In the beginning this blog was centered on San Francisco parks and open space issues with special emphasis on natural areas and natural history. Over time it began to range into other areas and topics. As you can see, it is eclectic, as I interlace it with topics of interest to me.

I welcome feedback: just click this link to reach me.

Monday, June 11, 2012


May my silences become more accurate. -Theodore Roethke

1.   What you can do about the blow to Golden Gate Park
2.   Native plant lessons for the garden Tues 12/Using native trees in home garden June 20
3.   Monet's Green Thumb: How Art Grew From a Garden
4.   Feedback:  New Zealand Christmas tree, New Zealanders, Strybing
5.   Nudibranchs, including a predatory one whose range is moving northward
6.   Peak experience for bicyclists: Tamalpais, Hamilton, Diablo June 16
7.   Learn how to propagate plants June 16 on Mt Sutro
8.   Christina Olague wants to keep HANC nursery open
9.   CNPS field trip to Daly City Dunes June 16
10. Today is such a day....Rumi
11.  Green Hairstreak project - more good news
12.  Million immigrants stream to U.S. while veterans have no work/they fight our wars
13.  Need for financial advice more psychological than practical
14.  It's the law in Ohio....

We can protect Golden Gate Park for future generations, but it will take our generation to do it!  Here's what you can do ---

1.           If you have time, attend our press conference at City Hall.  Tuesday, June 12, 2012. 12:15 p.m.
2.           Plan to come to the Board of Supervisors.  If we Appeal to the BOS,  we'll let you know the hearing date.  Everyone must come on down to City Hall!  This will be the most important meeting you can attend now!
3.           Write to the Mayor and the Board of Supervisors  NOW -- they can stop this project!
4.           Help to distribute flyers - we have lots of beautiful postcards for you to share with friends and neighbors.
5.           Go to our website to learn more about what you can do.

1.           PRESS CONFERENCE:  SF Ocean Edge is holding a press conference to announce the next steps for opposition to the  Beach Chalet Soccer Fields complex and  to talk about The Win-Win Project Alternative.  There are still options - -come and learn more!   See more information below.

2.           COME TO THE APPEAL:  If we file an Appeal of the Environmental Impact Report to the Board of Supervisors, we will need many, many people to show up at City Hall.  This will probably be on a Tuesday in late June or early July.  Plan now to come to this all-important hearing!  This will be your last opportunity to speak publicly to your representatives on this project.  This will be the most important meeting you can attend!

3.           KEEP WRITING LETTERS:  Write to  Mayor Ed Lee and the Board of Supervisors.  Ask them to support keeping real grass and NO sports lights in Beach Chalet and using the rest of the funding to fix up other playing fields in San Francisco for the kids.  Write to the newspapers.  Let them know how you feel about Golden Gate Park and that there is an alternative.

4.           HELP GIVE OUT FLYERS:  We have printed up new postcard-flyers -- if you can distribute them in your neighborhood, let us know! (see attached).

5.           LEARN MORE:  Go to our website.

What:           Press Conference
Who:            SF Ocean Edge
Guests:        Award-winning environmental attorney Richard Drury
                     San Francisco Bay Chapter of the Sierra Club
                     Sunset-Parkside Education & Action Committee (SPEAK)
                     Harvey Milk LGBT Club
                     Isabel Wade, Founder, Neighborhood Parks Council
                     Other organizations and individuals.
When:         Tuesday, June 12, 2012, 12:15 - 12:45 p.m.
Where:        San Francisco City Hall, East Steps, 1 Dr. Carlton B. Goodlett Place
Purpose:     Announce next steps for opposition to the Beach Chalet Soccer Fields Complex and support for the win-win project alternative.

SF Ocean Edge has been fighting to protect Golden Gate Park from inappropriate development for over two years.  On May 24th, 2012, the SF Planning Commission and the SF Recreation and Park Commission voted to approve an Environmental Impact Report and to move forward with the Beach Chalet Soccer Complex.  This urbanized, 7-acre, artificial turf project will destroy parkland and habitat in the western end of Golden Gate Park, an area designated in all City Planning Documents as naturalistic parkland.    The 150,000 watts of night lighting will degrade forever the experience of the beauty of Ocean Beach in the evening.

