a spot in the presidential election in Haiti, and plans to appeal the decision by Haiti’s board of elections  which stated that he is not a resident of Haiti. Wyclef was born in the island nation and claimed to People magazine that

the psychology of the Haitian people is something that I understand ever since birth.

But actor/activist Sean Penn–who created a 55,000-person tent camp/relief village through his own foundation, J/P Haitian Relief Organization and has lived in the country for several months–
expressed his concerns about the singer’s qualifications. In an interview with Larry King, Penn alleged that Wyclef Jean mishandled $400,000 in earthquake-relief donations and has been absent in the country.

This is somebody who’s going to receive an enormous amount of support from the United States, and I have to say I’m very suspicious of it.

Wyclef told People magazine that there are 4 million Haitians living outside the country who bring $2 billion in a year into the Haitian economy. The Haitian constitution requires that candidates be residents of Haiti for five years prior to the election.

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