"We all want better recreation opportunities in San Francisco, but they should not come at the expense of the unique open space assets at the quiet end of our Flagship park, nor should we violate the Master Plan for the park without full examination of any other options for a sports complex."      Isabel Wade, Founder, Neighborhood Parks Council

Golden Gate Park is San Francisco's crown jewel.  SF Ocean Edge believes that there are alternatives to this project that will safeguard Golden Gate Park for all San Franciscans, both now and for future generations, while providing a place for kids to play.  We look forward to working with the City to implement those alternatives.

California Native Plant Restoration Lessons for the Garden,
a talk by David Thomson
Tuesday, June 12 7:00 PM,
Fremont Main Library, 2400 Stevenson Blvd., Fremont, (510) 745-1401.

If you are one of the many native plant gardeners interested in restoring a portion of your garden with native plants, this lecture is for you. The Don Edwards
Refuge was the first urban refuge created by the US Fish & Wildlife Service, and is surrounded by one of the largest urban areas in the West! Learn how the refuge carefully chooses local collection sites for native plant species in order to preserve their unique genetic makeup and how you can, too. Learn how the non-native and native plant choices you make in your garden can have a direct effect on the health of wild areas, such as the Refuge.

David Thomson has been doing habitat restoration research for the Refuge for five years, developing a plant community for sites adjacent to the bay and methods for restoring these degraded areas. He has been working in the San Francisco Bay area for over a decade, focusing on the estuary's tidal marshes. Prior to this, he did graduate work in the Mississippi River's Deltaic wetlands, and undergraduate work in biology at Seattle University.


Using Native Trees in a Home Garden,
a talk by Barrie Coate
Wednesday, Jun 20 7:00 PM,
Campbell Library, 77 Harrison Ave., Campbell, (408) 866-1991.

While some of our trees, such as Redwoods, are too large to fit well in a typical home landscape, other trees, such as Catalina ironwood, cohabitate and enhance residential gardens extremely well. Learn about a variety of local native trees from an expert arborist so you can select the best choice for your garden conditions.

Barrie Coate is an ISA Certified Arborist, a Registered Arborist with the American Society of Consulting Arborists, and winner of two Merit Awards from the
American Society of Landscape Architects. He is the author of several booklets regarding California native plants and water conserving plants, as well as more than thirty articles in professional publications.


Monet's Green Thumb: How Art Grew From A Garden
Claude Monet is famous for his impressionist paintings, but a new exhibit at the New York Botanical Garden looks at the horticultural skill that informed his art. One horticulturalist says, "Monet would never have been the painter he became if he wasn't the gardener he was."


4.  Feedback

On Jun 8, 2012, at 6:37 PM, RG Turner wrote (RE New Zealand Christmas tree in last newsletter):
I trust you are aware of The Trees of Golden Gate Park, the book published in 2001 by Pacific Horticulture and Heyday Books, and written by Elizabeth McClintock; it was based on her 25 years' worth of articles in PacHort. If you don't have a copy, I'll be happy to see that you get one.

She mentions the connection between a number of the trees in Strybing's New Zealand collection and the Panama-Pacific Exposition, but I believe points out that John McLaren was involved in planning for the planting of the NZ exhibition from the outset. The suggestion that he "swept up" the plants afterwards seems a little loaded.
Dick:  I had a copy of the book; however, I can't find it on my still-voluminous bookshelves.  If that is the case, it probably fell victim to one of my periodic orgies of giving away books, records, and other stuff.  I'm preparing to die, but I should have started sooner, as at the rate I'm going there is going to be a lot of crap for some unfortunate souls to dispose of when I depart.  Lemme see....if I live to 125 it's barely possible I could make it.

About the tree, I was repeating what I'd read somewhere in the distant past.  I always wonder how much of the stuff I parrot is true or misleading.  However, not saying anything until proven or researched isn't a very attractive prospect; I might then become known as Silent Jake.  I wasn't aware of what you reporte in Eliz's book, so it's nice to know.  But there's a lot of other pieces of heritage that are disappearing without leaving a trace.  Even less-than-true statements can sometimes be better than nothing at all.
I totally agree that one needs to prepare sooner than later for departing this life. I look at my library and wonder what I'm going to do with everything. I'm certain that the Helen Crocker Russell Library has all the books I have. I've not made any point of acquiring the rarest books, focussing instead upon books that I felt would be helpful to me. The Ruth Bancroft Garden will someday build a library for all of Ruth's books, and Stewart Winchester is giving Wayne Roderick's library to them to add to Ruth's; doubt they will have room for mine as well. The Turners are not particularly long lived, so I need to get going on this soon.

Mostly, I'm worried about the floors in the building collapsing under the weight of my books.

Let me know if you would like a copy of Elizabeth's book. I don't want to exacerbate the problem.

I have not actually looked at Elizabeth's entries on Metrosideros or the other NZ trees in Strybing since your latest newsletter. It may be that I'm remembering Scot Medbury's research on the subject. He was a consultant to the designers who were working on a master plan for the arboretum and a plan for the NZ Collection. Scot became quite dedicated to learning the history of Strybing's trees, and often found information that Elizabeth had not uncovered.

Keep up the good work!
Too bad Scot and I never had the time to talk to each other; I did a lot of sleuthing for all the plants in Strybing, not just the New Zealand collection.  I would like to tell the world about what I found sometime, for which I never received credit--not from the City, of course, but not even from the Strybing Arboretum Society. 

One amusing story:  In 1985 I traveled to NZ on my own time and money, mostly for my own curiosity and delight, but also I did a lot of seed collecting in the wild, for which I took detailed notes.  (I donated some to UC Botanical Garden, which, since I had data, they eagerly accepted, and some of the plants may be in its current collection.)  I just knocked on people's doors, introduced myself, and was taken in, often housed and fed, and taken out into the wild.  They loved it and I loved it.  They were extremely pleased to find someone interested and knowledgeable about their native plants.

On one occasion I was taken to a meeting of the local wildflower society, and they asked me to tell about myself.  I told about Strybing and--with hardly having thought more than two seconds--announced that our collection of NZ plants was possibly the largest in the world outside NZ.  (It had never occurred to me before I stood up to talk that we may have the largest.)  I didn't need to think too long, because you can immediately rule out the hard winter climates, thus narrowing it down very quickly.  I told the same story to Raymond Mole, in charge of the Otari Museum (I think that's what it's called) in Wellington.  He was so intrigued by this possibility that he came to San Francisco later to check out our collection.  He affirmed that there was only one possible site having a larger collection (he wasn't sure it was larger, however), and that was in Logan, Scotland.  I also took him around San Francisco to show him all the Metrosideros and other NZ plants.

While there I hiked the Milford Track, a glorious experience for anybody, but especially for a plants person.  Fortunately, while we were there the South Island was experiencing "a drought".  It hadn't rained for seven days!  (Normal rainfall for this area was 350 inches.)
Thanks for those stories, Jake. The New Zealanders have to be the most hospitable people in the Western world. The magazine did a garden tour there in 2008, which I escorted. I was constantly amazed at how everyone simply opened their homes and gardens for us; of course, it had all, or mostly all, been arranged in advance, but their welcome was certainly genuine. I've now helped with two garden tours of California since then, and those on the tour were equally delightful to be with and so appreciative of everything they saw and learned.

We didn't get to Otari, as we were only in Wellington for one night. I do hope to get back there to see Otari and to hike the Milford Track. How fortunate you were to hit a drought there. :-)

Scot's research confirmed that Strybing had the largest established collection of NZ plants outside the country. I'm not sure if it was Logan (where I've been but don't remember a huge NZ collection) or Inverewe, further north on the West Coast of Scotland that had the largest collection. UC Santa Cruz Arboretum has developed a not insignificant collection of NZ plants, but nothing to surpass that at Strybing--and certainly much younger.

Algis Ratnikas:
Hi Jake - Sometimes the best informed in our midst air the best of their comments on critical “currency” to one another. Is there any chance to set up a public dialogue between yourself and Mssr. Brechin on issues dear to both of you and all others interested in “human” civilization.
Addendum to
2001                Gray Brechin authored “Imperial San Francisco: Urban Power, Earthly Ruin.”
Big thanks for your ongoing efforts.
 Imperial San Francisco: Urban Power, Earthly Ruin
Algis:  I'm not sure exactly what you have in mind, but it sounds flattering.

To the extent I get the idea, I think I would have to demur--because of lack of knowledge and lack of time.  I like the casual brief conversations that happen in this newsletter, eg, and on occasion it would be good to be able to expand on the topic.  However, there are too many problems with that, so it's unlikely anything will happen.

Janet Gilles:
"Do you ever read any of the books you burn?"
"That's against the law!"
"Oh. Of course."
    -Ray Bradbury, science-fiction writer (1920-2012)

Today it is scientific research that is banned.

For example, Blue Diamond Walnuts was threatened with prosecution for a planned advertising campaign showing the proven science that says walnuts as good for your heart as various drugs.  Only without the sideeffects.

Only pharmaceuticals can make such a claim, hence the skyrocketing cost of health care, and the booming pharmaceutical industry.

Google blue diamond and fda.

Also vitamin D, Andrew Weil, and fda.

etc etc etc.

On Jun 8, 2012, at 6:23 PM, ron wellman wrote:
as to colors, what does "that's really white of you" mean?
• After the Dark Ages, humankind emerged into the age of Colourisation and thus were born such colourful characteristics as Yellow (cowardice), Purple (rage), Pink (fitness) and Green, as in raw (envy).
Peter Vaughan, St Senoch, France


5.  Brock Dolman:
During the PDC I am co-teaching at Commonweal Garden/RDI – we went out tide pooling on a super low tide at Duxbury Reef with naturalist extraordinaire Claire Peaslee!

Really fun – and as always the search for Nudibranchs becomes one of the most compelling parts & the group was very successful in finding 4 species of Nudibranchs!

See the images below I took of each of them.
Claire came up with the identifications and some descriptions as below.

Afterwards Claire sent the link for the Cal Academy video about the fact that one of them, Hermissenda crassicornis, is appears to have expanded its range northward north from Monterrey Bay, plausibly due to Climate Change, and it appears that it has become a major predator on the native ones and seemingly negatively impacting their populations!

Anyway, have a look at the beautiful critters and watch the video if you wish.
All very interesting in a world where change is the only constant!

*** also, Cal Academy has a cool video <>  about a predatory nudibranch at Duxbury Reef, one whose range has expanded northward (due to climate change?) -- resulting in far fewer nudi's at our favorite local tidepool site!

“What is a miracle?  The natural law of a unique event.”  Eugen Rosenstock-Huessy

6.  Bay Area Open Space Council

This coming Saturday, June 16, 2012, a group of bicyclists will ride to the tops of Mt Hamilton, Mt Tamalpais and Mt Diablo in one day using public transit to get to the base of each mountain. They will ride 128 miles and climb 12,000+ feet. They will use 3 kinds of public transit and pass through 6 different parks. It’s Alt.

This is more than a crazy bike ride. It is a way of bringing much needed attention to the Bay Area’s parks and trails, trains and ferries. It is a way of celebrating what is beautiful about the Bay Area. We hope that you’ll join us on June 16 by getting outside, watching the riders whiz by, or taking transit. We can all get out, get moving and celebrate this place we call home.

For you we have:
    •    A live feed of pictures and tweets and a way for you to participate
    •    A press release to use yourself or share with journalist/blogger friends
    •    Many ideas for what you can do on June 16

June 26 and 27 : Wildlife Habitat Linkages
Working with regional scientists and incorporating the habitat and movement needs of over 60 species, the Bay Area and Beyond Critical Linkages Project has developed draft linkage designs for several priority landscape linkages associated with the San Francisco Bay Area, San Benito, Monterey, Mendocino and Lake Counties. The success of this ambitious regional effort relies upon your participation and we invite you to attend one or both of the following symposiums.

    •    South and East Bay Linkages, June 26, 2012, 9:00am-3:00pm at the Moore Foundation Conference Center in Palo Alto. Includes Contra Costa, Alameda, Santa Clara, San Benito, Monterey, Santa Cruz, San Mateo and San Francisco Counties. Click here to register for June 26.
    •    North Bay Linkages, June 27, 2012, 9:00am-3:00pm at the Finley Community Center in Santa Rosa. Include Mendocino, Lake, Sonoma, Napa, Solano and Marin Counties.  Click here to register for June 27.
Join us at one or both of these symposiums to provide input on the Draft Linkage Network developed for the region, discuss implementation strategies and tools and initiate implementation coalitions for each linkage. The symposiums are free, lunch is provided, and beer & wine socials follow each event. More information about the project and symposiums can be found here.


7.  Sutro Stewards
June 16, 2012 from 9am to 1pm
Location: Sutro Nursery, UCSF, at top of Aldea San Miguel Student Housing area

Join us at the Sutro Nursery and learn first hand how to propagate plants from seed and cuttings. We'll have our propagation expert on hand for instruction and to answer your questions.

We will also be working to cover the floor of the shade structure, finishing the irrigation and tending to the thousands of plants we are raising. Fun for all ages!

WE MEET AT THE NURSERY SITE, 195 Behr Ave., Nursery is below parking area. Parking is very limited so carpool if possible.

See more details and RSVP on Sutro Stewards:


8.  HANC nursery

California Native Plant Society Field Trip
Daly City Dunes on San Bruno Mountain


June 16th, Saturday - 11am to 1pm
Join Doug Allshouse from the Yerba Buena Chapter of the California Native Plant Society for a field trip to a rare and unique inland dune system.

The Guadalupe Hills are part of the San Bruno Mountains and on the western edge in lower Colma Canyon are the Daly City Dunes, a 300-foot deep sand dune system that dates back almost 180,000 years. A piece of this site is relatively intact and supports a specific ecosystem not usually found at such a distance from the coast. Of great interest and dire concern is the presence of San Francisco Lessingia - Lessingia germanorum, an endangered dune plant that, in this case, represents the only known population in San Mateo County.  Its existence is threatened by a possible housing development.

Also present in the system is San Francisco spineflower
(Chorizanthe cuspidata), dune suncup (Camissonia strigulosa) and blue beach lupine (Lupinus chamissonis). There is a population of California pipe vine nearby (Aristolochia californica) which means the sighting of beautiful Pipe Vine Swallowtails (Batus philenor) is a distinct possibility. And there is more - an Ohlone Indian shellmound is also to be found high up the dune.

Bring warm clothing and layers. Wear sturdy shoes suitable for sand and bring a snack or lunch if you wish.

From "Top of the Hill Daly City" (Mission Street, John Daly & Hillside Blvd) take Hillside and turn left on Thiers Street.  Meet at the Hilldale School at 79 Florence Street at the junction of Thiers and Florence Streets in Daly City.

San Bruno Mountain Watch promotes walks by the California Native Plant Society that concern San Bruno Mountain.  For more information on the Daly City Dunes - please visit our website.




On a day
when the wind is perfect,
the sail just needs to open and the world is full of beauty.
Today is such a

My eyes are like the sun that makes promises;
the promise of life
that it always

each morning.

The living heart gives to us as does that luminous sphere,
both caress the earth with great

This is a breeze that can enter the soul.
This love I know plays a drum.  Arms move around me;
who can contain their self before my beauty?

Peace is wonderful,
but ecstatic dance is more fun, and less narcissistic;
gregarious He makes our lips.

On a day when the wind is perfect,
the sail just needs to open
and the love starts.

Today is such
a day.

~ Rumi ~

(Love Poems From God: Twelve Sacred Voices from the East and West by Daniel Ladinsky)


“Sometimes we get a deeper look into the world’s heart—and our own—when we stand not on the shifting sands of society and ego but on the bedrock realities of the natural, and spiritual, world.”    Parker Palmer


The corridors neighborhood volunteers are creating to connect two of the three Green Hairstreak butterfly populations in San Francisco (at Hawk Hill, behind Herbert Hoover Middle School, and Grandview Park) are paying unexpectedly quick and rather spectacular returns.

So far sightings this year at 14th and Pacheco (3 days in a row), Mike Belcher's 16th Avenue front yard, the top of Grandview Park (in January!), and now the 16th Avenue Hidden Garden Steps.

Subject: Another Green Hairstreak Butterfly Success!

Just learned, at our monthly Hidden Garden Steps organizing committee meeting, that one of our committee members spotted a Green Hairstreak butterfly about halfway down the stairway in early May--right after our last meeting.
We don't, unfortunately, have a photograph, but she confirmed the siting after comparing what she saw to the online images she was able to access.
If you don't see any problems with publicizing this, I'll get the word out to our various supporters so they know that we're all apparently on the right track with our collaborative endeavors on this project. Looking forward to even better results next season when the garden is more fully established.
With warmest regards and tremendous gratitude,
--Paul Signorelli
P.S. -- Received official confirmation late last week that DPW's repair efforts will be underway around the middle of summer, so we're about to take another huge, visible leap forward, and we also expect to reach our initial trigger point ($100,000 in cash raised toward our $300,000)  to sign the contract with the artists and get them working with volunteers to begin producing the elements that are going to be affixed to the stairs. Projected completion date, if we stay on track: summer 2013.


12.  A Million Immigrant Workers Still Stream to U.S. while Many Veterans Have No Work
One in Three Young Vets is Unemployed; Unemployment for African American Vets Tops 40%
By Maria Fotopoulos

Despite across-the-board high U.S. unemployment and the platitudes of government officials, Congress and the President still hew to policies that allow almost a million new legal immigrant workers to enter the country annually.

The unemployment picture for returning veterans is particularly grim. One in three young vets is unemployed. Recently returning veterans age 18 to 24 are being disproportionately affected.  According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, in 2011, young male veterans had an unemployment rate of 29.1 percent, nearly double the rate of their nonveteran counterparts.  And, unemployment for African American male vets tops 40 percent.

Young Americans have fought in Iraq and Afghanistan, as well as served in other places both around the world and at home. Many from already-depressed areas of the country joined the military for lack of other opportunities. So to serve the country and return home still without job prospects, and now too often with physical and or mental health problems as a result of service, has got to be the definition of “adding insult to injury” for these servicemen and servicewomen.

There are no rational or logical underpinnings to policies that undermine putting American citizens first. And while reducing legal immigration and its handmaiden, illegal immigration, will not solve the crisis in the U.S. job situation, doing these two things will help. It’s an increasingly common belief among citizens that the government does not serve them. Limiting legal immigration and eliminating illegal immigration will not only get Americans back to work, it will help restore the much-eroded credibility of the U.S. government.

In the next five years, the number of veterans returning home seeking work nationwide is projected to significantly increase. More than one million will be looking to join the civilian workplace in this timeframe.

Here in California, where there is 11 percent unemployment, more veterans choose to settle than any other state in the country. Currently, California is home to 2 million vets. It also is the state with the highest number of legal immigrants, and it’s a lure for millions of illegal ones too.

For all the youth who suited up for America, subscribing to the belief that they were putting their time and energy to a purpose with merit, we should support policies that contribute to hiring them before foreign workers.

The DREAM ACT - from the archives (May 2011)

Gray Brechin:
It's clear to me that immigrants' children will serve nicely as mercenaries to make up for the draftless wars we are fighting and the planetary garrisons maintaining. After all, it is the ONLY way they will be able to finance an education now, if they can concentrate after returning with PTSD, if returning at all.
I can see now why that Act has bipartisan support: it is the ONLY way to keep the military going because the supply of immigrant recruits is virtually limitless.

Googling the White House reveals a few more samples of "Immigrants do the jobs that Americans don't want to do".  The fact that our country's leaders can be so out-front and straight-faced about this serious subject speaks volumes.

The White House: 
Congress is preparing to vote on the DREAM Act in the coming days, so we thought it would be good to lay out what it means for our nation. The DREAM Act is common-sense legislation drafted by both Republicans and Democrats that would give students who grew up in the United States a chance to contribute to our country’s well-being by serving in the U.S. armed forces or pursuing a higher education. It’s good for our economy, our security, and our nation.

The DREAM Act will contribute to our military’s recruitment efforts and readiness.  Secretary of Defense Gates has written to DREAM Act sponsors citing the rich precedent of non-citizens serving in the U.S. military and stating that “the DREAM Act represents an opportunity to expand [the recruiting] pool, to the advantage of military recruiting and readiness.”  The DREAM Act is also a part of the Department of Defense's 2010-2012 Strategic Plan to assist the military in its recruiting efforts.

Education, military, religious and business leaders support the DREAM Act:  The legislation is supported by a wide range of leaders from the education, military, and business fields.

David S. C. Chu, Under Secretary of Defense for Personnel and Readiness under George W. Bush, called for action on the DREAM Act to strengthen the military.

Wall Street Journal:  “Restrictionists dismiss the Dream Act as an amnesty that rewards people who entered the country illegally……The Dream Act also makes legal status contingent on school achievement and military service, the type of behavior that ought to be encouraged and rewarded.”

Margaret Stock, a Lieutenant Colonel in the U.S. Army Reserve (retired); a former professor at the U.S. Military Academy at West Point; and an adjunct professor at the University of Alaska, Anchorage, said: “Potential DREAM Act beneficiaries are also likely to be a military recruiter’s dream candidates for enlistment … 

Conservative military scholar Max Boot supports the DREAM Act:  “It's a substantial pool of people and I think it's crazy we are not tapping into it.”  The DREAM Act “would not only offer a welcome path toward citizenship for many promising young people but also might ease some of the recruitment problems that Army has been facing of late.” [Max Boot, “Dream a Little Dream,” Commentary Magazine, September 20, 2007]

The Center for Naval Analyses issued a report finding that immigrants in the military have high levels of performance and lower rates of attrition.  The report noted that non-citizens add valuable diversity to the armed forces and perform extremely well, often having significantly lower attrition rates than other recruits.  The report also pointed out that “much of the growth in the recruitment-eligible population will come from immigration.”

JS:  So there you have it; not only can we drive down wages, but we can get immigrants to fight the wars we don't want to fight--you heard it from the President. 

There's a history of nations hiring others to fight their wars.  If we don't believe in the war, why do we start it in the first place?


“... We are strong and adaptable animals and can certainly make a new life on the hotter Earth, but there will only be a fraction of inhabitable land left ... Soon we face the appalling question of whom can we let aboard the lifeboats? And whom must we reject? ... There will be great clamor from climate refugees seeking a safe haven in those few parts where the climate is  tolerable and food is available. ... We will need a new set of rules for (limiting the population in) climate oases.”

--James Lovelock, in The Vanishing Face of Gaia: A Final Warning, 2009

13.  Buttonwood

Not so expert

The need for financial advice may be more psychological than practical

Jun 9th 2012 |from The Economist (excerpts)

ASK enough people for advice, they say, and you will eventually find someone who will tell you what you want to hear. But the need for advice burns so strongly that people become blind to its quality. There is a remarkable tendency to trust experts, even when there is little evidence of their forecasting powers. In his book “Expert Political Judgment”, Philip Tetlock shows that political forecasters are worse than crude algorithms at predicting events. The more prominent the expert (ie, the more they were quoted by the news media), the worse their records tended to be. There is also an inverse relationship between the confidence of the individual forecaster and the accuracy of their predictions.
...Paying for financial advice might not seem quite as bizarre as paying for coin-toss predictions, but there are some similarities. Nobody can reliably forecast the short-term outlook for economies or stockmarkets; Warren Buffett, the world’s most successful long-term investor, thinks it is not worth trying to do so. But plenty of economists and strategists earn a good living doing just that. The average active-fund manager fails to beat the stockmarket index; no reliable way has been found for selecting above-average managers in advance. Yet investors are still willing to pay for the services of active managers.

...Perhaps the financial-advice industry survives because the idea that the future is unknowable is just unsatisfying. Some forecast—any forecast—is therefore comforting. Mr Tetlock suggests that “we believe in experts in the same way that our ancestors believe in oracles; we  want to believe in a controllable world and we have a flawed understanding of the laws of chance.”


14.  Heard on Says You
Sundays 4pm, KQED FM

It's the law

In Ohio, it's illegal to have more than five women in the same house.

It's prohibited to make your fish drunk.

You need a hunting license to kill a mouse.

In Bethley (?) Ohio you can't put a slot machine in an outhouse.

Lima, Ohio:  No map may be sold in Lima that doesn't show Lima.

Poland, (?) Ohio:  Cops may bite a dog to keep it quiet.  (Evidently, dogs dread being bitten.)

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